Sunday, February 27, 2011



It looks rather simple, and well designed.  But there are greater piece-parts in the shoulder that when they cease to function correctly, it is very painful.

Beloved Husband’s recovery is doing as expected – it just takes time. He completed building my new stool for the bathroom and he’s almost completed drawing working plans for a remodel/addition for our church to vote on.  Accomplishments!

For me, things have been going another direction.  My right shoulder sustained some type of injury this last week.  I promise my most strenuous activity was replacing four light bulbs, but woke up with pain in my right arm that is unrelenting.  Even typing has become a painful activity that I’ve decided to forego – for a very short (I pray) period of time.

As soon as I woke up with the aftermath, I called the doctor who has treated Beloved Husband and others in our congregation.  I have confidence in his abilities even though I’m praying the diagnosis does not include surgery.  I would prefer (and will suggest) that some exercises, medication and time will return my ability to type what I’m thinking almost painlessly.

I appreciate (and request) your prayers and will post updates along the way.  Thanks!!!

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Come Home


Thus saith the LORD, which giveth the sun for a light by day, and the ordinances of the moon and of the stars for a light by night, which divideth the sea when the waves thereof roar; The LORD of hosts is his name: (Jeremiah 31:35 KJV)

It is up to men, however, to build the lighthouses to bring sailors safely to shore, and they have built some beautiful ones.  While they are not sitting on hills, their light cannot be hidden.

A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid. (Matthew 5:14b KJV)

Let’s spend more time with the first part of that verse:

Ye are the light of the world.

When we state openly that we are followers of Jesus, what we do can never be hidden.  Non-believers are looking at at us to validate their own beliefs.  If we err, they point and call us hypocrites because we do not live what we say we believe.  They look into our lives more deeply than we do, not to make us better but to make their choices appear better.

The only ‘better’ choice we made was to come home.  We are the prodigals, given the beauty of this earth by its creator, taking our inheritance and ignoring Him for a long time.  We recognized what we’re missing and we’ve come home to the father who is looking for us  with compassion.

And he arose, and came to his father. But when he was yet a great way off, his father saw him, and had compassion, and ran, and fell on his neck, and kissed him.  (Luke 15:20 KJV)

When we’ve witnessed to others, shared with them how we found the light of the world, how do we treat them when they, too, come home? Or are we as the prodigal’s brother:

And he was angry, and would not go in: therefore came his father out, and intreated him. (Luke 15:28 KJV)

You see, both brothers erred.  Both were met outside of their home by the father and welcomed back into the home.  He loved them both, just as our Father does.

Which child are you – both need to hear the Father and come home.

Oh! for the wonderful love He has promised,
Promised for you and for me,
Tho' we have sinned He has mercy and pardon,
Pardon for you and for me.
Come home, come home,
Ye who are weary come home;
Earnestly, tenderly, Jesus is calling,
Calling O sinner come home.

Friday, February 25, 2011



This wasn’t just tax collecting for Rome.  On a page sponsored by the University of Chicago, we find an article by William Smith from 1875. defining “Publicani” as “farmers of the public revenues of the Roman state.”  The farming consisted of bidding for the rights to collect taxes. They were contractors.  The system was ripe for abuse, as the article states:  “they abused their power at an early period, in the provinces as well as at Rome itself.”

It is easy to see how such a businessman could become rich.  Especially one who was chief among the publicans.  it is also easy to see how people thought of him:

And when they saw it, they all murmured, saying, That he was gone to be guest with a man that is a sinner. (Luke 19:7 KJV)

Interestingly, Christ made no demands upon Zacchaeus to rid himself of his fortune, as He had mentioned to the young man who had kept the law from his youth:

Now when Jesus heard these things, he said unto him, Yet lackest thou one thing: sell all that thou hast, and distribute unto the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come, follow me. And when he heard this, he was very sorrowful: for he was very rich. (Luke 18:22-23 KJV)

In fact, Christ’s only command to Zacchaeus was:

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)

Which one are we?  The man who had done right all of his life but could not give up his most valued possession to follow God?  Or, the sinner who understood his unworthiness and vowed to change his life before being asked?

One sought Christ believing himself sinless, yet wanting more.  The other sought Christ knowing his sins and offering restitution without asking Christ for anything.

For both of them, and for all of us, Christ came.

For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost. (Luke 19:10 KJV)

Thursday, February 24, 2011

It's His

Our home being built in 1998

Twice in our lives Beloved Husband and I have looked at a piece of land and house plans then had one built for us. First time was in an addition and we had several plans to choose from. Second time we drew up our own plans for the home we have now.

God blessed us this second time so very greatly! There were so many things that came together that placed us in a beautiful setting in proximity to an active church whose members are friendly, arms wide open. He has provided well for us here. All we've done is accept what He has to offer.

It's pretty much that same way everywhere, since it all belongs to Him, as our Pastor taught last night:

The earth is the LORD'S, and the fulness thereof; the world, and they that dwell therein. [Psalms 24:1 KJV]

There's a deed filed with our county that states this property is ours. The county uses that deed to figure out where to send tax bills -- we just had proof of that a short while ago! Our Lord doesn't tax us, but He does expect acknowledgement of his sovereignty, and David has told us how to reach Him:

Who shall ascend into the hill of the LORD? or who shall stand in his holy place? He that hath clean hands, and a pure heart; who hath not lifted up his soul unto vanity, nor sworn deceitfully. He shall receive the blessing from the LORD, and righteousness from the God of his salvation. [Psalms 24:3-5 KJV]

In another Psalm, David tells us how to get cleansed:

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

Later on, God provided a cleansing method available to all mankind:

But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin. [1 John 1:7 KJV]

This can be a stumbling block to those who deny a Creator, to those who look upon themselves as being self-made and have risen above the masses who need outside help to make their way in this short life. Unfortunately, there are some religious leaders within Christianity who have similar ideas, not only accepting but teaching worldly values instead of sound doctrine. Can you think of times when a message appears more of a self-help program instead of a message of Christ preached from God's word?

Thank God when you are in a congregation that speaks of His love for His creation. When that leader gives the message David passed on to his son, and Isaiah had for us all:

And thou, Solomon my son, know thou the God of thy father, and serve him with a perfect heart and with a willing mind: for the LORD searcheth all hearts, and understandeth all the imaginations of the thoughts: if thou seek him, he will be found of thee; but if thou forsake him, he will cast thee off for ever. [1 Chronicles 28:9 KJV]

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

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Good Book


In my edition, the quote is on page 53:  “Reading good books ruins you for enjoying bad books.”  The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society is such a good book.  I know this though I haven’t read but almost a fifth of the book.

