Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Cantaloupe Rows

Looks pretty good, doesn’t it? Have you grown a few? A lot? Yesterday I thought about how many we had grown (and given away – not enough to sell, too many to eat) and how many grow around our community. The soil is right around here and it’s nice to purchase local produce. But, a lot of work goes into placing these on our tables.

It’s been on my mind since yesterday’s funeral. A 17-year-old soon-to-be-junior in high school died in an accident on the farm road we use often. I had seen him with his Mom, Dad, and sister at our combined church services July 2. His Dad had been our church’s youth minister several years ago and is now pastor at another local church.

As with every human on this planet, he was unique. No one else has an exact backstory, no one else experienced the same incidents in the same order/timeframe. He took no one’s place, no one can take his place, and he left his mark on hundreds of lives. His Dad told us some of their stories while we grieved, yet celebrated his life.

He worked in cantaloupe fields. To do so, he needed a good shade hat and a hoe. The task is removing weeds down one row, then turn around at the end and remove weeds down the next row, repeating repeatedly. He questioned, “Why?” and was told it allowed the plants to grow good fruit. It was hard to understand when there were only greenery around him and it all appeared to be weeds. His Dad was right – soon there were blooms which turned into small green fruit. The weeding became easier as the plants and fruit grew and he took pride in doing his work.

There were many more stories, but this one lends itself so well as a biblical example. When we realize our sins and accept God made plans for us, it is fairly easy that first day to begin walking down the rows of our life and remove sinful deed/thoughts. Too soon, it becomes hard to differentiate between fruit bearing plans and weeds in our life. Paul wrote of something similar:

I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel: (Galatians 1:6 KJV)

It happens to many. Some early in their walk with the Lord, some later. Some so serious they sit down in defeat, some continue slowly, and others appear to keep that hoe moving down the rows successfully. None of that matters as to how we do our own. We are not responsible for them, only for ourselves. Nothing I do, say or write can change one person – but it might make them think.

For me the story is one of perseverance. I know the physical work paid off because he eventually started a company of his own, putting friends to work. Even in high school he was offered a job that would grow into a career, had he lived.

More importantly, he was taught integrity, responsibility, the difference between doing right and doing wrong. From his friends we heard examples of the application of those lessons. Most importantly, he learned the difference between saying he was a Christian so he would “fit in” with friends in church – and actually accepting that Christ was his needed way, truth and life. It takes faith to express that change to the people he knew and loved. He did that this past winter.

John explained why he wrote. He mentioned it twice – in John 20:31 and again:

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)

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)

Saturday, July 8, 2017

Running Out Of Material?

There are a lot of fears, but I did not realize so many of them had their own phobia word.  I wasn’t aware that someone could fear running out of reading material. With so many books available digitally. From Free eBooks Project Gutenberg (and app for all kinds of devices) along with Amazon’s Kindle books that are free or extremely reasonable (again, their Kindle app runs on most all devices) you can read old, new, classic, ridiculous.  The choice is yours.

Plus, I’ve never run out of reading material with my Bible. I’ve mentioned in the past that e-Sword is my favorite. Used to be a free app, but I understand there is a cost on iPhone and Android, but the pc version (excellent for studying) is still free. I use another app on my Samsung tablet due to limitations and there are numerous other apps available (yes, next time I’m buying more memory!!! It’s bad enough not having enough memory in my head – not having it on devices is frustrating. And, my fault.)

If you’ve read through the Bible and think you’re done, forget that and add a commentary to your reading. It’s easy with e-Sword to have the biblical text up along side a commentary on that text. Reading them together brings up questions. Did I miss something that the commentator saw? Was the author right – or do I disagree? If I disagree, why? Can I back up my premise with another verse? Does it impact the context?

All those questions slow down the reading – and increases the comprehension.  I was reminded to day how important context is. Supposing someone one told you:  “It’s in the Bible, and I believe it”, using this verse to prove they will receive all they want by worshipping:

And saith unto him, All these things will I give thee, if thou wilt fall down and worship me. (Matthew 4:9 KJV)

It’s in the Bible. People who accept the Bible as true will have to defend it, won’t they? I will uncategorically state, I will not fall down and worship as this verse requires.  I’ve read the rest of the story, the verses surrounding this one, and know it is taken out of context to prove one thing – lies. Of course, taken in context, Matthew 4:1-11, it proves to be a lie. A huge lie.

One of the biggest lies is connected to:

Judge not, that ye be not judged. (Matthew 7:1 KJV)

How can that be separated from the verse that immediately follows:

For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again. (Matthew 7:2 KJV)

One last thought – I do not believe we are to judge whether or not a person is a Christian. A parable gives the best example. We are instructed to share the gospel, shake off dust if we are not heard and are told another will do the judging as to who heard and obeyed:

And if any man hear my words, and believe not, I judge him not: for I came not to judge the world, but to save the world. He that rejecteth me, and receiveth not my words, hath one that judgeth him: the word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day. (John 12:47-48 KJV)

If you’ve read this far, I know you aren’t abibliophobic – you found more to read! There’s always reading waiting for us in the Bible.

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Almost Twenty-five Years Later

Do you know what you had for breakfast November 14, 1992? I know what I ate because a letter surfaced. On that day, my grandson wrote my parents about a trip I took with him and his sister.

My grandchildren weren’t certain what to call Dad, so instead of great-grandpa, he told them, “Just call me Old Bill.” No, his name wasn’t Bill or even William. I have no idea where that came from, but all the family used it from the time the first grandson used it. So the letter was addressed to Old Bill and Grandma Maye. He was pretty specific about who went on the trip, where we went and what we did.

We took pictures, of course, using their “Kodaks Fun Saver 35 Cameras”, one for each of them. I don’t know if I could put my fingers on those photos right now, but his 8-page letter brought the memories back in full color.

A microcosm of the Dead Sea Scrolls, waiting two thousand years for discovery. While none of the letters Paul, Peter or John wrote about that same time frame. But – their letters were copied and shared from one church to another, one city to another, carried by one Christian to another.

Within a very short period of time, comparatively speaking, the letters were compiled into one history of Jesus’ time here on earth, along with His apostles’ letters to churches. Those letters were designed to carry the good news around the world – and that has been successful. Can you recite John 3:16? Billions can. Along with Genesis 1:1, Matthew 22:37-40, Psalm 23 – hundreds of scriptures, and one that tells us why they exist:

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

My grandson’s letter was profitable to regain memories and it holds truth – but no doctrine, no correction no instructions. Yet it is pleasurable to read and remember.

How much better it is to read scripture and learn of the beliefs spoken by Jesus. Uncertain about it? Do as the Bereans did:

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 17:11 KJV)

Why? Even that is covered in the scriptures:

But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name. (John 20:31 KJV)

That is my prayer for people I love who do not believe, and I tremble for their souls.

Sunday, July 2, 2017

My Apologies - my blog was hacked

I do apologize for anyone who stopped by responding to a weird post. No - I haven't posted advertisements, but it appears my blog was hacked.

I regret any notifications you might have received under my name and will work to get this corrected as soon as possible.

Thank you for understanding. And for accepting my apologies.

Grammy Blick