God in My House Vision Blog
Canada is 100 years older than I, which tells you how old I am!
Canada became my home when I was eight years old. A lot has changed since then. With the internet and ease of travel, our world has become more of a global village where we can benefit economically, socially, and culturally from each other, but also where increasing terrorism has created more uncertainty, fear, and distrust. Despite this, being Canadian is still a blessing that Canadians need to be reminded not to take for granted. Not only that, but we need to be reminded to regularly pray for God's continued care and blessings.
I try to look back through the mind of an eight year old and remember . . .
What do I remember about my immigration experience?
Relief! My siblings and I no longer had to be left with others while our mother made periodic visits to our father in Canada. (photo with my youngest brother)
Inoculations! I had to get my needles updated. And mixed with the excitement of the reason why, was fear of the pain.
Blur! Many things became a blur in the necessary packing and arranging – most of which I do not remember.
Goodbyes! I miss my best friend from school still, even though I can't recall her face. I don’t remember how I felt about leaving my extended family of grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins.
Closeness! I don’t remember ever feeling more connected with my family than the time of the “move-of-all-moves,” including the airplane ride, and our first few months in a new country.
Amazement! The hundreds of lights on the 401 thrilled me! White flecks of coldness falling to cover the ground mystified me! I don’t remember what I thought of autumn leaves.
Confusion! The “Canadian” accent of my teacher and kids in school stumped me for a while, making it harder to understand. Also, I found out for the first time that I was “Black.”
Adaptation! It wasn’t long before I could understand the “accent,” and snow soon lost its mystery. My Canadian uncle, aunt, and cousins became our extended family.
Security! Two constants in all of this: Family and God!
When my youngest child was eight, I remember asking her what it might be like for her if we suddenly left Canada for a new life in a different country. She looked at me blankly, shrugged, and ran off to play. I shook my head. I think I was “older” than her eight when I was that age. I was the oldest daughter; she’s the baby of our family. Nevertheless, at the time, I was completely content in her ability to not even worry about it in her secure child’s world. Now, I’m quite content, especially with so much uncertainty in our world, that the baby (who is now 13), my other four children, and one daughter-in-law have the stability and opportunities of being in a blessed country like Canada. As for myself, I wouldn’t trade the experience of two worlds – my birth country, Jamaica, and my adopted country, Canada.
And I do treasure those early memories of my birth country. It's also where I met my husband while visiting. But I have built so many more memories here, in the place that's been my home for 42 years!
Happy 150th Birthday Canada!!
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Did God really come as a baby?
Did He move into a woman’s womb and fit Himself into tiny cells that multiplied into a baby, then a boy, then a man?
Seriously, to believe this is madness! – unless it’s believed for what it is. A miracle!
A miracle - the very sort of thing we would expect the One who is God to be able to do. The God who created all, the God who is – well – GOD. I mean, who else could live in human flesh and still run the universe? Only One who is omnipresent, who is omnipotent, who is God.
It figures that He would come as a baby. I mean, how else to show that He fully embraced the plan to sacrifice for us than to start from the bottom of the barrel - so to speak - as a helpless baby? It’s hard to properly compute the full implications that for thirty-three earthly years (plus nine months in utero) He was in a human form, since we have very limited knowledge of His prior state. He was the Word, the Creator…God - with the Father and the Holy Spirit (John 1).
The Creator? A baby? It’s a hard concept.
And, of course, He chose to be born in the lowest way; in a place housing animals. Yet, it makes sense, since He came for the poorest all the way to the richest. What better way to show this to us? (Luke 4:18)
But there’s more!
True, He rose from the dead in a glorified body that could go through walls, appear and disappear – but felt by human hands…and He ate fish. He bore the scars on His head, hands, feet, and side…For us! He made the way so we can be reconciled with His Father God. Wow! Even more amazing, He’s coming back, but this time, as King! (Rev. 19)
Yes! I believe in Him; in Jesus the Christ. I've welcomed Him into my life, accepted His salvation, and He has changed and is changing me; transforming me into what He purposed before I was even born - into a soul more beautiful, against the results of a fallen world. After this life, I look forward to spending an unimaginably blissful eternity with Him. What about you?
