Thursday, September 30, 2010

Sound Doctrine

What was the last sermon you heard? Not just the subject matter. What were the scriptures? How did they relate to what you are doing now?

I remember an illustration given of a man who met a preacher he had heard years earlier. That sermon planted the seed that grew to the point the man accepted Christ as his savior years later. When the preacher asked about the sermon, the man said, “I don’t remember what it was, but I’ll never forget it.”

He remembered enough that he kept searching for answers.

So, how much do you remember about the last sermon you heard? The best way to remember is to make notes. We provided our Sunday School students small journal-type notepads. It is so heartening to see the girls use them to take notes in class. They keep their prayer lists in them, too, and in church they write down the scriptures the pastor uses in his sermons.

OK, not all of them do.

But the ones who are learning do. The ones who want to know more, to look up the scriptures afterward, to memorize them. Those are the ones that take notes and delve more deeply. Those are the ones who ask questions, not taking for granted what we tell them is true. Those are the ones building strong foundations for their faith.

These are the ones who know the Lord is with them always (Psalms 23), that Christ came because He loved them (John 3), that Jesus is eternal (Genesis 1:1, John 1:1) and that the end of the story has been written (Revelation).

These girls know Jesus had doctrine (Luke 4:32; John 7:16-17; 18:19) and His doctrine is spelled out in His words. His beliefs, his teachings, should be in the sermons given from Christian pulpits, and we should study to know them as truth. If we are not hearing them, studying them, taking notes to take away with us, what sustains us in the dark valleys we encounter in life?

Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me. (Psalms 23:4 KJV)

Where’s the comfort in His word – if His word is not with us?

A beautiful example of this concept was written by Paul to Timothy. Paul, who counted himself a Hebrew of Hebrews (Philippians 3:5 KJV), asked that he hold fast to the sound words of belief, of doctrine.

Whereunto I am appointed a preacher, and an apostle, and a teacher of the Gentiles. For the which cause I also suffer these things: nevertheless I am not ashamed: for I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day. Hold fast the form of sound words, which thou hast heard of me, in faith and love which is in Christ Jesus. (2 Timothy 1:11-13 KJV)

Why would we do less?

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Bridle That Tongue!

Wherefore, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath: (James 1:19 KJV)

Wouldn’t that solve some problems!!! I’ve used this admonition a couple of times in the last week and it appeared to leave people with questions. For me, that’s much better than getting into arguments where no one wins. Why are we to be slow to speak, slow to show our wrath?

For the wrath of man worketh not the righteousness of God. (James 1:20 KJV)

If we are to set Christ’s perfection as our goal, we need to read further.

Wherefore lay apart all filthiness and superfluity of naughtiness, and receive with meekness the engrafted word, which is able to save your souls. But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves. (James 1:21-22 KJV)

What? “Superfluity of naughtiness”? OK, so it’s over two syllables per word. It means an over abundant excess of something wicked, evil or morally wrong. That’s what we exchange for meekness through the Word of God. Meekness does not strike back through wrathful words, no matter the source or accusation. Usually, though, we are not meek. We defend with all haste and with any weapon at hand. Our closest weapon is the tongue. James continues,

If any man among you seem to be religious, and bridleth not his tongue, but deceiveth his own heart, this man's religion is vain. (James 1:26 KJV)

There are times when devout Christians find their tongues unbridled, going against their daily witness. James spends a bit of the third chapter looking at the damage a tongue can do.

Even so the tongue is a little member, and boasteth great things. Behold, how great a matter a little fire kindleth! (James 3:5 KJV)

I read recently of a brushfire that was caused by the striking of an errant golf club against a stone. A small spark kindled a huge fire. Often, fiery words spark huge blazes, too. Words have the ability to ignite passions, often for good but too often in wrath. Remember, man’s wrath does not work God’s righteousness. That’s a very good equation to keep in mind.

Out of the same mouth proceedeth blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not so to be. (James 3:10 KJV)

What goes into our minds will come out of our mouths. That is best seen in children who have not learned subterfuge, but say what they think. Very early, what they think is what they hear. They are marvelous tape recorders and we should use them to judge our own words.

Doth a fountain send forth at the same place sweet water and bitter? Can the fig tree, my brethren, bear olive berries? either a vine, figs? so can no fountain both yield salt water and fresh. (James 3:11-12 KJV)

If there are discords or accusations, discuss, not attack nor defend. Perhaps perceptions of a given situation can be adjusted, education acquired. Once we learn James’ lesson bridling.

For in many things we offend all. If any man offend not in word, the same is a perfect man, and able also to bridle the whole body. (James 3:2 KJV)

We are not perfect. We will offend. Let us attempt to do so meekly and with love.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

How Valuable?

Do we treat our Bibles as valuable objects? Do we spend as much time with it as we do anything else? Pick your favorite thing to be doing – do we spend more time on that than we do with the Bible?

The questions resulted from a comment written by a Baptist missionary: “How different we would view the worth of our Bible if we knew that we could never obtain another.”

How did you get your Bible? Our church gives one, engraved with their name, when someone is baptized in our church. I know of Sunday School teachers who give one to students in their class who do not have the means to get their own. One teen student brought the Bible given to her father when he was in prison. I’ve given one to each of my children and my husband.

There are several Bibles in our home. Some we inherited from our parents when they went home to be with our Lord. Some we’ve purchased as study Bibles. One has four translations on each page for side-by-side comparison. Most of those don’t get opened often.

My King James version of the Ryrie Study Bible does get a lot of use. It has notes written in it, highlighted verses scattered through out. I like it even though the concordance is limited and I wish it had a search feature as well as the electronic e-Sword that I use for cut/paste here. I have it in my hands each Sunday, teaching from it in Sunday School and reading along with Pastor Pugh during services.

I am reminded of its worth almost every Sunday morning when we hand out Bibles for use in class for those who have forgotten theirs, or don’t have one. You see, we are taking up offerings for a missionary to countries whose leaders have outlawed the Bible. Bibles must be smuggled in. If found while being shipped in, they are burned. If found in the possession of citizens, they are seized, burned and their citizens punished. In some instances, the punishment is death.

Is your Bible worth your life? Is it even worth opening? Does it warm your heart? Do you believe any portion of it, or is it a part of your every breath, as it is for me.

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)

That’s the Old Testament, the scriptures Christ referred to. Before the New was completed, epistles were being read as scripture, too.

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

The epistles referred to were Paul’s, giving the account of our Lord and Savior.

And account that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation; even as our beloved brother Paul also according to the wisdom given unto him hath written unto you; (2 Peter 3:15 KJV)

How valuable is that information? Valuable enough to study? To respect? Or, ignore?

Monday, September 27, 2010


Our pastor listens to the sermons of others. Podcasts, radio, riding in the car, sitting in on other’s services, we all hear a variety of preachers. Sunday morning he mentioned one he wished he could hear – Christ’s witness to the two men on the road to Emmaus in Luke 24.

