A fish story

Now that is one really big fish! I wonder if he prayed he would catch it? In the Godfather II, the oldest brother (Pauley) tells how he always was able to catch a fish because he prayed first. I guess this means that God prepared a fish just for him... Not all that surprising because it has happened before...

Jonah 1:17 WEB (R)
(17) Yahweh prepared a great fish to swallow up Jonah, and Jonah was in the belly of the fish three days and three nights.

Jonah 2:1-10 WEB (R)
(1) Then Jonah prayed to Yahweh, his God, out of the fish's belly.
(2) He said, "I called because of my affliction to Yahweh. He answered me. Out of the belly of Sheol I cried. You heard my voice.
(3) For you threw me into the depths, in the heart of the seas. The flood was all around me. All your waves and your billows passed over me.
(4) I said, 'I have been banished from your sight; yet I will look again toward your holy temple.'
(5) The waters surrounded me, even to the soul. The deep was around me. The weeds were wrapped around my head.
(6) I went down to the bottoms of the mountains. The earth barred me in forever: yet have you brought up my life from the pit, Yahweh my God.
(7) "When my soul fainted within me, I remembered Yahweh. My prayer came in to you, into your holy temple.
(8) Those who regard lying vanities forsake their own mercy.
(9) But I will sacrifice to you with the voice of thanksgiving. I will pay that which I have vowed. Salvation belongs to Yahweh."
(10) Yahweh spoke to the fish, and it vomited out Jonah on the dry land.

The question is: What do you do with the fish once you get it? The picture certainly doesn't tell us and The Godfather didn't tell us, but this passage from Jonah does. Jonah reflected on his situation while in the fish and turned to God. God listened! In a way, God prepared a fish to prepare Jonah for something better - obedience. The result was that the city of Nineveh was spared destruction and Jonah was given an opportunity to learn even more about God and his mercy. The book of Jonah ends with the stubbornness of the prophet, so I can't say if he ever did learn his lesson, but I wonder if God would use an even bigger fish for round two?

Just look!

This is a picture of Melbourne, Australia at night. I love the reflections of the city lights on the water; simply beautiful. However, that is NOT why I chose this picture; rather, it was the sky. Look at the clouds, nothing unusual, right? Right, but normally I don't even notice clouds at night because somehow it seems strange to focus on them. Sometimes, even ordinary things take on a new significance when cast in a different light, such as this passage from the book of Acts.

Acts 19:11-12 WEB (R)
(11) God worked special miracles by the hands of Paul,
(12) so that even handkerchiefs or aprons were carried away from his body to the sick, and the evil spirits went out.

God used handkerchiefs to demonstrate HIS POWER, so, suddenly the mundane becomes the focus of attention. Look around, and if you are a spiritual sort of person, you will see God throughout your day and maybe even at night... just look! Miracles are optional!


Careful is as careful does

When I saw these pictures, I was reminded of my former brother-in-law, who didn't use caution when he was lighting his grill and poured gasoline on it, "to get it going". He was burnt quite badly, but survived to learn a valuable lesson. It could have gone the other way, though; he could have died. If I could speak to this woman, I would tell her to be more careful, because you never know, a mistake like hers could cost her the only thing of real value... her existence. James puts it another way...

James 4:13-15 WEB (R)
(13) Come now, you who say, "Today or tomorrow let's go into this city, and spend a year there, trade, and make a profit."
(14) Whereas you don't know what your life will be like tomorrow. For what is your life? For you are a vapor, that appears for a little time, and then vanishes away.
(15) For you ought to say, "If the Lord wills, we will both live, and do this or that."

These pictures do something very valuable; they provide incentive to quit smoking and to appreciate this short life. When we really do this, the smart thing to do next is to seek guidance from God, and OH, yes, put out that cigarette!!!


When lonely is GOOD!

This lonely road reminded me of something important; that just because the road you may take in life is different from those about you, it doesn't mean that you are wrong for taking it. Being receptive to what God has in store for your life may seem a hard way to go, but ultimately the path is easier with God than without him. Listen to the words of Jesus from the Gospel of Luke.

Luke 8:5-15 WEB (R)
(5) "The farmer went out to sow his seed. As he sowed, some fell along the road, and it was trampled under foot, and the birds of the sky devoured it.
(6) Other seed fell on the rock, and as soon as it grew, it withered away, because it had no moisture.
(7) Other fell amid the thorns, and the thorns grew with it, and choked it.
(8) Other fell into the good ground, and grew, and brought forth fruit one hundred times." As he said these things, he called out, "He who has ears to hear, let him hear!"
(9) Then his disciples asked him, "What does this parable mean?"
(10) He said, "To you it is given to know the mysteries of the Kingdom of God, but to the rest in parables; that 'seeing they may not see, and hearing they may not understand.'
(11) Now the parable is this: The seed is the word of God.
(12) Those along the road are those who hear, then the devil comes, and takes away the word from their heart, that they may not believe and be saved.
(13) Those on the rock are they who, when they hear, receive the word with joy; but these have no root, who believe for a while, then fall away in time of temptation.
(14) That which fell among the thorns, these are those who have heard, and as they go on their way they are choked with cares, riches, and pleasures of life, and bring no fruit to maturity.
(15) That in the good ground, these are such as in an honest and good heart, having heard the word, hold it tightly, and bring forth fruit with patience.

There are all kinds of people out there; all sorts of shapes, sizes and backgrounds. What makes the difference in people is not really how much money they have or how smart they are, but rather their heart-attitude towards God and his word. I have always thought that it is not my job to force people to listen, but give them the opportunity to listen. What they do with it will largely depend upon their attitude towards God. When God shows you that something is wrong, don't do the wrong thing. Do what he has said, regardless of who else is doing something different. Cheer up, there is light at the end of the road; someday you will understand.


The unexpected duck

If it looks like a duck, walks like a duck and quacks like a duck...it must be a duck, right? Maybe and maybe not. Personally, I thinks this photo was manipulated. But, if not, what a picture! You just never would expect to see a duck on the wing of an airplane. This picture reminded me of a passage in the New Testament that I have used before, but this time for a different reason.

