Recently, my former women’s bible study group extended an invitation to me to come back as a guest speaker and teach on a specific subject from the September 2021 issue of the “Our Daily Bread” devotional magazine. Of course, I gladly accepted their invitation and immediately set my heart, mind, and prayers on calling upon the Holy Spirit to direct and guild my preparation efforts for this humbling event.
After reading the assigned story and the Biblical scriptures (Hebrews 13:11-16) that accompanied the magazine article it was surmised that the Apostle Paul (the author of Hebrews) wanted to exhort those who are faithful in the ministry of the Lord’s holy word to keep on praising Him, not just inside the confines of familiar and comfortable surroundings, but also outside their sphere of normalcy as well…where the less fortunate reside.
Yes, we are to keep on loving others including the unlovable; to keep on trusting in God to resolve difficult situations; to keep on respectfully responding to pastoral leaders in the church, notwithstanding those in government; and finally, to keep on praying without ceasing in the Name of Jesus our High Priest, through Whom we have access to God. Why? Because therein we bolster our confidence to walk by faith and not by sight. Ask yourself this question…”Why should I change, and not do these things that Paul admonished, especially when God does not change!”
So, as I prepare to deliver a message on “Outside the Camp”, I solicit your prayers that the teaching points I impart to the ladies will come directly from scripture and the mindset of the Holy Spirit.
THIS IS NO TIME TO REST AND TAKE OUR LEAVE!
The times we are living in today are hard times for us all. And you can imagine just how difficult it must be for those living within the margins of life. The ‘haves’ are being called upon to help and assist the ‘have-nots’. We must become a friend to the friendless. A bridge over troubled waters. We must pray for the peace of Jerusalem and the world. We must use and distribute our bounty wisely and in ways that pleases our Maker. Remember that the more we give (from the heart) the more He gives to you.
Scripture Lesson:“Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again. Luke 6:38
Some weeks are harder than others. So, this week, I have been praying for strength, compassion, tolerance, and a word of enlightenment from the Holy Spirit to instruct me on how to bring comfort, peace and hope to all those who come my way, looking for some relief from life’s miserable dilemmas. And it happened that during my quiet time, I distinctively heard a still small voice whisper, “Earth has no sorrow that heaven cannot heal”.
What brought all of this on…it’s a sign of the times…
Now that the worldwide Covid-19 virus has morphed into a Delta variant, more and more people are becoming depressed and disillusioned. Hardly a day goes by that someone in my sphere of influence does not approach me with a gloom and doomed report of a dear friend, family member, neighbor, loved one, a friend of a friend, or simply a news health statistic reminding us all that someone has died from Covid. And now it is affecting our children. Since this unsolicited bit of information is dumped on me so often, I came to realize that if I am not careful, I will allow such conversations to infiltrate my spirit and cause me to become depressed, too.
(I had a scary thought…the enemy began taunting me by repeating…it’s your fault…it’s your fault! You had no business praying for your Maker to make you an instrument of his peace!)
That was the exact moment I knew it was time for me to have a little conversation with God using Scripture. Here is some of the reinforcement the Lord gave me.
After listening to that encouraging song, I recommitted myself and vowed to the Lord that I would continue researching the scriptures in order to fortify myself with the teachings of my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, so that I might persevere in becoming a beacon light to all those who find themselves on the verge of giving up on life and the cares of this world.
At-a-girl, I heard the angles shout! We knew all along that you were God’s salt-flavored seasoning to infuse the people on earth who were beginning to lose their saltiness. You were meant to be a light in situations where darkness is creeping in. You have been sat on a lamp stand in order to shine brightly. You were meant to encourage other people to put their trust in Jesus and to remind them that there is no sorrow on earth that heaven cannot heal. For by carrying this banner on your shoulders, you will find honor in the kingdom where the Lord has gone to prepare a place for you.For our God is superior over all!!
My prayer for you…
Dear Heavenly Father, your children sincerely thank you for calling them to become a beacon light in a dark and unbelieving world. Help them to love and assist all those who love You and desire to learn how to trust and depend wholly upon You and Your teachings. Instruct Your workers on how to pray more specifically for what they desire to accomplish through the aide of the Holy Spirit for their fellowman. If necessary, remind them that some things come only through prayer AND fasting. Teach them not to be afraid to rebuke the enemy and all other situations that are not according to Your will and Your ways. And when it is all said and done, my Lord, we will not forget to give You all the praise, all the honor, and all the glory until our traveling days are done. In Jesus’ Name we ask it all. Amen and Amen.
