I saw this interesting picture on the net recently. Someone had modified the B.P. logo to make a portion of it black. To many people, B.P. will be remembered in a bad light (a pitch black oil one) because of the accident in the gulf. That is the way it is sometimes, you live a certain way and then something new transpires in your life, but people can only think of the old you. So it was for the apostle Paul; he had been a zealous Jew, even to the point of persecuting Christians in way away cities. But God had a different plan for him as this text from the book of Acts shows.

Acts 9:10-22 (WEB)
10) Now there was a certain disciple at Damascus named Ananias. The Lord said to him in a vision, “Ananias!” He said, “Behold, it’s me, Lord.”
11) The Lord said to him, “Arise, and go to the street which is called Straight, and inquire in the house of Judah for one named Saul, a man of Tarsus. For behold, he is praying,
12) and in a vision he has seen a man named Ananias coming in, and laying his hands on him, that he might receive his sight.”
13) But Ananias answered, “Lord, I have heard from many about this man, how much evil he did to your saints at Jerusalem.
14) Here he has authority from the chief priests to bind all who call on your name.”
15) But the Lord said to him, “Go your way, for he is my chosen vessel to bear my name before the nations and kings, and the children of Israel.
16) For I will show him how many things he must suffer for my name’s sake.”
17) Ananias departed, and entered into the house. Laying his hands on him, he said, “Brother Saul, the Lord, who appeared to you on the road by which you came, has sent me, that you may receive your sight, and be filled with the Holy Spirit.”
18) Immediately something like scales fell from his eyes, and he received his sight. He arose and was baptized.
19) He took food and was strengthened. Saul stayed several days with the disciples who were at Damascus.
20) Immediately in the synagogues he proclaimed the Christ, that he is the Son of God.
21) All who heard him were amazed, and said, “Isn’t this he who in Jerusalem made havoc of those who called on this name? And he had come here intending to bring them bound before the chief priests!”
22) But Saul increased more in strength, and confounded the Jews who lived at Damascus, proving that this is the Christ.
(Acts 9:10-22, WEB)

There is an old French saying: Man proposes, God DISPOSES! Things will change in this life and sometimes people too. In Paul's case it was for the good and to our benefit. As far as B.P. goes, I hope they clean up their act and the gulf as well. Right now they have one very big black mark on their reputation (and their logo). I wish them success in their efforts, a lot of people's livelihoods depend on it and the lives of countless animals as well.



While I was looking on the net today, I came across a collection of vintage lunch boxes and even though I didn't see the one I had (Davey Crockett) I did see this "oldie but goodie". If the address 1313 Mockingbird lane means anything to you, then this box probably will as well. I liked the show, cornball as it was, because as odd as they were, they were a real family (warts and all). This made me think of my own genealogy studies and all the odd things I found out about my own ancestors. The Bible has genealogies in it too; here is one of them.

Luke 3:23-38 (WEB)
23) Jesus himself, when he began to teach, was about thirty years old, being the son (as was supposed) of Joseph, the son of Heli,
24) the son of Matthat, the son of Levi, the son of Melchi, the son of Jannai, the son of Joseph,
25) the son of Mattathias, the son of Amos, the son of Nahum, the son of Esli, the son of Naggai,
26) the son of Maath, the son of Mattathias, the son of Semein, the son of Joseph, the son of Judah,
27) the son of Joanan, the son of Rhesa, the son of Zerubbabel, the son of Shealtiel, the son of Neri,
28) the son of Melchi, the son of Addi, the son of Cosam, the son of Elmodam, the son of Er,
29) the son of Jose, the son of Eliezer, the son of Jorim, the son of Matthat, the son of Levi,
30) the son of Simeon, the son of Judah, the son of Joseph, the son of Jonan, the son of Eliakim,
31) the son of Melea, the son of Menan, the son of Mattatha, the son of Nathan, the son of David,
32) the son of Jesse, the son of Obed, the son of Boaz, the son of Salmon, the son of Nahshon,
33) the son of Amminadab, the son of Aram, the son of Hezron, the son of Perez, the son of Judah,
34) the son of Jacob, the son of Isaac, the son of Abraham, the son of Terah, the son of Nahor,
35) the son of Serug, the son of Reu, the son of Peleg, the son of Eber, the son of Shelah,
36) the son of Cainan, the son of Arphaxad, the son of Shem, the son of Noah, the son of Lamech,
37) the son of Methuselah, the son of Enoch, the son of Jared, the son of Mahalaleel, the son of Cainan,
38) the son of Enos, the son of Seth, the son of Adam, the son of God.
(Luke 3:23-38, WEB)

Adam, Noah, Abraham, David and of course, Jesus are the most famous, but what about Serug, Menan and Melchi to name just a few. The least important of them all still did something wonderful in that they had a part in the lineage of Jesus, who literally changed the entire world. Each of us is important as well, because we never know exactly what impact our life my have upon the world. Each and every life is important, whether it be a "Herman Munster", a "Marylin" or even a kookie "Grandpa". As for me, I wouldn't mind being in the driver's seat of the "Munster-mobile" because it was one really "souped-up" family car. I can almost hear the theme of the sitcom right now.....


Tech support

I laughed at this cartoon as soon as I saw it, but a few weeks ago I wasn't laughing at all. My laptop seemed totally beyond repair and for me that is not a laughing matter. When I was finished mulling over recent problems, I noticed the animals in the picture. Now, there is something to laugh about... and did. Then I thought of this passage from the book of Genesis and had one more thought... guess what it was?

Genesis 1:20-25 (WEB)
20) God said, “Let the waters swarm with swarms of living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth in the open expanse of sky.”
21) God created the large sea creatures, and every living creature that moves, with which the waters swarmed, after their kind, and every winged bird after its kind. God saw that it was good.
22) God blessed them, saying, “Be fruitful, and multiply, and fill the waters in the seas, and let birds multiply on the earth.”
23) There was evening and there was morning, a fifth day.
24) God said, “Let the earth produce living creatures after their kind, livestock, creeping things, and animals of the earth after their kind;” and it was so.
25) God made the animals of the earth after their kind, and the livestock after their kind, and everything that creeps on the ground after its kind. God saw that it was good.
(Genesis 1:20-25, WEB)

Think about every kind of animal you can imagine; from the hummingbird, the ostrich, the pelican, and all those weird fish in the depths of the seas. God made them ALL! What a sense of humor! Immediately after these verses we find God creating human beings. Talk about a sense of humor. Bad breath, sweat, fat, baldness and puberty. All the things that make me glad to be a proud member of humanity. Since we don't know the answers to all of our problems in this life, I can't wait to find out the answers in the next. I just hope there is something better than "the computer" in heaven because when my computer doesn't work, I feel like the guy in the cartoon. And I don't even own a "Dell".



This picture was confusing to me for a few seconds; at first, I looked to the left and wondered where the baby was. Then I realized; there was no baby. This couple was imaging what it would like to have a child. Nice thought, the world needs people to fill it up. Then I wondered: What do most people long for?

Luke 12:16-21 (WEB)
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.”
(Luke 12:16-21, WEB)

Money, success, possessions, power; pretty short list, quite a foolish list. Step back and ask yourself: What will be the value of these things in a hundred years? Nothing, nothing at all; because you won't be here to enjoy them. Death has a way of establishing the true value of goals because it causes us to consider the judge of all who breathe this day. As far as the picture goes, well, this dream has value because its theoretically possible that the yet-unborn child could be alive one hundred years from now. Yet, even if a child were conceived this very day, no one knows what it will be like. the good-news is.... God doesn't change. Take a couple of minutes and reflect on verse 21 as it applies to your life. Hummm!


What kind of example do you set?

I find this picture appalling! Right now, people are being raped, killed and their property destroyed in the state of Arizona and people have such low moral values as to parade with signs like these! If this goes unchecked, America as we know it will no longer exist!! Frankly, I hope I do not live to see the fall of America, but as unthinkable as it is... it is possible!! How should we respond? As CITIZENS, work within the framework of the republic and urge every public official to DO THEIR JOB. Personally, we who call ourselves Christians, have a higher calling and must answer to the highest possible authority; God! Read the following chapter from the book of 1st Peter to see my frame of reference.

