Saturday, March 31, 2012


My friend Jilly has worked hard in her vegetable garden, and has reaped, too.  She has shared photos with us and I hope someday to share a bit of her harvest (always good to have a dream!!) Spring brings beautiful blooms in orchards, too.  The result of year round work by lots of people.

Jesus’ parables contained sowing and harvesting and Paul used the same concept in one of his lessons:

I have planted, Apollos watered; but God gave the increase. So then neither is he that planteth any thing, neither he that watereth; but God that giveth the increase. (1 Corinthians 3:6-7 KJV)

It takes a lot more than planting seeds. Take a look at Jesus’ parable of the sower beginning in Matthew 13:3, Mark 4:3 and Luke 8:5. Then spend time with His explanation beginning with Matthew 13:18
But he that received seed into the good ground is he that heareth the word, and understandeth it; which also beareth fruit, and bringeth forth, some an hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty. (Matthew 13:23 KJV)

When there are preparations – keeping the birds away, preparing the stony ground, removing the choking thorns – the seed falls on good ground.  We can all fulfill a part in the preparation by showing our love for God and for our neighbors. We can remove stones that are in our own hearts. We can remove “the care of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches” that would choke the seed, not only in ourselves, but in others.

We don’t remove that from the whole world – we make the change in our own lives.  That not only provides fruit in our lives, but provides a positive example for others, helping prepare their own ground.

It takes a lot of work to reach any harvest time. No matter what the fruit it takes God’s provision of soil, sun and soakings to provide the harvest.  Texans who made it through last year’s drought can attest to that. Paul knew that, too, when he made reference to his planting the seed that Apollos watered. Neither one of them saw all of the harvest their work provided – it is ongoing today.

Paul’s writing of God’s inspiration continues to provide the seeds that have people seeking to learn more.  Pastors today water those seeds, helping them bloom. God provides sustenance as we turn to Him in worship and prayer.

Paul , in a parenthetical, quotes Psalms 112:9 as he speaks to God’s provision of the seed, the bread, the sower and the fruit:

(As it is written, He hath dispersed abroad; he hath given to the poor: his righteousness remaineth for ever. Now he that ministereth seed to the sower both minister bread for your food, and multiply your seed sown, and increase the fruits of your righteousness;) (2 Corinthians 9:9-10 KJV)

Think of the process -- where do you fit before the harvest?

Friday, March 30, 2012

What Is In A Word?

The Greek word translated ‘Easter’ in Acts 12:4 is πασχα, ‘pascha’, whether it is the Jewish Pascha or the Christian Pascha. Never heard of this? 

Someone recently mentioned they would not be using the word ‘Easter’ in reference to the day we celebrate Christ’s resurrection. I wondered enough about ‘Why?’ to look up the Greek – which didn’t answer my questions – then to do additional research.  The page that comes very close to explaining the situation in language I can understand comes from KJV Today

That site looked at Koine Greek (of the New Testament) and Greek today:
Before examining the meaning of "Πάσχα" in Koine Greek, one ought to begin by examining it in modern Greek (courtesy of Google Translate):
  • Easter = Πάσχα (Pascha)
  • Passover = εβραϊκό Πάσχα (Hebrew Pascha), Πάσχα των ιουδαίων (Pascha of the Jews)
Frankly, after reading quite a bit, this controversy has no base. For seventy years when I’ve stated that I’ll be celebrating Easter, no one has doubted that I would be celebrating the resurrection of Jesus. When the King James translators wrote Easter, no one doubted they meant the resurrection of Jesus.

Of course, we do that every Sunday.  The fact that we meet on the first day of the week goes back to the very day of His resurrection – the celebration of an empty tomb!!

By the way – if you’re looking to give children an example of the empty tomb, consider Resurrection Cookies and Rolls. In addition to being a good teaching tool, they taste good!!

The birth of Jesus is a wondrous tale of miracles. His childhood is so silent, as is His adulthood, until He was 30.  Three years of ministry, travel, crowds, controversy, then betrayal, trial and crucifixion. There, the story changes. There is no tomb to visit. Conspiracy theories abound, but a multitude of witnesses wrote their testimony for us to read today.

In the end of the sabbath, as it began to dawn toward the first day of the week, came Mary Magdalene and the other Mary to see the sepulchre. ... And the angel answered and said unto the women, Fear not ye: for I know that ye seek Jesus, which was crucified. He is not here: for he is risen, as he said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay. (Matthew 28:1, 5-6 KJV)

Mark expands on the witnesses’ stories:

And they, when they had heard that he was alive, and had been seen of her, believed not. (Mark 16:11 KJV)

He mentions what appears to have happened on the road to Emmaus (Luke 24:13):

After that he appeared in another form unto two of them, as they walked, and went into the country. And they went and told it unto the residue: neither believed they them. (Mark 16:12-13 KJV)

So, are we any different? Will we be upbraided?

Afterward he appeared unto the eleven as they sat at meat, and upbraided them with their unbelief and hardness of heart, because they believed not them which had seen him after he was risen. (Mark 16:14 KJV)

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Drops on Leaves

Photographed by Anna Cervova
This graphic reminded me of how wet it was just over a week ago. We can’t tell if this was fall or spring – and it could have been taken either season. Of course, it reminded me of a verse:

For he maketh small the drops of water: they pour down rain according to the vapour thereof: (Job 36:27 KJV)

Who makes those small drops of water?

Behold, God is great, and we know him not, neither can the number of his years be searched out. (Job 36:26 KJV)

As Elihu explains God’s greatness to Job, I cannot help but agree. God is great.  There is much we cannot know about Him – but Elihu believed God did wondrous works:

Hearken unto this, O Job: stand still, and consider the wondrous works of God. (Job 37:14 KJV)

Elihu was attempting to reason with Job, as were others, and I found I liked his reasoning better than the others. The only problem was, none of them understood that Job had done no wrong. Nothing in his actions caused the deaths of his children, the loss of his property nor the loss of his health.  There was no sin to confess.  There was no wrong path taken. None of his loss was God’s punishment.

There are, however, powers and principalities allowed to act in this world. When we rail against the unfairness, it might help to read God’s intervention.

Then the LORD answered Job out of the whirlwind, and said, Who is this that darkeneth counsel by words without knowledge? Gird up now thy loins like a man; for I will demand of thee, and answer thou me. Where wast thou when I laid the foundations of the earth? declare, if thou hast understanding. (Job 38:1-4 KJV)

Our knowledge is as limited as our abilities.  Both His knowledge and His abilities are unlimited, and He knows what will happen, from beginning to end.

Our lives, compared in the Bible to withering grass, can also be compared to drops on leaves – so quickly gone, and we can only pray they added to the growth of another.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Go. Tell.

When God is evident in our lives, we want to share that good news. We’re not the first.

