Jesus was before the Sanhedrin, “Then they spit in his face and struck him with their fists. Others slapped him and said, “Prophesy to us, Christ. Who hit you” (Matt 26:67-68 NIV)? Apparently these particular Pharisees were not in the audience when Jesus said, “But I tell you that men will have to give account on the day of judgment for every careless word they have spoken. For by your words you will be acquitted, and by your words you will be condemned” (Matt 12:36-37 NIV).
March 30, 2016
According to the footnotes in the NIV study Bible the word “holy” appears more often in the book of Leviticus than any other book in the Bible. The nation of Israel was called to be holy; to be totally consecrated to God in all aspects of life. Peter brought the reference forward in the New Testament, “But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; for it is written: “Be holy, because I am holy”” (1 Peter 1:15-16 NIV). Christian are not called to be perfect…but to be holy.
March 29, 2016
America’s foundation is as a Christian nation and the greatness of our country is an inheritance from God for faithfulness…albeit we are not as faithful as we once were. In the Parable of the Tenants, I picture Isis (the Islamic State) as the tenants wanting to destroy America because it belongs to the son…Christ. Jesus said, “But when the tenants saw the son, they said to each other, ‘This is the heir. Come, let’s kill him and take his inheritance.’ So they took him and threw him out of the vineyard and killed him. “Therefore, when the owner of the vineyard comes, what will he do to those tenants”” (Matt 21:38-40 NIV)? Islamists are adamant about killing Americans, but Mathew makes it clear that God, in His time, will “bring those wretches to a wretched end.”
March 28, 2016
March 25, 2016
For 17 years my husband has lived with metastasized prostate cancer. From a medical perspective we know there is no cure; and from the spiritual perspective the disease has not been cured, but suppressed. As believers we are confident the Lord carries our burdens; however, I was taken aback when I read that the Lord has done more than suppress Bill’s cancer, He has carried the disease. Matthew noted that the words of the prophet Isaiah were fulfilled in Jesus, “He took up our infirmities and carried our diseases” (Matt 8:17 NIV).
March 24, 2016
A TV news commentator discussed Trump’s dominating the GOP win in Arizona and said, “Trump has over performed by doing better than he needs to do.” I can understand how an actor can over perform, but I’m not sure a politician garnering all the votes he can get is over performance. I’m just trying to imagine a believer being accused of over performance…and yet that is what Jesus would have us do. Jesus said, “If someone forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles” (Matt 5:41 NIV).
March 23, 2016
Yesterday a controlled burn that the man thought he put out sprang to life and devoured his neighbor’s 100 X 32-foot garage containing six vintage cars, four motorcycles and other vehicles. A family member was able to save one vintage car by pushing it out of the garage. The residence was spared, but the intense heat broke windows and damaged siding and gutters. While it is a tragic loss, the reported imagery reminds me of Paul’s caution to those building on the foundation of Jesus Christ, “If any man builds on this foundation using gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay or straw, his 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. If what he has built survives, he will receive his reward. If it is burned up, he will suffer loss; he himself will be saved, but only as one escaping through the flames” (1 Cor 3:12-15 NIV).
March 22, 2016
On a walk I encountered a clean-cut boy of about 12 years-old on a razor scooter. He stopped me and wanted to know if he could ask me a question. I said, “Sure.” He said, “Do you have any cigarettes?” Seriously…I kept on walking and tossed over my shoulder, “You’re too young to smoke and if you smoke you’re going to get lung cancer!” While I was miffed at his asking me for a cigarette, I have to acknowledge his boldness with a stranger. As a believer I can learn from such unfettered boldness. James said, “When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures” (James 4:3 NIV).
March 21, 2016
I recently visited with a local elected official in municipal government who learned of my work as a reporter and said, “Oh, I don’t read newspapers. I don’t like all the negativity, so I just don’t read any of them.” It’s one thing for an average person to avoid reading local news, but it’s quite another for an elected official to not want to know what is going on in his community, whether it is good or bad, positive or negative. Unfortunately, the church has leaders who do something similar when they focus on love and avoid sin, Satan and hell. Paul makes it clear that Scripture is not to be categorized as positive or negative, “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.” (2 Tim 3:16-17 NIV).
