Invisible visibility

When I looked at the NASA website today, I was a bit surprised to see this picture.  This three band infared picture showed at band of Aurora Borealis at the bottom.  Frankly, even though I have been collecting pictures of the universe for a few years now, I never even thought of something like this.  Somehow, I had the impression that the Northern Lights occurred only on Earth.  Surprise!!!  Consider the following passage from the book of Hebrews and I think you will see how it relates to the picture.

Hebrews 11:3 (WEB)

3) By faith, we understand that the universe has been framed by the word of God, so that what is seen has not been made out of things which are visible.

We live in an age of science, where understanding everything seems inevitable.  Its just, that I have to ask the question: Do we even know what questions to ask?  If this Cassinni picture of Saturn is a surprise, then what other wonders await us?  And that is only in astronomy!  Consider all the new things that have come into being over the past 50 years: calculators, computers, DNA testing, envitro fertilation, stem cell research, to name just a few.  Its a brave new world out there, BUT, one created by God and NOT by man.  Faith is still an essential part of a healthy spiritual life and nothing can replace that.  Some may not agree with that statement, but they will, whether tomorrow, next year or perhaps in the next decade or so. Even those who look to science for the answer to EVERYTHING will be eventually be forced to look inward and upward; I know this because sooner or later we will all attend funerals, even if it is only our own.  Oh, I forgot to mention... these Northern lights are at the bottom.  What next?


What could be more beautiful?

The beauty of this picture caught my eye; something about the clouds, something soothing, something that said "home" to me.  Then, I asked myself; is it photo-shopped?  The answer was a resounding NO, because I obtained it from the NASA site.  Imagine, all these elements just happened at the same time by accident; I don't think so.  Then I remembered what an old friend of mine used to say: Gary, timing is EVERYTHING!!  And so it is!!!  If you do a little walk down memory lane, think of all the things that you did at the "right time" and the effect these had on your life, it will amaze you.  This little concept led me to the book of Galatians, where the apostle Paul writes..

Galatians 4:1-6 (WEB)
1) But I say that so long as the heir is a child, he is no different from a bondservant, though he is lord of all;
2) but is under guardians and stewards until the day appointed by the father.
3) So we also, when we were children, were held in bondage under the elemental principles of the world.
4) But when the fullness of the time came, God sent out his Son, born to a woman, born under the law,
5) that he might redeem those who were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of children.

6) And because you are children, God sent out the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, “Abba, Father!”
 (Galatians 4:1-6, WEB)

It may have been just circumstance that led to the beautiful composition of the picture, but with God, nothing happens by accident.  He chose Jesus, and Jesus did what he had to do and the outcome of that has had consequences far beyond those of the century in which he was born.  What could be more beautiful than that?


The light, the light, its all about the light!

One beautiful picture! I especially like the reflections on the water which range from a yellow green (top right) to a light blue (bottom middle). I saw a movie last week based on the life of Thomas Kinkade (A Christmas Cottage) in which Thomas' mentor urges him to focus on "the light" in his paintings. Today, Thomas is known as the painter of light, so I guess he listened.
Sometimes, the indirect things of life bring in new meanings and depth of understanding, which of course made me think of John the Baptist. Here is an excerpt from one of my favorite chapters in the New Testament.

John 1:6-16 (WEB)
6) There came a man, sent from God, whose name was John.
7) The same came as a witness, that he might testify about the light, that all might believe through him.
8) He was not the light, but was sent that he might testify about the light.
9) The true light that enlightens everyone was coming into the world.
10) He was in the world, and the world was made through him, and the world didn’t recognize him.
11) He came to his own, and those who were his own didn’t receive him.
12) But as many as received him, to them he gave the right to become God’s children, to those who believe in his name:
13) who were born not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.
14) The Word became flesh, and lived among us. We saw his glory, such glory as of the one and only Son of the Father, full of grace and truth.
15) John testified about him. He cried out, saying, “This was he of whom I said, ‘He who comes after me has surpassed me, for he was before me.’”
16) From his fullness we all received grace upon grace.
(John 1:6-16, WEB)

John was an unusual character, something like Elijah of the Old Testament. He got through to many, many people and pointed them in the right direction (to Jesus). Like the shadows and highlights in the picture, he added color to the overall scene. Not a bad job for someone who ate Locusts and wild honey. It occured to me that we can be something like a Baptist ourselves, as long as we point people in the right direction. Just eat a little differently, that's all.



