My Beginning of Wisdom site
RSS icon Email icon
  • Hard-Headed

    Posted on November 28th, 2012 rhonda No comments

    “But I will make you as unyielding and hardened as they are.

    I will make your forehead like the hardest stone, harder than flint.

    Do not be afraid of them, though they are a rebellious house.”

    Ezekiel 3:8-9

    My Bible study group marveled over how persistent Saul was in persecuting in the church before his conversion experience.  As we were discussing the lengths he would go to in order to pursue, torture and kill believers, we thought of The Lord of the Rings.  Do you remember the mounted horsemen who pursued Frodo?  They were scary.  They were powerful and murderous.  The scariest thing about them was just that they wouldn’t quit.  Frodo & Gandalf couldn’t reason with them and convince them to put down their weapons.  They just had to fight.

    One of my Bible study sisters worked in the criminal justice system and she often talks about how persistent evil people are.  She talked about working with domestic violence survivors who were stalked from state to state by their abusers.  My church has noticed an increase of gang violence right around our neighborhood; and we’ve heard that prostitution is flourishing to the east of us.  I’ve blogged about modern day slavery, which is connected to gangs, prostitution & drugs.  Two or three years ago, trafficking was the 3rd largest criminal enterprise in the world, behind weapons-trading & drugs.  Now we believe it’s moved into the #2 spot, displacing drug-dealing.  Dealers are realizing that they can make more money off the slave trade than they can from drugs.

    The people of God have to be as “hard-headed” as the wicked.  We have to be relentless and consistent.  We should also be working together and willing to learn from one another and willing to support one another in doing good.  I know I haven’t been as persistent as I could have been.  I pray that, in a good way, God would make my forehead like the hardest of stone, so that I could persist in doing His will.

     “Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses,

    let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles,

    and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.”

    Hebrews 12:1

  • City of Light

    Posted on November 26th, 2012 rhonda No comments


    And the twelve gates were twelve pearls;

    every several gate was of one pearl:

    and the street of the city was pure gold, as it were transparent glass.

    And I saw no temple therein:

    for the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are the temple of it.

    And the city had no need of the sun,

    neither of the moon, to shine in it:

    for the glory of God did lighten it,

    and the Lamb is the light thereof.

    Revelations 21:21-23

     Pastor gave us a little history lesson during the sermon.  The other thing to note about the scripture is that the gates are open 24/7.  During that time in history, the city gates would be open during the day, and closed at night, for security reasons.  Pastor said that in the New Jerusalem, there is no night.  Anything evil & immoral would not be able to endure the light, which is God Almighty Himself.  The line that struck me the most was that there is no temple in this new city, because the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are the temple.  It’s incomprehensible and awesome.  Ezekiel 48:35 echoes the same when he says, “And the name of the city from that time on will be: The Lord is There”.

    Pastor also referenced Matthew 2:11

     On coming to the house,

    they saw the child with his mother Mary,

    and they bowed down and worshiped him.

    Then they opened their treasures and presented him with

    gifts of gold and incense and of myrrh.

     This pastor is also an academic, studying the history of Christianity.  Pastor said that at different times in history, different regions of the world were the seat of Christianity, sending out missionaries to disciple other nations.  At one point, modern day Iran was that seat.  Pastor said that when people from other nations enter the new temple, they will bring the best of their cultural products with them, as the Magi from the East did.

     And the nations of them which are saved shall walk in the light of it:

    and the kings of the earth do bring their glory and honour into it.

    And the gates of it shall not be shut at all by day: for there shall be no night there.

    And they shall bring the glory and honour of the nations into it.

    And there shall in no wise enter into it any thing that defileth, neither whatsoever worketh abomination, or maketh a lie: but they which are written in the Lamb’s book of life.

    Revelations 21:24-27

  • Happy Thanksgiving

    Posted on November 21st, 2012 rhonda No comments


    Praise and glory and

    wisdom and thanks and

    honor and power and strength

    be to our God for ever and ever


    Revelations 7:12

     I just wanted to wish all of you a Happy Thanksgiving.  This year has been filled with a lot of ups and downs; but God has been with me through it all.  I especially appreciate the opportunity to express myself through writing this blog, and the chance to be enlightened through reading other people’s posts.  I also appreciate all of you who used the comment section to give me some feedback.  Ultimately, I would love to see WoW be a place where we can actually discuss the word of God.

