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What is YWAM?

I was just talking with a friend who wasn’t familiar with YWAM. That reminded me how YWAM was almost part of me for the past two decades, but others may not know about it at all. Saying that it is “Youth With A Mission” is OK, but merely a definition. Showing the YWAM logo (on the left) might help you notice YWAM in action if you see that logo on shirts, jackets or vests. Saying that it is a group of people with bases worldwide out to help and support people in their neighboring towns and villages (and cities) is a bit better.  Saying that those in YWAM are out to bring the love of Jesus to those around them is even better. But I will use some video clips (very short) to maybe provide a peek at how YWAM is out there where they are needed… in these examples… in Ukraine. Sharyn is from Idaho but has been in Ukraine since 1996. She and her Ternopil Ukraine YWAM team have been providing food, medical supplies and other resources (including prayers) to those in Ukraine. Here are about 30 minutes of short videos from her and YWAM Ukraine:

  • Cute YWAM 12 sec Video (0:12) Facebook (bringing food to the elderly) March 11
  • YWAM Ukraine Video (4:49) Facebook (why Yulia stayed in Ukraine when the bombing began) March 3
  • YWAM Kyiv Video (2:25) Facebook (food, friendship, medical supplies, dignity) March 28
  • YWAM Ternopil Video (1:44) Facebook from our YWAM Lady (Sharyn) Feb 26
  • YWAM Ternopil Video (2:21) from our YWAM Lady (Sharyn) March 16
  • YWAM Ternopil Video (2:49) from our YWAM Lady (Sharyn) March 9
  • YWAM Ternopil Video (4:08) Facebook from our YWAM Lady (Sharyn) March 7
  • YWAM Ternopil Video (3:49) Facebook form our YWAM Lady (Sharyn) March 25
  • YWAM Update from Sharyn (6min) April 10
  • YWAM Update (2min 40secs – From Sharyn) April 28
  • YWAM Update (2min 19secs – From Sharyn) April 29
  • Food Arrived to YWAM from Romania and Netherlands (32secs) April 28
  • YWAM Warehouse for food distribution (1min 52sec) April 23 (edited with music and subtitles) Hello, My name is Anya. I am from Donbas, From Torez City, Very Cool City! I serve at the YWAM Base. I am very happy that I can be useful. To be honest, I’m really happy that God gives opportunities to serve even with small things like this.
    Hello Everyone, Hello from Ternopil. Behind my back you can see tons of different supplies. Truck with it came yesterday. Truck was from Romania. So today we packed 650 food bags. Our goal is to reach 700 bags. All these bags will be given to families in need in our city, Ternopil. Next week we’re planning to do it again for refugees. I’m so grateful for the team that we have. A lot of volunteers are working here, and they work very fast. It took 2 hours to pack 650 bags. This is so cool.

=> Basketball Hoop (1min) April 9 – supporting their community is more than just food and medical supplies … it is a basketball hoop for the kids!

=> Metro Grocery Market (2:30) April 15 – while most stores are closed, Metro Market is open and donating food to YWAM to distribute —  of Facebook Video:
This is Sergey, director of Kyiv Metro (grocery market place)
What is your message for the people all around the world as a Ukrainian?
Sergey: I want to say that Ukraine has big and strong guts. It is our motherland and we will do everything to get victory. We believe that with your help we are strong. Thank you for your support. Thank you very much. Ukraine is a beautiful country with a great future and we will do everything for this.
Japhin (YWAM Kyiv): And thank you so much for supporting YWAM Kyiv and everything we do. Thank you so much.
Subtitles from the video: We have been buying a lot of groceries from the Metro. Even when most stores were closed they remained open to serve the city. They have always been keen to come alongside and help us (YWAM). Few days back Sergey (Metro) informed us that Metro is willing to help us serve Ukraine. We are happy about it as it will drastically increase the reach of people we help. Today itself with their support, we blessed 100 Soldiers, 30 families. It is a blessing to see businesses value serving people.
Japhin: Sergey of Metro, kept his promise and is donating quite a lot of stuff. Today we came to pick up 1 ton of potatoes, and he offered three tons. We didn’t have space. We are taking 1 ton of potatoes and all these things that he gave to us. Marie, are you happy?
Marie (YWAM Kyiv): I am so happy. And I am happy with all these shampoos. It will help us feel like humans again when we can wash ourselves properly. You know when you smell nice, you feel like a human again after all this tragedy.
Japhin: And you are excited for eating 1 ton of potatoes?
Marie: One ton of potatoes … I am not ready to eat all of them. But I know Ukrainians are ready to eat all of them, so yeah.
Japhin: We are excited. Thank you for supporting us.

I also have a 4 page PDF that you can view => YWAM Ukraine Stories

This is from that PDF (but the PDF looks much nicer and includes pictures):

YWAM Kyiv Marie – Our phone does not stop ringing. Today, we were called to an apartment building to deliver 15 food boxes. It felt completely abandoned. People would not open their doors. We could hear the noise of a television inside. But they would open only if we called on the phone. They are afraid to open the door. Too many reports about Russians infiltrating, looting, and violating residential areas. They are afraid to go out. Too much noise in the sky. So they just sit inside and wait for some kind of salvation. ALL of them pray. You can tell most of them are not religious people. But now, everybody prays. They say, “We have no hope besides God”.
Please pray for safety for the people in the apartments. Pray for God to continue to shield our team in Kyiv and the rest of Ukraine in every way, in their health, in their hearts, and from the enemy. The battle continues.
—:
YWAM Kyiv Marie – Today, we got a call from an elderly home outside of Kyiv that was running out of food, medicine, and sanitary items. We got there just one hour before curfew was about to start. We were tired and exhausted after another long day of shop hopping. On the way, we had to pass several military checkpoints. They urged us to go back home and warned us that unauthorized driving during curfew is very dangerous. So we kept our eyes on the time and did not pay much attention where Google maps led us. Until we stood in front of a house that we suddenly recognized. It turned out that the elderly home was in the house that two missionary
families used to live in until last year!
What are the odds that in a city of 3 million, we would be called to an elderly home in the exact house where missionaries used to live?
We were just in awe and praising God as we walked through the door and looked into the shining eyes of lovely Ukrainian grandmas. All tiredness was gone in an instant. Though our eyes were on the clock, we had the most precious time with these old ladies. They told us they only got food once a day since the war started. All of their helpers but two left to the West. It was sad to see the most vulnerable left behind. They had tears in their eyes when they saw the amount of food we brought with us. We asked the staff how long they had been in this location. They shared an unbelievable testimony: they rented a space in the city center, but in January the rent was raised, so they moved to the village. In that same building where they used to live, a Russian plane crashed 5 days ago. In Ukraine, we say ‘Slava Bogu’ when we hear something like this – Praise be to God.
My hair is smelling from smoke after delivering meals. My legs and arms are sore from carrying heavy groceries. My eyes are tired from following live updates about fighting. Yet my heart is joyful. If this testimony from today evening taught me one thing; then it is this: Jesus is the One at work. Oh how little do we have to do with it. His work always continues. If we are in a place and put our fate in His hand; great, He will use us. Jesus says, if His people would be silent, the very stones would cry out. I believe this is true and today this word was filled with life in front of my eyes.
—:

