Open or closed "tires"

If you just looked at the top car quickly, you probably wouldn't notice anything unusual; but if you look at the close up on the lower picture you will notice something strange...the tires! Could this be the future of tires? I don't know, but it sure makes you wonder doesn't it? New things are like that for most of us; we think about them and consider the "what if's". That is, if you are an open minded person. Not everyone is, as this passage from the book of Acts reveals.
Act 17:14-33
(14) Then the brothers immediately sent out Paul to go as far as to the sea, and Silas and Timothy still stayed there.
(15) But those who escorted Paul brought him as far as Athens. Receiving a commandment to Silas and Timothy that they should come to him very quickly, they departed.
(16) Now while Paul waited for them at Athens, his spirit was provoked within him as he saw the city full of idols.
(17) So he reasoned in the synagogue with the Jews and the devout persons, and in the marketplace every day with those who met him.
(18) Some of the Epicurean and Stoic philosophers also were conversing with him. Some said, "What does this babbler want to say?" Others said, "He seems to be advocating foreign deities," because he preached Jesus and the resurrection.
(19) They took hold of him, and brought him to the Areopagus, saying, "May we know what this new teaching is, which is spoken by you?
(20) For you bring certain strange things to our ears. We want to know therefore what these things mean."
(21) Now all the Athenians and the strangers living there spent their time in nothing else, but either to tell or to hear some new thing.
(22) Paul stood in the middle of the Areopagus, and said, "You men of Athens, I perceive that you are very religious in all things.
(23) For as I passed along, and observed the objects of your worship, I found also an altar with this inscription: 'TO AN UNKNOWN GOD.' What therefore you worship in ignorance, this I announce to you.
(24) The God who made the world and all things in it, he, being Lord of heaven and earth, doesn't dwell in temples made with hands,
(25) neither is he served by men's hands, as though he needed anything, seeing he himself gives to all life and breath, and all things.
(26) He made from one blood every nation of men to dwell on all the surface of the earth, having determined appointed seasons, and the boundaries of their dwellings,
(27) that they should seek the Lord, if perhaps they might reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from each one of us.
(28) 'For in him we live, and move, and have our being.' As some of your own poets have said, 'For we are also his offspring.'
(29) Being then the offspring of God, we ought not to think that the Divine Nature is like gold, or silver, or stone, engraved by art and design of man.
(30) The times of ignorance therefore God overlooked. But now he commands that all people everywhere should repent,
(31) because he has appointed a day in which he will judge the world in righteousness by the man whom he has ordained; of which he has given assurance to all men, in that he has raised him from the dead."
(32) Now when they heard of the resurrection of the dead, some mocked; but others said, "We want to hear you again concerning this."
(33) Thus Paul went out from among them.

For the Athenians, life was exciting, each day had something new to discuss. But as we can see from their responses, not everyone was open to a new idea, regardless of how much conversation might take place. Could the resurrection really be true? Some belittled even the very thought of it and others.... were thinking. Its just like the tires in the picture above, if you are open minded you will see it as possible, if not, then you will probably criticize even what you see. As Jack Palance used to say at the end of every Ripley's show: "Believe it or not"!!


You do...what?

A few weeks ago, I went on a "photo shoot" with two of my grandchildren. This picture was taken near the courthouse in Dade City. Why this picture? Because it says something about Southern culture, that is why. Notice all the trucks? Well, it seems to me that there are a lot more than I remember seeing in either New York or New Jersey. I am unsure as to what it means, but I am guessing its an expression of male dominance (but I could be wrong). It takes a long time to get acquainted with the nature and customs of any culture and sometimes there can be problems. This passage is the story of culture and perhaps more than that. Read on and decide for yourself.

Gen 29:12-27
(12) Jacob told Rachel that he was her father's brother, and that he was Rebekah's son. She ran and told her father.
(13) It happened, when Laban heard the news of Jacob, his sister's son, that he ran to meet Jacob, and embraced him, and kissed him, and brought him to his house. Jacob told Laban all these things.
(14) Laban said to him, Surely you are my bone and my flesh. He lived with him for a month.
(15) Laban said to Jacob, "Because you are my brother, should you therefore serve me for nothing? Tell me, what will your wages be?"
(16) Laban had two daughters. The name of the elder was Leah, and the name of the younger was Rachel.
(17) Leah's eyes were weak, but Rachel was beautiful in form and attractive.
(18) Jacob loved Rachel. He said, "I will serve you seven years for Rachel, your younger daughter."
(19) Laban said, "It is better that I give her to you, than that I should give her to another man. Stay with me."
(20) Jacob served seven years for Rachel. They seemed to him but a few days, for the love he had for her.
(21) Jacob said to Laban, "Give me my wife, for my days are fulfilled, that I may go in to her."
(22) Laban gathered together all the men of the place, and made a feast.
(23) It happened in the evening, that he took Leah his daughter, and brought her to him. He went in to her.
(24) Laban gave Zilpah his handmaid to his daughter Leah for a handmaid.
(25) It happened in the morning that, behold, it was Leah. He said to Laban, "What is this you have done to me? Didn't I serve with you for Rachel? Why then have you deceived me?"
(26) Laban said, "It is not done so in our place, to give the younger before the firstborn.
(27) Fulfill the week of this one, and we will give you the other also for the service which you will serve with me yet seven other years."

Jacob was a trickster and by his trickery he had obtained the firstborn birthright and his father's blessing. So, its a little ironic that from the beginning Laban tricks him. (and who says God doesn't have a sense of humor) This story probably seems a little strange to most of us because of the father's control over his children and the practice of polygamy, but that what they did in the middle east in those days. The bottom line is that we need to try to understand others in the context of their culture before we pass judgment. Besides, its good to experience something new once in awhile and I do kind-of, sort-of like that red truck in the foreground. Humm, maybe if I buy a truck I might fit right in down here (or maybe it will just be another mid-life crisis raising its ugly head) More about this later.....


Politics under a beautiful sky

What a grand sky! Too bad the building has signs all over it; especially those pesky political ones. Like it or not, politics somehow manages to infiltrate our everyday life. Today was no exception; as I sat down to watch TV, the presidents inaugural address was on. I liked much of what he said, (which is unusual for me) but somehow something just didn't seem to ring true. I went away with the feeling that nothing has changed and nothing will until we have a true three party system in this country. Politics is nothing new, its even in the Bible. Consider the book of Acts for example.

Act 24:22 But Felix, having more exact knowledge concerning the Way, deferred them, saying, "When Lysias, the commanding officer, comes down, I will decide your case."
Act 24:23 He ordered the centurion that Paul should be kept in custody, and should have some privileges, and not to forbid any of his friends to serve him or to visit him.
Act 24:24 But after some days, Felix came with Drusilla, his wife, who was a Jewess, and sent for Paul, and heard him concerning the faith in Christ Jesus.
Act 24:25 As he reasoned about righteousness, self-control, and the judgment to come, Felix was terrified, and answered, "Go your way for this time, and when it is convenient for me, I will summon you."
Act 24:26 Meanwhile, he also hoped that money would be given to him by Paul, that he might release him. Therefore also he sent for him more often, and talked with him.
Act 24:27 But when two years were fulfilled, Felix was succeeded by Porcius Festus, and desiring to gain favor with the Jews, Felix left Paul in bonds.

Felix was a consummate politician. He put off what he did not want to hear, longed for money and allowed the powers that be a say in his decisions. Sound familiar? It should; it heard the something similar on the TV tonight. Democrats and Republicans will do what they have to do to get re-elected. Like Felix, I have do doubt that they know right from wrong; they just lack to political will to do it! We need people in office who have Christian values, Christian ideals and will have a Christian agenda. Not a popular view to hold, but then again, I don't have to deal with the same people that Felix did. I just have to listen to Christ; I wonder if the people in Washington will listen?


