Live Risen!

Risen Birdcage“Our soul has escaped as a bird from the snare of the fowlers: The snare is broken, & we are delivered” (Ps. 124:7).

God made us alive in Christ even when we were dead & encaged in our sins. We were raised with Christ through faith in the working of God (who raised Him from the dead) & made to sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus. (Col. 2:12-15, Eph. 2:4-6). “Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed” (John 8:36).

So why do many of us choose to live with a mindset captive & encaged to the world instead?

It may have something to with a spiritual foe that’s a master of camouflage (disguise, concealment, blending in w/the surrounding). I remember watching a chilling scene in the Viet Nam war era film “Platoon” years ago. In the scene an American infantry platoon was walking though the dense jungle and unbeknownst to them were unseen assailants & booby traps. The enemy was so camouflaged as part of the jungle that only their eyes could be seen. It reminded me of the verse in 2 Cor. 11:14 that Satan himself transforms as an angel of light. The same disguise he donned in the garden as “the serpent” (Hebrew for Nachash, a shining one) when he beguiled Eve and Paul feared for the Corinthian believers that their minds could be corrupted in the same way from the simplicity in Christ to the crafty duplicity of those preaching another Jesus, with a different spirit, & a different gospel (Gen. 3:1, 2 Cor. 11:3-4).
The whole world lies under the sway of the wicked one (1 John 5:19).
We, as believers, should not be ignorant of our enemy’s schemes & devices (2 Cor. 2:11). “See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the elemental spiritual forces of this world rather than on Christ” (Col. 2:6, 8). Satan’s expert use of subtlety (defined as: hard to notice or see; not obvious; clever & indirect; not showing one’s real purpose) should put all believers on alert.

Satan wants us to become distracted away from God, His Word & ways and focus instead on the ‘things of the world’ —the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, the pride of life—that are not of the Father & that pass away (1 John 2:15-17). These were the same 3 areas that he used to tempt Eve in the garden with as well as Jesus in the wilderness after Jesus had been fasting 40 days & nights. The difference being, Eve succumbed where Jesus withstood by using the Word of God (“It is written…) which caused the devil to leave (Gen. 3:6, Matt. 4:1-11).
Some of the devil’s other snares include: the fear of man (rather than of God) & a desire to be rich (Prov. 29:25, 1 Tim. 3:9-10). That’s why the mandate in Col. 3:1, “IF THEN YOU WERE RAISED WITH CHRIST, SEEK THOSE THINGS WHICH ARE ABOVE, WHERE CHRIST IS, SITTING AT THE RIGHT HAND OF GOD” is crucial to living the risen life along with daily transforming & renewing the mind with God’s truth and way of thinking (Rom. 12:2, Eph. 4:23, 1 Cor. 2:13-14).
We did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but we received the Spirit of adoption (Rom. 8:15, Eph. 1:5).
Satan is a counterfeiter & substitutes God’s original purpose & intentions with his own corrupt, perverted version. He’s a liar at the core (father of lies) & a murderer from the beginning (John 8:44). Due to the coexistence of the 2 natures in the child of God, the old nature (which all are born with -Rom. 5:12) that leads to captivity & death and the new nature (which is a gift of God to be received-Eph. 2:8) that leads to life & peace, there is an opportunity for the devil to get a foothold if he can appeal and entice the flesh (the old fallen nature). If he’s effective he can keep them captive to sin & away from the victory & purpose they already have in Christ (Rom. 7:14-25, 8:7, Eph.2:10, 4:17-27, Col. 2:10).
Although the devil may be compared to a roaring lion, seeking about whom he may devour (1 Pet. 5:8), it’s far more likely that he’ll come under the guise of an angel of light, an as his other titles indicate, “Prince of this world” and “god of this age” (John 12:31, 14:30, 16:11, 2 Cor. 4:4), it shouldn’t be surprising that his most potent sphere of activity will be most present in the realm of politics, world government and in the church with its doctrines and ministry. This is why Paul warned Timothy to not become entangled in the affairs in this life (2 Tim. 2:4).

