Friday, August 31, 2012


Yesterday I said God got it right the first time.  I know, someone out there is thinking "Oh, yeah? What about Satan?" Or Lucifer, or the devil – or the angel he once was (and he should be depicted as having six wings, not two as shown here.)

God got it right creating angels, too, until one decided “I will be like the most high” instead of “Thy will be done.” That’s a personal choice, which God allowed.

How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! how art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations! For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north: I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High. (Isaiah 14:12-14 KJV)

Milton put it to poetry:
Here we may reign secure, and in my choice
to reign is worth ambition though in Hell:
Better to reign in Hell, than serve in Heaven.
Reign we will not, though Lucifer thinks it better. Even if there was an even division between heaven and hell, there would be but one ruler in each. For me, ‘tis better to serve in heaven. Content now to serve here on this earth, even though stalked by the adversary condemned to hell:

Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour: (1 Peter 5:8 KJV)

I will be sober and vigilant, but I do not fear this adversary. There is but one deserving of such fear:

And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.  (Matthew 10:28 KJV)

Knowing that He has this capability, and knowing that He has given us His commandments, we must all answer the question laid out in Hebrews:

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)

That answer is predicated on believing that there is a Creator; that He is described in the Bible as the Lord God; and, believing that the Bible says a choice not only can be but must be made. My Ohio sister-in-law wrote it down long before she died, telling everyone she knew: “I’d rather live my life believing in God and die finding out He isn’t, than to live without believing and find out He is.”

One way or the other, she found out last year. We all will, eventually, won’t we? What does happen when so great a salvation is neglected?

Thursday, August 30, 2012


Have you said – or heard – “How many times do I have to tell you?” I heard it quit a bit while growing up. Said it to my children, too. Many times the lessons learned earlier (moments or months) did not show up on our radar at the right moment and we have to be told, AGAIN.

John had that problem, too:

Jesus answered and said unto them, Go and shew John again those things which ye do hear and see: The blind receive their sight, and the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, and the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, and the poor have the gospel preached to them. And blessed is he, whosoever shall not be offended in me. [Matthew 11:4-6 KJV]

There’s that word – again. Go to John and once again tell him what you hear and see. Coach Horton in our church wrote a song telling this story, and I’ve written about that before in “Go Tell John.”

John isn’t the only one who had to be told things more than once. Things heard from God with no misunderstanding. After a while, when expectations were not met, the telling had to happen again.

Eve was the first, Adam the second. Don’t eat the fruit. They had been told they would die. They were told, again, with specificity that rings in our ears today. For all mankind, we are born and we die. The span of time between those two events runs from mere seconds to over a hundred years, but both occur.

Abram and Sarai come along and are told they will have a child. It took longer than they wanted, so they messed with the planning themselves and wars are fought over that today. They not only didn’t fix their problems, they added to ours.

Moses had to be told several things more than once. The Ten Commandments were physically broken in a fit of anger. Today we spiritually break them without any feeling. Moses had to listen to God twice just on those – and that was after turning Him down on the first request to be His spokesman.

Think of it – seldom ever was a God-chosen person responsive the first time. Jonah is an excellent example. When asked to go to Nineveh he ran away on a ship and was tossed overboard.  Then, when he did it right, his expectations were not met and he pouted AGAIN through a lesson with a gourd.

In 651 verses, the Bible uses ‘again’ 672 times (King James version, of course.)  It’s not used in the first three chapters. God didn’t have to do things again – He got them right the first time when creating this world.

We won’t get it right all the time. We are imperfect, but there is coming a time, Paul said:

But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away. (1 Corinthians 13:10 KJV)

So, we read it and tell it again and again. Maybe we’ll get it one of these tellings.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

They Didn’t Question The Healing

For the last few days I’ve been reading chronologically in the New Testament. Completed the Old and have written about chronological reading numerous times of the last months. I’m in no hurry to finish, though, for there are so many things I’m finding during the reading.  Such as Jesus at Bethesda.

Yes, I know that story – have loved it most of my life. My favorite verse there is:

When Jesus saw him lie, and knew that he had been now a long time in that case, he saith unto him, Wilt thou be made whole? (John 5:6 KJV)

I’ve heard many lessons and sermons on that question – do we really want to be made whole? It sounds as though we’d be as eager as the man who had been infirm for 38 years.

Instead of saying “Yes!!!”, to Jesus’ question, the man gives an excuse for not being whole:

The impotent man answered him, Sir, I have no man, when the water is troubled, to put me into the pool: but while I am coming, another steppeth down before me. (John 5:7 KJV)

“Do you want God’s help?”  “Well, no one has proven to me there is a god.” Or, “Which god?”

Sounds like an excuse to me, does it to you? People are full of them when asked a direct question about salvation or belief in God. Try a question about why someone doesn’t attend worship services. Excuses galore.

But – those were old lessons to me.  I’ve heard them before. What caught my eye this time were those who saw the man carrying his bedding.  I have no idea how much bedding he carried, could have simply been a blanket, or a large parcel.  Didn’t matter, they wanted to know why he was sinning on the sabbath by bearing a load. He answered:

He answered them, He that made me whole, the same said unto me, Take up thy bed, and walk. (John 5:11 KJV)

The questioners, identified only as Jews – not priests Sadducees or Pharisees - were not interested in the man’s healing. Their problem was that he was carrying his bedding on the sabbath.

Laws concerning what may or may not constitute labor on the sabbath appear convoluted to those of us who believe Christ’s words:

And he said unto them, The sabbath was made for man, and not man for the sabbath: (Mark 2:27 KJV)

I’m going to leave the discussion of Sunday/Sabbath for another day. Today I’m focused on the fact that the questioners did not mention the man’s healing. There was no rejoicing with him that he could walk, his infirmity gone. The concern was breaking a commandment by carrying bedding on the sabbath. Are we that legalistic in our own lives?

Are we overlooking God’s hand in a person’s life by seeing only the baggage they are carrying?

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

A Question Arose

Sunday I posted a series of thoughts that included how God’s word has been misused and abused:
Examples of this abuse are contained in the Bible, and should never be used as reasons for doing wrong.
A question arose about such examples.  No, I’m not going to list them all, nor am I going to give Bible verses for each example. That would run into pages and pages. Not my style. Just a few examples, look them up on your own. Let me know if what I write here is wrong by leaving a Comment.

We are not to follow everything that is in the Bible.  Some are there as history as to how not to live.  The first one that comes to mind are the multiple marriages of the biblical patriarchs. That was not God’s plan, as evidenced by several verses, and should be used as an example of how badly things can go when the plan is ignored, beginning with Abraham and Sarah. When it came to the parents of our Lord and Savior, we have one man, one wife, without divorce (I will admit having an angelic messenger did help.)

Just because something is included in the Bible, that inclusion does not make a doctrine to live by. Job’s friends sound wise. Their advice sounds much like advice we hear today. Taken apart from Job’s answers regarding his innocence, their advice could apply to a number of people we know living in error today. We could be just as wrong as they were.

