Wednesday, June 30, 2010


So there you have it. The Letters to the 7 churches. I would love to know which church struck a cord with you the most? What relevance to you believe these letters have to us today? I myself see these churches as not only literal churches, but a representation of different aspects of the "church" today. A foreshadowing if you will.

I have so enjoyed digging into these 2 chapters. I pray that for any of you that have read these posts, that they have encouraged you also, and have made you take a closer look at yourself, to guard against becoming as one of these.

Christ stands at the door and knocks, offering the most rewarding relationship a person could ever ask for. Do not let anything stand in the way of that!

To him who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.

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The Church in Laodicea

To the Angel of the church of Laodicea write: The words of the Amen), the faithful and true witness(Rev 1:5; 3:7 19:11), the beginning of God's creation (Col 1:15-18). In Christ we have the great AMEN. In Christ we have the faithful and true witness. In Christ we have been given Creation. I love how he ends these letters with AMEN. So be it, may it be fulfilled.

However here comes the words.

I know your works.

Let me just say that out of all the churches it stinks to be Laodicea! In all the other churches, Christ could find a few who remained faithful. Even in Sardis. Not so Laodicea. When I think of what Christ says to them ~ you are neither hot nor cold. Would that you were either cold or hot! So because you are lukewarm, and neither hot or cold, I will spit (to vomit, vomit forth, throw up) you out of my mouth. ~ I think of hot or cold drinks. Hot drinks comfort, cold drinks refresh. But when a hot drink grows cold or lukewarm it is not as comforting and most times just doesn't taste good, and if a cold drink grows lukewarm, it loses it's refreshing abilities. Neither of them do what they were intended to do, so why drink them? There is absolutely no reason for their existence if they do not do what they were intended to do. Christ's words here are even more extreme then just a spit out. The word translated means what it says above. Those are pretty strong words don't you think?

These people thought they had it all together. They thought "hey what do we need from God? We've got everything we could need." Notice all the "I's" in the passage. "I am rich, I have prospered, and I need nothing". Notice they don't even need each other. They are completely and totally self sufficient! They do not even recognize that they are wretched, pitiable (to be pitied, miserable) poor, blind and naked! Here they are strutting around and saying look at me, when all those around them are saying "How sad". Talk about living in a world of delusion! Can I get an AMEN!

Christ gives them counsel to come to him for gold that has been refined by fire, then they will truly be rich. He would give them white garments so that they could cloth themselves and the shame of their nakedness. He would give them salve (balm) to anoint their eyes so they would see. Christ OFFERED all this freely to the church of Laodicea. They refused. He reminds them that he reproves and disciplines those he loves, so be zealous and REPENT.

Christ continues to beckon to this church. He says (in the very familiar passage) "I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him and he with me." He desires relationship. All this church and we need to do is open the door, and he will come in. Recognition is so important here. This church did not recognize their condition, and we in the church today do not recognize our condition. Christ still counsels, and knocks. Are we listening and opening the door, or are we totally self sufficient and in need of nothing, not even the love of our Heavenly Father and his son Jesus Christ? Are we wretched, pitiable (that one really gets me), poor, blind and naked; and the world is looking at us and saying "how sad"?

The one who conquers (overcomes, over powers, triumphs), I will grant him to with me on my throne, as I also conquered and sat down with my Father on his throne. Christ is giving of his inheritance to us! If we persevere we will one day reign with Christ!

He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.

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Tuesday, June 29, 2010

The Church in Philadelphia

To the Angel of the church of Philadelphia write: "The words of the holy one, the true one, (Rev 6:10) who has the key of David (Is 22:22), who opens and no one will shut, who shuts and no one opens (Job 12:14).

The church that suffered discrimination.

I know your works. Christ tells the Church of Philadelphia that he has set before them an open door, which no one is able to shut. Christ is the only one who can offer the invitation. He is the only one that has the key of David. He is the only one with authority. He is the only one who can open or shut the door to God's kingdom. So many people today believe there are many ways to God. We who trust in God, and believe that scripture says Christ is the holy one, the true one, believe also that he is the ONLY way to God the Father.

He speaks of the little power that they have, YET they have kept his word and did not deny his name. How often do you grow weary in doing good(Gal. 6:9)? This church is commended for continuing in the face of persecution. Christ tells them he recognizes their faithfulness. Doesn't that give you strength to go on, knowing that HE KNOWS YOUR WORKS? The Jewish community in Philadelphia did not except this church, but then how could the Jews except them? If they excepted them and allowed them into the synagogue they would be acknowledging Christ. These Christians were thought of as lesser then the Jews that lived in the city. BUT Christ knew them! He knew their faith and perseverance. He also KNEW the hearts of the Jews. He know they were not of his kingdom, they were of the synagogue of Satan. Christ also gives the church a look at the future, when those who have persecuted them, those who have said they are nothing will LEARN THAT I HAVE LOVED YOU! There will come a time when they (Jews and religious pharisees of today) will no longer be able to deny Christ's "true church". Christ will even make them to bow down before the church! How humbling will that be? And how precious to the "true church", to know and feel the love of their Savior!

This next part has been interpreted differently by people with different view points. I am not enough of a Bible scholar to tackle that in itself, so I will just say it as I see it. There is a time where the church WILL experience tribulation. We saw that back in the study of the precious Church in Smyrna. But because of their (Philadelphia) patient endurance they will be "kept from the hour of trial that is coming on the whole world" The definition of "kept" in Strong's says this "to attend to carefully, take care of; to guard". No matter what, Christ will be there. Whether we are taken before the tribulation, during the tribulation, or after the tribulation. He has promised to never leave us or forsake us and that we will reign with him in glory. That is enough for me. Do I want to suffer persecution or tribulation? Do I want my children too? NO, but I believe that Christ will give me what I need to persevere, and that is enough for me.

