Are you excluded?

Today I read something about a person suffering because of her core religious beliefs. She believed the Bible teaching about homosexuality and was rejected for believing it. Lately , it has become fashionable to accept homosexuality as just another lifestyle and anyone who speaks against it obviously has something wrong with them and therefore must be punished. I thought about this for awhile and the following portion of Scripture came to mind.

Matthew 10:16-33 (WEB)
16) “Behold, I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves. Therefore be wise as serpents, and harmless as doves.
17) But beware of men: for they will deliver you up to councils, and in their synagogues they will scourge you.
18) Yes, and you will be brought before governors and kings for my sake, for a testimony to them and to the nations.
19) But when they deliver you up, don’t be anxious how or what you will say, for it will be given you in that hour what you will say.
20) For it is not you who speak, but the Spirit of your Father who speaks in you.
21) “Brother will deliver up brother to death, and the father his child. Children will rise up against parents, and cause them to be put to death.
22) You will be hated by all men for my name’s sake, but he who endures to the end will be saved.
23) But when they persecute you in this city, flee into the next, for most certainly I tell you, you will not have gone through the cities of Israel, until the Son of Man has come.
24) “A disciple is not above his teacher, nor a servant above his lord.
25) It is enough for the disciple that he be like his teacher, and the servant like his lord. If they have called the master of the house Beelzebul, how much more those of his household!
26) Therefore don’t be afraid of them, for there is nothing covered that will not be revealed; and hidden that will not be known.
27) What I tell you in the darkness, speak in the light; and what you hear whispered in the ear, proclaim on the housetops.
28) Don’t be afraid of those who kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul. Rather, fear him who is able to destroy both soul and body in Gehenna.
29) “Aren’t two sparrows sold for an assarion coin? Not one of them falls on the ground apart from your Father’s will,
30) but the very hairs of your head are all numbered.
31) Therefore don’t be afraid. You are of more value than many sparrows.
32) Everyone therefore who confesses me before men, him I will also confess before my Father who is in heaven.
33) But whoever denies me before men, him I will also deny before my Father who is in heaven.
(Matthew 10:16-33, WEB)

Jesus sent out his disciples to proclaim the truth. These were to encounter resistance of all kinds, but this was not to be a surprise, for look how they treated Jesus; harshly to say the least. When I saw the picture, I realized that many people will not really be your friend if you are different from them (whether it is physical difference or a religious one). When push comes to shove, you will be on the outs, just like the "undesirable" chubby girl in the picture. Trust in God, follow what he tells you and let what happens, happen. Faith makes even the "undesirable" precious in the sight of our heavenly father. I don't know who the heavy set girl is, but I think I like her already!!!


The possibility of the impossible

When is a circle a rectangle? When its The Red Rectangle Nebula, that's when. The rectangle is actually an illusion caused by two diametrically opposed cones of gas on opposite sides of the star. As far as I can tell, no one is really sure why the Nebula is red, so theories abound. When I saw this picture it brought to mind a seemingly impossible concept, that is, heaven on Earth. Read on to see what I mean.

Ephesians 1:1-23 (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.
15) For this cause I also, having heard of the faith in the Lord Jesus which is among you, and the love which you have toward all the saints,
16) don’t cease to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers,
17) that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to you a spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him;
18) having the eyes of your hearts enlightened, that you may know what is the hope of his calling, and what are the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints,
19) and what is the exceeding greatness of his power toward us who believe, according to that working of the strength of his might
20) which he worked in Christ, when he raised him from the dead, and made him to sit at his right hand in the heavenly places,
21) far above all rule, and authority, and power, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age, but also in that which is to come.
22) He put all things in subjection under his feet, and gave him to be head over all things for the assembly,
23) which is his body, the fullness of him who fills all in all.
(Ephesians 1:1-23, WEB)

Heaven, Earth, a mystery and a revelation; who could ask for more? All summed up in one personage: Jesus, the Christ of God. Are things on Earth perfect? No, but the Spiritual blessing that God gives us are. So, those who genuinely follow God are blessed Spiritually, but still live in a corrupt world and must suffer all the things everyone else does. But! When the physical part of our beings is gone and only the blessed Spiritual part remains..... THEN, WE WILL UNDERSTAND COMPLETELY and the seemingly impossible things of this life will be transformed into the totality of union with the perfection of Almighty God. Maybe then God will explain more fully how a circle can be a rectangle and maybe even why the star is red. Who knows, maybe at that time we won't even care? Still, I think I will ask because I just don't like loose ends.


With a bridge under my feet

This picture immediately caught my attention because of its beauty. Then the old Simon and Garfunkle song "Bridge over Troubled waters" that I had heard the other day came to mind. I could almost picture myself standing on the bridge singing it. There are all sorts of bridges in our lives; helps from different sources. One of my favorites is found in this little story from the book of 2 Kings.

