Purpose Statement

My holy ambition is to bring glory to God through the study of His Word. I am passionate about the observation, interpretation and application of God's Word in our lives.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Personal Update

I am again for looking for work.  I am experienced in care giving and some general office or clerical work.  I would appreciate your prayers as I go back out into the job seeking world....

Monday, November 11, 2013

More On High Tech / Low Touch

I worked retail for a couple of months at the customer service desk. When I first started my manager told me "Greet, greet, greet."  So I did.  I tried to engage everyone one coming in the door.  I missed a few which was my bad. (She later told me that just in case I hadn't noticed!). But often I said hello or welcome to someone well engaged in a cell phone conversation. 

I guess I can understand the rudeness walking in the door but it really bothered me much more at the checkout counter.  To carry on a conversation on the phone when trying to check  out is just plain rude. I fear however, we have come to such a thing. A few people would either put the phone person on hold or actually hang up and engage in the checkout process.

I grieve what society is becoming. First we lost the big front porch and the chance it afforded to sit  and shoot the breeze with neighbors and friends. Then we lost clothesline in the backyard where women could chat over the fence while hanging the laundry out to dry.  Then we lost the single telephone with a busy single when the line was tied up.  Does anyone remember party lines? I do. Now we are so engrossed in our cellphone conversations as to ignore the person next to or in front of us. It is a scary thing to depersonalize so much. God created us in His image and as such we are social beings. We need to interact.  Next time you are in a store on the phone, hang up. You just might make the cashier's day.

Friday, November 8, 2013

Community--High Touch / Low Tech

Tonight I was able to gather with a large group of believing women who love the Lord Jesus Christ. We celebrated the fact that God had knit a baby boy in his mother's womb.  It was good to be with the sisters to laugh, share and pray with and for one another.  The fellowship was sweet and much needed. There is nothing that can replace a smile, a hug and face to face conversation.

 I haven't been texting too long and love having the feature on my phone.  But there is a caveat with it.  It is surely high tech but low on the touch meter. Texting has its purpose. It is wonderful to let others know when you might arrive somewhere or agree to a place to meet. It can be a sweet quick reminder that a friend is praying for you.  But when it replaces in person communication I think it can be dangerous. At least it was for me.  I relied more on texting and less on touching.

I realized I was losing something that God created for humans. He means for us to be relational on a personal level.  He wants us to know and see one another. One study showed that 7% of communication is vocabulary, 38% is tone or inflection and 55% is non verbal cues.  93% of our communication is not reliant on our words.  A telephone screen leaves off a lot of what it means to be human.  Am I giving up the text feature? No indeed. But I am going to be more careful to call or visit and thus enjoy the high touch low tech means of communicating.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Jehovah Azar

I have studied the names of God some in the thirty five years I have been a believer. A few nights ago I was listening to Nancy Leigh DeMoss who talked about God as the one who helps. The name is Jehovah Ezer. It is also spelled Jehovah Azar. The Lord is my helper. He is the One to whom I can turn for solace and aid. It is from Psalm 30:10 which reads: “Hear, O Lord, and be gracious to me; O Lord, be my helper.”

How comforting to know that God is a very present help in times of trouble. He loves those who call on His name. He is a strong tower and all who know Him run to Him and are safe. He doesn't leave or forsake us but is out great aid.  The Holy Spirit is the paraclete and comes alongside of us.  The Father watches over us and tends us as His own children.  God had delivered David from much peril when he wrote this Psalm. He thanks God for His freedom and he encouraged others to be equally grateful.  God is a God of refuge and help. He is the One we can turn to at any time and praise Him for His faithfulness to us as a heavenly Father protecting and guiding His child.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

The Stubborn Weed

I know it has been a long time since I posted anything.  I have my reasons for the sabbatical. I am not sure how consistent I will be as I start anew. But I hope to post more frequently than I have in the past few months.

 There are a lot of weeds in the lawn of my apartment complex.  I am sure the manager wouldn't be happy if I told her my blog post was about the weedy lawn. Oh well.  There is a particular kind of woody weed that is very difficult, if not impossible, to pull out of dry soil.  It has a huge root with lots of tentacles creeping underneath the sod.  Often the best that can be done is to pull the leafy part of the stem but to leave the root intact. However when we get a lot of rain the weed pulls easily out of the lawn root and all. For some reason I enjoy picking the weeds right after a heavy rain. Gives me a sense of accomplishment.  It also makes me feel like I am giving the lawn a chance.

As I was pulling some of the weeds these past few days, I thought of the nature of sin. It is very resilient. Its tentacles run deep into the often hard and claylike soil.  Sometimes we try to uproot it but only break off the leafy or showy parts above the ground.  We can make it appear we have done the hard work when we have only skimmed the surface.  However, just as water makes the weed pull up easily; the water of the Word is needed to soften the roots of sin. Only then can the Holy Spirit  totally destroy the unwanted transgression in our life. Pulling weeds from the lawn makes the grass freer to grow.  Pulling weeds from the heart makes our spirits free to grow.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

End Time Prophecy II

To continue a few more interesting facts.  According to Ezekiel 38 Gomer which is Turkey now would join the attack against Israel.  In the early 2000s Turkey's prominent political party was pro-Islamic. An Islamic president was selected in 2007. The same passage indicates that neither Jordan or Egypt would join the attack. Both have signed peace treaties with the nation Israel. The move toward a one world religion accelerates as diverse religious beliefs come together in a world wide bid for peace.  Gather hands and sing Kumbaya

There is also a worldwide apostasy that seems to be growing daily.  I Timothy 4:1 states that some will fall away from the faith giving heed to demonic doctrines. Here in America and elsewhere pseudo-Christianity flourishes.  There are any number of errant doctrines perpetrated among the lands. Yet the Gospel is being preached to all nations.  Bible societies has given out approximately 500 million portions or entire Scriptures a year.  The Temple Institute in Israel have already created the furniture, vessels and priestly garments ready for the rebuilding of the Jewish Temple. Young men are being trained for the Levitical Priesthood

One last interesting fact is that Ancient Petra in Jordan would be a refuge for fleeing Jews during the end times. In 1994 Jordan and Israel signed a peace treaty with each other. Petra may indeed be a haven for the Jews to hide from the coming Antichrist. I. know we must be careful to not be too specific about current events and how they might be prophetically linked. I also believe that God's Word is specific and just all the prophecies were literally fulfilled in Christ's First Coming; so may those be at His Return.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

End Time Prophecy

It has been a while since I posted anything. I've been busy with three spiritual goals for myself. One of which is to love and serve others and another involves a lot of Scripture memorization.  Today I was given a pamphlet by a friend called "101 Last Days Prophecies." It was a quick read and I found some things very interesting. There were also a few facts of which I was unaware. I know there are different end times belief systems. I am a Pre-tribulation, Pre-millennial rapture person.  The promises to the nation Israel are literal as is the Book of Revelation. Dr. John MacArthur is perhaps the leading Bible Teacher who is of the same persuasion. The pamphlet data comes from eternal-productions.org.

One of the prophecies is worldwide anti-Semitism. (Deut. 28:37; Jeremiah 29:18, 44:8; Luke 21: 20-24 and Revelation 12). The Jews have been persecuted like no other.  Hitler endeavored to wipe out the race of people.  Before him were others including Haman in the Book of Esther.  It is an interesting fact that 450 out of 700 of the United Nations General Assembly resolutions condemn the nation Israel.  None have ever passed against an Arab country. Out of the 190 nations represented in the U.N. 60% of all G.A. resolutions attack one nation. It is Israel.

