Saturday, November 30, 2013

Singled out

A leaf has been chosen to view because I see something in it. It looks like a mask. A parable emerges; it is like an uncommitted Christian, half in the world and half out. If we are going to serve Jesus we must make a decision for him. Put on a happy face and come follow Jesus.

Mat 13:47  Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto a net, that was cast into the sea, and gathered of every kind: 
Mat 13:48  Which, when it was full, they drew to shore, and sat down, and gathered the good into vessels, but cast the bad away. 
Mat 13:49  So shall it be at the end of the world: the angels shall come forth, and sever the wicked from among the just, 
Mat 13:50  And shall cast them into the furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth. 

 Our pool is used about three months of the year. We must cover it because there are so many trees around it. After a rain the cover makes it's own pool and the leaves pile up until they are removed. So many leaves cover the pool, some blown in from distant tall trees.

The larger Red Bud leaves look like lily pods in a Koi pond.

A Persimmon leaf is partially submerged. Perhaps this is an illustration of baptism?

Mat28:19  Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: 
The Mulberry has chosen to come out of the world of water. We must choose to be separated out of the world unto Jesus. This is our sanctification.

2Co 6:17  Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, 
2Co 6:18  And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty. 
The tall Sycamore in a distant yard has yielded it's leaves. Many have been blown into our yard and pool. It is a favorite resting place for the Turkey Vultures. They seek death to feed on. Jesus brings us out from the world of sin and death and he gives us eternal life.

Mar 10:29  And Jesus answered and said, Verily I say unto you, There is no man that hath left house, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my sake, and the gospel's, 
Mar 10:30  But he shall receive an hundredfold now in this time, houses, and brethren, and sisters, and mothers, and children, and lands, with persecutions; and in the world to come eternal life. 

Friday, November 29, 2013

After Thanksgiving

The day after Thanksgiving in the past was a day of work at my photography studio. I became the stuffed turkey, dressing up to create family portraits. My portrait room was not as large as it needed to be for large family groups, so I had to find ways of grouping the families to fit into the space. Using a film camera, it all had to fit perfectly. Skill was required to relax the families, compose them, not taking too long because the children squirm or the baby starts crying. I trusted the LORD to help me in my business and he never failed me in the 36 years I was in business. In the latter years digital photography helped me to expand the wall space by adding more background later, but that was kind of like cheating. Digital photography changed the value of photographs. Everyone has them now and people do not want as many prints because they share them on their phones and computers. I am retired now and the day after Thanksgiving has become a day of rest and reflection. A time to work around the house, raking leaves. Still work to do but at my own pace.
Following the lovely Thanksgiving buffet with the people at our church, my wife and I went for a drive. It had been a long time since we had driven to Jones Valley and visited Shasta Lake. When we arrived the lake was gone! It had receded due to a low rainfall season. Rain is needed to fill the lake that was formed by building Shasta Dam.
We kept driving on the road above the lake until we found another low water boat dock where the houseboats were still floating. It reminded me of Noah and the ark that finally came to rest on dry land. Rain will come again because the LORD is faithful, he keeps us afloat. Thank you LORD.

Lam 3:22  It is of the LORD'S mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. 
Lam 3:23  They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness. 
Lam 3:24  The LORD is my portion, saith my soul; therefore will I hope in him. 
Lam 3:25  The LORD is good unto them that wait for him, to the soul that seeketh him. 
Lam 3:26  It is good that a man should both hope and quietly wait for the salvation of the LORD. 
Lam 3:27  It is good for a man that he bear the yoke in his youth. 
Lam 3:28  He sitteth alone and keepeth silence, because he hath borne it upon him. 
Lam 3:29  He putteth his mouth in the dust; if so be there may be hope. 
Lam 3:30  He giveth his cheek to him that smiteth him: he is filled full with reproach. 
Lam 3:31  For the Lord will not cast off for ever: 
Lam 3:32  But though he cause grief, yet will he have compassion according to the multitude of his mercies. 

Thursday, November 28, 2013

The Thankful Ones

Battleship Arizona Memorial
I was two years old when Pearl Harbor was attacked and we entered the second world war. The battleship Arizona was sunk with almost 1200 casualties. The survivors of this ship are few and old. Over thirty have returned to be with their fallen brothers in ash filled urns. So many young men died, but a few lived to be old men with thankful hearts.
 