I don’t know what the diagnosis would be today, but the Bible tells us a young man was possessed. Jesus sent the demons away. As Jesus was entering a ship to leave, the young man asked Jesus to let him come, too.  Jesus gave him a different task

Howbeit Jesus suffered him not, but saith unto him, Go home to thy friends, and tell them how great things the Lord hath done for thee, and hath had compassion on thee. And he departed, and began to publish in Decapolis how great things Jesus had done for him: and all men did marvel. (Mark 5:19-20 KJV)

In another instance, followers of John the Baptist came to Jesus wanting to know if He was the Messiah, or should they look for another. Think about that for a moment – they were still following John, not Jesus.  John sent these two men to ask “Art thou he that should come? or look we for another?” This is the same John who shouted aloud:

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)

Not once, but twice! (John 1:36) Jesus didn’t berate John for his moment of questioning.  Jesus didn’t scold him for a lack of faith. Instead, He used a line of reasons we do today:

Then Jesus answering said unto them, Go your way, and tell John what things ye have seen and heard; how that the blind see, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, to the poor the gospel is preached. (Luke 7:22 KJV)

What you see is what you get. The blind see.  The lame walk.  The lepers are cleansed.  The deaf hear. The dead are raised.  Then comes what is perhaps the biggest miracle of all – the gospel is preached, to the poor.

Why is it important that the poor hear the gospel?  Because it is for all mankind. Not the religious, not the priestly, not the rich, not the powerful – who in line early in the game.  But the poor are the last in line, the last to hear, the least in importance and often overlooked. Still even today.

We have seen God at work in our own lives.  Did we go and tell?

We have seen God at work in other lives.  Did we go and tell?

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

One Out Of 951

Ahab and Elijah had some interesting conversations in the 18th chapter of 1 Kings.  One I like is where Elijah tells (not asks, but tells) Ahab to gather the prophets of Baal (450) and the prophets of the groves (400).  There’s a little tidbit of information I had overlooked in verse 19, “which eat at Jezebel's table.”

Ahab is feeding all of these priests!

Obadiah, the governor of Ahab’s house, took care of a hundred of God’s prophets, hiding them in caves and feeding them on bread and water.  I doubt Jezebel’s prophets ate in a similar manner.

For three years there had been a drought.  No rain fell, a prophecy from God through Elijah. Ahab and Obadiah went in search of any source of water. Obadiah, unfortunately for him he thought, found Elijah instead. When Elijah told him to go to Ahab and say he’d found Elijah, Obadiah thought he knew what was in store:

And now thou sayest, Go, tell thy lord, Behold, Elijah is here: and he shall slay me. (1 Kings 18:14 KJV)

Obadiah knew what happened to people who brought bad news to powerful people.  Hasn’t changed much, has it?  When Ahab and Elijah met, it was obvious their perception of the situation differed:

And it came to pass, when Ahab saw Elijah, that Ahab said unto him, Art thou he that troubleth Israel? And he answered, I have not troubled Israel; but thou, and thy father's house, in that ye have forsaken the commandments of the LORD, and thou hast followed Baalim. (1 Kings 18:17-18 KJV)

Ahab put the blame on Elijah – who set the record straight. Ahab had forsaken God.

Things haven’t changed – people in power often react badly to bad news; people carrying bad news dislike telling it to powerful people; people become defensive when blame is attached. Same today as it was just before Elijah and Ahab gathered the nation and the Baal/grove prophets together.  Without going into the sacrifice details (they are in the chapter – read it there), another item hasn’t changed.

Everyone makes the choice Elijah gave to the nation:

And Elijah came unto all the people, and said, How long halt ye between two opinions? if the LORD be God, follow him: but if Baal, then follow him. And the people answered him not a word. (1 Kings 18:21 KJV)

One prophet, out of nine hundred and fifty-one, was given the message from God for Ahab, the nation and the prophets.  It’s the same choice we have before each of us yesterday, today and tomorrow.  Once we make that choice, our paths are determined, until we’re tempted to rethink.

Israel chose God, forgot God, was punished, returned. Time and again. Today many look upon the history as myth, not a lesson. Ancient history subject to change as new truths are discovered, not an absolute truth. Many more look upon it as mankind’s interaction with the Creator.  So do I.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Please Lift In Prayer

On my Blogger side bar are some sites that mean a lot to me.  Oh, there are others I visit, but these are ones where I have special connections.  One in particular could use our prayers right now.  She has placed her needs on her blog, eloquently, beseechingly, and with great love and loss. The graphic above came from one of her recent posts.  Clicking on it will take you to that specific blog.

I remember standing with her at her brother's wedding, and she was at a loss as to how to introduce me. Yes, it's hard to explain that I am a member of her father's church, follow her blog faithfully, enjoy exchanging messages with her preacher husband, and my daughter is her mother's best friend. Yet, she and I are simply acquaintances -- how would such an introduction go?  Social status has been impacted greatly by the internet, for I get the distinct pleasure of watching her children grow.  And, when they come to visit her parents, I get to have the pleasure of their company.

"Darci's Random Thoughts and Happenings" have been filled with, as she says, "All of the silly, random, sad, and fun things that I think about and that happen."

What is happening now is sad. That sadness is encompassed by tremendous love from those who know her achievements as a daughter, a wife -- a pastor's wife at that!, a mother to four beautiful daughters and their teacher. Her hats are many and she wears them with grace and style. She has been a teacher to others just as she has been a blessing to those around her.

Right now, she stands in need of comfort and prayer.  She is not alone -- most of us stand with needs -- but she is experiencing a loss not all of us do. Darci is sharing it with an eloquence of words that very few of us have, and we can pray that she will be comforted.

Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. And he that searcheth the hearts knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit, because he maketh intercession for the saints according to the will of God. And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose. (Romans 8:26-28 KJV)

She and her husband have been called to do God's purpose.  Let us pray for that intercession of the Comforter who does know for what should be prayed.  Let us truly be careful for nothing less than God's comfort for Darci and her family, that the peace of God shall keep them in love.

Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:6-7 KJV)

Sunday, March 25, 2012

What’s Your Culture?

This MSNBC article is focused on Chinese-Americans, but the applicability goes much further.  One part of the article discusses a Chinese-Canadian who faced the same truth.

I was struck by the phrase, “… social culture was a large hurdle.”

The American ambassador to China is of Chinese ethnicity, but his culture, his position, his responsibilities are American, causing a critic to describe him as a "fake foreign devil who cannot even speak Chinese."

I just finished a book, Stolen Woman by Kimberly Rae about a Bengali woman adopted and raised in America who goes to India speaking Bengali – with a southern American accent. Her first few hours at the airport displays multiple cultural differences.

New Christians feel a similar disconnect with their surroundings. There should be changes in their lives, their speech, their culture. Their friends aren’t ready for such differences – which in some instances appear to be negative views of their lifestyles.

When my son-in-law became a Christian he no longer came home drunk every once in a while.  Friends who spent an evening at a bar before going home were offended when he declined to spend ‘happy hour’ with them. They could not understand a fourth-generation alcoholic realizing there were places he could never visit again.

