About Bette Cox

Born, raised, educated, employed, married and widowed, all in Florence, SC, USA. Mother of two, grandmother of two, great-grandmother of four. Also "owned" by four rescued kitties, who all love me! Reader / writer / blogger. Follower of Jesus, which is by far the most important. Intercessor. Life-long Learner, too.

What was in the wilderness?

Matthew 4 and Luke 4 describe the temptation of Jesus in the Judean desert. Most of my life I had a mental image of that desert as being mostly sand dunes, rocks and lizards. One day, out of curiosity I decided to check out that wilderness, where it was, what was in it, what it was like at that time.

I wondered, what was there out there that could tempt Jesus? During the 40 days before Satan showed up, that is. Here’s some of what I learned:

East and south of Jerusalem, it’s one of the smallest deserts in the world, much of it lying adjacent and west of the Dead Sea. Craggy and rough, it’s hilly and mountainous with steep cliffs and deep ravines. It was difficult but not impossible to traverse on the well-used paths and trails that criss-crossed the area.

There are streams and many wadis, some containing pools of water in shaded areas; and also beautiful oases. The most famous oasis in the Judean Desert is in Ein Gedi near the northern part of the Dead Sea, called David’s Waterfall.

There are also many fruit trees and other vegetation (see the section on trees below).

Sparsely inhabited but not empty, the desert contained several small villages on its edges. Bethlehem was one, a place where many of Jesus’ relatives lived.

Bedouin encampments the size of small towns (the Bedouin were and still are very hospitable people to visitors) plus camels, sheep, goats, and donkeys.

Leopards and other wild animals also inhabited the area, although leopards are scarce today.

Herodium today seen from the side.

The spectacular Herod’s Palace (Herodium) south of Jerusalem may contain his burial site (see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Herodium and http://allaboutjerusalem.com/attraction/herodion-national-park).

This palace complex was atop an artificial hill built by Herod the Great, the site of several archeological digs through recent years. After his death this opulent summer “resort” was used by many Roman officials.

Also in the desert is the fortress of Masada which overlooks the Dead Sea, captured and built up by Herod the Great as a military base. Both Herodium and Masada were occupied by Roman officials and solders who regularly traveled to and from those sites. Both are Israeli National Parks and popular tourist attractions today.

Many fruit or nut trees occupy wadis and oases, including date palms, pistachios, wild figs, carob and acacia:

Carob / Locust trees bear fruit that is edible green or dried; the dried fruit is used in candy and other foods as a substitute for chocolate. The sweet, soft flesh of the green fruit is called “honey.”

Carob and acacia (below) are legumes, members of the pea and bean family.

Acacia is a “rain tree,” so-called because its leaves fold together in rain or high humidity. Edible and primarily used as animal fodder, it provides helpful gum and has many medical applications also. The Tabernacle and Ark were made of acacia wood.

Considering everything there was for him to see and do in that wilderness, what was Jesus tempted with?

Food, people, animals, a magnificent natural environment and impressive man-made structures — a better question might be, what wasn’t Jesus tempted with?

Anything and everything that human beings today are tempted with, including distractions, tempted Jesus in that desert. Think he doesn’t understand your situation? He does.

I Cor. 10:13 says, “No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.” (NIV)

And Hebrews 4:15, “For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are–yet he did not sin.”

Choreographed worship in three dimensions

A wonderful glimpse of one form of worship in heaven. There are many others…

Speaking of heaven

Looking today for a different article, I came across this one that I had not added earlier.

One night in May, 2008 I awoke in the wee hours of the morning worshiping God in my spirit – singing to Him about how wonderful He is, how magnificent, how merciful, how loving, exalting and praising him in poetry set to music.

I could see myself doing this, like watching a television set, as part of a group of worshipers in heaven. But it did not resemble any sort of worship service I’ve ever been a part of or seen in my life!

Some were up high in the room, in rows, some low, every space filled with exquisite movement and sound. You’d think some would crash into others, falling in tangles of arms and feet. But no-one did.

We were singing and dancing as we flew around in perfectly synchronized three-dimensional…

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A Hammer for the Heart

Many thanks for this word, Cheryl. Needed greatly right now, I think.

An Apple of Gold

Lot of hammers at work! We recently moved into a new home in an area that is still being developed. Big jackhammers break up boulders and smash rocks preparing the ground for new construction. Smaller hammers rhythmically bang nails into lumber erecting new structures. Hammers are powerful tools in the hands of craftsmen.

