Gross Darkness

Teresa Poucher

Seems like there’s darkness all around us. When we watch the news, it’s not only depressing but can also make us angry. Democrats and Republicans can cause us to be anything but united.

Poverty, disease, pestilence (COVID), violence, abortions, murder, and the weather have all gone wild, along with the stock exchange. The only certainty is, nothing is certain.

You know the story of Pharaoh and the ten plagues (found in Exodus, chapter 10.) The ninth plague was darkness. How dark was it? They couldn’t even see each other for three days, a darkness that could be felt. They saw no stars, moon, candles, or lamps.

Many times, darkness and judgment go together. We can and have prayed for God’s mercy. He might very well have mercy on us. Unfortunately, that doesn’t dismiss our judgment. It just puts it off for a time.

Multitudes, multitudes in the valley of decision: for the day of the Lord is near in the valley of decision.” (Joel 3:14)

  God’s judgment is imminent — if you wait until judgment day to decide to follow Jesus, it will be too late for you.  

During that ninth plague, the Israelites still had light while Egypt groped through the darkness. Jesus is still the light of the world. I do believe God will give us light and mercy, but we must go beyond just pleading for mercy. We must also cry out in repentance and experience a change of heart and mind. Then we can escape judgment and bring light to those in darkness.

Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid.” (Matthew 5:14)

“Arise, shine; for thy light is come, and the glory of the Lord is risen upon thee. For, behold, the darkness shall cover the earth, and gross darkness the people: but the Lord shall arise upon thee, and his glory shall be seen upon thee. And the Gentiles shall come to thy light, and kings to the brightness of thy rising.” (Isaiah 60:1-3)

Buy the Truth and Sell it Not

The devil is a liar!  He is good at it too.  He has a way of taking the truth and distorting it.  One can describe him as deceitful, full of perversion, pride, and hatefulness.

God has so many good attributes; I don’t think I could name them all. Just the “I AM’s” are wonderful. I love what He told Moses when he asked, who do I say sent me? Tell them, I AM sent you — I AM, the self-existent One, who is present, past, and future. Omnipotent — all-powerful (Psalms 62:11). Omniscient –all-knowing (John 1:3). Omnipresent — everywhere at the same time (Hebrews 13:5). He can be your savior, refuge, strength, hope, peace, and friend.

  So why is it, when God gives us a promise, we are excited at first?  God is going to do something that seems impossible.  Then life goes on, and we start to believe a lie.  It’s easier to believe a lie.  We are carnal and tend to act by what we see and hear or by how we feel.  That’s why we are instructed to walk by faith and not by sight.  

  Truth is, it is impossible for God to lie. How do we overcome?  By the blood of the Lamb and the word of our testimony.  We need to apply what we know is true in our daily life.  

Every day, throughout the day, speak the scripture God gave you. Yes, say it out loud. Jesus used the Word to defeat Satan, so can we. My goodness, write it down! I have so many scriptures written down. I put them on my bathroom mirror. Every time I go in there, I read them out loud. I have scriptures that I have recorded on my phone, and I play them back repeatedly. Sing, not a tear-jerker, but a song of faith. Get a vision of what God is doing. Give yourself a mental picture and rehearse it. Faith is a substance. So, do something! Give, teach, play, pray. By all means, quit praying your problem. Pray the solution and start thanking God for the answer. God is faithful! When He gives a promise, it always comes with conditions. We must obey and continue to do our part.

“…in which it was impossible for God to lie, we might have a strong consolation...” (Hebrews 6:18)

It’s work to believe the truth, are you ready?

Restoration

Teresa Poucher

  I had a dream about my old Bible that I love so much and had rebound.  I was devastated in my dream when I saw that my dog had chewed approximately one-fourth of the written Word.  The leather cover was intact, but I figured it was almost useless since about a fourth of it was gone.  I showed several people what happened to my treasure and how distraught I was, then I put it down. When I came back, I saw all the pages had been restored.

  I looked up how many verses are in the Bible, a total of 31,102.  Then I looked up how many verses are promises. Guess how many?  7,487.  It’s safe to say, close to a fourth.  

Our God is a God of restoration. In 2 Kings chapter 4, we find a woman and her husband, who were childless. Elisha tells the woman she will embrace a son. Sure enough, after a time, she had a son. Then sometime later, he fell ill and died. We don’t know how old the child was when he died, but after finally getting the son the woman had desired for so long, I can’t imagine how she then felt after losing him. The woman sought out the prophet, and God raised the child back to life. ‘Talk about restoration.

