Friday, May 29, 2015

Sold into Sin.

Slaves: Istanbul Archaelogical Museum.

Photo by:

My sister wrote me today about something she read in the Bible. I love the image she gave. Here it is:

"I was reading Romans and something jumped out at me. Paul said he was SOLD into slavery to sin...something totally against his will. In my mind I saw him up on a platform in chains, filthy and emaciated, and there's Adam as the auctioneer. 
Adam sold us to sin but at any time we decide on, Jesus can buy us. But even if we become servants in Jesus' household, we still have the scars and bad habits acquired when sin owned us. I guess what I'm trying to say is that none of it is our fault and Jesus knows it, but he also knows that the more time we spend serving in his house, the more the scars and bad habits will fade." 

"For we know that the law is spiritual, but I am of the flesh, sold under sin."  Romans 7:14

No, it isn't our fault we were born into a world of sin. I'm sure that is just one reason we are so dear to the heart of God. But even though he allowed us to be born into an evil world where we suffer, it is worth it (I admit it took me years to accept this) because he will make it up to us one day; he will give us a life that is so wonderful and different that Paul said we cannot even imagine it.  

"That is what the Scriptures mean when they say, 'No eye has seen, no ear has heard, and no mind has imagined what God has prepared for those who love him.' "  1 Corinthians 2:9

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Who is the Anti-Christ?

I was reading about the beliefs of ISIS. One thing surprised me; they believe they are to fight until an Anti-Christ comes who will kill a lot of the Caliphate's soldiers. Next, Jesus will return, kill the Anti-Christ, and take the real Muslims to heaven.

I've read a lot of theories on the second-coming of Christ but I did not know Islam also has one. Some say that is why these ISIS Muslims want war - to bring about the end of the world. 

Now, I have heard something similar to that about some Christians. They want war in the Middle East in order to bring in the end of the world and Christ's second coming. Although, some Christians would say the third coming since they also believe in the "Rapture."

To me there is something sick about "wanting" war. You would have to be very cold-hearted to want something that causes the death of thousands, if not millions of people. To say that is okay because it would bring Jesus back is heresy. Jesus would never approve of that attitude.

But who is the Anti-Christ who will come before the end of the world? The Bible says this:
"He performs great signs, so that he even makes fire come down out of heaven to the earth in the presence of men; and by the signs that it is allowed to work in the presence of the beast it deceives those who dwell on earth, telling them to make an image for the beast that was wounded by the sword and yet lived. 

And it was allowed to give breath to the image of the beast, so that the image of the beast might even speak and might cause those who would not worship the image of the beast to be slain. 

Also it causes all, both small and great, both rich and poor, both free and slave, to be marked on the right hand or the forehead, so that no one can buy or sell unless he has the mark, that is, the name of the beast or the number of its name. This calls for wisdom: let the one who has understanding calculate the number of the beast, for it is the number of a man, and his number is 666."

Revelation 13:13-18  and 14:1

Before Jesus comes there will be an evil religious power rise up. It is a power that wants to force people to obey them and will persecute those who will not. This power will pass laws to, "Make an image..." of something that represents them. They will allow no one to buy or sell unless they receive a "mark" on their head or hand. This would be an easy thing to do in this digital age. Everyone would have to use a special card to buy or sell anything. Not hard for a government to do that. 

As God puts a "seal" on his people, the wicked receive a mark which shows they either agree with the law in their minds or carry out the law with their hands while not agreeing. 

What are some national laws the far-right Christian community want to force on us? Banning abortion, prayer in schools, censorship, and Sunday keeping. I think those are the main ones. Which one might be the "image" of the beast?

It wouldn't be abortion, because that only affects pregnant women. Censorship is not tied to worship, and they want us to worship the image. Prayer in school is a form of worship but only affects students. The Sabbath is the logical answer and I believe is the "image" of the beast. The far-right (and I mean far...) will pass a Sunday keeping law and will force everyone in the nation to worship on that day and every place of business be closed. (except for hospitals etc.)

This is what the Anti-Christ will do near the end of time. They have been working towards this for years and will one day accomplish it. They believe the nation is heading for ruin and God's punishment and are frightened.  But fear is never a good reason to do anything. In fact, they are afraid of the wrong people; they should be afraid of themselves and what they are doing and in what Spirit.

Would Jesus force others to believe as he did? Did he try to force the Romans or the Jews to believe? Never. God is not tyrant. God loves free-will worship and will recognize no other kind. Force of conscience is repugnant to God.

