Saturday, October 17, 2015



There are some big words when it comes to biblical studies, such as:
Exegesis - a critical explanation or interpretation of a text, particularly a religious text. "Biblical exegesis" is used for specificity because there are other areas of critical text. 
Hermeneutics - sometimes used interchangeably with exegesis, this is a wider discipline which includes written, verbal and nonverbal communication while exegesis focus on texts. 
Homiletics - is art of preaching or writing sermons.
What I do here is not defined by any of the above, but incorporates a bit of each. I do look at the text of the Bible and explain to myself (and share here) what it means to me and how I am able to apply it to my life.

All of that to get to a recent reading an article about a new book on the biblical book of John. Among the comments was the above graphic.

The graphic gave me a great deal to think about once I got over the shock of a professed Christian stating that the Bible should be trashed. I've grayed out her church affiliation - though I know some of my readers will be able to identify it immediately. Here are some of the thoughts generated:

She’s been taught that the Bible is not understandable by lay people. It has to be studied at a much higher level. Unfortunately, that concept has been around by half a millennium, and is just as invalid today as it was two millennia ago. Christ is the entire reason the New Testament exists and He first called fishermen, not the highly education theologians, as His followers.

None of those “big words” above are in the Bible. It is a simple book, even the King James Version is readable at a fifth-grade level. Some of the standalone verses are even easier.  By “standalone”, I mean verses such as Genesis 1:1, Exodus 20:2-17, John 1:1John 3:16, and I could go on for many more verses. These standalones tell us quite a bit, but they (and thousands others) are combined for a full story of God’s love for us and how to return it.

Not many will read Micah, a “minor” prophet, but I love how he presents our Lord:

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

Why wouldn’t God want me to read that for myself and know what He requires?

Thank you, but no thank you. I will not trash my Bible. I will continue to read it, enjoy learning from it and do my best to meet my Lord’s requirements. I regret there are people who depend solely on homilies from men who know those big words, but I wonder if they walk humbly with their God.

Thursday, October 15, 2015



O LORD, how long shall I cry, and thou wilt not hear! even cry out unto thee of violence, and thou wilt not save! (Habakkuk 1:2 KJV)

There are many today who share this feeling of being left alone in spite of prayers for HELP!!! Much of what Habakkuk saw, we are seeing today. He complained to God about the problems his people faced – and the consequences.

Why dost thou shew me iniquity, and cause me to behold grievance? for spoiling and violence are before me: and there are that raise up strife and contention. Therefore the law is slacked, and judgment doth never go forth: for the wicked doth compass about the righteous; therefore wrong judgment proceedeth. (Habakkuk 1:3-4 KJV)

I do believe there are good-hearted people who see problems in our world today – such as spoiling, destroying or diminishing the value and quality of life; violence, as displayed by the bombs (delivered by air and in person) taking lives daily; law ignored or blatantly broken; consequences for wrong not apparent, while innocents suffer. How is that any different from what our world faces today?

God’s answer is not what Habakkuk expected, or wanted:

Behold ye among the heathen, and regard, and wonder marvellously: for I will work a work in your days, which ye will not believe, though it be told you. For, lo, I raise up the Chaldeans, that bitter and hasty nation, which shall march through the breadth of the land, to possess the dwellingplaces that are not theirs. (Habakkuk 1:5-6 KJV)

The next few verses give more descriptions of what is to come. From verse 12-17, we see Habakkuk beseeching the Lord not allow the destruction of His people. He reminds God that He made the covenant with them, asking for mercy even during the overcoming by enemies.

Habakkuk sees the wrongs in his people, looks to God for justice, but what he hears is almost unbelievable. While he expects the wrongs to be righted, he never expected enemies to be victorious. When we live through the same, can we respond as Habakkuk did:

I will stand upon my watch, and set me upon the tower, and will watch to see what he will say unto me, and what I shall answer when I am reproved.

And, can we accept, as Habakkuk did, God’s answer:

And the LORD answered me, and said, Write the vision, and make it plain upon tables, that he may run that readeth it. For the vision is yet for an appointed time, but at the end it shall speak, and not lie: though it tarry, wait for it; because it will surely come, it will not tarry. (Habakkuk 2:1-3 KJV)

Do we have the faith to accept that consequences will come? That they may be totally unexpected? And that there is a truth that runs through the entire Bible:

… but the just shall live by his faith. (Habakkuk 2:4b KJV)

Paul believed:

For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith. (Romans 1:17 KJV)

We read it again:

But that no man is justified by the law in the sight of God, it is evident: for, The just shall live by faith. (Galatians 3:11 KJV)

And, one more time:

Now the just shall live by faith: but if any man draw back, my soul shall have no pleasure in him. (Hebrews 10:38 KJV)

In what is our faith to be placed? Totally in our Lord, even when only hopelessness is evident.

Wednesday, October 7, 2015


One rendition of “The Mercy Seat”, Ark of the Covenant
Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy. (Matthew 5:7)

When it is in one shows compassion or forgiveness to someone when the one has total control to punish or harm, that is “mercy.” One of the synonyms of mercy that I love is "charity" - the word used for the love between God and man in the New Testament.

When we believe there is a Creator, one who is capable of bringing into  being and equally as capable to bring well-deserved punishing destruction, we would live in fear of that destruction. There is biblical proof of God's destruction, and greater biblical proof of His mercy.

For we ourselves also were sometimes foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving divers lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful, and hating one another. But after that the kindness and love of God our Saviour toward man appeared, Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost; (Titus 3:3-5)

That reminds me of what I wrote yesterday – and used often in other blogs – there are none righteous. No, not one. We all have sinned, against one another and against God. He has provided the propitiation for these sins, by His mercy and His grace. I know – propitiation is more than three syllables long. Read it in context: Romans 3:25, 1 John 2:2 and 1 John 4:10. God's provision for the "whosoever" of John 3:16.

