Thursday, May 31, 2012

Same Ol’, Same Ol’


Mentioned earlier that I downloaded a copy of his “Moody’s Stories Incidents and Illustrations” – and that I’m enjoying it very much.  You’ll be reading bits and pieces from it for the foreseeable future.  Such as:
“A great many people seem to think that the Bible is out of date, that it is an old book, that it has passed its day.  They say it was very good for the dark ages, and that there is some very good history in it, but it was not intended for the present time; we are living in a very enlightened age and men can get on very well without it; we have outgrown it.”
Hard to believe that didn’t come from today’s articles regarding how inappropriate the Bible is in today’s world. Hard to believe it was written in the 19th century, but the outdatedness carried through the 20th and into the 21st century. Of course, it goes back millennia, too.

Jeremiah had a similar problem when he took God’s word to the people of Judah and heard their response:

As for the word that thou hast spoken unto us in the name of the LORD, we will not hearken unto thee. (Jeremiah 44:16 KJV)

When church members go door knocking to invite people to church, witness to the lost, speak directly to the unsaved – they hear that same response – we will not listen to you. Some do it in quite an unfriendly manner, too.

There will come a time when the word of God is not available. There are limits shown in that very word:

Behold, the days come, saith the Lord GOD, that I will send a famine in the land, not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of the LORD: And they shall wander from sea to sea, and from the north even to the east, they shall run to and fro to seek the word of the LORD, and shall not find it. (Amos 8:11-12 KJV)

There are limits on our time in this world, too. Our lives are finite, measurable and some are much shorter than others. We can’t tell. That’s why Paul’s witness to Felix was important:

And as he reasoned of righteousness, temperance, and judgment to come, Felix trembled, and answered, Go thy way for this time; when I have a convenient season, I will call for thee. (Acts 24:25 KJV)

What if his life had been lost that very day?  Well, it didn’t matter, did it? There never was a convenient time for Felix and two years later Paul is giving his witness before Festus and Agrippa, who said:

Then Agrippa said unto Paul, Almost thou persuadest me to be a Christian. (Acts 26:28 KJV)

I love Paul’s response!!

And Paul said, I would to God, that not only thou, but also all that hear me this day, were both almost, and altogether such as I am, except these bonds. (Acts 26:29 KJV)

I do pray we can be persuaded to be active Christians, not in name only.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Complete and Reliable

Last weekend I ran across an article on MSNBC regarding misappropriated funds. One quote stayed with me:
… was unable to “provide a complete and reliable list when requested by the Office of Inspector General.”
It’s difficult for anyone to make a list of their own malfeasance, isn’t it? Could any of us provide a complete and reliable list of all the good things we’ve done, much less one that includes our errors?

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)

Relying on our memories is insufficient, the list would be complete. That won’t be the case at judgment day.The list will be complete, and as reliable as God.

And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works. (Revelation 20:12 KJV)

It doesn’t matter if we can remember our idle words – God knows them.

You see, getting our name in the book of life is only part of our eternal life.  There are rewards, beginning with an incorruptible crown, crown of rejoicing, crown of righteousness, crown of life – and for all the faithful pastors, a crown of glory.

Jesus spoke of places of honor following a dispute among His disciples. He did not overhear their conversation, but He knew what they were saying, and gave them an answer:

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)

In those books will be whether or not we were servants.  Not just to our Lord, but to our brothers and sisters, in His name. Read the last of Matthew’s chapter 25, from verses 31-46.  Two verses condense what happens:

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

Then shall he answer them, saying, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these, ye did it not to me. (Matthew 25:45 KJV)

Why?  James gives that answer:

Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone. Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works. (James 2:17-18 KJV)

Tuesday, May 29, 2012


This is my iPhone at 7:01 this morning. From 10:00 a.m. yesterday until about 7:00 it was blank. No response from the patient in spite of CPR. Jeremy Knight told me how to do a ‘hard reboot’ and with a great deal of trepidation, I did. Lost everything on the iPhone, set it back to factory settings.

Nothing in the iPhone’s memory existed, except how to connect and be programmed. None of the data entered on Beloved Husband’s medication, no list of his medical history that helps when keeping his appointments, which were also gone.  No reminders for those every three hours he takes his MG medication. No reminders from my Bible app to continue my reading.

And, my backup was done three weeks ago. I recommend (now) that such backups be done daily – think about it. Can you see why?

Seriously, even for those of you who do not have smart phones – can you see why a backup is done daily?

I want to emphasis that point, because that’s the real subject of today’s blog. Just as there was a loss of information when I lost the use of my iPhone, there is a huge loss when I don’t use God.

How do I use Him?

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

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

Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together (Hebrews 10:25a KJV)

When I do those simple things, I remain connected to God. Following those three small actions, I will immerse myself in His word, spend time with Him in prayer, prepare myself for the work He has set out for me to do:

And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up. (Deuteronomy 6:7 KJV)

The aged women likewise, that they be in behaviour as becometh holiness, not false accusers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things; 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 2:3-5 KJV)

These are only two of the things women, specifically, are called to do. There are two others that all mankind is instructed to do:

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)

There are many other positions and other instructions given, but it takes that connection to God to know our personal applications. Back up by reading His word daily, praying without ceasing and spending time with those who have chosen to follow Him. That’s staying informed and connected.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Memorial Day

Many of our fellow citizens have died in battle since July 7, 1944, even more died prior to that date. Most of them away from home, in lands whose culture is quite different from ours. My brother-in-law died on his way to bomb a land his ancestors left more than two centuries before. A land whose citizens had allowed leaders to assume unlimited powers and invade neighboring countries for ‘living room.’

Last year I was told by a pacifist that he was wrong to have participated in war. The pacifist quoted scripture, beginning with:

Ye have heard that it hath been said, An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth: But I say unto you, That ye resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also. (Matthew 5:38-39 KJV)

We do need to reflect on differing opinions, so I’m giving some thought and time to the concept that this gentlemen presented – and many believe to be true in all situations. And, I would look to God’s word for examples, too.

You see, I believe the entire Bible is God’s word and:

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

What better example is the book of Esther?

Thus the Jews smote all their enemies with the stroke of the sword, and slaughter, and destruction, and did what they would unto those that hated them. (Esther 9:5 KJV)

That needs to be read after the previous eight chapters to understand the planning that went into genocide. The parallels to Hitler’s genocide exist. It would be proper, according to Esther 9:2, “to lay hand on such as sought their hurt.”

It is dangerous to lay hands on those seeking our hurt. Rather than the entire populace defending, soldiers are selected – with remaining citizens staying home to support them and maintain a solid national base. Weapons have been created to aid the soldiers in their job.

Is it the best way? No. But, right now it is the way mankind responds to those who hate their brothers enough to destroy them and their way of life.

