Swimming Upstream

 Swimming Upstream

fish spawning fish spawning2

Spawning is a process that usually ends in death for fish.  The fish battle rapid upstream currents, getting stuck between rocks, flipping out of the water onto the river bank, stranded with the possibility of being food for a predator.  This upstream journey takes them thousands of miles from their warm water home in the ocean.  Why do these aquatic creatures expose themselves to such torment and eventual death?  Because they have a goal! 

For the species to continue, they must leave the warm waters of the oceans and return to their nesting places.  This means swimming upstream through cold rivers, lakes and creeks.  It’s an inborn instinct for them to endure absurd, life threatening conditions.  Each spring massive numbers (ten of thousands or more) of adult fish,of many species, begin this treacherous journey.   However few make it to their destination. They usually return to areas in the northern United States, Canada and Alaska where they hatched several springs earlier. Once the female lays her eggs, she dies.  Then the males come along, fertilizes the eggs and die as well.   When the hatched eggs grow into small fry, they make the journey to warmer waters  (for example; the Gulf of Mexico) to live most of their life until  it’s time to travel to their instinctual destination, where they propagate the species.  This process is truly astounding.  When I recently saw photos of people with fresh caught salmon, I realized it was spawning season.  As I thought about it, the idea brought verses of Scripture to mind.

Romans 12: 1-2  “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.  And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.”

1 John 4: 5-6  “They are of the world: therefore speak they of the world, and the world hears them.  We are of God: he that knows God hears us; he that is not of God hears not us. Hereby know we the spirit of truth, and the spirit of error.”

Matthew 7: 13-14 “Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leads to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leads unto life, and few there be that find it.”

Luke 13:24 “Strive to enter in at the strait gate: for many, I say unto you, will seek to enter in, and shall not be able.”

We must plant and water the seeds of the one True Gospel of Repentance, Reconciliation, Redemption and Sanctification with anyone and everyone we know or meet!  The Christian life means battling against all odds–the enemy, our old nature and the ways of the world.

Our Heavenly Father “gave” us all the armor we need for this battle.  1.) *the helmet of salvation* He gave us the payment required for sin by sending His Son, Jesus to die in our stead so that we may be set free from eternal death. 2.) *breastplate of righteousness*  I may be theologically incorrect, but when I think of the ‘breastplate’ I see it as Jesus righteousness covering my sinful heart with His precious blood.  3.) *the girding of the Truth*  I see this as a solid desire to live according to the Truth and not the lusts of the flesh; the eyes and the pride of life.  Since it is the Truth, I see it as a place for the Sword of the Word.  4.) *shoes that are prepared with the Gospel*  No matter where we go, He has given us the proper foot ware for the task–and that is hope 5.) *the sword of the Spirit which is the word of God* I believe we need to keep our sword sharpened, which can only be done by daily care by reading the Word with deliberate study.  The sword is our only offensive weapon–again given to us our God to ward off the enemy (as Jesus did after His 40 days in the desert when tempted by Satan). If you keep a sword in the sheath for any length of time–it’s going to corrode and become useless!  6.) *the shield of faith* and we are told this is to quench the fiery darts of our enemy– 7.) *praying always with all prayer and supplication for all the saints*  I believe we must use the beautiful gift of prayer, being able to speak to our Father through our Mediator Jesus Christ.  Using for ourselves spiritually and for the True Church; the Body of Christ; the Bride of Christ throughout the world.  So…with our Heavenly Father’s gifts and our Savior Jesus as Lord, we have no excuse in not fighting the many wiles of the enemy.  Like the fish spawning, they are willing to forsake their life if need be to accomplish their job… are you and I willing to ” be more than conquerors through Him that loved us ” everyday, until our job here on earth is done?  Are we faithful to swim upstream, as it were, to sow the seeds of the Kingdom of Heaven? ♥ Streim

Wake Up and Realize “there is no afterlife”

OK… I know before you read any further that you may be thinking, has Streim lost her faith?  Or maybe that I’m a tad off my “spiritual” balance.  Well, neither is true.  I will tell you why I make the statement ” There is no afterlife” and the purpose for writing this post.

First, here are a few verses that describe how God Almighty views our life here on earth:

1 Peter 1:24 “… because “All flesh is as grass, And all the glory of man as the flower of the grass. The grass withers, And its flower falls away”

Psalm 103:14-16 ”  For He knows our frame; He remembers that we are dust. As for man, his days are like grass; As a flower of the field, so he flourishes. For the wind passes over it, and it is gone, And its place remembers it no more” 

Isaiah 40:6-8 ”  The voice said, “Cry out!” And he  said, “What shall I cry?” “All flesh is grass, And all its loveliness is like the flower of the field.  The grass withers, the flower fades, Because the breath of the Lord blows upon it; Surely the people are grass. The grass withers, the flower fades, But the Word of our God stands forever.”