March 18, 2016
This is the time of year that property owners burn ditch banks and the smoke fills the valley. Yesterday as I drove to a neighboring town I came upon a controlled burn…that was out of control. Flames ate through cattails and climbed halfway up the small mesa devouring brush along the way. Fifteen firefighters, six fire trucks and two hours later the seven-acre fire was brought under control. The Apostle Paul identified Timothy’s sincere faith, but he didn’t want Timothy to be satisfied with a controlled faith. Paul’s words are applicable to all who have sincere faith. “For this reason I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands. For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self–discipline” (2 Tim 1:6-7 NIV).
March 17, 2016
During my visit to the square dance club I learned that square dancing calls, regardless of what country you are visiting, are always called in English. In a sense, Christians are assured of a similar level of confidence because we understand the language that comes from the Lord. Jesus said of his followers, “But they will never follow a stranger; in fact, they will run away from him because they do not recognize a stranger’s voice.” (John 10:5 NIV).
March 16, 2016
In a TV interview Kasich campaign spokesperson Trent Duffy addressed the potential of a GOP contested convention. Duffy said if it went to an open convention the GOP would select, “…someone who best represents the party.” Interesting. The establishment doesn’t intent to put someone forward who represents the people, but someone who represents the party. We see something similar in the church when leaders put their own agenda ahead of the spiritual needs in the body of Christ. The high priest Caiaphas, who was concerned more with politics than the innocence of Jesus, is a good example. Caiaphas said, “You know nothing at all! You do not realize that it is better for you that one man die for the people than that the whole nation perish” (John 11:49b-50 NIV)
March 15, 2016
For my club series I recently attended a square dance club. In spite of the fact that many of these folks had been dancing together for years, there were moments of confusion that resembled a human demolition derby. I knew the dancers had to listen intently to the caller, but I was surprised at how attentive the caller was to his dancers. The caller said, “My goal is to keep everyone on the floor dancing. I want to wind up with the same eight people I started with…even if they don’t wind up with the same partner.” I’m reminded of those who listen to the call of the Lord. Jesus said, “And this is the will of him who sent me, that I shall lose none of all that he has given me, but raise them up at the last day”(John 6:39 NIV).
March 14, 2016
In a call to worship the man making the announcements said, “Let’s ask God to join us.” I understand the thought behind the statement, but the reality is that God is already with people when two or more are gathered in the Lord’s name. It’s human nature to think we can summon God to join us in an activity…and exclude Him when we don’t want Him around. We may not invite God to the bar, the bedroom, or a social activity; however, the Spirit lives within the believer and has an open invitation to all our activities. The Apostle Paul said, “Don’t you know that you yourselves are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit lives in you” (1 Cor 3:16 NIV)?
March 12, 2016
FYI - I’m not sure how many Christian Ear followers may be affected, but this is the info put out by Blogger, the host of Christian Ear: “As part of this plan, starting the week of January 11, we’ll remove the ability for people with Twitter, Yahoo, Orkut or other OpenId providers to sign in to Google Friend Connect and follow blogs. At the same time, we’ll remove non-Google Account profiles so you may see a decrease in your blog follower count… At the same time, we’ll remove non-Google Account profiles so you may see a decrease in your blog follower count… We encourage you to tell affected readers (perhaps via a blog post), that if they use a non-Google Account to follow your blog, they need to sign up for a Google Account, and re-follow your blog.”
March 11, 2016
I attended a meeting of the Humanist, Atheist, Freethinker, Agnostic (HAFTA) and was surprised by the lack of organization and structure. John, who was attending for the second time said, “Do we have a mission? What do you think is the mission [of the group]? Maybe we could say what we think?” I wonder if the premise of being a freethinker could in fact keep these folks from ever having a cohesive mission. I can’t help but reflect on the body of Christ and today’s churches coming up with mission and vision statements because people are asking, “What is our mission? Jesus said, “If you obey my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have obeyed my Father’s commands and remain in his love. I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete. My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you” (John 15:10-12 NIV).
