NABOTH’S VINEYARD

All through 2020 we have waited for things to go back to normal; to return to the way things used to be. But, more and more, I am realizing that things are never going to go back to the way they were. It’s a changed world, and it’s not just COVID. We are now living in a world where powerful politicians and big tech shut down our first amendment rights to freedom of worship and free speech; where powerful politicians attack our president and go after him with outright lies and disinformation, trying to silence both him and his supporters, blaming him for the violence that they encouraged, and promoted until it turned back upon themselves. We have never seen such hatred, such blatant opposition to the Constitution of the United States or disrespect for the office of president; and I don’t believe it will stop anytime soon. There is a ferocious battle going on, a war between good and evil, light and dark, life and death; with evil forces manifesting through politics, media, big tech, entertainment, and even through some Christians.

That brings me to Naboth’s vineyard. The story of Naboth is found in I Kings 21. It tells the story of a man that had a vineyard that King Ahab wanted, but the man refused to sell to him. I Kings 21:3 “But Naboth replied, “The Lord forbid that I should give you the inheritance of my fathers.” This is where we are standing today. Certain politicians and other….so-called….celebrities want us to give up our constitutional rights. They want to take away our second amendment right to bear arms. They are moving towards eliminating free speech all across our nation……if you disagree with them they will just shut you up. They abuse their power and violate the public’s trust. They are, in effect, telling us that we should ‘sit down’, ‘shut up’, and quietly hand over the inheritance we have received from our founding fathers. Give up our inheritance and let them tell us what is good for us.

I Kings 21:4-7 When Naboth refused King Ahab’s efforts to buy his vineyard, King Ahab went home and pouted. His wife, Jezebel, asked him what was wrong and when he told her, she told him she would get the vineyard for him. And she did.

I Kings 21:8-14 Jezebel concocted a plan to have Naboth taken out of King Ahab’s way by writing a letter to the city council instructing them to call a meeting, put Naboth in a place of prominence, and false witnesses would stand up and tell lies about him saying that he had cursed both God and the king. She told the council they were then to take Naboth outside the city and stone him to death.

This past year we have been bombarded with lies, misinformation, disinformation and false narratives against President Trump. And now, those lies and false narratives have been expanded to include his followers. Nearly a million people gathered in support of President Trump and for prayer on January 6, 2021 in Washington D.C. A few dozen stormed the capital building, did some damage, and people were injured and some died. The million who were in Washington D.C. were blamed for this act of violence, even though most of them didn’t even know it was happening and didn’t do any damage to anyone or anything. Even though thousands gathered in nearly every Trump rally all through last year, and there were a number of very large Christian gatherings in our capital city over the past few months with no reports of violence from them, these millions are now being called ‘dangerous’ and ‘violent’. But the Trump haters are now blaming their own violence and calls for violence in our nation on President Trump and his 75 million supporters. Our inheritance is being torn from us.

I Kings 21:15-22 When King Ahab heard that Naboth was dead he took possession of the vineyard he wanted; but God was watching and He sent his prophet, Elijah, to pronounce judgement against King Ahab. I Kings 21:20-21 “Ahab said to Elijah, “So you have found me, my enemy!” “I have found you,” he answered, “because you have sold yourself to evil in the eyes of the Lord, I am going to bring disaster on you.” Gal. 6:7 “Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows.” God knows who is good and who is evil. He knows the heart of us all. These attacks aren’t a mystery to Him. Neither is He sitting idly by and watching our destruction. We have a covenant with Him and He is moving on our behalf in ways that we don’t truly comprehend. We think it should be one way, but it is happening in ways we aren’t recognizing.

In April of 1789, George Washington said in his first inaugural address: “…It would be peculiarly improper to omit in this first official Act, my fervent supplications to that Almighty Being who rules over the universe, who presides in the Councils of nations, and whose providential aids can supply every human defect, that his benediction may consecrate to liberties and happiness of the people of the United States…No People can be bound to acknowledge and adore the invisible hand, which conducts the Affairs of men more than the People of the United States. Every step, by which they have advanced to the character of an independent nation, seems to have been distinguished by some token of providential agency…” God was in the establishing of this nation, He has been in the preservation of this nation, and He is still moving and shaking in the United States of America. He is shaking that swamp, revealing what needs to be exposed and reforming His church in America. It is never pretty when things get shaken, when deep cleaning is happening. And just because it doesn’t look like we think it should doesn’t mean that God isn’t on the job.

I Kings 21:23-28 God told King Ahab that his family would be eaten by dogs and birds; that Jezebel would be devoured by dogs by the wall of Jezreel because of the evil he had done. King Ahab was horrified by this judgement and he repented and because of his repentance God spared him. However, Jezebel fell from a window and was eaten by dogs. God spared Ahab because he repented of all the evil he had done; but his family still suffered because of his actions. I Kings 21:29 “Have you noticed how Ahab has humbled himself before me? Because he has humbled himself, I will not bring this disaster in his day, but I will bring it on his house in the days of his son.”

This last verse says two things. 1: God’s judgements can be changed when we repent and turn from our wicked ways, humble ourselves and seek His face. (II Chron. 7:14). He is looking for a people with pure hearts and clean hands. He is coming for a bride without stain or wrinkle and as the Body of Christ, we must humble ourselves before Him and determine to walk in His ways. 2: The second thing is that what we do affects and impacts our children, their children, and their children’s children. We can either pass on a legacy of godliness, or disobedience. We can either pass on a nation that is free and strong; or hand down a broken nation where freedom has vanished and weakness reigns. It’s up to us.

We must stand. Stand on the Word of the Lord. Listen to God’s proven prophets and stand firm in faith in all they tell us. No matter what it looks like….God is faithful and true. He never lies. He is the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow. We may be deceived by what we see with our natural eyes. We can’t see what God is truly doing with our natural senses; only by getting before Him can we know what is to come and we must never try to interpret His ways by our own natural understanding. Wait on the Lord and don’t let your foot be moved from the Rock of Christ Jesus. He hears us. He has a plan. It’s not over and He is already victorious. Trust Him.

[All scripture verses are taken from the New International Version of the Bible]

COUNTING THE COST

I have been sitting here thinking about the events of this past week and feeling discouraged and disappointed. Don’t get me wrong; I have not lost faith or hope, but I never thought I would see the level of lies, misinformation, propaganda, slander, libel and just plain ignorance bouncing around the air waves, through the news media, internet and social media. I, like so many of us, have grown complacent, lazy and spoiled. It’s all too easy to voice an opinion on social media without ever having to stir from my comfortable chair in my cozy, safe space in my comfortable home. It requires little or no effort and certainly doesn’t require any change in my comfortable life.

