Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Doctrinal Matters

Doctrine is important. A church should be able to give you the doctrine it teaches. It shouldn’t be necessary to write anything down, either. The doctrine should come from the book God wrote.

God’s doctrine is in His word:

My doctrine shall drop as the rain, my speech shall distil as the dew, as the small rain upon the tender herb, and as the showers upon the grass: (Deuteronomy 32:2 KJV)

Job knew his doctrine, though his friends did not:

For thou hast said, My doctrine is pure, and I am clean in thine eyes. (Job 11:4 KJV)

Solomon knew the wisdom of doctrine:

Hear, ye children, the instruction of a father, and attend to know understanding. For I give you good doctrine, forsake ye not my law. (Proverbs 4:1-2 KJV)

Isaiah speaks of doctrine, too:

Whom shall he teach knowledge? and whom shall he make to understand doctrine? them that are weaned from the milk, and drawn from the breasts. For precept must be upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, and there a little: (Isaiah 28:9-10 KJV)

They also that erred in spirit shall come to understanding, and they that murmured shall learn doctrine. (Isaiah 29:24 KJV)

Jesus’ doctrine was astonishing, but could not be refuted:

And it came to pass, when Jesus had ended these sayings, the people were astonished at his doctrine: (Matthew 7:28 KJV)
And when the multitude heard this, they were astonished at his doctrine. (Matthew 22:33 KJV)
And they were astonished at his doctrine: for he taught them as one that had authority, and not as the scribes. (Mark 1:22 KJV)
And they were astonished at his doctrine: for his word was with power. (Luke 4:32 KJV)

And, it was not the same as the religious leaders:

Then understood they how that he bade them not beware of the leaven of bread, but of the doctrine of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees. (Matthew 16:12 KJV)
And the scribes and chief priests heard it, and sought how they might destroy him: for they feared him, because all the people was astonished at his doctrine. (Mark 11:18 KJV)

The most important verse of all regarding doctrine is: Jesus answered them, and said, My doctrine is not mine, but his that sent me. (John 7:16 KJV)

So, what’s your doctrine? Mine comes from the Bible, God’s word. If it’s not in there, it’s not doctrine for me.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Elijah, Alone

There are times when reason escapes me while Bible reading. Elijah’s experience after Mount Carmel is one of those times. Why the repititive question and answer? God’s acceptance of the offering after priests of Ba’al failed to elicit any response from their God has the country responding:

And when all the people saw it, they fell on their faces: and they said, The LORD, he is the God; the LORD, he is the God. (1 Kings 18:39 KJV)

Elijah returned rain to the land, and Ahab continued as king. Doesn’t sound too bad, does it? Well, until Jezebel made her commitment to see to Elijah’s death. Believing her, he ran.

Do we do the same thing? We have a ‘mountain top’ experience, feel so close to God – then a bit of hatefulness drops us into a valley of despair as we watch those who wish to harm us continue happily on their way – often, interfering in ours.

There is only a difference in location in verses 1 King 19:9 and 13 where God asks: What doest thou here, Elijah?

His answers in verses 10 and 14 are virtually the same: And he said, I have been very jealous for the LORD God of hosts: for the children of Israel have forsaken thy covenant, thrown down thine altars, and slain thy prophets with the sword; and I, even I only, am left; and they seek my life, to take it away.(1 Kings 19:10 KJV)

I don’t think that was the right answer. That was an explanation of what he had done, a complaint about how things were going, an excuse for being away from his job, but Elijah did not explain what he was doing. He couldn’t, for he was not doing anything. I’ve been there – oh, no one was seeking my life to take it away, but they took pieces of it. A bit of time here for work, a bit of time there for a child’s activity, a bit of time over here for an obligation. They sought my time, they took it away – and I allowed it. Why is it that church activities are the first to go?

Elijah was wrong, too, when he said I, even I only, am left. Wrong!

Yet I have left me seven thousand in Israel, all the knees which have not bowed unto Baal, and every mouth which hath not kissed him. (1 Kings 19:18 KJV)

We’re told in the next chapter just who these seven thousand people were: Then he numbered the young men of the princes of the provinces, and they were two hundred and thirty two: and after them he numbered all the people, even all the children of Israel, being seven thousand. (1 Kings 20:15 KJV)

Nope. Elijah was not alone. And, neither am I.

Sunday, September 28, 2008


What is your bowl of pottage?

