Monday, January 31, 2011

Stepping Out

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]

Isn’t that the truth?!?! And I’m grateful for that. I’m reminded of it when I read about Christ’s life.

And in the fourth watch of the night Jesus went unto them, walking on the sea. [Matthew 14:25 KJV]

See what I mean? How many of us even think about walking across water, much less do so? We think it can’t be done, just as Christ’s disciples.

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

Just as the disciples, we cry out in fear when we realize that Christ can do things we cannot, therefore we do not understand and we back away. Peter didn’t, though. Impetuous as usual, when Christ identified himself, Peter wanted to join Him.

But straightway Jesus spake unto them, saying, Be of good cheer; it is I; be not afraid. And Peter answered him and said, Lord, if it be thou, bid me come unto thee on the water. And he said, Come. And when Peter was come down out of the ship, he walked on the water, to go to Jesus. [Matthew 14:27-29 KJV]

You know He calls us, still. One of my favorites is where Peter tells us that in 2 Peter 3:9. He wrote from his own experience. Jesus called him to be a fisher of men and he responded. He called to Jesus to “bid me come unto thee.” Jesus responded, “Come,” and Peter did. He was walking on the water just as the Christ. For a few moments, then worldly things got in his mind.

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

Not that the wind affected him or caused him to fail, but his fear did. He had sufficient faith to step out onto the water and head for Jesus. He lacked the faith that Christ could uphold him in the boisterous wind.

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]

As Christians today, we react much the same. You’d think we’d learn over the centuries, but every once in a while those white clouds in the distance become dark and boisterous and we lean to our own understanding, even when we’ve been told not to:

Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. [Proverbs 3:5 KJV]

Step out in faith. Even if it is not as we expect, for His thoughts are not ours, He is able to sustain.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

On With The New


Would you really want to crawl around chewing on leaves in a lumpy body with dozens of feet? How about if you knew that there would be a period of rest, then you could fly?

That’s such a beautiful picture of what Christians expect. No, we do not think it’s the same as the butterfly, but the analogy fits. We’re humans, tied to this earth, confined to work and eat and sleep and repeat. I wrote a children’s story about Billy’s Garden where Clarence Caterpillar did just that, then changed and learned to fly.

He did not change on his own. He changed according to God’s plan for his species. Now, let’s take a look at God’s plan for us.

God’s plan has stages for us, too: Without God; with God in us; with God. Too often that middle stage is missed and God is not to be found in us. There is no ‘fruit of the spirit’ (Galatians 5:22, Ephesians 5:9) to show how we love Him because He first loved us. (1 John 4:19) Once we’ve accepted Christ as our savior, the first change takes place and God is in us:

And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever; Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you. (John 14:16-17 KJV)

Then begins the change – the putting off of the old, and putting on the new:

That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts; And be renewed in the spirit of your mind; And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness. (Ephesians 4:22-24 KJV)

That doesn’t get us to the flying stage, though. Those changes just help us keep His commandment to love Him and others, and show that love in our actions. The real change comes in the transition from this life to our home.

Therefore we are always confident, knowing that, whilst we are at home in the body, we are absent from the Lord: (For we walk by faith, not by sight:) We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord. (2 Corinthians 5:6-8 KJV)

Paul speaks of this last change:

In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. (1 Corinthians 15:52-53 KJV)

So, I will not have the beautiful wings of a butterfly, but I will put on incorruptible immortality. He says so. I believe. Do you?

Saturday, January 29, 2011



No, that’s not really my calendar. I keep mine on my iPhone so the changes are not as apparent. But this past week’s schedule might have appeared this way had it been on paper. So very much happened. The one day I wasn’t at a doctor’s office or hospital, I attended a funeral.

Two days were spent with First Daughter, one while they did a mylegram and and a scan at the hospital (she had minor complications and remains dizzy), the other was an EMG where they place electrodes and poke needles into nerves. Neither one much fun at all. The other medical trips were for a Good Friend’s pre-op and Beloved Husband’s therapy. Both are recovering. My own health seems to be fine, thank you very much for asking.

First Daughter, though, is not, and prayer for her upcoming surgery will be greatly appreciated, please! She’s paying a neurosurgeon to slit her throat. Don’t worry, it’s not only the same operation that gave me relief several years ago, it’s the same surgeon. Odd, it’s not really for the same reason, though.

I had a herniated disk between C3-C4 and congenital stenosis of the spinal. Hers is caused by the multiple rear-end accidents people have given her since she was eighteen. Most of them occurred when she was stopped at a stop sign or stopped by traffic in front of her. It’s almost as though there was a sign on the back of her car with a huge target.

What ever the causes, she will undergo surgery next Thursday morning and we truly covet your prayers for her speedy recovery.

When praying, please give thanks.

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

Throughout the Bible, we are exhorted to give thanks.

Give thanks unto the LORD, call upon his name, make known his deeds among the people. (1 Chronicles 16:8 KJV)

We give thanks for the ability of the surgeon, for the caring staff at the hospital, for the congregational prayer support. All of these available by the mercy of God. For these blessings and much, much more, we give thanks. Please, join with us in prayer.

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

Friday, January 28, 2011



There it is, in one sign. What a contradiction. How can this be the entrance when we’re told not to enter? Of course, it brought to mind a scripture:

For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace, as in all churches of the saints. (1 Corinthians 14:33 KJV)

Many would refute that verse. They say the Bible is full of contradictions. That there are verses that say one thing and a bit later other verses state the opposite. I’m certainly not going to list anyone’s list here, especially since I do not find truth in that statement.

Paul tells us in 2 Timothy 3:16 why we have scriptures:

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

The Greek written for “inspiration” is theopneustos. That first syllable relates to God, the remainder of the word is used for ‘breathed.’ I would assume the author meant that all scripture comes from God. Peter confirms this viewpoint as he wrote of what first century Christians considered scriptures:

For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost. (2 Peter 1:21 KJV)

(That takes me back to High Priest Caiaphas’s prophecy we discussed a couple of days ago – speaking words given by the Holy Spirit.)

A bit later, Peter writes of Paul’s epistles:

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)

John, in Revelation 22:18-19, outlines how serious it is to add to or to take away from the word of God.

To paraphrase a statement made by Charles Wesley, the Bible is either right or wrong. It was created by good men, bad men or God. Good men would not tell lies, bad men would not write condemning their own sins, and themselves to hell. If it is of God, it must be right.

Some philosophical debater could refute my statement and show contradictions, and in fact, some have done so. I believe the Bible has shown to be true in what it says about men, God and itself.

Whenever I hear of such contradictions, I turn to the Bible in prayer and study before and after those verses. Are they talking about the same thing, or are there differences in time, place, persons? Is it language differences where a word is used in a different context, could the word have varying meanings? Study the variables, for it is important to find the answers for yourself.

We can’t know it all. There are things we will not know. Daniel and John were given major prophecies to tell the world. Both were told to keep some things back, things we are not to know. But I do not believe contradictions were among those things.