BE THE LIGHT IN YOUR WORLD.

All that changed when I was faced with the sudden, unexpected and disturbing reality that those who control our media, air waves, internet and social media are now removing conservative voices from access to an audience and trying to silence President Trump and his supporters. When I think about the threats, nasty statements from celebrities and the verbal assaults on our president and all those who support him; when I see those who are not only allowed but completely tolerated to voice violent and hateful thoughts and ideas through social media and on news media sources, I find it hypocritical and tyrannical for these sources to silence President Trump, his supporters and conservative voices. It is a total violation of our first amendment rights to free speech and is despicable….to say the least.

Therefore, I have cancelled Amazon. This was not an easy decision for me as I have been doing most of my shopping, all my video viewing and reading books through them; but if I believe that this is an attack on my personal freedoms and on the freedoms of my country and my countrymen, and a disrespectful, treasonous action against the president of this nation, then I feel I need to be prepared to “put my money where my mouth is”…..so to speak.

Our freedom came at great cost to those who established it and fought for it. I sometimes think that we, as a people, think our freedoms came easily from a simple document signed by a few men who just wanted to see change. I’m not sure that we know, understand or fully comprehend the cost paid by those brave men. It wasn’t easy…..not for them or for their family and friends.

Of the 56 who signed the Declaration of Independence, five were captured, tortured and executed by the British, twelve had their homes ransacked and burned. In addition, nine of them died during the revolutionary war, and some of them lost sons during that terrible war. They lost businesses, property, homes and family. They were driven from the homes and families, died in poverty and lived in the wilderness in less than comfortable circumstances. They paid the price for their stand with….not just their physical deaths, but with everything they owned or held dear.

If we are to keep those freedoms, does it not behoove us to shift, at least a little, from our comfort zones? If we don’t stand up now we might, conceivably, find ourselves with no freedoms at all. We have heard from God’s prophets that God is moving to save America. Prophets from all over the world are hearing from God that this is a spiritual battle: light against darkness, death against life. God has spoken again and again through His prophets all through last year and right up to the beginning of this year. (II Chron. 20:20 “…….Have faith in the Lord your God, and you will be upheld; have faith in His prophets and you will be successful.”) But that doesn’t mean we can sit back and continue to passively quote scripture or remain complacent. This is a war; we are battling against the forces of darkness operating through the news media, government, and social media. We aren’t fighting with guns, swords, bombs or other weapons of war. Our warfare is not carnal.

II Cor. 10:4 “The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds.” [New International Version]

We don’t need to be violent to fight this war. God is fighting it for us; but we do have a part in it….and that is to stay in intercessor prayer and to stand in the face of the persecution and attacks on our constitutional freedoms. It might come to physical battle, but I hope not; and I sincerely believe it won’t. We need to come into agreement with what God says through His prophets and His Word through prayer and we need to be prepared to give up some of our luxuries. As far as Amazon, social media and others are concerned, the best way to protest against their shutting down sites and trying to limit free speech, and our best strategy, is in the economic arena. Stop buying through them, and make them see that their customers are not going to play dead or take this assault on our first amendment rights quietly. We have a right to be heard. President Trump has a right to speak his thoughts. We don’t agree with the liberal media, the radical left or social media attempts to silence us; and we are not going to go away.

Rom. 8:31 “What, then, shall we say in response to this? If God is for us, who can be against us?”

We have a destiny to fulfill and God has said He will see us do exactly that. This battle isn’t just about the United States of America. It is about the world. God is cleaning house. He is coming back for a church “without stain or wrinkle” [Eph. 5:27]. Revival, reformation, restoration; the greatest harvest in history, these are the days. And America has a huge role in that. So….trust in God. Pray, intercede, stand firm; and don’t be passive. Stand up, let your voice be heard, be proactive in declaring God’s plan and His will. Don’t resort to violence, that is not right. When you do battle, do it in the spirit…on your knees with your face toward God. And don’t give up. It’s not over yet. Victory belongs to the Lord!

THE UNWANTED GIFT

I just read a story by a wise woman that reminded me of a story that happened to my mother long, long ago. My cat, who was living at my parent’s home, brought a mouse into my mother’s house and dropped the mouse on my mother’s foot. She began to scream and jump and yelled at the cat to “get that thing out of here!” The cat promptly retrieved the mouse and went back outside. My mother told me she felt bad because she was certain the cat had intended the mouse as a gift, but it was definitely one my mother didn’t want.

Here we are, nearing the end of the year 2020, and I don’t think there are very many of us who would say this has been a good year. Most people I know say they are glad to see the end of this year and are hoping 2021 is better. In my neck of the woods, we have dealt with COVID, fires – literally hundreds of them all across our state, ashes falling all around us, covering everything, cars, plants, sidewalks, making it hard to breathe; social distancing, wearing masks, watching small businesses [and even some bigger ones] close, restaurants struggling to stay open, people dying alone because loved ones weren’t allowed to visit them, and a winter that is, so far, warmer and drier than normal; and don’t even start talking about the election; plus all the personal crises we have each had to deal with. It has been that unwanted mouse dropped on our foot and we don’t want it! We want it all to go away!

But has it truly been the nightmare year from hell? Or has it been the wake up call we none of us were ready for? My mother didn’t hate the cat because of the mouse. Instead, she had compassion on the cat because her heart was soft towards the cat. So, let’s examine the unwanted year and all its chaos and devastation….and there is no doubt that it has been chaotic and devastating.

Christian America has grown soft, complacent, and apathetic. Over the past fifty years, or so, we have allowed our roots to be plucked up one piece at a time. We have watched our principles be replaced by ungodly ideas. We have allowed law and order to be undermined and slowly be eroded. Our constitution has even slowly been whittled away at as ungodly forces have worked to undo all the laws and principles our founding forefathers worked to put in place….laws and principles founded upon the Word of God. And we have stood by and allowed it to happen. We retreated into our comfortable church world and used the excuse that we weren’t really a part of this world. Don’t get involved, we said. Stay out of politics. Stay out of the limelight. Let the world take care of itself. But….that’s not what Jesus told the Church to do.