YWAM Kyiv Marie – Yesterday, a couple of people shared their need for some groceries. So we went to deliver. But to our surprise, when we arrived, they said they don’t need anything anymore. I was like, what shall we do with the stuff? We gave nothing away the whole afternoon. We even forgot about it.
Later in the evening, A grandma came up to us and asked if we had some tomato paste; I thought it was a random thing to ask a stranger. But Marie did not let the lady finish the sentence. She said, yes, we have it. Let me get it from the car. On our way to the car, I told her no, we don’t have tomato paste; Marie was like, let’s check. So when we opened the car, for sure, there was. We gave her all she wanted.
A few minutes later, a guy asked us if we had some bread for him. So we opened the car, and there was bread. In the next one hour, God led us to four other people. All women, who were in their 70’s. That 90 minutes with all these people brought us so much joy.
None of the encounters was planned. Random strangers came up and shared their needs. And this car was like the Magician’s hat. Things just kept coming out of it, to the point, that they could choose what they wanted. It was a happy day; God gave us the privilege to be a blessing to those six random people.
A new law is breaking through in Ukraine. It is the law of kindness. We see a need, but we also see kindness, meeting the need. We see evil, but we also see goodness overflowing in the streets from within.
When I came to Ukraine, if there was one thing I struggled with, it was that people never smiled at strangers or, for that matter, did not make eye contact. But now, I feel people share a collective bond—a feeling of oneness. There are no strangers; everyone is a friend. People smile more. People look into the eyes more. We have made more friends this month than all the months put together.
Everybody has time to open up about their life and share their story. You become friends with cooks and soldiers, and cashiers. Everybody goes all in because there is no plan B. If plan A doesn’t work, nothing matters anyway. So we throw in our best resources, our best skills, our own lives. Kyle Schlegel…Thanks for allowing us to use your car. It has blessed hundreds of people.
—:
YWAM Kyiv Japhin & Marie – Today, we went to a government facility; suddenly,
the air alert started ringing in our ears, reminding us to find shelter. We looked
into each other’s eyes. We were standing 10 meters apart.
She yelled, WHAT SHOULD WE DO?
I said; I don’t know.
I am someone who likes to have an answer. But at that moment, I had nothing. Two times every year, we have a fire safety drill. But we never got a war drill. So who can be prepared for a bomb?
A couple of seconds later, there was a loud blast close-by. We expected a loud explosion, and we were mentally ready for it. But our bodies were not; our minds were not prepared for it. We just stood there. Still looking into each other’s eyes, each holding groceries we were about to deliver.
These are the times when reason goes numb. You give up and are ready to accept the consequences of war.
When we arrived back home, I looked into Marie’s eyes. I knew she was a little shaken. We sat in the car for 10 minutes. What should I say? Can I say it was nothing? Can I say it was okay? It was not okay, and it was not nothing. It has been one month; we are not ready. Nobody can be ready. After the 10 minute talk in the car (more like 10 minutes staring at each other), we were ready to go, serve, and do what we were supposed to do. That blast did not stop us. So, we live another day to love and to serve.
God says, “Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.”

And now, the rest of the story:

YWAM was founded in 1960 and now has over 20,000 “unpaid staff” with bases in nearly every single country in the world.

100 Thank You’s from 100 Prayers I wrote

While my prayers for my good friend are private, the beginning of each prayer can be shared because it speaks to the things that I am thankful for! Actually it was at her request that I compiled this list because she wanted to see all the things I am thankful for. And as I told her:

 “Thank you for the challenge to put together a full list of all the thankfulness that I begin my prayers with. I have never done this before (since it is not simple). But you asked (and maybe it was God prompting you to ask)… and then God asked ME to accept your challenge.”

It is really something to see these, one after another after another after another. I think that as you read them you will realize how much God loves you (whoever is reading this with me now). I made it to #31 before tears were in my eyes (yeah, they are happy tears). So, get ready, then start reading:

  1. Thank you for the many godly people you have placed in my path over the past few decades. Thank you for allowing me to know this friend who once told me that she got baptized three times JUST TO BE SURE! As for me, I am sure that I couldn’t ask for a better friend than her. 
  2. Thank you for this wonderful, this beautiful, this magnificent world that you created just for us. And each morning you pull us up next to you so that we can begin the day ANEW. Anew with You.
  3. Thank you for all your provisions and all your protection. You know my needs and are so faithful. You watch over me day and night. And I come now and say “Thank you, thank you, thank you!”
  4. Thank you for the small things like the small birds at our bird feeder. Thank you for the large things, like the majestic sunrise and sunset. Thank you for the beauty you have placed around us if we take time to look for it.
  5. Thank you for flowers. Thank you for plants. Thank you for bushes. Thank you for trees. Thank you that all of these are right here in my yard… a beautiful piece of your creation right here in my yard!
  6. Thank you for coffee. Thank you for hot coffee. Thank you for the many varieties of coffee. Thank you for how a cup of coffee can wake up a sleepy soul and warm a chilled body. Thank you Lord. And thank you for letting this friend’s journey in life intersect with mine so many years ago. Thank you for rekindling that friendship again now

Continue reading “100 Thank You’s from 100 Prayers I wrote”

Music is in Our Midst

Did you ever notice that there just is some music that makes you happy? Or even joyful? And given the right music, that is quite biblical. If you feel like joy is being sucked out from within you, maybe listening to some joy filled music will help pump some joy back into you! And the songs need not have any lyrics to do this. It’s just the music itself that does it.

