Friday, November 30, 2012

Buy Wisely

There are lots of things for sale on the internet, especially now during the Christmas season.  It always surprises me that people will purchase things, sight unseen, for fairly high prices.  Maybe it’s the auction-type atmosphere that induces a buying frenzy, but it is an amazing phenomenon to behold.  Some times they get a great deal, and sometimes not. I’m more like those folks from Missouri,  I want to see, touch, smell and evaluate the items before plunking down my cash.  When you think about it, developing a relationship with Jesus is similar.  Back when He was still walking the earth, Jesus wanted people to be fully aware of who he was, and what a commitment to him would cost, before they committed.  His “sales” approach always included the following: full disclosure; the declaration/description of the gospel, and a demonstration of said declaration.  For example, when he talked about healing, he healed someone.  Jesus wants all of us to know what he offers, and we would be foolish not to check into the details.  Lots of people say they are Christians, but know very little about the product. Let’s say you  want to buy a camera on Amazon.  Before pushing the final button, you better do some homework.  Ask the opinion of others who have the same camera; read the reviews; familiarize yourself with the options, and above all, have a professional demonstrate the camera to you.  Jesus doesn’t need uninformed followers, he wants us all to be knowledgeable, and  assured about Him before accepting his offer.  Are you?  Can you confidently “sell” him to others?  Jesus completely amazed the people. They said, "He has done everything well. He makes the deaf hear and the mute talk." Mark 7:37

Thursday, November 29, 2012

I'll Join the Rocks!!

"I tell you," he replied, "if they keep quiet, the stones will cry out." Luke 19:40  All of God’s creation sings of his glory.  The “raised hand” majesty of snow-capped mountains, the “clapping” waves of the vast oceans, vibrant flowers “dancing” in  afternoon sunlight and the “roaring” Amen of a Siberian tiger.  Without words, they loudly praise their Creator.  Can we say the same?  God doesn't demand our praise, but he has so designed the universe that even mute objects, if they could, would cry out.  Praise is the overflow of a full and joyful spirit, no one can stop it, and who would want to!! If all the singing seems to stop, I’ll join the “rock” band!!

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Attitude Adjustment

“Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus:
Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death—even death on a cross! Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” Philippians 2:5-11.
Have you checked your attitude lately?  Especially during this busy, holiday, gift-buying season, it’s easy to start acquiring a Grinch-like persona. Instead of visions of sugarplums and neatly wrapped presents we start moaning about how much there is to do, how little time we have to do it in, and how no one appreciates your  efforts anyway.  Sounds like a wonderful time for an attitude adjustment.  Paul wrote this to grumblers, people who were feeling put upon, selfish and anything but humble, within the early church.  In an attempt to restore unity he gently, lovingly gave believers this “kick in the pants”.  Instead of saying, “Shape up, you spoiled babies!”, he turned their attention to Christ.  Jesus, who could have called on his royal status to make him feel better, didn’t.  In fact, instead of claiming nepotism, he actually lowered himself to the role of a servant, humbling himself, obediently to God’s plan, a plan that led to an ignominious death, and our salvation. After hearing this impassioned plea, I bet  those grumblers were feeling mighty ashamed and conviction led them to desire the attitude of Christ.  When you feel your attitude taking a nose dive, remember Jesus probably felt unappreciated too, from time to time.  The difference is, he didn’t let it get the best of him…Praise God!!  So, keep this verse close by, and enjoy this blessed season…hey, if the Grinch can change, so can you!!