He is coming soon! We today, as the church did then, must HOLD FAST to what we have, that NO ONE may seize our crown.

The one who conquers (overcomes, over powers, triumphs) Christ will make him a pillar in the temple of God. He will never leave it! He will never be excluded from coming to God or being with God. There will be no religious superiority anymore! He will have written on him, the name of Christ's God; the name of the city of God, the new Jerusalem; and Christ own new name. He will belong to God and no one can separate him from the love of God!

He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.

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Monday, June 28, 2010

The Church in Sardis

The dead church.

And to the angel of the church of Sardis write: The words of him who has the seven spirits of God (Rev 1:4) and the seven stars (Rev 1:16).

I know your works. You have the reputation of being alive, but you are dead. Christ starts out with a very direct statement of their condition. No commendations for them, only rebuke.

How would that statement sit with you? On the outside you are alive, but what is on the inside is dead and dieing. This reminds me of the portion of the 7 woes in Matthew 23: 27 & 28 (which started this study) where Christ talks to the Pharisees about being white washed tombs. All pretty on the outside, but decaying on the inside. What makes a church end up like this? What fundamental issue is lost? Could it be they have watered down the gospel?

I need to mention this here. Whether it pertains to this church or not. There is a church in our area that in recent years the pastor has stated that he believes there are other ways to heaven then through Jesus Christ. He learned this while in Rome. When he was in one of the churches he noticed that the sun shone through the Apostle Peter as much as it did Jesus, so he had an epiphany. Just in the last couple of weeks the church he was once pastor of (when he had his epiphany) took the cross of their building because it is offensive to others. They are now an inclusive congregation that takes peoples from all religions. They are no longer closed minded and intolerant. It is a slippery sloop that one climbs on when taking the TRUE gospel and distorting and destroying it!

WAKE UP and strengthen what remains and is about to die! There was still time to repent. To wake up and continue the work that was not yet complete. There was still hope for this church, how be it small. REMEMBER then, what you have received and heard. KEEP IT AND REPENT!

~An interesting note from Sardis' history. Twice it had been captured while their watchmen slept. So sleeping is something they do well in Sardis, and it has worked against them, as scripture always says ( check out these scriptures on Watchmen & sluggards: Is 56:10; Prov. 6:9)~

Christ mentions, as he does elsewhere in scripture that if they do not wake up, he will come as a thief, and no one would be prepared for his coming. Could it be that in the church that I mentioned above, someone was sleeping and allowed the heresy to take place, and now look where they are?

"YET, you have still a few in Sardis, people who have not soiled their garments, and they will walk with me in white, for they are worthy." Another remnant. Even in churches who are dead or about to die there is a small remnant of godly people who are worthy. Here again is a called for the righteous to persevere.

The one who conquers (overcomes, over powers, triumphs) will be clothed thus in white garments (the raiment of victory!!!) and I will NEVER blot his name out of the book of life. I will confess his name BEFORE my Father and before His angels!

He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches!

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Sunday, June 27, 2010

The Church in Thyatira

The tolerant church.

To the Angel of the church inThyatira write: The words of the Son of God, who has eyes like a flame of fire, and whose feet are like burnished bronze. (Rev. 1:14-15)

I know your works.

Things they were commended for:

  • Their Love
  • Their Faith,
  • Their Service
  • Their Patient Endurance
  • Their latter works exceed the first (opposite of the Church in Ephesus)
BUT I have this against you:
  • You tolerated that woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess and is teaching and seducing my servants to practice sexual immorality and to eat food sacrificed to idols.
This church is long on love. They serve tirelessly ( I see a church dedicated to social justice). But they lack discernment and tolerate heresy. They appear to go a step further then the Church of Pergamum and seem to accept her teaching. Could you possibly hear someone in this church say, "hey there are many ways to God, live and let live". "God is love, and we must except all people and the way they believe". "you cannot love the person, if you do not just except them the way they are". The list can go on and on of statements you could add to what someone in this church might say.

Jezebel (whether the original who married Ahab, or the spirit of her, or another Jezebel, we do not know) was given time to repent of her sexual immorality (Rev 2:21), but she REFUSED. Here I wonder why Christ has already mentioned the sin of sexual immorality twice? Three things will happen concerning this refusal:
  1. Jezebel will be thrown unto a sickbed. She will cease from a role of importance, and like the first Jezebel will be no more.
  2. Those that have fallen for her false teaching will be given time to repent, but will experience great tribulation.
  3. Her children (those who proclaim her teaching as correct) will be struck dead.
Harsh words! But this is serious stuff. God throughout scripture has told of his laws, and people throughout history has either ignored, changed, or intentionally distorted them.

Christ says, "all churches will know that I AM HE, WHO SEARCHES MIND AND HEART (1 Chron. 28:9) AND I WILL GIVE TO EACH OF YOU ACCORDING TO YOUR WORKS." Just as God throughout the Old Testament, especially in Ezekial says "Then they will know that I am the LORD." Christ is saying this here. Then they will know who he is, when he does what he has said he will do. This is not something that might happen, it will happen.

There was a remnant though. In verse 24 Christ speaks to the rest who do not hold this teaching, who have not learned what some call "the deep things of Satan". To those he says he does not lay on them any other burden. He says "only hold fast what you have until I come." This speaks of persevering. Again STANDING FIRM IN THE TRUTH. Even against opposition that will make you out to be mean, cold hearted, intolerant, bigots. Family and friends may not understand why you can think such things, why you can be so closed minded. But Christ calls up to be set apart. He calls us to speak truth. Yes of course in love, but that love does not mean we except sin that will destroy the people we are called to love.

