Level 2 Memory Verse: should require 8 to 10 days to memorize and with ongoing, daily recitation fully memorized for life within 30 to 50 days.
I consider Matthew 6:9-13 a Level 2 Memory Verse because it is so often quoted and heard in society. The section of scripture also flows like a beautiful river. Here we go:
Our Father Who art in heaven, Hollowed be Thy name.
Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done, in earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our debts, even as we forgive our debtors.
And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil:
For Thine is the kingdom – and the power – and the glory – for ever, and ever. Amen
(Matthew 6:9-13 KJV)
Matthew 6:9-13 is most often referred to as “The Lord’s Prayer”.
It is formulaic and designed to provide a structure from which to pray.
For example: the fourth line above “Give us this day our daily bread” is related to our provision, but not ours alone. The fourth line and every line within this passage can be used to pray for your every prayer. Yes, you can pray for your sustenance and resources by simply praying the Lord’s Prayer, but you can just as easily expand each line within the Lord’s Prayer to pray for you and your family’s and friend’s greater good.
If you have never used the Lord’s Prayer in such a manner – give it a shot.
Our Father, our great and might Lord, Hollowed be they wonderful and glorious name.
Thy kingdom come into my life. Thy will be done in my every act and deed, in every area of my life here on this earth even as all things are done according to Your will and purpose in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread, oh Lord. Meet the needs of our family our friends our neighbors.
And forgive us our debts, our sins against You and our loved ones, even as we forgive our debtors; our peers; our spouse, our parents (as applies to your life).
And lead us not into temptation, You know the ones of which I speak.
But deliver us, Lord Jesus from that evil one and from our own wicked ways.
(Taken from concepts found in “This Side of the Whirlwind”)
May 13th, 2020,
Julia was the first to stir, opening her eyes and finding herself sitting in the driver’s seat of a dilapidated late model SUV. From what she could make-out, it was early morning and she was parked in the middle of some forest. Jax, was stretched out beside her in the passenger’s seat while Hamza and Kaliyah were sleeping quietly in the back. Suddenly, unexpectedly, Julia sucked in a deep and satisfying breath of pine-scented air, “Oh so invigorating,” she thought. Only a moment later and with a smile on her face, Julia popped out of the rusty old Suburban and snaffled another happy, refreshing breath of sunshine. “Mmmm, lord, that smells good!” she thought appraising her surroundings and wondering how safe she’d be heading into the woods to manage a little necessary business. Moments later Julia slipped quietly beyond the first line of trees. After a few minutes she made her way back to the vehicle, muttering to herself as she walked, “Humm, wonder where we are?” Julia glanced toward the tops of the trees. “I sure don’t recognize these woods… hum, not at all.” Looking over at the old SUV she mumbled, “And how in the world did we end up in that old rust-bucket?”
“You should know, Jules.” Kaliyah nipped, stretching into a yawn, “You’re the reason we’re up here, Girly-Girl.” Kaliyah stretched again releasing another long sigh. “What time is it?”
Julia, glancing at her phone noting, “It’s 7:25. And what do you mean I’m the reason? I have zero idea as to where we are or what we’re doing out here, for that matter; wherever here even is?”
“Naw, don’t give me that, Jules,” Kaliyah snarked in her typical irritated fashion, “Early yesterday morning you and Jax showed up at our house and talked Hamza and me into joining this crazy Mountain-Man road-trip.” She cleared her throat, “Excuse me, sister, Mountain-Person road-trip,” then harumphed. “Oh yeah, and Jax said you were the one who insisted on going camping and pushing everyone into joining the fun.” Kaliyah visibly grimaced, “Where’s the toilet paper, Wilderness-Wifie?” Kaliyah’s sneered into her tone.
“No, I did not!” Julia protested, pondering the vagaries of yesterday’s adventures and her apparent shoddy memories thereof. “Wait a minute?” Julia whispered, “I do sort of remember something about yesterday. It’s just,” she paused, stroked her chin, “It’s just an unclear snippet. That’s all I have, something about coming to your house to see if you guys wanted to join us.” Julia suddenly wrapped her arms about her chest, “Oh my gosh! How could I have forgotten that? So much went on yesterday and I’ve forgotten almost all of it?”
