10/31/09

What??!!



Have you ever looked at something like this?  You just can't believe your eyes and sort of freeze. I have.  Unsure what to do next, you may do the wrong thing or nothing at all.  I love the story of a servant girl named Rhoda in the New Testament who did something like this.


Acts 12:11-16 Complete Apostles' Bible

(11) And Peter, having come to himself, said, "Now I know truly that the Lord has sent forth His angel, and has delivered me from the hand of Herod and from all the expectation of the Jews."
(12) And realizing this, he came to the house of Mary, the mother of John whose surname was Mark, where a considerable number were gathered together and were praying.
(13) And when Peter knocked at the door of the gate, a servant girl came to answer, named Rhoda.
(14) When she recognized Peter's voice, because of her gladness she did not open the gate, but running in, she announced that Peter stood before the gate.
(15) But they said to her, "You are mad!" Yet she kept insisting that it was so. So they said, "It is his angel."
(16) But Peter was continuing knocking; and opening the door they saw him, and were astounded.


I always wondered if the writers of the "Mary Tyler Moore" show took inspiration from the Bible when they created the character of Rhoda Morgenstern (spelling???).  She was a bit of a ditz, but eventually her character spun off into her own show (Rhoda).  I always focused on the servant girl named Rhoda, because I think its funny, but now I see that she wasn't alone, for in verse 13 Peter is referred to as "having come to himself".  So, if it can happen to an apostle, it can happen to anybody.  By the way, don't stare too long, your face might freeze like that!

10/30/09

Hard to believe



You are driving along and suddenly you see a tire passing your vehicle; hard to believe isn't it? However, one day I was in my father's "plumbing truck" and as we were going down second avenue in Troy, N.Y. a tire suddenly appeared ahead of us on the passenger side. I wouldn't have believed this picture unless I had actually seen it myself; but it happened. A situation occurred in the New Testament that has some similarities. This passage from the book of John tells the story.


John 20:19-31 Complete Apostles' Bible
(19) Then, the same day at evening, being the first day of the week, when the doors were shut where the disciples were assembled, for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood in the midst, and said to them, "Peace to you."
(20) And having said this, He showed them His hands and His side. Then the disciples rejoiced when they saw the Lord.
(21) Therefore Jesus said to them again, "Peace to you! Just as the Father has sent Me, I also send you."
(22) And when He had said this, He breathed on them, and said to them, "Receive the Holy Spirit.
(23) If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they have been retained."
(24) But Thomas, one of the twelve, the one called the Twin, was not with them when Jesus came.
(25) The other disciples therefore said to him, "We have seen the Lord." So he said to them, "Unless I see in His hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and put my hand into His side, I will by no means believe."
(26) And after eight days His disciples were again inside, and Thomas with them. Jesus came, the doors having been closed, and stood in the midst, and said, "Peace to you!"
(27) Then He said to Thomas, "Bring your finger here, and see My hands; and bring your hand here, and put it into My side. Be not unbelieving, but believing."
(28) And Thomas answered and said to Him, "My Lord and my God!"
(29) Jesus said to him, "Because you have seen Me, you have believed. Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed."
(30) And truly Jesus did many other signs in the presence of His disciples, which are not written in this book;
(31) but these have been written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in His name.


The concept of a bodily resurrection is a hard thing for some people to accept, but since there were many, many, witnesses, I say let the evidence speak for itself. There are so many things in this world we accept by faith, why not do the reasonable thing and accept the witness found in the Bible? Oh, I didn't tell you... the tire that passed my father's truck was HIS FRONT TIRE;He saw that immediately and VERY SLOWLY APPLIED THE BRAKES. I didn't argue with him, I just accepted it as fact. Good example to follow.

10/29/09



This picture sort of describes my current situation. The storm happened and now the clouds seem to be clearing (I think). Hopefully, this post will be OK and the new, simplified blogsite will be better. These computer problems made me think of a passage in the book of Romans.

Romans 8:28 Complete Apostles' Bible
(28) And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.


So, maybe everything will work out fine. I just don't understand the "why" yet.

Transformed!

And you thought transformers were only in the movies; well, here is a real one. Transformers have been around for years, we just called them by a different name... convertibles. The concept of taking something and making it something else is found in the Bible too. John tells us...

John 2:1-11 Complete Apostles' Bible
(1) And on the third day there was a wedding in Cana of Galilee, and the mother of Jesus was there.
(2) Now both Jesus and His disciples were invited to the wedding.
(3) And when the wine had given out, the mother of Jesus said to Him, "They have no wine."
(4) Jesus said to her, "Woman, what have I to do with you? My hour has not yet come."
(5) His mother said to the servants, "Whatever He may say to you, do."
(6) Now there were six stone water jars standing there, according to the purification rites of the Jews, each holding two or three measures.
(7) Jesus said to them, "Fill the water jars with water." And they filled them up to the top.
(8) And He said to them, "Draw out now, and carry some to the head steward." And they carried it.
(9) Now when the head steward tasted the water which had become wine, and did not know where it came from (but the servants who had drawn the water knew), the head steward called the bridegroom
(10) and said to him, "Every man first sets out the good wine, and when they have well drunk, then the inferior. You have kept the good wine until now!"
(11) This beginning of the signs Jesus did in Cana of Galilee, and manifested His glory; and His disciples believed in Him.
the difference between the wine mentioned in John chapter 2 and either "transformers" or convertibles is that Jesus fundamentally transformed water into something new... wine. He did this by his innate power, not clever manipulation. He wasn't showing off, for the text says his mother suggested that he do this. Small thought here... I wonder how she knew to ask Jesus?? The only thing I can think of is that she had seen him do such things before in private. So, we have a new view of Jesus, from a mere man into something more, something both miraculous and amazing at the same time. That new appreciation of who Jesus is will transform even the hardest heart, but first we have to really look in order to really see. When we do this, our lives will never really be the same again; zap, YOU ARE TRANSFORMED!!!

10/28/09

The desire for a little fire!

Now this is a car! What a fire breathing monster this must be! I doubt if it even gets 10 mph.. Although I love to look at it, its not exactly built for someone who has my round build, so I don't think it would do me any good to even THINK of owning this. But I bet this puppy would really go fast! When I saw this "flame of fire" corvette I thought of the following passage from the book of Hebrews.

Hebrews 1:1-8 Complete Apostles' Bible
(1) God, who in various ways and in many ways spoke in time past to the fathers by the prophets,
(2) has in these last days spoken to us by the Son, whom He has appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the worlds;
(3) who being the effulgence of His glory and the exact expression of His substance, and upholding all things by the word of His power, when He had by Himself purged our sins, sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high,
(4) having become so much better than the angels, as He has inherited a more excellent name than they.
(5) For to which of the angels did He ever say: "You are My Son, today I have begotten You"? And again: "I will be to Him for a Father, and He shall be to Me for a Son"?
(6) But when He again brings the firstborn into the world, He says: "Let all the angels of God worship Him."
(7) And on the one hand he says to the angels, "He who makes His angels spirits and His ministers flames of fire."
(8) But to the Son He says: "Your throne, O God, is forever and ever; a scepter of righteousness is the scepter of Your Kingdom.

OK, I admit I am pushing the comparison of a corvette to an angel, but both really fly! Both are very powerful and do the will of their master. The context of verse 7 shows that Jesus is far greater in power than even the angels (who are awesome flames of fire). Jesus could have called legions of angels to bring him down from the cross, but he didn't because his sacrifice needed to be made in order that righteousness could be enjoyed by all those who follow him. I just thought of something.... will there be corvette's in heaven? Probably not, we can just hitch a ride with an angel in case we have the desire for a little fire!

10/27/09

Flexibility

This picture reminds me of what it was like to be a young child; limber and flexible in all things, open to new ideas and courses of action. Unfortunately, as we become older we lose some of these things, some by choice and others just by growing older. I don't think I can ever be as flexible as I was at say, age 8, but I can be open to the views of others and a healthy examination of my own life. This is what I think is the thrust of Romans 14. Its a long passage, but worth the reading.

