Sunday, June 30, 2013

Our Country


Electoral Votes Following 2000 Census

I've been feeling a bit depressed - about our country's direction, usurping of the democratic process and the hopelessness a friend lived with that led to an overdose of prescription medication. I was reading about book that looked to prophecy with foreboding for our country, when I read what one reviewer wrote.  Sorry, I do not have his name for attribution:

"America is a Christian nation and until we get back to these roots there is no hope for our country." False.  Hope does not come from our government, from our country being based on Christian ideals, or from having a godly president (though none of these are bad things). Hope comes from God and as the church spreads His gospel around the world. Don't put your hope in our country or government aligning to certain ideals or us getting back to being a more "Christian" nation. This is idolatry. Seek the good of our country for sure, but don't make our country the great good.  God is our greatest good and our only hope.

Boy, did that cause me to rethink! God did not accept me as His child when I got ‘good enough.’ That’s not going to happen for anyone. He accepted me as I was when I turned to Him as my Lord and savior. A country can’t do that, only people can. What applied to Israel as a nation may not apply to the United States of America. Christianity is not confined to the USA, either. We do not have the right “brand” of Christianity any more than any other nation.

We do have a responsibility as Christians to follow God’s commands in our own lives. Our Lord gave the foundation for those commands:

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)

We are not to remove ourselves from our national citizenship:

They say unto him, Caesar's. Then saith he unto them, Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar's; and unto God the things that are God's. (Matthew 22:21)

For me, that rendering under Caesar includes voting my beliefs, writing my representatives at state and federal levels to express my approval or disapproval of pending legislation, paying attention to debates and demanding from those representatives explanations in order to make decisions based on biblical principles I hold dear.

It is also my responsibility to share God’s word, but it is not my responsibility to judge how it is received. It may take a while for the seed to sprout, as our Lord said:

And herein is that saying true, One soweth, and another reapeth. I sent you to reap that whereon ye bestowed no labour: other men laboured, and ye are entered into their labours. (John 4:37-38)

God does not need us to enthrone Him in America, or in any other nation,  but in our own lives. God is sovereign. Before Him every knee shall bow, in His time.

Remember ye not, that, when I was yet with you, I told you these things? And now ye know what withholdeth that he might be revealed in his time. (2 Thessalonians 2:5-6)

I love my country, but God comes first.

Saturday, June 29, 2013


Lasius Niger
I’m very good at putting things off. Fifteen minutes here, an hour there and a few months down the road for good measure. Oddly enough, I had a boss who said that I worked better under deadlines, so I set them for myself – and miss them at home, unlike how well I kept them at work. I need to be as good a taskmaster as my boss was. I’m not there yet.

There are good applications in the Bible for getting jobs done:

Go to the ant, thou sluggard; consider her ways, and be wise: Which having no guide, overseer, or ruler, Provideth her meat in the summer, and gathereth her food in the harvest. How long wilt thou sleep, O sluggard? when wilt thou arise out of thy sleep? Yet a little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to sleep: So shall thy poverty come as one that travelleth, and thy want as an armed man. (Proverbs 6:6-11 KJV)

As much as we dislike ants (especially fire ants!!) they are a good guide here. They plan ahead and work the plan. They cooperate and feed the colony. They do not fold their hands and sleep the day away (like my cat pretty much does) since people will not put food out for them. Well, not on purpose.

The next example – well, I sure won’t put a picture up – is not a good one I would use:

The spider taketh hold with her hands, and is in kings' palaces. (Proverbs 30:28 KJV)

You’ll find them in the king’s palace as well as everywhere else. No place is without them and they are constantly building and rebuilding. The previous verse speaks of the locust, without a king yet banding together to accomplish their goals. All of these insects working hard for survival.

The Bible also talks about man and working – besides the utterance from God:

In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, (Genesis 3:19a KJV)

Later, in the New Testament, there’s a verse taken to heart in America’s colonial period:

For even when we were with you, this we commanded you, that if any would not work, neither should he eat. (2 Thessalonians 3:10 KJV)

William Bradford’s journals tell of a disastrous first year when everything was held in common. Putting everyone to work on their own property brought us that picture of the first Thanksgiving that we remember each year. It is up to each of us to provide for ourselves and our family:

But if any provide not for his own, and specially for those of his own house, he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel. (1 Timothy 5:8 KJV)

When we see an ant stretch out lolling around sipping on a straw, then we might be able to reconsider our own methodology – otherwise, we are to be good stewards of not only our time and money but of our energy and our actions.

Blessed is that servant, whom his lord when he cometh shall find so doing. (Luke 12:43 KJV)

Which servant? Go to Luke 12 and read the parable, Peter’s question and Christ’s answer. I found it needed to be me.

Friday, June 28, 2013

What We Want

I won’t go into the full history that brings us to the 42nd chapter of Jeremiah. Be assured that Judah is in dire straits having gone through war and becoming a vassal of Chaldea. Another disastrous change of rulers was at hand. “Then all the captains of the forces” along with specific leaders come to Jeremiah with a request:

And said unto Jeremiah the prophet, Let, we beseech thee, our supplication be accepted before thee, and pray for us unto the LORD thy God, even for all this remnant; (for we are left but a few of many, as thine eyes do behold us:) That the LORD thy God may shew us the way wherein we may walk, and the thing that we may do. (Jeremiah 42:2-3 KJV)

Along with that request came a commitment, a promise:

Then they said to Jeremiah, The LORD be a true and faithful witness between us, if we do not even according to all things for the which the LORD thy God shall send thee to us. Whether it be good, or whether it be evil, we will obey the voice of the LORD our God, to whom we send thee; that it may be well with us, when we obey the voice of the LORD our God. (Jeremiah 42:5-6 KJV)

As our Pastor said Wednesday night during this lesson, this is very plain. No opportunity for misunderstanding.

This is the way we come to God. “Tell me what I need to do. Give me direction and I’ll do what you say.” Only, as Jeremiah knew ahead of us:

For ye dissembled in your hearts, when ye sent me unto the LORD your God, saying, Pray for us unto the LORD our God; and according unto all that the LORD our God shall say, so declare unto us, and we will do it. And now I have this day declared it to you; but ye have not obeyed the voice of the LORD your God, nor any thing for the which he hath sent me unto you. (Jeremiah 42:20-21 KJV)

We, too, dissemble in our hearts (that’s still a good word, too, in today’s dictionaries – it still means dissimulate, conceal, feign, simulate, hide, pretend.) Jeremiah knew what they would say after he gave them God’s command to stay in Judah, not to go to Egypt:

Then spake Azariah the son of Hoshaiah, and Johanan the son of Kareah, and all the proud men, saying unto Jeremiah, Thou speakest falsely: the LORD our God hath not sent thee to say, Go not into Egypt to sojourn there: (Jeremiah 43:2 KJV)

Once again I’m brought back to a quote I used recently regarding our making God’s word say what we want:
… the whole weight of their personal desires and interests would lead them to decide the question in their own favour.
We read books others have written and substitute their words for our own understanding while reading God’s word in prayer. Heeding His word for our own lives is what we need in order to follow His will. Why trade that for a well-written book – especially if we like what it says more than we like our Bible reading.

