Friday, September 30, 2011

How Firm The Foundation?

Often supporters for science make statements that are later disproved.  Scientists at one time stated that the sun and moon revolved around the earth.  Another scientist not only stated that was incorrect, but was vilified for proving it.  I like the way NASA gave a little wiggle room in one of their answers:
Q: Why is it that nothing may go faster than the speed of light? I have also heard that they once got an electron to travel faster than the speed of light in a particle accelerator. Can you confirm or deny this?
A: Our current understanding [emphasis mine] of the laws of physics say that nothing can go faster than the speed of light, and that objects with mass cannot even get up to the speed of light (it requires an infinite amount of energy). They have never gotten an electron to go faster than the speed of light (see above). The fastest electrons from an accelerator go about .999999 times the speed of light.
This is being challenged by the results of an experiment at CERN, the European Center for Nuclear Research.  A New York Times article gives a bit of the controversy, since so much in physics is based on the speed of light:
Einstein himself — the author of modern physics, whose theory of relativity established the speed of light as the ultimate limit — said that if you could send a message faster than light, “You could send a telegram to the past.”
Alvaro DeRejula, a theorist at CERN, called the claim “flabbergasting.”
“If it is true, then we truly haven’t understood anything about anything,” he said, adding: “It looks too big to be true. The correct attitude is to ask oneself what went wrong.”
So, the experiments will continue, with the goal of verifying – or disproving – these results. 

Actually, that’s basically what I’ve been advocating about Bible reading and God, isn’t it?  Asking that my readers pick up a Bible, take time to get acquainted with what it says, then keep an open mind and run some experiments.  The Bible says – and I believe it to be true – that He can be found:

… if thou seek him, he will be found of thee; but if thou forsake him, he will cast thee off for ever. (1 Chronicles 28:9b KJV)

Isaiah indicates that He might not always be available:

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

Those who seek and find Him are offered mercy:

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

The Bible says:

Then shall ye call upon me, and ye shall go and pray unto me, and I will hearken unto you. And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart. (Jeremiah 29:12-13 KJV)

Thursday, September 29, 2011


For by fire and by his sword will the LORD plead with all flesh: and the slain of the LORD shall be many. They that sanctify themselves, and purify themselves in the gardens behind one tree in the midst, eating swine's flesh, and the abomination, and the mouse, shall be consumed together, saith the LORD. (Isaiah 66:16-17 KJV)

I cheated this time, seeking to tell some mouse stories, and searched for “mouse” when a friend’s blog mentioned finding one.

Now, we can’t imagine imagine eating a mouse, even if it is in a garden behind a tree.  While we’ve accepted pork, mice remain unclean in our society – and I have no desire to see that changed!

Most of us have had a run-in with a mouse.  Some have been a bit funny (after we screamed loudly.)  The first one that comes to mind took place in the front offices of a Fixed Based Operation I worked for in Oklahoma City.  Surrounding the runways were acres and acres of open fields.  Come winter, some of the less hardy denizens sought shelter inside.  One such mouse chose an odd hiding place – an open-face gas heater with ceramic inserts. 

Lighting that heater was simple, turn on the gas and place a burning match at the end closest to the handle.  My boss did, and just as the flam began racing down the length of the nozzle, a mouse jumped from behind a ceramic insert, looked at the flame and ran in front of the advancing flair and jumped off the end.  There, it stood on hind legs and batted forepaws to brush the ashened whisker ends.

My boss swore the mouse gave her a dirty look before scooting off into the hangar, much safer among the aircraft!

Of course, there are always stories regarding strange ways mice exit our lives, too.  Second Daughter was about ten when picked the strangest – to me.  She and Son were on the patio when a mouse ran from behind some planters.  She was quicker with her hands than her brother, picking up the nearest weapon – a ten-pound sledge her father had left.  Quicker even with her eyes, as she dropped that hammer right on the mouse!  Of course, she asked her brother to get rid of the body.  There are some things a girl just doesn’t want to do.

Now I must include another verse having to do with mice (this is a Bible reading blog, you know), so let’s visit the Philistines who held the Ark of the covenant.  That wasn’t good for them, at all.  When they had almost enough, they placed it in an open field which became overrun with mice.  To return it to the Israelites, there was a price to be paid:

Then said they, What shall be the trespass offering which we shall return to him? They answered, Five golden emerods, and five golden mice, according to the number of the lords of the Philistines: for one plague was on you all, and on your lords. Wherefore ye shall make images of your emerods, and images of your mice that mar the land; and ye shall give glory unto the God of Israel: peradventure he will lighten his hand from off you, and from off your gods, and from off your land. (1 Samuel 6:4-5 KJV)

Wednesday, September 28, 2011


How much time do you have? We all have the same 24 hours a day, and we use them in so many different ways!!  I so admire my multi-talented friends who are crafty in so many ways.

A couple create such beautiful cards. Even with the helpful machines, it takes talent to put all the pieces together and evoke emotions.  Some sew, taking patterns, fitting them together like puzzles and wear them, looking beautiful in beautiful creations.  How about those who knit, or crochet? Unique pieces for use or display. Talent displayed.

Just as talented are the workers – it takes more than talent to hold a job today, in this painful economic climate.  They spend time getting to their job, then providing to their employer all they’ve promised and returning home. That’s a talent, too.

Yesterday’s post looked at a 2008 survey and I’ve hoped that readers would think about the time allotted to them.  The Bible says:

For all our days are passed away in thy wrath: we spend our years as a tale that is told. The days of our years are threescore years and ten; and if by reason of strength they be fourscore years, yet is their strength labour and sorrow; for it is soon cut off, and we fly away.  (Psalms 90:9-10 KJV)

Well, I have that seventy years – and it appears there may more ahead, but I can’t know that.  None of us can.  So, the psalmist continued:

So teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom. (Psalms 90:12 KJV)

So much of this summer was spent traveling to/from and waiting in doctors’ offices that it seems as though June was just last week and what happened to the rest of the summer!  We still did the every day ordinary things, too – washing, vacuuming (hoovering for those on the isles), cooking, dishwashing, bill paying – with regular trips to our church for some learning, refilling and fellowship.  We continued with our social life, too – dominoes, birthday parties, visiting.  But it’s gone. Nothing done this summer can be undone.

None of the diagnoses can be undone, either, and that truly has brought us the lesson of numbering our days.  Proverbs tells us about that wisdom:

Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore get wisdom: and with all thy getting get understanding. (Proverbs 4:7 KJV)

Wisdom was requested by Solomon, and God granted that prayer. Bezaleel of Judah also received the gift of wisdom:

And I have filled him with the spirit of God, in wisdom, and in understanding, and in knowledge, and in all manner of workmanship, (Exodus 31:3 KJV)

He became a great workman on God’s temple and his name is read along with Solomon’s these centuries later.  Could we do as well by numbering our days and using our time in God’s plan?

