Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Fresh Air

Yesterday I smelled something odd in the main room of our house. It occurred to me that it might be
coming from a small window air conditioner. My husband said he didn't smell anything, but it was gagging me. I shut down the air conditioner and opened the windows because it was a nice breezy day. Then later I opened the front piece on the air conditioner and WOW! The filter was totally covered with thick, thick, matted dark dust! I removed the filter, which to my joy, was a plastic mesh. I brushed it and removed most of the dust . I then washed it with nice sudsy hot water. It actually was snowy white underneath. I get such satisfaction out of doing things like this.

The air conditioner was truly cooling the front room down, but deep in its inner workings something was causing it to give off a stinky smell. It had accumulated all that dust during its faithful normal functioning. It is a great little air conditioner and we only use it a month or two during the year. Now the filter and the grating on the inside is fresh and clean, and I expect this machine to operate at its best and keep the air cleaner.

Filters are important for so many things. Our allergic systems alert us to contaminated air. They can be a pain in the sniffer, but they help us identify foreign particles floating around. I wish there were integrity filters for the TV and internet. There is plenty of moldy dust floating around the media and cybersphere. If we smell enough of it over the course of time, it will be harder to detect.

Our minds as God made them, are to be operated with high efficiency. The best mental floss in life is the Word of God. God gets to the bottom of all human issues because he loves and wants us to know true joy and peace. It is our own choice to leave our filters dusty and moldy; but if we do we shouldn't blame God for our discomfort for putting up with it.

In Exodus, every time something would go wrong, the people moaned and groaned over their plight. Leaders like Moses and later Joshua went to God for sudsy solutions instead of piling up more dust. That's what good leaders do.
15 And if it seem evil unto you to serve the Lord, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord. Joshua 24:15
Guess it's time to go clean the dehumidifier. :)

Friday, July 22, 2016

Who's Side Are You On?

Joshua 5:13-15

13 And it came to pass, when Joshua was by Jericho, that he lifted up his eyes and looked, and, behold, there stood a man over against him with his sword drawn in his hand: and Joshua went unto him, and said unto him, Art thou for us, or for our adversaries?
14 And he said, Nay; but as captain of the host of the Lord am I now come. And Joshua fell on his face to the earth, and did worship, and said unto him, What saith my Lord unto his servant?
15 And the captain of the Lord's host said unto Joshua, Loose thy shoe from off thy foot; for the place whereon thou standest is holy. And Joshua did so.
“Sir, my concern is not whether God is on our side; my greatest concern is to be on God’s side, for God is always right.” Abraham Lincoln

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Gaslighting or Godlighting

'Gaslighting' is a word floating around  that was spun from an old movie about a villain who manipulated his spouse by setting up situations to make her doubt her sanity. Actually 'gaslighting' is a technique that is more than floating around. It's demonstration is everywhere. It is used in advertising, politics, religion and in simple everyday relationship transactions.

In the movie, the villain kept dimming the lights and when his target started to notice and remark about the dimming light, he said she was imagining it. The idea was to tamp down her perception of reality and drive her into confusion and self-doubt. 'Gaslighting' involves twisting the truth for an advantage to self, a far cry from love. This is the opposite of "speaking the truth in love" in Ephesians 4:15:
15 But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ: Ephesians 4:15
Truth sets people free. Twisting the truth imprisons. Godly truth helps people to grow. Religion based on opinion is very dangerous. God's truth is healing. It is easy to tell the difference when you look at the fruit produced.

The human mind can twist any thing when it is constantly focused on self. When the human mind is focused on the one true God there is a strong internal heart atmosphere that has amazing power. It is not the power to control: it is the power to do the bidding of the most powerful force in the universe.

God gave us a beautiful 'truth-o-meter' in the gift of holy spirit.  It is the inspiration of God in his word and in the human heart.  When the human heart and God's word line up absolute peace results. There is no dimmer switch. The shadows disappear. The noise of the world fades. Quiet reassurance replaces anxiousness and fear dissipates.

Monday, July 11, 2016

Does God hear?

I recently read an article on Deism. According to the article, deists believe in God but that he is not involved with his creation. Oh my! I get that people often feel that God is a million miles away. When we look at the world around us and see all that is going on it seems that way. The world is a noisy place.

We just drove through the great state of Pennsylvania! It is beautiful. If you drive on interstate 80, you can see majestic mountains that take your breath away. There are luscious green trees everywhere. Threading through the mountains are winding rivers. It is awe-inspiring.  As we drove, I couldn't help but appreciate again God's love in all that he created. It is so visible in his creation.

God is always close.  The farther you keep God out there, the harder you have to work. Total self-reliance is an inevitable result. Self-reliance is not built like those mountains or the gorgeous blue sky.

