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There is a bed to be made lovely, a thank-you card to send, a bit more Quiet Time to be had, as mine was interrupted by a lovely breakfast with my husband. We talked, rather than eating, so I reheated my walnut-topped raisin English muffin to be split with my son, this after buttering and toasting and topping it all with pumpkin pie spice and raw honey.
Of course, French press LaVazza on the balcony is the only thing for this, along with birdsong-interspersed conversation, and then back inside for a few more details. Back to a resumption of my Quiet Time. Earlier I read the words in red (hanging with Jesus so I can be like Him) and now for Oswald. In My Utmost for His Highest by Oswald Chambers I read this: “The tiniest detail in which I obey has all the omnipotent power of the grace of God behind it.”
Does this resonate, even ring out, to others as to me? Possibly not. We are all so very different, unique. I’m reminded of a previous day’s devotion: “Never make a principle out of your experience; let God be as original with other people as He is with you.”
It occurs to me that, other than prayer, all other people really need from me is an example—that of the enjoyment of each and every detail and duty of my life, and the smile on my face because I have chosen to obey God in “the tiniest detail(s).”
Putting each moment, task, and detail under the protection and blessing of His Love adds up to a beautiful and wondrous life. A unique life.
The Bible talks of a “spirit of jealousy” and if you’ve ever been on the receiving end of it, you won’t hesitate to believe. This is a spirit that divides those who are meant to be the best of friends, the closest, dearest and most faithful of companions. It’s wily, pervasive, and deadly to all concerned.
If, like myself, you’ve been a victim of this spirit from childhood, but by some miracle were never prone to jealousy yourself, you are jealousy’s lesser victim. The real victims of the spirit of jealousy are those under its power. Not only can they never have a true and unblemished friendship, but perhaps even more tragically, they can never attain that thing about which they’re jealous.
If you’re filled with a furious disdain for the lovely blonde with the darling tribe of little blonde children, obviously cared for by a doting daddy somewhere (or not, you don’t know), let that fury be your signal, your clanging bell with flashing red lights on the arm over the railroad crossing. There’s a freight train of destruction headed your way, and you’d better stop right now. This train means to make absolutely certain you never have that family of your own, or whatever it is you fear to even hope for.
Don’t just say “no” say, “ABSOLUTELY NOT, YOU FOUL, LYING, PUTRID DEMON SPIRIT. I love, admire, respect, pray for, and enjoy the sight of that beautiful little family. And I know that they have their trials and troubles, and again, I pray for them. And I dare to believe that You, Lord God Almighty, have the very deepest desires of my heart, for me as well. I can choose jealousy and defeat, or I can choose faith working through love. I not only choose faith working through love, I embrace it and hold fast to it, and declare I will never again be under the sway of jealousy.”
Jealousy runs rampant in our society, also known as “class envy” and fostering a festering and demonic hatred in those who want what others have. Again, until they, jealousy’s primary victims, are free of this spirit, they will never have what they desire. When we submit to Satan we guarantee our own blindness and defeat.
The key is to choose to admire people for those relationships, talents, attributes, gifts, accomplishments and possessions you currently lack, and to kick jealousy in the teeth by loving those people in thought and deed. Then your mind will be cleared of the filth produced by jealousy, and you will see your way clear to praying and believing what the Word of God Himself says about being “no respecter of persons” and giving you “the desires of your heart.” Then your mind will see yourself as “complete and lacking nothing” and you will laugh at the very idea that you are somehow less than anyone else.
Choose Jesus’ Love, not Jealousy’s Torment. Those people you think you hate are the very ones God wants you to bless, and vice versa. Amen!
Yay for the abundance of “opportunities to pray” all day!
When our daughter Hannah was targeted for abortion – doc said I’d die otherwise – I said to my husband John, “You know what this is? This is an opportunity to pray.”
When she was in intensive care at birth (36 units of Pitocin) there it was again, an opportunity to pray. What else could we do? Praise God for things we can’t possibly fix!
I didn’t die, Hannah came home the next day with me, instead of staying in ICU the forecasted “minimum two weeks”, and she is an extremely lovely, fit and healthy 24-year-old today.