2 Kings 6:8-18 (WEB)
8) Now the king of Syria was warring against Israel; and he took counsel with his servants, saying, “My camp will be in such and such a place.”
9) The man of God sent to the king of Israel, saying, “Beware that you not pass such a place; for the Syrians are coming down there.”
10) The king of Israel sent to the place which the man of God told him and warned him of; and he saved himself there, not once nor twice.
11) The heart of the king of Syria was very troubled about this. He called his servants, and said to them, “Won’t you show me which of us is for the king of Israel?”
12) One of his servants said, “No, my lord, O king; but Elisha, the prophet who is in Israel, tells the king of Israel the words that you speak in your bedroom.”
13) He said, “Go and see where he is, that I may send and get him.” It was told him, saying, “Behold, he is in Dothan.”
14) Therefore he sent horses, chariots, and a great army there. They came by night, and surrounded the city.
15) When the servant of the man of God had risen early, and gone out, behold, an army with horses and chariots was around the city. His servant said to him, “Alas, my master! What shall we do?”
16) He answered, “Don’t be afraid; for those who are with us are more than those who are with them.”
17) Elisha prayed, and said, “Yahweh, please open his eyes, that he may see.” Yahweh opened the eyes of the young man; and he saw: and behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire around Elisha.
18) When they came down to him, Elisha prayed to Yahweh, and said, “Please strike this people with blindness.” He struck them with blindness according to the word of Elisha.
(2 Kings 6:8-18, WEB)

Go ahead, try and figure your life out! You will fail. Why? Because there is a whole spiritual realm out there that we can not see. We are not alone, God helps those who HE desires to and really does help in our most needful circumstances. Elisha was blessed with the ability to be able to literally see what God could provide, but we have to be content with the eyes of faith. Hopefully, for most of us, faith is enough. Whenever I hear "a bridge over troubled waters", I always associate the one who helps as being God. Works for me.... next time you hear the song, I hope it does for you as well.


Don't bother me

Don't bother me, I am doing something VERRRRY COOL! OK, you may see it another way, but to me this little one shouts attitude. Attitude is a funny thing; where do we get it from, what is its purpose and does it have any REAL VALUE? Somehow the word pride keeps coming to my mind, but, hey, that's just me. See if you can see the connection between this picture and the following passage from 1st Corinthians......

1 Corinthians 1:20-31 (WEB)
20) Where is the wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the lawyer of this world? Hasn’t God made foolish the wisdom of this world?
21) For seeing that in the wisdom of God, the world through its wisdom didn’t know God, it was God’s good pleasure through the foolishness of the preaching to save those who believe.
22) For Jews ask for signs, Greeks seek after wisdom,
23) but we preach Christ crucified; a stumbling block to Jews, and foolishness to Greeks,
24) but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ is the power of God and the wisdom of God.
25) Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men.
26) For you see your calling, brothers, that not many are wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, and not many noble;
27) but God chose the foolish things of the world that he might put to shame those who are wise. God chose the weak things of the world, that he might put to shame the things that are strong;
28) and God chose the lowly things of the world, and the things that are despised, and the things that are not, that he might bring to nothing the things that are:
29) that no flesh should boast before God.
30) But of him, you are in Christ Jesus, who was made to us wisdom from God, and righteousness and sanctification, and redemption:
31) that, according as it is written, “He who boasts, let him boast in the Lord.”
(1 Corinthians 1:20-31, WEB)

Attitude takes a nose dive when we put things in their proper perspective. No matter how smart or clever or intelligent or wise we may think we are.... God is one up on us. We are human beings subject to all the frailties of existence and someday will cease to exist. Then, those who know God will really have something to boast about and they can have all of that attitude they want.


Lightening, rainbows and watertowers

Good News, Bad News; the lightning may get you, BUT, there is hope (the rainbow). Life is filled with so many things like this scenario. You want to grow up, be an adult, then once you are an adult, you wish you were young again. But, what if the lightning really did kill you, would there really be hope? I think you probably already know the answer, but read on, anyway.

51) Behold, I tell you a mystery. We will not all sleep, but we will all be changed,
52) in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we will be changed.
53) For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality.
54) But when this corruptible will have put on incorruption, and this mortal will have put on immortality, then what is written will happen: “Death is swallowed up in victory.”
55) “Death, where is your sting? Hades, where is your victory?”
56) The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law.
57) But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.
(1 Corinthians 15:51-57, WEB)

We all die once, that is a fact of life. If you want an eyeopener, visit a nursing home. Some of the people there actually wish for death so that their pain will stop. Death and what happens after death has been a hot topic for discussion since there first were people to talk about it. Listen to Jesus who has been there and back. Don't worry about it; even if the worst happens (and eventually it will) Jesus gives us hope. No small thing to have. In the meantime, be sure not to climb water towers in a thunderstorm! I don't care how many rainbows you see, run.


Upside down?

Lately there have been a lot of disaster films on the tube. Most seem to focus on 2012 and the sun, but there are other causes of our pending destruction. So, when I saw this picture of the Aurora Austrailis taken above the phenomenon, naturally it caught my attention. Then, I began to think: What if there is actually some truth to these predictions or more accurately: What if God is really trying to tell us something? Here is an instance where GOD IS COMMUNICATING, but was anybody listening?