Acts 12:5-16 WEB (R)
(5) Peter therefore was kept in the prison, but constant prayer was made by the assembly to God for him.
(6) The same night when Herod was about to bring him out, Peter was sleeping between two soldiers, bound with two chains. Guards in front of the door kept the prison.
(7) And behold, an angel of the Lord stood by him, and a light shone in the cell. He struck Peter on the side, and woke him up, saying, "Stand up quickly!" His chains fell off from his hands.
(8) The angel said to him, "Get dressed and put on your sandals." He did so. He said to him, "Put on your cloak, and follow me."
(9) And he went out and followed him. He didn't know that what was being done by the angel was real, but thought he saw a vision.
(10) When they were past the first and the second guard, they came to the iron gate that leads into the city, which opened to them by itself. They went out, and went down one street, and immediately the angel departed from him.
(11) When Peter had come to himself, he said, "Now I truly know that the Lord has sent out his angel and delivered me out of the hand of Herod, and from everything the Jewish people were expecting."
(12) Thinking about that, he came to the house of Mary, the mother of John whose surname was Mark, where many were gathered together and were praying.
(13) When Peter knocked at the door of the gate, a maid named Rhoda came to answer.
(14) When she recognized Peter's voice, she didn't open the gate for joy, but ran in, and reported that Peter was standing in front of the gate.
(15) They said to her, "You are crazy!" But she insisted that it was so. They said, "It is his angel."
(16) But Peter continued knocking. When they had opened, they saw him, and were amazed.

Rhoda and the unidentified "they" couldn't believe their eyes (and ears)! Why, I wonder? They had been praying "constantly" for him and yet they were surprised to actually see him? Most of the time, God answers prayer in rather ordinary ways, but sometimes, just sometimes, we see his workings in ways that border on the miraculous. When this happens, don't be surprised, the duck right in front of you may be real after all!!!


Your life is...

This tombstone will surely stand out in any graveyard! Besides the obvious facts that Sal was an electrician and is buried here, what else does this monument say about him? He took pride in his work, wasn't bashful, and had a sense of uniqueness about him for openers. Beyond that, who knows? God does, because EVERYTHING this man did in his lifetime will be known at the judgement. I like what Paul says to young Timothy on the topic.

1 Timothy 5:24-25 WEB (R)
(24) Some men's sins are evident, preceding them to judgment, and some also follow later.
(25) In the same way also there are good works that are obvious, and those that are otherwise can't be hidden.

Truthfully, we only know a little about those around us. People do the most unusual, surprising things and sometimes we just never know why. But, someday we will. All things will be made evident, but not by the light bulb in this picture, rather by the omniscience of God! Besides, this bulb doesn't look like its screwed all the way in, anyway!


Too many brains, not enough sense!

This complicated looking machine is part of The Large Hadron Collider that went on line November 20. It is located near Geneva, Switzerland and has a circumference of 17 miles. At a cost of $10 BILLION dollars it is one very expensive machine indeed. Why do this? To find out what happened at the beginning of the universe, that's why. Scientists are looking for an explanation of how mass formed in the universe and specifically are looking for the Higgs Boson particle, commonly referred to as the "God particle". When I looked all this up on Wikipeda, I was astounded by the brilliance of the work, much of which is way beyond my little mind. But, what bothers me the most is the cost of all this!!! if they wanted to find out how the universe was created, all they had to do was to open to the first page of the Bible.

Genesis 1:1 WEB (R)
(1) In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.

Too many brains, not enough sense! Just think of how many Bibles could be bought with one tenth of the CERN project! But, as usual, that would be far too simple a solution, instead waste BILLIONS to get the details. Now if the other 9 BILLION was spent on something really valuable... say FOOD, for instance, our world would be a whole lot better off!!!


A different kind of Joy

Laughter is a wonderful thing; it helps make the heart light and eases almost any difficult time. Being sick is especially hard on the body and a weight to the spirit. That this bed-ridden woman can laugh is a testament to her friend's humor. But there is another kind of happiness a joy that occurs when the God of all the heavens dwells in your heart. Consider this passage from the Psalms for a moment.

Psalms 51:10-12 WEB (R)
(10) Create in me a clean heart, O God. Renew a right spirit within me.
(11) Don't throw me from your presence, and don't take your holy Spirit from me.
(12) Restore to me the joy of your salvation. Uphold me with a willing spirit.

There is a haunting song sung by the group Accapella which has the first phrase of verse 10 as its title. Every time I listen to it somehow a warm glow comes over me and I feel closer to God. Happiness is the result, because at those moments I feel closest to God. OH, it isn't rip-roaring, belly shaking laughter, but something more substantial, something wonderful! The only thing I can think of is the joy referred to in verse 12. Take a moment and go to Accapella's website; you will be glad you did. (http://www.acappella.org/)



Yesterday I imported all the posts from my old blog site into this new one; I realized a bit too late that some of you would be overwhelmed with all of them.

I am sorry that happened!!!


Subway Mike

Sometimes after work I get a sub at the Subway in Zephyrhills. Today, I was so inclined and chatted with the overnight man, Mike. He shared with me that every thanksgiving he picks out one of his customers that has a need and buys them a full blown dinner. This year its for a family of five! He is several YEARS older than me and is still at work, so it can't be easy for him as I see he walks with a definite limp! Also, he is probably not in the $100,000/year tax bracket so his life can't be that easy. I asked if I could take his picture with my cell and post this blog and he reluctantly agreed. His attitude made me think of this passage from Corinthians; one that will take on a slightly new meaning to me from now on.

2 Corinthians 8:1-5 WEB (R)
(1) Moreover, brothers, we make known to you the grace of God which has been given in the assemblies of Macedonia;
(2) how that in much proof of affliction the abundance of their joy and their deep poverty abounded to the riches of their liberality.
(3) For according to their power, I testify, yes and beyond their power, they gave of their own accord,
(4) begging us with much entreaty to receive this grace and the fellowship in the service to the saints.
(5) This was not as we had hoped, but first they gave their own selves to the Lord, and to us through the will of God.

I don't know anything about Mike's religious background, but I did see the super-wide smile on his face as he talked about his gift. He said.... "I look forward to doing this because it gives me great joy and it seems that I always get more than I give". When I had my sub later on, it somehow tasted better than usual; I wonder why????


God will be there!

I watched an old movie tonight, the one "You've got mail" was based on. It was called "An affair to remember" and it was wonderful! Yet, after the movie I felt somewhat melancholy; The lovers in the movie finally found one another and yet one of them was still paralyzed at the movie's end. When I saw this picture, it made me feel the same way; a sort of bitter-sweet happiness that bordered on remorse. The dark shadows and the dying sun of the picture are sorrowful in a way, but the shooting stars spoke of hope in the future. And then I remembered this passage from Genesis and I thought of God. Take a moment and read it; you will be glad you did.

