A friend in need....

OK, in case you are wondering, I chose this cat because I saw the new Tim Burton's "Alice in Wonderland". This cat may not be the Cheshire cat, but it does seem to have a smile on its face. What does it take to make you happy? I suppose it could be many things, but I am reminded of a situation where one friend helped another in a time of need.

2Sa 16:16-23 ESV
(16) And when Hushai the Archite, David's friend, came to Absalom, Hushai said to Absalom, "Long live the king! Long live the king!"
(17) And Absalom said to Hushai, "Is this your loyalty to your friend? Why did you not go with your friend?"
(18) And Hushai said to Absalom, "No, for whom the LORD and this people and all the men of Israel have chosen, his I will be, and with him I will remain.
(19) And again, whom should I serve? Should it not be his son? As I have served your father, so I will serve you."
(20) Then Absalom said to Ahithophel, "Give your counsel. What shall we do?"
(21) Ahithophel said to Absalom, "Go in to your father's concubines, whom he has left to keep the house, and all Israel will hear that you have made yourself a stench to your father, and the hands of all who are with you will be strengthened."
(22) So they pitched a tent for Absalom on the roof. And Absalom went in to his father's concubines in the sight of all Israel.
(23) Now in those days the counsel that Ahithophel gave was as if one consulted the word of God; so was all the counsel of Ahithophel esteemed, both by David and by Absalom.

2Sa 17:1-23 ESV
(1) Moreover, Ahithophel said to Absalom, "Let me choose twelve thousand men, and I will arise and pursue David tonight.
(2) I will come upon him while he is weary and discouraged and throw him into a panic, and all the people who are with him will flee. I will strike down only the king,
(3) and I will bring all the people back to you as a bride comes home to her husband. You seek the life of only one man, and all the people will be at peace."
(4) And the advice seemed right in the eyes of Absalom and all the elders of Israel.
(5) Then Absalom said, "Call Hushai the Archite also, and let us hear what he has to say."
(6) And when Hushai came to Absalom, Absalom said to him, "Thus has Ahithophel spoken; shall we do as he says? If not, you speak."
(7) Then Hushai said to Absalom, "This time the counsel that Ahithophel has given is not good."
(8) Hushai said, "You know that your father and his men are mighty men, and that they are enraged, like a bear robbed of her cubs in the field. Besides, your father is expert in war; he will not spend the night with the people.
(9) Behold, even now he has hidden himself in one of the pits or in some other place. And as soon as some of the people fall at the first attack, whoever hears it will say, 'There has been a slaughter among the people who follow Absalom.'
(10) Then even the valiant man, whose heart is like the heart of a lion, will utterly melt with fear, for all Israel knows that your father is a mighty man, and that those who are with him are valiant men.
(11) But my counsel is that all Israel be gathered to you, from Dan to Beersheba, as the sand by the sea for multitude, and that you go to battle in person.
(12) So we shall come upon him in some place where he is to be found, and we shall light upon him as the dew falls on the ground, and of him and all the men with him not one will be left.
(13) If he withdraws into a city, then all Israel will bring ropes to that city, and we shall drag it into the valley, until not even a pebble is to be found there."
(14) And Absalom and all the men of Israel said, "The counsel of Hushai the Archite is better than the counsel of Ahithophel." For the LORD had ordained to defeat the good counsel of Ahithophel, so that the LORD might bring harm upon Absalom.
(15) Then Hushai said to Zadok and Abiathar the priests, "Thus and so did Ahithophel counsel Absalom and the elders of Israel, and thus and so have I counseled.
(16) Now therefore send quickly and tell David, 'Do not stay tonight at the fords of the wilderness, but by all means pass over, lest the king and all the people who are with him be swallowed up.'"
(17) Now Jonathan and Ahimaaz were waiting at En-rogel. A female servant was to go and tell them, and they were to go and tell King David, for they were not to be seen entering the city.
(18) But a young man saw them and told Absalom. So both of them went away quickly and came to the house of a man at Bahurim, who had a well in his courtyard. And they went down into it.
(19) And the woman took and spread a covering over the well's mouth and scattered grain on it, and nothing was known of it.
(20) When Absalom's servants came to the woman at the house, they said, "Where are Ahimaaz and Jonathan?" And the woman said to them, "They have gone over the brook of water." And when they had sought and could not find them, they returned to Jerusalem.
(21) After they had gone, the men came up out of the well, and went and told King David. They said to David, "Arise, and go quickly over the water, for thus and so has Ahithophel counseled against you."
(22) Then David arose, and all the people who were with him, and they crossed the Jordan. By daybreak not one was left who had not crossed the Jordan.
(23) When Ahithophel saw that his counsel was not followed, he saddled his donkey and went off home to his own city. He set his house in order and hanged himself, and he died and was buried in the tomb of his father.