Are we prepared to receive God’s word meant for us? Do we expect to live with it eternally? By the way – go ahead and read Jeremiah 42 and the following chapters. What happened? What was the rest of the story?

Thursday, June 27, 2013


This gentleman is preparing for a fireworks display, as a great many people will be doing next week. Preparation takes thought, planning and action, though sometimes a misstep occurs.

The other night I was going through my prayer list, already in bed and very tired. Thinking of one particular person, a verse came to mind and I knew it would be the subject of the next morning’s blog. I thought a moment about getting up and writing it down , but I didn’t, opting instead to store it on a shelf in my mind for retrieval the next morning.

Can’t find that shelf.

That’s why I take notes during sermons or send myself an e-mail when a thought comes while I’m out and about. No matter how good I think that thought is at the time, it doesn’t seem to file homestead and take up residence. That’s also why Bible reading is a daily activity for me. Left undone, I would miss out on communing with our Lord, an opportunity to learn more as well as any new message He might have.

I look upon missing services in that same way. Not only is it a very pleasurable social activity, but it is filled with opportunities. Without it, it is easy to forget, as Israel did. When they were reminded, there was a tremendous celebration:

And the children of Israel that were present kept the passover at that time, and the feast of unleavened bread seven days. And there was no passover like to that kept in Israel from the days of Samuel the prophet; neither did all the kings of Israel keep such a passover as Josiah kept, and the priests, and the Levites, and all Judah and Israel that were present, and the inhabitants of Jerusalem. (2 Chronicles 35:17-18)

I won’t go into how they got to this point. I’ve written in the past several posts on Josiah and his rule. If you want to learn more …

Now the rest of the acts of Josiah, and his goodness, according to that which was written in the law of the LORD, And his deeds, first and last, behold, they are written in the book of the kings of Israel and Judah. (2 Chronicles 35:26-27)

But here we see there was no Passover like this, none of the kings held such a day of remembrance, since Samuel. Both citizens of Judah and Israel were present to remember their deliverance and give thanks to their Lord.

Do we plan our religious holidays to be such days? Do we gather on that day, remembering, and placing God first?

Easter – do we spend the previous week thinking of the Passover our Lord partook, the supper He instituted, the prayers in Gethsemane, the arrest, trial and crucifixion? Or, are we more concerned about who will be at Sunday dinner, whether the preaching will run over and the food that’s in the oven?

Christmas – do we think of Mary hearing of her child for the first time, of Joseph’s disappointment then acceptance of God’s will? Do we think about the magi and their journey, of their gifts and their meaning? Do we think of the great I AM being born as any other child into this world, laid in a manger, His first and last shelter belonging to another? Or are we more concerned about what presents will be given/received and who will miss out because they HAD to go to the other family this year?

Our preparation for every single day begins in our heart, in our mind, based on memories. Keep the right ones before us, not stored on a forgettable shelf.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013


2013-06-24 081635
I have carried this postcard around for about twenty years, moving from office to office and eventually home. I got it in a management training class not long after becoming a Software Quality Engineer. That first morning, our instructor laid out a table-top full of different pictures and asked that we select one that made us think about our jobs. I chose this one.

Co-workers laughed, but there was meaning for me. My job meant understanding what I was doing, knowing what the requirements were, tracking any errors (even anomalies) and paying attention to detail. I fully intended to retire from that very job, even if I wouldn’t be growing a long beard. The instructor was kind enough to let us keep our selection.

I also recognized and respected the responsibilities of the scribe. If you don’t think they did a good job, look at the differences between the Isaiah scroll found in the Dead Sea cave with ones published this week. Then tell me they could not be as similar to those written two thousand years before the Dead Sea Scrolls. Dedicated men preserved those words.

Why, then, would generation after generation after ad infinitum believe they are the only generation to understand mankind’s place in the world? In their desire to make their mark (why does the picture of male dogs marking trees come to mind) in the world mean rewriting what happened in the past?

Makes me think of:

Remove not the ancient landmark, which thy fathers have set. (Proverbs 22:28)

You see, I believe God meant what He said:

So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it. (Isaiah 55:11)

Matthew, Mark and Luke include this:

Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away. (Matthew 24:35)

Moses was given explicit instructions:

Ye shall not add unto the word which I command you, neither shall ye diminish ought from it, that ye may keep the commandments of the LORD your God which I command you. (Deuteronomy 4:2)

At the end, we’re given similar instructions – with consequences:

For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book: And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book. (Revelation 22:18-19)

God’s word is to be taken very seriously.

Yes, I could identify with this post card not only in my work, but in God’s word. It should be studied.

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

May you enjoy your studies in God’s word as much as I do.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Decisions, Decisions

A few days ago I included a quote that held the line:
… the whole weight of their personal desires and interests would lead them to decide the question in their own favour.
I was struck by that, and how we all utilize the scriptures to make decisions favorable to our own desires, likes, dislikes.  A single scripture here or there and we can each one prove what we would like to believe, what we’ve been taught to believe or any combination thereof. Instead, we need to study God’s word as a whole. Paul did, and preached it to others.

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

For me, that means when we spend time expressing God love, as shown in:

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)

We should take that in context, understand Jesus is speaking to a very learned Jewish scholar, and give the next two verses:

For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. (John 3:17-18)

We should not ignore Peter:

The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance. (2 Peter 3:9)

Speaking of love and God’s will also includes this verse:

But the heavens and the earth, which are now, by the same word are kept in store, reserved unto fire against the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men. (2 Peter 3:7)

So, who is the ungodly man? Wouldn’t that be a person without God in their lives? Those who make life choices without considering consequences? Those who deny God? Aren’t they included in the verse:

Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven. But whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father which is in heaven. (Matthew 10:32-33)

This is the same Jesus who says He is the door:

I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture. The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly. I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep. (John 10:9-11)

I know it’s no longer politically correct to follow the Bible, to learn its verses, practice its precepts, but I believe Jesus Christ is the son of God who died on the cross for all the sins of all mankind, but not all have believed. Not my words, but what does the Bible say will be the consequences of that disbelief?

