Doubts

If there is doubt, there is no doubt at all. What does this mean to you? For me, it means if you question, you can be certain. Doubt is not a bad thing. It creates the need to seek, explore, study and verify. As a Believer, the more we do search the Bible for truth and experience God’s love and care, the less we doubt.

The world’s modern thinking and philosophies can fill us with doubt as well. Believers are mocked, ridiculed, and discredited whenever possible. We are called intolerant, ignorant, and simple-minded. If our faith is not strong and well thought emoticonestablished, it would be easy for these attitudes to sway our thinking. Their lack of faith can lead to our increased doubt if we allow it.

When bad things happen: illness, death, loss of job, divorce, (you name it), any of these can cause doubt. We have to remember we live in a fallen world. Bad things happen all the time. Our faith makes the difference in how we deal with it. God is NOT the author of evil but will work in the situation to turn things around for our good. If we accept this truth, God will be a great comfort when we turn to him for help.

Satan likes to muddle our thinking hoping we doubt our faith, the existence of God, and the saving grace of Jesus. In reality, we should be honored that he does that. If we weren’t making a difference in the world, he wouldn’t be as interested in pulling us off course.

God understands our doubt. Look at Thomas, one of Jesus’ disciples. He said he would not believe Jesus rose from the dead unless he saw for himself. (Passage below) We all have that mindset from time to time. Other times, our faith is solid as a rock, and there is no question.

There will be times you will have doubts about God, Jesus, the Holy Spirit and your faith in them. Don’t let that trip you up. God is real. Jesus did come to earth, lived a holy life, died on the cross, and rose again. After Jesus had ascended to heaven, he sent the Holy Spirit. There is no doubt.

John 20:24-29 (NKJV)
24 Now Thomas, called the Twin, one of the twelve, was not with them when Jesus came.
25 The other disciples therefore said to him, “We have seen the Lord.” So he said to them, “Unless I see in His hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and put my hand into His side, I will not believe.”
26 And after eight days His disciples were again inside, and Thomas with them. Jesus came, the doors being shut, and stood in the midst, and said, “Peace to you!”
27 Then He said to Thomas, “Reach your finger here, and look at my hands; and reach your hand here, and put it into My side. Do not be unbelieving, but believing.”
28 And Thomas answered and said to Him, “My Lord and my God!”
29 Jesus said to him, “Thomas, because you have seen Me, you have believed. Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”

Father’s Day

On Father’s Day, we honor our Dads today, in our annual remembrance of the men, who have been important in the foundations of our lives. Dads come in all sizes, emotional makeup, and vary in how much they affect our lives. Some are wonderfulFathers role models; others are drunkards. Many are loving and kind; a few are ogres. All are human, therefore, subject to mistakes.

My Dad and Bob’s dad are good men. They did their best to raise us to be responsible and reliable citizens and adults, as Bob has done for our children. They did the best they knew how. We learned a great deal about life from our dads too. Some things we chose not to emulate, others we did. But both hold a very special place in our hearts.

As a child, my emotions ran high when decisions were made for me. Usually, I accepted whatever my parents wanted whether I liked their direction or not. Looking back with adult eyes, I can see they simply did their best to protect and guide me…in their love for me. For that, I am grateful.

We cannot let Father’s Day pass without acknowledging Father God. His love is beyond our understanding. When we accept His Son, Jesus, as Lord and Savior, we are adopted by God, and he becomes our Heavenly Father. As such, he wants the best for us. Many times, we see things only from our perspective since we have a limited view of events. God stands outside time and can pinpoint each outcome before it happens. As a result, he, tugs or pushes us in a certain direction, gives us a stern warning, closes doors, and put up road blocks. As with all things, we have free will to follow or not. We can circumvent these and go our way, usually to our great regret. Or follow and find peace.

For those who didn’t have a dad involved in your life, or a poor or even terrible dad, please, do not equate your dad with Father God. They are very different. Our Heavenly Father loves us with an unending love, unlike anything we can understand with our human minds. Even the best of dads cannot compare. Imagine sending your only son to die in place of others, so that all might live. That is what Father God did when he sent his only son, Jesus to earth to die in our place. I don’t know any dad who would do that. God did raise Jesus from the dead, but I can’t fathom the anguish he went through watching Jesus suffer knowing he was innocent.

