Our Jihad

Jesus heals ISIS Execution

Our Jihad is not one like the Muslims’. Our fight is not against flesh and blood. Our sword is not like the sword of this world. What kind of war has God called us to? And what does the Book of Revelations mean? Let’s take a peak at a few spots:

– Matt. 26:50-52 – Then the men stepped forward, seized Jesus and arrested him. With that, one of Jesus’ companions reached for his sword, drew it out and struck the servant of the high priest, cutting off his ear. “Put your sword back in its place,” Jesus said to him, “for all who draw the sword will die by the sword.”

– Luke 22:51 – And Jesus touched the man’s ear and healed him

– Eph. 6:10-13,17 – Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand… Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.

The Kingdom of Jesus is not a matter of physical war, it is one of spiritual war. We are not fighting people, but evil spirits; and we do so with the sword of the Spirit which is the Word of God. Where Isis & some sects of Islam are killing unbelievers, Jesus is healing unbelievers.

– Rom. 7:22-25 – I love God’s law with all my heart. But there is another power within me that is at war with my mind. This power makes me a slave to the sin that is still within me. Oh, what a miserable person I am! Who will free me from this life that is dominated by sin and death? Thank God! The answer is in Jesus

There is a battle in the spiritual realm over your mind. Jesus called us to go into all the world and preach the gospel.

Preach:
1. to urge acceptance or abandonment of an idea or course of action

– Rom. 12:2 – Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is–his good, pleasing and perfect will.

– 2 Cor. 10:3-5 – For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.

Truth is the Only Way to the FatherWhen a question or argument arises in your mind you are thrown into a battle, a push and pull until one side wins. In every argument that comes to your mind, you are supposed to take the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God (Eph.6:17), find the lies and cut them down. The need the gift of the Spirit called ‘discernment’, so we can tell which way is right and which is wrong. We compare everything to the Bible. We find the fruit of the Spirit (peace), once we win the fight. If we lose the fight, we become severely wounded and start living from a false mindset that brings us pain. We have to win the battle in our own mind before we can go out and help others who are fighting. We face many lies every day and the only way to recognize them is to know the Word of God (your sword).

Example:
Lie: My feelings, and experiences, tell me that without my anger as a defense, I am weak and will not be able to survive a hard conversation with people.
Truth: Jesus, the Word of God, says without God I am weak. I am strong when I rely on God, and I am weak when I rely on myself, or anger, for deliverance. My anger isn’t going to scare anyone into submission; it is going to make my situation worse. I should respond in love and wait for God to do the rest (Ps. 18:2).

Lie: I feel like life is pointless. There is no point in living; there is nothing good ahead for me.
Truth: Jesus, the Word, says God’s plan is to give ME a hope and a future and lead me into something better than I could even dream for (Jer. 29:11).

Like every warrior, we need practice and training with our sword. Each lie that comes against you is an opportunity for you to become a stronger warrior. Sharpen your blade! Memorize the scriptures and actively call them to mind. Take every thought captive and make sure it lines up with the Bible before you let it run free. In battle we take prisoners first. We judge later, and decide who can live and who should die. Put to death the lies of the enemy.

Jihad:
1. a holy war waged as a religious duty; a personal struggle in devotion especially involving spiritual discipline
2. a crusade for a principle or belief

We are fighting mindsets in the world. The main mindset we are fighting is the AntiChrist.

– 2 Thess. 2:4 – He will oppose and will exalt himself over everything that is called God or is worshiped, so that he sets himself up in God’s temple, proclaiming himself to be God.

The temple is no longer a building, but His people. The veil, of the flesh, was torn so that we can stand before the Spirit of God 24/7

The temple is no longer a building, but His people. The veil, of the flesh, was torn so that we can stand before the Spirit of God 24/7

The Bible says we are the temple of God (1 Cor. 6:19). We aren’t waiting for a new temple in Jerusalem and some world political figure to rise up. We already have the AntiChrist in the temple, the body of believers. God & Jesus are the Holy Spirit. Those who oppose the Spirit (who is Christ) are those who are following the AntiChrist.

There is a true Christ and a false Christ in our churches. One is a grace based salvation, founded on being born again by the Spirit of God, and walking by the Spirit’s power. This one is called the Tree of Life. This is the true Christ. This is the tree that God wanted us to eat from in the garden of Eden.

The other is a law based salvation, founded on our ability to do what is right, in an attempt to save ourselves. This is called the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. The law is from God, and the tree was from God, but God said do not eat of it or you will surely die. The law cannot save you and eating from this tree cannot make you like God. This one says I am saved by my own power to live by the laws of God.

– Rom. 3:23 – all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God
– John 8:7 – Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone

– Rom. 8:2-3 – For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death. For what the Law could not do, weak as it was through the flesh, God did: sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and as an offering for sin, He condemned sin in the flesh

– Rom. 7:4-6 – Therefore, my brethren, you also have become dead to the law through the body of Christ, that you may be married to another—to Him who was raised from the dead, that we should bear fruit to God.  For when we were in the flesh, the sinful passions which were aroused by the law were at work in our members to bear fruit to death. But now we have been delivered from the law, having died to what we were held by, so that we should serve in the newness of the Spirit and not in the oldness of the letter.

The burden of sin and the law. The burden of working out your own salvation, instead of living by the Spirit of Jesus who already did the work

The burden of sin and the law. The burden of working out your own salvation, instead of living by the Spirit of Jesus who already did the work

We are not under the heavy burden of the law, but under the light and easy yoke of the Spirit of Christ. So then anyone who believes that the law can save them has partaken of the AntiChrist.

– Luke 11:46-47 – Jesus replied, “And you experts in the law, woe to you, because you load people down with burdens they can hardly carry, and you yourselves will not lift one finger to help them. “Woe to you, because you build tombs for the prophets

Woe to you teachers who burden God’s people with the law, do not help them, and do not show them that the Spirit is the only way to fulfill the law and make the burden light!

– Rom. 8:2 – through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death.

– Matt. 12:31-32 – every kind of sin and slander can be forgiven, but blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven. Anyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven, but anyone who speaks against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven

Blasphemy:
1. great disrespect shown to God or to something holy
2. irreverence toward something considered sacred

Have we blasphemed the Holy Spirit by ignoring Him or by treating parts of Him as useless?

– John 4:24 – God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in the Spirit and in truth

– 1 Cor. 14:13-18 – the one who speaks in tongues should pray that they may interpret the tongue. For if I pray in a tongue, my spirit praysI will sing with my spirit, but I will also sing with my understanding. Otherwise when you are praising God in the Spirit..  I thank God that I speak in tongues

Wolf in Sheeps ClothingIs the leader of your church opposing the fullness of the Spirit? Do not follow. So many Christians are scared of the Spirit of God! So many think God isn’t performing miracles anymore! Those are things Satan wants you to believe so you don’t see God, understand His will, or do the things He’s calling you to do. Don’t be scared to learn about the Spirit of God, be scared not to! Who do you think wants you to think God can’t heal you, deliver you, or give you that miracle? Satan wants to hold up the sheep skin that no longer has the power of the sheep. The AntiChrist is clothed to look like the Christ (religion), but takes away all the power that the Spirit of Jesus has.

– 2 Tim. 3:5 – having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with such people.

– Matt. 23:13 – Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You shut the door of the kingdom of heaven in people’s faces. You yourselves do not enter, nor will you let those enter who are trying to.

