DESIRING HEALTHY RELATIONSHIPS?

Trust in th e Lord heartTo cultivate healthy relationships there are 2 areas you may wish to consider.
The first being THE INHERENT CORRUPT NATURE OF MAN–The second being the INCORRUPTIBLE, SUPERIOR NATURE OF GOD.
Whether we like it or not, each & every one of us became card-carrying members of a fallen nature the day we were born (Rom. 3:23, 5:12, Gen. 3). This is important to understand and acknowledge before any true health can be realized in one’s relationships. So here are some basic facts explaining this inherited nature:
• IT GOES BY THESE NAMES: The Flesh, The Natural Man, The Old Man, The Outward Man, The (natural) Heart, The Carnal Mind, and SIN (John 3:6, 1 Cor. 2:14, Eph. 4:22, 2 Cor. 4:16, Jer. 17:9, Rom. 8:7, 5:12-8:39).
• IT CAN’T BE TRUSTED. This is how the (natural) heart is described in Jeremiah 17:9, “…deceitful above all things, And desperately wicked.” So deceitful that it constantly tricks and betrays—so deceitful that only God can truly know it (1 John 3:20).
• THERE’S NOTHING GOOD IN IT (Rom. 7:18, John 6:63). All of its various works can be found in Galatians 5:19-21. Out of it proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, & blasphemies (Matt. 15:19).
• IT CAN’T BE IMPROVED OR CHANGED—ITS END IS DEATH (1 Cor. 15:22, Rom. 8:6). Any & all of man’s codes, creeds and concepts can’t change it and collapse with its use as Colossians 2:23 says, “These things indeed have an appearance of wisdom in self-imposed religion, false humility, and neglect of the body, but are of no value against the indulgence of the flesh.”
Ceasing to know God results in a deluded & perverted heart that minds the things of the flesh, & relies on impotent idols (whether made of wood, stone, or ‘smart’ phone… See Rom. 1:18-32, 8:5, Isa. 44:6-20, 46, 41:29, 2 Cor. 7:1, Eph. 4:19). So if the carnal mind is the source of thoughts & thoughts are the source of action, it’s really no wonder that when man trusts & relies on it rather than God corruption is sown & toxicity enters into relationships (James 1:14-16, Gal. 6:8).
That brings us to the other area to be considered–The Superior Nature of God (Isa. 55:8-9). To get an idea of some of God’s attributes, including omniscience, omnipresence, omnipotence, transcendence, immutability, self-sufficiency, self-existence etc., take a look at these verses: Gen. 21:33, Deut. 7:9, Ps. 90:2, 91:1, 1 Tim. 1:17, 6:16, 2 Tim. 2:13, Heb. 6:17, 13:8, 10:23, Rev. 1:8, 19:11.
IF ANYTHING GOOD IS TO BE FOUND IN MAN, IT MUST FIRST BE PUT IN BY GOD. Thankfully God has given man an alternative to his inherent corrupt state with an option to receive the gift of a new nature, one that is “born of the Spirit” (John 3:6). Here are some basic facts re: this new Spirit nature:
• IT’S DIVINE IN ITS ORIGIN, PERFECT IN ITS NATURE & LIFE-GIVING (John 3:16, 6:63, 1 John 3:9, 5:18).
• IT GOES BY THESE NAMES: “Spirit”, Divine Nature, The New Man, The Inward Man, The Mind, Son-ship spirit (Christ’s spirit), and Divine spirit (John 3:6, 2 Pet. 1:4, Col. 3:10, Rom. 7:22-23, 25, 8:9, 14, 2 Cor. 4:16, Eph. 3:16, 4:24).
• IT CANNOT BE CHANGED (John 3:6, Eph. 1:13, Rom. 11:29).
This new alternative gives life & peace to those who receive it as well as supplying all that’s needed to contend with a fallen world (including the relationships in it) (Rom. 8:6, 2 Tim. 3:16-17, Col. 2:10). Still there are PRECAUTIONS TO BE MINDFUL OF:
THERE IS AN ADVERSARY (enemy) of the new nature, the Devil, who is real and who wages warfare in the spiritual realm (1 John 15:19, Eph. 6:12, 2 Cor. 10:3, Gal. 5:17). He’s a thief who comes only to steal, kill & destroy (John 10:10); a roaring lion that seeks whom he may devour (1 Pet. 5:8). He’s the ultimate liar, imposter, tempter, accuser & deceiver (Matt. 13:39, John 8:44, 2 Cor. 11:14, Matt. 4:3, Rev. 12:10). Be mindful that his goal is to divert the believer’s attention from God in Christ and place it back on the corrupt fleshly self (Col. 2:4, 8, 1 Tim. 2:14, James 1:14-16, Eph. 5:6, 2 Thess. 2:3, Rom. 16:17-19, 1 Cor. 15:33, 2 John 1:7).
The New Nature has weapons that are not of a carnal nature, but mighty in God for the pulling down of strong holds (2 Cor. 10:4, Eph. 6:11-17, Rom. 13:12, 1 Cor. 15:57, 1 John 5:4). A believer must utilize them.
“Keep your heart with all vigilance, for from it flow the springs of life (Prov. 4:23).
• Neglect, starve & make no accommodations for the flesh. Cast off its works (Phil. 3:3, Eph. 4:17-32, Rom. 6:11, 8:14, 13:12-14, Gal. 5:19-21). Don’t let the earthly things: money, material possessions & things that perish clutter up the mind (Col. 3:2, Luke 12:15-21, Matt. 6:21, 24, Prov. 15:16-17 1 Tim. 6:10, 1 John 2:16-17).
• Properly feed & take care of the new nature. This is accomplished by renewing the mind with the Word of God on a daily basis and bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ. Just as one wouldn’t reap the benefits if someone physically exercised for them, the same applies spiritually. The end is better discernment & direction to move in truth via the power of God’s love (2 Tim. 2:15, 3:17, Acts 17:11, Deut. 8:3, Jer. 15:16, Col. 3:16, Rom. 12:2, 2 Cor. 10:5, Eph. 4:23-24, Heb. 4:12).
God’s love, in Christ, is unfailing & secure–the believer is complete in Him—so why not trust in Him with all your heart rather than lean on your own way of thinking to guide you in your life & relationships? (1 Cor. 13:4-7, Rom. 8:38-39, Col. 2:10, Phil. 4:6-7, Prov. 3:5-7).
Laura

