Monday, November 30, 2009
Our pastor gave an example during Sunday evening services. As a young man out of Bible college, he was at work and he was memorizing the twelfth chapter of Romans. His day was interrupted when someone coming into his office. It was a somewhat disreputable stranger, asking for help with a broken down car. His response was “I’m busy right now.”
The woman left just as he reached Romans 12:16. You won’t have to go get your Bible to read it, here it is:
Be of the same mind one toward another. Mind not high things, but condescend to men of low estate. Be not wise in your own conceits. (Romans 12:16 KJV)
Wow, when the Lord lays it out in front of us, it is so hard to ignore Him. But we continue to try. His train of memorization was broken. He was struck with the meaning of that passage. He then answered for himself my original question.
Live the Bible. That is what a Christian is to do.
We can read it daily and think wonderful thoughts about how we would apply it to our lives. We can study to show ourselves approved. We can research each verse, tracking those quotes from the prophets, know about when and to whom books were written. We can be as the Bereans and search scriptures daily. We can memorize it and quote more scriptures than our neighbors. We can teach and preach it.
Won’t amount to anything unless we live it.
Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works. (James 2:18 KJV)
Oh, yes, the woman’s car was started, with our pastor’s help. God’s lessons are taught to be lived.
We’ve read the lesson. Can we teach it? Can we live it?
Sunday, November 29, 2009
This Sunday, though, they will be at the hospital with their son who is in ICU. He is able now to breath on his own, but having Mom there is a comfort. His situation brought home to us how we take for granted breathing.
Unless afflicted with a pulmonary disorder, we seldom think about breathing. It’s natural. We don’t count how often it happens each moment, each day, each lifetime. But when we cannot breath, it is terrifying.
The Bible tells us it is God given:
And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul. (Genesis 2:7 KJV)
Job knew this:
In whose hand is the soul of every living thing, and the breath of all mankind. (Job 12:10 KJV)
The Spirit of God hath made me, and the breath of the Almighty hath given me life. (Job 33:4 KJV)
Luke, too, acknowledged God’s creation as he documented Paul’s sermon:
God that made the world and all things therein, seeing that he is Lord of heaven and earth, dwelleth not in temples made with hands; Neither is worshipped with men's hands, as though he needed any thing, seeing he giveth to all life, and breath, and all things; (Acts 17:24-25 KJV)
So, this morning as the fragrance of baking fills my kitchen, as the children reach in for one of the tasty treats, as a mother watches over her son, we’ll give thanks for all of that and more. We’ll thank God for every breath He has in store for us, for the nourishment He provides, for the healing and comfort He brings to our lives.
Most of all, we are grateful each day. Thanks be unto God for his unspeakable gift. (2 Corinthians 9:15 KJV)
Saturday, November 28, 2009
For as we have many members in one body, and all members have not the same office: (Romans 12:4 KJV)
Thus it is with families. There are different gifts, different talents. When the family is seen together, though, the similarities become apparent. We are much as was the church:
So we, being many, are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another. (Romans 12:5 KJV)
We share common memories, yet seen from varied viewpoints, separated by age, interests, education, and others. We are dysfunctional in some ways, but quite capable of productive output, and full of love. We are much as is the church.
For the body is not one member, but many. (1 Corinthians 12:14 KJV)
This is what concerns me about the generations that follow:
For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad. (2 Corinthians 5:10 KJV)
Yet I am confident that prayers will make intercession for them:
Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. 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. And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose. (Romans 8:26-28 KJV)
Just above these verses, Paul teaches us hope and patience.
For we are saved by hope: but hope that is seen is not hope: for what a man seeth, why doth he yet hope for? But if we hope for that we see not, then do we with patience wait for it. (Romans 8:24-25 KJV)
So, I have hope for my family, and I wait. Still, I Pray without ceasing. (1 Thessalonians 5:17 KJV)
Friday, November 27, 2009
I wish I knew more about Saul’s name change. I’ve read in Henry’s Commentary that Saul meant one called. How appropriate! This man who set out to destroy believers:
And Saul, yet breathing out threatenings and slaughter against the disciples of the Lord, went unto the high priest, And desired of him letters to Damascus to the synagogues, that if he found any of this way, whether they were men or women, he might bring them bound unto Jerusalem. (Acts 9:1-2 KJV)
He sought the position of prosecution. It took direct intervention by our Lord for the change in Paul’s life. At that point, he asked the question we all do when we accept Christ as our Lord:
And he trembling and astonished said, Lord, what wilt thou have me to do? (Acts 9:6a KJV)
After giving his name, he gives his title. A servant of Jesus Christ. Not a preacher, not a teacher, not a companion. Simply, a servant.
Could we accept such? Or do we seek acknowledgement of our work for the Lord? Do we serve, or do we put our talents on display?
There is no doubt Paul was called, as were the other apostles, separated under the gospel of God.
The gospel -- that good news – a promise made, and fulfilled.
(Which he had promised afore by his prophets in the holy scriptures,) Concerning his Son Jesus Christ our Lord, which was made of the seed of David according to the flesh; And declared to be the Son of God with power, according to the spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead: (Romans 1:2-4 KJV)
From the beginning, God’s word tells of the Messiah, the son of David, His Son, Jesus Christ our Lord. We know this because of His resurrection, displaying the full power of God. From Genesis forward we are told one would come. Paul’s calling was to spread this good news.
For the remainder of his life, Paul will share this good news with people around him. His travels would spread that word geographically, but his letters to the congregations would spread it through time.
Paul closes giving credit where it is due:
To God only wise, be glory through Jesus Christ for ever. Amen. (Romans 16:27 KJV)
This coming Sunday we’ll spend time learning more about this book, and the man who wrote it. I’m looking forward to it, for he, and his writings are mentioned elsewhere:
And account that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation; even as our beloved brother Paul also according to the wisdom given unto him hath written unto you; As also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things; in which are some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest, as they do also the other scriptures, unto their own destruction. (2 Peter 3:15-16 KJV)
Thursday, November 26, 2009
I pray every American has the opportunity to hear it this year.
The emphasis below is mine.)
PRESIDENT LINCOLN'S THANKSGIVING DAY PROCLAMATION, OCTOBER 3, 1863.
The year that is drawing toward its close has been filled with the blessings of fruitful fields and healthful skies. To these bounties, which are so constantly enjoyed that we are prone to forget the source from which they come, others have been added, which are of so extraordinary a nature that they cannot fail to penetrate and soften the heart which is habitually insensible to the everwatchful providence of almighty God.
