Visiting the Ark Encounter

Visiting the Ark Encounter by Karen Jurgens

 

I recently had the opportunity to visit Noah’s Ark Encounter in Williamstown, Kentucky, located halfway between Lexington and Cincinnati. Although I had read the story in the Bible many times, I could never have imagined just how awesome this wooden ship is.

As our tour bus approached its destination, a huge structure loomed in the distance. Just the very size of what I saw shocked me. The ark stood 51 feet high (or seven stories tall), 510 feet long (or 1.5 football fields), and 85 feet wide. To put it in perspective, the ark is about two-thirds the size of the Titanic. A 747 jet plane can fit inside with plenty of room to spare.

Visiting the Ark Encounter by Karen Jurgens

The front of the ark gives an idea of how gigantic the ship is.

The astounding thing to me is how Noah, at 600 years of age, and his three sons spent one hundred years constructing this monster ship in that ancient day. That alone seems to be miraculous. Here’s the story from Genesis:

13 Then God said to Noah, “The end of all flesh has come before Me; for the earth is filled with violence because of them; and behold, I am about to destroy them with the earth. 14 Make for yourself an ark of gopher wood; you shall make the ark with rooms, and shall cover it inside and out with pitch. 15 This is how you shall make it: the length of the ark three hundred cubits, its breadth fifty cubits, and its height thirty cubits.16 You shall make a window for the ark, and finish it to a cubit from the top; and set the door of the ark in the side of it; you shall make it with lower, second, and third decks ~ Genesis 6:13-16, NASB.

Inside the ark, there are three levels to explore, each containing world-class exhibit bays. How Noah’s family operated from woodworking, to cooking, to feeding and caring for the animals—hundreds of exhibits show and explain what their lives may have been like. Each level concentrates on individual themes by showing educational movies in a small theater, and there is even one museum area dedicated to children for their enjoyment. From perusing cages with all kinds of animals and birds to an in-depth study of ancient history surrounding the biblical account, the Ark Encounter offers an experience for all ages and interest levels.

A picture is worth a thousand words, as they say. Come inside the museum and let me show you around.

 

Visiting the Ark Encounter by Karen Jurgens

A weaving loom; a kitchen with preparation tables; a living room where the family gathered to eat.

 

Visiting the Ark Encounter by Karen Jurgens

On Level One, there were rows of animal cages. Yes, there were even small-sized dinosaurs on board!

 

Visiting the Ark Encounter by Karen Jurgens

Blacksmith shop for workbench for construction; family living quarters

 

Visiting the Ark Encounter by Karen Jurgens

Noah and his family worshiped God daily; woodworking area

 

Visiting the Ark Encounter by Karen Jurgens

Noah sending out the dove; the Noahic Covenant made with God after the flood.

 

Visiting the Ark Encounter by Karen Jurgens

An entire museum section devoted to ancient bibles in many languages telling the story of Noah and the Ark

 

 

Visiting the Ark Encounter by Karen Jurgens

The doors of the ark

 

What does Noah’s Ark represent to us today?

Do you see a parallel between the ark and salvation? Jesus is the door of the ark. “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No man comes to the Father but by me” ~ John 14:6, NASB.

The ark represents our lives, kept safe from the floods and tempests of life. “Then they cried out to the Lord in their trouble; He delivered them out of their distresses” ~ Psalm 107:6, NASB.

The entire ship , inside and out, was sealed by pitch, which represents the power of the Holy Spirit to seal us from evil. “In Him, you also, after listening to the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation—having also believed, you were sealed in Him with the Holy Spirit of promise” ~ Ephesians 1:13, NASB.

As Noah fed and cared for the animals, so God cares for us, feeding us from His Word. He will bring us safely through the storms of life and will deliver us into His eternal kingdom.

 Then the Lord said to Noah, ‘Enter the ark, you and all your household, for you alone I have seen to be righteous before Me in this time. You shall take with you of every clean animal by sevens, a male and his female; and of the animals that are not clean two, a male and his female; also of the birds of the sky, by sevens, male and female, to keep offspring alive on the face of all the earth. For after seven more days, I will send rain on the earth forty days and forty nights; and I will blot out from the face of the land every living thing that I have made.’Noah did according to all that the Lord had commanded him ~ Genesis 7: 1-5, NASB.

