Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Blogging and Learning

I have my favorite verses, coming back to them often. And I have favorite blogs that I return to again and again for insight into the Bible. One of those is Abundant Life Now by author Robert Lloyd Russell, whose books are available online. You’ll find his site listed on this page as one of the blogs I visit regularly.

Why introduce him now? Because of something a friend said about sermons and Bible verses:  “I need to know how to apply them to my life.”

When I blog, I write what I’m thinking about.  Usually it applies to me, what I need to receive from the verse, what I think about it or how I apply it. It’s personal, not instructional as to a biblical truth or discipleship.  Abundant Life Now is a completely different premise, the purpose defined by the author:
The intent of this blog is to present concise information about Christian living, foundational Christian truth, and how to share the Christian faith.
He’s not alone, either.  There are many places on the web offering similar. Yet, I believe the local church is the best place to learn about foundational Christian truth and sharing our Christian faith.  That’s what Paul did on his missionary journeys, sit up local churches.  His letters to those churches offer the best information about Christian living.

It would do me – or you – absolutely no good to list all of that information.  That would simply copy all of the apostles’ letters. The best way is for each individual to read them over and over, get acquainted with the concepts and find the ones applicable to the present situation. It’s very helpful to attend services where the congregation receives both expository and topical sermons.

Expository would be where a specific verse or chapter is read, studied and reviewed.  Not the same depth as exegesis, where the text is critically studied in depth for significance or relevance. Different from topical preaching, where a subject is covered using a number of texts relating to a specific topic.

Looking back, I’ve used both styles – spending time with a specific chapter, then at other times using a number of verses to explain how I see a specific topic.  Either way, they are personal views, not designed to do more than share – my love for the scriptures, and how I see those scriptures in my own life.

How do you see scriptures in your life? I find them to contain a truth Jesus spoke to those who sought to kill Him:

Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me. (John 5:39 KJV)

Tuesday, February 28, 2012


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

Now where else have we heard that?

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

Yep, one of the “Be Attitudes.” Remember? And the Bible has examples of people who were meek.  The first one was the leader of a people who were homeless, without a nation of their own, servants to others.

(Now the man Moses was very meek, above all the men which were upon the face of the earth.) (Numbers 12:3 KJV)

We don’t think of him that way, do we?  This man who was raised in the house of pharaoh, killed as a young adult, fled, married and settled down to the life of a herdsman. Then stood before pharaoh demanding, “Let my people go.” This man was meek above all others?

Isaiah prophesied about the meek:

The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me; because the LORD hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; he hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound; (Isaiah 61:1 KJV)

Those words were read over and over again in the synagogue – once that I wish I could have heard, along with the next sentence:

And he began to say unto them, This day is this scripture fulfilled in your ears. (Luke 4:21 KJV)

Since then we have heard the good tidings preached, our broken hearts have been healed, we are no longer captive to sin nor imprisoned by our earned guilt.  We have been given the truth and it has set us free.

We have answered the invitation from a man who described himself as meek:

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

Of course, not all believed, not all are free, though other scriptures have been fulfilled:

And in them is fulfilled the prophecy of Esaias, which saith, By hearing ye shall hear, and shall not understand; and seeing ye shall see, and shall not perceive: (Matthew 13:14 KJV)

There will come a time, though, when remaining prophecies shall be fulfilled:

I have sworn by myself, the word is gone out of my mouth in righteousness, and shall not return, That unto me every knee shall bow, every tongue shall swear. (Isaiah 45:23 KJV)

For it is written, As I live, saith the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God. So then every one of us shall give account of himself to God. (Romans 14:11-12 KJV)

My suggestion would be that we not wait until that moment to begin thinking about the account we’ll be giving.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Even As I

But I speak this by permission, and not of commandment. For I would that all men were even as I myself. But every man hath his proper gift of God, one after this manner, and another after that. I say therefore to the unmarried and widows, It is good for them if they abide even as I. (1 Corinthians 7:6-8 KJV)

Paul suggested that remaining unmarried allowed one to focus on God’s work.  I know a man, serving his Lord in his homeland, who has taken that suggestion to heart. He came to Christianity as an adult. When he did so, he understood that where he was to go, what he was to do, meant a wife could be left an early widow, or become discouraged for lack of her husband’s attention. That would be damaging for both of them, as well as detrimental to his witness for Christ.

What to do? Surely God intended him to know love, have a relationship as deep as any other man.  Didn’t God himself create the first marriage? Why should God require him to forgo a help meet in his life? Didn’t he deserve what others had? Aren’t the majority of missionaries married?

Paul had more to say on the subject:

But I would have you without carefulness. He that is unmarried careth for the things that belong to the Lord, how he may please the Lord: But he that is married careth for the things that are of the world, how he may please his wife. (1 Corinthians 7:32-33 KJV)

The man I'm thinking of considered this, he told us. If he married, he would be caring for his wife, providing her things that are of the world – such as food, shelter, his time and energy.  His travels would leave a wife alone. His ministry could leave her a widow.

He chose God’s work, alone.

I met another man, slightly older, raised attending church, active in youth services, singer in the choir, enrolled in Bible College – and who dropped out of Christianity for one specific thing that is of the world. That life he chose as a young man is no longer one he lives, but he continues to explain his choice with the argument that he deserved what others had. He deserved the happiness a long-term relationship brings. He should be able to do what he pleased, when he pleased. If society didn't like it, society should change.

Accepting as fact Paul was inspired to write God’s word, which of these modern men responded to His word?  Which one is believably dedicated to God’s will? Do you find one impressive?

For those have no God, could it possibly matter? Only if his witness impresses. May God bless his ministry and his goals of helping people as well as spreading God's good news of love. The lone missionary remains in my prayers.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Young to Old

O God, thou hast taught me from my youth: and hitherto have I declared thy wondrous works. (Psalms 71:17 KJV)

As a toddler, I was taken to church by my grandmother. By the time I started school, my parents were not involved in one. By the time I was ten, we were actively involved in one where they stayed for more than fifty years, where my father, myself, my sister and my husband were baptized and we were married. While there, I certainly did declare His wondrous works, as I do know.

Now also when I am old and grayheaded, O God, forsake me not; until I have shewed thy strength unto this generation, and thy power to every one that is to come. (Psalms 71:18 KJV)

Oh, yes, I am way past middle-aged, live with uncolored gray hair and I continue to declare to this generation that God is powerful. That is an exhortation to women of my age, and a description of desired behavior:

The aged women likewise, that they be in behaviour as becometh holiness, not false accusers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things; (Titus 2:3 KJV)

It comes with a job description, too:

That they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children, To be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed. (Titus 2:4-5 KJV)

God is for all time – not just when we’re young, not just when we feel we need Him, not just when we’re old, gray and expecting to meet Him. He is our God always, for all time – and beyond.