For you and all Whirlwind Fans our Happy River site is free.
Granted, it is easier to navigate the Happy River to navigate its pages if you are contributing to the minimum $2.00 monthly membership, BUT it is not required. We offer all our postings for free. Our Happy River patrons get the benefit of our Steven R. Harrel music gallery as well as the poetry and the numerous articles you’ve become accustomed to here at WordPress. We also offer artwork from the Galleries of Natsumi Lam whose art varies as widely as a whirlwind’s throes.
I covet all of our followers here on WordPress and do not wish to lose a single patron. We do not care if you contribute financially to Happy River; however, our Happy River page offers more options and coverage with a simple ease in doing more. Additionally, I don’t have enough time to fully man both blogs. Sadly, choices had to be made.
I’ll still be posting on WordPress from time to time but the lion’s share of our work will be present on the Happy River page. At least take a quick look. Thank you.
Not long ago, when a potential-tragedy came into my life, I heard several people comment about my response to said potential-tragedy, “He is so laid-back.” and “he’s not giving it much weight is he?” and my favorite, “he hasn’t taken it all in yet, has he?”.
Yes, I heard what the doctors had to say and quickly shucked any fear the scenario might generate and also decided to trust my God. Why not? Up until now I have YET to see any real reason not to trust the Creator. We will look more carefully at this statement after a few commercial statements from our Sponsor.
(This is where a deep god-like base voice begins its ominous dialogue.)
As men and women of God our faith should be the cornerstone of our daily lives.
Of course, Jesus is or should be THE Corner-Stone of all our daily walks in this world.
Faith, or our level of faith, that simple and yet complex – nearly tangible element to who Believers are – is essentially based on how big God is in our individual minds and lives as Christians.
(Taken from concepts found in “This Side of the Whirlwind”)
Though the peoples of that time would have referred to it as the Second Age of Men or the Second Age following the deluge, men today would refer to it as the year 2067 BC. Regardless the demarcation or calendar it was the day Apollyon brought news of two great cities soon to be destroyed.
Standing on a minor mount near the city of Bela; a city also known as Zoara a malevolent and Fel Lord regarded the plains south of the Dead Sea. The Beast’s perch overlooked ancient cities which provided clear views over all the valleys and peoples of Sodom and Gomorrah.
Draconous is a Mulish-Demon whose jealous defense over his sovereignty seldom brooked usurpation or dismissal of his authority. Lord Draconous currently ruled directly under the authority of Lucifer the Mighty, Prince of the Air, he who governs all principalities and powers and dark authorities whose presence desecrates both the surface of the Earth and the bowels of the Underworld. At this moment he possessively though warily approached the interloper.
Cautiously Draconous spread his massive wings and noisily clambered towards the summit upon which the interloper stood. Silently Draconous fumed, ‘He dares usurp my position’ Snarling lips twisted in a malignant curse. ‘What will those menial-dogs think when they see this upstart standing on my mount… on my pinnacle… as if he were the prince of my sovereign domain?’ For a split second a thought crossed his wicked heart, giving him pause and a bit of unexpected trepidation, ‘What if my Master has sent a replacement!’ He quickly dismissed the absurd notion.
Adding insult to injury, Draconous could sense the usurper’s glowering contempt for him and his command; he stared openly and contemptuously as he ascended the mount. Draconous quietly fumed, ‘Who does this upstart think he is! The impudent welp…’
When a person has rejected the salvation message of Jesus Christ and never asked Jesus to be the Lord and Savior of their life AND THEN dies. It’s too late.
When Jesus, “the Restrainer of 2 Thessalonians 2:6-7) also known as “He Who Lets” meaning withholds, has left or “been taken out of the way” and a person has not accepted Jesus as their Lord and Savior. Then it is too late
When a Christian receives the “Mark of the Beast” they Breach the Contract (Covenant of Jesus Christ) they formed with God which states “There is therefore now no condemnation to them who are in Christ Jesus; who walk not after the flesh but after the Holy Spirit. For the Law of the Holy Spirit of LIFE in Christ Jesus has set me free from the Law of Sin and Death.”