If this picture is manipulated, somebody really knows what they are doing because the shadows on the water look real to me. And its the shadows that make the picture because they are GOLD. If this picture is unaltered, the gold must be a reflection of a golden sunset. Gold has always fascinated me, not just because of its color, but due to the way it reflects light. Ask most people and they will tell you they like gold because of its beauty and ITS WORTH! However, gold is NOT the most important thing in life, because life itself is. Read on for more...

1 Peter 1:15-19 (WEB)
15) but just as he who called you is holy, you yourselves also be holy in all of your behavior;
16) because it is written, “You shall be holy; for I am holy.”
17) If you call on him as Father, who without respect of persons judges according to each man’s work, pass the time of your living as foreigners here in reverent fear:
18) knowing that you were redeemed, not with corruptible things, with silver or gold, from the useless way of life handed down from your fathers,
19) but with precious blood, as of a faultless and pure lamb, the blood of Christ;
(1 Peter 1:15-19, WEB)

We measure value in terms of longevity, for gold is worth more than straw and diamonds worth much more than lawnmower shavings. So, if this life is valuable, how much more will the life that is everlasting be worth? To obtain that which is eternal, a better, more valuable sacrifice is needed and The Christ of God has paid the bill for everyone. Every time I think of that, I feel like the richest man on Earth and a wave of joy overflows in my being. You know... I feel golden!!!


Plain and simple might cut it?

Interesting: a sign from God. Actually, there are billboards all over the country with messages like these. I first encountered them at cracker barrel. Some enterprising person had the idea of taking pieces of slate, painting them blue with a few clouds thrown in and putting a message from God on it. Bought several, keep them in my study and look at them every so often. I find its good for me and always puts me in a spiritual mood. But, what if God actually did give you a sign, would you listen or understand. He has and some will and some will not get it. Here is one.

John 2:13-22 (WEB)
13) The Passover of the Jews was at hand, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem.
14) He found in the temple those who sold oxen, sheep, and doves, and the changers of money sitting.
15) He made a whip of cords, and threw all out of the temple, both the sheep and the oxen; and he poured out the changers’ money, and overthrew their tables.
16) To those who sold the doves, he said, “Take these things out of here! Don’t make my Father’s house a marketplace!”
17) His disciples remembered that it was written, “Zeal for your house will eat me up.”
18) The Jews therefore answered him, “What sign do you show us, seeing that you do these things?”
19) Jesus answered them, “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.”
20) The Jews therefore said, “It took forty-six years to build this temple! Will you raise it up in three days?”
21) But he spoke of the temple of his body.
22) When therefore he was raised from the dead, his disciples remembered that he said this, and they believed the Scripture, and the word which Jesus had said.
(John 2:13-22, WEB)

For some, Jesus scourging the temple was quite a radical thing to do. So, the Jews questioned his authority (in the guise of sign-giving). Jesus pointed to his own temple resurrection but the Jews just didn't get it. I can't help but wonder if they ever could get it, even if Jesus spoke even more plainly. Maybe even as plain as putting his message in simple terms might have helped, I don't know. Perhaps a black and white sign might have worked.... naw!


The cake eaters

At first glance you see a spotted dog, but when you look at the shadow, the photoshop holes are obvious. No this isn't a holy dog and a spotted dog is what it is. Don't get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with a spotted dog, its just the shadow makes him to be something he may not be. Today, my wife and I watched a movie called "The cake eaters". When the credits came on, neither one of us could seem to relate the title to the content of the movie. Later, I came up with an answer; I still don't know if it was right, but it did make me think of the book of Jude.