A different king

The Washington memorial makes a very nice picture! Yet it is only a building, but the man for whom it was erected is its greatness. George Washington led a rebellion against England that led to the formation of an entirely new nation. Yet, he did it humbly. You might find it odd that I refer to his humbleness, but at one point it was suggested to him that he become king of the new nation. I am very happy to say that he refused and I hope no leader of ours will ever WANT TO BE KING!! But, what if you really were a KING by BIRTHRIGHT? What then?

Mark 15:1-20 WEB (R)
(1) Immediately in the morning the chief priests, with the elders and scribes, and the whole council, held a consultation, and bound Jesus, and carried him away, and delivered him up to Pilate.
(2) Pilate asked him, "Are you the King of the Jews?" He answered, "So you say."
(3) The chief priests accused him of many things.
(4) Pilate again asked him, "Have you no answer? See how many things they testify against you!"
(5) But Jesus made no further answer, so that Pilate marveled.
(6) Now at the feast he used to release to them one prisoner, whom they asked of him.
(7) There was one called Barabbas, bound with those who had made insurrection, men who in the insurrection had committed murder.
(8) The multitude, crying aloud, began to ask him to do as he always did for them.
(9) Pilate answered them, saying, "Do you want me to release to you the King of the Jews?"
(10) For he perceived that for envy the chief priests had delivered him up.
(11) But the chief priests stirred up the multitude, that he should release Barabbas to them instead.
(12) Pilate again asked them, "What then should I do to him whom you call the King of the Jews?"
(13) They cried out again, "Crucify him!"
(14) Pilate said to them, "Why, what evil has he done?" But they cried out exceedingly, "Crucify him!"
(15) Pilate, wishing to please the multitude, released Barabbas to them, and handed over Jesus, when he had flogged him, to be crucified.
(16) The soldiers led him away within the court, which is the Praetorium; and they called together the whole cohort.
(17) They clothed him with purple, and weaving a crown of thorns, they put it on him.
(18) They began to salute him, "Hail, King of the Jews!"
(19) They struck his head with a reed, and spat on him, and bowing their knees, did homage to him.
(20) When they had mocked him, they took the purple off of him, and put his own garments on him. They led him out to crucify him.
Jesus was a king by right of his birth and yet in this passage does not claim the identity; Why? Several reasons. First, his kingdom was not of this world; it was a spiritual kingdom. True, he had power over the elements (changing water to wine, walking on the water, causing the sea to calm, etc.) but his was a spiritual mission; one that sought to win the hearts of men. Second, if he had claimed kingly status in the here and now, Israel would have rebelled and ultimately been destroyed by her Roman masters. Lastly, it was not in his nature to demand obedience; he sought out those who wanted to seek God. Jesus was a different king; a king of the human heart; one who re-united the spiritual realm with that which is Incorporated within human flesh. His monument is not found in any Earthly building, but rather in the hearts of those who love God. Buildings will crumble, monuments may tumble, but true love goes on forever. Nice picture, too bad I don't have a spiritual camera!


Take it with you?

The other day I had an unusual conversation with a good friend; the topic was burial.. This person wanted to be buried without a casket in the concrete liner. Inside the liner, he wanted to be reclining in his favorite chair with a beer in his hand and watching his big screen TV. For a touch of permanence he wanted the whole liner filled with clear epoxy, except for a tube that led to a solar collector outside (to run the TV, of course). I thought of him today when I saw this picture. My friend and the person in this picture had the same idea: You can take it with you!! Not a new concept, but this is the first time I have ever seen a real life picture. Reminds me of a passage from the New Testament from the book of Luke....

Luk 12:16-21
(16) He spoke a parable to them, saying, "The ground of a certain rich man brought forth abundantly.
(17) He reasoned within himself, saying, 'What will I do, because I don't have room to store my crops?'
(18) He said, 'This is what I will do. I will pull down my barns, and build bigger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods.
(19) I will tell my soul, "Soul, you have many goods laid up for many years. Take your ease, eat, drink, be merry." '
(20) "But God said to him, 'You foolish one, tonight your soul is required of you. The things which you have prepared-whose will they be?'
(21) So is he who lays up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God."

For openers, I really don't have a problem with anyone earning money. It is necessary and even desirable. To provide for oneself and family is a blessing from God. The problem I have is that some people make the acquisition of wealth their ultimate goal, to the exclusion of everything else. I am happy to say that my friend does not fall into this category; he is a well-adjusted family man for whom life has a whole spectrum of priorities. Just one thing; you really can't take it with you. Better to have a friend in heaven than possessions on earth; besides I imagine that God probably wants to decorate heaven the way HE wants to; your furniture would probably clash.


Cat lovers will appreciate this picture. Those furry little creatures are often fascinated by the seemingly mundane. This little fellow is no exception; the light shining on its paw seems to hold an interest that is captivating! Light comes in all sorts of varieties: Northern light, Southern light, Noonday brightness, incandescent, fluorescent, soft white, and probably quite a few more that escape me right now. They all have one thing in common though, they enable us to see. Without light, we stumble, fumble, trip and fall. We err in so many ways. Jesus talks about light to and his words are as revealing as light itself.

John 8:12 WEB (R)
(12) Again, therefore, Jesus spoke to them, saying, "I am the light of the world. He who follows me will not walk in the darkness, but will have the light of life."

Light guides us, helps us understand the world around us and adds a new take on life. Consider; look out your living room window on a sunny day and then do it again on a cloudy one. The change in light puts a whole new perspective on things. Light also stands for purity and right living; just as darkness does for corruption and wayward actions. So, what is Jesus saying? His pattern is the one we should follow if we want to live correctly. Its not just a good way to live, its really the only way because his way is true life itself. The more you know of his light, the more fascinated you will be by it and just like the kitten in the picture you won't be able to takes your eyes off it. See what I am saying?



Hell, a subject nobody really likes to talk about; yet the reality of it is too terrible NOT to talk about. More than just an uncomfortable place, it is a place of endless torture. Jesus makes it quite plain that it is a place of endless suffering and death. Sounds really scary to me, yet in the Sermon on the mount Jesus describes the way to it as a broad path, where most people are headed. Again; really, really scary. So, if its so bad, why are most people headed in that direction? I can't know the reasons why most people do things and I suppose that like so many other things in this life, there is not just a single answer. However, I will try. Deception is my answer. Deception so cleaver, so maniacal, so intuitive that the unbelievable becomes reality. The accuser of mankind is the source of this and make no mistake, he is one dangerous adversary. Dangerous because he is a spiritual being who was at the side of God and even led a rebellion against the almighty. One tough opponent! His weapons vary from the most gentle insinuations to the most course, violent things we can imagine and more. Face it, he hates us; and the hate that is within his bosom is beyond all human description. Look at the way he even tried to tempt Jesus.

Mat 4:1-10
(1) Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil.
(2) When he had fasted forty days and forty nights, he was hungry afterward.
(3) The tempter came and said to him, "If you are the Son of God, command that these stones become bread."
(4) But he answered, "It is written, 'Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God.' "
(5) Then the devil took him into the holy city. He set him on the pinnacle of the temple,
(6) and said to him, "If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down, for it is written, 'He will put his angels in charge of you.' and, 'On their hands they will bear you up, so that you don't dash your foot against a stone.' "
(7) Jesus said to him, "Again, it is written, 'You shall not test the Lord, your God.' "
(8) Again, the devil took him to an exceedingly high mountain, and showed him all the kingdoms of the world, and their glory.
(9) He said to him, "I will give you all of these things, if you will fall down and worship me."
(10) Then Jesus said to him, "Get behind me, Satan! For it is written, 'You shall worship the Lord your God, and you shall serve him only.' "

I know, I have used these verses before, but they JUST FIT. The Devil's deceptions are blown away by the correct use of the WORD OF GOD, but I wonder if you and I could do as well as Jesus did? I think the answer to that is found in another question: Do we immerse ourselves in God's Holy Word on a daily basis? If the answer is "yes", then our chances are pretty good; if not, well, danger awaits. As far as the picture goes, it is very clever, so I just had to use it. But I just wish they had not told me (in the fine print) that there was free bratwurst in hell; I have a hard time resisting food. But, relax, I am not in any danger, I don't like my bratwurst cooked over an open flame;I hope you don't like it that way!!