Hushai helped his friend David and in the process probably saved his life. That would be enough to make anyone happy! OK, maybe David did not smile like the Cheshire Cat or even the cat in the picture, but he did get by with a little help from his friend and as the Scriptures teach, this was ordained by God. When we realize that God is truly working in our lives, it always makes us smile. The more I think about this, the more I smile, because as time goes by, I remember all things God has done for me; how about you????


Common ground

For KK

Interesting picture! One can only wonder what it must be like to dress like this; to live in a culture (in this case Chinese) that is radically different. I wonder, exactly what does go through the mind of one so radically different from myself. Actually, this sort of question must have been asked by the Apostle Paul as he strove to reach all those of the ancient world with the gospel of Jesus. Question: Just how does one go about reaching others anyway? This passage from Corinthians gives us some insight.

1Co 9:1-22 ESV
(1) Am I not free? Am I not an apostle? Have I not seen Jesus our Lord? Are not you my workmanship in the Lord?
(2) If to others I am not an apostle, at least I am to you, for you are the seal of my apostleship in the Lord.
(3) This is my defense to those who would examine me.
(4) Do we not have the right to eat and drink?
(5) Do we not have the right to take along a believing wife, as do the other apostles and the brothers of the Lord and Cephas?
(6) Or is it only Barnabas and I who have no right to refrain from working for a living?
(7) Who serves as a soldier at his own expense? Who plants a vineyard without eating any of its fruit? Or who tends a flock without getting some of the milk?
(8) Do I say these things on human authority? Does not the Law say the same?
(9) For it is written in the Law of Moses, "You shall not muzzle an ox when it treads out the grain." Is it for oxen that God is concerned?
(10) Does he not speak entirely for our sake? It was written for our sake, because the plowman should plow in hope and the thresher thresh in hope of sharing in the crop.
(11) If we have sown spiritual things among you, is it too much if we reap material things from you?
(12) If others share this rightful claim on you, do not we even more? Nevertheless, we have not made use of this right, but we endure anything rather than put an obstacle in the way of the gospel of Christ.
(13) Do you not know that those who are employed in the temple service get their food from the temple, and those who serve at the altar share in the sacrificial offerings?
(14) In the same way, the Lord commanded that those who proclaim the gospel should get their living by the gospel.
(15) But I have made no use of any of these rights, nor am I writing these things to secure any such provision. For I would rather die than have anyone deprive me of my ground for boasting.
(16) For if I preach the gospel, that gives me no ground for boasting. For necessity is laid upon me. Woe to me if I do not preach the gospel!
(17) For if I do this of my own will, I have a reward, but if not of my own will, I am still entrusted with a stewardship.
(18) What then is my reward? That in my preaching I may present the gospel free of charge, so as not to make full use of my right in the gospel.
(19) For though I am free from all, I have made myself a servant to all, that I might win more of them.
(20) To the Jews I became as a Jew, in order to win Jews. To those under the law I became as one under the law (though not being myself under the law) that I might win those under the law.
(21) To those outside the law I became as one outside the law (not being outside the law of God but under the law of Christ) that I might win those outside the law.
(22) To the weak I became weak, that I might win the weak. I have become all things to all people, that by all means I might save some.

Paul was an unusual sort of person. But, he cared enough for others to try to find common ground with them, to reach them any way he could. I think a good start is to realize that we all have humanity in common, no matter how strange their lifestyles may seem to us. Deep down we are ALL human beings and have the same needs and Jesus can help everyone; from those in New Jersey, Canada and even as far away as China. This picture was a little deception of mine, because it is my grand-daughter all dressed up to look oriental. Like I said, inside we are all the same; we just are raised differently in the culture we find ourselves in. Be who you are, but care about others; reach out and they just might do the same. If it was good enough for Paul, perhaps it is worth a try. Only, I think I will pass on the dress.


Today is....

This reminds me of an old song by Chicago: "Does anybody really know what time it is?" But a circular calendar???? Interesting!!! Calendars mark the passage of time; they are based on all sorts of things, the moon, the sun, the reign of this or that empire (or emperor). Isn't it interesting that our current calendar is obtained from the birth of Jesus. Jesus said much about time, but I thought of this passage......

Mat 26:17-31 ESV
(17) Now on the first day of Unleavened Bread the disciples came to Jesus, saying, "Where will you have us prepare for you to eat the Passover?"
(18) He said, "Go into the city to a certain man and say to him, 'The Teacher says, My time is at hand. I will keep the Passover at your house with my disciples.'"
(19) And the disciples did as Jesus had directed them, and they prepared the Passover.
(20) When it was evening, he reclined at table with the twelve.
(21) And as they were eating, he said, "Truly, I say to you, one of you will betray me."
(22) And they were very sorrowful and began to say to him one after another, "Is it I, Lord?"
(23) He answered, "He who has dipped his hand in the dish with me will betray me.
(24) The Son of Man goes as it is written of him, but woe to that man by whom the Son of Man is betrayed! It would have been better for that man if he had not been born."
(25) Judas, who would betray him, answered, "Is it I, Rabbi?" He said to him, "You have said so."
(26) Now as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and after blessing it broke it and gave it to the disciples, and said, "Take, eat; this is my body."
(27) And he took a cup, and when he had given thanks he gave it to them, saying, "Drink of it, all of you,
(28) for this is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.
(29) I tell you I will not drink again of this fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father's kingdom."
(30) And when they had sung a hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives.
(31) Then Jesus said to them, "You will all fall away because of me this night. For it is written, 'I will strike the shepherd, and the sheep of the flock will be scattered.'