Monday, June 24, 2013

Today’s Temple

Yesterday I wrote about Haggai’s message to Israel about rebuilding God’s temple and how we should be interested in our church’s building. Those buildings are not God’s temple. There’s another location, according to:

Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you? (1 Corinthians 3:16 KJV)

That’s a change from:

And there I will meet with thee, and I will commune with thee from above the mercy seat, from between the two cherubims which are upon the ark of the testimony, of all things which I will give thee in commandment unto the children of Israel. (Exodus 25:22 KJV)

The Ark did not contain God. It was simply a place where He communed with Moses. Hebrews chapter nine – much too long to post here – is a good explanation of the change from a high priest entering the Holy of Holies once a year. Christ’s death changed life. God is available in His temple at all hours of every day, within us.

People often use this example in applications for us to keep our bodies in good shape – a very good idea. However, how about feeding our faith, our spirit? How about communing with God in this temple? That’s immensely more important than upkeep on the container – especially a container we’ll be leaving behind. Oh, do take care of it while it is inhabited, but always remember the difference between temporal and spiritual.

This past week was both temporal and spiritual for the youth in our church. Sunday night’s service allowed their sponsors, youth minister and our young people to tell us about their church camp this year.

It began with 24 people in our new van – last year would have required two of our 15-passenger vans, so this was much better with everyone traveling together. The weekend was spent with a church planter in New Orleans, helping in his church as well as door-to-door invitations for blocks around inviting people to join them Sunday. Then it was on to the campus in Pensacola.

Each gave their own viewpoint.  They all mentioned the food – seven different stations with a wide variety of choices. A couple confessed they ate pizza for every meal except breakfast. Next, they all mentioned the preaching. Dr. Kenneth Baldwin is remarkable. You are welcome to hear some of his sermons on this site,

Each of the speakers gave a specific example of a message they took to heart. As I’ve seen before, different messages went to different people from the very same sermon – just as specific verses speak to me with different messages when I have different needs. God provides what we need.

If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children: how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him? (Luke 11:13 KJV)

So, consider yourself a temple – God does:

What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God's. (1 Corinthians 6:19-20 KJV)

Sunday, June 23, 2013

A Ceiled House

Quite an expanse of ceiling in this graphic. Haggai wrote about ceiled houses:

Is it time for you, O ye, to dwell in your cieled houses, and this house lie waste? (Haggai 1:4 KJV)

Only two chapters, this very short book is a message to God’s people that they have been selfishly looking out for themselves, ignoring God’s house.

Now therefore thus saith the LORD of hosts; Consider your ways. Ye have sown much, and bring in little; ye eat, but ye have not enough; ye drink, but ye are not filled with drink; ye clothe you, but there is none warm; and he that earneth wages earneth wages to put it into a bag with holes. Thus saith the LORD of hosts; Consider your ways. (Haggai 1:5-7 KJV)

Think about it – God pretty much says that twice here. For all the work they’ve done, there is very little return. Think about it.

Ye looked for much, and, lo, it came to little; and when ye brought it home, I did blow upon it. Why? saith the LORD of hosts. Because of mine house that is waste, and ye run every man unto his own house. (Haggai 1:9 KJV)

There were few who would remember how the temple appeared when it looked its best. The progression of time doesn’t always bring progress in other ways. In our own time we can look at Detroit as an example of how quickly things of beauty can be destroyed when they are no longer maintained, when they are ignored and looted.

So was the temple Solomon had built to honor God. The people rebuilt their lives, spent time rebuilding their homes, created ceilings for protection from the elements but ignored God’s house.

So – is their a ceiling over your head? There is over mine. No leaks, and I’m very grateful for that.

There’s a ceiling in our house of worship, too, though it will never come close to the glory of Jerusalem’s. It does offer us protection from the elements when we gather to show our devotion to our Lord and to learn more of Him through His word.

That’s very important to me. I truly enjoy the opportunities to learn more about God, His relationship to mankind and applications in His word to our daily lives.

Someone asked me one time why we attended evening services. “You can’t have sinned enough to need to be there, can you?” Oh, my – I don’t go to church because I’ve been bad. I don’t go to church to get to be good, either.

I go to church services to worship God. I want my words and my actions to reflect His love for this world He created. I want to grow in faith and in service to accomplish these goals. He’s given me tools to help:

So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. (Romans 10:17 KJV)

There are promises in His word that apply to people of faith:

But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him. (Hebrews 11:6 KJV)

Doesn’t sound like it’s so difficult, does it? Come to His house today, hear His word, believe that He is and hear the promises. I’ll be in one this Sunday morning, please join us.

Saturday, June 22, 2013


Words are important. Take Malachi 1:1 for example:

The burden of the word of the LORD to Israel by Malachi. (Malachi 1:1 KJV)

The word of the Lord is described as a burden. The Hebrew word is משּׂא, defined by Strong as tribute or an utterance of doom. It is not laid “on” Israel, but is given “to”. A very slight difference in tone. It is not a burden created by the Lord, but by the people.

Malachi sounds much as lessons unlearned, a situation that exists today. One commentary states:
Malachi, though dead, yet speaks to the modern world about the need to bring performance into line with profession. His message, therefore, is current
I need to do this, as do most of the people I know, including Paul:

I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 3:14 KJV)

We continually press toward that mark, but we will never reach it on our own. Paul knew this, too:

Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus. (Philippians 3:12 KJV)

Our failures should be lessons learned and should not be repeatable. We have an example:

For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps: Who did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth: Who, when he was reviled, reviled not again; when he suffered, he threatened not; but committed himself to him that judgeth righteously: (1 Peter 2:21-23 KJV)

These examples of God’s Word are found in God’’s word. What better way to learn of God’s history with mankind than to read His inspired writings to mankind? There are so many promises for us!

Ye have said, It is vain to serve God: and what profit is it that we have kept his ordinance, and that we have walked mournfully before the LORD of hosts? And now we call the proud happy; yea, they that work wickedness are set up; yea, they that tempt God are even delivered. Then they that feared the LORD spake often one to another: and the LORD hearkened, and heard it, and a book of remembrance was written before him for them that feared the LORD, and that thought upon his name. (Malachi 3:14-16 KJV)

Do we that fear the Lord speak often to one another and think upon His name? The difference may be as simple as:

Then shall ye return, and discern between the righteous and the wicked, between him that serveth God and him that serveth him not. (Malachi 3:18 KJV)

The question we face is whether to serve God or not. We are very, very good at denial if we think we are serving and we have not considered His word to us.

