Now or Never

Avid readers of Breaking Israel News should not have been surprised by last week’s earthquakes in California. That’s because BIN published an article in December of 2018, citing a rabbinic source pointing to the super blood moon over Washington D.C. as a sign that the upcoming year will be marked by increased volcanic activity.

“A lunar eclipse in the month of Shevat is a sign of the rise of the aspect of din (judgment) in the world,” Rabbi Genut told Breaking Israel News - “This eclipse will rule over the Americas but for Israel, it will bring chesed (loving-kindness).”  Just as the eclipse is a conflict between the sun and the moon to rule over the heavens, there will be a similar conflict on earth. This will begin a time when governments are in balance. Some governments that seem powerful right now will fall and others will rise in their place.”

We read a lot these days about the conflicts in this world of ours; the problem is that we often forget that this is not our world.  It has always belonged to our Creator and how He must mourn over the way we live and how we have departed from what He intended.  Has He had enough?  While I realize that we cannot and should not believe everything we read I do believe that we should take some time with our Creator to determine what He has in mind for our days, our thoughts and our actions.  In the book of Isaiah, we read – In returning and rest you shall be saved; in quietness and confidence shall be your strength (30:15).

I think in the hustle and bustle of our days we often forget what our hearts know, what many of us have been taught over the years.  We are so intent on solving our own problems we forget that there has always been one both eager and willing to help us.  How often have we heard the words – “I can do it myself”.  While those might be good words for one who is learning and trying to stand on his own feet nevertheless growth and wisdom should cause us to know that the best of life comes from allowing our Heavenly Father to be a part of it, to show us His way and to walk in it.

Unfortunately, in today’s world many of our friends and neighbors have not had the opportunity to learn about their Creator and are only aware of the things they can see and/or fix.  Even those of us who have heard and know better have let the world’s fear place us in chains.  Why is it so easy to forget?  Isaiah reminds us of something we should always be aware of – Say to those who are fearful-hearted, “Be strong, do not fear! Behold, your God will come with vengeance, with the recompense if God; He will come and save you” (35:4).

In our war-torn world of today, we need to remind ourselves that we are not alone.  We have always had a Father who cares for us and has the power to restore both our world and ourselves to the path He originally desired.  All we have to do is ask and then follow His leading in the weeks ahead.  All of us are familiar with the words from The Lord’s Prayer – lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil, for Thine is the Kingdom – it has always been and always will be His Kingdom and His world no matter how hard we strive to make it otherwise.  Why don’t we simply get smart and thank Him for His provision and for loving us so very much?

Stand up, stand up for Jesus, the strife will not be long;
This day the noise of battle, the next the victor’s song;
To him that overcometh, a crown of life shall be;
He with the King of Glory shall reign eternally.

Help in the Storm

With so many things on each daily schedule we do a good bit of running these days, but we all long for the moments when we can slow down, catch our breath and grab a bit of rest and relaxation. Sometimes it seems hard to find that important time, and we wonder how long we can continue at the current pace. It seems to me to be harder to find these days. I wonder why that is. Is it that our list has become so long that we have misplaced our priorities? At the end of the day do we find ourselves telling the Lord, our God that we will do better tomorrow; that we will truly make the time to bring our Creator up to date on what we have accomplished and plead His indulgence for what we have left undone?

It does seem that the pace of life has changed even as we recall the inventions that are saving us more time than our ancestors had. They had to actually wash and dry the dishes as well as hand wash the clothes they wore. We have so much more time than they did, but have we used that time wisely? I imagine that you, like me, would have to agree that we have wasted an awful lot of it. So, admitting that what do we do now? While true, it makes little difference whether we sweep the floor again or choose another task do we ever ask ourselves what our Lord would have us do with our extra time. It doesn’t take a wise man to tell us that there are an awful lot of problems in life today. Is there something that we can do? Indeed, most of us don’t consider the problems of the world beyond our door, but it is also true that some people and situations could well use some time and effort if offered.

