Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Right of Way

I could hear the siren, but sitting on a two-lane bridge waiting for a light to change, we could not pull over to yield right-of-way as the ambulance came around the corner. So we sat quite still. Then another siren, this time a fire truck came through the intersection, making a left turn against the light.

All vehicles yielded their right to continue through as directed by signal lights.

Of course, I can see a lesson in that. Yes, there are times we know we are right. We can cite the documentation, whether it be the constitution of our country or local regulations defining what our rights are. Sometimes we have to yield our rights.

That sort of goes back to the “legitimate differences” I mentioned in an earlier blog. The difficulty comes when it is a matter of principle, of a belief upon which we have built the foundations of our life. Unfortunately, many of those rights people cling to are based on personal desires instead of foundational principles.

The Bible refers to those as things of the flesh. Quite often people equate those with sexual activities, and the Bible does address those specifically, defining right and wrong. There are other personal desires that people long for as their right. It reminds me of Jabez’ prayer.

And Jabez called on the God of Israel, saying, Oh that thou wouldest bless me indeed, and enlarge my coast, and that thine hand might be with me, and that thou wouldest keep me from evil, that it may not grieve me!

That “enlarge my coast” would mean taking something that at that time belonged to another. At face value, the prayer appears somewhat greedy – me, my, me, me, me. Yet he acknowledged God’s position as well as His ability to provide – the God, thou, thine, thou – but fewer references to God than to his own desires.

Verse 4:9 does tell us that he was more honourable than his brethren, but was that enough? Apparently. The end of the verse completes the story.

And God granted him that which he requested. (1 Chronicles 4:10 KJV)

Just as the traffic stopped to allow the emergency equipment right of way, we need to sometimes yield our non-essential matters to those life impacting ones. We need to think in terms of cause and effect. Actions and consequences. What we do – or leave undone – does matter. Upon what do we base those life-altering decisions? Ourselves? Our experience? What we’ve been taught? Or the answers we seek for life’s greatest concerns?

Have we found them? Are we even looking for them? Are we as Jeremiah wrote:

And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart. (Jeremiah 29:13 KJV)

Or have we waited too long, as the Pharisees heard?

Ye shall seek me, and shall not find me: and where I am, thither ye cannot come. (John 7:34 KJV)

The choice always has been ours.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Ephesians 4 - Spiritual Gifts Again

Last Monday I wrote about Spiritual Gifts and the results of a survey. Our Youth Sunday School classes completed their surveys and it was such a blessing to see the room full of young people responding to their Youth Minister’s teaching. Once their answers displayed their talents, he had places for them to best use their talents.

Let’s take a look at them.

Administration – not many of the students excelled in this. Understandable. The administrator, or organizer is decisive, delegates, makes jobs look easy, is attentive to details. However, our teens would fit well in completing and following up.

Giving – managing money well and helping others. Even teens earn money and learning about tithing and managing theirs now will help them all their lives.

Evangelism – our Youth Department has a soul winning emphasis group that meets on Monday nights. Every student ranking high in this area would benefit by participating in spreading the good news.

Exhortation – several were high in this area, which means they get to encourage. They can encourage others to be faithful in attendance, Bible reading and their prayer time. They can be of help to others in the midst of problems.

Mercy – believe it or not (perhaps it is easily believed!) this was my lowest score. Those with this spiritual gift can be helpful to others going through difficulty; they empathize as they interact.

Pastor – this is a great gift. 1 Timothy 3:1 says this is something to be desired. It is a calling, but God will call those who can accomplish His will. Young men rating high here should be learning how to preach. Our Youth Minister began preaching at church in his teens – and did several other young men now serving our Lord in other churches. It is a blessing to work with such students.

Prophesy – these would be helpers who work to direct and help disciple those who were disruptive in services, and explaining to them what God’s word says about their actions and why they are to be respectful

Serving – there are tremendous opportunities for those with service in mind: decorating or making the church look better; helping to set up classrooms or fellowship rooms; cleaning up after meals/fellowships. There’s always work available there.

Teaching – we are all on different milestones in our Christian lives. Some of our youth are very mature Christians and are able to help others who do not understand the current lessons or preaching. After services are a great time to share what God’s word says about life situations.

None of the above should be confined to youth. Our adults should be discipling these young people, showing them years of examples from their own experience.

Where were you in church today, or any day this week? Have you a ministry built on spiritual gifts? Have you fulfilled scripture?

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)

Saturday, November 27, 2010


The devotional I received by e-mail is so appropriate for all that has happened this past week. I receive one almost every day from an ex-co-worker that has as deep a faith as I do that the Lord provides in all circumstances. It brings to mind the deep contentment achieved by those who have trusted Christ with all their heart. The verses referenced are from Philippians:

But I rejoiced in the Lord greatly, that now at the last your care of me hath flourished again; wherein ye were also careful, but ye lacked opportunity.

Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content.

I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound: every where and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need.

I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.

(Philippians 4:10-13 KJV)

From my friend, Sukylan by way of In Touch Ministries:

Think about the times when you have felt truly satisfied. What caused you to feel that way? For most people, a sense of well-being comes when their environment is just the way they want it, but that wasn’t the case with Paul. He learned to be content in every circumstance, good or bad.

We’d do well to learn a few lessons from him. After all, we can’t avoid all difficult situations, so we might as well discover how to face them with a tranquil, settled spirit rather than with frustration and anxiety.

Contentment isn’t governed by external circumstances. Changing the situation may bring temporary relief, but satisfaction based on circumstances will always be sporadic and fleeting. It’s a matter of how you think, not what you have.

Contentment flows from an inward attitude. The apostle’s inner calm came from a mind set on Christ. Choosing to trust the Savior no matter what, Paul allowed the Holy Spirit within him to rule his emotions and shape his responses.

Contentment is learned experientially. You cannot acquire it from a book or a sermon because it’s a process that must be lived out. Paul learned contentment on the road—in persecution, suffering, and prison. The Lord used every difficulty to transform him.

Situations that cause frustration, anxiety, and dissatisfaction are also the ones God uses to produce contentment in us. When you are fed up with your own grumbling, disappointment, and dissatisfaction, then you are ready to let the Lord teach you His new way of living—in joyous trust!
That’s the true abundant life – one lived with Christ at our center, removing the discontent of not having things our own way. For a moment I thought of how wonderful our world would be without the greed, the violence, the hatred that dwells in some of God’s creation. They should not set my path. I need not allow them to determine how I see God or how I respond to Him.

I will not allow others to determine how I see or how I reach God and receive the peace He offers. That comes from the relationship we build together.

My Sister-in-law, His Witness

I thought about writing this since my Sister-in-law called me and the decision she made kept running through my mind. Her options were limited. Heart/lung transplant; with an A positive blood type, the opportunities for such a transplant were as slim as her chances of surviving the operation. Mechanical heart; again, slim survival percentages. Two previous open heart surgeries added complications.

Wait. As with the rest of us, wait for what the future will bring.

As Hezekiah was given fifteen years, she’s had more than forty after winning a battle against cancer.