You see, the contract Jesus formed and paid for with His own life, was designed to satisfy the breach between God and Humanity which Adam created according to God’s plan. Salvation was offered freely for anyone who simply accepted Jesus’ payment (what Jesus did in fulfillment of prophecy to pacify the Law of Sin and Death) and thus establish a contract for their/our salvation.
Bear in mind, there are a few ways to breach that wonderful contract and choosing to take the “Mark of the Beast” is one of the biggies.
So when is SALVATION too late?
When a Christian (who was saved) receives the MARK OF THE BEAST!
Now… here is why I wrote this Blog today:
Tragically, I wrote the following Tweet:
Can Covid-Vaccine represent the Bible’s infamous “Mark of the Beast”?
Do you know with absolute certainty?
The answer is “THUS FAR” -NO- we can’t know yet.
So who is up for a little Russian Roulette!
You, your spouse? Your Kids? Mom or Dad?
My Dad just went and received the vaccine =
?? Is it too late? I don’t know! Is it the Mark? I don’t know!
I HATE to say this… but I did not write this piece.
Mike Ratliff did: the dirty rotten Christian! Just kidding.
I read through this piece a friend sent and became green with envy! PTL, I’m saved by HIS grace, thru faith, and not of my self… it is a gift of God, not of works lest any Man should boast! Didn’t write that either (Ephesians 2:8-9).
Wow! I’m starting to wonder if I even wrote this intro to Mike Ratliff’s article:
The only thing I have to add is something Paul the Apostle wrote in Colossians 1:9-11:
For this cause we also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you, and to desire that ye might be filled with the knowledge of his will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding; that ye might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God; strengthened with all might, according to his glorious power, FOR ALL PATIENCE AND LONGSUFFERING WITH JOY!
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His great mercy has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to obtain an inheritance which is imperishable and undefiled and will not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, who are protected by the power of God through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. In this you greatly rejoice, even though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been distressed by various trials, so that the proof of your faith, being more precious than gold which is perishable, even though tested byfire, may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ… 1Peter 1:3-7
When God saves a person, he/she is changed forever. However, they are not at the spiritual maturity level that God desires for His people. Therefore, from that point until they go home to be with their Lord all genuine Christians will go through a series of tests and trials that put pressure on their faith. This pressure is spiritual, but the circumstances applying it come from all directions and sources. The Apostle Paul had a thorn in the flesh that put his faith to test to the point that he implored the Lord to take it away.
Because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations, for this reason, to keep me from exalting myself, there was given me a thorn in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to torment me—to keep me from exalting myself! Concerning this I implored the Lord three times that it might leave me. And He has said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.” Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me. Therefore I am well content with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, with difficulties, for Christ’s sake; for when I am weak, then I am strong. 2Corinthians 12:7-10
We do not know what Paul’s ‘thorn’ was, but it resulted in him being in a severe test. This test caused him to plead with the Lord three times to take it away. However, notice that God’s response was to allow the ‘thorn’ while sustaining Paul by His grace in the midst of it. What was Paul’s response to that? I know that when I was a younger Christian that I would read this passage and wonder where God’s grace was in my tests and trials. However, nowadays things are different. I still do not like suffering, but I have learned that I am a Christian for God’s glory and for my Lord’s sake, not for myself at all.
Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. James 1:2-4
The Greek word for “consider,” ἡγέομαι (hēgeomai), can also be translated as “count” or “evaluate.” We are to examine our circumstances, but according to James, no matter what our trials consist of, we are to respond in joy. We are commanded here to make a conscious commitment to face them with joy. The Greek word for “trials” here is πειρασμός (peirasmos). The KJV translates this word here as “temptations.” In this context, James is giving us the word picture of circumstances that breaks the pattern of peace, comfort, joy, and happiness in one’s life. The verb form of πειρασμός means, “to put someone or something to the test.” The purpose of doing this is to discover a person’s nature or the quality of their character. God allows or brings these tests to bear in our lives to prove and increase the strength and quality of our faith and to demonstrate its validity (James 2:12).
