Category Archives: Inspirational

Sunday Devotional: Hate not

Matthew 18:21-22

Peter approached Jesus and asked him,
“Lord, if my brother sins against me,
how often must I forgive?
As many as seven times?”
Jesus answered, “I say to you,
not seven times but seventy-seven times.”

Why?

Because we are told —

Sirach 27:30-28:7

Wrath and anger are hateful things,
yet the sinner hugs them tight.
The vengeful will suffer the LORD’s vengeance,
for he remembers their sins in detail.
Forgive your neighbor’s injustice;
then when you pray, your own sins will be forgiven.
Could anyone nourish anger against another
and expect healing from the LORD?
Could anyone refuse mercy to another like himself,
can he seek pardon for his own sins?
If one who is but flesh cherishes wrath,
who will forgive his sins?
Remember your last days, set enmity aside;
remember death and decay, and cease from sin!
Think of the commandments, hate not your neighbor;
remember the Most High’s covenant, and overlook faults.

In other words, the reasons for not hating another, but instead forgiving those who have wronged against us, are both practical and just:

  1. Practicality: Wrath, anger, hate, and vengefulness are sins (“hateful things”) and God remembers our sins “in detail”.
  2. Fairness: Do to others what you would have others do unto you. How can we expect God to forgive us, if we refuse to forgive others?

 

Here are other practical reasons to eschew anger, hatred, and vengefulness:

  • Those emotions affect our judgment. To quote Godfather 3: “Never hate your enemies — it affects your judgment”.
  • Anger and hostility (hate) make us more prone to heart attacks. Research found that healthy people who are often angry or hostile are 19% more likely than calmer people to get heart disease; and among people with heart disease, those who usually feel angry or hostile fare worse than others. Emotions of anger, hatred and vengefulness ramp up our “fight or flight” response, sending stress hormones, including adrenaline and cortisol, which speed up our heart rate and breathing, tighten blood vessels, and raise blood pressure, in order that we can run for our life or fight an enemy. But if this happens often, it causes wear and tear on our artery walls. (WebMD)

May the peace and love of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you,

~Eowyn

Advertisements

Clarifying Psalm 91 with the words of Jesus

To qualify for supernatural protection

“I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name.” – Psalm 91:14b

The whole of Psalm 91 is a mighty promise of protection. But to benefit from that protection, we must meet the qualifications. We must “make the Most High our dwelling.”

Jesus stipulated that if we obey His words, then we will be in Him and He in us. That sounds like dwelling to me.

Please note the similarity between the verse above and the one below. They speak of the same situation. If we are proud of the the name of the Jesus before men, then we are obedient and pleasing to the Father and His angels.

The following warning should make us tremble:

“If anyone is ashamed of me and my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, the Son of Man will be ashamed of them when he comes in his Father’s glory with the holy angels.” – Mark 8:38

If we are ashamed of Jesus in our dealings with men and women, how can we expect Psalm 91’s protection to be ours?

Lord Jesus, I resolve to always be proud of You before the men and women of this world.

Marine veteran amputee reaches summit of Mount Kilimanjaro

kionte storey and jake rath

Jake Rath (l) and Marine Kionte Storey (r)/Photo courtesy of Jake Rath

Hoorah!

From Fox News: Waking up around midnight on Aug. 25, Marine Cpl. Kionte Storey began his final trek up Mount Kilimanjaro, the culmination of months of rigorous training that led him to the top of Africa’s highest peak.

With every step he took, the 29-year-old veteran climbed higher than he ever had before. At 10:45 a.m. local time, Storey made it to the summit, 19,341 feet up – a feat made more outstanding by the fact he achieved it with a prosthetic leg.

The view, he said, was simply “amazing.”

“You look down and you are above the clouds,” he told Fox News on Tuesday. “I keep saying it was the closest thing to getting to heaven, and then the sun comes out and you can see everything.”

The trip to Africa was part of a campaign by the Bob Woodruff and Steven & Alexandra Cohen foundations called #Give2Veterans.

For the journey, Storey was joined by Jake Rath, 25, of the Steven & Alexandra Cohen Foundation, who documented the entire trip with a DSLR camera and 360-degree photo.

“The photos don’t do it justice,” he said, adding that seeing the night sky with only miles and miles of stars was breathtaking.

