Thursday, January 31, 2013

The Great "Omission"

Then the eleven disciples left for Galilee, going to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go. When they saw him, they worshiped him—but some of them doubted! Jesus came and told his disciples, “I have been given all authority in heaven and on earth. Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Matthew 28:16-20.

 This well known verse, the last earthly words of Jesus, have become known as “The Great Commission”.  It is, in essence, our marching orders, not only for the early church and the disciples, but for everyone one of us since. Sadly, I think that the significance of those words has been lost over the centuries.  Look at those verses carefully.  Even at the get go, when the eleven went to the mountain, where Jesus ascended to heaven, it says they worshiped him, but some doubted! How could that be?  Men who had been with Jesus for the past 3 years; hearing his words, seeing the miracles and witnessing his death and resurrection, and yet some of them doubted? One thing is for sure, Matthew wanted us to know that the disciples were human.  I’m sure he knew that every follower, from that day on would have moments of uncertainty and doubt.  Jesus continues by rallying the troops to action; God-authorized, detailed action and finishes with the sublime encouragement that He would be with them/us always.  How would  I have reacted, if I’d been there on that hill?  How would you?

 We know that the church grew, so apparently human doubt was overcome by the words of Jesus. 2000+ years have passed, and our responsibility to fulfill the Great Commission is still in effect.  Are you on board?  It seems to me, that many Christians are afraid, unprepared or unwilling to spread the good news. Remember, we have all been commissioned, authorized, and given the ability to continue the work of Christ.  It is, and always will be “The Great Commission”, not  The Great “Omission”.


Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Cutting the "Unbiblical" Cord

In this cyber-age, information on any subject is instantly available, via the internet, at the tap of the Enter button.  You know I love to Google, but I  realize that not everything that comes up in a search is reliable or true.  Misinformation is as abundant as Tweets on Twitter, and can be potentially dangerous as well. Try Googling anything about God, religion, Jesus or the Bible and check out the myriad of pages you’ll pull up.  Many are excellent resources, and others, while sounding like sound doctrine, are anything but.  The problem arises when people are fooled into thinking that they have found gospel truth, when in reality it is a cleverly concealed lie or personal opinion.  Think back to the days of Jim Jones  or David Koresh, men who presented the good news, according to themselves, not God.

When people are starving , they don’t usually check the label for nutritional content, instead they devour what is placed before them.  Much like a baby, in the womb of a drug addict, whose sustenance comes through the umbilical cord, the world is naively consuming spiritual poisons. These lethal compounds are ingested in the form of false doctrines; extra-Biblical requirements,  even casting suspicion on Biblical truths.  Borrowing a great line from a friend, I say it’s time to cut the “unbiblical” cord.

 If you indeed call yourself a Christian, it is your responsibility to know the Bible, and what it teaches.  While it’s great to have a learned pastor, Christian friends or godly parents, it’s not a substitute for  personal study. And don’t worry, God will always reveal the truth of his word to those who earnestly seek him.  If we don’t have an intimate knowledge of the scriptures, it is oh so easy to be deceived by religious-sounding lies.

If you’ve never really read the Bible, get one written in a modern translation;  New Living, New International or even the Message.  You can find Bible-reading plans, or just start with one of the Gospels.  Before you begin, pray and ask God to show you what each passage means, and keep a journal of questions that arise.  I think you’ll find that once you start, you’ll be hungry for more, and the knowledge you gain will keep you from falling for anything but the truth. “Then we will no longer be immature like children. We won't be tossed and blown about by every wind of new teaching. We will not be influenced when people try to trick us with lies so clever they sound like the truth.” Ephesians 4:14.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Secret Knock