This is the largest block of gold in the world. Worth an estimated 8.7 million dollars, it is on display in Taiwan. I have a hard time thinking in terms of millions of dollars, but it doesn't take a genius to know that amount is a lot of money. I wonder what I would do with it? Perhaps, I would buy a fancy car, like the Excalibur I have always wanted (kits start at about $80,000), or maybe a 20 room mansion or a 5 carat yellow diamond. A few dozen expensive suits would be nice! But why think small; why not buy a tropical island and a 60 foot yacht as well. Perhaps I would go into politics and buy a senate seat or a cabinet post; maybe even bribe my way into the white house. Of course, I couldn't stop there, I would have to aspire to be America's first dictator. (as opposed to a president, who doesn't have much power??) Humm, there seems to be a pattern here and it made me think of this passage from Paul's letter to Timothy.

1 Timothy 6:1-11 WEB (R)
(1) Let as many as are bondservants under the yoke count their own masters worthy of all honor, that the name of God and the doctrine not be blasphemed.
(2) Those who have believing masters, let them not despise them, because they are brothers, but rather let them serve them, because those who partake of the benefit are believing and beloved. Teach and exhort these things.
(3) If anyone teaches a different doctrine, and doesn't consent to sound words, the words of our Lord Jesus Christ, and to the doctrine which is according to godliness,
(4) he is conceited, knowing nothing, but obsessed with arguments, disputes, and word battles, from which come envy, strife, reviling, evil suspicions,
(5) constant friction of people of corrupt minds and destitute of the truth, who suppose that godliness is a means of gain. Withdraw yourself from such.
(6) But godliness with contentment is great gain.
(7) For we brought nothing into the world, and we certainly can't carry anything out.
(8) But having food and clothing, we will be content with that.
(9) But those who are determined to be rich fall into a temptation and a snare and many foolish and harmful lusts, such as drown men in ruin and destruction.
(10) For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some have been led astray from the faith in their greed, and have pierced themselves through with many sorrows.
(11) But you, man of God, flee these things, and follow after righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, and gentleness.

Bottom line is that focusing on things leads to focusing on SELF and you just get more and more and more greedy. The pattern to follow is found in verses 6 to 8 and 11, but I have only known a very few people in my entire life who lived up to that standard. Unlike most posts, this one is directed at myself because I am thinking of buying a new camera which I can't really afford. Even though I may want it right now, I will wait until I have the money in my hand or God just mails me one; whichever comes first. Until then, I guess I will just have to stay away from "Abe's of Maine"; their prices are just too tempting.


The old paths

These barges remind me of a bygone year; one that saw a holiday party aboard a vessel much like this in Pennsylvania. It was quite an experience; one that I will never forget. Oh, it wasn't fast-paced or wild in any stretch of the imagination, just co-workers getting together to enjoy one an other's company and to celebrate the passage of another year. Yet, there was something about it that was intriguing, something that spoke of another way of life, one without the need to rush, without the constant pressure of society to succeed, to make more and more money with each passing year. Something like a visit to the Amish country, a view into another life and another way of doing things. Long ago, God spoke to his chosen people and wanted them to return to the old paths, according to the life-style that he had set down. Their response is at the end of the verse.

Jeremiah 6:16 WEB (R)
(16) Thus says Yahweh, Stand you in the ways and see, and ask for the old paths, where is the good way; and walk therein, and you shall find rest for your souls: but they said, We will not walk therein.

New is not ALWAYS BETTER!!! Think of all the chemicals in our food supply and the genetic engineering that is changing the very nature of the food we consume. Consider all the broken homes in this country because spouses are too selfish to compromise. What about all the political wrangling behind closed doors that has been going on lately? How long can this country endure if it continues spending more than it takes in? The founding fathers believed in one nation under God and somehow God is being excluded from every public institution? The answer to our problems is not in science or political solutions, it is in God; his ways, the old paths, tried and true. Hopefully, America will be different from the Israel of Jeremiah's time and seek God before it is too late. If that happened there would be rejoicing throughout our land like never before!! Now that would be one party I would LOVE TO ATTEND! (the barge is optional!!)


Fast or slow...

Normally, we would never see this happen; its just too fast for the human eye to take in. We "see" it happen, but not in high speed photography like this. However, we do know this is happening and that is what really matters. Whether something is fast or slow, is irrelevant when it comes to the eyes of faith. Here are a couple of passages that seem to work well together to show what I mean.

Acts 1:4-11 WEB (R)
(4) Being assembled together with them, he commanded them, "Don't depart from Jerusalem, but wait for the promise of the Father, which you heard from me.
(5) For John indeed baptized in water, but you will be baptized in the Holy Spirit not many days from now."
(6) Therefore, when they had come together, they asked him, "Lord, are you now restoring the kingdom to Israel?"
(7) He said to them, "It isn't for you to know times or seasons which the Father has set within his own authority.
(8) But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you. You will be witnesses to me in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the uttermost parts of the earth."
(9) When he had said these things, as they were looking, he was taken up, and a cloud received him out of their sight.
(10) While they were looking steadfastly into the sky as he went, behold, two men stood by them in white clothing,
(11) who also said, "You men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into the sky? This Jesus, who was received up from you into the sky will come back in the same way as you saw him going into the sky."

1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 WEB (R)
(13) But we don't want you to be ignorant, brothers, concerning those who have fallen asleep, so that you don't grieve like the rest, who have no hope.
(14) For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with him those who have fallen asleep in Jesus.
(15) For this we tell you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive, who are left to the coming of the Lord, will in no way precede those who have fallen asleep.
(16) For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with God's trumpet. The dead in Christ will rise first,
(17) then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air. So we will be with the Lord forever.
(18) Therefore comfort one another with these words.

Luke tells what happened and Paul says what's going to happen; both compliment one another. The "angels" said Jesus is coming back and so did Paul. We have the Biblical witness to provide testimony and our belief in the facts to provide the confidence we call faith. Whether it happens today, tomorrow, next year or whenever; it will happen. Remember, the God of heaven views things a little differently than we do, for with HIM a thousand years is as one day and a day is as a thousand years. God does things in HIS own time, whether it be in the blink of an eye like the picture or thousands of years; Jesus will come again;it will happen...believe it!


Nothing more, nothing less.

Want to know the future; don't read this paper. There is not going to be a flood...right! We humans are always fascinated by "inside knowledge" because it is a form of power. But when it comes to matters of religion, we already have everything we need to know. Yet the religious leaders came to Jesus asking for a sign; Why?

Matthew 16:1-4 WEB (R)
(1) The Pharisees and Sadducees came, and testing him, asked him to show them a sign from heaven.
(2) But he answered them, "When it is evening, you say, 'It will be fair weather, for the sky is red.'
(3) In the morning, 'It will be foul weather today, for the sky is red and threatening.' Hypocrites! You know how to discern the appearance of the sky, but you can't discern the signs of the times!
(4) An evil and adulterous generation seeks after a sign, and there will be no sign given to it, except the sign of the prophet Jonah." He left them, and departed.