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One of the most controversial topics among Evangelical Christians: Hollowe’en (or Holloween).
Over the years, my family and I have done different things on Hollowe'en. This is how I see it in regards to Christians, whether we choose to participate or not.
We DO participate in Hollowe’en as unto the Lord, or not as unto the Lord; or we DON’T participate in Hollowe'en as unto the Lord, or not as unto the Lord.
Sounds confusing? Please think about it for a moment . . .
But what we should NOT do is participate in Hollowe'en in promotion or celebration of darkness, which is ultimately as unto Satan. Some people may say, well, participating in any form is unto Satan. Perhaps. But not for me to judge for anyone else, only for myself and my household. The Lord Jesus looks past the external to the true intent of the heart.
The Apostle Paul seems to have interesting opinions about things of controversy: “All things are lawful for me, but not all things are helpful; all things are lawful for me, but not all things edify” (1Corinthians 10:23,NKJV).
OR . . .
“'I have the right to do anything,' you say—but not everything is beneficial. 'I have the right to do anything'—but not everything is constructive" (NIV).
AND . . .
". . . whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men," (Colossians 3:23).
The other way we should not participate is in disobedience to the Lord. That is, if He has specifically convicted our hearts not to participate, or if He has specifically instructed our hearts how to spend the day in honour of Him, for His direct purpose.
Participate as unto the Lord: Some people use creative ways to spread the message and love of Jesus.
Or some may participate in fun ways not associated with the promotion of darkness ("Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness?" - 2Corinthians 6:14) - this is a tricky one; weeding out to make it "clean." See if your conscience bears up well under this.
Participate as not unto the Lord: Some just want to have fun with no thought to its meaning or implication. This is also a tricky one. Judge in your own heart/conscience between you and God.
Not participate as unto the Lord: Some people treat this day in Christian worship and prayer to counter the darkest side of Hollowe’en - and it is pretty dark, with its deepest roots in the Occult.
Not participate as not unto the Lord: The day is neither here nor there. Not interested.
My deepest conviction is, should we choose to participate or not participate in Hollowe'en, we should never celebrate or promote its darkness. Whatever you choose, you be the judge if your heart/conscience is clear before the Light of the World.
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My husband and I have been married for almost 28 years. Been a breeze? Definitely not.
But it's worth it! There's something about making it through the trenches together. It breeds a type of resilient, deep relationship you get no other way.
Marriage: the epitome of the ultimate relationship! Hmmm. That says a lot, because many marriages are nowhere near that. Yet God designed marriage to be the knitting of flesh and purpose. Of one man and one woman (Gen. 2:24).
This past June, my husband and I celebrated the first wedding on either side of our families. Our only son was married to a wonderful young woman! No longer do the two walk separately, but as one. Not that the two lose themselves or their individuality, as in their personalities, ambitions, desires…. But they no longer live to serve their own interests without considering the other. And let me tell you, “living together” is not the same as making that commitment, that covenant, or those vows with each other.
Marriage is not easy!
It takes work, dedication, and commitment. A couple may come together because of attraction, love, or by arrangement, but will only last by sheer commitment and a maturing of love. The cloud-nine love that initiated the relationship will not last, and unfortunately many look for it over and over in “other” relationships. Choosing to love one’s spouse for “better or worse” is love that stands the test of time, love that grows and matures, and becomes what is impossible to know any other way but by experience.
Couples may fall in and out of love depending on the weather, the bills, the baby up all night, that time of month…. But the kind of love that survives is not so much about feelings as about choice, commitment. It’s like no other love, because it can incorporate the relationships of brother & sister in Christ, friendship, family, and lover. It’s physical, emotional, and, on some level, spiritual. Only two clear biblical ways out of it: adultery or death (Mat. 19:4-9).
Of course, keeping the romance alive goes a long way.