Celebrate your dad, today. Give him your respect, gratitude and forgiveness (if needed). And rejoice that we have a Heavenly Father, who loves us, wants the best for us and has great patience with us.

Romans 8:15-17 (NKJV)
15  For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out, “Abba, Father.”
16  The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God,
17  and if children, then heirs–heirs of God and joint-heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him, that we may also be glorified together.

Luke 22:36

In our world today, many Christians accept the lie, we must turn the other cheek in all circumstances. We disagree. We do not believe following Jesus means: roll over and play dead; give in and allow others to trample on you. Jesus makes it clear, there will be persecution. The world hates him and it will hate us. They will do what they can to make our lives miserable, even to the extent of harming or killing us. I believe this is why, in Luke 22:36, Jesus told his disciples to carry a sword. In doing so, he gave them permission to defend themselves…for us to protect ourselves and others. The key word is defend.

I know many will dispute my logic. They argue Jesus is the Prince of Peace. But I believe, Jesus brought peace between Father God and man, not peace to an evil, strife filled world. This will not happen until Jesus rules and reigns on the earth after he comes again. In the meantime, we can walk in peace, as much as is possible, as much as we are allowed. However, when others mean to bring harm, I have no problem defending myself and I believe Jesus expects us too.

As the days become darker and more evil, each person…each family must work out this for themselves. I encourage you to consider the consequences of non-action. We have discussed the lawlessness that could transpire when things deteriorate. Now is the time to decide, turn the other cheek and allow others to steal or harm you, your family and friends or stand and protect what’s yours.

Luke 22:35-38 (NKJV)
35  And He said to them, “When I sent you without money bag, knapsack, and sandals, did you lack anything?” So they said, “Nothing.”
36  Then He said to them, “But now, he who has a money bag, let him take it, and likewise a knapsack; and he who has no sword, let him sell his garment and buy one.
37  For I say to you that this which is written must still be accomplished in Me: ‘And He was numbered with the transgressors.’ For the things concerning Me have an end.”
38  So they said, “Lord, look, here are two swords.” And He said to them, “It is enough.”

 

Moving Forward 2

Moving forward spiritually is extremely important. A close second are physical preparations. The focus of this blog is preparation, and we tend to emphasis the spiritual side. Today, we want to encourage your physical need to prepare for whatever may come in the future.

I have shared my struggle in selling the home I believed we would retire in. It is for sale now and hope to have a buyer this summer. Letting go was difficult, but essential to our preparations. We plan to purchase as much acreage as we can afford. We need room for a large vegetable garden, including fruit trees and greenhouse. A field for a cow or buffalo would be good too. A house, barn for hay storage, equipment and repairs is also on the list. The biggest question, can we afford it all or will we have to build as we can?

Bob wants to go immediately off grid…or close to it. His research centers on electric generation with wind and possibly solar. We hope to find a property with a stream he can put a hydro generator in as well. He’s looking at the difference between the efficiency of wood burning stoves and boilers. The stoves heat less area, with possible cold spots in the house, but use a lot less wood.

We plan to build a summer kitchen. It will have an old-fashioned wood burning stove top and oven. We can use this to can all our vegetables and if needed cook our meals as well. The summer kitchen removes the heat from your house when air conditioning may not be available. Also, it keeps the mess outside.

We have already started purchasing heirloom seeds. For those who do not know, most seeds you buy today are hybrids. They are sterile. Meaning after they produce a single crop, all seeds that year’s crop provide will not grow. This is done deliberately. Those who engineer these seeds want to control our ability to grow our food and purchase all our seeds from them. Buying heirloom seeds does two things for you. First, you can harvest seeds from them and plant the next year. Second, if things go bad, you can barter with them. Everyone needs to eat, and these seeds will be almost as good as gold, at least to us regular people. The seeds must be stored in a cool, dark and dry place for best results in the future.