In the midst of a civil war of unequaled magnitude and severity, which has sometimes seemed to foreign states to invite and provoke their aggressions, peace has been preserved with all nations, order has been maintained, the laws have been respected and obeyed, and harmony has prevailed everywhere, except in the theater of military conflict; while that theater has been greatly contracted by the advancing armies and navies of the Union.
Needful diversions of wealth and of strength from the fields of peaceful industry to the national defense have not arrested the plow, the shuttle, or the ship; the ax has enlarged the borders of our settlements, and the mines, as well of iron and coal as of the precious metals, have yielded even more abundantly than heretofore. Population has steadily increased, notwithstanding the waste that has been made in the camp, the siege, and the battlefield, and the country, rejoicing in the consciousness of augmented strength and vigor, is permitted to expect continuance of years with large increase of freedom.
No human counsel hath devised, nor hath any mortal hand worked out these great things. They are the gracious gifts of the most high God, who while dealing with us in anger for our sins, hath nevertheless remembered mercy.
It has seemed to me fit and proper that they should be solemnly, reverently, and gratefully acknowledged as with one heart and one voice by the whole American people. I do, therefore, invite my fellow-citizens in every part of the United States, and also those who are at sea and those who are sojourning in foreign lands, to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next as a day of thanksgiving and praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the heavens. And I recommend to them that, while offering up the ascriptions justly due to him for such singular deliverances and blessings, they do also, with humble penitence for our national perverseness and disobedience, commend to his tender care all those who have become widows, orphans, mourners, or sufferers in the lamentable civil strife in which we are unavoidably engaged, and fervently implore the interposition of the almighty hand to heal the wounds of the nation, and to restore it, as soon as may be consistent with the Divine purposes, to the full enjoyment of peace, harmony, tranquillity, and union.
In testimony whereof, I have hereunto set my hand and caused the seal of the United Stated States to be affixed.
Wednesday, November 25, 2009
“To my dear family survivors; the greatest asset I can hand down to you is to commend you to the Lord Jesus Christ whom I have tried to serve from childhood. He is the only rock or foundation you can safely build or rely upon and you should love Him with all your Might.”
He knew, and told his family, how important our savior was in his life. He knew, and now I share with you, that Christ truly is the rock, the foundation we can build on that will last eternally.
He knew, as did Solomon:
Children's children are the crown of old men; and the glory of children are their fathers. (Proverbs 17:6 KJV)
He knew, as I do and I pray you do, too, that John wrote truth when he wrote:
I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth. (3 John 1:4 KJV)
At this time of thanksgiving, that is something to thank God, loudly and in front of those children, which my Beloved Husband did in church during our thanksgiving service. We pray it continues to their children, and their children’s children. We pray, as did David that God will grant mercy to us, and to them:
But the mercy of the LORD is from everlasting to everlasting upon them that fear him, and his righteousness unto children's children; (Psalms 103:17 KJV)
He knew that the greatest legacy he could leave his children was open to all people, but he loved his children the most. The property he left has been sold, as was his father’s and generations ahead of them. But the love of God that he wrote of to his family remains and is passed from one generation to the next.
Some did not accept the message, from him or from the Lord. That remains true today. Some parents do not leave such a message, nor do they leave such a love, yet their children hear it from others.
A loving Christian family is not necessary to come to know Christ as Lord and Savior. It is, however a great blessing to be able to share that eternal message with the ones we love the most.
For that, we praise with Paul and include in our Thanksgiving:
Thanks be unto God for his unspeakable gift. (2 Corinthians 9:15 KJV)
Tuesday, November 24, 2009
We look upon this coming Thursday as an American holiday instituted by Pilgrims about 1621, a religious celebration that did not become a national holiday until 1941. There have been strong movements to view it solely as a secular holiday, removing religious connotation.
That I do not understand.
The very concept of giving thanks indicates there is someone deserving of gratitude. As a secular holiday, where do the thanks go? For us, it is thanksgiving unto the Lord. And, it is not to be confined to a single day.
Christians say thanks to God daily, in a number of ways. Doing so should not detract from gathering family and setting aside a specific day to focus our gratitude. To do so has a long history.
God’s word gives us reason for thanksgiving:
That I may publish with the voice of thanksgiving, and tell of all thy wondrous works. (Psalms 26:7 KJV)
Offer unto God thanksgiving; and pay thy vows unto the most High: (Psalms 50:14 KJV)
I will praise the name of God with a song, and will magnify him with thanksgiving. (Psalms 69:30 KJV)
Let us come before his presence with thanksgiving, and make a joyful noise unto him with psalms. (Psalms 95:2 KJV)
Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him, and bless his name. (Psalms 100:4 KJV)
And out of them shall proceed thanksgiving and the voice of them that make merry: and I will multiply them, and they shall not be few; I will also glorify them, and they shall not be small. (Jeremiah 30:19 KJV)
So, make your lists and be prepared to share with your families this Thursday. Know the wondrous works of your Lord, and tell of them. Be prepared to praise the name of God with a song, and make a joyful noise unto Him.
For those whose past year brought sorrow and pain, thank Him for the ones who have provided love and support, as a reflection of His. For those whose past year brought joy, tell Him how much that means to you. Don’t hesitate to ask for the coming year to bring opportunities to share His love with others. Pray for those who need Him most.
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)
Monday, November 23, 2009
I don’t count creation as a miracle. Instead, it is a clear display of God’s power. The flood, too. Except for Isaac’s birth, Genesis remains a history. Exodus contains a long list of miracles. Judges, not so much.
Ruth contains none at all. Not until we get to Elijah and Elisha do we get an influx of miracles. Daniel brings us the fiery furnace and the lion’s den, but with the exception of prophecy fulfilled, we don’t see more until Jesus’ birth.
His ministry, and His disciples’, bring forth the largest concentration of miracles in the Bible.
But I have greater witness than that of John: for the works which the Father hath given me to finish, the same works that I do, bear witness of me, that the Father hath sent me. (John 5:36 KJV)
They asked, explained:
Then came the Jews round about him, and said unto him, How long dost thou make us to doubt? If thou be the Christ, tell us plainly. Jesus answered them, I told you, and ye believed not: the works that I do in my Father's name, they bear witness of me. (John 10:24-25 KJV)
He laid before them simple logic:
If I do not the works of my Father, believe me not. But if I do, though ye believe not me, believe the works: that ye may know, and believe, that the Father is in me, and I in him. (John 10:37-38 KJV)
Still, people did not, and do not believe. They are looking for that miracle, that one sign that will convince them that God exists and Jesus’ message is truth.