Something as simple as taking a walk together – alone. And, if it comes down to it, seeking mentoring, or marriage counseling, and a call to prayer, before the journey gets seemingly impossible, are serious considerations.
It’s said, go into marriage with your eyes wide opened and half closed, thereafter. Full commitment, like that of Christ and the Church. Yeah. Much to think about: a husband should love his wife as Christ loves the Church and gave Himself for her; nourishing her, cherishing her. A wife is to respect and submit to her husband as unto Christ (Eph. 5:22-33). Doesn’t sound too romantic here, but maybe in some biblical stories like Ruth & Boaz, where Boaz shelters and protects her; Solomon & the Shulamite woman, with poetic verses of passionate love; Esther & Ahasuerus, the King of Persia, where instead of reaping the king’s fury, she earns the salvation of her people; etc.
And even though there is biblical grounds for divorce, it’s not God’s first choice, as He hates divorce. The story of Hosea & Gomer transcends understanding, as it depicts a prophet’s obedience to God in keeping an adulterous wife. Again, portraying Christ’s love for us, even when we stray.
A lifetime commitment?
Yes! A call to guard our hearts & minds from straying from each other, striving always to stay faithful to those sacred vows. And even if one marriage fails, and another takes its place, having an accountability to the Lord still carries much weight. After all, He sees past all our pretenses and struggles to what’s really in our hearts, and He will always be there to help in every need.
I’m a romantic at heart. Almost 28 years, and I’m still in love with my husband. But not just for the poetry and passion, but for the strength of love & commitment. The hope and trust in each other. But especially the hope, faith, and love in a living God who gives us richly all things to enjoy (1Tim.6:17). And that most certainly means marriage!
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In my previous post – “So You Think You’re Falling in Love… Now What?” – a lot was still up in the air. You had to get to know your love interest for who they really are. You’ve developed a friendship where you feel you know her/him as well as can be expected.
NOW you BELIEVE you’ve met Ms./Mr. Right and want to begin a dating courtship. They’re the one! It’s marriage all the way! What's some sound advice?
My biggest advice is to seek out options that explore the engagement/marital relationship...
Some churches offer this. An experienced mentor couple is also an excellent choice. This can be done even before the engagement (wise option, especially for very young couples). Once you do make the promise to marry – the engagement! – premarital counselling is a must. And prayer should never be far from you, especially praying together (a great habit to develop even now).
No matter how much you and your honey seem to have it all together, it’s never that simple. Guaranteed, the time will come when you wish you had. Not that premarital counselling will miraculously solve everything – and you need a good Christian counsellor - but you’re afforded practical tools to help you through the inevitable pitfalls.
Please set boundaries for yourself, if you desire to honour God's will and command about sex (1Corinthians 6 & 7). Don’t ever think you can “handle it." This would be your first mistake. It doesn’t matter that you’re “going steady” or engaged. Heavy petting or fondling, deep kissing, etc., especially behind closed doors, will most likely lead to one thing – sex. This is especially true if you were sexually active in a previous relationship. We’re wired that way; and, even the Apostle Paul, with his message of sexual purity, would have a hard time.
Remember, your commitment to God is first, which means sexual purity of body and thought – even if you’ve already been down that road. Respect for yourself and your sweetheart is paramount, next to your respect and, yes, fear of God. You want to make sure your commitment to “become one flesh” with your love literally happens after you’ve made those legal/moral/spiritual vows with your words and heart. Sometimes, even at the last moment, breakups happen, and the one you were supposedly “saving” yourself for has already taken a part of you and is now on the run… away from the relationship.
Even more importantly, the sex act is more than just a physical joining. There’s also an effect on the soul. There’s also the possibility of conception, regardless of which contraception is used. That kind of intimacy is best left to a committed marital relationship. It’s God’s way, and He knows best.
After all, isn’t the marital relationship supposed to be more than sex? It’s also an intimacy of friendship, family, sharing, commitment… of ONENESS. Above all, it’s an earthly reflection of God’s ultimate plan for Christ and the Bride of Christ, the Church.
