December 31, 2010
In their recap of 2010 some media outlets are describing this as the year to forget. They cite the tanked economy, the east coast blizzard and the oil unleashed in the gulf coast. It would be easy to jump on that train of thought, but I think the Lord looks at it differently. Assuming we believers have been doing our job, then the Gospel has spread, souls have been saved and Christ has been glorified. It doesn’t get any better than that. May 2011 become another successful year for the Kingdom of God on earth.
December 30, 2010
The subject of tongues can cause as much debate today as it did when Paul was talking to the church at Corinth. As one member of our Sunday School class put it, “We all come together having grown up with different denominational veils that cover our understanding.” Believers are often guilty of trying to be PC and getting around conflict in fellowship by avoiding those Scriptures we think leads to conflict, such as the Spirit and gifts of the Spirit. We can grieve the Spirit with unwholesome talk, but I’m wondering if He’s not also grieved by our neglect in teaching about Him for fear of confrontation and division. “And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.” (Eph 4:30 NIV)
December 29, 2010
The Cora Indians fellowshipped with us for over a year and one Sunday the pastor was prepared to baptize a man and his wife. However, just prior to taking their confession of faith the preacher learned that the man and woman were not married, but living together. Rebounding quickly he explained privately through the interpreter that if they were going to live as man and wife they needed to be married before he could take their statement of faith and baptize them into the Lord Jesus Christ. Speaking to the congregation the pastor simply said, “This morning we have the opportunity to share in the joy of two celebrations!” In a matter of 20 minutes we witnessed the I do’s of marriage followed by the I do’s of baptism.
December 28, 2010
In Sunday School our lessons have been on the Spirit and the gifts of the Spirit and of course talking in tongues is part of the discussion. I’m reminded of a time in our previous church when a bilingual member wanted to reach out to the Cora Indians (from Mexico) who were living in our valley. The Indians spoke Cora, with Spanish as a second language and Eva the interpreter spoke Spanish with English as a second language. Our services did get a little distracting and to a visitor it may have sounded like there was some talking in tongues going on. The reality was that the gospel was presented in English, interpreted/repeated audibly in Spanish and then (we hope) reasoned out mentally by the Cora in their native language.
December 27, 2010
I have an internal motto that says, ‘If you’re not early, you’re late’ and I make it a point to arrive at a scheduled event at least 10-15 minutes early. Part of my comfort level is giving time for the unexpected and avoiding surprises. I can see how someone of my character might be a frustration, not only to others, but also to the Spirit. The Spirit loves to wow us with last minute-miracles, but I like my miracles to unfold slowly with no surprises.
December 24, 2010
I’m thinking of a young Mary in her teens on the eve of her firstborn child. Miles away from her support system with only her husband Joseph (as far as we know) to serve as a mid-wife. This first Christmas Eve must have brought as much uncertainty as did the angel’s visit nine months earlier. Today believers have the promise of the spiritual indwelling Holy Spirit, but Mary was entrusted with his most precious gift…the physical indwelling presence of God.
December 23, 2010
My cousin is driving to California, determined to be there in time for Christmas. Considering the current flooding in southern California, the phrase ‘come hell or high water’ comes to mind. We really are creatures of chance. It’s one thing to suffer the physical consequences of determination, but I cringe when I recall times of misguided spiritual determination. Sometimes we’re not far removed from the high-water folks of Noah’s day.
December 22, 2010
In mega churches we have specialized job descriptions for ministers, but in smaller congregations we expect preachers to be well rounded and multitalented. They preach, make hospital rounds and lead singing. Even among ministry volunteers we see people serving in multiple areas. I find it interesting that Paul says, “For Christ did not send me to baptize, but to preach the gospel….” (1Cor 1:17 NIV) I think there is a lesson in here for those of us who get over extended in trying to do everything and be everywhere. We just need to figure out what it is that Christ sent us to do.
