Tuesday, July 31, 2012

What DO Angels Do?

Sunday’s sermon had me asking that question.  We were reading in 1 Peter and after the salutation, I thought about the ending of this verse:

Unto whom it was revealed, that not unto themselves, but unto us they did minister the things, which are now reported unto you by them that have preached the gospel unto you with the Holy Ghost sent down from heaven; which things the angels desire to look into. (1 Peter 1:12 KJV)

The angels desired to look into the gospel? Apparently they had no prior information about this mystery:

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)

“Had they known,” they would not have crucified Christ. God did not share His plan, though some portions of it were given to His prophets.

Instead, the ‘princes of this world’ stirred up the people, excited to stop God’s plan. They did not want His preaching to continue, telling people that God loved them, that He was reaching out to each and every one, “whosoever.” Once the man was dead, the message was dead, too. That’s the way it would work, right?

This is different. The man died, and the message multiplied exponentially. Can you then imagine the angels desiring to look into this mystery? And, we ignore it.

Although bits and pieces were written, glimpses given to God’s prophets, until the Resurrection, they were all incomplete.  Even with Christ’s discussions with his disciples, they were almost destroyed when the princes of this world accomplished their purpose. The son of God was dead. Then, He wasn’t. The Comforter was given. What was written was revealed:

But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him. But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God. (1 Corinthians 2:9-10 KJV)

The ‘deep things of God’ have been revealed to us. And, we ignore it. We have been given what angels cannot have. And, we ignore it.

Oh, some might attend a church service or two, every once in a while. Maybe attend most Sunday mornings.  Some might even add a lesson or two during Sunday school. Few return on Wednesday night.

Perhaps, eventually, they will give thanks for His unspeakable gift every single day.  They’ll seek opportunities to be with Him, learning at His feet.

Then they’ll do what the angels do, worship and praise Him:

Above it stood the seraphims: each one had six wings; with twain he covered his face, and with twain he covered his feet, and with twain he did fly. And one cried unto another, and said, Holy, holy, holy, is the LORD of hosts: the whole earth is full of his glory. (Isaiah 6:2-3 KJV)

Monday, July 30, 2012


Just in case you’ve wondered, here are some great instructions on what to do and how to do it when it comes to praising God:

Praise ye the LORD.

Yep, that’s WHAT we’re supposed to do. What we are designed to do.

Praise God in his sanctuary:

Now on to WHERE. His sanctuary is an excellent place to praise Him – although a really large number of people don’t believe they have time to meet Him there, even on the Lord’s day.

praise him in the firmament of his power.

Yes, it is possible to praise Him elsewhere – all during the week, in fact, between the times spent in His sanctuary.

Praise him for his mighty acts:

The are laid out before us – from creation itself through sunrise to sunrise, day after day. Pick one of your favorites and start from there. My favorite are babies’ toes. Tiny little miracles that will grow and take them places all through their lives.

praise him according to his excellent greatness.

Again, there is an infinite list of greatness displayed for us to peruse. I like to start with the gift of His son and move upward from there.

Praise him with the sound of the trumpet:

Be big and brassy about it! Let the sound echo across the world.

praise him with the psaltery and harp.

Pick up those stringed instruments and pick out a tune.  We do that at First Baptist of Cottondale. We have a wide variety – guitars, base violins, mandolins, violins, piano – all used to praise Him in song.

Praise him with the timbrel and dance:

OK, so we don’t do that much in the church, but David did. And we should worship with joy and exuberance. Praise is a celebration, and we have much to celebrate while praising our Lord.

praise him with stringed instruments and organs.

Back to those instruments – use what we have on hand to attract attention, attracting others to praise Him along with us.

Praise him upon the loud cymbals:

Don’t hesitate to let the sound ring out. Can you imagine using cymbals?

praise him upon the high sounding cymbals.

See, your imagination wasn’t enough – David says “More!!  Louder!!   Higher!!” Nothing shy about loudly praising God!!

Let every thing that hath breath praise the LORD.

Everything!! Let the youngest child shout out praises, and the oldest adult. Everyone in between.  If we don’t, the very rocks will shout it out (Luke 19:40).

Praise ye the LORD.

And, we’re back where we started from – PRAISE YE THE LORD!

And here’s where to find these instructions in His word:

(Psalms 150 KJV)

Sunday, July 29, 2012

My Shepherd

Jesus portrayed Himself as the good shepherd, especially in John’s tenth chapter:

I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep. (John 10:11 KJV)

My personal opinion of sheep is that they pretty much do need a shepherd. People, on the other hand, are somewhat insulted when they are compared to sheep.  Not me.  I love the portrait of the Lord being my shepherd in Psalm 23. I love the green pastures and still waters – but strongly depend on Him through the valleys, even those without the shadow of death.

Some are offended when I equate Jesus with David’s shepherd. This has been so since He said:

My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand. My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father's hand. I and my Father are one. (John 10:27-30 KJV)

The people around Him understood that He was equating Himself with God. So strong was their aversion to this:

Then the Jews took up stones again to stone him. (John 10:31 KJV)

They weren’t the only ones. People have been attempting to change – or erase – His words since they were spoken. His words were what carried Him to the cross – equating Himself with God.
Had they believed, there was much to gain, just as Jairus and the woman who reached out and touched in, told in Mark 5:22-43. He confirmed this is one verse:

As soon as Jesus heard the word that was spoken, he saith unto the ruler of the synagogue, Be not afraid, only believe. (Mark 5:36 KJV)

Instead, we remain afraid. Men tell us “He is not who he said he was. He never said he was the son of God. God cannot come as a man. God is not interested in man. God does not exist.” We are afraid they are right, and we don’t believe:

Jesus answered them, I told you, and ye believed not: the works that I do in my Father's name, they bear witness of me. (John 10:25 KJV)

How dare we listen to the father of lies when we’ve been told since childhood:

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

Can we do as well as a sin filled Samaritan woman?  Can we know what the scriptures say, and hear His response:

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)

Before touching Him, can we truthfully respond as Thomas did:

And Thomas answered and said unto him, My Lord and my God. (John 20:28 KJV)

Saturday, July 28, 2012

“Good Morning, Lord”

Isn’t that beautiful?  My friend (and sister in Christ) Debbie took this picture as clouds gathered around us Thursday.  She posted it on Facebook with the note:

Good morning Lord. Thank you for all your blessings.

