Saturday, October 31, 2009
Are we alienating ourselves by keeping our wicked works in our minds?
We know within ourselves, not just through Isaiah 53:6 and Romans 3:23, that we work against ourselves; that we keep ourselves from God. Here in Colossians Paul tells us that He has provided the reconciliation. Can you believe that? Or do you believe that your sins are different? Worse? Unforgivable?
The Bible specific states in Matthew 12:31 what cannot be forgiven: Wherefore I say unto you, All manner of sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven unto men: but the blasphemy against the Holy Ghost shall not be forgiven unto men.
But, as in Hebrews 2:3a, How shall we escape if we neglect so great salvation? I believe that tells us the acceptance is up to us, individually.
God’s forgiveness is at hand – isn’t the real problem forgiving ourselves? That we cannot accept our actions as forgivable? We need to understand that while we are incapable of perfection, God is incapable of failure.
If there is any question in your mind regarding God’s ability to forgive, please spend some time in prayer with II Timothy’s first chapter. For you really know, in your heart, that once you have trusted God that not even your sins are greater than He is. In your heart you know you are not ashamed, for you know whom you have believed and are persuaded that He is able to keep that which you’ve committed unto Him against that day.
Friday, October 30, 2009
You’re hungry. You’re capable of making bread, go ahead. That really has nothing to do with Jesus’ purpose here on earth. A very simple miracle, quite similar to turning water into wine. Instead, Christ sets priority. We’re to depend on what is written in God’s word to sustain us.
And the devil said unto him, If thou be the Son of God, command this stone that it be made bread. And Jesus answered him, saying, It is written, That man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word of God. (Luke 4:3-4 KJV)
At some time, every knee shall bow and every tongue confess:
For it is written, As I live, saith the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God. (Romans 14:11 KJV)
Why go through the next three years, crucifixion, resurrection, evangelism? Get it all accomplished right now.
And the devil, taking him up into an high mountain, shewed unto him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time. And the devil said unto him, All this power will I give thee, and the glory of them: for that is delivered unto me; and to whomsoever I will I give it. If thou therefore wilt worship me, all shall be thine. (Luke 4:5-7 KJV)
The answer to that one is simple. The first and greatest of the commandments would have been broken:
And Jesus answered and said unto him, Get thee behind me, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve. (Luke 4:8 KJV)
OK, so that one didn’t go over very well. There’s another, quite smaller, opportunity to prove Himself as God’s Son:
And he brought him to Jerusalem, and set him on a pinnacle of the temple, and said unto him, If thou be the Son of God, cast thyself down from hence: For it is written, He shall give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee: And in their hands they shall bear thee up, lest at any time thou dash thy foot against a stone. (Luke 4:9-11 KJV)
And Jesus answering said unto him, It is said, Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God. (Luke 4:12 KJV)
There will come a time, we’re told through prophecy:
And I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ: for the accuser of our brethren is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night. (Revelation 12:10 KJV)
We have been told: For some are already turned aside after Satan. (1 Timothy 5:15 KJV)
Until such time as scriptures are fulfilled, we must not give in to temptation, must not be turned aside.
Thursday, October 29, 2009
I’m not really in need of healing, either, but several people I know are. My granddaughter and great-granddaughter have the type-A flu. Please say a prayer for their health. A friend’s son, being treated for cancer, has H1N1 and is hospitalized with pneumonia. He needs our prayers, too.
Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much. (James 5:16 KJV)
Prayer is a wonderful gift from God. It’s the faith part we need to work on:
And Jesus said unto them, Because of your unbelief: for verily I say unto you, If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you. (Matthew 17:20 KJV)
He felt it important enough to give the lesson more than once:
Jesus answered and said unto them, Verily I say unto you, If ye have faith, and doubt not, ye shall not only do this which is done to the fig tree, but also if ye shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; it shall be done. And all things, whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive. (Matthew 21:21-22 KJV)
The New Testament has many examples of answered prayer:
But the angel said unto him, Fear not, Zacharias: for thy prayer is heard; and thy wife Elisabeth shall bear thee a son, and thou shalt call his name John. (Luke 1:13 KJV)
Even here we’re given an example of disbelief:
And Zacharias said unto the angel, Whereby shall I know this? for I am an old man, and my wife well stricken in years. (Luke 1:18 KJV)
We can’t expect our questions to be answered by Gabriel, nor do we really want the proof offered to Zacharias:
And, behold, thou shalt be dumb, and not able to speak, until the day that these things shall be performed, because thou believest not my words, which shall be fulfilled in their season. (Luke 1:20 KJV)
We are given a heavenly example of how to pray:
After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen. (Matthew 6:9-13 KJV)
Please, pray with us.
Wednesday, October 28, 2009
We learn of Luke through several other books in the Bible. Acts begins as though it were a second letter to Theophilus. In Acts 16:10, the author changes from writing “they” to writing “we” as Paul heads for Macedonia. There are other places where it appears the writer is either with Paul or not. Philemon 24 speaks of Luke being with Paul Marcus, Aristarchus, Demas, Lucas, my fellowlabourers. (Philemon 1:24 KJV). In II Timothy 4:11, Only Luke is with me. Paul describes him as Luke, the beloved physician. (Colossians 4:14a KJV)
While we are not told of Luke’s conversion, there is no doubt of his loyalty. He may have come to Jesus before the crucifixion, or his conversion may have been later. We know his books are God inspired, though we don’t know if he experienced the events he details in his gospel or if they were told to him. I believe, from the details in the first two chapters that he spent time with Mary.
Luke gives us the most detail look at the birth of Christ. Except for John 3:16, the second chapter of Luke is scripture most dear to me. I can remember my Mom repeating this story almost from memory, seldom looking at the Bible: And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus, that all the world should be taxed. (Luke 2:1 KJV)
Some of Jesus’ ministry is found only in Luke. We know the stories by name, The Good Samaritan, The Lost Sheep, The Prodigal Son. Only Luke tells us of Zacchaeus. Only Luke tells of the promise to the thief on the cross.
