Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Baptist Funeral

Ever been to a Baptist funeral? You’ll hear the gospel. That’s not always true at other funerals.

I remember one particular funeral that was a bit strange for me. It was held in a church. The songs played were her favorites. The only one I really remember is “I Left My Heart in San Francisco.” None of the other songs mentioned hearts, and none mentioned souls.

This particular church holds that God exists in all things. That Jesus was a mystic with access to God. That Genesis is an allegory. That both heaven and hell exit here on earth. They believe the concept of Satan came from Zoroastrian, Babylonian and Greek beliefs, created by mankind. The temptation of Jesus was symbolic, the voice of human desire, not an evil entity.

For them, there is no sin. Instead, there is a false sense of separation from God. False because God is always present in all things. According to them, there is life after death as reincarnation, citing John the Baptist’s being referred to as Elijah.

All of the above is subject to individual beliefs, “as there is no official” creed, all “are free to search for truth on many paths.”

You’ll hear none of the above at my funeral.

At my funeral you’ll hear of the introduction of sin as a reality in Genesis. You’ll hear of God’s plan of salvation, and its prophecy through ages. You’ll hear of the fulfillment of that prophecy in the birth of His son, Jesus, who is called the Christ – the promised Messiah. You’ll hear of His life, His miracles, His teachings that direct our paths today.

You’ll hear of His death. Most importantly, you will hear of His resurrection. Celebrated each and every first day of the week throughout the year, with a special emphasis on Easter Sunday, we look to this promise from God.

Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. (1 John 4:10 KJV)

We are not told this lightly nor do we accept blindly. Instead, scripture speaks of itself, for itself, by inspiration of God.

All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: (2 Timothy 3:16 KJV)

There are plenty of opportunities to toss scriptures aside and deny their validity. One does so at great risk, even as Christ said:

And Jesus answering said unto them, Do ye not therefore err, because ye know not the scriptures, neither the power of God? (Mark 12:24 KJV)

Knowing scriptures should mean to study them.

Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. (2 Timothy 2:15 KJV)

And, my favorite example, 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)

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Boxed Scripture

My Mother selected a verse each day from this little box. The verses were ERV (Easy To Read Version). Luke 1:37 is printed in the lid. But it's not the one I'm used to -- nor to me does it mean the same thing. The lid reads:

No word from God shall be void of power - Luke 1:37 (erv)

My Bible reads:

For with God nothing shall be impossible. (Luke 1:37 KJV)

There’s a difference. The American Standard Version and the Revised Version read as the erv. This is a specific example from my life why the King James Version remains my Bible. It is a bone of contention among some Christians today, even to the point of open argument. I would appreciate the understanding of why it is important to me.

Some versions openly state that they’ve removed the archaic “thee” and “thou” entries, making it more easily understood. The translators of the King James Version used these pronouns even though they were not used in the English of 1611. “Thee” is singular, “ye” plural. Neither 1611 nor 2011 (I anticipate) English differentiates between singular and plural. Many other languages provide for showing the difference. The closest we come (I think) is the Southern expression we love so well, “y’all” which is absolutely plural!

Please, don’t get me wrong. I won’t be reading out of the 1611 version. While it is understandable, there’s too much translation from the page through my eye and brain. I’ll stick with the 1769 version moving ‘u’ to ‘v’ in ‘haue’ and ‘Pavl’ as examples. So, it is obvious that I opt for more easily read spellings.

Why would I accept one revision over another here, and not accept modern revisions? Well, that goes to the heart of believing God’s word. There are histories given, descriptions written and promises made that sound one way in the King James Version, and completely different in revised versions. I will leave it to Bible scholars to explain in depth as to why.

As much or more than the scholarly explanations I’ve studied, I’d rather remain with that which I know, have memorized and have used to grow my relationship with Christ. It is through reading God’s word that my life has been enriched and I have sought what is His will for me.

The box, on the other hand, evokes childhood memories of my Mom’s concern for our eternal life. With this small box, she increased our appetite for His word. My sister and I could use the little plastic tool to pick up a verse, open it and read it before meals. The box is well over fifty years old, but the Lord it speaks of is much older.

It speaks of David’s Lord and His word.

The Lord gave the word: great was the company of those that published it. (Psalms 68:11 KJV)

Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee. (Psalms 119:11 KJV)

And, as David prayed, let God be magnified.

Let all those that seek thee rejoice and be glad in thee: and let such as love thy salvation say continually, Let God be magnified. (Psalms 70:4 KJV)

I continue to read His word daily.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Ditch Religion?


This is one of those times headlines grab my attention.

Here’s a man who goes beyond saying God is dead. He tells us “
Why We Should Ditch Religion.”

Philosopher Sam Harris stated, "We should be talking about real problems, like nuclear proliferation and genocide and poverty and the crisis in education." The article describes him as "a well-known secularist, philosopher and neuroscientist who is the author of the books 'The End of Faith' and 'Letter to a Christian Nation.'"

The article also says that "Religion causes people to fixate on issues of less moral importance," according to Harris. "Religion has convinced us that there's something else entirely other than concerns about suffering. There's concerns about what God wants, there's concerns about what's going to happen in the afterlife," Harris said.

What, besides his litany of important things, is the focus of his reason for ditching? "And, therefore, we talk about things like gay marriage as if it's the greatest problem of the 21st century. We even have a liberal president who ostensibly is against gay marriage because his faith tells him it's an abomination. It's completely insane."

I do believe that a great deal of focus, both within our government and within citizen activities, is given to ending nuclear proliferation, genocide, poverty and crises in education.

I do not understand why ditching religion would provide alleviation for any of the items on his list.

Wasn’t it after the return of open Christianity in Russia that movement was made toward lessening of nuclear weapons within both Russia and the United States of America? Is it not the USA, ostensibly still a Christian nation, responding first in times of tragic natural disasters, aiding those in need? What Christian areas are bent on genocide?

Yes, we Christians are focused on achieving God’s will. And we spend time not only worshipping Him, but in prayer with Him. Much of this prayer is focused on our country’s political well-being, the ceasing of unprovoked slaughter, ending hunger and disease, while educating those who will hear.

Apparently Sam Harris does not see the Bible part of what he feels "are issues which tremendous swings in human well-being depend on." He states that religion is "not at the center of our moral concern."

Thank you, but no thank you. I do not wish to give up 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)

I do not wish to quit on my goal of giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge; And to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness; And to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity. For if these things be in you, and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. (2 Peter 1:5-8 KJV)

Thank you, but no thank you, philosopher. I choose Christ, who said 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. (Matthew 22:37-39 KJV)

Sunday, March 28, 2010

II Peter Begins

This is our week for II Peter. All through the Bible we are given promises. Peter speaks of this.

Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust. And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge; And to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness; And to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity. For if these things be in you, and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. But he that lacketh these things is blind, and cannot see afar off, and hath forgotten that he was purged from his old sins. (2 Peter 1:4-9 KJV)

Here is confirmation of the precious promise that we are partakers of the divine nature. Discussions of this promise comprise the New Testament. Here Peter tells us to be diligent in adding to our faith the things that will allow us to show fruit in our labor.

Peter is also writing to those who stood up and openly proclaimed Christ as their savior, then have not escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust. Instead, have partaken of this world and have stood in need of redemption, forgetting that he was purged from his old sins. He’s not speaking to the lost. He’s speaking of followers who failed to acquire the attributes listed.

Faith – Peter assumes that exists, for it takes faith to accept Jesus Christ as Lord.

Virtue – is the first loss when giving in to worldly things that appeal solely to satisfying our body’s desires.

Knowledge – is a continual process for a Christian. Once learning stops, so does growth.

Temperance – is a hard lesson, required to keep from veering to left or right on the strait way.

Patience – is a great virtue!! Waiting on the Lord is an absolute necessity.

Godliness – by the time we’ve mastered the previous, we’re ready for this really big step.

Brotherly Kindness – did you find it odd that this wasn’t listed sooner? It takes Godliness to get to brotherly kindness.

Charity. Finally! Here we are at the greatest. Paul said it earlier.

And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity. (1 Corinthians 13:13 KJV)

This is not the hand out of the rich to the poor, nor the Robin Hood taking from the rich to give to the poor. This charity is the combined accumulation – the sum being greater than all the parts – of the items Peter just listed. All are necessary to reach the goal Christ laid before us.

Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me. I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing. (John 15:4-5 KJV)

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Hell or Heaven

For those who believe all sermons should be only love filled and accepting of all, let me introduce you to Jesus Christ, who offended many with His doctrine.

And they were astonished at his doctrine: for his word was with power. (Luke 4:32 KJV)

Then came his disciples, and said unto him, Knowest thou that the Pharisees were offended, after they heard this saying? (Matthew 15:12 KJV)

Many therefore of his disciples, when they had heard this, said, This is an hard saying; who can hear it? When Jesus knew in himself that his disciples murmured at it, he said unto them, Doth this offend you? (John 6:60-61 KJV)

How many times in Matthew 23 do we hear Christ call his hearers fools, blind and hypocrites! Yes, even with the exclamation mark. How many times does He say “Woe unto you”? How offended would you be if your preacher said the same in a sermon to you?

Some preachers throw in fire and brimstone. To read an example of such a sermon from almost three hundred years ago, try
Jonathan Edward’s “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God.” Only don’t expect to be reading a modern thirty-minute sermon to which most congregations hold their preacher.

Would any Christian expect us to ignore simple sins such as lying? Who has not found themselves doing such? Paul and John both address that particular sin – along with some others people would not admit to.

Knowing this, that the law is not made for a righteous man, but for the lawless and disobedient, for the ungodly and for sinners, for unholy and profane, for murderers of fathers and murderers of mothers, for manslayers, For whoremongers, for them that defile themselves with mankind, for menstealers, for liars, for perjured persons, and if there be any other thing that is contrary to sound doctrine; (1 Timothy 1:9-10 KJV)

And he said unto me, It is done. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. I will give unto him that is athirst of the fountain of the water of life freely. He that overcometh shall inherit all things; and I will be his God, and he shall be my son. But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death. (Revelation 21:6-8 KJV)

Do not expect kind, considerate and thoughtful sermons to ignore the reality that all have fallen short, all have sinned, only God’s mercy provides a way to heaven and that way is through acceptance of Jesus Christ as Lord.

Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved. (Acts 4:12 KJV)

Such sermons are necessary to present the gospel message to unsaved friends and loved ones. It is also necessary for the saved to recall, look forward to better and give thanks always for His loving us before we loved Him.

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

Friday, March 26, 2010

Rude Words

There are words not used in polite company. Words that men should not use in mixed company, that I need not repeat here, but will discuss.

Some preachers throw them out to youth in sermons and in conversations almost as shock value, when they need to remember Paul’s comments to adults:

And I, brethren, could not speak unto you as unto spiritual, but as unto carnal, even as unto babes in Christ. I have fed you with milk, and not with meat: for hitherto ye were not able to bear it, neither yet now are ye able. (1 Corinthians 3:1-2 KJV)

As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby: (1 Peter 2:2 KJV)

Our youth should be hearing of sin, not graphic descriptions of specific sins, or impolite words applied to specific people in condemnation. Yes, the words are written in the Bible and they do describe specific sins. But they are not necessary to use in teaching children.

One of the words I’ve heard from such a preacher is not considered a New Testament church word, used only four times toward the end of Revelation, but has been used multiple times in his sermons and in describing a high school girl during a meal we shared with a group of others.

Another derogatorily descriptive word is found only once in the Old Testament, but is used extensively today from many preachers as though it is the unpardonable sin.

The Bible tells us there is but one unpardonable sin and it has nothing to do with desires of the flesh. God also tells us He is willing that all come to repentance.

The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance. 2 Peter 3:9

Christian church members must have forgotten that we’re told to make that happen.

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)

It was also written to those who teach the congregation God’s word:

For when for the time ye ought to be teachers, ye have need that one teach you again which be the first principles of the oracles of God; and are become such as have need of milk, and not of strong meat. (Hebrews 5:12 KJV)

So I make a request, give the milk of God’s word before getting to the strong meat. Spend as much, if not more, time matching the amount of words given in God’s word to express His love.

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. (John 3:16-17 KJV)

Let God do the condemning. Let’s do the reaching.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Prayer

And in the morning, rising up a great while before day, he went out, and departed into a solitary place, and there prayed. And Simon and they that were with him followed after him. And when they had found him, they said unto him, All men seek for thee. (Mark 1:35-37 KJV)

Sometimes it’s hard to find a solitary place. I am fortunate that I do rise before day and Beloved Husband waits for the light of day. My own den is my solitary place in the early morning for prayer.

Prayer is so very important for a Christian.

Simply by praying we acknowledge our belief that: God exists; He hears us; He answers us; we listen to Him.

Those are huge steps of faith. When we pray, we submit to Him as our Lord, as our Savior. We make commitments to follow His instructions.

By setting a specific time for ourselves, we tell Him the important place He holds in our lives. We are surrounded by daily activities, cares, calls upon our lives and our time. By setting aside prayer time we keeps those from interfering with our relationship with God. Even Christ needed to get away from the crowds to spend time alone with the Father.