I can’t stress enough…start buying canning jars and lidsNOW. Do the math. If you have a family of four and must can all your winter food, how many jars will it take? In the old days, it totaled nearly 1000 per year. If transportation goes down, how will you get enough jars then? Reusable canning lids are important as well. You can start small and buy one case a week or month if that’s all you can afford. But starting is what’s important at this point.

We are also storing toilet paper, any dried foods like rice, flour, sugar, potatoes, spices, noodles, etc. Be sure to rotate your stock as you purchase it.

We have purchased a good mixer with attachments, a wheat grinder, and food processor. I visited a small Amish shop and purchased a few hand kitchen tools as well. Garden tools: hoes, rakes, shovels, and hoses, along with saws, axes, and wedges for cutting firewood. Chainsaws are good too, but be sure to have the manual equipment for a time when you may not be able to get fuel.

A good medical kit is a must. We purchased a Medic field kit and added clotting sponges and butterflies to the bag. There is a shelf life to most medications, but it is better to have something that is not as strong as it should be than none at all. As long as it does not go bad, I would have some on hand. You can also add medicinal herbs to your garden. I plan to consult with a medical doctor to see if we missed anything and you can as well.

How to books are another good thing to have. We certainly do not know everything there is to know, so we are expanding our library to include building, gardening, medical, and repairing manuals. I have numerous cookbooks dated from the 1800’s as well. These have great recipes and tips.

The point, begin somewhere, even if it is as small as a couple of packets of heirloomlist seeds. It’s better to do even small things than nothing at all. I suggest you make a list of those things your budget can afford. Check them off as you achieve them.

What are you preparing? Have you started? If you have any suggestions or websites that have been helpful, please add them in a comment or email them to us at: bobdonna@fleetothemountains.com   We need to begin to help one another to put together a good list of resources we can share with others.

Final thought: We want to thank each of you for reading our blog. We now have 3500 weekly subscribers. We are here to bring God glory and encourage you in your preparations. Please share Flee to the Mountains Blog with anyone you believe will benefit from it. Thanks again for reading.    B+D

Moving Forward

If you aren’t moving forward, you’re moving back. We start at a crawl, pull ourselves up, and learn to walk. From there we can skip, jog, jump, shuffle, stagger, swagger, push, shift, or dance through life. Each new day brings a new challenge or chance footsteps 02to grow.

Our spiritual life is the same. Once we accept the saving grace of Jesus, if we do not move forward in our faith and understanding, it’s possible to lose ground. As we have said before, faith is like a muscle. If we do not flex the force of our beliefs, it will become flabby. In this condition, we can be easily misled or deceived. Since our lives are constantly progressing, if we do not move in a Godly direction, we will move toward the world. And that leads to spiritual death.

Key components to moving forward in God are: Faith, understanding, application, share, and disciple.

Jesus creates the foundation for our faith. We build our life on the Savior. Faith supports our willingness to do his will.

Once our foundation is established, understanding and application in the areas of increased faith, love, hope, forgiveness, compassion, and encouragement for others, expands our helpfulness to our Lord. As we reflect his love in greater measure, the more he can use us to help and encourage others. Remember, our main purpose on this earth is to be the hands and feet of Jesus. To spread his love to a lost and dying world.

Sharing our faith is an extension of understanding and application. When we totally grasp the love Jesus has for us, we want to share that love with others. We want them to know the peace, joy and love we have received.

The final step is to disciple others. It is not enough to just share our faith. We must help others understand the foundations of our beliefs and how to walk in that faith in a world hostile to Jesus. I would venture to say, within the Christian community, this is where we fail the most. Once a person accepts Jesus as Lord and Savior, they need to learn about him, what he did on this earth, and why.

His mission: To show the world who Father God is and how much he loves us. Jesus went on to reconcile all, who accept him as Lord and Savior, to Father God through the redemption of sin (taking the sins of the world upon himself through his death on the cross). He then broke the chains of sin and death, before he rose from the grave and then returned to heaven to sit on God’s right side. Now, it is our task to share what Jesus has done for this lost and dying world.