Peter whipping out his sword to defend Jesus at His betrayal cannot be construed as an example for Christians to follow. Nor can Peter’s subsequent denials as he was concerned for his own safety.

There are a couple of standards personally taken to heart to determine how verses apply. I use them often because they are of utmost importance when determining what should and should not be.

The first is the concise determination of what commandments are important to the Lord:

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)

That will take care of a great deal of what might be termed biblical conflicts. Then I go to:

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)

The whole chapter is excellent, but this one verse can help me determine what goes into – and comes out of – my mind and my heart.

One final verse:

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)

Study the scriptures. Daily. Search them from top to bottom and discover whether those things were so. Seek and ye shall find.

Monday, August 27, 2012


I am grateful for people who have studied longer and harder than I have, especially those who study subjects that hold my interest and research much better than I ever could.  Robert Hutchinson has done so in a blog: Debating The New Atheist, a second part, though I haven’t read the first.

I am not a debater, though I do enjoy a good discussion of differing viewpoints -- as long as mutual respect is maintained throughout. It is possible to disagree without arguing. However, I continue to be amazed at how atheists look at Christianity.

While researching responses to Pascal’s Wager, I ran across an atheist who stated that only good people who were dedicated to searching for truth would be going to heaven, therefore only atheists and theologians would meet the requirements. His conclusion is based on an erroneous assumption.

It is beyond my understanding how anyone could believe that only ‘good’ people, those who do good deeds all of their lives, will be in heaven. That’s not biblical at all. Altruism is not how that journey is made, according to the Bible.

How much time did the thief on the cross have to be altruistic?

But the other answering rebuked him, saying, Dost not thou fear God, seeing thou art in the same condemnation? And we indeed justly; for we receive the due reward of our deeds: but this man hath done nothing amiss. And he said unto Jesus, Lord, remember me when thou comest into thy kingdom. And Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, To day shalt thou be with me in paradise. (Luke 23:40-43 KJV)

His statement acknowledged his guilt, Jesus’ kingship, eternal life and made a request. Bottom line, basic necessities, as Christ said to Nicodemus:

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 3:18 KJV)

Believing can be done at any time in one’s life. That gets us into heaven. For some, that is sufficient. For others, there is a personal response to a couple of God’s commandments for the rest of their lives.  Yes, God desires that we keep His commandments:

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)

I like what David prayed as he was making preparations for a temple to the Lord that he was not allowed to build because of his sins:

I know also, my God, that thou triest the heart, and hast pleasure in uprightness. As for me, in the uprightness of mine heart I have willingly offered all these things: and now have I seen with joy thy people, which are present here, to offer willingly unto thee. (1 Chronicles 29:17 KJV)

It’s not as simple as it sounds.  Want to learn more?

Sunday, August 26, 2012

It’s Tempting

In the tab “What I Believe”, the Bible is listed first, with an explanation:
I place this belief first, not because it is the most important, but because it explains and provides answers for so much of the following. Without the Bible, there is not a foundation for believing ...
The Bible is not the most important part of our faith, but it does explain a good bit of it. Christians need to remember how easily it has been misused. Examples of this abuse are contained in the Bible, and should never be used as reasons for doing wrong.

Satan knows God’s word. He used them in his first temptation.

Now the serpent was more subtil than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden? (Genesis 3:1 KJV)

Then, he lied, and Eve fell for the temptation.  He used them again when tempting Jesus in the wilderness in Luke 4:1-12.

He still lies and still uses God’s word to mislead, confuse and confound. It is quite possible to pull a verse, or several verses, to support what any individual wishes to do.

If a divorce is desired, there are many verses that give reasons for divorce and how to accomplish it. A thorough reading also brings out that this is NOT God’s plan. Divorce was created by and for hard-hearted people who bypassed God’s marriage plans.

One verse that will be of most help when the world uses God’s word as temptation would be:

Abstain from all appearance of evil. (1 Thessalonians 5:22 KJV)

There’s another verse in that chapter that we should take to heart. We need to memorize:

And we beseech you, brethren, to know them which labour among you, and are over you in the Lord, and admonish you; (1 Thessalonians 5:12 KJV)

When a fellow Christian, having a great deal more experience in dealing with the world’s temptations, admonishes us, we would do well to heed the words.  Especially when they come from God’s word and appear to be applicable to our situation. Rather than defend our actions, we’d be better off spending time in prayer to be certain our actions do not have the appearance of going against God’s will.

There will be valid differences between children of God, but temptations to live by the world’s standards instead of God’s should not be one of them.

As imperfect humans, we can find justification for everything we want to do.  We live in a “Just Do It” world, but our instructions from God require careful consideration as to whether God is glorified, or we are being selfish. For example:

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 admonished by fellow Christians caring for my soul, my answers should include the virtue and the praise to God – or I need to change what I am doing.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Time, as we know it.

Ever hear of “It’s above my pay grade”? Well, Einstein’s theory of relativity is well above my brain grade.  I know it exists, I’ve read about it, thought about and unfortunately most of it makes as much sense as:
0 = (1/R0) cos(Df/2) + 2 (G M/c2)/R02,
- cos(p/2 + df/2) = sin(df/2) ~ df/2 = 2 (G M/c2)/R0.
That came from CalTech and I know it made sense to the person writing the article on relativity but it’s less than Greek to me. I’d be better off with an English translation of Hebrew:

That which hath been is now; and that which is to be hath already been; and God requireth that which is past. (Ecclesiastes 3:15 KJV)

Time is measurable, God is not. He knows what hath been, is now and which is to be, so for Him it truly hath already been. We don’t understand all of that, even with formulas for relativity. The best a Christian can do is to say that we’ve read the end of the story, inspired by God, written by John, and God’s still there.

Anyone who tells you they fully understand Revelation is most likely half a bubble off plumb. I make that observation because of those who decline to see prophecy fulfilled in Jesus. The human mind just isn’t capable of understanding all God has done or will do in our future.  God said so:

For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts. (Isaiah 55:8-9 KJV)

The Bible is a great mystery story, and not all of its mysteries have been made known.

And I heard, but I understood not: then said I, O my Lord, what shall be the end of these things? And he said, Go thy way, Daniel: for the words are closed up and sealed till the time of the end. (Daniel 12:8-9 KJV)

So many of God’s promises have already been accomplished and stand as examples of improvable faith that the remainder will be fulfilled.

Revelation 22 completes the book and almost every verse in that chapter has deep meaning for me. The one that comes to mind now, though is John as he falls down to worship with an angel:

And I John saw these things, and heard them. And when I had heard and seen, I fell down to worship before the feet of the angel which shewed me these things. Then saith he unto me, See thou do it not: for I am thy fellowservant, and of thy brethren the prophets, and of them which keep the sayings of this book: worship God. (Revelation 22:8-9 KJV)

The sayings of this book are the same as those in Genesis. The same as the first commandment written in stone for Moses. The same as confirmed by Jesus as the greatest. The same as spoken to John after seeing the end of time, as we know it.

