Things can Change in a Heartbeat: Give Jesus a Chance

 

Well, Christmas 2016 is over.

My holiday took an extremely unexpected – shall we say ‘turn’ – when I stepped outside onto the 2nd. floor landing of my apartment stairs. What I didn’t realize: how slippery it was.

Things happen fast.

My left foot shot our from under me like greased lightning.

How quickly – in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye – we can lose control. And there is nothing you can do about it. Even if there was, the whole thing is over before you even have time to do it anyway.

Oddly calm, I remember knowing that this was it, I was either about to die from tumbling headlong down the stairs, or sustain severely broken bones, maybe my back. Like that, it can be over.

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Well, it wasn’t.

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I don’t think that I was ‘lucky’. I think that either Jesus Himself, or an angel sent as a ministering spirit guided my fall or actually set me down, in a seated, upright position with the door sill right up against my lower back area.  I was not aware of any jolting impact. I noticed I was in no pain. Check. Nothing seemed broken. Check. Or bleeding. Check.

For He shall give His angels charge over thee…they shall bear thee up in their hands, lest thou dash thy foot against a stone.”  (Psalm 91: 11, 12)

Wow.

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I had been carrying a box full of Christmas presents, which barely spilled out. They were okay, too…

I had not even had time to panic before it was over & I realized I was basically unharmed. After a minute, I carefully raised myself up, looking around and beginning to notice that the toe of my left foot was hurting. That got alot worse as the day wore on, witangels-charge_2h swelling & bruising, but apart from that and the onset of shock & nausea etc., at this moment I seem  relatively unscathed.  Some may say, Well, you still fell down & you did actually hurt your foot, so….what’s your point?  My point is that it could’ve been so much worse.

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I imagine as the days go by, I will experience a continuing aftermath of realizations. Today, though, mainly I keep recalling my ‘flying through the air’ moment, no contact with the ground or handrail or anything…but Jesus. I know this is hindsight, maybe I’m wrong, but in that moment I think I sensed I was being somehow ‘held’. I just didn’t have time to consciously process it, so initially  I assumed the worst .

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…so my Christmas Day was delayed for a while, I ended up on my sofa with ice on my foot. When I finally made it to the family gathering…well, the starch was knocked out of me, sooo….but I find that without all the usual hullaballoo – and nothing wrong with that! – I seem to be seeing spiritual reality with a wonderful focus and clarity. Today, I think my ‘eye is single’. (That’s not always the case!)

“Therefore when thine eye is single, thy whole body also is full of light.”  (Luke 11:34)

Over the years, so many times at Christmas I’ve heard those cliché statements about Jesus that I knew should’ve resonated with me but did not. I was doing my Christmas thing, ya know? But today – today I get it. There is nothing more important than knowing Jesus. The real Jesus. He is so unbelievably integral to all things that it behooves any one of us to give Him a chance.  Every day.

 

 

Christmas 2016…some Gifts aren’t Tangible

 

 

In years past, I’ve written articles relating to this Christmas time of year, or re-published  ones previously written to mark the holiday season.

(https://godhistoryandyou.wordpress.com/2011/12/20/about-that-christmas-tree/ https://godhistoryandyou.wordpress.com/2008/12/19/on-the-giving-of-gifts-etc-at-christmas/)

christmas-tree-fireplace This year – for me personally, it is a landmark holiday season – but my Christmas time post might not even include that much about the actual holiday. Maybe nothing…we’ll see…I’m not sure where I’m going with this…

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In the comments section of one of Lana Vawser’s recent prophetic posts (https://lanavawser.com/2016/12/anxiety-attacks-attempting-to-come-upon-the-writers-and-pioneers/) concerning anxiety, someone explained that Jesus had shown her, in a dream/vision, to simply worship Him when anxiety strikes. Turn your back on the adversary, the enemy of your soul. My anxiety levels at that time were unusually high, almost at an unprecedented level, so I began practicing spur-of-the moment worship. When numbing, immobilizing fear gripped me, when my stomach began crunching from dread or anxiety, I began stopping whatever I was doing, wherever I was, and entering into my own ‘compressed’ version of bowing down before Him. I usually could not concentrate very well in these tormented moments, so I kept it simple. Very simple. And I don’t know that I worshipped Jesus so much as said “I worship You, Jesus.”