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

One Way Out of Many

Many years ago I heard a quote, by Will Rogers, that I’ve tucked away in the back of my mind.  It went basically like this:  If we could just stop arguing about how Jesus came into this world, and how he left, and concentrate on what he did and said while he was on earth, we’d be a lot better off.  We are all trying to arrive at the same place according to our own conscience and teachings. It don’t matter which road you take  -  March 11, 1923 Will Rogers.  On the surface, that line of thinking sounds pretty reasonable.  Jesus was a good guy, had lots of good stuff to say, and he lived an exemplary life while he was here.  So why should we get in an uproar on such silly, divisive topics as the Virgin birth and the ascension?  Funny you should ask.  The very issues that cause such consternation, are the ones that authenticate who Jesus was; the son of the Living God.  If we decide to throw out those foundational truths, we might as well put our faith in Will Rogers, or any other man with wise-sounding words.  The belief that following our own conscience, or the teachings of any religion will get us to where we want to go, is humanism. Another term that appeals to so many, because, well after all, we are humans, aren‘t we?  Our adversary, the devil, loves to see us squabble over the best route to Heaven.  Believe me, he above all knows there is only one way, and for that reason, he messes with unconvinced minds. “ But we know that there is only one God, the Father, who created everything, and we live for him. And there is only one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom God made everything and through whom we have been given life.” 1 Corinthians 8:6. As we begin this Christmas/Advent season, re-read all the scriptures, in the old and new testaments, that testify to Christ’s entrance and exit, and be sure you are convinced! Jesus told him, "I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except through me.”

Monday, November 26, 2012

Waiting on the Lord

After a busy Thanksgiving weekend, I’m ready for a breather.  One thing is for sure, it gives you a renewed appreciation for those who wait on tables in a restaurant, or have big families to provide daily meals for!  Everyone knows that preparing a big feast takes lots of time and preparation to be successful.  From the planning, recipe locating, food purchasing,  finding the turkey roaster, the actual cooking, and finally the clean up, it is indeed a labor of love…and I wouldn’t have it any other way.  The exhaustion I feel on  Sunday afternoon is well-deserved, and pleasant, knowing that everyone was sated and happy, because I “waited“ on them.  This verse, from Isaiah 40:31, is one of my favorites: “But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.”  When we “wait” upon the Lord, it means doing things, out of love for him.  Not unlike how we wait on our loved ones.  Sure it takes time and effort, but when we love someone, it is a joy to express our devotion through service.  If you read this carefully, God promises that he will restore the “waiter’s” strength when we expend it during times of service.   “Waiting” comes in different forms; the super busy times when we “run”, or are involved in many ministries, and the periods when we feel weary from merely “walking“, seemingly not accomplishing much for Him. Luckily God and my family, both don’t me to prepare a huge meal every week.  God doesn’t expect us to run all the time, either, and he wants to remind us that He blesses even our daily walk.  My husband and I love to visit Cancun, partly because the wait staff is always there to serve us. One of our favorite memories is of one of those waiters.  We would always thank him, because he seemed to know instinctively, when we needed something to make our meal perfect.  He in sincere reply would say, “It is my pleasure to serve you.” Today, as we improve our waiting skills, let us be like that Mexican waiter and find pleasure, and renewed strength,  in serving God.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Enter His Gates With Thanksgiving!!

“Enter his gates with thanksgiving; go into his courts with praise. Give thanks to him and praise his name.”  Psalm 100:4.  I admit it, I LOVE Thanksgiving!!  As a child I still remember waking up to the aroma of turkey as it slowly roasted in the old Tappan range.  My grandmother always got up before dawn to place the huge bird into the oven ensuring that it would be succulent and delightfully brown.  The sideboard groaned under the weight  of mashed potatoes in silver chafing dishes, ceramic casseroles with vegetables from A to Z, moist stuffing, gravy and desserts galore. Oh the culinary joy, and what happy memories.  I still love this wonderful day of divine gluttony, but now, I am the grandmother…oh the joy!!  To be honest, the mere mention of the holiday, brings food and family to mind, thankfulness is second.  Is my face red, but I’m honest.  Even the dictionary definition is more spiritual:the act of giving thanks; grateful acknowledgment of benefits or  favors, especially to God.  The whole month of November, I’ve been noticing that my Facebook friends have been telling the world what they are thankful for.  What a marvelous idea, and bravo to all of you thankful people.  Yes, we have plenty to gripe about, but we all have more than enough food, wonderful friends, loving families, and a mighty God who supplies it all!!  Don’t forget, he gives us the strength, intelligence and where-with-all to earn money and provide for our loved ones, but more importantly He is the greatest blessing of all.  So, as you carve that delicious bird this week, remember, like King David, to thank the One whose provision we can’t live without.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Genuine Worship

My little grand daughter, Ella, and I are tight.  We adore each other, and we let each other know it.  She’ll say, “I love you Nonna”, then I one up her with, “I love you more!”  We make it a game, fully aware that we can never out do each other in “ worshiping” the ground each other walks on.