Romans 14:1-23 Complete Apostles' Bible
(1) Receive one that is weak in the faith, not for disputes over opinions.
(2) One indeed believes that he may eat all things, but another, being weak, eats only vegetables.
(3) Let not him who eats despise him who does not eat, and let not him who does not eat judge him who eats; for God has received him.
(4) Who are you to judge another's servant? To his own master he stands or he falls. And he shall be made to stand, for God is able to make him stand.
(5) One indeed judges one day above another; but another judges every day the same. Let each be fully assured in his own mind.
(6) He that regards the day, regards it to the Lord; and he that does not regard the day, to the Lord he does not regard it. And he that eats, eats to the Lord, for he gives thanks to God; and he that does not eat, to the Lord he does not eat, and he gives thanks to God.
(7) For none of us lives to himself, and no one dies to himself.
(8) For whether we live, we live to the Lord; and whether we die, we die to the Lord. Therefore, whether we live, or whether we die, we are the Lord's.
(9) For to this end Christ died and rose and lived again, so that He might be Lord of both the dead and the living.
(10) But why do you judge your brother? Or why do you despise your brother? For we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ.
(11) For it is written: "As I live, says the LORD, every knee shall bow to Me, and every tongue shall confess to God."
(12) So then each of us shall give account concerning himself to God.
(13) Therefore let us no longer judge one another, but judge this rather, not to put a stumbling block or an offense before our brother.
(14) I know and am convinced in the Lord Jesus that nothing is unclean of itself; except to him considering anything to be unclean, to him it is unclean.
(15) But if your brother is grieved on account of your food, you are no longer walking according to love. Do not destroy with your food the one on behalf of whom Christ died.
(16) Therefore do not let your good be slandered.
(17) For the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.
(18) For he that serves Christ in these things is well pleasing to God and approved by men.
(19) Therefore let us pursue the things which make for peace and the things by which one may edify another.
(20) Do not destroy the work of God for the sake of food. All things indeed are clean, but are evil for the man eating with offense.
(21) It is good neither to eat meat nor drink wine nor to do anything by which your brother stumbles or is offended or becomes weak.
(22) Do you have faith? By yourself, have it before God. Blessed is he that does not condemn himself in what he approves.
(23) But he who doubts, if he eats, has been condemned, because it is not of faith; and everything which is not of faith is sin.
In the ancient world, meat that was sold in the market place may have previously been offered to idols and some early Christians were sensitive to that possibility and therefore would not eat meat. Others, who were converts from Judaism would want to celebrate special Jewish holidays. What do you do? Become flexible in your understanding of liberty is the answer. I think the key is found in verse 1 of this chapter; and that key is opinions. There are certain facts about Christianity that are absolutes, such as Jesus being the means of our salvation and the existence of God the father and The Holy Spirit. So liberty concerns itself with opinions, period. The fundamentals of Christianity are not open to debate, just matters of opinions. As far as I am concerned, the girl in the picture can wear whatever color outfit she wants on Monday, no problem. I am learning to be flexible about Monday; Tuesday is another matter altogether. I guess I need to work on my flexibility some more.

10/26/09

You may see more than fire!

I can't explain it, but somehow over the past few years sunsets seem to capture my imagination. This one is entitled "fire in the sky" and the name says it all. The name made a natural association with the following passage from Thessalonians and as you read you will see why.





2 Thessalonians 1:3-10 Complete Apostles' Bible
(3) We are obligated to give thanks to God always for you, brothers, and rightfully so, because your faith grows exceedingly, and the love of every one of you all increases towards one another,
(4) so that we ourselves are boasting in you among the churches of God about your patience and faith in all your persecutions and tribulations that you endure,
(5) which is evidence of the righteous judgment of God, so that you may be counted worthy of the kingdom of God, on behalf of which you also suffer;
(6) since it is a righteous thing with God to repay with affliction those who afflict you,
(7) and to give you who are being afflicted rest along with us at the revelation of the Lord Jesus from heaven with His mighty angels,
(8) in flaming fire, inflicting vengeance on those who do not know God, and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ.
(9) These shall pay a penalty--eternal destruction from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His might,
(10) whenever He comes, in that Day, to be glorified among His saints and to be marveled among all those having believed, because our testimony among you was believed.



Jesus will appear in flaming fire. Says so, must be. Payday, someday, for those who oppress and oppose either Jesus or his own. Comfort to some, concern for others. No, I don't know when and I am glad I don't; would probably do me no good to know. Knowing is NOT NECESSARY, being on the right side of judgment, IS. Until this event occurs, keep looking up, you may see more than fire!

10/25/09

bliss

When I saw this cat today, I smiled. For two reasons: first because a smile tends to cause another one and second because it made me think of my friend Marge, who loves her cat sooo much. Why do we smile and can we be happy without smiling? The first part is easy... because it is a perfectly natural thing to do, but the second is a little harder. Lets read from the Sermon on the mount in the book of Matthew for some insight.


Matthew 5:3-12 Complete Apostles' Bible
(3) "Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
(4) Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.
(5) Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.
(6) Blessed are those who hunger and thirst after righteousness, for they shall be filled.
(7) Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy.
(8) Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.
(9) Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.
(10) Blessed are those who have been persecuted for righteousness' sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
(11) "Blessed are you whenever they revile you, and they persecute you, and they say all kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake.
(12) Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.

Some translations translate "blessed" as happy, so I guess we are on the right track. I think its a little more accurate to say "Oh, the blissful state of the person" followed by the beatitude. So, a smile is more than just something we do or a natural response; it is a reflection of an inward state of the person. This makes sense to me, because if one is in tune with the will of God, even unpleasant things like those mentioned in verse 11 really can't change your happiness. I don't imagine that enduring those things would bring a smile, but everyone is different, so I guess it is possible to be happy and not a have smile on your face. If Marge were here, she would tell you that a cat is all you really need. Of course, his name has to be Max! By the way, did you hear the one about the difference between "bird flu" and "swine flu"? See below for the answer.







You get a tweetment for the first and an oinkment for the second.

10/24/09

Not good to be alone

What! was my first reaction. Facebook is addicting, I know, but a shot? Then I remembered this verse from the Bible and this little picture made more sense to me.

Genesis 2:18 Complete Apostles' Bible
(18) And the Lord God said, It is not good that the man should be alone, let Us make for him a helper suitable to him.
We need each other, it isn't good to be alone. When I view Facebook, I connect with people I know and those I will begin to know. I don't need a helper, (already have one) but friends... well, you can never have too many of those. After seeing this picture, I don't think I will look at Facebook in quite the same way, ever again.

10/23/09

Don't value by appearance!



I was reading one of my favorite blogs today ("Right Truth") and I saw this picture. The picture on the left should look a little familiar to us, as she was on the cover of "The National Geographic" magazine in 1985. Her name is Sharbat Gula (which very few people knew until recently) and she is an Afgan refugee. Life has changed her and only her eyes seem to remain unchanged. She obviously has had a hard life, but what really bothered me when I read the article is that she was described as being "worn out" at age 30. Question: What do we do with someone who is worn out? Do they have any value once they are worn out, or are they worth less. Here is a passage from the book of Leviticus that should make us all think.

Leviticus 27:1-8 WEB (R)
(1) Yahweh spoke to Moses, saying,
(2) "Speak to the children of Israel, and say to them, 'When a man makes a vow, the persons shall be for Yahweh by your valuation.
(3) Your valuation shall be of a male from twenty years old even to sixty years old, even your valuation shall be fifty shekels of silver, after the shekel of the sanctuary.
(4) If it is a female, then your valuation shall be thirty shekels.
(5) If the person is from five years old even to twenty years old, then your valuation shall be for a male twenty shekels, and for a female ten shekels.
(6) If the person is from a month old even to five years old, then your valuation shall be for a male five shekels of silver, and for a female your valuation shall be three shekels of silver.
(7) If the person is from sixty years old and upward; if it is a male, then your valuation shall be fifteen shekels, and for a female ten shekels.
(8) But if he is poorer than your valuation, then he shall be set before the priest, and the priest shall value him; according to the ability of him who vowed shall the priest value him.