Another question to think about. How scary is the statement "the deep things of Satan"?! Doesn't if just make you wonder how far the depravity can go? How deep and sinister the king of this world is and what he will used to try and destroy those who will fall for his lies! Please remember anyone who may be reading this who does not know Christ ~ Satan is not out to show you a good time, to let you live your live for yourself, NO he wants to destroy you, he wants to keep you from finding the freedom in Christ. There are many who think that in following Christ there is bondage, but the TRUE bondage is in allowing Satan freedom to destroy you body and soul.

The one who conquers (overcomes, over powers, triumphs) and keeps my works until the end (persevering) to him I will give authority over the nations, and he will rule them with a rod of iron, as when earthen pots are broken in pieces, even as I myself (Christ) have received authority from my Father (God) (notice Christ calls him his father here, Christ was not just a prophet, but the True Son of God, as he mentioned in his description). And I (Christ) will give him the Morning Star (Christ himself).

How glorious is that! Instead of bondage, destruction and eternal damnation, we get authority, rule, and to top it all off CHRIST HIMSELF!

He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches!

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Saturday, June 26, 2010

The Church in Pergamum

The Church that Dwelt where Satan's throne is.

To the Angel of the Church of Pergamum write: The words of him who has the sharp two-edged sword (Rev 1:16).

I know where you dwell. Pergamum was full of worship. Put not to the One True God. There were temples and worship for "the divine Augustus", the goddess Roma, Asklepios (the god of healing), and Zeus. Being a Christian in this atmosphere would not be easy at all. To stand firm and resist, while also facing persecution, would surely test one's faith.

Yet you hold fast to my name, and do did not deny my faith (even amidst persecution of others, Antipas).

What Christ has against this church:

  • You have some there who hold the teaching of Balaam, who taught Balak to put a stumbling block before sons of Israel, so that they might eat food sacrificed to idols and practice sexual immorality.
  • You have some who hold the teaching of the Nicolaitans.
In other words, can't you hear someone saying ~ We believe the way we believe, but others are free to choose how they believe. Who are we to tell someone else they are wrong in what they believe? ~ Wishy Washy isn't it. They are not denying Christ. For them Christ is it, but they allow people to dilute the true message, but believing in other things. The words "you have some there who", means that these people worshipped with them. There was no discipline, no correcting these peoples errors in belief!

He says REPENT! If not HE will come and war against them with the sword of HIS mouth. We are to speak out against these falsehoods. Just like when scripture says "if they keep quiet, the stones will cry out", Christ will come and do what he says he will do, but Whoa to him who was not obedient in his task. There are many within the church today that allow things to go on, that should not only be stopped, but should be dealt with, with godly discipline. So much is allowed to seep into the conscientiousness of the church and soon explained away. Never to be made right. Godly discipline is seen as intolerance. But Christ will take care of it once for all. He does not leave us without a task though. REPENT, Stand Firm, Speak Truth from God's word (a Sharp double edged sword Hebrew 4:12), Do not allow sin to weaken the church.

He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches: To the one who conquers (overcomes, over powers, triumphs) Christ will give some of the hidden manna , and He will give him a white stone, with a new name written on the stone that no one knows except the one who receives it.

Interesting note on the white stone: Historically a white stone was given to victors at games for entrance to banquets (can you say The Great Banquet); such a stone was also used by jurors at trials to vote for acquittal. We are given our invitation and acquittal, by Christ himself, and our new name is known only to ourselves and him! Doesn't that just excite you?! A secret between you and your LORD!

Indeed, let us not stand for anything false that will try to infiltrate the church. Speak out, do not remain silent.

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Thursday, June 24, 2010

The Church in Smyrna

To the Angel of the church of Smyrna write: "the words of the first and last, who died and came to life again". Interesting note which I should have mentioned in Ephesus, is that Christ is quoting his description from the previous chapter of Revelations, verses 17-20. Again these word would ring so true for this church.

The suffering church.

What would you do if you heard these words from your Lord ~

"Do not fear any of those things which you are about to suffer. Indeed (it's going to happen), the devil is about to throw some of you into prison, that you may be tested, and you will have tribulation ten days( a limited number of days). Be faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life"

There was no happy pronouncement for this church. The Lord saw what they had endured:
  • Tribulation and poverty (yet they were rich)
  • Slander of false Jews (of the synagogue of Satan)
  • About to suffer more
  • Imprisonment (That they may be tested)
  • Will suffer 10 days of tribulations. (In some of the articles I've read, it mentions that the tribulation will be brief, but as in the culture at the time, most imprisonment ended in execution).
Are there churches out there that are strictly meant to suffer for the cause of Christ? I know I have many situations swirling in my head right now. Also it makes me think about many people I have known and heard of who have suffered so much, yet remain faithful. I think of the churches in China, India, the Middle East and all the other countries where they are executed for their faith, but what about here in America? If it has not started already, SOON, we will experience tribulation. Are we ready?

Do we desire to be part of "the suffering church" or would we rather skip that part? What if Christ has called us to that? Would we be able to "Be faithful unto death, and receive the Crown of Life (eternal life)?

"He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. The one who conquers (overcomes, over powers, triumphs) will not be hurt by the second death (that time when the wicked are judged to eternal death, Rev. 20:4-6)."

I asked again, where do we stand? Where do I stand? Am I ready to say to Christ "I will be faithful, even to death"? I pray that when he sees my heart, he sees YES!

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Wednesday, June 23, 2010

The Church in Ephesus

I'm no Bible scholar, but I believe this was the only city Paul visited. It was a large and very important city in it's day.