Do we wish it were different? Yes. But, some will not negotiate, will not compromise, will not work toward the goals of allowing life and liberty for all mankind.

Will it be different? Not right now.

And ye shall hear of wars and rumours of wars: see that ye be not troubled: for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places. (Matthew 24:6-7 KJV)

Therefore I will continue, along with millions of others, to remember our losses. Young men who chose to honor their fellow citizens and served them, giving their lives for others that their country might live in freedom.

I’ll remember July 7, 1944, when John Clarence Blickensderfer, along with many of his crewmembers, died doing just that.  Because of them, all of them across the years, those who hate have not prevailed.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Hard Lessons

Of whom we have many things to say, and hard to be uttered, seeing ye are dull of hearing. For when for the time ye ought to be teachers, ye have need that one teach you again which be the first principles of the oracles of God; and are become such as have need of milk, and not of strong meat. For every one that useth milk is unskilful in the word of righteousness: for he is a babe. But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil. (Hebrews 5:11-14 KJV)

The letter to the Hebrews has just as much application for Christians today as when it was written to Christians of Jewish background. There  are times when it is necessary to remind us of the “first principles of the oracles of God” when we should be sufficiently well-versed that we should be teaching them.

Instead, we have leaders of churches who do not teach from Isaiah:

Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter! Woe unto them that are wise in their own eyes, and prudent in their own sight! (Isaiah 5:20-21 KJV)

They ignore the same message in the New Testament:

Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen. For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature: And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompence of their error which was meet. (Romans 1:25-27 KJV)

God allows them to make these choices and they live with the consequences:

And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient; (Romans 1:28 KJV)

The word translated ‘reprobate’ (ἀδόκιμος - adokimos) is shown in Strong’s as: unapproved, rejected; by implication worthless, castaway. Not something we’d want. God allows this to occur, just as evil has existed from this world’s creation. Because it exists, should we embrace it?  Or, should we seek God’s will?

Saturday, May 26, 2012


A friend posted this quote on Facebook:
It is easy to attend a Bible Study, share the lesson, and discuss it; but it is much more difficult to go out into life in the workaday world and practice what we have learned. The blessing does not come in studying the Word, but in doing the word. Unless we are willing to obey, the Lord is not obligated to teach us (John 7:17).
- Warren Wiersbe
I really couldn’t fit the referenced verse into the meaning of the quote, though I think the application is the root of being a Christian:

If any man will do his will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God, or whether I speak of myself. (John 7:17 KJV)

Those words were spoken by Jesus to Jews who marveled at His teachings at the synagogue.  How could this unlearned man teach in this manner. Matthew (7:28, 22:33), Mark (1:22, 11:18) and Luke (4:32) used the term “astonished at his doctrine.” Mark says He taught as one having authority – not as a scribe.  Luke said His word was with power.

As good as He sounded, though, that alone would not validate His words. Knowing God’s will then doing it does add power and authority. It will for us, too, when we apply what we’ve learned about God to our lives.

When was the last time we did that? Seriously – what was the last service, class, fellowship attended? What was the lesson? How was it applied? Were there observable results from the application?

I think that stops a lot of us – we don’t see results when we think we’ve applied the teachings we’ve learned.

We take a soul-winning class, following the suggestions, using the verses but the person we’re speaking with just isn’t responding. No results observed.  We’ve forgotten:

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)

We shouldn’t judge what we’ve done any more than we would judge another.  We should be discerning, ready to learn more, but leave the increase in God’s hands. We do need to know His word, to understand His doctrine, the beliefs given in His word. If we look at those who followed His commandments, we’ll see the applications.

The perfect application, of course, is His son, Jesus.  As the Messiah, the promised salvation of Israel and the world, we should look to Him first. And, the commandments He gave as the most important:

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)

Apply these first and the rest of the lessons become much easier.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Things We Do

Do me a favor, please, and think of the last time you went walking. If you live in the country, it might have been a trip to the mailbox but even a trip to the front porch to pick up mail would do.  Doesn’t have to be a multi-mile hike, though walking to raise money for a good cause would fall into this request.

Did you have shoes on?  Might have been outside, then, with lots of sounds. If you’re in the city, there would be traffic, and some of our country sounds of dogs barking, cats mewing, birds singing. Did you think of some of those things when you thought of walking?

Did you think about moving the muscles in your feet and legs to propel you along your path?  Probably not.

There are so many things we do without thinking about them  Beyond the body’s functions that operate involuntarily – heart beats, for one; cell creation for another – the things we do require thought, when we learn them.  Then they are so ordinary that we do them without being aware of it. It becomes second nature because we’ve done them so long and so well.

That’s what I want Bible reading to be. Something done on such a regular basis that we’d miss being able to do it. Should a Bible not be available, verses would come to mind when you needed them.

Of course, there are so many ways of having a Bible handy, down to having them on smartphones, e-readers, tablets and the ever handy printed page, that being without one would be strange!

Back to that walk for a moment.  It wasn’t necessary to be attentive to each toe, each foot, each … etc. Living by biblical precepts and doctrines come just as easily when they are practiced regularly.  Of course there are some failures when starting out. Find yourself a toddler and watch them.  It’s fun, isn’t it, because we know they’ll get better as they do it more often, learn from their mistakes and become proficient.

Simple, isn’t it? Then, why don’t we do it?

Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God is one LORD: And thou shalt love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might. And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart: (Deuteronomy 6:4-6 KJV)

When the children of Israel did this, things went well.  When they didn’t, it showed. Once, during a period of restoral, King Josiah returned to these basics:

And the king stood by a pillar, and made a covenant before the LORD, to walk after the LORD, and to keep his commandments and his testimonies and his statutes with all their heart and all their soul, to perform the words of this covenant that were written in this book. And all the people stood to the covenant. (2 Kings 23:3 KJV)

How is our covenant before the Lord? Do His words come easily from our heart?

Thursday, May 24, 2012

License To Share

That’s not the actual tag my Oklahoma Sister-in-Law saw.  She didn’t mention the state, so I used one of our tags while recreating.  She said:
Thought you might want to make a note of this. Yesterday I was following a car with this on the license tag: IICor57. Of course I immediately reached for my phone since I didn't remember the verse. "We walk in the Faith"
Like most of our family, she has the Bible (usually YouVersion or Olive Tree – or both) on her phone.  It’s available in Microsoft, iOS and Android.  Please, feel free (literally) to have one or more of your own!! I chose a Texas tag to experiment with ‘cause that’s what’s on my car.  I don’t believe the letters were split on the tag she saw, but here in Texas, they are (or were, I think there are some new styles out there now.)
Anyway, that led me to think about what verses I might choose. I know our pastor’s wife, Mrs. Tina, would most likely choose:


One every Christian could shout from the mountaintops that tells us “Jesus saves!” would be:


Each state tag is a bit different, so there might be opportunities to be inventive, but this could work out great in sharing God’s word, wouldn’t it? 