Jude 1:1-25 (WEB)
1) Jude, a servant of Jesus Christ, and brother of James, to those who are called, sanctified by God the Father, and kept for Jesus Christ:
2) Mercy to you and peace and love be multiplied.
3) Beloved, while I was very eager to write to you about our common salvation, I was constrained to write to you exhorting you to contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints.
4) For there are certain men who crept in secretly, even those who were long ago written about for this condemnation: ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into indecency, and denying our only Master, God, and Lord, Jesus Christ.
5) Now I desire to remind you, though you already know this, that the Lord, having saved a people out of the land of Egypt, afterward destroyed those who didn’t believe.
6) Angels who didn’t keep their first domain, but deserted their own dwelling place, he has kept in everlasting bonds under darkness for the judgment of the great day.
7) Even as Sodom and Gomorrah, and the cities around them, having, in the same way as these, given themselves over to sexual immorality and gone after strange flesh, are set forth as an example, suffering the punishment of eternal fire.
8) Yet in the same way, these also in their dreaming defile the flesh, despise authority, and slander celestial beings.
9) But Michael, the archangel, when contending with the devil and arguing about the body of Moses, dared not bring against him an abusive condemnation, but said, “May the Lord rebuke you!”
10) But these speak evil of whatever things they don’t know. What they understand naturally, like the creatures without reason, they are destroyed in these things.
11) Woe to them! For they went in the way of Cain, and ran riotously in the error of Balaam for hire, and perished in Korah’s rebellion.
12) These are hidden rocky reefs in your love feasts when they feast with you, shepherds who without fear feed themselves; clouds without water, carried along by winds; autumn leaves without fruit, twice dead, plucked up by the roots;
13) wild waves of the sea, foaming out their own shame; wandering stars, for whom the blackness of darkness has been reserved forever.
14) About these also Enoch, the seventh from Adam, prophesied, saying, “Behold, the Lord came with ten thousands of his holy ones,
15) to execute judgment on all, and to convict all the ungodly of all their works of ungodliness which they have done in an ungodly way, and of all the hard things which ungodly sinners have spoken against him.”
16) These are murmurers and complainers, walking after their lusts (and their mouth speaks proud things), showing respect of persons to gain advantage.
17) But you, beloved, remember the words which have been spoken before by the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ.
18) They said to you that “In the last time there will be mockers, walking after their own ungodly lusts.”
19) These are they who cause divisions, and are sensual, not having the Spirit.
20) But you, beloved, keep building up yourselves on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Spirit.
21) Keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to eternal life.
22) On some have compassion, making a distinction,
23) and some save, snatching them out of the fire with fear, hating even the clothing stained by the flesh.
24) Now to him who is able to keep them from stumbling, and to present you faultless before the presence of his glory in great joy,
25) to God our Savior, who alone is wise, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and forever. Amen.
(Jude 1:1-25, WEB)

Summarized, this chapter seems to say: There are people among you who are not what they seem to be, but you do what you can about the situation and leave the rest up to God. When I thought of the movie once again, I realized that the three interpersonal relationships in the plot all had one thing in common; they just did what they wanted, regardless of the cost to others. While their actions may seem enviable to some, sooner or later their life will be full of holes (I don't mean HOLY ones either) and their spotty character will be made manifest. Even though the movie didn't show the consequences of their actions, sooner or later God will judge us all, including them.


The skinny

Art imitates life; a very old (and perhaps a bit overused) but very true statement. This little cartoon caught my attention for several reasons: Its cute, its funny, its modern, its true, its the future. In short, it is what is happening now. Communication is changing! I grew up with a transistor radio by my side and when I was 11 or 12, that was the cool thing to do. Today, High definition TV, Netflicks, Pandora, blogs, twitter, and e-mail have come into our lives. Wow, have things changed! Changed from what? Old ways of doing things, like writing with a paper and pencil or doing math WITHOUT A CALCULATOR. When I was thinking about this, the following came to mind.

2 Timothy 4:1-13 (WEB)
1) I command you therefore before God and the Lord Jesus Christ, who will judge the living and the dead at his appearing and his Kingdom:
2) preach the word; be urgent in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with all patience and teaching.
3) For the time will come when they will not listen to the sound doctrine, but, having itching ears, will heap up for themselves teachers after their own lusts;
4) and will turn away their ears from the truth, and turn aside to fables.
5) But you be sober in all things, suffer hardship, do the work of an evangelist, and fulfill your ministry.
6) For I am already being offered, and the time of my departure has come.
7) I have fought the good fight. I have finished the course. I have kept the faith.
8) From now on, there is stored up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will give to me on that day; and not to me only, but also to all those who have loved his appearing.
9) Be diligent to come to me soon,
10) for Demas left me, having loved this present world, and went to Thessalonica; Crescens to Galatia, and Titus to Dalmatia.
11) Only Luke is with me. Take Mark, and bring him with you, for he is useful to me for service.
12) But I sent Tychicus to Ephesus.
13) Bring the cloak that I left at Troas with Carpus when you come, and the books, especially the parchments.
(2 Timothy 4:1-13, WEB)

Paul didn't have long to be in this world and he knew it. Yet, his mind was focused not only on a review of some of the last things he had to do, but on the future. He thought of books and especially of parchments. What books, what parchments? Doesn't say, so I don't know. I do know that he used both the Greek bible (Septuagint) and the Hebrew Bible, so they may have been what he asked for, but this is speculation on my part. What matters is that he had a mind-set for learning, for thinking, for personal growth. If he were alive today, I wonder what HIS BLOG WOULD BE ABOUT? Maybe, Hebrews for heaven? Who knows, but I would like to read it, whatever it was called.