It is not written in chronological order.  We learn of things twenty years ago within a couple of pages written of right now.  Within three pages, we read of events witnessed by two very different people, complete with different results.  And, we want to read more.

So far there have been a couple of biblical references, both leaving the reader with questions, as they did our main character.  I wonder if we will read the author’s answer to the character’s question:  “Burning bush, God’s words or crowd control?”

Frankly, I know my own answer to that question – God’s word.  Which I also see as a ‘good book’ as well as The Good Book.

I enjoy reading the King James Bible and consider it a very good book as literature.  I really don’t need it translated into what is termed modern English to relish the stories, the examples nor the applications.  I do not consider myself highly education and deem it almost an insult to read ads that tell me today’s versions make the Bible easier to understand.  My goodness, are we considered that dumbed-down that the Bible must be in a Dick/Jane format.

Silly me – today’s generations probably don’t know where Dick/Jane came from.  I’m an old fogey, tied to antiquated ways, right?  Perhaps.  I do prefer thees, thous, thines, etc. to texting’s U R 4, and LOL after LOL.

The Bible is history, poetry, love songs, adventures, sagas, all rolled into one message – God created and remains involved in His creation. Paul, who had studied scriptures all his life, explained to Timothy:

All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works. (2 Timothy 3:16-17 KJV)

Two hundred and fifty-five verses contain the phrase “word of the Lord.” 

I love the last entry, in a letter from Peter who traveled with our Lord for three years.

For all flesh is as grass, and all the glory of man as the flower of grass. The grass withereth, and the flower thereof falleth away: But the word of the Lord endureth for ever. And this is the word which by the gospel is preached unto you. (1 Peter 1:24-25 KJV)

Physically and politically our world changes about us.  Upheavals in both keep us unsettled, ill at ease.  Yet, the word of the Lord endures.  I know many of its verses, and so do you, dear readers.  Let us put this good book to good use.

Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path. (Psalms 119:105 KJV)

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Have You Noticed?

In case that fine print is too faint to read, it says:  "And will be reported to the authorities." And what will happen if we didn’t notice the new notice?

Shared by a friend, I do not know where this sign was posted, but there are times when life makes as much sense as this sign. Those times when we say "What possible difference could it make if (fill in the blank.)"

There are some things that change over simple incidents that most people do not notice.  A policewoman’s slap to a peddler – how many noticed that?  Not enough to make a difference, but it made a difference to the Tunisian fruit peddler, enough for him to self-immolate. That got noticed.  Tunisia noticed, Egypt noticed, Yemen noticed, Bahrain noticed, Libya and the ripples move onward.

We cannot know how far the ripples will move when we act.  All move forward slightly, perhaps going unnoticed. Others become waves that overpower, and become noticed for changes made.

While Jesus’ words and actions were noticed by thousands, not until Barnabas and Saul were in Antioch for a year did this movement get a name.

And when he had found him, he brought him unto Antioch. And it came to pass, that a whole year they assembled themselves with the church, and taught much people. And the disciples were called Christians first in Antioch. (Acts 11:26 KJV)

Christ’s followers have had many names since, a good many of them pejoratives.  They were noticed, either for the good they did in His name, or for the evil they brought upon it.  Not all who call themselves Christian are.  Thanks be to God, He has told us what a Christian should be.

A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another. (John 13:34-35 KJV)

John got the message, and wrote of it again in a book filled with the message of love:

Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another. (1 John 4:10-11 KJV)

While it is very important to us individually whether or not we love God, the great thing to be noticed is that He loved us, and when He did so. John goes on to tell us when:

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

Before we recognized Him.  Before we knew His love for us.  Before we heard His commandments.  Before we loved Him.  He loved us.

Have you noticed?

Monday, February 21, 2011



How many were on the ship?

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

Even if it were just the twelve and no more, it would stand to reason none of them were asleep.

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

Ivan Aivazovsky’s portrayal of this scene is much calmer than some of his other stormy sea paintings, but his painted waves are attention getters.  The scene of Christ walking upon water certainly caught the disciples’ attention and caused them fear.

And in the fourth watch of the night Jesus went unto them, walking on the sea. And when the disciples saw him walking on the sea, they were troubled, saying, It is a spirit; and they cried out for fear.  (Matthew 14:25-26 KJV)

Although this wasn’t one of Jesus parables, it is a beautiful picture of our lives.  Fear of so many things accompany us, until He speaks:

But straightway Jesus spake unto them, saying, Be of good cheer; it is I; be not afraid. (Matthew 14:27 KJV)

Peter, just as most of us, wanted more.

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

Did you notice that Jesus’ response didn’t name Peter?

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

That invitation could have been answered by anyone on the ship.  Any one of the disciples could have stepped forth and walked toward Jesus, just as any one in a congregation can step forward during an invitation.  Only one disciple did.  Only one disciple walked on water with Christ.  Only one.  And, he failed, too.

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

When Peter walked, his eye was on Jesus.  As he stepped forward toward Christ, the world caught his attention, he lost his focus.  He knew Christ could save him, for it was to Jesus he cried for salvation. Yet, he began to sink.  So often, we do, too, and we must hear the same question:

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

Peter did not sink, neither did the ship.  The disciples were doing what Christ sent them to do, though the storm impeded their work.  They were not fleeing, as Jonah.  They followed His instructions, trusting they would meet on the other side.

How did they expect Him to join them?  Another ship?  We cannot know.  But walking out to them in a storm would not have been the first idea that came to mind.  We cannot imagine how Christ will come to us, either.  There is no formula that will bring Him to us, and only faith will keep us standing by His side through any storm.

How did He call you?

Sunday, February 20, 2011

The Way


There be three things which are too wonderful for me, yea, four which I know not: The way of an eagle in the air; the way of a serpent upon a rock; the way of a ship in the midst of the sea; and the way of a man with a maid. (Proverbs 30:18-19 KJV)

When I read this, the thing they have in common is finding their way around.  How does the eagle know where the thermals are to catch them and soar?  How does the serpent know where to find the heated rock for the necessary warmth?  How does a ship, far from any land, know how to navigate through windswept waves?  How does a man know what will win a maiden’s heart?