But it worked.

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Why this is happening now, in the way that it is, and not years ago during so many times of prayer & supplication, intrigues me. What is different?

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The Scriptures speak of all things being put under His feet. ( Jesus’ feet, that is.)  And the glory, the power, and the kingdoms belonging to Him. Do you want to keep some things out from under His feet & instead keep them under yours? Ya want some of that power for yourself? So maybe you aren’t willing to yield it all up…I am now sure I was not willing. And I cannot say if I even recognized that.

What I can say is, in declaring “I worship You, Jesus” out loud (even if softly) & in public places that were not churches or Bible studies – I FELT myself yielding things up. I FELT myself ‘coming under’ Him in a way I never had before. I FELT & I SAW Jesus covering me, and all that I was yielding. HE is the Possessor of heaven & earth, and all that is herein. HE is your Champion. He is gracious. He’s got your back…

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Merry Christmas!

 

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Wise Men still Seek Him

 

Freedom Entangled…

Despite the fact that I have many times thought, how fortunate we who live in America are, I don’t think I actually really ‘get it’. When it comes to being free, I’ve always known that lifestyle. For me, it comes with the territory! I’m accustomed to freedom, and without realizing it, assume it is the norm. I expect it.

…and though the headlines scream otherwise, I still don’t think differently. Freedom, like air & sunshine, seems to be a condition that is & should be everywhere – a daily reality.

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Jesus spoke of being free.

Christians (and I am one) often quote His words: “Ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” It is important to remember that these words are settled within another truth: “If you continue in my Word…”

So it seems that steps must be taken, in a specific direction, to become & remain free. Forces are always at work to recapture. The flow of a free life can be halted, strangled, maybe stopped. There is a Divine remedy, though, to thwart &flag-barbed-wire-140 overcome the enemy who robs us of our freedom. There is a Way to turn back the tide.

The fact that there are these malevolent forces with evil designs upon our freedom, should tell us something about freedom itself – it is highly valuable, and a threat to those who seek to steal & destroy it. That we even HAVE it at all is miraculous, isn’t it? That we have it at all seems to say, You are favored. That it takes the Mighty God to give us freedom, and the way to keep – that we can’t have it simply by our own efforts – should teach us how precious it is.

.

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…and so I think that the spiritual battles fought to overcome a thieving enemy are played out in the real-world battles & wars that continually besiege the earth these days. The prize sought by this enemy isn’t really territory, or rulership & sovereignty. It is your freedom. Your life.

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Be aware of the preciousness of this prize. But also know that true, ultimate & lasting freedom has its roots in the Son of God, who said, “…If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; and ye shall know the truth, and the truth  shall make you free.” (John 8:31-32)

Start your journey there. If you’ve wandered too far out of this Way, go back.

He’s still there, and He hasn’t changed.

American flag & soldier_2

…still Digging…taqiyyah & Christianity

…so, last post I was “Digging Deeper…”  This time, I want to add a few observations.  Reading about  taqiyyah, the Shi’ite Muslim practice of ‘religious dissimulation’ or concealment, to preserve life or faith, certain points of similarity to Christianity struck me.  I am not advocating taqiyyah, just mentioning a thing or two that I noticed.

The practice of  taqiyyah originates in the Qur’an, the Islamic counterpart to the Bible. (By making this statement, I am in no way suggesting an equality with, or partnering Islamic teaching with the Scriptures.  I only point to the fact of spiritual authority through written verse, in each faith.)  So…Muslims are given permission or instruction to conceal from, or mislead adversaries concerning their religious beliefs, when to not do so could result in harm, injury, death, etc.  A Native American might call this ‘speaking with forked tongue’, or the more contemporary label ‘two-faced’ could apply here.  Whatever we call it, bottom line, the idea is to say whatever the other party wants to hear!  And the original purpose was survival, or at least avoidance of suffering.