For the Jews require a sign, and the Greeks seek after wisdom: But we preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumblingblock, and unto the Greeks foolishness; (1 Corinthians 1:22-23 KJV)
Which are we seeking as proof? Would it be through a sign from God, or through the logic of wisdom that we would hear Him?
Nothing is necessary but faith.
For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: (Ephesians 2:8 KJV)
But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him. (Hebrews 11:6 KJV)
So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. (Romans 10:17 KJV)
Sunday, November 22, 2009
She has friends as far away as England and the Philippines. She came to us in December, 2005, burrowing a nest in a broken hay bale, abandoned by someone who could not accept responsibility. We put food out for her – a pregnant dog needs nourishment.
On New Year’s day, 2006, she presented us with eight puppies. As loving and gentle as she was, all found homes before they were eight weeks old. These were not small pups – a vet said their father could have been a St. Bernard.
I am in tears. I shall miss her for the rest of my life. Yet, I am grateful.
I can give thanks for the time shared with this huge, loving animal. She showed a touch of fear every once in a while. Someone had mistreated her with a hose and/or a belt. But instead of being aggressive when she saw them, she simply turned and walked away. We learned to understand and worked to bring her comfort.
Her love was unconditional. She greeted our car every time we returned. My standard was to give her a treat when we left, and another upon our return. She knew the sound our engines made and was always exuberant when we came home.
I give thanks, though the time was short. I wish it had been longer.
But driving is tiring and by the time we reached Barstow it was well after midnight and coffee, with lots of caffeine please, was strongly desired. By passengers as well as drivers. Hop off the interstate at the huge sign designating a known fast food chain, and promising 24 hour service. Right? Wrong.
They were closed for cleaning. How we hit just as the doors were locked is indicative of how this spontaneous trip went. We reached our destination, the hotel in Las Vegas holding our reservations. And they refused to let them go until the regular 1:00 p.m. check-in. May I tell you how tired we were?
We’ve all experienced similar situations. What we expected was not available.
Isn’t it wonderful that God is always available?
My help cometh from the LORD, which made heaven and earth. He will not suffer thy foot to be moved: he that keepeth thee will not slumber. Behold, he that keepeth Israel shall neither slumber nor sleep. (Psalms 121:2-4 KJV)
Even when I’m worn out and can’t go further, I remember how David looked upon the Lord.
I will both lay me down in peace, and sleep: for thou, LORD, only makest me dwell in safety. (Psalms 4:8 KJV)
Whatever I can imagine going wrong, He is able to save me to the uttermost.
But this man, because he continueth ever, hath an unchangeable priesthood. Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them. (Hebrews 7:24-25 KJV)
That thought prevails through those who write of His abilities.
For the which cause I also suffer these things: nevertheless I am not ashamed: 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 1:12 KJV)
They write what I feel and wish to share with others. The Lord is consistent, never absent, always able.
For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 8:38-39 KJV)
Knowing this, let us accept His invitation.
Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need. (Hebrews 4:16 KJV)
Saturday, November 21, 2009
Twilight – that time before dusk when the light still lingers over the horizon – momma deer is feeding with two almost grown youngsters. Acorns from the live oak trees have tempted them for a long while now, but it’s usually much later in the evening.
Deliver thyself as a roe from the hand of the hunter, and as a bird from the hand of the fowler. (Proverbs 6:5 KJV)
They were ready to deliver themselves to safety. They did ignore the cars that passed on the road, not fifty feet from them. A couple drove so very slowly. Maybe wondering if they were real or lawn ornaments.
This last month our pastor and his daughter found others to be very real, leaving dents in their vehicles. Many never look out for the cars as they cross the road, so we keep an eye out for them.
I enjoy living here where the untamed share our yard. They remind me of many Bible verses:
As the hart panteth after the water brooks, so panteth my soul after thee, O God. (Psalms 42:1 KJV)
And the LORD God took the man, and put him into the garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it. (Genesis 2:15 KJV)
And the voice spake unto him again the second time, What God hath cleansed, that call not thou common. (Acts 10:15 KJV)
I find the world God created for us anything but common. It is full of beauty, as shown in my cropped photo taken from our loft window some time ago. The earth, water, sky, the animals in them. Anywhere in the world we can read and heed:
Be still, and know that I am God: I will be exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted in the earth. (Psalms 46:10 KJV)
Friday, November 20, 2009
Give thanks unto the LORD, call upon his name, make known his deeds among the people. (1 Chronicles 16:8 KJV)
For what do you give thanks this year? Start your list now so you won’t miss one. I’ve got a list going:
I’m always thankful that God provided for my salvation. 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)
I’m grateful for my husband, my children, their children – for my family. It is a pleasure to be in God’s house when they all stand before the LORD, with their little ones, their wives, and their children. (2 Chronicles 20:13 KJV)
I am grateful for our church – not the building, the congregation. Praising God, and having favour with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved. (Acts 2:47 KJV)
Our pastor has my gratitude, too. He has fulfilled the responsibilities given in God’s word. Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood. (Acts 20:28 KJV)
I am grateful for my country, and grateful that God asks me to pray for it and its leaders. I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men; For kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty. For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour; (1 Timothy 2:1-3 KJV)
This is such a short list, I could continue writing, but it would become minutia, and I would begin naming specifics when in truth I am grateful for God’s love and the multitude of ways He has shown it to me through so many in my life. I’ve met so many wonderful people simply by sharing His word.
Every day will I bless thee; and I will praise thy name for ever and ever. (Psalms 145:2 KJV)
Thursday, November 19, 2009
Just a short time ago her pregnant mother had amniocentesis. Her doctor was concerned about a factor or two. As in her previous pregnancy, test results indicated abnormalities and her doctor again mentioned medical abortion. The parents opted – as they had done in the previous pregnancy – to continue looking forward to what God had in store for them.
I have no clue what tests returned the chromosomal abnormalities nor why they did so, but both children’s births were normal. Their development is quite normal. Well, not so much now for that older child – the one who lifted our hearts and our spirits with her voice. Her talent is far above 'normal.' We shall see what talents display for the younger.
And I cannot help but wonder how many families have taken the other path. Opting for ending a questionable pregnancy.