Worship God.

Friday, August 24, 2012

If Thy Hand Offend Thee

That’s my right thumb. Not different from any other right thumb, except for that little round circle. That’s a growth of some kind. The doctor says it needs to be excised. It may not be any different from the meningiomas found in my head, but at least this one can be seen, has been an irritant and we can get rid of it.

It has my DNA, you know, even if it shouldn’t be where it is. It is made up of cells created within my body. It made me think of a specific Bible verse:

And whosoever shall offend one of these little ones that believe in me, it is better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and he were cast into the sea. And if thy hand offend thee, cut it off: it is better for thee to enter into life maimed, than having two hands to go into hell, into the fire that never shall be quenched: (Mark 9:42-43 KJV)

The meningiomas are surrounded by my skull, rather hard to get to, so we won’t be cutting off those offending tissues any time soon, but we can get to this thumb spot and verify what it is – which may provide a clue to the others.

That’s not the growth I really have on my mind right now. It’s the Carnegie stages of an embryo. Click on the link to view the states and the explanation that includes:
Embryos that might have different ages or sizes can be assigned the same Carnegie stage based on their external appearance because of the natural variation which occurs between individuals.
Key word = individuals. These stages, no matter what name is given to them are the first stages of human individuals. The ones I carried did not have my DNA. They had their own individual DNA combinations of mine and my husband’s. They were, from the beginning, different from any other cell in my body.

They were the most vulnerable of humans. Which is the reason I cannot support abortion as a birth control choice.

Don’t go there – not all abortions are the result of rape or incest or needed for the life of the mother. Don’t give me the argument of most activists by saying “keep out of my body” when their hand is in my pocket book.  Pay for it without my tax money and I have no vested interest. Use my tax money, garner my interest.

I addressed part of this in a previous blog where medical ethicist were redefining abortion:
They argue that both the fetus and the new-born infant are only potential persons without any interests. Therefore the interests of the persons involved with them are paramount until some indefinite time after birth.
Is it necessary to have ‘interests’ to be considered human? Is an uninteresting life less than human?

Or does it come down to DNA, which is human, which is individually unique? Who has the right to destroy a uniquely human individual?

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Dating vs Courtship

This site, Treasures From A Shoebox, has a beautiful explanation of the differences between dating (which I personally discourage) and courtship:
     We strongly believe that repetitious dating and breaking up is a blueprint for future marriage and divorce.
     Courtship is a father's agreeing to work with a qualified young man to win his daughter for marriage. The purpose of courtship is to seek the Lord to determine if it is His perfect will for the couple to marry.
This states so well what we attempted to have our Junior High School girls understand when considering their future.

The biblical picture of marriage is a man and a woman, beginning in Genesis:

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

… and ending in Mark with Jesus’ words:

But from the beginning of the creation God made them male and female. For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and cleave to his wife; And they twain shall be one flesh: so then they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder. (Mark 10:6-9 KJV)

Dating and breaking is a very poor pattern to set. There are several young couples that have gone through our church successfully breaking that pattern. They ‘date’ in group activities, never alone. Yes, I’m talking about teens with their own cars. Read how Luke and Jamie Knickerbocker worked through their courtship.

What have they gained? A trusting relationship built over years. The purposed in their hearts as displayed by biblical examples and achieved what God promised – one husband, one wife, become one flesh, unshared with others.

A larger number of couples failed, not only in dating but in maintaining their marriage “till death” did part.  The verses before Mark 10:9 addressed that very subject:

And the Pharisees came to him, and asked him, Is it lawful for a man to put away his wife? tempting him. And he answered and said unto them, What did Moses command you? And they said, Moses suffered to write a bill of divorcement, and to put her away. And Jesus answered and said unto them, For the hardness of your heart he wrote you this precept. (Mark 10:2-5 KJV)

Please notice that Jesus did not say that God gave a commandment for divorce. He said “What did Moses command you?” and He added “For the hardness of your heart he (Moses!) wrote you this precept.”

Words matter. Jesus said “from the beginning of creation God made them male and female.” It bears repeating. It is a tenet of my faith, based on God’s word. Words matter. The ones repeated by the bride and groom are commitments before witnesses and before God. They bear remembering and following.

For those considering marriage, consider it a life-time commitment for the consequences will be a part of each others lives until death. The memories cannot be erased with a divorce decree. Neither can the pain of serious dating and breaking up. Over and over again.

Teens – find a mentor to help you understand that dating is detrimental. Courtship is very different. Study and learn.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Another Study–Generosity

The Bible teaches its followers to be generous. Since we believe Jesus’ teachings:

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)

… we believe we are to see after those in need.  James gives us the very definition of religion:

Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world. (James 1:27 KJV)

According to a review of 2008 data (latest available) states are not equally generous.  Not my words, so don’t yell at me yet – take a look at the article on MSNBC (don’t correct me yet – I know it’s now NBC since the split – but this URL still says MSNBC).

The reason I’m thinking about this comes down to some things I’ve read about how better off we’d be without religion. You know, just Imagine how that would be! The assumption is that without religion there would be no reason to have wars.

Please, think again. Liberalism, humanism if you will, is more prevalent in the northeastern United States. There are divisions within our nation that are geographic.  Yet, this article from an openly liberal-biased media outlet states;
The study released Monday by the Chronicle of Philanthropy found that residents in states where religious participation is higher than the rest of the nation, particularly in the South, gave the greatest percentage of their discretionary income to charity.
Could be because we have the example of the widow:

And there came a certain poor widow, and she threw in two mites, which make a farthing. And he called unto him his disciples, and saith unto them, Verily I say unto you, That this poor widow hath cast more in, than all they which have cast into the treasury: For all they did cast in of their abundance; but she of her want did cast in all that she had, even all her living. (Mark 12:42-44 KJV)

We must have a heart for giving, a compassion for the people – giving money alone is not sufficient:

And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing. (1 Corinthians 13:3 KJV)

In his next book, Paul wrote:

Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver. (2 Corinthians 9:7 KJV)

I would pray that everyone find it in their hearts to be a cheerful giver, not only of their money, but their time and energy to see to the needs of their fellowman:

For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in: Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me. (Matthew 25:35-36 KJV)

Remember the definition of true religion. Practice it and perhaps the article written about next year’s study of generosity will be vastly different.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Ignorant? Or, Liar?

Lest Satan should get an advantage of us: for we are not ignorant of his devices. (2 Corinthians 2:11 KJV)

Or, are we? We are if we haven’t learned about Satan’s devices. What? You don’t believe Satan exists? I take it then you don’t believe God exists, either, because the Bible is very explicit concerning Satan’s experiences with mankind.

