Wednesday, April 30, 2008
Petrine Letters (adapted from KJV) -- Introduction and Background
I had initially given thought to following the Book of James with the Epistle of Jude, since they are widely viewed
as the brothers of Jesus.
However, Jude parallels much of what is written in 2 Peter. Moving from a study of 2
Peter to Jude then makes sense.
But the gospels of Matthew, Mark, and Luke -- known as the Synoptic Gospels --
were written in the late 50s and early 60s. John is not included in the Synoptic Gospels.
After the Synoptic Gospels
were written, there is the Gospel of John, the three letters of John, then the Book of Revelation, all written in the
As far as the dating of the writing of Peter's letters, I quote from my Concordia Study Bible on
page 1904: The book can be satisfactorily dated in the early 60s. It cannot be placed earlier than 60 since it shows familiarity
with Paul's Prison Letters (e.g., Colossians and Ephesians, which are to be dated no earlier than y60). Compare 1:1-3
with Eph. 1:1-3; 2:18 with Col. 3:22; 3:1-6 with Eph. 5:22-24. Furthermore, it cannot be dated later than 67/68 since Peter
was martyred during Nero's reign.
Some legends have it that Peter had a daughter. She is sometimes identified
with the virgin martyr Petronilla. And if we look a 1 Corinthians 9:5, we realize that Cephas (Peter) traveled with his wife:
Don't we have the right to take a believing wife along with us, as do the other apostles and the Lord's brothers
And then Paul asks the Corinthians: Or is it only I and Barnabas who must work for a living?
Read more: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saint_Peter
Some scholars believe that Peter died on October 13, 64 AD. It is traditionally believed that the Roman authorities
sentenced him to death by crucifixion. According to a tradition recorded or perhaps initiated in the apocryphal Acts of Peter,
he was crucified head down. Tradition also located his burial place where the Basilica of Saint Peter was later built, directly
beneath the Basicilica's high alter. (ibid)
Peter was born in Bethsaida (John 1:44). His father's name
is given as "Jonah" (John 1:42, Matthew 16:17), although some manuscripts of John give his father's name as
"John." The synoptic gospels all recount how Peter's mother-in-law was healed by Jesus at their home in Capernaum
(Matthew 8:14-17; Mark 1:29-31; Luke 4:38) which, coupled with 1 Corinthians 9:5, implies that Peter was married. (ibid)
According to the synoptic gospels, before becoming a disciple of Jesus, Simon (that is, Peter whose name was in fact
originally Simon) was a fisherman along with his brother Andrew.
Matthew and Mark report that while fishing in
the Lake of Gennesaret, Simon and his brother Andrew were called by Jesus to be his followers, with the words, "Follow
me, and I will make you fishers of men" (Matthew 4:18-19; Mark 1:16-17).
In Luke's account Simon is the
owner of a boat that Jesus uses to preach to the multitudes where were pressing on him at the shore of Lake Gennesaret (Luke
Jesus then amazes Simon and his companions, James and John (Andrew is not mentioned) by telling them to lower
their nets, whereupon they catch a huge number of fish. Immediately after this, they follow him (Luke 5:4-11). (ibid)
And so we will begin our study of Peter's letters tomorrow.
Tuesday, April 29, 2008
James 5:1-20 (adapted from KJV)
And so we come to the final
chapter of James' book. He has shared many an exhortation about how to live in a family, in a church group, in a community.
The Book of James is about relationships.
It's about remembering who we are and who we are supposed
to serve and we are to maintain civility and humility in our dealings with others. Arrogance has no place in the heart of
the redeemed person.
Early in this chapter, James goes after the rich man. But not just any rich man. After all,
God is not opposed to a man being wealthy. Look at how he blessed King Solomon -- the wealthiest of all men. And look how
he recovered the riches of Job and his tribulations.
No, it's not wealth that despairs God. It's what wealth
does to greedy, arrogant men. Wealth then becomes the mirror of the devil and God does not like that one bit.
verses 1-2, James say: Go now, rich men, weep and howl for your miseries that shall come upon you. Your riches are corrupted,
and your garments are motheaten." Then he goes on to say that the rich man's gold and silver are tarnished.
But can precious metals tarnish? Especially gold? Must have been fake. Just like the men who hoarded the
gold for later days. James says in verse 9 that the judge is standing at the door.
That carries a strong warning
to all the arrogant people who were making money off the labors of others.
Interesting note in verse 10 to remember
what the prophets had to say when they talked about similar self-indulgent men who paid a stiff penalty for the pride.
For instance, in Isaiah 13:11-13 -- I will punish the world for its evil, and the wicked for their iniquity; I
will put an end to the pomp of the arrogant, and lay low the pompous pride of the ruthless. I will make people more rare than
fine gold, and mankind than the gold of Ophir. Therefore I will make the heavens tremble, and the earth will be shaken out
of its place, at the wrath of the Lord of hosts in the day of his fierce anger.
And in Zephaniah 2:8-11 --
I have heard the taunts of Moab and the revilings of the Ammonites, how they have taunted my people and made boasts against
their territory. Therefore, as I live, declares the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel, Moab shall become like Sodom, and the
Ammonites like Gomorrah, a land possessed by nettles and salt pits, and a waste forever. The remnant of my people shall plunder
them, and the survivors of my nation shall possess them. This shall be their lot in return for their pride, because they taunted
and boasted against the people of the Lord of hosts. The Lord will be awesome against them; for he will garnish all the gods
of the earth, and to him shall bow down, each in its place, all the lands of the nations.
In Ezekiel 28:1-10
-- The word of the Lord came to me: "Son of man, say to the prince of Tyre, "Thus says the Lord God:
Because your heart is proud, and you have said, 'I am a god, I sit in the seat of the gods, in the heart of the
seas,' yet you are but a man, and no god, though you make your heart like the heart of a god -- you are indeed wiser than
Daniel; no secret is hidden from you; by your wisdom and your understanding you have made wealth for yourself, and have gathered
gold and silver into your treasuries; by your great wisdom in your trade you have increased your wealth, and your heart has
become proud in your wealth -- therefore thus says the Lord God: Because you make your heart like the heart of a god, therefore,
behold, I will bring foreigners upon you, the most ruthless of the nations; and they shall draw their swords against the beauty
of your wisdom and defile your splendor. They shall thrust you down in the pit, and you shall die the death of the slain in
the heart of the seas. Will you still say, 'I am a god,' in the presence of those who kill you, through you are but
a man, and no god, in the hands of those who slay you? You shall die the death of the uncircumcised by the hand of foreigners;
for I have spoken, declares the Lord God."
In Amos 2:6-8 -- Thus says the Lord: "For three transgressions
of Israel, and for four, I will not revoke the punishment, because they sell the righteous for silver, and the needy for a
pair of sandals -- those who trample the head of the poor into the dust of the earth and turn aside the way of the afflicted;
a man and his father go in to the same girl, so that my holy name is profaned; they lay themselves down beside every altar
on garments taken in pledge, and in the house of their God they drink the wine of those who have been fined."
And in Jeremiah 50:31-32 -- Behold, I am against you, O proud one, declares the Lord God of hosts, for your day has
come, the time when I will punish you. The proud one shall stumble and fall, with none to raise him up, and I will kindle
a fire in his cities, and it will devour all that is around him.
I do not know this for certain, but I would
imagine that in the temple at Jerusalem, there must have been an extensive library of written material from the prophets that
would have been available to a Rabbi such as James.
And in writing these early verses in Chapter 5, he was compelled
by the Holy Spirit to reiterate the writings of the early prophets in matters of false pride and arrogance and how the Lord
punished those who fell into these traps of the devil.
Oh, for sure, the Lord doesn't run around zapping people
who are arrogant and self-indulgent. No. They are given every opportunity to confess their sins and change their ways from
And to those who must endure this arrogance and lies and hypocrisy, James says this in verse 11: Behold,
we count them happy which endure. You've heard of the patience of Job and have seen the end of the Lord; that the Lord
is very pitiful, and of tender mercy.
It's been said that only God knows what corrective action a person
needs to make spiritual changes that will bring that person back to God. So if you are having to endure such things from someone
and you wonder why God doesn't do something about it, perhaps it's comforting to know that God is, indeed, watching
you and what you are going through and his heart is filled with tender mercy for you.
As long as you act with the
heart of a redeemed person and not a vengeful one.
James finishes this chapter and this book with this thought
in verses 19-20: If any of you err from the truth, and one converts him, let him know that he who converts the sinner
from the error of his way shall save a soul from death and shall hide a multitude of sins.
The sins of the
person who wandered away from God will be forgiven by God. And we, as redeemed people, are to continue to pray for those who
What are your lessons learned from the Book of James?
Take a moment to review your notes, if you've made them. There's so much richness in James' advice about relationships.
But keep in mind, most of all, that these were not homework assignments that James made for a psychology class at Jerusalem
University. Oh no. James was a rabbi. He was a leader in the synagogue and was highly thought of.
It was James
who received the charity money that Paul collected from the churches in Asia Minor. Paul brought these funds to give to James
so that they could be distributed to the poor people who were suffering from a famine that was widespread in the area.
These instructions from James were written down by him and it may well have been his pen that formed the words on
paper, but make no mistake about it, the messages are from God above. They are for us today as surely as they were for the
redeemed people in James' time.
We pray: Dear Heavenly Father, I pray that you would help
me when I am proud to remove my foolish pride and remember that all gifts are from you. I thank you for the blessings you
have given me that make my life easier and I pray that I will always be willing to share with others. I pray that you will
keep me safe from Satan and all that is evil. And I pray that I will always do you work willingly. Amen.
Monday, April 28, 2008
James 4:1-17 (adapted from KJV)
In the last chapter we see
James' warnings against the hazards of a sharp tongue -- a tongue that, if left untamed, could drag us into evil.
In this chapter, James talks about why we don't always get what we want.
So far, James has told us that
faith without good works is a dead faith. That does not mean, by any stretch of the imagination, that good works are going
to get us into heaven. James isn't talking about good works having redemptive qualities.
Rather, when we are
redeemed people, we don't act the same way as people who are not redeemed. We don't even act the same way as we had
behaved before we were redeemed.
And if our faith is genuine, then we are going to show that faith through good
works because it is a God-pleasing thing to do.
James asks the question in the first verse of this chapter. That
is, how come we fight among ourselves? Where do all these quarrels come from? James wants us to accept that these battles come
from our own desires that are deep inside us. People step on our toes and we lash out at them. Other people hurt our feelings
and wound our egos -- and we lash out at them.
Problem is, we're all puffed up. We're filled with how
great we are. How pious we are. Even how humble we are. And in our great humility, we become weighted down with the lust of
our arrogance. These are deep desires that well up inside us. And just in case others don't notice our humility and piety,
we hasten to point out those great qualities that we possess. We're just hoping that others will notice and figure out
how great we are. Sound familiar?
James warns us about these desires. They're doing battle within you, he
says. (verse 1b)
People covet what other people have. They may covet so much that they'll kill the person who
has what they want. Maybe they've prayed for what the other person has. And they didn't get an answer to the prayer
because the motive was wrong. The wrong motive blares out from the desire for pleasure.
It's just plain old
wrong to pray for something that's just going to be a toy for your own pleasure. Who ever told you that you could pray
for such things?
James warns about that and he also warns about getting in too deep with buddies who are of the
world. All those cocktail parties at work and chasing around with people you aren't married to will make you a friend
of the world. You can't be in those kind of friendships and please God. James says that when you do that, you become an
enemy of God (see verse 4).
In verse 5, James asks: Do you think that the scripture says in vain, 'The
spirit that dwelleth in us lusteth to envy?'
Matthew Henry offers this: ...The hope of a resurrection
to glory should keep Christians from dishonouring their bodies by fleshly lusts. And if the soul be united to Christ by faith,
the whole man is become a member of his spiritual body.... Our bodies have been redeemed from deserved condemnation and hopeless
slavery by the atoning sacrifice of Christ. We are to be clean, as vessels fitted for our Master's use. being united to
Christ as one spirit, and bought with a price of unspeakable value, the believer should consider himself as wholly the Lord's,
by the strongest ties. May we make it our business, to the latest day and hour of our lives, to glorify God with our bodies,
and with our spirits which are his.
Further clarification comes my Concordia Study Bible on page 1901: ...God jealously longs for our faithfulness
and our love.
James says to draw near to God and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands and purify
your hearts. Then, there's double-mindedness coming up again. James does not care for double-minded people. It's one
way or the other and James says if you want God to be with you, then you have to go toward God.
James orders ten
commands in verses 7-10 to get rid of sinful pride:
1. Submit yourselves to God
2. Resist the devil
Draw near the God
4. Cleanse your hands
5. Purify your hearts
6. Be afflicted
9. Let your laughter turn to mourning
10. Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord and he will lift you up.
Matthew Henry says this: Humility preserves peace and order in all Christian churches and societies; pride disturbs
them. Where God gives grace to be humble, he will give wisdom, faith and holiness.
To be humble, and subject to
our reconciled God, will bring greater comfort to the soul than the gratification of pride and ambition. But it is to be in
due time, not in thy fancied time, but God's own wisely appointed time.
...The remedy is to cast our care
upon God, and leave every event to his wise and gracious disposal. Firm belief that the Divine will and counsels are right
calms the spirit of a man. Truly the godly too often forget this, and fret themselves to no purpose.
to God's disposal. The golden mines of all spiritual comfort and good are wholly his, and the Spirit itself. Then, will
he not furnish what is fit for us if we humbly attend on him and lay the care of providing for us upon his wisdom and love?
The whole design of Satan is to devour and destroy souls. He always is contriving whom he may insnare to eternal
ruin. Our duty plainly is to be sober; to govern both the outward and the inward man by the rules of temperance. To be vigilant;
suspicious of constant danger from this spiritual enemy, watchful and diligent to prevent his designs. Be steadfast or solid
A man cannot fight upon a quagmire; there is no standing without firm ground to tread upon; this faith
alone furnishes. It lifts the soul to the firm advanced ground of the promises and fixes it there...
James warns against slandering and casting judgment on others. He says that there is only one lawgiver who is
able to save and to destroy. So who exactly are we to judge anybody? When we judge others then we are speaking evil of the
law. And when we judge the law we are not obeying the law. Instead we are judging the law.
have that kind of power. God issued the laws and it's not our province to sit in judgment of that law.
likens this to people who say they are going to go off to another city and stay there for a year or so and make a lot of money.
James wants to know how you're going to do that when you don't have the slightest idea of what's going to happen
to you tomorrow.
He says you're like a vapour -- here for a little while, then poof! The vapour vanishes.
What you ought to be saying, and thinking, is that what's going to happen to you is what God wants to happen to
you. So quit bragging about all this control that you think you have over your life. Bragging is evil.
the clincher that ends this chapter: If you know what you're supposed to be doing and you don't do it, then you are
sinning. (see verses 13-17)
I sure wish I could be there with you for this
discussion. What I'd like to have you talk about is this business of judging others. How is holding onto an opinion different
than making a judgment?
We all have opinions about people, places and things. So if you have an opinion about someone,
how close are you to making a judgment?
Maybe this will help you out. We make excuses for people we care
about. We "cut them some slack." So do you think James is wanting us to care about people and maybe ease up on caustic
Isn't this entire Book of James about caring and living in relationships with other people?
Keep in mind that the Book of James is the Word of God. These are not James' opinions but God's thoughts coming
through James' pen.
We pray: Oh Lord, I pray that you would help me do a better job of living
with my fellow man. I am subject to all the human frailties that Satan would love to get ahold of. I pray that you will keep
me strong and help me resist Satan and all that is evil. Fill me with your Spirit as I go through my days and help me do your
will and build your kingdom. Help me recognize the people that you send to cross my path and help me discern what it is that
you would have me do. Amen.
Sunday, April 27, 2008
James 3:1-18 (KJV)
Some professions are held to a higher
standard. James starts off this chapter with the admonition that some people shouldn't be teachers. Teachers, he says,
are held to a higher standard. Teachers are judged more strictly.
What other professionals can you think of who
are held to higher standards? Pastors, for one. Counselors for another. Teachers, certainly. Doctors, you bet. There's
not much tolerance for mistakes in these professions.
Bankers, car salesmen, shepherds, ranchers, house painters,
lawyers. These professionals are not judged as strictly.
It isn't that their work is less important. Rather,
people who work in these professions are not in positions to cause spiritual or physical damage. Even in the penal codes,
financial crimes are not considered crimes against persons.
James goes from this opinion that teachers are held
to a stricter code to a strong warning for us to get control of our tongue. It's a small part of our body. Doesn't
weigh as much as the heart, that's for sure. And it doesn't weigh three pounds like the brain does.
The tongue probably doesn't even weigh two ounces. But look at the damage the tongue can do.
It's not unlike
the rudder of a ship. Comparatively speaking, the rudder is a small part of a big ship. Yet the captain can turn this small
little part of a ship one direction or another and get a huge big ship to change course. Little rudders steer big ships even
when there are strong winds.
Or big horses are guided by little bits in their mouths. What does a big horse weigh?
A half ton? Yet the rider can get the horse to go one direction or another just by using a small bit in the horse's mouth.
Same with a forest fire. One little match can set off a blaze that may burn 100,000 acres.
So James compares
the tongue to a fire in verse 6. He says that the tongue -- the small little tongue -- can corrupt a person's entire body.
The tongue can become an evil instrument that becomes a restless, deadly poison. (See verses 3-8)
It sounds like James
had taken the psalmist to heart: They make their tongue sharp as a serpent's, and under their lips is the venom of
asps. (Psalm 140:3)
The apostle Paul gives us a mirror of the psalmist's thought, or perhaps James'
writings which may also have been available to the apostle: Their throat is an open grave; they use their tongues to deceive.
The venom of asps is under their lips. (Romans 3:13)
So James says that we bless God, even the Father, and
yet we curse men around us. These very men are created in the likeness of God. We curse other people who are children of God.
We curse and ridicule other people who are -- like us -- heirs to God's kingdom. (see verse 9)
And James says
that out of the same mouth comes blessings and cursing. These things ought not to be. (see verse 10)
We are redeemed
people. I believe that the good works that James talked about as an expectation of behavior from redeemed people included
not just the good deeds that we do for others if we like them or if we are sympathetic to them, but good deeds also
can be a silenced tongue that may want to spew out angry words.
James would conclude that this anger spitting
out of our mouths, this venom coming from our tongue would compromise our faith. It would not mirror what a redeemed person
would say and because of such angry venom, may even cause others to think our faith in God is not the genuine article.
We have to show our faith to others. And that faith comes from acting like we are redeemed people of God.
For instance, James says in verse 11 that a fountain cannot send out both sweet water and bitter water from the same spigot.
And you don't get olives from a fig tree.
Likewise, you don't get kind words from an angry tongue,
especially if there's a poisonous snake living underneath the tongue (in a person's heart, for instance.)
If you want people to think you are wise and understanding, then you have to show it by the way you live your life.
If you have bitterness in your heart -- if you harbor envy in your heart -- if you are selfish in your ambition -- then you
cannot claim to be wise.
Wisdom comes from above. It is a spiritual endowment that is pure. It brings peace with
it. Wisdom is gentle and full of mercy and good fruits. Wisdom doesn't show partiality, and it certainly has no part of
hypocrisy. (see verses 15-17).
James closes this chapter with the thought that the fruit of righteousness is
sown in peace of them that make peace. (see verse 18)
us a wealth of wisdom in forming human relationships. This week do one nice thing for someone that involves the spoken word
-- whether it's sending a short, cheerful note to a shut-in or a birthday card or anniversary card to someone you know.
Sometimes we make too big of a project out of sending a simple card to let someone know we're thinking of them. At most,
it's probably a fifteen minute project.
Show your faith. Wear it well so that people who see you will
know you are a redeemed person.
We pray: Dear Father in Heaven, I pray that you would help me
show my faith to others in ways that glorify your name. I thank you for redeeming me from sin, death and the devil. I pray
that you will give me the real wisdom that brings spiritual blessings to me and all those people I know and love. I thank
you, Lord, for all your blessings. Amen.
Thursday, April 24, 2008
James 2:1-26 (KJV)
James had a point to make in this chapter
and he repeats it several times. That point is: Faith without works is dead.
To put it another way: Good trees
bear good fruit.
And then, there's the matter of partiality. James says, in verse 1 not to show favoritism.
He uses an example of a rich man showing up for dinner at your house. Suppose this man comes, dressed in fine clothes and
wearing expensive jewelry. Would you cater to him? Maybe put him at one of the best seats you have to offer?
What about someone else who looks like maybe he snuck in the back door. Not dressed too sharp. Maybe even smells
a little bad. Rumpled, frumpy outfit. Where are you going to have him sit, if you let him stay at all?
James warns. For if you kick the poor person out, you're showing favoritism. When you do that, you're judging against
the poor person. James even warns in verse 4 about your having evil thoughts when you set yourself up to judge the poor
James explains in verse 5 that God chooses the poor of this world to be rich in faith, and they too are
heirs to the kingdom which God has promised to all who love him.
And don't think that the rich guys are your
friends, James warns. They're the ones who haul you off to court for whatever infractions they think you may be guilty
of. The rich people exploit you. They use you for their own gain. (see verses 6-7)
Rather, says James, live by
the royal law. That is: Love your neighbors as you love yourself. If you do this, you do well. (verse 8)
If you don't do this, and you show favoritism to the rich man, then you are a lawbreaker in terms of what God commands
in verse 8. The law convicts you.
Where the law is concerned, James warns that if you keep all the commandments
but break one, then you are guilty of breaking all of them. He uses the examples of adultery and murder. So you're adulterous.
But you're not a murderer. James says you're a lawbreaker. (see verses 10-11) Breaking even one commandment of
the law becomes your stumbling point.
Verse 14 brings a point from James that has to do with faith and works when
he asks what does it profit you if you have faith but not works. Does faith save you?
My Concordia Study Bible
makes this note on page 1899: James is not saying that a person is saved by works and not by genuine faith. Rather, he
is saying, to use Martin Luther's words, that a man is justified (declared righteous before God) by faith alone, but not
by a faith that is alone. Genuine faith will produce good deeds, but only faith in Christ saves.
Henry offers this enrichment for our study: All these sayings Christ often used; it was easy to apply them. We ought to
be very careful when we blame others; for we need allowance ourselves.
If we are of a giving and a forgiving spirit,
we shall ourselves reap the benefit.
Though full and exact returns are made in another world, not in this world,
yet Providence does what should encourage us in doing good. Those who follow the multitude to do evil, follow in the broad
way that leads to destruction.
The tree is known by its fruits; may the word of Christ be so grafted in our hearts,
that we may be fruitful in every good word and work. And what the mouth commonly speaks, generally agrees with what is most
in the heart.
Those only make sure work for their souls and eternity, and take the course that will profit in a
trying time, who think, speak, and act according to the words of Christ. Those who take pains in religion found their hope
upon Christ, who is the Rock of Ages, and other foundation can no man lay. In death and judgment they are safe, being kept
by the power of Christ through faith unto salvation and they shall never perish.
Again, James repeats himself in verse 17: Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone.
Okay, so here comes your argument. You say that you believe in the one true God. And James would say, so what? So does
Satan. In fact, James says in verse 19, ...the devils tremble.
Oh for sure, there have been many instances
down through history when the good acts of the faithful can be pointed to. James does this when he reminds us that Abraham
had faith in God and went to the place where God wanted him to make a sacrifice of his son Isaac. Abraham obeyed. Abraham
acted on his faith. He offered up his son. The act of offer Isaac was the act of faith. A genuine faith.
that Abraham's faith was genuine. God stopped Abraham before he actually completed the act of the sacrifice. And James
says in verse 23 that God called Abraham the Friend of God.
The same thing goes for the prostitute Rahab.
She acted on her faith even at peril to her life. The story goes that back in the olden days, Joshua sent two men out as spies.
He wanted them to check out this land around Jericho. So it happens that they ended up at the house of Rahab. She gave them
lodging. But word got back to the king of Jericho that there were spies around who were checking the place out.
Well, it started to get dark. And it was time to close the gates for the night. The king's men went out looking for
the spies. But they didn't know that Rahab had hidden Joshua's spies up on her roof. When the coast was clear, she
let them down the wall by a rope through the window. Her house was one of those that was built into the city wall. Then Rahab
told the spies to head for the hills and stay there for three days. By that time, the king's men would have come back
The spies then told Rahab that when they came back to demolish Jericho, to be sure to tie a scarlet
cord at her window. That would be a signal that all who were in the house with Rahab would be spared because of her act of
faith. (See Joshua 2:1-22).
It's difficult to not judge others. We
say we aren't judging -- that we just hold an opinion about someone. How are opinions and judgments similar. And do you
think your opinions can lead you to sin if they get too close to being judgments?
Talk about why God doesn't
want us to judge others.
We pray: Oh Spirit of the Living God, I pray that you will be with me
and guide me as I make my way through the days of my life.
I pray that you will reach into the dusty corners of
my heart where there are often thoughts not pleasing to you. I pray that you will get rid of all those thoughts and clean
my heart so that I may serve you.
I pray that you would help me in whatever I do in life. I thank you Lord for
all the blessings you have given to me. I pray that you will help me grow in faith and renew my energy each day for the work
that you would have me do. Amen.
Wednesday, April 23, 2008
James 1: 1-27 (English Standard Version)
Had I started these
Bible studies in the order they were written, James would have been the first to be studied. There are indications that this
book was written before 50 A.D.
Recall that Paul wrote his first letter to the churches at Thessalonica in 50-51
This letter from James is written to the Jews who are scattered among the nations (verse 1). The
Jewish people had gathered in population centers as a result of the Diaspora, or Dispersion. See map at: http://www.ccel.org/bible/phillips/CPn20James.htm
Diaspora is a Greek word that means "a scattering." So when James addresses his letter to the
twelve tribes scattered among the nations, he is writing to all the people of God who are scattered throughout the world.
And we are members of that dispersion also, for the Word of God is written by God for all the people of God.
James has a thesis in this first chapter, it is found in verse 27: Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the
Father, is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world.
But this first chapter of James is also rich in its list of riches that we are bestowed from God in our lives.
There are four riches that James lists.
1) The first of these riches is a testing of our faith: for you know
that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effort, that you may be perfect
and complete, lacking in nothing. (verses 3-4)
2) the second of the four riches is wisdom. When we think
of wisdom, who cannot get a picture of Solomon, perhaps the wisest of all men. Solomon prayed: Lord, I am but a little
child... (see 1 Kings 3:16-28) James says If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all
without reproach, and it will be given to him. (verse 5) We ought to prefer spiritual blessings to earthly good, says
3) the third of the four riches is an unexpected joy that man can receive blessings from God -- failure to anticipate
or expect these blessings can cause a man to become bogged down in his "double-mindedness," as James puts it in
We might consider this double-mindedness like this: We believe that God always tells the truth.
We believe that when God makes a promise, He always keeps his promise. When God promises His blessings, we believe that too.
For other people. We may not be so sure that God is going to bless me, an undeserving sinner.
double-speak that Satan puts in our hearts? Can you hear Satan whispering in Eve's ear, "Did God really say that?"
Sin entered the world on the whisper of Eve's double-mindedness. James warns against double-mindedness in verses 7-8.
God is trustworthy. The realization of that concept is one of our greatest riches. It will bring joy to your soul
for all your days.
4) the fourth of these riches is the promise of a crown of life. James points out in verse 12:
Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which
God has promised to those who love him.
James then makes this point that when people are tempted, they are
not tempted by God. In verses 13-14, James says: Let no one say when he is tempted, "I am being tempted by God,"
for God cannot be tempted with evil, and he himself tempts no one. But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed
by his own desire.
