Thursday, November 28, 2013
The Plymouth colony’s harvest in 1621 is acknowledged as the example this county is celebrating today. A time when the colonists and the Wampanoags gave thanks together, feasting on their bountiful harvest. The colony could not have survived without Wampanoag help. The previous winter decimated the colony.
For more information on the Wampanoag way of life, check the Wampanoag Homesite on Plimoth Plantation. For more information on early colonial villages, check the 17th Century English Village on that same website.
I found it interesting after learning my children’s 10th great-grandparents were part of the Massachusett’s Bay colony, arriving in 1630 – relative late comers.
The good will between colonists and Native Americans did not last. Though the concept of Thanksgiving after harvest did last, it was not considered a national holiday until President Abraham Lincoln signed it into existence in 1863. An attempt to unite a warring nation? Or a recognition that we should follow the Bible’s admonition:
So we thy people and sheep of thy pasture will give thee thanks for ever: we will shew forth thy praise to all generations. (Psalms 79:13 KJV)
Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ; (Ephesians 5:20 KJV)
Thanksgiving, 2011, I gave thanks for two in-laws, my son-in-law’s sister and my granddaughter-in-law; one a nurse, the other a doctor in physical therapy. They confirmed my initial concern that my Beloved Husband was in the first stages of a myasthenic crisis. That his labored breathing was not a heart attack, but the cessation of the involuntary muscles associated with breathing. His first air ambulance, a week of ICU, changes in medicine – and yet it happened again in February. Still more changes in lifestyle, only to have a septic infection in July. 2012 was a difficult year.
This year has been better, and for that I continually give thanks. Many of his symptoms have lessened. Prayer, along with having the right doctors at just the right time (again, part of answered prayers!) and he spent Wednesday making pies for the thirty participants in this year’s Thanksgiving celebration at our home.
It’s a potluck, everyone responsible for a dish, so we’ll have a variety of food as well as people. All three of my children, their spouses, their spouses’ parents, some grandchildren, great-grandchildren, siblings, etc. We are a diverse group. Many will give thanks to God, some will simply be grateful in their own way. There will be a blessing before the meal is served thanking God, in Jesus’ name, for all He has done for us. That prayer will include several specific requests, thankfulness for those who prepared the meal, a request that it be used not only for nourishment but that we will be of service to our Lord. There will be a few silent prayers for those who do not know Him to understand His love, grace and mercy. Please join with us in those specific prayers.
Join with us as we follow Jesus’ words about the greatest harvest:
Therefore said he unto them, The harvest truly is great, but the labourers are few: pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he would send forth labourers into his harvest. (Luke 10:2 KJV)
Sunday, November 24, 2013
I went looking for a photo that captured the thought of old and new after a Sunday School class last week that taught: God does not change.
There is no “God of the Old Testament” versus “God of the New Testament.” God has not, does not, change. Some may see incompatibility between the law of the Torah and the grace of the gospels, but God remains the same in both.
We read in the Old Testament of prophecies of doom, which were fulfilled to unrepentant Israel. We tend to ignore the restorations when God’s commandments were followed. We read in the New Testament of grace and forgiveness, and take those as license to do as we please for God no longer punishes. We hear preachers tell only of a merciful God who loves all mankind, not willing that any should perish. We neglect the surrounding verses:
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. But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. 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. But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up. Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness, (2 Peter 3:7-11 KJV)
God is just. God balances mercy and justice. He expects men to be holy:
For I am the LORD that bringeth you up out of the land of Egypt, to be your God: ye shall therefore be holy, for I am holy. (Leviticus 11:45 KJV)
Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy. (1 Peter 1:16 KJV)
God does not change:
For I am the LORD, I change not; therefore ye sons of Jacob are not consumed. (Malachi 3:6 KJV)
Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever. (Hebrews 13:8 KJV)
Why are we not seeing consequences today as there were in the time of the Judges, the Kings? Perhaps we relate a bit differently - we know more, we've been given more - more is required.
The lord of that servant will come in a day when he looketh not for him, and at an hour when he is not aware, and will cut him in sunder, and will appoint him his portion with the unbelievers. And that servant, which knew his lord's will, and prepared not himself, neither did according to his will, shall be beaten with many stripes. But he that knew not, and did commit things worthy of stripes, shall be beaten with few stripes. For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required: and to whom men have committed much, of him they will ask the more. (Luke 12:46-48 KJV)
This is but a small portion of the scriptures and that lesson – there is so much more to be studied. Do you have a few moments to spend with Him? With His word? With Him in conversation? Or, as Genesis 3:8, when He comes to walk with us, do we hide?