You could have asked a lot of men at our Valentine Banquet Saturday night.  Fellowship hall was filled and fellowship was flowing!  We had singing, we had skits, we had scripture and we had good preaching. We also had some great food provided by Sagebrush Catering out of Bridgeport, Texas.  It’s not a real plug, just a statement of fact.

Most of the attendees have been married for a number of years – from 60 on down – and understand:

Let thy fountain be blessed: and rejoice with the wife of thy youth. (Proverbs 5:18 KJV)

Some of the attendees have been widowed.  They no longer are able to rejoice with their beloved spouse, yet they can rejoice in the fellowship of their church family, joyfully celebrating an evening of the way of a man with a maid

Some of the attendees are experiencing difficulties in their marriage, but they have not thrown in the towel and given up the fight.  Perhaps they will be able to quote Paul’s words for their own action.

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

They have all heard the gospel message and know that Christ has all the answers, and has give us the most important one of all:

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)

Saturday, February 19, 2011

How Do We Do It?

A dear friend wrote to me describing a mountain their family is facing for the coming months.  Many are in similar situations -- a husband headed off to the military, separated from his loving family; children missing their father's daily input into their lives; a wife who just discovered she is pregnant, worried about her previous miscarriages.  We all know families who have one or more of these problems, and some who have far more.

How do we speak to them of what God can do in their lives?

I will love thee, O LORD, my strength.  The Lord is my rock and my fortress, and my deliverer; my God, my strength, in whom I will trust; my buckler, and the horn of my salvation, and my high tower.  I will call upon the LORD, who worthy to be praised (Psalms 18:1-2 KJV)

There is so much more in this one Psalm.  David's problems are not our problems, but the God he addressed is ours.  What David shared provides examples for us.  Doesn't mean everything will be cleared and roads made easy, but He is with us.

I am not certain that all prayers will be answered with an immediate positive result, but I do know they will be answered with God's will.  I also know He has promised us a number of things about prayer,  First, we have an intercessor:

Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. (Romans 8:26 KJV)

We also know that we are in the service of His Son, so things will work out:

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

We know He doesn't want us to worry about what is coming, but to do each day’s responsibilities as they arise:

Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof. (Matthew 6:34 KJV)

Make lists, set priorities for the next day, but do not worry about the ones to come.  Truly live one day at a time, completing what must (but only what MUST) be done in one day. 

We women have a marvelous example of how to do this:

Who can find a virtuous woman? for her price is far above rubies. The heart of her husband doth safely trust in her, so that he shall have no need of spoil. (Proverbs 31:10-11 KJV)

The verses that follow tell of her everyday labors.  One right after another as the needs arise, working at home and with those around her.  The result does not include all of those who interact with her, but for me, the most blessed verse here is:

Her children arise up, and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praiseth her. (Proverbs 31:28 KJV)

Help your friends.  Look around you and see those in need.  Hear the voice of the  Lord directing you in His service to befriend and aid His children, our brothers and sisters in Christ.  For this one family, please pray for their strength for the coming months and for the health of their new baby.

This is a blessing for all involved.

Friday, February 18, 2011



God said it in Genesis 2:18, "It is not good that man should be alone," and he created woman. What happens, though, when life removes one from that equation and the other remains, left with loneliness?

There are times that being alone is good. Jesus often went off to be alone, usually to pray. He was the Word of God and was in communication with God. To combat loneliness, I believe we need to spend time with the Bible, God's word, and prayer, too. But Christ's being alone isn't the same as the feeling of loneliness we often experience.

The loneliness that often leads to depression has to do with not having someone else to share both the good and the bad life has to offer; having someone care about our needs and concerns; having someone who wants to talk with and spend time with us; having someone appreciate our work and our efforts. Not having someone does bring great sadness.

There are helps for us in His word. I like this verse:

Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee. So that we may boldly say, The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me. (Hebrews 13:5-6 KJV)

Paul felt loneliness, mentioning in 2 Timothy 4:10 as Demas had forsaken him. During his loneliness, he might have considered another verse:

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

It is extremely difficult to feel loneliness when considering what can be done for others. There's another verse:

Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others. (Philippians 2:4 KJV)

Do not take that to mean taking over another's life, but as another biblical request to consider others. How much more Christ-like can it be, since He left all and gave all for others. I don't believe we fully understand the loneliness that brought forth His cry:

And about the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani? that is to say, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me? (Matthew 27:46 KJV)

He knew that was coming, too, when He prayed for the cup to pass. He also knew that the loneliness would pass, even as He cried out for our Father. He was right in both instances. Since a Christian’s goal is to become more like Christ, looking after others is an excellent start.

Fellow believers are your family, in Christ. Look to your family not only for help, but to help.

Thursday, February 17, 2011



Some things are very clear. I wish I knew where this photo was taken to get a look at such clear water. We were at Christiansted on St. Croix and though the water was not as clear and still as this, it was beautifully clear. I remember Lake Tahoe as being clear, and many of the hot springs in Yellowstone.

Most places aren’t. I’m looking forward to a promised time we will see, and be seen, clearly.

For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known. (1 Corinthians 13:12 KJV)

There are times when I wonder about that, though. Am I ready to be known (and judged) based on the defined criteria?

But I say unto you, That every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment. (Matthew 12:36 KJV)

That includes biting remarks made behind another’s back. It includes the quick judgment spoken thoughtlessly. It includes complaints that are found to be invalid. It includes mean-spirited comments about people that may have hurt you. Every idle word.

Go back, consider conversations just from today. Are there words said that people would feel better if they could be taken back? Why were they said in the first place? Was there a good reason – that doesn’t appear so good right now?

Did you miss an opportunity to let someone know that you praise and worship God for all that He has done? For each and every day we wake and walk through His world? Are these days appreciated – or do they do nothing more than generate complaints? The word of God tells us to give thanks for every thing we do:

And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him. (Colossians 3:17 KJV)

If we don’t do words or deeds for which we can give thanks, then follow this verse:

Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ; (Ephesians 5:20 KJV)

Always, for all things. That includes bad things, too. How can that be done? One way is to look for those tiny silver linings among the dark clouds – and give thanks for those. Another is to give thanks for the lessons on those bad days. Of course, that assumes we are learning from them and moving forward.

