Thursday, November 17, 2016
. . . what that graphic says? This past month should have taught every American that it is true. There were false headlines read, copied, shared, commented up – and were blatant lies. Their publishers ended up making money – I wish I knew how much – when we clicked on the pages to see what they meant. Yes, I clicked and they made money off of me, once. I ended up blocking so many sites that claimed to be “satire” that my Facebook newsfeed is miniscule now.
More fool me, right? Not really, the first time. The first time around – not having information to tell me otherwise – it was my responsibility to discern accuracy. It is necessary to be aware before determining truth or lie. So, how do we do that? By acting as 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)
It doesn’t matter if we doubt. It does matter if we accept without researching the source, the truth, whether it be politics or religion. We must search whether those things were so.
It would lead to lengthy marriages, fewer divorces, if we did so in our love life, too. Too often people choose a spouse without that search. Or, opt for a partnership without a long-term commitment. Christians who married without that research ended up unequally yoked and added to divorce statistics, didn’t they? And gave truth to the cries of “Hypocrite!”, from the non-believing world that turned marriage into a secular contract instead of a spiritual covenant.
Yes – I can point to that mote in Christians’ eye based on 55 years of marriage to the man I met through a church’s visitation program. I see that point in many 50+-years marriages in our small church, too.
But that’s not nearly as important as what the Berean’s studied. My choice will last a lifetime – theirs (and ours) will last eternity.
Thomas doubted at least once. We’re told he was ready to die for Christ:
Then said Thomas, which is called Didymus, unto his fellowdisciples, Let us also go, that we may die with him. (John 11:16)
He understood the death, but not the resurrection and set his standard for belief:
The other disciples therefore said unto him, We have seen the Lord. But he said unto them, Except I shall see in his hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and thrust my hand into his side, I will not believe. (John 20:25)
Read the whole scene in John 20:19-28 where Thomas ends with:
And Thomas answered and said unto him, My Lord and my God. (John 20:28)
Are you willing to do the research necessary to live your life with truth? Whether it be with family, church, community, country – or eternity – are you willing not only to state what you believe, but why and how you reached that conclusion? Are you willing to stand at the end of this life, having lived by this verse – whether you believe in God or not?
Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. (2 Timothy 2:15)
Saturday, November 5, 2016
To believe that Jesus is the Christ is to believe that God exists, that what He had told people in the past about the coming Messiah was true. Those who love God would also love His Messiah, His begotten. That message is essential in Christianity.
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)
Two years of Spanish in high school, and a lack of using it since, left me with a few words and phrases that stick in my mind. One phrase is the opening of John 3:16: Porque de tal manera amo Dios al mundo. A teacher gave a translation as: "Because of the manner of love God had toward the world . . ." His love was given in an awesome manner, wasn’t it? That’s why it is easy to understand John:
Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God. He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love. (1 John 4:7-8 KJV)
Love is the basis of Jesus’ entire teachings:
Then one of them, which was a lawyer, asked him a question, tempting him, and saying, 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 22:35-40 KJV)
That first part is beyond millions of people in this world. The second is very difficult for many who find the first one fulfilling and are seeking to accomplish it.
It includes loving the unlovable. Loving those who would reject this very message of love. Too many have not seen love in their lives – except that love described as:
For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows. (1 Timothy 6:10 KJV)
Money is NOT the root of all evil – the love of it is. Loving money for the things it can bring into our lives – power, attention, luxury, celebrity – beyond necessity. Money can be used for good, even a little money can be used to combine with other small amounts a do good. Without love, money is as useless as Paul describes it:
Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal. And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing. And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing. (1 Corinthians 13:1-3 KJV)
Without love – God’s type of love that gave Himself – even in life there is nothing, no matter how “good” we sound or appear. Without love for the unlovable, we are missing the mark.
Friday, November 4, 2016
Each tiny cylinder is a printed scripture, held by a blue paper band, picked up by the plastic pick that is holding one in the lid. My mother bought this sometime in the mid-1950’s. As good as it looks, it’s been well used – back then, and much more recently. From the upper right of the tray, you can tell there are some cylinders missing – the blue bands are in the tray, but the verses are missing.
