Thursday, February 28, 2013

Which Church?

Which church holds your membership? The one you grew up in, hours away from where you now live? Is it the church down the block, nearby but unattended for months or even years at a time? Do you know if your name is even on a church membership list? Might it have been removed for lack of interest – theirs or yours? At one time or another, my membership fit each of those descriptions. No longer.

As Jesus taught His disciples, He asked:

When Jesus came into the coasts of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, saying, Whom do men say that I the Son of man am? (Matthew 16:13)

There were widely ranging answers, then He asked them specifically:

He saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am? (Matthew 16:15)

That’s the question that determines our church membership. It’s a spiritual question, and the answer was given to Peter:

And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God. And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven. And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. (Matthew 16:16-18)

The Christ. The Messiah. The Savior – revealed spiritually through a relationship with the living God. Upon this truth is His church built. The ἐκκλησία, Strong’s G1577:
a calling out, that is, (concretely) a popular meeting, especially a religious congregation (Jewish synagogue, or Christian community of members on earth or saints in heaven or both): - assembly, church.
It’s not the building in another town or down the street or the list of names of those who set foot in those buildings. It is the congregating of those who believe Peter’s answer. Alone during worship service times, we cannot attest to our beliefs nor do we grow our faith. That’s why Paul wrote:

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)

So, my earthly membership currently resides on the rolls of the First Baptist Church of Cottondale, the closest congregation. No one will know that, though, unless I tell them, and it’s not important for me to do so. What is important is that my actions match my words and both tell of my love of my God, my acceptance of His gift for my salvation.  Both what I do and what I say speak of His word, all His laws and prophets, combined in:

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)

Then I know my name is included on the only membership list that counts:

And I intreat thee also, true yokefellow, help those women which laboured with me in the gospel, with Clement also, and with other my fellowlabourers, whose names are in the book of life. (Philippians 4:3)

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Nothing But The Truth

Used to be that people were sworn in before testifying. The phrase I remember the witness being asked was:
Do you solemnly swear that you will tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, so help you God?
Years ago a Bible was used. While still used to swear in the President of the United States, a Bible is no longer necessary, nor is God, for testimony. The phrase now ends: "under pains and penalties of perjury", apparently a more frightening threat.

Luke give us what Paul said about his own preaching.

For I have not shunned to declare unto you all the counsel of God. (Acts 20:27 KJV)

Matthew Henry’s commentary on this and surrounding verses gives a portrait for today’s preachers:
He was a faithful preacher. He not only preached that which was profitable, but he preached every thing that he thought might be profitable, and kept back nothing, though the preaching of it might either cost him more pains or be disobliging to some and expose him to their ill-will. He declined not preaching whatever he thought might be profitable, though it was not fashionable, nor to some acceptable. He did not keep back reproofs, when they were necessary and would be profitable, for fear of offending; nor did he keep back the preaching of the cross, though he knew it was to the Jews a stumbling-block and to the Greeks foolishness
Preaching hasn’t changed, though some preachers will not preach all the counsel of God. That’s because they do not wish to be vilified, as many pastors are, for preaching on every verse in the Bible, not the pretty buffet desserts that non-Christians prefer. There is a great deal of fear of offending.

Christ spoke of this as He discussed the last days with His disciples:

And then shall many be offended, and shall betray one another, and shall hate one another. (Matthew 24:10 KJV)

We’re not the the first to cause people to feel offended simply by hearing our joy in Jesus’ message. They feel excluded, though so many of the verses tell us ‘whosoever’, no exclusion of anyone willing to accept God’s love and follow His message. Wherein lies the offense? These verse explain it quite well:

But he that received the seed into stony places, the same is he that heareth the word, and anon with joy receiveth it; Yet hath he not root in himself, but dureth for a while: for when tribulation or persecution ariseth because of the word, by and by he is offended. (Matthew 13:20-21 KJV)

Peter heard Christ, that last night with them, that people will be offended because of Him. Peter was offended by that!

Peter answered and said unto him, Though all men shall be offended because of thee, yet will I never be offended. (Matthew 26:33 KJV)

Yet, he was, that very night, and denied Christ three times. How many times are we offended by what is written in God’s word?  How many times do we ignore, even deny, that it was written for us? Are we able to accept all the counsel of God?