    Thanks everyone.

  • All are Welcome

    Posted on November 20th, 2012 rhonda No comments

    “Come, I will show you the bride, the wife of the Lamb.”

    And he carried me away in the Spirit to a mountain great & high,

    and showed me the Holy City,


    Coming down out of heaven from God. 

    It shone with the glory of God,

    And its brilliance was like that of a very precious jewel,

    Like a jasper, clear as crystal.

    Revelations 21:9-11

    Pastor said that the Apostle John completes the vision of the church that Isaiah first saw.  He explained that we know  Revelations builds upon the Old Testament (specifically Isaiah) because the gates are inscribed with the names of the 12 tribes of Israel.  The importance of having the same number of gates and doors on all sides meant that there was no VIP gate.  Pastor said that there’s no “front” door; and in my mind I finished his phrase, thinking “there’s also no back door”.  There’s no such thing as a servant’s entrance.  Pastor also said that the city would take people from all nations, races, ethnicities, languages; because scripture says that that there are 3 gates in every direction.  So you’re welcome, no matter where you come from.

    I’m not used to people welcoming me.  Normally, when I hear the words, “you’re welcome”, it’s a response to my thanking someone for something they’ve done for me.  Someone opens the door for me because I have bags in both hands.  I say thanks.  The other person says, “you’re welcome”.  Years ago, I took a trip to a predominantly French-speaking country.  The people who spoke English spoke it as a second language.  Several people said “you’re welcome” to me.  My immediate thought was, “I didn’t thank you for anything.  Why are you saying that?”  Then it dawned on me that they meant the words literally, as an offering of hospitality.  It was a new and slightly weird and nice feeling to have people verbally welcome me.

    Pastor said that this city is not just an illustration of heaven.  It also a picture of what church should be like.  As the bride of Christ, we should welcome people.

     It had a great, high wall with 12 gates, and with 12 angels at the gates.

    On the gates were written the names of the 12 tribes of Israel.

    There were 3 gates on the east,

    3 on the north, 3 on the south and 3 on the west.

    The wall of the city had 12 foundations,

    And on them were the names of the 12 apostles of the Lamb.

    Revelations 21:12-13


  • The New Jerusalem

    Posted on November 18th, 2012 rhonda No comments

    In the last days

    The mountain of the Lord’s temple will be established

    as chief among the mountains;

    It will be raised above the hills,

    and all nations will stream to it.

    Many peoples will come and say,

    “Come, let us go up to the mountain of the Lord,

    to the house of the God of Jacob.

    He will teach us His ways

    so that we may walk in His paths.”

    The law will go out from Zion,

    the word of the Lord from Jerusalem.

    Isaiah 2:2-3

     The text for the sermon came from Isaiah 2:1-5 and Revelation 21:9-13, 21-27.  Pastor said Isaiah begins to describe a new temple, a new Jerusalem and a new church; and that Revelation completes that description.

    Pastor said that, at the time Isaiah wrote, Jerusalem had just been destroyed by its enemies; and John wrote Revelations from a prison camp.  Yet, this new temple is peaceful because people from all nations have discovered that the Lord is a fair judge.  Therefore instead of making war, they bring their disputes to God, the Righteous Judge.  Now that they have no more need to make war, they can convert their weapons into agricultural tools.

     He will judge between the nations

    and will settle disputes for many peoples.

    They will beat their swords into plowshares

    and their spears into pruning hooks.

    Nation will not take up sword against nation,

    nor will they train for war anymore.

    Come, O house of Jacob,

    let us walk in the light of the Lord.

    Isaiah 2:4-5


  • A Good Meal

    Posted on November 16th, 2012 rhonda No comments

    And as they did eat,

    Jesus took bread, and blessed, and brake it, and gave to them, and said,

    Take, eat: this is my body.

    And he took the cup, and when he had given thanks,

    he gave it to them: and they all drank of it.

    And he said unto them,

    This is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many.

    Mark 14:22-24

    Last Sunday, it occurred to me that hearing a good sermon is like eating a good meal, both in quality & quantity.

