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.

Wilderness training

Esther's Petition

The New Testament has lots of military words and phrases, although they aren’t obvious in most English translations. Thinking about that fact, I started meditating on the way most of us think about “wilderness experiences.” Negative, bad, depressing, to-be-avoided, painful, stressful, faith-stealing, etc., etc.

Soldiers go through weeks and months of necessary training, some of it in wilderness areas. Like it or not, we’re soldiers ourselves.

What is a wilderness? Webster’s dictionary defines it primarily as a place that is uncultivated and uninhabited by human beings. Not that it is suitable for cultivation or habitation and no-one chose to do it — wilderness is a region that is not really suitable for cultivating crops or building cities and towns. The New Testament Greek word for wilderness means “solitude,” and is used in a variety of applications. I like that.

What is missing in a wilderness? Distractions. Normal food and shelter…

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With Beasts and Angels

Excellent article by Steve Beckham and an excellent reminder.

Thoughts Along the Way

Mark 1:9-15

The first time I ever slept out under the stars I was in Cub Scouts.Scouts go camping.It’s what they do.So when our little Cub den was still brand new, it was decided that the dads and the boys should go on a campout.I think the moms were the ones who decided that.And so it came to pass that one Friday afternoon in mid May a gaggle of excited boys and their job-frazzled dads made their way to O’Neill Regional Park in the wild foothills of Orange County.

The dads, in their wisdom, had decided that, since it was May and there was no rain in the forecast, tents were not necessary.So when it was time for bed we simply rolled out our sleeping bags on top of tarps and climbed in.The boys, of course, were sent to bed before the dads who stayed up for quite a while…

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Give us our daily plans

Esther's Petition

Collage02Jeremiah 29:11 is a familiar verse to many of us: “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you,” saith the LORD, “thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.” (KJV)

The NIV translation reads, “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”

Reading those two versions, the words thoughts (KJV) and plans (NIV) stood out. I can certainly have thoughts that aren’t plans. Like, it’s chilly today but considering the time of year, that’s normal. Just a thought. Not a plan, unless it’s to wear a sweater.

However, in this verse the Hebrew word is “machashabah” (pronounced ma-hash’-a-va), translated thought, device, plan, purpose, or invention. That’s quite a variety of meanings.

This word is translated “cunning device” in many places, such as…

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What is the Baptism that Saves? by Paul Ellis

(Excellent article, excellent explanation by Paul Ellis on his website, Escape to Reality. Shared with his permission. Bette)

If you wish to start an argument among a group of Christians, all you need to do is ask this question: “Is water baptism essential for salvation?”

Baptism has historically been one of the more controversial issues debated in the church. Is baptism essential? The scriptures are clear: You are saved by grace through faith (Eph. 2:8). You are not made right with God by water. Only the blood of Jesus makes us clean.

So why does Peter refer to the baptism that saves you?

Baptism now saves you… (1 Pet. 3:21)

Apparently baptism saves us, but which baptism? There are several types of baptism including:

– John’s baptism of repentance (Act 19:3–4)
– water baptism done in Jesus’ name (Act 10:48, 19:5)
– Holy Spirit baptism (Act 11:16)
– Jesus’ baptism of suffering (Matt. 20:22)
– baptism for the dead (1 Cor. 15:29)

So many baptisms! It’s no wonder people argue. But in his letter to the Ephesians, Paul said there is only one baptism:

Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to one hope when you were called; one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all. (Eph. 4:3–6)

What is the one baptism?

Theologians will tell you that Paul is referring to some rite undertaken by new believers, but which one?

“It’s repeating the apostle’s creed.”

“It’s water baptism.”

Arguments about baptism lead to strife and division, which is the exact opposite of what Paul is calling for here. “Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit.”

The one baptism is not water baptism or any outward act. It is the baptism that happens to every believer when they are put into the body of Christ by the Holy Spirit.