I use the word worship, here, only to make a point; those whom we love, we naturally shower with affection, verbally and physically. When a relationship, based on mutual love, is formed, nothing can hold back the flow of expression. Now, think of your worship experience with God, can you compare it to any human love experience?   If not, why not?

It may seem like God demands our worship, but that’s not it at all.  Just as adoration develops, unforced, between spouses or parents and children, so too should our desire to worship God.  His loving compassion is evident to those who love him, and worship is our natural response, or it should be. If you think worship is just a time of singing, or spending time in a religious environment, I think it’s time you hooked up your Love-O-Meter.  If nothing is registering, I think you need to be questioning your relationship with the object of your Love.  Have you ever committed to Him personally, vowing undying love to one another, or are you just going through the motions? “But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.” Matthew 15:9.

Lack of love won’t keep earthly relationships alive, and it’s impossible to worship God if you don’t really know and love Him. Examples of authentic worship abound in the scriptures, do yourself a favor and read them.  As King David wrote, “Great is the LORD! He is most worthy of praise! No one can measure his greatness.”  Psalm 145:3.  I pray today that you allow God to love you, and that you reciprocate, wholeheartedly. “Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.”  Deuteronomy 6:5, then you will know what genuine worship is.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Van Down by the River

For all of you old SNL fans, who remember Chris Farley’s character, Matt Foley, the motivational interventionist, this is for you.  When I took this picture of an old van, it reminded me of the classic skits he performed in.  If you’re not familiar, Matt Foley was called in to do an intervention by concerned parents.  The unsuspecting kids would be seated in the neat, suburban living room, as the anxious parents explained to them their concern for their moral, and social wellbeing.  Fear that the measures they had taken, in an attempt to get their offspring to improve their grades, get off drugs, and find better friends had failed, prompted them to call in Matt.  Matt, in all his “rotundness“, enters the room, sweating and falling over the furniture.  He begins quietly enough, and builds to a crescendo as he recalls his own fall from grace.  Long story short, he tries to scare the teenagers into good behavior by loudly proclaiming that he now lived in a “van down by the river”.  Life just didn’t get much worse than the scenario Matt Foley painted, and we are led to believe that lives were changed, because of his testimony.  While this intervention was purely for entertainment, Jesus was called to intervene in our lives by another concerned parent. Our bad behavior had separated us from our father, and was leading us to an eternity of living in that pitiful old van down by the river.  Unlike Matt Foley‘s bad example to be avoided, Jesus presented, and lived a God-pleasing lifestyle that could be attained by any of us, by following his good example.  “May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you a spirit of unity among yourselves as you follow Christ Jesus, so that with one heart and mouth you may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.” Romans 15:5-6.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Pray for Israel