This isn’t the only time the example is set for us. Nor is it limited to these:

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)

Then saith he unto them, My soul is exceeding sorrowful, even unto death: tarry ye here, and watch with me. And he went a little further, and fell on his face, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt. (Matthew 26:38-39 KJV)

The essence of prayer is in that last phrase -- as thou wilt. This is the most difficult of all prayers, for we do have a will of our own. Turning that will over to God brings us closer to God. There are actions that hinder our prayers, as described here.

Likewise, ye husbands, dwell with them according to knowledge, giving honour unto the wife, as unto the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life; that your prayers be not hindered. (1 Peter 3:7 KJV)

Prayer allows us to remove those hindrances, by acknowledging that we are sinners and need to be cleansed. Not only do we have His promise to do so, we have examples where it has been done.

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

Prayer is for everyone. It can be done in the largest of groups, the most public of places or it can be done in solitude with another promise.

But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly. (Matthew 6:6 KJV)


Wednesday, March 24, 2010

It's Greek To Me


I don’t know if Shakespeare gets as much time in schools today as he did half a century ago, but those who studied his “Julius Caesar” would be familiar with this from a line spoken by Casca:

but those that understood him smiled at one another and
shook their heads; but, for mine own part, it was Greek to me

Casca is describing Cicero's speech in Greek, and it was not understandable to him. That’s what the phrase means, and I experienced a good example of it.

I had the opportunity to be in Cyprus. It is a beautiful island and two very gracious ladies took time to show me both mountains and seashore while I was there. In the mountains, one pointed out a couple of them that held her family’s almond groves. Though she and her husband lived and worked in Nicosia, the groves had been in her husband’s family for generations and they still worked them.

The other took me to Larnaca and around the bay to Cape Greco. On that trip we stopped at a Greek Orthodox church where Barnabas is said to have preached. Quite believable, as he was born there. We could not reach Famagusta, the port from which the ship Exodus sailed, headed for Palestine to return European Jews following World War II. Cyprus is a divided country and Famagusta is held by the Turkish government.

It was during the week when the phrase “it was Greek to me!” became apparent. We were in the process of doing User Acceptance Testing on software my company created and adjusted for their company. A series of tests were designed to display the accuracy of those adjustments. I was there to facilitate the testing and coordinate updates with our home office.

Naturally, they spoke Greek between themselves, while using English when speaking directly to me. Greek is an expressive language! One afternoon I kept hearing “Nay!”, “Nay!” from each of them during a conversation.

You know what that means in English. Well, it’s not the same in Greek. While I was concerned something was wrong, they had discovered a portion of the tool that would help them and were speaking Greek, “Ne!”, which means “Yes!”

Beyond the wonderful history lessons of Cyprus, the unmatchable hospitality of its people, that trip brought home the meaning of “it was Greek to me.” And how the meaning of words are so very important.

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)

Exhort is an English word translated from the Greek and it means to call near, invite, to invoke by imploring, or pray. Another Greek word is also translated as exhort, though its meaning is to admonish or advise.

Not found in the Gospels, “exhort” is found in many of the other New Testament books, much as the above example – the author is inviting, imploring readers in the name of Jesus to live as He lived and to please God.

When we invite someone to participate in church activities, it should be our reason, too. By doing so, we implore them to join in recognizing God’s place in our lives.

Keep in mind, before exhorting another, we should be certain about God’s place in our lives.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Cattle Calls

The cattle are lowing
The Baby awakes

Well, the cattle weren’t lowing, they were bellowing as they crossed through the pushed down barbed wire. And, it wasn’t the Christ child that was awakened, it was me. Wrong time, too, at 2:20 am.

Our across the street neighbor has the start of a good pipe fence – the top and the uprights. Then he stretched three strands of barbed wire to hold in his two head of cattle. Didn’t work. Thursday night the bull was out as we drove into the lane. Fortunately, the neighbor was the car ahead of us and returned the escapee to his field.

Unfortunately, either he wasn’t home this night or left this morning without noticing the culprit. So, the bull and heifer were over visiting in our yard. Also unfortunately, our Angus Lowline bull doesn’t like the visitor.

Our window was open when the visitors bellowed and the very first thought through my mind was that sound is not lowing. Once I thought that, the song began flowing.

We’re getting close to Easter, so I think it would be appropriate to consider our Lord’s birth for a bit. A thorough study of prophecies would stretch much longer than the guidelines I’ve set for my blogs. My favorites about his birth are that He will come from David’s line (Isaiah 11:1), born in Bethlehem (Micah 5:9) and His virgin birth (Isaiah 7:14).

His death was also prophesied. Isaiah tells of how He would be scourged while Matthew tells of how He was beaten. Zechariah tells us He would be pierced while John describes how He was, with a spear. Psalms tells of the garments to be divided and gambled and Matthew and Mark tell of the soldiers who did so.

Christ prophesied about His resurrection. That is the event we celebrate each Easter, and each and every first day of the week of the year.

This is the basis of Christianity. Not the birth of Christ, nor just the death of Christ but of His resurrection.

But if there be no resurrection of the dead, then is Christ not risen: And if Christ be not risen, then is our preaching vain, and your faith is also vain. (1 Corinthians 15:13-14 KJV)

Paul walked the paths of logic through these verses.

And if Christ be not raised, your faith is vain; ye are yet in your sins. (1 Corinthians 15:17 KJV)

Paul knew that Christ had risen for they met on the road to Damascus. After that, Paul spent every moment of his life restating over and over the truth he had to tell.

But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept. (1 Corinthians 15:20 KJV)

That’s the source of our faith. And I spend every moment of my life showing my Thanks be unto God for his unspeakable gift. (2 Corinthians 9:15 KJV)

(Not our current herd -- this photo was taken when we had full size Angus)




Monday, March 22, 2010

My Umbrella

The graphic above comes from having a Morning Cuppas With Glenys down in Australia. I have not read the source book, “You Can Be The Wife Of A Happy Husband” by Darian B Cooper, but I have read the Bible and do understand the illustration.

Incorrect readings of the following scriptures lead people to think of wives as being broken spirits under the yoke of an overbearing husband, and that is far from God’s truth. Some read it as a husband having complete control over everything a wife does and subjects her to physical discipline. Again, so very far from truth. While I do not deny some have perverted the message to their own failings, the truth of God’s plan offers freedom, equality and shared inheritance.

Here are the verses, two written by Paul, the other by Peter:

Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body. (Ephesians 5:22-23 KJV)

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

Likewise, ye wives, be in subjection to your own husbands; that, if any obey not the word, they also may without the word be won by the conversation of the wives; While they behold your chaste conversation coupled with fear. (1 Peter 3:1-2 KJV)

In following these verses we Christian wives really do what we please, and what we please is to do God’s will. We have joyfully accepted the responsibility to do so, and are blessed by it.