A co-worker married into a family that said grace at every meal. Not used to this, she wondered why the family thought it was important to be seated at the same time and make the excited children settle for a moment of prayerful thanksgiving.

The goal for a Christian, who comes to understand and love God’s law, is to reach the point described in Psalms:

Great peace have they which love thy law: and nothing shall offend them. (Psalms 119:165 KJV)

Christians should not be offended when others look at their lives and wonder why they are different.  Not even when that wonder is expressed in a negative manner.  We should be able to explain the changes, as Peter wrote:

But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear: (1 Peter 3:15 KJV)

I think I’ve done a decent job over the last few years of explaining the source of my faith, the questions I’ve had regarding faith and the foundation on which my faith is built.  I think it’s evident I’m always willing to answer any question that might arise as to what and why I believe.  If it is not, please, feel free to ask!

As a Christian, my goals are pretty well explained in Psalms, too:

LORD, I have hoped for thy salvation, and done thy commandments. My soul hath kept thy testimonies; and I love them exceedingly. I have kept thy precepts and thy testimonies: for all my ways are before thee. (Psalms 119:166-168 KJV)

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Statistics Need A Second Look

I’m not certain why the CDC’s National Center for Health Statistics is looking at American marriages, but the headlines state:

CDC: Only half of first marriages last 20 years

The report also asks a very good question among it’s statistics:  “So, did the new report shed any light on what it takes to stay married? Maybe - depending on how you interpret the results.”

Interpreting the results needs to take into consideration one person I know who had three marriages that did not last ten years total. I also know several people whose spouses died before their twentieth anniversary, divorce was not involved. There’s nothing in the article to indicate if such variances were considered.

So, give a second, very close look to what happened to half of the marriages in those twenty years.  Then, look at the other half.

Saturday afternoon we need to be in two places.  One at our home church where a couple will renew their vows, knowing they will never be able to make another sixty years!  The other with Beloved Husband’s next youngest brother and his wife, celebrating fifty years.

BH’s second youngest brother missed his by almost a year when the love of his life passed away last year. They reached that point they promised each other, “til death us do part.”

Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh. (Genesis 2:24 KJV)

That did not change for thousands of years, repeated just two thousand ago and valid today:

The Pharisees also came unto him, tempting him, and saying unto him, Is it lawful for a man to put away his wife for every cause? And he answered and said unto them, Have ye not read, that he which made them at the beginning made them male and female, And said, For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they twain shall be one flesh? Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder. (Matthew 19:3-6 KJV)

Yes, it’s biblical, and that’s not politically correct today. But it worked – for a number of couples I know.

How about your friends, too?

Friday, March 23, 2012

Who? Where?

Wednesday night’s Bible study was Proverbs 17. There’s a whole story in the first verse:

Better is a dry morsel, and quietness therewith, than an house full of sacrifices with strife. (Proverbs 17:1 KJV)

The long version, to me, is that it’s better to just get by, filled with quiet comfort than live in a luxurious house that makes a huge display of religiosity, but is filled with strife.  I noted that it’s ‘house’, not ‘home’, which makes a huge difference to me.

Then Pastor’s question came to mind – who do we want to be?

“Who?” What does that have to do with this verse? Then I thought of those who were looking for their dream house, solutions to finances, a change in their spouse, obedience in their children.

But if I had to choose another’s life, a different life, who would I want to be? Myself with a bit more money?  Would having unlimited funds help?  Nope.  Money cannot cure my Beloved Husband. What else could I want?

Would I choose relocation, a new life in a far away place?  Nope.  Don’t want to change my set of problems for an unknown set that belongs to someone else?

With those questions in mind, I read further in the chapter:

Wisdom is before him that hath understanding; but the eyes of a fool are in the ends of the earth. (Proverbs 17:24 KJV)

My life is right here, right now, absolutely in front of me, just as it was 50 years ago. I have the wisdom to understand that now.  There were times, though, when I was foolish, looking ahead, to the horizon, the future, to the  ends of the earth, for ‘something’ different -- better than what I had while all the time I needed to look for what God wanted for me, and from me.

Many verses tell us what God wants from us.  Most of the time it’s very simple and hasn’t changed since He walked in the evening with Adam, wrote with His finger before Moses or answered a lawyer:

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. (Matthew 22:37 KJV)

Problems arise when our response is, “I can’t because I need/love [insert whatever is keeping us from loving the Lord, our God.]”

Solomon put great store in wisdom, and God blessed him when that was his only request.  Wisdom is available to us, too, and it’s not on a distant horizon. It will provide us much more than dry morsels, too.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Waiting For Death ...

… is not a comfortable time for those sitting at the side of loved ones. Imagine then, these standing before their Lord after the Fourth Seal:

And when he had opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of them that were slain for the word of God, and for the testimony which they held: And they cried with a loud voice, saying, How long, O Lord, holy and true, dost thou not judge and avenge our blood on them that dwell on the earth? And white robes were given unto every one of them; and it was said unto them, that they should rest yet for a little season, until their fellowservants also and their brethren, that should be killed as they were, should be fulfilled. (Revelation 6:9-11 KJV)

Not a pretty thought, is it.  Perhaps that’s why so many stay away from reading Revelation. We feel the longing of those souls who cry “How long, O Lord, holy and true.”

They heard His word, and believed.  They were faithful and they were slain because of that faithfulness.  Perhaps Stephen stood with them under that altar, joined by Peter, Paul, the other disciples slain for their faith. As the ages continued forward, they were joined by others, slain for the word of God, and for the testimony which they held.

We pray for a pastor in Iran, holding fast to his faith in God’s word. And we are grateful not to be in that position ourselves. The question crosses our minds, “Could we be as firm in our faith?”

Can we stand condemned by our neighbors, our friends, by the courts of our land and still stand in faith, proclaiming belief in God and sharing the great commission?  Can we do it with the love that we know flows from God – the God that Paul tells us:

Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth. (1 Timothy 2:4 KJV)

Or are we as divided as these:

There was a division therefore again among the Jews for these sayings. And many of them said, He hath a devil, and is mad; why hear ye him? (John 10:19-20 KJV)

Why hear Him?  Because I’ve seen the changes in lives of those accepting Christ as God’s gift:

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. (John 3:16-17 KJV)

Just as a lifeboat beside a sinking ship cannot save unless we’re in it, so is the salvation offered by God.

How shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation; which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed unto us by them that heard him; God also bearing them witness, both with signs and wonders, and with divers miracles, and gifts of the Holy Ghost, according to his own will? (Hebrews 2:3-4 KJV)

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Kirk Cameron

An interesting interview with Kirk Cameron on NBC’s Today. Although it was to be a plug for his new movie, it became a witness for his convictions and explanation of the foundations of his faith.

This wasn’t the first, and even on that day wasn’t the last interview that had been scheduled for Cameron to discuss the new movie he’s presenting.  Piers Morgan’s earlier interview started with questions relating to almost every controversial issue facing our country today and asking Cameron to give his personal perspective.

