Sunday, January 31, 2010

A Sound Mind

For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind. (2 Timothy 1:7 KJV)

Hmmm. Wonder if I should cling to that verse. Right now my mind is muddled by things unseen. It’s root is a Latin word, spelled the same, that meant poison, slime or venom. The first Wiktionary definition is: Venom, as produced by a poisonous animal.

The second is: A submicroscopic infectious organism, now understood to be a non-cellular structure consisting of a core of DNA or RNA surrounded by a protein coat. It requires a living cell to replicate, and often causes disease in the host organism.

Today, I am the host organism, and those stupid non-cellular structures are replicating sufficiently to cause my immune system to click into overdrive. The immediate results are flowing eyes, seconded only by flowing nasal passages.

This is not conducive to a sound mind.

This will pass. But the symptoms remind me of how it is for us when Christians allow sin to remain uncleansed in their lives. Sin requires a living host and it will replicate. We will be infectious while we hold on to it.

If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. (1 John 1:8-9 KJV)

Don’t deny it – sin is evident in each life. Even the scribes and Pharisees recognized it in their own lives:

And they which heard it, being convicted by their own conscience, went out one by one, beginning at the eldest, even unto the last: and Jesus was left alone, and the woman standing in the midst. (John 8:9 KJV)

Even hearts not right with God recognize when they stand convicted by their own conscience. If they will listen to Him and respond, truly he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

The writer of Hebrews gave us a list of those who proclaimed faith across the millennia, then wrote:

Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, (Hebrews 12:1 KJV)

Laying sin aside, and move on.

To what? The singularity of the goal before us:

Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God. (Hebrews 12:2 KJV)

May I do so, with a sound mind!

(The Virus_rezon.gif is from Wikimedia Commons)

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Draw Near

Draw near to God. The Bible tells us it is good to do so:

But it is good for me to draw near to God: I have put my trust in the Lord GOD, that I may declare all thy works. (Psalms 73:28 KJV)

My favorite hymnist, Fanny Crosby, knew about drawing near to God, as she wrote the chorus:

Draw me nearer, nearer blessed Lord,
To the cross where Thou hast died;
Draw me nearer, nearer, nearer blessed Lord,
To Thy precious, bleeding side.

Each stanza speaks my heart’s emotions and beliefs:

I am Thine, O Lord, I have heard Thy voice,
And it told Thy love to me;
But I long to rise in the arms of faith
And be closer drawn to Thee.

Consecrate me now to Thy service, Lord,
By the pow’r of grace divine;
Let my soul look up with a steadfast hope,
And my will be lost in Thine.

Oh, the pure delight of a single hour
That before Thy throne I spend,
When I kneel in prayer, and with Thee, my God
I commune as friend with friend!

There are depths of love that I cannot know
Till I cross the narrow sea;
There are heights of joy that I may not reach
Till I rest in peace with Thee.

Fanny never saw the choirs that sang her songs, but she heard them. She heard the echoes of her heart as I hear them now. We sing of God’s love and His grace. We sing of the pure delight of knowing Him as our Lord, our God and our salvation.

Sing praises to God, sing praises: sing praises unto our King, sing praises. For God is the King of all the earth: sing ye praises with understanding. (Psalms 47:6-7 KJV)

Friday, January 29, 2010

Speed Limits

A new sign went up at our corner. The road in front of our home has at times been used as a shortcut by trucks at unrealistic speeds. It not only damages the chip seal road, but is blatantly unsafe. So, the new sign lowers the speed limit to 30 miles an hour and defines No Through Trucks.

Do legalistic rules keep us from having a good time? Nope. Adhering to rules keeps us from experiencing dire consequences.

Obeying speed limits removes the consequence of paying for a ticket, or causing an accident by speeding. All jurisdictions appreciate this fact and set speed limits accordingly – much lower in school zones, higher on controlled-access highways.

Speed limits keep drivers who enjoy the exhilaration, the adrenaline rush of living on the edge of fear from doing so, and those of us who do not, also from living on the edge of fearing them. Society expects adherence to speed limits, requiring payment for non-compliance. We put a value on our lives.

There are age limits on marriage in our country, varying from state to state, setting realistic hopes that the couple is sufficiently mature to understand the commitment. Yet under-age children become parents, never becoming families. Society accepts this lack of adherence, and the resulting consequences, often a lack of educational opportunities, needs for social worker assistance, a lack of trust of the opposite sex and the emotional health of a child.

The Bible does not discuss either of these limitations, though marriage and responsibilities to one’s spouse is discussed in depth, as is the responsibilities of parents to children and vice versa.

Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. (Galatians 6:7 KJV)

Paul continues:

For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting. And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not. (Galatians 6:8-9 KJV)

While the Bible is full of rules and examples, our Lord brought them down to their essence:

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.

Get that one right and this next one becomes second nature

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)

Disobedience to laws brings unwanted attention as the lawbreaker focus solely on self. Compliance with laws brings others into focus and appreciation for those around us. The old Sunday School adage of how to achieve JOY comes to mind:

Jesus first
Others second
Yourself last

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Let's Talk

When we worked for the same company, and she was in town without meetings scheduled, Empee and I would go to lunch on Tuesdays. Not because of the day itself, but because our favorite restaurant (Armend’s in Southlake) has an exceptionally delicious Meat Tortellini with Aurora Sauce special on Tuesdays.

As our company’s products, and offices, are world wide, our discussions covered subjects just as varied. We discussed internal and external politics. We always included a sharing of what our preacher’s gave to us on Sunday.

With how many people are you able to discuss both religion and politics? Both of these are off limits in many families, much less among friends or co-workers. Yet both impact each and every life on this planet. The misuse or abuse of either can be life shattering. Why then, do we put them in hidden categories?

Evangelicals are often castigated for wearing their religion on their sleeves, talking to anyone who will listen about their testimony, their salvation, their ministry (every Christian has one, you know.) They are much as the New Testament disciples, willing to discuss their beliefs with anyone: Philip with an Ethiopian (Acts 8:27-40); Peter with Cornelius (Acts 10); Paul with Felix and Agrippa (Acts 25:13-26:29). Note that in each of these instances the witness was speaking to a person in a position of power and authority.

Yet we are constrained and often do not speak our faith even to peers, friends and family. Instead it is treated as personal, as very private. To discuss it openly would offend another.

Then we see yelling and screaming demonstrations – not in favor of either subject, but against the other as streets fill and signs clash. That I do find offensive.