Numbers 24:1-25 (WEB)
1) When Balaam saw that it pleased Yahweh to bless Israel, he didn’t go, as at the other times, to meet with enchantments, but he set his face toward the wilderness.
2) Balaam lifted up his eyes, and he saw Israel dwelling according to their tribes; and the Spirit of God came on him.
3) He took up his parable, and said, “Balaam the son of Beor says, the man whose eye was closed says;
4) he says, who hears the words of God, who sees the vision of the Almighty, falling down, and having his eyes open:
5) How goodly are your tents, Jacob, and your tents, Israel!
6) As valleys they are spread forth, as gardens by the riverside, as aloes which Yahweh has planted, as cedar trees beside the waters.
7) Water shall flow from his buckets. His seed shall be in many waters. His king shall be higher than Agag. His kingdom shall be exalted.
8) God brings him out of Egypt. He has as it were the strength of the wild ox. He shall eat up the nations his adversaries, shall break their bones in pieces, and pierce them with his arrows.
9) He couched, he lay down as a lion, as a lioness; who shall rouse him up? Everyone who blesses you is blessed. Everyone who curses you is cursed.”
10) Balak’s anger was kindled against Balaam, and he struck his hands together; and Balak said to Balaam, “I called you to curse my enemies, and, behold, you have altogether blessed them these three times.
11) Therefore now flee you to your place! I thought to promote you to great honor; but, behold, Yahweh has kept you back from honor.”
12) Balaam said to Balak, “Didn’t I also tell your messengers who you sent to me, saying,
13) ‘If Balak would give me his house full of silver and gold, I can’t go beyond the word of Yahweh, to do either good or bad of my own mind. I will say what Yahweh says’?
14) Now, behold, I go to my people: come, I will inform you what this people shall do to your people in the latter days.”
15) He took up his parable, and said, “Balaam the son of Beor says, the man whose eye was closed says;
16) he says, who hears the words of God, knows the knowledge of the Most High, and who sees the vision of the Almighty, Falling down, and having his eyes open:
17) I see him, but not now. I see him, but not near. A star will come out of Jacob. A scepter will rise out of Israel, and shall strike through the corners of Moab, and break down all the sons of Sheth.
18) Edom shall be a possession. Seir, his enemies, also shall be a possession, while Israel does valiantly.
19) Out of Jacob shall one have dominion, and shall destroy the remnant from the city.”
20) He looked at Amalek, and took up his parable, and said, “Amalek was the first of the nations, But his latter end shall come to destruction.”
21) He looked at the Kenite, and took up his parable, and said, “Your dwelling place is strong. Your nest is set in the rock.
22) Nevertheless Kain shall be wasted, until Asshur carries you away captive.”
23) He took up his parable, and said, “Alas, who shall live when God does this?
24) But ships shall come from the coast of Kittim. They shall afflict Asshur, and shall afflict Eber. He also shall come to destruction.”
25) Balaam rose up, and went and returned to his place; and Balak also went his way.
(Numbers 24:1-25, WEB)

We are human beings, we see what we want and listen to what we want... like it or not! Balak had hired Balaam to curse Israel, but he could not. Needless to say, Balak was not happy about the situation. But, what about Balaam? Notice verses 3,4 and 15,16. While these verses could be a reference to the process of prophecy, yet somehow they seem to say he was unable to see (what God really wanted) but now he could. Is it possible that both men learned something of the Almighty that day? I don't know for sure whether Balak took Balaam's words to heart, but it seems Balak did. Just goes to show you, its all how you look at something, whether your eyes are open or not. As for the Aurora, well, perhaps it is not only an indicator of the sun's activity, but of future events as well. Who knows? If they keep putting out movies about potential disasters in 2012, maybe more people will actually look up and see more than the sky. Perhaps more than disaster will be understood? Me, I am not making any plans on December 21st in 2012, just to play it safe.


Smart is as smart does!

There are really only two words that do an adequate comment on this card: beep, beep. Since most of us have seen the road runner cartoons from time to time, then, not a lot really has to be said. Except, perhaps, that Mr. Coyote's proclamation of his own intelligence is somewhat overstated. Here is an example of a man who was truly intelligent.

Acts 13:1-12 (EBR)
1) Now there were in Antioch, distributed through the existing assembly,––prophets and teachers: both Barnabas and Symeon who was called Niger, and Lucius the Cyrenian, Manaen also, Herod the tetrarch’s foster–brother, and Saul.
2) And, as they were publicly ministering unto the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said––Separate forthwith unto me, Barnabas and Saul, unto the work whereunto I have called them.
3) Then, fasting and praying, and laying their hands upon them, they sent them away.
4) They, therefore, being sent forth by the Holy Spirit, went down unto Seleucia, and, from thence, sailed away unto Cyprus;
5) And, coming to be in Salamis, they declared the word of God in the synagogues of the Jews; ––and they had, John also, as an attendant.
6) And, passing through the whole island, as far as Paphos, they found a certain man, a magician, a false–prophet, a Jew, whose name was Bar–jesus;
7) Who was with the proconsul, Sergius Paulus, an intelligent man. The same, calling for Barnabas and Saul, sought to hear the word of God.
8) But Elymas the magician,––for so, when translated, is his name,––withstood them; seeking to turn aside the proconsul from the faith.
9) But Saul, who is also Paul, filled with Holy Spirit, looking steadfastly at him,
10) Said––O full of all guile, and all recklessness! Son of an adversary! Enemy of all righteousness!––Wilt thou not cease to pervert the straight ways of the Lord?
11) Now, therefore, lo! the hand of the Lord is upon thee, and thou shalt be blind, not seeing the sun, until a fitting time. And, instantly, there fell upon him a mist and darkness; and, going about, he was seeking such as might lead him by the hand.
12) Then, the proconsul, seeing what had happened, believed, being amazed at the teaching of the Lord.
(Acts 13:1-12, EBR) Emphasized Bible by J.B. Rotherham

The proconsul saw all these things and believed. Smart people rarely proclaim their own greatness, they just live it. Just as Sergius Paulus recognized truth from error, so can we. Look around; is there REALLY ANYTHING BETTER THAN CHRISTIANITY? I don't think so! But, that is my opinion and aside from a couple of pieces of paper (called degrees), there is nothing that says how smart I am. And before you ask.... no, I DO NOT HAVE A CARD WITH MY NAME ON IT!


