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Printed from https://www.writing.com/main/books/item_id/2216091-Divine-Nudges
Rated: E · Book · Inspirational · #2216091
The Lord doesn't always speak in an audible voice, but often in nudges, moving the heart.
The Lord is a gentleman. He is patient. He is longsuffering

He often remains silent, while we are speaking, but He will not remain silent forever.
He can be grieved and quenched when we refuse His message.

When nothing else works to get our attention,
then He may allow "...the pestilence that walketh in darkness;..."
to come into our lives to urge us to "...abide under the shadow of the Almighty."

When He gets our attention, and we begin to cry, "Daddy, save me," (Romans 8:15, KJV)
then "...I will answer him: I will be with him in trouble; I will deliver him, and honour him."

These selections come from Psalm 91. Many times my thoughts return to my childhood
with the reading of this psalm. When I was a little boy, I was wont to hide behind
my earthly daddy when dangerous or unfamiliar situations arose in my life.
My Daddy on earth was much bigger and much stronger than I was.

How much greater, today, as a grown man, that I can look to my Heavenly Father,
Who is infinitely bigger and stronger than my earthly father ever was.

As children, we were very good at "reading" our parents.
They gave us certain looks, which told us how to act without ever speaking words.
"You better not speak right now. I am so angry about what you have done."
"I love you, Dear One. Come here. Let me give you a hug."
Myriad were the looks in between these two extremes on the continuum.

The Lord in like manner says, "I will instruct thee and teach thee in the way which thou shalt go:
I will guide thee with mine eye.
" (Psalm 32:8, KJV)

Earthly parents would often touch us on the shoulder in public,
especially when we were "acting up." When our eyes met,
they would simply hold up one index finger, waving it back and forth.
This meant, "Stop! Think about what you are doing!
Change your behavior before the hand of judgment falls on the seat of knowledge!
"

Of course, at other times a big, strong, gentle arm would wrap slowly around our chests,
drawing us back to them in a warm embrace, simply meaning, "I love you,...just because."

The Lord in His inimitable ways gives us His Own Divine Nudges.
Previous ... -1- 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 ... Next
February 25, 2021 at 11:17pm
February 25, 2021 at 11:17pm
#1005283
"4 One thing have I desired of the LORD,
that will I seek after;
that I may dwell in the house of the LORD
all the days of my life,
to behold the beauty of the LORD,
and to enquire in his temple.

5 For in the time of trouble
he shall hide me in his pavilion:
in the secret of his tabernacle shall he hide me;
he shall set me up upon a rock.
"
(Psalm 27:4-5, KJV)


---------------------------


The one thing I've desired of God
is that, which draws my daily thought.
To live where I can praise, applaud,
to worship as I'm longtime taught.

To see the beauty of the Lord,
to seek His heart in His earthly Home,
to know the gifts, that He has stored
will keep me focused, ne'er to roam.

For in the times quite troublesome
He hides me in His room made sure.
In that place secret, all is won,
and on a rock, I shall endure.


----------------------------


The Lord of Glory is my greatest Home every day,
the good, the bad, and the in-between.
He is the place of worship and the place of security.

May we each know this Home of the Lord
with great certainly, now and forever.


by Jay O'Toole
on February 25th, 2021


Here is yet another signature, that has been provided for me by my good friends, WS & GG.
Officially approved Writing.Com Preferred Author logo.
February 24, 2021 at 1:02pm
February 24, 2021 at 1:02pm
#1005190
Prompt: "5 Thou preparest a table before me
in the presence of mine enemies:
thou anointest my head with oil;
my cup runneth over.

6 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.
"
(Psalm 23:5-6, KJV)

What benefits come to the child of God,
simply on the basis of this title and status?


-----------------------------------------------


1. A prepared table comes to the child of God. The prepared table is in the presence of my enemies. Whether the enemies are there to be shamed for that to which they do not adhere or embrace, or whether the enemies are there to share a meal with me as the first ste[ to reconciliation with God, the purpose is the same. When humans come to know Who the Lord truly is, they are more apt to embrace Him relationally. The Lord's goal is always reconciliation with Himself, therefore, the goal of the child of God must always be the same as a child in good standing with the Lord.

2. Anointing oil covers the head of the child of God for the purpose of showing the world, and all the Lord's angels, that this individual has been chosen for royal relationship and the title of royalty in the Lord's Kingdom.

3. The cup of the blessing of the wine of the Lord needs a saucer, due to the effusive nature of the Lord's pouring. In that culture, filling a wineglass was one level of blessing, given to individuals, who were valued by the king. Overflowing the goblet, wineglass or cup denoted next-level blessing, since the saucer would be required to prevent spillage on the table. Overflowing an individual's cup of wine, demonstrated a highly favored relationship with the king.

4. "Goodness and mercy" follow the child of God all the days of his or her life as personified by angel attendants or royal earthly attendants to ensure that the king's relatives have their most pressing needs met as soon as the needs are presented. Such attendants were consistently excellent guides, precluding the child's need to find his or her way in life.

5. Recognition as a child of God includes the reserved dwelling for that child in the house of the Lord, the King, the Sovereign, forever. No child of God will ever be homeless in the Presence of the Lord.


by Jay O'Toole
on February 24th, 2021


Here is yet another signature, that has been provided for me by my good friends, WS & GG.
Officially approved Writing.Com Preferred Author logo.
February 23, 2021 at 4:15pm
February 23, 2021 at 4:15pm
#1005095
Prompt: "3 He restoreth my soul:
he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name's sake.

4 Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil: for thou art with me;
thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.
"
(Psalm 23:3-4, KJV)

The way we walk and the paths upon which we walk
demonstrate a great deal about the lives we live.
How can our walking come into agreement with the One,
Who determines the important direction of our lives?


----------------------------------------------------


He doth rebuild my fallen soul,
and make me throughly pure.
He makes the man I am now whole.
My future is secure.

He leads me on each righteous road
to honor His great Name.
My lasting Home and blest abode
are with the One, Who came.

It's true when walking through the dark,
the valley of all death,
I'm tempted to confuse the Ark
with that, that takes my breath.

But fear the evil, I will not
for You are ever near.
Thy rod and staff remove each blot,
and comfort me so dear.

The walking way is not my own
to guide each daily day.
The Truth I need is from His Throne.
He loves me all the way.


-------------------------------------


"3 He restoreth my soul:
he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name's sake.

4 Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil: for thou art with me;
thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.
"
(Psalm 23:3-4, KJV)


The first set of paths stated in this set of verses are the paths of righteousness.
What are the paths of righteousness? Let's break it down. Righteousness is founded on the word, "right." Right is in complete agreement with the Standard of Right. This is Jesus Christ, according to John 14:6, "Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me."

The Absolute Standard of Right = Jesus Christ, the Lord of Glory

Righteousness = the state of being right and in complete agreement with Jesus Christ

This entire list of right (or good), the way, the truth, and the life are all substances and conditions, that must originate outside of Time and the physical Universe. Just as it is impossible for God to be part of the Creation, which He is making, it is impossible for goodness and righteousness, the way, the truth, and the life to be part of the Creation. That which is created has no mooring in itself upon which to anchor its standard of right. That which is created needs the solid standard of Righteousness, outside of the Creation, to anchor the standard of right within the Creation.

Humans, who try to define Truth, according to their own ability "to live rightly" are like the foolish fishermen, who tried to mark the place where they had such success in fishing on a given day. "Just mark an 'X' in the water, where we caught all the fish, then we'll know right where to come back to catch fish the next time we go a-fishing." "That'll never work. We won't be able to see the 'X' next time. Just use a black felt-tip marker, and put an 'X' on the side of the boat. That won't wash off."

My goodness! Who knows a good counselor? These boys need some help.

The second path stated in this passage of Scripture is the "walk through the valley of the shadow of death." There are so many possible meanings. What should be our focus in the discussion of walking this path?

First of all, this path could refer to the days, associated with the loss of a loved one to death, whether due to an extended illness or the trauma of an instantaneous snatching away. I've walked this valley with both of my parents. Dad left us in the matter of a couple of months, due to multiple lung illnesses. Mom faded for nearly two decades after Dad passed. I can give personal testimony, that a short time or a long time in the valley makes no difference. The pain is still overwhelming. It takes your breath away. Without the help of the Lord we never truly get our breath back.