I see some of myself in that Titus 3:3 list. Oh, I have been foolish, disobedient and deceived. Somehow I think you have, too.  I have done things to gain items that gave me pleasure. You haven’t? How about that extra creamy New York cheesecake? Oh, didn’t think that counted? What other “lusts and pleasures” can fall into that “keeping up with the Jones” category. Malice? You have malice toward no one? Not even (insert a malicious thought from recent past)? No – we won’t go through the whole list. We would see ourselves is soooo many mirrors, wouldn’t we?

It is sufficient to know that we have not always been righteous and we’ve fallen short of our goal:

For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; (Romans 3:23)

To be merciful means to be more like God. He’s given instructions for that through Christ:

Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation; To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation. (2 Corinthians 5:17-19)

When we can be merciful as God was merciful, we obtain mercy. One of the easiest Beatitudes to read and understand, but difficult for us to do. Impossible to do without God.

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

I Think I know This One

Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.  (Matthew 5:6)

To understand this one we have to learn what righteousness is. We already know it is not self-righteousness – no one wants that and it’s too easily recognized from the outside, no matter how we look at ourselves. A little later in the Sermon on the Mount, Matthew tells us Jesus referred to a specific righteousness:

But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you. (Matthew 6:33)

David went a bit further in Psalm 24:

A Psalm of David. The earth is the LORD'S, and the fulness thereof; the world, and they that dwell therein. For he hath founded it upon the seas, and established it upon the floods. Who shall ascend into the hill of the LORD? or who shall stand in his holy place? He that hath clean hands, and a pure heart; who hath not lifted up his soul unto vanity, nor sworn deceitfully. He shall receive the blessing from the LORD, and righteousness from the God of his salvation. (Psalms 24:1-5)

Let me assure you, I know I am not worthy to stand in His Holy Place. I’m also positive you know that, too. Yet – this is an important concept in the Bible because “righteous” or “righteousness” is used in 500 verses. God repeats important things so we can “get” them.

It’s not used before Noah, but God called him a righteous man in a generation that held no other, according to Genesis 7:1. Then there is the back-and-forth between God and Abraham over how many righteous men there were in Sodom. Ten righteous men were not to be found. Do you know ten people (not just men) that you would deem righteous before God? Before your family?

I can name ten that do hunger and thirst after God’s righteousness. They could speak to you about this verse:

But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption: (1 Corinthians 1:30)

I don’t even mind being called foolish for believing God created the heaven and the earth. I know others laugh at those of us who believe Jesus is the promised Jewish Messiah, that He died and was resurrected. Paul ran into that same problem:

For the Jews require a sign, and the Greeks seek after wisdom: But we preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumblingblock, and unto the Greeks foolishness; But unto them which are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God. Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men; and the weakness of God is stronger than men. (1 Corinthians 1:22-25)

One of the “Roman Road" verses tells each one of us where we fit as to righteousness:

As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one: (Romans 3:10)

Romans 3:10 tells us nothing more than Psalm 14:1-7 and surely is tied to Psalm 36:1:

The transgression of the wicked saith within my heart, that there is no fear of God before his eyes. (Psalms 36:1)

The Psalmist also wrote:

The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom: a good understanding have all they that do his commandments: his praise endureth for ever. (Psalms 111:10)

Which Solomon must have learned early:

The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge: but fools despise wisdom and instruction. (Proverbs 1:7)

Learned enough about the importance to repeat:

The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom: and the knowledge of the holy is understanding. (Proverbs 9:10)

That’s where we really hunger and thirst – to understand that God provides the righteousness because we know, fear and love Him..

Monday, October 5, 2015

And, The Third

Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth. (Matthew 5:5 KJV)

This one raised a lot of questions for me. Does meekness mean the same thing as humble? Why would I want to inherit the earth when it is in such bad shape. According to our leaders, mankind has made a mess of things and we have to make worldwide changes just to keep living on this accidental planet. Why in the world would I want to inherit problems.

Of course, the spiritual truth is quite a bit different. The earth is the Lord’s according to 1 Corinthians 10:26. I must admit here that I like the way the KJV puts it – “fulness thereof”, rather than “everything in it.” Think about it.

Any way, let’s take a look at the Pulpit commentary for a bit more explanation. Consider where the phrase "Shall inherit the earth” is used elsewhere in the Bible. First in Isaiah 60:21 when Isaiah is prophesying about the restored Jerusalem; and Jesus has referred to the following verses, Isaiah 61:1-2, to described His ministry in Luke 4:21. May I say again how well Jesus knew the inspired scriptures?

The phrase is used often in relation to the meek in Psalms 37:9, 11, 22, 29, 34.  According to the Pulpit Commentary:
Meekness is rather the attitude of the soul towards another when that other is in a state of activity towards it. It is the attitude of the disciple to the teacher when teaching; of the son to the father when exercising his paternal authority; of the servant to the master when giving him orders. It is therefore essentially as applicable to the relation of man to God as to that of man to man.
There is no doubt in my mind that I am a disciple to Christ as He is teaching. I have no doubt that God is my Father and He will exercise paternal authority. Absolutely am I the servant looking to God as my master. Feel free to ask me about these relationships!

So, the answers I get are that meekness does not equal humility, but is the concept of learning from someone that has much more to teach than we can know. That makes a good spot for it in Christian growth.

I also understand that the earth we see today is not the one to be inherited. Today’s earth – or at least the majority of the inhabitants – exploit the richness for now, to satisfy current desires, not essential needs. We go way past food, shelter and comfort, seeking luxury beyond our means. Those who have extreme means find ways to spend on passing fancies, and we envy their way of life. Think of the money spent by and on celebrities just to watch and envy their indulgences. Is that meekness? What are we learning from them? Is that what we are to inherit?

The Bible has answers for that, too. Those answers do not match the standards of the world.

