The Center of Land of Promise

Day before yesterday, I let Faith and Fasting friends know I published a book called, Land of Promise. I had to return today to share something that happened yesterday because I’m still shocked by it!

First, know this book continues to surprise me every time I read it. That sounds nuts, but it is true. I know God gave me the information, led me to the research and opened my eyes to things in Scripture I’d never noticed before. But, it is a diversion from very traditional interpretations of some things.

At the heart of it, I believe this book is a realignment onto the center of Scripture: Christ. He is the center. A few teachers/scholars over the years have tried to make the center of the Bible the nation of Israel. But, when we make Messiah the center, the rest of Scripture unfolds correctly.

Okay, now for the really, really strange thing that happened yesterday. I was re-reading the book in my Kindle app. Kindle let me know I was at the 50% mark, exactly halfway through the book.

Guess what I read on the middle section of the middle page of the book, something which I certainly did not/could not have planned! It was this:

“The most important thing I can say is… the Bible is not Israel-centered. Israel, meaning the earthly land. Rather, the Bible is Christ-centered. For, He is God. It (the Bible) is the testimony of how He related to His people, all of His people – Israel of God – before and after the cross. When we get the center point of the Bible wrong, we get everything out of focus… And our interpretations of Scripture suffer because they are faulty from the foundation.”

The weird thing is, that text was something I added at the last minute before I published the final version of the book. I had no idea I’d placed it in the exact center of the book until yesterday. My jaw dropped when I saw it.

I’ve noticed from the beginning the Spirit of God was all over this, it was His project. I pray His people give it a chance although it will challenge long-held thought for some.

I’ve priced the book very low because I just want people to read it. If you know someone who cannot afford it, the ebook can be loaned for 2 weeks by anyone who has purchased a copy. The ebook is $2.99 and the paperback is $7.99 (link below).

God bless, Valerie

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https://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss/158-0402283-8285826?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=land+of+promise+garcia

Land of Promise

Dear friends of Faith and Fasting, I am so pleased to announce that after two years of research and writing, my first book, Land of Promise, was published this month on Amazon.com!

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This book may be controversial in some circles. It takes a closer look at Old Testament prophecy and dares to suggest the U.S. was in prophecy all along, as perhaps the final land spoken of by the prophet Isaiah, where God’s people might gather in great numbers in the last centuries.

It sounds crazy, I know, but the biblical evidence is pretty surprising and extremely compelling.

Anyway, I wanted you to be among the first to hear about Land of Promise, and I’ve printed the first chapter here for you to sample. Have a blessed day!

CHAPTER 1 – GEMSTONES

On a warm June day in the summer of 2014, my husband and I found ourselves wandering through southwest Texas, carrying our entire life with us, it seemed. Traveling through this area would be one small part of a three week, cross-country vacation. This vacation was different than most for us. It was a one-way trip.

You see, we were being transferred to a new job assignment, and this journey would eventually lead us to our new home. We literally drove coast to coast, from North Carolina to California, loving every minute of it. It was road trip adventure, to see sights we had never seen before.

Along the winding route navigated, chosen in part to see family and part to see new destinations, we each picked places we wanted to visit. Most of the selections were mine. Having grown up on the east coast the daughter of road weary, retired military parents, I had seen very little of our beautiful country.

My husband’s early years included traveling the mid-west extensively. So, for most of the trip, he happily settled into his role as tour host, and enjoyed watching me experience many of our stops for the first time.

This particular day in June, our destination was Alpine, Texas. Tiny college town in the middle of nowhere, Alpine is uniquely charming. It is an artistic, cultural blend of old West, native America and Mexico, and somehow quaintly preserves just the right amount of each portion of its heritage. Adding to its get-away appeal, it is a few hours drive from the hustle and bustle of any large metropolitan area.

One of the reasons we stopped in Alpine, we had an appointment with a local realtor to view open land parcels outside of town. We have long hoped to find that perfect investment property out in the country somewhere, and this day would be an opportunity to explore one option.

Our hosts for the day were a local realtor and his wife. Warm and down to earth like so many Texans we’ve known over the years, they graciously drove us over the unpaved, dusty hills to show us site after site. With each stop we walked another sprawling property full of rocks and raw potential.

After a couple of stops, I began noticing the realtor’s wife would study the ground intently at each site. She often picked up a stone or two from the soil. Our hosts explained this land was known for gemstone rocks, jasper, crystal and more. I was fascinated. I had no idea Texas had natural gemstones.

