Thursday, March 31, 2011



As the hart panteth after the water brooks, so panteth my soul after thee, O God. (Psalms 42:1 KJV)

Wednesday night our Pastor’s lesson was Psalm 42.  One of my favorites (I know, I have a lot of favorites!)  This one provides the portrait of a song I never tire of hearing, "Satisfied":

Lyrics by Clara T. Williams, music by Ralph E. Hudson.
All my life long I had panted
For a drink from some cool spring
That I hoped would quench the burning
Of the thirst I felt within

It opens much as the soul panting after God, and closes with the answer.

Well of water ever springing
Bread of life so rich and free
Untold wealth that never faileth
My Redeemer is to me

Christians are not immune from fears, tragedies and certainly not from depression, the feeling that life is not enjoyable and that the future holds no hope.  To remain trapped in depression is to damage the body as well as one’s faith.  David knew this from the tragedies in his own life – loss of his best friend, Jonathon, causing Uriah’s death, followed by the death of his own baby.  There were other children lost, Amnon, Tamar, Absalom, and his kingdom, for a time.  He mourned, seeking release:

My soul thirsteth for God, for the living God: when shall I come and appear before God? My tears have been my meat day and night, while they continually say unto me, Where is thy God? (Psalms 42:2-3 KJV)

While some of David’s tragedies were beyond his control, most of them resulted from errors he made in his life.  We do the same, then wonder why God seems so far away.

David knew the answer, and gave it to us:

Why art thou cast down, O my soul? and why art thou disquieted in me? hope thou in God: for I shall yet praise him for the help of his countenance. (Psalms 42:5 KJV)

For everything that can cause our depression, there is an answer in God’s word, and the path offered leads us to Him.  There are applications for our lives, examples to educate us, hope for our future. David found his, and gave it to us.

Yet the LORD will command his lovingkindness in the daytime, and in the night his song shall be with me, and my prayer unto the God of my life. (Psalms 42:8 KJV)

Day and night in songs and prayer to live and share what Micah has to tell us:

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)

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

“I Never Saw Another Butterfly”


Two days ago I gave into emotions I felt after reading a blogger’s request to remember the Holocaust victims by posting yellow butterflies – specifically on April 28.  I posted part of his request, which included a poem written by such a victim, about a yellow butterfly he had watched, the last one he had seen in the ghetto.

I did so with the thought of keeping that memory alive, since it has been under attack in recent years and it appeared to me that people have forgotten.

Foolishness on my part!!  I should have researched then, and not responded with emotion.  That’s been my methodology when it came to my Bible reading.  Instead, it was a reader who brought truth to my attention.  Oh, my!! I’ve failed to follow my own advice.  I need to check and see how many times I’ve posted from Acts 17:

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

Was what I posted true?  There was no untruth in the original post, just missing information.  The victims are not forgotten.  There are several Holocaust memorial dates (listed here), though none are on April 28.  The Israeli and many Jewish communities’ memorial day is 27 Nisan, which this year falls on Sunday, 1 May, according to a Hebrew calendar here.  That day is Yom HaShoa, or Yom HaZikaron LaShoah velaGvura – Holocaust and Heroism Remembrance Day.  The United Nations set 27 January in a 2005 resolution.  Other countries have joined in.  France remembers on 16 July, the anniversary of a mass arrest of Jews in Paris on that date in 1942.  The United States remembers for an eight-day period, from the Sunday before Yom HaShoa to the following Sunday as Days of Remembrance of the Victims of the Holocaust.

So, our governments have not forgotten, completely, but many of the people have. I am abashed by my own lack of knowledge, and the ease with which I so quickly responded emotionally rather than with research.  I wish I could plead a case for myself, but the error was mine alone.

Bottom line – choose how you will remember, but consider taking Yom HaShoa seriously and consider the years it took before the world faced those victims.

A bit more about the poem’s title, too.  From Random House's page for "I Never Saw Another Butterfly" by Hana Volavkova:

"Fifteen thousand children under the age of fifteen passed through the Terezin Concentration Camp. Fewer than 100 survived. In these poems and pictures drawn by the young inmates, we see the daily misery of these uprooted children, as well as their hopes and fears, their courage and optimism. 60 color illustrations."

The Facebook page WWCHS - I Never Saw Another Butterfly is "a group for everyone who is involved with Westwood's production of Celeste Raspanti's one-act play, "I Never Saw Another Butterfly"."  The page explains that the play is based on a true story:

'It is a true story about the life of the girl, Raja Englanderova, who survived Terezin. The play is a series of flashbacks in which Raja retells each segment of her life in Terezin, starting from when she first arrived at Terezin as a scared child and ending with a collage of voices in her memory.'"

The explanation continues:

"From 1942 to 1945 over 15,000 Jewish children passed through Terezin, a former military garrison set up as a ghetto. It soon became a station, a stopping-off place, for hundreds of thousands on their way to the gas chambers of Auschwitz. When Terezin was liberated in May, 1945, only about one hundred children were alive to return to what was left of their lives, their homes, and families. The story of those years at Terezin remains in drawings and poems collected and published in the book, "I Never Saw Another Butterfly"."

Tuesday, March 29, 2011



The only way to have a friend is to be a friend – Ralph Waldo Emerson.

Our pastor spoke on this subject Sunday, and I thought it merited additional study. The KJV shows 96 verses with the words friend or friends. Jesus spoke to His disciples of friendship, too:

Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. (John 15:13 KJV)

Jesus laid down His life.  Would seem from that that he did so for friends.  Do you think of yourself as His friend?  Jesus had more to say about the subject in the next verse:

Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you. (John 15:14 KJV)

Ooops, now He’s putting conditions on His friendship.  What happened to that unconditional, everybody’s-welcome, there’s-no-set-belief stuff I keep hearing about?  Here Jesus plainly states that we get to be His friend – if we do what He commanded.  Remember what He commanded?  It comes a bit later:

These things I command you, that ye love one another.  (John 15:17 KJV)

Note, please “These”, indicating more than one thing is requested, yet the end of the verse sounds like one thing – loving one another.  I think that means we love continually, not just saying it once and trusting that’s sufficient.  It’s not.  It is to continue:

A friend loveth at all times, and a brother is born for adversity. (Proverbs 17:17 KJV)

Some friends are not looking out for our best interest.  Some will bring us adversity:

But Amnon had a friend, whose name was Jonadab, the son of Shimeah David's brother: and Jonadab was a very subtil man. (2 Samuel 13:3 KJV)

Amnon wanted something wrong, followed Jonadab’s advice, and it ended up getting him killed. 