And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God. (Romans 12:2 KJV)

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Mourning on the Mountain


I don’t know whether or not I’ll go through the remaining Beatitudes – but this one fell open when I picked up my notebook again:

Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted. (Matthew 5:4 KJV)

“Mourning” is defined as expression of deep sorrow for someone who has died – as in Pieta, where Mary is mourning the death of her son. But it’s not the life taken from someone that Jesus refers to here. Instead, I believe that after becoming aware of our spiritual need for God (see yesterday’s blog), we mourn because of our sin, we are not worthy to be near Him. I think The Pulpit Commentary agrees wit this:
Our Lord does not define that which causes the mourning, but as the preceding and the following verses all refer to the religious or at least the ethical sphere, merely carnal and worldly mourning is excluded. The mourning referred to must, therefore, be produced by religious or moral causes.
My notes include verses from II Corinthians 7 where Paul was explaining that he knew his earlier letter to them caused them sorrow, then explained:

Now I rejoice, not that ye were made sorry, but that ye sorrowed to repentance: for ye were made sorry after a godly manner, that ye might receive damage by us in nothing. For godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation not to be repented of: but the sorrow of the world worketh death. (2 Corinthians 7:9-10 KJV)

During the sermon, Pastor gave examples of two men who repented their rejection of Jesus. Peter denied him three times before a number of people, once using curse words to make his point in Matthew 26:69-75. Oh, yes – I do believe his crying was in mourning. With Jesus’ death, his hope was gone. He soon discovered it wasn’t. The resurrection changed everything.

The other man betrayed Jesus for money – 30 pieces of silver. And, he repented. He was sorry for what he had done. Instead of the mourning Peter did, he hanged himself after returning the money:

And the chief priests took the silver pieces, and said, It is not lawful for to put them into the treasury, because it is the price of blood. And they took counsel, and bought with them the potter's field, to bury strangers in. (Matthew 27:6-7 KJV)

Just as prophesied in Zechariah 11:12-13:

And I said unto them, If ye think good, give me my price; and if not, forbear. So they weighed for my price thirty pieces of silver. And the LORD said unto me, Cast it unto the potter: a goodly price that I was prised at of them. And I took the thirty pieces of silver, and cast them to the potter in the house of the LORD. (Zechariah 11:12-13 KJV)

Two men who recognized their sin and repented. One turned to God and received the promised comfort. The other did not. This verse offers us comfort – which I have received, and pray for others to know.

Saturday, October 3, 2015

On The Mountain

Sermon on the Mount
Mosaic in Sant' Apollinare in Ravenna
(my apologies for not knowing the source of this graphic)

And seeing the multitudes, he went up into a mountain: and when he was set, his disciples came unto him: (Matthew 5:1 KJV)

While searching for a graphic, I found this one, posted by an Andrea, but no name and no response from the website where I sought permission. I chose it because it was from an older mosaic and because of the composition. We are told that Jesus saw multitudes, then went to a mountain where his disciples came to Him. Did the multitudes hear the sermon? Questions without answers. In other places, the Bible carries specific answers.

I chose the subject from a book I ran across while moving stuff around on my computer desk – notes from church services in 2008. The reference was Matthew 5:1-12 and the title “How Christians Should Be.” I find that many people on the internet are very specific as to how Christians should be. Let’s do a bit of study on Jesus’ description.

Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. (Matthew 5:3 KJV)

These are the beginners who just recognized their need for God. I like the way John Wesley commented on this verse:
"They who are unfeignedly penitent, they who are truly convinced of sin; who see and feel the state they are in by nature, being deeply sensible of their sinfulness, guiltiness, helplessness."
This is where we become aware that life is spiritual, too. Continued study takes us to Luke 18:9-14 where Jesus introduces us to two men. One is very aware of shortcomings – in other people; and one who is aware of his own. Jesus also tells us that only one of them went home justified.

People often become defensive when they hear they are in a state of sin, believing they are living lives that (by society’s standards) are good. Acceptance that we are sinners comes with requirements, responsibilities and consequences.

In several places are are given God’s requirements. My favorite is:

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

My least favorite example is because the man disobeyed God after receiving years of blessings:

And Samuel said, Hath the LORD as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the LORD? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to hearken than the fat of rams. For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry. Because thou hast rejected the word of the LORD, he hath also rejected thee from being king. (1 Samuel 15:22-23 KJV)

I believe that happens today – “Because thou has rejected the word of the Lord, he hath also rejected thee . . . .” – and I know the consequences had I rejected Him. The kingdom I would have lost is much greater than Saul’s.

Friday, October 2, 2015

More Questions, Seeking Answers

Bethlehem, Judean Mountains in background (permission requested)
I have to answer some questions from my own studies. Remember, I’m very much as I found the Bereans:

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)

Yep – I’m going to search the scriptures before stating a viewpoint doesn’t match mine. I have much still to learn – and I really expect everyone does. We cannot know all there is about God:

To whom then will ye liken me, or shall I be equal? saith the Holy One. Lift up your eyes on high, and behold who hath created these things, that bringeth out their host by number: he calleth them all by names by the greatness of his might, for that he is strong in power; not one faileth. Why sayest thou, O Jacob, and speakest, O Israel, My way is hid from the LORD, and my judgment is passed over from my God? 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 40:25-28 KJV)

What we have been told about Him is sufficient for my faith, and my faith grows as I learn more:

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

Thus studying the scriptures daily to learn more about God, to see whether or not these things are so, is important to anyone who believes Jesus Christ is the Son of God and died for our sins. Beginning with John 3:16 is good, but knowing Isaiah 53 prophesied His death among thieves is better. It takes studying.

For example, what do you know about Bethlehem? Those who celebrate Christmas as a secular day off are aware of wise men who came to Herod with question. We know it as Matthew 2:1-6. Did you also know where the answer given in verse 6 was found? There are 38 verses in the Bible that refer to Bethlehem, but only Micah 5:2 prophesies a ruler born there in the future. You’ll have to read a lot more – from Genesis through the gospels to see the string of connections.