I am thankful that when I could have died of cancer as a young man that God allowed me to live to be an old man, young in spirit. I thank God for life and the new life in Jesus Christ. I thank God for a loving wife and wonderful children and grandchildren. I thank God for families and kin and the kinship of those in God's family. May we celebrate this Thanksgiving in the company of friends. Jesus is our best friend; thank you Jesus.Most of my friends are old in age but young in spirit. I do not look forward to a burial in an urn with my buddies, but I look beyond the grave to a place of life and goodness, joy and peace. I thank God that he came to me as a young man and although I went through some hard times, he was always near. We must look at life through our redeemed spirit. For greater is he that is in us then he that is in the world. Greater is the eternal spirit made alive in Christ Jesus, then the flesh body of the world.

Psa 100:1  A Psalm of praise. Make a joyful noise unto the LORD, all ye lands.
Psa 100:2  Serve the LORD with gladness: come before his presence with singing.
Psa 100:3  Know ye that the LORD he is God: it is he that hath made us, and not we ourselves; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture.
Psa 100:4  Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him, and bless his name.
Psa 100:5  For the LORD is good; his mercy is everlasting; and his truth endureth to all generations.
 

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Pecan

Our Redwood tree blew down in 2002. Since then six new trees have taken it's place and they are over 100 feet high. Beside the Redwood is the Pecan tree. It has grown taller in competition with the Redwood. In the plant world sunlight is important. A plant or a tree may grow bigger than normal in search of the light from the sun.

We humans sometimes compete with each other. If we see something in another person we like, often we will compete to try to outshine them. Sometimes people will tear down another person, to make themselves look bigger or better. God wants us to grow in the light of His Son. We are not to tear down or compete, but each is to grow in His light to our full stature and maturity.
When the original Redwood fell the Pecan that was shorter, now looked very big by itself. A man of God is to stand tall in God's word encouraging those around them to reach their perfection.

Eph 4:11  And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers;
Eph 4:12  For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ:
Eph 4:13  Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ: 

The Pecan tree is very tall and it is hard to see if it has any nuts on it, but when they fall from a squirrels hands or a bird's peck they come down to be collected. Is our fruit hard to see?

John 15:8  Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be my disciples. 
Sometimes the pecans are few, but every one is a treasure.

John 17:24  Father, I will that they also, whom thou hast given me, be with me where I am; that they may behold my glory, which thou hast given me: for thou lovedst me before the foundation of the world. 

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Our Sanctuary

 
 
Complaining is not a spiritual gift.

1Pe 3:10  For he that will love life, and see good days, let him refrain his tongue from evil, and his lips that they speak no guile:
1Pe 3:11  Let him eschew evil, and do good; let him seek peace, and ensue it.
1Pe 3:12  For the eyes of the Lord are over the righteous, and his ears are open unto their prayers: but the face of the Lord is against them that do evil.
 
eschew : turn aside from
 
 There is much that is wrong in our world, but it must not be allowed to seep into our hearts, polluting our thoughts and stealing our joy. Turn away from evil. Where could I go but to the LORD? He is our hiding place, our Comforter, our sanctuary. Let us be found in Jesus our righteousness. Instead of complaining to others, defiling them, take your hurts to Jesus in prayer. We do not want to take on evil words and actions. There is no evil in our Lord. Abide in him and be in peace.

John 14:27  Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid. 

Monday, November 25, 2013

Our Liberty

  1Pe 2:12  Having your conversation honest among the Gentiles: that, whereas they speak against you as evildoers, they may by your good works, which they shall behold, glorify God in the day of visitation. 
1Pe 2:13  Submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord's sake: whether it be to the king, as supreme;
1Pe 2:14  Or unto governors, as unto them that are sent by him for the punishment of evildoers, and for the praise of them that do well.
1Pe 2:15  For so is the will of God, that with well doing ye may put to silence the ignorance of foolish men:
1Pe 2:16  As free, and not using your liberty for a cloke of maliciousness, but as the servants of God.
My first thought was this verse:
Mat 22:21  .... Then saith he unto them, Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar's; and unto God the things that are God's.

Christians are a peace loving people. We obey the laws if they do not conflict with God's will for us. In Christ we are free and this liberty has spilled over to the nation from the beginning. 
The first two amendments of the constitution are being threatened in our time. This is from the Bill of Rights.