If there is a lot of water, there may be a flood; daa! Still, some people will say there is no flood, even when the waters are up to their knees. Jesus had told the religious leaders who he was and performed many miracles before chapter sixteen, but that wasn't enough. So, why were they asking again? Because they wanted to find fault with him; to discredit him because they really did not WANT TO BELIEVE. This was a sign of their evil heart and lack of spiritual perception. Truth is, we believe exactly what we want to, nothing more, nothing less.

Perspective in truth

I imagine most people have never heard of three player chess, but it has perked my curiosity over the years. It seems to me that it would be more like war than the standard chess I have played over the years; more true to what war is really like. It also occurred to me that this board could also represent truth as well; my truth, your truth and God's truth. Having this thought I thought about Pilate's response to Jesus....

John 18:33-38 WEB (R)
(33) Pilate therefore entered again into the Praetorium, called Jesus, and said to him, "Are you the King of the Jews?"
(34) Jesus answered him, "Do you say this by yourself, or did others tell you about me?"
(35) Pilate answered, "I'm not a Jew, am I? Your own nation and the chief priests delivered you to me. What have you done?"
(36) Jesus answered, "My Kingdom is not of this world. If my Kingdom were of this world, then my servants would fight, that I wouldn't be delivered to the Jews. But now my Kingdom is not from here."
(37) Pilate therefore said to him, "Are you a king then?" Jesus answered, "You say that I am a king. For this reason I have been born, and for this reason I have come into the world, that I should testify to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth listens to my voice."
(38) Pilate said to him, "What is truth?" When he had said this, he went out again to the Jews, and said to them, "I find no basis for a charge against him.

If even Pilate could see Jesus was innocent, what does this say about the Jews? To me, the term "narrow minded" comes to mind. But, that is from my perspective; I might have thought differently about them if I lived in A.D. 33. The point is that we should be open to the views of others and consider truth in the three fold perspective of mine, yours and God's. Hint, the more you focus on the last one in the list, the better you will be able to understand the other two. Now, having said all this, I wonder if alliances are allowed in three player chess; if so, I pick God.



The contrast of the desolation below and the beautiful golden hue caught my eye. How harsh the Earthly terrain and yet how beautiful the sky above! How could this NOT REMIND ME OF HEAVEN?

Revelation 21:9-27 WEB (R)
(9) One of the seven angels who had the seven bowls, who were loaded with the seven last plagues came, and he spoke with me, saying, "Come here. I will show you the wife, the Lamb's bride."
(10) He carried me away in the Spirit to a great and high mountain, and showed me the holy city, Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God,
(11) having the glory of God. Her light was like a most precious stone, as if it was a jasper stone, clear as crystal;
(12) having a great and high wall; having twelve gates, and at the gates twelve angels; and names written on them, which are the names of the twelve tribes of the children of Israel.
(13) On the east were three gates; and on the north three gates; and on the south three gates; and on the west three gates.
(14) The wall of the city had twelve foundations, and on them twelve names of the twelve Apostles of the Lamb.
(15) He who spoke with me had for a measure, a golden reed, to measure the city, its gates, and its walls.
(16) The city lies foursquare, and its length is as great as its breadth. He measured the city with the reed, Twelve thousand twelve stadia. Its length, breadth, and height are equal.
(17) Its wall is one hundred forty-four cubits, by the measure of a man, that is, of an angel.
(18) The construction of its wall was jasper. The city was pure gold, like pure glass.
(19) The foundations of the city's wall were adorned with all kinds of precious stones. The first foundation was jasper; the second, sapphire; the third, chalcedony; the fourth, emerald;
(20) the fifth, sardonyx; the sixth, sardius; the seventh, chrysolite; the eighth, beryl; the ninth, topaz; the tenth, chrysoprasus; the eleventh, jacinth; and the twelfth, amethyst.
(21) The twelve gates were twelve pearls. Each one of the gates was made of one pearl. The street of the city was pure gold, like transparent glass.
(22) I saw no temple in it, for the Lord God, the Almighty, and the Lamb, are its temple.
(23) The city has no need for the sun, neither of the moon, to shine, for the very glory of God illuminated it, and its lamp is the Lamb.
(24) The nations will walk in its light. The kings of the earth bring the glory and honor of the nations into it.
(25) Its gates will in no way be shut by day (for there will be no night there),
(26) and they shall bring the glory and the honor of the nations into it so that they may enter.
(27) There will in no way enter into it anything profane, or one who causes an abomination or a lie, but only those who are written in the Lamb's book of life.

Jesus, through the Apostle John paints a word-picture of the preciousness of heaven; gold, precious gems, pearls and most of all the presence of God. Oh, to walk through the pearly gates and stroll the golden streets! Communion with the saints and full fellowship with God, at last, at last. The beauty of the scene is beyond description, but the cold hard reality of this world makes us long for something better, something wonderful!! Someday, it will happen; just wait!!!


Pictures, hands and a rainbow heart

Very nice photo! Not the photo in the picture, but rather the hands that are holding the picture. The picture is nice too, but the hands caught my attention. My guess is that the hands belong to the man in the smaller picture. He is probably remembering what it was like to be there; to be alive in that picture. Perhaps he has memories of the lady with him and I hope they are good ones. How we remember people is important; it says a lot about both them and ourselves. Consider the Christians at Thessalonica; Paul, writes:

1 Thessalonians 1:1-7 WEB (R)
(1) Paul, Silvanus, and Timothy, to the assembly of the Thessalonians in God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
(2) We always give thanks to God for all of you, mentioning you in our prayers,
(3) remembering without ceasing your work of faith and labor of love and patience of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ, before our God and Father.
(4) We know, brothers loved by God, that you are chosen,
(5) and that our Good News came to you not in word only, but also in power, and in the Holy Spirit, and with much assurance. You know what kind of men we showed ourselves to be among you for your sake.
(6) You became imitators of us, and of the Lord, having received the word in much affliction, with joy of the Holy Spirit,
(7) so that you became an example to all who believe in Macedonia and in Achaia.

To me, verse number three says it all; the rest provides color. Many people talk a good game, but not everyone acts; the old saying is true: Talk is cheap; actions speak louder than words. The Thessalonians did something about their faith and did it in such a way as to be a praiseworthy (verse 7) example. As for the Apostle Paul, well, he worked and worked and worked and through it all prayed and kept on praying. Both his success and that of the Thessalonians was not only in their many deeds, but in the heart dedicated to God that was willing to work in the first place. This sort of love will always be remembered because it is engraven not on perishable paper but rather on the heart which is given to God. If I could see within a being so dedicated, I have no doubt that what is written there would be in a living rainbow of colors, more beautiful than any mere words could tell.


The Eagle Syndrome

"Eat your spinach and you will grow up big and strong" is something that means a great deal to me. I didn't like the green stuff for a long time, until I was made to eat it and only it for a solid week. Then and only then did I really learn to like it. I began to appreciate it for what it was and not just how it tasted. You know, after awhile, it even began to taste good. The little bird in the picture may think he (or she?) is an Eagle, but sooner or later it will hopefully come to its senses. At the time of the writing of the New Testament, Rome was the unquestioned ruler of the then known world, so those who lived there were at the very heart of western civilization! Rome was the center of the world, so why not see Eagles where little birdies lived? The answer is found in Romans chapter twelve.