Scripture Lesson:“The Sovereign Lord has given me an instructed tongue, to know the word that sustains the weary. He wakens me morning by morning, wakens my ear to listen like one being taught. The Sovereign Lord has opened my ears, and I have not been rebellious; I have not drawn back.” Isaiah 50:4-5
How many friends, family members and acquaintances do you know that addresses people not by their given names, but rather by using a euphemism (a mild or indirect word or expression) that in most cases depicts an endearing term that shows hospitality and love?
For example, I often greet family and friends by saying, “Hello Lovie. How are you?” If a conversation pursues, I’m guilty of peppering my sentences with “Lovie” a few more times to make a point. Now, I’m not saying that this is all bad. I’m just saying that this week my eyes were opened to the realization that perhaps I might want to just curtail using the expression of “Lovie” as a substitute for addressing a person by their legitimate name.
Here is why…
This week my bible prayer group started reading 1st Samuel, a book in the Bible. A very popular story in that book is the one about the young lad, Samuel, who had a dream while living in a priestly commune (temple) with the prophet Eli. Samuel was awakened from his dream twice by someone calling him. Samuel thought it was Eli so he got up and went to Eli. Since Eli had not been the one who called unto Samuel, Eli instructed Samuel what to say if he heard his named called a third time. Finally, the Lord did call his name again, but this time He called out, “Samuel! Samuel!” and He got Samuel’s attention. Samuel’s response was, “Here I am Lord. Speak, for your servant is listening” (1st Samuel 3:1-10).
I am very familiar with that story as I am sure you are too. But this time Samuel’s encounter with the Lord really got my attention and I wondered how many times was a double salutation used to call somebody in the Old and New Testaments. My research revealed that throughout all sixty-six books in the entire Bible, only nine people and one city were addressed by calling their names twice.
I immediately called upon the Holy Spirit and asked if we could have a little conversation…
In my spirit I began to realize that every time an individual was called by name twice, he or she was elevated to a greater and higher position of importance in the scheme of things in the Bible.
Abraham! Abraham! He became the Father of Many Nations . (Genesis 22:11-13)
Jacob! Jacob! He became a great nation siring 12 tribes. And his name was changed to Israel. (Genesis 46:1-4)
Moses! Moses! He was assigned to become a deliverer of God’s people. (Exodus 3:1-10)
Samuel! Samuel! He was young at the time, but God was grooming him to be a priest, prophet, and judge. (1 Samuel 3:1-10)
Martha! Martha! She was the sister to Mary and Lazarus. Martha was taught from being anxious about many things in life. (Luke 10:38-42)
Simon! Simon! Also known as Peter. He learned to rely on Jesus instead of his own self. (Luke 22:31-32)
Saul! Saul! Also known later as Paul. He changed from persecuting Christians to teaching them. (Acts 9:4)
Lord! Lord! This was the title people began to use with their lips but not with their hearts. (Matthew 7:21-22, 25:11: Luke 6:46; 13:25)
Eloi! Eloi! Definition for “My God, My God” that people still call on today. (Matthew 27:46; Mark 15:34; Psalm 22:1)
Jerusalem! Jerusalem! The name given to the only city in the Bible that was elevated to prominence. (Matthew 23:37 and Luke 13:34)
This is the conclusion of the matter…
If and when God calls your name TWICE, will you recognize him and answer the call? Will Jesus get your attention? I truly believe that God has a place and an assignment for each and every one of us to perform. He is no respecter of person. What he has done for others, he will do for you! So, for goodness sake…don’t miss it when God calls your name…TWICE!
My prayer for you…
Dear Heavenly Father: First of all, I want to thank You for knowing our names and just where we are at any given moment. We also wish to thank You for Your divine organizational structure, for it is written in Ecclesiastes 3:1-3 that “There is timing and purpose for everything in God. There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven…And a time to heal.” So, dear Jesus, please find all of us in good health, good spirits, good moral living conditions, and good hearts for service in Your vineyards. May we all use good common sense and good judgment and be submissive to the instructions of the Holy Spirit and to always remember that love never fails when carrying out Your decrees and directions for our lives. We humbly come laying these prayers at the feet of Jesus. Amen!