Sounds pretty clear, doesn’t it? Now, can we do it?

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Growing Up


(Jeffry W. Hamilton, by permission of website)

How long does it take for us to grow up? Used to be in the USA we would say legally by age 21, but laws changed and at 18 we count our young people as adults. Our legal system also takes action to charge children under 18 as adults, depending on the circumstances of a specific crime. So, growing up fluctuates, even legally.

Maturity isn't defined by our calendars. We've all seen celebrities act extremely immature even as calendar pages flow past. Their immature actions impact others. Age alone doesn't seem to change their actions. We all can come up with names in entertainment industries, movies, sports, etc., some in recent headlines. Too often they are surrounded by people who will not tell them the truth. Instead, their insupportable attitudes and actions are enabled by those living a fantasy life in their shadow.

Unfortunately, we also see it in our families, too. Don’t go there – it can open old wounds. It happens to Christians, too, in a slightly different way.

The New Testament addresses this in many different ways. I like Paul’s admission to the church at Corinth:

When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things. (1 Corinthians 13:11 KJV)

I’ve been taught that the “Be Attitudes” in Matthew 5 outline the progression of Christian growth. The first thing we acquire is the kingdom of heaven as we become God’s children, accepting His salvation through belief in Jesus as the Christ, His son. We move forward by learning how to be comforted for what cannot be changed, living meekly as we hunger and thirst after more and more of His teaching. We learn how to be merciful, how to ask Him to create a clean heart in us and become peacemakers. For this, we may be persecuted and we need maturity to handle that.

It does take Christian maturity to understand being set apart. We don’t move to mountain retreats and defend our faith against those who would storm ramparts. We are to live within the world, but apart from its effect on us. Paul, after telling us in verse 14 to not be unequally yoked to non-believers, tells us to separate ourselves:

Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, (2 Corinthians 6:17 KJV)

In Ephesians 4, Paul explains how to put into action the faith that brought us to Christ. We are to be renewed in our minds, moving toward God’s righteousness and true holiness. We are to speak the truth, hold our anger, labor for God, knowing that what we earn may have to go to someone needy.

We show our Christian maturity when we can follow Paul’s closing of that chapter:

And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you. (Ephesians 4:32 KJV)

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

I Don’t Have To!


Children yell it out loud. Adults are a bit more quiet about it, but when we don’t have to do something, we pretty much have to want to do it before it gets done.

I was thinking about that Sunday morning when our pastor read Jesus’ response:

Now is my soul troubled; and what shall I say? Father, save me from this hour: but for this cause came I unto this hour. (John 12:27 KJV)

Christ did not have to die upon the cross, he could have said '”No,” but instead he said “Thy will be done.” He knew what would happen to him physically. He was familiar with scripture:

For dogs have compassed me: the assembly of the wicked have inclosed me: they pierced my hands and my feet. I may tell all my bones: they look and stare upon me. They part my garments among them, and cast lots upon my vesture. (Psalms 22:16-18 KJV)

Written hundreds of years before, His ancestor wrote those words prophesying a method of death that Romans would invent after they came into being.

My strength is dried up like a potsherd; and my tongue cleaveth to my jaws; and thou hast brought me into the dust of death. (Psalms 22:15 KJV)

The result of that drying caused Him to state:

I thirst. (John 19:28b KJV)

He knew the words the thief beside Him would say:

He trusted on the LORD that he would deliver him: let him deliver him, seeing he delighted in him. (Psalms 22:8 KJV)

And, finally He cried out David’s words:

My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me? (Psalms 22:1a KJV)

He did not call out “I don’t have to!” Instead, He followed His Father’s will for a specific reason.

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

He asked us that we would learn of Him. Please, do so – but remember, you don’t have to. The choice is yours.

Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. (Matthew 11:29 KJV)

Monday, February 14, 2011



This graphic came to me in a batch of photos that were certainly eye-catching! A well-planned highway, fulfilling the dreams of designers and travelers alike, stretching across obstacles, rising above difficulties. The earth does not always cooperate. Instead of it shifting beneath the firmly planted piers, it flowed across more than a hundred feet, bringing man’s plans to a halt.

We meet such obstacles in our own lives. Completely unexpected, shutting down all plans we had for our future, coming to a screeching halt. Seemingly insurmountable. We would have to rebuild, at great cost in both time and money, with considerable inconvenience to many people.

I think of Esther, with the life of a young Jewish girl in a foreign land, looking forward to marriage and family, having all that change at the whim of a king. She made her peace with that change, only to be faced with the annihilation of her people, by her husband. From this story I most recall her explaining how she could not approach the king without possibly losing her life. Mordecai responded:

For if thou altogether holdest thy peace at this time, then shall there enlargement and deliverance arise to the Jews from another place; but thou and thy father's house shall be destroyed: and who knoweth whether thou art come to the kingdom for such a time as this? (Esther 4:14 KJV)

He saw beyond the moment, looking directly into God’s plan to make evil into salvation. The king was bound by certain rules set in place to make things work as expected. One of them was that edicts signed by the kings could not be changed That rule should have given any king pause before signing. Even when manipulated by evil men, the law would would be followed. Haman’s manipulation could not be stopped, but the results could be changed by a subsequent edict. Roadblock removed.

What greater roadblock could there be than death? Religious leaders plotted Jesus’ death for a long time. If only they could remove Him, things would return to the ‘normal’ they preferred. His presence caused questions for which they had no answers. His answers took followers away from them. His death would stop it all.

Except, it didn’t. Never have the plans of a group of men had such an impact on the entire world. Instead of quieting Him, His word spread worldwide, continuing to raise questions requiring answers.

While His parables might be lengthy, His answers were somewhat short:

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)

Again the high priest asked him, and said unto him, Art thou the Christ, the Son of the Blessed? And Jesus said, I am: and ye shall see the Son of man sitting on the right hand of power, and coming in the clouds of heaven. (Mark 14:61b-62 KJV)

He asks us, as He did His disciples, “What do people say that I am?” (Matthew 16:15,Mark 8:29, Luke 9:18) Can we answer as Peter did, “You are the Messiah, promised by God, prophesied for centuries, fulfilled. You are my Lord.”

You will be amazed at what roadblocks are cleared.