1 Peter 4:1-19 (WEB)
1) Forasmuch then as Christ suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourselves also with the same mind; for he who has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin;
2) that you no longer should live the rest of your time in the flesh for the lusts of men, but for the will of God.
3) For we have spent enough of our past time doing the desire of the Gentiles, and having walked in lewdness, lusts, drunken binges, orgies, carousings, and abominable idolatries.
4) They think it is strange that you don’t run with them into the same excess of riot, blaspheming:
5) who will give account to him who is ready to judge the living and the dead.
6) For to this end the Good News was preached even to the dead, that they might be judged indeed as men in the flesh, but live as to God in the spirit.
7) But the end of all things is near. Therefore be of sound mind, self-controlled, and sober in prayer.
8) And above all things be earnest in your love among yourselves, for love covers a multitude of sins.
9) Be hospitable to one another without grumbling.
10) As each has received a gift, employ it in serving one another, as good managers of the grace of God in its various forms.
11) If anyone speaks, let it be as it were the very words of God. If anyone serves, let it be as of the strength which God supplies, that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom belong the glory and the dominion forever and ever. Amen.
12) Beloved, don’t be astonished at the fiery trial which has come upon you, to test you, as though a strange thing happened to you.
13) But because you are partakers of Christ’s sufferings, rejoice; that at the revelation of his glory you also may rejoice with exceeding joy.
14) If you are insulted for the name of Christ, you are blessed; because the Spirit of glory and of God rests on you. On their part he is blasphemed, but on your part he is glorified.
15) For let none of you suffer as a murderer, or a thief, or an evil doer, or a meddler in other men’s matters.
16) But if one of you suffers for being a Christian, let him not be ashamed; but let him glorify God in this matter.
17) For the time has come for judgment to begin with the household of God. If it begins first with us, what will happen to those who don’t obey the Good News of God?
18) “If it is hard for the righteous to be saved, what will happen to the ungodly and the sinner?”
19) Therefore let them also who suffer according to the will of God in doing good entrust their souls to him, as to a faithful Creator.
(1 Peter 4:1-19, WEB)

For many, its tempting to go along with the crowd, to do what everyone else is doing and not really think about the right or wrong of it. There are consequences for what we do, for each and every one of us. Ultimately, the people in the picture will answer for their actions. Until then, follow the Godly way set by the Christ of God. Please join with me in prayer for those suffering in Arizona. Pray also that those in power do what is right TOWARDS THE CITIZENS OF THIS COUNTRY! People can make all the signs they want, yell, scream and threaten but that does not change the fact that murder is wrong and people who advocate such actions are WRONG! Not sure what to do.... reread chapter 4 above!

Tenants, are you looking for the owner?

The latest (and greatest?) picture of Terra, captured on Earth day 2010. Its amazing that humans have progressed this far; imagine, being able to see half of the entire planet at one time. What next, to be able to simultaneously see the dark side as well? Perhaps, but I don't think that is coming any time soon. This picture brings to mind the close of the movie 2010, where Roy Schneider reminds us that we are only the tenants of this world and not the owners. To find the true owner, read the following passage from the book of Deuteronomy.

Deuteronomy 10:12-21 (WEB)
12) Now, Israel, what does Yahweh your God require of you, but to fear Yahweh your God, to walk in all his ways, and to love him, and to serve Yahweh your God with all your heart and with all your soul,
13) to keep the commandments of Yahweh, and his statutes, which I command you this day for your good?
14) Behold, to Yahweh your God belongs heaven and the heaven of heavens, the earth, with all that is therein.
15) Only Yahweh had a delight in your fathers to love them, and he chose their seed after them, even you above all peoples, as at this day.
16) Circumcise therefore the foreskin of your heart, and be no more stiff-necked.
17) For Yahweh your God, he is God of gods, and Lord of lords, the great God, the mighty, and the awesome, who doesn’t respect persons, nor takes reward.
18) He does execute justice for the fatherless and widow, and loves the foreigner, in giving him food and clothing.
19) Therefore love the foreigner; for you were foreigners in the land of Egypt.
20) You shall fear Yahweh your God; you shall serve him; and you shall cling to him, and you shall swear by his name.
21) He is your praise, and he is your God, who has done for you these great and awesome things, which your eyes have seen.
(Deuteronomy 10:12-21, WEB)

Think! Consider all the problems that are out there; global warming, overpopulation, nuclear proliferation, aids, not to mention war, famine and a list so long that it would be downright rude of me to be thorough. But one thing is certain, most of our problems originate within the deep recesses of the human heart with a little problem called sin. I know its not fashionable to mention sin today, but it is necessary. Necessary, because in its diagnosis, there is a common denominator and that would be the human tendency of placing ourselves ahead of God's will for our lives. Not sure what that will is: read verse 12. Still not sure, go outside and look at the next full moon and imagine you could look back at Earth. You might see something like the picture from Earth day, above. Once you realize that everything you have seen or will ever see belongs to God, things will begin to change; starting with you.


The gift

This is one beautiful wedding cake! A Russian creation, it speaks of love in a way much better than mere words. Love can mean many things, but when it comes to a wedding; happiness filled with expectation is all I seem to be able to think of. Here is a passage from the book of John to think about.

John 2:1-11 (WEB)
1) The third day, there was a marriage in Cana of Galilee. Jesus’ mother was there.
2) Jesus also was invited, with his disciples, to the marriage.
3) When the wine ran out, Jesus’ mother said to him, “They have no wine.”
4) Jesus said to her, “Woman, what does that have to do with you and me? My hour has not yet come.”
5) His mother said to the servants, “Whatever he says to you, do it.”
6) Now there were six water pots of stone set there after the Jews’ way of purifying, containing two or three metretes apiece.
7) Jesus said to them, “Fill the water pots with water.” They filled them up to the brim.
8) He said to them, “Now draw some out, and take it to the ruler of the feast.” So they took it.
9) When the ruler of the feast tasted the water now become wine, and didn’t know where it came from (but the servants who had drawn the water knew), the ruler of the feast called the bridegroom,
10) and said to him, “Everyone serves the good wine first, and when the guests have drunk freely, then that which is worse. You have kept the good wine until now!”
11) This beginning of his signs Jesus did in Cana of Galilee, and revealed his glory; and his disciples believed in him.
(John 2:1-11, WEB)

What kind of gifts does the newly wedded couple receive? One thing is for sure, you can count on at least one toaster oven (except, of course, if the couple registered at some fancy shop beforehand), Jesus gave the gift of wine (we can argue all day about whether it was alcoholic or not) and that was an unusual gift, but quite appropriate. Like the cake, it produced joy and touched the human heart. For those who saw BEYOND THE WINE, it must have been one of those "AAAHH" moments. I wonder, did they have the cake before or after the wine? Doesn't really matter, does it; just as long as love filled the room! God has a talent for producing that in abundance.



A little old church at the side of the road; in the great scheme of things, not much at all. Now multiply this by a thousand or ten thousand and see the effect on ANY COUNTRY!! Yet this is what is happening in this country; perhaps not to the buildings (yet) but to the people. I read a news article today that was alarming; most Americans think the moral standards in this country have gone down over the past 20 years. I expected 40 years and not twenty. Anyone out there remember the 60's and the sexual revolution? Downhill from that? Yes, from even that! When we live in a latchkey society where parents abandon their responsibilities and allow the television (and now the internet) to become the teacher, we are headed for destruction and NOT JUST A MERE DECLINE. This passage from the book of Deuteronomy immediately came to mind.