Back then the radiation used to treat her Hodgkin’s Disease was successful. She was able to bear her son, raise her three children, see them married, enjoy her grandchildren and her parents and for all of that we are grateful. What was not known at that time was the long-term effects of that radiation. For her, calcification of her heart valves is one of the effects. Which brings us to the three options for the failing heart.

Many others face similar decisions. But I’m not as close to them as I am to her.

Although we married brothers, we met in the middle of our marriages, not at the beginning. Our husbands were separated as children, mine adopted, hers remaining with their mother. Not until we were in our 40’s was the family reunited. We’ve never lived in the same town, and only once in the same state. Yet, we’ve become very close, largely because of our faith in Jesus Christ as our Savior.

It is her faith that brightens the world around her. It is that faith that comes across when she says, “I’m at peace with the decision.”

We need to be, too. You see -- we are all dying. That’s the only sentence given once we’re born. It is the natural progression in this world, occurring each and every day. We ignore it. Doesn’t change the fact that it will occur. Hebrews tells us it has been this way since the foundation of the world.

And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment: (Hebrews 9:27 KJV)

She (and I) wants you to understand that it’s not the “once to die” that is a concern, it’s “the judgment.” And, not for ourselves. We have asked God the jailer’s question in Acts 16:30 and we’ve followed Paul and Silas’ answer in verse 31. It is for those we love who have not yet understood the question applies to them as well.

This morning on Facebook, she wrote: “God is good and I feel very blessed. When I had cancer in 1968 I was told I had a year to live. I prayed that he would let me live long enough to raise my 3 kids. He not only did that but I have seen 11 grand kids and 4 great grand kids. So He gave me 41 more years then I ever thought I would get. So I ask one thing of you pick up a Bible and read John 3:16. Then tell me if you have been blessed or not,”

I have been blessed – by the reading of His word and the witness of His child.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

An Open Letter Re Thanksgiving

Reading Thanksgiving items on the internet yesterday brought me to this one:

Angelina Jolie Hates Thanksgiving, Refuses to Celebrate

By doing so, she misses a marvelous teaching opportunity. Celebrating the remembrance of the Pilgrim’s harvest thanksgiving has all the aspects of the best America has to offer, then and today.

The Pilgrims left their homes because of persecution. They were not allowed to worship as they saw the Bible telling them. They were treated as second-class citizens in their own country because a secular government was tied to religious beliefs. There was no separation between church and state, so the Pilgrims left their state for a land they had only heard about. Let’s set aside religious applications for a moment and stick to a secular view of this event.

They had no idea what they were going into. Their first crops failed miserably and that first winter took a terrible toll. But some survived. That gives us the rest of the story. Thanks to Native American hospitality, the Wampanoag taught them how to cultivate their land and how to fish. The Wampanoag saved this Pilgrim colony from starvation and they celebrated the following harvest together.

There’s a lot of that today, and that’s what we should be celebrating. Diverse cultures working together, achieving more than they did alone.

Colonization happened all around the world. It does not appear that any native peoples have benefited from such, but we are all here today to determine the directions our nations will take. Do we celebrate the times we worked together and created more than what was there? Or do we look at the examples of the worst mankind has to offer and enjoy only the depression it brings?

We do not overlook those errors made by mankind throughout the ages. We should learn from them and give thanks for what we have learned.

The celebration in 1621 that we recall each year shows us diversity, the melding of two cultures, and the ability to look forward. The years in between held good and bad – let us learn from the good for examples to follow, never forgetting the bad while committing that they will not recur.

Those years have brought us a culture that allows Ms. Jolie the opportunity for a career whose income is beyond comprehension by most of the world. That culture allows for the diversity first displayed in 1621 and allows Ms. Jolie to choose her children from anywhere in the world.

She would do well by them to celebrate this joyous national holiday and to give thanks her children are being raised with opportunities the rest of their birth families never had, may be cannot hope to have.

I pray that the American culture of freedom we and her family enjoy will continue to exist and will continue to improve.

I however, also lend to this celebration that religious faith I sat aside a few graphs earlier. Among the many things for which I offer thanks throughout the year is the freedom to worship the Lord, my God, as many have since He created.

To the end that my glory may sing praise to thee, and not be silent. O LORD my God, I will give thanks unto thee for ever. (Psalms 30:12 KJV)


Originally a celebration by religious people giving thanks for a bountiful harvest, Thanksgiving is truly an American holiday. A day of thanksgiving was included in the charter founding Berkeley Hundred in Charles City County, Virginia in 1619. The most portrayed historical American celebration is the Plymouth Plantation in Massachusetts in 1621, which recognizes the Wampanoag Native American’s contribution to the survival of that colony.

This wasn’t the first, though. Harvest celebrations were commonplace in Europe. Mankind has been giving thanks for centuries. Rather than being an excuse to have a couple of days off to visit family, it began as recognition of God’s interaction in their lives.

This year our family will gather at First Daughter’s home, with her son’s family (including four of my absolutely fabulous great-grandchildren) along with Son’s family (including my youngest two grandchildren) and Second Daughter’s family, too (which includes one of my beautiful great-grands and my very pregnant granddaughter – due Thanksgiving day.) We will have too much food, never too much laughter and create memories for lifetimes. So will many others this holiday for giving thanks. I pray their holiday is filled with joy and blessings along with their gratitude.

The Bible tell us to offer thanksgiving, willingly.

And when ye will offer a sacrifice of thanksgiving unto the LORD, offer it at your own will. (Leviticus 22:29 KJV)

David practiced this, cleansing before giving thanks.

I will wash mine hands in innocency: so will I compass thine altar, O LORD: That I may publish with the voice of thanksgiving, and tell of all thy wondrous works. (Psalms 26:6-7 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)

Today we will say grace before our meal and mention so many of things for which we give thanks. In my heart I will remember this Psalm with it’s depth of meaning.

Make a joyful noise unto the LORD, all ye lands. Serve the LORD with gladness: come before his presence with singing. Know ye that the LORD he is God: it is he that hath made us, and not we ourselves; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture. Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him, and bless his name. For the LORD is good; his mercy is everlasting; and his truth endureth to all generations. (Psalms 100:1-5 KJV)

And I will say, within the depth of my soul, with all my mind, from my heart:

Thanks be unto God for his unspeakable gift. (2 Corinthians 9:15 KJV)

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

The Bible Says

The loss of a young person appears a tragedy. This past week I’ve learned of the passing of a thirteen-year-old boy and a thirty-one-year-old woman. Both from families whose faith in Jesus Christ as their Lord is sustaining them not only through the loss but into the future where they will see this verse fulfilled:

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

We have faith that this to be true because we look upon the Bible as God’s word to mankind. We read in Genesis 1:1 that God created this world and from Revelation 22:20 that Jesus will come again. In between are thousands of years of inspired writings from a multiplicity of authors that attest to God’s interaction with His creation.

Among my favorites is the book of John. It begins much as Genesis:

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)
Because we have faith, we can follow this verse:

Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ; (Ephesians 5:20 KJV)My parents died five years apart, to the very month. I miss them still today. I would love to see them, call them, just talk with them and get a bit more information or share something that has happened. Still, I can give thanks every day for so many reasons that involve my parents.