Jesus marked time by his mission; his appointed sacrifice to come. So should we. Over the years I have read many different arguments over the EXACT DATE OF HIS BIRTH, but in reality, that really is not the correct thing to focus on. It is his death and resurrection, because without that sacrifice, where would we be? Fortunately, that has been documented and documented and documented again. So, would anyone out there like to move our date to 1977? I wouldn't mind because that was a very good year. For the time being though, I still am trying to get my hands around this circular calendar, but honestly; IT GIVES ME A HEADACHE!!!


hang in there...

Its funny how animals are a bit like people; in some households, the dog of the house thinks its the master of the house, in others different things happen. In this case I think the cat is very attached to this small boy and will not give up for anything. Reminds me of this passage from the book of John.

Joh 6:47-69 ESV
(47) Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever believes has eternal life.
(48) I am the bread of life.
(49) Your fathers ate the manna in the wilderness, and they died.
(50) This is the bread that comes down from heaven, so that one may eat of it and not die.
(51) I am the living bread that came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever. And the bread that I will give for the life of the world is my flesh."
(52) The Jews then disputed among themselves, saying, "How can this man give us his flesh to eat?"
(53) So Jesus said to them, "Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you.
(54) Whoever feeds on my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day.
(55) For my flesh is true food, and my blood is true drink.
(56) Whoever feeds on my flesh and drinks my blood abides in me, and I in him.
(57) As the living Father sent me, and I live because of the Father, so whoever feeds on me, he also will live because of me.
(58) This is the bread that came down from heaven, not like the bread the fathers ate and died. Whoever feeds on this bread will live forever."
(59) Jesus said these things in the synagogue, as he taught at Capernaum.
(60) When many of his disciples heard it, they said, "This is a hard saying; who can listen to it?"
(61) But Jesus, knowing in himself that his disciples were grumbling about this, said to them, "Do you take offense at this?
(62) Then what if you were to see the Son of Man ascending to where he was before?
(63) It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh is no help at all. The words that I have spoken to you are spirit and life.
(64) But there are some of you who do not believe." (For Jesus knew from the beginning who those were who did not believe, and who it was who would betray him.)
(65) And he said, "This is why I told you that no one can come to me unless it is granted him by the Father."
(66) After this many of his disciples turned back and no longer walked with him.
(67) So Jesus said to the Twelve, "Do you want to go away as well?"
(68) Simon Peter answered him, "Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life,
(69) and we have believed, and have come to know, that you are the Holy One of God."

Is there a point when friendship ends, or in other words, is there a limit to how far a friend will go? Some people will balk when things get a little tough, BUT OTHERS.... Like the cat in the picture, they just keep hanging on. True faith is like that; it just doesn't quit, no matter what. The twelve understood it (except Judas, of course), but I wonder if we do? No matter what means just that, no options, no holds barred, WHATEVER HAPPENS; PERIOD. Its not always easy to follow God, but don't quit. One more thing.... I hope that young fellow in the picture has a clean diaper; it would make life a whole lot easier!


Slow of speech

When I saw this today, I thought of my youngest grand-daughter, who is just learning to speak and I marveled at this form of communication that we so matter-of-factly use. I don't think I will ever be able to pronounce this, but if not, so what? Its not necessary if I do or don't, just interesting. But what if I was given something REALLY, REALLY, IMPORTANT TO SAY??? Moses was put in this position and here is how he handled it.

Exodus 4:10-17 (WEB)
10) Moses said to Yahweh, “O Lord, I am not eloquent, neither before now, nor since you have spoken to your servant; for I am slow of speech, and of a slow tongue.”
11) Yahweh said to him, “Who made man’s mouth? Or who makes one mute, or deaf, or seeing, or blind? Isn’t it I, Yahweh?
12) Now therefore go, and I will be with your mouth, and teach you what you shall speak.”
13) He said, “Oh, Lord, please send someone else.”
14) The anger of Yahweh was kindled against Moses, and he said, “What about Aaron, your brother, the Levite? I know that he can speak well. Also, behold, he comes out to meet you. When he sees you, he will be glad in his heart.
15) You shall speak to him, and put the words in his mouth. I will be with your mouth, and with his mouth, and will teach you what you shall do.
16) He will be your spokesman to the people; and it will happen, that he will be to you a mouth, and you will be to him as God.
17) You shall take this rod in your hand, with which you shall do the signs.”
(Exodus 4:10-17, WEB)

Moses didn't handle it at all; he tried to back out! God was angry with him, but made allowances for his weakness. Somehow, it seems strange for MOSES to act like this, but then, I can't imagine being given something this important by God. Moses knew his weaknesses, but God overcame them and used him for a truly great work. Humm, I wonder, could Aaron pronounce this sign? Not necessary, its not in Hebrew!!!