Deuteronomy 6:1-25 (WEB)
1) Now this is the commandment, the statutes, and the ordinances, which Yahweh your God commanded to teach you, that you might do them in the land where you go over to possess it;
2) that you might fear Yahweh your God, to keep all his statutes and his commandments, which I command you, you, and your son, and your son’s son, all the days of your life; and that your days may be prolonged.
3) Hear therefore, Israel, and observe to do it; that it may be well with you, and that you may increase mightily, as Yahweh, the God of your fathers, has promised to you, in a land flowing with milk and honey.
4) Hear, Israel: Yahweh is our God; Yahweh is one:
5) and you shall love Yahweh your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your might.
6) These words, which I command you this day, shall be on your heart;
7) and you shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise up.
8) You shall bind them for a sign on your hand, and they shall be for symbols between your eyes.
9) You shall write them on the door posts of your house, and on your gates.
10) It shall be, when Yahweh your God shall bring you into the land which he swore to your fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, to give you, great and goodly cities, which you didn’t build,
11) and houses full of all good things, which you didn’t fill, and cisterns dug out, which you didn’t dig, vineyards and olive trees, which you didn’t plant, and you shall eat and be full;
12) then beware lest you forget Yahweh, who brought you forth out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage.
13) You shall fear Yahweh your God; and you shall serve him, and shall swear by his name.
14) You shall not go after other gods, of the gods of the peoples who are around you;
15) for Yahweh your God in the midst of you is a jealous God; lest the anger of Yahweh your God be kindled against you, and he destroy you from off the face of the earth.
16) You shall not tempt Yahweh your God, as you tempted him in Massah.
17) You shall diligently keep the commandments of Yahweh your God, and his testimonies, and his statutes, which he has commanded you.
18) You shall do that which is right and good in the sight of Yahweh; that it may be well with you, and that you may go in and possess the good land which Yahweh swore to your fathers,
19) to thrust out all your enemies from before you, as Yahweh has spoken.
20) When your son asks you in time to come, saying, “What do the testimonies, the statutes, and the ordinances, which Yahweh our God has commanded you mean?”
21) then you shall tell your son, “We were Pharaoh’s bondservants in Egypt: and Yahweh brought us out of Egypt with a mighty hand;
22) and Yahweh showed great and awesome signs and wonders on Egypt, on Pharaoh, and on all his house, before our eyes;
23) and he brought us out from there, that he might bring us in, to give us the land which he swore to our fathers.
24) Yahweh commanded us to do all these statutes, to fear Yahweh our God, for our good always, that he might preserve us alive, as at this day.
25) It shall be righteousness to us, if we observe to do all this commandment before Yahweh our God, as he has commanded us.”
(Deuteronomy 6:1-25, WEB)

If you are viewing the blog (or its posts) for the first time, you will notice that I have been using a Bible version called the WEB (Short for World English Bible) for some time now. This is a revision of the American Standard Version and has a nice mix of readability and precision. I enjoy it most of all because it refers to the name of God by using the more accurate Yahweh instead of the "LORD" used by many versions today. This is important because it is the name of God and not just a title; so naturally it leaves one with the feeling of being closer to The God of Heaven. How is this important? The closer you are to God, the more you get to know him, the more you will grow to hate relativism (which basically says that everyone can believe whatever they want because everyone is right). God is the only one who is right, He and He ALONE, SETS THE STANDARDS we are to live by. Those standards are found in the Bible and the sooner we as a nation return to this concept, the better. In the meantime, its not just empty churches of the nation that bother me, its the minds of the people who are empty of THE WORD OF GOD. Sound too inflexible to you, too specific to be anything but the absolutes uttered by a fanatic? Consider this, God was very specific when he sent Jesus. Very specific in what he did and who will benefit if his will is OBEYED. Unpopular, maybe, necessary... absolutely. Or perhaps you may be satisfied with a life devoid of God.... at least until the end of that life. Your choice, America!


Rainbows, revelation and me

Until a few years ago, I thought of rainbows in a fixed way. They usually went from horizon to horizon and that was that. Now, having seen rainbows in all sorts of ways, I have a new perspective on just what a rainbow should be. It occurred to me that the word of God is like these rainbows and of course this passage from Hebrews came to mind.

Hebrews 1:1-5 (WEB)
1) God, having in the past spoken to the fathers through the prophets at many times and in various ways,
2) has at the end of these days spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, through whom also he made the worlds.
3) His Son is the radiance of his glory, the very image of his substance, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself made purification for our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high;
4) having become so much better than the angels, as he has inherited a more excellent name than they have.
5) For to which of the angels did he say at any time, “You are my Son. Today have I become your father?” and again, “I will be to him a Father, and he will be to me a Son?”
(Hebrews 1:1-5, WEB)

Ever since the "little problem" in the garden of Eden, God has been trying to reach out to his most magnificent creation; man. He has used tablets of stone, prophets from all walks of life, dreams, visions, even the Psalms to do this. But, in the end, a new creation was needed, one that could truly understand the "little problem". The God of Heaven chose a name for his creation and that name was Jesus. He was different, because although he was a man, yet at the same time he was fully God and therefore fully able to bridge the gap between man and his maker. Don't ask me how this was accomplished; I don't know, but I don't have to. I can appreciate the beauty of it from all angles just like the rainbows. But one thing; once considered, things will never be the same again. Rainbows take on new meaning as we think about them... so does Jesus.


No brainer

When I saw this picture, the only thing I could think of was: between a rock and a hard place. It seems stupid to me to put oneself in this position in the first place. Why? Adventure, thrill, or maybe just danger of it all. Some choices are hard, some are easy... here is an example of a "no brainer".

Joshua 24:15 (WEB)
15) If it seems evil to you to serve Yahweh, choose this day whom you will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve Yahweh.”
(Joshua 24:15, WEB)

Israel had been led 40 years in the wilderness and had rebelled at least 10 times. Moses, Aaron and Myriam had died. The promised land had been conquered (sort of) and now Israel was to enjoy the blessings of God in a land specifically prepared for them. Joshua gives them a choice and leads by example. What would you do? Duh! Learn from the mistakes of others and follow God. As far as the rock goes, choose not to step foot on it in the first place. Otherwise, choose which side you wish to go and GET OFF NOW!


Pain, suffering and hope

How would you like to open your eyes to find this? Not me! Its not the little feet that would scare me, its the stinger in the tail I would be worrying about. Pain is something we all can relate to, especially when it involves any sensitive area of the body. But what about psychological pain? When someone near and dear to us has a problem, don't we hurt as well? Jesus knew all about this as can be seen from this passage from the book of John.

