Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Running Away

There are times when people have heard God’s word and understood His specific will for their lives. Yet they turn and run.

Now the word of the LORD came unto Jonah the son of Amittai, saying, Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and cry against it; for their wickedness is come up before me. But Jonah rose up to flee unto Tarshish from the presence of the LORD (Jonah 1:1-3a)

What happened next wasn’t pleasant. But the LORD sent out a great wind into the sea, and there was a mighty tempest in the sea, so that the ship was like to be broken. (Jonah 1:4)

Today it appears there are plenty crying out against wickedness in this world. What we don’t see is Nineveh’s response: So the people of Nineveh believed God, and proclaimed a fast, and put on sackcloth, from the greatest of them even to the least of them. (Jonah 3:5)

Oh, that we would do the same! Perhaps He would accept our repentance as He did theirs:

Who can tell if God will turn and repent, and turn away from his fierce anger, that we perish not? And God saw their works, that they turned from their evil way; and God repented of the evil, that he had said that he would do unto them; and he did it not. (Jonah 3:9-10)

Who are we to decide how to accomplish God’s purpose? Or with whom?

What disciple would have chosen the Pharisee Saul to spread the good news that Jesus was the Christ? Yet that was God’s plan. Perhaps Saul had been with groups of Pharisees confronting Jesus. It is written that he watched Stephen’s execution, holding the robes of participants. Yet this was the man chosen by God to do His work.

Have you heard of Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah: (Daniel 1:6b)? They were chosen, and did not run away. They were taken away and their names were changed to the now much more familiar -- and to Hananiah, of Shadrach; and to Mishael, of Meshach; and to Azariah, of Abednego. (Daniel 1:7b)

Yet through them we see what Nebuchadnezzar saw: Then Nebuchadnezzar the king was astonied, and rose up in haste, and spake, and said unto his counsellors, Did not we cast three men bound into the midst of the fire? They answered and said unto the king, True, O king. He answered and said, Lo, I see four men loose, walking in the midst of the fire, and they have no hurt; and the form of the fourth is like the Son of God. (Daniel 3:24-25)

Will we accept, as the King of Nineveh and Nebuchadnezzar, that there is no other God that can deliver after this sort. (Daniel 3:29)

Though, as Samuel, we may misunderstand at first, let us hear God’s words and respond as Samuel did: And the LORD came, and stood, and called as at other times, Samuel, Samuel. Then Samuel answered, Speak; for thy servant heareth. (1 Samuel 3:10)

Only He knows what doors will be opened for us if we are willing to open and walk through them.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Solomon

The proverbs of Solomon the son of David, king of Israel; (Proverbs 1:1 KJV)

This is the book we studied last week. Here you can take a couple of verses and create an entire sermon, for these are short, plentiful and within a couple of verses you have the context.

Solomon begins with instructions on understanding proverbs:

To understand a proverb, and the interpretation; the words of the wise, and their dark sayings. The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge: but fools despise wisdom and instruction. (Proverbs 1:6-7 KJV)

The, he gives the best advice anyone can give:

My son, if sinners entice thee, consent thou not. (Proverbs 1:10 KJV)

Doesn’t matter what the sin is – it will be recognizable since it is not God’s will – don’t do it. How much difficulty in our lives would be cleared if we followed but this one verse?

Eve would never have partaken of the fruit. She would never have offered it to Adam. Cain would not have killed Abel. God only knows what Noah’s life would have been without the ark, had people consented not when sinners enticed.

There are other one-liners that speak loudly:

Discretion shall preserve thee, understanding shall keep thee: (Proverbs 2:11 KJV)

The third chapter has much to tell us, and begins with a promise:

My son, forget not my law; but let thine heart keep my commandments: For length of days, and long life, and peace, shall they add to thee. (Proverbs 3:1-2 KJV)

Solomon’s son did forget – and the kingdom was divided forever.

While these three verses can stand alone, they are astounding together:

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)

Solomon continues on, seeing God as a loving, yet teaching, father:

My son, despise not the chastening of the LORD; neither be weary of his correction: For whom the LORD loveth he correcteth; even as a father the son in whom he delighteth. (Proverbs 3:11-12 KJV)

Reading the Bible through clearly shows the continuity of the loving father that Christ described:

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)

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Stones Cry Out

I write because I don’t want to hear stones cry out:

And he answered and said unto them, I tell you that, if these should hold their peace, the stones would immediately cry out. (Luke 19:40 KJV)

That would be the result if we were silenced, as His hearers suggested:

And some of the Pharisees from among the multitude said unto him, Master, rebuke thy disciples. (Luke 19:39 KJV)

You see, I do believe that if all the missionaries stayed home; if all the pulpits were emptied and preachers were not available; if all Christians stopped witnessing; if all that happened, the very stones would cry out and speak of God’s glory.

Just what was it that the Pharisees did not want to hear?

And when he was come nigh, even now at the descent of the mount of Olives, the whole multitude of the disciples began to rejoice and praise God with a loud voice for all the mighty works that they had seen; Saying, Blessed be the King that cometh in the name of the Lord: peace in heaven, and glory in the highest. (Luke 19:37-38 KJV)

These people had seen God at work throughout their land. The gospels record the mighty works and we continue to speak of them today.

Again you see, I do believe that we are not speaking of them enough. We’re too involved in what our personal needs are and cease Saying, Blessed be the King that cometh in the name of the Lord: peace in heaven, and glory in the highest,

Think I’m wrong? How many times do you hear someone bless the coming King, versus those who use His name in vain? How often do we experience peace, versus the amount of violence even among men of good will? How many times do we give glory to God in the highest – outside of some songs at Christmas?

If we’re not careful, we could be hearing stones cry out.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Death of a Child

How does one pray regarding the death of a child? One is a five-year-old whose heart has been opened, operated upon and yet is failing. One would be a donor should the right set of circumstances occur. Either circumstance results in the death of a child.

How does the family (and their friends) pray for the life of their child, knowing the death of another is necessary for continued life?