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

God’s Beauty

A few years ago we had the privilege of spending time on the balconies of this beautiful home, enjoying the view of Colorado mountains and streams. No – we can’t financially afford to spend a few days in such luxury. We were the guests of a loving family who share what God has provided for them.

We need to spend time giving thanks for what He has provided. That goes back to that “Redundant” post I did yesterday. I labeled it redundant because we should know about prayer. Not simply as Christians, but all humans reach out to a greater power in their lives. We are blessed with knowing that power is a Creator who loves us.

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

We were told how He loved the world he created:

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)

Love is attributed to Him and is required of those who believe Him:

He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love. In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him. Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another. (1 John 4:8-11)

Stand anywhere on earth and there is an awesome sight of the power of creation. Now, I know you think you’ve come up with a spot in mind where no one can see beauty – read again. “Awesome sight of the power of creation.” That spot you have in mind, doesn’t it fit? Even if it’s out your own front door, there is an awesome sight of the power of creation.

Now that you have that spot in mind, remember that it is made of molecules that were formed at creation:

In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters. And God said, Let there be light: and there was light. (Genesis 1:1-3)

Spoken into existence, “And, God said…” That is awesome.

And why take ye thought for raiment? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin: And yet I say unto you, That even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which to day is, and to morrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith? (Matthew 6:28-30)

Our problem is we want more than God’s cloth. We want the latest, the advertisements that tell us what we want, and we look past the simplicity toward the beads, bangles and flesh-displaying fashions created to detract our hearts and minds. That doesn’t only apply to clothing, does it?

Monday, February 25, 2013


I would suggest you NOT do a search on the words pray or prayer on this site. There would be too many blogs to look through. Prayer is one of the most used blessings a Christian has been given – or, it should be.

We were on Chapter Eight of Paul Chappell’s “First Steps for New Christians” last night, “Learning How to Pray.” Sounds odd, doesn’t, for an active church’s Sunday evening service talking about “learning” to pray. If we’re Christians (and who else attends Sunday evening services!!), we’ve already prayed that God would accept us and we’ve confessed to Him that we know we’re sinners. I would suggest that prayer should never stop there, though that’s the very best place to begin.

Chappell begins this chapter with a huge stumbling block for some people:
Christianity is not just a set of beliefs, but a personal relationship with God.
Too many people, some professing Christians, don’t move past this point. They do not see that we are that 100th Lamb (it’s a parable in the New Testament – look it up) and the shepherd knows us by name.

Prayer is a significant benefit of being a Christian. We do not need a priest to speak to God for us. Hebrews tells us this in 4:14-15 and 8:1. The best example, however, was given by Jesus in Matthew 6:9-13.

The chapter quotes “Chadwick, the Path of Prayer
Though a man shall have all knowledge about prayer, and though he understands all mysteries about prayer, unless he prays, he will never learn to pray.
Forget that it sounds like a tongue twister and realize that prayer is an action. It must be done, not simply studied nor discussed. It is directed to God, not to a church, a statue or a vague heavenly direction. Jesus began his prayers with “Father.”

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 26:39)

Even on the cross:

Then said Jesus, Father, forgive them; (Luke 23:34a)

Chappell added a memory aid:
An orderly progression to remember the subject matter of our prayers. When are we supposed to pray?

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

And, at what time during each day?

As for me, I will call upon God; and the LORD shall save me. Evening, and morning, and at noon, will I pray, and cry aloud: and he shall hear my voice. (Psalms 55:16-17)

We should give thanks for our meals, as Christ did with those on the Road to Emmaus:

And it came to pass, as he sat at meat with them, he took bread, and blessed it, and brake, and gave to them. (Luke 24:30)

That ought to cover it, although Paul had a slightly different idea:

Pray without ceasing. (1 Thessalonians 5:17)

Yes, we can always be prepared to ACT, even when we don’t have a specific Supplication – but, if you are like me, there’s always something to ask of God.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Saturday Nights

It’s not unusual for avid non-Christians to vilify or even demonize Christians and their beliefs.  I try to ignore them. When several come together and spread their lack of understanding around the world, that’s very hard to do – especially when a portion of my money is used for that spreading. Therefore, I will change my shopping habits until such time as I’m no longer funding projects such as SNL and Quentin Tarantino’s satire of Jesus Christ, my Lord.

