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POSTED AUGUST 2016

I could not have worded this better myself…..it’s how I feel and think about the special attention God gives his children at different times in their lives. When God reveals Himself to you in a special way….don’t write a book about it or give a sermon about it…it was for you alone. Paul had a wonderful experience with God…..and he kept it to himself until he was forced to use the experience to verify his apostleship (2 Corinthians 2)…… until then it was just his alone to cherish……we can do no less….

“And will manifest myself to him.”
— John 14:21

The Lord Jesus gives special revelations of Himself to His people. Even if Scripture did not declare this, there are many of the children of God who could testify the truth of it from their own experience. They have had manifestations of their Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ in a peculiar manner, such as no mere reading or hearing could afford. In the biographies of eminent saints, you will find many instances recorded in which Jesus has been pleased, in a very special manner to speak to their souls, and to unfold the wonders of His person; yea, so have their souls been steeped in happiness that they have thought themselves to be in heaven, whereas they were not there, though they were well nigh on the threshold of it—for when Jesus manifests Himself to His people, it is heaven on earth; it is paradise in embryo; it is bliss begun. Especial manifestations of Christ exercise a holy influence on the believer’s heart. One effect will be humility. If a man says, “I have had such-and-such spiritual communications, I am a great man,” he has never had any communion with Jesus at all; for “God hath respect unto the lowly: but the proud He knoweth afar off.” He does not need to come near them to know them, and will never give them any visits of love. Another effect will be happiness; for in God’s presence there are pleasures for evermore. Holiness will be sure to follow. A man who has no holiness has never had this manifestation. Some men profess a great deal; but we must not believe any one unless we see that his deeds answer to what he says. “Be not deceived; God is not mocked.” He will not bestow His favours upon the wicked: for while He will not cast away a perfect man, neither will He respect an evil doer. Thus there will be three effects of nearness to Jesus—humility, happiness, and holiness. May God give them to thee, Christian!

John 14:21

posted May 2017

Whenever I am reminded of the fact that I am aging, my thoughts always turn to this portion of the Bible. It makes me smile and takes away some of the sting. It’s best to read it first in the King James version so you can really ponder the meaning for yourself, but I’ve put it here in the Amplified version so you can know for sure what the topic is… smile with me: 

REMEMBER [earnestly] also your Creator [that you are not your own, but His property now] in the days of your youth, before the evil days come or the years draw near when you will say [of physical pleasures], I have no enjoyment in them — [2 Sam 19:35.]

2 Before the sun and the light and the moon and the stars are darkened [sight is impaired], and the clouds [of depression] return after the rain [of tears];
3 In the day when the keepers of the house [the hands and the arms] tremble, and the strong men [the feet and the knees] bow themselves, and the grinders [the molar teeth] cease because they are few, and those who look out of the windows [the eyes] are darkened;
4 When the doors [the lips] are shut in the streets and the sound of the grinding [of the teeth] is low, and one rises up at the voice of a bird and the crowing of a cock, and all the daughters of music [the voice and the ear] are brought low;
5 Also when [the old] are afraid of danger from that which is high, and fears are in the way, and the almond tree [their white hair] blooms, and the grasshopper [a little thing] is a burden, and desire and appetite fail, because man goes to his everlasting home and the mourners go about the streets or marketplaces. [Job 17:13.]
6 [Remember your Creator earnestly now] before the silver cord [of life] is snapped apart, or the golden bowl is broken, or the pitcher is broken at the fountain, or the wheel broken at the cistern [and the whole circulatory system of the blood ceases to function];
7 Then shall the dust [out of which God made man’s body] return to the earth as it was, and the spirit shall return to God Who gave it.
8 Vapor of vapors and futility of futilities, says the Preacher. All is futility (emptiness, falsity, vainglory, and transitoriness)!
9 And furthermore, because the Preacher was wise, he [Solomon] still taught the people knowledge; and he pondered and searched out and set in order many proverbs.
10 The Preacher sought acceptable words, even to write down rightly words of truth or correct sentiment.
11 The words of the wise are like prodding goads, and firmly fixed [in the mind] like nails are the collected sayings which are given [as proceeding] from one Shepherd. [Ezek 37:24.]
12 But about going further [than the words given by one Shepherd], my son, be warned. Of making many books there is no end [so do not believe everything you read], and much study is a weariness of the flesh.
13 All has been heard; the end of the matter is: Fear God [revere and worship Him, knowing that He is] and keep His commandments, for this is the whole of man [the full, original purpose of his creation, the object of God’s providence, the root of character, the foundation of all happiness, the adjustment to all inharmonious circumstances and conditions under the sun] and the whole [duty] for every man.
14 For God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it is good or evil. [Matt 12:36; Acts 17:30,31; Rom 2:16; 1 Cor 4:5.]

Ecclesiastes 12 Amplified Bible

posted Oct 1, 2016

Jesus did a whole lot of teaching in John 14, 15, and 16. He said a lot of deep things and clear instructions.

And then he prayed for them… John 17.

But before he prayed, he said this to them, ” I have told you these things, so that in Me you may have [perfect] peace and confidence. In the world you have tribulation and trials and distress and frustration; but be of good cheer [take courage; be confident, certain, undaunted]! For I have overcome the world. [I have deprived it of power to harm you and have conquered it for you.]

I love that. Whatever we have to face, Jesus has conquered it for you. For all our sisters and brothers facing terrible persecution in the world, the world won’t win.  You can have perfect peace because Jesus is still on his throne. There is a home in Heaven for you because Jesus has conquered the world. You can have perfect peace, because you know where your real home is…..and Jesus has a place fixed up just for you.

And then he prayed for them……..

posted Aug 2, 2016

Do you have a hard time accepting some things in the Bible? Are some passages just too hard for you to understand? Perhaps, it would be comforting to know that those who walked with Jesus had a hard time understanding some things, too.

John 6 tells us that the people were following Jesus because they wanted a free meal! Not just to see a miracle but to actually be fed and not have to work for food anymore. Jesus called them on it! He told them they just wanted food. He even corrected their erroneous belief that Moses gave them manna in the wilderness, it was God who gave it. They really had a hard time believing anything Jesus said.

Jesus said, “I tell you the truth, Moses didn’t give you bread from heaven. My Father did. And now he offers you the true bread from heaven. The true bread of God is the one who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.”  

“Sir,” they said, “give us that bread every day.”

Jesus replied, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never be hungry again. Whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.  But you haven’t believed in me even though you have seen me.  However, those the Father has given me will come to me, and I will never reject them.  For I have come down from heaven to do the will of God who sent me, not to do my own will.  And this is the will of God, that I should not lose even one of all those he has given me, but that I should raise them up at the last day.  For it is my Father’s will that all who see his Son and believe in him should have eternal life. I will raise them up at the last day.”

 Then the people began to murmur in disagreement because he had said, “I am the bread that came down from heaven.”  They said, “Isn’t this Jesus, the son of Joseph? We know his father and mother. How can he say, ‘I came down from heaven’?”

If you think that was hard for them to believe. Look what he says next!

……Yes, I am the bread of life!  Your ancestors ate manna in the wilderness, but they all died.  Anyone who eats the bread from heaven, however, will never die.  I am the living bread that came down from heaven. Anyone who eats this bread will live forever; and this bread, which I will offer so the world may live, is my flesh.”

Then the people began arguing with each other about what he meant. “How can this man give us his flesh to eat?” they asked.

So Jesus said again, “I tell you the truth, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you cannot have eternal life within you.  But anyone who eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise that person at the last day.  For my flesh is true food, and my blood is true drink.  Anyone who eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me, and I in him. I live because of the living Father who sent me; in the same way, anyone who feeds on me will live because of me.  I am the true bread that came down from heaven. Anyone who eats this bread will not die as your ancestors did (even though they ate the manna) but will live forever.”

Looking back, we know what He meant. We know he was talking about communion and the fact we use it to remember that he died for us. His body was broken and his blood spilled for our sins to give us a path way to Heaven. But, back then…..no one understood. One group just wanted a free meal.

At this point many of his disciples turned away and deserted him.  

It was too difficult for them to understand. They walked away. When you come to a difficult passage in the Bible, one that makes no sense to you, is the tendency there to just walk away and not believe any of it? There have always been those who do not understand and they walk away. But to true believers, those who see the difficulties but continue to believe and have faith, to those Jesus says:

Then Jesus turned to the Twelve and asked, “Are you also going to leave?”

Yes, the Bible has difficult things to believe in it. Yes, it might be easier to just walk away. May we all have the faith of Peter….he didn’t walk away. He kept trusting and following… his reasoning should be the same for us.

Simon Peter replied, “Lord, to whom would we go? You have the words that give eternal life.  We believe, and we know you are the Holy One of God.”

 

posted August 2, 2016

Psalm 73 is such an interesting psalm. The writer was tired of being poor and following all of God’s commandments. There seemed to be no reward for him and when he saw the ungodly rich people around him…..well, let’s say, he wasn’t having nice thoughts.

 Truly God is good to Israel, to those whose hearts are pure. But as for me, I almost lost my footing. My feet were slipping, and I was almost gone. For I envied the proud when I saw them prosper despite their wickedness. They seem to live such painless lives; their bodies are so healthy and strong. They don’t have troubles like other people; they’re not plagued with problems like everyone else. They wear pride like a jeweled necklace and clothe themselves with cruelty. These fat cats have everything their hearts could ever wish for! They scoff and speak only evil; in their pride they seek to crush others. They boast against the very heavens, and their words strut throughout the earth. And so the people are dismayed and confused, drinking in all their words. “What does God know?” they ask. “Does the Most High even know what’s happening?” Look at these wicked people—enjoying a life of ease while their riches multiply.

Not only did the rich look happy, but he was miserable.

Did I keep my heart pure for nothing? Did I keep myself innocent for no reason? I get nothing but trouble all day long; every morning brings me pain.

All these thoughts have been in his head….and he is just bursting. He wants to rant and rave. He tried to understand, but that was really a hard thing for him to do!

 If I had really spoken this way to others, I would have been a traitor to your people.

Now he decides to do what he should have done in the first place.

So I tried to understand why the wicked prosper. But what a difficult task it is! Then I went into your sanctuary, O God, and I finally understood the destiny of the wicked. Truly, you put them on a slippery path and send them sliding over the cliff to destruction. In an instant they are destroyed, completely swept away by terrors. When you arise, O Lord, you will laugh at their silly ideas as a person laughs at dreams in the morning.

Actually I really love that last sentence…”silly ideas.” When I get frustrated about evolution being believed everywhere… about the disregard of the Ten Commandments for a society to live by, by all of God’s words being laughed at and disregarded…well, it’s good to remember that to God, they are just “silly ideas.”

Then I realized that my heart was bitter, and I was all torn up inside. I was so foolish and ignorant—I must have seemed like a senseless animal to you.

Yep, he did seem a little foolish…..ah, but now, now he has his head on straight, his brain aligned with God’s….these are beautiful words:

Yet I still belong to you; you hold my right hand. You guide me with your counsel, leading me to a glorious destiny. Whom have I in heaven but you? I desire you more than anything on earth. My health may fail, and my spirit may grow weak, but God remains the strength of my heart; he is mine forever.

 Those who desert him will perish, for you destroy those who abandon you. But as for me, how good it is to be near God! I have made the Sovereign Lord my shelter, and I will tell everyone about the wonderful things you do.

…..and may I tell everyone about the Lord!

posted April 1, 2015

They call it the Barranca Del Cobre. Copper Canyon. It is located in the northern part of Mexico and actually consists of five canyons, each one larger than the Grand Canyon in the U.S.A. Our curiosity stirred, we boarded the train at Los Mochis and started on the trip which would take us over 300 miles of track. Tracks which took more than 100 years to lay. Starting at sea level, we would go through 87 tunnels, across 36 major bridges, and reach 8,000 feet.

As exciting as it sounds, one must always remember one is traveling in a third world country. A fact I was immediately reminded of when my breakfast arrived in a Styrofoam box. Oh well, I like sandwiches at six in the morning!

Although the trip can actually be done in one day, we took three. Our first stop was Bahuichivo train station to catch the Mission Hotel’s bus to Cerocahui. Bouncing over ten miles of dirt road we arrived in a beautiful valley dotted by homes, the center of which was the Mission and the Hotel. Friendly people, good food, and tranquility surrounded us.

We walked up the dirt road, past the Mission, (where children giggled at having their picture taken) and on through town. At each little home I thought about how easy it would be to live there. My mind wandered, easy to live here and to be forgotten here. Especially if one wanted to be forgotten. No one would ever know you were here. Enough of a tan and one would eventually blend into the countryside. Man without a country,

Without a family, and with a name no one quite remembers. Weary of the problems of life and relationships? Ever think of disappearing?

Breaking from my reverie, my Constant Companion reminded me that he would know where I was. “Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence? If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there. If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast”. (Psalm 139:7-10)

Comfort surrounded me, as I was fully conscious of the love, which encompassed me. He was, indeed, my Constant Companion. Miles from nowhere he could find me. Wandering vagabonds were his specialty. He is the traveler’s Companion.

PRAYER: Thank God he is able to be everywhere. Praise him for his constant companionship.

posted Nov. 2014

If you’ve been around Christianity for any length of time, and are a woman, then you’ve heard these verses: “These older women must train the younger women to love their husbands and their children, to live wisely and be pure, to work in their homes, to do good, and to be submissive to their husbands. Then they will not bring shame on the word of God.” (Titus 2:4-5)

I’ve always thought of myself as “the younger woman,” since I could always find someone older. I have a friend who is 93 and still drives, goes to church, and cleans her own house. I want to be just like her when I’m that age…except for the “cleans own house” bit.

Those verses are fine for younger women, but it does cause a problem if you’re older… which I haven’t been till this year.  So here is the problem, in verse form:

  • My cup runneth over,
  • It does, it does,
  • For I am old, and full of knowledge,
  • And so wise, so wise.
  • My cup runneth over,
  • It’s full, it’s full,
  • With wit, advice, and all my learning,
  • I’m ready, I’m ready!
  • My cup runneth over,
  • With years and years,
  • Of experiences I want to share, but….
  • Who’s to hear, who’s to hear?
  • My cup runneth over,
  • Here am I, here am I,
  • But my answers go unquestioned for…
  • No one asks, no one asks.

JRJ

 

 

posted August 2014

I love the story of Lazarus and the rich man. I don’t know exactly why, except that it speaks to me in so many ways. Jesus told the story in Luke 16.

“There was a rich man who was dressed in purple and fine linen and lived in luxury every day. At his gate was laid a beggar named Lazarus, covered with sores and longing to eat what fell from the rich man’s table. Even the dogs came and licked his sores.

 “The time came when the beggar died and the angels carried him to Abraham’s side. The rich man also died and was buried.  In hell, where he was in torment, he looked up and saw Abraham far away, with Lazarus by his side. So he called to him, ‘Father Abraham, have pity on me and send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue, because I am in agony in this fire.’

“But Abraham replied, ‘Son, remember that in your lifetime you received your good things, while Lazarus received bad things, but now he is comforted here and you are in agony. And besides all this, between us and you a great chasm has been fixed, so that those who want to go from here to you cannot, nor can anyone cross over from there to us.’

 “He answered, ‘Then I beg you, father, send Lazarus to my father’s house, for I have five brothers. Let him warn them, so that they will not also come to this place of torment.’

“Abraham replied, ‘They have Moses and the Prophets; let them listen to them.’

“‘No, father Abraham,’ he said, ‘but if someone from the dead goes to them, they will repent.’

He said to him, ‘If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, they will not be convinced even if someone rises from the dead.'”

The first way this story speaks to me is with reality. The good can have crummy lives and the bad can live in ease and luxury. We see it around us all the time. Chapter 11 of Hebrews has an impressive list of God’s saints, and the most impressive are in the last few verses, “Others were tortured and refused to be released, so that they might gain a better resurrection. Some faced jeers and flogging, while still others were chained and put in prison. They were stoned; they were sawed in two; they were put to death by the sword. They went about in sheepskins and goatskins, destitute, persecuted and mistreated- the world was not worthy of them. They wandered in deserts and mountains, and in caves and holes in the ground.  These were all commended for their faith, yet none of them received what had been promised. God had planned something better for us so that only together with us would they be made perfect.”

It has often fascinated me that the very first book of the Bible written down was Job. In fact, it is one of the very first works ever in literature. The subject? Why do the “good” suffer. I don’t think we’ll ever get the answer to this on this side of Heaven, but we keep asking. Indeed, God didn’t even answer Job for that man never knew why he had suffered.

There is no doubting the reality of this when we read of the treatment of Christians in other countries.

Another way this story speaks to me is the clarity with which it explains where the saints before Christ went after death. They went to a place called “Paradise,” while the unbelievers went to Hades. This story explains the exact set up. After Jesus died for our sins He was able at that time to take these saints up to Heaven to be presented to God. Before Jesus died there was no way an imperfect man could be in the presence of a perfect God. Jesus did that for us by taking our place.

“But to each one of us grace was given according to the measure of Christ’s gift. Therefore He says:

“When He ascended on high,

He led captivity captive,

And gave gifts to men.” 

(Now this, “He ascended”–what does it mean but that He also first descended into the lower parts of the earth? He who descended is also the One who ascended far above all the heavens, that He might fill all things.) Ephesians 4:7-11 NKJV

Of course, one thing I really love about the story is that it is true! When Jesus spoke in parables to the people he never used a real name. This story tells us the specific name of a specific person. Of course, I love the fact that the stingy rich man didn’t even get his name mentioned.

Now here is a point to ponder: I suppose we have all heard people laugh and joke about hell by saying that all their friends will be there and so it will be a fun place. The rich man didn’t want even one of his five brothers down there with him. With that many brothers he probably didn’t even like a couple of them, but that didn’t matter, he did not want them to suffer as he was suffering. The rich man wasn’t laughing.

Another great point is the importance put on the Bible. Abraham said, “‘They have Moses and the Prophets; let them listen to them.” There is no need for anything more. The Bible holds all the keys for life. In 2 Peter 1:3-4 the Bible tells us: “His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature and escape the corruption in the world caused by evil desires.” NIV

In my early days as a Christian I was always seeking more. I thought there must be an easier faster way to be a powerful perfect Christian. Indeed, I thought there was such a thing as a perfect Christian with nothing but blessings and power to do all things.  Three years at Bible school, three years on the mission field, and many years as a teacher and leader and I never found one. All my searching for the perfect Christian and I came up empty. After all the seminars, meetings, and camps, it was painfully clear that all around me where nothing but imperfect Christians…I could even list their faults! Even more painful was the realization that I would never be the completely devoted perfect Christian myself. There is no such thing. I have now been a serious Christian for fifty years and this is what I have come up with: “Trust and obey, for there’s no other way, to be happy in Jesus but to trust and obey”…..The Bible has all the answers and if people won’t listen to that there isn’t a reason or a need for more. That is why it is so important I know the Bible, why it is so important I saturate myself with it. No experience can replace it. The Bible is the final word for all!

Just think of the impact of these final words from Abraham, “If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, they will not be convinced even if someone rises from the dead.”

A risen Christ will not convince anyone if they won’t listen to the Bible!

It has always been an amazement to me how many people walked away from Jesus and refused to believe in Him. The miracles didn’t convince them. Raising the other Lazarus from the dead didn’t convince them. His words didn’t change them. They turned their back on Him and walked away…even so far as to go the religious leaders and enter into the plot to kill him. (John 11:45-47)

Jesus had no patience for those who always wanted more, for those who came only for the miracles and the bread. They wanted signs. Jesus said, “A wicked and adulterous generation asks for a miraculous sign! But none will be given it except the sign of the prophet Jonah. For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of a huge fish, so the Son of Man will be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.”  Matthew 12:39-41 NIV

Many times, when I read the Bible and consider this verse, I think of another verse which is far scarier. It’s in Psalms, “Then at last his people believed him. Then they finally sang his praise. Yet how quickly they forgot again! They wouldn’t wait for him to act but demanded better food, testing God’s patience to the breaking point. So he gave them their demands but sent them leanness in their souls.” Psalm 106:12-15 TLB

It really makes me stop and make sure I’m not demanding my own way, not demanding better food and more signs and miracles. The Bible is all I need and that will satisfy me for I really don’t want God to send “leanness” to my soul.

Yep, there is a whole lot of information and points to ponder in that story and the biggest being the importance of the Word of God. The rich man was pretty thirsty, and I want only to be that thirsty for God’s Word.

 

posted June 15, 2014

I feel awful about this….but I am so depressed, unhappy, and traumatized. I think about all the terrible things going on in the world, and yet, here I am…perfectly miserable because I just got the worst perm I’ve ever had.  No matter how hard I try to force out joy and peace and gratefulness…it still comes down to this…one look in the mirror and I collapse into a weepy, whiney, bundle of nerves. Instead of thinking of all the good things in my life, I want to cry about this one bad thing (granted it is very, very bad!).

But! I finally found the path my brain and emotions should be going. Since I did have the fleeting thought that maybe I should shave my head and tell everyone I’m going through cancer treatment, I don’t have cancer. I’m not even losing hair (although it’s close) like some lovely elderly ladies I know. I have all my limbs, the sun is out and I’m not dodging bullets. I’m not sitting in a jail or a locked up in a house. And, even though I could be complaining because our water is being turned off (for the second time in two weeks) my husband and I are making the best of it by going to town and we’re starting at Starbucks!

I even thought of something to be thankful for…I have hats!  I have lots of them! I love hats and have collected a lot and only occasionally wear them. Now I can wear a new one every day!

And, the best thing of all, it will grow out. Although we have only been in town for three weeks and are meeting people for the first time, I have the luxury of an empty schedule…left that way so I would have lots of time to unpack. I can luxuriate in long coffee breaks and play games on the computer and read, read, read! I can smile at the boxes around me and simply tell anyone who wants to visit that I can’t, I have to unpack!

There, see, I’ve already talked myself out of depression today. It works well as long as I don’t think of all the other things, on top of a very bad day at the hair dressers that could cause depression.

And I’m not thinking about tomorrow…. and I am praising God for what He has done for me in the past. And just think of all the lovely theological discussions I can have about whether bad hair is a plan for my life or ….something that just happened!

posted Feb, 2014

Those who obey without question are usually children who are just too young to talk.  The rest of us question.  The rest of us hesitate.  The rest of us allow our fear or our self-will to take over.  Even when it is God doing the talking and a Christian doing the listening, still, obedience does not come easily.

Something which happened to me years ago might serve to illustrate this.  Shortly after my husband and I became Christians, he spent a week counseling at a Christian summer camp.  He came home very excited about the idea of selling our home and going to Bible school.  Now I would love to tell you how very spiritual I was and how I just said; sure, let’s go.  But the truth is I really balked.  I thought of more excuses, reason, and problems than there were.

Why all the excuses?  What was I thinking?  The bottom line was the house.  I was afraid to obey God’s guidance because I didn’t want to lose my home.  My security, which was tied to that home, was being threatened.  It was a two bedroom, one bath house built on a slab in the middle of 19 acres.  It wasn’t much, but it was ours.

God pried my fingers open and we sold our home.  In fact, it was sold within two weeks.  I guess God didn’t want to give us a chance to change our minds.  We not only sold our home but we sold everything.  My husband, an avid fisherman and hunter, even sold all of his fishing poles and guns.  We sold furniture and appliances, our horse, and my beloved Honda trail bike.

That August, as we drove away from our little farm, I really felt I would never have my own home again.  I was giving it all up for God.   Sounds good, huh?  What I’m neglecting to mention is that God hadn’t successfully pried my fingers all the way open.  We pulled out of that driveway pulling a trailer, a very full trailer.  It contained “a few things” I felt I had to keep.

When we arrived at school the only place we could find to rent as a third floor apartment completely furnished.  I didn’t need the pieces of furniture I had brought and besides, after we opened the trailer and started bringing things out, we discovered our lamp table was broken and a 10 pound sack of sugar had, for 3000 miles, rained granules all over our couch.  It was never the same.  I also discovered that most of the things I had brought with me could be found cheaper and better in my new location.

It wasn’t until years later that I realized my disobedience.  I had held on and God had pried them out of my hand.  Why?  Was He being mean?  No, He wanted to fill my hands to overflowing with good things, better things, things which I hadn’t even started to imagine.  Since that time I’ve lived in many different places.  I am so thankful to God for the homes I’ve had and the lessons learned in each.  But, He had to get me out of that little dinky house first!

I know of one other person who balked at obeying God.  He tried to hold on to just “a few things.” also.  Saul was King of Israel.  He had everything going for him.  God had promised so much to him, and to his people, on the one condition that they all obey.  Saul failed miserably.  Two specific times he disobeyed God.  In 1 Samuel 13 he made a sacrifice and did not wait for Samuel as he had been instructed to do.  Saul’s reason was fear.  He and his men were afraid of the enemy.  He disobeyed once again in 1 Samuel 15 when he did not destroy his enemy completely.  He kept back “a few things” because he was afraid of the people.  For those disobediences the kingdom was taken away from him and given to David, who was “a man after God’s own heart.”

I had often wondered why David was, “a man after God’s own heart.”  A while back I decided to pursue my wondering and look through the Bible for the answer.  I found it in Acts 13:22.  “After removing Saul, He (God) made David their King.  He testified concerning him:  I have found David son of Jesse a man after my own heart;  he will do everything I want him to do.”  Obedience!  The reason David was so near to God’s heart.

Knowing what to obey is important also.  God speaks to me through the Bible and through inner promptings.  Reading and obeying God’s word is basic.  Listening to God’s inner promptings is basic.  I need to start there.