When you spend time reading God’s word, you will learn why Jesus said:

For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light. (Matthew 11:30 KJV)

Friday, June 21, 2013


I went today for an MRI and ended up in the highest Tesla machine available in our hospital. My first MRI was in an ‘open MRI’ and it gave pretty good information on the size and location of the meningioma residing in my brain. On the second MRI my neurologist wanted a machine with a high Tesla – he said it was like seeing a photo with high pixels. But – I am claustrophobic. I did just fine until the machine compresses my arms against my chest. I’m also fat. So, we moved to a larger, yet less Teslas, machine. Not the electric car tied to the above screen captured graphic.

Friday was the third look at Henry (yes, I’ve named my meningioma) and we found a larger machine with a greater Tesla count and did two – one without and one with dye. No claustrophobia, just stiff joints from being on a steel bed for over an hour. Results will be known later.

While I was being bombarded with thrums and thumps, I thought about Tesla – and how the same word can have so many meanings. Look up Tesla on Wikipedia and you’ll find the disambiguous  page with links to a multiplicity of pages. What you want first is Nikola Tesla. Eventually you’ll come to:  “In the International System of Units, the derived unit of magnetic flux density or magnetic inductivity.” That measurement defined the machine my doctor wanted me to use.

I was also asked my religion preference on one of the registration forms. Christian covers a multitude of doctrines, doesn’t it? A multitude of names – Anglican, Baptist, Catholic – an alphabet of possibilities.

Endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling; One Lord, one faith, one baptism, One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all. (Ephesians 4:3-6 KJV)

While we may disagree on adornments, hair, clothing, music, Bibles, each Christian agrees that there is one God.

But to us there is but one God, the Father, of whom are all things, and we in him; and one Lord Jesus Christ, by whom are all things, and we by him. (1 Corinthians 8:6 KJV)

In that eighth chapter, Paul addresses differences of belief related to the eating of meat that had been offered to idols. It has a much wider application. I like what the Pulpit Commentary said about Paul’s writings on the subject, his siding…
… with those who took the strong, the broad, the common sense view, that sin is not a mechanical matter, and that sin is not committed where no sin is intended. He neither adopts the ascetic view nor does he taunt the inquirers with the fact that the whole weight of their personal desires and interests would lead them to decide the question in their own favour. On the other hand, he has too deep a sympathy with the weak to permit their scruples to be overruled with a violence which would wound their consciences. While he accepts the right principle of Christian freedom, he carefully guards against its abuse.
When the message is love, God’s love from His word, can we accept the principles of Christian freedom? Being inclusive as again Paul wrote:

Some indeed preach Christ even of envy and strife; and some also of good will: The one preach Christ of contention, not sincerely, supposing to add affliction to my bonds: But the other of love, knowing that I am set for the defence of the gospel. What then? notwithstanding, every way, whether in pretence, or in truth, Christ is preached; and I therein do rejoice, yea, and will rejoice. (Philippians 1:15-18 KJV)

Let us rejoice.

Thursday, June 20, 2013



A very short post this morning. Wednesday was Beloved Husband’s schedule blood filtering, today is my scheduled MRI.

Yesterday we had a small delay in BH’s pheresis process – an occlusion (blockage of some kind) in his graft kept his blood from flowing. I posted a quick prayer request on Facebook, and there were instant responses.

A community of brothers and sisters in Christ joined me in prayer. With each response, my comfort level increased, knowing the best help was at hand:

Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.  (Romans 8:26 KJV)

As David, I know I do not deserve God’s grace:

Hear my prayer, O LORD, give ear to my supplications: in thy faithfulness answer me, and in thy righteousness. And enter not into judgment with thy servant: for in thy sight shall no man living be justified.  (Psalms 143:1-2 KJV)

Thank God He provided that justification:

Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: (Romans 5:1 KJV)

My prayer partners attend a wide variety of church styles. In many ways we differ on doctrine. The one thing we hold in common, no questions asked, is the full knowledge that Jesus, Christ, died for us and through Him we are entitled to approach God’s throne with our supplications. By Him, we are comforted.

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

May you know this peace and share in our joyful comfort.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Wall? Or Door? A Revisit


Four years ago I was teaching a junior high Sunday school class. When my Beloved Husband became ill, I could no longer fulfill the obligations of teaching, and I miss that. We were studying purity – a very good subject for young ladies. There are plenty of biblical lessons on the subject, and this is one we presented to them:

In the Song of Solomon, brothers speak of their little sister and of her purity. She has a choice to make – is she a wall, or a door?

If she be a wall, we will build upon her a palace of silver: and if she be a door, we will inclose her with boards of cedar. I am a wall, and my breasts like towers: then was I in his eyes as one that found favour. (Song of Solomon 8:9-10 KJV)

Will her purity and honor be maintained behind a protective wall? Or will she be a door, open to dishonor?

That’s been a question long before Solomon, and remains a question today. As a teacher of Junior High Sunday School girls, it is very important to me that they understand their decision will affect the remainder of their lives.

The society we live in accepts rape. You don’t believe me? Just read Whoopi Goldberg’s response to Roman Polanksi’s re-arrest in 2009: “It’s not rape rape,” she said.

The society we live in accepts abortion. No question on that one. The ethical debate of Roe v Wade continues, with pro-life making gains in 2009 to become even with pro-abortion in polls.

The society we live in holds no respect for a virtuous woman, though many can be found – just don’t look for them on the front of celebrity magazines.

There were three weddings 2009/10 – one in New Jersey, one in Mississippi and one in Oklahoma – for young men who grew up in our church and dedicated their life to God’s work. One young man served as a youth pastor then a Marine, another is a pastor and the third is a youth pastor. They have waited for and have found their virtuous wife.

A few years ago one of our Sunday assignments for the girls was to write a letter to their future husband. In it, they were to tell him what they expected of him – and tell him what they were doing to prepare themselves for him. We wanted them to know that the covenant between a husband, wife and God is to last a lifetime. My task was to help prepare these young women for their life long marriage, and I take it very seriously:

The aged women likewise, that they be in behaviour as becometh holiness, not false accusers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things; That they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children, To be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed. (Titus 2:3-5 KJV)

The Bible gives them excellent images to work toward these goals, and it gives open examples of what happens when people fall short. Life is full of both, but the choices are made individually.

Paul gives excellent advice:

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

Look for one who not only respects your beliefs, but believes them:

 Now the God of patience and consolation grant you to be likeminded one toward another according to Christ Jesus: (Romans 15:5 KJV)

Now my question to young ladies who care is – will you be a wall? Or a door?

Tuesday, June 18, 2013


When we moved to Oklahoma I could no longer walk to elementary school. That was long enough ago that having two cars was an anomaly, not a normality. Daddy would drop me off and pick me up – no school buses in city limits, but there was a heavily-trafficked street he did not want me to cross. One snowy day, he forgot to pick me up.