December 21, 2010
I’ve come to the conclusion that dieting is like doing battle with Satan. This last month I’ve been committed to losing weight and I found I have to stay away, turn away and run away from situations that would lead me astray. For the most part people understand when I tell them ‘no thanks, I’m avoiding calories’. Too bad we aren’t as understanding with one another when we’re trying to avoid sinning.
December 20, 2010
I asked a dear friend if she were ready for Christmas she said, “Yes, I’ve been good this year, but I don’t know if you have.” Well now. Not quite what I expected in Sunday fellowship chit-chat. She then gave me a list of three political issues where she thought I was remiss in my decisions. Thankfully she was open-minded and let me give her additional information which included data, examples and a more complete picture. At one time or another we’ve all been tripped up by not having all the facts, even as it pertains to our Christian life. A good example for me is a Jew named Apollos. He was learned, had a thorough knowledge of the Scripture and he taught about Jesus accurately - and yet, he still had only partial understanding, “When Priscilla and Aquila heard him, they invited him to their home and explained to him the way of God more adequately.” (Acts 18:26 NIV) Regardless of how mature I am in the Word, I must learn to be receptive to those who can explain the way of God more adequately.
December 17, 2010
I have a friend with multiple health problems, including diabetes. He is a large man and has refused to change his diet saying, “I like meat and potatoes and I don’t care what the doctor says, I’m going to eat whatever I want to eat.” My friend called me telling me he was hospitalized last weekend with a significant heart attack. Although I’m concerned, I’m not surprised. There’s that part of me that thinks, ‘You really have brought this on yourself’. I’ve known people who are in a similar boat spiritually, but my feelings are different. I suppose it’s because of the eternal consequences involved. If an unbeliever were on his death bed I would have a hard time thinking, ‘You really have brought this on yourself.'
December 16, 2010
Yesterday afternoon got stranded in a snowstorm when I-70 was closed in both directions because of road conditions, visibility and accidents. The traffic was bumper to bumper, but eventually I crept up to an ‘emergency only exit’ where I could turn around and go back to Silverthorne and get a room. For three hours I watched from the hotel room window as ribbons of car lights sat motionless. While I rejoiced at my own safety, I sympathized with those still caught in the grip of the situation. I’m reminded of loved ones stranded in the grip of the world and sometimes all we can do is watch from a distance.
December 15, 2010
One thing obvious to me when I go to the fitness center is that all of us are not there for the same reason. Some want to get in shape, others to stay in shape and then those who want to reshape themselves. When you think of it, many believers have a similar motivation when it comes to their Christian walk. As a young believer I went to the Word to get in shape spiritually, then I had to continue to study to stay in shape and now there is the reshaping and striving for conformity of Christ’s likeness. I’ve noticed that lack of exercise, whether physical or spiritual, sends me back to trying to get into shape.
December 14, 2010
There’s just something about being able to say you were part of something from the beginning. Whether it’s planting a church or having a relative come over on the Mayflower. No doubt there was satisfaction for the Apostles at being the first disciples and pride felt by those being in attendance at Pentecost. I can’t imagine the pleasure that the Holy Spirit receives with each new believer since He dwells within each of us from the beginning of our new life in Christ. “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.” (Acts 2:38 NIV)
December 13, 2010
I try to be patient waiting for the Lord to respond to a prayer need, but there are times I’d like to put a footnote on a prayer saying, ‘Please respond within 48 hours’. I know God hears and answers prayer, but it never occurred to me that His answer to a prayer might be hindered by a force of evil. Daniel 10:1-14 records that God heard Daniel from the moment he began to pray and an angel was dispatched. However the angel was detained for 21 days by a mighty demon. It was only with the help of Michael the archangel that the angel sent to Daniel could resume his mission. I don’t know about you, but in this generation of instant everything, a possible 21 day delay is a little disconcerting.
December 10, 2010
Every year I take my grandkids to the dollar store to do their Christmas shopping. Lydia always puts Jesus on her Christmas list and this year He got a bag of Teddy Bear cookies, which will later be taken to the local food bank. We wrapped the gifts and Lydia wrote the name tags for each one, until it came to Teddy Bear cookies. With five year-old wisdom Lydia said, “Jesus already knows these are His cookies. He knows everything…even everything in our heart.” I guess it is a little hard to surprise the Lord with a gift.