Admittedly, this is a problem passage for me! It seems to say some things I don't like; for instance, because I am now 60 I am worth less than I was at 20. Also, I really do not like the valuation for women and children as well. What it really refers to is the ability of the people mentioned to be able to keep their vows. That is the only way it makes sense to me. I have lived quite a while and would like to think I know MORE than I did at 20 (and am therefore more valuable). Consider this passage from the New Testament.

Galatians 3:26-28 Complete Apostles' Bible
(26) For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus.
(27) For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ.
(28) There is neither Jew nor Greek, neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus.


We all have value, all souls are the same and in Christ Jesus and all are the sons of God. I thought of the following poem and even though it is somewhat long I still wanted to include it!


The Touch of the Master's Hand
It was battered and scarred, And the auctioneer thought it hardly worth his while To waste his time on the old violin, but he held it up with a smile.
"What am I bid, good people", he cried, "Who starts the bidding for me?" "One dollar, one dollar, Do I hear two?" "Two dollars, who makes it three?" "Three dollars once, three dollars twice, going for three,"
But, No, From the room far back a gray bearded man Came forward and picked up the bow, Then wiping the dust from the old violin And tightening up the strings, He played a melody, pure and sweet As sweet as the angel sings.
The music ceased and the auctioneer With a voice that was quiet and low, Said "What now am I bid for this old violin?" As he held it aloft with its' bow.
"One thousand, one thousand, Do I hear two?" "Two thousand, Who makes it three?" "Three thousand once, three thousand twice, Going and gone", said he.
The audience cheered, But some of them cried, "We just don't understand." "What changed its' worth?" Swift came the reply. "The Touch of the Masters Hand."
And many a man with life out of tune All battered with bourbon and gin Is auctioned cheap to a thoughtless crowd Much like that old violin
A mess of pottage, a glass of wine, A game and he travels on. He is going once, he is going twice, He is going and almost gone.
But the Master comes, And the foolish crowd never can quite understand, The worth of a soul and the change that is wrought By the Touch of the Masters' Hand.
Myra Brooks Welch


Every day lived with God is a blessing, but the body will wear out and in the eyes of men we may not be worth much, but "IN CHRIST" we are all equal and worth something; I know this because of the value placed on us by Jesus (his life's blood). Don't value by appearance, but rather by character, for it is the reflection of the soul. Remember, God does not look at the outward appearance, but at the human heart (the character).

That is really groovy!

This little guy is sure enjoying himself! Music has a way of bringing happiness. But what if you have every reason to despair and you still can sing? Here is a passage to show that it can be done.




Acts 16:19-26 Complete Apostles' Bible
(19) And when her masters saw that the hope of their profit was gone, they took Paul and Silas, and dragged them to the marketplace to the rulers.
(20) And bringing them to the magistrates they said, "These men, being Jews, are agitating our city;
(21) and they are proclaiming customs which are not lawful for us to receive or to do, since we are Romans."
(22) And the crowd rose up together against them; and the magistrates tore their clothes and ordered men to beat them with rods.
(23) And when they laid many strokes on them, they cast them into prison, commanding the prison keeper to keep them securely;
(24) who, having received such a command, cast them into the inner prison and fastened their feet in the stocks.
(25) Now about midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the prisoners were listening to them.

(26) And suddenly there was a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison were shaken; and immediately all the doors were opened and all the bonds were loosed.




There are different types of music; no, I am not talking about the difference between Rock and Classical or Reggae and Ragtime. There are different objects within music; a rhythmic or melody with no object, a song about interpersonal relationships (love songs), one about events (such as the Titanic song), or one about feelings (such as the 34th street song by Simon and Garfunkle). However, these types have one thing in common: "I". When the object is heavenly it is a different matter; the relationship between God and His creation changes things. The gap between the Spiritual and the physical is breached and it is as if heaven comes to Earth and God is right near by. This closeness to God brings joy and peace such as only the creator can supply. "I" centered music is focused on oneself and therefore flawed, but singing that has God as its object reaches for true perfection. The music or singing doesn't have to be spectacular or even well done, it just communes the heart of man with that of God and that WILL CHANGE THINGS! Oh, it might not cause an earthquake, but you will change because a little bit of the perfection of God will rub off on you and that is really groovy!

10/22/09

Another perspective

This little sign refers to a passage from the book of Romans. It is interesting to me because I had never really thought of it visually before. Yet, I should have, because God is both multi-fauceted and multi-dimensional. God both exists in the present, but in the past and the future at the same time. He created all things, but was not created. Wow, this gives me a headache just trying to consider all this. But what I like most from Romans 11 is that to me it is a sort of prayer.
Romans 11:33-36 Complete Apostles' Bible
(33) Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and untraceable are His ways!
(34) "For who has known the mind of the LORD? Or who has been His counselor?"
(35) "Or who has first given to Him, and it shall be repaid to him?"
(36) For of Him and through Him and to Him are all things; to Him be the glory forever! Amen.
Charlie Biggers came to our home in the valley one afternoon in 1978 and read this passage out loud to myself and Linda. But the way he read it; with awe, amazement and reverence all at the same time. The memory of that simple reading has stayed with me all these years, but even more was the look on his face. The puzzled, trusting, inquisitive look a young child has when they ask DADDY a question because HE KNOWS EVERYTHING!! It was as if by the mere reading of the passage THE ANSWER would be given to us by God Himself. I still don't know the answer, but I LOVE the ATTITUDE OF PRAYER! Now at least I have a clue, even if it is only a visual perspective.

10/21/09

Too many kisses?

This little baby is obviously the object of much affection, but there is something odd about the way the lips are held. My first guess is that there is a thought going through its little mind something like: "what next"? Which raises the question: Can you love too much? Good question! Here is a passage from Titus to consider.


Titus 2:3-5 Complete Apostles' Bible
(3) Older women likewise are to be reverent in demeanor, not slanderers, not given to much wine, teaching what is good,
(4) so that they may urge the young women to be lovers of their husbands, lovers of their children,
(5) temperate, pure, homemakers, good, submitting to their own husbands, lest the word of God be blasphemed.


Women are urged to love, that much is sure. Is it possible to go overboard.... as with anything else, yes. But in the context of the home and motherhood, I don't think so. Because if Godliness is the source, then the outcome will be to God's liking. All that is left to do is to get a washcloth and clean junior up a bit. Next round of kisses coming up!!!

10/20/09

I have a dream

This picture is of the peace rally of 1963 where Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. gave his famous "I have a dream" speech. I was listening to one of my favorite podcast called "The Word Nerds" on my way to work today and I heard an excerpt from this speech and recalled how powerful it was then and still is. Many of the World War II generation that I grew up alongside were very racially biased and I still recall the hatred in their responses at the mere mention of Dr. King's name. But those were different times and I am happy to see that some (and perhaps more than some) of the injustices that Black's endured have been made right. Who would have ever thought in 1963 that we would ever have a black president? Injustice in America is not dead, however, on the contrary, it is alive and well. Today, we have a new race of "slaves" and the ones that I see are mostly illegal aliens from Mexico. The big corporations use their political clout and somehow immigration laws are never really enforced. Why? Because illegals can't complain, they really have no rights and thanks to the current welfare laws are subsidized. So, the corporations win and the illegals win and the rest of America pays for everything!!! What is wrong with this is that they are stealing from America. Consider just one verse from the Old Testament.
Deuteronomy 5:19 Complete Apostles' Bible
(19) You shall not steal.
This situation is allowing corporate America to create another slave segment in our society. Everyone in America should be under the same laws and those laws should be enforced uniformly. If someone entered this country outside the law-- let them go home. "I have a dream" is not over and it will not be achieved until everyone in this country is free and slavery in all its forms are dead! Don't agree with me on this, well, that is your right! Consider, however, what happened to the native Americans over the past hundred or so years in this country and then tell me I am wrong! I wonder, how we can make that one right???