While listening to these physical hammers, the Lord has been showing me that He provides us with a spiritual hammer. It is known at the Bible – God’s word. It, too, is a powerful tool.

Jeremiah 23:29 says, “Is not My word like fire,” declares the LORD, “and like a hammer that breaks a rock in pieces?”

Matthew Henry’s Commentary explains this verse by saying that the unhumbled heart of man is like a rock. If the heart is not melted by the word of God as a fire, it will be broken to pieces by God’s…

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Grief never dies.

Esther's Petition

Daddy died May 14, 1960. He was 46; I was 16. He had been scheduled for open heart surgery the following week, to replace a heart valve damaged by the rheumatic fever that daddy contracted during WWII. He’d had several heart attacks and was looking forward to regaining his health. But he had another heart attack in the middle of the night and this time, he died.

It was the night of my 11th grade Junior Prom, which I had reluctantly attended with some boy I didn’t really know, and whose name I can’t recall to this day. I had spent that evening sad, not knowing why, just sad. I’m sure my date had a miserable time.

I never recovered. I began dating guys mother didn’t approve of, marrying Paul when I was 18, basically to get away from my unhappy mother. He was loving, he was kind, he would…

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The linchpins are moving

Slowly, slowly, yet invariably God’s linchpins are moving.

Esther's Petition

Prayer is a linchpin, the Holy Spirit told me one day. It’s not the only one; it is just one of many supernatural linchpins. Linchpins that have prevented some things in the past will start moving this year. Linchpins can also cause things. They will also begin moving this year.

As I tried to recall what linchpins were, he continued speaking.

ropeYou know what a rope is, he said. A rope is made of several cords, each cord made of several strands, and each strand made of many threads, some very fine.

If you unravel a rope, untwist the cords and strands and lay out the individual threads, the rope becomes longer. Sometimes much longer.

wheel-linchpingrenadeTo refresh my memory I looked up that word, linchpin. Originally it referred to a pin that ran through holes in an axle and wheel, preventing the wheel from falling off. They have been found…

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Warrior in Chief

Esther's Petition

This is going to be long. Hope you will be patient as you read, and also pray as you read.

The other night as I prayed, I asked again, “Who are you, Lord?” He replied, “Chief Warrior. Lead Warrior.” Oh my.

A lengthy conversation ensued with images and descriptions of what those two terms mean. The next morning I did some online study on what those functions look like in the natural world. All of that brought on a great deal more prayer about these functions in the spiritual world, and the conflict going on in the heavenlies today. I began to realize that God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit are involved in spiritual warfare a great deal, more than I usually considered.

Leading the army of Israel, Joshua met a man one day who described himself as captain of Jehovah’s army. Joshua asked him, Whose side are you on…

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Portals are opening

And more, and more, and more… portals are indeed opening!

Esther's Petition

PortholeSpaceWhile I was watching a DVD one morning several years ago, the Lord spoke to me. “What is a portal?” He said. I began to think about that. Portal. Hmmm. I first visualized a porthole on a ship.

On board the Logos 2 I had a cabin in the bow of the ship, quayside. No porthole, though; it had a window to the deck. Well, the window was a portal. I continued to think.

A portal is an opening. Perhaps just a crack. I once lived in an old plantation house where you could see the ground through cracks in the floor. Those cracks were portals.

A portal could be a doorway between similar environments. Like from the dining room into the kitchen. It could be a doorway between slightly dissimilar environments, like from a hot New York street into an air-conditioned office building.

Or a doorway between completely different…

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Fear of their faces

Esther's Petition

“You can do it, he said. The Holy Spirit said, You can do it.” Quoted from my last post… This is a story about the first time I heard him say that, although he used a friend as his mouthpiece.

I was a member of Parkwood Presbyterian Church in the early 1970’s, playing the organ for services and attending the adult Sunday School. I have loved Sunday School all my life, studying the lessons ahead of time, soaking in the discussions and enjoying the fellowship.

Our class at Parkwood was small, only a dozen or so of us who sat around a long conference table. In that small circle there was a freedom to ask questions and express opinions without fear of rejection. As long as I was just one of the circle, I was okay. No “fear of their faces” (see Jeremiah 1:8-9).

