Friday, July 31, 2009


SAD is a defined depression – Seasonal Affective Disorder. For centuries authors have used winter in their word pictures of sadness and depression. With SAD, a person may sleep too much, have little energy, and crave sweets and starchy foods. SAD appears to be related to light, has a higher rate of incidence in northern latitudes and even cloud cover may be related. SAD is found in otherwise mentally healthy individuals.

It is interesting to find such a disorder directly related to the sun, which has been the object of worship throughout history. Whether it was the Egyptian barge for Ra or the Greek chariot for Helios. Do not think this is confined to western culture – Chinese and Hindu mythologies include sun personifications, evidenced by references to Surya.

Medical discoveries of a relationship between sunburns and cancer has barely slowed the tanning along our own beaches as people enjoy their time in the sun.

But it has not always been so – and shall not always be.

And God said, Let there be light: and there was light. (Genesis 1:3 KJV)

That light was created by God for mankind. It was necessary – and remains necessary – for this earth to function. Without the full benefit of our sun, life on this planet would not exist. Yet it does not provide that same benefit for other planets in this solar system. We are situated “just right.”

There will come a time when that is not true. It has been foretold, and should not be ignored. The replacement, though, is simply awesome:

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)

That’s that same Lamb of God of whom it is written:

Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world. (John 1:29b KJV)

The same Lamb of God who cried over Jerusalem:

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)

The same Lamb of God who has been and will be the true light:

Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life. (John 8:12 KJV)

And some day will be our only light:

And there shall be no night there; and they need no candle, neither light of the sun; for the Lord God giveth them light: and they shall reign for ever and ever. (Revelation 22:5 KJV)

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Defense Systems

Interstate 40 bisects the state of Oklahoma as well as the capitol, Oklahoma City. It also pretty much bisects the United States, beginning in North Carolina and ending in southern California. It is one of the most successful defense programs of the US, the Dwight D. Eisenhower National System of Interstate and Defense Highways

Following World War I, Captain Dwight David Eisenhower stayed in the Army. One of the projects assigned to him in 1919 was to traverse the United States on the current highway system. The result was confirmation that troop movement would be difficult during an emergency. By the time World War II was over, troop movement from coast to coast had proven effective using trains, but the then General Eisenhower could see the advantage of a national highway system as part of this country’s defense. By 1952, then President Eisenhower was in a position to start what changed the face, and lifestyles, of America.

The Interstate System was designed to have straight stretches ever so many miles to be used as a landing strip for aircraft. It is a controlled access system. And, it has grown much larger than the original plans. Never used as a defensive mechanism, the system has been used to pump the growth of American goods – and international goods – across as well as down the US.

Until something goes wrong.

It did in 2002 along I-40 near Webbers Falls when a barge on the Arkansas River hit a bridge support and a portion of the roadway fell. There was no warning to traffic on the highway and several vehicles plunged into the river with deadly consequences. Once the danger became apparent, cars stopped, warning those behind them. Giving them the knowledge and opportunity to stop, and save their lives.

That’s what God requires of those who know Him.

Once the danger was made apparent, if the cars did not stop, it was out of the hands of those who warned. Ezekiel describes a similar situation:

Son of man, I have made thee a watchman unto the house of Israel: therefore hear the word at my mouth, and give them warning from me. When I say unto the wicked, Thou shalt surely die; and thou givest him not warning, nor speakest to warn the wicked from his wicked way, to save his life; the same wicked man shall die in his iniquity; but his blood will I require at thine hand. Yet if thou warn the wicked, and he turn not from his wickedness, nor from his wicked way, he shall die in his iniquity; but thou hast delivered thy soul. (Ezekiel 3:17-19)

Consider carefully the warnings given by God. There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death. (Proverbs 14:12)

Be a Berean: And the brethren immediately sent away Paul and Silas by night unto Berea: who coming thither went into the synagogue of the Jews. 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 17:10-11)

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

e-Sword Revised

A couple of facts:

Two very nice Filipino Christian girls read my blog. They often write in Tagalog.

e-Sword offers a Tagalog version of the Bible. And, a new version 9.0.3, updating the entire application.

I would love to post Tagalog verses for Gift and Glad, but it would be necessary to update to version 9. That meant downloading all the different Bible verses and reloading them. Let me assure you, it’s worth it!

Naturally, the screens appear updated, and there are a couple of layout changes that focus more on scriptures than on finding them. Looking up scriptures is a quick click, no more scrolling up and down through open books by chapter. Simply click on a Bible icon, select the book, chapter and verse. Easy!!

It’s just as easy to do a comparison of all versions on a single verse, and a parallel with as many as four versions.

The majority of the versions are free. There is a charge for Amplified Bible, NASB, NIV, NKJV, NRSV and RSV – but those run about $15 to $20 for the soft copies. For me, I’m quite content to enjoy the King James Version that comes with the initial setup.

Rick Meyers, creator of e-Sword, has a verse that gives his views on the cost:

freely ye have received, freely give. (Matthew 10:8b KJV)

Mr. Meyers has given us a tool to use in Bible study that is not only free, but virtually unmatched in its ability to search the scriptures, provide a commentary and display a dictionary at the same time. Awesome!

And, each time a Bible is downloaded and read, God’s promise is fulfilled:

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)

Or, as it is read in Tagalog:

Magiging gayon ang aking salita na lumalabas sa bibig ko: hindi babalik sa akin na walang bunga, kundi gaganap ng kinalulugdan ko, at giginhawa sa bagay na aking pinagsuguan. (Isaiah 55:11 TAB)

Or, in Spanish:

así será mi palabra que sale de mi boca, no volverá a mí vacía sin haber realizado lo que deseo, y logrado el propósito para el cual la envié. (Isaiah 55:11 LBLA)

Oh, yes – I forgot to mention to maps – even shots from NASA. Don’t miss out on this free tool.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

"If You Only Knew"

Another song from Saturday was originally from the Rochester Family, “If You Only Knew.” When looking for the lyrics, I found the Rochester Family video on YouTube. There were related videos of the family there, too. I sure wished then that I had better speakers on my computer!

In case you don’t get to hear it, the song speaks of someone wanting their loved ones to know that prayers were answered. They are no longer ill. But instead of the healing expected, they went home to be with the Lord in heaven.

Except for Christ’s return after his resurrection, there’s not a Bible story that speaks of someone returning. There is, however, the story of someone wanting to return – or at least send a message.

Luke tells the story of the beggar Lazarus. He certainly didn’t want to return. The rich man didn’t end up in the same place, but he could see Lazarus:

And it came to pass, that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels into Abraham's bosom: the rich man also died, and was buried; And in hell he lift up his eyes, being in torments, and seeth Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom. (Luke 16:22-23 KJV)

Water. Just a touch of water on his lips, was his request: And he cried and said, Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus, that he may dip the tip of his finger in water, and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame. (Luke 16:24 KJV)

Abraham explained that could not be done: And beside all this, between us and you there is a great gulf fixed: so that they which would pass from hence to you cannot; neither can they pass to us, that would come from thence. (Luke 16:26 KJV)

Apparently the rich man loved his family, for: Then he said, I pray thee therefore, father, that thou wouldest send him to my father's house: For I have five brethren; that he may testify unto them, lest they also come into this place of torment. (Luke 16:27-28 KJV)

He plead again, but the answer remained the same as: Abraham saith unto him, They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them. And he said, Nay, father Abraham: but if one went unto them from the dead, they will repent. (Luke 16:29-30 KJV)

Abraham knew that those who would believe do so, and those who will not cannot be convinced:
And he said unto him, If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded, though one rose from the dead. (Luke 16:31 KJV)

And, they have not. Christ rose from the dead – having told before hand that he would, and having fulfilled numerous prophecies. Today He is often ignored or His followers dealt with in derision.