I’m praying for such a family, and the scriptures offer great comfort:

Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. (Romans 8:26 KJV)

We do not know for what we should pray. God recognizes that and provides the Comforter, the Holy Spirit, to speak for us. Jesus promised us He would be with us:

And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever; (John 14:16 KJV)

But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you. (John 14:26 KJV)

Paul continues in Romans, telling us that God is in control:

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

So, we pray the one prayer that gives comfort and gives God the glory:

Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven. (Matthew 6:10 KJV)

Even as Christ prayed for that He knew could not occur, yet ended with the correct prayer for all time, for all occasions:

And he went a little further, and fell on his face, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt. … He went away again the second time, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if this cup may not pass away from me, except I drink it, thy will be done. (Matthew 26:39, 42 KJV)

Return once again to Paul’s letter, reminding us that God’s will is the best thing for our lives:

And he that searcheth the hearts knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit, because he maketh intercession for the saints according to the will of God. (Romans 8:27 KJV)

So – when faced with the death of a child, we pray for God’s will to be done. That the family or families involved will be given the peace of God which passeth all understanding. Praying that we may have the strength to remain in God’s will.

Thy will be done.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Reunion

I’m surrounded by my children this morning. They are still asleep, but will soon awaken and we’ll begin a day of reunion. They’ll meet cousins – not firsts, of course – that they’ve never seen. They will hear and tell stories that are only told at reunions, for it’s a time to share. It’s a time to reflect on the family history.

Every once in a while the request to “see ourselves as others see us” is fulfilled as we listen to our children talk about their parents, or any family member tells a familiar story that is just half a bubble off from what we remember.

Keep that in mind when reading the four gospels that tell of Christ’s life. Some will say that since they write of Him differently, there were differing messages. Or, if they are similar, we’re told the author copied another. Some will tell us they are no longer relevant, that we’ve progressed beyond the need of old words.

I disagree. I believe what is written in the Bible was inspired by God.

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)

And the reason for it immediately follows:

That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works. (2 Timothy 3:17 KJV)

Scripture continues to be fulfilled. Today there are churches that fit this description:

Making the word of God of none effect through your tradition, which ye have delivered: and many such like things do ye. (Mark 7:13 KJV)

Yet some truths live for ever:

And Jesus answered him, saying, It is written, That man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word of God. (Luke 4:4 KJV)

Whether our days are filled with family and love, heartache and separation, daily routine or awesome activities, God’s word should be with us. It will light our way:

Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path. (Psalms 119:105 KJV)

Until that final reunion with our heavenly father, may we rememberl:

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

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Got Problems?

Some have said that the Bible’s promises are false. That His followers are supposed to receive health and wealth and when that does not happen, either God does not exist, He lies or that follower is not living as they should.

That thought usually comes when hand picking feel-good verses and ignoring the others. We’re promised a lot more in the following:

We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; Persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed; Always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body. (2 Corinthians 4:8-10 KJV)

That doesn’t sound to me as though Paul was receiving all the health and wealth those today are seeking. Here Luke writes of Paul as a prisoner:

So he took him, and brought him to the chief captain, and said, Paul the prisoner called me unto him, and prayed me to bring this young man unto thee, who hath something to say unto thee. (Acts 23:18 KJV)

Paul himself speaks of a constant, nagging reminder that we lack:

And lest I should be exalted above measure through the abundance of the revelations, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I should be exalted above measure. (2 Corinthians 12:7 KJV)

The Christ we follow didn’t have much, either:

And Jesus saith unto him, The foxes have holes, and the birds of the air have nests; but the Son of man hath not where to lay his head. (Matthew 8:20 KJV)

Peter and John didn’t fare well in the wealth department, either:

Then Peter said, Silver and gold have I none; but such as I have give I thee: In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth rise up and walk. (Acts 3:6 KJV)

As for not being healthy, Christ’s disciples asked about such a one, and His answer should be considered:

And as Jesus passed by, he saw a man which was blind from his birth. And his disciples asked him, saying, Master, who did sin, this man, or his parents, that he was born blind? Jesus answered, Neither hath this man sinned, nor his parents: but that the works of God should be made manifest in him. (John 9:1-3 KJV)

There is a biblical application for every situation. But not every verse applies to each situation. Allow God to speak and direct. He still knows better than we do!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Marriages DO Last

Well, I just can’t stay off this marriage topic. Not when articles such as this are written. A pox upon her selfish whining, that all marriage is obsolete because she could not be faithful!!

Who in the world told this woman that marriage is “the idea of lifelong wedded bliss” that by her divorce “has become obsolete”?

Why in the world should we listen to someone whose selfish physical desires tossed out her marriage for a roll in another man’s bed? Oh, of course – she had a husband who traveled a lot. That makes it completely understandable, doesn’t it?

Let’s revisit yesterday’s post for just a moment:

Let the husband render unto the wife due benevolence: and likewise also the wife unto the husband. The wife hath not power of her own body, but the husband: and likewise also the husband hath not power of his own body, but the wife. (1 Corinthians 7:3-4 KJV)

It was not her body to give to another.

And, again, that non-marriage word shows up in the article: “This was a 20-year partnership.”

Partnership? Similar to relationship? An on-going friendship? Not for me.

I have a marriage. We are 48 years into it. For the first thirty years, my Beloved Husband worked fifteen of it out of town, coming home on weekends. Our closest friends are 58 years into theirs. My sister’s ended with the death of her beloved husband. Both sisters-in-law are right behind us with 47 years, each! No brag, just fact.

Please, look upon us as Titus Two women. Each of the five women above fit

The aged women likewise, that they be in behaviour as becometh holiness, not false accusers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things; That they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children, To be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed. (Titus 2:3-5 KJV)

My goodness! Is that so hard to do? We’ve stood before our family, our friends, our God and promised to love, honor and obey until death parts us, not a legal decree that attempts to explain why we couldn’t keep our commitment.

I am so frustrated with the selfishness of those who expect someone else to provide bliss in their lives. Frustrated with those who seek public praise for private sinfulness by tossing their own ethics aside, then denigrating ours.

Who is this woman to determine how obsolete my marriage is because another man became the focus of her life? She felt guilt, confessed, determined that it couldn’t possibly be her fault - so something was wrong with the system. Do away with the system, and her guilt could be erased.

There’s something seriously wrong with the logic that says, if it feels good, do it; if it feels wrong, change the rules.