Mark 16:15 “And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.”

Matt. 28:19 “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost.”

The first word there is “go”. Jesus said go….not stay, sit in your comfortable pew; but go. And that doesn’t mean we are all meant to be missionaries in the sense we have always thought it meant. Sister So And So is going to Africa to preach the Gospel to the Africans….no! We are missionaries in our daily lives; whether that is in our places of employment, in our homes, our neighborhoods, our communities….or perhaps in positions of leadership in our communities, our counties, our states, our nations. Maybe your place of missionary work is in the media. We certainly need God’s people in the news media, being truthful, honest and presenting honest and truthful reports to those waiting to hear what is truly going on in the world; not the propaganda we had been subjected to in recent decades.

Then Jesus said “into all the world”, not into your homes or your churches….the world. “Go into all the world”. It’s a commandment. Jesus didn’t come just for those who knew Him while he lived on the earth. He came for all mankind. America was established as an outreach to the lost. In 1607 Robert Hunt brought 700 colonists to this land to preach the gospel to the natives. He consecrated the entire continent to the Glory of God. In 1630 John Winthrop called his colony of Boston, and all who would follow, “a city on a hill”. We were to be a light unto all the world for the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Our founding forefathers sought God’s guidance in building this nation and gave us religious freedom so we could, not only worship God freely, but take His Word and Salvation into all the world. But by the 1990’s Christians from nations around the world were sending missionaries into America because they felt we had lost our purpose in Christ.

We have become an ungodly nation. False religions, witchcraft, lawliness, ungodliness….all are rampant in our nation today. Millions of babies are murdered through abortion every year in our land, and a great many of them fully formed, ready to be born. How many geniuses, scientists, artists, evangelists, musicians, great writers, statesmen and others who were intended to bless our country ended up in the trash cans of abortion centers? Foreign powers have found their way into our power structures and deadly inroads of socialism and communism are in place to take over our republic. All our freedoms stand on the edge of a precipice ready to topple. But that isn’t what God’s plan and purpose for us has been. He has a different path which He set us on four hundred years ago when He started bringing colonists across the sea to settle here.

Then came the ‘unwanted gift’; the mouse that was dropped on our feet……the year 2020! Like most of us I have done a lot of grumbling about this year; but then I began to see something unexpected. Do you really think God didn’t know 2020 was coming? That He wasn’t prepared for it? Wait…what? Haven’t we lost. Haven’t we suffered?

Romans 5:1-3 “Therefore being justified by faith we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ; by whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also; knowing that tribulation worketh patience; and patience, experience; and experience, hope: and hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given to us.”

You know, God created time…He doesn’t live within its confines, He is not bound by its limitations. He knows the beginning from the end. He knew what 2020 would be and He prepared a people for it that would ignite a new revival. God has got this….the whole year; and what has He done with it? Well…..how about an estimated 100,000 Christians gathering in Washington D.C. at the end of of October for two different prayer rallies. And since then, several prayer rallies and vigils with thousands of Christians meeting all across the country; Christians coming together to pray and repent before God….crossing denominational lines and joining their faith together to seek God and ask for His help and His blessings. This past summer there were worship meetings happening in the streets of cities all across our land, and on the beaches with people being baptized in the ocean. God’s people are rising up. The Great Awakening has begun and God is on the move. He has a plan and it will come to pass. Nothing can stop God; no power can stand against Him, and He has determined our fate. We will fulfill His plan for America.

Ps. 24:1 “The earth is the Lord’s, and the fulness thereof; the world, and they that dwell therein.

Ps. 30:1 I will extol thee, O Lord, for thou has lifted me up, and hast not made my foes to rejoice over me.”

Ps. 46:1-3 “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth should change, and though the mountains slip into the heart of the sea; though its waters roar and foam, though the mountains quake at its swelling pride.

No matter what this year brought your way know that God has it in His hand. You can trust Him for He loves you with an everlasting love (John 3:16).

DON’T GIVE UP

One of my pet peeves is not being able to finish something; even when I know my effort is wasted and the final result will not be in my favor. I just can’t seem to walk away until I have the reached the end. In high school I took a geometry class as a college prep course. I was terrible at geometry. Nothing about it made sense to me. I couldn’t seem to make the rules and formulas work for me, I didn’t understand them,…..but I couldn’t quit. I had to see it through to the end. My teacher finally told me he was going to pass me out of his class with a “D” because he didn’t want me back in his class the following year. I am definitely not a mathematician! Even when I get the right answer I can’t always show you how I got there! But I finished that class in spite of not being able to figure out the processes! The next year I switched over to a business major!

Quitting is not in my blood. I just can’t stand to fail and worse… I can’t stand to quit! If I get to the end and I failed at whatever I was doing, at least I could tell myself I went all the way to the end. So here I sit….the end of the year just a couple of weeks away and I am feeling like this was a year for the trash heap! While COVID has been awful, it has been even worse as a tool for some governors and government leaders to enforce restrictions that have almost destroyed many communities. It makes no sense to slit one’s own throat just to keep from getting a potentially deadly virus! Yet that is what has happened economically and socially….at least here in California. Our governor just keeps putting out all these restrictions and shutdowns while not abiding by any of them himself. Californians are rebelling and in some cases it hasn’t been good because of the increased exposure to and rise of COVID cases. The whole issue has been so mishandled that it is no longer possible to remain reasonable about it.

And then there is the election mess. It is hard for me to believe that anyone truly believes that this election hasn’t been raped and assaulted at an extreme level. No matter who the true winner is, we can’t let the theft and perversion of our election process go undealt with. And it is hard for me to believe that a man who stayed hidden during most of the campaign process and who, when he did emerge from his closet, couldn’t muster a crowd could then turn around and get millions of votes more than the candidate who still consistently draws crowds that number in the tens of thousands! Even Hillary got bigger and more enthusiastic crowds and she got a lot less voter numbers than the supposed votes for Biden. How is that possible? None of it makes sense. It’s like geometry….the formula that governs the process has failed and the result hasn’t been reached by any workable rule and doesn’t add up no matter how you approach it.