In Texas, matching tags are required front and back.  In Oklahoma, rear tags only – leaving the front clear for one of these message plates. Create them on the PC, print on heavy card stock, wrap in plastic and change often or never.  The possibilities just go on and on, don’t they.

I might use ISA301, but it’s a convicting verse.  Better could be GAL522 but the reader might think ‘girl’ first.  ICOR1313 might sound like an international air conditioning company or an investment club in the Rockies, but a Christian should recognize it as love.

PSALM23 would be a good one, too, if you could use more than four letters at a time.  When there are limitations on the length, it is necessary to get inventive, isn’t it.

OK, this blog is going to be shorter today because I’m going to ask that you think about this seriously and come up with how your favorite verse, or what you believe to be an effective verse, would look on a license plate. Come on – you can do it! It’s a lot easier than coming up with XLR8NG on the sports car in front of you, isn’t  it?

Oh, yes – I do have to have a Bible verse to read – not just links as above.  I’ll take one from Isaiah (I’m still reading chronologically with YouVersion,) and this is one I just read – very convicting verses:

Now go, write it before them in a table, and note it in a book, that it may be for the time to come for ever and ever: That this is a rebellious people, lying children, children that will not hear the law of the LORD: (Isaiah 30:8-9 KJV)

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

A Simple Life

Why is it we make things harder than they really are? Are we incapable of reading:

For I desired mercy, and not sacrifice; and the knowledge of God more than burnt offerings. (Hosea 6:6 KJV)

I’m reading YouVersion’s chronological Bible reading plan and now I’m reading Hosea.  Admittedly, I’ve read little of this particular book. As with comments on Jeremiah yesterday, this book is God-breathed:

The word of the LORD that came unto Hosea, the son of Beeri, in the days of Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah, kings of Judah, and in the days of Jeroboam the son of Joash, king of Israel. (Hosea 1:1 KJV)

He became a living example in a way few people could have done:

The beginning of the word of the LORD by Hosea. And the LORD said to Hosea, Go, take unto thee a wife of whoredoms and children of whoredoms: for the land hath committed great whoredom, departing from the LORD. So he went and took Gomer the daughter of Diblaim; which conceived, and bare him a son. (Hosea 1:2-3 KJV)

In order for this prophet to tell Israel how they had left their God, how they had turned to others instead of remaining faithful to the One who had chosen them to bless all nations, he lived the example. Rather then run from God’s words, tell Him “I can’t do this!”, or complain about having to live with such a woman, Hosea took Gomer for his wife. We do not know how she saw the marriage.  We do know they had sons who were named as messages of God’s prophecy.

God’s requirements for prophecy accuracy were laid out in Deuteronomy 18:18-22. Inaccuracy was punishable by death, so it was very important for a prophet to be believed. Hosea could describe in detail how an unfaithful partner destroyed their lives together, yet he bought her back and brought her home.

What a beautiful portrait of the Lord, our God, purchasing our salvation. Confirmed by Paul centuries later:

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

There are verses in chapter 2 that remind me of the prodigal:

And she shall follow after her lovers, but she shall not overtake them; and she shall seek them, but shall not find them: then shall she say, I will go and return to my first husband; for then was it better with me than now. (Hosea 2:7 KJV)

The time came for both the prodigal and for Gomer when they understood how much worse their lives were than when they were with family. A time of reflection, of their lives of selfishness compared with what they had spurned.

When we do that comparison in our own lives, we can appreciate that He has always been there, He will always be there and He always has been our salvation.

Yet I am the LORD thy God from the land of Egypt, and thou shalt know no god but me: for there is no saviour beside me. (Hosea 13:4 KJV)

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

What and Why?

Heart Bible
Jesus said unto him, If thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that believeth. And straightway the father of the child cried out, and said with tears, Lord, I believe; help thou mine unbelief. (Mark 9:23-24 KJV)

Sunday night our Youth Pastor described things he admired about each of our graduates.  Mentioned more than once were the students who asked questions.  He told us that’s the best way to learn what we believe, and why.

We taught that in Sunday School, too. Do not accept what we, as teachers, said.  Instead, look to the source.  We teach that the Bible is our source and it is valid to check where the Bible originated, who wrote it. There are many examples, but one I really like is Jeremiah.

Then the word of the LORD came unto me, saying, 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 1:4-5 KJV)

Jeremiah’s response is one that was repeated elsewhere – Moses, Jonah, and many others:

Then said I, Ah, Lord GOD! behold, I cannot speak: for I am a child. (Jeremiah 1:6 KJV)

I really love God’s answer to that:

But the LORD said unto me, Say not, I am a child: for thou shalt go to all that I shall send thee, and whatsoever I command thee thou shalt speak. Be not afraid of their faces: for I am with thee to deliver thee, saith the LORD. (Jeremiah 1:7-8 KJV)

Then we find out how the book of Jeremiah was written:

Then the LORD put forth his hand, and touched my mouth. And the LORD said unto me, Behold, I have put my words in thy mouth. (Jeremiah 1:9 KJV)

The Bible was given to men, lots of men, across hundreds of years, inspired (God breathed into them) to write the words He put into their mouths. Learn about those men and the messages they gave – then we can tell if the words were meant for one time or for all time.

When the source is clear, then the message can be accepted – or rejected. Some will reject.  It’s their decision and no one can change that for anyone else. We can pray that once they understand the source is God, they will know what they believe, and why. Then be ready to give their own answer:

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)

Even when we know the source and believe in God, there are questions in our mind, just as the father in Mark 9. As he did, we can stand before our Lord and ask help thou mine unbelief.

We are imperfect.  We will have doubts. His word provides answers so that we, too, can say:

… for I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day. (2 Timothy 1:12 KJV)

Monday, May 21, 2012

Questions For Christians

It took a while after Christ’s resurrection before His followers were given His name:

And when he had found him, he brought him unto Antioch. And it came to pass, that a whole year they assembled themselves with the church, and taught much people. And the disciples were called Christians first in Antioch. (Acts 11:26 KJV)

His followers had been busy. They met often, and taught much. Is that why you are called a Christian?  Who does that calling?

I started thinking about that during Sunday night services.  Our Youth Pastor gave the message to the congregation, but it was dedicated to and pointed first toward our graduates.  He spoke from 2nd Timothy – and there are some very, very good verses to help all of us determine paths we will be following. He spoke of memories he held for each of our five graduates.

He reminded me of a memory he gave us, several years ago.  When he was a senior in high school, a classmate walked up to him and asked why he always stared at his meal before eating it.