You’ve met the one? Are you sure? Then do all you can to make sure you succeed for better or for worse.
Our son and fiancee's engagement
Next blog: "So the Wedding is Over . . ."
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Our only son is getting married, so I decided to revive my relationship blogs.
I believe he's found Miss Right. But, unfortunately, not everyone is so blessed. In these increasingly confusing times, many young people need reassurance and direction.
It’s amazing what happens when someone experiences Cupid’s arrow. Suddenly the object of their affection is seen through rose-coloured glasses – as they say – and most common sense goes out the window, until the person wakes up and wonders how they got so involved with Miss Wrong. Well, I’ve got some safe guards for you.
Cupid’s arrow is as old as time. Boy meets girl. Woman meets man. If you’re fortunate, it’s not drop-dead love at first sight. It’s usually just a stirring interest that may or may not increase over time.
The “stirring interest” is more prudent, in that it’s easier to maintain your right mind and not make rash decisions. “Drop-dead love,” on the other hand, needs a definite cooling-off period before it’s determined to be “real love” – meaning the kind that will stand the test of time.
For stirring interest, I tell my adult kids, get to know the person on a friendly term, at first. See them as people who have strengths and weaknesses. Avoid romantic intimacy until you know you actually like this person and are not just infatuated. After all, we could become infatuated with the devil - who comes as an angel of light - if we don’t know who he really is. Ask trusted family, friends or acquaintances to “see” them for you, as they’ll be more objective than you. Be informed about their family life and background.
The drop-dead love must cool down. No one can see the real person while living on cloud nine. Follow the same principles as mentioned above: forcing yourself to be just a friend, until you know what the object of your pounding affection is really like. You may need friends and family to help you stay on track, and pray like crazy. Believe me, a cooling down will come. And, for heaven’s sake, don’t avoid the person. This will only prolong their “perfect” image, since you won’t really get to know them through avoidance; hence, prolonging the infatuation stage.
Above all, they need to share your love for Christ – very important. His plan is so much more than any arrows Cupid might shoot your way.
And, yes, I believe in courtship dating, not just dating for the sake of having a fling with the guy or girl at your side. Outside of that, guys and girl can still have social fun together without all the baggage of wasted, shallow romance. Some guys may not want to know the Bible’s instructions about how to treat women they have no intention of marrying. Same goes for how girls treat guys. It’s supposed to be like brother and sister ( 1Timothy 5:1-2).
When you’re of age where marriage can reasonably be assumed, and you meet and become friends with the one who you think is “the one,” then courtship dating means, I see a possible marriage future with you.
And since God knows each person best, make sure to ask His opinion. He has a way of bringing to light the necessary things needed to know about each other. And carefully consider your parents’ opinions. Most want the best for you and can see objectively what you won’t about the object of your affection. So, goodbye Cupid’s arrow, and welcome Light of God!
Our son & fiancee
Here’s to Love!
Watch for future posting about what happens after you’re sure it’s Mr./Ms. Right.
Next blog: "So Now You've Met Ms./Mr. Right..."
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I have a strange confession. There's a part of me that has felt deeply sorry for Jesus: PITY - not for the Baby Jesus, or even the crucified Jesus - but for the risen, glorified Jesus.
One of my adult daughters asked me the same question, looking at me funny as I tried to explain my dilemma. I think she thought I was a little obsessed; maybe a little crazy.
Maybe someone else understands my quandary.
Before He became the Baby, before being the Man, before He was known as Jesus the Christ, He was the Word - always existing. He created everything. He was and is God, eternally existing with the Father and the Holy Spirit - no beginning, no end (John 1: 1-18). The first Advent, He gave up all that to be a puny baby, a limited human; now sweating, hurting, tired, letting us destroy His body . . .
Yes, I know He still performed miracles, walked on water . . .
And of course, He rose! Yes, He rose from the dead. But. In a glorified body? What's that? So He could appear and disappear? He wasn't a ghost - He also ate fish and He still had the scars in His hands and His side - not limited like his pre-death human body. But . . .