May we never hear the cry from someone we know: And he cried and said, Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus, that he may dip the tip of his finger in water, and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame. (Luke 16:24 KJV)

Monday, July 27, 2009

Small Tasks

It’s much easier to accomplish a small task than a huge one. “Clean the house,” is often too daunting to even start. An experienced cleaner knows that it cannot be accomplished without a lot of work, and that there will be interruptions.

So, the best thing to do is divide the tasks and/or the time. Complete a single task in a single room, or set a specific time then move on to something else.

But never overlook the small tasks that can be easily accomplished.

Our churches ask each of us for some small tasks. Attending services is one. They ask that we come for an hour each Sunday and some ignore them. Yet others find time to attend Sunday School as well as morning services, evening services, visitation, prayer meetings, choir practice and a score of other church activities while some ignore each and every one of them.

Christ’s disciples accomplished some tremendous tasks, but they also completed some small ones based on faith. The first one mentioned in the sermon last was Mark 11:1-6. Christ sent them for a colt. They didn’t know the owners, just directions to where it was and what to say:

And if any man say unto you, Why do ye this? say ye that the Lord hath need of him; (Mark 11:3a KJV)

The went, found, took, answered the question And they brought the colt to Jesus, and cast their garments on him; and he sat upon him. (Mark 11:7 KJV)

Jesus then rode into Jerusalem on what we commemorate as Palm Sunday.

The next illustration in the sermon was Luke 5:1-6. Again a small task is requested:

Now when he had left speaking, he said unto Simon, Launch out into the deep, and let down your nets for a draught. (Luke 5:4 KJV)

For a fisherman, it was a very small task He set for them to do. But the work was over, the boats had been brought to the shore, the nets were being washed And Simon answering said unto him, Master, we have toiled all the night, and have taken nothing: (Luke 5:5a KJV)

Why keep on trying when it was for nothing? Nothing to show for a night’s work, no reason to comply with the request for nets. Yet Peter accomplished this small task, nevertheless at thy word I will let down the net. (Luke 5:5b KJV)

Please note, though, that Christ asked for nets and Peter responded with a net. But that changed, quickly.

And when they had this done, they inclosed a great multitude of fishes: and their net brake. And they beckoned unto their partners, which were in the other ship, that they should come and help them. And they came, and filled both the ships, so that they began to sink. (Luke 5:6-7 KJV)

This allowed Peter to write: For we have not followed cunningly devised fables, when we made known unto you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses of his majesty. (2 Peter 1:16 KJV)

Sunday, July 26, 2009

What I Would Want You To Know

Early Saturday morning, Beloved Husband baked a couple of cakes. Before 11:00, he took them to the church. The Benevolence Committee took them, and dozens of other dishes, to set out for the family. The funeral was at 1:00, and our church provides a meal for the family each time.

It’s a small offering we give to the family to let them know there is support and prayer as they go through grieving their loss. Just a simple service each of us can perform to acknowledge their loss and our support.

This couple had been married 62 years. Would soon have celebrated their 63rd wedding anniversary. Instead, we celebrated her life, and her home going.

Based on her health, they had prepared an obituary, and had written a short history to share with family and friends. It did not address what we knew as their love and care, for these last years she had been confined to a wheelchair, and he had cared for her physically as well as with his heart.

The heart of her husband doth safely trust in her, so that he shall have no need of spoil. She will do him good and not evil all the days of her life. (Proverbs 31:11-12 KJV)

Her children arise up, and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praiseth her. (Proverbs 31:28 KJV)

It was the virtuous woman, priced above rubies, that our pastor used in scriptures for her service. And, did so appropriately.

The music spoke of eventual reunion: “Shall We Gather At The River” And he shewed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding out of the throne of God and of the Lamb. (Revelation 22:1 KJV)

She answered Christ’s question in John 6:67 just as Peter did, as we all do who love Him and follow:

Then Simon Peter answered him, Lord, to whom shall we go? thou hast the words of eternal life. And we believe and are sure that thou art that Christ, the Son of the living God. (John 6:68-69 KJV)

So, I’m looking at what I would say to those who attend my funeral. What would I want you to know above all else? This:

Oh that my words were now written! oh that they were printed in a book! That they were graven with an iron pen and lead in the rock for ever! For I know that my redeemer liveth, and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth: And though after my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God: (Job 19:23-26 KJV)

Ye have heard how I said unto you, I go away, and come again unto you. If ye loved me, ye would rejoice, because I said, I go unto the Father: for my Father is greater than I. (John 14:28 KJV)

We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord. (2 Corinthians 5:8 KJV)

For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known. (1 Corinthians 13:12 KJV)

Saturday, July 25, 2009

One World

Many support the concept of a one-world government. Unfortunately, many of them are Americans actively working toward that end. Judges considered for the Supreme Court advocate including international law in considering our constitutional questions.

Walter Conkrite was openly in favor of a one-world government under the auspices of the United Nations. He desired the UN to make law and to have the military forces to enforce those laws. In 1999 when he accepted the Norman Cousiins Global Governance Award, given by the World Federalists Association, he is quoted as saying: ”Pat Robertson has written in a book a few years ago that we should have a world government, but only when the Messiah arrives. He wrote, literally, any attempt to achieve world order before that time must be the work of the devil. Well, join me. I'm glad to sit here at the right hand of Satan”

Conkrite was "mainstream media." Journalists hold him as the example of what to be. Unfortunately, it is the example of how to influence people, not how to report facts and keep them separate from personal ideology.

It would help American to have the same separation of journalism/state as is required for religion/state. Today’s Fourth Estate frowns as equally upon the political leaders of our nation as it does on religion and common people. It is obvious they “know what’s best for all”, for they continually tell us so. The media works to shapes public opinion, and does not understand when that opinion differs from what has been published.

A one-world government is coming. Pat Robertson is wrong to think otherwise. It may not be created by, but will be led by the anti-Christ and is just as real as the death of Christ on the cross. Is it well for Christians to pray, as Christ prayed, that this cup pass -- but we must also be prepared, as He was, to accept God's plan. To deny its coming would be to deny prophecy.

The key is preparation. Work with the Holy Spirit to reach souls. Be the watchman Ezekiel was told to be -- tell them the prophecies. And, be prepared to shake dust off when it is time. Also, be aware that we don't know what time there is. Use what we have to do follow instructions given to us:

Either how canst thou say to thy brother, Brother, let me pull out the mote that is in thine eye, when thou thyself beholdest not the beam that is in thine own eye? Thou hypocrite, cast out first the beam out of thine own eye, and then shalt thou see clearly to pull out the mote that is in thy brother's eye. (Luke 6:42)

Be certain of your own adherence to God’s will in your life. He will lay before you the work to be done. Isaiah 49:8 is quoted by Paul to explain that today is the day of salvation:

(For he saith, I have heard thee in a time accepted, and in the day of salvation have I succoured thee: behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation.) (2 Corinthians 6:2)

When speaking of those last days, Jesus gave us a warning. We would do well to heed it:

And as he sat upon the mount of Olives, the disciples came unto him privately, saying, Tell us, when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world? And Jesus answered and said unto them, Take heed that no man deceive you. (Matthew 24:3-4)

Friday, July 24, 2009


The MSNBC article “Downturn Spurs Latinos To Leave” confirms that many people are not coming to the United States because they want to be here, they are afraid of the alternative.