“To see the mountain in the starlight, thousands of stars, that was an amazing sight to see,” he added. “I was amazed by Africa.”

Storey, who joined the Marines in 2007, lost his right leg below the knee after stepping on an IED while deployed to Afghanistan in 2010. Part of his physical and mental recovery after the injury included training at Paralympic camps and hiking.

In 2013, he became the first African-American and first amputee to reach the summit of Antarctica’s Mount Vinson. “I didn’t know how my body was going to respond [in Africa],” Storey said. “My leg did well all the way up – it did a lot better than I expected.”

Both men said they had to pace themselves while on the climb, not trying to rush and give their bodies time to acclimate. Trekking through the different terrains – from jungle to savannas and finally glacier-covered stone peaks – made for a more interesting climb.

“We both trained a good amount – we were fit. The hardest was the mental challenge,” Rath said. “For each step you take, it’s the highest step you have taken.”

Through #Give2Veterans, the Steven & Alexandra Cohen Foundation is giving away up to $500,000 to help veterans. The foundation will give the Bob Woodruff Foundation $1 every time a social media post is shared using the hashtag. The campaign ends on Sept. 30.

The California native said the final push to the top of Kilimanjaro was the make-or-break moment for them because it was the point in the journey when they started questioning everything.

“You start asking yourself ‘why’ – ‘why am I doing this when I could be doing better things?,’” he said. “And then I started to think about the whys and I remembered my friends serving overseas who aren’t alive. I started thinking about amputees and showing them through my experience that anything is possible.

He added: “For us know that we were doing it for something bigger than ourselves, [we thought], ‘we are getting to the summit and that’s it.’ That’s how big our reason was for getting to the summit.”

DCG

Sunday Devotional: A Prayer for Mercy

Psalm 46:2-4

God is our refuge and our strength,
an ever-present help in distress.
Thus we do not fear, though earth be shaken
and mountains quake to the depths of the sea,
Though its waters rage and foam
and mountains totter at its surging.

Tampa Bay Times reports this morning, Sept. 10, 2017, that Hurricane Irma has regained its Category 4 strength as the storm’s center made landfall in the lower Florida Keys as of 8 a.m., with maximum sustained winds of 130 mph.

Category 4 means sustained winds of 130-156 mph, and damages to houses, trees and power lines which could make places unlivable for weeks or months after.

Irma is centered about 30 miles east-southeast of Key West and about 110 miles south of Naples, moving north-northwest at 8 mph. Hurricane-force winds extend outward up to 80 miles from the center and tropical-storm-force winds extend outward up to 220 miles. A wind gust to 89 mph was recorded in Key West, and sustained winds of 46 mph with a gust to 72 mph was recorded at Tamiami Airport in West Kendall.

The leading edge of the immense storm bent palm trees and spit rain across South Florida, knocking out power to more than 170,000 homes and businesses, as the eye approached Key West.

“Tonight, I’m sweating. Tonight I’m scared to death,” said 60-year-old Carol Walterson Stroud, who sought refuge in a senior center in Florida’s southernmost city with her husband, granddaughter and dog Saturday night. The streets emptied and shops were boarded up before the wind started to howl.

Florida Gov. Rick Scott had warned residents in the state’s evacuation zones Saturday that “this is your last chance to make a good decision.” About 6.4 million people were told to flee. But because the storm is 350 to 400 miles wide, the entire Florida peninsula was exposed. Forecasters said the greater Miami area of 6 million people could still get life-threatening hurricane winds and storm surge of 4 to 6 feet.

The storm is forecast to weaken as it moves over the lower Keys and near or over the state’s west coast — including the Tampa Bay region — later today through tonight, potentially sparing Tampa as well Miami the catastrophic head-on blow forecasters had been warning about. But those few miles meant St. Petersburg could get a direct hit.

If the surge occurs at high tide, areas in Tampa Bay — from Ana Maria Island to Clearwater Beach — could experience 5 to 8 feet of storm surge. Forecasters warned of storm surge as high as 15 feet.

Meteorologists predicted Irma would plow into the Tampa Bay area Monday morning. The area has not been struck by a major hurricane since 1921, when its population was about 10,000. Now around 3 million people live there.

Given its mammoth size and strength and its course up the peninsula, it could prove one of the most devastating hurricanes ever to hit Florida, and inflict damage on a scale not seen here in 25 years.