I wonder that as I spend time with another child whose development has not been normal. One who will never complete a Sunday School lesson. May never understand what teenagers are talking about. One who greets us with smiles and hugs and tells us we are loved.
I wonder, but will never ask, if her mother was offered the option.
Jeremiah tells us that God knew what he would be before he was formed: Then the word of the LORD came unto me, saying, Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee, and I ordained thee a prophet unto the nations. (Jeremiah 1:4-5 KJV)
David tells us: I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvellous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well. (Psalms 139:14 KJV)
Why do we require perfection? Because we, or our child, will experience pain and difficulties in life? Where else do we expect, much less achieve, such perfection?
So much has changed during the lifetime of my children. There were no such tests before they were born. Lawyers had not approached Norma McCorvey to carry their banner. There was not yet a Roe to be adverse to Wade.
Shortly after my children were born, another mother became pregnant. The option to end her pregnancy was available as she fought Hodgkins disease. The pregnancy would deplete her energy, place her child at risk. She, too, opted to continue through operations and treatments. We now visit her son and his family with great pleasure. We look forward to that son’s future grandchildren with joy in our hearts.
And, we depend on a God of whom we say, as David did: 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. (Psalms 139:16 KJV)
Wednesday, November 18, 2009
It started with a chapter that contains my description. But instead of Titus 2:2, she began with:
That they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children, (Titus 2:4 KJV)
With the center as the topic – love their husbands.
Simple, right? We selected these husbands, stood before God and congregation and promised:
“I, -----------, take thee ------------, to be my lawfully wedded husband, to have and to hold from this day forward, for better or for worse, for richer or for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish; 'til death us do part.”
Just reading those words brings back memories of staring into his eyes, willing my commitment be made known to him. I love. I cherish.
Yet, I have thrown harsh words. I have pushed tender buttons. We both have, though that is not our intent. So a revisit to God’s word makes a great refresher course. Why did I make such a commitment to God before men in the first place? Because I love him. God’s word tells me about love.
Love suffereth long, and is kind;
love envieth not;
love vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up,
doth not behave itself unseemly,
seeketh not its own,
is not provoked,
taketh not account of evil;
rejoiceth not in unrighteousness, but rejoiceth with the truth;
beareth all things,
believeth all things,
hopeth all things,
endureth all things.
Love never faileth:
(1 Corinthians 13:4-8a ASV)
That’s how I’ve committed to be toward my husband. There have been times I have failed. That is my fault, not his. He has responsibilities, but mine are my own, not dependent on him fulfilling his.
Nevertheless let every one of you in particular so love his wife even as himself; and the wife see that she reverence her husband. (Ephesians 5:33 KJV)
“But, he …” is not a defense, nor a justification for not completing a promise. Instead, I’ve determined to pay attention to nearby verses that will help me fulfill my promise:
Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord; Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ; Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God. (Ephesians 5:19-21 KJV)
Tuesday, November 17, 2009
For I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand. I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith: (2 Timothy 4:6-7 KJV)
You did step forward once, made that walk down the aisle and told the pastor that your life belonged to God. Said that you were ready to serve Him. You were active in your church, for a while.
Ye did run well; who did hinder you that ye should not obey the truth? This persuasion cometh not of him that calleth you. (Galatians 5:7-8 KJV)
Paul asks “who”, not “what” hinders us. Do we look back and see what hindered us from our committed walk with Christ?
For the years that I was not active in my local church, there is no one answering that “who” question except myself. I made the decisions that slowed, then altered our attendance. Sure, I could rationalize others and their impacts, but the commitment was mine, the responsibility mine.
There were life-altering decisions made. Geographic moves, career moves, leaving family, changing churches. Oh, we didn’t stop going, we just didn’t go all that we could and most certainly all that we should.
We were hindered. I wish I could say it was the same hindrance Paul faced:
Wherefore we would have come unto you, even I Paul, once and again; but Satan hindered us. (1 Thessalonians 2:18 KJV)
But I believe Paul was a much more important target, requiring much more work. Rather than ‘walking away’, I simply did not walk to. Neither did I allow Him to carry me. I just sat out, on my own, and let His kingdom move forward, without me.
The real “who” question should be: “Who lost?” Again, I’m the answer. I lost out on sermons I should have heard, Bible lessons I should have learned, classes I should have taught. People I should have met, and witnessed to. God provided relief and deliverance from another that should have come through me (Esther 4:14)
I feel as though what Christ said to the lawyers would qualify for me:
ye entered not in yourselves, and them that were entering in ye hindered. (Luke 11:52 KJV)
May those I hindered please forgive me.
I re-entered the course, returning to the One who first loved me (1 John 4:29), gave His son for me (John 3:16), prepared a place for me (John 14:2) and inspired a book that gives me knowledge.
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)
Monday, November 16, 2009
And the LORD appeared unto Abram, and said, Unto thy seed will I give this land: and there builded he an altar unto the LORD, who appeared unto him. (Genesis 12:7 KJV)
Without a child to fulfill this promise, Abraham believed God and built an altar. In later years, Abraham laughed at God’s promise, even as God changed his name.
Then Abraham fell upon his face, and laughed, and said in his heart, Shall a child be born unto him that is an hundred years old? and shall Sarah, that is ninety years old, bear? (Genesis 17:17 KJV)
God had a plan, and a name for the child yet to be born.
But my covenant will I establish with Isaac, which Sarah shall bear unto thee at this set time in the next year. (Genesis 17:21 KJV)
Yet Sarah disbelieved, and laughed at God’s promise, too.
Therefore Sarah laughed within herself, saying, After I am waxed old shall I have pleasure, my lord being old also? (Genesis 18:12 KJV)
For those of us who believe the Bible to be God’s word, we find His answer full of promise:
Is any thing too hard for the LORD? At the time appointed I will return unto thee, according to the time of life, and Sarah shall have a son. (Genesis 18:14 KJV)
And, it was so. Now, in chapter 22, God has called upon Abraham to offer this son, this promise fulfilled child from God, and offer him as a sacrifice. It was being done by other religions in the area then. It could be said it is still done today, as young men are sacrificed to blow up others.
They spoke as they walked together to make the altar, and without foreknowledge, Abraham spoke across the ages.