March 10, 2016
In speaking about signs of the end of the age Jesus said, “No one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. Be on guard! Be alert! You do not know when that time will come” (Mark 13:32-33 NIV). Certainly demons would not be privy to the appointed time, but I find it curious that they have a sense of their own appointed time. When Jesus encountered two demon possessed men they said, “What do you want with us, Son of God?” they shouted. “Have you come here to torture us before the appointed time” (Matt 8:29 NIV)?
March 09, 2016
Max Lucado, best-selling author and well known pastor, jumped into the political fray and during a TV news interview denounced Donald Trump as not being a Christian. Lucado now seems to be softening his thoughts and said he, “…believes the Republican presidential candidate is giving Christians a bad name.” I am astounded that a minister of Lucado’s stature and biblical knowledge would publically judge another. Jesus said, “Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you” (Matt 7:1-2 NIV).
March 08, 2016
The atheist took exception to a local religion columnist writing about Brother Lawrence who spent 40 years washing dishes for those in need. The atheist said, “I thought his time could have been better spent doing something more productive than washing dishes.” It’s curious that those in the world feel they are qualified to judge the service of people of faith. Jesus did not consider the time he spent washing the feet of the disciples as unproductive. He said, “Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet. I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you. I tell you the truth, no servant is greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him” (John 13:14-16 NIV).
March 07, 2016
For a series of articles on local clubs I attended the monthly meeting of the Humanist, Atheist, Freethinker, Agnostic (HAFTA). While making introductions with participants one woman ask that I not use her name in the article, “I’m only just of out-of-the-closet as an atheist.” Her hesitation was because she had yet to tell all of her family that she has rejected God. John the Baptist testified about Jesus, “The Father loves the Son and has placed everything in his hands. Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God’s wrath remains on him” (John 3:35-36 NIV).
March 04, 2016
Recently I, along with two others, judged a speech contest. Our scores were tabulated together to reveal a first, second and third place winner. As the awards were handed out I was stunned that the person who deserved first place wasn’t even in the top three. I couldn’t believe that the other two judges could have gotten it so wrong. It was only as the meeting came to a close that we learned the woman who was most deserving of first place was disqualified because she went over her allotted time of two minutes and 30 seconds. Paul not only speaks of himself, but to us as well, when he talks about avoiding disqualification, “Therefore I do not run like a man running aimlessly; I do not fight like a man beating the air. No, I beat my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize” (1 Cor 9:26-27 NIV).
March 03, 2016
There is discussion and debate on the religious landscape concerning the Lord’s return and how it might be possible that “every eye will see him” at one moment in time (Rev 1:7). I find it curious that people often try to use a spiritual litmus test for events that accompany the work of Jesus, yet no one bats an eye at the supernatural events associated with the devil. After 40 days in the dessert Jesus was tempted by the devil, “The devil led him up to a high place and showed him in an instant all the kingdoms of the world” (Luke 4:5 NIV).
March 02, 2016
An older teenager sped past me on a skateboard and when he was a few yards in front of me he flew headfirst over his board. In what seemed like one seamless motion he rolled a couple of times, sprang to his feet and said, “I hate rocks!” Rubbing his hand, he jumped back on the skateboard and kept going. When I got to the place where he took his spill I could see the pebbles on the path that were likely the cause of the derailment. I’m now wondering how often we, consciously or not, put pebbles on someone’s spiritual path. Paul said, “We put no stumbling block in anyone’s path, so that our ministry will not be discredited” (2 Cor 6:3 NIV).
March 01, 2016
During an adult Sunday school a participant offered their thoughts, but the discussion leader came right behind them with a verbal eraser and wiped out their comment. It’s unfortunate that many teachers and leaders get so focused on their prepared train of thought that they fail to see the Spirit speaking through those others they are leading. If we were in a worldly setting most of us would fight for the right to have our opinion heard. However, following the example of Paul, believers often set aside their own rights, “But we did not use this right. On the contrary, we put up with anything rather than hinder the gospel of Christ” (1 Cor 9:12b NIV).