What happened to the Ark of the Covenant and the other holy relics from the Jewish Temple? They aren’t listed in any conquering nation’s inventory.
An ancient letter written by the prophet Jeremiah gives a clue and leads Josh Winslow and his best friend, Caleb O’Connell, on a dangerous search for the Jewish Tabernacle and the articles of worship it once contained. If it is found it may open the floodgates of Jewish immigration into Israel from around the world.
Will the dark forces of a new world order and Islam end their lives to prevent this discovery? Only the God of Israel can ensure their success.
My original draft turned out to be a condemnation of liberals, but then I heard that still small voice telling me that was not the issue. The real issue was what does scripture say about our response to election results.
Romans 13:1-7, “Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. Consequently, whoever rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves. For rulers hold no terror for those who do right, but for those who do wrong. Do you want to be free from fear of the one in authority? Then do what is right and you will be commended. For the one in authority is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for rulers do not bear the sword for no reason. They are God’s servants, agents of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer. Therefore, it is necessary to submit to the authorities, not only because of possible punishment but also as a matter of conscience. This is also why you pay taxes, for the authorities are God’s servants, who give their full time to governing. Give to everyone what you owe them: If you owe taxes, pay taxes; if revenue, then revenue; if respect, then respect; if honor, then honor.”
Just as scripture directs us concerning our behavior, there are scriptures that form a foundation for choosing for which candidate to cast our vote. Those verses concern the sinfulness of the candidate’s beliefs.
However, whichever candidate wins the election, the result will undoubtedly be God’s will. Romans 13:1-7 makes it abundantly clear that as believers we must be obedient and make peace with our fellow citizens. It will be hard, for all of us, but is what we must do.
Through most of life, we have all worried about what other people think of us. And as we grow up we begin to pay more attention to what we think of ourselves. Are we tough, are we strong, or are we losers? So often that opinion is shaped by what is happening in our lives, be it a good or bad event.
Are We Losers?
We may reach a point where we just think that we don’t deserve anything good to happen to us the rest of our lives because we can all look back at our lives and feel shame for our actions and worthlessness in our own eyes. The sum total of our lives may be “LOSER,” but God has a different view point.
God does hate the sin, but He loves the sinner. King David wrote in Psalm 8:4, “what is man that you are mindful of him, the son of man that you care for him? You made him a little lower than the heavenly beings…” That means that we are spiritual beings similar to the heavenly beings.
God loves you so much that He sacrificed Jesus for you and He wants you to experience a time of revelation. There’s an old saying: When the student is ready, the teacher will appear. God wants you to meet your teacher, the Holy Spirit. In John 14:26 it is written, “But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.”
The Holy Spirit teaches:
S-Salvation by Grace
I-Inspiration by Divine Appointment
R-Righteousness by Jesus Sacrifice
I-Indwells The Saved
T-Testifies to the Divinity of Jesus Christ
If you are feeling low, just remember it’s God’s love for you that counts. “This is love; not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.” (1 John 4:10)
Throughout our lives, resentment, anger, worry, fear, and stress led us to react in ways that caused chaos in our emotions and relationships.We hoped that denial would protect us emotionally and physically. It didn’t.
And oddly enough, no matter the result we reacted the same way each time and surprise, we had the same horrible results.I can remember as a kid, window shopping on a chilly evening with my grandfather.We came to a hardware store and the lights were turned off making it difficult to see in the window.My grandfather leaned over close to the window, trying to see and touched his nose to the cold window.He jumped back and then leaned over and touched his nose to the cold glass again.Yep, the same result, he jumped back again.
As funny as that was to see, that behavior is an example of insanity:doing the same thing over and over again, expecting a different result each time.Don’t worry; we’re not talking about being crazy, we’re talking about bad decision making.
Let’s define sanity for our own purposes.
Sanity is “wholeness of mind; making decisions based on the truth.”To make sane decisions based on truth we must know the truth. Let’s look at John 14:6, “Jesus answered, ‘I am the way and the truth and the life.’” We obviously have a hard time discerning the truth on our own so we must depend upon Jesus to lead us and to provide the strength to persist in the truth.That’s right, depend upon Jesus for strength.