My daughter bought a BIG new chair the other day, and my two grandkids cabbaged on to the box to use as a Club House. I can remember having a hiding place, one where we could tell secrets, make plans and in general be apart from the world. Ella, who is only in kindergarten, took it upon herself to decorate the box, er, club house, not only with designs, but a dire warning, as well.  Let me translate it for you; You can’t come in unless you know the secret knock. I had to laugh, even at 5, we still want to keep people out of our private spaces, unless they are privy to the secret word, handshake or knock. What‘s not so funny, is the fact that we as Christians act like we belong to a mysterious society, with God as the head Pooh-Bah. While it is true that for centuries gaining access to God must have felt like that, Jesus changed everything.  What was once kept hidden, under the burden of the Law, was revealed, to one and all, through His sacrifice.  The secret password/knock wasn’t secret anymore!  The only “hitch” now is getting people to believe it is true.  Still, so many folks and churches, think it’s too good to be true, so we add hoops to jump through, passwords to memorize and clandestine rituals that must be performed before you can be a “member“. Let me remind you what Christ said on the cross, “It is done.”  That means that it is all done, nothing further needs to be accomplished, other than your belief that what He said is reliable.  Well, do you?  Once we accept his message, God does set us apart, sanctifies us, as His own.  So, I guess, in a small way, we do belong to an exclusive club house, but this ones door is always open, and the dues are paid in full!. When is the last time you invited someone to join? “This message was kept secret for centuries and generations past, but now it has been revealed to God's people.” Colossians 1:26. “You can be sure of this: The LORD set apart the godly for himself.” Psalm 4:3

Monday, January 28, 2013


The hardest part of my day occurs when I finally determine to leave the comfort of my warm, cozy nest,  in exchange for the cold, unknown of morning. My fluffy robe and slippers stand at the ready, but before I reach for them, I stretch.  Regardless of the  temperature in my room, remember it is unheated in winter, my sleep-atrophied muscles require movement.  Later, as I prepare to run or exercise, I stretch again, to get those same muscles lengthened and limber, ready for action.  Stretching is a good thing, an important part of caring for our bodies, so why is it that when God tries to stretch us, we balk.  “No, God!!, we cry, “that’s gonna hurt!” Perhaps the old, I’m not ready,  I’m too old, too young, or not good enough excuses are your reply.  The good news, if you can call it that, is you are not alone.  Great men of faith like, Moses, Gideon, and scores of others, not only made up excuses, but ran away and hid, to avoid being stretched.  The bad news, which isn’t bad at all, is God, like a persistent athletic trainer, is going to keep after you until you relent.   Believe me, He won’t give up.  And why should he?  He’s not asking you to jump out of bed, and run a marathon without practicing first.  That would be crazy impossible in the human sense, and it’s not God’s intention either. But, He does need to get us out of our cozy comfort zones, and that starts with stretching.  I remember a time, 13 years ago to be exact, when God asked me to talk to a young man about his personal relationship with the Lord.  I argued, saying I was too old, he wouldn’t listen to me, but He wouldn’t relent.  It was a stretch for me, but I weakly said OK, but only if God arranged the encounter.  My human mind couldn’t imagine a time that would work, but by golly God set it up!  Wonder of wonders, the young man listened, and was interested enough to come to church with me.  After that we discussed God ever time we met, and online as well, I even gave him a beautiful green leather Bible.  One morning I was checking my emails, for his latest reply, when my son came into the room and told be that he had been killed in a car wreck the night before. It was a terrible tragedy, humanly speaking, but it would have been far worse if I hadn’t let God stretch me.  His mother asked me to select and read the scriptures at his funeral, because she knew that I had been so influential in his spiritual life.  I felt humbled, and ashamed that I had ever fought God’s stretching. Stretching is vital and beneficial not only in our physical lives, but in our walk with Christ.  So fear not, when you are stretched by the Master it doesn’t hurt at all!! “Strengthen the weak hands, steady the shaking knees!” Isaiah 35:3.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Motion Sick