Spend some time in prayer about what to say and the Lord will provide, as He has promised:

… take no thought how or what ye shall speak: for it shall be given you in that same hour what ye shall speak. For it is not ye that speak, but the Spirit of your Father which speaketh in you. (Matthew 10:19b-20 KJV)

I have readers who are very much like the Bereans:

These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so. (Acts 17:11 KJV)

When you check Matthew 10:19 you’ll find I’ve taken it slightly out of context. Jesus is instructing His disciples when He sent them to the lost sheep of the house of Israel (Matthew 10:6), which was before instruction to us all:

Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen. (Matthew 28:19-20 KJV)

As easily as we discuss our work, our hobbies, our decorative likes and dislikes, let us discuss our beliefs and foundations, trusting God to give us in that same hour what ye shall speak. (Matthew 10:19b KJV)

Always remembering that we should be speaking the truth in love, (Ephesians 4:15a KJV)

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Do We Tremble?

My phone gives up on me. I set reminders to help schedule my days, the phone responds exactly as programmed and I ignore the reminder until it is convenient for me. Often the phone has stopped dinging, the display has returned to the home display and I must search to find what I should have seen when reminded.

I am concerned that some people I care about are looking for a convenient time. Felix did.

And after certain days, when Felix came with his wife Drusilla, which was a Jewess, he sent for Paul, and heard him concerning the faith in Christ. And as he reasoned of righteousness, temperance, and judgment to come, Felix trembled, and answered, Go thy way for this time; when I have a convenient season, I will call for thee. (Acts 24:24-25 KJV)

Felix ceased to tremble, seeking instead material wealth.

He hoped also that money should have been given him of Paul, that he might loose him: wherefore he sent for him the oftener, and communed with him. But after two years Porcius Festus came into Felix' room: and Felix, willing to shew the Jews a pleasure, left Paul bound. (Acts 24:26-27 KJV)

So Felix exits without answering the reminder sent to him, and Festus offers Paul the opportunity to be tried by Jews in Jerusalem. Turning it down as a freeborn Roman citizen, Paul appealed to Caesar. This brought him to Agrippa’s attention. Amazing that Agrippa listened to the entire story of Paul’s conversion. We are not told that he trembled, yet he was impressed.

Then Agrippa said unto Paul, Almost thou persuadest me to be a Christian. (Acts 26:28 KJV)

Both of these men received the reminder that God places a decision before all men. The message was well delivered, understood, then deferred.

Eventually the reminders stop. God accepts our decision to ignore Him. Life continues to the inevitable conclusion, we know not when. The same choice was laid out millennia before, just as it is before mankind today.

And if it seem evil unto you to serve the LORD, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD. (Joshua 24:15 KJV)

Felix trembled. Do we tremble and ignore, or do we love and serve?

Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble. (James 2:19 KJV)

Seek ye the LORD while he may be found, call ye upon him while he is near: (Isaiah 55:6 KJV)

Tuesday, January 26, 2010


“It’s not a testimony without a test.” I believe her. She is experiencing her greatest test to date, a diagnosis of Plasma Cell Leukemia and its chemotherapy treatment.

So, what did we talk about Monday during our visit? Well, we started out with how she got her appetite back after two friends from our church visited her. They told her she needed to eat to get her strength built up, but she just didn’t have any appetite. The three prayed about it, the two discussed and prayed on their way home. The next day she told her mother she was soooo hungry, and has been since. Still, nothing taste ‘normal’, everything has a metallic taste. But she’s now hungry and being filled.

I told her about our recent experience of having a cat in heat – and we all laughed together. It’s a good thing she didn’t have stitches.

We discussed the impact of her being away from home. Their three older children are visiting her brother right now. Her husband has the baby, and friends from church provide the help he needs during the day.

She has requested visitors not discuss other people’s cases, nor timelines based on previous patients. The cancer is rare. Doctors are still learning. We will learn, too, as time goes on.

So, how does she remain hopeful? How can she laugh at our stories and look forward to when she’s home with her children?

She lives her religion. She believes the Bible. She believes God loves her, and that He knows how much time she has. The Bible tells us so.

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. (John 3:16 KJV)

He knows us, just as He knew Jeremiah:

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 1:5 KJV)

He knows our name.

And the LORD said unto Moses, I will do this thing also that thou hast spoken: for thou hast found grace in my sight, and I know thee by name. (Exodus 33:17 KJV)

Christ tells us:

But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. (Matthew 10:30 KJV)

We pray for her healing.

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)

We include, as Christ did

O my Father, if this cup may not pass away from me, except I drink it, thy will be done. (Matthew 26:42 KJV)

And, we believe:

And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:7 KJV)

Her heart, and ours.

Monday, January 25, 2010


Last week's study was Colossians. It’s one of those short books, only four chapters, to a church Paul had not met. Yet he loved them as brothers through Christ and prayed for them.

For this cause we also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you, and to desire that ye might be filled with the knowledge of his will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding; That ye might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God; (Colossians 1:9-10 KJV)

He wanted them to understand that Christ cleanses us, that through this we are reconciled with God.

And you, that were sometime alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now hath he reconciled In the body of his flesh through death, to present you holy and unblameable and unreproveable in his sight: (Colossians 1:21-22 KJV)

As often has happened through the centuries, and still does today, men have determined the gospel was insufficient. That certain ‘things’ must be done in addition to believing the good news that God had for all mankind. “If you do/don’t do this, you are not … ,” sometimes using scriptures in an unscriptural manner.

And this I say, lest any man should beguile you with enticing words. (Colossians 2:4 KJV)

This wasn’t the only church to face the onslaught of man versus God’s word.

I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel: (Galatians 1:6 KJV)

Are we so easily swayed? That was Paul’s concern.

Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ. (Colossians 2:8 KJV)

We’ve fought the battle once just to come to Christ and understand what is in store for us. Why continue in doubt?

Wherefore if ye be dead with Christ from the rudiments of the world, why, as though living in the world, are ye subject to ordinances, (Touch not; taste not; handle not; Which all are to perish with the using;) after the commandments and doctrines of men? (Colossians 2:20-22 KJV)

There should be peace within us when we’ve turned to God.

And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to the which also ye are called in one body; and be ye thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord. (Colossians 3:16 KJV)

That peace is felt when we can thank Him for everything, even in adversity.

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. (Colossians 3:17 KJV)

The alternative?

But he that doeth wrong shall receive for the wrong which he hath done: and there is no respect of persons. (Colossians 3:25 KJV)

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Beyond The Poster Boy

Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it. (Proverbs 22:6)

Fine. But, what if someone is working hard to undo your training. Donna Busch was training her son, Wesley, but her lessons were being untaught in his school. His public school kindergarten taught him one could not speak of their beliefs to friends in public places. His kindergarten taught him that the government controlled one's ability to express religious views.

It has not always been thus. In some school systems religious diversity is discussed -- to the point of substituting Muslim prayers and stories of Eid instead of Christmas in their Winter Holidays. Or, in the case of Spokane, Washington, schools in fall 2007, omitting Christmas from school calendars -- which did include Eid al-Adha, Hanukkah and Kwanzaa.

Also in 2007, Britains headlined "School cancels Christmas nativity in favour of Muslim Eid celebrations." The Greenwood Junior School reversed its decision after parental outcries.