Not me. I want to walk with them. Not just to hear what Christ had to say about scriptures prophesying His coming, but to ask Him about those very scriptures. He referred to scriptures often throughout His ministry. He knew them inside and out. Quoted them in the synagogue as well as to the tempter in the wilderness. Beginning with the temple visit at age 12, when He answered his parents with a question of His own.

And he said unto them, How is it that ye sought me? wist ye not that I must be about my Father's business? (Luke 2:49 KJV)

His parents knew the purpose of His birth. They easily forgot, but they had been told, specifically, that this was the Son of God.

As the Bereans learned about Jesus, they, too, wondered if what they heard was true and they searched the scriptures. The Tanakh. The written, not the oral traditions and interpretations of the word of God. That portion of the Christian Bible completed almost six centuries before Jesus’ birth, yet carried promises of His coming.

The Ethiopian was reading Isaiah when approached by Philip.

And the eunuch answered Philip, and said, I pray thee, of whom speaketh the prophet this? of himself, or of some other man? (Acts 8:34 KJV)

Philip took what we now call the 53rd chapter of Isaiah, explained the recent happenings in relation to it and the result was the same then as it is now in our churches two millennia later as our pastors preach Christ.

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)

Sunday morning we looked at Isaiah 7:14, Isaiah 50:6, Isaiah 53:7-8, Psalms 22:7, 14, 16, 18 – but there are many, many more. My favorite is from Genesis.

And Abraham said, My son, God will provide himself a lamb for a burnt offering: so they went both of them together. (Genesis 22:8 KJV)

And, He did provide Himself. For this, His unspeakable gift and the faith required to understand, I am eternally grateful.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Matthew 15

If Matthew 15:22-28 were the only portion of the Bible available to you, how would you look at the story?

A woman not of His people comes to him with a prayer, a request, a plea for help. She’s at the end of her hope and this stranger has shown the ability to heal.

(22) And, behold, a woman of Canaan came out of the same coasts, and cried unto him, saying, Have mercy on me, O Lord, thou Son of David; my daughter is grievously vexed with a devil.

There is no other example I’ve found where Jesus completely ignored a person. Nationality had no part in His ministry as he healed a Roman’s son and witnessed to a Samaritan woman. Yet here, He ignored the plea. His disciples followed His lead and went a step further. She was a bother to them. Are the pleas of others a bother to us today?

(23) But he answered her not a word. And his disciples came and besought him, saying, Send her away; for she crieth after us.

So, He explained to her His purpose.

(24) But he answered and said, I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel.

That didn’t slow her down. She knew, really knew, that He could be of help to her, if only He would listen.

(25) Then came she and worshipped him, saying, Lord, help me.

Once again He referred to His original mission – to reach the Children of Israel.

(26) But he answered and said, It is not meet to take the children's bread, and to cast it to dogs.

She did not rail at Him over perceived injustice. She did not cry out in denial of His abilities or cry for mercy in spite of His word. She told Him the truth, humbling herself.

(27) And she said, Truth, Lord: yet the dogs eat of the crumbs which fall from their masters' table.

She was successful.

(28) Then Jesus answered and said unto her, O woman, great is thy faith: be it unto thee even as thou wilt. And her daughter was made whole from that very hour.

I see multiple lessons here. What I’m looking closely at today is the power of persistent prayer. I can see Jesus giving the lesson of patience to those around Him. Your prayers may have lessons for a number of people around you, or may have lessons years from now. Persistent patience paid off for this Canannite woman.

Another lesson for all of us is faith. O woman, great is thy faith are words that should apply to us, too, but often do not. Without faith, the writer of Hebrews tell us in 11:6, it is impossible to please God. Without faith, Paul tells us in Ephesians 2, we cannot be saved. Without faith, Matthew tells us in 9:22, we cannot be made whole.

Bottom line: Got faith?

Friday, September 24, 2010

I Shall Not Want

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)

How did Paul reach this state of mind? Trusting in Christ, of course, and knowing the words of Solomon.

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. Be not wise in thine own eyes: fear the LORD, and depart from evil. (Proverbs 3:5-7 KJV)

David found it even earlier.

The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want. (Psalms 23:1 KJV)

Adam lost it.

And unto Adam he said, Because thou hast hearkened unto the voice of thy wife, and hast eaten of the tree, of which I commanded thee, saying, Thou shalt not eat of it: cursed is the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life; Thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth to thee; and thou shalt eat the herb of the field; In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return. (Genesis 3:17-19 KJV)

Adam walked with God in the cool of the evening, with all the fruit of every tree – but one – available to him. He went from that to fighting thorns and thistles for every bite. Instead of dressing and keeping Eden, he plowed fields and awaited harvests.

Not such a good trade.

What have we traded? Paul felt no lack, neither did David nor Solomon. God provided for Elisha, for Jonah, for Moses. God provided manna for the children of Israel, and they complained. They had traded the bondage of Egyptian slavery for freedom, and they complained. So loudly and long, in fact, that an entire generation was gone before their promised land was theirs.

Have we traded away lives, even generations, by not grasping what God has given us? Esau traded his birthright for a bowl of pottage, are we trading away eternal life as easily?

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

For by grace are ye saved through faith; (Ephesians 2:8a KJV)

Salvation by the grace of God through faith we receive by hearing His word. We have every opportunity to heed Jeremiah’s call.

O earth, earth, earth, hear the word of the LORD. (Jeremiah 22:29 KJV)

Thursday, September 23, 2010


The magazine article had a sentence that stopped me in my tracks: “It doesn’t take long for confusion to cause frustration.”

Frustration is defined as disappointment, the feeling of defeat and of anger. The natural function of anger is to protect something of value. Anger becomes a problem when it is recurring and makes a person act against their best interests. Of course, that’s my rather simplistic view of an emotion we all experience, as did this author.

The article was written by a woman in her 40’s whose mammogram discovered cancer that required treatment to save her life. Shortly after she completed her treatment, resulting in cancer-free tests, new government guidelines were released stating it was not necessary for women in their 40’s to have mammograms. Waiting until their 50’s for their first, then waiting two years instead of having them each year was the new suggestion.

Yet, this woman knew that had she waited, she would not have reached 50. Thus the confusion that led to her anger. The anger led her to write this article detailing her story. She did so in order for other women to act in protection of their valuable lives.

Do you realize that’s why I write these blogs? I am confused as to why people do not take religion very seriously. At times I do feel frustrated, that I’m not making myself clear. I feel a strong need to make someone think about why they are reading a Bible related blog.

I want, oh so very strongly, for the reader to understand that God is speaking to them through His word. Not what I write, but the books written over millennia that He has preserved for us.

In all the world there is not another book like the Bible.