For those of you who are not familiar with the term eschatology, it is the study of last things.  In the case of Christianity, it is the study of mankind’s destiny as revealed by the Bible.  The major issues and events involved in this study include: death; the afterlife; Heaven and Hell; the Rapture; Christ’s second coming and the Tribulation, to name but a few.  Israel, and her people, figure prominently in end time prophecy.  If you have been listening to the news, the southern portion of Israel is under rocket attack, by Hamas forces,  as I write this. As Christians, it is not only our spiritual duty to pray for our Jewish brothers and sisters, but our great priviledge.  A Facebook friend of mine, posted this from a person living there now. “My dear friends who lives out of Israel, I would like to share with you, some moments from my life, from our lives here in Israel's south. Please share my story so others in the world will hear about it too...I live in a beautiful place, with wonderful people, great education for our children, friendly neighbors, and all the rest is very much o.k. BUT I live in the south, and here our lives are different then yours, and also different then lives of other Israelis. And I mean about 1 Million Israelis feels the way I feel!!! Not only the little village that I live in. For about 12 (!!!!) years we suffer from rockets that are being shot at us from Gaza. Yes, eventually you hear only about what happened there in Gaza, the "innocents" people that only want "peace". But right now I want to tell you also about our side. The side of people that cannot take their children out to play like normal children, because of the fear from alerts and- attacks, the side of children that do not feel safe in their own homes, that wakes up at nights because of alerts and need to go to a shelter, and those who do not have a shelter to go to..The side of parents which cannot give security to their children. That every time there is an attack, the Arabs wait for the hours that we take the children to kindergartens or schools, or when we take them back, and then they shoot.. All the scenarios that run in the parent heads of what could happened, and if I will go out now will I be sorry for it forever? These are my life. I don't have another place to go to…Could you live like that? Could you?"
Daniel then shared this prayer from the sidur prayer book:
He Who blessed our forefathers Abraham, Isaac and Jacob -- may He bless the fighters of the Israel Defense Forces, who stand guard over our land and the cities of our God, from the border of the Lebanon to the desert of Egypt, and from the Great Sea unto the approach of the Aravah, on the land, in the air, and on the sea.
May the Almighty cause the enemies who rise up against us to be struck down before them. May the Holy One, Blessed is He, preserve and rescue our fighters from every trouble and distress and from every plague and illness, and may He send blessing and success in their every endeavor.
May He lead our enemies under our soldiers’ sway and may He grant them salvation and crown them with victory. And may there be fulfilled for them the verse: For it is the Lord your God, Who goes with you to battle your enemies for you to save you. And let us say, Amen.
Dear friends, please be praying for the peace of Israel.  Become informed and aware of our government policy regarding Israel.  Remember, what happens to them will affect us all. Shalom!! “Pray for the peace of Jerusalem! May they be secure who love you!” Psalm 122:6.


Thursday, November 15, 2012


What is your ROI?  ROI, in the financial world, means Return On Investment. It doesn‘t take a Warren Buffet to know that our economy is in horrible shape.  Everyday there are new woes about employment, social security, pensions, the stock market and personal investments.  Throughout the scriptures, God reminds us to be good stewards of our money.  But, where do we put that hard-earned cash without fear of losing it?  Real estate, Cds, precious metals are all volatile, or have low interest, and uncertain in the long run.  The idea of tithing, during this crisis, has been put aside by many Christians, rationalizing that they must take care of themselves and their families first.  God never wants us to go without, that’s not what an Abba would do, but He does ask us to give our first fruits to Him.  Many will bristle at that statement, but the biblical doctrine of tithing remains intact during feast or famine.   The issue that bothers us the most, I think, is that God doesn‘t need our money, we do!!  It has come to my attention that the very folks who complain about giving to God and his church, have no problem buying iphones, eating out regularly, purchasing the newest styles, etc.  Enter the principle of ROI.  Get out your check register, or credit card bill, where are you spending the most?  Sure things like housing costs, gas and food take up a major chunk, but what about the charitable giving area?  What are you really investing in; stocks, bonds, IRAs etc.? What kind of return are you getting?  God promises that when we get our priorities straight, putting Him first, we will be rewarded, with a high ROI.  Don‘t believe me,  try it yourself. Go ahead, put God to the test, hold Him to his word, begin to tithe, you will be convinced. “Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you." Luke 6:38.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Seek and Scan

When you buy a new car, you have to re-learn so many little things. How to set the clock, work the cruise control, operate the locks, windows, and so on.  One thing that seems to remain the same, on all makes of vehicles, are the SEEK and SCAN buttons.  In the old days, if you wanted to find an AM station, the dial had to be turned manually until you clearly heard tunes, or a voice that you recognized.  Nowadays, by depressing the SEEK button, the radio automatically searches for a station with a strong signal, skipping over the weaker ones, and stays there until you press the button again.  SCAN also searches for stations, but only lingers for a few seconds, before it moves on to the next.  The big difference between seek and scan, is the time element.  When I seek, it is usually to find something I‘m looking for, and I need the extra time to make up my mind.  A scan doesn’t give me enough time to know what the station’s format is.   God built into all human beings a desire to know Him.  Whether we realize it or not, we are constantly seeking or scanning, spiritually speaking.  Which one are you?  A seeker, earnestly listening to a number of options, before finding what you have been truly longing for, or a scanner who merely hears snippets, never tuning in long enough to make an educated choice. Way back, hundreds of years before Christ, let alone FM radio, the prophet Jeremiah knew what it meant to be a seeker, and the benefits that came along with a convinced heart.  Put your heart into it, and truly seek, He will be found, loud and clear!  “You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.” Jeremiah 29:13.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Adopted Sons and Daughters