That doesn't take into consideration the lack of Christianity in school experiencing drug problems. Christian groups could not meet in the school buildings, so they met at flagpoles, watched by students dealing in drugs. As a new Christian, one student was so impacted by the surrounding drug culture that parents opted for a nearby Christian school.

Other families are opting for home schooling, knowing exactly what lessons their children are being taught and fulfilling their obligation to pass along family values and belief systems. There are excellent examples of such within my church and other families I've come to know. There are many opportunities for interactive social skills and field trips are beyond those offered in public schools. Where else do you find a junior high student studying both Greek and Korean?

Public schools are usually unable to differentiate between learning levels without promoting or holding back a student from their peers, creating a perceived division that may last a lifetime. Public schools are unable to offer one-on-one and research material available to a homeschooler.

Unless -- and that's a big 'unless' -- the parent(s) have insufficient ability themselves. Out of the many homeschooled children I've known over the years, two situations are extremely sad. In one, the mother was so submissive to the father's demands that the children could not interact with anyone outside the family. There was no study pattern, all lessons came from their Bible. There was no socialization. Teens could neither read, nor write, but had memorized scriptures and could recite them. I can see no joy in this situation.

The other 'worst case scenario' is a teen whose mother says she's homeschool, but is not. This is a bright, outgoing, eager to learn child without supervision yet seeking the Lord. I pray for her without ceasing.

Opponents look upon such bad situations and condemn home schooling. That is a greater error. Our truly homeschooled students are outstanding examples of diversity. Don't look up one out of curiosity, but wonder the next time you meet an outstanding personality.

I could include a plethora of sites where parents make public their stories, but that’s not the point here. If public schools are not providing the education desired, become active in the school board. If you do not wish such confrontations, research and study home schooling to see if that would service your needs. Be aware that it takes dedication and discipline – more so on the parent than the child. Are you ready to apply to yourself – and to provide to your child – discipline and direction?

(Graphic from Wiki Commons)

Saturday, January 23, 2010

A Poster Boy

Third Circuit Court Case 07-2967 was recently declined by the United States Supreme Court.

Wesley Busch was the featured student in his classroom at Culbertson Elementary School. He prepared a poster that included photos of him, his hamster and a picture of his church, captioned with: “I love to go to the House of the Lord.”

So far, no problems, right?

Wesley was featured in class as part of “All About Me” week, focusing on the child and inviting parents to come to class and (among other things) to share a story. Wesley’s mother accepted the teacher’s invitation and planned to read from Psalm 118. She testified she "chose these verses because (1) she and Wesley frequently read from the Book of Psalms; (2) she thought the children would like Psalms because they are similar to poetry; and (3) she desired a reading that did not make reference to Jesus, which she worried might upset some people given what she perceived in the past as hostility in the school district towards her Christian beliefs. She also testified that she intended to read the verses to the students without explanation and that, if asked questions about the reading, she would respond that 'it was ancient psalms and ancient poetry and one of Wesley’s favorite things to hear.'"

I do not know whether her selection would have included: It is better to trust in the LORD than to put confidence in man. (Psalms 118:8 KJV), but believe that would have been appropriate, for man proved less than confident.

The teacher asked her not to read, sending for the principal. The principal "stated to the Plaintiff that her reading aloud from the Bible to the kindergarten class would constitute proselytizing and that such conduct would thus violate the requirement of separation of church and state"

The mother sued and lost in court. Lost in the appellate court. Appealed to the Supreme Court and was declined.

What lesson was taught to the kindergartners in Wesley’s class?

The Third U. S. Circuit Court of Appeals was split. The majority opinion stated, “ … parents of public school kindergarten students may reasonably expect their children will not become captive audiences to an adult’s reading of religious texts.”

Which is true. What about hearing the Qu’ran being read in school? Isn’t that done in the name of diversity? Perhaps diversity is not taught in this school. Perhaps not diversity in religion.

The dissenting minority opinion held “The majority’s desire to protect young children from potentially influential speech in the classroom is understandable. But that goal, however admirable, does not allow the government to offer a student and his parents the opportunity to express something about themselves ..."

Was not the principal’s action “potentially influential”? Was not the entire class influenced by this denial? How eager will Wesley be in the future to express a personal opinion?

This is but one incident, one child, but it is repeated so often that we are no longer shocked by the refusal to accept the importance of religion in one’s life. There is no main stream media coverage.

Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it. (Proverbs 22:6 KJV)

It were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and he cast into the sea, than that he should offend one of these little ones. (Luke 17:2 KJV)

(Photo from Wikipedia Commons)

Friday, January 22, 2010


A man that hath friends must shew himself friendly: and there is a friend that sticketh closer than a brother. (Proverbs 18:24 KJV)

I recently read that friends are the people we choose to be family. That feeling was recently reinforced by a blog written by one I consider a dear friend. The internet has allowed us to put our thoughts out for the world to see. Some places are truly not worth the effort to make the keystroke as we surf by them. Others open our minds to thoughts that uplift and enhance our lives. I’ve been fortunate enough to read the thoughts of people I’ve come to enjoy and appreciate.

I may have the opportunity to meet some face-to-face before I go home to our Lord. If not, I still will have been blessed by their presence. For those who believe as I do that God has much more in store for us, we will meet in the home He prepared for us. Until then, we build upon a friendship.

The Bible doesn’t mention a close friend of Solomon’s that might have been the example for the above Proverb, but surely he grew up knowing of his father’s friend, Jonathon. The rightful heir to the throne befriends the man God chose to take his place.

I Samuel tells of Jonathon fighting beside his father, a man mighty in battle.

And Jonathan smote the garrison of the Philistines that was in Geba, and the Philistines heard of it. And Saul blew the trumpet throughout all the land, saying, Let the Hebrews hear. (1 Samuel 13:3 KJV)

Once Jonathan met David after his defeat of Goliath, they were friends for life.

And it came to pass, when he had made an end of speaking unto Saul, that the soul of Jonathan was knit with the soul of David, and Jonathan loved him as his own soul. (1 Samuel 18:1 KJV)

Jonathan protected David after Saul sought to kill him.

But Jonathan Saul's son delighted much in David: and Jonathan told David, saying, Saul my father seeketh to kill thee: now therefore, I pray thee, take heed to thyself until the morning, and abide in a secret place, and hide thyself: (1 Samuel 19:2 KJV)

Upon hearing of Jonathan’s death, David mourned for his friend.

Then David took hold on his clothes, and rent them; and likewise all the men that were with him: And they mourned, and wept, and fasted until even, for Saul, and for Jonathan his son, and for the people of the LORD, and for the house of Israel; because they were fallen by the sword. (2 Samuel 1:11-12 KJV)

The friendship lasted past death.

And Jonathan, Saul's son, had a son … And his name was Mephibosheth. (2 Samuel 4:4 KJV)

What a friendship that would have been, to pass from one generation to another! There is more to the story in Second Samuel if you wish to read further. As you appreciate your friends, let them know – and give a prayer of thanks. May God bless them.