Find out for yourself about the Bible. Is it an entrance? Are we not to enter?

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Wish you had been here …

… with us.  Back in March of 2010 I wrote about a Baptist Funeral, telling you a bit about what I have in mind.  Statistics show it wasn’t well read (probably because of THAT word) but there were two comments.

Wednesday I attended such a Baptist funeral, designed to celebrate life.


That is a copy of the banner lifted behind the pastor.  It was created by her husband to help us celebrate her life.  Earlier Marty had written his beautiful feelings acknowledging God’s sovereignty and kindly allowed it to be reposted.  In Wednesday’s service we did celebrate her life with us, and her life that continues with the Lord.

A slide show of Lisa’s beautiful smile (always as in the banner) in so many photos crossed a screen to the front right of the sanctuary as we entered.  Their previous pastor gave her favorite verse:

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

She displayed her trust throughout her life, even in her last conscious interaction, and He had directed her path, all the way home. Her pastor spoke using “Lisa is …” for our God is Lord of the living, as He said:

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 22:32 KJV)

Attendees had an opportunity to write a card of our memories to leave for Marty.  Several were read during the service by her dear friends and all will go to Marty and the children for their own memory building.

Our pastor spoke of Lisa’s homeschooling; how she taught Sunday school classes; how she taught piano (without charging) to anyone interested in music; how she and Marty had boxes of Bibles in their home to give away.  He spoke of the recent times they discussed her future. While she held no fear, there was some apprehension about the process of death, but no hesitation regarding what awaited her afterward.

And, he gave the gospel – just as I explained in my earlier post.  He gave us John 3:16, along with John 3:18, then the end of that chapter, John 3:36.  He moved on to Romans 10:13, and reminded us that for all the good we know about Lisa, none of that helped her into heaven. Her belief in Christ fulfilled the scriptures.

Pink and silver balloons were released by those who went to the cemetery.  They were to remind us of the last song during the service, Chris Rice’s untitled that calls us to “Come to Jesus, and live.”

I’ve been involved in on-line discussions that include how much denial there is about our own death, or of those we love.  I must remind my readers not to avoid the subject nor the preparations, especially the spiritual.  And, I’ll leave you with my favorite, most faithful feelings about my own home going:

Ye have heard how I said unto you, I go away, and come again unto you. If ye loved me, ye would rejoice, because I said, I go unto the Father: for my Father is greater than I. (John 14:28 KJV)

Grieving for what we miss is natural, but rejoicing about the future we attain is truth, too.  Come to Jesus, and live.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

How Much Change?


”Paul in Damascus” Detail from unidentified work on Wiki Commons

Following his conversion from non-believer to accepting Jesus’ deity, Paul’s change of heart was noticeable – and noticed.

And straightway he preached Christ in the synagogues, that he is the Son of God. But all that heard him were amazed, and said; Is not this he that destroyed them which called on this name in Jerusalem, and came hither for that intent, that he might bring them bound unto the chief priests? (Acts 9:20-21 KJV)

Most Christians do not find their conversion changes to be this public, but they certainly should be noticed by those sharing their lives. We all do things as unbelievers that we should not be doing as Christians.

A recent lesson for our Junior High Girls was taken from Ephesians 4 – putting off the old and putting on the new. The old unbeliever might have held grudges, participated in gossip, used inappropriate language, lied, stolen – a dozen little things.

Now that doesn’t sound like felonies, does it. Especially among teenagers, right? Their emotions leap by bounds from one to another, and their conversations do the same. They do get angry, they do hold grudges, gossip about the latest piece of information they’ve heard, repeated conversations with language they’ve heard at home or at school, lied for protection and swiped a pen or pencil without thinking.

The problems grow when we continue to do these childish things as adults. Yes, we grow angry and hold grudges, even against family members. We read gossip in the headlines of major papers and accept it as news, spreading our own unsupported viewpoint without research. We allow inappropriate (= foul) language into our homes through television and pay to hear it in movie theaters, without complaint. Then we’re shocked to hear children repeat those same words. We lie. Again, for our own protection or to hurt another. As for stealing, we take things from others, ranging from their time to their money. Haven’t you? I know I have.

When we become Christians, the old should be put off and the new put on. That new is laid out across many scriptures. A few examples follow this scripture:

And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness. (Ephesians 4:24 KJV)

Not self-righteousness, but God’s. Paul’s writings about putting off the old and putting on the new followed his own conversion, his own change.

But Saul increased the more in strength, and confounded the Jews which dwelt at Damascus, proving that this is very Christ. (Acts 9:22 KJV)

He converted people then and his writings helped convert me, proving that this is the very Christ! May we also confound those who do not understand our belief. We should always measure our interaction with Paul’s chapter close:

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, January 25, 2011



Christ before Caiaphas by Mattias Stom, 1630 (Wiki Commons)

Sunday morning's sermon was on Caiaphas' prophecy. It made me think about how God does not need any one of us to accomplish His will. Oh, He has tasks for us, but if we resist another will be sent to accomplish His purpose.

The first verse that comes to mind regarding this is in Esther. I've used it enough that you may know it by heart:

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)

Mordecai firmly believed that his God was capable of providing deliverance for His people independent of any individual. God does not need us, He wants us. However, we do have to listen to him. Caiaphas didn't listen, although that was His job. He listened to people and politics. He listened to what people wanted, and what they feared. (My, oh, my. Does that sound familiar?)

If we let him thus alone, all men will believe on him: and the Romans shall come and take away both our place and nation. (John 11:48 KJV)

So, it wasn't sufficient to ignore Jesus and just leave Him alone -- then or today. If His enemies do, all men will believe on him. Worse than that the Romans (substitute anything that stands between men and what they want) shall come and take away. Well, today they don't so much take away as just keep us from things we want.

Caiaphas had the answer to protect his world.

Nor consider that it is expedient for us, that one man should die for the people, and that the whole nation perish not. (John 11:50 KJV)

From our point of view, that is a tremendous prophecy. Caiaphas happened to be the high priest at that time. If there were to be a prophecy regarding the Messiah, it should have come from his lips -- and it did. One man to save all. Why not, sin entered through one man:

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

And the opportunity to remove it came through one man:

For if through the offence of one many be dead, much more the grace of God, and the gift by grace, which is by one man, Jesus Christ, hath abounded unto many. (Romans 5:15b KJV)

That's the point that Caiaphas missed. He heard it from spies in John 11:46, he heard it from Christ at His trial in John 18, he heard it from Peter in Acts 4. He denied them all in Acts 4:16 and demanded that they spread their message no further. Peter spoke for Christians then, and for us today:

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 KJV)

We continue to do so.

Monday, January 24, 2011



There are 107 verses in the Old Testament that contain ‘help.’ Forty of those verses are in the Psalms alone. Only ten verses with that word are found in the New Testament.