‘I establish My covenant with you; and all flesh shall never again be cut off by the water of the flood, neither shall there again be a flood to destroy the earth.”12 God said, “This is the sign of the covenant which I am making between Me and you and every living creature that is with you, for all successive generations; 13 I set My bow in the cloud, and it shall be for a sign of a covenant between Me and the earth’ ~ Genesis 9: 11-13, NASB.

Visiting the Ark Encounter by Karen Jurgens

 

Are You Expecting?

Are You Expecting? By Karen Jurgens

A few weeks ago, I was blessed to attend a baby shower for my cousin’s daughter, Allison, and her husband. But this was an extra-special celebration because twins are on the way—one of each—a boy and a girl. How perfect will that be? When they arrive, they will already have a big brother and lots of doting relatives. What blessed children!

Are You Expecting? By Karen Jurgens

At Allison’s baby shower for their twins

The time of pregnancy involves all sorts of changes. In addition to the physical ones, emotions are probably at the top of the list. Moms-to-be may experience highs and lows as their hormones do loop-the-loops—everything from unexplained tears to hyena laughter. Or how about those crazy food cravings? And for no reason—just because. Another life is growing inside, and every day is full of glorious change and wonder. The excitement of furnishing a nursery, buying tiny clothes, and knitting afghans or booties brings joy as their bellies swell with the promise of life.

Nowadays, most parents opt for viewing their unborn babies through the window of sonograms. It’s miraculous how we can watch them develop into different stages—measuring weight, identifying the sex, and scrutinizing tiny facial features. How do they grow into a whole person in just nine months? It’s nothing short of a miracle.

This miracle wasn’t lost on King David. In his prayer to God, he worships:

I will give thanks to You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; wonderful are Your works, and my soul knows it very well ~ Psalms 139:14, NASB.

That isn’t all. After we’re born, God doesn’t put down His knitting needles. He has a plan and continues to work, weaving a blanket big enough to cover all the days of our lives. He has created a pattern for each of us, and it’s as unique as a snowflake. Inside the pattern are quilting squares of our life’s events—everything from common ones to special highlights such as graduations, career choices, and choosing the right mate to share our lives.

 

But impatience may bump into those plans, whispering that we can design our lives better than God. So, we take control and create our own pattern. Have you ever done that? I confess I have regrets over past mistakes.

Regrets can be good teachers, though, so that we come to understand the importance of choosing wisely at the next opportunity. As we walk down our roads of life, we will eventually encounter new forks along our paths that force us to choose again.

Are You Expecting? By Karen Jurgens

Which way should we go?

Our objective is to choose God’s perfect will, to follow His pattern.

But how do we know for sure what that is?

‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope’ ~ Jeremiah 29:11, NASB.

…I have set before you life and death, the blessing and the curse. So choose life in order that you may live, you and your descendants ~ Deuteronomy 30:19, NASB.

But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him ~ James 1:5, NASB.

The Lord assures us we can trust His plans because they are good plans. He not only tells us to choose life, but helps us by giving us wisdom to do so. To receive, we must ask in faith, without any doubting, and He will show us His way.

Are You Expecting? By Karen Jurgens

 

We could also compare seeking the perfect will of God to a spiritual pregnancy. We must be patient and wait, just like a mother must wait those long nine months until her baby is ready to come into the world. We may think the process is taking forever and want to hurry it up. But, contractions will begin at just the right time–God’s time. When we look into the face of His perfect gift, we understand. What a delight! It will always be worth the wait.

Are You Expecting? By Karen Jurgens

Just as Allison prepares and patiently waits for the birth of her twins, so let us prepare and wait for our expectations to come to life. God has overwhelming love for all His children, and He delights in lavishing us with His treasured gifts that never disappoint.

What are you expecting that God is knitting inside your life? Are you willing to wait patiently until He brings it to pass?

Are You Expecting? By Karen Jurgens

Signs in the Skies: September 23, 2017

Signs in the Skies September 23, 2017 by Karen Jurgens

Part Three

In my two previous posts, we examined the possible meanings of the recent lunar and solar eclipses. In this final post of the series, we’re going to explore one of the most sensational signs of our day–one that hasn’t happened before nor can be found in computer models projected thousands of years into the future. The fascination? Oddly, a perfect match to a description found in the Bible. Let’s read those verses in Revelation 12:

The Woman, Israel

A great sign appeared in heaven: a woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars; and she was with child; and she cried out, being in labor and in pain to give birth.