Some church members are in the same boat.

Some people are afraid of hell, so they turn to the church to keep them from going there. But, feel the rules and regulations hem them in and are not providing the life they seek. That’s understandable.

Christ is not the way to stay away from hell. Instead, He said:

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

Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me hath everlasting life. (John 6:47 KJV)

Those are very positive statements that tell us that Christ is the way to everlasting life. We’re also told that it is an abundant life:

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)

His words caused arguments then, just as they cause arguments now:

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 10:20-21 KJV)

An atheist stated, “I deny the 'possible existence of God.' I do not have to prove that I am right; however, if you believe that I am wrong then prove it!” as though it is up to a Christian to prove God exists. Sorry, that’s not how it works.

Perhaps I’ve missed something, but as I read God’s commandments, it is not the responsibility of any believer to prove anything to another person. It never has been our responsibility to do more than Ezekiel’s watchman:

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

Back to the original paragraph, I would say to the “Latino” as I would to the atheist – come, learn what it is to be at home and content. Paul found how to do so, and it is open to all of us.

…: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content. (Philippians 4:11 KJV)

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Fly With Me

It seems as though my favorite hymns are based on scriptures:

Some glad morning when this life is over, I'll fly away
To that home on God's celestial shore, I'll fly away
I'll fly away oh glory
I'll fly away (in the morning)
When I die hallelujah by and by
I'll fly away

And I said, Oh that I had wings like a dove! for then would I fly away, and be at rest. (Psalms 55:6 KJV)

David wrote this when he needed God close to him:

Give ear to my prayer, O God; and hide not thyself from my supplication. Attend unto me, and hear me: I mourn in my complaint, and make a noise; (Psalms 55:1-2 KJV)

It was as though he had no hope, that he was reaching out for God, but could not feel Him:

Fearfulness and trembling are come upon me, and horror hath overwhelmed me. (Psalms 55:5 KJV)

Those things cannot be when we are in God’s will and He is directing our paths. When we are not and we have left His side, we know it, even as David did, and knew how to fix it:

As for me, I will call upon God; and the LORD shall save me. (Psalms 55:16 KJV)

The process includes:

Cast thy burden upon the LORD, and he shall sustain thee: he shall never suffer the righteous to be moved. (Psalms 55:22 KJV)

But we keep those burdens. We hold on to them, groom them, nurture them and they grow so big that we think God cannot possible handle them. Well, forget that, He can:

Ah Lord GOD! behold, thou hast made the heaven and the earth by thy great power and stretched out arm, and there is nothing too hard for thee: (Jeremiah 32:17 KJV)

Forget that and carry those burdens forever, alone, tired and without hope. Not me. I may carry a few for a bit because self-pity that I’ve become used to, but there’s no reason to make carrying those burdens my life’s work. I’ve answered Christ’s call:

Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light. (Matthew 11:28-30 KJV)

Hey!!! That’s another of my favorite hymns!!!

Hear the blessed Savior calling the oppressed,
“Oh, ye heavy-laden, come to Me and rest;
Come, no longer tarry, I your load will bear,
Bring Me every burden, bring Me every care.”
Come unto Me, I will give you rest;
Take My yoke upon you, hear Me and be blest;
I am meek and lowly, come and trust My might;
Come, My yoke is easy, and My burden’s light.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Do the Word

There was a bit of animosity. Hurtful words wounded feelings, and it was apparent, at least within the family.

My mother-in-law mentioned it, but I could agree with her then simply ignore the comment. It is expected that MiLs will interfere and everyone knows they can be ignored.

When we returned home that week my Mom mentioned it, too. Not a problem, I had been ignoring her advice for a long time. Besides, she agreed that there was fault on both sides. She did mention, however, that the other person would never make the first move; that it was up to me to step forward and find resolution. Well, I’d think about.

Then Sunday of that same week the pastor preached on forgiveness.

Do you get the idea that God was trying to tell me something? Well, only if God is real and speaks to His children.

Because we believe He is, and because we’ve experienced examples of His work in our lives, we heed the word of the Lord. He has been specific is what is important. Matthew 22:37, Mark 12:30 and:

And he answering said, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbour as thyself. (Luke 10:27 KJV)

Without following this commandment we would be as those the Bible speaks of as doing right in one’s own eyes. Moses said the children of Israel would learn not to do so:

Ye shall not do after all the things that we do here this day, every man whatsoever is right in his own eyes. (Deuteronomy 12:8 KJV)

Instead, they were told:

When thou shalt hearken to the voice of the LORD thy God, to keep all his commandments which I command thee this day, to do that which is right in the eyes of the LORD thy God. (Deuteronomy 13:18 KJV)

Almost immediately, they forgot. We’re told a couple of times in Judges that … every man did that which was right in his own eyes. (Judges 17:6b KJV)

The result of which is found in Judges 2:11, 3:7, 3:12, 4:1, 6:1, 10:6, 13:1: And the children of Israel did evil.

God’s law did not change from the time Moses gave it to the time Christ confirmed it. It has been explained, discussed, followed and ignored for thousands of years, but it remains. As do the words Moses used to explain it and tell us to do it:

For this commandment which I command thee this day, it is not hidden from thee, neither is it far off. It is not in heaven, that thou shouldest say, Who shall go up for us to heaven, and bring it unto us, that we may hear it, and do it? Neither is it beyond the sea, that thou shouldest say, Who shall go over the sea for us, and bring it unto us, that we may hear it, and do it? But the word is very nigh unto thee, in thy mouth, and in thy heart, that thou mayest do it. (Deuteronomy 30:11-14 KJV)

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Sewing, Again

I’m sewing. I don’t do that often, and if you’re very good at it, you may stop reading right now.

I have learned how to rip out a row of very carefully planned and put in place stitches. Seam rippers are handy little gadgets!! The first time I used it today was because I had one wrong side and one right side together. Ooops.

The next time it was only one short seam because one of the six layers slipped out. Who would have thought that pinning, then basting would still allow a length of several inches to slip away from the edge? Okay, so the original pinning didn’t take into consideration the pull elastic would have.

The material isn’t helping me at all. I shaped it, I knew what I wanted to do with it, but it didn’t cooperate. It appeared to have a mind of it’s own. It can’t see what my plans might be, it just goes back to what it was.

I am so grateful that God has much more patience with me. Many times He’s had to bring me back into His will because I thought I could do without Him, or thought that He was too busy for me.

I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvellous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well. My substance was not hid from thee, when I was made in secret, and curiously wrought in the lowest parts of the earth. Thine eyes did see my substance, yet being unperfect; and in thy book all my members were written, which in continuance were fashioned, when as yet there was none of them. How precious also are thy thoughts unto me, O God! how great is the sum of them! (Psalms 139:14-17 KJV)

I, too, am wonderfully made. His eyes saw my substance, too, when He fashioned me. I stand in awe at the sum of His thoughts.