We all need help along the way. David was never too proud to ask for it, as Pastor read from one of his psalms last night:

Help, LORD; for the godly man ceaseth; for the faithful fail from among the children of men. (Psalms 12:1 KJV)

It appears that way today, as we hear of churches closing or splits within denominations. One such denomination was in the news last night. Separation within the American portion of the Anglican Communion has ended up in secular courts, one side requesting secular help in determining a religious question.

Paul wrote against this specifically:

Dare any of you, having a matter against another, go to law before the unjust, and not before the saints? (1 Corinthians 6:1 KJV)

Paul then goes into the Christian’s job description:

Do ye not know that the saints shall judge the world? and if the world shall be judged by you, are ye unworthy to judge the smallest matters? Know ye not that we shall judge angels? how much more things that pertain to this life? (1 Corinthians 6:2-3 KJV)

(There! Did you see it again? That verse that piqued my curiosity in a previous post? I do have to come back to the training for that one of these days.)

Back to the subject – I believe one of the main reasons for these separations is a lack of adherence to scriptures defining the New Testament church. Had the denomination in question held to the scriptures, part of their congregations would not have left. But the groundwork is laid when portions of the Bible are deemed unusable in today’s society; when church leaders believe societal changes are more important than following God’s word.

Has God changed? Or have people simply decided that following Him is not worth their time. Most people have determined that God may exist, therefore acknowledge and say He is worshipped, but don’t let that interfere with what feels good. Above all, don’t offend anyone by saying God sets limits. Never exclude. Quote John 3:16, hold fast to John 3:17, but ignore:

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 believe Paul was being rhetorical when asking about wise men:

I speak to your shame. Is it so, that there is not a wise man among you? no, not one that shall be able to judge between his brethren? (1 Corinthians 6:5 KJV)

Don’t be ashamed – seek God’s help before seeking man’s.

Sunday, January 23, 2011



Allotment Garden, Peterborough, England

A friend in England introduced me to Allotment Gardening. Her family has eaten the fruit of their labor this last year and are making plans for the coming spring planting. It takes preparation. The garden must be prepared, weeds must be removed, soil must be turned, water must be available, all of this before the first seed is put in the ground.

Nowadays, that first seed doesn’t go into the ground, but into prepared planters in a bright window to get a head start on the season. Seedlings will go from there into the ground when frosts have past, for temperatures have an affect, too. There is not only a sense of accomplishment, but nourishment and great taste!

Jesus begins Mark 4 with a parable about seeds. Today it makes sense, but mainly because it didn’t to his disciples and they received an explanation from Him when they requested clarification. In that explanation we find:

The sower soweth the word. (Mark 4:14 KJV)

That’s me. Back, for a moment, to allotment gardening. Not all gardens are prepared or worked the same. Some are not weeded, some are sifted for every single incorrect root’s removal. My English friend had considerable work to prepare her allotment for planting. Had the previous gardener done well, their work would have been lessened.

I haven’t done any preparation in my reader’s lives. I have not removed rocks, provided water. I haven’t checked to see if the word has fallen on prepared soil at all. And, that’s OK here.

It’s not OK when it comes to my Sunday School class. That’s where preparations are a necessity. Yet even there another verse comes to mind.

And herein is that saying true, One soweth, and another reapeth. (John 4:37 KJV)

We sowers should never become impatient. Most of the vegetable seed packs give an estimate of the time it takes from planting to harvest. I, on the other hand, have no idea how long it might be for these seeds of God’s word to bear fruit – or even if they will. It may be that another teacher will tend this biblical garden, removing stones from the rocky ground or applying living water to wilted faith.

It may be long enough that I will not see the fruit. Doesn’t really matter. It’s just my calling to sow bountifully:

But this I say, He which soweth sparingly shall reap also sparingly; and he which soweth bountifully shall reap also bountifully. (2 Corinthians 9:6 KJV)

There’s another sower parable in Matthew 13 that begins:

That it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, saying, I will open my mouth in parables; I will utter things which have been kept secret from the foundation of the world. (Matthew 13:35 KJV)

Isn’t it nice to know secrets? Read this and you will.

Saturday, January 22, 2011



Habitat for Humanity volunteers, 2007 Seattle Fairmont Fair

I knew the Christmas Store was coming and had quietly kept from “making eye contact” beyond my annual commitment to do the shopping. Since I really do not like to shop, I look upon that as “over and beyond.”

Then the sweet wife of our Children’s Director stopped by as I was passing out cookies during our Wednesday children’s activities. Somehow she made her way through the squealing 3rd thru 6th grade girls (which is an outstanding feat in and of itself!) to talk to me.

“To me.” Not “With me.” Yep, she wanted to discuss the setting up and running of the Christmas Store. She made really good eye contact and explained that I had been “voluntold’ as a helper in the Store.

I love that word!! So many of us are not the first to step forward as volunteers – unless it’s something we really enjoy. Then we not only step forward, we often strong-arm other volunteers out of the way to do the things we enjoy the most. Not all jobs have people that enjoy them standing in line. Thus the word, “Voluntold.”

Think about the Bible stories that come quickly to mind – they were all voluntold, except maybe David and Goliath. David truly volunteered to fight the giant. Most of the other big name stories held back – Gideon, Jonah, Moses. Quite a few others didn’t volunteer, but answered the call rather quickly, as Jesus’ disciples did.

Paul really had to be voluntold!! Talk about a complete turn around, that’s Paul’s story.

Did you know that’s what repent means? Strong’s tells us it means to think differently, or afterward to reconsider. When we repent, we do feel remorse for our sins, and we think differently. We have some suggestions that Paul sent to Philippi:

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

We make changes in our lives, putting off the old and replacing it with the new. The what and how of that replacement is best seen in Ephesian’s fourth chapter.

And be renewed in the spirit of your mind; And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness. (Ephesians 4:23-24 KJV)

But, that change has to be volunteered. It cannot be voluntold.

Have you offered to enter His service, filled with freedom and promise? Have you stepped forward in faith to the hoped for and unseen?

Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. (Hebrews 11:1 KJV)

Friday, January 21, 2011

Acts 3


“Healing Of The Lame Man” (Detail) by Raphael 1515

Then Peter said, Silver and gold have I none; but such as I have give I thee: In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth rise up and walk. (Acts 3:6 KJV)

There is no indication the lame man’s life was endangered by his affliction. Certainly there were others in the city with similar or worse disabilities. He did not ask Peter for healing, just for money – which Peter did not have.

Do we give what Peter gave? The name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth. In this instance, the name healed. When we give it, it may provide the direction to a soul’s salvation. Which would be most beneficial in the long run? Walk today, or live eternally?

And he leaping up stood, and walked, and entered with them into the temple, walking, and leaping, and praising God. And all the people saw him walking and praising God: (Acts 3:8-9 KJV)

Praising God, praising God!! They didn’t thank Peter, they praised God. They marveled at one man’s healing, not thinking about the others that sat nearby.