And Esau said to Jacob, Feed me, I pray thee, with that same red pottage; for I am faint: therefore was his name called Edom. And Jacob said, Sell me this day thy birthright. And Esau said, Behold, I am at the point to die: and what profit shall this birthright do to me? (Genesis 25:30-32 KJV)

For what have you given your birthright? Ooops, perhaps it would be best to discuss your birthright.

First, we are God’s creation. He has something in store for us when we acknowledge what He requires:

And now, Israel, what doth the LORD thy God require of thee, but to fear the LORD thy God, to walk in all his ways, and to love him, and to serve the LORD thy God with all thy heart and with all thy soul, (Deuteronomy 10:12 KJV)

That didn’t change in the New Testament:

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 22:37-40 KJV)

The Bible says there is a place prepared for those who believe: And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also. (John 14:3 KJV)

That’s the birthright available to all mankind. The Bible defines what is necessary to accept it and what is necessary to toss it away. Now, with that in mind – for what have you given your birthright? What is your pottage? Wealth? Admiration? Power? Control? The list continues.

In simplicity, all that is necessary to toss it away is to ignore that it exists. Never speak to God of His love for you; never acknowledge your love for Him. That pretty much takes care of it right there.

Don’t exchange that birthright for any bowl of pottage. Instead, let us use this birthright:

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 KJV)

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Speaking of School...

... as I was just yesterday, there is an additional half century of history to be taught since I was in school. The world has changed. There are more names of countries to memorize (as if someone really would) and some of those I knew no longer exist. Some people we looked upon as ‘good guys’ are now vilified. Can’t recall any that were reconstituted into heroes, though – and that’s good in many ways.

Every once in a while a nostalgia Powerpoint presentation will surface listing a lot of the really good things about the 1950’s and we all go “Ahhh, to be there again!”

Right. They don’t mention the fear. For a very short time, after the USSR broke up, the fear was gone. MAD returned to being a comic book instead of Mutually Assured Destruction. Can a text book capture the fear children had when falling to the ground, covering vulnerable necks and tightening eyelids so they’d never look at the light?

The PPSes speak of playing outside and touts evening time. Partly because we were kept away from each other during the day, out of swimming pools because the fear our parents had of polio. Vaccines have removed those childhood fears of invisible diseases and obvious results.

The presentations don’t mention shopping for shoes – nor the x-ray machines we used to looked through to make certain our toes had room for growth. Nor do they mention the radium dial watches that impacted the lives used to create them.

That time can be seen through rose-colored glasses, just as anyone does looking back. Do not miss a moment of today while seeking yesterday with regrets.

Each generation remembers their ‘best of times’ and buries those ‘worst of times’ beneath layers of protection. It would appear, especially now, that one thing is forgotten – to remember the mistakes of the past.

The financial greed of many Americans may have succeeded where Al Qaeda failed. There is righteous anger building within the United States as CEOs negotiate to retain their multiple millions of bonus payments for bringing the country to the edge of bankruptcy, and pushing many of its citizens over that edge.

There remains a promise made to Solomon. Are we wise enough to use it?

If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land. (2 Chronicles 7:14 KJV)

Friday, September 26, 2008

To Quote or Not to Quote

My goodness! It is now acceptable to say the word Bible inside a public school. Why, it’s even acceptable to study a book about it. Time’s article explains how the church/state issue isn’t impacted when discussing a book’s cultural impact over hundreds of years.

Omitting the Bible denied students the ability to learn about “Apple of his eye” (Deu 32:10, Zec 2:8); “Multitude of sins” (James 5:20; 1 Peter 4:8).

Where else do you learn about a widow’s mite (actually, two of them) than Mark 12:42 or Luke 21:2? Or about rendering unto Caesar than Matt 22:21?

The film industry was deeply impacted by the Bible. Each year television plays “The Ten Commandments” with a Moses-like Charlton Heston. How can you discuss “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat” without mentioning the Bible?

Until the last decade, we grew up with Christmas in schools. Now it’s a Winter Celebration – how can we learn about that change without the Bible?

Why shouldn’t we teach students the reason our country was colonized was just as much religious persecution as it was for adventure and expansion? When my granddaughter was in high school, she was taught that colonists left because religious people persecuted them – but not so much about the colonists’ wish to worship God after their arrival. They were not pursuing freedom FROM religion, but freedom OF religion.

Somewhere along the line we still misuse the preposition there.