For the Love of God
by Laura Kestly

The lesser gods we worship
as we fall upon our knees
are manufactured lies of love
as a deluded heart deceives

Material treasures we amass
and love with all our might
dematerialize to naught
when our final breath takes flight

The One who loved us first
is the One we first should love
and trust with our full hearts and minds
in His wisdom from above

Spiritual sonship is a gift
by grace through Christ alone
and a hope of life eternal
in a loving, heavenly home

Missing the Mystery?

Hid in Christ

Our world set in the bounds of time moves on toward another year—
How will you choose to move through it?
You may miss the sound of the Divine’s low whisper and wooing ways if you’re intent on striving in your own strength instead of surrendering to the security of the Savior.

Missing the Mystery
By Laura Kestly

Fixated on facades
Fooled into the fake
Focused on false frills
Succumb with social media
Motivated by material
Beguiled by bogus beauty
Over occupied to observe
Wonder left wanting
Earthly evaporates
Rather
Modify your mind
Transform with Truth
Consider the Creator
Behold His beauty
Glimpse the glory
Welcome His Word
Savor the Savior
Take in the transcendent
Spiritual sustains

 

The eye of faith sees Him Who is invisible.

“For in Him we live, and move, and have our being” –Acts 17:28–

1 Kings 19:12; Rom. 1:19-23, 8:5-7, 10:17, 11:33-36, 12:2; 1 Cor. 2:14,16; 2 Cor. 4:18, 10:3-5; Ps. 8:3-4, 18, 29:2; Prov. 3:5-7; Eph. 1:9, 3:1-9, 5:32; Col. 1:26-27, 2:2, 3:2-3, 4:3; 1 Tim. 3:16; 2 Pet. 3:9; Isa. 55:8-9, 40:21-3, Heb. 11:1

Ordinary Extraordinary

Mary: Expecting the SaviorOrdinary Extraordinary
By Laura Kestly

The Extraordinary came in an ordinary way—
in human flesh to redeem and restore.
In an ordinary woman, an Extraordinary birth
would fulfill the prophecies of yore.

Through Divine intervention
and human conception
the Savior came into the world.
Wrapped in swaddling cloth
and laid in a trough
ancient prophecy was unfurled.

The shepherds were told
by an angel on high
while they were watching
their flock by night
where the Savior would be
so they hastened to see
the newborn King—what a wonderful sight.