Think for a moment – you are sitting before an audience you wish to introduce your current work, and your entire belief system is supposed to be cut down to a sound bite used to create headlines.

I didn’t hear that interview, but I did listen to Today’s, which started not with questions about his movie but about the Morgan interview. Frankly, I was impressed with how Cameron handled the Today interview, as well as the following one with Hoda Kotb.

It is absolutely without hatred for any individual, no hatred for any group of individuals, that I hold the same convictions Kirk Cameron publically espouses as having faith built on biblically based doctrines.

Yes – there are some things I believe the Bible specifically states are wrong.  I believe there are many things in the Bible we are encouraged to do and quite a few we are commanded to do.  As believers, we are responsible for putting forth good fruit, so that people who see our actions, hear our words, read our writing, see our movies can also see our lives describing His word:

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)

The whole body of believers displaying these fruits do so to edify, to lift up and glorify our Lord.

That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive; But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ: (Ephesians 4:14-15 KJV)

Believers are to open, speaking the truth in love, and that truth is what we’ve found in studying God’s word. For those who wish the words of Paul be stricken from the New Testament, that has not happened. Though Peter found those words hard, we are encouraged to follow them as we strive for our Lord’s will in our lives:

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

Kirk Cameron has fulfilled one of my favorite scriptures:

… be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear: (1 Peter 3:15b KJV)

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Legitimate Differences - Revisited

I posted this shortly after the Chilean miners were freed in 2010. The divisiveness, the vitriol, the disdain and even the hatred rampant in my nation today brought to mind this particular post. 

I think this wife’s face carries all the love she holds for her husband as she sees him, safe, after the months of fearing she would lose him. Seeing him in front of her is the answer to her prayers. Seeing the result of so many people working together, with support from around the world.

One of the best quotes of that year came from the President of Chile, Sebastian Pinera, regarding the rescue of those thirty-three trapped miners:

"When we Chileans set aside our legitimate differences and unify in a grand and noble cause, we are capable of great things."

It has a wider application. “When mankind sets aside our legitimate differences and unifies in a grand and noble cause, we are capable of great things.”

One of the first things we must realize is that among our friends, among our enemies, among even our family, there are legitimate differences. Some are simply differences of perspective. Others are centuries-old hurts inflicted by others – and they cannot be changed by anything we do now.

Too often we judge people today by events that took place not only a generation ago, but centuries ago by tribes or nations that no longer exist, nor do their ideals. Looking beyond them requires unification to a common purpose.

At present, there is no common purpose and unification for any reason is achieved only in a microcosm here or there.

Back in 2010, our church was in a forty-day period of fasting and prayer. Each one added to a list of specific prayers for participants and others to use, should they so desire. I had two items on the list for two ladies I hold very dear. I am very appreciative of those who joined in that period of prayer, and I held their requests in my prayers, too.

Why? My usual answer – the Bible tells me to. Jesus’ disciples asked Him why they could not accomplish one healing that He was able to achieve.

And Jesus said unto them, Because of your unbelief: for verily I say unto you, If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you. Howbeit this kind goeth not out but by prayer and fasting. (Matthew 17:20-21 KJV)

Thus, we unite in both prayer and fasting. Not nearly as many as those around the world who united in prayer for the miners.

Be aware of legitimate differences, but do not allow those differences (nor the people who cling to them) to separate mankind from achieving grand and noble achievements. Look, instead, for reasons to unite.

This, too, my Bible tells me to do.

Finally, brethren, farewell. Be perfect, be of good comfort, be of one mind, live in peace; and the God of love and peace shall be with you. (2 Corinthians 13:11 KJV)

Monday, March 19, 2012

Ask Twice, Listen Closely

Our Sunday School lesson was based on:

And Jonathan Saul's son arose, and went to David into the wood, and strengthened his hand in God. (1 Samuel 23:16 KJV)

It was a very good lesson, teaching us to look for those who help build our faith, as Jonathan did for David; and to look for those we can help build their faith, as was done for us.  We were challenged to do so, rather than just saying, “I need to …” I do pray that what I write each day increases someone’s thoughts about their own faith.

But, I digressed in my reading.  Having missed a couple of Sundays due to illness, I looked back to catch up on verses I missed, and found:

Then said David, O LORD God of Israel, thy servant hath certainly heard that Saul seeketh to come to Keilah, to destroy the city for my sake. Will the men of Keilah deliver me up into his hand? will Saul come down, as thy servant hath heard? O LORD God of Israel, I beseech thee, tell thy servant. And the LORD said, He will come down. Then said David, Will the men of Keilah deliver me and my men into the hand of Saul? And the LORD said, They will deliver thee up. (1 Samuel 23:10-12 KJV)

David’s first question reminds me of questions from reporters to politicians – covering more than one topic.  David had good reason for thinking Saul would kill others in his search.  Not long before, Ahimelech and his priestly family inadvertently aided David, thinking he was traveling for Saul. Instead, Saul blamed them and killed them. Thinking Saul would destroy Keilah was within reason.

David’s closeness to his Lord gave him strength to ask the questions. God answered the last one, “He will come down.” But that only solved part of David’s situation.  So, he asked again, “Will the men of Keilah deliver me?”

To save their city?  The answer given by God appears obvious to me. Perhaps it was obvious to David, too, but he requested clarification from his Lord.  We should, too.

We should be specific in our questions to our Lord. There’s a good example of David’s discourse with the Lord before battle in 2 Samuel 5 and 1 Chronicles 14, where when asked, God gave specific strategy for besting the Philistines. This from a man described as being after God’s own heart (1 Samuel 13:14, Acts 13:22).

If we wish to do God’s will, to follow His own heart, shouldn’t we pay attention to examples? Were we not encouraged to do so by our Lord himself?

Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you: (Matthew 7:7 KJV)

Don’t stop at one verse – read before, after and get down to:

If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask him? (Matthew 7:11 KJV)

Sunday, March 18, 2012



A recent MSNBC story about the travels of a multi-million dollar painting by Degas brought to mind the meaning of the word ‘provenance.’  Everyone would love to find such a painting hidden away in an attic, but would they pay ten million dollars for it without checking the origin, the full history, of the painting?

Checking the origin should be a part of accepting or rejecting Christianity.  The methodology used by Thomas Jefferson, removing everything that might indicate a miracle, has always struck me as odd.  An example from his “The Life and Morals of Jesus of Nazareth Extracted From The Four Gospels” Chapter 1:
And when he was departed thence, he went into their synagogue:
55 And, behold, there was a man which had his hand withered. And they asked him, saying, Is it lawful to heal on the sabbath days? that they might accuse him.
56 And he said unto them, What man shall there be among you, that shall have one sheep, and if it fall into a pit on the sabbath day, will he not lay hold on it, and lift it out?
57 How much then is a man of more value than a sheep! Wherefore it is lawful to do good on the sabbath days.
58 And he said unto them, The sabbath was made for man, and not man for the sabbath.
Compared with Matthew’s King James Version of the same story:

Matthew 12:10-13 KJV
(10)  And, behold, there was a man which had his hand withered. And they asked him, saying, Is it lawful to heal on the sabbath days? that they might accuse him.
(11)  And he said unto them, What man shall there be among you, that shall have one sheep, and if it fall into a pit on the sabbath day, will he not lay hold on it, and lift it out?
(12)  How much then is a man better than a sheep? Wherefore it is lawful to do well on the sabbath days.
(13)  Then saith he to the man, Stretch forth thine hand. And he stretched it forth; and it was restored whole, like as the other.