We can always find someone who will agree to help us in what we want to do – whether it is good for us or not.  We’ve all seen the results when celebrities surround themselves with people who support damaging lifestyles – even to doctors who over-prescribe for their patients. 

Saying “No” to a friend’s error comes to mind because I tested a friendship toward the end of last week.  I wrote about it in “Corrupt Communication.”  A dear friend had used inappropriate language and I called it to her attention, as a sister in Christ, for we both have professed to be.  She could have widened the rift, separating us further.  I could have widened it, too, by cutting communication.  I give thanks that a rift did not grow.  Instead, our friendship reached across the breach and together we grow in our faith.  That’s the type of friendship I believe Christ gave to us.

Monday, March 28, 2011

April 28 – For Your Calendar, Please


I came upon Doctor's site a couple of years late, but want to join with him and many others in remembrance.  Doctor lives in Australia, but the events to be remembered affected the entire world.  He is documenting one such story from his aunt, but has found many others. Click here to read all of his post on the subject, and here's part of his explanation:

"During the research into the tapes my Aunty left, and my subsequent searches, someone left me a link to another site,  ... related to a Jewish guy, living in the Polish Warsaw Ghetto area, during WW2. …

"Anyway, this guy wrote stories and poems, about what it was like to live in such conditions, of very little food, lack of running water, and such like. He also documented the eventual up-rising, and subsequent battles that went on.

"The same guy wrote a beautiful poem about a yellow butterfly, as it flew about, outside his window, and how he was certain that he would not live to see that beautiful piece of nature again."

Doctor went on to say:  "....we have various ways of remembering other bits of history, and I would like to ask you all to spread the word, and make Thursday 28th April, the third of an annual event, in remembering these little recognised brave people, who stood up to their tormentors..... Please, could you make a yellow paper butterfly, and just sit it on your desk, pin it to a notice board, or something?

"And could you please spread the word on this, as I feel its an important issue........

"Feel free to copy this to your blog, if you so desire........I would appreciate it if you did...... Shalom......"

Here is the poem, and the information on its author:

"The Butterfly"

the last,
the very last
so richly brightly
dazzlingly yellow
perhaps if the suns tears would sing
against a white stone

such a yellow,
is carried lightly
way up high
it went away
I'm sure its because it wished to
kiss the world good-bye.

For seven weeks
I've lived here
penned up inside this ghetto
But I have found what I love here
the dandelions call to me
and the white chestnut branches in the court

I never saw another butterfly.

That butterfly was the last one
butterflies don’t live in here
in the ghetto.

Pavel Friedman...4th June, 1942.

Pavel Friedman - Born Prague, 7th January, 1921
Sent to Terezin 26th April, 1942
Died Auschchwitz 29th September, 1944

And that these days should be remembered and kept throughout every generation, every family, every province, and every city; and that these days of Purim should not fail from among the Jews, nor the memorial of them perish from their seed. [Esther 9:28 KJV]

Sunday, March 27, 2011

On Track

Here we go!  We were headed from Durango to Silverton, Colorado and I wasn’t leaning very far out the window to get this shot.  As you can see ahead of the locomotive, the track curves back and forth. It has to in order to make its way through the mountains.

I think there’s a life application here for Christians.  Sometimes we get overwhelmed by the mountains ahead and we spend time thinking about how we can overcome them, when the best way is making progress upward a little at a time.  I think we read:

Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it. (Matthew 7:13-14 KJV)

And we think “straight” as in a direct line instead of “strait” as in something that is narrow or constricted – sort of like a train track.  Trains are restricted to that narrow track – leaving it creates multiple problems.  For a Christian, leaving that strait and narrow way causes multiple problems, too.

Making progress forward and upward isn’t leaving the track, as long as we know we are following His will, not our own desires.  Knowing the differences takes Bible reading and prayer.  With those, we can recognize and leave temptations behind:

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)

My Multiply friend Jilly has a post (here) about a train ride that speaks of our life’s journey, too.  From the time we board at birth until the end of the ride, leaving the train at the final stop, we’ll meet all kinds of people.  Sharing along the way, we all learn from each other.  Just be cautious at stations along the way – keep your own destination in mind.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Corrupt Communication


Isn’t than an inviting painting?  Refreshing, tasty and lovely to look at. In our Sunday School classroom is a very different orange.  It was rather old when it was brought to class and used as an example for one of our lessons in Ephesians.  The user of corrupt communication is shoving that rotten fruit right into their listener/reader:

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)

A dear friend posted corrupt communication on her Facebook status yesterday. She was aware of the Facebook Note I posted about the time I posted “Expletives Deleted.” That post followed a series of posts about inappropriate language, and it contains my scriptural reasons for not wanting to read inappropriate language.  The Note on my site explained that using such language would result in defriending.  I mentioned this to my friend after her post and she responded with “Don’t read it.”  I will follow her direction, and miss her other input.

You see, I agree with Matthew:

Not that which goeth into the mouth defileth a man; but that which cometh out of the mouth, this defileth a man. … But those things which proceed out of the mouth come forth from the heart; and they defile the man. [Matthew 15:15, 18 KJV]

I also agree with Paul:

Be not deceived: evil communications corrupt good manners. (1 Corinthians 15:33 KJV)

By watching what goes into my mind, I put an early filter on what will come out, being certain it comes from my heart and that it reflects what I believe and what I want others to know about me.  It should set the stage for what people think about me, and putting God first (I pray!) should be part of that information.  I do not wish to cram corrupt communication at others.

That orange in our class has become much more corrupted now!  It stands as a very good example of corrupt communication.  It will help us remember other good verses of prayer:

Set a watch, O LORD, before my mouth; keep the door of my lips. (Psalms 141:3 KJV)

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)

Friday, March 25, 2011


That’s Auntie Mame in her favorite lurking spot.  Yes, there is an indentation on the top of the chair.

Mame, and her smaller companion Keywit, are fed daily.  I think you can tell simply by looking at her, she’s well fed.  She also receives three small treats each evening (even doing a small trick of taking them from my knee!) while Keywit watches and asks us, “What’s the big deal?”

For both of these felines, there never is enough.  They will come to us and explain they are starving to death, “Please, come quickly and put food down or we will waste away!”  Then they’ll beat us to the food bowl, where we find it has three or four missing bites.  Just this morning, Mame was checking my cereal bowl.  Checking, I’m certain, to see if I would share.  I would not.

