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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
August 2, 2021 at 11:52pm
August 2, 2021 at 11:52pm
#1014971
Prompt:

What is one thing you would change about your church if you could?
How can we make our church more Christ-like?


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


All too often churches are like restaurants.
We visit and attend when we like what's on the menu.

A meal out on the town is decided by what we're in the mood for.
Do we want Mexican food?
Do we want to eat Chinese?
Are we in the mood for Bar-B-Que?
Do we go to a bakery because we're in the mood for bread?
Do we go to a coffee shop because the "whatever else" doesn't matter? Coffee is supreme!

Sunday morning worship doesn't give us the choice of hearing hymns and contemporary worship songs in the same auditorium.
If you like hymns sung by large choirs, and accompanied by pipe organ, grand piano, and maybe even bell choir, then the choice is clear. You attend a Baptist, a Methodist or a Catholic church.
If you like contemporary Christian music, including worship choruses, then your church will often be non-denominational with a creative name like The Gathering, Hope's Depot, or The Wing's Shade.
If you think that instruments are taboo in the church, then you probably enjoy going to a Church of Christ, where they sing many of the same hymns, that are sung in the Baptist, Methodist, and Catholic churches, but without the instruments. This, also, requires you to have a song leader with pitch-perfect ears. Otherwise, he has to blow a pitch pipe, which to this Baptist boy looks like an instrument. *Wink*

I'm not really sure why it has to be this way, but churches with traditional instruments tend to frown up the use of guitars, and drums. Contemporary churches with guitars and drums tend to shy away from traditional instruments. Even if a perfectly good baby grand piano sits on the stage every Sunday, unused, the worship leader will gravitate toward an electronic keyboard.

This is my church. I got to play the baby grand on Christmas Eve two years ago because they wanted a more traditional carol service. However, last Christmas Eve only the electronic keyboard was available to me, since the baby grand was stuck in a corner behind contemporary instruments.

I love traditional hymns, which include Christmas carols. This is my all-time favorite in the realm of Christmas music. However, I can enjoy contemporary Christian music to some degree. I must give credit to our worship leader because I have heard him lead us from contemporary worship songs into worship songs from the 70'sand 80's with a few hymns thrown in upon occasion, but it all still sounds like electronic keyboard, guitars, and drum set in a glass cage.

I would dearly love to play that baby grand with the band with the option to slide in and out of concerto-style hymns for flavor as I embellish the contemporary worship songs on a traditional instrument.

I've attended there for more than two years. So far, my ideas haven't gotten off the ground. Why is that? "We have a sound."

The big First Baptist Churches in various towns are typically the closest to implementing my ideas, but, again, the more contemporary songs consistently sound like traditional versions of the contemporary worship songs. Why is that? "We have a sound."

I've come to believe, that the ability to swing back and forth between traditional and contemporary music with a little techno and Spanish flavor thrown in will have to wait for the Presence of The Lord in Heaven.

Bottom Line: Though the sound, the style, and the flavors of music are very important to us humans on Earth, worship, that truly blesses the Lord and brings Him Glory is the sound of the heart, that is right with Him. If we're not right with God, no music we produce sounds good to Him.

May the Lord give us the ability to tune our hearts, first, and then to tune our instruments.


by Jay O’Toole
on August 2nd, 2021


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July 30, 2021 at 11:19pm
July 30, 2021 at 11:19pm
#1014775
"Sadly, Pride is an extremist.
Pride thinks too much of itself and becomes haughty
(aka "better than others by the strength of the self.")
Pride can also think too little of itself, becoming obsequious, fawning or doormat-like
(aka "worthless compared to others, as someone, who is self-loathing.")

However, Humility is well-balanced in spirit and in character.
Humility believes that he or she has worth, simply by virtue of being created by God.
Humility would never confess to being less than others, nor better than others.
Humility has an accurate self-image,
that is in agreement with the value intrinsic to that person
as bequeathed by and seen forever in the heart of The very Lord Himself.


by Jay O’Toole
on July 30th, 2021


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July 29, 2021 at 10:44pm
July 29, 2021 at 10:44pm
#1014735
Better beyond the earthly day
when sadness, anger, darkness fly.
The Home awaiting those of Christ
will never know a tear.