Wise men came from a far
being led by His star
much later to praise and behold
They fell to their knees
presenting Him with these
gifts of frankincense, myrrh and gold.

The Extraordinary came in an ordinary way—
in human flesh to redeem and restore
When ordinary believe
and His gift they receive
they’ll have extraordinary life evermore.

Isaiah 7:14, Matt. 1:18, 23, Luke 1:26-38, 46-56.
The hour came when the Seed of the woman entered the world
(Gen. 3:15, Rom. 1:3, John 1:14, 2 Tim. 2:8, Gal. 3:16).
Luke 1:31, 2:11-20, Matt. 2:1-2, 9-11;, Col. 1:20, Eph. 1:7, John 3:16.

CONTENT OR CONTENTIOUS?

Content Heart
Content Heart by Laura Kestly

More, newer, bigger, faster, younger—now—’on demand’! Need a quick fix? There’s a pill for that and another pill for the side effects. We’ve gotten to a point in society where even the Joneses can’t keep up.
It’s not God who causes discontentment. God has made man upright (Eccl. 7:29). The fall of man is entirely due to disobedience to the will and word of God. James 1:13-16 states that the cause of man’s temptation with evil is within himself and his own lust that entices him to err, setting up the never ending cycle of satisfying the insatiable lusts of the flesh (Gal. 5:19-21). It’s envy that makes the bones rot and a desire to be rich that snare many into traps of temptation and foolish and harmful lusts that drown them in destruction and perdition (Prov. 14:30, 1 Tim. 6:9-10).
God’s words and ways direct man’s path in righteousness and bring health to his bones (Prov. 3:5-8). A wholesome fear of God compensates and calms one in the midst of the fallen inequities and strife of this life. Godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into this world, and it’s certain we can carry nothing out. And having food and clothing, with these we shall be content (1 Tim. 6:6-8).
The new man looks beyond the present life that’s filled with inequalities and is wise to remember that this world is out of joint by reason of sin, and any attempt to straighten crooked things apart from Redemption is the worst vexation of all (Eccl. 1:14-15, 7:13).
It’s a challenge to be content when one suffers evil and experiences illness, loss, loneliness, etc. Just listening to the news and state of affairs in this world gives cause for discontentment.
Instead of allowing the limited horizon of this life to dictate one’s actions, arouse one’s anger and lead one in the vain pursuit of improving the old nature– how much better to remember that life in Christ is enough. For a believer it’s more than enough—they are complete in Him, where all the fullness of the Godhead bodily dwells, the head of all principality and power (Col. 2:9-10)! All things through Him & His strength can be done, including the ability to be patient in spirit, be even tempered and content in whatever condition one is presently in. As the mind meditates on the praiseworthy & virtuous–whatever is true, noble, just, pure, lovely, of good report, there is always a cause to rejoice in the Lord (Phil. 4:4-8, 11-13).
Contentment can be found with a view that is occupied with life beyond the grave even though presently wickedness is sitting in the place of judgment (Eccl. 3:16). All have to deal with time and chance as the race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong (Eccl. 9:11). Life can still be unfair with mysteries of providence that are perplexing (Eccl. 6:12, 8:14, 17). God alone holds all things in His hands and works all things according to His purposes. The day will come when all will be set straight/right (Eccl. 3:17). Until then trust in Him, abound in thanksgiving and hold fast to hope without wavering for He who promised is faithful (Col. 2:6-7, Heb. 10:23). In this crazy fallen world filled with random terror attacks, greed, corruption and misplaced power, true peace and contentment can only be found from above.
“I will both lay me down in peace, and sleep: for you Lord only, make me dwell in safety”

Laura

 

Is There Any Profit Under the Sun?