How quickly we forget it was important enough to say twice:

There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death. (Proverbs 14:12; 16:25 KJV)

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Plus Eight

I know it’s hard to believe, but just this last week I discovered Jon and Kate. We watch little current TV, and never watch ‘reality’ shows. Basically, because they aren’t.

I did read
this MSNBC article about their pending divorce and was struck by one line:

“When the fifth season of the Gosselins' show premiered May 25, the couple admitted to having problems and not knowing where their relationship was headed.”

One of the biggest problems is that what they had was looked upon as a ‘relationship’, not a marriage.

And Adam said, This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man. Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh. (Genesis 2:23-24 KJV)

Marriage combines two people into one. It is not a friendship, nor any other relationship. It is designed to be a oneness, where what is best for one is best for both.

Let the husband render unto the wife due benevolence: and likewise also the wife unto the husband. The wife hath not power of her own body, but the husband: and likewise also the husband hath not power of his own body, but the wife. (1 Corinthians 7:3-4 KJV)

Marriage requires both to submit. A beautiful portrait of marriage starts with:

Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God. (Ephesians 5:21 KJV)

Many women balk at the following:

Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body. Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing. (Ephesians 5:22-24 KJV)

But, they shouldn’t. They are losing nothing by submitting to a husband who loves them as much as Christ does His church. Especially when that responsibility is defined:

Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; (Ephesians 5:25 KJV)

Paul repeats the Genesis example, then adds the fact that marriage is a great mystery:

For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh. This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the church. Nevertheless let every one of you in particular so love his wife even as himself; and the wife see that she reverence her husband. (Ephesians 5:31-33 KJV)

Do I argue with him? Do I disagree with him? Do I wish – and work – for him to be different? Absolutely!!! Yet, I reverence my Beloved Husband, and know that the same exists for him. Our prayer should be that these parents of eight precious miracles would do the same. May God be with this fractured family.

Monday, June 22, 2009

God's House


I visited another site that had a photo of a small church. It reminded me so much of a church built by my husband’s great-grandfather at Oakland, Missouri, near Lebanon. There aren’t as many trees nearby, but this is quite similar.

‘Keeping It Simple’ is also dedicated to sharing God’s love with a family. While few of us can have a church built, each of us can be part of building the church we attend. No church can continue without the membership doing their part.

More than two hundred verses speak of “the house of the Lord.” My favorite is:

I was glad when they said unto me, Let us go into the house of the LORD. (Psalms 122:1 KJV)

Our church doesn’t resemble the one above. It has more buildings, both are much larger. Ours is brick and metal, not wooden siding. They both display a cross – as a reminder of His sacrifice. They both are handicapped accessible – God is no respecter of persons.

Every member of every church has one thing in common:

For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; (Romans 3:23 KJV)

The only difference between us and non-believers is:

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

There is an open invitation – come, enjoy.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Glory!!!

I was glad when they said unto me, Let us go into the house of the LORD. (Psalms 122:1 KJV)

I understand David’s words. It is a blessing to be able to worship Him in a building set aside for that purpose.

And the priests could not enter into the house of the LORD, because the glory of the LORD had filled the LORD'S house. (2 Chronicles 7:2 KJV)


While we feel His presence, that’s something we haven’t experienced. I think the last time it’s mentioned as being seen here is:

And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. (Luke 2:9 KJV)

But the word is used another 156 times in the New Testament, a total of 371 verses in both.

And, we don’t have a clue as to what it is. Oh, we know how we use it today when speaking of someone’s renown, their fame or ambition achievement. We speak of it as great beauty, of splendor and combine it with honor and use it in song and worship when we praise God.

We just can’t imagine what those returning Jews saw at the temple’s completion. We cannot imagine what the shepherd’s saw that left them sore afraid.

Doesn’t really matter, either. Those of us who love, honor and give our God glory – whose names are written in the Lamb’s book of life -- will see the results described by John:

And the city had no need of the sun, neither of the moon, to shine in it: for the glory of God did lighten it, and the Lamb is the light thereof. (Revelation 21:23 KJV)

Awesome!!!

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Keyboards

Please excuse the spelling in the next line, but I need to show you what is happening to my keystrokes.

Pl.eazsxe esxcusxe the sxpel.l.ing in thisx l.ine, but it isx azn exazmpl.e ofv how crazy my k,eyboazrdc hazsx become. Hitting one k,ey cazusxesx two chazrazctersx to print.

OK, I’ll go back to correcting again.

Once, on a business trip to Taiwan my keyboard acted up – e, l and t didn’t work, at all. Somehow, I remember it as being easier to insert a missing letter than to take time to delete these extra ones. Either way, communication is slowed or misunderstood.

Misunderstandings are to be avoided, making communication one of the most important features of our lives. Misunderstand a recipe and it may end up inedible. Misunderstand an officer and it could mean a bit in jail.

Peter admonishes us to be ready to provide answers:

But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear: (1 Peter 3:15 KJV)

That means we must understand what we believe about God and be ready to explain why. I would venture to guess that we’re not doing a good job of that. And, I’d venture to guess that the natural inclination not to discuss religion nor politics has a lot to do with that.

Is religion discussed with those whose views disagree? Or is the subject avoided – religiously! How can we determine what and why we believe if we never look at alternatives? Is our religion only by memorization and rote? Or can we discuss the foundations of our beliefs in relation to others.

Job, a part of the Christian Old Testament and Jewish writings, was an Edomite. Not an Israelite. Ruth was of Moab, though she followed her mother-in-law into Israel. Esther was in Persia, and the name of God is not to be found in her story. What if any of these had not discussed religion or politics?

The book of Acts contains instances of combining religion with politics. To such an extent that: Then Agrippa said unto Paul, Almost thou persuadest me to be a Christian. (Acts 26:28 KJV)

Almost is not enough.

Some, when they hear the word of God react as Felix:

And as he reasoned of righteousness, temperance, and judgment to come, Felix trembled, and answered, Go thy way for this time; when I have a convenient season, I will call for thee. (Acts 24:25 KJV)

When will it be convenient?

Friday, June 19, 2009

In A Haystack

When I travel, I like to have something to do with my hands. Sometimes I bring along knitting, or a bit of crochet I’m working on. Oh, my computer accompanies me (obviously), but can’t use it in the car (astigmatism affects car sickness adversely) so knitting or sewing is good.