Six years ago, when the Handwritten Bible was put on display inside the Wisconsin State Capitol, the whole duration of that time music from Lindsey Stirling was playing in the background. Here is a VERY short clip from that time on display:

Shortly after that God asked me to write a prayer for her every day for a year. Each prayer revolved around a Scripture passage, and forty of them focused upon music and musicians. If you are interested in those Scriptures (or prayers which of course you can pray along with), I will include the list with links at the end of this article).

Lindsey Stirling spoke of God at her concerts as well as online. She referred to herself as a daughter of God (which, indeed she is). She composed much of her music herself. Likewise, she designed her music video costumes and did her own choreography. And if you have been impressed with her music videos, it may have something to do with her studies of film making in college, and with the people she partners with.

As an example, here is a song she composed, choreographed and performed herself. I saw her perform this live … and I re-prayed all 40 prayers listed below while I was there at her concert! First… here is her official video for Shadows:

And if you thought that was great … wait till you see her perform it live … I have one of her live concerts all queued up to just before she performs Shadows at the very bottom of this article (I included the last few seconds of her prior song plus her verbal intro to Shadows).

But before you scroll down, here is a more peppy song if you feel the need for some energy (from one of her concerts):

This is her prayer website ( ADaughterOfGod.com ) for the segment of music and musician related prayers:

Prayers based on scriptures about music, musicians and musical instruments:

As promised … here is Lindsey Stirling performing Shadows live (with a short intro):

Live Loved

God asked me to write a poem on Saturday … this is what I ended up with (subject to change, but in pretty good shape):

Start the New Year with Less (and More)

It was perfect timing when I got the email from Rhonda at The River Food Pantry. I used to volunteer there since it opened 15 years ago, but lately my back issues prevent me from helping those who need our help in person. That is why Rhonda’s email was perfect timing because it reminded me (and you in turn) that we CAN help those in need by helping The River help them! Donations to the River are certainly needed as they are serving more people than ever before.  If you can’t help in person (by volunteering), please consider joining me to help them using their new monthly donation program with a BIG BONUS. Yes, I said BIG BONUS! When you sign up to donate monthly a GENEROUS somebody will donate $500 to the River. Yes, $500 for EVERY SINGLE PERSON who signs up for automated monthly donations, even just $20 per month. But this needn’t be an “Either Or” choice … it can be “Both And” because you can both volunteer AND donate (which what I did for a decade). And I know that The River is truly grateful in all cases!

Let’s start the new year being grateful and generous ourselves. Let’s start with a little less for us and a little more for someone else. Let’s start the new year acknowledging what Jesus told his followers, when they wondered why he said that they had helped him when he was hungry (after all, they may never have even met him!). Here is what they said … and how Jesus replied:

Lord, when did we see you hungry and give you food?… I tell you this: whenever you saw a brother or sister hungry or cold, whatever you did to the least of these, so you did to Me. (Gospel of Matthew 25:37-40)

So … let’s help our neighbors who need our help. And just in case you are wondering just how much help that really amounts to … take a look back at the summary for last year (click it to zoom):

Oh … in case you forgot … this is the impact that The River Food Pantry made right here with our neighbors in Dane County! Here is a way to remember how we can help help others:

Now, let me share the Email from Rhonda at The River with you:

Continue reading “Start the New Year with Less (and More)”

Is this what it’s like to walk 20 years with God and then one day NOT sense him?

First, before reading this, be sure to read my prior article (or this won’t make much sense):

=> 20 Years With The Presence of God

OK … now let’s look at a Scripture that I just read … one that made me think of my prior article:

27 But when she came to the man of God at the mountain, she fell to the ground before him and caught hold of his feet. Gehazi began to push her away, but the man of God said, “Leave her alone. She is deeply troubled, but the Lord has not told me what it is.” (2Kings 4:27-28 NLT)

When I saw that it jumped out at me! That is what it is like to always be in close contact with God, feeling his presence all around you all day (what God tole me was normal) and then all of a sudden… NOTHING!

NOTHING … Nothing on the TV… Nothing through the arch

Just so you can place this in context, here is the entire passage that leads up to that NOTHING:

Elisha (to Gehazi): 14 Is there anything at all that I can do for her?

Gehazi: Actually, her husband is an old man, and she doesn’t have a son.

Elisha: 15 Tell her to come here.

Gehazi called out her name, and she came and stood at the entrance to the room.

Elisha: 16 This time next year, when spring is full of new life, you will hold a son of your own in your arms.

Shunammite Woman: That’s impossible, my lord! You are a man of great integrity, a man of God, so please do not deceive me, your servant.

17 But that time next year, the Shunammite woman did conceive and deliver a son, just as Elisha said she would. 18 When the child was older, he walked out to his father, who was harvesting the fields with the reapers.

Son (to his father): 19 My head hurts! My head hurts!

Father (to his servant): Take the child inside to his mother.

20 The servant brought the child inside to his mother; and about noon, while the boy was sitting in his mother’s lap, he died. 21 She took his lifeless body and laid him down on Elisha’s bed. She then closed the door and went away.

Shunammite Woman (to her husband): 22 I beg you to send me a servant and a donkey so that I can go find Elisha, the man of God. As soon as I do, I will come back here.

Father: 23 Why is it that you are so anxious to find him today? Today is not a holy day—a new moon or a Sabbath.

Shunammite Woman: Don’t worry; all will be well.

24 She prepared the donkey and gave instructions to her servant.

Shunammite Woman: Go quickly! Don’t slow down unless I tell you to.

25 She rode quickly toward the man of God who was staying about a day away on Mount Carmel. As she approached, Elisha saw her at a distance.