Would it be okay for us to obey this law and go to church where and when they tell us? What if we do believe in worshiping on Sunday? Do we think, "Well, that's not so bad is it?"
God says he will "think" to change times and laws. But no one can change the laws of God. They are eternal as He is eternal.
It is bad because it is using religion as a sword or hammer to force people; it is also bad because many people worship on Saturday instead of Sunday. The Catholic Church changed the day of worship. They changed two of the Ten Commandments. They changed the one that said to not make graven images and they changed the Sabbath from the seventh day to the first day. They changed "times and laws" as it says in Daniel 7:25,
"He shall speak words against the Most High, and shall wear out the saints of the Most High, and shall think to change the times and the law; and they shall be given into his hand for a time, times, and half a time."

God says he will "think" to change times and laws. But no one can change the laws of God. They are eternal as He is eternal. The ceremonial laws that pointed forward to Jesus were abolished, but not the Ten Commandments. The Sabbath commandment did not point forward to Jesus but backward to the creation of the world. 

Friday, May 22, 2015

Singing to God.

Photo found in:

"Sing to him, sing psalms to him, and think about all of his miraculous deeds." 1 Chronicles 16:9

"What is it then? I will pray with the spirit, and I will pray with the understanding also. I will sing with the spirit, and I will sing with the understanding also."  1 Corinthians 14:15

When I was a young Christian, I used to listen to gospel music a lot. As I got older and was busy babysitting my grandchildren, I got away from that. I didn't want music on because then I couldn't hear them if they needed me.

The Bible tells us to sing to the Lord and praise him in that way. Recently, I bought a small CD player and bought a CD called, "Above All," music by Lenny Leblanc. I love every song. I have been surprised how much I have been helped spiritually by this music. I also listen to Enya's songs which are so beautiful.

Well, as I lay and listen to this music I started to picture being with Jesus in heaven. I pictured us walking together, in a boat on the sea, walking in the forest, and riding horses. We were both smiling and having a great time.

Later, I began to picture singing to the Trinity as they were "high and lifted up", as it says in the Bible. It is an exciting, happy image.

Then yesterday, I was out with my family, but on the few occasions I was walking alone I felt Jesus beside me. I felt him looking at the same things I looked at and walking down the sidewalk with me. It was amazing, and it probably happened because I have been imagining being with him. But, I don't think it was just that. I think God gave that sense or feeling to help me see Jesus is with me always.

So, I hope you will sing unto the Lord and gain a huge blessing!

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Choose Life or Death.

Ancient Jerusalem

Photo by Bohank

When Jerusalem was surrounded by the Babylonian army. God sent many messages to the King of Judah. This is one of the last ones:

"This is what the Lord says: “Go down to the palace of the king of Judah and proclaim this message there: ‘Hear the word of the Lord to you, king of Judah, you who sit on David’s throne—you, your officials and your people who come through these gates. This is what the Lord says: 

"Do what is just and right. Rescue from the hand of the oppressor the one who has been robbed. Do no wrong or violence to the foreigner, the fatherless or the widow, and do not shed innocent blood in this place. For if you are careful to carry out these commands, then kings who sit on David’s throne will come through the gates of this palace, riding in chariots and on horses, accompanied by their officials and their people. But if you do not obey these commands, declares the Lord, I swear by myself that this palace will become a ruin.’ ”

"...tell the people, ‘This is what the Lord says: See, I am setting before you the way of life and the way of death. Whoever stays in this city will die by the sword, famine or plague. But whoever goes out and surrenders to the Babylonians who are besieging you will live; they will escape with their lives. I have determined to do this city harm and not good, declares the Lord. It will be given into the hands of the king of Babylon, and he will destroy it with fire."

If you believed God and did what he said, you would not die. Most did not listen, but some did. This reminds me of the people of the flood. If the people had believed God when Noah was preaching, they could have gone inside the ark and be saved. No one did; not one person besides his family.

This is what God said about the king:

“Woe to him who builds his palace by unrighteousness,
his upper rooms by injustice,
making his own people work for nothing,
not paying them for their labor.
He says, ‘I will build myself a great palace
with spacious upper rooms.’
So he makes large windows in it,
panels it with cedar
and decorates it in red.
“Does it make you a king
to have more and more cedar?
Did not your father have food and drink?
He did what was right and just,
so all went well with him.
He defended the cause of the poor and needy,
and so all went well.
Is that not what it means to know me?”
declares the Lord.
“But your eyes and your heart
are set only on dishonest gain,
on shedding innocent blood
and on oppression and extortion.”