And when Peter saw it, he answered unto the people, Ye men of Israel, why marvel ye at this? or why look ye so earnestly on us, as though by our own power or holiness we had made this man to walk? (Acts 3:12 KJV)

Peter turns this into one marvelous opportunity to glorify God through His son, Jesus Christ. Peter speaks directly to their rejection of Christ.

But ye denied the Holy One and the Just, and desired a murderer to be granted unto you; And killed the Prince of life, whom God hath raised from the dead; whereof we are witnesses. (Acts 3:14-15 KJV)

How many still denying Him today? Oh, they are not calling for Barabbas, nor are they calling for crucifixion – they simply say He is a myth, a desire to believe the unbelievable. The result is the same. Prophecies written for thousands of years were fulfilled in this man.

But those things, which God before had shewed by the mouth of all his prophets, that Christ should suffer, he hath so fulfilled. (Acts 3:18 KJV)

Actions are required.

Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord; (Acts 3:19 KJV)

Unto you first God, having raised up his Son Jesus, sent him to bless you, in turning away every one of you from his iniquities. (Acts 3:26 KJV)

Now it’s our turn. Study to see if this is not so.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

If God Does Not Heal (by Marty Fish)

Those of you who have read here for a while know the name Lisa Fish as a young mother of four who has battled an aggressive leukemia. During her illness all of the healing suggestions in the Bible have been followed, from laying on the hands of elders to praying without ceasing. The prayer request now is for comfort for this family that has been such a blessing to us. Wednesday, her beloved husband wrote the following and posted it to share with those who accompanied them in prayer. He has kindly given permission to share it with others who have prayed with them. Your prayers have been and are greatly appreciated.

If God Does Not Heal

by Marty Fish

on Wednesday, January 19, 2011 at 4:43pm.

What does it mean, when one adheres to the Scripture, and follows it to the letter in promises of healing, and yet no healing occurs? If one believes with all his heart - and we know the Holy Bible says if you have faith, whatever you ask will happen - yet if it does not, what does it all mean?

It means God is sovereign.

We pray, we fast, we cry out to God, we plead, and beg for him to do what WE want. When he does not, we become disillusioned, disheartened, upset, and even angry. Some become furious and angry with God, even cursing him. Many lose faith, and even reject God, because he does not DO what they WANT. It can be very upsetting and confusing. I know, because I have been through all these emotions myself.

The reality is, however, God is sovereign. This means he is not a puppet. He cannot be controlled. You cannot “name it, and claim it,” to manipulate him. If God healed every single person who cried out to him to be healed, there would be no one sick or diseased. It would be a “magic formula” that everyone would use. If he saved every person from death, who pleaded with him, there would be no one dead, yet we know everyone dies. Consider everyone in the New Testament who Jesus healed. Did they not die eventually? Yes, even Lazarus, who God raised from the dead, again had to die. We all die. God is sovereign.

In my recent anger and hurt, the Lord taught me this. In Luke 4:25 Jesus tells us, “I assure you that there were many widows in Israel in Elijah’s time, when the sky was shut for three and a half years and there was a severe famine throughout the land. Yet Elijah was not sent to any of them, but to a widow in Zarephath in the region of Sidon. And there were many in Israel with leprosy in the time of Elisha the prophet, yet not one of them was cleansed—only Naaman the Syrian.”

What this means is that in the day of Elijah, when there was a deadly drought, there were many widows dying of starvation, and the reality is, they died. God was acutely aware of that. Did God send Elijah to save them all? No, just one, and her son. Why? Because God is sovereign. This is the reality. Jesus tells us that there were many lepers in Elisha’s day, yet he healed only one. Why? Because God is sovereign. It is his choice, and we, as mere mortals, must honor and respect that.

Miracles are called “miracles,” because they are, in fact, rare. They never occur, or at least they don’t seem to. This is why, if a miracle does happen, we are able to call it a miracle. This is how God receives great glory. Quite honestly, in my lifetime, I have never seen a miracle. Do I believe they happen? Absolutely! This is what faith is for, believing the unbelievable.

These things are the reason Job said those great words, “The Lord gave, and the Lord hath taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord.” (Job 1:21b) We love to think that God gives, but we hate to accept that he also takes away. We have to accept that, trust him anyway, and bless the name of the Lord.

I know many who are sick, dying, crippled, and hurting. Does God know all this? Yes, he is acutely aware of it. Does he hear their pleas and cries? Yes, he does. Will he heal them all? No, he will not, or at least that is what it seems, based on his historical track record. Why? It is because we will all die anyway. It is not a matter of how, when, where, or why we will die. It is a matter of the heart. Will we die cursing God, or will we die blessing his name, as Job was prepared to do? This is what proves our character. Life is simply… a test.

Some of the best Christians I know are crippled, or infirmed and they love the Lord. They are godly, and amazing people. They are living miracles, or what I would call enigmas. The world looks at them and sees their mortal curse, yet they marvel at their great love, faith, and wisdom. The world cannot understand how these souls can “bless the name of the Lord,” in such great suffering and travail. This is what God does, because their mystery of suffering brings him greater glory. Yes, even greater than healing.

The book of Daniel teaches us a great lesson. Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego were about to be burned alive, for not bowing down to an idol. They answered and said to the king, “If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of thine hand, O king. But if not, be it known unto thee, O king, that we will not serve thy gods, nor worship the golden image which thou hast set up.” (Daniel 3:17-18)

“But if not…” Those are three powerful words. They knew God could save them, if he wanted to, but they were wise and knew that he might not, just as well. Either way, they were prepared to live for him, no matter the consequences. That is what God wants from each of us as well.

So dear friends, I write these words with a heavy heart, knowing that my dear wife Lisa is in her final hour. I have been broken hearted beyond explanation. She is barely breathing, and holding on for dear life, and we are all hurting. Yet, I know that God is able to deliver her. But if not, bless the name of the Lord, because in all things, God is, and will always be, sovereign

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

The World Is Not Perfect


I was reading in the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy when I ran across this:

“There is also a famous problem casting doubt on the existence of God: Why, if God is an omniscient, omnipotent, and benevolent being, is there evil in the world?”

Guess I’m not a very good philosophy student, for this question has an answer:

God is as described, (within our limited abilities) omniscient, omnipotent and benevolent. There is evil in this world. Therefore, there is something about evil that God knows and we do not, for no man has evidenced omniscience, omnipotence nor benevolence. Why would we expect this world to be nothing but good?

There is not only evil in this world, there is pain and suffering. And, in the natural course of life, there is death. We’ve all been touched by it. A friend’s baby lost to a wrapped umbilical cord just days before his due date, all the way up to an uncle who celebrated his 102nd birthday. My husband had three aunts in their 90’s, quite capable of living in their own, separate, homes while a five-year-old nephew died in his sleep from an unknown, undiscoverable birth defect.

Recently a mother died from complications after a surgery for cancer, only two months after her initial diagnosis. Another fights a year later, and we may lose her before you read this. Others retain their bodies, while their minds slowly die, taking all knowledge of their loved ones. There is pain.