At the end of the day

I like this picture because it really says something to me: satisfaction at the end of the day. Have you ever worked very hard all day only to go home at dust and barely arrive before it was TOTAL DARKNESS? Perhaps you might have had a day full of all sorts of problems and it seemed too much for you, but, at the end of it, things all worked out and when the soothing cloak of darkness enveloped you as you set foot at your front door, the world seemed just fine. Problems solved, work done, day over and one overwhelming thought came to your mind: I AM HOME!! consider this passage from the old testament.

Esther 9:16-32 (WEB)
16) The other Jews who were in the king’s provinces gathered themselves together, defended their lives, had rest from their enemies, and killed seventy-five thousand of those who hated them; but they didn’t lay their hand on the plunder.
17) This was done on the thirteenth day of the month Adar; and on the fourteenth day of that month they rested and made it a day of feasting and gladness.
18) But the Jews who were in Shushan assembled together on the thirteenth and on the fourteenth days of the month; and on the fifteenth day of that month, they rested, and made it a day of feasting and gladness.
19) Therefore the Jews of the villages, who live in the unwalled towns, make the fourteenth day of the month Adar a day of gladness and feasting, a good day, and a day of sending presents of food to one another.
20) Mordecai wrote these things, and sent letters to all the Jews who were in all the provinces of the king Ahasuerus, both near and far,
21) to enjoin them that they should keep the fourteenth and fifteenth days of the month Adar yearly,
22) as the days in which the Jews had rest from their enemies, and the month which was turned to them from sorrow to gladness, and from mourning into a good day; that they should make them days of feasting and gladness, and of sending presents of food to one another, and gifts to the needy.
23) The Jews accepted the custom that they had begun, as Mordecai had written to them;
24) because Haman the son of Hammedatha, the Agagite, the enemy of all the Jews, had plotted against the Jews to destroy them, and had cast “Pur,” that is the lot, to consume them, and to destroy them;
25) but when this became known to the king, he commanded by letters that his wicked device, which he had devised against the Jews, should return on his own head, and that he and his sons should be hanged on the gallows.
26) Therefore they called these days “Purim,” from the word “Pur.” Therefore because of all the words of this letter, and of that which they had seen concerning this matter, and that which had come to them,
27) the Jews established, and imposed on themselves, and on their descendants, and on all those who joined themselves to them, so that it should not fail, that they would keep these two days according to what was written, and according to its appointed time, every year;
28) and that these days should be remembered and kept throughout every generation, every family, every province, and every city; and that these days of Purim should not fail from among the Jews, nor their memory perish from their seed.
29) Then Esther the queen, the daughter of Abihail, and Mordecai the Jew, wrote with all authority to confirm this second letter of Purim.
30) He sent letters to all the Jews, to the hundred twenty-seven provinces of the kingdom of Ahasuerus, with words of peace and truth,
31) to confirm these days of Purim in their appointed times, as Mordecai the Jew and Esther the queen had decreed, and as they had imposed upon themselves and their descendants, in the matter of the fastings and their cry.
32) The commandment of Esther confirmed these matters of Purim; and it was written in the book.
(Esther 9:16-32, WEB)

The Jews were ALMOST DESTROYED! But, things worked out and they prevailed over their enemies. They rejoiced and made a new holiday. All is well that ends well. God has a way of doing that for those who love him and one way or another things work out!! Like I said, this picture reminds of satisfaction, but I can't help but wonder where his house is? Perhaps he has a houseboat, just waiting for him beyond our field of view, who knows? Whatever your day has been like, remember, God takes care of his own; in this life and beyond.


In your wildest dreams

When I saw this today, I thought of the Moody Blues song "In your wildest dreams". Looks pretty fantastic, doesn't it? Who would have ever thought 40 or 50 years ago that such things could exist outside the realm of Science Fiction. Looks like the stuff of Star Trek to me. But, once you understand, suddenly they seem simple. Take this parable for instance.