For a moment, take some literary license and substitute another figure for our Lord in this ‘revenge thriller.’ Would the author/actors place our president there, bent on revenge? Why? Have they placed their family members or any other religious figure in such a vengeful satire? Why?

Obviously they have no valid concept of our beliefs. Maybe they have not read in the Bible that those who participated in His crucifixion were forgiven by Him while on the cross?

Then said Jesus, Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do. And they parted his raiment, and cast lots. (Luke 23:34)

All of those involved in this production must agree with the definition of satire (the use of irony, sarcasm, ridicule, or the like, in exposing, denouncing, or deriding vice, folly) – I’m wondering if they consider Christianity simply folly, or do they believe it to be a vice?

Of course, what they read in the Bible does not track with the path they’ve chosen for their lives. Why should they read such as:

I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men; For kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty. For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour; Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth. (1 Timothy 2:1-4)

When they can’t get past:

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)

Frankly, there are some who call themselves ‘Christian’ who cannot, either.

I pray that those involved in this presentation - and other satire directed at our Christian ‘folly’  - do come to understand how painful it is to hear of such disrespect for another’s religion. Maybe they will come to understand why we wish to avoid them, which I actually do.

SNL’s disrespect for values had me tuning them out years ago. Mr. Tarentino’s penchant for foul language, vileness and violence assured my lack of support when I had only seen previews of his films. Both SNL and Mr. Tarentino have been wildly successful without me, and that’s just fine.

This time, however, their pointing to my folly was paid for by retail establishments I use. I provided a bit of profit for Sears and J C Penney’s. Therefore, I contributed to their advertising in this skit. That I will no longer do as long as these establishments condone satire to ridicule my Lord.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Sunday School

Last Sunday, while we were at Will Rogers Methodist, we also attended Sunday School. Those not attending classes on Sunday mornings are missing a wonderful opportunity for Bible study. Here’s where questions can be asked and answered, research completed, verses memorized, doctrine questioned – excellent opportunities to learn. Yet many miss out.

I’m so glad I didn’t last Sunday when the teacher discussed Romans 8:28-30.

And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose. For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren. Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified. (Romans 8:28-30 KJV)

Yep – three verses. Think it strange to cover two verses in about 30 minutes? That’s in-depth study of the Bible, along with application to our own lives.

You see, we love quoting verse 28. However, in context, it is conditional, tied to the “for whom” in verse 29. This lesson gave the five conditional links.
    1. God’s foreknowledge of all that will occur;
    2. God’s predetermined boundaries for those who conform to the image of Christ;
    3. God’s calling to ‘whosoever’;
    4. God’s justification for those who depend on Jesus;
    5. God’s glorification of those who were called and responded.
Interestingly, the verb in that last item is in past tense. Even though the glorification is in the future, by God’s decision, it is an accomplished fact.

In the closing moment of the lesson, the teacher read verses 31-35. There is another who would love to see us condemned, one who would justify his own rejection of God by pointing to us and saying, “See, they are sinners, as I am. They stand condemned!” God gave us the answer:

Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us. (Romans 8:34 KJV)

Thanks be to God for what He has done for us:

Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? (Romans 8:35 KJV)

You see, Christ was not defeated on the cross. He knew it what was coming, He prayed that it would pass, yet accepted the cup that was before Him.  He did so with that same foreknowledge of the first item:

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)

How could I remember all of this? Note taking. It’s a school. Learn from it, please.

Friday, February 22, 2013

Never Forget The One . . .

We spent a few days with relatives near Tulsa, visiting their church Sunday morning for worship service and Sunday School. We’ve done that at least a couple of times a year for several decades now. The message Sunday morning was found in Deuteronomy 26:

And it shall be, when thou art come in unto the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee for an inheritance, and possessest it, and dwellest therein; That thou shalt take of the first of all the fruit of the earth, which thou shalt bring of thy land that the LORD thy God giveth thee, and shalt put it in a basket, and shalt go unto the place which the LORD thy God shall choose to place his name there. (Deuteronomy 26:1-2 KJV)

God didn’t need these first fruits of the land. They would come in handy for the needs of the priests, but our God created everything. All they brought was His anyway, and that’s what their compliance meant – they acknowledged God’s sovereignty. That’s what they were never to forget. 