To make his point perfectly clear, James adds this: Then desire when it has conceived
gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death. (verse 15)
James wants us to know that
every good and perfect gift comes from God above. It is God who gives us life itself for James says we are to be a kind of
first-fruits of God's creatures. First-fruits is an interesting metaphor.
My Concordia Study Bible
offers this note on page 1898: Just as the first sheaf of the harvest was an indication that the whole harvest would eventually
follow, so the early Christians were an indication that a great number of people would eventually be born again.
Perhaps this metaphor was even more appropriate when James considered that so many of the Jewish Christians were scattered
all over the place -- some in Africa, some on the European continent, some in Italy. James may have seen a foreshadowing of
the early Christians being recommitted to a life in faith, of being reborn.
James wanted his beloved brothers to
be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves...a doer who acts, he will be blessed in his doing. See
For sure, we'll hear more from James about faith without works, as his letter deepens in its
What are some of the ways that you believe your faith has been
Talk about the double-mindedness of faith in your study group. How do you keep God's assurances in
Redeemed people are caring people. How do you show your caring to the outside world?
pray: I pray, Oh Lord, that you would bless me with the discernment I need to share my life with others. And
like Solomon, I feel like a child in my lack of knowledge and maturity. I pray that your Holy Spirit will guide me through
these studies and I pray for all those who are reading them every day. Bless their studies and I pray that you would give
the gift of your grace to them.
I pray for all those who serve you in mission fields everywhere around the world.
Keep them safe from the double-mindedness of Satan so that they can bring the joy of your love to the people they serve. Amen.
Tuesday, April 22, 2008
2 Timothy 4:1-22 (ESV)
This particular chapter of Paul's
letter second letter to Timothy is always a sad one for me. It's the last we hear from Paul in the Bible. Paul is coming
close to the time of his death since he was re-imprisoned by Nero during 66-67 A.D. (Concordia Study Bible, page 1857).
Although we don't have a record of the actual date of Paul's death, some Bible scholars place it at 67 A.D.
So let's listen to what Paul tells Timothy.
Paul charges Timothy to preach the word; be ready
in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching. (verse 2)
season and out of season" is another way of saying be ready at all times. No matter what happened, it appears that Paul
wanted Timothy to be ready for anything that came his way. For sure, as a pastor, there would be times when he'd have
to criticize or correct, even disapprove strongly of what someone might be doing or saying. And there would be times when
Timothy would have to reprimand and scold someone. There would be moments when Timothy would need to give advice and warnings,
and learned recommendations.
Timothy would need patience as he taught others in the faith of Jesus Christ.
Paul warns Timothy, in verses 3-5: For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching to suit their
own passions, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths. As for you, always be sober-minded,
endure suffering, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.
Matthew Henry makes this note in his
commentary: Jesus Christ is a Christian's hope; all our hopes of eternal life are built upon him; and Christ is in
us the hope of glory. The apostle seems to have been the means of Timothy's conversion; who served with him in his ministry,
as a dutiful son with a loving father. That which raises questions, is not for edifying; that which gives occasion for doubtful
disputes, pulls down the church rather than builds it up. Godliness of heart and life can only be kept up and increased, by
the exercise of faith in the truths and promises of God, through Jesus Christ.
We get an idea in these next few verses that Paul is fully aware of the fate that awaits him (verses 6-8): For
I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure has come. I have fought the good fight, I
have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Henceforth there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord,
the righteous judge, will award to me on that Day, and not only to me but also to all who have loved his appearing.
In my view, no other words from Paul encapsulates his mission here on earth. You bet he fought the good fight. He was
flogged and beaten to near death because he just would not quit sharing the gospel message of Jesus Christ with others.
He walked thousands of miles on his journeys of truth.
And the death that was waiting for him would be
his crowning glory. He knew that he would not be crucified. After all, he was a Roman citizen. His death would not be the
death of known troublemakers. No. His body would be drained of its blood. We just don't know for certain if he was beheaded
or if his blood vessels were opened up by slashing. But his blood was about to be poured out. "As a drink offering,"
he says (verse 6).
Paul then lists the people who have abandoned him. No one is left with him but Luke. Paul so
earnestly wants Timothy to hurry to him. And he wants Timothy to bring his cloak. And he wants Timothy to bring Mark with
him. Paul is now in a cold, damp prison cell. He's not enjoying the relative comfort of being under house arrest anymore.
He wants his cloak to keep him warm during his final days and hours.
And he wants his books -- his "parchments."
Despite the fact that Paul says people have left him and gone off to other places, he says in verses 17-18: But
the Lord stood by me and strengthened me, so that through me the message might be fully proclaimed and all the Gentiles might
hear it. So I was rescued from the lion's mouth. The Lord will rescue me from every evil deed and bring me safely into
his heavenly kingdom. To him be the glory forever and ever. Amen.
And finally we hear this from Matthew Henry:
... When we cannot rejoice in God as our song, yet let us stay ourselves upon him as our strength; and take the comfort
of spiritual supports, when we cannot have spiritual delights. [Jesus] prays to be delivered from the Divine wrath. He that
has delivered, doth deliver, and will do so. We should think upon the sufferings and resurrection of Christ, till we feel
in our souls the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings.
There can be no doubt, in this final chapter, that Paul has reflected on the sufferings of Jesus Christ until
he most certainly absorbs the power of Christ's resurrection. And I hear Paul in fellowship with Christ's sufferings,
He says he has fought the good fight and is now ready for the crown of life, a crown that will be
given him as Christ makes his final judgment on Paul, the missionary extraordinaire. Paul the preacher, whose journeys took
him far and wide. And yet he would have been all too willing to continue on his journeys except that none other than God himself
had decided that Paul had made his last trip. Paul was to come home to heaven.
Talk about the person who has helped you the most in your journey of faith. Was it a Sunday School teacher? A pastor? Someone
else? How has this person helped you and how do you want to be like this person?
How do you use the Bible in your
journey of faith?
We pray: Dear Heavenly Father, I pray for all the missionaries who work and
toil to bring your message of salvation to people who do not know you, or people who are unchurched. I pray that in some small
way, they will be enticed through these studies to go deeper, to find a church home, to grow a deeper faith in their lives
wherever they may be. Amen.
Monday, April 21, 2008
2 Timothy 3:1-17 (ESV)
These pastoral letters of Paul --
the 1st and 2nd Letters to Timothy and the Letter to Titus -- could well serve as a handbook for how church leaders and pastors
and teachers are to conduct themselves. Paul is not speaking about his theology as much as he is speaking with the authority
that God has given him through the Holy Spirit.
In other words, these are not the words and opinions of Paul the
missionary/apostle. Rather, Paul is the vessel through which the Holy Spirit is breathing out the words which Timothy
is to absorb.
In fact, in verses 14-17, Paul provides the very nature of Scriptures -- the written Word
-- as divine and inspired by God: But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have firmly believed, knowing
from whom you learned it and how from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings, which are able to make
you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus.
All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching,
for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good
My Concordia Study Bible offers this note on page 1861: Paul affirms God's active involvement
in the writing of Scripture, an involvement so powerful and pervasive that what is written is the infallible and authoritative
word of God.
Matthew Henry says that ... Christ's whole life was a self-denying, self-displeasing
life. And he is the most advanced Christian, who is the most conformed to Christ. Considering his spotless purity and holiness,
nothing could be more contrary to him, than to be made sin and a curse for us, and to have the reproaches of God fall upon
him; the just for the unjust. He bore the guilt of sin, and the curse for it; we are only called to bear a little of the trouble
of it. He bore the presumptuous sins of the wicked; we are called only to bear the failings of the weak ...
... The Scriptures are written for our use and benefit, as much as for those to whom they were first given. Those are
most learned who are most mighty in the Scriptures. That comfort which springs from the word of God, is the surest and sweetest,
and the greatest stay to hope...
Earlier in this chapter, Paul had told Timothy to understand that in the last days there will come times of difficulty:
For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful,
unholy, heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good, treacherous, reckless, swollen
with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power.(verses
Paul tells Timothy to avoid those kinds of people because they somehow manage to creep into households and
capture weak women who are burdened with sins and are led astray by various passions. And even though they are always learning,
they aren't able to arrive at a knowledge of the truth. (verses 5b-7)
There's a reference to two men in
verse 8: Jannes and Jambres. These two defied Moses. If you remember the story, Mose and his brother Aaron were to go to Pharaoh
And sure enough, Pharaoh called them in and said: "Prove yourselves by working
God then told Moses to tell Aaron to "Take your staff and cast it down
before Pharaoh, that it may become a serpent."
So Moses and Aaron went to Pharaoh and did just as
the Lord commanded. Aaron cast down his staff before Pharaoh and his servants, and it became a serpent. Then Pharaoh summoned
the wise men and the sorcerers, and they, the magicians of Egypt, also did the same by their secret arts. For each man cast
down his staff, and they became serpents.
But Aaron's staff swallowed up their staffs. Still Pharaoh's
heart was hardened, and he would not listen to them, as the Lord had said.
(from Exodus 7:8-13)
Jannes and Jambres were actually mentioned by name in the Old Testament, but according to Jewish tradition, they were the
Egyptian court magicians who opposed Moses. (Concordia Study Bible, page 1861)
Paul's reference to the magicians
is to make a point to Timothy in verses 8-9: Just as Jannes and Jambres opposed Moses, so these men also oppose the truth,
men corrupted in mind and disqualified regarding the faith. But they will not get very far, for their folly will be plain
to all, as was that of those two men.
After reading this chapter,
think of all the ways you can nurture your spiritual life.
Paul had quite a list of ways that people would be
who were not lovers of God. What can you add to this list?
We pray: Dear Heavenly Father, I need
passages like these truths from Paul in times when I need to remind myself of how easy it is to slip into bad habits. I pray
that your Holy Spirit would help me be ever vigilant to the antics of Satan and all the evil spirits he has at his disposal.
And I see that just as the court magicians back in Moses' day were also capable of producing snakes from their
walking staffs, I am reminded that Satan has magical powers too. He can certainly be a trickster who tries to set traps to
those who believe in you.
I pray that you would protect me from Satan and all that is evil. Amen.
Sunday, April 20, 2008
2 Timothy 2: 1-26
Paul continues to counsel Timothy in
this chapter. He uses seven metaphors that differentiate the facets of ministry:
1. As a child, he is
to be strong and active (verses 1-2)
2. As a soldier, he is to suffer hardship and also please his superior
3. As an athlete, he is to obey the rules of the game (verse 5)
4. As a husbandman (farmer),
he is to labor and thus have full participation in the results (verse 6)
5. As a workman, he is to be diligent,
rightly handling the Word of God (verse 15)
6. As a vessel, he is to be honorable, ready for the Master's
use (verse 21)
7. As a servant, he is to be gentle and helpful (verses 24-25)
from New Testament Survey,
Walter M. Dunnett, Ph.D., Evangelical Teacher Training Association, Wheaton, IL, 1973, p. 69
Paul wants Timothy
to follow his example and to reject the false teachings that are buzzing around the area.
In verse 7, Paul
gives this instruction to Timothy: Reflect on what I am saying, for the Lord will give you insight into all this.
Then Paul adds: Remember Jesus Christ, raised from the dead, descended from David. This is my gospel, for which
I am suffering even to the point of being chained like a criminal.
But God's word is not chained. Therefore
I endure everything for the sake of the elect, that they too may obtain the salvation that is in Christ Jesus, with eternal
glory. (verses 8-10)
So there sits Paul, a Roman citizen, being persecuted at the hand of Nero for preaching
the gospel of Christ. Paul is bound in chains like a common criminal. We do not know whether sentence has been passed on him
at this point or not, but later in this letter, we can discern that Paul has the idea that he is about to die.
is alone, except for faithful Luke, who is by his side. Perhaps Luke is penning this letter to Timothy for Paul. Not sure
if Paul would have able to write this letter himself since he was in chains, or if he would have been allowed to anything
Paul's strong faith shows through these next verses as he outlines what he calls a "trustworthy
saying" for Timothy in verses 11-13:
If we died with him,
we will also live with him;
we will also reign with him.
If we disown him,
he will also disown us;
if we are faithless,
he will remain faithful,
for he cannot disown himself.
Matthew Henry offers this: ...Where faith
grows, love will abound, for faith works by love. It shows faith and patience, such as may be proposed as a pattern for others,
when trials from God, and persecutions from men quicken the exercise of those graces; for the patience and faith of which
the apostle gloried, bore them up, and enabled them to endure all their tribulations.
Paul has a strong warning to watch out for the heretics who continue to plague the preaching and teaching of Christ's
gospel message. In verses 16-17a, we read: Avoid godless chatter, because those who indulge in it will become more and
more ungodly. Their teaching will spread like gangrene...
Paul mentions Hymenaeus and Philetus again. If you
recall, in Paul's first letter to Timothy, he says that he has handed these two men over to Satan to do with them what
he wants to. These two men were leaders of a heresy that was an early form of Gnosticism.
Paul says they wandered
from the truth when they taught that there wasn't really a physical resurrection from the dead -- that such a claim
was just an allegory not a literal possibility.
Paul then becomes the mentor -- the professor -- the teacher when
he counsels Timothy further in verses 22-24: Flee the evil desires of youth, and pursue righteousness, faith, love and
peace, along with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart.
Don't have anything to do with foolish and
stupid arguments, because you know they produce quarrels. And the Lord's servant must not quarrel; instead, he must be
kind to everyone, able to teach, not resentful.
And out of all that, Paul says he hopes that such quarrelsome,
oppositional people will come to their senses and "escape the trap of the devil, who has taken them captive to do his
will." (see verse 26)
Reflect on the goals that Paul listed for Timothy
in verse 22. Which of these goals do you believe are your strengths? Which of these goals do you think you need to work on
We pray: Dear Heavenly Father, I pray that you would send your Holy Spirit to me
to guide and protect me from Satan and all that is evil. There are false teachers here just as surely as there were in Paul's
day. I pray that you would give me the strength to resist all the temptations that Satan puts in front of me. Amen.
Thursday, April 17, 2008
2 Timothy 1:1-18
After Paul's release from prison in
Rome in 62 A.D. and after his fourth missionary journey, during which he wrote 1 Timothy and Titus, Paul was again imprisoned
under Emperor Nero c. 66-67. It was during this time that he wrote 2 Timothy. In contrast to his first imprisonment, when
he lived in a rented house (Acts 28:30), he now languished in a cold dungeon (4:13), chained like a common criminal (1:16,
2:9). His friends ever had a hard time finding out out where he was being kept (1:17). Paul knew that his work was done and
his life was nearly at an end (4;6-8). Concordia Study Bible, p. 1857
Since Paul was unmarried, he never experienced
the joy of parenthood. But he comes close with Timothy, a surrogate son whom he loves deeply. In the second verse, he addresses
Timothy: To Timothy, my dear son: Grace, mercy and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord.
continues his greeting, in verses 3-4: I thank God, whom I serve, as my forefathers did, with a clear conscience, as night
and day I constantly remember you in my prayers. Recalling your tears, I long to see you, so that I may be filled with joy.
There must have been moments, perhaps at the end of the day when shadows got long, when the day was dying. These
may have been times when Paul felt tremendously alone. He reached out to Timothy. He remembered Timothy's tears and this
must have saddened Paul.
Can you just imagine these two -- Paul and Timothy -- two pastors/missionaries who were
so excited in their commitment to spreading the gospel message to any place on earth that they could travel to. They travelled
together frequently. They shared what meager meals they could scrounge up.
The enjoyed the comforts of other people's
hospitality when it was available to them.
And they shared their deep abiding love for Jesus Christ. Timothy was
making great progress as a young pastor and Paul must have been happy with his growing abilities.
And now, as
the end of Paul's life nears, Timothy is in a far away place. It's a sad time for them both.
connects with Timothy on a family level as he reminds Timothy of Lois, his grandmothers, and Eunice, his mother. Both these
women were Christians and had powerful faith. Paul tells Timothy why he brings up Timothy's mother and grandmother in
verses 6-7: For this reason I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my
hands. For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline.
message to Timothy is that the power of the Holy Spirit has been brought to Timothy through Paul. Paul was the conduit
that allowed the ordination of Timothy to take place, but the power of discernment and the authority to speak boldly -- not
timidly or reluctantly -- about the Christian faith came from none other than the Holy Spirit.
says that Paul is proposing to set himself as an example for Timothy: As our trials increase, we need to grow stronger
in that which is good; our faith stronger, our resolution stronger, our love to God and Christ stronger. This is opposed to
our being strong in our own strength.
All Christians, but especially ministers, must be faithful to their Captain,
and resolute in his cause. The great care of a Christian must be to please Christ. We are to strive to get the mastery of
our lusts and corruptions, but we cannot expect the prize unless we observe the laws...
Paul then implores that Timothy not be ashamed to testify about Jesus Christ, and also not to be ashamed of Paul
even though he is a prisoner. Paul then adds, in verses 8b-9: But join with me in suffering for the gospel, by the power
of God, who has saved us and called us to a holy life -- not because of anything we have done but because of his own purpose
and grace. This grace was given us in Christ Jesus before the beginning of time.
I correlate this text message
so strongly with Ephesians 2:10 -- For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God
prepared in advance for us to do.
This whole concept of time and God always being in the universe, with his
Son, Jesus Christ, and they -- together with the Holy Spirit -- knew all things long before anything happened.
And if God has known us from his vantage point before time, did he know what my transgressions would be in this life? And
if he did, what lessons has he prepared in advance for me to do so that I can be pruned into the worker that he wants me to
Paul was not just being poetic here. I believe that he connected with God and with Jesus Christ and the Holy
Spirit on a different level. Somewhere within the depths of his soul, Paul was in communion with the keeper of this universe
and this communion was outside the constraints of our concept of time.
Paul shares with Timothy this thought when
he talks about grace given to us in Christ Jesus before the beginning of time. And Christ was present with his father
before time began. We usually think of the Jesus Christ we know who came to earth and lived and died as a man. But Jesus Christ
was also the Son of God who walked with his father throughout the universe before time began.
urges Timothy to guard the "good deposit" that was entrusted in him -- that being the gospel message of Jesus Christ.
He admonishes Timothy to guard it with the help of the Holy Spirit who lives in us. (see verses 13-14)
mentions that he is alone and that Phygelus and Hermogenes have deserted him to go running off to Asia somewhere. Paul mentions
these two people by name but we don't hear of them anywhere else.
But then there was Onesiphorus. Quite another
matter. Onesiphorus ministered to Paul, even though it was difficult for him to find Paul in prison. But Onesiphorus stuck
with it and didn't give up easily until he found out where Paul was at and went to him.
Of this man, Paul offers
this prayer in verse 16: May the Lord show mercy to the household of Onesiphorus, because he often refreshed me and was
not ashamed of my chains.
Onesiphorus was one of the Seventy Apostles -- see Luke 10 -- that Christ named
after he had selected his twelve disciples. Onesiphorus became the Bishop of Colophon (Asia Minor), and later of Corinth.
He was martyred in the city of Parium (not far from Ephesus) where he had gone to proclaim Christ among the local pagans.
Reference to The Seventy: http://orthodoxwiki.org/Apostles#The_Seventy
Paul's second imprisonment becomes a "Gethsemane moment"
for him, if you will. He believes that the end of his life is near. And from what Paul has said in prior letters, he has run
the good race, fought the good fight and is ready to go to be with God. That he would want to continue to live would bring
him great joy only because he could then travel even further to spread the gospel message of Jesus Christ. Do you agree or
We pray: Oh Lord our Heavenly Father, I pray that you would guard your called servants
of the word for you have ordained them with whispered truths written in the blood of your Son, Jesus Christ.
pray that whatever tasks they are called to do, they will know the strength that only you can impart by the indwelling of
your Holy Spirit. I pray that you would bless their work and give them ever-larger territories to sew the seeds of faith.
Wednesday, April 16, 2008
THE PERSECUTIONS: REMEMBERING THE MARTYRS
When we talk about
the people who were martyred, we have to name Jesus as the first martyr. Persecution of Christians started with him, though
the name "Christians" was not in use at that time.
At his trial, Jesus was asked directly, "Are
you then the Son of God?"
He replied, "You are right in saying I am." (Luke 26:70)
elite in Jerusalem knew what Jesus was saying -- He was claiming to be God. As such, Jesus was put to death
on a Roman cross for the crime of blasphemy, thus becoming the first martyr for what would then become the Christian Church.
34 A.D. Only one year after Jesus was martyred, Stephen was taken out of
Jerusalem and stoned to death. He was killed because he preached the gospel faithfully.
The persecutions of Christians
continued after Stephen's death. There were some 2,000 Christians who suffered martyrdom during the persecution that arose
44 A.D. According to Luke's account of the Acts of the Apostles,
James, the son of Zebedee and who was the older brother of John and a relative of our Lord. He was also known as
James the Greater. James was killed when Herod Agrippa arrived as governor of Judea. Agrippa detested the Christian
sect of Jews, and many early disciples were martyred under his rule. One account of James' execution written by Clemens
Alexandrinus is that as James was led to the place of his death, his accuser repented of his conduct because James'
extraordinary courage. He fell down at James' feet to request his pardon, professing himself to be a Christian and
resolved that James should not die alone. So both men were beheaded at the same time.
54 A.D. Philip
was the next disciple to be martyred. In fact, Philip was the first to be called a "disciple." Philip
was a tireless worker for the Christian faith in Upper Asia. He died in Phrygia. He was scourged, thrown into prison and then
60 A.D. Remember the tax collector? Matthew wrote his gospel
in Hebrew and it was later translated into Greek by James the Less. Matthew worked as a missionary in Parthia and Ethiopia.
It was in Ethiopia where he was martyred with a halberd, a long-handled axe that was designed to smash helmets.
A.D. James, the brother of our Lord, is widely called the Just. He drank
no wine or other intoxicating liquor, not did he eat flesh, no razor came upon his head, he did not anoint himself oil, nor
make use of the bath. He alone was permitted to enter the holy place for he did not wear any woollen garment, but fine linen
He used to be found kneeling on his knees, begging forgiveness for the people -- so that the skin of his
knees became like that of a camel's, by reason of his constantly bending the knee in adoration to God, and begging forgiveness
for the people. It is because of this seeking justice for the people that he was called the Just, which signifies
in Greek, Defence of the People, and Justice.
He was elected to the oversight of the churches
of Jerusalem and was the author of the epistle ascribed to James in the Bible.
According to an account written
by Hegesippus in his Five Books of Commentaries on the Acts of the Church, written in 170 A.D., from Book V:
They came, therefore, in a body to James, and said, "We entreat thee, restrain the people: for they are gone astray in
their opinions about Jesus, as if he were Christ. We entreat thee to persuade all who have come hither for the day of the
passover, concerning Jesus. For we all listen to thy persuasion; since we, as well as all the people, bear thee testimony
that thou art just, and showest partiality to none. Do thou, therefore, persuade the people not to entertain erroneous opinions
concerning Jesus: for all the people, and we also, listen to thy persuasion. Take thy stand, then, upon the summit of the
temple, that from that elevated spot that mayest be clearly seen, and they words may be plainly audible to all the people.
For, in order to attend the passover, all the tribes have congregated hither, and some of the Gentiles also."
James then asked, "Why ask ye me concerning Jesus the Son of man? He himself sitteth in heaven, at the right hand of
the Great Power, and shall come on the clouds of heaven."
The the Pharisees and scribes said to one another,
"We have not done well in procuring the testimony to Jesus. But let us go up and throw him down, that they may be afraid,
and not believe him."
And they cried aloud and said, "Oh! Oh! The just man himself is in error."
So they went up and threw down the just man, and said to one another, "Let us stone James the Just." And they began
to stone him, for he was not killed by the fall, but he turned and kneeled down and said, "I beseech thee, Lord God our
Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do."
But one among them, one of the fullers, took the staff
with which he was accustomed to wringing out the garments he dyed, and hurled it at the head of the just man.
the age of ninety-four, he suffered martyrdom by having his brains bashed out by the fuller's rod and they buried him
on the spot.
date not known -- Matthias was elected to fill the spot vacated by Judas. He was
stoned at Jerusalem and then beheaded.
date not known -- Andrew was the brother of Peter. His
missionary trips took him to many Asiatic nations, but on his arrival at Edessa he was taken and crucified on an x-shaped cross,
the two ends of which were fixed transversely in the ground. Soldiers tied his body to the cross with cords to prolong his
agony. His followers reported that, when he was led toward the cross. Andrew saluted it in these words, "I have long
desired and expected this happy hour. The cross has been consecrated by the body of Christ hanging on it." He continued
to preach to his tormentors for two days until he died.
date not known -- Mark was born of Jewish
parents of the tribe of Levi. He is supposed to have been converted to Christianity by Peter, whom he served as a scribe,
or secretary, and under whose inspection he wrote his Gospel in the Greek language. Mark was dragged by horses through the
streets until he fell to pieces in Alexandria, Egypt, at the great solemnity of Serapis their idol, ending his life under
their merciless hand.
date not known -- Peter was condemned to death, and crucified in Rome. Hegesippus
said that Nero sought matter against Peter to put him to death; which, when the people perceived, they entreated Peter with
much ado that he would fly the city. Peter, through their importunity at length persuaded, prepared himself to avoid. But,
coming to the gate, he saw the Lord Christ come to meet him, to whom he, worshipping, said, "Lord, whither does thou
go?" To whom He answered and said, "I am come again to be crucified." By this Peter, perceiving his suffering
to be understood, returned into the city. Jerome saith that he was crucified, his head being down and his feet upward, himself
so requiring, because he said he was unworthy to be crucified after the same form and manner as the Lord was.
A.D. Paul, the apostle, after great travail and unspeakable labors in promoting
the Gospel of Christ, suffered in the persecution by Nero. Soldiers came and led him out of the city to the place of execution,
where he, after his prayers, gave his neck to the sword. Other references say he was tortured and then beheaded by Nero.
72 A.D. Jude, the brother of James, was commonly called Thaddeus. He was
crucified at Edessa when he refused to deny his faith in Christ. Some references say he was killed with arrows.
not known -- Bartholomew preached in several countries, and having translated the Gospel of Matthew into
the language of India, he propagated it in that country. He was cruelly beaten and then crucified by the impatient idolaters.
Some say he was flayed to death by a whip in Armenia.
date not known -- Thomas, called Didymus,
preached the Gospel in Parthia and India, where exciting the rage of the pagan priests, he was martyred by being thrust through
with a spear.
date not known -- Luke -- the evangelist was the author of the Gospel which goes
under his name, as well as the Acts of the Apostles. He travelled with Paul through various countries, and is supposed
to have been hanged on an olive tree, by the idolatrous priests of Greece.
73 A.D. Barnabus
was of Cyrpus, but of Jewish descent. He was one of the group of seventy disciples. He was stoned to death at Salonica.
date not known -- John faced martyrdom when he was boiled in a huge basin of boiling oil during a
wave of persecution in Rome. John was the brother of James the Great. The churches of Smyrna, Pergamos, Sardis, Philadelphia,
Laodicea, and Thyatira were founded by John. However, he was miraculously delivered from death. John was then sentenced to
the mines on the prison island of Patmos. He wrote his prophetic Book of Revelation on Patmos. The apostle John was
later freed and returned to serve as Bishop of Edessa in modern Turkey. He died as an old man, the only apostle to die peacefully.
From the reference All About Following Jesus: "Christian persecution was a dramatic part of early
church history. For anyone who holds that the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ was a man-made hoax conspired
by a group of disciples should check out the legacy of martyrdom. Eleven of the 12 apostles, and many of the other early disciples,
died for their adherence to this story. This is dramatic, since they all witnessed the alleged events of Jesus and still went
to the deaths defending their faith. Why is this dramatic, when many throughout history have died martyred deaths for a religious
belief? Because people don't die for a lie. Look at human nature throughout history. No conspiracy can be maintained when
life or liberty is at stake. Dying for a belief is one thing, but numerous eye-witnesses dying for a known lie is quite another."