For even as the body is one yet has many members, and all the members of the body, though they are many, are one body, so also is Christ. For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body, whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free, and we were all made to drink of one Spirit. (1 Cor. 12:12–13)

The moment you came to Jesus, you were baptized or placed into his body by the Spirit.

What does it mean to be baptized?

To be baptized means to be dipped or immersed. To use an obscure word, it is to be whelmed.

To whelm something is to bury it in dirt or sink it in water. It is what happens when a ship goes down in a storm or a skier is hit with an avalanche. To be baptized or whelmed is a dramatic and catastrophic event.

And it happened to you.

Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus have been baptized into his death? (Rom. 6:3)

Your old self has been scuttled, sunk, and sent to the bottom of the sea. This did not happen when you were water baptized; it was done to you by the Holy Spirit the moment you said yes to Jesus.

You: “Yes, Lord.”
Holy Spirit: “Bam!”

“You have been baptized (read: whelmed) into his death” (Rom. 6:3b). Do you realize what this means? The person you used to be no longer lives. Which is wonderful news when you think about it.

Your old self had issues that you could never resolve. The Holy Spirit’s solution was not to patch up your old self but to whelm him or bury her in the ground with Jesus. This is what it means to be baptized into his death. Your old self is history. He’s done and dusted, dead and buried.

Of course, that is only half the story.

Therefore we have been buried with him through baptism into death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life. (Rom. 6:4)

The Holy Spirit didn’t leave you in the ground. Just as he raised Jesus, he raised you.

Knowing this, that our old self was crucified with him, in order that our body of sin might be done away with, so that we would no longer be slaves to sin; for he who has died is freed from sin. (Rom. 6:6–7)

Because of that One baptism you are now free from sin. Sin is no longer your master.

Which is pretty good news, wouldn’t you say?

What is the baptism that saves?

Peter and Paul were talking about the same thing. The baptism that saves and the one baptism are the baptism that happened when the Holy Spirit placed you into the body of Christ:

Baptism now saves you—not the removal of dirt from the flesh, but an appeal to God for a good conscience—through the resurrection of Jesus Christ who is at the right hand of God, having gone into heaven, after angels and authorities and powers had been subjected to him. (1 Pet. 3:21–22)

The only thing that can give you a good conscience before God is the cleansing blood of Jesus (Heb. 10:22). So again, it’s not water that saves you but the blood of Jesus.

The moment you put your faith in the risen Lord, you receive the baptism that saves. Your old man is buried with Christ and you are instantly raised and seated with him in heavenly places. In that moment, you are as saved as saved can be.

For all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. (Gal. 3:27)

The old has gone, the new has come. The life you live, you live by faith in the Risen Son of God.

When you get this revelation, it will free you from the curse of trying to rehabilitate the old self. (He’s dead.) It will liberate you from your struggle with sin. (Reckon yourself dead to it.) When you know you have been baptized and raised by the Holy Spirit, it will empower you to truly live.

So why get water baptized?

…in the days of Noah while the ark was being built. In it only a few people, eight in all, were saved through water, and this water symbolizes baptism that now saves you also… (1 Pet. 3:20–21)

Peter is not saying we are saved through water baptism; he’s saying water baptism symbolizes the baptism that saves us – the baptism done by the Holy Spirit.

Water baptism is a powerful demonstration of faith because it reenacts what the Holy Spirit has accomplished. We don’t go into the water to save ourselves or to complete some process that Jesus started. We do it in response to what the Spirit has done.

Water baptism is an outward act testifying to a supernatural reality.

You may have been baptized as a Catholic or a Lutheran or even a Baptist, but there is only one Body of Christ and there is only one baptism. If you are a believer, you have been baptized by the Holy Spirit into that body. He did it all.