John 11:1-45 (WEB)
1) Now a certain man was sick, Lazarus from Bethany, of the village of Mary and her sister, Martha.
2) It was that Mary who had anointed the Lord with ointment, and wiped his feet with her hair, whose brother, Lazarus, was sick.
3) The sisters therefore sent to him, saying, “Lord, behold, he for whom you have great affection is sick.”
4) But when Jesus heard it, he said, “This sickness is not to death, but for the glory of God, that God’s Son may be glorified by it.”
5) Now Jesus loved Martha, and her sister, and Lazarus.
6) When therefore he heard that he was sick, he stayed two days in the place where he was.
7) Then after this he said to the disciples, “Let’s go into Judea again.”
8) The disciples told him, “Rabbi, the Jews were just trying to stone you, and are you going there again?”
9) Jesus answered, “Aren’t there twelve hours of daylight? If a man walks in the day, he doesn’t stumble, because he sees the light of this world.
10) But if a man walks in the night, he stumbles, because the light isn’t in him.”
11) He said these things, and after that, he said to them, “Our friend, Lazarus, has fallen asleep, but I am going so that I may awake him out of sleep.”
12) The disciples therefore said, “Lord, if he has fallen asleep, he will recover.”
13) Now Jesus had spoken of his death, but they thought that he spoke of taking rest in sleep.
14) So Jesus said to them plainly then, “Lazarus is dead.
15) I am glad for your sakes that I was not there, so that you may believe. Nevertheless, let’s go to him.”
16) Thomas therefore, who is called Didymus, said to his fellow disciples, “Let’s go also, that we may die with him.”
17) So when Jesus came, he found that he had been in the tomb four days already.
18) Now Bethany was near Jerusalem, about fifteen stadia away.
19) Many of the Jews had joined the women around Martha and Mary, to console them concerning their brother.
20) Then when Martha heard that Jesus was coming, she went and met him, but Mary stayed in the house.
21) Therefore Martha said to Jesus, “Lord, if you would have been here, my brother wouldn’t have died.
22) Even now I know that, whatever you ask of God, God will give you.”
23) Jesus said to her, “Your brother will rise again.”
24) Martha said to him, “I know that he will rise again in the resurrection at the last day.”
25) Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will still live, even if he dies.
26) Whoever lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?”
27) She said to him, “Yes, Lord. I have come to believe that you are the Christ, God’s Son, he who comes into the world.”
28) When she had said this, she went away, and called Mary, her sister, secretly, saying, “The Teacher is here, and is calling you.”
29) When she heard this, she arose quickly, and went to him.
30) Now Jesus had not yet come into the village, but was in the place where Martha met him.
31) Then the Jews who were with her in the house, and were consoling her, when they saw Mary, that she rose up quickly and went out, followed her, saying, “She is going to the tomb to weep there.”
32) Therefore when Mary came to where Jesus was, and saw him, she fell down at his feet, saying to him, “Lord, if you would have been here, my brother wouldn’t have died.”
33) When Jesus therefore saw her weeping, and the Jews weeping who came with her, he groaned in the spirit, and was troubled,
34) and said, “Where have you laid him?” They told him, “Lord, come and see.”
35) Jesus wept.
36) The Jews therefore said, “See how much affection he had for him!”
37) Some of them said, “Couldn’t this man, who opened the eyes of him who was blind, have also kept this man from dying?”
38) Jesus therefore, again groaning in himself, came to the tomb. Now it was a cave, and a stone lay against it.
39) Jesus said, “Take away the stone.” Martha, the sister of him who was dead, said to him, “Lord, by this time there is a stench, for he has been dead four days.”
40) Jesus said to her, “Didn’t I tell you that if you believed, you would see God’s glory?”
41) So they took away the stone from the place where the dead man was lying. Jesus lifted up his eyes, and said, “Father, I thank you that you listened to me.
42) I know that you always listen to me, but because of the multitude that stands around I said this, that they may believe that you sent me.”
43) When he had said this, he cried with a loud voice, “Lazarus, come out!”
44) He who was dead came out, bound hand and foot with wrappings, and his face was wrapped around with a cloth. Jesus said to them, “Free him, and let him go.”
45) Therefore many of the Jews, who came to Mary and saw what Jesus did, believed in him.
(John 11:1-45, WEB)

The Bible is more than just a book of religious sounding stories; it chronicles the lives of real people in everyday situations, with problems similar to those faced by everyone. Oh, the geography is different as well as the language, but some things are fundamental to what it means to be a human being. Pain, suffering and death are common to us all. Lazarus was special to Jesus and it hurt him to know what had happened to him. One of my all -time favorite passages is verse 35; short and to the point, yet full of so much humanity!! You can almost feel the pain that Jesus was going through, much like the situation in the picture has a way of ringing a chord of pain in us all. Jesus raised Lazarus, now there is something you don't see every day! The painful sting of death has been nullified by the love of God as seen in the sacrifice of Jesus and therein lies hope of a life beyond this one. Only one thing left to say....... BLINK, QUICKLY!!!!


"cat" dreams

For Maxi...

I had just finished a delicious meal; given to me by the one I allow to take care of me. It was a purrfect feast and it made me sleepy. I found a nice place to curl up and totally relax. Soon I was fast asleep and as I slept I dreamed of many things; my favorite treats, toys that I love to play with and many other things too numerous to mention. There must have been something special in that meal I was given, for suddenly I felt a growing power within me. I felt stronger with each passing moment and soon I WAS IN TOTAL CONTROL OF EVERYTHING AND EVERYBODY AROUND ME. I could feel the power emanate from my extremities; POWER, TOTAL POWER WAS MINE! But it wasn't enough, and as time went on I just wanted more and more and more. There was no to end to it; The world was mine...... Then I awoke, back to the real world, where I only had a little power over the one I allow to take care of me. Sound a little familiar? I hope not!!! If you are having dreams like this, maybe some counseling or medical help is in order. However, it could be something as simple as: not having chili after 2 am or cutting back on the catnip. But power is something we all have to think about at one time or another, as it is a part of life. Here is the story of one man who had a problem with the pride of power and its found in the book of Acts.

Acts 8:9-24 (WEB)
9) But there was a certain man, Simon by name, who used to practice sorcery in the city, and amazed the people of Samaria, making himself out to be some great one,
10) to whom they all listened, from the least to the greatest, saying, “This man is that great power of God.”
11) They listened to him, because for a long time he had amazed them with his sorceries.
12) But when they believed Philip preaching good news concerning the Kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptized, both men and women.
13) Simon himself also believed. Being baptized, he continued with Philip. Seeing signs and great miracles occurring, he was amazed.
14) Now when the apostles who were at Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received the word of God, they sent Peter and John to them,
15) who, when they had come down, prayed for them, that they might receive the Holy Spirit;
16) for as yet he had fallen on none of them. They had only been baptized in the name of Christ Jesus.
17) Then they laid their hands on them, and they received the Holy Spirit.
18) Now when Simon saw that the Holy Spirit was given through the laying on of the apostles’ hands, he offered them money,
19) saying, “Give me also this power, that whomever I lay my hands on may receive the Holy Spirit.”
20) But Peter said to him, “May your silver perish with you, because you thought you could obtain the gift of God with money!
21) You have neither part nor lot in this matter, for your heart isn’t right before God.
22) Repent therefore of this, your wickedness, and ask God if perhaps the thought of your heart may be forgiven you.
23) For I see that you are in the gall of bitterness and in the bondage of iniquity.”
24) Simon answered, “Pray for me to the Lord, that none of the things which you have spoken happen to me.”
(Acts 8:9-24, WEB)

Whether human or feline, its in the blood to want power. Simon thought he could buy that power and become like a god; boy was he wrong. Face it, we can't control everything; we just have to learn to be submissive in some parts of our life. But, when it comes to the things of God, be careful, God really does have all the power and HE PLAYS FOR KEEPS. You may be someone very smart, or strong, or clever, or determined (stubborn) but whatever it may be, God has more of it. Dream all you like, but in the end, God has the real power! Once you get that little concept, it will be like someone hit you with a lightning bolt!!! WHAMO!! One more thing... tonight before you go to sleep... DO NOT EAT ANYTHING SPICY!!!!



How does the bird in the foreground know? I feel safe in saying he doesn't have eyes in the back of his head and he probably isn't psychic. The answer is experience. For those of you who may watch N.C.I.S., this sort of question is a familiar one and the teams' experiences with one another have taught them to anticipate even when they have no way of really "knowing" something. This is especially true of "Gibbs'" appearance at the most unlikely times and his trademark head slap. What do those who try to follow God really know? Here is a passage from the epistle (book) of 1st John to think about.

1 John 2:5-29 (WEB)
5) But whoever keeps his word, God’s love has most certainly been perfected in him. This is how we know that we are in him:
6) he who says he remains in him ought himself also to walk just like he walked.
7) Brothers, I write no new commandment to you, but an old commandment which you had from the beginning. The old commandment is the word which you heard from the beginning.
8) Again, I write a new commandment to you, which is true in him and in you; because the darkness is passing away, and the true light already shines.
9) He who says he is in the light and hates his brother, is in the darkness even until now.
10) He who loves his brother remains in the light, and there is no occasion for stumbling in him.
11) But he who hates his brother is in the darkness, and walks in the darkness, and doesn’t know where he is going, because the darkness has blinded his eyes.
12) I write to you, little children, because your sins are forgiven you for his name’s sake.
13) I write to you, fathers, because you know him who is from the beginning. I write to you, young men, because you have overcome the evil one. I write to you, little children, because you know the Father.
14) I have written to you, fathers, because you know him who is from the beginning. I have written to you, young men, because you are strong, and the word of God remains in you, and you have overcome the evil one.
15) Don’t love the world, neither the things that are in the world. If anyone loves the world, the Father’s love isn’t in him.
16) For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, isn’t the Father’s, but is the world’s.
17) The world is passing away with its lusts, but he who does God’s will remains forever.
18) Little children, these are the end times, and as you heard that the Antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have arisen. By this we know that it is the final hour.
19) They went out from us, but they didn’t belong to us; for if they had belonged to us, they would have continued with us. But they left, that they might be revealed that none of them belong to us.
20) You have an anointing from the Holy One, and you all have knowledge.
21) I have not written to you because you don’t know the truth, but because you know it, and because no lie is of the truth.
22) Who is the liar but he who denies that Jesus is the Christ? This is the Antichrist, he who denies the Father and the Son.
23) Whoever denies the Son, the same doesn’t have the Father. He who confesses the Son has the Father also.
24) Therefore, as for you, let that remain in you which you heard from the beginning. If that which you heard from the beginning remains in you, you also will remain in the Son, and in the Father.
25) This is the promise which he promised us, the eternal life.
26) These things I have written to you concerning those who would lead you astray.
27) As for you, the anointing which you received from him remains in you, and you don’t need for anyone to teach you. But as his anointing teaches you concerning all things, and is true, and is no lie, and even as it taught you, you will remain in him.
28) Now, little children, remain in him, that when he appears, we may have boldness, and not be ashamed before him at his coming.
29) If you know that he is righteous, you know that everyone who practices righteousness is born of him.
(1 John 2:5-29, WEB)