The Bible says: 1)that God is to be worshiped in Spirit and in truth, 2)the Spirit is the truth, and 3)the gifts of the Spirit are for every person. We need to be able to work in our own power AND in the power of the Spirit. We need to take the time to make sure we are not being taught by an AntiChrist leader in the church; one that says Jesus didn’t rise from the dead in power. The Holy Spirit is Jesus on earth today! He is alive and active in power. We don’t want to be grouped in with the people who blaspheme the Holy Spirit, and are irreverent toward the works of power being done by the sacred Spirit of God. Let’s not miss the kingdom of God, for it is at hand. Let us not be deceived for:

– Rev. 19:10 – the testimony of Jesus is Spirit of prophecy.

– 1 Tim. 4:1-2 – The Spirit clearly says that in later times some will abandon the faith and follow deceiving spirits and things taught by demons. Such teachings come through hypocritical liars, whose consciences have been seared as with a hot iron.

What is the kingdom of heaven supposed to look like?

– Luke 10:9 – Heal the sick who are there and tell them, ‘The kingdom of God has come near to you.’

– Luke 9:2 – he sent them out to proclaim the kingdom of God and to heal the sick.

– Luke 11:20 – if I drive out demons by the finger of God, then the kingdom of God has come upon you.

We were meant to proCLAIM the kingdom with the power of God. Isn’t it the ruler of a kingdom that puts forth the power to claim His own kingdom? God did not raise our bodies to life, but birthed us in the Spirit! We should be living in the power of the Spirit everyday.

Revelations talks about martyrs for Christ. Don’t you see that you are that martyr? We died with Christ.

Revelations talks about the resurrection. Don’t you see that you have been resurrected? We were raised with Christ. We are a new creation, and we (through the Spirit) are currently seated in heavenly places with Christ.

Revelations talks about His return with His army of believers for the final battle. Don’t you see that we are in that final battle? We are at war with the evil spirits in this world. We are taking every mind for Christ. And once the gospel has reached the ends of the earth, the end will come.

Armies of HeavenFight the good fight of faith. Wear the armor of God. Cut down everything that is against the supreme power of Love. Our Jihad is to win the minds of people over to God, who is Love. The Jihad of Isis is an AntiChrist: salvation based on human works. Some Christian doctrines are following an AntiChrist: salvation based on human works.

Jesus was baptized and the Spirit came on Him with power. The disciples were baptized,with fire (passion), with the power of the Spirit as well. We are to be baptized in the name of the Holy Spirit as well. Our God is a consuming fire; set my heart ablaze with passion for your name!

The Spirit gives us 3 lists of replacements, since we died with Christ. We were reborn by the Spirit, a new creation. We are now the temple of the Holy Spirit. We no longer belong to ourselves. The character, abilities, and works we display should not be our own, but His:

9 fruits (or character) of the Spirit: 1)love, 2)joy, 3)peace, 4)patience, 5)kindness, 6)goodness, 7)faithfulness, 8)gentleness, 9)self-control

9 gifts (or abilities) of the Spirit: 1)ability to work miracles, 2)to speak in unknown tongues, 3)to interpretation unknown tongues, 4)to discernment between good and evil, 5)gifts of healing, 6)prophecy, 7)word of wisdom, 8)word of knowledge, 9)faith

9 beattitudes (or works) of the Spirit:
1) Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven
2) Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.
3) Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.
4) Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.
5) Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy.
6) Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.
7) Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.
8) Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
9) Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.

Jesus allowed His love and compassion to move Him to powerful works. He was moved by the fruit of love, so it ignited the gift of healing. The Spirit saw the those mourning and He ignited the gift of miracles to raise the dead and comfort them. Each list ignites the other list. We need all three operations of the Spirit to accomplish the ultimate goal of letting people see the face of Love (God).

Love conquers all! God never fails. His power is here to show us that. He cares about our health – he heals! He wants us to hear his voice – He prophesies. He is a miracle working God yesterday, today, and forever.

Eagerly desire the gifts (1 Cor. 12:7-11) so that you can show the world His Love! This is the good fight! Fight it well!

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Animal Salvation?

Everyone always wants to know if their pets go to heaven and if animals have souls, so I did a fun little study on it.

It might look long, but all topics are highlighted, and in all of my posts I bold the important information so that you can quickly see the highlights. I always want to give the full scripture reference in case someone wants to know more, but if it looks overwhelming, simply read the bolded parts.

We’ll look at these topics:
– The Beginning of Animals
– Will there be animals in Heaven?
– Is there salvation for animals?
– If animals can be saved, then do they have souls?
– Will my pets be in heaven?
– Will animals be able to speak in heaven?
– Can we eat animals if they have a soul? Is it a sin to eat animals?
– How does God view animals?
– What does it mean to have dominion over animals? Are we doing our part?


Let’s look at the beginning of animals for a moment:

– Gen. 1:25 – God made the wild animals according to their kinds, the livestock according to their kinds, and all the creatures that move along the ground according to their kinds. And God saw that it was good

– Gen. 3:1 – Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the Lord God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God really say, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden’?”

Animals could talk in the beginning and God said it was good.

– Gen. 3:13-14 – The woman said, “The serpent deceived me, and I ate.” 14 So the Lord God said to the serpent, “Because you have done this, “Cursed are you above all livestock and all wild animals! You will crawl on your belly and you will eat dust all the days of your life. 15And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers

Animals and humans sinned and BOTH were cursed. It doesn’t say that he cursed animals so that they couldn’t speak, but we’ll talk more about that later. If animals can still speak with that kind of eloquence we can’t hear it anymore.

*SideNote: the curse on the snake was for him to crawl on his belly… meaning he previously swam (job’s leviathan?), had wings (fallen angel?), or legs (dragon of revelations?). Dragons in heaven? Well, Renaissance paintings made him look like a mermaid, so moving on.

serpent of Eden– Num. 22:27-28 – When the donkey saw the angel of the Lord, she lay down under Balaam; so Balaam was angry and struck the donkey with his stick. Then the Lord opened the donkey’s mouth, and it said to Balaam, “What have I done to you to make you beat me these three times?” 29Then Balaam said to the donkey, “Because you have made a mockery of me! If there had been a sword in my hand, I would have killed you by now.” 30The donkey said to Balaam, “Am I not your donkey on which you have ridden all your life to this day? Have I ever been accustomed to do so to you?” And he said, “No.” 31Then the Lord opened Balaam’s eyes, and he saw the angel of the Lord standing in the road with his sword drawn. So he bowed low and fell facedown. 32The angel of the Lord asked him, “Why have you beaten your donkey these three times? I have come here to oppose you because your path is a reckless one before me. 33The donkey saw me and turned away from me these three times. If it had not turned away, I would certainly have killed you by now, but I would have spared it.” 34Balaam said to the angel of the Lord, “I have sinned…”

– Is. 22:22 –  what he opens no one can shut, and what he shuts no one can open

God is capable of opening or closing the mouths of animals, giving or taking away their ability to speak. I do not see any reference inferring that we could teach an animal to speak with human eloquence, but I do see scriptures that infer animals were originally made to speak and will again speak (more so than Fluffy barking on command); more on that in the following sections.


Will there be animals in Heaven?

As we can see from the previous section, animals were in Eden and God said they were good. Below we see that God is going to renew the earth and restore Eden. This would imply that animals will exist in the restored Eden just like the former Eden.

– Rev. 21:1 – Then I saw “a new heaven and a new earth,” for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea

– Is. 65:17 – See, I will create new heavens and a new earth.

– Rev. 21:5 – He who was seated on the throne said, “I am making everything new!

– Eze. 36:35 – They will say, “This land that was laid waste has become like the garden of Eden; the cities that were lying in ruins, desolate and destroyed, are now fortified and inhabited.”