Lettuce Turnip the Beets
“Lettuce Turnip the Beets” by Laura Kestly

IS THERE ANYTHING TO REAP FOR LABOR ON EARTH?
“Cursed is the ground…in sorrow you shall eat of it all the days of your life…until you return to it, for out of it you were taken; for you are dust, and to dust you shall return” (Gen. 2:7, 3:17-19).
No one can escape the fate of death as it etches vanity over the whole creation of man & across his labors (Ps. 49:6-14, 17, 19; Rom. 8:20-21; Eccl. 9:2). Dust returns to dust. Spirit returns to God the giver (Eccl. 3:20, 12:7). Death has been man’s fate since the fall (Gen. 3:19, Rom. 5:12).
“Vanity of vanities, all is vanity” —The Preacher— Eccl. 1:2, 12:8.
The only remedy to alter the death sentence proclaimed on every man comes through the work of another—Jesus Christ. Eternal life is a gift of God. Man cannot work for it or earn it. He must just receive it (Rom. 5:17, 6:23; Eph. 2:4-9). When he does it changes everything. It changes him into a new creation with a preordained purpose on earth with ‘profitable’ good works to walk in as well as citizenship in a heavenly home to place his hope in (Eph. 2:10; 2 Cor. 5:17; Phil. 3:20-21).
Many farmers rely on a man-made reference book that’s published annually called the Farmer’s Almanac which contains weather forecasts, tide tables, planting charts etc. to help guide them.
God has provided a superior guide book to man (that’s timeless & 100% accurate). It contains forecasts, wisdom… everything to thoroughly equip him/her to live a godly life (2 Tim. 3:15-17). In order for the instruction to be profitable it must be diligently studied, understood and rightly divided (2 Tim. 2:15). As an added bonus, God rewards those that diligently seek Him so one would be wise to know & understand what God has provided in this book & live accordingly (Heb. 11:6).
That brings us to what IS profitable under the sun—
Ecclesiastes 7:11 says “Wisdom is good with an inheritance: and by it there is profit to them that see the sun (are alive)”.
The wisdom of course that’s spoken of doesn’t emanate from man. Proverb 1:7 says, “The fear (reverence) of the Lord is the beginning (just a start) of knowledge.” True wisdom is to justify God and condemn oneself. ALL LABOR IS IN VAIN WITHOUT THE LORD (Ps. 127:1-2). In the Parable of the Sower, the only seed that bears fruit is the one who hears the word & understands it (Matt. 13:23).
DON’T BE DECEIVED, GOD IS NOT MOCKED: FOR WHATEVER A MAN SOWS HE’LL REAP (Gal. 6:7-9, Col. 3:25).
I don’t think many of us would work on a project for hours and days knowing that it would be erased shortly after it was completed. Nor would a farmer spend hours and days in his field plowing and sowing seeds that would end up with nothing to show for it. As good as this life may get, it’s the life to come that matters most. ALL LABOR IS PROFITLESS WHICH DOESN’T YIELD TREASURE IN HEAVEN. Riches don’t profit in the day of wrath (Prov. 11:4). Treasures that are stored on earth are temporary (Matt. 6:19-21). To toil merely for food that perishes, clothes that wear out, riches that disappear and a heart that’s set on the results only in this life is all vanity. Anything man decides to achieve for its own sake will find vanity & vexation of spirit. We brought nothing into this world & it’s certain we won’t be carrying anything out (1 Tim. 6:7). With death vanishes all the earthly gains of life. Our days in this life are short compared with eternity (Ps. 39:4-5, 90:10, 144:4, 1 Peter 1:24-25) so wouldn’t it be wise to invest in things that will be profitable not only in this life, but in the life to come (1 Tim. 4:8)?
Check out the comparisons & decide for yourself:
PROFITABLE=fruitful; It’s of the Spirit with a new nature guided by God.
INTENT: To please the Lord and walk worthy—trusting in Him fully with the heart, obeying His Word; laboring heartily unto Him (Prov. 3:5-7, 2 Tim. 3:15-17, 2:15; Col. 3:23).
CHARACTER TRAITS: Operates from a transformed mind that’s renewed after its Creator, able to discern the good & acceptable will of God so as to work out what God has worked in (Rom. 12:2; Col. 3:10; Phil. 2:12-14); stays strengthened in Christ (Eph. 6:10, 13), citizenship is in heaven with a mindset on things above (Phil. 3:20; Col. 3:1-3).
RESULTS: Displays the fruit of the Spirit, bearing it in every good work & increasing in the knowledge of God (Gal. 5:22-23; Col. 3:12-14, 1:9-10; Eph. 1:17-18); Reaps life everlasting (Gal. 6:8); appears with Christ in glory (Phil. 3:20).
OR:
UNPROFITABLE=unfruitful; It’s of the flesh, the old nature guided by the prince of the power of the air (Eph. 2:2).
INTENT: Prideful, pleasing self and man; denies his Creator, rather trusts in his/her own understanding and ways (Ps. 14:1; Rom. 1:21-23)
CHARACTER TRAITS: Operates from a corrupt, deluded & debased mind, conformed to the world, influenced by the father of lies (Rom. 1:28-32, 13:12-13; John 8:44; 1 John 3:8); a mind set on earthly things; enemy of the cross of Christ; lover of worldly things that pass away (1 Jn. 2:15-17; Matt. 6:19; Phil. 3:19).
RESULTS: Unprofitable (John 6:63); Displays dead works of the flesh (Gal. 5:19-21); reaps vanity (Prov. 22:8); reaps ruin (Gal. 6:8); glory is their shame and end is destruction (Phil. 3:19).