With the two people mentioned in the first graph, I can give thanks, too. I am grateful for knowing the teen who lived with a brain tumor for so many years and did so with a gracious witnessing of love for others along with a faith in Christ that will ripple for years to come. I am grateful for having heard Sarah Hinkle’s music, listening to her family’s testimony and their ministry.

I am grateful that the Bible tells us we will meet again.

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

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

Most of this I have faith in because the Bible – and the lives of people as these – tells me so.

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 really like the way my sister-in-law worded Pascal’s Wager (the emphasis is her own):


Monday, November 22, 2010

Sorrow for Hinkle Family

Long time readers of this blog might remember me mentioning the ministry of The Hinkle Family. The family’s gifts are singing, evangelism and a deep concern for nursing homes. Their ministry is to visit nursing homes, singing with the residents and sharing the gospel.

In addition to their website, you can follow the family on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Hinkle-Family/111647932912

Our church is one of many supporting this ministry. At least once a year they visit nursing homes in this area and spend a Sunday morning sharing that ministry with our congregation. Here’s an iPhone capture during their presentation this last July.

I mention them today requesting prayer support. Monday, November 22, 2010, there was a fatal accident in Weatherford, Texas. Sarah, the alto in the group, did not survive and was called home to be with her Lord. No matter how much faith we have in our Lord and Savior, this loss leaves a hole in lives that will take time to heal. Sarah will be missed by her family and by everyone uplifted by their music and their ministry.

We know the family will be in need not only for prayers from those who love them, but in financial needs. Sarah was driving a car pulling a trailer with much of their equipment, which scattered across the roadway. Although nearby churches responded to recover what could be, much was destroyed. I know of several churches in our area that will be collecting donations to help the family with necessary expenses as well as replacing the equipment in order to continue their ministry.

If this need places a burden on your heart, please consider a donation. There is an address on their website for a church contact:

Hinkle Family
c/o Grace Baptist Church
600 S. Trinity St.
Decatur, Texas 76234

Or you may reach them through our church:

Hinkle Family
c/o First Baptist Church of Cottondale
145 County Road 3355
Paradise, Texas 76073

Please, as you pray, keep this family lifted through their grief, knowing that we should …

Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:6-7 KJV)

Ephesians 4 - Spiritual Gifts

Our Youth Sunday School classes are studying in Ephesians, and Sunday’s lesson was 4:7-16. No, I won’t place the entire lesson here, it covers much more than I wish to address today. I only want to touch upon spiritual gifts.

But unto every one of us is given grace according to the measure of the gift of Christ. Wherefore he saith, When he ascended up on high, he led captivity captive, and gave gifts unto men. (Ephesians 4:7-8 KJV)

Our Youth Pastor passed out a questionnaire Sunday from Ephesians Four Ministries. There are several websites that have such an analysis available for those who seek to best know their gift for serving God. Over the years I’ve taken many such quizzes in the business world. Almost all have told me I’m detail-oriented, that I enjoy research/reporting and I do well in administrating. The jobs I’ve had attest to that.

The Bible shows a number of such gifts, with a few listed here:

And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; (Ephesians 4:11 KJV)

This is a fulfillment of David’s writings:

Thou hast ascended on high, thou hast led captivity captive: thou hast received gifts for men; yea, for the rebellious also, that the LORD God might dwell among them. (Psalms 68:18 KJV)

The analysis has 108 questions That means quite a few answers to give, but it is an interesting array of information. There are three possible answers for each one: Almost Always, Occasionally, Not Very Often. There are no absolutes, for we are not, ourselves.

When you complete the quiz, your name and e-mail address is requested so that you might receive about a five-page printout with your results, an explanation of the results and a comparison with others who have taken the quiz. Here’s the short list of gifts listed – in alphabetical order, not importance: Administration, Discernment, Evangelism, Exhortation, Faith, Giving, Hospitality, Knowledge, Leadership, Mercy, Helps, Teaching, Wisdom.

Why look at these? Why not simply do what comes to mind when a need is recognized? The purpose of these gifts is to be a blessing and work together with the body of Christ and that body functions when the gifts are being used. Each member fulfilling a purpose builds a strong foundation for a church.

Paul was writing to the church in Ephesus, where bickering and fighting were evident. He was being the mature Christian discipling (teaching, training) the new Christians. Without such discipling to aid in Christian growth, we remain as children, prone to bickering when we misunderstand or are misunderstood.

There were two areas that popped to the top in my results: Teaching and evangelism. As you have read through my blog, do you think their results fit:

"As a teacher you are one who communicates knowledge, guides, makes known or relays facts. You are likely more in-depth than the average Sunday school teacher. You have the Spirit-given capacity and desire to serve God by making clear the truth of God's Word with accuracy. As a teacher you live to learn and teach (or perhaps write if you teach through the written medium)."

What’s your gift?

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Class of 2010

Today’s Bible reading was written for me by others. They gave it to me yesterday during a graduation ceremony for a young lady in a class by herself – figuratively and literally!!

The Class of 2010 consisted of one of our more outstanding Youth members. I remembered when she was in out Sunday School class and I would go to her mother and thank her for her daughter. Her sister was already in the High School class and both of those girls had so many things in common – their beauty went all the way through their souls.

Our Youth Pastor read from Psalms 144:12.

That our sons may be as plants grown up in their youth; that our daughters may be as corner stones, polished after the similitude of a palace: (Psalms 144:12 KJV)

Our Pastor used 1Timothy 1:5.

Now the end of the commandment is charity out of a pure heart, and of a good conscience, and of faith unfeigned: (1 Timothy 1:5 KJV)

Her first Youth Pastor here (now a pastor of his own church) read from Proverbs 4:18.

But the path of the just is as the shining light, that shineth more and more unto the perfect day. (Proverbs 4:18 KJV)

Her father, an ordained minister now serving as our Children’s Director, used Psalms 1:1.

Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful. But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night. (Psalms 1:1-2 KJV)

All apply to her. She is shiningly polished as a palace and is a strong cornerstone, building her faith through works for others. Her heart is pure and her faith most certainly unfeigned. She serves as a shining light for the children she works with, her peers she spends time with and adults that have been blessed by her service.

I was struck as her father pictured the steps of walking, standing, then sitting with non-believers. It’s gradual, insidious and painful for people to watch when a child of God takes those steps away from His plan for lives. Therefore, it is such a blessing to see one who has walked in Godly counsel; who has stood firm in faith with her peers and yesterday sat with a congregation who watched her, alone, walk down the aisle as the entire Class of 2010.

You see, she was home schooled, working at her own pace with one of the best of teachers – her mother. She completed the high school curriculum with grades of A’s and B’s, applying herself to studies as she applies herself to life – whole-heartedly.