My two younger sisters used to kid me, all the time when we were growing up, by telling me that I was adopted.  Even though I knew I wasn’t, it still gave me a strange vibe as I imagined how an adopted kid must feel. If I were naughty, my “parents” might send me back,  make me work really hard or  punish me severely until I won back my place in the family.  But, it would always be a tenuous position, one that depended on outward works,  constant fear with a total lack of security. Of course adoption isn’t like that at all.  Today, the people who do adopt, are thrilled beyond measure to be blessed with a baby. To ensure that they are indeed the legal parents, and that the biological mother and father will have no further claims, a lawyer draws up the necessary binding documents that seal the deal.  Once signed, there is no going back, the child is as much a part of the family as any “blood” member would be.  God assures us, that when we are adopted into his family, he becomes our Abba, our Daddy.  Now, I don’t know about all earthly daddies, but mine may have been exasperated with me, from time to time, but never did he threaten me with expulsion.  Why is it, then, that so many Christians feel like God is always waiting for them to mess up, hanging loss of kinship over their heads.  That’s emotional blackmail, and it’s sure not the way God operates.  Still, people grovel before Him like whipped dogs, instead of precious children, trying to appease him with good works and extra trips to church.  Dear Ones, our adoption decrees are irrevocable, and signed, and sealed with the blood of Jesus. We are now, and always will be, children and full heirs of his kingdom.  If you have doubts, pull out those papers and check.  Different from the human act of adoption, we approach God, with a repentant heart, asking him to forgive us, which he will, forever! As a good father, there will be times he will  need to discipline us, but God isn’t going to throw his child out on the street.  “For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the Spirit of sonship. And by him we cry, "Abba, Father." Romans 8:15.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Freedom Isn't Free

Freedom Isn’t Free.  “He saved us from our enemies. His faithful love endures forever.” Psalm 136:24. Most of us take our country and freedom for granted, just because we don’t know any other life.  I remember, during the Viet Nam War, hearing Walter Cronkite announce the death count every evening.  After a while I became immune, even callous to the big numbers.  Sadly, I never put a face to the statistic, or to a grieving family.  When my own precious son, Sean Zerrusen,  was deployed to Iraq, that all changed.  What was once a boring report, hit much too close to my home. Thank God, he made it back safely, but he, like so many others, bear silent scars.  For Sean, one of those scars is the memory of a young soldier in his unit, who became one of those numbers.  The military gets a lot of bad press, but I want to take this time to heartily thank all veterans.  We are the land of the free, because of the brave!!

Friday, November 9, 2012

What is Your Christian IQ?

Last, but far from least, #1 on the top 10 signs you know you are Fundamentalist Christian - "You actually know a lot less than many atheists and agnostics do about the Bible, Christianity, and church history - but still call yourself a Christian.”  Ouch!!  This one hurts the most, because it hits so close to the truth.  Honestly, how much do you really know about the Bible, Christianity and church history? As I've mentioned these past 10 days, atheists and agnostics usually have made a decision to refuse God, based on a personal study.  Perhaps their study was superficial, and maybe it was influenced by a bad experience with the church, but either way, many know far more than those who call themselves Christians. Try to see yourself from an atheist’s perspective.  When these questions are posed, are you prepared to answer?  You can’t fall back on the old, “I don’t question my faith” response, that just makes you look ridiculous.  Even if these people are not searching for God, they love to undermine sacred beliefs. Why, well to prove to themselves that they are correct in their claim that there is no God.  Without scripturally sound foundations, the church will crumble.  When Christ was led into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil, the old accuser knew his stuff, and he was testing Jesus’ mettle and knowledge of the word.  Each carefully crafted temptation was a twist on the scriptures, but Jesus was prepared.  Jesus retorted with rhema  "the word of the Lord  that endureth for ever", and the devil retreated, knowing he had been bested. When, not if,  you are confronted with these tough, challenging statements/ questions, you MUST be equipped to give the clear reason for the hope that is within you. “The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.” 2 Corinthians 4:4.  Overcoming blindness isn’t easy, but it can happen, keep your light bulb burning!