Wednesday, November 6, 2013
I have been feeling a need for a change. Couldn’t put it into thoughts for a while, then ran across an article yesterday about adoption.
I know something about adoption – I married an adoptee, and I became one:
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. The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God: (Romans 8:15-16 KJV)
Most people, especially those untouched by adoption, do not understand that it is a life-long process. Adoptees remain adoptees for the remainder of their lives. That is the blessing Paul writes of when he says we receive the Spirit of adoption, that we no longer cry to God, we cry to our Father as His children. That relationship can neither be described nor understood, but it is experienced.
The earthly adoption, though, fluctuates. More so today in our country with the ease of divorce and lessening of marriage commitments. We need to take adoption seriously. The American Adoption Congress has a page about certain adoption myths. First myth is:
Only a small number of adopted persons want to know their birth information.The second myth is:
In a study of American adolescents, the Search Institute found that 72 percent of adopted adolescents wanted to know why they were adopted, 65 percent wanted to meet their birth parents, and 94 percent wanted to know which birth parent they looked like.
Most birthmothers want to forget the past and not have "old wounds reopened."Seeing my mother-in-law throw her arms around her son 37 years after their separation confirmed this myth’s error.
So, what does an earthly adoption have to do with a heavenly one? There are myths around both. One should be understood to help understand the other. There are stories in both that would take a book to explain, not a web page – and that’s what I need to be doing.
I have neither the time nor inclination to do both. I started on the family adoption story last year, but obligations took me from it and the beginnings were lost when I changed computers. For some time now, I’ve felt very strongly that the story needs to be told. Family members have asked about it, and only a couple of us kept copies of correspondence during the search and the reunion.
And, there’s much more to the story than my husband and his brother’s adoption and reunion – the loss of family continuity and the reconnection. To write it down for my great-grands and even their children to understand will take more time than I’ve given to it before.
So – after much prayer, I believe this is as good a time as any to step away from this blog and begin the story. I will most likely drop back here time to time, leaving a Bible verse or a progress status. If you want to know something in between, feel free to drop me an e-mail at GrammyBlick(at)gmail.com – just change the (at) to the @ sign.
While I’m busy elsewhere, please pick up a Bible, find a scripture you like and share it with me. That would be greatly appreciated!!
Tuesday, November 5, 2013
Several of the tables at our Ladies Meeting Monday were decorated with cornucopias. Not as filled as this one is, but plenty of fall related items to indicate a good harvest.
Our pastor’s wife prepared a lesson for us that began with Mephibosheth’s story from 2 Samuel 9, where David was looking for a descendant of Saul’s:
And the king said, Is there not yet any of the house of Saul, that I may shew the kindness of God unto him? And Ziba said unto the king, Jonathan hath yet a son, which is lame on his feet. (2 Samuel 9:3 KJV)
It is a very interesting story, from the time of Jonathan’s death through Absalom's betrayal. I should have paid better attention to the rest of her lesson, but I got stuck at the first example she gave – of how we got there, to the meeting that night.
We all came by car – not one of us lives within walking distance of the church, unless you count walking by miles instead of blocks. Some singly, some carpooling. It was sprinkling, forecast to turn cool, and we were all dressed warm enough to handle the change in weather. We all brought food – container after container of soups, guaranteed to make things warmer. Obviously, we had the finances to provide all of these things, we were blessed to have what we need to come to this place at this time.
That’s where the thought process went off on it’s own – we had just covered the basic necessities to reach this destination. What about our meeting with our Lord? How did we get there? What was necessary to bring us face to face to the question Pilate asked:
… What shall I do then with Jesus which is called Christ? (Matthew 27:22 KJV)
In the Old Testament, God spoke directly to people. In the New, He walked with them, explaining in parables the kingdom to come. He spoke to disciples, saying:
And he saith unto them, Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men. (Matthew 4:19 KJV)
And, they did. One after another. Others saw the crowds, heard the rumors, saw the miracles and they followed Him, too. Not Paul. He created havoc:
As for Saul, he made havock of the church, entering into every house, and haling men and women committed them to prison. (Acts 8:3 KJV)
Then, he met Jesus on the road to Damascus. Paul got there by fighting against Christ and His church.
