Thursday, January 7, 2021

The Valley of the Shadow of Death



During the stresssful periods often described as valleys, and even the peaks, in my life, I've been conditioned to look up and out, to pay attention to the threats not yet recognized by the rest of the gaggle. I find this analogous to our resident pond geese. There is always a lookout, while the others are foraging, heads down, in the grass. The lookout has his neck stretched up as his head moves carefully side to side like a periscope, eyes focused, constantly scanning the surroundings for danger. 


Because of this habit, I have, more often than not, been able to stay prepared for worst case scenario. Part of this is my personality type but I can narrow it down further to simply hating to be blindsided. I don't like surprises. I much prefer making plans that never have to be used than being in a position of scrambling to think of solutions in a hot minute. 


Because I am a 'lookout' I have observed and noted the slow slide of our society since the early 80s. In recent years I've come to understand the decline began decades earlier but, when I first began to notice, I silently predicted certain things being embraced and adopted into place that then, predictably, led to even more decline. It's not all that difficult if you understand human nature and pay attention to what the man behind the curtain is doing.


The devil, as they say, is always in the details.


This is not a new phenomenon, though, humankind reaching a pinnacle only to recede like the tide. It has happened over and over again in recorded history. To over simplify, it is the result of the ongoing war of good and evil. It usually manifests as the conundrum of a people rising to prosperity and plenty, then destroying themselves from within because they forget what dearth is like... and, more importantly, they forget how and why to pray.  


Typically, people resort to prayer only when things get tough, which, incidentally  is not the main purpose of prayer (God is not just a genie waiting patiently to grant our wishes). So, as the natural consequence, when things aren't tough - prayer, no longer seen as needed, gets kicked to the curb. That, then signals the slow slide downward to the next incarnation of humanity hitting bottom.


Jeremiah, who was much more than a 'lookout', who stood in the ruins of the first Temple, must have felt the most excruciating hopelessness. His people, whom he had warned over and over again to reorder their lives and return to God, had been defeated, decimated and separated. And yet, God assured him there was reason to hope. It wasn't presented as a shallow no-difficulty kind of hope but rather a lifeline kind of assurance.


Because I am, by nature, a practical, positive person, what I see coming will not sink me, but rather fortify me. I am positive that, even if I die resisting evil, I win anyway because I know that what - and Who - I am fighting for is worth it. 


Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death I will fear no evil...


For Him,

Meema



If our hopes seem to be experiencing disappointment right now, it simply means that they are being purified. Every hope or dream of the human mind will be fulfilled if it is noble and of God. But one of the greatest stresses in life is the stress of waiting for God. He brings fulfillment, “because you have kept My command to persevere…” (Revelation 3:10).


Continue to persevere spiritually.


~ Oswald Chambers


Wednesday, December 30, 2020

Coincidence

 


While it is difficult to explain, and sounds as though I live haphazardly with no plan, (as we have been carefully indoctrinated to believe we must have to be successful), I've lived long enough to know, for sure, there is no such thing as coincidence. Not in my life, anyway. I chose, when I surrendered to Christ's will, giving up my will to His, that I would move about as an empty vessel, willing to do (or not do) as prompted. In this dynamic, while I give up self will, I gain so much more in not just good or better outcomes, but best.


Yesterday, December 29, 2020, once again, I got to reap the benefits of listening, obeying and trusting. 


My prayer life has altered in recent years. I do a lot of praise and gratitude and less asking for specifics. I guess, after awhile, you finally learn that His way, no matter how dauntingly tough it might look, will always conclude with something added to us that we will need. So, mostly all I ask for nowadays is to be delivered from evil (He gave us that option in The Lord's Prayer) and to spare us from tragedy, which is not the same as praying to be spared trouble or crisis. God created this world with basic universal mechanics put in place - action/reaction/consequence.


Looking back I realize my prayers to be spared tragedy have prevented quite a few unnecessary reactions/consequences in this strange year of 2020.


A few weeks ago we went to our old houseboat for the weekend. As we entered we noticed a faint burnt electrical smell. We didn't dismiss it because anyone who owns a houseboat knows the first rule is to never ignore strange sounds or smells. But we couldn't find anything specific to isolate the cause. 


