Jul 31, 2013

Don't Mess With Dead Things

Abigail and Dolley readers we got two kittens at Thanksgiving.  Little balls of fur barely 6 weeks old, uncared for, and ready for a nice warm and loving home.  What a joy they have been to our family!  They are mighty little hunters and remind me of the Raptors in Jurassic Park; they hunt as a team.  There is no wildlife on our back deck; no wood bees, no lizards, and no moles in the natural area.  Just about everyday, I go out on the patio and there is something dead out there.
Sox and Jinx

Today was no different, a vole was waiting for me.  I was praying and exercising back there, so I got a shovel and flung it in the natural area.  As I worked out, the kittens were playing in the area and I remembered a horrible story my sister told of her dogs getting violently ill from playing with a dead animal.  This seemed to me a prompting to bury that mole.

As I walked over to the carcass, I scolded one of the cats, "Don't mess with dead things!"  It hit me like a lightening bolt, "Neither should you..." the voice said.

Don't mess with dead things... I began to ponder.  With a memory that is tremendous, it is entirely possible that I mess with dead things.  Dead relationships, dead opportunities, dead sin, dead circumstances - just plain dead.  Dead things have no redeeming value, they don't edify, they don't teach, they don't do anything other than stink.

We are not called to have amnesia and if we do not remember we are destined to repeat, but lessons are not dead things.  Wisdom gained through struggle and hard times is not dead, what is dead are the mistakes that took you down those dark roads.  The people that hurt you, mistreated you, and did you wrong - they are among the dead.  Leave that garbage alone, recall it no more, do not allow the dead things in your life to pollute the air around you.

What are the dead things you have in your life?  Identify them and let them go, because you too should not mess with dead things!

Jul 23, 2013

Mary Poppins

Abigail and Dolley readers none of us are promised tomorrow.  I have had several fb friends pass away this Summer, all of them young, all of them tragic.  On my walk this morning, I was contemplating how short this life is and what if my life was asked of me today?  My husband and I faced that a couple of weeks ago.  I had complications after a routine surgery and had to have an emergency procedure.  Thankfully, things turned out fine but we did not know that going in.  Apparently, the doctors have to tell you the horrible things that can happen to you in surgery and get your consent.  This is perhaps one of the cruelest and scariest things you can do to a heavily sedated patient.  I thought there was a very good chance that I was going to die.

I had no one to call to make amends.  I didn't have anything I needed to say to my Husband.  I was ready to go.  I suppose that says something.  It reminded me of the week we spent with my Dad in the hospital, it just never seemed right to have "that" conversation with him.  We lived it, we knew, we loved.

In 2003, I read A Purpose Driven Life with the rest of America.  From that point on, I prayed "Lord, give me a ministry."  What I really wanted was to be a stay at home Mom and I wanted out of Corporate America.  After months of praying, one day He answered me, "I already have."  I got into my white Honda Accord and drove to the office, stunned.  How did I have a ministry?  I just went to work everyday.

As a new born again Christian, I had zealously shared my faith with everyone.  I was like a small flame that someone squirted lighter fluid on, I exploded with Christ.  Everyone got burned and that fire turned on me in the form of a woman at work I had been ministering to.  I gave her money, I helped her, I excused her bad behavior, I prayed for her and with her and in the end she turned on me like a rabid dog and I got in big trouble.  From that point forward, I was careful about directly witnessing to anyone at work.

Thus, four years later when I heard the words, "I already have." I was confused.  How was my job a ministry?  What in the world am I supposed to do with that Lord?  Slowly, he began to show me that it wasn't necessarily what I said, it was how I acted, how I loved, how I cared.  It was living my faith in color and honesty before an audience, who was watching.

Mary Poppins is a Temp
I was open with my struggles, I was honest about my mistakes, and my frailty and weaknesses have always been on display.  I try to play it close to the vest but the real me always comes out.  A few years ago as I was leaving a well loved job, a colleague compared me to Mary Poppins.  I love Mary Poppins, especially the I love to laugh song. 

See Mary Poppins flies in like a hurricane and blows the bad nannies away.  She marches in and takes charge, it's time to clean, it's time to repair, it's time to care for her charges.  The bosses don't know what to think of her, she often makes them uncomfortable.  In the end, everything is fixed and she leaves.  It was quite a compliment, it didn't occur to me until recently that Mary Poppins is a temp.