At one particular site, the realtor picked up a large oval rock, and with a swift crack of a hammer out of the back of his truck, broke it open into two halves. We gasped. It had a hollowed out space on the inside filled with sparkling, opaque white crystals. Over the few short hours we spent with these charming folks, we collected many colorful stones filled with hidden treasure.

Although we did not invest in property that day, I’ve thought so often of our experience there ever since. In subsequent studies on gemstones, I came to learn not only Texas, but the Unites States is brimming with them. According to U.S. Geological Survey, every single one of our fifty states has multiple categories of gemstones!1

A lover of gems, I never realized our country boasted so many in her soil. I suppose I thought they were reserved for faraway places and exotic lands.

You always hear of Indian rubies or diamonds from Africa. And, in truth, gems are sprinkled around the globe, but my study revealed they exist nowhere more densely or with more variety than in the United States of America.

Isaiah foretold there would be a bigger land someday for the people of God following the Redeemer’s work and sacrifice, and he said this land would have stones filled with colorful gems (Isaiah 54:11-12). Many scholars take this reference as symbolic language, but there is biblical precedent to take this as a literal description of the soil.

Seven centuries before the time of Isaiah, a physical description of soil had been given for the first promised land. In Deuteronomy 8:9, Moses foretold the land chosen for the descendants of Abraham would be filled with copper and blue stone. Ancient Israel’s soil contained what was prophesied: copper and one blue stone called Eilat Stone.2

Soil content and gemstones are like DNA. God must have chosen to identify land by its soil because it was the one thing that would never change. Kingdoms and rulers come and go, borders shift many times over centuries. But gems, soil and geological content foundational to a land remain, serving to identify it for generations to come.

1 Natural Gemstones – U.S. Production. U.S. Geological Survey. Retrieved January 17, 2015, from http://pubs.usgs.gov/gip/gemstones/production.html

2 Eilat Stone of Israel. Eilat Stone: Turquoise’s Cousin. Retrieved January 19, 2015, from http://www.turquoisequide.com/articles/turquoise/variations/eilat-stone.htm

Land of Promise is available as a Kindle ebook for $2.99, or in paperback for $7.99. To get your copy, click the link below:

https://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=land+of+promise+valerie+garcia&rh=i%3Aaps%2Ck%3Aland+of+promise+valerie+garcia

Reexamining a Presidential Debate Quote

Hillary Clinton invoked a famous quote in at least two of her speeches now, and it occurred to me to put it into perspective for those who did not recognize the quote or know its true author. The quote is this: “America is great because America is good.”

She was quoting Alexis de Tocqueville, famous 19th century French historian, philosopher, and statesman. The way Hillary used the quote indicated she (or her speech writers) believed it to stand on its own, but I hope she and those who endeavor to lead this country will study more of de Tocqueville’s work, for he clearly and strongly identified his belief as to the source of American goodness. Let me explain.

Alexis de Tocqueville travelled to America in the mid-1800s to learn for himself the reasons for the amazing success of this young nation. Afterward, he wrote a work entitled, Democracy in America, and he went to great lengths to explain why he concluded America was good. Here are some excerpts:

Upon my arrival in the United States the religious aspect of the country was the first thing that struck my attention… 

In America I found (the spirit of religion and the spirit of freedom) were intimately united and that they reigned in common over the same country. 

I do not know whether all Americans have a sincere faith in their religion — for who can search the human heart? But I am certain that they hold it to be indispensable to the maintenance of republican institutions. This opinion is not peculiar to a class of citizens or a party, but it belongs to the whole nation and to every rank of society. 

…there is no country in the world where the Christian religion retains a greater influence over the souls of men than in America, and there can be no greater proof of its utility and of its conformity to human nature than that its influence is powerfully felt over the most enlightened and free nation of the earth. 

In the United States, the influence of religion is not confined to the manners, but it extends to the intelligence of the people… 

I sought for the key to the greatness and genius of America in her harbors… her fertile fields and boundless forests; in her rich mines and vast world commerce; in her… institutions of learning. I sought for it in her democratic Congress and in her matchless Constitution. 

Not until I went into the churches of America and heard her pulpits flame with righteousness did I understand the secret of her genius and power. 

