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Step Out on Dry Ground in Faith

n Moses stretched out his hand over the sea, and all that night the Lord drove the sea back with a strong east wind and turned it into dry land. The waters were divided, 22 and the Israelites went through the sea on dry ground, with a wall of water on their right and on their left. Exodus 14:21

After several days of touring the temples and tombs of Egypt, we took a much-needed rest at a resort in Hurghada on the Red Sea.  As I stood on the balcony looking out over the stunning blue of the sea and a forest of white umbrellas, it was hard to imagine Moses and the Israelites crossing this body of water.

 The beach in Hurghada is rocky and the wind blows continually.  The water is cold but clear, and the temperature stays a comfortable upper 80’s. Yachts cruise along the coast, their flags whipping in the wind, under a seemingly endless sky. It is a perfect oasis of never-ending food, entertainment, and relaxation. Far from what it was 3,000 years ago.

 One day I ventured past the umbrellas to a platform with a metal steps that disappeared into the water. Holding the railing and stretching my eyes across the water I tried to imagine what it was like for the Israelites that night as they waited by the sea knowing Pharaoh’s army was bearing down on them.

              The Bible tells us in Exodus 14:21 that the sea did not immediately divide when Moses raised his staff, instead God sent a strong east wind that blew all night pushing the water apart and drying the ground. When you think about that, the people had to huddle along the shore, waiting. Waiting on God to prepare their way. Waiting for the ground to be dry enough to cross and the whole time they waited they knew the enemy had 600 chariots racing toward them (Exodus 14: 7). Horse hoofs thundering, torches burning into the darkness, and the warriors filling the night with their war cries.  How terrifying when you allow yourself to meditate on it.  Huddled in the darkness with the sea ahead they cannot go forward, certain death and destruction behind them they could only wait, trust, and believe.

              Our world is in turmoil and we have been driven out of the way of life we have known. We have no idea what tomorrow will bring. We spend time on our knees in prayer beseeching him for deliverance, for answers, for understanding of things that lack wisdom and we wait. Many of us are nervous, worried, and afraid. Do not give up. Hold tight, God has this. We may have been taken by surprise, but he hasn’t.

Do not live in fear but in anticipation.

Waiting for God is not easy but then it was not ever meant to be. If God responded to prayers and request with fast answers, how would we learn patience, faith, and trust? It is not easy; it never will be and that is why you must have faith in him even when you are huddled in the dark.  Trust him when the enemy is close at hand.  Anticipate the east wind as it comes to make your way. Step out on dry ground in faith and know God in still in control.

Typist for Jesus

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Lasting Impressions

MUSTARD SEEDS POSTCARD: Hatshepsut Temple at Deir el-Bohri, Egypt

Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms. 1 Peter 4:10

One of the temples I was very excited to visit was that of Hatshepsut’s temple at Deir el-Bohri. Hatshepsut (1479-1458 BCE) was not content with being a co-regent with her infant stepson Thutmose III, she had in mind something different.  In the second year of the co-regent reign, Hatshepsut named herself Pharaoh and donned the Pharaoh’s beard.  She had herself depicted as a male pharaoh in traditional clothing and in the same postures. However, she never changed her face, still appearing very feminine and pleasant looking.

  It is uncertain why she waited until the third year to take the throne but there are several theories. Whatever her reason, Hatshepsut was one of the most successful Pharaohs reigning for 20 years until her death in 1458 BC.  Hatshepsut is credited with establishing new trade routes and increasing Egypt’s wealth beyond what it had every been before or since.  She avoided wars and conflict with neighboring kingdoms by creating trade. She also built on a grander scale during her reign than any other pharaoh except for Rameses II. This proves she was in command of enormous wealth and created many jobs for her people. She commissioned building projects throughout the country. Her temple at Deir el-Bohri is one of the most impressive temples. (pictured above) In addition, she had two enormous obelisks raised at Karnak and elsewhere.  