10/19/09

When the rains come

Look familiar? I think we all can relate to things like this. When the checking account is overdrawn, when the baby gets sick, when the car breaks down, when you encounter all sorts of problems, remember that "stuff" happens to everybody. For me, today was one of those days; no matter how hard I tried, "stuff" just kept happening. And as I think about it, that is OK. What is really important is not the events that occur, but rather how we handle them. Are we trying to follow what Jesus has told us to do or something else? Look at the following passage to see what I am referring to.


Matthew 7:21-27 Complete Apostles' Bible
(21) "Not everyone who says to Me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven.
(22) Many will say to Me in that day, 'Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name we cast out demons, and in Your name we did many mighty works?'
(23) "And then I will confess to them, 'I never knew you! Depart from Me, you who work iniquity!'
(24) "Therefore, everyone who hears these words of Mine and does them, I will compare him to a wise man who built his house upon the rock:
(25) and the rain came down, and the floods came, and the winds blew and fell against that house; and it did not fall, for it had been founded upon the rock.
(26) And everyone who hears these words of Mine and does not do them, will be compared to a foolish man who built his house on the sand:
(27) and the rain came down, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it fell. And its fall was great."

Notice that the rains fell on BOTH HEARERS!! Those who listened and did the words of Jesus (to all of Matthew 5-7) were wise, but not so the foolish who do not apply Jesus' teachings. So, when the rains come, (and they will) remember the Sermon on the Mount and the application of its teachings and Jesus will see you through. You may still get wet, but so what, that's what umbrellas are for.

10/18/09

The money tree





Money doesn't grow on trees; or does it? Yes and No; No, it does not naturally and yes, if you put money on or hammer it into a tree. The above pictures are from England, where some have made it a habit to put money on or hammer it into trees. As the tree grows, bark grows around the coins. Why would anyone do this? For "good luck" is the answer. I think this is shall we say "less than bright", but that is my personal opinion. God has a lot to say about money, but to me the following passage gets right to the heart of the matter.

Hebrews 13:5-6 Complete Apostles' Bible
(5) Let your way of life be without loving money, being satisfied with what you have. For He Himself has said, "By no means shall I desert you, nor in any way shall I forsake you;"
(6) so that being confident, we may say: "The LORD is my helper; I will not fear. What can man do to me?"

There is nothing wrong with money, but when it becomes an interference between man and his maker, then there is a big problem. If you have enough money to provide for your basic needs, be happy. Someone else will always have more than you do-- so what? Its not our needs that really cause problems, its our greed's. Have faith in God and realize that he provides for his own and be happy. This in no way takes away your responsibility to do your part; just realize who is first and forget the "money tree". Besides, that tree is a poor investment; you put money in and don't get it out.... you would do better in the stock market!

10/17/09

Limits of Friendship

Cute picture! The text says it all; there are limits to friendship. The old testament says it too and is a little bit more specific.

Deuteronomy 13:6-11 Complete Apostles' Bible
(6) And if your brother by your father or mother, or your son, or daughter, or your wife in your bosom, or friend who is equal to your own soul, entreat you secretly, saying, Let us go and serve other gods, which neither you nor your fathers have known,
(7) of the gods of the nations that are round about you, who are near you or at a distance from you, from one end of the earth to the other;
(8) you shall not consent to him, neither shall you hearken to him; and your eye shall not spare him, you shall feel no regret for him, neither shall you at all protect him:
(9) you shall surely report concerning him, and your hands shall be upon him among the first to slay him, and the hands of all the people at the last.
(10) And they shall stone him with stones, and he shall die, because he sought to draw you away from the Lord your God who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage.
(11) And all Israel shall hear, and fear, and shall not again do according to this evil thing among you.
Sounds a bit harsh by the standards currently en vogue in America, but it IS the WORD OF GOD and that WAS the standard for the Israelites. Now, lets move over to the NEW TESTAMENT.

John 15:1-14 Complete Apostles' Bible
(1) "I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser.
(2) Every branch in Me which does not bear fruit He takes away; and every branch which bears fruit He prunes, so that it may bear more fruit.
(3) You are already clean because of the word which I have spoken to you.
(4) Abide in Me, and I in you. Just as the branch cannot bear fruit on its own, unless it abides in the vine, so neither can you unless you abide in Me.
(5) I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; because apart from Me you can do nothing.
(6) If anyone does not abide in Me, he is cast out like a branch and dries up; and they gather them and throw them into the fire, and they are burned.
(7) If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what ever you may desire, and it shall be done for you.
(8) By this My Father is glorified, that you may bear much fruit; and you will become My disciples.
(9) "Just as the Father loved Me, I also have loved you; abide in My love.
(10) If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love, just as I have kept My Father's commandments and I abide in His love.
(11) These things I have spoken to you, that My joy may abide in you, and that your joy may be full.
(12) This is My commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.
(13) Greater love has no one than this, that one should lay down his life on behalf of his friends.
(14) You are My friends if you do what I command you.
In the New Testament, its all about Jesus! If your life dwells (abides in, is centered on) in Jesus, you WILL DO what he wants you to do. Its not so much about a law as it is about a relationship and HOW you respond to it. If you do this you will live (because the true friend of Jesus will be saved by him) and if you don't.... well, who else is going to go to bat for you when you answer for what you have done in this life? I like the second set of verses better, don't you? Humm, I wonder if there will be e-mails in heaven?

10/16/09

Women rule?

The hand that rocks the cradle rules the world! I think I have heard that somewhere before...
Well, it won't be that many years before we have another presidential election and I think Sarah Palin will be our first female president. I wonder what they will call her: Madam President, The first first lady, your highness, or maybe first soccer mom of America? No matter what they call her, I think she will get the job done. She has my vote and there isn't even a ballot yet! Why, because I think she has the right stuff! God must think that way too, because he chose Deborah.

Judges 4:4-9 Complete Apostles' Bible
(4) And Deborah, a prophetess, the wife of Lapidoth, she judged Israel at that time.
(5) And she sat under the palm tree of Deborah between Ramah and Bethel in Mount Ephraim; and the children of Israel went up to her for judgment.
(6) And Deborah sent and called Barak the son of Abinoam out of Cades Nephtali, and she said to him, Has not the Lord God of Israel commanded you? And you shall depart to Mount Tabor, and shall take with yourself ten thousand men of the sons of Nephtali and of the sons of Zebulun.
(7) And I will bring to you to the torrent of Kison Sisera the captain of the host of Jabin, and his chariots, and his multitude, and I will deliver them into your hands.
(8) And Barak said to her, If you will go with me, I will go; and if you will not go, I will not go; for I know not the day on which the Lord prospers His messenger with me.
(9) And she said, I will surely go with you; but know that your honor shall not attend on the expedition on which you go, for the Lord shall sell Sisera into the hands of a woman. And Deborah arose, and went with Barak out of Kedesh.
The outcome, victory! Judges rule! Even lady judges! God chooses, people respond, God works things out! Women rule, IF GOD WANTS IT THAT WAY! Who knows, we may see a pink "white house" yet?

10/15/09

Don't you know? Skunks stink, or do they?

Doesn't Bambi know that skunks are dangerous and stinky? This little scene shows love because how many of us can attest to kissing a skunk, whether it be the four or the two legged variety. In a way Bambi reminds me of God and after you read this passage from the Book of Romans, I think you will agree with me.