I am concerned that when a person waits to open it and study it that they face the very real possibility they will not be here to do so. Our time in this world is limited. Some stay for a century or a bit more; the majority leave much sooner. As anyone’s time spent here lengthens, it is obvious the remaining time shortens.

If I offend by stating this obvious fact, I cannot apologize. The Bible tells us:

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

While some may ignore that first phrase, it is undeniably true. I fear for those who ignore the second. Thus, I write.

(For he saith, I have heard thee in a time accepted, and in the day of salvation have I succoured thee: behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation.) (2 Corinthians 6:2 KJV)

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

The Woman

Her name is written but four times in the entire Bible. Genesis 3:20, Genesis 4:1, 2 Corinthians 11:3, 1 Timothy 2:13.

Many other women’s names are written much more often. Also examples, they have much less effect on our lives. Ruth and Esther have their own books. Sarah, Rebecca and Rachel have much longer stories, telling of their husbands, their families, their descendants. They are mentioned often by name. She is not.

Her husband, when accusing God of causing his sin, referred to as “the woman.”

And the man said, The woman whom thou gavest to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I did eat. (Genesis 3:12 KJV)

Why do we do that? We blame everyone around us rather than accepting responsibility for our own actions. Who is “the woman” for us?

For husbands, wives are a good target; for wives, husbands. The person closest to us becomes “the woman” who led us astray, gave us the wrong information, led us into temptation. Remember, we do not sin when we are tempted – we sin when we give into the temptation. There was no sin when the woman heard the temptation. There was sin when she took the fruit and ate it. There was no sin in Adam’s hearing the woman’s sales pitch. There was a slide toward sin when he took the fruit and accomplished sin when he ate it.

Still, Adam blamed both God and the woman given by God for the result. Spread the blame. Maybe our sins won’t be noticed, or at least they will be mitigated, if we hide among others. We’re real cowards, aren’t we?

One of our best excuses is “Everyone is doing [insert your sin of choice: pick any one of the works of the flesh (Galatians 5:19-21)]. Many more people to hide among so we won’t be notice among all those sinners.

Want to know a good place to find sinners? Go to your local church. If the doctrine like ours, every member has at one time stood before a congregation and admitted to being a sinner. They’ve made an additional statement that they’ve chosen to leave their sins in the hands of Jesus, the Jewish Messiah, who died to offer them eternal life. We are a work in progress. We make wrong choices even after promises to follow Jesus and have to work hard at changing, at repenting of the sins we commit. It is a spiritual battle displayed in the flesh.

For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. (Ephesians 6:12 KJV)

We have, however, been given a glimpse of the outcome.

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)

Please, us in learning more about accepting responsibility for our own actions instead of blaming “the woman.”

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Crown of Righteousness

I am much closer to the end of my life than its beginning. That is an indisputable fact based wholly on age. While I do have a few concerns of goals unaccomplished, I believe Paul’s two out of three of Paul’s statement applies for me.

I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith: [2 Timothy 4:7 KJV]

I do not yet see the finish line that Paul was able to see. There’s more for me to do. Yet I know that that I do love his appearing, and that provides for me a crown!

Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing. [2 Timothy 4:8 KJV]

In some ways it’s the easiest crown to achieve, simply love God. Following the first of His commandments achieves this crown.

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. [Matthew 22:36-38 KJV]

When God gives me that crown, it will signify that I acknowledged before God and man that I am not righteous.

As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one: [Romans 3:10 KJV]

Yet God provided the way to righteousness for those who heed Him.

For as by one man's disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous. [Romans 5:19 KJV]

Paul knew the scriptures and they were opened through his faith.

Behold, his soul which is lifted up is not upright in him: but the just shall live by his faith. [Habakkuk 2:4 KJV]

For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith. [Romans 1:17 KJV]

Both writers looked forward to His appearance, just as many of us do today. We have faith that God will judge us righteous, based solely on His word. Nothing provable by the standards others hold. In the eyes of many, this is a laughable position.

What have I given up to hold this position? Nothing. I am not missing out on anything of value that life has to offer. Oh, a bit of time each week given to church activities and considerable time in prayer. Those moments are the only differences over my non-believing neighbor’s schedule and mine.

Those differences, those tiny hours in a schedule, do not earn me a crown. God’s grace through His eternal promise, does.

Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;) And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus: That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus. (Ephesians 2:5-7 KJV)

Monday, September 20, 2010

Got Fruit?

There’s no law against what the Bible lists as fruit of the spirit.

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law. (Galatians 5:22-23 KJV)

Nine simple items that, if followed, will change lives.

On the other hand, the fruit of the flesh can be found in several laws.

Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: (Galatians 5:19-21a KJV)

For some of these, laws have been changed, become lax. For others, laws are stringent and harsh. There is a greater cost described for those who grow these fruits.

of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God. (Galatians 5:21b KJV)

It really is easy to measure one’s actions and determine their fruit. The list is available for anyone to see. We’ve been given instructions on how to discern good from bad, flesh from spirit, right from wrong. To have this knowledge and not use it is sin.

Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin. (James 4:17 KJV)

Hatred is wrong. To hate is now a sin. Strife is wrong. To cause strife is now a sin. Yet it remains much easier to engage in hate and strife than it is to be longsuffering and meek.

What grudges are we holding on it? I’m not saying we weren’t wronged, but why are we allowing it to affect our lives when the person who wronged us doesn’t even think about it? I could give examples from my own life – yes, I did carry some grudges – but you have your own that are much more personal. I’ve set aside my grudges, determined not to carry that burden with me. I no longer have room for hatred.

Most of the flesh list not only harms us but damages others, too. Same with the spirit list – we are not the only ones helped. Every fruit of the spirit does us good, and those around us.

Got fruit? From what tree? Christ spoke of false prophets in these verses, but they are good for any fruit inspection:

Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit. A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. (Matthew 7:16-18 KJV)

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Psalms 122

I was glad when they said unto me, Let us go into the house of the LORD. (Psalms 122:1 KJV)

Just as David was, I am glad to hear the invitation to go to God’s house. You can see pictures of the one I go to each week at our church website. There is no mortgage on the buildings, nor do they belong to a larger organization. Everything on the property was paid for by members of this small country church. There are no associations, conventions, diocese or other hierarchies that fund the church and its activities. There are no councils that select preachers to be sent here.

Just as the original New Testament churches, decisions are made by the congregation, lead by a preacher and men who serve the Lord. The only two church positions mentioned in the epistles.

And how shall they preach, except they be sent? (Romans 10:15 KJV)

We believe they are called to preach, as Paul was called to apostleship.

Paul, a servant of Jesus Christ, called to be an apostle, separated unto the gospel of God, (Romans 1:1 KJV)

Just as Paul, our preachers are separated to spread the gospel. Our preacher’s salary is paid by the congregation, not by any other organization. The vans we use to bring children in for youth activities are purchased by the congregation. The cost of programs the church provides, the cost of utilities, pamphlets, lessons, all are paid for by the congregation.