Unfortunately, those that reigned after her did not have the same appreciation. Immediately after her death and Thutmose III’s rise to the throne, Hatshepsut was erased from history, her images destroyed, and her name blotted. Her campaigns, building projects and trade routes were credited to Thutmose III and he backdated his reign back to the death of his father, Thutmose I. Thutmose III did not want anyone to remember his stepmother.  However, this scheme has backfired on him Hatshepsut is well known today, and her temples are visited by thousands of people each year. Her story is both inspiring and amazing.  Hatshepsut took a risk took control and, in the process, prospered her people and country.

This may seem a strange subject for a Mustard Seed, but I think it is a good reminder that though your choices and actions are not immediately seen, your life and actions have a direct and lasting impact on the world around you.  What you choose to do, to say in any situation makes an impression, it influences everyone around you and not just today but tomorrow.

It is a tremendous responsibility that many of us never think about, but certainly should.  God’s Word tells us plainly that we are responsible for our actions and how they impact. We have been given many talents and abilities and we should employ them to help and encourage others. As Christians we need to think before we speak and weigh our words. Do our words lift, or do they tear down? Do our actions portray what Jesus would have us show of his love? These are questions that we should be asking ourselves daily.

Your choices and words live on through those around you and will reach further than you ever thought possible. Make sure you consider what you do or say carefully.

Typist for Jesus

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Every Sunrise is a Renewal

Sunrise over Luxor, Egypt 9/2021

The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. Lamentations 3:22-23

The chill of the desert morning left me with a shiver. I was nervous and my stomach rolled. I had never done well with heights and the idea of climbing in the wicker basket filled me with dread. Despite my fear, I climbed the rickety metal steps and dropped down. Once everyone was situated, the pilot released a blast of super-heated gas that threatened to deafen me and my fellow travelers. The balloon rose and we floated effortlessly and gently into the predawn sky. 

Balloons over Luxor 9/2021

              I was in a sweat, cold beads formed on my forehead. I closed my eyes tight afraid to look. I began to pray and take in deep revitalizing breaths.  After a few moments I opened my eyes and stretched them over the earth. A wash of peace covered me. Stepping closer to the outside of the basket I smiled. Colorful balloons dotted the sky and rays of pink began to streak the horizon.

              After only a few moments the basket erupted in exclamations as the sun burst and light, pale at first, illuminated the world.

              The ancient Egyptian believed that the sun died every evening and was reborn every morning. They saw each day as a renewal of life. To a degree, they were spot on. We cannot do anything about yesterday.  It is over and done.  We cannot go back or take back what we have done or said but we can do our best to make today better.

              Do not dwell on the past or things that you cannot change, but rather take each day and strive to walk with Jesus. Each day, God extends his grace and renews his mercy.

              Every sunrise is a renewal.

              Typist for Jesus

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A Bag of Glasses

Bag of Glasses: What lenses do you use to view the world?

Open my eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of your law. Psalms 119:18

I popped in on my parents a couple of weeks ago.  We were having a little impromptu Sunday lunch.  I brought the chicken and mom made the sides.  As we waited on the last thing to come out of the oven, my mom handed me a bag. I peeked inside.  It was full of reading glasses. There were all shapes and colors. What driven this interesting gift was unfortunately I had broken my prescription glasses. Worst still with the delays and reduced number of clients that could be seen, I cannot get an appointment for two months. So, my mom always thinking got every reader she had and offered them for me to try.  She even provided a newspaper cutting for me to use to gauge which of the glasses would work best.  Some of the glasses were blurry, others were too weak and even one pair caused immediate nausea. Finally, after trying them all, I chose three pair and gave my mom a thankful peck on the cheek.

              Later, on the drive home, I thought about that bag of glasses. How each lens influenced how I perceived the world around me. It is the lens that determines how we see.

 So, what lenses do you use to view the world around you? Is it the lens of the media? Maybe your favorite Tik Tok? Your friends? Favorite show? Grief? Bitterness? Fear?