To the Angel in Ephesus write: "The words of Him who holds the 7 stars in his right hand, who walks among the 7 golden lamp stands." This description is significant because later Christ says if they do not repent their lamp stand will be taken from them.

They were commended for their work, toil, and patient endurance. They would not bear with those who are evil, and tested the false apostles (The hated the works of the Nicolaitans). They remained strong and did not grow weary.

BUT I have this against you: You have abandoned the love you had a first.

They were doing the work. They were doctrinally sound. Fine preaching was being done, but what was missing? I believe HEART. They were going through the motions of sorts. Of course they still love the Lord and wanted to work for him, but the PASSION was gone. Passion for Christ and love for each other. Could it be they focused so much on the letter of the law that they lost the heart?

Christ calls them to REMEMBER from where they had fallen. REPENT and do the works they did at first. Remember what is most important. OR their lamp stand will be removed! They would cease from being a church. They would no longer be of any good to anyone.

I will stop short of speaking of specific churches in these post. I want anyone who reads these to reflect for themselves their status and the status of the church they attend. What I truly want is for us all to WAKE UP, REMEMBER, AND REPENT!

To end this letter Christ says: "He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To the one who conquers I will grant to eat of the tree of life, which is in the paradise of God. " We will finally be able to eat for real from the tree of life! That which was once forbidden will be offered to the one who conquers (overcomes, over powers, triumphs)! Eternal Life in God's paradise.

May our ears be open and attentive to Christ, and return to our first love!

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Tuesday, June 22, 2010

A study of the Letters to the 7 churches

While studying Matthew 23, and the 7 woes which are found there, I remembered the Letters to the 7 Churches in Revelations 2 & 3, and how they somewhat parallel each other. I decided to do a little study of them and do 7 posts, one for each church. Here is this post I want to begin with some of the things that stood out to me as I read these letters. I hope that through these posts you grow in your desire to know and love the Lord more and more each day.

Things that fascinated me about the 7 letters:

  1. These were written to "The Angel of the church of". I wondered who this would be, would this be an actual angel, or someone earthly. I looked up the definition in Strong's and it said: angel, messenger, envoy, one who is sent, a messenger from God.
  2. After the introduction of the church, Christ describes himself. It is a different description when speaking to each church.
  3. He ends each letter with the word "To the one who conquers" and then describes what they will receive.
  4. Each church receives a commendation and rebuke, except for 2, who only receive a rebuke, and a stiff one at that!
  5. There are two churches that appear to be suffering churches.
One of my fears for us as "the Church" today, is that more often then not I see us in these churches. I hope that we are not so much like the two churches who only received rebuke from our LORD. Are we so focused on the business of church that we do not have room for Christ? Are we the Pharisees in the audience that are blind leaders?

I pray not! I pray that we WAKE UP and stand for truth in a world that is increasingly hostile to the truth, even within the Church.

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Monday, June 21, 2010

A winner on my 500th post!

Well there weren't as many comments as I hoped but hey what do you expect from a chick that doesn't post much these days! Drum roll please!!!!

The winning commenter is #9 (for some reason it's not letting me show the results, but I know you all trust me right?!) - E-Mom!!!! Now even though she comes from the Coffee mecca of the world (WA), I think she'll enjoy this little coffee from Michigan! E-Mom send me your address and I'll try to get this all out to you before I leave. Also I'm thinking you may already have my favorite devotional ~ A long obedience in the same direction ~ if you do, I'll surprise you with something else!.

Thanks for joining in my celebration all! Have a blessed day!

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Friday, June 18, 2010

The 7 woes of Matthew 23

In my study of Matthew I am now to Chapter 23. The beginning part of this chapter has helped me in the past, but I've not gone further in it until now. In reading the 7 woes it became increasingly clear how they parallel our culture today. And people say the Bible isn't relevant any more! I do not claim to be a Bible scholar or even a good student of the Bible for that matter. What I do have is a desire to know God and his Son Jesus more through reading His word, and then sharing it in hopes that it stirs within someone a desire to know him more as well. So with that being said, here is my thinking on the 7 woes.

  • Woe #1 - "But woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you shut the kingdom of heaven in people’s faces. For you neither enter yourselves nor allow those who would enter to go in."
The teachers and leaders of the day had made a religion of their own. It became a religion made up of rules and false ideas of what God had established. The religious leadership had added to and taken away so much from God's laws that not only were they not entering the kingdom, but they were keeping those who would enter from entering through their false teachings. How often have we in the past and still continue to make up rules within the church that have no biblical standing? How often do we lay burdens on others that we ourselves do not have to carry because of Christ? Are we missing it? Are we missing Him in our religiosity?

  • Woe #2 - Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you travel across sea and land to make a single proselyte, and when he becomes a proselyte, you make him twice as much a child of hell as yourselves.
The teachers and leaders are able to convert some to their way of thinking, and even go to great lengths and faraway places to do so, but in doing so with false teaching they have just converted someone who is destined for the same place they are. There is no Truth in their teaching. How many people have been converted to a wrong way of thinking because of untruths that have been taught throughout generations? How many have been led to believe they are saved without that saving knowledge? How many are feeling good about themselves because of the false teaching of someone who cannot accept the God of scripture?

  • Woe #3 - Woe to you, blind guides, who say, 'If anyone swears by the temple, it is nothing, but if anyone swears by the gold of the temple, he is bound by his oath.' You blind fools! For which is greater, the gold or the temple that has made the gold sacred? And you say, 'If anyone swears by the altar, it is nothing, but if anyone swears by the gift that is on the altar, he is bound by his oath.' You blind men! For which is greater, the gift or the altar that makes the gift sacred? So whoever swears by the altar swears by it and by everything on it. And whoever swears by the temple swears by it and by him who dwells in it. And whoever swears by heaven swears by the throne of God and by him who sits upon it.
They have it backwards. Their focus is on the superficial and not on the significant. How often do we put our focus on the things man made within our churches and not on the truly important things of God. Our focus is on the simple, while missing the amazing. Our focus is on earth, while missing the heavenly, and in doing so leading others astray in our blindness.