A husband’s responsibility is greater. In addition to doing God’s will, he is to protect and love his wife with the same care and fervor that Christ has shown for His church.

Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish. So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his wife loveth himself. (Ephesians 5:25-28 KJV)

The first umbrella that protects me is my Beloved Husband – very soon he will have been doing so for forty-nine years, through four generations. That’s a lot of responsibility and I appreciate what he has given.

Peter recognizes that women are (for the most part) physically weaker than men.
Likewise, ye husbands, dwell with them according to knowledge, giving honour unto the wife, as unto the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life; that your prayers be not hindered. (1 Peter 3:7 KJV)

There are specific physical differences in order to complete specific responsibilities. And that’s just fine with me. We are most vulnerable in child bearing, when a loving husband is truly needed at our side. And, in child rearing as a family is beset by outside influences as we raise our children to come to know and love God in spite of our failings. This does not preclude a professional life – the Bible has many examples of professional women. There is balance.

As my Beloved Husband does, wives are to be honored and treated as an equal heir together of the grace of life.


Sunday, March 21, 2010

Who believes our reporting?

My previous post asked. “Who believes the news?” For a Christian, the real question is “Who believes our report?” Isaiah asked it centuries ago.

Who hath believed our report? and to whom is the arm of the LORD revealed? (Isaiah 53:1 KJV)

Both John and Paul displayed their knowledge of the scriptures when repeating this verse:

But though he had done so many miracles before them, yet they believed not on him: That the saying of Esaias the prophet might be fulfilled, which he spake, Lord, who hath believed our report? and to whom hath the arm of the Lord been revealed? (John 12:37-38 KJV)

But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Esaias saith, Lord, who hath believed our report? (Romans 10:16 KJV)

Just what are we reporting? Is it biblical?

Do we believe it is good to meet with other Christians on a regular basis? For several years I made the excuse that it is not necessary to attend church in order to worship God. I agreed with people that it was possible to love God without the politics, division, and infighting within a church that we had experienced.

I did not give a valid report with those actions.

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)

Do we believe it is good to study God’s word? That I never gave up, but I’ve known people to allow dust to build on their Bibles. If no dust, it’s because it’s in a drawer or behind glass doors. It should be well thumbed and often read. Psalms tells us why this is good.

Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee. (Psalms 119:11 KJV)

Do we have the faith necessary to give a believable report? We’re told we can’t please God without it.

But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him. (Hebrews 11:6 KJV)

So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. (Romans 10:17 KJV)

Does our report include listening to, not just hearing, a God called preacher? Can’t do that very well without attending a church. Sure, there are preachers on radio, television and internet. But I’m thinking of a shepherd, a pastor, a man of God that not only speaks God’s word to us but also listens to our individual problems. These pastors earn their crowns.

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)

Take a good look at your specific report. Is it believable?


(Just a flip, a tilt and a lack of color -- yesterday's graphic is changed!)

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Who believes the news?

I was waiting for Beloved Husband while he took a broken tool back for repair. Passed a bit of time reading news, and ran across this AP article by Fort Worth’s Ed Wallace: “How Toyota Can Hurt The Media.”

Basically, Wallace debunks most of the news stories regarding Jim Sikes’ runaway Prius, ABC’s “exposé video, in which Dr. David Gilbert was shown to have rewired a Toyota Avalon so it would accelerate uncontrollably,” dropping values of Toyotas – compared to Hondas and the number of this month’s Toyota sales.

Wallace states: “…every time a sensational story runs its course and the public realizes there was no substance to the scare, it hurts the media. But worse yet it validates those who proclaim loudly that the Mainstream Media are not to be trusted.

"And we can't afford not to trust the free press, not if we want to protect our Federal Republic. Because our only source of information on our society, which in turn is how we form reasoned opinions, comes to us from the Fifth Estate. In a world that is complex and often troubled, knowledge of reliable facts is the most important tool we have to make informed decisions. And Americans both depend on and are at the mercy of journalism to keep us a forward-looking and powerful nation -- a leader in the world's progress."

Would you agree that his title is in error? It is not Toyota hurting the media – the media has turned sensational stories into entertainment to attract audiences rather than reporting “reliable facts.” The media has hurt the media.

Ed Wallace decries the damage done to his chosen field.

So do I when people who call themselves Christian are not. The Catholic church in America felt the scalding of scandals. But America is not alone, as today’s headlines cry out. Nor is this confined to one denomination. Scandals have slashed leading evangelical preachers who seem not to fear what they are called to preach.

But whoso shall offend one of these little ones which believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea. Woe unto the world because of offences! for it must needs be that offences come; but woe to that man by whom the offence cometh! (Matthew 18:6-7 KJV)

Did they not believe what they read?

It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God. (Hebrews 10:31 KJV)

Did they also skip the verse just before that?

For we know him that hath said, Vengeance belongeth unto me, I will recompense, saith the Lord. And again, The Lord shall judge his people. (Hebrews 10:30 KJV)

When we lose faith in the media we know things will change in a few days, weeks, months – maybe with the next election.

When we lose faith through a congregation’s shepherd (or worse yet, completely lose faith in God), unless we change through reading and hearing, and regain our faith, the results will last an eternity.

Let me once more invoke my friendly Bereans, who:

… received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so. (Acts 17:11 KJV)

Verify before accepting sensational reporting, even if it sounds good to you. Same with the Bible.


Friday, March 19, 2010

"Bairns are a blessing"

I have two granddaughters. In many ways they are very different, blonde/brunette, blue/brown eyed, straight/curly haired, a decade apart, which now makes then adult/teen. Yet, they are so much alike, sweet natured, caring, family oriented, church attending, both having made their profession of faith in Jesus Christ as their savior.

The younger recently celebrated her birthday and was able to stretch the celebration almost a week. We scheduled a shopping trip and she brought along her best friend and an aunt who has excellent taste.

Actually, I thought it would be a good idea to have a backup who could more diplomatically say, “You can’t possibly be thinking of wearing that in public!?!?” Her aunt speaks Teen much better than I do.

I was ever so grateful that the subject never had to come up! The jeans she bought actually came to her waistline. When she stooped or sat, there was no suggestion of a plumber at work. Unfortunately, that thought has come to mind with a couple of young ladies who often attend our church. I do not know if it is their choice, a lack of funds to purchase but having to wear hand-me-downs that do not fit or they’ve grown out of clothing purchased correctly. Combine short-waisted tops with hip hugger slacks and the result is inappropriate anywhere.

The amount of giggling mid-teens can do! It really is a blessing to enjoy how they find pleasure and entertainment in almost everything. Her aunt added to the entertainment at every opportunity. As the teens were in the dressing room, she kept adding garments that kept the giggling rising to spill out of the room.