This time I brought a small hand sewing project along. After supper, we were relaxing – Beloved Husband with a good book, me getting out a needle and thread. Ooops!! The needle box spilled!!! A quick screech to BH and he was beside me looking for the couple of needles. Thank goodness they fit into their little slots and we knew exactly how many were missing. Two.

Ooops again, only one was found. So, there I am, looking for – and afraid of how I’ll find – the missing needle. To sit or step on it could be painful It remains among the missing.

We checked the dark coverlet – nothing. We checked to see if it stuck in my clothing – nothing. We checked the carpet – thank goodness this is a brand-new hotel and I didn’t mind getting up close and personal with the floor.

The area was much smaller than the proverbial haystack, but there was no needle to be found. We gave up. Not a good thing to do.

Christ doesn’t.

What man of you, having an hundred sheep, if he lose one of them, doth not leave the ninety and nine in the wilderness, and go after that which is lost, until he find it? (Luke 15:4 KJV)

He knew, for that was His job.

For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost. (Luke 19:10 KJV)

His parents didn’t give up either. Remember when He was twelve and remained behind in Jerusalem? His parents thought He was with others And when they found him not, they turned back again to Jerusalem, seeking him. (Luke 2:45 KJV)

They found Him, and everyone else can, too, for He is close.. 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)

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

So – the needle I’ll keep an eye open, still looking. As for Christ, I’ve found Him and would love to know you have, too.


ADDENDUM: Found the needle in less than twelve hours -- stuck in the bedskirt! See, it does pay to keep looking!!

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Homecoming

Here we are in Kiamichi Kountry – deer capital of the world, the sign says. Just a small town (population just over 2,500), more that twice the size of the one that holds our current zip code. The entire town will be celebrating Homecoming, and high school classes will be celebrating their annual reunions. There will be a parade Saturday, and Beloved Husband will be in it.

This is the big one for his class – 50th anniversary of their high school graduation. There were just about 40 classmates in his senior class. Twenty-nine, along with assorted spouses and a teacher or two, will attend the two days of planned activities. Friday they decorate a float for the parade, there are two lunches and one dinner, too.

We created a participation certificate, framed and ready to present at Saturday’s luncheon. Memories will be exchanged and mostly likely thousands of digital photos shot. As in years past, a good time will be had by all.

It is good to walk the old paths, the ones with memories – the Bible tells us to do so:

Thus saith the LORD, Stand ye in the ways, and see, and ask for the old paths, where is the good way, and walk therein, and ye shall find rest for your souls.

Unfortunately – that’s not all there is to the verse. It continues, as so often the story of mankind:

But they said, We will not walk therein. (Jeremiah 6:16 KJV)

So often the Bible tells us of God providing for His children, only to have them turn away from His word and walk their own paths. Solomon wrote it twice. For emphasis?

There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death. (Proverbs 14:12 KJV)

There is a way that seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death. (Proverbs 16:25 KJV)


We know that Christ, though seeing us walk the ways that lead to death, would reach out to protect us, to enfold us, to bring us to 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)

Would that we would heed His words. Would that we would, as the disciples did, marvel about Him:

But the men marvelled, saying, What manner of man is this, that even the winds and the sea obey him! (Matthew 8:27 KJV)

Instead, we find: But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Esaias saith, Lord, who hath believed our report? (Romans 10:16 KJV)

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Filters

Our central air system has filters. Filters are designed to keep dust and dirt from re-circulating through the house. When they are cleaned, it’s obvious how well they do their job.

Our vehicles have air filters, too. A bit of irony, since automobiles cause so much air pollution.

Speaking of which, when I was in Taiwan I saw hundreds of motorists on scooters, motorcycles, even in cars, wearing masks. They were designed to filter out the particles in the air from all of those vehicles.

Recent photos from Mexico, and older ones from Hong Kong, showed people wearing masks hoping to filter out the viruses for H1N1 and SARS.

Filters only work as good as their design. Well-designed filters keep out particles down to microscopic levels. If a filter was a foot square and had only one thread, it might keep a cat out, but any sized particles.

Did you think that example was a bit unrealistic? How about filtering out things that go into our minds? Often there isn’t even that one thread to keep out damaging particles.

The Bible tells us what should be in our minds:

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)

How many things are in our minds that do not pass those filters? How do we build a good filter?

Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee. (Psalms 119:11 KJV)

So shall I have wherewith to answer him that reproacheth me: for I trust in thy word. (Psalms 119:42 KJV)

Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path. (Psalms 119:105 KJV)


When we think we cannot do this filtering, when we believe the worst in our lives, Paul continued with this understanding of himself:

I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me. (Philippians 4:13 KJV)

Which is only confirmation of what Christ has promised to us all:

For with God nothing shall be impossible. (Luke 1:37 KJV)

Batteries Need Recharging?

It’s vacation time. School’s out and a great number of people are headed to a wide variety of places to ‘recharge their batteries.’ Just as our cell phones when batteries get low, people need to refill.

Constant use of batteries takes all their energy, and the schedules of our lives do the same. Vacations are a time of relaxation, of slowing down to view the world from a different perspective. In this economy, some of the trips are closer to home – some may be just staying at home, to the detriment of our travel industry! Whether far or near, they are, at the very least, a change of pace.

Retirees do not need – nor do they get – the same type vacation as the employed, but we still need that change of pace. A certain amount of recharging.

That same need exists for Christians, in a slightly different manner. We don’t need to travel, we just need to be talking with God and fellowshipping with His children.

That we are His children has been confirmed many times in His word:

But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: (John 1:12 KJV)

Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God. (Matthew 5:9 KJV)

The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God: (Romans 8:16 KJV)


According to His word, the early church spent a great deal of time together, with specific activities:

And they continued stedfastly in the apostles' doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers. (Acts 2:42 KJV)

For a Christian, the following is prayed for an unbeliever.

For this cause I bow my knees unto the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, Of whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named, That he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man; That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love, May be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God. (Ephesians 3:14-19 KJV)

When our batteries are fully charged with God’s love, we can pray that prayer with truth and love. And, that is a very good thing, for the Bible tells us:

The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much. (James 5:16 KJV)

What's The Price?

In today’s economy everyone is aware of price, the cost. We can no longer buy a pound of coffee – although the packaging is the same, the number of ounces has been lessened, to save the manufacturer money. The size of candy bars has taken a downward trend, too, to keep costs in line.