I taught her by example, even from the womb, that fear is not the way.
Psalm 139:13,14 – For You formed my inward parts; You covered me in my mother’s womb. I will praise You for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Marvelous are Your works and that my soul knows very well.
Watching everyone lose their minds over Covid has been more than perplexing and puzzling. It’s been revelatory! I am EXCITED about what God’s up to here.
Now, before anyone thinks I’m saying God did this, I’m not! But the Bible tells us He turns what Satan intends for evil to the good of those who love Him. For me, that is so, so true.
I am seeing (so surprising) that it is often those who never set foot in church who have the most light and the least fear of a flu bug.
I’m finding those who didn’t finish high school, and certainly never got a college degree, are the ones who see through the lies and laugh at the fear. I’m learning from those “least likely to succeed” types, how to succeed.
There is both logic and the ability to listen without pride, to what I have to say, from those among us who are humble. And it’s humbling. And freeing. To such as these I can talk about ideas.
So here’s an idea: What if everything we’re worried about and carrying on about in the world, is simply the inevitable consequence of a church that has dropped the ball.
What if the fear that was festering in the breasts of the world, exploded when the church showed that all its talk of faith was a farce, as doors closed without a whimper, citing misunderstood scriptures as justification.
Here’s the thing about all this “obedience to civil authority” stuff. If obedience to authority is making you comfy, question your motives. If it’s making you very, very uncomfortable, go with it. God’s ways are often a bit stretching.
Let me elaborate: When the likes of Paul and Peter admonished their wildfolk followers to behave and obey laws, they (Paul and Peter) were either on their way to, in, or just out of jail. For, you guessed it, misbehavior and disobeying “authority”. It went without saying, so they didn’t say it, that they weren’t talking about disobeying God in order to obey man.
This Covid thing is causing us to look to the real Author and Finisher of our Faith, and it’s obviously not someone who preaches, but does not practice, faith.
“You have to be ready to go to jail,” I said to my daughter about it. “I am, Mom,” she said. “I refuse to live in fear.”
No fear here. As for me and my house, we will obey the Lord. And to help us in that we’ll hang out with people of simple, unpolluted (by Bible college?) faith. Amen.
P.S. If our Founding Fathers had mindlessly obeyed man, had done the comfy thing, there would be no America. If Paul and Peter had obeyed man, there would be no New Testament, and no New Testament church. Wait? Is there a New Testament church? I’ve looked all over my town and the only one I can find speaks only Spanish.
Perhaps I should learn Spanish. Or just go to “church” with my daughter, which is on the streets, with the poor, tired, addicted. The humble.
Church. What is it? Who is it? Who’s the Boss of it, of me? One of the speakers at the Bible college my daughter attended was saying that American Christians need to be more like the Russians, where “they don’t have the problem we have here with submission to authority.”
We became a nation in part because God wanted to deliver people who were sick and tired of tyrannical authority and who came here for FREEDOM (such as my Russian friends), not yet another yoke of bondage.
There is one God, One Savior, one Final Authority. And it AINT a man in a suit in a pulpit with a degree giving him man’s stamp of approval. Will the real Christians please stand up?
Yes, I am asking myself if I qualify. Do I trust and obey? Him.
P.S. I was never afraid of the flu, but I was distressed by the frenzied and mindless mask and sanitizer worship, by the evidence of a society-wide lack of faith. I struggled with an uneasiness and uncertainly early on (when we still called it Corona Virus) and when I prayed about it I realized I had made a grave error. I had judged other Christians for their faithless reactions, for fear. Well, as you may or may not know, it’s not only what you fear that will come upon you (see Job), but it’s also what you judge. So, I repented and began to pray for the Church, and indeed the whole world, to be free from fear. Absolutely free from the awful torment of fear. Agree wtih me, please.
And another thing! The reason I am free from fear is because, day in and day out, I read the Word of God, which builds and builds and builds my faith. “Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness.”