Jesus did not leave us here to work alone. He sent the Holy Spirit to live within each of us (Believers). The Holy Spirit gives us the ability to discern, understand and share his love with others. We must learn to hear the Holy Spirit when he guides or directs us…that wee small voice that conveys what God wants us to do. Once we get a handle on our calling as a Believer, we must step out in faith, learn about Jesus, apply his words to our lives, share his love, compassion and forgiveness, and disciple those God brings into our lives.

What happens if you deny Jesus?

In the dark future we face, what happens if you deny Jesus? What if we are given a choice, deny our Lord or watch those we love die? Or are killed yourself? Do you comply? Or not?

We have written about this subject before, but I heard a Bible study this week, it got me thinking about these questions again.  Remember the verses when Peter denies Jesus three times? (The full account is below if you are unfamiliar with them.) At Passover, Jesus and his disciples are having the Passover meal. Jesus tells Peter he will deny Jesus three times before morning. Peter refuses to believe, in fact, he rejects the words.

Peter does exactly what Jesus said he would. He denies Jesus three times. When Jesus arises from the dead, he seeks Peter to show his love and forgiveness. This is what I want to point out. Jesus will always forgive us when we go to him with a repentant heart…no matter what we have done. Now back to our verses.

First, Jesus said Satan was behind Peter’s temptation and he would pray for Peter, that his faith would not fail. Then he said ‘when you have returned to Me.’ Most likely, Satan whispered in the minds of those who asked Peter if he knew Jesus, to do so. Sure enough, Peter stumbled, but what was in his heart? The next verses tell us…he went off by himself and wept bitterly. I would venture to say, his sorrow crushed him, he loved Jesus and always would. So he asked for forgiveness.

Why is all of this important to us? Because when the horrible, dark times come, we too may be tempted to deny Jesus. If Peter can fail, so can we.

Consider: Someone has a gun pointed at your wife’s, husband’s or child’s head ready to kill them and all they require is you deny Jesus. Do you say the words that will release them or …?

In conversations with other Believers, the opinions run the gamut. Some say, deny Jesus and you’re lost forever. Others, just let them kill you and your family, you’ll go to heaven anyway, so there’s no reason to deny your Lord. The last group believes we can say what we need to because Jesus knows our heart and we must do what’s required to preserve our lives.

We must remember, Peter was forgiven and so can we. Where there’s life, there’s hope. But Satan is a formidable enemy. We cannot under-estimate his abilities and strategies. His goal is to steal, kill and destroy. He will do whatever it takes to pull us down to defeat, because when we’re down, we are easier to stomp on and we are a smaller threat. It’s important to work this out in our hearts before the evil arrives. The better prepared our hearts are, the less chance of failure and the firmer our faith.

 

Luke 22:31-34 (NKJV)
31  And the Lord said, “Simon, Simon! Indeed, Satan has asked for you, that he may sift you as wheat.
32  But I have prayed for you, that your faith should not fail; and when you have returned to Me, strengthen your brethren.”
33  But he said to Him, “Lord, I am ready to go with You, both to prison and to death.”
34  Then He said, “I tell you, Peter, the rooster shall not crow this day before you will deny three times that you know Me.”

Luke 22:54-62 (NKJV)
54  Having arrested Him, they led Him and brought Him into the high priest’s house. But Peter followed at a distance.
55  Now when they had kindled a fire in the midst of the courtyard and sat down together, Peter sat among them.
56  And a certain servant girl, seeing him as he sat by the fire, looked intently at him and said, “This man was also with Him.”
57  But he denied Him, saying, “Woman, I do not know Him.”
58  And after a little while another saw him and said, “You also are of them.” But Peter said, “Man, I am not!”
59  Then after about an hour had passed, another confidently affirmed, saying, “Surely this fellow also was with Him, for he is a Galilean.”
60  But Peter said, “Man, I do not know what you are saying!” Immediately, while he was still speaking, the rooster crowed.
61  And the Lord turned and looked at Peter. And Peter remembered the word of the Lord, how He had said to him, “Before the rooster crows, you will deny Me three times.”
62  So Peter went out and wept bitterly.