Price is a factor in everything we purchase. For a higher price we expect better quality and/or more quantity. Or, we do without something because of a higher price. Raise gasoline costs and travel decreases. Raise electrical costs and our homes get a bit warmer in the summer and colder in the winter.

Each of us determines what price we’ll pay. Our incomes limit the choices somewhat – most of us will not be considering Ferrari as we look at replacing our cars. Neither will we look at Rolex when we need a new timepiece. Although we appreciate the value of both, we look at other options.

What price, then, do we put on God? For those who have left Him behind, there was a point where they decided the price was too steep, the cost too high, to have Him in their lives.

Was it that first commandment?

And thou shalt love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might. (Deuteronomy 6:5 KJV)

Was there something in life that filled their heart, something they would not release to make room for God? If so, has that something continued to fill their heart – or is there now an emptiness?

In all honesty, it always is that first commandment. The one Christ confirmed as being the greatest:

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. (Matthew 22:37 KJV)

Selfishness is the price we put on God. Something fills our hearts and pushes Him out. For each person the choice of what fills God’s place in our lives is different. For that, a great price is paid, for He offers us eternity. That requires faith:

But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him. (Hebrews 11:6 KJV)

That faith is available from Him:

So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. (Romans 10:17 KJV)

The prophets used the phrase "hear the word of the Lord" 39 times in the Old Testament. John defined it in the New:

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. (John 1:1 KJV)

Find your own price. Then, please, hear the Word of the Lord.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Job

No – not about work, not a job. It’s Job, the book following Esther in the Bible, but most likely written before Exodus. It’s our Sunday School lesson this morning.

Before she was 50, my mother was diagnosed with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, commonly called Lou Gehrig’s disease. It is a progressive, non-curable, degenerative disease of the nerve system. Should the patient not die of complications, what is expected is choking to death as even the muscles to swallow cease to respond. Mom knew what to expect – her older brother died of the same disease. For more than twenty years, her body continued to fail, until a complication ended her life.

Rabbi Harold Kushner’s 1981 book “When Bad Things Happen to Good People” asks a question that has been around for millennia. The book of Job deals with this question, which we all face at one time or another.

After we learn where he lived, we learn that Job was a righteous man: There was a man in the land of Uz, whose name was Job; and that man was perfect and upright, and one that feared God, and eschewed evil. (Job 1:1 KJV)

Yet, he lost everything except his life, along with wife and friends who blamed him for all that had happened. Surely, they said, God is good and what has happened to you is your own fault. Out of the 42 chapters, most are words to make Job feel worse. He’s told, by his own wife: Dost thou still retain thine integrity? curse God, and die. (Job 2:9 KJV)

But the rest of the story confirms that the bad things were not Job’s fault. Yet the question lingered into Jesus’ time. When telling us to love everyone, He explained:

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)

The question lingered, and came up again to Jesus. It was asked about a specific incident:

There were present at that season some that told him of the Galilaeans, whose blood Pilate had mingled with their sacrifices. And Jesus answering said unto them, Suppose ye that these Galilaeans were sinners above all the Galilaeans, because they suffered such things? I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish. 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? I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish. (Luke 13:1-5 KJV)

Good things also happen to bad people, confirming that our earth is not perfect. Paul reminds us For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; (Romans 3:23 KJV)

And, just a few verses later confirms there’s much more than this truth But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. (Romans 5:8 KJV)

Knowing that God is just, we can answer that lingering question as Job did:

But he said unto her, Thou speakest as one of the foolish women speaketh. What? shall we receive good at the hand of God, and shall we not receive evil? In all this did not Job sin with his lips. (Job 2:10 KJV)

Perhaps we can come to the understanding that Job did, too:

Then Job answered the LORD, and said, I know that thou canst do every thing, and that no thought can be withholden from thee. (Job 42:1-2 KJV)

Saturday, June 13, 2009

What I Would Do

Non-believers point to hypocrites in the church, those who say they love God yet do not follow His words. When church leaders are caught breaking God’s commandments as well as men’s laws, their leadership is destroyed. There are examples across our world today, as there have been in ages past, that cause people to ask why serving God is so hard, if God is so good.

The answers are found in these verses – in some ways they appear to be a tongue-twisting paradox. And, the hardest truth is that all have sinned, and will do so again.

For that which I do I allow not: for what I would, that do I not; but what I hate, that do I.

That boils down to doing what I must, not what I want, to do. Then Paul explains this is the result of acknowledging the law:

If then I do that which I would not, I consent unto the law that it is good.

Just as we must, he understands that we live with sin within ourselves:

Now then it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me. For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing:

Even when we want to do good, have every desire to do good, the ability to do so is not there:

for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not.

It is so obvious that Paul is writing to make us understand that his desire to do good, just as our desire to do good, is overcome by the sin that is in all of us. The selfishness that dwells within all of us:

For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do. Now if I do that I would not, it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me.

We constantly battle within ourselves, striving to do what we know is good – good for us, good as told to us in God’s word:

I find then a law, that, when I would do good, evil is present with me. For I delight in the law of God after the inward man: But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members.

So it is that we love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, (Matthew 22:37b KJV)

While acknowledging that we struggle with sin:

O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death? I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord. So then with the mind I myself serve the law of God; but with the flesh the law of sin. (Romans 7:15-25 KJV)

Where, then is our hope? But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin. (1 John 1:7 KJV)

Friday, June 12, 2009

What God Has Done

God has done nothing to us, but miraculous things for us.