It is interesting also that the Eastern Gate on the Temple Mount remains closed Ezekiel 44: 1-3 indicates that Jesus Christ will enter at His Return the now sealed Eastern Gate.  Revelation also indicates that the birds of prey will eat the dead flesh of their enemies at the end of the age.  A little know fact is that Israel is the bird migration capital of the world.  Some estimate that billions of birds fly over the nation during spring and fall migrations.  I don't know who counted to billions but I tend to take their word.  Another fact of note is that The Euphrates River would dry up at one point in The Great Tribulation. The Massive Atatruk Dam in Turkey (a nation that is increasingly anti-Israel) finished in 1990 can reduce this huge River to a mere trickle.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Finding the Will of God

This is a deep and complex subject.  One that I am not qualified nor inclined to teach.  I'll let my pastors and Sunday School teachers figure that out.  I want to post some verses pertaining to God's guidance.
  • James 1:5: "But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all generously and ]without reproach, and it will be given to him."
  • Psalm 32:8: "I will instruct you and teach you in the way which you should go;I will counsel you with My eye upon you."
  • Proverbs 6: 22, 23: "When you walk about, they will guide you; When you sleep, they will watch over you;
    And when you awake, they will talk to you.For the commandment is a lamp and the teaching is light, And reproofs for discipline are the way of life
  • Proverbs 3: 5-6: "Trust in the Lord with all your heart, And do not lean on your own understanding.  In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He will make your paths straight."
  • Psalm 37:23: "The steps of a man are established by the Lord,And He delights in his way."
  • Psalm 48:14: "For such is God, Our God forever and ever; He will guide us until death."
  • Isaiah 30:21: "Your ears will hear a word behind you, “This is the way, walk in it,” whenever you turn to the right or to the left."
  • Isaiah 48:17: "Thus says the Lord, your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel,
    “I am the Lord your God, who teaches you to profit, Who leads you in the way you should go."
  • Isaiah 58:11: “And the Lord will continually guide you, And satisfy your desire in scorched places, And give strength to your bones; And you will be like a watered garden, And like a spring of water whose waters do not fail."
    I think sometimes we don't take time to fellowship with the Lord about our decisions and His will for our lives. Other times we pray only and fail to do what He commands us in terms of taking action. It is a balance that can be hard to achieve.  I have been more guilty of doing things in my own flesh and know that approach isn't very productive. I don't want to fall off the other side of the balance beam where I "let go and let God."  There are certain things we must do in terms of His guiding us.  As for me, right now, I've been searching the Internet for jobs for two hours. I think I will spend some time in prayer using these verses as a guide.

Monday, June 3, 2013

Our New Homes

No I didn't move. However I am looking forward to my new home in heaven whenever I go there or Jesus comes back for His believers. Here is what we can look forward to based on Revelation 21: 1- 22:5
  • No longer any sea.
  • New Jerusalem is the location. Ready as a bride for her groom.
  • God Himself will dwell among us.
  • God will wipe away every tear.
  • No longer any death, mourning, crying or pain.
  • God will make all things new.
  • It's already done. Jesus is the Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end.
  • God will give to the one who thirsts from the spring of the water of life without cost.
  • We are God's children and He our God.
  • No cowardly, unbelieving, abominable, murderous, immoral persons, sorcerers and idolaters.
  • God will be the glory of the New City.
  • New Jerusalem will be brilliant surrounded by a great and high wall.
  • Jasper, pure gold, precious stones are the building materials.
  • Pearls so huge and pure will be the twelve gates.
  • Streets of the city are pure gold.
  • No temple for the Lord God and the Lamb are its temple.
  • Kings of the earth will bring their glory into it.
  • There will be no night and its gates never close.
  • Honor and glory of the nations will be brought into it.
  • Nothing unclean shall ever come into it.
  • Only residents are those whose names are recorded in the Book of Life.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Whatever is True

I was talking with a friend today about the world's wisdom.  She has COPD and had gone to a meeting of a group of people with similar diagnoses.  The leader showed a video about the end stages of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.  It so disturbed my friend that she left the meeting early. As we talked I wondered about the wisdom of such a video and the motive behind it.  My friend was distraught for awhile thinking about what might come to her in time.  But we don't know for sure that will happen. She might pass away some other way like a sudden heart attack. Perhaps the rapture will occur.  Who knows but it certainly upset her to view the pain of such a death.  Even if she were to pass away from COPD she doesn't have grace today for tomorrow's battle.

I had a similar incident about a year ago. I was in meetings where movies were shown that were most unhelpful to my situation. I did the same as my friend, I walked out. I later took issue about the wisdom of showing such videos to the people involved. The more I thought about what happened to my friend today and me in the past, the more grateful I was for Philippians 4:8: " Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things."  I am not saying we should stick our heads in the sand and pretend things aren't as they are.  I am saying we need not borrow trouble and think on things that are of good repute and excellent.

I use this verse as a screen for what I see and hear. It is a wonderful test of what we should allow into our hearts.  Oh to be faithful to obey it at all times. Sadly, I must admit I don't. I wonder how much grief might be spared me if I were to hold fast to this verse and obey it totally.  I'm grateful my friend was able to take every thought obedient to Jesus Christ quite quickly. It saved her a lot of unnecessary pain. We need not be ostriches but the Scripture says to be wise as serpents and innocent as doves.

Monday, May 27, 2013

Andy the Anole

A few months ago a good friend of mine rescued an anole. He looks kind of like a baby lizard about the size of a large gecko. I think he was six or seven inches from head to tail.  One of her dogs had gotten to him. His back was injured and he was in bad shape.  He had scrapes and cuts particularly on his thighs and calves (not sure that is reptile anatomy but you know what I mean). She thought his back might be broken. My friend is an animal lover and has volumes of experience with exotic animals. So she took him in to nurse him back to health. Enter Wendy the skeptic. Frankly I thought he would live maybe another week and then pass on to lizard heaven. 

My friend gave me periodic updates.  I was amazed. She kept him in a glass aquarium in her front bathroom.  The little guy kept getting better. As bad as his wounds were I could have sworn he was history.  My friend persevered. The scars on his legs started to heal as he shed his old skin and new skin grew.  He was able to scurry a bit in the bottom of the aquarium but his legs dragged greatly. Most of the work was done by his front legs.  Time passed. My friend persevered.  His back got stronger.  He could move his back legs. Then he could scramble on the side of the aquarium and his little toes held him secure momentarily. He never gave up and neither did she.  She continued to feed him whatever anoles eat.  This past week she let him go back to his natural habitat.  He had gotten healed enough that it was the only humane thing to do.  Under her loving and protective care he was ready to move out into life again.