As I watched her, I thought of how there’s never enough for us, either.

Give us this day our daily bread. (Matthew 6:11 KJV)

We pray this – sometimes daily – then stock up our pantries, larders and freezers with more and more, bigger and better.  And that applies only to food.  How about:

And a certain scribe came, and said unto him, Master, I will follow thee whithersoever thou goest. And Jesus saith unto him, The foxes have holes, and the birds of the air have nests; but the Son of man hath not where to lay his head. (Matthew 8:19-20 KJV)

We’ve used our abodes as investments, a step up in the world, building equity so we could get more, bigger and better.  Well, until the bubble burst and home ownership has changed.

An internet glurge piece spoke of “Enough”:

"I wish you enough sun to keep your attitude bright.
I wish you enough rain to appreciate the sun more.
I wish you enough happiness to keep your spirit alive.
I wish you enough pain so that the smallest joys in life appear much
I wish you enough gain to satisfy your wanting.
I wish you enough loss to appreciate all that you possess.
I wish enough 'Hello's' to get you through the final 'Goodbye.'"

It appeared to Paul that men do not think they have enough:

For all seek their own, not the things which are Jesus Christ's. (Philippians 2:21 KJV)

We really can’t know what is enough until we know what God has in mind for us.  Enough for a pastor means a lot more Bible study than it does for me, for he is responsible for an entire congregation.  Enough for a missionary means a lot more prayers for his work from other people than it does for me, for he is responsible for souls of those still to be reached.  The measure of enough depends on our calling.

Right now we need rain so much more than we do sunshine, so the sunshine has gone beyond a bright attitude, is that more than enough?

Be cautious with your enough, too.  Take time to read the story of the wise and foolish lamp owners in Matthew 25.  Those who had their enough kept it:

But the wise answered, saying, Not so; lest there be not enough for us and you: but go ye rather to them that sell, and buy for yourselves. (Matthew 25:9 KJV)

Continue on in that chapter and learn of three servants given talents who learned:

For unto every one that hath shall be given, and he shall have abundance: but from him that hath not shall be taken away even that which he hath. (Matthew 25:29 KJV)

And, learn why.  Mame can’t apply these lessons to her life, but we are supposed to in order to give glory to God.  Then enough becomes abundant.

Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us, Unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen. (Ephesians 3:20-21 KJV)

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Which will love Him most?


Much earlier I wrote about the Alabaster Box.  We tend to focus on the woman and the her actions in this story,  but today I want to focus on the aftermath from Luke.

Now when the Pharisee which had bidden him saw it, he spake within himself, saying, This man, if he were a prophet, would have known who and what manner of woman this is that toucheth him: for she is a sinner. And Jesus answering said unto him, Simon, I have somewhat to say unto thee. And he saith, Master, say on. There was a certain creditor which had two debtors: the one owed five hundred pence, and the other fifty. And when they had nothing to pay, he frankly forgave them both. Tell me therefore, which of them will love him most? (Luke 7:39-42 KJV)

Tell me, which one do you think did love him most?  Simon the Pharisee had to guess at the answer:

Simon answered and said, I suppose that he, to whom he forgave most. And he said unto him, Thou hast rightly judged. (Luke 7:43 KJV)

Is there anywhere in the Bible where it says:  “Some sins are greater than others and God will take longer to forgive them”; or “… they are not forgivable”?  I haven’t found such verses, but I may have missed them.  I have read some commentaries that appear to prioritize sins. While our legal system offers a variety of penalties based on types of crimes, I don’t find that to be a part of God’s forgiveness.  My Bible tells me there is only one unforgivable sin.

Wherefore I say unto you, All manner of sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven unto men: but the blasphemy against the Holy Ghost shall not be forgiven unto men. (Matthew 12:31 KJV)

Oh, my – look at that verse.  It says “all manner of sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven unto men.”  Let me repeat the key words:  All manner.  Sin and blasphemy.  Forgiven.

Let me use another verse about least and most:

I say unto you, that likewise joy shall be in heaven over one sinner that repenteth, more than over ninety and nine just persons, which need no repentance. (Luke 15:7 KJV)

Now, we know we all need repentance.  Jesus emphasized it in Luke:

I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish. (Luke 13:3 KJV)

The joy in heaven only comes over a sinner’s repentance, but that joy must be greater for the repentance of a long-term, in-depth sinner, the forgiveness of greater debt.  Please note that repentance is required, and forgiveness is available.  Upon receipt, we gratefully love the Lord who forgave us.

Which of them will love him most?  The one who needed forgiveness the most – and received it.  The sinning woman understood, but the judgmental, legalistic Pharisee did not.  Even when he answered Christ he simply supposed, he did not answer with certainty.  Had he realized he needed and then received God’s forgiveness, he would have understood.

Do we?

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Still Talking

I introduced Empee some time back, but haven’t written about her since “Let’s Talk” in January, 2010.  We’ve met for lunch several times since then, the latest on Monday. We met at our usual spot, Armend’s in Southlake (they remember us and as soon as one of us walks in, the garlic cheese bread goes in the oven!)  Not our usual day – we both like their Tuesday special best – but our schedules didn’t match for the last week, finally working out for Monday.  We had a lot of catching up to do!

Empee travels a lot in her job, missing her nine-year-old son.  Going to church as a family is important to her, and at our last meeting she was telling me about her son asking when he was going to be baptized.
For those not familiar with Baptist baptisms, let me explain.  We believe baptism by immersion occurs after a person accepts Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior.  It is not a part of salvation, but an outward sign of an inward change, and doing so is an act of obedience. 

So, it is very important that a child understands and is not responding to family or peer pressure.  This happens, and later on some find that their baptism preceded their understanding and their faith.  But, those are separate stories.  Today we’re focused on Empee’s boy.

She and her husband had several discussions with him after that, and during one he asked how old she was when she was baptized.  “Nine,” she replied.  “Was that your early nines or your late nines?” he asked.  He was very interested as to when it should happen for him.  That took more explanations, which was the last I heard, before Christmas.

The first order of business Monday was her telling me of his decision to make his public profession of faith.  Yes, he knew when it was time for him to go forward.  He spent time with their pastor, too, being certain he understood this also meant church membership.  It is a rather big deal!

It was for me, too, hearing of this child who asked so many questions, prayed about his life and where he would be spending eternity.  And, there was joy in heaven.

