Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Cantaloupe Rows

Canteloupe
Looks pretty good, doesn’t it? Have you grown a few? A lot? Yesterday I thought about how many we had grown (and given away – not enough to sell, too many to eat) and how many grow around our community. The soil is right around here and it’s nice to purchase local produce. But, a lot of work goes into placing these on our tables.

It’s been on my mind since yesterday’s funeral. A 17-year-old soon-to-be-junior in high school died in an accident on the farm road we use often. I had seen him with his Mom, Dad, and sister at our combined church services July 2. His Dad had been our church’s youth minister several years ago and is now pastor at another local church.

As with every human on this planet, he was unique. No one else has an exact backstory, no one else experienced the same incidents in the same order/timeframe. He took no one’s place, no one can take his place, and he left his mark on hundreds of lives. His Dad told us some of their stories while we grieved, yet celebrated his life.

He worked in cantaloupe fields. To do so, he needed a good shade hat and a hoe. The task is removing weeds down one row, then turn around at the end and remove weeds down the next row, repeating repeatedly. He questioned, “Why?” and was told it allowed the plants to grow good fruit. It was hard to understand when there were only greenery around him and it all appeared to be weeds. His Dad was right – soon there were blooms which turned into small green fruit. The weeding became easier as the plants and fruit grew and he took pride in doing his work.

There were many more stories, but this one lends itself so well as a biblical example. When we realize our sins and accept God made plans for us, it is fairly easy that first day to begin walking down the rows of our life and remove sinful deed/thoughts. Too soon, it becomes hard to differentiate between fruit bearing plans and weeds in our life. Paul wrote of something similar:

I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel: (Galatians 1:6 KJV)

It happens to many. Some early in their walk with the Lord, some later. Some so serious they sit down in defeat, some continue slowly, and others appear to keep that hoe moving down the rows successfully. None of that matters as to how we do our own. We are not responsible for them, only for ourselves. Nothing I do, say or write can change one person – but it might make them think.

For me the story is one of perseverance. I know the physical work paid off because he eventually started a company of his own, putting friends to work. Even in high school he was offered a job that would grow into a career, had he lived.

More importantly, he was taught integrity, responsibility, the difference between doing right and doing wrong. From his friends we heard examples of the application of those lessons. Most importantly, he learned the difference between saying he was a Christian so he would “fit in” with friends in church – and actually accepting that Christ was his needed way, truth and life. It takes faith to express that change to the people he knew and loved. He did that this past winter.

John explained why he wrote. He mentioned it twice – in John 20:31 and again:

These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God. (1 John 5:13 KJV)

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. (John 3:16 KJV)

Saturday, July 8, 2017

Running Out Of Material?

Abibliophobia
There are a lot of fears, but I did not realize so many of them had their own phobia word.  I wasn’t aware that someone could fear running out of reading material. With so many books available digitally. From Free eBooks Project Gutenberg (and app for all kinds of devices) along with Amazon’s Kindle books that are free or extremely reasonable (again, their Kindle app runs on most all devices) you can read old, new, classic, ridiculous.  The choice is yours.

Plus, I’ve never run out of reading material with my Bible. I’ve mentioned in the past that e-Sword is my favorite. Used to be a free app, but I understand there is a cost on iPhone and Android, but the pc version (excellent for studying) is still free. I use another app on my Samsung tablet due to limitations and there are numerous other apps available (yes, next time I’m buying more memory!!! It’s bad enough not having enough memory in my head – not having it on devices is frustrating. And, my fault.)

If you’ve read through the Bible and think you’re done, forget that and add a commentary to your reading. It’s easy with e-Sword to have the biblical text up along side a commentary on that text. Reading them together brings up questions. Did I miss something that the commentator saw? Was the author right – or do I disagree? If I disagree, why? Can I back up my premise with another verse? Does it impact the context?

All those questions slow down the reading – and increases the comprehension.  I was reminded to day how important context is. Supposing someone one told you:  “It’s in the Bible, and I believe it”, using this verse to prove they will receive all they want by worshipping:

And saith unto him, All these things will I give thee, if thou wilt fall down and worship me. (Matthew 4:9 KJV)

It’s in the Bible. People who accept the Bible as true will have to defend it, won’t they? I will uncategorically state, I will not fall down and worship as this verse requires.  I’ve read the rest of the story, the verses surrounding this one, and know it is taken out of context to prove one thing – lies. Of course, taken in context, Matthew 4:1-11, it proves to be a lie. A huge lie.

