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racoon

A Merry Heart

Do you ever just laugh for the sheer joy of laughing? Are you overly serious? Are you too stressed out and nervously tense to joke with others or them with you? Proverbs 17:22 says, “ A merry heart does good, like medicine, but a broken spirit dries the bones.” My husband, Stephen, is a real character and loves to play a joke on whoever is easily set up. One day many years ago, there were coons in my step-dad’s corn. Stephen is an avid hunter and always kept a watchful eye to try to rid the garden of these thieves. Sure enough, he was able to shoot one of the coons.

There was a loose board out in the main barn and Stephen got this crazy idea to pull a prank on my step-dad, Herb. He took the dead coon out to where a floorboard was jarred from its normal resting place and pulled it back and put the dead coon in a position to make it look like it was about to escape down through the hole. It really did look like the coon was trying to escape.

As soon as my step-dad pulled in the driveway, Stephen hurriedly ran out of the house yelling, “Herb, Herb! There’s a coon in the barn.” Herb grabbed a baseball bat and began to stealthily make his way into the barn. He crept along the inside wall of the barn even walking heel to toe, heel to toe. Stephen of course, was right behind him watching his every move, trying hard not to laugh.

Herb finally got up to the coon and rushed headlong right at it. He began to swing the bat up and down, up and down, thinking he had finally caught the garden thief. Then suddenly it dawned on him that the coon had not made one move. Slowly he turned around and looked at Stephen who burst out with hoots of laughter. Then Herb began to laugh with him at the hilarious prank that had been pulled on him!

Are you too busy to pull a joke on someone or are people too nervous about what your reaction would be if they played one on you? Remember, “A merry heart does good, like medicine, but a broken spirit dries the bones.” Let’s ask God to help us stop being Negative Nancys and Negative Nelsons and loosen up enough to laugh and love a little more intensely. Laughter is a great healing medicine! So let’s let the healing begin!

sharia law

Sharia Law

I heard something on my way to work today that was very disturbing. The journalist was telling America that Islam is the fastest growing religion on the planet and that by 2050, it also will be the largest. He went on to tell us stunned listeners that it was because of the decreased involvement of Christians and Jews across the globe. Islam, he stated, was proselytizing on every continent. Not good news at all!

For example, how naive we, as Americans are about Sharia law which is making headway in large and small ways. Our public schools are setting prayer rooms aside for practicing Muslims, while Christian and Jewish students are not allowed. Whatever happened to the separation of church and State? Shouldn’t all religions have the same privileges and restrictions? What about Target cashiers getting a pass for refusing to wait on customers who are purchasing bacon, or Christians who were arrested for handing out free copies of the Book of John to Muslims on a public sidewalk?

Judeo-Christian tradition has been under attack for quite a few years along with concessions granted to Sharia law; this is not something brand new for America.

In 1619 we started doing it when we tolerated a ship of thirty African slaves to land on our shores to become profit for slave traders. Upon visiting a slave castle in Ivory Coast, the history of the slave trade in that area was recited to us. It was the sin of all types of mankind that allowed this evil to exist, mainly for profit. No race or color was exempt in that evil history. But another fact was that there were a lot of predominantly Muslim who were high players in the slave trade. According to Thomas Sowell, Muslims openly still practice selling slaves in places like Sudan, Saudi Arabia, and Mauritania.

Mohammad himself practiced slavery, and taught his proteges to do the same.

Quoting Sowell: “…the region of West Africa…was one of the great slave-trading regions of the continent-before, during, and after the white man arrived. Arabs were the leading slave raiders in East Africa, ranging over an area larger than all of Europe.”

Let’s contrast Islam and Sharia based on the Quran; the Judeo-Christian foundations and heritage based on the Bible, has adamantly be against slave trade. This is only a small, tiny, minute glimpse of this topic.