Well…and I almost hate to say this…Matthew 5:25 tells us the following :  “Agree with thine adversary quickly…lest at any time the adversary deliver thee to the judge, and the judge deliver thee to the officer, and thou be cast into prison.” 

Hmmm…this sounds like Jesus is telling us to ‘kiss up’ to the boss, doesn’t it?  Yet, these verses ARE in the Bible.  They ARE the word of God.  I’ve read/heard interpretations of this, and I get it, that perhaps at issue here is more of a dynamic than an actual literal situation, but still…I have to admit that I am careful what I say to my boss!  If someone has the power to hurt me, or impair any aspect of my well-being or survival, I  watch how I word things.  And it seems that the times that I haven’t, have thrown caution to the winds & told it like it was!  I paid a price.  There are times that maybe the price is just too steep…

Something to think about.

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And here’s something else to consider:  “…be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves.”  (Matthew 10:16)  The word ‘wise’ in the Greek implies a cautious character, and translates into the English ‘thoughtful, discreet’. (Interestingly enough, taqiyyah in Arabic means ‘cautious’.)  This instruction comes right on the heels of the disciples’ being told that they were being sent forth as sheep among wolves – not exactly what I would consider a safe environment.  And besides the Lord Himself, it looks like their first line of defense was caution in conduct, which would include speech.

The comparison to serpents here can’t help but bring to mind the serpent in the Garden (Genesis 3:1).  This serpent is called ‘subtil’ in the King James Version, and that description embodies the idea of cunning, or crafty.  Not exactly the same thrust as the New Testament Greek ‘wise’, yet my Bible cross-references these verses.  It’s hard not to perceive a thread of similarity.

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My last observation concerns a slightly different focus on a specific purpose of taqiyya, other than the preservation of a Muslim’s life/faith.  In line with the preservation of the teachings themselves, some see the need for the protection of the knowledge given by God to the Imams as a reason for employing taqiyyah.  Until the coming of the Twelfth Imam, when the full truth can be revealed, it must remain hidden from the uninitiated or from adversaries (Kohlberg, Etan, Secrecy and Concealment). 

Where else do we see the truth being protected? 

“…he placed at the east of the garden of Eden Cherubims, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to keep the way of the tree of life.”  (Genesis 3:24)

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Now, the other side of the coin…whereas Muslims are permitted to deceive by concealing their beliefs, according to the Qur’an, believers in Jesus Christ are never enjoined to deny Him. Though Peter did, and thrice at that, it wasn’t his proudest moment, and in fact Jesus took action to redeem Peter from the effects of that denial. (John 21:15-17) 

…and whereas perhaps full truth for Muslims may be hidden until their Twelfth Imam appears, Jesus Christ IS our full truth, and He has already come in the flesh.  Revelation from our God is the rock upon which His church is built.  Rather than covering  expression of His gospel, or those revelations, Christians tend to want to share them.  Spread the wealth around!   It’s all about the word of testimony, although that word may be more effective when spoken in season.   Yet even so, the Biblical instruction is to be prepared to speak even out of season.

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What’s Going On with Me…

The three-year anniversary of ‘Jesus, the Revolution & You’ is right around the corner. I am approaching this event not exactly as one might think.

You know how, in life, things can hit you hard, causing shock, anger, maybe fear – or jubilant triumph – but other pressures and/or responsibilities prevail during these moments? During these moments, you don’t have time to process your responses. There they are, still bearing down on you, or swirling around in that well-known ‘back-of-your-mind’ nether region. But there they are constrained to remain. Reactions not fully acknowledged/understood etc. pile up. Often unconsciously, or semi-consciously. But I think, until these responses/suspicions etc. are finally understood and released, they can & do affect us, and whatever else we may be attempting to do or achieve.