My point is, now He's in a BODY - FOREVER? He wasn't limited to a body before, was He? It seems WRONG! My God, My King, My Lord, limited to a body for ME, for YOU. No, it can't be right.
Until I saw it in Revelation - what I'd probably read many times before without it sinking in. He is coming back - 2ND ADVENT - with His original Name. HE GETS HIS NAME BACK. And, this time, He's returning to KICK you-know-what!
Now I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse. And He who sat on him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He judges and makes war. His eyes were like a flame of fire, and on His head were many crowns. He had a name written that no one knew except Himself. He was clothed with a robe dipped in blood, and His name is called The Word of God. And the armies in heaven, clothed in fine linen, white and clean, followed Him on white horses. Now out of His mouth goes a sharp sword, that with it He should strike the nations. And He Himself will rule them with a rod of iron. He Himself treads the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God. And He has on His robe and on His thigh a name written: KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS (Rev.19:11-16, NKJV).
Needless to say, I don't feel sorry for Him anymore. I worship Him. I adore Him!
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Yeah, I know Valentine's Day is mostly about romantic love.
But, please indulge me as I spiritualize it - somewhat. I can't help it. I'm so enamoured by God these days. By Jesus Christ: His gloriousness, beautifulness, magnificentness . . .
And He's coming soon to claim His Bride (those who belong to Him, are faithful to Him).
Funny thing, guys - men/boys - are " brides" too! Had a hard time explaining that to my son when he was a boy. Now he's a man of twenty-two and he knows what it means - though, I still call him my "man-cub."
I meant to re-do some of my dating/engagement/marriage blog series, since my son is getting married, soon, to a lovely Guatamalan-Canadian woman - so romance and weddings are on my mind. Not to mention, I'm still in love with my husband of almost 27 years. But . . .
The Groom of grooms has got my attention right now. I know I'm not the only one who feels the anticipation of being finally face to face with Him, embracing Him tangibly, being joint-heirs with Him - as His Bride. It's true! We will be (Rom. 8:17; 2Tim. 2:12).
And for the men's /boys' sakes, let's rephrase "Bride" as "Church." His Church is His Bride. We think of brides as - you know - girly and all that. But the Church is another story. Guys can feel comfortable here.
The Church that was persecuted and grew in leaps and bounds. The Church that Satan has been trying to wipe out for centuries, but still remains today. Waiting. Working. Looking with great expectation to the Day when the King of kings and Lord of lords comes in His glory (Rev. 19).
We'll live and reign with Him forever. Can't wait!
No, this living for the Groom is not for the faint of heart. It takes "love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control" (Gal. 5:22-23) and the gifts of the Spirit (1Corin. 12). All this, while we strive to stand and be lights for our King of kings in a world that grows increasingly hostile toward His people - His Church.
Not church denominations. His Church. Believe me, He knows who we are.
So - yeah - I can't wait. I love, LOVE, LOVE Him - I AGAPE Him (love in action, unconditional). I PHILEO Him (real affection, friendship). I STORGE Him (commitment, family). I WORSHIP/ADORE Him (replaces romantic love - eros - transcends it)!
Glad He's with me by the Holy Spirit every day and empowers me to love this way.
Adore Him with me, will you!
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The start of this year, one of my teenage daughters inspired me profoundly. She told me she was going on a fast - a part-day fast. No food. She wanted to spend time with God. She had some things to ask Him - to talk to Him about.
Then she told me she would spend part of it in our woods.
The woods? I hesitated a bit - thought - then remembered my youth. She wanted to be away from the distractions of the house, the yard. She wanted the trails, the woods, and God. So, I gave her boundaries and let her go.
We expect our kids to stump us every now and then, but spiritual stuff seems to affect a whole other level. It did when my youngest told me, months ago, she would join me in fasting and praying. She would fast snacks (2 out of 3), and pray, instead of eating. I remember chuckling to myself, thinking - how cute. Yet, who knew what the Almight was already establishing in her heart from the tender age of ten.