Peter was just as wonderfully made. Christ saw not only Peter’s substance, He fashioned it, He knew exactly what Peter would do, and told him about it:

And the Lord said, Simon, Simon, behold, Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat: But I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not: and when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren. And he said unto him, Lord, I am ready to go with thee, both into prison, and to death. And he said, I tell thee, Peter, the cock shall not crow this day, before that thou shalt thrice deny that thou knowest me. (Luke 22:31-34 KJV)

Peter heard this, had the choice not to deny Christ – just as we have the choice – yet Christ’s prophecy was fulfilled:

And the Lord turned, and looked upon Peter. And Peter remembered the word of the Lord, how he had said unto him, Before the cock crow, thou shalt deny me thrice. And Peter went out, and wept bitterly. (Luke 22:61-62 KJV)

Will our choices cause us to weep bitterly, too?

Monday, July 20, 2009


To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:
time to be born, and a time to die; (Ecclesiastes 3:1-2)

Her husband died last month of cancer. The family knew death was approaching, but how would they cope? A wife, son 18, daughter 8 – how do they continue?

Not as expected.

The call came during morning worship services yesterday. It was muted, with office doors closed, but so unexpected since everyone knew the service schedule. During the invitation the pastor was handed a note, and he made the announcement before the closing prayer.

The call was a plea from this same family, who spent their Saturday, and night, at the hospital with the son breathing only on life support. The call was for the pastor to come, be with them while they faced the decision of turning off that support. According to the doctors, that was only a matter of timing, not of whether.

I know the daughter from our Wednesday night children’s program. Along with more than fourscore other children, I’ve checked her attendance, given her refreshments, and hugged her time and again along the way. Since yesterday, I spend time praying for her and her mother.

It is they, not I, who must find their own comfort in the future. And, there are circumstances that will make that journey difficult. The path of grief is lonely, no matter how many people wish to walk together.

How best to help? I think Paul sets us on the right path:

Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves. Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates? (2 Corinthians 13:5)

It is my responsibility as a Christian to be certain I minister to this family in faith, biblically. According to James:

Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world. (James 1:27)

James also tells us not to waver in this:

If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him. But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed. (James 1:5-6)

Let us not waver.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Forgive and Forget?

Should we forgive and forget? There are a couple of illustrations I’d like to consider.

Then came Peter to him, and said, Lord, how oft shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? till seven times? (Matthew 18:21 KJV)

The Bible doesn’t say, but I’ve wondered if there might have been a bit of sibling rivalry between Peter and Andrew. That shows up, even a little bit, in most families. The next verse gives Christ’s answer, but the illustration He gave in verses 23-35 gives the larger meaning.

If His answer is taken to mean that we should forgive always, there’s a piece missing.

But the same servant went out, and found one of his fellowservants, which owed him an hundred pence: and he laid hands on him, and took him by the throat, saying, Pay me that thou owest. (Matthew 18:28 KJV)

The forgiven servant had not changed. There were times Jesus reminded people:

Afterward Jesus findeth him in the temple, and said unto him, Behold, thou art made whole: sin no more, lest a worse thing come unto thee. (John 5:14 KJV)

She said, No man, Lord. And Jesus said unto her, Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more. (John 8:11 KJV)

For if we sin wilfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins, (Hebrews 10:26 KJV)

Zacchaeus changed:

And Zacchaeus stood, and said unto the Lord; Behold, Lord, the half of my goods I give to the poor; and if I have taken any thing from any man by false accusation, I restore him fourfold. (Luke 19:8 KJV)

The rich young man did not:

But when the young man heard that saying, he went away sorrowful: for he had great possessions. (Matthew 19:22 KJV)

There are times when the possessions are not wealth but are damaging habits. The verse could read differently for each one of us. Whatever we put in front of God will cause us to go away from Him sorrowful.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

"Daughter of Time"

The current president of Iran, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, states openly that Israel "must be wiped off the map." In 2005 he also stated "Some European countries insist on saying that Hitler killed millions of innocent Jews in furnaces.... Although we don't accept this claim…"

People continually rewrite history to fit personal beliefs.

Josephine Tey published such a book in 1951, the last of her books. "Daughter of Time" is about Inspector Grant’s ability to judge character in those he interviews. He is given a portrait, studies the subject and determines the man’s character, only to discover that it is a portrait of Richard III. The title comes from the Bertolt Brecht play in which Galileo proclaims: "Truth is the daughter of time, not of authority."

Tey, herself, was a woman of multiple names. Growing up as Elizabeth MacKintosh in Scotland, her favorite penname was Gordon Daviot and wrote her detective novels as Josephine Tey.

So, what is true, and what is not?

That question is asked so often about the Bible. What is true? Scholars study minutiae when using it’s words to determine whether it is or not. Many passages were deemed unworthy, additions out of context – until the Dead Sea Scrolls were discovered. Some are copies of Bible verses dating before 100 AD (or BCE if that offends you.) There are fragments from every book of the Old Testament except Esther. Today scholars are reconsidering theories, based on these discoveries.

Not one of the writings in these scrolls refutes what the Bible says about itself. Since they were written before Christ, they do not include the words:

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)

But, Paul is talking about the very scriptures in the Dead Sea Scrolls – those handed down since the time of Moses, and added to under specific circumstances:

For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost. (2 Peter 1:21)

What should we do with these word from God? We’re given examples by the Bereans:

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)

Where is your Daughter of Time. Are you of Thessalonica or Berea? Will you receive the word with an open mind and search the scriptures to see if these things are so?

Friday, July 17, 2009


People fear death. Some fear it to such an extent that there is no discussion of wills, funeral services or grave sites. At death, which must come to all of us, families are left to make decisions without knowing preferences.

Except for a couple of biblical references (Enoch and Elijah), death is as natural as life. It is a journey we begin when we were conceived. For most of us, we will stand beside the gravesides of loved ones multiple times.

Often we will not understand. Whether it is the suffering before hand, the age of the departed, the timing, we simply will not understand. Yet, we can find comfort in His word:

Precious in the sight of the LORD is the death of his saints. (Psalms 116:15 KJV)

According to Paul, that would include me.

To all that be in Rome, beloved of God, called to be saints: Grace to you and peace from God our Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ. (Romans 1:7 KJV)

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)

And many other verses where Paul indicates that the members of Christ’s church are the Lord’s saints.

Unto the church of God which is at Corinth, to them that are sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints, with all that in every place call upon the name of Jesus Christ our Lord, both theirs and ours: (1 Corinthians 1:2 KJV)

So, we discuss death, just as we discuss religion. Those subjects some regard as unspeakable. They are intertwined. For the Christian, death brings life:

So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory. (1 Corinthians 15:54 KJV)

Paul puts this in front of all who read his letters – on the one hand:

For if the dead rise not, then is not Christ raised: And if Christ be not raised, your faith is vain; ye are yet in your sins. Then they also which are fallen asleep in Christ are perished. If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable. (1 Corinthians 15:16-19 KJV)

On the other hand, what we believe:

But now is Christ risen from the dead (1 Corinthians 15:20a KJV)

And, believing, we can agree with Paul:

O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory? … But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. (1 Corinthians 15:55, 57 KJV)

Thursday, July 16, 2009


Let us supposed, for just a moment, that you are doing what God has told you to do.

