My friends, we can never rely upon ourselves. Only God known through Jesus Christ can transform us into the person He calls us to be. We cannot ever do it ourselves. He must begin the process! That's the lesson Martin Luther learned. It's the lesson many today forget because inside our hearts lives that rebellious two year old who wants desperately to do it themselves. You've heard the two year olds, "Me do it, me-self, Mommy!" Punctuated with the stomp of a foot! It's what St. Paul calls the Old Adam (Old Eve)! Therefore, we must not just "let go and let God so God can'! We must fall to our knees before God and capitulate to His Sovereignty. Calvin was right about that. So was Luther. Modernity thinks we can do it "me-self"! End of rant. Have a blessed day, my friends.
As Mother's Day approaches, I remember that my dear mother used to bemoan her own failings saying that the only perfect Christians were those already in heaven! I'm constantly amazed at how wise my mother becomes the older I get.
For those of us who bemoan our own, or others, personal failings, here's something to consider. Scripture states, "For all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God." For sure, being in the church doesn't automatically and immediately transform sinners into saints. "For by grace are Ye saved, through faith, and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God, not of works, lest any man (or woman) should boast." Scripture also states, "There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus." The key is being and remaining "in Christ Jesus." We're all still so very human, but when we repent, that is make every effort to change our ways especially when we fail, forgiveness is ours through Christ Jesus' sacrifice of Himself on Calvary's cross.
Even the saints of old struggled. St. Paul struggled with his "old Adam!" Even St. Peter denied Christ in word and deed. Even Jesus' own mother resorted to manipulation by urging Christ to perform a miracle at the wedding in Canaan. Even Jesus' follow Mary of Magdala was no saint. Martin Luther carried on to excess as a young man, so did St. Augustine. Many who have gone before us, have had rocky beginnings, rough patches in life, and failures that they were ashamed of, yet Jesus Himself said from the cross, "Father, forgive them for they know not what they do." Amen to that! When we're in the throws of succumbing to temptation that statement is so very true. We truly don't know what we are doing! May God be merciful and forgive us granting us grace to live as Jesus' called us to live, one day at a time, seeking to do what is right according to Scripture.
Have a blessed Mother's Day as you revel in being a forgiven child of God through Christ Jesus.
Tonight I happened to be channel surfing and I came upon TBN and there was Christine Kane (Sp?) speaking on the Fall of Adam and Eve. She asked us the questions God asked them when she brought it forward to this day. As God asked Adam and Eve, "Where are you?" God asks us that question too. "Where are you?" Indeed, where are we when it comes to faith in God? Do we believe, or not? Do we live what we believe, or not? Thought provoking questions. Adam hid from God due to his sudden awareness that he'd fallen when he and Eve took a bite from that forbidden fruit. It's what we do to when we goof up. We run from God, and run to everything else as we seek relief from our shame, or our guilt. To us, God calls through space and time from eternity and says, "My child where are you?" Where are you? We've hidden, but of course, God knows where we are even though he calls, "Where are you?" His call begs our answer. God wants us to acknowledge our wrongheaded direction, our selfishness, our sorrows, and our pain. He wants us to tell him about it. So he asks us, "Where are you? Where's your faith in Me? Where's your trust? Where's your belief in my goodness? Where's your trust in my forgiveness and all-encompassing love?" You see, God does love us. He does want us to come to Him and spill the beans about our messy lives because He came in the person of Jesus Christ to set us free! To forgive us! To heal us! So He calls across the eons, "Where are you?" We can only fall to our knees and say, "Here, Lord, right here where you've found me." He reaches out, tousles our hair, and hugs us. Then He stretches His arms wide on the cross to remind us just how much he loves us. He died for our shame. He died for our guilt. He died for our failures so that we don't have to die eternally and be separated from God if we will just come to the foot of the cross and ask Jesus to live in us. Then we shall be truly free, free indeed. Blessings, my friends, during this Lenten season and may God touch your hearts as He has touched mine. Amen.
Bummer! Light snow deposited about an inch or two exactly when I needed to drive to church. Eye doctor doesn't want me driving when visibility is compromised. Sigh. So I have been playing Gentle Praise and singing along when I know the words while reading in Nehemiah. The lessons from that book of the Old Testament amaze! The harassed Jewish people kept their faith, vigilance and continued to rebuild Jerusalem's walls and temple in spite of all sorts of obstacles and threats.