I had stepped outside to look for him, and the door locked behind me. I worried, but I never considered starting to walk home. Daddy told me to wait. Daddy said he would pick me up. I trusted him, and I did not trust myself or the rest of the world.

Perhaps that’s why The Spiritual Encourager’s graphic meant so much to me. I can place actually experienced feelings into that picture.

Unlike my dear, sweet Daddy, God does not forget. Ages upon ages ago, Isaiah addressed that:

But Zion said, The LORD hath forsaken me, and my Lord hath forgotten me. Can a woman forget her sucking child, that she should not have compassion on the son of her womb? yea, they may forget, yet will I not forget thee. Behold, I have graven thee upon the palms of my hands; thy walls are continually before me. (Isaiah 49:14-16 KJV)

He loves us even more than my Dad loved me. The Bible is full of verses that tell me so. Yet – it appears at times I cannot reach Him, or that He’s not interested in me.

When that happens, and it does, I believe it is my responsibility to discover why.

First, I need to check my life – my prayer life and my daily life, too. Am I keeping the lines of communication open? Am I praying? Am I confessing my errors of omission as well as commission? Am I accepting His forgiveness?

And it shall come to pass, that before they call, I will answer; and while they are yet speaking, I will hear. (Isaiah 65:24 KJV)

Read the verses before this – know that He is ready to give the best of gifts:

If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask him? (Matthew 7:11 KJV)

How am I asking? For myself? Unselfishly for another? For God’s glorification? Can I remember that Jesus, facing the cross for me, was able to pray:

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 KJV)

Am I able to do the same with much smaller requests? Do I mean “I really want this right now”? No one can know that but me. Loving family and closest friends know what I say, but only God knows my heart, as He did the Pharisees:

And the Pharisees also, who were covetous, heard all these things: and they derided him. And he said unto them, Ye are they which justify yourselves before men; but God knoweth your hearts: for that which is highly esteemed among men is abomination in the sight of God. (Luke 16:14-15 KJV)

When my heart is right with God, I have help with my prayers.

Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. And he that searcheth the hearts knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit, because he maketh intercession for the saints according to the will of God. (Romans 8:26-27 KJV)

According to the will of God. Then, pray while waiting for His response.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Parted Waters

Two separate events of parted waters – the Red Sea as the Israelites left Egypt and the Jordan River as they entered the promised land. More than forty years in between because they did not trust God.

The phrase ‘obedience, then understanding’ came to mind this morning during a study of Joshua.

The first parting came as the children of Israel saw Pharaoh approaching. Their departure appeared to be at an end, with the sea in front of them, an army behind them. They blamed Moses, of course.

And they said unto Moses, Because there were no graves in Egypt, hast thou taken us away to die in the wilderness? wherefore hast thou dealt thus with us, to carry us forth out of Egypt? Is not this the word that we did tell thee in Egypt, saying, Let us alone, that we may serve the Egyptians? For it had been better for us to serve the Egyptians, than that we should die in the wilderness. (Exodus 14:11-12 KJV)

The Lord provided the way out, instructing Moses:

But lift thou up thy rod, and stretch out thine hand over the sea, and divide it: and the children of Israel shall go on dry ground through the midst of the sea. (Exodus 14:16 KJV)

Had they advanced, placed their feet in the water, would it have opened as the Jordan?

And it shall come to pass, as soon as the soles of the feet of the priests that bear the ark of the LORD, the Lord of all the earth, shall rest in the waters of Jordan, that the waters of Jordan shall be cut off from the waters that come down from above; and they shall stand upon an heap. (Joshua 3:13 KJV)

Verses 15 and 16 tell us this was true – as soon as their feet dipped into the flood from the Jordan, the waters parted and their path was clear. Of course, they had forty years in between to see how the Lord was seeing after them. Perhaps they had learned to listen to Him, had come to know the Lord would provide for their needs.

Those crossing Jordan obeyed, trusting they would eventually understand. They sought God’s direction, asked Him questions and responded to His instructions. It took forty years for this response.

How long did it take for us? We know people who have been following Christ since childhood.  We also know adults who never darken a church door. And, we know those who have died professing their lack of faith.  Where are we on our journey? Are we looking back to Egypt, wandering the wilderness, standing on the edge of Jordan – or living in Egypt without the Lord.

I prefer heeding His word. It’s a choice I’ve made based on studying what is available without eternal life and what God offers. Then came studying to see whether there are credible alternatives. There were no easy answers in all that study. It comes down to faith – faith that allows for obedience before understanding. Faith as described and exampled in Hebrews 11. May reading His word introduce this faith.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Fathers Day

My father’s one hundredth birthday was this last March.  This photo of him feeding a deer was taken about 1938 in California’s Sequoia National Park along with his friend Jim Warren. I miss my Dad. He’s been with our heavenly Father for thirteen years, and still the thoughts cross my mind now and then to ask him questions, then realize that opportunity has passed.
Sion and childrenThis 1909 photo includes my Dad’s father – in the upper right – and his grandfather – in the lower left. My great-grandfather, Sion Holley, was born in 1830 and served in the Texas infantry during the Civil War. Think for a moment how much American history has occurred in this our four generations. I grew up hearing the stories that these three men lived through.
This was my husband’s birth father – one who left for World War II when my husband was only two, and never returned to his family. Oh, he was not killed in action, but the war separated the family and he built a new life elsewhere. My husband and his brother were adopted, given another Dad.
This is the man who got to tell the family stories, see the report cards, apply discipline and set the stage for my husband’s future. The man he called Dad. He's the Dad who set the work ethic by example, who provided food, shelter and a father's love.

All of the above are fathers. Some were more involved in their children’s lives, but all provided input into the makeup of my own children, who have their own father – as I met him:
… and as I see him now:
Wonderfully blessed fathers in our lives! But – we have more.

For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father.(Romans 8:15 KJV)

Through the matchless grace of God, we are His children:

Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not. (1 John 3:1 KJV)

Jesus Christ confirmed this in the prayer He gave as our example:

But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly. But when ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do: for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking. Be not ye therefore like unto them: for your Father knoweth what things ye have need of, before ye ask him. After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen. (Matthew 6:6-13 KJV)

Let us honor all the fathers in our lives, not just on this one day, but every day.

Saturday, June 15, 2013


Hast thou not known? hast thou not heard, that the everlasting God, the LORD, the Creator of the ends of the earth, fainteth not, neither is weary? there is no searching of his understanding. (Isaiah 40:28 KJV)

I do believe that He never wearies – but we sure did and will spend a couple of days resting up after a wonderful vacation. When you stop to think that half of our foursome had some physical limitations, we did very well to see all that we did. We did become weary, and being home is a huge comfort.

