Spiritual Amputation

Teresa Poucher

I shut the door on my dog’s foot almost five months ago. I have been to a few vets and taken numerous trips to the LSU vet school. Four bones in his foot were broken, but only two have healed. Should I amputate my dog’s leg?

 

  Fitting in or feeling like you belong can be difficult. If you have a disability, it’s even harder.  You may feel cut off from your peers.  Yet, if someone in your family has a disability, we will often be extra-protective and sensitive to their needs.  

 

If we saw someone with a handicap, most of us would go out of our way to help them.

 

Sometimes, when it comes to our church family, we might not be as quick to help. Instead, we might think, “They know better,” “They shouldn’t have done that,” or “They hurt me.” Unfortunately, the spirit of division we feel in America is trying to creep its way into our churches.

 

  We must not be ignorant of the devil’s devices.  We are the body of Christ; more than brothers and sisters, we should be one in His Spirit.

 

  “I will seek that which was lost, and bring again that which was driven away, and will bind up that which was broken, and will strengthen that which was sick: but I will destroy the fat and the strong; I will feed them with judgment.”  (Ezekiel 34:16)

 

  So, before we amputate a finger because of a splinter, let us reconsider: “Is this really what we want to do?”  Instead, let’s fulfill the Word of God: 

 

“And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.” (Ephesians 4:32)

Should My Vote Count?

Teresa Poucher

I don’t watch CNN or FOX. Why can’t they just give us the facts and let us form our own opinions? While I don’t have a problem with a criminal serving a sentence not being allowed to vote, I can’t say that I’m for or against ex-cons voting. Haven’t they done their time?

 

  If I had been held guilty for all my sins, I could have done jail time.  Have you ever run a stop sign or a light?  Surely you have broken the speed limit and probably exceeded 20 miles over the limit.  People take things (steal) from work, “Well, they owe me for all the work I do.”  Maybe you haven’t stolen anything, but have you ever gone home early and not punched the clock?  Enough, you get it.

 

  I have wounded and neglected to support certain individuals.  Should my vote count?

 

I can think of two murderers. They spent the rest of their lives dealing with the wrongs they committed. Yet, many years have passed, and their writings and lives have impacted the world. You know them: Moses and Paul.

 

  “…but according to his mercy he saved us…being justified by his grace…”  (Titus3:5,7)

 

  His mercy doesn’t give us what we deserve — to die in our sins.

 

  His grace gives us what we don’t deserve — eternal life.

 

Shouldn’t we all deserve the same?

A Place Where Two ways Meet

Teresa Poucher

In Mark, chapter 11, we read of Christ’s triumphal entry. Jesus sent two of his disciples on a mission to get a colt. The donkey was young and had never been ridden.

Jesus told them, as soon as they entered the village, they would find this colt tied up. If anyone questioned them, they were to say the Lord needed him.

And they went their way, and found the colt tied by the door without in a place where two ways met; and they loose him.” (Mark 11:4)

  Sure enough, the two disciples went their way and found the colt in a place where two ways met.  I would have been a little nervous taking someone else’s animal, as theft was pretty serious in ancient times. Yet Jesus only needed to borrow it, so to speak, just like the tomb in which he was laid.

  I was much like this donkey. Just as it was tied up without the door and never ridden, so also was I bound in sin outside the entrance, wild and unruly.  I was also at a place where two ways met, at a fork in the road.

If someone were lost and came to a fork in the road in America, they would probably go right. In England, one would be prone to go left. Thank God we have GPS because I get lost easily. I went out of town before GPS and got lost. I came to a roundabout and rode it like a merry-go-round. Going right seems safe.

   In the Bible, the right hand represents power, and righteousness means living right.  So, when you get to a fork in the road or a place where two ways meet, go right.

I Will Never Leave Thee

Teresa Poucher

  About three months ago, God spoke scripture to me.  All was going well; the prayers, praise, and devotions were flowing.  It seemed out of context.  During uncertainty, things were still going pretty good.

