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Thought for today, Putting things in perspective.

God, our Creator, makes Himself pretty clear as He speaks through Paul in Paul’s letter to the Thessalonians. In verse 9 of Chapter 1 of II Thessalonians it says” These shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His Power.”


I think it is important to also read the rest of the text from Chapter One to gain a better understanding of this scripture. We also need to remember to respect the reading of the Word of God as God speaks to us, we must listen.


Please then go on to read in I Thessalonians and realize that we have access to all we need to become over comers through prayer to our Father, our creator. We can pray as in I Thessalonians 5:23-25 “Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you completely and may your whole spirit, soul and body be preserved blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. 24 He who calls you is faithful, who will do it. 25 Brethern pray for us.”


Words of Wisdom From Young Lips

We were so recently blessed with words of wisdom from a young man for whom the road has not been easy. He has attended French Camp Academy for the last few years and it seems he has gained wisdom.

The quote came from the FCA newsletter.

“I believe I had the talent to play, but I wouldn’t have had the character to succeed. ”

He had just signed to play ball in college.

Excerpt from The 11:45 Call, vs 7


As Sodom and Gomorrah, and the cities around them in a similar manner to these, having given themselves over to sexual immorality and gone after strange flesh, are set forth as an example, suffering the vengeance of eternal fire.”


As Sodom and Gomorrah, and the cities around them in a similar manner to these


Jude’s third example of those who reject God’s truth is the story of Sodom and Gomorrah, which you can read about in Genesis 10–19, as well as various references throughout the Scriptures.


Sodom and Gomorrah do not stand alone here. There are other references to the cities around them who were also living to satisfy the flesh rather than to please God and allow Him to use individuals as an instrument of righteousness. The New American Standard Bible uses the word “indulged,” meaning satisfying self and desire.


Jude 7 “the cities around them, since they in the same

way as these indulged in gross immorality and went after

strange flesh, are exhibited as an example, in undergoing the

punishment of eternal fire (NASB).”


Deuteronomy 29:23 “the whole land is brimstone, salt, and

burning; it is not sown, nor does it bear, nor does any grass

grow there like the overthrow of Sodom and Gomorrah,

Admah, and Zeboiim, which the Lord overthrew in His

anger and His wrath.”


Isaiah 13:19 “And Babylon, the glory of kingdom, the beauty

of the Chaldeans’ pride will be as when God overthrew

Sodom and Gomorrah.”


Sodom and Gomorrah are also mentioned in the following:


Jeremiah 49:18 “As in the overthrow of Sodom and

Gomorrah and their neighbors,” says the Lord, No one

shall remain there, nor shall a son of man dwell in it.”


Jeremiah 50:40 “As God overthrew Sodom and Gomorrah

and their neighbors,” says the Lord. So shall no one reside

there, Nor son of man dwell in it.”


Amos 4:11 “I overthrew some of you, as God overthrew

Sodom and Gomorrah, and you were like a firebrand

plucked from the burning; yet you have not returned to

Me,” says the Lord.”


Luke 10:12 “But I say to you that it will be more tolerable in

that Day for Sodom than for that city.” (See Luke 10:1–12

for the entire story. This is repeated from Matthew 10:15, 11:24)


For the story of judgment and destruction on Sodom and Gomorrah, read Genesis 18:16–19:29. Genesis 19:24–25 tells what happened to Sodom, Gomorrah, and the cities around them. Also see Matthew 10:15, 11:24, and Luke 10:12.


Genesis 19:24–25 “Then the Lord rained brimstone and

fire on Sodom and Gomorrah, from the Lord out of the

heavens. 25So He overthrew those cities, all the plain, all the

inhabitants of the cities and what grew on the ground.”


Having given themselves over to sexual immorality and gone after

strange flesh


The New American Standard uses the words “gone after,” indicating they pursued immorality and strange flesh. Strange flesh means unnatural or homosexual abominations, that is, carnal.


Romans 1:27 “Likewise also the men, leaving the natural

use of the woman, burned in their lust for one another, men

with men committing what is shameful, and receiving in

themselves the penalty of their error which was due.”