I can relate to Andy.  The past months God has cared for me as I rebound from a hard place. He has kindly and mercifully ministered to me in ways that have brought some wholeness. There is more to do because sanctification is progressive. I am more confident in Him than I was a year ago.  I am better able to trust Him and His Word. I am prayerfully a lot more gentle and less self righteous. Hopefully I am less self centered, fearful and depressed. Yep I can relate to old Andy.  I am grateful for the Lord whose name is Jehovah Rapha--the God Who heals. I think Andy may be a wee bit grateful too.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Jesus Curses the Fig Tree

A while back I read about Jesus' cursing the fig tree in Mark 11.  The account of Jesus’ curse on the fig tree has baffled many for a long time. It’s the only destructive miracle of Christ’s recorded. It seems to make Jesus appear petulant and unreasonable.  After all it wasn’t the season for figs. Why did Jesus react as He did?
            Some think the answer lies in the cycle of the fig tree. In the spring the tree sends out little bud followed by the growth of leaves.  Travelers could pluck these buds and eat them. They didn’t develop fully until fall. So because the buds weren’t present in the spring Christ cursed the tree. Once again the Bible makes sense upon further reflection. Indeed there is a clearly defined fig tree season.  However a few rare species bear fruit outside the norm.  So the test wasn’t the time of year but the appearance of leaves. Thus when Jesus saw the tree in full bloom He rightly expected fruit. But there was none.
            Jesus, the prophet used the tree as an object lesson. He denounced the hypocrisy.  The leaves were in full bloom but there was no fruit.  Israel made a superficial profession of faith but they lacked genuine fruit. What a lesson for Christians today!  One of the top reasons the world rejects Christ is because of the hypocrisy of professing believers. To fail to live our faith is to fail the Savior. We will continue to sin after we are saved no question.  We must be open about that fact. We must make every effort to be holy and blameless among the watching world. We can remember that God loves His own and when we fail, even horrendously so, there is forgiveness from the Father when we repent. It is much better not to fall in the first place.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Gospel of Mark--Christ as Servant

I've been reading through the Gospel of Mark in my quiet time. Mark’s Gospel is the shortest of the four.  It is straight forward and action packed.  The characters are colorfully described. The verbs are quick and certain.  The word “immediately” appears 42 times in the sixteen chapters.  The brevity and simplicity make this Gospel ideal for an introduction to the Christian faith for the new believer. It also is wonderfully suited to evangelize those who yet to believe. Often Bible translators in foreign counties pick Mark as the first book of the Bible to translate. Ninety percent of Mark’s Gospel is repeated by Matthew and Luke or both. 

Mark presents Jesus Christ as the Servant.  Mathew’s Gospel focuses on Jesus as King; Luke reveals Him as the Son of Man and John emphasizes Him as the Son of God.  Mark tells us throughout his writing that Jesus came to serve. He shows Jesus actively engaged in ministry. He heals the sick. He raises the dead. He delivers the demonized. He preaches and teaches. He is constantly ministers to the needy, lost and hurting around Him. As His disciples we are to do the same.  We are called to love the Lord our God with all our heart, body and soul and to love our neighbor as we love ourselves.

            Mark portrays Jesus as laying aside His divinity and His glory in heaven to assume the form of a bond Servant.  He perfectly obeyed His Father by the power of the Holy Spirit.  Mark demonstrates the humanity of Jesus Christ more clearly than the rest. We see here in this Gospel Christ’s human emotions, reactions and even some human limitations.  Jesus is pictured from His baptism and temptation by Satan in the wilderness in His steady march toward the suffering of the Cross and the glory of His Resurrection.

Mark’s Gospel is a glorious revelation of Jesus Christ as the Servant, the Son of Man and the Savior. When some of His disciples argued about who would be the greatest, Jesus rebuked them. A key passage  is found in Mark 10: 43 - 45: But it is not this way among you, but whoever wishes to become great among you shall be your servant; and whoever wishes to be first among you shall be slave of all. For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.”

He we find an overarching principle from the life of our Savior. Followers of Jesus Christ are called to glorify God by selfless service to others.. 

Saturday, May 18, 2013

A Letter to a Graduate

I wrote the letter below to one of the high school graduates this May.

 I am so proud of all you high school and college graduates.  It has been a long road but one well worth the journey.  I pray you never take for granted your home school experience.  God gave a great grace to you who are reared and taught in true Christian homes.  I’ve loved getting to know you and your family better. It is a particularly sweet blessing to me. I am grateful for how your parents have protected you and poured out their lives into yours.  Again it is a reminder to be thankful to the Lord.  Some of us didn’t have such a blessing and our lives are all the more difficult because of it.

I pray that in the days to come you continue to hold God’s Word in high esteem.  The Bible is literally the Word of God,. No other book can genuinely claim to be written by the Holy Spirit.  Its truths resonate throughout the ages.  Cling to it especially when the world seeks to pound your head and heart with its lies.  Rely on it for your every need in all situations.  God is faithful and will never let you down.  You face a world of immense deception. Satan is called in the Holy Writ as the father of lies. Even his subtle distortion is deadly. Know His Word well and filter everything you hear or read through it.

Surround yourself with godly people of all ages.  Remember those seasoned by many years can teach you much. Your close peers should be people of excellence and good repute who know the Savior.  Don’t ever compromise for it is the devil’s playground Reach back to those younger than you and serve as a role model for them.  Disciple some in the doctrines of the faith and you will solidify your own.  You won’t be perfect but to invest into another’s life reaps much benefit.  Find a solid church and commit yourself to it wholeheartedly.  Again, there is no perfect church but cling to one where the Bible is taught, the sacraments administered and church discipline is practiced. God has called His people to body life and it is there that you will find protection, growth and service.  No believer survives without others to come alongside.

Last but foremost keep your passion for Jesus Christ ablaze.  Allow nothing to come between you and your Lord.  Strive to discover and do all that is required of you.  Cling to His Spirit in times of trial and temptation.  Cultivate an active and vibrant friendship—what grace to be a friend of God!  Seek Him as you travel through life.  There is no greater source of comfort, companionship and consolation than Jesus Himself.  Shun all that grieves Him. So live that the world hates you but God is pleased.  Cultivate godliness. Draw near to Him and He will draw near to you.  There is no greater place to be than in the bull’s-eye of God’s obedience. Watch for the pitfalls of the flesh and the enemy.  The journey can be loaded with landmines.  Only Christ can guide you safely through.

I pray for you as you embark on the next step of life. God has a plan and a purpose for your life.  Do the next right thing as you go through everyday. Stay in His circle of blessing.  Reject the false and cling to what is good. May His countenance shine on your always.  In His grace, Wendy


Sunday, May 12, 2013

A Mother's Heart


God makes a wondrous thing
When He forms a Mother’s heart.
He fills it with such love
Beginning at the start. 

The baby once within
Now a child who comes of age
The Mother’s heart enlarges
With every passing stage.

The heart that shapes the life
Does day by day choose best
For the children who at one time
Nurtured at her breast. 

The heart that guides the young one
Continues to lead the teen
Cherishes, treasures, holds
Through trials unforeseen. 

A Mother’s heart so light
It carries much inside.
At the thought of precious children
Bursts easily with pride. 

How grateful are we all
For the Mothers God graciously gives
She loves like none other
           For all the time she lives.           

            Wendy West

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Facing the Future

I am getting a bit unnerved by all the bad news lately. The vast majority of which is so horrific I fear violating the commands in Scripture for our speech to be edifying.  The news which I don't watch on TV or subscribe to the newspaper still creeps into my heart.  I find it somewhat terrifying what people do to one another. So it was very appropriate that our Bible Study on Monday night spoke of how to face the future.  Our teacher's main truth was: "The only way to face the future wisely is with God."
What an understatement in these days and times. I struggle to cope well as a believer and thus I shudder to think what my life would be as an unbeliever.

I was talking with a friend earlier about some things. She said she was grateful that God had sheltered her from the world's ways. I wholeheartedly agree. I wasn't as sheltered but am glad that now I restrict a lot of things I watch and hear.  Every choice we make now affects our future faith. I don't want anything in my head that doesn't speak of the glory of God. Now trust me I am far from doing that but it is my goal.  The other stuff causes much anxiety.  Genesis 49: 24 and 25 describe the Lord as "The Mighty One of Jacob", the "Shepherd", the "Stone of Israel", "God", and the "Almighty who blesses you".  That is He in whom we can put our trust. Only in knowing Him can we hope for an unshakable source of calm. Only by knowing Jesus Christ can we face death unafraid for He is our ultimate destiny.  Oh for the grace to put these truths to practice in my own life. Oh for the peace it would bring!