Elisha (to Gehazi): Look! It’s the Shunammite woman. 26 Go quickly to see what she wants. Ask her, “Is everything fine? Is your husband well? Is your son well?”

Shunammite Woman: Everything is fine.

27 When she approached the man of God at the mountain, she fell to the ground and hugged his feet. Gehazi approached to pull her away, but the man of God stopped him.

Elisha: Leave her be. Her very soul is distressed, but the Eternal has kept her troubles hidden from me. (2Kings 4:14-27 Voice)

20 Years With the Presence of God

Walking with God is simple, yet it is hard to continually do so. I don’t know if I will have a “tombstone” or not, but, if so, I’d like it to truthfully say, “He walked with God“.

Acknowledging God is simple, yet at times around others I get nervous and not know what to say (or simply chicken out)! I need to keep practicing!

God is always with us (hence the URL for this website), yet Scriptures tell us that WE must come near to him.

Perhaps I need to continually PRACTICE being in the presence of God.

Just SOME of the copies I have that fit on my lap! A few extra copies in case I need to give a copy to someone!

Perhaps I need to CHOOSE to be “normal” as God has defined it to me!

And today it struck me… I have been TRYING to walk, acknowledge and practice… so has it finally become a way of life for me? Is a way of life a bit more than just a set of habits? Yet, those “habits” I think are PART of this way of life!  Writing prayers for someone benefits me as well as them. I have made many websites for someone where I post my written prayers. I have printed and mailed prayers to people. I have even collected my prayers prayed over time for someone into a book:

A few of my prayers books
The index to the Scriptures used as a basis for 200 prayers for a friend
One Year of Prayers for someone I have never met or spoken with

God has told me that I am living my life as a prayer … so that is how I am able to pray continuously! And walking with God for decades has provided me with PLENTY of stories! Sharing my stories helps me remember my choices, my habits, my walk! And now, over the past two years, I have collected just SOME of the stories as part one of my Legacy Bible Companion book(s):

If you know me and were part of my journey, please send me an email or txt message with stories we shared… please help me to remember those times, those stories!

A Psalm (by Len)

This PDF is nicely formatted=> A Psalm (by Len)

A Psalm (by Len) 

All mighty are You O Lord
. Awesome are the works of Your hands

Blessed is Your name in all the earth
. Beauty flows wherever You go

Caring is Your heart for all men
. Compassion is in Your eyes

Defender of the orphan and the widow
. Delighting over Your every child

Eternal God, creator of all things
. Encouraging those who trust in You

Fortress when we are weak
. Father of Lights, we praise Your holy name

Glory is before us everywhere we look
. Gracious are Your ways

Healer, helper, everything wonderful
. Holy, holy, holy – God of heaven and earth

I am, You say, and so it is
. Immanuel, God is with us this day

Joyful, just, glorious are You Lord
. Jesus, Your name we lift on high

Keeper of Your promises
. Kindness is ever on Your mind

Loving and laughing You listen to our stories
. Life and light are Your gifts always

Majestic are the heavens, created just for us
. Marvelous and amazing are Your deeds

Never forsaking us, You answer when we call;
.New, You made us, when You called us Your own

Orchestrator of miracles, unending they seem
. Only good are Your plans for those who cling to You

Patiently You watch over us all the day and through the night
. Powerful, all powerful and wonderful You are

Quick to respond to our calls for Your help
. Quieting the storms with just a word

Refuge for the oppressed, shelter in times of need
. Reveal more of Your glory to us, disclose bits more this day

Surely our hope is in You O Lord
. Secure and safe are we on this journey with You

Teach us Your ways, show us Your truth
. Triumphant let us walk with You.

Until our last breath we praise Your name
. United in Christ, we encourage and support each other

Victory is ours, for we read the end of the book
. Visit with us, meet with us, carry us as needed

Walk with us, run with us, sit with us today
. Welcome, we welcome You. Come Lord, be near

Yesterday, today, tomorrow, unchanging in Your love
. Young or old, Your mercy flows o’er us

Zion is Your mountain, set us up high with You
. Zealous for Your holy name, we give the glory all to You.

For all mighty are You O Lord
. And awesome are the works of Your hands.

Message From Space (direct from the Bible)

Read about it in their Short Article: Apollo 8 Christmas Message

Heavenly Father, good evening! Thank you for being with us. Thank you for being in our midst. Thank you for those NASA astronauts that chose to read from God’s Word as their message to everyone on earth. Thank you for the images from space that they sent along with their audio message. Thank you for the enormous impact those three men had then and how it reverberates even today! As they orbited the moon and saw the earth from afar … it was the Genesis creation that came to their minds. How fitting that they could intertwine the highly technical advances of man with the truth of how God created it all. And let’s re-read what those astronauts read from space to us:

William Anders
We are now approaching lunar sunrise, and for all the people back on Earth, the crew of Apollo 8 has a message that we would like to send to you.

In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.
And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep.
And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters. And God said, Let there be light: and there was light.
And God saw the light, that it was good: and God divided the light from the darkness.

James Lovell

And God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And the evening and the morning were the first day.
And God said, Let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters, and let it divide the waters from the waters.
And God made the firmament, and divided the waters which were under the firmament from the waters which were above the firmament: and it was so.
And God called the firmament Heaven. And the evening and the morning were the second day.”

Frank Borman

And God said, Let the waters under the heaven be gathered together unto one place, and let the dry land appear: and it was so.
And God called the dry land Earth; and the gathering together of the waters called he Seas: and God saw that it was good.
And from the crew of Apollo 8, we close with good night, good luck, a Merry Christmas – and God bless all of you, all of you on the good Earth.

Lord, it’s me again. I’m back. Just like the three astronauts that were a light to millions of people who they had never met, so too let us be a light, but to those we DO meet. Lord, I ask that you stay close to each of us. We need you now. Oh, how we need you now! Be there for us not only when we pray to you, but be there throughout the day. Let us feel your presence all around us. Fill us with your joy and let that joy be our strength this day. And together we will give you the glory. The glory is all yours. GLORY! I pray this in the name and authority of Christ Jesus, King of kings. Amen.