It is not necessary to teach theology when teaching the Bible as literature or as history. It is not necessary to explain denominations, either. Should those questions arise, send the child to their parents or the encyclopedia. Wouldn’t that be the case in any other subject if a child wanted to move into off-subject discussions?

How can our education system ignore the book that remains the best selling book in America?

I’m looking forward to hearing results from the reintroduction. And, do I have an ulterior motive? Of course. I believe what is written in this book, and one of its verses is sufficient: So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it. (Isaiah 55:11 KJV)

Thursday, September 25, 2008


When I post, I try to keep Matthew 7:3-6 and Luke 6:41-43 in mind. It’s not your life I should be examining, but my own.

Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother's eye. (Matthew 7:5 KJV)

That’s why most of what I write is nothing more than Bible verses and how I look at them. What you see in them may be different – I’m certain that God’s plan for your life is different from what mine is. You may not enjoy being responsible for administrative services in your church. But I’m having a wonderful time.

We had our first AWANA and Children of the King meeting for the 2008/2009 school year earlier this month. There were so many of the children that I had not seen since last year. Pastor’s Wife got me off to a great start on preparing the nachos for the group. That was our introductory treat. Now we’ve gone back to cookies and juice. We’ll have some special treats along, too.

Each child is to bring a sheet with their personal information filled in. Since many of the children come by bus and their parents are not at the church, we need that information. Last spring there was a tornado warning in our area. In such an emergency, parental contact is so very important. Fortunately, it was not necessary that evening.

It did, however, challenge me to see that this year our information is more complete, earlier than before. This is not endearing me to several people. But ‘administrivia’ is something I do quite well. For example, out of the 74 children attending that first week, only 48 sheets were turned in. Of those, a majority had both address and phone number – but only a slim majority!

Each year some children move away, and new ones come in. The ones that leave carry a bit of us with them, along with our prayers for safety. For some we are seriously concerned. Would you join with us this week in praying for these children entrusted into our care for such a little while?

Compiling a brochure, building a church membership list and publishing a directory, tracking attendance – these keep me busy at church, too. I hope you have as much interest and pleasure in your church as I do. As I say my prayers, as my reader you will be included, for I will pray for you unto the LORD. (1 Samuel 7:5b KJV)

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

What Think Ye Of Christ?

As an avid reader of mysteries, I’ve somehow missed Dorothy Sayers. Perhaps it was timing – her mysteries are older than I am for the most part – yet I found Agatha Christie. Perhaps it was location – her books were England based – yet I found Ngiao Marsh.

The wonderful thing about the written word is that it lasts, and pops up sometimes when we’re ready to read it. This week I was introduced to Dorothy Sayers (Wikipedia has an article on her life and works if you’re interested) through a specific writing: “The Greatest Drama Ever Staged.”

And I enjoyed it.

She says, “The plot pivots upon a single character, and the whole action is the answer to a single central problem: What think ye of Christ?”

From His birth, that question is foremost. We all face it along the way. Some laugh, some with joy; some with derision. Some cry, some with release; some in pain. Atheists speak of Him, Christians worship Him, Muslims think He was a great prophet. No one ignores Him.

Sayer’s recognized “Possibly we might prefer not to take this tale too seriously—there are disquieting points about it.” She is so right! Everyone finds something disquieting about facing Christ. Some find it so disquieting that that they move away from Him. They cannot know the peace that coming close to Him brings.

She continued “We have very efficiently pared the claws of the Lion of Judah, certified him ‘meek and mild,’ and recommended him as a fitting household pet for pale curates and pious old ladies.” She, instead, sees a dynamic firebrand that so changed lives around Him that He was put to death for doing so.

The entire article can be found at: Kendall Presbytarian Church Site

What a mystery! What a revelation! What a wonderful way to be reminded that God has so much more in store for us than we can possible understand.

And he said unto them, Unto you it is given to know the mystery of the kingdom of God: but unto them that are without, all these things are done in parables: (Mark 4:11 KJV)

For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, lest ye should be wise in your own conceits; that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in. (Romans 11:25 KJV)

This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the church. (Ephesians 5:32 KJV)

Come join us in studying this great mystery!

Tuesday, September 23, 2008


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)

When you are active in your church, there are many ways to assemble. The most often time is Sunday mornings -- greater even on Easter and Christmas celebrations. If you only go a couple of times a year, you miss so very much!!