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Digital Dead Sea Scrolls

Their existence is extraordinary.  The fact that we can now view them at home is even more so.  If you are interested in the Dead Sea Scrolls, make a stop here at their ditigal site.

Discovered in 1947, the scrolls generated a great deal of interest, then a number of conspiracy theories, conflicting origin theories and even more question  as they remained sequestered. Today their digital imprints are available to anyone with an internet connection. They do raise as many questions as they answer.  There are scrolls from all of what is considered the Old Testament, with the exception of Esther.  According to The Oxford Companion to Archaeology:
The biblical manuscripts from Qumran, which include at least fragments from every book of the Old Testament, except perhaps for the book of Esther, provide a far older cross section of scriptural tradition than that available to scholars before. While some of the Qumran biblical manuscripts are nearly identical to the Masoretic, or traditional, Hebrew text of the Old Testament, some manuscripts of the books of Exodus and Samuel found in Cave Four exhibit dramatic differences in both language and content.
That’s an example of questions remaining.  I’ve read an article that rather than created/buried only by Essenes, there are findings which place some of the scrolls as originating in Jerusalem, carried by those dispersed prior to the destruction of the city in 70 AD. This is based on the copper scroll’s translation which include references to temple items, some of the phylacteries’ translations and to Josephus’ ‘Wars’ descriptions.  There’s an interesting article on this in the Jewish Daily Forward from 2007.

What the Scrolls tell me is the preservation of the word of God across millennia.  For centuries, deniers spoke and wrote of how impossible it would be to preserve the Tanakh down through the ages as it was hand copied over and over and over again. The scrolls, which “contains alternative spellings, scribal errors, corrections, and most fundamentally, many variant readings,” carry the same message. The ‘word’ that David studied, and wrote of in his psalms …

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

… is the same ‘word’ available to us today, for that very same reason – that we might not sin against God.  The same God available to us today.

I have no doubt that arguments can be made for more than one source of the Dead Sea Scrolls; for and against specific copies of the biblical books; for and against individual interpretations – but the history of Judaism and God’s message to His people remains the same.

Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God is one LORD: And thou shalt love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might. (Deuteronomy 6:4-5 KJV)

This is truth, and this is what we are to do with the truth:

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

Monday, September 26, 2011

How We Spend Time

This is a screen capture from a New York Times article. Moving my cursor over the different colors, I ran across ‘Religious activities,’ just below ‘Volunteering,’ with even a smaller percentage. ‘Sports,’ just below, shows larger – and take a look at the TV and movies!

A survey of Americans, a couple of years old, so if it were taken today with more people out of work, I wonder which segment would increase.

There are no surprises there, for me. Work takes up most of our time – when we can work. Travel was a bit higher than I expected throughout the day, but we are a commuter society – again, when we can work.  This graph is for ‘Everyone.’  There are seventeen other graphs for specific segments.  For example, as someone over 65, here are our days:
We do a few more morning devotions, it appears (we both know I do, since this is posted in the morning) and we basically eat two meals a day – and watch a lot of television.

I’ve  wondered if this were tailored for weekends of the ‘Religious activity’ would increase a bit, but I doubt it.  I do expect ‘Sports’ would, though.  I’m surprised that ‘Religious activity’ doesn’t increase around bedtime with closing prayers.

From the rising of the sun unto the going down of the same the LORD'S name is to be praised. (Psalms 113:3 KJV)

People saying they are Christian make up a good portion of the American population.  Doesn’t appear we’re spending much time praising, does it?  Yet God’s people were given directives as how to spend part of their time:

That the generation to come might know them, even the children which should be born; who should arise and declare them to their children: That they might set their hope in God, and not forget the works of God, but keep his commandments: (Psalms 78:6-7 KJV)

It is good to build a habit of praying:

It is a good thing to give thanks unto the LORD, and to sing praises unto thy name, O most High: To shew forth thy lovingkindness in the morning, and thy faithfulness every night, (Psalms 92:1-2 KJV)

Christ provided an example for our prayer, but He gave some instructions before that example:

But when ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do: for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking. Be not ye therefore like unto them: for your Father knoweth what things ye have need of, before ye ask him. (Matthew 6:7-8 KJV)

A better example is given later, as He faces what we who love Him never shall – separation from God the Father.  Even knowing what awaited Him following death on the cross, He asked that it not happen, but closed with what God requires from His children:

He went away again the second time, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if this cup may not pass away from me, except I drink it, thy will be done. (Matthew 26:42 KJV)

Look again at the graph.  Compare the hours of your day with those who answered the survey.  Where does God’s will fit?

Sunday, September 25, 2011


Just when you think the earth’s beauty has been mined and you’re familiar with the jewels, another one pops up.  I was not aware of the “rainbow produced by light reflected off the surface of the moon rather than from direct sunlight.” Though faint, often appearing white to our eyes, the colors do appear in long exposure photographs.
A moonbow (also known as a lunar rainbow, lunar bow or white rainbow) is a rainbow produced by light reflected off the surface of the moon rather than from direct sunlight. Moonbows are relatively faint, due to the smaller amount of light reflected from the surface of the moon. They are always in the opposite part of the sky from the moon.
A true moonbow is lit from the Moon itself. A colored rainbow when the sun is setting or when it is darker out is not a moonbow because it is still produced by sunlight. Moonbows have been mentioned at least since Aristotle, in his Meteorology, circa 350 BC, and in 1847, and the term moonbow was used by Nick Whelan who sighted one of the first documented moonbows in Eastern Utah.
In other words, they could not have been easily seen before current technology.  How much more is waiting for just the right technology to display to us?

Almost as much as what is waiting for us in God’s word as we seek His will.  Before we seek Him, we are much as Jeremiah described:

Hear now this, O foolish people, and without understanding; which have eyes, and see not; which have ears, and hear not: (Jeremiah 5:21 KJV)

Jesus described His disciples, too, when the misunderstood a lesson:

Having eyes, see ye not? and having ears, hear ye not? and do ye not remember? (Mark 8:18 KJV)

With the psalmist, we need to seek our Lord in prayer:

Open thou mine eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of thy law. (Psalms 119:18 KJV)

What we receive in return cannot be described:

But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him. (1 Corinthians 2:9 KJV)

We do know it comes with good and with love, for that is God:

He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love. (1 John 4:8 KJV)

Truly God is good to Israel, even to such as are of a clean heart. (Psalms 73:1 KJV)

Saturday, September 24, 2011

A History Lesson

Following World War II (I know, ancient history to most living today), the United States of America began the business of rebuilding nations. Quite successfully, if you look at Germany or Japan today. Unsuccessfully, if you look at Korea, Viet Nam, Lebanon, Somalia, Afghanistan or Iraq.

