Believer, we have crossed the Rubicon…so now chew on this

These are the words of him who holds the seven spirits
of God and the seven stars. I know your deeds;
you have a reputation of being alive, but you are dead.
Wake up! Strengthen what remains and is about to die,
for I have found your deeds unfinished in the sight of my God.
Remember, therefore, what you have received and heard;
hold it fast, and repent.
But if you do not wake up,
I will come like a thief, and you will not know at
what time I will come to you.

Rev 3:1-3


(the puff of a thistle /Julie Cook / 2021)

Excerpt from Erwin W. Lutzer’s book, We Will Not Be Silenced

The purpose of this book is not to inspire us to “take America back.”
We have neither the will nor the clout to reverse same-sex marriage laws
or to halt culture’s obsession with destroying sexual norms and
erasing our shared history.
It’s highly unlikely we will ever reverse the laws that restrict
religious freedom in the military or return public education
back to the control of the parents rather than school boards that
proudly adopt the most recent “sexually liberalized” curriculum.
We have crossed too may fault lines;
too many barriers have proven too weak to withstand media-driven
cultural streams that have flooded our nation.
The radicals know how to make themselves look good and
make Christians look bad.

I write not so much to reclaim the culture as to reclaim the church.

This book has several purposes.
Most importantly, I want to inspire the church to courageously
stand against the pressures of our culture that seek to compromise
our message and silence our witness.
This is not a time for us to hide behind our church walls,
but rather, to prepare ourselves and our families to stand bravely
against an ominous future the is already upon us.
We must interact with groups and individuals giving
“a reason for the hope” that is within us, and doing it with
“gentleness and respect” (1 Peter3:15)

I write this book for anyone who has a burden to
“strengthen what remains,” as Jesus told the church in Sardis (Rev.3:12)

I write this book so that families will know what their children
are facing in the public schools, colleges, and in the broader culture.

I write this book with the hope that we will remain strong,
and joyfully defend “the faith that was once for all
delivered to the saints” (Jude 3).
We must separate the true from the false and the reality
from desire-driven delusions.

Most critically, this book is also a call to prayer accompanied
by deep repentance.
This is a Daniel moment when we call on God,
confessing our sins and the sins of our churches and nation.
We cannot more forward with words alone but with our deeds,
our resolve and a renewed dependence on God.
This book is intended to clarify the threats the church faces today,
but this information will be of no value apart from an
earnest desire to desperately seek God with accompanying
obedience and compassion.

Americans are spending $2.1 billion on the “mystical services market”
trying to find meaning by looking at themselves,
trying to hear a voice from the heavens that would give them
some hope and direction.
If we think we can fight against this deceived culture by winning
the war of ideas, we are mistaken,
The best ideas do not win very often in a culture obsessed with
empty utopian promises.

It’s vital for us to understand that behind the headlines is a
raging spiritual battle that can be confronted only by prayer
and repentance followed
by action in keeping with repentance.
Only then can we hope to be a powerful voice in this nation.
I am skeptical about our willingness to stand against the headwinds we face.
We are so much a part of our culture that it might be difficult
for us to know where to begin in our resolve to remain firm.
We are like a fish swimming in the ocean wondering where the water is.
Perhaps we have lost our capacity to despise sin, whether it be
our own or the sin prevalent in our culture.
***

***this was all written pre pandemic and pre election—
since that time, we now have a compounded situation—of racial tension,
of a border crisis, of a raging race theory contention, of pandemic fallout..
So now just multiply what the author is stating by 100 fold.

Mercy and the peace-filled heart

Giving God the first minutes of your day will pay dividends later.
I promise you, He will multiply your time.
You’ll get more done and have a peaceful heart while doing it.

Lisa Brenninkmeyer
from her book Be Still: A Daily Devotional


(thistle / Julie Cook / 2021)

“Tell souls not to place within their own hearts obstacles to My mercy,
which so greatly wants to act within them.
My mercy works in all those hearts which open their doors to it.
Both the sinner and the righteous person have need of My mercy.
Conversion, as well as perseverance, is a grace of My mercy.
Let souls who are striving for perfection particularly adore My mercy,
because the abundance of graces which I grant them flows from My mercy.
I desire that these souls distinguish themselves by boundless trust
in My mercy. I myself will attend to the sanctification of such souls.
I will provide them with everything they will need to attain sanctity.
The graces of My mercy are drawn by means of one vessel only,
and that is-trust. The more a soul trusts, the more it will receive.
Souls that trust boundlessly are a great comfort to Me,
because I pour all the treasures of My graces into them.
I rejoice that they ask for much,
because it is My desire to give much, very much.
On the other hand, I am sad when souls ask for little,
when they narrow their hearts.”

Jesus to St. Faustina, Divine Mercy in My Soul p. 560
An Excerpt From
Divine Mercy in My Soul, p. 560

when man becomes God

“Communism begins where atheism begins.”
“Communism abolishes eternal truths,
it abolishes all religion all morality”

Karl Marx


(a thistle blooming in a meadow / Julie Cook / 2017)

Since his expulsion from his once beautiful and safe garden home,
man has vied to become his own creator, his own director, his own God….
Thinking, no actually more like proclaiming,
that he knows best and simply… that he IS the best…

In yesterday’s post, we read a quote by Sister Lucia—the Carmelite nun who as a child in
1917 along with her two cousins, experienced several Divine encounters with the Virgin Mary.

Over the course of several months, Mary actually shared several prophecies with the children.
With one such prophecy being about the final confrontation between Good and Evil—
or more precisely between Christ and Satan…

“The final battle between the Lord and the reign of Satan will be about marriage and
the family.
Don’t be afraid, because anyone who operates for the sanctity of marriage and the family will
always be contended and opposed in every way,
because this is the decisive issue.
However, Our Lady has already crushed its head.”