Genesis 19:5 “And they called to Lot and said to him, where

are men [the two angels who came to Lot in 19:1] who came

to you tonight? Bring them out to us that we may know

them carnally.”


Carnally means have homosexual intercourse. This is to rebel against or deny God’s plan for intercourse between a man and a woman and to miss the fullness and beauty of God’s plan.


Those in Sodom also indulged in other lusts of the flesh


Lusts of the flesh, that is, satisfying oneself, are an abomination to God, and He deals with this iniquity (sin) as He sees fit.


Ezekiel 16:49–50 “Look, this was the iniquity of your sister

Sodom: She and her daughter had pride, fullness of food,

and abundance of idleness; neither did she strengthen the

hand of the poor and needy. 50And they were haughty and

committed abomination before Me; therefore I took them

away as I saw fit.”


Works of the flesh are also mentioned in Galatians 5:19-21 as compared with the works of the Spirit of God in Galatians 5:22-26


Are set forth as an example, suffering the vengeance of eternal fire


Those in Sodom were set forth as an example to God’s people of the wrongdoing of the false prophets and those who mislead God’s people. These wrongdoers will face the judgment of God upon those people. Jude warns his readers by explaining what was happening.


The false teachers of his day were trying to lead the people of Jude’s time into the same immorality that brought judgment, the vengeance of eternal fire, upon Sodom and Gomorrah.


Vengeance is punishment in return for wrongdoing. Eternal fire is what many refer to as hellfire, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth as they experience the eternal horrors of judgment and separation from God.


Hellfire is mentioned in Matthew 5, where Jesus explains God’s kind of righteousness and judgment of sins. A person is to get right with God even when there has already been judgment by a human court or counsel. The human court or counsel may not even be aware of the hidden sin, which only God knows and judges. God knows the heart.


Matthew 5:22 “But I say to you that whoever is angry

with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the

judgment and whoever says to his brother Raca! Shall be in

danger of the council. But whoever says, You fool! Shall be

in danger of hell fire.”


Raca, an Aramaic word, means “empty.” This term is used as one of contempt. To say this was worse than being angry. It was an outrageous utterance. Using the term in anger, making judgement, without cause toward one’s brother would put one in danger of hell fire. In Judges 9:4, it meant empty-headed. In James 2:20, it meant vain.


God will not be in hell. There will be no light in hell. It is the outer and utter darkness.


Matthew 8:12 “But the sons of the kingdom be cast out

into outer darkness. There will be weeping and gnashing of

teeth.” (See also Matthew 22:13.)


The sons of the kingdom, Jews who have not accepted Jesus as their Savior, will be cast into hell. Here in this eternal darkness, they, God’s chosen people who die without the covering (wedding garment) of the righteousness blood of Jesus (Matthew. 22:11–13), will be cut off from

the presence of God forever.


Jude’s warning is about getting right with God by aligning your earthly relationships with the commands of God. You do not know when judgment day will come. The Lord will deliver the godly out of temptations and reserve punishment for the unjust.


2 Peter 2:6–10 “and turning the cities of Sodom and

Gomorrah into ashes, condemned them to destruction,

making them an example to those who afterward would live

ungodly; 7and delivered righteous Lot, who was oppressed

by the filthy conduct of the wicked 8(for that righteous man,

dwelling among them, tormented his righteous soul from

day to day by seeing and hearing their lawless deeds)—9then

the Lord knows how to deliver the godly out of temptations

and to reserve the unjust under punishment for the day of

judgment 10and especially those who walk according to the

flesh in the lust of uncleanness and despise authority.”


Many reject the thought of the eternal, unquenchable fire, which Scripture describes as just one of the attributes of hell, even though it is evidenced in Scripture.


Matthew 18:8 “If your hand or foot causes you to sin, cut it

off and cast it from you. It is better for you to enter into life

lame or maimed, rather than having two hands or two feet,

to be cast into the everlasting fire.”


Matthew 25:41 “Then He will also say to those on the left

hand, depart from Me, you cursed, into the everlasting fire

prepared for the devil and his angels.”