With that in mind, let us put off strife and dissension. Knowing there is only one baptism that matters, let us “be humble, gentle, and patient, bearing with one another in love” (Eph. 4:2–3)

https://escapetoreality.org/2021/02/02/

 

Sovereignty of God, by Andrew Wommack

(The following is a teaching article written by Andrew Wommack some time ago. I think we all need a reminder, especially these days: the Sovereignty of God may not mean what you think it means. Bette)

My heart was really stirred this last month. I attended a meeting where an old friend of mine was ministering. He had been through some terrible things that nearly destroyed his faith. He became bitter and angry at God for the things that had happened. When I heard him, he had humbled himself and was again loving the Lord and excited about the future. Praise the Lord! However, in the process, he had come to believe that it was the Lord that caused all his problems. He had resigned himself to the “sovereignty of God.”

I believe this is the worst doctrine in the church today. I know that this is a shocking statement and is near blasphemy to some people, but the way sovereignty is taught today is a real faith killer. The belief that God controls everything that happens to us is one of the devil’s biggest inroads into our lives. If this belief is true, then our actions are irrelevant, and our efforts are meaningless. What will be will be.

If we believe that God wills everything, good or bad, to happen to us, it gives us some temporary relief from confusion and condemnation, but in the long-term, it slanders God, hinders our trust in God, and leads to passiveness.

THE SOVEREIGNTY OF GOD

The word “sovereign” is not used in the King James Version of the Bible. It is used 303 times in the Old Testament of the New International Version, but it is always used in association with the word “LORD” and is the equivalent of the King James Version’s “LORD God.” Not a single one of those times is the word “sovereign” used in the manner that it has come to be used in religion in our day and time.

Religion has resulted in the invention of a new meaning for the word “sovereign,” which basically means God controls everything. Nothing can happen but what He wills or allows. However, there is nothing in the actual definition that states that. The dictionary defines “sovereign” as, “1. Paramount; supreme. 2. Having supreme rank or power. 3. Independent: a sovereign state. 4. Excellent.” None of these definitions means that God controls everything.

It is assumed that since God is paramount or supreme that nothing can happen without His approval. That is not what the Scriptures teach. In 2 Peter 3:9, Peter said, “The Lord is…not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.” This clearly states that it is not the Lord’s will for anyone to perish, but people are perishing. Jesus said, “Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat” (Matt. 7:13). Relatively few people are saved compared to the number that are lost. God’s will for people concerning salvation is not being accomplished.

This is because the Lord gave us the freedom to choose. He doesn’t will anyone into hell. He paid for the sins of the whole world (1 John 2:2; 1 Tim. 4:10), but we must choose to put our faith in Christ and receive His salvation. People are the ones choosing hell by not choosing Jesus as their Savior. It is the free will of man that damns them, not God.

People virtually have to climb over the roadblocks that God puts in their way to continue on their course to hell. The cross of Christ and the drawing power of the Holy Spirit are obstacles that every sinner encounters. No one will ever stand before God and be able to fault Him for withholding the opportunity to be saved. The Lord woos every person to Him, but we have to cooperate. Ultimately, the Lord simply enforces the consequences of people’s own choices.

God has a perfect plan for every person’s life (Jer. 29:11), but He doesn’t make us walk that path. We are free moral agents with the ability to choose. He has told us what the right choices are (Deut. 30:19), but He doesn’t make those choices for us. God gave us the power to control our destinies.

Typical teaching on the sovereignty of God puts Jesus in the driver’s seat with us as passengers. On the surface that looks good. All of us have encountered the disastrous results of doing our own thing. We desire to be led of the Lord, and teaching that nothing happens but what God wills fits that nicely. However, the Scriptures paint a picture of each of us being behind the wheel of our own lives. We are the one doing the driving. We are supposed to take directions from the Lord, but He doesn’t do the driving for us.

Man has been given the authority over his own life, but he must have the Lord’s direction to succeed. Jeremiah 10:23 says, “O LORD, I know that the way of man is not in himself: it is not in man that walketh to direct his steps.” God created us to be dependent upon Him and our independence is at the root of all our problems. As if it wasn’t bad enough for man to try to run his affairs independently of God and His standards, it has been made even worse by religion teaching us that all our problems are actually blessings from God. That is a faith killer. It makes people totally passive.

