Angels: More exalted than we?

Here’s one from our own, Lee Pierce. Enjoy! -anita

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I’ve often felt like something—or rather, someone—was watching over & protecting me in certain circumstances. It’s not like I feel someone is watching me over my shoulder to see what I’ll do next (although the Bible makes it eminently clear that God’s eyes search the land and see all that happens & He protects His own). Rather, I’ve been in situations many times over the course of my life when I felt something disastrous was about to happen and, at the last moment, my death or injury was prevented in a way that is hard to explain in purely human terms. I have a couple of prominent events in my life in mind, but those are stories for another time.

The Bible talks in many passages about the work of angels (messengers) and their role in protecting us. A favorite story of mine in the Bible is the story of Elisha in 2Kings chapter 6. Here the Arameans surround the town of Dothan with a great army purposing to capture the prophet Elisha. Elisha’s servant is terrified when he awakes & sees the great army of Aram surrounding them. Elisha prays that his servant be enabled to see who else is present. God then opens the servant’s eyes to see that the mountain by Dothan is covered with horses and chariots of fire sent by God.

Many times in Scripture, the Bible cites a passage where the “angel of the Lord” appears and, instead of the angel admonishing the human participant from bowing & worshiping him, He allows the person to do so. In Numbers 22, the story of Balaam and his donkey which the Lord permits to talk, Balaam finally is allowed to see the “angel of the Lord” barring his path. Balaam then “bows all the way to the ground” (22:31) before this heavenly being and is not admonished for doing so. The angel—presumably the Lord Jesus Himself—informs Balaam that He has “come out as an adversary, because your way was contrary to ME.” (emphasis added).

In Joshua 5:13-15, as Joshua is preparing to assault Jericho, he encounters a man standing before him with His sword drawn who informs Joshua He is “captain of the host of the Lord.” Not only is Joshua not admonished for bowing down to this “captain,” but is furthered ordered to remove his sandals “for the place where you are standing is holy.”

But in a poignant passage in Revelations (22:8-9), the apostle John has just received this great revelation of the new heaven and earth described in some detail. John’s reaction is to fall down and worship at the feet of the angel who has revealed these great things. John is immediately admonished by the angel who says “Do not do that (worship him); I am a FELLOW SERVANT of yours…worship God.” Paul is adamant in Rom 1:25 that we are in error to worship/serve a created being rather than the Creator who made that being.

Angels, of course, are created beings just as we are. And they have particular roles assigned to them by God. The Bible notes that in the new age, we (humans) will be exalted to positions even above the angels (Heb 2:7-8). At the present, angels are more powerful than we but, like us, are incapable of viewing God and surviving (see Isaiah 6:2 and the angels (seraphim) with wings covering their eyes). They are immortal and never marry (Mt 22:30) and are not the objects of godly concern that we are (Heb 2:16). “…[Jesus] does not give help to the angels, but He gives help to the descendant of Abraham.” We, like the angels, are immortal, too (not that we existed except in the mind of God since before time began but that our spirit –and resurrected bodies—will live forever with Him), and God has wonderful plans for us that exceed even what the angels currently experience.

By:  Lee Pierce

TOGETHER…FOREVER!

To those of you who know me well, you are acutely aware of my love of Country music.  It speaks to me, for it comes from the heart.  It is about life and love.  I have lived some of the sadness written in those lines.

Yesterday, towards the end of the day before my husband was to arrive home,  I took a few moments to collect myself.  I turned on Pandora, and sat down to soak up some of those sad wails.  A song came on by Randy Travis entitled, Forever Together.  The next song was by Alan Jackson called, Song for the Life. As I listened, I realized that both of these songs could be words of Worship unto God.

In reading poetry, song lyrics, or even pros, I have noticed a trend.  The cries from mans heart, the songs of love, the deepest part of our emotions appear in these things.  They bear out our desires and yearnings for God…our need of a Savior.

I changed some of the words to both of those songs mentioned above so that you can see what I mean.  I am not a plagiarist, and take no credit for the following words.  I write them so that you can understand.  You can google the correct words and see the paradox.

I took you for granted for so many years.  I lived without hope…broken promises and tears.  Even though I was down, YOU were always right there.  YOU picked up the pieces and showed me you care!  You always knew what could be all along.  You had the love and the will to go on.  It took me some time, but now I realize…I can see it all when I look in YOUR eyes.  Together forever, we’re never apart…forsaking all sin, I give you my heart.  Through good times and bad times, you’ll always be there…together forever, I’m held in YOUR care!