Does it sound as though I love her? I do. She’s part of my extended church family and I’ve known her for almost six years, counting it a privilege to have been one of her teachers. Next fall we will lose her to college, eventually to a blessed young man. It will be for him to come to understand what we already know – she’s a Proverbs 31 woman and eventually he’ll know that:

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

Saturday, November 20, 2010


Because sentence against an evil work is not executed speedily, therefore the heart of the sons of men is fully set in them to do evil. (Ecclesiastes 8:11 KJV)

When evil goes unpunished, people begin to think that since So-and-so is doing it and got away with it, it must be okay. Sort of as children who come to parents and ask for they know is wrong, but “everyone is doing it.” There are evil things, and men are fully set to do them.

The battle against these things must not be lost simply because punishment does not occur speedily. And, that battle begins in our own minds. We must know what is good as well as what is evil. The Bible confirms there is such a thing as evil. Christ’s example prayer mentions it.

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 6:13 KJV)

He also said it can be within us and that it is the opposite of good.

A good man out of the good treasure of the heart bringeth forth good things: and an evil man out of the evil treasure bringeth forth evil things. (Matthew 12:35 KJV)

James tells us that temptations are not from God.

Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man: But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed. (James 1:13-14 KJV)

Paul tells us temptation can be overcome.

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)

Evil is deceptive. It does not appear as such, but will look good and it will be something we desire. Paul wrote about how it affected him:

For that which I do I allow not: for what I would, that do I not; but what I hate, that do I. (Romans 7:15 KJV)

It has been said that Satan tempts us during vulnerable moments. We’ve been cautioned that when we are hungry, angry, lonely, or tired, we can be vulnerable. I’ve heard this called the HALT warning – and it is good to stop and think twice under these conditions. During those second thoughts, ask whether what we are about to do fits in any of the following categories.

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

As Christians, we should walk closely with Jesus. Staying close by reading His word, being in prayer and fellowshipping with other believers. As Paul said:

Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. (Ephesians 6:11 KJV)

Friday, November 19, 2010

A Cross

There’s a cross on the front of our church building, facing the road. It’s empty. I wear a small gold cross on a chain around my neck. It’s empty. There’s a white yarn cross in the middle of my yarned Bible cover that my mother-in-law made for me. It’s empty, too. They are all as empty as His tomb.

I see a crucifix on some churches, and on gold chains around necks, even on Bible covers. They depict the reality of His crucifixion, His death on a cross thousands of years ago.

Why the cross? Romans looked upon it as the ultimately degrading death for those who opposed them. It removed power, made the victim powerless. To the intellectual Greek, it was illogical to offer a way of life that obviously ended in death. To the Jew, who looked to victory over their enemies, it was the greatest of defeats.

Yet the cross remains a symbol today of glory, power and victory. It is the symbol of fulfilled prophecy. Instead of death, it is the symbol of life. Instead of a man impaled upon it, it displays its emptiness and that of the tomb that followed His crucifixion.

“The glory that was Greece and the grandeur that was Rome,” recognized by Edgar Allan Poe and history, is gone. The Jews have returned to their Holy Land (as prophesied) and have rebuilt a land flowing with milk and honey.

Yet, just as Moses lifted up a serpent in the wilderness:

And the LORD said unto Moses, Make thee a fiery serpent, and set it upon a pole: and it shall come to pass, that every one that is bitten, when he looketh upon it, shall live. (Numbers 21:8 KJV)

Even so was the Son of God:

And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up: That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life. (John 3:14-15 KJV)

My Lord was upon the cross for less than a day. He was there to remove sin.

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)

Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned: (Romans 5:12 KJV)

Even the high priest at the time of His death understood the concept, though neither the man nor the reason for His death:

Now Caiaphas was he, which gave counsel to the Jews, that it was expedient that one man should die for the people. (John 18:14 KJV)

Paul did understand, and explained:

So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and unto them that look for him shall he appear the second time without sin unto salvation. (Hebrews 9:28 KJV)

My Lord is alive, in Heaven, no longer on a cross.

Thursday, November 18, 2010


DNA Furchen

It is not a hot topic in the news right now, but it has been in my heart and on my mind. Please understand early that what I write may be offensive to some. I regret that stating such openly will offend – especially by some who continually opt for diversity, yet do not wish to hear what I have to say. Nor do they wish to know many others share this view.

I want to consider DNA. It is different in every individual that has walked upon the face of this earth. Nothing lives without it. People have died because of it. A recent DNA study of a hair from a death-sentence case indicates that the hair did not come from the man executed for the crime. DNA results can help clear or convict people of crime because no two people carry the same DNA.

Recent studies have shown that monozygotic twins have differences in copy number variations. According to Science Daily in 2008, these variations occur when a set of coding letters in a twin’s DNA are missing or when extra copies are produced. Thus, “identical” twins sometimes aren’t. One may develop a disease such as Parkinson’s, the other, not.

Human beings receive one chromosome from each parent. Both a father and mother are required, whether it be through natural or artificial insemination. Cloning appears to preclude that statement, but the cloned cell did require two donations of DNA.

Even the cloning of animals such as Dolly, the first sheep cloned, requires an unfertilized egg from a donor, removal of the nucleus and insertion of the nucleus of a cell containing DNA from a male and a female. Cloning of a human through such a process has thus far failed.

The combination of human DNA cannot change into a frog or dog. It cannot be born a cat or rat. Instead of becoming a fish or fowl, it will remain human through all the progressive stages from conception to birth. It is human DNA from conception.

So we are left with a scientific fact that, to date, all humans walking upon this earth have half their DNA from a mother, half from a father. It’s part of what makes us human. People have battled for decades in favor of human rights. Within my lifetime there have been marches and protests, speeches and writings, all supporting human rights. There are international non-governmental human rights organizations, from Amnesty International to Womankind Worldwide and hundreds in between, worldwide.

Why, then, simply because this human is carried within the female body, are the cares of the father ignored? Why is it a woman’s right to choose an abortion when that same woman chose to offer her body to a man? Please do not digress at this point to rape or incest. Those situations are different and are not part of this discussion. Stick to the stated consensual situation that covers the majority of American abortions.

Do human rights begin solely at a live birth? If that is so, why do mothers grieve at the loss of an unborn child? If that is not so, why is abortion allowed as birth control?

After all that, simply because I believe this verse, my views and my questions are considered closed-mindedly right-wing conservative:

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)

I despise being labeled.

(PS: I've tried a new linking for Wikimedia Commons -- please leave a comment if it does not load correctly, or too slowly, for you. Thanks!)

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Como Estas

"Como esta?” (How are you?)
“Muy bien, gracias. Y usted?” (Very good, thank you. And yourself?)

That’s part of my very first lesson in high school Spanish decades ago. A simple greeting that stuck with me. I took two years there, and one in literature in college, and haven’t utilized it in a half a century since. Oh, now and then I’d speak a word or two with English-speaking friends, or translate in my mind a magazine or newspaper article headline. Maybe even a paragraph or two, but nothing else.

Until we were in Cozumel. Everyone knew we were tourists. We were in groups, all with cameras, stopping now and then to get photographs of family in front of something. We were with Beloved Husband’s brother and wife from Tulsa, having a grand time.

I became separated from them as they moved down a shopping lane and I remained inside a jewelry store. Such lovely rings! I do love rings. A gentleman stopped behind the counter and said, “Coma esta?”

