Harp and Story

Paradise Lost

Coming into Paradise, CA, from Chico on the Skyway Blvd., dozens of decorated crosses mark the lives lost in the Camp Fire.

Genesis 2:8-9, “And the LORD God planted a garden in Eden, in the east, and there he put the man whom he had formed. And out of the ground the LORD God made to spring up every tree that is pleasant to the sight and good for food. The tree of life was in the midst of the garden, and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.”

Certainly, it was not God’s plan for people to die, homes be destroyed, livelihoods lost, but maybe there is something greater at work here? Reading from Oswald Chamber’s My Utmost for His Highest, devotional reading for January 25th he says, “Do not look for God to come in any particular way, but look for Him. That is the way to make room for Him. Expect Him to come, but do not expect Him only in a certain way.”

As my husband and I drove through the devastated community of Paradise, CA a few days ago I couldn’t help but feel profound sorrow for all that people, many of whom are my friends, lost. The “Why God” question formed itself in my mind without conscious bidding as I surveyed scene after scene of total annihilation.

The Sound Foundation Recording Studio where the majority of our Harp and Story CD’s were recorded.
What remains of the Black Bear Diner, Paradise, CA

Paradise, CA is just one example of the devastation and destruction that has happened to the world Yahweh created. Yashua tells us in John 10:10, “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.” As we, believers in Yashua our Messiah, watch horrific events unfold around us, both of political and natural origins, might we be tempted to think that Yahweh has forgotten us and abandoned us to a fate of continual devastation and destruction? Using the apostle Paul’s words from Romans, “May it never be!” Let us do as Oswald Chamber’s says to us, Look for God,” not to come in a particular way that suits our affinities of rightness or wrongness, but look for Him. Rest assured that He has His hands around His creation, moving world events according to His plan and purpose. When we just look with our natural eyes all we see is devastation and destruction, but when we look for YHVH we see His promise,

Romans 8:28, And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.

Romans 8:38-39, For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

“Look up for our redemption draws nigh!”

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No Thank You

How can three little words cause so much pain?

Yashua said No Thank You to Food, Presumption, and Power when the devil tempted him at the beginning of His earthly ministry. (Matthew 4:3-11) Are those temptations any less a snare for us today?

When we say No Thank You, we may expect these words of Yashua found in Matthew 5:11, applied to us, “Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account.”

No one likes to be maligned, scorned, discounted, beat upon, but that, according to the words of Yashua, is what we should expect when we say No Thank You. But do we compromise and justify our actions to avoid having to say No Thank You?

Do we compromise our No Thank You’s by justifying what kind of and the amount of food we eat presuming that just one time won’t hurt and after all, we don’t want to make waves — let’s just go along to get along! Or how about the things we buy or the words we say or our actions as in “I love you,” but behind my back is this knife that I will use if you dare cross me. How much do we compromise to avoid pain?

Hebrews 12:1-3, “Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Yashua, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured from sinners such hostility against himself, so that you may not grow weary or fainthearted.”

There is a price to pay for saying No Thank You to this world’s temptations. We will be treated poorly and may even die for our No Thank You, but just look at the reward; John 10:27-29, “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand.”

The response to our No Thank You may cause pain for a moment, but keeping our eyes fixed on the prize, it’s well worth the price!

John 14:1-3, “Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in Yahweh; believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also.”

You and Your Household

Three plus years ago I posted a video teaching titled “Take A Lamb” that is a study about you and your household being saved. In Joshua chapter 2 there is the story of Rahab who hid the two spies being saved along with her family and from the book of Acts chapter 10 we have the story of Cornelius and his entire household being saved and the story of the jailer from Acts chapter 16 being saved along with his household. There is an aspect to these “you and your household” stories that I had not noticed until today that I now want to share with you.

These stories of the households of Rahab, Cornelius and the jailer were those who were gathered into their house. This is an important spiritual point; the folks who were saved were gathered into the house. read more…

HarpandStory.com is in the process of becoming harp and story focused with my blog posts of thought provoking Biblical insights being transferred to and posted on my new website; please go to and become a follower of GodsPowerLines.com. Your continued interest and support is very much appreciated. Thank you!

And stay connected to HarpandStory.com to keep in touch with new happenings here… lots of stories, harp music and things for kids coming soon!

Blessings!