Luke 8:4-15 (WEB)
4) When a great multitude came together, and people from every city were coming to him, he spoke by a parable.
5) “The farmer went out to sow his seed. As he sowed, some fell along the road, and it was trampled under foot, and the birds of the sky devoured it.
6) Other seed fell on the rock, and as soon as it grew, it withered away, because it had no moisture.
7) Other fell amid the thorns, and the thorns grew with it, and choked it.
8) Other fell into the good ground, and grew, and brought forth fruit one hundred times.” As he said these things, he called out, “He who has ears to hear, let him hear!”
9) Then his disciples asked him, “What does this parable mean?”
10) He said, “To you it is given to know the mysteries of the Kingdom of God, but to the rest in parables; that ‘seeing they may not see, and hearing they may not understand.’
11) Now the parable is this: The seed is the word of God.
12) Those along the road are those who hear, then the devil comes, and takes away the word from their heart, that they may not believe and be saved.
13) Those on the rock are they who, when they hear, receive the word with joy; but these have no root, who believe for a while, then fall away in time of temptation.
14) That which fell among the thorns, these are those who have heard, and as they go on their way they are choked with cares, riches, and pleasures of life, and bring no fruit to maturity.
15) That in the good ground, these are such as in an honest and good heart, having heard the word, hold it tightly, and bring forth fruit with patience.
(Luke 8:4-15, WEB)

Because the parable is explained to us, its simple. But, like so many Spiritual things, most people just don't get it. That's the way Spirituality is: you either get it or you don't. I probably will never understand the workings of the Large Hadron Collider we see in the picture, but thank God for Jesus, because without HIM large portions of the Scriptures would just not make any sense at all and I would be uttering the phrase "Beam me up, Scotty". I wonder when they will ever get around to inventing phasers and food replicators?


Its not the start, but the finish that counts!

Before you ask.... no, this isn't a post about Papal authority or sex or a commentary on authority in general. The only thing it is about is a conversation I had with a pharmacist friend of mine and an article he showed me about a recent step the current pontiff is going to take to do things "correctly" in the Roman Catholic Church. Just to set the record straight... I am NOT a fan of Catholicism and see much error there, BUT. Admitting guilt and promising to try to do better (my interpretation) is a good start and with THAT IN MIND, I thought of the following passage.

Matthew 19:16-22 (WEB)
16) Behold, one came to him and said, “Good teacher, what good thing shall I do, that I may have eternal life?”
17) He said to him, “Why do you call me good? No one is good but one, that is, God. But if you want to enter into life, keep the commandments.”
18) He said to him, “Which ones?” Jesus said, “‘You shall not murder.’ ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ ‘You shall not steal.’ ‘You shall not offer false testimony.’
19) ‘Honor your father and mother.’ And, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’”
20) The young man said to him, “All these things I have observed from my youth. What do I still lack?”
21) Jesus said to him, “If you want to be perfect, go, sell what you have, and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me.”
22) But when the young man heard the saying, he went away sad, for he was one who had great possessions.
(Matthew 19:16-22, WEB)

The rich young man had an insight into truth and a practiced religion that was praiseworthy. Jesus knew his problem and confronted him directly. His true love was revealed and money kept him from following Jesus. Notice, Jesus didn't tell him he was a bad person or even an unfaithful Jew, instead he invited him to be "perfect" and be one of Jesus' followers. The young man had made a good start, but ended badly; I sincerely hope the current pontiff will do better.


The Cross in Our Bodies

Ron Cameron sent me this today and I liked it so much that I just had to post it (without one bit of change). Thanks Ron!!!!!

The Cross in Our Bodies
This is a pretty neat story and an interesting thing that few of us know.
It's brief, so please read. (FROM A DOCTOR)

A couple of days ago I was running (I use that term very loosely) on my treadmill, watching a DVD sermon by Louie Giglio... And I was BLOWN AWAY! I want to share what I learned.... But I fear not being able to convey it as well as I want. I will share anyway.

He (Louie) was talking about how inconceivably BIG our God is... How He spoke the universe into being... How He breathes stars out of His mouth that are huge raging balls of fire.. Etc. Etc. Then He went on to speak of how this star-breathing, universe creating God ALSO knitted our human bodies together with amazing detail and wonder. At this point I am LOVING it (fascinating from a medical standpoint, you know.) . And I was remembering how I was constantly amazed during medical school as I learned more and more about God's handiwork. I remember so many times thinking.. 'How can ANYONE deny that a Creator did all of this???'

Louie went on to talk about how we can trust that the God who created all this, also has the power to hold it all together when things seem to be falling apart...how our loving Creator is also our sustainer.

And then I lost my breath. And it wasn't because I was running my treadmill, either!!!

It was because he started talking about laminin. I knew about laminin.. Here is how
Wikipedia describes them: 'Laminins are a family of proteins that are an integral part of the structural scaffolding of basement membranes in almost every animal tissue' You see.... Laminins are what hold us together... LITERALLY. They are cell adhesion molecules. They are what holds one cell of our bodies to the next cell. Without them, we would literally fall apart. And I knew all this already. But what I didn't know is what they LOOKED LIKE..