One of the biggest lies is connected to:

Judge not, that ye be not judged. (Matthew 7:1 KJV)

How can that be separated from the verse that immediately follows:

For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again. (Matthew 7:2 KJV)

One last thought – I do not believe we are to judge whether or not a person is a Christian. A parable gives the best example. We are instructed to share the gospel, shake off dust if we are not heard and are told another will do the judging as to who heard and obeyed:

And if any man hear my words, and believe not, I judge him not: for I came not to judge the world, but to save the world. He that rejecteth me, and receiveth not my words, hath one that judgeth him: the word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day. (John 12:47-48 KJV)

If you’ve read this far, I know you aren’t abibliophobic – you found more to read! There’s always reading waiting for us in the Bible.

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Almost Twenty-five Years Later

temp
Do you know what you had for breakfast November 14, 1992? I know what I ate because a letter surfaced. On that day, my grandson wrote my parents about a trip I took with him and his sister.

My grandchildren weren’t certain what to call Dad, so instead of great-grandpa, he told them, “Just call me Old Bill.” No, his name wasn’t Bill or even William. I have no idea where that came from, but all the family used it from the time the first grandson used it. So the letter was addressed to Old Bill and Grandma Maye. He was pretty specific about who went on the trip, where we went and what we did.

We took pictures, of course, using their “Kodaks Fun Saver 35 Cameras”, one for each of them. I don’t know if I could put my fingers on those photos right now, but his 8-page letter brought the memories back in full color.

A microcosm of the Dead Sea Scrolls, waiting two thousand years for discovery. While none of the letters Paul, Peter or John wrote about that same time frame. But – their letters were copied and shared from one church to another, one city to another, carried by one Christian to another.

Within a very short period of time, comparatively speaking, the letters were compiled into one history of Jesus’ time here on earth, along with His apostles’ letters to churches. Those letters were designed to carry the good news around the world – and that has been successful. Can you recite John 3:16? Billions can. Along with Genesis 1:1, Matthew 22:37-40, Psalm 23 – hundreds of scriptures, and one that tells us why they exist:

All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness (2 Timothy 3:16 KJV)

My grandson’s letter was profitable to regain memories and it holds truth – but no doctrine, no correction no instructions. Yet it is pleasurable to read and remember.

How much better it is to read scripture and learn of the beliefs spoken by Jesus. Uncertain about it? Do as the Bereans did:

These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so. (Acts 17:11 KJV)

Why? Even that is covered in the scriptures:

But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name. (John 20:31 KJV)

That is my prayer for people I love who do not believe, and I tremble for their souls.

Sunday, July 2, 2017

My Apologies - my blog was hacked

I do apologize for anyone who stopped by responding to a weird post. No - I haven't posted advertisements, but it appears my blog was hacked.

I regret any notifications you might have received under my name and will work to get this corrected as soon as possible.

Thank you for understanding. And for accepting my apologies.

Grammy Blick

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Lazarus – and the Rich Man

LazarusRichMan

Do you remember the story?  A painter tells it in three panels. The first panel covers:

There was a certain rich man, which was clothed in purple and fine linen, and fared sumptuously every day: And there was a certain beggar named Lazarus, which was laid at his gate, full of sores, And desiring to be fed with the crumbs which fell from the rich man's table: moreover the dogs came and licked his sores. (Luke 16:19-21 KJV)

Then we move to the second panel:

And it came to pass, that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels into Abraham's bosom: the rich man also died, and was buried; (Luke 16:22 KJV)

But the third covers a great deal more information – a conversation:

And in hell he lift up his eyes, being in torments, and seeth Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom. And he cried and said, Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus, that he may dip the tip of his finger in water, and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame. But Abraham said, Son, remember that thou in thy lifetime receivedst thy good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things: but now he is comforted, and thou art tormented. (Luke 16:23-25 KJV)

If we buffet-pick from scripture, we could just read these verses and determine if we have riches in this life, we will not in the next; and reverse, if we have bad in this life, we will have good in the next. However, that’s not the end of the story. Through the gulf between them, the rich man begs:

Then he said, I pray thee therefore, father, that thou wouldest send him to my father's house: For I have five brethren; that he may testify unto them, lest they also come into this place of torment. Abraham saith unto him, They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them. And he said, Nay, father Abraham: but if one went unto them from the dead, they will repent. And he said unto him, If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded, though one rose from the dead. (Luke 16:27-31 KJV)

“Though one rose from the dead.” We can certainly believe this part, can’t we.  We each know loved ones who have not responded to any of the scriptures – except to brow-beat Christians who fail to do what they deem scriptures require. We all fail to meet the perfection that is our example in Jesus, and we are all grateful that our salvation depends on Him, not our actions.