Now we stand on the brink of a presidency that might be occupied by someone who is there through an election that is so deformed that it is unlikely he will ever fulfill that office with any level of integrity or honor. I am thoroughly convinced that if it were possible for God to fail and Biden did step into the oval office as president, then the America that we have known for more than two hundred years will have disappeared from the face of the earth forever. If that happens there will never be another free election in this nation. There are other nations who are watching their own free elections disappear who are looking to us to give them hope of seeing that future turn around for them; they see the corruption in this election and hope we can win against that corruption. I have for decades watched as our Christian roots in America have been slowly eroded away, our freedoms removed one pebble at a time. I have known there were evil forces behind this dissolution of the America we know and love, and I guess I thought it was inevitable and wouldn’t happen during my lifetime. I was wrong.

Four hundred years ago our earliest settlers declared before God that their colonies were found on the Gospel of Christ Jesus and dedicated themselves and their prosperity to the furtherance of that gospel. They made covenants with God to follow after Him, to build a nation that would be a ‘city on a hill’, a light to all the world. Covenants are serious business to God. He doesn’t forget. Covenants were made and He has declared that He will restore us to those covenants. Two hundred and forty years ago out founding fathers made reference to these covenants and they committed themselves to submitting all that they did in the establishing of this nation to God Almighty. We have a great heritage of Christian faith and God in our nation.

Today we have, as a church, as a people, finally turned to God and humbled ourselves before Him; sought His face and repented of our wickedness. Now it is up to us, the Church, to stand firm and not give up. Don’t quit. No matter what it looks like. God will not fail. I repent from watching silently at the disappearance of our Christian foundations and doing nothing; thinking that someone else would do what needed to be done. No, it is not a “someone else”, it is us….,it is me. We have put our fate, our future and our nation into His hands, through numerous gatherings to pray and repent, and mighty prayer movements that are ongoing, and now it is time to trust Him. No matter how dark or hopeless the situation God is well able to deliver us, to bring His victory into our realm and our lives.

Remember the three young men who were thrown into the fiery furnace. It can’t have seemed more hopeless than that moment they were seized and brutally tossed into that searing hot fire. They had to have had every expectation to experience extreme pain as the flames and coals seared their flesh…..; yet they found themselves standing unharmed in the midst of a fire that had been built up to be seven times hotter than any other. And….there standing with them was the Son of God. Yes, Jesus has always been; read John 1:1….”In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was God.” He wasn’t Jesus the man, but He was the Son of God, the Messiah that all the world awaited. And there He stood….with those three young men in that fiery furnace, flames all around. King Nebuchadnezzar looked into that furnace shocked by what he saw. They are in there, he said, and there is another with them who is like the son of God. So they opened the furnace and the three young men walked out unharmed. The Bible says they didn’t even smell like smoke.

God has declared through His present day prophets…..quite a few of them, that President Trump would serve another term; that all would be exposed and He would restore our covenants with Him; that He is not through with America and we will fulfill His plan and purpose; we will be that ‘city on a hill’, we will be a light to the world in these last days and the days of the Great Awakening. We will fulfill His command to ‘make disciples of all the nations’. I believe God has clearly spoken to His people and I feel in my heart that He will do what He has said He would do; so I will trust in Him. No matter what the corrupt news media says, or Facebook tries to tell us; in spite of the hateful and vile things some of said in comments on social media….no matter how many try to get us to give up and let this election slide…I will not give up. I will not give in. God said it; I believe it and it is so.

WEARY TRAVELER

The end of November is approaching quickly; bringing December and the end of a difficult year. I can’t express my weariness in careful thoughts or phrases. It’s been overwhelming. I don’t watch news programs and haven’t for more than twenty years….I don’t trust the media. I have seen their twisted version of people and events, with particular emphasis on anything Christian, and I find their narratives insulting and slanted against anything and anyone who doesn’t fit their personal views. I have been picking up local, world and national events through newspapers, local news and news links on social media; but no more. I’m just plain tired of it all.

The lies and propaganda, the snide and hateful remarks by those who disagree with anything that they have decided they don’t like; the misinformation and active bullying of everyone who disagrees with them is just more than I can stomach. I think COVID-19 would have been easier to deal with if there weren’t so many voices who want to condemn President Trump’s handling of the epidemic, but agree with governors and medical people who say the same thing [masks and social distancing]. If we could have had just one leader in all this and cooperation among national leaders it would be easier to navigate through all the restrictions. Instead, we have news media and congressional leaders who attack President Trump with everything he says and does, then blames him for the division in the country. He was too slow; he was too fast. Enough!

Now we have election chaos. Clearly things are not okay in our election, but those who hate Trump keep shouting that all is well and Trump is the problem; as if they shout loud enough and long enough they can convince the public that their lies are truth. I am grateful for all those who are working to expose the truth, to bring light into every aspect of our electoral process, but it is tiring to be always in the midst of all the conflict. Those in the forefront of this battle can continue to stand only by God’s grace and I will keep praying for them as they fight the good fight; but listening to all the details wears me down, so I have stopped listening.

I know what God is doing in this hour. I know what He says about this election and I know that He is fighting this battle for His Church in America; that He is fighting for our future. So I will listen to God. He established this nation for a purpose and He will help the Church in fulfilling this purpose. But we have an enemy who doesn’t want to see God’s plan for this nation to be accomplished, and he has many who are doing his bidding…..in vain they shout and shake their fists, and try bullying their way through everything that God is doing.

Ps. 2:1-4 “Why do the heathen rage, and the people imagine a vain thing? The kings of the earth set themselves and the rulers take counsel together, against the Lord, and against His anointed, saying, Let us break their bands asunder, and cast away their cords from us. He that sitteth in the heavens shall laugh; the Lord shall have them in derision.”

God has heard His people. And He has answered. Let the heathen rage, but I will not be a part of their audience. I am weary of the voices that want to pull down the presidency, who shout hate and anger at all who oppose them, who think they can bully their way into being top dog in our land. It has been a year of oppression by those who think they are kings instead of elected governors and congressmen, who think we should do what they tell us to when they do as they please. It has been a year of disappointments. It has been a year filled with smoke as our forests burned and the heat reached levels we haven’t seen in a long time. It’s been a year of watching so much of what we have built and created being destroyed by bullies, riots, or just by circumstances that we didn’t foresee. And yet…..

It has also been a year of spiritual growth; like an athlete in training we have been becoming stronger because of all that we have been going through. It’s been a time of testing, learning to lean more on God and less on our own understanding [Pro. 3:5]; a time of learning to walk closer to Him. We have seen a surge in faith and trust in the Lord. The more we have been denied the right to worship the more we have turned to Him, worshipping and praising even in the streets and on the beaches. I do believe we have entered into the last Great Awakening and we will see more and greater demonstrations of people turning back to God.