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Is Prayer Answered?

#2 - “You define 0.01% as a "high success rate" when it comes to answered prayers. You consider that to be evidence that prayer works. And you think that the remaining 99.99% FAILURE was simply the will of God.” An older prayer warrior friend of mine told me once that all prayer is answered in one of the following ways: Yes, No or Not Now. I’m not sure what source these statistics came from, but they might seem correct to non-Christian onlookers. Not all people are healed, find jobs, have a baby or marry the “perfect” spouse, but that doesn’t mean their prayer wasn’t answered. What we want God to do, isn’t always what is beneficial, or in His perfect plan for us. Remember the old Garth Brook song, “Thank God for Unanswered Prayer”? Back in high school, Garth really wanted to be in a relationship with a certain girl. He wanted it bad, and ultimately, bad is what it would have been. It may have seemed that God hadn’t answered his prayer, but 
in reality he had something/someone much better in mind. I can think of countless times I wanted God to come through on items on my prayer/wish list. God isn’t to be confused with Santa , sure he wants his children to have things, but like any good parent, He knows what is important and what isn’t. Think about your own kids, if I had given them everything they wanted, my house would be over run with monkeys, kittens, pets of all kinds, games, videos, clothes, well, you get the picture. Our needs and our wants are always in conflict. What I need isn’t always what I want, and what I want isn’t necessarily what I need. Jesus taught us how to pray, beginning with acknowledging God as “hallowed”, meaning set aside as holy/sacred. When we get it in our heads who God is, we are much less likely to ask for frivolous stuff. There are those Christians who “name it and claim it”, hounding God for certain kinds of cars, expensive clothes and other extravagant wants. Oh please, no wonder prayer and Christianity gets bad press! Which brings us to what is God’s will for us. “We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express. And the Father who knows all hearts knows what the Spirit is saying, for the Spirit pleads for us believers in harmony with God's own will.” Romans 8:26-27. Paul is telling us that, like children, we don’t always know what is best for us, but the Holy Spirit does. We must let him guide us to the knowledge of what God’s will is. Even as Jesus faced death, he prayed that God would change the plan, but he was open to God’s will, not his want. Thank God, that request was answered the way it was, or our salvation would not have been secured. It takes perseverance, fervency and patience combined with faith, but God will let you know. So, while the outside world sees a 99.9% failure rate, we can be 100% assured that God hears, and perfectly answers every prayer at just the right time. 

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

One Nation Under God

The sun came up in my world today, and like Little Orphan Annie sang, the sun will come up tomorrow.  The presidential election is over, thank God, and the American people have spoken.  Barak Obama will be at the helm for another 4 years.  Today is either one of jubilation, or grief, according to what I read on Facebook.  It is, in fact, just another day, one in which we have the opportunity to thank God for the numerous blessings we share as citizens of this wonderful nation. In fact, as Christians we are called to honor and pray for our leaders, even if we disagree with their politics. The apostle Paul said this, “ I urge, then, first of all, that requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for everyone--for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness.“ 1Timothy 2:1-2.  Notice he wrote, FIRST OF ALL, not after your pity party, fault finding or name calling, NO, it should be our primary concern.  God wasn’t caught off guard by the results of our voting,  He is, and always will be, the one on the Throne, regardless of who occupies the White House. Everyone wants to be a winner, or on the winning team, but let’s face it, someone is the victor and someone loses. While I love the USA, deeply, Jesus reminds us that we are citizens of another kingdom when he said, "My kingdom is not of this world. If it were, my servants would fight to prevent my arrest by the Jews. But now my kingdom is from another place." John 18:16.  To me, this is a Win-Win situation, proudly an American by birth, and by His grace, an adopted, naturalized citizen of God’s eternal kingdom.  Today, let’s put our differences aside, and PRAY for President Obama, his administration and for the future of the United States of America. God Bless America.