For thou art my hope, O Lord GOD: thou art my trust from my youth. (Psalms 71:5 KJV)

From my youth, yes – never stopping, though:

Be thou my strong habitation, whereunto I may continually resort: thou hast given commandment to save me; for thou art my rock and my fortress. (Psalms 71:3 KJV)

May God continue to provide His word as a blessing for my reading.  May my heart continue to seek Him, allowing Him to be the guiding light for my path. May I always repeat the words of the psalmist:

Let my mouth be filled with thy praise and with thy honour all the day. (Psalms 71:8 KJV)

Saturday, February 25, 2012

When I Fall In Love, It Will Be Forever

So many are too young to remember the number of artists singing this romantic song.  I don’t know that the current generation has heard the song, much less understand the concept.

So many young people we meet are enthralled with the idea that we could have remained married for over half a century.  Most ask, “What’s your secret?”

National media coverage extolls relationships that lack permanence. Several of my blogs link to references saying marriage is obsolete, that long-term relationships are okay, but single-mothers do just fine in raising their children.  To say otherwise is considered bullying.

In a previous corporate world, I attended a seminar series entitled “What You Are Is Where You Were When," produced by Morris Massey. The revised program is described as:  “… explaining the three self-programming periods each young individual goes through in developing a value system. These gut-level feelings guide our adult behavior, determine our worldview, and influence how we feel about what is normal and abnormal.”

Those three periods are shown in Wikipedia. The ‘When’ creates our generational gaps, where I will listen to “When I Fall In Love” sung by a long-dead artist and know it can be done, while this generation doesn’t hear those words, and don’t believe in falling in love or forever.

Imprint (from birth to seven) and Modeling (between eight and thirteen) ‘when’ for me included two heterosexual parents, imbedded with family and church. Socialization (fourteen to twenty-one) introduced me to widows, remarriage, divorce and dating, but didn’t change my goal of love being forever.

With God’s help, it has been – and can be from this point on for anyone.

Last week a nurse asked that, “What is your secret?” and I gave the answer which is second nature to me:
“Frankly?  It’s being close to God.  When husband and wife spend time together in prayer and Bible reading, then live what they’ve learned, they become close to God. How can they be apart when both are close to Him?”
My husband and I will have love forever, but not necessarily for each other:

For in the resurrection they neither marry, nor are given in marriage, but are as the angels of God in heaven. (Matthew 22:30 KJV)

That’s one verse of so many to read, enjoy, study, understand, wonder about, follow.  It takes time and energy, but is worth it. If we don’t, we fall under the preceding verse:

Jesus answered and said unto them, Ye do err, not knowing the scriptures, nor the power of God. (Matthew 22:29 KJV)

The power of God is the power of love:

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

I fell in love with Him, and it will be forever.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Temple Builder

David had the plans to build a temple fit to hold the Ark of the Covenant:

Then David gave to Solomon his son the pattern of the porch, and of the houses thereof, and of the treasuries thereof, and of the upper chambers thereof, and of the inner parlours thereof, and of the place of the mercy seat, And the pattern of all that he had by the spirit, of the courts of the house of the LORD, and of all the chambers round about, of the treasuries of the house of God, and of the treasuries of the dedicated things: (1 Chronicles 28:11-12 KJV)

David had amassed what was necessary:

Even the weight for the candlesticks of gold, and for their lamps of gold, by weight for every candlestick, and for the lamps thereof: and for the candlesticks of silver by weight, both for the candlestick, and also for the lamps thereof, according to the use of every candlestick. (1 Chronicles 28:15 KJV)

The verses continue – listing all the items of gold, silver, all that was needed.  So, why didn’t he build it?

But God said unto me, Thou shalt not build an house for my name, because thou hast been a man of war, and hast shed blood. (1 Chronicles 28:3 KJV)

David loved and served God, but he also shed not just blood but innocent blood. David prayed, asked, listened to God’s answer. Then David gives Solomon instructions:

And David said to Solomon his son, Be strong and of good courage, and do it: fear not, nor be dismayed: for the LORD God, even my God, will be with thee; he will not fail thee, nor forsake thee, until thou hast finished all the work for the service of the house of the LORD. (1 Chronicles 28:20 KJV)

David knew from experience that God would not fail nor forsake until our work for Him is done.

Do we have the faith to tell our children the same?  Has our faith in God been proven?  Can we point to experiences in our own lives where God provided for us?  Can we admit that not all of our prayers received a positive answer – and still we retained our faith?

Can we convince ourselves, much less the next generation?

Thursday, February 23, 2012


A pride of lions (1802), oil on canvas, 97 x 130 cm
That’s a beautiful painting of a lion’s pride – but that’s not the type of pride meant in Pastor’s lesson last night, part of Proverbs 13:

Only by pride cometh contention: (Proverbs 13:10a KJV)

Do you disagree?  Then consider just the first of pride’s definitions:
The quality or state of being proud; inordinate self-esteem; an unreasonable conceit of one's own superiority in talents, beauty, wealth, rank etc., which manifests itself in lofty airs, distance, reserve and often contempt of others.
Whether that pride is personal or held in a concept, a place, a ‘thing’, it is possible to understand that it is the root of contention – the beginning of arguments and strife.  The Bible tells us more about pride, too.

David’s father sent food to his sons with their youngest brother. What one brother saw was pride:

And Eliab his eldest brother heard when he spake unto the men; and Eliab's anger was kindled against David, and he said, Why camest thou down hither? and with whom hast thou left those few sheep in the wilderness? I know thy pride, and the naughtiness of thine heart; for thou art come down that thou mightest see the battle. (1 Samuel 17:28 KJV)

What Eliab displayed was pride – showing his feeling of superiority over this child who came to watch men at war.  Eliab was so wrong!

Most of us remember hearing biblical admonitions against pride – one of the earliest I remember also comes from Proverbs:

Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall. (Proverbs 16:18 KJV)

There are instructions in the Bible how to avoid this pitfall.  How to keep from starting contentions, how to avoid destruction and falling, beginning with the close of that opening verse;

but with the well advised is wisdom. (Proverbs 13:10 KJV)

Honestly, some of the best advice comes from a man recognized as filled with wisdom.  Take time to read Proverbs and heed the man recognized as wise.  The man who simply asked God:

Give therefore thy servant an understanding heart to judge thy people, that I may discern between good and bad: for who is able to judge this thy so great a people? (1 Kings 3:9 KJV)

No pride there.  No desire for personal superiority.  Humble. Consider those called of God throughout the Bible. The ones who replied, “Me?  You can’t possibly mean me! I can’t do that job.” Yet, they did and we read of their accomplishments thousands of years afterward.