Its all in the funny papers??

This young man is doing what kids like to do: read the funnies. Perfectly natural thing for him to do and just an ordinary picture. Yet it does say something about him; he likes to read. From the intensity of his effort, I would say he REALLY LIKES TO READ! When I saw this picture, I asked myself, what makes us who we are? Is what we do the sum and substance of our identity? After a little thought, this passage from the book of Luke came to mind.

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

Where we come from is also important! This is why two genealogies of Jesus are found in the New Testament, one in Luke and one in Matthew. The people who have contributed to our genetic makeup have contributed to our life! We still have choices and will reap the consequences of our actions, yet knowing something about our ancestry will add another dimension to our self-understanding. Who is this boy? My grandson, Mike! If you don't know him, don't worry about it, by this time you know me and therefore you know something about him. One more thing, a few years ago he looked exactly like I did when I was young. Fortunately, he has overcome that obstacle and has become better looking now.


A bridge over troubled waters

When you first look at this picture, what do you notice? Is it the rushing water, or the vegetation, maybe even the rock in the foreground, or perhaps the sunlight streaming the mist in the background. For me, it was that little bridge. Why? Because I thought of the Simon and Garfunkle song: "Bridge over troubled waters". In the song, a true friend is likened to a bridge which gets you through danger and is there when needed. This led me to think of this passage from the book of Isaiah.

Isaiah 43:1-2 (WEB)
1) But now thus says Yahweh who created you, Jacob, and he who formed you, Israel: “Don’t be afraid, for I have redeemed you. I have called you by your name. You are mine.
2) When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they will not overflow you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned, and flame will not scorch you.
(Isaiah 43:1-2, WEB)

Sure, this is aimed at the nation of Israel, but by extension it also applies to those of our era as well. God has a way of "being there" and helping in ways that we never would have thought of. He is our help in time of need, a true bridge over the troubled waters in our lives. Something to think about in these turbulent times; we are never alone, never forgotten.



I grew up in upstate New York in the fifties; very long ago and far from my home in Florida. TV was black and white then and one of the shows that I enjoyed most as a kid was Freddy Freihoffer. Basically, there was an artist who interacted with a group of kids by asking one of them to make a "squiggle" on a very large tablet. From their very simple drawing he would make a picture and talk about it. Oh, what he could do with even the simplest scratches. This picture reminds me of those days, except, this is in color of course. I wonder, if God made squiggles, what would one look like? You know, HE is pretty good at creating things. Check out the following verses.

Genesis 1:6-8 (WEB)
6) God said, “Let there be an expanse in the middle of the waters, and let it divide the waters from the waters.”
7) God made the expanse, and divided the waters which were under the expanse from the waters which were above the expanse; and it was so.
8) God called the expanse “sky.” There was evening and there was morning, a second day.
(Genesis 1:6-8, WEB)

Think about it; a squiggle that is continually changing, in size, shape and color. WOW! Somehow makes the Freddy Freihoffer show seem tame. What next? Consider...land. But that's the stuff of another blog. As a side note... if anyone knows what the above picture is... please let me know.

Thanks a lot... Gary


A sign, a sign or something manufactured?