When it comes to the word “faith”, though, you’ll need to read almost 250 scriptures (best read in context) to understand why it is important and what it means – although the writer of Hebrews sums it up quite well:

Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. (Hebrews 11:1 KJV)

The Bible does provide examples of things not seen. Jesus described this as great faith:

When Jesus heard it, he marvelled, and said to them that followed, Verily I say unto you, I have not found so great faith, no, not in Israel.  . . . And Jesus said unto the centurion, Go thy way; and as thou hast believed, so be it done unto thee. And his servant was healed in the selfsame hour. (Matthew 8:10, 13 KJV)

Be careful if you click on the scripture reference – it will take you to the full 10 through 13 verses and you’ll learn a bit about God’s judgment. If you think people are judgmental here, you need to prepare yourself for later. Which is one reason I continually search scriptures, gaining faith as I see these things were so.

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Seen Jesus Lately?

I think I’ve used that title – or something similar before – but it came to mind as I’ve finished 30% of an e-book by Jeffrey McClain Jones, “Seeing Jesus.” There are a couple of lines that I really like so far. One is from a former girlfriend who was just convinced Jesus was there and asked:
“How is this possible”
Philly shrugged. “Grandma prayed,” he said
Another was when Phil was “amazed at how silent Jesus remained through most of the day. He didn’t preach or pry, or interrupt Philly’s work.  Rather, he waited silently, patiently, always present, always ready and never perturbed.”  A little later he thinks, “Everyone could use a serene supporter, ready and waiting with an encouraging smile, throughout the day.”

The problem is that Jesus works through people – and Phil doesn’t quite get that Jesus could work through him.

Do we think He can work through us? Or do we leave His work to the Holy Spirit? Gotcha there, didn’t I. Where we do we see the work done by our Lord? Through the actions of those who have been reconciled with God is my answer.

I know how it was with Saul:

And as he journeyed, he came near Damascus: and suddenly there shined round about him a light from heaven: And he fell to the earth, and heard a voice saying unto him, Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me? And he said, Who art thou, Lord? And the Lord said, I am Jesus whom thou persecutest: it is hard for thee to kick against the pricks. And he trembling and astonished said, Lord, what wilt thou have me to do? And the Lord said unto him, Arise, and go into the city, and it shall be told thee what thou must do. (Acts 9:3-6 KJV)

I have never expected to have such an on the road experience – but my God is not limited by what I expect. What I do expect is that once we experience our own meeting with Jesus, we do as He told others, and I expect He tells us:

And he saith unto them, Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men. (Matthew 4:19 KJV)

. . .  follow thou me. (John 21:22c KJV)

I’m afraid my response “But first”ed, as these others:

And he said unto another, Follow me. But he said, Lord, suffer me first to go and bury my father. Jesus said unto him, Let the dead bury their dead: but go thou and preach the kingdom of God. And another also said, Lord, I will follow thee; but let me first go bid them farewell, which are at home at my house. And Jesus said unto him, No man, having put his hand to the plough, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God. (Luke 9:59-62 KJV)

Am I alone when I qualify me response with “But first let me . . . .” What could I possibly be doing that would override our Lord’s request? Caring for my family? That’s what it sounds as though the Luke 9 examples are doing. They would follow Jesus as soon as they buried the dead or bid farewell to those at home. Did they not realize that those should have been the first to hear, “I’m following Jesus, let me tell you about Him.”

Were they looking more for the companionship of Jesus, the crowds He drew, the places He’s been and surely would be visiting? Why couldn’t it be to tell the ones we love the most that:

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

That’s a short verse – but we’ll need to explain where to learn about God, why He loves the world, who was His only begotten son, what it takes to believe in Him, why it’s important we not perish, what we can expect with everlasting life – and how we even know about these things. Short compound sentence, but it can take a lifetime to understand and respond.

My apologies - I've overstayed my usual time - but so many interesting questions are raised, aren't there?

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

In His Hand


A Psalm of David. The earth is the LORD'S, and the fulness thereof; the world, and they that dwell therein. For he hath founded it upon the seas, and established it upon the floods. Who shall ascend into the hill of the LORD? or who shall stand in his holy place? He that hath clean hands, and a pure heart; who hath not lifted up his soul unto vanity, nor sworn deceitfully. (Psalms 24:1-4 KJV)

It is comforting, isn’t it, to think that the earth is in the Lord’s hand. That He cares for what happens here, for all of us. Please, do not become too comfortable until you get acquainted with with God and His attributes. Paul – in the midst of writing to new Christians – includes this verse:

It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God. (Hebrews 10:31 KJV)

David had a different view:

And David said unto Gad, I am in a great strait: let me fall now into the hand of the LORD; for very great are his mercies: but let me not fall into the hand of man. (1 Chronicles 21:13 KJV)

Have we found confusion between these two verses? Not hardly. And, they cannot be viewed without context, either.

Paul was writing about someone who had left off believing in God. David was writing as a man who depended upon God.

We would need to know the background in II Samuel 24 to understand David’s strait and we would have to know more of Hebrews 10 to understand Paul’s admonition. Single verses are nice to quote, but understanding to whom they were written, what happen before, when in history, where the authors were and why they were written.

That’s really the beginning of the study, too. It is necessary to know much of God and His perfect judgment before understanding that one person would be fearful of God and falling into His hand while another – under indictment of his error – would fall into the hand of the Lord because of His mercies.

Working toward that understanding is a very personal journey, isn’t it? It takes courage for us to examine our place along that journey. I think milestones along that road include a lack of knowledge regarding God and (hopefully) realization and acceptance that God does exist. What we do next determines whether or not we fear His hand in our lives or we lean and depend on His hand for guidance and strength.

Are you open to such examination? Open to asking God, Himself, where we are in His hand?

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Four Verses in Luke 15


I do hope you’re familiar with the story dubbed “The Prodigal Son” from Luke 15:11-32. If not, go ahead, click on the reference and take a few moments to read it. If you’ve read it before, it won’t hurt to renew the story in your heart, so go ahead and click on the reference.