Rob Enderle’s “IBM’s Best Battle Strategy May Be To Avoid Wars” has some interesting history lessons regarding competition in business, and one paragraph that made me stop and think very seriously about when to contend (Jude 1:3):
After the Cold War, we stopped focusing on the leaders of global growth (India and China) and started focusing excessively on the losers (Taliban and Al-Qaeda)  – he says it should be no surprise is that we are starting to look more and more like the losers, falling seriously behind China.
I cannot cite the source of the following quote, but I see its application here, too:  Never go into battle where there are no spoils.

No, this is not about geo-politics, nor business strategy, but it does bring to mind IBM’s corporate motto, “Think,”as it applies to Christians.

How are Christians to battle? Take a look at the whole 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 item there, except the sword, is defensive.  Got that? Think about it. It bears repeating:  Every single part of the armor is defensive, except the sword. That’s God’s word.  Remember, it does not return to Him void (Isaiah 55:11) God-breathed, inspired. When it’s time for us to use it, the words will be provided.

But when they shall lead you, and deliver you up, take no thought beforehand what ye shall speak, neither do ye premeditate: but whatsoever shall be given you in that hour, that speak ye: for it is not ye that speak, but the Holy Ghost. (Mark 13:11 KJV)

Look at the circumstances – “lead you, and deliver you up” doesn’t sound as though Christ is speaking to someone who went looking for a fight, does it? At times it comes to us unexpectedly when we quote the Bible.  It did for a high school student in the Metroplex this last week.  

Christians depend upon the Bible as God’s word.  As I ask my readers to check out the verses posted, I depend on God’s word to speak to their hearts.  Not my words – they are simply bubble wrap. The Bible as we see it was inspired by God to reach out to mankind.  What I write won’t be remembered through tomorrow – His is designed to last an eternity.  Nothing I can say will add to His word.

Friday, September 23, 2011


We drive roads similar to this photo quite often. (We could use some more of those clouds that promise rain, though!) They wiggle and wander across our countryside and give few opportunities to pass.  I was on one yesterday that ambled as this does, just a little rolling-hill countryside two-lane road.

I don’t speed (often) and do try to keep within five miles an hour of the posted speed limit.  Often there is someone behind me who finds that pace to slow.  S/He ought to be behind me after dark – I’m close to ten mph slower!

Today an incident reminded me of people who just can’t stand to be behind another vehicle, and that applies to Christians, too, who find themselves ready to speed down that narrow way to the strait gate. When they find themselves behind a new Christian, or one studying a specific doctrinal point, moving slower, they can get impatient, too.

I can understand their eagerness to press on toward the goal, but I’m reminded of how Jesus stopped along the way, while everyone else was rushing.

And he must needs go through Samaria. (John 4:4 KJV)

At Jacob’s well, a gift to Joseph, He sat and talked with a woman. Her story is loved and has been reflected in many others.  There’s no indication of why “he must needs go through Samaria,” but we use the story to grow more like Him.  Another such story is of Jairus’ daughter:

And besought him greatly, saying, My little daughter lieth at the point of death: I pray thee, come and lay thy hands on her, that she may be healed; and she shall live. (Mark 5:23 KJV)

A life or death situation where time is of the essence, a child’s life at stake – and Jesus stops in a crowd of people and asks “Who touched my clothes?” Not His arm, not any portion of his body, but just touched His garment.  Of course, the child was not harmed by this delay. And there are other such stops.  How about Zacchaeus?  You haven’t forgotten that early Bible story of the short man, have you?

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

Must abide,” not visit, not dine, not sup – “I must abide at thy house.” That’s what I want, for Jesus to abide in my house.  I want Him to use me to further His work, to use the gifts provided to accomplish His will.

And that may mean slowing down along that narrow way to the strait gate.  Not passing up opportunities to help others as they make their own way to the goal God has set for them.  We don’t know when the journey will end, and although we are looking forward to that reunion, be patient.  Enjoy the journey with your brothers and sisters in Christ, you’ll be spending eternity with them, too.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Earth Light

There have been some very interesting shots from the International Space Station over the years.  This 60-second MSNBC video caught my eye Sunday – watch it, takes but a moment. The bright yellow lights are cities.  See the white lighted areas along the cloud lines?  Those are lightning displays.

The power to light an area equal to a city within a bolt of lightning.  We know so little of our world, while we have learned so much! See again that thin greenish line of atmospheric airglow.
The flight to the sunrise begins over the Pacific Ocean and zooms at an altitude of about 220 miles (350 kilometers) past Vancouver Island and Victoria, the Pacific Northwest and the American Southwest, Texas and Mexico, Central and South America. The highlights to watch for include constellations of city lights, lightning flashes in the clouds, the stars whirling in the night sky above, the faint brown-yellow atmospheric airglow that rims the eastern horizon, and the glorious dawn at the end.
My grandfather came to Oklahoma on a train, then drove a covered wagon to a new home before 1910.  His grandson was an aerospace engineer with NASA, reaching for the heavens.  The past century’s giant steps forward have given us new perspectives as we view our planet and the changes on it.

From space, our Texas drought can be tracked, smoke from the fires photographed.  Hurricanes, too.  The massive ones, such as Katrina and Irene, can be seen in their entirety and their size is simply awesome.

I know, this is very similar to other posts this summer, but this one is pure awe while watching this small slice of God’s awesome power and planning.

O LORD, how great are thy works! and thy thoughts are very deep. (Psalms 92:5 KJV)

Our lesson Sunday morning was the second on Theology Proper, the study of God, His essence, His existence, His attributes and our limited ability to understand Him.  David wrote of this in his psalms:

O LORD, how manifold are thy works! in wisdom hast thou made them all: the earth is full of thy riches. (Psalms 104:24 KJV)

There are many verses in Job about how we do not understand God’s ways:

Lo, these are parts of his ways: but how little a portion is heard of him? but the thunder of his power who can understand? (Job 26:14 KJV)

Many who deny the existence of God say He is simply a way these men faced the unexplainable, putting a name to what they did not, and we do not, understand.  They continue by showing examples of what science has done in explaining how our world works and when it originated.  I’ve acknowledged hearing, researching and learning about what they’ve learned – while they cannot say the same about a Christian’s belief.

Come, join us in seeking what God has said, and done:

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

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Understanding Difficulties

If you have not read Marty Fish’s “If God Does Not Heal,” please take a moment to read it.  Marty spent more than a year believing God would heal his wife.  Like Marty, I know that God does have the ability to heal us all, but that is not part of His plan for mankind, nor for us individually.

Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. (James 1:3 KJV)

That’s what I see in Marty’s writing to us.  Patience.

But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing. If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him. (James 1:4-5 KJV)

That’s the wisdom Marty received.  The wisdom that put the words on paper explaining his faith, sharing it with us.

It is fairly simple to express our beliefs in good times.  When we continue to express our faith during difficult, painful times, we become a witness to others that we are far beyond ‘fair weather friends’ to our Lord.  We are His children, in pain, and He provides for us to the point that we share His blessings.

