Fruit Flies and the American Presidency

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This morning at breakfast, my husband and I were reading Jeremiah 25:

You would not listen to me, says the Lord. You made me furious by worshiping your idols, bringing on yourselves all the disasters you now suffer. And now the Lord Almighty says: Because you have not listened to me, I will gather together all the armies of the north under King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon, whom I have appointed as my deputy.

Whoa! My husband and I looked at each other when we read that last phrase “whom I have appointed as my deputy.” The ungodly, arrogant, self-centered  Nebuchadnezzar was God’s deputy.

Evangelical Christians are at a loss as to what to do about voting in this upcoming election. Neither candidate has a life of integrity. Neither is a Bible thumper. Either one could be Nebuchadnezzar or the president whom God’s Nebuchadnezzar will come against. America is in sad shape. She has turned her back on the Lord and, though warned repeatedly to do so, American people do not turn from the evil road we are traveling or from the evil things we are doing. God will restore America if she is repentant, but she is not. I can’t help but think that the judgment slated for Judah may foreshadow America’s future.

I will completely destroy you and make you an object of horror and contempt and a ruin forever. I will take away your happy singing and laughter. The joyful voices of bridegrooms and brides will no longer be heard. Your businesses will fail, and all your homes will stand silent and dark. This entire land will become a desolate wasteland. Israel and her neighboring lands will serve the king of Babylon for seventy years. Jeremiah 25:9-11

fruitflies Priscilla Shirer in her book “The Armour of God” uses the fruit fly as an analogy for satan and his minions. Fruit flies don’t need an invitation to invade your house. All they need is an environment conducive for them and they invite themselves in. Rotten fruit is their opportunity. In the same way, satan and his minions cluster around the unrighteous environment that is America. They see our mess as their opportunity to push their way right in and take over. No wonder we do not have a clear choice in a presidential candidate! Satan has free reign in our country.

My son asked me the other day what God had to do with the election. I sent him to Romans 13:1. “Obey the government for God is the One Who put it there. All governments have been placed in power by God.” God has everything to do with everything. We need truth to know what is the right thing to do. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. James 4:17 Without it, we cannot walk in righteousness. We cannot do what is right. Indeed, we cannot even know right living. Truth comes from the Lord. We need a righteous leader. You cannot guide someone from a framework of error and expect right results.

I think a lot about what the Lord might have in store for America. I can’t dismiss the idea that He may have an evil fruit fly named Nebuchadnezzar in the wings. [No pun intended!]

 

 

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Jesus didn’t really mean that, did He?

Morning starts as usual. After I walk the dog, my husband and I sit down to have breakfast and devotions together. We get through fruit and peanut butter toast, yogurt and bran (breakfast of the aging). We then turn to Jeremiah, Titus, a Psalm and a Proverb. Finally, we pray. That is usually “it”. We rise and go about our separate tasks in the home. This didn’t happen today.

We talked about those battling ebola. I asked The Preacher, “What do you think Jesus would have us do? When the going gets tough, I mean, when youJosephineSellu may actually die ministering to another, do you think he wants us to retreat?” I read about Josephine Sellu, deputy nurse matron at a government hospital in Kenema, Sierra Leone, where, at the date of this article, 15 Ebola nurses had died in rapid succession and she thought about quitting herself.

She is a rare survivor, one of three women on the original Ebola nursing staff who did not become infected. They watched their colleagues die and are still carrying on. Josephine says her best defense against despair is to keep on working.

“There is a need for me to be around,” said Ms. Sellu, 42, who oversees the Ebola nurses. “I am a senior. All the junior nurses look up to me.” If she left, she said, “the whole thing would collapse.” http://www.nytimes.com/2014/08/24/world/africa/sierra-leone-if-they-survive-in-ebola-ward-they-work-on.html?emc=edit_th_20140824&nl=todaysheadlines&nlid=66282052&_r=0

Jesus said to the rich young ruler, “Go sell what you have and follow me.” He  pointed to the widow who gave all that she had in the offering at the Temple and said to His disciples, “She has given more than anyone else because she gave her all.” Jesus also told His followers not to put their hand to the plow and then look back. He set the standard. He gave His all on Calvary.  It seems to me that Jesus is pretty clear about what our commitment should be, and, after his death and resurrection, His followers continued to stress it, “Don’t think that a double-minded man will receive anything from the Lord.” James 1:7.