Sometimes, even knowing the basics doesn’t help when self-will gets in the way.  God may make it absolutely clear what he wants, when He wants it, where He wants it, and how it can be done.  But I may just not want to do it.

Jonah had that problem.  God told him exactly what to do, how to do it, where to do it, and when to do it.  But Jonah turned around and went exactly the opposite direction.  He was a man of God, but he just didn’t want to do what he was told.  It’s interesting how, when he was on the ship and running from God, everyone else was upset by the storm, and fearing for their lives, but not Jonah.  He was asleep.  He trusted God.  He knew God was taking care of him.  He must have just thought the way some of us do, “God will forgive me.  I’ll just do my own thing and ask for forgiveness later.”

So Jonah wound up in the belly of a fish, repented of his disobedience, and had to walk through Ninevah doing what God had wanted him to do in the first place.  Only now he had whale puke all over him.  Disobedience is a pack of trouble and one usually winds up doing it God’s way, anyway.  And besides, God has a reason for what He asks of His people, and He can be trusted to always have our best interest at heart.

I have an illustration of this, although I share it reluctantly.  It will reveal to the world the depths of my strong self-will.  I like to drive fast. In fact, I like fast.  Fast cars, fast motorbikes, fast boats, I just like fast.  A few years ago I was on my way to a meeting in a nearby town.  As I was approaching the on ramp the thought ran through my head that I was already planning to speed.  Immediately, I felt God’s inner prompting so loud that it was deafening; DON’T SPEED, DO GO THE SPEED LIMIT.  NOT OBEYING THE LAWS OF THE LAND IS DISOBEDIENCE TO ME.  Well, I started with my usual line of excuses;  I’m late, it’s the middle of the day so it’s safe, everyone else drives fast too, it’s a stupid law (well, okey, it’s a good law but it shouldn’t mean me).  My thoughts were flying as fast as I was up that ramp.  As I reached the top my final words on the subject were, “Lord, I know that I should drive the speed limit, but I just can’t do it.  It is just too hard for me and you are asking too much.”  At that, both my foot and the speedometer went forward and I promptly forgot the whole matter.

Several miles and musings later I noticed a light.  It was red, it was flashing, and it was behind me.  As I pulled over all my energy seemed to drain right out of my body and I gazed at my disobedience and self-will as if it were a pool at my feet.  I was crushed.  I was in the belly of a whale and I was covered with whale puke.  Instant replay was running through my head.  You can’t do it, huh?  You just can’t obey, huh?  What now, huh?

I didn’t say a word to the policeman.  I politely answered his questions and I signed the ticket.  I drove the speed limit all the way to my meeting and back.  But it didn’t end there.  God really has a sense of humor.  I received about three tickets in a row in the next few months.  I went to traffic school two.  I didn’t even know there was a traffic school two!  Thankfully, I didn’t have to attend traffic school Three.  (yes, there is a traffic school three!)  I guess after that one they send your picture to all insurance companies with a warning attached.  I even received a letter which said, “Congratulations!  You are among the top 10 percent in the state of California for receiving driving citations.”

One of my tickets was for not stopping completely at a stop sign, a stop sign which happened to be within two blocks of my church.  I was pulled over in front of the church where I was headed for a morning Bible study.  Since I’m normally early I was talking to the officer as every person in that study drove right past me.  How humiliating!  I didn’t even go to the Bible study.  I went home and washed off the whale puke.  Trust me on this, disobeying by just strong self-will is not worth it.

In fact, disobeying for any reason is just not worth it.  Better to obey and be like David, “a man after God’s own heart.”  That’s my goal.  That’s a much higher calling.  After all, Id rather not have any more illustrations of disobedience in my life.  (This article was published in August 1992- Decision Magazine)

 

posted Jan 6, 2014

I remember vividly the last time it happened.  Clearly I can once again feel the rage within me.  The rage I had lived with for so many years.  The rage which was always somebody else’s fault.  And, this time, it was his fault.  He shouldn’t have said that.  I was holding a hanging plant; it took all my strength not to throw it at him.  Not to wrap it around his head.  Instead, I walked to the back of the car and put the plant in the trunk.  I was as shocked as my audience that the fury had not burst forth. I got into the car, feeling very aware of the eyes on me.

A while back, on a Christian radio program, I heard a woman describe a very interesting dream she had.  She saw herself in a huge ballroom in the midst of an elbow to elbow crowd.  Everyone held a full cup and everyone kept getting bumped.  Each bump would cause the cup to spill over.  I enjoyed listening to her description and analogy of the cup.  But, I found myself musing more about the “bumps” and about what was spilling out of those cups.  I could picture all of us as cups, getting bumped, and spilling.  It seems, someone is always bumping me.  Especially, my family bumps often and hard.  I have also done a lot of thinking about what spills out of my cup.

On the day mentioned, I had been bumped, and it was anger which was spilling out all over. There have been many cartoons made about Donald Duck and his tormentors, the chipmunks.  I believe I saw them all.  Donald would always loose his cool and jump up and down and squawk in his unmistakable Donald Duck voice.  In the scene I remember the most, the chipmunks had really gotten the best of Donald and he was really jumping up and down and squawking loudly.  But those pesky little chipmunks just ran right past him, up the tree, and high, high into the branches.  What was interesting was that this scene was viewed through the eyes of the chipmunks.  It was as though YOU were running past Donald, up the tree, into the branches, and higher and higher.  Donald became smaller and smaller.  In my really angry days, I used to wonder if that was the way I appeared to God.  There I was, jumping up and down, squawking loudly, and just getting smaller and smaller.

Some believe squawking loudly is a healthy way to relieve inner tensions.  Those of us who know intimately about anger, and the rage it can bring, know that isn’t so.  Squawking only it worse.  And, as some of us know, it is just another way to control people.  Anger makes people jump, it causes them to sit up and take notice.  Anger is the only means some parents have to control their children.  It works.  I know.  I also know it’s wrong.  Sometimes, anger is my knee jerk reaction to hurt.  You hurt me or you reject me so I become angry.  Another way to sis to say that with anger I am attempting to control how other people treat me.

God is not very impressed with man’s anger.  In fact, in James 1:20, he says very clearly….”for man’s anger does not bring about the righteous life that God desires.”

Sometimes my cup is bumped and instead of Donald Duck spilling out all over I turn into one of the women in Golden Girls.  Do you know which one?  The one who always uses sarcasm to “get at” anyone who treats her poorly.  I have been known to use hurtful, sarcastic, and biting words at times.  Innuendos and snide, side remarks spill right out.  Fortunately, this is not my usual M.O.  I usually only use this on my husband, and only after he has mistreated me in some way, and only after he has walked out of the room.  Then I mutter all the cutting remarks I can think of and although they don’t spill out on him, it still reveals what is inside my cup at that moment.  I can tell myself sarcasm is a great tension reliever.  But, I know better.  It’s still wrong, and it’s still sin, and it still reveals my heart.

Another way I react to bumping is by withdrawing into myself.  I get hurt because someone has taken advantage of me, or ignored me, or has rejected my friendship or my opinion.  I could never just tell that person.  So I keep it inside.  My sleep is disturbed, my stomach hurts, and the little black cloud of depression follows me around.  The offense is played over and over inside of me.  The Bible says to get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, all brawling and slander, and every form of malice.” The Bible also says to “put off falsehood and speak truthfully to your neighbor.”  I shouldn’t lie or deny my feelings, but I need to speak openly, honestly, and lovingly to others to let them know how I feel.  God doesn’t want his children to seethe either.

What spills out, when I’m bumped, is what is inside the cup.  It is one of the challenges of the Christian life to figure out how to have my heart so full and overflowing with wholesomeness and love that only those things spill out.  Not anger.  Not sarcasm.  Not withdrawing.   Jesus said, “For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks.”

In the first book of the Bible, God tells the whole life story of Joseph.  He was the favored 11th son of 12 sons.  His brothers sold him into slavery and led the father to believe that Joseph had been eaten by wild animals.  Joseph grew up as a slave instead of as a prince.  He worked hard and was rewarded by being given more responsibility.  Unfortunately, he was good looking and the boss’s wife wanted him (I mean, really wanted him)  She even grabbed at him and he ran.  So she lied about him and he wound up in jail.  He worked hard and became the jailer’s head trustee.  God had given him the gift of interpreting dreams.  So he did that for two of his fellow prisoners.  One of those men was released to work for the King and Joseph requested him to ask the king for mercy so Joseph might be released, also.  However, the freed prisoner forgot him.  Many years later, the guy finally remembered Joseph and he was brought out of prison to interpret the King’s dream.  Joseph worked hard and became ruler of Egypt, second only to the King.  All these terrible things happened to Joseph over many years, wasted years from our viewpoint.  He endured jealousy, betrayal, and being forgotten.  Not from strangers, but from people whom he had loved, had served, and had known.  He was given the worst possible treatment there can be from any relationship. Joseph must have prayed through those years for God to free him, for God to vindicate him.  But, God didn’t do it.  Joseph could have become angry, bitter, and withdrawn.  Instead, the Bible records that years later, when he faced his brothers once again, it wasn’t with vindictiveness and revenge but with gentleness.  He said this in Genesis 50:20, “but as for you, (speaking to his brothers) you meant evil against me; but God meant it for good in order to bring it about as it is this day, to save many people alive.”  Joseph could be free of anger and bitterness because he recognized the hand of God who is able to bring about good out of evil.  God had done that.  He had used Joseph to save the Israelites from dying during a great famine.  The miracle, though, is that Joseph recognized God’s hand.  It is good to recognize God’s hand in retrospect, but far better to recognize God’s hand during the midst of trials.

One of the best statements I have ever heard on God’s method of dealing with his people was also on the radio.  The speaker said that God will never give us the power to control our temper.  What He will do is take away the temper.   God takes away the anger.  The sarcasm.  The withdrawing.  For me, I become angry or bitter or withdrawn because I forget that ultimately God is in control.  I find myself, sometimes, muttering about the way others have treated me.  I forget the story of Joseph and God’s great purposes.  I forget God loves me and wants me to be more like Jesus.  I forget the Bible verses which tell me God is in ultimate control of everything. He even controls governments and kings as in Proverbs 21:1, “the king’s heart is in the hand of the LORD; he directs it like a watercourse wherever he pleases.”

I’ve never been sold into slavery or thrown into jail.  But I have had those I cared about betray me, lie about me, and forget me.  I have tried to force myself to be kind, to say wholesome words to those people.  But, when nothing wholesome is inside, the situation just becomes worse.  The times I look for God’s hand in it all, the times I trust Him to do as He said in Romans 8:28-30, “making all things to work together for your good”, I’m all right.  When my prayer is, ‘Lord, what do you want to teach me through this? Then my cup overflows with kindness. I can recognize God’s loving hand on my life.  I can stop hurting others just because I’m hurt.  I can see my own sin and therefore not be too fast to condemn others.  I can be bumped.  My cup will spill.  But, no one will be burned.

posted Oct 1, 2013

Angels have never interested me much. Others seem to be fascinated and want to know all about them. I see them as an adjunct to God…..just not that important. However, I am curious about some of the appearances of angel beings in the Old Testament because I have learned some of these are actually appearances of Jesus, called a Christophany.

One of these is in Genesis 18.

“The Lord appeared again to Abraham near the oak grove belonging to Mamre. One day Abraham was sitting at the entrance to his tent during the hottest part of the day.  He looked up and noticed three men standing nearby. When he saw them, he ran to meet them and welcomed them, bowing low to the ground.

 “My lord,” he said, “if it pleases you, stop here for a while.  Rest in the shade of this tree while water is brought to wash your feet.  And since you’ve honored your servant with this visit, let me prepare some food to refresh you before you continue on your journey.”

“All right,” they said. “Do as you have said.”

 So Abraham ran back to the tent and said to Sarah, “Hurry! Get three large measures[a] of your best flour, knead it into dough, and bake some bread.”  Then Abraham ran out to the herd and chose a tender calf and gave it to his servant, who quickly prepared it.  When the food was ready, Abraham took some yogurt and milk and the roasted meat, and he served it to the men. As they ate, Abraham waited on them in the shade of the trees.

 “Where is Sarah, your wife?” the visitors asked.

“She’s inside the tent,” Abraham replied.

 Then one of them said, “I will return to you about this time next year, and your wife, Sarah, will have a son!”

Sarah was listening to this conversation from the tent.  Abraham and Sarah were both very old by this time, and Sarah was long past the age of having children.  So she laughed silently to herself and said, “How could a worn-out woman like me enjoy such pleasure, especially when my master—my husband—is also so old?”

 Then the Lord said to Abraham, “Why did Sarah laugh? Why did she say, ‘Can an old woman like me have a baby?’  Is anything too hard for the Lord? I will return about this time next year, and Sarah will have a son.”

 Sarah was afraid, so she denied it, saying, “I didn’t laugh.”

But the Lord said, “No, you did laugh.”

 Then the men got up from their meal and looked out toward Sodom. As they left, Abraham went with them to send them on their way.

 “Should I hide my plan from Abraham?” the Lord asked.  “For Abraham will certainly become a great and mighty nation, and all the nations of the earth will be blessed through him.  I have singled him out so that he will direct his sons and their families to keep the way of the Lord by doing what is right and just. Then I will do for Abraham all that I have promised.”

 So the Lord told Abraham, “I have heard a great outcry from Sodom and Gomorrah, because their sin is so flagrant.  I am going down to see if their actions are as wicked as I have heard. If not, I want to know.”

The other men turned and headed toward Sodom, but the Lord remained with Abraham.”

There are reasons that most Bible commentaries believe this was an appearance of Christ. One of these reasons is the fact that Abraham bowed down and the Lord accepted that worship. Angels won’t accept worship, in some cases where an angel appears in the Bible and a man bows to him the angel tells the man to get up, don’t bow because he is not to be worshipped.

There are other reasons, but the part of this story which fascinates me is that the Lord said to Himself, “Shall I hide my plan from Abraham?”  He also says, “I have singled him out…” In other versions it says, “I have known him…” or “I have chosen him…”

God, Himself, wanted to reveal His plan to Abraham! It reminds me of what was said about Moses in Exodus 33, “The LORD would speak to Moses face to face, as a man speaks with his friend.”

It all shows how much God wants to communicate with us. He wants us to know His plans. He wants to talk to us as a friend.

Some of you might be wondering (or worrying) where I’m going with this.

I’m just excited that God actually wants to communicate with us…. And He wants it so much that He did something about it!  Hebrews 1 shows us what He did!

“Long ago God spoke many times and in many ways to our ancestors through the prophets. And now in these final days, he has spoken to us through his Son. God promised everything to the Son as an inheritance, and through the Son he created the universe. The Son radiates God’s own glory and expresses the very character of God, and he sustains everything by the mighty power of his command. When he had cleansed us from our sins, he sat down in the place of honor at the right hand of the majestic God in heaven.  This shows that the Son is far greater than the angels, just as the name God gave him is greater than their names”.

God speaks to us through His Son. Everything the Son did, everything He said, is written in the Bible. All the Bible, for the Old Testament tells about Jesus in types and examples and of what He was coming to do. God says to us today that He knows us, He wants to speak to us as a friend, and this He does in the Bible!

Now that makes me want to read the Bible more!

 

posted on August 15, 2013

Mark 2:14 As he walked along, he saw Levi son of Alphaeus sitting at the tax collector’s                       booth  “Follow me,” Jesus told him, and Levi got up and followed him.

I leaned close to the airplane window and took in the wonder of the San Francisco Bay.  It was a spectacular scene.  I rested my head on the window and became aware of the weariness within me. The troubled three years we had spent in the jungle of Borneo made me all the more thankful to see the California coast.

“Lord, I love you.  And, I’m willing to go wherever you want.  But, You are going to have to do a lot of convincing to get me out of California again.”

Settling back into the seat I realized that rest might be a long time in coming. We weren’t really going “home”, there was no “home”, simply familiar surroundings.  We would be staying with my Mother while Bob faced his second back operation and while I faced the delivery of another baby.  The weariness settled in more firmly.

I remember so vividly, the feeling, the prayer.  But, that was a long time ago, now.  The “baby” is 22, the scar from the back operation healed, even though the back didn’t.  I remember another prayer, also.  Many years later, I gazed at the ocean, and asked God to please, let me live by the Sea some day.  If it was at all possible.

So, today, as I sit on the porch of my home in Baja California Sur, Mexico, and watch for marine life in the Sea of Cortez, I smile.  God does answer prayer, but He also has a sense of humor.  Yes, I am living by the Sea.  Not the one I had in mind, but it IS the Sea.  And, yes, technically, I am still in California.  Not the part I thought I’d be in, but, it IS California.

My prayers still start with, “I love You, LORD”.  But, very rarely, do I ask specifically for anything.  God’s plans are always superior to mine.  He, Who knows the beginning and the end, makes a lot better decision than I ever could.

Follow Him?  Yes, and, it doesn’t really matter where. In or out of California, He cares for me.

PRAYER:  Are you willing to go anywhere?  Tell Him.  If you need a “place” for your happiness, tell Him.  He loves you.

ACTIVITY:  Picture what would be the perfect “place” to you.  Realize you already have it!  In Heaven, waiting for your arrival!

posted on July 15, 2013

A couple of days ago I realized I hadn’t heard from my daughters for at least ten days. Well, I started that train of thought which can be dangerous, you know, “nobody loves me, everybody hates me, I think I’ll go out in the garden and eat some worms.”  I need to add each one of them is legitimately busy with important stuff.

Yesterday I decided I had better call them all before I start building a case for parent abuse, but before I could Susie called me, on speaker phone, with JB and Jenna on the line! Well, can’t complain with that audience so we had a nice visit and while talking with them I got a call from Bonnie.  Well, I couldn’t answer it because I still have problems with a foggy brain and would probably have hung up on both of them!  So when I hung up from that call, meaning to call Bonnie, some friends we haven’t seen for a year called and were dropping by in thirty minutes. So, we ran around straightening the house and putting on tea water.  We had a lovely, lovely visit and so much fun.  During the visit Susie called a second time to tell me something funny.  Our friends left a few hours later and I went back to the computer and then TV and the 1947 movie with The Falcon.

So, of course I completely forgot to call Bonnie.  Now I’m in the situation of being the inconsiderate dumb head who didn’t return the call. (By the way, being all women we do forgive each other a lot for “forgetting”…goes with the territory)

Do you remember the stories in the Bible of the importunate widow and the importunate friend?

One day Jesus told his disciples a story to illustrate their need for constant prayer and to show them that they must keep praying until the answer comes. “There was a city judge,” he said, “a very godless man who had great contempt for everyone.  A widow of that city came to him frequently to appeal for justice against a man who had harmed her. The judge ignored her for a while, but eventually she got on his nerves.” ‘I fear neither God nor man,’ he said to himself, ‘but this woman bothers me. I’m going to see that she gets justice, for she is wearing me out with her constant coming!'” Luke 18:1-4 TLB

“Then, teaching them more about prayer, he used this illustration: “Suppose you went to a friend’s house at midnight, wanting to borrow three loaves of bread. You would shout up to him, ‘A friend of mine has just arrived for a visit and I’ve nothing to give him to eat.’  He would call down from his bedroom, ‘Please don’t ask me to get up. The door is locked for the night and we are all in bed. I just can’t help you this time.’  But I’ll tell you this-though he won’t do it as a friend, if you keep knocking long enough, he will get up and give you everything you want-just because of your persistence. And so it is with prayer-keep on asking and you will keep on getting; keep on looking and you will keep on finding; knock and the door will be opened. Everyone who asks, receives; all who seek, find; and the door is opened to everyone who knocks.” Luke 11:5-10 TLB

I think there is a chance God was telling me that if I wanted calls and callers, He would give me calls and callers…..guess I blew that one!

Okay, and on to the next lesson He is trying to teach me… or review an old one… whatever.  I really, really like God…. He has a wonderful sense of humor!

Jerilyn Jackson 🙂

posted July 4, 2013

Do you love what you do? There’s a lot of talk out there about quitting your “have to” job and going for your “dream job.”  It’s one of those things everyone wants.

While reading the Bible this morning I happened across these verses in Jeremiah ( 9:23-24) ” The Lord says: “Let not the wise man bask in his wisdom, nor the mighty man in his might, nor the rich man in his riches.  Let them boast in this alone: That they truly know me, and understand that I am the Lord of justice and of righteousness whose love is steadfast; and that I love to be this way.” TLB

Isn’t that just so cool? I love it. God, Himself, loves what he does! He doesn’t talk about the side of Him which hates injustice and unrighteousness, He talks about the positive side and how much he likes being a God of justice, righteousness and love!

What a blessing to us to know that because we have accepted Jesus as our savior God likes  dealing with us with  justice, righteousness, and love. He likes loving us!

That makes me smile. God loves me and He likes loving me.  Now that’s a thought I want to think about for the rest of the day!

Jerilyn Jackson 🙂

 

posted June 1, 2013 

Do you have a verse in the Bible that always makes you smile? I do.

It’s Psalm 113:9 “He settles the barren woman in her home as a happy mother of children.” (NIV)

A happy mother of children, that’s what I wanted to be. Although we already had a wonderful four year old in our home, we wanted more children.  But it just didn’t happen. Month by month went by while I watched other young marrieds have babies.

Those were difficult years for me. During all that time I taught young children in Sunday school and babysat in the nursery while all the time praying and hoping for my own baby. I read this Psalm and asked God to please, please let me be a happy mother of children.

Finally, after four years, God gave me my heart’s desire, a wonderful little baby of my own. I was a “happy mother of children.”  God gave me more babies so I was really “a happy mother of children!”

Somehow those four years became only a distant memory. Okay, sometimes, when the children were being naughty, I thought those first four years were the “happy” times….just kidding. J

So when I read the Bible and come across that verse today, I have a wonderful inner smile. I remember that God did, indeed, settle this barren woman in her home as a happy mother of children and I thank Him again for that privilege.

I bet there are other verses in the Bible which touch my emotions, I just haven’t ever thought of them that way. I’m going to stay alert as I read and see if there are more which make me smile, or make me sad, or angry, or whatever. I should just be alert as I read, anyway!

posted May 3, 2013

Psalm 94 —
Lord God, to whom vengeance belongs, let your glory shine out. Arise and judge the earth; sentence the proud to the penalties they deserve.  Hear their insolence! See their arrogance! How these men of evil boast!  See them oppressing your people, O Lord, afflicting those you love.  They murder widows, immigrants, and orphans, for “The Lord isn’t looking,” they say, “and besides, he doesn’t care.”

Fools!  Is God deaf and blind-he who makes ears and eyes?  He punishes the nations-won’t he also punish you? He knows everything-doesn’t he also know what you are doing?

The Lord is fully aware of how limited and futile the thoughts of mankind are,  so he helps us by punishing us. This makes us follow his paths and gives us respite from our enemies while God traps them and destroys them.  The Lord will not forsake his people, for they are his prize.  Judgment will again be just, and all the upright will rejoice.

Who will protect me from the wicked? Who will be my shield?  I would have died unless the Lord had helped me.  I screamed, “I’m slipping, Lord!” and he was kind and saved me.

Lord, when doubts fill my mind, when my heart is in turmoil, quiet me and give me renewed hope and cheer.  Will you permit a corrupt government to rule under your protection-a government permitting wrong to defeat right?  Do you approve of those who condemn the innocent to death? No! The Lord my God is my fortress-the mighty Rock where I can hide.  God has made the sins of evil men to boomerang upon them! He will destroy them by their own plans. Jehovah our God will cut them off.
TLB

 

posted April 11, 2013

I picked up the half full bottle of 7-up and looked at it closely.  From the upstairs window I had seen my son place something in the bushes and I had wondered what it was.  I had also wondered why he had backtracked to pass our house again and if he was going to be late to High School.  In fact, I had been wondering a lot about him lately because of his behavior. This morning was no different.  I thought and prayed for him as I hurried to get ready for the Christian Women’s Club Advisors meeting.  On my way out the cul-de-sac I remembered what I had seen earlier, so I stopped the van to investigate.  I unscrewed the lid and poked my nose in the opening, only to suddenly jerk it back when the strong smell of liquor permeated the air.

Quickly, I screwed the lid back on and climbed back into the van.  But then, I just sat there.  What should I do?  As the tears stood ready behind my eyes to gush out, I tried to think clearly.  It seemed that I had two choices.  One was to turn the van around, return to my quiet home, close the door behind me, and cry.  I could call my husband from there and we could both wonder together all those same questions.  What had we done wrong?  What was going to happen to Scott?  What could we do for him?  What should we have done?  How do we handle this latest infraction of all our guidance and home rules?  Then the other option came up clearly before me.  I could go on to my meeting.  Later, without bothering my husband at work, we could talk over our course of action.  I did have a choice whether or not to let this experience completely devastate me and render me useless or to go on with my life.  If I went home, what would I, or could I do there?  If I went to the meeting, at least I would be helping the Club to keep functioning, even if I felt like my life wasn’t.  I made my decision and drove on to the meeting.  The warmth of my friend’s house and the ladies present made me feel comfortable and calmed my troubled spirit.  It was pleasant to talk about Club and our plans for it helped put my problems in perspective.