I have been a "temp" for the last few years, I have repeated the Mary Poppins routine several times.  I'm weary of it.  Mary Poppins is a tough job.  I asked the Lord, "Why?"  I was always stable; for the first 17 years of my career, I was with three companies... why have you moved me so many times these last five?  I knew the answer, there were many lives I was supposed to touch.  Part of me sneers at this, another part throws a fit that I don't want to do it anymore, and the other part is scared I did not do enough.  I think I did my best though, I know I tried.

A dear friend and colleague told me of a man and wife that came to the Lord through her witness, I had witnessed to her many years before.  Another confided to me that she would have left her husband and been a single Mother had I not shared my story of struggle with her.  Once a colleague commented that I was the most unique Christian he had ever known.  I know I have presented the Gospel to a couple folks who might not have ever heard it, I know that I was faithful in that one thing.

I feel small and defeated.  Potential employers looking at my resume will perhaps think something is terribly wrong with me... can I explain that I have simply gone where God has sent me?  I pray where ever He sends me next that I will have the strength to do what He asks of me....

Jul 22, 2013

Blessings

Abigail and Dolley readers I have been contemplating blessings, the gifts and talents we are all given.  Several weeks back, my son and I studied the parable of the servants and the talents.  We discussed how the Lord had given him many talents and that he was supposed to use them for God's glory, how he was never to become arrogant in the gifts, and how he needed to use them responsibly.  It was heavy teaching for a twelve year old but necessary to prepare him for life.

In the weeks that have followed, the Lord has brought this Scripture to my mind over and over again.  For it is every true believers desire to hear the words, "Well done good and faithful servant!  You were faithful with a little now I give you plenty."  But truly, in our sinful hearts, how many of us are truly humble about our blessings?  I think if you examine your heart, you will find pride, I know I do.

We as a society value money, beauty, and intelligence.  Some are gifted in all of these things, some two, others one, and for others their gifts lie elsewhere.  Let us take some examples, the financially blessed and the financial failure.  Two men with equal intelligence, beauty, and work ethic - one with a financial blessing on his life and one without.  The blessed one's work multiplies, everything he touches prospers; the other is a failure in all that he does.  Both work equally hard.  Two athletes are equally gifted, both work equally hard; one blows his knee out his Senior Year, the other is blessed with health, fame, and money.  One woman is blessed with a lovely figure; another is not.  Both work out at the gym, watch their caloric intake, both strive.  One is successful, the other a failure.

We could site hundreds of examples; students, singers, artists.... the point is that we all have our blessings and sometimes hard work has nothing to do with success.  The American Dream that if you just work hard enough at something you will be successful is not necessarily true.  If God chooses to withhold blessings from your life, no amount of toil is going to change that.
Blessings From God

Of course I am not advocating laziness, slothfulness, and apathy because sometimes in order to fully appreciate the blessing He calls us to labor long and hard as unto Him and not man.  What finer prize is there in this lifetime than to strive and work for something well beyond when most would give up to finally attain the dream.

Woe to us that forget that all blessings come from Him; all good things in life are His gift to you.  We are told to honor Him and to work hard but the failure I see is that we become proud.  The Pro Athlete looks at his college teammate who was hurt and thinks, "I am better than him."  The beautiful trim woman looks at her unattractive cousin with disdain.  The rich man looks at his brother with scorn and self righteousness.  We become arrogant in our blessings, they become our curses, we become their slaves.

I have been just as guilty as you.  There is no finger pointing in this blog, I can look in the mirror and read these words back to myself, the blessing I have been given here is clarity.  He saw this in me and arranged a fiery trial for me in 2011 to burn it out of me.  It hurt, it was painful, and gut wrenching, I didn't like it at all but it was for my good.  You see the blessings that so clearly flowed in my life before the trial have been withheld since.  My beauty is fading, my body is fat again, my health is precarious, my career has sputtered, the magnetism that I drew people to me has dimmed, the favor I have always sought has been tempered, and I have been humbled.

Perhaps this little blog is just for me, perhaps it will touch you, perhaps it will convict you and send you to your knees in repentance.  I hope so because humbling hurts.