Here I sit in my little house in Pennsylvania. There is no ebola here. It is safe. I have no plans to go to a training session on how to care for those with ebola. I have a physician friend who just got back from such a training and she is waiting for her call to go to West Africa. Me? I am being faith-still to hear Him. I am placing my ordinary life before God as an offering, praying for sensitivity to recognize what He wants from me and to quickly respond to it. [Romans 12:1, 2 The Message]. In the old King James language it was known as “presenting oneself as a living sacrifice”.  I may not have to go anywhere. Ebola is now in the United States. It may be coming to me.

God is with us and that makes all the difference,

Dawn

Yellow Tuesday Forces Me to Faith It

Everywhere the world seems to be crumbling. The foundation of morality and just plain common sense has been lost somewhere. Rational folks don’t know where to begin to recoup what seems to have vanished. When did any people group get the idea that children can be beheaded, women raped, and people abandon their faith or die? Insanity reigns. I felt like Jamie Jones and it paralyzed me. Being so American, I thought I must be doing something to stop the madness, but since I could not think of what in the world to do, I did nothing. I thought prayer would be good, but it seemed so Pollyanna-ish.

Enter Rachel Swenson and her Facebook event Yellow Tuesday – Pray for the Middle East. Here was a place for those of us who wanted to pray, but wanted to pray BIG (with others, many others). Rachel also gave me the privilege of inviting my friends so we could communicate with one another throughout the day. Moreover, people began to share their personal insights and gave links to bloggers who shared their thoughts. Not only did my prayer group become bigger, but my prayer became bigger. I began praying for all the players in the Middle East not just the Christians. All of a sudden ISIS was on my prayer list and the election in Iraq and a Jewish man in Bulgaria offering refuge to those fleeing Iran, Iraq and Syria.

I began prayer with my husband at breakfast. We sat down to our usual fare and were reminded that Christians fleeing Iraq were stuck in the mountains of northern Iraq surrounded by ISIS soldiers. They had nothing to eat, indeed, have had nothing to eat or drink for days. Food and water was being dropped by US military planes and humanitarian agencies were in the area. We prayed the people were getting what was being dropped and that humanitarian aid could reach them.

I had on a yellow tee shirt to remind me to pray. As news came in, I prayed. A video clip by a member of the Iraqi IMG_1513Parliament pleading for her people, the Yazidi, fueled my passion in prayer. I went into my basement to iron my blouses. As I ironed and prayed, I was struck that the blouse I was ironing was yellow. That blessed me. God was listening (of course He was, but I am still such a child so He gives me signs).

Next, my husband alerted me to news that Yank Barry, who used to sing with the 60’s band the Kingsmen, was using his money and influence to fund a safe haven and chance at a new life for refugees fleeing Iran and now Iraq and Syria. The name of his organization is Global Village Champions. I needed such good news of someone doing something to balance the horrors coming from the mountains of northern Iraq.

It is pouring down rain here, but it let up for a minute so I went out to walk my dog. He was jumping and skipping along. I was praying in the Spirit. As I was praising for the refreshing physical rain, I prayed for water for the Iraqi Christians. I was praying for rain in the desert. I wondered why I would have rain when those who needed it so desperately did not…so many questions. Then, I saw this:  IMG_1514Frankly, I don’t think I ever saw a yellow bike before. Thank you, Jesus!

I took off for lunch about 11:30 am. When we got to our little salad bar restaurant my husband remarked. “Wow, they changed their placemats!” Really? My husband doesn’t usually notice such things. Then I looked at them. You’re right, they were yellow! We went to the salad bar to make a salad and there was no lettuce, no tomato, no spring greens, etc etc. I would normally have been complaining, but those yellow placemats reminded that there were people on a mountain without any food or water. My husband and I prayed for those without and thanked the Lord for teaching us. When we returned home, we saw this Kurdish rescue

Ann Voskamp said it aptly for me:

I’m only afraid because I’m comfortable. It’s too easy to let the stuff make you comfortable, to use stuff as a shield to protect you against the headlines.