Instead of denying Him, railing against Him or demanding He make the world to our liking or we’ll just mark Him off, we need to come to Him as child to parent and seek the comfort He has promised.  There is an inexplicable comfort – and joy.

Whom having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye see him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory: (1 Peter 1:8 KJV)

Barney Warren knew that in 1900 when he penned:
I have found His grace is all complete,
He supplieth every need;
While I sit and learn at Jesus’ feet,
I am free, yes, free indeed.
  • Refrain:
    It is joy unspeakable and full of glory,
    Full of glory, full of glory;
    It is joy unspeakable and full of glory,
    Oh, the half has never yet been told.
Well, I’m trying to tell you my half.  His grace is sufficient, as Paul discovered when one of his prayers went unanswered:

And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. (2 Corinthians 12:9 KJV)

When we are in God’s will, the trials and difficulties we encounter are not of our own causing, but naturally befall anyone. When we are in God’s will, it is not our sinfulness that causes tragedy, as explained by Jesus:

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 13:4 KJV)

Through all of life, there remains a goal for those who love the Lord.

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

Because of His words, the examples He has given us, I decline the temptation to blame Him for the natural course of our lives, and I accept His grace as sufficient.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

That’s Joy?

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

Or, to but it another way:

Consider it all joy when you encounter various trials; (James 1:2 NASB)

Preposterous, isn’t it?  How can we count something as joy when it’s also described as a trial or a temptation?  How are we supposed to feel when someone we love has been given a prognosis that will change an entire family’s dynamics?  Will cost them their health and may be life threatening? 

Where’s the joy in that?  And believe me, I’ve been asking such questions since my mother’s ALS diagnosis over thirty years ago, and the questions come back to me as we’ve gone through a series of health related issues this past year.

People I love dearly, as though my life depended upon it, have faced and are facing diagnoses and prognoses that affect our family’s way of life. Yet, I understand what James is telling us, and it was made very clear in a recent In Touch devotional, “Trials and Joy”, which said:  “these verses are not telling us to be happy in our pain, but rather to rejoice in the blessings that accompany suffering … thereby produce endurance and spiritual maturity.  In every trial He has hidden a beautiful and precious gem.”

I’m not certain about their devotional’s “test our faith” part because I don’t believe temptations come from God.  I do know that He always provides a means of leaving temptations behind, even if it is a temptation to blame Him – or deny Him – because of it:

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)

Some will say that God only makes perfection, because that is what He is – perfect.  Although He is perfect and He did make this world, it is not perfect and it was made that way on purpose. We gain only a small glimpse of that purpose as we draw near to Him, so our knowledge is limited.

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

Through both of my daughters’ spinal surgeries, through the spinal surgery of my Oklahoma Sister-in-law, the heart surgery of my Ohio Sister-in-law, through my Oklahoma Brother-in-law’s cancer treatments, through my Beloved Husband’s shoulder surgery and his Myasthenia Gravis diagnosis, all within the last year, each one of them has not wavered in the faith that God’s will is working in their lives.

Each one of them has continued to be a faithful witness, just as my mother was during her life with ALS, that neither disease nor death is sufficient to separate us from the love of God.

For the which cause I also suffer these things: nevertheless I am not ashamed: for I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day. (2 Timothy 1:12 KJV)

Monday, September 19, 2011

I Need You

This was a Facebook friend’s status.  I read it about 7:30 am.  Sometime during the night this friend needed someone.  There were a couple of answers posted later on with funny excuses, but I doubt those were answered by the person in mind when it was written.

My Second Great-granddaughter is very good at saying, “I NEED you,” with great emphasis on the ‘need’, when she wants to do something and has been told it requires an adult’s assistance.  Her parents have taught her not to use the stairs at Nanna’s house unless an adult is with her, so the need is evident when she wants to go up and play in the game room, or go outside and ride the electric cart.

Both of the above examples have to do with our recognition that we need someone with us.  God, in His infinite wisdom, provided someone to be with us at all times – His Holy Spirit.

Jesus spoke of Him:

And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever; (John 14:16 KJV)

And, He explained the Comforter’s purpose:

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. I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you. (John 14:17-18 KJV)

To the Jew and the Muslim such talk appears to be polytheistic. Three gods – God the father, God the son, God the holy spirit.  But it really is no different than me saying I am a daughter, I am a wife, I am a mother. There are many examples of one doing/being three.

There is an explanation from a Rabbi at that helped me understand, too.  While there is nothing like one’s own experience when understanding comes, the examples from other people can be eye opening.  All of our experiences, hopes and fears, though, fall short of reality.

But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him. (1 Corinthians 2:9 KJV)

The Holy Spirit does reveal much of what God has in mind for us:

But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God. (1 Corinthians 2:10 KJV)

Paul’s 2:9 quote comes from the prophet, Isaiah:

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)

When Jesus was born, the world was not prepared for what He would do.  The prophecies given were interpreted in light of what mankind wanted.  Even today that occurs.  I don’t believe we have more than a glimmer of what God has prepared for those who love Him.

But I know it will be more than our expectations.  And I know He is always there when needed.

Sunday, September 18, 2011


I’ve been given a couple of reminders that my 'stuff' isn't important to anyone else.  I've written about 'stuff' before.  Friday I was reading about someone else's 'stuff' on MSNBC.  A man was selling his, and said:
"You realize that everything you have has a story." Like the wood carvings he purchased from poor kids at the end of a hike in Zimbabwe.  Or the signed painting he purchased from an artist in the Southwest for $250 several years ago. It went for $30.
"You realize many of the things you have aren't worth what you thought they were,' he said.  "But it is just stuff.  It has been a cathartic process.  It's a unique mental process. ... It has made me realize how shackled I have become to comfort of my home and belongings."
This isn't the same as having a lot of excess baggage. This is abandoning a way of life to seek another.  Our world's current economic situation is leading to more such changes, accompanied by drought, fires floods, earthquakes that have taken people's "stuff." It's not just the thieves Christ described:

Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: (Matthew 6:19-20 KJV)

He understood that we would find things to treasure, and He has a place for those treasures, for He knows we will love them.

For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also. (Matthew 6:21 KJV)

How about some crown laid up for us in heaven?  How about an incorruptible one?

And every man that striveth for the mastery is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible. (1 Corinthians 9:25 KJV)

That we can strive for!  But there are other crowns, too.  How about one we'll share simply for being in the presence of our Lord:

For what is our hope, or joy, or crown of rejoicing? Are not even ye in the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ at his coming? (1 Thessalonians 2:19 KJV)

Another favorite, for those who love Him:

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

Still another, just requiring love to obtain:

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

That's the stuff I want to build up.  Like Victoria, Queen of England, I wish to take the crowns He has given and lay them as a gift, returning to Him all the glory, honor and gifts he has bestowed.

That's good stuff!!