I say unto you, that likewise joy shall be in heaven over one sinner that repenteth,… (Luke 15:7a KJV)

There is a man in our church who came to Christ in the middle of his life and now prays that his father will come to understand, before the end of his.  They will be together this week at a Men’s Retreat.  Family and friends are in prayer for this trip, that a son might lead his father to the Lord for the same reasons a mother led her nine-year-old.  That they might share eternity. Please join with us in this prayer.

These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God. (1 John 5:13 KJV)

Thanks for sharing with me.  Praying to see you there, too.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Armor of God


This coming Sunday’s lesson is one young people of all ages enjoy – putting on the full armor of God.

Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God: (Ephesians 6:14-17 KJV)

Every one of those are defensive – except the sword.

Truth is the first protection, wrapping it around our center mass – our spiritual center, not really a body’s protection.  Without truth we are open to wavering between wants, ours and others, rather than the knowledge that will set us free.

Righteousness is an absolute necessity.  We do not obtain it, we live it and the breastplate provides protection for our heart.  Living righteously is not easy.  It requires a submission to God’s will and an understanding of His commandments.

The gospel of peace isn’t to be put on our feet, just the preparation of it.  Keeping the gospel in our heart, in our lives, is part of that preparation. Being shod means to have that preparation fastened to our lives, taking it with us everywhere we walk.

Faith is our shield.  This shield can be moved in any direction, displaying our faith in Jesus to everyone.  It gives the furthest defense, away from our other armor.  Our faith provides protection from those wishing to destroy it, and us.

The helmet of salvation protects our life, now and through eternity, forever.  Without that helmet, our thoughts, our very soul, are subject to attack and damage.  Salvation is the one piece of armor we don’t have to work at, it is a gift. Salvation comes to us through God’s grace, through our faith:

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

Finally, the one offensive weapon – the sword of the Lord.  Yes, it is capable of much, able to divide asunder:

For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. (Hebrews 4:12 KJV)

Be prepared to learn about yourself as you spend time with the word of God and prayer.  Reading His word will open the intentions of your heart to your own understanding.  It is through His word that our faith is grown:

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

Are you willing to spend time with the word of God?

Monday, March 21, 2011

A Very Different Perspective


Some Cubism paintings are interesting to me, some I cannot make sense of no matter which way they hang.  The one above I like more for the colors than the Cubism, which is supposed to be a simplification of scenes and show different planes.  I’m afraid I would have to study for some time to grasp the concept.

Sunday night our Children’s Minister did open a couple of new planes to me from very familiar scripture.  An entirely new perspective of scripture I’ve used here fairly often. Just last week in In the Lord’s Sight, last year in James, again 2009 in Do Likewise, and a few others.  A single verse from those postings:

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

Last night we were introduced to a different type of fatherless than we were thinking of from the simple reading.  He took us to:

After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father … (Matthew 6:9 KJV)

If pure religion is visiting the fatherless, and not having our Father in a life means that person is Fatherless, practicing pure religion means introducing our Father to those who do not have Him in their lives. An entirely new thought that opens tremendous opportunities.

Now, how about widows – the brides without their groom.  The new perspective given is in relation to the church as the bride of Christ (Matthew 25:1-13; 2 Corinthians 11:1-3), and not being a following of Christ means people do not have the bridegroom mentioned in these scriptures.  Again, an entirely new perspective, new opportunities for witnessing.

Does that mean the original understanding of the scriptures as read were wrong?  Nope – not at all.  Children who do not have a father figure in their lives need to be shown a Father’s love.  Widows, grieving the loss of the husband they depended on for so many, many things need to be helped, whether those needs are financial or spiritual or a handyman’s fixit help.

Just don’t stop there and believe that pure religion has been completed. Continue to read His word, receive new perspectives, see the needs, respond to the calling and be blessed.

Oh, you don’t know the difference between needs and calling?  Well, pray about it.  There are many needs, but we are called by God to use our talents where He has best suited us.  See the needs, but come to know your calling.  Otherwise, we can become overwhelmed!  There needs all around us, and we are not required to fill them all.  Thanks be to God for that!  But we do need to respond to His call for using our talents in His service. 

May God bless your reading of His word.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

God’s Plan

According to the US Department of Agriculture, “Fire ants are annoying and sometimes dangerous pests throughout the southeastern United States. ARS scientists and collaborators are conducting regional integrated pest-management programs to spread the use of the latest control technologies."

According to the Texas A&M University site, the second pest-management item on their list of Management Options is:  “Ant mounds can be shoveled out of the garden or treated with very hot water, taking care not to disturb or treat the garden plants.”

Working along the sidewalk, clearing weeds out of a small garden area, I found an active mound and spent an hour or so boiling water and pouring it into the ground in attempt to kill these dangerous pests. Shoveling them to another part of the yard didn’t appear to be a good plan. 

I’m allergic to their venom and their bite causes problems unless I quickly apply Benadryl.

Yet, I know they exist  according to God’s plan, just as other dangerous and deadly creatures that I do not wish to spend time thinking about.  God is the creator, these creatures are here, therefore they are part of His plan for this world.  As with many other dangers that befall mankind, I do not know why.  It bothers me at times.  But not enough to blame God.

Eliphaz blamed Job for what had happened, taking both family and material wealth:

Remember, I pray thee, who ever perished, being innocent? or where were the righteous cut off? (Job 4:7 KJV)

Oh, Eliphaz sounded interested and caring when he began:

If we assay to commune with thee, wilt thou be grieved? but who can withhold himself from speaking? Behold, thou hast instructed many, and thou hast strengthened the weak hands. (Job 4:2-3 KJV)

A little bit of praise before he basically says that it has to be Job’s sin that brought about the tragedies, aren’t the innocent and righteous protected by God?

No, they are not – in this world.  The rewards come in the spiritual world God has planned for those who come to Him in obedience and serve in His will.  In this world we know that bad things happen to good people because Christ confirmed what mankind has known from the beginning:

That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust. (Matthew 5:45 KJV)

And fire ants bite my feet!  Just as the earth shatters here and floods there, freezes where it shouldn’t and doesn’t rain where it should, this world is not for the complacent, just for the meek.

Where do you fit in – with Him, or without?

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Gotta Get Moving!


I know that it was only an hour, and that I’m supposed to break the months’ long habit of getting up at a specific time by getting up at least an hour early, but I also know that I’m not alone in this adjustment!

It’s not just in responding to the government edict, it’s also responding to God’s examples.