The weather in our lives

Here I am, sitting on the top of a mountain and a cloud comes in and then another, but when I look up to see what is going on, HUH? Which is it, peace or a storm? My best guess is peace at first and THEN A STORM. This reminds me of a passage from 2 Kings; here it is.....

2 Kings 20:14-19 (WEB)
14) Then Isaiah the prophet came to king Hezekiah, and said to him, “What did these men say? From where did they come to you?” Hezekiah said, “They have come from a far country, even from Babylon.”
15) He said, “What have they seen in your house?” Hezekiah answered, “They have seen all that is in my house. There is nothing among my treasures that I have not shown them.”
16) Isaiah said to Hezekiah, “Hear the word of Yahweh.
17) ‘Behold, the days come, that all that is in your house, and that which your fathers have laid up in store to this day, shall be carried to Babylon. Nothing shall be left,’ says Yahweh.
18) ‘Of your sons who shall issue from you, whom you shall father, shall they take away; and they shall be eunuchs in the palace of the king of Babylon.’”
19) Then Hezekiah said to Isaiah, “The word of Yahweh which you have spoken is good.” He said moreover, “Isn’t it so, if peace and truth shall be in my days?”
(2 Kings 20:14-19, WEB)

Hezekiah was overall a very good king. But, as other passages show (see chapters 19 and 20), he was a little to worried about his own interests and safety to be a great king. Don't get me wrong, he WAS a good king, but he had weaknesses as we all do. Its when the weaknesses grow to strong and the positive aspects of our lives diminish that there is a REAL PROBLEM. Today, we may encounter stormy weather, but its an eternal tomorrow we should look forward to.


Change for good

If "I'll be back" sounds familiar to you, then this image probably will as well. The Terminator movies were heavy on graphics, but their concept of time intrigues me. When I was young, the summers seem to drag on interminably and now past the age of 60, the days seem to fly by. Has time changed? No, I have. Yet, this much is certain, life continues to go on, regardless of my perception of its passage. Perhaps my perception is altered by what I focus on. Here is a passage from the book of James that I find quite interesting.

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

If I focus on the externals about me; things I do, people and the world around me, then change is more visible because the things around me are also changing, just as I am changing. Its hard to get a "fix" on living because of all this motion. Yet, if I think of my life in respect to the companionship that the God of heaven supplies, then things ARE different, because God does not change because of his perfection. There is no need to go back in time to change things, because for the Christian "all things work together for good...". Change that is truly important occurs on the inside, not on the outside. It doesn't really matter what time it is, except, of course, its time for God to work in our lives.


Where are you going?

Ok, its not exactly like the transporter beam from Star Trek, but close enough to make the association. I think it could take quite a bit of faith to use one of these things (if it were real) because you really can't see where you are going, can you? Talking about faith, here is a passage that seems to be revelant.

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

The parousia (or second coming of Jesus) has been the subject of hot debate over two thousand years. It IS a matter of faith and fact. Believe what you will, this will happen. When it does, the only question that needs to be asked is: Where are you going?


The rest of the story

This picture reminds of Paul Harvey and his broadcasts. Remember, the REST OF THE STORY? If we just had this, how scary life would be; devoid of hope. But, in fact there IS MORE TO TELL AND HERE IT IS.

John 20:1-17 (WEB)
1) Now on the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene went early, while it was still dark, to the tomb, and saw the stone taken away from the tomb.
2) Therefore she ran and came to Simon Peter, and to the other disciple whom Jesus loved, and said to them, “They have taken away the Lord out of the tomb, and we don’t know where they have laid him!”
3) Therefore Peter and the other disciple went out, and they went toward the tomb.
4) They both ran together. The other disciple outran Peter, and came to the tomb first.
5) Stooping and looking in, he saw the linen cloths lying, yet he didn’t enter in.
6) Then Simon Peter came, following him, and entered into the tomb. He saw the linen cloths lying,
7) and the cloth that had been on his head, not lying with the linen cloths, but rolled up in a place by itself.
8) So then the other disciple who came first to the tomb also entered in, and he saw and believed.
9) For as yet they didn’t know the Scripture, that he must rise from the dead.
10) So the disciples went away again to their own homes.
11) But Mary was standing outside at the tomb weeping. So, as she wept, she stooped and looked into the tomb,
12) and she saw two angels in white sitting, one at the head, and one at the feet, where the body of Jesus had lain.
13) They told her, “Woman, why are you weeping?” She said to them, “Because they have taken away my Lord, and I don’t know where they have laid him.”
14) When she had said this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing, and didn’t know that it was Jesus.
15) Jesus said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping? Who are you looking for?” She, supposing him to be the gardener, said to him, “Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have laid him, and I will take him away.”
16) Jesus said to her, “Mary.” She turned and said to him, “Rabboni!” which is to say, “Teacher!”
17) Jesus said to her, “Don’t hold me, for I haven’t yet ascended to my Father; but go to my brothers, and tell them, ‘I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’” (John 20:1-17, WEB)

Today, we are bombarded with all sorts of ideas about religion and frankly, quite a few of them put on a good face. However, the only religion that successfully deals with sin and the life after this life is Christianity. Believe what you want, do what you want, but in the end you will answer for your choices. Jesus is the only one who has been resurrected and ascended into heaven (500 witnesses on this one). Listen to the rest of the story... Jesus is alive, right now! That should be enough to turn anybody's head!