God has provided the believer with everything needed to live a risen, victorious life. We can have faith, not fear as we stand against the wiles of the devil, with the mighty weapons of warfare in God (Eph. 6:13-17, 2 Tim. 1:7, 3:16-17). They are effective for pulling down strongholds, casting down imaginations and all the thoughts & lies that try to exalt themselves against the knowledge of God, as we bring them into captivity to the obedience of Christ (Eph. 6:11, 2 Cor. 10:4-5). For the word of God is living & powerful, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul & spirit, joints & marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart (Heb. 4:12).
When we know, believe & act on God’s truth, in His strength, it sets us free and allows us to live the victorious, risen life in Him (John 8:32, 1 Cor. 15:57, 1 John 5:4, 2 Cor. 1:9-10, 2 Tim. 1:10).
Stand fast therefore in the liberty by which Christ has made us free, & do not be entangled again with a yoke of bondage (Gal. 5:1).

Live Risen! Laura


Buster with Birds art“…ask the beasts, and they will teach you:
And the birds of the air, and they will tell you…” (Job 12:7)
“The works of the Lord are great, studied by all who have pleasure in them”
(Psa. 111:2)
Through God’s creation we can be taught. We miss out on much that God has clearly put on display for our benefit through the works of His hand—exhibiting His eternal power & Godhead (Rom. 1:19-20). Just look at 4 things that are little on earth but exceedingly wise: the ant, the rock badger, the locust and the spider (Prov. 30:24-28). The ant is used again as an illustration of being industrious instead of being a sluggard (Prov. 6:6-8). Who better to illustrate the lessons we can learn from God’s creation than from the Creator Himself (John 1:1-3, Colossians 1:15-17)? When Jesus graced the earth he incorporated many visual examples of creation to teach spiritual truths such as: studying the birds of the air and the lilies of the field to demonstrate the ineffectiveness of worry (Matt. 6:25-31); sheep and things related to them to demonstrate that He’s the good Shepherd and what that means (John 10:1-17); and the grape vine to illustrate the benefits of dependence on Him versus self-sufficiency (John 15:1-8).
A personal illustration of this is through our beloved old ( 13+ year) English bulldog, Buster, who recently passed away. One of the first lessons of owning a bulldog is to have patience. They aren’t like other dogs. After previously owning a Labrador retriever we weren’t quite sure of what we had on our hands after bringing Buster home. When we took him outside he would just sit on the sidewalk for a while before he decided to ‘take care of his business’. The same applied for taking him on a walk or when my husband took him to the lumber yard where he works. It was clear he wanted to go as he’d slowly make his way to the door but he wasn’t in any hurry. It seemed like much of the time I was and so this also gave me pause as to why? I learned to allow for “Buster time” and started to understand better the patience (and long suffering) of the Lord with me and mankind in general (Ps. 86:15, 2 Pet. 3:9). Buster also gave us, as well as others who knew him, joy just by his presence—his lovable frumpy face, his unusual snorts & the other funny noises he’d make. It was no surprise that he was coined the ‘morale booster’ at my husband’s work place and the request was often made by many of Buster’s (aka Mr. B’s) lady friends there to bring him in on a regular basis. In God’s design for our fallen world there is a season & time to every purpose and work under heaven—even a time to laugh & weep (Eccl. 3:1, 7, 4). Life is but a vapor—death is a reminder of the temporalness of life in this world and the truth to keep our sight on ‘things above’ & meditate on the good, true, noble, just, pure, lovely, virtuous, praiseworthy & things that bring a good report—rejoicing in the Lord always, being content no matter the state of our circumstances good or bad as it’s Christ whose grace is sufficient—whose strength is enough & whose provisions supply all our needs (James 4:14; Col. 3:1-3, Phil. 4:8, 4, 11-13, 19; 2 Cor. 12:9). Take some time this spring to examine some of the Lord’s great handiwork & the life lessons they reveal.
“O Lord, You are my God; I will exalt You; I will praise Your name, for You have done wonderful things, plans formed of old faithful and sure” (Isa. 25:1).

The Lord speaking, “For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven and do not return there but water the earth, making it bring forth and sprout, giving seed to the sower and bread to the eater, so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth; it shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it” (Isa. 55:10-11).


buster on lumber pile


Trust in th e Lord heartTo cultivate healthy relationships there are 2 areas you may wish to consider.
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).

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
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 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”



Is There Any Profit Under the Sun?

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

“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).
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).
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).


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: “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).


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