We can learn much from looking at God's creation. Our eyes and ears are good examples of the intricate beauty and functionality of things God designed. The ear is an amazing organ. The eyes are complex second only to the brain. God is the designer of hearing and seeing.   It is very simple:
He that planted the ear, shall he not hear? he that formed the eye, shall he not see? Psalm 94:9 
Surely our Father, the designer, understands hearing and seeing! It is a good thing to remember when we pray thankfully, with love and honor to a very involved God!

Friday, July 8, 2016

Life In The Lane

In swimming practice, warm-up laps, and racing, lanes are set up to keep things smooth. For a race, the swimmer dives aggressively into his lane and depending on the length of the race, stays in that lane until he hits the wall and does a flip turn and heads back down the same lane. The lane markers are constructed so the water flows through them and breaks up  the wash from the adjacent lane.
You can't cross over to another lane during a race. When you are standing on the starting block, the lane is all yours!

The Hebrew tribes of the book of Joshua were each assigned lanes. God never intended to have them pile up on top of each other.  The land they each got was for them to settle in, grow and thrive.

Moses was Joshua's mentor. In Numbers 11 there is a great example of this mentoring.
24 And Moses went out, and told the people the words of the Lord, and gathered the seventy men of the elders of the people, and set them round about the tabernacle.25 And the Lord came down in a cloud, and spake unto him, and took of the spirit that was upon him, and gave it unto the seventy elders: and it came to pass, that, when the spirit rested upon them, they prophesied, and did not cease.
26 But there remained two of the men in the camp, the name of the one was Eldad, and the name of the other Medad: and the spirit rested upon them; and they were of them that were written, but went not out unto the tabernacle: and they prophesied in the camp.
27 And there ran a young man, and told Moses, and said, Eldad and Medad do prophesy in the camp.
28 And Joshua the son of Nun, the servant of Moses, one of his young men, answered and said, My lord Moses, forbid them.
29 And Moses said unto him, Enviest thou for my sake? would God that all the Lord's people were prophets, and that the Lord would put his spirit upon them!
Moses response to Joshua was along the lines of 'Are you concerned about me? Don't be! It is not about me!' God's heart was "would God that all the Lord's people were prophets, and that the Lord would put his spirit upon them!" Eldad and Medad were not in the tabernacle, they were out in the camp.

In the New Testament, God's spirit is available to all. We all have our own lanes to work, practice, thrive and enjoy.  An athletic analogy can just go so far. Spiritually, our competition is not with each other, but against that which would hold us back or attempt to drag us down.

Friday, July 1, 2016

The Sin of Ai

Israel defeated Jericho handily.  They had a plan to do it that was prescribed by God. The plan involved parading around the city once each day for 6 days and 7 times on the seventh day. The people were given very specific instructions. Joshua 6 has all the details.  In those details were specific warnings about the spoil and that it was to go to treasury of the house of the Lord.

God had already dried up the pathway across the Jordan River so they could cross over.  This time they had no one chasing them. God had asked to mark their crossing by piling up 12 stones so they could remember this great event.

The next conquest was Ai. Joshua apparently wasn't aware that a man named Achan had violated God's instruction and took some spoil he shouldn't have. There is no record of God telling Joshua his strategy for taking Ai. Instead Joshua sent out two men to spy it out and took their advice when they got back to send only 3000 men in. They downplayed the threat or maybe they overestimated their own abilities. Things went awry. They had to retreat. 36 men were killed. Joshua was devastated and fell on his face to God. Depression, discouragement and doubt came knocking on the door!
Joshua sought answers from God:
10 And the Lord said unto Joshua, Get thee up; wherefore liest thou thus upon thy face?
11 Israel hath sinned, and they have also transgressed my covenant which I commanded them: for they have even taken of the accursed thing, and have also stolen, and dissembled also, and they have put it even among their own stuff. 12 Therefore the children of Israel could not stand before their enemies, but turned their backs before their enemies, because they were accursed: neither will I be with you any more, except ye destroy the accursed from among you. Joshua 7:10-12
Joshua took care of the situation and listened to God about how to take Ai and things went well.

Often when something does not go well, we have the same visitors knocking on the door.  We question ourselves, whether God can help us at all and maybe we should go back to retrace our steps in life and maybe revert to old times. God said to Joshua to 'Get up'! Joshua listened and moved on. Success came.

The struggle is intended to set up a blockade. There will always be pressure. We should not allow it to send us back, but use it as an opportunity to connect with God and achieve more memories of success and overcoming! We don't need to pile up 12 stones, but we can lock our victories in our hearts or do whatever it takes to remind ourselves of all that God does for us. When blockades start to rear their ugly head they can be ignored, marked as not true and chased away. We have a greater covenant with God. We all have access to God's throne room and we can take up residence there with him.