David, King of ancient Israel, writes in the Psalms that we human beings are ‘fearfully & wonderfully made.’ No doubt! In fact, a book has been written with that title, and about that topic. (I’ve not read it, but it has been recommended. I would like to read it. But I’m sticking with ‘They Must be Stopped… – plus, I never finished ‘The 5000 Year Leap’! or, ‘Washington’s Spies’! or…well, the list goes on…) Anyway, back to the staggering intricacies & complexities of the human body and the human being. Every single day of my life, I fail to even begin to realize or appreciate the marvel of being alive in an amazing physical ‘house’ – except for isolated moments like this one right now. Oh, for sure, I’m aware of the perishing of the outer man, as the Bible informs us…in other words, the aging process! the aching, weakening, stiffness, back pain and all that. Getting older hurts! It hurts our vanity, too! Who wants to get saggy & wrinkled? Not me! (BIG fan of face creams!) But…all that other miraculous stuff is still going on. In most cases, we can still think and learn. Though perhaps less, we can still create, we can still produce.

It is in this thinking/learning/creating realm – initially, an invisible realm – where one could meet God. He creates, right? For myself, I try to be led in my thinking by His Spirit.

So…returning to the build-up of unresolved thoughts…at some point, a person may get the opportunity to let it all out! It could be a cathartic outburst, a ‘no-holds barred’ venting, or as was my case this morning, a long period of time to just think, or rather let any & all thoughts just wash over me, no time constraints, no pressures.

Short-handing it, here’s the 411 – the last three years of this so-called ‘blogging’ has left me feeling like I’ve been thrown under a freight train.

I keep wanting to give it all up. But yet, I do not. Here I sit, with my new dark Ruby Red & black netbook. (Personally, I believe that God undertook to, shall we say ‘direct’ my choice of a red computer. I didn’t want red. Too complicated a story to get into…but now, I love it. I believe the red represents the blood of Jesus. He’s covering me, and my work here on ‘Jesus, the Revolution & You’.

Christina, signing out…for now.

Tucson: Getting to the Root of It

Have answers been found that fully explain the causes & motivations behind the shattering, life-changing attack on Congresswoman Giffords? My exposure to the coverage of the aftermath of the shooting has been hindered due to malfunctioning technology. I haven’t been able to remain current on conclusions drawn, nor, going forward, preventive actions that America should undertake as a result of these conclusions.

My first & immediate reaction that day, was – this is a result of our political divide. Now, I doubt that it is that simple. Political divide has to be included in causality, though, I think. But a big question has become, how much does this divide, translating into rhetoric, claim responsibility for Jared Loughner’s actions? Some have dismissed this possibility out-of-hand. I disagree with those persons. Words have power. They can calm, or they can incite, inflame. You can add fuel to the fire, or you can douse it. Get real.

However, while I am focusing on the rhetorical impact of individuals/blogs/media on the American public, as ‘We, the People…’ Reverend Al Sharpton caught my attention with a slightly different perspective: “I think before we dismiss the political discourse debate, the problem is that when we get to how we execute, it’s going to take leadership.”
“And if the leadership of the country is so acrimonious and so busy with a poisonous debate themselves, we will never be able to get to dealing with those that are mentally ill or those that are isolated. Because the problem is that the leadership is so busy taking shots at each other.”


David Gregory, host of MSNBC’s ‘Meet the Press’, responded to the Reverend’s statement with this question: “…is this a game changer of sorts for our political attitudes as we move toward a major presidential election year?” Political attitudes. Don’t political attitudes essentially represent personal attitudes? Our beliefs? But what if, in some cases, our beliefs are wrong? What if, in fact, they are not so much belief as motive? I’m telling you, motives are tricky and can be hidden, even from the one with the motive. Deception plays a part here…

“…lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin.” (Hebrews 3:13)

I’m going to extrapolate a bit and say that, where deception operates, there is sin. Last I heard, sin is not a good thing. It’s not helping. It brings with it a hardening of the heart and conscience. Makes it easy, or easier , to pull a trigger.