The Red Dragon, Satan

Then another sign appeared in heaven: and behold, a great red dragon having seven heads and ten horns, and on his heads were seven diadems. And his tail swept away a third of the stars of heaven and threw them to the earth. And the dragon stood before the woman who was about to give birth, so that when she gave birth he might devour her child.

The Male Child, Christ

And she gave birth to a son, a male child, who is to rule all the nations with a rod of iron; and her child was caught up to God and to His throne. Then the woman fled into the wilderness where she had a place prepared by God, so that there she would be nourished for one thousand two hundred and sixty days ~ Revelation 12: 1-6, NASB.

What happened exactly? Scientifically, the planet Jupiter (the King Planet) entered the constellation Virgo about December 10, 2016, and has been circling inside like a baby in a mother’s womb. After forty-one weeks, the same length of time for a baby to fully develop, Jupiter exited Virgo on September 23, 2017.

One interesting phenomenon is the strange conglomeration of eerie lights close to this constellation that look much like a dragon.You can see a picture of the “dragon” HERE. (From Google Sky, continue to Constellations, then Virgo, then click Infrared. Apparently NASA has made Google partially redact the image. Why? We don’t know the answer.)  If you would like to watch an hour-long Christian video about all these signs, click HERE.

My opinion: I believe that this woman, Israel, represents the believers of Christ Jesus, which is the church. Jesus has told us in the scriptures that He is coming again to receive His bride, the church, and to take us to heaven for the marriage supper of the Lamb.But in order to be ready, the church must first be pure, white, and without spot or wrinkle.

Therefore, my best hunch is that these next years, especially for the 1,260 days as outlined in verse 6, may be a time for the church to be purified of her sins. I feel that persecution will most likely play a big role as the catalyst to draw the church to repentance and to wash her robes in the blood of the Lamb. As the last great revival arises and many find salvation in Christ alone, the church will be adorned and ready for her groom Jesus to come and take her to His home in heaven.

For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we shall always be with the Lord ~ I Thessalonians 4: 16-17.

“Let us rejoice and be glad and give the glory to Him, for the marriage of the Lamb has come and His bride has made herself ready.” It was given to her to clothe herself in fine linen, bright and clean; for the fine linen is the righteous acts of the saints.

Then he said to me, “Write, ‘Blessed are those who are invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb.'” And he said to me, “These are true words of God.” ~ Revelation 19: 7-9, NASB.

To summarize:

  • The Blood Moons may be God’s judgment on Israel, blessing her with acquisition of the Temple Mount, where she will again rebuild the Jewish temple.
  • The solar eclipse may be God’s judgment on the Gentile nations who have turned their backs on God and will be punished through natural disasters, thus calling them back to God through both national and individual repentance.
  • The sign of Revelation 12 may be God’s judgment on the Christian Church. Her time of flirting with sin is over and she must now be purified and made ready to meet Jesus in the air, who is coming soon. She will suffer persecution—the catalyst to drive her to repentance where she washes her stained robes in the blood of the Lamb, which makes them white as snow.

The Rapture? We don’t know the day or the hour, but we do know we’re in the right season. Most prophecy scholars agree that during some future Feast of Trumpets, which lasts two full days, at the sound of the last blowing of the shofar, we will be called up to meet our Lord Jesus in the clouds. And we will forever be with the Lord.

The Sign of the Times: September 23, 2017 by Karen Jurgens

“Behold, I am coming quickly, and My reward is with Me, to render to every man according to what he has done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end.”

Blessed are those who wash their robes, so that they may have the right to the tree of life, and may enter by the gates into the city. 

“I, Jesus, have sent My angel to testify to you these things for the churches. I am the root and the descendant of David, the bright morning star.” The Spirit and the bride say, “Come.” And let the one who hears say, “Come.” And let the one who is thirsty come; let the one who wishes take the water of life without cost. ~ Revelation 22: 12-14,16-17, NASB.

Maranatha!

Do you have any ideas or theories about these signs in the skies? Please share.

 

Signs in the Skies: Solar Eclipse 2017

Signs in the Skies: Solar Eclipse 2017 by Karen Jurgens

Part Two

The Solar Eclipse of August 21, 2017

In the previous post, we discussed that lunar eclipses indicate God’s judgment on Israel. In the prophetic sense, solar eclipses also wield judgment, except these aim at Gentile nations. August 21st hosted the first total solar eclipse to cross the entire width of the United States in 99 years. The last time this happened, the date was 1918 during World War I, a time when 675,000 Americans died in a flu pandemic.