Not me. I got there – meeting with Jesus – at Immanuel Baptist Church in Tulsa, Oklahoma when I was a teenager. I had spent a few years in Sunday School; attended Girls Auxiliary; sang in the choir – but one Sunday night was different. I got there by realizing I was on the outside of an inclusive group. What it took to get me there was a lot more than a few verses, a couple of sermons or friendly questions from friends or family.
I realized I was missing something important. How did you get there? Or, are you there, yet?
Monday, November 4, 2013
Last week I wrote about a Roman centurion and his faith. I’d like to go back to that eighth chapter of Luke and look at one verse:
And a certain centurion's servant, who was dear unto him, was sick, and ready to die. (Luke 7:2 KJV)
This past year I met a couple who were preparing for their deaths. At first, her cancer diagnosis was their concern, until he was diagnosed, too. Different cancer, same prognosis.
Although I had seen them in our community, not until they came to our church did I learn more of their story. No, I can’t go into the story here, but there is a small connection, because they were sick, knew they would die and were ready to die. Not everyone alive today realizes that we will all die. That’s a given based on the totality of human experience. The question is, are we ready?
I’m not, looking at it in a physical way. My health is good for my age. While there are small problems, none have shown any indication of being serious. I regularly have those small problem checked by a doctor, too..
I am, however, ready in a spiritual way, which we all should consider. Unless there is absolute proof that there is nothing following death, as Sadducees believed, according to Matthew Henry:
There is no future state, no life after this; that, when the body dies, the soul is annihilated, and dies with it; that there is no state of rewards or punishments in the other world; no judgment to come in heaven or hell. They maintained, that, except God, there is not spirit, nothing but matter and motion. They would not own the divine inspiration of the prophets, nor any revelation from heaven.Of course, that cannot be proven, any more than proof can be given that not only does God exist, but He has communicated with His creation.
Which scenario provides an individual comfort? For some, it is very comfortable believing when life ends, there is nothing more. For others, God is personal and active in their lives. Those two choices led to Blaise Pacal’s wager. The wager is rather wordy, and there are numerous equations and philosophical questions, but it really comes down my Ohio Sister-in-law’s one-sentence comment on her decision:
I’d rather live my life believing God exists, then die to find out He didn’t than to live my life not believing, and find out He does.We can’t make this decision based on head or tails of coin toss. It should be done with prayerful consideration and study. It’s a life changing proposition, similar to the offer Joshua made to those who followed him across Jordan:
And if it seem evil unto you to serve the LORD, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD. (Joshua 24:15 KJV)
There are other things we might choose over the Lord, but we all make the choice, one way or another. I did not choose for my house, but I am eternally grateful those of my house have made the choice to serve the Lord! Ask us about it – we’re always happy to share.
Sunday, November 3, 2013
… understand my train of thought most of the time. I had read a news story about an Amish child whose parents took her and left the USA. She had been treated for cancer, a doctor told her and her parents that she was cancer free, but more chemo was required – and took them to court. The court ordered the chemo, that the child begged not to have. The family’s only alternative was to leave this country.
Another medical story that same day had to do with an elderly stroke patient who was being sent home from the hospital because he was not making progress in therapy. His just as elderly wife cannot care for him, and it appears there’s no room in other facilities.
In both instances medical staff adhered to specific rules which determine what should be done under these circumstances. My thought was, when we depend on rules only, removing the human factor, people get lost in the shuffle. They are overwhelmed by the rules.
That led to, “When we remove the spiritual factor from the Bible, we are also overwhelmed by the rules.”
You see, we can never be good enough, keep the laws sufficiently, dress correctly, speak correctly … the list is endless. God knows this:
God looked down from heaven upon the children of men, to see if there were any that did understand, that did seek God. Every one of them is gone back: they are altogether become filthy; there is none that doeth good, no, not one. (Psalms 53:2-3 KJV)
Paul quoted this:
As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one: (Romans 3:10 KJV)
The spiritual part of the Bible, the God part, is love:
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. (1 John 4:8-10 KJV)
Joshua knew this:
But take diligent heed to do the commandment and the law, which Moses the servant of the LORD charged you, to love the LORD your God, and to walk in all his ways, and to keep his commandments, and to cleave unto him, and to serve him with all your heart and with all your soul. (Joshua 22:5 KJV)
Paul taught Timothy how to treat others:
And the servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient, In meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth; (2 Timothy 2:24-25 KJV)
We should correct ourselves with that same patience. We should be learning more about God and His word – what was written that we should follow; what was written as examples NOT to follow; what consequences occurred; what rewards were earned; what prayers were answered. There is so much to learn, so much to study. How much time are we willing to give to grow spiritually, with love?