Romans 5:1-10 Complete Apostles' Bible
(1) Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ,
(2) through whom also we have had access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.
(3) And not only that, but we also rejoice in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces endurance;
(4) and endurance, character; and character, hope.
(5) And hope does not put to shame, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us.
(6) For when we were weak, in due time Christ died for the ungodly.
(7) For scarcely on behalf of a righteous man will anyone die; yet on behalf of the good, perhaps someone might even dare to die.
(8) But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
(9) Much more then, having been justified now by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him.
(10) For if when we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life.
Every day as I sit down at my computer to do the blog, I glance at a little cartoon from the "far side" that is taped to my desk. It shows a scene where there is a party of skunks and one of them is telling another off: "Oh yeah? And you don't stink! You never did and you never will, you mama's little rose". OK, having said this I know I am going to take a little heat from those who see me regularly, but reality is what it is; skunks stink! When I look at the picture above, I see the love of God there and I am happy because even though I am not worth it, God has condescended to love me and more than that to make the "smell" of the sin nonexistent. We all need to recognize the hopeless of humanity without the Christ and the blessing with HIM. Breathe deeply, God will take away all the bad odor and make those who are his smell like the finest perfume ever made. My Mama's little rose cartoon will take on a whole new heavenly meaning from now on! And no, I do NOT have a white streak down my back!!

10/13/09

You pay for what you do

This cartoon is cute, but it does say something important; sin has consequences! If you do something wrong, the injured party is very likely to come back at you and there will be consequences. One of the reasons I love the Bible so much is that it tells the truth in a very straightforward manner. David was the King of Israel; he led the nation, but he was a man and that man had a weakness....sex! He saw the wife of Uriah the Hittite bathing and had sex with her. When she conceived he had her husband killed in battle. Sounds like the stuff of a soap opera doesn't it? Yet, even though he had all the power in the nation, God had far more! The Lord sent Nathan the prophet to David and his sin was exposed. The punishment?

2 Samuel 12:10-14 Complete Apostles' Bible
(10) Now therefore the sword shall never depart from your house, because you have despised Me, and you have taken the wife of Uriah the Hittite, to be your wife.
(11) Thus says the Lord: Behold, I will raise up evil against you out of your own house, and I will take your wives from before your eyes, and will give them to your neighbor, and he shall lie with your wives in broad daylight.
(12) For you did it in secret, but I will do this thing in the sight of all Israel, and in broad daylight.
(13) And David said to Nathan, I have sinned against the Lord. And Nathan said to David, The Lord has put away your sin; you shall not die.
(14) Only because you have given great occasion of provocation to the enemies of the Lord by this thing, your son also that is born to you shall surely die.
Trouble had arrived in the house of David; warfare, public sexual sin and death were the result. God spared David's life, but I can only marvel at the pain he must have endured when these pronouncements actually occurred. David sinned in private; God punished in public, what irony! The bottom line is that you pay for what you do, because God not only sees what you do, but WHY you do it! Be careful; avoid sin at all costs!

Breathing room

Very nice picture of a family. The children look close together in age, so I imagine there is the usual wrangling over possessions, money and possessions, etc.. Truthfully, every family is a little different and each one has its own strengths and weakness. I have always enjoyed the story of Esau and Jacob (listed according to age) because it gives insight to what can really happen in family dynamics.

Genesis 25:28-34 Complete Apostles' Bible
(28) And Isaac loved Esau, because his venison was his food, but Rebecca loved Jacob.
(29) And Jacob cooked a stew, and Esau came from the plain, and he was weary.
(30) And Esau said to Jacob, Let me taste of that red stew, because I am fainting; therefore his name was called Edom.
(31) And Jacob said to Esau, Sell me this day your birthright.
(32) And Esau said, Behold, I am going to die, and for what good does this birthright belong to me?
(33) And Jacob said to him, Swear to me this day; and he swore to him; and Esau sold his birthright to Jacob.
(34) And Jacob gave bread to Esau, and a stew of lentiles; and he ate and drank, and he arose and departed; thus Esau despised his birthright.

Genesis 27:1-41 Complete Apostles' Bible
(1) And it came to pass after Isaac was old, that his eyes were dimmed so that he could not see; and he called Esau, his older son, and said to him, My son; and he said, Behold, I am here.
(2) And he said, Behold, I have grown old, and know not the day of my death.
(3) Now then take the weapons, both your quiver and your bow, and go into the plain, and get me some venison,
(4) and prepare some meats for me, as I like them, and bring them to me that I may eat, that my soul may bless you before I die.
(5) And Rebecca heard Isaac speaking to Esau his son; and Esau went to the plain to procure venison for his father.
(6) And Rebecca said to Jacob her younger son, Behold, I heard your father speaking to Esau your brother, saying,
(7) Bring me some venison, and prepare some meats for me, that I may eat and bless you before the Lord, before I die.
(8) Now then, my son, listen to me, as I command you.
(9) Go now to the cattle and bring me from there two choice kids, tender and good, and I will prepare the meats for your father, as he likes.
(10) And you shall bring them in to your father, and he shall eat, that your father may bless you before he dies.
(11) And Jacob said to his mother Rebecca, Esau my brother is a hairy man, and I am a smooth-skinned man.
(12) Perhaps my father may feel me, and I shall be before him as one ill-intentioned, and I shall bring upon me a curse, and not a blessing.
(13) And his mother said to him, On me be your curse, my son; only listen to my voice, and go and bring them for me.
(14) So he went and took and brought them to his mother; and his mother prepared the meats, as his father liked them.
(15) And Rebecca, having taken the fine clothing of her elder son Esau which was with her in the house, put it on Jacob her younger son.
(16) And she put on his arms the skins of the kids of the goats, and on the bare parts of his neck.
(17) And she gave the meats, and the loaves which she had prepared, into the hands of Jacob her son.
(18) And he brought them to his father, and said, Father; and he said, Behold I am here; who are you, son?
(19) And Jacob said to his father, I, Esau your firstborn, have done as you told me: come, sit and eat of my venison, that your soul may bless me.
(20) And Isaac said to his son, What is this which you have quickly found? And he said, That which the Lord your God presented before me.
(21) And Isaac said to Jacob, Come close to me, and I will feel you, son, if you are my son Esau or not.
(22) And Jacob came close to his father Isaac, and he felt him, and said, The voice is Jacob's voice, but the hands are the hands of Esau.
(23) And he knew him not, for his hands were as the hands of his brother Esau, hairy; and he blessed him,
(24) and he said, Are you my son Esau? And he said, I am.
(25) And he said, Bring it near to me, and I will eat of your venison, my son, that my soul may bless you. And he brought it near to him, and he ate, and he brought him wine, and he drank.
(26) And Isaac his father said to him, Come close to me, and kiss me, my son.
(27) And he came close and kissed him, and smelled the smell of his garments, and blessed him, and said, Behold, the smell of my son is as the smell of an abundant field, which the Lord has blessed.
(28) And may God give you of the dew of heaven, and of the fatness of the earth, and abundance of grain and wine.
(29) And let nations serve you, and princes bow down to you, and be master over your brother, and the sons of your father shall reverence you; accursed is he that curses you, and blessed is he that blesses you.
(30) And it came to pass after Isaac had ceased blessing his son Jacob, just when Jacob had gone out from the presence of Isaac his father, that Esau his brother came in from his hunting.
(31) And he also had prepared meats and brought them to his father; and he said to his father, Let my father arise and eat of his son's venison, that your soul may bless me.
(32) And Isaac his father said to him, Who are you? And he said, I am Esau, your firstborn son.
(33) And Isaac was amazed with very great amazement, and said, Who then is it that has procured venison for me and brought it to me? And I have eaten all of it before you came, and I have blessed him, and he shall be blessed.
(34) And it came to pass when Esau heard the words of his father Isaac, he cried out with a great and very bitter cry, and said, Bless me -- me also, father!
(35) And he said to him, Your brother has come with subtlety, and has taken your blessing.
(36) And he said, Rightly was his name called Jacob, for behold, this second time has he supplanted me; he has both taken my birthright, and now he has taken my blessing! And Esau said to his father, Have you not a blessing left for me, father?
(37) And Isaac answered and said to Esau, If I have made him your master, and have made all his brethren his servants, and have strengthened him with grain and wine, what then shall I do for you, son?
(38) And Esau said to his father, Have you only one blessing, father? Bless me -- me also, O my father! And Isaac being troubled, Esau cried aloud and wept.
(39) And Isaac his father answered and said to him, Behold, your dwelling shall be of the fatness of the earth, and of the dew of heaven from above.
(40) And you shall live by your sword, and shall serve your brother; and there shall be a time when you shall break and loosen his yoke from off your neck.
(41) And Esau was angry with Jacob because of the blessing, with which his father blessed him; and Esau said in his mind, Let the days of my father's mourning draw near, that I may kill my brother Jacob.
I know its a long series of verses, but what happened? The older son was loved by the father for his lifestyle and the younger by the mother. Instead of treating them equally, there was favoritism; this led to a world of trouble. Jacob tricked his brother out of his birthright as the oldest (Gen. 25) and then with the encouragement of his mother tricked his father into giving him the preferential fatherly blessing (Gen. 27). The unfortunate reality is that this sort of manipulation happens all too often and causes bad feelings for many years. So it was then and now. I bet there are a few of you out there who would disagree with the last two sentences, so I would ask you to once again focus your attention on the picture above. Notice that the mother is sitting on someone (probably the oldest child) and that says a great deal. All children are different and my guess is this one was the underdog in the family (whether actually deserved or not) and therefore put down at every opportunity. Give the kid a break and a little breathing room; it may just solve a lot of problems. As far as Issac and Rebecca go, they just needed to work out their difference without involving the kids; end of story!