You were born in 1866. By age 21, you earned the right to be the editor of the weekly paper in your hometown. By age 26 you’ve given your heart to Christ, listened to His call and replied, “Here am I Lord, send me.” And, He did so.

You’ve been leading a congregation since 1903, reading His word to them and expounding on messages He has for their daily lives. They have responded, and have drawn closer to His word and His ways. You feel blessed.

Then, it’s gone. Your voice is almost gone. Your health is gone. Thirteen years after being ordained, you can no longer stand behind a pulpit.

How would you then address God?

Just below the titles in songbooks there are usually two names. The one on the left is the lyricist, the poet. The one on the right is the musician, the songwriter. Sometimes the names are the same, most often they are not. Take a look at “Great Is Thy Faithfulness.” Or, and I’ll bet this one is in your hymnal too, “Living For Jesus.”

We’ve looked at Jonah, who first ran from God then preached His message. We’re told that the king and his people repented:

And he caused it to be proclaimed and published through Nineveh by the decree of the king and his nobles, saying, Let neither man nor beast, herd nor flock, taste any thing: let them not feed, nor drink water: But let man and beast be covered with sackcloth, and cry mightily unto God: yea, let them turn every one from his evil way, and from the violence that is in their hands. (Jonah 3:7-8 KJV)

Jeremiah was given God’s message, too:

Then the LORD put forth his hand, and touched my mouth. And the LORD said unto me, Behold, I have put my words in thy mouth. (Jeremiah 1:9 KJV)

Just as one missionary we know, Jeremiah was to be without a family:

The word of the LORD came also unto me, saying, Thou shalt not take thee a wife, neither shalt thou have sons or daughters in this place. (Jeremiah 16:1-2 KJV)

For more than 40 years he preached to an unrepentant people, imprisoned and punished. He wrote his story in the book Jeremiah, but he also wrote the poetry Lamentations, full of sadness. Except for a portion of it used centuries later by Thomas O. Chisholm:

They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness. (Lamentations 3:23 KJV)

Great is Thy faithfulness!
Great is Thy faithfulness!
Morning by morning new mercies I see.
All I have needed Thy hand hath provided;
Great is Thy faithfulness, Lord, unto me!
(Thomas Obediah Chisholm)

Wednesday, July 15, 2009


A recent divorcee was speaking of a meeting that morning. She and her lawyer met with her ex and his lawyer. The meeting was called to discuss specific items that her ex was demanding. As she finished, she summed the meeting: “Nothing changed. Every thing he said he would be asking for was never came up. Everything we agreed upon was what we were already doing. Of course, he might tell it differently.”

And, she’s right. We hear what we want to hear out of conversations. We go into meetings, into marriages, into life, with preconceived notions that can only be changed through study and understanding.

Reading stories that I’ve known for decades, there are still details I now find that I’ve missed before.

As a child I heard about three servants who received a pound from their master – and returned to him twenty, ten and his own one pound upon his return.

And he called his ten servants, and delivered them ten pounds, and said unto them, Occupy till I come. (Luke 19:13 KJV)

First off, Luke says ten servants were given ten pounds. Where did I miss those other seven as I focused on the outcome of three? Perhaps the focus was on the two who said:

Then came the first, saying, Lord, thy pound hath gained ten pounds. (Luke 19:16 KJV)

And the second came, saying, Lord, thy pound hath gained five pounds. (Luke 19:18 KJV)

Or, maybe on the object lesson the teachers usually put forth:

And another came, saying, Lord, behold, here is thy pound, which I have kept laid up in a napkin: For I feared thee, because thou art an austere man: thou takest up that thou layedst not down, and reapest that thou didst not sow. (Luke 19:20-21 KJV)

Fear kept this third servant from doing anything. He never knew what he could do for he never tried.

I’ve missed a good object lesson in: Occupy till I come. (Luke 19:13 KJV)

They were never told what to do other than to keep themselves occupied – assumedly in their regular, every day activities. Well, except for one other verse in there:

But his citizens hated him, and sent a message after him, saying, We will not have this man to reign over us. (Luke 19:14 KJV)

The ‘nobleman’ of verse 12 was disliked. Just as God is disliked. Just as His servants are disliked. Have been since time began. Those who love God appear to be in a minority in this world. Or, are they as the quiet seven servants who did not received attention in these verses.

Oh, two did outstandingly. One feared. But seven of the servants occupied and were never mentioned again.

Where do we stand in our occupation?

Tuesday, July 14, 2009


There are times when Christians do not jump out of their beds in the morning praising God and looking forward to a wonderful day.

Oh, the praising God part is easy. It’s the wonderful day that sometimes gets us down. Especially when we’re dragging ourselves out of bed when we don’t want to. How much simpler it would be just to drag the covers up over our ears and ignore the calls of the … well, the things that must be done.

It would be so much simpler to stay there and thank God for the things He’s done for us in the past, count those many blessings that we’ve come to appreciate so much. Instead, creaking joints and upset digestive systems must be attended to, and the lesser sins of the day addressed.

How I wanted to stay in this morning!! There appears to be a virus going around (yes, I’m grateful it’s not H1N1) and decided to visit with me for a couple of days. Not debilitating, but minor miseries.

It’s the time to look for Southern comfort food, but the best comfort comes from the Bible. In the midst of the 23rd Psalm:

Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me. (Psalms 23:4 KJV)

I doubt I shall see greatness as David, but I do know this comfort:

Thou shalt increase my greatness, and comfort me on every side. (Psalms 71:21 KJV)

That marvelous acrostic that makes up the 119th Psalm:

ZAIN. Remember the word unto thy servant, upon which thou hast caused me to hope. This is my comfort in my affliction: for thy word hath quickened me. (Psalms 119:49-50 KJV)

His word promises us comfort, and we pray for it:

Let, I pray thee, thy merciful kindness be for my comfort, according to thy word unto thy servant. (Psalms 119:76 KJV)

Comfort ye, comfort ye my people, saith your God. (Isaiah 40:1 KJV)

This comfort also provides hope:

For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope. (Romans 15:4 KJV)

It is John, though, who speaks most often of the Comforter. Not just Christ, but another. The same, yet different:

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)

He is with us forever, and reminds us of God’s word and workings in our lives:

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)

Monday, July 13, 2009


If you know of Joanna Brady, J. P. Beaumont or Ali Reynolds, you have read J. A. Jance’s books. I’ve enjoyed learning of her characters and the twists and turns within her mysteries.

She also writes a blog, and
her latest entry tells of computer problems. While all of us face them every once in a while, the very thought of losing fourteen chapters of her latest book is over whelming to me. All that work!! All that research!!! All that time – to create, then recreate.

It made me grateful for a number of things that confirm to us they cannot be lost. The list is limited, however, for most of what we have can be.

The correct treasures can’t be:

But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: (Matthew 6:20 KJV)


For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also. (Matthew 6:21 KJV)

And, where should our hearts be?

And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment. (Mark 12:30 KJV)

This is important because He is able to keep us:

for I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day. (2 Timothy 1:12b KJV)

This is confirmed in many other places in the Bible, my favorite being:

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

Isn’t it wonderful to know that when we place ourselves in His hands we do not have to worry about anything being lost?