I wonder what babies think about. They respond to many things almost from birth; but what kind of thoughts do they have? My best guess are things like food and touch, but who knows? This picture has the baby considering whether or not he (or is it a she?) should have some pudding. One thing is certain, as this one grows older he will want things, but what things? Here is where the Bible comes in. Read these few verses to get an insight.

1 John 2:15-17 (WEB)
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.
(1 John 2:15-17, WEB)

Progressing from a focus on the material to the spiritual is a sign of true growth. We know that world around us is decaying (and so are we) and when we look beyond all that we show the essence of true intelligence. Is it wrong to want things? NO But its better to think about what we want in the light of God's will. So, having said all that, this picture gets even better. As far as I am concerned.... pudding sounds really good (almost anytime)!!! I wonder if there is any Tapioca in the fridge?


No way out

Short, direct and to the point! That's what I like about this sign. Drink, drive and there will be consequences; plain and simple. We all can understand this, but apply it to other areas of life and suddenly things can become a bit blurred. Politicians somehow manage to evade justice for wrongs committed in office, Arizona is being sued by the federal government for trying to pass laws to protect itself, welfare is becoming the normal way of life and yet there are still quite a few restrictions on gun ownership. Its enough to make you disgusted!! I wonder, will anyone EVER LISTEN, before its too late. Jesus encountered such a situation; read on to find out more.

John 12:1-50 (WEB)
1) Then six days before the Passover, Jesus came to Bethany, where Lazarus was, who had been dead, whom he raised from the dead.
2) So they made him a supper there. Martha served, but Lazarus was one of those who sat at the table with him.
3) Mary, therefore, took a pound of ointment of pure nard, very precious, and anointed the feet of Jesus, and wiped his feet with her hair. The house was filled with the fragrance of the ointment.
4) Then Judas Iscariot, Simon’s son, one of his disciples, who would betray him, said,
5) “Why wasn’t this ointment sold for three hundred denarii, and given to the poor?”
6) Now he said this, not because he cared for the poor, but because he was a thief, and having the money box, used to steal what was put into it.
7) But Jesus said, “Leave her alone. She has kept this for the day of my burial.
8) For you always have the poor with you, but you don’t always have me.”
9) A large crowd therefore of the Jews learned that he was there, and they came, not for Jesus’ sake only, but that they might see Lazarus also, whom he had raised from the dead.
10) But the chief priests conspired to put Lazarus to death also,
11) because on account of him many of the Jews went away and believed in Jesus.
12) On the next day a great multitude had come to the feast. When they heard that Jesus was coming to Jerusalem,
13) they took the branches of the palm trees, and went out to meet him, and cried out, “Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord, the King of Israel!”
14) Jesus, having found a young donkey, sat on it. As it is written,
15) “Don’t be afraid, daughter of Zion. Behold, your King comes, sitting on a donkey’s colt.”
16) His disciples didn’t understand these things at first, but when Jesus was glorified, then they remembered that these things were written about him, and that they had done these things to him.
17) The multitude therefore that was with him when he called Lazarus out of the tomb, and raised him from the dead, was testifying about it.
18) For this cause also the multitude went and met him, because they heard that he had done this sign.
19) The Pharisees therefore said among themselves, “See how you accomplish nothing. Behold, the world has gone after him.”
20) Now there were certain Greeks among those that went up to worship at the feast.
21) These, therefore, came to Philip, who was from Bethsaida of Galilee, and asked him, saying, “Sir, we want to see Jesus.”
22) Philip came and told Andrew, and in turn, Andrew came with Philip, and they told Jesus.
23) Jesus answered them, “The time has come for the Son of Man to be glorified.
24) Most certainly I tell you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains by itself alone. But if it dies, it bears much fruit.
25) He who loves his life will lose it. He who hates his life in this world will keep it to eternal life.
26) If anyone serves me, let him follow me. Where I am, there will my servant also be. If anyone serves me, the Father will honor him.
27) “Now my soul is troubled. What shall I say? ‘Father, save me from this time?’ But for this cause I came to this time.
28) Father, glorify your name!” Then there came a voice out of the sky, saying, “I have both glorified it, and will glorify it again.”
29) The multitude therefore, who stood by and heard it, said that it had thundered. Others said, “An angel has spoken to him.”
30) Jesus answered, “This voice hasn’t come for my sake, but for your sakes.
31) Now is the judgment of this world. Now the prince of this world will be cast out.
32) And I, if I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself.”
33) But he said this, signifying by what kind of death he should die.
34) The multitude answered him, “We have heard out of the law that the Christ remains forever. How do you say, ‘The Son of Man must be lifted up?’ Who is this Son of Man?”
35) Jesus therefore said to them, “Yet a little while the light is with you. Walk while you have the light, that darkness doesn’t overtake you. He who walks in the darkness doesn’t know where he is going.
36) While you have the light, believe in the light, that you may become children of light.” Jesus said these things, and he departed and hid himself from them.
37) But though he had done so many signs before them, yet they didn’t believe in him,
38) that the word of Isaiah the prophet might be fulfilled, which he spoke, “Lord, who has believed our report? To whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?”
39) For this cause they couldn’t believe, for Isaiah said again,
40) “He has blinded their eyes and he hardened their heart, lest they should see with their eyes, and perceive with their heart, and would turn, and I would heal them.”
41) Isaiah said these things when he saw his glory, and spoke of him.
42) Nevertheless even of the rulers many believed in him, but because of the Pharisees they didn’t confess it, so that they wouldn’t be put out of the synagogue,
43) for they loved men’s praise more than God’s praise.
44) Jesus cried out and said, “Whoever believes in me, believes not in me, but in him who sent me.
45) He who sees me sees him who sent me.
46) I have come as a light into the world, that whoever believes in me may not remain in the darkness.
47) If anyone listens to my sayings, and doesn’t believe, I don’t judge him. For I came not to judge the world, but to save the world.
48) He who rejects me, and doesn’t receive my sayings, has one who judges him. The word that I spoke, the same will judge him in the last day.
49) For I spoke not from myself, but the Father who sent me, he gave me a commandment, what I should say, and what I should speak.
50) I know that his commandment is eternal life. The things therefore which I speak, even as the Father has said to me, so I speak.”
(John 12:1-50, WEB)