Amendment I (1): Freedom of religion, speech, and the press; rights of assembly and petition
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press, or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
Amendment II (2): Right to bear arms
A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.

It is difficult to be in agreement with a government that does not uphold it's own constitution and laws. Follow the Spirit of God in the peace of God and you will do right. A godless people will never be free, we are only free by fearing God and obeying him. In Christ we are truly free.

John 8:36  If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed. 

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Small Favors

Luke 11:46  And he said, Woe unto you also, ye lawyers! for ye lade men with burdens grievous to be borne, and ye yourselves touch not the burdens with one of your fingers. 

Last week I was in a supermarket and I saw a woman in pain trying to put a 24 pack of water in her cart. She had one hand that was all bandaged up and maybe in a cast; it hurt her to use it.  I went to help her; she was old, but not as old as I am and maybe she was self reliant, but it was time to ask for help. I placed the water in her cart and I counseled her to ask for help.  Most men would be glad to help her. Later, as I was leaving the store with a cart full of groceries I saw the lady again. A man was unscrewing a bottle for her to drink. I was glad to see that she would ask for help.

Tonight as I was leaving the college after our second concert I spotted a Christian lady, a horn player who was carrying her heavy horn case. I knew that she was having knee joint problems. I offered to carry her horn case to the car and she allowed me to do so. We chatted and talked about health problems and how it is best not to dwell on them, but to keep busy.  It may be some time before she will be able to have her knee joints replaced. We do our best while sharing the load with others and continuing in faith.


John 16:24  Hitherto have ye asked nothing in my name: ask, and ye shall receive, that your joy may be full. 

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Be Patient and be ready



Jas 5:7  Be patient therefore, brethren, unto the coming of the Lord. Behold, the husbandman waiteth for the precious fruit of the earth, and hath long patience for it, until he receive the early and latter rain.
Jas 5:8  Be ye also patient; stablish your hearts: for the coming of the Lord draweth nigh.

Stablish your hearts... sterizo, strengthen, place firmly, set fast, fix , for the Lord is coming, this we know

1Th 3:12  And the Lord make you to increase and abound in love one toward another, and toward all men, even as we do toward you:
1Th 3:13  To the end he may stablish your hearts unblameable in holiness before God, even our Father, at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ with all his saints.


What will the ungodly say at his coming? The liars?

1Pe 4:17  For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God?
1Pe 4:18  And if the righteous scarcely be saved, where shall the ungodly and the sinner appear? 


All liars will be thrown into the lake of fire


Rev 21:7  He that overcometh shall inherit all things; and I will be his God, and he shall be my son.
Rev 21:8  But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.  


God is not fooled by lies. It is no lie that he wants all to repent, to turn from sins. Jesus is the way to truth, righteousness and the grace and mercy of God. Come to Jesus and be established in him. Blame ends with Jesus who took our blame for sins to the cross. Lying and blaming others will not save you, only Jesus will save you from sins and the just punishment we deserve. Call on the name of Jesus and be found in his righteousness at his coming. He is coming soon, so be ready.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Be Kind


I read of acts of violence, I hear words from those who are in high places that incite racism and death to babies. I see illegal laws being passed and our constitution ignored. Why am I bringing up this negative reality? Because we have a better way in Jesus Christ. We are to be kind. Those who have the greatest impact are those who are kind; So let us be loving, gentle and kind in a nation growing more and more frustrated and violent. We know who we belong to. God's son suffered violence and even from the cross he was forgiving and kind. Be kind to one another and be like Jesus.
 
Eph 4:31  Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice:
Eph 4:32  And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you.
 
Col 3:8  But now ye also put off all these; anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy communication out of your mouth.
Col 3:9  Lie not one to another, seeing that ye have put off the old man with his deeds;
Col 3:10  And have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him:
Col 3:11  Where there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcision nor uncircumcision, Barbarian, Scythian, bond nor free: but Christ is all, and in all.
Col 3:12  Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering;
Col 3:13  Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye.
Col 3:14  And above all these things put on charity, which is the bond of perfectness.
Col 3:15  And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to the which also ye are called in one body; and be ye thankful.
Col 3:16  Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.
 