At the time, she didn't notice the well-placed heart in the middle of the picture. Isn’t it beautiful?

There are so many verses that come to mind while taking in the beauty of this photograph. So, we’ll begin a morning of thanks for God’s innumerable blessings and praise for His handiwork:

The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament sheweth his handywork. (Psalms 19:1 KJV)

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ: (Ephesians 1:3 KJV)

I will declare thy name unto my brethren: in the midst of the congregation will I praise thee. (Psalms 22:22 KJV)

Many, O LORD my God, are thy wonderful works which thou hast done, and thy thoughts which are to us-ward: they cannot be reckoned up in order unto thee: if I would declare and speak of them, they are more than can be numbered. (Psalms 40:5 KJV)

The LORD is my strength and my shield; my heart trusted in him, and I am helped: therefore my heart greatly rejoiceth; and with my song will I praise him. (Psalms 28:7 KJV)

Blessed be the LORD, because he hath heard the voice of my supplications. The LORD is my strength and my shield; my heart trusted in him, and I am helped: therefore my heart greatly rejoiceth; and with my song will I praise him. (Psalms 28:6-7 KJV)

Take time to head for your own church (if you don’t have one, come join us!!) Sunday morning to continue giving thanks to God – who loved us enough to give His son, the unspeakable gift:

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

Thanks be unto God for his unspeakable gift. (2 Corinthians 9:15 KJV)

Friday, July 27, 2012

“One Shade of White”

Once again I’m a step behind my friend Glenys. She wrote about a current book and "One Shade of White” and it is the first blog I’ve read addressing the problems with the book.

It is not a review, for we cannot review that which we have not read. I will not read it because of what I’ve heard about the theme of the book. Those media reports tell me it doesn’t meet a couple of biblical criteria:

Not that which goeth into the mouth defileth a man; but that which cometh out of the mouth, this defileth a man. (Matthew 15:11 KJV)

Why would I want the words in this book to create the pictures in my mind that I would not want in my home? Why have the book in my home? Have I not been told:

Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? (2 Corinthians 6:14 KJV)

My mind contains memories of family, friends, fellowship, Bible verses, history – pieces of all the things that flow through my life, including words from books.  Why would I combine them with this particular book?

From reviews and comments made by others (as well as the silly grins and verbal innuendoes when newscasters refer to it) I’ve reached the conclusion that it does not meet any of this criteria:

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)

I do not have to buy it (or borrow it), read it and come to the conclusion that it is not pure, lovely, good, virtuous, or praiseworthy. Instead, what I’m hearing is it falls under the opposite category:

Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, (Galatians 5:19 KJV)

Oh, it has made the author (I have no idea who wrote it and don’t care to meet them) a ton of money, with more coming in every day. There will be a film made, with readers wondering, “How will they film that?” and visualizing “that” in their mind. No, thank you, I’d rather have different pictures in my mind.

Will that get me labeled ‘close minded’? Not a problem. I have closed my mind to some things, just as I attempt to keep ants, spiders and scorpions closed out of my home. As Daniel 1:8, I’ve purposed this in my heart not to be defiled.

The graphic above has no shades of grey. It is the Wordless Book designed by Charles H. Spurgeon when he preached on Psalm 51:7. It is a very good prayer to our Lord:

Behold, thou desirest truth in the inward parts: and in the hidden part thou shalt make me to know wisdom. Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean: wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow. (Psalms 51:6-7 KJV)

Thursday, July 26, 2012


Have you offended someone lately? It’s fairly easy, especially following Jesus:

And he called the multitude, and said unto them, Hear, and understand: Not that which goeth into the mouth defileth a man; but that which cometh out of the mouth, this defileth a man. Then came his disciples, and said unto him, Knowest thou that the Pharisees were offended, after they heard this saying? (Matthew 15:10-12 KJV)

In the previous verses, Christ was explaining how religious leaders of that day had “made the commandment of God of none effect by your tradition.” Being offended as well as holding on to traditions didn’t stop with Christ’s death. Peter had some explaining to do, too:

And God, which knoweth the hearts, bare them witness, giving them the Holy Ghost, even as he did unto us; And put no difference between us and them, purifying their hearts by faith. Now therefore why tempt ye God, to put a yoke upon the neck of the disciples, which neither our fathers nor we were able to bear? But we believe that through the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ we shall be saved, even as they. (Acts 15:8-11 KJV)

Peter knew about yokes, having heard Jesus words – direct from Him, not passing through writing or preaching:

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)

Isaiah said it, Jesus repeated it, and it happens still:

Ye hypocrites, well did Esaias prophesy of you, saying, This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with their lips; but their heart is far from me. But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men. (Matthew 15:7-9 KJV)

What is the source of our body of beliefs? Where do we search for doctrinal matters? Jesus gave us directions:

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

Paul wrote:

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

The Bereans put them to good use:

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

Jesus also said:

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

Keep the light yoke, as Paul wrote to the Galatians:

Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage. (Galatians 5:1 KJV)

As usual, I ask that you read these excerpts from the Bible in context and study as the Bereans to see if these things are so!

Wednesday, July 25, 2012


I bought a Hyundai Accent last year.  Monday we took it in for an oil change and yesterday Beloved Husband bought me a new phone.

In all three instances, the employees we dealt with explained in detail that their corporation would be requesting that I answer surveys. Each of them also explained that my answers should be based on how they interacted with me. They also explained that my answers would impact them.

Yesterday, after the salesman’s comment, I got to thinking. What would a survey show about our Christian lives? What questions would the survey ask? Don’t non-believers ask the same questions? The questions are for any Christian, beginning with me.

Most surveys ask about what I was looking for?

And brought them out, and said, Sirs, what must I do to be saved? (Acts 16:30 KJV)

Did you find what you were looking for? Of course, Acts 16:31 gives the same answer Paul did:

For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. (Romans 10:13 KJV)

The car survey asked how did I get there? Did I hear of them through advertising, word of mouth?