Want to avoid contention?  Be aware of pride – in ourselves as well as others.  Within ourselves, let’s clear it out.  If in others, perhaps spending less time with their pride will relieve contentions?

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Still Thinking of Daniel

Most Christians ignore Daniel and John’s views of the end times. Dreams of old men, nothing more. Might be better if they paid attention to some of those verses, for the time will come when they are worn out:

And he shall speak great words against the most High, and shall wear out the saints of the most High, and think to change times and laws: and they shall be given into his hand until a time and times and the dividing of time. (Daniel 7:25 KJV)

Over the ages, many people have thought this applied to their time – but it didn’t. Since it never has happened and we’re still here, most think that these visions really were the dreams of old men, not the words of God. Yes, or no – they either are, or are not. Which choice should we take?

I prefer to take this as a God-given vision, with a message for His saints:

But the saints of the most High shall take the kingdom, and possess the kingdom for ever, even for ever and ever. (Daniel 7:18 KJV)

Many believe these visions do not speak of specific events. That evil nations rise by the power of their armament, and fall because of their lacks. Again, I turn to the Bible for an answer:

Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God. (Romans 13:1 KJV)

Or, back in Proverbs:

By me kings reign, and princes decree justice. By me princes rule, and nobles, even all the judges of the earth. (Proverbs 8:15-16 KJV)

Do we believe God makes mistakes?  That He ignores those who love Him?  That His promises are of no value?  Personally, I don’t think He makes mistakes – I believe there are things He allows, that we don’t understand, but He does.  I also believe there is evil, working against God’s will.  But that evil does not understand God’s plan any more than we do.  Paul gave an example in Christ’s death:

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)

There are mysteries, things we are not given to understand, no matter how hard we try.

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)

Doesn’t mean we aren’t to ask questions, to seek answers – nor does it mean we will not find some along the way.  But we must come in faith, seeking truth more than knowledge.

Ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth. (2 Timothy 3:7 KJV)

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Obeying Laws

Used to be every child attending church learned about Daniel’s trip to the lion’s den. They still do in our church, but I’m not certain about others’ use of Bible stories.

Adults need to look at the subterfuge that put him there.

All the presidents of the kingdom, the governors, and the princes, the counsellors, and the captains, have consulted together to establish a royal statute, and to make a firm decree, that whosoever shall ask a petition of any God or man for thirty days, save of thee, O king, he shall be cast into the den of lions. Now, O king, establish the decree, and sign the writing, that it be not changed, according to the law of the Medes and Persians, which altereth not. (Daniel 6:7-8 KJV)

How better to flatter someone?  Everyone would be asking after Darius, for all their needs. He would be the very center of their lives. Of course, there was an underlying reason for their actions:

Then said these men, We shall not find any occasion against this Daniel, except we find it against him concerning the law of his God. (Daniel 6:5 KJV)

That hasn’t changed in all these years. Laws are written that impact God’s laws as lived by those who love Him. May they continue to follow Daniel’s example:

Now when Daniel knew that the writing was signed, he went into his house; and his windows being open in his chamber toward Jerusalem, he kneeled upon his knees three times a day, and prayed, and gave thanks before his God, as he did aforetime. Then these men assembled, and found Daniel praying and making supplication before his God. (Daniel 6:10-11 KJV)

Please note what Daniel DID NOT DO. Make your own list, I’m not going there now.  I’m thinking of what Daniel did – which was not change a thing.  He continued to pray.

Remember those guys who went to Darius with a marvelous idea?  In verse 12, it becomes Darius’ decree – and by law could not be changed. Darius sought ways around it.  He did not want to fulfill the obligation of the unintended results of an unchangeable bad law, but he did. As he placed Daniel in the lion’s den, he said:

Then the king commanded, and they brought Daniel, and cast him into the den of lions. Now the king spake and said unto Daniel, Thy God whom thou servest continually, he will deliver thee. (Daniel 6:16 KJV)

Even with the unintended results of a law he didn’t think through, Darius followed the letter of the law with a faith in God’s ability. We can pray our lawmakers anticipate unintended results, or change bad laws when recognized.

Did Darius believe for himself, or only Daniel?   Doesn’t matter to us today.  What does is whether we believe that our God will deliver us.

He has. He does. He will.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Helpful People

Centuries ago there may have been some tourists at Jerusalem’s gates, but most people going through then had business in the city. Those were the people targeted by Absalom in his bid to destroy his father’s rule.  He would speak to those seeking fairness and judgment:

And Absalom said unto him, See, thy matters are good and right; but there is no man deputed of the king to hear thee. (2 Samuel 15:3 KJV)

Doesn’t that sound good?  Looking out for those seeking justice, acknowledging that the king was too busy to see to everything, right? All that was needed was for someone – perhaps Absalom – be deputized to do the king’s business.

Why, he even volunteered:

Absalom said moreover, Oh that I were made judge in the land, that every man which hath any suit or cause might come unto me, and I would do him justice! (2 Samuel 15:4 KJV)

Look what he could do for all the people!  And, in the midst of doing all that good, he would be helping the king, too. While in truth, he was undermining.

And on this manner did Absalom to all Israel that came to the king for judgment: so Absalom stole the hearts of the men of Israel. (2 Samuel 15:6 KJV)

As we’re going through political chaos, we need to remember that self-serving volunteers are still out to steal the hearts of men.

I deplore our methodology of choosing our nation’s leadership. It appears that our nation is irreversibly divided on basic issues polarizing – but more than two poles! Every special interest group demonizes their opposite.  If their opposition is not organized into a group, one begins to coalesce in response to the demonization.

Our elections can be bought, sold to largest PAC, unlimited by the amount of individual donations. All designed to steal the hearts of the people.

At least a few things have changed since then.  Elections in our country no longer result in assassinations and war within our country. Unfortunately, the change has not occurred in all nations. Could it recur in ours?

Eventually, David fled:

And there came a messenger to David, saying, The hearts of the men of Israel are after Absalom. (2 Samuel 15:13 KJV)

But, what appeared to be the end of the matter wasn’t, until a father cried over his son:

And the king was much moved, and went up to the chamber over the gate, and wept: and as he went, thus he said, O my son Absalom, my son, my son Absalom! would God I had died for thee, O Absalom, my son, my son! (2 Samuel 18:33 KJV)

I pray that we do not reach the point of weeping over fallen brotherhood in this county over such dissensions.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Bible Reading

A Bible reading plan can be a handy reminder when life gets busy or out of kilter.  The one I’m using now is a chronological plan and I’m finding it interesting – not just to keep events in order – but putting the psalms into specific timeframes in David’s life.