Better beyond this Jadis frost,
that chills the heart to stiffen days.
The jolly Kringle soon returns
with smile so wide to warm the land.

Better beyond this breath so brief,
while food can't last beyond a thought.
Better beyond this beating heart,
that works for years, until it rests.

Better beyond this transient day.
Better beyond these slowing steps.
Better beyond the things, that end.
Better beyond our sight.

Better comes beyond this earthly life,
but nothing is beyond the Better,
which is the BEST.


by Jay O’Toole
on July 29th, 2021


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July 28, 2021 at 10:25pm
July 28, 2021 at 10:25pm
#1014689
"9 And he said unto me,
My grace is sufficient for thee:
for my strength is made perfect in weakness.
Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities,
that the power of Christ may rest upon me.

10 Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities,
in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions,
in distresses for Christ's sake:
for when I am weak, then am I strong.
"
(II Corinthians 12:9-10, KJV)


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


The past year has been a frightening level on the loss of control meter.
We're tempted to ask the question,"Where is God in all of this?"
"Will He provide help for us anytime soon?
Or do we have to wait, until He returns to set up His Millennial Kingdom,
applying Final Justice to all of the world's evil doers,
without requiring any assistance whatsoever from humans,
other than Himself?"

God's Ways are inscrutable.
No human, other than Jesus, can understand God's Ways,
without special revelation from the Spirit of God.
Ceding control to the Hand of God is our best path to the Bless-ed Life.

"He said to me I wondrous know,
'My Grace sufficient is for thee.
My strength in weakness it shall grow.
My strength is perfect e'er to be.'

"Most gladly, therefore, I will joy,
and glory in my infirmities,
that great the power of Christ employs
to rest upon my life, and be.

"Therefore, I pleasure in my ills,
in harshness, and my daily needs,
in persecutions past my will,
in troubles to Christ's Glory feed.

"For when I'm weak, then I am strong."
Yes. When I'm weak, I'm better off.
For when I'm weak, I learn a song.
To my teacher, weakness, hat I doff.

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

I don't like being weak,
but when I embrace
what The Lord Jesus has chosen for me,
I find, that I love the results
more than I could have ever imagined.

That's a lot to think about.

Be truly blessed, Everyone.


by Jay O’Toole
on July 28th, 2021


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July 26, 2021 at 11:41pm
July 26, 2021 at 11:41pm
#1014471
"When things go well, there is joy, and health feels full.
When things don't go well, there is sadness, and health wanes."

(JOT)


by Jay O’Toole
on July 26th, 2021


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July 23, 2021 at 4:18pm
July 23, 2021 at 4:18pm
#1014196
In Creation, things are made to exist in families.
Some beings are humans. There are subfamilies among the humans.
Some things are plants. There are subfamilies among the plants.
Some things are animals. There are subfamilies among the animals.
Some things are metals. Some metals are plentiful. Some are scarce.

Even Time was created to give temporal human beings a place to live out this linear life.

Time is scarce when compared to Eternity.
However, Time is so valuable, that it will leave a lasting mark upon Eternity.

Silver has a worthy value,
and it holds its value well
because God created silver
as a receptacle of value.

Gold has great value on Earth
because Gold has great scarcity
compared with silver.
Again, God has created gold
as a receptacle of value.

At the end of our lives, we will see the value of how we used our days.

Did we live for silver or for gold?
Did we live for Time or for Eternity?
Did we invest our lives in that which has great value or that which has lesser value?

"So teach us to number our days,
that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom.
"
(Psalm90:12, KJV)

Blessings, All.


by Jay O’Toole
on July 23rd, 2021


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July 22, 2021 at 4:36pm
July 22, 2021 at 4:36pm
#1014143
"Salvation is the Gift of Life from the Eternal EMT. Just as an unconscious victim on the side of the road can do nothing to restore a beating heart into the newly still chest, no human can be saved without the intervention of Jesus, the Agent of Salvation. The victim on the side of the road can thank the EMT when he or she regains consciousness, but not before. The believer in Christ can thank the Lord for His Salvation, once the sinner has been redeemed, but not before." (JOT)

by Jay O’Toole
on July 22nd, 2021


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July 21, 2021 at 4:56pm
July 21, 2021 at 4:56pm
#1014082
"1 Who hath believed our report?
and to whom is the arm of the LORD revealed?