Genesis 8:15-22 WEB (R)
(15) God spoke to Noah, saying,
(16) "Go out of the ship, you, and your wife, and your sons, and your sons' wives with you.
(17) Bring forth with you every living thing that is with you of all flesh, including birds, livestock, and every creeping thing that creeps on the earth, that they may breed abundantly in the earth, and be fruitful, and multiply on the earth."
(18) Noah went forth, with his sons, his wife, and his sons' wives with him.
(19) Every animal, every creeping thing, and every bird, whatever moves on the earth, after their families, went out of the ship.
(20) Noah built an altar to Yahweh, and took of every clean animal, and of every clean bird, and offered burnt offerings on the altar.
(21) Yahweh smelled the pleasant aroma. Yahweh said in his heart, "I will not again curse the ground any more for man's sake, because the imagination of man's heart is evil from his youth; neither will I ever again strike everything living, as I have done.
(22) While the earth remains, seed time and harvest, and cold and heat, and summer and winter, and day and night shall not cease."

Somehow it must have been terrible for God to have had to do what HE did with the flood; I can only imagine the pain HE must have endured! Yet, out of it came the promise of continuance; the hope of tomorrow. As this picture is sad in a way, yet I know that it is also joyful, for tomorrow there will be another day! Why? Because God has said so and that is good enough for me! Yahweh smelled the aroma from Noah's burnt offering and blessed the world; will he not bless me when I seek him with all my heart. So, bring on the night, God will be there!!


Snag! Caught with the spoon right in his mouth! By the look in his eyes, you can tell he took something he shouldn't have. The next thought is: What will he do next? Own up to it and promise not to do it again or try to wriggle out of what is coming to him? We all do things wrong from time to time and the measure of a person is what we do about it! If you have read the book of 1 Corinthians you know that one of the "Christians" there had been sleeping with his father's wife; whew, talk about Peyton place (to name just one TV show). The following passage shows what the one who committed this act and the congregation did about it.

2 Corinthians 7:8-11 WEB (R)
(8) For though I made you sorry with my letter, I do not regret it, though I did regret it. For I see that my letter made you sorry, though just for a while.
(9) I now rejoice, not that you were made sorry, but that you were made sorry to repentance. For you were made sorry in a godly way, that you might suffer loss by us in nothing.
(10) For godly sorrow works repentance to salvation, which brings no regret. But the sorrow of the world works death.
(11) For behold, this same thing, that you were made sorry in a godly way, what earnest care it worked in you. Yes, what defense, indignation, fear, longing, zeal, and vengeance! In everything you demonstrated yourselves to be pure in the matter.

Both the congregation and the one in error did the right thing; made the right choice. Paul did the right thing as well; he firmly, yet gently confronted the problem. There is a lesson here: Even the worst of situations can work out if handled properly and all those involved have the right attitude! And attitude lead to actions and they lead to eternal consequences. I hope whoever caught this youngster wasn't to hard on him... you just got to love those eyes!



This picture, taken on veteran's day, says a lot. It speaks of the sacrifice that many have paid for our freedom. When you consider the number who have died it is overwhelming. Consider the wounded, the psychologically handicapped and the loss these things have had on all the families. Barak Obama has a very serious look on his face and with very good reason; soon he will be forced to make some very tough military decisions and every one of us should pray for him!!! Its hard not to think of sacrifice and immediately think of Jesus. Here is just one passage to reflect upon.

Romans 3:21-26 WEB (R)
(21) But now apart from the law, a righteousness of God has been revealed, being testified by the law and the prophets;
(22) even the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ to all and on all those who believe. For there is no distinction,
(23) for all have sinned, and fall short of the glory of God;
(24) being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus;
(25) whom God set forth to be an atoning sacrifice, through faith in his blood, for a demonstration of his righteousness through the passing over of prior sins, in God's forbearance;
(26) to demonstrate his righteousness at this present time; that he might himself be just, and the justifier of him who has faith in Jesus.

The fact is simple; one man died for all. One very, very special man! But that one sacrifice has had more impact upon the world that every soldier who paid the ultimate price. If the sacrifice of so many given for freedom in the here and now is precious, how much more the blood of Christ that has eternal consequences!!! Veteran's day may be over, but take a moment and remember what has been given to you, not only now but in the hereafter. And pray with thanksgiving and then pray some more!


a sign that deceives

Somebody goofed! Chewable razors? Well, mistakes happen and I am sure someone was told about this little mix up! Even though it says "chewable razors" I am sure nobody would confuse vitamin C with razors; they are just too different! However, some people who don't read signs very carefully could reasonably expect to do a double take. But what if the differences don't seem to be so clear, say in the normal way your culture acts compared to the way Christians are supposed to act? Almost by definition we think of the church in Corinth. What a mess, but Paul still loved them and wrote 1 Corinthians to encourage and exhort them to "do the right thing". Paul says...

1 Corinthians 6:7-11 WEB (R)
(7) Therefore it is already altogether a defect in you, that you have lawsuits one with another. Why not rather be wronged? Why not rather be defrauded?
(8) No, but you yourselves do wrong, and defraud, and that against your brothers.
(9) Or don't you know that the unrighteous will not inherit the Kingdom of God? Don't be deceived. Neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor male prostitutes, nor homosexuals,
(10) nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor slanderers, nor extortioners, will inherit the Kingdom of God.
(11) Such were some of you, but you were washed. But you were sanctified. But you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and in the Spirit of our God.

Would you want to go there after reading this? Probably not!!! But they had something going for them; they could and did listen to Paul. They changed and if they could, so can we. Don't be deceived by the world around you; be different, live up to the high standards God has set for you. Be a sign to the world that does not deceive and just says sanctified (set apart for holy purposes) and justified (clean as if you had never, ever sinned)! One more thing... don't look for razors in the vitamin isle!!!


A fresh start

Those of us who are parents will remember the circumstances of the birth of our first child. It is a moment filled with awe and wonder at having started a new life. This little bundle of wrinkles has so much in the way of a future it seems a little overpowering just to consider it. A clean slate, a fresh start, a new beginning filled with possibilities is a lot to think about. This is a unique situation, never to happen again, right? Wrong! We all are physically born into the world, but there is another possibility of rebirth and that involves the spiritual. Consider the conversation between Jesus and Nicodemus for insight insight into what life is all about.