Why? I do not know. I don’t believe we are supposed to know, now.

However, my faith is not dependent on the unearned blessings of a far off deity that cannot be comprehended. It is dependent upon the deity that cared enough to speak to His creation through thousands of years. One who inspired their writings. One who came in flesh to provide not only the propitiation for our errors, but to show us that we, too, can live as His examples.

It is in small verses such as this that my curiosity is piqued.

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

What does He have in store for us after this life?

For since the beginning of the world men have not heard, nor perceived by the ear, neither hath the eye seen, O God, beside thee, what he hath prepared for him that waiteth for him. (Isaiah 64:4 KJV)

Some will say there is nothing after this life. Death brings only cessation of the body, which holds nothing more.

I will not bet my life they are right. I will search for answers, daily, through His word, prayer – and even hear the words of the naysayer – though to this point there has been nothing to convince me otherwise. I believe His Son said:

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)

Some will call our religion vain.

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

The center core of my belief resides in the resurrection of Jesus, the Messiah.

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

And that He rose after being the Lamb of God which taketh away the sin of the world. (John 1:29b.)

What’s yours?

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

The Church

Philip Bassham's 'Project Thailand' website

Earlier this weekend I had read Nick Baines’ blog regarding an “academic ecumenical conference” that was held and included an “explication of ecclesiological heterogeneity inherent in Fresh Expressions, Emerging Church.”

That prepared me a bit for Sunday evening’s service. How I wish Bishop Baines could have been at our old-fashioned then to hear Philip Bassham, missionary on deputation give an enthusiastic, very spiritual, view of the church he’s serving.

He started with:

Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord. (Ephesians 5:22 KJV)

Nope, we didn’t get the almost-expected “submission” sermon. Verifying we knew them, he skipped another ten verses to introduce an explanation of the church:

This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the church. (Ephesians 5:32 KJV)

He then described the Bride of Christ, cared for by Him in the same manner He requires an earthly husband to care for his wife. He moved on to another of Paul’s descriptions of the church and how it is made up of so many different parts, all working together to accomplish God’s will through Christ:

For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body: so also is Christ. (1 Corinthians 12:12 KJV)

How could this be? A bride? A body? How does it all come together? Ah, that is the beauty of the mystery – we’ve been told how to build this church:

And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone; In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord: In whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit. (Ephesians 2:20-22 KJV)

So, we’ve come to understand how Christ protects and cares for those who make up the body of the church that is built on the strength of Himself as it’s chief corner stone. What’s next? We’re to tell others, who are to tell still others:

And the things that thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also. (2 Timothy 2:2 KJV)

Are we committing our faith to those who will teach others?

Monday, January 17, 2011



Jesus, Mary and Martha at Bethany by James Tissot 1836-1902

Preacher’s sermon Sunday morning was about a family in Bethany. The earlier stop in Bethany told how Mary sat at Jesus’ feet while Martha spent her time being hospitable to her guests. She spoke to our Lord about her feelings:

But Martha was cumbered about much serving, and came to him, and said, Lord, dost thou not care that my sister hath left me to serve alone? bid her therefore that she help me. (Luke 10:40 KJV)

At the later meeting, the roles reversed slightly. Both sisters knew Jesus was coming. Mary stayed at home, Martha went out to meet Jesus.

Then Martha, as soon as she heard that Jesus was coming, went and met him: but Mary sat still in the house. (John 11:20 KJV)

She also poured out her heart to our Lord:

Then said Martha unto Jesus, Lord, if thou hadst been here, my brother had not died. But I know, that even now, whatsoever thou wilt ask of God, God will give it thee. (John 11:21-22 KJV)

We know the rest of that story, but have you thought about how non-believers looked at this? We’re told the religious leaders met and said:

If we let him thus alone, all men will believe on him: and the Romans shall come and take away both our place and nation. (John 11:48 KJV)

Selfishness at its greatest. There’s a great deal of Sodom’s sin here, too – can you compare these men with Ezekiel’s vision of Sodom?

Behold, this was the iniquity of thy sister Sodom, pride, fulness of bread, and abundance of idleness was in her and in her daughters, neither did she strengthen the hand of the poor and needy. And they were haughty, and committed abomination before me: therefore I took them away as I saw good. (Ezekiel 16:49-50 KJV)

Caiaphas, among those leaders, prophesied so much more than what he understood. He spoke the truth for all mankind.

Ye know nothing at all. Nor consider that it is expedient for us, that one man should die for the people, and that the whole nation perish not. And this spake he not of himself: but being high priest that year, he prophesied that Jesus should die for that nation; (John 11:49b-51 KJV)

Now, we know. We know Jesus is all powerful, quite capable of raising Lazarus from the dead and just as capable of being the one man who would die, not just for a nation, but for all mankind.

In Bethany, roles were reversed. Not only between sisters, but between men of God and their God who became man. Now Jesus asks that we reverse our roles, leaving behind our old sinful natures and grow in a new relationship with Him:

And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness. (Ephesians 4:24 KJV)

Sunday, January 16, 2011

My Shepherd


”Good Shepherd” Stained glass at St. John the Baptist, Ashfield, NSW Australia

Isaiah spoke of Him:

He shall feed his flock like a shepherd: he shall gather the lambs with his arm, and carry them in his bosom, and shall gently lead those that are with young. (Isaiah 40:11 KJV)

He told us of Himself:

I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep. (John 10:11 KJV)

There is so much beauty in Christ’s relating to us His role as the good shepherd.

David knew of His protection, His provision, His role in our lives when he wrote the 23rd Psalm.

(1) A Psalm of David.

The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want.

(2) He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters.

(3) He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name's sake.

(4) 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.

(5) Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.

(6) Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the LORD for ever.

Psalms 23:1-6 KJV

He provides for me abundantly. He tends to my hunger and thirst. I love that He restoreth my soul, and for that I am eternally grateful. The most important to my life, though is that I will dwell in the house of the LORD for ever. He made provision for that, too – recognized by Isaiah, who may not have understood why he wrote of two separate descriptions of the coming Messiah. In one He is the conquering king, in the other the meek and mild shepherd.

Moses asked for such a leader:

And Moses spake unto the LORD, saying, Let the LORD, the God of the spirits of all flesh, set a man over the congregation, Which may go out before them, and which may go in before them, and which may lead them out, and which may bring them in; that the congregation of the LORD be not as sheep which have no shepherd. (Numbers 27:15-17 KJV)

The word pastor is used often as a minister of a Christian church. It fits – it originally meant a shepherd, one who tends to a flock. And most of our pastors do a good job, but they must answer to the Great Shepherd. It is to these men that Peter wrote:

Feed the flock of God which is among you, taking the oversight thereof, not by constraint, but willingly; not for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind; Neither as being lords over God's heritage, but being ensamples to the flock. And when the chief Shepherd shall appear, ye shall receive a crown of glory that fadeth not away. (1 Peter 5:2-4 KJV)

Pastors are accountable to God for watching over our souls:

Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves: for they watch for your souls, as they that must give account, that they may do it with joy, and not with grief: for that is unprofitable for you. (Hebrews 13:17 KJV)

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Micki Harjo


I never met her in person, but I will some day. She had an impact on my life here and she shared Jesus Christ as her Lord and savior with many others.