Sunday, February 13, 2011



(Camp Shelby, MS Leadership Reaction Course, Wikimedia)

I've attended a number of leadership training sessions while working. Fortunately for me, none of them had this type of physical requirement.  It does remind me of the Outward Bound Challenges.  The leadership and management training courses I’ve taken were in nice comfortable conferences rooms, and I remember quite a bit of their strategy.  I don't remember this line being in any of them:

"In order to empower, a leader has to be willing to give up some of their own power to others."

It was given in a short discussion of leadership, and it gave me a lot of room to think.  Delegating responsibility is fairly easy for supervisors, but delegating sufficient authority to complete responsibilities appears to be more difficult for a great many.  There were times I greatly desired both the responsibility (which I had) and the authority (which I did not.)  In a couple of instances, my supervisors had the leadership quality of giving some of their own power to those working for them.

Jesus was good at delegating authority, and providing the ability:

Then he called his twelve disciples together, and gave them power and authority over all devils, and to cure diseases. (Luke 9:1 KJV)

In Matthew 21:23-28, Mark 11:28-33 and Luke 20:2-8, Jesus declined to answer regarding the source of His authority and continued into a parable.  In John, He gave the source of His authority:

For as the Father hath life in himself; so hath he given to the Son to have life in himself; And hath given him authority to execute judgment also, because he is the Son of man. (John 5:26-27 KJV)

Paul started out after Christians will complete authority.  Even Ananias was aware of that:

And here he hath authority from the chief priests to bind all that call on thy name. (Acts 9:14 KJV)

Paul tells that story again in Acts 26:9-11, but tells it as a man who has given all authority in his life to his savior. 

Having the faith to give up our own authority in exchange for His is the greatest step a Christian can take.  Not greater than our salvation, but growing as a servant to our King does require that we accept His leadership, not knowing where it will take us.

Last Sunday night I heard a missionary who had done just that, and so has his family.  Duane Cleghorn and his family are headed for Borneo, under the authority of our Lord.  He will be telling them of Jesus, just as he does now from a pulpit, and as I do know from a computer screen.  We do this with authority.

Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ; Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works. These things speak, and exhort, and rebuke with all authority. Let no man despise thee. (Titus 2:13-15 KJV)

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Psalm 19


The morning sun reflects on the Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic Ocean as seen from the Apollo 7 spacecraft during its 134th revolution of the Earth on Oct. 20, 1968. Image Credit: NASA

Wednesday night our pastor's text was Psalms 19, and the first scripture that came to my mind was:

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

Why? Well, the answer goes more than half a century back to where I was a teenager at Immanuel Baptist Church in Tulsa, Oklahoma. R. Paul Green was our Music Director and he believed the teens in Junior Choir could sing the following hymn:

Joseph Addison's "The Spacious Firmament On High"

The spacious firmament on high,
With all the blue ethereal sky,
And spangled heavens, a shining frame
Their great Original proclaim.
The unwearied sun, from day to day,
Does his Creator's powers display,
And publishes to every land
The work of an Almighty Hand.

Soon as the evening shades prevail
The moon takes up the wondrous tale,
And nightly to the listening earth
Repeats the story of her birth;
While all the stars that round her burn
And all the planets in their turn,
Confirm the tidings as they roll,
And spread the truth from pole to pole.

What though in solemn silence all
Move round the dark terrestrial ball?
What though no real voice nor sound
Amid the radiant orbs be found?
In reason's ear they all rejoice,
And utter forth a glorious voice,

Forever singing as they shine,
"The hand that made us is divine."

He was right. Along with the lilting music and powerful lyrics, we learned the scripture reference was Psalm 19, which begins:

"The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of His hands."

Reading Psalm 19 calls attention to how God's glory appears in His creation and we learn of His character in verses 7-12. His law, testimony, statutes, commandment, fear, judgment -- all are listed with their attributes. Truly they are more to be desired than fine gold!

On Wednesday night, the lyrics from the first verse came flooding back into my heart, along with the memories of learning the verses of the song and the Psalm, and I gave thanks for being in that church as a child, with the ministries that provided memorization, training that would return its investment of time as confirmation of faith.

A big thanks to Joseph Addison for the beauty of his poetry.

The 19th Psalm closes in a prayer very close to the heart of all who trust in the Lord, our God.

Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O LORD, my strength, and my redeemer. [Psalms 19:14 KJV]

May mine be so.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Dakota's Photos

If you enjoyed the link to Dakota's devotional blog in my previous entry, I'm certain you would enjoy his nature photos, too. It reminds me of Jesus' words: And he answered and said unto them, I tell you that, if these should hold their peace, the stones would immediately cry out. [Luke 19:40 KJV] Simply click on the graphic and visit:

In The Flesh

The other day I stopped by Dakota’s Blog and read his “Ungodly Sorrow.” A very appropriate bog for those fighting depression, much beyond sorrow.

It was a verse he used, though, that caught my eye.

Oh that my words were now written! oh that they were printed in a book! That they were graven with an iron pen and lead in the rock for ever! For I know that my redeemer liveth, and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth: And though after my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God: (Job 19:23-26 KJV)

A blessing for us, Job’s words were written! They actually were printed in a book – one that has lasted millennia and is available world-wide today. Surely somewhere they have been engraved into rock that all might read what Job believed.

Mine aren’t. No book, no graven with an iron pen and led into a rock. Just a few digital bytes residing on I-don’t-understand-what that can be opened on demand for a finite length of time. Yes, I believe in the same thing.

My redeemer lives!! My God is the God of the living, not the ancient dead or myths around a tribal bonfire.

He said so.

But as touching the resurrection of the dead, have ye not read that which was spoken unto you by God, saying, I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob? God is not the God of the dead, but of the living. (Matthew 22:31-32 KJV)

And He sent prophets to tell us more.

Blessed is he that readeth, and they that hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written therein: for the time is at hand. (Revelation 1:3 KJV)

Since this was written two thousand years ago, and those things which are written therein have not happened, do you think the book invalid? The prophecy without fulfillment? I believe that each and every day brings us a bit closer to these days as described. Our view of time and events is skewed, even though we know that:

For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD. (Isaiah 55:8 KJV)

Thus I can only tell you what I believe, what the verses mean to me, how I see God in His word. I cannot make anyone believe, convince them verses are important or see what God has in store for anyone but myself. I just appreciate your sharing your time with me as I look through what He wants us all to know for now.