That classmate did not recognize a person saying grace – giving thanks to God for daily bread.  How can someone call you a Christian when they do not know giving thanks for daily bread is an ordinary Christian action?  I know one lady (member of a Christian church) who was surprised when her new step-daughter’s family prayed before every meal. She could tell they were living their faith.

When another goes out to eat, she leaves a church tract along with her tip. Both have a message for the wait staff, one much more lasting than the other.

With another new Christian, co-workers understood quickly their former language was not acceptable within their hearing.  It was done gently, without rancor nor self-righteousness, firmly impressing a changed life.

Christians do meet often.  At our church, there are three services on Sunday. This week there are activities open to all on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday evenings – all different, some requiring a drive to another city.  Each will provide a Bible lesson, fellowship and sharing. Goes back to the verse above, assembled themselves with the church, and taught much people.

Our graduates are headed off to secular colleges.  They will interact with people who do not know about grace with meals.  They will hear words not meant for use in polite company. As adults, it is their choice whether their Christianity is evident to others.  Without family and childhood friends nearby, the decision is theirs alone.

Will everyone see in them what Paul asked Timothy to do?

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)

The personal questions to Christians (of any age!) stands – who knows we are Christians? How do they know it? Does that knowledge glorify God?

Sunday, May 20, 2012


There are a number of personal blogs I enjoy reading. I won’t go into specifics a particular one, but his viewpoints are spiritually uplifting and thought provoking.  This past week he wrote of a homeless man and their ride into Atlanta.

The man told him that he was 77, and that he had been in prison for killing another, years ago.  He was on his way to a Krishna temple, having been converted in prison.  He carried with him Krishna prayer beads, along with a rosary and spoke of his spiritual journey.

During the conversation he also mentioned how comfortable he had been in prison.  He was a baker and had been able to make $90 a month – no rent, no grocery bill, no health costs. He enjoyed his work, kept his cell clean.

The only study I could find that gave specific recidivism rates showed that 15% of inmates released over age 55+ end up back in prison.  That’s the lowest rate, except for age 45 to 55. For inmates under 17, the rate was 50%. Statistics are in his favor for not returning to prison.

I wondered if this elderly man would find his way in a world new to him, or if the comfort he missed would appeal to him. The known versus unknown.

At high points in our lives, we are ready to follow Peter’s example:

And he said unto him, Lord, I am ready to go with thee, both into prison, and to death. (Luke 22:33 KJV)

The majority of us fall into Christ’s prophecy of Peter’s denial:

And he said, I tell thee, Peter, the cock shall not crow this day, before that thou shalt thrice deny that thou knowest me. (Luke 22:34 KJV)

The prison we select is the prison of sin – where we are most comfortable. It would be so much better for us if we could say, as Paul:

For this cause I Paul, the prisoner of Jesus Christ for you Gentiles, (Ephesians 3:1 KJV)

Be not thou therefore ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me his prisoner: but be thou partaker of the afflictions of the gospel according to the power of God; (2 Timothy 1:8 KJV)

Paul, a prisoner of Jesus Christ, and Timothy our brother, unto Philemon our dearly beloved, and fellowlabourer, (Philemon 1:1 KJV)

Strange, isn’t it, to believe that being a ‘prisoner’ can set us free? Yet that is what Christ promises:

And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free. (John 8:32 KJV)

I’ve said a prayer for both of the men – that the driver continues in his service to our Lord, that he continues to be a blessing and that the Lord blesses him, too. I prayed for the homeless man, that he might not only find a home here on earth, but that his spiritual search would lead Him into God’s will. That he, too, may be a blessing to others, and be blessed by God’s mercy and grace.
I appreciate their making me think of prison.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Whose Sins?

The blog was written by a preacher’s wife, but I don’t know her.  I ran across it and remembered the story from sometime back. I’m certain I made a note of it to write about, but didn’t.  This time I feel compelled to share.  The story goes: 
One night in a church service a young woman felt the tug of God at her heart. She responded to God's call and accepted Jesus as her Lord and Savior. The young woman had a very rough past, involving alcohol, drugs, and prostitution. 
But, the change in her was evident. 
As time went on she became a faithful member of the church. She eventually became involved in the ministry, teaching young children. It was not very long until this faithful young woman had caught the eye and heart of the pastor's son. The relationship grew and they began to make wedding plans. 
This is when the problems began. 
You see, about one half of the church did not think that a woman with a past such as hers was suitable for a pastor's son. The church began to argue and fight about the matter. So they decided to have a meeting. As the people made their arguments and tensions increased, the meeting was getting completely out of hand. The young woman became very upset about all the things being brought up about her past. As she began to cry the pastor's son stood to speak. He could not bear the pain it was causing his wife to be. He began to speak and his statement was this: 
"My fiancé’s past is not what is on trial here. What you are questioning is the ability of the blood of Jesus to wash away sin. Today you have put the blood of Jesus on trial. So, does it wash away sin or not?"
Although I love the scripture in the graphic above, the scripture quoted was:

In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace; (Ephesians 1:7 KJV)

That bears repeating:

In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins: (Colossians 1:14 KJV)

Maybe we didn’t understand it the first few times:

Neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by his own blood he entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us. (Hebrews 9:12 KJV)

Maybe if Peter says it instead of John or Paul:

Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers; But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot: (1 Peter 1:18-19 KJV)

How often do we need reminding?  What are we questioning?  That Christ shed His blood for our sins? This His sacrifice was insufficient? That one person’s sins are greater than another’s? That God is incapable of cleansing our sins?

… What God hath cleansed, that call not thou common. (Acts 10:15b KJV)

Friday, May 18, 2012

A Time To Build Up

The last of August, a year ago, there was a wildfire.  One among many across Texas that devoured trees, brush and homes last summer. That August 31 we were in the neurologist’s office where my Beloved Husband was diagnosed with Myasthenia Gravis.  Our friend Cece was watching her homes burn.  Both of them.

The trailer they were living in and the new home they were building were in direct line. She smelled smoke, then walked to the door to find her husband yelling to get out, there wasn’t time to do anything else.

No time to fill the car with photographs, heirlooms, memorabilia. Nothing but their dogs, their car, the clothes they had on and their lives were saved.  I wrote about it the next day. Today I write about more.

Prayers were given in thanks that they were not injured and prayers for God’s help in returning their lives to a sense of normalcy. Oh, let me tell you how well God answered those prayers!!!

Thursday night, just over nine months later, friends and family gathered at their new home to see those prayers fulfilled in so many ways.  First and foremost is a lovely home, completed by a contractor who volunteered much of his time using many funds donated through love. A ten-foot porch all around the house held friends, family, food and fellowship as we celebrated their joy.