The Greeks of ancient times perceived knowledge as something either intuitively understood by intelligence or something realized through experience. I like to think that knowing God is a combination of the two. We innately understand the difference between right and wrong, good and bad and the logical expansion of these concepts will led one to the creator of the universe. To see God's word validated day by day in the world around us also helps us to "know" what we understand through our intellectual reasoning is true. Understanding God is not "for the birds", it is relevant to living and essential to living life to its fullest. Humm, is something going on in my living room; I better check...... Hello?

Lurking, just around the corner

I found this picture to be very interesting. Not only is the sun eclipsed (by the moon?) but it looks like Satan is hiding behind the clouds waiting to get at the church. Satan does some of his best work in churches and although I really hate the concept, its true. Satan is one very patient, clever, crafty adversary. Think for a minute how he tried to trick Jesus. Luke gives an interesting account of the episode.

Luke 4:1-13 (WEB)

Luke 4
1) Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan, and was led by the Spirit into the wilderness
2) for forty days, being tempted by the devil. He ate nothing in those days. Afterward, when they were completed, he was hungry.
3) The devil said to him, “If you are the Son of God, command this stone to become bread.”
4) Jesus answered him, saying, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word of God.’”
5) The devil, leading him up on a high mountain, showed him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time.
6) The devil said to him, “I will give you all this authority, and their glory, for it has been delivered to me; and I give it to whomever I want.
7) If you therefore will worship before me, it will all be yours.”
8) Jesus answered him, “Get behind me Satan! For it is written, ‘You shall worship the Lord your God, and you shall serve him only.’”
9) He led him to Jerusalem, and set him on the pinnacle of the temple, and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, cast yourself down from here,
10) for it is written, ‘He will put his angels in charge of you, to guard you;’
11) and, ‘On their hands they will bear you up, lest perhaps you dash your foot against a stone.’”
12) Jesus answering, said to him, “It has been said, ‘You shall not tempt the Lord your God.’”
13) When the devil had completed every temptation, he departed from him until another time.
(Luke 4:1-13, WEB)

If you read the account by Matthew, you will notice the emboldened verse (13) is not there. Interesting. Luke's account does show a prominent aspect of Satan: He is patient. He waited for another time to tempt Jesus. Humm, if Satan worked so hard on Jesus and Jesus was obviously unassailable, then what does that say about us weaker spiritual beings. Exactly what the picture shows; Satan is waiting for an opening for us as well. Watch out, think spiritually and be prepared; you never know.....


Grandma goes to court

Over the past few years I have begun to enjoy the sitcom "The Golden Girls" more and more. To me the Sophia Petrillo (the grandmother) is the real star of the show. She just says what is on her mind in a way that is a bit TOO STRAIGHTFORWARD. Funny thing is; a lot of older people are like that! And when I read the story above, I was reminded of her. All this also brings out another truth, which is found in the Gospel of Luke.

Luke 12:1-9 (WEB)
1) Meanwhile, when a multitude of many thousands had gathered together, so much so that they trampled on each other, he began to tell his disciples first of all, “Beware of the yeast of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy.
2) But there is nothing covered up, that will not be revealed, nor hidden, that will not be known.
3) Therefore whatever you have said in the darkness will be heard in the light. What you have spoken in the ear in the inner rooms will be proclaimed on the housetops.
4) “I tell you, my friends, don’t be afraid of those who kill the body, and after that have no more that they can do.
5) But I will warn you whom you should fear. Fear him, who after he has killed, has power to cast into Gehenna. Yes, I tell you, fear him.
6) “Aren’t five sparrows sold for two assaria coins? Not one of them is forgotten by God.
7) But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Therefore don’t be afraid. You are of more value than many sparrows.
8) “I tell you, everyone who confesses me before men, him will the Son of Man also confess before the angels of God;
9) but he who denies me in the presence of men will be denied in the presence of the angels of God.
(Luke 12:1-9, WEB)

Society is changing. Years ago, there used to be a lot more interaction between neighbors, today the trend is to spend more and more time by yourself. BUT, you are never really alone; God is always there and HE knows more about you that any Grandma in court could ever know. Think about that the next time you even THINK OF DOING SOMETHING WRONG!!! And you thought the judge in the story was tough.....


Face it, a change is needed

I have always thought a lot of George Clooney. His irresistible charm came through loud and clear in the series "ER" and later in the "Oceans" movies. But this picture is less than wonderful. When he distorts his face like this it seems like a very, very unnatural thing for him to be doing. Yet, here it is, unflattering to the extreme. We all have our moments, some of them really good and some not-so-good. Yesterday, I read the following passage during my daily readings, so naturally it came to mind. Luke says:

Luke 22:48-62 (WEB)
48) But Jesus said to him, “Judas, do you betray the Son of Man with a kiss?”
49) When those who were around him saw what was about to happen, they said to him, “Lord, shall we strike with the sword?”
50) A certain one of them struck the servant of the high priest, and cut off his right ear.
51) But Jesus answered, “Let me at least do this”—and he touched his ear, and healed him.
52) Jesus said to the chief priests, captains of the temple, and elders, who had come against him, “Have you come out as against a robber, with swords and clubs?
53) When I was with you in the temple daily, you didn’t stretch out your hands against me. But this is your hour, and the power of darkness.”
54) They seized him, and led him away, and brought him into the high priest’s house. But Peter followed from a distance.
55) When they had kindled a fire in the middle of the courtyard, and had sat down together, Peter sat among them.
56) A certain servant girl saw him as he sat in the light, and looking intently at him, said, “This man also was with him.”
57) He denied Jesus, saying, “Woman, I don’t know him.”
58) After a little while someone else saw him, and said, “You also are one of them!” But Peter answered, “Man, I am not!”
59) After about one hour passed, another confidently affirmed, saying, “Truly this man also was with him, for he is a Galilean!”
60) But Peter said, “Man, I don’t know what you are talking about!” Immediately, while he was still speaking, a rooster crowed.
61) The Lord turned, and looked at Peter. Then Peter remembered the Lord’s word, how he said to him, “Before the rooster crows you will deny me three times.”
62) He went out, and wept bitterly.
(Luke 22:48-62, WEB)

We do things we wish we hadn't, we say things we wish had never come across or lips, but what if we were told ahead of time and did something stupid anyway. Hard to swallow? You bet! But that is exactly what happened to Peter. To his credit, he turned his actions around and followed Christ to the end of his life. That is the great thing about the grace of God, as long as you are alive you can change, you can be better, you can turn your life around. And the best part of it is... you are not alone... God will help. As far as faces go, lets hope its not too cold where George Clooney is... his face might freeze like that! And that would really put a crimp in his monetary negotiations with the movie studios.



I don't like this picture. Don't get me wrong; I know why Christ died and I do love DUNKIN' DONUTS, but the two should never be put together. Why? Because they have nothing to do with each other, that is why. In a way, though, I can see how it would be "funny". It does bring up a serious subject though; that of our ability to perceive and respond to the word of God. How do we understand it?