Nothing unusual happened for two days following the eclipse. On the third day, Hurricane Harvey (meaning Battle-ready) hit Houston, followed on its heels by Irma (meaning Goddess of War), striking Florida. Corpus Christi (Meaning Body of Christ) was Harvey’s Bulls-eye, and that town was evacuated before the storm hit. Never before have two Category 4 hurricanes struck the US back-to-back. These storms set first-time records of never-before-seen destruction.

Signs in the Skies: Solar Eclipse 2017 by Karen Jurgens

Sounds like that would have been enough, but the natural disasters continued to roll on. Among them, Hurricane Maria was the second storm to bend Puerto Rico to its knees, and its effects have been described as apocalyptic, setting this island back for decades. Pictures show total devastation, much like the after-effects of a bomb.

That’s not all. Recently at least two strong earthquakes have torn apart Mexico, killing over three hundred people to date. The first registered 7.1 and the second 6.1 on the Richter Scale and have destroyed most the central region of that country, including Mexico City. Devastation, death, and suffering have racked up to epic proportions.

Signs in the Skies: Solar Eclipse 2017 by Karen Jurgens

What is this judgment about?

If you agree that God judges rebellion, then let me skim the surface of what has been happening in the United States. Former administrations have legalized laws through our Supreme Court that directly violate God’s laws, such as the shedding of innocent blood (abortion) and legalizing marriage between partners of the same sex. Drug use is rampant, and laws are ignored or defiantly challenged. Americans have watched in horror in real-time on their screens as violent protesters burned, looted, and killed, with  few or no arrests. A war on the American flag has recently exploded. Our government reportedly has become a cesspool of nothing but lies and corruption.

Signs in the Skies: Solar Eclipse 2017 by Karen Jurgens

Years ago, the Lord showed me scriptures from the Old Testament book of Micah that have held deep meaning. Since they describe the end-times, I feel they may pinpoint how many of us may feel today in our growing anti-Christian culture:

Woe is me! For I am
Like the fruit pickers, like the grape gatherers.
There is not a cluster of grapes to eat,
Or a first-ripe fig which I crave.
The godly person has perished from the land,
And there is no upright person among men.
All of them lie in wait for bloodshed;
Each of them hunts the other with a net.
Concerning evil, both hands do it well.
The prince asks, also the judge, for a bribe,
And a great man speaks the desire of his soul;
So they weave it together.
The best of them is like a briar,
The most upright like a thorn hedge ~ Micah 7: 1-4

Today’s depth of rebellion and lawlessness is stunning by any measure, as justice is perverted, favoring the guilty instead of the innocent.

Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived ~ I Corinthians 6:9, NASB.

What is God’s condition of forgiveness and national restoration?

If I shut up the heavens so that there is no rain, or if I command the locust to devour the land, or if I send pestilence among My people, and My people who are called by My name humble themselves and pray and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, will forgive their sin and will heal their land ~ II Chronicles 7: 13-14, NASB.

Some voices criticize the idea that a loving God would ever punish an entire nation for its sins. However, undeniable historical proof exists that God punished Israel for turning their hearts away from Him. Our nation, founded on the Bible and belief in God, must also answer for its harlotry. God is patient to withhold judgment, as He doesn’t wish anyone to perish, but at some point, the sand in the hourglass empties. God will not be mocked by allowing a sinful people who belong to Him to continue indefinitely in their rebellion.

Signs in the Skies: Solar Eclipse 2017 by Karen Jurgens

Punishment falls–not to harm us, but to turn us back to Him, His truths and His salvation.

LORD, I have heard the report about You and I fear. O LORD, revive Your work in the midst of the years, In the midst of the years make it known; In wrath remember mercy ~ Habakkuk 3:2, NASB.

Perhaps the sand emptied out of our hourglass on August 21st? We have had two major warnings. Will we listen? Will we, the church, repent?

Signs in the Skies: Solar Eclipse 2017 by Karen Jurgens

Yes, there is hope. In His judgment, God remembers mercy.

Therefore repent and return, so that your sins may be wiped away, in order that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord ~ Acts 3:19, NASB.