Keep Paul in mind as we continue our study of his epistles tomorrow. We will start our study of his second letter
to Timothy. This letter is the last we hear of Paul. It is his final epistle, and we get a glimpse of Paul's recognition
that his death is nearing. Join us here tomorrow.
Tuesday, April 15, 2008
We are beginning the final chapter of Paul's
letter to the young pastor, Titus.
Paul has advice for his young colleague. Then he attaches a kind of urgency
to the note when he asks Titus to send a lawyer.
Paul is not living in prison at this point of his life.
But, sadly, Paul is less than a decade from the end of his life. The truth is, it's probably less than five years from
when Paul wrote this letter to Titus to the time of his untimely death.
My Concordia Study Bible has this letter
as being written somewhere between 63 and 65 A.D. (page 1865)
We don't have any Biblical reference as to when
Paul was martyred. But we know, that at least for this time, he is a free man. And he most certainly wants Titus to have all
the benefits of his pastoral knowledge.
I almost get the sense that Paul is in a hurry.
Do you think
that he suspects that his end is near. Here comes the "laundry list" again. Right from the get-go in this chapter,
Paul wants Titus to get busy.
In verses 1-2, he says: Remind the people to be subject to rulers and authorities,
to be obedient, to be ready to do whatever is good, to slander no one, to be peaceable and considerate, and to show true humility
toward all men.
Paul then reminds Titus of how he came to believe -- and that is: At one time we too were
foolish, disobedient, deceived and enslaved by all kinds of passions and pleasures. We lived in malice and envy, being hated
and hating one another. (verse 3)
Paul then talks about how he was saved. He gives us details in verses 4-8a:
But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but
because of his mercy.
He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, whom he poured
out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that, having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs having
the hope of eternal life. This is a trustworthy saying.
Can you just imagine what it would be like to come
in contact with the Apostle Paul before his conversion? Here was a man who wanted to rid the world of all these new
believers -- these Christians! He carried on his person, execution orders that would allow him to kill Christians on sight.
And yet, here he is now with at least as much energy and zeal -- in the twilight years of his life, trying as hard
as he can to get the next generation of pastors ready to carry on after he is martyred.
Do you think Paul has a
clue as to his fate? Perhaps. He must have remembered Stephen's martyrdom. He must know that Nero is a psychopath looking
for a place to quench his thirst for blood.
Nero would be only too happy to drink from the cup of Paul's
Yes, Paul was in a hurry. Running as fast a race as he ever could.
Sure, he was out of jail
for the present. But the race was on. How much longer would he be free?
So he tells Titus in verse 8b: And
I want you to stress these things, so that those who have trusted in God may be careful to devote themselves to doing what
is good. These things are excellent and profitable for everyone.
And here's some profound wisdom that
we all could think about as we go through our lives under attack from forces outside Christianity (verses 9-11): But
avoid foolish controversies and genealogies and arguments and quarrels about the law, because these are unprofitable and useless.
Warn a divisive person once, and then warn him a second time. After that, have nothing to do with him. You may be sure that
such a man is warped and sinful; he is self-condemned.
I can think of some people I saw on the news recently
that fit that description, can't you?
The truth is we are confronted by evil-doers all the time. But God puts
people in our paths. Why? To give us an opportunity to confront what we truly believe? To challenge us and see if we'll
I remember when I was going through a period of hospice training and we had such a thought
go through our class. There was an astute gentleman in the class who wanted to work in a veterans hospice. He pointed
out that sometimes we are introduced to people so that we can learn about ourselves from them.
Paul certainly met
more than his share. And yet, not once did he waver from the path that God had chosen for him to take. In this verse, Paul
makes it clear to Titus that he wants him not to tarry with people who have condemned themselves.
Then Paul gives
Titus his itinerary with the note that he plans to winter over at Nicopolis.
Oh, and he wants Titus to do what
he can to send Paul's lawyer to him, in verse 13: Do everything you can to help Zenas the lawyer and Apollos on their
way and see that they have everything they need.
In a general way, Paul closes this letter to Titus. It's
a short letter, but it's rich in its admonitions to Titus. Paul cares for this young man and seems to want to make certain
that he has all the spiritual strength and guidance he needs to tend a flock of new believers.
Think about the speculation that has come down through the centuries about Paul's life:
he go on a 4th missionary journey or not? We aren't really sure. He said he want to go to Spain.
Paul doing in this brief respite between his first and second imprisonment?
Was Luke with him? Luke's written
account of Paul's travels ends with the final chapters of Acts. What happened to Luke and why don't we hear from him
further about Paul's travels?
In the next several days, we are going to follow a journey of what the research
tells us of the martyrdom of these early leaders of the Christian church and we'll pick up Paul's second letter to
Timothy on Monday.
But first, let's take a look at how these devout believers and pastors paid with their lives.
We pray: Dear Heavenly Father, I suspect that there are people out there in the mission field who
just disappear and are never heard from again. It wasn't just Daniel in the lions den who risked his life for what he
It wasn't just Paul who paid with his life for what he believed in.
I pray, Oh Lord,
that you would keep me and those whom I love safe from a martyr's death. I pray that I will always live in a country that
allows me to express my belief in you, my Lord, Jesus Christ. Amen.
Monday, April 14, 2008
Much like Paul's message to Timothy in an
earlier study, Paul stresses to Titus how believers ought to behave themselves as they go about their daily lives.
He zeros in on older men, older women, younger women, younger men and slaves.
Paul has very strong opinions in
matters of sexual morality and overindulgence when it comes to alcohol. You can be sure that Paul would find "Rated
X" movies coming out of Hollywood abominable.
He wouldn't have tolerated the antics of King Henry VIII
in jolly old England.
He would find nudity in films abominable -- something that would contaminate the mind and
heart with all that flamboyant passion.
So here's what Paul says to Titus about what he's to teach the
older men: Teach the older men to be temperate, worthy of respect, self-controlled, and sound in faith, in love and in
endurance. (verse 2)
In verses 3-5, Paul dictates what older women are to be taught: Likewise, teach the
older women to be reverent in the way they live, not to be slanderers or addicted to much wine, but to teach what is good.
Then they can train the younger women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled and pure, to
be busy at home, to be kind, and to be subject to their husbands, so that no one will malign the word of God.
Do you get the feeling that the older women may have been getting into the cooking wine? This is not the first reference
that we have of Paul warning against too much wine. Or slandering either, for that matter.
There is such a group
called a "Titus 2:4 Ministry." I haven't heard much about it recently but it's a women's group
where older women in a congregation help the young newly married women in a kind of mentoring ministry. Paul would have jumped
for joy at such an organization within a church.
As for the young men, here's what Paul told Titus to do in
verses 6-8: Similarly, encourage the young men to be self-controlled. In everything set them an example by doing what
is good. In your teaching show integrity, seriousness and soundness of speech that cannot be condemned, so that those who
oppose you may be ashamed because they have nothing bad to say about us.
Matthew Henry offers this insight:
...The right way to reform men's lives is to convince their consciences. If you walk in the fear of God, you will
not be either covetous of worldly gain, or cruel toward your brethren. Nothing exposes religion more to reproach than the
worldliness and hard-heartedness of the professors of it. Those that rigorously insist upon their right, with a very ill grace,
try to persuade others to give up theirs. In reasoning with selfish people, it is good to contrast their conduct with that
of others who are liberal; but it is best to point to His example, who though he was rich, yet for our sakes became poor,
that we, through his poverty, might be rich (2 Cor. 8:9). They did according to promise. Good promises are good things, but
good performances are better.
Even to slaves, Paul offers this in verses 9-10: Teach slaves to be subject to their masters in everything,
to try to please them, not to talk back to them, and not to steal from them, but to show that they can be fully trusted, so
that in every way they will make the teaching about God our Savior attractive.
Matthew Henry says: Do
your duty without murmurings. Do it, and do not find fault with it. Mind your work, and do not quarrel with it. By peaceableness;
give no just occasion of offence.
The children of God should differ from the sons of men. The more perverse others
are, the more careful we should be to keep ourselves blameless and harmless. The doctrine and example of consistent believers
will enlighten others and direct their way to Christ and holiness, even as the lighthouse warns mariners to avoid rocks, and
directs their course into the harbour. Let us try thus to shine.
The gospel is the word of life, it makes known
to us eternal life through Jesus Christ.
Running denotes earnestness and vigour, continual pressing forward;
labouring denotes constancy, and close application.
It is the will of God that believers should be much
in rejoicing; and those who are so happy as to have good ministers, have great reason to rejoice with them.
I have a footnote in my Concordia Study Bible on page 1867: "[Verse 11] introduces the doctrinal basis for
the ethical demands just stressed. Right conduct must be founded on right doctrine."
This doctrinal message
is contained in verses 11-15: For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men.
us to say "No" to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this
present age, while we wait for the blessed hope -- the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, who gave
himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what
And in closing this chapter, Paul reminds Titus to be authoritative if he needed to be. Perhaps Titus
was a young man and the Cretans may not have taken him as seriously as they should have, as frequently happens with young
and unseasoned pastors. So Paul is standing firmly behind Titus with lots of encouragement for him and also offers a warning
to rebuke those who needed to be.
In light of Paul's admonitions
to Titus about the different groups of people, what do you think Paul's reaction would be if, for instance, he were to
show up on the set of "Desperate Housewives?" Or any number of movies or television shows that have outrageous sexual
themes laced with adulterous behavior?
What do you think could be done to turn the tide away Hollywood's exploitation
of sexual themes?
And by the same token, talk about Paul's reaction to Alcoholics Anonymous and the wonderful
work that it does in communities all over the globe.
We pray: Oh Lord, I pray for your strength
and guidance to fill my heart and mind so that I can be a good example for those people who wonder how people who profess
to be Christians behave.
I pray that you would show me the way that you want me to go. And if I head off in the
wrong direction, I pray that you would guide me back to the right path.
I thank you, Lord, for all your blessings
and most of all, for your grace. I do not deserve the gift of salvation and even though I may try to live each day without
intentional transgressions against you, I am still born a sinner and always will be until the day I die. For the gift of your
salvation, which came at a tremendous price of the death of your son, Jesus Christ, I am unworthy but eternally thankful.
Sunday, April 13, 2008
There is not a mention of Titus in Luke's
entire Acts of the Apostles. However, there are twelve times in Paul's writings where he does talk about Titus,
who was a convert of Paul's and a person in whom Paul had much confidence. Enough so that Paul gave him ecclesiastical
authority over the Christian churches in Crete.
In 2 Corinthians 2:12-13: Now when I went to Troas to preach the gospel of Christ and found that the Lord
has opened a door for me, I still had no peace of mind, because I did not find my brother Titus there. So
I said good-by to them and went on to Macedonia.
2 Corinthians 7:5-7: For when we came into Macedonia,
this body of ours had no rest, but we were harassed at every turn-- conflicts on the outside, fears within. But God, who comforts
the downcast, comforted us by the coming of Titus, and not only by his coming but also by the comfort you
had given him. He told us about your longing for me, your deep sorrow, your ardent concern for me, so that my joy was greater
2 Corinthians 7:13-15: By all this we are encouraged. In addition to our own encouragement,
we were especially delighted to see how happy Titus was, because his spirit has been refreshed by all of
you. I had boasted to him about you, and you have not embarrassed me. But just as everything we said to you was true, so our
boasting about you to Titus has proved to be true as well. And his affection for you is all the greater when
he remembers that you were all obedient, receiving him with fear and trembling.
2 Corinthians 8:6-7: So
we urged Titus, since he had earlier made a beginning, to bring also to completion, this act of grace on
your part. But just as you excel in everything -- in faith, in speech, in knowledge, in complete earnestness and in your love
for us -- see that you also excel in this grace of giving.
2 Corinthians 8:16-17: I thank God, who put
into the heart of Titus the same concern I have for you. For Titus not only welcomed our
appeal, but he is coming to you with much enthusiasm and on his own initiative.
2 Corinthians 8:23: As
for Titus, he is my partner and fellow worker among you; as for our brothers, they are representatives of
the churches and an honor to Christ.
2 Corinthians 12:18: I urged Titus to go to you
and I sent our brother with him. Titus did not exploit you, did he? Did we not act in the same spirit and
follow the same course?
Galatians 2:1-5: Fourteen years later I went up again to Jerusalem, this time
with Barnabas. I took Titus along also. I went in response to a revelation and set before them the gospel
that I preach among the Gentiles. But I did this privately to those whom seemed to be leaders, for fear that I was running
or had run my race in vain. Yet not even Titus, who was with me, was compelled to be circumcised, even though
he was a Greek. This matter arose because some false brothers had infiltrated our ranks to spy on the freedom we have in Christ
Jesus and to make us slaves. We did not give in to them for a moment, so that the truth of the gospel might remain with you.
2 Timothy 4:9-13: Do your best to come to me quickly, for Demas, because he loved this world, has deserted
me and has gone to Thessalonica. Crescens has gone to Galatia, and Titus to Dalmatia. Only Luke is with me.
Get Mark and bring him with you, because he is helpful to me in my ministry. I sent Tychicus to Ephesus. When yo come, bring
the cloak that I left with Carpus at Troas, and my scrolls, especially the parchments.
Titus 1:4: To Titus,
my true son in our common faith -- grace and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Savior.
says that Titus continue after Paul's death as Archbishop of Crete and died there when he was over ninety. http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/14727b.htm
The above references will give you an idea of the high regard that Paul had for Titus.
Paul back to Jerusalem to meet with the Jewish leaders, so we know from this that he was a traveling companion of Paul's.
Paul is released from prison when he writes this letter, perhaps from Corinth, probably between 63 A.D. and 65
A.D. (Concordia Study Bible, p. 1865). This is a short letter, only three chapters. But it is rich in its instruction
on how to live a Christian life that is pleasing to God.
Paul does not write his second letter to Timothy until
he is captured and re-imprisoned.
After his greetings and salutations to Titus, Paul offers this explanation: The
reason I left you in Crete was that you might straighten out what was left unfinished and appoint elders in every town, as
I directed you. (verse 5)
Paul then makes it clear how an elder is supposed to behave and what he is supposed
to do in a church (verses 6-9): An elder must be blameless, the husband of but one wife, a man whose children believe
and are not open to the charge of being wild and disobedient.
Since an overseer is entrusted with God's
work, he must be blameless -- not overbearing, not quick-tempered, not given to drunkenness, not violent, not pursuing dishonest
gain. Rather he must be hospitable, one who loves what is good, who is self-controlled, upright, holy and disciplined. He
must hold firmly to the trustworthy message as it has been taught, so that he can encourage others by sound doctrine
and refute those who oppose it.
There is apparently a problem in the Cretan church, for Paul says this to
Titus in verses 10-14: For there are many rebellious people, mere talkers and deceivers, especially those of the circumcision
group. They must be silenced, because they are ruining whole households by teaching things they ought not to teach -- and
that for the sake of dishonest gain. Even one of their own prophets has said, "Cretans are always liars, evil brutes,
lazy gluttons." This testimony is true. Therefore rebuke them sharply, so that they will be sound in the faith and will
pay not attention to Jewish myths.
So we have the "circumcision group" at work here in Crete too.
Recall that these were the Jewish people who held on to the notion that in order to come by salvation, a person must still
uphold ancient Levitical laws, namely circumcision and other ceremonies outlined to the tribe of Levi.
prophet that Paul is referring to is the poet Epimenides from the sixth century B.C. He apparently had made some predictions
that had come true so for that reason, had been held in high esteem. Further, in Greek literature, "to Cretanize"
meant to lie. (Concordia Study Bible, page 1866).
So Paul says that Titus is to rebuke them sharply
so that they will be sound in the faith and will pay no attention to Jewish myths or to the commands of those who
reject the truth. (verses 13-14)
In fact, if people are pure in heart, Paul says that to them all things are
pure. But to those who are corrupted and do not believe, nothing is pure. (see verse 15) Paul says that both their minds and
consciences are corrupted.
Paul says these people are detestable. They are disobedient. And they are not fit for
doing anything good. And just because they claim to know God, doesn't mean that they do because their actions say otherwise.
Titus was held in deep affection by Paul. They had apparently preached together
in Crete and now it's time for Titus to appoint elders in the new Christian church.
Discuss these traits that
Paul says elders are to possess:
Must be blameless
Husband of but one wife
children should believe and
not open to the charge of being wild and disobedient
must be blameless
must not be overbearing
must not be
must not be given to drunkenness
must not be violent
must not pursue dishonest gain
must love what is good
must be self-controlled
must be upright
must be bold
must hold firmly to the trustworthy message as it has been taught, so that he can encourage others by sound
must refute those who oppose it
We pray: Oh Spirit of the Living God, I pray that
you would protect me from Satan and all that is evil, so that I will not cause pain.
I thank you for all the pastors
in this world and I pray that you would bless their ministries as they bring your truth to the flocks they have been entrusted
I pray for the safety of all believers who often cannot worship you in public in some places of this world.
How much we take this for granted in the United States where churches don't have near as many believers showing up for
worship as there ought to be.
I pray that you would send your Holy Spirit into the hearts of all people everywhere
and especially to those who have yet to experience that wonder of an epiphany moment when they come to know Jesus Christ.
Friday, April 11, 2008
1 Timothy 6:1-21
In the very first verse of this chapter,
Paul brings up the question of slavery: All who are under the yoke of slavery should consider their masters worthy of
full respect, so that God's name and our teaching may not be slandered.
I am curious when I read that
opening verse, for I wanted to know just how prevalent slavery was in the Roman Empire. I mean we know about the Jewish experience
with slavery -- they were held in bondage in Egypt many many years before Moses came and got them.
Well, it seems
that "one authority estimated that in the Roman Empire of Paul's day there were 60 million slaves, with 20 million
in Italy alone and 650,000 in Rome.
"Almost all labor was performed by slaves, for work was beneath the dignity
of a Roman citizen. The slave was not a person, but a thing. Aristotle taught that slave and master could never be friends,
for the two had nothing in common...
"The master possessed the power of life or death over a slave. If the
slave ran away, he could be killed upon capture, or, at best, branded on the forehead with the letter F for fugitivus
So what happens, though, when the slave and master are both believers and members of the same church. Within the
church worship service are they then to be treated as equals?
Paul continues to explain in verse 2: Those who
have believing masters are not to show less respect for them because they are brothers. Instead, they are to serve them even
better, because those who benefit from their service are believers, and dear to them. These are the things you are to teach
and urge on them.
So Timothy is supposed to "urge these instructions" onto the slaves that they
are still supposed to revere and honor their masters even when they are present together in a worship service. And maybe do
it all the more because the masters are dear to them.
Recall that Christian love arouses an attitude of servanthood.
I would hope that because of this, the Christian master/believer would also be a servant to the slave and not behave so much
as Aristotle suggested when he said they could never have anything in common. Believers in Jesus Christ have something in
common with all other believers.
For that reason, perhaps social status was set aside within the worship experience
and at least in the church, both slave and master could share the love of Jesus Christ that they had in common.
Having said what he wanted to say about the slavery question, Paul then returns to the subject of false doctrines that was
threatening to undermine the integrity of the early Christian churches.
Paul denounces these teachers in verses
3-5. He says they're "conceited and they don't know what they're talking about. They like to go around stirring
up trouble that results in envy, strife, malicious talk, evil suspicions and constant friction between men of corrupt mind.
"They've been robbed of the truth and they think godliness is a means to financial gain."
No doubt this is a reference to the idol makers who made all those little silver likenesses of Artemis (also known as Diana).
The temple that was built to Artemis was one of the wonders of the ancient world. It was also a center of commerce in that
it was a bank that held a lot of money from individuals as well as cities.
Just having the concession trade
at this temple where all sorts of souvenirs could be sold as well as refreshments would have been a lucrative enterprise.
And riots ensued when many of these believers turned away from the little silver-cast gods to worship the God of
salvation who could provide eternal life through belief in the gospel message of Jesus Christ.
and the magic trade with all the incantations that were for sale, was another lucrative source of financial gain that Paul
talks about in verse 5.
These were the people who thought godliness was a means to financial gain.
excellent nutshell comment of what was happening in Ephesus at the time of Paul can be found at this link: http://www.enduringword.com/commentaries/4419.htm
Paul explains further in verses 6-8: But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing
into the world, and we can take nothing out of it. But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that.
Where money is concerned, Paul has a stern warning in verses 9-10: People who want to get rich fall into temptation
and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge men into ruin and destruction.
For the love of
money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with
This is an oft misquoted verse. It usually comes out that money is the root of all evil. That
isn't what Paul says.
God does not have a problem with people who are rich. In fact, wealth is one of the
blessings that can come from God. Witness Solomon, who was the richest man in the world. But Solomon never ever gave up his
faith in God.
No -- it's the love of money that gets people in trouble, for when people love money,
idolatry isn't too far away.
Paul's charge to Timothy, then, is this: But you, man of God, flee from
all this, and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness.
Fight the good fight of
the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called when you made your good confession in the presence of many
witnesses. (verses 11-12)
In verses 13-16, Paul reiterates the message of praise to God in a doxology that
Timothy is to keep God's command without spot or blame until Jesus Christ returns. We hear a liturgical refrain embedded
in these verses: ...God the blessed and only Ruler, the King of kings and Lord of lords ... to him be honor and might
Paul then asks Timothy to command the rich folks not to be arrogant and not to put their hope
in wealth. After all, personal wealth is pretty uncertain. Stock markets crash. houses burn to the ground, earthquakes level
buildings. All the things that stand for wealth and possessions of this world can end in a matter of seconds.
God -- now that's another story because God richly provides what we need to get through our lives until it is time to
rejoin him in heaven.
Paul wants Timothy to command people to do good and to be generous and willing to share
If they do these things, then Paul says they will store up treasures for themselves that is the real
meaning of life.
And in closing, Paul says this to his dear friend Timothy, the man he embraces as his spiritual
son: Timothy, guard what has been entrusted to your care. Turn away from godless chatter and the opposing ideas of what
is falsely called knowledge, which some have professed and in so doing have wandered from the faith. (verses 20-21)
These closing verses carry a warning to be wary of the Gnostics who believe that people can be saved by acquiring
Talk about the lessons you have learned from this powerful
letter to Timothy.
Paul covers many areas of how people are to live their lives and how they are to behave in
their worship life.
How as this affected the way you live your life?
We pray: Oh Lord,
our Heavenly Father, we are surrounded by false teachers, even today. There are so many around us who would have us believe
that financial or political power are the only things that matter in this life. I pray that you will protect me from Satan
and all that is evil so that your Holy Spirit can fill my heart and walk through life with me. Amen.
Thursday, April 10, 2008
1 Timothy 5:1-25
Paul has much to say in this chapter about
how Timothy ought to treat the people in need in his congregation.
In our modern days, there are various names
for these caring funds for people in need. Names such as Pastor's Benevolence Fund or Good Samaritan Fund or other
names for funds that are specifically set aside by the congregation and given over to the pastor to use at his sole discretion
to assist people in need.
But first Paul outlines how people are to treat individuals in the church.
For instance, older men are to be treated kindly, as if he were your father. Treat younger men as brothers, older women
as mothers, and younger women as sisters, with absolute purity.
This goes back to Levitical law, for in Leviticus
19:32 we read: You shall stand up before the gray head and honor the face of an old man, and you shall fear your God:
I am the Lord.
Then Paul describes three different kinds of widows in verses 3-6:
the widow who
is over 60 years of age who have some family support,
the widow who is over 60 years of age and stranded without support,
and the widow who is under 60 years of age
Then, in verse 7 Paul says: Give the people these instructions,
too, so that no one may be open to blame. If anyone does not provide for his relatives, and especially for his immediate family,
he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.
Even in our present day, with all our charities and
supportive organizations, there are still people in need who "fall through the cracks." Better to rely on churches
within a community to help those in need for it is most frequent that the church members know who is in need -- who is hungry
-- who is struggling financially.
Paul admonishes Timothy to reach out and care for those people but he does suggest
One of those restrictions has to do with widows who are under the age of 60. Those widows
are not to be put on any list of widows in need. However, widows over 60 are providing they have been faithful wives, have
done good deeds, has brought up her children, has shown hospitality, has helped those in trouble, and has washed the feet
of the saints. (verses 9-10)
Well, that's a good list for sure, but I'm not sure about offering to wash
other people's feet. That was a cultural deed and it was common back in the days when people walked in sandals across
dry, dusty roads to get from one place to another. How soothing it must have been to offer someone the refreshment of
soaking his feet after a hike of some five miles or so.
And as far as the younger widows were concerned, Paul
said that they shouldn't be put on the list of widows in need. In verse 11b, he even goes so far as to say that if
their runaway passions get the better of them, they should get married again. (Those are my words, not Paul's.)
Paul expresses the opinion that the younger widows ought not to go from house to house, kind of like coffee klatching. They
shouldn't be idle gossipers or busybodies, saying things they ought not to say (verse 13)
Those are good words
even today, don't you think? Idle gossiping can get a person in trouble when the truth gets stretched and get stretched.
And pretty soon, hyperbole catches up with a person and the next thing you know, the stories don't resemble truth anymore.
That was a major concern of Paul's. He thought women ought to be busy. And if they got added to a widow's list, they'd
get money and there would be no motivation for widows to remarry, have children and manage a home.
Paul says in verse 14b-15: ...give the enemy no opportunity to slander. Some have in fact already turned away to follow
Paul adds in verse 16: If any woman who is a believer has widows in her family, she should help
them and not let the church be burdened with them, so that the church can help those widows who are really in need.
Now, you can be sure that Paul wasn't talking about chipping in to make a $1500 mortgage payment, or buy a lot
of convenience foods. Those kinds of things just didn't happen back in those days. There were no mortgages. And the food
that people ate was pretty much primary foods. There were no refrigerators to keep meats cool for several days. No deep freezes
to put food up for the times past the harvest. And they didn't have screw on lids for glass jars so there wasn't any
canning going on. Women had to work hard to keep food on the table.
I personally think the women in those days
must have been awfully resourceful to be able to feed everybody. And can you imagine life without ice cream?
the women in the family were supposed to look in on the widows and tend to what she may have needed. That way, the benevolence
fund could be available for people who didn't have someone to tend to them.
Then Paul comes to the matter of
the elders. These were men who directed the affairs of the church and they were deserving of double honor. (verse 17)
Matthew Henry brings us these profound words: The ministers of the gospel are described by the work of their office,
which is to serve and honour the Lord. It is their duty not only to give good counsel, but also to warn the flock of dangers,
and reprove for whatever may be amiss. The people should honour and love their ministers, because their business is the welfare
of men's souls. And the people should be at peace among themselves, doing all they can to guard against any differences.
But love of peace must not make us wink at sin. The fearful and sorrowful spirit, should be encouraged, and a kind word may
do much good. We must bear and forbear. We must be long-suffering, and keep down anger, and this to all men. Whatever man
do to us, we must do good to others.
Paul gives Timothy instructions as to ordaining elders to ministers in verse 22: Do not be hasty in the laying
on of hands, and do not share in the sins of others. Keep yourself pure.
A footnote in my Concordia Study
Bible for this verse 22 says: Paul is speaking of the ordination of an elder, which should not be performed until the
candidate has had time to prove himself.
Even today, we offer a vicarage to prospective pastors prior to the
time they are assigned a pulpit of their own.
The reference to drinking wine in verse 23 could be attributed to
the possibility that pure drinking water may not have been readily available for Timothy in that area. And Paul also makes
a reference to Timothy's having stomach problems and frequent illnesses. We don't get any details as to what these
maladies might have been, but Paul suggests that Timothy "stop drinking only water and use a little wine."