The chorus on Song for the Life says:

There’s a song for the life that in YOU I have found; it keeps my feet stable, I’m on solid ground.  Here’s a song for the Friend, that in YOU I have found…Oh Jesus!  YOU keep my feet on solid ground.

Here is another Country song by Alabama.  The chorus says this, (I have changed only one word):

There’s no way I could make it without you
There’s no way that I’d even try
If I had to survive without you in my life
I know I wouldn’t last a day, oh JESUS, there’s no way!

Do you see how these songs could be songs of worship?  Next time you listen to the radio, LISTEN, and hear what is really being said.

Anita


THE LAND OF THE FREE

The anniversary of the passing of my dad, and my mother-in-law, will be coming up shortly.  I think about them often…them, and other loved ones that have gone on to be with Jesus.  These thoughts are what inspired the following poem.

I still feel the pangs of loneliness from time to time, and, yes…even regret at things I failed to tell them while they were here; things that would have meant the world to them to hear.  Like, “I love you so much!” … or, “I’m sorry that I hurt you!”  I know they are in a wonderful place, and all the bad things, sad things that happened here on earth are far from their minds now.

I wrote this poem for those loved ones that I leave behind.  I don’t want them to be sad at what was said or not said…what was done, or not done.  I want them to know that I have gone on to be with Jesus.  I want them to know that they can see me again if they will just call on HIS name and ask for forgiveness.

I hope to see you there! -anita

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When you stand before my grave,

And hear birds in the trees nearby;

When the Spring morning shakes her rain-drenched hair above,

Don’t be sad, don’t weep, don’t cry!

I’m not really here in this dark, dank place.

I fly with the angels and I stare at the face…

The face of the ONE who died, just for me!

And I smile, and I marvel at all that I see!

If you could be here, and know what I know,

You’d wish it were you that had been called to go!

So, get down on your knees, and ask that your sin

Be washed clean in HIS bold…then, I’ll see you again!

On this beautiful shore, where forever we’ll rest…

In the Land of the Free, and the Home of the Blest!

By  Anita Mondragon Feb. 2005

TIME…

The first twenty years of living this life, seemed like such a drag!

I couldn’t wait for each day to be over…Life made me just want to gag!

The next twenty years, were full of emptiness and pain.  Each day seemed wasted… all lost, nothing gained.

These last twenty years have been wonderful for me!  I found forgiveness in God… I’ve learned to be free!

That’s sixty years total, and only one-third of it enjoyed!  Too bad the rest was unfruitful and void.

Each moment that passes, is gone for good, but when I was younger, I never understood,

That seconds and minutes can’t be recalled…that TIME waits for no one, it can’t be halted, or stalled.

Each moment is precious, it can’t be replaced.  Will you be happy today, with the choices you made?

There is power in each moment…use them wisely and you’ll see

God smiling at you, throughout eternity!

By:  Anita Mondragon 2009

REMADE

There in the corner… it sits in all of it’s tattered glory.  Maple marred by generations that have rested upon it’s arms.  It’s cushion torn wide exposing the matted horse hair beneath.  It’s ugly.  But – it’s comfortable.

Acquired by my grandparents while they were missionaries in Mexico. It’s been passed down through the ages and somehow took up residence within my walls.  For over forty years it’s rocked the babies in my family…my cousins…myself…all seven of our gifts.  We’ve all had our time being lulled to sleep by the rhythm of it’s creak long into the wee hours. Countless prayers have poured from the lips of each mother while holding that precious babe to her chest. It’s a family treasure.  Yet the years have taken their toll and even though it holds wondrous memories it’s an eyesore every time my eyes lay hold of it.

I’ve decided this is the year.  The year of it’s makeover.  It will require time.  Time I don’t necessarily have but I’m willing to make because of what it means to me.  I must first remove the old.  That will be a painful process – Stripping, sanding, restaining, ripping off the worn fabric, pulling out the stinky stable stuffing and yanking out each tiny tack.  By the time it sits bare I’ll have to remind myself of the process as it will look uglier than when I started.

Slow.

Change is always slow.

As the New Year creeps upon us I’ve decided I too need a makeover much like that chair.  God has been faithful to make me over for years…because of what I mean to Him.  Still everyday I find more and more that needs to be remade.  Just like that chair I’ve kept things, habits, people, excuses because they’re comfortable…because of the memories.  If I’m honest there is a part of my heart that doesn’t want change.  It’s too hard.  It’ll take a lot of  time. Work.  I want to stay angry and I don’t want to forgive. I’m afraid of what the new will look like and maybe at times I’m afraid if I let go I’ll forget what was good in the past.

It’s time.  I need to let go.