I do know of many who believed in His resurrection – they saw Him. The disciples. Crowds of people. Most emphatically, Saul. They wrote what they had seen and told others who told others for millennia and now it’s down to us. We each have the choice to read the scriptures, be persuaded by the prophets and listen to the one who rose from the dead. Or, not.

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Fear Not – it’s not just for Christmas

FearNot

Somewhere I’ve read that there are 365 verses in the Bible that tell us not to fear. Other’s have felt enough curiosity to do some research. One’s a blogging pastor’s wife, who created a printable list less than 365; another is a blogging Christian author, who found more than 365.

I haven’t verified either, but with the help of e-Sword.net, I could list all the 62 KJV verses specifically state “Fear not.” That’s enough for me to continue with the theme that beautiful graphic put in my mind.

Fear not. Most of the things we fear are unknown, aren’t they. We anticipate future events and conjure up what can possibly go wrong – or, is it as my children say, I’m the one mother that lived by a personal variation of Murphy’s law:  Anything can go wrong and when it does it will happen at the worst possible moment and circumstances.

Yet – I believe the book that tells me about the God who knows all.

I believe Him when He inspired:

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. (Jeremiah 29:11 KJV)

He was speaking specifically to Israel, but we know He is omnipotent and knows the plans for us, too. He also inspired:

And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose. (Romans 8:28 KJV)

There is nothing in that verse – or any other – that tells us we won’t have troubles, but it will work for good. Nothing to fear there, because we’ve read the rest of the story and know that the Lamb wins. I read two good book on that very subject – Revelation and “And the Lamb Wins.” Both those books speak of lots of trouble. Yet, we are to fear not.

What kind of troubles may we expect? Read the Bible and see what examples are laid out before us. I suggest beginning in Hebrews 11:

Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. For by it the elders obtained a good report. (Hebrews 11:1-2 KJV)

Read the next couple of chapters and learn about these elders – then look them up in the Old Testament and learn more about their lives. There were rough patches, weren’t there?

How about God’s only begotten son? He’s an example in Hebrews, too:

Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God. (Hebrews 12:2 KJV)

He knew, as He sweat great drops as of blood that there would be joy following the coming pain and shame. He knows what is in store for us:

Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom. (Luke 12:32 KJV)

Still – for all the good words found in God’s book, I love the ones that not only were spoken to remove fear but to provide promises:

And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. (Luke 2:10-11 KJV)

Which causes me still to pray in gratefulness:

Thanks be unto God for his unspeakable gift. (2 Corinthians 9:15 KJV)

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Does It Matter?

GoodEnough
A nice meme, isn’t it? I saw it posted and it sounded good – for a moment. Treat others nicely and all is well. Unfortunately, it doesn’t match what I’ve learned over my lifetime and I have a few questions – along with some biblical background.

First – why doesn’t it matter how many Sundays you sit in church? Doesn’t the Bible tell us:

Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching. (Hebrews 10:25 KJV)

And, didn’t we learn from our Saviour how the example was set:

And he came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up: and, as his custom was, he went into the synagogue on the sabbath day, and stood up for to read. (Luke 4:16 KJV)

Yes – Jesus was accustomed to attending worship services.

Second – it doesn’t matter if you think you are saved? Once again, I turn to my Bible, where it tells me why it was written:

But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name. (John 20:31 KJV)

The most memorized verse is from that same book:

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.  (John 3:16 KJV)

Two optional outcomes: perish, or everlasting life.  One way (even if it does appear to be exclusive, remember that “whosoever believeth”):

Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me. (John 14:6 KJV)

Third – God really does see what you do and how you treat people:

But I say unto you, That every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment. For by thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned. (Matthew 12:36-37 KJV)

There are many verses that outlines God’s requirements beyond John 3:16. One of my favorites is:

Will the LORD be pleased with thousands of rams, or with ten thousands of rivers of oil? shall I give my firstborn for my transgression, the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul? He hath shewed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the LORD require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God? (Micah 6:7-8 KJV)

My conclusion is similar to Solomon’s, so I’ll use his words:

Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man. (Ecclesiastes 12:13 KJV)

Jesus gave us God’s definition of His commandments:

Master, which is the great commandment in the law? Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets. (Matthew 22:36-40 KJV)

Please take time to read the Bible to confirm that what I’ve included here is correctly quoted and in context. Church attendance is helpful, but not necessary. It will by natural course follow salvation and the desire to love God with all our heart. There is no doubt in my mind that salvation is important and is not determined by how we treat other people, but how we treat them in accordance with God’s command.

Do you see it differently?