Sunday, November 30, 2008

My Responsibilities

Why do I care whether another sees my beliefs in my daily life?

In all things shewing thyself a pattern of good works: in doctrine shewing uncorruptness, gravity, sincerity, sound speech, that cannot be condemned; that he that is of the contrary part may be ashamed, having no evil thing to say of you. (Titus 2:7-8 KJV)

For none of us liveth to himself, and no man dieth to himself. For whether we live, we live unto the Lord; and whether we die, we die unto the Lord: whether we live therefore, or die, we are the Lord's. (Romans 14:7-8 KJV)

Whether I like it or not, because I am open about my religious beliefs, I am responsible for how I display them.

And, while I might be a 'fruit inspector': Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? ... Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them. (Matthew 7:16, 20 KJV)

I am admonished not to be a judge:

So then every one of us shall give account of himself to God. Let us not therefore judge one another any more: but judge this rather, that no man put a stumblingblock or an occasion to fall in his brother's way. (Romans 14:12-13 KJV)

Thus it is not just for myself, but for those who see my Lord through my life. For I have also been told:

Nevertheless, if thou warn the wicked of his way to turn from it; if he do not turn from his way, he shall die in his iniquity; but thou hast delivered thy soul. (Ezekiel 33:9 KJV)

I read of Christ's reaction for those who did not heed Him: O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not! (Matthew 23:37 KJV)

It's one of those that bore repeating: O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, which killest the prophets, and stonest them that are sent unto thee; how often would I have gathered thy children together, as a hen doth gather her brood under her wings, and ye would not! (Luke 13:34 KJV)

Some are warned, heed the call, but hold back from trusting God.

Then Simon himself believed also: and when he was baptized, he continued with Philip, and wondered, beholding the miracles and signs which were done. (Acts 8:13 KJV)

But it appears his belief was that Jesus was who He said He was, but Simon had not repented, was not forgiven:

Thou hast neither part nor lot in this matter: for thy heart is not right in the sight of God. Repent therefore of this thy wickedness, and pray God, if perhaps the thought of thine heart may be forgiven thee. (Acts 8:21-22 KJV)

How often do we look into the thoughts of our own heart and seek that forgiveness? Display it before other?

Saturday, November 29, 2008


This CNN story is much the way I see my country. Most of what we see in the mentioned statues and parades is for public consumption.
The true values a person holds are shown in the everyday routines of life. When we display a consistency, we affirm our beliefs. Daily.
From the first chapter in Matthew, Jesus is held up as the Son of God. Mark states such in the first verse. Luke takes a bit of time, giving many more details, but is firm that Jesus is the Son of God. John completes the confirmation. The remaining books within the New Testament testify the same message.
The witnesses continue today, affirming in their own lives that Jesus is the Son of God. There are so many small touches in daily lives.
“Have a blessed day,” I hear from the lady in the deli as she hands over the slices requested. “Yes, He does provide many such days, doesn’t He,” I reply. And we smile together at our individual memories of such blessings.
“Isn’t this a wonderful day the Lord has made,” a lady in the parking lot shares. “And doesn’t it make you rejoice?” I said.
Everyday routines. Every day will I bless thee; and I will praise thy name for ever and ever. (Psalms 145:2 KJV)
We often request that God bless us – but here David blesses God every day. And it bears repeating: Bless the LORD, O my soul: and all that is within me, bless his holy name. (Psalms 103:1 KJV)
We’re also told to bless others: Bless them that curse you, and pray for them which despitefully use you. (Luke 6:28 KJV)
Once again, that bears repeating: Bless them which persecute you: bless, and curse not. (Romans 12:14 KJV)
Do we do that on a daily basis? Are they on our prayer lists?
Should I be concerned about another not doing so daily? Nope. But why dost thou judge thy brother? or why dost thou set at nought thy brother? for we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ. (Romans 14:10 KJV)
I am concerned about how I stand before Christ’s judgment seat. I am responsible to share my beliefs, but I’m not responsible for another’s reception of those beliefs.
And he said to them all, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me. (Luke 9:23 KJV)

Friday, November 28, 2008


One of the things I enjoyed so much about Thanksgiving yesterday was great-grands. I was thankful that not a one of them looked like me. Two have my Dad's eyes -- blue most of the time, reflecting the sky. Yet a touch of gray when the skies are cloudy, or their own temperaments are cloudy.

I've mentioned before that the oldest, a fourth grader, has the most beautiful smile. Not just his mouth, but his whole face lights up. I pray the girl on the receiving end of that smile returns one to him with the same good humor.

The next youngest lives in a world of his own making. Without that ready smile, the ones he gives are earned. The best come as he understands. Playing a new game, hearing a new story, learning so intently, then that flash as understanding comes. I'll bet a good school teacher appreciates those flashes! He was so proud, as were we all, of the medal he won for his sport this year.