I wonder if this photo was altered? Probably, but you never know. I picked it because of something I saw on TV today. Terry Jones was looking for a sign from God and wouldn't you know an Iman gave it to him. Intrigue around the on again off again Koran burning (perhaps on for Sept. 11, perhaps not). I find it coincidental that suddenly a local Iman becomes involved with a NYC Iman who is planning to build a mosque on the site of the despicable airplane attack of nine years ago. Then, along comes Donald Trump to save the day (with a 25% above purchase price bonus). Could it be that suddenly some people are looking for an easy way out of a difficult situation and invoking God in the matter makes everything alright. The question is: How do we know what is real and what is unreal? Consider the following passage:

Acts 3:12-22 (WEB)
12) When Peter saw it, he responded to the people, “You men of Israel, why do you marvel at this man? Why do you fasten your eyes on us, as though by our own power or godliness we had made him walk?
13) The God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, the God of our fathers, has glorified his Servant Jesus, whom you delivered up, and denied in the presence of Pilate, when he had determined to release him.
14) But you denied the Holy and Righteous One, and asked for a murderer to be granted to you,
15) and killed the Prince of life, whom God raised from the dead, to which we are witnesses.
16) By faith in his name, his name has made this man strong, whom you see and know. Yes, the faith which is through him has given him this perfect soundness in the presence of you all.
17) “Now, brothers, I know that you did this in ignorance, as did also your rulers.
18) But the things which God announced by the mouth of all his prophets, that Christ should suffer, he thus fulfilled.
19) “Repent therefore, and turn again, that your sins may be blotted out, so that there may come times of refreshing from the presence of the Lord,
20) and that he may send Christ Jesus, who was ordained for you before,
21) whom heaven must receive until the times of restoration of all things, which God spoke long ago by the mouth of his holy prophets.
22) For Moses indeed said to the fathers, ‘The Lord God will raise up a prophet for you from among your brothers, like me. You shall listen to him in all things whatever he says to you.
(Acts 3:12-22, WEB)

Jesus was God's sign, his messenger. To explain all his message in the context of this blog would be impossible, but everyone will agree he preached love. In light of this, I have to ask: How is this book burning an example of love? It appears to be predicated upon hate and without doubt violates the foundations of religious freedom this country is founded upon. For once, I find myself actually praising our current president for his words on this matter!!! The truth is that people can find a "sign" practically anywhere, if they look hard enough; but, that doesn't mean that their "sign" is from God. More likely than not, it is from their own desire for something. I pray that this proposed burning be stopped and cooler heads rule the situation. Do yourself a favor, listen to Jesus and NOT Terry Jones. Remember, people tend to photo-shop life as well as computer images.

For sale?

Jesus is "for lease"? Really? Of course not, but the sign does make you do a double take, though. Money and religion; now there is a combination! I can honestly say money (or the lack of it) caused so many problems during my ministerial years that it hindered all my best efforts. Why? Because over the past few decades there has been so much damage done by tele-evangelists that people are reluctant to give as they probably should. So much so, that even when a congregation asked me to preach on it I would hesitate. Yet, I did as I was asked and I had a good teacher, as you will see by the following passage.

2 Corinthians 9:1-10 (WEB)
1) It is indeed unnecessary for me to write to you concerning the service to the saints,
2) for I know your readiness, of which I boast on your behalf to them of Macedonia, that Achaia has been prepared for a year past. Your zeal has stirred up very many of them.
3) But I have sent the brothers that our boasting on your behalf may not be in vain in this respect, that, just as I said, you may be prepared,
4) so that I won’t by any means, if there come with me any of Macedonia and find you unprepared, we (to say nothing of you) should be disappointed in this confident boasting.
5) I thought it necessary therefore to entreat the brothers that they would go before to you, and arrange ahead of time the generous gift that you promised before, that the same might be ready as a matter of generosity, and not of greediness.
6) Remember this: he who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly. He who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully.
7) Let each man give according as he has determined in his heart; not grudgingly, or under compulsion; for God loves a cheerful giver.
8) And God is able to make all grace abound to you, that you, always having all sufficiency in everything, may abound to every good work.
9) As it is written, “He has scattered abroad, he has given to the poor. His righteousness remains forever.”
10) Now may he who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food, supply and multiply your seed for sowing, and increase the fruits of your righteousness;
(2 Corinthians 9:1-10, WEB)

The passage really is self-explanatory, but let me sum it up in a phrase: Jesus is LORD. If Jesus is truly LORD, then money doesn't really matter as much as WE think it does. How much should a person give? The answer is found in another question: How much do you love your LORD? When I saw the picture above, I knew of course that Jesus was not "for lease", but that in fact the words under the sign were LORD. But, it does make you think, doesn't it?


More than a rainbow

Another rainbow? Why not? This one was so unusual that it begged to be posted. To me, it looks like a halo... a halo rainbow?? A little wordy, but, whatever. To view it another way, it looks something like the sun with a rainbow around it. which of course, reminded me of the son of God. See if you can get the parallel with this passage from the book of Matthew.