  • Woe #4 - "Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you tithe mint and dill and cumin, and have neglected the weightier matters of the law: justice and mercy and faithfulness. These you ought to have done, without neglecting the others. You blind guides, straining out a gnat and swallowing a camel!
They did all the right things for all the wrong reasons. They again focused on the rules and missed the blessings. Tithing is important, Yes! But when you focus on the tithing, when you make it all about how much or how little, what should be included in the tithe you have missed the point. Stop focusing on these small matters, focus on what is important to God: Justice, Mercy and Faithfulness. Funny thing, if the latter were focused on the former would not be an issue.

  • Woe #5 - "Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you clean the outside of the cup and the plate, but inside they are full of greed and self-indulgence. You blind Pharisee! First clean the inside of the cup and the plate, that the outside also may be clean.
Don't we all look nice on Sunday? We cover so much with a veneer. We look all shiny and clean, but the heart, the heart! Self indulgence, so much of society today screams this! We want what we want when we want it (My word look at the those "W's"!!). How we try to clean up and make it look right on Sunday, when in fact, just like the leaders of old, our insides are not clean.

  • Woe #6 - "Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs, which outwardly appear beautiful, but within are full of dead people’s bones and all uncleanness. So you also outwardly appear righteous to others, but within you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness.
Whitewashed tombs. Tombs, they hold dead people don't they? Are our churches whitewashed tombs? Are we? Do we ourselves appear righteous to others, but within are we full of hypocrisy and lawlessness? Are we kidding ourselves? Do we know the drill, and how to talk the talk, but walking it faithfully is a mystery? Are we any different then those Christ is admonishing here?

  • Woe #7 - "Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you build the tombs of the prophets and decorate the monuments of the righteous, saying, 'If we had lived in the days of our fathers, we would not have taken part with them in shedding the blood of the prophets.' Thus you witness against yourselves that you are sons of those who murdered the prophets. Fill up, then, the measure of your fathers. You serpents, you brood of vipers, how are you to escape being sentenced to hell? Therefore I send you prophets and wise men and scribes, some of whom you will kill and crucify, and some you will flog in your synagogues and persecute from town to town, so that on you may come all the righteous blood shed on earth, from the blood of innocent Abel to the blood of Zechariah the son of Barachiah, whom you murdered between the sanctuary and the altar. Truly, I say to you, all these things will come upon this generation.
How often do we say "We would never have done that"? We are more civilized, more enlightened then our ancestors. In the church how often do we say, when going through a conflict, "we would never do what so and so are doing"? Yet we do. Here the leaders paid homage to the dead prophets, killed by their forefathers. Saying they would never do the same, but at the same time plotting to kill The Christ. How often are we blind to our own hypocrisy?

Church of Jesus Christ WAKE UP! Let go of all that hinders (Hebrews 12:1) and run the race for Him! He is crying out to us too! He longs to gather us as children under his wings. Let God open our eyes and ears so that we can say we have persevered, and are not like the scribes, Pharisees and Hypocrites!

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Monday, June 14, 2010

500th Post! Well actually 504th post, but whose counting!

Thought I should recognize my 500th post! I can't believe I've made it, especially since I have been blogging so little. I have been mulling over this post for days, thinking what clever thing can I do? What do I want to do?

First of all I want to recognize a few people who are such an encouragement to me in the blogging world:

Mari @ My Little Corner of the World - If I get one comment on a post, it is from Mari! She is such a faithful bloggy friend and church friend. Thanks Mari for always coming by and leaving a sweet comment!

E- Mom @ Chrysalis - E-Mom has always had wise words of advice for me here in bloggydom and on Facebook. I so appreciate all the things I learn from her and her blog!

Linda @ Mocha with Linda - First of all I love her book reviews! Sometimes I have way to many books to read because of her (shame on you Linda!!!) Also when she posts her "Then Sings My Soul Saturday" posts, I'm always brought back to my childhood, with all the wonderful old hymns! I don't know where she finds those videos!!! She is so funny, and sometimes I think she's the Texas me because our lives have paralleled at times.

There are so many blogs that I still love to go to, and get so much enjoyment from, just not as often as I used too! Thanks for everything!

O.K. now I have a selfish request! I have never gotten many comments on my blog, and I would love to see how many comments I can get for my 500th post. Since I don't get many people by these days, I was wondering if I could get help from my faithful readers : - ) There will be something in it for those who comment.

Since there are three things I love: My Heavenly Father, Coffee and Stones, I would like to have a give away to one commenter. A copy of one of my favorite devotionals, a pounds of my favorite coffee (Winter Wonderland (I drink it in the summer too, tee hee)), and a stone from my favorite place on earth, the UP of Michigan!

Thanks for the ride!

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Thursday, June 10, 2010

Cyrus - "God's Annointed"

The other day while reading the first chapter of a book by R.C. Sproul called "Holy, Holy, Holy, Praising the Perfections of God", he quoted from Isaiah Chapter 45, verses 1-8. It just blew my mind! Cyrus was called my anointed one! A Gentile King, one who did not know God, and he was still God's anointed. This passage again shows me the sovereignty of God. It shows me how God's hand is over all things, even those who do not proclaim His name are used by him. Nebuchadnezzar was used to discipline God's Children, Cyrus was used to redeem God's child and to restore them back to their land so that prophecy could be fulfilled. I want to take it section by section and point out to you what I saw:

Isaiah 45:1-8

"This is what the LORD says to his anointed,
to Cyrus, whose right hand I take hold of
to subdue nations before him
and to strip kings of their armor,
to open doors before him
so that gates will not be shut:

2 I will go before you
and will level the mountains a]">[a] ;
I will break down gates of bronze
and cut through bars of iron.