Just a bit younger, the third son enjoys his brothers in play and looks up to them as his examples. It's interesting to watch as he looks to them for learning, then applies what he's learned on his own. It is as though he respects them, but doesn't necessarily follow them. And, when there's need for correction, he'll face either one of them for what is rightfully his.

But there were no fights. Now when we were kids, there might be some shoving, or escalation -- not for these four. If something was taken from them, they confronted the person, stated their case and if it wasn't corrected, went to a parent and restated the case. Not as tattling nor whining, as one might expect, but as expecting fair judgment. That earned respect for their parents' skills, too.

The youngest? A girl. Curly haired, blonde and blue-eyed, she reflects a lot of both parents. Her brothers look out for her, but they also teach her. She's open and loving, coming to this old granny when there were three others in the room ready and willing with open arms.

Yes -- she had her own grandmother, two great-grandmothers and a great-aunt who has a grandchild of her own that (sadly) could not be there for Thanksgiving. Generations of love and kindness and a sense of God-given family.

And which verses come to mind?

I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth. (3 John 1:4 KJV)

Thursday, November 27, 2008


Rejoice evermore. Pray without ceasing. In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you. (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18)

I regret that Christmas ads, lights, songs, sales, all hit the public before Thanksgiving.

Oh, yes, I do love to hear the songs, see the lights and celebrate the birth of our Savior. But not at the expense of our national, secular yet God sanctioning, holiday. The first European thanksgivings in North America were before 1600, held by Spanish colonists to thank God for their arrival. Same for the English Virginia colony, whose charter required "that the day of arrival be observed yearly as a 'day of thanksgiving' to God."

But it's the Pilgrims we usually portray during Thanksgiving. As recorded by William Bradford and Edward Winslow, their harvest celebration was held, "so we might after a special manner rejoice together after we had gathered the fruits of our labor."

Colonies for the next decades continued setting aside such days. In 1777 the Continental Congress wrote: "FOR AS MUCH as it is the indispensable Duty of all Men to adore the superintending Providence of Almighty God; to acknowledge with Gratitude their Obligation to him for Benefits received, and to implore such farther Blessings as they stand in Need of: And it having pleased him in his abundant Mercy, not only to continue to us the innumerable Bounties of his common Providence; but also to smile upon us in the Prosecution of a just and necessary War, for the Defense and Establishment of our unalienable Rights and Liberties; particularly in that he hath been pleased, in so great a Measure, to prosper the Means used for the Support of our Troops, and to crown our Arms with most signal success:

"It is therefore recommended to the legislative or executive Powers of these UNITED STATES to set apart THURSDAY, the eighteenth Day of December next, for SOLEMN THANKSGIVING and PRAISE: That at one Time and with one Voice, the good People may express the grateful Feelings of their Hearts, and consecrate themselves to the Service of their Divine Benefactor; and that, together with their sincere Acknowledgments and Offerings, they may join the penitent Confession of their manifold Sins, whereby they had forfeited every Favor; and their humble and earnest Supplication that it may please GOD through the Merits of JESUS CHRIST, mercifully to forgive and blot them out of Remembrance;"

It was hit and miss for the following years -- some states and some presidents put forth the proclamation, some did not. Lincoln wrote it in for the final Thursday in November, 1863: "It has seemed to me fit and proper that they should be solemnly, reverently and gratefully acknowledged as with one heart and voice by the whole American people. I do therefore invite my fellow citizens in every part of the United States, and also those who are at sea and those who are sojourning in foreign lands, to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next, as a day of Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens."

December 26, 1941, the current date of the fourth Thursday in November was set as President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed the bill to make it a matter of federal law.

The dates have fluctuated, presidential support has waxed and waned, some citizens' support has waned, too. But over all this nation's foundations have retained the desire to give thanks to God on a specified day, for specified reasons.

"That at one Time and with one Voice, the good People may express the grateful Feelings of their Hearts." May we continue to do so.

Rejoice evermore. Pray without ceasing. In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you. (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18)

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

No Tarrying

There are times when the word of God requires nothing more than for us to immerse ourselves and worship him. Thus it was as I thought of Thanksgiving and read Psalms 40:1-17:

(1) [To the chief Musician, A Psalm of David.] I waited patiently for the LORD; and he inclined unto me, and heard my cry.

(2) He brought me up also out of an horrible pit, out of the miry clay, and set my feet upon a rock, and established my goings.

(3) And he hath put a new song in my mouth, even praise unto our God: many shall see it, and fear, and shall trust in the LORD.

(4) Blessed is that man that maketh the LORD his trust, and respecteth not the proud, nor such as turn aside to lies.

(5) Many, O LORD my God, are thy wonderful works which thou hast done, and thy thoughts which are to us-ward: they cannot be reckoned up in order unto thee: if I would declare and speak of them, they are more than can be numbered.

(6) Sacrifice and offering thou didst not desire; mine ears hast thou opened: burnt offering and sin offering hast thou not required.

(7) Then said I, Lo, I come: in the volume of the book it is written of me,

(8) I delight to do thy will, O my God: yea, thy law is within my heart.