Lo, children are an heritage of the LORD: and the fruit of the womb is his reward. (Psalms 127:3 KJV)

Yes, they are! We must never forget that we have them for such a short length of time. A recent injury to a child in our church is a reminder of our quickly pleasure can become a tragedy. His burns reminded me of a little girl not long ago who succumbed to her burns. When I drive our County Road and reach the state’s Farm Road I pass a cross, maintained by a family in remembrance of three teenagers who died when their vehicle hit a tree.

“Bairns are a burden,” we heard as Brownies, but that was denied in the same story. “Bairns are a blessing,” was the correct view, as it should be today.

Christ used children as an example of truth.

And whoso shall receive one such little child in my name receiveth me. (Matthew 18:5 KJV)

With that in mind, think of the reverse side of that coin.

But whoso shall offend one of these little ones which believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea. (Matthew 18:6 KJV)

We have responsibilities to see that children are given instruction and opportunity, discipline and guidance, freedom to make choices along with explanations of consequences. For there is great truth we need to impart.

Be ye therefore followers of God, as dear children; (Ephesians 5:1 KJV)

Another verse speaks my joy, and includes children, grandchildren, great-grands and so on:

I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth. (3 John 1:4 KJV)

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Every. Single. Day.

A reader wrote that their beliefs do not coincide with mine. They added: “Still, I often find inspiration in the way you tie faith to daily life. Every. Single. Day.”

So I thought I’d give a bit of insight as to how I could post day after day after day.

I do not get out of bed uplifted and ready to face challenges. As this morning, I’m usually poked in the ribs from a sound sleep, not by Beloved Husband, but by a hungry cat. I chose to have pets and I take that responsibility seriously. I’ve been told I spoil them (usually that’s said by one of the children I did NOT spoil.) Feeding them first thing out of bed is part of that responsibility.

Then it’s time to sit down with my Bible. When I’m preparing Sunday School lessons, I use my Ryrie Study Bible simply because it’s my favorite, but first thing in the morning I use e-Sword on my PC. It is so easily searchable, has commentaries, multiple translations for comparison and other languages for postings to friends across the globe. It’s copy/paste utility keeps me from making typos within the scriptures. I alone am responsible for typos elsewhere. If I am away from printed page or laptop, I have a soft copy on my smart phone.

I believe scripture to be as relevant for us today as it was when Jesus quoted to refute temptation. It is here, too, that one is described as the tempter, the devil, and named as Satan (Matthew 4:1-11). He is mentioned again in Revelation.

And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him. (Revelation 12:9 KJV)

There are days where I have been one of the deceived, and it has brought me low. Doesn’t matter whether I have actively sinned or have done so through neglect, the error is mine and must be removed.

For thou, Lord, art good, and ready to forgive; and plenteous in mercy unto all them that call upon thee. (Psalms 86:5 KJV)

I acknowledge Him as my Lord and my God and ask for His guidance.

For thou art great, and doest wondrous things: thou art God alone. Teach me thy way, O LORD; I will walk in thy truth: unite my heart to fear thy name. I will praise thee, O Lord my God, with all my heart: and I will glorify thy name for evermore. (Psalms 86:10-12 KJV)

I want my faith to continually grow, not be stifled nor stunted.

So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. (Romans 10:17 KJV)

Spending time with the word of God provides that growth. It is to be studied.

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)

Again, the Bereans are my example.

… they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so. (Acts 17:11 KJV)

Thus I start each day fulfilling responsibilities I have chosen to assume, and take God with me wherever I go. Try it.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Prayer


Will you take a few moments to join with me in prayer?

Lord, we love you. (1 John 4:19) We thank you, Father, for all that you have given us. For all the care and beauty of our daily lives, but especially for the gift of your Son and our salvation. (2 Corinthians 9:15) We come to you with our everything, for it was all given by you. (Philippians 4:6)

We have loved ones who need you, Lord. They don’t know the comfort you bring. Please open their hearts to your message. We pray for those who will witness to them. We know that you will provide the words at the right time. (Matthew 10:19)

We thank you, Lord, for those who spread your word, (Romans 10:14) for the preachers, the leaders, those who pass out tracts, for those who visit and minister. Let them know how much they are appreciated, that their witness to your word is necessary. (Isaiah 55:11) Give them strength when they tire and fill them with zeal for those reaching out for more.

We have need, Lord, for your healing. Physical needs require the touch of your hand. Loved ones are reaching out for the healing that comes from simply touching the hem of your garment (Matthew 14:36). Some are walking through that valley (Psalms 23:4) and need the comfort of your guiding hand as they come home to you.

Let us never lose sight of our service in your name. (Matthew 24:40) Open our eyes to your perfect will in our life. (Romans 12:2)

Create in me a clean heart, O God. (Psalm 51:10) Where I’ve known to do better (James 4:17) I acknowledge my transgressions, admitting with regret where sin has entered. (1 Chronicles 21:8) Forgive me, Lord.

In Thy name, we pray (Jude 1:25).

Amen

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Better Liars

People in power make better liars. No, I didn’t come up with that one. The entire study can be found here.

The results can be found here:

But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death. (Revelation 21:8 KJV)

When did we allow lying to us become a reason for electing people to lead us? Did we forget the result of lying? Or do we no longer believe the Bible is true?

Do we take a sense of pride in NOT being the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters – and simply ignore the fact that we not only accept lies from others, but we use them to our own advantage?

The article states: “Ordinary lie-tellers experience negative emotions, decrements in mental function, and physiological stress,” as though this were something new. I can tell them, without any more studies than my own experiences, that lying scars our conscience to the point that it becomes hardened and lying comes more easily. I can also tell that powerful people attract followers trying to climb them to their own power stations, and those followers will offer more lies.

Truth, on the other hand, means freedom.

And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free. (John 8:32 KJV)

The Messiah, the one who is truth itself, told us this.

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)

Men acknowledged such then – and now.

Then they that were in the ship came and worshipped him, saying, Of a truth thou art the Son of God. (Matthew 14:33 KJV)

Some said it with ulterior motives then – and now.

Then went the Pharisees, and took counsel how they might entangle him in his talk. And they sent out unto him their disciples with the Herodians, saying, Master, we know that thou art true, and teachest the way of God in truth, neither carest thou for any man: for thou regardest not the person of men. (Matthew 22:15-16 KJV)

In truth, how far are you from the kingdom of God?

And the scribe said unto him, Well, Master, thou hast said the truth: for there is one God; and there is none other but he: And to love him with all the heart, and with all the understanding, and with all the soul, and with all the strength, and to love his neighbour as himself, is more than all whole burnt offerings and sacrifices. And when Jesus saw that he answered discreetly, he said unto him, Thou art not far from the kingdom of God. And no man after that durst ask him any question. (Mark 12:32-34 KJV)

Monday, March 15, 2010

Daylight Savings?