John 3:1-16 WEB (R)
(1) Now there was a man of the Pharisees named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews.
(2) The same came to him by night, and said to him, "Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher come from God, for no one can do these signs that you do, unless God is with him."
(3) Jesus answered him, "Most certainly, I tell you, unless one is born anew, he can't see the Kingdom of God."
(4) Nicodemus said to him, "How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother's womb, and be born?"
(5) Jesus answered, "Most certainly I tell you, unless one is born of water and spirit, he can't enter into the Kingdom of God!
(6) That which is born of the flesh is flesh. That which is born of the Spirit is spirit.
(7) Don't marvel that I said to you, 'You must be born anew.'
(8) The wind blows where it wants to, and you hear its sound, but don't know where it comes from and where it is going. So is everyone who is born of the Spirit."
(9) Nicodemus answered him, "How can these things be?"
(10) Jesus answered him, "Are you the teacher of Israel, and don't understand these things?
(11) Most certainly I tell you, we speak that which we know, and testify of that which we have seen, and you don't receive our witness.
(12) If I told you earthly things and you don't believe, how will you believe if I tell you heavenly things?
(13) No one has ascended into heaven, but he who descended out of heaven, the Son of Man, who is in heaven.
(14) As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up,
(15) that whoever believes in him should not perish, but have eternal life.
(16) For God so loved the world, that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish, but have eternal life.

Nicodemus was thinking literally and Jesus spiritually. The spiritual interpretation of the physical brings about a new birth. Do what Jesus says and begin life again; basically, God gives you a fresh start, with the bill for it being paid by Jesus. Good deal for us, costly for him! Life with God is different from life apart from God because you are no longer alone inside your bones, God is with you; loving and guiding you as you begin a fresh start all over again; this time spiritually. However, now you don't have to deal with the baby wrinkles!

A little foolishness

This heartwarming picture is an encouragement to me. It is nice to see an older couple expressing love. Many times as people get older they just get grouchy and its hard to imagine them showing any affection at all. So, she must have deserved this little bit of foolishness, right? But, suppose she wasn't so nice, suppose she was an old grouch. Then what? Take this a little further and what if she were a really bad person who had done something awful, like murder or grand theft or slowly beating their little kitty cat to death? I wonder, would she still get that kiss? Think about these things as you read this short passage from the book of Corinthians.

1 Corinthians 1:18-25 WEB (R)
(18) For the word of the cross is foolishness to those who are dying, but to us who are saved it is the power of God.
(19) For it is written, "I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, I will bring the discernment of the discerning to nothing."
(20) Where is the wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the lawyer of this world? Hasn't God made foolish the wisdom of this world?
(21) For seeing that in the wisdom of God, the world through its wisdom didn't know God, it was God's good pleasure through the foolishness of the preaching to save those who believe.
(22) For Jews ask for signs, Greeks seek after wisdom,
(23) but we preach Christ crucified; a stumbling block to Jews, and foolishness to Greeks,
(24) but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ is the power of God and the wisdom of God.
(25) Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men.

No matter how bad she could be, there is forgiveness in the sacrifice of Jesus of Nazareth. Sin was crucified on that cross by the love of God and the hope of forgiveness is found by those who come to HIM. Oh, there still will be Earthly consequences for wrong doing, but there is the hope of heaven! This may sound foolish or stupid to some, but God knows what he is doing. Like verse 25 says "...the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men." I wonder, will God give kisses in heaven???


Headed in the right direction

When I saw this picture, I was instantly attracted to it; I didn't know why at the time, but somehow I was just drawn to it. When I saw it again today, I suddenly knew why; it was as if I were on that boat and was sailing into the very center of that sunset; into the bulls eye if you will. To me there is something very appealing about being on course, going in the right direction, and knowing exactly what is going to happen next. That is one of the things I really like about Jesus; he didn't waver or equivocate; he goes right to the heart of the matter. Even when those around him try to throw him off by trickery, he is unmoved.

Matthew 22:15-22 WEB (R)
(15) Then the Pharisees went and took counsel how they might entrap him in his talk.
(16) They sent their disciples to him, along with the Herodians, saying, "Teacher, we know that you are honest, and teach the way of God in truth, no matter who you teach, for you aren't partial to anyone.
(17) Tell us therefore, what do you think? Is it lawful to pay taxes to Caesar, or not?"
(18) But Jesus perceived their wickedness, and said, "Why do you test me, you hypocrites?
(19) Show me the tax money." They brought to him a denarius.
(20) He asked them, "Whose is this image and inscription?"
(21) They said to him, "Caesar's." Then he said to them, "Give therefore to Caesar the things that are Caesar's, and to God the things that are God's."
(22) When they heard it, they marveled, and left him, and went away.

I am unsure how I would respond to this "innocent" little question. Normally, I don't call people hypocrite unless I am prepared for a brawl. Jesus however, did and with good reason; they were. What he told them to do was the RIGHT thing to do and so they couldn't argue. Unlike them, Jesus was straightforward about what he said and what he meant. Is it any wonder people followed him so readily? Honesty and straightforwardness is a rare thing indeed and I don't know about you, but I find it refreshing and I want to hear more; how about you?



What? What is this? Is this a power flusher? I can only marvel at the mind who would create such a thing! Seems like such a waste of money, but, if owning (and using) this makes you happy; go for it!!! Life is short and before you know it you find yourself advanced in years and subject to some of the problems mentioned in the first part of Ecclesiastes chapter 12.

Ecclesiastes 12:1-14 WEB (R)
(1) Remember also your Creator in the days of your youth, before the evil days come, and the years draw near, when you will say, "I have no pleasure in them;"
(2) Before the sun, the light, the moon, and the stars are darkened, and the clouds return after the rain;
(3) in the day when the keepers of the house shall tremble, and the strong men shall bow themselves, and the grinders cease because they are few, and those who look out of the windows are darkened,
(4) and the doors shall be shut in the street; when the sound of the grinding is low, and one shall rise up at the voice of a bird, and all the daughters of music shall be brought low;
(5) yes, they shall be afraid of heights, and terrors will be in the way; and the almond tree shall blossom, and the grasshopper shall be a burden, and desire shall fail; because man goes to his everlasting home, and the mourners go about the streets:
(6) before the silver cord is severed, or the golden bowl is broken, or the pitcher is broken at the spring, or the wheel broken at the cistern,
(7) and the dust returns to the earth as it was, and the spirit returns to God who gave it.
(8) Vanity of vanities, says the Preacher. All is vanity!(9) Further, because the Preacher was wise, he still taught the people knowledge. Yes, he pondered, sought out, and set in order many proverbs.
(10) The Preacher sought to find out acceptable words, and that which was written blamelessly, words of truth.
(11) The words of the wise are like goads; and like nails well fastened are words from the masters of assemblies, which are given from one shepherd.
(12) Furthermore, my son, be admonished: of making many books there is no end; and much study is a weariness of the flesh.
(13) This is the end of the matter. All has been heard. Fear God, and keep his commandments; for this is the whole duty of man.
(14) For God will bring every work into judgment, with every hidden thing, whether it is good, or whether it is evil.