Jefferson didn’t include verse 13, though it is included in Mark and in Luke. If he trusted Matthew’s witness to what Jesus said, why would he not trust the witness to what was done?

Jesus is either what was written by those who knew Him, or He is not. Looked upon as a philosopher, His thoughts were not new.  They came from Genesis, Exodus, Isaiah, Proverbs – what was then considered scripture, God’s holy word.  His parables brought nothing new from the law given to Moses, except that the law was made for man, not man made for the law.  That’s a concept, a doctrine, not quoted but inferred.

None of the other messiah claimants’ followers were successful after their leader died.  We read of them in history, some even in the New Testament, but all of them offered earthly kingdoms. Jesus did not. He offered eternity.  The value of that offer deserves verification, His provenance.

Saturday, March 17, 2012


‘Tis said that on Saint Patrick’s Day we are all Irish.  I count myself as part Irish throughout the year, thanks to Alexander Kelly.
Alexander was born in Armagh, Ireland in 1755, I don’t know if that relates to the city, or just to the county.  Would love to visit there and research! By July 9, 1776, when he enlisted in Washington’s army, he was living in Virginia.  He was there again in 1778 when he married Nancy Robinson.  They are my fourth great-grandparents. He’s one of the few immigrant ancestors I’ve been able to locate.

Armagh is tied to Saint Patrick through the Bell of the Testament, taken from Saint Patrick’s grave in 552 and given to “Ard Macha,” Armagh’s original name. It is now in the National Museum, Dublin.  Both the Catholic and Anglican cathedrals in Armagh are called Saint Patrick’s, but my Alexander attended neither – he was a Protestant.

Patrick’s story reminds me some of Paul’s – hearing the call from another land to spread the gospel.  That gospel is the same today as it was when Paul preached it in Athens or Patrick in Armagh.

It spoke to the hearts of people then, but many have forgotten Paul’s words to the Ephesians:

One Lord, one faith, one baptism, One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all. (Ephesians 4:5-6 KJV)

Let’s skip down a few verses and look at the goal Christians share:

Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ: That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive; But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ: (Ephesians 4:13-15 KJV)

And that bottom line truth is what Jesus gave Nicodemus:

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

We can’t be accepting this without accepting verses 15 and 18. That’s why my Readers should be looking past this blog, pulling on their Bibles (or using one online) and reading for themselves if what I copy is lacking, added to, or is speaking the truth in love.

Friday, March 16, 2012


7 Green Spring
I must admit that Thursday was a wonderful day.  We hired a gentleman to install some unique fencing on our property – which gave my Beloved Husband some good and some bad times.

The good was his being outside, enjoying building.  It’s the first yard project he’s been involved in for the last two years – ever since his rotator cuff problem was evident.  His health since then precluded his doing much outdoors at all.

It was bad in that he couldn’t do any of the moving, lifting, digging, hauling or setting the fence.  It’s the nature of Myasthenia Gravis that getting too tired has physical results.

It got me out of the house, too.  Friday will get me out even more, ‘cause I’m planting veggies in the resettled planters.  We hope to do more over this spring, but just being out today to see how green our spring is was a blessing.  The graphic above is where a tiny portion of our specimen photinia at the end of our front porch has begun blooming. Here is the full specimen:
4 Green SpringImagine it covered in those beautiful white blossoms.  Then imagine it covered in new red leaves as it grows.  Absolutely it reminds me of:

And why take ye thought for raiment? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin: And yet I say unto you, That even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. (Matthew 6:28-29 KJV)

Do you know the next verse?  It came to mind Thursday, too.  Wednesday night Second Son-in-Law tried to start the tractor, but it wouldn’t go into gear.  The last time that happened, it cost us $1,200. Remember, SSiL is about to lose his job with a bankrupt airline? The fencing project has already cost both us and them since it comes out of the Farm Fund. So, we all prayed about it, asking God to take care of this problem since He knew all about the finances.

Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which to day is, and to morrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith? Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed? (Matthew 6:30-31 KJV)

I trust you know me well enough that it is the absolute truth when I tell you that SSiL got on the tractor after coming home from work today, lowered the loader on the front to rock the tractor, turned the key and it started.

Second Daughter spent a couple of hours celebrating that event by mowing around the house.  We all celebrated by giving our Lord thanks for a day’s blessing.

(I have a few more of our green spring photos on my Multiply Albums.)

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Checking A Map’s OK

Currently my son and his family are actively involved in the church of their choice. He, his wife and their two children at home attend faithfully, regularly, but there was a time this was not true. There were years when he did not seek counsel.  When he told me “I have to make my own mistakes,” and I silently wondered, “Do you have to make them all?”

I even used the example of traveling from Oklahoma (where we lived) to New York – use a map.  Wouldn’t be better to learn from others’ experiences and travel a known highway?  His response was that he would rather find a road less traveled.  I did ask if he needed a machete to create a road. Oh, yeah, like that remark would help!

So I tossed a Proverb at him:

Without counsel purposes are disappointed: but in the multitude of counsellors they are established. (Proverbs 15:22 KJV)

I write in my Bible, and there was a note penciled in the late 1970’s right beside that verse:

Learn from experiences others have had.

Matthew Henry’s Commentary says of this verse:
Of what ill consequence it is to be precipitate and rash, and to act without advice: Men's purposes are disappointed, their measures broken, and they come short of their point, gain not their end, because they would not ask counsel about the way. If men will not take time and pains to deliberate with themselves, or are so confident of their own judgment that they scorn to consult with others, they are not likely to bring any thing considerable to pass; circumstances defeat them which, with a little consultation, might have been foreseen and obviated.
“Confident of their own judgment” is addressed often in the Bible.

The way of a fool is right in his own eyes: but he that hearkeneth unto counsel is wise. (Proverbs 12:15 KJV)

Unfortunately, that way that seems right often is not:

There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death (Proverbs 14:12 KJV)

Solomon thought that should be repeated:

There is a way that seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death. (Proverbs 16:25 KJV)

Maybe he thought we didn’t get the first couple of times:

Every way of a man is right in his own eyes: but the LORD pondereth the hearts. (Proverbs 21:2 KJV)

Proverbs alone has 86 verses that use the word ‘wisdom’ or ‘knowledge’ and eight that combine those two words.  The first one holds an absolute truth:

The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge: but fools despise wisdom and instruction. (Proverbs 1:7 KJV)

This one holds a promise:

So shall the knowledge of wisdom be unto thy soul: when thou hast found it, then there shall be a reward, and thy expectation shall not be cut off. (Proverbs 24:14 KJV)

It is perfectly OK to check a map, seek knowledge from those who have learned not only from their own experiences but from others. There is no need to re-invent to wheel. 