Secondly, this path could refer to the time of life in which we each must pass from this life through death's doorway. On that day intimidation will no doubt come from wondering, "Is my heart, indeed, right with the Lord? (John 6:37,44; John 14:6; Philippians 2:13; Romans 10:9-10,13; I John 5:1,11-13). Am I ready to stand before the Lord in all of His Glory?"

Praise the Lord for every saint, who will meet the Lord in the confidence of the Truth, "The righteousness of Christ stands in place of my righteousness. Therefore, I am saved and secured."

However, we should pray for those, whose transition to Eternity is less confident. They have the greater need on that day. It is true, that some professing souls are really not saved. Let us pray for their salvation.

However, others may be experiencing the debilitations of great illness when it is time to make, that final journey. Though truly saved, their minds may not be able to confidently affirm this. Let us pray for their SHALOM and rest (Hebrews 4:9) in these final moments. William Cowper (pronounced "Cooper") was one of these dear saints of God. Cowper is known for writing great hymns of the faith, but he himself "was naturally inclined to morbid brooding and worry....[He] was prey to very deep religious doubts...and often fell into deep depression. The last decade of his life was a period of deep gloom and a settled notion that God has cast him off." This was quoted by Donald S. Whitney in his book, How Can I Be Sure I'm a Christian? as a paragraph from the larger work, titled, Who Was Who in Church History.


https://www.thriftbooks.com/w/how-can-i-be-sure-im-a-christian-what-the-bible-sa...

I must confess, that I am very familiar with this account of Cowper because I, too, have had to battle against depression during various days of my life on Earth. This gives me great comfort to know, that the Lord doesn't give up on those of us, who battle over issues of the body and the mind because He created each of us as we are to do as I am now doing, bringing help to others, who may have or are currently struggling in the ways we have struggled.

"8 Concerning this thing I pleaded with the Lord three times
that it might depart from me.
9 And He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you,
for My strength is made perfect in weakness.”
Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities,
that the power of Christ may rest upon me.
10 Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches,
in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ’s sake.
For when I am weak, then I am strong.
"
(II Corinthians 12:8-10, NKJV)


It is true, that I have dealt with many difficulties in this walk of faith living in Christ, but never once has this wonderful Trinity of God ever forsaken me. Therefore, I would like to leave you with two paragraphs from the last chapter of Pilgrim's Progress by John Bunyan. When Hopeful and Christian approached and entered the raging river of Death their perspectives were as different as night and day. Hopeful was confident in the good outcome of their passage through the river, yet Christian was nearly disconsolate.

May we each have a good friend or family member to help us in this time of transition from Time to Eternity.

" Christian's conflict at the hour of death

Then said the other, Be of good cheer, my brother, I feel the bottom, and it is good. Then said Christian, Ah! my friend, the sorrows of death hath compassed me about; I shall not see the land that flows with milk and honey; and with that a great darkness and horror fell upon Christian, so that he could not see before him. Also here he in great measure lost his senses, so that he could neither remember nor orderly talk of any of those sweet refreshments that he had met with in the way of his pilgrimage. But all the words that he spake still tended to discover that he had horror of mind, and heart fears that he should die in that river, and never obtain entrance in at the gate. Here also, as they that stood by perceived, he was much in the troublesome thoughts of the sins that he had committed, both since and before he began to be a pilgrim. It was also observed that he was troubled with apparitions of hobgoblins and evil spirits, for ever and anon he would intimate so much by words. Hopeful, therefore, here had much ado to keep his brother's head above water; yea, sometimes he would be quite gone down, and then, ere a while, he would rise up again half dead. Hopeful also would endeavour to comfort him, saying, Brother, I see the gate, and men standing by to receive us: but Christian would answer, It is you, it is you they wait for; you have been Hopeful ever since I knew you. And so have you, said he to Christian. Ah! brother! said he, surely if I was right he would now arise to help me; but for my sins he hath brought me into the snare, and hath left me. Then said Hopeful, My brother, you have quite forgot the text, where it is said of the wicked, "There are no bands in their death, but their strength is firm. They are not in trouble as other men, neither are they plagued like other men. [Ps. 73:4,5] These troubles and distresses that you go through in these waters are no sign that God hath forsaken you; but are sent to try you, whether you will call to mind that which heretofore you have received of his goodness, and live upon him in your distresses.

Then I saw in my dream, that Christian was as in a muse a while. To whom also Hopeful added this word, Be of good cheer, Jesus Christ maketh thee whole; and with that Christian brake out with a loud voice, Oh, I see him again! and he tells me, "When thou passest through the waters, I will be with thee, and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee." [Isa. 43:2] Then they both took courage, and the enemy was after that as still as a stone, until they were gone over. Christian therefore presently found ground to stand upon, and so it followed that the rest of the river was but shallow. Thus they got over. Now, upon the bank of the river, on the other side, they saw the two shining men again, who there waited for them; wherefore, being come out of the river, they saluted them, saying, We are ministering spirits, sent forth to minister for those that shall be heirs of salvation. Thus they went along towards the gate.
"


https://www.gutenberg.org/files/131/131-h/131-h.htm

by Jay O'Toole
on February 23rd, 2021


Here is yet another signature, that has been provided for me by my good friends, WS & GG.
Officially approved Writing.Com Preferred Author logo.
February 23, 2021 at 4:15pm
February 23, 2021 at 4:15pm
#1005094
Prompt: "3 He restoreth my soul:
he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name's sake.

4 Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil: for thou art with me;
thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.
"
(Psalm 23:3-4, KJV)

The way we walk and the paths upon which we walk
demonstrate a great deal about the lives we live.
How can our walking come into agreement with the One,
Who determines the important direction of our lives?


----------------------------------------------------


He doth rebuild my fallen soul,
and make me throughly pure.
He makes the man I am now whole.
My future is secure.

He leads me on each righteous road
to honor His great Name.
My lasting Home and blest abode
are with the One, Who came.

It's true when walking through the dark,
the valley of all death,
I'm tempted to confuse the Ark
with that, that takes my breath.

But fear the evil, I will not
for You are ever near.
Thy rod and staff remove each blot,
and comfort me so dear.

The walking way is not my own
to guide each daily day.
The Truth I need is from His Throne.
He loves me all the way.


-------------------------------------


"3 He restoreth my soul:
he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name's sake.

4 Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil: for thou art with me;
thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.
"

The first set of paths stated in this set of verses are the paths of righteousness.
What are the paths of righteousness? Let's breaks it down. Righteousness is founded on the word, "right." Right is in complete agreement with the Standard of Right. This is Jesus Christ, according to John 14:6, "Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me."

The Absolute Standard of Right = Jesus Christ, the Lord of Glory

Righteousness = the state of being right and in complete agreement with Jesus Christ

This entire list of right (or good), the way, the truth, and the life are all substances and conditions, that must originate outside of Time and the physical Universe. Just as it is impossible for God to be part of the Creation, which He is making, it is impossible for goodness and righteousness, the way, the truth, and the life to be part of the Creation. That which is created has no mooring in itself upon which to anchor its standard of right. That which is created needs the solid standard of Righteousness, outside of the Creation, to anchor the standard of right within the Creation.

Humans, who try to define Truth, according to their own ability "to live rightly" are like the foolish fishermen, who tried to mark the place where they have such success in fishing on a given day. "Just mark an 'X' in the water, where we caught all the fish, then we'll know right where to come back to catch fish the next time we go a-fishing." "That'll never work. We won't be able to see the 'X' next time. Just use a black felt-tip marker, and put an 'X' on the side of the boat. That won't wash off."

My goodness! Who knows a good counselor? These boys need some help.

The second path stated in this passage of Scripture is the "walk through the valley of the shadow of death." There are so many possible meanings. What should be our focus in the discussion of walking this path?

First of all, this path could refer to the days, associated with the loss of a loved one to death, whether due to an extended illness or the trauma of an instantaneous snatching away. I've walked this valley with both of my parents. Dad left us in the matter of a couple of months, due to multiple lung illnesses. Mom faded for nearly two decades after Dad passed. I can give personal testimony, that a short time or a long time in the valley makes no difference. The pain is still overwhelming. It takes your breath away. Without the help of the Lord we never truly get our breath back.

Secondly, this path could refer to the time of life in which we each must pass from this life through death doorway. On that day intimidation will no doubt come from wondering, "Is my heart, indeed, right with the Lord? (John 6:37,44; John 14:6; Philippians 2:13; Romans 10:9-10,13; I John 5:1,11-13). Am I ready to stand before the Lord in all of His Glory?"