Thursday, January 21, 2010


Please pray for our friend, just diagnosed with Plasma Cell Leukemia. We pray for her healing, spiritual and physical strength for her and her family. We pray God be glorified and those who love her be blessed.

Thank you for your prayers.


She wrote “I’ll be happy when my kids are happy.” I responded that they won’t be at the same time for any length of time. To worry about their happiness is not fruitful. And, if she couldn’t be happy, try rejoicing:

Yet I will rejoice in the LORD, I will joy in the God of my salvation. (Habakkuk 3:18 KJV)

Now that’s a reason to shout with joy!!

So much better than worrying. For our study in Philippians last week I had to look up the word "Worry." Contrary to my daughters' opinions, none of the sites defining the word had a picture of me! There were several with the same etymology -- the word came from"to strangle" in Old High German through Old and Middle English to the American today and it still starts with:

1 - To harass by tearing, biting, or snapping especially at the throat; to shake or pull at with the teeth; to touch or disturb something repeatedly; choke, strangle.
2 - To subject to persistent or nagging attention or effort; torment
3 - To afflict with mental distress or agitation; make anxious

None of those definitions sound productive. None will produce happiness, much less joy.

Paul was imprisoned in Rome when he wrote to the church at Philippi. If you haven't read the book recently, please take a few moments and do so. Only four chapters long, it is a wealth of strength for a Christian. Paul thanked the church for providing support for him:

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. (Philippians 4:10 KJV)

He didn't complain of any neglect, understanding that the church lacked opportunity to provide assistance. As soon as they were able to do so, they again took care of his needs. Which would have been few since his accommodations consisted of a cell and his food served by guards. Yet he wrote:

Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content. (Philippians 4:11 KJV)

Paul, a leader of his Jewish faith and on the fast track of his career in his youth, was familiar with success and failure. He knew pain and torment but lived with blessings and joy. We read them in his epistles.

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. (Philippians 4:12 KJV)

Before closing with a prayerful blessing of the church for God’s grace to be with them, he confirms what he’s lived with since meeting Christ on the road to Damascus.

But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:19 KJV)

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

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Titus 2:3

Those who have read with me for a while (or know me personally) are aware that I absolutely, certifiably, qualify as one of Titus 2:3’s aged women. I am tasked with behaving certain ways.

The aged women likewise, that they be in behaviour as becometh holiness, not false accusers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things; (Titus 2:3 KJV)

My behavior is on display daily as I come in contact with a variety of people. It speaks loudly as to whether or not I’m successful.

It’s the next two verses that I enjoy the most:

That they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children, To be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed. (Titus 2:4-5 KJV)

I have a bit of trouble with the sober part. No, nothing to do with alcohol, but it’s the giggles. There were so many of them today during our Senior Saints Game Day. Whether it was dominoes, Bendominoes, Skip Bo, Toss Up, Uno, Bible Trivia, there were a lot of giggles from those of us who qualify for Titus 2:3. We didn’t see a lot of seriousness today and a great deal of playfulness. Yet we see moderation and realistic outlooks, so sober does fit.

No problems at all with love their husbands. I’ve loved mine for more than 48 years now. Other Seniors at game day will celebrate their 58th this year. Husbands are our greatest investment. Oh, what returns on that investment we do receive! We spend time not only on him, but for him. We uplift him in our prayers and let him know how grateful we are that we are walking together with God.

There may be a problem now and again with love their children. There are times when our children terrify us. We fear for their very souls at times. Certainly for their lives. I have been with a mother who lost a baby at birth, another at five and still another in their sixties. Whether the mother is 20 or 90, not one understands outliving their child. For a Christian mother, it is painful to consider eternity without their child. So, we pray. And, we love.

We look for our young women to understand that being discreet and chaste is for everyone’s good. For them it builds strong character and enhances their witness. Both characteristics show respect for themselves and for those around them Everyone benefits.

Way down on the list is for them to be keepers at home. And that doesn't require being a Stay At Home Mom (though that's a great goal.) Priscilla and Lydia did not give up professions to follow Christ. Tent making and purple selling continued. Our Proverbs 31 virtuous woman bought and sold fields while the heart of her husband safely trusted in her.

Back to husbands – now we are to be obedient. There are several other verses that explain why.

Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord. (Ephesians 5:22 KJV)
Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as it is fit in the Lord. (Colossians 3:18 KJV)

The reason why is awesome. A portrait of Christ and His church.

For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body. Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing. (Ephesians 5:23-24 KJV)

Again – Why? … that the word of God be not blasphemed. (Titus 2:5 KJV)

Let me know if I’m not doing my part, and I’ll do the same.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Functional Familes

from Elspeth Young's Women in Scripture Series.

Does a functional family exist? Most biblical families would not qualify. Adam and Eve raised a son capable of murdering his brother. And Cain talked with Abel his brother: and it came to pass, when they were in the field, that Cain rose up against Abel his brother, and slew him. (Genesis 4:8 KJV)

Abram and Sara had problems before they became Abraham and Sarah, adding Isaac as Ishmael would testify. Yet, Abraham loved his elder son and prayed to God for him:

And Abraham said unto God, O that Ishmael might live before thee! … And as for Ishmael, I have heard thee: Behold, I have blessed him, and will make him fruitful, and will multiply him exceedingly; twelve princes shall he beget, and I will make him a great nation. (Genesis 17:18, 20 KJV)

Isaac didn’t do much better. A little parental favoritism went a long way – separating Jacob and Esau for most of their adult lives. Then came reconciliation: And he passed over before them, and bowed himself to the ground seven times, until he came near to his brother. And Esau ran to meet him, and embraced him, and fell on his neck, and kissed him: and they wept. (Genesis 33:3-4 KJV)

Sibling rivalry flowed down another generation to Jacob’s sons, leaving Joseph both in a pit in Dothan And they took him, and cast him into a pit: and the pit was empty, there was no water in it. (Genesis 37:24 KJV) and a throne in Egypt And Joseph was the governor over the land, and he it was that sold to all the people of the land: and Joseph's brethren came, and bowed down themselves before him with their faces to the earth. (Genesis 42:6 KJV)

And that’s just in the first book.

In an article regarding causes of depression, there were three words that caught my attention: “insufficient family structure.”

Family structures vary during individual lives. Marriage, divorce, death – each change family dynamics so that none of us experience the same family structure. How then can “insufficient” be defined?

My personal opinion is that families can be sufficient when God is the center.

Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think any thing as of ourselves; but our sufficiency is of God; (2 Corinthians 3:5 KJV)

That is repeated:

But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:19 KJV)

When a family experiences unfeigned faith, it grows from generation through generation, and we’ve been given an example as Paul calls to remembrance the unfeigned faith that is in thee, which dwelt first in thy grandmother Lois, and thy mother Eunice; and I am persuaded that in thee also. (2 Timothy 1:5 KJV)

Paul was also persuaded about his own faith. Placing God in the center not only provides a functional family, it allows us to boldly state:

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 1:12b KJV)

Monday, January 18, 2010


Philippians was the book we studied last week. Last year’s Youth Camp had a goal for the students to memorize the entire book. Some met that goal. Yesterday during Sunday School, a couple of girls were quoting passages from memory. It is an excellent choice to do so.

After the opening, Paul says:

I thank my God upon every remembrance of you, (Philippians 1:3 KJV)

Alone, that is a beautiful verse. It tells us Paul knows these people, loves them, thinks of them often. He appreciates them and speaks of them to God. It also tells us that Paul prays. His prayers included gratitude for this church. For him to do so tells us that this church heeds and follows God’s word.

The next few verses confirm what we read in verse three. Later we see perfection has not been achieved, but the people are still growing in faith. We do find specific difficulties, but these are not seen as obstacles. Paul sees beyond his prison and finds positive outcomes. For example:

And many of the brethren in the Lord, waxing confident by my bonds, are much more bold to speak the word without fear. Some indeed preach Christ even of envy and strife; and some also of good will: The one preach Christ of contention, not sincerely, supposing to add affliction to my bonds: But the other of love, knowing that I am set for the defence of the gospel. (Philippians 1:14-17 KJV)

Paul does not name the preacher of envy, strife and insincere contention. Neither is Paul brought low by such a preacher. Instead, he sees the positive in the situation:

What then? notwithstanding, every way, whether in pretence, or in truth, Christ is preached; and I therein do rejoice, yea, and will rejoice. (Philippians 1:18 KJV)

There are times I hear such preachers. Some spend their pulpit time denigrating other Christian churches. Some interpret God’s word to lessen Christ’s position, denying His divinity. Some preach material gain, whether it be in heaven or earth. Some preach Christ crucified, as did Paul:

But we preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumblingblock, and unto the Greeks foolishness; But unto them which are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God. (1 Corinthians 1:23-24 KJV)

There are many verses between: Do all things without murmurings and disputings: (Philippians 2:14 KJV)

And: I beseech Euodias, and beseech Syntyche, that they be of the same mind in the Lord. (Philippians 4:2 KJV)

Yet the message is the same. Christians should work together without disputes, being of the same mind. There is but one Christ after whom we are called. Our name is His. His message is ours. He has given us but two commandments that are the foundation of all others.

My problem is that I could list every verse in all four chapters and fill sheets with their substance. Instead, I’ll close today as Paul’s joy, even imprisoned in Rome, overflows to spill upon us today:

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

Please, feel free to do so!

Sunday, January 17, 2010


We’re to start at home.

But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth. (Acts 1:8 KJV)

But the need is so great everywhere else. At times we feel alone, incapable of making differences. So we attend church regularly, give our tithes, bring offerings for special reasons and believe we’ve done our best.

Not on your life. Or, better said, not on the lives of those we need to reach and support.

As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith. (Galatians 6:10 KJV)

Opportunities abound. There are people of faith sent out from your church. Do you write them? Don’t need to purchase pen, paper nor postage. An e-mail showing prayerful support – aren’t you lifted by those contacts you receive?

Do you know if your missionaries pray, as Paul:

Now I beseech you, brethren, for the Lord Jesus Christ's sake, and for the love of the Spirit, that ye strive together with me in your prayers to God for me; (Romans 15:30 KJV)

Do you pray beyond missionaries to support national churches? Or only missionary efforts?

The disaster in Haiti is a tremendous opportunity. The country has been lifted in prayers around the world. Funds are solicited by trusted organizations. Aid is given by governments and many trusted organizations.

Yet the most moving reports, to me, are the ones of specific individuals, specific churches, those who were working for the souls of Haiti before the disaster, sending or returning during this disaster to do good.

Opportunities abound, without geographic boundaries, to support those who are of the household of faith.

Don’t stop there. Look around your congregation. Is there a widow that could use a word of encouragement, along with prayer; a student looking to further education that could use a letter of recommendation, along with a prayer; a minister upholding a congregation 24/7 that could use a volunteer, along with a word of prayer.

Opportunities abound, whether in your Jerusalem, close to home; your Judaea, within our own country; your Samaria, a country that does not have approval, but does have need; and unto the uttermost part of the earth.

No, you alone cannot do it all. Just as He gave the answer for salvation, Christ tells us how:

And Jesus looking upon them saith, With men it is impossible, but not with God: for with God all things are possible. (Mark 10:27 KJV)

Saturday, January 16, 2010

We Agree!!!

My goodness! MSNBC agrees with me – and with the Bible. Here’s a quote:

“In a series of studies in a lab setting, researchers found that watching or even thinking about someone with good self-control makes others more likely to show the same restraint. And they found the opposite also holds true — people with lousy self-control influence others negatively.”

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. Those things, which ye have both learned, and received, and heard, and seen in me, do: and the God of peace shall be with you. (Philippians 4:8-9 KJV)

Think on these things, and spend time with people who do so, too.

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)

Why did it take a study in a lab setting to come to these conclusions? Was the book of Proverbs ignored?

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

My son, walk not thou in the way with them; refrain thy foot from their path: (Proverbs 1:15 KJV)

How much more does it take to make these statements clear?

He that walketh with wise men shall be wise: but a companion of fools shall be destroyed. (Proverbs 13:20 KJV)

Proverbs also speaks of those who backslide, confirming they become self-centered, seeking personal satisfaction instead of seeking the Lord.

The backslider in heart shall be filled with his own ways: (Proverbs 14:14 KJV)

I have lived that proverb! I allowed personal interests to become central in my life, to my detriment. I then returned toward the word of God for truth in my life.

In the fear of the LORD is strong confidence: and his children shall have a place of refuge. (Proverbs 14:26 KJV)

I know it must sound strange to those who do not understand what it means to fear God while loving Him. Doing so does bring confidence, provides a refuge and gives peace – that passes understanding!

Those who have departed from the living God, take heed. His word speaks directly to you:

Take heed, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief, in departing from the living God. But exhort one another daily, while it is called To day; lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin. (Hebrews 3:12-13 KJV)

Friday, January 15, 2010

Be Not Afraid

But he saith unto them, It is I; be not afraid. (John 6:20 KJV)

Jesus was speaking to His disciples, not to a crowd of people waiting for wise words. They had seen a miracle that day where five thousand were fed with five loaves and two fish. Afterward Jesus sent the crowds, and the disciples, away.

And when he had sent the multitudes away, he went up into a mountain apart to pray: and when the evening was come, he was there alone. (Matthew 14:23 KJV)

The disciples followed His request.