How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher? And how shall they preach, except they be sent? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things! (Romans 10:14-15 KJV)

If the survey is in depth, there are questions about how the salesmen explained the warranty, what has to be done to activate it:

Master, which is the great commandment in the law? Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets. (Matthew 22:36-40 KJV)

There’s always a question about whether or not I would recommend them to others:

And some of the Pharisees from among the multitude said unto him, Master, rebuke thy disciples. And he answered and said unto them, I tell you that, if these should hold their peace, the stones would immediately cry out. (Luke 19:39-40 KJV)

A couple of times surveys have promised a reward for the taking:

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

Finally, if someone is taking the survey because of my actions, what should they look for in me?

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)

What other questions would you put on a survey about an experience with Christianity?

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Do Windows?

This came to me through a friend and I’ve not found the source. The story has been around for a while and is a good one.  I hope you enjoy it as much as I have:
     A young couple moves into a new neighborhood. The next morning while they are eating breakfast, The young woman sees her neighbor hanging the wash outside.
     "That laundry is not very clean", she said. "She doesn't know how to wash correctly. Perhaps she needs better laundry soap."
     Her husband looked on, but remained silent.
     Every time her neighbor would hang her wash to dry, the young woman would make the same comments.
     About one month later, the woman was surprised to see a nice clean wash on the line and said to her husband:
     "Look, she has learned how to wash correctly. I wonder who taught her this."
     The husband said, "I got up early this morning and cleaned our windows."
     And so it is with life. What we see when watching others depends on the purity of the window through which we look!
Naturally, it reminds me of a verse:

For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again. And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother's eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye? Or how wilt thou say to thy brother, Let me pull out the mote out of thine eye; and, behold, a beam is in thine own eye? Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother's eye. (Matthew 7:2-5 KJV)

Did you notice that last sentence? Once we’ve removed our beam, once we’ve cleaned our own windows, we can be of help to others. I would expect that help is handy for our beam removal, too. Don’t deny it – you know you’ve had some! I sure have.

It is not good to offer to help others while our own spiritual housekeeping is disorderly, but we have the best cleaner available:

Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me. (Psalms 51:10 KJV)

In the story above, the wife did not appear concerned enough to tell her neighbor of the perceived problem – and that turned out to be a good thing. Had she done so, her own shortcomings would be apparent. Had she gone next door to meet her neighbor she could have learned two important things – the clothes were clean, and her window wasn’t. Would have changed the outcome, wouldn’t it?

After that heart cleaning, David also made another request – then made a commitment:

Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation; and uphold me with thy free spirit. Then will I teach transgressors thy ways; and sinners shall be converted unto thee. (Psalms 51:12-13 KJV)

Monday, July 23, 2012


No, she’s not sailing.  This is a satellite capture of the Costa Concordia off Italy’s Tuscany coast. Shipwrecked.

That’s a word our pastor has used over the years describing what some people have done – made shipwreck of their lives. We all know such people – at times we are such people – and we know how easy it is to make shipwreck of lives.

For those of us who have done so, even in small ways, we know the impact on the lives around us can be as destructive as this shipwreck on the lives of passengers.  Yes, deaths can occur through our errors.

I thought of that during Sunday's sermon:

Fulfil ye my joy, that ye be likeminded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind. Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves. Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others. (Philippians 2:2-4 KJV)

We really aren’t islands.  We interact with people each day. Some lives are intertwined with others, inseparable. People do what they like, enjoy some moments and live with the consequences. We all do, but some errors are minor. Some are not.

A young man in Aurora has made shipwreck of his life – and has taken lives as he did so. The consequences of his action impacts dozens of families. His actions cost thousands emotionally, removing a sense of safety. He gave no thought to “the things of others.”

Thankfully, we’ve been given a perfect example to follow.

Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. (Philippians 2:5-8 KJV)

Paul, too, was “obedient unto death, even the death of the cross”. But Paul’s obedience did not carry the same consequences. Christ not go to the cross for Himself. It was done for each and every one of us. Some deny that, which doesn’t change how I believe about Him, but does earn a prayer from me for them. I have purposed in my own heart to consider the hearts of others. There are things I do not because of the effect on others.

Most of the time. Other times I head for the shoals, hearing the crash of waves on rocks and I’m grateful for those looking after me, too, ones who see to my things. These are likeminded people who seek to do God’s will and I give Him thanks for them.

For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure. (Philippians 2:13 KJV)

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Providing Comfort

As Christians, we have more examples of providing compassion, of giving loving comfort, than of any other ministry. I like how Paul puts it:

Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort; Who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God. For as the sufferings of Christ abound in us, so our consolation also aboundeth by Christ. (2 Corinthians 1:3-5 KJV)

“By the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God.”

Assuming, of course, that we allow God to provide the comfort we need. We know He has it available:

And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:7 KJV)

It is difficult to live by the verse that follows …

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)

… when we’re reading of death by another’s hand – the evidence of man’s inhumanity to man. Where is the virtue, where is the praise and how can there be comfort in such loss?

We’re back to our example, Jesus, given for a specific purpose to raise man’s humanity higher than we imagined.

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)

We do not need to reach the end of the race to find that comfort.  It is available now, given of God.

But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you. (John 14:26 KJV)

How can we remember that which we have not experienced? Through someone’s teaching – just as we did while growing up. We need to learn. Paul had some good rhetorical questions:

How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher? And how shall they preach, except they be sent? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things! (Romans 10:14-15 KJV)

Some are called to provide a physical comfort, to share the comfort they have come to know and depend upon. To share the word of peace, glad tidings and very good things that come from God even in the midst of the evil alive and well in this world.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

By This We Believe

His disciples said unto him, Lo, now speakest thou plainly, and speakest no proverb. Now are we sure that thou knowest all things, and needest not that any man should ask thee: by this we believe that thou camest forth from God.

They said they believed because of His plain speech. They had difficulty understanding the parables, but in this and previous chapters, they thought they understood. They were certain that God has sent Him. But they knew less than we do now.