Back already? What did verses 18 and 20 tell you? It speaks to me that nothing was accomplish in verse 18 except a decision made. It took the action in verse 20 to accomplish the decision. Look at them again:

I will arise and go to my father, and will say unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and before thee, (Luke 15:18 KJV)

He was living in the vilest of conditions imaginable. Eating leftover food fed to an animal his people were told not to eat. Now he was no better that the pigs from whom he stole food. Servants in his father’s home were much better off than he was. Even though he counted his father’s words as less than nothing, he was ready to go home and admit how wrong he was. He could have stayed sitting there until he died. Instead:

And he arose, and came to his father. But when he was yet a great way off, his father saw him, and had compassion, and ran, and fell on his neck, and kissed him. (Luke 15:20 KJV)

Action. Once the decision was made, the son got up and went home. He didn’t send a letter to see whether or not he was welcome. He had only the memory of his father’s character, nothing to indicate how his father would receive him. He simple got up and went to his father. He was welcomed with love. He knew his father accepted him, but he completed his decision with action:

And the son said unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and in thy sight, and am no more worthy to be called thy son. (Luke 15:21 KJV)

Consider, too, the man who told this story. It is a parable – illustrations Jesus gave to show us what cannot be described in reality. Jesus made several factual statements in the Bible to give wider meaning to this simple parable – He knew God loved the world enough to give Himself in order for whosoever to make the decision, to return to the Lord who made him.

The Bible tells us in several places that we are God’s children. Jesus said to pray, “Our father . . .” The apostles wrote of that in their letters to the new congregation of believers as the word spread. Christians believe that is doctrinally true. We also believe our lives are just as lost as the prodigal’s, until he returned home and completed the decision he made in the pig pen:

And the son said unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and in thy sight, and am no more worthy to be called thy son. (Luke 15:21 KJV)

He confessed to his father how wrong he was. Please note, that was after his father welcomed him home. The father’s love was unchanged, but his joy was greater when the son was home. Thee father’s love was unchanged, even when the son confessed.

If this father’s love was so great, how much more is God’s for His children?

Monday, September 28, 2015


For the last few Sunday’s, Pastor’s sermons have centered on I Timothy 3 and 4. They are very instructional passages. Paul is writing plainly to Timothy. Since we believe the Bible was inspired by God for instruction to all, these passages help us understand the duties of a bishop (our preachers or pastors), those of our deacons, how we should behave in God’s house, how to live a Christian life and the importance of God’s word.

They are all good sermons and are available for you to hear on our First Baptist Church of Cottondale’s website. They were recorded as preached and you’ll hear some of our youngest attendees adding to your listening pleasure.

Sunday, September 27, 2015, the sermon hit me very hard. As it applied to me, of course. There were several points I need to attend to  in my life, but more than that I thought about profiting and who will see it.

Neglect not the gift that is in thee, which was given thee by prophecy, with the laying on of the hands of the presbytery. Meditate upon these things; give thyself wholly to them; that thy profiting may appear to all. (1 Timothy 4:14-15 KJV)

I believe every Christian knows someone who has neglected a God-given gift. To see that neglect in someone who submitted to the laying on of the hands of other ministers is one of the most saddening things to watch. It is painful seeing someone who stood in a pulpit, and preached from the Bible to others, self destruct.

You see, everyone's “profiting” – or lack thereof - continues to be seen by all. Some have reached for the world and ignored souls, even their own. That too, is an example, albeit not a good one. Paul knew that he was an example to others and was an encouragement Timothy.  He wrote elsewhere to lead by example:

Not because we have not power, but to make ourselves an ensample unto you to follow us. (2 Thessalonians 3:9 KJV)

Paul instructs Timothy to be on his guard – not just for himself, but for those who will hear his sharing of God’s word:

Take heed unto thyself, and unto the doctrine; continue in them: for in doing this thou shalt both save thyself, and them that hear thee. (1 Timothy 4:16 KJV)

So – what’s it to us? I believe we need to pray for those who have not found their way to God, even if it appears tey were there and left Him. I believe through the Holy Spirit we can take heed to doctrine and follow instructions. I believe our best instruction is found in Christ’s response to Peter when he was concerned about another disciple duties:

Peter seeing him saith to Jesus, Lord, and what shall this man do? Jesus saith unto him, If I will that he tarry till I come, what is that to thee? follow thou me. (John 21:21-22 KJV)

Whatever another person does or does not, what is that to me – or you? Christ has given us the ultimate instruction: Follow thou me. To do less is neglecting our own gift and consuming our own soul.

Sunday, September 27, 2015

“Thy Words”

I haven’t done a study – at least not yet – but I think David has an edge on the number of times “thy words” was written of him speaking of God’s words. For example, early on in his career:

Then went king David in, and sat before the LORD, and he said, Who am I, O Lord GOD? and what is my house, that thou hast brought me hitherto? And this was yet a small thing in thy sight, O Lord GOD; but thou hast spoken also of thy servant's house for a great while to come. And is this the manner of man, O Lord GOD? And what can David say more unto thee? for thou, Lord GOD, knowest thy servant. For thy word's sake, and according to thine own heart, hast thou done all these great things, to make thy servant know them. (2 Samuel 7:18-21 KJV)

Have we knelt before God and acknowledged that He has had a part  in our lives? That He has brought us to where we are today? It really is easy to do when we know Him and see how He is active in what happens when we seek Him.

Elisha heard God’s words when He called him to face four hundred and fifty priests loyal to both Queen Jezebel and Baal. He called  on God and referenced His words:

And it came to pass at the time of the offering of the evening sacrifice, that Elijah the prophet came near, and said, LORD God of Abraham, Isaac, and of Israel, let it be known this day that thou art God in Israel, and that I am thy servant, and that I have done all these things at thy word. (1 Kings 18:36 KJV)

Jesus referred to God’s word, too, as He prayed for those who would come to believe on Him:

Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth. (John 17:17 KJV)

We, as Christians, believe that the scriptures are inspired by God. That the Bible exists for us as David describes God’s word:

Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path. (Psalms 119:105 KJV)

And, we have been told where to keep God’s word:

Wherewithal shall a young man cleanse his way? by taking heed thereto according to thy word. With my whole heart have I sought thee: O let me not wander from thy commandments. Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee. Blessed art thou, O LORD: teach me thy statutes. (Psalms 119:9-12 KJV)

We are told it provides sustenance greater than food. Jesus quoted that in scripture:

But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God. (Matthew 4:4 KJV)

He knew the scripture He quoted:

And he humbled thee, and suffered thee to hunger, and fed thee with manna, which thou knewest not, neither did thy fathers know; that he might make thee know that man doth not live by bread only, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of the LORD doth man live. (Deuteronomy 8:3 KJV)

Can we respond to temptation with God’s word suited to the situation? Yes – but only when we study God’s word and come to know when “thy word” truly applies to something He commands, and not simply to history He inspired to teach us lessons. That’s how we differentiate between God’s requirements and mankind’s traditions. Can you tell the difference?