‘FOR I WILL BE MERCIFUL TO THEIR INIQUITIES, AND I WILL REMEMBER THEIR SINS NO MORE’ ~ Hebrews 8:12, NASB.

What’s next? A post that explores the recent September 23rd sign and what it may mean for the future of the Church…

Signs in the Sky: The Blood Moons

Signs in the Skies Part One: The Blood Moons by Karen Jurgens

 Part One

Lunar and solar eclipses, hurricanes, tornadoes, earthquakes, asteroids and astral signs that have not happened in 7,000 years and won’t ever appear again … no wonder we’re trying to make sense of it all. Especially the Revelation 12 sign of Virgo and Jupiter—what in the world does all this mean?

God uses signs to send us hints and puzzle pieces about the future—just enough to keep us guessing but not enough to completely see the big picture. As a life-long prophecy student of the Word, I would like to share some of my thoughts about these signs in the heavens. I’m dividing the information into three shorter posts, with each one concentrating on one aspect of the signs in the sky.

To preface, let me first say that I don’t pretend to know the future, and I certainly don’t believe in setting dates for the Rapture. No one knows the day or the hour except God alone. My opinion is based solely on the Word and the factual events happening in our times.

To set the stage, let’s begin with a recent phenomenon that took place in 2014-2015.

The Four Blood Moons Tetrad

According to Bible scholars, the appearance of blood moons on Jewish feast days during Shemittah years is significant because they’re God’s signs of judgment on Israel. This phenomenon on these special days has occurred just four times in history, with the last one appearing just a few years ago. Each total lunar eclipse fell on alternating Jewish feast days–Passover and Sukkot–over the course of two years.

Here’s an outline of the dates and their significance to Israel:

Christopher Columbus

Christopher Columbus

1492-1493: Christopher Columbus, a Jew, was sent by King Ferdinand of Spain to find a land where the Jews in that country could be exiled, following their legal expulsion. God led Columbus to discover America, which later became their new homeland.

1949-50: Just prior to this tetrad, Israel became a nation on May 14, 1948. God fulfilled His Word that Israel’s dry bones would again spring to life and live again.

He said to me, “Son of man, can these bones live?” And I answered, “O Lord God, You know.” Again He said to me, “Prophesy over these bones and say to them, ‘O dry bones, hear the word of the Lord.’ Thus says the Lord God to these bones, ‘Behold, I will cause breath to enter you that you may come to life. I will put sinews on you, make flesh grow back on you, cover you with skin and put breath in you that you may come alive; and you will know that I am the Lord.'” ~ Ezekiel 37: 3-6, NASB.

1967-68: Israel’s Six-Day War resulted in the victory of reclaiming the holy city of Jerusalem on June 11, 1967. For more details, click HERE.

2014-2015: The last group of blood moons appeared, shown on the chart below. But so far nothing significant has happened.

blood moons

My opinion: God has blessed Israel with precious gifts of real estate during each of these Blood Moon cycles: first, a safe haven in the US where the Jews have sojourned up to the present; second, their own state of Israel in 1948; and third, the capital city Jerusalem in 1967. But there is still one piece of real estate missing.

What have they not yet possessed?

The Temple Mount, where they will build their third and final temple. I fully believe this is the meaning of the the recent lunar eclipses. We have yet to see this happen and wonder how it will occur. Whether by war or by God’s hand through a natural disaster of some kind, it’s God’s move.

www.shemitah-blood-moons.net

The red heifer, necessary for temple ritual, has miraculously made an appearance again after 2000 years. Notice how this one was born with a number 7 on its forehead. For more information, click HERE.

What’s next? Part Two, where we will explore the recent solar eclipse and its possible meaning.

 

The Wedding of the Ages

Join me today on Inspired Prompts where I talk about my favorite book of the Bible.

The Wedding of the Ages by Karen Jurgens

I never met a girl…

who didn’t dream of her future wedding day. And I’ve rarely read a sweet romance that didn’t end with a radiant bride on that special day. What is the source of this inspiration?

The dream begins…

with a handsome groom standing at the church altar, looking toward the back doors. The music swells, and the processional begins. After the bridesmaids have taken their places, his beautiful bride steps down the aisle, adorned in gleaming white on the arm of her father. Her veil and long train compliment her gown styled to accentuate her figure to perfection as she marches in step with the music. He receives her hand from her father’s, and together the couple turns toward the minister to take their vows–to love and to cherish until parted by death. After the exchange of rings, their vows are sealed with a kiss. Their new life begins with a celebration meal—simple or elaborate—followed by cutting the wedding cake.