I just got an e-mail from a favorite local coffee shop saying we can now come in and get coffee to go – must wear masks, blah, blah. Hip, hip, hooray, we’re “allowed,” they’re “allowed”, everywhere people are asking tyrants for permission to breathe, practically. Through masks. Most of which don’t work anyway.
So, I wrote them back, but haven’t yet decided to send what I wrote. After all, they’re desperately trying to stay in business. Still . . .
Here’s what I wrote:
- Since when do we quarantine the healthy along with the sick?
- Since when do we destroy the lives and livelihood of a huge majority of the working class of the USA to “save” people who are veulnerable to the flu?
- Who will decide in the future what supposed diseases we’ll have to be imprisoned for to “save” us? Will we be incarcerated because of arthritis outbreaks? Or allergies? Or lactose intolerance? It is a very very, very short step from where we are now to totalitarianism.
- Where in the Constitution of the United Staes of America does it say the government can strip you and me of our Constiutional rights because of an epidemic?
- Since when is it okay to inflate death numbers with suspected or unproven cases to justify what has been done to the American people?
And just one final word from me, Bev: Let us remember the world is watching, and that it’s not “Land of the Weak, Home of the Safe.”
The great gift of Christ to me when I was first a believer was peace. “I still have all my problems,” I told my mom, “but I’m not afraid any more.” The peace that passes understanding. This is a peace that can’t be explained. It can’t be understood apart from experience.
But today, I am not often seeing that peace in others who say they are believers. This disturbs my peace! But note I did say “disturbs” not “steals”. I guard my peace and when I feel its pending absence (no longer a feeling I am willing to live with) it’s time to go to The Prince of Peace.
Some people think that means God’s all about peace in the usual sense of the word. But I know the truth is that He’s about the peace that only comes via fighting the good fight of faith. And He’s about giving me peace right in the middle of the battle.
That’s where we are – in the middle of the battle. I don’t think anyone would argue about that. But there is mental wackiness going on because of fear. Fear must be fought! Fear must be defeated. Faith, which the Word tells us “works” through love, is what connects us to God. Not fear.
People are afraid of their own shadows, and teaching their kids fear as well. I saw a toddler the other day with a mask on and it was unbearable. Kids are being programmed to fear, to “all their lifetimes be subject to bondage through fear of death.” But the good news is that Jesus came to “release those who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage” – Hebrews 2:15
I’ve been released from Fear’s tyranny more than once. I didn’t hold on to that peace experienced when I was spirit-filled. For years I struggled to walk in faith, and the biggest problem was that I was in unforgiveness. Finally, I was finished with the torment of fear, but that’s another and lengthy story.
For now I urge you, I pray for you (for the entire world daily) to be free from the awful bondage of Fear. Raise your head up and receive your freedom. Remember Jesus came that we would be “free indeed.”
The physical mess we’re in is a result of the spiritual mess we’re in. We will not have political freedom as long as we are spiritually bound. So let’s look at the chaos in the world around us and see it as an opportunity to trust. What else can we do?
Hello and welcome to all parents who are suddenly at home with their kids. As a veteran homeschooler I have some thoughts, tips and downright excellent ideas for you.
- Begin every day with “The P.J.’s of Power – a psalm, a proverb, Paul’s wisdom from something in the New Testament, and Prayer, and Praise, and then some of Jesus’ words. If the kids are readers and awake (this is a lovely time for all of you to catch up on sleep by the way), instruct them to do the same, take notes, and let it all be done in P.J.’s!
- Make this something they truly enjoy, perhaps all around the table first thing, along with hot chocolate, and begin teaching table manners and conversation arts at the table. Best of all, you are teaching them to love and enjoy God!
- Have all hands on deck for meals. Rotate assignments for who is helping cook, setting the table, doing the dishes, sweeping the floors afterward, etc.
- Speaking of rotating assignments, one of my best ever ideas was my COD idea – Child of the Day. It began first with who was going to pray at meals because when they all chimed in the food got cold before they finished. They prayed for Grandpa’s cows, and the neighbor’s sick dog, and anything else they could think of. So, it was Benjamin on Mondays, Hannah on Tuesdays, Rebekah Wednesdays, and Seth Thursdays. Friday was my day and John got Saturdays and Sundays.