He did know everything, and gave them more than they were ready to take in:

Jesus answered them, Do ye now believe? Behold, the hour cometh, yea, is now come, that ye shall be scattered, every man to his own, and shall leave me alone: and yet I am not alone, because the Father is with me. These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world. (John 16:29-33 KJV)

Those last five words brought me to this scripture.  Someone shared them in a beautiful graphic and I looked it up to be certain I remembered the reference in context.

Yes, it was part of His concern that we have peace even though we will certainly have tribulations in this world.  It’s part of this world. There are wars, national and individual. Tragedies occur that we could not possibly have imagined. Places people deem to be safe are not.

Jesus spoke of two such instances:

There were present at that season some that told him of the Galilaeans, whose blood Pilate had mingled with their sacrifices. And Jesus answering said unto them, Suppose ye that these Galilaeans were sinners above all the Galilaeans, because they suffered such things? (Luke 13:1-2 KJV)
Or those eighteen, upon whom the tower in Siloam fell, and slew them, think ye that they were sinners above all men that dwelt in Jerusalem? (Luke 13:4 KJV)

These rhetorical questions were answered, too:

I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish. (Luke 13:5 KJV)

In so many ways we are all alike, only in repentance is there a gain. Only in our hearing Him, following Him, loving as He loved, changing our direction, do we find ourselves as His children.

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

So, why do we believe? If our belief does not change this world, and people in it continue to damage each other, why do we believe?

Because Jesus prophesied the empty tomb, and empty it was.  Because Jesus’ words changed lives then and all the days between then and now. Because His words do tell us:

That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life. For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. (John 3:15-16 KJV)

Friday, July 20, 2012


She rises above the surrounding city, growing over centuries.  She’s photographed often on the west façade, but she’s beautiful from one end to the other, from the outside to in. Notre Dame de Paris was built to worship a God who created the universe, and lived as a man without a roof over His head.

She’s not alone. There are beautiful cathedrals around the world lifting their spires from foundations deep in the earth upward toward the Lord of heaven, who on this earth was what we would now consider homeless.

And Jesus saith unto him, The foxes have holes, and the birds of the air have nests; but the Son of man hath not where to lay his head. (Matthew 8:20 KJV)

He made a home for Himself in the Tabernacle. His glory shone from the Temple. I don’t recall any other biblical admonition much less command that we build costly edifices to His name. We do so to honor Him, to let people know that He deserves the best, but too often we do it with pomp and circumstance that detract from what He does require.

Wherewith shall I come before the LORD, and bow myself before the high God? shall I come before him with burnt offerings, with calves of a year old? Will the LORD be pleased with thousands of rams, or with ten thousands of rivers of oil? shall I give my firstborn for my transgression, the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul? He hath shewed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the LORD require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God? (Micah 6:6-8 KJV)

He did not dress as bishops and cardinals are for pomp and circumstances. They do so in the name of a man who walked across Israel in clothing for which soldiers cast lots. He was dressed as royalty only during His beating.

We don’t need pomp and circumstances when we come to Him. We come alone, as individuals. Since He does own all the cattle on more than a thousand hills, what He asks is ourselves  The buildings in which we worship can neither impress Him nor save us. Nor call any of the world’s pomp nor circumstance. The way is much more simple – and so very much more difficult.

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

Then, we depend upon Him to provide our daily bread.

For the bread of God is he which cometh down from heaven, and giveth life unto the world. (John 6:33 KJV)

And keep us safe for Him.

… 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 1:12b KJV)

That day, I’ll be at home with Him, no longer homeless.

And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also. (John 14:3 KJV)

Thursday, July 19, 2012


Tina, Pastor, Nancy and Mike (in that order from left) are at Yellowstone this week.  Click on the above graphic and you’ll end up watching a live still cam – updated every twenty seconds – where I captured them waving (OK, so only Nancy is waving!).  The web page will tell you: 
Old Faithful was named by the first official expedition to Yellowstone, the Washburn Expedition of 1870. They were impressed by its size and frequency.  It is not the biggest or the most regular geyser in Yellowstone but it is the biggest regular geyser. Furthermore, it has been erupting in nearly the same fashion throughout the recorded history of the park.
I like that part about “not the biggest or the most regular geyser.” Yet it is the one that people know best.  It’s the one coming to mind first when we think of Yellowstone National Park. 

It’s the combination of Old Faithful being the “biggest regular geyser” that gives it distinction.

What is distinct about our Christian witness? How is our faithfulness displayed? Is it big enough to notice, regular enough for an example? God’s faithfulness is confirmed when He calls us:

Faithful is he that calleth you, who also will do it. (1 Thessalonians 5:24 KJV)

When He calls us, He enables us to do our calling:

And I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who hath enabled me, for that he counted me faithful, putting me into the ministry; (1 Timothy 1:12 KJV)

So – if we are unable to be faithful to Him, perhaps there’s a need to spend some time with Him to be certain of our foundation. Once that’s done, we shouldn’t have to go back to it:

Therefore leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on unto perfection; not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works, and of faith toward God, (Hebrews 6:1 KJV)

“Faith toward God” – a principle of Christ’s doctrine and part of our foundation. Without that, we’d have to question “Faithful to what?” Once we have that foundation, though, we turn to the Bible for examples of how faithfulness is displayed. We can find a different example for every day of our lives.

Oh, we’d repeat stories over and over, but there are different facets to explore in each one. God’s faithfulness, though, is of utmost importance to me. In the middle of troubles and lamentations, Jeremiah wrote:

This I recall to my mind, therefore have I hope. It is of the LORD'S mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness. (Lamentations 3:21-23 KJV)

I’m reminded of Thomas Chisolm’s lyrics based on that scripture. In 1923 he wrote of God’s faithfulness throughout his life:
Great is Thy faithfulness, O God my Father;
There is no shadow of turning with Thee,
Thou changest not, Thy compassions they fail not,
As Thou hast been,Thou forever wilt be.
It is our goal to match that faithfulness.  It takes concentration, but remember, He will enable the ministry He gives us. What is your ministry?

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

At Home

That paperback book is listed at 28 cents on Amazon.com. You can get four of them for less than the price of a cup of coffee or glass of tea. One of the ladies in our church bought several and passed them out to others. What she had in mind was to give each of us a glass jar for the change out of our purses. Each jar was labeled “We can make a change in lives.”