God does that. He starts things in us before we're even aware. Sometimes we see it, in retrospect. Often we don't.
I like to think He saves things from us, for us. Sometimes we have a way of messing up when we know too much.
Explaining what a fast is, to my girls, reminded me of why I do it. It's not for show and not for selfish gain. Sacrifice feeding the body, to feed the soul - the spirit. And not just the food. I usually spend time in prayer, reading the Bible, abstaining from things of little spiritual value. I watch what I listen to, what I read, say, do - as best I can.
Even more difficult is fasting while still having to do household chores, chauffeuring - and, yes, cooking, etc. It's not a perfect science, but hunger pangs are enough reminder of what I'm about. It's not easy to forget, especially if you're doing it in the woods.
It doesn't always work the way I hope. Sometimes I'm cranky and wonder why I even bother. Sometimes the distractions are overwhelming. The hardest fasts are the ones when I just don't feel like it, but He's given me clear direction I should. I get cranky with Him. But in the end, and not always the same day, I usually see why I needed that intense time with Him and the unforseen benefits. He's so good.
And, I have to say, fasting shows what's really important. May He truly be first now, while we're here and in these bodies, as He will be in eternity.
It'll be interesting to see where my daughter decides to go should she fast this summer. Guaranteed the mosquitoes won't be fasting in our woods.
(fasting - Matt. 6:16-18)
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It was over 14 years ago that I had the dream - 2001 - a dream I knew was more than a dream - a vision of sorts, but since it occurred while I slept, then I must call it a dream.
I believe God gave me this dream to comfort me about the future, especially due to great uncertainty in the world. Even more so now . . .
Despite recent, horrific events across nations, all will pale in comparison to the Wrath of God unleased on Evil, at the end of the world. The Bible speaks of it in Revelation. The Seals, the Trumpets, the Bowls, the Lake of Fire . . . . You judge which depicts His wrath. The good news is, God has always spared His people from His wrath: Noah and his family from the Flood; Lot and his family from the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah; Moses and the ancient Israelites from the Plagues of Egypt . . .
This dream has comforted me all these years, and continues to do so. May it also comfort you, His people, His Church, His Bride:
I was in an apartment building - a highrise. This building was next door to another highrise in which I could see the, then, President of the United States of America, George W. Bush. I left my apartment and went outside. A short distance away, I noticed that my apartment and the American President's apartment were central in a row of highrises. Behind these were other rows of highrises of differing heights. All of the apartments were set back from, but also in a semi-circle around, a hugh round object (I believe the highrises depict kingdoms or countries of the world).
This round object was like a huge steel ball. Its diameter, about twice the height of a man. It was secured to a platform on the ground. A guard was posted there to watch for a signal. Apparently, a trigger device was programed in the ball to warn of impending disaster. The President would then be notified and would find safety inside the ball-like object.
I then looked back to see the President still in his apartment. Suddenly, my attention was drawn back to the ball. It had started to vibrate. It stopped - then started again. The guard seemed confused, as if this was not the expected signal; this signal was from some other source.
The vibrations of the ball became more urgent. I looked and noticed that the President was no longer in his apartment. Without seeing him, I knew he was in the ball.
I then noticed that the ball was free from most of its rounded sides, so that the floor of the platform could be seen. Without being told, I knew to step onto the platform. It seemed that my oldest child was on my left, and had stepped on just before I had. Extending from the platform was a bridge made of wood. It had not been there before. It extended to an unknown distance.
I noticed now that there were rails curved around parts of the platform, though the back was still part of the original ball, and the area where the bridge was attached was left open. Other people were now walking on the bridge and onto the platform. There were many children, even crawling babies, on their own.
I started looking for the rest of my family to come. Somehow I knew I could not go find them - that I could do nothing but wait.
While waiting, I saw a baby girl crawling on the bridge, near the platform. I stepped one foot off the platform to get her, because I knew she was mine. However, someone else took her before I could. I stepped back, again looking for the rest of my family (Today, I believe this baby to be the child I lost through miscarriage).