Romans 12:1-16 WEB (R)
(1) Therefore I urge you, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service.
(2) Don't be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what is the good, well-pleasing, and perfect will of God.
(3) For I say, through the grace that was given me, to every man who is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think reasonably, as God has apportioned to each person a measure of faith.
(4) For even as we have many members in one body, and all the members don't have the same function,
(5) so we, who are many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another.
(6) Having gifts differing according to the grace that was given to us, if prophecy, let us prophesy according to the proportion of our faith;
(7) or service, let us give ourselves to service; or he who teaches, to his teaching;
(8) or he who exhorts, to his exhorting: he who gives, let him do it with liberality; he who rules, with diligence; he who shows mercy, with cheerfulness.
(9) Let love be without hypocrisy. Abhor that which is evil. Cling to that which is good.
(10) In love of the brothers be tenderly affectionate one to another; in honor preferring one another;
(11) not lagging in diligence; fervent in spirit; serving the Lord;
(12) rejoicing in hope; enduring in troubles; continuing steadfastly in prayer;
(13) contributing to the needs of the saints; given to hospitality.
(14) Bless those who persecute you; bless, and don't curse.
(15) Rejoice with those who rejoice. Weep with those who weep.
(16) Be of the same mind one toward another. Don't set your mind on high things, but associate with the humble. Don't be wise in your own conceits.

In Christ all followers are equal; but not all have the same function. Some of us may think we are more or less important than we really are, but God knows best how to use each one of us. I remember a maintenance man named Ron Q.; he was outstanding at what he did and a pleasant sort of fellow, so I struck up a conversation with him and we set up a Bible study. Since it was obvious he was definitely NOT a book person, I bought a copy of an "Easy to Read" New Testament for him to use. This was a big mistake because he was insulted. I should have asked what he wanted to use. He saw himself as being a more accomplished reader than he actually was, but I was more deceived than him because I didn't consider his feelings. I should have been looking for an Eagle, when all I saw was a little bird. That mistake cost both of us a lot and was one of the hardest lessons for me to learn. Pride is a terrible sin! Nowadays,when I look in the mirror, I don't see an Eagle, just one very big bird!

A reflection of love

When I first saw this picture of the flower I appreciated it for its beauty and then I looked a bit closer. Notice the drop of water; in it is a reflection of the flower. Like a flower within a flower it seems to shout of beauty in a way I had never really thought of before. Without a doubt, God does beautiful work.

Consider this passage from the New Testament.

Matthew 6:24-34 WEB (R)
(24) "No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other; or else he will be devoted to one and despise the other. You can't serve both God and Mammon.
(25) Therefore, I tell you, don't be anxious for your life: what you will eat, or what you will drink; nor yet for your body, what you will wear. Isn't life more than food, and the body more than clothing?
(26) See the birds of the sky, that they don't sow, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns. Your heavenly Father feeds them. Aren't you of much more value than they?
(27) "Which of you, by being anxious, can add one moment to his lifespan?
(28) Why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow. They don't toil, neither do they spin,
(29) yet I tell you that even Solomon in all his glory was not dressed like one of these.
(30) But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today exists, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, won't he much more clothe you, you of little faith?
(31) "Therefore don't be anxious, saying, 'What will we eat?', 'What will we drink?' or, 'With what will we be clothed?'
(32) For the Gentiles seek after all these things, for your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things.
(33) But seek first God's Kingdom, and his righteousness; and all these things will be given to you as well.
(34) Therefore don't be anxious for tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Each day's own evil is sufficient.

God cares for even the humble flowers of the field and the depth of that love is revealed as being nothing in comparison to that of HIS love for us. If he takes such care to produce magnificence on such a scale that even its mere reflection is a work of art, then what joys await those who have faith and trust in him?


Outside and inside

Just an ordinary winter picture, nothing special at all, but wait, it could have been taken in northern FLORIDA. Recently, there has been snow in the Tampa area and even sleet in Dade City. Huh?? Many, many people have told me that there has not been snow here since 1977; so much for global warming. It seems that life just keeps handing me one surprise after another, and just when you think you have seen everything; whamoo! Jesus addressed the seeming unlikely too, in response to a question by the Pharisees.

Luke 17:20-36 WEB (R)
(20) Being asked by the Pharisees when the Kingdom of God would come, he answered them, "The Kingdom of God doesn't come with observation;
(21) neither will they say, 'Look, here!' or, 'Look, there!' for behold, the Kingdom of God is within you."
(22) He said to the disciples, "The days will come, when you will desire to see one of the days of the Son of Man, and you will not see it.
(23) They will tell you, 'Look, here!' or 'Look, there!' Don't go away, nor follow after them,
(24) for as the lightning, when it flashes out of the one part under the sky, shines to the other part under the sky; so will the Son of Man be in his day.
(25) But first, he must suffer many things and be rejected by this generation.
(26) As it happened in the days of Noah, even so will it be also in the days of the Son of Man.
(27) They ate, they drank, they married, they were given in marriage, until the day that Noah entered into the ship, and the flood came, and destroyed them all.
(28) Likewise, even as it happened in the days of Lot: they ate, they drank, they bought, they sold, they planted, they built;
(29) but in the day that Lot went out from Sodom, it rained fire and sulfur from the sky, and destroyed them all.
(30) It will be the same way in the day that the Son of Man is revealed.
(31) In that day, he who will be on the housetop, and his goods in the house, let him not go down to take them away. Let him who is in the field likewise not turn back.
(32) Remember Lot's wife!
(33) Whoever seeks to save his life loses it, but whoever loses his life preserves it.
(34) I tell you, in that night there will be two people in one bed. The one will be taken, and the other will be left.
(35) There will be two grinding grain together. One will be taken, and the other will be left."
(36) Two will be in the field: the one taken, and the other left."

I don't think anybody really LIKES to think about a judgment of God, let alone THE JUDGMENT OF GOD!! But, Jesus does talk about it. To some of us, it may seem unlikely, but hey; who would have thought it would snow in warm, sunny FLORIDA? Since winter is far from over, maybe I should think about buying a pair of warm gloves or a scarf? And thinking about the destiny of ones eternal soul is always a good idea as well!!! All this may sound a bit paranoid, but life is full of surprises and I really don't need any more right now, especially if it involves something as important as heaven or hell!!!


A half truth is a whole lie

Be sure to read this add VERY CAREFULLY!!! Normally, when you buy something in a store the price would be half of that listed, BUT NOT HERE!!! It seems like there is a lot of deception lately; which of course is a form of a lie. Trickery is nothing new, but what happens when the trickster is tricked?

Consider Jacob...

Genesis 29:20-26 WEB (R)
(20) Jacob served seven years for Rachel. They seemed to him but a few days, for the love he had for her.
(21) Jacob said to Laban, "Give me my wife, for my days are fulfilled, that I may go in to her."
(22) Laban gathered together all the men of the place, and made a feast.
(23) It happened in the evening, that he took Leah his daughter, and brought her to him. He went in to her.
(24) Laban gave Zilpah his handmaid to his daughter Leah for a handmaid.
(25) It happened in the morning that, behold, it was Leah. He said to Laban, "What is this you have done to me? Didn't I serve with you for Rachel? Why then have you deceived me?"
(26) Laban said, "It is not done so in our place, to give the younger before the firstborn.

Jacob obtained his inheritance and birthright through deceit and then was deceived himself. One can only wonder what went through his mind when he saw Leah that morning? Although most people don't think about it much, how you live your life comes back to you in one way or another. It is always better to tell the truth in a straightforward manner than to tell a half truth, because a half truth is actually a whole lie.

Goodness, needles and money

No, I do not know how this is done. Looks very difficult, but not impossible (since it is being done). Think about the last time you tried to even thread a needle, much less trying to put something abnormal through it. Jesus talks about needles with someone who just could not see his way to even trying.