But now I do. And I have thought about it a thousand times since (already)....Here is what the structure of laminin looks like... AND THIS IS NOT a 'Christian portrayal' of it.... If you look up laminin in any scientific/medical piece of literature, this is what you will see....

Now tell me that our God is not the coolest!!! Amazing.
The glue that holds us together.... ALL of us..... Is in the shape of the cross. Immediately Colossians 1:15-17 comes to mind.

'He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation.
For by him all things were created; things in heaven and on earth, visible And invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or Authorities; All things were created by him and for him. He is before all things, and in him All things HOLD TOGETHER.'
Colossians 1:15-17
Call me crazy. I just think that is very, very, very cool.. Thousands of years before the world knew anything about laminin, Paul penned those words. And now we see that from a very LITERAL standpoint, we are held together... One cell to another.... By the cross.
You would never in a quadrillion years convince me that is anything other than the mark of a Creator who knew EXACTLY what laminin 'glue' would look like long before Adam breathed his first breath!


a sense of humor

There may be a few of you out there who envision God as a somber, stoic personality. If you fall into this category, this post is for you. Abraham and his wife Sarah were old and God visits them and gives them some "GOOD NEWS".

Genesis 18:1-15 (WEB)
1) Yahweh appeared to him by the oaks of Mamre, as he sat in the tent door in the heat of the day.
2) He lifted up his eyes and looked, and saw that three men stood opposite him. When he saw them, he ran to meet them from the tent door, and bowed himself to the earth,
3) and said, “My lord, if now I have found favor in your sight, please don’t go away from your servant.
4) Now let a little water be fetched, wash your feet, and rest yourselves under the tree.
5) I will get a morsel of bread so you can refresh your heart. After that you may go your way, now that you have come to your servant.” They said, “Very well, do as you have said.”
6) Abraham hurried into the tent to Sarah, and said, “Quickly prepare three measures of fine meal, knead it, and make cakes.”
7) Abraham ran to the herd, and fetched a tender and good calf, and gave it to the servant. He hurried to dress it.
8) He took butter, milk, and the calf which he had dressed, and set it before them. He stood by them under the tree, and they ate.
9) They asked him, “Where is Sarah, your wife?” He said, “See, in the tent.”
10) He said, “I will certainly return to you when the season comes round. Behold, Sarah your wife will have a son.” Sarah heard in the tent door, which was behind him.
11) Now Abraham and Sarah were old, well advanced in age. Sarah had passed the age of childbearing.
12) Sarah laughed within herself, saying, “After I have grown old will I have pleasure, my lord being old also?”
13) Yahweh said to Abraham, “Why did Sarah laugh, saying, ‘Will I really bear a child, yet I am old?’
14) Is anything too hard for Yahweh? At the set time I will return to you, when the season comes round, and Sarah will have a son.”
15) Then Sarah denied, saying, “I didn’t laugh,” for she was afraid. He said, “No, but you did laugh.”
(Genesis 18:1-15, WEB)

Genesis 21:1-7 (WEB)
1) Yahweh visited Sarah as he had said, and Yahweh did to Sarah as he had spoken.
2) Sarah conceived, and bore Abraham a son in his old age, at the set time of which God had spoken to him.
3) Abraham called his son who was born to him, whom Sarah bore to him, Isaac.
4) Abraham circumcised his son, Isaac, when he was eight days old, as God had commanded him.
5) Abraham was one hundred years old when his son, Isaac, was born to him.
6) Sarah said, “God has made me laugh. Everyone who hears will laugh with me.”
7) She said, “Who would have said to Abraham, that Sarah would nurse children? For I have borne him a son in his old age.”
(Genesis 21:1-7, WEB)

Sarah disbelieved God. And she showed it by laughter. But God had the "last laugh": Sarah, an old woman, really did have a son in her old age. Sometimes, things are just too coincidental; the son that Sarah bore was named Issac (he who laughs). God turned the laughter of disbelief into the laughter of JOY. You just gotta love the whole thing.... who says God doesn't have a sense of humor....


To jump or not to jump, is that the question?

Ridiculous, absolutely ridiculous! Or is it? Think for a moment about our society; everything revolves around "me". When was the last time you heard someone talk about sacrifices made for another fellow human being who was NOT A MEMBER OF THEIR IMMEDIATE FAMILY? Think about the following passage for a few moments.

Philippians 2:1-11 (WEB)
1) If there is therefore any exhortation in Christ, if any consolation of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any tender mercies and compassion,
2) make my joy full, by being like-minded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind;
3) doing nothing through rivalry or through conceit, but in humility, each counting others better than himself;
4) each of you not just looking to his own things, but each of you also to the things of others.
5) Have this in your mind, which was also in Christ Jesus,
6) who, existing in the form of God, didn’t consider equality with God a thing to be grasped,
7) but emptied himself, taking the form of a servant, being made in the likeness of men.
8) And being found in human form, he humbled himself, becoming obedient to death, yes, the death of the cross.
9) Therefore God also highly exalted him, and gave to him the name which is above every name;
10) that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, those on earth, and those under the earth,
11) and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
(Philippians 2:1-11, WEB)

Jesus of Nazareth died for others; not for something he had done. Paul suffered untold hardships for others and encouraged the Christians at Philippi to be concerned for others. Sounds almost like a definition for the word "Christian" does it not?? Feel like jumping off a building? Don't, someone besides yourself may get hurt. What next? Just re-read the Philippian passage a couple of times as I did. Funny how the thought came to me... "if it was good enough for Jesus to do, what should I be doing that I haven't been?"