Matthew 13:1-23 (WEB)
1) On that day Jesus went out of the house, and sat by the seaside.
2) Great multitudes gathered to him, so that he entered into a boat, and sat, and all the multitude stood on the beach.
3) He spoke to them many things in parables, saying, “Behold, a farmer went out to sow.
4) As he sowed, some seeds fell by the roadside, and the birds came and devoured them.
5) Others fell on rocky ground, where they didn’t have much soil, and immediately they sprang up, because they had no depth of earth.
6) When the sun had risen, they were scorched. Because they had no root, they withered away.
7) Others fell among thorns. The thorns grew up and choked them.
8) Others fell on good soil, and yielded fruit: some one hundred times as much, some sixty, and some thirty.
9) He who has ears to hear, let him hear.”
10) The disciples came, and said to him, “Why do you speak to them in parables?”
11) He answered them, “To you it is given to know the mysteries of the Kingdom of Heaven, but it is not given to them.
12) For whoever has, to him will be given, and he will have abundance, but whoever doesn’t have, from him will be taken away even that which he has.
13) Therefore I speak to them in parables, because seeing they don’t see, and hearing, they don’t hear, neither do they understand.
14) In them the prophecy of Isaiah is fulfilled, which says, ‘By hearing you will hear, and will in no way understand; Seeing you will see, and will in no way perceive:
15) for this people’s heart has grown callous, their ears are dull of hearing, they have closed their eyes; or else perhaps they might perceive with their eyes, hear with their ears, understand with their heart, and should turn again; and I would heal them.’
16) “But blessed are your eyes, for they see; and your ears, for they hear.
17) For most certainly I tell you that many prophets and righteous men desired to see the things which you see, and didn’t see them; and to hear the things which you hear, and didn’t hear them.
18) “Hear, then, the parable of the farmer.
19) When anyone hears the word of the Kingdom, and doesn’t understand it, the evil one comes, and snatches away that which has been sown in his heart. This is what was sown by the roadside.
20) What was sown on the rocky places, this is he who hears the word, and immediately with joy receives it;
21) yet he has no root in himself, but endures for a while. When oppression or persecution arises because of the word, immediately he stumbles.
22) What was sown among the thorns, this is he who hears the word, but the cares of this age and the deceitfulness of riches choke the word, and he becomes unfruitful.
23) What was sown on the good ground, this is he who hears the word, and understands it, who most certainly bears fruit, and brings forth, some one hundred times as much, some sixty, and some thirty.”
(Matthew 13:1-23, WEB)

We are bombarded with an overflow of information each day. The television, radio, cell phones and internet all vie for our attention. Not only that, there are the normal functions of talking with others, driving, making purchases in stores, eating and many other such things that we do each day. When these overlap... watch out, something has got to give. Its no wonder there is a trend towards aloofness in our society; we are just too busy. Its time we started to slow down and when we do, the overlap will stop and life will be a little bit more clear. Why Christ died will be thought of by itsself and so will be Dunkin Donuts. Which is better for you.... the answer to that is a slam dunk... and I don't mean in your coffee, either.


birthday reflections

This is last years picture of me and my newest granddaughter. Both of us have lost weight since then, especially her. I have been thinking a lot about the both of us lately, especially with the arrival of my 61st birthday. For me, its easier to understand life if I compare opposites (like old and young). After some thought I decided to be happy today because it is my birthday and I want this to be a special day. Here is an example of how I would like to feel today.

Luke 1:5-20 (WEB)
5) There was in the days of Herod, the king of Judea, a certain priest named Zacharias, of the priestly division of Abijah. He had a wife of the daughters of Aaron, and her name was Elizabeth.
6) They were both righteous before God, walking blamelessly in all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord.
7) But they had no child, because Elizabeth was barren, and they both were well advanced in years.
8) Now it happened, while he executed the priest’s office before God in the order of his division,
9) according to the custom of the priest’s office, his lot was to enter into the temple of the Lord and burn incense.
10) The whole multitude of the people were praying outside at the hour of incense.
11) An angel of the Lord appeared to him, standing on the right side of the altar of incense.
12) Zacharias was troubled when he saw him, and fear fell upon him.
13) But the angel said to him, “Don’t be afraid, Zacharias, because your request has been heard, and your wife, Elizabeth, will bear you a son, and you shall call his name John.
14) You will have joy and gladness; and many will rejoice at his birth.
15) For he will be great in the sight of the Lord, and he will drink no wine nor strong drink. He will be filled with the Holy Spirit, even from his mother’s womb.
16) He will turn many of the children of Israel to the Lord, their God.
17) He will go before him in the spirit and power of Elijah, ‘to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children,’ and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just; to prepare a people prepared for the Lord.”
18) Zacharias said to the angel, “How can I be sure of this? For I am an old man, and my wife is well advanced in years.”
19) The angel answered him, “I am Gabriel, who stands in the presence of God. I was sent to speak to you, and to bring you this good news.
20) Behold, you will be silent and not able to speak, until the day that these things will happen, because you didn’t believe my words, which will be fulfilled in their proper time.”

The announcement of life is a wonderful thing! Sometimes shocking, sometimes distressing, but always a pleasure: life is never, ever, wrong! Most people don't have a clue as to what their offspring will be like, but they are happy anyway. Imagine the joy of Zacharias! As I thought of my life and the future of my grandchildren I jotted down these words (excuse my poor poetry)

Today's my birthday and I'm just fine,
lovin every minute of the passage of time.

Don't know what's going to happen in the coming year,
but, hey, its OK as long as I'm here.

Each day is a victory as time presses on,
and I will rejoice and not be forlorn.

Because God has loved me and I know this is true,
for I have learned to live each day anew.

So, if you are listening, I just wanted to say,
YOU are my blessing, my friends far away.

Be happy, rejoice, in each day with me
for God alone gives true victory.


God's time

Time has changed. I remember when I was young, there was morning, lunch, nap-time, supper and bedtime. Then along came grade school with its regimentation. High School and college had their own sense of time. Over the past decade or two, time seems to have became faster and faster; the days and years seem to just fly by. And then there are the timepieces. Mickey mouse watches and BIG clocks with huge hands. Today, you see binary clocks, future clocks, atomic clocks, celestial ones and so many it would take a couple of pages just to list them all. Now, this isn't a bad thing; its good that things change, it keeps you thinking. But, I wonder, will it ever come to a head? I don't know, but as you step back and look at our society, things are forming patterns of change. For me, I think we are living in the last generation before the return of the Christ, but hey, I have been wrong before. I even voted for Richard M. Nixon (twice). The good news is: God is never wrong; his time is always the right time. Ephesians chapter one seems good to mention at this point, so read on....

Eph 1:1-14 (WEB)
1) Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus through the will of God, to the saints who are at Ephesus, and the faithful in Christ Jesus:
2) Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
3) Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ;
4) even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we would be holy and without blemish before him in love;
5) having predestined us for adoption as children through Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his desire,
6) to the praise of the glory of his grace, by which he freely bestowed favor on us in the Beloved,
7) in whom we have our redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace,
8) which he made to abound toward us in all wisdom and prudence,
9) making known to us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure which he purposed in him
10) to an administration of the fullness of the times, to sum up all things in Christ, the things in the heavens, and the things on the earth, in him;
11) in whom also we were assigned an inheritance, having been foreordained according to the purpose of him who works all things after the counsel of his will;
12) to the end that we should be to the praise of his glory, we who had before hoped in Christ:
13) in whom you also, having heard the word of the truth, the Good News of your salvation—in whom, having also believed, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise,
14) who is a pledge of our inheritance, to the redemption of God’s own possession, to the praise of his glory.