2 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.

3 He is despised and rejected of men;
a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief:
and we hid as it were our faces from him;
he was despised, and we esteemed him not.

4 Surely he hath borne our griefs,
and carried our sorrows:
yet we did esteem him stricken,
smitten of God, and afflicted.

5 But he was wounded for our transgressions,
he was bruised for our iniquities:
the chastisement of our peace was upon him;
and with his stripes we are healed.

6 All we like sheep have gone astray;
we have turned every one to his own way;
and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.
"
(Isaiah 53:1-6, KJV)


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


"O, who believes the words we say?
To whom is God's Own Arm revealed?
This tender plant doth grow alway,
a root from a dry ground all to heal.

"He hath no form, nor comeliness,
and when we see Him beauty's vain.
We can't desire Him, nor yet bless.
He looks so average and so plain.

"He is despised, of men debased,
a man of sorrows, knowing grief.
We hid our eyes from His bruised Face.
He was despised, without relief.

"For surely He hath borne our pains.
Our overmuch sorrows He did bear,
and yet we thought His beatings rained
as hurt by God, afflicted with care.

"How wounded was He for our own wrongs!
They beat Him sore for our deep sins.
The chastisement of our peace, a song,
and with His stripes, our healing wins.

"All we like sheep have gone astray.
We live our life to have a ball.
We've turned each one to his own way.
God weighed on Him the sins of all."

The life of Christ is fully seen
by those, who have the gift of sight.
Isaiah 53 doth glean
among the sheaves of Jesus' might.

For all who see Messiah here
are born of Christ forevermore.
For lasting love is ever clear
to those, who walk through Him, the Door.
(I John 5:1, KJV)


by Jay O’Toole
on July 21st, 2021


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July 20, 2021 at 12:35pm
July 20, 2021 at 12:35pm
#1013992
Prompt:

Tell about a time you felt “all-in” for God.


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


To talk about being "'all-in' for God," it would be good to contemplate the various meanings of the expression, "all-in." Let's consider the following from Merriam-Webster.

"\ ˌȯl-ˈin \
Definition of all-in (Entry 1 of 2)
1chiefly British : ALL-INCLUSIVE
2chiefly British : being almost without restrictions

Definition of all in (Entry 2 of 2)
1: TIRED, EXHAUSTED
"Atticus said as tactfully as he could that he just didn't think he could stand a pageant tonight, he was all in."
— Harper Lee

"Inside, the invalid had gone to bed; her mother said, "She was all in," and expressed pity for her, for the first time."
— Edna O'Brien

2: fully committed to or involved in something
"The Diamondbacks are all-in for this year. It's why they brought in J. D. Martinez at the trade deadline. They have a healthy mix of young and veteran players, and they're looking to make a run this October."
— Kevin Skiver

—often used in the phrase go all in
"With my bonus in tow, I got the far-fetched idea I didn't feel like working that type of pace anymore. So I went all in on real estate on my own."
— Philip Michael

NOTE: In poker, to go all in is to bet everything on a hand.

"The best my opponent could have at this point was a 5-high straight, so I went all in—my full $220,000 was riding on this hand. The last card was a Jack—and I was out."
— John Rochowski"
https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/all-in

Therefore, "all-in" can mean, "ALL-INCLUSIVE," "TIRED, EXHAUSTED," and "fully committed to or involved in something." Knowing you, Marvilla, as I have come to know you over the past year, I feel certain, that you have intended the last of the three meanings, which would have the prompt to read something like, "Tell about a time you felt 'fully committed' to God.". Yet, in being fully committed to God, there will be times in which the other two meanings will be present in the life of the Christian as well.

When we are fully committed to God, that will include all of our lives.
When we are fully committed to God, we will experience times of being tired and exhausted.

There was a joke with which I was very familiar when I was a youth. It illustrated the second meaning and went something like this.

"A hunter stepped into a clearing, startling a black bear and himself. Forgetting all of his training, which included standing tall with arms splayed wide or playing dead, he ran full-out at a sprint towards his cabin, which was about a quarter of a mile away. When he reached the cabin the bear was on his heels. He furtively looked for his keys, but couldn't find them. Then, his heart sunk, he had left his keys in his backpack, and apparently, his buddy had locked the door when he went fishing.