Prove It!

#3 - “While modern science, history, geology, biology, and physics have failed to convince you otherwise, some idiot rolling around on the floor speaking in "tongues" may be all the evidence you need to "prove" Christianity.” While the study of science, history, biology and physics may “disprove” Christianity to non-believers, they only encourage and reinforce my faith.  Did you know that the Bible has abundant historical, and archaeological documentation to substantiate its authenticity,  allowing it to stand up to even its most critical opponents?  God proved himself to me through study, not only of his word, but from these other sources as well.  I highly doubt that someone rolling on the floor, speaking in tongues would have convinced me, or anyone, that Christianity was real; nor should it! Authenticity must be proved, not just taken for granted or something that  appeals to our emotions only. God doesn't need crazies, he wants followers grounded in knowledge, and ready to defend Him. I love to watch Law and Order, and from that show I’ve learned a lot about the importance of eyewitness testimony.  The Bible was written by real people, people who experienced the power of God in their personal lives.  For example, when it came to proving that Christ’s death, resurrection and ascension were authentic, over 500 eyewitnesses came forward, and their testimonies were recorded.  “We did not follow cleverly invented stories when we told you about the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of his majesty.” 2 Peter 1:16.  Historians of the day, both religious and secular, also added their viewpoints, and their words are available for scrutiny. An eye witness, then and now, sealed the case.  “Now to him who is able to establish you by my gospel and the proclamation of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery hidden for long ages past, but now revealed and made known through the prophetic writings by the command of the eternal God, so that all nations might believe and obey him--” Romans 16:26-27.  We, like Paul were all blind at one point, but if we allow God to reveal the truth of himself, far fetched as it may seem to the rational mind, He will open, and continue to enlighten our eyes, and minds. It’s a recorded fact, believe it and be bold, pass it on!! “Then he opened their minds so they could understand the Scriptures.” Luke 24:45

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Loving and Compassionate God

#4 - “You believe that the entire population of this planet with the exception of those who share your beliefs -- though excluding those in all rival sects - will spend Eternity in an infinite Hell of Suffering. And yet consider your religion the most "tolerant" and "loving." Take some time and read scripture, old or new testament, and you will see over and over that God is indeed a loving, and  forgiving God.  Don’t forget that he spared the city of Nineveh from annihilation because they repented, and they weren’t even Jewish. Consider Naaman,  a foreign king,  who sought healing from leperosy, and found it by obeying God’s directive. “So Naaman went down to the Jordan River and dipped himself seven times, as the man of God had instructed him. And his skin became as healthy as the skin of a young child's, and he was healed!” 2 Kings 5:14.  In numerous instances, the ungodly, sometimes out of desperation, but always as the result of hearing, believing and obeying, find the love and compassion that God offers to all.   If I had some really good news, like your power company was offering free electric for a month, or that your favorite department store was giving away $100 gift certificates, you’d be upset with me, if I failed to share this information with you, before the offer was up. On the other hand, if I relate the really good news of the gospel, some might laugh, others turn up their noses indignantly, or respond that a loving God would never send good people to Hell. In other words, they turn the offer down.  “But you, O Lord, are a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness.” Psalm 86:15.  David, a man who knew God’s love, but also was familiar with his discipline, instructs us to be obedient, not turn down his offer.  It breaks God’s heart when his love is refused, but it’s even sadder when his own children in different Christian sects fail to comprehend Him completely. The choice, as always, is ours, don’t let His Offer get by you; like missing out on free power or gift cards, you will regret it.

Monday, November 5, 2012

How Old is the Earth?