Have fun; but realize that all the myriad pleasures of this world are mere vanity! True wisdom means realizing the essential nature of all things and putting them in proper perspective. If you want to own such a thing, that is fine, just as long as it does not become a distraction that draws you away from God. With this little item, though, I don't see a problem because one use may flush you down the drain and when you enter heaven, you will have one whopper of a story to tell.


No self-respecting person who has a last name of Rose can help but love flowers. They make wonderful gifts, but only for awhile. Soon they wilt and die and are ready to be discarded. This CAN be a good thing for if it causes the recipient to reflect on the brevity of life, thoughts of God can not be far behind. Listen to this pivotal passage from the book of Isaiah.

Isaiah 40:1-8 World English Bible
Isa 40:1 "Comfort, comfort my people," says your God.
Isa 40:2 "Speak comfortably to Jerusalem; and call out to her that her warfare is accomplished, that her iniquity is pardoned, that she has received of Yahweh's hand double for all her sins."
Isa 40:3 The voice of one who calls out, "Prepare the way of Yahweh in the wilderness! Make a level highway in the desert for our God.
Isa 40:4 Every valley shall be exalted, and every mountain and hill shall be made low. The uneven shall be made level, and the rough places a plain.
Isa 40:5 The glory of Yahweh shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together; for the mouth of Yahweh has spoken it."
Isa 40:6 The voice of one saying, "Cry!" One said, "What shall I cry?" "All flesh is like grass, and all its glory is like the flower of the field.
Isa 40:7 The grass withers, the flower fades, because Yahweh's breath blows on it. Surely the people are like grass.
Isa 40:8 The grass withers, the flower fades; but the word of our God stands forever."

Fact: no matter how strong, how intelligent or how gifted you are, you WILL DIE! Not a very pleasant to think about, but true. In light of this, as we grow older, we think of life after life and are naturally drawn to our creator, who ultimately decides our eternal fate. For those of us who are Christians, our hope for reanimation is based on the actions that God performed in raising Jesus from the dead. If we listen to God and do what HE says, we have God's promise of eternal life. Our lives will never wilt and fade away again and you can believe it because "the word of our God stands forever"! See why I like flowers?


The price of a lie

Interesting sign isn't it? Exactly how much is a lie worth? According to the sign, the answer varies with size. This sort of thinking is typical of the unregenerate mind; without God humanity tends to think in terms of severity and not in absolutes. To God, all lies are sin and deserve punishment. This passage from the Book of Acts brings out the danger of lying to God.

Acts 5:1-11 WEB (R)
(1) But a certain man named Ananias, with Sapphira, his wife, sold a possession,
(2) and kept back part of the price, his wife also being aware of it, and brought a certain part, and laid it at the apostles' feet.
(3) But Peter said, "Ananias, why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit, and to keep back part of the price of the land?
(4) While you kept it, didn't it remain your own? After it was sold, wasn't it in your power? How is it that you have conceived this thing in your heart? You haven't lied to men, but to God."
(5) Ananias, hearing these words, fell down and died. Great fear came on all who heard these things.
(6) The young men arose and wrapped him up, and they carried him out and buried him.
(7) About three hours later, his wife, not knowing what had happened, came in.
(8) Peter answered her, "Tell me whether you sold the land for so much." She said, "Yes, for so much."
(9) But Peter asked her, "How is it that you have agreed together to tempt the Spirit of the Lord? Behold, the feet of those who have buried your husband are at the door, and they will carry you out."
(10) She fell down immediately at his feet, and died. The young men came in and found her dead, and they carried her out and buried her by her husband.
(11) Great fear came on the whole assembly, and on all who heard these things.

Death seems at first to be a little harsh doesn't it? But wait, they both agreed beforehand to lie about a gift they were giving to God. If this had been tolerated
what would have been the result; their actions would have eventually come out and God would be seen as unworthy because he had accepted a lie as worship. Not only that, but the precedent would have been set for further "false" worship and corruption would have contaminated the early church. The price of a lie is always too great and as we can see from this episode, if it involves God; downright dangerous.


Beauty in learning

Blue, blue and more blue!! This picture of a glacial Chilean lake gives blue a new meaning to me. Until I saw this, the only thing I really knew about Chile was my former supervisor, Myriam L. who moved there. Now, Chile takes on a new meaning to me and that is one of spectacular grandeur and breathtaking beauty. We think we know things and then something happens and a whole spectrum of meaning is unveiled to us. Job was a righteous man and thought he knew a lot (at least he argued pretty well with his three "friends"). But, when he questioned God, he was put in his place. This passage shows the first of a series of questions that GOD asked him?

Job 38:1-6 WEB (R)
(1) Then Yahweh answered Job out of the whirlwind,
(2) "Who is this who darkens counsel by words without knowledge?
(3) Brace yourself like a man, for I will question you, then you answer me!
(4) "Where were you when I laid the foundations of the earth? Declare, if you have understanding.
(5) Who determined its measures, if you know? Or who stretched the line on it?
(6) Whereupon were its foundations fastened? Or who laid its cornerstone,

OK, there is more than one question here, but it does a central thought: Where were you when.... The good news is that when all the questions God asks Job are put together, Job realizes he doesn't know as much as he thought he did and repents. Life is full of moments when we are forced to re-access our ideas of something and grow. Growth is good and change from growth is better! Lord, please send more things like glacial lakes my way; I still can learn!


Bank on it!

How do you spell o-s-t-e-n-t-a-t-i-o-n? Perhaps something a bit simpler would do; such as PRIDE? On the positive side, at least the colors are nice! Today, banks should not be too prideful; except perhaps in their ability to wield enough political clout to manage a massive bail out (or was that payback?). Whatever you call it, the attitude of self-aggrandizement seldom has a positive outcome. Take this prime example from the book of Acts.

Acts 12:20-23 WEB (R)
(20) Now Herod was very angry with the people of Tyre and Sidon. They came with one accord to him, and, having made Blastus, the king's personal aide, their friend, they asked for peace, because their country depended on the king's country for food.
(21) On an appointed day, Herod dressed himself in royal clothing, sat on the throne, and gave a speech to them.
(22) The people shouted, "The voice of a god, and not of a man!"
(23) Immediately an angel of the Lord struck him, because he didn't give God the glory, and he was eaten by worms and died.