My lights are on. My computer is on, too. My television will be after I complete my Bible reading and this blog.

No children are standing at school bus stops in the dark – only because Spring Break begins today. Our small herd isn’t moving in for their feed yet, either.

So, what’s changed about Daylight Savings? We’re up an hour earlier and our household pets roam around wondering what’s going on. I tell them, “It’s our government at work.”

Thinking one size fits all, the government has attempted to solve a potential energy problem with our clocks. Has anyone seen an analysis of whether or not such a disruption is energy saving and, if so, is that savings sufficient to offset the disruption? Or, do we citizens simply follow along because it is easier to do so, knowing our government is non-responsive?

I found at
Mosaics From Home such a study, done in Indiana. A search led me to the Working Paper in PDF format, done by Matthew J. Kotchen and Laura E. Grant of the National Bureau of Economic Research. The results state:

“In conclusion, we find that the longstanding rationale for DST is questionable, and if anything, the policy seems to have the opposite of its intended effect. Nevertheless, there are other arguments made in favor of DST. These range from increased opportunities for leisure, enhanced public health and safety, and economic growth. In the end, a full evaluation of DST should account for these multiple dimensions, but the evidence here suggests that continued reliance on Benjamin Franklin’s old argument alone is now misleading.”

Note that “other arguments made in favor of DST” have not been studied to confirm positive results.

So, why are we blindly following along?

Some aren’t. Some are questioning, such as
The California Energy Commission.

Why is it we will accept as fact, as truth, what our government does to us, then toss aside God’s word as not applicable today. His truth has withstood the test of time. Do we not all wish that others would follow His Golden Rule?

And as ye would that men should do to you, do ye also to them likewise. (Luke 6:31 KJV)

Why, then, do we not ask, seek and find what His word has for us?

And I say unto you, Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you. (Luke 11:9 KJV)

Instead we ignore religion just as we ignore government, leaving it to others to determine what is to be said or done. Do we think that neither has an impact on our lives? Or do we believe we have no impact?

Take time to study God’s word. Ask Him in prayer to direct your study.

Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths. (Proverbs 3:5-6 KJV)

Seek the answers He has for your life.

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

The knocking you hear is that of our Lord, who said:

Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me. (Revelation 3:20 KJV)


Sunday, March 14, 2010

Tempting

Satan was right when he said:

And saith unto him, If thou be the Son of God, cast thyself down: for it is written, He shall give his angels charge concerning thee: and in their hands they shall bear thee up, lest at any time thou dash thy foot against a stone. (Matthew 4:6 KJV)

He was quoting scripture:

They shall bear thee up in their hands, lest thou dash thy foot against a stone. (Psalms 91:12 KJV)

He was also right in knowing that Jesus could turn stone to bread and would eventually rule all the kingdoms of the world. But he was so very wrong in tempting.

Perhaps James was thinking of this when he wrote:

My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations; (James 1:2 KJV)

Wait a minute! Aren’t we supposed to pray not to be led into temptation (Matthew 6:13 and Luke 11:4)? God knows we’ll see enough if it in our lifetime, so He gave some awesome examples of how to keep from falling into it. Bearing temptations brings wonderful reward.

Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him. (James 1:12 KJV)

From Eve forward, through Christ Himself, to us – mankind lives with temptations. Day in and day out they are laid out before us. In the parable of the sower (Luke 8:5-18) Christ gives an example of ones who yield to temptation.

They on the rock are they, which, when they hear, receive the word with joy; and these have no root, which for a while believe, and in time of temptation fall away. (Luke 8:13 KJV)

The temptation is anything that takes a person away from God. Oh, it will look lovely! It will sound so good. Surely it is something that cannot be survived if we don’t have it. Why, it is a very part of our being – God would not have made us this way if we weren’t supposed to have it.

The reasons and excuses for giving in to temptation are virtually legion. Yet, we also know, as surely as it is written in God’s word:

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)

God is the reason for NOT giving in to temptation. That is sufficient, for He is.

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)

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Speaking of God

The Subject (TS) says she believes in God. In youth, TS joined a church, but she has not attended in at least twenty years that I have been witness to. TS has requested prayer for specific people, but I have never been in her presence as she prayed. TS is kind and helpful to people in financial need, but I’ve never heard her speak of God.

It reminds me of how well rounded a Christian needs to be.

Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works. (James 2:18 KJV)

When we’re speaking of God, do our words match our actions? When we are with fellow Christians and speak of Him, do our words differ from when we are among friends and co-workers? Are we consistent when speaking of God?

Do we confess Him before men, explaining what He means in our lives?

Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven. (Matthew 10:32 KJV)

If not, there are consequences.

But whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father which is in heaven. (Matthew 10:33 KJV)

I recently came across an item attributed to an inscription on a grave at a church in Lubeck, Germany. I have not confirmed the source, but this speaks to me, and gives me concern about speaking of God and our actions.

Thus Speaketh Christ Our Lord to us:
You call me Master, and obey me not;
You call me Light, and see me not;
You call me Way, and walk me not;
You call me Wise, and follow me not;
You call me Fair, and love me not;
You call me Rich, and ask me not;
You call me Eternal, and seek me not;
You call me Gracious, and trust me not;
You call me Noble, and serve me not;
You call me Mighty, and honor me not;
You call me Just, and fear me not;
If I condemn you, blame me not.

Jesus’ actual words are:

Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him. He that loveth me not keepeth not my sayings: and the word which ye hear is not mine, but the Father's which sent me. (John 14:23-24 KJV)


Friday, March 12, 2010

Infinite

I have heard and read non-believers state that they cannot believe in a God who sends those He created to hell. That would be unjust, they say, for there to be an infinite punishment for a finite error.

I beg to differ.

An acknowledgement of divinity is an acknowledgement of infinity. To know that our existence is eternal requires a decision based on that eternity. Those who do not choose heaven, by their very decision (or indecision) select the alternative.

And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved. (2 Thessalonians 2:10 KJV)

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

This is the reality that most Christians wish to avoid discussing. It saddens us to consider what our family members, friends, acquaintances are exchanging for what they consider happiness in this world. We pray their hearts will be opened and their acceptance of God’s gift will come in time.

I speak from experience. Close to twenty years of prayer for one specific family member. Several others were praying, too. His life was centered on things that brought him a sense of pleasure and fulfillment, nothing at all related to church, Christ or anything related to religion. All failed him. When he came to us with the news, we spoke to him of how Christ could help. His response? “I know it’s important to you, but religion just isn’t important to me.” It took another few weeks, lots of discussion with a variety of Christians witnessing, giving their testimony. Then one evening, out with friends, I received the call that he had come to understand and had accepted Christ as his savior. He was baptized the following Sunday.