My life has been out of kilter! Not as much as my Beloved Husband’s, subject to ICU monitors pinging at all hours of the day and night with nurses responding, shots given, medication changed – all the things medicine does for us to keep us alive and get us well.

No, my out of kilter existence was being separated from him, traveling back and forth between home and hospital, eating irregularly.  Then, Friday night, being extremely ill myself.  Yes, it is possible to get run down. Excuses pop up saying limited time equals dropping a lot of activities.  Bible reading isn’t one of them! Especially in the psalms, where David speaks to God during all phases of his life.

No, I’m not going to drag out minute examples.  I’m going to focus on a repetitive theme:

O come, let us sing unto the LORD: let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation. Let us come before his presence with thanksgiving, and make a joyful noise unto him with psalms. For the LORD is a great God, and a great King above all gods. (Psalms 95:1-3 KJV)

Seven psalms ask us to sing, to make a joyful noise to our Lord, then they tell us why. Psalms 66, 81, 95, 98 and100 – two of them with two verses.  Go ahead, look them up.  See which one says:

O bless our God, ye people, and make the voice of his praise to be heard:

Or which tells us:

O come, let us worship and bow down: let us kneel before the LORD our maker.

David doesn’t say these things just once.  The recur during his lifetime as he served his Lord:

Serve the LORD with gladness: come before his presence with singing.

Which themes recur in our lives – rejoicing or lamentations? Joy or sorrow? Do we love the Lord with our actions or simply with words in front of people?

Those are decisions we make. Just as whether or not we give our lives to Him.  Personally, I prefer His sustaining hands and promises. I’ll join David in serving the Lord with gladness, and this morning I’m headed to His house to sing His praises.  If you can’t come with me, find Him close and join in, please.

Friday, February 17, 2012


Awake up, my glory; awake, psaltery and harp: I myself will awake early. (Psalms 57:8 KJV)

The introduction to this psalm says “To the chief Musician, Altaschith, Michtam of David, when he fled from Saul in the cave.” The first of the psalm shows a person reaching out to God in trust:

Be merciful unto me, O God, be merciful unto me: for my soul trusteth in thee: yea, in the shadow of thy wings will I make my refuge, until these calamities be overpast. (Psalms 57:1 KJV)

But also in torment:

My soul is among lions: and I lie even among them that are set on fire, even the sons of men, whose teeth are spears and arrows, and their tongue a sharp sword. (Psalms 57:4 KJV)

He moves between praises for God:

Be thou exalted, O God, above the heavens; let thy glory be above all the earth. (Psalms 57:5 KJV)

And fear of his enemies:

They have prepared a net for my steps; my soul is bowed down: they have digged a pit before me, into the midst whereof they are fallen themselves. Selah. (Psalms 57:6 KJV)

Our lives fluctuate as David’s – valleys and mountain tops, sorrow and joy, fear and comfort.  Thankfully, my ‘enemies’ do not seek my life! Most of mine are fears of my own creation, not the person God has chosen me to replace.

For just a moment, the vision of a new pastor in any church came to mind. For whatever reason, he is taking the place of another man who ostensibly was chosen by God to lead a congregation. In most instances, there will be those who do not like the change.

Yes, I could give examples, but David has given better ones of a man, anointed by God to replace one anointed by God. He recognized that, though the original had to be replaced, he was still to be respected. Though there are snares along the way, designed to cause missteps, with God’s help he’ll find a way around them. And, Saul’s death brought him sorrow, along with death to the man who took Saul’s life.

October contains Pastor Appreciation day, but wouldn’t it be nice if a congregation thought of him all year long?  Any given service, any given day, we could stand with our pastor, remembering David’s words of praise:

I will praise thee, O Lord, among the people: I will sing unto thee among the nations. For thy mercy is great unto the heavens, and thy truth unto the clouds. Be thou exalted, O God, above the heavens: let thy glory be above all the earth. (Psalms 57:9-11 KJV)

Thursday, February 16, 2012


There is no soundness in my flesh because of thine anger; neither is there any rest in my bones because of my sin. (Psalms 38:3 KJV)

When I first found this graphic, my shoulders ached for this heavily-laden water carrier. I don’t believe I could carry this load at all. As I read Psalms 8, I thought of this photo.

No – the carrier doesn’t appear ill, and certainly sinful doesn’t come to mind either. Unrested does, though, and burdened, as David continues:

For mine iniquities are gone over mine head: as an heavy burden they are too heavy for me. (Psalms 38:4 KJV)

When we speak of being “in over my head,” we’re repeating David’s view of his situation in this Psalm. He knew the source of his own problems – his own iniquities, his own errors, his own sins.

My wounds stink and are corrupt because of my foolishness. (Psalms 38:5 KJV)

This, and Psalms 70, David wrote “to bring to remembrance.”

I am feeble and sore broken: I have roared by reason of the disquietness of my heart. (Psalms 38:8 KJV)

That verse does bring to remembrance times in my life where I’ve yelled/complained at/to someone – and the reason was within me, not them.  When we’re unsettled, we tend to lash out.  Sometimes at those we love, those closest to us. God knows this:

Lord, all my desire is before thee; and my groaning is not hid from thee. (Psalms 38:9 KJV)

Through all of this, David’s hope remained:

For in thee, O LORD, do I hope: thou wilt hear, O Lord my God. (Psalms 38:15 KJV)

Even when it was evident there were people waiting for him to make a mistake, to take a misstep:

For I said, Hear me, lest otherwise they should rejoice over me: when my foot slippeth, they magnify themselves against me. (Psalms 38:16 KJV)

We know we’re going to make mistakes, too. There are consequences for our errors and there are always people around who will look upon them as a reason to make themselves look better. Hopefully, we’re like David and ready to make changes:

For I will declare mine iniquity; I will be sorry for my sin. (Psalms 38:18 KJV)

That’s when I want to use David’s closing verses as my prayer:

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)

This Psalm does remind me of a picture written in the New Testament, too:

Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light. (Matthew 11:28-30 KJV)

I did come to Him, find rest and that His burden is light. I pray it may be so for my readers, too.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

From Here to There


In Sunday services I sit on the third row from the front on the right side.  Wednesday’s I’m a bit further back on the left.  I am so grateful Pastor knows that I do not text, though I’m reading the Bible from my phone, and putting notes in it, too.  I have been known to send out an e-mail with a specific verse from my digital Bible.  I also send them when I do my chronological Bible reading at night (yes – I read it more than once a day.)

It is very handy to highlight the verse, make the subject understandable (which is not always easy to do late at night) when I read it the next morning.  That’s why I wrote “Teach” for the subject when I sent this verse to myself as a reminder:

I will instruct thee and teach thee in the way which thou shalt go: I will guide thee with mine eye. (Psalms 32:8 KJV)

There are so many people I know who are praying to know God’s will in their lives.  I would memorize this verse if that were my need. And, at times, that is my need – as it is everyone’s.