There's a nearby Baptist congregation that does not hold services on Sunday nights. A couple from that church comes to ours on Sunday nights and receives so much the more with us. I do enjoy their fellowship, and think of the loss for the remainder of their congregation.

Wednesday evening we hold the youth group, Bible lessons and a program for children. We provide the snacks and wouldn't miss a Wednesday -- that would mean missing the joy in the faces of these beautiful children.

However, there is even so much the more that you can see in our daily activities. Stop by my photos from today's event. Our youth have just as much fun, just as many activities.

So, please take a leaf (or chapter and verse) from our book. Allow me to exhort you to forsake not 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)

Monday, September 22, 2008

Which Verse?

Here’s a link to a New York Times article on a Baptist church in North Carolina. It brings to mind a question I’ve had (and one I’ve written of before.)

How does a Christian, much less a Christian church, determine just which portions of the Bible to use and which to reject?

Does it begin with Genesis? In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. (Genesis 1:1 KJV)

That first chapter speaks of six days of creative activities, along with a day of rest. If faced with evolution theories, does the first chapter get thrown out? If so, why bother with the remainder?

Perhaps one can get past creation, but what happens by the sixth and seventh chapters – can one accept an ark, a flood and do as Noah: And Noah did according unto all that the LORD commanded him. (Genesis 7:5 KJV)

Do we, after millennia, retain the faith of the worshipful psalmist who wrote Psalm 105? Retain the belief in Genesis that moved a nation? Or do we, as King David, pick a verse here and there and ignore Thou shalt not commit adultery. (Exodus 20:14 KJV)

Is it a one-issue decision? Is there a specific sin one wishes to commit, so it is ignored? Does one believe in the sanctity of life to the extent that Exodus 21:23 is no longer valid? Or is one so pro-life that the same verse is applied to abortionists?

That’s not even half way through a few books in the Old Testament. What happens when one starts determining, as Thomas Jefferson did, that miracles don’t belong in the New? Toss out Christ’s divinity, and He becomes an interesting philosopher rather than the redeeming Son of God who said For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost. (Luke 19:10 KJV)

Which portions of Matthew, Mark, Luke or John’s writings should be ignored? Or is it only Peter, Paul and James that cannot be trusted? Ooops, there’s the whole book of Revelation. Who wants to face the issues there?

Is it easier to accept that God loves everyone? 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)

Than it is to accept that not everyone will be with God eternally? He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. (John 3:18 KJV)

Do we understand why some reject Him? For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved. (John 3:20 KJV)

Or do we understand His pain as He states: 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)

My preference is that the Bible remains given by God to mankind for His purpose and that 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)

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Just posted a few photos from our 2008 Ladies Meeting at Lake Brownwood:
Come, spend a bit of time with people who had a wonderful three days!!

Big Bang

From a recent MSNBC article on the Hadron Collider: Scientists once thought protons and neutrons were the smallest components of an atom's nucleus, but experiments have shown that protons and neutrons are made of quarks and gluons and that there are other forces and particles.”

With that in mind, I request that those who depend upon scientific methods only to keep an open mind, that all is not known.

Finding protons and neutrons were a big deal. Finding Higgs Boson (should it exist beyond theory) would be a big deal. As of today, the Higgs boson has not been observed experimentally, despite multiple efforts invested in accelerator experiments (according to articles on Higgs Boson – you’ll have to do your own research.) So, based on previous experience with scientific research and experimental results – Higgs Boson’s existence is based on hope of seeing something not yet seen.

Christians are familiar with the process: Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. (Hebrews 11:1 KJV)

How does a Christian experiment with these unseen things? So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. (Romans 10:17 KJV)

What if what you hear doesn’t make sense to you? When you read, search and study: 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)

Then, add the most difficult method of all – accept another’s results. Just as not all of us have participated in a collider’s experiments, not all of us have seen miraculous results of God’s work. Many have, however, and have been willing to share their stories.

Some of my favorites are older than you are, because I found them earlier in life. “Angel Unaware” and “Woman at the Well” by Dale Evans Rogers are timeless stories of God’s grace in one woman’s life. Ruth Bell Graham’s books, too, share His life and direction. Don’t forget the Bible, too.