Paul closes this chapter with the warning to be ever-vigilant to sin in verses 24-25: The sins of some men are obvious,
reaching the place of judgment ahead of them; the sins of others trail behind them. In the same way, good deeds are obvious,
and even those that are not cannot be hidden.
The footnote on page 1855 of the Concordia Study Bible says
that this advice is to be alert to hidden sins as well s to good deeds in the lives of candidates for ordination.
Calling a pastor to lead a congregation is a many-stepped process in this
day and age. Talk about how our present-day call committee process differs from that of the early church.
the challenges that Paul faced and see how you can list these challenges. For instance, we know that Paul went on three missionary
journeys and during these journeys, he established churches. Even if these churches were small groups of new believers who
met in people's homes, they were churches, nonetheless.
Then came the time when the groups grew into larger
and larger groups of believers. Then it most clearly showed a need to have a shepherd for these new flocks -- someone who
could be the leader -- a pastor and a teacher. Paul could certainly not be the pastor for each and every church he started.
As you go through this chapter and read what Paul's thoughts were, how does that compare with how you select
a new pastor in your church?
Also talk about the charities within the church in Paul's day. Do you think his
view on the younger widows seems harsh?
We pray: Dear Heavenly Father, I thank you for your kindness
and goodness in all the ways you bless my life. I pray that you will show me where the need is when people cross the path
of my everyday life. Help me care for the people you put in my life and I pray that you will continue to bless me with strength
to do your will.
I pray for all the missionaries around the world that they will be ever renewed and fresh to bring
the gospel message of salvation to people who do not know you or your son, Jesus Christ.
I pray for all the pastors
in churches everywhere who also do in-city mission work. Their mission work is certainly not to be overlooked in its importance
either. I pray that you would bless their ministry that opens up to unbelievers in their towns and cities who have heard about
your son, but who do not worship Jesus Christ. Amen.
Wednesday, April 9, 2008
1 Timothy 4:1-16
This chapter appears to be directed to Timothy
for the purpose of building him up, of encouraging him and of enhancing his self-confidence.
From the beginning
verse, I hear Paul warning Timothy that the Spirit says in later times some believers will abandon their faith and will be
coaxed into lives taught by demons.
These "later times" have a footnote in my Concordia Study Bible on
page 1853 that says it refers to the time beginning with the first coming of Christ. That Paul is not referring only to the
time immediately prior to Christ's second coming is obvious from his assumption that the false teachings were already
present at the time of his writing.
These false teachings, Paul warns, come through hypocritical liars, whose consciences
have been seared as with a hot iron. (verse 2)
Matthew Henry says, "We have a cunning adversary, who
watches to do mischief, and will promote errors, even by the words of Scripture. Whatever uncertainty we are in, or whatever
mistakes may arise about the time of Christ's coming, that coming itself is certain.
"This has been the
faith and hope of all Christians, in all ages of the church; it was the faith and hope of the Old Testament saints. All believers
shall be gathered together to Christ, to be with him, and to be happy in his presence forever.
doctrines are like the winds that toss the water to and fro; and they unsettle the minds of men, which are as unstable as
"It is enough for us to know that our Lord will come, and will gather all his saints unto him. A reason
why they should not expect the coming of Christ, as at hand, is given. There would be a general falling away first, such as
would occasion the rise of Antichrist, that man of sin.
"There have been great disputes who or what is intended
by this man of sin and son of perdition. The man of sin not only practices wickedness, but also promotes and commands sin
and wickendness in others; and is the son of perdition, because he is devoted to certain destruction, and is the instrument
to destroy many others, both in soul and body."
I can hear Paul warning Timothy, the young shepherd, to be especially careful with his flock of new believers
lest the evil one should get in among the sheep and start stealing them away.
Some of the lies that these false
teachers would use might include a claim that people ought not to marry -- or that they shouldn't eat certain foods. These
very foods have been created by none other than God himself and everything that God creates is good for it is received with
thanksgiving because it is consecrated by the word of God and prayer. (see verses 3-5)
commentary reveals this: "Those who would learn the things of God, and be assured of them, must know the Holy Scriptures,
for they are the Divine revelation. The age of children is the age to learn; and those who would get true learning, must get
it out of the Scriptures. They must not lie by us neglected, seldom or never looked into. The Bible is a sure guide to eternal
life. The prophets and apostles did not speak from themselves, but delivered what they received of God."
Paul tells Timothy in verses 7b-8: ...[T]rain yourself to be godly. For physical training is of some value,
but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come.
the following message is as much alive for Timothy as it is for all of us today: This is a trustworthy saying that deserves
full acceptance (and for this we labor and strive), that we have put our hope in the living God, who is the Savior of all
men, and especially of those who believe. (verses 9-10)
Then Paul assures Timothy that he should not let people
look down on him just because he is young. Instead, Timothy ought to set an example by the way he leads his life, by how he
talks, and how he conducts himself where faith and love is concerned. (verses 11-12)
Paul must have had every intention
to come to Timothy again because he tells Timothy to devote himself to public reading of Scripture, to preaching and teaching
and not to neglect the gift that was given to Timothy when the elders laid their hands on Timothy to ordain him. (verses 13-14)
Paul's advice was for Timothy to be diligent and watchful so that everyone will see the progress that Timothy
is making. He closes this chapter with these watchful words (verse 16): Watch your life and doctrine closely. Persevere
in them, because if you do, you will save both yourself and your hearers.
I have a footnote that underscores
this last verse: "God alone saves, but Christians can be God's instruments to bring about the salvation of others.
We are saved by God's grace at the time of conversion but are still being saved in the sense of being made more conformed
to Christ's image. (Concordia Study Bible, page 1853)
As both teacher
and mentor, Paul had much to say to Timothy. And it's safe to say that the excitement of Paul's hopeful visit to Timothy
in Ephesus would have been felt by them both.
This chapter is filled with good advice for Timothy about a number
of things. Talk about the undercurrent of discontent and evil that was running through Ephesus. Even by today's standards,
Ephesus was a bustling metropolis of about 200,000 people.
We also know that there was a brisk trade in making
idols to sell and the artisans who made these idols were not too happy with Paul for bringing the gospel message of Jesus
Christ that made these idol worshipers turn away from their idols.
Talk about these were times of courage and bravery
for the new Christians.
We pray: Oh Lord, I thank you for all your gifts and blessings in my
life, but especially I thank you for the most important gift of all -- salvation that will bring me life eternal.
I pray that your Spirit will guide me through all my days and will show me how I can glorify your name.
for all Christians everywhere that they will be safe. Amen.
1 Timothy 3:1-16
No one person can do all things. And for
this reason, Paul defines the duties of someone he refers to as an "overseer."
This is an important person
in a congregation. The overseer is the one who teaches and preaches the word of God. It's the person who is trusted with
the tasks of being the shepherd of the flock. It's the person who is conducting the business affairs of the church and
it is the person who guards the church from errors. "Overseer" is often used interchangeably with the term "elder." (Concordia
Study Bible, footnote on page 1852 for verse 3:1.)
This is a noble task, Paul says in verse 1. And there are certain
traits for those who would aspire to this task. They include being above reproach, the husband of one wife, temperate, being
self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, not given to drunkenness, not violent or quarrelsome, not a lover
of money (verses 2-3)
And Paul is going to be looking at how a man manages his family because if he can't manage
his family, he's not likely to do well with the congregation. The overseer's children should treat the father with
respect. (verses 4-5)
Paul didn't think it would be a good idea to entrust a recent convert with this noble
task either. In verse 6, Paul says that a new convert might become conceited and fall under the same judgment as the devil.
In verse 7, Paul adds: He must also have a good reputation with outsiders, so that he will not fall into disgrace
and into the devil's trap.
Paul outlines the parameters to which he would hold the office of deacons in
verses 8-10: Deacons, likewise, are to be men worthy of respect, sincere, not indulging in much wine, and not pursuing
dishonest gain. They must keep hold of the deep truths of the faith with a clear conscience. They must first be tested; and
then if there is nothing against them, let them serve as deacons.
In the months before his execution by the
Nazis, Dietrich Bonhoeffer wrote, "I fear that Christians who stand with only one leg upon earth, also stand with only
one leg in heaven." His concern was for Christians who had disengaged themselves from the world, who could stand by and
watch atrocities committed as if the Christian message or individual Christian responsibility had no bearing whatsoever upon
Matthew Henry has a profound commentary about these verses: The fact of the matter is that
the Christian faith intends full engagement in the world. Certainly the origin of this new life is otherworldly. Certainly
Christian values are not those of the world. Certainly Christian hope takes us beyond this world. But it is in this world
that God has called Christians to live, and it is this world's inhabitants that Christians must reach with the gospel.
Engagement of this kind requires Christian credibility and participation in the life of the world.
especially depends on living, as far as possible, in a manner that the world considers to be respectable. "Respectability"
was an important concept in Paul's day. But the values connected with it have always been subject to change. Therefore,
the Christian life is first and always to be a clear expression of the will of God.
The church's respectability
in the world was very much in Paul's mind as he addressed the various groups in the Cretan churches. This is evident from
the patterns of behavior he encourages...But Paul does not simply adopt secular rules of behavior. Whatever affinities this
lifestyle might have with secular moral ideals, only faith in Christ can produce the Christian.
Paul also says that wives are to be women who are worthy of respect, not malicious talkers, but temperate and
trustworthy in everything. (verse 11)
Paul then closes this chapter with the hope that he will soon be able to
come over to Ephesus to see Timothy. But if, for some reason, he is delayed, he wants to send these lists of how people should
behave when they are members of the "household of God," namely, the church. (verses 14-15).
sends this poetic version of the "mystery of godliness" in verse 16:
He appeared in a body,
vindicated by the Spirit,
was seen by angels,
was preached among the nations,
was believed on in the world,
was taken up in glory.
This mystery of godliness is the secret that produces piety in people. That secret
... is none other than Jesus Christ. His incarnation, in all its aspects (particularly his saving work), is the source of
genuine piety. (Concordia Study Bible, page 1853, footnote for verse 3:16)
Paul gives us a capsule of the life
and resurrection of Christ in verse 16. He came down from heaven, he was raised from the dead by the power of the Spirit,
angelic hosts ministered to him and pronounced his resurrection, he is preached throughout the world, and finally, was taken
up in glory to rejoin his Father in Heaven.
Church workers are generally
held to a higher standard of behavior than other people. What are some of these behavioral codes of conduct that come to mind?
Discuss the "mystery of godliness" that Paul mentions in verse 16. The footnote in the Concordia Study Bible
ties this with piety. There are three definitions in the dictionary for piety that could be discussed.
1. a devout fulfillment of religious obligations
2. religious devotion and reverence to God, and
obedience to the will of God.
Talk about how your life might reflect an attitude of piety.
pray: Oh Lord, I pray that you would send your Holy Spirit to me so that my heart can grow in devotion and service
to your everlasting Word. I thank you for the abundance of your love that you have given to me for I know that I am not worthy,
but through the death and resurrection of your son, Jesus Christ, you have made me worthy. Out of that love that you have
given to me, I pray that you would help me fulfill a stronger service to you.
I pray for all the people who work
in churches all over the world. I pray that you would bless their work as they bring others to know you. I pray also for their
safety as they go about their daily tasks. Amen.
Tuesday, April 8, 2008
1 Timothy 2:1-15
In this chapter, Paul continues his instructions
From this very first verse of this chapter, Paul indicates that prayers are to be an important part
of church goer's worship: I urge, then, first of all, that requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made
for everyone -- for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness.
This is good, and pleases God our Savior, who wants all men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth.
Sometimes I think that we often put God on his throne way off in some far distance place in the
universe, so remote that he can't possibly be aware of what our prayerful wants might be. Or the fears that tug at our
heartstrings and send us into panic mode all too easily.
But here comes Paul who says that we please God when
we pray. God wants to hear from us even though he knows what's going on in every little corner of his universe.
It's like a married couple who sit together in the evening. Maybe they're watching television, or maybe they're
each reading a favorite book. How much more enriching their relationship becomes when they have an ongoing conversation with
each other. It's so much better than sitting all through an evening without saying a word to each other.
wants those conversations too. He wants us to talk with him. He wants us to listen to him when he ignites that tiny little
voice in our head. Sometimes it says, "I wish you hadn't done that." Or maybe he says, "You'll like
It reminds me of a youngster I was seeing at the office. She asked me one day if I prayed. And I told
her that I did. Then she asked me if God ever answered me. I told that he definitely talked to me when I prayed.
Then she asked, "How do you know it's not your other you?"
We all have an ongoing dialogue in our
head. Can you quiet down the noise of your own self-conversation so that you can hear God's answer to your prayers?
The point is, God wants us to have an ongoing conversation with him. That's what prayers are. Conversations. And
he answers you. That little voice you hear inside you is not "your other you." It's your soul. That's where
God lives inside you -- in your soul.
And when we gather with other believers in worship services, Paul says that
it makes God so happy to hear the prayers that we bring to him.
Paul then tells Timothy that there is one God
who wants all men to be saved. This is why he sent Jesus Christ to earth. And it is this same Jesus Christ who is our mediator
between God and man. Sin goes away because of Christ's death and resurrection. It is salvation that is available to all
men on earth -- it's there for the asking.
And like prayerful requests, you have to ask for what you want.
Forgiveness is like that -- it's ours for the asking, but we do have to ask.
There may be any number of things
that you need. But you are going to have to ask for what you want and need.
Paul then asserts this about himself,
in verse 7: And for this purpose I was appointed a herald and an apostle -- I am telling the truth, I am not lying --
and a teacher of the true faith to the Gentiles.
Then Paul says he wants men everywhere to lift up their holy
hands in prayer, without anger or disputing.
Then Paul talks about how he wants women to behave when they come
to worship. He wants them to dress modesty and don't put a lot of fancy, show-off jewelry on, or braid their hair, or
wear pearls and expensive clothes. These are not what Paul considers appropriate things to wear for women who make the claim
that they are worshiping God. (verses 9-10)
Matthew Henry offers this: ...A true Christian's chief care
lies in right ordering his own spirit. This will do more to fix the affections, and excite the esteem of a husband, than studied
ornaments or fashionable apparel, attended by a forward and quarrelsome temper.
Christians ought to do their duty
to one another, from a willing mind, and in obedience to the command of God. Wives should be subject to their husbands, not
from dread and amazement, but from desire to do well, and please God. The husband's duty to the wife implies giving due
respect unto her, and maintaining her authority, protecting her, and placing trust in her.
They are heirs together
of all the blessings of this life and that which is to come, and should live peaceably one with another. Prayer sweetens their
converse. And it is not enough that they pray with the family, but husband and wife together by themselves, and with their
children. Those who are acquainted with prayer find such unspeakable sweetness in it, that they will not be hindered therein...
Paul has more to say on his position of what women can and cannot say as he closes this chapter: A woman should
learn in quietness and full submission. I do not permit a woman to teach or to have authority over a man; she must be silent.
For Adam was formed first, then Eve. And Adam was not the one deceived; it was the woman who was deceived and became a sinner.
But women will be saved through childbearing -- if they continue in faith, love and holiness with propriety.
Concordia Study Bible has a footnote for these comments on page 1852: Some believe that Paul here prohibited teaching
only by women not properly instructed, i.e., by the women at Ephesus. Such women tended to exercise authority over, i.e.,
to domineer, the men. According to Lutheran tradition Paul did not allow a woman to be an official teacher in the assembled
church. This is indicated by the added restriction concerning "authority over a man."
Enjoy a full discussion of your views of women's behavior in the church worship service. Keep in
mind that your agreement, or disagreement for that matter, ought not to rest with the apostle Paul for his pen was directed
by none other than God himself.
What roles do women play in your church service?
Dear Heavenly Father, I pray that you would help me grasp the truths of these messages from Paul to Timothy and that as a
woman, I can reflect what you would have me say.
I pray that you would bless the study of all who are assembled
here on this web site from wherever they may be in the world. Bless their study and their spiritual growth and their prayers.
I pray for all our leaders who govern in various countries. Bless their governing so that it will reflect your will.
Monday, April 7, 2008
1 Timothy 1:1-20
We get our first glimpse of Timothy in
Acts 16:1-2: [Paul] came to Derbe and then to Lystra, where a disciple named Timothy ived, whose mother was a Jewess and
a believer, but whose father was a Greek.
Remember the story of the man crippled in his feet, who was lame
from birth and had never walked, in Acts 14:9-11: He listened to Paul as he was speaking. Paul looked directly at
him, saw that he had faith to be healed and called out, "Stand up on your feet!" At that, the man jumped up and
began to walk.
When the crowd saw what Paul had done, they shouted in the Lycaonian language, "The
gods have come down to us in human form!"
Because of this miracle, many people came to believe in the
gospel message that Paul came to preach. And Paul wanted Timothy to travel with him on his journeys. Paul even circumcised
Timothy (Acts 16:3) because Timothy's father was Greek and Paul did not want Timothy's uncircumcision to interfere
with the conversion of Jewish believers.
And in 1 Timothy 4:14, we will learn that Paul ordained Timothy: Do
not neglect your gift, which was given you through a prophetic message when the body of elders laid their hands on you.
Early church tradition has it that St. Paul elevates Timothy to Bishop of Ephesus in 65 A.D. Timothy was martyred.
Some say in 80 A.D.;others say it was more like 97 A.D. because he was trying to stop a parade of idol-bearing worshipers
going through the streets the Ephesus. The angry mob beat Timothy and dragged him through the streets until they finally stoned
So we have now set the stage to learn more about Paul's writing to his beloved spiritual son, Timothy.
Paul writes his last three letters, which we call The Pastoral Letters. In this order, Paul writes the first
letter to Timothy, then a letter to Titus, and finally, a second letter to Timothy.
Paul has been released
from his Roman imprisonment when he writes this first letter to Timothy.
To give you an idea of how dear he holds
Timothy, Paul refers to Timothy as my true son in the faith (verse 2).
It seems obvious that Paul has
both admiration and confidence in Timothy's abilities for Paul left Timothy in Ephesus. Paul was on his way to Macedonia
but there was still much work to be done in the Ephesian churches. (verse 3)
Paul tells Timothy in verse 3b-4:
Stay there in Ephesus so that you may command certain men not to teach false doctrines any longer nor to devote themselves
to myths and endless genealogies. These promote controversies rather than God's work -- which is by faith.
In verses 6-7, Paul attacks the teachings of heresy and general know-it-alls who are running around Ephesus hoping to tear
up the churches Paul had set up and filled with new believers of the gospel message of Jesus Christ: Some have wandered
away from these and turned to meaningless talk. They want to be teachers of the law, but they do not know what they are talking
about or what they so confidently affirm.
Well, well. Just in case you wondered what Paul thought about those
goings-on, those verses ought to clear that up for you!
Paul then lists some grievous sins that he finds most unpalatable,
including murder, adultery, perversions, slave traders, liars and perjurers and "anything else that is contrary to sound
doctrine that conforms to the glorious gospel of the Blessed God, which he entrusted to me." (see verses 8-11)
Paul then reiterates his biography of how he came to be appointed to the service of our Lord Jesus Christ. And in verses
15-16, Paul adds: Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save
sinners -- of whom I am the worst. But for that very reason I was shown mercy so that in me, the worst of sinners, Christ
Jesus might display his unlimited patience as an example for those who would believe on him and receive eternal life.
That message is not just for Timothy -- and it's not just about Paul. Each one of us has a cloud over our biography.
And it's because of that sinful cloud that Christ came down from heaven where he sat in full glory next to his Father.
He came down here to save us. He came down here to walk among us as a man. Jesus Christ had unlimited patience with Paul,
and he has unlimited patience with us.
Jesus Christ has more patience with us than we have with ourselves. There's
a powerful message for all of us in this first chapter of Paul's letter to Timothy: Jesus Christ forgives the worst of
sinners and he has unlimited patience.
But there are two men that Paul wants to kick out of the church. Apparently
these two -- Hymenaeus and Alexander -- have been blaspheming against the Lord. (verse 20)
Hymenaeus was a heretic
who denied belief in the resurrection. He was going around Ephesus telling people that resurrection happened in a spiritual
sense at the moment a person was born. This view was also shared by Alexander, a coppersmith. http://www.christiananswers.net/dictionary/hymenaeus.html
So Paul tells Timothy that he is giving these two men up to Satan. My Concordia Study Bible makes this note on
page 1850: Paul had excluded these two men from the church, which was considered a sanctuary from Satan's power. Out
in the world, away from the fellowship and care of the church, they would be "taught" (the word means basically
"to discipline") not to blaspheme. The purpose of such drastic action was more remedial than punitive.
Discussion: Think about the clouds over yourself that may be too much of a sin.
forgive yourself? And can you accept God's forgiveness?
When we read these early stories about the travels
of the apostle Paul and he traveled here and there setting up churches, what do you think would have been the hardest part
No telephone. No cars with automatic transmissions. No camels with headlights. No Visa and MasterCard.
Lots of highway robbers who'd be only too glad to take anything you had of value on your person.
And yet Paul
walked thousands of miles on his missionary gospel journeys.
We pray: Oh Lord, I thank you for
the gift of forgiveness and I wonder anew at your love for me, a poor sinner. And yet the clouds of sin over my head are gone
by one act of forgiveness that brings grace to me from your love. I thank you for that. From the bottom of my heart, I thank
I pray that you would send your Holy Spirit to me to refresh my faith as I study you word. And I pray that
those who study your Word here will also be refreshed by your Spirit. Amen.
Friday, April 4, 2008
Paul is about ready to close this letter
to the Ephesians. It's widely believed that this was a circuit letter. That is, it was intended to be read at the various
churches in and around the Ephesus area. Physically, it's being carried by one of Paul's fellow ministers, Tychicus.
Personal transport was the only way to get news from here to there back in those days.
As he opens this chapter,
Paul has a strong message for children, in verses 1-3: Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. Honor
your father and mother -- which is the first commandment with a promise -- that it may go well with you and that you may enjoy
long life on the earth.
This is a restatement of Exodus 20:12: Honor your father and your mother, that
your days may be long in the land that the Lord your God is giving you.
And Leviticus 19:3: Every one
of you shall revere his mother and his father, and you shall keep my Sabbaths: I am the Lord your God.
had something to say to the parents too, in verse 4: Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up
in the training and instruction of the Lord.
Now, you wouldn't think this verse 4 would hardly need to
be spoken. After all, these were new believers who were anxious to do the right thing. These were new believers who were able
to walk and talk with people who had actually known Jesus Christ, who had sat at Christ's table, who walked the pathways
along the lakes with Christ. They must have been filled with deep love for their families.
Well, folks, human nature
is what it is. And I have no doubt that there were dysfunctional families even back then.
Even when Mary and Martha
had invited Jesus to come into their home for dinner and Martha was busy in the kitchen. I can just visualize all that flour
flying around, and the smells of spices and food cooking, and wonderful pots-and-pan sounds that arouse anticipation of a
meal about to be put on the table. Then Martha got it in her head that Mary ought to be helping her out a bit instead of sitting
around listening to Jesus talking. When Martha complained, Jesus, in essence told her to quit whining. (Luke 10:38-42)
So life was not always skipping along, even in Jesus' presence.
So Paul tells parents not to exasperate
their children. Interesting choice of words, don't you think? Exasperate doesn't mean to just irritate. Nope. It's
beyond irritating. Exasperateoften provokes hostilities and violence.
Believe me, there's a lot of
exasperating going on in unhappy families. Oh, for sure, children often have anxieties for a lot of other reasons -- bullies
at school or in the neighborhood will cause anxieties and unhappiness -- fear of parents getting a divorce will create great
anxieties in children. But there frequently were children who were brought in by their parents for counseling who really needed
to build on top of the good foundational skills they already had. Ephesians 6:4 was where we started because anxious,
unhappy children are often exasperated children.
Paul says not to exasperate. Instead, bring your children up in
the training and instruction of the Lord. Nowadays, we would say take them to church and Sunday School. Read them Bible stories
about Bible heroes for their bedtime reading. Help them memorize Bible verses.
Paul also has similar admonitions
for slaves and slaveholders as well. In these verses, Paul sets up a kind of "fly on the wall" way of thinking
when he tells the slaves to serve as if they were serving Jesus, not their masters. And the masters ought to reward everyone
for the good they do, whether they are free servants or slaves. After all, he who is both their Master and yours is in
heaven, and there is no favoritism with him. (verse 9b)
So Jesus is in heaven. He's watching all of us.
He was watching the servants, slaves, and masters. And as far as Jesus was concerned, they were all men who would one day
come through the pearly gates and they wouldn't have any earthly status or wealth then. Judgement would be about how they
treated each other, how they fellowshiped with one another, whether they exasperated each other, whether they offended each
other, whether they threatened each other, whether they were churned up hate among themselves.
not be showing any favoritism, Paul says. So just put the bossy attitude away. It may work for a while down here on earth,
but that's not your last resting place, so take great care about how you interact with your fellow earth creatures.
Now comes one of Paul's great metaphors. In verses 11-12, he says: Put on the full armor of God so that you
can take your stand against the devil's schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers,
against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly
"Heavenly realms" is another curious term that Paul uses. In fact, he makes five references
to the heavenly realms in this letter to the Ephesians: Eph. 1:3; 1:20; 2:6; 3:10; and 6:12.
And if you were
to google "heavenly realms," you'd find 366,000 pages referenced to this topic. Books have been written about
these realms. The early church fathers divided them up into layers that are supposedly governed by specifically assigned angels
having different authorities and tasks assigned by God.
But Paul doesn't give us any specific details
about angels residing and ruling in any particular layer of the heavenly realms. Paul is silent about this, yet he repeats
the reference to heavenly realms often enough to cause me to wonder why he brought it up at all.
up pretty high on the list of questions I'm going to ask when I get to heaven. Somewhere it says in the Bible that all
things will be made known, so I'm looking forward to finding out some things about the heavenly realms when I get there.
But this armor of God is outlined in verses 14-17:
Belt of truth buckled around your waist
of righteousness in place
with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace
faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one
helmet of salvation
sword of the Spirit,
which is the word of God
In verse 18, Paul admonishes: Pray in 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.
Paul made some
references to this armor of God in his other letters:
1 Corinthians 6:7 -- by truthful speech, and the power
of God; with the weapons of righteousness for the right hand and for the left;
1 Thessalonians 5:8 -- But
since we belong to the day, let us be sober, having put on the breastplate of faith and love, and for a helmet the hope of
Isaiah had references to this also:
Isaiah 11:5 -- Righteousness shall be the belt
of his waist, and faithfulness the belt of his loins.
Isaiah 59:17 -- He put on righteousness as a breastplate,
and a helmet of salvation on his head; he put on garments of vengeance for clothing, and wrapped himself in zeal as a cloak.
And Paul said, Pray also for me, that whenever I open my mouth, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly
make known the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains. Pray that I may declare it fearlessly, as I
And Paul then closes this most powerful of his epistles to the people in churches in and around Ephesus.
Paul's letter to the Ephesians is one of my favorites of all Paul's letters. It was the subject of a research
project that I completed for a theology course when I was in grad school at Concordia University in River Forest, Illinois.
Each of us students could select any book of the New Testament (except Jude). Our assignment was to differentiate and explain
all the doxologies and catechises in the books we'd chosen. Ephesians is one of the most powerful letters that Paul wrote,
in my view. It's six chapters are power-packed. I've read the letter and re-read the letter many times and each
time, I'm left with a new appreciation for all that Paul did.
What a warrior for Christ!
There are a number of discussion points you could focus on from this chapter
alone. First, you might talk about how, as parents, you could edify your children. Talk about what it means to "exasperate"
your children and how you can strengthen your parenting skills, if you need to.
Talk about the heavenly realms.
What do you think Paul meant by this term. Make sure you keep your discussions grounded in Biblical truth. There's all
kinds of curious teachings about what this term means, so be very careful. If you still have questions, ask your pastor
or priest to guide you through your study.