In addition to tithes, we also bring offerings. Above and beyond the tithe, offerings are given in addition to our obligation, freely and lovingly to support ongoing activities. There are offerings to help fund youth camp fees for children whose families are unable to provide the extras. There are offerings for special missionary programs – this year our Junior High Girls are giving especially to provide Bibles for new Christians in a foreign country. Earlier they sent money to a missionary in Haiti.

One quarter of our tithes goes to missions. It doesn’t go to a central organization. No portion goes for overhead. Funds are mailed directly to the missionaries. No, they do not receive all of their support from us – other churches they have visited for support join in, too. They have come to each of us, explained their calling and their work. Our congregation votes as to whether or not our support is warranted. We are involved, and we know them as we pray for them.

We gather each Sunday in remembrance of the resurrection of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, son of the living God of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Moses, David and a host of generations in between. We believe Him when He said:

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

We believe He inspired our assembling together.

And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works: 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 10:24-25 KJV)

Through my attendance at this house dedicated to the Lord I can truly pray:

Because of the house of the LORD our God I will seek thy good. (Psalms 122:9 KJV)

Saturday, September 18, 2010

The Author of Hebrews

The author of Hebrews was writing to people familiar with his subject matter.

God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, (Hebrews 1:1 KJV)

Jews would be familiar with the prophets and their writings. Here is an introduction to this portion of God’s message.

Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds; Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high; (Hebrews 1:2-3 KJV)

My favorite verses in this book begin the second chapter:

Therefore we ought to give the more earnest heed to the things which we have heard, lest at any time we should let them slip. For if the word spoken by angels was stedfast, and every transgression and disobedience received a just recompence of reward; How shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation; which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed unto us by them that heard him; (Hebrews 2:1-3 KJV)

Neglect. Such a benign word. Not as hard as “reject” or as final as “deny.” Neglect could be applied to a garden we left for a short time and will return to weed and clean. One we committed to see tended to, blooming and fruitful in due course, but our attention was given elsewhere and it was neglected.

We should give close heed to the things we have heard. Everyone reading this has heard the gospel. It is impossible to say, “I haven’t heard.” There will be no excuse of, “I didn’t know.” Some will say, “I studied it and found it to be untrue.” Be certain that the study is deep and the answers sought.

Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever. (Hebrews 13:8 KJV)

The Messiah’s coming was promised in the Old Testament and fulfilled in the New. The covenant is everlasting.

Now the God of peace, that brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant, (Hebrews 13:20 KJV)

Our ‘job description’ as followers is laid out before us.

Make you perfect in every good work to do his will, working in you that which is wellpleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ; to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen. (Hebrews 13:21 KJV)

Seek God's will, that it might be accomplished.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Pick Your Name

When did you have to decide what your name would be? American women do when they marry – continue to use their birth surname, it is as a middle name, use their husband’s surname, hyphenate the names or combinations thereof.

I received a letter from a credit card company we use and they said I would have to change the name now on the card. One card has Beloved Husbands’ first name and last name, spelled out in full. Mine did, too, but my first name has two letters more than his – two letters more than the now accepted minimum for the card. His stays, mine gets changed. Hmmm. What to use?

Everyone gets nicknames. Mine was flis, written by Beloved Husband on the fender of our first car together, had to be in script. Didn’t last. He and our son didn’t shorten their given names as nicknames – no “Dave” nor “Bob.” Full names only. So. the surname got shortened. Everyone with a fourteen-letter surname gets it shortened in some way. Most of those with ours end up as Blick. Thus, Grammy Blick.

My Dad, born Elmer Jerry, ended up with “Domer” because a young cousin mangled Elmer. It stayed with him so closely that many thought that was his name. His Dad was known around his community as Matt – or more usually Uncle Matt – though he was born James Madison.

Adoptees get new names. My husband’s surname went from Grove to Blickensderfer. Yes, it is much easier to write. Interestingly, both surnames originated in Switzerland. Both families lived near Zurich in the 1600’s, leaving due to the persecution of Anabaptists. Graf family went to France, the Blick family went to Germany. Shortly before 1700 the Grafs went through Philadelphia to Lancaster county, Pennsylvania, and shortly after 1700 the Blicks did the same, both ending up in Lititz. Both families moved from there to Ohio, joining in my husband’s adoption.

There’s another adoption available to everyone on this earth.

For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father. The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God: (Romans 8:15-16 KJV)

To redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons. (Galatians 4:5 KJV)

My husband had no say in his earthly adoption. That was determined by Oklahoma’s judicial system and the personal preference of the parents selecting their new children.

We must make the decision to become children of God. He will not make it so without our decision to do so. Many do not, electing instead to remain separated from Him throughout all time – and beyond. Their reason for not accepting is they do not believe He exists.

There are so many examples of faith – the belief in the unknown, in what others have said – that we see every single day. Sometimes that faith is discovered to be unfounded. Our faith in something is shattered.

Faith in God goes beyond anything we see in this earth, and the promises are greater than anything we can imagine. To deny such without investigation is costly beyond measure, yet many do so.

Just as we need to know why we believe, we also need to investigate, to understand and be able to explain what and why we do not believe, before we pick our name.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010


I noticed him watching his Dad and his uncle. We had seen him a few times as a teen, then he married, entered the service of his country, raised a family and we've seen him more this past year than in all the years in between.

He commented on how much they resemble each other. Not just in looks. Mannerisms appeared in both, which would be genetic, as they were separated for thirty-seven years. Although reunited a quarter of a century ago, distance kept us from visiting more than once every few years.

Yet, they resembled each other. Enough for people to notice.

Do people see the resemblence to Christ in us? Enough to notice?

That in every thing ye are enriched by him, in all utterance, and in all knowledge; Even as the testimony of Christ was confirmed in you: (1 Corinthians 1:5-6)

His parents were in the temple during His childhood. It was His custom to be in the synagogue on the sabbath. He was actively involved in the services, long before His public ministry began.

And he came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up: and, as his custom was, he went into the synagogue on the sabbath day, and stood up for to read. (Luke 4:16)

Do people see His mannerisms in us? Will He see His ministry in us?

Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in: Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me. (Matthew 25:34-36)

When did we see Him in one of the least of these, His brethren? Are we waiting to serve Him in heaven without seeing Him here?

We need not wait for the reunion. Let others see Him in us, now.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Speak of the Lord

We had our own little United Nations. China, Taiwan, India, Nepal, Ivory Coast, Korea and widely scattered States. Religions of the world were reflected and openly discussed. I was able to discuss Christianity with a Muslim, Hindus, Bhuddists and one Wiccan. I was able to discuss doctrinal differences with Catholics, Methodists, Lutherans, Disciples of Christ, Episcopalians and a wide variety of Baptists.

Why? Because living my beliefs were sufficiently important enough to me to discuss them. As were theirs.