Jul 19, 2013

Signs in the Heavens the Harbinger Continues

Abigail and Dolley readers I once again find myself looking to the sky, the infinite, the Creator.  Last month, the book, The Harbinger came into our household.  My husband was enthralled and encouraged me to read it; I was busy but committed that I would.  The Lord insured that I would be a lot less busy... I read it last week.  From the opening chapters, I was hooked.  I devoured it like a starving man who wanders into marriage supper of the Lamb.

The omniscience of the Lord, His guiding hand, and His divinity are scattered throughout the pages.  We know in our hearts that He is bigger than we understand but we tend to make Him pocket sized.  We do not trust the supernatural, we doubt the still small voice, we dismiss miracles as coincidence.  This is a grievous offense and has no place in a believer's heart or life.  For His ways are not our ways and His thoughts are not our thoughts.

So God shows up in a BIG way and I begin to eat the strong meat of this Word.  I highly encourage everyone to read the prophetic word in the Harbinger, it is from that worldview that I write.  I will also assume that you have a fundamental understanding of End Times Prophecy because this will be a blog, not a scholarly article citing chapter and verse.  It is truth from this Pre-Tribulation believers point of reference and any small error I may make will be entirely my own.  My blog, my rules.

Every seven years Elul 29th is the end of the Shemittah or Sabbath year.  All accounts are wiped away and all debits and credits are returned to zero.  This command is only given to Israel but starting with 9/17/01, it came into play in America.  We had the largest stock market crash in our history to date, 6 days past 9/11.  This was our warning, repent and turn back to God.  We failed.  Seven years later, on Elul 29 (9/29/08), we had a global economic collapse.  We were called to repent as a nation, we did not.  Prophetic circles began to buzz, what would the next Shemittah year end Elul 29th bring?  What date is it?  (I need to remember to set a calendar reminder to divest before 9/13/15).  The date happens to always herald Rosh Hashanah, the Feast of the Trumpets.

This made me go, hmmmm.... it has long been surmised that the Rapture of the Church would take place on Rosh Hashanah, what better time than during all that trumpet blowing?  So I keep digging and I find there is a solar eclipse on the same date.  Sun signs are signs to the world and Moon signs are signs to Israel, so this date holds significance for both Jews and Gentiles.  The solar eclipse sent me to the Heavens....

Genesis clearly tells us that He created the stars, the sun, the moon to be signs for us. Not surprisingly, there is some pretty amazing stuff in the celestial calendars for the past few years and in the next couple of years; the researcher in me was on a roll.  Now, after the Fall, the Natural World was tainted by the stain of sin.  We live in a fallen world where EVERYTHING (except the Word of God) is tainted.  If you are going to investigate anything in truth, you must first deal with the sin element in it.  The sin element in astronomy is astrology and the Christian church has thrown the baby out with the bathwater.  We ignore it, we don't teach it, and frankly, we just don't understand it.  The Lord himself said numerous times that there will be signs in the heavens and that we are fools to not look for them.

This is where you need to be careful, well the whole subject requires care, but I have to point out here that when Jesus speaks directly about the Second Coming, he is talking to Israel not the Church.  The Second Coming and the Rapture are two different events, don't confuse them.  Now, I have to restate, when we are talking about the Moon, we are talking about Israel, keep that in mind.

Blood Moon
A Blood Moon Tetrad is an occurrence of 4 Lunar Eclipses on the Jewish Feast days of Passover and the Tabernacles.  They call it a total lunar eclipse a blood moon because the diffused rays of the sun through the Earth's atmosphere can make it appear red, historically this scared the crap out of everybody.  A BMT (as they are called) has occurred 7 times since Jesus ascended into Heaven and each time it was a sign to Israel.  BMT's herald a terrible period of trouble for Israel followed up in deliverance.  When you add in the solar eclipse calendar to the lunar eclipse calendar, you get an even deeper picture.  When you add in the Elul 29 Shemittah, you get something else all together.

We had a Blood Moon Tetrad that coincided with the rebirth of Israel in 1948.  So Holacaust, then birth of the nation, then BMT 1949-1950.  19 years later, 1967-1968 we have the Yom Kippur war or the 6 day war and Israel regains their capital, Jerusalem.  48 years later, we have another BMT 2014 - 2015.

Coincidentally this is the second time the spacing between triple occurrences has been 19-48, the year Israel was born again.  If you play with that number you see that by adding 1948 years to  the destruction of the temple in 70 AD you get 2018.  Folks in 2009 and 2010 were using this figure to predict a 2011 Rapture... we see where that got them... still here.  I am not trying to set dates, what I am trying to do is to get you to THINK.