God wants us to following His lead.  He does not want us to be controlled, though:

Be ye not as the horse, or as the mule, which have no understanding: whose mouth must be held in with bit and bridle, lest they come near unto thee. (Psalms 32:9 KJV)

Who would control that bit and bridle? Not our Lord.  He expects us to follow Him, not be dragged alone behind.  He expects us to seek Him, though He did come for us:

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

We are not to be enslaved, there are no cowering crowds following Him.  Instead, we find David describing what I see today:

Be glad in the LORD, and rejoice, ye righteous: and shout for joy, all ye that are upright in heart. (Psalms 32:11 KJV)

That’s why we should expect Christians to be shouting what the angels sang at His birth:

And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. (Luke 2:10 KJV)

Yep – all people! Great joy!!  Get acquainted with all the good tidings that are available to the world.  It’s wonderful!!! And – all those thoughts ran through my mind as I sent myself that little reminder e-mail from my YouVersion app – or at times from Olive Tree app.

Hey, it’s free for iPhone, iPad, Kindle and Androids, too.  Imagine that, a free app that you can carry with you wherever you go.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Have A Heart

And I will give them one heart, and I will put a new spirit within you;
and I will take the stony heart out of their flesh,
and will give them an heart of flesh:
That they may walk in my statutes, and keep mine ordinances, 

and do them:
and they shall be my people, and I will be their God.
(Ezekiel 11:19-20 KJV)

Did you read the whole verse, or just the emphasized “AND DO THEM”?

That’s the part that causes us the most trouble as our hearts are changed.  That’s the part that moves us outside our comfort zone.

I’ve watched my Beloved Husband struggle to breath this week. When he works so hard at it in pain, it raises his blood pressure, weakening him further.  That happens to us, too, when we’re breaking through those barriers we’ve built to keep God away from us. We know the words:

I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me. (Philippians 4:13 KJV)

Christ knew this, too:

Jesus said unto him, If thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that believeth. (Mark 9:23 KJV)

He also knew that some things are to be endured:

And he said, Abba, Father, all things are possible unto thee; take away this cup from me: nevertheless not what I will, but what thou wilt. (Mark 14:36 KJV)

And, that endurance is worth it for the results that await:

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)

This is my Valentine prayer – that each of us may allow Him to remove those stony hearts, create in us clean hearts of flesh that we might serve Him to the very best of His abilities.

God bless your Valentine’s Day, and your favorite valentine.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Aaron Aden Anderson -


I wish I could introduce you to the nephew of one of our church members, but you have to believe in Jesus Christ as your personal Lord and Savior for me to do so when we get to heaven. Aaron died following a single car accident this past January, and leaves a legacy that has been – and will be for years to come – a witness to God’s love in our lives.

We can start on Aaron’s Welcome page where he quotes Paul:

We having the same spirit of faith, according as it is written, I believed, and therefore have I spoken; we also believe, and therefore speak; (2 Corinthians 4:13 KJV)

Check out his videos.  I started to write “He wrote the scripts”, but he quotes the Bible.  His words speak of his own faith in God’s word. Listen to “Vital Decision,” where Aaron specifically states that he is praying for you.  Yes, he prayed for those who would visit his site

Spend some time visiting the links Aaron added to his website as Recommended Ministries. He’s not alone in his love for our Lord and Savior, Jesus, God’s Christ.

The one page heading we cannot accomplish, yet, is Contact Aaron. There will come a day when I will be able to spend time with him and tell him about the service we had at our church tonight.  Aaron’s uncle shared his love of Christ, allowed us to watch his videos, listened with us as Aaron explained the plan of salvation.

It’s the same plan I present here.  It’s the same plan Jesus spoke to His disciples.  It’s the same now, as it has been forever.

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. He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. (John 3:16-18 KJV)

What can we reasonably be expected to give in return for this:

I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God. (Romans 12:1-2 KJV)

I’ll close with the question we must consider while thinking of the most vital decision everyone must make:

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; (Hebrews 2:3 KJV)

Sunday, February 12, 2012

What People Think …


… is important.  Joab knew that.

After the David and Bathsheba lost their first child, David received a message from Joab:

And Joab fought against Rabbah of the children of Ammon, and took the royal city. And Joab sent messengers to David, and said, I have fought against Rabbah, and have taken the city of waters. Now therefore gather the rest of the people together, and encamp against the city, and take it: lest I take the city, and it be called after my name. (2 Samuel 12:26-28 KJV)

A general careful to give his commander all credit, though he had done the work.  Perhaps Joab remembered what happened when David was Saul’s general:

And the women answered one another as they played, and said, Saul hath slain his thousands, and David his ten thousands. And Saul was very wroth, and the saying displeased him; and he said, They have ascribed unto David ten thousands, and to me they have ascribed but thousands: and what can he have more but the kingdom? (1 Samuel 18:7-8 KJV)

Who gets the credit for what we accomplish? Who should receive it? Have we given our best effort? Or could we do more, even a bit more, to all that we do.

If you’re as I am – there’s time and energy to do more.  And, share the credit with those who lead, and those who help.

When that is accomplished, God gets the glory for all.  Paul started with another subject, but reached the same conclusion:

Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God. (1 Corinthians 10:31 KJV)

“Whatsoever ye do” covers just about everything, doesn’t it?  “Do all to the glory of God.”  Can’t go wrong there!

Saturday, February 11, 2012


Wednesday through Friday, my Beloved Husband could not breath without an oxygen mask. Without it, it was as though he were under water, seeking oxygen, gasping for breath. Friday was the worse for me, as he was so hungry and needing to eat, but could not be without the oxygen.  Let’s see, eat or breath? Hunger or drowning? Such limited choices, but breathing won out.

We also learned the difference between ‘shortness of breath’ as hospital personnel use the term and ‘shallow breathing.’  According to an emergency room doctor, BH was experiencing shortness of breath in its definitive meaning.  Shallow breathing, what I had described as shortness in my explanation to her, was not nearly as frightening, and meant that the patient could breath. 

Knowing the difference helped in understanding, though it did not change my concerns.  Education sometimes is that way.

Such as knowing what sin is. Each of us have our own idea about what sin is.  How it is defined.  What levels there are.  Which ones apply to us, and which to others.  We know when we have sinned against someone, don’t we?

David, for an excellent example, we think sinned against Bathsheba, against Uriah, brought his servants, his general, into his sin.