What if we are all only afraid because we’ve settled for being comfortable? What if we are all only afraid when where we’ve settled is not where the Comforter is — because where the Comforter meets you is precisely when you are outside of your comfort zone?

More than being afraid of a dangerous world, maybe we should be much more afraid of comfort zones….

When you’re tired enough of listening to all the talking heads, you can listen to the One who speaks to your soul. The One Who calls you to freedom of the expanse outside of comfort zones, to give yourself away and not be afraid. Life is too short to miss out on the harvest opportunity for which God has specifically blessed you for in the first place.

Prayerfully, so as not miss my God-ordained harvest opportunity,


Dawn

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Was Jesus a coward?

I am reading about Jesus preaching in the synagogue in his hometown of Nazareth. His text was Isaiah 61:1-2 and how He was the fulfillment of the text. Immediately the men of the synagogue asked, “Is this not Joseph’s son?” It was at this point He called their attention to the Biblical fact that Israel never believed her own prophets and went on to relate how it was not uncommon for God’s prophets to go outside of Israel to do His work. He spoke of Naaman of Syria being healed of leprosy when there were many lepers in Israel. He told about sparing the widow of Zarephath during the 3 1/2 years of famine even though there were many hungry widows in Israel. Scripture reports:

When they heard these things [all in the synagogue] were filled with wrath.

And rose up and thrust Him out of the city, and led Him unto the brow of the hill on which their city was built, that they might cast Him down headlong.

But He, passing through the midst of them, went His way.      (Luke 4:28-30)

This reminded me of another time when something quite similar had happened. Come with me over to John 8. Jesus is telling the Pharisees that He is the light of the world. Not believing Him to have any divinity, they immediately dispute His premise. Jesus says they do not accept His statements because they are not of the Father. They accuse Him of having a demon, and so on until finally in verse 59

They took up stones to cast at Him; but Jesus hid Himself, and went out of the temple, going through the midst of them, and so passed by.

I used to watch a show called Kung Fu when I was a young adult. I was reminded of a clip from one of the segments as I became aware of Jesus walking away from difficult situations. Some may say that His walking away was a sign of cowardice. The great master in the clip teaches that walking away is not cowardice. See what you think.

Having mastered the art of Kung Fu, a student is better able to use the strength of his body to defend himself and others than anyone he may encounter. If so, shouldn’t he always defend himself and others? The great master says, “No, that is why he needs discipline. So that he only uses his power in two situations: to save his own life or the lives of others. To fight with those who provoke a fight or who are incapable of doing real harm is not respecting the other–walk away from them. Jesus is all powerful. He could always win against any opponent. When they heckle or accuse or begin to make moves that he knows can’t really hurt him–he walks away. It is not His time yet. The All-Powerful decides. I sometimes wonder if He didn’t make Himself invisible in order to walk away in the midst of them. I’ve been thinking a lot about this. I’ll share it with you another time.

Walking with Jesus, the Light of my life [John 8:12],

Dawn

At the proper time

I have read the Bible through a dozen times or so. Today after reading of the Israeli military escapades and the ghastly stabbing of King Eglon by Ehud, Caleb’s youngest brother’s son, at the end of Judges 3 in the Old Testament, I was transported to the upper room. As I read from Luke in the New Testament, I imagined myself sitting down on a cushion at the last supper, listening to the conversations and receiving my piece of bread to dip into the bowel. Wondering how I’d have reacted to Jesus washing my feet and drying them with a towel……….

last-supper

Luke 22:14 At the proper time Jesus and the twelve apostles sat down together at the table. Jesus said, “I have looked forward to this hour with deep longing, anxious to eat this Passover meal with you before my suffering begins. For I tell you now that I won’t eat it again until it comes to fulfillment in the Kingdom of God.

Jesus was facing Gesemane and the betrayal, the arrest and the trial. He would soon be standing as the crowd cried, “Crucify Him.” He would have blood dripping down His brow from the crown of thorns and down His back from the cat of 9 tails. After the flogging, He would then carry His cross to Golgotha, the hill shaped like a Skull, and THEN the nailingNailed and hanging and ridicule. All this was planned. All was happening ‘on schedule’. He did it all ‘at the proper time,’ in God’s time.