First of all as I studied this I learned that Isaiah spoke this prophecy 150 years before Cyrus' birth. Isn't that amazing! A gentile king being spoken of as God's anointed. God tells him I will take your "right" hand and subdue, strip, open doors, and gates won't be shut before him. In other words "What you will do will succeed because I am the one doing it, not you. You may think it's all you and your advisers, but not so much (my emphasis)".

3 I will give you the treasures of darkness,
riches stored in secret places,
so that you may know that I am the LORD,
the God of Israel, who summons you by name.

"so that you may know that I am the LORD, the God of Israel, who summons you by name." How did this make Cyrus feel? When I did my study of Ezekiel I noticed the phrase "then they will know that I am the LORD" over and over again. God has been continually revealing himself to us from the beginning of time. Those who say you cannot know God are lying. He has revealed himself and still is revealing himself! That is why I love the Old Testament so much. My Father God, and all his Holiness is revealed so powerfully!

4 For the sake of Jacob my servant,
of Israel my chosen,
I summon you by name
and bestow on you a title of honor,
though you do not acknowledge me.

Now this one for me is a hum dinger! "For the sake of Jacob my servant, of Israel my chosen". On so many levels this is powerful! Just like Nebuchadnezzar was used to punish Israel (See Jeremiah 25:9. Cyrus was to redeem and restore Israel. He was sent to provide the way to get the Israelites back to the Holy Land, where the Christ (the true Anointed one) would be born. One thing I want to point out here is the fact that Israel is God's chosen. Please remember that God is the Covenant keeper. He is Immutable (meaning he cannot change). So Israel is still his chosen. The great thing is "the Church" is now part of his chose people through Christ, but that does not negate the covenant made between God and Abraham. The Jews still are not making decisions that God is pleased with, but they are still His chosen people. One last point that struck me on this portion is scripture. Sometimes God brings trials and adversity into our life's for our good. The Israelites were punished through Nebuchadnezzar for their good, and they were redeemed through Cyrus for their good. Good and bad come down from the hands of a Sovereign God.

5 I am the LORD, and there is no other;
apart from me there is no God.
I will strengthen you,
though you have not acknowledged me,

This passage just shouts! Cyrus did not have to acknowledge God to be used by God! How many people today are being used by God to fulfill his plan, and they are not even aware of it? They believe it is they that control their destiny. If you are ever told this - do not believe it - it is a lie from satan sent to turn your eyes from God back unto yourself. Our life is in God's hands. Our future is in God's hands. His plan has been marching forward every since, even before time began. I hope this gives you comfort. It does me! I have come to find peace, even when I see all that is going on in the world today. They way that Christians are viewed already in this country is enough to make one lose a sense of peace, but then we refocus our eyes back on The One True God whose plan is being played out. Knowing full well that in the end we will be victorious, and already are victorious in Christ Jesus!

6 so that from the rising of the sun
to the place of its setting
men may know there is none besides me.
I am the LORD, and there is no other.

7 I form the light and create darkness,
I bring prosperity and create disaster;
I, the LORD, do all these things.

8 "You heavens above, rain down righteousness;
let the clouds shower it down.
Let the earth open wide,
let salvation spring up,
let righteousness grow with it;

I, the LORD, have created it.

He is the LORD! There is no one like Him! He has created and sustained the heavens and the earth! He and He alone is to be praised! We are his workmanship created for good works that he has created in advanced for us to do (Eph 2:10). Dictators, Terrorists, Presidents, Senators, Governors, you name it, they are only they because God would have them be there. Take heart brothers and sisters! Stand firm! Keep your eyes on the prize and continue to bring Him glory in all that you do!

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Monday, June 7, 2010

Marriage Monday - Honeymoon Memories

1st Monday Every Month at Chrysalis
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We were married on July 22, 1995. It was a great day, with the promise of looking forward to Gatlinburg, TN the following day. We had a cabin on hold for us at I believe Cades Cove. The car was loaded up and ready for our trip the following morning.

I didn't know it through the whole wedding day or into the evening the my new husband was in intense pain from kidney stones. I thought from time to time, he doesn't really seem to be enjoying the "Happiest day of his life!", but he never said anything to me.

Well that changed at about 10:30 at night in the hotel room he so lovingly rented for us. He told me he had been feeling kidney pain for 3 days but didn't want to tell me because he knew it would stress me out. Sweet sentiment, but seriously I wish he had told me. Well by 12:00 we were on our way to the hospital, where my new hubby was put on morphine and I filled the time walking around, or reading outdated magazines.

Needless to say we couldn't leave Michigan, so we cancelled our cabin in Tennessee. Even though the lady felt bad we still lost our deposit. Well being me I started thinking of other options. I found a bed and breakfast in Harbor Springs, MI (a little resort time) called Kimberly Country Estates (appropriate right, since my name is Kim). Well at first Steve balked at going because it was really prices, but his brother told him basically dude you have to give her that, so we spent one night there. It was beautiful and secluded. They had these beautiful thick and thirsty robes that I loved. Since we got married a week before my 31st birthday Steve surprised me by purchasing one.

After the night at Kimberly Country Estates, we headed for northern Michigan. Mackinaw City to be exact. We stayed in our little tent at the Tee Pee Campground in Mackinaw. I don't know if you've ever been there, but if you get the chance it's a great place to go.