Bring hope to others with gentle loving kindness. Bring Jesus to the seekers and bring a better way to live. Be like Jesus.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Faith or Fear


 
Jas 2:14  What doth it profit, my brethren, though a man say he hath faith, and have not works? can faith save him?
Jas 2:15  If a brother or sister be naked, and destitute of daily food,
Jas 2:16  And one of you say unto them, Depart in peace, be ye warmed and filled; notwithstanding ye give them not those things which are needful to the body; what doth it profit?
Jas 2:17  Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone.


We have faith to ask God for our own needs, but what of the needs of others? One thing about Christianity is that many come to a church when they are in need of food or gas money. Another religion coerces or kills the "infidels." They grow because of fear and fear is respect. How much more should we fear and respect the Living God? I think often the world plays the church as a con artist would. They ask for favors, but secretly many do not respect the one giving help; they have no fear of God. We are to do good because Jesus did the good works of his Father and it brings glory to God the Father. He gave all to us and by giving to others we are giving back to Jesus. We cannot out give God. If some people come with wrong motives, perhaps they will change?

1Pe 2:12  Having your conversation honest among the Gentiles: that, whereas they speak against you as evildoers, they may by your good works, which they shall behold, glorify God in the day of visitation. 

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Images and Imagination

The Mallard duck was preening itself. What a lovely design of feathers and beak on this creation of the LORD.

Gen 1:21  And God created great whales, and every living creature that moveth, which the waters brought forth abundantly, after their kind, and every winged fowl after his kind: and God saw that it was good. 


Ducks love water and they are fun to watch as they splash and bathe in the water. Bathing in water is how we become clean.

Isa 1:16  Wash you, make you clean; put away the evil of your doings from before mine eyes; cease to do evil;
Isa 1:17  Learn to do well; seek judgment, relieve the oppressed, judge the fatherless, plead for the widow.
Isa 1:18  Come now, and let us reason together, saith the LORD: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool. 




Are you watching me? The lovely "Common" Egret, is common in that they are numerous, but their design is wonderfully made; pure white. They stand out wherever they are, but from a fishes eye view they blend in with the bright sun, making them almost invisible.

Mar 12:36  For David himself said by the Holy Ghost, The LORD said to my Lord, Sit thou on my right hand, till I make thine enemies thy footstool.
Mar 12:37  David therefore himself calleth him Lord; and whence is he then his son? And the common people heard him gladly.
Mar 12:38  And he said unto them in his doctrine, Beware of the scribes, which love to go in long clothing, and love salutations in the marketplaces,
Mar 12:39  And the chief seats in the synagogues, and the uppermost rooms at feasts:
Mar 12:40  Which devour widows' houses, and for a pretence make long prayers: these shall receive greater damnation. 

I see images in nature in old trees. This looks like an old owl sitting on an arm with open hand. An owl sitting on Cecil? God gave us imaginations, but we are to separate truth from untruth.

Rom 1:21  Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened.
Rom 1:22  Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools,
Rom 1:23  And changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and fourfooted beasts, and creeping things. 

I have photographed this old oak tree from many angles.
 This view looks to me like an elephant. I suppose the first idols were objects found that resembled birds or animals. We are not to worship these above God who created them. Can you imagine all of the creation just happening by chance? They call that evolution. The truth is that God created all there is and he loves us, wanting us to come to him through Jesus his Son.

1Pe 4:17  For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God?
1Pe 4:18  And if the righteous scarcely be saved, where shall the ungodly and the sinner appear?
1Pe 4:19  Wherefore let them that suffer according to the will of God commit the keeping of their souls to him in well doing, as unto a faithful Creator. 


Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Thoughts


When I was a young man the devil gave me thoughts of suicide. God spoke to me giving me life. The voice of the LORD brings life and encouragement to us, if we obey him.

Isa 55:6  Seek ye the LORD while he may be found, call ye upon him while he is near:
Isa 55:7  Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the LORD, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.
Isa 55:8  For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD.
Isa 55:9  For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.
Isa 55:10  For as the rain cometh down, and the snow from heaven, and returneth not thither, but watereth the earth, and maketh it bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the sower, and bread to the eater:
Isa 55:11  So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it. 

Psa 27:14 Wait on the LORD: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the LORD.

Isa 40:29 He giveth power to the faint; and to them that have no might he increaseth strength.
Isa 40:30 Even the youths shall faint and be weary, and the young men shall utterly fall:
Isa 40:31 But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.