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Gehazi The Servant of the Man of God

We met Gehazi yesterday in the story of the Shunammite woman. He was described there as servant to Elisha. We see him again in the next chapter, not doing so well in the Story of Naaman, a leper who came to Elisha for healing. It’s much better told in 2 Kings 5:1-19, but what happens next has to do with Gehazi:

But Gehazi, the servant of Elisha the man of God, said, Behold, my master hath spared Naaman this Syrian, in not receiving at his hands that which he brought: but, as the LORD liveth, I will run after him, and take somewhat of him. So Gehazi followed after Naaman. And when Naaman saw him running after him, he lighted down from the chariot to meet him, and said, Is all well? And he said, All is well. My master hath sent me, saying, Behold, even now there be come to me from mount Ephraim two young men of the sons of the prophets: give them, I pray thee, a talent of silver, and two changes of garments. (2 Kings 5:20-22 KJV)

Elisha had turned down gifts for the healing, but Gehazi thought there wouldn’t be a problem in accepting just a little bit. He was wrong.

And he said unto him, Went not mine heart with thee, when the man turned again from his chariot to meet thee? Is it a time to receive money, and to receive garments, and oliveyards, and vineyards, and sheep, and oxen, and menservants, and maidservants? The leprosy therefore of Naaman shall cleave unto thee, and unto thy seed for ever. And he went out from his presence a leper as white as snow. (2 Kings 5:26-27 KJV)

But – we hear of him again. In Chapter 8, Elisha warns the Shunammite woman of coming famine and she leaves her home. By the time of her return, it appears it is only she and her son came home to regain their property. To do that meant coming before the king. He heard many petitioners – but for her, he turned to another for verification:

And the king talked with Gehazi the servant of the man of God, saying, Tell me, I pray thee, all the great things that Elisha hath done. And it came to pass, as he was telling the king how he had restored a dead body to life, that, behold, the woman, whose son he had restored to life, cried to the king for her house and for her land. And Gehazi said, My lord, O king, this is the woman, and this is her son, whom Elisha restored to life. (2 Kings 8:4-5 KJV)

The king compared their stories and her land was restored:

And when the king asked the woman, she told him. So the king appointed unto her a certain officer, saying, Restore all that was hers, and all the fruits of the field since the day that she left the land, even until now. (2 Kings 8:6 KJV)

What we do has consequences. When we follow instructions, the consequences have a much greater opportunity of turning out better for us. When we make decisions based on our own desires rather than the instructions we’ve been given, we lose opportunities, one right after another.

Gehazi was a servant to a man who chose to serve God. He witnessed miracles and knew that what Elisha did was within God’s instructions. So did the Shunammite woman. She followed Elisha’s instructions – Gehazi did not. She was a woman of wealth before the famine, she regained her property. Gehazi was a servant before Naaman’s healing, afterward he suffered Naaman’s disease.

What choice is before any one of us right now? To follow God’s instructions? Where are they? In His word – the inspired words written by men who lived as men of God, obedient to this word. That’s a choice we face daily.

How sweet are thy words unto my taste! yea, sweeter than honey to my mouth! Through thy precepts I get understanding: therefore I hate every false way. . . . . Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path. I have sworn, and I will perform it, that I will keep thy righteous judgments. (Psalms 119:103-106 KJV)

Friday, September 25, 2015

How Do We Answer The Question?

Rembrandt’s The Departure of the Shunammite Woman
I’ve written about Horatio Spafford and why he wrote “It Is Well With My Soul.” And, I’ve written about the Shunammite woman. One Sunday those came together for me when I read:

So she went and came unto the man of God to mount Carmel. And it came to pass, when the man of God saw her afar off, that he said to Gehazi his servant, Behold, yonder is that Shunammite: Run now, I pray thee, to meet her, and say unto her, Is it well with thee? is it well with thy husband? is it well with the child? And she answered, It is well. (2 Kings 4:25-26 KJV)

But – it wasn’t, thought she answered her husband the same way:

And she called unto her husband, and said, Send me, I pray thee, one of the young men, and one of the asses, that I may run to the man of God, and come again. And he said, Wherefore wilt thou go to him to day? it is neither new moon, nor sabbath. And she said, It shall be well. (2 Kings 4:22-23 KJV)

No, it wasn’t well with her – or her son:

And he said unto his father, My head, my head. And he said to a lad, Carry him to his mother. And when he had taken him, and brought him to his mother, he sat on her knees till noon, and then died. And she went up, and laid him on the bed of the man of God, and shut the door upon him, and went out. (2 Kings 4:19-21 KJV)

Her story begins in 4:8. She was a capable wife and showed no regret for the lack of children in a society where women were judged by the children they had. We’ve seen that in other Bible stories. Elisha promises a son, and a son was born. Now, he’s dead and she’s saying “It is well.”

Don’t we do that? I know I have. Someone kindly says in passing, “How are you?” And, I respond, just as much in passing “Just fine.” It isn’t. It wasn’t for the Shunammite woman. Her son is dead.
When she reached Elisha, he did not know why she was there:

And when she came to the man of God to the hill, she caught him by the feet: but Gehazi came near to thrust her away. And the man of God said, Let her alone; for her soul is vexed within her: and the LORD hath hid it from me, and hath not told me. (2 Kings 4:27 KJV)

She only asked Elisha two questions:

Then she said, Did I desire a son of my lord? did I not say, Do not deceive me? (2 Kings 4:28 KJV)

Elisha knew exactly what was wrong and what to do – but it didn’t work. What it took was prayer in a closed room. Go ahead, look it up.