He calms the storms, so that its waves are still (Psalm 107:29). For You have been….a refuge from the storm (Isaiah 25:4). It sounds to me as if we have no worries in the storms of life because our Creator, who loves us, will be with us. Does that comfort you; it does me, but what about our neighbors? Sometimes a storm can indeed cause a change of direction in our lives which we may not understand, but it is also true that the One who created us will lead and guide us through this world if we will only trust Him to do so. It may be true that we do not always realize who is doing the leading, but if we ask and listen, usually we will have a Peace that gives us the answer.

Our Creator did not create us and then leave us to make the best of things. Whether we realize it or not He desires to share with us the blessings He has provided if we will only let Him. We are so used to having a contractor do a job, get paid and leave that we rarely realize that the One who made us is enjoying with us the beauty of life as well as its troubles. Maybe we could try to accept His help with joy and thanksgiving and pass it on to those who do not know Him.

I wonder how often we allow His presence in our day to day lives. Do we only call on Him in times of trouble? Shame on us! If you are an adult with children, you should know the enjoyment you receive when your child excels or is blessed beyond your expectations. If you are young and alone, you still should be filled with thanksgiving when things are going smoothly in your life. Our Father loves to share both the good and bad times with His children; surely, that is the least we can do for Him and His other children in return for what He has already given us.

At the cross, at the cross where I first saw the light
And the burden of my life rolled away;
It was there by faith I received my sight,
And now I am happy all the day!

The Way

All of us, whether young or old, never ceases to make plans for tomorrow. We always have so very much to do and often wonder how we can accomplish it. And yet we often forget or refuse to accept that there is and has always been a plan for our life. If you are wise enough to admit that you will still wonder who has the predominant choice over your daily activities. Sometimes it may be good to put off thinking about tomorrow, but it doesn’t change the fact that we were born with a specific purpose in God’s plan. As you get older, do you ever wonder if you have done what you were created for? I have, and I will tell you that it is no fun to realize that you may have missed something or done something not wise in God’s eyes.

Can we avoid the mistakes life frequently throws in our lives? We may never achieve perfection, but I believe we can live a life the end of which will be “well done” by a Father who loves us. I have learned over many years that often the best way to avoid the big mistakes is to take the time each day to tell the Father of our love for Him and ask Him to guide our footsteps through the turmoil and temptations of this misguided earthly world. While we don’t look to the end of our lives when we are young that time will come and with it no opportunity to go back and correct our mistakes. Therefore, the best solution is to face each day with a desire to please our Lord as well as enjoy the day He has given us. It will become easier and easier as we follow His leading, and it is never too late to start.

As human beings, we are always thinking about tomorrow, but His Word tells us in the book of Matthew Therefore, do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its things. Sufficient for the day is its trouble (6:34). I realize that trips and grocery store visits often require some thinking ahead, but have we let thinking consume too much of our time? Should we not be asking each day “Father, is there something You would have me do today.” We were not created just to live, but to accomplish our Father’s work. He knew that His creation would wander and that He would need workers on His behalf. Our greatest pleasure should be to please Him.

It doesn’t take much time reading or listening to today’s news to realize that our time and that of our children is passing faster than we would have imagined. Can we afford to let another day pass before we consider what our Creator placed us here for? Would you rather work for the money to live tomorrow or the assurance that tomorrow would be where you really want it to be?

The book of Psalms tells us that for the kingdom is the Lord’s, and He rules over the nations (22:28). Those are not just kind words; they are the truth which we cannot ignore. We do not have the last say, our Creator does. Okay, so where do we go from here? It doesn’t mean that we just have to consider these words for one day or we will get a whipping from our parents; it means that our daily life on this earth should manifest itself according to the purpose for which it was created. Is this possible? Well, to be honest, probably not one hundred percent, but surely, we can make an effort to please the One who bothered to create us in the first place. There is another reason which many will never really appreciate but is right all the same. Those who choose to please our Father will find themselves reaping a life that is abundant and full of joy and peace.