So, I’m going to embrace the journey yet again and let God pull out more of the stinky stuff in my heart.  Strip away the harmful things…harmful people from my life.  Sit bare.  Still.  Vulnerable.  Sand out the pitted places and fill up the hollowness with His love then let Him dress me in beauty instead of wearing these tattered rags.

Perhaps, that’s what you need this year too?

Until then…
Jessie -Jessica Lutz December 31, 2015

A DOUBLE WHAMMY!

When they had crossed, Elijah said to Elisha, “Tell me, what can I do for you before I am taken from you?” “Let me inherit a double portion of your spirit,” Elisha replied.
-2 Kings 2:

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I must have been like Elisha this morning…I felt like I needed a double whammy to get me started. As I stood before the Promise Box, I was praying for my kids.  I reminded the Lord that He PROMISED to bring them all back if I had taught them about Him when they were young.  He gave me two promises this morning, not only for them…but for me as well.

The Lord shall deliver me from every evil work, and will preserve me unto His Heavenly Kingdom. -II Timothy 4:18

“My way in life which Thou shalt choose, I know will be the best; And through the trust I have in Thee, my heart will find its rest.”-Unknown

…Behold, I am with thee, and will keep thee in ALL places whither thou goest. -Gen. 28:15

“Yesterday He helped me, today I’ll praise His name; Because I know tomorrow He’ll help me just the same!”-Unknown

Trust in the Lord…He knows the desires of your heart!

By:  Anita Mondragon

Women of Worship: Sermon Series Pt. 1 “Ruth” by Pastor Danny Leavitt

Ruth 1   (NLT)

In the days when the judges ruled in Israel, a severe famine came upon the land. So a man from Bethlehem in Judah left his home and went to live in the country of Moab, taking his wife and two sons with him. 2 The man’s name was Elimelech, and his wife was Naomi. Their two sons were Mahlon and Kilion. They were Ephrathites from Bethlehem in the land of Judah. And when they reached Moab, they settled there.

 

Micah 5:2   NIV

“But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are small among the clans of Judah, out of you will come for me one who will be ruler over Israel, whose origins are from of old, from ancient times.”

 

3 Then Elimelech died, and Naomi was left with her two sons. 4 The two sons married Moabite women. One married a woman named Orpah, and the other a woman named Ruth. But about ten years later, 5 both Mahlon and Kilion died. This left Naomi alone, without her two sons or her husband.

 

 

Deuteronomy 23:3 NIV

No Ammonite or Moabite or any of their descendants may enter the assembly of the LORD, not even in the tenth generation.

 

 

6 Then Naomi heard in Moab that the Lord had blessed his people in Judah by giving them good crops again. So Naomi and her daughters-in-law got ready to leave Moab to return to her homeland. 7 With her two daughters-in-law she set out from the place where she had been living, and they took the road that would lead them back to Judah.

 

8 But on the way, Naomi said to her two daughters-in-law, “Go back to your mothers’ homes. And may the Lord reward you for your kindness to your husbands and to me. 9 May the Lord bless you with the security of another marriage.” Then she kissed them good-bye, and they all broke down and wept.

 

10 “No,” they said. “We want to go with you to your people.”

 

11 But Naomi replied, “Why should you go on with me? Can I still give birth to other sons who could grow up to be your husbands? 12 No, my daughters, return to your parents’ homes, for I am too old to marry again. And even if it were possible, and I were to get married tonight and bear sons, then what? 13 Would you wait for them to grow up and refuse to marry someone else? No, of course not, my daughters! Things are far more bitter for me than for you, because the Lord himself has raised his fist against me.”

 

14 And again they wept together, and Orpah kissed her mother-in-law good-bye. But Ruth clung tightly to Naomi. 15 “Look,” Naomi said to her, “your sister-in-law has gone back to her people and to her gods. You should do the same.”

 

16 But Ruth replied, “Don’t ask me to leave you and turn back. Wherever you go, I will go; wherever you live, I will live. Your people will be my people, and your God will be my God. 17 Wherever you die, I will die, and there I will be buried. May the Lord punish me severely if I allow anything but death to separate us!” 18 When Naomi saw that Ruth was determined to go with her, she said nothing more.

 

19 So the two of them continued on their journey. When they came to Bethlehem, the entire town was excited by their arrival. “Is it really Naomi?” the women asked.

 

20 “Don’t call me Naomi,” she responded. “Instead, call me Mara, for the Almighty has made life very bitter for me. 21 I went away full, but the Lord has brought me home empty. Why call me Naomi when the Lord has caused me to suffer and the Almighty has sent such tragedy upon me?”