One of the toughest problems is accepting life on life’s terms and accepting people because they do not live up to our expectations.Life is going to be what life is and you can’t change it or fix it.You can only choose how to react to life.Will you choose Jesus’ reaction or keep doing it your way?
If you’re one of those who say life’s ok, it’s people I can’t stand.They just don’t act the way they should or (truth be told) the way I want them to act.Think about this.Romans 15:7 says, “Accept one another, then, for the glory of God, as Christ accepted you.”
Ouch!!That one hurt.
I felt it big time.We must learn to have reasonable expectations of others and ourselves.Stop relating to others in the same old ways.Look to God through prayer and the study of His word to learn how He would have you relate to others.
If I may suggest a simple prayer; “Father teach me to accept others as they really are, not as I would have them be!”
Once you begin to accept others, it becomes easier to stop fixing the blame on them for all of our mistakes and hurts.
I did not want my life to stay the same when God granted me an insight into my true condition.I wanted my life to take on a new nature and I found exactly what I was looking for.“We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life” (Romans 6:4).
How great is that?A new life is what we all want.
With this new life through Jesus comes the responsibility of adopting integrity and honesty as a way of life.Frankly, the truth for many people is what they tell themselves this time!That won’t work anymore.We will begin to tell the real truth and follow through on our promises.You will find that it takes courage to tell the truth and that courage can only come from our Higher Power. And as amazing it may seem, people will begin to trust us again.
Not only will you begin to gain the trust of others, but you will also begin to trust in your relationships.You will learn how to trust and you will learn about who to trust.Keep in mind, a rewarding relationship requires that you have realistic expectations of the other person.
To have realistic expectations, you must trust your Higher Power.
A relationship with Jesus Christ is the best of all ways to learn about how to trust and who to trust.Are you afraid that one more disappointment will destroy you?Trust in God for 1Corinthians 10:13 promises, “And God is faithful; He will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear.But when you are tempted, He will also provide a way out.”
I know that many people are not responsible for what’s happening in their lives, but have they stopped to think that how they react can make matters worse and contribute to their depression and bad decision making.If they choose to forgive and love like Jesus, their attitude will change to become an attitude of gratitude and joy. I hope you noticed I didn’t say happiness.Happiness is dependent upon circumstances.Joy comes from living like Christ.
Beginning in 1972, I began my pharmacy career. Four years of professional classes, and a multitude of chemistry, biology, and zoology courses, brought about an intense desire to be finished with university life and move on the actual practice. Little did I know that I had a great deal left to learn.
Please remember, in 1972 pharmacies did not utilize computers or fax machines for processing the filling and dispensing of prescriptions. An up-to-date pharmacy used an electric typewriter and written prescriptions on a ring file and then stored in a small box for protection. If a patron called for a refill, the pharmacist had to get the prescription from them and go into the storage area to find the original prescriptions. All of that sounds rather primitive, I know.
That adjustment alone just about drove me crazy for the first few months. By 1982, pharmacies began to use computers, but all of those written prescriptions and phone prescriptions were still filed away in the same manner, or something similar. The advent of computer use did actually speed up the process, but it was still labor-intensive.
At this point, the pharmacy staff faced a bigger challenge from the demand for more knowledge by the patrons of the pharmacy. Not only that, but the demands for speedy service increased at a rapid pace. The expectation of calling ahead and picking up a prescription after hours or even days was replaced by the expectation of fifteen to twenty minutes.
Toward the end of my career, some demanded the completion of a new prescription in less than five minutes. If we asked them to wait any longer, the patron would grab the prescription from us and storm out of the pharmacy. Does that sound dramatic? I lost count of the number of times that happened to me from 1998 until 2013.
“What’s The Point?”
If you’re asking yourself, “What’s the point,” there isn’t one. I’m just reminiscing about the good and the bad of it all. It wasn’t the demands from the public that convinced me to retire, it was all of the time I spent away from home. Shifts never ended on time, since people frequently asked me to stay open just a few minutes later and that could turn into an hour. I was late for my daughter’s first birthday and missed the birth of my granddaughter.