And Isaac spake unto Abraham his father, and said, My father: and he said, Here am I, my son. And he said, Behold the fire and the wood: but where is the lamb for a burnt offering? And Abraham said, My son, God will provide himself a lamb for a burnt offering: so they went both of them together. (Genesis 22:7-8 KJV)
God will provide himself a lamb. And, He did just that. He announced it through the voice of one crying in the wilderness:
The next day John seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world. (John 1:29 KJV)
In case you didn’t hear it the first time,
And looking upon Jesus as he walked, he saith, Behold the Lamb of God! (John 1:36 KJV)
Promised, laughed at, revealed.
And now ye know what withholdeth that he might be revealed in his time. (2 Thessalonians 2:6 KJV)
Abraham and Isaac by Johann Heinrich Ferdinand Olivier 1817
Sunday, November 15, 2009
Jesus answered them and said, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Ye seek me, not because ye saw the miracles, but because ye did eat of the loaves, and were filled. (John 6:26 KJV)
Is that what we seek, personal satisfaction? We want to feel full, have enough to eat. Or we want to have ______. Fill in the blank with any thing that might make life happier, easier or more meaningful.
All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made. (John 1:3 KJV)
He could give us anything, for it all belongs to Him. Yet we’re stingy with what we’re supposed to return to Him. It’s hard for many to return to Him one day a week.
We seek Him when we are troubled, wounded, hurt, needful, hopeless. Can we seek Him each morning in praise, too?
Can we seek Him through our daily schedules? Can we give Him our trust, our faith? Can seek to obey Him?
But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Esaias saith, Lord, who hath believed our report? So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. (Romans 10:16-17 KJV)
Can we spend more time with God’s word, seeking His will?
I love them that love me; and those that seek me early shall find me. (Proverbs 8:17 KJV)
Is that what Jesus said He would provide?
And I say unto you, Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you. (Luke 11:9 KJV)
Then do as He asked in His final quote in John: follow thou me. (John 21:22b KJV)
Saturday, November 14, 2009
“China, the largest foreign holder of U.S. Treasury securities, has expressed concern about the size of U.S. deficits. U.S. policymakers worry that alarm over deficits could push foreigners into cutting back on their purchases of Treasury debt.” Apparently the Administration is calling for “… a freeze or even a 5 percent cut in their budgets, part of an election-year push to rein in record deficits that threaten the economy ...”
Perhaps a re-reading of Luke 16 would be advantageous.
And he said also unto his disciples, There was a certain rich man, which had a steward; and the same was accused unto him that he had wasted his goods. (Luke 16:1 KJV)
There has been tremendous wasting of goods by a large number of people just within the last decade. Count only from Enron to Madoff, and don’t forget our own budgets, where we have some control. Several times in the past ten years we’ve seen the greed in one impacting many others. It is not confined to money. Greed for power, for a legacy, anything for ‘self’, ends in loss.
We lose sight of God’s care even as we read:
Which of you by taking thought can add one cubit unto his stature? And why take ye thought for raiment? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin: And yet I say unto you, That even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which to day is, and to morrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith? (Matthew 6:27-30 KJV)
His disciples didn’t believe He, and they, were in God’s care:
And, behold, there arose a great tempest in the sea, insomuch that the ship was covered with the waves: but he was asleep. And his disciples came to him, and awoke him, saying, Lord, save us: we perish. And he saith unto them, Why are ye fearful, O ye of little faith? Then he arose, and rebuked the winds and the sea; and there was a great calm. (Matthew 8:24-26 KJV)
They thought – as we do – of the material things even as He spoke of the spiritual:
And they reasoned among themselves, saying, It is because we have taken no bread. 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 16:7-8 KJV)
Do we trust Him enough to believe when He promises today:
Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed? (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things. But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you. (Matthew 6:31-33 KJV)
Friday, November 13, 2009
Shame was not the original focus of this morning’s Bible readings, but it caught my eye in the verse above. Sometimes we should be ashamed, and admonished.
There was a time mankind walked with God and felt no shame as to their appearance. Then they came to know good and evil, and were ashamed, recognizing they dishonored God and they knew fear (Genesis 3:7-10).
Our country has spent a great deal of time and energy schooling children to ignore feelings of unworthiness or improper conduct. In some instances schools have removed awards in order for children to retain their self-esteem by not losing to another.
Our children are taught in school that there is no shame in personal relationships that our Bible teaches are sinful. In a reversal, to speak out against such sin is now considered shameful.
Feeling ashamed is feeling regret. Today’s society denies a need for regret. Make a mistake? Acknowledge it didn’t work, then move on. That applies to no-fault insurance just as well as it does to divorce. In today’s society couples feel no shame in living together without wedding vows. Today’s headlines requiring marriage be allowed are for those who do not fit into marriage as defined in the Bible.
These that have turned the world upside down are come hither also; (Acts 17:6 KJV)
That’s what we need to do. We need to turn today’s world upside down by obeying God, not being ashamed of His word. We’ve been told what to expect if we are ashamed of Him:
Whosoever therefore shall be ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation; of him also shall the Son of man be ashamed, when he cometh in the glory of his Father with the holy angels. (Mark 8:38 KJV)
How not to be ashamed? Also answered:
For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed. (Romans 10:11 KJV)
Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. (2 Timothy 2:15 KJV)
And now, little children, abide in him; that, when he shall appear, we may have confidence, and not be ashamed before him at his coming. (1 John 2:28 KJV)
Thursday, November 12, 2009
That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust. (Matthew 5:45 KJV)
By looking, we cannot tell a good person from one who will do us harm. But God knows.
But the LORD said unto Samuel, Look not on his countenance, or on the height of his stature; because I have refused him: for the LORD seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the LORD looketh on the heart. (1 Samuel 16:7 KJV)
When we love the Lord, there are many things we can do to let people know about it without saying a word. His children are the light of the world, and He expects us to shine:
Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid. Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven. (Matthew 5:14-16 KJV)
He has things for us to do each day, too:
From the rising of the sun unto the going down of the same the LORD'S name is to be praised. (Psalms 113:3 KJV)
Have you tried that? It makes for a wonderful day, I assure you. Then some of our old thoughts intrude and we need some light, and we ask:
Make thy face to shine upon thy servant: save me for thy mercies' sake. (Psalms 31:16 KJV)
Turn us again, O God, and cause thy face to shine; and we shall be saved. (Psalms 80:3 KJV)
Repeated in Psalms 80:3, 80:7 and 80:19 – cause thy face to shine, and we shall be saved. What a wonderful concept!!
There will come a time when the sun shall not rise, but it will be of no concern to those who serve the Lord. He has promised us light.