What will it be? Spending the days on earth getting to know & putting into practice the profitable spiritual things of God? Or enjoying the here & now with no thought for tomorrow as the grasshopper chose in Prov. 6:6-11? Wise or unwise? The wise will make the most of every opportunity in these evil days, knowing that their labor is not in vain in the Lord and in due season will reap bountifully (Eph. 5:15-17, Col. 4:5, 1 Cor. 15:58, Gal. 6:9).

Laura

Son Exposure

Son Focused without backgroundFor one glorious day they set all their differences aside and were captivated, enthralled, enrapt by a bright vision above.
A recent day occurred when politics & divisions were set aside and everyone focused on something beyond themselves—a solar eclipse.
“The heavens declare the glory of God, & the firmament shows his handiwork” (Ps. 19:1)
From the beginning mankind has been awed by the starlit sky and has sensed something beyond the scope of human reason. In fact many ancient peoples have worshipped the sun as a god. Even the Israelites were prone to worship idols & so were warned in Deut. 4:19 by Moses to take heed not to worship nor serve the sun, moon & stars when they saw them rather than the Lord their God. The apostle Paul said that the visible things of creation testify to the invisible Creator (Rom. 1:20).
What a different world it would be if man’s focus was shifted onto something greater than himself—particularly if it was on “the Son” above—”the True light”, which is the light of men (John 1:4, 9, 8:12) and in whom all things (every infinite detail of creation) was made (John 1:3, Col. 1:16, Isaiah 44)!
As I, too, partook in the rare phenomenon of the solar eclipse, I found it interesting that after I placed the solar eclipse glasses over my eyes everything else except the sun was blocked out so my focus could be solely on it.
Wouldn’t it be great to be able to put on a pair of sunglasses to help stay focused on the Son and block out everything else that tries to eclipse Him?

Focus: /fŌ•kəs/ The center of interest or activity
Distraction: /də•strak•sh(ə)n/ a thing that prevents someone from giving full attention to something else

Trying to stay focused (without becoming distracted) involves purposeful concentration. When a distraction appears (whether good, bad or benign) one needs to prayerfully consider the rightful attention it’s due or whether it should be ignored and disregarded entirely.
“Set nothing wicked before your eyes” Psalm 101:3
“You were running well who hindered you from obeying the truth? This persuasion is not from Him who calls you” (Gal. 5:7-8). Don’t be duped, Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light (2 Cor. 11:14).

Whenever I sense darkness & lies trying to creep into my thoughts, I picture a light switch on my mind that needs to be turned to the ‘on’ position which enables me to refocus on the Son & cast off the darkness (Rom. 13:12, Ps. 18:28, 36:9, 119:130). The truth of Eph. 6:12 also becomes apparent as it reminds me that my struggles are not against visible flesh & blood but against dark spiritual wickedness in heavenly places. The weapons believers are given by God, through Christ, are not carnal but mighty for pulling down (destroying) strongholds. Imaginations (thoughts, reasoning, arguments) and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God is cast down and every thought can be brought into captivity to the obedience of Christ (2 Cor. 10:4-5, Col. 2:8).
The believer’s protection from the dark forces is complete in the full armor of God found in Ephesians 6:10-17–Specifically the Shield of Faith (Christ Himself, Gen. 15:1), that will quench all the fiery darts (anything thrown, Satanic temptations) of the wicked (vs. 16).
SON RADIATION VS SON BLOCK:

SON RADIATION: “For God Who said, “Let light shine out of darkness has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ” (2 Cor. 4:6).
•Illumination through the Word that shines in dark places, forgiveness of sins, eternal life & light (Jn. 3:16, Eph. 1:13, Col. 1:12-14, 2 Pet. 1:19).
•Healthy Glow, the more radiant as there is more exposure to the Son— emanating an inner beauty of love, joy, peace, patience, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, & self-control (Gal. 5:22-25); clarity, discernment and renewal of the mind in the image of the Creator (2 Cor. 4:16, Eph. 4:23-24, Col. 3:10, Rom. 12:2, Dan. 2:22)
•Powerful antioxidant against the lusts of the flesh & free radical dark forces, promoting stability, security and peace (Eph. 6:10-17, 1 Cor. 14:33, Phil. 4:6-7, 2 Tim. 3:16-17).