We have many options for lenses to choose from, but not all the choices are the best. How we choose to look at the world affects our relationships, not just with others but with ourselves. It affects our moods and can exacerbate depression. Sometimes the wrong lens evokes fear and leaves us feeling hopeless. Reading the Bible is the best lens we can use to view our world. The Bible teaches us to love one another and to leave the judging to the one and only judge. Reading your Bible strengthens your faith, gives you hope and perseverance to face the trials ahead. It places the focus on Jesus and reminds you how important and special you are to God.

Do you need a new perspective a more positive and peaceful view?

Change your lenses.

Typist for Jesus

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Boldness is Contagious

If you get on your knees before God, you can stand before any man.

And because of my chains, most of the brothers and sisters have become confident in the Lord and dare all the more to proclaim the gospel without fear. Philippians 1:14

Today I read a comment from someone on their stance on the vaccine mandate.  Their response was intelligent, compassionate, and aligned pretty much to my thoughts.  After I read it my cursor floated over the “LIKE” button.  It hovered because I was afraid to hit like and tie myself to the statement. Time passed and the statement hung out there like the proverbial “elephant in the room” on the forum.  This person’s idea was contrary to the accepted narrative. However, I believe that more people align to this thought but because we fear backlash, threats, potential job loss and alienation in our communities, we keep it to ourselves.  

              Finally, one brave person hit “LIKE” and then a rapid succession of thumbs up began. The boldness of one person gave the rest of us the courage. I thought about this incident for the rest of the day. We have become conditioned to worry about the consequences of expressing ourselves we have chosen to sit on the sidelines silent. As Christians, we have our own mandate to declare the gospel to all.

              Jesus was not always very popular himself.  Though he taught thousands there were thousands more that refused his message. He was driven out of towns, in fact his hometown. The truth is not always the popular narrative, but truth cannot be silent, and neither can we.  If we cannot have the boldness to hit a button how will we face the coming days? The time is coming when you will have to decide to boldly say you stand with Jesus or with his enemy.  If we cannot speak up for truth now, how will we stand for it later?

              Each of us face times when we struggle and are reluctant to share our faith.  We do not have to muster up courage but rely on the Spirit that is within each of us. Through studying the Word and coming to God in repentance and prayer He will embolden us to proclaim the gospel without fear.

              Boldness is contagious. When we are bold for Christ, it provokes others to do the same.

              Typist for Jesus

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God Keeps His Promises

God Keeps His Promises

For, “In just a little while, he who is coming will come and will not delay.” Hebrews 10:37

For the past two days my neighbor’s car alarm keeps going off.  I found it extremely annoying the first day, by the second day I was able to just ignore it and today I have just carried on with my life.  My neighbor came over this morning and apologized.  We stood on the porch and chit chatted as we watched the car being loaded on the back of a tow truck.  It was still sounding its alarm as the truck drove away.  After we bade each other goodbye I returned to my work.  As I sat at my desk, I thought about that car alarm.  I thought about how I had come out the first time and the second time it sounded yet, past that I just kind of ignored it.  By the third day, I didn’t hear it anymore.

              For over 2,000 years we have heard the promise that Jesus will return for his own. I have heard it my entire life, my mother and grandmother before.  I think that many of us say it to each other as a means of comfort and hope yet, do we really believe that Jesus will come again? 

              God always keeps his promises. Always. God is merciful and will offer every opportunity of repentance.  His delay is anything but a delay, rather the Father is waiting to fulfill his promise when all have heard his message of salvation and redemption.  There are many people in our lives that we are in anguish for, our mothers, daughters, fathers, sons, husbands, wives, and dear friends. God too desires their acceptance of his love and wants to extend his grace to all.

              Just because you have heard the alarm over and over do not allow yourselves to become numb.  Continue to share Christ with those in your life with all diligence. Do not become weary but anticipate his glorious return.

              Typist for Jesus

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A Sure Thing

Photo by football wife on Pexels.com

The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.