In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. (Genesis 1:1 KJV)

All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made. (John 1:3 KJV)

With all of this creation, we are prone to ask: What is man, that thou art mindful of him? (Psalms 8:4 KJV)

God made each of us, as Job knew: Thine hands have made me and fashioned me together round about; -- even as Job believed: yet thou dost destroy me. (Job 10:8 KJV) The Spirit of God hath made me, and the breath of the Almighty hath given me life. (Job 33:4 KJV)

God has made people laugh because of His promises: And Sarah said, God hath made me to laugh, so that all that hear will laugh with me. (Genesis 21:6 KJV)

The thing I appreciate the most: Thou hast also given me the shield of thy salvation: (2 Samuel 22:36a KJV)

We think we know His powers. Then when Mary was come where Jesus was, and saw him, she fell down at his feet, saying unto him, Lord, if thou hadst been here, my brother had not died. (John 11:32 KJV)

He goes beyond the limit we put on His powers, and He’s always with us. Jesus saith unto her, Said I not unto thee, that, if thou wouldest believe, thou shouldest see the glory of God? … And when he thus had spoken, he cried with a loud voice, Lazarus, come forth. (John 11:40, 43 KJV)

When we think upon what God has done for us, Therefore we ought to give the more earnest heed to the things which we have heard, lest at any time we should let them slip. (Hebrews 2:1 KJV)

Why? So we may say, with David, Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the LORD for ever. (Psalms 23:6 KJV)

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Long, long day!!

It’s been a long, long day for an elderly grammy! We left the house just after 7:30 this morning, and we got home just before 7:30 tonight. Not quite a twelve-hour day, but close enough to tire me.

Especially after a couple of broken-sleep nights. Tuesday night I woke up at 3:30 to an odd noise – come to find out the cat was playing with a tiny tree frog in our living room and den. By the time I got him out the front door, I was fully awake and couldn’t go back to bed.

Then last night there was a round of thunderstorms. I told my friend Jilly, who had complained a bit about rain in England, that I would trade her day of rain for our couple of hours of tornado warnings, 40 to 60 mph wind and the torrential rain that would accompany the hail. It was all that, and a bit more.

Then again this morning, another round of lightening and rain. We thought it would quit – but it didn’t We had two wonderful cars at Vacation Bible School this morning – a drag racer and a remodeled Model A. Wow, were the kids impressed. Each child was to get a personal photo of them with the car of their choice. But, it was raining.

Thank goodness Beloved Husband and our three children had built a covered area between the sanctuary and the gym several years ago. Both cars were able to park their hoods under the pass through and I took 223 photos – took each one of the children twice so we’d be certain to have a good shot (eyes open and a smile), along with some group shots. Then I printed out 96 photos for each of the children to put in a frame for their craft project for their parents.

Of course, we lost internet connection last night, and when we got home tonight, it was back. I did have a Bible reading from this morning, but I thought a personal note explaining a change in schedule would be more appropriate.

Especially when my postings for the next two weeks will be sporadic. Next week we head to my Beloved Husband’s home town to celebrate with 30+ of his high school classmates their 50th anniversary. I think the hotel might have wi-fi, but it is a very small town. I still have to get their participation certificates into their frames!!!

Then the following weekend we’re going to Beloved’s brother and family – along with about fifty other family members – four generations deep and lots of cousins – for their first family reunion. I’ve been trying to lightscribe disks, but the software doesn’t recognize the lightscribe drive – while the utility does recognize it. Ah, well, I can always get a felt tip pen and write “2009 Reunion, open the README.rft first!” twenty-five times!!

July should be quieter?

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Vacation Bible School is here again!!!!

Our Sunday morning service averages just under two hundred. You’ll understand, then, what a blessing it was to have 106 children in Vacation Bible School yesterday. We knew it would grow from the 100 we had Monday, and no one was disappointed.

From four years old through the elementary grades, there were two and a half hours of constant activity provided by about fifty volunteers – many taking vacation time from their jobs to be with these children. I’ll soon have photos up on my Multiply site – but wanted to wait until after today’s fantastic blow-up obstacle course – spires 22 feet in the air and over 80 feet long. Awesome!

All of this is based on commands from God’s word to teach children. Here are just a few verses commending us to teach:

And that ye may teach the children of Israel all the statutes which the LORD hath spoken unto them by the hand of Moses. (Leviticus 10:11 KJV)

And thou shalt love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might. And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart: And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up. (Deuteronomy 6:5-7 KJV)

And ye shall teach them your children, speaking of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, when thou liest down, and when thou risest up. (Deuteronomy 11:19 KJV)

But when Jesus saw it, he was much displeased, and said unto them, Suffer the little children to come unto me, and forbid them not: for of such is the kingdom of God. (Mark 10:14 KJV)

Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. (2 Timothy 2:15 KJV)

Anyone who has seen the light dawn in a child’s eye when understanding connects has truly been blessed. May you have the opportunity to do so, soon.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Abundantly

The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly. (John 10:10 KJV)

Did you notice wealth, health, happiness anywhere in that verse? Go to the Bible and read the surrounding verses if you think they are part of the promise.

What could be more abundant, more plentiful, greater quantity, than eternal life? That’s the promise to believers:

That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life. 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 3:15-16 KJV)

This concept, however, was – and still is – hard to understand and even harder to accept. Even then …

There was a division therefore again among the Jews for these sayings. And many of them said, He hath a devil, and is mad; why hear ye him? Others said, These are not the words of him that hath a devil. Can a devil open the eyes of the blind? (John 10:19-21 KJV)

Christ gave another opportunity. If those who could not believe His words, surely they could believe His works.

If I do not the works of my Father, believe me not. But if I do, though ye believe not me, believe the works: that ye may know, and believe, that the Father is in me, and I in him. (John 10:37-38 KJV)

Today we do not have His works around us, but we have the works of those who are called by His name.

Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works. (James 2:18 KJV)

There are many who will believe neither. Even the disciples had problems understanding:

Having eyes, see ye not? and having ears, hear ye not? and do ye not remember? …, How is it that ye do not understand? (Mark 8:18, 21 KJV)

Has God been asked for understanding? It’s been promised.

Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you: For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened. … 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 7:7-8,11 KJV)

Monday, June 8, 2009

Foundations

If the foundations be destroyed, what can the righteous do? (Psalms 11:3 KJV)

Excellent question, isn’t it? How about marriage? The foundation of marriage as defined in our country from its inception is being destroyed. Husband and wife are no longer part of the definition. Will those words disappear from our dictionaries except for mention as "archaic" usages pre-twenty-first century?

Other foundations are being destroyed, too. The act of praying in Jesus’ name is grounds for a lawsuit. His name must be offensive to a large number of people – except for those who take it in vain and use it as a curse word. There is no law against that.

When we consider how many of our nation’s religious foundations are being removed, undermined or denigrated, what can the righteous do?