Wednesday, March 14, 2012


How’s your prayer list?  No, I didn’t ask about your prayer life – I asked about your prayer list.  I assume you pray, even if it’s only “Oh, God! Help me!” when you haven’t been listening to Him.

I’m talking about your prayer list.  If you really don’t have one, take a moment and create one in your mind.

Who is on your prayer list?

What kind of list do you keep?

Why do you keep a prayer list?

Who’s missing from your prayer list?

Who has been removed from your prayer list?

How often do you refer to your prayer list?

For this cause we also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you, and to desire that ye might be filled with the knowledge of his will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding; (Colossians 1:9 KJV)

Let me answer some of the questions from my own – I do keep a prayer list.  In fact, I keep more than one.  I keep a PUSH (Pray until something happens) list.  Often times names will remain on that list even after ‘something’ happens because I’ve learned more and know of other needs in that person/family.  I also have a Secret Prayer Partner list – once becoming my SPP, even though that lasts just a couple of months, the name remains on my prayer list. 

I have a Needs list that changes rather often, usually created during Wednesday evening services when we hear prayer requests.  Some may get moved to PUSH, but most are short term and drop off quickly.

My prayer lists are in my iPhone, so they are always at hand and easily referenced and updated. I keep the list as a reminder, to keep the names and requests before me. My prayers are not confined to specific hours of the day – a name pops up in my mind and I’ll pray for that person right then.

Who’s missing?  Any person who needs a prayer and hasn’t asked me to include them.  Well, not all of them.  There are times I can discern that a person could use a prayer and offer it without letting them know.  God knows.

Those removed? Those no longer here in this world.  They don’t need our prayers.  In many cases, though, their family members do, so names change.  I just prayed for one Christian mother’s son.  She’s gone, but he has turned his back on the God she loved. There are a couple of such on the list.  Removals don’t happen often at all.

How often do I refer to the lists? Not as much as I should.  I can almost give you every name, every situation, simply from memory, but I do need to look at them more.  Thanks for the reminder.  I’m still trying to reach a specific goal:

Pray without ceasing. (1 Thessalonians 5:17 KJV)

Even when I don’t know how to ask, I can pray for God’s will to be done.

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

In fact, that’s the best prayer of all!!

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

“Do You Love Me?”

On the right hand side of my Blogger is a list of places I visit regularly. A Joyful Chaos recently started a series of “Little Lessons,” and I’m eager to see how she’ll best her first one.  You can read it in full by clicking here.

In a nutshell (and she shows it much better!) her little girl’s asking “Mom, do you love me” gave insight as to how we so often question God. “Am I really saved?”

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

“Does God really love me?”

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

Why then do we keep asking?  Because we’re afraid we might be wrong. If that’s the case, we need to understand that fear does not belong in our loves once we’ve accepted God’s love.

There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love. (1 John 4:18 KJV)

Are we perfect?  Nope – but He is.  Maybe it takes a building of faith to accept Him at His word.

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

When we understand how much He loves us, we’ll love Him, too.  Then we also understand what our love does in return.

And this is love, that we walk after his commandments. This is the commandment, That, as ye have heard from the beginning, ye should walk in it. (2 John 1:6 KJV)

Christ confirmed the commandments, both including love:

Master, which is the great commandment in the law? Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. 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 22:36-40 KJV)

Unfortunately, others come with a different message.  We’re also told what to do in such cases:

Whosoever transgresseth, and abideth not in the doctrine of Christ, hath not God. He that abideth in the doctrine of Christ, he hath both the Father and the Son. If there come any unto you, and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into your house, neither bid him God speed: (2 John 1:9-10 KJV)

Spread the word and spread the love.  Of God and our neighbor.

Monday, March 12, 2012

A Quick Look At Solomon’s Prayer

What prayer and supplication soever be made by any man, or by all thy people Israel, which shall know every man the plague of his own heart, and spread forth his hands toward this house: (1 Kings 8:38 KJV)

“This house” is the temple, just finished and in the process of being dedicated by Solomon.  Here, he is praying to God, though his prayer starts much earlier in the chapter.  Before praying, the Ark of the Covenant was moved in and a cloud filled the House of the Lord.

Then spake Solomon, The LORD said that he would dwell in the thick darkness. I have surely built thee an house to dwell in, a settled place for thee to abide in for ever. (1 Kings 8:12-13 KJV)

Unfortunately, that portion of Solomon’s address to the congregation proved to be invalid – today only a portion of a younger wall serves as a reminder of '”a settled place" meant to be for ever. Solomon did understand that God hears prayers:

Then hear thou in heaven thy dwelling place, and forgive, and do, and give to every man according to his ways, whose heart thou knowest; (for thou, even thou only, knowest the hearts of all the children of men;) (1 Kings 8:39 KJV)

Solomon didn’t stop with the Children of Israel when he considered who would worship in “this house.”  He knew strangers would come, seeking the Lord God:

Moreover concerning a stranger, that is not of thy people Israel, but cometh out of a far country for thy name's sake; (For they shall hear of thy great name, and of thy strong hand, and of thy stretched out arm;) when he shall come and pray toward this house; (1 Kings 8:41-42 KJV)

I think I would count as one from a far country who searched for the Lord God, finding Him far from “this house,” but exactly where Christ said He would be.

The woman at the Samaritan well knew where people said they were supposed to worship:

Our fathers worshipped in this mountain; and ye say, that in Jerusalem is the place where men ought to worship. (John 4:20 KJV)

Jesus answered her with truth:

Jesus saith unto her, Woman, believe me, the hour cometh, when ye shall neither in this mountain, nor yet at Jerusalem, worship the Father. Ye worship ye know not what: we know what we worship: for salvation is of the Jews. But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him. God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth. (John 4:21-24 KJV)

There is more than one truth in these verses – The Jews knew about worship for they were the protectors of God’s word. Salvation for the world would come through the Jews. God is a Spirit, the Spirit, and we must worship Him in spirit and in truth.

What prayer and supplication soever be made by any man,” is to be made to Him.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Theology and New Insights


“The study of God.” Is our theology simply two-dimensional? Looking at the relationship only between God to Man or Man to God?  The verses I quote most often show theology is multi-faceted – as multi-faceted as the number of people in our lives.

Master, which is the great commandment in the law? Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. (Matthew 22:36-39 KJV)

Yes, I just used those verses just yesterday.  I hope I have them in my heart and in my life every day! They came to mind as I learned a new word: ANAWIM, a Hebrew word used in:

But the meek shall inherit the earth; and shall delight themselves in the abundance of peace. (Psalms 37:11 KJV)

וענוים – meek, needy, poor, saintly, humble.  Many of our neighbors. The same English word, meek, is used for the Greek πραΰ́ς in:

Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth. (Matthew 5:5 KJV)

Quite an education, isn’t it.  A new view of ancient words, applicable today. It also led me to work done in His name: Anawim Lay Missions Foundation and to another site, Anawim Christian Community, where a slight adjustment in a parable stopped me in my tracks.