- Let things evolve, according to the needs of your family. The COD evolved so that chores were added, along with privileges, per child, per day. A favorite part of being the COD was getting to pick the bedtime story.
- Make the bedtime story non-negotiable, and make it a story that even the parents enjoy reading. It’s a good time, if you’re in a cold climate, for a cup of warm milk (we used the neighbors’ goat milk gifts this way) with honey, which is relaxing and delicious (add cinnamon, nutmeg, and vanilla if you like).
- Begin developing and promoting the idea of personal libraries, as you read books like Frog and Toad, Hattie Rabbit, Barnyard Dance, Goodnight Gorilla, and Thomas the Tank Engine. Those are just some that still make me smile as I recall taking walks with thermoses of tea and a few cookies (which the kids LOVE helping to make). If the kids are older choose Little House books, such as The Long Winter. If you don’t have this book, order it! It’s .99 plus shipping, and all of us living today should read about those who came before us, who built this country through hardship and hunger such as we’ve never experienced.
- Make memories every day. We have a favorite memory of taking the red wagon, the two younger kids riding with the picnic basket and quilt, picking blackberries along the side of the road in rural Arkansas, and settling in the shade to read Timothy Tattercoat. Books inspire. This book actually planted the seed in our kids’ minds to one day live in Colorado, which is the setting for Timothy Tattercoat. As the kids grew they enjoyed Louis L’Amour books about miners in Colorado – be on the lookout for books and outings (we know all the best museums wherever we’ve been) that make learning History fun and fascinating and unforgettable!
- It’s OK to take all day. Tea parties all the time, any time, by any name are a great use of an entire day. Because after all, the best part of this whole home-with-the-kids thing is becoming truly acquainted with your children. This is done quite effortlessly and beautifully over tea. We had History teas, where we discussed whatever anyone wanted to discuss from History, which can lead all kinds of marvelous directions; there were geography teas (look at maps and talk about countries). “Look, there’s France – what do know about France?” Hmm, your humming mind ponders, shall we do a unit study on France? Google “homeschool unit study ideas” and remember to tailor these ideas to suit yourself!
- “Maybe,” you might ponder, “We should do a unit study on our state, and do a field trip approach, right in our own backyards. What are the herbs coming up this spring, and how can we use them? Let’s make a plan to gather rosehips, mint, and whatever else will work, and make the best ever herbal tea. Maybe we’ll learn a bit about home remedies.”
- Pray for anointing as a parent, and you will soon know that you are uniquely qualified to teach your children, and you will learn right along with them. In my case, I believe I learned more than anyone.
- Have “Dreaming Times.” When our four kids were small I had a great need for an hour of absolute peace and quiet in the afternoons. I would go into my room with a book (John and I always taught by example that reading is a treat), and say, “Don’t say my name for one hour. Play alone and dream and we’ll do something wonderful when we’re done.” They would very quietly sneak into each other’s bedrooms and play, but they knew I meant business about an hour of peace and quiet. Now be prepared to talk about, and respect, their dreams. And your own!
- Have a plan, but be ready to switch gears. If after Dream Time you meant to go grocery shopping, but they’ve had a dream of building a fort and starting a “John Wayne Club” (yes, this was a thing), the groceries can wait. Building and creating should always trump spending money. This is where you can get creative with what’s in the pantry, and play happy music to accompany the beautiful sounds of children at play. Let them see and hear you happy, as you sing and dance.
- Teach them good personal and homekeeping habits. They can make their beds each morning and brush their teeth, before the “privileges” of outside play, or getting to learn something new about a Founding Father, or mixing and using their own finger paints, etc. They can brush their teeth and pick up the living room (baskets for everything work well) before they get their bedtime story.
- You are the fearless leader, and part of that is meaning business and making House Rules. These rules are for your sanity, and to make your children popular with others. Ours were things like NO RUNNING IN THE HOUSE, NO YELLING AND SCREAMING IN THE HOUSE, RESPECT OTHERS’ PROPERTY, RESPECT OTHERS. PERIOD. Then there was a written and publicly posted list of table manners: No phone answering during meals, no gross or negative conversation subjects during meals, etc.