Did you know that in the Quran men are told to keep the strap in open sight for their wives to see so that they will be fearful to be obedient to their husbands? Many Islamic women under Sharia law live in fear of being killed for possibly displeasing their husbands or other male relatives. Many Islamic countries do not allow women to even drive or get a decent, ongoing education. Such is Sharia law.

I thank God daily I live in a Judeo-Christian nation where I am free to be who God has created me to be. We need to seriously wake-up to what Sharia law really is. There is much more to learn about it. I challenge you to study, dig and educate yourself about Sharia law. Let’s purposefully pray for Muslims that Jesus will reveal Himself to them in powerful ways. They are searching and hungry as well, for the living God. And, we as Christians and Jews must awaken and stir ourselves to action. Let’s not pretend that Sharia law is not just on the edge of our world, but is already in it! Arise. Let your voice be heard.

camera lense

We Went to See The Circle

Monday is our day off, such as it is. Errands, running into Lowe’s for just a small fix-it gadget, or the grocery store for a few needed items to make a soup for dinner, are all part of the day’s lineup. Every other week, it is my day to choose (above and beyond the errands), what we will be doing for our reprieve. Sometimes it’s a trip to Lake George for outlet shopping and lunch, or over to Massachusetts to peruse the Clark gallery for their latest exhibition.

Last week, I chose to go see the movie “The Circle,” starring Emma Watson and Tom Hanks. Mae, (Emma Watson), grabs the chance to land a job in the most powerful technology and social media company. Without giving away the story completely, the theme of the movie is about a groundbreaking experiment that pushes the boundaries of privacy, ethics and personal freedom. Mae flows completely with the experiment until her eyes are widely opened to what’s really going on. Her decisions begin to impede on the lives of others, even to her family and their futures and their privacy.

Talk of openness, fairness, and full acceptance of each other sounds so right. When boarding specific airlines you will hear the announcer welcoming you to the airline—“a member of the global community.” Is all this really a true caring from “the powers that be,” that each and every member of the human race receive every possible advantage and have every opportunity the same as the next person? Yet, is this truly a loving, caring movement? Stop and really think about it. Or is there a very slick, blinding power behind all of what is thrust at us repeatedly hundreds of times a day, reaching to take control of your thinking, actions and reactions behind it all?

I heard that in Finland they are experimenting with everyone receiving $1,000 a month whether you work or not. Wow! How long will that last? When will the money run out, or when will those who work not want their money going to those who don’t work? The reasoning behind it is so that you can be freed up to do more profitable, creative fun things rather than work. What is the force behind all of this? For answers, read the Bible, especially the book of Revelation. The Bible, the wisest, most powerful book in the world, spells it out for us. Slow down long enough to read the truth. Base your decisions on God’s Word, not on something you read online. Don’t allow your mind and thinking to be numbed and taken over by the spirit of this age. There will be consequences for blindly following and believing just anything. Know there is a power behind the scene that will not relent until it has complete control, seducing you into its system and power. It is not kind; it is not true; it is out for itself, not you or anyone else. Be wise, my friend. God and His Word are key. He is the beginning and the end and everything in between. Be in His Word more than on your phone. Ask God to make you wise and open your understanding to what’s really happening. His plan is perfect and He never loses control of His world. Be wise as a serpent and as gentle as a dove, and never close both eyes, getting too comfortable with the systems of this world. Some spiritual leaders say this is “old school” teaching. Be careful! God’s Word does not change with the times. Don’t add or take away from it. He is true to His Word to the very second and moment He ordained things to be. His Word has foretold us that this day would come and now, here we are. Don’t be blind to understanding this. Remember, He who sits on the circle of the earth, is still in control. Push to know Him and His Word more. It is life and truth. And if you get a chance, go see The Circle!

perfect peace

Perfect Peace – What Is It?

Isaiah 26:3 says, “You will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on You, because he trusts in You.” I often pray asking for peace, but upon contemplation and study I have discovered that I was viewing peace in a very limited way. Frequently people use the Hebrew word “Shalom,” which in its simplest meaning can mean “peace.” This is awesome and powerful, yet shalom in Isaiah 26:3 means so much more. Isaiah, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, used the wording “perfect peace.” What’s the difference between “peace” and “perfect peace?”