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Where Has All the Decorum Gone?

Tonight I went to an award ceremony for the top 100 professionals in a given field.  Who and what doesn't matter. My point is the reactions of the audience.  I should have gotten my first clue when the passed out cowbells and clackers on the way into the auditorium. I have witnessed a trend for years of the loss of decorum and reverence at graduations and similar services. Tonight however crossed a line that made me very uncomfortable.

 From the time the first name was announced there were the aforementioned cowbells, clackers, air horns, police sirens and a couple of screeching loud noises I didn't recognize.  My head hurt and my ears rang the entire ceremony. There were signs and flashes and neon eyeglasses. Pity the poor person bothered by such stimuli. The air horns blasted by the family in the row behind us left us with wet heads and necks. It was particularly distressing to me that a father instructed his children to blow loud and hard. The behavior was way beyond rude. It was troubling that so many people weren't bothered at all. In fact, it was a contest to see who could be the loudest.

Sometimes I am left wondering where this will all end.  I am stunned by such irreverence, lack of professionalism and outright silly and rude behavior.  I was proud of my loved one for her achievements. The ceremony left me wondering just what has become of not only North Texas but America as well. Have we lost our collective conscience?  Dr. MacArthur wrote a book entitled "The Vanishing Conscience." It is one of my favorites of his. I have to agree with his statement :"We live in a culture that has elevated pride to the status of a virtue." We are living in a time when moral judgment and rightness have taken a back seat to doing whatever seems right in our own eyes.  The results of such an attitude are tragic. I fear we have gone too far way too far.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Life is a Vapor--Remember the Dash

I have lost three aunts to death in as many months. All three were in the 80s or 90s and lived long lives as the world counts it.  There have been many others who have passed away this year thus far. How quickly the time passes. The Scripture says our lives are as vapor.  One wisp and we are gone to meet our eternal destiny. I can remember my aunts for the nearly sixty years I've been alive.   the time roared by. Someone once said that the most important thing on the tomb stone is the dash.  The dash between the birth date and date of death. It is what we do to redeem that time represented by this dash that God deems most valuable. 

I had some friends over for dinner tonight. One of them commented about a prophetically minded man who has gone home to be with the Lord. His name was Leonard Ravenhill. My friends remembered hearing him speak in person here in Fort Worth. Ravenhill spoke of wishing he didn't have to eat as often so he could have more time to share the Lord. He wished he could be freed from all earthly pursuits in order to preach the excellencies of Jesus Christ. Oh how convicting that was for me. How little I think of Him. How much my mind is occupied with temporal pursuits. Our lives are vapors. They are short even if given a hundred years here.  We choose what we are going to spend our time doing.  Remember the dash. It reflects the life. A life lived for Jesus Christ or one lived pursuing earthly ventures. The Lord determines how long is the dash. We determine how we choose to live during it..

Monday, May 6, 2013

The Levite Blessing

We studied Genesis 49 in Bible Study tonight. The chapter details Jacob's blessing to his 12 sons. Two of them, Simeon and Levi, are told that they were cruel and brutal. Jacob remembered the massacre of men in Shechem in revenge for the rape of Levi and Simeon's sister Dinah.  The two brothers talked Shechemites into accepting circumcision as a means of integrating the two cultures including intermarriage.  Then when the men were particularly vulnerable the brothers took their own men and slaughtered everybody and looted the town.

Much later God blessed the Levites at the golden calf incident.  While Moses was on Mount Sinai receiving the Law Aaron and others were busy building the golden calf as their god.  Moses came down from the Mount and was furious. Aaron lamely said that he didn't do much. He threw the gold into a fire and a calf came out.  Exodus 32: 24:  I [Aaron} said to them, ‘Whoever has any gold, let them tear it off.’ So they gave it to me, and I threw it into the fire, and out came this calf.” Aaron shifted a bit of the blame.

It was the Levites who stood for the Lord and killed some 3000 men who had so grievously sinned against  the True God of Israel. Exodus 32: 25- 29:   Now when Moses saw that the people were out of control—for Aaron had let them get out of control to be a derision among their enemies— 26 then Moses stood in the gate of the camp, and said, “Whoever is for the Lord, come to me!” And all the sons of Levi gathered together to him. 27 He said to them, “Thus says the Lord, the God of Israel, ‘Every man of you put his sword upon his thigh, and go back and forth from gate to gate in the camp, and kill every man his brother, and every man his friend, and every man his neighbor.’” 28 So the sons of Levi did as Moses instructed, and about three thousand men of the people fell that day. 29 Then Moses said, “Dedicate yourselves today to the Lord—for every man has been against his son and against his brother—in order that He may bestow a blessing upon you today.”

God blessed the Levites by choosing them as the priestly line.  These people carried the Ark of the Covenant, ministered later in the tabernacle and temple and the High Priest was chosen from among their ranks.  God in His grace took a curse and made it into a blessing. How comforting to know that God can relent and take our bad circumstances and use them for our good and the good of others.  When we repent, God can do marvelous things in our life.

Friday, May 3, 2013

Evangelistic Hospitality

Last night I was listening to a Christian radio talk show. The hostess was interviewing Rosaria Butterfield a former liberal lesbian that the Lord transferred from a domain of darkness into the kingdom of His Son.  Rosario was befriended by a pastor and his wife who loved her into the kingdom.  Ms. Butterfield set out to refute certain biblical claims. In all fairness she said she needed to read the Bible first. 

The pastor wrote her a letter and ended up inviting her into his home. His was not a hate letter by any means but he asked her some penetrating questions. She said that the couple didn't share the Gospel or invite her to their church but rather had her and others over for a meal.  Had they pressed the Gospel or church attendance she stated she would have run away.

I found her comments compelling.  She is well educated and savvy women  with a Ph.D. in English. She is no dummy. The couple was patient and kind enough to continually to open their home and hearts to her. As she read the Bible, they answered her questions without any prejudice.  Their heart was for her to come to know the Jesus Christ they knew.  After months of reading and studying Jesus first hand in His Word, the Spirit brought her to faith.  I think there is a valuable lesson here.  I've been guilty of shotgun evangelism where you toss out facts like a machine gun. I've pressed for church attendance but I haven't always been loving and patient opening MY heart and home.  There are other Rosarias out there to be loved. Perhaps God will direct one my way and I this time I  respond with love and truth.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

"Surprise" Christians

Today I visited my Dad at the facility where he resides. I was wheeling him back to his room from the dining area.  A praise song we sang at church ran through my head.  As I turned the corner to my Dad's room I heard a male voice singing the same song.  I looked at the guy and the first thought in my head was "Surely he's not a believer is he?." I'm not saying that singing praise songs necessarily means you know the Savior.  But it does indicate the presence of some fruit perhaps.

I was astonished at my bias.  There really was no reason for me to judge him one way or another. In fact, I don't know why my first thought was that he wasn't a believer.  I think I wasn't expecting to find a Christian in the facility. It is a foolish thought because I've talked to others there who seem very genuine in their faith. Later when talking with the Lord the Spirit convicted me of my prejudice. The man was the same race as I, near the same age as I and could have been my next door neighbor. I judged him unfairly.  It was sinful and wrong.  I hope I'm more aware of it in the future. It blessed me afterwards to think that he is a brother.  I hope I see him again. Maybe we can sing the praise song together next time. I'm going to be on the lookout for more "Surprise Christians."

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Biblical Gratitude

I have begun reading a book called "Choosing Gratitude..Your Journey to Joy."  I struggle with an ungrateful heart.  Romans 1 speaks of what happens to the ungrateful. It's not a good ending.  Nancy Leigh DeMoss wrote it with an introduction by Joni Eareckson Tada.  Both said something very interesting.  Throughout my Christian walk I've heard Bible teachers that we should be thankful in a given circumstance and not for it.  These ladies both disagree.