David, however, knew exactly, and told us:

I said, LORD, be merciful unto me: heal my soul; for I have sinned against thee. (Psalms 41:4 KJV)
And David said unto Nathan, I have sinned against the LORD. And Nathan said unto David, The LORD also hath put away thy sin; thou shalt not die. (2 Samuel 12:13 KJV)

An e-Sword search with “sinned against lord” shows many others who understand that when we sin, when we go against God’s commandments, we sin against Him.  Too often, we ignore that fact.

And, we ignore the sin, too.  We hold on to it and keep it with us, when there are two commandments to let us know better.

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

Friday, February 10, 2012


When taking care of an ill family member, there are adjustments made. The hospitals for their care include adjustments, too.  I don’t know the date of the original post card used for the above graphic.  I do know that Texas Health’s Harris Hospital does not resemble that photo.  Definitely not the 1930’s as it began, nor the 461-bed described above, Harris is now a multi-block complex, 726-bed.

My Beloved Husband is occupying one of those beds as I write, and I know he is getting very good care.  Undoubtedly better than we can provide at home, though we’ve made adjustments here, too.

For the ill, we place needed items nearby, knowing that things will return to ‘normal’ in  a short while.  For the long-term invalid, much more adjustments are made, for things may not return to ‘normal.’

Why don’t we make some adjustments for Christians at different points on the path?  We know we’re not to be walking in the same group all along the way.  We may stray off a bit, or reach out to help someone who has.  Why would we expect to be in lockstep from profession of faith to the pearly gates? The problem comes when those adjustments become the ‘normal.’

It might help to think of the ‘Be Attitudes’ as steps along that way.  Get to know them, recognize them in ourselves as well as others – and share those steps with others.

Matthew 5:2-11 KJV
(2)  And he opened his mouth, and taught them, saying,
(3)  Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
(4)  Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted.
(5)  Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth.
(6)  Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.
(7)  Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy.
(8)  Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God.
(9)  Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.
(10)  Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness' sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
(11)  Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake.

Ooops, did you want to miss out on that last one?  The others sound pretty good, but those last two just don’t fit into your picture of Christianity?  Did you forget that just months after this He was persecuted and reviled?  That He died?

Yep.  As Christians, we will find ourselves acquainted with those two verses.  When we arrive there, we’d better be well schooled in the first ones!  Then, we can make the adjustment.

Thursday, February 9, 2012


Did you stop by before and wonder about this post?  Well, the photo posted OK, but the writing I sent along with it didn't.  So, let me tell you why and where we're waiting.

The photo was taken in the Neurological ICU.  Right there Beloved Husband's stats look pretty good.  The blood pressure doesn't show the 185 - 200+ recorded in the ER the night before.  His breathing looks pretty good, oxygen levels up.  I didn't photo the breathing mask covering his face, basically breathing for him.  The photo doesn't show the multiple nurses, specialists, doctors, cleaners, security -- all the staff we've seen within 24 hours after his arrival.

So -- you can understand that things are not 'normal' in our household.  In addition to learning about myasthenia gravis, we've experienced myasthenic crisis, treatment with Pyridostigmine, which we call Mestinon. And, introduced today, plasmapheresis. The links exist if you wish to surf -- I believe that's too much information.

Tomorrow we print out and take some of his favorite verses to put up in his room.  We had them there in November during his first attack.

But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint. (Isaiah 40:31 KJV)

Another is:

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

The Lord has been, is, and always will be, our salvation. Especially now.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Liberals Don’t Understand Conservatives

And, vice versa.  An example of this comes way inside an article entitled ”Sex-Ed Less Effective in Red States, Study Says”:
Yet the analysis failed to consider pregnancy rates, which Cavazos-Rehg said are more difficult to obtain than birthrates. Could it be that, despite sex education, girls in both conservative and liberal states are getting pregnant at about the same rate, and that the girls in Arkansas are carrying their babies to term, perhaps as a result of higher religiosity, a lack of access to abortion services, or both?
Could it be?  Do ya think?  How about completing such a study before stating:
The findings suggest that the social structure of the state, such as the degree of conservatism, can undermine the effect of the sex curricula.
Yep, they would -- if the desired effect of the sex curricula is abortion. I speak from experience.  Had my daughter chosen abortion when she found out she was pregnant, we would not have our first grandson. She would not have married the young father, so we wouldn’t have our blessed first granddaughter, nor the great-grands she shares with us.  A church would have a different pastor’s wife, our church would have a different deacon – the list goes on and one, but all those events resulted because her values included the life of an embryo.  The choice of abortion was broached by her physician and a liberal clergyman.  We left the decision to her and I thank God for her decision to keep her child.

Yes, our education of our daughter failed.  That’s our fault as parents, not society’s, schools’ or any portion governmental failure.  At that time, we were not regularly attending a church, either.  Another failure on our part.  We, as parents, learned from that and our children did, too.

We’ve learned that applied religious beliefs have different results than simple knowledge of religious beliefs.  But that’s an entirely different subject.  This one is a matter of choice – chosen actions that resulted in pregnancy.  Both understood responsibility for the results of their actions, even if they didn’t think about that during pleasure.

Now concerning the things whereof ye wrote unto me: It is good for a man not to touch a woman. Nevertheless, to avoid fornication, let every man have his own wife, and let every woman have her own husband. (1 Corinthians 7:1-2 KJV)

That’s a better order, husband, wife, then children.  Because children are important – God knows them from the womb.

But thou art he that took me out of the womb: thou didst make me hope when I was upon my mother's breasts. I was cast upon thee from the womb: thou art my God from my mother's belly. (Psalms 22:9-10 KJV)

Isaiah has some good verses about God knowing us from the womb, but I like this one best:

Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee, and I ordained thee a prophet unto the nations. (Jeremiah 1:5 KJV)

So, yes – I think “that the girls in Arkansas are carrying their babies to term, perhaps as a result of higher religiosity.”  And, if lowering the teen birth rate means additional abortions, I find that very regrettable.

Thank you for the soap box.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012


Not too long ago I wrote about Daniel:

But Daniel purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself with the portion of the king's meat, nor with the wine which he drank: therefore he requested of the prince of the eunuchs that he might not defile himself. (Daniel 1:8 KJV)

The other night I found another example of one who purposed:

Thou hast proved mine heart; thou hast visited me in the night; thou hast tried me, and shalt find nothing; I am purposed that my mouth shall not transgress. (Psalms 17:3 KJV)

Of course we can decide what goes into our bodies, and we can certainly decide what comes out of them. These two examples are laid before us.  One kept his purpose a bit better than the other, and there are times we keep our purposefulness, and times when we fail.

Failures should be lessons in renewing our purpose, our reasons for not transgressing, for not defiling ourselves.  Often those failures become festering sores that drip with pain.  We suffer over the pain without seeking to heal the wound.