Praise the Lord for every saint, who will meet the Lord in the confidence of the Truth, "The righteousness of Christ stands in place of my righteousness. Therefore, I am saved and secured."

However, we should pray for those, whose transition to Eternity is less confident. They have the greater need on that day. It is true, that some professing souls are really not saved. Let us pray for their salvation.

However, others may be experiencing the debilitations of great illness when it is time to make, that final journey. Though truly saved, their minds may not be able to confidently affirm this. Let us pray for their SHALOM and rest (Hebrews 4:9) in these final moments. William Cowper (pronounced "Cooper") was one of these dear saints of God. Cowper is known for writing great hymns of the faith, but he himself "was naturally inclined to morbid brooding and worry....[He] was prey to very deep religious doubts...and often fell into deep depression. The last decade of his life was a period of deep gloom and a settled notion that God has cast him off." This was quoted by Donald S. Whitney in his book, How Can I Be Sure I'm a Christian? as a paragraph from the larger work, titled, Who Was Who in Church History.


https://www.thriftbooks.com/w/how-can-i-be-sure-im-a-christian-what-the-bible-sa...

I must confess, that I am very familiar with this account of Cowper because I, too, have had to battle against depression during various days of my life on Earth. This gives me great comfort to know, that the Lord doesn't give up on those of us, who battle over issues of the body and the mind because He created each of us as we are to do as I am now doing, bringing help to others, who may have or are currently struggling in the ways we have struggled.

"8 Concerning this thing I pleaded with the Lord three times
that it might depart from me.
9 And He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you,
for My strength is made perfect in weakness.”
Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities,
that the power of Christ may rest upon me.
10 Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches,
in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ’s sake.
For when I am weak, then I am strong.
"
(II Corinthians 12:8-10, NKJV)


It is true, that I have dealt with many difficulties in this walk of faith in the Life of Christ, but never once has this wonderful Trinity of God ever forsaken me. Therefore, I would like to leave you with two paragraphs from the last chapter of Pilgrim's Progress by John Bunyan. When Hopeful and Christian approached and entered the raging river of Death their perspectives were as different as night and day. Hopeful was confident in the good outcome of their passage through the river, yet Christian was nearly disconsolate.

May we each have a good friend or family member to help us in this time of transition from Time to Eternity.

" Christian's conflict at the hour of death

Then said the other, Be of good cheer, my brother, I feel the bottom, and it is good. Then said Christian, Ah! my friend, the sorrows of death hath compassed me about; I shall not see the land that flows with milk and honey; and with that a great darkness and horror fell upon Christian, so that he could not see before him. Also here he in great measure lost his senses, so that he could neither remember nor orderly talk of any of those sweet refreshments that he had met with in the way of his pilgrimage. But all the words that he spake still tended to discover that he had horror of mind, and heart fears that he should die in that river, and never obtain entrance in at the gate. Here also, as they that stood by perceived, he was much in the troublesome thoughts of the sins that he had committed, both since and before he began to be a pilgrim. It was also observed that he was troubled with apparitions of hobgoblins and evil spirits, for ever and anon he would intimate so much by words. Hopeful, therefore, here had much ado to keep his brother's head above water; yea, sometimes he would be quite gone down, and then, ere a while, he would rise up again half dead. Hopeful also would endeavour to comfort him, saying, Brother, I see the gate, and men standing by to receive us: but Christian would answer, It is you, it is you they wait for; you have been Hopeful ever since I knew you. And so have you, said he to Christian. Ah! brother! said he, surely if I was right he would now arise to help me; but for my sins he hath brought me into the snare, and hath left me. Then said Hopeful, My brother, you have quite forgot the text, where it is said of the wicked, "There are no bands in their death, but their strength is firm. They are not in trouble as other men, neither are they plagued like other men. [Ps. 73:4,5] These troubles and distresses that you go through in these waters are no sign that God hath forsaken you; but are sent to try you, whether you will call to mind that which heretofore you have received of his goodness, and live upon him in your distresses.

Then I saw in my dream, that Christian was as in a muse a while. To whom also Hopeful added this word, Be of good cheer, Jesus Christ maketh thee whole; and with that Christian brake out with a loud voice, Oh, I see him again! and he tells me, "When thou passest through the waters, I will be with thee, and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee." [Isa. 43:2] Then they both took courage, and the enemy was after that as still as a stone, until they were gone over. Christian therefore presently found ground to stand upon, and so it followed that the rest of the river was but shallow. Thus they got over. Now, upon the bank of the river, on the other side, they saw the two shining men again, who there waited for them; wherefore, being come out of the river, they saluted them, saying, We are ministering spirits, sent forth to minister for those that shall be heirs of salvation. Thus they went along towards the gate.
"


https://www.gutenberg.org/files/131/131-h/131-h.htm

by Jay O'Toole
on February 23rd, 2021


Here is yet another signature, that has been provided for me by my good friends, WS & GG.
Officially approved Writing.Com Preferred Author logo.
February 23, 2021 at 4:04pm
February 23, 2021 at 4:04pm
#1005093
Prompt: "3 He restoreth my soul:
he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name's sake.

4 Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil: for thou art with me;
thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.
"
(Psalm 23:3-4, KJV)

The way we walk and the paths upon which we walk
demonstrate a great deal about the lives we live.
How can our walking come into agreement with the One,
Who determines the important direction of our lives?


----------------------------------------------------


He doth rebuild my fallen soul,
and make me throughly pure.
He makes the man I am now whole.
My future is secure.

He leads me on each righteous road
to honor His great Name.
My lasting Home and blest abode
are with the One, Who came.

It's true when walking through the dark,
the valley of all death,
I'm tempted to confuse the Ark
with that, that takes my breath.

But fear the evil, I will not
for You are ever near.
Thy rod and staff remove each blot,
and comfort me so dear.

The walking way is not my own
to guide each daily day.
The Truth I need is from His Throne.
He loves me all the way.


-------------------------------------


"3 He restoreth my soul:
he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name's sake.

4 Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil: for thou art with me;
thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.
"

The first set of paths stated in this set of verses are the paths of righteousness.
What are the paths of righteousness? Let's breaks it down. Righteousness is founded on the word, "right." Right is in complete agreement with the Standard of Right. This is Jesus Christ, according to John 14:6, "Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me."

The Absolute Standard of Right = Jesus Christ, the Lord of Glory

Righteousness = the state of being right and in complete agreement with Jesus Christ

This entire list of right (or good), the way, the truth, and the life are all substances and conditions, that must originate outside of Time and the physical Universe. Just as it is impossible for God to be part of the Creation, which He is making, it is impossible for goodness and righteousness, the way, the truth, and the life to be part of the Creation. That which is created has no mooring in itself upon which to anchor its standard of right. That which is created needs the solid standard of Righteousness, outside of the Creation, to anchor the standard of right within the Creation.

Humans, who try to define Truth, according to their own ability "to live rightly" are like the foolish fishermen, who tried to mark the place where they have such success in fishing on a given day. "Just mark an 'X' in the water, where we caught all the fish, then we'll know right where to come back to catch fish the next time we go a-fishing." "That'll never work. We won't be able to see the 'X' next time. Just use a black felt-tip marker, and put an 'X' on the side of the boat. That won't wash off."

My goodness! Who knows a good counselor? These boys need some help.

The second path stated in this passage of Scripture is the "walk through the valley of the shadow of death." There are so many possible meanings. What should be our focus in the discussion of walking this path?

First of all, this path could refer to the days, associated with the loss of a loved one to death, whether due to an extended illness or the trauma of an instantaneous snatching away. I've walked this valley with both of my parents. Dad left us in the matter of a couple of months, due to multiple lung illnesses. Mom faded for nearly two decades after Dad passed. I can give personal testimony, that a short time or a long time in the valley makes no difference. The pain is still overwhelming. It takes your breath away. Without the help of the Lord we never truly get our breath back.

Secondly, this path could refer to the time of life in which we each must pass from this life through death doorway. On that day intimidation will no doubt come from wondering, "Is my heart, indeed, right with the Lord? (John 6:37,44; John 14:6; Philippians 2:13; Romans 10:9-10,13; I John 5:1,11-13). Am I ready to stand before the Lord in all of His Glory?"

Praise the Lord for every saint, who will meet the Lord in the confidence of the Truth, "The righteousness of Christ stands in place of my righteousness. Therefore, I am saved and secured."