And straightway Jesus constrained his disciples to get into a ship, and to go before him unto the other side, while he sent the multitudes away. (Matthew 14:22 KJV)

And when even was now come, his disciples went down unto the sea, And entered into a ship, and went over the sea toward Capernaum. And it was now dark, and Jesus was not come to them. (John 6:16-17 KJV)

In this instance they showed no fear of the wind driven storm.

But the ship was now in the midst of the sea, tossed with waves: for the wind was contrary. (Matthew 14:24 KJV)

And the sea arose by reason of a great wind that blew. (John 6:18 KJV)

What they did fear is Jesus, walking on the water.

And when the disciples saw him walking on the sea, they were troubled, saying, It is a spirit; and they cried out for fear. (Matthew 14:26 KJV)

So when they had rowed about five and twenty or thirty furlongs, they see Jesus walking on the sea, and drawing nigh unto the ship: and they were afraid. (John 6:19 KJV)

Peter responds as so many people do today.

And Peter answered him and said, Lord, if it be thou, bid me come unto thee on the water. (Matthew 14:28 KJV)

“Lord, if you’re real, show me.” We look for proof when He calls us. We cannot believe our senses because what we feel sounds unreasonable. Yet when He calls we respond as Peter did and follow.

And he said, Come. And when Peter was come down out of the ship, he walked on the water, to go to Jesus. (Matthew 14:29 KJV)

Unbelievers tell us how wrong we are and how wrong God’s word is. We ask for signs along the way beyond what He has given. Our logic, our reason tells us this can’t possibly be so. We doubt. We falter. We fail. We fall. We fear.

But when he saw the wind boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink, he cried, saying, Lord, save me. (Matthew 14:30 KJV)

Jesus responded then just as He will for us today.

And immediately Jesus stretched forth his hand, and caught him, and said unto him, O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt? (Matthew 14:31 KJV)

Thursday, January 14, 2010

This Is A Test

Our choir singing their Christmas cantata. Just testing mobile posting.

Worked pretty good! I'm a little disappointed in the quality of the photo, though. It looked brighter and better on the phone. There are times this year I'll be traveling without my laptop and I wanted to be certain posting from my phone would accomplish my purpose. I haven't discovered how to copy/paste easily from one program to another, as on my laptop, but I'm prepared to write in Bible verses. Can't be more difficult than young people texting, can it? I promise not to shorten THEE to U, though. Just can't bring myself to do that!

Hope you enjoyed this little 'aside' and I'll be back tomorrow with the usual devotional. Don't overlook today's -- When I'm Afraid.

PS: Beloved Husband and Second Daughter are in that choir photo!

When I'm Afraid

What time I am afraid, I will trust in thee. (Psalms 56:3 KJV)

Why? I’ve been told to fear the Lord. Are we not commanded to do so?

And now, Israel, what doth the LORD thy God require of thee, but to fear the LORD thy God, to walk in all his ways, and to love him, and to serve the LORD thy God with all thy heart and with all thy soul, (Deuteronomy 10:12 KJV)

This is not a contradiction. Knowing the power of God, respecting His abilities to accomplish His will and being aware of His will and giving ourselves to follow it would be defined as fearing the Lord our God. He has also told us not to fear.

He tells us, as he told a nation:

Be strong and of a good courage, fear not, nor be afraid of them: for the LORD thy God, he it is that doth go with thee; he will not fail thee, nor forsake thee. (Deuteronomy 31:6 KJV)

Greater than any of our fears is His love for us.

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

He knows us, every one.

But now thus saith the LORD that created thee, O Jacob, and he that formed thee, O Israel, Fear not: for I have redeemed thee, I have called thee by thy name; thou art mine. (Isaiah 43:1 KJV)

Some may think He has forgotten them, but He assures us that He has not.

But Zion said, The LORD hath forsaken me, and my Lord hath forgotten me. Can a woman forget her sucking child, that she should not have compassion on the son of her womb? yea, they may forget, yet will I not forget thee. Behold, I have graven thee upon the palms of my hands; (Isaiah 49:14-16a KJV)

He knows the outcome of our every action, even when we do not follow Him.

But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. (Matthew 10:30 KJV)

He cares for us and will wipe away our tears.

He will swallow up death in victory; and the Lord GOD will wipe away tears from off all faces; (Isaiah 25:8 KJV)

We are created for His glory.

Even every one that is called by my name: for I have created him for my glory, I have formed him; yea, I have made him. (Isaiah 43:7 KJV)

When we acknowledge His place in our lives, we are inseparable.

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)

(Photo from Wikipedia Commons - detail from Sistine Chapel)

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

My Father's Eyes

The photo above was taken on the train from Skagway, Alaska to Whitehorse, Yukon Territory, Canada. My father had always dreamed of going to Alaska, so in 1999 we took him, age 86, and our fourteen-year-old granddaughter, on a seven-day cruise. It was wonderful to see through their eyes. The stops we made, the pictures we took, were different than had it just been the two of us.

My father worked on the railroad during World War II. As a teenager he was in a car wreck that fractured both ear drums, giving him a 4-F classification while others were headed off to war. Trains fascinated him. I have photographs with him and trains from Los Angeles to Galveston. He collected books and photographs of trains. It was a blessing to see him peer through the window to take in all the scenery and history between Skagway and the border.

There are other things I’ve seen through my father’s eyes. The way he looked after my mother, who suffered from ALS. The meals he fixed, as she gave him recipes and instructions; the wheelchair he pushed as they continued their travels, flying from Oklahoma to California and back twice a year; his daily Bible reading and prayer time. The love he showed for his grand and great-grandchildren.

One of our great-grandsons has his eyes, so I see through my father’s eyes, still.

I have another Father, one my father and I share with an infinite number of others. My father depended on the promise our Father gave:

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)

My father was a roofer, so building a mansion had a special meaning for him. Especially since the home we were raised in was no more than 900 square feet. Maybe a bit smaller than his parent’s, where there were five children.

My father and I believe God’s promise. Those mansions are for us and we are worthy to be there only because of Jesus Christ.

For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their iniquities will I remember no more. (Hebrews 8:12 KJV)

Our sins are not seen through our Father’s eyes. Instead, they are as far removed as the east is from the west:

As far as the east is from the west, so far hath he removed our transgressions from us. (Psalms 103:12 KJV)

We are told over and over that our sins are cleansed by Christ.

But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin. If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. (1 John 1:7-9 KJV)

Paul tells us the same – we are made right in our Father’s eyes.

But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ. (Ephesians 2:13 KJV)

The eyes of my Heavenly Father see me through the blood of His Lamb.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

A Child's Ability

My oldest grandsons were born in 1982, only a few weeks apart. Just before that I went to work for a company that soon added desktop computers, word processors, e-mail – all the goodies we take for granted now. I could see such a future in these marvelous tools.

By Christmas 1988 I was looking for some children’s computer games. I had already answered the question in my Lotus 1-2-3 handbook “Do you really want to be a programmer?” in the negative, but surely there were people out there who did want to be and understood what turning little sequences of I’s and 0’s off and on could do.