And a certain scribe came, and said unto him, Master, I will follow thee whithersoever thou goest. And Jesus saith unto him, The foxes have holes, and the birds of the air have nests; but the Son of man hath not where to lay his head. (Matthew 8:19-20 KJV)

Three years He walked across desert, sailed on fishing boats, spoke to crowds, counseled one-on-one and did not turn rocks into bread nor use a throne. He did not call down ten thousand angels, He did not give in to temptation. Oh, angels ministered:

Then the devil leaveth him, and, behold, angels came and ministered unto him. (Matthew 4:11 KJV)

He also had a couple of visitors from home:

And after six days Jesus taketh Peter, James, and John his brother, and bringeth them up into an high mountain apart, And was transfigured before them: and his face did shine as the sun, and his raiment was white as the light. And, behold, there appeared unto them Moses and Elias talking with him. (Matthew 17:1-3 KJV)

He knew home was in His future:

And as they came down from the mountain, Jesus charged them, saying, Tell the vision to no man, until the Son of man be risen again from the dead. And his disciples asked him, saying, Why then say the scribes that Elias must first come? And Jesus answered and said unto them, Elias truly shall first come, and restore all things. But I say unto you, That Elias is come already, and they knew him not, but have done unto him whatsoever they listed. Likewise shall also the Son of man suffer of them. (Matthew 17:9-12 KJV)

Though wearied, worn and away from home, He endured:

Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God. (Hebrews 12:2 KJV)

We are promised to appear before the judgment seat:

for we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ. (Romans 14:10b KJV)

Do not grow too weary before reaching that point!

Friday, June 14, 2013

Material Things

We did not see the Royal Gorge on this trip. We went there, but there were buildings between the parking lot and the bridge. To enter was $26/per person. A large impact to our budget, and nothing to show for the expenditure except memories and photographs. The buildings appeared to house shops eager to accept even more money. Pay money in order to spend money? It didn't make financial sense, does it?

It won't happen again for a while. The above shot is of those buildings, lost to the Royal Gorge fire in Colorado.

Name a state, any state. Can you also name a disaster that happened in that state in the last few years? Many people have lost material possessions. Their lives have changed immeasurably. They no longer have a sense of security in their future. They have learned how to deal with insurance companies. That they were under-covered. That they cannot remember all their possessions, nor do they have their receipts.

Everyone says that material things can be replaced. True, to a certain extent, but they are not the same. The beloved gifts that carried memories are not in stores. True, new memories are made, tainted a bit by the fire/wind/flood that took the originals.

These are not our treasures.

Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also. (Matthew 6:19-21 KJV)

It wasn't moth, rust or thieves. It has been wind, rain and fire. Still, where are our treasurers? Not all of mine are in heaven - I have family here, loved ones who are as dear as blood relatives. How I wish I could lay these treasures in heaven, but they must do that themselves. Oh, I continue to pray for them. Pray the Lord will provide the right person who will witness to them, reach their softened hearts and pray they accept His gift.

Then I will have true treasures in heaven, safe from what this world has to offer. Have you notice a witness?

Thursday, June 13, 2013


See my lunch companion? Amid the table and chair legs is a small bird. We ate under a large shelter at the Henry Doorly Zoo in Omaha, and this little fellow was brave enough to join in.

It just wouldn't be right for an ex-Kiewit employee to go through Omaha without seeing the zoo. Absolutely, we visited the Suzanne and Walter Scott aquarium. Beautiful!! Lots of photographs, though some are spoiled by flash reflections from the glass. Somehow I hit a button that turned on date/info when viewed - I hope it doesn't show up on the finished picture.

We've seen a lot this trip, but one thing surprised me - the number of woman who have tattoos - large ones. One had a two-line poem in script from left shoulder to right along her scooped neckline. Another a tattoo from the front of her right shoulder across her back then to the front of her left shoulder - it appeared as thought it was a tattooed shawl. Most of the others were sleeve type, from shoulder down her arm. It seems to be very popular in our country now.

I worked with a young black man, raised in the UK, I do not recall his parents' country of origin, but his face bore tattooed scars of tribal origin. They were ceremonial and held meaning for the people of his tribe. I often wonder what meaning lies behind the ones I see displayed now.

I am also reminded of the law:

Ye shall not make any cuttings in your flesh for the dead, nor print any marks upon you: I am the Lord. (Leviticus 19:28 KJV)

I know - we are under grace, not the law. There is nothing I can do to increase the salvation God has given me out if His love. Perhaps I see it as a matter of respect.

Back to companionship - we've been blessed with good companions in this trip. We've known each other for several years, but living so closely together for two weeks we've become closer, gaining knowledge about every day activities for hours in end. It truly is a blessing to see friendships grow stronger along the way.

I'm reminded of how the Bible describes Adam and Enoch walking with God in companionship. Please know that remains available to us today. God remains the same now as He was then.

God lights my way, directs my path and is by my side always. Shouldn't I seek to know the whys and hows from His word? Isn't that a good way to show companionship?

Wednesday, June 12, 2013


Sioux Falls has Falls. Tuesday became a rest day, which meant an extra day in Sioux Falls. Such a stay requires a visit to the Falls Park. In fact, any length stay should include the prettiest city park I've seen.

This entire trip has been about beauty this world has to offer. Our next stop, in Omaha, includes some man-made structures. I remember in Kie-Ways, a magazine published by Kiewit, their involvement in building Omaha's zoo. Today we'll visit there and see their work for ourselves.

Consider Job 37:14, and Psalms 8. What are we, really, that He should pay attention to us? Thank God that answer is given:

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

He pays attention to us because He loves us. John 3:16 says it all, but is repeated in 1 John 3:16 and other verses. He gave us living proof, too, through the crucifixion and resurrection.

Let us enjoy the beauty provided here, tending to it with good stewardship, then anticipate the joy laid before us in His promises.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

A Long Day

Monday was a long day. We were on the road by 7:30, headed for Mount Rushmore. We were able to get a parking place close to the elevators from the first parking level to the main walkway. The pair of GoGo scooters were perfect for our two limited-mobility travelers. Yes, the scooters took up quite a bit of room, but they were worth it. We do have a picture of how packed the back of the mini-van is!

South Dakota has many different scenes. From the Black Hills we drop down to Rapid City and we can see for miles eastward - plains, with huge fields. Not until we cross the wide Missouri does the landscape change again.

I'm struck not only by what I've seen in scenery here today, but the relative size of Israel and the change of scenery Pastor's travelogue displayed - in an even smaller area.

