Pick one, only one

I’m posting in reverse order as these social media messages were recorded on my personal Facebook profile. A prequel, I guess, of the “Quarantine Chronicles”. Many were written after my sunrise shift at work at a well-known shipping company. In these days, our function was mandated to work. I struggled with the packages passing through my hands as the world was knocked off it’s axis by a global pandemic. I referred to the cathartic writing as water cooler conversations. As if, at the end of my early morning shift, I was talking about current event with my friends. Maybe they will have value to those of you who follow this blog around the world. It has become smaller, hasn’t it?

Jesus said, “No one can serve two masters. If you try, you will wind up loving the first master and hating the second, or vice versa. People try to serve both God and money—but you can’t. You must choose one or the other.” Matthew 6:24 (Voice)

FRIDAY It was interesting to come upon this scripture this morning in James 5 (below). Today, one of my tasks at work was starting the trailer load for a high-end local shoe manufacturer. Some large boxes were closed store returns, mandated to close by the government. About half were customer returns. I’m a relations person, if you haven’t figured that out yet. I don’t have time to read each label as I’m hustling but I notice a LOT. I pray and ponder while I work.

Being placed in that task was uncharacteristic to what I do. I heard rumors of these short-term storage trailers during the Covid 19 business shut-downs. And I rarely am called to load semis (I was a semi unloader until January when I changed shifts).

So, I’m thinking about these returns. Praying. Some may be shoe returns that busy people finally had time to ship back. Some may be people returning product because they lost a job, lost a lot of money in the stock market, or they are returning whatever they can to pay their bills. (I know a lot about living beyond my means. Regrets, I’ve had a few… hundred.)

As you load the boxes, you start with a solid cornerstone in the bottom corners of the trailer. You build the wall of boxes, not with silos/stacks of same sized boxes, you crisscross them for a solid wall for stability as it bounces down the highway. Loading a truck is like Tetris; unloading is like Jenga. I’ve unloaded enough poorly constructed walls to understand the importance. I hadn’t been officially trained but got some pointers when I was requested to load from time to time.

I prayed as I loaded, envisioning A correlation to a solid financial wall as I stacked wing-tip shoe boxes— different boxes of various sizes supporting one another to stabilize the wall. Like people, if you get my drift. I recall wisdom from my friend, an accountant, who told me the market would collapse if we shut America down completely. This has helped as I question the importance of seemingly frivolous purchases shipping with essentials. Everyone had needs. I cannot judge. I’m grateful to have work yet cautious of my health. Does our health, my coworkers and all the other now “essential” workers have value? Or are we just valued for this season to keep the market alive?

I recall a conversation I had with my boss/friend’s dad at my day job. He said his buddy from college who works at the NY stock exchange told him there was a jumper every day in current times. I don’t know… but I took it to heart, having battled darkness in my past and in recent months.

I had a season this winter when I felt my life insurance and IRA had more worth than I did. When I say only God stood by me through that darkness, I mean it. Satan used a lot of Godly people to say some hard things that got my mind twirling in the wrong direction. But He is sovereign and needed me to turn to Him rather than codependence as I am prone to.

Yes, my post today is a bit dismal. I’m sorry for those that want a spoon full of sugar to make the medicine go down. But I’m not sorry for posting. Many that I love don’t have a belief in God much less a relationship. Many have a hand-me-down religion they keep in their back pocket like a “get out of jail free” card in a Monopoly game. This is NOT a game. We have been living in the last days since 33 AD. We don’t know exactly when the hour will come but— man, oh man, will we sit up and listen??

I’ve wondered how the Israelites in the Old Testament could miss so many clues. And, here we are… skip/repeat… ignoring the advisories like it’s a slight change in our diet. We shake our heads at the 40 years Moses wandered around in the wilderness. How long will America, the world, be shut down before we finally love our neighbors as ourselves? Will America have more Covid19 fatalities than any other country because of our pride and arrogance? How many lives does it take before we realize this is a Spiritual battle. Read the Book of Ephesians if you need enlightenment to what this means because we have been treated mercifully. Many head out like warriors but this, THIS is like your family at home dying instead of those that are fearless. The Bible says we will stand before God to account for every thought, action, and our words. I think He may address some foolish, ignorant thinking with a lot of people who had fearless faith without a Spirit of discernment. Know anyone?