The worst event, however, was the unexpected death of my partner who was much younger than myself. That was the event in 2013 that caused me to acknowledge all the lost time with my family. I picked up the phone and tell my wife that it was time for retirement. She was delighted.
The Prophet’s Secret
What did I turn to, after forty-two years of pharmacy? I began to write an adventure novel. From researching the Books of the Apocrypha sprang the idea of The Prophet’s Secret. I have written numerous term and research papers, as well as book reports and such, but I had never attempted anything like a three hundred page manuscript. In spite of the ‘fear’, it was an enjoyable and fun adventure. So much fun, in fact, I’m writing a sequel and having a great time except for the occasional writer’s block.
I’m still working on the marketing for The Prophet’s Secret, but that’s just part of the fun. After all of this, I guess there is a point. Don’t be afraid of something new. I even get to call myself a writer!
I delivered this lesson to inmates in the San Angelo County Jail in 2012.
THE ENEMY (Eph. 6:10-18):Have you ever felt an urge so strong that you can’t resist?That’s the power of this dark world.That’s the spiritual forces of evil.If you are addicted to drugs, alcohol, sex, or money you understand that urge and we don’t have the power on your own to resist.
Scripture speaks of spiritual forces of this dark world and that is none other than Satan himself.Please trust me on this, his temptations can seem beautiful at the time, but they are deadly to the body and spirit.If we are not strong enough to resist, what protection do we have?
Paul says to put on the armor of God.
The belt of truth is not a weapon.It’s good character; truthfulness, honesty (Phil 4:8) a noble state of mind.Purity of thought and desire is the goal.
The breastplate of righteousness protects the heart, which we picture as the location of our desires and emotions.We can work hard at thinking pure thoughts and emotions, but the enemy’s darts (temptations) are aimed right at our hearts (our emotions). The breastplate begins with Christ our Savior, worship of God, studying scripture, and prayers.These are the breastplate.
Please note, Paul speaks of standing firm.This is a picture of a single soldier, standing in his place in the face of the charging enemy, perhaps feeling alone and deserted by his fellow soldiers.A day may come when you feel alone, but remember, “greater is He who lives within you than he who lives in the world.”The Holy Spirit lives within you if you are saved.
Feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the Gospel of peace tells us to live in peace to the best of our ability.
Shield of faith is exactly what it says.It is the strength of our faith and it protects us from the temptations of Satan uses to bring us down and destroy us.Paul says that faith is believing in what you can not see, but you can see the results of faith.
The helmet of salvation provides protection to the everlasting portion of our being.That portion is our immortal soul which can only be protected by accepting Christ as our savior.Christ is our crowning glory and sign of victory.
The sword of the spirit is the weapon empowered by Almighty God, which will fight this fearsome battle for us.Paul is reminding us that the battle is spiritual and must be fought in God’s strength, not our own.
Pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests is a very firm directive to stay in touch with God through prayer.If you are blessed then you should be thanking God in prayer and if you are in need take your requests to God in prayer.Your situation doesn’t matter, you must stay in touch with God through prayer.
With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints.Never let your guard down, never take a holiday from your prayer life.This is a battle that is constant and never lets up.Satan never takes a holiday so we can’t afford to take it easy.Do you realize that as a follower of Christ Jesus, that each of us is a saint? That means we are instructed to pray for each other without stopping.
These instructions are too important to be ignored. The Armor of God is our protection from anything that Satan can use to attack us.Each of us is only human with hopes and desires and it is through them that Satan corrupts our lives.It is only through Jesus Christ that we may obtain righteousness and salvation.
When facing the real world you may worry about going the distance without falling, but by the grace of God, you no longer have to fight because the Sword of the Spirit will fight for you every day.
Let’s look at the “agape” or brotherly love of the Bible.Love for fellow Christians and our brothers.No matter the degree of relationship, Christ calls us to have “agape” love for the other person.This means consideration for their best interest, especially their salvation.