And finally, copy down the armor of Christ and commit it to memory.
Be ever mindful of the need to put on this armor each and every day. Make it part of your morning routine.
of you have apparently gotten into the habit of finding this Bible Study early in the mornings. I'm guessing that you're
doing this before you head out the door for work. And there are just as many others who come to this study later in the day,
and into the evenings. I thank God for you and I pray that your study of the Word of God will be enriched.
Of all the pages on this web site, the Bible Study gets far more hits than any other. About ten to one. That says
there's a tremendous hunger for God's word. I thank you for joining me. And like Paul, I ask that you pray for me
so that I can continue to build you up as a teacher.
We pray: Dear Heavenly Father,
I thank you for this wonderful opportunity to study your Word with freedom here in the United States. And I pray for safety
for those who are studying the Bible in far away places that are not so safe.
I thank you for your servant
Paul and for the wisdom he brings to us through the Holy Spirit who guided his hand as he wrote these letters to the early
In verse 18, Paul says to pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests.
Help me to remember that I can bring any request to you in prayer and I pray for your continued blessings for me and Quint,
and for our children and grandchildren as well. I pray that you will keep us all safe as we go about our daily lives. Amen.
Thursday, April 3, 2008
Women who read these verses and
say they're not going to "obey" their husband somehow get to that point out of Paul's use of the word "submit."
So listen to what Paul says in verses 22-24: Wives, submit to your husbands as to the Lord. For the husband is
the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior. Now as the church submits to
Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything.
This "submit" that Paul is
talking about is a reiteration of what he said in verse 21: Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.
Submit, in one of the seven dictionary definitions, means to yield to the power or authority of another; whereas obey
means to follow the commands, restrictions, wishes or instructions of another. Submission also means to present for the approval
or consideration of another.
I like to talk about this submission business with couples who come for marriage counseling.
This business about submitting is not an awful thing for men and women in their relationship. After all, submitting
wasn't so bad when couples were on their honeymoons, or in the newlywed years of their marriage. Submitting is downright
fun when we are passionately eager to please one another.
There are many ways that we submit to one another in
a healthy relationship. Husbands submit to their wives too. So often, it's the lady of the house who manages the purse
strings -- who write the checks, pay the bills, balance the budget. There's a lot of interdependence going on when it
comes to family finances, and there's also a lot of submission with one another too.
In many many couples,
it's the wife who doles out the spending money. The lunch money. The running money. Call it what you like, but come payday,
the check goes in the bank and in the majority of families, it's the woman in the relationship who manages the discretionary
income after she pays the bills.
So who's submitting? Is the husband submitting because he gets the money
from his wife? Or are they acting on a pre-arranged agreement they have about the money?
My point is, Paul was
not talking about a woman becoming a slave to her husband, but rather, that she submit to him. And when there is a lot of
love going on between a man and a woman, there isn't this hang-up about the word "submit" because the relationship
has to do with each wanting to please the other.
And when we love one another, we want to please. And when we
want to please, submitting is not a big deal. In good marriage relationships, it happens all the time. There's a lot of
cross-submission and cross-love and it has nothing to do with losing your identity.
In a marriage, two people
become one. If you've worked it right, you can't tell where you leave off and your spouse begins, because your marriage
relationship has an identity of its own. It's an entity that both the husband and wife, as social engineers, create and
give life to out of their love for one another.
Paul goes on to say that husbands ought to love their wives just
like Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her ... (verse 25a).
Notice that this sacrifice is called
upon for the husband, even to the extreme point of dying for his wife if need be. Such an extreme expression of devotion is
not called upon for the wife, though. But Paul is saying that husbands ought to be willing to guard and protect their wives,
even to shield them with their lives if need be.
Paul continues to talk about this most glorious love between a
husband and a wife and likens is to the great love that Christ had for the church, in verses 25b-27: ...to make her holy,
cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain
or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless.
That's how husbands ought to love their wives,
Paul says in verse 28b.
And here's a final thought for the married couple in verse 31: For this reason
a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.
says this is a profound mystery. We don't understand how God makes this happen and Paul's analogy to the earthly marriage
of a man and woman does not compare to the pure and holy love that Christ has for the church and likens the church to Christ's
"bride." But the two types of marriages are not even remotely equal.
However, marriage is
the most intimate of human relationships. And it is the most powerful human love that we know, for out of this married
love comes the creation of children.
Paul uses the comparison of this powerful love that men and women have for
one another in their marriage as an echo of the love that Christ has for the church. (Concordia Study Bible, page
1312, footnote for verse 32.)
These particular verses usually elicit some
excited comments. In your group discussions, talk about the different ways that men and women try to please each other in
their marriages. When we are eager to please someone because we love them, aren't we being submissive?
pray: Dear Heavenly Father, I thank you for the blessings of a wonderful Christian marriage. I pray that all people
everywhere could have honor and respect in their marriages, for out of that comes the most profound joy.
that you would bless again the marriages that have been avowed before your altars around the world. Keep husbands and wives
safe within their love for each other. I lift them all in prayer. Amen.
Wednesday, April 2, 2008
We were out walking the other day and as
we came around the corner on Third Street, there was the unmistakable aroma of steaks grilling. There's just nothing else
that has the saliva pumping aroma for all us beef eaters.
God likes that aroma too. In fact, back in the old days,
he said the aroma was fragrant and when the beef was sacrificed on the altars of the early Israelites, it was a fragrance
pleasing to God. This is what God said in Genesis 8:21 -- And when the Lord smelled the pleasing aroma, the
Lord said in his heart, "I will never again curse the ground because of man..."
Paul opens this
chapter with the words, Be imitators of God... (verse 1a). My Concordia Study Bible says in the footnote for this
verse on page 1810: "One way of imitating God is to have a forgiving spirit.
That was how Paul closed the
fourth chapter: Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you (4:32).
Paul peppers that word -- forgiveness -- all through his writings. In fact, he talks about it so much you'd think
it had some kind of ultra-importance. If you think that, you'd be correct.
Your mental health depends on your
being a forgiving person. But more important than that, it is God's command that you be a forgiving person. Forgive others
just like God forgives us. And we're going to hear in just a few verses that God's wrath comes to those who are
disobedient. (verse 6b)
The problem is, we are all too willing to forgive people we love. We can forgive people
we care about. But what about those people who don't measure up to how we think they ought to behave? What about
those people who are mean and hurt us, on purpose, we think? What about that?
Take a hint from Jesus Christ. When
he was hanging there on the cross -- for the forgiveness of our sins -- did he look down at those Roman soldiers and say to
his Father in heaven, "I want you to forgive all these people milling around down there except those mean Roman guys
who beat me and made me drag that stupid cross through the streets. How humiliating is that!? Don't forgive them. They
don't deserve forgiveness."
But no. Christ lifted this prayer to his Father in heaven, "Forgive them.
They don't know what they're doing."
Maybe your parents let you down when you were a little kid. Maybe
your neighbor is a jerk. Maybe people have been so mean to you that you've literally built a prison inside your heart.
The time has come to let all that go. You will never know peace until you let all that pain and suffering and
anguish go. In fact, you have to be careful that you don't make an idol out of your pain. If you are hanging onto the
pains of your past, then it is separating you from God because of your unforgiving heart. In that case, it has, indeed, become
Oh, not an idol in the sense that you worship your anguish, but an idol because you've put it in a
special little hidden place where you go and nurture it in your quiet moments. You do this by reminding yourself of how much
you deserve to feel the way you do. That's just like giving a piece of corn to a silly chicken. You're feeding your
pain when you revisit all those old, moldy memories.
Maintaining an unforgiving heart. How's that working for
you? Just remember that anger multiplies misery. Doesn't count for much except for its self-destructiveness.
take Paul's words to heart in verse 2: ...live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us
as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.
Then there's this list of things we are supposed to stay
Not even a hint of sexual immorality, or any kind of impurity
No greed, because these are improper
for God's holy people
No obscenities, foolish talk or coarse joking
Instead, be thankful for the gifts
Don't let people fool you with their empty words, for because of such things God's wrath comes
on those who are disobedient. So don't partner up with these fools.
Gee, I wonder if God is watching the politicians
running around making all kinds of foolish, empty claims about how great they are? I wonder if they realize that God is watching
them. Listening to them.
Empty lies are just that. They're not okay just because it's the "silly season"
in the presidential campaign, and political rhetoric is not like a real lie.
Don't kid yourself. Stay away
from liars and people who shout obscenities. They'll drag you down to their level and you don't want to go to those
In fact, Paul says in verses 8-10: For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord.
Live as children of light (for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness and truth) and find out what
pleases the Lord.
Paul made lists and lists of what pleases the Lord. And he shared these lists in his letters
to the young churches.
And then there's this hint that Paul gave to the Thessalonians in 1 Thess. 2:4 -- but
just as we have been approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel, so we speak, not to please man, but to please God who
tests our hearts.
And Matthew Henry says: This is the great motive to sincerity, to consider that God
not only sees all we do, but knows our thoughts afar off, and searches the heart. And it is from this God who trieth our hearts,
that we must receive our reward. (http://sitebuilder.myregisteredsite.com/sitebuilder/f_edit_page.html)
Paul goes on to say, in verses 15-17: Be very careful, then, how you live -- not as unwise but as wise,
making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord's
And just in case the Ephesians might have forgotten what the Lord's will is, Paul tells them
again in this list:
Do not get drunk on wine (which leads to debauchery)
Instead, be filled with the
Speak to one another with psalms, hymns and spiritual songs.
Sing and make music in your heart
to the Lord, always giving thanks to God the Father for everything.
And then, in verse 21: Submit to one another
out of reverence for Christ.
Discussion: Have you ever had someone who hurt you so much that
you thought you'd never be able to forgive him/her?
Did you ever get past that? If you did, then how did you
Do you forgive some things but not others? Can you understand, in your heart, why it matters to you if you're
hanging on to old stuff?
God knows what's in your hearts. We are his creation and you can just bet that he
did not allow any little secret places to exist where even one little thought or idea can be hidden away from him. And if
you are still hurting, he knows that, even if you don't know why.
So if you ask him, he'll tell you. Then
you'll be free of all that anguish.
We pray: Dear Father in Heaven, more than anything in
this world, I would love to be free of all that pain. It's time that I finally let it go. But I know -- and this is the
part that scares me -- when I clean it out of my heart, there'll be this big empty space that I don't know what to
do with. Can you help me? I ask that you send your Holy Spirit into my heart to help me clean out all the dusty corners so
that I can live my life completely for you. Amen.
Tuesday, April 1, 2008
Paul continues the theme of unity with
each other in this letter. We had learned earlier in this chapter that each of us has a specific task to do in building the
church. Each of us has been given a specific and unique gift that will enable us to do this. By using these gifts and building
up the church, we then share with one another a place in the body of Christ.
I liken this as some of us doing the
footwork. Others are the spine that hold the structure up administratively. Some are the hands that answer the need for the
calls of service. And when we have all gotten together, and we have our separate gift-driven service, then we mold ourselves
into the body of Christ. We become an assembly of believers, a congregation, a communion of worshipers. But what would the
body be without a head to give it purpose?
That purpose of our unity comes from Christ who is the head of the church
(see verse 15).
So now Paul continues with a list of what to do which will help us mature as members of the church.
He tells us how to mature in our faith.
First of all, when we come to this new faith, when we become believers,
we can't live like we used to. Or, as Paul put it, as the Gentiles do (see verse 17).
Paul reminds the Ephesians
that the Gentiles were separated from God because of their own ignorance and their hardened hearts. His message is just as
meaningful for us today as it was for the Gentiles back in the days of the early church in that first century.
not going to be insensitive to others anymore.
We're not going to give in to the passionate pleasures that
have ignited all our self-indulgences. Today is a new day. We wake up each morning with the pleasure of God's glory pulsing
through our veins and shining through us. No mistakes in the day yet.
How far can you get into your day with no
mistakes in it? Can you make it til noon? Maybe four o'clock? Get as far as you can go. It's about striving to get
as far as you can go to resist the temptations of indulgences you used to play with (see verses 18-19).
you heard of [Christ] and were taught in him in accordance with the truth that is in Jesus. You were taught, with regard to
your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the
attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness (verses
Paul was a bit more specific in his letter to the Colossians (3:8) -- But now you must put them all
away: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and obscene talk from your mouth.
Where Paul said to "put these
things away," Matthew Henry said to "mortify them."
Mortify is a powerful word. Basically it means
to discipline your body by self-denial, or the second definition is to hold within limits and control.
what Mr. Henry has to say: It is our duty to mortify our members which incline to the things of the world. Mortify them,
kill them, suppress them, as weeds or vermin which spread and destroy all about them.
Continual opposition must
be made to all corrupt workings, and no provision made for carnal indulgences. Occasions of sin must be avoided: the lusts
of the flesh, and the love of the world; and covetousness, which is idolatry; love of present good, and of outward enjoyments.
It is necessary to mortify sins, because if we do not kill them, they will kill us.
The gospel changes
the higher as well as the lower powers of the soul, and supports the rule of right reason and conscience, over appetite and
passion. There is now no difference from country, or conditions and circumstances of life.
It is the duty of every
one to be hold, because Christ is a Christian's All, his only Lord and Saviour, and all his hope and happiness.
And continuing with Paul's list, he says that we must put off falsehood and speak truthfully to his neighbors,
for we are all members of one body. (verse 25)
And then there's that matter of anger. So perhaps you've
made it all the way through your day mistake-free, but then something sets you off after supper. Now you're mad. Paul
has special advice for you in verses 26 and 27: In your anger do not sin. Do not let the sun go down while you are still
angry, and do not give the devil a foothold.
I am reminded of the anger management workshops I used to conduct
at South Suburban College. Frequently, there would be people coming in from the nearby Sixth District Court for a little anger
personality rehab, so to speak. Anger got them into trouble. More than that -- anger led them to sin when they poked somebody
in the nose and left them in a bloody heap of human flesh on a bar room floor.
Those were the ones who would try
to shift the blame for their anger to someone who set them off. You may have heard them. They say, "Well he made
To that I would say, "No one makes you angry." Other people arouse the
anger that's already there. What you have to do -- and what we are going to learn to do -- is get rid of the anger
that's hiding inside you. Then you'll know peace."
"Well, that's not possible," they'd
"Sure it is. Let me give you an example. For instance, there's nothing you can do to me that would
make me angry with you. And why is that? Because I'm not an angry person. There's no anger in me for you to arouse."
A few hours later, there would be a calming come over the class. Oh, I couldn't accommodate all that mortification,
as Matthew Henry would say, in a few hours. But there were always some who wanted to know more about that inner peace. How
to get it. How to keep it.
I wish I'd known more about Matthew Henry back then. I would have told them they
had to mortify their anger. They would have liked that.
But the apostle Paul tells us to be sure that
anger doesn't lead us into sin. And there's a whole bunch of ways that this can happen. Somehow when people get angry
with one another, they think they suddenly have the right to get even, to hurt the other person, to take advantage of them.
That's when you could ruin a perfectly good, mistake-free day. That's why Paul warns us in verse 27 not
to give the devil a foothold.
Or, as Matthew Henry said, it's our duty to make sure that doesn't happen.
I have a cross reference to James 4:7 -- Submit yourselves therefor to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee
This resistance works because Satan is a big fat ugly slob. He's lazy and if you resist -- especially
if you have prayed for help from the Holy Spirit -- the devil will go off somewhere to an easier target. He'd just as
soon spend the least amount of energy possible to get through his workday. And if you resist him, he'll find someone
else who won't.
Continuing with Paul's list of ways we grow and mature our faith, he says in verse 29:
Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to
their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.
Paul just described what it's like to be charming.
Charming people can always find something good to say about other people. They'll walk up to you and say something like,
"That's a really good color on you." Or "I like that tie."
Quint said that one day to our
youngest son, Dean, and he took off the tie and gave it to his dad. Quint wore it to church last Sunday and every time he
wears that tie, we both smile and remember Dean.
Charming people. They can always think of something good to say.
They build us up. They do it so often, and they do it so well that it becomes part of their nature. They are edifiers.
And in verse 30, Paul says: Do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of
Paul had written in his first letter to the Thessalonians (5:19) -- Do not quench the Spirit.
Matthew Henry says: Christians are said to be baptized with the Holy Ghost and with fire.
worketh as fire, by enlightening, enlivening, and purifying the souls of men. As fire is put out by taking away fuel, and
as it is quenched by pouring water, or putting a great deal of earth upon it; so we must be careful not to quench the Holy
Spirit by indulging carnal lusts and affections, minding only earthly things.
Believers often hinder
their growth in grace by not giving themselves up to the spiritual affections raised in their hearts by the Holy Spirit.
...We must search the Scriptures...We should abstain from sin, and whatever looks like sin, leads to it,
and borders upon it...
And here's the rest of the list inverse 31-32: Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and
slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ
God forgave you.
One of these days I'm going to do a little mini-series on forgiveness. You need to understand
that forgiveness is an active verb. It means you choose to forgive. When we are able to become a forgiving person, we find
ourselves more and more at peace. And yes, our mental well-being relies on our being, or becoming, forgiving persons. After
all, God knows what he's talking about when he says he wants us to forgive each other.
Make a list of all the things that you are able to resist doing today that would have led you to
Do something unexpectedly nice and edifying to someone today.
Do something nice for yourself --
something that would make you feel like the valuable person that you are.
We pray: Oh Lord, I
thank you for giving me the gift of your Spirit to guide me and work with me and support me as I go through each day of my
I especially pray for all the people here in the United States and around the world as well who are enduring
the horrors of flooding. I pray for safety for all those who are put in harm's way when they confront the destructive
power of water. I pray that you will be with them and comfort them as many who will have to build their lives over again.
I say a special prayer for Leslie this morning. Her husband dropped a car axle on his right hand and broke two fingers.
Leslie -- who already was the caregiver for her widowed father, and is the mother of two children under the age of 10 -- must
now stretch her love and her endurance yet farther as she ministers to her husband who must go through surgery to fix
broken bones. I pray for strength and compassion for Leslie and her family. I pray that your son, Jesus Christ, the Divine
Healer, will guide the physicians and surgeons who care for Leslie's husband Tony. Amen.
We welcome July readers from Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, Czech Republic, France, Great Britain, Germany,
Greece, Hungary, India, Latvia, Philippines, Poland, Romania, Russian Federation, Singapore, Slovak Republic, Spain, Sweden,
Taiwan, Thailand, Turkey, Ukraine, Venezuela, Vietnam and United
This video is the most beautiful depiction of what happens
in the womb when the baby is developing and growing. The video was developed by Yale professor Alexander Tsiaras. Just beautiful.
Warning, though. Some of the images are graphic. But nothing gross. It is just a reminder to me that life is a beautiful baby
and life is absolutely precious. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fKyljukBE70&feature=player_embedded#!
July 29, 2012
Update on Quint: He
is making an incredible recovery. The skin cancer is essentially gone. When we met with the surgeon for a post-op appointment
on Friday, we learned that the biopsy of the frozen section shows all the cancer was removed. The incision is healing nicely.
It's about a 6" incision down the side of his face in front of the left ear. The doctor put so many stitches in that
any scar is hardly visible. Thanks to all for prayers you have been lifting up for his health. The surgeon says there are
dissolving stitches in three levels of tissue. We also met with our oncologist last week and he says the lymphocitic/leukemia
will continue to make Quint vulnerable to skin cancers. Please keep him in your prayers so that all his cancers, and mine
as well, will remain in remission.
I received the following about a child's reason for why he believes in God
from our friends, John and Sherre, in Wichita, KS:
Little Boy's Explanation of God
He wrote it for his third grade homework assignment,
to 'explain God.'
I wonder if any of us
could have done as well?
'One of God's main jobs is making people.
He makes them to replace the ones that die, so there
will be enough people to take care of things on earth. He doesn't
make grownups, just babies. I
think because they are smaller and easier to make. That way he doesn't have to take up
time teaching them to talk and walk. He can just leave that to mothers and fathers.'
'God's second most important job is listening to prayers. An awful lot of this goes on, since some
people, like preachers
and things, pray at times beside bedtime. God doesn't have time to listen to
the radio or TV because of this. Because
he hears everything, there must be a terrible lot of noise in
his ears, unless he has thought of a way to turn it off.'
'God sees everything and hears everything and is everywhere which keeps Him pretty busy. So you
shouldn't go wasting
his time by going over your mom and dad's head asking for something they said you
'Atheists are people who don't believe in God. I don't think there are any in Chula Vista [California]. At least
aren't any who come to our church.'
'Jesus is God's Son. He used to do all the hard work, like walking on water and performing miracles
and trying to teach
the people who didn't want to learn about God. They finally got tired of him
preaching to them and they crucified him.
But he was good and kind, like his father, and he told his
father that they didn't know what they were doing and to forgive
them and God said O.K.'
'His dad (God) appreciated everything that he had done and all his hard work on earth so he told him
he didn't have to
go out on the road anymore. He could stay in heaven. So he did. And now he helps
his dad out by listening to prayers
and seeing things which are important for God to take care of
and which ones he can take care of himself without having
to bother God. Like a secretary, only more
'You can pray anytime you want and they are sure to help you because they got it worked out so one of
them is on duty
all the time.'
'You should always go to church on Sunday because it makes God happy, and if there's anybody you want to
Don't skip church to do something you think will be more fun like going to the beach. This is wrong. And
sun doesn't come out at the beach untilnoon anyway.'
'If you don't believe in God, besides being an atheist, you will be very lonely, because your
parents can't go everywhere
with you, like to camp, but God can. It is good to know He's around you when
you're scared, in the dark or when you can't
swim and you get thrown into real deep water by big
'But. . .you shouldn't just always think of what God can do for you. I figure God put me here and he can
take me back
anytime he pleases.
And...that's why I believe in God.'
July 13, 2012
Quint is recuperating
from surgery on July 11, 2012. Surgeon removed a growth on left cheek that turned out to be squamous cell cancer. Prognosis
is good because doctor says he got good margins. Please continue to pray for him. He has a 4" incision on left cheek
from about the corner of his eye all the way down to jawbone. Looks worse than it is.
In another matter, this
link: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2172551/Art-genius-Nine-year-old-painter-tipped-greatness-buyers-world-snap-work.html shows some incredible artwork that a young, 9-year old in England, artist has painted and his work is beginning to sell
July 1, 2012
I'm a Lutheran
and I sure wish the Lutheran Church had authored this video or one like it: http://www.youtube.com/watch_popup?v=D9vQt6IXXaM&hd
No matter, it's a message that needs saying so hats off to the Catholic church!
On another subject,
the temperature here in Middle Illinois at 6 p.m. as 102.8 degrees. That's really hot.
Stay safe out there. If
you do not have air conditioning, or if your AC goes out in this heat, sit in a tub of cool water. It will do wonders pulling
heat out of your body. And let's remember in prayers all those folks on the eastern seaboard who don't have electricity. They
don't even have fans to plug in.
Kind of reminds me of going to church when I was a kid. Oh, was that hot. And
remember those hand fans that funeral homes gave out free to churches? We wore ours out.
June 24, 2012
The heat is
the story here in the Midwest part of the United States. I can't tell you when the last time there was rain, but the corn
stalks are starting to look pretty wilted. The word "parched" comes to mind. The beans don't look any better either.
So the big conclusion that some people have arrived at is that God is punishing the United States because so many
people have turned away from Him?
And how many?
and doomers pontificate about how we're all going to die and go to hell can't give any numbers. Can't offer any hope.
Well, folks, don't you believe it. God is a God of love. He wants all of us to be saved.
And to those people
who think they can define the reasoning of God are being sacrilegious. They are talking when they should be listing to God.
My God is a God of love. He sent His Son, Jesus Christ, into the world to die for our sins. Because of that, we are
assured of salvation and life eternal.
But there are those who are going through these crises of faith. They're
noisy. When God talks to you, listen to Him. It's that still, small voice inside you. And don't believe the naysayers who
think they have he last word on what means and what God intends to do. They don't know. They just don't know.
faith is what will bring you closer to God. Let Him into your hearts and listen to Him.
June 6, 2012
We don't laugh enough.
We are not light hearted enough. Way too serious. Oh, there are times when serious is good for you, but there are many more
days when we just are not enjoying a good laugh.
So someone sent me a link to Mark Lowry. He's a Christian comedian
and good for a real belly laugh, I can guarantee you.
Here's the link: http://jesus-loves-you.org/?p=6641
I'm going to You Tube and search for him and see if he's got other material. He's really funny.
May 15, 2012
Our U.S. Constitution
is not flawed. It's not dead. It's not irrelevant!
Those who think it's out of touch with today's "modern
thought" fail to realize that the U.S. Constitution is modernized each time the United States Supreme Court reviews a
law or an incident and decides whether the rights of our citizens are abridged or impeached.
The language of the
U.S. Constitution does, in fact, reside in a little book small enough to fit inside a man's jacket pocket or in a lady's handbag.
However, volumes and volumes of interpretive material fills libraries. Interpretation by the sitting Justices keeps our Constitution
May 12, 2012
Our God is awesome!
God controls the waters and the seas. Take a look at this video of the angry sea. http://www.dump.com/angryseas/
May 10, 2012
I am in the process of researching the involvement and the role that the National Road (U.S. 40) played in military
activities -- specifically troop movements. If you know of any such movements, please email me at email@example.com and put "National Road info" in the subject line. I'd be ever so grateful. If you do not want your name used, be
sure to tell me. Otherwise, I'd like to share that you found the information. This is for a funding opportunity for Effingham
County and it will focus on the role that the National Road has played in the significance of Effingham.
April 27, 2012
Well, that was
a nice little rest.
Since I've last posted, I've fretted that frost would get my lovely irises. It didn't. Nor
did the frost chip away at my roses. I have never had roses blooming in April before. They have exploded into full bloom.
Bright red blooms against our white house. Wow!
And the irises are just as beautiful. I have some really deep purple
irises, light lavender, some two-toned purple and white, bright yellow, a lighter lemon chiffon color, a pink iris and a peach
colored one that is a double.
The spirea finally decided it would bloom too.
All in all, considering
that I did absolutely nothing last year in the flower bed, it's amazing that my little troopers have done as well as they
have. The irises apparently are no longer upset with me for snipping them back at the end of January and early February. Again
in March when they started sending up things that looked like they'd bloom.
We've still had frost tucked in between
80 degree days but nothing serious enough to hurt my darling little flowers.
Quint and I are doing well. We continue
to see our oncologist every three months and get blood work to check markers for cancer that might have decided to invade
us again. So far, so good. Platelet counts are coming back to normal and we're working on our stamina.
I do have
to take some medication for five years -- well, four years now -- that inhibits estrogen. It will keep breast cancer from
recurring. Problem is, it makes the long bones in my legs and muscles in the thighs really ache. Nothing that can't be tolerated
though. Compared to the benefits of what the medicine does for me, I'd say I came out the winner at this point.
lymphoma is still in remission too, so we're pretty health for the shape we're in.
And now I'm going to fix us
a snack of yogurt, sliced strawberries, sliced bananas and walnuts. Then we're going to watch some spy thrillers on Netflix
Nice to be back and thank you for not giving up on me.
April 10, 2012
I am getting
over the grandaddy of all colds. I expect to be better by morning, after having laid around all day today. Finally just gave
it up and stayed in bed.
Until now, that is.
And you know how I love kids and their entrepreneural spirit.
Well, here's a video of a young lad in east LA who build an arcade out of cardboard boxes in his dad's auto parts store. His
name is Caine and he's 9 years old. It's just precious! http://games.yahoo.com/blogs/unplugged/nine-old-cardboard-arcade-launches-college-fund-182844242.html
Oh, and one other thing before I head back to my comfy easy chair. We have frost warnings for tonight. 30 degrees!
My irises and roses are blooming. Wonder how that's going to set with them.