– Is. 11:6-9 – And the wolf will dwell with the lamb, And the leopard will lie down with the young goat, And the calf and the young lion and the fatling together; And a little boy will lead them. 7Also the cow and the bear will graze, Their young will lie down together, And the lion will eat straw like the ox. 8The nursing child will play by the hole of the cobra, And the weaned child will put his hand on the viper’s den. 9They will not hurt or destroy in all My holy mountain, For the earth will be full of the knowledge of the LORD As the waters cover the sea.

– Rev. 19:11 – Now I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse. And He who sat on him was called Faithful and True

– Ps. 145:21 – Let every creature praise his holy name for ever and ever.

So we see that there will be a new earth like the garden of Eden, where all creatures live in harmony for eternity. So if animals are in heaven then:


Is there salvation for animals? 

Ps. 36:5-6 – Your love, LORD, reaches to the heavens, your faithfulness to the skies. Your righteousness is like the highest mountains, your justice like the great deep. You, Lord, preserve both people and animals.

Let’s define preserve:
1. to keep alive or in existence; make lasting
2. to keep safe from harm or injury; protect or spare
3. to maintain and reserve for continued survival

– Gen. 9:9-10 – “Now behold, I Myself do establish My covenant with you, and with your descendants after you; 10and with every living creature that is with you, the birds, the cattle, and every beast of the earth with you; of all that comes out of the ark, even every beast of the earth.

– Gen. 9:15-17 – I will remember My covenant, which is between Me and you and every living creature of all flesh; and never again shall the water become a flood to destroy all flesh. 16Whenever the rainbow appears in the clouds, I will see it and remember the everlasting covenant between God and all living creatures of every kind on the earth. 17So God said to Noah, “This is the sign of the covenant I have established between me and all life on the earth.”

The story of the ark was a foreshadowing of God saving our souls. The animals were saved with Noah on the ark, which points to the idea that they too will be saved with the righteous. The Lord tells us many times that He has made a covenant with the animals; and not just in the flood account…

– Hos. 2:18-19 – In that day I will make a covenant for them with the beasts of the field, the birds in the sky and the creatures that move along the ground. Bow and sword and battle I will abolish from the land, so that all may lie down in safety. 19I will betroth you to me forever

– 2 Peter 2:5, 9 – if he did not spare the ancient world when he brought the flood on its ungodly people, but protected Noah… and seven others… 9then the Lord knows how to rescue the godly from trials and to hold the unrighteous for punishment on the day of judgment.

This verse seems to be saying that animals were rescued from trials because they were godly.

– 2 Peter 2:15- 16 – They have left the straight way and wandered off to follow the way of Balaam son of Bezer, who loved the wages of wickedness. 16But he was rebuked for his wrongdoing by a donkey—an animal without speech—who spoke with a human voice and restrained the prophet’s madness.

This donkey respected God more than the prophet. The donkey understood the word of the Lord and was obedient. The donkey also understood that he should not harm the Lords anointed. The donkey saved Balaam’s life 3 times and simply said, “The Lord rebuke you.”

– Ps. 105:15 – “Do not touch my anointed ones; do my prophets no harm.”

– 1 Sam. 26:9 – But David said to Abishai, “Don’t destroy him! Who can lay a hand on the LORD’s anointed and be guiltless?

– Gen. 9:5 – And for your lifeblood I will surely demand an accounting. I will demand an accounting from every animal. And from each human being, too, I will demand an accounting for the life of another human being.

This is the only concrete law I could find that was given to animals. Animals will be judged according to this law and apparently they understand it. What else do they understand?

– Job 12:7-9 – ask the animals, and they will teach you, or the birds in the sky, and they will tell you; 8 or speak to the earth, and it will teach you, or let the fish in the sea inform you. 9Which of all these does not know that the hand of the Lord has done this?

It’s a saying that animals can see into the spirit realm, but what if there’s truth to it? What if animals are actually more aware of God than we are? Maybe they are smarter than we are but we just can’t communicate with them in our fallen state?

– 2 Cor. 5:15 – he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again.

Someone’s getting in a tizzy about this scripture I guarantee, but we already saw that God made a covenant with ALL creatures. We can also see that this donkey isn’t living for itself, but for Christ. No animal wants to be beaten. The donkey had many chances to choose to save itself, but it waited for the Lord’s salvation. I think these scriptures clearly portray that there is salvation for animals. I’m not sure what all the rules are, but they will clearly be judged and saved like us. God tells us that the commandments are summed up into one: love; and that the greatest love is to lay down your life for another. Seems to me that this donkey passed with flying colors. The 10 commandments even include that animals should rest on the Sabbath with us.

– Ex. 20:8-11 – “Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. 9 Six days you shall labor and do all your work, 10 but the seventh day is a sabbath to the Lord your God. On it you shall not do any work, neither you, nor your son or daughter, nor your male or female servant, nor your animals, nor any foreigner residing in your towns. 11 For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but he rested on the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.

He even tells us to share the gospel with animals! This Easter one of my Facebook friends held an Easter party for dogs. I laughed, but then I thought about this verse:

– Mark 16:15 – And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.

– Rom. 8:21 (NLV) – Everything that has been made in the world will be set free from the power that can destroy. These will become free just as the children of God become free.

– Rom. 8:19-21 (MSG) – The created world itself can hardly wait for what’s coming next. Everything in creation is being more or less held back. God reins it in until both creation and all the creatures are ready and can be released at the same moment into the glorious times ahead. Meanwhile, the joyful anticipation deepens

– James 1:18 – In the exercise of His will He brought us forth by the word of truth, so that we would be a kind of first fruits among His creatures.

We are the FIRST fruits of his creatures. That means the other creatures will be the following act until the very last of the fruits return to God. So…


If animals can be saved, then do they have souls?
Are the animals in heaven going to be the souls of the animals from earth?

Over and over again, the word used for creatures is nefesh, the Hebrew word for soul. This word is used when describing animals and humans. The Bible clearly shows us that animals have souls; they have appetites, desires, affection, and feelings just like us.  

English=Creatures. Hebrew=Nephesh

– Ps. 104:25-30 – Here is the sea, great and wide, which teems with creatures innumerable, living things both small and great… 27These all look to you, to give them their food in due season. 28 When you give it to them, they gather it up; when you open your hand, they are filled with good things. 29 When you hide your face, they are dismayed; when you take away their breath, they die and return to their dust. 30When you send forth your Spirit, they are created, and you renew the face of the ground.

You renew the face of the ground? Sound familiar? Sounds like the bodies of the animals will be resurrected when the Lord renews the earth (Rev. 21:1,5), and here’s a supporting scripture:

– Rom. 8:19-21 – The created world itself can hardly wait for what’s coming next. Everything in creation is being more or less held back. God reins it in until both creation and all the creatures are ready and can be released at the same moment into the glorious times ahead. Meanwhile, the joyful anticipation deepens

Psalms 104 also showed us that animals have the spirit of God in them. God breathed life into them just like He did for us.

– Eccl. 12:7 – and the dust returns to the ground it came from, and the spirit returns to God who gave it.

God is whole. He is not incomplete, so if He sends out part of His Spirit it will surely return to Him.