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)
This is nothing new. From the beginning:
In him was life; and the life was the light of men. (John 1:4 KJV)
Just as John bore witness to the light, so must we. That was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world. (John 1:9 KJV)
Wednesday, November 11, 2009
November 11 is set aside to remember those who offered their lives to keep their country safe. Originally to remember that war to end war (which it quite obviously did not) and dedicated to peace, it was expanded in the United States in 1953 to include all veterans. Those citizens who care enough for their country and fellowman to provide protection.
In Bakersfield, California, residents both remembered and honored such men this year. Proof that such citizens are not without friends, though they may die alone. Not as casualties of war, for their service spent were in Korea and Viet Nam. Those who honored their service, though they did not know the men, attended their final services.
I cannot imagine an American family without a family member serving their county in our military. Self, husband, father, uncle, brother, son, wife, mother, daughter, aunt, grand-child, a plethora of in-laws. Think of them. Can you name them? Name the branches of service? Think of poppies?
The poppies come from a Canadian’s poem:
In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.
We are the dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved, and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.
Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.
— Lt.-Col. John McCrae (1872 - 1918)
An American responded in verse:
Oh! you who sleep in Flanders Fields,
Sleep sweet - to rise anew!
We caught the torch you threw
And holding high, we keep the Faith
With All who died.
We cherish, too, the poppy red
That grows on fields where valor led;
It seems to signal to the skies
That blood of heroes never dies,
But lends a lustre to the red
Of the flower that blooms above the dead
In Flanders Fields.
And now the Torch and Poppy Red
We wear in honor of our dead.
Fear not that ye have died for naught;
We'll teach the lesson that ye wrought
In Flanders Fields.
— Moina Michael (1869-1944)
Who do you remember this Remembrance Day? If they are near, thank them. If they are not, find a veteran and thank them. If you cannot find one, try my husband, my brothers-in-law, my son-in-law, my grandson, dozens of friends. Just contact me – I’ll give you a list. They must be your friends, for Christ tells us:
Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. (John 15:13 KJV)
Tuesday, November 10, 2009
There have been many through the centuries that were put forward as the Messiah. Gamaliel named Theudas and Judas of Galilee who lived at the same time Jesus did (Acts 5:34-39.) There are some today who proclaim they are the anointed One. At some time, one of them will be believed. Though it was prophesied, I pray I will not live to see that prophecy fulfilled.
Jesus was not concerned with us being called Christian. He was concerned with two things – our relationship with God and our relationship with our fellow man. Jesus was here with one purpose – to provide a way for both to be fixed.
Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets. (Matthew 22:37-40 KJV)
He told us why He comes:
Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil. (Matthew 5:17 KJV)
But go ye and learn what that meaneth, I will have mercy, and not sacrifice: for I am not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance. (Matthew 9:13 KJV)
For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost. (Luke 19:10 KJV)
I am come in my Father's name, and ye receive me not: if another shall come in his own name, him ye will receive. (John 5:43 KJV)
I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly. (John 10:10 KJV)
He also said that He comes to be divisive.
Suppose ye that I am come to give peace on earth? I tell you, Nay; but rather division: (Luke 12:51 KJV)
We choose for ourselves, life or death. Justification, or just rewards. Saved or unsaved. The kingdom of God, or the alternative:
Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God. (1 Corinthians 6:9-11 KJV)
How must we be saved? We’ve been given an example:
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. And they spake unto him the word of the Lord, and to all that were in his house. And he took them the same hour of the night, and washed their stripes; and was baptized, he and all his, straightway. (Acts 16:30-33 KJV)
Monday, November 9, 2009
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)
It is here, upon this concept, that most unbelievers stumble. They cannot fathom the oneness, that Jesus is God, a singularity, the echod heard since God told Israel to hear and observe to do it:
Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God is one LORD: (Deuteronomy 6:4 KJV)
They forget that this stumbling was prophesied:
And he shall be for a sanctuary; but for a stone of stumbling and for a rock of offence to both the houses of Israel, for a gin and for a snare to the inhabitants of Jerusalem. And many among them shall stumble, and fall, and be broken, and be snared, and be taken. (Isaiah 8:14-15 KJV)
And the stone was described:
The stone which the builders refused is become the head stone of the corner. This is the LORD'S doing; it is marvellous in our eyes. (Psalms 118:22-23 KJV)
Jesus knew He was this cornerstone:
Jesus saith unto them, Did ye never read in the scriptures, The stone which the builders rejected, the same is become the head of the corner: this is the Lord's doing, and it is marvellous in our eyes? Therefore say I unto you, The kingdom of God shall be taken from you, and given to a nation bringing forth the fruits thereof. And whosoever shall fall on this stone shall be broken: but on whomsoever it shall fall, it will grind him to powder. (Matthew 21:42-44 KJV)
It is in John that Jesus boldly stated I and my Father are one. (John 10:30 KJV)
For that, He was to be stoned, and He asked them to clarify the reason:
Jesus answered them, Many good works have I shewed you from my Father; for which of those works do ye stone me? The Jews answered him, saying, For a good work we stone thee not; but for blasphemy; and because that thou, being a man, makest thyself God. (John 10:32-33 KJV)
His answer rings today. Believe, or don’t believe. Then take responsibility and live with the results of that decision, eternally:
If I do not the works of my Father, believe me not. But if I do, though ye believe not me, believe the works: that ye may know, and believe, that the Father is in me, and I in him. (John 10:37-38 KJV)
Sunday, November 8, 2009
The good news that God so loved the world that He created it Himself (Genesis 1:1), for His own pleasure (Revelations 4:11) and His own purpose (I Timothy 1:9), to the extent that a sacrifice was provided able to encompass all mankind (John 3:15.)
There are so many things to say about Him that 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 KJV)
Beside the Sea of Galilee, Jesus saith unto them, Come and dine (John 21:12 KJV) and today we shall do that as a congregation, in a hall built for fellowship. Each Sunday we gather to celebrate His resurrection of our Lord.
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, (1 Peter 1:3 KJV)
The sermons we hear speak from the Bible, though they may echo some headlines. The sermons we hear tell us of the eternal God, His Son, our salvation and the commandments He gave. They do not change from year to year nor century to century. Truth is as it was at creation, as it is now. The message is God’s:
Know therefore that the LORD thy God, he is God, the faithful God, which keepeth covenant and mercy with them that love him and keep his commandments to a thousand generations; (Deuteronomy 7:9 KJV)
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)
How hard is that to comprehend? Is there any loss by doing so? Yet, mankind rebels.