Jesus was coming to the end of his ministry. Many had believed, but many more had not! So, he tells them about the standards of coming judgment. Sound like the sign above?? Does to me! Wake up, America! The evil around us is growing stronger with each day. Stand up for what you believe; make a difference, say what you think (no matter who is listening), do the right thing and above all, vote in this upcoming election. There is a day of judgment coming, when, I don't know, but its going to be a dizzy!!!


Seeds of disbelief

Right, Donut seeds! Suddenly, the term "born yesterday" comes to mind! I imagine there may be a few people out there who would believe it, though. For me, this little picture says one thing: Do not believe everything you are told. I thought of this passage from the old testament book of Kings and thought you might enjoy reading it.

1 Kings 13:1-24 (WEB)
1) Behold, there came a man of God out of Judah by the word of Yahweh to Beth El: and Jeroboam was standing by the altar to burn incense.
2) He cried against the altar by the word of Yahweh, and said, “Altar, altar, thus says Yahweh: ‘Behold, a son shall be born to the house of David, Josiah by name. On you he shall sacrifice the priests of the high places who burn incense on you, and they will burn men’s bones on you.’”
3) He gave a sign the same day, saying, “This is the sign which Yahweh has spoken: Behold, the altar will be split apart, and the ashes that are on it will be poured out.”
4) It happened, when the king heard the saying of the man of God, which he cried against the altar in Bethel, that Jeroboam put out his hand from the altar, saying, “Seize him!” His hand, which he put out against him, dried up, so that he could not draw it back again to himself.
5) The altar also was split apart, and the ashes poured out from the altar, according to the sign which the man of God had given by the word of Yahweh.
6) The king answered the man of God, “Now entreat the favor of Yahweh your God, and pray for me, that my hand may be restored me again.” The man of God entreated Yahweh, and the king’s hand was restored him again, and became as it was before.
7) The king said to the man of God, “Come home with me, and refresh yourself, and I will give you a reward.”
8) The man of God said to the king, “Even if you gave me half of your house, I would not go in with you, neither would I eat bread nor drink water in this place;
9) for so was it commanded me by the word of Yahweh, saying, ‘You shall eat no bread, nor drink water, neither return by the way that you came.’”
10) So he went another way, and didn’t return by the way that he came to Bethel.
11) Now there lived an old prophet in Bethel; and one of his sons came and told him all the works that the man of God had done that day in Bethel. They also told their father the words which he had spoken to the king.
12) Their father said to them, “Which way did he go?” Now his sons had seen which way the man of God went, who came from Judah.
13) He said to his sons, “Saddle the donkey for me.” So they saddled the donkey for him; and he rode on it.
14) He went after the man of God, and found him sitting under an oak. He said to him, “Are you the man of God who came from Judah?” He said, “I am.”
15) Then he said to him, “Come home with me, and eat bread.”
16) He said, “I may not return with you, nor go in with you; neither will I eat bread nor drink water with you in this place.
17) For it was said to me by the word of Yahweh, ‘You shall eat no bread nor drink water there, nor turn again to go by the way that you came.’”
18) He said to him, “I also am a prophet as you are; and an angel spoke to me by the word of Yahweh, saying, ‘Bring him back with you into your house, that he may eat bread and drink water.’” He lied to him.
19) So he went back with him, and ate bread in his house, and drank water.
20) It happened, as they sat at the table, that the word of Yahweh came to the prophet who brought him back;
21) and he cried to the man of God who came from Judah, saying, “Thus says Yahweh, ‘Because you have been disobedient to the mouth of Yahweh, and have not kept the commandment which Yahweh your God commanded you,
22) but came back, and have eaten bread and drunk water in the place of which he said to you, “Eat no bread, and drink no water;” your body shall not come to the tomb of your fathers.’”
23) It happened, after he had eaten bread, and after he had drunk, that he saddled the donkey for the prophet whom he had brought back.
24) When he had gone, a lion met him by the way, and killed him. His body was cast in the way, and the donkey stood by it. The lion also stood by the body.
(1 Kings 13:1-24, WEB)

The man of God from Judah disobeyed God! Why? Because he listened to another prophet. Why? Because he was a prophet who had spoken to an angel. There is a good lesson here; trust in God, not in what people tell you, especially people who are religious authorities. Then how do you know what to do? Simple, go back to the word of God. I don't know about you, but I wouldn't believe in Donut seeds, even if somebody important like Billy Graham himself told me. However, I am not opposed to having a bowl of Cheerios's from time to time; got milk?