Saturday, September 17, 2011

An Odd Duck

“He’s kind of an odd duck,” is a phrase my father often used when describing a person.  The phrase was followed by a story that gave an example of how “odd” that particular person was.

I would like to remind everyone that we all are odd ducks.

We are all a little bit different, likes and dislikes that mix and match, but never perfectly.  Beloved Husband is (and has been for 50 years) my best friend.  However, I can’t fix and feed him my favorite foods.  That alone makes him a kind of an odd duck, doesn’t it?

I love my little PT Cruiser.  I like the front wheel drive, the large (for that size car) cargo area – it holds a wheel chair and still has room for more ‘stuff’, which I’m always carrying.  Beloved Husband finds it confining, now that I’m doing all the driving, and to me, that’s another sign of an odd duck.  Ok, so it really might mean that I’m the odd duck!!

It’s okay to be that odd duck, as long as we don’t expect every one to be the same.  Jesus spoke about this:

For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again. (Matthew 7:2 KJV)

A lot of people refer to the previous verse and neglect this one. They would prefer not to judge.  Even if one takes it that far, we’re still supposed to be fruit inspectors:

For every tree is known by his own fruit. For of thorns men do not gather figs, nor of a bramble bush gather they grapes. (Luke 6:44 KJV)

Christians are told the type of fruit they should be putting out for inspection:

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)

It’s not a long list, and Paul even shortened it later:

(For the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness and righteousness and truth;) (Ephesians 5:9 KJV)

Paul also understood that while all Christians are striving for perfection through Christ, he had not achieved it, and I don’t know anyone who has.  He continued to follow after it:

Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am  apprehended of Christ Jesus. (Philippians 3:12 KJV)

Expect your fruit to be inspected.  Be prepared to inspect others. Do not however, toss irregular fruit, accepting only perfection here on this earth.  That’s why we must judge other’s fruit by the same standards we expect them to judge ours. We must measure their words and actions as we expect ours to be measured.

Frankly, I need some mercy and grace when mine are inspected! There are bitter vines that set teeth on edge.  There are times when I try to protect them when the Lord comes to prune.  If I let Him lop them off, it will create sweeter, fuller fruit of the spirit.

Then, I might not be such an odd duck.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Our Responsibility

Our Ladies Meetings do not take place the three summer months. Last Tuesday we started the new year and our Pastor’s Wife gave the lesson – and our marching order.  She started with scriptures giving our position in our homes.  Since older attendees out numbered the younger, we were pretty much head nodding – in agreement! Not nodding off!  Acknowledging facts, she turned us to Titus 2:4, not dwelling on 2:3 because even the youngest lady there has a younger audience to be a teacher of good things:

That they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children, (Titus 2:4 KJV)

It might seem that those things wouldn’t need to be taught, until you watch a family go through a divorce.  Wives and husbands who love each other work together, not tear each other apart.  How do we teach someone to love?

By knowing what love is and does.

He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love. (1 John 4:8 KJV)

1 Corinthians 13:4-8 of the Love Chapter lists very specific attributes of love.  The first verses tell us how we are without love and the bottom line is, “Nothing.”  When we gain love, we can accomplish our task of teaching young women to love their husbands – by example:
Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up,
Most of us fail that first part.  If we ‘suffer’, everyone around us hears about it.  We tend not to be patient, don’t we?  The truth now!  Kindness?  Are we affectionate, mild, gentle, forgiving?  All of those fall under the definition of 'kind.'  Which one do we do best?  Worst? Do we hold envy, clinging to desires of what others have, reluctant to rid ourselves of that feeling?  Wanting to be, or have, better than someone else?  To be looked up to?
Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil;
Moving from what we should be to what we shouldn’t, how do we define unseemly?  Do we watch unseemly things on television, in the movies?  Are we selfish, seeking our own pleasures?  How easily do we become angry and vindictive?  What do we wish upon others?
Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth;
Really, do we?  Or do we say, “Serves them right,” or when hearing of another’s difficulties we think, “Hope they get what they deserve.” Perhaps we even pass along the detrimental information, whether it’s the whole truth or not?
Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.
All things?  Surely not this “thing!!” that eats at me and angers me? “I’m supposed to bear this burden? If God loved me, this wouldn’t have happened!!”  God does love each and every one of us.  A personal God who is interested in our lives, but does not place us in a protective bubble.  He does give us hope that we might endure, living to see the results of His will.
Charity never faileth: but whether there be prophecies, they shall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away.
Lots of questions – what are our answers?

Thursday, September 15, 2011


When I was growing up my parents were concerned for the “starving children in China.”  Every Christmas we would donate money saved up for the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering (yes, it was a Southern Baptist congregation.)  I’ve had the pleasure to work with a couple of very special Chinese immigrants who were kind enough to bring me presents when they returned from a trip home.  Most are so much younger than I am that the Cultural Revolution was described to them by their parents, not lived through themselves.

Christianity had remained alive in China, and now it is growing exponentially, according to a recent BBC article.  Thinking of all the missionaries that went out from Europe, it was quite disheartening, yet a blessing, to read:
There are already more Chinese at church on a Sunday than in the whole of Europe.
How many times have we heard people repeat Elijah’s complaint:

.. and I, even I only, am left; and they seek my life, to take it away. (1 Kings 19:14b KJV)

Only to find out, as he did, that was not a valid statement.  God knew exactly how many followers He had remaining true:

Yet I have left me seven thousand in Israel, all the knees which have not bowed unto Baal, and every mouth which hath not kissed him. (1 Kings 19:18 KJV)

Did you notice our Lord did NOT say “There are seven thousand who worship me,” nor did He say, “I command seven thousand who serve me.”  Nope – the best that could be said was that these had not bowed to nor pledged allegiance to a false god.

The Chinese have done better.  They have openly professed their faith. In spite of being regulated by their government and once sent underground, they have thrived:
Christianity not only survived, but with its own Chinese martyrs, it grew in strength.
All of that growth while the ruling party states:
… the Party promotes atheism in schools but undertakes "to protect and respect religion until such time as religion itself will disappear".
What if a local church – America, Canada, Europe, anywhere – held five services on Easter Sunday?
On Easter morning, in downtown Beijing, I watched five services, each packed with over 1,500 worshippers. … However, these numbers are dwarfed by the unofficial "house churches", spreading across the country, at odds with the official Church which fears the house churches' fervour may provoke a backlash.
Fervor?  Have you attended a church recently that offered you fervor?  A feeling of enthusiasm?  Intense passion?  Does the congregation leave the service with zeal?  Or, not.  How strange to think of China praying for us, evangelizing more than the countries who sent missionaries to her many years ago.

May we find service to our Lord to be as intense!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Our Choir

This is our Adult Choir at Easter this year.  First row, right end, is my Second Daughter.  Behind our Pastor’s wife, all in pink, is my Beloved Husband in a yellow jacket.  He and a couple of others were not there this past Sunday, due to illnesses.