However, we should pray for those, whose transition to Eternity is less confident. They have the greater need on that day. It is true, that some professing souls are really not saved. Let us pray for their salvation.

However, others may be experiencing the debilitations of great illness when it is time to make, that final journey. Though truly saved, their minds may not be able to confidently affirm this. Let us pray for their SHALOM and rest (Hebrews 4:9) in these final moments. William Cowper (pronounced "Cooper") was one of these dear saints of God. Cowper is known for writing great hymns of the faith, but he himself "was naturally inclined to morbid brooding and worry....[He] was prey to very deep religious doubts...and often fell into deep depression. The last decade of his life was a period of deep gloom and a settled notion that God has cast him off." This was quoted by Donald S. Whitney in his book, How Can I Be Sure I'm a Christian? as a paragraph from the larger work, titled, Who Was Who in Church History.


https://www.thriftbooks.com/w/how-can-i-be-sure-im-a-christian-what-the-bible-sa...

I must confess, that I am very familiar with this account of Cowper because I, too, have had to battle against depression during various days of my life on Earth. This gives me great comfort to know, that the Lord doesn't give up on those of us, who battle over issues of the body and the mind because He created each of us as we are to do as I am now doing, bringing help to others, who may have or are currently struggling in the ways we have struggled.

"8 Concerning this thing I pleaded with the Lord three times
that it might depart from me.
9 And He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you,
for My strength is made perfect in weakness.”
Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities,
that the power of Christ may rest upon me.
10 Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches,
in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ’s sake.
For when I am weak, then I am strong.
"
(II Corinthians 12:8-10, NKJV)


It is true, that I have dealt with many difficulties in this walk of faith in the Life of Christ, but never once has this wonderful Trinity of God ever forsaken me. Therefore, I would like to leave you with two paragraphs from the last chapter of Pilgrim's Progress by John Bunyan. When Hopeful and Christian approached and entered the raging river of Death their perspectives were as different as night and day. Hopeful was confident in the good outcome of their passage through the river, yet Christian was nearly disconsolate.

May we each have a good friend or family member to help us in this time of transition from Time to Eternity.

" Christian's conflict at the hour of death

Then said the other, Be of good cheer, my brother, I feel the bottom, and it is good. Then said Christian, Ah! my friend, the sorrows of death hath compassed me about; I shall not see the land that flows with milk and honey; and with that a great darkness and horror fell upon Christian, so that he could not see before him. Also here he in great measure lost his senses, so that he could neither remember nor orderly talk of any of those sweet refreshments that he had met with in the way of his pilgrimage. But all the words that he spake still tended to discover that he had horror of mind, and heart fears that he should die in that river, and never obtain entrance in at the gate. Here also, as they that stood by perceived, he was much in the troublesome thoughts of the sins that he had committed, both since and before he began to be a pilgrim. It was also observed that he was troubled with apparitions of hobgoblins and evil spirits, for ever and anon he would intimate so much by words. Hopeful, therefore, here had much ado to keep his brother's head above water; yea, sometimes he would be quite gone down, and then, ere a while, he would rise up again half dead. Hopeful also would endeavour to comfort him, saying, Brother, I see the gate, and men standing by to receive us: but Christian would answer, It is you, it is you they wait for; you have been Hopeful ever since I knew you. And so have you, said he to Christian. Ah! brother! said he, surely if I was right he would now arise to help me; but for my sins he hath brought me into the snare, and hath left me. Then said Hopeful, My brother, you have quite forgot the text, where it is said of the wicked, "There are no bands in their death, but their strength is firm. They are not in trouble as other men, neither are they plagued like other men. [Ps. 73:4,5] These troubles and distresses that you go through in these waters are no sign that God hath forsaken you; but are sent to try you, whether you will call to mind that which heretofore you have received of his goodness, and live upon him in your distresses.

Then I saw in my dream, that Christian was as in a muse a while. To whom also Hopeful added this word, Be of good cheer, Jesus Christ maketh thee whole; and with that Christian brake out with a loud voice, Oh, I see him again! and he tells me, "When thou passest through the waters, I will be with thee, and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee." [Isa. 43:2] Then they both took courage, and the enemy was after that as still as a stone, until they were gone over. Christian therefore presently found ground to stand upon, and so it followed that the rest of the river was but shallow. Thus they got over. Now, upon the bank of the river, on the other side, they saw the two shining men again, who there waited for them; wherefore, being come out of the river, they saluted them, saying, We are ministering spirits, sent forth to minister for those that shall be heirs of salvation. Thus they went along towards the gate.
"


https://www.gutenberg.org/files/131/131-h/131-h.htm

by Jay O'Toole
on February 23rd, 2021


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February 23, 2021 at 3:55pm
February 23, 2021 at 3:55pm
#1005092
Prompt: "3 He restoreth my soul:
he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name's sake.

4 Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil: for thou art with me;
thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.
"
(Psalm 23:3-4, KJV)

The way we walk and the paths upon which we walk
demonstrate a great deal about the lives we live.
How can our walking come into agreement with the One,
Who determines the important direction of our lives?


----------------------------------------------------


He doth rebuild my fallen soul,
and make me throughly pure.
He makes the man I am now whole.
My future is secure.

He leads me on each righteous road
to honor His great Name.
My lasting Home and blest abode
are with the One, Who came.

It's true when walking through the dark,
the valley of all death,
I'm tempted to confuse the Ark
with that, that takes my breath.

But fear the evil, I will not
for You are ever near.
Thy rod and staff remove each blot,
and comfort me so dear.

The walking way is not my own
to guide each daily day.
The Truth I need is from His Throne.
He loves me all the way.


-------------------------------------


"3 He restoreth my soul:
he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name's sake.

4 Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil: for thou art with me;
thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.
"

The first set of paths stated in this set of verses are the paths of righteousness.
What are the paths of righteousness? Let's breaks it down. Righteousness is founded on the word, "right." Right is in complete agreement with the Standard of Right. This is Jesus Christ, according to John 14:6, "Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me."

The Absolute Standard of Right = Jesus Christ, the Lord of Glory

Righteousness = the state of being right and in complete agreement with Jesus Christ

This entire list of right (or good), the way, the truth, and the life are all substances and conditions, that must originate outside of Time and the physical Universe. Just as it is impossible for God to be part of the Creation, which He is making, it is impossible for goodness and righteousness, the way, the truth, and the life to be part of the Creation. That which is created has no mooring in itself upon which to anchor its standard of right. That which is created needs the solid standard of Righteousness, outside of the Creation, to anchor the standard of right within the Creation.

Humans, who try to define Truth, according to their own ability "to live rightly" are like the foolish fishermen, who tried to mark the place where they have such success in fishing on a given day. "Just mark an 'X' in the water, where we caught all the fish, then we'll know right where to come back to catch fish the next time we go a-fishing." "That'll never work. We won't be able to see the 'X' next time. Just use a black felt-tip marker, and put an 'X' on the side of the boat. That won't wash off."

My goodness! Who knows a good counselor? These boys need some help.

The second path stated in this passage of Scripture is the "walk through the valley of the shadow of death." There are so many possible meanings. What should be our focus in the discussion of walking this path?

First of all, this path could refer to the days, associated with the loss of a loved one to death, whether due to an extended illness or the trauma of an instantaneous snatching away. I've walked this valley with both of my parents. Dad left us in the matter of a couple of months, due to multiple lung illnesses. Mom faded for nearly two decades after Dad passed. I can give personal testimony, that a short time or a long time in the valley makes no difference. The pain is still overwhelming. It takes your breath away. Without the help of the Lord we never truly get our breath back.

Secondly, this path could refer to the time of life in which we each must pass from this life through death doorway. On that day intimidation will no doubt come from wondering, "Is my heart, indeed, right with the Lord? (John 6:37,44; John 14:6; Philippians 2:13; Romans 10:9-10,13; I John 5:1,11-13). Am I ready to stand before the Lord in all of His Glory?"

Praise the Lord for every saint, who will meet the Lord in the confidence of the Truth, "The righteousness of Christ stands in place of my righteousness. Therefore, I am saved and secured."

However, we should pray for those, whose transition to Eternity is less confident. They have the greater need on that day. It is true, that some professing souls are really not saved. Let us pray for their salvation.