But to every man there openeth
A high way and a low,
And every man decideth
The way his soul shall go.
- John Oxenham

Our God

Our Help in ages past, our hope for years to come. Do we ever stop in the middle of a day’s trials to remember and be thankful for why we even exist, and then why we have been so blessed? Why would anyone care so much for little old me who is not worth all that much.? And yet if we spend a little more time to sit quietly and ponder life maybe there is a reason. If that is true, have I followed the plan for my life? Have I pleased the Father who deigned to create me? Have I fulfilled my purpose?

We all are familiar with the words “in the beginning God created.” Do you ever wonder why? If He is in charge, why is the world in such a bad condition? Free will? Is that really important; I mean look at what it has done for us. We are in worse shape today than we have ever been. Besides the physical calamities that are happening to this world currently what has been going on with mankind throughout these years? We are thankful in moments when things are going well (at least sometimes we are) but then when we are the cause of confusion and sin, we make excuses and often blame someone else. How did all this come to be?

It’s that free will bit! God knew in His wisdom that creating a world full of robots would not be at all satisfying, so He gave us choices. Just off the top of my head, that seems like a logical decision. And yet as we look at the world today, it obviously was not. He had to have known it would be this way, so why. Because wisdom tells us that which is not freely given is not worth anything and never will be. The Father desired that His children would love Him, so He willingly allowed us to discover this for ourselves. And He was right!

So here we are today in a world with many wonderful inventions, lovely homes with good food to eat and lots of exciting things to do when we can find the time. So what are we doing – rushing around like a bunch of chickens waiting to have our heads cut off? It often seems that way when we stop to look at the way our world is turning. Yes, it is true that in today’s world, we seem to have everything we could want, and yet we keep searching for something more. Is it because we keep hoping to find what we need without having to pay the cost?

Strange, we have always had the answer – In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God (John 1:1-2).

Such a simple solution and yet we have spent years trying to prove that we can “do it ourselves.” Isn’t it about time we give up the effort and try to know, understand, and live by God’s law? I, for one, think it is considerably past time, but I am willing to try once again to have the Lord who created me love me for who I have become and what I am willing to give up and do to accomplish His purpose for His world.

Your word I have hidden in my heart, that I might not sin against You (Psalm 119:11); Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path (119:105). Thank you, precious Lord, for loving me so much and being patient while I learn, often the hard way.

Our God, our Help in ages past,
Our hope for years to come,
Our Shelter from the stormy blast,
And our eternal Home.

The Son Is Shining

No, that is not a misspelling! It took me several minutes myself this morning before the Lord finally got His message through to my poor mind. It is a perfect day, though for His Words to come forth. We have been through a rough time as far as the weather is concerned. We are all tired of the dark, dreary days and have had more rain, flooding and loss of home and even life than we could want. It is undoubtedly a time for a change.

We have been confronted for many days with the harsh realities of this world both in the weather, our local politics and while often overlooked the growing dissatisfactions found in today’s world. Assuming that we can do nothing about any of those things we continue to mutter and wishfully think that surely tomorrow will be a better day. What will it take to make tomorrow a better day? Right! God didn’t plan on having to control all of our days; He gave us the option to make our days better and gave us the wisdom to do so as found in His Holy Bible. What are we waiting for?

A good friend once gave me a gift that is hanging on the wall where one can’t help see it as one rises to meet a new day. It is a grand reminder for life – Faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see. How often we let our emotions and actions result in what we see, as we rise to meet a new day. Shame on us! God not only gave us the option but intended for us to rule our surroundings by what we believe. We are a long way from the garden to the trials and tribulations of this day. Surely it is time to wake up to our responsibilities.

I can hear you saying – but I am just one person, what can I do. The Father didn’t create us to have the ability that only He has, but He did hope that we would carry on His desires for His world to the best of our ability. Surely that is what we should be doing each and every day that presents itself before us. Maybe if we had our world would be in a much better shape today. However, who is to say that we couldn’t do our part at this time and maybe others would see and follow suit and who knows, perhaps we could bring some beauty and peace back to our war-torn and confused world.

While it is true that we don’t individually have the power to do just that we have been given the ability to utilize prayer to relay our hopes to our Creator. I believe it is true that most of us want more than anything to have peace in our world and with the One who loves us more than any other. It seems to me I have heard “when two or more are gathered together.”