Luke writes from the very beginning of the Holy Spirit, speaking of John. For he shall be great in the sight of the Lord, and shall drink neither wine nor strong drink; and he shall be filled with the Holy Ghost, even from his mother's womb. (Luke 1:15 KJV)
When Luke tells of Jesus’ baptism, we not only read of the Holy Spirit descending as a dove (v. 22), but that Jesus was praying. Now when all the people were baptized, it came to pass, that Jesus also being baptized, and praying, the heaven was opened, (Luke 3:21 KJV)
Luke tells us of the meeting on the road to Emmaus. And, behold, two of them went that same day to a village called Emmaus, which was from Jerusalem about threescore furlongs. And they talked together of all these things which had happened. And it came to pass, that, while they communed together and reasoned, Jesus himself drew near, and went with them. But their eyes were holden that they should not know him. (Luke 24:13-16 KJV)
Do we talk together of all these things which had happened? Could someone overhear us and ask, as Christ did, … What things? And they said unto him, Concerning Jesus of Nazareth, which was a prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people: (Luke 24:19 KJV)
Would we continue and say that … we trusted that it had been he which should have redeemed Israel: (Luke 24:21a KJV)
Could Luke write of us in the same manner as he closed his gospel? And were continually in the temple, praising and blessing God. Amen. (Luke 24:53 KJV)
Tuesday, October 27, 2009
I had to move away this year as Yahoo! support failed, as it has on several of their platforms. Fortunately, I had discovered Blogger a while back and my genealogy is being migrated over, a little at a time with a change in format and additional information. But, I shall miss those days of coding and designing a website to share our family secrets.
This loss is an example of how quickly a person’s thoughts waft away into nothingness. Isn’t it awesome, then, that God has preserved His word for our use today? Moses, writing the history of his people, David writing his songs to God, Solomon leaving us Proverbs, the prophets – all those beautiful prophecies that have been fulfilled, and the ones yet to come. The gospels, the works of His son, the letters to the churches, the revelation of John at Patmos – what a great wealth has been preserved generation upon generation, for thousands of years.
The Dead Sea Scrolls gave us comparisons across two thousand years to show an example of that preservation. Those of faith enjoy the confirmation, but it isn’t necessary. He told us the way it would be:
Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away. (Matthew 24:35 KJV)
That’s important, so it was repeated:
Heaven and earth shall pass away: but my words shall not pass away. (Mark 13:31 KJV)
Heaven and earth shall pass away: but my words shall not pass away. (Luke 21:33 KJV)
So very important that the last book, last chapter, contains:
For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book: And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book. (Revelation 22:18-19 KJV)
Why preserve His word? The answer includes the answer given by Christ to Satan:
But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God. (Matthew 4:4 KJV)
Indeed, that was written, and preserved:
And he humbled thee, and suffered thee to hunger, and fed thee with manna, which thou knewest not, neither did thy fathers know; that he might make thee know that man doth not live by bread only, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of the LORD doth man live. (Deuteronomy 8:3 KJV)
Just as He is truth, this is truth: For the LORD is good; his mercy is everlasting; and his truth endureth to all generations. (Psalms 100:5 KJV)
So, many of my words are gone. But not His.
Monday, October 26, 2009
I remembered that this weekend when I heard about two boys. One was five years old, the other five months. Both died while on a list awaiting heart transplants. I grieve for their families.
We can sympathize, but until we’ve lost a child, we cannot understand what their parents face.
Christ came to us as a child. Now the birth of Jesus Christ was on this wise: When as his mother Mary was espoused to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Ghost. (Matthew 1:18 KJV)
Christ looked upon children with favor and as examples. And whoso shall receive one such little child in my name receiveth me. But whoso shall offend one of these little ones which believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea. (Matthew 18:5-6 KJV)
Christ as a child set examples for us. And it came to pass, that after three days they found him in the temple, sitting in the midst of the doctors, both hearing them, and asking them questions. And all that heard him were astonished at his understanding and answers. (Luke 2:46-47 KJV)
To parents – though we recognize their growth and achievements – they are always our children. During her last hospital stay, my father and I visited my grandmother. She took his hand, patted it and introduced my 48-year old father to the nurse, “And this is my baby, my youngest son.”
As one father, who came to Christ for his child’s life, I too cry out. And straightway the father of the child cried out, and said with tears, Lord, I believe; help thou mine unbelief. (Mark 9:24 KJV)
Knowing, as did that father, Jesus speaks truth. Jesus said unto him, If thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that believeth. (Mark 9:23 KJV)
With the deepest gratitude to our Lord and savior, with John I can truly say, I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth. (3 John 1:4 KJV)
There was One who prayed for a cup to pass, but accepted His Father’s will: 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. (Matthew 26:39 KJV)
May these families find comfort through the One who provided a Comforter for all: But Jesus turned him about, and when he saw her, he said, Daughter, be of good comfort; thy faith hath made thee whole. (Matthew 9:22a KJV)
Sunday, October 25, 2009
Previous chapters in Acts tell of … Peter, standing up with the eleven, lifted up his voice, and said unto them, Ye men of Judaea, and all ye that dwell at Jerusalem, be this known unto you, and hearken to my words: For these are not drunken, as ye suppose, seeing it is but the third hour of the day. But this is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel; (Acts 2:14-16 KJV)
Walking with John in Jerusalem, he healed, 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)
When confronted by authorities, Then Peter and the other apostles answered and said, We ought to obey God rather than men. (Acts 5:29 KJV)
Isn’t that where we all would like to be? An accomplished witness for our Lord, what a wonderful goal to set.