(9) I have preached righteousness in the great congregation: lo, I have not refrained my lips, O LORD, thou knowest.

(10) I have not hid thy righteousness within my heart; I have declared thy faithfulness and thy salvation: I have not concealed thy lovingkindness and thy truth from the great congregation.

(11) Withhold not thou thy tender mercies from me, O LORD: let thy lovingkindness and thy truth continually preserve me.

(12) For innumerable evils have compassed me about: mine iniquities have taken hold upon me, so that I am not able to look up; they are more than the hairs of mine head: therefore my heart faileth me.

(13) Be pleased, O LORD, to deliver me: O LORD, make haste to help me.

(14) Let them be ashamed and confounded together that seek after my soul to destroy it; let them be driven backward and put to shame that wish me evil.

(15) Let them be desolate for a reward of their shame that say unto me, Aha, aha.

(16) Let all those that seek thee rejoice and be glad in thee: let such as love thy salvation say continually, The LORD be magnified.

(17) But I am poor and needy; yet the Lord thinketh upon me: thou art my help and my deliverer; make no tarrying, O my God.

Truly – we pray unceasingly, make no tarrying, O my God.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008


Eliezer – when I awoke this morning, the name Eliezer was in my mind. I couldn’t place the name with a story, so decided to look it up this morning. I thought there might be a specific Bible story that prompted the memory.

Wow! Why didn’t I remember – there were fourteen different references, so I’ve read the name several times.

Beginning with Abraham’s lament, before God changed his name: And Abram said, Lord GOD, what wilt thou give me, seeing I go childless, and the steward of my house is this Eliezer of Damascus? (Genesis 15:2 KJV)

Ending with a single verse in the New Testament: Which was the son of Jose, which was the son of Eliezer, which was the son of Jorim, which was the son of Matthat, which was the son of Levi, (Luke 3:29 KJV)

Nope -- except for: Then Eliezer the son of Dodavah of Mareshah prophesied against Jehoshaphat, saying, Because thou hast joined thyself with Ahaziah, the LORD hath broken thy works. And the ships were broken, that they were not able to go to Tarshish. (2 Chronicles 20:37 KJV); where there is an action, the name rests among lists.

I didn’t see a lesson here, yet.the name was so strong in my mind that there had to be a lesson in there somewhere. So, I researched the meaning:

"The boy's name Eliezer \e-lie-zer\ is a variant of Eleazar. See for origin and meaning of Eliezer. The boy's name Eleazar \e-lea-zar\ is pronounced el-ee-AY-zar. Variant of Lazarus (Hebrew) "the Lord will help". Biblical: the son of Aaron and later his successor as high priest of Israel." Another site translates as "My God has helped."

Now there’s a truth!! Future or past tense, this is truth. God helps. Lazarus is one of the better biblical stories showing His ability to do so.

If I had ever known the meaning of the name, I cannot recall. Yet I know that my Lord will and has helped. And I know that I need His help every single day.

And this morning He gave me this name as a reminder that He does so. All I had to do was do a bit of looking into His message. Are you willing to look for what He has for you, too?

Monday, November 24, 2008

God's Will

It is so easy to work outside God’s will. Eve tried it first and the results were so good that Adam believed the results would be the same for him.

Now the serpent was more subtil than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made (Genesis 3:1a KJV)

John’s Revelation tells us who this serpent was: … that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: (Revelation 12:9 KJV), but mankind has been aware of his existence.

He begins by twisting God’s word. God said: … Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat: But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die. (Genesis 2:16-17 KJV)

Satan misquoted, just slightly: And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden? (Genesis 3:1b KJV)

Eve, in her response, went beyond God’s words: And the woman said unto the serpent, We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden: But of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die. (Genesis 3:2-3 KJV)

In her misquote, Eve added “neither shall ye touch it” – which would have been a good reminder to keep away from the forbidden tree, but God said “thou shalt not eat of it.”

Eve misquoted, again, “lest ye die” when God said “thou shalt surely die.”

We’re still doing that. We’re adding a bit here or there, adjusting the admonitions, rejecting commandments, telling others what we say God said, when His word is laid out before us.

If I were to tell anyone how to live their life in order to achieve perfection, trust me – it would not work! Hasn’t worked for me, how could I possibly make it work for someone else? The Bible doesn’t tell us how to achieve perfection here, but it does tell us that God is perfect and we can achieve eternity with Him. That’s the goal to achieve.

Spend time with the Bible in order to know that you’ve searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so. (Acts 17:11b KJV)

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Apology Accepted

A young man apologized to me today. Young is a relative term – he’s twenty-five years younger than I am, so he qualifies for the title.

Although he is developmentally challenged and incapable of functioning alone in society, he recognized an error made, a rudeness exhibited, and he apologized.

I acknowledged his apology, said I understood why he offered it. I told him I was glad that he understood that his actions were wrong, that he regretted them. I said that I accepted his apology and his desire to be kind in the future.