We have no fear who trust in the Lord, for you are our strength. You brought us forth, you created us in the womb to serve you in righteousness. You guide us and protect us, keeping us as we seek your face. We want to obey you always. You are truth and life all the days of this life and for ever more. 

Jer 29:11  For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end. 

We are the children of your kingdom. Thank you Father.

Monday, November 18, 2013

We hear God


Some prefer a list of do's and don'ts and someone giving them rules to live by, instead of walking in the liberty given in  Jesus Christ. It takes hearing and responding to the Holy Spirit to be in perfect liberty and to keep from sin. Our liberty should not cause a weaker brother to stumble.

Jas 1:23  For if any be a hearer of the word, and not a doer, he is like unto a man beholding his natural face in a glass:
Jas 1:24  For he beholdeth himself, and goeth his way, and straightway forgetteth what manner of man he was.
Jas 1:25  But whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed.

A minister on the radio was saying that God speaks to us all the time. Are we too busy to hear or do we think it is our voice we hear? People like to say that "God told me" when it comes to giving someone else advice, but how about our own actions? Are we obeying the voice of God?  Are we willing to do things that are too hard for us to do? The LORD can work through us if we trust him. He will not go against his word, so most of our hearing should come from reading his word. Maybe he is telling us when we are doing our own thing, that we need to read his word? 

1Ki 19:12  And after the earthquake a fire; but the LORD was not in the fire: and after the fire a still small voice.

After so much happens, the still small voice is heard. I suppose the LORD must do some things to get our attention? Often we hear his voice telling us to do what he has already told us to do. We are to respond to what we already know to do for he loves us. Do you feel his love?


Sunday, November 17, 2013

Edom Indicted


The LORD's indictment against Edom, the land of Esau, a brother of Jacob in the flesh, but also an enemy. When Israel and Judah were invaded and exported to Babylon and other lands, Edom joined with the invaders to afflict them. Israel is still surrounded by enemies. Are they any different today? God watches Israel, His covenant people,  and their enemies will be punished.
 
Obadiah 1:10“Because of the violence you did
to your close relatives in Israel,
you will be filled with shame
and destroyed forever.
11When they were invaded,
you stood aloof, refusing to help them.
Foreign invaders carried off their wealth
and cast lots to divide up Jerusalem,
but you acted like one of Israel’s enemies.
12“You should not have gloated
when they exiled your relatives to distant lands.
You should not have rejoiced
when the people of Judah suffered such misfortune.
You should not have spoken arrogantly
in that terrible time of trouble.
13You should not have plundered the land of Israel
when they were suffering such calamity.
You should not have gloated over their destruction
when they were suffering such calamity.
You should not have seized their wealth
when they were suffering such calamity.
14You should not have stood at the crossroads,
killing those who tried to escape.
You should not have captured the survivors
and handed them over in their terrible time of trouble. (NLT)
 

Do we take advantage of a brother in need? How can we not be like Esau? How can we bless God's covenant people?

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Translated


Heb 11:5  By faith Enoch was translated that he should not see death; and was not found, because God had translated him: for before his translation he had this testimony, that he pleased God.
Heb 11:6  But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.

Enoch was translated by faith. The word translate means to change, remove, to put.
 
Col 1:12  Giving thanks unto the Father, which hath made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light:
Col 1:13  Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son:
Col 1:14  In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins:
Col 1:15  Who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature:

We have read that to worship God we must worship him in Spirit and in truth.
 
Joh 4:23  But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him.
Joh 4:24  God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.
 
Our faith must rest on the true God and Jesus his son. The LORD requires faith to move in his people.
 
Rom 10:17  So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.
 
What else is needed besides faith and true worship? It is a continual walk in the presence of God.
 
Gen 5:24  And Enoch walked with God: and he was not; for God took him. 

Friday, November 15, 2013

It's all about me?