I met her first through The Harjo Tribe blogspot. I followed her from there to Micki Harjo Memoirs. She also maintained their church’s website, To Every Native, though that one has but one post, there is a very in-depth introduction on the right.

Each one of these tells her story from a different viewpoint. The Harjo Tribe one-liners stick with us. To Every Native speaks of their mission.

It is Micki’s Memoirs that build pictures of this child of God. Her last post was the morning of her surgery for cancer:

The LORD is righteous in all his ways, and holy in all his works. The LORD is nigh unto all them that call upon him, to all that call upon him in truth. He will fulfil the desire of them that fear him: he also will hear their cry, and will save them. The LORD preserveth all them that love him: but all the wicked will he destroy. (Psalms 145:17-20 KJV)

Early morning of her surgery she posted on FB that the surgery had been moved up and how she was confident. I wrote, “We will be praying -- for you, the family, the doctor -- everyone involved,” and added a small anecdotal surgical story that made her laugh.

I did pray. So did hundreds of others. Somewhere in each of those prayers we echoed Jesus in Matthew 26:39: Not as I will, but as thou wilt.

Micki failed to return home from her surgery. Not a full week later, Micki was home with our Lord. It is a shock to all of us who came to know her love and hospitality. It saddened those of us who celebrated with her as she praised God as people came to Him as savior. It comforted us to know that His will is accomplished.

We pray for the Comforter to be with her family in their loneliness and grief, though they are surrounded with love. We pray for Bro. Bobby Harjo who misses his helpmeet in ways we cannot imagine nor change.

We also rejoice, as Christ explained:

Ye have heard how I said unto you, I go away, and come again unto you. If ye loved me, ye would rejoice, because I said, I go unto the Father: for my Father is greater than I. (John 14:28 KJV)

Upon such is our faith built – the solid rock.

… and that Rock was Christ. (1 Corinthians 10:4b KJV)

Friday, January 14, 2011

Psalm 46


I’ve read President Obama’s speech. The third paragraph in his speech is a quote from Psalm 46. Unfortunately, I have not been able to see the connection between the scripture quoted and the remainder of his speech:

'There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God, the holy place where the Most High dwells. God is within her, she will not fall; God will help her at break of day.' Psalm 46:4-5 New International Version copyright 2010.

I cannot understand this context to mean that Tucson is the “city of God”. Surely he could not have seen the United States as he quoted “God is within her, she will not fall”? Or was the reference to Representative Gifford as he continued, “God will help her at break of day”?

In other words, I do not see the usefulness of including these verses in his memorial speech.

Personally, I would have found comfort in the first verse, which speaks directly to times of trouble:

God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. (Psalms 46:1 KJV)

Verses two and three describe those troubles as catastrophic events:

Therefore will not we fear, though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea; Though the waters thereof roar and be troubled, though the mountains shake with the swelling thereof. Selah. (Psalms 46:2-3 KJV)

Verses six through nine appear to describe a rebelliousness that is summed up in verse 8:

Come, behold the works of the LORD, what desolations he hath made in the earth. (Psalms 46:8 KJV)

Where’s our hope, then? I find a verse just below this that might be applicable when we are afraid, lonely and feel bereft:

Be still, and know that I am God: I will be exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted in the earth. (Psalms 46:10 KJV)

This Psalm is incomplete without the beginning verse, and it’s ending verse:

The LORD of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge. Selah. (Psalms 46:11 KJV)

The Lord of hosts, and nothing more, truly is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.

Perhaps it was our president’s desire was to share his belief in the Lord described in this Psalm, and to send us to read His word. Under any circumstances, may God bless the reading of His word and fulfill His promise:

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, January 13, 2011

What Are Your Principles?


Our Tuesday evening Ladies Meeting was a bit different. Oh, we had our wonderful buffet of favorite dishes – enough to feed twice as many as attended. We created a group prayer list of those we know that could use our support and God’s mercy. We had a lesson, and though we have one each meeting, this one was a bit different.

Instead of a speaker or our pastor’s helpmeet, we listened to InTouch.Org’s Dr. Charles Stanley discuss Daniel’s makings of wise decisions. Scripture references he gave was Daniel, Jeremiah 5:4-18, Jeremiah 32:26-28. Yep, you read that right – the book of Daniel, not a simple reference from the book.

You see, to live by principles rather than preferences, one has to know the principles. To live by the Bible’s precepts, one has to know the Bible. I cannot give you all of Daniel’s story here, it is up to my readers to know, or to do the background. Daniel made his decisions based on principles of his trust in God and God’s word.

For Christians, our principles are moral rules based on the word of God guiding our conduct. Those rules are God given and are boiled down by Christ:

Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets. (Matthew 22:37-40 KJV)

Doing anything else is living by our preferences – based on our likes, dislikes, pleasures, desires – without regard to moral rules. This is circumstantial or situational ethics, changing with society’s whims or cultural changes. Here there are no absolutes and the rules change with what feels good.

Oh, there is so much more we learned about choosing between principle and preference. And more of my notes will finding their way into this blog. Why? Living by principles takes place every single day. It’s a growth process, learning new things every single day, adding to the knowledge of how to become the image of Christ.

Trust me – we fail in so many ways, but we continue to admit our errors (and praise God as He forgives us!), look for examples and ways to do better and spend more time with God’s family. We will not achieve perfection here, so don’t hesitate to provide constructive criticism or ask questions about the journey.

I’m still growing.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011



Wow, look at that precision!! Very carefully, these Air Force pilots have created the illusion of a mirrored image, only it is very, very real. Note that the pilots cannot see each other. This cannot be done on a trial/error methodology. They must plan before attempting.

I searched for such a photo when I thought of writing a blog about the book Second Daughter bought me for Christmas, “Changed into His Image: God’s plan for transforming your life.,” by Jim Berg.

First paragraph of first chapter is exactly what one would expect:

And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God. (Romans 12:2 KJV)

You gotta know it’s not easy when the book has 350+ pages, a bibliography of three pages and scriptural references that cover ten pages. I also received (a bit by accident) the student book that accompanies this marvelous training tool.

I’ve only scanned the book, haven’t started the study at this point. I believe I need to give serious thought to what I believe He is like. If I’m going to work toward His image, what do I see?

Just recently we’ve looked at Him as the Good Shepherd. We’ve read of Him as the light of the world. We know Him as the Word that was in the beginning. He told the woman at the well who He was:

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)

He healed with a touch. He healed from a distance. He raised the dead. And we are expected to be His image. Tall order! But, He has explained who makes this happen.

But Jesus beheld them, and said unto them, With men this is impossible; but with God all things are possible. (Matthew 19:26 KJV)

I don’t know how much from the book I will be posting – and it may take me a while to go through because I intend to use the Student Workbook I received, too.