On my birthday we headed over to Mackinaw Island. Now that is a great vacation spot! 2 weeks before we got married we purchased roller blades, so being the smart people we are, we decided to roller blade around the island. Did you know that Mackinaw Island is 8 miles around. Needless to say we were wasted by the time we made it around that place. We went back to the campground and collapsed!

The rest of the week was spent in Northern Michigan, and the Upper Peninsula. It was a great week!

Steve passed his Kidney Stone a week later. This July we CELEBRATE 15 wonderful years of marriage! I thank God everyday with my wonderful husband, and can't wait to see what other adventures we get into together.

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Sunday, June 6, 2010

Enrique's Journey - Me trying to understand Illegal Immigration - Final Installment

Well this is the final post on Enrique's Journey. It has helped to write about it, and clarify it in my head.

Enrique is now in America. It has not been as he or his mother would have thought or wished it would have been. He is angry, and still fills abandoned, or that his mother will again abandon him. She is frustrated over his lack of respect and the fact that she still has one child (her daughter) in Honduras. Enrique also has a daughter back in Honduras. His girlfriend gave birth after he left.

To me this situation is humanly hopeless. I say humanly because if God were allow to govern peoples live; if they gave him control, we would not have these issues. But because we are evil all the time (Genesis 6:5), this situation will continue to go on. Below are some things that struck me:

  • Illegal migrants are able to get driver's license. Enrique was charged with driving while impaired. In the book it talks about how nearly 4 times as many Hispanic drivers as non-Hispanic drivers in North Carolina have been charged with driving while impaired. I find it amazing that he could get a drivers license while not being here legal. And when charged all he had to pay was $1,000 and tell the judge he was sorry. No deportation.
  • These immigrants can buy fake ID's, and then find work. (Here again it is not the legal way, but illegal)
  • In Honduras if you are a woman and over the age of 25 or 28 you are no longer considered for many jobs. Middle age women have 3 options: Washing and Ironing clothes, cleaning houses, or making tortillas at home. These jobs pay $50 to $90 per month. A family needs $350 a month minimum.
  • A quote from Enrique to his aunt or cousin: "You think that filling our bellies is the same thing as love." Enrique was basically on his own from the age of 5. At this point in the book also Enrique moves away from his mother. She says "Her live is in Florida with her "de facto husband", daughter (who was born in US) and sister. "You never acknowledged me as a real mother. I have to work at my life with my husband now". When did Enrique, or any child like him, have a mother?
  • Despite the increased danger, more migrants are making the attempt. Between 2001 & 2004 , the number of Central American migrants detained and deported each year by Mexico nearly doubled, to more then 200,000....During that same period the number of children detained by the U.S. Border Patrol while entering the country illegally and without either parent nearly doubled.
  • Through out Latin America, even in traditional societies such as Mexico divorce and separation are increasingly common.
  • The countries they leave benefit in different ways: Lower unemployment being one. Also the money sent back to the families brings $30 BILLION a year to Latin America alone. The cash flow makes up a whopping 15% of El Salvador's gross domestic product and is Mexico's second largest contributor to the economy after oil. Do you think they want it to end?
  • A quote from a Honduran migration official: "Keeping the family together-even if they are poor-is more important then leaving and improving their economic conditions."
  • Each year the US legally admits nearly a million people. Another 700,000 arrive illegally.
  • 36 million residents of the US were born in another country; nearly a third of those live in the US illegally.
  • Enrique and his mother disagree about the impact of this on the US. Enrique says that were he an American citizen, he would want to curtail illegal immigration. He admits he does not contribute no taxes on what he earns. Lourdes says: "To her immigrant labor is the engine that helps drive the American economy. Immigrants do the work no American wants to do. (Lazy us)
  • The immigrants notice a lack of work ethic in Americans. The native born workers take alot of breaks and work slower. The immigrants want to keep their jobs so they work harder.
  • The Center for Immigration Studies, which seeks reduced immigration levels, found that in 2002 nationwide, households headed by illegal immigrants used $26.3 billion in government services and paid $16 billion in taxes.
  • Those hardest hit by the influx of immigrants are disadvantaged native-born minorities who don't have a high school degree.
  • The Labor intensive industries in America use migrant labor to help their bottom line. (There's the greed thing again. It's not what's good or what's right, but what will make them the most money.)
There is so much more I could quote or mention from the book, but I realize this post is already getting long, so I will end with my conclusion.

  • I am still very much against "illegal immigration". No matter the circumstances that one faces, several wrongs do not make things right. With the choices these people are making there is destruction left in the wake.
  • Even though my heart grieves for these people, I cannot condemn their method. It would be tantamount to saying that those who live in poverty anywhere can rob, sell drugs or kill because they live in impoverished conditions.
  • This issue will not be away or be solved, because of greed, incompetence and apathy. Also no one is working for the greater good, but for themselves. The rich need the migrants for cheap labor, and they have become such a fabric of our society that truly our economy would suffer if they weren't here.
  • In the end the biggest thing for me is it's just WRONG. Period. It's illegal. Follow the proper channels. Come to America, come the right way, not the dishonest way. Come and make the most of what America has to offer, but do not slink in her in the cover of darkness to take what would be given to you freely, if you came the right way.
O.K. I think that's it. At least I feel better about getting it off my chest.

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Saturday, June 5, 2010

Enrique's Journey - Me trying to understand Illegal Immigration Part 2

Today I want to cover the journey Enrique and thousands (and I do mean thousands) attempt every day. Some successfully and others unsuccessfully by either being deported, maimed by the trains they ride, or beaten by gangsters, bad cops, and badly hurt or killed.