The words ‘at the proper time’ leapt off the page. What is proper about suffering, especially my Lord’s suffering?! I’m pondering this as I give my thank you’s this Multitudes on Monday. There seems to be a time for suffering, a scheduled time. It is a part of life in this fallen world. If my Jesus had a scheduled time of suffering, why should I question when mine comes? And probably, just most likely, mine is, at least in part, a result of my erring ways. He was without sin…and still, it came…at the proper time.

I am thankful for

#1271 His willingness to face it all.

#1272 His willingness to accept it all.

#1273 His willingness to bear it all (without calling 10,000 angels to set Him free as He could have done)

#1274 His willingness to love through it all (Father forgive them for they know not what they do)

#1275 His example–because my world and His are very much the same.

#1276 the example of my Coptic Christian brothers and sisters in Egypt after the Brotherhood burned 40 of their churches on Thursday

CopticChristiansPray#1277 those who live in victory through very grim circumstances. I know many people like this.

#1278 trees that shade in the afternoon sun as I walk my youngest dog, Mickey.

#1279 a big cyst on my little dog, Sebastian, that broke and healed over. He seems much happier and better.

#1280 a young girl named Libby who loves the Lord. I am praying to see if she might be my next Scripture memory accountability partner.

#1281 responsibility given at work that lets me know my bosses trust me with the building up of their business.

MarkLevine#1282 for those who are fighting to stop the gutting of my country’s Constitution and restore the rights of the States.

#1282 the birthday of my friend of 55 years.

#1283 the nursing supervisor at St Anthony’s Free Medical Clinic who cares about patients after hours and gets them what they need.  (not what they necessarily want, she gets them what they need)

#1284 the privilege of being part of caring for a nun who loved my daughter Joyce when she was a child.

Dear Readers: As I finished typing #1284  my husband came into the room and said, “Dawn, I am sorry to interrupt you, but something just happened in Georgia and I have to talk about it. A White woman was walking down the street pushing her baby in a stoller and two Black boys came up and demanded she give them money. She did not have any money. They told her if she didn’t get them money they would shoot her baby. She pleaded with them, but they shot the baby in the head.” Was it the proper time for this to happen? Ecclesiates 3 says there is a time to live and a time to die; a time to love and a time to hate.  Folks, I really hate this. It’s so difficult living this side of heaven. I don’t want to pray for these boys. How do my Coptic friends pray for their destroyers? Betsy ten Boom’s words to her sister Corrie while they were in the Nazi concentrations camps ring in my ears, “No hate, Corrie, no hate.”

#1285 a merciful Savior.

He is with us,

Dawn

At the trumpet call

Incorruptible

I was singing “The Trumpet Shall Sound” from Handel’s Messiah as I mopped the kitchen floor. The words pelted my consciousness as I spread water over the floor boards.IMG_0275

…for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.” I Corinthians 15:52
Phil Driscoll’s rendition of “The Trumpet Shall Sound” begins at 5 minutes 30 seconds on the following You Tube video. You will be blessed.
At my Bible Study this past Friday we handed in our prayer requests for the week. All the requests were for change in one way or another-incorruptible change.  Paul tells us we will be changed at the trumpet call of Christ. The dead shall be raised incorruptible. Is there anything more decayed than a dead body and is it not remarkable that we dead ones will be raised incorruptible? Incorruptible: incapable of corruption, incapable of decay: no moral decay, no physical decay. Oh, what a promise and I am waiting for that day. But, until then, I place my hand in the Father’s hand for I am navigating a corrupt world, the allure of which I may not realize. Satan is “more subtle than of any beasts of the field God has made” Genesis 3:1. His temptations so slight that they may be undetectable. His arguments finely skewed that they may not raise red flags in my human conscience. He is so crafty and so sly that I may not realize his hidden agenda until it is too late. This side of heaven I am not immune to corruption. He cannot fool my Father, however. I’m keeping close Him.
He is with us,
Dawn

More than bird seed

In the midst of a discussion on Facebook about people committing atrocities and whether or not we’d be capable of such atrocities and how we should be praying for those who can not only commit such atrocities but order others to commit them, also, my son simply posts Mark 4:4

As he scattered it across his field, some of the seed fell on a footpath, and the birds came and ate it.