When you do find some the scriptures hard to understand – or hard to accept – please know that you are not alone. Read what Peter has to say about Paul’s epistles: 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)

When you are ready to study, join the psalmist in prayer: Give me understanding, and I shall keep thy law; yea, I shall observe it with my whole heart. (Psalms 119:34 KJV)

Thursday, September 18, 2008


(I'll be offline for a few days -- not another interruption in service this time -- we're going on a Ladies Retreat. Should be a great time for new looks at the Bible, new devotional topics!)

The New Testament tells us that knowledge is important. During Christ's reproach in Luke 11 He accuses the religious leaders of taking away the key of knowledge. He continued, saying: ye entered not in yourselves, and them that were entering in ye hindered. (Luke 11:52 KJV)

Paul describes those who reject God: And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient; (Romans 1:28 KJV)

Each of us must determine whether or not to retain God within our knowledge. Within the list of “things which are not convenient” (KJV), "things which are not fitting" (ASV) or "what ought not to be done" (ESV) is "without understanding" (KJV and ASV) or "foolish" (ESV). I find it interesting that it is included in the same list as "haters of God" (KJV and ESV) or "hateful to God" (ASV).

The chapter's end isn't the close of the thought, though.

Therefore thou art inexcusable, O man, whosoever thou art that judgest: for wherein thou judgest another, thou condemnest thyself; for thou that judgest doest the same things. (Romans 2:1 KJV)

Paul moves through the logic and descriptions of God's judgment. Who will render to every man according to his deeds: (Romans 2:6 KJV)

“Ignorantia juris non escusat” or in English, ignorance of the law does not excuse. There are very few who are not aware of God’s law. Some have declined to accept God’s law, but they are not ignorant of its existence. It continues to be published and proclaimed.

Mankind’s response has been the same through millennia – some have accepted, some have rejected. We have the written testimony of many over those same millennia that God was In the beginning (Genesis 1:1) – that He is One which is, and which was, and which is to come; (Revelation 1:4 KJV)

Let’s share the knowledge.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008


One of the most difficult parts of any discussion is to respect, if not understand, another’s point of view. While it is not necessary to agree with each other, before an exchange of information occurs there must be a respect for reaching a discussion point.

An inability to reach the point of discussion means no information is exchanged, no views are challenged, nothing is addressed. It is as though the people never met. That is a loss for both.

The ability to exchange information without defensiveness, without recrimination, does provide a benefit, no matter how far apart people are.

Of course I'm referring to an actual exchange -- one that was shut down by a post of painful accusation.

In my response, I used the example of a prism. What goes into a prism as a single white color/fact is translated, or separated, into a multitude of different colors/facts that make up that singleness. The loss of one would not be noticed, while the loss of many would be. Yet that one – one factual input – affects the whole. Those facts are what make up any individual.

These facts come to us through our lives, becoming part of us. For another to deny them diminishes us, and diminishes them for not learning more about the facts in our lives.

For me, the most important fact in my life is my acceptance of Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior. That tinges everything in my life – my husband, my children, my activities, my speech – all are flavored by that single fact.

If someone asks me a question about my beliefs, I shall answer truthfully, and as verbosely as space is offered. Even then, it is necessary to question and exchange information. A question is asked, an answer given – perhaps with another question, the exchange continues. It comes to a halt, however, when a defensive wall is built and information exchange ceases.

I do not have a specific verse in mind for this blog. Surely somewhere in the Bible is an appropriate verse on learning and understanding, perhaps seeking and gaining wisdom. I shall spend some time looking for it. Perhaps it will lead to a renewing, reopening of the discussion.

The beauty of the rainbow requires a prism to separate the colors and view them individually. Our lives show beauty when the facts within it are viewed individually, too.

Right now I'm too close to this. This will be revisited.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Looking for God

That they should seek the Lord, if haply they might feel after him, and find him, though he be not far from every one of us: (Acts 17:27 KJV)

Standing in Athens, Paul spoke to everyone throughout time. If we feel after God, we just might find Him. He is not far away. Perhaps there are those who will never look for God. Some are busy keeping away from His presence.

There are so many reasons for not looking for God.

First off, it may take some time. The harder one’s heart has become, the less likely they are to accept what is being offered to them. Every day God is providing road signs to the strait way. For many people, those signs appear to be detours from their pleasures and they continue to look for broad way.

Besides, it is simply not logical, they say. Give me proof, they say. There are contradictions, they say. That is impossible, they say.