Mark 10:17-27 WEB (R)
(17) As he was going out into the way, one ran to him, knelt before him, and asked him, "Good Teacher, what shall I do that I may inherit eternal life?"
(18) Jesus said to him, "Why do you call me good? No one is good except one-God.
(19) You know the commandments: 'Do not murder,' 'Do not commit adultery,' 'Do not steal,' 'Do not give false testimony,' 'Do not defraud,' 'Honor your father and mother.' "
(20) He said to him, "Teacher, I have observed all these things from my youth."
(21) Jesus looking at him loved him, and said to him, "One thing you lack. Go, sell whatever you have, and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me, taking up the cross."
(22) But his face fell at that saying, and he went away sorrowful, for he was one who had great possessions.
(23) Jesus looked around, and said to his disciples, "How difficult it is for those who have riches to enter into the Kingdom of God!"
(24) The disciples were amazed at his words. But Jesus answered again, "Children, how hard is it for those who trust in riches to enter into the Kingdom of God!
(25) It is easier for a camel to go through a needle's eye than for a rich man to enter into the Kingdom of God."
(26) They were exceedingly astonished, saying to him, "Then who can be saved?"
(27) Jesus, looking at them, said, "With men it is impossible, but not with God, for all things are possible with God."

Money can be both a blessing and a trap. Blessing in that our needs can be supplied and a trap if we trust in it instead of God. By almost any standard the man who came to Jesus was a good man, good enough to be LOVED by Jesus. Yet, inside he trusted in his possessions instead of God and that was a big problem. Not only for him, but for the disciples as well. Even though the disciples (learners) didn't have much in the way of money, still they were amazed to the point of wondering if anyone could be saved at all! What they did not realize was that those who view money as a tool to serve God rather than an obsession to be acquired, stand a very good chance of performing the impossible. If the heart is right with God, then money is NOT AN OBSTACLE, rather a blessing for others beside themselves. I can see that smoke could go through the eye of a needle, but a camel? Will have to get back to you on that one...


A little birdie told me...

A little birdie told me...?? Interesting words, often the prelude to trouble. What is so alluring about gossip anyway? Is it the power of knowledge or perhaps the click syndrome? Is it genuine concern for another, or the need to feel superior to your fellow human being. Good questions, all. I suppose books have been written on it, but lets just consider a couple of the proverbs.

Proverbs 18:6-8 WEB (R)
(6) A fool's lips come into strife, and his mouth invites beatings.
(7) A fool's mouth is his destruction, and his lips are a snare to his soul.
(8) The words of a gossip are like dainty morsels: they go down into a person's innermost parts.

Proverbs 11:13 WEB (R)
(13) One who brings gossip betrays a confidence, but one who is of a trustworthy spirit is one who keeps a secret.

Gossip spreads like wildfire; how often have I heard that one! Its interesting to me that in the first passage, gossip is preceded by comments about a fool. As 11:13 points out gossip is the breaking of a confidence; a form of betrayal. Putting the two together, gossip is foolishness that reveals a lack of trustworthiness. But, why is it so delightful to the ear? I think it has something to do with the same reasons as those involved in the fall of man; the desire to have power through forbidden knowledge. Look where that little episode took humanity! The next time someone says to you: "Did you hear about...", ask them to invite the subject of the little morsel of information to talk about it! That's a good way to stop gossip in its tracks. A little birdie told me how to do it! But, I am not saying who!!!

Now number two!

Recently, I read how a new building in Dubai is now the tallest building in the whole world. I imagine it must have been hard for the Canadians to realize that the CN tower is no longer number one, but sometimes in life, things like this happen. How we handle such things is a true mark of character and of course I thought of John the Baptist.

John 3:22-30 WEB (R)
(22) After these things, Jesus came with his disciples into the land of Judea. He stayed there with them, and baptized.
(23) John also was baptizing in Enon near Salim, because there was much water there. They came, and were baptized.
(24) For John was not yet thrown into prison.
(25) There arose therefore a questioning on the part of John's disciples with some Jews about purification.
(26) They came to John, and said to him, "Rabbi, he who was with you beyond the Jordan, to whom you have testified, behold, the same baptizes, and everyone is coming to him."
(27) John answered, "A man can receive nothing, unless it has been given him from heaven.
(28) You yourselves testify that I said, 'I am not the Christ,' but, 'I have been sent before him.'
(29) He who has the bride is the bridegroom; but the friend of the bridegroom, who stands and hears him, rejoices greatly because of the bridegroom's voice. This, my joy, therefore is made full.
(30) He must increase, but I must decrease.

John was an awesome character indeed. Dressed like Elijah of old, with a very Spartan lifestyle, his fiery sermons must have caused many a conscience to to be pierced to the very heart! Yet, what I like best about him is found in verse 30 above. He knew he place in life and accepted it; not bad for someone who was obviously blessed with a God-given ministry. All this does not take away from him but rather adds to it, because great is still great. So is the CN tower!


Can do!

This picture is of Peter Smith, who among other things, manages Hallmark cards for CVS in Seffner, Florida. If you ever have an opportunity to meet him you are in for a treat; he is one very optimistic, hard working man! Although he is a senior citizen, he acts and works like someone much, much younger. While I thinking about him today, I thought of someone a great deal like him; none other than Caleb himself.

Joshua 14:5-14 WEB (R)
(5) The children of Israel did as Yahweh commanded Moses, and they divided the land.
(6) Then the children of Judah drew near to Joshua in Gilgal. Caleb the son of Jephunneh the Kenizzite said to him, "You know the thing that Yahweh spoke to Moses the man of God concerning me and concerning you in Kadesh Barnea.
(7) I was forty years old when Moses the servant of Yahweh sent me from Kadesh Barnea to spy out the land. I brought him word again as it was in my heart.
(8) Nevertheless, my brothers who went up with me made the heart of the people melt; but I wholly followed Yahweh my God.
(9) Moses swore on that day, saying, 'Surely the land where you walked shall be an inheritance to you and to your children forever, because you have wholly followed Yahweh my God.'
(10) Now, behold, Yahweh has kept me alive, as he spoke, these forty-five years, from the time that Yahweh spoke this word to Moses, while Israel walked in the wilderness. Now, behold, I am eighty-five years old, today.
(11) As yet I am as strong today as I was in the day that Moses sent me: as my strength was then, even so is my strength now for war, to go out and to come in.
(12) Now therefore give me this hill country, of which Yahweh spoke in that day; for you heard in that day how the Anakim were there, and great and fortified cities. It may be that Yahweh will be with me, and I shall drive them out, as Yahweh spoke."
(13) Joshua blessed him; and he gave Hebron to Caleb the son of Jephunneh for an inheritance.
(14) Therefore Hebron became the inheritance of Caleb the son of Jephunneh the Kenizzite to this day; because he wholly followed Yahweh, the God of Israel.

As you may recall, Joshua and Caleb were the two optimistic spies who evaluated the promised land for the tribes of Israel. Of the people who originally came out of Egypt, only these two made it into the promised land. And Caleb, at eight-five picks the most difficult to conquer (because of the Anakim giants) and does it!! All this goes to show you that it is attitude that is the predominant factor in success; age is secondary. Just as Caleb was a success at what he chose to do, so is Peter; in both cases a positive attitude is something you can't help but notice!!!



This picture reminds me of the phrase that mothers often use: If your friends jump off a cliff, I suppose you would jump too. This is what they do; jump off cliffs and glide until they are near the bottom and then they pull their ripcords and rely on parachutes to arrrive safely on the ground. Pretty dangerous stuff! Listen to what the Almighty has to say about the influence of "friends".

Deuteronomy 13:6-9 WEB (R)
(6) If your brother, the son of your mother, or your son, or your daughter, or the wife of your bosom, or your friend, who is as your own soul, entice you secretly, saying, Let us go and serve other gods, which you have not known, you, nor your fathers;
(7) of the gods of the peoples who are around you, near to you, or far off from you, from the one end of the earth even to the other end of the earth;
(8) you shall not consent to him, nor listen to him; neither shall your eye pity him, neither shall you spare, neither shall you conceal him:
(9) but you shall surely kill him; your hand shall be first on him to put him to death, and afterwards the hand of all the people.