According to the United Nations data for 2010, the average life expectancy is 67.2 years.  This is an average based on all nations of the world.  I am fully aware here in the US some folks live well into their 90’s;  I have a dear friend who just celebrated her 92nd birthday.  However in third world countries, for example Zimbabwe the average is 31.8.

definition of eternity according to onlinefreedictionary.com  :

1. Time without beginning or end; infinite time… (time lasting forever)
2. The state or quality of being eternal.
3. a. The timeless state following death.

     b. The afterlife; immortality.

What does Almighty God say about eternity?

John 6:40 ” And this is the will of Him who sent Me, that everyone who sees the Son and believes in Him may have everlasting life; and I will raise him up at the last day.”

John 6:27 “Do not labor for the food which perishes, but for the food which endures to everlasting life, which the Son of Man will give you, because God the Father has set His seal on Him.”

Romans 6:22 ” But now having been set free from sin, and having become slaves of God, you have your fruit to holiness, and the end, everlasting life.”

 We all know that at some time in our life here in earth we will die.  Old age, accidents, disease… whatever, for the most  part (*)    everyone; man, woman or child will die.  Whether we live to be 30 years or 100 years… it’s a mere “blip” in time compared to eternity.  So, technically the years we spend here on earth is “PRE-LIFE”  and when this body dies… there’s eternity.  Eternity is “LIFE”.  The real deal.  And… what we do in this pre-life determines where we spend LIFE!!!   There’s only two places, according to the Word of God, where we will spend LIFE eternal.  1)  WITH ALMIGHTY GOD AND THE LORD JESUS CHRIST  or 2)   WITHOUT GOD— in a place of outer darkness filled with pain, suffering, sadness, being alone.  Forever and ever and ever and ever…..
 

  “…where will you spend LIFE?”

Romans 3:18-28 (KJV) “There is no fear of God before their eyes.  Now we know that what things soever the law saith, it saith to them who are under the law: that every mouth may be stopped , and all the world may become guilty before God. Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin.  But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested , being witnessed by the law and the prophets;  Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe : for there is no difference:  For all have sinned , and come short of the glory of God;  Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus:  Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past , through the forbearance of God; To declare, I say, at this time his righteousness: that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus.  Where is boasting then? It is excluded . By what law? of works? Nay: but by the law of faith.  Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law.”  
 
Romans 3:18-28 (NIV) “There is no fear of God before their eyes.” Now we know that whatever the law says, it says to those who are under the law, so that every mouth may be silenced and the whole world held accountable to God.  Therefore no one will be declared righteous in his sight by observing the law; rather, through the law we become conscious of sin. But now a righteousness from God, apart from law, has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify.  This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference,  for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. God presented him as a sacrifice of atonement, through faith in his blood. He did this to demonstrate his justice, because in his forbearance he had left the sins committed beforehand unpunished– he did it to demonstrate his justice at the present time, so as to be just and the one who justifies those who have faith in Jesus.  Where, then, is boasting? It is excluded. On what principle? On that of observing the law? No, but on that of faith.  For we maintain that a man is justified by faith apart from observing the law.”

The Almighty LORD God created mankind out of love, wanting a personal relationship with him.  HE provided a way to restore that loving, personal relationship.   ♥  Streim

“Before we can begin to see the cross as something done for us, we have to see it as something done by us.”  John Stott     

The Anchor of Our Soul

Anchored Faith  Hebrews 6

Hebrews 6:13-20 ” For when God made a promise to Abraham, since He had no one greater by whom to swear, He swore by Himself, saying, ‘Surely I will bless you and multiply you.’  And thus Abraham, having patiently waited, obtained the promise.  For people swear by something greater than themselves, and in all their disputes an oath is final for confirmation.  So when God desired to show more convincingly to the heirs of the promise the unchangeable character of His purpose, He guaranteed it with an oath,  so that by two unchangeable things, in which it is impossible for God to lie, we who have fled for refuge might have strong encouragement to hold fast to the hope set before us.  We have this as a sure and steadfast anchor of the soul, a hope that enters into the inner place behind the curtain,  where Jesus has gone as a forerunner on our behalf, having become a high priest forever after the order of Melchizedek. (ESV)

Whenever I look at the turmoil, sadness and “blasts” of fire from the trials of life, I remember that we have a Glorious Amazing Perfect God!  His promises make it possible for each of His ‘blood bought, forgiven children’ to hold fast to the “hope set before us…”; when we finally make it home!  May we praise and honor Him and always be ready to give a defense to anyone who asks for a reason for the hope that lies within us!  (1 Peter 3:15) ♥ Streim