Too often we are reluctant to speak to others about our beliefs. Or, when we do, we must defend or argue about them. This is not a debate, a contest or even a time to evangelize and convince. It is a time to open dialogue and plant seeds.

The gospels and Acts are filled with such opportunities. Nicodemus came to Jesus specifically to discuss religion. It was the most important thing in his life. People went to hear John the Baptist, he didn't go to them.

Why can't we draw people today to hear the word of the Lord?

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 10:14 KJV)

We enjoy fellowship with like-minded believers, meeting together to hear His word, expecting others to join us. How can they, except they be invited. So, who do we invite? Strangers, most often. Why not family and friends? Why not co-workers?

We keep our professional lives so separate from our religious life. Christ didn't. Our Pastors don't. Why should we be ashamed, or afraid, to speak of our love of God to those around us. A simple statement paraphrasing Psalms 118:24: Isn't this a wonderful day the Lord has made?

I remember waiting for tests in the hospital when someone came into the room. "Good morning," she said. I returned the greeting, adding, "Truly, this is the day the Lord has made!" She asked if I were a Christian and I said, "Yes." That opened an opportunity to discuss the Lord.

Don't look for such opportunities, create them. Don't wait for people to come to church, invite them. Don't wait for a special occasion, for this truly, is the day the Lord has given you to do so.

Monday, September 13, 2010


The passage for Sunday's sermon was Daniel 6:16-23, But you shouldn't go there until you understand why Daniel was being thrown into the lion's den.

Daniel was preferred. Then this Daniel was preferred above the presidents and princes, because an excellent spirit was in him; and the king thought to set him over the whole realm. (Daniel 6:3 KJV)

That, alone is enough to turn people against him. The desire for power is a strong motivator. Daniel had another attribute that caused jealousy - he did no wrong.

Then the presidents and princes sought to find occasion against Daniel concerning the kingdom; but they could find none occasion nor fault; forasmuch as he was faithful, neither was there any error or fault found in him. (Daniel 6:4 KJV)

Daniel's God was important to him and everyone around him knew it.

Then said these men, We shall not find any occasion against this Daniel, except we find it against him concerning the law of his God. (Daniel 6:5 KJV)

If someone wanted to do damage to your reputation, would they consider your faith in God a place to start? Is your belief in God apparent enough an enemy would consider it important to you? I believe Satan would -- if you had such faith. He would wish to destroy it.

Once the king's signet ring was attached to the document, a law of the Medes and Persians could not be changed. As we learned in Esther, it could be thwarted, but it could not be changed. The plotters knew this.

All the presidents of the kingdom, the governors, and the princes, the counsellors, and the captains, have consulted together to establish a royal statute, and to make a firm decree, that whosoever shall ask a petition of any God or man for thirty days, save of thee, O king, he shall be cast into the den of lions. (Daniel 6:7 KJV)

Of course, they lied. Daniel did not consult. He desired no such decree.

Daniel had a choice. Comply with the new law, for only thirty days, or continue his open relationship with his God.

Which would you choose?

Surely God would understand, right? You can not go to church, but still pray to him. Why, Daniel could have prayed in private, silently. He could have changed to comply with the law.

Why didn't he?

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Lucas County Children's Home

LCCH 1896

Saturday we spent some time at a reunion for children and staff of the Lucas County Children's Home. It was the third such reunion. The first was in 2008 when an historic marker was placed across from the front gate of the large facility, which provided service for almost a hundred years.

The home was established in 1867 to support destitute orphan children, to be called the Protestant Orphan's Home. The first three children were placed in a private home. Later came the larger buildings, and in the 1940's my Beloved Husband and his two brothers were placed there, more than once.

No, they were not orphans. Both parents were living, and both had multiple siblings. Just as the Civil War impacted families, so did the Depression and World War II. Their father off in the army, the family splitting by divorce, lack of money - it was in the boys' best interest to be protected there.

We took some photographs of them from that time period. We didn't realize they would become part of the scrapbook and end up in the museum archives. A fitting place for part of a county's history. And, part of theirs.

The three boys were separated in 1947. One stayed with their mother, the older two went to Oklahoma with their father, ending up adopted out of another children's home. They were not reunited until 1983. Names were changed. Adoption records closed and sealed. Research was difficult, but the truth became known and a family healed.

Except for their father, who died without seeing his sons again.

He made a decision about his family without understanding the consequences of his decision.

We make such a decision about our eternal life, too. So many people choose to be outside God's family. It is a conscious decision, knowing He offers eternal life with Him. Also knowing His word commits to eternal life without Him awaits those who turn Him down. Some look upon that as Him condemning them to hell, when the offer stands open to the moment of death, they still tell Him "No. I do not believe."

He loves us enough to provide Himself a sacrifice. The gospel is summed in a single verse:

John 3:16 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.

Ask Him about it. Accept the adoption.

Saturday, September 11, 2010


We're staying in a house that was built over 50 years ago. Well-built! I was noticing the bathroom tile, original to the house. Colors would be considered 'dated' by today's, but it's beautiful. Measured exactly, down to a half-inch of tiny tile that runs six inches inside the outer edge. There isn't a missing piece of grout, still white and clean.

This house has a full basement, which homes in our area do not. As such, it requires a very firm foundation. There's a steel I-beam providing support for the main floor, which could be why the ceiling is without the tiny cracks that often show up == some I've seen in my own.

Whosoever cometh to me, and heareth my sayings, and doeth them, I will shew you to whom he is like: He is like a man which built an house, and digged deep, and laid the foundation on a rock: and when the flood arose, the stream beat vehemently upon that house, and could not shake it: for it was founded upon a rock. But he that heareth, and doeth not, is like a man that without a foundation built an house upon the earth; against which the stream did beat vehemently, and immediately it fell; and the ruin of that house was great. (Luke 6:47-49 KJV)

Christ is speaking of our lives. We will be assailed with many trials in life. Without a firm foundation, what we've built will fall. That's true of our physical self. Without the foundation of good food and exercise, the body fails. Without a good education, careers fail, income is lessened. Without the firm foundation within a marriage, it will not only fail but will take the family down, too.

Each of those failures affect other people, not just ourselves. Especially when a family fails because the marriage lacks a firm foundation.

Some who read this know of marriages that have lasted for decades without the foundation He described. They will tell you He is not necessary when building a solid marriage. They will tell you He is not necessary, at all. I cannot refute their premise by appearances, but I believe based on experiences. I have lived within the firm foundation He promises, and I expect to eternally.

Do you see it differently?