Thank you for walking along with me. Whether through resurrection or rapture, may we stand together before Him and move together to His right. (Matthew 25:33)

Thursday, February 10, 2011



(Detail from “Jesus Discourses With His Disciples” James Tissot, Wikimedia)

Jesus preached to large crowds. We know that because of the feeding of the thousands. The Bible tells of other such large gatherings where His disciples preached. We also know this was an effective method of spreading the good news. Many followed, but some dropped out.

From that time many of his disciples went back, and walked no more with him. (John 6:66 KJV)

Jesus had just given a hard lesson, one He knew could offend. There are such lessons that separate those who lack faith. Yet we know that God’s will would have everyone saved.

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 KJV)

Deeper faith comes through discipleship. The one-to-one relationship gave us so many great preachers and teachers. One of my favorites is Polycarp, bishop of Smyrna, trained by John. I think it was his name that caught my attention, and a non-relevant comment: “Plastic fish?” Christ discipled John; John discipled Polycarp; Irenaeus heard him as a youth in the Smyrna church, and what would become France was changed forever. The teachings of Christ stepped forward from one generation to another.

To disciple new Christians, the faithful must be well-grounded in scripture and know where they stand in their own walk with our Lord. Discipling requires the ability to answer serious questions that go to the core of a believer’s doctrine. Such questions must always be answered with scripture, not personal belief or personal standards that are not supportable.

This same situation exists in our Sunday School – it is not what the teachers say, not what is in the lesson that is to be followed, it must be scriptures. If I require our Junior High girls not date, there is not a scripture to back up that statement. If, however, I explain what the scriptures say about marriage and family then ask if they are ready for such responsibilities, they can understand how much is involved in making the decision when to date.

Discipling goes much further than teaching a class. It takes much more time and dedication. To disciple, you must be available for questions at any time. Christ’s disciples walked with Him for three years. Luke traveled with the apostles for years. Read Acts and see how the narrative moves from “they” to “we” to get an idea how far he travelled.

Where are you in the walk with our Lord? Are you ready to be discipled, looking for someone to answer questions or help in growing faith? Or, are you ready to disciple another, ready provide scriptures for their questions, but also grow with them into greater faith?

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Use By

Sometimes in plain dates, sometimes in code, packaged food items have “Best if used by” dates. I noticed one on my cats’ treat bottle. According to the date, these are at their best for over a year and a half. Recently we cleaned out pantry shelves, tossing some items that were waaaay past their Best Use By dates.

When I noticed the cat treats today, I thought of the thief on the cross next to Jesus.

And he said unto Jesus, Lord, remember me when thou comest into thy kingdom. And Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, To day shalt thou be with me in paradise. (Luke 23:42-43 KJV)

How much witness can one do in less than a day? This man’s witness was recorded and millennia later we read of his acceptance of Jesus as God’s son and the future king. I wonder if he saw any more than innocence when he looked into Jesus’ face?

Or the centurion, what did he see in Jesus before he said:

And when the centurion, which stood over against him, saw that he so cried out, and gave up the ghost, he said, Truly this man was the Son of God. (Mark 15:39 KJV)

Compared to the time spent by Peter or the area covered by Paul, their time was short. No books, no preaching, no reading from God’s word to vast audiences, yet their witness resonates though their Best Used By date was short.

What’s our Best Used By date? Have we done our best and are backing off, or is our best yet to come? Or have we ignored Him, not responding to His stated purpose:

For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost. (Luke 19:10 KJV)

Have we acknowledged His purpose? Have we aided His purpose? Have stood before others and repeated the centurion’s words?

Most of us don’t know our Best Used By date. It may come early in our lives, or very late. We may have decades, or be one of those who leave this world today. None of us know how much time we have left in our lives.

Before we stand before Him, what will we do about Him?

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Measuring Marigolds


Well, this one is measuring raspberries, because I couldn’t find a graphic showing an inchworm measuring marigolds. If inchworms and marigolds don’t go together in your mind, you didn’t spend a few years listening to Captain Kangaroo.

It was a morning television show for children from 1955 through 1984, covering my late teens through my children’s early teens. I heard the inchworm song a lot!!

Two and two are four
Four and four are eight
Eight and eight are sixteen
Sixteen and sixteen are thirty-two
Inchworm, inchworm
Measuring the marigold

What brought that to mind was a couple of snowbound parents admitting they know all the lyrics to Veggie Tale songs. A word here (such as inchworm) or there (such as marigolds) triggers a tune in our minds. Another blogger brought to mind an itsy bitsy spider (and had much better luck at graphics!!

What we teach our children resonates in our own minds as well as theirs. What do you want in your mind for the rest of your life, and the rest of theirs? I could simply say,”There are no children in my home. The question is not for me.” I would be wrong. There are many children in my life.

I don’t see children every day, but absolutely do for several days out of the week. What I teach them is important to both of us. And, I’ve been given instructions.

And thou shalt love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might. And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart: And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up. (Deuteronomy 6:5-7 KJV)

Singing is an excellent method of teaching. Moses knew this, as did Deborah, David and others:

Then sang Moses and the children of Israel this song unto the LORD, (Exodus 15:1 KJV)

Hear, O ye kings; give ear, O ye princes; I, even I, will sing unto the LORD; I will sing praise to the LORD God of Israel. (Judges 5:3 KJV)

Give thanks unto the LORD, call upon his name, make known his deeds among the people. Sing unto him, sing psalms unto him, talk ye of all his wondrous works. (1 Chronicles 16:8-9 KJV)

This doesn’t apply to you? Go ahead, think of church and your childhood. What did you sing in church? Now, try to get that out of your head. Ask your child if they know that song.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Are we in the square?


Intelligence community under fire for Egypt surprise” was the headline. "U.S. intelligence agencies are drawing criticism from the Oval Office and Capitol Hill that they failed to warn of revolts in Egypt", is the lead, and the next paragraph quotes President Obama’s observation that he was "disappointed with the intelligence community".

Yet, the article also contains what we’ve all known for years – the Middle East is unstable. There is discontent in many of the countries over the disparity of wealth, rising food prices and many other factors. Actually, I find it odd that anyone would expect a status quo.

The article quotes, “as tensions and protests built in Tunisia, it was fully anticipated that this activity could spread”. It has.