Do The Right Thing (Others Before Self)

Health Workers PLEAD for Public Cooperation

[Originally posted on October 10, 2020 … reposting 14 months later on December 9, 2021 because it is still the case… it is still true!]

I don’t think that Jesus gave us the option of sitting at a distance and doing nothing. Jesus didn’t want us to be silent and say NOTHING. Jesus wanted us to say something! And more than that, Jesus wanted us to DO SOMETHING. Jesus wants us to DO THE RIGHT THING!

Christianity revolves around two commands that Jesus said encompass everything! (Matthew 22:36-40)

First … Love God!

Second … Love Others!

Loving others means placing their needs and well-being before our own. In Romans 12:10 Paul even went so far as to imply that we should look at it as a contest to see which of us can best place the needs of others before our own! Of course, Paul was writing in Greek, and his words need to be translated into English. There are a variety of ways of phrasing what Paul said … here are a few translations (which ALL are saying the same thing but with different words):

  • Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor. (ESV)
  • Be devoted to one another with mutual love, showing eagerness in honoring one another. (NET)
  • Live in true devotion to one another, loving each other as sisters and brothers. Be first to honor others by putting them first. (Voice)
  • Love each other like brothers and sisters. Give each other more honor than you want for yourselves. (NCV)
  • Love each other with genuine affection, and take delight in honoring each other. (NLT)

As Christians, we should not need others to PLEAD with us to do the right thing, as the health workers and medical community are pleading for public cooperation (which they say is as simple as wearing a face mask whenever around others and adhering to the 6 foot social distancing recommendation).  Months ago, our churches should have imprinted face masks for all their congregation to wear when out in the public. Face masks that say “I place your well being before my own“.  Face masks that say, “Others Before Self” or even using the funky urban style messaging: “Others B4 Self“.

Our health workers are PLEADING with us (see the headline in the photo at the top of this article) … will any church step up and get masks for EVERYONE in their church to wear … face masks that boldly say WHY they are wearing them? Why? Because they are CHRISTIAN … and that’s what a Christian does … place others well-being before their own (yes, it is proven that face masks work to protect OTHERS – see source => PBS scientific explanation video).  Why not advance the kingdom by advancing the well-being of those around us? Don’t spout off a Bible verse at others while not wearing a mask. Instead, silently serve others and let the face mask speak for itself!

Others Before Self

There are many many many places that can make a custom imprinted face mask for you and your church. I will offer one company as an example, only because I have used their services in the past and found them to be excellent. The company’s name is “4Imprint”. You can call them at 877-446-7746 or visit their website to see their custom imprint face masks available … some even with 24 hour rush shipping! Click => Custom Imprinted Facemasks

Ask your church if they would be willing to give out “Others Before Self” face masks … and if so please let me know – I WANT ONE TOO! Face masks are NOT a political statement! They are a Christian statement placing others before self!

UPDATE: A few hours after I posted this article, it seemed that I should rethink having the word “Christian” on the face mask.  Perhaps back at the end of February or first week of March it may have been OK. But now our country has seen too much of how various people are behaving that it may come off as arrogant or hypocritical.  So … just having a face mask that says Others Before Self is sufficient, because if anyone asks you about it, you then have the opportunity to explain why!

I personally wrote this and grant permission to copy or use any of this for your own articles or posts – Len Lindsay (God Is In Our Midst) [second image is courtesy of ThinkDivinely.com ]

12 Tribes of Israel – See how God lists them (27 times)

The Twelve Tribes of Israel
Who’s First, Who’s Last, Does it matter?

Does it matter? “Of course it matters,” I hear some of you say.

Um… yeah.  We just might want it that way today – at least here in America! List them all, list them in order, list them properly.

But what does God think about it? We can get an inkling by looking at how GOD refers to the twelve tribes. When I saw this I was excited … I hope you are too!

I wondered about those twelve tribes.  They were very important to God. So I wondered how He referred to them.  So I looked in the Bible for all the places that the twelve tribes are referenced. As I found each reference I got more and more excited (they are referenced 27 times, so that’s lots of excitement). Follow along with me with just three examples, from Genesis, Numbers and Deuteronomy (a better chart is at the end):

The twelve tribes
(Genesis)

Reuben

:Simeon

::Levi

:::Judah

::::Dan

:::::Naphtali

::::::Gad

:::::::Asher

::::::::Issachar

:::::::::Zebulun

::::::::::Joseph

:::::::::::Benjamin


Marching Order
(Numbers)

Judah

:Issachar

::Zebulun

:::Reuben

::::Simeon

:::::Gad

::::::Levi

:::::::Ephraim (of Joseph)

::::::::Manasseh (of Joseph)

:::::::::Benjamin

::::::::::Dan

:::::::::::Asher

::::::::::::Naphtali


Moses’ Blessing
(Deuteronomy)

Reuben

:Judah

::Levi

:::Benjamin

::::Joseph

:::::Ephraim (of Joseph)

::::::Manasseh (of Joseph)

:::::::Zebulun

::::::::Issachar

:::::::::Gad

::::::::::Dan

:::::::::::Naphtali

::::::::::::Asher

And the tribes listed in Revelation were in a different order as well. The order that the tribes are listed is different each time. God managed to list them in a different order 25 times (actually it is almost tricky to be able to list them differently that many times)! It is almost like God went out of his way to always list them differently! The only time that the order was listed exactly the same was in Numbers, when the tribes marched out (and that is because our God is a God of order – and anytime the tribes had to march, they would march in the same order!)

And did you notice that when Moses gave his blessings to the tribes, Simeon is missing in the list? And in Revelations, did you notice that Dan and Ephraim are missing?

Somehow, this seems to me like God letting us know that we should quit being so concerned about who is first, second and third … and even not to worry if everyone is mentioned equally all the time!  Don’t get hung up on this perhaps.  Don’t worry about the order … just enjoy the journey! I know this is quite comforting to me!

I made a full color large print chart of all 27 ways the tribes were listed (with three in a row the same as the tribes were marching out). It would be best to view it as a PDF so you can zoom and choose how to print), but I also am providing a PNG image of the chart in case you can’t view PDF files.