Why is it so difficult for us to do the same? Why can’t we easily go to our Father in prayer and say:

“Father, I apologize for my actions. I am so sorry for the things I did that detract from Your message. I very much regret my inaction that did not carry Your message to those who need it. I know I was wrong. I know I need to do better. Forgive me my errors and help me forgive those who caused me harm”

Why is it so difficult for us to do this? It is because someone has called it “repentance” and we think it has to be almost impossible to do? Hardly. If you think it is so difficult, spend some time reading the tenth chapter of Acts. The distance between Cornelius and Peter was nothing in God’s time. He had a message for both of them that brought them together to share the gospel, that good news for all:

And he commanded us to preach unto the people, and to testify that it is he which was ordained of God to be the Judge of quick and dead. To him give all the prophets witness, that through his name whosoever believeth in him shall receive remission of sins. (Acts 10:42-43 KJV)

Remission of sins. Repentance. The acceptance of our apologies for our offences. The forgiveness for our sinning against the will of God.

Why is it so hard to say “Father, forgive me”? Is it really because we would have to forgive others? Take care, for there are repercussions: I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish. (Luke 13:3 and 5 KJV)

Saturday, November 22, 2008

In What Is Said

“The answer is in what I said,” the poster wrote, but did not explain further. It is left to the imagination of the reader what was meant in his previous posts.

We are left with that as an answer when we question God. We cry out for answers regarding a loved ones terminal illness. “Why?”
We cry out when a child is born, or through tragedy becomes, disabled. “Why?”
We cry out when genocide destroys a nation half a world away, and fear its closeness at home. “Why?”
And the answers are in what He said in His word.
Unless you don’t believe there is a God. Then there is no answer. But there is also no reason to question.
For those of us who believe that there is a God, and that He loves us, and that He provides for us, we look for answers in His word. And I am reminded of Naaman. (2 Kings 5)
Naaman was a great man – and although he was not a Jew, nor did he profess belief in God, God used him -- because by him the LORD had given deliverance unto Syria: (2 Kings 5:1b KJV)
He was also a leper. We cannot imagine what that was like in that time. To have achieved his position, Naaman had to overcome prejudices and fears that ostracized him from others – along with living with the pain of an incurable disease.
When he heard of a possible cure, he traveled far to seek it. But was not prepared for the cure: And Elisha sent a messenger unto him, saying, Go and wash in Jordan seven times, and thy flesh shall come again to thee, and thou shalt be clean. (2 Kings 5:10 KJV)

Naaman knew what he expected of God: But Naaman was wroth, and went away, and said, Behold, I thought, He will surely come out to me, and stand, and call on the name of the LORD his God, and strike his hand over the place, and recover the leper. Are not Abana and Pharpar, rivers of Damascus, better than all the waters of Israel? may I not wash in them, and be clean? So he turned and went away in a rage. (2 Kings 5:11-12 KJV)
Thank God there were those near him who helped him work past that rage: And his servants came near, and spake unto him, and said, My father, if the prophet had bid thee do some great thing, wouldest thou not have done it? how much rather then, when he saith to thee, Wash, and be clean? (2 Kings 5:13 KJV)

When he did, and was cleansed: And he returned to the man of God, he and all his company, and came, and stood before him: and he said, Behold, now I know that there is no God in all the earth, but in Israel: now therefore, I pray thee, take a blessing of thy servant. (2 Kings 5:15 KJV)

The cleansing God offered me was for worse than leprosy for it brought the eternal punishment mankind deserves. Instead, I accept the gift of His grace: For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: (Ephesians 2:8 KJV)

Therefore I: Give thanks unto the LORD, call upon his name, make known his deeds among the people. Sing unto him, sing psalms unto him, talk ye of all his wondrous works. Glory ye in his holy name: let the heart of them rejoice that seek the LORD. (1 Chronicles 16:8-10 KJV)

Friday, November 21, 2008

Did You Notice???

Did you notice this news story? On Fox, London’s Telegraph, CNN, NewScientist Health, ABC – the list goes on and on and on. Mainstream media. Just Google on windpipe ‘stem cells’ and you’ll find thousands of news articles.

Why am I so interested in the reporting on this story? No embryonic stem cells were used to restore this lady’s windpipe.

Her own adult stem cells were used. No embryos were created, then destroyed, to provide tissue for her new windpipe.

That bears repeating.

The controversy over embryonic stem cell research has divided American voters as a moral issue, not a medical issue, and research has shown embryonic stem cells were not necessary in this case.

I’ve blogged on this topic before:

I do not understand why the concept exists that only American money and only embryonic stem cells will provide the cure for most of mankind’s ills. I do believe that with the coming election, the current presidential order will be changed and embryos will be created for death.

That I find regrettable. For there does not exist a ban on the research today, only on USA government funding. Taxes include those paid by multiple millions of Christians who support the ethical position of sanctity of life, and the belief that life begins before birth. We simply request that government funds not be used for embryonic stem cell research. Spend all my tax money on umbilical stem cells or adult stem cell, please.