"How did the hunter keep from being destroyed by the bear in such a bleak scenario? He kept running around and around the cabin until he was all-in." Double meaning. Great joke.

Now, back to Marvilla's original prompt. "Tell about a time, that you felt 'fully committed' to God." Honestly, I can't remember a time when I didn't want to be fully committed to the Lord. That, too, is the crux of the issue. It doesn't feel like I've ever been fully committed to the Lord because there always seems to be more to give to Him.

As someone, who is prone to be tempted toward perfectionism, I always see my sins and my shortcomings. As silly as it may seem, I am more prone to give others the benefit of the doubt than I am to give to myself.

Bottom Line: There have been times when I have been self-forgetful in the midst of great emotional, physical, and spiritual needs. I believe it is when I see others more than I see myself, that I am the most fully committed to the Lord because He gives Himself for the benefit of others. When I give myself for the benefit of others, I am the most like Christ.


by Jay O’Toole
on July 20th, 2021


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July 19, 2021 at 12:23pm
July 19, 2021 at 12:23pm
#1013936
Prompt:

If you could hang out with Jesus in any place in the world,
where would you pick? What would you do?
Would you have a conversation? What would you talk about?


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


To spend some time with Christ Alone,
a gift I struggle yet to know.
O, what's the color? What's the tone
of life in Christ to daily grow?

Convinced I am, that we could dwell
in days of Christmas 'round the earth.
I'd ask His thoughts, I'm sure he'd tell
the reason for His stable birth.

In Santa's Village, the Artic starts.
Rovaniemi, Finland fair.
We'd meet an actor, who imparts
the hope of Christ without a care.

I'd seek to know the truth of this,
the God of Glory left it all
to make a way to give me Bliss,
to lift me, that I'd never fall.

"Dear Lord, I often see this truth,
that I am nothing, You are all.
You've walked in me from my own youth
when You first prompted me to call.

"Why do You think of lowly ones,
who live on smallish earthly paths?
How do you make us worms Your sons?
What treasures won by covered past!"

He came to Earth because He loves
the ones He made to bring them Home.
He left His Home so blest Above
to walk with us, to leave His tome.


by Jay O’Toole
on July 19th, 2021


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July 16, 2021 at 5:06pm
July 16, 2021 at 5:06pm
#1013765
"The presence of Eternity in Time
is more than most humans will ever comprehend.
The impact of Time upon Eternity
will forever be indelible.
Of this, I humbly and firmly believe."
(Jay O'Toole)


by Jay O’Toole
on July 16th, 2021


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July 15, 2021 at 11:44pm
July 15, 2021 at 11:44pm
#1013712
Hope is high above the Earth
when the days seem long.
Christ has bought me blest new birth,
has given me a song.

Hope is high beyond this day.
In toil, we need His rest.
Trust His Heart, His Will obey,
and evermore we're blest.

Hope is high. This life is short,
and one day soon He'll come
to take us Home, His Heav'nly court,
where evermore it's plumb.


by Jay O’Toole
on July 15th, 2021


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July 14, 2021 at 7:36pm
July 14, 2021 at 7:36pm
#1013654
"To cry because we do not love the Lord Jesus enough
shows just how much we do love Him.
"


by Jay O’Toole
on July 14th, 2021


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July 13, 2021 at 7:31pm
July 13, 2021 at 7:31pm
#1013588
Prompt:
"What is one goal you have to strengthen your relationship with God?"


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


"4 Blessed are they that dwell in thy house:
they will be still praising thee. Selah.

5 Blessed is the man whose strength is in thee;
in whose heart are the ways of them.

6 Who passing through the valley of Baca make it a well;
the rain also filleth the pools.

7 They go from strength to strength,
every one of them in Zion appeareth before God.
"
(Psalm 84:4-7, KJV)


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


The Lord being my Helper I plan to rest in Him more and more each day. The unsettled feeling, that I have felt throughout much of my life, has only increased in the past 15 months or so. I've always known the world system hates Jesus, and by extension me as His representative.

Maybe I am a Pollyanna, who thinks that everything will always work out alright, but in my defense, the Bible does specifically teach, that Jesus will, indeed, return to restore obvious order to the world in a day of His own choosing. He will not consult me, regarding the appropriate day, nor will He ask for my assistance on any level because He created me, and I have absolutely nothing to offer Him, that He didn't give me in the first place.