My high school years kicked in and I replied, without looking up and without hesitation, “Muy bien, gracias. Y usted?”

His reply was a blur of syllables filled with vowels and consonants that sped past me without leaving a track. I began to apologize and explain we had reached the limit of my language abilities.

Has this ever happened to you while reading or hearing Bible verses? Would you find yourself agreeing with Peter as he wrote about Paul’s epistles?

As also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things; in which are some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest, as they do also the other scriptures, unto their own destruction. (2 Peter 3:16 KJV)

It takes study and using those studies to retain and learn more, whether it’s lessons from high school or lessons from the Bible.

I agree with Peter, some things are hard to be understood. Working toward understanding takes learning more and wrestling with the difficulties that arise. We work hard at other things, things that interest us, things that help us at home or on the job.

Those of us who enjoy cooking work hard to create dishes our family and friends will enjoy. The first attempts may be difficult, may reach the table much less palatable than the picture that first caught our eye. Chefs go to school for years to ply their trade. Study and understanding go into placing food before us. How much more should be done in feeding our spiritual life?

There are more opportunities to learn today than ever before. In most countries education is more available today that it ever has been in the history of mankind. Of course, there is more to study today than ever before. We have choices before us.

How many will choose to study God’s word?

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)

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

A World Upside Down

Our world has turned upside down in many ways. Beloved Husband sleeps in his recliner – on doctor’s orders – to ease his shoulder. He is first up around 4:00, when his evening pain pill wears off. I’ve been sleeping until 7:00 instead of being up at 5:00. I hope we can soon average that out!!

His dress is different – right now he’s wearing a series of Hawaiian shirts that are loose fitting, not tucked in, and gray sleep pants. Not having one arm available changes a lot of things. He can’t use a knife and fork, so I’m cooking differently. Multiple adjustments had to be made.

Paul experienced this in Thessalonica, where (as his manner was, the Bible says) he went to the local synagogue and reasoned with the Jews over three Sabbath days, citing scriptures. Remember, those were what we now call the Old Testament – using what we call Exodus, Isaiah, Psalms. Paul was:

Opening and alleging, that Christ must needs have suffered, and risen again from the dead; and that this Jesus, whom I preach unto you, is Christ. (Acts 17:3 KJV)

And, as some things happen today, that’s when the trouble started. Others in the past – and more would come in the future – claimed to be the Messiah, the one promised by God and sent from God. Unfortunately, people looked then – and continue to look today – for an earthly kingdom. Why they do so when we served a spiritual God sometimes overcomes me.

Anyway, there were converts.

And some of them believed, and consorted with Paul and Silas; and of the devout Greeks a great multitude, and of the chief women not a few. (Acts 17:4 KJV)

Look at that! Women in a place of leadership, listening to the gospel, and responding. They didn’t wait for their men to step out first. But that didn’t go over well either. Soon there was a response to these changes.

But the Jews which believed not, moved with envy, took unto them certain lewd fellows of the baser sort, and gathered a company, and set all the city on an uproar, and assaulted the house of Jason, and sought to bring them out to the people. (Acts 17:5 KJV)

Is that what we fear? That what we say will bring out those baser sorts and they’ll create an uproar? That we will hear people say:

And when they found them not, they drew Jason and certain brethren unto the rulers of the city, crying, These that have turned the world upside down are come hither also; (Acts 17:6 KJV)

Are we unprepared to have people point at us and say, “Look! They are acting like Christians.”

Is that why some don’t say grace in public places? Are they concerned that they will be noticed?

Is that why religion isn’t discussed within families or with close friends? Are we concerned we might offend?

When we select Christmas cards do they celebrate a non-specific Happy Holidays? Are we changing celebrating Christ’s birth into a winter carnival?

Are we able to discuss our beliefs based on scripture? Do we open the Bible to refute erroneous statements? Do we even carry a Bible regularly?

When will we turn the world upside down for Christ?

Monday, November 15, 2010

Shema - The Lord is One

I’ve been thinking about Shema: "Sh'ma Isroel, Adonai Eloheynu, Adonai, Echod." – “Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one.”

Which brought to mind the writings of Dr. Max Wertheimer, former Rabbi of Temple Israel in Dayton, Ohio. I’ve enjoyed reading and re-reading his “How a Rabbi Found Peace” at http://www.menorah.org/rabbimaxwertheimer.html.

I like what he had to say about the fifty-third chapter of Isaiah. After questions arose in his mind, he decided to re-read Isaiah from the beginning. He got to 6:9 before stopping, being confronted with the Christian doctrine of the Trinity. Just as Christianity rises or falls upon the acceptance of God as Father, Son and Holy Spirit, with the Son being the Messiah, Judaism stands on “the Lord is one.” Dr. Wertheimer’s article continued.

"Upon that word "Echod" (one) the entire philosophy of Judaism is based. I had been taught by the rabbis that echod means absolute unity. I began to study that word and found to my amazement it was used of Adam and Eve, who became one. It was used again when the spies returned from Canaan with a cluster of' grapes (Eshol Echod). It was used again when the "men of Judah" stood up as one man" (Ish Echod). Suddenly I was struck with the error I had believed and proclaimed all through my ministry. Echod cannot mean absolute unity, but a composite unity."

Menorah.org also has a PDF (http://www.menorah.org/54ReasonsWhyYeshuaIsTheMessiah.pdf) showing 54 Bible prophecies and their fulfillment. If you look them up, note some differences between verse numbering. The wording within the verses are the same.

It was on this site that my attention was caught by another verse in Isaiah:

Behold, God is my salvation; I will trust, and not be afraid: for the LORD JEHOVAH is my strength and my song; he also is become my salvation. (Isaiah 12:2 KJV)

I, too, need to spend more time studying, not just reading, Isaiah. For in this simple verse I see a promise fulfilled by the birth of God the Son, where truly the Lord Jehovah, who is my strength and the songs in my heart, He also became my salvation through Jesus Christ.

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. And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not. (John 1:1-5 KJV)

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Our Lord

Paul wrote his letter to the church at Ephesus. The church members had chosen to follow Christ through the preaching of the Gospel and were very young Christians. In what we call Ephesians 3:14-20, Paul tells them how he’s praying for them to grow in their spiritual lives, strengthened by Christ, and their comprehension increased.

He continues in chapter four, earnestly urging them to follow Christ’s example and reminding them they were – and we are – all called for a single purpose.

I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called, With all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love; Endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling; One Lord, one faith, one baptism, One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all. (Ephesians 4:1-6 KJV)

Paul had to address a similar issue within the house of Chloe in Corinth.

Now this I say, that every one of you saith, I am of Paul; and I of Apollos; and I of Cephas; and I of Christ. Is Christ divided? was Paul crucified for you? or were ye baptized in the name of Paul? (1 Corinthians 1:12-13 KJV)

He mentions again that though one might plant and one might water, it is God who provides.

Who then is Paul, and who is Apollos, but ministers by whom ye believed, even as the Lord gave to every man? I have planted, Apollos watered; but God gave the increase. So then neither is he that planteth any thing, neither he that watereth; but God that giveth the increase. (1 Corinthians 3:5-7 KJV)

It is true there are doctrinal differences between denominations, and between churches within denominations. To be called a Christian does require belief of, faith in and service to a single foundation.