Suddenly, I didn’t feel so relaxed.  I realized it was prayer time and the chairman was asking for personal prayer request.  “Oh, Lord,” I prayed, “do I have to share this?  What will they think of me and my family?  I don’t want to open myself up to possible rejection.  These women are so nice, but they just don’t know all the details.  Maybe they will think my husband and I are awful parents, or maybe they will give advice.  I’m so tired of advice, I don’t think anyone knows why a child turns against everything he has ever been taught, nor do I think anyone really knows what to do about it.  How can I open myself up?  I hurt so badly now, won’t telling them make me hurt more?”  But, then the thought came to me, How could I not tell them?  How could I be aching so much inside and not open it all up.  I knew I had to, so I did.  Immediately, I was surrounded with love.  I saw it in their eyes, I felt it in their hugs, and I heard it in their prayers.  I was so glad I had shared my deep hurt.  God was showing His love and concern for me through these lovely, wonderful ladies.  How thankful I was.  As I drove home that day, I knew the problems were still with me.  I knew that I still needed to talk with my husband and that we still needed to make some decisions  What I didn’t know at that time, was that there would be a lot more talks, and more, even bigger, decisions through the years ahead. I also knew I had found help for my own sanity with the sharing of my problems.  I had discovered I wasn’t the only one with hurts.  I had learned as we share our lives that , God lifts the burdens from just one shoulder to many shoulders and on up to His own.  Through the next few years my friends on the committee stood with me in prayer as we prayed for my Scott, and for other “Scotts.”

I am so glad that I continued to stay involved in ministry during those difficult years.  If I had gone home that day and closed my door behind me, I might still be there.  I might be a basket case of no use to anyone, and, worse, I would not have grown in my own Spiritual life.  For as I watched God answer prayer for the needs of the club and for the personal needs of others, it always gave me renewed hope and faith that He would answer my prayer, also.   It was a slow and painful process, but God did answer our prayers for Scott, and through it all, I learned the importance of “weeping with those who weep and rejoicing with those who rejoice.” I learned the importance of consistent prayer time with my friends and the joy of sharing burdens.  It is a lesson I hope I never forget.

posted April 23: 

Big day for me! Not only is my book, “The Traveler’s Companion,” on Kindle but for today and tomorrow it’s free!!!!! (April 23 & 24)……if you don’t have a Kindle that’s okay, you can still get it by going to Amazon.com and downloading the free app program for your computer.

I think it’s fitting that the book is available to everyone this month….my Mother’s birthday was in April and she always wanted me to write a book. So for her, it’s free on these two days.

http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=The%20Traveler’s%20Companion%20by%20Jerilyn%20Jackson

Hope you enjoy it….

May you be given more and more of God’s kindness, peace, and love. (Jude 2)

Jerilyn Jackson

Posted March 10 2013

“When I come, although I can’t do much to help your faith, for it is strong already, I want to be able to do something about your joy: I want to make you happy, not sad.” 2 Corinthians 1:24 TLB

I have been thinking about this verse and a lot of thoughts have tumbled out.  I think sometimes other Christians expect fellow Christians to always be happy and joyful all the time, no matter what.  They say (sometimes by not saying) if your faith is strong than you should be happy and joyful every moment too!

Of course, I am realizing that it is sometimes my own self who expects me to be jolly and happy at all times, but I do “feel” pressure from others to be happy no matter what. I feel others say that if I am not happy then there must be something wrong with my faith.

Oh, so so not true!

Was Job “happy.” I think not. Were those Corinthian believers “happy” about the position they were in after Paul drew their attention to it?  A lot of the people listed in Hebrews 11 were not very happy. But in every situation each person had a strong faith.

Here’s to all those who have great faith but are not “happy.” Here’s to all those who are honest with their feelings. Here’s to all those who speak truth to others. And here’s to all those who believe there is a better day coming.

May God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ mightily bless each one of you and give you peace. 2 Corinthians 1:2 TLB

posted Feb 2013

This treatment is based on a book by D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones, Romans –Atonement and Justification.

My final remark … is to point out that the great Apostle (Paul) never confines himself to mere positive statements but often indulges, because he feels that he must do so, in arguments, in polemics. I make this point because I think there is a great deal of very loose and very false and flabby thinking on the whole question of polemics and of argumentation at the present time. The attitude of many seems to be,

“We don’t want these arguments. Give us the simpler message, the simple Gospel. Give it to us positively, and do not bother about other views.”

It is important that we should realize that if we speak like that we are denying the Scriptures. The Scriptures are full of argumentation, full of polemics. And the Apostle sees the necessity for it here. Having just reasoned up to that tremendous climax on the doctrine of the Atonement, he suddenly asks,
“Where is boasting then?”
“Is he the God of the Jews only, or is he the God of the Gentiles also?”

“Do we then make void the law?”

In doing so, he is arguing, he is disputing; this is sheer polemics.
Disapproval of polemics in the Christian Church is a very serious matter. But that is the attitude of the age in which we live. The prevailing idea today in many circles in the Church is not to bother about these things. As long as we are Christians, anyhow, somehow, all is well. Don’t argue about doctrine, let us all be Christians together and talk about the love of God. That is really the basis of ecumenicity. Unfortunately that same attitude is creeping into evangelical circles also and many are saying that we must not be too precise about these things. But if you begin to object to clear statements about the doctrine of the Atonement you are beginning to argue. It is important that we should be clear about the doctrine of the Atonement.

“Ah but, you are beginning to argue, that is upsetting, that is going to divide people.”

What I am trying to show is that if you hold that view you are criticizing the Apostle Paul, you are saying that he was wrong, and at the same time you are criticizing Jesus and the Bible. The Scriptures argue and debate and dispute; they are full of polemics. You cannot read the Epistle to the Romans, or the Epistle to the Galatians, or indeed any of the epistles, without seeing that very clearly. Let us be clear about what we mean … No man should argument for the sake of argument. We should always regret the necessity; but though we regret it and bemoan it, when we feel that a vital matter is at stake we must engage in argument. We must “earnestly content for the truth”, and we are called upon to do that by the New Testament.

posted Jan. 17, 2013

Where would you put yourself if you could place yourself anyplace in the Bible?
From the Old Testament through the New Testament where would you be?
What place in that history would you put yourself as a witness to the action?

My husband says he would have liked to have been there at the feeding of the 5000, handing out food with Peter and John. He imagines whispering to the other disciples, “pssst, Pete….have you run out of food yet? Every time I hand out bread there’s more in the basket….what’s happening?”

I would have liked to have been on the road to Emmaus as in Luke 24:27. “And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he explained to them what was said in all the Scriptures concerning himself.” Jesus, Himself, showed those disciples all the places in the Old Testament which pointed to Him and to His life and death on this planet. One really needs to read the whole account in Luke 24 and verses 13-25 to grasp the importance of this incident.

Every time I think of that passage of scripture I am in awe. What would it have been like to hear Jesus expound the Old Testament, explaining how verse after verse spoke of himself and His job as the promised Messiah to the Jewish people? How awesome would that have been? For about seven miles, as they walked, He filled up all that time with examples from the Old Testament about Himself.
Luke 24:27
And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he explained to them what was said in all the Scriptures concerning himself. (NIV)

The secret Greek meaning of the word “all” in that sentence is “ALL.”
If we’re going to talk about the types of Christ in the Old Testament scriptures we need to start with a few verses from the New Testament ….

John 5:39-40
You diligently study the Scriptures because you think that by them you possess eternal life. These are the Scriptures that testify about me, yet you refuse to come to me to have life. (NIV)
Verse 45-47 “Yet it is not I who will accuse you of this to the Father-Moses will! Moses, on whose laws you set your hopes of heaven. For you have refused to believe Moses. He wrote about me, but you refuse to believe him, so you refuse to believe in me. And since you don’t believe what he wrote, no wonder you don’t believe me either.”
Look at the importance Jesus placed on believing the Old Testament and what Moses wrote:

“He answered, ‘Then I beg you, father, send Lazarus to my father’s house, for I have five brothers. Let him warn them, so that they will not also come to this place of torment.’
“Abraham replied, ‘They have Moses and the Prophets; let them listen to them.’
“‘No, father Abraham,’ he said, ‘but if someone from the dead goes to them, they will repent. He said to him, ‘If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, they will not be convinced even if someone rises from the dead.'”(NIV) Luke 16:27-31 (again you should read the whole chapter and/or section to grasp what Jesus is saying)

I love this quote: “The Mosaic system was a sort of kindergarten in which God’s people were trained in divine things, by which also they were led to look for better things to come. An old writer thus expresses it: “God in the types of the last dispensation was teaching His children their letters. In this dispensation He is teaching them to put the letters together, and they find that the letters, arrange them as they will, spell Christ, and nothing but Christ.” (Taken from the International Standard Bible Encyclopedia)…Christology 101 Dr. Kelly Carr “When Theology Really Matters”

There are many words we can use for this study of Christ in the scriptures: They are referred to often as a “type” of Christ which is more encompassing and the term I will use generally. There is the word “shadow” meaning a shadow of what is to come. I grew up with watching the Alfred Hitchcock hour on a nine inch black and white TV. Every week when it was time for his program what you would see first was a shadow of Mr. Hitchcock, not him, just the shadow, but you always knew who it was and you were always ready for the suspense which was to come. So “shadow” is a good picture word. Parable and Pattern are words which can be used, also, to convey the same meaning.
However, for my purpose I’ll be using the terms in my own outline:

1. Direct References:
Genesis 1:26 Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, in our likeness, and let them rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the livestock, over all the earth, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.”

The word used as “us” is “Elohim.” It is in the plural form in Hebrew. Which means Jesus was there.

Colossians 1:15-16
He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For by him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together

Hebrews 1:1-2
In the past God spoke to our forefathers through the prophets at many times and in various ways, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom he made the universe.

2. Prophesies:

[On the Difference between prophecies and types] Prophecies verbally predict what will happen in the future. Types are things that nonverbally prefigure some greater New Testament reality. You can spot an Old Testament prophecy from reading the Old Testament alone, but the New Testament must indicate either explicitly or implicitly whether some Old Testament person, object, ceremony, or institution functioned as a type…. Michael Vlach]

Psalm 22 is a graphic picture of death by crucifixion.
• The bones (of the hands, arms, shoulders, and pelvis) out of joint (Psalms 22:14)
• the profuse perspiration caused by intense suffering (v. 14);
• the action of the heart affected (v .14);
• strength exhausted, and extreme thirst ( Psalms 22:15 );
• the hands and feet pierced ( Psalms 22:16 )
• partial nudity with hurt to modesty ( Psalms 22:17 ),
• are all incidental to that mode of death.
• The accompanying circumstances are precisely those fulfilled in the crucifixion of Christ. Psalms 22:14-17.
• The desolate cry of ; Psalms 22:1 ; Matthew 27:46,
• the periods of light and darkness of ; Psalms 22:2 ; Matthew 27:45
• the contumely of ; Psalms 22:6-8 Psalms 22:12 Psalms 22:13 Psalms 22:18 ; Matthew 27:29-43
• the casting lots of verse Psalms 22:18 ( Matthew 27:35 ),
• All were literally fulfilled.
When it is remembered that crucifixion was a Roman, not Jewish form of execution, the proof of inspiration is irresistible. (Scofield Reference Notes-1917 Edition)

B. Isaiah 53:1 (it is best to read the whole chapter)

“That this chapter speaks of none but JESUS must be evident to every unprejudiced reader who has ever heard the history of his sufferings and death. The Jews have endeavored to apply it to their sufferings in captivity; but, alas for their cause! They can make nothing out in this way. Allowing that it belongs to our blessed Lord, (and the best men and the best scholars agree in this,) then who can read Isaiah 53:4-6,8,10, without being convinced that his death was a vicarious sacrifice for the sins of mankind?” (From Adam Clarke’s Commentary, Electronic Database. Copyright (c) 1996 by Biblesoft)

3. Types, Shadows, and Patterns:

Type defined: “Type” literally means “impression,” “blow” or a “stamp.” In the Bible, a “type” refers to an Old Testament person, object, ceremony or institution that prefigures or foreshadows a greater reality that is revealed in the New Testament. The study of types is called “typology.” (Michael Vlach.)

Something very important to remember when studying types is that we must be careful not to take the type further than was intended by the Bible. For example, the fact that the serpent was bronze as opposed to gold is irrelevant to the type, and we should not try to make it more important than it is. (John 3:14-15 and Numbers 21:6-9) Every type can run the risk of being stretched farther than it should be. In the same way that all analogies break down at some point, types can only be taken so far before they fall apart. (Kirra Antrobus)
A. People
a. Adam is the representative of fallen humanity while Christ is representative of redeemed humanity (Rom. 5:14). (Romans 5:12-17, 1 Corinthians 15:46-49)
b. Aaron is a type of Christ’s priestly ministry (Heb. 5:4-5).
c. Moses as a leader (Hebrews 3:5 & 6)….read from The Living Bible
d. Boaz our Kinsman/redeemer (Ruth 4:9)
Boaz was a wealthy Bethlehemite of the tribe of Judah, who married Ruth (the Gentile bride). As the the Kinsman-Redeemer I have no doubt that Boaz is a type of Christ, who became incarnate, springing from Judah too, in order to acquire for himself a bride from the Gentile nations.

He was willing to do so (as Boaz was willing to redeem and marry Ruth), he has to power to do so, and he is our kinsman, with the right to do so. (No direct reference to Boaz as a type of Christ is found in the New Testament).
e. Joseph – his story runs through Genesis chapter 30 through chapter 50.
Joseph as a type of Christ:
• Both are first-born… Genesis 30:22-24 (of Rachel) Matthew 1:25 (of Mary)
• Both are shepherds… Genesis 37:2 Matthew 2:26, 26:31John 10:11
• Both are the most loved of their fathers. . .Genesis 37:3Matthew 3:17, 12:18
• Both were prophesied to be rulers…. Genesis 37:5-11, Daniel 7:13-14, Micah 4:7,5:2 Psalm 2
• Both Joseph’s and Jesus’ brothers were jealous of them, and did not believe them. Genesis 37:4- 5, 11,John 7:3-5, 15:18-19
• The prophecies that Joseph would rule his brothers (the tribes of Israel), and Jesus would rule the whole world, including Israel…Genesis 37:6-11, Daniel 7:13-14,Psalm 2:1-12
• Joseph was sent by his father to his brothers. Jesus was sent by His Father to Israel. Genesis 37:13,18-20, Matthew 21:37-38, Mark 12:6-7, Luke 20:13-15, John 5:23
• Reuben wanted to rescue Joseph. Pilate wanted to rescue Jesus…Genesis 37:21-22, Matthew 27:24
• Joseph was sold as a slave to Egypt. Jesus was betrayed for the price of a slave…
 Genesis 37:26-28, Matthew 26:15, Exodus 21:32, Zechariah 11:12-13
• Both went to Egypt….Genesis 37:28, Matthew 2:13-15
• Both were made servants….Genesis 39:1, Philippians 2:7
• Both were falsely accused…Genesis 39:11-20, Matthew 26:59-61
• Yahweh was with them both. Genesis 39:3,21,23, Acts 7:9, Acts 10:38, Luke 2:52,
John 1:1-2, 3:2
• Both were with two others condemned to die, one of which was pardoned and given life. Genesis 40:1-3,20-22, Luke 23:32,39-43
• God’s Spirit indwelt them both….Genesis 41:38, Luke 4:1, Acts 10:38
• The king of Egypt exalted Joseph ruler over all to bring all under the king’s rule. Jesus is exalted to bring all under God’s rule. Genesis 41:40-44, Acts 2:32-33,
1 Corinthians 15:27-28
• All knees bowed to Joseph. All knees will bow to Jesus….Genesis 41:43,Philippians 2:10
• Both were given a name meaning Savior….Genesis 41:45 (“Savior of the World” or “Sustainer of Life”), Matthew 1:21 (“Yahweh is Salvation”)
• Both were given a gentile bride by the King. Genesis 41:45, 2 Corinthians 11:2
• Troubled times come during their rule. Seven years of “tribulation”….Genesis 41:54-55,
Mark 13:8, Jeremiah 30:7
• The king of Egypt appointed Joseph to be the sole source of life for all. God appointed Jesus to be our sole source of eternal life…Genesis 41:55-57, Acts 4:12,
1 John 5:11-12
• Joseph’s brothers did not recognize him. Jesus’ own people didn’t either… Genesis 42:8,
John 1:10
• Trouble for Joseph’s brothers. Trouble for Israel (“Jacob’s trouble”)…Genesis 42:21- 22,36 Isaiah 40:1-2, Jeremiah 30:7
• Joseph was finally revealed to his brothers. Jesus to finally be revealed to Israel…Genesis 45:3, Zechariah 12:10, Matthew 24:30-31,Revelation 1:7
• The evil Joseph’s brothers intended God meant for good to save them. The same is true of the evil Jesus’ own people intended to him…Genesis 45:5-8, Genesis 50:20, Acts 3:12-18
• Joseph’s brothers shared Pharaoh’s favor because of Joseph, not themselves. We share God’s favor because of Jesus, not because we are worthy. Genesis 45:16-20, Ephesians 2:4-8, Philippians 4:19
• Both are to bring all under rule of the King….Genesis 47:19-20, Ephesians 1:10-12
• Both are Saviors…Genesis 47:25, Acts 13:23

B. Objects:
a. The Bronze Serpent – Numbers 21:4-5 “Then they set out from Mount Hor by the way of the Red Sea, to go around the land of Edom; and the people became impatient because of the journey. The people spoke against God and Moses, ‘Why have you brought us up out of Egypt to die in the wilderness? For there is no food and no water, and we loathe this miserable food.'” (NASB).

God had already miraculously provided water for the Israelites on more than one occasion, and He was providing manna for them to eat each day. And yet they complained about their provision and didn’t trust that He would continue to care for them.

Numbers 21:6-9 “The Lord sent fiery serpents among the people and they bit the people, so that many people of Israel died. So the people came to Moses and said, ‘We have sinned, because we have spoken against the Lord and you; intercede with the Lord, that He may remove the serpents from us.’ And Moses interceded for the people. Then the Lord said to Moses, ‘Make a fiery serpent, and set it on a standard; and it shall come about, that everyone who is bitten, when he looks at it, he will live.’ And Moses made a bronze serpent and set it on the standard; and it came about, that if a serpent bit any man, when he looked to the bronze serpent, he lived.” (NASB).

John 3:14-15. “As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up; so that whoever believes will in Him have eternal life.'”

Keep in mind that a snake is a type of sin…going back to the serpent in the garden with Adam and Eve.

“Both of these events brought healing and life, although one was a physical healing and the other was a spiritual healing.” (Kirra Antrobus)
b. The Tabernacle typified Christ—the believer’s access to God and basis of fellowship with God (Heb. 8:2, 5; 9:23-24).
c. The Tabernacle veil prefigures Christ as the believer’s access to God (Heb. 10:20).
d. The Burnt Offering is a type of Christ’s offering of Himself as the perfect sacrifice for sins (Lev. 1 and Heb. 10:5-7).
e. The Cloud and the Fire which guided the children of Israel in the wilderness 1 Corinthians 10:1-6
f. The Manna in the Wilderness. (Exodus 16, Numbers 11, John 6:32)
“Then Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Moses gave you not that bread from heaven, but my Father gives you the true bread from heaven” (John 6:32).
• The adjective “true” has a special meaning. Jesus refers to what is everlasting, as opposed to something merely representative and pointing onwards to him (the Manna).
• The bread provided through Moses (Exodus 16; Numbers 11), as much as it proved God’s care and provision, was only material and temporary;
• Christ and his sacrifice satisfies the soul eternally. Just as manna came down from heaven, even so the Son came down from heaven (John 6:33).
• His incarnation is spoken of as “coming down” (in abasement and humiliation) that though his death we might, even during the wilderness of our temporal existence, find life and continual sustenance….
g. Water from the Rock (Ex. 17:6/ 1 Corinthians 10:4/ John 4:6-14)
C.EVENTS
a. The Passover feast is a type of Christ’s sacrifice (1 Cor. 5:7).
b. The Feast of Unleavened Bread typifies the believer’s holy walk (1 Cor. 5:7-8).
c. The Day of Atonement is a type of Christ’s sacrifice on the cross
(Heb. 9:19-28)
d. Jonah’s three days and nights in the belly of the fish typifies Jesus in the tomb (Matt. 12:40).
e. Noah’s flood typifies baptism (1 Pet. 3:20-21).
f. Israel at the time of the Exodus typifies Jesus’ coming out of Egypt
(Compare Matt. 2:15 with Hosea 11:1).
g. The scapegoat as the sin offering (Leviticus 9:15, Leviticus 16:9,
Romans 4:25, 1 John 2:1, Hebrews 13:11, Hebrews 10:8, 2 Corinthians 5:21)

Actually, what started me thinking of all these beautiful types of Christ was the study on Philemon which my Bible study group just finished. In that letter Paul is a type of Christ, Philemon is a representation of God, and we are Onesimus.

And, again, it is best to read the whole story. As you read you can check out my notes and see if you spot anymore and even let me know if I’m off base!

Onesimus was a runaway slave…he had an owner, but he had run away from him just as you and I ran from God. He was living in the sin he had created just as we do or did. He was frightened, alone, and in jail with no future. Just as we were before we met Jesus. And then he met Paul. Onesimus needed an intercessor and who is more in need of an intercessor than we are?

Paul had a relationship with Philemon. He could speak to Philemon on behalf of Onesimus because of that relationship. He told Philemon to charge him with any debt that was owed by Onesimus, just as Jesus paid the debt for us. Paul said he was coming soon to see them both so he wanted a room prepared for him. Just as Jesus tells us to have our hearts ready for He is coming again.

Philemon had the power to have Onesimus killed, imprisoned, and beat, or all three if he wanted. Because of his love for Paul we believe that he forgave Onesimus and took him into his home as a beloved son, friend, and brother. All of those are what God has done for us because of Jesus.
(A lot of the content is mine; a lot is what I’ve heard other say at some time in my past, and the rest I have given credit…. JRJ)

Sites you may want to visit:
http://theologicalstudies.org/resource-library/how-to-study-the-bible/369-interpreting-types
http://www.biblestudytools.com/commentaries/scofield-reference-notes/
http://kirraantrobus.blogspot.com/

Posted Dec 10, 2012

You are cordially invited to:

A BIRTHDAY CELEBRATION!!!

Guest of Honor: Jesus Christ

Date: Every day! The traditional date is December 25th,
but he’s always around, so the date’s flexible.

Time: Whenever you’re ready!
(Please don’t forget, though, or you’ll miss out on all the fun!)

Place: In your Heart . . . He’ll meet you there.
(You’ll hear him knock.)

Attire: Come as you are . . . grubbies are okay.
He’ll be washing our clothes anyway.
He said something about new white robes
and crowns for everyone who stays to the end.

Tickets: Admission is free.
He’s already paid for everyone.
(He says you wouldn’t have been able to afford it anyway;
it cost Him everything He had. But you do need to accept the ticket!)

Refreshments: New wine, bread, and a far-out drink He calls
Living Water, followed by a supper that promises to be out of this world!

Gift Suggestions: Your life (He’s one of those people who has everything),
but He’s very generous in return. Just wait until you see what He has for you!

Entertainment: Joy, Peace, Truth, Light,
Life, Love, Real Happiness,
Communion with God, Forgiveness, Miracles, Healing Power,
Eternity in Paradise, Contentment, and much more!
(All “G”-rated, so bring your family and friends.)

RSVP VERY IMPORTANT!
He must know ahead, so He can reserve a spot for you at the table.
He’s compiling a list of His friends from those who respond for future reference.
He calls it the “Lamb’s Book of Life.”

Party Being Given By: His Kids (that’s us!)
Hope to see you there! For those of you whom I will see at the Party,
Share this with someone today!

Posted Nov 26, 2012

WITH CHILDREN IN THE JUNGLE

“Weren’t you afraid to take your little children into the jungle?”

The question caught me off guard. Had I been afraid for their safety? I had to think about it. There were a lot of times, during our missionary years, in which I had to think about my feelings and thoughts concerning raising children in an unfamiliar world. Perhaps my memories will be helpful for evaluation and encouragement to others contemplating such a move. So, what do I remember?

I remember a lot of happy, contented times. Our children were two, three, and twelve at the start of our adventure. They loved playing outside in the warm afternoon rains. They were delighted with the love and attention the people showered on them, which included many “pinchings” to test their white skin. They loved learning how to fish in rice fields and streams, and how to play with bugs and plants. Taking a bath by pouring water all over yourself from a big drum of water was the same as play, as was sleeping in a mosquito proof room. Rides on the jeep, the trail bikes, a pedicab, and a small plane were all commonplace to them, as were the varieties of rice and bananas. Yes, happy is a good word for those days.

I remember the strong sense of family we had since we were mostly together. Our oldest was home schooled and my husband’s travels never seemed too long nor too far. Our children learned to play with one another very well, and arguments were never very serious because who else was there to play with? Birthdays and Holidays really took a lot of creativity. We took a broomstick, drilled holes in it, and stuck in palm branches for our first Christmas tree. It was decorated with paper chains and some kind of a ball found on a local plant, which we spray-painted. Gifts were usually homemade as well as the wrapping paper. The Nationals who lived on our station were entranced with our “birthday” song and our Christmas songs. We held our own Sunday school in English, with all the books and papers from home, before attending the Indonesian services. Together we wrote letters, recorded tapes, and sent pictures home to our family and friends. Yes, togetherness was a main word during those years.

I remember moments of anxiety. Our oldest daughter had just walked into the yard with her friends, after being at the river to bathe, when a deadly black snake was spotted on the
trail behind her. My husband and I left the children behind while we flew out for a one-day trip. Only after we were airborne did we remember that we were never going to do that. In case of an accident, we wanted them to have at least one parent. Once, on vacation, we heard gunfire, and after my husband investigated, he discovered that one of the children’s play areas was also a target area for the army. My two year old walked down the hallway with something in her mouth, I poked in my finger and out popped a small egg that broke when it hit the floor and a baby chichuk (house lizard-gecko) ran out. I brushed her teeth, a lot of good that did! Yes, anxiety was there, too.