Until he made that decision, he was among them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved.

Not because of God but in spite of God’s gift of eternal life.

How?

For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: (Ephesians 2:8 KJV)

Why?

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. (John 3:16-17 KJV)

And then?

Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God; (Ephesians 2:19 KJV)

We are offered eternity. Disregarding it lasts an infinity.


Thursday, March 11, 2010

Condensed

Many pieces of the New Testament can stand on their own as mini-gospels, condensed versions outlining the good news for men that Christ is the long-awaited Messiah declared in the Old Testament. That He is God’s plan for salvation.

Paul was praying – and working very hard – to convince his people.

Brethren, my heart's desire and prayer to God for Israel is, that they might be saved. (Romans 10:1 KJV)

Today I pray the same for my family, for my friends and for many yet unmet. While many believe, others fall into similar categories.

For they being ignorant of God's righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God. (Romans 10:3 KJV)

Submitting has been given some invalid connotations. It simply means to yield ourselves to God. To give away our selfish desires, to take part in what He planned for our lives just as Christ fulfilled His plan. Instead of dying, we’re offered life eternal.

That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. (Romans 10:9-10 KJV)

Are you able to do so? Or is something holding back? Concerned about what others might think?

For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed. (Romans 10:11 KJV)

I love the next part that speaks of the steps – and beautiful feet! Paul knew his scriptures.

How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher? And how shall they preach, except they be sent? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things! (Romans 10:14-15 KJV)

Not all respond.

But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Esaias saith, Lord, who hath believed our report? (Romans 10:16 KJV)

Have all heard? In this day and age it would be difficult to find someone who has not. With internet and cell phones in some of the most remotest areas, we’re ahead of Paul.

But I say, Have they not heard? Yes verily, their sound went into all the earth, and their words unto the ends of the world. (Romans 10:18 KJV)

Now, we simply share God’s word.

So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. (Romans 10:17 KJV)


[The photo is our Second Daughter reading her Bible (obviously NOT Romans) during the Family Reunion last year.]

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

The Tale

Last night’s Ladies Meeting theme came from:

we spend our years as a tale that is told. (Psalms 90:9a KJV)

Everyone has a story. One of the more interesting ones I found doing genealogy is that of Blanche Blick, from a side of my husband’s family who shortened the name long before others thought of doing so. Blanche was born in 1862 in Iowa, but spent her life traveling the world, from Capetown, South Africa to the gold fields of Klondike, she followed her husband, Frederick R. Burnham. From a
Wikipedia article, we know several people who told the tales of adventure based on his experiences.

Quoting some of an article from Miners News "
The Arizona Miner and Indiana Jones", Wikipedia states:

"Rider Haggard's fictional Allan Quatermain character was heavily influenced by his close friendship Burnham. Quatermain and Burnham were both small and wiry Victorian adventurers in colonial Africa, both sought and discovered ancient treasures and civilizations, both battled large wild animals and native peoples, both were renowned for their ability to track, even at night, and both men had strikingly similar nicknames: Quatermain, "Watcher-by-Night"; Burnham, "He-who-sees-in-the-dark". But Burnham’s influence on fictional adventurers wasn’t to end there. In the 1970s, a young movie director, George Lucas, decided to write the ultimate adventure film. The template for his hero, Indiana Jones, was the hero of the H. Rider Haggard books, Allan Quatermain."

Do any of us expect that from our life story? A clear, resounding “No!” can be heard.

Last night the question was asked, what do you tell your grandchildren about your mother? What will your children tell their grandchildren about you? How does that balance against what you want them to tell?

What are the things in your life that you want to be passed down to following generations? Have you told your children they are important to you?

For me, the most important thing is what I’ve learned from the Bible. In many instances, it is a case of “Do as I say, not as I do” for I’ve failed to achieve so many of the goals laid out for us in His word.

Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect. (Matthew 5:48 KJV)

Blew that one early on – with decades behind me and fewer years ahead to continue trying.

But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing. (James 1:4 KJV)

There’s that perfection thing again, with patience thrown in!! What is one to do? David wrote of Him:

Be still, and know that I am God: (Psalms 46:10a KJV)

Christ taught us how to speak to God:

After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen. (Matthew 6:9-13 KJV)

These things I would have my children tell their grandchildren of me.

So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. (Romans 10:17 KJV)



Tuesday, March 9, 2010

"Did you hear ..."

Did you hear ….

So often those words precede something heard, not witnessed. Too often it is a negative statement about another person. To repeat it as fact is to bear false witness, for we have only heard, not witnessed ourselves.

How much simpler it is to comply with what we are to think:

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)

If we follow this advice, we would never repeat gossip. Once you get past true and honest, there are more standards.

Is it just? Is it factually fair? Is there more than one viewpoint considered and included in any conclusions? Is it morally fair? This small, four letter word, has great depth to it and must be considered first. God is just.

Because I will publish the name of the LORD: ascribe ye greatness unto our God. He is the Rock, his work is perfect: for all his ways are judgment: a God of truth and without iniquity, just and right is he. (Deuteronomy 32:3-4 KJV)

Even if we determine that it is, is it pure? There’s where we would lose a lot. Yes, it is true; we think it’s just. But pure? Not so much. Is it free of flaw? Innocent of malice? Or is it contaminated with a bit of jealousy? Do we relish hearing it for it lowers someone to our level? God’s wisdom is defined as pure.

But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be intreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy. (James 3:17 KJV)

How about lovely – would you want to display this openly for everyone to look at? Or will it be whispered, almost hidden from view. The word lovely is used only once in the New Testament, translated from prosphiles for something that is friendly, or acceptable. Is what was heard acceptable for open discussion?

Is it of good report? Cornelius was of good report (Acts 10:22), as was Ananias (Acts 22:12). According to Hebrews 11:12, faith provides a good report. Would this piece of news provide such?

Virtue. This is a high standard. Is what was heard moral? Is it a good model quality? Does it display chastity? Faithfulness? If not, forget it. Of course, that would mean doing without most of what is shown on television and the majority of movies. Virtue is an excellent standard and a desirable quality, above pricing.

Who can find a virtuous woman? for her price is far above rubies. (Proverbs 31:10 KJV)

Most of what follows “Did you hear …” has no praise, does it. So, don’t think about. Stop the person speaking and remind them of what you wish to have in your mind.


Monday, March 8, 2010

Despised Inheritance

Christians are considered by non-believers to be exclusive. We are, because the Bible says to be. One of the examples we’ve studied lately is Esau.