Seeing such a mob reminds me of the crowd that gathered to call for Jesus’ crucifixion. They were in one accord. Unlike the Egyptians of today, crying for the removal of a man from office, the crowd back then responded to Pilates question:

And they cried out again, Crucify him. (Mark 15:13 KJV)

Pilate washed his hands of the problem, knowing Jesus’ innocence. The crowd took responsibility.

Then answered all the people, and said, His blood be on us, and on our children. (Matthew 27:25 KJV)

Thankfully, that did not happen. Christ knew what had to be done, why it had to be and He forgave them before He died.

Then said Jesus, Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do. And they parted his raiment, and cast lots. (Luke 23:34 KJV)

He forgave them, life went on – but the future changed. Egyptians are gathering to change their future, too. And other countries will be affected. With Christ, all mankind has opportunities. What stand will we take?

Sunday, February 6, 2011

The Prayer Breakfast

President Obama: Remarks at National Prayer Breakfast. Washington Hilton Hotel, Washington, D.C.

(Detail from 2009 National Prayer Breakfast – Wikipedia Media)

Since 1953 (Eisenhower was president) there has been a National Prayer Breakfast held in Washington, D. C. I was reading about what one President said about his faith.

He stated that at the top of his prayer list are "those who are struggling." He prays they will receive help. He went on to say, "And that's why I continue to believe that in a caring and in a just society, government must have a role to play; that our values, our love and our charity must find expression not just in our families, not just in our places of work and our places of worship, but also in our government and in our politics."

He spoke of praying for humility -- and laughed that God answered that prayer by giving him his wife. True, a wife can be such a reminder. He brought another laugh when he said he prayed that his daughter's dress would grow a bit longer as he watched her leave the house.

He quoted scripture to show that only God has perfect knowledge. He also said, "The challenge I find then is to balance this uncertainty, this humility, with the need to fight for deeply held convictions, to be open to other points of view but firm in our core principles. And I pray for this wisdom every day,"

He also told how he deals with criticism of his religion, "We are reminded that ultimately what matters is not what other people say about us, but whether we're being true to our conscience and true to our God."

If you wish to hear his entire speech, look for the 2011 National Prayer Breakfast held in Washington, D. C. This event has been described as violating separation of church and state and many groups asked President Obama and congressional leaders not to participate.

I believe we should follow God's word in praying for attendees, and our President, who spoke of his faith again this year. We've been instructed to do this:

I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men; For kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty. (1 Timothy 2:1-2 KJV)

And, we've been given the reason why:

For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour; Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth. (1 Timothy 2:3-4 KJV)

Let us pray together, as Paul said:

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

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Beloved’s Verse


The above verse is on a church sign in front of a home on our way to church. My Beloved Husband chose another one. Pastor used it last week, and Beloved Husband has indicated it’s the one he would like to see on our wall:

I will love thee, O LORD, my strength. The LORD is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer; my God, my strength, in whom I will trust; my buckler, and the horn of my salvation, and my high tower. (Psalms 18:1-2 KJV)

I like having scripture surround us, and have a few framed verses, but this one would be made on my granddaughter’s Silhouette. She created the verse on Second Daughter’s wall and I’m really looking forward to having some on ours – not just framed, but the words flowing. Having them reminds me of:

And thou shalt write them upon the posts of thy house, and on thy gates. (Deuteronomy 6:9 KJV)

We also have a scripture sign in our front yard. It’s available to all of our church members and as we drive around this end of the county we can pick out members’ homes. Well almost – there are some of our neighbors who have requested scripture signs, too.

We also keep them in our hearts, as Solomon suggested.

Keep my commandments, and live; and my law as the apple of thine eye. Bind them upon thy fingers, write them upon the table of thine heart. (Proverbs 7:2-3 KJV)

What if every person of faith would put a sign in their own yard? Shouldn’t the message be as wide spread? What if we really wrote them on the door posts? My, oh, my! Everyone walking up to our door would know we were Christians! Could you live with that?

I know a family that displays one on the back window of their car. They share the word wherever they go. Where do you show your scriptures?

If you haven’t yet, what verse would you choose? What message from the scriptures would you share? Where would you share it?

Come to know the scriptures – they will show the power of God.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Jury’s In


Reading God's word never ceases to amaze me, bring me comfort, stir my curiosity, raise questions, provide answers -- it is my constant companion. I have one I carry to church, several for study and I've had a copy on my PDA's and smartphones for years, a copy always in my purse. I now have one with ten bookmarks that I only pick up to read.

It's not quite a month since I followed Bro. Brad Gilbert's introduction to Professor Grant Horner's Bible Reading System, a slightly different method of Bible reading. You can find the PDF instructions and bookmarks here.

I thoroughly enjoyed immersing myself in God's word, yet it didn't take more than thirty uninterrupted minutes to read the ten chapters each day. I know it will take more by the time I reach Psalm 119, but, hey -- it just will!

It does take a moment for re-orientation as I move from one bookmark to another. At times it's as though the concept of God's sovereignty flows from one to the other, though the times and writers are so different.

I've learned, too, not to stop and study. I have a small pad with the Bible and when a specific thought comes to mind I jot down the verse, maybe a word or two, but I've become disciplined enough to move on and not write a blog entry about it. Frankly, I haven't even gone back to the pad for inspiration on blogging. I'm sticking to my regular items from daily thoughts and searches.

I encourage you to give it a try for a month. Print out the four pages of instructions along with the ten bookmarks. Understand what he has in mind, then read the first ten chapters. If you miss a day, no big loss. The bookmarks are still there, there is no time limit, no milestones missed. I've missed several this month, but always enjoyed returning to pick up where I left off.

At the end of your month's trial, I would be very interested in your thoughts about this method of reading through the Bible. If you don't want to comment publicly, please send me an e-mail -- the address is in my Blogger profile.


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

Be prepared to have your faith strengthened. He also promised:

So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it. (Isaiah 55:11 KJV)

Thursday, February 3, 2011

NOT, Again


(Big THANKS to Mark Hopkins for this single-instance use of “Touched”. Please take time to visit his gallery)

Thinking about yesterday's post, there are quite a few other things Jesus did NOT do here while He taught His disciples.

He did NOT heal everyone. We're told He healed many and there were specific instances given. We are not told that he declined to heal any that came to Him, but there was no wholesale healing for a specified area around Him. We know one woman was healed simply by touching His garment, and He was aware of that touch.