I just thought I'd mention something
about all those spam emails and telemarketer calls you may be getting. Even if you're signed up for "do not call"
lists, you still can get calls. Here's how. If you take part in an online voting request, or if you call to participate in
a TV vote, you are setting up what is known as a "special relationship." Special relationships with a state allows
any advertiser of that station of promo outfit to put you on their callers who are exempt from the "do not call"
If you live in Illinois and you get a telemarketer call, just tell the caller that Illinois is a "do
not call" state and you do not want to be on their lists. They are required to hang up at that point. I've tried it and
Also, here's a tip for getting rid of all those preapproved gimmicks that find their way into your mailbox.
When I get the offers, the first thing I do is draw a big diagnonal line through the offer and write VOID on it. Then I stuff
the document back into the self-addressed postage paid envelope that they provide. The advertisers are going to stop sending
you stuff pretty quick rather than pay postage twice.
April 5, 2012
Thursday - the first part of the Easter trilogy.
Maundy Thursday was the night when Jesus shared bread and wine
with his disciples and commemorated the event that we've followed in the Lutheran Church for ages since that time.
When I was confirmed on Palm Sunday many years ago, Maundy Thursday was the first opportunity I was given as a new confirmant
to take my first communion. It was an awesome experience then, and it continues to be every chance I get.
that it is the same for you as you draw near to the Easter story.
Tomorrow is Good
Friday. Part 2 with the significance of Christ dying on the cross for our sins.
And then, of course, there's Easter
Sunday when we celebrate Christ's resurrection.
Sin and death no longer have a hold on us because Christ died for
April 4, 2012
Ready to watch
a miracle? Here's a video showing a woman in an SUV sinking. She couldn't swim. The SUV sank. But the miracle is not that
she was somehow pulled from the SUV but the after-story: http://salesianity.blogspot.com/2012/04/woman-drowning-in-her-suv-is.html --
May the blessings of Easter catch you up in the miracles going around you every day. Life is a miracle.
God brings miracles to us today just as He did thousands of years ago when Jesus died and rose again. I pray that you will
get caught up in the miracle of the Easter story all over again. Christ died for our sins and rose again, and because He rose
again, we have eternal life guaranteed to us by our Heavenly Father.
April 2, 2012
Want to know what
video of a couple of famous dancers has gotten more than 118 million hits? None other than the big routine from Dirty
Another trivia question that some of you may know the answer to has to do with the 100th anniversary of the Titanic's
failure at sea. April 15 is the date of this tragedy. If you thought most of the folks on board perished in the icy waters,
you'll be surprised to learn that only half died. Well, maybe "only" is not a good word. One would be too many on
a ship that was touted as unsinkable. There were 2,223 passengers and crew. 1,517 died. A little more than half.
April 1, 2012
If you haven't
heard this song by the Barn Again Gang -- On My Father's side -- am sure you'll enjoy it. And thanks to you, Joyce
from Frankfort, IL for sending: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N5ddoyfn6g4
And here's Kaitlyn Maher, a 4-year old, singing in America's Got Talent. Mind you, she's had 26,585,501 hits on
her debut on the national stage. She is absolutely adorable! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wwAbtizFCzo&feature=related
Kaitlyn Maher again, this time singing Ave Maria - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CR0AXNtwqZE&feature=related
And she got to sing for President and First Lady Laura Bush: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fpt_UU96EG8&feature=related
Here she is singing the National Anthem: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bhD9kKb3hSM&feature=related
I have not ever heard the story about the "Praying Hands" so I am especially thankful to
Cody in Warrensburg, MO for sending Back in the fifteenth century, in a tiny village near Nuremberg, lived a family with
eighteen children. Eighteen! In order merely to keep food on the table for this mob,
the father and head of the household,
a goldsmith by profession, worked almost
eighteen hours a day at his tradeand any other paying chore he could find in
Despite their seemingly hopeless condition, two of the elder children, Albrecht and
Albert, had a dream. They both wanted to pursue their talent for art, but they knew
full well that their father would
never be financially able to send either of them
to Nuremberg to study at the Academy.
After many long discussions
at night in their crowded bed, the two boys finally
worked out a pact. They would toss a coin. The loser would go down
into the nearby
mines and, with his earnings, support his brother while he attended the academy.
Then, when that
brother who won the toss completed his studies, in four years, he
would support the other brother at the academy, either
with sales of his artwork or,
if necessary, also by laboring in the mines.
They tossed a coin on a Sunday
morning after church. Albrecht Durer won the toss and
went off to Nuremberg.
Albert went down into the dangerous
mines and, for the next four years, financed his
brother, whose work at the academy was almost an immediate sensation.
etchings, his woodcuts, and his oils were far better than those of most of his
professors, and by the
time he graduated, he was beginning to earn considerable fees
for his commissioned works.
When the young
artist returned to his village, the Durer family held a festive
dinner on their lawn to celebrate Albrecht's triumphant
homecoming. After a long and
memorable meal, punctuated with music and laughter, Albrecht rose from his honored
at the head of the table to drink a toast to his beloved brother for the
years of sacrifice that had enabled Albrecht
to fulfill his ambition. His closing
words were, "And now, Albert, blessed brother of mine, now it is your turn.
can go to Nuremberg to pursue your dream,and I will take care of you."
All heads turned in eager
expectation to the far end of the table where Albert sat,
tears streaming down his pale face, shaking his lowered head
from side to side while
he sobbed and repeated, over and over, "No ...no....no ..no."
Albert rose and wiped the tears from his cheeks. He glanced down the long
table at the faces he loved, and then, holding
his hands close to his right cheek,
he said softly, "No, brother. I cannot go to Nuremberg. It is too late for me.
... Look what four years in the mines have done to my hands! The bones in every
finger have been smashed at
least once, and lately I have been suffering from
arthritis so badly In my right hand that I cannot even hold a glass
to return your
toast, much less make delicate lines on parchment or canvas with a pen or a brush.
No, brother ....for
me it is too late."
More than 450 years have passed. By now, Albrecht Durer's hundreds of masterful
pen and silver-point sketches, water colors, charcoals, woodcuts, and
copper engravings hang in every great museum in
the world, but the odds are great
that you, like most people, are familiar with only one of Albrecht Durer's works.
More than merely being familiar with it, you very well may have a reproduction
hanging in your home or office.
One day, to pay homage to Albert for all that he had sacrificed, Albrecht Durer
painstakingly drew his brother's
abused hands with palms together and thin fingers
stretched skyward. He called his powerful drawing simply "Hands,"
but the entire
world almost immediately opened their hearts to his great masterpiece and renamed
his tribute of
love "The Praying Hands."
March 30, 2012
I have to
share with you that the operators of this web site have become increasingly frustration to work with. The way I see it, I
have two choices: (1) shut down the site altogether and discontinue the blogs, or (2) find a site that is more responsive
to what I want from a web site.
In the meantime, one of the questions that Jesus asked is #80 -- If you do not
believe Moses' writings, how will you believe me? (John 5:47)
Old Testament writings often come under fire as being
"irrelevant" or "out of date" or just "too old."
All of those excuses are flawed,
in my view.
In the first place, the Word of God is eternal.
Because the Word is eternal, it transcends
time and space.
For that reason, when you read the Bible, the breath of God is still on the paper; still on the
words. The Bible is the Word of God. It will never get "too old" or "out of date."
the Word. Absorb it; take it in. If you find any challenge whatsoever about understanding what some passages mean, then the
Counselor will be sent to you, just for the asking. Just pray that Jesus will send you His Counselor to assist you in your
Blessings to you in your spiritual journey through the Word of God.
March 27, 2012
Here is one
of the most precious tapes I've ever heard of a child: http://www.maniacworld.com/stay-calm-dad.html From my friend Shirley in Arizona. It's just precious!
This is a video I found on my own. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3rtt-TmReaw&feature=related I love the innocence of this little girl. I pray that she will hold onto her dreams all her life and never let anyone
snatch them away from her.
God keeps the dreams of children in his right hand pocket. And woe be to those who
steal the dreams of a child.
Today I am going to discuss Question #66 from Luke 18:7 -- Will not God then
secure the rights of his chosen ones who call out to him day and night?
In the first place, I consider myself
one of God's chosen ones because I claim the inheritance of being a child of God.
And how did I get to
be a child of God? Simple. I believe that Jesus Christ, God's only Son, died for my sins and offered me salvation. By doing
this, He names says that I share in the inheritance of God's richest blessings.
And you most certainly can enjoy
this same inheritance and become a Child of God by believing that Jesus Christ died for your sins too.
that simple. You have only to believe.
This is my right, in God's own words. He says: Will not God then secure
the rights of his chosen ones who call out to him day and night? I believe that because I know that God does not lie.
He's good for His promises and when He says He's going to secure my rights, what do I have to fear?
And do I call
out to God day and night? Yes. In my car when I head out to work. I pray that some idiot does not plow into me head-on. I
pray that I don't get tee-boned by someone running a red light or a stop sign.
I pray that when I enter that miraculous
place of empty thoughts of what seems to be unconsciousness, that the veil will be lifted in the morning and I will re-awaken
to a new day. Sleep itself is a miracle. We fall into a mindless abyss every night and awaken refreshed to a new day. Is that
a miracle or what? How does God do that?
I remember reading or hearing this "what if" thought that when
you awaken in the morning, what if the only things you had in your life were the things you thanked God for yesterday! Kind
of put a new perspective on things for me. Instead of just nagging and nagging -- which I can be pretty good at -- for things
I think I want, or things I think I need -- I stop every day and thank God for what He gives me. The gifts are enormous and
I only get them because He is a gracious God. I certainly deserve nothing.
But all day and all night I talk to
God. We have an ongoing conversation. Help me with this, please. Oh, and thank you for that. Or how about all those problems
that you just can't seem to solve. Then He says, "I can help you with that." Or, after the problem is solved and
I nod a quiet thank you, He says "All you had to do was ask."
God is my friend. This King of the Universe
took notice of me when I was about four years old. That's when I started talking to Him in my head. I knew it was God because
I learned about Him in Sunday School. My Sunday School teacher told me I could just talk to God simply like he was an ordinary
person. I took her at her word and have never thought of God as anything but.
Even though I know for sure, now
that I have a few more years on me, that God is nothing ordinary at all. But I also know that He is never too busy to secure
my rights as one of His chosen ones.
Enjoy your day and rest easy in your sleep, dear friends. God is watching
out for you.
March 26, 2012
#32 that Jesus asked was, "Could you not watch for me one brief hour?" -- Matt. 26:40
There are lots
and lots of ways to travel through the Lenten season on the way to Calvary. And the reasons for doing things differently are
many and varied.
People offer up the thought that they can worship anywhere. They feel just as close to God, they
say, when they are listening to a beautiful piece of music, or walking through the woods in the late afternoon.
things are true.
But it seems to me that if you want to go down that path to Calvary, you ought to do it the way
that Jesus wants you to do it. Not the way you think, in your not-so-infinite pseudo-wisdom of coming up with these cute
little excuses. Cute, you think.
Truth is, Jesus wants you to go to your church, or your temple and watch
with him there, in that place.
This question that Jesus asks from Matthew sounds like a plea to me. Couldn't
you watch with me one hour?
Well, sure you could, if you thought it was important enough.
and I go to Lenten services and the church is not even half full. Where is everybody? Working? Playing? Doing homework? Driving
around? Out to dinner? Where are you? Those who couldn't come to this worshiping place to watch with Jesus one hour.
What if I told you that I had learned that Jesus was going to make one of those rare earthly appearances for one week only.
He was actually going to come to church because He wanted to talk to me.
I'd move heaven and earth to get there
on time. I want to meet this man while He's still alive. You bet I'd watch with him an hour. In fact, I'll stay up all night
if he stuck around to talk to me.
And talks to me He does. When I'm sitting in that pew, I can almost feel his
eyes burning a hole in my skin. Kind of at the back of my neck. I can almost feel his hand on my shoulder while he bends around
to look at me and whispers to me, "I'm so glad you came tonight. I'm doing this all for you, you know."
He's my Savior. We're connected. It must break His heart to see so many empty pews when they should be overflowing with
people who are willing to give Him one hour of their busy schedules.
"Why couldn't you watch with me one
hour?" He asks. It's a question you'll have all of eternity to answer Him one day.
March 25, 2012
Now this is precious!
It's a two year old dancing to Jailhouse Rock. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4wt824D1Bqg He's got some good moves too.
March 24, 2012
At this time
of year, one of my favorite places on earth is Kentucky when the dogwood and redbud are in full bloom -- and nowhere are they
more beautiful than my home town -- Paducah, Kentucky.
Just look at these gorgeous photos and you'll see what I
These quips come from my cousin who lives in a small town not too far from Houston -- well, in Texas, 200 miles
is a "small distance" I think: THE POSITIVE SIDE OF LIFE:
Living on Earth is expensive,
but it does include a free trip
around the sun every year.
How long a minute is
depends on what side of the
bathroom door you're on.
Birthdays are good for you;
the more you have,
the longer you live.
Happiness comes through doors you
didn't even know you left open.
Ever notice that the people who are late
are often much jollier
than the people who have to wait for them?
Most of us go to our grave
with our music still inside of us.
If WalMart is lowering prices every day,
how come nothing is free yet?
You may be only one person in the world,
but you may also be the world to one person.
Some mistakes are too much fun
to only make once.
Don't cry because it's over;
smile because it happened.
We could learn a lot from crayons:
some are sharp, some are pretty,
some are dull, some have weird names,
and all are different colors....but
they all exist very nicely in the same box.
A truly happy person is one who
can enjoy the scenery on a detour.
Have an awesome day, and
know that someone
who thinks you're great
has thought about you today!..
"And that person was me.".....
Please don't keep this message
to yourself.....send it to those
who mean so much to you.... "NOW".
Thank you, Frances. I love the one about some mistakes. Hope you don't have too many people
out there who are all to eager to point each and every little mistake you make. Those, I think, are the ones who go to
their graves with the music still living inside them. It's just too much "vinegar energy" to look for flaws in people.
And God knows I have more than my share, it seems. But here's the thing: I don't make mistakes on purpose and I never
make mistakes with the idea of making someone's misery index go up. I just thank God that I am surrounded by true
friends who cut me some slack. You know the ones. They really care about you. I like the idea that we are all living in a
big crayon box. That has to be one of those lessons learned in kindergarten. But then, I'm old enough to realize that
we didn't have kindergarten when I started school.
I celebrated kicking off my educational pursuits by going down
the big slide on the playground with a somersault from the top. I was grounded from recess for the rest of the week.
These beautiful thoughts also come from Frances:
JUST TO LET YOU KNOW THAT IT IS CHRISTIAN
PERSON WEEK AND YOU SHOULD SEND THIS TO
ALL BEAUTIFUL CHRISTIAN PEOPLE
When I say that 'I am
a Christian', I am not shouting that 'I am clean living. I'm
whispering 'I was lost, but now I'm found and forgiven.'
When I say 'I am a Christian' I don't speak of this with pride. I'm confessing that
I stumble and need Christ
to be my guide.
When I say 'I am a Christian' I'm not trying to be strong. I'm professing that I'm
need His strength to carry on.
When I say 'I am a Christian' I'm not bragging of success. I'm admitting I have
failed and need God to clean my mess.
When I say 'I am a Christian' I'm not claiming to be perfect. My flaws
are far too
visible, but God believes I am worth it.
When I say 'I am a Christian' I still feel the sting
of pain. I have my share of
heartaches, so I call upon His name.
When I say 'I am a Christian' I'm not holier
than thou, I'm just a simple sinner who
received God's good grace, somehow!
Today is Beautiful Christian Person's
Pretty is as Pretty does but, Beautiful is just plain Beautiful..
I'm supposed to send this to Beautiful
and you are one of them!!!
March 21, 2012
sermon text at our 5th Midweek Lenten Service in Matthew 28:16-20 comes the command of Jesus that we are to go into all the
world and make disciples of all men.
Well, I don't know about you but I can't go to the airport and get a ticket
to go to some faraway place and work in a mission field. But those very words are the marching orders of the church.
What I can do is partner with the Lutheran Women's Missionary League and be a supplier of stuff that missionaries
can use. Quilts, for instance. Quilts are made in Lutheran churches all across this country. They find their way into orphanages.
In hospitals. In remote villages where they are placed over a low branch and become the roof of a home. If the villager is
lucky, a second quilt could be a floor. We need more quilts -- more than the 355,000 that have been made this winter. That
means there will be an unmet need.
Our church is going to put baby kits together. These baby kits will have a few
diapers in them. Some tee shirts. Some tiny little caps. Diaper pins and little sleepers. We're making the receiving blankets
and it will have a bunch of baby supplies in it, then pinned with the diaper pins. Missionaries can take these baby kits and
go into villages and give them to new mothers who often don't have clothes for newborn babies. And if they have a receiving
blanket at all, it was made from their old clothes that were too worn out to use anymore. Imagine the joy when a new mom gets
a bright, colorful receiving blanket that has been made with so much love and joy and prayers!
Yes, the women of
the Lutheran Women's Missionary League can partner with missionaries who are in a position to tell others first-hand what
Jesus has done for them. They can ground others by bringing them the Word of God.
And how long are we supposed
to do all this?
Jesus says "Until the end of the age." That is, we're supposed to keep on keeping on
until Jesus comes back for us.
In the meantime, there isn't a day that goes by that I don't think of ways that
I can reach out to people around the world and spread the wonderful message that Jesus Christ died for our sins and because
of his death on the cross, we can claim salvation as a child of God.
So this is the reason I write this blog. It's
my way of going around the world to talk to people about what Christ has done for each one of us. That would be you. And it
would be me. My computer is my magic carpet and on it, I can ride through cyberspace to reach you in 23 countries so far this
God bless each and every one of you.
March 20, 2012
results in Illinois: http://www.wthitv.com/subindex/elections/results Not all results are in at this writing.
If you are anywhere near middle Illinois on March 23, you could do
yourself a favor and go to the Effingham Performance Center at 8:00 p.m. and catch the show headlined by Scott Wattles of
Blue Suede Crew. Tickets are $5. He's an incredible performer for those of us who wax nostalgia over Elvis, Roy Orbison, Marty
Robbins, and a host of others. What a voice!
We had an opportunity to hear him for the first time on Sunday evening.
All Gospel songs. And a standing ovation for How Great Thou Art!
If I tried that it would come under the
category of making a joyful noise, but I am filled with appreciation for anyone who can sing really well. We are fortunate
because own Pastor Rensner is also a wonderful vocalist. I love listening to someone who loves to sing. And both these gentlemen
Earthquake near Acapulco registers 7.6! That's a really hefty earthquake even if it is about 200 miles
from Acapulco. God is sure rattling the earth these days. Two hundred miles is nothing when an earthquake ripples its way
through the earth.
It is still 78 degrees in the house. And Quint mowed the grass -- or part of it -- yesterday
afternoon. Don't remember that happening in March. Ever. We sure do enjoy having the windows open and soft warm breezes blowing
across us when we're sleeping though.
We pray for God's blessings to all of you. Some of you are living in dangerous area and you are especially in our prayers.
And we thank you for prayers too.
March 19, 2012
quote: PEOPLE MAY NOT REMEMBER EXACTLY WHAT YOU DID, OR WHAT YOU
SAID ~BUT~THEY WILL ALWAYS REMEMBER HOW YOU MADE THEM
It's time for a patriotic song and this just arrived from Shirley, my favorite snow bird who has not
returned from Arizona yet: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6TPgJSZf5Vw&feature=youtu.be
And here's a cute little story sent by our friends John and Sherre in Wichita:
Subject: A New Pet
A single guy decided life would be more fun if he had a pet.
So he went to the pet store and told the owner
That he wanted to buy an unusual pet.
After some discussion, he finally bought a talking centipede,
(100-legged bug), which came in a little white box
To use for his house.
He took the box back home, found a good spot for the box,
And decided he would start off by taking his new pet
To church with him.
So he asked the centipede in the box,
"Would you like to go
To church with me today?
We will have a good time."
But there was no answer from his new pet.
This bothered him a bit, but he waited a few minutes
And then asked again,
"How about going
To church with me
And receive blessings?"
But again,there was no answer
From his new friend and pet.
So he waited a few minutes more,
Thinking about the situation.
The guy decided to invite the centipede one last time.
This time he put his face up against
The centipede ' s house and shouted,
"Hey, in there!
Would you like to go
ARE GOING TO LOVE THIS ......
Came out of the box,
"I heard you the first time!
I ' m putting my shoes on!"
March 17, 2012
the day when the whole world is Irish. That includes my cousin, Mark, who sends this blessing. It's beautiful poetry by Phil
Coulter and narrated by Roma Downey. I thank you Mark for this beautiful blessing and, in turn, send it along to all my friends:
http://www.andiesisle.com/ThisBlessingIsForYou.html Looking at the beautiful photos, I am reminded of a wonderful vacation that Quint and I took to Ireland a few years
ago. It's a beautiful country and I got an answer to why the green grass is so vibrant and emerald colored. Supposedly it's
because of the high level of minerals in the soil, most particularly calcium. And that's one of the reasons why Queen Elizabeth
sends here pregnant horses to Ireland to deliver. Munching on good Irish green grass makes for healthy bones for the baby
horse in the mom's womb, and also when the little baby horse starts to grow and develop. The grass really is emerald colored.
They aren't just kididng.
Ready for a little humor? This comes from my friend Cody in Warrensburg, MO:
Billy Graham was returning to Charlotte after a speaking engagement and when his
Plane arrived there was a limousine
there to transport him to his home.
As he prepared to get into the limo, he stopped and spoke to the driver.
'You know' he said, 'I am 87 years old and I have never
Driven a limousine. Would you mind if I drove
it for a while?'
The driver said,
'No problem. Have at it.'
Billy gets into the driver's
seat and they head off
Down the highway.
A short distance away
Sat a rookie State Trooper operating his
first speed trap.
The long black limo went by him doing 70 in a 55 mph zone.
The trooper pulled out
And easily caught the limo
And he got out of his patrol car to begin the procedure.
The young trooper walked
up to the driver's door
And when the glass
Was rolled down,
He was surprised to see
Who was driving.
He immediately excused himself and went back to his car
And called his supervisor.
'I know we are supposed
To enforce the law....
But I also know that
Given certain courtesies.
I need to know what
I should do because
I have stopped a
The supervisor asked,
'Is it the governor?'
The young trooper said,
he's more important
The supervisor said,
'Oh, so it's the president.'
'No, he's even more
Important than that.'
The supervisor finally asked,
then, who is it?'
The young trooper said,
'I think it's Jesus,
Because he's got Billy Graham
for a chauffeur!'
Smile - God loves you! I ask the Lord to bless you, as I pray for you today;
To guide you
and protect you, as you go along your way
God's love is always with you, God's promises are true.
you give God all your cares, believe with all your might that God will see you through.
March 16, 2012
I see a lot
of anxious people who come for counseling. And even though anxious people want very much to not be anxious anymore, they resist
doing the very thing that un-anxious people know all about. That is, un-anxious people live their lives on a foundation of
faith. Christ lives in their hearts. The Holy Spirit is used as a daily ever-ready counselor.
In going down the
list of 100 Questions That Jesus Asked, I come to Luke 12:26 which asks: If even the smallest things
are beyond your control, why are you anxious about the rest?
It's a humbling thought that we don't
have all that much control over the external events of our lives. For instance, there's that old Liar, Satan, who likes to
poke his nose into every facet of our business. He'd like to think we're easy pickings for his nasty little harvest. And beware
that you say such things as, "I'd give anything ..." Satan is the one who will seize that opportunity and yes, he
can grant your wishes, too. Many times he does. Then he comes back for payment from you a nickel at a time.
want wealth? Satan will give it to you. Then what? How many lives have been ruined by winning the lottery? But you say you'd
like to just try it? Don't bother. Satan doesn't play fair. He wants to own you, lock stock and barrel.
on the other hand, says, Do my work and I will prosper you. God is not against prosperity. It's not money that gets
people in trouble. Rather, it's the love of moneythat leads to sin. The love of money leads to greed and corruption.
People who are thousandaires strive to become millionaires. Millionaires strive to become billionaires. No matter how weather
they are, they are never satisfied with what they have. Prosperity, on the other hand, comes with contentment.
we are prosperous we thank the Lord that we have enough to spare and some left to share.
Lots of people are anxious
about money because they have this idea that they want more and more and more, and never realizing that they don't have enough,
and probably will never have enough to suit them.
But money isn't the only thing that causes so much anxiety. It's
the fear that we're never going to be in control of situations or events in our lives.
When you look at your life,
what is it that you think you do have control over? Your children? Your addicted spouse? Your job? Your ability to drive down
the street and not have an accident? Your shopping for food and making the assumption that the food hasn't been tampered with
by an idiot who has figured out a way to slip a poison into your food without it being detected until you get sick and are
rushed to a hospital? Or you order and egg at a restaurant and get a dose of salmonella.
How's that control thing
working out for you?
But here's what you do. First of all, get down on your knees and pray to God. Pray to Jesus
Christ. Ask the Holy Spirit to come into your heart and help you figure things out better. God likes our prayers better when
we are reverent, I've found. That's why kneeling is best; it's humbling.
Don't want to do that? Well, you don't
have to. Life can continue the way it's been going for you if you are filled with fears and anxieties. But if you want your
life to change, let Jesus Christ into your heart. He has solutions for you that you can't even imagine.
Master of the universe and it's Jesus Christ who is the agent of change in your life, not you.
March 15, 2012
Oh my, what
a beautiful day we had today. It warmed up to a perfect 74 degrees. Soft, gentle breezes. Then there was this dark, ugly row
of clouds that I had my eye on as I drove to work. It was about twenty miles away. Never did get a drop of rain. The clouds
scooted east and stayed out of my way. The storm must have hit Detroit. I saw some pretty ugly video of tornadoes over there
late this afternoon. Lots of damage and rubble. Hope there were no casualties.
On another subject, I have been
thinking about compassion a lot these days. The people who are able to express and share it with others are so welcome in
my world. Here's the deal. We all have to fashion our responses to other people similarly to what our Lord and Savior, Jesus
Christ, would do.
Compassion and gentle tenderness. And love and kindness. And helping one another.
comes from good friend Shirley all the way from Arizona:
This is SIMPLY AWESOME!I’ve never seen this
before! Whoever put “The Resume of
Jesus Christ” together is surelya blessing to us all! Please share
it! The last
sentence says it all...
The Resume of Jesus Christ
Phone: Romans 10:13
Website: The Bible . Keywords: Christ, Lord, Savior
My name is Jesus -The
Christ. Many call me Lord! I've sent you my resume because
I'm seeking the top management position in your
heart. Please consider my
accomplishments as set forth in my resume.
I founded the earth and established the heavens, (See Proverbs 3:19)
formed man from the dust of the ground, (See Genesis 2:7)
I breathed into man the breath of life,
(See Genesis 2:7)
I redeemed man from the curse of the law, (See Galatians 3:13)
The blessings of the Abrahamic Covenant comes upon your life through me, (See
I've only had one employer, (See Luke 2:49 ).
never been tardy, absent, disobedient, slothful or disrespectful.
My employer has nothing
but rave reviews for me, (See Matthew 3:15 -17)
Skills Work Experiences
Some of my skills and work experiences include: empowering
the poor to be poor no
more, healing the broken hearted, setting the captives free, healing the sick,
sight to the blind and setting at liberty them that are bruised, (See
am a Wonderful Counselor, (See Isaiah 9:6). People who listen to me shall dwell
safely and shall not fear evil,
(See Proverbs 1:33 ).
Most importantly, I have the authority, ability and power to
cleanse you of your
sins, (See I John 1:7-9)
I encompass the entire breadth and length of knowledge,
wisdom and understanding,
(See Proverbs 2:6).
