Hooray for Insomnia

I was hoping it was at least 3:00 a.m. It was 1:30. But that was OK actually, and here’s why: I had put my jeans and writing shirt (more on that later) out before bed, right along with my water, Bible, scribble book, journal, pens and highlighers, and devotions. I was ready to sneak into John’s office (where the chairs are comfy and the computer cooperative) and have myself a little time with Jesus. Remember the song? So let us have a little talk with Jesus, let us tell Him all about our troubles . . .

I did have some troubles, as I woke from a disturbing dream and wanted to make sense of it, if sense could be made. But those troubles went away pretty quickly as I prayed and then found great teaching on YouTube.

It took a while to get through 2.5 sermons (I’ve paused in the middle of the third sermon to write this post) because I was taking notes, pausing to pray, pausing to sing scripture to God (I don’t sound all that bad and I know He likes my singing. I just know.) I also paused to pass on a sermon to people I think/hope will be blessed.

And let me admit it. I also passed it on to someone I think needs it. As do I. Especially the parts about remaining strong in such a time as this. How? Via meditating on the Word of God. Again, how? Well, let’s begin by saying it’s not how I recently heard a success guru say he does it–he “meditates” ten minutes.

Psalm 1:1-3 is helpful: Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor stands in the path of sinners, nor sits in the seat of the scornful; But his delight is in the law of the Lord, and in His law he meditates day and night. (That’s verses 1 and 2–I’ll leave you to see this man’s reward in verse 3.)

Here’s most of what the Word Wealth in my Bible says–“meditates” hagah (hah-gah; Strong’s #1897: to reflect; to on, to mutter; to ponder; to make a quiet sound such as sighing; to meditate or contemplate something as one repeats the words. Hagah represents something quite unlike the English “meditation,” which may be a mental exercise only. In Hebrew thought, to meditate upon the Scriptures is to quietly repeat them in a soft, droning sound, while utterly abandoning outside distractions. From this tradition comes a specialized type of Jewish prayer called “davening,” that is, reciting texts, praying intense prayers, or getting lost in communion with God while bowing or rocking back and forth. Evidently this dynamic form of meditation-prayer goes back to David’s time.

This is how we receive the Biblical promise of a renewed mind. I, for one, am in great and continual need of this. I think thoughts and act ways I don’t agree with! They’re not the real me. They’re distortions and deceptions based on the lies of my enemy. But they’re always decreasing in power as God’s power overcomes through Biblical meditation.

I think I won’t call it insomnia, which implies being unable, but wanting, to sleep. I think I’ll call it a wee hours assignation with the Lover of my soul. Hooray for Hagah!

How to be Weak

If Henri Nouwen is correct in today’s e-mailed deovtional, and he is when he states,”Joy and Resentment Cannot Coexist” and if it’s also true, and it is, that “the joy of the Lord” is our strength. then unforgivness (resentment) makes us weak.

In my current quest for positivity, my Zero For Six adventure against negativity, I am aiming for joy, for strengh. Indeed I am aiming for the acquisition of the very joy of the Lord God Himself!

How is this going? I’m stumbling here and there, and seeking my way in communicating with those who, it seems, would rather be weak. It also seems as though some people prefer resentment to joy. That is entirely their business, of course, but does that mean they have a right to inflict their negativity on me? No.

The trick is in rejecting the negative person’s negativity, but not rejecting the person. Negative people have already rejected themselves, the Word of God, perhaps even God, and they expect further rejection. This is where it is helpful to say something like, “I’m doing a Zero For Six adventure of no negativity for six months! Wanna join me?”

It is also helpful to saturate that person in prayer, whereby we get perspective on their preciousness to God. This helps counter our perspective on their aggravation to us. We need a change of heart, or at least I do. Otherwise, I will not overcome evil with good. Rather, bad company will corrupt me.

Negativity is contagious, but there is a vaccine, a sure innoculation. It’s the Mighty One–Jesus. The only time I feel those sick symptoms of negativity, that debilitating weakening of frustration, is when I hold on to an offense. I am actually choosing Death, rather than God’s mandated choice–Life. I am choosing to fearfully focus on and glorify what Satan’s crowd is up to.

We can be less than worms with fear and negativity, or more than conquerors in Christ Jesus.

“You show me the path of life. In your presence is fullness of joy…”
PSALM 16:11 (NRSV)

Shall We Dance and Dream Again?

In spite of my best efforts, even with all my exhortations to those around me to choose joy, it occurs to me that I am thinking “under seige” thoughts. When I mentioned to others the idea that we might bless our own and each others’ hearts by talking dreams, by deliberately acting and speaking as though we have God’s promised “hope and future”, it was “whoosh” — right over their heads.

“Yeah, and anyway, let’s forget that nonsense and talk about some other nonsense.”

Sometimes you gotta go it alone, with a revelation that’s just between you and Jesus. Sometimes the Holy Spirit wants to hang out with you and develop this line of thinking: Maybe you should change your thinking. Maybe enough is enough.

I’ve heard authors say that once they send out a manuscript, it’s wise to have another one underway. This way, if the manuscript is rejected, they’re not caught dead in the water, all their hopes and dreams focused on that one thing.

In a nutshell, I’m saying that we should be unmoved by what we see and hear. We should only listen to the Holy Spirit, take no note of “evil reports”, be aware that God’s not kidding when he says, “Bad company (news) corrupts” and finally, to “be not overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.”

I say let’s begin overcoming evil by doing the exact opposite of what our feelings, fears, and the enemy of our souls would have us do. Instead of doing dread and doldrums, let’s dance and dream.

WHAT? ME WORRY? I’M DONE WITH DEFEAT!!!!!!!!!!!!

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.”

 

He’s the Prince of (my) Peace

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?

 

Freedom From Fear – Hooray! Today at 2:00 on 1360am.co

Life is once again colorful.  The cloud I’ve been struggling and smothering under has made life as grey and bleak as a cold and cloudy day.  It’s the cloud of fear.

Fear is the world’s currency, as faith is the currency of the Kingdom of God.  After a two-year struggle with fear in a certain area, I am free indeed.

Join us today at 2:00 Mountain Time on The Homefront Show.

Just go to http://www.1360am.co and click on Live Radio.

God is good and His mercies are new every single morning, and you’ll hear lots more about that today when you join me.

Thanks!