For ye know how that afterward, when he would have inherited the blessing, he was rejected: for he found no place of repentance, though he sought it carefully with tears. (Hebrews 12:17 KJV)

As the first born, his father’s goods were to be his inheritance, exclusively. This included a blessing. That held greater meaning for Esau, for he was next in line for God’s blessing, passed from Abraham to Isaac and intended for the son to carry the line forward.

Esau blew it. For a few moments of pleasure and the laziness to not fix his own meal, he sold his birthright.

And Jacob sod pottage: and Esau came from the field, and he was faint: And Esau said to Jacob, Feed me, I pray thee, with that same red pottage; for I am faint: therefore was his name called Edom. And Jacob said, Sell me this day thy birthright. And Esau said, Behold, I am at the point to die: and what profit shall this birthright do to me? (Genesis 25:29-32 KJV)

In a similar manner, some people reject God’s word, the message of those He sends to teach, giving up all the blessings promised. They despise the promised birthright, and lose it.

Then Jacob gave Esau bread and pottage of lentiles; and he did eat and drink, and rose up, and went his way: thus Esau despised his birthright. (Genesis 25:34 KJV)

Christians, on the other hand, heed God’s word, where we’re told:

For our God is a consuming fire. (Hebrews 12:29 KJV)

Judgment is not exclusive. We all will stand before God and hear the charges against us. The exclusivity is exercised here. The faithful believers will have respected God’s word. The non-believers will have despised it. The results are pre-recorded.

But a certain fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation, which shall devour the adversaries. He that despised Moses' law died without mercy under two or three witnesses: Of how much sorer punishment, suppose ye, shall he be thought worthy, who hath trodden under foot the Son of God, and hath counted the blood of the covenant, wherewith he was sanctified, an unholy thing, and hath done despite unto the Spirit of grace? For we know him that hath said, Vengeance belongeth unto me, I will recompense, saith the Lord. And again, The Lord shall judge his people. It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God. (Hebrews 10:27-31 KJV)

I feel regret and sadness for those who deny Christ’s sacrifice, who think Him unholy. But, the exclusivity is not my decision. It is defined in His word.

Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved. (Acts 4:12 KJV)

I believe God’s word.


Sunday, March 7, 2010

Better

The Book of Hebrews is our Sunday School lesson. There are so many wonderful verses in this book. It’s just ‘better.’

We’re told that Jesus is better than angels – and the reasons for knowing this are given in following verses.

Being made so much better than the angels, as he hath by inheritance obtained a more excellent name than they. (Hebrews 1:4 KJV)

The writer thinks of his audience as being better, too.

But, beloved, we are persuaded better things of you, and things that accompany salvation, though we thus speak. (Hebrews 6:9 KJV)

He tells how Melchisedec was better than Abraham.

And without all contradiction the less is blessed of the better. (Hebrews 7:7 KJV)

He tells us that God gave us something better than the law.

For the law made nothing perfect, but the bringing in of a better hope did; by the which we draw nigh unto God. (Hebrews 7:19 KJV)

Jesus brings us better, too.

By so much was Jesus made a surety of a better testament. (Hebrews 7:22 KJV)

Through Jesus’ ministry we have a better covenant.

But now hath he obtained a more excellent ministry, by how much also he is the mediator of a better covenant, which was established upon better promises. (Hebrews 8:6 KJV)

Better is necessary.

It was therefore necessary that the patterns of things in the heavens should be purified with these; but the heavenly things themselves with better sacrifices than these. (Hebrews 9:23 KJV)

Heaven holds better for us.

For ye had compassion of me in my bonds, and took joyfully the spoiling of your goods, knowing in yourselves that ye have in heaven a better and an enduring substance. (Hebrews 10:34 KJV)

Heaven is better because God prepared it for us.

But now they desire a better country, that is, an heavenly: wherefore God is not ashamed to be called their God: for he hath prepared for them a city. (Hebrews 11:16 KJV)

Resurrection is better.

Women received their dead raised to life again: and others were tortured, not accepting deliverance; that they might obtain a better resurrection: (Hebrews 11:35 KJV)

God provided a better way.

God having provided some better thing for us, that they without us should not be made perfect. (Hebrews 11:40 KJV)

Our mediator speaks of better things than we had before.

And to Jesus the mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling, that speaketh better things than that of Abel. (Hebrews 12:24 KJV)

What does the author offer as proof?

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, 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 12:1-2 KJV)

Saturday, March 6, 2010

First Work Week

As a Census employee, I took an oath to keep all Personally Identifiable Information confidential. Any such information is to be held in confidence for no less than 72 years. In 2012 the 1940 US Census will be available to the public. In that census my parents will be listed as a married couple, and I'm looking forward to studying listings for my parents, their siblings and my grandparents.

I cannot tell you the location of my assigned areas, but I can tell you I’m not driving as far to and from work as I did before retirement. I can also tell you that I’ve found friendly people. Everyone so far has been hospitable and understanding. However, I’ve talked with more animals than I have people.

Some dogs are NOT friendly. Most dogs greet you with enthusiasm. One beautiful retriever came to the gate with a stick in his mouth and I really wanted to stay and play with him. Naturally, I told him he was a good dog and his People would be home and play with him. His companion was just as friendly, but had a sore paw and was seeking some comfort. That census packet was left on the gate. I’ve also spoken to cats. Two half-grown black kittens ran to a front door when I knocked, hoping to slide in when it opened. Again, no one home, so the packet was left on the door knob.

It has been windy, so small plastic zip-ties were my choice when leaving the form on a door or fence. Even homes that are empty get one – most will be visited by the owner or a realtor who will complete and send back in to show an empty house. The ones not returned will receive a follow up visit.

As a government employee, I cannot mention religion. My own denomination is strongly supportive of the separation of church and state, yet we’re just as supportive of individual rights of free speech and freedom to practice one’s religion.

I can say I met several people who practiced their rights. I was encouraged by more than one to have a blessed day. One person mentioned the work he was doing for a youth group in his church. Another spoke of being on his church’s building committee. Several times I was asked about my own church. This is uplifting.

There were some that were not. So many people were without jobs. More than I expected. Our packet includes a brochure explaining that the census is looking for part-time employees. A large percentage of people I spoke with knew of someone – or they themselves – that would be contacting the office about working.

There were needs, too. In one particular instance I was reminded of pure religion.

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

Look around you for those widows. Some have physical disabilities brought on by great age and are without supportive family. Some have outlived all relatives, except (perhaps) an inattentive, ungrateful child. Some may just need a door repaired, a lawn mown, hedges trimmed, a window fixed or steps replaced. After my accident last year, I notice steps every time!!

We’re working at a fast pace to meet timeframes. Americans may receive their forms in the mail, or they may be hand delivered. If hand delivered, be kind to your part-time census worker – it may be me.


(Check out http://2010Census.com for more information)