OK, with womankind first:

And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die: (Genesis 3:4 KJV)

Liar. The first lie from the father of lies, according to Jesus:

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. (John 8:44 KJV)

I agree with one blogger quoting M. Scott Peck (though I have not read Peck’s work) where he states “while evil manifests itself in many ways, its common identifier is the lie.”

We know that advertisements lie, yet we allow them to set our expectations and standards. We know we lie, the little white ones that are meant to be pleasant chatter to keep from offending. We know that politicians lie, some hedged with a bit of truth, but designed to mislead. We live in a world of lies that we put down to ignorance.

People lie to further their own desires, their own agendas. No need to list them, I may find on that list some things my readers see as truth. There is a standard laid out in the Bible for truth:

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

Jesus also told us how to find that truth:

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)

Other verses proclaim God as truth:

For the word of the LORD is right; and all his works are done in truth. (Psalms 33:4 KJV)

We have the word of God explaining what is true, giving examples of what are lies and the results of those lies.  How, then, can we remain ignorant?

Because it takes looking into our own lives and finding the ‘v’ removed. We are of this world and we are of the lies of this world. We remain ignorant because we can’t stand to have the light of truth turned into our own hearts and find the devices of Satan have deep roots.

He is not all knowing, though. He will leave when rebuked, as he did following Christ’s temptation.

Then saith Jesus unto him, Get thee hence, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve. Then the devil leaveth him, and, behold, angels came and ministered unto him. (Matthew 4:10-11 KJV)

Don’t lie. Don’t believe others’ lies – no, that IS doable.  We usually accept lies because there’s a benefit for us, even if that benefit has consequences we’d rather not face. Choose truth, coming out of our mouths, going in to our hearts.

Monday, August 20, 2012

A revisit - looking back at faith and faithfulness

“Great acts of faith flow from our past interactions with the Lord. By neglecting His simple commands, we miss priceless opportunities to witness His faithfulness.” From an ‘In Touch’ devotional forwarded to me, this thought caused me to do some searching in my Bible – what does it say about God’s faithfulness?  Here are just a few:

Know therefore that the LORD thy God, he is God, the faithful God, which keepeth covenant and mercy with them that love him and keep his commandments to a thousand generations; [Deuteronomy 7:9 KJV]

Thus saith the LORD, the Redeemer of Israel, and his Holy One, to him whom man despiseth, to him whom the nation abhorreth, to a servant of rulers, Kings shall see and arise, princes also shall worship, because of the LORD that is faithful, and the Holy One of Israel, and he shall choose thee. [Isaiah 49:7 KJV]

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. Faithful is he that calleth you, who also will do it. [1 Thessalonians 5:23-24 KJV]

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. [1 John 1:9 KJV]

Hebrews 11 gives a list of those who proved to be faithful to God:  Abel, Enoch, Noah, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Moses, and the last in that list, the harlot Rahab.

Wow, we can’t display the faith of a harlot?  She explains her faith by what she had heard:

And she said unto the men, I know that the LORD hath given you the land, and that your terror is fallen upon us, and that all the inhabitants of the land faint because of you. For we have heard how the LORD dried up the water of the Red sea for you, when ye came out of Egypt; and what ye did unto the two kings of the Amorites, that were on the other side Jordan, Sihon and Og, whom ye utterly destroyed. 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 2:9-11 KJV]

She read no scriptures, heard no priest, did not see the miracles she heard described in rumors of war – but she recognized the hand of God in heaven above, and in earth beneath.  And we cannot do as well? 

What would it take for us?  A theophany, a physical manifestation?  Christ gave Israel just that, and only a few believed.  Is His story truly explained away as a death covered up by excellent fiction writers?  What a conspiracy theory!  A few fishermen, a tax collector, a Greek physcian, add a young Pharisee priest and they create, through letters and preaching, a religion that spreads in spite of persecution to the point of death?

An atheist commented as to how surprised Christians are going to be when they die and find there is no God.  To me, that shows he hasn’t thought through his own argument.  If death is the end, no eternity beyond, Christians will not be surprised, nor will anyone else.  However, if Christians are correct, eternity does exist as explained by them, I would not want to be an atheist.  Of course, that’s Pascal’s Wager.

My concept of the “play it safe rather than risk being sorry” is to study what is offered about God.  Others have done so and chosen different religious views.  I will not demonize theirs, but simply state my own beliefs and their source.

Will you?

Sunday, August 19, 2012


If you have an e-mail address, you’ve received a copy of Bob Perks’ poem, ‘I Wish You Enough’ – if you haven’t, click on the link and read the full story before you get to his poem. Beautifully stated, but there is nothing new under the sun. Agur (Solomon?) considered what it would be like to have too much or too little and wrote:

Two things have I required of thee; deny me them not before I die: Remove far from me vanity and lies: give me neither poverty nor riches; feed me with food convenient for me: Lest I be full, and deny thee, and say, Who is the LORD? or lest I be poor, and steal, and take the name of my God in vain. (Proverbs 30:7-9 KJV)

An entire cottage industry was grown around Jabez’s granted prayer:

And Jabez was more honourable than his brethren: and his mother called his name Jabez, saying, Because I bare him with sorrow. And Jabez called on the God of Israel, saying, Oh that thou wouldest bless me indeed, and enlarge my coast, and that thine hand might be with me, and that thou wouldest keep me from evil, that it may not grieve me! And God granted him that which he requested. (1 Chronicles 4:9-10 KJV)

The Lord granted to both Solomon and Jabez what they requested, cups filled and running over, so we look to them as examples for how and what we should pray. We forget that Solomon also wrote Proverbs, asking for ‘enough’, and Jesus said we should be asking:

Give us this day our daily bread. (Matthew 6:11 KJV)

Just a few verses before, Jesus tells us that God knows what we need long before we ask Him. Much more important than what we request is how we request it. Jesus begins His example with:

After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. (Matthew 6:9 KJV)

He closes with:

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 6:13 KJV)

Acknowledging God for who He is in our lives begins and ends Christ’s example. Most of the public prayers I hear do the same – words of thanks to God, our Father, and requests that His will be done, in the name of His son, Jesus our savior.

But, do we ask for enough? Or, too little? Maybe too much? How do we know what is enough? Do we miss opportunities for greater blessings by not asking? Those are questions running through my mind – and I continue to search for the answers. I am reminded that we’ve also been told:

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)

So, while the questions run through my mind, they cannot take away from my being in prayer with thanksgiving, acknowledging God in my life. He knows what I need, each day.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Stopping Along The Way

The link from a Friend’s Facebook post looked interesting, and it was less than ten minutes, but just over a minute into it, I stopped. Not because I was bored, but because Francis Chan had given words to a picture I had in my mind.