Life Application Questions


  • What does it mean when Jude says “in a similar manner” in regards to the cities around Sodom and Gomorrah?


  • What does “ it will be better/tolerable for them than” mean in Matthew 10:15, 11:24 and Luke 10:12?


  • Do you see any correlations between Sodom and Gomorrah and America today?


  • Do you believe that hell is real?


  • Do you believe that God will execute the vengeance of eternal fire and darkness on judgment day for those who have not repented of their sins; including their walk in the lusts of the flesh?


The Marriage

This marriage will not be affected by the decision of the US Supreme Court.

Revelation 19:7-10 “Let us be glad and rejoice and give Him glory, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and His wife has made herself ready.” 8And to her it was granted to be arrayed in fine linen, clean and bright, for the fine linen is the righteous acts of the saints.9Then he said to me, ‘Write: ‘Blessed are those who are called to the marriage supper of the Lamb!’ And he said to me, ‘These are the true sayings of God.’ 10And I fell at his feet to worship him. But he said to me, ‘See that you do not do that! I am your fellow servant, and of your brethren who have the testimony of Jesus. Worship God! For the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.’”

And all God’s people say “Amen”

Is This of God?

I left Sunday School newly encouraged to test the elements around me and my own contribution to worship, praise and learning. I John 4:1-6 had impacted me thru the words and demonstration of the teacher and the class discussion.

As I entered the sanctuary I confronted some disturbing thoughts.

Why am I here.?

I believe the church is a group of believers bound together by love to encourage one another and to share the gospel with those God brings within the doors of the church and to enrich the lives of those who attend.

Does this mean?

1.The purpose of my continued presence here is long term inner transformation into the image of Christ so that I become a living demonstration for the world?

2.The church is to be a place where my eyes are opened and I am helped to listen?

3.I am to be a contributor to the Light in the darkness and that when darkness comes thru the doors the Light is strong enough to overcome the darkness.

4.The reality of Hebrew 13:7 “Remember those who led you, who spoke the work of God to you and considering the result of their conduct, imitate their faith?

What is the reality here?

Am I occupied with things that benefit others and myself? Or not?

Am I respectful of God first, pastor next and other people in my manner and demeanor?

Am I ready to listen; cell phone packed away and off, mind focused on what God has for me?

Am I teaching others by my example and, especially the children, to respect God’s house and His people?

Is my dress modest and appropriate or am I showing more than is respectable or am I showing more than other people want to or should see? Does my dress set a good example for the young people?

Is the sacrifice of praise and worship I bring pleasing to the Father?

Is what I do in His house and out in the world a demonstration of the Lordship of Jesus in my life?

Am I showing proper respect for God or others?

What am I encouraging?

In other words, am I reflecting long term inner transformation into the image of Christ so that I can be a living demonstration to a lost and dying world. Is all that I do and say, everything I am and everything I am not, of God and His plan for my life?Am I a blessing or a hindrance to what God wants to do in His house today?

As a fellow believer at the church, wherever God puts me, my prayer is-Hebrews 13:18 “Pray for us, for we are sure that we have a good conscience, desiring to conduct ourselves honorably in all things.”


Today I learned two (2) things’
1. That I can’t take my money or possessions with me to heaven but I can take my children.
2. Teaching is not handing out a prepared content, making sure they learn and sending them students on their way. Teaching is guiding them to the pathway of learning, providing support when needed and expecting students/learners to be able to continue on their way with the confidence that you, the teacher, are always there to support when needed but also to share in the experience and learning.

Thank you Father God

Please share what you are learning.

Redefining Marriage Affects Society

God defined marriage at creation. God has made no announcement that He is redefining marriage for the good of His creation. God saw man’s need for a helpmate. The animals God had Adam to name each had a mate-male and female-He created them. Male and female they were loaded onto the ark when God punished the world for its sin and flooded the earth. Noah loaded and cared for pairs that were to bring forth more of their kind in the post flood world. Male and female they begin to repopulate the earth and soon fell into the same old rut. God often became frustrated with His children, they couldn’t follow His ways so He sent His Son to take care of His children’s sin problem.

