Correction

Several people expressed concerns regarding a quote from David Wilkerson in my last post, Peace Is A Person, regarding what they felt was an incorrect quote from David Wilkerson. I took their concerns to heart and added a link to my source, but new information has now come to light that they were correct. The article has now been edited and scriptural documentation about God’s awareness of all that happens has replaced the former quote.

We all need each other to stay on God’s pathway of truth, to keep each other honest so to speak, and I appreciate those who both commented online and sent private emails regarding this issue.

Peace Is A Person

FEAR NOT PICI often forget what I’ve written in days gone by, especially on this blog that has been sort of off my radar for some time since I’ve been busy writing elsewhere. So, when I posted Paul Knight’s recording, Afraid? just a few moments ago, I was surprised to see my own post, Shelter In Place, from March 5, 2020!

God has not been taken by surprise by the Coronavirus threat the world faces today, and He is still our refuge, as is clear in Psalm 91. He not only knew the days of our lives that were appointed for us, but also is aware of every word before we speak it. In this time we can take great comfort in His truth as expressed in Psalm 139:1-18:

O Lord, you have searched me and known me! You know when I sit down and when I rise up; you discern my thoughts from afar. You search out my path and my lying down and are acquainted with all my ways. Even before a word is on my tongue, behold, O Lord, you know it altogether. You hem me in, behind and before, and lay your hand upon me. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is high; I cannot attain it. Where shall I go from your Spirit? Or where shall I flee from your presence? If I ascend to heaven, you are there! If I make my bed in Sheol, you are there! If I take the wings of the morning and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea, even there your hand shall lead me, and your right hand shall hold me. If I say, “Surely the darkness shall cover me, and the light about me be night,” even the darkness is not dark to you;the night is bright as the day, for darkness is as light with you. For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well. My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them. How precious to me are your thoughts, O God! How vast is the sum of them! If I would count them, they are more than the sand. I awake, and I am still with you.

Yesterday I wrote the preface for a new book, a portion of which I will share here:

By the time this book is published, the pandemic will be history; but as Jesus foretold, the latter days, or end times, will be rife with terrible and frightening events. Even so, His promise remains certain:

Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid. (John 14:27)

Contrary to the media, Christianity is not against science. Rather, the media hates Christianity and denies God’s righteousness; it denies the reality of His truth regarding the spiritual world, which the Bible identifies as the heavenly places. Oh, fictional supernatural thrillers and super heroes are fine, but in the physical realm our supernatural God is unwelcome by many. 

During this stressful time, not-so-helpful suggested coping mechanisms I’ve read include:

    • Embrace the resiliency of life; after all, regardless of what happens, human life will go on and years from now this will be just a distant memory
    • Take a deep breath, hold it for ten seconds and release it slowly to alleviate some of your fears
    • Burdensome to-do and not-to-do lists of things that will lessen anxiety

Regardless of the advice, unless biblically based, it all seems to come down to Ralph Waldo Emerson’s words, “Nobody can bring you peace but yourself.” Not true! Peace is not a place; it’s not a state of mind that one achieves; peace is a person, and His name is Jesus Christ:

For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called WonderfulCounselor, Mighty Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and of peace there will be no end, on the throne of David and over his kingdom to establish it and to uphold it with justice and with righteousness from this time forth and forevermore.The zeal of the Lord of hosts will do this. (Isaiah 9:6-7)

May the Prince of Peace meet you at the place of Your greatest need. Rest assured that He is able to bring you through the storm. As Jesus so often taught, fear not


 

The New Commandment

Most Christians are oh-so-familiar with Jesus’ familiar words about the first227062-20140710 and second greatest commandments, a teaching that occurred during His final week in Jerusalem, just days before the crucifixion:

And one of the scribes came up and heard them disputing with one another, and seeing that he answered them well, asked him, “Which commandment is the most important of all?” Jesus answered, “The most important is, ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.” (Mark 12:28-31 ESV)

It is a beloved passage, one that many of us have taken very seriously. But how often have we considered Jesus’ new commandment, which was given a few days later on the eve of His crucifixion as He met in the upper room with the disciples?

A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” (John 13:34-35 ESV)

As I read this passage a couple of weeks ago, late on the Thursday night before Good Friday, I was struck by how many times I’ve seen or heard it—probably hundreds over the years—but have not really pondered very deeply its significance. This new commandment far exceeds what He had spoken about previously! This commandment is to love as He loves, but how often do I/we fall terribly short of that goal? His perfect love is the mark for which we must aim and the Love Chapter, as it is often called, provides a good ‘recipe’ for love.

Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth.  Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends. (1 Corinthians 13:4-8a ESV)

Did you get that? God’s model of love is patient and kind, never jealous or boastful or proud or rude, doesn’t keep track of the offenses of others, is not happy about the wrongs of others and is very happy when truth prevails. But that’s not all; love never gives up or loses faith in others, it is always hopeful and endures hardships, and it also lasts forever. I believe that this example is only reflective of where Jesus’ love for us begins, because He was also willing to suffer and die for our sins. Anticipating his death the following day, he went on to say:

Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends. (John 15:13 ESV)

The thing is though, Jesus wasn’t just another everyday hero; you know, the kind we see on the news when a brave soldier saves others at the cost of his/her own life; or, as just happened this week, when a heroic lady at the Jewish synagogue shooting in Poway, CA threw herself into the line of fire, saving the life of her Rabbi and dying as a result. Yes, our everyday heroes do lay down their lives for their friends and that is a great love indeed, but Jesus took it a big step farther. When he willingly went to the cross, he took upon himself the punishment that was due to each of us for our sins; He died not to save our physical lives so we could thrive for a few more years on earth, but to make eternal life with God possible. Eternal life—that means unending life, living happily-ever-after forever and ever and ever—and that’s a whole lot more that anyone’s natural lifespan by a very long shot!

Considering Jesus’ new commandment to love as He had loved, I have to think that the love we think we have for others often leaves much to be desired. As we endeavor to become conformed to His image, we would do well to remember the last phrase of 1 Corinthians 13, …but the greatest of these is love. After all, this is how the world will recognize us as His disciples.

Shelter In Place

IMG_0947Recently, we re-visited some of my favorite childhood places in northern California. Wandering through Patrick’s Point State Park and marveling at the astounding beauty of the wild and magnificent north coast, I happened upon a cave set into a rock, which  immediately reminded me of Moses’ experience with the Lord:

And the Lord said, “Behold, there is a place by me where you shall stand on the rock, and while my glory passes by I will put you in a cleft of the rock, and I will cover you with my hand until I have passed by. (Exodus 33:21-22)

Over the years, how many might have found shelter from the cold rains and mighty Pacific winds in this cleft in a rock? Only God knows, but probably many animals have founds homes there, and perhaps even men. It seems an ideal spot to shelter in place from a storm. But not all storms in life are related to the weather; rather, they are more likely to be the physical, emotional or spiritual assaults against our lives that happen almost daily.

King David understood that his hope was in the Lord, and wrote time and again of his faith; even in times when he was in fear of his life, he held fast to the One who was his Rock. David’s psalms never cease to touch my heart and the Lord always meets me in the midst of them, just as He did this morning when He inspired this post. 

Hear my cry, O God,
    listen to my prayer;
from the end of the earth I call to you
    when my heart is faint.
Lead me to the rock
    that is higher than I,
for you have been my refuge,
    a strong tower against the enemy.

Let me dwell in your tent forever!
    Let me take refuge under the shelter of your wings! (Psalm 61:1-4)

Under the shelter of God’s wings! Can you imagine that? I did; I thought of how cold this winter has been (yes, even in southernCalifornia!), and how cozy and comfortable my bed feels, especially with the covers pulled up to my ears and I am cocooned in warmth and safety, even as the rain pounds on our roof or the wind howls outside. That’s the way  imagine it must feel sheltered in the downey softness of God’s love, covered by His wings. But it gets even better, because in the very next psalm:

For God alone, O my soul, wait in silence,
    for my hope is from him.
He only is my rock and my salvation,
    my fortress; I shall not be shaken.
On God rests my salvation and my glory;
    my mighty rock, my refuge is God. (Psalm 62:5-7)

God is not only my refuge, my rock and my shelter from the storms, but I shall not be shaken. Wow! It just doesn’t get any better than that!

Storms of Life

20180416_100328_1523899731218The old idiom that March comes in like a lion and goes out like a lamb didn’t quite hold true in the Midwest this year, as is well illustrated in a message from a friend in Minnesota in mid-April: “Today’s Spring blizzard is reminiscent of the delicious winter blizzards of my youth that caused school cancellations (public libraries are closed today because of storm—a small nod to the school closing ‘cheers’ of my childhood). The wind is angry, and pounds in bursts that nearly knock you over; snows whirl in madness; snow-downfall can be measured in inches per minute, and drifting creates splendid art forms that no human hand can rival; visibility is measured in feet, wind chill effect on temperature is surprising, and it’s all better looked at than felt!  I suppose, all in all, it is an exciting farewell to winter.”

I’ve rarely experienced such a snow storm, but can clearly remember the historic Christmas flood of 1964. Today there are markings on trees and buildings of how high the water got, and it boggles the imagination. All roads into Humboldt County were cut off and the sky was full of helicopters doing all the things that helicopters do when there’s no other way in or out. We lived about half a mile from the Mad River, fortunately on the uphill side. This very angry river was often reduced to a trickle during the summer when it would only reach to our ankles as we waded across. But looking out over it that Christmas, all of the surrounding dairy and farmlands were totally under water for miles, with the tops of houses or barns peeking out of the water here and there.