 

22 So Naomi returned from Moab, accompanied by her daughter-in-law Ruth, the young Moabite woman. They arrived in Bethlehem in late spring, at the beginning of the barley harvest.

 

 

 

Dt 16:1 we are commanded:

“Keep the month of the Aviv and make the Passover (sacrifice) to Yehovah your God at night, because in the month of the Aviv, Yehovah your God took you out of Egypt”.

 

Similarly, we are commanded in Ex 23:15,

“You will keep the Feast of Unleavened Bread; seven days you will eat unleavened bread, as I have commanded you, at the time of the month of the Aviv, because in it you went out of Egypt.”

 

The same is commanded in Ex 34:18,

“You will keep the Feast of Unleavened Bread; seven days you will eat unleavened bread, as have I commanded you, at the time of the month of the Aviv, because in the month of the Aviv you went out of Egypt.”

 

 

What is Aviv?

from Ex 9:31-32 which describes the devastation caused by the plague of hail:

“And the flax and the barley were smitten, because the barley was Aviv and the flax was Giv’ol. And the wheat and the spelt were not smitten because they were dark (Afilot).”

 

 

 

Confession

Ruth 2:13 NIV

“May I continue to find favor in your eyes, my lord,” she said. “You have put me at ease by speaking kindly to your servant–though I do not have the standing of one of your servants.”

 

 

 

Hebrew

Faith is the assurance of things hoped for and the certainty of things not seen.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ruth 3:3     King James Bible

Wash thyself therefore, and anoint thee, and put thy raiment upon thee, and get thee down to the floor: but make not thyself known unto the man, until he shall have done eating and drinking.

 

 

Matthew 6:17    King James Bible

But thou, when thou fastest, anoint thine head, and wash thy face;

 

 

 

 

 

Ruth 4The Message (MSG)

 

4 Boaz went straight to the public square and took his place there. Before long the “closer relative,” the one mentioned earlier by Boaz, strolled by.

 

“Step aside, old friend,” said Boaz. “Take a seat.” The man sat down.

 

2 Boaz then gathered ten of the town elders together and said, “Sit down here with us; we’ve got some business to take care of.” And they sat down.

 

3-4 Boaz then said to his relative, “The piece of property that belonged to our relative Elimelech is being sold by his widow Naomi, who has just returned from the country of Moab. I thought you ought to know about it. Buy it back if you want it—you can make it official in the presence of those sitting here and before the town elders. You have first redeemer rights. If you don’t want it, tell me so I’ll know where I stand. You’re first in line to do this and I’m next after you.”

 

He said, “I’ll buy it.”

 

5 Then Boaz added, “You realize, don’t you, that when you buy the field from Naomi, you also get Ruth the Moabite, the widow of our dead relative, along with the redeemer responsibility to have children with her to carry on the family inheritance.”

 

6 Then the relative said, “Oh, I can’t do that—I’d jeopardize my own family’s inheritance. You go ahead and buy it—you can have my rights—I can’t do it.”

 

7 In the olden times in Israel, this is how they handled official business regarding matters of property and inheritance: a man would take off his shoe and give it to the other person. This was the same as an official seal or personal signature in Israel.

 

8 So when Boaz’s “redeemer” relative said, “Go ahead and buy it,” he signed the deal by pulling off his shoe.

 

9-10 Boaz then addressed the elders and all the people in the town square that day: “You are witnesses today that I have bought from Naomi everything that belonged to Elimelech and Kilion and Mahlon, including responsibility for Ruth the foreigner, the widow of Mahlon—I’ll take her as my wife and keep the name of the deceased alive along with his inheritance. The memory and reputation of the deceased is not going to disappear out of this family or from his hometown. To all this you are witnesses this very day.”

 

11-12 All the people in the town square that day, backing up the elders, said, “Yes, we are witnesses. May God make this woman who is coming into your household like Rachel and Leah, the two women who built the family of Israel. May God make you a pillar in Ephrathah and famous in Bethlehem! With the children God gives you from this young woman, may your family rival the family of Perez, the son Tamar bore to Judah.”

 

13 Boaz married Ruth. She became his wife. Boaz slept with her. By God’s gracious gift she conceived and had a son.

 

14-15 The town women said to Naomi, “Blessed be God! He didn’t leave you without family to carry on your life. May this baby grow up to be famous in Israel! He’ll make you young again! He’ll take care of you in old age. And this daughter-in-law who has brought him into the world and loves you so much, why, she’s worth more to you than seven sons!”