Scripture Lesson:He has saved us and called us to a holy life—not because of anything we have done but because of his own purpose and grace. This grace was given us in Christ Jesus before the beginning of time, (2 Timothy 1:9 NIV)
Several years ago (when I was much younger), I joined a secular writers club at a senior center. In preparation for each weekly meeting, the president would assign five members to choose a subject and write a short story, memoir, poem or prose about it and verbally present their assignment to the group the following week. Surprisingly, most of them were very good. Of course, I contributed to this exercise quite often because I already had written something that could fit in every genre. (Confidently, I love to scribe.)
As I contemplated and prayed about what subject to present for this week’s blog, I stumbled on an old paper I wrote on superstitions that I had many years ago presented to the writer’s group. That’s it! I shouted out loud. I will check to see what the Bible has to say about superstitions. Now, although I don’t honestly believe in superstitions, I must admit that when I was ignorant on the subject, I did “participate” in acknowledging in a few of them. Such As:
What is God’s divine order for living under superstitions such as witch craft, sorcery, divination, etc….
God’s edit is don’t do it!!! Don’t live under ole wives’ tales and superstitions. God wants all of us to live by FAITH! So, what is the difference between the two? In order to become a child of the King and have our sins forgiven is for mankind to live by faith and not by fables. Superstitions, whether good or bad, is the belief that something you do (one’s actions) will somehow affect a person’s future state in life. The Scripture to hold on to in this matter is found in Hebrews 11:1…“Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction (or evidence) of things not seen.”
It’s amazing how many of our superstitious ways revolve around death, hell and the grave. Take for example thefollowing two exercises:
“The Yawn Reflex” (*)
In today’s world, we believe that it shows good manners to cover your mouth and to say excuse me after a broad and noisy yawn. Well, originally, good manners had nothing to do with it. In the ancient days, it was believed that the Devil made a person yawn so that he could gain access into the body and cause that person grave danger. If that person is observed yawning he would say excuse me because he knew that yawning was contagious and would cause the second person to yawn, too. Thus putting that person in grave danger. So the first yawner would say ‘excuse me’ for putting you in danger. The Hindu people would snap their fingers three times to counter the Devil antics.
“Now Take Sneezing” (**)
How many “Gesundheits” does a person get after sneezing? And do you know what that word means? Well it means “God bless you”. The custom of asking God’s blessing initiated with early man who believed that the spirit resided in the air and since we breathe air in to our heads, it stands to reason that the spirit resided in the head. A sneeze would accidentally expel the spirit. So a person would ask God to put it back. The act of bowing towards the sneezer was also counter-magic. For it meant, “May your soul not escape.”
Now imagine being in a room filled with sneezers and yawners. This combination of guests could be fatal. Don’t forget, a yawn gave the Devil access into the body and a sneeze could expel your good spirit. Thus leaving your body defenseless. The spirit of the Devil would be exposed out in the room trying to gain entrance into someone else; Gesundheits being shouted aloud from across the room; some guests bobbing up and down towards the sneezer; and the yawners approaching others and saying I’m sorry, I’m sorry for infecting you. What a hilarious scene from an Austin Powers movie.
Listed below are a few Bible Scriptures you may want to remember whenever you are tempted to cite a superstition:
“See to it that no one enslaves you through philosophy and empty deceit according to human tradition, according to the basic principles of the world, and not according to the Messiah, because all the essence of deity inhabits him in bodily form. And you have been filled by him, who is he head of every ruler and authority.” Colossians 2:8-10
“If you point these things out to the brothers and sisters, you will be a good minister of Christ Jesus, nourished on the truths of the faith and of the good teaching that you have followed. Have nothing to do with godless myths and old wives’ tales; rather, train yourself to be godly. 1 Timothy 4:6-7
“Do not be conformed to this world,but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.” Romans 12:2
“What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us who can be against us?” Romans 8:31
Footnotes (*) (**): Information on these two examples were gleaned from a book entitled: “Superstitious ? Here’s Why!, by Julie Forsyth Batchelor and Claudia de Lys.