– 1 Cor. 15:35-40, 42-44 – But someone will ask, “How are the dead raised? With what kind of body will they come?” 36 How foolish! What you sow does not come to life unless it dies. 37 When you sow, you do not plant the body that will be, but just a seed, perhaps of wheat or of something else. 38 But God gives it a body as he has determined, and to each kind of seed he gives its own body. 39 Not all flesh is the same: People have one kind of flesh, animals have another, birds another and fish another. 40 There are also heavenly bodies and there are earthly bodies; but the splendor of the heavenly bodies is one kind, and the splendor of the earthly bodies is another… 42 So will it be with the resurrection of the dead. The body that is sown is perishable, it is raised imperishable; 43 it is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory; it is sown in weakness, it is raised in power; 44 it is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body. If there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual body.

Our perishable bodies return to the dust just like the animals, until the resurrection of the body. The animals imperishable body, the Spirit and breathe of God, returns to God just like ours do. So, ‘to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord’ (2 Cor. 5:8)

– Eccl. 3:19-21 – For what happens to the sons of men also happens to animals; one thing befalls them: as one dies, so dies the other. Surely, they all have one breath; man has no advantage over animals, for all is vanity. 20 All go to one place: all are from the dust, and all return to dust.

Dust to dust. Spirit to spirit

– 1 Cor. 15:21-22 – For since death came through a man, the resurrection of the dead comes also through a man. 22 For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive.

The death that was brought, on both man and animal, came through a man. So the life, for both man and animal, comes from a man. Strangely enough, the same man that brings life describes himself as a sacrificial lamb; so where death came from an animal (serpent), life also came from an animal (lamb).

It’s crazy how hidden, yet attainable he makes his secrets! ❤ it! So the cherry on top question would be:


Will my pets be in heaven?

Given the foundational truths from the previous sections, I would say yes.

– 1 Cor. 2:9 – For no eye has seen, no ear has heard, and no mind has imagined what God has prepared for those who love him.

– Eph. 3:20-21 –  to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, 21to him be glory

– Ps. 31:19 – How abundant are the good things that you have stored up for those who fear you, that you bestow in the sight of all, on those who take refuge in you.

– 1 Cor. 13:8-13 – Love never fails… 13And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.

Love is imperishable because God IS love. If you have a sacrificial love for your animal, that love won’t be taken away because it is imperishable.

Ps. 84:11 – No good thing will He withhold from those who walk uprightly

We can trust God that heaven will be a place filled with everything necessary for our happiness. In fact more than likely, you’ll be able to speak to your pets in heaven.


Will animals be able to speak in heaven?

We’ve already talked about how animals spoke in the previous Eden (inferring that they should be able to speak in the restored Eden) and how animals have spoken in the fallen earth (Balaam’s donkey). What’s so hard to believe? If rocks can speak and praise God why can’t animals?

Point #1 – Called to praise & Support of Praise

– Luke 19:40 – If they keep quiet, the stones will cry out.

– Jer. 32:27 – Behold, I am the Lord, the God of all flesh. Is anything too hard for me?

In fact God tells the creatures to praise Him

 – Ps. 150:6 – Let everything that has breath praise the Lord

– Ps. 148:10-13 – Wild animals and all cattle, small creatures and flying birds, kings of the earth and all nations, you princes and all rulers on earth, young men and maidens, old men and children. Let them praise the name of the Lord, for his name alone is exalted. His splendor is above the earth and the heavens

If he asks something from us, He will give us the means to do so. If He asks for animals to praise Him, then He will give them freewill and a voice to do so. I think they praise Him now, but I think we will hear the praise in the new earth (see point #2)

– Heb. 13:21 – may he equip you with all you need for doing his will. May he produce in you, through the power of Jesus Christ, every good thing that is pleasing to him.

Here are some more animals speaking in heaven and in the earth:

– Rev. 8:13 – As I watched, I heard an eagle that was flying in midair call out in a loud voice: “Woe! Woe! Woe to the inhabitants of the earth

– Rev. 4:6-8 – In the center, around the throne, were four living creatures, and they were covered with eyes, in front and in back. 7The first creature was like a lion, and the second creature like a calf, and the third creature had a face like that of a man, and the fourth creature was like a flying eagle. 8And the four living creatures, each one of them having six wings, are full of eyes around and within; and day and night they do not cease to say, “‘Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty,’ who was, and is, and is to come.”

If we were made in God’s image, what image were animals made in? Were they made in the image of these speaking ‘living creatures’? Where animals also made in God’s image? God is vast; whose to say that we weren’t made to have some attributes of God that animals don’t have, and vice versa. If animals then were made in God’s image, but with different attributes of Him, do you think God would make them unable to communicate? Is God mute? Can God only talk to His son (in the ‘god species’)?

– Rev. 5:13 – Then I heard every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and on the sea, and all that is in them, saying:  “To him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb be praise and honor and glory and power, for ever and ever!”

Point #2 – Language & Unity

Maybe in order to understand Point #1 we should look at language (in general) for a moment:

– Gen.11:1 – Now the whole world had one language and a common speech… 4Then they said, “Come, let us build ourselves a city, with a tower that reaches to the heavens, so that we may make a name for ourselves; otherwise we will be scattered over the face of the whole earth.”… 6The Lord said, “If as one people speaking the same language they have begun to do this, then nothing they plan to do will be impossible for them. 7Come, let us go down and confuse their language so they will not understand each other.” 8So the Lord scattered them from there over all the earth 9That is why it was called Babel—because there the Lord confused the language of the whole world. From there the Lord scattered them over the face of the whole earth

Unity makes all things possible. Due to disobedience (gen. 9:1) the Lord scattered languages. If Heaven is without sin then we can assume that heaven will have unity instead of confusion. This unity can come in the form of one common language or many languages. I’ll show you how since we have already established that both man and animal have the same Spirit from God:

– 1 Cor. 12:7-10 – Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good. 8To one there is given through the Spirit a message of wisdom, to another a message of knowledge by means of the same Spirit, 9to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by that one Spirit, 10 to another miraculous powers, to another prophecy, to another distinguishing between spirits, to another speaking in different kinds of tongues, and to still another the interpretation of tongues.

We see here that through unity of Spirit we can be given the gift of speaking and interpreting different (otherwise unknown) languages. So if I meet my pet in heaven, he can speak dog and I can speak English and with these gifts we can have unity & understand each other. As an example, it’s by the Spirit that this angel is able to preach in all languages:

– Rev. 14:6 – Then I saw another angel flying in midair, and he had the eternal gospel to proclaim to those who live on the earth–to every nation, tribe, language and people.

– Rev. 7:9-10 – After these things I looked, and behold, a great multitude which no one could count, from every nation and all tribes and peoples and tongues, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, and palm branches were in their hands; 10and they cry out with a loud voice, saying, Salvation to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb

So whether there is one language or multiple languages, there will be UNITY in heaven and ease of communication between species, nations, etc. There will be no miscommunication, misunderstanding, or discord which guarantees ALL will be able to communicate eloquently and understand ALL.

Lastly, if animals can speak, and have a soul, should we be eating them? I was talking to a friend the other day whose wife is a vegetarian. We talked about the original diet of mankind: fruititarianism. Meaning we ate only what naturally fell from a plant. We would not eat anything that turns into a plant or harms a plant. I was making the point that God loves plants as much as animals and people. My friend said he couldn’t stand the thought of killing an animal anymore, and that if the grass cried out in agony when he cut it, he probably wouldn’t do that either. I laughed too hard. However, animals have a different kind of voice than people, so plants have a different kind of voice than animals. How long will it take us to realize the earth is screaming in agony from our abuse? That’s another topic though…


Can we eat animals since they have a soul?
Is it a sin to eat animals?