In 1992, Hurricane Andrew smashed into suburban Miami with winds topping 165 mph, damaging or blowing apart over 125,000 homes. The damage in Florida totaled $26 billion, and at least 40 people died.

Matthew 18:18-20

Jesus said to his disciples:
“Amen, I say to you,
If two of you agree on earth
about anything for which they are to pray,
it shall be granted to them by my heavenly Father.
For where two or three are gathered together in my name,
there am I in the midst of them.”

May the peace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you,

~Eowyn

What do Noah, Daniel and Job have in common?

Answer: Who They Could Not Save

These 3 men were famed for their righteousness. To call them influential would be an understatement. But Noah was only able to save his immediate family and the animals from the flood; Daniel was an exile himself, a remnant of an already crushed people; Job couldn’t save his own children from a disaster. So they were known for their limitations as well as their greatness.

“The word of the Lord came to me: “Son of man, if a country sins against me by being unfaithful and I stretch out my hand against it to cut off its food supply and send famine upon it and kill its people and their animals, even if these three men—Noah, Daniel and Job—were in it, they could save only themselves by their righteousness, declares the Sovereign Lord.” – Ezekiel 14:12-14

By contrast, Joshua and Samuel led their generations into righteousness and times of national stability. 

All the men mentioned are righteous leaders. All sought to influence their fellows  to honor God and find salvation. Two succeeded, but the first three were not able to hold off God’s wrath.

They all lived in God’s protection and were rescued. The Lord’s judgements are not indiscriminate.

As we plead with our generation to honor God, we can expect His care for us to be secure, but we may not know if our efforts will succeed in turning people back to God.

Readers, as we observe a large number of natural disasters bearing down on this world, we plead with you to seek the Lord right now, and not wait until it’s too late.


“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” – John 3:16

 

What I’m Not Doing Today

In keeping with my last post I am deliberately ignoring the news today.

This isn’t something I usually do, but it might be good to make it a new rule. Fox, CNN, and MSNBC are doing 24/7 hand wringing right now over North Korea. How can I benefit from being attached to this story line?

So instead, I will spend some time drawing closer to the Lord, who is the only one capable of giving us peace. My mental prescription of choice today: Psalms 23, 27, 46 and 91.

The sky already looks better, the flowers brighter, and my outlook more hopeful.

Bye bye FoxNews.

“You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in you, all whose thoughts are fixed on you!” – Isaiah 26:3

 

Fear Not

Rembrandt’s “Storm on the Sea of Galilee”

I used to think of “Fear Not” as a word of friendly advice, but I was wrong: “Fear Not” is a command.

When Jesus was awakened from a much needed sleep by His terrified disciples, He actually rebuked them for allowing themselves to fear.

Jesus Calms the Storm

Then he got into the boat and his disciples followed him. Suddenly a furious storm came up on the lake, so that the waves swept over the boat. But Jesus was sleeping. The disciples went and woke him, saying, “Lord, save us! We’re going to drown!”

He replied, “You of little faith, why are you so afraid?” Then he got up and rebuked the winds and the waves, and it was completely calm.” – Matthew 8:23-26

We wake up to a new storm every day

We have a hurricane bearing down towards us, or the threat of war. Or we have the endless predictions of economic ruin. If that’s not enough, the roads are dangerous, and there are many health disasters lurking out there.

The disciples could have answered, “What do you mean, ‘Why are you so afraid?!!'” “We’re fishermen! We know exactly what this kind of storm can do!”

But they were with the Messiah. They knew about the faith lessons He had been teaching them, And fear, except for the fear of God, was not acceptable.

Today I came down stairs to hear once again Mrs. Dust muttering in frustration that we need to nuke North Korea and get over with it. This was of course because of the news media worrying endlessly about the stand off. It was born of fear. And fear is exactly how North Korea holds the world in its grip.

Looking around a bit more, there were predictions that the East Coast needs to fear another hurricane. And looking a little further I saw the usual list of false prophets predicting doom while selling survival food.

So my choice today is to obey the Master and reject fear

But it’s a fight, and is part of “the good fight of faith.” How do we banish fear? It’s a daily, even hourly, discipline.

“There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.” – 1 John 4:18

I will be fighting this fight every day. For now, I will turn off the news.

I will obey also the following advice (orders, actually):

“Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.” –Philippians 4:4-9