Awesome, isn’t it?

Sunday, July 12, 2009

He Loved Him

Counting blessings during the night goes back a long, long way. I’m certain David was not the first to consider:

How precious also are thy thoughts unto me, O God! how great is the sum of them! If I should count them, they are more in number than the sand: when I awake, I am still with thee. (Psalms 139:17-18 KJV)

The first and greatest blessing, to me, is His love. Oh, we all know that John 3:16 verse that tells us how much God loved the world, but there is a much more personal love. Much as David understood God’s thoughts toward him. God loves us, each and every one.

What does that mean to our lives? A rich man knelt in front of Christ and asked:

And when he was gone forth into the way, there came one running, and kneeled to him, and asked him, Good Master, what shall I do that I may inherit eternal life? (Mark 10:17 KJV)

Jesus gave him answers he already knew:

Thou knowest the commandments, Do not commit adultery, Do not kill, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Defraud not, Honour thy father and mother. And he answered and said unto him, Master, all these have I observed from my youth. (Mark 10:19-20 KJV)

Did you really pay attention to Jesus’ answer? Did you miss the first three commandments? Where are the two He said were the basis for all the law and prophets:

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

Why was not this same answer given to the kneeling young man? We know that Jesus loved him, the Bible tells us so:

Then Jesus beholding him loved him,

Yet the answer Jesus gave speaks not of loving God with all one’s heart – but the thought is there as Jesus:

… said unto him, One thing thou lackest: go thy way, sell whatsoever thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come, take up the cross, and follow me. (Mark 10:21 KJV)

This young man came to Christ for the answers and thought he knew what they would be. We are all not told to sell what we have, but this one young man was:

And he was sad at that saying, and went away grieved: for he had great possessions. (Mark 10:22 KJV)

If our treasures are not in heaven, do we love the Lord our God with all our heart?

Saturday, July 11, 2009


There are so many things we try to get across to our Junior High girls. One focus is on not dating until they are out of high school. Oh, we know they will be interested in boys, and boys will certainly be interested in them and there’s a lot of learning to be done between them, but that is so much better done in groups than dating alone, one-on-one.

Can’t be done, you say? I can point out several couples that have done it very well. Yes, you will see them sitting aside, talking closely with one another, sharing their thoughts without including others. Those around them offer them privacy, while being nearby.

These young people have made a commitment to themselves, to their current families and to the family they will create in the future. They will not bring into their family a number of potential problems, not limited to but including an unmarried pregnancy. They have the support and understanding of family and friends, many who learned too early the lessons we attempt to teach.

Sadly, even in junior high, these girls see the examples of others and learn that there is no such thing as ‘safe sex.’ In our class, one child saw a classmate’s reaction not only to her teenage pregnancy, but the confirmation that she and her baby are HIV positive.

That is not a childhood indiscretion, is it? Nor is it limited to a two-generation impact, is it? Perhaps she thought sex was simply for pleasure, that an unwanted baby could be aborted. She found there was much more. Enough to last a lifetime, however long it might be.

Christians are admonished not to do as unbelievers do. Their words, thoughts and focus on life have little in common. So, we teach them:

Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? (2 Corinthians 6:14 KJV)

We’re a farm community, though we seldom see a yoked team, there is a familiarity with the concept. Farmers match their teams to get the best performance, otherwise they will not move together. People choose who shares their yoke – horses and oxen do not.

There is another yoke available, open to every person on this earth:

Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light. (Matthew 11:29-30 KJV)

In the Old Testament the yoke was most often used as a symbol of servitude. Many verses refer to Israel being under the yoke of another nation. Christ does ask that we come to Him in service, but His service has great fulfillment. So should it be when considering marriage.

The decision to follow Christ is a very personal one, and must be made by each individual. It is life changing, that cannot be denied. It is rewarding, that also cannot be denied. So is the choice of a husband. Our girls should think about both decisions long and with great depth.

I pray our girls will find a young man equally yoked to Christ. They will have learned to walk with Him and are used to looking to Him for guiding their path.

Friday, July 10, 2009


I am waiting for information through e-mail from a new source. I have a spam filter on my e-mail, so a large amount of spam goes into a folder that can be set for immediate deletion. I’ve changed that for a while to be certain my new information doesn’t get deleted.

So, every once in a while I go check the spam folder and manually delete. It is so laughable to look over those messages!!

One today says it’s from the FBI stating they know that someone in Nigeria has contacted me and that the contact is 100% legitimate. Now, that’s nice to know, isn’t it? In addition to Viagra, there’s a message offering me youthfulness. Another from Burkina-Faso, a country I didn’t know had changed its name from Upper Volta (which I always thought of as being near Russia, confusing with Volga.)

Forget keeping up with names of rock groups, I can’t even keep us with changing countries. I grew up with Rhodesias in Africa, Burma in Asia. They’ve gone the way of Basutoland, Ceylon, Czechoslovakia, Sikkim, Tanganyika and Zanzibar. Those are just a few. Maps change.

Back to filtering – I do appreciate having that option within my e-mail. I also have the option of filtering what goes into my mind on the telly. I can filter what books I read. And the Bible has given me the criteria for such a filter:

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)

But this is close to the end of Paul’s letter. He has other requests in this very chapter:

Therefore, my brethren dearly beloved and longed for, my joy and crown, so stand fast in the Lord, my dearly beloved. (Philippians 4:1 KJV)

Do we? Stand fast in the Lord?

Rejoice in the Lord alway: and again I say, Rejoice. (Philippians 4:4 KJV)

Do we? Rejoice in the Lord?

Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. (Philippians 4:6 KJV)

Do we? Requests be made known unto God?

Somehow, I doubt that we make every request known to our Lord. And I’m almost positive that we don’t do it with prayers and supplications and thanksgiving. We may try it with some of the same tricks as our spammers – give me this and I’ll give You that. Make me this and I’ll work for You. Sorry, but I don’t find in the Bible anything about God being in the trading business.

We’ve been given our duty:

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

Thursday, July 9, 2009

It was a typo!!

It was a typo. I often use the phrase “it’s a good thing.” But this time a letter was missing.

It’s a god thing. That set me to thinking – how many things are God things. When we are counting our blessings, how many can we count before losing the train of thought, being interrupted, or running out of things to list.

I’ve never run out of things to list, but I have been interrupted or I’ve lost the train of thought – even have fallen asleep, having counted them instead of sheep.

What about the bad things? My Mom’s disabilities before her death? God knew all about that and saw her faith in Him continue. My mother-in-law’s dementia before her death? God knew all about that, though her memory could not comprehend His care. Neither situation removed them from His care. That’s a God thing.

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; (2 Corinthians 4:8-9 KJV)

God things are eternal. We’re told that in so many places in the Bible.

For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory; (2 Corinthians 4:17 KJV)

Often our afflictions do not seem light – especially when a loved one is the target of such an affliction. Seems as though we can handle it better for ourselves than we can for a loved one. Then comes a time when we can look past this time, this place and agree with Paul:

While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal. (2 Corinthians 4:18 KJV)

The unbelieving scoffs and wonders why we could possibly believe there is a spiritual eternity, knowing that life ends at death.