Go to the ant, thou sluggard; consider her ways, and be wise: [Proverbs 6:6 KJV]

Solomon goes on the explain why the ant is such a good example for us:

Which having no guide, overseer, or ruler, Provideth her meat in the summer, and gathereth her food in the harvest. [Proverbs 6:7-8 KJV]

No one has to give the ant a plan for what to do in the summer in order for her to work in the winter.  They know if they do not store food, there will be none.  Often mankind doesn’t seem to notice this, yet it applies to all living creatures.

How long wilt thou sleep, O sluggard? when wilt thou arise out of thy sleep? Yet a little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to sleep: So shall thy poverty come as one that travelleth, and thy want as an armed man. [Proverbs 6:9-11 KJV]

Yep.  Poverty.  We should be wiser than that after all of these years.  A few centuries later Paul got very specific about working and eating:

For even when we were with you, this we commanded you, that if any would not work, neither should he eat. [2 Thessalonians 3:10 KJV]

Why would we expect it to be any different at the Lord’s table?  If we are not willing to work for Him here, how can we expect to collect the fruits of the harvest in heaven?  You see, it’s not just bodily nourishment Paul is talking about here.  He takes it a step further in the spiritual nourishment as he explains:

For we hear that there are some which walk among you disorderly, working not at all, but are busybodies. Now them that are such we command and exhort by our Lord Jesus Christ, that with quietness they work, and eat their own bread. But ye, brethren, be not weary in well doing. [2 Thessalonians 3:11-13 KJV]

Have we grown weary in doing well and think this one, just in this one little thing, just in this one instance, we don’t have to do well?  It’s our choice.  Like the ant, we don’t have an overseer except our own willingness to follow the Lord. 

Oh, we shall always have those who judge our words, our deeds, but the only person we have to answer to is our Lord, our God.  Too often we are more concerned about the earthly judges and neglect the one for whom we truly labor.  God is the only true – and the only fair – judge in our entire existence.  How do our labors – or our slumbers – compare to His plan?  How do we want them to compare?

Friday, March 18, 2011


The lead to the devotional read “Don’t be a do-it-yourself Christian.”  I had never thought of it like that, but we all try to be at some time or another. With as much success as the DIY cat working on a computer.
Perhaps we think God is too busy to pay attention to us, so we’ll do it ourselves.  Or we think our problem is to small and He wouldn’t be interested because of that.  Or, foolish thought, we didn’t want it to come to His attention.  If we take care of it, the whole thing will go away.

None of those are valid, and we really know it, don’t we. 

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

For thou hast possessed my reins: thou hast covered me in my mother's womb. I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvellous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well. (Psalms 139:13-14 KJV)

He has plans for us.  Sometimes we don’t follow through, though.  Paul didn’t.  He witnessed Christ’s ministry.  Instead of following, he happily participated in persecuting those who did.  Jesus understood and confronted him:

And he said, Who art thou, Lord? And the Lord said, I am Jesus whom thou persecutest: it is hard for thee to kick against the pricks. (Acts 9:5 KJV)

Paul had been well schooled, in Acts 22:3 Paul tells us that Gamaliel was his teacher.  The same Gamaliel who advised caution when dealing with Christ’s followers:

And now I say unto you, Refrain from these men, and let them alone: for if this counsel or this work be of men, it will come to nought: But if it be of God, ye cannot overthrow it; lest haply ye be found even to fight against God. (Acts 5:38-39 KJV)

Paul ignored that counsel and sought to do it himself, and found himself standing fighting against God.  I personally thank God that I have not found myself standing before Jesus and having to answer for my actions. 

Oh, I will one day, down to every idle word (Matthew 12:36) I’ve misspoken.  I can’t fix that myself anymore than any other person. So, it’s down on my knees in prayer, giving thanks that He has already taken care of that!!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

A Fly In The Ointment

Remember the Alabaster Box I wrote of last year?  Matthew 26:7, Mark 14:3, Luke 7 and John 12:3.  Add another bit of information about precious ointment history, stopping first in Exodus.

And thou shalt make it an oil of holy ointment, an ointment compound after the art of the apothecary: it shall be an holy anointing oil. (Exodus 30:25 KJV)

The recipe was given in earlier verses for this oil to anoint the tabernacle.  And, it was done:

And he made the holy anointing oil, and the pure incense of sweet spices, according to the work of the apothecary. (Exodus 37:29 KJV)

Apothecaries made more than this holy oil, designed as a sweet savour for the Lord.  But a fly in it ruins it. Have you heard the phrase “a fly in the ointment”?  It comes from our King James Bible:

Dead flies cause the ointment of the apothecary to send forth a stinking savour: so doth a little folly him that is in reputation for wisdom and honour. (Ecclesiastes 10:1 KJV)

That sweet fragrance of ointments would attract flies, just as an honorable man with a good reputation would attract those who do not wish him well.  That was the center of our Youth Minister’s message at church last night.  In addition to getting an interesting bit of history on apothecaries, we were also given a message that we must take care to keep even a little folly away from our Christian lives.

He illustrated it with a memorable application of a fly-swatter to an imaginary fly, as well as a large cockroach in a plastic storage unit.  Sorry, you just had to be there to get the full effect!

We all know of people who led exemplary lives, yet fell through temptation and displayed a great deal of folly.  Instead of being examples of wisdom, their lives became a source of derision and laughter.  Those with a Christian background were labeled hypocrites – they did not practice what they preached.

Where do we fall as to temptations?  We’re told no temptation is so great it cannot be overcome:

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)

Disposing of that temptation, however, mean giving up something that is strongly desired, that would give us pleasure, make us happy (for a while) or ease our lives.  But – yielding to the temptation would be the fly in the ointment, destroying the sweet savour meant for God and perhaps leading others astray.  Not disposing of that temptation would cost us our reputation for wisdom and honour.

Will we look for that way to escape?  Or yield and lose our reputations.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

In The Lord’s Sight

I was cleaning up some genealogy papers and ran across the memorial sheet of my husband’s aunt. This photo was undated, but appears to have been take in the early1920’s.  Mayme was born in 1905, and went home to her Lord in 2009.  Included in her obituary was:  “Mayme was a long-time, active member of First United Methodist Church in Lebanon.”  That’s a town, too, not the country!