Yet, it was not complete. God had more to tell Peter. Among other events in his future, he had to meet Cornelius. In the same Acts Chapter 9 where Christ meets Saul, Peter heals Aeneas and Dorcas and visits Joppa, by the sea.
Cornelius, A devout man, and one that feared God with all his house, which gave much alms to the people, and prayed to God alway (Acts 10:2 KJV) Is called to teach us that God will provide for those who seek Him.
This is a promise from early in His word. But if from thence thou shalt seek the LORD thy God, thou shalt find him, if thou seek him with all thy heart and with all thy soul. (Deuteronomy 4:29 KJV)
Seek the LORD, and his strength: seek his face evermore. (Psalms 105:4 KJV)
Seek ye the LORD while he may be found, call ye upon him while he is near: (Isaiah 55:6 KJV)
For thus saith the LORD unto the house of Israel, Seek ye me, and ye shall live: (Amos 5:4 KJV)
Cornelius read, believed and listened to God’s messenger. While his men traveled, God prepared Peter, 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)
For such a revelation, I am eternally grateful, for I am one in another nation that feareth him, and worketh righteousness, is accepted with him.
Are you, too?
Saturday, October 24, 2009
The link above not only contains that prize-winning article, but a short clip of a performance that "... was arranged by The Washington Post as an experiment in context, perception and priorities -- as well as an unblinking assessment of public taste: In a banal setting at an inconvenient time, would beauty transcend?" The beauty was the playing of a priceless violin by one of the world’s greatest artists, in a public place.
Weingarten described the beauty, certainly in a prize-winning style: "... in this musician's masterly hands, it sobbed and laughed and sang -- ecstatic, sorrowful, importuning, adoring, flirtatious, castigating, playful, romancing, merry, triumphal, sumptuous." Each of his words evokes pictures in our minds that apply to our own lives. Places we’ve been or pictures we’ve seen. We see the beauty in his descriptions that are reflections in our lives – because we’ve read those words above.
The experiment? Weingarten describes the reaction of people moving through their daily routines. Originally, there was the expectation of a crowd. The amount garnered was forecast to be $150. As Weingarten states, “… there was never a crowd, not even for a second.”
Instead, what we see is "... a grim danse macabre to indifference, inertia and the dingy, gray rush of modernity."
We have more leisure than any time in mankind’s past. W. H. Davies did not live to see it, but may have seen the future coming, when he wrote Leisure:
WHAT is this life if, full of care,
We have no time to stand and stare?
No time to stand beneath the boughs,
And stare as long as sheep and cows:
No time to see, when woods we pass,
Where squirrels hide their nuts in grass:
No time to see, in broad daylight,
Streams full of stars, like skies at night:
No time to turn at Beauty's glance,
And watch her feet, how they can dance:
No time to wait till her mouth can
Enrich that smile her eyes began?
A poor life this if, full of care,
We have no time to stand and stare.
How can we follow God’s command to love thy neighbour as thyself (Matthew 22:39b KJV) when we cannot see our neighbor as we move through life?
How can we follow God’s command to 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 10:27b KJV) when we cannot see our God as we move through life?
Take time to stand, stare and Wait on the LORD: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the LORD. (Psalms 27:14 KJV)
Friday, October 23, 2009
It is from her Ohio Death Certificate that we discovered her parent’s names, Joel Webster and Marguet Trall were the names as they appeared online from Ohio’s database. Joel was easy to find online in the 1850 US Census, confirming the family lived on a farm in Seneca county and that Mary Jane had a sister Charlotte, just two years older. The census had her mother’s name as Margarette. But an online search didn’t show a Trall family.
Yesterday I had some free time (don’t laugh, a retiree’s time is seldom free!!) and located the actual census page for Joel Webster, not just an abstract. Low and behold!! Right next door is Noah Trail. Could that abstract of the death certificate have a misspelling? Only a bit more research could tell, so I began searching for Noah Trail. Not much luck.
However, there was another Trail, a Granberry, in Seneca county. His name stood out a bit more and was traceable through other genealogy sites, with a great deal of information. That put me in touch with a researcher in Australia, who responded to my query the same day. Margaret (Trail) Webster was the daughter of James Trail III (1781-1852) and Mary (Buxton) Trail (1782-1858) who are buried just outside of Bloomville, Ohio. There were four generations to add to my Beloved Husband’s pedigree chart on the Trail/Trall line along, as well as some additions on their spouse’s parents. Eleven more ancestors as well as their children. A good day’s work!
It takes time and study to reach the correct connections for this hobby. How could I possibly do less for my eternal soul?
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)
Should we do any less than rightly dividing the word of truth? Do we question the Bible on our own or are we listening to someone else’s thoughts and words? Do we think that such discussions are divisive and filled with strifel:
But foolish and unlearned questions avoid, knowing that they do gender strifes. (2 Timothy 2:23 KJV)
Paul does not mean to ignore questions, and explains further how we should respond:
And the servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient, In meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth; (2 Timothy 2:24-25 KJV)
We are not to avoid searching questions. Peter tells us how to prepare to respond, even to those who are confrontational, not just seeking truth:
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: Having a good conscience; that, whereas they speak evil of you, as of evildoers, they may be ashamed that falsely accuse your good conversation in Christ. (1 Peter 3:15-16 KJV)
Become familiar with God’s work and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you.
Thursday, October 22, 2009
That which angers me, controls me.
I need to be certain God is directing my life, and my anger. Being angry is not in itself an error. The majority of scriptural texts that refer to anger are speaking of God’s anger, not that of mankind. Try a search on the phrase “anger of the Lord” and you’ll find 32 KJV verses – without being a phrase (same words) and there are 96 verses. There are times anger is appropriate and a rebuke necessary.