And Jesus, immediately knowing in himself that virtue had gone out of him, turned him about in the press, and said, Who touched my clothes? [Mark 5:30 KJV]

His disciples thought He had lost His mind.

And his disciples said unto him, Thou seest the multitude thronging thee, and sayest thou, Who touched me? [Mark 5:31 KJV]

They didn't understand Him any more than we do, and they walked with Him hour by hour.

Jesus did NOT set up an earthly kingdom. Oh, the Jews were expecting that then and still are today. The salvation they sought was from Rome, not from their sins. They wanted a bigger piece of this world, not of the spiritual one He offered . We're no different. We continue to lay up treasures here on earth -- and losing them to natural or man-made disasters. Pilate asked about His kingdom.

Jesus answered, My kingdom is not of this world: if my kingdom were of this world, then would my servants fight, that I should not be delivered to the Jews: but now is my kingdom not from hence. [John 18:36 KJV]

Jesus did NOT force people to follow Him. When He sent the seventy, they had their instructions as to what to say and to heal, but they were also instructed how to deal with those who did not accept, too.

But into whatsoever city ye enter, and they receive you not, go your ways out into the streets of the same, and say, Even the very dust of your city, which cleaveth on us, we do wipe off against you: notwithstanding be ye sure of this, that the kingdom of God is come nigh unto you. But I say unto you, that it shall be more tolerable in that day for Sodom, than for that city. [Luke 10:10-12 KJV]

Jesus did NOT ignore sin. Even thoughtless sin from those about Him.

But he turned, and said unto Peter, Get thee behind me, Satan: thou art an offence unto me: for thou savourest not the things that be of God, but those that be of men. [Matthew 16:23 KJV]

Peter took the admonition to heart. Many church members, on the other hand, become angry, even leave their church, when a sermon approaches any condemnation of their lifestyle choices. We fail to understand that the world was condemned before He was born. He explained to Nicodemus:

For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. [John 3:17 KJV]

However, there is another side to that coin. Without His salvation, the condemnation remains.

He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. [John 3:18 KJV]

I recently commented on how many people can quote John 3:16 and speak of God's love for this world, yet they do not read the next two verses and come to the light of the world.

Too many of us do NOT.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

What He Didn’t Do


History is made up of things that happened. Sometimes fiction is written about a differing outcome, but in school we concentrate on dates, people and events. We make up rhymes to help us remember.

Some are not quite sufficient. For example, we learned: Columbus sailed the ocean blue in 1492. Then someone taught us: Columbus sailed the deep blue sea in 1493. Mustn’t forget: Columbus set sail once more in 1494! Confusing.

Christians talk, write, read and teach about what Christ did while He was here on earth. Most of our Bibles have a Harmony of the Gospels to show what occurred chronologically. It is good to do such studies, to check what was done, with whom, what was said and why.

However, we also need to take a look at what Jesus did NOT do. He did not bring people into the Temple to worship God. Oh, he was in the Temple often, speaking, reading and usually making its leaders angry. But He didn’t spend most of His time in Jerusalem. He spent it walking across Judea speaking to the people. And, He didn’t confine those visits to Jews.

Another thing He did NOT do was set up a priestly system with overseers. Many denominations have done an excellent job of that, but Christ did not. Instead He sent His followers out to speak to others, just as He had done. His instructions were simply to tell people that the kingdom of God was nigh (Luke 10).

He did NOT build a great university, gathering professors to expound on the greatness of God or His creation. He taught one-on-one, as with Nicodemus; He taught in small groups, as with the twelve. He taught multitudes on hillsides. He had no campuses, no professors, no debates.

That doesn’t mean any of these things are bad, just that they were not necessary for His purpose. His purpose is not ours, either. We are to witness to others regarding His life, but His purpose was to glorify His father and to die for the sins of the world. We are not called to do so. We are called to be a part of the body of Christ working in this world to do his bidding. We have different gifts to accomplish our tasks, too.

Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, whether prophecy, let us prophesy according to the proportion of faith; Or ministry, let us wait on our ministering: or he that teacheth, on teaching; Or he that exhorteth, on exhortation: he that giveth, let him do it with simplicity; he that ruleth, with diligence; he that sheweth mercy, with cheerfulness. (Romans 12:6-8 KJV)

Within that body, we have specific tasks, all designed to work toward perfection:

And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: (Ephesians 4:11-12 KJV)

We must take care that it’s not our ‘perfection’, but Christ’s we use as our goal.

For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ: (Ephesians 4:12-13 KJV)

We do this to grow!

That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive; (Ephesians 4:14 KJV)

Tuesday, February 1, 2011


Well, we're under the white part. Appears that we'll come out from under the snow shortly, maybe without receiving much more. When I let the dogs out this morning, the snow was packed up against the doggie door -- and that's on the south side of the house! Well, sort of southwest, but the bulk of the house should have protected their run slightly.

I wondered how many times snow was mentioned in the Bible and found twenty-four verses. Most references were descriptive:

His countenance was like lightning, and his raiment white as snow: [Matthew 28:3 KJV]


I beheld till the thrones were cast down, and the Ancient of days did sit, whose garment was white as snow, and the hair of his head like the pure wool: his throne was like the fiery flame, and his wheels as burning fire. [Daniel 7:9 KJV]

Which is so similar to:

And in the midst of the seven candlesticks one like unto the Son of man, clothed with a garment down to the foot, and girt about the paps with a golden girdle. His head and his hairs were white like wool, as white as snow; and his eyes were as a flame of fire; [Revelation 1:13-14 KJV]

More often being white as snow refers to leprosy, as in the first reference, where God is preparing Moses to confront pharoah. God tells him why, then creates miracles upon command:

That they may believe that the LORD God of their fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, hath appeared unto thee. And the LORD said furthermore unto him, Put now thine hand into thy bosom. And he put his hand into his bosom: and when he took it out, behold, his hand was leprous as snow. And he said, Put thine hand into thy bosom again. And he put his hand into his bosom again; and plucked it out of his bosom, and, behold, it was turned again as his other flesh. [Exodus 4:5-7 KJV]

I was also reminded:

For he saith to the snow, Be thou on the earth; [Job 37:6 KJV]

Each reference speaks of His abilities that are so far above ours, yet He cares for us. Simply awesome.

So, we continue to await spring. I know many of you are affected by the storm and I pray for your safety.