The first thing is to continue reading God’s word. Some of the answer is in the verses around this one:

The LORD is in his holy temple, the LORD'S throne is in heaven: his eyes behold, his eyelids try, the children of men. (Psalms 11:4 KJV)

Are we, as supporters of the foundations we believe in, following God’s instructions?

I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men; For kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty. For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour; (1 Timothy 2:1-3 KJV)

Are we praying that the people we elect will soften their hearts to hear the words God has for them? Are we ready to accept that:

Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God. (Romans 13:1 KJV)

If you doubt that, count the times in the Bible that a sinful nation becomes a subjected nation.

What do we do in the meantime?

And this I pray, that your love may abound yet more and more in knowledge and in all judgment; That ye may approve things that are excellent; that ye may be sincere and without offence till the day of Christ; Being filled with the fruits of righteousness, which are by Jesus Christ, unto the glory and praise of God. (Philippians 1:9-11 KJV)

For restoration, we are not told to go fix someone else. We have other instructions:

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)

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Blessed?

Have you been blessed? In America it’s most likely you have, after sneezing. Several origins are given, though none go back to 77 AD when it was already in practice. Currently, it is "a socially recommended response," according to Wikipedia.

Or, perhaps you prepared the meal and when grace was given, “Bless the hands that prepared this food,” was included. Southerners often use a form of the word, “Bless my soul,” or “Bless his heart,” when nothing else comes to mind.

It has a specific meaning, and we should understand why and where it is used in the Bible. I like this paragraph from an
article written by Jim Forest:

"'Happy' isn't good enough," Rabbi Steven Schwarzschild once told me. "The biblical translator who uses such a word should change jobs, maybe write TV comedies with nice happy endings. The problem is that, if you decide you don't like 'blessed,' there isn't a single English word that can take its place. You might use a phrase like 'on the right track' or 'going in the right direction.' Sin, by the way, means being off the track, missing the target. Being 'blessed' means you aren't lost -- you're on the path the Creator intends you to be on. But what you recognize as a blessing may look like an affliction to an outsider. Exchanging 'blessed' for 'happy' trivializes the biblical word. You might as well sum up the Bible with a slogan like, 'Have a nice day'."

The root of 'happy' refers to luck, as in happenstance, haphazard, hapless -- a far cry from the holiness imparted in the Greek word makarios or the Hebrew baruk. Or the Hebrew ashre used in the first Psalm:

Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful. (Psalms 1:1 KJV)

When Christ said in Matthew 5:3-11:
(3) Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
(4) Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted.
(5) Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth.
(6) Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.
(7) Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy.
(8) Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God.
(9) Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.
(10) Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness' sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
(11) Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake.

He could not have meant that we would be happy when we were reviled and persecuted. We would however, be blessed as we grew in Christian understanding and remained on the path God intends for us.

As Jesus said: … blessed are they that hear the word of God, and keep it. (Luke 11:28b KJV)

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Complaint Department

I’m in the process of working with our Department of Labor to resolve two separate issues affecting my life. I tried working with the out-sourced companies, but their responses have not been informative and lack a bit in customer service.

A young couple made travel arrangements to celebrate their first wedding anniversary, including airline tickets, a small cruise package and hotel arrangements. Planning ahead, they did this months in advance, watching their limited budget. They did not think of planning for a jury duty that did not take their travel plans into consideration. Neither the airline nor cruise line responded to the government’s change in their plans, no refunds, lacking a bit in customer service.

As with the above examples, does it sometimes appear that God is lacking in “customer service” too? Do we complain to God, or about God? Do we hear His answers?

When Christ cried out … about the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani? that is to say, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me? (Matthew 27:46 KJV) He was not complaining about God’s absence, He was calling out to God for an answer. The resurrection was God’s response.

Job was able to complain to God: Therefore I will not refrain my mouth; I will speak in the anguish of my spirit; I will complain in the bitterness of my soul. (Job 7:11 KJV)

Though he was encouraged to curse God (complain about God) and die, Then said his wife unto him, Dost thou still retain thine integrity? curse God, and die. (Job 2:9 KJV), he was able to respond:

But he said unto her, Thou speakest as one of the foolish women speaketh. What? shall we receive good at the hand of God, and shall we not receive evil? In all this did not Job sin with his lips. (Job 2:10 KJV)

Sometimes it takes an effort on God’s part to get His message across to us. In Acts chapter 10, Peter was prepared to talk to God. He was not prepared for what God told him. While Cornelius heard and responded by traveling, …Peter doubted in himself what this vision which he had seen should mean, behold, the men which were sent from Cornelius had made enquiry for Simon's house, and stood before the gate, (Acts 10:17 KJV)

Three times the vision was given to Peter, and it still took Cornelius’ explanation before Peter understood:

Then Peter opened his mouth, and said, Of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons: But in every nation he that feareth him, and worketh righteousness, is accepted with him. (Acts 10:34-35 KJV)

As Isaiah said unto Hezekiah, Hear the word of the LORD. (2 Kings 20:16 KJV)

Friday, June 5, 2009

Aprons

An e-mail making the rounds tells the story of aprons. I wonder if people still have them – we have two, but seldom use them.

My mother and my mother-in-law used them to protect their dresses. Yes, they wore dresses at home during the day while they cleaned their houses. They cooked breakfast, prepared lunch and fixed dinner, wearing aprons to protect the house dresses.

The aprons usually had pockets, but if you needed to carry stuff it could be held up and used as a basket of sorts. It was used as hot pads, fans, brow wipers and even nose wipers.

Today someone would call the CDC when they realized how many germs might inhabit that apron.

Think of the Bible as an apron of sorts.