Want to work through it, too? Be transformed?

Monday, January 10, 2011

I Must Admit


I’m doing things a bit differently. I used to write my blog in MS Word, formatting the scriptures as I copied them from e-Sword. Doing a Copy/Paste to the blog’s entry screen – then fixing format changes that occurred whether I wanted them or not. Since I keep ‘mirror’ blogs on Blogger and on Multiply, I then take the HTML code and place it on the other.

I self-imposed a limit – one standard 8.5x11 page and I’d finish my writing. Sometimes it took a tweak on the top and/or bottom margin to fit in that very last thought.

Now things are different. Bro. Brad Gilbert introduced me to a piece of software I didn’t know I had – Windows Live Writer – that came with my new laptop’s Windows 7. Now this is a snazzy little bit of software. Of course, as an old hand at GUI testing, it does lack a tiny bit of intuitiveness, but that’s true of all software. Somehow programmers just do not read our minds!!

It does free me up a bit on time. Everything is in one place. I don’t have to insert a photo, then do my Copy/Paste, edit, format. It’s all done in this one screen, then post to my blog. I can post a draft the publish it later. Well, that’s not really new – except the draft is posted from Live Writer – and Live Writer can retrieve that very same copy for additional editing, whether it’s published or not. Handy little gadget.

Look for it in your Windows 7. If you don’t have Windows 7, check it out with someone that does. Experiment. It’s fun.

Tomorrow – back to a Bible Reading post, I promise.


When I think of parables, I think of Jesus speaking to the people during his ministry. What I did not realize was references to parables in the Old Testament occur 17 times. Seven of these are used up in the story of Balaam and Balak in Numbers 23 and 24. Balaam, for all of his error, could not speak out against God’s chosen.

The last Old Testament reference is in Habakkuk following a vision given, for an appointed time, where is said:

Shall not all these take up a parable against him, and a taunting proverb against him, and say, Woe to him that increaseth that which is not his! how long? and to him that ladeth himself with thick clay! (Habakkuk 2:6 KJV)

In the New Testament, Christ often explained his parables – when His disciples let Him know they did not understand what He was getting at. Can you imagine walking with Him daily and still having to ask? Why not, we do it all the time.

I also think about walking with Him in His home. Saying aloud, “So that’s what that meant!” Imagine for a moment the fullness of understanding that will be available to us.

But we can’t wait until then, any more than the Pharisees should have when Jesus said:

But go ye and learn what that meaneth, I will have mercy, and not sacrifice: for I am not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance. (Matthew 9:13 KJV)

As they, we must go and learn about the meaning of His words.

There are many who are willing to tell us. Unfortunately, some are wolves in sheep’s clothing.

Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. (Matthew 7:15 KJV)

No – I don’t think we’re suppose to flee from preachers wearing wool! But we do need to flee from those who preach false doctrine. How many times have we heard, seen or read that the Bible is a collection of myths and fables. That it cannot be true, it preaches violence and hate, but some of its principles are good to live by? We were warned about that.

For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables. (2 Timothy 4:3-4 KJV)

In all honesty, I have not been called to tell anyone which is right or which is wrong. God has that information for all of us when we spend time in prayer with His word. God grant that we may understand Christ’s doctrine, taught with authority. Look for the doctrine in His words.

And it came to pass, when Jesus had ended these sayings, the people were astonished at his doctrine: For he taught them as one having authority, and not as the scribes. (Matthew 7:28-29 KJV)

Sunday, January 9, 2011



Let my prayer come before thee: incline thine ear unto my cry; For my soul is full of troubles:

Sound like a good start for your day? Got troubles? Not close to the ones described by the psalmist here, for he continued:

and my life draweth nigh unto the grave. (Psalms 88:2-3 KJV)

I would venture to say most of us are not facing the grave right now. We will someday, but not today. We face trials and temptations, but there are so many ways to face them standing firm on the rock of our salvation.

There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it. (1 Corinthians 10:13 KJV)

Jesus told us patience has importance:

In your patience possess ye your souls. (Luke 21:19 KJV)

And how do we gain that patience? Paul wrote to Christians about this very subject:

Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; And patience, experience; and experience, hope: And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us. (Romans 5:1-5 KJV)

My heart remains broken for one who lost patience, turning away from opportunity, heading down a path that does not display the Lord’s loving signposts. How do I know this? Not through judgment, but through fruit.

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)

Please do not assume I’m being judgmental, though eventually that will be my job description:

Do ye not know that the saints shall judge the world? and if the world shall be judged by you, are ye unworthy to judge the smallest matters? Know ye not that we shall judge angels? how much more things that pertain to this life? (1 Corinthians 6:2-3 KJV)

Until then, I’ll stick to fruit inspection, such as yesterday’s post.

Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? (Matthew 7:16 KJV)

Ephesians 4:29


While reading in the online Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, I find philosophers, from Plato to date, extrapolate philosophical discussions from totally impossible hypothetical situations.

That’s one reason I do appreciate our youth pastor. How did I jump so far in topics? I didn’t. Our youth pastor is working to show that God is real and that we need not look for hypothetical scenarios to discover this reality.

I’ve known him since he was a teen. And now he’s writing the lessons for our teens. Today’s lesson is:

Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers. (Ephesians 4:29 KJV)

His most vivid illustration is that when we use corrupt communications, it is like shoving rotten fruit into someone’s mouth! Now that’s a picture we need to keep in our minds when we’re tempted to pass along a tidy bit of gossip, isn’t it?

He asks our young people to “keep each other accountable and encourage one another to read the Bible and pray daily.” The same thing I’ve been doing right here for several years. He’s asking them to use positive peer pressure, which will take the place of the negative peer pressure that can lead to damaging a child’s life. What we’re teaching is based on years of experience, handed down.

Encouraging teens to obey the law and not drink or be around teens drinking could have saved the lives of many who died in drunk driving accidents. Whether the church frowns on it or not, there is a legal age limit that teen peer pressure attempts to thwart – and some parents, too. The worst excuse in the world is, “They will drink elsewhere, so I’d rather they do it here.” Yet, I’ve heard those very words from a parent of two teens.

Teen years are volatile and boundaries are stretched, often times beyond their limits. There are no examples in the animal world around us that match this situation. Leaving the nest doesn’t capture the relationship children retain with their parents, neither does assimilation of youngsters into a lion’s pride. There are no other relationships in the natural world as that of teens, stuck in between being children and acting as adults.

Corrupt communication coming out of their mouths got there through their ears and eyes over years. They may have heard it from their parents or other family members. Or it may be new to them through friends at school. It is their decision whether to take it in, or walk away. Teens have not shown expertise in walking away from corruption, communication or not. Part of that boundary testing.