To quote Joni:
"And so I've been giving thanks for most of my paralyzed life. Not only giving thanks "in everything" as one part of the Bible tells us, but "always giving thanks to God the Father for everything" as another part commands (I Thessalonians 5: 18; Ephesians 5: 19-20  NIV). Most of us are able to thank God for His grace, comfort, and sustaining power in a trial, but we don't think Him for the problem, just finding Him in it."
Joni then writes that not only is she grateful for the wheelchair but her quadriplegia as well. She calls it a blessing. To quote her it is: "a gift wrapped in black." She says that the Savior is not separate from the suffering He allows. She and Nancy are deeply committed to the idea that gratitude pushes you to the Lord and thus the place of joy.

I don't know about you but my life isn't overabundant with joy. Nancy says:
I've discovered that gratitude truly is my life preserver. Even in the most turbulent waters, choosing gratitude has rescued me from myself and my runaway emotions.  It buoys me on the grace of God and keeps me from drowning in what otherwise would be my natural bent toward doubt, negativity, discouragement, and anxiety. Over time choosing gratitude means choosing joy."

I am hopeful that the Lord uses this book in my life to convict of the lack of gratitude and joy.  The author calls gratitude a spiritual discipline. I'm learning a lot about the disciplines of the Christian life these days. It's been a very good thing...and one for which I am truly grateful.

Monday, April 29, 2013


Tonight in Bible Study we talked about changes in our lives.  There are times we dread change and times we welcome it.  During this past year there have been many changes for me and some of them very dramatic.  I've done things I've never done before and been places I'd never been.  God saw me through them all.  Two people in my to whom I very close talk about taking God's hand when they get afraid. He is that personal to them. I've tried it. It does help me focus on the living God. Change is usually very difficult for me and even more so as I age. 

God tells us often not to fear in the Bible. Unfortunately it is a sin with which I am well familiar.  God is sovereign and good. He has all things in His hands.  When we face the unknown we face it with a loving God orchestrating every event.  There are hard times to be sure.  When change comes, we must cry out to God and He promises us to answer. It may not be the expected or even desired answer but God will respond. We also need to throw ourselves on His mercy and embrace His grace. God is a Father to all who call on the name of Jesus Christ. He cares, provides and guides. We also need to stand on all the applicable promises in the Word of God.  Gratefully He hasn't left us alone to figure things out. He is working to bring all things together for our good. We need to go where God sends once we know what He requires of us.  He is with us and for us. Nothing can separate us from His love. Change will come as long as we live here. But we don't need to fear. We can be still and know that He is God.

Jacob in Egypt

The biblical character Joseph is one of my favorites in Scripture.  We are studying Genesis in BSF and I arrived in time for Isaac, Jacob and Joseph.  We are in chapters 46 to 48 where Jacob is relocated to Egypt after Joseph was reconciled with his family.  Change is hard and I hate it frankly.  If I had my way, I'd be doing the same thing at the same place with the same people.  When Jacob was to relocate God gave him a midnight vision telling him not to be afraid.  There was a time when God commanded Jacob not to go to Egypt.  Now the Lord's plan was exactly that.  Does that mean God is whimsical or arbitrary? No it means that a sovereign and loving God is in control of our lives and what may be right at one time isn't right in another. we should never presume upon God but listen to him speak through His Word.

Once Jacob heard God he moved out immediately. Partial obedience is still disobedience.  God wanted to bring Jacob and his family to a greater maturity.  When things change in our lives, God is working to make us complete in Jesus Christ.  He is forming our character to resemble that of His Son.  Changes stretch us.  That may be why they are so hard for me.  God wants us to thrive not just to survive.  This past year has been full of changes--some good and some bad.  But I have grown because of them.  Ofttimes God will send adverse and even hostile environments in order for us to mature.

When we depend on God we can conquer even in the most hostile of environments. The more we recognize our dependence on God, the better the outcome.  We truly are dependent on Him even for the very breath we take.  When we are discouraged, we need to remember God's promises.  Jacob remembered God's Promised Land. He told Joseph to bury him with his fathers. Jacob knew that one day Israel would occupy Canaan.  Before Jacob dies in Egypt he blesses Joseph's two sons. Contrary to tradition once again the older son would serve the younger.  God often opts to act in unconventional ways.  Even if we don't understand Him we are to follow His commands. God is in the business of maturing our faith. He did so with His people in Genesis and He is doing so today. We are to listen to God, believer His Word and obey Him fully.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Laminin: An Amazing Video

I spent the evening watching a video with a couple from my church. It's called "How Great is our God". Louie Giglio speaks of how vast God truly is as seen in the universe. The video left us all in tears. The majesty of God is incredible as depicted throughout the universe. Rather than try to describe it; the video is a must see. My summary wouldn't do it justice. There some things that words just can't describe. It would be hard to see how scientists who don't believe in a divine Creator could explain away the facts presented.  His discussion of laminin alone is worth it...Amazing. Simply Amazing. I know, I know. The question is what is laminin.  Hint for those of you clinging to the Cross of Christ, google it for a picture or two....

Here are the lyrics to the song by Chris Tomlin How Great is Our God:
The splendor of a King, clothed in majesty
Let all the earth rejoice
All the earth rejoice

He wraps himself in Light, and darkness tries to hide
And trembles at His voice
Trembles at His voice

How great is our God, sing with me
How great is our God, and all will see
How great, how great is our God

Age to age He stands
And time is in His hands
Beginning and the end
Beginning and the end
The Godhead Three in One
Father Spirit Son
The Lion and the Lamb
The Lion and the Lamb

Name above all names
Worthy of our praise
My heart will sing
How great is our God

How great is our God, sing with me
How great is our God, and all will see
How great, how great is our God

Monday, April 22, 2013

Sweet Holy Spirit

I have really been working on my personal relationship with God's Spirit in the past few weeks.  I think the Holy Spirit is the forgotten member of the trinity. We reformed folk are very vocal about God the Father and His Son Jesus Christ.  I think mention of the Spirit is a bit intimidating at times.  None of us want to fall into the hyper charismatic camps and end up barking like dogs, howling like hyenas or some such fleshly nonsense.  I've probably quenched the Spirit by my lack of attention however. He is equally God and His role is equally important to the Christian life.  We are called to walk by the Spirit. We are told to be filled with the Spirit. The Word tells us not to quench the Spirit nor should we grieve Him.

His presence is very real.  I''ve felt it at church and BSF to name two places  Each morning I wake up and ask for a greater awareness of Him during the day.  I don't want to be mystical or esoteric.  But He's very real.  Tonight at BSF we sang "Sweet Holy Spirit." I love the hymn. It was written and composed by Doris Akers.
Here are the lyrics:

There's a sweet, sweet Spirit in this place,
And I know that it's the Spirit of the Lord;
There are sweet expressions on each face,
And I know they feel the presence of the Lord.

Sweet Holy Spirit, Sweet heavenly Dove,
Stay right here with us, filling us with Your love.
And for these blessings we lift our hearts in praise;
Without a doubt we'll know that we have been revived,
When we shall leave this place.

There are blessings you cannot receive
Till you know Him in His fullness and believe;
You're the one to profit when you say,
"I am going to walk with Jesus all the way."