Gamaliel is quoted in Acts as cautioning those who would speak against the apostles preaching the resurrection. He closed with:
But if it be of God, ye cannot overthrow it; lest haply ye be found even to fight against God. (Acts 5:39 KJV)
Saturday, November 7, 2009
God planned for One who is worthy.
I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance: but he that cometh after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and with fire: (Matthew 3:11 KJV)
John blossomed where God planted him, and knew there would come one greater. Mark quoted is remarks with greater emphasis:
And preached, saying, There cometh one mightier than I after me, the latchet of whose shoes I am not worthy to stoop down and unloose. (Mark 1:7 KJV)
Not worthy to even kneel and unloosen Christ’s shoes. Yet, John was doing what God sent him to do. Obviously, doing a good job of it, for he had many followers and had prepared the way for Jesus’ ministry. Luke included the incident in his declaration of these things:
John answered, saying unto them all, I indeed baptize you with water; but one mightier than I cometh, the latchet of whose shoes I am not worthy to unloose: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost and with fire: (Luke 3:16 KJV)
John includes the incident in his opening chapter, too:
He it is, who coming after me is preferred before me, whose shoe's latchet I am not worthy to unloose. (John 1:27 KJV)
Luke mentions it again as he writes the history of the early church in Acts, in Paul’s marvelous sermon at Antioch:
And as John fulfilled his course, he said, Whom think ye that I am? I am not he. But, behold, there cometh one after me, whose shoes of his feet I am not worthy to loose. (Acts 13:25 KJV)
There is no doubt, no controversy, no omission to discuss. Christ was deemed worthy. Just as God, on His throne, is worthy:
The four and twenty elders fall down before him that sat on the throne, and worship him that liveth for ever and ever, and cast their crowns before the throne, saying, Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created. (Revelation 4:10-11 KJV)
There will come a time when the worthy One is required: Such a glorious response from the elder, though, as John wept.
And he came and took the book out of the right hand of him that sat upon the throne. And when he had taken the book, the four beasts and four and twenty elders fell down before the Lamb, having every one of them harps, and golden vials full of odours, which are the prayers of saints. And they sung a new song, saying, Thou art worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof: for thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation; (Revelation 5:7-9 KJV)
As John said, lo those many generations ago, Behold the Lamb of God! (John 1:36b KJV)
It is through the Lamb of God that I shall be counted worthy to behold Him.
Wherefore also we pray always for you, that our God would count you worthy of this calling, and fulfil all the good pleasure of his goodness, and the work of faith with power: That the name of our Lord Jesus Christ may be glorified in you, and ye in him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ. (2 Thessalonians 1:11-12 KJV)
Friday, November 6, 2009
Can you hear the music swell?
“Oh, my soul praise Him, for He is thy Help and Salvation.”
Can you feel the lift in your soul?
I woke up praising God with this song in my heart and so wanted to sing it. I’m still coughing and croaking, though, so sound comes out awful. But in my mind and my heart, it’s joyous, full and there’s even a backup chorus!!
Even when the Psalmist felt most abandoned, and cried in desperation:
My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me? why art thou so far from helping me, and from the words of my roaring? O my God, I cry in the daytime, but thou hearest not; and in the night season, and am not silent. (Psalms 22:1-2 KJV)
After verses that list his problems, he returns to God in praise:
I will declare thy name unto my brethren: in the midst of the congregation will I praise thee. Ye that fear the LORD, praise him; all ye the seed of Jacob, glorify him; and fear him, all ye the seed of Israel. (Psalms 22:22-23 KJV)
He recognizes that God remains in control no matter what besets us:
All the ends of the world shall remember and turn unto the LORD: and all the kindreds of the nations shall worship before thee. For the kingdom is the LORD'S: and he is the governor among the nations. (Psalms 22:27-28 KJV)
In another Psalm he is afflicted and overwhelmed, as much we are today, yet in the midst of crying out, he praises God:
This shall be written for the generation to come: and the people which shall be created shall praise the LORD. (Psalms 102:18 KJV)
I am grateful, and praise God for the preservation of his word to a shepherd king so very long ago. I join with David and vast generations in between in lifting up our voices to ring through generations to come:
Praise ye the LORD. I will praise the LORD with my whole heart, in the assembly of the upright, and in the congregation. The works of the LORD are great, sought out of all them that have pleasure therein. His work is honourable and glorious: and his righteousness endureth for ever. He hath made his wonderful works to be remembered: the LORD is gracious and full of compassion. He hath given meat unto them that fear him: he will ever be mindful of his covenant. He hath shewed his people the power of his works, that he may give them the heritage of the heathen. The works of his hands are verity and judgment; all his commandments are sure. They stand fast for ever and ever, and are done in truth and uprightness. He sent redemption unto his people: he hath commanded his covenant for ever: holy and reverend is his name. The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom: a good understanding have all they that do his commandments: his praise endureth for ever. (Psalms 111:1-10 KJV)
Thursday, November 5, 2009
And the LORD God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him. (Genesis 2:18 KJV)
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)
All of the wedding party will be aware of these verses. In addition to the groom, the best man, the groom’s father, brother, brother-in-law and several of his attending friends, there are preachers on the bride’s side, too.
Each one of them knows more scripture than the average person and understand how this marriage is to reflect their belief in Christ’s love for His church.
Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God. Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body. Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing. Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; (Ephesians 5:21-25 KJV)
This is the beginning of a family dedicated to serving our Lord, who has laid out instructions for us:
And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him. Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as it is fit in the Lord. Husbands, love your wives, and be not bitter against them. Children, obey your parents in all things: for this is well pleasing unto the Lord. Fathers, provoke not your children to anger, lest they be discouraged. (Colossians 3:17-21 KJV)
So, join us in prayer for the travelers as well as for this young couple, dedicated to God’s will in their lives. He will soon be leading a church as pastor and our prayers accompany them. May they always:
In all things shewing thyself a pattern of good works: in doctrine shewing uncorruptness, gravity, sincerity, Sound speech, that cannot be condemned; that he that is of the contrary part may be ashamed, having no evil thing to say of you. (Titus 2:7-8 KJV)
Wednesday, November 4, 2009
Some mornings we wake up just singing a song praising our Lord. This morning my mind homed in on one I haven’t heard in quite a while, but it resonates in my mind this morning and lifts my spirits:
We praise Thee, O God!