James 4:7 says, “Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.” This verse makes it clear that some things are from God, and some from the devil. We must submit to the things that are of God and resist the things that are from the devil. The word “resist” means, “Actively fight against.” Saying “Whatever will be will be” is not actively fighting against the devil.

If a person really believed that God is the one who put sickness on them because He is trying to work something for good in their life, then they should not go to the doctor or take any medicine. That would be resisting God’s plans. They should let the sickness run its course and thereby get the full benefit of God’s correction. Of course, no one advocates that. That is absurd. It is even more absurd to believe that God is the one behind the tragedy.

Acts 10:38 says that Jesus healed all those who were oppressed OF THE DEVIL. It was not God who oppressed them with sickness. It was the devil. It’s the same today. Sickness is from the devil, not from God. We need to resist sickness and, by faith, submit ourselves to healing, which is from God through the atonement of Christ.

I know someone is thinking, What about the Old Testament instances where God smote people with sickness and plagues? There is a lot I could say about that if I had the space, but a simplified answer to that question is that none of those instances were blessings. They were curses. God did use sickness in the Old Testament as punishment, but in the New Testament, Jesus bore our curse for us (Gal. 3:13). The Lord would no more put sickness on a New Testament believer than He would make us commit a sin. Both forgiveness of sin and healing are a part of the atonement Jesus provided for us.

Deuteronomy, chapter 28, should forever settle this question for all who believe the Word of God. The first 14 verses of Deuteronomy 28 list the blessings of God and the last 53 verses list the curses of God. Healing is listed as a blessing (Deut. 28:4). Sickness is listed as a curse (Deut. 28:22, 27-28, 35, 59-61). God called sickness a curse. We should not call it a blessing.

Knowing that God is not the author of my problems is one of the most important revelations the Lord has ever given me. If I thought it was God who killed my father when I was twelve, and some of my best friends before I was 20, if it was God who had people kidnap me, slander me, threaten to kill me, and turn loved ones against me, then I would have a hard time trusting God, if He was like that.

On the contrary, it is very comforting to know that God only has good things in store for me. Any problems in my life are from the devil, of my own making, or just the results of life on a fallen planet. My heavenly Father has never done me any harm and never will. I KNOW that.

I am not saying that there is nothing to learn from hardships. Most of you reading this article have come to the Lord because of something in your life that overwhelmed you and caused you to turn to the Lord for help. That situation was not from God regardless of the results. It was you turning to the Lord and the faith you placed in Him that turned your life around, not the hardship.

If hardships and problems made us better, then everyone who has had problems would be better for them. Those who have the most trouble would be the best. That simply is not so.

Let me illustrate this with a story about my son, Joshua. When he was only a year old, I was loading lumber on a large truck in the heat of a Texas summer. I had Joshua with me, and he was having a big time playing in the lumber yard. By mid-afternoon, he was tired and sleepy and started to lie down in the dirt for a nap. I knew his mother wouldn’t like that, so I put him in the cab of the truck to lie down and take his nap.

He had been wanting to get into that truck all day, and when I put him in there, he revived. I had to roll the windows down because it was hot, and Joshua was leaning out the windows and waving at me in the side view mirrors. I told him to lie down and even gave him a spanking, but he didn’t take heed. He leaned out the window too far, fell out of the cab, hit his eye on the running board and landed on his head.

I ran up to him, prayed over him, and held him until he quit crying. Then I told him that was why I told him to lie down and go to sleep and not lean out the window. I used that situation which caused him pain, to teach him, but if Joshua would have been like the sovereignty teachers of today, he would have gone out and told all his friends that his father made him fall out of that truck to teach him to obey. That’s not so. I did what I could to restrain him. I would be very hurt if that’s the way Joshua thought I was.

Likewise, I don’t believe it blesses our heavenly Father for us to blame Him for all the problems that come into our lives. Sure, He will comfort us when we turn to Him in the midst of our problems, but He doesn’t create the negative circumstances that hurt our lives.