Friday, September 10, 2010


After this there was a feast of the Jews; and Jesus went up to Jerusalem. Now there is at Jerusalem by the sheep market a pool, which is called in the Hebrew tongue Bethesda, having five porches. In these lay a great multitude of impotent folk, of blind, halt, withered, waiting for the moving of the water. For an angel went down at a certain season into the pool, and troubled the water: whosoever then first after the troubling of the water stepped in was made whole of whatsoever disease he had. And a certain man was there, which had an infirmity thirty and eight years. When Jesus saw him lie, and knew that he had been now a long time in that case, he saith unto him, Wilt thou be made whole? The impotent man answered him, Sir, I have no man, when the water is troubled, to put me into the pool: but while I am coming, another steppeth down before me. Jesus saith unto him, Rise, take up thy bed, and walk. (John 5:1-8 KJV)

And the man did so -- causing problems with those who hated Him.

And immediately the man was made whole, and took up his bed, and walked: and on the same day was the sabbath. The Jews therefore said unto him that was cured, It is the sabbath day: it is not lawful for thee to carry thy bed. He answered them, He that made me whole, the same said unto me, Take up thy bed, and walk. (John 5:9-11 KJV)

When Christ speaks, do we do as He says? Luke tells us that Peter and John not only did so, but explained to the authorities that they would continue to do so even when men told them not to:

But Peter and John answered and said unto them, Whether it be right in the sight of God to hearken unto you more than unto God, judge ye. For we cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard. (Acts 4:19-20)

Do we believe we should? Do we follow through with that belief?

Now, for another fascinating point:

And he that was healed wist not who it was (John 5:13 KJV)

The healed man did not know who healed him. Did not believe on Jesus. Did not understand this was the Christ. No understanding that he was facing a man who could offer him salvation. No thought of Messiah, he simply followed instructions.
Can we?

Thursday, September 9, 2010


(No, not me - a Brazilian in front of her old-age home)

But speak thou the things which become sound doctrine: That the aged men be sober, grave, temperate, sound in faith, in charity, in patience. The aged women likewise, that they be in behaviour as becometh holiness, not false accusers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things; That they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children, To be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed. (Titus 2:1-5)

I was thinking about Titus 2 this morning. I usually refer to what an aged woman should be focused upon. When I read the first five verses, I was struck by the difference in length of instruction. Looking closer, both have an equal amount:

Sober; holy behaviour
Grave; not false accusers
Temperate; not given to much wine
Sound in faith, charity, patience; teachers.

It's what we are to teach that there is a longer explanation.

Teach the young women to be sober: I don't believe this means "somber," either. "In character; moderate; realistic; serious; not playful; not passionate; cool; self-controlled," doesn't do it justice, either. We aged women are playful and we are passionite. There are times to be so. Learning when to be realistically serious is a very important lesson.

to love their husbands: Most people would think this doesn't need to be taught, that brides love their husbands enough to marry them, after that it's easy. Not so much. The tired, perhaps dirty, provider that comes home from work hardly resembles that sweet-talking suitor that promised the moon. And, the moon doesn't appear in their window every night either. That provider is the husband that needs love more than the suitor.

to love their children: Again, that seems evident in the love of that miracle brought home from the hospital. But what about the rebellious pre-teen who thinks total freedom is just around the corner and wants to start practicing right now? Not your child? Some sterotypes aren't, but most likely that child will find ways -- maybe even look for them -- designed to seaparate.

To be discreet: Drama. Gossip. The word spreads, lives are impacted. Television shows draw us in with drama. We need to be realistically serious and remove ourselves from the drama bit (working with teens brings that one home!!) and teach discretion.

Chaste: Nothing breaks up a marriage quicker than being unchaste. Eyes on the goal -- grow closer in marriage through growing closer to God.

Keepers at home: Does that mean staying at home? Not necessarily. But the home must be kept, clean, warm, inviting, filling. The place where family dwells and grows. It is a wife's focus and an extremely important calling.

good, obedient to their own husbands: That "good" covers a lot!! So does obedient to their own husbands. This husband is to love his wife as Christ loves the church, to the point of giving his life for her sake. He gives his freedom to be a provider. He remains faithful to her, never forgetting the wife of his youth. God willing, they will live together much longer than the time the live raising children. They become one, and remain so.

that the word of God be not blasphemed: All done to the glory of God, that their lives are examples of His love, that His words are shown to be true.

I really enjoy being an aged woman. I hope you look forward to it, too.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Sick Child

I did not accomplish my goal yesterday of reading John's 5th chapter. I will today. But I keep going back to the fourth. Our pastor is doing a series of sermons on the book of John. We've spent a couple of Sundays in that fourth Chapter. Last Sunday morning's subject was the father of a sick boy.

If you've ever had a child, at one time or another they've been sick. My girl's had the regular childhood ills and spills, but it was our son that ended up in the hospital over a bite. Three-year-olds understand, "Don't scratch," but even in their sleep the itching draws fingers.

A Saturday evening found him with a 101 fever -- not too bad in the scheme of things. Sunday morning it was two degrees higher. None of the regular flu symptoms, either, so I called the doctor's office and spoke with his service, thinking I could get an early appointment on Monday.

Not so. The doctor called back within the hour and told us to meet him at the hospital. Excuse me? This was the doctor who had taken care of me when I was ten and was diagnosed with leukemia. Which was a misdiagnosis, thank God. Since he had corrected that misconception and had treated me until I was pregnant (yep, he actually gave me a shot when I was pregnant, but that's another story) I trusted him with my son, so we headed for the hospital. We remained there for six days.

Dr. Rubin was treating a boy for a strep infection that had settled in his brain. The first symptoms were the same as my son, so he erred on the side of caution, or was guided by God's hand. Our by had a strep infection that could set up home in a number of ways, so at night we waved goodbye to a toddler standing in a crib, not understanding why. Treatment was successful and we moved on.

It left me with the knowledge, the understanding, of this noble father who loved his son enough to travel about twenty miles to seek healing. Hearing of Jesus, hearing of the healing he had done, he wanted the same for his son.

So Jesus came again into Cana of Galilee, where he made the water wine. And there was a certain nobleman, whose son was sick at Capernaum. When he heard that Jesus was come out of Judaea into Galilee, he went unto him, and besought him that he would come down, and heal his son: for he was at the point of death. (John 4:46-47 KJV)

We would take our children anywhere for healing. Christ understood his reason for being there. It was a last resort trip. The man did not believe it would be fruitful, but he had to try.

Then said Jesus unto him, Except ye see signs and wonders, ye will not believe. (John 4:48 KJV)

We still seek them. "If Jesus was God, he would ...", insert any of the reasons mankind has come up with over the centuries. "... stop all war," "... he would heal all sickness," "... do miracles now." There is no end to what we could decide would be the sign we needed to believe. Yet, this nobleman believed Christ's word.

The nobleman saith unto him, Sir, come down ere my child die. Jesus saith unto him, Go thy way; thy son liveth. And the man believed the word that Jesus had spoken unto him, and he went his way (John 4:49-50 KJV)

Can we? There's a small addendum, though. The father was curious. Was the boy healed before Jesus made his statement?

