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!”

Staying Centered in a World Gone Crazy

Our time in Australia has come to an end. It is with both sadness and anticipation that we pack our bags and say, “we will come again.” Hugs are long and lingering with lots of kisses while grandchildren cling to our arms and waists and plead for just one more day, but alas the plane won’t wait and we must go. It is hard to leave, not knowing for sure when we will return or how much things will have changed during our absence. Was this what it was like when Yashua said “I will come again…” and then left His disciples watching His ascent into heaven? Was it hard for Him to leave those that loved Him and go back to His Father’s house? Did He cry tears of sadness at the parting? Were those tears mixed with the anticipated joy of His eventual return?

Look up! for your redemption draweth nigh. (Luke 21:28) There are so many things that are working overtime to try and get us to take our eyes away from our redemption. But Yashua told us these things would happen. Should we be surprised that there are frightening and out-of-the-ordinary weather phenomena? Should we be surprised that the earth is experiencing a massive die-off in the Pacific ocean? Should we be surprised that the world’s governments are being overcome by greed and corruption? Should we be surprised that wars are erupting all over our planet? Should we be surprised that the things Yashua told us would happen before His promised return in both Matthew 24 and Luke 21 are taking place?

If any of these things are surprising you, catching you off guard, then it will be virtually impossible for you to stay centered in this world gone crazy. Yes, it is heart wrenching to witness the deception, fraud, cheating, lies, greed, manipulation of the masses, famine, war, poverty, disease and every other manifestation that the enemy of the brethren can think of to throw at us. The devil’s ploy is to deteriorate the hope that we have as believers in our Savior, Yashua. And with the devil’s persistent, day after day foul play the frantic prayer of the masses that ascends before the Throne of Grace is, “God, don’t you care enough to save us, look what is happening, how can you remain silent!”

But, He has saved us, He sent His Son to die for us. He promised to NEVER leave us or forsake us. We, humans that we are, tend to forget this great truth when we are in the middle of the crocodile infested swamp; that is when we have a tendency to take our eyes off our redemption. Psalm 119:105 says, “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.”  If we want to stay centered in a world gone crazy we must believe His Story; believe that He is real, believe that He is going to come again and that He will take us home with Him, believe that what He said in His Word is alive and real for us today.

Make His Story alive in you! Yashua is the LIGHT of the World and those that believe in Him will not walk in darkness. (Isaiah 9:2) Believe and then act on that belief. Psalm 23:4 “Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil, for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.” Staying centered in Yashua is the only way we can live in a world gone crazy!