    You know.  Someone invites you to their house for dinner, and they bring out a complex dish.  Everything it blended beautifully and you can taste all of the many different ingredients.   You hold it in your mouth a little longer just to savor it a few extra seconds.  Thanksgiving is coming up.  Some people have trouble cooking in small quantities; so even if you show up unexpectedly, you know they’ll have enough for you.  It’s wonderful when a great cook makes a lot of food, because then maybe you can go home with a doggy bag that you can eat for lunch the next day.  Quality & quantity, a great combination.

    Rich sermons are good meals.  I get new insight and understanding (quality) that is so powerful that I end up reflecting on it for several days; and I can apply the new understanding to different areas and situations in my life (quantity).

     And he took bread, and gave thanks, and brake it, and gave unto them, saying,

    This is my body which is given for you: this do in remembrance of me.

    Likewise also the cup after supper, saying,

    This cup is the new testament in my blood,

    which is shed for you.

    Luke 22:19-20



  • The Comeback

    Posted on November 12th, 2012 rhonda No comments

    Then the word of the Lord came to me:

    “This is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says:

    ‘Like these good figs, I regard as good the exiles from Judah,

    Whom I sent away from this place to the land of the Babylonians.

    My eyes will watch over them for their good,

    And I will bring them back to this land.

    I will build them up and not tear them down;

    I will plant them and not uproot them.

    I will give them a heart to know me, that I am the Lord.

    They will be my people, and I will be their God,

    For they will return to me with all their heart.

    Jeremiah 25:3

    Jeremiah & Ezekiel spent a lot of time warning people about what would happen if they didn’t repent.  Depending on one’s perspective, those books of the Bible can be downers.  To me, it’s striking and sweet and comforting to get little nuggets of tangible hope from these books, in the midst of the doom & gloom.  “I will never leave you nor forsake you” (Joshua 1:5) is a nice sentiment, but a little abstract for me.  Jeremiah was prophesying that Judah would be conquered and that there would be exile and death.  In a time like that, I want something a little more concrete.

    Either just before, or right at the beginning, of the recession, a guest Pastor used Jeremiah 32:13-15 as the basis of a message of hope:


    “In their presence I gave Baruch these instructions:

    ‘This is what the Lord Almighty, the God of Israel, says:

    Take these documents, both the sealed and unsealed copies of the deed of purchase, and put them in a clay jar so they will last a long time.

    For this is what the Lord Almighty, the God of Israel, says:

    Houses, fields and vineyards will again be bought in this land’.

     Pastor’s point was that to buy a house when your nation is about to be conquered and you’re going into exile is foolhardy.  The house won’t be worth anything, and you won’t get to live in it anyway.  It’s a dumb idea – unless you know you’re coming back.  People are forecasting a lot of doom & gloom over the United States.   People are disheartened because of the recession & the direction the country is going in.  People are prophesying the fall of the United States.  Maybe these prophesies are correct.  Nonetheless, Ezekiel 34:25-28 says:

     “I will make a covenant of peace with them and rid the land of wild beasts

    so that they may live in the desert and

    sleep in the forests in safety.

    I will bless them and the places surrounding my hill.

    I will send down showers in season; there will be showers of blessing.

    The trees of the field will yield their fruit and the ground will yield its crops;

    the people will be secure in their land.

    They will know that I am the Lord,

    when I break the bars of their yoke and

    rescue them from the hands of those who enslaved them.

    They will no longer be plundered by the nations,

    nor will wild animals devour them.

    They will live in safety,

    and no one will make them afraid.”



  • Back to Normal?

    Posted on November 9th, 2012 rhonda No comments

    This is the word of the Lord unto Zerubbabel, saying,

    Not by might, nor by power, but by my spirit,

    saith the Lord of hosts.

    Zechariah 4:6

    My church is doing a series on “Rebuilding the Temple”, and the Sunday sermon was taken from Zechariah 4.

    Pastor prefaced the sermon by mentioning Sandy, saying that water (and light) is a revealing agent.  Water washes away dirt.  It also washes away the things we believe are important.  He said that Sandy was a baptism.  People in the states affected by Sandy have been longing for a return to normal.  Pastor challenged that desire by asking, “What if normal was a bad idea to begin with?”  During times of distress, people tend to come together and help one another.  Going back to normal, for some, can mean going back to being impatient and rushed and stressed and selfish and materialistic.