When describing qualities a bishop must have, anger can come, but not quickly:
For a bishop must be blameless, as the steward of God; not selfwilled, not soon angry, not given to wine, no striker, not given to filthy lucre; (Titus 1:7 KJV)
Rebuking, however, takes more caution. While there are several verses indicating harsh criticism is necessary, it needs to be done within God’s will, according to His purpose. A few of the examples are:
Take heed to yourselves: If thy brother trespass against thee, rebuke him; and if he repent, forgive him. (Luke 17:3 KJV)
Them that sin rebuke before all, that others also may fear. (1 Timothy 5:20 KJV)
Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine. (2 Timothy 4:2 KJV)
However, when done personally, we run the risk of imitating Peter:
Then Peter took him, and began to rebuke him, saying, Be it far from thee, Lord: this shall not be unto thee. (Matthew 16:22 KJV)
I never want to hear Christ speak to me as He did here to Peter:
But he turned, and said unto Peter, Get thee behind me, Satan: thou art an offence unto me: for thou savourest not the things that be of God, but those that be of men. (Matthew 16:23 KJV)
What pain Peter must have felt!
So, when we must, These things speak, and exhort, and rebuke with all authority. Let no man despise thee. (Titus 2:15 KJV)
Always be certain that authority is God.
Wednesday, October 21, 2009
The researchers found that “when sibling plants grow next to each other, their leaves will often touch and intertwine, while stranger plants near each other grow rigidly upright and avoid touching …”
Like humans, they are prone to look out for themselves and close relatives, to the detriment of others.
We, however, have been taught differently.
Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them: for this is the law and the prophets. (Matthew 7:12 KJV)
And as ye would that men should do to you, do ye also to them likewise. (Luke 6:31 KJV)
Christians are not alone in this teaching. Wikipedia gives examples from ancient cultures and modern religions. Yet, we do not live by this Golden Rule, do we?
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)
Since my body is God’s temple (1 Corinthians 6:19 KJV), as I have Him in my heart, soul and mind, when I go to Him in prayer, I must be reconciled with those with whom I am at odds. It should not matter “Who started it?” Whatever the differences, the one who knows what should be done must do so.
There are times when peace cannot be made. The other person is not looking for a right relationship with God, much less with us. Yet, our effort must be made for our concern is our own relationship with God. The scripture says when we come to the altar, not when they do.
Four times in John alone we are told what is contained in this one command:
These things I command you, that ye love one another. (John 15:17 KJV)
Plants look out for their siblings. We’ve been asked to do better:
Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy. But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; (Matthew 5:43-44 KJV)
That command is so hard to follow. We’ve been hurt by others. At least Christ explains further:
For if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye? do not even the publicans the same? And if ye salute your brethren only, what do ye more than others? do not even the publicans so? (Matthew 5:46-47 KJV)
Tuesday, October 20, 2009
“Glitch” is what our electric co-op calls it when we lose electricity for just a few seconds. Long enough to shut down anything electric, but not long enough for them to call it an “outage.” “Outages” count when meeting standards, usually last hours (if not days.) Those are big deals, while “glitches” are not.
I usually get up in the dark, an hour or so before Beloved Husband. I enjoy that time – usually spent just like this, Bible reading and writing thoughts. I don’t turn on the light in the bedroom. I can see directly into the kitchen. If I keep those two clock lights in the center of my field of vision, I’ve learned that I will clear both walls and doors in the short hallway as I leave the bedroom.
God exists and provides our light. From the first day: And God said, Let there be light: and there was light. (Genesis 1:3 KJV)
God led Israel out of Egypt with a pillar of light: And the LORD went before them by day in a pillar of a cloud, to lead them the way; and by night in a pillar of fire, to give them light; to go by day and night: (Exodus 13:21 KJV)
The Psalmist tells us that God’s Word provides light: The LORD is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? the LORD is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid? (Psalms 27:1 KJV)
Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path. (Psalms 119:105 KJV)
O send out thy light and thy truth: let them lead me; let them bring me unto thy holy hill, and to thy tabernacles. (Psalms 43:3 KJV)
There are hundreds of such references in the Bible. The most important one tells that God exists. The second most important is that He provides light.
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him was life; and the life was the light of men. (John 1:1-4 KJV)
The saddest thing follows those beautiful life verses:
And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not. (John 1:5 KJV)
There was a man sent from God to bear witness to this light of the world:
The same came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all men through him might believe. He was not that Light, but was sent to bear witness of that Light. That was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world. (John 1:7-9 KJV)
Do you allow Him to light up your life?
Monday, October 19, 2009
Then Jesus said unto them, Take heed and beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees. (Matthew 16:6 KJV)
What? Do the Pharisees bake bread? What’s with the leaven. See, we’re not the only ones who had difficulty applying scriptures. The disciples must have spoken aloud to each other, working out what He meant, and missed the whole lesson.
And they reasoned among themselves, saying, It is because we have taken no bread. (Matthew 16:7 KJV)
How patient is our Lord!! Instead of throwing up His hands and saying “They’ll never understand!” He told them:
Which when Jesus perceived, he said unto them, O ye of little faith, why reason ye among yourselves, because ye have brought no bread? (Matthew 16:8 KJV)
Excuse me, did we not read stories in this very book about feeding five thousand, and then seven thousand, taking baskets of leftovers from both? He’s not talking about bread!
How is it that ye do not understand that I spake it not to you concerning bread, that ye should beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees? Then understood they how that he bade them not beware of the leaven of bread, but of the doctrine of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees. (Matthew 16:11-12 KJV)
Now, don’t jump to the conclusion that Christ was against doctrine in general, but incorrect doctrine. Christ’s doctrine astonished people:
And when the multitude heard this, they were astonished at his doctrine. (Matthew 22:33 KJV)
That was at the close of a lesson that began:
Jesus answered and said unto them, Ye do err, not knowing the scriptures, nor the power of God. (Matthew 22:29 KJV)
It never ceases to amaze me how mankind places limits on what God would, will, has or can do. We teach He is omnipotent, omniscient, then place limits. I’ve found that scriptures tell what He has done and it is much better for me to do what He has said to do.