God is sovereign in the sense that He is paramount and supreme. There is no one higher in authority or power, but that does not mean He exercises His power by controlling everything in our lives. God has given us the freedom to choose. He has a plan for us. He seeks to reveal that plan to us and urge us in that direction, but we choose. He doesn’t make our choices for us.

In many instances, it is our wrong choices that bring disaster upon us. In other cases, our problems are nothing but an attack from the devil. In some cases, natural forces of an imperfect world cause us pain. Our tragedies are never the judgment or correction of God. Jesus came to give us abundant life. The devil came to steal, kill and destroy (John 10:10). Don’t ever get that confused. If it’s good, it’s God. If it’s bad, it’s the devil.

This is a fundamental doctrine of Christianity that must be understood properly if you want victory in your life. Believing that God controls everything renders a person passive. Why pray and believe for something better? Whatever God wants will come to pass. That simply is not true.

The Lord is the answer to all our problems. He is not the problem.

If you would like more ministry on this pivotal point, please order my (audio) teaching entitled, “The Sovereignty of God.” There is much more detail on the teaching than I was able to put into this article. This teaching will change your life.

I suggest that after you listen to it that you share it with someone else. I really believe that confusion on this subject is how Satan pushes his will off on most people. This teaching could change someone’s life.

Andrew Wommack Ministries
Mailing Address:
PO Box 3333
Colorado Springs, CO 80934
Helpline: 719-635-1111
Fax: 719-635-1777
Email: info@awmi.net
Website: www.awmi.net

“Que sera, sera, whatever will be, will be” — God’s will?

The “sovereignty of God” may not mean what you think it means.

Esther's Petition

(From the Archives.)

Isaiah 5:20 says, “Woe unto them who call evil, good, and good, evil; who put darkness for light, and light for darkness; who put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!”

A couple of years ago, the Sunday School class I attended was studying the Bible account of Jesus and the disciples, the boat and the storm.

Jesus and the disciples were in a boat headed to the other side of the Sea of Galilee when a bad storm came up. Jesus was taking a nap and the panic-stricken disciples woke him up, saying “Lord, save us, we perish.” (Matthew 8:25) Mark puts it like this: “Master, carest thou not that we perish?” (Mark 4:38)

Jesus got up, rebuked the storm stopping it in its tracks, and then rebuked the disciples for their lack of faith. (They could have stopped the storm themselves, without waking him up.)

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Why am I upset?

Here is why.

Voting is not just political; it’s spiritual.

“Silence in the face of evil is itself evil: God will not hold us guiltless. Not to speak is to speak. Not to act is to act.”   (Attributed to Dietrich Bonhoeffer.)

Your silence says it all. I don’t feel angry, I just feel sad and grief-stricken at Christians, and especially pastors and other church leaders, who refuse to answer when asked the question,  “Who did you vote for?”

Because it matters.

“Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers. For what fellowship has righteousness with lawlessness? And what communion has light with darkness?” (2 Cor. 6:14)

“Don’t you know that when you offer yourselves to someone as obedient slaves, you are slaves of the one you obey–whether you are slaves to sin, which leads to death, or to obedience, which leads to righteousness?” (Romans 6:16 NIV)

One candidate claims to be Catholic, but he does not follow the church’s precepts. He was refused communion at a local Catholic church because of that.

He supports abortion (child sacrifice) and many other ungodly things. He promised if elected he would govern by those ungodly beliefs.

He plainly told people to vote for him at campaign events, in news print, emails, snail mail, television and radio ads, billboards and yard signs, on social media and more across this country.

Repeatedly he said, “Vote for me.”

And so, Christian friend, did you obey him? Did you vote for him? This matters. Because if you voted for him, you were spiritually yoked to his platform and principles. You have invited a curse into your life. I can no longer trust you, which is sad too.

Who is the “Fat Lady”?