America is great because America is good, and if America ever ceases to be good, America will cease to be great. 

The Americans combine the notions of Christianity and of liberty so intimately in their minds, that it is impossible to make them conceive the one without the other.

Christianity is the companion of liberty in all its conflicts — the cradle of its infancy, and the divine source of its claims.

To Alexis de Tocqueville’s words, I say, “Amen!”

Hillary was right in repeating his statement, ‘America is great because America is good’. But, American goodness has been connected to something. It came out of unchanging, bedrock, Judeo-Christian values. And, according to de Toqueville, that was the true heart of our greatness.

Final thoughts: within de Tocqueville’s work is a very sober warning. American goodness and greatness are directly linked to Biblical values. Divorce the culture from those values, and we break ourselves away from all that made us great. How long will we stand detached from our foundation? It is something to think about.

Resources:One Nation Under God: Alexis de Tocqueville, pulled June 10, 2016 from http://www.leaderu.com/orgs/cdf/onug/detocq.html

Challenge to the People of God

For anyone who knows Christ, this is a quick, personal challenge burning in my heart today:

Do you find yourself despairing over the atmosphere of our country and the direction she is headed, the division, violence, etc? I know you are praying about it. But, have you fasted yet? Fasting is the ultimate spiritual weapon.

According to Christ, ‘some things are broken only by prayer and fasting.’ So, until we have fasted, the truth is we have not yet even begun to fight.

I wonder what would happen these next few weeks in our nation if all of us fasted for her one meal a week, or more?

Pass it on…

[Do not fast if you know you have a physical ailment that makes it unsafe! See a doctor, if you need to be sure!]

Finger of God Documentary

Spoiler alert: this is going to be a strange post about peculiar events in modern day Christian churches. It is just one possible interpretation of those events. No, this really doesn’t have anything to do with fasting. In fact, it is more about eating – at God’s banquet table.

Recently, we watched an intriguing and powerful documentary called, Finger of God, released in 2007 by Darren Wilson. It is available for instant watch on Netflix, along with several other documentaries by the same filmmaker.

Within the first few minutes, the viewer sees footage from several congregations, where members were miraculously given gold teeth during worship! Okay, I told you this would be strange. He showed clip after clip of the inside of the mouths of these congregants, and there they were: gold teeth! One, sometimes two gold teeth inside each recipient’s mouth.

Another older gentleman, for over 36 years at the time, was finding manna in his palm out of thin air, or inside His Bible by Revelation 2:17 (“to him who is overcoming, I will give to Him hidden manna”). Over and over. Can you imagine standing there, preoccupied and suddenly you feel something in your palm, only to look down and see you are holding a handful of manna? It was so odd, to be honest I found it hard to swallow at first. But I haven’t been able to stop thinking about it.

After pondering these peculiar phenomena for a couple of weeks, I finally took the time to do a little research, searching the Bible online for all references to teeth. Many verses came up, but nothing that jumped out. So I tried ‘tooth’. Again, nothing.

Next, I decided to do a general search for gold, since I was pretty sure a reference for ‘gold teeth’ would not come up. Hundreds of verses came up for ‘gold’, so I set out to scan through them as quickly as possible. I didn’t have much expectation of finding anything, truthfully.

However, it was when I came to Exodus 25 that my spirit went on high alert. In this passage, we find God telling Moses how to build the Ark of the Covenant and the covering for the ark, what we call the mercy seat. Immediately after this, He tells Moses how to build a table to hold the showbread, the symbol of God’s invitation to His table and fellowship.

As God is giving instructions for building the showbread table, His orders include adorning the top of the table in such a way that it appears surrounded with “crowns of gold” (Ex 25:24-25). The table would then hold 12 loaves of bread at all times to represent the 12 tribes of Israel.

Did you hear that? A table with the appearance of  “gold crowns”, to hold the bread that represented fellowship between God and His people! At this point, I was thinking, would God literally bring a pun to life for a purpose?

Reading up a little on the showbread table, I found the following:

“Showbread” also was called “bread of the presence” because it was to be always in the Lord’s presence. The table and the bread were a picture of God’s willingness to fellowship and communion (literally, sharing something in common) with man. It was like an invitation to a meal, an extension of friendship. God was willing for man to enter into His presence to fellowship with Him, and this invitation was always open. 

Jesus came to call sinners to Him, make them right with God, so that they could enjoy everlasting fellowship with God. 