Then enquired he of them the hour when he began to amend. And they said unto him, Yesterday at the seventh hour the fever left him. So the father knew that it was at the same hour, in the which Jesus said unto him, Thy son liveth: and himself believed, and his whole house. (John 4:52-53 KJV)

Take that second look. Double check was was said and done. Believe. He is truth.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Gate A9

Waiting to board. Reading John 5, since we'll be away Sunday. Read with me?

Monday, September 6, 2010

A Widow in Zarephath

Last night, as last Sunday, we were in 1 Kings, this week a chapter ahead of last week. A story that stands on its own.

Elijah followed God’s direction. Unlike some of those called, he did not ignore nor did he run away from God’s requests. He told Ahab there would be no rain, and there wasn’t. God cared for him by the brook, fed by ravens (I’m not certain I would look forward to that fare) then sent Elijah to a widow in Zarephath.

Now, if I were that widow, I would have offered the traveler a drink (surely from an excellent well) but would have been put out for him to not only request food, but when it was explained the dearth of meal, for him to have asked for the very last of theirs.

Her first response is understandable.

And she said, As the LORD thy God liveth, I have not a cake, but an handful of meal in a barrel, and a little oil in a cruse: and, behold, I am gathering two sticks, that I may go in and dress it for me and my son, that we may eat it, and die. (1 Kings 17:12 KJV)

No wood to cook with, only a couple of sticks to cook a handful of meal in a little oil.

Would you have complied? Knowing this man would eat the last of the meal and oil set aside for you and your son before starvation? Or, would you say “Why not? We’re going to die any way.” What did go through her mind?

“Fear not.” How often do we read those words throughout the Bible? Elijah said there here.

And Elijah said unto her, Fear not; go and do as thou hast said: but make me thereof a little cake first, and bring it unto me, and after make for thee and for thy son. (1 Kings 17:13 KJV)

He didn’t promise more, just that there would be enough. Oh, that we would settle for enough. That’s the miracle in this story – there was enough. For the three of them. That day, the next day, and so on and on.

And the barrel of meal wasted not, neither did the cruse of oil fail, according to the word of the LORD, which he spake by Elijah. (1 Kings 17:16 KJV)

The barrel did not overflow, the barrel did not feel 5,000. The oil did not flow as a stream, but neither wasted nor failed. There was enough.

There are several questions here to apply to our lives today.

1 – are we satisfied with enough, or do we require overflowing?

2 – do we use what we have and share with others, or expect them to share with us?

3 – do we ask that what we have last, or do we continually seek more?

4 – do we show our appreciation for enough? Or do we complain?

Sometime, if you have an e-mail address, you will receive the poem “May You Have Enough.” The widow would recognize the meaning behind that poem. Now, you’ve met that widow.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Grander Design

There was a time when mankind thought the universe consisted of those things he could see. To most, the world was flat, ending at their farthest imagination, defined by boundaries and edges. Over time and experience, those boundaries were extended beyond imagination.

The earth was no longer flat and ships sailed beyond the never seen edges. The sun no longer drove across the sky but the earthly globe turned on an axis around it. The universe expanded, and yet mankind defined it by those things he could see.

About fifty years ago I read that God was dead. The media posed the question several times. More as a question than a fact, proposing that there wasn’t a need for Him as the world was being explained and mankind would do better throwing off His rules. Mankind had progressed beyond the need to explain the unknown.

This past week the publicity for Stephen Hawking’s new book, “The Grand Design,” made another such statement. "Spontaneous creation is the reason there is something rather than nothing, why the universe exists, why we exist. It is not necessary to invoke God to light the blue touch paper and set the universe going."

Religious leaders in England, Hawking’s home country, read that to mean God had no role in creation and made a responding statement that "physics on its own will not settle the question of why there is something rather than nothing."

I agree with them. Whether others do or not may depend on whether their God is limited or omnipotent. Do any boundaries, even laws of physics, place limits on the power God has shown? Not mine.

The questions of how and why our universe exists, the speculation of the number of other worlds inhabited by sentient beings, do not limit the God I worship. We are where we are according to His grand design.

It is not mankind’s bragging that gave us:

I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvellous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well. (Psalms 139:14 KJV)

Hawking may have some basis for his M-theory, for the string theory, though the key words are “theory.” Einstein had such theories and proved them through weapons powerful enough to destroy entire cities. The study of physics is not designed to look for God, but to explain such constants as gravity.

Even with this book and the dismissal of necessity, Hawking and his co-author have not discounted that first verse:

In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. (Genesis 1:1 KJV)

Instead, what I see in their proposal is the eternity described by God, Co-author Leonard Mlodinow stated in an interview: "So it's not a well-posed question to say, 'What happened at the beginning of time?- — because time doesn't go back to the beginning."

And, we have read of when time shall be no more:

And the angel which I saw stand upon the sea and upon the earth lifted up his hand to heaven, And sware by him that liveth for ever and ever, who created heaven, and the things that therein are, and the earth, and the things that therein are, and the sea, and the things which are therein, that there should be time no longer: (Revelation 10:5-6 KJV)

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Psalm 9

Another blogger mentioned Psalms 9, so I read it. What an example of praise to God!

I will praise thee, O LORD, with my whole heart; I will shew forth all thy marvellous works. (Psalms 9:1 KJV)

The first phrase, I do. And with my whole heart, for a while, but too soon I’m distracted and things return to normal. Unlike David, I have not shown forth His marvelous works, though I am aware of very many.

We have so many answered prayers this year, most related to health of loved ones in God’s family. Some of the requests have been posted here. Our church friend with leukemia – she’s in remission. No sign of the cells that coursed through her bloodstream. No longer is there a tumor wrapped within her teeth. Her hair is returning, no change in color, no apparent change in texture. All of those are answered prayers, and we give Him praise and glory for them.

My sister-in-law remains wrapped in prayer. There are many medical reasons for doing so. Yet we sing His praises that she is here with us after besting Hodgkins more than 40 years ago. We praise Him for every day she remains with us.

A young boy was injured when an unnoticed spray can ended up in a burn pile. Those usually consist of tree branches, leaves, old lumber, fence posts, etc., piled up to burn when the weather is right (which isn’t too often!!) His face was seared and peppered with black soot. A picture was posted on our Church account along with a prayer request. No more black spots. No scars at all. Eyebrows returned, too. We praise Him and watch this young man on Sunday evenings as he continues to recite Bible verses.

I will be glad and rejoice in thee: I will sing praise to thy name, O thou most High. (Psalms 9:2 KJV)

Some of the verses are not as close to my heart as I feel no enemies, except the one that works against all who love God.

But the LORD shall endure for ever: he hath prepared his throne for judgment. And he shall judge the world in righteousness, he shall minister judgment to the people in uprightness. (Psalms 9:7-8 KJV)

For those in need, He is a place of comfort and protection.

The LORD also will be a refuge for the oppressed, a refuge in times of trouble. (Psalms 9:9 KJV)

There is a theme of good and evil, protection and punishment.