The solution is right before us but we still often choose the road to hell.

God defined marriage. Accept anything outside of the boundaries of God’s preordained definition for marriage and you set the stage to live with that which is not the best for mankind and therefore for society as a whole. Scripture tells us to honor marriage (Hebrews 13:4 see Greek-marriage mean the joining of a man and a woman).

When marriage is redefined according to man’s self serving mission,-a union of getting ones own needs met-the marriage union loses the potential joy and fulfillment that God planned. God intended the marriage partners to fulfill man and woman’s need for relational thrill, intimacy and purity. Marriage at its very best is God’s union ordained in the scriptures, the Holy Bible.

When society accepts man’s redefining of marriage society looses the stable environment for raising children and setting values according to God’s plan. Prayer is the most powerful element in any society, but prayer partners must come together in Jesus name and agreement to accept the will of God. This is lost in a union that is not God ordained.

We leave you with the same sentiments and truth that Paul shared with the Collosians in chapter 2 verses 1-15.

Joel and Brenda Blakely are teachers and authors of Surprise In the Suitcase, a look at marriage the blessings and challenges.

The End

Brenda K. Blakely and Joel F. Blakely

Co Authors and teachers of Surprise In the Suitca

The Call to Pray

Jude 20-22 “But you, beloved, building yourselves up on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Spirit 21keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life.

22         And on some have compassion, making a distinction. 23 but others save with fear, pulling them out of the fire, hating even the garment defiled by the flesh.”

We are truly blessed to be a part of a Sunday School Class where the Biblical mandate to “encourage one another to love and good deeds (Hebrews 10:24-25)” is the norm and “iron sharpens iron (Proverbs 27:17)” comes to life. Our teacher encourages vibrant open discussion. The environment is one where a person feels safe to express their thoughts and questions, which sometimes may not be exactly what the stereotype “Christian” would think or ask. This type environment gives us the opportunity to be real and authentic humans and is very much appreciated. It allows us to work through the tough issues of life without threat and with the support of peers.

A few Sundays back I shared my concern that some people may be praying but that God wasn’t hearing their prayers. And for me, who absolutely depend upon my prayer life and relationship to God my Father, Jesus my older brother and the Holy Spirit guide for my inner man; I mourned for those whose prayers might not be heard. I mourn for those who will go before the judgment seat, turn to the high priest, our advocate before the Father, and be told “I never knew you (Matthew 7:21-23).” I have been there and there are times when I feel my prayers don’t even go above the ceiling.

I was so glad that several class members jumped in to assure me that my concerns were valid according to all that they knew and they shared appropriate scripture. The awful condition bothered me so much that I had to carry it further.

To pray and not be heard has to be a frightful condition. To know that “fire insurance” prayers may be no assurance or insurance at all and may mean that those we care for and our brothers and sisters of the world may go to hell at the end of their earthly lives, is absolutely heart breaking. For I believe that hell is real.

We must do as we are called and “humble ourselves (2 Chronicles 7:14)” in prayer and supplication to God to “heal our land.” We each are standing in the need of prayer. I believe we have been issued a call to pray in the Holy Spirit, by our heavenly Father; to prepare to be ready to pray and not panic as the world collapses around us

Below I share the scriptures that I found in hopes that those who read this will decide for themselves and act accordingly. I also hope that they will feel free to share their thoughts on the subject. If it is true that the prayers of some do not go above the ceiling, and I personally believe that it is, then we must be about sharing the Truth with those, who might be in this condition.

I believe the power of prayer to our heavenly Father is a vital part of the life of a Christian.

Explore the Word

Read I Peter 3:10 and see if you agree that,

His, the Father’s, ears are open only to their (the righteous) prayers.

For an answer explore the warnings in I Thessalonians 4 before reading verse 16-22

Read Isaiah 1:15 and you might look at the rest of the chapter to see how God felt about the activities and lives of His chosen people. Has God changed His mind since we are under the New Covenant? Do we have to be under the covering of the New Covenant to please God so that He will hear our prayers and how do we get under the New Covenant?