And thou shalt go unto the priest that shall be in those days, and say unto him, I profess this day unto the LORD thy God, that I am come unto the country which the LORD sware unto our fathers for to give us. (Deuteronomy 26:3 KJV)

Their act of obedience brought to memory the God that brought them out of Egypt, into the land He had promised so many generations before. For the time in between, He had seen to their needs and to their deliverance. They were to remember all of that.

They forgot.

And also all that generation were gathered unto their fathers: and there arose another generation after them, which knew not the LORD, nor yet the works which he had done for Israel. (Judges 2:10 KJV)

Have we done any better? In our dash to the future, have we forgotten our past? Have we forgotten our Creator?

During the service I thought of how much our Lord has done for me. I also thought of the years when I did not attend a church to share His work with others. My error, His forgiveness. Someday, with Him, I may learn of the blessings I missed while not walking closely with Him. My loss, His forgiveness.
It does me no good to spend time regretting the past. Learn from my error, then move forward in His will. The past cannot be changed, spending time there is non-productive. I must not, however, forget. Never forget the One who brought me this far.

I need to remember promises, made and kept:

This day the LORD thy God hath commanded thee to do these statutes and judgments: thou shalt therefore keep and do them with all thine heart, and with all thy soul. Thou hast avouched the LORD this day to be thy God, and to walk in his ways, and to keep his statutes, and his commandments, and his judgments, and to hearken unto his voice: (Deuteronomy 26:16-17 KJV)

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

S. T.’s Funeral


Esstee’s funeral was Tuesday, at our church. Her family invited us to the celebration of her life and we were blessed by being there.

We had known them for such a few years, understanding that she had spent a great deal of these last years battling cancer. While she won many battles, in the end none of us win the war. Life itself is a terminal disease. What we do with it holds the importance, and the memories.

The ripples from Esstee and her husband’s work with children continues in our church. They were a moving force in establishing our church’s ongoing children’s program on Wednesday nights. Pastor explained that start during the memories of her life.

Remember when I wrote about Baptist funerals? Well, Esstee’s certainly was one. Two pastors (that’s not unusual at all), both mentioning the good that she did in her life, which was not a reason for our knowing she was in heaven. They mentioned her years of church membership – also not a reason. Her love for family, friends, others – still not a reason. Nor was the sharing of Christ’s life and His word, as she did and not only with children.

She did all of that, but there’s one more thing that Esstee did that is the reason we celebrate her graduation from this life and her commencement of time in heaven. She read, and trusted:

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)

John believed this with all his heart, and shared that faith with a purpose:

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. (1 John 5:13 KJV)

Unfortunately, while these are uplifting, confirming verses that people point to for eternal life, there are others that are just as real, just as descriptive. These verses are the reason we are concerned about our loved ones and desire to spend time discussing their meaning and their application:

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)

The Bible is not a buffet where we select only one verse and build a foundation. We must read before, after, in context and come to an understanding:

He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life. (1 John 5:12 KJV)

Because of this, I write, ask questions, and pray for those I love.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

I received an e-mail that listed 71 things we should live by. Of course, being human, the author added several more they thought were of good repute. Thingss we could use as compass points in our lives. Helpful items. I was doing OK with the list, for a while:

1.Stop watching television.
2.Stop eating fast food.
3.Stop eating pizza and fried foods.
4.Stop driving places that you could easily walk to.
5.Read at least 1 book a month.
6.Take classes in what interests you or your vocation.
They look pretty innocent, right? Helpful to our well being, direction setting. As the list progressed, I took a lot to heart:
11. Don't drink soda.
12.Don't eat sugary foods at all.
13.Don't drink more than 1 glass of juice per day.
14.Stand up straight and have good posture.
15.Look people in the eyes when you talk to them.
17.Be polite.
18.Keep your promises.

Until I got to #49 and 50: 
49. Never tell other people that you think they or something they are doing is immoral or sinful.
50. Keep your moral values and religion to yourself. Use them to direct your own actions.
Those would take me right off Blogger, wouldn't they? And, they are unbiblical. Could there be a preacher if we all held to #49? Could Jesus have ministered under those conditions? Do we not remember what He taught:

39 And some of the Pharisees from among the multitude said unto him, Master, rebuke thy disciples. 40 And he answered and said unto them, I tell you that, if these should hold their peace, the stones would immediately cry out. 41 And when he was come near, he beheld the city, and wept over it, (Luke 19)

Guess the author didn't think about that, or:

19 Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: 20 Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen. (Matthew 28)

Nope. Thank you, but I'll continue to share what I read in God's word. I absolutely will not forece anyone to accept, believe, repeat it, but I would like it very much if thought was given to what is written in relation to our lives, and why. Just raise a few questions, and hope people are willing to search for the answers. May God bless the reading of His word.