John 10:10

I have never been a sports fan.  Football, basketball, NASCAR, whatever, I have just never got caught up in it.  I personally have nothing against it.  In fact, most of my friends enjoy one type or another.  However, it has never appealed to me.  One reason, beside my lack of interest, is that I never knew which was a potential winning team.  Because let’s face it, who wants to back a losing team? I know I don’t want to be wearing the jersey of a loser.

            Unfortunately, right now, many of your friends, family and neighbors are backing the wrong team.  They have gotten caught up in the hype.  There has been some convincing arguments from our enemy circulated.  It’s easy to get confused.  How do you know what is truth and what is a lie?

            There is a lot of misinformation going around in the media and in our communities.  The best way to sort through the information that is getting batted around is to look at how the message is presented.  God will never use coercion, bribery, shame, threats or fear in His revelations.  That is a tactical move by the enemy to elicit fear and control.  Look back over history, fear is the most used tactic to force people to comply and “fall in line”.   Fear is one of the biggest motivators to all life whether human or animal. We fear death, injury or the inability to sustain life.  

            As you read articles, listen to the news, converse with employers and medical representatives, pay attention to what is being said, how it is said and what emotions it evokes.   If threats, coercion, shame, bribery and especially fear is being used, be sure it comes from your enemy.  He has one goal and one goal only to steal, kill and destroy. Our enemy will shame you in thinking that your choices are silly and that you lack cognition to make these choices yourself.  The enemy will promise you things to entreat you to comply.  The enemy will threaten your ability to function financially and socially.

            Do you trust God? Do you trust in the Blood of Christ?  It’s time to take your place on the scrimmage line, it’s time to decide what team you are on.

Typist for Jesus

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Get Up Off Your Samsonite

Photo by Daria Shevtsova on Pexels.com

 I must work the works of him that sent me, while it is day: the night cometh, when no man can work. John 9:4

I drove past a bus stop yesterday. It was not for a city bus, but rather a travel bus. I noticed as I sat at a red light, that all these people were sitting on their suitcases. They just sat there, playing on their phones, and staring off into their thoughts. As I took in the sight, it made me think of how some Christians are doing the same thing.

Many Christians today seem to be sitting on their luggage and wait ing on the bus to Heaven. We hear so many claiming that ‘Jesus is coming,’ and, ‘Time is near.’ Yet a good deal of us have packed it in and are sitting on our suitcases.

Now is not the time for Christians to be sitting on the Samsonite, it is time to get up and get about our Father’s business sharing the Word. Put your luggage up, you have work to do!  Jesus is not here yet! There are people dying and going to Hell.  They need Jesus and the only way they will hear about Him is if you them. 

This world is in trouble, there is corruption, murder and unspeakable things happening all around us.  However, you as a Christian have a responsibility to this world.

A new commandment I give unto you, that ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.

John 13:34-35

Notice in these two verses that “love one another’ is repeated three times. It was repeated so you would understand the importance. We cannot afford to just quit. Now more than ever, we need to be loving the unlovable. Feeding the hungry. Clothing the naked. Bringing warmth to the cold. Sharing Christ. The night has not come and there is plenty to be done.

It is still day so get up off you Samsonite.

Typist for Jesus

Mustard Seeds, Modern Parables

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Sowing Good Seed

Sowing Good Seed

Matthew 13:24-30

The Parable of the Weeds: 

He put another parable before them, saying, “The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a man who sowed good seed in his field, 25 but while his men were sleeping, his enemy came and sowed weeds[a] among the wheat and went away. 26 So when the plants came up and bore grain, then the weeds appeared also. 27 And the servants[b] of the master of the house came and said to him, ‘Master, did you not sow good seed in your field? How then does it have weeds?’ 28 He said to them, ‘An enemy has done this.’ So the servants said to him, ‘Then do you want us to go and gather them?’ 29 But he said, ‘No, lest in gathering the weeds you root up the wheat along with them. 30 Let both grow together until the harvest, and at harvest time I will tell the reapers, “Gather the weeds first and bind them in bundles to be burned but gather the wheat into my barn.” Matthew 13:24-30