So many of the gifts reflected faith – a cross here, a scripture there, so many of them! A poem written and read that brought tears to our eyes, and a scripture that ran through my mind:

… a time to build up; (Ecclesiastes 3:3b KJV)


To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven: (Ecclesiastes 3:1 KJV)

Last August and the first few days in September, it was:

A time to weep … (Ecclesiastes 3:4a)

But tonight it was:

… a time to laugh  (Ecclesiastes 3:4b KJV)

While this is true:

Two are better than one; because they have a good reward for their labour. For if they fall, the one will lift up his fellow: but woe to him that is alone when he falleth; for he hath not another to help him up. (Ecclesiastes 4:9-10 KJV)

Lifted here for your consideration is the congregation of a church, much more than two. When one falls on difficult times, they are not alone. There are many in their family within Christ to help them up.  Tonight was a celebration of just such a time, and it was wonderful to see God’s spirit at work in his people.

May you never need such support, but I pray that you find such a congregation, filled with the Holy Spirit that reminds us consistently of the love that begins with God. I pray that you are in that congregation now, experiencing God’s love and support.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Questions? And, Answers.

Yesterday’s blog generated quite a few responses.  One question was on Facebook – but has since disappeared.  I thought it was a very good question, though I cannot quote exact.  Something to the idea that if Lot was a righteous man (links will take the reader to the verses) why didn’t he remove himself from the evils around him?

The answer is as true today as it was back then.  He became comfortable with the world around him.
Lot had followed Abram from Ur, traveling through several chapters of Genesis until they settled, and disruption occurred among their herdsmen. So, they decided to separate, and Abram gave Lot first choice. Lot chose the plains, as lovely as Eden. Wasn’t too long before the lights of the city beckoned, and Lot pitched his tent toward Sodom.

Years passed, Sodom changed, war occurred and Lot was taken captive. Abram received word, fought for his kinsman and returned Lot and his family to their home.

Nothing there to question Lot’s righteousness, but then angels came to visit. They accepted Lot’s invitation to stay with him. The men of Sodom came to Lot demanding the visitors be turned over to them that they might be raped. Notice the next verse:

And Lot went out at the door unto them, and shut the door after him, (Genesis 19:6 KJV)

He’s no longer in a tent pitched toward Sodom, he’s in the city and has earned the right to sit at the city gates.  He’s part and parcel of the community.  And that community has demanded he help them achieve their goals.

We’ll skip over Lot’s offering his daughters in place of the angels, the angels protecting Lot, even skip their personal response to the men of Sodom and get right to the point.

Lot did what we all do – became complacent to evils around us. Rather than change them, it’s easier to say:

And said, I pray you, brethren, do not so wickedly. (Genesis 19:7 KJV)

Yeah, right.  When has that ever stopped anyone? Have you tried that lately, “Don’t do that, it’s not right!”  Say it with emphasis, why don’t you? Does it sound any stronger?  Would it have stopped the men of Sodom from entering Lot’s home?  Will it stop anyone from entering yours?

What’s that?  People aren’t knocking on your door to do evil? Really? What’s on your television? Is any of it fruit of the spirit? As much as I enjoy aspects of NCIS, I can’t find any of the fruit of the spirit in it. I’ve pitched a tent in the wrong direction, haven’t I?  But, that’s only an hour, what’s wrong with an hour?

As Lot lingered, so do we.

The world is different.  As far as I’ve heard, angels no longer move a man, his wife and daughters out of sinful destruction. Women no longer become pillars of salt, though they do look back – even fall back – into lives that are much worse.

Can we recognize what is around us that needs to be changed?  Do we have the desire to see it changed?  What action will we take?

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

How Shall We Escape

It’s not a pleasant subject. It is considered politically uncorrect. The Bible states that not all people are going to heaven. It specifically states that some will be going to hell. It also says:

(For that righteous man dwelling among them, in seeing and hearing, vexed his righteous soul from day to day with their unlawful deeds;) (2 Peter 2:8 KJV)

A righteous man, living among a rampantly sinful people, was vexed daily.  The Greek word Peter used is βασανίζω, defined as to torture, to cause pain or torment. Do you ever feel that pain when seeing what this righteous man saw?  Oh, you don’t know what this man saw? It was Lot:

And delivered just Lot, vexed with the filthy conversation of the wicked: (2 Peter 2:7 KJV)

Just as we use examples from scripture, where people are expected to know much of the story simply because of a name, Peter used the story of Lot’s deliverance from Sodom as an example in explaining that God’s punishment for disobedience cannot be ignored.

And turning the cities of Sodom and Gomorrha into ashes condemned them with an overthrow, making them an ensample unto those that after should live ungodly; (2 Peter 2:6 KJV)

There were earlier examples, too:

For if God spared not the angels that sinned, but cast them down to hell, and delivered them into chains of darkness, to be reserved unto judgment; (2 Peter 2:4 KJV)

God did not spare His earlier creation. When the angels rebelled, they were cast out. Though they expected different results, they were judged by their actions, as were others:

And spared not the old world, but saved Noah the eighth person, a preacher of righteousness, bringing in the flood upon the world of the ungodly; (2 Peter 2:5 KJV)

There has been, and will be, judgment based on righteousness. I like a recent quote regarding that:
"Godliness is doing what's right no matter what you are told. Religion is doing what you are told no matter what is right."
Mankind has had some problems understanding righteousness, the difference between right and wrong:

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

The Bible tells us God knows all about this:

The Lord knoweth how to deliver the godly out of temptations, and to reserve the unjust unto the day of judgment to be punished: (2 Peter 2:9 KJV)

The Bible also asks a question we should be aware of, consider carefully and know how we have answered:

Therefore we ought to give the more earnest heed to the things which we have heard, lest at any time we should let them slip. For if the word spoken by angels was stedfast, and every transgression and disobedience received a just recompence of reward; 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 2:1-3 KJV)

What is your escape plan?

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

First Generation

Sunday night a young missionary introduced his family, their calling and led our congregation in prayer.  Afterward I picked up one of their prayer cards and spoke to them a few moments. Later I took a look at their website,Preaching Christ In Papua New Guinea and was stopped by a question there:
What would it be like if everyone in your church was a first generation Christian?
Most Christians have had experiences with new Christians – the enthusiasm they exhibit, their desire to share what happened to their lives, the thirst to learn more.  We might have come across an individual who was the first in their immediate family to know Christ, but usually there is a family member who has been praying for them for a very long time.