So, I went to a mall computer store and was duly insulted by the salesman after I explained what I was looking for – computer learning games for six-year-old grandsons. His response was something along the lines of “Don’t you think they ought to learn to read first?”

No, I didn’t. I thought a computer program would utilize skills that could help them learn to read. Don’t I wish now that I had found those companies who thought the same thing? Haven’t they done a great job since then?

The salesman underestimated the ability of children to understand, and to learn.

This applies to the Bible, too.

Some ‘tone down’ the Bible for children. An International Children’s Bible might be suggested instead of the King James Version simply because it is easier to understand. How difficult is it to understand:

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. (John 3:16 KJV)


For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast. (Ephesians 2:8-9 KJV)


And brought them out, and said, Sirs, what must I do to be saved? (Acts 16:30 KJV)

Do the “-eth”, “ye”, “thou” used in these verses detract sufficiently from their meaning that a child should be protected from them? I think not. Not in my church.

Doesn’t it make more since to focus the lesson to the level of the child’s interest rather than changing the Bible? Does God’s word change if Acts 16:30 reads:

Then he took them outside and asked, "Sirs, what must I do to be saved?" (Acts 16:30 ISV)

Do not underestimate God’s word, nor those who seek Him.

But if from thence thou shalt seek the LORD thy God, thou shalt find him, if thou seek him with all thy heart and with all thy soul. (Deuteronomy 4:29 KJV)

Seek ye the LORD while he may be found, call ye upon him while he is near: (Isaiah 55:6 KJV)

That they should seek the Lord, if haply they might feel after him, and find him, though he be not far from every one of us: (Acts 17:27 KJV)

Monday, January 11, 2010

To God Be The Glory

The Waratah window by Alfred Handel, St Bede's Church, Sydney, Australia.
The inscription reads
"The heavens declare the glory of God.
The firmament showeth his handiwork."
(Wiki Commons)

That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus. (Ephesians 2:7 KJV)

I am familiar with God’s grace, for through it I am saved. I believe the Bible when it says that grace appears to all:

For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world; (Titus 2:11-12 KJV)

I am in awe that in ages to come He will show the results of His grace, and that we will be included. I believe that in doing so we will see things in our lives that have glorified God. Solomon wrote that:

It is the glory of God to conceal a thing: (Proverbs 25:2 KJV)

Perhaps he means that things that glorify God might not be known until He might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in these ages to come. Perhaps we will not recognize them as glorifying God as they occur.

I doubt Mary and Martha thought of Lazarus’ death as being an opportunity for God to be glorified, yet Christ did.

When Jesus heard that, he said, This sickness is not unto death, but for the glory of God, that the Son of God might be glorified thereby. (John 11:4 KJV)

Did He lie, knowing that Lazarus would be in the grave? Or do we not yet understand that there is no victory in death, that God is the God of the living.

And Jesus answering said unto them, Do ye not therefore err, because ye know not the scriptures, neither the power of God? He is not the God of the dead, but the God of the living: ye therefore do greatly err. (Mark 12:24, 27 KJV)

When speaking of His own death, when the time came for His betrayal, He knew it would glorify God.

Therefore, when he was gone out, Jesus said, Now is the Son of man glorified, and God is glorified in him. (John 13:31 KJV)

Whether His grace and mercy in our lives be small or great, may God always be glorified. May we recognize the richness of His grace long before the ages to come.

Now unto him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy, To the only wise God our Saviour, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and ever. Amen. (Jude 1:24-25 KJV)

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Is Religion A Headache?

We run across some of the nicest things by chance - or design? Through several handheld devices and phones, I’ve had a copy of the King James Version of the Bible available for study. With each device, changes in either OS or hardware required different software. This last time e-sword was not compatible with the hardware, so I returned to Olive Tree.

Along with the KJV, there were several books and study aids that were free, so I downloaded a few. Among them was “God of All Comfort.” The introduction included:

“I was once talking about Christianity with an intelligent agnostic, whom I very much wished to influence. After listening to me politely for a little while, he said, “Well, madam, all I have to say is this. If you Christians want to make us agnostics inclined to look into your religion, you must try and be more comfortable in the possession of it yourselves. The Christians I meet seem to me to be the most uncomfortable people anywhere around. They seem to carry their religion as a man carries a headache. He does not want to get rid of his head, but at the same time it is very uncomfortable to have it. And I for one do not care to have that sort of religion.’”

Do we carry our religion as though it were uncomfortable? If not, why then are the attendance figures for Sunday morning the peak, with remaining services trailing off through the week? Would employers retain employees who attended to business in such a manner?

Do we kneel before Him and say:

I will praise thee, O LORD, with my whole heart; I will shew forth all thy marvellous works. I will be glad and rejoice in thee: I will sing praise to thy name, O thou most High. (Psalms 9:1-2 KJV)

Are we glad? Do we rejoice? He does require our whole heart:

Then saith Jesus unto him, Get thee hence, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve. (Matthew 4:10 KJV)

Personally, I find being a Christian a joy. I kneel before God, praising his marvellous works, seeking His mercy and His grace. I trust His promises and rely on His word. If none of that applies, why assume the title Christian? Is being a church member only a social obligation – necessary for acceptance? Is it something to be done for a family member?

Do I doubt, fall short and ask for forgiveness? Yes. Still, I know His name, and I seek Him.

And they that know thy name will put their trust in thee: for thou, LORD, hast not forsaken them that seek thee. (Psalms 9:10 KJV)

Come, learn of Him. Come to know His name.

… and they shall say to me, What is his name? what shall I say unto them? And God said unto Moses, I AM THAT I AM: (Exodus 3:13b-14a KJV)

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

Get rid of the headache. Find the peace He promises.

And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:7 KJV)

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Son of God

Jesus Christ, Son of God, died for our sins as part of God’s plan. He knew this and spoke of it during His ministry.

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. And now I have told you before it come to pass, that, when it is come to pass, ye might believe. (John 14:28-29 KJV)

He accepted His father’s will.

He went away again the second time, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if this cup may not pass away from me, except I drink it, thy will be done. (Matthew 26:42 KJV)

He also died because He was not what people expected and they did not believe what they were told.

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. (John 10:24 KJV)

I love His answer:

Jesus answered them, I told you, and ye believed not: (John 10:25a KJV)

He still tells us and many still do not believe. There are so many excuses. Some will laugh at God’s word calling it mythology from ages ago. They point to the number of other religions in the world saying if there were a God He would not allow such dissension. I have often wondered how someone who does not believe in God can determine how He would act, if He existed. I, on the other hand, have His word for it. Christ continued,

the works that I do in my Father's name, they bear witness of me. (John 10:25b KJV)

Christ gave His questioners an out.

If I do not the works of my Father, believe me not. (John 10:37 KJV)

Believe, or don’t believe. This choice is daily laid before those who have delayed their decision.