Click=> Twelve Tribes as God Lists Them chart

PNG image:

Habakkuk Dramatization

The video performance is lost (it was a slide show) … but here is the full audio for the award winning dramatization of Habakkuk from Intervarsity (from over four decades ago):

=> Habakkuk Dramatization (51 minutes)

Be Kind To Everyone (the shirt)

Is “Be Kind” your word for this year? If so, why not support this fine young autistic lady who is making very soft comfy T-Shirts that compassionately say “Be Kind To Everyone“. There are several styles. The one I got (Jordan style) was so soft and felt so nice I ordered three more! She ships it right away and sends you tracking updates. She signs a card thanking you, includes a photo card with her “team” (family I am guessing), rolls the shirt and keeps it rolled with a free BeKindToEveryone wristband (which I now have four of).

Here is the link to her website where you can order your own BE KIND shirt:

https://BeKindToEveryone.com/

I personally wrote this and grant permission to copy or use any of this for your own articles or posts – Len Lindsay (God Is In Our Midst)

Properly Skeptic

Being skeptical can be a good thing. These are my magazines from the 1970’s that I was reading just after graduating from St. John’s University. I have the very first issue of Skeptic: The Forum For Contemporary History (note that this magazine was published for less than a decade and later another magazine was started, also called “Skeptic” but it was by a totally different group of people).

Note that I purposely included the word “proper” in the title to this article because it is a critically important aspect of skepticism. You won’t have a problem finding plenty of conspiracies and theories of how something may have happened or may happen in the future. But remember that a theory is not evidence, and many (most?) of these theories tend to have no proper evidence.

And that was what was so good about the Skeptic magazines that I was reading 40 years ago. The magazine included reprints of articles from reputable news sources like New York Magazine, New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Harper’s, Science, Natural History, Harvard Magazine, Congressional Quarterly, Smithsonian, The Economist and US News & World Report. Articles were by respected authors such as Alexander Hamilton (yes!), George Will, Senator George McGovern, Arnold Toynbee, Isaac Asimov, Harry S Truman, James R Schlesinger, Arthur Schlesinger Jr, Henry Kissinger and Eric Hoffer (see below).

Being a proper skeptic means doing research and reading from reputable sources and authors that would report on issues from all sides and viewpoints. Being a skeptic who only reads things from one view point from questionable sources is not something I would suggest because if you only hear the same viewpoint over and over you lose perspective and can be misled and deceived.

Another critically important aspect is to also have a good understanding of our past history and it’s implications.  For example, all of a sudden being afraid that our country is becoming fascist or socialist or communist needs some historical background PLUS an understanding of just what “fascism” is … just what “socialism” is (and is NOT). There is a noted political historian (Heather Cox Richardson) who has authored many books and decided when the pandemic struck to host hour long video’s twice a week to help people who are staying at home have something meaningful to watch. She has presented a history of the Republican Party (in 17 hour long segments), a history of our country (called American Paradox in 10 segments) and is now in the midst of a series about the Reconstruction after the Civil War. She also has a history and politics chat session once a week that talks about what is currently happening in our country. She reads and researches A LOT.  She also writes a daily “Letters From An American” newsletter that sums up what she sees happening for that day. These “letters” have a lengthy list of resources at the end that you can click on to read the full information for more details or to verify that her summary was accurate.

NOW…… what is interesting is that right when I started researching and praying about this article she had a very interesting current history and politics chat that covered many issues that people have on their minds. She noted that we are NOT becoming a Fascist country, we are NOT moving towards Socialism (and definitely NOT towards Communism) … she talked about sedition, secession, authoritarianism, oligarchy, the pandemic and how our election is over and was secure. But what surprised me is that she highly recommended a book by Eric Hoffer … yes, the SAME Eric Hoffer that I was reading back in the ’70’s in Skeptic magazine (see above).

Here is a link to that hour long history and politics chat (on her facebook page):

And here is a link to the Eric Hoffer book that she was highly recommending (The True Believer):

Now … for some resources for you to keep your skepticism proper:

And finally … just to set your minds at ease … our country is NOT going to become socialist as this one article in a very reputable newspaper (with 8 Pulitzer Prize Winners over the past decade): So much for “Biden the socialist”

I personally wrote this and grant permission to copy or use any of this for your own articles or posts – Len Lindsay (God Is In Our Midst)

Trusted News Sources

If your assumptions are faulty, your conclusions likely will be as well. You likely have heard that before, but now is the time for you to put it into practice. If your sources of information are flawed, no matter how diligent you are in analyzing them to come up with your own conclusions, they will be flawed as well. That said, some of my friends were wondering how to decide what sources are trustworthy, what sources are truthful.

First, you may wish to have a reputable newspaper as your source and to READ the news rather than WATCH the news (reading it online is easy on your smartphone or computer). This will give you time to actually think about what they are saying and ask yourself if they are writing opinions or commentary, or if they are relating facts to you. You can even pause to Google things that they are referring to! Everyone can have their own opinion, but we need truth to be our guide as to the facts.

With that in mind, I suggest that you read online news from newspapers with Pulitzer Prize winners on their staff. The Pulitzer Prize is a mark of excellence and a good sign that the newspaper has excellence in truthful factual reporting at it’s core. You can refer to who won the Pulitzer Prize for each of the past ten years below (I list the winners of Public Service Reporting, Breaking News, Investigative Reporting, Explanatory Reporting and National Reporting)

First the summary of the eight newspapers/news outlets that received 2 or more Pulitzer Awards in the past ten years (with a link to their website):

  1. New York Times (8 awards) [list of awards won]
    Washington Post
    (8 awards) [list of awards won]

  2. Seattle Times (3 awards)
    ProPublica (3 awards)

    Los Angeles Times (3 awards)
  3. Associated Press (2 awards)
    Wall Street Journal (2 awards)

    Sarasota Herald Tribune (2 awards)

Next, a Year by Year list (with a link to the years list) :