Even when God’s answer is “Not now,” or “No,” quiet prayer does bring the peace that absolutely passes understanding – and I can say as the Shunammite woman and Horace Spafford, “It is well,” because God said so.

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Where I Am–And Why

If you’ll look at Older Posts you’ll find ten days of praise. The first, Saturday, August 29, was done on my desktop with internet connection. The next nine were done on my iPhone because we lost our internet connection – could not get our “just bought out by another” ISP to fix it within the first week’s difficulty, then another two weeks before they would commit to a service call.  Within that length of time we could get a new IPS – which turned out to have given erroneous up/download info – and still a third ISP to put us back in touch with the rest of the world.

But that’s only half the story.  As you long-time readers know, my Beloved Husband suffers from Myasthenia Gravis and requires plasmapheresis – a filtering of proteins from his blood. The proteins “plug” the nerve lines to specific muscles – an outpatient process. Within three months of his diagnosis, he was in ICU over a week in an MG crisis. Another three months later. A third that summer. There is no cure, but plasmapheresis holds the disease at bay.

If you are interested in learning more, Google – there’s tons of information on this “rare” disease. The important part is “disease” and “plasmapheresis”. You see, toward the last of May, the graft necessary for his process plugged with clots. Removing them is “thrombectomy” and requires hospitalization. Our summer ran like this:

May 12 – plasmapheresis fail – graft clotted
May 13 – thrombectomy – worked
May 14 – plasmapheresis
June 13 – plasmapheresis failed – graft clotted
June 9 – thrombectomy
June 11 – plasmapheresis – worked
June 30 – plasmapheresis failed – graft clotted
July 6 – appointment with nephrologist – new graft required
August 3 – additional graft – original blocked
August 24 – first of three plasmapheresis process – every other day - due to length of time without one. Symptoms increasing.
August 26 – second plasmapheresis failed – thrombosis
August 27 – thrombectomy with stent inserted
August 28 – “second” plasmapheresis worked
September 3 – third plasmapheresis worked – returned to monthly schedule.

As you can tell – we basically lost our summer to hospital halls. There were other doctor visits – to his endocrinologist and neurologist – not listed above, as well as a couple for me, but they didn’t entail being admitted to the hospital’s outpatient. This gave me a greater respect for those needing dialysis multiple times each week, too. Surely you know someone like that! Please spend extra time in prayer for them.

Anyway – while this was going on, our “Together We Can Change Lives” ladies mission group got its late start on our now-annual craft sale for missionary support. I do not sew as well as the others, I do not create jewelry from semi-precious stones and I certainly am not adapt at paper crafts – so I am typing our second cookbook, just as I did the first one.

I am good at typing and organization!! (Except for my own work areas.) All of the recipes come from ladies in our church. Some may sound similar, but are tweaked - feel free to tweak for yourselves. There should be no repeats of same recipe/same donor from last year's book. All of the paper and printing is donated by a wonderful company and I do the assembly, so every $10.00 received for a cookbook goes directly to missions – no overhead! Last year we printed 100 books and reprinted 25 more so that $1,250 went to three specific mission projects. This year we’ll print more and hope they go as fast. 

If you missed last year, it is available as PDF on CD for the same $10.00 – just mail a request to:  TWCCL c/o First Baptist Church of Cottondale, 145 CR 3355, Paradise, Texas 76073.  Then you can say your cookbook came from Paradise!!

That’s my story. Beloved Husband is doing better. Internet connections are installed and doing better, too. I am back to blogging – between typing a cookbook – and wondering when I can get bites of these new recipes (well, some not so new, but sounding very good!)

May God have provided for your life and loves as He has so graciously for mine. His mercy is everlasting.

Monday, September 7, 2015

Open To A Challenge?

Psa 47:6  Sing praises to God, sing praises: sing praises unto our King, sing praises.

Sixty years ago our youth choir sang those words. We sang our praises to our Lord. I haven't found the music by Googling, but I still carry it in my mind and can pick it out on the piano. 

Simple words. The Hallelujah Chorus is comprised of simple words, too. Awesome music, but simple words. It doesn't take a full dictionary to praise God, so take just a few moments to sing His praise. 

I have done it in writing for just ten days. Are you willing to accept a challenge to publicly praise Him for any length of time?  Consider for a few moments. Then, let us know. 

Sunday, September 6, 2015

Gathering to Praise

1Co 4:5  Therefore judge nothing before the time, until the Lord come, who both will bring to light the hidden things of darkness, and will make manifest the counsels of the hearts: and then shall every man have praise of God.

No, not everyone praises God. Not everyone sees Him worthy of praise. Those of us who do are sometimes way too impatient with those who do not. Yet why should they praise what they neither know nor seek?

My praise does not depend on any other person. I praise Him for what I see in my own life. It is a pleasure to read why and how others praised Him and how they see Him. Today I will meet with dozens of others to study, worship, praise and share what we see in Him. 

We'll begin together in Sunday School's study of Proverbs chapter six - but individually we will have started earlier in prayers of thanksgiving and praise in our own quiet times with our Lord. 

The invitation stands that you join in. Welcome!!!

Saturday, September 5, 2015

His Righteousness

Psa 7:17  I will praise the LORD according to his righteousness: and will sing praise to the name of the LORD most high.

His righteousness - not mine. I am not worthy to approach His throne, except by His invitation. And that is an awesome invitation given in multiple verses. My favorite is:

Mat 11:28  Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.

If you don't have burdens, I'm surprised. Ask Him about His anyway - they are not only light, they are awesome!!

Friday, September 4, 2015

David's Praise

2Sa 22:50  Therefore I will give thanks unto thee, O LORD, among the heathen, and I will sing praises unto thy name.