It was a blessing to find beautiful support for the meek, the gentle, the lonely, the frail of mind and body, but to take that next step shown in the parable of The Good Muslim on the ACC site took a giant leap.

It’s the Luke 10:30-36 parable with a couple of changes. Instead of Jerusalem to Jericho, the trip was from Washington D.C to New York; instead of robbers, he was injured by terrorists; instead of a priest and Levite, he was passed by a Mennonite pastor and Baptist worship leader; instead of a Samaritan, he was helped by a Muslim.

What do those changes do to your viewpoint?  What differences come to mind when current locations/groups are used instead of historical ones? Are we willing to accept that one of our own, a professed Christian, would ignore an injured man?  Was it easier when it was a Jew, a Levite? Did we feel empathy with the Samaritan, as well as with the Muslim?

These are questions I had to deal with in my own heart.

I am grateful for the new word, anawim, added to my vocabulary. I am also grateful for the new insight as to how my own mind works from a different viewpoint.  I learned something new and different Saturday!

Saturday, March 10, 2012


That’s them! You can find more about them on Wikipedia or About.Com. Recipes abound across the web, but to put one here would be too confining.  Wikipedia states:
"Hamantashen are made with many different fillings, including poppy seed (the oldest and most traditional variety), prunes, nut, date, apricot, apple, fruit preserves, cherry, chocolate, dulce de leche, halva, or even caramel or cheese. Their formation varies from hard pastry to soft doughy casings."
A friend made them for Purim this year, posted about them, and some people asked questions about them. It’s a traditionally Jewish treat, part of celebrating Purim, representing Haman.  You have to be familiar with Esther to know the story of Haman, and just a few verses won’t give you more than a glimpse. Read the book, all ten chapters, so you’ll know why Mordecai wrote the provinces:

And Mordecai wrote these things, and sent letters unto all the Jews that were in all the provinces of the king Ahasuerus, both nigh and far, To stablish this among them, that they should keep the fourteenth day of the month Adar, and the fifteenth day of the same, yearly, (Esther 9:20-21 KJV)

Once you know the story, understand who Haman is, you can enjoy eating a bite of history!!

“Why?” Many Christians ask that question, but I respond with “Why not?”

It should be obvious that Jesus celebrated Jewish history – He instituted the Lord’s Supper at Passover. His parents kept the law:

And when eight days were accomplished for the circumcising of the child, his name was called JESUS, which was so named of the angel before he was conceived in the womb. And when the days of her purification according to the law of Moses were accomplished, they brought him to Jerusalem, to present him to the Lord; (Luke 2:21-22 KJV)

That continued:

Now his parents went to Jerusalem every year at the feast of the passover. And when he was twelve years old, they went up to Jerusalem after the custom of the feast. (Luke 2:41-42 KJV)

He fulfilled the law:

Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil. (Matthew 5:17 KJV)

And suggested we keep the root of it:

Master, which is the great commandment in the law? Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. 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 22:36-40 KJV)

Not as a requirement for His love or our salvation:

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

For me, I find it educational to learn about Jewish traditions, celebrations and holy days.  Jesus grew up with these. Why not learn and enjoy them?

Friday, March 9, 2012


O wad some Pow'r the giftie gie us
To see oursels as others see us!
Robert Burns

How do you see yourself?  How do you feel about yourself?  The Bible tells us:

Thou shalt not avenge, nor bear any grudge against the children of thy people, but thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself: I am the LORD. (Leviticus 19:18 KJV)

That bolded phrase is used again in the New Testament:  Matthew 19:19, 22:39, Mark 12:31, Luke 10:27, Romans 13:9, Galatians 5:14, and a fitting finale:

If ye fulfil the royal law according to the scripture, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself, ye do well: (James 2:8 KJV)

James makes it a conditional if/then statement – if you fulfill the scripture, you will love your neighbor – and you will do well.

I have failed, many times. Or, maybe I haven’t, if I’ve loved my neighbor as I have loved myself.  There have been times I haven’t liked me at all. I have done things I didn’t want to, and disliked not having the strength to say “No!”  I’ve also not done things I wanted to, and regretted not saying “Let me!” I’ve broken God’s commandments, and found excuses for doing so, saying “It’s not really my fault.”

“The devil made me do it,” is a comic routine that made Flip Wilson a lot of money, but it’s not to be used as an excuse. Neither is “God made me this way.”

What I need to understand is that God loves me.  Just as I am (and that is an awesome hymn!!) but he doesn’t want me to stay the way I was when I found out how much He loved me. This is an absolute truth for everyone. Peter tells us:

But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and for ever. Amen. (2 Peter 3:18 KJV)

Both Paul and John address a similar subject:

(For not the hearers of the law are just before God, but the doers of the law shall be justified. (Romans 2:13 KJV)

But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves. (James 1:22 KJV)

Saying I love my neighbor just doesn’t get the job done.  I must act upon that knowledge.  I must do something that God wants me to do. And, I must be aware of who is my neighbor.

Jesus gave a parable that should explain that sufficiently to a certain lawyer set out to catch Him in a falsehood when he asked, then followed up with another question:

But he, willing to justify himself, said unto Jesus, And who is my neighbour? (Luke 10:29 KJV)

Read the verses following that for Jesus response. No, don’t just think you know the story – go ahead and look up the verses.  If your Bible isn’t handy, just click here.

Our neighbor is the person who needs our help, the person God has sent us to help. The person who, without our help, may perish.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

“Here I Go Again”

Have you ever heard a teenager express how much they love someone?  That they want to go steady?  That they are ready for a relationship that will last for … they have no idea how long? Do you think it’s cute, or do you worry they are getting in over their head? 