#5 - “You are WILLING TO SPEND YOUR LIFE LOOKING FOR LITTLE LOOPHOLES in the scientifically established age of Earth (few billion years), but you find nothing wrong with believing dates recorded by Bronze Age tribesmen sitting in their tents and guessing that Earth is a few generations old.” I, for one, am unwilling to spend my life searching for loopholes, when there are so many more important activities to be involved in.  Many Christians, and non-Christians, love to debate the validity of scientific findings vs. what they interpret the scriptures as saying.   Obviously these scientific findings were not available, when Jesus was here in the flesh, but that didn’t make humans any less intelligent!  If the earth lasts another 1000 years, we’ll all seem like primitive life forms.  Heck, I seem like that to my kids now!!  Personally I would rather live out the gospel, the same way as Jesus did, and not be overly concerned with these details. There is nothing wrong or evil about science, the problem arises when we put more emphasis on it than on the salvation message.  Will it matter to God if we choose to think that the world is billions of years old or 1000s?  I don’t think so.  All that really matters is the knowledge of who He is, what He came to do, and how we can further His message here and now.  Will we be mocked; oh yeah.  Does it matter; NO!! All that should concern us is the basics, those matters that pertain directly to our salvation.  The fact is, none of us know for a certainty, or as Peter quoting David said, “But do not overlook this one fact, beloved, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.” 2 Peter 3:8.  God is always in control, and he’s the only one with the answer, and I’m OK with that.

Friday, November 2, 2012

The Virgin Birth

#6 - You LAUGH at Hindu beliefs that deify humans, and Greek claims about gods sleeping with women, but you have no problem believing that the Holy Spirit impregnated Mary, who then gave birth to a man-god who got killed, came back to life 
and then ascended into the sky. Whoa, that’s a run on sentence if I’ve ever seen one!! Grammar aside, let’s try to tackle this tough one head on. You will notice I’ve capitalized “laugh”; please don’t. I’ve known Hindu people, and am fascinated to learn about their religion. While I don’t buy into it, I would never make fun of it either. Show me in scripture where Jesus laughed at anyone’s beliefs. OK, that said, I’d like to examine why God chose to “impregnate” Mary , and why the rest of His plan was so essential. In the major religions of the day, any god worth his salt, would never think of lowering himself to become a man. To the Jews, the basic idea of God was his holiness in the sense of being different. No way could he ever share in our human experience, because he was God. The Stoic Greeks took this line of thought to a higher level, they said that the primary attribute of God was “apatheia”, an inability to feel anything at all. If a person could feel the sorrow or joy of another, that meant that they would be able to influence him. If so, that person would be greater than he, at least for a moment. No one, therefore, must be able in any sense, to affect God for that would mean he would be greater than God…hence, God had to be completely beyond all feeling. Another Greek group, the Epicureans held that the gods lived in perfect happiness in what they called “intermundia”, a space between the worlds; and they were not even aware of the other world or beings. Enter Christianity with the brand new concept of an understanding, loving and empathetic God. A deity who not only could relate to us, but was one of us. So, back to the virgin birth. While other, randy gods, may have trolled earth looking for “hook ups”, God sent his Holy Spirit to chastely implant that perfect manifestation of himself into a willing young woman. Remember, Mary was chosen, but she could have refused. Read her Magnificat, in Luke 1:47-55, and share her joy. Unbelievers choose to view this scenario from the outside looking in, missing the marvelous details entirely. We, to whom the fullness of the plan has been revealed, see the whole tapestry up close, in all it’s beauty. Seeing is believing, and unfortunately, explaining will always fall short of understanding. Don’t push the issue, but stand firm, always prepared to give an answer. Some day they may get it, or, sadly, God may tell you to move on. 

Thursday, November 1, 2012

ALL Saints

“To the church of God which is in Corinth, to those who have been made holy in Christ Jesus, saints by the selection of God, with all those who in every place give honor to the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, their Lord and ours:” 1 Cor. 1:2  Paul began most of his correspondence with this type of opening.  Just as I might begin a letter to all of you with, “To my dear friends on eBlogger,  those called to be separate from other internet social networks and iphone apps, greetings.”  Please note that he was addressing a special, called apart, “sanctified”  by God,  group. Those who did not understand, or accept,  Christianity, were not included.  He goes further by calling these elect SAINTS. Remember, there were no councils to canonize folks into Sainthood in those days, yet everyone who believed was labeled Saint.  That hasn’t changed.  Those who God has called to be apart from the world,  with convinced hearts, minds and souls, are counted in this category.  Isn’t that great news!! Happy, All Saints, Day!!