Let’s define “brother” as Jesus defined him: our “brother” is the whole world and remember Matt. 22:37 calls for us to, “Love your neighbor as yourself.”
Paul tells us, “This service that you perform is not only supplying the needs of God’s people but is also overflowing in many expressions of thanks to God.” (2 Corinthians 9:12)
I believe that implies we are to yield ourselves to God and bring the “Good News” to others.The “Good News” is salvation through Jesus Christ and for floundering Christians, it is the “recovery” of their personal relationship with Jesus Christ. Every step we take is about growing our faith in God and we want our faith to live within us.
James 2:17 warns us, “Faith by itself if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.”
Carrying the message, the “Good News” is the action or works.
Action feeds our faith; it is evidence of our living faith in God.We have faith in God, so even if witnessing frightens us, we carry the Word in obedience to our Savior.As you carry the message you will grow to care about the salvation of “total strangers” and their spiritual welfare. As you’re caring grows, so grows the character of Christ within you and then other changes begin to take place.
First of all, fear begins to fade.Thankfully, love drives out fear.Fear is the source of anxiety, anger, resentment, fatigue, and often ill health.Fear raises your blood pressure, your hunger response, and blood sugar.As your fear fades, these problems will begin to fade as well.
As your desire to carry the “Good News” grows, your dependence upon God the Holy Spirit grows as well. You depend on God to keep you in His will and you depend on the Holy Spirit for daily guidance.It follows that you will go back to God’s word, the Bible, to learn more about Him.
This is the goal of any service we perform in the name of Jesus.
Not only do we carry the “Good News” on our tongues, but we also carry it within the very example of how we live and serve.In 1 Corinthians 16:14, it says, “Do everything in love.”If your actions are motivated by and performed in love, your brothers will see that very love which is modeled after Jesus.
L—love God first
O—open up to healthy relationships
V—verify your love through works
E—embrace service for others
Luke 8:16-19 tells us, “No one lights a lamp and hides it in a jar or puts it under a bed. Instead, he puts it on a stand, so that those who come in can see the light.For there is nothing hidden that will not be disclosed and nothing concealed that will not be known or brought out into the open.Therefore, consider carefully how you listen.”
How you live shows what you believe, you can’t hide it.Let your life show your love and your faith.
“There is another power within me that is at war with my mind.” Romans 7:23
We were born with the enemy within.Our old nature is like a secret army, always looking for ways to sabotage us.It’s the door through which Satan enters.You have two natures, an old one and a new one.They are the opposite, and they are always on a collision course.A great illustration of this can be found in the birth of Jacob and Esau, the sons of Isaac, the son of Abraham.
“Rebekah (Isaac’s wife) became pregnant with twins.But the two children struggled with each other in her womb.So she went to ask the Lord about it.‘Why is this happening to me?’ she asked.And the Lord told her, ‘The sons in your womb will become two nations.From the very beginning, the two nations (Jews and Arabs) will be rivals.One nation will be stronger than the other; and your older son will serve your younger son’.” Genesis 25:21-23
Apostle Paul‘s Enemy
Paul talks about his “Dr. Jekyll” nature and his “Mr. Hyde” nature:
“I love God’s law with all my heart.But there is another power within me that is at war with my mind.This power makes me a slave to sin that is still within me.” Romans 7:22-23
What’s the answer?Starve your old nature and feed your new one!Again, Paul writes:
“No man who goes to war entangles himself with the affairs of this life; that he may please him who hath chosen him to be a soldier.” 2 Timothy 2:4
That means you must:(1) regularly communicate with headquarters through prayer; (2) read God’s Word to be sure you’re obeying your Commanding Officer; (3) keep our spiritual morale high; (4) do not get entangled with the wrong people or things.
These are the elements of living a godly life.Desire, determination, and our best effort are not enough unless we follow those four simple steps and allow Jesus Christ to perform a good work within us.
Throughout our lives, resentment, anger, worry, fear, and stress led us to react in ways that caused chaos in our emotions and relationships.We hoped that controlling everything and everybody would protect us emotionally and physically. It didn’t.