Fifteen ladies met at her home Tuesday and set out on a variety of projects – each took a jar, and worked on other ideas she had. They will meet monthly to complete these projects:

The jars’ contents will be used to fund children through GFA’s Bridge of Hope.
Nine-squares will be hand pieced together, added to each other then quilted for an auction for children’s Christmas project.
Memory books will be made for our church members who are in long-term care facilities.
Embroidery will be done for a lap quilt.

All the time these activities are going on, prayers are given, God is thanked and praised. Somehow I see Paul, Priscilla and Aquila sewing their tents.

And found a certain Jew named Aquila, born in Pontus, lately come from Italy, with his wife Priscilla; (because that Claudius had commanded all Jews to depart from Rome:) and came unto them. And because he was of the same craft, he abode with them, and wrought: for by their occupation they were tentmakers. (Acts 18:2-3 KJV)

Later we hear that they held church in their home:

The churches of Asia salute you. Aquila and Priscilla salute you much in the Lord, with the church that is in their house. (1 Corinthians 16:19 KJV)

I love my church’s building, but it’s not the only place where the gospel is at work.  Our Lord had no building. He taught from the synagogue, true, but more from mountainsides, seashores or walking in the streets. There are so many instances of His being in homes – with Mary, Martha and Lazarus, with Zacchaeus. In Peter’s home, healing his mother or in Jairus’ healing his daughter.

Homes, where we live daily with Christ. What better place to find service with Him in reaching out to others?  Remember, He said:

For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them. (Matthew 18:20 KJV)

Isn’t it wonderful to know that?  Of course, we can sit down with Him at anytime in prayer, but there’s such a blessing to do so with others, isn’t it?  I like this verse from Hebrews:

And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works: (Hebrews 10:24 KJV)

That’s just before the one exhorting us to gather together:

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)

Ready to open your home to Him? To His service?

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Not Just For Me

Isn’t that beautiful?  I watched the clouds all the way home Monday and longed for my DSLR to catch their beauty. There was some shifting and fading as I drove along, but a couple of shots when I got home still gave me the beauty God offers. And, it’s not just for me. It’s open to everyone who will take time to look for His gifts.

Which reminded me of a book loaned to me last week, Ann Voskamp’s “One Thousand Gifts.” I had a problem with the book. It is filled with adjectives and takes a while to get the picture she’s painting in such detail. I wasn’t prepared for the angst she endured before seeing God’s gifts, either. Some of her descriptions were not … I can’t explain – expected? fitting? Something just a half a bubble off.

I did however, understand her listing gifts from God, and I appreciate her lists were personal. I wondered what I would have put down. Today’s clouds could make the list. My children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren’s births would be part of that list – the miracles seen in how tiny toes and fingers are created from generation to generation.

Then I looked at the number of posts I’ve done just here on Blogspot. Over 1,475. Each one speaks of a gift from God, an insight into His word, the unspeakable gift of His son, the grace that saves us, the mercy that keeps us from our deserved justice.

Some things cannot be changed – it will rain on the just and the unjust. The wicked will be in power, spreading as a green bay tree and it will appear unjust to us. How can we see a blessing, a gift in that?

Art thou not from everlasting, O LORD my God, mine Holy One? we shall not die. O LORD, thou hast ordained them for judgment; and, O mighty God, thou hast established them for correction. (Habakkuk 1:12 KJV)

I like what Matthew Henry wrote about this verse:
The world is bad, and always was so, and will be so; it is out of our power to mend it; but we are sure that God governs the world, and will bring glory to himself out of all, and therefore we must resolve to make the best of it, must be ourselves better, and long for the better world.
A thousand gifts – at one a day, that’s less than three years. Can you find more than one a day? My book-loaner friend has been making a journal of hers long before she read Ann’s book. Some are simple – a squirrel on her porch in the morning.  Some are profound and remain unshared.

In an unfriendly, wars-occurring, greed-abounding, widows-and-orphans ignored world, His gifts are blessings. Among them are friends who love Him, share His word and pray with us along the way. All available for everyone, not just for me.  Look closely below – you can see one of His promises – it's very light, but there is a rainbow in the center:

Monday, July 16, 2012

Come Into My Parlor

I ran across this and think it addresses peer pressure very well.
Web of Peer Pressure Deception
     Once a spider built a beautiful web in an old house. He kept it clean and shiny so that flies would patronize it. The minute he got a "customer" he would clean up after him so the other flies would not get suspicious.
     Then one day this fairly intelligent fly came buzzing by the clean spiderweb. Old man spider called out, "Come in and sit." But the fairly intelligent fly said, "No sir, I don't see other flies in your house, and I am not going in alone!"
     Presently the fly saw on the floor below him a large crowd of flies dancing around on a piece of brown paper. He was delighted! He was not afraid if lots of flies were doing it. So he came in for a landing.
     Just before he landed, a bee zoomed by, saying, "Don't land there, stupid. That's flypaper!" But the fairly intelligent fly shouted back, "Don't be silly. Those flies are dancing. There's a big crowd there. Everybody's doing it. That many flies can't be wrong!" Well, you know what happened. He died on the spot.
     Some of us want to be in the crowd so badly we end up in a mess because we didn't listen or search out a situation.
     What does it profit a fly (or a person) if he escapes the web only to end up in the glue?
Charles R. Swindoll
He closed with this scripture:

Enter not into the path of the wicked, and go not in the way of evil men. Avoid it, pass not by it, turn from it, and pass away. For they sleep not, except they have done mischief; and their sleep is taken away, unless they cause some to fall. For they eat the bread of wickedness, and drink the wine of violence. (Proverbs 4:14-17 KJV)

This is important in all of our lives, but of utmost importance to our children. Decisions made in their youth have consequences that last a lifetime, and in some cases, that’s a very short time. In Swindoll’s example, Fly depended on his perceptions of those like him. If they weren’t there, it’s not a good place.  That is a good picture of people, isn’t it?

Just as that Fly, we have been given the opportunity to make decisions about our path.  We come across many people and places that we investigate. We receive information along the way. What we listen to determines our decision.