For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ. (1 Corinthians 3:11 KJV)

Cite chapter and verse of God’s word in discussions of doctrinal differences, but to be a follower of Jesus, God’s Messiah, it is necessary to acknowledge Him as the centurion did.

Now when the centurion, and they that were with him, watching Jesus, saw the earthquake, and those things that were done, they feared greatly, saying, Truly this was the Son of God. (Matthew 27:54 KJV)

He did so as Christ died. Surely we can do so knowing of His resurrection? Knowing the church’s one foundation is Jesus Christ, Her Lord?

Saturday, November 13, 2010

The Source

Grace and Lawrence, my Dad’s sister and brother-in-law, had a dairy farm in southwestern Oklahoma. It had been Lawrence’s parents’ farm. He returned to run it when he was blinded in an accident. I cannot stress enough what a remarkable man he was to overcome such a physical handicap and run a successful dairy operation. I remember the “dark” rooms we had to go through to get to the milking area. One door would not open until the other closed so that no flies would find their way into the milking room. Lawrence was so gentle with the cows as he put on the milking machines to relieve pressure for his cows and provide milk for lots of families, including his own.

One of my cousins visited the farm as a child and wouldn’t drink a drop of milk while she was there. They went on to my grandmother’s home, again a country farm, on a much smaller scale, and she drank milk for every meal. When asked “Why?” the child explained:

“Aunt Grace gets her milk from dirty old cows. Grandma gets hers out of a well.” Yes, she did actually – the even temperature kept milk without using her icebox and a long rope served her well.

In a way, we’re the same as this cousin, misunderstanding the source of so much good. In our country, the government cannot establish a religion for the nation. That has been so misconstrued that our government can hardly acknowledge the source of much of our laws. They go back thousands of years.

Honour thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee. Thou shalt not kill. Thou shalt not commit adultery. Thou shalt not steal. Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour. Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour's house, thou shalt not covet thy neighbour's wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor any thing that is thy neighbour's. (Exodus 20:12-17 KJV)

I believe there are no laws regarding honor for parents, and coveting is done daily through advertising. But the other four are on the books pretty much as Moses received them. They are more concise than Hammurabi’s code, and we have more of his than his predecessor, Ur-Nammu. Yes, Ur, as in the home Abraham left.

Does their existence negate the Ten Commandments in any way? I think not. God is the source of laws that should govern each of our lives. One portion of His law is spelled out in the first four Commandments, the second portion in the last six. Christ brought them together in one answer.

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)

We have written hundreds of thousands of pages of laws within our country alone. Each time a human finds a way to hurt his fellow man, a new law is put on the books in an attempt to keep that from happening again. Yet we continue to find new ways to circumvent these laws and new ones are written, when following the two Christ listed would solve our problems.

The source of these laws appear to be a problem to some people who do not wish to acknowledge the existence of a Creator who cares enough to provide for His creation. They prefer the cleaner-looking legalese that omits an intelligence beyond our comprehension.

Not for me. And if it seem evil unto you to serve the LORD, choose you this day whom ye will serve … but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD. (Joshua 24:15 KJV)

Friday, November 12, 2010

Wonderfully Made

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)

Indeed, we are. As the doctor explained how he changed some of the bone structure during Beloved Husband’s surgery, and how the ball and socket joint worked with the rotator cuff, this verse came to mind.

The human body is so very intricate. A little here, a little there and we are each unique. Yet in this Psalms, David acknowledges that God knows us all. Knows us so very well.

For there is not a word in my tongue, but, lo, O LORD, thou knowest it altogether. (Psalms 139:4 KJV)

To know this also tells us that we cannot know completely know God.

Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is high, I cannot attain unto it. (Psalms 139:6 KJV)

Even when we don’t understand, we see Him as precious.

How precious also are thy thoughts unto me, O God! how great is the sum of them! (Psalms 139:17 KJV)

Can we, as David, ask God to know us completely?

Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts: And see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting. (Psalms 139:23-24 KJV)

After acknowledging that God cares for us, that He knows all there is to know about us, David asked to be search for wickedness – and by thus admits God is aware of our shortcomings. How often do we admit that to God? To show our awareness that just as our bodies are intricate yet fallible, so are our hearts.

The more aware we are of our failings, the more we can agree with another request David made:

Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me. (Psalms 51:10 KJV)

God does not move away from us – we leave the path He laid out. Welcome His search of our hearts, prepare for His cleansing, and rejoice in the renewal of His right spirit. Oh, Lord, forgive us wherein we have failed thee!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Thank You, from a grateful citizen

Today was once remembered as Armistice Day, after the War to End All Wars. Unfortunately, it didn’t, so less than a generation later came the greatest mobilization of armed forces the world had ever seen. War had not – nor has it since – ended.

The word Armistice was stricken from the records and this day became Veterans Day.

In May we’ll honor and remember those who died in service of their country, but today is for all veterans, all wars, and we’ve had plenty of them just in my lifetime.

I would like to thank my husband and one of his brothers for their service in the Army; My son-in-law and a step-grandson for their service in the Navy; my grandson, brother-in-law, two nephews, and niece-in-law for their service in the Air Force.

I would like to thank all living service men and women who gave a portion of their lives to protect our country from those who would do it harm. I want to thank all of those in our armed forces today who signed up to better their lives and the lives they touch. Today is your day, given by a grateful nation and recognized by its citizens.

Not much has changed since it was written at the time when kings go forth to battle (2 Samuel 11:1 KJV)

Not so many kings, but we still go forth to battle. Most of us do it vicariously, sending young people much better suited to handle the loneliness, camaraderie, stress, danger, adventure and the tragedies they must endure.

General Douglas MacArthur said it best in his 1962 speech at West Point when he said:

“Let civilian voices argue the merits or demerits of our processes of government. Whether our strength is being sapped by deficit financing indulged in too long, by federal paternalism grown too mighty, by power groups grown too arrogant, by politics grown too corrupt, by crime grown too rampant, by morals grown too low, by taxes grown too high, by extremists grown too violent; whether our personal liberties are as firm and complete as they should be.

“These great national problems are not for your professional participation or military solution. Your guidepost stands out like a tenfold beacon in the night: Duty, Honor, Country.”

Note that country is third. Duty, that is seen as a moral obligation, not one of legal obligation. Honor, that which garners respect and praise. Country, on the other hand, is subject to political whims and personal discord. But our county is ours and as citizens we are supportive of her continued existence. Our armed forces complete their duties with honor defending our country. Without the first two, the county might not be worth defending.

Each recruit has a reason for signing up. Some do it for gain – monetary, educational or just personal. Some do not realize how much they are giving up, but they all show love.

Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. (John 15:13 KJV)

Wednesday, November 10, 2010


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)

Along with:

In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also. (John 14:2-3 KJV)

These were some of my father’s favorite verses.