Matthew 17:1-8 (WEB)
1) After six days, Jesus took with him Peter, James, and John his brother, and brought them up into a high mountain by themselves.
2) He was transfigured before them. His face shone like the sun, and his garments became as white as the light.
3) Behold, Moses and Elijah appeared to them talking with him.
4) Peter answered, and said to Jesus, “Lord, it is good for us to be here. If you want, let’s make three tents here: one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.”
5) While he was still speaking, behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them. Behold, a voice came out of the cloud, saying, “This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. Listen to him.”
6) When the disciples heard it, they fell on their faces, and were very afraid.
7) Jesus came and touched them and said, “Get up, and don’t be afraid.”
8) Lifting up their eyes, they saw no one, except Jesus alone.
(Matthew 17:1-8, WEB)

No rainbows here, BUT, his face did shine like the sun. Close enough for me. Whether you see the comparison or not, Jesus is certainly given high praise here. This reminds me of all those old stain glass windows, where you see a halo around the head of Jesus. A simple thing, and yet, very cool. Now if we only could get more people to listen, perhaps more than a rainbow might cross their minds.



I can't even begin to think of all the times I have seen things like this; people parking where they have no business parking. Outstanding among these are those who park in the handicapped spaces when it is obvious that they are 100% healthy. When you see this at the same time that you notice someone who is really handicapped struggling to enter a store, it makes my blood boil. How can people be so insensitive? How? Perhaps this passage from Luke may shed a little light on the subject...

Luke 10:1-20 (WEB)
1) Now after these things, the Lord also appointed seventy others, and sent them two by two ahead of him into every city and place, where he was about to come.
2) Then he said to them, “The harvest is indeed plentiful, but the laborers are few. Pray therefore to the Lord of the harvest, that he may send out laborers into his harvest.
3) Go your ways. Behold, I send you out as lambs among wolves.
4) Carry no purse, nor wallet, nor sandals. Greet no one on the way.
5) Into whatever house you enter, first say, ‘Peace be to this house.’
6) If a son of peace is there, your peace will rest on him; but if not, it will return to you.
7) Remain in that same house, eating and drinking the things they give, for the laborer is worthy of his wages. Don’t go from house to house.
8) Into whatever city you enter, and they receive you, eat the things that are set before you.
9) Heal the sick who are therein, and tell them, ‘The Kingdom of God has come near to you.’
10) But into whatever city you enter, and they don’t receive you, go out into its streets and say,
11) ‘Even the dust from your city that clings to us, we wipe off against you. Nevertheless know this, that the Kingdom of God has come near to you.’
12) I tell you, it will be more tolerable in that day for Sodom than for that city.
13) “Woe to you, Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! For if the mighty works had been done in Tyre and Sidon which were done in you, they would have repented long ago, sitting in sackcloth and ashes.
14) But it will be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon in the judgment than for you.
15) You, Capernaum, who are exalted to heaven, will be brought down to Hades.
16) Whoever listens to you listens to me, and whoever rejects you rejects me. Whoever rejects me rejects him who sent me.”
17) The seventy returned with joy, saying, “Lord, even the demons are subject to us in your name!”
18) He said to them, “I saw Satan having fallen like lightning from heaven.
19) Behold, I give you authority to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy. Nothing will in any way hurt you.
20) Nevertheless, don’t rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven.”
(Luke 10:1-20, WEB)

How could the people in verses 13 to 15 NOT LISTEN? Same answer as the parking question: because they didn't want to. Simple answer, with a lot behind it, in a little concept. Rebellion based on the exalted nature of ones self is the answer that comes to mind. Same thing happened in heaven: Satan thought just a bit (or maybe more than a bit) too much of himself. He took a lot of others with him and caused problems beyond measure. Rebellion is like that, it just doesn't care. So, when you see someone parking where they shouldn't, realize that they really don't care about others, only themselves. They (like those cities Jesus mentions [and Satan, of course]) will get their punishment in due time. Its just... there never seems to be a cop around when you need one. Patience, Gary... Patience!!!


Rainbows, Truth and something new

There she blows! Words that signaled a call to action in the whaling industry of a time past. However, as quaint as those words might be, the whale is NOT the focal point of this picture (for me at least). Rather, it is the rather odd rainbow that the whales' blow causes. Its it funny how we are drawn to the unusual, to the eye catching. To me, its seems that human beings are creatures of the curiosities of life; always wanting something spectacular to focus upon. But, this can be dangerous as this passage from Corinthians shows.