How did his questioners react?

Therefore they sought again to take him: but he escaped out of their hand, (John 10:39 KJV)

Their minds were not convinced. His answers angered them and they felt they had to stop Him. Some today react the same way. Some must constantly deride, ridicule and treat with contempt what has been given that we might spend eternity with One who loved us so:

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. (John 3:16-18 KJV)

Friday, January 8, 2010


What Would Jesus Do? Those initials have been worn for years. Many people do ask themselves the question, in order to follow in His footsteps. His examples, and those of the apostles, have laid out our path for many years.

He called those to follow and be remade.

And he saith unto them, Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men. (Matthew 4:19 KJV)

He taught those who came to Him.

And seeing the multitudes, he went up into a mountain: and when he was set, his disciples came unto him: And he opened his mouth, and taught them, saying, (Matthew 5:1-2 KJV)

He acted against those who took advantage of God’s house.

And Jesus went into the temple of God, and cast out all them that sold and bought in the temple, and overthrew the tables of the moneychangers, and the seats of them that sold doves, And said unto them, It is written, My house shall be called the house of prayer; but ye have made it a den of thieves. (Matthew 21:12-13 KJV)

He made requests of people, then gave them life.

There cometh a woman of Samaria to draw water: Jesus saith unto her, Give me to drink. (John 4:7 KJV)

He forgave, even at the last moments of His life in this world.

Then said Jesus, Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do... (Luke 23:34a KJV)

The apostles continued with His work.

Furthermore then we beseech you, brethren, and exhort you by the Lord Jesus, that as ye have received of us how ye ought to walk and to please God, so ye would abound more and more. (1 Thessalonians 4:1 KJV)

With these examples, why then are we evangelicals so enthralled by “fire and brimstone” preaching to the unsaved? Why do we say ‘Boy, that preacher really got them this time,” without realizing the sermon was meant for all and applies to us.

Jesus sat with Nodemus, one on one, and gave the best sermon the world has ever heard. It’s the first we learn as a child, and it is applicable for all eternity.

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. (John 3:16 KJV)

We need to remember why men are called to preach:

For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher? (Romans 10:13-14 KJV)

The unsaved must hear to be able to call.

by Jan Styka from Wikimedia Commons)

Thursday, January 7, 2010

All To Christ

Carl August Jung (1875-1961) wrote a book my sister gave to me. I wasn’t familiar with his work, though I had heard his name in connection with psychiatry. It wasn’t until recently I learned of the thread of a connection he had with Alcoholics Anonymous. It wasn’t a direct connection. Jung belonged to the Oxford Group, as did an acquaintance of Bill W.’s. It was in response to a question regarding this thread that Jung is recorded in Volume 18 of his Collected Works as saying, “I can’t do it better than Jesus.”

I know an alcoholic who would agree with that statement.

He had been through rehab, was making changes in his life, carried tokens of sobriety from AA, working through twelve steps, when he visited a local church. He had not been raised in a church, but his daughter had been invited during a bus visit and the family began to attend.

One day he spent time talking with the pastor, about his alcoholism and the twelve-step program. The pastor’s response was along the lines of, “I don’t know about twelve steps, but I do know of one – turn your all to Jesus Christ.” He did.

It does not appear to be easy for us to say to the Lord, as did the Samaritan woman:

She saith unto him, Yea, Lord: I believe that thou art the Christ, the Son of God, which should come into the world. (John 11:27 KJV)

Some come to Him upon learning of Him:

And as they went on their way, they came unto a certain water: and the eunuch said, See, here is water; what doth hinder me to be baptized? And Philip said, If thou believest with all thine heart, thou mayest. And he answered and said, I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. (Acts 8:36-37 KJV)

Others are not persuaded by the truth:

Then Agrippa said unto Paul, Almost thou persuadest me to be a Christian. (Acts 26:28 KJV)

It is necessary to wholeheartedly choose Christ:

I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me. (Galatians 2:20 KJV)

It’s a personal commitment. The first few chapters of the book of Revelation tell us that churches do not save us - Christ is the salvation. Some churches stand in the way.

I know thy works, and thy labour, and thy patience, and how thou canst not bear them which are evil: and thou hast tried them which say they are apostles, and are not, and hast found them liars: And hast borne, and hast patience, and for my name's sake hast laboured, and hast not fainted. Nevertheless I have somewhat against thee, because thou hast left thy first love. (Revelation 2:2-4 KJV)

The Lord must be our first love.

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

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Dress For Respect

Six years ago when we had five young men, high school students, preparing for the ministry, you could pick them out each Sunday morning. They were dressed in suits. All but one of those graduated from Bible college, and that one is continuing studies to be a chaplain. A year ago there was another high school student wearing a suit. Again, he stood out from the crowd.

From John’s description, preachers weren’t required to dress in a specific manner:

And John was clothed with camel's hair, and with a girdle of a skin about his loins; and he did eat locusts and wild honey; (Mark 1:6 KJV)

While the Bible doesn’t specify how we should dress, there are a few expectations.

In like manner also, that women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with shamefacedness and sobriety; not with broided hair, or gold, or pearls, or costly array; (1 Timothy 2:9 KJV)

When my children were born at St. John’s hospital, Sisters of the Sorrowful Mother saw to our care. From 1914 into the 1960's, their white habits swept the hospital floor as they cared for their patients. I was comforted by their presence during my stays there. Their dress, wimple and all, made a statement about their dedication.

How we dress makes strong statements. We have had some teens attend church wearing clothing designed to make a statement, but not a Christian statement. Most of these are attention getting, some rebellious, some tasteless, some just thoughtless..

There are non-profit organizations based on Dress For Success, which “provides interview suits, confidence boosts, and career development ...” It is expected that successful people would be in a position to donate clothing. When asked about what should be donated, they say “To be sure that the suits or accessories you wish to give to Dress for Success are appropriate, ask yourself whether you would feel comfortable wearing them on a job interview.”

Dress makes a difference. It tells people what you think of yourself, and what you think of them. That’s what we want to get across to our Junior High girls – you must respect yourself, and dress appropriate, before you will be respected.

The other side of the question is: Do you respect God? How you dress in His house displays the respect held for Him. Does that negate this verse:

My brethren, have not the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory, with respect of persons. For if there come unto your assembly a man with a gold ring, in goodly apparel, and there come in also a poor man in vile raiment; And ye have respect to him that weareth the gay clothing, and say unto him, Sit thou here in a good place; and say to the poor, Stand thou there, or sit here under my footstool: Are ye not then partial in yourselves, and are become judges of evil thoughts? (James 2:1-4 KJV)

No. We are not discussing clothing of the rich or poor, though often status can be determined by such. We’re speaking of dress that displays attitude. Respectful dress, or not.

So, the question for my girls is: Do you dress as though you respect your God, and yourself?

(Regrettably, I do not have an attriibution for this photo)