- Read and re-read daily scriptures on the Tongue from Proverbs, and let your kids see you forget the scriptures entirely, mess up, repent both to God and to them. This practicing of what you preach, learning and growing as you go, will be a marvelous example, and will draw their hearts to you, and to God. This will also help your marriage flourish, which is the very kindest thing you can do for your kids – the most important education you can give them (please pardon me for causing you pain if you’re a single parent – these rules still apply, and I wish I’d known them when I was a single parent!).
- Consider the power of your example as you make the most of this unexpected situation, as you show them love by sacrificing your normal routine and getting to truly know your child, and yourself. Remember that your child is unique in all the world, indeed in all the history of the world, and that you have been given the gift of unexpected time together. To love.
- Be sure they know that you see this time with them, this family time, as a marvelous treat, a wonderful blessing. Tell them this.
- Don’t try to cram too much into your days. Seek a lifestyle of His unforced rhythms of grace.
- Keep it simple, and remember, “A little child will lead you.” But you must lead first. And you must first be led. By Him. Amen.
I always get a card for John that makes me cry – it’s the one that reminds me what’s in my heart, way deep under the crud that’s not real, and not really me.
This year, I vow, I will speak much more often like that card. “A smart girl,” I reason, “should be able to do this.”
So, that thing that I’ve spoken (groused, grumbled, murmured) so often about, and thereby made it a real thing, needs to just go away. Because experience teaches me that until I put it away, and give it to God entirely, it’s here to stay. I’m talking about a little thing, because so much of the time it really is the little stuff.
It’s the little bad stuff crowding out the REALLY BIG good stuff. In my case, it’s like packing my wicker picnic basket with fried chicken, devilled eggs, potato salad, artichoke dip with radishes and celery sticks, plus nut-filled brownies, thermoses of both cold milk and hot coffee, a bottle of Moscato, and taking it all to the river with my lover, and then . . . letting one mosquito spoil the day.
SMASH THE MOSQUITO!!!! SAY “NOT JUST ‘NO’, BUT HELL, NO!!!”
How again, does a smart girl smash her mosquitoes? With her tongue. I read Proverbs every day, and I read the tongue scriptures out loud, so my smart self can HEAR and BELIEVE and RECEIVE them. Amen!
Like so: Proverbs 6:2 – You are snared by the words of your mouth, you are taken by the words of your mouth (not anymore!!!!); 8:9 – All the words of my mouth are with righteousness; Nothing crooked or perverse is in them; 10:19 – In the multitude of words sin is not lacking; 12:18 – There is one who speaks like the piercings of a sword, but the tongue of the wise promotes health; 13:3 – He who guards his mouth preserves his life (and marriage!), but he who opens wide his lips shall have destruction; 15:1 – A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger; 15:28 – The heart of the righteous studies how to answer, but the mouth of the wicked pours forth evil; 16:21 (especially for parenting) The wise in heart will be called prudent, and sweetness of the lips increases learning; 17:18 (perhaps my favorite) Pleasant words are like a honeycomb, sweetness to the soul and health to the bones.
I vehemently exhort you to read Proverbs 17 and 18 for yourself, and as I have, highlight each tongue scripture, and then put a big black “T” next to it. Then in Proverbs 20 we find that “any fool can start a quarrel (verse 3), and let us not forget the squirm-inducing verses 9 and 19 in Chapter 21: Better to dwell in a corner of a housetop, than in a house shared with a contentious woman; and, Better to dwell in the wilderness than with a contentious and angry woman.
If that “angry woman” describes you (I think at times it describes all of us), get with God and get free. “Free indeed” freedom is one of the many treasures Jesus purchased for us on the Cross. (you might begin with singing a little ditty such as, “I’m so free cause it SO aint all about me!”).
Oh, and Happy, Happy, Happy Valentine’s Day. It’s yours for the saying.
Rx #1: It may be January in the Rockies, and a bit nippish outside, but what is that to stuffiness and last night’s garlic odors permeating the inside? Why not build a fire, put on a sweater and big socks, and open the windows?