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! (Isaiah 5:20 KJV)

How hard is it to know the difference between good and evil? Comes down to understanding two commandments:

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

Sunday, July 15, 2012

God Is Sovereign

These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God. And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us: And if we know that he hear us, whatsoever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we desired of him. (1 John 5:13-15 KJV)

Oh, I think He hears us when we’re asking for things, even though they are outside His will. However, I also think we’ll do better to seek His will, ask for things to be done according to His will and accept there may be differences between what we want and what will happen.

We are told that Jesus knew what was coming and asked to be spared:

Then saith he unto them, My soul is exceeding sorrowful, even unto death: tarry ye here, and watch with me. And he went a little further, and fell on his face, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt. (Matthew 26:38-39 KJV)

We are also told He endured because He knew God had more planned:

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)

There are natural consequences in this world. Babies are born, grow then die. Some very, very quickly. Others after decades of toil. Some violently. Others softly with loved ones holding their hand. Referred to often as the ‘cycle of life,’ it’s the natural order here and cannot be escaped, though many ignore it or “Rage, rage against the dying of the light.”

I believe the light does not die. And, I believe as John told us that we may have eternal life, and that we will know it. God has gifts for us that we cannot imagine, all for our good:

For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened. Or what man is there of you, whom if his son ask bread, will he give him a stone? Or if he ask a fish, will he give him a serpent? If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask him? (Matthew 7:8-11 KJV)

When we ask, and we do not receive what we have asked in the time frame we desire, move next to seeking His will. What He offers in place of our request may truly be the desire of our heart.

Delight thyself also in the LORD; and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart. (Psalms 37:4 KJV)

Work on that first part and allow God to fulfill the second.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

My Style

OK, ladies, have you ever walked into a shop carrying a photo and said, “I want this hair style.”  The stylist looked at the picture, at you and she didn’t laugh out loud.  Some stylists will cut your hair and it will come close, but not match.  After you go home and fix it yourself, it no longer matters, for the hair is yours and you get used to it.

Sometimes, though, it becomes a test of wills – you are determined to make your style confirm to the picture you had in mind in the first place – or else!

I’ve seen young Christians compare themselves to a church member they want to be. Instead of keeping their eye on Christ, they look to Mr. Example for their standards and service to the Lord.

Often, standard setting is good – our Youth Minister has high standards for his life and our youth would do well to use him as Mr. Example for study time, prayer time, witnessing, Bible reading – all those things are very good for getting to know and serve our Lord.

However, we need to be asking the Lord where our service should be. And, we need to remember the root word is “serve” and that comes from a Middle English word for “slave.” If that bothers you, get over it.

The focus here is understanding that what fits for one person does not fit for anyone else.  Close to, at times, but individual service is not a clone of another’s no matter how much their service is appreciated.

For the body is not one member, but many. If the foot shall say, Because I am not the hand, I am not of the body; is it therefore not of the body? And if the ear shall say, Because I am not the eye, I am not of the body; is it therefore not of the body? (1 Corinthians 12:14-16 KJV)

If God has chosen us to be a mouth, we will not be comfortable trying to live up to Mr. Example’s calling as a hand. If we are called to be feet, our service will not go anywhere without feet to move.

Which part of the body can we do without and still function? To which can we say “I don’t want to be this body part – it’s not where I fit.”

And the eye cannot say unto the hand, I have no need of thee: nor again the head to the feet, I have no need of you. Nay, much more those members of the body, which seem to be more feeble, are necessary: (1 Corinthians 12:21-22 KJV)

The church as a whole is the body, whether we’re speaking of the local congregation where we begin service or the entire body that lives through eternity. The church, made of many, is a single unit:

And whether one member suffer, all the members suffer with it; or one member be honoured, all the members rejoice with it. (1 Corinthians 12:26 KJV)

In each of the congregations I’ve worshiped, there have been members I’ve admired for a wide variety of reasons. There have been many Examples I would like to have been – but God called me for a specific purpose, and for that I have been brought to this place. My style comes from Him.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Choosing Friends

Two items from earlier this week that speak volumes. These are truths that will set the path for lives.  First is this graphic, the second is a quote from ‘The Soul Doctor’ on Facebook”
Your mind is the centre of all spiritual, physical and emotional activity. Anything you allow into your mind ultimately manifests itself into the physical realm.
The people we allow into our lives change us, and we will “be like the people you are around.” Their deeds and their speech will become a part of us. We don't change people, God does. Being around people who love and serve Him allows us to become "the people you want to be like."

If we choose those who are kind and considerate, but not setting a Christian example, we can offset that by asking them to join us with others who are. However, if our choices surround us with people who do not enjoy church, do not read the Bible, do not accept Christ as savior or the existence of God – “you will be like the people you are around” and “anything you allow into your mind ultimately manifests itself into the physical.”

Surrounding ourselves with people who say “Amen!” then that’s what we’ll say.  When we surround ourselves with people who curse, our language will become as theirs and we’ll end up breaking a commandment just by speaking God’s name.

How and why do we choose our friends?  There are huge generational differences. The youth are seeking acceptance, a knowledge that they are not alone as their world changes so drastically around them. Peer pressure is extreme in this age. It is hard to be selective about friends when the drive is to find a ‘best friend forever.’

Young adults have different pressures with new families and jobs. We can only pray that they seek God’s guidance while they were seeking a spouse. From my observation, they don’t. The time to be picky about your friends is long before seeking a spouse.

New Christians often lose friends.  When that happens, there are many opportunities within the church to build new, mentoring relationships.  Look for the aged women:

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)

The aged men have responsibilities, too:

But speak thou the things which become sound doctrine: That the aged men be sober, grave, temperate, sound in faith, in charity, in patience. (Titus 2:1-2 KJV)

And, the youth in church are not ignored:

Young men likewise exhort to be sober minded. In all things shewing thyself a pattern of good works: in doctrine shewing uncorruptness, gravity, sincerity, Sound speech, that cannot be condemned; that he that is of the contrary part may be ashamed, having no evil thing to say of you. (Titus 2:6-8 KJV)

We would do good to be surrounded by them – and learn from them. We will be like the people around us. I thank God for the people I am around who love and serve Him, helping me to do so consistently.