The point is when He shows up all mouths will be closed, all knees will be bowed, and all faces will be in the dust before this Absolute LORD and Ruler of All Glory, which incorporates all of Time and all of Eternity.

For now, humans rule to the extent of the leash, that each has been ordained, and given by God Himself.

"5 Let this mind be in you,
which was also in Christ Jesus:

6 Who, being in the form of God,
thought it not robbery to be equal with God:

7 But made himself of no reputation,
and took upon him the form of a servant,
and was made in the likeness of men:

8 And being found in fashion as a man,
he humbled himself,
and became obedient unto death,
even the death of the cross.

9 Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him,
and given him a name which is above every name:

10 That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow,
of things in heaven,
and things in earth,
and things under the earth;

11 And that every tongue should confess
that Jesus Christ is Lord,
to the glory of God the Father.
"
(Philippians 2:5-11, KJV)


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


I need to rest in Jesus.
The more I rest in Jesus the more I will show Him to be the Lord of my life.


The Lord has the right to do with His world, that which He chooses. The time appears to be upon us for His threshing of this world as the days of the Gentiles draw to a close.

Will Jesus show up in the next few days?
I doubt that seriously.

Will Jesus show up in the next few months?
Again, I doubt that seriously.

Will Jesus show up in the next few years?
That depends on how the word, "few" is defined.
Few as in 3-5 years? Probably not.
Few as in 7-10 years? That is at least possible.


How do I know these things? I've heard people talking about the end of the world coming soon. That is not possible. From Biblical eschatology, I am convinced, that there are periods of 7 years, and 1000 years, which have yet to be accounted for.

There are seven years of increasing levels of Tribulation, that appear to be brewing more and more steadily of late. (Define the phrase, "of late" as including the past hundred years, but going off the chart, during the past 20 years, and going vertical within the past 5-10 years, exponentially so in the past 15 months.) Though COVID-19 was a real test, it should not be considered a real tribulation on the level of those, which are to come. It is my personal feeling, that COVID-19 will be a walk-in-the-park compared to the real Tribulation, that must come before King Jesus returns to set up His Millennial Reign on Earth.

This is where I must rest.


Skeptical wags will laugh at me for my beliefs about the Truth of The Holy Bible, but nothing the humans are currently doing does anything but reinforce in my mind the Truth of Scripture.

The humans in power seem to be continuing to do everything they can to harm individual countries with the intention of setting up their One World Government and Kingdom. The Bible predicted all of this. (The Book of The Revelation, especially chapter #13.)

In the current climate of the world,
I will have no rest at all,
unless and until I rest in The Lord Jesus Himself.

Let's rest in Him.
He will "never leave us nor forsake us."
(Hebrews 13:5c, KJV)


by Jay O’Toole
on July 13th, 2021


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July 12, 2021 at 10:28am
July 12, 2021 at 10:28am
#1013510
"24 Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them,
I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock:

25 And the rain descended, and the floods came,
and the winds blew, and beat upon that house;
and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock.

26 And every one that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not,
shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand:

27 And the rain descended, and the floods came,
and the winds blew, and beat upon that house;
and it fell: and great was the fall of it.
"
(Matthew 7:24-27, KJV)


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


"And thy heaven that is over thy head shall be brass,
and the earth that is under thee shall be iron.
"
(Deuteronomy 28:23, KJV)


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


"35 When heaven is shut up, and there is no rain,
because they have sinned against thee;
if they pray toward this place, and confess thy name,
and turn from their sin, when thou afflictest them:

36 Then hear thou in heaven,
and forgive the sin of thy servants,
and of thy people Israel,
that thou teach them the good way wherein they should walk,
and give rain upon thy land,
which thou hast given to thy people for an inheritance.
"
(I Kings 8:35-36, KJV)


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


What is the purpose of a rock wall?
Rock walls are established for security.
Rock walls keep some safe on the inside
by keeping those, who are not safe on the outside.

Rock (or concrete) foundations keep houses from falling
under the duress of adverse circumstances.
The absence of rock (or concrete) foundations
create a vulnerability in the walls and the roof of a structure.