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. (Proverbs 3:5-6 KJV)
Open the Bible, read and understand that All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: (2 Timothy 3:16 KJV)
Sunday, October 18, 2009
How I wish I could say that along with Paul. But there have been times I have been disobedient to God’s will in my life. Everything is so much better when His will is foremost in our lives.
Before we have a relationship with God, it doesn’t matter whether we do what we want or what someone else wants. We’re looking for enjoyment, for pleasure, for things centered about ourselves.
After coming to the realization that God created us, that He knows us from beginning to end, we find ourselves wanting to draw closer to Him. We desire to learn more about Him and the work He has laid out for us.
Being a Christian is really not a personal thing. As we draw closer to Him, our views are enlarged. We find His height; depth and width are greater than our comprehension, yet we are a part of Him.
Paul was given a commission: But rise, and stand upon thy feet: for I have appeared unto thee for this purpose, to make thee a minister and a witness both of these things which thou hast seen, and of those things in the which I will appear unto thee; (Acts 26:16 KJV)
Just as the disciples were given a commission: And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen. (Matthew 28:18-20 KJV)
Paul taught us that we will be sent: 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)
Not all will be called to preach, but we can help provide one and we can support one. We are called to explain our faith.
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)
Be not disobedient. Be ready to explain – it’s a Christian commission.
Saturday, October 17, 2009
One Mothers Day, after her passing, the church gave each mother a CD of her music, singing her love of our Lord. One of the songs was “Wait A Little Longer, Please, Jesus.”
Why would we not be saying with John, He which testifieth these things saith, Surely I come quickly. Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus. (Revelation 22:20 KJV)?
Simply, because “Just a few more days to let our loved ones in” is very important to us. I’m certain others are as I am – some of our loved ones have not accepted God’s plan for their lives.
Oh, they’ve seen the plan of salvation laid out before them, but they’ve found so many reasons for ignoring, delaying or simply denying – which in itself is a “No” answer. Some of them even believe that there is a God, but James tells us: Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble. (James 2:19 KJV)
Their negativism frightens us, for we’ve read and come to understand: How shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation; which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed unto us by them that heard him; (Hebrews 2:3 KJV)
We continue to pray for them. We want them to pay close attention to Paul’s testimony before Agrippa:
And when we were all fallen to the earth, I heard a voice speaking unto me, and saying in the Hebrew tongue, Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me? it is hard for thee to kick against the pricks. And I said, Who art thou, Lord? And he said, I am Jesus whom thou persecutest. But rise, and stand upon thy feet: for I have appeared unto thee for this purpose, to make thee a minister and a witness both of these things which thou hast seen, and of those things in the which I will appear unto thee; Delivering thee from the people, and from the Gentiles, unto whom now I send thee, To open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins, and inheritance among them which are sanctified by faith that is in me. (Acts 26:14-18 KJV)
They know this in their minds. They heard the words. Some, as Agrippa, have come close: Then Agrippa said unto Paul, Almost thou persuadest me to be a Christian. (Acts 26:28 KJV)
When it would be just as simple for them to answer as Paul did: I was not disobedient unto the heavenly vision: (Acts 26:19b KJV)
Of course, afterward lives are changed and the opportunity to witness to others is open, just as it was to Miss Patty. I still listen to her musical testimony, still see her stepping out in faith to meet her Lord
Stepping on the clouds we’ll see Jesus
Rise to meet him in the air
Stepping on the clouds He will greet us
Oh the joy together we’ll share
I'm gonna leave this world behind me
Going where the devil cannot find me
I’m going higher, higher, higher
Stepping on the clouds
Friday, October 16, 2009
I was fortunate a couple of times over the past years to have a family member as my SPP. My granddaughter’s first year as an adult, when she moved from Youth to Ladies, was actually the best time. I never guessed it was her – until the final gift, a wooden picture frame with such lines as "What a wonderful grandchild!" and "My grandkids are the greatest!!" While true, it was a good clue.
I also have a ceramic orange flower holding a sign, "Hi", that tells me she’s with me all the time. But my favorite is a small, leather-bound book, "God’s Promises For Your Every Need."
Many people who come to the Bible do so unprepared. They flip open and read the first verse they see on the page. Which could possibly be: And he cast down the pieces of silver in the temple, and departed, and went and hanged himself. (Matthew 27:5)
Now that would be enough to try again, without applying that verse to one’s own life, wouldn’t it? Perhaps to find: Then said Jesus unto him, Go, and do thou likewise. (Luke 10:37b)
This small book opens with sections on the Bible’s central figure, Jesus. The Old Testament speaks of Him as the prophesied Messiah, the New of how the prophecies were fulfilled. He is our Savior and our Everything. The book has sections on What To Do When we need confidence, have physical sickness, financial troubles, alone and deserted by loved ones and when we are waiting on God to show us the way.
But this book is not the Bible and does not have the full scriptures that are to be studied prayerfully. Let us pray as Solomon did: And now, O God of Israel, let thy word, I pray thee, be verified, which thou spakest unto thy servant David my father. (1 Kings 8:26)
Let us come as the Psalmist and commit: With my whole heart have I sought thee: O let me not wander from thy commandments. (Psalms 119:10) I will delight myself in thy statutes: I will not forget thy word. (Psalms 119:16)
Come to know 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)
Ask the eternal God to open His word. To know Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God. (1 Corinthians 2:12)
Thursday, October 15, 2009
We are fast approaching the holiday season, full of depression, for a multitude of reasons. This year will be difficult for the millions affected by economic impact beyond their control. For others, Seasonal Affective Disorder will be the impact. Memories of happier times with loved ones will affect others. Perhaps it is a chemical imbalance, with the body attacking itself. Each is unique, differing in their inception and their results.
Each is painful.