Herod was a typical eastern potentate; filled with his own importance and ready for a fall. In his case an angel did the trick, but it was inevitable that Herod was going to end badly! Why? Because of his pride and arrogance. You can bank on it!!!

What's it worth to you?

This Aquamarine and diamond engagement ring is a beauty; it must be quite expensive! Its a far cry from the ring I gave my fiancee; you could hardly see the stone! She loved it though. For our 25TH anniversary I gave her a new one that had a diamond that our oldest daughter spent the better part of a day choosing from a diamond merchant. To this day I am so proud of what she did for us and I never would have obtained such a nice stone (although still somewhat small) without her help. I have to ask myself, though, was I any better at my 25TH anniversary than our first? Sure I had a few more dollars and had raised three children (my wife deserves all the credit) but fundamentally, I WAS THE SAME! What difference does it make if you are poor or rich, young or old? For many people, the answer is A GREAT DEAL; and that would be the WRONG answer! James addresses the issue of favoritism based on money and appearance in chapter 2.....

James 2:1-10 WEB (R)
(1) My brothers, don't hold the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ of glory with partiality.
(2) For if a man with a gold ring, in fine clothing, comes into your synagogue, and a poor man in filthy clothing also comes in;
(3) and you pay special attention to him who wears the fine clothing, and say, "Sit here in a good place;" and you tell the poor man, "Stand there," or "Sit by my footstool;"
(4) haven't you shown partiality among yourselves, and become judges with evil thoughts?
(5) Listen, my beloved brothers. Didn't God choose those who are poor in this world to be rich in faith, and heirs of the Kingdom which he promised to those who love him?
(6) But you have dishonored the poor man. Don't the rich oppress you, and personally drag you before the courts?
(7) Don't they blaspheme the honorable name by which you are called?
(8) However, if you fulfill the royal law, according to the Scripture, "You shall love your neighbor as yourself," you do well.
(9) But if you show partiality, you commit sin, being convicted by the law as transgressors.
(10) For whoever keeps the whole law, and yet stumbles in one point, he has become guilty of all.

Money can be a trap, not only for those who may be blessed by God with an abundance of it, but also for those who place an undue importance on it! Money should be spent out of love from the heart and recognized for what it is; a necessity and not an obsession! Jesus said a lot about money, but I really like this passage from Matthew:

Matthew 6:1-4 WEB (R)
(1) "Be careful that you don't do your charitable giving before men, to be seen by them, or else you have no reward from your Father who is in heaven.
(2) Therefore when you do merciful deeds, don't sound a trumpet before yourself, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may get glory from men. Most certainly I tell you, they have received their reward.
(3) But when you do merciful deeds, don't let your left hand know what your right hand does,
(4) so that your merciful deeds may be in secret, then your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly.

If you consider the innate worth of a human being based on the spiritual worth God places on them, money, position, power... all are really unimportant! What you may have is not as important as how much you love and are loved. Having said all this, I still appreciate LOOKING at the finer things in life, but I am NOT going to run right out and buy something like this ring, for openers, I don't have the money!


Darkness or light

This picture of the horse just seems to draw you into it. By showing less of the horse you just want to look deeper and see what it is all about. Perhaps it is the contrast of the horse against the black background that has something to do with it. Christians are to stand out in a world of blackness as well. I like what Peter has to say in chapter two.

1 Peter 2:9-12 WEB (R)
(9) But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for God's own possession, that you may proclaim the excellence of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light:
(10) who in time past were no people, but now are God's people, who had not obtained mercy, but now have obtained mercy.
(11) Beloved, I beg you as foreigners and pilgrims, to abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul;
(12) having good behavior among the nations, so in that of which they speak against you as evildoers, they may by your good works, which they see, glorify God in the day of visitation.

Simple, when Christians practice what they purport to believe, they stand out in stark contrast to the worldliness around them. Like the picture, you tend not to look at the blackness (sin) anymore, but rather to look at the one being showcased in light. Question: Are you in the darkness or light?


Mixed messages

Mixed messages; our society is full of them. My wife and I have been watching Dr.Oz lately and I enjoy his "take" on things, even if he does "preach" sometimes. Then a commercial comes on and somebody is trying to get you to do something that is good for their bottom line and NOT NECESSARILY GOOD FOR YOUR WAISTLINE! Then Dr. Oz comes back on and then the guilt starts. I really wish they wouldn't put fast food commercials on in between health shows. Reminds me of this billboard!! They didn't have TV in Jesus' day, but that doesn't mean there were not mixed messages out there. This passage from Luke is an example.

Luke 16:13-17 Complete Apostles' Bible
(13) No servant can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon."
(14) Now the Pharisees, who were lovers of money, were hearing all these things, and they were mocking Him.
(15) And He said to them, "You are those who justify yourselves before men, but God knows your hearts. Because that which is exalted among men is an abomination before God.
(16) The law and the prophets were until John. Since that time the kingdom of God has been preached, and everyone enters forcibly into it.
(17) And it is easier for heaven and earth to pass away than for one tittle of the law to fail.

A Pharisee who was really one at heart was a person who earned respect. This genuine "separated one" was a person dedicated to serving God wholeheartedly. There were those however, who did all the outward observances of the LAW correctly, but INSIDE they harbored evil. Again, MIXED MESSAGES! Jesus confronted those who did this time and time again and did not mix his message to them; hypocrites he often called them! In this passage they are likened to an abomination before God; OK, he didn't call them a hypocrite, but abomination isn't much better. God knows both your heart as well as mine and I pray that neither of us could ever be referred to in this way. Tomorrow, its going to be a little harder to visit Mickey D's for my Egg McMuffin and OJ. Maybe I'll go later and get a salad instead!!!


Gadgets come and go

Today I was presented with one possible future of the computer. Something we carry around in our pocket and use with any flat surface. Amazing! I wonder if it will be the ultimate evolution of the computer? Something tells me that computers of the future will be even more amazing than we could possibly imagine. But what if we knew our own future? Would we do things differently? Think of Jesus for a moment, He knew this Psalm and yet he went to the cross anyway.