Saturday, February 16, 2013


Part of my YouVersion reading this week was in Jude. While experiencing 'technical difficulties' getting on Blogger, I posted a Status on Facebook and included the request that my readers check out Jude.  A pastor Commented, "Did you read chapter 2?"

He has a good sense of humor, don't you think?  What? You didn't get it? Oh, my. That means you need to follow this link to and read the select verses.

See how that easy that was? There are so many fascinating things about the Bible. Jude is so short, but is filled with information, isn't it?

Right away we find out what he thinks of himself. Then Jude tells us who he is writing to - followers of Jesus. Perhaps it's not of serious interest to the unsaved because the message is so focused on those who are:

Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints.

Salvation is common - nothing special for any group, available to whosoever, no one is better than another. We may be on different places in our walk with the Lord, but He loves each and every one of His children. Those are the people Jude addresses - including me. Unfortunately, the early church, just as churches today, have members who neither believe in, love nor respect our Lord and savior:

Woe unto them! for they have gone in the way of Cain, and ran greedily after the error of Balaam for reward, and perished in the gainsaying of Core.

If you're not familiar with these bad examples, you need to look up and read why they are considered such. Yet, Jude saw such among the congregation. People as a whole haven't changed. They can, and we're encouraged to help them:

21 Keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life. 22 And of some have compassion, making a difference: 23 And others save with fear, pulling them out of the fire; hating even the garment spotted by the flesh.

When we lived in Tulsa, attending Immanuel Baptist Church, there was a fellowship at our pastor's home. A chafing dish with an alcohol warmer was jostled, spilled alcohol and there was a small fire on it's tray. In the crowd of people, rather than try to move the pan off, pastor picked up the tray and headed for the kitchen sink.  Unfortunately, his hands were burned in the process and were bandaged for a while.  He told people who asked, "How?" "Remember Jude 23? I was pulling a soul out of the fire."

Thanks be to our God we don't do that physically - but our witness, our action may actually accomplish just that. Ready?

Thursday, February 14, 2013

A Trip

Wow, I didn’t think about setting such a record! A week off the computer, three days of posts – then leaving town without my laptop. Please don’t think this is the new schedule, but there may be gaps again this year. As we travel more, I won’t be carrying a laptop. We’ll learn just how good the Kindle Fire will be in handling Blogger, though!

Doesn’t change my Bible reading, I promise. I have several projects on-going. In our Sunday evening services we are in a 13-week study for new Christians. No – not all of us are, but we need to review the basics every once in a while to be certain our foundation is built on the rock of Jesus, Christ, Son of God, our savior. Sometimes it appears our foundation is on our churches, our pastors, an author or the latest fad. That’s when we need to pray:

Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation;  (Psalms 51:12a)

Don’t remember that joy? You need to do that same study.

Another reading I’m doing is from YouVersion. Last night’s reading on Prayer included:

I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men; For kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty. For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour; Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth. (1 Timothy 2:1-4)

While I see a lot of postings vilifying our current American leaders, I don’t see postings praying for “all that are in authority.” It is in the Bible that we are to do so, why we should do so and that it is “good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour.” Isn’t that a very good reason for an addition to our prayer list? Wouldn’t it be much better for us as well as for those in authority?

On Wednesday nights we’re are studying 1 John. Outside of Paul, John was the most prolific author in the new church. Each time I think of one of his books as being my favorite, I read in another and and I’m struck by a new perspective.  His Revelation is the only book that promises a blessing simply by reading it:

Blessed is he that readeth, and they that hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written therein: for the time is at hand. (Revelation 1:3)

Don’t be fooled by the “at hand.” The time truly is at God’s hand and no man knew or knows when His day will come. Nor should we be concerned about the specific time. We’ve been given tasks to accomplish specific to our own lives and our own relationship with God. To ignore His word, written and in our hearts, is done to our peril, not to His nor His time frame. God does not need us to accomplish His purpose, we need Him – to come to know Him, love Him and understand His work in our lives.