What would it be like living with a village who had no one? Where there was not a written language, much less a Bible in their own language. A place where Paul’s sermon to the Athenians would be appropriate:

For as I passed by, and beheld your devotions, I found an altar with this inscription, TO THE UNKNOWN GOD. Whom therefore ye ignorantly worship, him declare I unto you. (Acts 17:23 KJV)

What a blessing to put into their own language the words that will tell them that:

God that made the world and all things therein, seeing that he is Lord of heaven and earth, dwelleth not in temples made with hands; Neither is worshipped with men's hands, as though he needed any thing, seeing he giveth to all life, and breath, and all things; (Acts 17:24-25 KJV)

What a great service to carry God’s message of creation, love and light!  To let them know that God loves them:

And hath made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth, and hath determined the times before appointed, and the bounds of their habitation; That they should seek the Lord, if haply they might feel after him, and find him, though he be not far from every one of us: (Acts 17:26-27 KJV)

They will be told of generation after generation who have shared the light God provides:

The people that walked in darkness have seen a great light: they that dwell in the land of the shadow of death, upon them hath the light shined. (Isaiah 9:2 KJV)

To tell them what they have never been told before, and watch their comprehension:

In him was life; and the life was the light of men. And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not. (John 1:4-5 KJV)

What a wonder it will be for that first generation to hear of a man who died for them, telling them, as He told others:

Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life. (John 8:12 KJV)

That light of His life will overcome language barriers, darkness of doubt and will light up the lives of this first generation.

Monday, May 14, 2012


Rahab and Joshua's Emissaries
You’ll read her name in several books of the Bible.  She was a prostitute. It didn’t mean the same as it does now, but it would have defined her place in society. One of the most interesting stories I’ve read about her outside the Bible was in Francine Rivers’ “A Lineage of Grace.” I recommended the book back in 2010, and I do so again – if you have time, please read the stories of five exceptional women.

She was the topic of Pastor’s Sunday morning sermon. Why would he be preaching about a harlot on mother’s day?  Because she married and became a mother, remembered and written of across the ages.
To me she’s an example of how greatly a person can change, once they recognize the Lord.  And, she did so:

And as soon as we had heard these things, our hearts did melt, neither did there remain any more courage in any man, because of you: for the LORD your God, he is God in heaven above, and in earth beneath. (Joshua 2:11 KJV)

Because she recognized the strength of God’s help to the Children of Israel, she knew what was coming.  She was concerned for her family:

Now therefore, I pray you, swear unto me by the LORD, since I have shewed you kindness, that ye will also shew kindness unto my father's house, and give me a true token: And that ye will save alive my father, and my mother, and my brethren, and my sisters, and all that they have, and deliver our lives from death. (Joshua 2:12-13 KJV)

The Bible does not give the names of the two spies she protected, but the Bible does tell us who she married:

And Salmon begat Booz of Rachab; and Booz begat Obed of Ruth; and Obed begat Jesse; (Matthew 1:5 KJV)

Yep, Rahab was the mother of Boaz, mother-in-law to Ruth, great-grandmother to David, King of Israel, direct ancestress of Jesus.

Now, tell me again that people cannot change.  That there are some sins so worse than others that forgiveness is out of the question. What a beautiful picture of God’s ability to cleanse lives and place them right in the middle of His plans for mankind.

There are some who would deny her this place in history. Who do not believe God is capable of cleansing, that there must have have been another, more acceptable Rachab separate from the harlot. They neglect the Bible, which speaks of her faith:

By faith the harlot Rahab perished not with them that believed not, when she had received the spies with peace. (Hebrews 11:31 KJV)

and her works:

Likewise also was not Rahab the harlot justified by works, when she had received the messengers, and had sent them out another way? For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also. (James 2:25-26 KJV)

Faith is to be lived, not hidden away.  Works are to be done for God, not to be displayed to people.  But, when our works are seen, they must reflect God and our faith in Him. As Rahab’s!

Sunday, May 13, 2012

No Mothers Day?

Christy Turlington Burns wrote a CNN opinion piece, “This year, make it 'No Mothers Day.'" Burns is an advocate of supporting women, so the headline is somewhat misleading.  She brings attention to the reason Mothers Day was sought by Julia Ward Howe:
In her Mother's Day Proclamation of 1870, Howe called on her "sisters" to work to establish peace so that her son could return home from war: "In the name of womanhood and humanity, I earnestly ask that a general congress of women without limit of nationality may be appointed and held ... to promote the alliance of the different nationalities, the amicable settlement of international questions, the great and general interests of peace."
Burns is taking another step this year, asking mothers to “disappear” to point out what happens when a mother dies during pregnancy or childbirth. She boils the issue down in one paragraph:
[those deaths] are preventable if we extend very basic, known and trusted services: If we help women get to health care facilities in their time of need; if we ensure that a skilled professional is available to oversee their labor and delivery; if we provide access to family planning so that children are spaced. These goals are all within our reach, but only if we decide that women's lives are worth saving.
She brings this problem home with specific information for Americans that deaths from pregnancy-related complications in the US has increased by 50% in the last thirty years.

These are valid points. But I cannot advocate mothers ‘disappearing’, especially on the day focusing on mothers. I’m reminded of a verse:

He maketh the barren woman to keep house, and to be a joyful mother of children. Praise ye the LORD. (Psalms 113:9 KJV)

In Old Testament times, being barren was a huge detriment for a woman. Hannah comes to mind first, then Sarah followed by Rachel’s story.  Each of them failed to produce children for a time, impacting their family’s relationships.  Each of their children brought joy. Being a mother does bring joy, along with responsibility for the children to meet:

Honour thy father and mother; (which is the first commandment with promise;) (Ephesians 6:2 KJV)

I appreciate Howe’s desire for peace, that mothers not lose their children in war. I appreciate Burn’s desire for education, that women might not die during pregnancy. I cannot, however, advocate pacifism in the face of aggression nor can I advocate termination of pregnancies for convenience. I do advocate honoring mothers, learning how to be better ones and teaching daughters:

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)

Saturday we celebrated Mothers Day at church with a luncheon. Daughters, mothers, grandmothers, great-grandmothers – who appreciate celebrating a day set aside to acknowledge what a mother does - a very good preparation for celebrating Mothers Day with our families. May yours be a very blessed day.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Thank You!

First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for you all, that your faith is spoken of throughout the whole world. (Romans 1:8 KJV)

Paul was writing to the church at Rome, but I’m writing about my church family, here in Paradise. I thank my God through Jesus Christ for you all – and I don’t think I’ve said that enough.

I was reminded Wednesday night when a young husband, after asking about my Beloved Husband’s health, also asked if there was any way at all he could be of help to us. Truthfully, there was nothing.  I explained how our children have stepped up to do so many of the necessary things we can no longer accomplish.

I also told him we knew he – and so many others – were praying, that we knew it was helping and we appreciated that so very much. He’s not alone, of course.  We’ve had gracious offers to do everything from coming to visit to taking BH for his plasmapheresis procedures.

Several members took turns driving another of our members to and from her dialysis.  Second Daughter remembers those trips with fondness for the time spent chatting about the patient’s memories, her faith in God, never complaining about the journey and always greeting her nurses with cheerful words.