The upside for us kids during what came to be known as a thousand-year flood, was that since there was no reception from any of the 3 incoming television networks (totally laughable now!), the local station played old movies nonstop. Since we couldn’t go outside in the rain and were on Christmas vacation anyway, Mom let us sit there and watch them for hours on end, an unheard-of treat. What else was she going to do in a house bursting at the seams with five bored kids in those day that were pre-computer, pre-smartphone and pre-electronic games? I loved it!!! Finally, when we could go back outside, there was a huge pond in the woods across from our house and someone built a raft that we paddled around for weeks, often falling off and getting soaked, but such fun!

It was pretty exciting to be in the midst of this big, terrible storm, but I had little comprehension of the impact of grief and despair it was having on many other people because we were safe and warm, and I had not yet experienced anything so tragic in my own life.

I still have some local newspapers that my mom saved, and looking through them on occasion reminds me of the widespread devastation. By the end of January 1965, about 200,000 square miles had been affected in parts of Oregon, Idaho, California, Washington and Nevada, 47 people had died, and thousands were left homeless. In our area near the mouth of the Mad River, the river not only met the ocean but also reached over to join with Humboldt Bay, causing a whole peninsula to become an island. Hundreds of dead cattle floated out to sea along with innumerable logs and stacks of lumber from the many sawmills the area, and the beaches were left with piles of wood and trash where the mighty waves of the Pacific deposited much of that which was lost. Aside from the physical and emotional trauma that cannot be measured, the price tag of about $540 million would equate to around $3.9 billion now.

Planted by the Rivers of WaterToday, if one is traveling through the scenic Avenue of the Giants a stop at the Immortal Tree will show the incredible contrast of a gorgeous little creek flowing behind the tree and a high-water marker on the front—mind boggling! IMG_2023

 

 

Perhaps my youthful lack of sensitivity to the vast reaches of destruction all around me are representative of the ‘it-can’t-hurt-me’ philosophy of so many today in regard to what the Day of the Lord will look like when Jesus returns:

Behold, the day of the Lord comes,
    cruel, with wrath and fierce anger,
to make the land a desolation
    and to destroy its sinners from it. (Isaiah 13:9)

For you yourselves are fully aware that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night. While people are saying, “There is peace and security,” then sudden destruction will come upon them as labor pains come upon a pregnant woman, and they will not escape. (1 Thessalonians 5:2-3)

But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, and then the heavens will pass away with a roar, and the heavenly bodies will be burned up and dissolved, and the earth and the works that are done on it will be exposed. (2 Peter 3:10)

The great day of the Lord is near,
    near and hastening fast;
the sound of the day of the Lord is bitter;
    the mighty man cries aloud there.
A day of wrath is that day,
    a day of distress and anguish,
a day of ruin and devastation,
    a day of darkness and gloom,
a day of clouds and thick darkness,
a day of trumpet blast and battle cry
against the fortified cities
    and against the lofty battlements.

I will bring distress on mankind,
    so that they shall walk like the blind,
    because they have sinned against the Lord;
their blood shall be poured out like dust,
    and their flesh like dung. (Zephaniah 1:14-18)

 

I pray that many will choose the safety that will belong to those who have chosen Jesus, for we will not have to endure His holy outpouring of judgment against His enemies that far, far exceeds anything as small as an April blizzard or a thousand-year flood.

...so that you are not lacking in any gift, as you wait for the revealing of our Lord Jesus Christ, who will sustain you to the end, guiltless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. (1 Corinthians 1:7-8

For God has not destined us for wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ. (1 Thessalonians 5:9)

For this is the will of my Father, that everyone who looks on the Son and believes in him should have eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day. (John 6:40)

 

Free Resource for Decoding Dreams

 

unravelingthemystery2015bookstoreimage-207x300Whether one’s interest stems from Christianity, New Age thought, or just idle curiosity, dream interpretation is a popular topic. Therefore, in the vast array of resources that are available, it’s very important for Christians to view dream interpretation only from a Biblical perspective in order to accurately discern the Lord’s meaning of these night parables. His perspective is the only one that counts!

In 2015, I had the wonderful opportunity to facilitate a four-hour webcast about dream interpretation, Unraveling the Mystery of Dream Interpretationwhich I’m happy to announce is now available for free.

Released in June 2017, Exploring Heavenly Place, Volume 8: Dreamspeak is my most recent book, which details my personal journey into dream interpretation. It’s much more of a this-is-how-God-does-it-with-me account than a one-size-fits-all instruction manual, which I hope will encourage others to venture out into the heavenly realms of dream exploration and interpretation. Poof, and It’s Gone is a sample chapter from Dreamspeak that can be viewed on this blog.