November 30, 2012
When Charlie the dog comes to my house for a visit, he jumps up in the chair by the window so he can watch whatever is going on outside. As though he’s sounding the alarm or protecting the house, he’ll bark when someone walks by, or drives in the driveway. What I find interesting though, is that he never barks when he is outside. When I take him for a walk, the other dogs on leashes, or those in fenced yards, charge at him barking like they would like to tear his leg off. He’ll just stop and nonchalantly look at them, then simply walk on by. I sort of envy Charlie’s ability to just ignore those who are aggressive and out to eat him alive. “God has said, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you”. So we say with confidence, “The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me?” (Heb 13:5b-6 NIV)
November 29, 2012
We’ve all been in social situations where the person we are talking to is always looking beyond us to see who else is in the room. Or we can see the talking heads on television who, rather than talking to the TV audience or their co-hosts, are watching their monitor to see how they look on the screen. I suppose God feels something similar when I start thinking about getting Sunday dinner on the table while the sermon is being preached. “Turn my eyes away from worthless things; preserve my life according to your word.” (Psalm 119:37 NIV)
November 28, 2012
Recently a local man made two failed bank robbery attempts…while wearing a global positioning ankle bracelet that was a condition of his parole from a previous offense. If there is a video of this guy in action he just might be a candidate for the World’s Dumbest Criminals. Of course we shouldn’t feel too superior. I can envision the heavenly audience watching some of us on the World’s Dumbest Sinners. “There is nothing concealed that will not be disclosed, or hidden that will not be made known. What you have said in the dark will be heard in the daylight, and what you have whispered in the ear in the inner rooms will be proclaimed from the roofs.” (Luke 12:2-3 NIV)
November 27, 2012
The last few months at church we have watched an infant foster child growing physically and in personality. Her adoption will be finalized next week, but she is already a member of the church family. Sunday I mentioned to her soon-to-be father that her dark hair is really getting curly on top. Jose smiled and pointing to his own wavy hair said, “She gets it from me.” I thought of our own adoption as believers. I can imagine Him pointing to us and saying, ‘She gets it from Me.’ “For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love he predestined us to be adopted as his sons through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will--” (Eph 1:4-5 NIV)
November 26, 2012
As believers most of us recognize that everything we have comes from the Lord, and we praise Him for His provisions. When I watch a television show on hoarders, with all their piles of treasures, stuff and trash, I have to wonder at what point did God’s provision turn into greed and self-sufficiency. As a believer I try to see God in everything, but I’ve got to tell you I haven’t been able to locate God in any of the homes I’ve seen. “Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment.” (1Tim 6:17 NIV)
November 23, 2012
Usually when we donate to a blood bank we think in terms of emergency situations, but that is not always the case. Years ago my father-in-law (now deceased) had a blood disorder that required blood transfusions. At first it was every six months, but as time went on, blood was needed more frequently going to every six weeks, then finally to every 10 days. Obviously, there was a point where the only thing keeping him alive was the transfused blood from others. Each week at the Communion table I’m reminded of the blood Jesus shed to take away my sins, but I had not put the Lord’s sacrifice in terms of being life-giving blood. In that sense the only thing keeping any believer alive, in this world or the next, is the blood of Jesus.
November 22, 2012
A day of thanksgiving and harvest is not limited to an American tradition, or to the confines of earth. The twenty-four elders fell on their faces and worshiped God saying, “We give thanks to you, Lord God Almighty, the One who is and who was, because you have taken your great power and have begun to reign. The nations were angry; and your wrath has come. The time has come for judging the dead, and for rewarding your servants the prophets and your saints and those who reverence your name, both small and great--” (Rev 11:17-18 NIV)
November 21, 2012
I went to my grandson’s Thanksgiving Day program at the Christian School and watched the middle school children put on a play about David and Goliath. The program, which was incorporated with their chapel service, began with the pledges (American flag, Christian flag, and the Bible), a prayer and three songs from the hymnal. It felt so good to hold a hymnal in my hands and I was amazed at how touched I was to see this old friend again. The musical notes, the author information with the date published, and an applicable passage of Scripture jumped off the hymnal pages. Like most churches today, my worship service uses slides and video, rather than hymnals. Although I take my Bible when I go to church, it is unnecessary because the Scriptural passages from the sermon are displayed on the overhead screen. Some of us have an emotional attachment to our Bibles and to hymnals, but I have to wonder about this current generation. Somehow I just can’t quite picture them having an enduring connection with a video screen.