At times Christians back away from these detractors. The Bible tells them: Give not that which is holy unto the dogs, neither cast ye your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn again and rend you. (Matthew 7:6 KJV)

At times, it is good to back away. We should not be forcing someone to come to Christ when we can be spending time with those seeking His love. There isn’t time to waste, for the laborers truly are few.

Matthew, Mark and Luke give witness, but Mark’s is more in depth: And whosoever shall not receive you, nor hear you, when ye depart thence, shake off the dust under your feet for a testimony against them. Verily I say unto you, It shall be more tolerable for Sodom and Gomorrha in the day of judgment, than for that city. (Mark 6:11 KJV)

Look instead for the opportunities exampled by the Ethiopian reading Isaiah. There are those searching the scriptures, looking for answers. Prepare to be Philip, answering those questions as God gives the opportunity.

I like the way Alister McGrath put it: “Through the generosity of God, we have been left with a latent memory of Him.” We will seek Him in love, or we will fight Him in anger. No one ignores Him for very long.

The LORD is my strength and my shield; my heart trusted in him, and I am helped: therefore my heart greatly rejoiceth; and with my song will I praise him. (Psalms 28:7 KJV)

O praise the LORD, all ye nations: praise him, all ye people. For his merciful kindness is great toward us: and the truth of the LORD endureth for ever. Praise ye the LORD. (Psalms 117:1-2 KJV)

Monday, September 15, 2008


Last night we had two missionaries from the Philippines. That is the correct preposition -- they are not missionaries 'to' the Philippines, but are national pastors. They each presented a slide show of their work.

The message was from Luke 5, the story of the man with palsy. That same story is told in Matthew 9 and Mark 2. A bit of detail different in each one – Matthew doesn’t mention the crowds or the roof; Mark does, along with removing a portion of the roof; Luke does, and mentions tiles on the roof. All three write of Christ noting their faith – that of the friends as well as the sick man. All three confirm the reason for this healing:

But that ye may know that the Son of man hath power on earth to forgive sins (Matthew 9:a6 KJV)
But that ye may know that the Son of man hath power on earth to forgive sins (Mark 2:10a KJV)
But that ye may know that the Son of man hath power upon earth to forgive sins (Luke 5:24a KJV)

That’s when my thoughts moved away from the pastor’s train of thought to follow a rabbit track for a moment. I quickly wrote a reminder before returning to the four friends hanging on to the rope.

Do we believe that God forgives our sins? Can you think of someone whose sins are so bad that God cannot forgive them? How about our own?

Until we can understand God’s forgiveness, how can we acknowledge our own sins? The new covenant Christ gave His life for tells us what sin is. Many are specifically listed, probably so we won’t miss them when we take inventory. The listed ones are those we’d like to skip over and ignore when they are residing within ourselves. Do we believe God has forgiven us? Others?

If not, how can we glorify him? That’s included in each of the three gospels, too.

But when the multitudes saw it, they marvelled, and glorified God, which had given such power unto men. (Matthew 9:8 KJV)
And immediately he arose, took up the bed, and went forth before them all; insomuch that they were all amazed, and glorified God, saying, We never saw it on this fashion. (Mark 2:12 KJV)
And they were all amazed, and they glorified God, and were filled with fear, saying, We have seen strange things to day. (Luke 5:26 KJV)

Which describes your response to forgiveness? Marveled and glorified? Amazed and glorified?

Sunday, September 14, 2008

One Thing Desired

One thing have I desired of the LORD, that will I seek after; that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the LORD, and to enquire in his temple. (Psalms 27:4 KJV)

Oh, that this would truly remain my one desire! There are many verses referring to heaven, from mansions to crowns to golden streets. I really don’t care to speculate on how heaven might look or what we might do there, but I do enjoy specific verses that give hints.

I also enjoy similar verses that speak of our Lord and beauty:

Give unto the LORD the glory due unto his name: bring an offering, and come before him: worship the LORD in the beauty of holiness. Fear before him, all the earth: the world also shall be stable, that it be not moved. (1 Chronicles 16:29-30 KJV)

Give unto the LORD the glory due unto his name: bring an offering, and come into his courts. O worship the LORD in the beauty of holiness: fear before him, all the earth. (Psalms 96:8-9 KJV)

And the glorious beauty, which is on the head of the fat valley, shall be a fading flower, and as the hasty fruit before the summer; which when he that looketh upon it seeth, while it is yet in his hand he eateth it up. In that day shall the LORD of hosts be for a crown of glory, and for a diadem of beauty, unto the residue of his people, And for a spirit of judgment to him that sitteth in judgment, and for strength to them that turn the battle to the gate. (Isaiah 28:4-6 KJV)