Jeremiah 21:8-10

I admire God for sticking up for the poor and defenseless. This chapter makes me think of all the unjust nations we hear about on the news. Those governments that don't care about their people; they keep the riches for themselves while their people go uneducated and hungry. I'm glad God cares for those who are powerless.

"Thus has the LORD of hosts said, 'Dispense true justice and practice kindness and compassion each to his brother; and do not oppress the widow or the orphan, the stranger or the poor; and do not devise evil in your hearts against one another. 

But they refused to pay attention and turned a stubborn shoulder and stopped their ears that they might not hear.They made their hearts diamond-hard lest they should hear the law and the words that the LORD of hosts had sent by his Spirit through the former prophets. Therefore great anger came from the LORD of hosts.   Zechariah 7:9-12

There comes a day of judgement for every nation and every person. What does God ask of us except to do these good things! If we have a hard heart and don't care, ask God to give you a good heart and he will gladly do it. He loves to fill each life with his goodness.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

I Stumbled and Fell then Went Around A Mountain.

"Now to the one who is able to keep you from falling and to make you stand joyful and faultless in his glorious presence, to the only God, our Savior, through Jesus the Messiah, our Lord, be glory, majesty, power, and authority before all time and for all eternity! Amen."  Jude 1:24,25

I wrote about going around the same mountain as a Christian. You fail and fall and God picks you up and you go around the mountain again. It is like learning to ride a bike. First you fall, but with practice you start to soar and you can go down steep hills and keep your balance.

A mountain I've been going around all my life has been hopelessness and depression. I've battled it, but sometimes it gets the better of me. When I was 14, I took a bunch of sleeping pills. I had my stomach pumped and was sent to a psychiatrist. I'm afraid he wasn't much help which was due to my attitude.

There have been times since then that I thought about going through with suicide, mostly in my fifties and sixties. I would get to a point of feeling there was no hope for me to ever feel happiness again and it didn't seem worth living. This came to a head last summer.

Something happened in my family, some misunderstandings, and I felt completely devastated. I felt unloved and so alone. I knew I had God, but it just wasn't enough so I took sleeping pills once again. My husband came home and found me unconscious. I woke in the hospital, spoke to a psychiatrist and went home. I started weekly therapy and began to get better. I started to do all I could do to think positive thoughts and write down my negative thoughts and give them to God immediately - as soon as I started feeling sad. This was working and I started feeling happy; not just content, but actually joyous.

Then, something happened in the family that was close to what happened the time I took the pills. I hung up the phone and I heard God speak in my mind, "What are you going to do Belle? Are you going to take pills again?" I said, "No, Lord. I've learned you are enough for me. I don't need the approval or love of anyone else but you." And it was true, I felt calm about the whole incident.

Now, how did I learn that in a few months? I have no idea. I do know that it is hard to change without living through an experience. Just reading about how to trust God in all circumstances isn't the same as doing it because you have to. Maybe it was because I now had hope because the things I was doing were helping me think positive. Hope is so important. Everyone needs hope for their future.

 "Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that you will abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit." Romans 15:13

It is interesting God is called the "God of Hope". He is everything good, and hope is good. Even if we are dying right now, we can still have hope. Hope in a future with God and happiness forever.

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Going Around the Same Mountain.

"In this you greatly rejoice, even though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been distressed by various trials, so that the proof of your faith, being more precious than gold which is perishable, even though tested by fire, may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ." 
1Peter 1:6,7

I'm such a whiner and coward that I have always hated going through dark times. Times of depression, sickness, pain, family troubles and deaths of those I love. I know from my attitude during these times that my faith is weak and I have a lot to learn. I had read that we become better people because of suffering, but that was a small comfort.

I started noticing that when I failed a test badly that later on the test came again, perhaps years later, but you can bet I noticed it was the same test. 

Example: My oldest daughter went through 27 hours of terrible pain when she was in childbirth. Finally, she had to have a cesarian section. Watching her writhing in pain for so many hours deeply affected me. I thought of all the women in the world who had died giving birth and this thought made me angry at God. This was a new feeling for me; I had never felt angry at God before.

I went through years of questioning the wisdom of God and his love for us. I quit praying and reading the Bible. I wanted nothing to do with him. After a few years of this, I got sick of my angry attitude and asked him to forgive me and take me back. I could feel his presence immediately. I said to him, "I might get mad at you again!" I felt him speak to my mind, "I can take anything you can dish out." Wow. I was amazed and humbled by God's own humility and love for me.