In me are hid all of the treasures
of wisdom and knowledge, (See Colossians 2:3).
My Word is so powerful; it has been
described as being a lamp unto your feet and a
light unto your path, (See Psalms 119:105).
I can even tell you all of the secrets of your heart, (See Psalms 44:21).
I was an active participant in the greatest Summit Meeting
of all times, (See
Genesis 1:26 ).
I laid down my life so that you may live, (See
II Corinthians 5:15 ).
I defeated the arch enemy of God and mankind and made a
show of them openly, (See
Colossians 2:15 ).
I've miraculously fed the poor, healed
the sick and raised the dead!
There are many more major accomplishments, too many
to mention here. You can read
them on my website, which is located at: www dot - the BIBLE. You don't need
Internet connection or computer to access my website.
Believers and followers worldwide will testify to my divine healing, salvation,
deliverance, miracles, restoration and supernatural guidance.
Now that you've read my resume, I'm confident that I'm the only candidate
qualified to fill this vital position in your heart. In summation, I will properly
direct your paths,
(See Proverbs 3:5-6), and lead you into everlasting life, (See
John 6:47 ). When can I start? Time is of
the essence, (See Hebrews 3:15 ).
Send this resume to everyone you know,
you never know
may have an opening!
Thanks for your help.
March 14, 2012
I just got
this link from my friend in the Quad Cities area in northern Illinois. It's an eagle mom sitting on her nest. And the article
points out that the nest if seven feet in diameter! http://www.alcoa.com/locations/usa_davenport/en/info_page/eaglecam.asp
Got this from Mary, a friend who lives in Springfield. It comes to her from an attorney. And just an aside, when
your credit card is stolen, you do know that you have to file the report in the police department where the fraud/theft took
place, don't you? There's lot of good advice here and I thank you, Mary, for sending this. I'm going to write "photo
ID required" on each card as I receive new ones. That's a great idea!
All Credit Card Users Advice
Advice for all credit card users posted by Bluwolf at Caps Corner
Sunday morning 03/11/2012
bluwolf] Read this and make a copy
for your files in case you need to refer to it
we should all
take some of his advice! A corporate attorney sent
the following out to the
employees in his
1.Do not sign the back of your credit cards.
Instead, put 'PHOTO ID REQUIRED.'
you are writing checks to pay
on your credit card accounts, DO NOT put the complete account number on the
line. Instead, just put the last four
numbers. The credit card company
knows the rest of the number, and anyone
who might be handling your check as it
passes through all the check processing
channels won't have access to it.
3.Put your work phone # on your checks instead of your home phone. If
you have a PO Box use that instead
of your home address. If you do not have a PO
Box, use your work address. Never have your SS# printed on your checks.
You can add it if it is necessary. But if you have It printed, anyone can get
the contents of your wallet on photocopy machine. Do both sides of each
license, credit card, etc. You will know what
you had in your wallet and all of
the account numbers and phone numbers to call and cancel. Keep the photocopy in
a safe place. I also carry a photocopy of my passport when I travel either here
or abroad. We've all heard horror
stories about fraud that's committed on us in
stealing a Name, address,Social Security number, credit cards..
Unfortunately, I, an attorney, have firsthand knowledge because my
wallet was stolen last month. Within a week, the
thieves ordered an expensive
monthly cell phone package, applied for a VISA credit card, had a credit line
to buy a Gateway computer, received a PIN number from DMV to change my
driving record information online, and more.
But here's some critical information to limit the damage in case this happens to you or someone you know:
5.We have been told we should cancel our credit cards immediately.
But the key is having the toll free numbers and
your card numbers handy so you
know whom to call. Keep those where you can find them.
6.. File a police
report immediately in the jurisdiction where your credit cards, etc.,
were stolen. This proves to credit providers you
were diligent, and this is a
first step toward an investigation (if there ever is one). But here's what is
most important of all: (I never even thought to do this.)
Call the 3 national credit reporting organizations
immediately to place a fraud
alert on your name and also call the Social Security fraud line number. I had
heard of doing that until advised by a bank that called to tell me an
application for credit was made over the Internet
in my name. The alert means
any company that checks your credit knows your information was stolen, and they
to contact you by phone to authorize new credit.
By the time I
was advised to do this, almost two
weeks after the theft, all the damage had
been done. There are records of all the credit checks initiated by the thieves'
purchases, none of which I knew about before placing the alert. Since then, no
additional damage has been done,
and the thieves threw my wallet away this
weekend (someone turned it in). It seems to have stopped them dead in their
Now, here are the numbers you always need to contact about
your wallet, if it has been
2.) Experian (formerly TRW): 1-888-397-3742
3.) Trans Union : 1-800-680 7289 1-800-680 7289
4.) Social Security Administration
(fraud line): 1-800-269-0271
We pass along jokes on the Internet; we pass along
just about everything. If you are willing to pass this information along, it
could really help someone that you care
March 13, 2012
It has been
a really long day at an all day board meeting for Lutheran Women's Missionary League (LWML). The location of the meeting is
some 95 miles from home. We passed a resolution for mission grants in the amount of $75,000.
The women of the LWML
are amazing. They collect small amounts of change on a regular basis and add them all together and pretty soon, there are
thousands of dollars in our district, and almost two million at the national level. Then the money is sent all around the
world to help feed hungry children, start new churches, help church workers go to school, and a wide variety of projects that
One of the member groups, called Societies, is finishing up some 170 quilts they have been making
this winter. Another group, from my zone, has made 127 quilts. These quilts will be sent to Lutheran World Relief and shipped
to people around the world wherever they are needed.
It's a long day to meet for quarterly board meetings but
it's refreshing to partner with so many other women of faith who share a single commitment to help make the world a better
place to live in.
We had a mission pastor speak at our church last Sunday and he tells of the horrible poverty
in Central America. Did you know that there are children who do not have clothes to wear. And they eat maybe once every two
or three days?
Why aren't more people on fire with a passion to join in a partnership with churches that are working
hard in these poverty-stricken countries? These are the groups that make sure almost 100% of any money that's collected goes
right where it's needed. And much of that money is spent distributing the goods that are collected.
Pray for the
hungry and the naked children who live in squalor and poverty.
God bless you, each and every one.
March 11, 2012
the day when it feels like we've moved into another time zone -- one just to the west of us because the sun stays up longer.
My dear friend Joyce sent me this link to a video that is nothing short of adorable.
It's about a mother black bear and her three newborn cubs getting tagged in the wilds of Ontario. The commentator
is pretty funny too. Thank you, Joyce.
Here's another one from Joyce. It's about a young woman who's talking to
her grandpa about the ipad she gave him. He assures her that he's using it and knows all about the apps, etc. Watch this:
-- See, don't tell fibs.
And this comes from my cousin, Frances, in southern Texas:
How children perceive their Grandparents......
1. She was in the bathroom, putting on her makeup, under
eyes of her young granddaughter, as she'd done many times before.
After she applied her lipstick and
started to leave, the little one
said, "But Grandma, you forgot to kiss the toilet paper good-bye!" I
probably never put lipstick on again without thinking about
kissing the toilet paper good-bye....
2. My young
grandson called the other day to wish me Happy Birthday.
He asked me how old I was, and I told him, 80. My grandson was
for a moment, and then he asked, "Did you start at 1?"
3. After putting her grandchildren
to bed, a grandmother changed into
old slacks and a droopy blouse and proceeded to wash her hair. As she
children getting more and more rambunctious, her patience
grew thin. Finally, she threw a towel around her head and stormed
their room, putting them back to bed with stern warnings. As she left
the room, she heard the three-year-old
say with a trembling voice,
"Who was THAT?"
4. A grandmother was telling her little granddaughter
what her own
childhood was like. "We used to skate outside on a pond. I had a swing
made from a tire; it hung
from a tree in our front yard. We rode our
pony. We picked wild raspberries in the woods."
The little girl
was wide-eyed, taking this all in. At last she said,
"I sure wish I'd gotten to know you sooner!"
5. My grandson was visiting one day when he asked, "Grandma, do you
know how you and God are alike?" I mentally
polished my halo and I
said, "No, how are we alike?'' "You're both old," he replied.
6. A little
girl was diligently pounding away on her grandfather's
word processor. She told him she was writing a story.
it about?" he asked.
"I don't know," she replied. "I can't read."
7. I didn't know
if my granddaughter had learned her colors yet, so I
decided to test her. I would point out something and ask what color
was. She would tell me and was always correct. It was fun for me, so I
continued. At last, she headed for the
door, saying, "Grandma, I think
you should try to figure out some of these colors yourself!"
When my grandson Billy and I entered our vacation cabin, we kept
the lights off until we were inside to keep from attracting
insects. Still, a few fireflies followed us in. Noticing them before I
did, Billy whispered, "It's no
use Grandpa. Now the mosquitoes are
coming after us with flashlights."
9. When my grandson asked me how
old I was, I teasingly replied, "I'm
not sure." "Look in your underwear, Grandpa," he advised "Mine
I'm 4 to 6."
10.. A second grader came home from school and said to her
guess what? We learned how to make babies
today." The grandmother, more than a little surprised, tried to keep
her cool. "That's interesting." she said... "How do you make babies?"
replied the girl. "You just change 'y' to 'i' and add 'es'."
11. Children's Logic: "Give me a sentence
about a public servant,"
said a teacher. The small boy wrote: "The fireman came down the ladder
The teacher took the lad aside to correct him. "Don't you
know what pregnant means?" she asked.
said the young boy confidently. 'It means carrying a child."
12. A grandfather was delivering his grandchildren
to their home one
day when a fire truck zoomed past. Sitting in the front seat of the
fire truck was a Dalmatian
dog. The children started discussing the
"They use him to keep crowds back," said one child.
"No," said another. "He's just for good luck.."
A third child brought the argument to a close."They
use the dogs," she
said firmly, "to find the fire hydrants."
13. A 6-year-old was asked where
his grandma lived. "Oh," he said,
"she lives at the airport, and when we want her, we just go get her.
Then, when we're done having her visit, we take her back to the
14. Grandpa is the smartest
man on earth! He teaches me good things,
but I don't get to see him enough to get as smart as him!
Grandparents are funny, when they bend over, you hear gas leaks
and they blame their dog.
March 7, 2012
Got this earnest
prayer from a dear friend, Diane, who lives in Hidalgo:
Hi Lord, its me.* *We are getting older and
things are getting bad here.*
*Gas prices are too high, no jobs, food and heating costs too high.* *I
have taken you out of our schools, government and even* *Christmas,
but Lord I'm asking you to come back* *and re-bless
America .* *We really
need you!* *There are more of us who want you than those who don't!* *Thank
Lord,* *I Love you.* *If you agree, send it on---if not just delete.*
*Only you & the Lord will know.*
*"Life without God is** **like an unsharpened pencil - it has no point."*
As a side note, there
is a prayer group that stops to pray at 8:00 p.m. Central Standard Time. The prayer is for America to return to its Christian
roots and rid Washington, D. C. of all corrupt politicians. People all over the country are joining together in this common
prayer. Join in if you can.
Last night was Ladies Aid at church. What a privilege it is to meet with other women
of like Christian values and to share God's word in a Bible Study, then our hostess for the evening, Melissa, made a wonderful
spread of fresh fruit. She also made cookies but I didn't have any. It seems that sugar has become my enemy since learning
that I have gout that settled in my lower back and my right thumb. The medicine that I now take is for people who specifically
took Cytoxan as a chemo treatment for breast cancer. So, no sugary desserts. But then, since Quint is diabetic,
Splenda has become my friend. And I can also get chocolate covered cherries from Figi's and have them shipped to me. Yummmmmmy!
It's really windy here. So bad that the windmill has blown over twice in the last day or so. I also heard that
there were 90 mph gusts in Las Vegas. Not that anybody who goes to Las Vegas goes outside to stand on the sidewalks to enjoy
the weather. I mean, they don't even have clocks in the casinos. They'd probably like it if people took their watches off,
but that's not happening much either.
Got this from both cousins, Mark and Alan, so you know it's serious
Can't eat pork,
Can't eat chicken,
Can't eat Beef, Mad cow
Can't eat eggs, Salmonella.
eat fish, heavy metal poisons in their waters.
Can't eat fruits and veggies E coli, insecticides and herbicides.
I believe that leaves Chocolate
and ice cream!!!!!!!!
Remember - - - 'STRESSED'
March 5, 2012
Got this poignant
story from cousin Mark. Enjoy! Gratitude is a acquired pleasure.Have a great day full of love and happiness.
Change Your Thinking
Two men, both seriously ill, occupied the same hospital room.
One man was allowed
to sit up in his bed for an hour each afternoon to help drain
the fluid from his lungs.
His bed was next
to the room's only window.
The other man had to spend all his time flat on his back.
The men talked
for hours on end.
They spoke of their wives and families, their homes, their jobs, their involvement
military service, where they had been on vacation..
Every afternoon, when the man in the bed by the window could
sit up, he would pass
the time by describing to his roommate all the things he could see outside the
The man in the other bed began to live for those one hour periods where his world
would be broadened and enlivened
by all the activity and colour of the world
The window overlooked a park with a lovely lake.
Ducks and swans played on the water while children sailed their model boats. Young
lovers walked arm in arm amidst
flowers of every colour and a fine view of the city
skyline could be seen in the distance.
As the man by
the window described all this in exquisite details, the man on the
other side of the room would close his eyes and imagine
this picturesque scene.
One warm afternoon, the man by the window described a parade passing by.
the other man could not hear the band - he could see it in his mind's eye
as the gentleman by the window portrayed it
with descriptive words.
Days, weeks and months passed.
One morning, the day nurse arrived to bring
water for their baths only to find the
lifeless body of the man by the window, who had died peacefully in his sleep.
She was saddened and called the hospital attendants to take the body away.
As soon as it seemed appropriate,
the other man asked if he could be moved next to
the window. The nurse was happy to make the switch, and after making
sure he was
comfortable, she left him alone.
Slowly, painfully, he propped himself up on one elbow to
take his first look at the
real world outside. He strained to slowly turn to look out the window besides the bed.
It faced a blank wall.
The man asked the nurse what could have compelled his deceased roommate who had
described such wonderful things outside this window.
The nurse responded that the man was blind and could not
even see the wall.
She said, 'Perhaps he just wanted to encourage you.'
is tremendous happiness in making others happy, despite our own situations.
Shared grief is half the sorrow, but
happiness when shared, is doubled.
And these quips from "kids in church" comes from dear friend,
Cody, in Warrensburg, MO:
A little boy was in a relative's wedding.
As he was coming down the aisle, he would
take two steps,
stop, and turn to the crowd.
While facing the crowd, he would put his hands
up like claws and roar.
So it went, step, step, ROAR, step, step, ROAR, all the way down the
As you can imagine, the crowd was near tears from laughing so hard
by the time he reached the pulpit.
When asked what he was doing, the child sniffed and said,
"I was being the Ring Bear."
Sunday in a Midwest City ,
a young child was "acting up" during the morning worship hour.
The parents did their best to maintain some sense of order in the pew
but were losing the battle.
Finally, the father picked the little fellow up
and walked sternly up the aisle on his way out.
Just before reaching the safety of the foyer,
the little one called loudly to the congregation,
me! Pray for me!"
One particular four-year old prayed,
"And forgive us our trash baskets
as we forgive those who put trash in our baskets."
A little boy was overheard praying:
if you can't make me a better boy, don't worry about it.
I'm having a real good time like I am."
School teacher asked her little children, as they were on the way to church
service, "And why is it necessary to
be quiet in church?"
One bright little girl replied, "Because people are sleeping."
A little boy opened the big and old family Bible with fascination,
at the old pages as he turned them.
Then something fell out of the Bible.
He picked it
up and looked at it closely.
It was an old leaf from a tree that has been pressed in between the pages.
look what I found," the boy called out.
"What have you got there, dear?" his mother asked.
With astonishment in the young boy's voice he answered,
"I think it's Adam 's suit".
The preacher was wired for sound with a lapel mike,
and as he preached, he moved briskly about the platform,
the mike cord as he went.
Then he moved to one side,
getting wound up in the cord and
nearly tripping before jerking it again.
After several circles and jerks,
a little girl
in the third pew leaned toward her mother and whispered,
"If he gets loose, will he hurt us?"
old Angie , and her four-year old brother, Joel , were sitting together in
Joel giggled, sang
and talked out loud.
Finally, his big sister had had enough.
"You're not supposed to talk out loud in church."
"Why? Who's going to stop me?" Joel asked.
Angie pointed to the back of the church and said,
those two men standing by the door?
My grandson was visiting one day when he
"Grandma, do you know how you and God are alike?"
polished my halo, while I asked,
"No, how are we alike?"
"You're both old," he replied.
A ten-year old, under the tutelage of her grandmother,
was becoming quite knowledgeable about the Bible.
Then, one day, she floored her grandmother by asking,
"Which Virgin was the mother
of Jesus ? The virgin Mary or the King James Virgin ?"
A Sunday school class was studying the
They were ready to discuss the last one.
teacher asked if anyone could tell her what it was.
Susie raised her hand, stood tall, and
"Thou shall not take the covers off the neighbor's wife."
March 3, 2012
your hearts in prayer for the victims of this horrible rash of tornados today. These are killer winds. In addition to fatalities
reported, there's dangers with houses being lifted off their foundations. It's a good night to stay in, be safe, and
pray that God will embrace all those people who are suffering with heavy losses. Harrisburg, in southern Illinois, was particularly
hit, it seems to me. But there are other areas, with just as deadly outbreaks. I heard on one of the news channels that this
year would be as bad as the tornado season in 1978.
We pray steadfastly, also, that our nation will return to
its Christian roots on which it was founded.
I look forward to going to church on Sunday and hearing a message
from the Gospel lesson that, at least in part, says For whoever is ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and
sinful generation, of him will the Son of Man also be ashamed when he comes in the glory of his Father with the holy angels.
I think there are a whole bunch of people out there who have kind of postponed thinking about what
they're going to do with all this Christianity stuff. "I'll worry about all that when I get older," they seem to
Well, think of Andrew Breitbart, who now lays cold and quiet at the tender age of 43.
He was one of my favorite reads. He was the kind of journalist that Pulitzer hoped to reward for courage through the printed
word. I pray that he was okay with God before he took his last breath. I have a feeling that he was.
But what about
all the other people out there? You know the ones -- they don't want the children to pray in school. They don't want to say
the word "God" in the Pledge of Allegiance. They don't want to hear anything that sounds like Christian talk. Woe
be to those who turn their backs on God. This verse in Mark tells them exactly what God will do in retaliation. And don't
think for one minute that they can appease God with some half-witted excuse like, "I didn't mean it. You know I wasn't
serious, don't you?"
It's time to pray like you mean it. It's time to spend your days thinking about God.
Oh, you don't have to jump up out of your chair screaming "Hallalujah." But you can think about the Great and Wonderful
Creator of the Universe who allows you to take each breath throughout every day of your life. Be thankful for that.
I have always wondered about the people who want to go to heaven. Don't they realize that they will spend their time praising
and worshiping God? If they are looking forward to the time when they are able to do that, wouldn't you think they could spend
more time worshiping and praising God every day, in some way?
There are so many things a person can do to worship
God. He sees us when we are kind to others. He sees us when we are compassionate and generous. He sees us when we try with
all our heart to lead a life as free as sin as we possibly can - not that we'll ever be totally sin-free, what being human
and all. But we ought to try as best as we can to avoid temptation and sin in our lives.
God likes it when we strive
to do that.
February 29, 2012
to ask yourself --
Can you tell the difference between being tested and being tempted?
When you're tempted, it involved a sin of some sort.
Being tested is a form of discipline. Discipline makes
you grow in faith. It enriches you and tempers your faith into a tool as strong as steel.
The passage that started
all this thinking about being tempted was from the Epistle lesson a week or so ago. It's from the Book of James, and
says: Let no one say when he is tempted, "I am being tempted by God," for God cannot be tempted with evil, and
he himself tempts no one. But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. -- James 1:13-14
So if you feel like you're being tempted, who do you think might be the culprit?
Another easy answer
-- Satan himself.
Satan is the author of evil. Not God. God does not tempt us, Satan does. Temptations involve
sins. Testing involves love through discipline.
This notion that there is a person named Satan reared its head
out on the campaign trail a few weeks back. Santorum made the comment that "...Satan had his eye on Washington."
What a firestorm that set off. Here came the spindoctors who tried to make Santorum look like a religious kook. Until some
organization did a survey and found that 70% of Americans believe -- truly believe -- that Satan really does exist.
Remember way back in Sunday School days hearing that the best trick Satan has going for him is that he convinces people
that he does not exist. Well, that doesn't happen in the United States.
We're a Christian nation and we know he's
real. And his favorite game is Gotcha!
If you want an inkling about who Satan is, take a look at the Book of Job.
In the very first chapter, in verse 6, we read: One day the angels came to present themselves before the Lord,
and Satan also came with them. The Lord said to Satan, "Where have you come from?"
Satan answered the
Lord, "From roaming through the earth and going back and forth in it."
Then follows a conversation
recorded between the Lord and Satan. So if the Lord recognizes Satan and calls him by name, who are we to even think that
he does not exist?
Rest safely in the arms of the Lord, my friends, and pray fervently for his protection from
Satan and all that is evil.
February 28, 2012
I go off in a different direction, you have to watch this video of the Daytona 500. Talk about races, burning cars, fast bumps,
and one big brewhaha. One spill took out six cars: http://news.yahoo.com/video/turnerweekendtop5-20497430/weekend-top-5-daytona-28446636.html#crsl=%252Fvideo%252Fturnerweekendtop5-20497430%252Fweekend-top-five-homestead-27337497.html
Here's a video that is precious. It's about Pastor Ed Dobson, who developed ALS. He talks about his new role as
a different kind of pastor now that he no longer has an active church. http://religion.blogs.cnn.com/2012/02/18/tending-the-garden-one-person-at-a-time/
Pastor Rensner talked about how come God, who has the power to stop the storms in our lives, doesn't do that.
Pastor said that sometimes God calms the person going through the storm rather than calming the storm. And why would He do
that? His reasons are his own and they are not my ways.
I am working on a thesis of the difference between being
tested and being tempted. I hope to have it finished by this time tomorrow, so I hope you'll come back to read it.
Blessings, prayers and hugs,
February 27, 2012
This story comes from
Connie today. She says it will give you the chills....... GOOD chills. See if you agree.
A young man had been
to Wednesday Night Bible
Study. The Pastor had shared about listening to God and obeying the Lord's voice
The young man couldn't help but wonder, 'Does God still speak to people?'
After service, he went out with
some friends for coffee and pie and they discussed
the message. Several different ones talked about how God had
led them in different ways.
It was about ten o'clock when the young man started driving home. Sitting in
his car, he just began to pray, 'God...If you still speak
to people, speak to me. I will listen. I will do my best to
As he drove down the main street of his town, he had the strangest thought to stop
and buy a gallon
of milk. He shook his head and said out loud, 'God is that you?' He didn't get a reply and
started on toward home. But
again, the thought, buy a gallon of milk.
The young man thought about Samuel and how he didn't recognize the voice
and how little Samuel ran to Eli. 'Okay, God, in case that is you, I will buy the milk.' It didn't seem
like too hard
a test of obedience. He could always use the milk. He stopped and purchased the
gallon of milk and
started off toward home.
As he passed Seventh Street, he again felt the urge, 'Turn Down that street.' This
is crazy he thought, and drove on past the intersection.
Again, he felt that he should turn down Seventh Street
At the next intersection, he turned back and headed down Seventh.
Half jokingly, he said out loud, 'Okay,
God, I will.'
He drove several blocks, when suddenly, he felt like he should stop He pulled over
to the curb
and looked around. He was in a semi- commercial area of town. It wasn't
the best but it wasn't the worst of neighborhoods
either. The businesses were closed and most of the houses looked dark like the people were
already in bed.
Again, he sensed something, 'Go and give the milk to the people in the house across
the street.' The young man looked
at the house. It was dark and it looked like the
people were either gone or they were already asleep. He started to open
and then sat back in the car seat.
'Lord, this is insane. Those people are asleep and if I wake
them up, they are going
to be mad and I will look stupid.' Again, he felt like he should go and give the
Finally, he opened the door, 'Okay God, if this is you, I will go to the door and I
will give them the milk.
If you want me to look like a crazy person, okay. I want
to be obedient. I guess that will count for something, but if
they don't answer
right away, I am out of here.'
He walked across the street and rang the bell. He could
hear some noise inside. A
man's voice yelled
out, 'Who is it? What do you want?' Then the door opened before the
young man could
The man was standing there in his jeans and T-shirt. He looked like he just got
of bed. He had a strange look on his face and he didn't seem too happy to have some
stranger standing on his
doorstep. 'What is it?'
The young man thrust out the gallon of milk, 'Here, I brought this to you.' The man
took the milk and rushed down a hallway.
Then from down the hall came a woman carrying the milk toward the kitchen.
was following her holding a baby. The baby was crying. The man had tears streaming
down his face.
The man began speaking and half crying, 'We were just praying. We had
some big bills this month and we ran out of
money. We didn't have any milk for our
baby. I was just praying and asking God to show me how to get some milk.'
His wife in the kitchen yelled out, 'I ask him to send an Angel with some. Are you
young man reached into his wallet and pulled out all the money he had on him
and put in the man's hand. He turned and
walked back toward his car and the tears
were streaming down his face.
He knew that God still answers prayers.
This is so true. Sometimes it's the simplest things that God asks us to do that
cause us, if we are obedient
to what He's asking, to be able to hear His voice
more clear than ever. Please listen, and obey ! He will bless you (and
February 25 -- 26, 2012
adding this video at the front. It's from my cousin Mark and it's a video showing an owl coming in for a landing on a security
tower. http://www.dogwork.com/owfo8/ It's unbelievable footage showing the owl "putting on the brakes," so to speak. And look at those wing maneuvers!
It's only a minute long, but fascinating.
Beautiful photograph by Paul Bunyard, set to music -- called Chasing
the Light. It's a four and a half minute respite! http://www.dogwork.com/bnpcduk8/
One of my favorite videos -- this is a dog in a contest -- apparently the judges don't give him very high marks
because he can't seem to get it right. But then, just wait until the amazing end! http://www.dogwork.com/tconmv8/
This is a video (1:40) of cranes flying over Venice, Italy. Fascinating photography of the landscape below, but
also of the cranes communicating with one another while flying: http://www.dogwork.com/crafly9/
Here's a video, also from dogworld.com that shows a little bird coming into a bluegrass festival and sitting on
the lead singer's guitar. Too funny! http://www.dogwork.com/blugrs9/
Now, before you watch this next one, please realize that dogs are not supposed to stand upright and walk, much
less dance. But here's a cute little dog doing a Paso Doble. Yes, dancing: http://www.dogwork.com/psdqwk8/
Danica Patrick crashed intot he wall at Daytona today: http://www.breitbart.tv/danica-patrick-crashes-at-daytona/
Oh dear. This video shows someone getting creamed by an oncoming traffic. Just another reason why I don't do any
road ranging during ice and snow and black ice weather: http://www.breitbart.tv/nissan-frontier-shattered-into-bits-by-oncoming-semi/
Here's a recently discovered amateur video of the shuttle that exploded. After watching it, the videographers
didn't really understand what had happened. It seemed like they thought the crash was the booster rocket separating. http://www.cnn.com/video/#/video/us/2012/02/24/vo-challenger-amateur-video.newscientist
And this final video is about a man named Omar and his seeing eye dog Salty. Omar was working on the 71st floor
of the World Trade Center when the building was hit. Watch this video of this remarkable dog rescuing and saving his best
friend, Omar: http://www.dogwork.com/arfp8/
February 24, 2012
know that 2012 is a leap year, don't you? Just thought I'd bring that up, in case you overlooked the fact that February has
29 days in it this year.