Seems not much has changed where God's people are concerned. Whether health issues or political issues, the enemy of our souls uses every crack in our soul's defenses to attack. Despite evil doing its worst, God as known through Jesus Christ is good . . . all the time, not just when things are going smoothly, or we're getting our own way, or we're in perfect health, or the weather is blowing a blizzard, or even simply flurries.
Lord God, please bless those who need an encouraging touch from You, and bless all ministers as they preach Your Word, and all the congregants as they worship, listen, and then go and do for others, in Jesus name we pray, Amen.
The word current brings to mind a number of meanings. According to my Miriam-Webster e-Dictionary it can be either a noun or an adjective. As a noun it means-- 1 : the part of a body of fluid moving continuously in a certain direction; also : the swiftest part of a stream 2 : a flow of electric charge; also : the rate of such flow 3 ▶ : a tendency or course of events that is usually the result of an interplay of forces. As an adjective it means -- 1 ▶ : occurring in or belonging to the present 2 : used as a medium of exchange, eg. money. 3 ▶ : generally accepted or practiced.
Yesterday the word current took on an ominous feel when current reports came from New York City. A disaffected man had plowed a rented vehicle into a crowd killing at least eight persons.
This writer cannot imagine the horror that vicious action engendered, the sorrow, the grief, the loss of life, the loss of a future for those people. Eight people, including some Argentinians, stepped out onto a New York City street near the Hudson River not knowing that this would be their last time to take a walk, ride a bicycle, jog, go sightseeing, or feed the ever present pigeons that coo and stroll along the streets begging for tidbits from passersby.
Recent history around the world has seen many such attacks perpetrated by disaffected and radicalized individuals who believe they are doing something great by targeting unknowing, innocent civilians who are merely going about their daily routines. The attackers total objective is to terrorize, maim, kill and destroy in the name of their organization or religion as if God wants people to do such things. NOT! Our God is a God of love who wants the best for all people and does NOT want to see them before it's their natural time to depart this earth. God gave us Ten Commandments. Among them is the command You shall do no murder. Period. So this warped person who carried out this despicable action did NOT do it for God. He did it inspired by God's enemy, Satan ... and that's my brief take on current events.
Woke this morning way early at dark o’clock
nature calls at the oddest hours
rumpled sheets called
soft pillows called
warm blanket called
I slipped beneath the blanket, sheets
and rested my head upon the pillow
closed my eyes
just a few more winks, please.
Woke again with sunshine spilled rays
across my eyes.
The electric clock blinked from 8:15 to 8:16
Time to arise . . .
besides, nature called again.
Shuffled to kitchen
fed cat, dog, warmed coffee
Set out mug, plate
sliced toast & toasted same
Ate breakfast, read Bible passage
about Jehu slaughtering Ahab’s descendants,
a nasty, bloody business.
No uplift there.
Read Daily Devotional
my spirit lifted.
Shuffled to washroom, again
Dressed, too late for church.
So I sit, pondering, scrolling Facebook,
praying for so many needs
martial splits, failing health.
Praising God for a few proud posts
new babies, family reunions, a wedding, or two.
Life, a la Facebook.
Now I’m writing, or rather typing
meandering thoughts and wondering,
then praying according to
Your holy unerring will.
Rejoice with joyful folk
Bless the needy
Positive answers to prayers, please.
Heal the sick, wounded, broken ones
and comfort those who grieve.
above all, praise belongs to You
Who gives life when death threatens
and then eternal life with You.
Thank you, Dear Lord God.
We're asking this in Jesus’ name, Amen.
There's been a bit of speculation on the web these days about the meaning of all the relatively recent natural disasters. Many Biblically literate folk are referencing Christ's words in Matthew 24 and Luke 21 about the end of time.
Matthew quoted Jesus as saying, Matthew 24:4-8 (KJV) "4 And Jesus answered and said unto them, Take heed that no man deceive you. 5 For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many. 6 And ye shall hear of wars and rumours of wars: see that ye be not troubled: for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. 7 For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places. 8 All these are the beginning of sorrows."
Likewise, Luke quoted Jesus as saying, Luke 21:25-26 (KJV) "25 And there shall be signs in the sun, and in the moon, and in the stars; and upon the earth distress of nations, with perplexity; the sea and the waves roaring; 26 Men's hearts failing them for fear, and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth: for the powers of heaven shall be shaken."
To what Christ said, I'd like to remind us of what King David wrote centuries ago in Psalm 29. Scripture clearly states that God is in control of all nature.