Paul thanked God for another church, too:

For this cause also thank we God without ceasing, because, when ye received the word of God which ye heard of us, ye received it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which effectually worketh also in you that believe. (1 Thessalonians 2:13 KJV)

They listened to the gospel, accepted it as truth and allowed God to work effectively in their lives.  So have these who offer their time, their effort, their prayers and their Christian love. Not because they love us (though they may like us a bit):

For if ye love them which love you, what thank have ye? for sinners also love those that love them. (Luke 6:32 KJV)

They do it because they love the God who loves them:

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

So – I say “Thank you,” aware that I don’t say it often enough – to our children, our family, our friends, our brothers and sisters in Christ, to those around the world praying with us. Thank you for all you do, not just for us, but all those around you where you see their needs.

May the Lord bless you as He did the Children of Israel:

The LORD bless thee, and keep thee: The LORD make his face shine upon thee, and be gracious unto thee: The LORD lift up his countenance upon thee, and give thee peace. (Numbers 6:24-26 KJV)

Friday, May 11, 2012

Seeing The Light

We had been in bed for an hour when the alarms started going off. Alarms are designed to alarm as much as alert us to problems, and half-awake, I couldn’t make sense of them. Smoke alarm? Couldn’t tell, but got out of bed quickly and lost all sense of direction. There were no lights.

No little green light on the smoke alarm. No nightlight from the bathroom. I ended up touching glass instead of a wall and wondered how I had gotten over to the secretary. The alarm still going off.

I could hear David. He had been sleeping in his recliner to ease the pain in his neck and had made it into the kitchen.  I found the doorway and told him to stay there while I found a flashlight. Finally, a bit of light on the subject, but nothing showing from neighbors.

Although it was raining, it was not accompanied by lightning, yet we had lost electricity. Within a few moments our call was made to Wise Electric Co-op, where the representative said she had trouble hearing me because all the phones were ringing. We were able to shut off the alarm on David’s Bi-PAP machine, which he could not hear, but the lack of oxygen woke him up!

When I went back to bed, I thought of several verses:

Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life. (John 8:12 KJV)

But only for a short while, as He explained further:

As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world. (John 9:5 KJV)

His plan puts us on the spot:

Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid. Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven. (Matthew 5:14-16 KJV)

So, why can’t people see His light, bath in the light we reflect?

But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost: In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them. (2 Corinthians 4:3-4 KJV)

Accepting the Bible as truth, the gospel as being valid, we must accept there is an evil that does not wish us to see the light nor become part of His light. They prefer the darkness that hides their actions, never seeing those around them who have accepted the light of life.

For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. (2 Corinthians 4:6 KJV)
The people that walked in darkness have seen a great light: they that dwell in the land of the shadow of death, upon them hath the light shined. (Isaiah 9:2 KJV)

Thursday, May 10, 2012


Unless the LORD had been my help, my soul had almost dwelt in silence. When I said, My foot slippeth; thy mercy, O LORD, held me up. In the multitude of my thoughts within me thy comforts delight my soul. (Psalms 94:17-19 KJV)

Thank God my soul has not dwelt in silence!! Whenever I needed Him, He provided a verse that at the very least whispered His peace:

Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid. (John 14:27 KJV)

At the greatest, I’ve shared in joys:

… Rejoice with me; for I have found my sheep which was lost. I say unto you, that likewise joy shall be in heaven over one sinner that repenteth, more than over ninety and nine just persons, which need no repentance. (Luke 15:6b-7 KJV)

It wasn’t sheep, but goats that put these verses in perspective. When we added two little girl goats, Leah and Rachel, who were escape artists. Their second was well after dark when we got home and they could have been gone over an hour. Beloved Husband couldn’t head out, but Second Daughter, her husband and I did, with flashlights, scattered across the acreage, seeking those lost baby goats.

Yes, I prayed. Just as I’d prayed for Beloved Husband’s remission, I prayed for the safety of these two little goats.  And, I rejoiced when we responded to BH when he found them, sleeping on our front porch.

How could I rejoice over this answered prayer while my prayers for my husband have gone unanswered?  Are my requests so few that this one was important? How can I equate finding goats with my husband’s health?  I know those questions are out there.  I’ve heard some of them when relating this.

First – all prayers are answered, in His time.  God is sovereign and His timeline is not ours.  During his last hospitalization, when he could not breath or eat for three days, BH said he knew he was not going to die.  No matter how close we thought he might be, he knew God would allow him some more time. It may be that his healing will not come until he is home with the Lord, as happened with some people we’ve known.

Second – not all prayers are answered in the affirmative. God is quite capable of saying “No,” or “Not now.”  While it is true God encourages His children to:

Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. (Philippians 4:6 KJV)

We need to understand these are requests, not commands, to be expected only if it is His will, not just because we want it to happen.  That gives us a lot to think about, and His comfort does delight my soul.

In the multitude of my thoughts within me thy comforts delight my soul. (Psalms 94:19 KJV)

That comfort is available to all, for the asking. It keeps us from staying silent.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

In Order

OK, most know that I’m slightly (don’t laugh at that!) OCD. Do not listen closely or you’ll hear members of my family laughing out loud, not caring whether I hear them or not, at the word ‘slightly.’

This past week has thrown us off schedule and I feel disordered, as dominoes falling. For ten weeks were were at the hospital every Tuesday. Every third week for mornings and the other two weeks, afternoons for port flushing. Starting last week, the schedule changed to Wednesdays, for the next six weeks – except this one.  Tuesday this week held two doctor appointments and the procedure will be done Thursday, this week only. I feel so lost! My habits have changed and the weeks goes on in spite of my feeling off schedule, but my tiny world doesn’t seem the same.

For a new Christian, our habits change, life goes on, but certainly not the same.  If there are no changes, it would be a good idea for that person to question if they understood what was supposed to happen. Change is a necessity – some may be minor, some may be huge and overwhelming.

First will come a desire to learn more about God, His word, His history and His future.  That means spending more time with Christians than ever before:

Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching. (Hebrews 10:25 KJV)

That “day” is closer now than ever before, even if it is centuries away. We’re not to be concerned about that day any more than Peter was to be concerned about John:

Jesus saith unto him, If I will that he tarry till I come, what is that to thee? follow thou me. (John 21:22 KJV)

Christians build new habits – including attending services, finding a ministry to fill, learning more and more about God, His love and His Lamb:

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)

Each of us can determine if we’re growing, thriving and bringing forth fruit.  The specifics are given in 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)

That list is much shorter than the previous verses listing the works of the flesh.  No need to go into them here – accentuate the positive, look for these fruits in our own lives.  We live in this world, but we are a spiritual people and should be in tune with the Holy Spirit.  That’s why Paul added:

If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit. (Galatians 5:25 KJV)

Jesus told the Samaritan woman at the well:

God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth. (John 4:24 KJV)

That was just before He revealed to her who He was:

The woman saith unto him, I know that Messias cometh, which is called Christ: when he is come, he will tell us all things. Jesus saith unto her, I that speak unto thee am he. (John 4:25-26 KJV)

When we are called by His name, we should be responsible for living by His word.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

So Much!!