More than any of it, I remember God’s faithfulness. God covered my feeble attempts at teaching, so when we returned our oldest was able to mesh right into an American High School with no problems. A sudden windstorm had knocked down our son’s favorite climbing tree and he ran into the house declaring that he was very angry with God. Thirty minutes later, while I was still speechless and trying to think of something to say, he came back into the house expressing his thanks to God, because now the tree was a lot more fun to climb in that position. On another occasion, while in the aircraft with my daughter, we were suddenly encompassed with fog, the pilot asked us to look for a hole in the thick gray stuff. We looped and looped and I lost my sense of direction. Suddenly a beautiful hole opened in front of us and directly underneath was the landing strip. What a beautiful sight! Yes, above and beyond it all, God is faithful and He is able to do exceeding, abundantly above all that we could ask or think. (Ephesians 3:20)

“Afraid” to take my family to the jungle? The answer is simple if one believes in the sovereignty of God. The safest place in the world is in the center of God’s will, whether in the jungle of Borneo or the suburbs of America. I would be more afraid not to go.

 

posted Nov. 3, 2012

Well, it’s official….I’ve turned into my father!

We have been called twice by the Democrats “get out the vote” crew….I happened to have answered both….the first was a woman who I pleaded with to not vote for Obama. I tried to discuss the issues but all she said was that she thought “Obama is wonderful.” (Quite a reason to vote for him) While still in the middle of my discourse she hung up.

Last night it was a gentleman who called. Unfortunately he had already voted. I brought up Benghazi, support of the Muslim Brotherhood, cancelling the long established prayer day and inviting Muslims to pray on the Capitol grounds, the list went on and on. Although he did try to tell me that Obama is a Christian, at which point he got me started on Reverend Jeremiah Wright, he knew nothing of the issues I brought up…. honestly, he knew nothing…even when I told him about the tragedy at Fort Hood in which our government refused to give those men who were killed a war time medal and instead the incident was called “work place stress” incident…even after the Muslim yelled out “Allah Akbar” before shooting. I also told him about our government taking out the word “Jihad” from all the training manuals. On one of the things I mentioned his reply was, “I think I did hear something about that.”

I really tried to stress the point of looking into these things on line, to listen to a combination of news from both liberal and conservative views. Those two knew nothing about the subjects I mentioned. What a tragedy. (Okay, I’m better now–got that off my chest) 🙂

When I thought about this later I was ashamed…what made me so bold for politics and I’m not that bold for Jesus Christ, who’s gift of eternal life and peace down here is so much more than politics it can’t even be compared. Love to have your prayers…..
“Pray for me, too, and ask God to give me the right words as I boldly tell others about the Lord and as I explain to them that his salvation is for the Gentiles too.” Eph. 6:19

 

 

posted on Oct 24, 2012

 

WellSo…..your father was interested in politics, I take it…………..,

So it’s official….I’ve turned into my father!

We have been called twice by the Democrats “get out the vote” crew….I happened to have answered both….the first was a woman who I pleaded with to not vote for Obama. I tried to discuss the issues but all she said was that she thought “Obama is wonderful.” (Quite a reason to vote for him) While still in the middle of my discourse she hung up.

Last night it was a gentleman who called. Unfortunately he had already voted. I brought up Benghazi, support of the Muslim Brotherhood, cancelling the long established prayer day and inviting Muslims to pray on the Capitol grounds, the list went on and on. Although he did try to tell me that Obama is a Christian, at which point he got me started on Reverend Jeremiah Wright, he knew nothing of the issues I brought up…. honestly, he knew nothing…even when I told him about the tragedy at Fort Hood in which our government refused to give those men who were killed a war time medal and instead the incident was called “work place stress” incident…even after the Muslim yelled out “Allah Akbar” before shooting. I also told him about our government taking out the word “Jihad” from all the training manuals. On one of the things I mentioned his reply was, “I think I did hear something about that.”

I really tried to stress the point of looking into these things on line, to listen to a combination of news from both liberal and conservative views. Those two knew nothing about the subjects I mentioned. What a tragedy. (Okay, I’m better now–got that off my chest) 🙂

When I thought about this later I was ashamed…what made me so bold for politics and I’m not that bold for Jesus Christ, who’s gift of eternal life and peace down here is so much more than politics it can’t even be compared. Love to have your prayers…..
“Pray for me, too, and ask God to give me the right words as I boldly tell others about the Lord and as I explain to them that his salvation is for the Gentiles too.” Eph. 6:19

posted on Nov. 3, 2012

Well, it’s official….I’ve turned into my father!

We have been called twice by the Democrats “get out the vote” crew….I happened to have answered both….the first was a woman who I pleaded with to not vote for Obama. I tried to discuss the issues but all she said was that she thought “Obama is wonderful.” (Quite a reason to vote for him) While still in the middle of my discourse she hung up.

Last night it was a gentleman who called. Unfortunately he had already voted. I brought up Benghazi, support of the Muslim Brotherhood, cancelling the long established prayer day and inviting Muslims to pray on the Capitol grounds, the list went on and on. Although he did try to tell me that Obama is a Christian, at which point he got me started on Reverend Jeremiah Wright, he knew nothing of the issues I brought up…. honestly, he knew nothing…even when I told him about the tragedy at Fort Hood in which our government refused to give those men who were killed a war time medal and instead the incident was called “work place stress” incident…even after the Muslim yelled out “Allah Akbar” before shooting. I also told him about our government taking out the word “Jihad” from all the training manuals. On one of the things I mentioned his reply was, “I think I did hear something about that.”

I really tried to stress the point of looking into these things on line, to listen to a combination of news from both liberal and conservative views. Those two knew nothing about the subjects I mentioned. What a tragedy. (Okay, I’m better now–got that off my chest) 🙂

When I thought about this later I was ashamed…what made me so bold for politics and I’m not that bold for Jesus Christ, who’s gift of eternal life and peace down here is so much more than politics it can’t even be compared. Love to have your prayers…..
“Pray for me, too, and ask God to give me the right words as I boldly tell others about the Lord and as I explain to them that his salvation is for the Gentiles too.” Eph. 6:19

 

posted Oct 7, 2012 

In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness.We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express. And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit,because the Spirit intercedes for the saints in accordance with God’s will. Romans 8:26-27

Most Christians would agree that there are actually three ways God answers prayer; Yes, No, and Wait. I think there is another variation to the Yes answer. I think sometimes God says, “Yes, but in My own way.” I am very familiar with this answer because I have a tendency to tell God just how He could go about answering my prayer.

When I was expecting our first baby we were in Bible College and, of course, what goes along with that is being completely broke. We couldn’t put a down payment on a free lunch. That’s broke. So, after praying for our need of baby clothes and equipment, I then proceeded to list the ways this could happen, just in case God needed some ideas. There was both our Church and our circle of other friends who could give us a shower. Oh, and don’t forget our church back in California, they could send us money and of course my husband’s bevy of co-workers who could give gifts also. Why our fellow students could give us a shower also.

So I waited. And waited. As my eighth month approached there was still now shower. Someone gave us a crib and someone else some second-hand tiny baby clothes. I had waited four years for this baby. I enjoyed going into my bedroom where the crib was and looking at the little baby clothes. I would hold them up and be so excited for this new little life. I then folded them neatly and put them in the crib. I must have done this almost every day.

Still there was no phone call or invitation to a baby shower. I waited and waited. Then, two weeks before my due date, and in the wee morning of Christmas day our beloved son, Scott, was born. When Scott and I came home my husband went out and bought diapers and t-shirts for our little guy. He even splurged and bought a little toy!

Still no baby shower. But, everyday it seemed, I either received a package in the mail or was handed a gift. Sometimes I received money in the mail. The gifts came from all over. I wound up with so many cute clothes and necessary items for the baby that I was just overwhelmed with God’s kindness and provision.

There have been other times when I have told God how he could answer my prayer so it took me a while to understand He was God and He would decide how to answer my prayer. Nowadays whenever I catch myself starting to tell God “how,” I remember these lessons from God, so I just sit back and relax and watch God work. It is a much better way.

Posted 6/17/2012

Recently a dear relative of mine posted offensive words on Facebook. Actually, it’s been posted several times by this relative and others. Now I love Facebook. I love seeing what is going on in my children’s lives and also my grandchildren’s lives. It is a great tool for knowing how to pray for those I love. Some are not Christians, so I make allowances for those who post dirty words, but some are Christians, and that bothers me a lot.

I try to tell myself there are Christians and there are CHRISTians. I tell myself to never expect Christian behavior from non-Christians and very seldom from Christians, but I am still perplexed. I ask myself over and over, “Why? Why would a Christian try to get as close to sin as possible? Why would he want to see how far grace goes? Why wouldn’t a Christian want to please God?

Inside of me is this driving force to try to get as close to God as I possibly can. My strength, my joy, my very life is in Him. I want to know Him. I want to be called a friend of God just like Abraham was. I want to be called a man (woman) after God’s own heart like David was. I read the Bible over and over again to see how I should behave and how I can please God. I guess that’s the big difference, I truly want to please God. I’m no great and famous Christian, I struggle with my sins just as much as the next guy, I sin just as frequently. I ask forgiveness just as much and maybe even more that the next Christian. I know it is only His Grace that makes any closeness possible. So why are there so many out there who say they are Christians yet are pushing the envelope constantly?

Perhaps, they have never seen these verses. Verses in His written word that tell us what to do. Christians are to want to please God.

Phil 4:18-20

At the moment I have all I need-more than I need! I am generously supplied with the gifts you sent me when Epaphroditus came. They are a sweet-smelling sacrifice that pleases God well. And it is he who will supply all your needs from his riches in glory because of what Christ Jesus has done for us. Now unto God our Father be glory forever and ever. Amen

James 4:13-17
Look here, you people who say, “Today or tomorrow we are going to such and such a town, stay there a year, and open up a profitable business.” How do you know what is going to happen tomorrow? For the length of your lives is as uncertain as the morning fog-now you see it; soon it is gone. What you ought to say is, “If the Lord wants us to, we shall live and do this or that.” Otherwise you will be bragging about your own plans, and such self-confidence never pleases God. Remember, too, that knowing what is right to do and then not doing it is sin.

1 John 2:1-2
My little children, I am telling you this so that you will stay away from sin. But if you sin, there is someone to plead for you before the Father. His name is Jesus Christ, the one who is all that is good and who pleases God completely. He is the one who took God’s wrath against our sins upon himself and brought us into fellowship with God; and he is the forgiveness for our sins, and not only ours but all the world’s.

1 Tim 2:2-6
Pray in this way for kings and all others who are in authority over us, or are in places of high responsibility, so that we can live in peace and quietness, spending our time in godly living and thinking much about the Lord. This is good and pleases God our Savior, for he longs for all to be saved and to understand this truth: 5 That God is on one side and all the people on the other side, and Christ Jesus, himself man, is between them to bring them together, by giving his life for all mankind.
1 Tim 5:1-7
Never speak sharply to an older man, but plead with him respectfully just as though he were your own father. Talk to the younger men as you would to much-loved brothers. Treat the older women as mothers, and the girls as your sisters, thinking only pure thoughts about them. The church should take loving care of women whose husbands have died if they don’t have anyone else to help them. But if they have children or grandchildren, these are the ones who should take the responsibility, for kindness should begin at home, supporting needy parents. This is something that pleases God very much.

I need to keep these verses before me constantly. I need to stay as close to Jesus as I can possibly get! 1 John 3:1-3 makes me want to stand up and shout……
See how very much our heavenly Father loves us, for he allows us to be called his children-think of it-and we really are! But since most people don’t know God, naturally they don’t understand that we are his children. Yes, dear friends, we are already God’s children, right now, and we can’t even imagine what it is going to be like later on. But we do know this, that when he comes we will be like him, as a result of seeing him as he really is. And everyone who really believes this will try to stay pure because Christ is pure.
Just think of it! God has done all that for us, for me!
Dear, dear friends, keep on seeking ways to please Him always.

 

Posted July 2012Some writings just don’t need any more added to them. I have never forgotten this tract which I read only a few years after becoming a Christian…..still true today for so many of us.

OTHERS MAY: You CANNOT
-by G.D. Watson.

If God has called you to be really like Jesus He will draw you into a life of crucifixion and humility, and put upon you such demands of obedience, that you will not be able to follow other people, or measure yourself by other Christians, and in many ways He will seem to let other people do things which He will not let you do.

Other Christians and ministers who seem very religious and useful, may push themselves, pull wires, and work schemes to carry out their plans, but you cannot do it, and if you attempt it, you will meet with such failure and rebuke from the Lord as to make you sorely penitent.

Others may boast of themselves, of their work, of their successes, of their writings, but the Holy Spirit will not allow you to do any such thing, and if you begin it, He will lead you into some deep mortification that will make you despise yourself and all your good works.

Others may be allowed to succeed in making money, or may have a legacy left to them, but it is likely God will keep you poor, because He wants you to have something far better than gold, namely, a helpless dependence upon Him, that He may have the privilege of supplying your needs day by day out of an unseen treasury.

The Lord may let others be honored and put forward, and keep you hidden in obscurity, because He wants to produce some choice fragrant fruit for His coming glory, which can only be produced in the shade. He may let others be great, but keep you small. He may let others do a work for Him and get the credit for it, but He will make you work and toil on without knowing how much you are doing; and then to make your work still more precious He may let others get credit for the work which you have done, and thus make YOUR REWARD TEN TIMES GREATER when JESUS COMES.

The Holy Spirit will put a strict watch over you, with a jealous love, and will rebuke you for little words and feelings or for wasting your time, which other Christians never feel distressed over. So make up your mind that God is an Infinitely Sovereign Being, and has a right to do as He pleases with His own. He may not explain to you a thousand things which puzzle your reason in His dealings with you, but if you absolutely sell yourself to be His love slave, He will wrap you up in Jealous Love, and bestow upon you many blessings which come only to those who are in the inner circle.

Settle it forever, then that you are to DEAL DIRECTLY WITH the HOLY SPIRIT, and that He is to have the privilege of tying your tongue, or chaining your hand, or closing your eyes, in ways that He does not seem to use with others. Now, when you are so possessed with the living God that you are, in your secret heart, pleased and delighted over this PECULIAR, PERSONAL, PRIVATE, JEALOUS GUARDIANSHIP and MANAGEMENT OF the HOLY SPIRIT OVER YOUR LIFE, then you will have found the vestibule of Heaven.

-G.D.Watson (1845-1924).
SOURCE: Faith, Prayer, & Tract League,
Tract #76; Grand Rapids, MI 49504.

_________________
paulregent.blogspot.com

 

Posted on June 17, 2012

The following is a post our daughter, Kathy, made on facebook:

Fifty-one years ago today, my father married my mom. He was and is a man of his word: when he looked in her eyes and said “I do,” he made a lifetime commitment he has kept through thick & thin, good times & bad, for more than half a century now. They have had plenty of tough times, but plenty of good times too. And the love they have for each other still shines through, all these years later. They still look like newlyweds when they walk hand in hand.

My daddy taught me how to ride a bike and how to whistle and how to change the oil in my car. He taught me how to bait my own hook and carry my own backpack. He taught me how to look someone in the eye and tell the truth, no matter how unpalatable the truth might be in a given situation. He taught me to stand up straight and speak clearly. He taught me that good people keep their promises even when it’s hard. He got up every single morning and went to work when he had every excuse in the world to stay home and feel sorry for himself. He beat me at Scrabble and corrected my grammar and played goofy, pun-ridden word games with me almost every day of my childhood. He taught me what a Tom Swifty was. He taught me to love Jesus and pray for our neighbors and trust God to provide. He taught me that money doesn’t matter, but character does. He taught me that the heart is more important than outward circumstances.

He taught me what love is and he showed me what a man should be.

I love you, Daddy. Happy Father’s Day.

Also, he taught me how to play Rummy. He and my mom still play Rummy almost every day!

Posted by daughter, Bonnie:

Gee Kathy – you put into words everything we all feel about our Daddy – maybe you should take up a career in writing! 🙂 I love you, Daddy. Happy Father’s Day and Happy Anniversary to the couple who has been our inspiration and showed us what a real marriage is.

Posted on May 28, 2012

This may be news for some of you, but there are a lot of people who already know that my husband, Bob, suffers from chronic pain. He has for the last forty or so years. Recently our pastor asked Bob to help him with his dissertation paper on “Chronic Pain: When Medicines aren’t Enough” Our pastor is writing the paper for part of the requirements to obtain his doctor of Ministry degree. Bob helped with the editing, but then the pastor asked for more help. ….well, here, this is what he asked: “Also would you consider writing a personal section that I could include in my dissertation. Who you are? How long you have experienced long term chronic pain? What things are important for the long term suffer to know and expect? Key thoughts and things that have helped you endure with such grace? Anything your life journey has taught that help you cope? I know you have done extensive research and that this could be the most significant part of the paper. Thought I could then take you to lunch to discuss further. I’ve titled this section: The Daily Life and Emotions of The Chronic Pain Sufferer.” The following is what Bob wrote concerning his life of pain. (Yes, it made me very weepy….but I so love him for his honesty and transparency. I thought it would be interesting for all to read this. Perhaps you may know someone suffering from Chronic pain or you may be a sufferer yourself.)Hi Pastor, I whipped this out hurriedly, so who knows. I’m not certain I even know what you need. Please feel free to throw out sentences, sections, or the whole thing. Good luck (as they say in the world!) with your project!

Musings on Chronic Pain

Our HMO defines chronic pain as pain lasting six months or more. The problem with defining pain in timelines is that in the beginning it is not chronic, and one cannot be certain how long it will last, or for that matter, if it will last. The hope of everyone who works in or endures pain is always is that it will subside. My journey with pain has been a lengthy one, beginning with a severely ruptured disk between vertebrae 4-5 when I was only 31 years old. In 1969 back surgery was still pretty primitive, and a lot of nerve and muscle damage was done. (I jokingly tell people I think the surgeon used a meat cleaver for the incision!) The pain faded a little so I went on with a fairly normal life, mainly by sheer determination. A second surgery to fuse the same area was performed three years later, and instead of helping stabilize the spine and lessen pain, it exacerbated the problem. A subsequent series of tomograms (there were not yet CT scans-Computerized Tomograms). This procedure took six hours, and showed the fusion had developed a “false joint” and simply destroyed more muscle and nerve tissue. The pain cycle now became a permanent part of my life and has controlled much of my personality, and curtailed much of my physical activity. The doctors said I could now receive disability Social Security and never work again! What an offer to a young ambitious faith driven man who has a conscience! To date I have endured seven spine surgeries, including abdominal placement of a morphine pump. For forty three of my seventy four years, pain has been my constant companion in an unpredictable ebb and flow patter Living Life When the pain problem first appeared I had a wife and three children and had just graduated from college. We were already accepted by a mission board for service in the jungles of Borneo, Indonesia. This was to be a life commitment, but when the second surgery became necessary we had to abandon that work, leaving Borneo after less than three years. I was bewildered to put it mildly. We had been called by God and had a sincere desire to serve Him there. For four months I lay in pain, also suffering from malaria in that tropical climate. I had a lot of time to reflect on my then short life, and also what lay ahead. Keep in mind that at this point I didn’t know my pain was “chronic,” assuming a second surgery would fix things. I still had a growing family to support (child #4 was born a month after we returned), and there was no way to quit. I think it was then I decided that knowing that God is good; my plan would be to try my best with what I had, and not engage in self-pity. I have learned that in any situation—pain, relationships, ill treatment, – self-pity is an enemy to be avoided. Most people don’t really care since they are not affected, and nobody wants to hear a whiner. After we came back for the second surgery and severe pain persisted, I knew crippling pain would always be part of me. Like it or not, it would be there, and how I react to it is up to me. As a Christian, I realize it doesn’t sound very spiritual to confess than I have mainly coped with pain by gritting my teeth and doing my best with the body I have left. Of course I pray often, and sometimes complain to God, but nothing shocks Him. I wish I could say that after a prayer time I feel pain relief, but that is not the case. Depending on how long I pray, and my body position, it sometimes makes pain worse, not better. Strangely, praying too much about my pain sometimes focuses my thoughts not on God, but on “poor me,” also adding to the problem! Just as He said, our focus is to be on others and how we can help their situations. Emotional Focus Psychologists use the term “emotional focus” to show us how we tend to gravitate toward that upon which we focus our thoughts. An example would be a son who says, “I will never be like my father!” Often that is exactly what he becomes-just like his father. I try to avoid a lot of thinking and talking about my pain for that very reason. I have avoided joining support groups and such, since I see nothing to be gained by sitting around commiserating with other sufferers. Sitting is my most painful position for more than a few minutes. My church friends no longer stare when I sit for ten minutes, stand in the back for ten minutes, then walk or go to my car. Unfortunately, well-meaning friends constantly remind me of the awful pain. My identity has become “the guy with the bad back,” and that is often the first topic of conversation when I meet someone who knows my history. I want so badly to have good news to report to friends, but the aging process and accompanying arthritis only add to the pain problem. For me at least, my best defense against severe chronic pain is to drive on and don’t stop to dwell on it. Others might need to talk it out, but I don’t. I am advised to dwell on “whatever is pure, whatever is true, whatever is of good report—think on these things, and the peace of God that transcends human understanding will keep your hearts and minds—.” Unfortunately, serious pain always returns to interrupt that peace. One of the really unfortunate effects of severe pain is its ability to take control of one’s creativity. Physical limitations are not fun, but they can be handled in several ways. Many people have found creative methods of transportation, reaching for objects, driving, etc. The human spirit is truly indomitable, and physically challenged people have accomplished remarkable feats. Chronic pain is much more cruel because it robs you of your thinking processes, distorts your plans, and even at times makes your statements to others offensive when your intent was not so. Things like studying or calculating, or simply reading a novel or newspaper become difficult chores when pain is raging. Sometimes drugs to lessen the pain also muddle the brain, exacerbating the difficulty. In my situation I start an admirable activity such as Bible study or budget planning. With my usual resolve and drive, I tackle the chore, planning to disregard the knife stabs at L-2 vertebra or the ever present muscle spasms. A few minutes into my activity, pain whispers, “Hey, remember me? I ain’t going away, you know.” I plow on. Next, pain screams louder, “Hey, I’m talking to you!” Soon, I am not contemplating David tending his sheep as I might have years ago, but how severe my pain has become and where to find some respite. It is sad for a person who loves to study and think! Thank God for Drugs For several years I was able to “work through” the pain without help from drugs. I started a business, put all my kids through private schools and college for those who wanted to, and generally lived a normal life, even with often severe pain as my companion. Except for my dear wife and a few close friends, nobody knew what I endured sitting for hours in business meetings or board meetings for the non-profit ministry to which I belonged. A few hours restful sleep would refresh and rebuild, and dogged determination served me well. However, except for wine and cheese, nothing improves with age. Most aging folks discover those injuries that were “healed” years ago weren’t healed at all, but were just waiting for old age when they would reintroduce themselves in the form of osteoarthritis. Arthritis has now affected my entire spine as well as both knees and other joints. Most people suffer this awful disease where their bodies have had trauma, often many years earlier. Fortunately, some effective pain relieving drugs have been developed, albeit with varying side effects for some. For severe pain, good narcotic drugs have appeared and until recently, have been available for chronic pain sufferers. They have been called “painkillers,” a misnomer for most sufferers. They relieve enough severe pain so one can function better and keep one’s mind off the pain. They have been a real godsend –until recently. Until Recently Two forces have emerged which have made opioid (narcotic) drugs extremely difficult to obtain, even from sympathetic doctors and pain specialists. This is unfortunate for all concerned, and since I am prejudiced and involved, I might not have clear thinking on these two subjects. The first force has been around for quite some time, and has not been too damaging until recently. I am referring to the misinformation we see constantly in the print and electronic media about the “highly addictive” powers of morphine, oxycodone and others. I have followed the testing at major medical centers and have read many articles in the journals that show the opposite is true where real pain is involved. Personally, I have been on extreme doses of nearly all the so-called “painkillers,” and have found them to have awful side effects, but I have had no tendency toward addiction. But they do diminish pain, and one learns to depend on them for help. Most of my medical teams distinguish between dependency and addiction. Dependency is a reality, addiction is a myth. Because of the side effects (letdown and depression, edema, constipation) I wonder why anyone would want to take any more than necessary for pain relief. Except for possibly a few days at the beginning, I have never experienced euphoria or any “upper” feeling from narcotic drugs. When used for pain control as they are intended, they are marvelous. The pain and the drug tend to cancel one another. I have seen tests showing that less than .04 % of the population could become addicted to oxycontin, yet it always appears with “highly addictive” as preceding adjectives. This force, although a “bad rap,” has not been too damaging. The second and more damaging force making narcotics difficult to obtain, especially in Washington State where I live, is our government’s War on Drugs. A few greedy doctors and “pain clinics” in south Florida and elsewhere have found drug peddling quite profitable. Some clinics have been shut down, and woefully few doctors have been penalized. However, both federal and state governments always seem to move with knee jerk reactions to any crisis, real or perceived. We are losing the War on Drugs worldwide, and since authorities cannot stem the tide of drug crime or enforce drug laws already in place, they pass new legislation which is easy to enforce. I call these “laws on the victims of pain.” As I sit to write this, my pain medication has been reduced to my doctor’s “legal level” to prescribe, and I must write in 10 minute shifts or less, lying down for half hour shifts. My chronic pain is not at levels it has been in the past and I know by experience I can tolerate more than many in pain, but my heart aches for those who cannot get adequate relief due to politics in medicine. I am also sensitive to the quandary of doctors who cannot use tools of their trade without fearing reprisals. There, I’ve said my political piece and now perhaps the muscle spasms will subside! Our Missionary “Adventure” Many times in my prayers or my “self-talk” I asked God, “Why?” “Why me?” “Why now?” We had sold our 20 acre ranchette and headed to Bible College after less than a year after becoming believers. At age 30 I was at the top of my class in grades. We had spent over 20K on our equipment and travel expenses to get there we had around 45 churches, families, even kids mowing lawns to keep us there. I had worked diligently in language study and learning the culture of the Dyak tribes, and had even preached my first rudimentary sermon in their language in less than 3 months after our arrival. The people loved us and our fair-haired children. Jeri was the perfect young, pretty missionary wife. We were perfect and I thought God would surely recognize all these things. Oh yes, I also was in a lot of unrelenting pain and couldn’t sleep due to the heat! Had I left anything out? I asked Him over and over, expecting to hear something encouraging. What did I hear? Silence. Nothing. In fact to this day I have heard nothing from God. I have had to walk by faith! However I did get some answers from my self-talk. For instance, when I cried out, “Where are you God?” My alter ego told me He was in exactly the same place He was nearly 2,000 years ago when He watched His Son writhe in pain and cry out to His Father for help. He was silent then and He was silent now. I learned that my physical pain probably did not exceed the pain of thorns, nails, rejection, and desertion by God the Father, not to mention shouldering the sin burden of the whole world! I learned in that awful experience that I was now totally helpless and that if my family and I were to be cared for, it would not be I who did it. In short I learned to trust and obey, the only two requirements for man since Creation! In my travels and my reading, I find that my experiences with chronic pain are not uncommon. I often think my “normal” pain level must be greater than most, but in all honesty I doubt it. I do find that generally speaking, people of faith tend to handle life’s vicissitudes better, including savage pain. That seems to be true also about those with good marriages and other familial relationships. I also know I am a better counselor to others who suffer than I might have become without the experience. “Blessed be the God of all comfort who comforts us in all our troubles (read pain!) so we can also comfort others—“2 Corinthians1:2. “Misery loves company” is not a Bible proverb, but perhaps should have been! One final thought. I can’t imagine how non faith people cope with pain’s unrelenting persistence. Here is another thought for your consideration. Attitude To help cope with pain I have another “help” which if nothing else, improves my overall perspective on the pain issue. It might ease pain too, and never hurts anything. I am referring to attitude. Attitude always makes a difference in every area of life, and sometimes a huge difference. I try to be thankful and grateful for all the good things in my life, and they are many if I am honest. If the “good” things and “bad” things were placed on a balance scale, what a lopsided scale I would see! We all know enough to look around and observe all the unfortunate people who are worse off than we are in order to gain and keep perspective, but I am not thinking of that strategy. I am thinking about an attitude of gratitude we should feel for our Creator. The phrase is not mine, but gratitude certainly is! When I have trouble sleeping because of pain, and the MP3 music through my headphones don’t solve the problem, I like to list for God (as if He doesn’t know!), and thank Him for, all the blessings in my life. As I write this we are in California, staying with our youngest daughter and her beautiful family of four. Little League season is in full swing. Need I elaborate? My mind goes from one subject to another as I start listing and thanking! A beautiful wife of 50 years, four children, all Believers. Most of the grandkids love the Lord, and I pray all twelve will before I die. We haven’t missed a meal yet in this lifetime, although skipping a few wouldn’t hurt us! Having traveled and lived in third world countries, I see how very wealthy we are. I could go on and on as I sit here looking out on the forests of redwood trees that were already growing when Christ was born! My point is when I really start listing all the good things and thanking God, I sometimes get so emotional and jubilant I can’t get to sleep! How’s that for problem solving? When “poor me” starts thinking about the things I can’t do, I try to recall all I can do! All those Bible verses I had to learn in Bible college come flooding back at just the right time they are needed, and the next blessing comes naturally. Meditating on God’s Word is a blessing to trump all the others! I need to stop thinking and listing now, because the list is indeed endless! If you use this, you will need to polish it up. It’s late and I just “scribbled” it! Fortuna Angels won again today. 15-1, and in 1st place! Our kids attend Fortuna Calvary Chapel, and we enjoy it too. Straight Bible stuff. This area is so isolated it is almost like being in a time warp—back to the 50’s and 60’s. Blessings, Bob Hi Bob I knew your portion would be a significant part of my paper. And you have not disappointed at all. It has the honesty and encouragement our long term chronic pain sufferers will be encouraged by. I also have included the section on Christian experience as I believe it is a representative of the reality and hope both believers and non-believers need to know. How can me ever thank you enough for all you have done. (Well maybe dinner out with both you and Jerri and Jeane as my guests of course). I will e-mail a copy of the next draft before I once again submit it as a second draft. Your participation with me in taking the time to provide this information has been a real encouragement to me as I almost felt like giving it all up. Will now forge ahead. You are a true Friend and support I couldn’t have come this close to finishing it without the help of both you and Jerri’s. Thanks again, G