– Gen. 1:26-30 – Then God said, “Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.”… 28God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky and over every living creature that moves on the ground.” 29Then God said, “I give you every seed-bearing plant on the face of the whole earth and every tree that has fruit with seed in it. They will be yours for food. 30And to all the beasts of the earth and all the birds in the sky and all the creatures that move along the ground—everything that has the breath of life in it—I give every green plant for food.

Both man and animal were given plants to eat originally. They were fruitarian. They ate only what would naturally fall from a plant or regenerate on its own. Part of the curse of man is that he would have to toil the fields, so before the curse man lived on fruits, herbs, and maybe perennial vegetables and nuts. We see in the next verse that animals will return to this system:

– Is. 11:7 – the cow and the bear will graze, Their young will lie down together, And the lion will eat straw like the ox.

– Ps. 104: – He causes the grass to grow for the cattle, And vegetation for the service of man, That he may bring forth food from the earth, 5And wine that makes glad the heart of man, Oil to make his face shine, And bread which strengthens man’s heart.

*SideNote: Modern day bread is terrible for you! It doesn’t strengthen the heart… but grind your own natural ingredients instead of that GMO bleached grocery mess and you can live on bread alone for 300 days like Ezekiel. Here’s a recipe: http://breadmachinerecipe.net/ezekiel-bread-machine-recipe/

Okay, so we started out with a fruitarian/vegetarian/vegan kind of diet, but then:

– Gen. 9:2-4 – And the fear of you and the dread of you shall be on every beast of the earth, on every bird of the air, on all that move on the earth, and on all the fish of the sea. They are given into your hand. 3 Every moving thing that lives shall be food for you. I have given you all things, even as the green herbs.

Here’s our green light for eating animals. But then why would he say all things are for food, if later he says don’t eat pork (Deut. 14:8) or sea animals without scales (Lev. 11:9)?

– 1 Tim. 4:3 – They will say it is wrong to be married and wrong to eat certain foods. But God created those foods to be eaten with thanks by faithful people who know the truth.

– 1 Cor. 10:23-33 – “I have the right to do anything,” you say—but not everything is beneficial. “I have the right to do anything”—but not everything is constructive… 25Eat anything sold in the meat market without raising questions of conscience, 26for, “The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it.” 27If an unbeliever invites you to a meal and you want to go, eat whatever is put before you without raising questions of conscience… For why is my freedom being judged by another’s conscience? 30If I take part in the meal with thankfulness, why am I denounced because of something I thank God for? 31So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God. 32Do not cause anyone to stumble, whether Jews, Greeks or the church of God— 33even as I try to please everyone in every way. For I am not seeking my own good but the good of many, so that they may be saved.

I have the right to eat every moving thing, but not all of those things will be beneficial to my body. The guides he gives in Deut. & Lev. give you an idea of what things are beneficial to your body and what things will make you sick. We know vegetables are healthy, but he lists some animals too, so it’s not a sin to eat them.

Based on these scriptures I think its honorable to choose to not eat meat since that will probably be the model of heaven anyway. That doesn’t mean that heaven will be less amazing. God can make ‘manna’ taste like some good ole country fried steak or venison back-strap. We shouldn’t be scared of the idea of giving up our favorite foods (sushi & duck for me), because we know the tastes in heaven will somehow immeasurably surpass the delectable flavors found here on earth. Nonetheless, in the current earth, we have a green light to eat meat.

With that being said, the next section is of the upmost importance.


God cares for animals, but are we doing our part to care for animals?

God cares for animals. He breathes life into them, knows every one, feeds them, knows when they die, helps them give birth, gently carries them, clothes them, protects them, etc.

– Matt. 10:29 – Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? And not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father. 

– Matt. 6:26 – Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them.

– Ps. 50:10-11 – For every beast of the forest is Mine, The cattle on a thousand hills. “I know every bird of the mountains, And everything that moves in the field is Mine.

– Is. 40:11 – In His arm He will gather the lambs And carry them in His bosom; He will gently lead the nursing ewes.

– Ps. 29:9 – The voice of the Lord makes the deer give birth

– Deut. 25:4 – Do not muzzle an ox while it is treading out the grain.

– Deut. 22:10 – You shall not plow with an ox and a donkey together

He cares about animal rights. He wants the ox to be able to eat his daily portion and his working portion. He doesn’t want the donkey to get hurt by being yolked to a larger animal. No matter what the price we value sparrows, he is aware of every single one. God is Spirit and He gave us the ‘fruits of the Spirit’ to train ourselves in. While we train to have these attributes, they are already a part of God’s character. He is patient, kind, good, faithful, gentle, self-controlled, peaceful, loving, and joyful toward us and all creation. If He cares about animals to this extent and He has set us as a servant over them, then we should care about them too, because He will surely judge us according to our given duties.

– Gen. 1:27-28 – God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.

It’s not a sin to eat animals, but it is a sin to not have dominion over animals. The word dominion is an antonym to stewardship or management. He calls us a servant to creation.

– James 1:18 – He brought us forth by the word of truth, so that we would be a kind of first fruits among His creatures.

Why are we called the FIRST fruits of his creatures if mankind was made last in the Genesis creation?

– Matt. 20:16 – So the last will be first, and the first will be last

– Mark 9:35 – Anyone who wants to be first must be the very last, and the servant of all

We were called to take dominion, which doesn’t mean to dominate or exploit the earth, but to steward, manage, or take care of the earth. We were last so that we could SERVE all. If we eat all the animals and do not manage their numbers, and protect their existence, then we have sinned by not managing the business God gave us. Plus:

– Eccl. 3:19 – what happens to the sons of men also happens to animals; one thing befalls them: as one dies, so dies the other.

We need to be carefully not to over consume animals or fall into the sin of gluttony, leading to poor management. All sin leads to death, and here we see specifically how gluttony can and will lead to death in the end times. Over consumption can come through gluttonous eating, clothing, poaching, hunting, whatever. I love the ideals of the native americans on this subject. They gave thanks for every animal life and they used every last piece of the animal. We should be wary of how much we take and how much we waste. If I manage myself, I can live off 1 deer a year, by using 1 pound of meat for each 4 day span.

– Luke 12:42-46 – And the Lord said, “Who then is the faithful and wise manager, whom his master will set over his household, to give them their portion of food at the proper time? Blessed is that servant whom his master will find so doing when he comes. Truly, I say to you, he will set him over all his possessions. But if that servant says to himself, ‘My master is delayed in coming,’ and begins to beat the male and female servants, and to eat and drink and get drunk, the master of that servant will come on a day when he does not expect him and at an hour he does not know, and will cut him in pieces and put him with the unfaithful.

To eat, drink, and get drunk is referring to gluttony. It is also a cross-reference these other scriptures:

– Is. 22:12-13 – Therefore in that day the Lord God of hosts called you to weeping, to wailing, to shaving the head and to wearing sackcloth. 13Instead, there is gaiety and gladness, killing of cattle and slaughtering of sheep, Eating of meat and drinking of wine: “Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we may die.”

The ‘Lords call to weeping’ will be through famine that WE induce. We aren’t far away from it. This verse foretells the attitude that people will take during the days of famine… they will continue to be gluttonous until they have completely destroyed the earth. They will say, we are going to die anyway, so I might as well be happy while I’m alive; all the while destroying the earth and dooming future generations. This is no way to manage a business – that’s how you drive it into bankruptcy.

– Is. 5:8-12 – Woe to those who join house to house; They add field to field, Till there is no place where they may dwell alone in the midst of the land! 9In my hearing the Lord of hosts said, “Truly, many houses shall be desolate, great and beautiful ones, without inhabitant. 10 For ten acres of vineyard shall yield one bath (7 gallon of grapes instead of the 400 gallon normal average), And a homer of seed shall yield one ephah.” 11 Woe to those who rise early in the morning, That they may follow intoxicating drink; Who continue until night, till wine inflames them! 12 The harp and the strings, The tambourine and flute, And wine are in their feasts; But they do not regard the work of the Lord, Nor consider the operation of His hands. Therefore my people have gone into captivity, Because they have no knowledge.