A word regarding the hindered prayers of those of us who are married is found in I Peter 3:7.

This is another to decide for your self Proverbs 15:8.

Jesus has a lot to say about prayer and our manner of praying in Matthew 6:5-14, with a special note to hypocrites.

Does Jesus, who sits at the right hand of the Father interceding for us (Matthew 26:64, Acts 1:9, Romans 8:4, Colossians 3:1), say that He only prays for those who are His and not the world in John 17:9. My picture here is if Jesus doesn’t pass on our prayers by praying Himself, then does the Father hear them?

How important your prayers? Read Revelations 5:8.

I pray that your will has joined with the will of the Father and that you live in the eternal security of His hand. I pray that we will be willing to “speak the truth in love” and “snatch them from the fire.”

Brenda Klutz Blakely asks God to help her to be available to pray and to answer His call and to encourage others.

Frying Pan Prayers

After sending Sharon to the kitchen for a frying pan, Joe instructed Joel to walk and he followed Joel across the room. Laughter covered the room as Joe wielded the frying pan in a mock beating as the prophet’s voice announced the proceeding in tongues.

I shrank back not knowing what to expect.

Then Sharon interpreted “You have been beating this man with prayer for years. God has heard and He will answer.”

We all stood there speechless as I turned red as a beet and began the process of accepting the Word from God. Joel and the audience just stared. The truth sinking in and becoming a reality took time.

Over and over again those words rang in my ears. Life changing events do not announce themselves beforehand so you are not always prepared. Elijah House Basic I and II classes in Chelsea, Alabama had exceeded the expectations. God shaped and molded us thru the teaching but being broken had to come first. God had His ways. The joy and pain of this event were indelibly impressed on our minds.

I don’t know that I prayed in the right way but they were abundant. This man, I had married, missed so much of life; the one I believe God had intended, because of His anger and bitter roots. Our family needed help and I concluded that God was the only one that could do it, so I shot up prayers, day and night.

God has truly answered those prayers. We are not the same people after His intervention into our lives. He was even able to tune us together enough for each of us to earn a Master’s degree in Education together and to write a book as co authors. For those who know our history and have lived it with us, this is nothing short of a great BIG miracle.

It all started with me trusting God. I trusted no one, not even myself and my husband had not proven himself to be trustable. God showed me that I could trust and obey and He would do the rest. It became very clear that even if I could not trust my husband at that time, I could trust God and I lived in that truth for a long time.

Joel and I celebrated our 52nd anniversary this month. When this event happened we had been married thirty-six (36) years. These days Joel and I lean on God first and then put our foot forth and trust Him to guide us. I still pray for Joel but now we pray for each other and pray a lot together as we read and study God’s Word. We seek how we will answer the Call.


Joel F. and Brenda Klutz Blakely are currently preparing a manuscript for Surprise In the Suitcase. This non fiction book shares Truth from the Word of God to help those who are already married and those who are preparing for marriage to allow God to renew their minds and set their heart upon Him, so that their lives in a married state will reflect the potential of God’s intentions. Joel and Brenda share stories (such as Frying Pan Prayers) from the road they have traveled.  Since receiving their degrees and healing they have served as teachers, house parents, Elijah House facilitators, ministry leaders and Natural Products developers. Their five children, inlaws, grands and great grand help them move around as God calls them. As one grand said, “MoMo and Gram B move a lot.” Joel and Brenda know without a doubt as they go forth, they can trust in God. God has a plan and He when they walk the walk and talk the talk He provides.

Responding to the world today.

Everywhere I turn collapse seems imminent. I believe there are forces that are determinedly bound to destroy all we hold dear. But I believe even more that God has a plan. That if we turn from our wicked ways and seek Him, He will heal our land. I believe in hope, the hope that rest in our almighty God, creator of the universe.

Hold fast to that which is good. Do not turn to the right or to the left but look straight up.

Remember God has a standard,

God has a plan,

God has provided all that we need.

God is a God of hope.

Blessings, Brenda