Saturday, November 2, 2013
Please refer to my earlier blog mentioning Jasmine’s Goodbye – then (if interested) see Jasmine’s follow up. I’d like to discuss her question: Are we allowing others to guide our way?
I hope not. The only one worthy to guide our way is our Lord:
In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths. (Proverbs 3:6 KJV)
Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path. (Psalms 119:105 KJV)
Actually, all of Psalms 119 is excellent reading. As Matthew Henry said, “This psalm may be considered as the statement of a believer's experience.” What I write here is NOT scripture, but my personal experience with scripture, just as Far Above Rubies has become Jasmine’s personal experiences, well beyond simply reading scripture.
I can direct you to many lovely ladies who quote scripture left and right, who can tell you specific scripture that apply to their lives – but they are not living my life and I’m not living yours. We can only tell you what it means to us, how it affects us, where we’ve missed along the way and what God means to us. That has no effect on your life – until the decision is made to make scripture an important part of your life.
All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works. (2 Timothy 3:16-17 KJV)
So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. (Romans 10:17 KJV)
Why is this important?
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)
I would love for each of my readers to get a Bible and a good commentary (Matthew Henry’s would be an excellent choice - see yesterday's post for a free one), check the context of those three verses and study to see how they fit together, or discern that they do not (and explain to me why that is so.) That’s why I admire the Bereans so very much:
And the brethren immediately sent away Paul and Silas by night unto Berea: who coming thither went into the synagogue of the Jews. These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so. (Acts 17:10-11 KJV)
Check to see if what is written – my words or scripture – is so! Do not accept what I say, and you have every right to question and research what the Bible says.
Our spiritual journey is personal; oh, so very personal! Remember, this is God, who walks with His children:
And they heard the voice of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day: and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God amongst the trees of the garden. (Genesis 3:8 KJV)
He hath shewed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the LORD require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God? (Micah 6:8 KJV)
And, behold, two of them went that same day to a village called Emmaus, which was from Jerusalem about threescore furlongs. And they talked together of all these things which had happened. And it came to pass, that, while they communed together and reasoned, Jesus himself drew near, and went with them. (Luke 24:13-15 KJV)
Consider your own walk with Him.
Friday, November 1, 2013
Or at least the Kindle app on a device of some kind? If so, then go download 10 People Every Christian Should Know. Today (November 1, 2013) it is shown as FREE. That’s a good thing – and I hope you won’t miss out.
I downloaded and the first person I read about was worth the whole book – Matthew Henry. I’ve used his Commentary on the Whole Bible, free with my e-Sword and from Olive Tree, only $.99 from Amazon for the Kindle, too. The only book that makes better reading, in my opinion, is the Bible itself.
Somehow, since I had not yet learned better, I thought Matthew Henry was a 19th century writer. I should have checked my sources much, much earlier! I had to back date that by two centuries! Matthew was born in 1662 and died in 1714. He lived through a tumultuous time in British history, his life impacted by his father’s (Philip Henry) ministry and England’s civil war.
His is the first chapter in this book and begins with a quote:
“Suitable to everybody, instructive to all” is the way Charles Spurgeon described what is probably the best-known commentary on the Bible written in the English languageI’ve referred to this book often – one example back in January of this year:
I enjoy reading Matthew Henry’s commentary after I’ve read a verse. Though generations have passed, we often see the same message. I was looking up Lamentations 3:23 after seeing it applied in another’s comments, wanting to see it in context.Back in 2010, I wrote of why some men were “sad, you see,” and quoted Matthew Henry:
... Sadducees were much of the genius of the Epicureans; they denied the resurrection, they said, There is no future state, no life after this; that, when the body dies, the soul is annihilated, and dies with it; that there is no state of rewards or punishments in the other world; no judgment to come in heaven or hell. They maintained, that, except God, there is not spirit, nothing but matter and motion. They would not own the divine inspiration of the prophets, nor any revelation from heaven.I think one reason I like his work is that it is very explanatory, yet personal. He is factual in his descriptions, yet we know his views on the subject.
I haven’t read the next chapter in this book of ten we should know, but this one chapter is worthwhile. Then, get The Complete Commentary on The Whole Bible. My suggestion is that you get it free along with e-Sword.
Why? Well, that goes back to one of my favorite-I-use-it-every-other-day verses:
So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. (Romans 10:17 KJV)
How better does it get with a Bible in one hand and a commentary in the other? Well, unless you have someone with you to discuss the fine points. That truly is a blessing!