The election is over. I am certain that in January the presidential order will be changed.

But my reasons for not supporting that change remain:

My Bible speaks of God knowing us from the womb: Thus saith the LORD that made thee, and formed thee from the womb, which will help thee; Fear not, O Jacob, my servant; and thou, Jesurun, whom I have chosen. (Isaiah 44:2 KJV)

Thus saith the LORD, thy redeemer, and he that formed thee from the womb, I am the LORD that maketh all things; that stretcheth forth the heavens alone; that spreadeth abroad the earth by myself; (Isaiah 44:24 KJV)

Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee, and I ordained thee a prophet unto the nations. (Jeremiah 1:5 KJV)

I cannot cease to comment. Bits and pieces of Esther come to mind: For if thou altogether holdest thy peace at this time, then shall there enlargement and deliverance arise … another place; … and who knoweth whether thou art come … for such a time as this? (Esther 4:14 KJV)

Thursday, November 20, 2008


TULIPs are not mentioned in the Bible. You will find lilies, a rose of Sharon, though little more.

“Total” and “Depravity” are not found together in any verse in the Bible. “Depravity” is in ESV three times, translated as “wickedness” in the KJV.

“Unconditional Election” is a phrase not used in the Bible, nor does “unconditional” appear at all.

“Atonement” is only found once, and “Limited” is not included in that same verse.

“Irresistible” is not found in the Bible, though “Grace” shows up 122 times.

“Perseverance” shows up once in Ephesians 6:18

When asked Sirs, what must I do to be saved? (Acts 16:30 KJV)

Did Paul explain the tulip petals? Did he ask if the questioner understood how depraved he was? Did he explain that unless the questioner was ‘unconditionally elected’, that salvation was not possible? Did he offer false hope that the jailer might be saved, if God wills?

Nope. He offered what Christ offers to us today:

And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house. (Acts 16:31 KJV)

I have seen such households. I have seen a family member accept Jesus Christ as their personal Lord and savior, becoming a new person, active in their church. I have seen other members of their family become curious and seek out the reason, joining them in accepting Christ as their savior.

When the thief on the cross asked Christ:

And he said unto Jesus, Lord, remember me when thou comest into thy kingdom. (Luke 23:42 KJV)

Did Jesus mention tulips? Or did he simply answer: Verily I say unto thee, To day shalt thou be with me in paradise. (Luke 23:43 KJV)

It is upon the verses found in God’s word that I accept doctrine. And I firmly believe, as Peter stated, that some of them are hard:

As also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things; in which are some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest, as they do also the other scriptures, unto their own destruction. (2 Peter 3:16 KJV)

Yet I just as firmly believe salvation is available to all:

For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, (Titus 2:11 KJV)

For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast. (Ephesians 2:8-9 KJV)

Why depend on the Bible instead of mankind’s logic or explanation? Paul explains:

But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ. (2 Corinthians 11:3 KJV)

This is the gospel I spread. And, as Paul, I do so rejoicing!!!

For our rejoicing is this, the testimony of our conscience, that in simplicity and godly sincerity, not with fleshly wisdom, but by the grace of God, we have had our conversation in the world, and more abundantly to you-ward. (2 Corinthians 1:12 KJV)

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Surrounding Verses

Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you:

And you are disappointed when you ask God for one specific thing, and it is not given to you, you cannot find it, and doors are slammed in your face. Did you stop at that verse seven? Read on:

For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened. Or what man is there of you, whom if his son ask bread, will he give him a stone? Or if he ask a fish, will he give him a serpent? If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask him? (Matthew 7:7-11 KJV)

Key words – Father, give, good. Is it possible that which was asked for is not good enough for what God has in mind?

We’ve been given instructions for millennia. An example is just a few verses below: Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them: for this is the law and the prophets. (Matthew 7:12 KJV)

This was not a new rule from Christ – it was inherent in God’s laws. When asked, 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. (Matthew 22:36-39 KJV)

Having that love requires giving what is good to those who are loved. John tells us: We love him, because he first loved us. (1 John 4:19 KJV)

His love will keep us, always, even though we feel doors closing around us. For we have His promise: Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths. Be not wise in thine own eyes: fear the LORD, and depart from evil. (Proverbs 3:5-7 KJV)

We may not recognize the path as the one we’ve sought, and it may appear to lead away from what we want, but God has told us 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)

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Not Heard

I have spoken unto them, but they have not heard; and I have called unto them, but they have not answered. (Jeremiah 35:17b)

I want to concentrate first on the last part of verse seventeen. The Bible describes many times where God has spoken to specific people. Sometimes individuals, sometimes to cities, sometimes to nations. Often they did hear. Too often, they did not.