As a child I remember being afflicted with car sickness, unless I sat up front or near a window.  I’d forgotten about the awful sensation, until yesterday, when a friend I was sharing the back seat with was stricken with it.  Something so simple, so innocuous as a pleasant drive in the country caused her to feel nauseated, and disoriented for the rest of the day. I checked on Wikipedia for the explanation and found this: “When feeling motion but not seeing it (for example, in a ship with no windows), the inner ear transmits to the brain that it senses motion, but the eyes tell the brain that everything is still. As a result of the discordance, the brain will come to the conclusion that one of them is hallucinating and further conclude that the hallucination is due to poison ingestion. The brain responds by inducing vomiting, to clear the supposed toxin.” What a cleverly created body we have!  In an attempt to save us from disaster or death, God has built in a survival plan. He does the same in our Christian lives, but the Holy Spirit, not the brain,  is the one sending the message. I can remember one incident, in my own life, where some friends and I attended a concert.  The band wasn’t one of my favorites, but I went along for the ride.  In the course of time, the band, and the crowd, became rowdier, shouting vulgarities and throwing beer bottles.  At one time this behavior wouldn’t have bothered me so much, but when God’s Holy Spirit took up residence, my tolerance level changed. My outward perception was in conflict with my inner Spirit being, and I literally felt sick.  The Holy Spirit was working on removing the “toxin” before it did me any harm. If you are truly in a God-centered relationship, one day you will be afflicted with this type of “motion sickness”, too!  Be glad!!   “Do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.” Ephesians 4:30.

Thursday, January 24, 2013


One of the events, in the early life of Jesus, that we tend to gloss over, is the Epiphany.  At the time of Christ’s birth, there was a universal feeling that a King, or some very influential person was about to enter the world. Many historians have written about this phenomenon which occurred in manuscripts found in Egypt to the far East.  These ancient people relied heavily on astronomy, and the movement of the stars and planets. It was a reliable, and unchanging entity in an otherwise uncertain world. We can’t be sure what the star, comet or planet was that appeared, but we do know that folks took note of it. To them it was a undeniable sign that something was out of whack, and must be of major significance.  The Magi, or wise men, were educated fellows from the East.  They may have started out as kings, but had been ousted from their thrones by invading nations.  Luckily, because they understood the movement of the cosmos, they were kept around as advisors to the new rulers.  The strange “star” formation had not slipped their attention.  In fact, they too, were anticipating this unknown King’s arrival. Their long, dangerous journey led them first to murderous  King Herod, to make a required social call, and to find out about the whereabouts of the new regal. Herod consulted with his “wise guys“ or scribes, men with uber-head knowledge of all things Jewish, they relayed the  scripture prophecy, with indifference, then sent them on to Bethlehem.  Then he told them, "Go to Bethlehem and search carefully for the child. And when you find him, come back and tell me so that I can go and worship him, too!" Matthew 2:8.  We know that hatred and jealousy filled his entire being, as he devised the heinous plot to assassinate the interloper. “After this interview the wise men went their way. And the star they had seen in the east guided them to Bethlehem. It went ahead of them and stopped over the place where the child was. When they saw the star, they were filled with joy! They entered the house and saw the child with his mother, Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasure chests and gave him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh.” Matthew 2:10-11.  Can you imagine this scene?  The humble family, living in less than opulent surroundings, opens their door to the sight of these grand, gift-bearing visitors. And what gifts they were. Gold, the gift one would bring to honor a king; frankincense a rare and costly perfume that was used by priests serving at the altar of God; and myrrh another precious spice, but this one used in the burial process.  Interesting, isn’t it, that the gifts were perfectly selected for Jesus; King, Priest and the one who would die in atonement for human sin. Now, go back to the reactions of the 3 main characters, when they were told about Jesus, all of us fall into one of the categories.  Herod; seething hatred.  The scribes; “religious“, but unconcerned and apathetic.  The Magi; bowed down and worshiped him.  Honestly ask yourself, “How do I respond to Jesus; hatred,indifference or bowing down to him in worship ?”

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Dead Man Walking

Dead man walking.  According to the, the phrase has come to mean,  “A death row prisoner, on his terminal walk to eternity, inherits the unenviable title of 'dead man walking“. The haunting sight of a condemned man walking to his execution is sad to imagine.