However, others may be experiencing the debilitations of great illness when it is time to make, that final journey. Though truly saved, their minds may not be able to confidently affirm this. Let us pray for their SHALOM and rest (Hebrews 4:9) in these final moments. William Cowper (pronounced "Cooper") was one of these dear saints of God. Cowper is known for writing great hymns of the faith, but he himself "was naturally inclined to morbid brooding and worry....[He] was prey to very deep religious doubts...and often fell into deep depression. The last decade of his life was a period of deep gloom and a settled notion that God has cast him off." This was quoted by Donald S. Whitney in his book, How Can I Be Sure I'm a Christian? as a paragraph from the larger work, titled, Who Was Who in Church History.


https://www.thriftbooks.com/w/how-can-i-be-sure-im-a-christian-what-the-bible-sa...

I must confess, that I am very familiar with this account of Cowper because I, too, have had to battle against depression during various days of my life on Earth. This gives me great comfort to know, that the Lord doesn't give up on those of us, who battle over issues of the body and the mind because He created each of us as we are to do as I am now doing, bringing help to others, who may have or are currently struggling in the ways we have struggled.

"8 Concerning this thing I pleaded with the Lord three times
that it might depart from me.
9 And He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you,
for My strength is made perfect in weakness.”
Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities,
that the power of Christ may rest upon me.
10 Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches,
in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ’s sake.
For when I am weak, then I am strong.
"
(II Corinthians 12:8-10, NKJV)


It is true, that I have dealt with many difficulties in this walk of faith in the Life of Christ, but never once has this wonderful Trinity of God ever forsaken me. Therefore, I would like to leave you with two paragraphs from the last chapter of Pilgrim's Progress by John Bunyan. When Hopeful and Christian approached and entered the raging river of Death their perspectives were as different as night and day. Hopeful was confident in the good outcome of their passage through the river, yet Christian was nearly disconsolate.

May we each have a good friend or family member to help us in this time of transition from Time to Eternity.

" Christian's conflict at the hour of death

Then said the other, Be of good cheer, my brother, I feel the bottom, and it is good. Then said Christian, Ah! my friend, the sorrows of death hath compassed me about; I shall not see the land that flows with milk and honey; and with that a great darkness and horror fell upon Christian, so that he could not see before him. Also here he in great measure lost his senses, so that he could neither remember nor orderly talk of any of those sweet refreshments that he had met with in the way of his pilgrimage. But all the words that he spake still tended to discover that he had horror of mind, and heart fears that he should die in that river, and never obtain entrance in at the gate. Here also, as they that stood by perceived, he was much in the troublesome thoughts of the sins that he had committed, both since and before he began to be a pilgrim. It was also observed that he was troubled with apparitions of hobgoblins and evil spirits, for ever and anon he would intimate so much by words. Hopeful, therefore, here had much ado to keep his brother's head above water; yea, sometimes he would be quite gone down, and then, ere a while, he would rise up again half dead. Hopeful also would endeavour to comfort him, saying, Brother, I see the gate, and men standing by to receive us: but Christian would answer, It is you, it is you they wait for; you have been Hopeful ever since I knew you. And so have you, said he to Christian. Ah! brother! said he, surely if I was right he would now arise to help me; but for my sins he hath brought me into the snare, and hath left me. Then said Hopeful, My brother, you have quite forgot the text, where it is said of the wicked, "There are no bands in their death, but their strength is firm. They are not in trouble as other men, neither are they plagued like other men. [Ps. 73:4,5] These troubles and distresses that you go through in these waters are no sign that God hath forsaken you; but are sent to try you, whether you will call to mind that which heretofore you have received of his goodness, and live upon him in your distresses.

Then I saw in my dream, that Christian was as in a muse a while. To whom also Hopeful added this word, Be of good cheer, Jesus Christ maketh thee whole; and with that Christian brake out with a loud voice, Oh, I see him again! and he tells me, "When thou passest through the waters, I will be with thee, and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee." [Isa. 43:2] Then they both took courage, and the enemy was after that as still as a stone, until they were gone over. Christian therefore presently found ground to stand upon, and so it followed that the rest of the river was but shallow. Thus they got over. Now, upon the bank of the river, on the other side, they saw the two shining men again, who there waited for them; wherefore, being come out of the river, they saluted them, saying, We are ministering spirits, sent forth to minister for those that shall be heirs of salvation. Thus they went along towards the gate.
"


https://www.gutenberg.org/files/131/131-h/131-h.htm

by Jay O'Toole
on February 23rd, 2021


Here is yet another signature, that has been provided for me by my good friends, WS & GG.
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February 22, 2021 at 3:12pm
February 22, 2021 at 3:12pm
#1005016
Prompt: "1 (A Psalm of David.)
The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want.
2 He maketh me to lie down in green pastures:
he leadeth me beside the still waters.
"
(Psalm 23:1-2, KJV)

These verses indicate, that God has the role of Shepherd
and His redeemed ones (aka Christians) have the role of sheep.
What needs is the Lord meeting in verses one and two?


-------------------------------------


The Lord is great. He knows my needs.
He shepherds me throughout my days.
He makes me lie in pleasant green,
and makes me drink with peace that stays.

A sheep is helpless without One
to guide his life through dusty roads.
A sheep won't sleep while storming's done,
nor will he drink in tossed abodes.

Great wanting's all I have apart
from Him, Who meets my ev'ry need.
My resting will not e'er know start
without the One, Who Earth can read.


----------------------------------------


The Lord's the Good Shepherd, Who knows my every need.
He knows I'm wanting, lacking, without my basic needs met,
unless He provides what He Alone can provide.

He knows I need a good night's sleep.
He, also, knows, that a sheep cannot get a good night's sleep
when the bed is rough, causing pain.
Therefore, He creates soft comforters for me to lay my head upon.

He knows, that I, as a sheep, cannot get the necessary water
for the nourishment of my body, if the waters are choppy
tossing water up my nose when the water really needs to go
down my throat to my stomach.


1. Sheep are much like infants and toddlers. They lack the necessary skills and thoughts to protect themselves and to provide the needed commodities to ensure the sustenance of life beyond a scant few minutes.

2. Sheep, infants, and toddlers need a strong, caring individual to provide food, shelter, and a good environment for the maintaining of life from day to day.

3. Sheep, infants, and toddlers need a Good Shepherd, a good parent, or a good guardian to make sure, that their sleep is uninterrupted and protected, and that they have fluids for the continuation of life provided in a manner, that will not cause them to choke. Fluids are important. Gentle fluids are absolutely essential for the helpless, like sheep, infants, toddlers, and even the aged infirmed.

May the Lord provide us what we need today and throughout eternity as he teaches us how to provide well for all, who look to us daily for care.


by Jay O'Toole
on February 22nd, 2021


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February 19, 2021 at 10:19am
February 19, 2021 at 10:19am
#1004804
Prompt: "2 And Jesus called a little child unto him,
and set him in the midst of them,

3 And said, Verily I say unto you,
Except ye be converted,
and become as little children,
ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven.

4 Whosoever therefore shall humble himself
as this little child,
the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven.
"
(Matthew 18:2-4, KJV)

How does an adult come to Jesus as a little child?


---------------------------------------------------------


1. Little children are honest. There is no Salvation without honesty before the Lord, regarding our sinful condition.

2. Little children trust without limits, and without reservations. The Lord knows our hearts. He will not save anyone, who holds back any aspect of their lives from Him.

3. Little children do not know how to protect themselves because they are concrete thinkers. The Lord comes to their aid because they are lost without His Help.

------------------------------------


1. Adults come to the Lord as little children when we are completely honest with Him about everything, that is in our hearts and in our lives.

2. Adults come to the Lord as little children when we trust Him with everything we have to trust him with.

3. Adults come to the Lord as little children when we don't try to protect ourselves from Him, but we fall into his lap as helpless.

---------------------------------------------


1. Children don't have ulterior motives. They just come with everything, that they are.

2. Children read faces, and as such are vulnerable to false actors. The Lord is the child's greatest Hope.

3. Children play with abandon, and they love with abandon, and they hope with abandon. Children need trustworthy protectors, like the Lord Jesus.

4. Children come in complete trust. Salvation can be received only through complete trust.

--------------------------------------------


"And said, Verily I say unto you,
Except ye be converted,
and become as little children,
ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven." (Matthew 18:3, KJV)

"Jesus tells us, 'This is an absolute fact. Unless you are changed (or transformed) back into the honesty of childlikeness, you will not be able to be saved and enter my Kingdom.'" (Matthew 18:3, my paraphrase)

Childhood is that time of life when the human is the closest to God's original creation. The corruption of sin is already being seen, but the honesty and purity of emotion is still visible, too. May the Lord give each of us the ability to return to the truthfulness of childhood, that we may be saved before it is everlastingly TOO LATE.