And oddly enough, no matter the result, we reacted the same way each time. And surprise, we had the same horrible results.
I can remember as a kid, window shopping on a chilly evening with my grandfather. We came to a hardware store and the lights were turned off making it difficult to see in the window. My grandfather leaned over close to the window, trying to see and touched his nose to the cold window. He jumped back and then leaned over and touched his nose to the cold glass again.
Yep, the same result: He jumped back again.
As funny as that was to see, that behavior is an example of insanity:doing the same thing over and over again, expecting a different result each time.Don’t worry; we’re not talking about being crazy, we’re talking about bad decision making.This begs the question, have we had enough of the results to make positive changes in our behavior?
Only you can answer that question, but I can show you some things from the Bible that will help you change your actions and decisions.First, you must know the truth and Jesus makes it clear, “I am the way and the truth and the life,” (John 14:6).You must believe that Jesus is the only power able to restore us to sanity, “For it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose.(Philippians 2:13)
If you’re one of those who say, “Life’s ok, it’s people I can’t stand.They just don’t act the way they should or (truth be told) the way I want them to act.”
Think about whatRomans 15:7 says.“Accept one another, then, for the glory of God, as Christ accepted you.”
Ouch!! That one hurt.
I felt it big time.We must learn to have reasonable expectations of others and ourselves.Stop relating to others in the same old ways.Look to God through prayer and the study of His word to learn how He would have you relate to others.If I may suggest a simple prayer, “Father teach me to accept others as they really are, not as I would have them be!”
Once you begin to accept others, it becomes easier to stop fixing the blame on them for all of our mistakes and hurts.
I know that many things just happen in life, but have you stopped to think that how you react can make matters worse.And contribute to your depression and bad decision making.If you choose to forgive and love like Jesus, your attitude will change to become an attitude of gratitude and joy.
I hope you noticed I didn’t say happiness.Happiness is dependent upon circumstances.Joy comes from living like Christ and unlike happiness, joy lasts for eternity.
Break Principle 1:Realizing that a “happy heart does good like a medicine,” made a conscious choice to enjoy the moment. Partaking of the wonderful things provided by a Loving God and in the joy of Jesus Christ.
Much of the following stories and jokes were borrowed, but sadly I have forgotten the sources.
There is no doubt in my mind that recovery is serious, but I also know that God has a plan for each of us to enjoy recovery through our relationship with Him and our relationships here on earth.We have covered some very serious topics in past weeks, but tonight we are going to take a break and discover some of the joy that God has planned for each of us.I am convinced that God enjoys a good joke, after all, He made a donkey talk in order to advise a prophet and He chose me to lead a recovery group.God must have a sense of humor.
Join me, if you will, to laugh and lighten the burdens of life a little bit.
The Last Laugh
One day a group of scientists got together and decided that man had come a long way and no longer needed God.So they picked one scientist to go and tell Him that they were done with Him.
“God,” the scientist said, “We’ve decided that we no longer need you.We’re to the point that we can clone people and do many miraculous things, so why don’t you just go on and get lost.”
God listened very patiently and kindly to the man and after the scientist was done, God said, “Very well, how about this, let’s say we have a man-making contest.”To which the scientist readily agreed.
“There’s one stipulation,” God said, “We’re going to do this just like I did back in the old days with Adam.”
The scientist agreed and bent down and grabbed himself a handful of dirt.
God just looked at him and said, “No, no, no.You go get your own dirt.”
God often allows us to exercise our own will and arrogance until we prove that we are not God and we are truly powerless, that our lives are out of control.At that point God grants us awareness of our condition, we just need to accept that fact and admit our powerlessness.
Some times God works in the most unusual and unexpected ways.
I hope this is a true story if it isn’t true it should be true because God works in His own way.
An atheist college professor told his class that he was going to prove that there was not a God.He said, “God if you are real, then I want you to knock me off this platform.I’ll give you 15 minutes!”