While they were missed, the choir rang out loud and clear with the Whisnants’ resounding hymn, making me think of vacations.  Ever take a vacation where you left behind the comforts of home? Maybe slept in a tent, cooked by an open fire? I’d wager you had light, something with a battery? Maybe a radio? Just a few of the comforts of home?  When He left His home, He did leave it all:

he didn't bring an army
to help him on his way
he didn't bring a angel
to praise him night and day
he didn't bring one piece of gold
to buy some food to eat
instead he turned and he laid it all
at the fathers feet
he left it all, to rescue me
he left it all, to die on calvary, 
he left it all, not one comfort did he bring
not his robe, not his crown not ten thousand bowing down
not one piece of jasper wall. He left it all
this man they're crucifying he says he is a king
but judging from the clothes he wears
he doesn't own a thing
but little did they know that day
as his blood came streaming down
he owned the sun the stars and the moon
he even owned the ground
he left it all, to rescue me
he left it all, to die on calvary, 
he left it all, not one comfort did he bring
not his robe, not his crown
not ten thousand bowing down
not one piece of jasper wall. He left it all
The physical presence of God on earth not only left it all, He endured all the hardships mankind endures.  Then took on the sins of the world and endured the spiritual separation of the lost. We can look to Him to know the suffering, and the love, that all men feel.  Yet Paul says that if that’s all we have we are miserable:

If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable. (1 Corinthians 15:19 KJV)

Though they did not have His origins, other men have taught well, lived well and endured more than most.  The one thing greater than leaving – or losing – it all, is the one thing Christ did that none other is remembered for doing. Resurrection.

For if the dead rise not, then is not Christ raised: And if Christ be not raised, your faith is vain; ye are yet in your sins. Then they also which are fallen asleep in Christ are perished. … But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept. (1 Corinthians 15:16-18, 20 KJV)

That’s why He left it all.  That’s why we are:

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

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Psalm 46

Couldn’t find it on but MSNBC and on Fox I found written confirmation that it was Psalm 46 that President Obama read at the 9/11 Memorial (as he did in Tucson).  Why is that of interest to me?  It was the same scripture chosen by our Pastor for our Sunday morning sermon.

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

I don’t know what Obama thought of this as he read, but our Pastor acknowledged that we, as individuals, as a people, as a country, are experiencing trouble.  After 9/11 we did come together as a diverse nation and worked toward common goals.  That change was momentary, it did not last.  Frankly, it appears we’ve forgotten to:

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)

Pastor read several other scriptures that the Lord had given His people as to how they should behave.  One was Jeremiah 18:8, and my eyes traveled up the page and thought of our nation.  Actually, of any nation, but ours right now as it is painfully vitriolic, unable to communicate within itself without hate.

Then the word of the LORD came to me, saying, O house of Israel, cannot I do with you as this potter? saith the LORD. Behold, as the clay is in the potter's hand, so are ye in mine hand, O house of Israel. (Jeremiah 18:5-6 KJV)

Christians believe that, as with individuals, all nations are within God’s hands, to be molded as He wills. When we do not follow His will, there are consequences.  As Jeremiah saw, something in the clay causes the results to be marred.  When mankind reaches for its own will instead of God’s, the results can be devastating.

And the vessel that he made of clay was marred in the hand of the potter: so he made it again another vessel, as seemed good to the potter to make it. (Jeremiah 18:4 KJV)

The Lord sent Jeremiah to the potter’s house to hear a lesson and share it as scripture:

The word which came to Jeremiah from the LORD, saying, Arise, and go down to the potter's house, and there I will cause thee to hear my words. (Jeremiah 18:1-2 KJV)

Jeremiah was also told who was in control.

At what instant I shall speak concerning a nation, and concerning a kingdom, to pluck up, and to pull down, and to destroy it; (Jeremiah 18:7 KJV)

And, he was told what would happen if the people DID listen.

If that nation, against whom I have pronounced, turn from their evil, I will repent of the evil that I thought to do unto them. And at what instant I shall speak concerning a nation, and concerning a kingdom, to build and to plant it; (Jeremiah 18:8-9 KJV)

It is not a matter of love, it is a matter of repenting, changing direction, turning from what we truly know are wicked ways.  In 2 Chronicles 7:12-13 the Lord describes to Solomon His abilities to act against a nation. Then, He promises:

If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land. (2 Chronicles 7:14 KJV)

Are you praying?  He is listening, not only in Jerusalem.

Now mine eyes shall be open, and mine ears attent unto the prayer that is made in this place. (2 Chronicles 7:15 KJV)

Monday, September 12, 2011


Names have been inscribed on marble, limestone, granite, caste in bronze and placed on many other materials in an attempt to carry them forward to be remembered by future generations.  So many personal gravestone, so many memorials in small towns, the Viet Nam Memorial and now names around those holes in the ground in New York.

We will not forget.

Nor will I forget what Pilate had written on wood:

And Pilate wrote a title, and put it on the cross. And the writing was, JESUS OF NAZARETH THE KING OF THE JEWS. (John 19:19 KJV)

Sarcasm? Designed to strike at the leaders who sought Jesus’ death? We don’t know, and it really doesn’t matter.  We do know that Pilate was above being politically correct.

Then said the chief priests of the Jews to Pilate, Write not, The King of the Jews; but that he said, I am King of the Jews. Pilate answered, What I have written I have written. (John 19:21-22 KJV)

Pilate did not say the title was true, just that he wrote it and it was going to stay there. Josephus wrote of Pontius Pilate, not favorably, yet for a couple of centuries he was looked upon as part of the Jesus myth, a character in a fairy tale, made up to be the bad guy.  But, one who sees no error in the man he condemns to death.

Other than those who believed the Gospels to be factual representations written by men who were there, there was only Josephus’ confirmation and he’s known to embellish stories.

As often has happened with biblical history, confirmation comes from archeology.  An inscription found in Caesarea Maritima, Israel, June, 1961, confirmed as authentic and is now in an Israeli museum, contains the Latin inscription translated here:
To the honorable Augustus Tiberius
...Pontius Pilate
...prefect of Judea
...has dedicated [this]
Names written on a wall adding credence to a story deemed mythical for centuries.

When I was in school, my thesis was a pedantic “Archeological Discoveries and their Biblical Import.”  The ones I wrote about then, and much discovered since then, confirm specific biblical entries. Nothing disproves, except mankind’s ability to ignore.

Isn’t it better to read, study, question, compare, learn? What the Lord says He requires is simple.  Micah asked about what the Lord would require to forgive his sins.  He lists sacrifices, including the offer of his first born, then answers his own question with what the Lord had shown:

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)

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Ten Years

I’m certain we can all remember that day ten years ago.  Well, not all, thinking of my own great-grandchildren born afterward.  We’ve already begun new generations who will hear it from those who have formed opinions based on subsequent events.  As years pass, those who lived through that day will die off, as those who remembered living through December 7, 1941.