Years later, after my youngest daughter had three children she became sick with a super-bug that would not leave her body. It was lodged in her tonsils, but they couldn't operate right away. One day she became worse and was in such terrible pain she couldn't swallow. Doctors said they had never seen a throat like hers. Eventually, they operated and one day, while she was recuperating at home, she began to spit up blood. Her husband and I were with her and he rushed her to the hospital. I remember standing at the window looking at them drive away and knowing she could die and I might never see her alive again.

Was I angry at God through all of this pain and threat of death? Honestly, no, not for one moment, which still shocks me. I prayed for my daughter and then left her in God's hands for whatever he decided for her life. She did make it, barely. To stop the bleeding they had to pack her throat with cocaine, at least that's what my son-in-law said. The surgeon had nicked something during her first operation and it was repaired.

So, what does going through fire with God mean? Somehow, through the Holy Spirit I guess, we learn from one suffering how to get through the second with more faith and courage. I mean, everyone suffers in this world. Those without God, I don't know what they learn. But, I'm a Christian and I think I learned a bit. I think I learned to accept the sufferings of those I love and leave them in God's hands.

I will sheepishly share Mountain #2 that I went through recently. I know there are many, many Christians who have more faith and trust in God than I do. I just want to share what I have learned through suffering.

Friday, May 8, 2015

Worry, Fear and Catastrophic Thinking.

"Catastrophic thinking can be defined as ruminating about irrational worst-case outcomes."

"A person who suffers from Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD) experiences a constant, uncontrollable worry and anxiety related to different aspects of life."

Something in the side of my throat was throbbing intermittently with pain. My first thought? "It must be a tumor. Probably cancer. They will have to operate and I'll lose my speech and have a hole in my throat."

I go to the doctor. She looks down my throat and says, "You have a cold." 

I've never had a cold that acted like this one, but it turned out she was right. I got a sore throat and headaches and then it all went away. Meanwhile, I had planned my funeral.

Well, I told you I was crazy. Anyway, Joyce Meyer calls these thoughts, "Evil Forebodings." She used to be like me. I found some translations that do point this out. 

Proverbs 15:15 

International Standard Version
'The entire life of the afflicted seems disastrous, but a good heart feasts continuously.'

New Living Translation
'For the despondent, every day brings trouble; for the happy heart, life is a continual feast.'

I think that when bad things happen to you for long enough you begin to think that is the way of life, that all things could turn out bad and you better be prepared. You don't want to be caught off guard or surprised by tragedy.

Actually, the worst things happened when I least expected it. Death doesn't always come from a long illness, it can be an accident that no one is prepared for. Losing a job can come out of the blue; my fist husband lost his job on Christmas Eve one year. Totally unexpected.

So really, expecting the worst does no good at all and actually makes your life a living hell. Being a mother, I've worried myself sick over my children but God has shown me this is fruitless and stupid. I must trust him to be with my children and my whole family and whatever he allows to happen - trust him implicitly. So, over the years I've done that; if I hadn't, I'd be in a padded cell.

But still, at 65 yrs. old my go-to is worry and sadness. I'll tell you something wonderful though; I've finally learned how not to dwell on my dark thoughts. First, I pray. Second, I write down my feelings to God. Third, I read over positive thoughts that I have put on cards and keep in a tupperware container. Fourth, I refuse to think about whatever was bothering me and think about something pleasant.

Someone might say, "Yeah, I've heard all that before and it didn't help me." Possibly. I'd heard it all before too, but after taking a bunch of sleeping pills and being in the hospital a person has a great motive to work hard. And it is hard work.

My therapist told me to write down my feelings. After a week or two of being okay I plunged into panic mode. Problem: I couldn't remember what she told me to do. So, I prayed and tried to think nice thoughts. Three days later, I remembered. Write feelings down on paper. Sheesh.

If I've learned anything from years of off and on therapy it is this: You get better so you quit therapy. Weeks or months pass and the depression and worry slowly returns. Why? Because you forget what you were taught. You don't keep up the exercises. You think you are what? Cured I guess. The brain is a weird thing that needs constant reminding. It's like we need daily contact with God and spiritual reading or we slowly but surely go down, down, down.

So, I hope with my vast experience at failing I can help someone! God bless you all. May he wrap his arms around you and give you a big kiss.

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

The All-Seeing God.

I was shopping on Amazon, then I went to my email account to check my mail. There was a message from I guess they figured I was already shopping so why not come on over to their store. Hey, it must be payday for Belle!

The instant I go anywhere on my computer someone knows about it. People who say they want privacy are living in a dream world. I've always thought that anything I do, read or write online is an open book to the whole world.

I've wondered how God can be so close to each of us, see and hear us all day and all night. Well, we have built machines that can do it so I guess a God who made this universe can do it too. It's an amazing thought.