Last night I was at a rehearsal of the college symphonic band. The conductor is a high spirited man who has led the band with enthusiasm for over thirty years. In recent years he married a younger woman from England who was a music major at the college. She is gifted to play several instruments and sits next to me in the trombone section. She stood up, leaving her horn on the chair and walked over to the conductor's podium and with baton in hand she directed the band with precision as the conductor was out in the theater seating area. She conducted two of our selections for next week's concert and then returned to her seat. I am not sure if this was planned, but when he returned he commented on how wonderful the band sounded and how blessed he was to have such a talented wife. Now, he could have been jealous when the band clapped enthusiastically, but he was gracious and humble. Truth is, he has never been angry or judgmental in all the years I have known him. The point is that we each are gifted in some way. Some have been at it longer than others, built up a ministry, kept the faith. Yet, others may step in to move things along and each brings something different to the fullness of the body of Christ. We are not to be jealous , envious, competitive or spiteful, for the ministry is the Lord's and he moves through his yielded vessels as he wills. Rather than complain about a lack of a gift in a person, perhaps you are meant to fill the missing gift? One person may be gifted in one area, but others are stronger in other areas of need in the body of Christ. We come together in unity and love in one spirit, we are one in Christ.

Rom 12:3  For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith. 
Rom 12:4  For as we have many members in one body, and all members have not the same office: 
Rom 12:5  So we, being many, are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Saint Andrew


In an earlier post of leaves on my car, I could not get this image in the set of pictures. Repeated attempts and my writing would appear blocked and off to one side. I took this as a "no" and left it out of the set. The X of the leaf stems reminded me of the Rebel flag, but it also could be another flag, the flag of Scotland, that is called the Saltire, or St. Andrews cross. It depicts the crucifixion of St. Andrew, Scotland's patron Saint, who reportedly asked to be crucified in a different way from Christ, so they crucified him on an X shaped cross. It was St. Andrew that brought Christian Religion to Scotland. St. Andrew never went to Scotland to preach but after his death pieces of his bones were sent to various places. These the Catholic Church calls relics. Relics were worshiped and eventually a cathedral built in honor of St. Andrew. The flag was made from a battle story where prayers were made and an X shaped white cloud appeared in the blue sky.

This is a lot of religious tradition. If a relic reminds someone of Jesus Christ as the Saviour, then so be it, but we do not worship a relic. Jesus is the Saviour, not religious traditions.


History and lore are interesting and I deeply respect Scotland and her people. But to put our faith in a saint is a Catholic practice. There was little said about Andrew in the Bible, but he was the first Disciple of Christ.

John 1:35  Again the next day after John stood, and two of his disciples; 
John 1:36  And looking upon Jesus as he walked, he saith, Behold the Lamb of God! 
John 1:37  And the two disciples heard him speak, and they followed Jesus. 
John 1:38  Then Jesus turned, and saw them following, and saith unto them, What seek ye? They said unto him, Rabbi, (which is to say, being interpreted, Master,) where dwellest thou? 
John 1:39  He saith unto them, Come and see. They came and saw where he dwelt, and abode with him that day: for it was about the tenth hour. 
John 1:40  One of the two which heard John speak, and followed him, was Andrew, Simon Peter's brother. 
John 1:41  He first findeth his own brother Simon, and saith unto him, We have found the Messias, which is, being interpreted, the Christ. 
John 1:42  And he brought him to Jesus. And when Jesus beheld him, he said, Thou art Simon the son of Jona: thou shalt be called Cephas, which is by interpretation, A stone. 

There are other places where Andrew is mentioned in the Bible. God bless his part in the Biblical account of the Messiah. Jesus Christ is the Chief Cornerstone of the church. He is the head of the Church and he is the only begotten Son of God. Let us not worship relics or idols or make a man to take the place of Jesus Christ.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Salvation


I thank God for these particular scriptures. They are his promises and show us the steps to salvation from our sins. These scriptures are referred to often in leading many to Christ and a new life in His Spirit.

Rom 10:8 But what saith it? The word is nigh thee, even in thy mouth, and in thy heart: that is, the word of faith, which we preach;

Preaching the word of faith

Rom 10:17 So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.
Rom 1:16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.
Rom 1:17 For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith.
What is the way?

Rom 10:9 That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.

Confess with your mouth, or write it on the screen, that Jesus has risen from the grave. He is the only one who said he was of God who has risen from the grave, proving that he is of God. He is God the Son as this other powerful witnessing verse says:

John 3:16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

Confession of Jesus, believing and trusting in him with all your heart, will save you from your sins.

Rom 10:10 For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.