(the quote is taken from a letter written by Sister Lucia to Cardinal Carlo Caffarra of Bologna)

The holy sanctity of both marriage and family, it appears,
is to be a lynchpin in that dramatic collision…

And are we not seeing that same “lynchpin” proving to be a divisive issue in our own current times?

I’ve recently started reading a new book, I was more than a little intrigued when
first, from out of the blue, I found that quote by Sister Lucia then later, when reading,
I was broadsided by what appears to be another piece of the puzzle
presented earlier by Sister Lucia….
two vastly different encounters yet now oddly apparently connected.

And as I’ve said before, I don’t believe in happenstance or coincidence.

The book, I initially concluded, was going to be a typically political and historical
book based on two leading world figures..

A Pope and A President
by Paul Kenogor

The book is based on the relationship between Ronald Reagan and John Paull II and
“the extraordinary untold story of the 20th century”

A story I pretty much assumed would center on the work and contribution of both men
in the dismantling of the Soviet Union—the toppling of communism as it were.

I’ve read several previous books showcasing the relationships between Reagan, Thatcher,
Gorbachev and John Paul…each of whom were instrumental in the tearing down of
that infamous wall….

But this book has an unusual beginning, not what I expected…
It begins in Fatima, Portugal 1917…
and intermixes with the death of the Romanov family and the Russian Revolution.

There’s much I feel I already want to share but I’m not even to page 50….
For to digest the book properly, it is a bit of a slow go as I read and re-read certain
passages.

While reading last night I was struck by an incident that had taken place involving the
newly formed Communist Congress spearheaded by Lenin, Trotsky, Stalin and others,
involving the Russian Orthodox Church.

“The Russian Orthodox Church’s long-standing prohibition against divorce was lifted,
leading to an explosion in divorce rates and havoc upon the Russian family.
Lenin made good on his June 1913 promise to secure and “unconditional annulment of all
laws against abortions.
By 1920, abortion was legal and free of charge to Russian women.
The number of abortions skyrocketed to levels still unmatched in human history.”

I no longer find it coincidental that with man attempting to become God, the first thing
he wants to dismantle is marriage…that sacred union as mandated by God.
Because if you are now you’re own god, then why listen to the One claiming to be the same?

And so too the man god, it appears, finds it most natural to throw caution to the wind
while tossing the proverbial baby right out with the bath water…
….cause that’ll work, right?!?

And so we see that man has decided that he has a better idea of how living should work.

Of which has a direct impact on the family unit—
that bond that God deemed to be a Holy unit…
and naturally the man god decided that that too is also utter rubbish….

Thus with the dissolving of what God originally intended marriage to be,
we instead have the erosion of that very sacred union between man and woman…
with a direct resulting decay of, in turn, the essence of humanity….

But obviously that whole notion of a decreed sacred union along with the subsequent family unit
is no longer of importance to the now ruling man god….

Throughout the course of mankind, when man has attempted to usurp control from the
Divine Creator, the consequences have proven to be disastrous…
so why should today’s time be any different.

For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife,
and they will become one flesh.

Genesis 2:24

Beauty in difficulty

Out of difficulties grow miracles.
Jean de la Bruyere

DSCN2953
(thistle / Julie Cook / 2016)

Throughout our lives we will each encounter thorns…
Moments and experiences that are laced with those more troubling struggles which are simply unavoidable.

These encounters will obviously be uncomfortable, earth shattering and more often than not,
unbearably painful…

Such encounters will range from mildly irritating and bothersome,
to excruciatingly sharp, piercing and even most torturous.

Yet within each of these uncomfortable and painful encounters…
resides a mystery…

A mystery of rare, unexplainable and even unimaginable beauty…
Moments of pain and sorrow,
suffering and agony…
which are actually honed by the miraculous…

For from these enigmatic encounters…
those irritatingly painful experiences caused by the thorns scattered within our lives,
emerges a hidden majesty and beauty.

It is the blacksmith who must anneal his metals…
making them stronger by the raging fires of the furnace…
following each pass into the furnace, the metal’s trial by fire, comes the process of tempering the steel..
The hammering and beating of the heated and softened metal into a strong composition ready to withstand the rigors of use….

Within these difficult encounters of suffering, heartache and frustration, resides the mystery of our beauty and of our strength…

We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed;
perplexed, but not driven to despair;
persecuted, but not forsaken;
struck down, but not destroyed;

2 Corinthians 4:8-9

Rest for the weary

The scorched land will become a pool
And the thirsty ground springs of water;
In the haunt of jackals, its resting place,
Grass becomes reeds and rushes.

Isaiah 35:7

DSCN1350
(Dried thistle along the banks of the Cliffs of Moher, County Clare, Ireland / Julie Cook / 2015)

I was weary…
dry and brittle of body, heart and soul…
Yet you Oh Lord have heard me in my distress.
You have seen to my weariness…
to the dryness and brittle spirit which as clung to me like an ashen paste.
You have refreshed and soothed a parched and thirsty heart

DSCN0961
(the wild Atlantic somewhere along the Dingle Peninsula / County Kerry, Ireland / Julie Cook / 2015)

You have attended to a wounded soul…
My offering to you is a simple thankfulness that reaches to the depths of the sea
And the width of an endless sky…

DSCN1857
(somewhere along the road in County Donegal, Ireland / Julie Cook / 2015)

“And the Lord will continually guide you,
And satisfy your desire in scorched places,
And give strength to your bones;
And you will be like a watered garden,
And like a spring of water whose waters do not fail.”

Isaiah 58:11