Big Brother

Remind you of anything? How about the book by George Orwell (1984) or perhaps the movie? Nobody likes the thought of government watching your every move. Why, because that just gives someone, somewhere, a little too much power! But what about God, doesn't he watch over us? I have always loved this passage from the Psalms and I hope you do as well.


Psalms 139:1-12 Complete Apostles' Bible
(1) For the end, A Psalm of David. O Lord, You have proved me, and known me.
(2) You know my sitting down and my rising up; You understand my thoughts long before.
(3) You have traced my path and my bed, and have foreseen all my ways.
(4) For there is no unrighteous word on my tongue: behold, O Lord, You have known all things,
(5) the last and the first: You have fashioned me, and laid Your hand upon me.
(6) The knowledge of You is too wonderful for me; it is very difficult, I cannot attain to it.
(7) Where shall I go from Your Spirit? And to where shall I flee from Your presence?
(8) If I should go up to heaven, You are there: if I should go down to hell, You are present.
(9) If I should spread my wings to fly straight forward, and sojourn at the extremity of the sea, it would be vain,
(10) for even there Your hand would guide me, and Your right hand would hold me.
(11) When I said, Surely the darkness will cover me; even the night was light in my luxury.
(12) For darkness will not be darkness with You; but night will be light as day. As its darkness, so shall its light be to You.


There is a big difference between an anonymous "big brother" and God. First, when "Big Brother" is watching you, you have to ask yourself WHY? Does the government want to do something to me because it has an agenda? Will I be treated fairly? If I had the time, I could probably come up with an endless list of questions, because the unknown does tend to make one paranoid. But, what about God, doesn't he watch us all the time and how is HE any different than "Big Brother"? The answer is that God is different from "Big Brother" in that God made you and cares for you and has told you all about HIMSELF in the Bible. Need more proof, well, think for a moment about three crosses on a hill in Jerusalem and then the difference is obvious. God's message to us is not found in electronic messages on a board, but in the sacrifice of our true "Big Brother" Jesus and that good news was written in his own blood.

10/11/09

A double strike

We have all heard stories of people being struck by lightning and even being struck more than once; but what if you were struck by two at the same time? Would you survive? Probably not! If I was anywhere near this I would run for cover, you can be sure of that. Sometimes things just come in two's, like twins for instance. When this two things occur at once its like a double testimony about something. There is a passage in Luke's gospel that has something similar in it; read on to find out more....
Luke 2:1-10 Complete Apostles' Bible
(1) And it came to pass in those days that a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that a census be taken of all the empire.
(2) This census was the first one while Quirinius was governing Syria.
(3) And all were traveling to be registered, each to his own city.
(4) Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and family of David,
(5) to be registered with Mary, his betrothed wife, who was pregnant.
(6) So it was, that while they were there, the days were completed for her to bear.
(7) And she bore her firstborn Son, and wrapped Him in swaddling cloths, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn.
(8) And shepherds were in the same country, living in the fields and keeping watch over their flock by night.
(9) And behold, an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were greatly afraid.
(10) Then the angel said to them, "Fear not, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people.
Luk 2:9 και ιδου αγγελος κυριου επεστη αυτοις και δοξα κυριου περιελαμψεν αυτους και εφοβηθησαν φοβον μεγαν
God did something wonderful in Jesus, from the very moment of his conception until his life after life. And something this good needed an announcement, and who better to do this than an angel! The simple shepherds in verse 9 were frightened by the light and the message of the angel. Literally, they feared a great fear (see the emboldened words in Greek). A double fear, a double statement of their terror! I like this because it emphasizes the awesomeness of the message and do not be deceived, there was a greater power in that little baby than in a legion of angels. Their profound fear was overwhelming to them, but really brings out the importance of the message, because where would we be without Jesus? Now that is something to really be afraid of!!!

10/10/09

What it is...

At first glance this picture was breathtaking. Then, I noticed what looks like a broken door at the bottom. What junk, I thought, I will just edit it out and use the beautiful picture, but then I realized... it is what it is.... so deal with it. How many times are we tempted to circumvent problems and just alter the facts to make a point? God doesn't make junk; man does. Tell it like it is and deal with the situation. And then this verse came to mind....
Esther 8:13 Complete Apostles' Bible
(13) And the following is the copy of the letter of the orders: The great King Artaxerxes sends greeting to the rulers of the provinces in a hundred and twenty-seven satraps, from India to Ethiopia, even to those who are faithful to our interests. Many who have been frequently honored by the most abundant kindness of their benefactors have conceived ambitious designs, and not only endeavor to hurt our subjects, but moreover, not being able to bear prosperity, they also endeavor to plot against their own benefactors. And they not only would utterly abolish gratitude from among men, but also, elated by the boastings of men who are strangers to all that is good, they suppose that they shall escape the sin-hating vengeance of the ever-seeing God. And oftentimes evil exhortation has made partakers of the guilt of shedding innocent blood, and has involved in irremediable calamities, many of those who were appointed to offices of authority, who had been entrusted with the management of their friends' affairs. While men, by the false sophistry of an evil disposition, have deceived the simple candor of the ruling powers. And it is possible to see this, not so much from more ancient traditionary accounts, as it is immediately in your power to see it by examining what things have been wickedly perpetrated by the baseness of men holding power in an unworthy manner. And it is right to take heed with regard to the future, that we may maintain the government in undisturbed peace for all men, adopting needful changes, and ever judging those cases which come under our notice, with truly equitable decision. For whereas Haman, a Macedonian, the son of Hammedatha, in reality an alien from the blood of the Persians, and differing widely from our mild course of government, having been hospitably entertained by us, obtained so large a share of our universal kindness, as to be called our father, and to continue the person next to the royal throne, reverenced by all. He, however, overcome by the pride of his station, endeavored to deprive us of our dominion, and our life; having by various and subtle artifices demanded for destruction both Mordecai, our deliverer and perpetual benefactor, and Esther, the blameless consort of our kingdom, with their whole nation. For by these methods, the thought, having surprised us in a defenseless rate, to transfer the dominion of the Persians to the Macedonians. But we find that the Jews, who have been consigned to destruction by the most abominable of men, are not malefactors, but living according to the most just laws, and being the sons of the living God, the Most High and Mighty, who maintains the kingdom, to us as well as to our forefathers, in the most excellent order. You will therefore do well in refusing to obey the letters sent by Haman the son of Hammedatha, because he that has done these things has been hanged with his whole family at the gates of Susa, Almighty God having swiftly returned to him a worthy recompense. We beseech you, therefore, having openly published a copy of this letter in every place, to give the Jews permission to use their own lawful customs, and to strengthen them, that on the thirteenth day of the twelfth month of Adar, on that same day, they may defend themselves against those who attacked them in a time of affliction. For in the place of the destruction of the chosen race, Almighty God has granted them this time of gladness. Therefore you also among your notable feasts, keep a distinct day with all festivity, that both now and hereafter it may be a day of deliverance to us and those who are well disposed toward the Persians, but to those that plotted against us a memorial of destruction. And every city and province collectively, which shall not do accordingly, shall be consumed with vengeance by spear and fire. It shall be made not only inaccessible to men, but also most hateful to wild beasts and birds forever. And let the copies be posted in conspicuous places throughout the kingdom, and let all the Jews be ready against this day, to fight against their enemies.
This has got to be one of the longest verses in the Bible, but it sets things straight and that is why I like it! Some times you just have to admit to a problem and just deal with it. OK, cleanup the lake and make it beautiful again; just do it! That's what the great King Artaxerxes did with his kingdom; he cleaned it of evil and saved God's chosen people. And then everything was beautiful once more. End of story!!