Any and all of us have sinned, and probably will again. “If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.” (1 John 1:8) Being accused of being sinful does not need to enrage, frighten or offend you, because we have a Saviour. He has provided the Way, the Remedy. In fact, He is the Remedy. You and I need to learn of Him, or learn more. As do the Jared Loughner’s of the world. And I’m not saying that knowing Christ will tamp down your passions so much that you won’t still pull that trigger…but what I do believe is that only His love can truly & finally save us, from so many eventualities & possibilities. Pulling a trigger may be one of them.

To my almost astonishment, David Brooks, columnist for the Wall Street Journal’, brought up the subject of sin during the above discussion. Knock me over with a feather. “…we’ve had a culture which has downplayed sin, and therefore people think, “I–my way’s the right way, and 100 percent of what I want, that’s what we should have… And, and so that’s a–kind of a deep problem to get over.”

Again…Jesus. Way, Truth, and Life…He can get into your problem. He works from the inside out. We can try to change our behavior. It may seem that we’ve succeeded. For myself, enough pressure on me will prove that wrong. I’m not saying you shouldn’t try to adjust your behavior, go to therapy, use a Nicotine Patch or whatever. They are all good starts, I guess…you have to start somewhere, and faith without works is dead. But don’t go it alone. Jesus is here for us. He’s the One with the power, and the Love that uses that power without selfishness.

I don’t mean to imply that faith in Jesus Christ is where it all stops. We need help, from every direction. For me, my faith is central & pivotal, and it IS my first line of defense. But if I’m hungry, thinking about my faith in God won’t put the food on my table. I have to get up and make a sandwich, put together an omelet, get that coffee perking…If I see a shady character ahead, my thoughts shoot to Jesus but still, I’ll duck out of sight, change my direction…so, too, if certain actions had been taken earlier in the life of the Tucson shooter, if his predilections had been not only noticed but some kind of intervention had taken place…today I might not be writing this particular article.

But since events have transpired in such a way as they have, we must not waste this tragedy. We really must not waste this tragedy. Maybe more of us…many more, perhaps…need to examine our motives & change our focus. Maybe we need to re-evaluate. Let’s tone it down, watch our language. Think about our words, and perhaps the reason we’re even speaking in the first place.

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It Started Way before 9/11…

In the days following September 11, 2001, I heard something like this from the Lord : that He took no pleasure in that horrendous, vicious wounding of our nation. While many who stood behind pulpits, or listened from pews in front of them, preached judgment on America for her sins, I heard something else. I heard that a silent poison had been spreading, and was far more advanced than we knew. Stopping its spread required perseverance and a ’never forget’ mentality, and these in turn required such a wounding as the catastrophic tragedy that took place in New York city that morning. A lesser event could fade from memory, and not elicit the sustained vigilance necessary to combat terrorism and preserve our land.

This was how I understood what I believed was shared with me that day.

Today, I understand more. I understand the poison that had been spreading was, and is, something other than ‘terrorism’, in the sense that we, as ’Westerners’ know it. It is what produces that terrorism – an ideology that has been at work in our world for centuries. I would go so far as to say, it goes back to Biblical times, to Old Testament Israel, even to the Genesis creation accounts. It is, at root, the eternal conflict between the Most High and the one who presumed to say, “I will be like the Most High.” (Isaiah 14:14) And, in fact, its origins may be even deeper than this, in a sense – the boiled-down conflict is between law and grace.

While the Adversary desires to enslave, He who alone is God wants to set us free.

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I cannot emphasize enough how much Jesus came to set men free. I am so very, very clear on that. He knows the end from the beginning, and most certainly, looking down the corridors of time in ages past, saw the condition of our world today. The Ancient of Days knew. By His blood, in the New Covenant, He provided miraculously, fully and finally, for this condition which exists in man, and through man, produces chaos in the environment. (Even trying to reverse this chaos often only exacerbates it!) Man’s finest yet remains flawed, but a better Way has been given to us.

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