Jesus' speech and action as He walked the dusty roads impacts world politics today. One man, speaking to another, a few, a crowd and His words echo across congregations each Sunday.

This past Sunday we joined the congregation of the Grace Baptist Church in Black Hawk, South Dakota. Pastor Paul Erdos read verses from First John, speaking to us of the most important part of Christ's message - love. If we do not love, we do not know God.

The congregation was small, but the message was the same as it has been since Matthew recorded it in 22:37-40.

Those who dynamite and polish mountains want to leave lasting messages. Whether it's four presidents or Native Americans memorialized in Crazy Horse, they want their story seen, discussed and remembered.

Jesus just wanted to change the world to display the manner in which God loved it. He did that in individual lives. How's His work in ours -- it's on display, what is displayed?

Monday, June 10, 2013


Sunday morning we ate a complimentary breakfast with a number of other hotel guests. A father came in with three young teen sons. He carried a laptop and earphones, sitting one son down with them, turning on the laptop and placing the earphones on one of the boys.

That boy was not as quietly behaved as his two brothers - he spoke unintelligible sounds somewhat loudly, largely ignored by his dad and siblings. Once seated, his attention focused on the screen and the sounds only he could hear.

Also in that room was a newspaper headlining how an eleven-year-old girl had been arrested for the tenth time. As the autistic girl rebelled verbally and physically at school, their response was to call the police, have her handcuffed and taken to jail, over and over again.

Also Sunday morning, a televised service read from 1 Kings 17. Elijah was staying with a widow and her son. At Elijah's suggestion, she shared the last of her food with him. Instead of waiting for death after that last meal, there was enough stores to continue sustaining them through the famine. Yet, the child died. His mother wondered if it were for her past sins, but Elijah went to the One who has all answers:

And he cried unto the Lord, and said, O Lord my God, hast thou also brought evil upon the widow with whom I sojourn, by slaying her son? (1 Kings 17:20 KJV)

When our children are at risk, we do question God's plans. Are we willing to accept His response when our child is not returned to us healed, or do we expect the answer to always be as the raised widow's son?

Do we expect every prodigal to return, or are we aware that some children will choose the world?

Never cease to speak to God, even when we do not see spiritual or physical healing. Never cease to ask Him for their healing and their return. Remember James 5:16 and seek righteousness.

Sunday, June 9, 2013

It's Just A Name

Devils Tower was awesome. I need to find out if there are more of these stripped-to-the-core volcanoes.

Oh, no - I did not misspell its name. The apostrophe was omitted when this National Monument was created. It should have been Bear Tower, anyway. The multiple Native American tribes aware of this spot referred to it as a bear's something - lodge, teepee or the story is its creation.

Sadly, many still come to the Tower to leave offerings. There were signs describing the offerings left and requests that we tourists leave them alone. I wondered if some were taken as souvenirs.

Christians have not been convincing to the native tribes, though centuries have passed since Europeans first contacted plains tribes. The majority of newcomers were not interested in the souls of the tribes. Their land, furs, most notably their gold - for which they had little use - was high on the list, but not salvation.

What are we interested in when we meet strangers? Do we learn of them, from them, care for them? Do we think of their souls or do we make judgments based only on first impressions?

Matthew 25:31-46 describes those who do without thinking and those who don't do but think they did. Where do we fall - to the left or to the right? Do we do for any, or only our own? What do we do for those whose beliefs are so different from our own?

I thought about that after seeing the Little Big Horn markers for Native Americans fighting to retain their land and lifestyle. We bought their land from another sovereign nation that never held it, then sent in soldiers. That's what earthly kingdoms / nations do.

We serve a heavenly King who cares for His subjects in an entirely different manner. He loves, and asks those who love Him to care for all of His children.

Can we? Even those who today believe a bear has a lodge?

Saturday, June 8, 2013

I Am Here

Well, we've been in different places every night for more than a week. I've had times when it took me a few minutes to remember the current room number, much less which city! Best I can do is, "I am here!" And hope I can define "here."

1 Samuel 3:4 has the same words as our graphic - here am I. God knows where we all are, geographically and in our life's journey. There's no doubt when He calls us to His service He knows the total circumstances surrounding our lives. He knows what we need to get the job done and that He will provide for us.

We can't doubt He knew Samuel, Isaiah and each person he called out specifically. He does not need the faith He requires from us. He has the knowledge of exactly how things will turn out. We also know that if we decline to follow His call to us, there will be another take our place.

Mordecai explained that to Esther. She was in the perfect position - we see that through history, she had to have faith. That's what we all need when we're called. Oh, yes, we'll be called. It won't be the same for each person - except for one thing, we won't understand what God has in mind. Our trust in Him is required.

And, we'll need to respond - "Here am I."

Friday, June 7, 2013


The young lady in the photo (a crop from a beautiful portrait by Beth Marie Photography - please do not copy and reuse) is someone I've known all of her life and someone I love.

She's not alone - there are two other special mothers-to-be who are in my prayers for uneventful pregnancies and healthy babies. All of these ladies are married, planning and working on their futures with loving husbands.

They see their pregnancies as the creation of a person that combines parts of them and their husbands into a brand new, absolutely unique, person. They know the verses in Psalm 139:14-16 that tell us we are fearfully and wonderfully made, and that God knows us in that secret creation.

Even non-believers must agree that from the moment of conception, whatever name is given to the combined cells, the DNA is human. Humans are us. We are special in this world. We are self aware, yet capable of caring for each other. That care is a requirement for life.

A newborn human is incapable of surviving outside the womb without the intervention of other humans. What medicine defines as 'viable' is not - unless fed and protected, cared for and cleansed. The mother's body does this for months before she holds her child in her arms. It is required for years afterward, too. Having lived through it - it is so worth it!!

The decision to institute an abortion is the decision to kill a human, a person whose DNA is a unique combination, never to be repeated. Such a decision to save a woman's life is undertaken with much thought. To make that decision as a simple matter of birth control, as though 'fixing' a mistake in judgment, denies the humanity of pregnancy. It should be a heart-wrenching decision not made lightly nor alone.

The best process is to be as these three young couples now on my prayer list - eagerly waiting for the arrival of a new person not only in their lives, their extended families, but in our world. Each is seeing to medical needs for themselves and their child. They are sharing their expectancy with people who care and will provide support. I am so grateful for that!

Would you join with me in a prayer for these specific new lives? For these couples and the years ahead of them as their children and families grow? Will you welcome them into our world?

Thursday, June 6, 2013


It has been years since I've gone through a tunnel in the side of a mountain. Not much need for such along the I-35/I-44 corridor we travel most. Yesterday's journey from Cody to Sheriden took us through this one and two shorter ones.