Remember the potter/clay analogy? Isaiah made it concise:

But now, O LORD, thou art our father; we are the clay, and thou our potter; and we all are the work of thy hand. (Isaiah 64:8 KJV)

Jeremiah’s conversation with the Lord went much further:

Then I went down to the potter's house, and, behold, he wrought a work on the wheels. And the vessel that he made of clay was marred in the hand of the potter: so he made it again another vessel, as seemed good to the potter to make it. Then the word of the LORD came to me, saying, O house of Israel, cannot I do with you as this potter? saith the LORD. Behold, as the clay is in the potter's hand, so are ye in mine hand, O house of Israel. (Jeremiah 18:3-6 KJV)

For decades I’ve pictured myself on our Lord’s wheel. Today I saw so much more – finished pieces, other pieces in progress, unused clay waiting for the potter’s hands. Though I have His attention, I’ve never been alone in the potter’s hands. There are clouds upon clouds of witnesses.

As I stopped the video, I also noted that the potter did not place marring items in the clay.  Having used clay to cast greenware, I know the discovered bits and pieces of material that pebble a smooth surface. The clay comes in contact with items that don’t belong  in it, yet finds ways to touch, adhere and mar the piece as it turns. Not the fault of the potter, is it? He will remold, make it into a slightly different piece than what he originally had in mind.

Eventually, if the clay cannot be molded into usefulness, it will be discarded. People complain that God makes that decision. I don’t think so, and neither did Paul:

Thou wilt say then unto me, Why doth he yet find fault? For who hath resisted his will? Nay but, O man, who art thou that repliest against God? Shall the thing formed say to him that formed it, Why hast thou made me thus? Hath not the potter power over the clay, of the same lump to make one vessel unto honour, and another unto dishonour? (Romans 9:19-21 KJV)

True, God made us all. Some of us are honorable, some are not. That depends on what we do with the life we’re given. Call them reasons, call them excuses, call them explanation of where we are on our life’s walk, we each make our own choices. Some will not yield to the potter’s hands, folding uselessly.

And they said, There is no hope: but we will walk after our own devices, and we will every one do the imagination of his evil heart. (Jeremiah 18:12 KJV)

Not me.  Oh, I may waver in my imagination, but I have hope.

But I will hope continually, and will yet praise thee more and more. (Psalms 71:14 KJV)

(Oh – the video? I haven’t made it back there – but I will!)

Friday, August 17, 2012

Maybe I Read Too Fast!

Behold, I will do a new thing; now it shall spring forth; shall ye not know it? I will even make a way in the wilderness, and rivers in the desert. (Isaiah 43:19 KJV)

I’m reading the Bible chronologically and I’m way past Isaiah. And I didn’t remember reading this verse on my way through.  I think I’m reading to fast! Once I finish this particular reading program, it’s time to study.

Actually that could take the rest of my life!

Today, though, I’m thinking about what power it takes to place a river in the desert.  The graphic is not a mirage, but water in the desert. Our Lord has told us that He can do that – make rivers in the desert. Do you doubt that?

He’s also told us:

But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. (Matthew 10:30 KJV)

Yet we doubt Him.  He asks us to believe, He gives us reason to believe and we answer Him they way the father pleading for his son did:

And straightway the father of the child cried out, and said with tears, Lord, I believe; help thou mine unbelief. (Mark 9:24 KJV)

Perhaps, since He created everything, hung the stars and set the planets in motion, we think He’s too big to think about us.  Perhaps, since we cannot agree upon what He is, what He does that we think He is incomprehensible so we do not try.

Forget that. He has told us Himself that He cares. He knows that we cannot comprehend, so He asks that we accept Him on faith in what we cannot see, what we cannot know, and what well educated, articulate, confident people tell us cannot possible be.

I must admit that my faith is much more than my understanding. I’m not alone in this. As Job, after hearing the Lord speak (Job 38-41), I am aware of my limitations:

Then Job answered the LORD, and said, I know that thou canst do every thing, and that no thought can be withholden from thee. Who is he that hideth counsel without knowledge? therefore have I uttered that I understood not; things too wonderful for me, which I knew not. (Job 42:1-3 KJV)

Somehow I doubt that reading slower will cause me to remember all that I read. I will still be surprised when a light dawns on a forgotten verse that has new meaning for me. There’s so much to learn, as John understood:

And there are also many other things which Jesus did, the which, if they should be written every one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that should be written. Amen. (John 21:25 KJV)

Writing about Him will never cease, till He returns. Until then, we’ll keep looking for rivers in the desert.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

A Cross In My Pocket!

Isn’t that precious! I should have put something with it to indicate the size, but those who work with crafts know it’s small enough to carry in my shirt pocket.  It came with a poem attributed to C. Jeanette Bergin and came to me from Horbling, Lincolnshire, England.  It was a gift from a lady I’ve only met on the web. One who has been kind enough to share her family, humor, stories, photos and who has read most of what I’ve written. I’m not certain that’s a fair exchange, for her life is much more interesting than mine!

Mrs. G and I share a lot of things – a love of dogs, a joy in gardening, the love of our children, grandchildren (she’s much too young to consider great-grands!!) and family in general.  We are separated by an ocean, a generation, culture and yet we share. That’s a blessing brought by technology and communication.

We started off on the wrong foot – my tendency for concise (terse?) comments, and my site being protected from her response. We were able to communicate beyond that first stumble and we’ve both written “You’ve made me think.” For me, that’s been a blessing.

Here’s the poem that came with the lovely cross:

I carry a cross in my pocket,
A simple reminder to me
That I am a Christian,
No matter where I may be.
This little cross isn’t magic,
Nor is it a good luck charm.
It isn’t meant to protect me
From every physical harm.
It’s not for identification
For all the world to see.
It’s simply an understanding
Between my Savior and me.
When I put my hand in my pocket
To bring out a coin or a key,
The cross is there to remind me
Of the price He paid for me.
It reminds me too, to be thankful
For my blessings every day,
And to strive to serve Him better
In all that I do or say.

I particularly like the line “It’s not for identification for all the world to see” because it will be in my pocket, or in my purse. I won’t need to see it or touch it, but I’ll know it’s there. I know because I saw it once and considered its source, given in love, a reminder of love.

You see, that’s what my Lord is to me. No – I have not seen Him in physical form, but I have seen the love of those who know Him. I’ve considered the source – mostly the Bible, but also the lives of those who dedicated theirs in His service. My Lord, just as this small cross, was a gift of love:

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)

Thank you Mrs. G, for the lovely gift but mostly for your friendship. You are loved.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012


And the Lord said, Simon, Simon, behold, Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat: But I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not: and when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren. (Luke 22:31-32 KJV)

I’ve read these verses, but I’ve never noticed 'converted' in them. I thought it meant that Peter was going to face trials and we could use him as an example of how to retain our faith.

Did you notice, as I didn’t:  when thou art converted? How much more converted can a man be than to leave his work, his career, his income, his family to follow a man who promises very little. Peter knows there are only borrowed rooms. Funds are limited, handled by Judas (John 12:6, 13:29).

What else can Peter do that has not already been done?