They mean a great deal to Christians, especially during the loss of a loved one. A good friend of mine lost her father – and I know how she feels. More than ever, she wants to talk with her father. She has been able to for the past few years, even though he could not respond. Alzheimer’s had taken that ability away, pieces at a time. No matter when we lose our parents, we always want to tell them something.

I want my Dad to know that he has a great-great-grandson that has his smile. There’s no importance in that, but I must let that child know about the source of his smile. Maybe that child will have his sense of humor, too. I pray that child comes to know Jesus, God’s Messiah, as his own Lord and savior.

I want my Mom to know how many of her descendants are in their Lord’s service. I know she would have smiled to see grandsons-in-law standing together as church ushers. To see her son-in-law, granddaughter and great-granddaughter in choir. But Lou Gehrig’s disease removed her ability to attend services long before our Lord took her to her own mansion.

Our treasures are not here. Oh, our “things” are, and we enjoy having them about us – but our treasures are where our hearts are. My heart, my soul, my mind and my might belong to God, as He commands.

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. (Matthew 22:37-38 KJV)

Because of this, I also believe:

And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away. And he that sat upon the throne said, Behold, I make all things new. And he said unto me, Write: for these words are true and faithful. (Revelation 21:4-5 KJV)

I believe these words are true and faithful. My friend does, too. Some day, when time is no more, we shall meet beside that river, under that tree. Join us.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Prayers For Today

I am praying today, as I have for the past few and will do for a while longer, for a man who served his Lord. This man is said to have beautiful feet.

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 10:15 KJV)

Indeed, he preached the gospel of peach and brought glad tidings of good things to those who heard him. Such service has been over for years, as his mind ceased functioning before his body has. Now his family gathers, spending final hours holding the hand of one they love. Not wanting him to go, yet knowing he is going home to his father. We are of such split desires at these times and the prayers of extended family and friends is that the Comforter will bring them peace in His promises for the future. They have faith.

Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear. (Hebrews 11:3 KJV)

Peter had specific instructions for these men, called of God to speak His message. Peter spoke from his own experiences.

The elders which are among you I exhort, who am also an elder, and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, and also a partaker of the glory that shall be revealed: (1 Peter 5:1 KJV)

Just as Peter followed Jesus commandment in John 21, he requires those called do the same.

Feed the flock of God which is among you, taking the oversight thereof, not by constraint, but willingly; not for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind; Neither as being lords over God's heritage, but being ensamples to the flock. (1 Peter 5:2-3 KJV)

What is promised to those who do feed God’s flock by example is a crown of glory.

And when the chief Shepherd shall appear, ye shall receive a crown of glory that fadeth not away. (1 Peter 5:4 KJV)

Take time to thank your pastor now for being the example to God’s flock. Consider his calling, the responsibilities he has accepted. How else could he come close to meeting the job description?

A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, vigilant, sober, of good behaviour, given to hospitality, apt to teach; Not given to wine, no striker, not greedy of filthy lucre; but patient, not a brawler, not covetous; One that ruleth well his own house, having his children in subjection with all gravity; (For if a man know not how to rule his own house, how shall he take care of the church of God?) Not a novice, lest being lifted up with pride he fall into the condemnation of the devil. Moreover he must have a good report of them which are without; lest he fall into reproach and the snare of the devil. (1 Timothy 3:2-7 KJV)

Give thanks today for our pastors – and pray for this one and his family as he goes home to be with our Lord.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Healing = Renewal

(This isn't just like our unit - couldn't find a photo of it - but works the same way)

Cryotherapy is one of the items being used to aid in healing Beloved Husband’s shoulder. A small ice-chest with a pump circulates cold water to decrease inflammation and spasms while promoting vascular constriction. The chest is filled with ice, then water is added and the pump turned on. Temperatures will remain between 42-48 degrees for several hours. About seven hours later, we have to get rid of the water, start over with new ice.

Of course, that reminds me of how much we need to be active in church services.

Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching. (Hebrews 10:25 KJV)

Even though as Christians we’ve been taught the difference between right and wrong; even though we’ve made the decision to follow in His footsteps and have the Bible as our guide; even though we know all of this:

Ye therefore, beloved, seeing ye know these things before, beware lest ye also, being led away with the error of the wicked, fall from your own stedfastness. But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and for ever. Amen. (2 Peter 3:17-18 KJV)

We need that renewal of spirit David wrote of:

Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me. (Psalms 51:10 KJV)

Paul wrote of that spiritual renewal, too, in his letter to the church at Ephesus.

If so be that ye have heard him, and have been taught by him, as the truth is in Jesus: That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts; And be renewed in the spirit of your mind; (Ephesians 4:21-23 KJV)

That teaching is ongoing. There is so much to learn and our capabilities of learning change as we grow older and wiser. It is so true that when we are children, we understand as children. Our understanding grows as we grow. Unfortunately, some growth is stunted, it goes unused and is not fed.

Instead, we come to Him as two of his disciples did:

And James and John, the sons of Zebedee, come unto him, saying, Master, we would that thou shouldest do for us whatsoever we shall desire. (Mark 10:35 KJV)

They did not request the wisdom of Solomon. They did not request the consistency of Job. They did not request the strength of Samson, nor the ability to judge Israel. They did not ask how to better serve God.

What are we asking? It could be anything from “Leave me alone!!” to:

Also I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, Whom shall I send, and who will go for us? Then said I, Here am I; send me. (Isaiah 6:8 KJV)

Circulate that renewal, heal and respond.

Sunday, November 7, 2010


Does the time change bother you? Try explaining it to dogs and cats. Or cows on a diary farm. I do understand the concept of fuel savings, but really – is it effective?

The National Institute of Standards and Technology has a page showing just how unstandard the question of Daylight Saving Time changes are: http://www.nist.gov/pml/div688/localtime.cfm#who

Out of the nine time zones for the United States and its territories (see, you only thought about four!) six follow DST – with the exception of most of Arizona. Several summers ago we made a driving trip headed west from Oklahoma, two couples, five kids. The children were pretty good about being on time, except our first night in Arizona. After almost an hour had past since they were supposed to be back at our campsite, we went to the game room to chastise them a bit for non-compliance. Ooops – local time was an hour earlier.

The NIST site refers us to the California Energy Commission http://www.energy.ca.gov/daylightsaving.html which has several links to discussions of the effectiveness of DST.

Americans usually blame Benjamin Franklin who wrote about saving light in Paris, April of 1784 http://www.webexhibits.org/daylightsaving/franklin.html but it was an Englishman in 1907 who wrote “The Waste of Daylight.” William Willett suggested moving the clock ahead by 80 minutes by a series of four moves, twenty minutes each. We can be grateful his suggestion was adjusted!!

It did, however, make England aware of energy savings and in 1916 British Summer Time was instituted, helping to save energy during WWI.

Our atomic clock updated this morning, as did my cell phone. The remainder of Beloved Husband’s clock collection will be changed as needed. The two chiming clocks here in the den (yes, we get used to them and the chiming doesn’t wake us during the night) will be changed this morning. Stuck at home for these few days, we really aren’t as concerned about time as we are about hours between medication.

So, where’s the verse? Where’s the application? Two come to mind.