Thursday, July 12, 2012


I did a Google on ‘free offers’ and came up with 80 ‘personal’ results and 2,020,000,000 ‘other results.’ Yet, we all know that nothing is free.

I recently downloaded a ‘free’ crochet pattern booklet – all it took was my e-mail address.  (Yes, I have one just for such items.) At the very least that will cost me some time getting rid of e-mails. At worst, that e-mail address will be passed on to others. So, there is a cost.

The cost is higher if you respond to the attorney who tracked you down for the multi-million dollar account that needs to be put to good use and you’ll get over 50%. Yeah, that one’ll cost a lot!

So, when we say that our salvation is free, that it is a gift from God:

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

.. we know there is nothing we can do to earn or deserve it:

Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began, (2 Timothy 1:9 KJV)

Please don’t stop there – look further and find that we are supposed to do good works:

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

By our works we display our faith that God might be glorified.

Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven. (Matthew 5:16 KJV)

So, except for our doing some good works, which we might have done without Him, and which did not earn us anything – where’s the cost for our salvation?

Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God. (1 Corinthians 2:12 KJV)

Oh, yeah, we’re back to that John 3:16 verse. The one where God gave His only begotten son. The son described in John 1:1.

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. (John 1:1 KJV)

The same one who endured the cross:

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)

That’s the cost. That’s the price. Paid by God.

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)

It’s the knowledge of all that God has done that keeps me constantly praying:

Thanks be unto God for his unspeakable gift. (2 Corinthians 9:15 KJV)

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

The Way

Sort of a follow up to yesterday, where I wrote that we each have a different testimony of how we came to the Lord, I need to be certain I'm writing of only one way.

A celebrity was heard to say there are many paths to reach God. If we look at how people come to Him, that holds true. Each individual experience is unique, each relationship with Him is different and the tasks laid out before each person do not match another’s.

However, there is but one way.

David wrote of  it:

Teach me thy way, O LORD; I will walk in thy truth: unite my heart to fear thy name. (Psalms 86:11 KJV)

Jesus spoke of it:

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

Christians are often scorned because they believe it and (as David) chose to follow:

I have chosen the way of truth: thy judgments have I laid before me. (Psalms 119:30 KJV)

The 8th chapter of John tells of a conversation between Jesus and very devout Jews. In verse 30, we're told 'many believed on him.' In verse 32, He told those that believed:

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

Then He told them:

I know that ye are Abraham's seed; but ye seek to kill me, because my word hath no place in you. (John 8:37 KJV)

And, He was right.  The very crowds that sang Hallelujah on His entry into Jerusalem called for His crucifixion before the week was out. Among them, those of verse 30. Here, Jesus gave us the source of lies:

Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it. And because I tell you the truth, ye believe me not. (John 8:44-45 KJV)

Instead, mankind has chosen to become one:

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.
(Romans 1:25 KJV)

There are not many ways to come to God.  He provided one and has given many to witness and testify of that one way:

And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up: That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life. 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 3:14-18 KJV)

Nothing in those verses refutes the Bible. Those verses complete the testimony.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Not The Same Testimony

This is a site I’ve enjoyed in so many different ways. There are several items from Cheryl’s testimony that can be of help to those thinking of becoming a Christian as well as those who have been witnessing for years:
I said, "You are telling me that I can come to God just as I am, smoking, drinking, all the stuff I've done, and He is just going to forgive me?" "Yes." I shook my head. I honestly believed that I had to "clean myself up" and make myself presentable before I could come before a Holy God and ask forgiveness.
Too many think we must change before becoming a Christian.  Nope. Changes will come, naturally and joyfully, but God’s invitation is “Come as you are.” That’s not ‘easy salvation,’ because the gate remains strait and the way is still narrow, just as Jesus said:

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

As narrow as that way is, people walk upon it from different starting places and make different journeys. None of our testimonies find us coming to belief in Jesus in the same way. Some have parents serving the Lord before the child was born. Others have parents who have not yet acknowledged any belief in a deity.

Though their testimonies differ, their service is that of every Christian – living their lives to bring glory to God by doing His will. And, at times, we fail Him. We do know that it is necessary to acknowledge those failures, not only when we first come to Him, but later, too:

Against thee, thee only, have I sinned, and done this evil in thy sight: that thou mightest be justified when thou speakest, and be clear when thou judgest. (Psalms 51:4 KJV)

David shared his relationship with God, just as Paul did:

I am verily a man which am a Jew, … and was zealous toward God, as ye all are this day. And I persecuted this way unto the death, binding and delivering into prisons both men and women. (Acts 22:3-4 KJV)

Each man gave a different testimony, just as Cheryl and I when we give ours. When we first come to Him, and when we acknowledge our failures, we have good company and good words:

Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me. Cast me not away from thy presence; and take not thy holy spirit from me. Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation; and uphold me with thy free spirit. (Psalms 51:10-12 KJV)

Though each do not share the same testimonies as any other, we do take joy in our salvation and in serving our Lord.  Ask any one of us about it – we’re ready to talk!

Monday, July 9, 2012

Glad Parents


I’ve mention Glenys’ Morning Cuppa before, and when I ran across this picture and verse she posted, it fit right in with a topic on my mind. Thanks, Glenys, for permission to use and link!

It sort of takes two verses to start down the path I thought:

The father of the righteous shall greatly rejoice: and he that begetteth a wise child shall have joy of him. Thy father and thy mother shall be glad, and she that bare thee shall rejoice. (Proverbs 23:24-25 KJV)

Notice that it doesn’t say that the father or the mother are righteous, and does say the child is both righteous and wise. The wise child follows:

Honour thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee. (Exodus 20:12 KJV)

That’s repeated once more in the Old Testament:

Honour thy father and thy mother, as the LORD thy God hath commanded thee; that thy days may be prolonged, and that it may go well with thee, in the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee. (Deuteronomy 5:16 KJV)

We find it again in the New Testament, Matthew 15:3-6, Mark 7:9-13 and Luke 18:18-23, as part of Jesus’ lesson on keeping the truth of God’s commandment, not the face value. Again, in Matthew 19:16-22 and Mark 10:17-22,  Jesus uses that commandment in His conversation with the young rich man.