– Is. 5:12 – They do not regard the work of the Lord, Nor consider the operation of His hands.

What is the “work of His hands”?

– Ps. 8:3-9 – When I consider Your heavens, the work of Your fingers, the moon and the stars, what is man that You take thought of him, and the son of man that You care for him?…You make him to rule over the works of Your hands. You have put all things under his feet… All sheep and oxen, and also the beasts of the field, the birds of the heavens and the fish of the sea

You make him to rule over the works of Your hands… this was our Genesis command to have dominion, but Isaiah says humans will not regard the animals, earth, or space and so humans will fall blindly into famine and death. The bible says the respect of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge. God wants to show us how to maintain life. Are we going to be open to His advice?

*SideNote: “I consider Your heavens, the work of Your fingers, the moon and the stars.” Thus we are called to be stewards of space as well. Are we going to start dumping trash in space? Will the famine drive us into space, to a new earth? Hmm.. I feel a study of Revelations coming about. 

– ‘oikonomia’ is the greek word used for steward. The word ‘economics’ is derived from it.
Economics: is the social science that studies production, distribution, exchange and consumption of goods and services.

We can’t be good stewards of animals if we turn a blind eye to our rate of consumption.

– Is. 24:5-6 – The earth is also polluted by its inhabitants, for they transgressed laws, violated statutes, broke the everlasting covenant. Therefore a curse devours the earth, and those who live in it are held guilty. Therefore, the inhabitants of the earth are burned, and few men are left

– Rev. 11:18 – The time has come… to destroy those who destroy the earth

Those who were bad stewards, not those in Christ (Luke 12:42-46). Although many in Christ are bad stewards, His blood covers all our sin and because we love him, we continually grow in our love, learning how to please him. In Him there is no fault-fiding.

– Is. 24:4-6 – The earth mourns and dries up, and the land wastes away and withers. Even the greatest people on earth waste away. 5The earth suffers for the sins of its people, for they have twisted God’s instructions, violated his laws, and broken his everlasting covenant. 6Therefore, a curse consumes the earth. Its people must pay the price for their sin. They are destroyed by fire, and only a few are left alive.

– Rev. 8:7 – A third of the earth was burned up, a third of the trees were burned up, and all the green grass was burned up.

– Rev. 8:8-9 – A third of the sea turned into blood, a third of the living creatures in the sea died, and a third of the ships were destroyed.

– Rev. 8:11 – a great star, blazing like a torch, fell from the sky on a third of the rivers and on the springs of water… A third of the waters turned bitter, and many people died from the waters that had become bitter.

– Rev. 8:12 – a third of the sun was struck, a third of the moon, and a third of the stars, so that a third of them turned dark. A third of the day was without light, and also a third of the night.

Funny what Revelations calls judgement, Isaiah calls reaping what you sow… God gave us freedom of choice and he doesn’t change his mind about that even if we destroy the Earth He gave us. The prodigal son went and spent his inheritance till he had to eat pig slop. We create our own punishment when we disobey Him.

Poor stewards> becomes famine>becomes war>nuclear bombs>disease, lose of life, lose of water, & darkness>the end

We who know and love God should be digging in the word for instructions; doing our part to protect life and rallying support. Time is short.

– Matt. 24:3 – “Tell us, when these things will be? And what will be the sign of Your coming, and of the end of the age?”

Jesus answered (Matt. 24:4-14):

There will be:
– false saviors
– wars and rumors of wars
(he adds that we should not let these rumors alarm us (social media anyone?))
– nation will go against nation, and kingdom against kingdom
– famines and earthquakes in various places

and thats only the beginning. Then there will be:

– persecution and killing of Christians
– many will denounce Christ and betray Christians
– there will be false teachers and false prophets
– gospel preached to the whole world

then the end will come.


Hmm, many of these are already happening. Even so, we don’t want to say ‘eat, drink, and be merry as if we die tomorrow’. Instead we want to hone in on the love that makes us want to please our wonderful savior, and stay busy about His work, looking forward to the great reward that’s coming… Getting to talk to pets and Oh so much more. When it comes down to the persecution of Christians, and my life is on the line, I’m going to be laughing knowing that in my next second I will be riding on, and talking to, a pterodactyl with Jesus; flying through wormholes as all the exciting, mysterious thing unveil and I’m assigned to take care of baby dolphins for a time. Don’t hate. 

Riding a pterodactyl

Last TidBit: Statistically, In homes where an animal is being abused, it is almost certain there is also domestic violence in the home. Maybe you should pay attention to this concept if you are still single and looking for a spouse.

– Prov. 12:10 – The godly care for their animals, but the wicked are always cruel.

Feast and Fast – Part 2

I have 347+ articles of clothing, which is disgustingly typical for the American woman. This doesn’t include undergarments, accessories, or shoes. If each article cost $20 that would be $6,940 wasted, since I wear maybe 17 articles in a week. I have enough clothes to wear something new, everyday, for 5 to 6 months.

Do these envious, gluttonous tendencies our culture tells us we need in order to ‘fit in’, cause us to be discontent and unhappy? People are walking 20 miles, without shoes, to get water to survive. There are homeless people, who don’t have a coat this winter, who might die. There are people starving to DEATH. How can we rationalize our gluttony? Is our clothing/possession reputation more important than real human lives? Wouldn’t we be happier if we saw the lasting and perpetuating joy from helping someone in need?


Jen got my attention when she put herself on the line, sharing a gross number of excessive clothing she owns. I had to know, and of course I had even more than her… In Seven: An Experimental Mutiny Against Excess, Jen asks, ‘What in my life, and in the lives of most Americans, is just too much?’ She comes up with 7 categories: food, clothing, possessions, media, waste, spending, and stress. She tackles one category a month, for 7 months as an exercise in simplicity to create space for God’s kingdom to break through in her life. I fell in love with her journalistic writing style and attention grabbing evidences. The following are some ideas from her book:

Month 1 – Food:

– Jen chose 7 foods to eat during the month. Her friends chose to eat like the poorest nations, with only rice, beans, bread, and oatmeal. Jen talks about how sick she gets of the 7 foods, how people react to her new menu, how grateful she is that the foods are nutritious and doubling her energy, how much money she saves, how little food gets wasted during the fast. She weeps for her children in Ethiopia that she is trying to adopt. They are orphaned by disease, hunger, or poverty and will go to bed with no mother while her American children threw away a pound of food because there was no ketchup. She weeps for her biological children who will battle American complacency and overindulgence for the rest of their lives.

“We didn’t even know what was precious. We threw away things that people would kill for today.” – The Book of Eli

– In our culture intentional reduction is so uncommon people just don’t know what to do with it. Folks are adding, not subtracting. The rise in prosperity is not making people happier or healthier. We are incurring debt and working longer hours to pay for the high-consumption lifestyle; spending less time with family, friends, and community. What happened to don’t gain the world only to forfeit your soul?

– By the 1960’s real food was rapidly disappearing from its shelves, to be replaced by the modern cornucopia of highly processed food-like products. Maybe food simplification is a good idea for all of us. For health, waste reduction, time management, spiritual clarity, and gratefulness. Maybe we should consider avoiding food products containing ingredients that are unfamiliar, unpronounceable, or more than 5 in number. When a loaf of bread traditionally involves flour, yeast, water, and salt, but now contains 20+ ingredients, and lasts a month longer than the homemade version, we might should be wary what we are eating.