Reminded me that Jesus is light - and He designated us in Matthew 5:14. If we fail to accept the assignment, someone could be left in darkness.

Light's better. Thanks be to God for providing that light!!

Wednesday, June 5, 2013


This is what we saw walking out to view Old Faithful geyser. Every 88 minutes, give or take ten minutes or so, it blows off steam. There is a live camera pointed toward this spot that you can view on the Internet - last year I posted a screen capture of my daughter's vacation group as they stood there and waved. Both the geyser and the camera are faithful performers.

You gotta know that ties into Bible reading!!! Deuteronomy 7:9 tells us God is faithful while the entire Bible is filled with examples of His faithfulness. 1 Samuel 2:35 shows he requires faithfulness, too. Revelation 1:5 confirms our own faithful witness - and these are only three of 78 verses in KJV that include 'faithful'. Only one, Proverbs 25:19, includes the word 'unfaithful.'

How do we stack up? I write "we" 'cause it's easier to look at this as a group than to ask my self the specific question, "What does my faithfulness tell about my relationship with God?"

More people see my actions than read my words - do they match? When I encourage Bible reading, is it obvious I do it? If I invite someone to services, can they depend on my being there, too? When I speak of my faith, am I sharing an experience or passing judgment?

Jesus Christ is named as our faithful witness. What He said was recorded, God-breathed, by men who witnessed Him. Jesus told us about our Father, His expectations, His preparations, His showing of love for His children. We are shown His faithfulness in every chapter of His book.

Fortunately for us, we've also been shown His forgiveness when our own faithfulness is called into question.

Romans 10:17 tells me how to gain faith. What verse speaks to you about faithfulness?

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Still Have Questions?

I captured this quote the other day. It reminded me of a letter to the editor of Fort Worth's Star Telegram. A woman wrote how offended she was during a show done by the Rockettes.

It was well advertised across the Metroplex and sold out for most performances. It was in December and had the word Christmas in the title. The lady saw the ads, bought tickets and was offended that the program closed with a nativity scene.

In order to keep anyone from being offended, our culture has attempted to erase Christianity.

A recent Huffington Post article suggests that such beliefs are mental aberrations that should be curable. I included that link in a Facebook status a few days ago and regret I cannot include the link here - haven't discovered how to in this iPhone!

One responder wrote, "I'm incurable,". Me, too. I do have faith in the God I cannot see. I'm not offended by those who do not have faith in Him, and wonder why anyone would be offended by another's faith.

Oh, Islamist's death-dealing actions are truly offensive - but a Muslim's faith is no more offensive than a Hindu's, a Buddhist's -- any other religion's faith, including a Christian's. In our country, our governments - federal, state, local - cannot impose any belief system. We appreciate that while respecting each individual's choice. We also expect that respect from all of our country's citizens. We would hope other countries would be as inclusive.

That respect is being inclusive - inclusive enough to overcome being offended at open expressions of faith.

Are we, personally, that open? Are we offended by another's faith? How do we respond to those who are offended by ours? Do we know and use 1 Peter 3:15?

Monday, June 3, 2013

Praise Him!!!

Our worship services begin with singing. The words are a part of the service, but I must admit there have been times my attention was elsewhere, keeping up with the notes, not paying attention to the words.

My error.

When I enter the sanctuary, the music does help me set aside things of the world, focusing in my reason for being there - Jesus, Christ, my Lord.

When I sing "We praise thee I God for the Son of thy love," I must mean the words or be a hypocrite. At the close of service, when I sing "All to Jesus I surrender," I should be surrendering my cares, my woes, anything that keeps me from placing my burdens in Him.

Hymns echo God's word. "Come unto me. I will give you rest," repeats the promises of Matthew 11:28-30. The words telling me His burden is light are important. I'm leaving mine and picking up His love for mankind, not just dropping mine off to enjoy a trouble-free life.

No, the graphic is not of a hymnal in our church. It is a reminder that congregations world-wide do the same praising of our Lord.

So join with me in one of my favorites, Fanny Crosby's "Praise Him! Praise Him! Jesus, our blessed redeemer!!"

Sunday, June 2, 2013

The Condensed Version

One of the first verses we teach is John 3:16. It contains the essence of God's relationship with mankind.

To begin, it is necessary to believe God created the world. That creation has such a reason for existence, so important to God, that He loves it. He not only knows what is happening in it, but He cares about it enough to provide for it.

For a large number of people, they simply cannot comprehend an entity with sufficient power to create this world. That requires accepting the creation of the entire universe. They find it easier to believe "accepted science", which changes every few years with new discoveries by learned men who create new experiments.

I much more appreciate scientists who have minds open to spiritual concepts as well as physical ones. People who can look upon such a verse and see the depth of meaning, the length of time it took to reach and all the prophecy along the way.

Obviously, many study this one verse today with the same depth of interest John had when it was written. And with as many questions as Nicodemus had during his sit-down chat with Jesus. God is ready for us to come to Him with questions, but the bottom line, from Genesis to Revelation is: Faith.

God is one. One message. When He told Adam and Eve they could partake of all the fruit - except one - they had to believe, have faith, that He meant what He said. They didn't. Such examples abound in God's word. We read of the consequences, too, over and over, and we make the same error - lack of faith.

Spend some time with the verse, look at the graphic and determine if this illustration is accurate, from your point of view. Do you read differences in this verse? Based on what? Can you substantiate your views - cite your sources? Do you study with an open mind, or closed to God's voice?

Answers encompass an eternity.

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Have You Thanked God?

There are several verses that speak of thanking God. Psalm 136:26 tells of His mercy. 1 Corinthians of Our victory in Christ. But my favorite is 2 Corinthians 8:15 - thank you, God, for your gift.

His one gift described in John 3:16 gives us all we need, eternally. We should be giving thanks to Him daily for that gift since it encompasses all we do or say once we have accepted His gift.

It allows to see past obstacles and disappointments, placing them into perspective rather than growing them into dramatic proportions. His mercy and grace sustains when those obstacles are gigantic tragedies we cannot bear alone.

Last night I feared for - and prayed for - family and friends in Oklahoma. I lived in Mustang and watched wall clouds, collar clouds and rope tornados form. I sought shelter in a school basement when Gary England's Doppler radar defined a mile-wide rotation. I know the sequence of events, the concern for separated family.

I also know the peace God offers. I don't always accept that wrapping of His comfort. It is human to embrace the fear, instead. My loss when I do. My gain when I understand He knows what I need even when my thoughts run contrary to His.

So, I give thanks this morning that our family and friends are uninjured. Some cannot, having experienced injury and loss. May God comfort them and provide the peace that does pass our understanding. May He then be thanked.