  He had spoken the very same words over 30 years ago.  It proved to be a very trying time for several years. 

  “Be not far from me; for trouble is near; for there is none to help.” (Psalms 22:11)

  Years ago, I focused on “there is none to help.” Today, I know we must focus on “be not far.”

  Meanwhile,- If you don’t feel like reading His Word –Read!- When you don’t want to – Praise!                                                            – If it’s difficult, and you don’t feel His Spirit– Pray!

Even when we feel so alone, we know He is not far from us.

“I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.” (Hebrews 13:5)

I Don’t Know

Teresa Poucher

Everyone knows someone who thinks they know everything, especially about what other people should do. ‘Truth is, no one knows everything about anyone.

  My husband is 62.  Should he start taking social security?  Do you feel secure with the economy or your job?  Do you wonder if you should downsize, sell the house, and buy a smaller one?  What should I do with my savings?  Buy gold, silver, or invest in property?  I don’t know!  We haven’t been here before. 

“…that ye may know the way by which ye must go: for ye have not passed this way heretofore. And Joshua spake unto the priests, saying, Take up the ark of the covenant, and pass over before the people. And they took up the ark of the covenant, and went before the people.” (Joshua 3:4,6)

  The Israelites cherished the Ark of the Covenant.  They knew God’s presence was with the Ark.  As soon as the priests carrying the Ark put their feet into the water on the bank of the Jordan river, the waters stopped flowing, and they passed over.   At times they took the Ark to war with them.  We need the presence and guidance of our God. 

  I have finally determined, the only thing I do know is, I don’t know half as much as I thought I knew.

“For I determined not to know any thing among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified.” (I Corinthians 2:2)

But continue thou in the things which thou hast learned and hast been assured of, knowing of whom thou hast learned them…” (II Timothy 3:14)

Only Believe

Teresa Poucher

If you didn’t love God, you wouldn’t be reading this.  I am ashamed to say; sometimes I have a hard time believing.  In another six months, I’ll be like the lame man waiting 38 years for his healing.  No, I’m not lame, but like many of you, I’m weary, waiting on a promise from God.  I know God can; I know He is able.  So why do I have a hard time believing?

We say we believe God, so why do we fret, worry, have anxiety, and stress.  Do we really know what it is to believe?  

  According to Noah Webster, “Believe” means: “To have a firm persuasion of anything. In some cases, to have full persuasion, approaching to certainty; It is often followed by “in” or “on,”especially in the scriptures.  To believe on is to trust, to place full confidence in, to rest upon with faith.”

  “To them gave he the power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name.” (John 1:12)

In theology, “to believe” sometimes expresses a mere assent to the gospel, as in the case of Simon in Acts, chapter 8. For others, the word also implies a yielding of the will and affections, accompanied by a humble reliance on Christ for salvation. See John 1:12 and 3:15.

  I have done some soul searching, questioning my walk with God.  I want to know Him.  If I truly know Him, I will believe Him.

  John’s writing of the gospel is different from the others.  I don’tsee any parables, and I only found seven or eight miracles.  The feeding of the five thousand is listed by all four writers.  The other six miracles are only in the book of John.  I don’t see the word “faith” used in his book except in “faithless.”  When he does say “faithless,” it is followed by “but believing” in John 20:27.  Yet, the word “believe” is used 85 times.  

  According to childresearch.net, a fetus hears and can recognize its mother’s heartbeat.  Mothers hold their children on the left side of their chest.  The infant is calmed and sleeps better, all because they know their mother’s heartbeat. John knew his master’s heartbeat.  He didn’t have to see the miracles to believe.  

“Now there was leaning on Jesus’ bosom one of his disciples, whom Jesus loved. Simon Peter therefore beckoned to him, that he should ask who it should be of whom he spake. Simon Peter therefore beckoned to him, that he should ask who it should be of whom he spake.” (John 13:23-25)

  John knew who Jesus was.  The other writers told of His life and history, but John spoke of His divinity, His origin.