 Up until now, I would have told you that I’d never witnessed a dead man walking, that is until God shared something with me.  He took me back to the “scene of the crime“, the garden of Eden.  Adam and Eve were innocent, at first, sharing the joy of paradise with their Creator, not having a care in the world, until that fateful day. Not unlike someone who breaks a human law, of their own free will, and is incarcerated,  these two made a bad decision, and the rest is history.  “But the LORD God warned him, "You may freely eat the fruit of every tree in the garden--except the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. If you eat its fruit, you are sure to die." Genesis 2:16-17. By their own choice, they rejected the truth of God, and by said action, were condemned, the punishment was the “Death Sentence”.  It wasn’t immediate, but it was final.  They lived out their earthly lives, separated from God, headed towards the grave, like dead men walking.

Death was never part of God’s plan for us, but the wrong was committed, and all of us, since, are born under that same condemnation. The only way to totally to be released from this eternal, spiritual  death sentence came centuries later in the form of Jesus, and his atoning sacrifice on the cross.  He alone offers that reprieve from the governor,  the 11th hour call that a condemned man waits for.  Yet, there are many people in the world who either choose to reject,  or are unaware that a pardon is available.  Remember, Jesus didn’t come to condemn us, we brought that on ourselves, but he does offer the writ of pardon penned in his blood.  "For God loved the world so much that he gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.” John 3:16-17.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Fed Up?

Have you ever traveled to an “All Inclusive” resort?  It is a must at least once in your life.  For one week every year, my husband and I enjoy being waited on, soaking up the rays, and eating.  The hotel we stay at has 2 fancy restaurants, several huge buffets, snack bars and of course, room service.  Needless to say, if you go away hungry, it’s your own fault.  While I may feel full after a meal, the scent of burgers on the grill awakens my taste buds from their siesta. Food, glorious food, and I can have as much as I want, it’s all included! In many ways, our life in Christ is similar to the all-inclusive concept.  He calls us to his banqueting table, one that groans under the weight of all the delectable delights he has to offer; Grace, justification, righteousness, salvation, freedom, strength, wisdom, and the growing knowledge of Him.  I might be sated for a while, but those tantalizing treats keep calling me back; and it’s all paid for!!  Still, many people are starving, and others, sadly, say they’ve had enough.  While talking to a gentleman, recently, he told me that he’d had enough religion to last him the rest of his life. He wasn’t just full, he was “fed up“. The operative word in his statement was “religion“.  Religion can never satisfy, at least not in the  way a “relationship” with Jesus does. Religion is sort of like eating a package of flavorless rice cakes, your stomach may be full, but there was nothing enjoyable about the experience, and you probably won’t eat one again.  Don’t get me wrong, religion is not a dirty word, but it is a manmade concoction.  We certainly need the structure that organized religion offers, the problem arises when our attention is taken away from Jesus, and put on its rules and regulations.  No religious law can take the place of a relationship with God. When we accept Christ as our Lord and Savior, he opens the door to that exclusive and all-inclusive “resort”.  No, He won’t consider you a glutton when you go back for extra helpings, and there are no calories to be concerned with.  Ask yourself, are you fed up, or hungry for more? “On this mountain the LORD Almighty will prepare a feast of rich food for all peoples, a banquet of aged wine--the best of meats and the finest of wines.” Isaiah 25:6

Monday, January 21, 2013

Free at Last

"Free at last! free at last! thank God Almighty, we are free at last!"  These words come from the old Negro spiritual, Free at Last, but most of us remember them as the theme and the closing to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s famous 1963, “I have a Dream“, speech. The war against racial discrimination was raging in our nation, and as history reminds us, there were many casualties.  Man has always had the need to dominate, enslaving those weaker than themselves. Within those prisons, whose bars are forged from hatred, bigotry and “moral superiority”, innocents have long been held captive.  In the spiritual realm, men are still existing behind invisible barriers, with Satan as jailer.  Christ came to free the captives, and to bring them into His glorious emancipation.  MLK was following Christ’s mission, and he made it his battle cry.  There are, even now, those who choose to remain incarcerated.  It is still our duty,  as Christ’s followers, to release them…we have the keys, and the authority to use them. “The Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is on me, because the LORD has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners…” Isaiah 61:1.  Let’s rattle some cells today!

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Poached Egg?