We, having passed through that unbelief, stand in sorrow wondering why they could possibly ignore even a possibility that there is, and prepare for it. We pray for them.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

I know it sounds like a commercial, but it's free!!!

I’ve spoken of my Bibles before. I have several, for several different reasons. Each one is my "favorite" for a variety of reasons. But the one I use the most is "The Sword of the Lord with an electronic edge", available from

freely ye have received, freely give. (Matthew 10:8b)

That’s what Rick Meyers says about giving away his time, effort and a powerful program for Bible study. Which reminds me of what Luke said of Peter:

Then Peter said, Silver and gold have I none; but such as I have give I thee: (Acts 3:6)

The recipient of Peter’s gift responded immediately:

And he leaping up stood, and walked, and entered with them into the temple, walking, and leaping, and praising God. (Acts 3:8)

How many of us are that joyous over God’s gifts? At the very least, I want to praise Him for the gift of His word. The Bible tells us what it is, and what it does:

And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God: (Ephesians 6:17)

For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. (Hebrews 4:12)

I can’t quote as much of it as I used to. Some loss of synapse I suppose. Each Sunday night, children quote scriptures they’ve learned. A recent Sunday, one of my Junior High Sunday School girls quoted Proverbs 31:10-31. A beautiful portrait of a successful woman.
Can you? I could from the time I was fifteen. Today I can get started, but I know I cannot recite it completely without help. I also memorized the thirteenth chapter of First Corinthians. It contains one of my most favorite promises:

For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known. (1 Corinthians 13:12)

What e-Sword does for me is allow me to search easily and quickly for the words familiar to me from the full scriptures I’ve known and loved. Oh, I know their meaning, and I can tell you that we see but a dim reflection of what God has in store for us, and that one day He’ll tell us all. But, what I say is if no importance – what the Bible says is.

It’s free – and many of the translations are, too. Those remaining under copyright are not, but to me that’s of no importance since the King James version comes in the initial download. Wanting to study another language? Add that version, too. It’s simple to switch back and forth. Need a Bible dictionary? There are free ones there, too. How about a commentary? Maps? All freely given.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Ought Against

She was an excellent hostess, seeing to her guests’ tastes and making them comfortable in her home. Her husband was a coffee drinker, enjoying a variety of flavors. I thought an ideal gift for them would be a coffee grinder and small packages of flavored coffees. He would receive pleasure from the coffee and she would have another tool for hostessing her parties

I was wrong. There was no hesitation as she told me she felt slighted that I had not considered her, that the gift was useless to her since she didn’t drink coffee.

She was wrong in her conclusion, but so was I by dropping explanations and allowing a bit of animosity to remain. We never cleared this specific incident, but worked past it and built on a strong friendship.

The Bible tells me what I should have done:

Therefore if thou bring thy gift to the altar, and there rememberest that thy brother hath ought against thee; Leave there thy gift before the altar, and go thy way; first be reconciled to thy brother, and then come and offer thy gift. (Matthew 5:23-24 KJV)

When we’ve built walls of protection around us based on other people’s actions, we’re also walling off our relationship with God. Christ explained it just a chapter further along – right after the Lord’s prayer:

For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you: (Matthew 6:14 KJV)

But, that’s only half the promise. We need to be ready for the rest of it:

But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses. (Matthew 6:15 KJV)

Once we figure out that we must forgive those who make our lives miserable, we usually ask about the next time. Peter had that in mind:

Then came Peter to him, and said, Lord, how oft shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? till seven times? (Matthew 18:21 KJV)

Yep, Peter had experienced repetitive problems. How long do we have to put up with such? Again, the Bible has the answer as well as the question:

Jesus saith unto him, I say not unto thee, Until seven times: but, Until seventy times seven. (Matthew 18:22 KJV)

Is 490 a magic number? Can we keep a small notebook of grievances and then hold a grudge at 491? I doubt that’s what He meant. Maybe today we can track those incidents in a PDA – but I doubt there would ever be that many. Usually we’re holding on to a grudge or two for decades rather than encountering multiple new ones. Paul tells us this could cause problems:

To whom ye forgive any thing, I forgive also: for if I forgave any thing, to whom I forgave it, for your sakes forgave I it in the person of Christ; Lest Satan should get an advantage of us: for we are not ignorant of his devices. (2 Corinthians 2:10-11 KJV)

We need not give evil an advantage, do we?

Monday, July 6, 2009

Compressing Boundaries

I’ve written about my accident in April. Since there are still problems with my leg, I’ve been told to wear compression hose. That has been a very good thing.

Without the hose, my ankle has a tendency to swell to at least twice its regular size. That allows the foot to swell, too, making my toes appear to be puffy appendages. That’s not a very good thing.

Tonight during our service a lay preacher made the comment that some think he is narrow minded. And, he said he was – as narrow as the Bible, as he held it up. That made me think of:

Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it. (Matthew 7:13-14 KJV)

And that made me think of my compression hose.

Can you make the same connection? The hose keeps my leg strait. It keeps the blood flow moving along in the correct pathway, which are so narrow minded that they can’t go willy-nilly through the body, but proceed in an orderly manner. Rather than allowing the fluid to collect in one spot, the hose provide boundaries for crowd control, again making that part of my body proceed in an orderly manner.

There are growth patterns within our bodies that must remain in narrow-minded ways. Uncontrolled growth with cells is often cancer. It cannot be allowed to grow unchecked. We hope that it can be removed in its entirety, returning our bodies to the strait and narrow way they must function for our survival.

I believe that the Bible provides that same comfort for our lives. Without the boundaries of its restrictions, I may not only damage my body, my life, but my eternal soul.

The compression hose provides me comfort and eases pain. Let me assure you, my Bible does that even better! How difficult can it be to live within two commandments – both filled with love:

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

Thy word is very pure: therefore thy servant loveth it. (Psalms 119:140 KJV)

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Celebrating Freedom

Yesterday the United States celebrated the signing of a document that few people take time to read after they leave school. It is considered a historical document, not something that affects our lives today. Perhaps it doesn’t.

It certainly changed a number of things when it was written. Oh, without it, the war would have been fought, and won. But the men who led felt it well worthwhile to explain what they were doing, and why.

The words in that document were worked out, written down, edited and rewritten until it met the needs of all signers. By putting their signature upon it, they committed their lives and fortunes to ideals they all could live by.

The second sentence begins the second paragraph and is argued over today by millions who disagree with its premise that all men were endowed by their creator with certain unalienable rights.

Oh, most agree that rights are important – and theirs are more important than any others. It’s the creator part where our nation splits.

This nation was never intended to be a theocracy, just as it was never intended to ignore the roots of Judeo-Christian beliefs and laws.

Thomas Jefferson took years to distill his beliefs regarding Jesus, deleting what he considered supernatural additions by the gospel authors. Today’s detractors simply delete the Bible from consideration.

Yet, the celebration of our nation’s freedom includes their ability to do so.

It also celebrates our freedom to worship without interference.

There are many nations today where those freedoms are not available. There are nations today whose laws deny religious freedom, to the point of death. Unfortunately, there are many people who feel that is of little importance.

Many would ignore religious beliefs. Which reminds me of my little dog who refuses to look at the vet – if she doesn’t see him, he’s not there. Foolish, isn’t she. Are we not as foolish to ignore that which men are willing to die for?