Fast forward to yesterday. Hubs monitors the temperature remotely (oh modern technology) and noticed the heat was not holding steady. Because he is a man who gets things done, he called our Air Con tech who just happened to be available (coincidence?) to meet him there. He discovered that the condensation pump had, at some point, caught fire. He noted there were signs that the flames had licked the floor joists before it miraculously went out (coincidence?)


So, the lesson for me, yet again, is that God does work in mysterious ways. He allows us to suffer consequences of bad choices, just as any good parent should. He puts us in the middle of character building troubles and tests us over and over again, which refines us.


And then, if we are listening, He lays on our hearts to pray in ways we can't understand why. All we have to do is be tuned in and trust that, as strange as it might seem - there is a plan. He wants us to depend on Him.


As this crazy year ends with so many unanswered questions, be of good cheer, God knows what we should do. All we have to do is PAY ATTENTION! 


May your New Year be delivered from evil and spared from tragedy.


For Him,

Meema


The Concept of Divine Control

By Oswald Chambers


…how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask Him! —Matthew 7:11



Jesus is laying down the rules of conduct in this passage for those people who have His Spirit. He urges us to keep our minds filled with the concept of God’s control over everything, which means that a disciple must maintain an attitude of perfect trust and an eagerness to ask and to seek.


Fill your mind with the thought that God is there. And once your mind is truly filled with that thought, when you experience difficulties it will be as easy as breathing for you to remember, “My heavenly Father knows all about this!” This will be no effort at all, but will be a natural thing for you when difficulties and uncertainties arise. Before you formed this concept of divine control so powerfully in your mind, you used to go from person to person seeking help, but now you go to God about it. Jesus is laying down the rules of conduct for those people who have His Spirit, and it works on the following principle: God is my Father, He loves me, and I will never think of anything that He will forget, so why should I worry?


Jesus said there are times when God cannot lift the darkness from you, but you should trust Him. At times God will appear like an unkind friend, but He is not; He will appear like an unnatural father, but He is not; He will appear like an unjust judge, but He is not. Keep the thought that the mind of God is behind all things strong and growing. Not even the smallest detail of life happens unless God’s will is behind it. Therefore, you can rest in perfect confidence in Him. Prayer is not only asking, but is an attitude of the mind which produces the atmosphere in which asking is perfectly natural. “Ask, and it will be given to you…” (Matthew 7:7).


Sunday, December 27, 2020

Dear Beneficiary

 

Warren Buffet has attempted multiple times to get me to respond to his email and accept his magnanimous bestowment of $1,500,000 USD. I, cynic that I am, tend to be a tad bit suspicious of these kinds of offers that come daily to "Dear Beneficiary" so, naturally, I have hesitated to respond. 


This morning he reached out to me again because he just does not understand why I won't get back with him. He might have to find another lucky email to make the offer to. 


What to do, what to do.


Keeping a running total, adding up the Postal Service notices that claim I have a certified letter waiting for me that will give me the code to claim millions of dollars, the dying wishes of untold wealthy Africans (I am shocked about how many there are and who are dying of cancer, what-are-the-odds), the aid offered by the US State Department and FBI to reimburse me for past scams I surely must have fallen for, the notification of a large box of gold still sitting in customs, waiting for me to come claim (I just have to give them my name and personal info, because they don't know that), the various and not so creative offers to include me in amazing business ventures, charitable donations, assorted lottery wins from large corporations, I think my current financial status is now in the billionaire range. 


I know we live in the Matrix and untruth is the new truth, but I am so tired of liars and their lies. I am discouraged to consider how many non-thinkers there are who believe these emails are legit and thereby keep the scams going.


Even more discouraging, though, is the realization of how easy it is to fool the masses into believing what they want to believe because, you know, illusion is better than truth. 


Until it isn't anymore and then it's too late to see. 


Unfortunately, satan uses this human flaw to great advantage.


Are we sufficiently dumbed down now? And, if so, are we at point of no return?


Luke 12:54-56.

54 And he said to the multitudes also, When ye see a cloud rising in the west, straightway ye say, There cometh a shower; and so it cometh to pass. 55 And when ye see a south wind blowing, ye say, There will be a scorching heat; and it cometh to pass. 56 Ye hypocrites, ye know how to interpret the face of the earth and the heaven; but how is it that ye know not how to interpret this time?



For Him,

Meema