For the Son of Thy love,
For Jesus Who died,
And is now gone above,
Hallelujah! Thine the glory.
Hallelujah! Thine the glory.
Revive us again.
We praise Thee, O God!
For Thy Spirit of light,
Who hath shown us our Savior,
And scattered our night.
All glory and praise
To the Lamb that was slain,
Who hath borne all our sins,
And hath cleansed every stain.
Revive us again;
Fill each heart with Thy love;
May each soul be rekindled
With fire from above.
Lyrics: William Mackay, 1863
I read of his pawning his Bible for alcohol, then having it returned to him at the death of a patient. That brought him back to the God he had spurned for membership in the Infidel Club.
What Mackay wrote is the cry of the Psalmist: Wilt thou not revive us again: that thy people may rejoice in thee? (Psalms 85:6 KJV)
What he was expecting out of that revival was that God would Shew us thy mercy, O LORD, and grant us thy salvation. I will hear what God the LORD will speak: for he will speak peace unto his people, and to his saints: but let them not turn again to folly. (Psalms 85:7-8 KJV)
Praise God, that is what we receive. For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen. (Matthew 6:13b KJV)
Tuesday, November 3, 2009
We all enjoy the warmth and homecoming feelings with foods associated with family and fellowship. They are also associated with bodily growth, which is not something we’re looking for. Used to be that physical labor took care of that growth part and laborers could begin a work day with meat, eggs, potato and gravies that were sopped up with homemade biscuits, if not with homemade bread.
Unless you’re on a ranch in Wyoming or a farm in Amish country, those days are pretty much gone. Now we’re counting calories, checking for fiber and thinking yogurt makes a fine meal. I’m not to the yogurt meal, yet.
I fully understand the need for comfort food. Beloved Husband has taken care of that for me with his marvelous chicken soup. I checked my recipe Blogspot and found that I have not posted that particular soup. I’ll try to get that done today.
My doctor said that homemade chicken soup is very good for someone sick. What it lacks in big scientific words, it makes up for in love and warmth. It is true comfort food.
Filled by this comfort food, I decided to take a look at the Bible to see what it says about comfort. In the naming of Noah, we first read of the word “comfort.” And he called his name Noah, saying, This same shall comfort us concerning our work and toil of our hands, because of the ground which the LORD hath cursed. (Genesis 5:29 KJV)
I like its last use the best. Now our Lord Jesus Christ himself, and God, even our Father, which hath loved us, and hath given us everlasting consolation and good hope through grace, Comfort your hearts, and stablish you in every good word and work. (2 Thessalonians 2:16-17 KJV)
In between those two are sixty verses. One of the best known would be: 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)
Just as ER stands for Emergency Room, God provided an ER for His children. Add ‘er’ on to comfort and you find God Himself, as Christ explained.
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)
Jesus continued, explaining more about God’s Comforter, and that this Holy Spirit will testify of Christ: But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father, he shall testify of me: (John 15:26 KJV)
Whether the Bible speaks of Holy Spirit or Holy Ghost, it speaks of this Comforter. I thank God that as such, He dwells in me. Do you have this comfort?
Monday, November 2, 2009
One of the joys of teaching is preparing for the class. I must do an in depth study to be ready to answer questions. I have several tools to help in the preparation. Having e-Sword on our PCs is really great. Another tool is a free application I found at Eclipse.com – a crossword puzzle maker.
I did send the sheets in with Second Daughter, who taught the class. Making the puzzle was pretty much a breeze. The application is intuitive – well, except for a couple of things. It is necessary to read all the small screen for there is no real menu and a couple of things you can do are not in the icons at the bottom, but are underscored links on the window. Lots of options are available, though, and I was able to print sheets for the students as well as one complete with the answers.
This week was fairly easy as I used lots of names. Luke presents views of Jesus’ family that are not discussed in other gospels. Here we meet Zacharias and Elizabeth first, learning John the Baptist’s background. Here we’re able to see the Holy Spirit at work long before Pentecost or the descent as a dove.
The crossword contained people names and place names. They are familiar to most of our students, but some of them are new to our church. Mary, Joseph, Jesus, Peter, Andrew, James and John – they are familiar to you, too?
Some don’t have names. The Prodigal Son, his father nor his brother have names. The Good Samaritan, the priest nor the levite are named. Those walking toward Emmaus are not named, yet that is one of my favorite stories.
God is with us always. Very often He is reflected in the people we meet who praise and worship Him, looking forward to His will in their lives. Too often we do not recognize this. I pray that, as those two who broke bread with Christ, we easily recognize those who serve Him and that with them we may come to praise and worship together.
In God I will praise his word, in God I have put my trust; I will not fear what flesh can do unto me. (Psalms 56:4 KJV)
Sunday, November 1, 2009
Actually, it feels more a muscle ache than bones – though with the chilling nights, several bones do ache a bit. It’s the cough that really vexes!
I said, LORD, be merciful unto me: heal my soul; (Psalms 41:4a KJV)
Many times Jesus reached out to heal someone, And Jesus saith unto him, I will come and heal him. (Matthew 8:7 KJV)
Oh, to have the faith of the centurion: The centurion answered and said, Lord, I am not worthy that thou shouldest come under my roof: but speak the word only, and my servant shall be healed. (Matthew 8:8 KJV)
Or the faith of the woman who reached out to touch Him: And Jesus said, Who touched me? When all denied, Peter and they that were with him said, Master, the multitude throng thee and press thee, and sayest thou, Who touched me? (Luke 8:45 KJV)
He knows when we come to Him now in prayer just as He was touched so long ago. But we must go further than acknowledging our needs.
Let’s go back to those Psalms and complete the thought around them:
O LORD, rebuke me not in thine anger, neither chasten me in thy hot displeasure. (Psalms 6:1 KJV)
…for I have sinned against thee. (Psalms 41:4 KJV)
While I do not believe my illness is God-caused, I do realize that my own sinfulness separates me from God’s fellowship. Replacing the sin-filled gap with faith is my responsibility. God knows what I have – and have not – done. Seeking His will is where I need to be. Healing our souls is of greater importance than our bodies.
There will come a time when my body cannot be healed. This is part of God’s plan. My soul have I placed in His hands.
For the which cause I also suffer these things: nevertheless I am not ashamed: 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 1:12 KJV)
Yes, I have faith -- the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. (Hebrews 11:1 KJV)