God has provided reasons for us to get past these pains.
There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it. (1 Corinthians 10:13 KJV)
Being close to Him makes so much bearable. He wants us to ask for His help.
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)
He is ready to remove our burdens, while we accept His in return.
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)
He is able to renew us.
Hide thy face from my sins, and blot out all mine iniquities. Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me. Cast me not away from thy presence; and take not thy holy spirit from me. Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation; and uphold me with thy free spirit. (Psalms 51:9-12 KJV)
He is ready to renew, and has plans for each one of us.
For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end. Then shall ye call upon me, and ye shall go and pray unto me, and I will hearken unto you. And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart. (Jeremiah 29:11-13 KJV)
He is able to love the unlovable and fill us with hope.
Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not. Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is. And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure. (1 John 3:1-3 KJV)
Wednesday, October 14, 2009
Following World War I, Captain Dwight David Eisenhower stayed in the Army. One of the projects assigned to him was to traverse the United States on then current highway systems. 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 General Eisenhower could see the advantage of a national highway system. 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 along I-40 when a barge hit a bridge support and a portion of the roadway fell. There was no warning for traffic on the highway and several cars 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 saving 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. On I-40 that day, no cars passed those waving and warning. They heeded and did not plunge into the river.
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 laid out by God.
There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death. (Proverbs 14:12)
Tuesday, October 13, 2009
Getting Israelis and Arabs to set down, sign and live by a peace treaty would be close to providing world peace. Even such substantial works would be insufficient to meet God’s requirements.
He gave us the instructions through His Word, in His word: That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life. (John 3:15 KJV)
Just why would He offer us 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 3:16 KJV)
That is the requirement, and it is stated clearly in more than one place in His word: 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)
It was repeated following His resurrection: Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved. (Acts 4:12 KJV)
When asked outright, in a straightforward manner, And brought them out, and said, Sirs, what must I do to be saved? (Acts 16:30 KJV)
The answer was the same: And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house. (Acts 16:31 KJV)
Nothing more, nothing less. Simple faith, simply stated. For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: (Ephesians 2:8 KJV)
Most people run into difficulty long before these verses. They have problems with a couple of concepts that are essential to coming to God.
In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. (Genesis 1:1 KJV)
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made. (John 1:1-3 KJV)
Until we come to understand that The earth is the LORD'S, and the fulness thereof; the world, and they that dwell therein. (Psalms 24:1 KJV), how can we understand that we are His, too?
Of course, salvation is unacceptable until we know we’re lost.
Monday, October 12, 2009
This past Saturday, Mayme (the last of my Beloved Husband’s living aunts) passed away. Her husband of 34 years preceded her in death in 1969. She lived longer without him than in marriage with him.
We spoke to them of our church work and the children’s activities, but I never asked about their relationship to God. I never heard her testimony, her witness of her faith, though I had known her for fifty years. Without that information I cannot know if we will meet again.
Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: (Matthew 28:19 KJV)
And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. (Mark 16:15 KJV)
And that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. (Luke 24:47 KJV)
Then said Jesus to them again, Peace be unto you: as my Father hath sent me, even so send I you. (John 20:21 KJV)
But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth. (Acts 1:8 KJV)
Where, in any part of the Bible, does it say: Go and tell, except for family and friends? Speaking about religion might offend them, so don’t bother them?
Instead, we are instructed: 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)
God has instructed us to speak of Him, providing answers as to why we hold our faith. He also gives us reasons: The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance. (2 Peter 3:9 KJV)
Writing of His promises comes easy to me. Speaking of them within the church comes easy, too. Asking the question of relatives, though, is difficult. Yet Christ knew that His words could be considered offensive: Many therefore of his disciples, when they had heard this, said, This is an hard saying; who can hear it? When Jesus knew in himself that his disciples murmured at it, he said unto them, Doth this offend you? (John 6:60-61 KJV)
We fear the same results: From that time many of his disciples went back, and walked no more with him. (John 6:66 KJV)
I’ll not go back, but continue to walk with Him. Please, join us.
Saturday, October 10, 2009
More than 50 years ago our choir sang a modern rendition of this ancient hymn. The sound resonates through the ages.
Why do we sing it?
For God is the King of all the earth: (Psalms 47:a7 KJV)
How should we sing it?
sing ye praises with understanding. (Psalms 47:7b KJV)
How can we understand?
I and my Father are one. (John 10:30 KJV)
That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me. (John 17:21 KJV)
What better offer do you have before you?
Friday, October 9, 2009
I picked up the copy of the Gideon Bible in the hotel and opened it to one of my favorite passages to begin my morning reading. While I have mine on my SmartPhone, a printed copy is easier to read.
What to my wandering eye should appear but quotation marks. Yep, a quick check let me know this was the New King James Version. The message was familiar, though some of the phrases and spellings were not. As I read, I thought about the differing English versions of the Bible, and about cowboys and samurai warriors. Both impacted differing cultures during the mid-1900's.
Japan's "Seven Samurai" and the American "Magnificent Seven" tell almost the same story. But with cultural differences, losing a bit in comparisons. In places, they share dialogue, yet not sharing the same set of values and truths.
I feel the same way about many of the "new" versions of the same old story. You see, I believe God is quite capable of seeing to it that His word is preserved. I do not believe that "If the King James Version was good enough for Paul, it's good enough for me!" Of course not! But, it was good enough for the English-speaking world for a few centuries and I see no need to change an iota or keraia.
I won't get into the discussion/debates as to the reasons given for updating the Bible. Let me stick to my personal preferences.
I like the "familiar" second person pronouns in the KJV. Sure, they can be replaced with the modern "you", but the connotation just isn't the same, is it? Modern English has lost the closeness that "thee" denotes, which remains in several other languages. "You" covers a lot more territory, and can mean more than one person (even without the southern "Y'all") whereas "thee" is personal as well as singular.