– In some supernatural way the abstinence from food was the catalyst for Jesus’ unveiling. After Jesus’ fast, He began healing, rescuing, redeeming. The Spirit filled up the emptiness Jesus created, launching Him into ministry.

Month 2 – Clothes:

– Jen counts her clothing items: 327. She estimates she spent $30 average on each, which equals $9,810. She didn’t include anyone else in her family. She decides to wear 7 articles of clothing for a month. Her friends do a variation of the fast, separating the clothes they wear in a month from the rest to see what percentage actually gets used.

– Unfortunately, Jen didn’t choose a jacket as one of her 7 items and it ends up snowing in Austin, Texas. She talks about the 4,500 homeless people and the lack of shelters in emergency situations; 100+ people died last year from the cold. She layers on her 7 items and gratefully goes to bed in her warm home.

– Scripture describes the people who drew Jesus’ eye: the poor widow, lepers, the lost and hungry, adulterers, the outcast, the sick and dying, the already dead. Finery and opulence never impressed Jesus; quite the opposite. He rebuked religious leaders for their fancy robes, strutting around as if their ceremonial dress had any bearing on the condition of their hearts. There is something noble about an assembly of believers in simple clothes, where the lobby isn’t filled with people saying, ‘You look pretty’ to one another. Perhaps an obsessive occupation with dresses, hair, and shoes detracts us from the point of the gathering: a fixation on Jesus. Maybe our fine dresses keep us from dancing or bowing in worship, or hugging the poor off the streets, or changing a babies diaper; keeping us from connecting in loving ways.

– Host a clothing swap with your friends so you each get something new without spending money. Give away the clothes you don’t use, to help someone in need. Think about what you are buying. Does your child need a $50 smocked dress to run around filthy playgrounds? I hope one day clothes and appearance and everyone else’s assessment doesn’t even occur to me. I would like to be so focused on the valuable that what I am wearing doesn’t even warrant mental space.

– Love your neighbor as yourself. What standard is acceptable for my own life? My own family? This is the benchmark for everyone else, which necessitates a decrease in the definition of necessary (for us) and an increase in the definition of acceptable (for everyone else).

– The average human gets around 25,000 days on earth. We have this one life to offer; we get one shot at living to expand the kingdom, fighting for justice. We’ll have one moment to say, ‘This is how I lived.’ Jen spent enough on clothes to irrevocably change the lives of a 100,000 people. Closets full of clothes we might have worn twice. She said, I imagine being in heaven and having a family look at me who were too poor or sick to raise their babies. I gaze on their helplessness and see them realize the same amount I spent on clothes would have kept their families fed and healthy for 30 years.

– In a culture that elevates beauty and style, the Christian community is at genuine risk for distraction, even deception. Are we no different from the secular population, drawn to charisma and style above substance and integrity? I hope not. I want to belong to a Christian community known for a different kind of beauty, the kind that heals and inspires. I can’t help but remember Jesus, and how God made sure to mention He was plain by human standards: ‘He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him, nothing in his appearance that we should desire him.’ – Is. 53.

Month 3 – Possessions:

– I could point a finger at culture for pressuring me into having nicer things. I might implicate modern parenting, which encourages endless purchases for the kids, ensuring they aren’t the ‘have-nots’ in a sea of ‘haves’. Jen gets rid of 7 things a day for a month.

– The great tragedy in the church is not that rich Christians do not care about the poor but that rich Christians do not know the poor. I truly believe that when the poor meet the rich, riches will have no meaning. And when the rich meet the poor, we will see poverty come to an end.

Unfortunately, in the southern bible belt, we care so much about clothing, appearance, and pride that some people kick out the poor that step into their churches. Such was the case in a church I once attended. The south needs to awaken their hearts and focus on the ministry of reconciliation instead of selfish gain and conceit.

– Jen gives away her clothes. The clothes that gave her confidence when she was terrified and uncertain during her first women’s conference, brunches, and weddings. Getting rid of them is like a farewell to our old life. I thought about how my lovely clothes propped up the outside while my inside was struggling to find its way. I smile to think of a broken, abused woman slipping these pretty things on and propping up the outside a bit during her healing process. I pray they will remind her that she is beautiful, she is valuable, she is worth it.

– We went in for the Easter service and saw a homeless-looking guy with weird hair, wearing what appeared to be a burlap sack in the shape of pants and a tunic. This was, of course, Shane. He’s been ‘escorted out’ of several churches before they realized he was their guest speaker… As we were about to take communion, Shane said, ‘You are under no coercion, but if you want to, you can leave your shoes at the altar when you take communion. We’ll wash them and deliver them all to the homeless community in San Antonio tomorrow. We were both wearing our brand new boots; the most prized and expensive shoes we’d ever owned. At the close of the service, I watched all these smiling people gladly walk barefooted out into the cold. When God told us to give, I suspect He had spiritual formation in mind as much as meeting needs. ‘If we have been united with Him like this in His death, we will certainly also be united with Him in His resurrection.’ We want the life part without being united in the death part, but that version of Christianity doesn’t exist – that is a false gospel, void of sacrifice or love. The fertile soil of death is where the gospel forms roots and actually bears fruit.

Matt. 6:19-21 – Do not store up for yourselves treasure on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and thieves break in and steal… where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

– In a typical year the US spends about $16 billion in foreign aid and $276 billion on advertising. What do we do with our riches? Money is the most frequent theme in scripture; perhaps the secret to happiness is right under our noses. Maybe we don’t recognize satisfaction because it is disguised as radical generosity, a strange misnomer in a consumer culture.

Month 4 – Media: 

– One month without tv, gaming, social media, radio, internet, apps, or excessive/useless texting. Take something away and your habits become clear. We had to start cooking together, walking after dinner, having friends over, doing crafts, actually calling people, reading books, and fall in love with new hobbies. It’s wild what will emerge out of the black hole of media. Media stole energy from my home and family, substituting face-to-face time with screens.

Sorry if that’s a short description of this chapter, but I don’t have cable and just joined the smart phone era this month, so I’m already protecting myself here. Pinterest might be my downfall in this category, so I included it in my version of the fast. Maybe I should add excessive texting too. I would challenge anyone to try Jen’s challenge for a month. It’s peaceful and helps you focus on what is important in life.

Month 5 – Waste:

– Does ‘creation’ have anything to do with God whom I call ‘Creator’? Surely God isn’t worried about how we handle His creation that He created. Jen takes on 7 habits for a greener life this month: gardening, composting, conserving energy and water, recycling, driving one car, second-hand shopping/thrifting, buying only local.

“Today is Earth Day, or as evangelicals call it, Thursday.” Ouch.

– Until now, my  produce originated from the same place where it is all in season, all the time: the grocery store. Whether it is a hot-weather vegetable or a fruit that requires sandy soil, I haven’t a clue. It doesn’t matter because it can be prematurely picked, artificially ripened, and shipped from anywhere on earth if I need it for my cobbler that day. By subsidizing large-scale agriculture with government handouts, we: a) expedite the extinction of small farmers and diversified crops, b) facilitate agriculture that is destroying and polluting our soils and water, weakening our communities by concentrating wealth and power into a few hands. Only .18/dollar goes to the grower when buying at the supermarket. Farmers markets enable farmers to keep .80/dollar spent by the consumer. When you buy from an independent, locally owned business, twice the money recirculates through the community, doubling the positive impact on the local economy. Nonprofit organizations receive on average 250% more support from smaller business owners than they do from large businesses.