“I am the bread of life. He who comes to me will never go hungry, and he who believes in me will never be thirsty. … Your forefathers ate the manna in the desert, yet they died. But here is the bread that comes down from heaven, which a man may eat and not die.” (John 6:35, 49-50) 

God so desires our fellowship that He was willing to come to earth from heaven as our “bread of life” to give eternal life to all those who would partake in it. At Jesus’ last Passover meal with His disciples, Jesus described Himself as bread again: 

“While they were eating, Jesus took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to his disciples, saying, ‘Take and eat; this is my body.’” (Matthew 26:26) 

Jesus’ broken body is our only access to fellowship with God. Today, we celebrate the Lord’s Supper, or communion, to remember this important truth. And today, as in the day of Moses’ tabernacle, God still desires to have fellowship and sit down for a feast with His people. 

“Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with me.” (Revelations 3:20)

[From: http://the-tabernacle-place.com/articles/what_is_the_tabernacle/tabernacle_table_showbread]

Another snippet lends further insight:

The table symbolizes fellowship. It shows a gesture of friendship, as inviting a friend to share a meal. The table in the tabernacle shows God’s desire for fellowship with us. Jesus was a friend of publicans and sinners because He sat and ate with them at the table. God wishes to satisfy our hunger

[From: http://bibletruth.net/florlane/tabernacle/BREAD~1.HTM]

Now, let’s bring all of this back to the strange phenomena of gold teeth and manna bread on God’s living children. And again, please understand, this is just one possible interpretation.

The New Testament tells us we in Christ are His living temple! God may have been using those peculiar happenings to demonstrate this truth. Perhaps these modern day believers in Christ became His living showbread table, complete with ‘gold crowns’, to hold His manna, His showbread!

If this was His intent, then He revealed us as connected directly to Old Testament Israel, through the symbolic representation of the temple’s showbread table and bread of His people. After all, as the Apostle Paul said, we are the ‘Israel of God’.

Maybe in addition to letting us know we are His people and His living temple, He is gently hinting that through us the world should always feel invited, loved and welcomed into His presence. More specifically, and because I believe filmmaker Darren Wilson has beautifully woven stories of God’s people loving the lost sheep back to Him, this phenomena may have been the perfect opening to the filmmaker’s documentary work. For his work itself is an invitation to fellowship with God, a living symbol of the showbread table.

In summary, without teeth one cannot eat bread. Perhaps God, placing crowns of gold on Christian believers’ teeth and manna in their hands, is reminding us in an incredibly personal and humorously creative way:

1) Christ is the bread of life, 2) He is able to satisfy spiritual hunger, 3) He welcomes all people into His fellowship, and 4) followers of Christ become His living temple beckoning all to His banquet invitation!

Well, regardless if you agree with this interpretation of the phenomena revealed in the documentary, the above summary statements are still true. So, let’s be about our Father’s business, shall we?

Takeaways from National Day of Prayer

For all who prayed for our country yesterday, and for those who fasted, we pray you had a blessed and meaningful day!

Something interesting happened during the day, for me in particular. It was right after I’d spent some time agonizing in prayer. By the way, that happens sometimes when you really pour your heart into it. I wonder if that is why we more often find reasons not to talk to God, so we don’t have to feel the pain we hide from ourselves, the pain He readily sees and longs to comfort, if only we will open up.

Anyway, back to the story. I’d just spent some time praying and crying out to God over the increasingly secular state of my nation, asking Him to reverse our course. After this, I had the distinct, albeit brief, vision of the children of God in our nation being lifted up, almost like a giant cloud, above the fray of everyday life in America. There was a slight shaking involved in the lifting, like the kind you give an object left on the porch too long, to get the dust off.

I remembered last year hearing Jonathan Cahn, prophet, rabbi and author I respect very much, speak of a ‘shaking’ coming to America. As I reflected upon his prophetic words and my odd vision, I felt comforted that even if God chooses not to reverse the ‘secular’ course of our nation, He can be counted on to remain focused on the needs of His children. He loves us, treasures us, calls each of us by name. And He will refine and strengthen us no matter what is going on in Washington, D.C., or the culture around us!

With a fully surrendered, pure and impassioned family of faith, what could He accomplish in our nation, in our world, through us? I wonder if we can even consider that God may be more interested in the purity of His children than in the perfection of our nation? Probably.