SON BLOCK: “in their case the god of this world has eclipsed (blinded) the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, Who is the image of God” (2 Cor. 4:4).
•Fear of exposure to the Light where their evil deeds will be revealed (Eph. 5:11-13, John 3:20).
•Easily burned as they are deceived, tempted & drawn further into darkness (James 1:14, 1 Jn. 2:16, Gal. 5:19-24, Eph. 4:18-19, Rom. 1:18-32)
•Side effects (some lethal) include: instability, shame, unrest, confusion, wrath of God, death (Prov. 4:19, 11:2, 16:18, Jn. 3:18-19, Col. 3:5-6).

Keep your face toward the Son & all your distractions, like shadows, will fall away (2 Cor. 4:6, Eph. 5:8).
Laura

 

Altered States

al·tered states
States that differ in placement from their normal geographical location, typically induced by those with a mind capable of seeing things in a different and new way.

This creation was made by using hand-cut license plate pieces from all 50 states.  Can you recognize them all in their unfamiliar locations?

Altered States
Altered States by Laura Kestly

 

DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE

United States Patriotic License Plate ArtThe Declaration of Independence
IN CONGRESS, July 4, 1776
The unanimous Declaration of the
thirteen united States of America,
When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.—That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, –That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to affect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariable the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security. —Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.
He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.
He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of Immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.

He has refused to pass other Laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of Representation in the Legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.
He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their public Records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.
He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.
He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected; whereby the Legislative powers, incapable of Annihilation, have returned to the People at large for their exercise; the State remaining in the meantime exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.
He has endeavored to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither, and raising the conditions of new Appropriations of Lands.
He has obstructed the Administration of Justice, by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary powers.
He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone, for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.
He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harass our people, and eat out their substance.
He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the consent of our legislatures.
He as affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil power.
He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation:
For Quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:
For protecting them, by a mock Trial, from punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States:
For cutting off our Trade with all parts of the world:                                                              For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent:
For depriving us in many cases, of the benefits of Trial by Jury:
For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences:
For abolishing the free System of English Laws in a neighbouring Province, establishing therein an Arbitrary government, and enlarging its Boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule into these Colonies:
For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws, and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments:
For suspending our own Legislatures and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.
He has abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of his Protection and waging War against us.
He has plundered our seas, ravaged our Coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.
He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to complete the works of death, desolation and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty & perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation.
He has constrained our fellow Citizens taken Captive on the high Seas to bear Arms against their Country, to become the executioners of their friends and Brethren, or to fall themselves by their Hands.
He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavored to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages, whose known rule of warfare is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.
In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince, whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.
Nor have We been wanting in attentions to our British brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations, which would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesces in the necessity, which denounces our Separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, Enemies in War, in Peace Friends.
We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these United Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States; that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. And for the support of this Declaration with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.

Connecticut: Roger Sherman, Samuel Huntington, William Williams, Oliver Wolcott;
Delaware: Caesar Rodney, George Read, Thomas McKean;
Georgia: Button Gwinnett, Lyman Hall, George Walton;
Maryland: Samuel Chase, William Paca, Thomas Stone, Charles Carroll of Carrollton;
Massachusetts: John Hancock, Samuel Adams, John Adams, Robert Treat Paine, Elbridge Gerry;
New Hampshire: Josiah Bartlett, William Whipple, Matthew Thornton;
New Jersey: Richard Stockton, John Witherspoon, Francis Hopkinson, John Hart, Abraham Clark;
New York: William Floyd, Philip Livingston, Francis Lewis, Lewis Morris;
North Carolina: William Hooper, Joseph Hewes, John Penn;
Pennsylvania: Robert Morris, Benjamin Rush, Benjamin Franklin, John Morton, George Clymer, James Smith, George Taylor, James Wilson, George Ross;
Rhode Island: Stephen Hopkins, William Ellery;
South Carolina: Edward Rutledge, Thomas Heyward, Jr., Thomas Lynch, Jr. Arthur Middleton;                                                                                                                                                              Virginia: Virginia: George Wythe, Richard Henry Lee, Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Harrison, Thomas Nelson, Jr., Francis Lightfoot Lee, Carter Braxton

 

Seeking Treasure?