– Since we are recycling this month, we have zero trash. Americans 251 million tons of trash per year. Trash in a landfill will stay there for a really long time; with little oxygen and moisture, trash doesn’t decompose rapidly. Landfills aren’t meant to break it down, only bury it. Sites have to be monitored 30+ years because of contamination threats. Who knows what percentage of chemicals gets into our groundwater. What if we changed our label from ‘consumers’ to ‘stewards’? There are a limited number of resources in the world, and when we take more than we need, simply put, we are stealing from others. By pillaging the earth for more than our share, we break the 8th commandment. I was stealing from people, present  and future. Turns out I constantly steal from my kids (and yours). I’m snatching up goodies like clean air and water while millions of families clamor for a drink and struggle with disease. I’m throwing away excess paper and packaging while rain forests disappear.

– I keep thinking about our obsession with health. God gave us spectacular bodies, and we value them. But as certainly as God created man in His image, He first created the earth. With the same care He designed 60,000 miles of blood vessels in the human body, He also crafted hydrangeas and freshwater rapids and hummingbirds. The details He included while designing the earth are so extraordinary, it is no wonder He spent 5 days of the 6 days of creation on it. So, why don’t we care for the earth anywhere near to the degree we do our bodies?

Ps. 42:1-2 – The earth is the Lords, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it; for he founded it on the seas and established it on the water.

– We should fulfill our calling to be caretakers of the earth regardless of whether global warming is real or there are holes in the ozone layer or three nonhuman species become extinct each day. Our vocation is not contingent on results or the state of the planet. Our calling simply depends on our identity as God’s response-able human image-bearers.

Month 6 – Spending

– Staying true to our generation, we dug a deep, dark debt hole to purchase the lifestyle we couldn’t afford but for some reason felt entitled to. Unwilling to live within our means. This month Jen buys from only 7 vendors: farmers market, gas station, online bill pay, kids school, travel fund, emergency medical, and target. That a big cut from the 66 vendors a month, not counting repeat visits. She cut down on a lot of excessive purchases.

– Let’s address the original objection, ‘But I tithe.’ This basic obedience exempts the rest of our spending, assuaging our consciences and checking the stewardship box. But you know Jesus, with the quick retort:

Luke 11:37-42 (MSG) – When he finished that talk, a Pharisee asked him to dinner. He entered his house and sat right down at the table. The Pharisee was shocked and somewhat offended when he saw that Jesus didn’t wash up before the meal. But the Master said to him, “I know you Pharisees burnish the surface of your cups and plates so they sparkle in the sun, but I also know your insides are maggoty with greed and secret evil. Stupid Pharisees! Didn’t the One who made the outside also make the inside? Turn both your pockets and your hearts inside out and give generously to the poor; then your lives will be clean, not just your dishes and your hands. 42“I’ve had it with you! You’re hopeless, you Pharisees! Frauds! You keep meticulous account books, tithing on every nickel and dime you get, but manage to find loopholes for getting around basic matters of justice and God’s love. Careful bookkeeping is commendable, but the basics are required.

They never missed a penny of tithing, but shamelessly neglected justice and totally missed the point. Jesus remedy: Give what is inside the dish to the poor, and everything will be clean for you. What if we gave new meaning to the verse ‘love your neighbor as yourself’, and gave 50% of our earnings to them, making them our equals? What if we gave 80% away? What if wealth and indulgence are creating a polished people rotting from the inside out, without even knowing it? Jesus never utters a positive word about the wealthy, only tons of parables with this observation: It is terribly hard for us to receive His kingdom. If this is true, then more than fearing poverty or simplicity, we should fear prosperity. If tithing the minimum and consuming the rest is okay, then we can dismiss Jesus’ ideas and act obsessed about other stuff He said. Annually the US spends $8billion on cosmetics, $12billion on perfume, $17billion on pet food, and only $6billion on global child education, $9billion on clean water for global citizens.

– What if our goal became nonconsumption? If you think of something you want, wait a month and see if you still need it. What if we redirected all that saved money to save people? What if we became wiser consumers? It’s simple to find out if a business has integrity or if they are building from the backs of slaves and children.

– We don’t see the New Testament church hoarding the feast for themselves; more Bible studies, more sermons, more programs, classes, training, conferences, information, more feasting for us. We are addicted to the buffet, skillfully discarding the costly discipleship required after consuming. The Phillippians send Paul money in spite of their own poverty.

– The pagan satirist Lucian (130-200 ce) mocked Christian kindness: “The earnestness with which the people of this religion help one another in their needs is incredible. They spare themselves nothing for this end. Their first lawgiver put it into their heads that they were all brethren.” Emperor Julian, who attempted to lead the Roman Empire back to paganism famously declared: “The impious Galileans relieve both their own poor and ours… It is shameful that ours should be so destitute of our assistance.” Would the early church look on us in disbelief seeing that Christians outnumber orphans 7 to 1? Would they see our wasteful spending and notice 25,000 people die every day from starvation? How will they judge us on the final day?  With a 6th of the world population claiming to be Christian, I don’t think they could reconcile the suffering happening on our watch while we live in excess. If we were following God’s principles we wouldn’t have to coax people into our sanctuaries. The local church would be the heartbeat of the city, undeniable by our staunchest critics. Instead the American church is dying. We made it acceptable for people to do nothing and still call themselves Christians. Last year, 94% of churches reported loss or no growth. 4,000 churches are closing annually. We are losing 3 million people annually. The church the Bible describes was wrought with sacrifice. It cost believers everything, and they still came.

Month 7 – Stress:

– This month Jen observed Sabbath, and prays 7 times a day everyday. We have too much going on. We are short fused, stressed out, overextended, and unrested. This pace is not sustainable. Not living in the moment; I’m just getting it done while thinking about what’s left. We race from one activity to another, teaching our children to max out and stress out. Nice legacy. Perhaps God designed Sabbath as a gift, not an obligation.  What if God understood our tendency to overwork and underrest, so He made it mandatory to breathe, pause, pray, and relax every week? God ordained the Sabbath for us, not just another requirement from us.

Mark 2:27 – The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath

– Everyday we are summoned to be creators of the present moment. Artists know the value of white space. Sometimes what isn’t there enables us to see what is. Perhaps you are being called to the spiritual practice of bringing a little of the white space into your workday by setting pauses on the hours, to stop and pray. Constant prayer interrupts our ego trips and disrupts our toxic trajectories.


– God sent the prince of peace. Self-deprecation is a cruel response to Jesus, who died to make us righteous. Guilt is not Jesus’ medium. He is battling for global redemption right now; His objective hardly includes huddling in the corner with us, rehashing our shame again. He finished that discussion on the cross. We’re so conditioned to being a problem that we’ve forgotten we’re actually the answer. God is not angry with you; how could he be? You’re on the team. Don’t imagine He is sitting us down for a lecture. Rather, He’s staging a rally, gathering the troops. He is staging a massive movement to bind up thebroken hearted and proclaim freedom to the captives. The trumpet is blowing. The Bride is awakening. I don’t want to base my life on what I’m against; that’s not inspiring enough motivation. May we embrace unity over infighting, bravery over comfort, us over me, people over principles, and God’s glory over our own. Together, let’s become repairers of broken walls and restorers.


Some questions to help you figure out what to fast:

1. What in my life, if taken away, would alter my value or identity?
2. What causes an unhealthy change of attitude, personality, or focus when ‘it’ becomes threatened?
3. What is the thing outside of God that you put everything else on hold for?