November 20, 2012
During announcements Sunday morning, someone’s car alarm started going off in the church parking lot. At first only about three or four people got up quietly from their seats, so as not to disturb others, and headed for the exits. The alarm continued to honk and a few more folks left the building and the look on their faces said they were hoping against hope that it wasn’t their car making the disturbance. I had to laugh when I witnessed a little bit of a laying-on-of-hands as some of our men with hearing aids tried to locate the car by touching the hoods. It’s interesting that a worldly alarm can go off and mentally we start wondering if it could somehow pertain to us, but just let a spiritual alarm go off and we calmly stay seated in our chairs thinking we need not worry.
November 19, 2012
I took my new Smith & Wesson 38 special out for some target practice and I was disappointed to find that the laser isn’t worth a hoot in sunlight. I guess if a daytime intruder comes to the house I’m just going to have to ask him to come back sometime after dark. When I used the gun sight I kept shooting high, but when I started aiming for the target’s knees, lo and behold I nailed him in his midsection. As dusk approached I was finally able to use the laser and I transformed into a real Annie Oakley and I guarantee that target will never bother anyone ever again. “For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds.” (2 Cor 10:3-4 NIV)
November 16, 2012
I get a little perturbed when people don’t clean up after themselves. Such as if someone decides to cook and not clean up the stove, and then proceeds to leave the dirty dishes in the sink for someone else to put in the dishwasher. Yesterday I was in the pantry and dropped a partial container of cornmeal. I was aggravated at myself, but the thought did cross my mind, “I wonder what it would feel like to just leave it…maybe someone else will clean it up.” Of course that someone else is going to be me, so putting off cleaning it up didn’t make sense. Unfortunately messes are not limited to just our physical space, but they can also be seen in the spiritual realm. The Spirit really is the only One who can clean up our mess.
November 15, 2012
In the community we have more than one hospice and when it was time to decide which service my family needed, a nursing home employee took it upon herself to guide me toward hospice ‘A’. Ultimately I chose a the other hospice, but a few days later I watched the hospice ‘A’ nurse walking the halls of the nursing home. She was overly friendly to patients and visitors alike and after she walked away one of the elderly residents, who was not easily impressed, quipped, “She’s just looking for candidates”. I had to laugh and couldn’t help but wonder if people have similar feelings toward believers when we’re looking for people who are in need of salvation.
November 14, 2012
When we feed the hungry, visit those in prison, clothe those in need, give a drink to the thirsty, and invite strangers into our home, we are in effect doing those same acts of benevolence to the Lord. It’s not lost on me that rather than taking care of our own, the Lord emphasizes these acts of kindness are done towards strangers…people that we don’t already know. In some cases that’s a relief. I don’t know about you, but for me there are times that inviting a stranger into my home is preferable to extending an invitation to an eccentric family member. “The King will reply, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.’” (Matt 25:40 NIV)
November 13, 2012
Last weekend I went to Cabela’s to buy a Smith and Wesson 38 special. The mall parking lot was full, the store was packed with people, and guns were flying off the shelves. I asked the clerk if it was always this busy on a Saturday and he said, “Only since Tuesday’s election.” Apparently shoppers are trying to get ahead of any of the President’s threatened changes in the law regarding the sale of guns and ammunition. It’s interesting that the possibilities of tighter regulations are more motivating to people than the impending judgment of Christ. You would think the church parking lot would be full and the facility overflowing with Bible toting souls. “Now learn this lesson from the fig tree: As soon as its twigs get tender and its leaves come out, you know that summer is near. Even so, when you see all these things, you know that it is near, right at the door” (Matt 24:32-33 NIV)
November 12, 2012
I know a couple of Veterans who came home from their military Service with survivor’s guilt. Although their service was decades ago, they still carry the burden of fellow service men being wounded and killed, while physically they were unscathed. Certainly the Lord does not want them forever burdened, but Satan is relishing in the fact that they continue to re-live the past. I’m reminded of Saul/Paul who, in the early church, was a perpetrator, a persecutor and a supporter of murder. Paul had blood on his hands and yet the Lord chose him to be the one to carry the Gospel to the Gentiles. Some people wanted to forever shackle Paul to his actions, but he responded by openly acknowledged his past and refusing to let his past maim or cripple his mission.