No matter what happens in the election, God is still on the throne and He will see us through to the end. Normal is different now and I don’t think we will see a return to what we had thought of as normal. This election hasn’t been about electing a new person to sit in the White House; it has been a battle to see if we would continue in the freedoms we have known for the past 240 years. If Biden wins this nation will cease to be the nation our founding fathers established in 1776. It really is that simple. The end of all is coming. The return of Jesus is so close. The darkness threatening us politically is just a foretaste of the dark days that are waiting in the not so distant future; but we – the Body of Christ, the Church in America, and all our millions of supporters around the world – do not believe that that time is now. First comes the greatest revival the world has ever known and it has begun.

As weary as I am of this year with all the hate filled speech, the fires, the smoke, the drought and heat, the lies and propaganda spewed forth through the news and social media, the disappointments and frustrations; I am excited about the fast approaching new year and all that it holds. The Church has grown. The people have begun to awaken. Now is the time for all to arise and shout praises to God.

WEARY TRAVELER, THOUGH I AM
HE GUIDES ME ALL ALONG MY WAY
AND KEEPS ME IN HIS HAND
ALL THROUGH EVERY NIGHT AND DAY.

ROOTS AND NEW GROWTH

1607: Robert Hunt walked out on a beach in Chesapeake Bay and consecrated this entire continent to the glory of God. 1620: the pilgrims wrote out a document called the “Mayflower Compact” in which they declared their purpose was to ‘having undertaking for the glory of God and the advancement of the Christian faith’. 1630: John Winthrop brought a group of colonist to Massachusetts where they began a colony on the land where, now, the city of Boston is located. He knew he was establishing a new nation, and he called this land a “city on a hill”; a land that was to be the light of the world for Jesus Christ. He declared that so long as we followed God’s commandments, and His ways we would be blessed by God, but if we fell away from those commandments and did not follow His ways those blessings would depart from us. This is our roots….a nation founded on the principles of the Word of God and the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

1789: George Washington was inaugurated as our first elected president. Immediately following his inauguration he walked down to a little stone church where he bowed his head to God on behalf of this newly established nation and asked God’s blessing and guidance. Our nation was set upon a path that followed God’s ways. But…..it is said, we aren’t a Christian nation; we have many religions in our country and many who do not believe in God. True, but our government, our laws, our principles, ideology and moral compass are all built upon and around God’s Word. In addition, all enjoy the blessings of God when God blesses His people. It is His Church that determines how God will interact with the nation.

Over the last five or six decades, this country has slowly removed God from our way of life, starting with the removal of the Bible and prayer from our schools, abortion and removing even the mention of God in government. While this was happening, the Church stood by complacently and in apathy and watched in silence; doing nothing to stop it and retreating into their own private little church world. As a result, the blessings of God began to trickle away like a river whose source has been shut off.

The anti-Christ spirit has taken root in this land and has become strong. This spirit controls many in government who have embraced the ideology of a one world government ruled over by a group of elites. It has been working to accomplish this in America ever since Bill Clinton was president. The USA was to become a part of a collective across the world where all people were relegated to a communist way of life except for the ruling class. Christianity is a hindrance to this goal and Christians are persecuted all across the world, murdered, and imprisoned in an effort to exterminate them. America has always been an obstacle to this goal, and evidence of Christianity in American is being wiped out…….until this year.

Recently, I had several small trees and bushes cut down in my yard; but those trees and bushes keep trying to reassert themselves. I have to constantly cut back the new growth. The roots are well grounded and cannot be removed with a shovel. Digging them up will require major effort and probably involve a backhoe. I have tried to kill those roots but they are stubborn and refuse to die.

God showed me that the Church in America is like those trees; the roots are deep and well grounded and will not die easily. New growth keeps popping up. These past sixty days has seen the Church rising up. Massive prayer rallies have been held in Washington DC as the Church steps up and begins to fight back against the anti-Christ spirit that has been taking away our religious freedoms. Worship services have been held in our streets and on the beaches as Christians have come out of church buildings that have been denied to them and meet in the open. People are becoming aware of the sinister machinations behind so much of what we have been seeing in our election process and the major news media. Darkness is being exposed to the Light, the hidden things are being brought out of hiding for all to see.

And God called Gideon to deliver His people from the hands of the Midianites because the people prayed and asked Him to. But Gideon said he was the least of the least; he didn’t think he was special enough to be able to lead anyone. Sometimes we underestimate what we can do. However, God and one righteous man are a majority. With God nothing is impossible. Gideon gathered together an army of more than 30,000 men and he was thinking it was too small; but God came along and said it was too many. So God showed him how to chose those that God had called into the battle and when he was through Gideon had an army of 300…..to fight an army of thousands. But…the battle belonged to the Lord.

So Gideon took his little army and went out in the early morning hours, armed with trumpets and lanterns – it is no accident that God chose a man called Trump to lead America – and when they were all in position they blew their trumpets and revealed their lanterns. Then God sent a spirit of confusion over Israel’s enemy and the army which had come out against God’s people turned on itself and ran. When all was said and done, the army of the Midianites destroyed itself. That’s what happens when God’s people get in line with what He is doing, praying and seeking His Face and His Will; and stand with God. When God’s people do that, then God moves on their behalf and victory is theirs.

This is where we stand today. We have prayed, gathered together by the thousands, joined together with those who gathered from wherever we were; one prayer gathering after another, and made our appeal in the courts of heaven; and God heard us. He has given us victory. It doesn’t look like it right now, but God said it and I believe it. We need to continue to pray, to declare His righteousness in the land; and not be moved by what we see or hear. The Israelites spent 40 years wandering in the wilderness after God delivered them from Egypt. They saw the miracles He did for them, but when they came to the Promised Land they became afraid because there were giants in the land and they backed off. We cannot back off. We cannot let fear overwhelm us and cause us to turn and flee. God has given us the victory. The battle isn’t over. Now is the time to trust Him, to not give up; stay focused, pray and believe and let God do what He said He would do.