There were parts in this book that were so very hard to read. The journey is around 1500 miles long. The majority of the trip is done by jumping on and off trains. The state of Chaipus Mexico is very dangerous to pass through. That is where most of the gangsters go that have been deported from the US because of criminal activity. I cannot decide if the country of Mexico cares or even knows what their citizens do to these migrants. Also what state employees are doing to them as well. Enrique was badly beaten up by a gang that demanded money. His injuries almost killed him and left him with several scars, both inside and physical. Where most of the really bad physical injuries come from though are trains. Jumping off and getting on. One wrong move and the train sucks the person under the wheels. Here is a quote from the book: "At a rate of nearly one every other day, the Red Cross estimates, U.S. bound Central American migrants who ride freight trains lose arms, legs, hands or feet. ...It does not count those who die instantly when they are cut in half or decapitated." Enter an angel unaware: Olga Sanchez Martinez. This woman's story is amazing in itself, but I'm not going to go into her whole story, just know that she takes in these people, who others treat badly. She ministers to them. These people wish to die, but Olga tells them "God has a plan for you. You will learn to live another way". She is a wonderful testament to God's love and grace, and she gives testimony of God's goodness to all those she helps. She has opened a shelter for these amputees called: The Shelter of Jesus the Good Shepherd. Through this book I have developed a desire to reach out to her and help her with her mission. Olga has had to beg for food to help these people. She is truly showing them the love of Christ. Here is a website about the book. It includes a website where you can send money to help, if you feel led.

There are many other people who show kindness to these migrants, while others look down on them and abuse them. Sounds familiar doesn't it. It really doesn't matter where in the world you are from, there are evil people everywhere.

These people suffer much on this journey. It is a testament to their determination and desperation. Going to the "land of milk and honey". Where everything will be great, and they will be able to help their families back home. So sad that this isn't always the case.

It takes Enrique 122 days to make the trip.

When things calm down both mother and son have many struggles. Most of them stemming from the fact that he harbors anger and resentment over her living and her believing he should respect her because of her sacrifice. Many times they fight over this issue, never to a resolution that benefits both of them.

One thing I forgot to mention and with this I will close today's post, with one more tomorrow. These illegal immigrants are preyed on. Not only by the gangsters and bad police, but by people that say they want to help them. They have people that say they will smuggle their children into the US for a sum of money and then disappear with the money. Lourdes (Enrique's Mom) also tried to become a US citizen (of course again not through the proper route) and was bilked of a few thousand dollars that she could have sent to her children. Another bad decision on her part. It never ceases to amaze me the evil in men's hearts, where they will prey on the poor and desperate. It again proves the verses in Genesis 6 & 9 "Men are evil from birth". Without Christ we are truly lost!

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Thursday, June 3, 2010

Enrique's Journey" - Me trying to understand illegal immigration

Recently in a Facebook status I asked for someone to enlighten me about illegal immigration and why some seem to think it is O.K. My nephew and sister in law told me to read the above book and it would help me understand. I have read the book and this post is to help flesh out my thoughts and feelings about the issue, and the final conclusion I have come to believe.

First of all let me say that my heart just breaks over the poverty and corruption in this world. Reading this book was very hard because I could see and feel the abject poverty that would make someone decide to do something like this. I feel empathy for the migrants that make this journey, and I wish so badly that their governments cared for them as they should (more on that later).

After reading the first 25 pages here is what I saw:

  • Father's abandoning their families
  • Government's not helping their people (maybe from corruption or maybe because of the country being poor, I don't know)
  • Mother's making a desperate decision, how be it wrong (as it states in the book Enrique would have rather dug through the dump and still have his mother, then what she could give him by leaving) to leave their children.
  • The mothers are seeing false advertising about the USA. The pictures they have are of New York, Las Vegas and Disney. Now there's a clear picture of the US isn't it. Once they get here (and that journey is unreal) they realize that "all that glitters is not gold". They have been told a lie, and leave all that is precious in search of that lie.
  • Kids just want their MOM's. No matter what country they are from.
  • The government cannot and will not be able to help everyone. This goes for Latin America's government and ours. That is a pipe dream. There is not enough money in the world that can solve the world's issues. What needs to happen is we need to practice what the Bible teaches about helping the poor, widows and children. (James 1:27). We are all called (as Christians) to help others. To put others before ourselves. To remember the poor (Paul writes about this in Galatians).
That was all from the first 25 pages! So now the book is finished and I have much to process. After Enrique's mother left, he was shuttled from place to place. His father "left" him with his grandmother and started another family. One of the things that just hits me so hard is the fracturing of the family. It is not only happening here in the US but all over the world. Parents (in this case the fathers) are abandoning their God given rolls and responsibilities and it begins the process of destruction that can never be repaired. Enrique's mother has been gone for 10 years before he starts his journey. 10 years of promises to return, for visit, for Christmas, etc.... 10 years of desire and questions in a boys mind of why his mother abandoned him. And this book clearly states that most if not all children left behind feel abandoned. I have so many dog ears in this book where there are things I desire to quote, but I'm afraid there's to many, but I will quote one here. This quote is from a portion of the book that discusses what happens after the children are brought to America: "Inside Murillo's office, children usually fire the first salvo: "I know you don't love me. That's why you left me there." Some mother's to avoid traumatic farewells, told their children they were going out to the market, or to see their children's teachers, and instead leave for the United States." These relationships cannot be repaired (unless of course God is given control). The book states that the children begin to look elsewhere for love and belonging. The boys go to gangs, and the girls longing for unconditional love get pregnant young.

This post is getting to be long and I haven't even begun to go over Enrique's journey, so I guess I will do as many post as it takes to process this material and conclude my thoughts. I hope that these posts stir in you a desire to not only read the book, but consider what you can do to not just understand the situation, but to possibly do what you can for any who are poor. They are all around us.

Stay tuned for part 2.......

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