The LORD is known by the judgment which he executeth: the wicked is snared in the work of his own hands. Higgaion. Selah. The wicked shall be turned into hell, and all the nations that forget God. (Psalms 9:16-17 KJV)

An interesting, thought provoking Psalm that I had not spent time with before. I hope you’ll take time to read it all. Oh, yes – in the Hebrew version, the KJV first verse is divided into two. Interesting!

Friday, September 3, 2010

Tosca Lee's "Demon: A Memoir"

From advertisement of Tosca Lee's book on, a retail outlet

Yesterday I happened upon Tosca Lee’s book “Demon: A Memoir”, available for free downloading at Life Way Stores website. Today, that offer is gone, but it left me thinking.

I have not read Lee’s works so I cannot recommend it without more research, but the explanation given about this book caught my imagination, as its origin is explained:

“I realized that being angelic and fallen was very similar to being human and fallen – except for one major difference; the provision of a Messiah ... wouldn’t a fallen angelic creation resent a human recipient of God’s grace? Why wouldn’t a demon want to prove that creature unworthy again and again as a result?”

I was struck with similar thoughts. We Christians know that faith is a necessity and that it comes from within ourselves. Where God grants grace, faith has to be grown.

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

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

Angels have knowledge, not hoped for or unseen. They’ve seen God. Even the demons know God exists.

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

We are so different. We were promised a Messiah, a savior, a mediator, propitiation for our sins. We were given what Abraham described.

And Abraham said, My son, God will provide himself a lamb for a burnt offering: so they went both of them together. (Genesis 22:8 KJV)

That He did, in the person of Jesus. Jesus acknowledged He was the promised Messiah, the Christ. God provided Himself a sacrifice. Because He so loved the world. And, that is being ignored.

There are many things about God I do not understand. I do not expect to. As He spoke to Isaiah, we must understand there are differences beyond our ability to comprehend.

For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts. (Isaiah 55:8-9 KJV)

I do not know why mankind has been offered salvation, but I am so very grateful for it.

And the angels which kept not their first estate, but left their own habitation, he hath reserved in everlasting chains under darkness unto the judgment of the great day. (Jude 1:6 KJV)

They made their choice, as we have. They did not keep their first position, we’ve been offered an opportunity to attain it. They left their own habitation and cannot return until judgment day. Perhaps then we’ll get the job outlined by Paul:

Know ye not that we shall judge angels? (1 Corinthians 6:3a KJV)

I don’t think they will like that. As Tosca Lee said this “Demon” does not.

Thursday, September 2, 2010


For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ, Who died for us, that, whether we wake or sleep, we should live together with him. Wherefore comfort yourselves together, and edify one another, even as also ye do. (1 Thessalonians 5:9-11 KJV)

Many preach of Christ’s anger, battling against evils of this world. I read of this anger in Matthew 12:34, directed toward those who were designated - and failed - to lead the Children of Israel within God’s path.

O generation of vipers, how can ye, being evil, speak good things? for out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh. (Matthew 12:34 KJV)

How did He speak to sinners?

The cripple at Bethesda: Afterward Jesus findeth him in the temple, and said unto him, Behold, thou art made whole: sin no more, lest a worse thing come unto thee. (John 5:14 KJV)

The woman taken in adultery: She said, No man, Lord. And Jesus said unto her, Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more. (John 8:11 KJV)

Zacchaeus, chief of publicans: And when Jesus came to the place, he looked up, and saw him, and said unto him, Zacchaeus, make haste, and come down; for to day I must abide at thy house. (Luke 19:5 KJV)

Samaritan woman at the well: The woman saith unto him, I know that Messias cometh, which is called Christ: when he is come, he will tell us all things. Jesus saith unto her, I that speak unto thee am he. (John 4:25-26 KJV)

The word wrath is found five times in the Gospels: three times in relation to Pharisees; once when speaking of the last days; and once by John the Baptist, in the third chapter of John, very similar to Christ’s discourse with Nicodemus:

He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him. (John 3:36 KJV)

There are 40 more verses in the remainder of the New Testament, some referring to the wrath of God, others against mankind’s use of wrath. Paul speaks of wrath often, including:

Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice: And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you. (Ephesians 4:31-32 KJV)

We are told to pray without wrath:

I will therefore that men pray every where, lifting up holy hands, without wrath and doubting. (1 Timothy 2:8 KJV)

James agrees:

Wherefore, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath: For the wrath of man worketh not the righteousness of God. (James 1:19-20 KJV)

There are 104 verses with the word peace. Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you (John 14:27a KJV)

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Weekend Thoughts

There was a rally in Washington D.C. this past weekend on the course our country takes in the future. As an aside, media often refer to some supporters as “the religious right.” That adjective is never applied to the “left.” Should we wonder why?

Many are seriously concerned about where we’ve came from, where we are and where we’re headed as a nation. Our country was less than 150 years old when it gave birth to what is known as “The Greatest Generation.” Less than 80 years later, that generation is all but gone, and those replacing it have not done as well.

The rallying cry of a leader of that generation, one who fought for freedom during WWII, has been lost. “And so, my fellow Americans: ask not what your country can do for you - ask what you can do for your country. My fellow citizens of the world: ask not what America will do for you, but what together we can do for the freedom of man.”

His own party has turned to federalization and dependence upon what the government can do. We’ve turned a natural disaster into rallying points for racism, and ignored other flood victims who have not made headlines. We have turned industrial disasters into opportunities to increase federal intervention. We have accepted change because we’re discontent, and never defined what change was sought. We have sown the wind and reaped a whirlwind.

Some have turned to the Bible and picked up an answer.

Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition; (2 Thessalonians 2:3 KJV)

I join in prayer that this falling away could mean that day coming, His return – but not all the world is falling away.

True, there are churches with dwindling memberships. True, there are church members who come only on holidays, if they come at all. There are church members who have walked away, seeking the world’s offerings instead of giving of themselves to the Lord. True there are church leaders openly breaking God’s commandments. This is not new.

African Anglican Communion bishops have held the biblical line when American Episcopal bishops have denied the Bible and appointed gay Bishops to lead their church. I know of strong biblical preaching by national pastors in the Philippines, Mexico, Canada, several South American countries and other nations around the world. Independent Baptist missionaries count their fields within the United States and have growing churches there, too. There have always been the faithful.

So, as this may not be the hour known only to His Father (Matthew 24:36) and we cannot know that the day is at hand (2 Thessalonians 2:2), what do we do?

Keep His commandments and do as the disciples did after His ascension – go home and spread the word. Don’t stand around looking for Him.

Work as though our church has a dwindling membership. Visit church members who come only on holidays. Look after those church members who have walked back into the world. Hold that biblical line wherever we are. We each have a mission field. We each have a calling. Our reasonable service has been defined.

I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. (Romans 12:1 KJV)

That’s what we do until He returns, whether our country does or not.