Hast thou not known? hast thou not heard, that the everlasting God, the LORD, the Creator of the ends of the earth, fainteth not, neither is weary? there is no searching of his understanding. (Isaiah 40:28)

I wonder why Jonah has been a favorite example for millennia? Jonah heard, no doubt about that, for he immediately ran away. This disobedience brought some corrective action and Jonah proceeded to Nineveh to preach its destruction. His fears of death from the hearers did not come to pass -- neither did the expected retribution for their sins. Instead, the entire city heard the message and repented, turning to God.

Wow! Hearing and heeding! If that were to occur today, we'd expect rejoicing among believers, wouldn't we? Or would we be as Jonah, dejected and disappointed that God's wrath was turned. There are so very many lessons in this one, small book. Things we would love to have seen.

Jesus knew this about His own ministry: For verily I say unto you, That many prophets and righteous men have desired to see those things which ye see, and have not seen them; and to hear those things which ye hear, and have not heard them. (Matthew 13:17)

Paul speaks on the same subject:

But to Israel he saith, All day long I have stretched forth my hands unto a disobedient and gainsaying people. (Romans 10:21)

Let me suggest that you spend some time in this tenth chapter of Romans. Begin with verse ten and study how Paul quotes from a variety of Old Testament prophets to illustrate God's will.

Have you heard? What's the next step?

Monday, November 17, 2008

Open your Bibles, please, to ...

... the tenth chapter of Acts. I was directed to it when someone quoted Acts 10:35 "But in every nation he that feareth him, and worketh righteousness, is accepted with him." It was quoted to me by someone who believes non-Christians are accepted by God.

Sounds reasonable, if you only read that one verse. But Peter begins his remarks in verse 34, and the background goes all the way back to verse one in the tenth chapter. Without the remaining verses, Peter's sermon is incomplete, just as we are incomplete without Christ.

Peter's sermon here is one of the most beautiful presentations of the gospel, "The word which God sent unto the children of Israel, preaching peace by Jesus Christ (he is Lord of all.)" Peter then continues through Christ's ministry, death and resurrection.

Peter next tells us of God’s command "to preach unto the people and to testify that it is he which was ordained of God to be the Judge of quick and dead."

Peter closes with an absolute truth: "…that through his name whosoever believeth in him shall receive remission of sins."

That, my dears, is the Good News! Christ died for our sins. Whosoever -- whether it is in Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, Acts or any New Testament book -- means me. And you. And everyone who accepts God’s awesome gift of salvation.

Oh, Lord, we thank you for this awesome gift. We know we fail you in so many ways and we ask your forgiveness for our sins. We commit to forgiving those who have failed us, too. Be with us each day and help us witness to the truth You have given to all mankind. God bless those who carry this truth with them daily. Amen.

Sunday, November 16, 2008


And it was at Jerusalem the feast of the dedication, and it was winter. And Jesus walked in the temple in Solomon's porch. Then came the Jews round about him, and said unto him, How long dost thou make us to doubt? If thou be the Christ, tell us plainly. Jesus answered them, I told you, and ye believed not: the works that I do in my Father's name, they bear witness of me. (John 10:22-25)

The Old Testament contains references to winter, but here's the first one to give it as a time, and mentions a specific season that is important today. The feast of the dedication referred to the reconsecration of the temple following Antiochus Epiphanes' desecration -- a statue of Zeus on the altar and the sacrifice of pigs. The Maccabee family successfully led the fight, and the resulting cleansing of the temple. Oil for the menorah, part of the daily service in the temple, was sufficient for one day -- yet it burned through the eight days needed to purify a new supply of oil.

The celebration of this event is called Hanukka, or as Josephus said, The Feast of the Lights. It appears to move on our calendar because it is set for the 25th day of Kislev, part of the Jewish calendar, which is based on the lunar cycle. That means Hanukka falls between November 28th and December 26th.

Could there be a more appropriate place for Jesus to affirm that He was the longed for, the awaited Messiah? There, in the temple dedicated to God, God's people asked Him "If thou be the Christ, tell us plainly."

"I told you, and ye believed not." When I imagine hearing those words while standing before His judgement seat, I tremble. For there are those I love who believe not, though He has told us plainly.

Just as secular Christmas celebrating has moved away from reflection on Christ's birth, the Feast of the Dedication has come to represent decorations, entertaining and gift giving -- neglecting the spiritual meaning.

Would it be possible for us to begin this year's celebrations with a reconsecration of our own lives? To return to what was meant to be a cleansing, a reconsecration of ourselves? For the temple that is God's:

What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God's. (1 Corinthians 6:19-20)

Spend some time in prayer to be certain God is this year's holiday celebrations.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Describe Him

My cousin spoke of her good friend. Their husbands had been in the Navy and since they were doing similar jobs, twice they ended up on the same base. My cousin was to pick up her friend at the train station. Though it had been just a few years, her friend had changed so much that she was not recognized at first.

I thought of that tale when I was reading Revelation.

John, referred to as The Beloved Disciple, knew Jesus quite well. Jesus and the twelve walked together for three years, north, south, east and west. Crisscrossing Israel together. Taking their meals together. On board ships, along the shores, across the mountains, down in the valleys -- they walked, talked, listened and looked. John knew Christ.