Then get moving and start Spring Cleaning. Morning till about 2:00, when it’s time for just a few more details under the belt, and a bit of a walk out of doors, before a nice cuppa. Have I lost my mind? Why, you may be asking, would I want to do Spring Cleaning in January? Is it because it will be way too nice outside to be cleaning when Spring gets here? Or because the house is getting a bit crusty, what with doing only surface cleaning over the holidays? Maybe it’s just that I can’t stand to open my closet, or the pantry, or look very closely at anything.
It could be a bit of all the above, but for me, it’s mostly that January can be a bit long. But still, you may be wondering, how could cleaning make it better? Cleaning is, everyone knows, menial., Wrong. Menial, the dictionary tells us, means “not requiring much skill and lacking prestige.” The dictionary can be misleading, I say. Done well, homemaking requires a great deal of skill, as evidenced by how few people can do it. As to lacking prestige, there’s very little that makes me feel better about myself and life in general, more prestigious, than a clean and orderly home.
To clean and orderly, add happily and beautifully decorated (not “fashionable and politically correct” decorating), comfortable and comforting, relaxing and restoring, aromatic with both home-concocted essential oil sprays (see below) and no-bake cookies (those are coming later this evening because we don’t want to get carried away with all this weight-loss and fitness stuff), and all five CD trays filled and playing Mozart, and I feel more than prestigious. I feel blessed.
So, give it a try. Rather than more of the same (leftover holiday habits) – eating and drinking mindlessly, watching stupid stuff on the Net, and feeling like a big lump, try my prescription. First, open the windows . . .
As for that essential oil spray: I had an almost-empty bottle of “Balance” from “The Good Home” and I just added water and more oils. I didn’t have all the oils in the original and might I add marvelous formula, so I added several citrus oils, some Cedarwood, and Cassia, and went through the house spraying anything and everything. I just realized I forgot the Clove! Clove is on the way as soon as I finish this post.
Speaking of Clove, add it to your evening drink, or whatever else you can think of, along with other very warm and marvelous oils and spices, such as caraway, nutmeg, allspice, ginger and cinnamon, and you will be both physically and emotionally fed.
Rx#2: This is for getting through long January evenings when you’re sure it must be bedtime and it’s not yet 7:00 p.m. This is when I do my evening ablutions (such a lovely word), put on my pajamas, and settle in with a very good book (ideas coming right up). If I get sleepy again before I want to turn in, I take a break and make a lovely evening drink, and here’s the recipe:
Warm milk, honey, vanilla extract, with cinnamon and nutmeg on top. This must, of course, be imbibed from your very favorite mug. You could try this, or your variation thereof, and call it your January bedtime story drink (we did this with goat milk when the kids were little and read aloud together – very fun and a way to get rid of the free goat milk our neighbors gave us). This is a perfect time to concoct your own version of an Internet Chai recipe – I just look for what looks really spicy, then double the spice amounts. Yay! for warmth in January.
Maybe in February (Valentine’s Day and Chocolates) add cocoa and almond flavoring to your drink and plenty of ORGANIC* heavy whipping cream. Don’t think of this as fattening. Rather, have only one reasonably sized mug of it and think of yourself as blessed.
And now for those books: I started one the other night and had to tear some of the pages out lest anyone in my house see me reading such trash (OK, so you don’t do that, but do you hide the Jo Jo’s?). Finally, this entire book went into the trash. I went to the library the next day and came home with TREASURES: Comstock Lode by Louis L’Amour and Up From Slavery by Booker T. Washington. I’m about 2/3 through Up From Slavery and halfway through Comstock Lode. Both are riveting.
It’s about time I had a cuppa (something) and did a bit of reading – Booker T. and me, and Louis as well, so swell (I know you’ll forgive my corny-ness). Thanks for being with me, and I wish you a Happy, Blah-Free January. Amen.
*I said ORGANIC because otherwise you may be drinking carageenan, which for me causes joint pain. Not good, not what I want to be worrying with in my fun January.