Some people think, "Why has God left me?"  I'm never tempted to think that because I was raised in a church that continually told me God could see everything I do or think. I know God never leaves anyone for one minute. This can feel a little creepy sometimes, but hey, nothing I can do about it! Anyway, I love knowing he is right here for me to talk with at any time.

One time, I was laying in bed in pain with a backache. I said to God, "If you were here, I would ask you to rub my back." Immediately, my back quit hurting. I realized what I had said. I had pictured God far away up in heaven - seeing me, yes - but not right here in the room. My ideas of his presence changed that day.

 Psalm 139
For the director of music. Of David. A psalm.
You have searched me, Lord,
and you know me.
You know when I sit and when I rise;
you perceive my thoughts from afar.
You discern my going out and my lying down;
you are familiar with all my ways.
Before a word is on my tongue
you, Lord, know it completely.
You hem me in behind and before,
and you lay your hand upon me.
Such knowledge is too wonderful for me,
too lofty for me to attain.
Where can I go from your Spirit?
Where can I flee from your presence?
If I go up to the heavens, you are there;
if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.
If I rise on the wings of the dawn,
if I settle on the far side of the sea,
even there your hand will guide me,
your right hand will hold me fast.
If I say, “Surely the darkness will hide me
and the light become night around me,”
even the darkness will not be dark to you;
the night will shine like the day,
for darkness is as light to you.
For you created my inmost being;
you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
your works are wonderful,
I know that full well.
My frame was not hidden from you
when I was made in the secret place,
when I was woven together in the depths of the earth.
Your eyes saw my unformed body;
all the days ordained for me were written in your book
before one of them came to be.
How precious to me are your thoughts,a God!
How vast is the sum of them!
Were I to count them,
they would outnumber the grains of sand—
when I awake, I am still with you.

Saturday, May 2, 2015

I'll Think About God Later.

The apostle Paul had been arrested and thrown in prison. The leaders of the Jews wanted him dead, but Paul was a Roman citizen so the Romans took charge. One day he was brought before Felix, the procruator of Judea.

"Some days later Felix arrived with Drusilla, his wife who was a Jewess, and sent for Paul and heard him speak about faith in Christ Jesus." Acts 24:24

What a wonderful opportunity for Paul to lift up the life and death of Jesus. Paul cared about Felix and his wife; he wanted them to accept Christ and be saved.

Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers
Drusilla. She was, according to Josephus, the daughter of Herod Agrippa I., who "killed James with the sword" and died shortly afterwards. She was first the wife of Azizus, King of Emesa; but Felix, becoming enamored of her on account of her singular beauty, employed a certain magician, a Jew named Simon, to entice her away from her husband, and persuade her to marry him, contrary, as Josephus says, to the institutions of her country. She perished, with Agrippa, her only son by Felix, in the eruption of Vesuvius, in the reign of Titus

"But as he was discussing righteousness, self-control and the judgment to come, Felix became frightened and said, "Go away for the present, and when I find time I will summon you."

Paul spoke of righteousness, which meant he was explaining the way a good person would live out his life in Jesus. 
He spoke of self-control, which it seems from Felix's past, was not one his attributes. 
He spoke of the judgement to come, when all people will be judged by the works they have done. 

All this frightened Felix. He obviously felt himself to be far from righteous and was worried that he may one day be judged by God.

MacLaren's Expositions
Felix and his brother had been favorite slaves of the Emperor, and so had won great power at court. At the date of this incident he had been for some five or six years the procurator of the Roman province of Judaea; and how he used his power the historian Tacitus tells us in one of his bitter sentences, in which he says, ‘He wielded his kingly authority with the spirit of a slave, in all cruelty and lust.’

Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
Felix trembled—and no wonder. For, on the testimony of Tacitus, the Roman Annalist [Annals, 9; 12.54], he ruled with a mixture of cruelty, lust, and servility, and relying on the influence of his brother Pallas at court, he thought himself at liberty to commit every sort of crime with impunity. 

We do not know if Felix and his wife ever gave their lives to God; we only know what Felix said to Paul, that he didn't want to think about these things now, maybe later.

It isn't safe to put off our salvation. We are human, we could die at any moment. Also, after putting God off for months and years, we may become so dead to what is right that we may never hear his voice in our hearts again. This is what Jesus meant when he said, ""Therefore I say to you, any sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven people, but blasphemy against the Spirit shall not be forgiven."  Matthew 12:31

If we continually turn away from the Spirit of God then nothing can save us.