Treasures of the Deep
Treasures of the Deep by Laura Kestly

O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom & knowledge of God! –Romans 11:33—

One would be foolish to stay in the shallows–Deep calls unto deep.

I recently went to opening day at a large flea market in our area with one of my sons. The excitement of finding something unique, fun or valuable is something we both love.  It’s not always easy as the best ‘finds’ usually require some searching and digging.

We live in very superficial times (concerned only with what is obvious or apparent: not thorough or complete)—from believing “fake” and “really, really fake” news to having Facebook ‘friends’ that we often only know on the surface. Much like fool’s gold—at a quick glance it looks like real gold due to its metallic luster & pale brass-yellow hue but on closer examination it’s only pyrite, an iron sulfide.

The artist Georgia O’Keeffe, known for her paintings of enlarged flowers said this, “Nobody sees a flower really; it is so small. We haven’t time, and to see takes time-like to have a friend takes time.”

Today’s society has little patience or desire to really listen, observe & ponder things beyond the exterior. Our Creator, God has made it apparent to those who’ll look & think past the surface regarding His invisible nature, eternal power & deity through the things that He’s made that are visible in His creation (if we’d only notice) (Rom. 1:19-20; Ps. 19).  It’s only the fool that says in his/her heart, “There is no God” (Ps. 14:1). This same fool wouldn’t say of their ‘smart’ phone (comprised of software, hardware, an ability to work with a cellular network, apps & other ’bells & whistles’) that behind it wasn’t a purposeful engineer, designer, maker or inventor, but rather ‘It just happened’.  So then what should a person be called who is surrounded with much more evidence in the natural world like the sun, moon and stars to the intricacy of a beautiful flower or even the complex systems of cellular, mechanical, physical, bio-electrical & biochemical components that allow their own body to function?—perhaps a really, really fool indeed.

               But this is exactly what has happened, “they became futile in their thinking and their senseless minds were darkened. Claiming to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of immortal God for images resembling mortal man or birds, animals or reptiles…they exchanged the truth about God for a lie (really, really fake news) and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator.” The consequences of their choices led them down a dark path that leads to death (Romans 1:21-32; 2 Thess. 2:9-12).  “But the folly of fools is deceit, fools mock at sin” (Prov. 14:9) so it’s no wonder that a fool also mocks at the “sacrifice” for sin, the Savior Jesus Christ, in Whom, ironically are hid all treasures of wisdom & knowledge (Col. 2:3). 

               God’s works are great & His thoughts very deep and yet He has revealed them to us though His Spirit, giving those who believe access to knowing the things that are freely given by God. The natural man doesn’t receive the things of the Spirit of God for they are foolishness to him; neither can he know them because they’re spiritually discerned (Ps. 92:5; Isa. 64:4; 1 Cor. 2:9-16).  For whoever draws near to God must believe He exists & that He rewards those who diligently seek Him (Heb. 11:6).

For those seeking genuine treasure that can’t be destroyed or stolen (Matt. 6:19-21), Follow this Treasure Map:

  • – – –START @ Proverb coordinate: 2:2-6 & LISTEN: Be attentive to wisdom—INCLINE your heart to discernment—CALL out for insight—RAISE your voice for understanding—If you SEEK it like silver & SEARCH for it as hidden treasures, then you’ll understand the fear of the Lord & FIND the knowledge of God (for the Lord gives wisdom; from His mouth comes knowledge & understanding).
  • – – – Always Refer to the KEY as it will be your compass to steer & guide you away from traps & pitfalls and towards the treasure: Memorize 2 Timothy 3:15-16; 2 Peter 2:19-20; Psalm 119:105; Acts 17:11.
  • – – – BEWARE of False Signs, Guides & Distractions (2 Cor. 11:13-15; Col. 2:8; 1 Tim. 1:3-6, 13, 6:20) & Stay on the plotted coordinate of Proverb 3:5-7.
  • – – – X marks the spot when you’ve accepted THE WAY (John 14:6) & found Christ, in Whom are hid all the treasures of wisdom & knowledge–the key to life eternal (Col. 2:2-3, John 3:16, Eph. 1:3, 11-14)!

May you believe & receive the great treasure that awaits you in God, through Christ–the riches of His glorious inheritance & immeasurable greatness of His power toward those who believe (Eph. 1:17-21).  

Laura