John tells us in the book of Revelation that he was in the Spirit on the Lord’s Day (1:10) and that he heard behind him a loud voice saying – Do not be afraid; I am the First and the Last (17). I wonder what ever made us think we would have the last word. Maybe we should take some time and ponder over who we want to have that privilege.

Joyful, joyful, we adore thee, God of glory, Lord of love; 
hearts unfold like flowers before thee, opening to the sun above. 
Melt the clouds of sin and sadness; drive the dark of doubt away. 
Giver of immortal gladness, fill us with the light of day! 

Thou art giving and forgiving, ever blessing, ever blest,
Well-spring of the joy of living, ocean depth of happy rest!
Thou our Father, Christ our Brother, all who live in love are Thine;
Teach us how to love each other, lift us to the Joy Divine.

To Surrender All

Surrender is a word that we often refuse to accept in this day unless we have to. We will go through all kinds of situations to avoid even the suggestion of surrender, and yet all of us already know that there will come a time if it hasn’t already when we will have no choice.

While it is true that as children we often had to give up to our parents' way of thinking, as adults, we are used to handling our problems in our way and mostly without any outside help. I can remember, however, my parents telling me that I should always come to them for help when I ran across something that I couldn’t handle. It was not to be a reflection of weakness but of wisdom.

I wonder how many of us have accepted that wisdom because it doesn’t take any effort to see the struggles that occur in today’s world. However, if you are a parent I know you are pleased when your children actually come to you for help rather than making an even bigger mess by their own efforts. Do you think God looks down on His creation not only knowing what will happen but still hoping His children will see the light and let Him share in their lives? He spoke to many in the early days of this world, hoping I am sure that they would see the light and share their wisdom with those who would be coming thereafter.

It doesn’t take much thought to recognize that our world is vastly different today and managing to get worse by the moment. Could it really be too late to change our thinking and work together to achieve a world worthy of God’s intent? He knew from the beginning what would happen, but you have probably heard the expression that “hope springs eternal in the human breast”. However, we usually apply that to the individual life and attempt to pull ourselves up by our bootstraps and try, try again. Why is it that we are thinking that our Creator meant all of us to do what needs to be done by ourselves? God’s original thinking seems to me to be that we should be open to sharing both the good and bad times, both the new and old thinking. Obviously, when He told us to love one another it didn’t require that we all look or think the same or even have the same talents. Within the framework of His plan, we were to love one another and share the diversity of our time and talents.

While it doesn’t take any effort at all to see the diversity of our universe it really is a good thing to be different and to have different talents which were meant to be shared in order to form a more perfect whole. None of us were meant to have all the talent or wisdom; we were meant as a joint endeavor to fashion a perfect world full of all that was needed for life, individual pleasure and joint thanksgiving as children of one Heavenly Father. Guess what, we have failed miserably. However, there is no law saying we can’t go back to square one and try again.

As we read about or listen to today’s world events and come to the realization that things couldn’t be worse maybe we should bow our heads, ask for forgiveness and the opportunity to begin once again to create what the Father envisioned and gave His Son’s life for..

All to Jesus I surrender, All to Him I freely give;
I will ever love and trust Him, In His presence daily live.
I surrender all, I surrender all.
All to Thee, my blessed Savior, I surrender all.

My Will or Thy Will?

In the complexities of life, have you ever felt like you needed help, and there was no one available to help or to care?  The truth is that there has always been help for us if we would ask.  I wonder why we often don’t recall that or don’t feel like our problem is worthy of asking.  After all, why would someone as important as the Creator of this world want to deal with the trivialities of my insignificant life?  Have we forgotten when things weren’t going quite right that He sent His Son to show us how to live and the work we had to do before we return to His and our Home?

If you look wisely at the world in which we live you will find several different groups of people – those who know Him and strive to do His work, those who have heard of Him but have too many things of their own to do and those who have never heard of Him.  Our Father knew this would be the case and so as He created us. He also gave us the talents and time to fill in the blanks for those less fortunate.  The problem seems to be that we have given ourselves too much credit and believe that we have more important things to do and will do it later when we have more time.  Shame on us!  If we are fortunate as we age, we will come to terms with the responsibilities that we were originally given and strive to change our priorities.  Yes, I know time seems to have grown shorter, but there is still a portion of time left.  Is there anything we can do to make up for our failures?