Anybody got a stone?

How many times have you heard:"people who live in glass houses shouldn't throw stones"? Well, can you imagine living in a house like this? Everything can be see by everyone, anytime; somehow its a little creepy! But, if you are not doing anything wrong, who cares! Take a moment and consider the follow text.

1 Peter 4:1-8 (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.
(1 Peter 4:1-8, WEB)

Jesus was perfect and obviously wants us to be as well. Others like an "earthy" lifestyle and want us to be like them. The question that rattles around in my brain is: what am I going to get out of living as a result of my choice? One the one hand purity and the other self indulgence. Which would you want to be remembered for? Following Jesus is simple; living in a glass house is not.



Maybe I am just on a sentimental kick today, but this is one beautiful picture! For those of you who have had a "special friend" in the early grades in school, this little photo will have a special meaning. Who knows if they will ever get together as adults, but it would be nice to think they might! Sometimes, however, things don't always work out and here is a good example from the book of Judges.

Judges 16:1-21 (WEB)
1) Samson went to Gaza, and saw there a prostitute, and went in to her.
2) The Gazites were told, “Samson is here!” They surrounded him, and laid wait for him all night in the gate of the city, and were quiet all the night, saying, “Wait until morning light, then we will kill him.”
3) Samson lay until midnight, and arose at midnight, and laid hold of the doors of the gate of the city, and the two posts, and plucked them up, bar and all, and put them on his shoulders, and carried them up to the top of the mountain that is before Hebron.
4) It came to pass afterward, that he loved a woman in the valley of Sorek, whose name was Delilah.
5) The lords of the Philistines came up to her, and said to her, “Entice him, and see in which his great strength lies, and by what means we may prevail against him, that we may bind him to afflict him; and we will each give you eleven hundred pieces of silver.”
6) Delilah said to Samson, “Please tell me where your great strength lies, and what you might be bound to afflict you.”
7) Samson said to her, “If they bind me with seven green cords that were never dried, then shall I become weak, and be as another man.”
8) Then the lords of the Philistines brought up to her seven green cords which had not been dried, and she bound him with them.
9) Now she had an ambush waiting in the inner room. She said to him, “The Philistines are on you, Samson!” He broke the cords, as a string of tow is broken when it touches the fire. So his strength was not known.
10) Delilah said to Samson, “Behold, you have mocked me, and told me lies: now please tell me with which you might be bound.”
11) He said to her, “If they only bind me with new ropes with which no work has been done, then shall I become weak, and be as another man.”
12) So Delilah took new ropes, and bound him therewith, and said to him, “The Philistines are on you, Samson!” The ambush was waiting in the inner room. He broke them off his arms like a thread.
13) Delilah said to Samson, “Until now, you have mocked me and told me lies. Tell me with what you might be bound.” He said to her, “If you weave the seven locks of my head with the web.”
14) She fastened it with the pin, and said to him, “The Philistines are on you, Samson!” He awakened out of his sleep, and plucked away the pin of the beam, and the web.
15) She said to him, “How can you say, ‘I love you,’ when your heart is not with me? You have mocked me these three times, and have not told me where your great strength lies.”
16) It happened, when she pressed him daily with her words, and urged him, that his soul was troubled to death.
17) He told her all his heart, and said to her, “No razor has ever come on my head; for I have been a Nazirite to God from my mother’s womb. If I am shaved, then my strength will go from me, and I will become weak, and be like any other man.”
18) When Delilah saw that he had told her all his heart, she sent and called for the lords of the Philistines, saying, “Come up this once, for he has told me all his heart.” Then the lords of the Philistines came up to her, and brought the money in their hand.
19) She made him sleep on her knees; and she called for a man, and shaved off the seven locks of his head; and she began to afflict him, and his strength went from him.
20) She said, “The Philistines are upon you, Samson!” He awoke out of his sleep, and said, “I will go out as at other times, and shake myself free.” But he didn’t know that Yahweh had departed from him.
21) The Philistines laid hold on him, and put out his eyes; and they brought him down to Gaza, and bound him with fetters of brass; and he ground at the mill in the prison.
(Judges 16:1-21, WEB)

Samson was quite a character; blessed by God with exceptional strength, but subject to all the weakness of the male of the species. He took what he wanted out of life without regard for the wishes of his creator and ultimately paid a price for it. Samson had lost that purity that the kids in the picture obviously have and that loss was a great one indeed!!! In the next chapter of Judges, we see God using Samson, but I can't help but wonder what Samson's life would have been like if he had remained pure. In case you are wondering, my first girlfriend was named Susan and I used to bring her flowers and we would sit in the front seat on the school bus. Love is a wonderful thing; somehow, it was extra special in the first grade.


Another use for "Pearly"

Here is something I bet you have never seen before; a cow used like a horse. Yet, strangely enough, when I was young, my younger brother and I used to ride a cow named "Pearly". We didn't have a saddle of course and the ride was very slow, but we were happy anyway. Its not very often we think of cows being prominent in a Bible story, but here it is.