The first call I received was from Second Daughter.  Someone had walked into her office with the news that a plane had struck a skyscraper in New York.  I remembered such an accident from my childhood, but this was not a foggy night.  This time, a second plane, a second tower. A third, in Washington. A fourth, falling in an open field. 

Those hours have been described, with such diverse stories! Some of those stories state it was our own government, others point to an Israeli plot against Islam.  So many people wanting to make it different than the fact that our security did not detect, and stop, an Islamist group coordinating an attack on the object of their hated.  A country they wished to destroy.  Willing to die doing so.

There are many who will argue over the ‘truth’ of 9/11.

Which brings to mind a similar period following Christ’s resurrection. There was so much to tell, and two ways to do it – verbally and the written word.  I like the way Luke began his book:

Forasmuch as many have taken in hand to set forth in order a declaration of those things which are most surely believed among us, Even as they delivered them unto us, which from the beginning were eyewitnesses, and ministers of the word; It seemed good to me also, having had perfect understanding of all things from the very first, to write unto thee in order, most excellent Theophilus, That thou mightest know the certainty of those things, wherein thou hast been instructed. (Luke 1:1-4 KJV)

Even a modern journalism class couldn’t do better with Who, What, When, Where – and the Why, “That thou mightest know the certainty.”

What Luke wrote is believed by Christians, as is Matthew, Mark, John and the letters of the apostles.  These are the words Christ’s followers wanted to share with others about what they had seen and done.  They were speaking to new generations, multiple generations for centuries afterward, who would be asking – “Are you certain?”

They were.  So much so that even their mistakes in understanding His message were included.  They wrote of disappointments, discords, disagreements. They wrote of errors and exhortations, but most of all, they wrote of eternity.  This was not an easy thing to do and people died for what they believed. 

Mistakes have been made in the name of Christ, then and in following centuries.  These are men’s mistakes, not by Him and not in His message. Measure them against His word. There will always be those who ignore the words, despise the teachings, deny what changes have been made to the lives of those who follow Christ. And, there will be those who call upon His name.

And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved. (Acts 2:21 KJV)

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Matthew 22

I used to do quite a bit of analysis.  It’s been nice since retirement to just let things flow – especially what I write here.  I don’t have a theme, I write just what I think about in relation to God’s word.  I can do it every day about every phase of our lives because God permeates our lives.  There isn’t a day goes by that I find time to give Him thanks, pray for others and write about what I believe.

But – that said – a bit of the analytical remains in my mind.  For a long time now I’ve put tags (not displayed on the site, but available when I edit) of the Bible chapters used.  Not the specific verse, but the chapter where it is found.  I was looking at that Friday when I had a few free moments and wondered which I had used most.  A few quick moments with Excel and I can tell you that of the 495 chapters I’ve used for verses, Matthew 22 was used 45 times.  Almost ten percent.

John 3 came in second, and I can understand that one.  There are several verses that come to mind immediately.

I had to go back to Matthew 22 and review, for only verses 37-40 stood out strongly, yet would I be using it even close to 45 times?

Verses 1-14 likens the Lord’s kingdom to a wedding where invited guests would not come, so the invitation went out to strangers.  An entire book comes to mind on that scenario!!

Verses 15-22 is the “render unto Caesar” example of what we owe our governments and our God.

Verses 23-33 He answers the question about resurrection – of course, it was put to Him in a “have you stopped beating your wife” context about marriage in heaven.  Asked by people who did not believe in heaven.

Verses 34-40 are my “Aha!!” verses.  While I know I’ve used the other verses along the way, these are of utmost importance to me, and to anyone interested in why I am a Christian.

Verses 41-46 reverse the situation.  Jesus asks the Pharisees a question about David and about the Christ.  I don’t know that I’ve used that final verse, but it, too, speaks volumes:

And no man was able to answer him a word, neither durst any man from that day forth ask him any more questions. (Matthew 22:46 KJV)

I pray that I will never be stuck for an answer, either.  I have publically stated my position regarding religion and my reasons for believing as I do. I know what I believe offends some people, and I’ve been told that what I write does, too.

All I ask is that if someone wishes to convince me I’m wrong, please do so in a positive manner.  Tell my why and how your belief system is better, not by deriding mine, not with sarcasm, not by listing other’s actions or hypocrisy.  Tell me about your beliefs, what is offered as evidence (not necessarily ‘proof’, but a preponderance of evidence), how it relates to your daily life, what foundation is provided.

Then we can dialog and exchange information, both learning along the way.

Friday, September 9, 2011

A Dose of Reality

Christians are not always standing with lifted arms joyfully praising.  Often we are on our knees petitioning.  There are valleys.  Beloved Husband and I are walking through one.  Key word there = ‘through’, and we are not alone.  Our Shepherd leads us through this valley, for it does contain the shadow of death.

Of course, simply being human is a terminal disease. We have but a couple of stories of people not experiencing the death passage. Why then do we not better prepare ourselves for its arrival?

As with most terminal illnesses, we humans have no ‘expiration’ or ‘best use by’ date stamped on us. Some receive warnings early enough to extend their time here, but some receive no notice at all.

That has been brought home to me with a bang recently as more than a couple of family members are living with the knowledge that their time here is shortened. For each, a medical diagnosis delivered the message that bodies are falling short of personal expectations.

Here in Texas we’ve been living with a similar diagnosis for our plants and trees as the drought, low humidity and high temperatures have taken their greenery and turned them into tinderboxes that light at the slightest provocation.  That picture turns me to a verse:

Although the fig tree shall not blossom, neither shall fruit be in the vines; the labour of the olive shall fail, and the fields shall yield no meat; the flock shall be cut off from the fold, and there shall be no herd in the stalls: Yet I will rejoice in the LORD, I will joy in the God of my salvation. (Habakkuk 3:17-18 KJV)

In spite of all the valleys throughout our lives, we do find joy in our Lord, the God of our salvation.  We are not alone in kneeling in petition, yet acknowledging His saving grace:

Forsake me not, O LORD: O my God, be not far from me. Make haste to help me, O Lord my salvation. (Psalms 38:21-22 KJV)

David wasn’t the only one to speak of salvation.  I love Isaiah’s verse, too, for it speaks of that living water:

Behold, God is my salvation; I will trust, and not be afraid: for the LORD JEHOVAH is my strength and my song; he also is become my salvation. Therefore with joy shall ye draw water out of the wells of salvation. (Isaiah 12:2-3 KJV)

But whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life. (John 4:14 KJV)

Did you ever notice the graphics for artesian wells?  Take a look below – they are found in the valleys.