I WAITED PATIENTLY FOR THE LORD, AND HE INCLINED TO ME AND HEARD MY CRY. HE BROUGHT ME OUT OF THE PIT OF DESTRUCTION, OUR OF THE MIRY CLAY; AND HE SET MY FEET UPON A ROCK MAKING MY FOOTSTEPS FIRM. AND HE PUT A NEW SONG IN MY MOUTH, A SONG OF PRAISE TO OUR GOD; MANY WILL SEE AND FEAR, AND WILL TRUST IN THE LORD. PS. 40:1-4

LIFE AND LOSS

Loss….something that everyone deals with at some point in their lives; and everyone deals with loss differently. In this year of COVID related separation from so much of our normal lives; loss has become a way of life: loss of employment/income, loss of being able to freely move about in our world without censor, loss of the society of family and friends, loss of good will and respect towards others.

Thousands of people die every year for many different reasons, and while death will come to us all in this world, too many have died prematurely because of bad habits, accidents, sicknesses; the list is long and depressing. Many in this world die every year because of unsafe drinking water….; a great many of the people who died from COVID were already compromised in their immune systems….heart disease, lung issues, kidney failure(often from unhealthy lifestyles)….and old age. The ads promoting “be safe” stay home, wear a mask, stay at least six feet apart, seem more like propaganda to me than good health practices. There’s practicing good preventive measures for our health’s sake and then there is oppressive government interference in our daily lives. A year of government controlled suppression of our economic and religious freedoms is unwarranted and uncalled for. Educate, inform and even limit some contact, but to isolate us to the degree that businesses close, families are separated and government dictates our worship of God is completely unacceptable.

I think these losses of so many of our freedoms in the name of “safety” is particularly heinous. I wonder what kind of world my children and grandchildren will be living in after I am gone. It is my hope that we will revert to our former freedom from government interference in our daily lives after the upcoming election; that we will be able to regain our status as the leader of the “free world”. The kinds of losses we have suffered at the hands of governors who have no real regard for the people in their respective states are not the kind of losses I ever thought I would have to endure (dictating our private gatherings for Thanksgiving and Christmas….really?).

Personal losses are hard enough without having to see the quality of life in our nation going down. The loss of a granddaughter who would be sixteen this coming December, the loss of mother and father, the loss of friends who died too soon; and the loss of the society of my children who have moved far away, is at times, very hard to bear. I have a friend whose husband passed away four years ago and she is finally reaching the place where she can handle the anniversary of that sad day. The other day I was listening to a song by Zach Williams and Dolly Parton called “There was Jesus”. One line says “all those lonely roads I have traveled”, and I just started to cry because suddenly I was missing my daughter.

She moved to Colorado several years ago. Prior to her move we spent a lot of time together, but she and her husband wanted to move and I encouraged her to follow her heart;to not worry about leaving her mother behind. Still it has been hard; harder than anything I have ever had to face and I know it has been hard on her as well. They are doing well and they love it out there, but being so far apart hurts in ways that neither of us anticipated. I have lost these past years with my granddaughters after being a huge part of their lives from birth. Losses….. don’t always mean death. For God, death just means separation…..; we were created to be eternal, but when sin came in it “separated” us from Him and if we die without ever receiving the salvation that He provided through His son Jesus Christ, then we are separated from Him eternally in Hell. It’s not His choice for us, but our refusal to choose Him that determines whether we will be separated from Him eternally or not. Thankfully, I am able to visit my daughter and her girls and have them visit me. This comforts me.

Isa. 61:1-3 “The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me, because the Lord has anointed me to bring good news to the afflicted. He has sent me to bind up the broken-hearted, to proclaim liberty to captives, and freedom to prisoners; to proclaim the favorable year of the Lord and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all who mourn, to grant those who mourn in Zion, giving them a garland instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, the mantle of praise instead of a spirit of fainting, so they will be called oaks of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that He may be glorified.”

Loss happens…..in so many ways, but God brings us joy.

Ps. 126:5 “Those who sow in tears shall reap with joyful shouting.”

Neh. 8:10 “….the joy of the Lord is my strength.”

No I never walk alone
Never walk alone
You're always there
In the waiting, in the searching
In the healing, in the hurting
Like a blessing buried in the broken pieces
Every minute, every moment
Where I've been and where I'm going
Even when I didn't know it
Or couldn't see it.
There was Jesus
There was Jesus
There was Jesus
There was Jesus

written by Zach Williams and performed by Zach William and Dolly Parton

No we are never alone when we walk with Jesus. He knows about loss. He knows about life. He tells us that He has set before us death and life….and then He says: “Choose life”. (Deu. 30:19)

Yes, this has been a hard year. Loneliness and depression are our constant companions, but we don’t have to dwell with on them; no matter our situation or circumstances. We can choose joy…..the JOY of the LORD. And we can choose LIFE. We can choose to rejoice when sorrow overshadows us. And we can declare that the Lord is good. That this is the day that the LORD has made and we will rejoice in it.

My daughter and her family were able to visit this past summer and for four glorious days my house was filled with the voices of those who are so dear to me. Noise and chaos reigned and I loved every minute of it. I am so grateful for all my children and my grandchildren and I thank God for them every day. When the grief of loss and separation overcome me, I stop and thank God for the joy that was mine for the time I had with all those who are now gone from this world…..and for those who are far away, separated only by miles and not by death. I have had so much love in my life and I am grateful for God’s wondrous blessings of family and friends…..even when they were gone before I was ready.

And when the tears fall I know that…..yes, there is Jesus; right where He always is, in my heart and in my soul; that the Holy Spirit comforts and strengthens me. Thank you, Lord; that on my darkest day….there was Jesus.

THE HEART OF THE KING

Esther 1:1-2 “And on the third day, after putting on her royal robes, Esther stood in the inner court of the royal palace, opposite the king’s house. The king was sitting on his royal throne in the royal palace opposite the entrance, and when he noticed Queen Esther standing in the court, she won his favour; he held out to Esther the golden sceptre in his hand, and Esther approached and touched the tip of the sceptre. James Moffat translation

This part of Esther’s story keeps running through my mind. It is so powerful. Esther took her life into her own hands when she appeared in the king’s court. It was against the law for her to go before him uninvited; but her purpose was a desperate one and so she prayed and fasted for three days and afterwards she put on her royal robes and stepped into the court and stood….waiting for him to notice her, to acknowledge her, and to decide if she would be received or rejected. Rejection meant death. I just keep seeing her standing there, in the court, waiting for the king to see her….waiting to know if she was to live or die. What a poignant picture of courage. I can almost see the crowd waiting with baited breath to see what the king would do.