In his famous book, Mere Christianity, C.S. Lewis makes this statement, "A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic--on the level with a man who says he is a poached egg--or he would be the devil of hell. You must take your choice. Either this was, and is, the Son of God, or else a madman or something worse. You can shut him up for a fool or you can fall at his feet and call him Lord and God. But let us not come with any patronizing nonsense about his being a great human teacher. He has not left that open to us.”

 A number of years ago, a pastor I know made the statement that, as a “recovering intellectual”, this book opened his, then closed, mind to Christ.  Jesus was a great teacher, but he is so much more than that.  How many teachers do you know that have secured eternity for you? Our minds are the biggest deterrent to personally accepting Christ.  We need to have him proved to us, beyond human doubt. Good news, there is a lot of information out there, and it is our responsibility to extrapolate the truth, with God’s help, from what is available.

 Jesus asked his disciples who people thought he was, and they answered, "some say John the Baptist, some say Elijah, and others say you are one of the other ancient prophets risen from the dead." Then he asked them, "But who do you say I am?" Peter replied, "You are the Messiah sent from God!" Peter had been with Jesus for 3 years, he had come to really know, with all his heart, mind and spirit, so his answer was immediate. Are you still in intellectual, or searching mode? Every person on earth is asked to make this same choice, and not choosing, is still a choice. So, who do you say Jesus is; poached egg or the Son of God?

I will be out of the country until 1/17/13 and unable to upload my daily blog, but don't give up on me, I will return!!

Monday, January 7, 2013


I took this picture of my mismatched feet today.  Funny thing was, I hadn’t even noticed it until I had finished my treadmill workout. My mind was definitely elsewhere this morning.  My husband laughed and threatened to tell people, so I’m beating him to the punch.  The craziest things bring scripture to my mind, and this time it was 2 Corinthians 6:14. “Do not be mismatched with unbelievers. For what partnership is there between righteousness and lawlessness? Or what fellowship does light have with darkness?”  Now I realize that different shoes may be a stretch, but there are some similarities.  To begin with, everyone around me can see that I’m not in sync.  When we align ourselves with non-believers, it is obvious to onlookers, those keeping an eye on our walk with Christ, that something isn‘t lining up correctly. While it isn’t a no-no to have non-Christian pals, the potential is there to slip back into our old habits. If you are holding yourself up as an example of a new being, it is imperative to be in relationships that edify, not those that constantly remind you of your old self.  “Keep a close watch on how you live and on your teaching. Stay true to what is right for the sake of your own salvation and the salvation of those who hear you.” 1 Timothy 4:16.  Remember, our lives may be the only Bible some people ever read. In addition, one of my shoes was older than the other, and eventually it would throw me off my stride, perhaps leading to injury. Jesus doesn’t want us to be unfriendly, or aloof, but we are different, and we need to unabashedly live in light of that difference.  Go ahead, venture into the shadows if God leads you there, but don’t stay around too long,  you may lose your ability to see.

Friday, January 4, 2013

Insufficient Grace

Insufficient Grace. “Wait a minute“, you say, “that’s an oxymoron!”  Thank you for correctly noting the obvious, because, yes it is!  The sad truth is, however, we Christians love to add on “extras” to God’s promise of salvation.  Sure, we say, I’m saved by grace, but I must do good works, honor feast days, be baptized in a certain way, at a particular age, using “correct” words, not cut my hair, eat or not eat certain foods or beverages, etc., just to be sure. How dare we!  If Christ’s sacrifice was not sufficient, why did God even bother to go through with it?  Can any human deed or action, add merit to his shed blood?  Of course not, so why do we keeping trying?

 In my opinion, most people, and churches, think that anything that seems too good to be true, must have a catch. There has to be an asterisk somewhere that leads you to the fine print.  Now for the good news; there is nothing we can to add to improve on God’s grace.   Does that mean that all man-made doctrines and traditions are bad or useless? No, but don’t confuse them with genuine, “Sufficient Grace”, which is a done deal. “When sins are forgiven, there is no longer any need to sacrifice for sins.” Hebrews 10:18.