November 09, 2012
The formatting on some of the blogs I post seem to have a mind of their own. I always compose in the same font and size, but for some reason when I post the blog changes will appear on the site. I decided I could live with that, but lately random words which were once black started showing up as blue and underlined. I can’t figure out why it is happening, or how it can be corrected. It reminds me of some of the sins in my life. I’ll be thinking that I’ve got my mind in sync with the Lord and then the Spirit will come along and highlight some corner of my heart that I didn’t even know needed attention.
November 08, 2012
If my kids were about to make a decision that had dire consequences I would first try to dissuade them. Second I would tell them, “If this doesn’t work out the way you want, then I don’t want to hear about it.” The day after the election I feel the same about those bemoaning unemployment. I don’t want to hear anyone say that they can’t find a job in their field or they can’t find a job that pays better than entitlements. I imagine that God gets an ear full of hearing believers complain when they suffer the consequences of their actions. We too are not above expecting to get what we perceive as spiritual entitlements.
November 07, 2012
I recently attended a funeral where the speaker described the deceased as a believer and assured the audience that one day we would see our loved one in heaven. Personally I’d never seen the deceased display any characteristics that would identify her as a believer, but by the same token I can also say I’d never actually heard her reject Jesus. No doubt the speaker’s intentions were to give the family encouragement, but I have to wonder if he may instead, have been giving them false hope. Rather than assuring people that their loved one is in heaven it would be better to tell them that God is a just God. “And I heard the altar respond: “Yes, Lord God Almighty, true and just are your judgments.” (Rev 16:7 NIV)
November 06, 2012
At the invitation of a friend I attended an open house for the new Mormon stake, which will hold services this week. It is a beautiful facility, the tour was nice and the members welcoming. Before I left my friend offered me a video Finding Faith in Christ. Although I tried to decline the gift, I was sensitive to the situation. For several years now the LDS church has made a concerted effort to become acceptable as mainstream Christians. My friend was on that train of thought when he said, “The video is not about the LDS church or promoting the church, it just about the Savior, Jesus Christ.” While I understand the motive behind the video; the message of the video itself is moot when it is given to a mature Christian who has already found faith in Christ.
November 05, 2012
The front page headline in the local paper said, “Storm cruel to elderly who refused to leave.” When one 90 woman was asked why she didn’t heed the warnings of hurricane Sandy she said, “I’m tired, I don’t want to go.” It’s interesting that the story goes on to suggest the storm was crueler to the elderly than it was to younger victims. Generally speaking it seems to me that everyone in the path of the storm had the same warning and the same amount of time to evacuate. I suppose I expected the wisdom of the elderly to prompt them to action; while the foolishness of the young would led them to feel invincible and indestructible. Apparently the opposite is true. As I consider the Gospel message I have to wonder if some of the elderly who fail to heed the salvation warning are themselves saying, “I’m tired, I don’t want to go.”
November 02, 2012
In the arena of government administration it is not unusual for constituents to go answer shopping. If they don’t get the answer they like to a question, they simply go to another department to see if they can get a different answer. In the religion arena we do something similar. The Bible tells us that the wicked (adulterers, homosexual offenders, idolaters, etc.) will not inherit the kingdom of God. Yet if we have a loved one who is an adulterer, we just can’t stand the thought of him being barred from heaven, so we answer shop among fellow believers. It reminds me of Satan’s conversation with Eve in the Garden of Eden. “Did God really say, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden’...You will not surely die,” the serpent said to the woman.” (Gen 3:1b, 4 NIV)
November 01, 2012
In my expository writing class the on-line teacher expects me to turn in papers that follow a specific format. She grades each paper and sends it back for corrections and it seems like with each revision she finds more corrections that need to be made. Personally, I’d just as soon she give me a lower grade and let me move on. A comma here and a semicolon there just do not seem that important to me. Does it really matter if I get a B- rather than an A+? I’d like to think if God had entrusted me with the blueprints to the ark, the temple, or the Holy of Holies that I’d be more precise. However, I can imagine that there too I’d be saying, “Does it really need to be that exact?”