A psalm of David.
1 Honor the Lord, you heavenly beings[a];
honor the Lord for his glory and strength.
2 Honor the Lord for the glory of his name.
Worship the Lord in the splendor of his holiness.
3 The voice of the Lord echoes above the sea.
The God of glory thunders.
The Lord thunders over the mighty sea.
4 The voice of the Lord is powerful;
the voice of the Lord is majestic.
5 The voice of the Lord splits the mighty cedars;
the Lord shatters the cedars of Lebanon.
6 He makes Lebanon’s mountains skip like a calf;
he makes Mount Hermon[b] leap like a young wild ox.
7 The voice of the Lord strikes
with bolts of lightning.
8 The voice of the Lord makes the barren wilderness quake;
the Lord shakes the wilderness of Kadesh.
9 The voice of the Lord twists mighty oaks[c]
and strips the forests bare.
In his Temple everyone shouts, “Glory!”
10 The Lord rules over the floodwaters.
The Lord reigns as king forever.
11 The Lord gives his people strength.
The Lord blesses them with peace.
That said, most who know me, know that I usually do not see prophecies fulfilled by everything that happens. However, these days all the stuff going on has me thinking. Many posts from the internet (and the Weather Channel) note nature's unusual activity. One post even said this has been the second highest year for natural disasters! In an effort to check it out, I did a bid of surfing. I found and copied a series of natural events from a fellow who posted them on Facebook. Here's a summary.
Evidently there are, or have been, fires in California, Oregon, Washington State, British Columbia, Alberta, Montana, Nova Scotia, Greece, Brazil, Portugal, Algeria, Tunisia, Greenland, Siberia, and a portion of Russia. For sure there's been flooding in Texas. Also reported are record monsoons in India, Nepal, Pakistan. Bangladesh. It seems Niger and Sierra Leone have had floods and mudslides. Eurasia has been under a massive heat wave called Lucifer. California, including San Francisco, has had triple digits temps. Earthquakes shimmied and shook the American West. Tremors in Japan at 6.1 and in Mexico at 8.2 on the Richter scale presaged possible tsunamis. Volcanic activity in Yellowstone threatens if we take a swarm of 2,300 tremors seriously. Idaho shook and not with the Hokey Pokey. Record breaking hurricanes have been recorded. Irma and Jose, are or have been as dangerous as Harvey was, while Katia currently dumps her load on Mexico. NOAH lists at least one more hurricane forming in the Atlantic. Last, but not least, is the report of a record breaking solar flare.
This writer is no scientist, but I wonder if all the recent weather phenomena presage more than a year fraught with natural disasters. Dianne E. Butts thinks they are signs of the times. She and other Prophecy experts may be on to something. Perhaps you'd like to check out her post. Here's the link to her website.
You may now go back to your regular Internet activities.
When we can't sit for an hour and a bit
in a worship service
in an air conditioned building, on padded pews
when our tummies rumble
when the local eatery breakfast
stops serving at eleven.
Then how will we endure eternity,
an eternity of worshipping God?
Good grief, how long will we be in eternity
before we eat at the Lamb's wedding feast?
Eternity lasts, and lasts, and lasts
for an extremely long time
Hmm . . .
Maybe we should
consider the alternative.
Whew! Not a pleasant thought.
Sizzling . . . roasting . . . hot forever . . . and ever . . .
always suffering in incredible heat.
Hmm . . .
I prefer worship here
in a cool holy space . . .
our, Sanctuary . . . yours, and mine,
forever . . .
wouldn’t you? don't you? won't you? Will you?
Hmm . . .
Some Christians may say: "By myself, I can do nothing, with God, I can do anything!" It may be splitting hairs on a mule, but, my friends, there's a huge difference between God helping us to do what we want to do, and God enabling us to do what HE wants us to do. We ought not "do anything we want." "Doing anything we want" usually leads us into trouble. God never enables us to do our own thing. God never endorses anything outside HIS will. God never would advocate this, but God might allow it. The right statement is God enables me to do God's will, even if it seems impossible. End of rant.
My writer friend Michele Huey has posted something on her blog God, Me, and a Cup of Tea, that spoke to our current need of comfort in the USA and Canada. Both nations have been impacted either by floods (Texas and Gulf Coast) or Forest fires (Canadian Rockies). I pray you will be blessed as I was.
Here's the link. https://godmetea.wordpress.com/2017/09/03/beyond-the-loss/