In Hebrew when someone says shalom, shalom, saying it twice, it is a method of putting greater emphasis on the word. “You will keep him in” everything the word shalom implies: peace, well-being, health, happiness. Now that adds a lot more to our narrow understanding of the word shalom…peace.

The word translated “mind” is not the usual Hebrew word, but has a much deeper meaning. It means “creative imagination.” The Holy Spirit is teaching us this concept—when I am firmly grounded and founded on the awesome, all-knowing, all powerful, everywhere present God, God will cause my mind, my creative imagination, the seat and development of all my plans and ideas to come into alignment. It means that one will enjoy and live in all the implications of shalom, shalom. God’s heart and destiny will be implanted and develop in my creative imagination. Hopefully I won’t ignore that inspiration. Somehow, we as human beings can pooh pooh away the creative inspiration God gives, thinking it was just our own crazy thinking, when in reality it was God giving us something very powerful.

There have been many times when I have prayed asking God to show me how to do something, and at first it sounded crazy to me, but then as I thought about it, although the idea seemed out of the box, I chose to move on it. And guess what…it was a huge success.

Then there have been times when I tried to pattern myself after what someone else was doing that looked so successful, or I tried to implement the latest new thing only for it to crash, flat on its face.

The answer is to seek God for His heart and direction. Listen carefully, asking Him for great clarity as you wait, listening before Him for what He wants to speak. Yes, peace is great, but how much fuller and richer is the “shalom, shalom” of God, peace, well-being, health, and happiness? So today I bless you with “shalom, shalom.” Dear One, walk and dwell in the fullness and overflowing of His blessings for you! Experience and live in the shalom, shalom of God.

Pastor Meredith's Blog - Shine On

Shine On

There’s nothing like awakening to the warmth and brightness of the sun shining through my bedroom window to bring a feeling of all is well with the world. Lingering in the wavy configurations dancing on the bedspread and the slight, intermittent heat that blows across my face, brings with it the fresh hope of promise for this day.

Psalm 18: 3 says “I will call upon the Lord, who is worthy to e praised; so shall I be saved from my enemies.” There are many reasons to praise the Lord, but the simplest, most basic one is that “He is worthy to be praised.” In Hebrew the word “praise” is halal, meaning to “praise with a loud voice.” The most primitive meaning of halal is “to cause to shine.” When we choose to praise, we are throwing the bright spotlight on who our God is, for He is “worthy to be praised and glorified.” The more we shine the spotlight on our awesome God, the more brilliantly He will shine.

Mental health professionals will tell us that bringing a depressed person into a bright room, greatly helps in promoting healing from depression. When we praise the Lord, giving Him the glory due His Name, how much more will our praise open the door for the light of the Lord to permeate our darkness, bringing us into the powerful, freeing joy and peace of the Lord.

To praise the Lord in the good times is easy. We see and understand what He is working and how He is answering prayer. It is clear and obvious to us. But in the dark times of trial and testing, we can’t see clearly and easily understand what is happening. Isaiah 50:10 says “Who among you fears the Lord: Who obeys the voice of His Servant? Who walks in darkness and has no light? Let him trust in the Name of the Lord and rely upon his God.” This passage goes on and encourages us not to go out and start fires on our own to try to help light our way. Isaiah tells us to stand in the dark and trust and rely upon our God. When we try to create a false light, not true praise to God, but our own reasoning and thought, we will lay down by the false fires we have created. It will not end well.

Praise brings the genuine light of the Lord to shine brightly in our circumstances. So, praise brings halal—to cause to shine, the brilliance of Almighty God to come and His light and Presence to be enthroned over each and every situation as we praise Him. It’s a conscious choice—praise Him and His light will shine. Don’t, and we will remain in a shadowy place. Our choice. I know what I will choose for this day. What about you?