 

 

Posted on April 15, 2012

If you haven’t been thrown in a well lately, then you’re having a pretty good day!

Acts 9:36-41
In the city of Joppa there was a woman named Dorcas (“Gazelle”), a believer who was always doing kind things for others, especially for the poor. About this time she became ill and died. Her friends prepared her for burial and laid her in an upstairs room. But when they learned that Peter was nearby at Lydda, they sent two men to beg him to return with them to Joppa. This he did; as soon as he arrived, they took him upstairs where Dorcas lay. The room was filled with weeping widows who were showing one another the coats and other garments Dorcas had made for them. But Peter asked them all to leave the room; then he knelt and prayed. Turning to the body he said, “Get up, Dorcas,” and she opened her eyes! And when she saw Peter, she sat up! He gave her his hand and helped her up and called in the believers and widows, presenting her to them.
As Christians we are to do good….and the scope of that is endless. One of my favorite ways to study and learn the Bible is doing a word or phrase study. “Doing good” or “do good” is mentioned 34 times in the NIV version of the Bible. It amazes me that there are so many different types of ministries and so many ways Christians can be “doing good.”
It is easy to think of any ministry in the church is done by those upfront….those preaching, singing, teaching, etc.
But these verses talk only about “doing good.”
So let’s read some of the verses I found that have “do good” in them.
Acts 26:19-21
“And so, O King Agrippa, I was not disobedient to that vision from heaven! I preached first to those in Damascus, then in Jerusalem and through Judea, and also to the Gentiles that all must forsake their sins and turn to God-and prove their repentance by doing good deeds.

Galatians 6:9-10

And let us not get tired of doing what is right, for after a while we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don’t get discouraged and give up. That’s why whenever we can we should always be kind to everyone, and especially to our Christian brothers. Ephesians 2:4-10

But God is so rich in mercy; he loved us so much that even though we were spiritually dead and doomed by our sins, he gave us back our lives again when he raised Christ from the dead-only by his undeserved favor have we ever been saved- and lifted us up from the grave into glory along with Christ, where we sit with him in the heavenly realms-all because of what Christ Jesus did. And now God can always point to us as examples of how very, very rich his kindness is, as shown in all he has done for us through Jesus Christ.
Because of his kindness, you have been saved through trusting Christ. And even trusting is not of yourselves; it too is a gift from God. Salvation is not a reward for the good we have done, so none of us can take any credit for it. It is God himself who has made us what we are and given us new lives from Christ Jesus; and long ages ago he planned that we should spend these lives in helping others
1 Timothy 6:17-19
Tell those who are rich not to be proud and not to trust in their money, which will soon be gone, but their pride and trust should be in the living God who always richly gives us all we need for our enjoyment. Tell them to use their money to do good. They should be rich in good works and should give happily to those in need, always being ready to share with others whatever God has given them. By doing this they will be storing up real treasure for themselves in heaven-it is the only safe investment for eternity! And they will be living a fruitful Christian life down here as well.
Hebrews 13:7
“Remember your leaders who have taught you the Word of God. Think of all the good that has come from their lives, and try to trust the Lord as they do.”
Hebrews 13:15-16
With Jesus’ help we will continually offer our sacrifice of praise to God by telling others of the glory of his name. Don’t forget to do good and to share what you have with those in need, for such sacrifices are very pleasing to him
1 Peter 3:8-17
And now this word to all of you: You should be like one big happy family, full of sympathy toward each other, loving one another with tender hearts and humble minds. Don’t repay evil for evil. Don’t snap back at those who say unkind things about you. Instead, pray for God’s help for them, for we are to be kind to others, and God will bless us for it.
If you want a happy, good life, keep control of your tongue, and guard your lips from telling lies. Turn away from evil and do good. Try to live in peace even if you must run after it to catch and hold it! For the Lord is watching his children, listening to their prayers; but the Lord’s face is hard against those who do evil.
Usually no one will hurt you for wanting to do good. But even if they should, you are to be envied, for God will reward you for it. Quietly trust yourself to Christ your Lord, and if anybody asks why you believe as you do, be ready to tell him, and do it in a gentle and respectful way.
Do what is right; then if men speak against you, calling you evil names, they will become ashamed of themselves for falsely accusing you when you have only done what is good. Remember, if God wants you to suffer, it is better to suffer for doing good than for doing wrong!
1 Peter 4:19
So if you are suffering according to God’s will, keep on doing what is right and trust yourself to the God who made you, for he will never fail you.

Of course we have to make the distinction between “doing good” and “being good.” These verses in Romans 4 clarify it for us:
Romans 4:1-81
Abraham was, humanly speaking, the founder of our Jewish nation. What were his experiences concerning this question of being saved by faith? Was it because of his good deeds that God accepted him? If so, then he would have something to boast about. But from God’s point of view Abraham had no basis at all for pride. For the Scriptures tell us Abraham believed God, and that is why God canceled his sins and declared him “not guilty.”
But didn’t he earn his right to heaven by all the good things he did? No, for being saved is a gift; if a person could earn it by being good, then it wouldn’t be free-but it is! It is given to those who do not work for it. For God declares sinners to be good in his sight if they have faith in Christ to save them from God’s wrath.
King David spoke of this, describing the happiness of an undeserving sinner who is declared “not guilty” by God. “Blessed and to be envied,” he said, “are those whose sins are forgiven and put out of sight. Yes, what joy there is for anyone whose sins are no longer counted against him by the Lord.”
There it is….”being good” is something God does for us when we accept Jesus as our Savior and He forgives our sins. “Doing good” is what we as Christians are able to do for God with help from Him. He wants to not only be my friend, He also wants to work together with me to do good to others, especially those in the family of God.
So really, these verses tell us that the only job God has given us down here is to do good. And we can rest in that for God has told us in
Matthew 11:28-29:
“Come to me and I will give you rest-all of you who work so hard beneath a heavy yoke. Wear my yoke-for it fits perfectly-and let me teach you; for I am gentle and humble, and you shall find rest for your souls; for I give you only light burdens.” TLB
Dorcas could sew. She had enough money, probably, to buy material. If not, that was someone else’s “doing good,” buying material for her.
Most of us would put this down as a small ministry. But look what those widows were doing…they were crying and reminding one another of the “great” things Dorcas had done for the poor. God thought her ministry was important enough to not only have it recorded here for us, but to even raise her from the dead so she could continue her “small” ministry.
I don’t think any ministry is small in God’s sight. I think that the “doing good” ministries among us are as varied as people themselves and are as plentiful as the earth is of vegetation.
As Max Lucado says in his book, Cure for the Common Life, “God custom designed you for a one-of-a-kind assignment.” His book gives lots of insights and methods for finding your “sweet spot.”
Most of us have heard of the Dorcas Ministry this church has. As a matter of fact, there are a lot of churches who have used that name for the group of ladies who get together to “do good.”
Our Dorcas group here is very busy sewing. In 2011 they gave out: 56 large quilts, 52 lap robes, 28 baby quilts, 2 wall hangings, 6 pillow cases, 1 youth blanket, 2 scarfs, and 7 caps. And all that is done with around 12 ladies. Who get together once a week for most of the day and then many of them take work home to do. These numbers always impress me so I’m impressed…….
When I first looked up all these “doing good” verses I thought it would be fun to write an article, “101 Ministries.” But alas and alack I couldn’t find that many….so I thought all of you might help me get to that number by recognizing all the ministries we see around us every day.
1. Call on shut ins and those who are ill….take food stuffs, or just stop by to talk….but don’t stay too long.. 
Take food or just stop by talk, even a phone call would be good. I think I’ll embarrass Rose now….do you know what Rose does? She mails the church bulletin to shut-ins and those who miss the service for one reason or another…and she buys the stamps herself! Small ministry? I don’t think so. She is being kind and doing good.
2. Invite others to your home for dinner, lunch, dessert, breakfast, brunch…. share testimonies…. invite the unsaved also.
This one has a special place in my heart. This verse reminds of a time when a Christian friend went out of her way to “do good” to me. We were young, just finished Bible School, and on our way to the mission field. Bob worked in a factory and as often as possible we held meetings in churches to let others know our dream of serving on the mission field and give them an opportunity to support us. We were pretty broke, too. We were living in Cincinnati, Ohio. We had met some pretty wonderful Christians there, Ed and Betty Gudberlet, who had two children. One lovely daughter about the same age as our daughter Bonnie and they also had another baby who, although in an 8 year-old body her brain was still the same as an infant. Their baby girl was in her own room and all of them cared for her and loved her. I had told my new friend that my Mother was coming to visit and I didn’t think she was a Christian. So this wonderful busy mom and wife called me a few days later to invite both my mother and me to lunch at her home. What a nice thing….but then, there was something even nicer which I wasn’t expecting at all.
When my Mother and I arrived there were four or five other ladies there for lunch. It was a delightful lunch and visit…then, when we were mostly through eating the conversation turned to spiritual matters and each one of those ladies gave their own testimony of how they had become Christians and what God was doing in their lives at present.
I realized later that this whole lunch was planned to present the gospel to my mother. I was humbled and amazed that these women would take the time and energy to do this for me and for my mother. When we left my mother told me how much she had enjoyed that lunch. I was speechless and amazed at what those ladies had done for us. Yes, my mother’s faith grew in the years after that, something for which I will always be grateful to God. These ladies truly did “do good” for the “family of God.” Was there anywhere this ministry was praised and the ladies stood so others could give them applause? No, there reward was waiting for them where moth and rust can’t destroy (Matthew 6:20).
Of course, it is more common these days to go out to eat, but a ministry such as this one can easily be done anywhere.
The fellowship over a Sunday meal just doesn’t happen as much now as it used to happen. I’m sure a lot of you remember when Sunday after church was the time for company. Our kids and grandkids have been here a lot on Sundays, but usually not others. I think the times have changed for all of us and now it is the Sunday meal out with friends is a lot more common. Fellowship over a meal is just a fun relaxing way to encourage one another.
Shortly after Bob and I moved to San Jose we attended a new church. We attended a Sunday school class and were welcomed with open arms and hearts. We were even invited to a Sunday meal, and that was even after we explained there were three kids who followed us around. We had a lovely time and they had lots food already prepared. It was several months later that we learned that Sunday school class we had attended had an “invite the new people to lunch” practice. Each couple signed up and took turns to have a meal ready for the “visitors” who showed up for class. So anyone who showed up in class for the first time was invited to lunch. If there wasn’t a new couple to invite they would invite anyone else in church they wanted to get to know. What a great idea! ….A chance to get to know more about the church and for those members to find out more about the visitors.
Our Freedom Years ministry is now meeting after church once a month for a meal together, besides the monthly pot luck. Frankly, I don’t believe in pot or luck…it should be called “kettle chance.” 
A meal out with one or two is still a great way to help and encourage one another. Either way, home or out, many or one, it is still fun and a blessing to boot!
3. Help at the rescue mission…stuffing envelopes, cleaning, etc… Even help with services.
The Bible passage mentions that Dorcas helped the poor also. There are a lot of ministries for helping and “doing good.”
One of the most rewarding times happened while Bob was teaching a college/career class at our church. He took the whole group to the local rescue mission to lead singing and give testimonies. This made quite an impression on these young people and after a few times of this that group took over the ministry and made it their own. Once a month they went to the rescue mission to help and were blessed themselves!
One of the most rewarding ministries ever is to introduce people to a ministry and have them catch the vision.
If you would rather help in the back ground remember a lot of these organizations need godly people on the board to help guide the ministry. Bob served on the Board for Cityteam Ministries for over ten years when we lived in San Jose. It was a time of growth and expansion for that ministry and Bob loved being a part of it.
4. Teach a Bible study in a neighborhood or in a nursing home. Teach one on one or teach a kids Bible class (am, pm, Sat., Sun, once a month, etc.)
There are so many places one can “do good” by teaching. Sunday school, nursery through adult in you church is one place to start. Child Evangelism is always looking for more places to have Bible lessons. Released Time in public schools is a great place to help.
But there are so many more: such as in home Bible studies and one on one Bible studies and working place lunch hour Bible studies. There’s no excuse for not leading a Bible study somewhere if that is the ministry God has laid on your heart. Summer time out doors with young moms while the kids play, well, winter too because you could study indoors while kids play.
Some of you might not be aware that when this Bible study stops for the summer, not everyone stops for the summer. There is a group of ladies who still meet, in a fun place, for fellowship and to encourage one another.
Not a teacher? Afraid? Hey, the work’s been done for you in Stonecroft Bible studies (Stonecroft. Org). Anyone can order study materials from the headquarters in Kansas City Mo and anyone can “lead” the study. They call the teacher a “guide” because you don’t have to know the Bible yourself to teach, just read the materials and discuss the answers. And, as stated before, one on one studies are the answer for the shy or the reluctant. And besides all that….those Bible studies have a beginning and an end….anywhere from four weeks or up to twelve weeks!
You can always be a teacher’s helper, too. Open your home for a study and supply the coffee! Or, babysit so some moms can study. God is always faithful to show you a place you can serve if your heart is open.
5. Make baby blankets for the crisis pregnancy centers and church members.
You can join our Dorcas group but you can always work on your own, also. Crochet/knit baby blankets to give to the local Crises Pregnancy Clinics. I’ve done this a couple of times. I asked if blankets were something they needed and met with an enthusiastic, “Yes!” I crocheted a few while watching TV.
I have thought it is a nice gift to give young couples who attend our church, also. Maybe even make throws or blankets for couples getting married.
6. Participate in Street Evangelism or door to door evangelism.
Does this scare you…yep, it does me! Maybe it doesn’t scare all of us.
Last year I was in Arcata, California with my daughter, Susie, and a few of her friends. It was a Friday night in the main square and the city was celebrating “Art in the Park.” There was music and dancing and vendors and most of the stores were still open. There were a lot of make shift signs such as “Tax the Rich and Stop the War.”
But on one corner there was a lone man passing out small booklets of the gospel of John from the Bible. He didn’t have a crowd around him and most people were ignoring him. But there he was, just calmly passing out Bible booklets to anyone who would take them. I thought of the verse in Luke 6:27…… “But I tell you who hear me: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you,”
He certainly wasn’t popular passing out those booklets, but he was faithful “doing good” as he felt God wanted him to do. This is a good ministry and certainly not for the faint hearted. One of Susie’s friends took a booklet explaining she wanted to encourage him that what he was doing was a good thing. Another didn’t want to take a booklet so he would have plenty to give out. I simply said to him, “hey, great book! You’re doing a good job!” Actually I thought later that what I should have done was to give him money so he could buy more booklets.
Have you seen other believers doing good in a way that might cause them harm? Perhaps even be called out to defend his or her beliefs on a public platform?
These types of ministries take a lot of guts. My deepest admiration to those who serve in this way.
7. Call on visitors who show up at church or in your Bible study. How many of you know Leland from our church….and how many of you know what is his ministry? Actually, he has two. He not only greets people coming to church, but he calls on new visitors. He called on us when we first showed up here……we were very impressed. He is a truly nice man who knows how to “do good.”
Skip down to *10…..

10. Collect food for the poor. Did you know that there are some wonderfully dependable people right here at this church who distribute food to the poor once a month? Last month they provided enough food to feed 140 families, or 490 people. Small ministry? I don’t think so. Dorcas and her friends wouldn’t think so.

Skip to #19…………

19. Put reading material together for nursing homes and waiting rooms. If you subscribe to a Christian magazine you can get a lot of miles out of it by leaving it in waiting rooms and/or leaving it in a nursing home. You could always mail it to a shut in or give to your own family members.
I have a friend in Medford, Oregon, who told me about a ministry a lady in her church has. This lady picks a new book to read every year…she reads it and puts notes in it…..and then, at the end of the year, for Christmas….she gives the book to someone in her church…someone God has laid on her heart to receive her precious gift.

9. Provide meals to the bereaved and ill
10. Collect food for the poor.
11. Join a helps group at church (quilting, secret pals, etc.)
12. Meals for people going through crises…new baby, or death of a loved one, even just moving
13. Help with a prison ministry…visiting, or just mailing Christian literature to inmates
14. Occasional babysitting and/or elderly sitting
15. Supply Christian literature to rescue missions, pregnancy centers, church, waiting rooms, laundry centers, etc.
16. Put up literature on public bulletin boards advertising church ministries, local Bible studies, etc.
17. Work with Child Evangelism Ministries.
18. Write out John 3:16 on 3×5 cards decorate with stickers leave everywhere you go.
19. Put reading material together for nursing homes and waiting rooms. If you subscribe to a Christian magazine you can get a lot of miles out of it by leaving it in waiting rooms and taking to a nursing home. You could always mail it to a shut in or give to your own family members….Be sure to remove your name and address.
20. Find a list of names of military service personnel from your church, city or area and mail encouragement letters, cookies, Bibles, Christian books, and Christian booklets.
21. Samaritans Purse is a wonderful ministry. Start on filling your shoebox for Christmas now and maybe even do several. It a marvelous way to help the poor and the needy.
22. Send cards, Bibles, books, etc., to kids in college from our church or your own neighborhood. Send some to those in public office and to businesses when you
send in payments.
23. Send subscriptions of Christian books and magazines to people from church or
other places.
24. Prepare two or three Bible stories for children…..use them when babysitting or
25. Set up a web page with links to Christian ministries (use Bible verses)
26. Send encouraging notes and Bible verses by email to those in ministry.
27. Teach John 3:16 to every child you meet and reward them with a sucker.
28. Set up a prayer chain on line or by phone.
29. Have a Bible study at work, during lunch or after work.
30. Pray for those in the news.
31. Help in the church library.
32. Join Moms in Touch and pray for kids and teachers, or start your own group involving other moms from school, friends, and neighbors.
33. Start a craft group to make gifts for others…invite people from all walks of life and witness to them
34. Do you see a need for ministry…pray one starts up…or, maybe start it yourself.
35. Witness to the waitress when you dine out. Print up you testimony and leave it with the tip, or leave a salvation tract.
36-101….you add… 

Now really, I didn’t present all this so you could help me write an article…except that would be a nice side benefit. No, the reason I think it is important that we know some of these things is that people need encouragement, and we can give it to one another. I don’t think that we need a ceremony and awards given out….that would just be egos on display. We need to pray for each other and know how we can help one another….last week Pat talked about how she saw the body of Christ working together to serve her brother-in-law, Mark, and what a blessing that was to behold. I love watching the family of God working together and I think so does God.

Look at Acts 9:41 again….
“He (Peter) gave her his hand and helped her up and called in the believers and widows, presenting her to them.”….Peter gave Dorcas back to them…He “presented” her to them. She was God’s gift to them…His “present”…..not her work….she, herself. You are God’s present to others!
So, keep up the good work!!!! You are all working together with Him!
Ephesians 4:11-13 says….” It was he who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers, to prepare God’s people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.”
One last thought: “Doing good,” will help you to not to ever become bored also!
Hebrews 6:7-12
When a farmer’s land has had many showers upon it and good crops
come up, that land has experienced God’s blessing upon it. But if it keeps on having crops of thistles and thorns, the land is considered no good and is ready for condemnation and burning off. Dear friends, even though I am talking like this I really don’t believe that what I am saying applies to you. I am confident you are producing the good fruit that comes along with your salvation. For God is not unfair. How can he forget your hard work for him, or forget the way you used to show your love for him-and still do-by helping his children? And we are anxious that you keep right on loving others as long as life lasts, so that you will get your full reward.
Then, knowing what lies ahead for you, you won’t become bored with being a Christian nor become spiritually dull and indifferent, but you will be anxious to follow the example of those who receive all that God has promised them because of their strong faith and patience. TL
Verses for meditation:
Grace and peace be yours in abundance through the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord.
His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature and escape the corruption in the world caused by evil desires.
For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, love. For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. But if anyone does not have them, he is nearsighted and blind, and has forgotten that he has been cleansed from his past sins. 2 Peter 1:2-9 (from New International Version. Compare with The Living Bible)

 

Posted on   March 30, 2012

If you haven’t been thrown into a well lately then you’re having a pretty good day!

The following is a story about Jeremiah. Maybe you’ve read it before or maybe you heard it as a child in Sunday school. Or, if you’ve never heard it before, here it is. It is pretty straight forward and easy enough to read with the help of The Living Bible.

Jeremiah 37:11-38:13

When the Babylonian army set out from Jerusalem to engage Pharaoh’s army in battle, Jeremiah started to leave the city to go to the land of Benjamin, to see the property he had bought.

But as he was walking through the Benjamin Gate, a sentry arrested him as a traitor, claiming he was defecting to the Babylonians. The guard making the arrest was Irijah (son of Shelemiah, grandson of Hananiah).

“That’s not true,” Jeremiah said. “I have no intention whatever of doing any such thing!”