A note from Will

I was raised in a rural community in upstate New York; farm country. Honest, hard-working, everyday people. True, the neighbors were more than a half-mile away, but we still had them. There were problems and yes, there was crime. But we didn't have to lock our doors at night. So, when we moved to New Jersey in the mid-eighties, my wife and I were in for a real culture shock. We had a LOT OF NEIGHBORS AND CRIME WAS EVERYWHERE. We began to lock our doors at night and have continued the practice even though we live in Florida. This picture reminded me that there are people out there who have morals and do care about others. How could I NOT THINK OF THIS PASSAGE FROM MATTHEW???

Matthew 5:3-16 (WEB)
3) “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven.
4) Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.
5) Blessed are the gentle, for they shall inherit the earth.
6) Blessed are those who hunger and thirst after righteousness, for they shall be filled.
7) Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy.
8) Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.
9) Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called children of God.
10) Blessed are those who have been persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven.
11) “Blessed are you when people reproach you, persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely, for my sake.
12) Rejoice, and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven. For that is how they persecuted the prophets who were before you.
13) “You are the salt of the earth, but if the salt has lost its flavor, with what will it be salted? It is then good for nothing, but to be cast out and trodden under the feet of men.
14) You are the light of the world. A city located on a hill can’t be hidden.
15) Neither do you light a lamp, and put it under a measuring basket, but on a stand; and it shines to all who are in the house.
16) Even so, let your light shine before men; that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.
(Matthew 5:3-16, WEB)

I don't know who the "Will" of the note is, but I think I would like to meet him!!! Honesty and kindness in one package...WOW!! Too bad more people aren't like him!! There is a word for people like him: Christian. Do yourself a favor; tomorrow, open this post again and re-read the Bible passage; print it out, place it on the fridge and try to live it. If enough of us do this, maybe no one will ever have to lock their doors again.


Filtered "seeing"

This unusual clock caught my attention today. Its not that it is all THAT UNUSUAL, its just that the filters that highlight the hours and minutes reminded me of this passage from the Gospel of John.

John 9:39-41 (WEB)
39) Jesus said, “I came into this world for judgment, that those who don’t see may see; and that those who see may become blind.”
40) Those of the Pharisees who were with him heard these things, and said to him, “Are we also blind?”
41) Jesus said to them, “If you were blind, you would have no sin; but now you say, ‘We see.’ Therefore your sin remains.
(John 9:39-41, WEB)

In one way or another, we all go through life with filters (blinders) on. Its human nature to focus on certain things and ignore others. One of my son-in-laws was wearing a cast and just decided one day to take it off. When I asked him about it he said something like: "I just ignore the pain". Frankly, I don't know how he can do that, but he does!! Likewise, some people just ignore Jesus and go about their life as if he doesn't exist. That is, until they grow very old or become very sick. When that happens, all of a sudden they become spiritual and are willing to address their lives with a view to making things right with God. Don't wait; tomorrow could be the day something really bad happens. Only problem is... put yourself in God's shoes... How do you think he views a last minute "turn around"? One can only wonder!! Better to get rid of the filters now... and not take any chances.


en (courage) ment

This picture is probably very familiar to you, so there is no need to explain how it came about. Yet, I wonder, how did this person find the courage to do this? Here is one possibility.

1 Thessalonians 5:14 (WEB)
14) We exhort you, brothers, admonish the disorderly, encourage the fainthearted, support the weak, be patient toward all.
(1 Thessalonians 5:14, WEB)

It is a truism that none of us lives to himself and none of us dies to himself. On a daily basis, we use our support system to handle this crazy world around us. I really do not know anything about the person in the picture, but somebody, somewhere encouraged him a LOT! How much more do Christians need encouragement!! Look around, there is more and more opposition to being a Christian. It might be a good idea to actually listen to Paul and do this. Hint, Hint!!!


Things change... or do they?

I met someone today who was copying a huge amount of old Polaroid snapshots. You don't see that much anymore as these have given way to the more convenient digital cameras with their memory cards. Recently, I read somewhere that Polaroid is going to revamp the older technology, in order to revitalize the sales of Polaroid film. That would be nice because I have one of those old cameras and would look forward to using it again (if I could find the film). When I saw this picture, I realized how much photography has changed since this 1921 picture was taken. Wow, are they big cameras!! But, they still are cameras and though today's units may look differently, they have a lot in common with these big ones from that bygone era. But, what if something were completely new, new in the sense that it really was different? Read what the writer to the Hebrews has to say on the subject.