Here it is again, Faithful Readers, that parable of the Sower and the Seed. This is the parable that Jesus said, “If you don’t get this one, you will not get any of the others.” So I pull a Soupy Sales’ line here, “What does He mean by that?”soupy

Facebook friends were leaving comments on the atrocities of the past month in the news: Gosnell and the Philadelphia abortion clinic, the rape of a young girl by football jocks and the Boston Marathon bombings. We must pray for the masterminds of abuse, search our hearts to make sure that ‘we’ indeed are not ‘they’, and we must reach out to abusers as we were/are reached for by Christ. My son merely posted: Mark 4:4. Ah, I am lead right back to the parable of the sower and the seed.

sowerJesus sows His seed across a field. He warns, He teaches, He entreats. He looks everyone in the eye, even the blindest of them; and some see, but others, not at all. Even in the midst of a miracle only some see, but there are those who see miracles everywhere even in the midst of atrocities. And so I ask myself, “Am I seeing?” He is scattering seed and some of it is falling on a footpath. Am I a footpath? A footpath is hard, the topsoil is worn off and stones are exposed in the most worn parts.  Very little can take root on a footpath because of…, well, the feet and all their activity!  Continuous activity keeps the ground packed, worn and rough. Without floating down into soft soil and covered over, the seed is at the disposal of the elements. In this case, the birds come and dine. What good does it do a bird to have the Seed? It is unable to use it for anything but physical sustenance…and so it does.

Am I a bird feeding on the seed, but never really moving beyond the physical print on the pages. Does the seed pierce my mind and transform my thoughts? Does it give me new eyes and a new heart? Am I plowing up my fallow ground so the seed can grow? If not, the seed, the Word, remains print on page and has nothing to do with my living. I must, by His grace, be good ground. Yes, you may smell manure, but it’s a process, Dear Friends.

He is with us,

Dawn

Does the Holy Spirit trouble you?

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An Indian Benediction

Now may the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ,

and the love of God the Father be with you;

and may the Holy Spirit come upon you

and disturb you and trouble you,

and set before you an impossible task

and dare you to do it;

until in your desperation

you fall on your knees
and remain there until he fills you
with his power

which alone will enable you to do it;

and then…but only then,

may the Lord grant you his peace.

Amen

Alan Vincent, former missionary to India and a great Biblical expositor, once preached a sermon that changed my perspective of the Holy Spirit. He said the Holy Spirit as a Comforter is like a farmer with a pitchfork or a soldier with a bayonet. He said that, “Yes, the Holy Spirit will bring peace, but only once the job is done.” The word “comfort” comes from “com” that means “with” and “forte” which means strength/power. The Holy Spirit comes “with power”. Remember the book of Acts?! Jesus told the disciples to wait for the Holy Spirit — for He would bring them power. Good advice, after all, they were being sent to change the world.

He is with us, in power,

Dawn

Prescription for fatigue: Waiting on the Lord

Yesterday I told you how tired I was and how I had so many things to do. Here was my Scripture for Bible Study this morning, Isaiah 40:

28 Do you not know?
Have you not heard?
The Lord is an eternal God,
the Creator of the whole earth.
He does not get tired or weary;
there is no limit to his wisdom.
29 He gives strength to those who are tired;
to the ones who lack power, he gives renewed energy.
30 Even youths get tired and weary;
even strong young men clumsily stumble.
31 But those who wait for the Lord’s help find renewed strength;
they rise up as if they had eagles’ wings,
they run without growing weary,
they walk without getting tired.

Here is my prayer for this morning:

Teach me that I must act by a power supernatural.

whereby I can attempt things above my strength,

and bear evils beyond my strength,

acting for Christ in all,

and have His superior power to help me.