We have spent the better part of a year hiding because of fear; fear of a virus that has proven to be far less deadly than previously thought….less than one percent have died, and most of those were elderly or had other health issues. Yet, people act like death is coming at them like a speeding freight train! They panic if someone gets too close and especially if that someone isn’t wearing a mask. They scream, yell, spit and generally behave in juvenile ways, having temper tantrums and spewing hatred in all directions. People often do stupid and foolish things that lead to death or injury, like smoking, doing drugs, drinking excessively, speeding, crossing busy streets without taking any precautions, climbing ladders carelessly and so many other things that are dangerous and could lead to death; but nothing has elicited the panic or hateful responses as this wave of disease. Clearly there is something else going on.

It’s been a time of testing, a time to step up and show what you are truly made of; a time to demonstrate “grace under fire”, “courage in the face of fear”. Is God calling you to speak out when it feels uncomfortable? Do you feel led to take a stand before those you fear might not agree with you? Are you seeking shelter and safety outside of God’s grace? Daniel was thrown into the lion’s den, but he trusted God and was untouched by those ferocious creatures. The three Hebrew children: Meshach, Shadrach and Abednego were thrown into a fiery furnace and Jesus appeared there with them. They came out unburned, and the Bible says they didn’t even smell of smoke. Whatever your trial, or the testing, if God is with you, who can stand against you? (Rom 8:31)

Esther was a woman and part of a minority, but she didn’t let her disadvantages stop her. Mordecai told her…”Who knows, but that you were born for such a time as this” (Esther 4:14 paraphrase). So she humbled herself before God, fasting and praying for three days, then taking hold of her courage, she stepped out to meet the danger that confronted her. She was being tested, and she went out to meet her fate without looking back.

It feels like the world has gone crazy, too many have run and hidden themselves away; they have retreated without repenting or humbling themselves before God. We have experienced an extended ‘Passover’, without understanding what Passover was for, what it meant to God’s people. It wasn’t a time to remain hidden inside our homes. It was a time to submit ourselves to Him, to seek His face, examine ourselves and turn from any wicked way within ourselves. It was a time for renewing our relationship with Him, to strengthen ourselves in Him and reaffirm our commitment to follow after Him with all our hearts, all our strength and all our souls.

We are at war…..a dark and brutal war with an enemy that hates us and hates God. This enemy has used all his influence to bring us down, to destroy our right to worship God in freedom and to destroy the country our forefathers established for our freedom to worship God, to speak freely, to carry arms, to prosper and be blessed. But we can rise up and declare the goodness of God. We can be bold to speak His Word. Like Esther, we can face our fears, and stand in our time of testing, even if we stand alone. But, “fear not”, says the Lord. “For I am with you.” (Isa 41:10)

She entered into the court and stood, waiting; not knowing if she would live or die. But….the heart of the king was with her. He extended his sceptre to her. She crossed the court, all eyes on her; and she reached out and touched the tip of his sceptre.

John 3:16 “For God so loved the world…..” II Peter 3:9 “The Lord…. is not willing that any should perish.”

God doesn’t want us to perish. He wants us to live. He wants us with Him. We have found favor in His eyes. But we must do our part. We must first humble ourselves before Him. We must repent. And then we must seek His face….go before Him. These are things that you must do for yourself. God won’t do them for you.

The king sat on his throne, and Esther approached him. God is on His throne. He waits for you. The journey into His presence is yours to make; through submission to Christ and repentance, you will find acceptance….adoption as a child (son/daughter) of the Most High God. And when you have become His child, then you can present your requests to Him, He will hear you, and answer you. The heart of the king is for His people. He is with us. Let us enter into His presence with thanksgiving! Glory!!!

SMOKE AND MIRRORS

Ps. 102:3 “For my days have been consumed in smoke…..”

August 17th it all began; thunder and lightning and fires! Everywhere… hundreds of lightning strikes, starting hundreds of fires; in the west, to the north, in the south and to the east; we were surrounded by fires. It is now October and most of the fires are out, but not all of them. Smoke still hangs heavy over the mountains, obscuring the views and filling the air with particles of ash. Some days are worse than others, but cars are still being coated with a fine ashy dust and people are still having trouble breathing. Headaches, sinus infections, congestion; all making it hard to breathe, especially for those with respiratory issues. And, on top of that, requirements for masks still in place! When will we be able to breathe again!!

Mount Shasta….seen through a haze of smoke, and seen on a clear, winter’s day.

Early morning sun; the one on the left taken this morning and the one on the right back in August. The only difference is that now, as the sun rises, it hangs overhead in a blue sky; and in August as it rose into the afternoon the sky was brown. A little improvement is better than none, but I will be glad when all the fires are gone.

These fires, though started by natural events, are multiplied in their devastation because of mismanagement of our forests. It is an issue that our state politicians don’t want to deal with and largely ignore.

Here in California the weather is starting to turn. Temperatures are dropping a little and the humidity is rising. It’s in the 70’s and a bit cloudy; so hopefully we will see rain soon; the air will be cleaner and the ash will drain away. I can’t remember a most destating year…..Covid panic, business lock downs, self isolation bringing on depression in thousands and contributing to the rise in suicides; government officials who seem more concerned with their political agendas than the welfare of the people; fires burning all across the western United States – at least 800 fires at one point – and heavy smoke filling the air, increased respiratory issues and ash on everything. And all this added to the most brutal election year in anyone’s memory.

DARK, SMOKE FILLED, AFTERNOON SKY….SO DEPRESSING!!

In the midst of all this it is easy to get depressed….to feel hopeless, like the future is going to get worse and worse. But God says…”Fear not…”

Isa. 41:10 “Do not fear, for I am with you; do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, surely I will help you, surely I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.”

John 14:27 “Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you; not as the world gives, do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, not let it be fearful.”

Isa. 35:4 “Say to those with anxious heart, take courage, fear not. Behold your God will come with vengeance; the recompense of God will come.”

Joshua 1:9 “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous! Do not tremble or be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”

Matt. 6:34 “Therefore do not be anxious for tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”

John 16:33 “These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world.”