But Irijah wouldn’t listen; he took Jeremiah before the city officials. They were incensed with Jeremiah and had him flogged and put into the dungeon under the house of Jonathan the scribe, which had been converted into a prison. Jeremiah was kept there for several days, but eventually King Zedekiah sent for him to come to the palace secretly. The king asked him if there was any recent message from the Lord. “Yes,” said Jeremiah, “there is! You shall be defeated by the king of Babylon!”

Then Jeremiah broached the subject of his imprisonment. “What have I ever done to deserve this?” he asked the king. “What crime have I committed? Tell me what I have done against you or your officials or the people? Where are those prophets now who told you that the king of Babylon would not come? Listen, O my lord the king: I beg you, don’t send me back to that dungeon, for I’ll die there.”

Then King Zedekiah commanded that Jeremiah not be returned to the dungeon but be placed in the palace prison instead, and that he be given a small loaf of fresh bread every day as long as there was any left in the city. So Jeremiah was kept in the palace prison.

But when Shephatiah (son of Mattan) and Gedaliah (son of Pashhur) and Jucal (son of Shelemiah) and Pashhur (son of Malchiah) heard what Jeremiah had been telling the people- that everyone remaining in Jerusalem would die by sword, starvation, or disease, but anyone surrendering to the Babylonians would live, and that the city of Jerusalem would surely be captured by the king of Babylon- they went to the king and said: “Sir, this fellow must die. That kind of talk will undermine the morale of the few soldiers we have left and of all the people too. This man is a traitor.”

So King Zedekiah agreed. “All right,” he said. “Do as you like-I can’t stop you.”

They took Jeremiah from his cell and lowered him by ropes into an empty cistern in the prison yard. (It belonged to Malchiah, a member of the royal family.) There was no water in it, but there was a thick layer of mire at the bottom, and Jeremiah sank down into it.

When Ebed-melech the Ethiopian, an important palace official, heard that Jeremiah was in the cistern, he rushed out to the Gate of Benjamin where the king was holding court.

“My lord the king,” he said, “these men has done a very evil thing in putting Jeremiah into the cistern. He will die of hunger, for almost all the bread in the city is gone.”

Then the king commanded Ebed-melech to take thirty men with him and pull Jeremiah out before he died. So Ebed-melech took thirty men and went to a palace depot for discarded supplies where used clothing was kept. There he found some old rags and discarded garments which he took to the cistern and lowered to Jeremiah on a rope. Ebed-melech called down to Jeremiah, “Use these rags under your armpits to protect you from the ropes.” Then, when Jeremiah was ready, they pulled him out and returned him to the palace prison, where he remained.

Now after reading that simple story let’s insert a section from Lamentations (which was also written by Jeremiah) in the middle of the story………….picking up at Jeremiah 38:6-

They took Jeremiah from his cell and lowered him by ropes into an empty cistern in the prison yard. (It belonged to Malchiah, a member of the royal family.) There was no water in it, but there was a thick layer of mire at the bottom, and Jeremiah sank down into it.

My enemies, whom I have never harmed, chased me as though I were a bird. They threw me in a well and capped it with a rock. The water flowed above my head. I thought, this is the end! But I called upon your name, O Lord, from deep within the well, and you heard me! You listened to my pleading; you heard my weeping! Yes, you came at my despairing cry and told me not to fear. Lam 3:52-57

and back to Jeremiah 38:7:

When Ebed-melech the Ethiopian, an important palace official, heard that Jeremiah was in the cistern, he rushed out to the Gate of Benjamin where the king was holding court. “My lord the king,” he said, “these men have done a very evil thing in putting Jeremiah into the cistern. He will die of hunger, for almost all the bread in the city is gone.”

I have a tendency to read a story like this and forget that the one writing (which was Jeremiah) could not, at that time, just skip ahead and see the ending. I read right on through and forget that there is an element of time. When he was thrown into the well he didn’t know he would get rescued. We don’t know the time span between when Ebed-melech discovered where Jeremiah was and/or the time it took him to find the King. All Jeremiah knew at that moment was that he could just die right then and there and it wouldn’t be a pleasant death (of course, what is?) He could only either look at the slime around him and the mud below (while he was sinking) or he could look up and plead his case to God.

Sometimes, that’s the only thing I can do in a situation. I see no great rescue or escape from my difficult circumstances. Looking up and pleading with God is the only thing I can do….things look pretty slimy all around me and I am sinking besides!

How wonderful that Jeremiah also records in Lamentations what our reaction should be:

Yet there is one ray of hope: his compassion never ends. It is only the Lord’s mercies that have kept us from complete destruction. Great is his faithfulness; his loving-kindness begins afresh each day. My soul claims the Lord as my inheritance; therefore I will hope in him. The Lord is wonderfully good to those who wait for him, to those who seek for him. It is good both to hope and wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord. Lamentations 3:21-26

As I think about this, I am reminded of so many of God’s people who, at the minute they were sinking, could not see ahead to a “happy ever after” conclusion. Did Joseph know he would eventually get out of jail? Did Paul think he would be blind forever?

God’s answer to our depression, our anxiety, and our fear is always the same. Just exactly what Jeremiah wrote: My soul claims the Lord as my inheritance; therefore I will hope in him ………It is good both to hope and wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord.

POSTSCRIPT………………

It should be noted how very kind Ebed-Melech was to Jeremiah. Jeremiah was old and there was a famine in the land. So the fact that Ebed-Melech provided a cushion for the rope *(“Use these rags under your armpits to protect you from the ropes”), which might have hurt the old, frail man, is a beautiful story of true compassion.” A true lesson to me how I need to be kind and compassionate when helping another out of the mud, mire, and slime.

* ROPE: As used in the Old Testament the word for rope could be chebhel, (“that which binds” as in 2 Sam 17:13) or `abhoth, “that which is interpreted as woven” (as in Judges 15:13) In neither word is there any specified thickness or strength connoted, and chebhel is translated equally well by “line” (2 Sam 8:2) or “cord” (Joshua 2:15), and `abhoth by “cord” (Ps 118:27 ) Either word can be used as best suits the context.

(from International Standard Bible Encyclopedia, Electronic Database Copyright (c)1996 by Biblesoft)

 

 

Posted on February 14, 2012

“When I come, although I can’t do much to help your faith, for it is strong already, I want to be able to do something about your joy: I want to make you happy, not sad.” 2 Corinthians 1:24 TLB

I have been thinking about this verse and a lot of thoughts have tumbled out.  I think sometimes other Christians expect fellow Christians to always be happy and joyful all the time, no matter what.  They say (sometimes by not saying) if your faith is strong than you should be happy and joyful every moment too!

Of course, I am realizing that it is sometimes my own self who expects me to be jolly and happy at all times, but I do “feel” pressure from others to be happy no matter what. I feel others say that if I am not happy then there must be something wrong with my faith.

Oh, so so not true!

Was Job “happy.” I think not. Were those Corinthian believers “happy” about the position they were in after Paul drew their attention to it?  A lot of the people listed in Hebrews 11 were not very happy. But in every situation each person had a strong faith.

Here’s to all those who have great faith but are not “happy.” Here’s to all those who are honest with their feelings. Here’s to all those who speak truth to others. And here’s to all those who believe there is a better day coming.

May God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ mightily bless each one of you and give you peace. 2 Corinthians 1:2 TLB

 

Posted on January 4, 2012

Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything to stand.  Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one.  Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints.  Ephesians 6:13-18

Talk about shaky legs!  They were really, literally, shaking the first time I prayed out loud in a prayer meeting.  Even my voice was shaking!  The pastor told me later he didn’t think I was going to make it.  I think he was worried he would have to pick me up off the floor.  But, with God’s help, I did finish the prayer.  Both sentences.  On my own and without fainting.

Why was it so traumatic for me?  I’m not sure.  Perhaps, because I was such a new Christian.  Perhaps, because I had never thought of prayer as a team sport.  Perhaps, because the first time I ever attended a prayer meeting, a few months prior, I wasn’t even a Christian, and therefore had not known what to expect.  So, the fact that I thought the people attending had to be crazy, and that there was no way I would ever, EVER, attend another one, might have had something to do with my anxiety when I did return.

My only reason I had for returning was the prayer I had prayed in solitude.  I had asked Jesus to come into my life.  I had been listening to a preacher tell me I needed to do that for six months.  That morning I read some little booklets which only repeated the preachers sermons.  I finally became convinced, that in order to get to Heaven some day, I would have to ask Jesus to take over my life.  Jesus made in very clear for He, Himself, had said (in John 14:6), “I am the way, the truth, and the life.  No man comes unto the Father except through me.”  So, looking out the window, I asked Him in to my life.  I didn’t shake or tremble.  I just went on with the morning.  Knowing, in my heart, that I had forever ended the question about where I would spend eternity.

There were other prayer meetings after those first two.  And, I did learn to pray out loud without shaking.  It can be done.  The more familiar I became with prayer, the easier it was, and, the more I did it without thinking.  It got to be second nature.

Then, one day, I started thinking.  My prayer life wasn’t really very fulfilling.  I had questions about why we pray when God knows all, anyway.  I had questions about how often and how much I should pray.  And, questions about what I should pray.  So, I started investigating.  I looked up every reference about prayer in the Bible I could find.  And, I even read several books about the subject.  My favorite was Herbert Lockyear’s book, All

the Prayers of the Bible.

I, also, started meditating on what I knew about prayer.  And that caused me to remember an incident from my childhood. I must have been around ten years old.  And, boy, did I want a bicycle!  It was the most important thing in the world to me.  After all, every one of my friends had a bicycle (well, almost every one of them).  I was convinced I not only wanted one, I NEEDED one.   It was so important to me that after I had pursued normal avenues, which consisted mostly of begging parents to no avail, I decided to take drastic measures.  I would pray and ask God for a bicycle.  I felt it was only fair to give God about a week to answer.   He had a whole week, and He didn’t come through.  No bicycle.  So, I decided to use the most radical action I could imagine.  I prayed, “God, I really need a bicycle and if you don’t get me one then I’m just not going to believe in you anymore!”  There, it was out, my big threat.  I was sure that I had startled God so much that any moment I would find a bicycle standing in the driveway.  I was wrong.  I didn’t get a bicycle.  Birthdays and Christmases came and went and I was left cycleless;  however, I was not left faithless.  I just had too much fear of the Almighty and His power to really stop believing in Him.        Remembering that incident  was like a light bulb going off in my head.   I suddenly realized that I was still doing the same thing.  Oh, not making threats, but, praying for bicycles.  For myself, and for others.  Was God as concerned about bicycles as I

was?  I had to think it all through.  I really needed some answers.

I became very interested in the prayers of Paul in the New Testament.  His requests revealed a whole different angle to prayer.  The time he spent asking God for spiritual needs and blessings far exceeded any time spent pleading for material gain or even physical needs.  He didn’t seem too concerned with “bicycles.”

In Philippians Paul wrote, “and this is my prayer:  that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless until the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ – to the glory and praise of God” (1:9-11).  And in Ephesians his prayer is “that God may give you the spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better.  I pray also that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, and his incomparable great power for us who believe” (1:17-19).

In Romans Paul asks God to fill the believers with all hope (15:13) and in Colossians to fill them with knowledge, spiritual wisdom, and understanding so  they might have great endurance and patience (1:9-12).

These just weren’t the type of prayers which I had been

praying.

So, I began praying these same prayers for myself.  I prayed them for my relatives, my friends, and those in ministry around me.  Those prayers helped me to see things from God’s perspective.  And, eventually, most of my attitudes and opinions were changed.

I discovered that God is always after the heart condition.  The material and physical is secondary.  I saw this principal reinforced as I read about the people in the Bible and how God dealt with each individual in a very unique and different way.

As I studied, as I prayed for understanding, God showed me how unimportant “bicycle prayers” are, and how very important prayer is to help strengthen others in the faith.

In my garage today is a very beautiful, expensive, bicycle.  The prayer of a ten year old was answered, but not until a very loving God had taken the time to correct my wrong ideas about belief and prayer.  A God who cared enough about me that He wouldn’t be intimidated with threats.  A God Who had the time and patience to work with me for a long time until I could grasp what He really wanted to do in lives committed to Him.  And that is a lot more important than “bicycles.”

Posted on Dec. 20th, 2011

For those of you who didn’t receive a printed version, I am posting our Christmas letter. Please note the update on the bottom..

THE THOUGHT PROCESS FOR A CHRISTMAS LETTER

 

By a Befuddled and Procrastinating Brain

 

·   It’s November 1, time to start thinking about a Christmas letter to my friends. Maybe tomorrow I’ll think about it.

 

·   I think it has been a boring year.  I better check my calendar, later.

 

·   Such a great time at Kathy’s for Thanksgiving.  Have to work on my Christmas letter… soon.

 

·   Wow, look at that.  Guess it hasn’t been a boring year after all.  In January Ben was married to Cassie and then Bob had his full replacement knee operation.  I wonder if I should add that he was, and still is, in a lot of pain?  He has an appointment for x-rays and a consultation next month.  I could ask for prayer. I’ll decide that later.

 

·   I did speak a bit and sell a few books, but not sure I should add that.  Could sound prideful.  Maybe I should ask for prayer for whether to keep on speaking.  Don’t know, I guess I’ll mull that one over for a while.

 

·   Oh, look!  I had forgotten about our 50th wedding anniversary party at Bonnie’s!  We had such a great time with friends.  I have a wonderful picture from that day.  I have to remember to add that.  Maybe I should make a list.

 

·   Oh, and graduations!  P.J. Apple graduated from the fire academy and on December 10 Yvette will be graduating from The University of Northern Colorado.  I get to go to the ceremony for Yvette with Bonnie, Kathy, and Susie.  Sure looking forward to that.  I am sad Bob’s not going, but with all his health issues it’s just not a good idea.

 

·   There is that other matter which has put a shadow over our lives.  Whatever happens itwill change and has changed our lifestyle and our future.  I just don’t know how to word it.  Should I really say we loaned a Christian friend almost all the last of the money in our trust and now he doesn’t want to pay us back?  It’s not a secret, so I could use his name.  Maybe that would be mean, but on the other hand, we sure don’t want other people trusting him.  He just isn’t trustworthy.  Maybe I could say call us if someone wants details.  I’ll decide that later. ·      I’m not sure how to tell everyone about my stroke.  I want them to know.  I still am in shock about the whole thing.  I need to tell them how kind, gracious, and loving God is, and His children are too!  Drove that Saturday to a Stonecroft event all by myself, two hours of driving with no mishap.  God waited until I was with Bob and my friends to allow the stroke, and then all that happened was that my eyes went crazy.  After quick trip to St. John and a wrong diagnosis, we went to Kaiser in Portland and that’s where I stayed for a few days while every test imaginable was given to me.  I will never forget the feelings that washed over me after I was wheeled to a room at 4 a.m.  I just praised and thanked God over and over again for His watchful care over me.  God is good always!  Now how can I word that so it isn’t too wordy?  I’ll have to spend some time thinking about that.

 

·   Although we’ve had a couple of hard hits this year, I want my friends to know we still are, and always will be, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith.  People let us down, but not Jesus.  I want to always be able to say with Paul, “ I have learned in whatsoever state I am in, therewith to be content” and with Job, “though He slay me, yet shall I trust Him.”

 

·   Yep, maybe next week I’ll put it all together.  Now where is that list of names?

 

THE RESULT:

 

MERRYCHRISTMAS AND HAPPY NEW YEAR!

 

MAY ALL OF GOD’S BLESSINGS BE EVIDENT TO YOU ALL YEAR AND MAY YOU BE CLOSER TO HIM NOW AND FOREVER!

 

LOVE, BOB AND JERI

As of December 15 Ben and Cassie have separated. My heart goes out to both of them as they go through this unpleasant time.. May God wrap His Arms of Love around them and hold them close!

Posted on Nov. 23, 2011

A few weeks ago I had the privilege of teaching my Bible study group.  I learned so much and enjoyed the study a lot!  Just wanted to share with you my notes.  The outline handed out to all is the normal print and my extra notes are in bold.  Hope you enjoy this!

THE ANVIL-GOD’S WORD

Last eve I passed beside a blacksmith’s door,

And heard the anvil ring the vesper chime;

Then, looking in, I saw upon the floor

Old hammers, worn with beating years of time.

“How many anvils have you had,” said I,

“To wear and batter all these hammers so?”

“Just one,” said he, and then, with twinkling eye,

“The anvil wears the hammers out, you know.”

And so, thought I, the anvil of God’s Word,

For ages skeptic blows have beat upon;

Yet, though the noise of falling blows was heard,

The anvil is unharmed-the hammers gone.

UNKNOWN

 

Would someone please read I PETER 1:25 …………

 

God was and is determined that His word will not be destroyed! It will never be overthrown or obliterated, though many dark forces have tried in the past and others continue to this day. During the first three centuries of the existence of the New Testament Scriptures, countless efforts were made by the enemies of God to eradicate Christianity from the earth. But God will not permit it to happen. Only Divine intervention can explain why the most powerful and cruel civil, military and religious forces that the world could muster failed in their efforts, as did cultural and social pressures. Even opponents from within the church itself failed to corrupt the Scriptures which the Lord had given to His people.

 

Today we are looking into the Canon of the Bible…mostly the New Testament Canon.  Here are a few definitions for “canon” as it appears in the American Heritage Dictionary:

1. An ecclesiastical law or code of laws established by a church council;

2. A secular law, rule, or code of law;

3. A basis for judgment, standard, criterion;

4. The books of the Bible officially recognized by the Church;

I used an acronym which is from Hang Hanegraaff’s paper on the Bible.

He used  M..A…P…S…as a tool to guide us through this.

 

Manuscripts,

Archaeology,

Prophecy,

Statistics

 

 

Now let’s check out our outline……………

 

1. Manuscripts

A. Old Testament

The first recorded instance of God’s Word being written down, was when the Lord Himself wrote it down in the form of Ten Commandments on the stone tablets delivered to Moses at the top of Mount Sinai. Biblical scholars believe this occurred between 1,400 BC and 1,500 BC… almost 3,500 years ago. The language used was almost certainly an ancient form of Hebrew, the language of Old Covenant believers.1.

1. Deuteronomy 33:31:24-26

2. And Deuteronomy  32:44-47

 

The earliest scripture is generally considered to be the “Pentateuch”, the first five books of the Moses: Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, & Deuteronomy… though there is some scholarly evidence to indicate that the Old Testament Book of Job may actually be the oldest book in the Bible. The Old Testament scriptures were written in ancient Hebrew, a language substantially different than the Hebrew of today. These writings were passed down from generation to generation for thousands of years on scrolls made of animal skin, usually sheep, but sometimes deer or cow. When the entire Pentateuch is present on a scroll, it is called a “Torah”. An entire Torah Scroll, if completely unraveled, is over 150 feet long! As most sheep are only about two to three feet long, it took an entire flock of sheep to make just one Torah scroll. The Jewish scribes who painstakingly produced each scroll were perfectionists. If they made even the slightest mistake in copying, such as allowing two letters of a word to touch, they destroyed that entire panel which demonstrates the level of faithfulness to accuracy applied to the preservation of God’s Word throughout the first couple of thousand years of Biblical transmission.

Hebrew has one thing in common with English: they are both “picture languages”. Their words form a clear picture in your mind. The first man to ever print the scriptures in English, William Tyndale, once commented that Hebrew was ten times easier to translate into English than any other language. Tyndale would certainly be qualified to make such a statement, as he was so fluent in eight languages, that it was said you would have thought any one of them to be his native tongue.

 

2. We have more than 14,000 manuscripts and fragments of the Old Testament of three main types:

(a) Approximately 10,000 from the Cairo Geniza (storeroom) find of 1897, dating back as far as about AD. 800;

(b) About 190 from the Dead Sea Scrolls find of 1947-1955, the oldest dating back to 250-200 B.C.; and

(c) At least 4,314 assorted other copies. The short time between the original Old Testament manuscripts (completed around 400 B.C.) and the first extensive copies (about 250 B.C.) — coupled with the more than 14,000 copies that have been discovered — ensures the trustworthiness of the Old Testament text. The earliest quoted verses (Num. 6:24-26) date from 800-700 B.C.

3. The Dead Sea Scrolls prove the accuracy of the transmission of the Bible.

Juma was beginning to get nervous. Some of his goats were climbing too high up the cliffs. He decided to climb the face of the cliff himself to bring them back. Little did Juma realize as he began his climb on that January day in 1947 that those straying goats would eventually involve him in “the greatest archaeological discovery in the twentieth century.” Such thoughts were far from his mind when he saw two small openings to one of the thousands of caves that dot those barren cliffs overlooking the northwestern shore of the Dead Sea. He threw a rock into one of the openings. The unexpected cracking sound surprised him; what else could be in those remote caves but treasure? He called to his cousins, Khalil and Muhammed, who climbed up and heard the exciting tale. But it was getting late, and the goats had to be gathered. Tomorrow they would return—perhaps their days of following goats would come to an end once the treasure was uncovered!

The youngest of the three, Muhammed, rose the next day before his two fellow “treasure-seekers” and made his way to the cave. The cave floor was covered with debris, including broken pottery. Along the wall stood a number of narrow jars, some with their bowl-shaped covers still in place. Frantically, Muhammed began to explore the inside of each jar, but no treasure of gold was to be found… only a few bundles wrapped in cloth and greenish with age. Returning to his cousins, he related the sad news—no treasure.

No treasure indeed! The scrolls those Bedouin (transients)  boys removed from that dark cave that day and the days following would come to be recognized as the greatest manuscript treasure ever found—the first seven manuscripts of the Dead Sea Scrolls! Cave 4, alone, had approximately 15,000 fragments from some 574 manuscripts.

Such was the discovery of a group of manuscripts which were a thousand years older than the then-oldest-known Hebrew texts of the Bible (manuscripts, many of which were written more than 100 years before the birth of Jesus). These manuscripts would excite the archaeological world and provide a team of translators with a gigantic task that even to this day has not been completed.

                        a. these scrolls discovered at Qumran in 1947, we have Old Testament manuscripts that date about a thousand years earlier (150 B.C.) than the other Old Testament manuscripts then in our possession (which dated to A.D. 900).

B. they are essentially the same as the manuscripts we had with very few changes.

c. A full copy of the Book of Isaiah was discovered at Qumran

 [Even though the two copies of Isaiah discovered in Qumran Cave 1 near the Dead Sea in 1947 were a thousand years earlier than the oldest dated manuscript previously known (A.D. 980), they proved to be word for word identical with our standard Hebrew Bible in more than 95 percent of the text. The 5 percent of variation consisted chiefly of obvious slips of the pen and variations in spelling.]

4. By examining how Christ viewed the Old Testament, we see that He had full confidence that the Scriptures He used had been faithfully preserved through the centuries.

a. John 5:39

b. Luke 24:27

5. The Septuagint is the same today in Hebrew Bibles.

This is the OT translation from Hebrew into Greek, the language of the world in 250 BC.  Septuagint means 70, since 70 Hebrew scholars were involved.  The book order was unchanged and is the same today in Hebrew Bibles.  There is not and has never been a challenge to the Old Testament order of scripture.

Hebrew has one thing in common with English: they are both “picture languages”. Their words form a clear picture in your mind. As evidence of this; the first man to ever print the scriptures in English, William Tyndale, once commented that Hebrew was ten times easier to translate into English than any other language. Tyndale would certainly be qualified to make such a statement, as he was so fluent in eight languages, that it was said you would have thought any one of them to be his native tongue.

I have always been fascinated with the fact that the Bible came down to us in two languages, Hebrew and Greek.  What is so interesting about that is that they are both dead languages…although some in Israel may use that ancient language for all purposes it is dead.  The Greek spoken in Greece is not even recognizable as the Greek language used for the New Testament.  You see, a language in use is always changing…think about the words you used when you were young and some of the same words now which have a different meaning now than they did back then.  God, our incredible God, locked His Word in two dead languages so the meaning would always be clear.  Pretty awesome.

 Another interesting fact to consider is the love the ancients had for the then Bible…look up Psalm 119:97……the Bible the writer refers to is the old testament….mostly the Pentateuch….he loved the books of the law! Amazing!

B. New Testament

By the end of the First Century AD, the New Testament had been completed. It was preserved in Greek on Papyrus, a thin paper-like material made from crushed and flattened stalks of a reed-like plant. The word “Bible” comes from the same Greek root word as “papyrus”. The papyrus sheets were bound, or tied together in a configuration much more similar to modern books than to an elongated scroll.

These groupings of papyrus are the oldest copies of the New Testament known to exist today. One in the British Museum Library in London, and in the Vatican. They date back to approximately the 300’s AD.

    In 315 AD, Athenasius, the Bishop of Alexandria, identified the 27 Books which we recognize today as the canon of New Testament scripture. This was called the Church Council of Hippo.  There were many other church councils between the 4th and 5th centuries where Bible scholars got together to hash over doctrines……but the 27 books of the New Testament were never changed.

1. The New Testament versus Other Ancient Books

By comparing the manuscript support for the Bible with manuscript support for other ancient documents and books, it becomes overwhelmingly clear that no other ancient piece of literature can stand up to the Bible. Manuscript support for the Bible is unparalleled!

a. There are more [New Testament] manuscripts copied with greater accuracy and earlier dating than for any secular classic from antiquity.

Norman Geisler makes several key observations for our consideration, “No other book is even a close second to the Bible on either the number or early dating of the copies. The average secular work from antiquity survives on only a handful of manuscripts; the New Testament boasts thousands.
The average gap between the original composition and the earliest copy is over 1,000 years for other books.
The New Testament, however, has a fragment within one generation from its original composition, whole books within about 100 years from the time of the autograph [original manuscript], most of the New Testament in less than 200 years, and the entire New Testament within 250 years from the date of its completion.
The degree of accuracy of the copies is greater for the New Testament than for other books that can be compared. Most books do not survive with enough manuscripts that make comparison possible.

b. “The records for the New Testament are vastly more abundant, clearly more ancient, and considerably more accurate in their text.”