I like to follow along when our Pastor is reading during his sermon, or a lesson is being given in our meetings. It is off-putting to read one version while hearing another. I like reading aloud from the same version, too. Again, for the same reason.
So, as arguments continue, please do not include me. I have my reasons for supporting the continued use of the King James Version -- while using multiple versions for study purposes -- and offer that same opportunity of selection to anyone interested in reading the Bible.
I always encourage people to do so!
Wednesday, October 7, 2009
As usual, I don’t know where to stop. There were some with my aunts and uncles, and I’d love for my grandchildren to come to know them. So, I’m working on fixing up a Family Book that not only contains some old photos, but also includes the story around those families. The problem is, there is not enough room for everything about every one since I can track all of my children’s ancestors back past 1800. It will be interesting where I do find a place to stop, for the stories are many.
Thus I must leave out some things.
The gospel writers had the same problem. As John wrote: And there are also many other things which Jesus did, the which, if they should be written every one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that should be written. Amen. (John 21:25)
The others must have encountered the same problem. Fortunately, as He had done before, God took care of that: All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: (2 Timothy 3:16)
How suspect would it have been for only one man to have written of Christ’s work. Instead, we have four of His direct followers, writing to differing audiences, and they combine to show a wide portrait of the Son of God.
Had Paul preached only at one church, sending epistles out to others, how limited would have been his letters. Instead, he wrote to many churches, to individuals, and his message remained the same: For I determined not to know any thing among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified. (1 Corinthians 2:2)
Christ promised us: Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away. (Matthew 24:35) (Mark 13:31) (Luke 21:33)
It is possible that my great-grandchildren may share their father’s stories for another generation or even two. But God has provided that His word will endure until His return.
The Revelation early promises: Behold, I come quickly: hold that fast which thou hast, that no man take thy crown. (Revelation 3:11)
At the end we find much the same: He which testifieth these things saith, Surely I come quickly. Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus. (Revelation 22:20)
Can we but repeat – Come, Lord Jesus, quickly.
Tuesday, October 6, 2009
If she be a wall, we will build upon her a palace of silver: and if she be a door, we will inclose her with boards of cedar. I am a wall, and my breasts like towers: then was I in his eyes as one that found favour. (Song of Solomon 8:9-10 KJV)
Will her purity and honor be maintained behind a protective wall? Or will she be a door, open to dishonor?
That’s been a question long before Solomon, and remains a question today. As a teacher of Junior High Sunday School girls, it is very important to me that they understand their decision will affect the remainder of their lives.
The society we live in accepts rape. You don’t believe me? Just listen to Whoopi Goldberg’s response to Roman Polanksi’s re-arrest: “It’s not rape rape,” she said.
The society we live in accepts abortion. No question on that one. The ethical debate of Roe v Wade continues, with pro-life making gains this year to become parity with pro-abortion.
The society we live in holds no respect for a virtuous woman, though many can be found – just don’t look for them on the front of celebrity magazines.
Between now and next year there will be three weddings – one in New Jersey, one in Mississippi and one in Oklahoma – for young men who grew up in our church. One young man is currently serving as a Youth Pastor; another has been in evangelism and the third is on the path to being a missionary in Africa. They have waited for and have found their virtuous wife.
A few years ago one of our Sunday assignments for the girls was to write a letter to their future husband. In it, they were to tell him what they expected of him – and tell him what they were doing to prepare themselves for him. We wanted them to know that the covenant between a husband, wife and God is to last a lifetime. The task was given to me to help prepare these young women for their life long marriage, and I take it very seriously:
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)
The Bible gives them excellent images to work toward these goals, and it gives open examples of what happens when people fall short. Life is full of both, but the choices are made individually.
Paul gives excellent advice: 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)
Look for one who not only respects your beliefs, but believes them: Now the God of patience and consolation grant you to be likeminded one toward another according to Christ Jesus: (Romans 15:5 KJV)
Now my question to my girls is – will you be a wall? Or a door?
Monday, October 5, 2009
The Word of God states very clearly that a person can know that they are saved. An example is found in John's inspired scripture:
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)
John is writing so believers may know for certain they have eternal life. He wrote to those "who believe on the Name of the Son of God". This is in present tense -- to those who currently "believe on the Name of the Son of God." John continues:
This then is the message which we have heard of him, and declare unto you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth: 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. If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. (1 John 1:5-9 KJV)
If we have a relationship with Jesus, we will walk in His light . The light will fall on our failures, our sins, and we will confess those sins, receiving forgiveness as promised.
John also tells us that once we believe in Jesus Christ, we'll keep His commandments. And hereby we do know that we know him, if we keep his commandments. He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him. But whoso keepeth his word, in him verily is the love of God perfected: hereby know we that we are in him. He that saith he abideth in him ought himself also so to walk, even as he walked. (1 John 2:3-6 KJV)
Salvation is by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone. Once we are saved, we want to obey Christ. Someone else may say that is achieving perfectionism, or sinlessness -- but let me assure you, we will not be perfect on this earth. Paul admitted to that in Romans 7:19 "For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do." (Read the surrounding verses, too -- wonderful testimony!)
God, in His grace, has a plan for believers who sin -- confess that sin and be forgiven -- If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. (1 John 1:9 KJV) John is but restating the "new" commandment Christ gave us By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another. (John 13:35 KJV)
Again, a new commandment I write unto you, which thing is true in him and in you: because the darkness is past, and the true light now shineth. He that saith he is in the light, and hateth his brother, is in darkness even until now. He that loveth his brother abideth in the light, and there is none occasion of stumbling in him. But he that hateth his brother is in darkness, and walketh in darkness, and knoweth not whither he goeth, because that darkness hath blinded his eyes. (1 John 2:8-11 KJV)
That is about as clear as it gets. If you are believer you may still sin but you will not practice sin, because you are a child of God. Every person must make that decision on their own -- are you a child of God, or not.