Israel was supposed to be different; holy to God. They were to have nothing to do with idols or the pagan gods of the people of Palestine. Some things you should never do, regardless of who tried to get you to them. I am quite sure that I will never be caught jumping off a cliff and I hope you wouldn't either. Besides, I don't look good in red.


Snow-angels, GOOD NEWS and me

For Bibi...

I know, its just snow; but snow has been on my mind lately. Think of it; snow in Florida?? Some of the locals tell me it has actually snowed here, but not for many years. What do you do with snow? Shovel it, blow it, mold it (snow balls, snowmen, etc.) or maybe even do what the picture shows; sculpt angels. The Bible has a lot to say about them and I know entire books have been written, but for today, just consider a couple of passages.

Luke 2:8-14 WEB (R)
(8) There were shepherds in the same country staying in the field, and keeping watch by night over their flock.
(9) Behold, an angel of the Lord stood by them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified.
(10) The angel said to them, "Don't be afraid, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy which will be to all the people.
(11) For there is born to you, this day, in the city of David, a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.
(12) This is the sign to you: you will find a baby wrapped in strips of cloth, lying in a feeding trough."
(13) Suddenly, there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly army praising God, and saying,
(14) "Glory to God in the highest, on earth peace, good will toward men."

Matthew 28:1-7 WEB (R)
(1) Now after the Sabbath, as it began to dawn on the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary came to see the tomb.
(2) Behold, there was a great earthquake, for an angel of the Lord descended from the sky, and came and rolled away the stone from the door, and sat on it.
(3) His appearance was like lightning, and his clothing white as snow.
(4) For fear of him, the guards shook, and became like dead men.
(5) The angel answered the women, "Don't be afraid, for I know that you seek Jesus, who has been crucified.
(6) He is not here, for he has risen, just like he said. Come, see the place where the Lord was lying.
(7) Go quickly and tell his disciples, 'He has risen from the dead, and behold, he goes before you into Galilee; there you will see him.' Behold, I have told you."

Angels have done a great many things, but these two passages illustrate what I like best about them; they bring news from God. The news may be good or not-so-good, but in these two instances, it was GREAT NEWS. Earth shaking, eternal news that never grows old, never will grow out of date as long as human being exist; God has come to Earth because he loves his creation and gave of himself to redeem that creation from sin. Boring news, I think NOT; because every single thing that I have ever done wrong has been made right through the blood of Jesus of Nazareth, who is called The Christ of God. Although the angel in the picture is beautiful (and it is BEAUTIFUL), nevertheless, the blessing of forgiveness of sin is far greater. Now, when did you say it was going to begin to snow; I have something to sculpt?


Dog eat dog world

Just a picture of dogs, isn't it? Yet, somehow I see a reflection of something more here. Humans act like this too, don't they? They force their will on one another, attempt (and sometimes succeed) to control one another and do all kinds of things that are less than wonderful. In short, sometimes humans act like animals. I like this passage of Scripture because it says something to me about control.

Galatians 5:1-18 WEB (R)
(1) Stand firm therefore in the liberty by which Christ has made us free, and don't be entangled again with a yoke of bondage.
(2) Behold, I, Paul, tell you that if you receive circumcision, Christ will profit you nothing.
(3) Yes, I testify again to every man who receives circumcision, that he is a debtor to do the whole law.
(4) You are alienated from Christ, you who desire to be justified by the law. You have fallen away from grace.
(5) For we, through the Spirit, by faith wait for the hope of righteousness.
(6) For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision amounts to anything, nor uncircumcision, but faith working through love.
(7) You were running well! Who interfered with you that you should not obey the truth?
(8) This persuasion is not from him who calls you.
(9) A little yeast grows through the whole lump.
(10) I have confidence toward you in the Lord that you will think no other way. But he who troubles you will bear his judgment, whoever he is.
(11) But I, brothers, if I still preach circumcision, why am I still persecuted? Then the stumbling block of the cross has been removed.
(12) I wish that those who disturb you would cut themselves off.
(13) For you, brothers, were called for freedom. Only don't use your freedom for gain to the flesh, but through love be servants to one another.
(14) For the whole law is fulfilled in one word, in this: "You shall love your neighbor as yourself."
(15) But if you bite and devour one another, be careful that you don't consume one another.(16) But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you won't fulfill the lust of the flesh.
(17) For the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary to one another, that you may not do the things that you desire.
(18) But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law.

Rules; nobody likes them, but they ARE NECESSARY! But what if they were NOT NECESSARY? With love, they are superfluous! Extra baggage to those who really love God; those who are led by the SPIRIT to do what is right, regardless of the circumstances. Law may rule, but LOVE CONQUERORS! As human beings, we break LAW, but with the LOVE OF GOD in our hearts, we overcome our natural tendencies and do HIS WILL without reference to LAW. It may be a "dog eat dog" world out there, but thanks to God; we have a helper to guide us from the path of sin. Something to think about on this cold January day....


Something to remember

Niagara Falls; now that is a place I will always remember! We went there on our honeymoon (several years after we were married) and this picture reminded me of its beauty at night. Funny how the mind works; sometimes a memory is triggered by a sound or a smell, but most ofter for me it is something beautiful. God gives us beautiful little signposts like a rainbow or a smile on a young child to bring joy into our lives. For the Jews, there were many of these and the following verses tell us of just one.

Numbers 15:37-41 WEB (R)
(37) Yahweh spoke to Moses, saying,
(38) Speak to the children of Israel, and tell them that they should make them fringes in the borders of their garments throughout their generations, and that they put on the fringe of each border a cord of blue:
(39) and it shall be to you for a fringe, that you may look on it, and remember all the commandments of Yahweh, and do them; and that you not follow after your own heart and your own eyes, after which you use to play the prostitute;
(40) that you may remember and do all my commandments, and be holy to your God.
(41) I am Yahweh your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, to be your God: I am Yahweh your God.

The law was given in order that God's nation Israel was to be pure and HOLY; every single one of them. To help them remember, a blue cord was to remind them what God had commanded them. Like the law, this cord was to be with them all the time, triggering obedience to the perfection within its precepts and the result; a HOLY LIFE! If a mere picture like the one above can evoke memories after only one look, imagine the power of the words of an Almighty God before you all of the time. Now, that is really something to remember!!



This is a somewhat dark and imposing picture, but I like it anyway. Not because it is on the dark side, but because it reveals something within the darkness. If you look carefully at the picture, the pink (or Rosy Red if you will)in the clouds is not caused by shadows but by something within them; lightning.

John 3:1-9 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?"

This paragraph is the stuff of faith. We can't know or understand everything. Even the most brilliant among us can't KNOW EVERYTHING! The world is too big and human knowledge is so monumental that omniscience is impossible (For human beings at least)! But, what we can know is that we can start our lives anew with God and even though we may not understand exactly HOW God does everything, we still can accept what he says and does by faith. So it is with this picture too; I can't see the lightning, but I know that its there; and I don't even need Rose colored glasses!


Go for it!!

Remember the Road Runner? ACME mean anything to you? These two things came to mind when I saw this picture. It seems bad weather is pointed right at this island and if the Road Runner is there; well, he is GOING TO GET IT!! The Road Runner may have been the eternal optimist, but he winds up slammed in the end. Elijah must have felt like the Road Runner after Jezebel threatened him. Read this passage from 1 Kings to find out more.