Be saved today, Everyone, and in so doing be truly Blessed.


by Jay O'Toole
on February 19th, 2021


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February 18, 2021 at 9:38pm
February 18, 2021 at 9:38pm
#1004781
Prompt:
"Matthew 4:1-11 is the demonstration
of Jesus dealing with Satan's temptations
after forty days of fasting in the wilderness.

What can we learn from Jesus' example,
that will help us in our daily battle with sin
and Satan, the author of sin?
"


------------------------------


"1 Then was Jesus led up of the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil.

2 And when he had fasted forty days and forty nights, he was afterward an hungred.

3 And when the tempter came to him, he said, If thou be the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread.

4 But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.

5 Then the devil taketh him up into the holy city, and setteth him on a pinnacle of the temple,

6 And saith unto him, If thou be the Son of God, cast thyself down: for it is written, He shall give his angels charge concerning thee: and in their hands they shall bear thee up, lest at any time thou dash thy foot against a stone.

7 Jesus said unto him, It is written again, Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God.

8 Again, the devil taketh him up into an exceeding high mountain, and sheweth him all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them;

9 And saith unto him, All these things will I give thee, if thou wilt fall down and worship me.

10 Then saith Jesus unto him, Get thee hence, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve.

11 Then the devil leaveth him, and, behold, angels came and ministered unto him.
"
(Matthew 4:1-11, KJV)

-----------------------


I. Satan Often Attacks/Tempts Us When we are Our Weakest. (Matthew 4:1-2)
Jesus was hungry, and therefore physically weak because He was at the end of a 40-day fast.

II. Satan Tailor-Makes the Temptation to Fit the Weakness. (Matthew 4:3)
"Get yourself something to eat."

III. Satan Tries to Get Us to Give into the Thing We Really Want to Do.(Matthew 4:5-6)
"You're really tired from your fast. Just let yourself go, and fall over. You can't really get hurt anyway. Your Father will take care of you."

IV. Satan Tries to Get Us to Take the Shortcut to the Lord's Ultimate Will for Our Lives. (Matthew 4:8-9)
"You know, you've been through a lot during these past 40 days. I know you're going to be the Lord of the Earth. I know how to get that for you right now. Just be my downline on this pyramid scheme, and you can be lord right now. The fact, that I will get residuals off of your work will be good for me. WIN-WIN, right? What do you say to that?"

V. Jesus Had (and Has) the Right Response for Every Temptation. "It Is Written." God's Word Always Has the Specific Answer from the Lord, Regarding every Temptation. Just Do what God Says to Do. (Matthew 4:4, 7, 10)

VI. Even After Using the Word of God to Try to Win the Argument Himself, Satan Gets Tired of Thinking About God's Word, and Eventually Leaves the Argument, even for a Time. (Matthew 4:11a)

VII. The Lord Doesn't Leave His Children Unhelped. Ministering Angels are Dispatched to Help His Child After After Any Battle. (Matthew 4:11b)

Every temptation is a lie.
Every victory is the proper application of God's word.

May the Lord give us wisdom, determination, and persistence
to do this God's Way, especially when the tempter is near at hand.

Blessings, Everyone.


by Jay O'Toole
on February 18th, 2021


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February 17, 2021 at 11:11pm
February 17, 2021 at 11:11pm
#1004720
Prompt: If Eternity with Jesus is the Lord's chosen position for every Christian, then is failure actually an option for any part of His Bride? We may grieve over things we have been unable to accomplish in this life, but if Eternity is eternal, then is it possible for any of us to fail to do what the Lord has Sovereignly-chosen for our talents to accomplish?

"For the gifts and calling of God are without repentance." (Romans 11:29, KJV)

Today's response to the prompt is not intended to set forth some new doctrine. It is merely the attempt to explore one of the mysteries of Scriptures, and how it relates to Time and Eternity.

The Scripture passage Romans 11:29 has been the subject of contemplation throughout my lifetime." For the gifts and calling of God are without repentance."

The question is this, "Did something go wrong when a child or adult was just about to accomplish some great exploit for the Lord, during his or her life on Earth, but was providentially hindered from accomplishing that goal?" Does an abortion or an accident negate a person's contribution to the creation, that is HIStory? Or is it possible, that a shortened life on Earth can be enacted as a great contribution in Eternity?

If "the gifts and calling of God are without repentance," then will those gifts and callings still be used fully forever, even if they were not used during an earthly lifespan?

Again, this post is more question than answer, but it is my hopeful testimony, that the Lord has a grand purpose for Eternity, that is not thwarted by the apparent limitations of Time.

Blessings, All.


by Jay O'Toole
on February 17th, 2021


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February 16, 2021 at 3:20pm
February 16, 2021 at 3:20pm
#1004620
Prompt: "Some people have questioned how God can allow suffering. How would you answer such questions?"

"16And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat:

17But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.
"
(Genesis 2:16-17, KJV)

If God did not allow suffering on Earth, then He would relinquish His reputation as being trustworthy. "Eat of all trees, except the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Eating of the prohibited tree will be followed by death."

Death equals separation.
1. Original Sin separated us from fellowship with God. (No longer rightly related to God, we were separated from His perfect cistern of wisdom, unto our own imperfect wisdom, held in a cistern, that leaks.)
2. Original Sin separated us from the integrity in our bodies. (No longer a perfect creation, we started the long trek to physical death, the separation between soul and body.)
3. Original Sin separated us from the integral relationship humans once enjoyed with Nature. (A picture of this can be seen in the Chronicles of Narnia in which animals talk, and plants work for the benefit of the sons of God. As it is now illnesses like COVID-19, the flu, and even the common cold are regular assailants in this death of our friendship with Nature. However, some of that is mitigated when we speak kindly to our plants, which in turn bloom greatly for the sons of God.) (Genesis 1:29)
4. Original Sin has caused the hemorrhage of Nature, resulting in hurricanes, tornadoes, thunderstorms, and the ice and snowstorms we currently see throughout much of the Southern states as well as the great increase in cold weather intensity in the northern states, that already expect winters to be cold. (Romans 8:19-23)
5. Original Sin caused Humanity to see separations in the human race rather than the integral whole we were originally created to be. Some groups of Humanity foment suffering on other groups of Humanity, which they consider to be inferior, and thus less valuable to the betterment of their valued group.

Suffering is allowed as the teacher and the crucible, which the Lord will ultimately remove when He restores the original perfection of His Creation. Right now suffering is the crucible, which perfects us into the Image of Jesus by removing the dross from our lives. I can't image suffering ever being enjoyable, but at least there is hope in suffering when we see, that there is a good purpose in the suffering as well as the fact, that suffering is limited by the constraints of Time.

Suffering will not follow the saved into Eternity, although, sadly, suffering will be the unending crucible tool for the never-ending task of smelting the dross of the damned.

May the Lord save more and more souls every day to prevent residence in that eternally awful place.


by Jay O'Toole
on February 16th, 2021


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February 15, 2021 at 8:06pm
February 15, 2021 at 8:06pm
#1004570
Jesus gave His Word to man.
Never can He lie.
Hopeful days are by his plan.
Humans dare not try.

Saving souls is by His Grace.
None will e'er He lose,
but those rejecting His dear face,
defeat is what they choose.

Hope for hearts, who live with none
is found in Jesus raised.
He draws each lost one as his son
to live without disgrace.

Each needy soul, the Father's gift
to be so saved and held.
Each person coming will He lift
with no rejection felt.


by Jay O'Toole
on February 15th, 2021


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February 12, 2021 at 7:30pm
February 12, 2021 at 7:30pm
#1004340
Sometimes sadness fills the road,
a bank of snow, a heavy load.
It chills the air, a frozen way.
It fills the heart with naught to say.

I miss my Dad and Mom and all.
I feel the need on Christ to call.
The sadness of what might have been.
The sadness of what's left to win.

Perspectives make life seem so small.
He's Lord of Glory, yet short I fall.
Will You be pleased, when all is done?
Is my life good, Your service won?


by Jay O'Toole
on February 12th, 2021


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February 4, 2021 at 3:45pm
February 4, 2021 at 3:45pm
#1003641
"But as many as received him,
to them gave he power to become the sons of God,
even to them that believe on his name:
"
(John 1:12, KJV)



Prompt: This verse is often used to lead someone to Christ as Lord and Savior.
How could we help concrete-thinkers to be rightly related to Jesus through these abstract terms?