Psalms 22:1-31 WEB (R)
(1) My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? Why are you so far from helping me, and from the words of my groaning?
(2) My God, I cry in the daytime, but you don't answer; in the night season, and am not silent.
(3) But you are holy, you who inhabit the praises of Israel.
(4) Our fathers trusted in you. They trusted, and you delivered them.
(5) They cried to you, and were delivered. They trusted in you, and were not disappointed.
(6) But I am a worm, and no man; a reproach of men, and despised by the people.
(7) All those who see me mock me. They insult me with their lips. They shake their heads, saying,
(8) "He trusts in Yahweh; let him deliver him. Let him rescue him, since he delights in him."
(9) But you brought me out of the womb. You made me trust at my mother's breasts.
(10) I was thrown on you from my mother's womb. You are my God since my mother bore me.
(11) Don't be far from me, for trouble is near. For there is none to help.
(12) Many bulls have surrounded me. Strong bulls of Bashan have encircled me.
(13) They open their mouths wide against me, lions tearing prey and roaring.
(14) I am poured out like water. All my bones are out of joint. My heart is like wax; it is melted within me.
(15) My strength is dried up like a potsherd. My tongue sticks to the roof of my mouth. You have brought me into the dust of death.
(16) For dogs have surrounded me. A company of evildoers have enclosed me. They have pierced my hands and feet.
(17) I can count all of my bones. They look and stare at me.
(18) They divide my garments among them. They cast lots for my clothing.
(19) But don't be far off, Yahweh. You are my help: hurry to help me.
(20) Deliver my soul from the sword, my precious life from the power of the dog.
(21) Save me from the lion's mouth! Yes, from the horns of the wild oxen, you have answered me.
(22) I will declare your name to my brothers. In the midst of the assembly, I will praise you.
(23) You who fear Yahweh, praise him! All you descendants of Jacob, glorify him! Stand in awe of him, all you descendants of Israel!
(24) For he has not despised nor abhorred the affliction of the afflicted, Neither has he hidden his face from him; but when he cried to him, he heard.
(25) Of you comes my praise in the great assembly. I will pay my vows before those who fear him.
(26) The humble shall eat and be satisfied. They shall praise Yahweh who seek after him. Let your hearts live forever.
(27) All the ends of the earth shall remember and turn to Yahweh. All the relatives of the nations shall worship before you.
(28) For the kingdom is Yahweh's. He is the ruler over the nations.
(29) All the rich ones of the earth shall eat and worship. All those who go down to the dust shall bow before him, even he who can't keep his soul alive.
(30) Posterity shall serve him. Future generations shall be told about the Lord.
(31) They shall come and shall declare his righteousness to a people that shall be born, for he has done it.

As fantastic as the little gadget in the picture may seem to us, it is in reality only a small thing. Jesus knew what his death would mean and the untold billions or perhaps trillions it would affect. The love of God for you and me has been proclaimed by HIS resurrection of Jesus and although it has been 2,000 years and counting, that message is still a force that is changing lives today. Gadgets come and go, but eternal life is literally forever!!

Thank you, Brittany for the picture!

A happier life

What struck me at first glance was the softness of the water. Somehow it conveys gentleness and blessing unrivaled in anything I have seen recently. Lives can be like that as well, as the first Psalm reveals.

Psalms 1:1-6 WEB (R)
(1) Blessed is the man who doesn't walk in the counsel of the wicked, nor stand in the way of sinners, nor sit in the seat of scoffers;
(2) but his delight is in Yahweh's law. On his law he meditates day and night.
(3) He will be like a tree planted by the streams of water, that brings forth its fruit in its season, whose leaf also does not wither. Whatever he does shall prosper.
(4) The wicked are not so, but are like the chaff which the wind drives away.
(5) Therefore the wicked shall not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous.
(6) For Yahweh knows the way of the righteous, but the way of the wicked shall perish.

Why? What causes the difference? The answer is simple, God's word is what is best for us. Naturally, those who think about it constantly would tend to follow it and receive blessings from God. Who wouldn't want blessing, except someone exceptionally wicked. The end result of a life will be its judgment by God; either eternal life or death. I think most people would want life, but people will do what they want. As for me, I like the idea of being blessed by God forever. Sounds like a happier life, now and hereafter.


Cold hard truth

I guess I have been in Florida too long; I can't really remember the feeling of the numbing coldness of winter. But this picture reminded me of that harsh cold reality; that winter, although beautiful can be a very trying time. Sometimes you just have to come to grips with hard truth and this passage from the book of Matthew presents a very hard one indeed.

Matthew 13:47-50 Complete Apostles' Bible
(47) "Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a dragnet having been cast into the sea, and gathering some of every kind,
(48) which, when it was filled, they pulled up on the shore; and sitting down, they collected the good into vessels, but the rotten they threw out.
(49) Thus it shall be at the end of the age: the angels shall go forth and separate the evil from among the righteous,
(50) and cast them into the furnace of fire. There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth."

Not everyone is going to make it into heaven. This is cold, hard truth. Destruction awaits those whose lives have rejected God. Anyway, the picture is beautiful, even if I won't get to experience the freezing cold anytime soon. I might complain some, but still in January I will be one happy camper here in the sunshine state.


Fatherhood, patience and limits.

Those of you who are parents will appreciate this picture! Children can be a burden at times; they do things like hold onto your ears and wet on you. But you love them, even when they are really, really bad. They will try your patience, test your limits and generally think that the world revolves around them. Jesus tells a parable (an Earthly story, with a heavenly meaning) that has meaning even to this day. He says...

Mark 12:1-11 Complete Apostles' Bible
(1) Then He began to speak to them with parables: "A man planted a vineyard and set a fence around it, dug a wine vat and built a tower. And he leased it to farmers, and went on a journey.
(2) And at harvest-time he sent a servant to the farmers, in order that he might receive his part from the fruit of the vineyard.
(3) And they took him and beat him and sent him away empty-handed.
(4) Again he sent them another servant, and that one they wounded in the head with stones, and they sent him away shamefully treated.
(5) And again he sent another, and that one they killed, and so with many others, beating some and killing others.
(6) Therefore still having one son, his beloved, he even sent him to them last, saying, 'They will respect my son.'
(7) "But those farmers said to one another, 'This is the heir. Come, let us kill him, and the inheritance will be ours.'
(8) "And taking him they killed him, and cast him out of the vineyard.
(9) Therefore what will the owner of the vineyard do? He will come and will destroy the farmers, and give the vineyard to others.
(10) Have you not even read this Scripture: 'The stone which the builders rejected Has become the chief cornerstone.
(11) This was the LORD's doing, and it is marvelous in our eyes'?"