That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love, May be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God. (Ephesians 3:17-19)

Wednesday, February 13, 2013


I find it regrettable when someone’s concept of God is too small to believe Him capable of creating the universe, even beyond what we know of it, and still be capable of loving me as an individual. My God is not only able to do all of that, but He loves you, too.

I regret seeing Him portrayed in art, even art as beautiful as Michelangelo’s, in unbiblical ways. The above graphic displays Him in an elderly human way, when not only is He timeless, but His glory is overwhelming. Moses did not know that when he asked:

And he said, I beseech thee, shew me thy glory. (Exodus 33:18)

God’s reply tells us that was at the least an inappropriate question:

And he said, Thou canst not see my face: for there shall no man see me, and live. And the LORD said, Behold, there is a place by me, and thou shalt stand upon a rock: And it shall come to pass, while my glory passeth by, that I will put thee in a clift of the rock, and will cover thee with my hand while I pass by: (Exodus 33:20-22)

How Fanny J. Crosby must have envisioned that when she wrote “He Hiddeth My Soul.” She knew that seeing God was best done without eyesight:
“It seemed intended by the blessed providence of God that I should be blind all my life, and I thank Him for the dispensation. If perfect earthly sight were offered me tomorrow I would not accept it. I might not have sung hymns to the praise of God if I had been distracted by the beautiful and interesting things about me.”
Do we see her blindness a tragedy? A disfigurement? A lessening of her life? A disability? When she worshipped a God capable of speaking a universe into existence, but He would not heal her in order for her to see it, are we angered?

Why must God be explainable in human terms, in human descriptions, when we’re told time and again He is spiritual?

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

I’m reading 'Tortured for Christ' by Richard Wurmbrand, whose conversion story is told on two pages and can be compacted to: “A Christian prayed for a Jew to come so he could teach him Christ. A Jew prayed for God to show Himself. They met in Romania and prayers were answered.” My God is capable of answering those prayers just as He is capable of spanning the universe with His voice:

In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. (Genesis 1:1)

Start there before telling me why He could not.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

A Matter of Principles

I read about a book, “Chicken Soup for the Soul: Billy Graham & Me,” and was struck by a line from Patrina’s Pencil:
Regardless of your familiarity with Mr. Graham or your identification with his message, more important than the person are the transferable principles by which he lives his life.
Did we ever think of our principles as being ‘transferable?’ A step further, do we know our principles – and do we want them to be transferable?

Principles?  You know, those  fundamental truths that serves as the foundation of our beliefs and behavior, our chain of reasoning.

Do you know yours? Could you write down your strongest principle – then explain why it is your strongest principle?

Billy Graham knew his, and shared them with the world. They were interesting enough to be listened to by world leaders. In a Christianity Today interview two years ago, Mr. Graham was asked if he would do things differently. Part of his answer included those world leaders:
I also would have steered clear of politics. I'm grateful for the opportunities God gave me to minister to people in high places; people in power have spiritual and personal needs like everyone else, and often they have no one to talk to. But looking back I know I sometimes crossed the line, and I wouldn't do that now.
Our job as Christians is not to change the culture of our world through politics. Our job, as outlined by Jesus:

Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen. (Matthew 28:19-20 KJV)

That’s foundational. There’s no imposition there. There’s no indication of force or coercion, no restrictions given for the hearer. Teach, and He’ll be with us. So, what do we teach? The words of God.

Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him. He that loveth me not keepeth not my sayings: and the word which ye hear is not mine, but the Father's which sent me. These things have I spoken unto you, being yet present with you. 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 14:23-26 KJV)

When we love God, He will teach us and bring His things to our memory. When we hate, we forget what we’ve been taught and our foundational principles crumble, are not seen, are not transferable.

We do need to determine within ourselves the principles that make up our lives – and determine if those are the principles we wish to transfer, simply because our actions transfer our principles to our loved ones, our acquaintances and to every person we meet along our life’s journey. If they are not what we wish, we need to solidify our foundation and prepare the correct transfers.

Sunday, February 3, 2013

I Need A Bit Of Time

So, I’m taking it from the time it takes to prepare and post the blog. Not forever, but for a while. There are several small projects at home as well as a trip to visit loved ones during February.