Thus wast thou decked with gold and silver; and thy raiment was of fine linen, and silk, and broidered work; thou didst eat fine flour, and honey, and oil: and thou wast exceeding beautiful, and thou didst prosper into a kingdom. And thy renown went forth among the heathen for thy beauty: for it was perfect through my comeliness, which I had put upon thee, saith the Lord GOD. (Ezekiel 16:13-14 KJV)

The world offers much in the way of beauty – but God offers so much more. Thus saith the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel, Amend your ways and your doings, and I will cause you to dwell in this place. (Jeremiah 7:3 KJV)

And, I propose we follow His advice: Seek the LORD and his strength, seek his face continually. (1 Chronicles 16:11 KJV)

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Ike Impresses

This has been a most interesting day, beginning about 3:30 this morning. I could not sleep -- a back muscle pulled yesterday was the excuse I used, but it was more interest in Ike.

You see, my sister, her husband and her business are in Houston. And, her business was such that she could not leave her clients -- about forty dogs and cats in her boarding/training kennel. I understood her reasons for staying. And I knew that there were many people remaining in that part of Houston, back from the storm surge that was certain to inundate Galveston.

However, one does not call at 3:30 to check. Not when the news channels are showing how difficult it is as Ike makes its way across hundreds of thousands of homes in Texas.

Five hours later, we had our answer -- she and her family were fine. Oh, there was a leak -- good enough to for her to describe it as a 'fountain in the house.' But the walls were standing, the roof was basically intact, no windows were missing and when the neighbor lost her trees, they landed in driveways.

Not everyone has been so fortunate.Do not look upon this, nor any other of the hurricanes, as being God's punishment. And Jesus answering said unto them, Suppose ye that these Galilaeans were sinners above all the Galilaeans, because they suffered such things? (Luke 13:2 KJV) Or those eighteen, upon whom the tower in Siloam fell, and slew them, think ye that they were sinners above all men that dwelt in Jerusalem? (Luke 13:4 KJV)

The answer to both of those questions remains: The answer to both questions remains valid today: I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish. (Luke 13:3 and 5 KJV)

That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust. (Matthew 5:45 KJV)

Let us help all of those hurricanes left in need. Your local Red Cross will appreciate your contributions!

Friday, September 12, 2008


For thy name's sake, O LORD, pardon mine iniquity; for it is great. (Psalms 25:11 KJV)

Be it known unto you therefore, men and brethren, that through this man is preached unto you the forgiveness of sins: (Acts 13:38 KJV)

David’s prayer fulfilled in his Messiah. How wonderfully God works. But in man’s time, how slowly.

Wait on the LORD: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the LORD. (Psalms 27:14 KJV)

Would you have waited the millennia required for God’s promises? Abraham spoke the truth, a prophecy, when he said … My son, God will provide himself a lamb for a burnt offering: .... (Genesis 22:8 KJV) and He did give Himself as that sacrifice, but so many years later.

That sacrifice, the Messiah, is spoken of again in Daniel. Yet hundreds of years continued to pass before His arrival. Hundreds have passed since.

So, you’ll need something to do while going through all of this waiting. How about: Delight thyself also in the LORD; and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart. Commit thy way unto the LORD; trust also in him; and he shall bring it to pass. (Psalms 37:4-5 KJV)

Or, maybe you could Make a joyful noise unto the LORD, all ye lands. Serve the LORD with gladness: come before his presence with singing. (Psalms 100:1-2 KJV)

Even more: Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him, and bless his name. (Psalms 100:4 KJV)

We’ve been promised honor in exchange for His service: If any man serve me, let him follow me; and where I am, there shall also my servant be: if any man serve me, him will my Father honour. (John 12:26 KJV)

So let us follow David’s advice and Wait on the LORD, and keep his way, and he shall exalt thee to inherit the land (Psalms 37:34a KJV)

Thursday, September 11, 2008


Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone: but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit. (John 12:24 KJV)

When you are asked to live as Christ has asked us to, do you find it difficult? His disciples did.

And Jesus said unto them, Because of your unbelief: for verily I say unto you, If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you. (Matthew 17:20 KJV)

I haven’t seen any mountains moving now, nor have I heard of any in the past, have you? Oh, I’ve heard of a heart softened here and there. I’ve heard of lives changed, bodies healed, but no mountains moved. Our faith, indeed, is small.

Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which to day is, and to morrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith? (Matthew 6:30 KJV)

And he saith unto them, Why are ye fearful, O ye of little faith? (Matthew 8:26a KJV)

And immediately Jesus stretched forth his hand, and caught him, and said unto him, O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt? (Matthew 14:31 KJV)

Which when Jesus perceived, he said unto them, O ye of little faith, why reason ye among yourselves, because ye have brought no bread? (Matthew 16:8 KJV)

Some lack faith sufficient to accept God’s grace:

But we believe that through the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ we shall be saved, even as they. (Acts 15:11 KJV)

For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: (Ephesians 2:8 KJV)

Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began, (2 Timothy 1:9 KJV)

Can it be as simple as God lays out for us?

Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone: but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit. (John 12:24 KJV)

Don’t abide alone. Bring forth fruit. For every tree is known by his own fruit. For of thorns men do not gather figs, nor of a bramble bush gather they grapes. (Luke 6:44 KJV)

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

VMA vs Promise Rings

Do young people who publicly express their desire to remain pure deserve joking attacks? The Today Show article addressing the issue raised that question. I have met young people who walked down the aisle with their new spouse in purity. Known them for years, and understand their commitment to purity, and to themselves.

There are groups of boys who track their conquests who will never understand the concept of purity. There are girls whose self-esteem is stroked in relation only to their body and the need for a boy to belong to. Their loss is no one’s gain.

Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things. (Philippians 4:8 KJV)

The ‘Promise Ring’ does not make a promise to marry a specific individual. The commitment is personal, for one never knows when their spouse-to-be will be met.

Some do not believe young people are capable of self-discipline. Yet Paul knew a youth, knew his temptations and offered the methodology to remain pure:

Flee also youthful lusts: but follow righteousness, faith, charity, peace, with them that call on the Lord out of a pure heart. (2 Timothy 2:22 KJV)

For those who laugh, as Video Music Award’s host Russell Brand, please listen to Jordin Sparks response – as she displayed her own promise ring “It’s not bad to wear a promise ring, because not everybody – guy or girl – wants to be a slut.”

Why fear the message that some people value purity? Why make fun of those who do? Why must public school sex education delete the desire for purity? Desiring purity does NOT indicate a lack of education or a lack of sexual knowledge. It does indicate a desire for something special in their lives. A sharing of something that happens but once a lifetime.

Russell speaks for his own brand of sexuality, not for those who look past today and seek to enjoy life tomorrow – those who are looking for a lifetime commitment, not a one-night acquaintance.

Let’s support them. Not joke about them, OK?

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Steinem and Divisiveness

Thanks to a family member for the article Gloria Steinem wrote for the LA Times about Sarah Palin. I had forgotten how grating Steinem can be. I guess she has Sarah down pat – she certainly is divisive, since she doesn’t agree with Steinem.

The reason the Republican platform is so different from the Democratic is that many people found themselves in a position where they could not vote for the party that left middle America and swept so far left.

There were many divisive elements in Steinem’s abrasive article, but her lowest blow is that Sarah (which would include me) wishes to control a woman’s womb. Not on your life – for me the issue is a matter of life, death, and financing.

Please let me try to explain in a secular manner.

A woman’s womb is her own, to invite or repel visitors without comment from others. But should a cellular combination occur, I believe the resultant occupant of a woman’s womb is human at conception. The DNA of the joined cellular structure is not that of the mother nor the father, but that of an individual. The occupant, if allowed to reach sufficient maturity, will be born human. If born in America, the occupant is a citizen from moment of birth. I believe that citizen’s protection should precede birth.

On a completely different level -- my religious beliefs tell me humans contain a soul. Because that soul cannot be detected, much less measured, I do not know when that soul begins or ends. I must assume its existence from conception, though much of that belief is based on scriptures unacceptable to many.

I do not wish to fund the deaths of millions of humans. I do not wish my tax money to do so. If reversal of the lie-based Roe v Wade deletes that funding, may it be so.

For that belief, Steinem would demonize me, those like me, and divide our nation. I regret she’s put me on the other side of a line she’s drawn. A line that goes beyond politics and is designed to denigrate religious beliefs.

But, that’s my point of view, and she’s entitled to her equally divisive one.