If you say He saved you from your sin,
Now you're weak, you're bound and cannot enter in,
You can make it right if you will yield,
You'll enjoy the Holy Spirit that we feel.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

The Sovereign Will of God

Tonight I went to a church service at a church in Arlington.  Two of my close friends are members there. One was supposed to give her testimony about the ways God had worked in her life. She suffers from COPD and is on oxygen every day all day.  She carries with her a portable oxygen tank.  Tonight she ran out before she had a chance to speak.  We had to leave for her house before her saturation level dropped dangerously low. I went with her and she left the written testimony for our other friend to share. She got home in time and was able to breathe easier.  The friend read her testimony for her.

I love how God can make something happen according to His will regardless of the interference.  The testimony obviously was meant to be shared tonight in church. Even though one friend had to leave, the other carried on.  God's ways are perfect.  His will is done even in what is seemingly small moments of life.  It is comforting to know that even though we have an enemy opposing us God is triumphant.  His will trumps everything else. 

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Home Schooled

I spent Friday morning with another home school family.  It was very much like my other experiences but I was more aware of the types of curriculum used.  This family had readers written by the Mennonites.  The 10 year old's reading was about Jesus in the Garden of Gethsamane.  It was very accurate to the biblical text.  I've been amazed that textbooks for home schooler contain such specific references to God. The science book makes frequent references to the Creator.  It is a refreshing change from the worldview of evolution.

After the Boston tragedy Sister Frances said how sad it was that belief in God was so absent these days.Children were being raised without any concept of the true and living God.  I mentioned to her that the belief in another god was even more dangerous. The false god of many major religions is a whimsical despot requiring the shed blood of others in order to gain entrance in the hereafter.   Praise the Lord that the blood of the precious Savior is what the God of the universe requires.  The blood that He graciously gave us when He sent His Son to die on the Cross.  Nothing but that blood can save a soul.

 I pray for the suspect who apparently has survived his wounds.  I pray that he turn from his whimsical, angry and violent god and embraces Jesus Christ as His Savior. The Gospel is radical enough for such a conversion.  I'm grateful that many people are training up their children in the Word of God through homeschooling  May all those who homeschool be encouraged that it is the right thing to do. Glory to the true God for people who are standing firm.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Perilous Times

The news this week but really this whole year has reminded me of II Timothy 3: 1-8: 

"But realize this, that in the last days difficult times will come. 2 For men will be lovers of self, lovers of money, boastful, arrogant, revilers, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy, 3 unloving, irreconcilable, malicious gossips, without self-control, brutal, haters of good, 4 treacherous, reckless, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, 5 holding to a form of godliness, although they have denied its power; Avoid such men as these. 6 For among them are those who enter into households and captivate weak women weighed down with sins, led on by various impulses, 7 always learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth."

It has also reminded me of Matthew 24: 4-14:

 "And Jesus answered and said to them, “See to it that no one misleads you. 5 For many will come in My name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and will mislead many. 6 You will be hearing of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not frightened, for those things must take place, but that is not yet the end. 7 For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom, and in various places there will be famines and earthquakes. 8 But all these things are merely the beginning of birth pangs.

9 “Then they will deliver you to tribulation, and will kill you, and you will be hated by all nations because of My name. 10 At that time many will fall away and will betray one another and hate one another. 11 Many false prophets will arise and will mislead many. 12 Because lawlessness is increased, most people’s love will grow cold. 13 But the one who endures to the end, he will be saved. 14 This gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all the nations, and then the end will come.

I try not to be a naysayer. I do wonder how much longer before Jesus returns.  Some people think that times haven't changed and it could be another thousand years. I don't think God gave us prophecy such that we can't understand it.  I think that the Scripture should be taken literally.  I believe that about the Book of Revelation. I don't think it a stretch to read it and come away with the horror of the Great Tribulation.  As quickly as things are changing in the world, nothing would surprise me. I try to live in a state of expectancy without sitting on a rooftop.  We are to be in but not of the world.  I still say Maranatha Lord Jesus.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Joseph's Attitude on the Job

Last night I went to BSF.  The teaching leader taught on Genesis 39 and 40.  She said that a successful day is to stay in conscious contact with God all day.  Joseph grew so very close to the Lord.  He was aware of God's presence throughout the day.  She then asked the class how much do we grumble or complain.  Boy was I dead in the water. She mentioned that Joseph was the best slave he could be while working for Potiphar.  Work is a gift from God. It is good to work as unto the Lord and pour ouselves out for our vocation.  Joseph certainly was one to pray over his duties because Potiphar knew Joseph was a man of God.  How often do we pray at work?  Joseph was a witness to the living God.  Are we the same on at our jobs? How often in our daily conversations do we give Him all the glory?

I was very convicted this morning as I drove Sister Frances. My attitude was sinful and inside I grumbled far too much.  I had to intentionally take my thoughts captive.  I prayed throughout the day for the Lord to help me change my grumbling attitude. It improved by the end of the day but I was far from a "Joseph" for sure. Gratefully God's mercies are new every morning and tomorrow is the start of a new day.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Joseph and Jesus

I know the saying is usually "the patience of Job" but we are studying Joseph in BSF.  Tonight I read how he interpreted the dreams of the cupbearer and chief baker.  God gave him the ability to interpret and thus everything he said came to pass. He told them that the cupbearer would be released in three days and the chief baker would die.  Both events happened.  He had asked the cupbearer to remember him and mention him to the Pharaoh to get him out of prison.  The final verse in Chapter 40 says: "Yet the chief cupbearer did not remember Joseph, but forgot him."  The beginning verse of Chapter 41 states it was two full years before Pharaoh himself had a dream that needed interpretation. Only then did the cupbearer say something to the Pharaoh.

I found myself wondering how Joseph reacted during those long two years.  The Lord granted him the mercy to survive well in prison.  Was he ever bitter? Did he get unrighteously angry? The Scripture is silent about such specific issues.  Genesis tells us the whole story and what God did through Joseph in saving Israel from famine.  He used a more humble Joseph to rescue his brothers, forgive them and give them physical life in providing food for them.  Joseph was a type of Christ prefiguring the Lord Jesus who "rescued us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins."  Genesis 50: 20 is a key verse of the book.  It speaks of God's power to bring about good from every circumstance.  Joseph is speaking to his brothers when he says: "As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good in order to bring about this present result, to preserve many people alive."

Friday, April 12, 2013

A Murderer From the Beginning

A friend and I were talking today over a glass of tea.  She is from another country and talked of returning to it. One thing she said was alarming. It was the level of violence existent there.  Criminals would not longer just steal your purse. They also would assault you.  She was very concerned about the issue. I watched the TV news for the first time in months tonight.  It is alarming here.  My thoughts turned back to John 8 where Jesus calls Satan the Father of lies. He is that for sure. The Lord also said he was a murderer from the beginning.  Satan came into the Garden of Eden and deceived Adam and Eve.  Then their son Cain killed Abel.  Four people and there was one murder.

I can't help but think we are close to the Return of Jesus Christ. Frankly I long for Him. I am very world weary. I know some may read this post and think I'm off my rocker. I guess I'm old enough to have one.  I wish revival would hit.  I'd love for hundreds of thousands world wide to repent and Christ come for us in the clouds.  He will come at just the right time. Until then we need to be about the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  The murderer from the beginning is wreaking havoc. Christ will have the ultimate victory. That I can state securely on and not off my rocker.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Grace in the Genealogy of Jesus

I read the story of Tamar and Judah in Genesis 39 tonight for BSF.  Tamar was a Gentile woman who married Judah's sons.  Long story short she ends up sleeping with her father-in-law dressed up as a prostitute. Judah is ready to have her burned but Tamar pulls out a few things given to her on the day of the trespass. Judah owns up to his sin and she gives birth to twins.  She like Ruth and Rahab are listed in the genealogy of Jesus Christ.  What grace of God to include these women in the Savior's line.