The Hebrew Bible is not without a plan. God has been working with his created beings since the foundation of the world. Ultimately, he chose the people we know as the Jews and from them one very special man to lead ALL THE REST OF THE WORLD TO GOD! Understanding this is like looking at the watch in the picture. First you see the vague outline of the times (the outside of the watch, indicating the hours) and then as you understand more and more you gradually come to the point of being able to read the fine print (at the center of the watch, the seconds). God's time is his time and not ours. We know when Jesus came and went, but when he will come again, well, that is one very good question. Maybe the watch will tell me, I just wish I had the Japanese manual.

a "new" dawn

I wonder, How many sunrises have I seen? Probably more than most because for a number of years I worked the overnight shift and I always made sure to schedule my break at first-light. So, sunrises are quite special to me; something that I always look forward to seeing. This one is different, as you look down as well as up when you see the sun. Interesting! A new perspective on a "common" occurrence. Somehow, I thought of Zacharias, who had been left without speech after his encounter with an angel in the temple. How ordinary it is for us to talk, but if for some reason you can't for awhile, then your first words flow in joyous tumult. Listen (that is, read) to what he has to say.

Luke 1:67-80 (WEB)
67) His father, Zacharias, was filled with the Holy Spirit, and prophesied, saying,
68) “Blessed be the Lord, the God of Israel, for he has visited and worked redemption for his people;
69) and has raised up a horn of salvation for us in the house of his servant David
70) (as he spoke by the mouth of his holy prophets who have been from of old),
71) salvation from our enemies, and from the hand of all who hate us;
72) to show mercy towards our fathers, to remember his holy covenant,
73) the oath which he spoke to Abraham, our father,
74) to grant to us that we, being delivered out of the hand of our enemies, should serve him without fear,
75) In holiness and righteousness before him all the days of our life.
76) And you, child, will be called a prophet of the Most High, for you will go before the face of the Lord to prepare his ways,
77) to give knowledge of salvation to his people by the remission of their sins,
78) because of the tender mercy of our God, whereby the dawn from on high will visit us,
79) to shine on those who sit in darkness and the shadow of death; to guide our feet into the way of peace.”
80) The child was growing, and becoming strong in spirit, and was in the desert until the day of his public appearance to Israel.

Zacharias' son John was to be a great prophet and naturally this made Zacharias overjoyed, but he also put things in perspective by realizing that John was just to be a herald of the one to come. A herald of the dawn of a new age, one where God-in-the-flesh was to teach in person the way to true peace. It was if all mankind had suddenly been raised a little higher; to the very top of the world to see to see a new dawn and view it through the eyes of heaven itself.


pot luck?

When I took my lunch break yesterday, I accidentally turned on "wheel of fortune". The show was a special one with a Chicago theme, but I noticed the stars: Pat Sajak looked the same, but Vanna White looked quite different to me. Isn't it funny how some people change quickly, while others seem to stay the same for a long, long time. This picture of a birthday cake caused me to think about life and ask the question: Are our lives really like this cake; do we really just get "pot luck"? Then I remembered a couple passages from the Bible that set me straight in a hurry.

Prov 20:24 (WEB)
24) A man’s steps are from Yahweh; how then can man understand his way?

Rom 8:28-39 (WEB)
28) We know that all things work together for good for those who love God, to those who are called according to his purpose.
29) For whom he foreknew, he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers.
30) Whom he predestined, those he also called. Whom he called, those he also justified. Whom he justified, those he also glorified.
31) What then shall we say about these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?
32) He who didn’t spare his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how would he not also with him freely give us all things?
33) Who could bring a charge against God’s chosen ones? It is God who justifies.
34) Who is he who condemns? It is Christ who died, yes rather, who was raised from the dead, who is at the right hand of God, who also makes intercession for us.
35) Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Could oppression, or anguish, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?
36) Even as it is written, “For your sake we are killed all day long. We were accounted as sheep for the slaughter.”
37) No, in all these things, we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.
38) For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers,
39) nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

God has always and will always work in the lives of us all. Those who do their best to follow him obviously get special attention. I know this because of the effort God made in providing a "new covenant" through Jesus; a new way to God. We may seem to have a "pot luck" life and the cake is cute and all, but make no mistake, God is there and working through your life to fulfill his will. We all enjoy the pleasant aspects of life, but even those of lesser enjoyment or unhappiness can be wonderful if we understand that God can use even those things. So, even "lose a turn" and "bankrupt" can be a blessing. I know this is true, but I still would feel a little strange if someone gave me a piece of either one of them on my birthday.


Seeing things differently

A couple days ago I tried something new; my digital camera and Microsoft's ICE program. The software takes many pictures and stitches them together to form one large panoramic composite. The day was cloudy so the picture was a little dark, but not bad for a first attempt. Until I encountered this software the only time I have seen panoramic pictures was with APS (advanced processing systems) cameras which are MUCH MORE EXPENSIVE. It was interesting to see life from another angle and I wondered: How does God see his creation? This passage from the prophet Isaiah came to mind.

Isa 55:1-11 (WEB)
1) “Come, everyone who thirsts, to the waters! Come, he who has no money, buy, and eat! Yes, come, buy wine and milk without money and without price.
2) Why do you spend money for that which is not bread? and your labor for that which doesn’t satisfy? listen diligently to me, and eat you that which is good, and let your soul delight itself in fatness.
3) Turn your ear, and come to me; hear, and your soul shall live: and I will make an everlasting covenant with you, even the sure mercies of David.
4) Behold, I have given him for a witness to the peoples, a leader and commander to the peoples.
5) Behold, you shall call a nation that you don’t know; and a nation that didn’t know you shall run to you, because of Yahweh your God, and for the Holy One of Israel; for he has glorified you.”
6) Seek Yahweh while he may be found; call you on him while he is near:
7) let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts; and let him return to Yahweh, and he will have mercy on him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.
8) “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” says Yahweh.
9) “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.
10) For as the rain comes down and the snow from the sky, and doesn’t return there, but waters the earth, and makes it bring forth and bud, and gives seed to the sower and bread to the eater;
11) so shall my word be that goes forth out of my mouth: it shall not return to me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing I sent it to do.

Just as his thinking, so his vision; different. So different from us that its impossible to comprehend. Imagine, being able to see beyond time and space and into the very hearts of his created beings? Wow, now that's one very big panorama!! As far as the panoramic software goes, the next day I took 14 pictures encompassing 360 degrees and the subsequent circular picture came out great. Only one thing, it was too big to post on the blog, rats, big green rats!!! Only one more thing... did I mention the software was FREE? Also, after completing the publishing process with the blog software, I noticed that it truncated the picture. You will need to go to the site and double click on the picture to see the WHOLE THING.


one thing is uncertain.....

If you don't understand this little beauty, take heart, there are a lot of us out there who don't either. This is the equation for the Heisenberg uncertainty principle, used in quantum mechanics (Physics). I was curious, so I looked it up; basically, it says that the more you think you know something, the less you really do (I hope I got this right). One more paradox in this life to deal with. However, we see this sort of thing all the time. Remember: butter is bad for you, so try margarine or how about sugar is bad for you, so use Splenda. It seems that almost every week there is something like this on the web or in the news. You think you know something for sure and then the next day what you know is "wrong" followed by the next day in which you discover you were "right" all along. Naturally, I thought of Job: A man utterly convinced that he was righteous and pure before God, until he is asked a few questions by the Almighty himself. I know this is a LONG series of verses, but it really is worth reading.....