  1. 2020Anchorage Daily News / Courier Journal (Louisville, KY) / New York Times / Washington Post / Seattle Times
  2. 2019South Florida Sun Sentinel / Pittsburgh Post Gazette / Los Angeles Times / New York Times / Wall Street Journal
  3. 2018New York Times (2) / New Yorker / Press Democrat (Santa Rosa, CA) / Washington Post (2) / Arizona Republic / USA Today 
  4. 2017New York Daily News / ProPublica / East Bay Times (Oakland, CA) / Charleston Gazette Mail / Miami Herald / Washington Post
  5. 2016Associated Press / Los Angeles Times / Tampa Bay Times / Sarasota Herald Tribune / ProPublica / Washington Post
  6. 2015Post and Courier (Charleston, SC) / Seattle Times / New York Times / Wall Street Journal / Bloomberg News / Washington Post
  7. 2014Guardian US / Washington Post (2) / Boston Globe / Gazette (Colorado Springs, CO) 
  8. 2013Sun Sentinel (Fort Lauderdale, FL) / Denver Post / New York Times (2)
  9. 2012Philadelphia Inquirer / Tuscaloosa News / Associated Press / Seattle Times / New York Times / Huffington Post
  10. 2011Los Angeles Times / Sarasota Herald Tribune / Milwaukee Journal Sentinel / ProPublica

FYI … you can see a fairly comprehensive list of all the newspapers that have won Pulitzer Prizes: Wikipedia Article: Pulitzer Prize Winning Newspapers

Side note: Over the years I have found the BBC to be a good news source. They seem to be one of the few remaining fairly neutral news reporting sources! You can find their news reporting articles online as well as video clips of their TV reporting in YouTube and Facebook.

However, if you wish to WATCH the news, my suggestion is to watch a news source that includes Pulitzer Prize winners, such as these from MSNBC (with a link to their online videos):

  1. Deadline: White House with Nicole Wallace (White House Communications Director during the presidency of George W. Bush and in his 2004 re-election campaign as well as a senior advisor for John McCain’s 2008 presidential campaign) Weekdays 4-6pm ET
  2. The Last Word with Lawrence O’Donnell (an aide to U.S. Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan, Staff Director for the Senate Finance Committee and writer for The West Wing) Weekdays 10pm ET
  3. The Rachel Maddow Show (doctorate in political science from Oxford University) Weekdays 9pm ET

Special Note: Yes, it is true that MSNBC is left leaning in their reporting. That does NOT mean that they are making up their own facts or stories. Most news sources tend to lean to one side or the other, and it is my experience with news from both sides that the left leaning sources tend to be truthful and factual but often will ignore certain news stories that do not fit into their perspective. The right leaning news sources, however, tend to fabricate their own fact or state assumptions or opinion or commentary as if it were factual reporting. That is misleading and deceptive and can even be dangerous. So, I contemplated removing item 2 and 3 in my MSNBC list because they were left leaning – but chose to leave them on the list because they WERE FACTUAL and had high level reputable sources for their news including Pulitzer Prize winners!

Finally … remember that Fox News is not really news. True! There have been several court cases revolving around untruths being aired on Fox News and Fox News themselves admitted in those court cases that they are a commentary and opinion channel and that everyone knows this! (so, they expect YOU to know that they are not a factual news source too!). And, yes, you CAN verify this yourself. Just look at their online contract which in the beginning of the second paragraph specifies that Fox New is Entertainment and not news reporting:

FOX News furnishes the Site and the FOX News Services for your personal enjoyment and entertainment.

And then further in the contract:

FOX News makes no warranty that your use of the FOX News Services will be uninterrupted, timely, secure or error• free or that any information obtained by you on, through or in connection with the FOX News Services or Third Party Services (including but not limited to, through User Content or third party advertisements) will be accurate or reliable.

I personally wrote this and grant permission to copy or use any of this for your own articles or posts – Len Lindsay (God Is In Our Midst)

[photo used with permission from Digital Buggu]

What Jesus Said Matters 2

The Greatest Words Ever Spoken 
– a book by Steven K Scott

This is a fantastic book, so I typed out the 8 page Table of Contents. Since categorizing the things Jesus said is a hard task and likely no two people would come up with exactly the same categorization of the nearly 2,000 statements made by Jesus (or even just the same list of categories) I thought that looking at how Steven Scott categorized them might help you decide to buy the book or not. If you’d like a copy of the book but your finances are tight, just contact me and I will gladly send you a copy (I already have an extra copy here at home to give out to anyone who drops by and is interested). Here is how I preface the Table of Contents to his book that I typed out:

There are over 1,900 things that Jesus said within Scriptures. This book attempts to categorize them into about 200 categories (some passages are just 1 verse while some are literally dozens of verses). Looking at this LONG list (while typing out the table of contents to the book) it was immediately obvious that Jesus did not have a ONE ISSUE focus (so neither should we!) But he did focus on some things more often, so I boldfaced the 36 topics that came up in things he said at least TWENTY TIMES. I will present these top 36 topics first, followed by the complete list of over 200 topics!

I am including a PDF of this that you can download and save for future reference … it is a long list, so having a digital copy will let you search for a topic)

Click=> Greatest Words Ever Spoken (PDF)

Topics that Jesus spoke about at least 20 times:

  1. Commands of Christ (100)
  2. Claims Jesus Made About Himself (93)
  3. Jesus’ Words in Parables, Metaphors, and Allegories (82)
  4. The Promises of Christ (62)
  5. Jesus’ Death, Resurrection, and Second Coming (59)
  6. Following Christ (Discipleship) (58)
  7. Jesus’ Identify (56)
  8. The Judgment, Hell, and Eternal Punishment (55)
  9. The Kingdom of God and the Kingdom of Heaven (55)
  10. Jesus’ Missions (54)
  11. The Mission of a Christian (54)
  12. Jesus’ Relationship with God the Father (52)
  13. Eternal Life (Salvation) (48)
  14. God the Father (47)
  15. Spiritual Priorities (47)
  16. Belief and Faith in Christ (45)
  17. Heaven (36)
  18. Prophesied Events and Fulfilled Prophecy (32)
  19. Obedience and Good Works (29)
  20. Faith (Examples of) (28)
  21. Wisdom and Understanding (27)
  22. The Heart (27)
  23. Anxiety, Worry, and Fear (26)
  24. Healing (26)
  25. The Worth of an Individual (26)
  26. Honoring and Glorifying Christ; the Glory of Christ (25)
  27. Prayer (25)
  28. Unbelief and Motives of Unbelievers (25)
  29. Abiding in the Words of Christ (22)
  30. Forgiveness (22)
  31. Sin (22)
  32. The Shepherd and His Sheep (Jesus Leading and Providing for His Followers) (21)
  33. The Laws of God (21)
  34. Hypocrites, Hypocrisy, and Self-Righteousness (20)
  35. Eternal Laws (20)
  36. Repentance (20)

The complete list:

Continue reading “What Jesus Said Matters 2”

What Jesus Said Matters

What Jesus Said Matters – Matthew (next do What Jesus Did Matters)

The title can be taken two ways …. first that everything that Jesus said actually matters! Second, that the things Jesus talked about were important, they were things that mattered to Him!