John 21:15-22 (NKJV) (Note: this is after Jesus arose from the dead and is spending time with his disciples)
15  So when they had eaten breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon, son of Jonah, do you love Me more than these?” He said to Him, “Yes, Lord; You know that I love You.” He said to him, “Feed My lambs.”
16  He said to him again a second time, “Simon, son of Jonah, do you love Me?” He said to Him, “Yes, Lord; You know that I love You.” He said to him, “Tend My sheep.”
17  He said to him the third time, “Simon, son of Jonah, do you love Me?” Peter was grieved because He said to him the third time, “Do you love Me?” And he said to Him, “Lord, You know all things; You know that I love You.” Jesus said to him, “Feed My sheep.
18  Most assuredly, I say to you, when you were younger, you girded yourself and walked where you wished; but when you are old, you will stretch out your hands, and another will gird you and carry you where you do not wish.”
19  This He spoke, signifying by what death he would glorify God. And when He had spoken this, He said to him, “Follow Me.”
20  Then Peter, turning around, saw the disciple whom Jesus loved following, who also had leaned on His breast at the supper, and said, “Lord, who is the one who betrays You?”
21  Peter, seeing him, said to Jesus, “But Lord, what about this man?”
22  Jesus said to him, “If I will that he remain till I come, what is that to you? You follow Me.”

 

2 Chronicles 7:14

2 Chronicles 7:14 (NKJV)
14  if My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.

This popular verse is important to many Christians today. The problem is, we want unbelievers to follow along too. But the verse says ‘if MY People GROUP2who are called by my name.’ It does not say ‘if everyone.’

Time and time again, believers expect others outside of our faith to follow our commandments and beliefs. Why do we do that? What if another religion wanted you to follow all their rules? We would venture to say, you would refuse and so would we. The same goes for Christians. We cannot demand outsiders to love God, follow the Ten Commandments, or accept Jesus as God’s only son. We must win them over by being different, taking on the mantel of Jesus and walking in love, acceptance, and forgiveness. Allowing people to see the distinctions between true believers and the lost.

Let’s go back to our verse. There are four things God requires. Humility, prayer, seeking God and turning from wickedness.

Humility takes our control, power and will, and transfers them to God. We must acknowledge God is our source and we relinquish our lives to him. The world’s ways are not God’s ways. We must let go of man’s ideas and philosophies, and do things God’s way. Jesus is our example of what God wants from us. He said he came to do his Father’s will. That is what we should do as well.

Prayer is simply having a conversation with Father God. He wants us to share our thoughts, feelings and concerns with him. He would prefer you not just run to him when things go wrong. He wants to share your joy and success with him too. He wants a relationship with us…individually.

Seeking God’s face. The face is the window into someone’s spirit. We need to get to know our Father in Heaven.  To seek is to look for, to search. God wants us to pursue, shadow, chase and follow him. He wants us to learn about his character and understand his ways.

Turn from our wicked ways. If we are doing all of the above, this is much easier to do. Walking away from our sin, seeking holiness in our lives, will bring us closer to God on every level.

Provided we do each of these, God will forgive our sin and heal our land. We know that through Jesus we are saved. But by adding these four to our faith in Jesus, God will live up to his promise and heal the land.

We must remember, these words were written to the Jewish people. They knew God. Most, if not all, believed in God. In our nation, 80% claim to be Christians. But only 17-20% attend services each week. There are more who attend Bible studies or home fellowships that are not part of an established church, but those numbers are low as well. Let’s assume 20% will diligently apply our verse to their lives. 20% don’t belive in any God or belong to a different religion and will never follow anything 2 Chronicles says. That leaves 60% who believe in God, but are they willing to put into practice humility, prayer, seeking God and turning from sin?

The fact is; we have very little humility these days, it means letting go of our pride and we are an arrogant people. Prayer might be achievable, but if people are too busy living life to attend church or Bible studies, how much time will they spend seeking God’s face. As for turning from wickedness, even people in the Christian community disagree on what sin is, so how can they turn from it?