And I turned to see the voice that spake with me. And being turned, I saw seven golden candlesticks; And in the midst of the seven candlesticks one like unto the Son of man, clothed with a garment down to the foot, and girt about the paps with a golden girdle. His head and his hairs were white like wool, as white as snow; and his eyes were as a flame of fire; And his feet like unto fine brass, as if they burned in a furnace; and his voice as the sound of many waters. And he had in his right hand seven stars: and out of his mouth went a sharp twoedged sword: and his countenance was as the sun shineth in his strength. And when I saw him, I fell at his feet as dead. And he laid his right hand upon me, saying unto me, Fear not; I am the first and the last: (Revelation 1:12-17)

I doubt that was the way John would have described Christ before. Any time before! The first time they met there was no hint of gold in his dress. Nowhere else in the Bible is His hair described as white. There was no description of His voice, though His words were described.

And John fell at His feet, as though dead. Talk about astonishment! But we know it would be the same for us. We'd be just as awestruck at the countenance that is as the sun shining in strength. The first -- and the last.

I am he that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death. Write the things which thou hast seen, and the things which are, and the things which shall be hereafter; (Revelation 1:18-19)

Alive, dead, alive for evermore. The promise offered to us as God's children.

Neither can they die any more: for they are equal unto the angels; and are the children of God, being the children of the resurrection. (Luke 20:36)

How do we describe Christ to others? Do we see Him as a myth? A historical person? God's Son? Our Lord and Savior? Or, as He stated to John, the Almighty?

Come, speak with Him, learn of Him -

Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honour to him: (Revelation 19:7a)

Friday, November 14, 2008

Patience, please?

I need some patience. Looking for verses on patience, I found Genesis 26:15-33, the story of Isaac digging a number of wells. Yep, that would require patience.

Rest in the LORD, and wait patiently for him: fret not thyself because of him who prospereth in his way, because of the man who bringeth wicked devices to pass. (Psalms 37:7)

Now that's more what I need. To remember that God is in control and that I'm not to be distracted by anything that would keep me from giving thanks for all that comes my way. Even irritations. I must acknowledge that they simply are irritants, of minor importance. Even the loss of a material item should not take away my gratefulness for what God continues to do in my life.

There is such a comfort in a number of versions having to do with patience:

In your patience possess ye your souls. (Luke 21:19)

And so, after he had patiently endured, he obtained the promise. Hebrews 6:15)

And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; And patience, experience; and experience, hope: (Romans 5:3-4)

Knowing that in all things, even the minor daily irritations, He has promised:

In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths. (Proverbs 3:6)

Oh, why do I need this patience? My PC no longer recognizes my hard drive. No -- I haven't backed up in three months. Yes -- I am contrite. Yes -- I have hope. No -- it's not an easy fix (Not even certain what the fix would be. So, I beg your patience if I disappear for a few days. I'm working on a borrowed PC and there are limitations.

Pray for patience -- for me, please.

Thursday, November 13, 2008


I’ve been reminded, again, just how differently we live. I belonged to a Red Hat group, formed by ladies I worked with over the years. It was easy to make the meetings when I was working. Although my commute to work was 45 miles one way, our evening meetings were with a few miles of the office and held right after work.

Since my retirement, there have been two changes. I no longer commute, so it’s an hour’s drive in, an hour back, but it was worth it for the fun, fellowship and entertainment we offered each other. Then my eyesight changed a bit. “Not yet ripe,” as defined by my doctor, cataracts impacted my night driving. Lights were a problem and confidence was lost. So, I resigned from the Red Hat group, asking to be left on their mailing list and they offered me status in attending daytime activities.

The very next e-mail was to move the meeting night from Tuesday to Wednesday. From the responses received thus far, no one has a conflict with meeting on Wednesday nights.

Was I the only one who attended mid-week services at church? True, the adult attendance is not as large in the Sunday services, but our children and youth activities bring in more than a hundred each Wednesday, and my responsibility is to see that the children have a treat and a drink. Nothing earth shattering, but a service I wish to provide within our church ministries.

Aren’t other churches providing mid-week services? My S-i-L in Tulsa attends a church that does. Most weeks out of the year she prepares a Wednesday meal for about 150 people attending meetings at their church – a different denomination – so I know we’re not completely alone.

My S-i-L in Las Vegas attends a starting church, again a different denomination. Their Wednesday services are held in their home. My grandson-in-law is Youth Director a bit further west. There’s no question about where they spend their Wednesday evenings.

Responses to the schedule change have been positive. No one has indicated Wednesday evenings include family activities in a church. .

No – there is no biblical admonition to attend a church service on Wednesday. The closest that comes to mind:

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)

Perhaps the one that moves me more to be with those who love our Lord is:

For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them. (Matthew 18:20 KJV)

Are there fewer of us gathering in His name?