From The Valley of Vision: A Collection of Puritan Prayers & Devotions by Arthur Bennett, p. 185

He is with us no matter where we are,

Dawn

Friends

 Illustration from the 1728 Figures de la Bible; illustrated by Gerard Hoet (1648-1733) and others, and published by P. de Hondt in The Hague; image courtesy Bizzell Bible Collection, University of Oklahoma Libraries

Illustration from the 1728 Figures de la Bible; illustrated by Gerard Hoet (1648-1733) and others, and published by P. de Hondt in The Hague; image courtesy Bizzell Bible Collection, University of Oklahoma Libraries

What should I write about this Monday, Lord Jesus? I am so very very tired. I just worked 7 days in a row. Today is my day off. I love to write, but, You know, I must dust the house and walk the dog who won’t poop unless he is walked. We must have breakfast–both physical breakfast and a good portion of Your Word and prayer. Ann says life isn’t a race. Ah, thanks for the reminder, Ann. Morning breakfast and devotions and prayers happen. IMG_0028Valentines are sent to the parent, sisters, brother, children and grandchildren. Birthday/Haitian reunion invitations sent for second son’s birthday at the end of the month. AND THEN. I nap. The day seeps away as I sleep from noon to 4:00 pm. I awake and dust. The preacher and I eat a sandwich and now…I know what to write about because first son posted his minister’s sermon on Facebook. It made me think how often we get the wrong message out of a story because of cultural misunderstandings. My son’s minister said that placing one’s hand under the thigh of another (Genesis 24:9) was like shaking hands in our culture. He said he was surely glad he was not born in a place where placing one’s hand under another’s thigh was the greeting. This squeamishness about the ways of others can sidetrack us. It can prevent us from taking them seriously and can be a stumbling block to our hearing God clearly through their testimony. Diversity is difficult. It demands we suspend  judgement until we have all the facts, until we have enough context.

This Monday I am thankful:

#1072 for an education that enabled me to study culture

#1073 for Monique who showed me how to love African-style (Ubuntu).

#1074 for Joyce who taught me that sometimes a person reacts because you insulted them and you didn’t even know you did because you didn’t know the cultural rules. She taught me always to suspect myself first when there was a clash and try to find out what happened to cause the breakdown.

#1075 for Abby who loved the movie Crash with all its cultural misunderstandings interwoven throughout the storyline to show all its viewers just how easy it is to misjudge a situation.crash

#1076 for Yuki who helped us to see why confrontation was not a good way to problem-solve with the Japanese international students we housed from time to time.

#1077 for Hewitt who taught me what America looked like to a boy who had only known a 10 x 15 mile island for 33 years. “Hey, Mom, who washes the dishes in that dishwasher?” he would ask lying on the floor of the kitchen to see what he could see under the dishwasher.

#1078 for Angie who taught me that if you only have one piece of gum in Mexico, you count how many you are with and divide up that one piece into smaller pieces so everyone has a small bit to chew.

#1079 for the mothers of St Vincent who laughed when I held my diaper-less baby daughter at 7 months of age and she proceeded to wet all over me. They pointed and said, “You do not know your baby.” They explained that a mother who holds her baby all the time knows when she is going to relieve herself so she hold her out over the sand to go and then re-wrap her to her body, there is no need for a diaper.

#1080 for my esteemed Spanish colleagues in my doctoral  studies program who taught me that dinner at 6 means you show up somewhere around 8. If you show up at 6, it is rude. You haven’t given your hostess enough time to prepare.

#1081 for Gennny who taught me that making nursing visits in poor Black and Hispanic neighborhoods was best done spontaneously. Appointments and future planning are foreign concepts to these “go with the flow” communities  who think planning is begging bad luck, but if you show up unannounced they will welcome you joyously and integrate you into their group of friends, dropping all they are doing to get the health visit done and then get on with whatever they were doing like you hadn’t even been there.

#1082 for Ann who taught me that you can and must work with the choleric Arab male who just so happens to love Jesus as much as you do.

#1083 for Kerry who told me that the women in Belize thought my students were dirty because they would not throw their chamber pot contents in the ocean. My students thought the people were dirty because they were throwing their chamber pot contents in the ocean. The lesson for the day: When in Rome…and, by the way, whales eliminate in the ocean.

#1084 for Janelle who taught me that there were so many different words for snow at the Arctic Circle because their life depended on its properties and they had a word for all of them.

There are so many who wove their DNA into the life of my community and I became the beneficiary of a larger worldview. This is just a small sampling. Thank you, God, for each one.

He is with us,

Dawn