    The sermon triggered a memory.  Two or three years ago, I attended Passover Service at a Messianic Jewish Church.  (If you’ve never attended that type of service, I would highly encourage it!  You’ll be blessed.)  Rabbi spoke about the symbolism of passing through the Red Sea, saying that it was also a baptism.  He said, “If there are no tears, there’s no testimony”.

    My takeaway from both sermons is that we can rebuild and we can go home; but we cannot go back with the same heart and mind.  Another pastor said that a baptism is an outward sign of an inward change.  Once we’ve been baptized, there should be a change.


  • Sandy

    Posted on November 6th, 2012 rhonda No comments

    Others went out on the sea in ships;

    They were merchants on the mighty waters.

    They saw the works of the Lord,

    His wonderful deeds in the deep.

    For He spoke and stirred up a tempest

    That lifted high the waves

    They mounted up to the heavens and went down to the depths;

    In their peril their courage melted away.

    They reeled and staggered like drunken men;

    They were at their wits end.

    Then they cried out to the Lord in their trouble,

    And he brought them out of their distress.

    He stilled the storm to a whisper;

    The waves of the sea were hushed.

    They were glad when it grew calm,

    And He guided them to their desired haven.

    Let them give thanks to the Lord for his unfailing love

    And His wonderful deeds for men.

    Let them exalt Him in the assembly of the people

    And praise Him in the council of the elders.

    Psalm 107:23-32

    I need to give God the glory again.

    I live in one of the areas that Sandy swept through.   She devastated a lot of people.  Some people died.  Some people survived only with their lives.  I don’t want to make light of their troubles.  It’s important that we pray for their comfort and restoration.  The Lord, however, showed himself to be my protector, my rock, and my shield.  The lights flickered around me for a few seconds; and I could hear and feel the wind, which was whistling around me.  Besides that, I was untouched.  Now, I hear that there is a Nor’easter heading our way.  I can only depend on the Lord to hide me again.

     You are my hiding place;

    You will protect me from trouble

    And surround me with songs of deliverance

    Psalm 32:7

  • The Joy of the Lord

    Posted on November 2nd, 2012 rhonda No comments


    Bring the best robe and put it on him.

    Put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet.  Bring the fattened calf and kill it. 

    Let’s have a feast and celebrate

    Luke 15:22-23

    I heard a sermon entitled, “What is the Joy of the Lord, and how do I keep it?”  The pastor compared Nehemiah 8:2-10 with Luke 15, the story of the Prodigal Son.  My summary is that the Lord rejoices when we repent and turn to him; and that He is happy to cover our sin, which is symbolized by Him clothing us.

    Nehemiah is a book about rebuilding what was broken.  Pastor said that we were given a life that we messed up by doing things in our own strength.  When Nehemiah read the book of the law to people, they wept (8:9). Nehemiah comforted them and told them to eat, drink, celebrate, and send food & drink to people who didn’t have anything (8:12).  In other words, Pastor said that people could celebrate once they realize that God is happy to receive them back; and that the food represents the gospel (bread of life, living water), which the celebrants should share with people who don’t know about God’s forgiveness.

    Pastor used the Prodigal Son story to illustrate his point.  When the son returned home in rags, he met a Father who was happy to receive him back, not a Father who reluctantly or half-heartedly took him in.  Pastor explained the symbolism in the story.  The robe is to cover sin.  The ring represents God’s authority, power and name.  Shoes signify a journey.  When we allow God to give us shoes, He’s saying to us, “we’re journeying together, no longer are you walking alone.  No longer will you do things in your own strength.  I’ll give you the strength you need to do things My way.”  The house is the Kingdom of God.  When we come to Christ and become part of the family & household of God, God leads the whole kingdom in celebration.  It is the Father’s joy to cover our sins!  The former Pastor of my home church always marvels at God (the Father) running to meet His son.  How marvelous it is to see God dancing at the party!

    By contrast, Satan is always seeking to shame and strip us.  Clothing the naked is an act of mercy.  Clothing ourselves is an act of self-respect, signifying our acceptance of God’s mercy and His making us into a royal priesthood (1 Peter 2:9).

     . . . she is clothed in fine linen and purple. . . .

    She is clothed in strength and dignity;

    She can laugh at the days to come.

    Proverbs 31:22 & 25