There are youtube videos and charts everywhere but I couldn't find one that had everything I wanted to publish.  My handwritten notes and charts won't cut it, I may not be a professional, but I do have my standards...  I encourage you to watch the video and check out some of the charts, do your own research.  A number of charts have great info but some enterprising soul determined we were going to be Raptured in 2011 or 2012 and they may have false information on them.  Others are pdf formatted only and blogger won't let me embed a pdf file, so for all you visual folks check out the below:
Lunar and Solar Chart 2014-2015
The above chart fails to note the two solar eclipses that occur on 4/29/14 (Yom Hashoah/Holocaust Memorial Day) and 10/23/14 (Rosh Chodesh Chesvan).  Whether they are significant or not, I can not say but felt the above was not inclusive and they warranted mention.

It is also noteworthy that in the 7 weeks model of Daniel, the number of days in a 7 week period is 17640.  Using the Biblical calendar we see that  9/23/2015 is exactly 17640 days from the recapture of Jerusalem on 6/7/1967.  Which happens to be on Yom Kippur.

Now, I'd like to be Raptured as much as any believer reading this blog, I'd like it to be today.  While the above information is intriguing there are two celestial signs in Revelation 12 that I am not convinced we can pinpoint. It takes place at the exact middle of the Tribulation and corresponds chronologically with the Abomination of Desolation. "A woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and upon her head a crown of twelve stars".   Computer models can place the Woman but not "a huge red dragon,with seven heads and ten horns, and on its heads were seven diadems" where "the dragon stood before the woman about to give birth, to devour her child when she gave birth."  Now can God make a dragon appear in the sky when he wants it too?  Yes, of course, he made the one below captured by the Hubble.  The point is we have no conclusive evidence of the Dragon that will appear at the same time as the Lady of the Apocalypse. 

Red Space Captured by Hubble

The Bible say there will be signs in the Heavens of His return.  We often hear quoted in Christendom that "That no man knows the hour or the day of Christs return, only my Father."  Did you know that is an idiom for a Jewish Wedding?  If I say to you as modern American Christian, "Dearly beloved, we are gathered here today..."  You know I am talking about a wedding.  The same is true for "No man knows the hour or the day."  In Jewish marital customs after the betrothal the groom returns to his Father's land to build his new bride a home.  He was not released to go pick up his bride until his father said the house was ready.  When people would ask when he was returning to his bride he would answer, "No man knows the hour or the day only my Father knows."  Using that logic we can see that we are not be ignorant.  

1 Thessalonians 5:1-6 Now concerning how and when all this will happen, dear brothers and sisters, we don’t really need to write you. For you know quite well that the day of the Lord’s return will come unexpectedly, like a thief in the night. When people are saying, “Everything is peaceful and secure,” then disaster will fall on them as suddenly as a pregnant woman’s labor pains begin. And there will be no escape. But you aren’t in the dark about these things, dear brothers and sisters, and you won’t be surprised when the day of the Lord comes like a thief. For you are all children of the light and of the day; we don’t belong to darkness and night. So be on your guard, not asleep like the others. Stay alert and be clearheaded. 

Again, we are told it is the uninformed that will be surprised, not the elect.   If you read carefully, you will see that each time Jesus talks about the End Times he notes the signs in the Heavens and says the wise will see the sights and not be ignorant of His coming, it is only the uninformed that will be surprised.  

We as a church are called to be waiting for his return, I for one am keeping my lamp full of oil, how about you?

Jul 15, 2013

Listening to the Still Small Voice

Abigail and Dolley readers I read the other day that the severity of trials and wilderness time is often commensurate with the importance of your calling.  That is indeed a double edged sword with great blessings on one side and great suffering on the other.  I don't know about ya'll, but I'd like to have the blessings without the suffering...  It just doesn't work that way.

1 Peter 4:12-13 tells us, "Dear friends, do not be surprised at the painful trial you are suffering, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice that you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed." 

When I am going through trials, I am in constant communication with the Lord.  He talks to me, sometimes so clearly there is no doubt that it IS Him, other times it's the still small voice, and that is where I get into trouble.  Is it the still small voice or is that simply my own head?  How do you tell the difference?  It is paramount to a believer's walk to be able to differentiate between the two.