See also Isaiah 5:1-7

The "man" is our heavenly father, the "vineyard" is the nation of Israel and the stone is Jesus. The farmers of the vineyard are those who rejected Jesus in his day and the "others" are the Gentiles (us). As the parable indicates, the father has been patient and put up with a lot, BUT THERE ARE LIMITS! Who knows their exact time when he will say "enough"; only the father. Who knows when judgment begins, once again, only the father. But rest assured, God will straighten everything out someday and it will involve more than just putting his baby down or changing that soiled shirt. Don't worry about, just obey what the "chief cornerstone" (Jesus) would have you to do. No problem!

A blank page

How can you prove the absence of something? To definitively assert that something (or someone) does not exist when you lack complete knowledge of a subject is foolish! The Bible is quite plain on the subject, as this passage from the 14TH Psalms says.

Psalms 14:1-3 WEB (R)
(1) The fool has said in his heart, "There is no God." They are corrupt. They have done abominable works. There is none who does good.
(2) Yahweh looked down from heaven on the children of men, to see if there were any who did understand, who did seek after God.
(3) They have all gone aside. They have together become corrupt. There is none who does good, no, not one.

At least the agnostic is honest enough to say "I don't know". Consider the complexity of the universe or perhaps even our own bodies and it is extremely difficult to believe these things happened by mere chance. When you honestly look at yourself and the world around you, any explanation of origins will ultimately yield a bland page. To continue to assert this belief after seeing the truth just reveals how illogical and corrupt a mind can be. Its no wonder Paul quoted from the 14TH Psalms in the book of Romans (3:10 ff.).

Plug wanted!

"...slip sliding away, slip sliding away, you know the nearer your destination, the more your slip sliding away". These words came to me as I looked at this picture of the fish. I wonder if the fish even realizes what is going on? Do we? Listen to Solomon...

Ecclesiastes 9:11-12 WEB (R)
(11) I returned, and saw under the sun, that the race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, neither yet bread to the wise, nor yet riches to men of understanding, nor yet favor to men of skill; but time and chance happen to them all.
(12) For man also doesn't know his time. As the fish that are taken in an evil net, and as the birds that are caught in the snare, even so are the sons of men snared in an evil time, when it falls suddenly on them.

I messed up big time today; I gave my wife the wrong day for a company excursion and am I in hot water! I accidentally put the wrong date on the calendar and whamooo. Sometimes things happen! You may not even realize what is going on and suddenly you realize your bucket is losing water. Life is like that; one day everything is fine and the next, well, you are attending your own funeral. Small prayer here: Dear Lord, help me to watch for leaks, I need ever bit of that ballast! Also, you wouldn't happen to have an extra plug, would you? Thanks, Gary



Today was my wife's 60Th birthday. All of our children called to wish her a happy birthday (and some even sang too). But one grand-daughter went beyond what I expected; she made this card. She didn't use a computer and the spelling isn't perfect, but I couldn't be more proud of her. She put some thought into her gift, which showed love and respect, but inside the card she wrote "and as sweat as chocolate, HERSEY'S CHOCOLATE"! Then she glued Hersey's candy to the opposing side (and also a tootsie roll). Think on this passage from Proverbs for a few minutes.

Proverbs 17:6 WEB (R)
(6) Children's children are the crown of old men; the glory of children are their parents.

Better than this were the hugs and kisses. And the dinner, cake, flowers were a nice touch! I went home feeling that somehow, somewhere we must have done something right! If nothing else, I learned the value of this passage from the Proverb's!!! Oh, by the way, my wife, Linda was very happy too!


One of the things that I loved about the Northeast was the vistas. When we lived in New Jersey, once in awhile we would go to the Amish country of Pennsylvania and drive through the Poconos. This picture reminds me of some of those scenes and someday I hope go there once again. I immediately thought of this passage from Deuteronomy and I know that you will see its importance once you read it.

Deuteronomy 32:45-52 WEB (R)
(45) Moses made an end of speaking all these words to all Israel;
(46) He said to them, Set your heart to all the words which I testify to you this day, which you shall command your children to observe to do, even all the words of this law.
(47) For it is no vain thing for you; because it is your life, and through this thing you shall prolong your days in the land, where you go over the Jordan to possess it.
(48) Yahweh spoke to Moses that same day, saying,
(49) Go up into this mountain of Abarim, to Mount Nebo, which is in the land of Moab, that is over against Jericho; and see the land of Canaan, which I give to the children of Israel for a possession;
(50) and die on the mountain where you go up, and be gathered to your people, as Aaron your brother died on Mount Hor, and was gathered to his people:
(51) because you trespassed against me in the midst of the children of Israel at the waters of Meribah of Kadesh, in the wilderness of Zin; because you didn't sanctify me in the midst of the children of Israel.
(52) For you shall see the land before you; but you shall not go there into the land which I give the children of Israel.

Moses did something wrong and paid for it. How hard it must have been for him to see the "promised land" and know he would never enter! Fortunately, the Christian dispensation is more forgiving than that of the law; we have hope! Even if we do something wrong, we CAN BE FORGIVEN and our "promised land" of heaven is within our grasp. Oh, to be able to see the sight of it; knowing that I WILL BE ABLE TO ENTER!!!


I love these pictures of balloons! The colors are fantastic and the designs simply beautiful. I have been thinking a lot about color lately because of designing the new blog. When I saw this picture I thought of the colors of the heavenly city and how they represent how precious it is!

Revelation 21:18-23 Complete Apostles' Bible
(18) And the construction of its wall was of jasper; and the city was pure gold, like transparent glass.
(19) The foundations of the wall of the city were adorned with every precious stone: the first foundation was jasper, the second sapphire, the third chalcedony, the fourth emerald,
(20) the fifth sardonyx, the sixth carnelian, the seventh chrysolite, the eighth beryl, the ninth topaz, the tenth chrysoprase, the eleventh jacinth, and the twelfth amethyst.
(21) The twelve gates are twelve pearls: each one of the gates was made of one pearl. And the street of the city was pure gold, like transparent glass.
(22) But I saw no temple in it, for the Lord God Almighty is its temple, also the Lamb.
Rev 21:23 The city had no need of the sun nor of the moon to shine, for the very glory of God illuminated it, and its lamp is the Lamb.

Gold, pearls, precious stones and above all the light of the glory of God as its light! Wow! Talk about a feast for the eyes!!! I wonder if the transparent glass of the gold streets would look something like the mica portal we used to have in our wood stoves? Probably a lot more honey colored, I imagine. And I bet the streets will reflect as well, something like the reflection of the balloons on the water. How will I describe heaven when I see it? I am not sure, but what will be on my mind will be the precious blood of the lamb and that is worth more than all the jewels in the world!