For those of us who have been converted from sinner to saved, don’t we think that’s accomplished a lot?  Isn’t that what we pray for our unsaved friends? Isn’t that what was accomplished as Peter accompanied our Lord’s walk across Israel?

The worst was yet to come, though Peter didn’t think so:

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

Really? I knew few people who have faced prison, much less death, for their beliefs here in America. Maybe an Islamist or two whose faith includes the death of others; a few whose beliefs include multiply wives as the patriarchs had, without God’s blessings. Those pale in the reality of Pastor Youcef in Iran.

We know what happened to Peter, too, following this prophecy:

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)

Many of us stop there and focus on the lesson of Peter’s denials. Instead, continue one more verse:

And he said unto them, When I sent you without purse, and scrip, and shoes, lacked ye any thing? And they said, Nothing. (Luke 22:35 KJV)

They lacked nothing, starting out with nothing – no purse, no scrip, no shoes. Christ sent them out with specific instructions. They returned with joyful accomplishment. Peter's joy left him:

And Peter went out, and wept bitterly. (Luke 22:62 KJV)

How sifted must we be? When we are God’s children, we do have an adversary who wishes to separate us from God’s love. That adversary is the father of lies and apparently still does not understand the depth of God’s love. Do we?

Enough to start out without purse or scrip? Enough to acknowledge Him when confronted? Or do we appease and say we never knew Him? Isn’t it the same thing when we reject His word? When we adjust it to fit the life we wish? 

I ask because I’m looking for the answers in myself. Where am I being sifted? I am a target, for He is my king, my rock and my salvation. If I waver, it is because I have not taken advantage of the building material He has offered. With Him, all things are possible. Without Him, all is futile.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Gracious Words

And all bare him witness, and wondered at the gracious words which proceeded out of his mouth. And they said, Is not this Joseph's son? (Luke 4:22 KJV)

Jesus had been reading from Isaiah 61:1-2:

And there was delivered unto him the book of the prophet Esaias. And when he had opened the book, he found the place where it was written, The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised, To preach the acceptable year of the Lord. (Luke 4:17-19 KJV)

After closing the book, he commented on the prophecy:

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

In the next verse His words were described as ‘gracious.’ What happened, then between ‘gracious’ and:

And all they in the synagogue, when they heard these things, were filled with wrath, (Luke 4:28 KJV)

Basically, He tells us that life is not fair. He said that some receive help and sustenance, others do not and will die:

But I tell you of a truth, many widows were in Israel in the days of Elias, when the heaven was shut up three years and six months, when great famine was throughout all the land; But unto none of them was Elias sent, save unto Sarepta, a city of Sidon, unto a woman that was a widow. And many lepers were in Israel in the time of Eliseus the prophet; and none of them was cleansed, saving Naaman the Syrian. (Luke 4:25-27 KJV)

Our bodies fail us, for a number of reasons. Some reach adulthood, even old age, and we die. So do children – innocent, sweet, loving, heroic children – and our hearts are broken during their suffering and the devastating sorrow of their families. There are times we are as those in the synagogue when they heard these things, we are filled with wrath.

We don’t know where to direct this wrath so it often gets tossed back at God. “Why?” The best answer I’ve found was written by a man who lost his wife and realized, God is sovereign, and wrote his thoughts about what happens when God does not heal.

Should the Lord delay His coming, we shall die. No differently than the woman who bought into the serpent’s promise:

And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die: (Genesis 3:4 KJV)

He lied.

He did not speak to her of God’s sovereignty, and he continues to deny it today as he promises us what he cannot deliver, simply because God is sovereign. That is summed up in the words given by three young men:

If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of thine hand, O king. But if not, be it known unto thee, O king, that we will not serve thy gods, nor worship the golden image which thou hast set up. (Daniel 3:17-18 KJV)

How do we handle the “But if not ...”?

Monday, August 13, 2012

Mixed Feelings

I really have a mixture of feelings about this campaign. First of all, does my participation count? As a regular attendee, is it ‘back’ for me?

On the other hand, there have been days when I’ve met and talked with people without mentioning church attendance. I really should be encouraging them, if not coming with me to mine, to find a local church that provides an atmosphere for their spiritual growth.

The Bible is clear about attendance:

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)

David told us what it meant to him:

A Song of degrees of David. I was glad when they said unto me, Let us go into the house of the LORD. (Psalms 122:1 KJV)

Is it possible to worship, praise and adore our Lord without being inside a church’s building?  Absolutely. Every day is the day the Lord has made and we are to spend time with Him rejoicing. It’s just that being in church provides fellowship, exhortation, lessons, sharing – a host of things we cannot do alone.

So, why don’t Christians attend church regularly? Oh, there are a host of reasons, and for years I employed many of them. The children had activities on the weekend. My Beloved Husband worked out of town and weekends were our only time together. We needed to go visit Mom and Dad – her health was failing and he was the only care-giver. The list can be endless. But useless.

The children’s activities should have been scheduled around God, or we’re not giving them that example in our own lives. When we were all home on weekends, how better to express our gratitude than being with God’s people? When visiting others, attend their church, or set an example by finding one nearby.

Those weren’t reasons, they were excuses, just like the ones Satan used with Christ in the wilderness.  Each temptation offered physical pleasure – bread, safety from bodily harm, the world’s riches! Instead, Christ accepted the bread of life from the mouth of God, a release from temptation and the cross to gain the world’s souls.

Yet, church attendance is not what it should be. It is not a reflection of the number of people who profess Christianity as their chosen religion.

That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. (Romans 10:9-10 KJV)

Perhaps we’ve had the mouth part – and have forgotten the heart. We’ve sought the salvation and ignored the service. We want to be in heaven without the curse of Genesis 3:17-19. Sorry about that. We’re living with the consequences of more than our own errors.

Come with us to church any Sunday – next Sunday will do fine – and learn more about Him and His word. We’d love to have you!

Sunday, August 12, 2012

What Was That Quote?

Maybe things have changed a bit since 2007, but I doubt if there were major changes in the Pew Forum’s results regarding their "Topography of faith." Click on the graphic and you should find an interactive map. Click on each state and their topography of faith appears on the right.

What is more interesting to me is the fact that while this is ‘not a Christian nation,’ it is a nation with a large population of people who openly choose to be labeled Christian.

The world has interesting figures, too:
A click on this graphic will take you to the The pie chart is carefully labeled but labels will not tell you what I believe, nor why. It's up to me to define and display my labels.

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

I like that verse, but I like several verses in this chapter. Another comes to mind as I read Comments on some of these media pages:

Not rendering evil for evil, or railing for railing: but contrariwise blessing; knowing that ye are thereunto called, that ye should inherit a blessing. (1 Peter 3:9 KJV)

Aren’t we getting heavy doses of “railing for railing”? Perhaps a bit stronger this election year, but some happens every year.