------------------------------

A strange package arrives on the porch of the family's house. The sender's address is a castle in the United Kingdom. Your dad recognizes the name of the sender as a member of royalty and a distant relative. However, the package has been sent to you, personally, not to your dad, nor to any other member of the family.

Carefully you open the package to find a very old crown, as well as the scepter and other trappings of kingship. Along with the tokens of royal sonship is an envelope, and inside is a letter written in the most exquisite English script with these words, "Son, you have been on my mind for many years. I have chosen you to receive these tokens of the son of a king because I love you. You've done nothing to earn my love because we have never met in the flesh. Receive these gifts, knowing you are highly favored. Accept them as the expression of my love. No one can ever nullify your relationship with me as my chosen son."

Concrete-thinkers may have difficulty with receive and believe because Jesus can't be seen in the flesh. We can't reach out and embrace Him with a physical hug, but we can believe His many promises because the Earth continues to spin into sunrise and sunset for all of these years, since the beginning of time. The many things we can see about the Creation gives us hope for the trustworthiness of the many things we can't see.

The gift of royalty from a distant relative is based on the long-standing character of this individual throughout family history. The gift of royal sonship in Jesus Christ is based on His Character is born out through history and the Word of God.

To receive Jesus Christ, and to believe on His Name means to give the same weight and credibility to His Written Word as we would to His physical Presence, standing in front of us.

The average human is not nearly as trustworthy as Jesus is. Therefore, when Jesus says something it can be trusted. "God is not a man, that he should lie; neither the son of man, that he should repent: hath he said, and shall he not do it? or hath he spoken, and shall he not make it good?" (Numbers 23:19, KJV)

"But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name:" 1. Trusting the words Jesus says as being equal to Jesus Himself is the royal token of sonship and kingship. 2. Those, who believe that Jesus' Name is equal to His Own Glorious Personage have the new status of Christian, son or daughter of God.

How do we help dear hearts, who are distracted by the storms of life to the point, that they wonder if they still belong to Jesus as personal Lord and Savior? Remind that individual, that the covenant opened, initiated, affirmed by Jesus can never be undone by anyone but Jesus, and that is something He will not undo.


by Jay O'Toole
on February 4th, 2021


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February 3, 2021 at 9:52pm
February 3, 2021 at 9:52pm
#1003593
"1 In the beginning was the Word,
and the Word was with God,
and the Word was God.

2 The same was in the beginning with God.

3 All things were made by him;
and without him was not any thing made that was made.
"
(John 1:1-3, KJV)

-------------------------


"In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth."
(Genesis 1:1, KJV)

-------------------------


Prompt: Who is the Word, and how are these two passages related?


-------------------------


1. "The Word was in the beginning."
2. "The Word was with God."
3. "The Word was God."
4. "The same (aka The Word) was in the beginning with God." (This is an example of literary parallelism in the Bible. This means, that the concepts of statements one, two, and three, are neatly wrapped up in statement four.
5. "All things were made by Him (aka The Word.)"
6. "Without Him (aka The Word) was not anything made, that was made."
7. "In the beginning, God (aka the Word) created the heaven and the earth."
8. "All things were made by Him." (John 1:3a) "In the beginning God created (all things.)" (Genesis 1:1)

I love the clear logical proofs, that are contained in these passages, which identify the Personage of Jesus Christ, the Word, without even the slightest doubt.

When I was a boy negotiations over the sale of cars, houses, lands, and even priceless jewelry were often done through verbal dickering. As long as both parties were smiling with the back and forth of offers vs. counteroffers, everyone knew that the price was still rather fluid, but when on party stood and made the statement, "That's my final Word on the subject," negotiations had ended. "Take it our leave it."

When God made Himself known to Mankind, it was in the Person of Jesus Christ, the Logos, the Word of God. Jesus is God's Final Word of reconciliation.

Want to know God? Go through Jesus.
Want to be right with God? Go through Jesus.

"All that the Father giveth me shall come to me;
and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out.
"
(John 6:37, KJV)


When a writer or manufacturer wants to be emphatic about a non-negotiable truth, there is usually a list of truth statements, that is placed at the beginning of a nonfiction book or a manufacturer's handbook. The Lord did the same through the pens of Moses and John, the Beloved.

Follow the truth statements word-for-word, and the picture is clear.

Blessings, All.


by Jay O'Toole
on February 3rd, 2021


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February 3, 2021 at 9:45pm
February 3, 2021 at 9:45pm
#1003592
"1 In the beginning was the Word,
and the Word was with God,
and the Word was God.

2 The same was in the beginning with God.

3 All things were made by him;
and without him was not any thing made that was made.
"
(John 1:1-3, KJV)

-------------------------


"In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth."
(Genesis 1:1, KJV)

-------------------------


Prompt: Who is the Word, and how are these two passages related?


-------------------------


1. "The Word was in the beginning."
2. "The Word was with God."
3. "The Word was God."
4. "The same (aka The Word) was in the beginning with God." (This is an example of literary parallelism in the Bible. This means, that the concepts of statements one, two, and three, are neatly wrapped up in statement four.
5. "All things were made by Him (aka The Word.)"
6. "Without Him (aka The Word) was not anything made, that was made."
7. "In the beginning, God (aka the Word) created the heaven and the earth."
8. "All things were made by Him." (John 1:3a) "In the beginning God created (all things.)" (Genesis 1:1)

I love the clear logical proofs, that are contained in these passages, which identify the Personage of Jesus Christ, the Word, without even the slightest doubt.

When I was a boy negotiations over the sale of cars, houses, lands, and even priceless jewelry were often done through verbal dickering. As long as both parties were smiling with the back and forth of offers vs. counteroffers, everyone knew that the price was still rather fluid, but when on party stood and made the statement, "That's my final Word on the subject," negotiations had ended. "Take it our leave it."

When God made Himself known to Mankind, it was in the Person of Jesus Christ, the Logos, the Word of God. Jesus is God's Final Word of reconciliation.

Want to know God? Go through Jesus.
Want to be right with God? Go through Jesus.

"All that the Father giveth me shall come to me;
and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out.
"
(John 6:37, KJV)


When a writer or manufacturer wants to be emphatic about a nonegotiable truth, there is usually a list of truth statements, that is placed at the beginning of a nonfiction book or manufacturer's handbook. The Lord did the same through the pens of Moses and John, the Beloved.

Follow the truth statements word-for-word, and the picture is clear.

Blessings, All.


by Jay O'Toole
on February 3rd, 2021


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February 2, 2021 at 2:44pm
February 2, 2021 at 2:44pm
#1003498
"He shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied: by his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many; for he shall bear their iniquities." (Isaiah 53:11, KJV)

Prompt: How could an eternity of debt be expunged by Jesus, the Christ, during a finite number of hours, during one weekend 2000 years ago? (This one is fairly easy to answer. Just respond using the flawless Character of our loving Lord as your tool.)

This great exchange comes at the level of one eternal Sovereign Lord, Who covers the Debt, which requires eternal punishment, meaning that He did not need to suffer forever to pay the eternal debt.

The Lord Jesus is eternal.
The sin-debt is eternal.
Jesus' eternal riches cover the eternal debt at a moment in time.

His eternal perfection covers our eternal imperfections. He is Lord of All.


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February 1, 2021 at 7:18pm
February 1, 2021 at 7:18pm
#1003429
"For he shall grow up before him as a tender plant,
and as a root out of a dry ground:
he hath no form nor comeliness;
and when we shall see him,
there is no beauty that we should desire him.

(Isaiah 53:2, KJV)


------------------------------------


"My servant grew up in the Lord’s presence
like a tender green shoot,
like a root in dry ground.
There was nothing beautiful or majestic
about his appearance,
nothing to attract us to him.
"
(Isaiah 53:2, NLT)


Prompt: Would we be able to pick out Jesus in a crowd,
if we were walking past Him on the street?


-----------------------------------------------


Does it make any difference whether or not Jesus was the handsome Jewish man or modern portraits or an average-looking itinerate rabbi under Roman occupation?

Hebrews 4:15, KJV, seems to give further insights into this conundrum. "For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin." When I walk through life I'm often tempted to feel like "no one of consequence." Could Jesus have experienced this temptation of mine, if He was attractive and strong?