Job 38:1-41 (WEB)
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,
7) when the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy?
8) “Or who shut up the sea with doors, when it broke forth from the womb,
9) when I made clouds its garment, and wrapped it in thick darkness,
10) marked out for it my bound, set bars and doors,
11) and said, ‘Here you may come, but no further. Here your proud waves shall be stayed?’
12) “Have you commanded the morning in your days, and caused the dawn to know its place;
13) that it might take hold of the ends of the earth, and shake the wicked out of it?
14) It is changed as clay under the seal, and stands forth as a garment.
15) From the wicked, their light is withheld. The high arm is broken.
16) “Have you entered into the springs of the sea? Or have you walked in the recesses of the deep?
17) Have the gates of death been revealed to you? Or have you seen the gates of the shadow of death?
18) Have you comprehended the earth in its breadth? Declare, if you know it all.
19) “What is the way to the dwelling of light? As for darkness, where is its place,
20) that you should take it to its bound, that you should discern the paths to its house?
21) Surely you know, for you were born then, and the number of your days is great!
22) Have you entered the treasuries of the snow, or have you seen the treasures of the hail,
23) which I have reserved against the time of trouble, against the day of battle and war?
24) By what way is the lightning distributed, or the east wind scattered on the earth?
25) Who has cut a channel for the flood water, or the path for the thunderstorm;
26) To cause it to rain on a land where no man is; on the wilderness, in which there is no man;
27) to satisfy the waste and desolate ground, to cause the tender grass to spring forth?
28) Does the rain have a father? Or who fathers the drops of dew?
29) Out of whose womb came the ice? The gray frost of the sky, who has given birth to it?
30) The waters become hard like stone, when the surface of the deep is frozen.
31) “Can you bind the cluster of the Pleiades, or loosen the cords of Orion?
32) Can you lead forth the constellations in their season? Or can you guide the Bear with her cubs?
33) Do you know the laws of the heavens? Can you establish its dominion over the earth?
34) “Can you lift up your voice to the clouds, That abundance of waters may cover you?
35) Can you send forth lightnings, that they may go? Do they report to you, ‘Here we are?’
36) Who has put wisdom in the inward parts? Or who has given understanding to the mind?
37) Who can number the clouds by wisdom? Or who can pour out the bottles of the sky,
38) when the dust runs into a mass, and the clods of earth stick together?
39) “Can you hunt the prey for the lioness, or satisfy the appetite of the young lions,
40) when they crouch in their dens, and lie in wait in the thicket?
41) Who provides for the raven his prey, when his young ones cry to God, and wander for lack of food?

Job 39:1-30 (WEB)
1) “Do you know the time when the mountain goats give birth? Do you watch when the doe bears fawns?
2) Can you number the months that they fulfill? Or do you know the time when they give birth?
3) They bow themselves, they bring forth their young, they end their labor pains.
4) Their young ones become strong. They grow up in the open field. They go forth, and don’t return again.
5) “Who has set the wild donkey free? Or who has loosened the bonds of the swift donkey,
6) Whose home I have made the wilderness, and the salt land his dwelling place?
7) He scorns the tumult of the city, neither does he hear the shouting of the driver.
8) The range of the mountains is his pasture, He searches after every green thing.
9) “Will the wild ox be content to serve you? Or will he stay by your feeding trough?
10) Can you hold the wild ox in the furrow with his harness? Or will he till the valleys after you?
11) Will you trust him, because his strength is great? Or will you leave to him your labor?
12) Will you confide in him, that he will bring home your seed, and gather the grain of your threshing floor?
13) “The wings of the ostrich wave proudly; but are they the feathers and plumage of love?
14) For she leaves her eggs on the earth, warms them in the dust,
15) and forgets that the foot may crush them, or that the wild animal may trample them.
16) She deals harshly with her young ones, as if they were not hers. Though her labor is in vain, she is without fear,
17) because God has deprived her of wisdom, neither has he imparted to her understanding.
18) When she lifts up herself on high, she scorns the horse and his rider.
19) “Have you given the horse might? Have you clothed his neck with a quivering mane?
20) Have you made him to leap as a locust? The glory of his snorting is awesome.
21) He paws in the valley, and rejoices in his strength. He goes out to meet the armed men.
22) He mocks at fear, and is not dismayed, neither does he turn back from the sword.
23) The quiver rattles against him, the flashing spear and the javelin.
24) He eats up the ground with fierceness and rage, neither does he stand still at the sound of the trumpet.
25) As often as the trumpet sounds he snorts, ‘Aha!’ He smells the battle afar off, the thunder of the captains, and the shouting.
26) “Is it by your wisdom that the hawk soars, and stretches her wings toward the south?
27) Is it at your command that the eagle mounts up, and makes his nest on high?
28) On the cliff he dwells, and makes his home, on the point of the cliff, and the stronghold.
29) From there he spies out the prey. His eyes see it afar off.
30) His young ones also suck up blood. Where the slain are, there he is.”

Job 40:1-5 (WEB)
1) Moreover Yahweh answered Job,
2) “Shall he who argues contend with the Almighty? He who argues with God, let him answer it.”
3) Then Job answered Yahweh,
4) “Behold, I am of small account. What shall I answer you? I lay my hand on my mouth.
5) I have spoken once, and I will not answer; Yes, twice, but I will proceed no further.”

We are human beings, we don't know everything and never will. Remember the concept of humility? We all need to remember this one. There is one true constant in the universe and that is its maker, God. For us, one thing is certain, and that is, one thing is uncertain when it comes to human knowledge. So, the next time you feel really, really smart or clever, remember Heisenberg. I just wish someone could explain that equation to me... OH, WELL!

No words can express the beauty

The rainbow is a promise of God. Specifically, that he would not destroy the Earth by means of a floor. It is a beautiful thing, showing the color within the light that we see every day. Most of the time when I see a rainbow it is on the horizon, but once in awhile it is close by and the closer it gets the more beautiful it becomes. How could a rainbow be any better? Why, if you are in it of course. So the concept of "better" came to mind and of course this passage from the book of Hebrews.

Heb 8:1-13 (WEB)
1) Now in the things which we are saying, the main point is this. We have such a high priest, who sat down on the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens,
2) a servant of the sanctuary, and of the true tabernacle, which the Lord pitched, not man.
3) For every high priest is appointed to offer both gifts and sacrifices. Therefore it is necessary that this high priest also have something to offer.
4) For if he were on earth, he would not be a priest at all, seeing there are priests who offer the gifts according to the law;
5) who serve a copy and shadow of the heavenly things, even as Moses was warned by God when he was about to make the tabernacle, for he said, “See, you shall make everything according to the pattern that was shown to you on the mountain.”
6) But now he has obtained a more excellent ministry, by so much as he is also the mediator of a better covenant, which on better promises has been given as law.
7) For if that first covenant had been faultless, then no place would have been sought for a second.
8) For finding fault with them, he said, “Behold, the days come,” says the Lord, “that I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah;
9) not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers, in the day that I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt; for they didn’t continue in my covenant, and I disregarded them,” says the Lord.
10) “For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel. After those days,” says the Lord; “I will put my laws into their mind, I will also write them on their heart. I will be their God, and they will be my people.
11) They will not teach every man his fellow citizen, and every man his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord,’ for all will know me, from their least to their greatest.
12) For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness. I will remember their sins and lawless deeds no more.”
13) In that he says, “A new covenant,” he has made the first old. But that which is becoming old and grows aged is near to vanishing away.

The relationship God had with Israel was a very special one; He gave them laws, watched over them and guided them for literally hundreds of years. So, what could be better? The answer is to go beyond the concept of LAW entirely; to create a new way of knowing God... from the heart. the LAW was superseded by Grace, just as the rules of childhood are replaced by the understanding of an adult. After all, isn't it better to know what to do rather than be told what to do. Grace is like being IN A RAINBOW; the promises of God and you become one. When the human heart is colored by the promises of the living God, no words can express the beauty of it.


Find the answer...quickly

When I saw this picture on the net, I could only think of one thing: "Are you smarter than a 5th grader?". OK, I admit it, I do not know the answer to this one. I don't know what this man was thinking, but when I saw this question, I felt my I.Q. level drop about 40 points or more. The recent volcanic eruption may be news, but I only make the connection as far as that "Scandinavian" country. If I lived closer I might know more, but I don't, so my eyes bulged out too when I saw this simple little question. Even if I did know more than I do right now, I would have to be motivated and willing to listen to do something about it; otherwise I stay right where I am; period! Which is exactly where Felix was when Paul made his defense before him.

Acts 24:22-27 (WEB)
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.”
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.
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.
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.”
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.
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.

Why do we do the things we do? What motivates us? Fear, peer pressure, family, economics, love, hate and probably a thousand other things might "get us going", but when it comes to God, somehow many of us turn a deaf ear. Felix's "deaf ear" was money and power. Because of these he never acted on his knowledge of "the way", even though he was terrified of the future consequences. Is there a question that really bothers you? How about: If you died tonight, where would you go in the next life? If your eyes just bulged, then perhaps you might want to open your Bible to Acts chapter 2; interesting reading. And, oh, yes, you will find the answer there!!! Next step: You need to do something about it!!!