Today’s traditions

have evolved over time, but two thousand years ago, they were very different. The bride waited at home, dressed and ready because she didn’t know at what hour of the day or night her fiancé would arrive. When he appeared, he carried her off to his home where they would be joined in marriage. Afterward, a huge celebration with a feast might continue for days.

Inspiration for happily-ever-after…

originates from God, who performed the first wedding in the Garden of Eden. However, if you’ve decided my favorite book of the Bible is Genesis, you’re wrong. Here are some more hints:

7 “Let us rejoice and be glad and give the glory to Him, for the marriage of the Lamb has come and His bride has made herself ready.” It was given to her to clothe herself in fine linen, bright and clean; for the fine linen is the righteous acts of the saints. Then he *said to me, “Write, ‘Blessed are those who are invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb.’” And he *said to me, “These are true words of God.” ~ Revelation 19:7-9, NASB.

The wedding of the ages…

is about to take place in the near-future, and we, the church, are the bride. As we await our groom to take us away to His heavenly kingdom, we are dressed and ready to meet Him in the air. Imagine…bedecked in our righteous acts of dazzling-white linen, we will walk down the aisle on the arm of our Father God. He will give us away to His Son, Jesus Christ, to be His bride. After our vows and exchange of rings, we will receive a new name written on our foreheads, sealed forever as the bride of Christ, followed by the marriage supper of the Lamb. What a feast that will be!

Have you read…

 the book of Revelation? There is a promise of blessing attached.

Blessed is he who reads and those who hear the words of the prophecy, and heed the things which are written in it; for the time is near ~ Revelation 1:3, NASB.

Although this final book is full of God’s judgment on a sinful world, the story ends victoriously for those whose names are written in the Lamb’s Book of Life.  Jesus is revealed as King of kings and Lord of lords. He is our groom with whom we will live happily-ever-after in God’s kingdom.

Could a love story have a better ending? 

Click to Tweet: The wedding of the ages…Could a #lovestory have a better ending? Fav book of the #Bible

Writing Prompt: The story you’re writing ends with a happily-ever-after wedding. What will be your final line (or paragraph)?

 

Trying Times, Glorious Triumph

 

Trying Times Glorious Triumphs by Karen Jurgen

These are the times that try men’s souls. The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of their country; but he that stands by it now, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman. Tyranny, like hell, is not easily conquered; yet we have this consolation with us, that the harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph.[i]

 

Trying Times Glorious Triumphs by Karen Jurgens

Thomas Paine’s words burn hot emotion into our souls as he remarked about this historical day in history. Perhaps no other general led his bedraggled men to victory like George Washington. Without his leadership, defeat would have been certain.

Don’t we all need a General Washington in our lives? When our souls toil through bitter cold and we have no hope of waking alive in the morning, such a leader pushes us forward and on to victory.

An impossible battle is all the sweeter after it’s won.

Are you facing a personal battle in your soul? Every one of us shares that common denominator of life, whether it’s in the past, present, or future.

 If you have run with footmen and they have tired you out, then how can you compete with horses? If you fall down in a land of peace, how will you do in the thicket of the Jordan? ~ Jeremiah 12:5 NASB.

The Lord will lift us up in the battle and will fight for us. We must never stop trying, never give in, no matter how difficult.

How do we go to battle?

When you go out to battle against your enemies and see horses and chariots and people more numerous than you, do not be afraid of them; for the Lord your God, who brought you up from the land of Egypt, is with you.  When you are approaching the battle, the priest shall come near and speak to the people.  He shall say to them, ‘Hear, O Israel, you are approaching the battle against your enemies today. Do not be fainthearted. Do not be afraid, or panic, or tremble before them, for the Lord your God is the one who goes with you, to fight for you against your enemies, to save you’ ~ Deuteronomy 20:1-4 NASB.

Go with God and be more than a conqueror. Remember, the harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph.

[i] “Washington leads troops on raid at Trenton, New Jersey.” History.com. http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history/washington-leads-troops-on-raid-at-trenton-new-jersey (accessed September 2, 2016).