  Years later, Elisha warned the same woman that a famine was coming that would last seven years.  She left Israel and then returned after living seven years in the land of the Philistines.  This woman, who was not named, went to the king in distress to seek the land she previously owned.  

  Don’t you know, she showed up just as Gehazi was telling the king about Elisha’s restoring her son to life.  Not only did the king give the woman her land back, but the king also restored all the income from the fruit it produced while she was gone.  Wow, that’s restoration!  (2 Kings 8)

  In 1 Samuel chapter 30, we read about how David and his army had left Ziglag.  The Amalekites came and took their wives and children and burned their land.  It says they wept until they could weep no more.  They grieved so much, they spoke of stoning David.  Yet we see, he encouraged himself and sought the Lord.  David went with only a portion of his army.  Not only did he recover ALL, but he also took their flocks and herds.  Our God is a God of restoration.

We love to hear stories of restoration. Yet, to have something restored means we have lost something. What have you lost? God knows what it is to lose something. He lost his intimate fellowship with Adam and Eve in the garden. However, he had a plan to get it back. One can follow that plan through the Old Testament into the New. His life, death, burial, resurrection, and our infilling of the Holy Ghost. Now that is restoration.

Pour It Out

Teresa Poucher

In 2nd Kings, we read of a woman who lost her husband. Now the creditors are trying to take her sons to be bondsmen. ‘Talk about a grave situation!

So she went from him, and shut the door upon her and upon her sons, who brought the vessels to her; and she poured out.” (II Kings 4:5)

  In 1st Samuel, we read of Hannah, who is devastated because she has no child, which made her a reproach in her day. She goes to the temple and pours out her heart to the Lord.  We know God honored this petition.

“And Hannah answered and said, No, my Lord, I am a woman of a sorrowful spirit: I have drunk neither wine nor strong drink, but have poured out my soul before the LORD.” (I Samuel 1:15)

  What comes to your mind when you think of Jacob?  Wow, what a character!  Like David, he had a lot of good, and bad.  In the first part of his life, we see him as a deceiver.  Yes, we reap what we sow, and he had his fair share of being cheated and lied to. When he decided to go back home (in Genesis 32) he was afraid of his brother Esau, from whom he cheated his birthright and blessing.  Perhaps Esau would kill him, and possibly even his family.  So, he sends messengers, camels, herds, and gifts.  He separates his family, hoping some of them would be spared while he stayed at Jabbok.  

Strong’s Concordance defines Jabbok as “pour out” [H1238] as “to empty, figuratively.”

  While throughout the night, he wrestles with an angel.  His thigh is changed for life, and he walks with a limp. 

“Thy name shall be called no more Jacob, but Israel: for as a prince hast thou power with God and with men, and hast prevailed.” (Genesis 32:38)

  Just what did he pour out at Jabbok?  I believe he poured out his past — all his sin, disappointments, fears, griefs, and losses.  I’m sure you can add to the list.  Yet, as he poured out, God poured in.  He was never the same again; God even changed the name with which he was identified.  The pouring out may have been painful, but the outpouring of God was life-changing. 

And when he saw that he prevailed not against him, he touched the hollow of his thigh; and the hollow of Jacob’s thigh was out of joint, as he wrestled with him.” (Genesis 32:35)

This outpouring of God won’t come until we, like Hannah, the widow, and Jacob, pour out all of our past as well as our hearts.

And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh...” (Joel 2:28)

“He must increase, but I must decrease.” (John 3:30)

Let’s make room; I’m ready for an outpouring, aren’t you?

What Lies Ahead

Teresa Poucher

Why do Christians struggle so much?

  Sometimes, we Christians are like babies.  We need to be bottle-fed.  That’s okay if you’re a babe in Christ.  My word, how long are you supposed to be a babe?  The milk of the Word of God is wonderful.  The meat may be hard to digest, even hard to swallow at times. Yet, our strength is determined by our time spent in His Word and prayer.  Going to church collectively is great, but can you have church when no one else is there?

When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things.” (1 Corinthians 13:11)

  Is it possible we haven’t grown spiritually because we haven’t let go of some things from our childhood?  If you desire to grow, let it go.  Don’t remain a babe in Christ because you haven’t gotten past your childhood.