1 Kings 19:1-18 WEB (R)
(1) Ahab told Jezebel all that Elijah had done, and how he had killed all the prophets with the sword.
(2) Then Jezebel send a messenger to Elijah, saying, So let the gods do to me, and more also, if I don't make your life as the life of one of them by tomorrow about this time.
(3) When he saw that, he arose, and went for his life, and came to Beersheba, which belongs to Judah, and left his servant there.
(4) But he himself went a day's journey into the wilderness, and came and sat down under a juniper tree: and he requested for himself that he might die, and said, It is enough; now, O Yahweh, take away my life; for I am not better than my fathers.
(5) He lay down and slept under a juniper tree; and behold, an angel touched him, and said to him, Arise and eat.
(6) He looked, and behold, there was at his head a cake baked on the coals, and a jar of water. He ate and drank, and laid down again.
(7) The angel of Yahweh came again the second time, and touched him, and said, Arise and eat, because the journey is too great for you.
(8) He arose, and ate and drank, and went in the strength of that food forty days and forty nights to Horeb the Mount of God.
(9) He came there to a cave, and lodged there; and behold, the word of Yahweh came to him, and he said to him, What are you doing here, Elijah?
(10) He said, I have been very jealous for Yahweh, the God of Armies; for the children of Israel have forsaken your covenant, thrown down your altars, and slain your prophets with the sword: and I, even I only, am left; and they seek my life, to take it away.
(11) He said, Go forth, and stand on the mountain before Yahweh. Behold, Yahweh passed by, and a great and strong wind tore the mountains, and broke in pieces the rocks before Yahweh; but Yahweh was not in the wind: and after the wind an earthquake; but Yahweh was not in the earthquake:
(12) and after the earthquake a fire; but Yahweh was not in the fire: and after the fire a still small voice.
(13) It was so, when Elijah heard it, that he wrapped his face in his mantle, and went out, and stood in the entrance of the cave. Behold, there came a voice to him, and said, What are you doing here, Elijah?
(14) He said, I have been very jealous for Yahweh, the God of Armies; for the children of Israel have forsaken your covenant, thrown down your altars, and slain your prophets with the sword; and I, even I only, am left; and they seek my life, to take it away.
(15) Yahweh said to him, Go, return on your way to the wilderness of Damascus: and when you come, you shall anoint Hazael to be king over Syria;
(16) and you shall anoint Jehu the son of Nimshi to be king over Israel; and you shall anoint Elisha the son of Shaphat of Abel Meholah to be prophet in your place.
(17) It shall happen, that he who escapes from the sword of Hazael shall Jehu kill; and he who escapes from the sword of Jehu shall Elisha kill.
(18) Yet will I leave me seven thousand in Israel, all the knees which have not bowed to Baal, and every mouth which has not kissed him.

I like Elijah; a worker of miracles, a strong proponent of Yahweh and overall a real man's man. BUT, he had his limits; he was not without fear and doubt. In short, he was human! But God encouraged him, guided him and directed him. Elijah listened! No, the world is not out to get you; things happen, but with God on your side things happen! Wait, what's that noise? Sounded something like a beep, beep????? Go for it!!!!


'round the corner

This is a picture of Plumbago road. It is a dirt road (sand mostly)that exits onto old state road in Dade City. Since I can't see around the corner, I go very slow and continually look to the right to detect oncoming traffic. This road is a lot like life; you just have to be careful and watch where you are going. Consider this passage from the book of Matthew:

Matthew 6:31-34 WEB (R)
(31) "Therefore don't be anxious, saying, 'What will we eat?', 'What will we drink?' or, 'With what will we be clothed?'
(32) For the Gentiles seek after all these things, for your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things.
(33) But seek first God's Kingdom, and his righteousness; and all these things will be given to you as well.
(34) Therefore don't be anxious for tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Each day's own evil is sufficient.

Every time this year there are those who make predictions about what will happen in the next twelve months. All sorts of wild speculations abound. Most do not come true; although a few may. I already know what is going to happen this upcoming year; God has told me in verse 33. I am going to be taken care of; if there is something I really NEED, like food and shelter, God has been and always will be there. Oh, I still will wonder how HE will do it, but I know that HE will. Eventually, the future that lies around the next corner will take me to HIM, but so what; I will go to someplace better. Don't get me wrong, I still will look around the corner, but I won't be worrying about what's on the other side.



On the last day of 2009 there was a blue moon. No, the moon did not change color, but we did see two full moons in a month; something rare. How often this happens, I don't know, but perhaps the term rare will give us a clue. In the old testament, there is the story of something rare and although some of the important parts occurred at night, it had nothing to do with the moon. Read on to find out....

Daniel 2:1-24 WEB (R)
(1) In the second year of the reign of Nebuchadnezzar, Nebuchadnezzar dreamed dreams; and his spirit was troubled, and his sleep went from him.
(2) Then the king commanded to call the magicians, and the enchanters, and the sorcerers, and the Chaldeans, to tell the king his dreams. So they came in and stood before the king.
(3) The king said to them, I have dreamed a dream, and my spirit is troubled to know the dream.
(4) Then spoke the Chaldeans to the king in the Syrian language, O king, live forever: tell your servants the dream, and we will show the interpretation.
(5) The king answered the Chaldeans, The thing is gone from me: if you don't make known to me the dream and its interpretation, you shall be cut in pieces, and your houses shall be made a dunghill.
(6) But if you show the dream and its interpretation, you shall receive of me gifts and rewards and great honor: therefore show me the dream and its interpretation.
(7) They answered the second time and said, Let the king tell his servants the dream, and we will show the interpretation.
(8) The king answered, I know of a certainty that you would gain time, because you see the thing is gone from me.
(9) But if you don't make known to me the dream, there is but one law for you; for you have prepared lying and corrupt words to speak before me, until the time be changed: therefore tell me the dream, and I shall know that you can show me its interpretation.
(10) The Chaldeans answered before the king, and said, There is not a man on the earth who can show the king's matter, because no king, lord, or ruler, has asked such a thing of any magician, or enchanter, or Chaldean.
(11) It is a rare thing that the king requires, and there is no other who can show it before the king, except the gods, whose dwelling is not with flesh.
(12) For this cause the king was angry and very furious, and commanded to destroy all the wise men of Babylon.
(13) So the decree went forth, and the wise men were to be slain; and they sought Daniel and his companions to be slain.
(14) Then Daniel returned answer with counsel and prudence to Arioch the captain of the king's guard, who was gone forth to kill the wise men of Babylon;
(15) he answered Arioch the king's captain, Why is the decree so urgent from the king? Then Arioch made the thing known to Daniel.
(16) Daniel went in, and desired of the king that he would appoint him a time, and he would show the king the interpretation.
(17) Then Daniel went to his house, and made the thing known to Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah, his companions:
(18) that they would desire mercies of the God of heaven concerning this secret; that Daniel and his companions should not perish with the rest of the wise men of Babylon.
(19) Then was the secret revealed to Daniel in a vision of the night. Then Daniel blessed the God of heaven.
(20) Daniel answered, Blessed be the name of God forever and ever; for wisdom and might are his.
(21) He changes the times and the seasons; he removes kings, and sets up kings; he gives wisdom to the wise, and knowledge to those who have understanding;
(22) he reveals the deep and secret things; he knows what is in the darkness, and the light dwells with him.
(23) I thank you, and praise you, you God of my fathers, who have given me wisdom and might, and have now made known to me what we desired of you; for you have made known to us the king's matter.
(24) Therefore Daniel went in to Arioch, whom the king had appointed to destroy the wise men of Babylon; he went and said thus to him: Don't destroy the wise men of Babylon; bring me in before the king, and I will show to the king the interpretation.

Daniel is one of my favorite Bible characters; he is in exile, but exactly where God wants him to be. And God gives him knowledge through dreams and visions in order to reveal HIS WILL. I enjoy the rare and unusual, like the Ripley's believe it or not because of its shock factor. Daniel's knowledge must have really shocked those around him as he told something he shouldn't have known. God has a way of making his will known in ways that would never occur to us, and even though dreams and revelations were rare, they still happened; you might say... once in a blue moon.