10/9/09

The date on a calendar

OK, I recognize the Brooklyn bridge, but what is that behind it? Some one's impression of the future, I think? But what will the future really be like and will cities really look like this? If you are looking for answers from me, you won't get any. Does the future really matter or is there even likely to be one, given the fact that there are so many countries with nuclear weapons? Frankly, given all the hate out there, it would seem unlikely that 200 years from now there will even be cities, let alone futuristic edifices like in the picture. What does the Bible say about the future, well, lets just glance at one vision, given in the far away past.
Daniel 12:1-13 Complete Apostles' Bible
(1) And at that time Michael the great prince shall stand up, that stands over the children of your people, and there shall be a time of tribulation, such tribulation as has not been from the time that there was a nation on the earth until that time. At that time your people shall be delivered, everyone that is written in the book.
(2) And many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to reproach and everlasting shame.
(3) And the wise shall shine as the brightness of the firmament, and some of the many righteous as the stars forever and ever.
(4) And you, Daniel, close the words, and seal the book to the time of the end; until many are taught, and knowledge is increased.
(5) And I Daniel, saw, and behold, two others stood, on one side of the bank of the river, and the other on the other side of the bank of the river.
(6) And one said to the man clothed in linen, who was over the water of the river, When will be the end of the wonders which you have mentioned?
(7) And I heard the man clothed in linen, who was over the water of the river, and he lifted up his right hand and his left hand to heaven, and swore by Him that lives forever, that it should be for a time, times and half a time. When the dispersion is ended, they shall know all these things.
(8) And I heard, but I understood not. And I said, O Lord, what will be the end of these things?
(9) And he said, Go, Daniel; for the words are closed and sealed up to the time of the end.
(10) Many must be tested, and thoroughly whitened, and tried with fire, and sanctified; but the transgressors shall transgress: and none of the transgressors shall understand, but the wise shall understand.
(11) And from the time of the removal of the perpetual sacrifice, when the abomination of desolation shall be set up, there shall be a thousand two hundred and ninety days.
(12) Blessed is he that waits, and comes to the thousand three hundred and thirty-five days.
(13) But you, go your way, and rest; for there are yet days and seasons to the fulfillment of the end; and you shall stand in your inheritance at the end of the days.


How many people have argued over this and other "end time" passages? Countless, to be sure. Preachers have scared untold millions with predictions of what will happen and when. But, I keep remembering that Jesus said something like "an evil and adulterous generation" will look for signs. What about this passage, is it fulfilled? In my thinking, it is. Yet, I also think we are in the final generation before the return of Christ. Whether I am right or wrong really doesn't matter because God will work everything out in HIS own good time. What is important is my relationship with the creator on a daily basis and where my heart is! But are we in the "end of days"? The answer is an unequivocal, YES! How can I say that, well, we only have so many days on this Earth and then our end (and a new beginning) will come. Live each day like it is the future and rejoice in what the God of heaven has done and will do; the rest is just the date on a calendar.


"New"

Behold; a new cloud was identified in 2009. Called the "Asperatus", it is associated with storm systems. Is this new? Maybe and maybe not. I have to ask the question: New back to what date? In other words, when did records begin to be kept; 100 years or more, or perhaps 200? So, in light of this, designating this as "new" borders on the arrogant. In the physical realm, is there anything new? I like what Solomon has to say on the subject.


Ecclesiastes 1:1-10 Complete Apostles' Bible
(1) The words of the Preacher, the son of David, king of Israel in Jerusalem.
(2) Vanity of vanities, said the Preacher, vanity of vanities; all is vanity.
(3) What advantage is there to a man in all his labor that he takes under the sun?
(4) A generation goes, and a generation comes; but the earth abides forever.
(5) And the sun arises, and the sun goes down and draws toward its place;
(6) arising there it proceeds southward, and goes round toward the north. The wind goes round and round, and the wind returns to its circuits.
(7) All the rivers run into the sea; and yet the sea is not filled. To the place from which the rivers come, there they return again.
(8) All things are full of labor; a man will not be able to speak of them. Neither shall the eye be satisfied with seeing, neither shall the ear be filled with hearing.
(9) What is that which has been? The very thing which shall be. And what is that which has been done? The very thing which shall be done; and there is nothing new under the sun.
(10) Who is he that shall speak and say, Behold, this is new? It has already been in the ages that have passed before us.

Exactly, what does he mean? In this world there is nothing new, period. All of cosmology and meteorology and human existence has not changed. True, we have better ways of doing things, but we still interact with one another, we still work (often, way too hard), eat, sleep, procreate and die. Man's generic existence has not changed one bit; we are still mortal and God immortal. Having said all that.... this cloud is new to me and perhaps that is what should have been said in the first place. And, oh yes, I think this is ONE BEAUTIFUL CLOUD FORMATION. The God of heaven does do nice work, doesn't HE? I wonder what "new to me" thing I will see tomorrow?

10/8/09

Just one minute in the garden!

This is one very beautiful garden. I love every thing about it except for the little fence on either side of the walkway. Imagine the fragrances you might enjoy and the sheer visual delight! Communing with nature at its very best is at its worst an exciting prospect. I wonder who designed this garden because I would like to express my thanks! This feast for the senses reminds me of another garden and this one was designed by the greatest horticultural designer of them all.

Genesis 2:7-9 Complete Apostles' Bible
(7) And God formed the man of the dust of the earth, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and man became a living soul.
(8) And God planted a garden eastward in Eden, and placed there the man whom He had formed.
(9) And God made to spring up also out of the earth every tree beautiful to the eye and good for food, and the tree of life in the midst of the garden, and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.
God made us and a place for us. Sounds simple doesn't it? Just consider for a moment, the magnificence of the design of the human body and then we can get a glimpse of the ability of the greatest designer of them all. From these verses of Genesis, the garden sounds wonderful and undoubtedly puts the picture to shame, but since I have only this picture and my knowledge of the creator of the universe to go by... WOW, it must have been fantastic!!! Then humans wrecked the idyllic creation and so we come to this; this man-made creation. Beautiful, but flawed (probably, someway, somehow). Oh, what I would give for just one minute in the garden of Eden, but that is unrealistic because I just don't look very good dressed in fig leaves anymore!

10/7/09

Value in life and beyond

Recently, I found myself saying and doing things Sy (pictured above) did. When I think about it, I realize how much his life had affected mine. The long and insightful conversations we had and the many things he taught me have changed me. He has been gone now about two years and I find that I think of him often. He wasn't the only person in my life, however. Grandparents, cousins, aunts and uncles and many, many acquaintances have contributed to what I am today. I guess all this came to a head when I heard of someone who had lost a baby just short of her due date. Why would God allow such a thing? What value did that prenatal life have? I turned to the Scriptures for answers and centered in on these passages.



Genesis 3:1-4 Complete Apostles' Bible
(1) (3:2) Now the serpent was the most crafty of all the brutes on the earth, which the Lord God made. And the serpent said to the woman, Has God truly said, Eat not of every tree of the garden?
(2) (3:3) And the woman said to the serpent, We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden,
(3) (3:4) but of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God said, You shall not eat of it, neither shall you touch it, lest you die.
(4) (3:5) And the serpent said to the woman, You shall not surely die!