Everywhere else, however, was a different…

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It’s time to unclog the wells

April 30, 2021

Recently I heard someone say, “We need to dig the wells again.” I thought that meant we need the anointing of God that once flowed freely in the life of the church. Remembering the 1970’s outpouring of the Holy Spirit in Florence, I murmured a quick prayer, “Do it again, Lord, do it again here!” (But the words I’d heard were “We need to…”We need to…”)

At a meeting with several other intercessors this week, the Lord began speaking to us:

“The spiritual wells of the Holy Spirit that were opened here in the 1970’s have become clogged with chunks and rocks and boulders and dirt. Doubt, unbelief, wrong belief and ignorance. Anger, worry, anxiety, frustration, depression, disappointment, even complacency and apathy have been piled on.

Many distractions and diversions, the ordinary busyness of life have been dumped in until there’s little sign the wells were ever there. It’s time to dig those wells out. You, this small group of you, can begin that process.”

(Holy Spirit continued…)

“New wells are being dug, present tense. Where a well never existed before, a new well is springing up — in a living room, a storefront, a back yard, a church building, a workplace, even a school. Young children who were told Bible stories about Jesus now believe them; Jesus is their Savior now. They are beginning to pray for their family and classmates, teachers and other adults. They will pray for the sick and they will be healed.”

As he spoke I began to see these new wells, almost like grass sprouting up here and there. But these weren’t water wells — they were oil wells, each one topped by a flame! I realized that they weren’t just wells of God’s manifest presence, these were wells of his supernatural power. “Fire power,” to ignite his passion in our hearts to see people saved, truly saved. Rescued, healed, and delivered.

His supernatural fire to burn away things in our lives, including some things that aren’t bad in themselves but would hinder God’s plans. (Matthew 3:11-12.)

The message ended with a thought-provoking statement, two assignments, actually:

If you truly desire revival, you have to “re-dig” the old wells, clean out those self-imposed blocks of spiritual debris; and

Dig new wells for the Holy Spirit’s presence to flow through, not allowing preconceived notions and memories of his past work to create blocks to his working now.

How, Lord? How do we do this? Here’s what he answered.

  • By repentance, prayer and intercession, praise and worship
  • Listening and obeying the Holy Spirit as he specifically directs our actions, our prayers and decrees
  • Allowing the gifts of the Holy Spirit to operate in our lives
  • Teaching the Word, including by “show and tell.” Dealing with Ignorance in the body of Christ, as much as it depends on us; our words, testimonies and examples are powerful
  • Exercising authority over spirits of compromise, complacency, apathy, deception and distraction in our own lives and in our areas of influence

Repentance and forgiveness aren’t just important, they are essential.

Some of us were here when God’s spirit was poured out in Florence, and some of us are responsible for clogging up those wells.

We took his blessings for granted. We got busy with life, we let distractions and diversions block his presence. Deception too, believing the lie, “That was nice, but this is real life.”

Others of us weren’t even born yet, but that’s no excuse to accept the status quo.

We can take the initiative to repent as did Nehemiah. (Nehemiah 1:5-11.) Ask for forgiveness and extend forgiveness. Ask the Lord what to pray and pray that; what to speak, then speak that.

God delegated his authority to the body of Christ to decree, declare and command what he wants done in the earth. Do we really want to see revival?


Matthew 3:11-12 (NASB) “As for me, I baptize you with water for repentance, but He who is coming after me is mightier than I, and I am not fit to remove His sandals; He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. His winnowing fork is in His hand, and He will thoroughly clear His threshing floor; and He will gather His wheat into the barn, but He will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire.”

Nehemiah 1:5-11 (NASB) “I said, Please, LORD God of heaven, the great and awesome God, who keeps the covenant and faithfulness for those who love Him and keep His commandments: let Your ear now be attentive and Your eyes open, to hear the prayer of Your servant which I am praying before You now, day and night, on behalf of the sons of Israel Your servants, confessing the sins of the sons of Israel which we have committed against You; I and my father’s house have sinned. We have acted very corruptly against You and have not kept the commandments, nor the statutes, nor the ordinances which You commanded Your servant Moses.”
“Remember, please, the word which You commanded Your servant Moses, saying, ‘If you are unfaithful, I will scatter you among the peoples; but if you return to Me and keep My commandments and do them, though those of you who have been scattered were in the most remote part of the heavens, I will gather them from there and bring them to the place where I have chosen to have My name dwell.’”
“They are Your servants and Your people whom You redeemed by Your great power and by Your strong hand. Please, Lord, may Your ear be attentive to the prayer of Your servant and the prayer of Your servants who delight to [fn]revere Your name, and please make Your servant successful today and grant him mercy before this man. Now I was the cupbearer to the king.”