Samuel 5:8-12 (WEB)
8) They sent therefore and gathered all the lords of the Philistines to them, and said, “What shall we do with the ark of the God of Israel?” They answered, “Let the ark of the God of Israel be carried over to Gath.” They carried the ark of the God of Israel there.
9) It was so, that after they had carried it about, the hand of Yahweh was against the city with a very great confusion: and he struck the men of the city, both small and great; and tumors broke out on them.
10) So they sent the ark of God to Ekron. It happened, as the ark of God came to Ekron, that the Ekronites cried out, saying, “They have brought about the ark of the God of Israel to us, to kill us and our people.”
11) They sent therefore and gathered together all the lords of the Philistines, and they said, “Send away the ark of the God of Israel, and let it go again to its own place, that it not kill us and our people.” For there was a deadly confusion throughout all the city; the hand of God was very heavy there.
12) The men who didn’t die were struck with the tumors; and the cry of the city went up to heaven.
(1 Samuel 5:8-12, WEB)

1 Samuel 6:1-12 (WEB)
1 Samuel 6
1) The ark of Yahweh was in the country of the Philistines seven months.
2) The Philistines called for the priests and the diviners, saying, “What shall we do with the ark of Yahweh? Show us with which we shall send it to its place.”
3) They said, “If you send away the ark of the God of Israel, don’t send it empty; but by all means return him a trespass offering: then you shall be healed, and it shall be known to you why his hand is not removed from you.”
4) Then they said, “What shall be the trespass offering which we shall return to him?” They said, “Five golden tumors, and five golden mice, for the number of the lords of the Philistines; for one plague was on you all, and on your lords.
5) Therefore you shall make images of your tumors, and images of your mice that mar the land; and you shall give glory to the God of Israel: perhaps he will lighten his hand from off you, and from off your gods, and from off your land.
6) Why then do you harden your hearts, as the Egyptians and Pharaoh hardened their hearts? When he had worked wonderfully among them, didn’t they let the people go, and they departed?
7) “Now therefore take and prepare yourselves a new cart, and two milk cows, on which there has come no yoke; and tie the cows to the cart, and bring their calves home from them;
8) and take the ark of Yahweh, and lay it on the cart; and put the jewels of gold, which you return him for a trespass offering, in a coffer by its side; and send it away, that it may go.
9) Behold; if it goes up by the way of its own border to Beth Shemesh, then he has done us this great evil: but if not, then we shall know that it is not his hand that struck us; it was a chance that happened to us.”
10) The men did so, and took two milk cows, and tied them to the cart, and shut up their calves at home;
11) and they put the ark of Yahweh on the cart, and the coffer with the mice of gold and the images of their tumors.
12) The cows took the straight way by the way to Beth Shemesh; they went along the highway, lowing as they went, and didn’t turn aside to the right hand or to the left; and the lords of the Philistines went after them to the border of Beth Shemesh.
(1 Samuel 6:1-12, WEB)

Saul and his sons were dead, the ark was captured by the Philistines, yet story was not over; the Philistines needed to pay for what they did. And pay they did! The WEB refers to their affliction as "tumors", when in fact they were hemorrhoids. The atonement the Philistines had to make was golden images of their tumors along with the ark being returned to Israel. You guessed it, the cows brought them back. Just goes to show you, God always wins in the end.


Perspectives in punctuation

From the moment of birth we are defined by our sex. Common sense will tell you: boys and girls are just naturally different. No matter what society you consider, there is a constant friction between the seses. Men want too much control over the female of the species and so do women. All this leads to strife, but it really doesn't have to be that way. Read some of what Paul had to say:

1Co 11:1-16 ESV
(1) Be imitators of me, as I am of Christ.
(2) Now I commend you because you remember me in everything and maintain the traditions even as I delivered them to you.
(3) But I want you to understand that the head of every man is Christ, the head of a wife is her husband, and the head of Christ is God.
(4) Every man who prays or prophesies with his head covered dishonors his head,
(5) but every wife who prays or prophesies with her head uncovered dishonors her head, since it is the same as if her head were shaven.
(6) For if a wife will not cover her head, then she should cut her hair short. But since it is disgraceful for a wife to cut off her hair or shave her head, let her cover her head.
(7) For a man ought not to cover his head, since he is the image and glory of God, but woman is the glory of man.
(8) For man was not made from woman, but woman from man.
(9) Neither was man created for woman, but woman for man.
(10) That is why a wife ought to have a symbol of authority on her head, because of the angels.
(11) Nevertheless, in the Lord woman is not independent of man nor man of woman;
(12) for as woman was made from man, so man is now born of woman. And all things are from God.
(13) Judge for yourselves: is it proper for a wife to pray to God with her head uncovered?
(14) Does not nature itself teach you that if a man wears long hair it is a disgrace for him,
(15) but if a woman has long hair, it is her glory? For her hair is given to her for a covering.
(16) If anyone is inclined to be contentious, we have no such practice, nor do the churches of God.

Different from the creation, made for different purposes, with different characteristics and strengths, each compliments the other. They why so many problems? I think it is because God is left out of the equation. Instead of worrying about greatness or power in a relationship, why not focus on God instead. Man is the head of woman (as defined as the source, or the head-water, if you will) and woman comes from man and is for him. Relationships that are meaningful, go far beyond power and reach even to the heights of true love. No matter how you punctuate the paragraph at the top, if God is guiding both individuals, then everything will be OK! Now, if I just could get my own spouse to listen to this I would be in great shape. But, who knows, maybe someday........