I’m grateful for friends in finance that have told me the market would collapse if we shut America down completely. I’ve tried to find joy in my work— serving God rather than my own needs or judging others for their purchases and priorities. That’s been a struggle as I am concerned about my health and my family as workers are highly exposed with each package. It breaks my heart that we have become a world motivated by money. It seems to be our foundation and backbone rather than a blessing. This is not what God wanted for us. Read on…

James 5 (VOICE) Hey, you rich folk, misery is on its way; so cry and moan because you will watch your riches rot before your eyes as the moths devour your fine clothes. Your stockpile of silver and gold is tarnished and corroded, and this rust will stand up in the final judgment and testify against you. It will eat your flesh like fire and become a permanent and painful reminder that you have hoarded your wealth through these last days. Listen. You held back a just wage from the laborers who mowed your fields, and that money is crying out against you, demanding that justice be done. The cries of the people who harvested your crops and made you a profit have fallen upon the ears of the supreme Lord of heavenly armies. Your life on the earth has been one of luxury, pleasure, and endless consumption; you have feasted to your hearts’ content on animals you slaughtered, but now the day of slaughter comes for you. You have condemned and murdered the righteous man, and he did not defend himself. [LH note: hint, his name rhymes with cheeses]

For this reason, my brothers and sisters, be patient as you wait for the return of the Lord. Look! The farmer knows how to wait patiently for the land to produce vegetables and fruits. He cannot harvest a freshly planted seed. Instead, he waits for the early and the late showers to nourish the soil. You need this same kind of patience, so in the meantime, strengthen your resolve because the Lord will be coming soon.

Brothers and sisters, don’t waste your breath complaining about one another. If you judge others, you will be judged yourself. Be very careful! You will face the one true Judge who is right outside the door. The prophets who declared the word of the Lord are your role models, my brothers and sisters, for what it means to live patiently in the face of suffering. Look, we bless and honor the memory of those who persevered under hardship. Remember how Job endured and how the Lord orchestrated the triumph of his final circumstances as a grand display of His mercy and compassion.

It is even more important, my brothers and sisters, that you remember not to make a vow by the heavens or the earth or by anything. When you say “yes,” it should always mean “yes,” and “no” should always mean “no.” If you can keep your word, you will avoid judgment.

Are any in your community suffering? They should pray. Are any celebrating? They should sing praises to God. Are any sick? They should call the elders of your church and ask them to pray. They will gather around and anoint them with oil in the name of the Lord. Prayers offered in faith will restore them from sickness and bring them to health. The Lord will lift them up from the floor of despair; and if the sickness is due to sin, then God will forgive their sins. So own up to your sins to one another and pray for one another. In the end, you may be healed. Your prayers are powerful when they are rooted in a righteous life. Remember Elijah? He was a man, no different from us. He prayed with great intensity asking God to withhold the rain; God answered his prayers and did not allow a single drop of rain to fall for three and a half years. It did not rain until Elijah prayed again for God to open the skies, when the rain came down and the earth produced a great crop.

Why should we bother to pray if God already knows what we are going to ask for? Prayer involves so much more than making personal requests. It connects us with God and works to bring our wills into conformity with His.

[Excerpt from The Voice: How, then, should we pray? First, James tells us to pray in community, not just by ourselves and for ourselves. When we pray together, life is shared and community is born. We also confess our sins, not just to God, but to each other. Through this vulnerable transparency, God knits souls together in authentic community, and we discover the true benefit of prayer.]

Brothers and sisters, if someone you know loses his way and rebels against God, pursue him in love [LH Note: in love, not force or guilt] and bring him back to the truth. Know this: If you turn a sinner back from the error of his ways, then you will rescue him from the grips of death and cover the pain and consequences of untold sins.

This is from the translation “The Voice” that I read. I study with a few translations— ESV and NIV. I use Bible Gateway to review a few option, including KJV. Why did I not take Hebrew classes in high school 🤦🏼‍♀️ [smacking my head]

The other edits of sarcasm are my own. The Message offers similar quips that catch my attention.

I’m so right-brain, my head tilts to the left. This 2012 translation has been helpful in the way it is scripted with excerpts to explain what was going down in time and why certain things are relevant today. I hope my recent posts are prompting you to dig deeper in your faith or start from scratch. These sign and warnings should be a wake up call for all of us.

Those who love “Mother Earth” have rightly pleaded on her behalf.

Those who love Father God are rightly pleading for Him. Our Creator. He loves each of you and so do I. Truly, I do.

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