Do you think you could be considered a long-time, active member of your church?  If not, why not?  It really doesn’t take much to be considered an active member.  The majority of those simply show up for services on Sunday morning and bring an offering of some kind.  They consider this sufficient, for Paul wrote:

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

So, in order for no one to consider them boasting, they simply attend.  Perhaps they didn’t read what James wrote:

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

Or, from another of his chapters:

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

The people who know you best will probably write your obituary.  What will they say about your faith?  Is it displayed in any work you do to bring glory to your Father in heaven?  Not works accomplished in obedience to laws without faith, dependent upon them for salvation, but obedience to the word of Jesus:

And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me. [Matthew 25:40 KJV]

Also note in James 1:27 it says “fatherless”, not orphaned nor motherless.  I can assure you there are fatherless children in your church.  And, there are widows, too.  How much pure religion are you practicing today? 

It really is a simple thing to become active in your church.  The first step is building your faith:

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

Then by praying:

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

By then you’ll know where to serve Him. There’s a place waiting for you, both here and in heaven.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Standing Fast

Tiananmen Square is the largest city square in the world, taking up about 109 acres, able to accommodate 10 million people.  I can’t imagine what it would be like to have a million people standing in one area, much less ten!!

Tiananmen Tower on the south was built during the Ming dynasty (1368-1644) and other historical buildings joined it over the following centuries.  The remains of Chairman Mao Zedong are in a crystal coffin in the Memorial Hall that bears his name.

I’m preparing for next week’s Sunday School lesson covering Ephesians 6:10-14a.  Accompanying the lesson is a copy of this 1989 photograph of the student standing in front of the line of tanks, standing fast.

What better selection to use for the admonition:  Stand!

Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. (Ephesians 6:10-11 KJV)

Unfortunately, we do not stand against tanks but against things that often go unnoticed or are considered unimportant.  For our teens, it’s often peer pressure.  They do feel that they stand alone, not that they are able to stand fast.  It would be so easy to let things slide, just this once, ‘cause they aren’t nearly as big as a tank – it’s just my friend asking me to (go to the party, but Mom said no) (take just one drink, just to see how it tastes) (tell my Mom she’s spending the night, but she’s not) – pick the situation or insert one of your own.  We still do this as adults, you know.  Whatever breaks one of those two small commandments.

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)

Just keep those two things in mind when it comes to living each day.  Doesn’t take long to think about them, does it?  When you aren’t certain how to do that, continue reading in Ephesians, learning what truly is the armor we put on to help us stand fast.

Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. (Ephesians 6:13 KJV)

Monday, March 14, 2011

So late today!

When I looked for a graphic to illustrate how behind I felt, I found this one showing the Milky Way behind a tree.  Looking at it, I can understand how some believe the universe is too large to contain a Creator interested in this third planet circling a smaller star.  I’ve read some comments on news sites written by people making fun of others posting prayerful thoughts for the Japanese.

The God I worship is sufficient to have created the universe, and whatever is beyond it.  He is sufficient, also, to be interested in His creation.  He is omniscient and omnipotent.  He is both capable of causing and of stopping waves, of water or rock.  He is also capable of creating a world that contains physical conditions that to not require His moment-to-moment oversight, though those conditions might be damaging.

His Son addressed such tragic events.

There were present at that season some that told him of the Galilaeans, whose blood Pilate had mingled with their sacrifices. And Jesus answering said unto them, Suppose ye that these Galilaeans were sinners above all the Galilaeans, because they suffered such things? I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish. Or those eighteen, upon whom the tower in Siloam fell, and slew them, think ye that they were sinners above all men that dwelt in Jerusalem? (Luke 13:1-4 KJV)

Maybe that’s why I could not write a daily thought, for mine were so in turmoil.  The devastation in Japan is so overwhelming, and it goes on and on with new shocks and fears.  And I received word that one single individual, living here in relative comfort, now in the ER, too early really to be having the contractions she is.  Compound that with her inability to lower her blood sugar, and I spend as much time praying for her and her son as I do for an entire country.

As I do, I express gratitude that He is capable, and I do not have to be. I can run behind during a day and the world continues turning as it has before.  Is that what non-believers see?  That we can find comfort when the world literally shakes beneath our feet?  When we can believe in a God capable of creating so much more than one small world?  Yet also believe He cares.  And tells us so:

O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not! (Matthew 23:37 KJV)

I shall always be running behind, feeling as though there are many things left undone, even when I follow Jilly’s useful 30 minute process. But I shall never be too far behind Him.  He came for me.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Another Year, Another Time Change

Same as last year, we’ve come to Spring time and moved our clocks forward.  (Well, except that it’s not really Spring, yet.) Since it is so much as last year was, why not repeat what I said then:

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

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

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

I found at Mosaics From Home such a study, done in Indiana. A search led me to the Working Paper in PDF format, done by Matthew J. Kotchen and Laura E. Grant of the National Bureau of Economic Research. The results state:
“In conclusion, we find that the longstanding rationale for DST is questionable, and if anything, the policy seems to have the opposite of its intended effect. Nevertheless, there are other arguments made in favor of DST. These range from increased opportunities for leisure, enhanced public health and safety, and economic growth. In the end, a full evaluation of DST should account for these multiple dimensions, but the evidence here suggests that continued reliance on Benjamin Franklin’s old argument alone is now misleading.”
Note that “other arguments made in favor of DST” have not been studied to confirm positive results. So, why are we blindly following along? Some aren’t. Some are questioning, such as The California Energy Commission.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Seek the answers He has for your life.

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

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

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

Saturday, March 12, 2011

I Don’t Know

This is our loafing shed and pasture in 2005.  The smoke came from a fire just about half a mile away.  The fire had already covered several miles, burning lots of land but only a few out buildings.

It’s that dry time of the year when we pray for rain, and today there were several fires around our county.  One was within a few miles of my son’s house and had shut down a highway as the flames jumped a divided four-lane.  None were close to us, and I was grateful. 

And none of that news really held my attention today as I was shocked by the inexorably powerful tsunami sweeping away lives and livelihood in Japan. How could anyone survive the force of that water that never slowed as it pushed everything across their fertile land?

Our earth is not stable.  It has physical changes over which mankind has no control, we can only plan for the aftermath of such instability.

It is now such an aftermath, and I can only feel helpless.  How to help? I don’t know.  So, I pray.  I pray for the survivors on site.  I pray for their leaders who must provide so much for them in the near future, and rebuild for the long term.

I search for the way to pray according to His word:

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

I depend on the Holy Spirit to aid in my prayers.  For right now, how that should be done, I do not know.  I only know that God is sovereign and recall Marty Fish’s comments on that subject

“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.”