Ten minutes went by.He kept taunting God, saying, “Here I am God, I’m still waiting.”He got down to the last couple of minutes when a BIG 240-pound football player happened to walk by the door and heard what the professor said.The football player walked in the classroom and at the last minute, he walked up, hit the professor full force, and sent him flying off the platform.The professor got up, obviously shaken, and said, “Where did you come from, and why did you do that?”The football player replied, “God was busy; He sent me!”
I have heard a true story very similar to this.A college professor challenged anyone in his class to pray that the glass beaker he was about to drop would not break.One student took the challenge and when the professor dropped the glass beaker, it landed on his foot and rolled to the floor unbroken.God shows that He exists in some very unusual ways, we need to be aware that it’s God demonstrating His existence.
He also shows us that we matter to Him; after all, He created the 3 major food groups; white chocolate, milk chocolate, and dark chocolate.
Will Rogers once said, “Good judgment comes from experience, and a lot of that comes from bad judgment.”He also stated, “There are three kinds of people:The ones that learn by reading.The few who learn by observation.The rest of them have to touch the electric fence.”
I can not argue with these sentiments, so instead of learning by suffering the consequences of our poor decisions, why not choose to turn all of our life and will over to Christ’s care and control?We can go through life touching the electric fence or we can allow Jesus to steer us away to the green pastures.
You can believe that those pastures are green indeed.When a four-year-old boy was asked what he looked forward to most when he entered Heaven, he replied, “You never throw-up and you get to jump on the couch.”Can I have a big amen for that one?
Just remember, “There is no fear in submitting to a love that would die for you.”“The Lord won’t take you where His grace can’t keep you.”There is nothing to fear in letting Jesus take control.
Socrates said, “The unexamined life is not worth living.” However, Carl Woody said, “The unlived life is not worth examining.”All due respect to Mr. Woody, we are living life at this very moment so we find ourselves in need of examining our faults.“Did it ever occur to you that nothing ever occurs to God?”He already knows everything about you so your only worry is to be totally honest with yourself, with someone you trust, and with God.Honesty includes accuracy.
So remember Sara’s experience at the dentist’s office.
Sara noticed the dentist’s certificate with his full name hanging on the waiting room wall.She suddenly remembered that a tall, handsome boy with the same name had been in her high school class about 40 years ago.
When she finally saw the dentist she quickly dismissed the thought because he was a balding, gray-haired man with a deeply lined face.She thought, “He’s too old to have been in my class.”
After the examination, she couldn’t resist asking what high school he attended and what year he graduated.He answered, “In 1958.”“Why you were in my class!” she exclaimed.He looked at her closely and asked, “What did you teach?”
Yes, honesty means accuracy so don’t let your self-image be out-of-touch with reality.All too often we want to hang on to our pain, hurts, and hang-ups because we fear change, we fear the future without the life we have always known.Please note that trying to hang on to what we have will leave you with nothing.
There was a man that loved his money so much that while on his death bed he made his wife promise to bury all of his money with him.At the funeral, the obedient widow placed a large shoebox in the casket.The shoe box had a large $ sign on the outside.
Her best friend, knowing about the promise, whispered to the widow, “You didn’t keep that ridiculous promise to that old penny-pincher, did you?”
“Absolutely,” the widow replied.“I cashed in all of his assets; I wrote him a check and put it in the shoebox.”
What we desire is an attitude of gratitude.
“Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend. Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow.” (Melody Beattie)
Peace and serenity is God’s plan for each of us.Please commit the Serenity Prayer to memory:
God, Grant me the serenity to accept the things I can not change; The courage to change the things can and The wisdom to know the difference.
If you can’t remember this prayer then perhaps this is the prayer for you.
God, please grant me the senility to forget the people I never liked anyway, the good fortune to run into the ones that I do like and the eyesight to tell the difference.
Laughter is truly good medicine.I’ll close with this quote from Og Mandino.“Laugh at yourself and at life.Not in the spirit of derision or whining self-pity but as a remedy, a miracle drug, that will ease your pain, cure your depression and help you to put in perspective that seemingly-terrible defeat and worry with laughter at your predicaments, thus freeing your mind to think clearly toward the solution that is certain to come.”