If not, the good news is that you still have a chance! Here it is, laid out in the timeless John 3:16, true forever, "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."
Sunday, October 4, 2009
A testimony is one person’s profession of faith in Jesus Christ. A Christian witness consists of that person's life after their profession of faith.
This weekend one of our lessons included writing our testimony. For a Christian, that means telling how we came to Christ and what He has done, so my first paragraph is true for the profession of faith part, but is a very incomplete witness.
My favorite example in the Bible is the Samaritan woman who, when she believed Him, witnessed to others:
Come, see a man, which told me all things that ever I did: is not this the Christ? (John 4:29 KJV)
But I think the best example is Paul conversion experience as told by him to Agrippa in Acts 26. So, if you want to do some comparisons, please do so.
Unlike Paul, I was born into a household that did not attend church. Both parents were raised in Christian families who faithfully attended – my Dad at a Methodist church, my Mom at a Baptist. The result is part of being unequally yoked. Rather than choose which to attend, they simply did not.
Until I was ten and they moved from California to Tulsa, Oklahoma, within walking distance to a Baptist church, and we walked. Dad worked most weekends, so he only attended one service each Sunday, but Mom saw to it we attended regularly. It became second nature to go to church, twice on Sundays and Wednesday had a full spectrum of activities.
While studying for Girl’s Auxiliary steps, I came to understand that everyone is born with a sinful nature. Recognizing that sin leaves but two choices – acceptance of God’s plan of salvation, or denying Him. I choose to accept because I loved the Lord described in the Bible.
One aspect of Girl’s Auxiliary had us study other beliefs. I chose Catholicism. Those weeks of study help me understand why it is so important to know the source of our beliefs, for ours were so very different. Father Bob of St. Francis Xavier answered some of our questions about the Catholic church, referring to writings outside of the Bible. We were invited to the baptism of a baby, too.
I was saddened by the thought that the child would grow up thinking she was a follower of Christ, a member of His church – and might never come to know Him as Lord and Savior. The Bible teaches that salvation is through faith, by God’s grace:
For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: (Ephesians 2:8 KJV)
We are not born into it. We cannot earn it. We cannot boast about how we achieved it:
Not of works, lest any man should boast. (Ephesians 2:9 KJV)
My father was saved and baptized at Immanuel, as was my sister. Our family remained active at Immanuel Baptist. I remained in GA’s through school, then moved into Young Women’s Auxiliary activities, then Women’s Missionary Union as I repeated my Mom’s mistake.
I married a Methodist. He, too was baptized at Immanuel, though he had been christened as a baby and immersed as a teen as a Methodist. We took our children regularly – until we moved away.
Without detailing the type of churches we attended, suffice it to say, they were not filled with the Holy Spirit’s work as Immanuel was. Our neighborhood church started off as a comfortable fit – until the church began to argue and eventually split. Another down the road seemed good, but again there was no spiritual growth. It became easier not to go as teen difficulties grew in our children.
We tried a friend’s church – another denomination that “had no creed but Christ” and all three of my children were baptized there. We started attending one of their churches closer to home. It was a good church, but no spiritual growth.
By the time we moved to DFW we were empty nesters often traveling on the weekend and only visited one nearby church. We were not visited in return.
How easy it was to allow personality and divisions separate us from God’s word.
Until we moved to Paradise and a bus program brought our granddaughter to the church we now attend. Over the next few years family members made their professions of faith, were baptized and are now working with their spirit-filled churches.
The similarities between the church where I was baptized and the one I attend now is the focus on Jesus Christ as Lord. The acceptance of the truth in Genesis 1:1 and John 1:1.
Jesus answered Satan for me: Then saith Jesus unto him, Get thee hence, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve. (Matthew 4:10 KJV)
Paul told Timothy about scripture: 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)
Luke lauded 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 KJV)
And that, my readers, is why I publish this blog. This is my testimony. This is my witness that Jesus Christ, Son of God, died to cleans my sins. And He is able to do that for everyone. Luke explained how:
And brought them out, and said, Sirs, what must I do to be saved? And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house. (Acts 16:30-31 KJV)
Sounds simple? It is – and it isn’t. That’s why there are hundreds of postings in this blog. God has something for us every day in His word. We are here to learn and grow in His loving care until we return to Him.
When that does happen, dear readers, 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)
Come with me to our Father.
Friday, October 2, 2009
Thursday, October 1, 2009
I wonder if there is a methodology of measuring such hormonal changes following the loss of a close family member, don't you? Then the next one:
"But there may be other forces at play as well. Research shows that in some cases, one person’s heartbeat can affect, even regulate, another’s, possibly acting as a type of life support."
An interesting concept to explore, isn't it? Brings new meaning to:
Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh. (Genesis 2:24 KJV)
The full article is: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/26980587/
Can it be that two hearts beat as one? That a husband and wife can be so close that the absence of one affects the heartbeat of the other? The Bible tells us that God's plan was one man, one wife:
The Pharisees also came unto him, tempting him, and saying unto him, Is it lawful for a man to put away his wife for every cause? And he answered and said unto them, Have ye not read, that he which made them at the beginning made them male and female, And said, For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they twain shall be one flesh? Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder. (Matthew 19:3-6 KJV)
As we do today, the Pharisees asked about why God allowed divorce, knowing there was controversy in the answer. The controversy within man’s mind, not God’s:
They say unto him, Why did Moses then command to give a writing of divorcement, and to put her away? He saith unto them, Moses because of the hardness of your hearts suffered you to put away your wives: but from the beginning it was not so. (Matthew 19:7-8 KJV)
Imagine the closeness offered to a husband and wife when God is at the center of the marriage. Imagine also the loss when one dies. A heartbeat is missing.
How should we treat these missing heartbeats?
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 KJV)
We know fatherless and widowed individuals. How pure is our religion?