ESTHER’S VICTORY

Esther 4:13-16 “Mordecai had this answer sent to Esther: ‘Do not imagine you will escape inside the king’s house, any more than the rest of the Jews. If you persist in saying nothing at this crisis, relief and succour will appear for the Jews from some other quarter, but you will perish, you and your family. Besides, who knows what may happen if you go to the king at this moment?’ Then Esther had this answer sent to Mordecai, ‘Go and gather all the Jews to be found is Susa, fast for me, eat and drink nothing for three days and three nights; I and my maids will fast as you do; and so I will go to the king, though it is against the law. If I perish, I perish.” James Moffat translation

The story of Esther is an interesting one; unique in the Bible in that it is about a woman (the only other book in the Bible about a woman is the book of Ruth), and it does not talk about God or the faith of the Jewish people. Rather, it tells the story of a woman pushed into a place outside her own culture and certainly outside her own comfort zone. She finds herself placed at a pivot point in the welfare of her people.

In the culture of the Persians men were dominant and women, even a queen, were kept in a subservient role. King Xerxes/Ahasuerus was upset because of his queen’s disobedience. He put her aside and chose a new queen, gathering together hundreds of young women from across his kingdom, searching for a new queen. Among them was Esther, a young Jewish woman….cousin and adopted daughter to a prominent Jew, Mordecai. Esther found favor in the sight of the king and he appointed her as his new queen. Into this story comes one, Haman: a man determined to see himself highly exalted, who was placed into a high position by the king. When he passed through the streets all would bow to him….except Mordecai. Haman was enraged because of Mordecai’s refusal to bow to him and, upon discovering that Mordecai was a Jew, Haman decided to punish him by destroying all the Jews throughout all the land.

Mordecai heard of Haman’s intent to kill the Jews, and sent word to Esther about Haman’s plan to kill all the Jews and asked her to intervene on behalf of her people. So, after fasting and praying for three days, Esther, knowing to do so might mean death, approached the king. The king extended his sceptre to her, thus giving her permission to approach him. Esther, being wise, invited the king and Haman to a banquet two nights in a row; at which time the king told her he would give her whatever she asked of him….up to, and including, half of his kingdom. So Esther asked him to give her her life…..“For I and my people have been sold to be destroyed, to be slain, to be massacred.” Esth. 7:3-4 The king then asked who had done this thing? To which she replied: “Haman.”

The result of all this was that Haman was, himself, hung on the scaffold that he had erected in his yard for Mordecai, and all his property was given to Esther, and she put Mordecai in charge of it. Mordecai was given the position with the king which had been Haman’s, and was then given authority to handle the situation with the upcoming slaughter of the Jews in whatever manner he saw fit. Haman had issued a decree that went out into all the land (127 provinces from Ethiopia to India) in the name of the king that the Jews were to be killed on a particular day. A decree from the king couldn’t be withdrawn; the decree to kill the Jews couldn’t be revoked, but Mordecai sent out another decree in the king’s name giving the Jews the right to defend themselves. On the appointed day, the Jews met those who came to kill them and engaged them in battle and those seeking to kill the Jews were themselves killed and the Jews saved. From this event came the feast of the Jews called “Purim”. In addition to this, all of Haman’s family were also killed.

This year we have been in a battle between good and evil, light and dark; it is a battle for the soul of America. Like Esther, we are faced with the death of all we hold dear, and like Esther, in order to face the battle we need to prepare ourselves spiritually; to humble ourselves before God, seek His face and turn from our wicked ways.

The Bible isn’t just a collection of stories about people from long ago. It’s a history of God’s relationship with people; of His dealings with individuals and nations. He raises people up to speak for Him, to lead the people in following Him; and He brings down those who oppose Him, who oppress the people and lead them away from Him. The story of Esther shows one of the ways that God used two people, Mordecai and Esther, to save the Jewish people. He warned them through contacts they each had in their lives of the plans of Haman and He guided Esther in her request to the king which gave her the opening she needed to make the request that led to the saving of the Jews within the Persian empire.

Sometimes we don’t see what God is doing in our midst. When we don’t know Him or His ways, we don’t recognize what He is doing in the world around us. What He did in nations long ago, He is still doing today. He hasn’t gone away, or gone to sleep. Whether you know it or not, He is very much alive and active on earth and in America today. He put Donald Trump into office as President of the United States, and He did it to help turn us around. He puts people into place, and He brings them down.

Our forefathers: the Pilgrims, John Winthrop, Robert Hunt and others, made covenants with God for this land, that as long as we submitted ourselves to Him, His word and His ways, He would bless us and if we turned away from Him these blessings would be lifted from us. And He has blessed us……for 400 years He has blessed us; but now we have turned away from Him. We have taken Him out of our schools and our public life. We have embraced foreign and false religions and rejected Christianity. We have murdered more than 60 million innocent babies….a great sin and abomination in the eyes of the Lord. And if we want to continue to receive God’s blessings on our land, then we will need to repent from our wicked ways (II Chron. 7:14), and turn back to Him.

Franklin Graham and Jonathan Cahn each held prayer events in Washington D.C. on September 26. An estimated 100,000 Christians filled the national mall as they prayed and cried out to God; repented before Him on behalf of the nation and called upon God to come and heal our land. There have been at least 30 worship events across the country led by Sean Feucht and he is calling for a prayer event in Washington D.C. on October 25. Christians are waking up, but we mustn’t give up or lapse back into complacency. We must press on and actively seek His face. The battle is on, and it will continue. The darkness in our land won’t go away quietly or easily.

Esther won her petition to the king, but it was several months before the Jews did battle for their lives. The petition was won in the courts of the king, but battle still had to be fought in the streets. He favored her and Mordecai and their people, but they still had to fight when the appointed day came for their destruction, when they went to battle and won the victory over their enemies. The Jewish people were saved. But it took effort and it cost lives. Victory is never easy and we need to stop thinking we can sit back and God will just pluck us out of the midst of our troubles. No….He is always with us and He always brings us through whatever we are going through; but we still must go through it. When battles come, we must fight. When there are obstacles in our way we have to move them….go over them, around them, or simply shove them aside. He will be with us, but He expects us to go forth and do battle in His name; and then, no matter the odds against us, He will give us victory.

Esther won a victory for herself and her people. I wonder….will we win a victory for our land and our people? Will we continue as a “government of the people, by the people and for the people?” One nation under God? With liberty and justice for all? Or will we descend into the abyss of socialism and communism that has destroyed other nations who thought it would be a good way to go? Only when we place our reliance on Him and only when we remain in submission to Him, His word, and His ways do we gain victory.