I promise to keep a list of verses I read that touch my heart or cause me to think a bit more than usual when I come back to writing daily.

Until then – feel free to begin your own Bible reading schedule. Leave a comment or two to share your favorites.

Meet with you later – there’s much more to be written:

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)

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Pure Religion

James tells us about pure 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)

After reading this, I did have to look at my own actions – have I visited the fatherless and widows? Yes – girls in my Sunday School class and widows in our church. Do I believe that is sufficient? Nope. I’ve not sought opportunities to practice this pure and undefiled religion.

This verse was at the end of a day’s Bible reading from YouVersion’s Major Belief’s, Christian life. I think it is very good for Christians – anywhere on their journey – to review, re-read, these passages that define what we should be doing in our daily lives.

In his first chapter, James tells us who he is, who he’s serving and who he’s addressing in this letter. He knows his readers had difficulties – and they still do:

My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations; Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing. (James 1:2-4 KJV)

James also knew that we’d need help, with our faith, with our patience but mostly in our wisdom to know what we should be doing:

If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him. (James 1:5 KJV)

God quickly responded to Solomon with wisdom. There were many times I neglected to pray for His wisdom. I felt (and still do at times) I understood what was needed and asked specifically for what I wanted. Key right there – “I”. The next verse addresses people who are looking past God’s plans to their own:

But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed. For let not that man think that he shall receive any thing of the Lord. A double minded man is unstable in all his ways. (James 1:6-8 KJV)

It’s our faith in God, our understanding that He has a plan for each and every individual who follows Him, that we can let go of where we want to go and follow where He leads us. I could give examples from my own life where following is so much better than breaking through unplanned paths, but it would mean little to readers. We need to experience it in our own lives, not vicariously through others. We have to do:

But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves. For if any be a hearer of the word, and not a doer, he is like unto a man beholding his natural face in a glass: For he beholdeth himself, and goeth his way, and straightway forgetteth what manner of man he was. (James 1:22-24 KJV)

Let’s not forget how to celebrate, and enjoy, pure religion.

Friday, February 1, 2013

Uncovering The Roof

Have you ever been in a really crowded house? One described:

And again he entered into Capernaum after some days; and it was noised that he was in the house. And straightway many were gathered together, insomuch that there was no room to receive them, no, not so much as about the door: and he preached the word unto them. (Mark 2:1-2 KJV)

It wasn’t so bad when He was out in the countryside where thousands would spend a day listening to him.  Here in Capernaum, though, the houses were close together, streets confining, there wasn’t an inch around the door – and everyone was listening to Him.

Well, not quite everyone.

And they come unto him, bringing one sick of the palsy, which was borne of four. (Mark 2:3 KJV)

Do you have four people that would carry you to be healed? Four people who would drive you to a doctor? A hospital? What happens if they can’t get you inside?

And when they could not come nigh unto him for the press, they uncovered the roof where he was: and when they had broken it up, they let down the bed wherein the sick of the palsy lay. (Mark 2:4 KJV)

Did you wonder what explanation they gave to the home’s owner? Was it the centurion of Matthew 8? Was it Peter’s home? Could it have been ours had we lived there? Would it be ours today?

Do we invite Jesus into our home, and all those who would follow with Him? Do we take our loved ones to Him as these four did? Is our faith as strong as theirs, enough that our Lord would say:

When Jesus saw their faith, he said unto the sick of the palsy, Son, thy sins be forgiven thee. (Mark 2:5 KJV)

It took all five to get to Christ. Mark wrote, “When Jesus saw their faith” not “his faith.” Think about that. Without those friends, the man would never have been taken to Jesus. He would never have been an example in Mark’s book. It took four who loved him enough to carry him – and those four are our best examples. I do want those four men to be my example. I pray I would be strong enough to stand up to detractors:

But there were certain of the scribes sitting there, and reasoning in their hearts, Why doth this man thus speak blasphemies? who can forgive sins but God only? (Mark 2:6-7 KJV)

To say to them that all of this is done to show the Son of God. That He is able to heal both body and soul. To tell that He has priorities in faith, forgiveness and healing of soul and body.

But that ye may know that the Son of man hath power on earth to forgive sins, (he saith to the sick of the palsy,) I say unto thee, Arise, and take up thy bed, and go thy way into thine house. (Mark 2:10-11 KJV)

All of this, that we may know the Son.