We forget that the obedience we purposed to is best for us:

And Samuel said, Hath the LORD as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the LORD? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to hearken than the fat of rams. (1 Samuel 15:22 KJV)

Samuel spoke those words to Saul, but David learned the lesson:

If I were hungry, I would not tell thee: for the world is mine, and the fulness thereof. Will I eat the flesh of bulls, or drink the blood of goats? Offer unto God thanksgiving; and pay thy vows unto the most High: And call upon me in the day of trouble: I will deliver thee, and thou shalt glorify me. (Psalms 50:12-15 KJV)

I know – you’ve read that here before, quite recently. But God has something I’ve not fully understood or responded to, so He lays it out before me again and again until I understand.

Years ago there was a rift between me and a family member. Error on both parts caused it to widen and we failed to build a bridge across it until that span would take lots and lots of work. My mother mentioned it, telling me I’d have to make the first move.  I ignored her – I had plenty of experience ignoring motherly advice.  My mother-in-law mentioned it, and it was much easier to ignore her.  Who listens to their mother-in-law anyway? The following Sunday our preacher gave his sermon on forgiving seven times seventy.  OK, I got it.

The breach was not easily healed, but forty years later the bond is unbreakable, as we are both children of our Lord and will spend eternity serving Him.

I don’t believe His message is rebuilding a similar breach, but finding His purpose for this time in my life.  I’m praying for guidance for myself, and for those also needing to purpose in their hearts.  May God grant the answers to this prayer for each of us.

Monday, February 6, 2012


A new-to-our denomination member asked a question in return to my “See you tonight.”  “You’ll be back tonight?  How bad can you be on a Sunday afternoon to need another service?”  I explained that I found Sunday evening services to be educational, enlightening and enjoyable, neither cleansing nor a chore.

My reading last night included Psalm 50, which reminded me of that conversation:

Offer unto God thanksgiving; and pay thy vows unto the most High: And call upon me in the day of trouble: I will deliver thee, and thou shalt glorify me. (Psalms 50:14-15 KJV)

In the previous verses, David asks questions from God’s viewpoint, including:

If I were hungry, I would not tell thee: for the world is mine, and the fulness thereof. Will I eat the flesh of bulls, or drink the blood of goats? (Psalms 50:12-13 KJV)

The answer, of course, is “No.” God does not require sacrifice for His sustenance.  He does not feed upon the offerings, nor does He need cattle – all are His.  I like the way Matthew Henry’s comments describe how legalistic people can be:
They thought God was mightily beholden to them for the many sacrifices they had brought to his altar, and that they had made him very much their debtor by them, as if he could not have maintained his numerous family of priests without their contributions;
Before my Bible reading last night, I attended Sunday evening services and listened to one of those called by God to serve Him in another land. He spoke of the ‘marriage’ between church and missions, how they complement each other, as a husband goes into the field to plant and tend while the bride remains at home providing meals and daily activity to allow him to continue working.

It wasn’t a sacrifice for me to spend my Sunday evening listening to this man trod the same paths as Paul.  God owes neither the missionary or me a debt for our attending that service.  We do so for His glory, to give thanks to Him and to honor the vows we’ve made to serve Him, that His will might be accomplished.

Some don’t.

Now consider this, ye that forget God, lest I tear you in pieces, and there be none to deliver. Whoso offereth praise glorifieth me: and to him that ordereth his conversation aright will I shew the salvation of God. (Psalms 50:22-23 KJV)

I wonder, when David wrote this, did he want to tear apart those who forget God?  Did he feel an anger, a desire to show the salvation of God?  If so, I’ve felt a bit of his frustration.  Never to the point of tearing apart anything but an argument, but the strong desire to share the salvation offered in His word.

Maybe David got that message across to his son:

Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man. (Ecclesiastes 12:13 KJV)

Sunday, February 5, 2012



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

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

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

I used this same graphic with other verses almost a year ago, writing about favorite songs and how they stick in our minds. Measuring came to mind this time from a Bible verse, not a song verse:

LORD, make me to know mine end, and the measure of my days, what it is; that I may know how frail I am. (Psalms 39:4 KJV)

Trust me – I know how frail I am.  It’s a lot less than my Beloved Husband’s frailty right now, but I am frail.  I need help, and I receive it from a wide variety of people.  I tell them:  THANKS!!!

And now, Lord, what wait I for? my hope is in thee. (Psalms 39:7 KJV)

The question, and the answer, are as much mine as David’s.  I wait upon the Lord, where my hope remains.

Unlike David, we are not beset by political enemies but the natural process of humanity.  Our bodies are frail and failing over time. Doesn’t have to be old age that does it (though we are closing in on that time.)  No one knows their true measure – the number of days remaining here.  We need to use them wisely, giving careful thought to how they are spent. Here’s a suggestion:

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

That would certainly help provide the strength David requested:

O spare me, that I may recover strength, before I go hence, and be no more. (Psalms 39:13 KJV)

Saturday, February 4, 2012



I was so pleased when Catherine Carr gave permission to use a photograph of her work. I chose this because it shows the form her glass process gives to the crocheted piece, and because the pineapple pattern was one of my mother’s favorites.

I was engulfed by a number of thoughts when I looked at these pieces. How does one take cotton thread, encase it in glass – without destroying the thread?  Catherine knows. 

Jesus said unto him, If thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that believeth. (Mark 9:23 KJV)

We get a hint, an idea, read where someone has accomplished something ordinary but extraordinary – and it is taken a step further, because someone believed they could do it.  And, they did it.

Just a little further in Mark 9, Jesus spoke of His death and resurrection. That resulted in confusion among his disciples:

But they understood not that saying, and were afraid to ask him. (Mark 9:32 KJV)

Do you wonder how many questions Catherine Carr had to ask and understand to complete her process?  We should never be afraid to ask secular or spiritual questions – how else are we to learn and that that one step further?

As to the spiritual, God already knows. That example is in this same chapter:

And he came to Capernaum: and being in the house he asked them, What was it that ye disputed among yourselves by the way? But they held their peace: for by the way they had disputed among themselves, who should be the greatest. And he sat down, and called the twelve, and saith unto them, If any man desire to be first, the same shall be last of all, and servant of all. (Mark 9:33-35 KJV)

Again, Catherine’s work displays the truth of this example.  As intricate as it is, as beautiful as it is, her sales depend on pleasing the buyer. In this secular world, she is the servant of those who purchase her goods – and has become among the first in her field by doing so.

Shouldn’t we set those same goals for both our secular and spiritual lives?  To become the best, the first, in what we do?  My great-grandsons are spending today in a wrestling tournament, striving to be the best in their class.  To do so, they must be the servant of the time-keeper, the referee, their coach, their parents, their diet – a servant of all necessary to accomplish their goals.

