2 Cents from Pastor Penny
As I sit here pondering what words of wisdom or encouragement I can give you this month, my mind is flooded with thoughts. So much has happened and is happening, how does one focus and narrow it down to one thing? You can’t. Life is racing and, for so many of you, this year has not been kind. Circumstances have happened that we have no control over whether it be with family members, health issues, finances, loss or change in job, retirement, or the overwhelming world events that frankly we have no control over. And IF you are a control freak it can send you reeling and grasping for something— anything to hold on to. I get it. I think that regard-less the situation the feelings are timeless.
King David penned these words in Psalms 121 when his life was feeling out of control. “ I lift up my eyes to the hills. Where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth.” Even in all the chaos and turmoil David could have found himself slipping into depression but he knew WHO was in control. He knew WHERE his help came from….. God, the one who made everything. The One who knew before anything was spoken into existence or breathed into what the outcome would be, and yet loved us so much before we were even created that he was willing to go through with all of it. Even loving us so much that He sent his one and only Son to the cross to cover all of the world’s sin and man’s curse. That is Grace, true Grace. Not getting what we deserve, Paul says in Romans 6:23 For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.
If you are like me, you can’t help but notice all of the craziness and chaos that is ensuing around our country and world. Have you found yourself either caught up in the drama, worried about everything going on and obsessed with the news, or helplessly ignoring all of it residing to the fact you can’t do anything about it anyway. You are not alone, basically everyone falls into these 3 categories.
Maybe you have even opened up your Bible looking for answers or reading up on end-time prophesy. The main common thread is Evil is running amuck. It is rearing its ugly head and hell-bent on deceiving as many people as possible., filling them with hopelessness, depression, despair, anxiety, and a desire to run away from it all.
Ancient Words! That could not be more fitting. The trip to Israel was beyond exhilarating, mind-exploding, awe-inspiring, and deeply moving. As you might be aware, I did have the blessing of going there four years ago; however, this time, we saw all different places and dove into more of the archeological and fallen realm spiritual battlegrounds. This trip was way more physically challenging, but the satisfaction it gave when one conquered the obstacle was so rewarding. The very thought that we were walking the paths of all those before us going back 4 and 5000 years! To stand on that small spot on Mt. Kibir where God took Abraham when he showed and told him I would make a great nation from you and your descendants. While standing there, if you look to your left, is Mt. Ebol, where Joshua’s alter stands, commemorating 800 years later when Joshua dedicated the spot to God before moving into the promised Land. And if you looked down below to the north, your eyes gaze on Samaria, we could see Joseph’s tomb and Jacob’s well (where Jesus met the woman at the well). They are about four blocks apart. To the south was Shekem.
What does it mean to live life in the Spirt? Well it means that you are willing to be led in whatever direction you either feel the nudge or stepping through doors that God may have opened. Quite frankly that is terrifying especially when we do not see the full picture of what awaits. Yet it can be exciting, exhilarating, and give you jitters.
What does it mean to live in the dash? The dash is the time we have here on earth. The time from our date of birth until our departure. The beginning and end dates are already set but what we choose to do, where we are led or follow, the people we will impact in the dash, well that is all that really matters in the end. The possibilities in the dash are endless.
edit me. It's easy.
To everything there is a time, a season, an opportunity, a mission. A time for reverence, a time for grief, a time to dance, a time to laugh, a time for reflection and a time to anticipate what lies ahead. 2022 has left all of us catching our breaths, I think. Reexamining what is really important in our lives, where we truly stand in our walk with Christ. It has been a year of resolve, a year of despair and a year of hope. It has been a year of demonstrating the love of Christ. Through all of the adversities and trials, others have taken notice. They have watched how we have maneuvered through those seasons and challenges both good and bad. They have witnessed how Christ has called us to be the salt and light in the world. They have seen his light reflected from within our brokenness, and yet an eager hunger for us to be used by him. The seasons have flown by this year and I think that is a very clear depiction of how my life has been, a whirlwind. Trying to balance everything that life has to offer all while still being that beacon of hope, light and joy to those living in such a dark cold world that are desperately seeking, longing for what we have. Yes, you and me as Christians, have found and possesses the greatest treasure, The Love and relationship of a blessed Savior. This year for Advent I chose to do the theme on The names and titles of Christ”. We don’t really spend much time thinking about all of the hats that he wears, it’s pretty daunting when you start naming them all.
When it rains it pours…. That saying is so true. I am sure there are many reading this right now going through this. I know it is literally a drought outside, but the circumstances in my life at this moment…. Well I’m experiencing a down pour, and I can’t keep my head above water. Maybe I am just solely speaking from my life right now, but I have a feeling there are many of you reading this nodding in agreement.