It gives me concern – to the point that I’ve posted several blogs on the subject:
From Song of Solomon, “Wall or Door” October, 2009
From a church program “Far Above Rubies” December, 2009
Sunday School Lesson, “Beautiful Princess” June, 2010

Search on ‘purity’ for some of the others. Other adults in our church are concerned about our youth and their future, too.  Yesterday I quoted Coach Horton on education, and find myself quoting him today, too.  This time for teens, about relationships:
Oh No! here I go again! Teenagers vs Teenage Relationships, what a topic. Teenagers, have you ever had someone you like tell you "I love You". Well, I think the word “love” in teenage relationships should be removed from the dictionary. If another teenager tells you, or if you tell another teenager you love them, then that leads to two words "Prove it"; and then that leads to one word "Sex". This is not rocket scientist philosophy, all you know exactly what I'm talking about.
The word love is so misused by teenagers. When some one tells someone you love them you should be thinking about the following: Is this someone I want to spend the rest of my life with? Can I commit myself wholly to this person in marriage? Will this person love and commit to my life? You see teenagers, Love is much more that a physical relationship.
Before you begin a relationship with anyone do this: make a list of ten things you like about the person. If you can't find ten things, then don't begin a relationship with that person.
Never tell anyone in Junior High or High School that you "Love them". The word love is a mature word for mature people who can make a life time commitment to each other. You can still like someone, be there friend, have fun with being together, and keep the relationship simple. Any relationship that involves love, sex, and commitment can be very complex and will hurt you when it ends. A complex relationship will leave you changed, physically, mentally, and emotionally -- you look different, act different, feel different. In a simple relationship you can walk away unchanged and still be friends.
Coach is not saying that teenagers should not have relationships with each other. I'm just saying there's a better way. Keep it simple and you won’t get hurt, so when friends fall apart they can still be friends. This is the way God intended for you to be and act.
I think real dating should not start until you are ready to start looking for a husband or a wife. Dating should have a purpose, not be an event. High School is not the time or the place to have life time commitments like marriage.
Remember to keep life simple and put your trust in Jesus Christ. Read Psalms 18:1, 2, 3; Romans 10:13.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012


Monday I watched a CBS This Morning interview with Joel Klein, former NYC Department of Education Chancellor.  The five minute interview can be seen on the CBS website.

The first questions to Mr. Klein concerned the fact that the candidates are not discussing education.  A graphic showed that out of more than 40 hours of candidate questions, less than twenty minutes was spent on education, a dozen questions out of more than 800.  Reference was made to the esteem in which many other countries hold their teachers – much higher than we do. Just over half way into the interview, the reporter moved on to questions about the Murdoch scandals and education was forgotten, again.

Our media creates – and destroys – heroes.  They are aware of this ability, yet ignore teachers (and education) for the prurient glimpses of scandal and celebrity-hood.  We collude with the media by responding to their lead.

A few days ago, one of our church members – a teacher – wrote:

Just a word to 7th and 8th graders. Life is all about attitude, strive to have a good spirit. Use as few words as possible, let your actions and your attitude do the talking for you. Go to school every day, find something good about every teacher and then tell your teacher. It's all about attitude and how you look at things. School and teachers are not your enemy, but your friends. Remember you may lose lots of things in life, but you can't lose a good education. Work hard and have a great spirit and good things will happen. Keep life simple and have a great year, good luck.  Coach Horton

That’s not just for 7/8th graders – it’s important to all of us. Education is no longer important to Americans, and our work force is impacted.

We adults need to follow Coach Horton’s admonition, too.  We need to find the good in our teachers and help them mold the next generation.  We need to lift them much higher than we do those who simply entertain us – unless entertainment is all we want out of life.

How does this fit with the Bible?  The verse our school children should learn very early is:

Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. (2 Timothy 2:15 KJV)

Solomon’s Proverbs refer to knowledge many times – my favorite is:

Receive my instruction, and not silver; and knowledge rather than choice gold. (Proverbs 8:10 KJV)

But – that’s not what we’re teaching them, is it?

My husband and I have no children in school, but we pay taxes to provide for those who do.  We need to be just as interested in the teachers as their students’ parents are. We do have grand and great-grandchildren in school and their future is important to us.  They need instruction and knowledge. They need the best of opportunities to achieve their goals. Those opportunities come with the proper education in order to study, becoming unashamed workmen.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012


In the sixteenth century there were tremendous changes in religious beliefs that impacted our family.  Seems strange to trace back to those changes and know they were what brought my husband’s ancestors from Switzerland to colonial America.

There was not a single document during that time that listed the ‘Solas’, but they were brought together during that century, and hold together today as beliefs I accept, and understand:
  • Soli Deo Gloria, glory to God alone
  • Sola Scriptura, by Scripture alone
  • Solus Christus, through Christ alone
  • Sola Gratia, by grace alone 
  • Sola Fide, by faith alone
That’s the order that makes sense to me, God first, followed by the written word He used to reach us to tell of His planned salvation through His grace with our faith.

There’s no doubt that God is due all glory. I love how the angels put it when Jesus was born:

Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men. (Luke 2:14 KJV)

I don’t believe Paul thought of his writings when he penned:

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

The New Testament is specific that salvation is through Christ, alone:

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)

The last two Solas are in the same verse:

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

These are but representative verses.  Their truth can be found throughout the Bible. Another verse inspired the graphic used on this page:

Now unto the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only wise God, be honour and glory for ever and ever. Amen. (1 Timothy 1:17 KJV)

Did you notice that we have but one thing to do?  Faith.  Truly – to God be the glory!!  Amen.

Monday, March 5, 2012

On My Mind


I don’t know why Paul is on my mind – but over the last few days I’ve found his name – and his scriptures – flowing off my fingertips onto the keys.  Today’s thoughts begin with his face-to-face meeting with Jesus on the road to Damascus:

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)

I read that the phrase “kick against the pricks” is defined by the Cambridge Dictionary as:  “to argue and fight against people in authority.'”  To me, that’s very different from questioning authority. A respectful question to an authority should solicit an answer, just as Paul’s question, “Who art thou,” was meant to find out just who he was talking to.  Did you notice Paul added “Lord,” too?

Others asked authority figures questions.  When Paul stood before Festus and Agrippa, he asked:

Why should it be thought a thing incredible with you, that God should raise the dead? (Acts 26:8 KJV)

Paul assumed Agrippa, aware of the scriptures of his homeland, certainly had heard of God raising the dead. He would have been taught of the widow of Zarephath, of the oil and bread, as well as the death of her son.  She asked Elijah why, he asked the Lord, and the dead was raised:

And the LORD heard the voice of Elijah; and the soul of the child came into him again, and he revived. And Elijah took the child, and brought him down out of the chamber into the house, and delivered him unto his mother: and Elijah said, See, thy son liveth. (1 Kings 17:22-23 KJV)

Paul and Agrippa would have learned in the synagogue of Elisha and the Shunammite woman’s son in 2 Kings 4:8-37. Both almost certainly would have heard of Lazarus, and another:

Now when he came nigh to the gate of the city, behold, there was a dead man carried out, the only son of his mother, and she was a widow: and much people of the city was with her. And when the Lord saw her, he had compassion on her, and said unto her, Weep not. And he came and touched the bier: and they that bare him stood still. And he said, Young man, I say unto thee, Arise. (Luke 7:12-14 KJV)

And, it still look the appearance of our Lord for Paul to believe. Paul knew all of the scriptures – surely better than Agrippa – but he ignored their prophecies until the Messiah stood before him. Agrippa probably hadn’t studied the scriptures as deeply as Paul as he was destined to rule, but he knew enough to understand Paul’s sermon in Acts 26.

Still, Agrippa remained almost persuaded. There is no record indicating he followed up on Paul’s sermon.
Are we waiting for such manifestations of God’s miraculous abilities before we tell people of how He changed our lives? The majority of those who followed God’s commands did not require such – why do we?