Wednesday, November 12, 2008


Sunday we had a different type of ministry at our church -- David Bishop and his “God Is So Good – Kids.”

Saturday the yard was filled with our youth (and plenty of adults!!) for the inflation. No, not more monetary inflation – inflatables inflation! Huge blowers keeping inflatables up and running while everyone there tested them out, from pastor to toddler. What fun was available just during the preparation!

We sent out flyers with photos of those inflatables, saturating the countryside around us – and just about doubled the attendance of children for Sunday morning services.

Naturally, they received more than fun playing on huge toys, they received an interactive preaching service directed to them. While I missed the sermon, being with the grownups, we all heard about it from those who listened. Including the two young people who came forward for baptism.

I say unto you, that likewise joy shall be in heaven over one sinner that repenteth, (Luke 15:7 KJV)

That is what every ministry is about, fulfilling Christ’s Great Commission: Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen. (Matthew 28:19-20 KJV)

We also had the year’s largest potluck dinner. Four lines stretching alongside of twin setups of four long tables! Would you want casseroles? We had them. Would you want roasts? We had them. Ribs? Vegetables – all shapes, sizes and flavors. Plates, Corning Ware, roaster pans, soup pots – no one could possibly go away hungry. And, that’s before you get to the dessert table.

We had explained to the parents of our bus ministry children that it would be late afternoon when they returned home, but that the children would be fed. A great joy was that the parents allowed them to stay long and have a great time playing on the inflatables. A greater joy was the number of parents who joined their children at the church. Not only did they get to see the pleasure in their children’s play, they also enjoyed the hospitality of a church that loves families.

Perhaps they’ll come to understand one of my favorite verses:

I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth. (3 John 1:4 KJV)

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Veterans Day

The loss of a single soldier costs families their future. The death of John Clarence “Jack” Blickensderfer in World War II changed our family forever. It is in honor of his sacrifice for his country that we personalize Memorial Day each year.

Our family has been fortunate that later service -- honored each Veterans Day -- was not as costly, but it too changed our family. This year three generations of veterans represent three different branches of our military. My husband, my son-in-law, my grandson each chose a branch for a variety of reasons – none of them for military tradition. Their service was not a career choice, but was service in time of need. Each returned to their family, to ‘every day’ lives.

Jack, too, responded in a time of need, at nineteen years of age. Within just a few months he graduated from flight school, celebrated his 20th birthday, flew a bomber to England and died in the skies over Hoorn, Holland on July 7, 1945.

In remembrance of the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month ending of World War I, we wish to honor not only our family’s veterans, but all of the American servicemen who lay aside the every day activities we take for granted. As Jack did, they literally laid down their lives for their fellow citizens. With deep gratitude, we appreciate the large numbers who are returned to their families.

None return without scars. Some physical scars, some with scars on their very souls. They have submitted themselves to the will of citizens whose votes determine the leadership of their country. At times that will fluctuates, at others it swings widely. But the respect our nation holds for those in service remains strong.

So, on this very special day, a grateful nation bows its head and says “Thank you,” praying for those still in harm’s way. God bless them and return them to their families. Keep us ever mindful of their presence, let us never forget their service. When the opportunity arises, thank them personally.

Monday, November 10, 2008


And when he thought thereon, he wept. (Mark 14:72 KJV)

Sunday, we wept, as a congregation. We listened to a Marine sergeant speak of his reasons for service to his county, but we did not weep. We listened to more than one story of veterans, from veterans, but we did not weep

We heard from a girl who at age five waved her father off to war. Sunday, sixty-three years later, she sang the song she wrote, and we heard the lasting pain from that five-year old child. And, we felt that pain.

But the kicker was the CD made by the Heartland Baptist Bible College’s Glory Bound Quartet, Witness! Ensemble and Assurance Trio, “It Has Always Been The Soldier.” It played. And, we wept.

We are where we are today in America because good men fought, and died, for what they believed.

It wasn’t the politicians, or the pamphlet writers, who released this country from English rule. It was the citizen soldiers who left their farms, their businesses, their families. My ancestors among them. We need to teach our children of the freedom they sought.

It wasn’t the elected officials, the underground railroad, the authors, who deleted slavery from the United States. It was the citizen solders who left their farms, their businesses, their families. And our nation is better for it. We need to remember why freedom for everyone was important.

It wasn’t the negotiators, the statesmen, the signers of treaties, who ended the first World War. It was the citizen solders who left their farms, their businesses, their families. And they thought it could not happen again, that freedom would not be lost.

When it did, when Axis powers worked to split the world into pieces, it was the citizen solders who left their farms, their businesses, their families that fought against genocide. And, they still do.

Truly, it has always been the soldier who fights the wars that others start. Let us remember them this coming Veterans Day. Those who didn’t come home as well as the ones living with us today.

And, when we think thereon, we weep. We call to mind each of the veterans who have looked out for their fellow citizens and say “Thank you for taking care of us, friend.”

Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. (John 15:13 KJV)