Want to help make a list summarizing what Jesus talked about? Send me an email (or use the contact page) if you can help. Thanks.

Here is all that is needed … verse by verse, what Jesus said summarized in a few words (one or two if possible).

I am working on Matthew first … here is my start at this project (NOTE: each verse reference is a LINK to all the translations for that verse on BibleGateway):

Mat 3:15 Righteousness

Mat 4:4 God’s Word is Life

Mat 4:7 Don’t Test God

Mat 4:10 Worship and Serve only God

Mat 4:17 Repent

Mat 4:19 Follow Me (for the people)

Mat 5:3 Poor in Spirit, Humble-minded are blessed

Mat 5:4  Sad, Mourning will be comforted

Mat 5:5 Meek, Humble, Gentle are blessed

Mat 5:6 Righteousness are blessed

Mat 5:7 Merciful are blessed

Mat 5:8 Pure in Heart are blessed

Mat 5:9 Peacemakers (cooperate rather than compete/fight)

Mat 5:10 Persecuted for righteousness are blessed

Mat 5:11 Stand with Jesus (and what he said and did)

Mat 5:12 Reward in Heaven for standing with Jesus

Mat 5:13 Be Salt of the Earth (don’t let it be corrupted by worldly matters)

Mat 5:14 Be a Light to the world

Mat 5:15 Share your Light

Mat 5:16 Your light is your good works

Mat 5:17 The Law and Prophets stand as Jesus fulfills them (not abolishes them)

Mat 5:18 The Law is intact till earth passes away

Mat 5:19 Even the least of the Law is very important (keep and teach the Law)

Mat 5:20 Righteousness

Mat 5:21 Murder Mat 5:22 Anger is worse than murder. An angry man is liable to judgement (in danger of hell)

Mat 5:23 Mat 5:24 Reconcile with your brother before making an offering to God

Mat 5:25 Mat 5:26 Reason with your Accuser

Mat 5:27 Mat 5:28 Lust is Adultery (sins)

Mat 5:29 Mat 5:30 Sin sends you to hell 

Mat 5:31 Divorce

Mat 5:32 Adultery to marry a divorced woman

Mat 5:33-37 (5 verses) No Vows. Tell the Truth (Holman heading)

Mat 5:38 Mat 5:39 Do not resist one who is evil (turn other cheek)

Mat 5:40 Stolen shirt? Give your coat to them too (ie, no retribution)

Mat 5:41 Forced to go one mile? Go TWO! (ie, give up your rights)

Mat 5:42 Give when asked

Mat 5:43 Love Neighbor Mat 5:44  Love Enemy

Mat 5:45 evil and good / just and unjust are on the earth (be good, be just)

Mat 5:46 Mat 5:47 Love those that hate you 

Mat 5:48 Be Perfect

Mat 6:1 Righteous (not just when others are watching)

Mat 6:2-4 (3 verses) Give in secret (don’t publicize it)

Mat 6:5 Don’t be a hypocrite

Mat 6:6 Pray in private

Mat 6:7 Pray with few words (don’t babble on and on)

Mat 6:8 God knows what you need

Mat 6:9 Pray to the Father

Mat 6:10 Pray God’s will be done

Mat 6:11 Pray for our food

Mat 6:12 Pray for forgiveness (as we forgive others)

Mat 6:13 Pray for deliverance

Mat 6:14 Forgiveness Mat 6:15  only if we forgive others

Mat 6:16-18 (3 verses) Fasting with a smile

Mat 6:19 ignore earthly possessions

Mat 6:20 heavenly treasure

Mat 6:21 what you treasure is where you heart will be

Mat 6:22-23 (2 verses) watch what you see (if you see badly you will be in darkness)

Mat 6:24 Money (hate money and love God)

Mat 6:25-32 (8 verses) Don’t worry

Mat 6:33 seek God’s righteousness

Mat 6:34 don’t worry about tomorrow. Each day has troubles

Mat 7:1 don’t judge

Mat 7:2 you will be judged as you judge others

Mat 7:3-5 (3 verses) hypocrite judging others

I paused in my project when I found the book “The Greatest Words Ever Spoken” by Steven Scott. He categorizes everything Jesus said into 200 categories in a 519 page book (which I have with me next to my computer!)

Another person (Josh) put together several website pages that list everything that Jesus said, book by book, similar to what I am doing… but not quite … I am trying to be a bit more granular, more to specific verses and what Jesus was saying, sentence by sentence, verse by verse while Josh was grouping his sentences by paragraphs (so to speak). But here is his summary: What Jesus said in the book of Matthew

Pivotal Praying book

One of my best friends mentioned (actually typed it all out) in her Feb 11, 2008 email the prayer on page 200

40 Blessings For The River Food Pantry

God wants to bless everyone at The River Food Pantry … over and over and over and over! A new blessing every Friday evening!

40BlessigsForTheRiver

40Blessings.com

Handwritten Bible Displayed Inside The Capitol

The Handwritten Bible was prominently displayed inside the State Capitol – Twice!

You Are Good, Good, Oh…ohhh

God is the Star Maker

That’s My King! Do You Know Him?

Wonderful Video from years ago … still just perfect!

God is Awesome

The Lego Movie got it right … they just weren’t aware that it was GOD who was so Awesome!

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