2. Support for the New Testament from the Church Fathers

a. In addition to the many thousands of New Testament manuscripts, there are over 86,000 quotations of the New Testament in the early church fathers. There are also New Testament quotations in thousands of early church worship books.

b. There are enough quotations from the early church fathers that even if we did not have a single copy of the Bible, scholars could still reconstruct all but 11 verses of the entire New Testament from material written within 150 to 200 years from the time of Christ
C. Preservation of the Bible through the persecutions

How do we know the 27 books we have are the ones God intended to be in the Bible?  There were actually hundreds of letters, writings, floating around, some of which were used by Christians in worship.  The church history from 63 AD to 313 AD is a convincing test!

1. Ten distinct persecutions of Christianity from 64 AD to 303 AD

a) All “scriptures” burned

b) All Christians killed, imprisoned, or sold as slaves

From Emperor Nero in 64 AD to Diocletian in 303 AD there were 10 distinct persecutions of the Christian faith.  During this period, each Roman emperor pronounced Christianity as illegal in the Empire. They imprisoned, executed, or sent to the mines as slave labor all who would not renounce their faith and return to the Roman gods.  All copies of “scripture,” religious writings were ordered to be brought out and burned in the village fires conducted by the Empire.  Thousands of scrolls, letters, and copies of texts were surrendered to the flames.  Who would hold back a writing from such a threat?

2. In 313 AD tolerance for Christianity and other non-Roman religions

At Council of Milan in 313 AD the Emperors Constantine and Licinius co-ruled the Empire. Constantine in the West, Licinius in East.. They met in Milan Italy and issued the Edict of Milan, pronouncing tolerance for Christianity and other non-Roman religions.

a) Church property returned

b) Confiscated private property returned

c) Christian documents were now legal to own and use

d) All prisoners and mine laborers were freed.

When churches reopened, a call went out for NT scriptures to use. The books and letters that were spared were predominantly what we use today. Under threat of death, people and clergy surrendered for the flames, only the phony books or pseudo writings. The 27 books we have in today’s English Bible are the ones God preserved through those terrible times. Today we have turned up copies of other “gospels”, but those used by the early Church are the ones in use today.

I need to add here a note about the pseudopigrapha writings: Written from 200 BC to 200 AD, these writings include the Apocrypha, and have never been accepted as Scripture by the Jews or the Christian Church at large. Some are really silly, some sound “biblical”. Some contain fanciful stories, such as the day the Apostle Paul led a lion to Christ in the Arena and baptized him!  In another, Jesus revived a dead bird, which flew away singing.

 The seven books plus additions to Daniel and Esther, which are called the Apocrypha books, are included in Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox Bibles today. They are part of the Pseudopigraphaical books rejected by Jews and Protestants. Since these books cover the 400 “silent years” between the Old and New Testaments, there is value in the historical references. We would know little about the Macabean Wars (Struggle of the Jews to defend their faith apart from the Book of Macabees.  The John Wesley hymn, “Jesus, Lover of My Soul” is based on a quote from Apocrypha.

 There is value in reading these books but should not be considered the “Word of God.”

D. Preservation of the New Testament through the dark ages

1. By 500 AD the Bible had been translated into over 500 languages

2. One century later it had been restricted to only one language, Latin

The only organized and recognized church at that time in history was the Catholic Church of Rome, and they refused to allow the scripture to be available in any language other than Latin. Those in possession of non-Latin scriptures would be executed! This was because only the priests were educated to understand Latin, and this gave the church ultimate power… a power to rule without question… a power to deceive… a power to extort money from the masses. Nobody could question their “Biblical” teachings, because few people other than priests could read Latin. The church capitalized on this forced-ignorance through the 1,000 year period from 400 AD to 1,400 AD knows as the “Dark and Middle Ages”.

Pope Leo the Tenth established a practice called the “selling of indulgences” as a way to extort money from the people. He offered forgiveness of sins for a fairly small amount of money. For a little bit more money, you would be allowed to indulge in a continuous lifestyle of sin, such as keeping a mistress. Also, through the invention of “Purgatory”, you could purchase the salvation of your loved-one’s souls. The church taught the ignorant masses, “As soon as the coin in the coffer rings, the troubled soul from Purgatory springs!” Pope Leo the Tenth showed his true feelings when he said, “The fable of Christ has been quite profitable to us!”

Note from WWW.GREATSITE.COM…….  Let us state at this point, that it is not our intent to offend or “bash” Roman Catholics. It is unavoidable that every historical account has its “good guys” and its “bad guys”. Just as it is impossible to accurately tell the story of World War Two without offending the Germans and the Italians who were undeniably the enemies of world peace at that time… it is equally impossible to accurately tell the story of the English Bible without unintentionally offending those who continue to revere the Roman Catholic and Anglican Churches.

Where was the true church of God during these Dark Ages? I had always wondered that….this web site is the only place I found this information so I cannot attest to its accuracy….but it sounds good. J

On the Scottish Island of Iona, in 563 AD, a man named Columba started a Bible College. For the next 700 years, this was the source of much of the non-Catholic, evangelical Bible teaching through those centuries of the Dark and Middle Ages. The students of this college were called “Culdees”, which means “certain stranger”. The Culdees were a secret society, and the remnant of the true Christian faith was kept alive by these men during the many centuries that led up to the Protestant Reformation.

In the late 1300’s, the secret society of Culdees chose John Wycliffe an Oxford professor, scholar, and theologian, to lead the world out of the Dark Ages. Wycliffe has been called the “Morning Star of the Reformation”.

The Protestant Reformation was about one thing: getting the Word of God back into the hands of the masses in their own native language, so that the corrupt church would be exposed and the message of salvation in Christ alone, by scripture alone, through faith alone would be proclaimed again.

Having God’s Word available to the public in the language of the common man, English, would have meant disaster to the church. No longer would they control access to the scriptures. If people were able to read the Bible in their own tongue, the church’s income and power would crumble. They could not possibly continue to get away with selling indulgences (the forgiveness of sins) or selling the release of loved ones from a church-manufactured “Purgatory”. People would begin to challenge the church’s authority if the church were exposed as frauds and thieves. The contradictions between what God’s Word said, and what the priests taught, would open the public’s eyes and the truth would set them free from the grip of fear that the institutional church held. Salvation through faith, not works or donations, would be understood. The need for priests would vanish through the priesthood of all believers. The veneration of church-canonized Saints and Mary would be called into question. The availability of the scriptures in English was the biggest threat imaginable to the wicked church. Neither side would give up without a fight.

In the 1490’s another Oxford professor, and the personal physician to King Henry the 7th and 8th, Thomas Linacre, decided to learn Greek. After reading the Gospels in Greek, and comparing it to the Latin Vulgate, he wrote in his diary, “Either this (the original Greek) is not the Gospel… or we are not Christians.” The Latin had become so corrupt that it no longer even preserved the message of the Gospel… yet the Church still threatened to kill anyone who read the scripture in any language other than Latin… though Latin was not an original language of the scriptures.

The first hand-written English language Bible manuscripts were produced in the 1380’s AD by John Wycliffe.  Wycliffe was well-known throughout Europe for his opposition to the teaching of the organized Church, which he believed to be contrary to the Bible. With the help of his followers, Wycliffe produced dozens of English language manuscript copies of the scriptures. They were translated out of the Latin Vulgate, which was the only source text available to Wycliffe.

One of Wycliffe’s followers, John Hus, actively promoted Wycliffe’s ideas: that people should be permitted to read the Bible in their own language, and they should oppose the tyranny of the Roman church that threatened anyone possessing a non-Latin Bible with execution. Hus was burned at the stake in 1415, with Wycliffe’s manuscript Bibles used as kindling for the fire. The last words of John Hus were that, “in 100 years, God will raise up a man whose calls for reform cannot be suppressed.” Almost exactly 100 years later, in 1517, Martin Luther nailed his famous 95 Theses of Contention (a list of 95 issues of heretical theology and crimes of the Roman Catholic Church) into the church door at Wittenberg. The prophecy of Hus had come true!

Martin Luther went on to be the first person to translate and publish the Bible in the commonly-spoken dialect of the German people; a translation more appealing than previous German Biblical translations. 

 Johann Gutenberg invented the printing press in the 1450’s, and the first book to ever be printed was a Latin language Bible, printed in Mainz, Germany. Gutenberg’s Bibles were surprisingly beautiful, as each leaf Gutenberg printed was later colorfully hand-illuminated.  His invention of the movable-type printing press meant that Bibles and books could finally be effectively produced in large quantities in a short period of time. This was essential to the success of the Reformation.

Jumping ahead a few hundred years……

With the death of Queen Elizabeth I, Prince James VI of Scotland became King James I of England. The Protestant clergy approached the new King in 1604 and announced their desire for a new translation to replace the Bishop’s Bible first printed in 1568. They knew that the Geneva Version had won the hearts of the people because of its excellent scholarship, accuracy, and exhaustive commentary. However, they did not want the controversial marginal notes (proclaiming the Pope an Anti-Christ, etc.) Essentially, the leaders of the church desired a Bible for the people, with scriptural references only for word clarification or cross-references.

This “translation to end all translations” (for a while at least) was the result of the combined effort of about fifty scholars. They took into consideration: The Tyndale New Testament, The Coverdale Bible, The Matthews Bible, The Great Bible, The Geneva Bible, and even the Rheims New Testament. The great revision of the Bishop’s Bible had begun. From 1605 to 1606 the scholars engaged in private research. From 1607 to 1609 the work was assembled. In 1610 the work went to press and in1611 the first of the huge (16 inch tall) pulpit folios known today as “The 1611 King James Bible” came off the printing press. A typographical discrepancy in Ruth 3:15 rendered a pronoun “He” instead of “She” in that verse in some printings. This caused some of the 1611 First Editions to be known by collectors as “He” Bibles, and others as “She” Bibles. Starting just one year after the huge 1611 pulpit-size King James Bibles were printed and chained to every church pulpit in England; printing then began on the earliest normal-size printings of the King James Bible. These were produced so individuals could have their own personal copy of the Bible.

 

II. Archaeology

Returning to our MAPS acronym, we have established, the first principle, manuscript reliability. Let us consider our second principle, archaeological evidence. Over and over again, comprehensive field work (archaeology) and careful biblical interpretation affirms the reliability of the Bible. It is telling when a secular scholar must revise his biblical criticism in light of solid archaeological evidence.

For years critics dismissed the Book of Daniel, partly because there was no evidence that a king named Belshazzar ruled in Babylon during that time period. However, later archaeological research confirmed that the reigning monarch, Nabonidus, appointed Belshazzar as his co-regent whi1e he was away from Babylon.

One of the most well-known New Testament examples concerns the Books of Luke and Acts. A biblical skeptic, Sir William Ramsay, trained as an archaeologist and then set out to disprove the historical reliability of this portion of the New Testament. However, through his painstaking Mediterranean archaeological trips, he became converted as — one after another — of the historical statements of Luke were proved accurate. Archaeological evidence thus confirms the trustworthiness of the Bible.

 

 

III. Prophecy

The third principle of Bible reliability is Prophecy, or predictive ability. The Bible records predictions of events that could not be known or predicted by chance or common sense. Surprisingly, the predictive nature of many Bible passages was once a popular argument (by liberals) against the reliability of the Bible. Critics argued that the prophecies actually were written after the events and that editors had merely dressed up the Bible text to look like they contained predictions made before the events. Nothing could be further from the truth, however. The many predictions of Christ’s birth, life and death (see below) were indisputably rendered more than a century before they occurred as proven by the Dead Sea Scrolls of Isaiah and other prophetic books as well as by the Septuagint translation, all dating from earlier than 100 B.C.

Old Testament prophecies concerning the Phoenician city of Tyre were fulfilled in ancient times, including prophecies that the city would be opposed by many nations (Ezek. 26:3); its walls would be destroyed and towers broken down (26:4); and its stones, timbers, and debris would be thrown into the water (26:12). Similar prophecies were fulfilled concerning Sidon (Ezek. 28:23; Isa. 23; Jer. 27:3-647:4) and Babylon (Jer. 50:133951:2642-4358Isa. 13:20-21).

Since Christ is the culminating theme of the Old Testament and the Living Word of the New Testament, it should not surprise us that prophecies regarding Him outnumber any others. Many of these prophecies would have been impossible for Jesus to deliberately conspire to fulfill — such as His descent from Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob (Gen. 12:317:19Num. 24:21-24); His birth in Bethlehem (Mic. 5:2); His crucifixion with criminals (Isa. 53:12); the piercing of His hands and feet at the crucifixion (Ps. 22:16); the soldiers’ gambling for His clothes (Ps. 22:18); the piercing of His side and the fact that His bones were not broken at His death (Zech. 12:10Ps. 34:20); and His burial among the rich (Isa. 53:9). Jesus also predicted His own death and resurrection (John 2:19-22). Predictive Prophecy is a principle of Bible reliability that often reaches even the hard-boiled skeptic!

 

 

 

IV. Statistics

Our fourth MAPS principle works well with predictive prophecy, because it is Statistically preposterous that any or all of the Bible’s very specific, detailed prophecies could have been fulfilled through chance, good guessing, or deliberate deceit. When you look at some of the improbable prophecies of the Old and New Testaments, it seems incredible that skeptics — knowing the authenticity and historicity of the texts — could reject the statistical verdict: the Bible is the Word of God, and Jesus Christ is the Son of God, just as Scripture predicted many times and in many ways.

The Bible was written over a span of 1500 years by forty different human authors in three different languages (Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek), on hundreds of subjects. And yet there is one consistent, non-contradictory theme that runs through it all: God’s redemption of humankind. Clearly, Statistical probability is a powerful indicator of the trustworthiness of Scripture.

The next time someone denies the reliability of Scripture, just remember the acronym MAPS, and you will be equipped to give an answer and a reason for the hope that lies within you (1 Pet. 3:15).Manuscripts, Archaeology, Prophecy, and Statistics not only chart a secure course on the turnpikes of skepticism but also demonstrate definitively that the Bible is indeed divine rather than human in origin.

See that you do all I command you; do not add to it or take away from it.       

Deuteronomy 12:32

But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let him be eternally condemned!  As we have already said, so now I say again: If anybody is preaching to you a gospel other than what you accepted, let him be eternally condemned!

Galatians 1:8-9

 

Sources:  Hank Hanegraaff, WWW.GREATSITE.COM, Ron Rhodes, http://www.bible.ca/ef/topical-how-the-writings-became-scripture.htm and Bob Jackson

 

Posted on Oct 11, 2011

CHRISTIAN BLESSINGS IN EPHESIANS (TLB)

We Christians have every blessing in Heaven because we belong to Christ:

  1. God chose us to be His. Chapter 1 Vs.4
  2. He made us holy in His eyes, without a single fault, because we are covered in His blood. Vs.4
  3. He adopted us into His own family by sending Jesus Christ to die for us. Vs.5
  4. He wanted us to be His! Vs. 5
  5. He has poured out His kindness and favor upon us because belong to Him! Vs. 6
  6. He took away all our sins through the blood of His Son! Vs. 7
  7. He has showered us with His grace. Vs. 8
  8. He understands us. Vs. 8
  9. He knows what is best for us at all times. Vs. 8
  10. He made a plan for us through His mercy. Vs. 9
  11. He will someday gather us to be together with Him in Christ forever. Vs. 10
  12. We are Christ’s gift to His father. Vs.11
  13. He delights in us. Vs. 12
  14. We have His presence within us. Vs. 14
  15. He purchased us and guarantees to bring us to Himself. Vs. 14
  16. He has called us to share in His future. Vs. 18
  17. His incredible power is available to us. Vs. 19
  18. He gave us back our lives which were doomed by our sins. Chapter 2 Vs. 4
  19. We are saved through His undeserved favor. Vs.5
  20. We sit with Jesus in the Heavenly realms. Vs. 6
  21. He uses us as examples of His kindness. Vs. 7
  22. God gave us the gift of being able to trust Him. Vs. 8
  23. He made us what we are. Vs. 10
  24. He has given us new lives in Him. Vs. 10
  25. We belong to Christ Jesus. Vs. 13
  26. We are brought very near to Him through the blood of Jesus. Vs. 13
  27. We have peace with every nationality because of Him. Vs. 14
  28. We who believe are all one family. Vs.14
  29. Our anger with others has disappeared because we are reconciled through the cross. Vs. 16
  30. We are all members of God’s very own family. Vs. 19
  31. We are citizens of God’s country. Vs. 19
  32. We belong in God’s household with each other. Vs. 19
  33. We have a secure foundation to stand on. Vs. 20
  34. We are a part of His beautiful, growing, temple. Vs. 21
  35. We are joined together with Him and each other. Vs. 22.
  36. We are part of this dwelling place of God. Vs. 22
  37. God has revealed His plan with us.  Chapter 3 vs. 5
  38. We can come fearlessly right into God’s presence anytime. Vs.12
  39. He is able to do far more than we would even dare to ask or dream. Vs.20
  40. We are all part of His body and His Spirit. Chapter 4Vs. 4
  41. We have been called to a glorious future. Vs. 4
  42. We have been given special abilities out of His rich storehouse of gifts. Vs. 7

Posted Oct. 11, 2011

Last week, at our women’s Bible class prayer time, I felt my prayer was shallow and purposeless….believing I needed a rejuvenation and a reminder of how God had taught me to pray a long time ago….I came up with all the ways to pray for others using the book of Colossians as my guide….35 ways!  Following the list is a chapter from my book which explains what God taught me years ago about prayer.

Praying for others (according to Colossians):

1.  May God our Father shower you with blessings and fill you with his great peace

2. Whenever I pray for you, I should always begin by giving thanks to God the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ for you.

3.  May you look forward to the joys of heaven

4. I ask God to help you understand what he wants you to do

5. ..and I ask God to make you wise about spiritual things

6… that the way you live will always please the Lord and honor him,

7. …that you may always be doing good, kind things for others,

8. …and learn to know God better and better.

9. ….that you will be filled with his mighty, glorious strength so that you can keep going no matter what happens

10. …for you to be always be full of the joy of the Lord,

11. …always thankful to the Father who has made us fit to share all the wonderful things that belong to those who live in the Kingdom of light.

12. …always fully believing the Truth, standing in it steadfast and firm, strong in the Lord, convinced of the Good News that Jesus died for you, and never shifting from trusting him

13…..that you will be encouraged and knit together by strong ties of love and will set your sights on the rich treasures and joys of heaven where Jesus sits beside God in the place of honor and power.

14….that you will have the rich experience of knowing Christ with real certainty and clear understanding. For God’s secret plan, now at last made known, is Christ himself.  In him lie hidden all the mighty, untapped treasures of wisdom and knowledge.

15. …just as you trusted Christ to save you, trust him, too, for each day’s problems; live in vital union with him

16.  Let your roots grow down into him and draw up nourishment from him.

17. …go on growing in the Lord, and becoming strong and vigorous in the truth you were taught.

18.  May your life overflow with joy and thanksgiving for all he has done.

19. .….Let heaven fill your thoughts; don’t spend your time worrying about things down here.

20….that you may know our real life is in heaven with Christ and God. And when Christ who is our real life comes back again, you may be assured we will shine with him and share in all his glories.

21… that you may rejoice in your brand new kind of life that is continually learning more and more of what is right, and trying constantly to be more and more like Christ who created this new life within you.

22.   Since you have been chosen by God who has given you this new kind of life, and because of his deep love and concern for you, may you practice tenderhearted mercy and kindness to others.

23….. Let love guide your life, for then the whole church will stay together in perfect harmony

24……Let the peace of heart that comes from Christ be always present in your hearts and lives

25….may you always be thankful

26…..and that you will always remember what Christ taught, and let his words enrich your life and make you wise; teaching them to each other

27. …you will sing out God’s words in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing to the Lord with thankful hearts.

28…..that whatever you do or say, let it be as a representative of the Lord Jesus

29. …for you to always come with Jesus into the presence of God the Father to give Him your thanks.

30….that youwon’t be weary in prayer; keeping at it; watching  for God’s answers, and remembering to be thankful when they come.

31. …pray for Christians who are evangelizing, that God will give them many chances to preach the Good News of Christ.  Pray that they will be bold enough to tell it freely and fully and make it plain.

32…for you to make the most of your chances to tell others the Good News. You will be wise in all your contacts with them and your conversation will be gracious as well as sensible, for then you will have the right answer for everyone.

33.  May you be a comfort to other Christians…..

34. May you earnestly pray for others, asking God to make them strong and perfect and to help them know God’s will in everything they do.

35. May God’s blessings surround you always.

Following in one of the chapters in my book and explains how God changed my prayer life:

I didn’t want to walk anymore. My other ten year old friends all had bicycles, so why shouldn’t I. I proceeded to beg parents to no avail. So, I decided to go to the top. I would ask God for one. I gave him a week to answer my prayer, and when he didn’t produce, I decided to use the most radical action I could imagine. “God, I really need a bicycle and if you don’t get me one, then I’m just not going to believe in you anymore!” There, it was out, my big threat. I was sure that I had startled God so much that any moment I would find a bicycle standing in the driveway. I was wrong. I didn’t get a bicycle. Birthdays and Christmases came and went and I was left cycleless; however, I was not left faithless. I just had too much fear of the Almighty and his power to really stop believing in him.

Years later, around the age of 20, I discovered that God loved me. He had always loved me, empty threats or not. He loved me so much that he had sent his Son, Jesus, to die for my sins and to give me eternal life. I prayed a different prayer then. “God, please come into my life.” And he did.

Putting the bicycle incident far behind me, I went on to fully engulf myself in the Christian Life, including prayers. Although the spoken threats had left my supplications, the requests for “bicycles” still existed. “Bicycles” in the form of anything which would increase my health, wealth, and fun.

Knowing I should pray for others, I asked for all sorts of things for them, also.

Then one day I started checking out the prayers in the New Testament, especially Paul’s prayers. The time he spent asking God for spiritual needs and blessings far exceeded any time spent pleading for material gain or even physical needs. He didn’t seem too concerned with “bicycles.”

In Philippians Paul wrote, “and this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless until the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ – to the glory and praise of God” (1:9-11). And in Ephesians 1:17-19, Paul again asked for spiritual blessings for others. There were other verses, too.

`These just weren’t the type of prayers which I had been praying. So, I began praying these same prayers for myself. I prayed them for my relatives, my friends, and those in ministry around me. Those prayers helped me to see things from God’s perspective and changed some of my attitudes and opinions. I discovered that God is always after the heart condition. The material and physical is secondary.

In my garage today is a very beautiful, expensive, bicycle. The prayer of a ten year old was answered, but not until a very loving God had taken the time to correct my wrong ideas about belief and prayer. And that is a whole lot more important than “bicycles.”



posted Oct. 4, 2011—-

When I was first a Christian…my it’s been over 45 years ago…I started out my life with the free Bible the pastor gave me…King James Version, red letter edition …. I stayed in the King James for many years….then, I changed one day to the New International Version…and stayed there for a lot of years….nowadays I am getting so much out of three other versions…they kind of entertain me if I can use that term.  They are The Living Bible, The New Living Bible, and the Amplified Bible.  This section below really tickled my funny bone this morning… Because of Christ God won’t even chide me for past sins.. isn’t that a great word picture!  I love God…no matter what version..His love always shines through.

It was through what his Son did that God cleared a path for everything to come to him-all things in heaven and on earth-for Christ’s death on the cross has made peace with God for all by his blood.  This includes you who were once so far away from God. You were his enemies and hated him and were separated from him by your evil thoughts and actions, yet now he has brought you back as his friends.  He has done this through the death on the cross of his own human body, and now as a result Christ has brought you into the very presence of God, and you are standing there before him with nothing left against you-nothing left that he could even chide you for;  the only condition is that you fully believe the Truth, standing in it steadfast and firm, strong in the Lord, convinced of the Good News that Jesus died for you, and never shifting from trusting him to save you. This is the wonderful news that came to each of you and is now spreading all over the world. And I, Paul, have the joy of telling it to others.  Colossians 1:20-23  TLB

 

Posted September 12, 3011

CONFESSIONS OF A PROCRASTINOLIC

 I can’t believe I did that! Or maybe I should say, I can’t believe I didn’t do that! You see, I have a small problem. Procrastination. Well, maybe it isn’t so small since I think I ruined what could have been a perfectly fine relationship and now seemed to be a pretty bad one. Or maybe it was just my schedule at that time or maybe because I wasn’t thinking about others or maybe….well, here, let me tell you what happened and you decide.

We had just moved into our fourth home in Washington State since Bob’s retirement. We had hooked up with a church and were settling into a new life. We were pretty happy except for one thing, my Mother was still in need of care from a nursing home. The best care we could find for her was in a nursing home over at the beach, where she had been before our last move. She loved it there best even though this time instead of ten minutes from her I would be about an hour from her. Not the best situation.

Bob had been asked to team teach a Sunday morning study with a couple of ladies from our new church. He agreed to do this even though we didn’t know the ladies, the church, or very many people at all. Maybe he should have waited.

I need to explain that my husband is a Bible scholar and has studied the Bible intently for many years. He knows Greek and some Hebrew and God has blessed him with a remarkable memory. Add to that the fact that he loves God and loves the Bible and you have a pretty good package, I think.

Bob didn’t agree with everything in the study book from this class and being an honest man he just told them all whenever  he couldn’t find Bible verses to support the teaching. His co-teachers were not happy with this as they believed the woman who had written this material was infallible.