Genesis 5:5-31 Complete Apostles' Bible
(5) And all the days of Adam which he lived were nine hundred and thirty years, and he died.
(6) Now Seth lived two hundred and five years, and begot Enosh.
(7) And Seth lived seven hundred and seven years after his begetting of Enosh, and he begot sons and daughters.
(8) And all the days of Seth were nine hundred and twelve years, and he died.
(9) And Enosh lived one hundred and ninety years, and begot Cainan.
(10) And Enosh lived seven hundred and fifteen years after his begetting of Cainan, and he begot sons and daughters.
(11) And all the days of Enosh were nine hundred and five years, and he died.
(12) And Cainan lived one hundred and seventy years, and he begot Mahalalel.
(13) And Cainan lived seven hundred and forty years after his begetting of Mahalalel, and he begot sons and daughters.
(14) And all the days of Cainan were nine hundred and ten years, and he died.
(15) And Mahalalel lived one hundred and sixty five years, and he begot Jared.
(16) And Mahalalel lived seven hundred and thirty years after his begetting of Jared, and he begot sons and daughters.
(17) And all the days of Mahalalel were eight hundred and ninety-five years, and he died.
(18) And Jared lived one hundred and sixty-two years, and begot Enoch:
(19) and Jared lived eight hundred years after his begetting of Enoch, and he begot sons and daughters.
(20) And all the days of Jared were nine hundred and sixty-two years, and he died.
(21) And Enoch lived one hundred and sixty-five years, and begat Methuselah.
(22) And Enoch was well-pleasing to God. After his begetting of Methuselah, He walked with God two hundred years, and he begot sons and daughters.
(23) And all the days of Enoch were three hundred and sixty-five years.
(24) And Enoch was well-pleasing to God, and was not found, because God translated him.
(25) And Methuselah lived one hundred and sixty-seven years, and begot Lamech.
(26) And Methuselah lived eight hundred and two years after his begetting of Lamech, and begot sons and daughters.
(27) And all the days of Methuselah, which he lived, were nine hundred and sixty-nine years, and he died.
(28) And Lamech lived one hundred and eighty-eight years, and begot a son.
(29) And he called his name Noah, saying, This one will cause us to cease from our works, and from the toils of our hands, and from the earth, which the Lord God has cursed.
(30) And Lamech lived five hundred and sixty-five years after his begetting of Noah, and begot sons and daughters.
(31) And all the days of Lamech were seven hundred and fifty-three years, and he died.


Satan is a liar! No surprise here! But this short list demonstrates one thing; human beings die. Whether they be good or bad, they die. Every life that is lived (no matter how short) testifies that Satan lies. Untold deaths have occurred since the first human was created and its up to us as human beings to think about our lives and ask ourselves whether we are attempting to live life as God wants us to or as Satan does. There was an old TV show called "Truth or consequences" and I think the title sums up the choice. Sy taught me what true friendship was like and the little baby that never saw the light of day showed me how much someone who we have never even met can be loved. The lesson learned from all those we have known show the value in life and beyond. I know, because I have thought a lot about that unborn child and my friend Sy lately and so their lives live on in my memory and that memory makes me smile. And even one smile is a valuable thing indeed!

10/5/09

Rethinking language

How did you do on this little test? I was able to do it after a little bit of trying, just as long as I went S-L-O-W-L-Y!!! I have to confess I did make a couple of mistakes though, but eventually I went through the list without mistakes. I guess we are hard-wired to do things a certain way and only with difficulty can we change. As time goes on we become more and more settled in our ways, which explains why youngsters have no problem learning a new language, but older people do. Which brings up the question: Why do we have different languages in the first place? Read on to see the answer from the Bible.

Genesis 11:1-9 Complete Apostles' Bible
(1) And all the earth had one language, and one speech.
(2) And it came to pass as they moved from the east, that they found a plain in the land of Shinar, and they dwelt there.
(3) And a man said to his neighbor, Come, let us make bricks and bake them with fire. And the brick was to them for stone, and their mortar was asphalt.
(4) And they said, Come, let us build to ourselves a city and tower, whose top shall be to heaven, and let us make to ourselves a name, before we are scattered abroad upon the face of all the earth.
(5) And the Lord came down to see the city and the tower, which the sons of men had built.
(6) And the Lord said, Behold, there is one race, and one language of all, and they have begun to do this, and now nothing shall fail from them of all that they have undertaken to do.
(7) Come, let Us go down and confound their language, that they may not understand each the voice of his neighbor.
(8) And the Lord scattered them from there over the face of all the earth, and they left off building the city and the tower.
(9) On this account its name was called Babel, because there the Lord confounded the languages of all the earth, and then the Lord scattered them upon the face of all the earth.
Arrogance and pride are the culprits and God the corrective force. Recently, I had heard that scientists claim to have traced our current languages back to one original. Nice of them to tell me, because I have known that since the first time I read through the book of Genesis. I think its interesting that there seems to be a trend towards a one government world and that a "new" international language called Esperanto has been introduced.
Hey, but that's just me being a little paranoid. It would be interesting to see if God would confuse a one language Earth a second time. I guess we will just have to wait for Jesus to return to find out!

Contentment

This little kitten is a picture of contentment! Happiness is written all over its face; but, I wonder what it is thinking about? Since I don't speak "kitten" I will have to guess. My best guess is that it is enjoying the "now" and reveling in its comfort. But, what do we revel in? This passage from the book of 1 Timothy is a springboard for thought.


1 Timothy 6:6-12 Complete Apostles' Bible
(6) But godliness with contentment is great gain.
(7) For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain that neither can we carry anything out!
(8) But having food and clothing, with these things we shall be content.
(9) But those desiring to be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and many senseless and harmful lusts which sink men in destruction and perdition.
(10) For the love of money is a root of all evils, of which some by aspiring have strayed away from the faith in their greediness, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.
(11) You however, O man of God, flee these things. But pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance, gentleness.
(12) Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold of eternal life, to which you were called and have confessed the good confession before many witnesses.


The acquisition and hording of money can be a bottomless pit, an obsession which is overpowering and can be the ruin of a life. Paul talks about Godliness and the pursuit of Spiritual things as the correct goal. I think he is right! The things of this world belong to this world and because we are only here for a short time, their relative value is small compared to spiritual blessing which endure forever. Think I am wrong? Look at the kitten once again; this little fellow doesn't own anything, but is just enjoying life. Maybe we should as well; and prepare for the life after life as well. Contentment forever; what a thought!

10/4/09

The world will be perfect someday!

This picture was chosen not because of the sunset; although it is beautiful. But because of the beautiful tree in the center of this idylic setting. At first I thought of the garden of Eden and then I focused in on the last book of the Bible and came to this passage.



Revelation 22:1-5 Complete Apostles' Bible
(1) And he showed me a pure river of water of life, bright as crystal, proceeding from the throne of God and of the Lamb.
(2) In the middle of its street, and on both sides of the river was the tree of life, producing twelve fruits, each yielding its fruit every month. And the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations.
(3) And there shall be no more curse, but the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it, and His servants will minister to Him.
(4) And they shall see His face, and His name shall be on their foreheads.
(5) And night shall not exist. and there shall not be a need of a lamp and of light, because the Lord God shall illuminate them. And they shall reign forever and ever.



This second "Eden" is the completion of all things. What was wrong has been made right, completely! God has fully restored fellowship with man and the world is right again. True, it has taken a long time and the cost was God's own son, but it has been paid in full; its done and over. And this picture reminded me of heaven's beauty and the good things to come. I was a little down today and this picture helped a lot; God always does that, HE makes a path to joy when there seems to be none. So, when I saw this picture, I felt I was there and when I read this passage from Revelation, I felt the same. Today IS a wonderful day and the world will be perfect someday!