Hebrews 5:1-10 (WEB)
1) For every high priest, being taken from among men, is appointed for men in things pertaining to God, that he may offer both gifts and sacrifices for sins.
2) The high priest can deal gently with those who are ignorant and going astray, because he himself is also surrounded with weakness.
3) Because of this, he must offer sacrifices for sins for the people, as well as for himself.
4) Nobody takes this honor on himself, but he is called by God, just like Aaron was.
5) So also Christ didn’t glorify himself to be made a high priest, but it was he who said to him, “You are my Son. Today I have become your father.”
6) As he says also in another place, “You are a priest forever, after the order of Melchizedek.”
7) He, in the days of his flesh, having offered up prayers and petitions with strong crying and tears to him who was able to save him from death, and having been heard for his godly fear,
8) though he was a Son, yet learned obedience by the things which he suffered.
9) Having been made perfect, he became to all of those who obey him the author of eternal salvation,
10) named by God a high priest after the order of Melchizedek.
(Hebrews 5:1-10, WEB)

Jesus was (and is) different because he lives forever. Because of this, his sacrifice is better than that of the mortal Levitical priesthood who were subject to death. I like the idea of being given something that will not change! The cameras in the picture may look quaint, but try using them all day.... you would wind up with arms like the current governor of California. I think I will keep my current digital camera after all. But once in awhile, just for fun, I think I will take a couple of Polaroids.


walk "the dog"

I have heard of walking your dog, but walking your spider. Creepy! This "little" creature looks to be about 2 feet tall and it sure does send shivers up my spine. Perhaps this isn't a walking duty; maybe its along for security and if so, its got my vote. Where does a 2 foot spider walk? Answer: anywhere it wants.... However, don't let the size of this thing get to you... remember, its on a leash. Size doesn't always matter; take this little episode from the book of numbers for example.

Numbers 13:17-33 (WEB)
17) Moses sent them to spy out the land of Canaan, and said to them, “Go up this way by the South, and go up into the hill country:
18) and see the land, what it is; and the people who dwell therein, whether they are strong or weak, whether they are few or many;
19) and what the land is that they dwell in, whether it is good or bad; and what cities they are that they dwell in, whether in camps, or in strongholds;
20) and what the land is, whether it is fat or lean, whether there is wood therein, or not. Be courageous, and bring of the fruit of the land. Now the time was the time of the first-ripe grapes.”
21) So they went up, and spied out the land from the wilderness of Zin to Rehob, to the entrance of Hamath.
22) They went up by the South, and came to Hebron; and Ahiman, Sheshai, and Talmai, the children of Anak, were there. (Now Hebron was built seven years before Zoan in Egypt.)
23) They came to the valley of Eshcol, and cut down from there a branch with one cluster of grapes, and they bore it on a staff between two. They also brought some of the pomegranates and figs.
24) That place was called the valley of Eshcol, because of the cluster which the children of Israel cut down from there.
25) They returned from spying out the land at the end of forty days.
26) They went and came to Moses, and to Aaron, and to all the congregation of the children of Israel, to the wilderness of Paran, to Kadesh; and brought back word to them, and to all the congregation, and showed them the fruit of the land.
27) They told him, and said, “We came to the land where you sent us; and surely it flows with milk and honey; and this is its fruit.
28) However the people who dwell in the land are strong, and the cities are fortified and very large. Moreover, we saw the children of Anak there.
29) Amalek dwells in the land of the South: and the Hittite, and the Jebusite, and the Amorite, dwell in the hill country; and the Canaanite dwells by the sea, and along by the side of the Jordan.”
30) Caleb stilled the people before Moses, and said, “Let us go up at once, and possess it; for we are well able to overcome it.”
31) But the men who went up with him said, “We aren’t able to go up against the people; for they are stronger than we.”
32) They brought up an evil report of the land which they had spied out to the children of Israel, saying, “The land, through which we have gone to spy it out, is a land that eats up its inhabitants; and all the people who we saw in it are men of great stature.
33) There we saw the Nephilim, the sons of Anak, who come of the Nephilim: and we were in our own sight as grasshoppers, and so we were in their sight.”
(Numbers 13:17-33, WEB)

What about verse 33? Does the name Goliath sound familiar? Most of the spies were afraid, but Joshua and Caleb were not. This tells me that size does not matter when seen through the eyes of faith. Joshua and Caleb were commended for their faith, but the others died, never seeing the promised land. Faith has a way of overcoming all obstacles, of enduring until there is a successful solution to whatever the problem might be. As for the 2 foot spider... anyone have a 5 gallon spray can of industrial strength raid handy? I might need it!!