Falsehood has no place on this path I am walking.  I need to be able to trust, walk in faith, and step out in power for His purpose.  If I am double minded the whole thing could come off the tracks.  I would not accomplish what God has for me to do and that is in direct correlation with where I need to be.

Have you ever trusted the still small voice, made a life decision under absolute conviction that you've heard from God on the matter, and been spectacularly wrong?  Yes?  Yeah, me too.  I did it in a colossal way.  Thus, even when I am overwhelmed by the Spirit there is a certain wariness I bring.  I validate everything in the Word.  I pray about everything.

So where does that leave us as believers?  The blind faith of a Baby Christian is no longer an option.  What about the disappointed faith of a petulant Teen Christian that thought they knew the way and were disappointed?  How about the cynical Adult Christian who rejects all inspiration and lives completely in the natural, living like 2 Timothy 3:5, "having a form of godliness, but denying it's power." 

God is calling us to grow in faith, to move beyond the things of the flesh and become His disciples.  Hebrews 5:14 "But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil."  The evil we are called to discern is from not only inside our own brains but from the lies of the enemy.

So here it is folks, confession time... I headed out today for my daily walk.  Walk with the Lord, prayer time, exercise, outside... all good things, right?  Usually they are very good things.  I look forward to them, I anticipate them, I live for these walks.  I made an unusual comment to my husband about safety we ignored it.  Pulling out of the driveway this morning, I had the first thought, "Don't go to your walking spot today."  I ignored it.

Arriving at my spot, I was upset, "You should go home."  I thought, "You are already here."  I started to feel sort of sick, "You shouldn't walk today."  I kept going.  My Spirit was in knots, I walked faster, I prayed harder.  I felt my body ache, "You should go home, it's not safe for you out here today."  I stopped and stretched, trying to ease the pain.  I walked another hundred yards and noticed my new shoes were sparkling white and the was mud ahead, I sat down on a bench.  My soul was restless and I wanted the peace I find on my walk, I got up and pressed on.

Now, as a reader you can guess something is coming up, but living it, being the one it's happening to would you heed the warning?  I've never been threatened on my walk, I have only ever found peace and comfort and if ever I needed peace it was on THIS walk....

So here's what happened, we've had rain three times a day for months.  The walking paths are flooded in places.  The floodplain's are full and the boardwalks are slippery.  I stepped on the edge of the boardwalk with my left foot to avoid a puddle.  My foot slipped off, I "racked" myself as I went down, and landed unceremoniously on my back in the muddy water three feet below.

I was immediately convicted that there WAS indeed real danger for me on that path today and if I wasn't going to listen He was going to make sure I turned around.  I was hurt.  I was humiliated.  I was dirty.  My shoes are not brilliantly white anymore.

Over the last few weeks, I have fought very hard for my peace.  I am guarding it in a manner I have never done so in the past.  I keep saying to folks, "This is what I am doing today.  Please don't ask me about tomorrow, I will deal with that then."  I think I have to go back to the first hours when this trial started and realize I have to walk in obedience every step, every minute, and finally listen to the "Still Small Voice".

Jul 6, 2013

Proper Sandwich Construction


Abigail and Dolley readers I make a mean sandwich, perhaps because when you get right down to it a sandwich is a wonderful meal.  I have several hard and fast rules that govern my splendid creations, here they are:

Mayo always goes on the bread; not on the meat and for the love of all that is good....
Mayo never, ever, ever touches the cheese
Tomato goes on the mayo and is then salt and peppered
Mustard hosts the pickle and the cheese
Mustard likes a good dose of pepper
Sandwiches should fit their bread and often benefit from being cut in half
Mustard, cheese, and meat go on the bottom
Mayo, tomato and lettuce on top
Pickles touching tomato make for a slippery sandwich
Choose your bread wisely, thinner is better.
So there you have it, basic sandwich construction rules.  Here's a zippy little sandwich I threw together today:

Turkey ala Abigail (ingredients in order of construction from top to bottom)


Lightly toasted wheat bread
Pepperoncini Mayo (mayo, pepper, pepperoncini brine; mixed together)
Thinly sliced tomato (seasoned with salt and pepper)
Sliced black olives (just a few or you will have a chive sandwich)
Chopped spring greens
Chopped chives
Turkey
Thinly sliced avocado
Lightly toasted wheat bread

Enjoy!