Cricket Symphony

 

Cricket Symphony by Karen Jurgens

Have you ever heard the recording of crickets? Their chirping is slowed down, revealing an amazing song. Click on the link below to listen:

LINK TO CRICKET SYMPHONY

Pretty amazing, don’t you think? Now whenever I hear their chirping in the trees, I rejoice with them in praising God.

As the verse says, “Let everything that hath breath praise the Lord” ~ Psalm 150:6, NASB.

Wishing you a day full of the praises of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

How to Get Rid of Stains

How to Get Rid of Stains by Karen Jurgens

This is pure and undefiled religion in the sight of our God and Father … to keep oneself unstained by the world ~ James 1:27, NASB.

Do you like organic beets? Those deep-red purplish ones. Occasionally, I used to bring some home to cook, but I had to bribe my daughters to eat them. As the saying goes, necessity is the mother of invention.

Why the need for culinary creativity? When the girls were small, vegetables weren’t on their menu, unless French fries counted. Cait, the younger one, had taste buds that could laser-out any veggie, no matter how cleverly I tried to disguise it.

One evening my mother joined us for dinner, and I served a new creation: beets in a lovely orange sauce. After one bite, Cait screwed up her mouth as though she had just tasted poison and refused to eat it. Meg wasn’t sure about the new combination, but my mother adored it. Having already cautioned them not to splash beets on their clothes, I turned to admire Mother’s appreciation for all my careful work. To my dismay, a big red spot glared at me from her white, dry clean-only blouse.

No, that red circle would not come out completely, even after the cleaners had tried every available remedy. The shirt was ruined.

Have you ever had a stain that refused to wash out? In the Word, sin is also described as a stain. Try as we might, this kind can’t be washed out with worldly products. We might think that attending church, doing good deeds, and volunteering, for example, can remove those stains, but instead, they set more deeply. We don blinders and refuse to look, convincing ourselves that we are clean and white. Although invisible on the outside, how do our hearts appear in God’s eyes? He alone can see into the depths of our souls, and try as we might, we can’t hide from His scrutiny.

Have you ever accidentally fallen or cut yourself? Whenever I’m injured, I can never look. I grasp the wound and squeeze while I grimace and look away. The sight of blood nauseates me and makes my ears buzz. But when I finally get enough courage to peek and am convinced that I won’t die, then I can deal with cleaning and bandaging it. (No, I could never have become a nurse. Obviously.)

But, can we take off our blinders and examine our souls? We can cover up our sins with all kinds of excuses and home-remedies, but we have to open our wounds to God’s scrutiny. He is the One who cleans, sterilizes, and bandages so it can heal. He cleans out all the sin from our hearts and makes us whole, erasing the stain so completely that it is as though we had never sinned.

King David cried out to God when confronted by Nathan the prophet regarding his sin with Bathsheba:

Be gracious to me, O God, according to Your lovingkindness;
According to the greatness of Your compassion blot out my transgressions.
Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity
And cleanse me from my sin.
[g]Purify me with hyssop, and I shall be clean;
[h]Wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.
Hide Your face from my sins
And blot out all my iniquities. ~ Psalm 51:1-2, 7, 9, NASB.

We all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God, but the Good News is that our sins can be washed away in the blood of the Lamb. May our salvation give us joy and be a testimony to bring others to the cross of Christ.

10 Create [j]in me a clean heart, O God,
And renew [k]a steadfast spirit within me.
11 Do not cast me away from Your presence
And do not take Your Holy Spirit from me.
12 Restore to me the joy of Your salvation
And sustain me with a willing spirit.
13 Then I will teach transgressors Your ways,
And sinners will [l]be converted to You. ~ Psalm 51:10-13, NASB.

 

 

 

Got Faith?

Got Faith? by Karen Jurgens

             Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen ~ Hebrews 11:1, KJV.

 As a child, I used to hope for all kinds of things, especially at Christmas or my birthday. Sometimes books or board games or tea party sets. But what I hoped for most were dolls.

When I would go shopping downtown with my mother, I always sweet-talked her into visiting the toy department where beautiful dolls were displayed. Perched on wall shelves and inside sparkling glass cases were Shirley Temple dolls with different outfits and hats. Jenny dolls dressed in tutus and ballet slippers. Betsy-wetsy dolls with bottles, blankets, and diapers. Dolls dressed in bridal dresses with veils and high heels. And Barbie dolls with her dream home, sports car, and wardrobe along with must-haves Ken and Midge.