For those of us who want to please God, make an effort to apply 2 Chronicles 7:14 to your life. In addition, follow the Commandments, love God, love people and serve both. If God tells you to stop something, stop it.  If the Bible says something is wrong, it is wrong. If God says something good, it is good.

We do not have the solution for turning our country around outside 2 Chronicles 7:14. God knows not everyone will do as he requested, but we believe God will honor our prayers one way or another. We have to remember God moved when just one person prayed in the past, so our prayers matter. But it’s important to note, even  if he does not heal our entire nation, God will bless and help you because you are one of his own. So Brothers and Sisters, let’s apply 2 Chronicles 7:14, humble yourself, pray, seek God, and turn from evil. With God on our side, even in the darkest of times, the light will always shine pointing the way to Jesus.

Moms

We cannot let Mother’s Day go by without acknowledging the honor each mother should receive. Yes, I know, some moms have made huge mistakes. Other moms abandoned their children; some abused their kids physically or spiritually. But there are millions of momsOld fashioned Homemaker who did their best. They love their children and would anything to help, encourage and support them.

My mother is a woman of God. She had passed on her faith in Jesus before I was old enough to understand even who he was and why he was important. That is one of the greatest things she did for me. She taught me how to garden, can and sew. I got my love for music from her. And though we’ve had our difficulties, she is a central figure in my life. Mom has my love and deserves my honor.

I had two Mothers-in-law. Both were friends and confidants who accepted and loved me. Both have passed on, but I remember them with fondness and love.

I have an adopted Mom as well…a spiritual mother in the faith. For nearly twenty years, she has stood in the background, counseling and encouraging me. She has been one of my strongest supporters of my writing and my Christian walk as an adult. I have a special love for this wonderful lady.

I am the mother of three children, two daughters-in-law, and two grandchildren. My husband and I have adopted a few others along the way, not children of blood, but of our hearts. All of our kids are a great blessing in our life.

I have not been a perfect mother, by any means. I have made many mistakes, but I can say, if necessary I would give my life for any or all of them. My heart sings when I get to spend time with them. I am proud of the Godly men or women they have become. I love them with my whole heart.

I encourage you to remember and honor the mothers in your life. Each has had an impact whether you want to acknowledge it or not. Each person God brings into our life is for a purpose. For me, I thank God for these extraordinary women who have taught, inspired and cheered me on. I am also grateful I’ve had the privilege to mother the exceptional children God has brought into my life.

Father God,                                                                                                                             Please bless mothers everywhere. Thank you for their inspiration, encouragement, love and devotion. Amen.

Luke 18:20 (NKJV) 20  You know the commandments: ‘Do not commit adultery,’ ‘Do not murder,’ ‘Do not steal,’ ‘Do not bear false witness,’ ‘Honor your father and your mother.’

 

 

Doomsday?

Have you noticed the increased number of movies and TV programs about doomsday? Stories have always circulated depicting the end of the world or major wars, but nothing likethought emoticon today. I can name several, all say the same thing…the world as we know it is going to end.

Some programs talk of wars, others tell of the corporations’ take-over of the world. Then there is our government turning to a police state with either corporations or politicians (or both) being the bad guys. Invasions from other countries, you name which one. Environmentalist who believe humans are a cancer on the earth, destroying it bit by bit. Therefore, people must be reduced to a very small number. But no matter who turns out to be the evil perpetrators, the people suffer.

It’s interesting how the writers have the top dogs in the government or corporations. But any way you look at them…we, the people, are slaves. The general population is dependent on a class of leaders who pull their chains and tell them what to do, where they must work and live, and what they can or cannot think.

Some stories have the leaders believing because of their religion, intellect, education, or status, they are better than the average person. And that equals…privileged. They believe, if they are in power, they know the better way and can lead the world into the utopia people all over the world have been seeking since the beginning of time.

Years ago, when someone talked about this kind of thing actually happening, people thought they were crazy. But no more. We are dangerously close to the loss of freedom even here in the US. Others around the world have already lost it. The politically correct have already closed down freedom of speech and thought, for anything they do not support, by calling it hate speech or intolerance. There was a time in this country where differences of opinion were accepted…even promoted. Universities encouraged diversity and contrasts of thought and reasoning. Now if you don’t accept the ideas of the establishment, you are a rebel, a non-conformist, a radical or persona non grata.