No, I can’t tell you which ones are missing, but I have decided to print out four of my favorite verses and fit them into this case to use for another 60+ years. Well – obviously I won’t be using it that long, but (thanks be to our Lord!) I have children, grandchildren and great-grands that look to their Bible for inspirations and answers. There are verses to help in a wide range of situations.
Our ladies missions group put together 2.5” square booklets that include some of these questions and biblical answers you have to click to read (or look up in a Bible – excellent suggestion!):
You Say / The Bible says:
I'm too tired
I can't go on
I can't forgive myself
I am unlovable
I don't have answers
It's not worth it
I can't do it
You see my problem? Every one of those verses would be good – but how about:
And these things write we unto you, that your joy may be full. (1 John 1:4 KJV)
But then I really like:
I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth. (3 John 1:4 KJV)
There’s the real reason all of the Bible – and my blog – were written:
These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God. (1 John 5:13 KJV)
Yes – that is absolutely why I share Bible verses in the first place - but it's a bit long for a tiny piece of paper.
Once you have looked at a verse take time to read around it to know if it has been used correctly, in context and that it means exactly what it appears to say. If it is out of context, find out what being in context is and how that applies to our lives today.
That’s good Bible reading. Please, take a few moments to apply the Bible study. I’ll take a few more moments in memories – those where we used the little scripture box decades ago as I began learning what the Bible meant to others. Later, I came to understand what it means to me. What does it mean to you?
Tuesday, November 1, 2016
I can read your mind. You are thinking, “What in this world does that verse have to do with a group of ladies having a picnic under apple blossoms?”
Admittedly, it is a circuitous route, but it really has to do with prayer. I am blessed to have some prayer partners in widely scattered places on this earth. Please let me introduce them – somewhat anonymously, of course.
There is a group of Baptist Moms. We met on the web in the early days of bulletin boards. We were all mothers, all Baptists, shared lots of things such as DIY projects, recipes, plans, advice – and prayer. We knew when we posted a prayer on the board there would be sisters in Christ joining in. As the digital age progressed for years, we found ourselves in different corners of Facebook – still posting prayer requests, and still responding for our sisters. Most of these are in the USA.
Then there are some singlets where individuals met, found ourselves to be sisters in Christ and feel close enough to share prayer requests. These are scattered around the world. Some were met on the web, some at church services and others through friends. Some are missionaries who are in my prayers to help them carry Christ’s message of God’s love wherever their beautiful feet carry them:
Therefore my people shall know my name: therefore they shall know in that day that I am he that doth speak: behold, it is I. How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him that bringeth good tidings, that publisheth peace; that bringeth good tidings of good, that publisheth salvation; that saith unto Zion, Thy God reigneth! (Isaiah 52:6-7 KJV)
Others have become friends – scattered from Kenya through Australia into Thailand circling the globe back to my home church with many sisters in Christ:
A friend loveth at all times, and a brother is born for adversity. (Proverbs 17:17 KJV)
Not all of my loved ones fall into these categories, and there are prayers that someday they will. I pray for them as I follow Samuel’s example:
Moreover as for me, God forbid that I should sin against the LORD in ceasing to pray for you: (1 Samuel 12:23a KJV)
So – what has that to do with a picnic? That’s another prayer. You see, I visualize a verse:
In the midst of the street of it, and on either side of the river, was there the tree of life, which bare twelve manner of fruits, and yielded her fruit every month: and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations. (Revelation 22:2 KJV)
Can you visualize that? Wouldn’t that be the perfect picnic place? Lot’s of time in eternity for people who do not meet here, but share the love of God and His Word while praying with each other, isn’t there?
That’s my “other” prayer – a span of existence (for time shall be no more) where those who led me to Christ can introduce those who led them, tracking all the way back to the cross, can meet with those whose lives we’ve touched, prayed with, supported in His love and will share eternity.
Now, wouldn’t that be an awesome picnic? Please – join in.