As I think about God's grace it truly is more immense than man can imagine.  We deserve nothing but eternal punishment for sin.  But God.  Ephesians 2: 4-8: "But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved),  and raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus,  so that in the ages to come He might show the surpassing riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.  For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God..."

We are saved by grace and frankly we are sanctified by it too.  God works in us and He accomplishes the good work He started. Yet we are to obedient to the Lord and His Word. I think the inclusion of the Gentile women indicates God's love extends to all peoples at all times.  The Tabernacle and later the Temple had a court of Gentiles.  Any who spiritually thirsted were welcome. His grace is magnificent.  Once again it is truly amazing. 

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Be Careful How You Walk

Today I took Sister Frances to Costco for a few things for Sister Maggie. When we were in the parking lot I was loading the car and Sister went to return the cart.  As she was coming back, she didn't see the parking block. She tripped and fell flat on her face.  I ran over to her to find her profusely bleeding. Her nose was scarped and she had cut the inside of her mouth with her two front teeth.  Some good Samaritans were near and helped with Kleenex and moist towels.  The manager came out with cold packs and forms.  Sister wanted to go back to Sunrise.  I called them to see what to do.  One of the coordinators told me to bring her back and the nurse would check her out.

When we got back to Sunrise, one of the staff after hearing what happened said: "Be careful how you walk!"  Sister is getting older.  She isn't good at watching were she walks. She also tends to shuffle rather than lift her feet.  It was good counsel for her. ( Although frankly it may be time for a walker). Please pray for her.  She went to the Rangers' game tonight.  Gratefully a physician friend took her so she will be in very good hands.

  As I heard the comment though I thought about Ephesians 5: 15-17: "Therefore be careful how you walk, not as unwise men but as wise, 16 making the most of your time, because the days are evil. 17 So then do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is."     Christians need to be very careful how they walk too.  We aren't to be foolish but to know what is God's will.  We should be mindful at all times where we step and more importantly why.  We must make it our ambition to be pleasing to the Lord.  Sister's face took a beating because of her fall. Christians do the same thing when they fall.  It is a messy ordeal and takes time to heal.  Let us all be careful how we walk.

Monday, April 8, 2013

Amazing Grace

"Sin offers you hope, but leaves you on your own. Grace shatters that hope, then gives you all the help you'd ever need."  I'm not sure of the author of this quote. A friend posted it to my timeline on Facebook. It may have been Paul Tripp who said it.  I've struggled throughout my Christian walk with legalism.  There are two ways to fall off the "grace fence."  On one side is license and a supposed freedom to sin. On the other side is legalism which tries to earn God's favor by supposedly good works.  It hasn't served me well.  Tonight we sang Amazing Grace at BSF.  It's verses are such good reminders.:

Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound, That saved a wretch like me....
I once was lost but now am found,
Was blind, but now, I see.

T'was Grace that taught..
my heart to fear.
And Grace, my fears relieved.
How precious did that Grace appear...
the hour I first believed.

Through many dangers, toils and snares...
we have already come.
T'was Grace that brought us safe thus far...
and Grace will lead us home.

The Lord has promised good to me...
His word my hope secures.
He will my shield and portion be.
as long as life endures.

When we've been here ten thousand years...
bright shining as the sun.
We've no less days to sing God's praise...
then when we've first begun.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

A Texting We Shall Go

I finally joined the 21st century and got texting today.  I probably am one of the last holdouts.  This week I also had to establish an account at my credit union on the computer to avoid costly monthly fees.  "Things they be a changin'".  I know there is nothing evil about technology. In fact there are many benefits.  But every time I take a little step or a giant leap I have a niggling thought in my head that the Antichrist must be around the corner and Jesus must be coming back soon.  I felt that way years ago when I got a debit card.   I felt that way again with my first cell phone.  Now the feeling's back.

I wonder if the prophets of old had any idea where the world would be in the hundreds of years down the road.  Here we are.  We definitely are closer than we've ever been to Christ's Second Advent. Technology or not, His return is imminent. I can hardly wait to see Him again. Heaven did get a little bit closer today with the passing of our friend and sister in the Lord, Elizabeth.  The cancer that took her life is now dead and she is more alive than ever before.  I am grateful for her life. I will miss her.  But I am so glad her suffering has ended. She is forever away from the presence of sin. I have never been more grateful for the promise of reunion and the resurrection.  Jesus Christ is our hope of glory. That sentence would be one worth texting to all my contacts.

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Practicing Hospitality

Romans 12: 13 indicts us to practice hospitality.  I haven't been very good at obeying this command. Today I had five women over for a singles group meeting.  I enjoyed the time.  It took a while to prepare and clean my apartment.  (I always love it when I have company. My apartment is never so clean.)  The ladies and I prayed, fellowshipped and discussed some Bible passages with one another. It was an edifying time that hopefully brought glory to the Lord.  What a blessing it is to get together with other believers and enjoy one another.  There as a situation in which one member was graciously corrected by the others. It was done in a loving and edifying manner.  Exactly how God's Word commands us to do it.

In these days of high tech it is wonderful to get together face to face and commune. I'm not knocking the technology. I write and receive a lot of emails. Tomorrow hopefully I'll start texting if I get my phone plan changed.  I just think it nice to do things the old fashioned way by sitting down together, breaking bread and fellowshipping in the Acts 2: 40ff kind of way.  Grateful I attend a church where such hospitality is encouraged and blessed.

Friday, April 5, 2013

As A Man Thinks

roverbs 3: 27 states "As a man thinks, so is he."  What a short statement packed with volumes of wisdom.  Thinking is so very important. Christians need to embrace what the Word of God says over what our feelings and experiences tell us.  The mind is such a powerful tool in the hands of the Holy Spirit. It truly is life changing.  I remember my old life and I wouldn't take it back for anything.  I've had some struggles as a believer some immense battles just recently.  As I renew my mind with the world and reject earthly and demonic wisdom, I am greater peace with smatterings of joy.

I am remember a Times magazine article called "God is Dead."  it was put out years ago.  Whoever wrote the article didn't do a very good job researching.  God isn't dead but very much alive. So is the Bible Hebrews 4:12 states: "For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart."  It's been a hard year for me.  As I return to the Lord and not so much a god of my own making, things are getting better. It was and is a hard lesson for me to learn. I am so very thankful that the Holy Spirit can use His Word to change the lives of people and some in very dramatic ways. As a we think so are we. 

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Life After Death

I've been faced with the reality of death on a number of fronts this week. First, there is the seemingly unending number of homicides many of them multiple in the news.  Second, there are some people I know who currently are on hospice and are at the end of their days here.  Third, the death of Roger Ebert has somewhat unnerved me.  Here's a quote from one of the news articles:
"Ebert said he did not fear death because, writing in 2010 that he didn't believe there was anything "on the other side of death to fear."..."I was perfectly content before I was born, and I think of death as the same state," he wrote. "I am grateful for the gifts of intelligence, love, wonder and laughter. You can't say it wasn't interesting."

I wondered what he meant "I was perfectly content before I was born."  I can only presume that he thought he had existed before birth.  His answer was that the same contentment would greet him on the "other side."  It makes me shudder to think about what the Bible clearly states and those who seem so cavalier about the topic of death--especially their own.  I also wonder to whom was he grateful for the "gifts of intelligence, love, wonder and laughter."  Where do they come from?  Doesn't a gift presume a giver?  It's the same confusion I feel when agnostics and atheists celebrate Thanksgiving. The holiday's name screams that their is Someone to whom we should be thankful. 