December 09, 2010
This summer we resided our house with rusted corrugated steel and installed new windows and doors. Finding a better rate for homeowners insurance, we changed to a different company, but last week they sent us a cancellation notice citing that the exterior of the house was rusted aluminum and the house not well maintained. It was interesting trying to tell the Florida representative that 1.) Not only is the siding not aluminum, but aluminum doesn’t rust 2.) It is new siding and 3.) The rustic look was intentional and well suited for Colorado. I’m reminded of seeing an octogenarian being baptized into Christ…even though they come out of the water a new creation, they still have that lived in look.
December 08, 2010
It’s not unusual for someone to want to comment on my blog for the mere purpose of advertising their own blog by asking me to link their site to the Christian Ear. A recent writer was blogging about her “new post-religion faith where there is no hell, no original sin, you are God, and heaven on earth is real…” I think I can rule out committed Christians that would want to blog with the woman, but there’s probably a kindred spirit out there somewhere who will listen to her ‘new post-religion faith’. While in Athens Paul was taken to the Areopagus. “All the Athenians and the foreigners who lived there spent their time doing nothing but talking about and listening to the latest ideas.” (Acts 17:21 NIV)
December 07, 2010
The woman at the well was evasive when she told Jesus she didn’t have a husband - which was true. However her past showed that she had had five husbands and a current line-in. Certainly Scripture cautions us about divorce and tells us that living together out of wedlock is immoral, whether in the culture of that day or today. I must admit that I’ve always heaped extra judgment on the woman for making such poor choices in men. Recently while visiting with a woman who has had multiple marriages I learned that two marriages ended because of both husband’s infidelity and one marriage ended because her spouse died. It jumped out at me that I might owe the woman at the well an apology. (John 4:1-26 NIV)
December 06, 2010
There’s a series of cliffs in western Colorado that are called Book Cliffs. What comes to my mind when I look at these flat-top mountains is a table draped with a tablecloth which forms a scalloped skirt on the bottom. All these years I never could see the books, however the other day I thought that maybe they were stacked horizontally, so that the cliffs resemble various layers of pages. I finally went to the internet and learned that the cliffs are similar to a shelf where books are placed vertically. I’m reminded of Jesus speaking in parables about Spiritual dullness, “This is why I speak to them in parables: ‘Though seeing, they do not see; though hearing, they do not hear or understand.” (Matt 13:13 NIV) I’m thinking I might have had my eyes opened sooner if these cliffs had been named something like Vertical Book Cliffs.
December 03, 2010
Time will tell how much damage has been done to American diplomacy by the recent information released on Wikileaks, however I think some good can come out of this situation. I’m wondering if these embarrassing revelations will force America to break free from some of the political correctness that now holds us captive. Today we can’t call a scoundrel a scoundrel or expose evil as evil because it’s not PC. Biblically speaking we are warned that everything will have its day in the light. Jesus said, “For there is nothing hidden that will not be disclosed, and nothing concealed that will not be known or brought out into the open.” (Luke 8:17 NIV)
December 02, 2010
Some people have a ‘bucket list’ – a list of items they want to do before they kick the bucket. Many lists contain things like taking a trip, climbing a mountain or running a marathon. I feel certain many people would not put an item on their bucket list that pertains to the Kingdom of God. When we stand before God, our work “…will be shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it to light. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each man’s work.” (1 Cor 3:13 NIV) No doubt a lot of lists will be going up in flames.
December 01, 2010
The current political talk is all about the lame duck session and whether or not anything will be accomplished in Congress. Actually we believers can fall into the same scenario as we get older. We get burned out in ministry and just want to bide our time until our committee term expires. Or our participation in meetings slacks off because we know new faces will soon be taking over. Maybe we’re set in our ways and don’t want to compromise and cooperate with a new direction. Certainly there are some saints who serve and minister for the Kingdom up to the point of death - and then there are some who are lame ducks.