When I’m in services, I’m taking notes.  There is just so much information given during the sermons – and I have a tendency to read beyond the given scriptures.  Just down the page, or up a little bit. I keep a bit of paper available.  Unfortunately, I can’t read my writing in some instances!

From Sunday night, I found notes referring to John 15:12, Acts 1:2, Isaiah 6:8-10, Psalm 119:2-3 and a short note regarding laborers in V38. Those full verse references all are good and I could write a blog starting with anyone one of them, but the lonely V38 held my attention.

Sure – Psalm 119 has a verse 38, but it doesn’t reference laborers. The others I wrote down don’t have a verse 38. Obviously, I missed writing something down, didn’t I? I missed the initial reference the missionary to Guyana gave us as he presented a sermon about our testimony, our witness and our service (I mentioned all of that in yesterday’s blog, remember?)

I am grateful for e-Sword on my laptop.  A search for “labourer” (see, I remembered the English spelling) gave me Matthew’s 9th chapter. The missionary began before V38:

And Jesus went about all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every sickness and every disease among the people. (Matthew 9:35 KJV)

Jesus was doing God’s will. This verse speaks of the full three years of His ministry, and we are called to follow Him.  We may not go about all the cities and villages, but we can certainly support those who do, we can teach and share the gospel of the kingdom.  Some of us can help in healing physical health, but we all can speak of healing spiritual health. Do we do what Jesus did next?

But when he saw the multitudes, he was moved with compassion on them, because they fainted, and were scattered abroad, as sheep having no shepherd. (Matthew 9:36 KJV)

Do we have compassion for those who are fainting from exhaustion and fear?  Do we go looking for those who are scattered abroad and speak to them of the Good Shepherd? Do we recognize the fields laid out before us?

Then saith he unto his disciples, The harvest truly is plenteous, but the labourers are few; (Matthew 9:37 KJV)

No matter if we are unable to do any of the above traveling, teaching healing, we can, without ceasing, follow that verse I searched and found:

Pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he will send forth labourers into his harvest. (Matthew 9:38 KJV)

Accept a challenge, select a missionary or mission field and make a commitment to them now to do as Samuel told Israel:

I will pray for you unto the LORD. (1 Samuel 7:5 KJV)

Monday, May 7, 2012

What Does God Expect …

… from His church.  That was part of the question our pastor asked yesterday morning. He reminisced about our surroundings, our quiet reflection park, the landscaping, fencing, gym, sanctuary, piano – but the real church is the people, not the physical plant. The physical building will eventually rust, decay and crumble. The people will eventually move past this world, too, but God’s work will continue, as it always has.

What does expect us, His children, to do? His book tells us. In one chapter we’re told:

Only be thou strong and very courageous, that thou mayest observe to do according to all the law, which Moses my servant commanded thee: turn not from it to the right hand or to the left, that thou mayest prosper whithersoever thou goest. (Joshua 1:7 KJV)

And, He’s told us how to prosper:

This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success. (Joshua 1:8 KJV)

The actual question Pastor asked was, “What does a successful church look like in 2012?”

If you want to read about what God thought about specific churches, read Paul’s letters to some and John’s Revelation chapters 2 and 3, though there are more admonitions than accolades. Paul does boil the success story down to:

Love worketh no ill to his neighbour: therefore love is the fulfilling of the law. (Romans 13:10 KJV)

He also tells us it is high time we get to work:

And that, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep: for now is our salvation nearer than when we believed. (Romans 13:11 KJV)

Our time is limited and there is plenty of work available to keep His children busy. Have we asked Him about our life’s ministry? Have we listened to the Holy Spirit for our commands, or expect they were for only a few:

Until the day in which he was taken up, after that he through the Holy Ghost had given commandments unto the apostles whom he had chosen: (Acts 1:2 KJV)

There’s something for each one of us to do.  We all have our testimony of what God has done for us; our witness as we live our lives for Him; and the service He has called us to do. Paul’s example of the body in 1 Corinthians 12 is the one I like best.  Just before he leads us through Love in chapter 13, he asks us:

Are all apostles? are all prophets? are all teachers? are all workers of miracles? Have all the gifts of healing? do all speak with tongues? do all interpret? But covet earnestly the best gifts: and yet shew I unto you a more excellent way. (1 Corinthians 12:29-31 KJV)

That more excellent way is love. That is the successful church – physical and spiritual – in any year.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

We’ll Die

And there were four leprous men at the entering in of the gate: and they said one to another, Why sit we here until we die? If we say, We will enter into the city, then the famine is in the city, and we shall die there: and if we sit still here, we die also. Now therefore come, and let us fall unto the host of the Syrians: if they save us alive, we shall live; and if they kill us, we shall but die. (2 Kings 7:3-4 KJV)

War creates many situations where people are caught between a rock and a hard place.  These four lepers had nothing going for them.  They were banned from the city because of their disease.  If they were in the city, they would be impacted by the famine and they would die. Outside the city, there were two choices – stay where they were, which meant they would die, or go to the Syrians.  The thought of a Syrian army taking in four Jewish lepers does not sound possible.

Syria and Israel were at war. In the previous chapter we read of the king of Syria making his plans, and the king of Israel responding.  Elisha made him aware of Syrian plans, and he responded to those warnings. 

Why is it he did not respond to Elisha’s warnings about his errors in life, his sins? When we know the answer to that, we’ll understand why we do not respond to warnings about our errors, our sins, won’t we?

Back to the four lepers.  Each one of their options would bring death. Frankly, all of our own options will bring us to that same point. This life we are living now will end.  We must make decisions along the way, just as the lepers did, knowing full well, “we shall but die.”

And they rose up in the twilight, to go unto the camp of the Syrians: and when they were come to the uttermost part of the camp of Syria, behold, there was no man there. (2 Kings 7:5 KJV)

They didn’t sit down and die, even knowing their lives were miserable.  They didn’t turn to the city, though it was their home. That was the known, and they opted for the unknown. They didn’t go because God told them to. Not because they had knowledge, either.  They went because they had to do something.

God knew they would, and He had Elisha prophecy to the king that there would be abundance, the siege would be lifted. The lepers found that to be true – and return to the city to share the good news.

So they came and called unto the porter of the city: and they told them, saying, We came to the camp of the Syrians, and, behold, there was no man there, neither voice of man, but horses tied, and asses tied, and the tents as they were. (2 Kings 7:10 KJV)

We need to be brave enough to go into the unknown – with the full knowledge that God has plans.  If we’ll stay close to Him, it will make that path much easier. Then we, too, can share the good news we find.