Brothers and sisters, I do not consider that I have made it my own yet; but one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead…” (Philippians 3:13 AMP)

The Rock of Gibraltar

Teresa Poucher

Way back in the late 1890s, the Prudential Insurance Company used the Rock of Gibraltar in their advertising slogans, “Get a piece of the rock” and “the strength of Gibraltar.” Like their slogans, this company has proven the test of time and withstood many a storm. Prudential is still a highly successful business.

I was unaware Gibraltar was a monolithic limestone promontory.

‘Reminds me of our God:

And did all drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was Christ.” (ICorinthians 10:4) The writer was speaking of the Israelites drinking from the rock spoken of in Exodus 17:6.

Strong’s Concordance: Rock [G4073] in Greek is “petra” – a (mass of) rock. We also read in Matthew 16:18, “…upon this rock I will build my church.” The word “rock” here is also petra in Greek.

  We often hear of Peter being called a rock:

And he brought him to Jesus. And when Jesus beheld him, he said, Thou art Simon the son of Jona: thou shalt be called Cephas, which is by interpretation, A stone.” (John 1:42)

And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against.” (Matthew 16:18) When we look up Peter in Strong’s, we see [G4074] Petros – a (piece of) rock. So, Peter was a piece of the rock, somewhat like the Prudential slogan, “Get a piece of the rock!”

  The church was not built on Peter, “a piece of the rock;” It was built on Jesus, The Rock.

Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD, Behold, I lay in Zion for a foundation a stone, a tried stone, a precious corner stone, a sure foundation...” (Isaiah 28:16)

Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house…. Behold, I lay in Sion a chief corner stone, elect, precious:” ( I Peter 2:5-6)

For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ.” (I Corinthians 3:11)

  Peter (Petros) was a piece of The Rock (Petra – a mass of rock). He received a revelation that Jesus was The Christ: “…God was manifested in the flesh…” 1 Timothy 3:16

He is like a man which built an house, and digged deep, and laid the foundation on a rock (Petra): and when the flood arose, the stream beat vehemently upon that house, and could not shake it: for it was founded upon a rock (Petra).” (Luke 6:48)

I surely want a piece of that Rock, the revelation of who Jesus is. I want to build my life on The Rock, Christ Jesus.

So!

Teresa Poucher

There are three girls in our family. I’m the youngest. My oldest sister Linda is intelligent, beautiful, caring, and, let’s just say, a little bossy. Well, that is what older sisters are supposed to be — in charge when Mom isn’t around. What if Mom is around?

Let’s not leave out the middle sister, Debbie. Funny how the middle child often gets left out. She is also smart, beautiful, sensitive, and more passive. I, on the other hand, am stubborn (still working on that). Like most younger siblings, I loved to aggravate my oldest sister. I would even encourage Debbie to stand up for herself. I would tell her, “Just hit her once, I’ll take over.” (That one, I have gotten over.)

  All I had to do to make Linda mad was to say, ”So.”  I enjoyed it so much; she would get furious.  I didn’t care if she would hit me; I wasn’t afraid of her.

  Hmmm, maybe we need to tell Satan that liar, “So!”

“Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour…” (I Peter 5:8)

  Psalms 37 tells us not to fret, but to trust, delight, commit, rest, cease from anger, and depart from evil.  Every one of these words or phrases could be a study in themselves.  When things are rough, and you don’t know what to do, continue to do those things you know to be tried, tested, and proven.  Just tell that liar, “So!” We don’t have to be afraid of him.

“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)

One Memorial That will Not Come Down

If one would ask 20 people to mention a memorial, which one would pop into their minds? I would imagine, depending on their age or ethnicity, they might come up with 18-20 different answers.

  “A memorial is an object which serves as a focus for the memory or the commemoration of something, usually an influential, deceased person or a historical, tragic event. Popular forms of memorials include landmark objects or works of art such as sculptures, statues or fountains, and parks.”  (Wikipedia)

When we look up memorial in a Bible dictionary, we see something similar. Yet when we reference Strong’s Concordance, our definition is a little different. All definitions of “memorial” are as a remembrance. Yet Strong’s also adds: “[H2146] writing, record [H2142] zakar, ZA-jar’; a primitive; root; also as denomination from H2145 properly, to mark (so to be recognized), I.e. remember. [H2143] scent[H234] offering

“And the LORD said unto Moses, Write this for a memorial in a book, and rehearse it in the ears of Joshua: for I will utterly put out the remembrance of Amalek from under heaven.” (Exodus 17:14)

  I believe it would behoove us to write some things down that God has done for us.  After all, even God has a book of remembrance.   