Marty closed with:

“… bless the name of the Lord, because in all things, God is, and will always be, sovereign.”
That much we do know.

Friday, March 11, 2011

What Comes To Mind?

What’s the first thing that comes to mind when you see:  Jesus

On our church’s pulpit is a portion of John 12:21:  Sir, we would see Jesus.

For me, a variety of thoughts quickly flow through, but the first, I think, is seeing Him as teacher.  I know, I know, savior should come first, but first we must be taught.

He called His disciples one by one, then He taught them.  He didn’t expect them to answer the call, then immediately head for the field to bring the word to others.  The gospels give us so many examples of how He taught.

Another parable put he forth unto them, saying, The kingdom of heaven is like to a grain of mustard seed, which a man took, and sowed in his field: (Matthew 13:31 KJV)

Another parable spake he unto them; The kingdom of heaven is like unto leaven, which a woman took, and hid in three measures of meal, till the whole was leavened. (Matthew 13:33 KJV)

Among the teachings is Matthew 5.  That’s what we’re supposed to be in order to be blessed.  We start out poor in spirit and mourning as we realize our lost spiritual status.  That will make us meek, then we hunger and thirst after His righteous.  After that we can become merciful, pure in heart and peacemakers.  By that time we’ve become noticed, and we will be persecuted.  I pray that we can actually be strong enough by that time to rejoice and be exceedingly glad.

I do believe that there is a heavenly reward. He went to the Father, as will we.

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)

I also see Him as the Lamb of God.  Mrs. Nancy loves to shout as she believes John did – BEHOLD!

The next day John seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world. (John 1:29 KJV)

Who He is, and what He does.  That pretty well says it all, doesn’t it?

How does Jesus appear to you?

Thursday, March 10, 2011

The Last Error

I was reading the IFB KJV Blog about errors in the King James Bible when I ran across this verse:

Saying, Sir, we remember that that deceiver said, while he was yet alive, After three days I will rise again. Command therefore that the sepulchre be made sure until the third day, lest his disciples come by night, and steal him away, and say unto the people, He is risen from the dead: so the last error shall be worse than the first. (Matthew 27:63-64 KJV)

I thought of how grateful we should be that the chief priests and the Pharisees went to Pilate and made this request.  The Sadducees didn’t.

Once Jesus died, I think the Sadducees could not have cared less about Him because they did not believe in heaven/hell or a resurrection of any kind.  The Pharisees did.  However much Jesus had led the people astray with His teaching, however large the error He inserted into lives by telling them He was the Messiah, that was only the first error.  The last, the greater, would be if His disciples stole the body, claiming that He had risen from the dead.  Some believe that was what was accomplished. The Bible tells us differently.

Pilate said unto them, Ye have a watch: go your way, make it as sure as ye can. So they went, and made the sepulchre sure, sealing the stone, and setting a watch. (Matthew 27:65-66 KJV)

Now, take just a few moments and read the first verses in chapter 28. The resurrection occurred before the stone was rolled away from the doorway. 

From the religious leaders’ point of view, they had to live with that last error, watching the growth of Jesus’ following long after His death.

Why did they fear the belief that Jesus rose?  Because they had been preaching that through scriptures, then ignored Jesus as He made it plain with scriptural authority and miracles that He was the Messiah. His resurrection proved it.

I, too, have a fear of an error – the error of friends and family who do not find resurrection miraculous.  I am concerned for them and I pray they will search the scriptures, too.  Pray they will come to understand why Jesus said:

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

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Thank God For My Children

See those people having fun back in 1979?  That’s Second Daughter on the left, Beloved Husband in the middle and First Daughter on the right – and they were having a ball in Santa Fe, New Mexico on one of our best vacations.

Here they are again, having fun in a very different way, as our church added on in the early 2000’s.
Beloved Husband and a church member are on the left, supervising! Son is laying down on the job, pulling the screed to smooth the concrete; First Daughter is helping on the other end of that screed, while Second Daughter and her husband are pulling the concrete just poured.  Yes, we really work at helping our church grow, Literally.

Why are they on my mind enough to write about hem?  Well, both girls were over today doing some preparations for our 50th wedding anniversary that we’ll celebrate the first weekend in June.  We tasted cake possibilities today (mmmmm good!!!) and rearranged beds for guests that will be coming.  As I listened to their laughter it seemed to echo through years of family fellowship.  Through such good times – and some bad ones, they are gifts I cherish.

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

Let me tell you, mine are both a heritage and a reward.  They have responded to the call of their Lord and each one spends time in fellowship with Him.  They understand David’s verse, repeated four times in this psalm:

Oh that men would praise the LORD for his goodness, and for his wonderful works to the children of men! (Psalms 107:8 KJV)

Oh, they all still think their Mom is crazy (and who am I to argue with them?) but they still love me and their father.  I know because I listened to them as they went through photographs to use in a slide show.  That’s when we ran across the one on the top.

All of our fun, all of our good times, all of the past we’ve spent together, none of it is as important as the day each of them accepted Jesus as their Lord and savior.  That gives us all of eternity together serving the God we hold in awe.

He will bless them that fear the LORD, both small and great. The LORD shall increase you more and more, you and your children. Ye are blessed of the LORD which made heaven and earth. (Psalms 115:13-15 KJV)

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Psalm 33


The children in the photo are doing all three!  They rejoiced during this last Wednesday service before last summer’s vacation by singing praises. How better to illustrate Psalm 33?  This was the Psalm our pastor spoke of Sunday night.  Once again there is so much in these twenty-two verses that I’ll only cover a few, starting with the first three:

Rejoice in the LORD, O ye righteous: for praise is comely for the upright.
Praise the LORD with harp: sing unto him with the psaltery and an instrument of ten strings.
Sing unto him a new song; play skilfully with a loud noise.

See?  Rejoice in the Lord while praising Him with songs.  We do this every service.  There are always hymns, by the congregation, choir selections and special music by members.  We all participate during worship services.  Wouldn’t miss it for the world.  Literally!!

Another good verse from this psalm is:

By the word of the LORD were the heavens made; and all the host of them by the breath of his mouth. (Psalms 33:6 KJV)

Think of the many instances where the very breath of God creates – from Genesis 1 “And God said…” Simply by the word of the Lord were the heavens made.  David knew this century upon century after those spoken words.  In Genesis 2:7 we’re told it was God’s breath that gave life to Adam.  When we speak of the Bible as being “inspired”, that word goes back to “God breathed.”