Paul uses this teaching, too:

Children, obey your parents in the Lord: for this is right. Honour thy father and mother; (which is the first commandment with promise;) That it may be well with thee, and thou mayest live long on the earth. (Ephesians 6:1-3 KJV)

I like that Paul included ‘obey’ and ‘this is right.’ The majority of parents look to the safety of their children. Obeying their parents will add years to their lives. We’ve all heard of incidents where disobeying parents brought death to teens. The first that comes to my mind is the death of young people combining alcohol and automobiles. The proof that they are not indestructible brings horror to their parents that never leaves.

The question arises, though, “What about children whose parents are not Christian and the child is? Are the parents to be obeyed?”

Absolutely.  Although this verse is for wives of unsaved husbands, the concept fits just as well for children:

Likewise, ye wives, be in subjection to your own husbands; that, if any obey not the word, they also may without the word be won by the conversation of the wives; (1 Peter 3:1 KJV)

Children are under the authority of their parents. Secular society expects parents to be responsible for their children. At least, it works better that way! Parents truly are glad when their children grow up righteous and wise, and children may win parents by their conversations.

I have the greatest admiration for a child who loves the Lord enough to obey their parents, even when it appears to be in error, and can make their parents understand the love they hold – for them and for their Lord.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Goal Oriented

Have you ever written down what you wanted to do for God?

The goal oriented individual knows that things don’t happen by accident. They plan ahead, lay out actions or tasks that should be accomplished to achieve their goal. Often, a timeline is included. We used software to lay out project plans with specific check points, milestones and reports along the way to evaluate progress. Ours were much more intricate than the example!

Perhaps now it’s apparent that the first sentence is connected to setting goals. What is not apparent, except to Christians, is that setting goals needs to be done within God’s plans. Esther is always a good example simply because of this verse:

… who knoweth whether thou art come to the kingdom for such a time as this? (Esther 4:14b KJV)

When we are in God’s will, we will be in the right spot to work with the plans He has for us. When we’re not, left to our own devices we’ll run into trouble. So, our goal should be to spend time with God, get to know where He wants us to be, doing what He wants us to do:

Wherefore be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is. (Ephesians 5:17 KJV)

There’s another verse that tell us doing His will brings a promise:

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

When we do His will, it’s for Him, not for accolades from others:

Not with eyeservice, as menpleasers; but as the servants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart; With good will doing service, as to the Lord, and not to men: (Ephesians 6:6-7 KJV)

We must be aware that what we do is for God’s glory. It takes work, it takes transformation (and thanks to God, we’re given His help in this!) and it takes thinking about Him, studying about Him and spending time with Him in prayer.

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)

We do have help in seeking and accomplishing His will. We have the perfect example of following His will, no matter what the cost:

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

That’s my goal. I have not accomplished my goal, but with His help, I continue working on the plan.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Soul For Sale

News never ceases to amaze me. There’s always something that appears out of the norm, but Lori’s eBay listing for selling her soul is different. It saddens me to think of how she values her soul, and made me think about souls, individually, personally and in general.

When it comes to souls, we don’t have one, we are one. Christians believe our souls are God given, as described for Adam:

And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul. (Genesis 2:7 KJV)

But, man is more than body and soul:

And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. (1 Thessalonians 5:23 KJV)

Matthew’s reference (quoting Isaiah 42:1) …

Behold my servant, whom I have chosen; my beloved, in whom my soul is well pleased: I will put my spirit upon him, and he shall shew judgment to the Gentiles. (Matthew 12:18 KJV)

… describes to me where my spirit originates.  It comes from God. But there are other spirits, too, which could be why David wrote:

Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me. (Psalms 51:10 KJV)

Reading, studying, coming to understand the word of God through prayer is the best way to renew that right spirit:

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

Are we aware of our spirit separate from our soul? How can all three be kept blameless, as Paul wrote in 1 Thessalonians 5:23? I believe part of that answer lies in Christ’s words to the woman at the well:

But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him. God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth. (John 4:23-24 KJV)

That hour still now is when we are to worship God in spirit and in truth. Not  in some distant future, but now. The woman recognized there was something very special being said to her, and her memory brought forth a promise:

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

His answer is the reason I am concerned about the condition of my spirit and my soul and my body:

Jesus saith unto her, I that speak unto thee am he. (John 4:26 KJV)

In worshiping, in spirit and in truth, I believe what He said. On the surface, from her eBay listing, it appears Lori does not.  Do you?

Friday, July 6, 2012

Before His Throne

Assuming you pray, do you think of yourself kneeling before God’s altar? When you make a request of Him, do you follow much of the layout of the Lord’s Prayer?

After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen. (Matthew 6:9-13 KJV)

I’m used to that, and I expect you are, too.  Can you imagine ending your prayer with “How long, O Lord”? I can’t, but the John described such a scene:

And when he had opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of them that were slain for the word of God, and for the testimony which they held: And they cried with a loud voice, saying, How long, O Lord, holy and true, dost thou not judge and avenge our blood on them that dwell on the earth? (Revelation 6:9-10 KJV)

There was an answer for them, too:

And white robes were given unto every one of them; and it was said unto them, that they should rest yet for a little season, until their fellowservants also and their brethren, that should be killed as they were, should be fulfilled. (Revelation 6:11 KJV)

My preference would be not to know that more would be killed, that those slain because they loved Him, slain for His very word. My preference is they would see their fellow servants spared. God’s knowledge of all that is, was, and will be includes the machinations of Satan and the evil that men do against their own.

I thank God for the information He has given us that Satan does not have that same foreknowledge! That he does not understand how futile his actions were before, how his jealous greed will never gain him heaven’s throne.

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)

Instead of destroying God’s redemption, the crucifixion fulfilled. Had they known, they would not have fought to have Christ crucified.

Isn’t that a powerful thought? There is a battle being waged. There are brethren who will be slain. That is not the end, and the end has been written.

Do ye not know that the saints shall judge the world? and if the world shall be judged by you, are ye unworthy to judge the smallest matters? Know ye not that we shall judge angels? how much more things that pertain to this life? (1 Corinthians 6:2-3 KJV)

How is your preparation for this coming?