So into this mixture throw me. I usually have a pretty busy thought life which sometimes makes it look like I am in la-la land. Oh, okay, I am just usually in la-la land whether I’m thinking or not. It was a good study and I enjoyed it a lot. I was just attending and had no responsibilities at all in this situation.

Now let’s add something new. We had friends who were starting a new roofing company in San Jose and asked Bob to come down and help them get it started. He agreed. So we drove down to San Jose in our motorhome, parked it near the new business, and settled in. Bob went back to work and I swam in the pool a lot and joined a Bible study at a near-by church.

But my mother’s care was utmost in my mind, so every two weeks I flew back to the Portland OR airport, picked up a shuttle, and arrived home in Longview. The next day I would drive over to the beach to see my mother and care for her anyway I could. Mostly I just enjoyed being with her. Then after a couple of day’s with her I would drive back to Longview, pick up mail and then take the shuttle to the airport and hop a plane for San Jose. Not the best schedule but I was used to being pulled between them and trying to care for both.

So on this particular day, having arrived in San Jose the day before, I was reading the mail. And there was a nice handwritten note from one of Bob’s co-teachers. She wanted to know if she had offended me in anyway because the last time we were all in church she thought I acted like something was bothering me.

Now I would like to say that I handled this in a mature Christian way, but I didn’t. My first thought was, “oh, for Pete’s sake!” and “what is this lady thinking?”  So I started racking my brain trying to remember when did I last see her?  After much thought the only thing I could remember was that the last time we were in church she had hugged me three different times. I remembered that because I am not much of a hugger.

I would like to insert a quote here which I have always thought was funny. “We would not worry so much about what people think of us if we realized how seldom they do.”

Okay, now if you are following this somewhat complicated story you can see how this would not be a good situation for a procrastinator. Sometimes I feel I am not really procrastinating; I am just a slow thinker and need to spend a few days thinking. Whatever the reason, it took me a week to think of what to say.

I found an e-mail address for this lady through the church directory and wrote, what I thought, was a very nice letter. I left out the fact that I had no idea what she was talking about. I have often wondered if it is offensive to someone who is trying to apologize, to let them know you are clueless about the “incident.” I decided that might be adding insult to injury so I only wrote that everything was fine. Then I pushed “send.”  Two minutes later it came back. I rechecked the e-mail address and sent it again. Returned again.

I decided I had an old directory so would, on my next trip to check on my mother, run into the church and get a new directory. Which I did. Several weeks had already gone by at this time.

When I arrived home to my motorhome in San Jose I looked for the new e-mail address in the new directory. No such luck, no e-mail address at all. Oh man. What should I do?

I do feel I have to explain that I am not really a “phone” person. I have to really think through what I am going to say in order to minimize any awkward silent times on the phone. So phoning her was not in my thinking at all.

So I decided I would just have to print out the letter and snail mail it. So a couple of days later when I decided to do this I discovered my e-mail draft had completely disappeared!  Oh, man, now what?

So this is where I made a very huge, big, gigantic “mistake.”  I decided to go for a swim and forget the whole thing.  So I did. Whenever the thought came up that this might not be a good idea I would squelch it by thinking maybe we would move back to San Jose anyway so what does it matter.

Moving ahead about six months finds us leaving San Jose and arriving home in Washington. The next week we would be going to church and I would be seeing this lovely, Christian lady who was convinced, by now, that I didn’t like her. Oh man.

I called her. I said something stupid like, “well, since I never answered your letter you probably realize that there was nothing bothering me and no problem whatsoever.”  Yep, it sounded as lame to me as it does to you. Oh course, she said it was the opposite and she thought for sure that there was something wrong. Oh man. I assured her nothing was wrong.

I thought it might help if I invited her out to lunch, so I did, my treat. I thought that would fix everything. I was wrong. We had a nice visit and talked about a lot of things except “the problem.”  I was again hung up on the fact that it would be offensive to her if I told her I had no idea what she was talking about. After all, whatever it was that happened she had thought it was important enough to write and mail a letter.

Several years have passed since that incident. We have moved three more times but always within the area so we have attended the same church. Neither one of us have ever been asked to teach or take over anyplace of leadership. Actually, since I believe God is ultimately in control of all situations, I just enjoyed the break from ministry. Humanly, I thought it was mostly because the church was large and had plenty of workers. I concentrated on caring for my mother, my husband, my kids, my grandkids, and my writing.

One day I noticed in the church bulletin that every Monday morning there was a prayer meeting for all who were interested. They prayed for the requests which had been made on Sunday and for those who were sick or who were having problems. I had a subtle thought enter my mind. I wondered if my lady friend had asked her friends to pray for us. Maybe even telling them we needed a lot of prayer because we just weren’t connected to God as we should be. Maybe that would explain why no one had ever asked us to do anything. Nah, that couldn’t be right.  One complaint couldn’t influence a whole church.

Fast forward several years. We still have never been asked to do anything. Bob even went to the pastor at one point to ask if there was any way he could help in the church’s ministry. He never heard from anyone.

As I said, spiritually we believe God is in control and works through situations to bring about His will to teach us to be more like Jesus (Romans 8:28 and 29) But, humanly…not sure what happened.

So, here’s the deal. If you sat there reading this long involved dissertation, you might be willing to answer my one big question. If someone asks if you are offended and you have no idea at all what they are talking about, do you ask them what they are talking about? Or not.

Oh, and one more thing. I am working on this procrastination thing. It could be that is just a long word for sin because when I do that I am probably offending others. I know it sure offends my husband. I keep telling him I just need to think it through before I get on the phone, or go see the person, or write a card. Perhaps that is just covering up for sin.

Anyway……answer the question… puuullllleeeeaseeeeee.

POSTED July 3, 2011

Psalm 25 – I love this Psalm…well, okay, I mostly love all the Psalms.  I think they are there to teach us how to handle depression.  First you tell God everything that is wrong.. sometimes a long list… and then you tell Him everything that is right with Him… so many of the Psalms begin with complaints and then end with praises to God.  I always try to remember this lesson.  Right now we are going through a terrible financial problem and it looks like a Christian brother is cheating us out of a lot of money..well, a lot for us, and all we really have to live on now that Bob is retired.  I am so glad God started teaching us to walk in faith so many years ago as new believers.  We must need a refresher course :)……..

To you, O Lord, I pray.  Don’t fail me, Lord, for I am trusting you.  Don’t let my enemies succeed. Don’t give them victory over me.  None of those who have faith in God will ever be disgraced for trusting him. But all who harm the innocent shall be defeated.

Show me the path where I should go, O Lord; point out the right road for me to walk. Lead me; teach me; for you are the God who gives me salvation. I have no hope except in you. Overlook my youthful sins, O Lord! Look at me instead through eyes of mercy and forgiveness, through eyes of everlasting love and kindness.

The Lord is good and glad to teach the proper path to all who go astray;  he will teach the ways that are right and best to those who humbly turn to him.  And when we obey him, every path he guides us on is fragrant with his loving-kindness and his truth.

 But Lord, my sins! How many they are. Oh, pardon them for the honor of your name. Where is the man who fears the Lord? God will teach him how to choose the best. He shall live within God’s circle of blessing, and his children shall inherit the earth.

 Friendship with God is reserved for those who reverence him. With them alone he shares the secrets of his promises.

 My eyes are ever looking to the Lord for help, for he alone can rescue me. Come, Lord, and show me your mercy, for I am helpless, overwhelmed, in deep distress;  my problems go from bad to worse. Oh, save me from them all!  See my sorrows; feel my pain; forgive my sins. See how many enemies I have and how viciously they hate me!  Save me from them! Deliver my life from their power!

Oh, let it never be said that I trusted you in vain! Assign me Godliness and Integrity as my bodyguards, for I expect you to protect me  and to ransom Israel from all her troubles.    TLB

POSTED Jan 8 

 Yesterday was a pretty bad day for me.  Bob and I are going through a very serious financial problem.  Our lawyer even told us he felt sorry for us. Yep, you guessed it,  it is a Christian man who has betrayed us, lied to us, and now is cheating and stealing from us.  If you’ve been a Christian any length of time you know this is a very familiar story.  There are Christians out there who are faithful, fair, and fulfill every nick and corner of integrity, unfortunately there are plenty of the others out there also.
Both Bob and I are very serious Christians and  we both work really hard at keeping ourselves and our actions as close to Jesus and His Word as we can.  We know He has a plan, we know He is still in charge.  We remember the early years of salvation and Bible school where He cared for us and provided for us, however; there is always a chance that lately we have been depending too much on our resources and not enough on the Provider of  resources.  We can acknowledge that.
A while back I commented on a friends FaceBook posting that I have a saying which I always try to have before me:” Never expect Christian behavior from non-Christians and very seldom from Christians.”  Not everyone finds my musings funny and this particular one was commented  on immediately by a Christian who wanted to remind everyone that there is a scriptural way to handle this type of problem.  She quoted, Matthew 18:15-17: “If your brother sins against you, go and show him his fault, just between the two of you. If he listens to you, you have won your brother over.  But if he will not listen, take one or two others along, so that ‘every matter may be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses.’    If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church; and if he refuses to listen even to the church, treat him as you would a pagan or a tax collector. (from New International Version) And she quoted 1 Cor 6:1-66: “If any of you has a dispute with another, dare he take it before the ungodly for judgment instead of before the saints? 2 Do you not know that the saints will judge the world? And if you are to judge the world, are you not competent to judge trivial cases? 3 Do you not know that we will judge angels? How much more the things of this life! 4 Therefore, if you have disputes about such matters, appoint as judges even men of little account in the church!   5 I say this to shame you. Is it possible that there is nobody among you wise enough to judge a dispute between believers? 6 But instead, one brother goes to law against another-and this in front of unbelievers! (from New International Version)
Of course, she is right.  That is the way to handle problems.  Truth is, it doesn’t always work the way it should.   Sometimes those who call themselves Christians simply will not listen and do the right thing.  Worse yet, they twist things around so it looks like they are the ones being wronged. So that leads me to my next point and I quote from Job 16:1-6 “Then Job replied: “I have heard many things like these; miserable comforters are you all! Will your long-winded speeches never end? What ails you that you keep on arguing?  I also could speak like you, if you were in my place; I could make fine speeches against you and shake my head at you.  But my mouth would encourage you; comfort from my lips would bring you relief.  Yet if I speak, my pain is not relieved; and if I refrain, it does not go away. (from New International Version)
It wasn’t the unscrupulous action of a brother that sent me in a tail spin, it was the “help” I got from the three people I rely on most for sharing each other’s burdens.  One said, “I learned my faith from him so I don’t understand how this is such a problem to him.  Doesn’t he know God will take care of him?”  The other one said, ” you are just so negative and see so many problems all the time.  I just want you to be happy.”  And the last one absolutely ignored the whole thing and stopped calling.  They broke my heart.  I, who try my best to comfort and encourage them, was given only “miserable comforters.”
Oops, my eyes teared up as I typed those last sentences.  Please pray for me and my comforters.  Pray I will not be so disappointed with my comforters and that I will find rest and hope from the One who loves me the most and is the kindest and best comforter of all.  Pray I will be kind and work on making myself into the kind of friend I should be and not try to make them into the friends I want them to be.
May the Word of God so saturate us all that we become so full of His love we can reach out in love to others; betrayers and comfortless friends included!
P.S.  I wouldn’t want you to think we have lost our sense of humor through all of this.  When someone asks “how is your husband?” I always reply, “Well, he’s been reading in Job for his devotional time if that gives you any clue.  Oh yes,  just yesterday he asked me to find him a rock to scrape his sores with and do I have a gunny sack I can use to make into a shirt for him.”  So I told him, ” why don’t you just……………” no I didn’t really, just kidding, really, I didn’t. 🙂

 

Posted 2/25

2 Peter 1:3-4   “His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness.  Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature and escape the corruption in the world caused by evil desires.”  That’s from the NIV and TNLB also uses the term “evil desires”…….interesting, I like to blame Satan for the corruption in the world, blame him for the evil and blame him for the terrible things that people do….but here in 1 Peter the Bible clearly states that the evil and corruption in the world is caused by man’s evil desires, even my own evil desires……I am so glad that the first part of these verses tells us how to excape our evil desires….with the Word- God’s Word, the Bible- for through them we can participate in His divine nature and through them we gain the knowledge needed to know Him.  How blest we are as Christians…everything we need for this life we have through our knowledge of the Bible and that’s how we learn about Him…through the Bible!  1 & 2 Peter are books that have a lot of information in them….I’ve been reading them for several weeks now….over and over and everytime I see something new!  How wonderful God did not indeed leave us here “like orphans”  we have His Word to read and His Spirit within to help us understand… Praise God for His great love to us!

Posted 2/21/2011 Last week a  friend of ours died.  He had been fighting a very painful battle with cancer for a long time.  I am once again reminded of my oun frailty and just how short a life span can really be, even when we put a number of 70 plus with it.  In Bible school there was a plaque on one of the classroom’s wall which said, “Only one life, twill soon be past, only what’s done for Christ will last.”  Since that time I have learned that God delights in giving us play and rest time and just as I have always loved watching my children and grand-children play so does God enjoy watching me play and rest and enjoy the world He provided for me.  Somewhere in there is the balance we need to live a full, useful life.

Posted 2/10 JENNA, “Mom, don’t forget next week to line the students up for music shortest to tallest.”SUSIE, “Oh, could you just remember for me ’cause I’ll never remember that.” SUSIE to Saul,”What’s wrong with me, Saul, did I used to remember stuff like that?”JENNA,”Mom! You don’t even remember if you remembered!”

Susie is my daughter and Jenna is my seven year old granddaughter….both are wonderful people…and funny, too.  Couldn’t resist posting this….I love my family

Posted 2/05 Bob’s surgery was Thursday….every single day I have been up, make-uped, and dressed very early. Thinking I would go to the store…but I have yet to leave him even for a minute (especially since he fell twice a couple of nights ago and he couldn’t wake me) so today I was up very early and thought phooey..I’m not getting dressed yet or do anything…the pastor called said he would be by in the afternoon…so I decided to play a computer game before I got dressed..yep, you guessed it…he showed up 20 minutes later! I didn’t even bother to run and hide, just put a robe on and let him see my wonderful face and hair as is….I’m just too old to care much anymore..I don’t care much…just a little…not much….really….don’t care…..honest

Posted 1/24 Well, my husband Bob is home from the hospital today after knee replacement surgery.  It really is going well for him.  He is doing al the exercises the PT told him to do.  He has a walker now and can go at quite a clip with that thing.  Since I am now the cook  and chief bottle washer again, I am praying Bob will be healed in the same exact way Peter’s mother-in-law was healed.  A close study of Matthew 8: 14 & 15 reveals at lot…..”when Jesus arrived at Peter’s house, Peter’s mother-in-law was in bed with a high fever. But when Jesus touched her hand, the fever left her, and she got up and prepared a meal for them.”

Posted Jan 23 2011

My husband, Bob, had his knee replacement surgery yesterday.  He is doing as well as could be expected.  I, of course, am doing pretty bad.  About six or seven years ago I walked my Mother through the infections, knee removal, and amputation which followed.  She died of the infection three years ago.  I was her main caregiver through all of this because my brother and sister are deceased.  So this surgery on my husband has been difficult.  Thankfully there are a lot of prayers going up for the both of us…..but, I feel I need to learn exactly what it is God is trying to teach me.  All the Bible verses, all the past sermons and classes I’ve heard and know are pretty jumbled up in my brain….but a few stand out….so I am “looking to Jesus the author and finisher of our salvation” whose peace and grace is a constant source for me.  Thank you for your prayers.

Posted on Jan. 22, 2011 –

This is a grand day for me to thank God for my family.  We are in Salem to celebrate the marriage of Ben to Cassie Howard.  Susie and family and of course Kathy and family are all here…we miss Bonnie and Scott and their families but hopefully there will be a lot of pictures.  The rehearsal dinner went well and the food from Wild Plum in Salem was so scrumptious!…..Now we are praying for God to be glorified today.  If the death of saints are precious in His sight (Psalm 116:15) just think how precious the wedding of two believers is to Him

Posted Jan 18 2011…………Well, I lost it…..all composure gone, none, nada.  I was sobbing uncontrollably.  My husband didn’t know what to do, so he did the best thing he could have, he walked to my side of the car and hugged me.  I was trying to explain what was happening but it was difficult between the sobs.

What happened you ask?  I was blindsided, that’s what.  It started out simply enough, we were attending a class given for those about to have knee replacement surgery, a procedure my husband, Bob, was having next week. I wasn’t expecting, nor planned for, the lecture which was touching on all aspects of this surgery.  Including pain medication and infections.  We left the room and I told him I didn’t want him to do it…we would buy a walker and a wheelchair and he could just manage that way.   The instructor walked us to a room so we could see if Bob would be able to use the recliner provided…after seven back surgeries, which had left him with constant pain, he was no longer able to sleep in a bed.

We walked to the restrooms and I was noticing my eyes were watering, out to the car and I started crying, by the time I got into the car I was sobbing.  And I realized what was happening…it was all because of my mother who had died several years before this incident.

All I could think about was her knee surgery, then the infections which kept coming back, one surgery to remove the plastic knee and another surgery to amputate the leg.  I had always felt I had made some poor decisions along the way…. no, some really really bad bad decisions along the way…..hindsight is 20/20 as they say.  The physical therapist had gotten her up to walk with only one pain pill in her, and Mother took two every four hours even before the surgery.  I had really lit into those doctors, nurses, and pts.  I had to protect her…I was the only one she had.  And I was helpless; I couldn’t save her from the infections which finally took her life.

I had been living with the guilt that the poor care my mother got was all my fault.  I should have taken better care of her, I should have…should have……………..  but in the final analysis it was really God I was mad at……and what was I going to do about that?

He was, and is, my savior, my friend, my helper.  He is Jesus and all things are ultimately under His control.  I realized that this great hurt has been with me for a long, long time, and it took this reminder to plunge me into the full extent of my sorrow.

Jesus was whispering “healing” into my ear. Healing?  Was this the way to healing?

So I did what every believer must do…..face that which is awful to us, face that which has paralyzed us…face it with Jesus by my side.  So I went over Romans 8:28 & 29 and a whole slew of other verses….how much God loves me and cares more than I do about my loved ones. I talked with Bob and then called my other three counselors, all three of my daughters.  They all quoted pages from my own book……wasn’t that hitting below the belt?

Even though this happened last week, I am better now.  The tears are still close to the surface but I am ready to face this surgery my husband is having and turn it all over to God.  I am healing, with the encouragement of those around me who tell me I had made the best decisions I could at that time….it really is useless to look back and wish I had made different decisions.

The sobbing has stopped and I feel safe and secure in my Makers arms again. And next week, Bob will have a new knee.  It really is okay.  God knows what He is doing….He is making me, and all believers, into the image of His son and hurts are included in that.  Facing life with God is the only way to live.  I pray for all who may get blindsided once in a while, for healing.  May these times help us to be closer to Him.

Posted Jan. 2011 Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey all the instructions Moses gave you. Do not deviate from them, turning either to the right or to the left. Then you will be successful in everything you do.  Study this Book of Instruction continually. Meditate on it day and night so you will be sure to obey everything written in it. Only then will you prosper and succeed in all you do.  Joshua 1:6-8   I’m reading the book of Joshua…. just so many interesting things in there to learn about God.  I’m also reading James and find it interesting that both books have the same story about Rahab…..her past didn’t matter…what mattered is that she believed God and did what she was told and faith grew from that.  Kind of like “forgetting those things which are past and looking forward to what lies ahead.  I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus is calling us.” from Paul in Philippians 3:13-14

Posted Jan. 2011 I read in Hebrews this morning this verse, “Therefore, angels are only servants-spirits sent to care for people who will inherit salvation.”  (Heb. 1:14)  I remembered that in Matthew Jesus said, “See that you do not despise one of these little ones.  For I tell you that their angels in heaven always see the face of my Father in Heaven.” (Matthew 18:10)  The angels aren’t watching any of us, children included, they are watching God…for it is God who will send them out to help, only He is all knowing and sees what is happening all over the world at the same time (awesome thought)…so the angels watch God and it is His command that sends the angels out…so they watch God.  Wow….what a concept to think about.  All of us Christians at sometime in our lives feel we may have seen or been helped by an angel…..to God goes the praise.

Posted 6/20/201 June 17 was my 50th wedding anniversary….all those years with the man I fell hopelessly in love with when I was 15…..we married when I turned 17….we have had a lot of good times, a lot of fun times, our share of bad times, and many arguments along the way.  But I have always loved him and he has always loved me. I count myself fortunate to be able to say I have always been loved.  Before my husband there was my Mother.  She loved me, she encouraged me, and she was president of my fan club.   I was twenty years old when I discovered that Jesus loved me enough to die for me.  None of us, at any time, have been perfect.  We just stumble on through life doing the best we can, but Jesus loves perfectly in a way that no mortal can.      I’ve been thinking about, and missing, my Mother a lot. She has been gone for several years now and  how I wish she could have been there for our anniversary party.  Our daughters gave us a wonderful party with over 45 people..and that included wonderful food prepared by our daughter, Bonnie.   So very thoughtful and kind of them.  My Mother would have loved this.      There was a time, after I was married, that my Mother started disappointing me a lot. She didn’t come to visit often enough, she didn’t stay long enough when she did visit,  she didn’t stay on the phone long enough to really talk, when I told her something important she seem preoccupied and she didn’t hug me enough.   It is an easy  enough rut to fall into, that of criticizing one’s family and there are a lot of people, TV shows, and articles to feed that critical attitude.  But God is so good, so very good to take the time to lovingly teach me the way He wants me to be.  One day, out of the blue, I realized I had everything upside down.  God whispered to my heart, “It is not your job to make your mother into the kind of mother you want her to be.  It is only your job to be the daughter I want you to be.”  Simple that, and yet I still stand in awe of how a simple thought such as that could change me, my life, and my relationship with my Mother.  I enjoyed her so much more when I learned to relax and to just love her.  Thankfully I was able to spend a lot of years doing that. Unfortunately I am becoming more like my mother in the way I treat my daughters.  But God and I are working on that one.      I hope you are aware of how much God loves you and I really hope you are enjoying your family today.

Posted July 3, 2011

Yesterday was a pretty bad day for me.  Bob and I are going through a very serious financial problem.  Our lawyer even told us he felt sorry for us.   Yep, and it is a Christian man who has betrayed us, lied to us, and now is cheating and stealing from us.  If you’ve been a Christian any length of time you know this is a very familiar story.

Both Bob and I are very serious Christians and really we both work hard at keeping ourselves and our actions as close to Jesus and His Word as we can.  We know He has a plan, we know He is still in charge.  We remember the early years of salvation and Bible school where He cared for us and provided for us, however; there is always a chance that lately we have been depending too much on our resources and not enough on the Provider of resources.  We can acknowledge that.

A while back I commented on a friends FaceBook posting that I have a saying which I always try to have before me:” Never expect Christian behavior from non-Christians and very seldom from Christians.”  Not everyone finds my musings funny and this particular one was commented  on immediately by a Christian who wanted to remind everyone that there is a scriptural way to handle this type of problem.  She quoted, Matthew 18:15-17:  “If your brother sins against you, go and show him his fault, just between the two of you. If he listens to you, you have won your brother over.  But if he will not listen, take one or two others along, so that ‘every matter may be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses.’    If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church; and if he refuses to listen even to the church, treat him as you would a pagan or a tax collector. (from New International Version)  And she quoted 1 Cor 6:1-66: “If any of you has a dispute with another, dare he take it before the ungodly for judgment instead of before the saints? 2 Do you not know that the saints will judge the world? And if you are to judge the world, are you not competent to judge trivial cases? 3 Do you not know that we will judge angels? How much more the things of this life! 4 Therefore, if you have disputes about such matters, appoint as judges even men of little account in the church!   5 I say this to shame you. Is it possible that there is nobody among you wise enough to judge a dispute between believers? 6 But instead, one brother goes to law against another-and this in front of unbelievers! (from New International Version)

Of course, she is right.  That is the way to handle problems.  Truth is it doesn’t always work the way it should.  Some who call themselves Christian simple will not do the right thing.

So that leads me to my next point and I quote from Job 16:1-6 Then Job replied: “I have heard many things like these; miserable comforters are you all! Will your long-winded speeches never end? What ails you that you keep on arguing?  I also could speak like you, if you were in my place; I could make fine speeches against you and shake my head at you.  But my mouth would encourage you; comfort from my lips would bring you relief. Yet if I speak, my pain is not relieved; and if I refrain, it does not go away. (from New International Version)

It wasn’t the unscrupulous action of a brother that sent me in a tail spin, it was the “help” I got from the three people I rely on most for sharing each other’s burdens.  One said, “I learned my faith from my Daddy so I don’t understand how this is such a problem to him.  Doesn’t he know God will take care of him?”  The other one said, ” you are just so negative and see so many problems all the time.  I just want you to be happy.”  And the last one absolutely ignored the whole thing and stopped calling.  They broke my heart.  I, who try my best to comfort and encourage them, was given only “miserable comforters.”

Oops, my eyes teared up as I typed those last sentences.  Please pray for me and my comforters.  Pray I will not be so disappointed with my comforters and that I will find rest and hope from the One who loves me the most and is the kindest and best comforter of all.  Pray I will be kind and work on making myself into the kind of friend I should be and not try to make them into the friends I want them to be.

May the Word of God so saturate us all that we become so full of His love we can reach out in love to others; betrayers and comfortless friends included!

 

 

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