For he spake, and it was done; he commanded, and it stood fast. (Psalms 33:9 KJV)

There is one verse in here that gives me great concern:

Blessed is the nation whose God is the LORD; and the people whom he hath chosen for his own inheritance. (Psalms 33:12 KJV)

The President of my country – chosen in a democratic election by a majority of the people in this county – has openly, with great publicity, declared to the world that this county is not a nation whose God is the Lord. 

Where, then, the blessings? 

We who are a people whose God remains the Lord do continually repeat David’s prayer, for our Hope is in Him:

Let thy mercy, O LORD, be upon us, according as we hope in thee. (Psalms 33:22 KJV)

Monday, March 7, 2011

Exclusive? Why?

Do you think about how exclusive math is?  What if three or five wanted to be the end product of two plus two?  Why should four always show up as the exclusive answer?  Isn’t that being intolerant?  Being dogmatic?  Isn’t it confining to know that mathematics requires specific answers, not allowing for creativity?  Our pastor mentioned this during his sermon Sunday morning.  Easy for him, he is a mathematician, and he was a math teacher.  Math carries provable specifics. Two plus two equals four.  That is a truth, exclusive of five and three or what their desires might be.

Yet mankind squirms under the confining restrictions of truth, seeking instead relevancy in regard to culture, timeframe, geography and greatest of all, personal desires.  Mankind wants nothing less than for everyone to be themselves, as defined individually and open to interpretations.

The morning’s scriptures were John 13:36 – 14:6, and the sermon covered much more than I will attempt to mention here.  I’d like to focus on the last three verses:

And whither I go ye know, and the way ye know. Thomas saith unto him, Lord, we know not whither thou goest; and how can we know the way? Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me. (John 14:4-6 KJV)

Don’t you just love Thomas?  Here, as in John 11:16 and John 20:25, Thomas’ plain speech is as open and honest at it gets.  Jesus says He’s going and they know where (He has spoken of His death for some time now – remember, this is taking place at the last supper.) Thomas says what some of the others must be thinking.  Even Peter misunderstood a conversation in the last of chapter 13.  It’s left up to Thomas to state clearly, "We don't know," and ask for an explanation.

Jesus gives a dogmatically doctrinal answer that He has stated many times in the gospels, but is as plain as Thomas’ question.  It includes that awesome acknowledgement of who He is:  “I am.”  He is all – the way, the truth and the life.  Exclusive.  Dogmatic.  Intolerant.  All of those words apply, just as two plus two only equals four.  This verse can be omitted or ignored, but it cannot be explained away.  Neither can Luke’s:

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

Yes, it was written down by men.  Men who were inspired by God to share the message they were given.  If they were not – this is all false.  If they were, they can be ignored only by accepting the consequences of that ignorance.

Is there truth, or is existence simply relative to personal whims?  Does two plus two always equal four and never five nor three?  Why?

Sunday, March 6, 2011

How Close?

They look very different this close, don’t they?  We don’t see salt grains this way as we use them on our food.  We take them for granted, too, hardly noticing them as they provide necessary nutrition.
Pastor said Wednesday night and I've been thinking about it quite a bit this week: "We are as close to God as we want to be."

I first thought of the old story of the wife who said, after seeing a couple in the next car where the passenger was sitting next to the driver, “Why don’t we sit like that?”  Her husband’s response tells her the choice is hers:  “I haven’t moved.”

I can't find a way to change what pastor said either.  We truly are as close to God as we choose to be.  He does not change, always available for us.

For I am the LORD, I change not; (Malachi 3:6a KJV)

Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning. (James 1:17 KJV)

He did provide for us to be sought:

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

Action is required on our part.

When thou saidst, Seek ye my face; my heart said unto thee, Thy face, LORD, will I seek. (Psalms 27:8 KJV)

For those who deny His existence and reject what He has offered to mankind, there are consequences.   I don’t have to go into them – everyone is aware that I believe they are defined in the Bible and available to anyone who wishes to read.  The topic is being close to God, not questioning His existence!

So, how does one grow close to God?

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

Single verses are subject to change if you read surrounding verses, though.  So I want to go one verse further:

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

Yep, “they” have heard. I have heard – and responded.

Now, you have heard – and responded?

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Christ Is Preached


Yesterday I spoke of arguing over earthly things.  I'm still in that frame of mind.  I read on another site:  Do not battle over things that have no spoil.  Which reminded me of K. P. Yohannan's “Revolution In World Mission”  where he gives a view of some churches that were more focused in correcting another church's doctrine than in reaching lost souls.

Paul faced similar battles, as he wrote:

Some indeed preach Christ even of envy and strife; and some also of good will: The one preach Christ of contention, not sincerely, supposing to add affliction to my bonds: But the other of love, knowing that I am set for the defence of the gospel. What then? notwithstanding, every way, whether in pretence, or in truth, Christ is preached; and I therein do rejoice, yea, and will rejoice. [Philippians 1:15-18 KJV]

I find it difficult to rejoice when I read of a certain church's divisive protests, though the Supreme Court of the United States has upheld their right to do so.  True, they preach a Christ of strife and contention.  As does another man given the title of Christian who speak against a Christian couple's doctrine, calling their beliefs poison.  He states the subject matter was not addressed by Jesus, leaving us to believe he does not accept the remainder of the New Testament as scripture.

How can we rejoice as we hear the envy, strife, contention and insincerity of those preaching in Christ's name? 

We can when we know the foundations of our own faith.  We can when we know to what service God has called us.  I am not called to defend God.  He is more than capable of doing that Himself.  I am not called to change anyone's mind or suggest that their life is less important than my own.  I do have a couple of things I believe God has asked that I do.

First is to teach a junior high girl's Sunday School class and share God's word with them.  I believe this to be a tremendous responsibility, with the job description well defined:

Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven. [Matthew 5:19 KJV]

And said, Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven. Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven. And whoso shall receive one such little child in my name receiveth me. But whoso shall offend one of these little ones which believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea. [Matthew 18:3-6 KJV]

Second is to share openly what I think of when I study God's word.  Nothing more, but nothing less, either.  I can only pray Paul could have written of me and other places:

For from you sounded out the word of the Lord not only in Macedonia and Achaia, but also in every place your faith to God-ward is spread abroad; so that we need not to speak any thing. [1 Thessalonians 1:8 KJV]

What's He called you to do?