There is a strip of land between my neighbor and me.  Every time it rains, water rushes down, bringing dirt, rocks, and debris into my driveway.  The landlord threw out grass seed many times, but the seeds were washed away or eaten.  One day on a whim, I threw out wildflower seeds and covered it with grass clippings.  In just a few short days, the wildflowers began to grow and quickly filled the slope with lovely yellow, white and an occasional purple bloom.  Grass also began to grow, and the area began to flourish. It was not long before weeds began to pop up between the flowers.  As the weeds multiplied, the flowers decreased, and the lush area began to look a bit scrubby.  I tried to do some weeding, but the roots of the weeds and wildflowers were intertwined.  Pulling the weeds damaged some of the flowers.  So, I left them to grow together.

            In the Parable of the Weeds, (Matt 13:24-30), Jesus clearly tells us that weeds will invade our gardens as evil invaded the original garden.  We must contend with evil in this world.  God allows evil and good to co-exist and will until the end.   This should be an encouragement to believers, and we must not lose heart when our efforts seem hopeless.  We must deal with the reality of opposition and evil and recognize that it does not define the outcome. 

            In verse 30, “Let both grow together until the harvest”, may seem a bit counter productive however unlike God we cannot know another’s heart.  Nor do we know where their lives and choices my take them-or their potential for redemption.  God is merciful and patient. As on my little slope of wildflowers, removing the weeds now would destroy both.  Separation will come at the harvest, in God’s timing. 

Our job in the meantime, is to continue to sow good seed.  

Typist for Jesus

Edward Finds His Voice: Lessons from the Coop

Edward Finds His Voice:

Lessons from the Coop

And he said to them, “Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation. Mark 16:15 (ESV)

 My chicken herding friend has shared another story of her little flock.  I enjoy her stories and often I see that animals whether domestic, farm or wild, can teach us something if we are willing to humble ourselves to recognize it.

              This week is a story about a little chick named Edward.  What a distinguished name for a little fuzzy chick but I have no doubt he will grow into it. 

When you first purchase chicks you do not know if they are male or female. They are just fuzzy loud peeping tiny birds.  As they grow their individual characteristics begin to emerge.  Fuzz becomes feathers and their colors begin to change.  Recently, Edward has begun to form a comb on his head.  In addition to his emerging comb, Edward has been loosening up his voice in preparation for his barn yard crow. The first couple of vocalizations were, well I guess you could say it was a bit weak.  However, after each little raspy cough, Edward would strut about proud of himself.  Every day, Edward practiced his crow, and every day this little guy made progress.  A couple of mornings ago, Edward hopped up on top of the water dispenser, thrust out is chest, opened his beak, and let out a perfect albeit small crow. 

Edward has found his voice!!

              Little Edward at only a few weeks old is aware of his role in the coop.  He soon will be the protector of the flock and his voice will be heard in the yard and beyond. You also have a role and a voice in the world.  Often, we feel that as Christians we should be quiet and wait for someone to ask us to speak.  We worry we will offend someone.  Some of us may be afraid to speak because we fear the backlash and ridicule that we may receive if we share Christ. If you wait for this world to invite you to share your voice, you will be waiting for a long time.  If you wait for someone to ask about Jesus’ love, you may never share it.  Like Edward, you need to confidently use your voice.  Accept the role that you have been born to fulfill.  Without your voice, many in your sphere of influence may never hear that Jesus loves them and seeks to have a relationship with them. I understand your fear and I grapple with it each time I publish a Seed.  However, I fear the cost of silence more.

           

 Assume your role as a voice for Christ.  

Edward Finds His Voice: Lessons from the Coop Mustard Seeds, Modern Parables

If a little chicken named Edward can be bold and unafraid, so can we.