The illustration of Matthew 7:24-27 was used by the Lord Jesus
to show the way people live their lives.
An individual, who is wise trusts Jesus Christ as his or her personal Savior.
When the waters of Final Judgment lash their fury
into the house of that individual's life,
then that person will be forever secure
because they rest their hopes on Jesus Alone.

The individual, who rejects the Lord Jesus as his or her Savior,
has instead built the house of life upon the shifting sands of human opinion.
When the waters of Final Judgment lash their fury
upon the house of that individual's life,
then that person will forever rue the day, that he or she was born.
He or she has no Savior upon Whom to rest life's deepest hopes.

I Kings8:35-36 gives us hope, that those, who live life without the Savior for some duration of time, do not need to be forever lost. Let us follow the transformation in poetic form.

When heaven shuts its hopeful gift,
no rain will drop upon your tree.
Because we sinned He ne'er can lift
our head depressed, nor shackles free.

But if we pray t'wards this blest Place,
confess His Name, and seek His Home,
we turn from sin, and seek His Grace
because afflictions cause us groan,

then wondrous Hope our hearts will know
as He forgives His servants' shame.
His chosen folk will live and grow,
relying on His Blessed Name.

His people, Israel, will thrive
as You direct their steps to walk,
and give them rain of Your reprieve,
and open mouths to freely talk.

While staring at this stony wall,
I learn of Wisdom's hope and pain.
To bow before God's latest call
I shun the loss, receive His gain.


by Jay O’Toole
on July 12th, 2021


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July 9, 2021 at 4:44pm
July 9, 2021 at 4:44pm
#1013359
"27 That they should seek the Lord,
if haply they might feel after him, and find him,
though he be not far from every one of us:

28 For in him we live, and move, and have our being;
as certain also of your own poets have said,
For we are also his offspring.

29 Forasmuch then as we are the offspring of God,
we ought not to think that the Godhead
is like unto gold, or silver, or stone,
graven by art and man's device.

30 And the times of this ignorance God winked at;
but now commandeth all men every where to repent:
"
(Acts 17:27-30, KJV)


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


That we and they should seek the Lord,
quite simple it must be,
for we could read within His Word,
His wonders, full and free.

"Let's reach and feel to find Him now.
He can't be far away."
But searching thus forgets to bow,
and misses what He'd say.

"He is not far from each of us,"
but we don't know He's there
because we talk and full discuss
the things 'bout which we care.

We live in Him and move each day.
Our being is quite full
for certain of our poets say,
"We're white. Each child as wool."

So, if we are a child of God
demean we not His Head.
No gold, nor silver, stone applaud
as risen from the dead
for shiny things make eyes feel awed,
but not in God's Word read.

Our ignorance God oft dismissed
when childlike souls we were,
but now commandeth Truth be kissed,
repentance in us stir.

The Shadowlands be few days more
as Lewis once he quoth.
While here, we others must implore,
and sin of late we loath.

Dear Lord, please help my swerving heart
obey Your words oft writ,
that dreams of night within me start,
salvations more to get.

The darkness shadows o'er the line,
Horizon's fewer days.
Please, open eyes, no more they blind,
that You, our hearts obey.

The Day You stand, and say, "Enough,"
we see Your full control
is ever, and no worldly bluff
can stop you from Your Goal.


by Jay O’Toole
on July 9th, 2021


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July 8, 2021 at 5:45pm
July 8, 2021 at 5:45pm
#1013310
"27 That they should seek the Lord,
if haply they might feel after him, and find him,
though he be not far from every one of us:

28 For in him we live, and move,
and have our being;
"
(Acts 17:27-28a, KJV)


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


Please, forgive the apparent double-speak, but it is only hard to know God when we try to know God. Some individuals try to know God for years before they begin to know God at a moment they weren't expecting.

Every religion in the world is just a religion.
No religion can help us to know God.

Food feeds the body's needs, but food can't help us to know God.
Coffee is an amazing fulfillment of our thirst, but coffee can't help us to know God.

Science is incapable of helping us to know God.
Experiences of the flesh can't help us to know God.

Knowing God is much like interacting with a butterfly. The more we chase the butterfly the more it eludes us, but when we are still, resting near the butterfly's favorite flower (or in the case of God, reading His Word, and resting therein,) the butterfly and the Lord come, presenting themselves to the human in the time of their own choosing.