Take time to read this entire chapter and you'll understand why this verse begins with "therefore." David gives specific incidents that confirm God's interest in his life. How should he respond? With pride that he earned such attention? Surely we've seen people who think their actions have earned God's benevolent attention - are they as eager to give the same explanation for His disciplinary attention? David did. 

God is, all the time, whether we acknowledge Him or not. He does not require our presence, our praise, our admittance of His grace or discipline. The praise we give Him does not change what He is, but does change us. 

It is a good change, too. When we praise God, we focus on Him. It's not the same as giving thanks, where we focus on what we receive. Instead, we see His ability, His interest, His omnipotence. 

Then, we can give thanks for His grace and mercy in our lives, which we can neither earn nor deserve. Praise God for His infinite mercy, available to whosoever believes. 

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Deserved Praise

Rev 19:5  And a voice came out of the throne, saying, Praise our God, all ye his servants, and ye that fear him, both small and great.

After vanquishing all, just before the marriage supper of the Lamb, those before His throb fall down to worship and a voice comes from the throne saying, Praise our God. 

For me the praise is not for what He has done. What He's done for me instills thanksgiving. That's not why I praise. 

Praise is for His attributes, His capabilities - His omniscience and omnipotence. He is capable of creation and destruction. He is filled with judgment - perfect adjudication - as well as mercy and grace. 

There is none like Him, though men define many that are supposed to be - or deny any exist, especially One who cares about His creation. He inspired Moses to write:

Exo 8:10b    And he said, Be it according to thy word: that thou mayest know that there isnone like unto the LORD our God.

We praise because He deserves it. 

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

The Result of Silence

Psa 148:1  Praise ye the LORD. Praise ye the LORD from the heavens: praise him in the heights.

The next verses tell use who - and what - should be praising the Lord. Then, we get to "Why?"

Psa 148:13  Let them praise the name of the LORD: for his name alone is excellent; his glory is above the earth and heaven.

Consider this - all of His creation is capable of giving Him praise. Jesus gave us an example when He was told to quiet the multitudes praising Him:

Luk 19:40  And he answered and said unto them, I tell you that, if these should hold their peace, the stones would immediately cry out.

Do not stay silent. 

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Praise Out of Mouths of Babes

Mat 21:16  And said unto him, Hearest thou what these say? And Jesus saith unto them, Yea; have ye never read, Out of the mouth of babes and sucklings thou hast perfected praise?

Take time to read the previous verses to understand the context - adults were misusing God's house and children were singing praises for God's work. Jesus gives us meaning through God's inspiration of Psalm 8:6. 

How do we lift our voices in praise?  To God? Or people around us? Both, really. Praise is to Him and for Him, but let others hear to learn and join in. 

Praise ye the Lord for His excellent greatness. 

Monday, August 31, 2015

Praise? Deserved

Deu 10:12  And now, Israel, what doth the LORD thy God require of thee, but to fear the LORD thy God, to walk in all his ways, and to love him, and to serve the LORD thy God with all thy heart and with all thy soul,

Here's where Micah learned how to write his chapter six verse eight - walk with the Lord. Here the Children of Israel were given a second chance, second commandments to replace the ones Moses broke into pieces when he saw their sinful worship of a golden calf. After all that turning away from God, forgiveness was available. For all that, this:

Deu 10:21  He is thy praise, and he is thy God, that hath done for thee these great and terrible things, which thine eyes have seen.

Great things, terrible things - for these, He is praised. 

Still without Internet - my apologies for the font, color and lack of depth. Whatever these limitations may be, He is to be praised and I will continue to do so. Praise ye the LORD!

Sunday, August 30, 2015

It's the Lord's Day

Psa 109:30  I will greatly praise the LORD with my mouth; yea, I will praise him among the multitude.

This will be a short blog since it is created on my cell phone - once again we've lost internet connectivity. 

Today we will praise Him with a small multitude - we attend a country church. Our county is not highly populated (yet.) we do gather together, as the hymn sings, to ask the Lord's blessings and to sing praises for His being. 

Join in, please, wherever you are and let us praise the Lord. 

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Praise Ye The Lord

"Praise is not thanking God for the blessings. It is honoring God for who he is, what he is, and why he is. We are not to praise just when the sun is shining and all is right with the world but also when hell is knocking on our door and we can't move for fear of being consumed. Praise isn't about you and your blessings. It is about God and his sovereignty and holiness." Rendered Praise

Rendered Praise is written by a dear friend of mine. I thoroughly enjoy her conversations with our Lord, and this one with a ten-day challenge moved me to return to blogging. I don’t know if it was “hell” knocking on our door this summer, but we’ve had to face a number of physical, emotional and spiritual mountains that needed moved. Prayers of our friends and family provided comfort when we thought there was none. And that’s all about God’s sovereignty.

Nothing we’ve faced comes close to what Jesus faced – temptations, distrust, betrayal, rejection and death. God is capable of providing what we need during it all:

There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it. (1 Corinthians 10:13)

I know what we’ve been through –  I have no idea at all what you’ve been through, nor do I know how it affects your relationship with God. I also know quite a bit about what King David went through, and still he sang:

A Psalm of David. I will praise thee with my whole heart: before the gods will I sing praise unto thee. (Psalms 138:1)

Psalms 111, 112 and 113 each begin: Praise ye the LORD. Just in the Psalms, “praise” is found in 132 verses. Psalms 150 describes how to praise, and who should:

Praise ye the LORD. Praise God in his sanctuary: praise him in the firmament of his power. Praise him for his mighty acts: praise him according to his excellent greatness. Praise him with the sound of the trumpet: praise him with the psaltery and harp. Praise him with the timbrel and dance: praise him with stringed instruments and organs. Praise him upon the loud cymbals: praise him upon the high sounding cymbals. Let every thing that hath breath praise the LORD. Praise ye the LORD. (Psalms 150:1-6)

I can see time problems with my keeping the ten day commitment – if I don’t, that’s my failure, not His. It’s my job to praise Him for what He is, not for what He’s done for me. Those before His throne know this:

Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created. (Revelation 4:11)