And Jesus answering said unto them, Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar's, and to God the things that are God's. And they marvelled at him. (Mark 12:17 KJV)

Our government has set specific time zones and time changes. There is no harm to us by doing so, just a bit of inconvenience. Change the clocks.

Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 tells us every thing has a season – not an hour, but a season. And, one other scripture that mentions time seems timely:

And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment: (Hebrews 9:27 KJV)

We appear to be more concerned about an hour’s change twice a year than this one lifetime event.

Saturday, November 6, 2010


Are you willing to ask God if He really means what He says? Gideon did.

When called by God, his first response was that God had forsaken Israel. How could God be looking out for these people?

And Gideon said unto him, Oh my Lord, if the LORD be with us, why then is all this befallen us? and where be all his miracles which our fathers told us of, saying, Did not the LORD bring us up from Egypt? but now the LORD hath forsaken us, and delivered us into the hands of the Midianites. (Judges 6:13 KJV)

The first step of the renewal was so fearful to Gideon that he could not accomplish it in the day time.

Then Gideon took ten men of his servants, and did as the LORD had said unto him: and so it was, because he feared his father's household, and the men of the city, that he could not do it by day, that he did it by night. (Judges 6:27 KJV)

The next steps were even greater. Gideon needed assurance.

And Gideon said unto God, If thou wilt save Israel by mine hand, as thou hast said, Behold, I will put a fleece of wool in the floor; and if the dew be on the fleece only, and it be dry upon all the earth beside, then shall I know that thou wilt save Israel by mine hand, as thou hast said. And it was so: for he rose up early on the morrow, and thrust the fleece together, and wringed the dew out of the fleece, a bowl full of water. (Judges 6:36-38 KJV)

Insufficient. That might have been an accident.

And Gideon said unto God, Let not thine anger be hot against me, and I will speak but this once: let me prove, I pray thee, but this once with the fleece; let it now be dry only upon the fleece, and upon all the ground let there be dew. And God did so that night: for it was dry upon the fleece only, and there was dew on all the ground. (Judges 6:39-40 KJV)

Are we willing to be as certain we are following God’s will? So many say they are – yet their paths appear divisive. Are we willing to put the equivalence of fleece before God and ask, or do we look upon that as rebellion? Or, as Christ described a generation?

But he answered and said unto them, An evil and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign; and there shall no sign be given to it, but the sign of the prophet Jonas: (Matthew 12:39 KJV)

I think that is tempered with:

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)

To know the peace that following God’s path can bring, it may be necessary to ask directions. Is this really the right road? When those questions arise, for ourselves or for others, He is able to provide. And we can provide our answer to those who ask the reason for our path.

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)

Friday, November 5, 2010


I despise the effect psychoactive drugs have on individual’s personalities. Last night was an excellent example.

Beloved Husband is taking a very strong pain pill, designed to at least allow him to forget how much pain is throbbing in his damaged shoulder. After leaving the hospital, he slept a good deal of the afternoon going about five hours between pain pills.

The doctor also prescribed a sleep aid – well advertised, a familiar name – to be taken at bedtime.

For him, it was hallucinogenic. It also caused him to talk in his sleep. Except it didn’t appear to be “sleep”, but the drug created constant activity in his mind that was reflected in action. He removed covers, tried to stand up, pulled at the protective sling in an attempt to remove it. This is not the action of a rational person.

A dear friend of ours abused alcohol. When he drank, he became so belligerent that he once struck out at his wife when we were together. This was not the action of a man I know loves his wife and whose family was extremely important to him.

Even the appearance of drunkenness is attention catching. Remember Eli and Hanna?

And Eli said unto her, How long wilt thou be drunken? put away thy wine from thee. (1 Samuel 1:14 KJV)

Our society has found a multitude of mind-altering collection of drugs. Some, such as alcohol and prescribed medications are legal. Others are not. For a Christian, there should be no question of their use except under a qualified doctor’s care, for a specific reason. They make us what we are not.

The Bible has much to say about this: Proverbs 23:31-35, Hosea 7:5, Isaiah 28:7-8, Ecclesiastes 2:3, Proverbs 20:1, 1 Corinthians 5:11 – you can find more yourself.

Why? Why does the Bible take such a dim view?

Woe unto them that rise up early in the morning, that they may follow strong drink; that continue until night, till wine inflame them! (Isaiah 5:11 KJV)

Not rising up to worship the one, true, living God, but seeking to alter their minds, wiping out the memory of the Lord who requires that there be none before Him.

Thou shalt have no other gods before me. (Exodus 20:3 KJV)

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. (Matthew 22:37-38 KJV)

Drugs replace the mind’s ability to worship the Lord. Right now, under the influence of these medical marvels that ease his physical pain, Beloved Husband is not able to focus on serving the Lord. God willing, this will not last long (for either one of us!)

I have seen His work in the lives of new Christians who have traded their mind-altering addictions for the soul-cleansing work of the Lord. We pray others will do so, too.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Psalms 69

As other mornings, I opened my computer to post a daily blog. A small icon in the right hand corner caught my eye – no internet connection. Connection to the router was good, but the router’s connection to the internet was lost and a reset was required.

How often do we lose our connection to God? That answer will vary, but if we’re not praying, we’re not in touch with the Lord. Any time we feel that separation, we need to reach out to Him. Perhaps David felt that as he prayed:

But as for me, my prayer is unto thee, O LORD, in an acceptable time: O God, in the multitude of thy mercy hear me, in the truth of thy salvation. (Psalms 69:13 KJV)

It is part of a prayer where he felt as though he were drowning, under waters way over his head:

Save me, O God; for the waters are come in unto my soul. I sink in deep mire, where there is no standing: I am come into deep waters, where the floods overflow me. I am weary of my crying: my throat is dried: mine eyes fail while I wait for my God. (Psalms 69:1-3 KJV)

Was this one of the times his family failed him? Or one of the times when he failed them?

I am become a stranger unto my brethren, and an alien unto my mother's children. (Psalms 69:8 KJV)

David knew he needed help, and he called for it to be speedy.

Hear me, O LORD; for thy lovingkindness is good: turn unto me according to the multitude of thy tender mercies. And hide not thy face from thy servant; for I am in trouble: hear me speedily. (Psalms 69:16-17 KJV)

He found no pity without God.

Reproach hath broken my heart; and I am full of heaviness: and I looked for some to take pity, but there was none; and for comforters, but I found none. (Psalms 69:20 KJV)

After a few comments about his enemies, David turns back to his relationship to God.

But I am poor and sorrowful: let thy salvation, O God, set me up on high. I will praise the name of God with a song, and will magnify him with thanksgiving. This also shall please the LORD better than an ox or bullock that hath horns and hoofs. (Psalms 69:29-31 KJV)

David calls upon the rest of creation to praise Him.

Let the heaven and earth praise him, the seas, and every thing that moveth therein. (Psalms 69:34 KJV)

So my daily posting is slightly delayed to due the frailties of our technology, which reminds me that the Lord never fails. His word offers an explanation of prayer, and it’s promise.

Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:6-7 KJV)