2 Corinthians 11:1-5 (WEB)
1) I wish that you would bear with me in a little foolishness, but indeed you do bear with me.
2) For I am jealous over you with a godly jealousy. For I married you to one husband, that I might present you as a pure virgin to Christ.
3) But I am afraid that somehow, as the serpent deceived Eve in his craftiness, so your minds might be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ.
4) For if he who comes preaches another Jesus, whom we did not preach, or if you receive a different spirit, which you did not receive, or a different “good news”, which you did not accept, you put up with that well enough.
5) For I reckon that I am not at all behind the very best apostles.
(2 Corinthians 11:1-5, WEB)

Those not grounded in the faith will have difficulty in discerning truth, even when it is right before their eyes. The Christians at Corinth were no exception. Paul had taught them and one can hardly imagine him doing a poor job of teaching. But, wanting something new, they put up with practically anyone who would teach. There is a good lesson here: find the truth and stick with it. Read the Scriptures! Learn Truth! Don't change! Its OK to look for new rainbows to view, but its not a matter of forever after. By the way, I really like this rainbow because of its diffuse nature.


It just doesn't add up...

Einstein was a man with a special genius. However, during the past couple of years I have begun to appreciate the "non-math" side of him. Pictures of him horsing around, playing the violin and other non-professional pictures remind me that he is just a man, so in a way I can understand him. But, I have to confess one thing I do not understand: women. They just simply don't think like the male of the species. Its not that I don't have experience; I have been married 42 years so far and have three lovely grown daughters and 5 grand-daughters. I have to admit though, even with all this exposure, I don't think I will EVER UNDERSTAND THEM. This is not just limited to me, but most men will admit this if pressed hard enough. Wonder why I feel the way I do about women, well, here is a good example from the Bible.

Proverbs 31:10-31 (WEB)
10) Who can find a worthy woman? For her price is far above rubies.
11) The heart of her husband trusts in her. He shall have no lack of gain.
12) She does him good, and not harm, all the days of her life.
13) She seeks wool and flax, and works eagerly with her hands.
14) She is like the merchant ships. She brings her bread from afar.
15) She rises also while it is yet night, gives food to her household, and portions for her servant girls.
16) She considers a field, and buys it. With the fruit of her hands, she plants a vineyard.
17) She arms her waist with strength, and makes her arms strong.
18) She perceives that her merchandise is profitable. Her lamp doesn’t go out by night.
19) She lays her hands to the distaff, and her hands hold the spindle.
20) She opens her arms to the poor; yes, she extends her hands to the needy.
21) She is not afraid of the snow for her household; for all her household are clothed with scarlet.
22) She makes for herself carpets of tapestry. Her clothing is fine linen and purple.
23) Her husband is respected in the gates, when he sits among the elders of the land.
24) She makes linen garments and sells them, and delivers sashes to the merchant.
25) Strength and dignity are her clothing. She laughs at the time to come.
26) She opens her mouth with wisdom. Faithful instruction is on her tongue.
27) She looks well to the ways of her household, and doesn’t eat the bread of idleness.
28) Her children rise up and call her blessed. Her husband also praises her:
29) “Many women do noble things, but you excel them all.”
30) Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain; but a woman who fears Yahweh, she shall be praised.
31) Give her of the fruit of her hands! Let her works praise her in the gates!
(Proverbs 31:10-31, WEB)

Wonder where I am going with this? The following verses tell the tale.

Proverbs 31:1-3 (WEB)
1) The words of king Lemuel; the oracle which his mother taught him.
2) “Oh, my son! Oh, son of my womb! Oh, son of my vows!
3) Don’t give your strength to women, nor your ways to that which destroys kings.
(Proverbs 31:1-3, WEB)

His mother taught the first passage to him. Humm, makes you wonder and wonder and wonder. Why? Why isn't any woman good enough for her son? I don't know and never will. There, I have said it, I just don't get it and that is that. All the explanation in the world will not teach me, because at the end of all the teaching, I must confess, I am but a male. However, maybe there is some genius out there who might understand. If you do, please respond to this blog. One last thing... I love it... how crazy is that?


Did I hear a bbaaaahh?