  “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.” (John 1:1,14)

I want to draw close enough to hear his heartbeat.

This Little Light of Mine

Teresa Poucher

  I realize we haven’t been going out to eat much these days. Have you noticed that most restaurants are not well lit? Hmmm, you think it’s for the ambiance, or so you don’t see the crumbs and spills? Perhaps a little of both. Light has a way of exposing things we don’t want others to see.

  In ancient times, the sun was extremely important. Not just because they didn’t have electricity or LED flashlights, it keeps the earth from freezing, it warms our waters, and it has a way of energizing plants and ourselves, givingus more oxygen and food. Ancients valued the sun so much that many cultures worshipped a sun god. If anyone deserves worship, it’s the Lord Jesus, who is the Creator and “Light of the World.”

When Moses constructed the tabernacle, he made candlesticks which were actual lamps with pure olive oil. These lamps provided the only light in the Holy Place as there were no windows or doors. This lamp was to burn forever; it had to be maintained throughout the night and day.

Command the children of Israel, that they bring unto thee pure oil olive beaten for the light, to cause the lamps to burn continually.”(Leviticus 24:2)

  They didn’t use a match to light the lamp.  The fire came from the brazen altar, a place of repentance and atonement for sins. This fire also was never to go out.

The fire shall ever be burning upon the altar; it shall never go out.”(Leviticus 6:3)

According to Leviticus 9:24, the fire came down from heaven to consume the sacrifice.

“…Eli was laid down in his place, and his eyes began to wax dim… And ere the lamp of God went out in the temple of the Lord, where the ark of God was…” (1Samuel 3:2-3)

The parable of the ten virgins is found in Matthew, chapter 25. They all had burning lamps, yet they failed to bring oil with them. “… for our lamps are gone out.” (Matthew 25:8) They were not allowed to go to the marriage. The Marriage Supper of the Lamb is one wedding I don’t want to miss. This light isn’t just to lighten us, but others along their way.

“A light to lighten the Gentiles, and the glory of thy people Israel.”(Luke 2:32)

I don’t want to grope in darkness, and I know you don’t want to either. As the little children’s song says, “This little lite of mine, I’m gonna’let it shine.”

The First Shall be Last

Teresa Poucher

So the last shall be first, and the first last: for many be called, but few chosen.” “Take that thine is, and go they way: I will give unto this last, even as unto thee…

(Matthew 20:14,16)

  Isaac was Abraham’s child of promise. According to Galatians 3:29, those who are of the faith are counted as Abrahams’s seed. However, Ishmael was firstborn by a bondwoman. Even though he was first born and was circumcised, he did not get the birthright blessing.

Esau, like Ishmael, was born first and did not possess the birthright, Jacob did, and we know him as Israel.

  Both brothers had spats, just like most brothers do. Not getting the birthright is a doozy, though. They both went many years without seeing their rival sibling. Again, both Esau and Jacob, as well as Ishmael and Isaac, lost their father. Each of them met again with their sibling, and it seems like they reconciled. Did Isaac know Ishmael almost died when he was sent away when he was weaned? (Genesis 21) Did Ishmael know that Abraham nearly slew his brother as a sacrifice? (Genesis 22) Did they share these stories?

  “And his sons Isaac and Ishmael buried him (Abraham) in the cave of Machpelah, in the field of Ephron the son of Zohar the Hittite, which is before Mamre…” (Genesis 25:9) Did they perhaps reconcile?

Jacob feared for his life after taking his brother’s birthright and doesn’t see him for years (Genesis 27). Then they meet in Genesis 33:4, and Esau and Jacob embrace. In Genesis 35:29, we find Esau and Jacob burying Issac, their father.