According to Isaiah 53:2a, NLT, "My servant grew up in the Lord’s presence like a tender green shoot, like a root in dry ground.". When Jesus was growing up in the Lord's Presence, He was two things, "a tender green shoot" and "a root in dry ground." Could the tenderness of a green shoot allude to the fact, that as a youth He appeared to need just as much protection from His environment as did any other child of that day? Could the root in dry ground allude to the fact, that His life didn't appear any more bent toward success than any other child or youth of that day?

Am I saying, that He was probably "dumpy and fat?" Hardly. I've read others, who tried to make this claim, but I'm not going there. A fat Jesus would make Him stand out in a bad way, thus rendering Isaiah 53:2, null and void. Besides, any blemishes, like being overweight would negate His status as the Lamb of God, which takes away the sin of the world. That could never happen.

The average Jewish man of Jesus earthly sojourn was rarely fat, due to the agrarian society, which required hard labor to provide for families. Jesus was no doubt slender and properly toned for the work of being a carpenter. This would have made Him look like every other Joe-on-the-street.

Due to the fact, that He was 30 years old when He started His earthly ministry, He no doubt wore the dark, curly beard. For most men, full beards can be grown at age 30. (That was certainly my case. My attempt at a full beard at age 27 left something to be desired.)

Further proof of Jesus being an average Joe came in the Garden of Gethsemane. The authorities needed a guide to identify Jesus. Would this have been necessary, if He was easily spotted in a crowd? "Now he that betrayed him gave them a sign, saying, Whomsoever I shall kiss, that same is he: hold him fast." (Matthew 26:48, KJV)

At another point in this same scene, Jesus approached the soldiers because He knew they didn't have a clue. "4 Jesus therefore, knowing all things that should come upon him, went forth, and said unto them, Whom seek ye?

5 They answered him, Jesus of Nazareth. Jesus saith unto them, I am he. And Judas also, which betrayed him, stood with them.

6 As soon then as he had said unto them, I am he, they went backward, and fell to the ground.

7 Then asked he them again, Whom seek ye? And they said, Jesus of Nazareth.

8 Jesus answered, I have told you that I am he: if therefore ye seek me, let these go their way:

9 That the saying might be fulfilled, which he spake, Of them which thou gavest me have I lost none.
" (John 18:4-9, KJV)

If you will allow me a little latitude, I will paraphrase this exchange in the South Georgia dialect. "4 Jesus knew, that they had come to arrest Him, but He lobbed' em a softball, 'Who are you looking for?'"

"5 They said rather matter-of-factly, 'Jesus of the town of Nazareth."

"Jesus responded with confidence and authority, 'That would be me.'"

"6 Jesus' Authority surprised them so badly, that they stumbled backward and fell down." Apparently, their doubt was caused by the fact, that His appearance didn't meet their expectations.

"7 He asked them a second time, 'Who are you looking for?'"

"Again, they said, 'Jesus of Nazareth.'"

"8 The second time Jesus responded, 'I've already told you, that would be me. If you're serious about it, then here I am, but let my friends go free.'

"9 Jesus showed His care for His earthly friends' lives, even as He was preparing to die to make them right with God forever.
"

"There was nothing beautiful or majestic about his appearance, nothing to attract us to him." (Isaiah 53:2b, NLT)

Why would seasoned soldiers in pursuit of someone, who was wreaking havoc in this little outpost of Rome have to go through the questioning process twice, stumbling backward on their backsides, and then when they were basically convinced of who Jesus actually was, they continued to look like "deer in the headlights," unless their prejudice again Jesus' appearance created the thought in their hearts, "You've got to be kidding me."

Would we do any better finding Jesus today, unless He made Himself known to us, repeatedly? I really doubt it.


by Jay O'Toole
on February 1st, 2021


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January 29, 2021 at 7:40pm
January 29, 2021 at 7:40pm
#1003209
"And the Spirit and the bride say, Come.
And let him that heareth say, Come.
And let him that is athirst come.
And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely.
"
(Revelation 22:17, KJV)


Prompt: What does it mean to come to Christ as personal Savior and Lord?

It is wise to begin by understanding the human condition.

Our first parents sinned, and we are now dead. "but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.” (Genesis 2:17, ESV) "And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins;" (Ephesians 2:1, KJV)

The Lord is the eternal EMT, who gives life to those, who are dead. "And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins;" (Ephesians 2:1, KJV) The word, "quickened" means "to jolt to life (as through the use of shock pads.)"

The Lord initiates salvation, and this Sovereignty gives great comfort in coming to Christ as Savior and Lord. "No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day." (John 6:44, KJV) According to this verse, no human can get saved "just anytime he or she wants to." However, on the flip side this concept the very moment you want to be saved is the very moment the Lord has sovereignly chosen for you to be saved, according to Philippians 2:13, "For it is God which worketh in you to will and to do after His good pleasure."

The Lord initiates salvation by working on the human heart. This is where the loop is closed in John 6:37, KJV, "All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out."

1. The individual Christian is a gift from God, the Father to God, the Son (aka Jesus.)
2. Father God draws the Christian to the Gift of Salvation in Jesus.
3. At that invitation, my coming to Christ as Savior and Lord, is a Done Deal. I come to Him with no possibility of rejection,...EVER.

I had a wonderful conversation with my daughter about her salvation experience in the summer of 2012. She told me she had a strong desire to become a Christian. I told her that's the only way we can become a Christian.

1. Jesus makes us alive from the dead, putting the desire to be saved in our hearts.
2. At that point we agree with the Lord about our condition, accepting His terms, "None of me. All of Him."
3. Since He promised never to turn me away, the only thing left to do is to say, "Thank you, LORD, for saving my soul."




by Jay O'Toole
on January 29th, 2021


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January 28, 2021 at 7:12pm
January 28, 2021 at 7:12pm
#1003106
"13 Is any among you afflicted? let him pray.
Is any merry? let him sing psalms.

14 Is any sick among you?
let him call for the elders of the church;
and let them pray over him,
anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord:

15 And the prayer of faith shall save the sick,
and the Lord shall raise him up;
and if he have committed sins,
they shall be forgiven him.

16 Confess your faults one to another,
and pray one for another, that ye may be healed.
The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.
"


Prompt: Prayer as the respirations of the spirit is critical to every aspect of the Christian's life. How has prayer become to you more than simply grace at the dinner table?

---------------------------


I Thessalonians 5:17 tells us, "pray without ceasing." That is why I liken prayer to the very breath of our lungs. We must breathe without ceasing in order to stay alive, physically. We must pray without ceasing to stay alive, spiritually.

As a bit of scientific trivia, I was at the point of being shocked when I learned that breathing is a voluntary activity. This means that the part of our brains, that regulates breathing must send out a command to breathe every time a breath is taken. However, the activity of breathing is so repetitive, that the voluntary element is almost transformed into something involuntary because of muscle memory.

Two things demonstrate the voluntary aspect of breathing.

1. When we swim underwater, it is necessary to stop breathing in order to prevent drowning. If breathing was involuntary, then we couldn't hold a breath underwater. That would, of course, be disastrous.

2. About a decade to fifteen years ago, I went in for a sleep test. I was diagnosed with sleep apnea. This means my body would quit breathing multiple times every night. Because that, also, was dangerous, my body would wake-up to take a much-needed breath. This was a great liability for me because if I kept sleeping without breathing, I could die from a lack of oxygen, but waking up multiple times a night prevented my normal sleep patterns, which could produce mild insanity as was demonstrated so masterfully in The Taming of a Shrew by Shakespeare.

Meditations and a C-PAP machine alleviated my nighttime breathing concerns for many years until the Lord healed me of the issue in 2013, which eliminated the need for either crutch.

How does this apply to the subject of prayer?

There have been times in my life in which I was so focused on accomplishing a task, that I unintentionally held my breath, while I worked on some tedious task. I've lost count of how many times my wife has stopped what she was doing to look at me, and say, "Breathe."

As Christians, the Lord makes Himself known to us throughout the day in so many seemingly insignificant ways, while we work hard, trying to serve Him in our own strength. The Lord turns to us, and says, "Pray." But the children and the animals need to be fed. "Pray." The house needs to be cleaned. "Pray." The bills need to be paid. "Pray." Work, yard work, church activities all need to be done. "Pray."

Is it easy to pray in a spiritually healthy way? No. It takes work, but the Lord is worth the effort, and our spirits will thank us for maintaining this lifeline with the Lord every day, all day long.


by Jay O'Toole
on January 28th, 2021


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