It protects much more than aprons protected housedresses. For thou hast been a shelter for me, (Psalms 61:3a KJV)

It helps to cleanse and keep. The LORD is longsuffering, and of great mercy, forgiving iniquity and transgression, and by no means clearing the guilty, (Numbers 14:18a KJV)

It comforts the very soul. When I said, My foot slippeth; thy mercy, O LORD, held me up. In the multitude of my thoughts within me thy comforts delight my soul. (Psalms 94:18-19 KJV)

It provides strength at all times. In God is my salvation and my glory: the rock of my strength, and my refuge, is in God. (Psalms 62:7 KJV)

It teaches many lessons. And Jesus, when he came out, saw much people, and was moved with compassion toward them, because they were as sheep not having a shepherd: and he began to teach them many things. (Mark 6:34 KJV)

It commands, too. 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 28:20 KJV)

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Security

For many years I felt secure in my salvation. I knew the verses, understood the doctrine. For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: (Ephesians 2:8 KJV)

I never lost my faith that God sent His Son, and why. 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)

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

For many years I leaned on those truths and waited. Wait on the LORD: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the LORD. (Psalms 27:14 KJV)

I neglected to Serve the LORD with gladness: come before his presence with singing. (Psalms 100:2 KJV)

There were several very good reasons for not attending church, thus ignoring 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)

Since no one saw a Christian witness in me, how could I be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear: (1 Peter 3:15b KJV)

There was in my heart, always, the knowledge that When thou art in tribulation, and all these things are come upon thee, even in the latter days, if thou turn to the LORD thy God, and shalt be obedient unto his voice; (For the LORD thy God is a merciful God;) he will not forsake thee, neither destroy thee, nor forget the covenant of thy fathers which he sware unto them. (Deuteronomy 4:30-31 KJV)

I was reminded The LORD is with you, while ye be with him; and if ye seek him, he will be found of you; but if ye forsake him, he will forsake you. (2 Chronicles 15:2 KJV)

It was up to me to return to Him, to enjoy His love before I could say aloud Come and hear, all ye that fear God, and I will declare what he hath done for my soul. (Psalms 66:16 KJV)

Giving thanks and prayers, tell others Blessed be the name of the LORD from this time forth and for evermore. From the rising of the sun unto the going down of the same the LORD'S name is to be praised. (Psalms 113:2-3 KJV)

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Mindfulness

Mindfulness is a new stress-reduction buzzword. CNN’s article describes mindfulness training. If we pay attention to God’s word, we’ll find that He provided that training much earlier:

Be ye mindful always of his covenant; the word which he commanded to a thousand generations; (1 Chronicles 16:15 KJV)

Kimberly Williams defined it as "Mindfulness means to pay full attention to what you are doing, moment by moment."

Sounds easy? It really is not, is it? Maybe for us, but not for God. The Psalmist tell us that God always pays attention to mankind, and wonders why:

What is man, that thou art mindful of him? and the son of man, that thou visitest him? (Psalms 8:4 KJV)

The LORD hath been mindful of us: he will bless us; he will bless the house of Israel; he will bless the house of Aaron. (Psalms 115:12 KJV)


And what do we get if we are mindful of Him?

He will bless them that fear the LORD, both small and great. The LORD shall increase you more and more, you and your children. Ye are blessed of the LORD which made heaven and earth. (Psalms 115:13-15 KJV)

Why are things different here on earth?

The heaven, even the heavens, are the LORD'S: but the earth hath he given to the children of men. (Psalms 115:16 KJV)

What have we done with it?

Because thou hast forgotten the God of thy salvation, and hast not been mindful of the rock of thy strength, therefore shalt thou plant pleasant plants, and shalt set it with strange slips: (Isaiah 17:10 KJV)

God continued sending His word to keep us mindful of Him:

That ye may be mindful of the words which were spoken before by the holy prophets, and of the commandment of us the apostles of the Lord and Saviour: (2 Peter 3:2 KJV)

So, as mindfulness comes to the forefront of current buzzwords, remember to pay full attention to Him, and remember that we are His.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Songs

Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord; (Ephesians 5:19 KJV)

I’ve just visited a blog extolling music as a mood enhancer from morning to night. One of the album shots used was of the Rochesters. Long time readers know how much I enjoy their music!!

But when I started to list what we’re listening to, there is a wide variety, but all is Christian music.

Not just the Rochesters, who visit our church each year around Easter and we gather visitors from fifty miles in every direction; the Hinkle Family that our church supports in their nursing home ministry; Michael Wiggins, who sang with his evangelism – and we miss now that he’s pastoring a church. Wonderful examples of Christian music!

From Exodus through Revelation, songs praise our Lord and we can lift our voices with them. So many of our favorite hymns are direct from scripture. They don’t have to be new, and they don’t have to be ancient. There are joyous examples found in young and old.

Take Mina Oglesby and her album of Fannie Crosby’s hymns. Now there’s a companion piece for all day. Through them we know we are “Saved By Grace” and “Redeemed” while giving “To God Be the Glory.” And that’s just a few.

Or you can spend time with the Best of Mark Lowry and hear him ask “Mary, Did You Know …” and telling us “I Don’t Belong.” But my favorite is the list of “Things To Do.” “Most of all, to share a father’s love.’

That’s what Jesus came to do. Share a father’s love. It’s the first verse we memorize as children:

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)

Well – maybe John 11:35 is really the first for children – but we all know that one!

There is one caveat – there is a Christian workout set of disks that we ladies have used for aerobics. They are marvelous playing while house cleaning, too. However, I suggest they NOT be played while driving. Not only is there a tendency to speed (not a good thing) but when you do pull up to stop signs, people look at you as though you are crazy as you tap the steering wheel to the beat!!

Monday, June 1, 2009

First Love

John writes so much of love. One of the first verses we teach children comes from him:

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)

We should never outgrow our love for this verse. John didn’t forget Jesus’ words. He wrote of Him again and again:

Hereby perceive we the love of God, because he laid down his life for us: and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren. (1 John 3:16 KJV)

It is John who explains the love Christians have for others:

That which we have seen and heard declare we unto you, that ye also may have fellowship with us: and truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ. (1 John 1:3 KJV)

It also is John who explains that some do not:

If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth: (1 John 1:6 KJV)

He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him. (1 John 2:4 KJV)

John gives us the very best of advice:

He that saith he abideth in him ought himself also so to walk, even as he walked. (1 John 2:6 KJV)

How can we walk as Jesus walked unless we spend time learning of Him, and why He was here? Or would Jesus speak to us as He to Peter:

And Jesus said, Are ye also yet without understanding? (Matthew 15:16 KJV)

John wrote of what he came to understand:

We are of God: he that knoweth God heareth us; he that is not of God heareth not us. Hereby know we the spirit of truth, and the spirit of error. (1 John 4:6 KJV)

After memorizing John 3:16, it would do well for us to memorize:

We love him, because he first loved us. (1 John 4:19 KJV)