The illustration of the butterfly can break down on some level because it is a physical, and temporal example used to try to explain the supernatural and eternal. However, one thing is for sure. Salvation cannot be chosen by any human. We don't get to know God when we choose to do so. Knowing God and receiving His Gift of Salvation occurs when He chooses to reveal Himself to a human being. That often happens when the human is broken and empty of self.

The broken, empty human heart can receive the eternal transformation, that comes from God Alone.

"8 For by grace are ye saved through faith;
and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:

9 Not of works, lest any man should boast.

10 For we are his workmanship,
created in Christ Jesus unto good works,
which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.
"
(Ephesians 2:8-10, KJV)


by Jay O’Toole
on July 8th, 2021


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July 7, 2021 at 1:20pm
July 7, 2021 at 1:20pm
#1013246
"The confession, 'I don't know,' begins the journey of being wisely taught. Being led to The One, Who truly knows, is the greatest Gift of this life. Confessing my ignorance and need to The One, Who is Truth, brings me into Wisdom's corner, where I can begin to really live." (JOT)

(John 14:6)


by Jay O’Toole
on July 7th, 2021


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July 6, 2021 at 5:18pm
July 6, 2021 at 5:18pm
#1013196
"1Now the serpent was more subtil than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden?

2And the woman said unto the serpent, We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden:

3But of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die.

4And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die:
"
(Genesis 3:1-4, KJV)

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


Kudzu is invasive, pervasive, and in many parts of The South so ubiquitous as to be part of the persona of the region. "Kudzu was introduced from Japan to the United States at the Philadelphia Centennial Exposition in 1876 as an ornamental and a forage crop plant. The Civilian Conservation Corps and southern farmers planted kudzu to reduce soil erosion." https://www.fws.gov/invasives/volunteerstrainingmodule/nwrsystem/kudzuorigin.htm...

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


Sin is the direct, willful disobedience to God and His command not to eat forbidden fruit. Our first parents did this, knowingly, breaking the perfection of God's original Creation. We continue to sin because Sin became part of our very DNA.

It seems to me, that Sin was introduced into the human race much the same way, that kudzu was introduced to The South region of the United States of America.

Kudzu didn't look all that harmful. It didn't really look harmful at all. When it was presented, kudzu appeared to be a nice little Oriental ivy vine, which could be used to conserve soil in The South. This appears to have been the logic since it was vigorously planted in the 1930s around the time of the infamous Dust Bowl era.

Kudzu remains the same as a very clingy love interest. Being very helpful, and "loving" in a time of great need, both the vine and the clingy human set down roots, whereby they are hard to remove from one's life after the need has been remedied.

The Enemy of our soul, Satan, came to our first mother, Eve, in the form of a serpent before humans were naturally afraid of snakes. After all, during the perfect days of The Creation Adam had spent time with all of the animals, naming them, and was apparently able to communicate with them on some or on many levels, like the community of Narnia in the books by C. S. Lewis.

Satan as a serpent was "subtle," a smooth operator, suave, and debonair, making his presentation in a way as to be easily received, and much like kudzu, he didn't seem to present a threat or danger. "Surely you won't really die," he planted the thought. Then, as the great salesman, that he was, (and remains until today,) he went silent, allowing Eve to sell her own self on the idea.

"And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat." (Genesis 3:6, KJV) This verse is easily connected with I John 2:16, KJV, "For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world."

I could preach an entire sermon on the connection between Genesis 3:6 and I John 2:16, but the main point for this discussion is to recognize, that Sin came into the world because it was presented as an ornamental plant, which looked really good, and which would meet a need, that they didn't even know they had.

The backstory is simply this. Before Sin was sold to humans in such a masterfully subtle way, which we received in veritable ignorance and willful disobedience, the first man and woman, Adam and Eve, had a good thing going with the Lord of all Glory. They walked and talked with God. They didn't need to figure anything out for themselves because He provided everything they needed through their trust relationship with Him.

Before Sin, God was TRUTH to the humans, and this brought them great benefit with abundant life, without grief of any sort. After Sin, God remains TRUTH but humans do not benefit from a relationship with Him, until each one comes, individually, to Him in childlike faith.