So we speak to them of real world situations and offer to them opportunities to tell their own scenarios as to how to stay away from corrupt communication. We teach them about edification. That’s not an old word, it’s still in use today. We use it when we talk about an edifice when we speak of an imposing building. Edify means to build up, to encourage, in a spiritual sense, for spiritual improvement. Actually, these blogs I write are intended to do just that – for me and for my readers.

Encouraging spiritual growth offers something to both me and my readers – I have the opportunity to serve, to minister to those who will hear, and through grace, that undeserved favor from God that is given to those who serve Him, my readers are edified. It is my prayer that they will pass along the verses, the thoughts, the nearness to our Father that they bring.

Isn’t it a blessing, just being a Christian!

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Job 3

"Job restored to prosperity" by Laurent de la Hyre

I’ve not spent much time reading Job. It begins one of Professor Horner’s Lists and yesterday I read the third chapter of each of those lists.

And Job spake, and said, Let the day perish wherein I was born, and the night in which it was said, There is a man child conceived. Let that day be darkness; let not God regard it from above, neither let the light shine upon it. Let darkness and the shadow of death stain it; let a cloud dwell upon it; let the blackness of the day terrify it. As for that night, let darkness seize upon it; let it not be joined unto the days of the year, let it not come into the number of the months. [Job 3:2-6 KJV]

I was struck with the beauty of the description. I can understand why John L. McKenzie, in “Dictionary of the Bible,” calls the book of Job "the most profound and literary work of the entire Old Testament." It is poetry at the same time describing God’s interaction with this one man.

In those four verses, we read Job’s cursing the day he was born, but never once blaming God for that birth. We were told earlier in Job:

There was a man in the land of Uz, whose name was Job; and that man was perfect and upright, and one that feared God, and eschewed evil. [Job 1:1 KJV]

He prayed and sacrificed for his children, too:

And it was so, when the days of their feasting were gone about, that Job sent and sanctified them, and rose up early in the morning, and offered burnt offerings according to the number of them all: for Job said, It may be that my sons have sinned, and cursed God in their hearts. Thus did Job continually. [Job 1:5 KJV]

I have seen and heard less righteous blame God for happenings in their lives. Here is a bereft man with his friends and he only mentions that God should not look upon the day of his birth.

I’m afraid that I’ve looked upon Job as poetry and a lesson in patience without seeing the painful reality of this historical figure. For the first time I could visualize him sitting in ashes, clothes torn in spiritual agony for the loss of his children, scraping away the oozing from the painful sores afflicting him. All because God allowed it to happen – and for thousands of years it brings opportunity to acknowledge God’s sovereignty. There would have been no example for us had Job cursed God for his pain. Instead, we see God’s provision for Job, His own patience as Job and his friends work through “WHY?”

Micah tells us what God requires

He hath shewed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the LORD require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God? [Micah 6:8 KJV]

Can we do so through unbearable pain and sorrow until we see God’s plan unfold?

Friday, January 7, 2011

Jury’s Still Out


Bro. Brad Gilbert introduced us to Professor Grant Horner the first of this year. I looked over the Bible Reading System, printed out the PDF instructions, cut out the ten book marks, picked up a Bible we weren’t using and began the process Wednesday.

I have a problem, so quickly!! The Bible is the first study Bible I bought for my husband. One of Prof. Horner’s ‘Secrets to Success’ reads:

“Don’t look up anything you ‘don’t get’ – real understanding will come through contextualizing by reading a LOT of scripture over time. Get through the text!”

For me, that’s difficult. I analyze. I refer. I compare. Our study Bibles are designed for this. There are comments, there are cross-references. When I read, I check to see whether those things were so (Acts 17:10b). That’s not part of this system.

How I started is not part of his system, either. I neglected one suggestion:

“You also need to get ONE Bible, keep it, and do all your reading in it, so you learn where everything is.”

I have a Bible that I’ve carried since 1978. I know just about where to turn for any scripture. I might be a bit out of order with some of the Minor Prophets, or sing Paul’s epistles in my mind sometimes, but I can get there quickly. I opted not to use it because it is filled with highlights, dates, and it (too) is a study Bible – a bit more extensive than Beloved Husband’s bedside Bible. In it I have a multiple ribbon bookmark for the Roman Road; regular bookmarks for Sunday morning services where Pastor is doing a series; Sunday School’s study in Ephesians bookmark; and a couple of others I want to study for inclusion in a blog at a future date.

I could not imagine adding ten bookmarks to that Bible. However, for the novice Bible reader – or someone who has received a new Bible, I believe Horner’s System would be of help in building a close relationship with their Bible.

Second Daughter bought a new Bible last year. Just the right size to carry in her purse, yet big enough print to read well. It has taken her a while to be able to open to passages as quickly as her previous one.

So, for me, the Jury is still out, but the decision is “Which Bible should I use,” not “Does this reading system help?” It does. I can tell that in three days. It doesn’t help in memorization, it doesn’t help in doctrine, it doesn’t help in “understanding.”

It does help in familiarization. It does help build habit. It does help bring the word of God close. It does bring to mind some verses:

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

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)

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Celebrating the King James Version


Christmas 2010, England’s Queen Elizabeth began her Christmas speech with a reference an American President could never do – a reference to a Bible.

“Over four hundred years ago, King James the Sixth of Scotland inherited the throne of England at a time when the Christian Church was deeply divided. Here at Hampton Court in 1604, he convened a conference of churchmen of all shades of opinion to discuss the future of Christianity in this country. The King agreed to commission a new translation of the Bible that was acceptable to all parties. This was to become the King James or Authorized Bible, which next year will be exactly four centuries old.”

For those of us who enjoy reading and studying the King James Version, it will be nice to see it celebrated. But it really isn’t important. What it tells us is. For those four hundred years, it has carried God’s message worldwide.

Now, I really don’t read the 1611 King James Bible. I’m not used to reading:

For God so loued ye world, that he gaue his only begotten Sonne: that whosoeuer beleeueth in him, should not perish, but haue euerlasting life. (John 3:16 KJV-1611)

I prefer spelling that is something I expect:

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

Same words, but with spelling that is much more familiar to me. Unfortunately, some translations reach for the same meaning, but fall short.

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. John 3:16 (New International Version, ©2010)

I miss the ‘begotten.’ That single word has meaning to me through years of Bible reading and study. I do regret that the ‘dumbing down’ of America included a necessity of versions to simplify Bible reading. How difficult is it to read:

Then he called for a light, and sprang in, and came trembling, and fell down before Paul and Silas, And brought them out, and said, Sirs, what must I do to be saved? And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house. (Acts 16:29-31 KJV)

What difficulty is there is reading these verses? Are they bettered by:

The jailer called for lights, rushed in and fell trembling before Paul and Silas. He then brought them out and asked, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” They replied, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved—you and your household.” Acts 16:29-31 (New International Version, ©2010)

KJV was the third English translation and has been through centuries of publications. Still, I’ll stick with it for my reading and memory work. And I’ll celebrate the memory of the four hundred years it has been available to English speaking people. I relish seeing verses posted from it, from my Christian family around the world.