I had the pleasure of accompanying a friend and congregant to Kentucky to see the Ark Encounter. It definitely lives up to its name. An Encounter it is. A FULL SIZE replica of what the ark was like on the outside and a very good depiction of what it very well looked like on the interior. As with anything in life we have a perception, and idea of what we think something or someone is like. However, until we actually experience or go back and reread a scripture, a story, or get to know that person, we can not fully comprehend or grasp the fullness unless we get to experience it.
Just the sheer size of the ARK is awe-inspiring and I love how the Holy Spirit moved them to recreate with unbelievable organization what the 3 levels, the cages, food and water system and living quarters might have looked like. If you get a chance to go you will not be disappointed.
Have you ever thought about yourself as a complainer? If you are honest then you know if you are. I
used to think that was my gift because I was so good at it. Actually, if I am honest I am kind of an
expert at complaining. However, a long time ago, I was devastated to find out that nowhere in the Bible
is it one of the gifts of the Spirit. On the contrary, the scriptures have a lot to say about grumbling,
and complaining and it isn't good.
Why do we complain? For starters, if you are like me it starts with the little inconveniences. Then
the major annoyances and those flat-out things that make us mad and angry. In our culture, we want
things our way, in our time, without any roadblocks. So when things do not go smoothly or cause us
to have to wait, to be patient, or to do it differently, it can make us uneasy or frustrated.
I think that God uses those times to teach us valuable lessons and maybe even keep us from
I know I'm a little late, but as a busy mom, I am sure most of you reading this can relate. It has been a whirlwind of a couple of weeks.
Our youngest just graduated high school. The middle daughter finished her second year of college and just got an apartment, which needs furnishing. Throw in Mother's day, and oh Kristen and I just launched our brand new vodcast/ podcast livelifeinthespirit.com, which has been a huge success. Talk about a daunting task!
So how does one deal with the craziness of life? How do you keep your head above water? And most importantly when you are in the throes of the chaos trying to still prioritize all that HAS to be done, how do you savor those moments and keep from losing YOU?
Anticipation!! Have you ever anticipated something to the point, that every emotion flooded every fiber of your being? I am sure you are recalling many times by now. Maybe your wedding, birth of a child, new job, or home. Maybe the Spirit grabbed ahold of you and said now is the time for something different, a new drastic change and you knew that life would never be the same.
With every marker down the journey of our lives God opens anticipation for the new, exciting, scary, and wonderful glory around the bend. I write these words as I anticipate my new journey back to Israel and the wonders that God has awaiting me this time around. The anointing of a new turn in ministry, (don’t misunderstand me I’m NOT LEAVING!) Ha! No just refocusing and God is opening more doors and windows to reach the multitude with the Hope, Peace, Love and Redemption of His Saving Grace.
Joy To The World our Savior Reigns Let All Heaven and Earth Resound! We sing this song at Christmas, but did you know it is not a Christmas Song? It is heralding the return of our Savior. In fact, as the Last Trumpet sounds and Christ appears, I do believe the Choirs of angels and those of us still here will be singing this very song to Herald his arrival!
We live in a cyclical world. As they say “the more things change the more they stay the same.” Which is very true, history repeats itself. And with that, Jesus, Yeshua came once as a baby soon to become man to Save mankind from sin and death. However, In God’s grand design it did not stop there. He is sending his son back again to reclaim his Bride, the Church, where we will be caught up in the air with him and taken to our new home. What a glorious gift that will be!
As we embark on the “season” that we focus on gratitude and thanksgiving, I have always puzzled why we only do this in November? We are called to be thankful all year, and in all things. OUCH!! That can really be a tall order especially in the times when we are remembering loved ones who have passed, or life has dealt us a horrible hand and we feel far from thankful. I get it.
Most of you know, that this has been one of those “seasons” for me, far from just a month. It is during these seasons that I feel more like David crying out to God for Help, mercy and grace. Or Elijah after his world was crumbling, and afraid for his life ran away. God protected him, nourished him with much needed food and rest, then directed him to the safety of a cave before he reminded Elijah who the Almighty God was. He sent a violent wind that tore everything to pieces, then an earthquake and finally a fire.
That was my last two weeks. My best friend Carla’s husband, Roland passed away suddenly without warning. It shook everyone. An entire county is mourning. He was an adopted dad to me. We also had violent winds that week. Then during the rash of fires, we had one break out just north of our home in Dunbar. Thankfully the wind was from the south so it consumed the mile north and our home was spared. I said if there is an earthquake that’s it. The next day or so California experienced the largest earthquake they have had in a long time.
It is in these times when the earth is shaking our world seems to be crumbling around where we are huddled, that instead of looking up or listening we play the same sad sob story that Elijah did. We are far from thankful and focused only on all of the bad stuff that is happening.