  “And it shall be for a sign and for a witness unto the Lord of hosts in the land of Egypt: for they shall cry unto the Lord because of the oppressors, and he shall send them a savior, and a great one, and he shall deliver them. In that day shall there be a highway out of Egypt to Assyria, and the Assyrian shall come into Egypt, and the Egyptian into Assyria and the Egyptians shall serve with the Assyrians.  In that day shall Israel be the third with Egypt and with Assyria, even a blessing in the midst of the land…”  (Isaiah 29:20-24)

We see the first will be last. Could it be like Esau and Ishmael? The end-time revival being poured out on the unexpected, the unworthy? As I read in Deuteronomy 9, God repeats three verses in a row; they (Israel) would possess Canaan’s land, not because of their righteousness, but because of the inhabitants’ wickedness. God will pour out of his spirit on all flesh, not because of our righteousness, but because the land needs a savior. His last action on the cross was to forgive a man that lived a life of sin and could do nothing for God other than to display his mercy.

  “But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound…” (Romans 5:20)

Http://bib.ly/ Genesis 21-22

Http://bib.ly/ Genesis 27

Http://bib.ly/ Deuteronomy 9:4-6

The Joy of the Lord

Teresa Poucher

How many times have we heard that expression?  It is only spoken once in the Bible.  We have heard it in preaching; we have even sung about it.  I’ve always thought, if I am happy in God, then I am strong.  

Maybe that’s true, but what if my strength is determined by my bringing God joy? So, how do I bring God joy? Well, let’s go to the book of Nehemiah, chapter 8:1-13. I know that’s a long reading, so let me paraphrase it for you. They just finished building the walls of Jerusalem, which had been burnt and in ruins for several decades. The people gathered together, and Ezra read the laws of Moses. They bowed their heads, and they worshiped. What sticks out to me is in the 13 verses, we see a form of the word “understand” six times. Ezra wanted to make sure they understood what he was reading. And in verse 10, “…the joy of the Lord is your strength.”

  “And all the people went their way to eat, and to drink, and to send portions, and to make great mirth, because they had understood the words that were declared unto them.”  (Nehemiah 8:12)

We know God is pleased with worship and reverence, but I believe He is joyful when we understand and obey His Word. If we truly understood His Word, we wouldn’t be murmuring, complaining, and worrying. Surely that is strength, and I want that, don’t you?

http://bib.ly/Nehemiah8:1-13

Censorship

Teresa Poucher


“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press, or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.” (The First Amendment to the US Constitution)

  I live in America. I haven’t been saying “United States” lately.  Seem like we are anything but united.  This is so sad because there is power in unity.  I find it hard to believe how big technology companies and media are censoring our voices.  

I recall a hero of the faith in the Bible, Daniel by name. He was held captive in Babylon. He, much like Joseph, found favor and position in his captivity. He held steadfast to his belief in his God. When a decree was made to not petition anyone other than the king, Daniel was found praying to God with his window open three times a day. He didn’t let the government censor him — even if it would cost his life.

“…let us straitly threaten them, that they speak henceforth to no man in this name. And they called them and commanded them not to speak at ALL nor teach in the name of Jesus. But Peter and John answered and said unto them, Whether it be right in the sight of God to hearken unto you more than unto God, judge ye. For we cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard.” (Acts 4:17-20)

Evening, and morning, and at noon, will I pray, and cry aloud: and he shall hear my voice.” (Psalms 55:17)

  Per Strong’s Concordance, “Cry Loud” [H1993]: “to make a loud sound (like English’ hum’); by implication, to be in great commotion or tumult, to rage, war, moan, clamor: — clamorous, concourse, cry aloud, be disquieted, loud, mourn, be moved, make a noise, rage, roar, sound, be troubled, make in tumult, tumultuous, be in an uproar.”

“Cry aloud, spare not, lift thy voice like a trumpet, and shew my people their transgression, and the house of Jacob their sins.” (Isaiah 58:1)

Don’t let Satan silence your voice, especially while praying the prayer of warfare as well as in your praise.