Grandma, Is Santa Claus for Real?

grandmas-way

 

It’s a tricky question to try and answer when ones  grown children support the Santa Claus reality for their children’s “fun” and “wonderment”. “Don’t spoil the magic of Christmas by telling them there is no Santa Claus,” they say.

Having celebrated Christmas for most of my life and propagated the Santa Claus fantasy with my own children and now watching them continue to propagate this fable with their children I pray for wisdom and discernment to know how to walk these troubled waters. Too late in life I came to realize that I was lying to my children when, for fun, I told them about the magic of Santa Claus, and various other “magical” beings like the Tooth Fairy and the Easter Bunny. Children believe us, their parents and teachers, when we tell them things as supposed “truth” only later to be discovered as lies and fabrications.

My grandchildren came home from school the other day all excited about the magical antics of something called, “Elf on the Shelf” where as the story goes an “Elf” is sent from the North Pole to watch the kids and report back to Santa. To help keep the belief that the “Elf” is real, each night the “ELF” goes to see Santa and is found the next morning in a new spot. The movement is what makes the “Elf” seem so real to the kids. Of course, parents or teachers, as in this case, the “Elf on the Shelf” was being used in my grandchildren’s school, are doing all the different placements and writing the notes and depositing the before Christmas goodies to encourage “good” behavior from their children or students. I finally broke into their excited chatter and said, “It is only a story.” “No, Grandma, it’s real, he’s magic; we can’t touch him or his power goes away,” both my grandchildren repeated several times with strong conviction.

I remember back in the Nineties George Otis Jr. going to the Burning Man Festival in Black Rock, Nevada to film a documentary of the goings-on. The one scene in his documentary that has stayed with me in vivid detail over the years was the scene where Zoe, or Life, was seduced by the devil and taken off to the fires of hell while a child’s piano tinkled Jesus Loves Me in the background. So very ineffective against the onslaught of the glitz and glamour of the enticements of the world and its wicked ways!

Have you noticed that almost everywhere you care to look the theme is “MAGIC!”

At the Frankfurt International Book Fair I attended this October I was told that the current publishing theme is “magic”. If your book has an element of “magic” in it, you will most likely get picked up by a traditional publisher. Magic is what’s selling!

Magic is seducing our children straight into the flames of hell! Did you know that the foundation associated with The Francis Schaefer Institute in the past has given the Harry Potter books an OK? Just a fun story to read to your kids! And we wonder why there is such a tremendous rise of all things associated with Wicca and the Occult!

Think about this… if you tell your child that Santa is real over and over again, multiple times and in multiple ways until one day they come home from school or a friend’s house or from church and with down-cast eyes and tear-stained faces or with defiance in their voice tell you that Santa Claus is not real, he’s only make believe; “you lied to me”, how do you expect them to believe the stories you have been telling, or want to tell them about their Savior, Jesus/Yashua? What is truth in their young minds?

Santa Claus is NOT just an innocent, fun concept to help make the Christmas season “magical” for your children. Watch this video link, Krampus Christmas parade, and then tell me that Christmas is an innocent, fun-loving time of the year to get together with family and friends; drink some egg nog, maybe burn a yule log, have a big dinner, open a mountain of presents then have a fight with your spouse while you listen to the kids whine, cry and complain about the presents they didn’t get.

I have never been so happy on Christmas day as the year 2002 when my husband and I decided not to celebrate this day. We have continued to avoid, as much as we can, the events of this day that defines so much heartache and unmet expectations for so many people.

I refuse to perpetrate the lie of Santa Claus. I believe this lie, and others of its ilk, is responsible for the alarming statistics of so many of our Christian young people leaving the faith of their fathers and mothers for the seduction of the devil and the flames of hell.

So, when my grandchildren ask me if Santa Claus is for real or tell me with such conviction about the antics of Elf on the Shelf I turn the conversation to the story of the birth of our Savior. It has now become the asked for story at bedtime. And NO, I do not believe that Jesus was born on December 25; but He was born of a virgin, lived a sinless life, died a cruel death on a tree, but rose to life on the third day and is now seated at Father YHVH’s Right Hand in the heavens. He did this for you and me that we might be saved and live in relationship with Him for all eternity. He is coming to this earth again and He is going to gather up all who believe in Him and take them to live with Him forever. This is the Greatest Story ever told and it is TRUTH!