It is God who chooses you and then we respond with confession of faith and with  believing in our hearts that he has risen from the grave. Confess their sins to God, he knows them, and to give all to him. For Jesus has died for all your sins.

Psa 32:5 I acknowledged my sin unto thee, and mine iniquity have I not hid. I said, I will confess my transgressions unto the LORD; and thou forgavest the iniquity of my sin. Selah.

After this ask for the Holy Spirit to come in you and teach you all truth. By the spirit comes power to repent, to turn from the old ways, and to seek Gods direction and will. Finally we make Jesus Lord and master of our life.

1 Pet 1:23 Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever.

Behold all things have become new, I am a child of God. I have everlasting life with Jesus and he holds me in his hand . I am an adopted child of the king, forever. If you think Jesus cannot forgive you, you are mistaken. No one is beyond the cleansing blood of Jesus, as long as they are able to respond to his love. After death it is too late.Yes, he loves you, now is the time of salvation. Come to Jesus.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Autumn leaves of red and gold

The Crape Myrtle leaves fall on my car. A
closer look proves that they are quite beautiful.
These are simple blessings of God's design.
Nearer Lord to thee..

Psa 119:63  I am a companion of all them that fear thee,
 and of them that keep thy precepts. 


Asking for directions?
One group is open sided, the other closed.

John 14:6  Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me. 

Beware of false prophets.

1Jn 4:1  Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world. 

Just out of seminary,
but will they teach the whole word of truth?

Act 20:28  Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood.
Act 20:29  For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock.
Some come to church seeking healing.

Luke 4:40  Now when the sun was setting, all they that had any sick with divers diseases brought them unto him; and he laid his hands on every one of them, and healed them. 
Nothing like close fellowship.

1Jn 1:7  But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin. 


The leaves are packed like sardines,
but are we not one body in the Lord?

Rom 12:5  So we, being many, are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another. 
All bow at the feet of Jesus.

Rev 4:10  The four and twenty elders fall down before him that sat on the throne, and worship him that liveth for ever and ever, and cast their crowns before the throne, saying, 
Rev 4:11  Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created. 

Monday, November 11, 2013

Simple truth


I believe that the simple things of life are most profound. Life is a gift nurtured by love. We are made to love God and one another. In the pursuit of "success" power or wealth, the simple things are often neglected, ignored or even walked on. When it is the final day what will you hang onto? Have you built a business only to see it decline? Have you had crusades like Billy Graham and in the final years see your nation in gross sin? Why look at the sin if you have people around you who love you and care for you? Isn't this the greatest success in life, and the eternal greatest thing is our love for God and his love for us.

2Ti 4:7  I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith: 

Paul was ready to die in Rome for the faith of Jesus Christ that he had faithfully proclaimed. He knew that he would receive a reward from Jesus for his service.

2Ti 4:8  Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing. 

Paul, as a human at the end looked for the love and fellowship of friends.

2Ti 4:9  Do thy diligence to come shortly unto me: 
2Ti 4:10  For Demas hath forsaken me, having loved this present world, and is departed unto Thessalonica; Crescens to Galatia, Titus unto Dalmatia. 

He was saddened by those who had fallen away and friends who were far away. Also people who betrayed him like Alexander the coppersmith in verse 14.
In the end Paul had only a few who gave him the love and fellowship he needed.

2Ti 4:11  Only Luke is with me. Take Mark, and bring him with thee: for he is profitable to me for the ministry. 
2Ti 4:12  And Tychicus have I sent to Ephesus. 

Mark, who as a young man was rejected by Paul because he was not able to endure the hardness of ministry, now had become one of Paul's closest friends. It was faithful Luke and Mark who gave Paul love and fellowship at the end. Keep going, you may stumble along the way, but you are loved and God's love will carry you across the finish line.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Dissimulation


Rom 12:9  Let love be without dissimulation. Abhor that which is evil; cleave to that which is good.

without dissimulation - without hypocrisy

Eph 4:14  That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive;
Eph 4:15  But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ.
Having been ill these past days I watched what was available from the Internet/TV preachers.

I will not run a ministry down but there is a whole lot of show and not much substance. I appreciate the pastors who preach from the Bible the message of the cross; sincere preaching of the love of God and the truth of God, without hypocrisy avoiding all the high tech self promotion. The power is in the word and not all the Hollywood glitz.