Thursday, September 8, 2011



Yesterday I wrote “Not A New Thought.”  Has it dawned on you that none of mine are?  What I read was written thousands of years ago. The Preacher wrote:

The thing that hath been, it is that which shall be; and that which is done is that which shall be done: and there is no new thing under the sun. (Ecclesiastes 1:9 KJV)

Oh, I can hear the laughter now.  “What,” they say as they are reading this on a computer, iPad or smart phone.  “They sure didn’t have this when the Preacher wrote!”

True, but the universe is arguably a closed system:
The "Law of Conservation of Mass" states that "the mass of a closed system will remain constant over time. The law implies that mass cannot be created or destroyed, although it may be rearranged in space and changed into different types of particles."  Students are taught early on "If the number of atoms of each element remains the same, then the mass can never change in a chemical reaction. The total mass of the reactants must equal the total mass of the products. This observation that mass must remain constant in a chemical reaction as known as the law of conservation of mass."
Of course, I’m not proposing that the physical atoms of the iPad existed then therefore it is not new, but I am saying that forms of communication existed then, and the technology displays it in different ways today, but the words of the Preacher still apply.

One bristlecone pine has been dated up to 5,000 years old, an old tree before Christ was born, growing well before the Preacher wrote the words of Ecclesiastes. Yet all live today, the tree, Christ and the Preacher’s words.  Time is not relevant:

But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. (2 Peter 3:8 KJV)

One thing I can state for certain, I won’t be around here like this for the next thousand years, but I will live.  The only thing relevant about my time is whether or not I’ve accepted Jesus’ words:

Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me. (John 14:6 KJV)

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Not A New Thought

A long time ago my English friend J posted a blog about life being very much as a train ride.  People get on at different stops, and get off along the way.  On the train, acquaintances are made. Sometimes there are strong bonds discovered, others are simply greetings passed between each other. 

I’ve always enjoyed trains, just as I enjoy the photo above on a route between Fremont and San Jose, California.  As is life, they are both beautiful and confining.  Passengers cannot do all they wish, just as in life we cannot do all we wish.  There are boundaries set, walls erected and we pass by places we would which to linger, stopping at stations that are neither desired nor are comforting.

The journey’s destination is of our choosing, though.  There are stations along the way where we can choose a different train. No matter which one we are on, there is a destination.  And, there is a price to be paid.

In life’s journey, a price has been paid for us:

For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God's. (1 Corinthians 6:20 KJV)

This was the base of God’s plan:

For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; (1 Corinthians 15:3 KJV)

This was not expected.  God’s ways are not man’s ways – we see through a glass, darkly, as to how He plans:

But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him. (1 Corinthians 2:9 KJV)

What faith it would have required for the disciples to have accepted Christ’s death without fear, without regret, without feeling as though there were no tomorrow.  They didn’t have that faith, but gained it as they realized His death was set from the beginning of time:

But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, even the hidden wisdom, which God ordained before the world unto our glory: Which none of the princes of this world knew: for had they known it, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory. (1 Corinthians 2:7-8 KJV)

Here in our physical world, we trust the rails will hold the train, and for the most of the time, they do.  We trust the engines will continue, and are only inconvenienced when they don’t.  We trust the engineer to have to knowledge to reach our destination.  All of this for hours or, at the most, days.

The spiritual destination takes greater trust, stronger faith that God is able.  I believe He is, and pray for you Paul’s greeting:

Grace be to you and peace from God the Father, and from our Lord Jesus Christ, Who gave himself for our sins, that he might deliver us from this present evil world, according to the will of God and our Father: (Galatians 1:3-4 KJV)

Tuesday, September 6, 2011


Whether they are great or not, it’s impossible to live up to other people’s expectations.  I was reminded of that by a television ad for the website:  I am second.  Many of the testimonies there come from people who have tried to be first, to live up to expectations others set for them.  I enjoyed reading what they say about now being second.

I am neither endorsing nor advocating their site.  My personal preference for witnessing is within the congregation of a New Testament church. But, that is what I meant – my personal preference.  I cannot quibble with Jerry Zucha’s testimony when he writes:
Jesus is first because He's made Himself real to me. He gave me what I was searching for and He has been there every moment of my life now. He's so real that though I've never seen him with my eyes, I know who he is and I know what he's done and it's been the greatest joy of my life to have that kind of relationship with Him.
I can relate to Pete Brisco’s testimony there, too:
I think that it would be more accurate to say that in people's minds there are two potential ways to Heaven: work based systems and faith based. The idea is that if I do enough good things, God, whoever they happen to think He is, will be pleased with me and then He'll receive me into His presence. The problem with that mindset is, how do we know how many good things we have to do? … The faith based mind set is that God in His infinite grace gave everything to reach to us. It's a totally different thing. The Bible teaches us clearly, Jesus said, with His very words, "I am the way, the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father but through Me." So all the religions can't possibly be right and the thing that makes Christianity different is that the Father says I'm gonna reach out to you.
The Bible says:

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

Some early Christians felt there were some specific works necessary, but Peter spoke from experience with Jesus and the Holy Spirit:

But we believe that through the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ we shall be saved, even as they. (Acts 15:11 KJV)

Read that in context – it is a very important Christian doctrine.  Just as important as:

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)

Monday, September 5, 2011

Where We Are

I firmly believe that God places people where they need to be to fulfill His greater plan for mankind.  Sometimes He tells them where to go and His instructions are followed:

Now the LORD had said unto Abram, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father's house, unto a land that I will shew thee: And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing: And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed. So Abram departed, as the LORD had spoken unto him; and Lot went with him: and Abram was seventy and five years old when he departed out of Haran. (Genesis 12:1-4 KJV)

Other times there dissention in the ranks and those called head in opposite directions:

Now the word of the LORD came unto Jonah the son of Amittai, saying, Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and cry against it; for their wickedness is come up before me. But Jonah rose up to flee unto Tarshish from the presence of the LORD, and went down to Joppa; and he found a ship going to Tarshish: so he paid the fare thereof, and went down into it, to go with them unto Tarshish from the presence of the LORD. (Jonah 1:1-3 KJV)

In a way, I thank God that I was never called to do what these men did – yet in another way, I firmly believe that God led me to where I am today.  He placed me in a position where there are people who I’ve been a help to, and people that have helped me.

If it were not for an internet friend EnJay, I would not have been aggressive in pushing a couple of doctors for Beloved Husband’s diagnosis.  If it weren’t be these blogs, I would not have met her. From my point of view, God leading me to write about the reading of His word has provided a help for me.

That is just a small example of how personal I believe our God is.  I say ‘our’, though quite a few of my regular readers have told me they are not Christian.  Some are of other religions, a couple are at the least agnostic, and others are wishing for faith, but cannot bring themselves to believe in a God great enough to create the universe yet personal enough to care for His creation.

Others’ beliefs have no bearing on my own.  I read His word, and I believe David’s words to his son:

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

That I wish for my children, their children, my great-grands and generations to come.  And, for my readers, too.