 

16 Naomi took the baby and held him in her arms, cuddling him, cooing over him, waiting on him hand and foot.

 

17 The neighborhood women started calling him “Naomi’s baby boy!” But his real name was Obed. Obed was the father of Jesse, and Jesse the father of David.

 

18-22 This is the family tree of Perez:

 

Perez had Hezron,

Hezron had Ram,

Ram had Amminadab,

Amminadab had Nahshon,

Nahshon had Salmon,

Salmon had Boaz,

Boaz had Obed,

Obed had Jesse,

and Jesse had David.

 

 

Romans 15:12Living Bible (TLB)

12 And the prophet Isaiah said, “There shall be an Heir in the house of Jesse, and he will be King over the Gentiles; they will pin their hopes on him alone.”

 

 

 

 

“And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart” (Galatians 6:9)

 

 

 

 

 

ARE YOU CHASING YOUR TAIL?

Sorry I’m so late today in posting the blog…we had a garage sale, and just got done.

While we sat in anticipation, waiting for folks to show up…my dog, Teddy, lay at my feet.  I had put his pillow there so he’d be comfy and feel more at home, as we were in the garage.  I kept telling him, “Teddy…lay down and rest….”  But, he kept getting on his pillow, (his safe place), and chasing his tail.  Round and round he’d turn, and finally, exhausted, he’d lay down and rest.

I looked at my husband, Mike, and said, “Do you ever feel like that?  You keep going around in circles, chasing your tail, and at the end of the day, you end up where you started…except now, you’re exhausted.”

Can anyone out there identify with that?  Jesus says, “Lay down and rest in ME for a while….”  But, instead of listening to The Master’s voice, we continue to exhaust ourselves…and end up where we started; no progress whatsoever!

Remember the 23rd Psalm?

23 The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.

He makes me lie down in green pastures: He leads me beside the still waters.

He restores my soul: he leads me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.

Even though,  I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for You, Lord, are with me; Your rod and staff  comfort me.

5  You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies:  You anoint my head with oil; my cup runs over.

Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever.

See what it says in verse two?  WHY does He have to MAKE us lie down?  I don’t know about you, but I’m tired of being worn out all the time from doing my own thing and not listening to The Master’s voice!   Matthew 11:15 says, “Are you listening to Me?  REALLY listening?”-MSG version.  The KJV says, “To him that has ears…let him hear!”

I can tell you for certain…after hours of having a garage sale…I’m more than ready to lie down! LOL!

By:  Anita Mondragon

BOW DOWN

Here is another poem from the booklet, Upwords.  This is a great reminder to us all about the attributes of our Heavenly Father.  Enjoy! -anita

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Come  let us worship.  Let us bow down to the King, the Lord God, our Maker.

Our Father is faithful, He is truth and justice.  Let us bow down to our Father God.

He lifts us up when we are bowed down.  He came to make us free.  Let us bow down to the King of Kings.

Worship our High Priest.  Bow down to our Savior.  We are His redeemed.

Let us bow down.  Glorify Him in your body.  Glorify Him in your spirit.  Glorify Him in your soul.  Bow down to worship Him.

Kiss the dust of the earth.  Bow down to worship Him.  He is the Creator God, God of the whole earth.  Kiss the dust of the earth.

Bow down to worship Him.  Let us bow down.  Worship our Maker.  Bow down to the Almighty.  Reverence His Glory.

Bow down to Him.

By:  Christina Dixon

 

DO IT AFRAID!

I’m not sure who was the first to coin that phrase…but it struck at my heart when I first heard it!  So many times in life we pass up great opportunities…jobs, friends, life partners…even blessings that God has for us; and all because we are afraid to take the leap…take the risk…take a chance…HAVE FAITH!

The promise I drew this morning says this:

“Wherefore, take unto you the WHOLE armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to STAND!”  Eph. 6:13

Here is the little poem that went with it:

The foe is strong and eager

The night is fierce and long

But HE has made us mighty

And stronger than the strong! -Unknown

Yesterday, I wrote about refrigerator notes.  Another one that hangs on my fridge, I have put in the middle…and written it in large, bold letters.  It simply says,

                                                         DO IT AFRAID!

Those that are acquainted with me, might think it strange for me to have a reminder such as that…for I can be quite “sassy” at times; but deep down, I’m like everyone else… I am sometimes afraid to do the right thing.  When everyone else is going with the current, it’s hard to paddle up-stream,  or to say the right thing when others won’t take a stand.  But, this is what God says we should do.  So next time fear grips your heart…remember those three words…and don’t “Just do it!”… “DO IT AFRAID!”

By:  Anita Mondragon April 2016