The Kudzu of Sin wraps its invasive tentacles around the human heart, until The Lord Jesus reveals to a human heart the desperate situation, that he or she is in, opening their eyes to John 14:6 in which an individual heart has the kudzu of sin removed, restoring Jesus, and Jesus Alone, as TRUTH to that human heart.

"Jesus saith unto him,
I am the way,
the truth,
and the life:

no man cometh unto the Father,
but by me.
"
(John 14:6, KJV)


I grew up seeing kudzu all over The South, especially in ditches and embankments along the roadways, that we traveled. Every summer we would make the long trip from the Florida Panhandle to north Mississippi for Camp Meeting. All along the way, especially as we got close to the campgrounds, The Lord was preaching to me, even before the first word came out of the first preacher's mouth. "Kudzu will take over any land, that you plant it on. Sin will do the same thing." It has taken me all this time to clearly understand the message, not in those exact words, but definitely in the precise meaning.

The years of youth were days in which the vine of kudzu seemed to be a normal part of the landscape, and in which Sin didn't seem all that bad. It was just an inconvenience, actually. Looking back over the years of my life, thus far, I can see how devastating Sin has been in my life and in the lives of those around me. Both of my parents have died because of Sin. Friends have experienced divorce because of Sin. Some people, who knew me as a teenager, haven't spoken to me since then, due to thoughtless acts and words because of Sin.

Now compound my experiences by the myriad people on Earth, who all have the sinful vines of kudzu, choking out their hearts, and it is easy to see, that our world is in a dreadful state, which CANNOT be remedied, until Jesus, the Christ, comes back to put everything right. (John 14:6)

Is there Hope, even for today? Absolutely. Come to Jesus of Nazareth. Bow before Him. Confess your inability to do anything with your life, agreeing and speaking outloud, that He Alone is The Messiah. (I John 5:1) Ask Him to forgive your Sin. He will remove that kudzu, giving you a new heart, and you will be a new creation in Christ Jesus.

"Therefore if any man be in Christ,
he is a new creature: old things are passed away;
behold, all things are become new.
"
(II Corinthians 5:17, KJV)


"26 A new heart also will I give you,
and a new spirit will I put within you:
and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh,
and I will give you an heart of flesh.

"27 And I will put my spirit within you,
and cause you to walk in my statutes,
and ye shall keep my judgments, and do them."

(Ezekiel 36:26-27, KJV)


by Jay O’Toole
on July 6th, 2021


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July 5, 2021 at 3:04pm
July 5, 2021 at 3:04pm
#1013109
"She openeth her mouth with wisdom;
and in her tongue is the law of kindness.
"
(Proverbs 31:26, KJV)


"Silence is golden." The first example of this phrase in English was written by the poet, Thomas Carlyle in 1831. https://www.phrases.org.uk/meanings/silence-is-golden.html

I am most interested in Carlyle's ending to this long definition. "As the Swiss Inscription says: Sprecfien ist silbern, Schweigen ist golden (Speech is silvern, Silence is golden); or as I might rather express it: Speech is of Time, Silence is of Eternity."

How many times have I had to apologize for an ill-timed word, a misplaced word, or a spoken word when silence would have expressed wisdom better than any word ever could?

When I was a youth, it was chalked up to being the foolishness or inexperience of the teenaged mind, but as a man, who has entered the doorway of the senior years, speaking words, that default on my investment of thought or hope of good conversation feels bad and is more grievous than ever before.

I'm finding, that I don't offer input to conversations as much as I used to offer, especially when there are many young people present. Why? It seems that the tables have turned in Society these days.

When I was a youth, I can still remember the reverence and respect senior citizens were given because of their many years, and the wisdom, that was expected to be gained throughout those years. Today, however, the newest ideas and the latest thoughts are all greatly valued, which means the young have "a leg up" in this venue.

May the Lord reestablish the days of Proverbs 16:31, KJV, "The hoary head is a crown of glory, if it be found in the way of righteousness."

The first dictionary definition of "hoary" is "gray or white with or as if with age."

May the Lord restore the mantle of wisdom to the aged of our world, that their silences may be reverenced, and excavated for irreplaceable truth.

Blessings, All.


by Jay O’Toole
on July 5th, 2021


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