This animal is dressed up to be something other than it really is. No, it is NOT a sheep even though it looks something like one. Lately I have seen a lot of ads on TV with politicians claiming all sorts of things. Past experience has taught me that they lie and even when you think they are telling the truth, they are lying. Politics is so rampant with liars, I have long given up on the "best choice", rather I tend to vote for the one who will do the least damage. But I couldn't help but ask myself, what about Christians? How do we know who is lying? Here is one verse that gives a little insight.

1 John 2:22 (WEB)
22) Who is the liar but he who denies that Jesus is the Christ? This is the Antichrist, he who denies the Father and the Son.

If someone says that Jesus is NOT the Christ, then he is a liar. There are other tests in Scripture, but this is a good place to start. Politicians are a lost cause though; frankly, I give up. From now on, every time is see an ad on TV I will just pretend I hear a bbaaaahhh and hope for the best.

Is the light on or is it off?

I like questions like the one this picture raises because it makes me think. And after the age of 55, thinking is a GOOD THING!! When I looked at the picture, one word seemed to jump right out at me and of course it was the last one; HOW. How did one man cause the death of so many? Sometimes you can't think of an answer right away, so you just sit there and try to absorb the overall picture. This scenario brought to mind the following passage from the book of Acts. I hope you will read it all to get the overview of the situation.

Acts 19:1-20 (WEB)
1) It happened that, while Apollos was at Corinth, Paul, having passed through the upper country, came to Ephesus, and found certain disciples.
2) He said to them, “Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?” They said to him, “No, we haven’t even heard that there is a Holy Spirit.”
3) He said, “Into what then were you baptized?” They said, “Into John’s baptism.”
4) Paul said, “John indeed baptized with the baptism of repentance, saying to the people that they should believe in the one who would come after him, that is, in Jesus.”
5) When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.
6) When Paul had laid his hands on them, the Holy Spirit came on them, and they spoke with other languages and prophesied.
7) They were about twelve men in all.
8) He entered into the synagogue, and spoke boldly for a period of three months, reasoning and persuading about the things concerning the Kingdom of God.
9) But when some were hardened and disobedient, speaking evil of the Way before the multitude, he departed from them, and separated the disciples, reasoning daily in the school of Tyrannus.
10) This continued for two years, so that all those who lived in Asia heard the word of the Lord Jesus, both Jews and Greeks.
11) God worked special miracles by the hands of Paul,
12) so that even handkerchiefs or aprons were carried away from his body to the sick, and the evil spirits went out.
13) But some of the itinerant Jews, exorcists, took on themselves to invoke over those who had the evil spirits the name of the Lord Jesus, saying, “We adjure you by Jesus whom Paul preaches.”
14) There were seven sons of one Sceva, a Jewish chief priest, who did this.
15) The evil spirit answered, “Jesus I know, and Paul I know, but who are you?”
16) The man in whom the evil spirit was leaped on them, and overpowered them, and prevailed against them, so that they fled out of that house naked and wounded.
17) This became known to all, both Jews and Greeks, who lived at Ephesus. Fear fell on them all, and the name of the Lord Jesus was magnified.
18) Many also of those who had believed came, confessing, and declaring their deeds.
19) Many of those who practiced magical arts brought their books together and burned them in the sight of all. They counted their price, and found it to be fifty thousand pieces of silver.
20) So the word of the Lord was growing and becoming mighty.
(Acts 19:1-20, WEB)

Overview: The book of Acts is really the practices of the Apostles who are empowered by God's Holy Spirit. Miracles are happening; laying on of hands, healings, spirit attestations. And people are beginning to realize that what is happening is the genuine article; they are turning their lives around. God's testimony (His Word) is being acknowledged. Suddenly a light has turned on in the minds of many people and they realize that this is the truth. Fantastic stuff!!! How did this come about? How does it work? Haven't a clue, but I know it is true, because if it were not, the apostles would have been discredited immediately. Speaking of light, the answer to the problem posed by the picture is that the man who shut the lights off was a keeper of a lighthouse. Think the light that you are given to show forth doesn't matter, try turning it off and see how you affect people's lives; it could be a matter of life and death. You may not be an apostle or a lighthouse keeper, but your life does matter. Any light bulbs suddenly turn on?

By the way, for those of you who may be counting, this is post number 600. I would like to thank all of you who have supported and encouraged me in this work. Only 400 more to go to reach the first goal...