The Greek word James used here that is translated as “testing” is δοκίμιον (dokimion). It literally means “proof” or “proving.” The word “produces” here is the Greek word κατεργάζομαι (katergazomai). This present, indicative verb in middle voice gives us the picture of a craftsman finishing a work or fashioning something to completion. This verb structure tells us that the “producing” happens at the same time as the “testing.” The middle voice tells us that the action is being applied to the one experiencing it. In other words, our suffering is working directly on our own character and faith so how we react to it is vital in this process. What is the desired product of this “testing?” The Greek word for “endurance” is ὑπομονή (hupomonē). It is often translated as “patience.” Other good translations for this context would be “steadfastness” or “perseverance.”
As we learn, as Paul did, that God’s grace is sufficient for us in our trials, we acquire the ability to withstand tenaciously the pressure of a trial until God removes it according to His timing. We also learn to cherish the benefit or outcome within as Paul did. We will no longer, as the world does, resent problems, tests, and trials, but will submit to the Lord’s will within them knowing He is working in our weakness to produce eternal treasure within us. This is ὑπομονη having it full effect, which is that we become more “perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.” What does this mean? This isn’t perfection as we understand in English, but spiritual maturity (1 John 2:14). This is accomplished in Christians as their testing drives them to deeper communion and greater trust in Christ. This, in turn, produces those qualities that people see in us that they cannot understand, unless they also know our Lord. We will exhibit stable, godly, and righteous character in the midst of trouble. We become whole in Christ.
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. But he must ask in faith without any doubting, for the one who doubts is like the surf of the sea, driven and tossed by the wind. For that man ought not to expect that he will receive anything from the Lord, being a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways. James 1:5-8
Let us never forget my brethren, that God wants all of His people to know Him, to have knowledge of Him and His ways. He wants us to know good doctrine, to know His Word. This will develop the mind of Christ in us and then He will give us wisdom and discernment based on that knowledge as we ask Him and learn to understand this life according to His Word. He liberally gives wisdom to His people who ask Him and pursue the truth according to His Word. Notice that Christians can ask for wisdom from God with wrong motives. I believe that this was my problem for many years until God turned me around. I had a lot of Bible knowledge, however, my focus was backwards. Therefore, I did not ask in faith, but in doubt. When I learned that my role in God’s Kingdom is to bring Him glory, everything changed.
But the brother of humble circumstances is to glory in his high position; and the rich man is to glory in his humiliation, because like flowering grass he will pass away. For the sun rises with a scorching wind and withers the grass; and its flower falls off and the beauty of its appearance is destroyed; so too the rich man in the midst of his pursuits will fade away. James 1:9-11
This boasting is actually rejoicing or glorying in ones high spiritual standing before God by His grace and the hope that it brings. Yes, we should rejoice in this. It puts our circumstances in proper perspective. On the other hand, rich people are brought to this state by experiencing trials that bring them low. God does this to help them understand that their possessions cannot bring eternal fulfillment like standing in humility before the Lord. True riches are God’s grace, not mammon.
Blessed is a man who perseveres under trial; for once he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him. James 1:12
This word “blessed” takes us back to Matthew 5:3-11, the Beatitudes. Believers who successfully endure tests and trials are “blessed.” He or she will be steadfast, or patient and be able to endure to the end. When this life is over and we stand before our Lord, those of us who have endured to the end will receive the ultimate reward, eternal life, which has been promised to us. Again, the mark of genuineness of Christians’ faith is that they endure to the end.
My brethren, rejoice in your tests and trials because God’s grace is sufficient for us. What we are going through is only short, light affliction that will end, but we will spend eternity with our Lord. On the other hand, think of those who do not know Him. Their eternity will be continual affliction and suffering unless they hear the Gospel, believe, and repent. Therefore, let us rejoice in our suffering as God uses us to show the world the truth about His grace and genuine Christianity.