It seems to me that there was one thing we should have noted and that should have been placed on a board where we would look each and every day for the notations of what needs to be done that day - Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be Thy name.  Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.  How often do we forgive those who have wronged us?  How often do we strive to accomplish what the Lord has placed us here to do?  How often do we thank Him for simply loving us enough to give His very life for us?  

I can’t speak for you, but I have to admit that it has caused me many tears to acknowledge the things that I have not done.  The big question is: Will I continue to live the way I have become accustomed to or will I seriously attempt to be the person He created me to be? Am I more concerned about my will being done or “THY will” being accomplished? We have become so accustomed to our lists and what we must accomplish tomorrow that we very rarely accept the fact that our Lord also has a list that He made when He created us.  Just maybe it is time for us to slow down and reconsider the purpose for which we were created.

You may be saying to yourself at this point that you don’t believe you have the talents, the courage or even the knowledge to accomplish your task, but have you forgotten that your Father has already given you just exactly what is needed to do what He created you for?  All we really need to do is to tell Him that we are sorry we have been dragging our feet and ask Him to show us where and how to fulfill the purpose of life that He gave us.

Our Father, who art in heaven, Hallowed be Thy name.
Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our debts
As we forgive our debtors.
And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil,
For Thine is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever.

The Value of One’s Path

In today’s world we find value placed differently by individual thinking.  Does it matter that we all think differently?  Our languages and life styles are different and we accept that without a problem.  Is there any area in life where we need or even should all place value in the same place?  That’s not a trick question, but one we all should answer.  I imagine that all of you who are bothering to read this will know where I am headed and yet we continue to define that value in so many different ways.  How is that possible?  I know there are many different languages and many different understandings of single words.  While that is true for many different reasons there is only one acceptable ending for each and every life that passes through this world in which we live.  This is not a trick question.  Although we speak different languages, wear different clothes, and enjoy different delicacies with many different life habits, the absolute truth is that there is only one absolute that will govern the future of each life ever created – that is ONE GOD.

You would think that would mean that we would all get along.  While it is true that life might be a good deal more boring, I wonder just why our Creator chose this way of doing things.  Is it possible that if we all thought the same way it might limit our acceptance and knowledge of the simple fact that HE is over and above the possibility of our understanding?  If we were all the same, it would surely limit our desire for growth and take away any effort we might make to become the blessing that God intended.  To be a hair ridiculous can you imagine how disappointing it would be if all the ice cream in the world were simply vanilla?

Same language, same look, same purpose = boring!

 Okay, so how do we handle the privilege that He gave us, the ability to manage our own lives and make our own decisions?  It is true that if we were all the same, we would be complaining because there would be nothing new under the sun; nothing new to see, to eat, to do – boring!  Surely there is more to life.  I wonder what the Lord is thinking as we all go our own way – there are many things to do and see and many to help and to influence into a better path and/or a way of thinking.  We all will find our final road that leads us back to our Creator, but it will be our way through all the trials and tribulations of life.  Each of us will travel a different road, but if we are fortunate it will be the one the Lord planned for us to take.  Life demands many different solutions, not just one.  Of course, there is a major decision which we all must make and hopefully many of us will take the right road, the one our God planned for us to take and to do what He planned for us to do.

We hope to be smart enough and big enough to accept the fact that life would be dull if we were all the same.  Therefore – I wonder why it is that we cannot see this truth and relish in it.  We may wish to make our own decision as to our future, but when all is said and done, we will probably recognize and understand that God made the smarter decision with a smarter reason.  We are told in the book of Matthew – Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them.  Are you not of more value than they? (Matthew 6:26).

I pray your immediate answer will naturally be -

Take my will and make it Thine; It shall be no longer mine.
Take my heart; it is Thine own; It shall be Thy royal throne.
Take my love; my Lord I pour at Thy feet its treasure store.
Take myself and I will be ever, only, all for Thee.