  “Then they that feared the LORD spake often one to another: and the LORD hearkened, and heard it, and a book of remembrance was written before him for them that feared the LORD, and that thought upon his name.”   (Malachi 3:16)

“…set a mark upon the foreheads of the men that sigh and cry for all the abomination…slay utterly … but come not near any man upon whom is the mark and begin at my sanctuary…” (Ezekiel 9:4,6)

And when he looked on him, he was afraid, and said, What is it, Lord? And he said unto him, Thy prayers and thine alms are come up for a memorial before God.” (Acts 10:4)

Last, but surely not least, we remember the woman that poured the ointment on Jesus’ head. Not just Judas, but “his disciples” called it a waste. (Matthew 26:1-13) We also read in the book of John, of Mary anointing Jesus by pouring the nard on his feet and wiping his feet with her hair. (John 12:1-8) What love, and devotion! While she offers this sacrifice of worship, the aroma fills the room. While they condemned her for waste, Jesus said it would be a memorial to her. I know we are not going to get five stones out of the Jordan river,so go ahead, write in your journal the good things God has done or the treasure you found in His Word. Cry out and mourn for the abominations that are taking place in our world. Give of your time and finances. Let the sweet aroma of your prayers and praise build a memorial that won’t be forgotten.

…The God of heaven, he will prosper us; therefore we his servants will arise and build: but ye have no portion, nor right, nor memorial, in Jerusalem. Nehemiah 2:20

Have you made a memorial that won’t come down?

Friendly Fire

Teresa Poucher

  I am proud to say, I was brought up in a military family. I want to express my thanks and admiration to all who have or will serve in the armed forces.

  I’m familiar with the term “friendly fire.”  

  I can’t begin to imagine the pain a family faces with friendly fire. Death or injury by any means is a tragedy.  To die or be wounded at the hands of your own people is horrific. One is considered a hero if they die in war. What consolation is it if it’s friendly fire…?

  What about the person that received the wrong coordinates or other miscommunication…?

  I’m saddened to see friendly fire in our churches. We expect attacks from the adversary.  If a flood or hurricane comes through,you can rest assured we will pull together, giving our finances, as well as time, to clean and rebuild.

  We are the body of Christ.  Also known as the bride of Christ.  When we cause pain to our brother or sister, it’s like we have an autoimmune disease, wherein the body attacks itself.  Talk about friendly fire. 

  The United States is anything but united right now.  We know there is power in numbers, but the power of unity surpasses that of the multitudes.  Take for instance the story of Gideon found in the fourth chapter of Judges where God dwindled an army of 32,000 down to 300.  Yet they won the battle against the Midianites and the Amalekites.  

  We are one body with many members.  We are “the bride” of Christ.

  “Endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.  There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling;  One Lord, one faith, one baptism…”   (Ephesians 4:3-5)

  “Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity!”  (Psalms 133:1) 

Does my heart have the proper coordinates? Are all my communications appropriate?

Go Digging

Teresa Poucher

  I do like to dig in the dirt.  With the COVID-19 pandemic, we have a lot of time on our hands.  Hmmm, I’m actually thinking about digging a hole to put my quail’s dung in.  I can use the dirt I have now that was in my old burn pile, replace it with waste, burn on top of it, and next year, I’ll have some good dirt for my garden.  Sounds like I’ll be busy tomorrow.

We dig for many reasons – usually to plant flowers, bushes, or a garden. Living in south Louisiana, I have dug with a shovel and hit water. In 1848, people rushed to California to dig for gold. My grandfather migrated from Spain to West Virginia to dig for coal. Others will dig for precious stones, copper, silver, and hidden treasures.

  In the Bible, we find men also did a lot of digging.  The need for wells was a necessity.  Abraham and Issac were known for digging wells.  

  The Bible is the most wonderful book ever written.  Bibles come in many fonts and sizes, maybe 3/4 of an inch to 3 inches or more; yet, you can dig ‘til the day you die and never find all the golden nuggets and hidden treasures.  The more you dig, the more your desire grows. So, dig deeper into the unending treasures of happiness, joy, peace, truth, and knowledge of the love of God and everlasting life. Go ahead, no telling what you will find!

He is like a man which built an house, and digged deep, and laid the foundation on a rock: and when the flood arose, the stream beat vehemently upon that house, and could not shake it: for it was founded upon a rock.” (Luke 6:48)

“…and dig for it more than for hid treasures…” (Job 3: 21)