This was written to answer a question from a fellow blogger last week… I thought others might like to read it too.

The Lord has given me several words lately about what is happening in America.

  • If a man could do it, a man could get glory, and the Lord will not share His glory.
  • Having done ALL, stand. Having DONE all, stand. Having done all, STAND.
  • Pray and keep on praying.
  • It’s not over until the “Fat Lady sings.”

As I pondered over who the “Fat Lady” is, I saw a mental image of Lady Freedom atop the US Capitol building in Washington, DC.

It’s a female warrior wearing an eagle helmet and holding a sheathed sword. That statue and its location are definitely worth meditating over.

A few years ago I began writing a blog titled Tapister. (https://tapister.wordpress.com)  A tapister is someone who creates tapestries. I believe the Master Tapister is at work in the world.

For several years one word has echoed in my mind — Watch.

Matthew 24, Mark 13, and Luke 21 repeat a command: Watch. Be on guard. Be alert. Keep watch. “What I say to you, I say to everyone: Watch!”

Watch for what? Earthquakes. Famines. Fires. Floods. Pestilence. Wars. Revolutions. Persecution of Christians. Betrayal by relatives. Fake Messiahs, working signs and miracles. Great distress. Fearful events. Sun darkened, moon not giving its light. Stars falling from the sky.

Tapister was created to help me and others watch for events and to watch for patterns. Also to tell others and above all, to pray.

Ezekiel 33 describes the duties of the watchman. It is a bit chilling to think how many believers today aren’t paying attention to what God’s watchmen are saying to them.

I haven’t kept Tapister updated much in recent months, there is just so much that bears watching in the world. But my own Watchman vigil certainly continues, it’s part of my personal habit pattern daily, and it’s why I post articles online.

Battle Array

“SHOCK”. That’s the subtitle of the post I wrote on January 1, 2021. https://estherspetition.wordpress.com/2021/01/01/2021/

“Wait and see. Keep praying,” the Lord told me, and so I have been. Since then:

  1. On the evening of January 1 as I was praying before going to sleep, the Lord gave me a mini-vision of an array of angels dressed in battle armor, thousands upon thousands of them in the heavens. Silent and still they stood arm to arm, facing the earth. Above and behind them a fierce spiritual battle was going on, but these warrior angels weren’t taking part in that battle; they were protecting the earth.
  2. On January 2, the Holy Spirit told me, “It’s coming down.” He showed me the warriors descending from the heavens onto the earth. My prayers became even more intense.
  3. On January 3, he said, “The battle is joined.”
  4. On January 4, he added, “We are now on a war footing.”

After that evening I haven’t heard anything specific from him during my night-time prayers. There’s just a deep sense of continued watchfulness.

Despite having received those words, like so many others I was terribly shocked at what happened at the U.S. Capitol on January 6. I realized that the Lord’s word to me about 2021 was coming to pass.

What will happen next? The Lord hasn’t told me. He may or may not. He just keeps saying, “Wait and see. Keep praying.” This is a spiritual battle and it’s not over.

YOU CAN GET BITTER OR YOU CAN GET BUSY

Look at the results of the protests in Washington. The bottom line is, the evidence of fraud was not heard, and Biden’s supporters got what they wanted.

Mario Murillo Ministries

First, let’s be very clear about what did and did not happen yesterday.

Here is what did happen: Antifa and BLM thugs posed as Trump supporters. Their heinous crimes provided the excuse for “friends” of Trump to abandon him.

Yesterday, the majority of Congress threw 75 million Americans under the bus.

Lindsay Graham, now among the worst of the deserters, said something for which he has no proof. He said that Biden was legally elected. He came to that erroneous conclusion out of the sheer tsunami of pressure and the need to survive. He is free now to never support Trump again. And that takes me to what did not happen today.

The evidence of election fraud was never investigated. Not only today, but at no time since the beginning. Nobody was ever allowed to present the case. Every ruling from every court has been the same: rejecting the case…

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