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Even Her Feet Are Beautiful

I surfed across a blog that mentioned a girl I know. The blogger wrote about her time at Girls State. This is a summer leadership/citizenship program for high school girls. It is sponsored by the American Legion, as is Boys State. As far as I know, each state holds them annually.

Attendees are between their Junior and Senior years and the events are usually held on a college campus. American Legion members and community leader volunteers staff events. Delegates are selected on the basis of potential leadership qualities displayed in their schools and communities. I would view it as an honor to be selected.

The blogger was bemoaning her fate at being a part of such a boring event. Somehow, I was unable to locate her leadership qualities in what she wrote. Perhaps her principal saw those qualities and hoped to channel them into good citizenship.

My focus today is on this paragraph from the blog:

“Nor is spending an entire week with 416 '---------s'. --------- is the girl you went to highschool with, the girl that had to be number 1, who was snobby, who loved school, who NEVER stopped smiling, the person you hated because she was bossy and thought she was better than you.”

I’ve done the Dragnet thing – removed the name of the girl I know, to protect the innocent. I really do know the subject of the blogger’s disdain.

The blogger may be right about “NEVER stopped smiling.” I’ve seen this young lady’s smile radiate through a group of surrounding friends and family from morning to night. It is as beautiful as she is. The smile is evident as she sings praises to the Lord, too. It abounds when she prays. It remains when she stoops to listen to the child tugging at her skirt.

She is number one in more than one talent. To hear her play the piano is a joy for she is making a joyful noise unto the Lord in so many ways, and it appears so effortless.

She does love school, and is very good at it – that has continued into college. However, I have never received any indication of snobbery, nor of her being bossy. She is a leader, which does move her ahead of others.

“… better than you”? No, for she has admitted to being a sinner and stated that she is saved by grace. That doesn’t make her better than anyone, just secure in her faith. Perhaps that is why some would feel that she was “… the person you hated.”

Let me assure you, there neither were nor are 416 just like her. I know a little about her plans for the next few years. She will complete college. She will be married to a classmate, and if I’m fortunate, I’ll attend the wedding. They will embark on a journey that will take them around the country, gathering support for their mission field.

They will leave the comfort of the United States and arrive in Africa. Once out of the cocoon of the international jet, they’ll cross the tarmac to a vehicle that will take them across country to people looking forward to their arrival, and people who will look upon them much worse than the above blogger does.

They will be there because they have answered God’s call to share His word. They know:

For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher? And how shall they preach, except they be sent? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things! (Romans 10:13-15 KJV)

Friday, July 3, 2009


Have you met couples, perhaps married for decades, who resemble each other? Or someone with a pet that seems absolutely suited to them?

“Life is shaped by the end lived for. We make ourselves in the image of what we desire.”

The world lays before us innumerable choices, most of which can be bought. From shelter, clothing, food to more mundane choices, we make them daily. Things we purchase shape our lives. Do they become the things we desire? Do they reflect our image of ourselves, our personalities? If we cannot afford to buy what we desire, do we become bitter and defeated?

Do we desire things that cannot be bought, such as fame? Do we lift up celebrities and wish we might achieve the same notoriety? Would we exchange our families for the front cover of some magazine? Would we exchange our friends for the sycophants that cannot say “No”, even to save the life of their provider?

What are our goals in life? What is it we desire?

The Bible says:

For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also. (Matthew 6:21 KJV)

First we must determine what our treasures are. Are they the corruptible things described in Matthew 6:19? Can they rust? Can thieves steal them? Why are they important?

From the garden, God has given mankind choices, and described the consequences.

And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat: But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die. (Genesis 2:16-17 KJV)

When God gave the Ten Commandments, there were few consequences included, but it wasn’t long before Moses set before the people the choices and the consequences:

See, I have set before thee this day life and good, and death and evil; (Deuteronomy 30:15 KJV)

After defining the choices, they must be made:

I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live: (Deuteronomy 30:19 KJV)

But what about our shelter, our clothing, our food for each day? The question and its answer are found in Matthew 6:25-32, ending with:

But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you. (Matthew 6:33 KJV)

His kingdom is my desire. Thy kingdom come.

Thursday, July 2, 2009


As evangelical Christians, we are very concerned about salvation being made available to others. But, we often get it backwards.

We find what we’re looking for in the Bible without paying close enough attention to details. Take the following scripture for example:

Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God: (Ephesians 6:13-17 KJV)

What’s first on the list? Truth

Followed quickly by: Righteousness

Then we get to the: Preparation of the gospel of peace

All that before we get to: Faith

Penultimate is: Salvation

Even before the Word of God

Looking at that perspective, I’ve come to understand that unless we look upon the Word of God as Truth, it has no value. Unless Faith is built on Truth, it has no value. Establishing Truth, then, takes precedence.

To have Righteousness, one must be aware of unrighteousness. The difference between truth and lie, right and wrong, good and evil.

Then we’re ready for preparation of the gospel of peace. It’s not just good news that comes from scriptures, peace for humanity is available, but usually tossed away.

Then we’re ready to build our faith – which comes to us: So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. (Romans 10:17 KJV)

Before we bury ourselves into the word of God, the sword of the Spirit, we reach the helmet of salvation.

Follow the instructions and we’ll be able to answer Christ’s question to the disciples:

He saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am? And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God. (Matthew 16:15-16 KJV)

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Shaken, Not Moved

Cleburne, Texas as recently experienced a series of earthquakes over several weeks. Taking a quick look at recent quakes world-wide at the USGS site, these were few and minor. And their location appears lonely in the midst of Texas, while the Pacific rim is black with quake sites. Europe, on the other hand, appears quite stable – with the exception of a spot in Italy, and one in Greece.

Feeling the earth moving beneath us removes confidence that our world is firmly founded. Growing up in southern California and feeling those ripples is a quick education. This sphere we inhabit continues to change, and not always for the better.

I am amazed by people who build on shifting sand, then complain because the wind and water reshape their world.

Yet, more is coming.

For thus saith the LORD of hosts; Yet once, it is a little while, and I will shake the heavens, and the earth, and the sea, and the dry land; And I will shake all nations, and the desire of all nations shall come: and I will fill this house with glory, saith the LORD of hosts. (Haggai 2:6-7 KJV)

As Eliphax the Temanite stated: Fear came upon me, and trembling, which made all my bones to shake. (Job 4:14 KJV)

There will come a time when all shall be shaken:

And this word, Yet once more, signifieth the removing of those things that are shaken, as of things that are made, that those things which cannot be shaken may remain. (Hebrews 12:27 KJV)

What constitutes those things which cannot be shaken? That’s explained in the next verse:

Wherefore we receiving a kingdom which cannot be moved, let us have grace, whereby we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear: (Hebrews 12:28 KJV)

A kingdom which cannot be moved. Created by the same God that can shake both heaven and earth. Isn’t that an awesome thought?

Paul makes promises for those of who are not moved:

And you, that were sometime alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now hath he reconciled In the body of his flesh through death, to present you holy and unblameable and unreproveable in his sight: If ye continue in the faith grounded and settled, and be not moved away from the hope of the gospel, which ye have heard, and which was preached to every creature which is under heaven; whereof I Paul am made a minister; (Colossians 1:21-23 KJV)