Our world is a living time bomb, ready to explode at any time. It is no longer fiction. We have terrorists who want to destroy anything in their path of world domination. We have corporations who want to gobble up more and more competition and expand their power through whatever means it takes. We have governments who think their way is best and want total control over their citizens by hook or crook. There are environmentalists who want nearly all humans dead (though they can certainly stay since they will take care of the planet). And finally, a financial system that cannot be sustained.

All the while, regular people, like you and me, just want a good job, live a comfortable life, the freedom to believe what they want (religion) and the ability to make decisions for ourselves.

Going back to our original thought, there is some truth in every TV  or thriller about the changes in our world. We have reason to be concerned and prepare. The difference between us and others…we have Jesus. We must remember he is on our side. As we prepare for difficult times, (and you must prepare) keep in mind one thing, no matter what the future holds, God is on our side. He will guide and direct you, all you need to do is ask, open your heart and listen.

Caterpillar, Cocoon, Butterfly

Caterpillar, Cocoon, Butterfly

We can learn a lot about life when we look at the life cycle of a caterpillar. It begins as a small crawling insect, then a cocoon forms, and finally a beautiful butterfly emerges.  In comparison, humans are born dependent on parents to feed and clothe us. Then they cocoon us in their love and protection. During this stage, children need encouragement,
Blue butterfly_edited support, and love, every success celebrated, every failure commiserated. It is vital youngsters are given the ability to make mistakes and suffer consequences for bad behaviors, attitudes, and actions. Correction or punishment for theses misdeeds is necessary for the preparation for the final stage. Without it, children do not learn right from wrong, self-control, integrity or obedience. Without these characteristics, we cannot please God. The Butterfly stage is a period when we spread our wings, become independent and mature into the beautiful person God made us be.

Each stage is important to our development. God established families, but it is an unfortunate truth, some families are better than others. Some are exceptionally good, caring and loving. Others are uncaring, uninvolved or even abusive. Fortunate children have good and loving relatives or people who enter their lives and serve as mentors. But the reality is, no matter your background, every person has the potential to be a beautiful butterfly.

Problems arise if people get stuck in the cocoon stage. Everyone has seen the teenager or young adult who seems tied to their parent’s apron strings. They just can’t let go and move on into adulthood. Sometimes, it is the child who refuses to let go of the parent. Other times, it is the parents who do not want to allow their kids to move on to the next phase of life.

A parent’s job is to prepare, instruct and encourage kids in the caterpillar and cocoon stage, and then allow their children to spread their wings and fly…away. We can’t hold our children. We can’t extend our life through our children any more than our parents could through us. Our children have lives of their own. The best gifts you can give to your children are unconditional love, the knowledge they can and will be successful adults, and that you will always love and encourage them.

All of this is a reflection of spiritual truth. We have the same stages in our life with Jesus. In our early days of faith, we receive the easy truths. The virgin birth, Jesus dying in our place, taking our sin and punishment, rising on the third day and his return to Heaven to sit at God’s right hand. He cocoons us in his love, patience, and mercy as we prepare to step out in faith and do his work here on this earth. Then the day comes; we accept his love and forgiveness. We are reborn (Jesus removes our old stony heart and replaces it with a heart alive to God) and the Butterfly takes flight.

The fact is; this cycle repeats itself over and over throughout our spiritual life as God increases our knowledge and wisdom concerning His kingdom and the work he has for each one of us. Each new turn in the path has a period of baby steps, cocooned in love and launch into flight. It takes a leap of faith to follow when we don’t know where we are going.

God is preparing each of us for the dark days ahead. We are growing in understanding and preparing to spread our wings. We are learning ways to become self-reliant, not dependent on the government or world for our needs. But there is one major difference between our parents and Jesus. We are now and always will be cocooned in his love. He will always surround us with his presence. When we take flight, he will soar with us, and never leave our side.