Death is a sobering topic.  Like I said I'm reaching an age when my friends are dying in greater numbers.  Those older than me in the family are lessening yearly it seems.  My generation will soon be the matriarchs and patriarchs of the clan.  I remember my Dad talking about the same thing.  He now is the patriarch of the family and has been for some time.  Yet he too is slipping from us. I can only pray that people who don't believe the Bible might be willing to think it through a bit more.  Eternity is a very long time.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Messy Ministry

On Wednesdays I usually have dinner at my Mom's church. We often play Mexican Train before we eat.  Today there was an uncomfortable situation that I need not describe here except to say one of the players left in tears.  The remaining players were stunned and saddened that any body's feelings were hurt. It seemed to me that there is much more to it than this singular incident.  As I sat among all the fallout of the departure I thought about how messy ministry can be.  I've been on both sides of the mess by the way.  Some times I've needed the massive grace of others around me and have been commanded by the Lord to offer such grace at other times.

There was no solution in the situation thus far. One of the ladies called the departee but got her answering machine.  Others talked to the pastor and were told it was best to pray.  As we ate there was a pall at the table for one of ours was missing and hurt. I remained quiet for the most part. Each lady offered some opinion in terms of what could be wrong but I fear there are some things that remain known to the Lord alone I've joined the group of pray-ers.  As an outside to this church, I feel my role is to intercede about the situation.  The whole experience reminded me of how truly hard ministry can be. Without the indwelling Holy Spirit to grant grace, wisdom and love; ministry is impossible. 

Monday, April 1, 2013

I Just Wanted to be With You

I had lunch today with an old friend from BSF. She was one of my discussion leaders and we have always had an affinity for each other. It may have to do with the fact that we both are devout "Bueno Heads."  I haven't seen her in a long time and today we got together. It was a sweet visit.  Much had changed in two years. She has two and a half grandchildren now. I've gone through some things that have radically changed my life in the past year.  As we were parting she hugged me, backed away, looked over her shoulder and said "I just wanted to be with you."  It was a tender sentiment.

As I walked to my car I thought about my relationship to the Lord. Do "I just want to be with Him?"  Gratefully I do more and more.  But there was a time when I was very busy doing my own thing and prayer was just a matter of trying to get His stamp of approval on my plans.  That's changing praise His name.  I have had more consistent times of worship and intercession. I read His Word more systematically now. I look for ways He wants me to change my life. Things I should have done all along.  I am thankful I can now tell Him "I just wanted to be with You."

Sunday, March 31, 2013

Ministry of Compassion

Today was a wonderful Resurrection Day.  I worshipped the Lord at my church through hearing His Word and praising Him in song.  After the service I was struck by the fact that pain doesn't stop in people's lives just because it's a holiday. I realized that there were hurting people among us.  A number of people came up to one young woman to encourage her.  It was a joy to watch as others went to her instead of going away as people often do.  It edified me to be in a church where believers are taught that ministry is ongoing.  Especially the ministry to the hurting. 

I'm reading through the Gospel of Mark and have been impressed by the compassion of Christ. He didn't let the fact of the Sabbath stop Him from helping the hurting. The religious hypocritical leaders judged Him for it.  He ministered anyway. Jesus was about healing the broken hearted.  He never downplayed their sin but He offered them the Way out.  He is the way, the truth and the life.  He gave that life 2000 years ago on a Cross to die for the sins of the elect.  He transformed the world then and He is still doing it now.  His Spirit lives to help the hurting.  We, the church, are the temple of the Holy Spirit. He uses us to minister life to the dead, help to the hurting and freedom to those in bondage to sin.  What a glorious opportunity to reflect God to those around us.

Saturday, March 30, 2013

The Neglect of the Spirit

Francis Chan wrote a book entitled "The Forgotten God." It's about the Holy Spirit the third member of the triune Godhead.  I haven't read it but I have been convicted about my own lack of acknowledgement for the work of the Holy Spirit in my life. Two areas of the Holy Spirit's influence are guidance for the believer and the ability to overcome sin.  It is the Spirit who indwells every true believer that makes us able to have victory over the sin that besets us. It is the Spirit who guides our days and oversees our paths.  It's interesting to me that I pray to the Father and to the Son but never to the Holy Spirit.  It's as though He is indeed the Forgotten God.

I know many reformed people are concerned about some of the charismatic excesses that are far too prevalent. Christians can neglect the Spirit but they also can so emphasize His work that we fail to acknowledge the Father and the Son.  Believers attribute manifestations that are more from the flesh or even the enemy to the Holy Spirit. I remember being in a charismatic church where a woman was barking like a dog intermingled with insane laughter.  It made my flesh crawl and my spirit cringe.  There is a balance in the trinity that the Bible emphasizes. Each member is fully God yet operates in different ways in a believer's life.  It's a hard balance to maintain at times but through consistent study of God's Word and wisdom to discern there never need be any Forgotten God.

Friday, March 29, 2013

Christian Job Description

I am memorizing Romans 12: 9-13. I think it is a good example of a Christian "job description." I figured that out when I started to look at the verbs and gerunds in the passage.  If you are needing help (like apparently I did) to discover what it is believers are to do--looky here:
  • Let love be without hypocrisy
  • Abhor what is evil
  • Cling to what is good
  • Be devoted to one another in brotherly love
  • Give preference to one another in honor
  • Don't lag behind in diligence
  • Be fervent in spirit
  • Serve the Lord
  • Rejoice in hope
  • Persevere in tribulation
  • Be devoted to prayer
  • Contribute to the needs of the saints
  • Practice hospitality
I think that makes short work of it.  Don't think the job is for rookies. It takes time to mature in the faith and for the grace of God to grow in our lives.  Yet we are responsible too.  We must know what to do and then ask the Lord to give us the strength, wisdom and power to obey Him.  This will keep you busy for awhile I presume.  I know it will me.  As you were....

Thursday, March 28, 2013

A Sobering Reality

I spent some time this evening at the deathbed of a dear sister in the Lord.  She has only a few hours or perhaps days here on earth.  While at her side I read a devotional about her heading to the shore of heaven.  The side of the deathbed is a sobering and solemn place to sit.  Some once said that death is the great equalizer. Unless and until the Lord returns for His own at the rapture, we must all pass through the veil that is our earthly demise.

The Christian has much hope.  For we know that we will live after our earthly life.  We will forever be with the Lord. It is a particularly comforting truth at this time of year. My former BSF teaching leader called the resurrection the bedrock of Christianity.  So it is. Without a resurrected Christ we have just another dead religious leader or philosophical teacher.  Christ overcame death. 

The butterfly has traditionally been the symbol for the resurrection through the decades of the church.  Just like a caterpillar that enters a cocoon, Christ entered the tomb.  Neither remain. The caterpillar emerges as a beautiful butterfly. Christ emerged from the tomb after three days. He conquered all. He is risen.  He sits at the right hand of the Father forever interceding for the saints.  Praise Him. He is risen indeed! The deathbed for a believer is nothing but an open door to an eternity with the living Savior. Soon the cancer currently taking my friend's life will be dead. She, however, will be more alive than ever!

An Encouraging Word

In the last couple of weeks I've gotten phone calls and notes from people I haven't heard from in a year or two.  I was on their minds so they called or wrote.  I can't tell you what an encouragement it is to hear from them.  The song says "Where seldom is heard a discouraging word..." That should be for believers too.  Scripture calls us to encourage one another. Hebrews 10: 24-25: " and let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds, 25 not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another; and all the more as you see the day drawing near."  With every day that passes the day of Christ's return is nearer.  Let us not fail to reach out to one another and stimulate them to good deeds.