Some of that railing comes from people who label themselves Christian, but do not give their reason of hope with meekness nor fear. Instead, they selective toss out fire and brimstone. We need to spend a little more time studying. We know what hope is, and fear has been explained quite well in several books:

And unto man he said, Behold, the fear of the Lord, that is wisdom; and to depart from evil is understanding. (Job 28:28 KJV)

That’s Job’s answer to his own question in verse 20. It is echoed by those who learned the lesson, too: Psalms 111:10, Proverbs 1:17, Proverbs 9:10 and Proverbs 15:33.  But my favorite brings us to a prophesy of the Messiah:

And there shall come forth a rod out of the stem of Jesse, and a Branch shall grow out of his roots: And the spirit of the LORD shall rest upon him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the LORD; And shall make him of quick understanding in the fear of the LORD: and he shall not judge after the sight of his eyes, neither reprove after the hearing of his ears: But with righteousness shall he judge the poor, and reprove with equity for the meek of the earth: and he shall smite the earth with the rod of his mouth, and with the breath of his lips shall he slay the wicked. (Isaiah 11:1-4 KJV)

There’s that meekness again, too – equity for the meek of the earth. Be as the promised Messiah. As a Christian, that’s my goal and my duty. Haven’t achieved it – I am a work in progress.

Saturday, August 11, 2012


Last Sunday Pastor’s sermon from Joshua 9 included a mention of the Nethinim.  I couldn’t remember hearing the word before and intended to do some research, but didn’t – until I read Ezra this week.

Pastor was speaking of the Gibeonites. Having heard of the Israelites conquest of Jericho and Ai (those stories are interesting, too – the differences between those battles, their outcome!) and were determined not to be part of spoils of war. Joshua 9 tells of their plan.

Their subterfuge worked. Joshua and the elders looked at their worn clothing, the old wine bottles, their molded bread and made a decision without consulting the Lord.

And the men took of their victuals, and asked not counsel at the mouth of the LORD. And Joshua made peace with them, and made a league with them, to let them live: and the princes of the congregation sware unto them. (Joshua 9:14-15 KJV)

Remember, the children of Israel had been told to remove the inhabitants of the land.  Here they had been tricked into going against God’s plan and had to live with the consequences of their actions. Another decision was made:

And the princes said unto them, Let them live; but let them be hewers of wood and drawers of water unto all the congregation; as the princes had promised them. (Joshua 9:21 KJV)

The word Nethinim is first mentioned:

Now the first inhabitants that dwelt in their possessions in their cities were, the Israelites, the priests, Levites, and the Nethinims. (1 Chronicles 9:2 KJV)

Let’s jump ahead to Ezra:

Also of the Nethinims, whom David and the princes had appointed for the service of the Levites, two hundred and twenty Nethinims: all of them were expressed by name. (Ezra 8:20 KJV)

Tradition holds David appointed the ‘hewers of wood and drawers of water’ to be in the ‘service of the Levites’. Tradition also holds these are listed in Ezra 2:43-54, the Nethinim, returning with Israelites to assist in the rebuilding of the temple. Some scholars point to others being Nethinim rather than the traditional Gibeonites, but it appears they were the first.

Nethinim means ‘given’, ‘set apart.’ These people were set apart to serve the Lord, a change from His orders to Joshua. Which reminded me of Peter’s explanation regarding another setting apart, another change to those who are to carry His word in His service:

But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light: Which in time past were not a people, but are now the people of God: which had not obtained mercy, but now have obtained mercy. (1 Peter 2:9-10 KJV)

It is a blessing for me to be included as part of ‘the people of God,’ having ‘obtained mercy’ through His son, Jesus Christ.

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, (1 Peter 1:3 KJV)

Friday, August 10, 2012

Ezra’s Reporting

This is a ‘highly detailed, hand painted model of the Second Temple’ in Jerusalem, a copy of what Ezra was watching built. I’ve reached Ezra in my chronological reading of the Bible.

Before I go further, I would recommend reading the Bible chronologically to get a new perception. True, Ezra reads more as a history than a prophecy, but seeing when it fits within other writings adds interest for me.

When I read the first two chapters, I almost felt as though I was reading a corporate report – Cyrus made a proclamation and leaders of Israel were sent home to rebuild the temple. Chapter two gives the number of those who made the trip, including Nethinims (I’ll get back to those, later). Enough people to get the job done.

Chapter three has the group reinstating the worship of their forefathers, though it was a painful comparison to those who had experienced it years before:

But many of the priests and Levites and chief of the fathers, who were ancient men, that had seen the first house, when the foundation of this house was laid before their eyes, wept with a loud voice; and many shouted aloud for joy: (Ezra 3:12 KJV)

Can we feel their pain? Know their loss as they compared what was with what was before them now?

In chapter 4, Ezra returns to reporting as the locals start to interfere with the rebuilding:

Then the people of the land weakened the hands of the people of Judah, and troubled them in building, (Ezra 4:4 KJV)

Know anybody like that? They prolonged their efforts until there was a regime change:

And hired counsellors against them, to frustrate their purpose, all the days of Cyrus king of Persia, even until the reign of Darius king of Persia. (Ezra 4:5 KJV)

This is followed by competing letter writing campaigns that caused the work to cease by royal edict. For a short time:

But the eye of their God was upon the elders of the Jews, that they could not cause them to cease, till the matter came to Darius: and then they returned answer by letter concerning this matter. (Ezra 5:5 KJV)

They asked that Darius look in the archives to see if what they said was true.  He did. It was. He wrote back:

Let the work of this house of God alone; let the governor of the Jews and the elders of the Jews build this house of God in his place. Moreover I make a decree what ye shall do to the elders of these Jews for the building of this house of God: that of the king's goods, even of the tribute beyond the river, forthwith expenses be given unto these men, that they be not hindered. (Ezra 6:7-8 KJV)

Praying to God that the men who love and worship Him would be bold enough to refer to the archives, the history, the foundation that was written and confirm that God’s men be not hindered from following His word.

(Oh, those Nethinims!! Stop back by tomorrow and I’ll fulfill my promise!)

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Promises to Self

“Self,” I said to myself … Do you ever talk to yourself?  Enough that people are beginning to worry a bit about you?  I think I do – but I wish I had started much earlier. A couple of biblical stories reminded me that making promises to Self is a pretty good thing.

I made a covenant with mine eyes; why then should I think upon a maid? (Job 31:1 KJV)

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

We’ve been told that teenagers can’t control their sexual urges. Apparently adults can’t either. We’ve also been told that there’s no harm in this, that anything goes as long as it does not harm another. If it feels good, do it.  If the urge is there, give in to it – unless, of course … but those ‘unless’ reasons are lessening.

No, I don’t think the ‘younger generation’ is going downhill.  I think mankind as a whole is sloughing off spiritual for the carnal. That’s nothing new at all. Today, with the vast communication advances, we hear more of what’s happening and with the billions on earth, there is more of the carnal available to be seen. There are also billions of dollars to be made in providing it to others. If it feels good, do it. We’ve all heard the advertising.