Should we do any less in our spiritual lives, where Christ gave us the gist of all the laws?

And one of the scribes came, and having heard them reasoning together, and perceiving that he had answered them well, asked him, Which is the first commandment of all? And Jesus answered him, The first of all the commandments is, Hear, O Israel; The Lord our God is one Lord: And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment. And the second is like, namely this, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these. (Mark 12:28-31 KJV)

Friday, February 3, 2012



“It’s probably not cancer, now stop worrying and enjoy your life.”

How would you look at your doctor if given such a response to a request for information on symptoms?

“Dec 4, 2011 – Feds say Gulf tuna probably OK after BP oil spill, now stop worrying and enjoy your tuna.”

Did that take the concerns out of the public regarding seafood from the Gulf?

“Probably OK if it wasn't a building site & the amenities were open, now stop worrying and enjoy your vacation.”

Is that the resort you would book for your vacation?

“Kendall's Advanced Theory of Statistics, Volume 1: Distribution Theory” includes:
Probability is ordinarily used to describe an attitude of mind towards some proposition of whose truth we are not certain.
I can fully understand that anyone, at some time or another, can be uncertain about God. That’s why, though someone is considered a faithful Christian, our faith wavers during life, though we do not express disbelief.

I do find it interesting that a group of atheists would use ‘probably’ rather than the outspoken “There is no god,” often found expressed.

Just remember, whether something is written by a group on the side of a bus or by a grandmother at home on her laptop, they are both SLOP (an acronym for self-selected listener opinion polls), an acronym coined by Norman Bradburn, director of the National Opinion Research Center at the University of Chicago.  The thoughts we display are most assuredly self-selected and should not be considered the thoughts of society as a whole.

That’s why faith has to be a very individual decision, reached within a person after careful consideration of the information available. Which is why Christians will – and should – be judged for what they do and say.

But I say unto you, That every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment. For by thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned. (Matthew 12:36-37 KJV)

What I write here has little value for me.  I could simply read my Bible each day, think about how it applies to my life, consider outside sources and work toward a balance of applicability. However, I’ve read Ezekiel’s third chapter and the story of the watchman has a hold on my heart.

But if the watchman see the sword come, and blow not the trumpet, and the people be not warned; if the sword come, and take any person from among them, he is taken away in his iniquity; but his blood will I require at the watchman's hand. (Ezekiel 33:6 KJV)

So I write, leaving up to our Creator the probability that anyone heeds.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Isn’t It Wonderful?

That I don’t have to save the world?  I don’t have to change the world, either.  I am grateful that Jesus did both of those things, and I don’t have His responsibilities.

I don’t get to go to the mission fields, either.  I can name a lot of missionaries who have, many that I’ve met personally and many more that I pray for.  They were called to follow Paul’s example, I was not.

Frankly, I don’t miss having those responsibilities. I have enough to do following my own instructions.  Haven’t you read them?  The Bible has them laid out.  Remember the old book, “In His Steps”? Or the more recent questions, “What Would Jesus Do”?

We make decisions daily to follow God’s will, or do our own thing. When the questions arise as to how Jesus would handle it, the answer is in the Bible.

Nope – not going to give examples of “What would Jesus do?” They are available across the Bible, Old Testament and New. Nope – that’s not a typo.  Unlike Thomas Jefferson, I do believe in the divinity of Jesus, as given in many verses of the Gospels – the good news:

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him was life; and the life was the light of men. (John 1:1-4 KJV)

That’s the description from a man who knew Him, who heard Him prophesy:

But after I am risen again, I will go before you into Galilee. Peter answered and said unto him, Though all men shall be offended because of thee, yet will I never be offended. Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, That this night, before the cock crow, thou shalt deny me thrice. (Matthew 26:32-34 KJV)

Prophesied His death, His resurrection – and the denial by one who had followed Him from the first.  All three fulfilled.

Why is it easy for people to believe He lived, and lied?  How do people respect a portion of His message, yet reject the core?

The same book that contains the often quoted:

But love ye your enemies, and do good, and lend, hoping for nothing again; and your reward shall be great, and ye shall be the children of the Highest: for he is kind unto the unthankful and to the evil. Be ye therefore merciful, as your Father also is merciful. Judge not, and ye shall not be judged: condemn not, and ye shall not be condemned: forgive, and ye shall be forgiven: (Luke 6:35-37 KJV)

Also contains:

Then he said unto them, O fools, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken: Ought not Christ to have suffered these things, and to enter into his glory? And beginning at Moses and all the prophets, he expounded unto them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself. (Luke 24:25-27 KJV)

Wednesday, February 1, 2012


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

Can you think of a single time when impatience brought on action and it turned out well?  There are several biblical examples where a lack of patience brought action that turned out badly.

Look at Abraham and Sarah.  They were promised a child, but finally ran out of patience (Sarah even laughed at God as she aged and He spoke of the promise.)  Sarah thought giving Abraham her handmaiden would help God fulfill the promise.  There has been discord between descendants since.

A few of those descendants have had problems with patience, too. Moses became impatient with the nation, struck a rock in anger and earned a tomb on the wrong side of the Jordan.

His charges became impatient with Moses, and with God, as they spoke on the Mount.  Needing something to worship, they chose a golden calf.  Regrettable.  At least they regretted it.

But if we hope for that we see not, then do we with patience wait for it. (Romans 8:25 KJV)

It will be the people around us who are hurt by our impatience, and ourselves, but it is God’s plan that will be adjusted.  You see, He doesn’t really need us. “The universe is unfolding as it should” is a simple way of saying that God’s plan will be done, just as Mordecai told Esther:

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

Look up “patience” and check out the verses – which one speaks to you the most?  For me it is:

For ye have need of patience, that, after ye have done the will of God, ye might receive the promise. (Hebrews 10:36 KJV)

Why bring up this subject of patience, anyway?  It came to mind when reading of a teen, an avowed atheist, who required that another teen’s writing be removed after 49 years on a school wall.  What offended the atheist? The writing was another teen’s prayer.
Our Heavenly Father,
Grant us each day the desire to do our best, to grow mentally and morally as well as physically, to be kind and helpful to our classmates and teachers, to be honest with ourselves as well as with others.  Help us to be good sports and smile when we lose as well as when we win.  Teach us the value of true friendship.  Help us always to conduct ourselves so as to bring credit to Cranston High School West.
Unabashed by offending others, unwilling to accept the diversity of another teen’s beliefs, impatient as a ten-year-old when her prayers were not immediately answered, she requires the writing of another child to be destroyed.

When such happens, we need patience to allow God’s plan to unfold.