Suddenly, my 2nd child bounded onto the platform and threw his arms around my waist. While he was still hugging me, my 3rd child rushed past us to the other side of the platform. She was followed by my 4th child. I called my 4th child by name, urging her to go hold the hand of my 3rd child (In the dream, my 4th child was perhaps between 3 - 5 years old. At the time of the dream, she was less than a year).
I then looked for my husband. It seemed to take long, but then I saw him coming up the bridge. I could see his sandaled feet moving quickly, carefully, not wanting to step on any little ones. In his arms he held a baby. This baby was perhaps between 3 - 6 months, with the dark silky hair of an infant, and was dressed in a sleeveless jumper with no shirt. My husband carried the baby carefully and was soon on the platform (I believe this baby to be my 5th child who was not yet born at the time of the dream).
As soon as my husband stepped onto the platform, the original curved walls of the ball reappeared, as if they were doors slammed shut.
The ball then vibrated and shot into the sky. Below, disaster came upon Earth in the form of massive explosions. When the ball entered space, it slowed, but continued in an upward direction.
I felt warm and drowsy as if just coming out of a deep, comfortable sleep. I looked upward, and the roof of the ball did not hinder my vision. I saw that we were traveling toward a light. A very bright light.
At this point, I woke from the dream. Tears streamed down my face because the dream was not reality, and I wished it had been.
Whatever troubles or tribulations He takes us through or spares us from, the Lord Jesus promised He would never leave His people alone. BUT. We are not destined for His wrath. He will transport us to Himself.
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She said it's sad that the world looks at you as being unkind if you don't agree with all its values. This daughter of mine is the kind who sticks up for underdogs. But she also loves the God of the Bible and takes to heart the somewhat worn-out cliche "love the sinner, hate the sin."
Let's face it, we're all sinners (1. born with original sin traits of Adam and Eve; 2. break God's laws - which is everyone), but some of us are saved from our sins by God's grace. Not every sinner is my enemy or your enemy, in our way of thinking. But sinners are God's enemies (Romans 5:10). When you join up with God, by association, sinners could be your enemies too.
It took me a while to figure out the whole love your enemy thing. What about loving those who are purposefully against the God you love and serve? Against His ways, His laws?
So when Jesus tells us to love our enemy (Mat. 5:44), we have to figure what the heavens it's saying, because we mean to do it. Some religious leaders were His enemies, and He called them names - to their faces. They led people falsely. But He allowed those same people to set up charges against Him so He could die on a cross. For them. For all of us.
The Samaritans - whom the Jewish people disdained, the thieving tax-collector, the adulteress caught in the act were bound by the enemy of our souls - Satan. Jesus' desire was to free them.
We're to be compassionate in our response to those who are bound by sin, firm with those who uphold the deceptions of our real enemy, enlightening to those who want to see, shunning to those who try to lead us astray...
We won't be popular. But we have to love. The ones we don't like - who appose us - who frustrate us. Love them in our thoughts, by our actions. It's called agape love: different from erotic, brotherly, or family love. It's without conditions. The feelings often follow.
Love because He says to, He loves us, and love conquers what hate builds up. Be gentle, be kind, be firm, do good. Love.
Loving this way may not totally make sense now, but it eventually will. Eternity shines a different kind of light on things. It's a short time here. Where we're going, there will be nothing but LOVE.
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Unless you're a baby, pretty much no liquid tastes good lukewarm. How many of us are lukewarm as followers of Christ?
C.S. Lewis' Screwtape Letters says it well: "Indeed the safest road to Hell is the gradual one - the gentle slope, soft underfoot, without sudden turnings, without milestones, without signposts ..."
Moses, chosen by God to lead the ancient Israelites out of slavery, stood for the Lord and others stood with him. The earth opened up and swallowed those who stood against them - on the other side of the fence (Num. 16). Joshua, Moses' assistant, said, "But as for me and my household we will serve the Lord." (Josh. 24:15)
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