Got Faith? by Karen Jurgens

I had complete faith in my parents that they would fulfill my childhood wishes on those special days. Looking back, I can’t ever remember being disappointed.

I had put my faith in God at a young age. But childhood turned into teen years and then adulthood. As the season of dating began at sweet sixteen, I had faith that my life would continue as it always had, with few disappointments. I would meet a wonderful man someday, and by the time I graduated from college, a wedding would follow, and I would live happily ever after.

But those dreams didn’t come true for me. Instead, I lived through two heartbreaking divorces. Although I’ve been single for twenty-two years, I have two precious daughters whom I wouldn’t trade for the world. They are part of my dreams that DID come true.

Have you lived through disappointment at times in your life? Sometimes it comes unexpectedly, as it did for me. But instead of throwing away my faith and agreeing with the expression, Happily ever after? That fairy tale? —I hold onto my dreams and continue to hope. Trusting the Lord for a good future where my dreams will still come true have prevented me from falling into an attitude of bitterness, depression, and despair.

For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope’ ~ Jeremiah 29:11, NASB.

I can hear some laughter across the virtual meadows–sounds way too Pollyanna-ish?

Let’s consider Mary, the mother of Jesus. Her dream of a wedding and a happily-ever-after life with her betrothed, Joseph, took a different turn. In fact, as a respected young woman in Nazareth, her entire life turned upside-down when the angel Gabriel appeared to her, announcing that she had been chosen by God to carry and give birth to His Son. She believed the message of the angel and rejoiced that God was trusting her for the sacred role of bringing the Savior into the world.

Got Faith? by Karen Jurgens

On the other hand, think of the difficulties confronting her. In those days, a woman was stoned to death if she were pregnant without a husband.

After Joseph had found out the news, he wanted to rid himself of his obligation to Mary without doing her harm. He believed she was guilty of adultery (well, wouldn’t you?) until an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, reassuring him that Mary’s word was true.

Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife; for that which has been conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit ~ Matthew 1:20, NASB.

So, out of faith, this couple began their adventure. You’d think it would have been an easy road, seeing as how they were to be the parents of the Son of God, but just the opposite occurred.

  • Right before the baby was due, they had to travel to Bethlehem for a census. Mary had to leave her family and ride uncomfortably all the way on a donkey.
  • Upon arrival, Mary went into labor.
  • The town had no rooms available where they could stay, so a barn full of animals became Jesus’s delivery room.
  • Months later, the Lord warned Joseph in a dream that Herod was searching for the Child to kill Him. The family arose that night and fled to Egypt.
  • Years later after Herod died, the family again uprooted to resettle in Nazareth.

Got Faith? by Karen Jurgens

Mary and Joseph had to boldly live out their faith, but rumors swirled about the true parentage of Jesus. What did the people of Nazareth think of Him, even after He had begun His ministry and was working great miracles?

And they took offense at Him. But Jesus said to them, ‘A prophet is not without honor except in his hometown and in his own household.’ And He did not do many miracles there because of their unbelief ~ Matthew 13:57, NASB.

Got Faith? by Karen Jurgens

It’s hard to imagine the Son of God growing up in the shadow of wagging tongues and disbelief in the midst of those amazing miracles—and ultimately, His crucifixion and death, based on jealousy, betrayal, and lies.

But through it all, Mary chose faith. She believed God’s word to her from the first proclamation uttered by Gabriel. No matter the trials she had to endure, she clung to hope, trusting God no matter the circumstances—even watching her Son suffer and die on a cross.

Got Faith? by Karen Jurgens

God didn’t disappoint her. Fifty days after Jesus’s resurrection and ascension, she received the baptism of the Holy Spirit along with others waiting in the Upper Room.

As we walk down our individual paths of life, we must cling to hope and live by our faith, in spite of the hardships thrown at us along the way. Sometimes God doesn’t permit us to fully understand, but He expects us to be obedient and trust Him. With His strength, we can endure through it all.

 

And let endurance have its perfect result, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing ~ James 1:4, NASB.

How important is our faith in God?

And without faith it is impossible to please Him, for He who comes to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him ~ Hebrews 11:6, NASB.

I will say YES to trusting God. I will place all my faith in Him today and every day.

Will you?

Got Faith? by Karen Jurgens