The “Thou shalt not”s are simply ways to control people, or so I’ve read. It’s a method to concentrate power, taking it away from those who buy into organized religion.

Well, if you’ll listen to our pastor over a few months you’ll hear that we aren’t so organized. In fact, our church put out an album done by our choir and musicians named “Just a little unorganized.” Instead, we are a group of people drawn together by like beliefs. We’ve come by different paths to the same conclusion – Jesus is the Christ, promised in the Old Testament, fulfilled in the New Testament. We’ve accepted His offered mercy, His saving grace, through faith.

We have failed in so many different ways, but we do much better following His doctrine, which includes making covenants and purposing in our hearts to keep them. We are less imperfect when we follow the instructions He has laid out in His word.

There does come a time, however, when our instructions are different. When it becomes necessary, if dialog ends and doors are closed with vitriolic orders to stay away:

And whosoever shall not receive you, nor hear your words, when ye depart out of that house or city, shake off the dust of your feet. (Matthew 10:14 KJV)

I do believe this verse could refer to us, too.  If we can’t get Self to receive Him, hear His words, do you think He’d hesitate to shake off dust?

Wednesday, August 8, 2012


Blogger has a number of statistics.  One is the total of posts. Amazing to me, today’s post is number 1,500.
I started a blog much earlier, on Yahoo! 360, for the Junior High Girls Sunday School class I helped teach. Just some verses to keep the young ladies interested in preparing the coming lessons. Y!360 began a downhill race, so I followed a couple of friends over to Multiply.

Multiply was more of a social media site, not quite a dedicated blog and there I found some good friends – and my first encounter of negative responses to my verses and studies.  I had opened my blogging to the public, and some of that public took offense to topics, verses, personal interpretations, etc.  They were more apt to comment.

Shortly after that, someone mentioned Blogger. No social networking, a straight blogging venue.  I posted my first one here, and continued for the next 1,499. I wasn’t alone. There are thousands of Christian bloggers on the web and a good many of them are Bible-based, Bible-believing evangelicals. We have a tendency to introduce ourselves to each other. On the side of this page there is a list of ones I read on a regular basis (they don’t show on the mobile, though.)

So – now that I’m no longer a teacher, why have I continued to post a daily blog? Partly because a lady from another religion expressed wonder that someone would post verses “Every. Single. Day.” That told me she read it almost every single day. We became friends and she knows I pray for her.

By posting, I’ve confirmed to others – and to myself – that daily Bible reading is an important part of my life and my suggestion to others.  I want to be certain what I read is true and applicable in my life and is of value to others.  Sort of Berean:

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)

I challenged myself and my readers to search the scriptures to see if these things are so! Why? Because I also believe we’re watchmen:

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

This is me blowing the trumpet, confirming my belief in Jesus Christ, Son of God, Savior. The Bible tells me so:

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)

Those aren’t some of the more popular verses. They are termed ‘exclusive’ by a number of people. They are exclusive:

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 3:18 KJV)

Come, let us read together and study to see if these things are so.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012


Solomon warned his son:

My son, attend unto my wisdom, and bow thine ear to my understanding: (Proverbs 5:1 KJV)

We would be a lot better off if we all listened to his advice throughout the entire book of Proverbs.

Hear me now therefore, O ye children, and depart not from the words of my mouth. (Proverbs 5:7 KJV)

As he wrote in Ecclesiastes, he set out to learn and he had the God-given wisdom to pass along what he had learned.  He had some good teachers.  For all of his errors, his father taught him to love and respect God. For spiritual growth he had the prophet Nathan, who was bold enough to make David face his own sins.

And thou mourn at the last, when thy flesh and thy body are consumed, And say, How have I hated instruction, and my heart despised reproof; And have not obeyed the voice of my teachers, nor inclined mine ear to them that instructed me! I was almost in all evil in the midst of the congregation and assembly. (Proverbs 5:11-14 KJV)

When I think of wasted lives, I don’t know which is the most painful of the memories that come to mind, the teens or the adults.

The teenaged driver drove a fairly new 4x4 four-door pickup. I don’t know if he had a curfew, but two of the girls in the truck did. They had lied to their parents as to where they would be that night. Instead of spending the night at a friend’s house, they were with the young man in the early morning hours, out of alcohol to drink and on their way for more. Three teens died, two live with life-long injuries. They hated instruction and despised reproof.

The man drunk (yes – correct word) his way out of the Navy with a dishonorable discharge. Incapable of maintaining a job for very long, he spent more time away than at home. Eventually leaving a wife and several children, traveling with a woman who left a husband and four of her own, they wandered for years. Again, they did not obey the voice of their teachers nor inclined their ears to their instructors.

I know the teens who survived the wreck set out to instruct others about what happened. I know that the adults eventually found the Lord, changed their lives and set out to instruct others. You see, even though verses 11-14 applied, lessons ignored, lives changed, improved.

Except, when death intervenes.  When will that happen? Some of us have more clues than others, but all any of us have is right now.

I could quote Isaiah 49:8 or:

(For he saith, I have heard thee in a time accepted, and in the day of salvation have I succoured thee: behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation.) (2 Corinthians 6:2 KJV)

Both are true. Now, not tomorrow.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Does It Compute?

In a comment following his article on meeting Russell Kirsch, Joel Runyon wrote:
I need to work on my patience with them a bit, but when I do, I find older generations have a ton of wisdom to share.
What Kirsch shared, along with a great deal of history, was a bit of wisdom:
“That’s the problem with a lot of people”, he continued, “they don’t try to do stuff that’s never been done before, so they never do anything, but if they try to do it, they find out there’s lots of things they can do that have never been done before.”
I can understand the impatience of younger generations who are on their way to create their own niche in the world, but Joel’s right – there is a ton of wisdom to be shared.

When my son was explaining how he had to live his own life, that he had to make his own mistakes, I wondered aloud if he really had to make them all or could he learn from others. It was not a complaint to keep him from experimenting with the new, but an encouragement for him to use maps others made showing where they met dead ends. It is not necessary to wander in the wilderness.

Sometimes it is necessary to go (boldly, or not) where others have not gone before. I like Kirsch’s comment in the article about God. Only he and God believed what could be done.

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)

What Kirsch achieved impacted the track of computing, which has impacted the lives of everyone on this planet. OK, so I can’t back up that statement, but it sure did ours simply because I’m writing this and you’re reading it.

Do be patient with the elderly. Listen to their experiences, then inspect the solidity of foundations they’ve built.  Those with Christ in their hearts should be following some instructions from His inspired writer:

That the aged men be sober, grave, temperate, sound in faith, in charity, in patience. 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. Young men likewise exhort to be sober minded. In all things shewing thyself a pattern of good works: in doctrine shewing uncorruptness, gravity, sincerity, (Titus 2:2-7 KJV)