So it's Friday night here at home. It's cold outside with the wind whipping around the
corner of the house. And we're about ready to settle down to a good old mystery on Netflix streaming and Quint asks from the
kitchen, "You want popcorn with that?" Who could say no? Popcorn is one of my favorite snacks.
3-2-1 cakes for dessert. If you remember, I have a big plastic bag into which I mixed together a sugar-free yellow cake mix
and an angel food cake mix. Really mix them well. Then, whenever you want a quick little cake, you mix 3 tablespoons of this
cake mix and 2 tablespoons of water. Microwave that for 1 minute and you have this unbelievable little cake.
I got fancy, I did. I put about 1/2 tablespoon of margarine and 1/2 tablespoon of brown sugar blend (with Splenda). Microwave
that for about 5 seconds until the butter is melted. Stir that up and put in 1/2 tablespoon of crushed pineapple. Then add
the mixed up 32-1 cake mix and microwave that for 1 minute. Yummmy!
I'm going to see if sliced strawberries in
the bottom of my little dish (which is about the size of a ramekin), then put the 3-2-1 mixed up cake mix and see if it passes
for a strawberry short cake. It might. Or it might be close enough to pass for a suitable substitute.
the subject, the weather here has taken a dive down to 36 degrees. This time yesterday it was almost 60 degrees. For those
of you who just joined us from the United Arab Emirates, it probably doesn't matter that much. You have heat all year round.
But you also have sand. I don't know if I could really get used to living on a sand hill. It just looks - well, dry.
But since readers are from all over the world, it's probably a curiosity for some who never experience snow. (You're not
missing much at all.)
And as a side note, I'm so glad that you liked the blog from a few days ago about the man
praying the Lord's Prayer. It's unbelievable how many emails I've gotten in favor of this prayer. And how it's made you pause
and think about what you're saying when you pray. You know, God really is right around you every minute of the day. And he
cares about you, so keep on praying.
My prayer for you is that you will be blessed with many wonderful people
and opportunities that God will put in your life today. Enjoy each and every one of them.
February 23, 2012
was Ash Wednesday service at church. It marks a time when we begin a remembrance of the death of Jesus Christ and his resurrection
three days later at Easter. It's a somber time and as I sat in church and looked around me, I saw the usual faithful worshipers.
I felt closer to them than I do at other times of the year. The imposition of ashes reminds us that we came from dust and
it is to dust that we will return. In the meantime, we are to live our lives as Christians and walk through life behaving
as if --
...as if Christ were right beside us, visibly point out pitfalls,
... as if Christ were steering
us around the misdeeds we might otherwise get ourselves into,
... as if we remember that we are never alone,
... as if we realize consciously that Christ is watching us,
... as if we remember that it is Christ who
sits at the right hand of God interceding for us on our behalf,
... as if we remember, also, that it is Christ
who will judge us when we catch up with eternity,
... as if we always remember that we are to pray to God, our
heavenly father, and we can only get there through Jesus Christ,
... as if we want more than anything to please
God and Jesus Christ,
and finally, as if we are truly sorry for all our sins.
This isn't one of the
questions that is listed as having been asked by Jesus, but sometimes, when I do really silly stuff, I have this vision of
Jesus asking, "What in the world did you do that for?" It helps me not to do things anymore that I really don't
want to do and know that I shouldn't do.
February 21, 2012
feel the earthquake this morning? It registered 4.0 on the Richter Scale. I'll have to tell Quint that it wasn't the wind
that was rattling the windows that woke him at 4:00 am, but rather, the temblor shifting around close to the New Madrid fault
line. Here's a map that shows exactly where the earthquake was: http://earthquake.usgs.gov/earthquakes/recenteqsus/Maps/US10/32.42.-95.-85.php
But if you really want to see something, take a look see at this map of the United States -- 806 earthquakes in
the last 24 hours. California and Alaska are always feeling a lot of shaking going on.
Stay safe out there, my
Changing the subject, back to the List of 100 Questions that Jesus Asked:
Question #79 -- How
is it that you seek praise from one another and not seek the praise that comes from God? John 5:44
this question with me for a moment. Remember the last time you went to get a new outfit? You found something that you thought
would look good on you. You looked in the 3-way mirror to make sure the outfit draped across your body just the way you wanted
it to. And why is that?
Simple. When we buy something new to wear, we're thinking of what others will think of
it. Then they'll tell us how nice it looks.
We'll get praise.
But hold on here for a moment. The question
that Jesus is asking is how come you're thinking about what others think?
How come you aren't all that concerned
about what God thinks of you?
I think there might be a couple of answers to this question.
One of the
thoughts I have is that because we don't physically see God, it's sometimes hard to imagine that he's right here, right now,
in this very room, reading over your shoulder. Maybe watching you curiously to see how you get through your day. But, our
humanness sometimes fails us spiritually because we aren't always consciously thinking that God is present everywhere
at the same time.
How can that be? I don't know the answer to that. My brain can't get wrapped around that possibility,
but I know it's true because the Bible says so.
I know that after Quint and I finish our breakfast and we join
hands for our daily prayers, God is in the room with us. And I also know that it pleases God when his children talk to him.
That's what we do. We let him know what we're thankful for because he does so much for us. We wouldn't have a thread to wear
if it weren't for God's grace. Oh, I don't mean that he puts a hanger with clothes on it in our closet. But he makes provisions
for us to get the things we need as we go through our lives. And it's been like that since the day we were born.
God has always been a stellar provider. He has never failed to provide us with what we need.
By the same token,
he puts situations in our paths to see what we're going to do about them. He brings people to us to see how we're going to
react to them.
We need to always think about what we are doing so that we live our lives in ways that please God.
To me, that's a lot more important than whether someone else likes a dress I bought.
I care what God
thinks. I most definitely care what he thinks. And I hope that anything and everything I do in life tickles him. He is
not a person I ever want to be displeased with at me!
February 20, 2012
couldn't use a bit of humor in these harried political days? Got this one from my cousin Al in Virginia Beach:
female journalist heard about a very old Jewish man who had been going
to the Western Wall to pray, twice a day,
every day, for a long, long time.
So she went to check it out. She went to the
Western Wall and there he was,
walking slowly up to the holy site.
him pray and after about 45 minutes, when he turned to leave,
using a cane and moving very slowly, she approached him
for an interview.
"Pardon me, sir, I'm Rebecca Smith. What's your name?
"Morris Feinberg," he replied.
"Sir, how long have you been coming to the Western Wall and praying?"
"For about 60 years."
"60 years! That's amazing! What do you pray
"I pray for peace between the Christians, Jews and the Muslims."
"I pray for all the wars and all the hatred to stop."
"I pray for all our children to grow up safely as responsible adults and to
love their fellow man."
"I pray that politicians tell us the truth and put the interests of the people
of their own interests."
The reporter then asked, "How do you feel after
doing this for 60 years?"
"Like I'm talking to a wall."
And our good friend Joyce sends us this cost analysis of how much it costs to run a
Volt. Can you tell that Joyce is a banker by trade?
Subject: Cost to operate a Chevy Volt
Take a few
minutes to read thru this analysis. This is truly an economic failure,
until technology improves to change these costs!
This is what the Obama
Administration is pushing in his new budget! Just another "cash sink hole", from our
taxes, and huge debt!
Eric Bolling (Fox Business Channel's Follow the Money) test drove the Chevy Volt
the invitation of General Motors.
For four days in a row, the fully charged battery lasted only 25 miles
Volt switched to the reserve gasoline engine.
Eric calculated the car got 30 mpg including the
25 miles it ran on the battery.
So, the range including the 9 gallon gas tank and the 16 kwh battery is
It will take you 4 1/2 hours to drive 270 miles at 60 mph. Then add 10 hours to
charge the battery
and you have a total trip time of 14.5 hours.
In a typical road trip your average speed (including charging time)
would be 20 mph.
According to General Motors, the Volt battery hold 16 kwh
of electricity. It takes
a full 10 hours to charge a drained battery.
The cost for the electricity to charge the Volt is never mentioned
so I looked up
what I pay for electricity.
I pay approximately (it varies with amount used and the seasons)
$1.16 per kwh.
16 kwh x $1.16 per kwh = $18.56 to charge the battery.
$18.56 per charge
divided by 25 miles = $0.74 per mile to operate the Volt using the
Compare this to a similar
size car with a gasoline engine only that gets 32 mpg.
$3.19 per gallon divided by 32 mpg = $0.10 per mile.
The gasoline powered car cost about $15,000 while the Volt costs $46,000.........
So Government wants
us to pay 3 times as much, for a car that costs more that 7
times as much to run, and takes 3 times longer to drive across
- I have a question. After the battery just up and dies, how much will it cost to
destroy it? I doubt if the batteries will be allowed in landfill. I mean, if you can't even put an old, dead cell phone in
the landfill, what are you going to do with the Volt battery?
But what if you keep the Volt and decide to replace
the battery. I read somewhere a couple of years ago that the battery alone cost $25,000. Can that be right? Does anybody know?
If you do could you shoot me an email. Please.
this from my dear cousin Frances in Broaddus, Texas:
We need to show more sympathy for these people.
* They travel miles in the heat.
* They risk their lives crossing a border.
* They don't get paid enough wages.
* They do jobs that others won't do or are afraid to do.
* They live in crowded conditions among a people who speak a
* They rarely see their families, and they face adversity all day
~ every day..
I'm not talking about illegal Mexicans ~
I'm talking about our troops!
Doesn't it seem strange that so many are willing to lavish all
kinds of social benefits on illegals, but don't support
Wouldn't it be great if we took the $360,000,000,000 (that's
billion) we spend on illegals every year, and spend it on
February 17, 2012
one of the best versions of an interactive Lord's Prayer that I've ever read. It's sent to us from my dear friend
Cody in Warrensburg, MO. I do pray that it will enrich your life today and that you will think about this when you pray the
THE LORD'S PRAYER- Rather cleverly done. This is in two parts,
The prayer(in blue
type) and GOD(in red type)-in response.
It is very, very good.
Father Who Art In Heaven.
Don't interrupt me. I'm
But -- you called ME!
No, I didn't call you..
Our Father who art in Heaven.
There -- you did it again!
"Our Father who art in Heaven"
Well, here I am..
What's on your mind?
But I didn't mean anything by it.
I was, you know, just saying my prayers for the day.
say the Lord's Prayer.
It makes me feel good,
Kind of like fulfilling a duty.
Okay, Hallowed be thy name .
it right there.
What do you mean by that?
"Hallowed be thy name"?
It means, it means .. . Good grief,
I don't know what it means.
in the world should I know?
It's just a part of the prayer.
By the way, what does it mean?
means honored, holy, wonderful.
Hey, that makes sense..
I never thought about
what 'hallowed' meant before.
Thy Kingdom come,
Thy will be done,
On earth as it is in Heaven.
Do you really mean that?
Sure, why not?
What are you doing about it?
Why, nothing, I guess.
I just think it would be kind of neat if you got
of everything down here like you have up
There. We're kinda in a mess down here you know.
Yes, I know;
But, have I got control of you?
Well, I go to church..
That isn't what I asked you.
What about your bad temper?
got a problem there, you know.
And then there's the way you spend
Your money -- all on yourself.
And what about
the kind of books you read ?
Now hold on just a minute!
Stop picking on me!
just as good as some of the rest
Of those People at church!
you were praying
For my will to be done..
If that is to happen,
It will have to start with the ones
are praying for it.
Like you -- for example ....
Oh, all right. I guess I do have some
Now that you mention it,
I could probably name some others.
I haven't thought about it very much until now,
But I really would like to cut out
some of those things.
I would like to, you know, be really free.
We'll work together -- You and ME.
I'm proud of You.
Lord, if you don't mind,
I need to finish up here.
This is taking a lot longer than it usually does.
this day, our daily bread.
You need to cut out the bread..
You're overweight as it
Hey, wait a minute! What is this?
Here I was doing my religious duty,
all of a sudden you break in
And remind me of all my hang-ups.
Praying is a dangerous
You just might get what you ask for.
Remember, you called ME -- and here I am.
too late to stop now.
Keep praying. ( pause .. . )
Well, go on.
Scared? Of what?
I know what you'll say.
Forgive us our sins,
As we forgive those who sin against us.
See? I knew it!
I knew you would bring her up!
Why, Lord, she's told
lies about me, spread stories.
She never paid back the money she owes me..
I've sworn to get even with her!
But -- your prayer --
What about your prayer?
-- mean it..
Well, at least you're honest.
But, it's quite a load carrying around all
bitterness and resentment isn't it?
Yes, but I'll feel better as soon as I get
even with her.
Boy, have I got some plans for her.
She'll wish she had never been born.
you won't feel any better.
You'll feel worse.
Revenge isn't sweet.
You know how unhappy you are --
I can change that.
You can? How?
I'll forgive you;
And the hate and the sin,
will be Ann's problem -- not yours.
You will have settled the problem
as far as you are concerned.
Oh, you know, you're right.
You always are.
And more than I want revenge,
I want to be right with You . . (sigh).
All right, all right . .
I forgive her.
How do you feel?
Well, not bad.
Not bad at all!
In fact, I feel pretty great!
You know, I don't think I'll go to bed uptight
I haven't been getting much rest, you know.
Yeah, I know.
not through with your prayer, are you?
Oh, all right.
And lead us not
but deliver us from evil.
Good! Good! I'll do that.
put yourself in a place
where you can be tempted.
What do you mean by that?
You know what I mean.
Yeah. I know..
Go ahead. Finish your prayer.
For Thine is the
and the power,
and the glory forever.
Do you know what would
bring me glory?
What would really make me happy?
No, but I'd like to know.
I want to please you now...
I've really made a mess of things.
I want to truly behave like Christ
I can see now how great that would be.
So, tell me .. . .
How do I make you happy?
February 15, 2012
a break from the questions that Jesus asked, I have to share with you that Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) took Secretary (Health
and Human Services) Sebelius to task today about whether or not she had consulting with any bishops before drafting the contraceptive
order for the White House. Her response was that she had not, but assumed that the folks over at the White House must have.
Well, that wasn't quite good enough to Hatch who then made the statement that he believed all religious organizations
should be exempted from the contraception demand. (See article at: http://blogs.wsj.com/washwire/2012/02/15/sebelius-didnt-consult-bishops-on-contraception-deal/)
There are several layers to this argument, if you ask me. One is that of whether you believe women ought to be
able to buy contraceptives.
The other is a question of honoring all religions who are opposed to abortion and believe
that abortion is about killing an unborn child. In that event, then the "morning after pill" would make the trip
down that slippery slope.
Then there is the constitutional camp which is inhabited by people who believe that the
government has no right in tampering with freedom of religion. Forcing organizations, whether directly with religious
organizations, or imposing on the insurance companies who insure employees of religious organizations makes no difference.
The question isn't about who pays for the contraceptives -- the religious organization or its insurance company. It's about
whether the government has the right to mandate any such behavior.
Clearly there is not a lot of wiggle room with
folks who believe strongly that they have a right to hold onto their religious beliefs without interference from the government.
And yes, of course, the fed have overstepped its constitutional boundaries.
Bet this one makes it to the Supreme
February 14, 2012
question that Jesus asked is in Mark 8:12 -- Why does this generation ask for a miraculous sign?
was when Jesus was meeting with the Pharisees and they wanted to test him. Guess they wanted to see if he could really perform
some good magic tricks. They asked him in verse 11 for a sign from heaven. You know that Jesus must have been a bit perturbed
because verse 12 starts out with Jesus sighing deeply.
Well, if you were the Son of God and you knew you could
move a mountain if you just wanted to, wouldn't you get just a bit exasperated with people trying to put you on the spot all
Why couldn't people just believe that Jesus was the Son of God? Would you? If you were expecting the
promised Messiah to be more, well, kingly, would you still believe a person who arrived on the scene dressed in something
that looked like a homespun robe? So he went around doing miracles. These were real miracles. They weren't magic signs that
could be explained by a slight of hand.
No, no. Jesus healed the sick. He made the lame walk. He even touched the
leper and made him clean. And he saved his best miracle to last when he raised a dead man back to life.
Not really. Because the very idea that he had brought a man back to life was used to prosecute him.
If you were reading the Galilean Daily Chronicles and there was this banner headline about a dead man walking again,
wouldn't you call to get a ticket to this man's next event?
Of course you would. And you'd probably try to get
a front row seat so that when this guy Jesus asked if anyone in the audience would like to come down to the front and ask
for anything they wanted, you'd hop on down there. What would you want? Win the lottery? Cure for your arthritis? A baby for
your barren womb? A fairy tale, drop dead gorgeous superman for a husband? A shiny new Corvette to tool around the Galilean
countryside? A big fancy yacht to troll around the Sea of Galilee, catching fish and stuff?
If you could have anything
you wanted, what kind of a sign would satisfy you that Jesus is the true Son of God. In fact, he's the only Son of God.
Jesus must have grown weary of people who had to have this proof that he was who he said he was.
think it's any different now -- 2,000+ years later? Aren't people still looking for a sign?
Can you just accept
in your hearts that Jesus is Lord? No signs are needed for those who believe.
And for those who do not believe,
there aren't enough signs in the whole world to bring the proof that they require.
It's all about faith. And believing.
February 13, 2012
my hands on a wonderful list called 100 Questions that Jesus Asked.
What a wonderful
springboard for our conversations here on this thread.
Eventually I want to go all the way through the questions
that Jesus asked. And the first one is from Matthew 6:27 -- Can any of you by worrying add a single moment to your lifespan?
My recent - and I call the last two years of my life as recent -- bout with breast cancer jumps up and out of
the depths of that rusty barrel that houses my brain.
I will say that never during that entire ordeal did
I feel desperate and anxious about living or dying. That was because of a couple of reasons, not the least of which is the
verse quoted above. I know that somewhere in Jeremiah, there's a reference to the fact that God said he knew me when I was
still in my mother's womb. In another verse way back there in the Old Testament, probably from a psalm, there's a reference
to God knowing how many hairs I have on my head, and also how many days I will spend here on earth.
view those cancers for both Quint and me as God specifically not answering our prayers. I take a counter view because we have
both gone through that long, black tunnel of chemo. Radiation added for me. When we talked it through, all the way to the
core, we came to understand that God had, in fact, answered our prayer. You see, at our age, if there was to be cancer, it
was far better to get it out of the way, so to speak, before we got really old. Advanced age puts severe limitations on what
chemo you can get and what you can't tolerate. We are blessed to have gone through all that and are now in remission. In fact,
we just may be in better shape now than a lot of people who are incubating cancerous cells and don't know about it.
So, knowing that God knows all those details about my life, I have little to fear because I also know that he walks with
me through all my days.
Besides, God doesn't seem to put the same sense of desperation on dying that we humans
do. Perhaps that's because God thinks of death as the death of a soul. I figure that he's elated when a person's body dies
because those persons get to come back home to be with him in heaven. Who could cry about that?
It doesn't mean
we don't go through a grieving process when we lose our loved ones. And there might even be a few people who will be said
when my creaky old bones end up in the fiery pits of a crematorium. But I hope they will be overjoyed when death finds me
skipping through that tunnel that near-deathers describe.
After all, as Pastor Rensner says, "What are you
going to do, threaten me with heaven?"
So, no worries. Enjoy each and every little sunbeam as you travel down
the road of life. And get down on your knees and thank the good Lord above for all the blessings he has given you in this
life, right now.
February 12, 2011
Navy Seal quote
of the week
Dana Perrino ( Fox News) describing an interview she recently had with a Navy SEAL .
all the countries he had been sent to, she asked if they had to
learn several languages?
"No ma'am, we don't go there to talk."
February 9, 2012
ran over a hawk on the way home from work this afternoon. How could I ever explain how I could kill a bird on the wing! But
sure enough, the silly thing flew right in front of me about a foot higher than the hood of the car. He got real close to
the edge of the air.
That's Quint's reason for airline crashes. Planes crash when they go past the edge of the
Changing the subject, I'm making cookies for little kiddos at church. We have an after school program and
offer the kiddos a snack when they get off the bus and come into the play area with tummies that have caved in from hunger.
They get a half sandwich, a cookie and a piece of fruit. Then they go charging around the gym and burn it all off and go home
starved for supped.
I'm making cookies from a cake mix. To do that, you out two eggs into 1/3 cup oil and mix well.
Then, mix that into the dry cake mix. Makes a bit more than 2 dozen little cookies. The cookies are baked at 375 degrees for
6 - 8 minutes.
I got a confetti cake mix since little darlings adore confetti and sprinkles.
I got this beautiful story from my cousin Mark:
Tell me this one doesn't put life in perspective.
In Phoenix , Arizona , a 26-year-old mother stared down at her 6 year old son, who was
Although her heart was filled with sadness, she also had a strong feeling of determination.
Like any parent, she wanted her son to grow up and fulfill all
his dreams. Now that was no longer possible.
The leukemia would see to that. But she still wanted her son's
dream to come true.
her son's hand and asked,
'Billy, did you ever think about what you wanted to be once you grew up
Did you ever dream and wish what you would do with your life ?'
Mommy, 'I always wanted to be a
fireman when I grew up.'
Mom smiled back and said, 'Let's see if we can make your wish
Later that day she went to her local fire Department in Phoenix , Arizona, where she met Fireman
who had a heart as big as Phoenix .
She explained her son's final wish and asked if it might be possible
to give her
6 year-old son a ride around the block on a fire engine.
Fireman Bob said, 'Look, we can do better
than that. If you'll
have your son ready at seven o'clock Wednesday morning, we'll
make him an honorary
Fireman for the whole day. He can come down to the fire
station, eat with us, go out on all the fire calls,
the whole nine yards !
And if you'll give us his sizes, we'll get a real fire uniform
for him, with a real
fire hat - not a toy one with the emblem of the
Phoenix Fire Department on it, a yellow slicker
like we wear
and rubber boots.'
'They're all manufactured right here in Phoenix , so we can get them fast.'
Three days later Fireman Bob picked up Billy, dressed him in his uniform and escorted him from his hospital
bed to the waiting hook and ladder truck.
Billy got to sit on the back of the truck and help steer it
to the fire station. He was in heaven.
There were three fire calls in Phoenix that day and Billy
go out on all three calls.
He rode in the different fire engines, the Paramedic's' van, and
the fire chief's car. He was also videotaped for the local news program.
Having his dream come true, with
all the love and attention that was lavished upon him, so
deeply touched Billy, that he lived three months longer than
any doctor thought possible.
One night all of his vital signs began to drop dramatically and
the head nurse,
who believed in the hospice concept - that no one should die alone, began to
call the family members to the hospital.
Then she remembered the day Billy had spent as a Fireman, so
she called the Fire Chief and asked if it would
be possible to send a fireman in uniform to
the hospital to be with Billy as he made his transition..
chief replied, 'We can do better than that. We'll be there in five minutes. Will
you please do me a favor ?
When you hear the sirens screaming and see the lights flashing, will you announce
over the PA system that
there is not a fire? 'It's the department coming to see one of its finest members one more time. And will you open
the window to his
About five minutes later a hook and ladder truck arrived at the
hospital and extended its
ladder up to Billy's third floor open window --------
climbed up the ladder into Billy's room!
With his mother's permission, they hugged him and held him and
him how much they LOVED him.
With his dying breath, Billy looked up at the fire chief and
'Chief, am I really a fireman now?'
'Billy, you are, and The Head Chief, Jesus, is holding your hand,' the chief
With those words, Billy smiled and said, 'I know, He's been
holding my hand all day, and the angels
have been singing.'
He closed his eyes one last time.
February 8, 2012
this mountain of mud sitting at the edge of the yard. It's the residue from the sewer line repair the other day. Rather than
spread it out flat with the rest of the yard, we were told that the spring rains would pound it down so that the trench would
eventually be filled in. Sounds reasonable to me, but I think I'll get out there with a rake one of these days, all of the
same. Otherwise, I'm going to go out there in the next day or so and find a ski lift with very little people using the little
mound for their winter fun.
It got cold in the last day or so. Even had a dusting of snow. We are woefully behind
with our snowfall. According to the old wives' tale, since we had our first snowfall on the 27th of December, we can expect
27 snowfalls in total. Last night's dusting was only #4. Now, mind you, I don't mind not having 27 snowfalls. It's not like
it's a goal or something.
Oh, another thing. Changing the subject, NASA says that the oceans are not rising, but
rather, the level of water went down a bit. According to the weather/climate change/global warming gurus, weren't we told
that because of global warming, the ice sheets would be melting and we'd have so much more water in the oceans that our eastern
coast would be flooded. So how come the water level is going down? Faulty theory = flawed results. But then, just maybe because
the Russians drilled a hole in the ice sheet in Antarctica to get to an underground lake, maybe water is draining down into
the hole. Hey, it could happen!
Quint took me to lunch at Cracker Barrel today. When we were coming out to go back
to the car, we noticed that there had been a bunch of pansies in bloom before they got frosted. Now, who would plant blooming
pansies in the middle of winter? Sure enough, they got frostbit last night. I love the meatloaf at Cracker Barrel. If I close
my eyes, I can imagine that I'm back at Grandma Stubbe's boarding house in Paducah. Cracker Barrel's meatloaf tastes just
like hers. Maybe they found her recipe somewhere. It's delicious. So is their Cream of Potato Soup which is my favorite soup
And now my client has arrived for a session. I see her pulling into the driveway now.
February 6, 2012
world to be a better place? Then do something. Think about joining the huge group of volunteers in America.
this is old data, but it's the source I found when I went looking. It's a research article on volunteerism in America written
by Richard D. Young. He cited a Bureau of Labor Statistics report that says 59% of people in the United States who are 16
years old or older volunteered for an organization in some capacity. And that was for the year way back in 2001 to 2002.
that was 27.6% of the American population.
most often donate their time to religious organizations (33.9%). Second on the list is educational organizations who get 27.2%
of the volunteers. But it's the old folks who are 65 and older who donate
the most time to churches -- 45.2%.
Further, the Bureau of Labor Statistics identifies several
activities in which volunteers engage in consistently. The list below shows which activities are most predominate.
or coaching (24.4 %).
Canvassing, campaigning, or fundraising (22.9 %).
making, serving, or delivering goods (22.2 %).
● Serving on a board, committee, or
neighborhood association (16.3 %).
Providing care or transportation (12.3 %).
● Consulting or
administrative work (14.0 %). So this ties in with the Gospel lesson at church yesterday.
It's from Mark 1:29-39 and tells the story of Jesus healing Peter's mother-in-law from a fever. What's the first thing she
did when her fever went away? She got up and began to serve them.
Not because she had to, as Pastor Gillet said.
But because she wanted to.
When it comes to serving in the Kingdom of God, it's something we get to do.
We don't have to, but rather, we are allowed to serve.
In another article, again pulling data
from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, we read that ... nearly 63 million Americans, slightly more than a quarter of the
population, volunteered for charities last year, providing services valued at nearly $173-billion. That’s down from
2009, when 63.4 million adults, or nearly 27 percent of the population, donated their time. The volunteer rate has not changed
significantly since 2006, hovering around 26 percent. Volunteerism reached nearly 29 percent from 2003 to 2005 and has been
as low as 20.4 percent in 1989, says a report by the Corporation for National and Community Service, which is based on annual
and monthly surveys of roughly 100,000 Americans age 16 or older, conducted by the U.S. Census Bureau for the Bureau of Labor
What's neat about this article is an interactive map of the United States that compares the percentage
of volunteers in a state and compares it to the national average when you move your cursor over the state. http://philanthropy.com/article/Volunteerism-Holds-Steady-in/128565/
So get out there and be a good neighbor. While you're at it, volunteer to help out at your church too.
February 4, 2012
and I headed over to Culvers after closing up the junior quilting shop at church. When we started looking for a spot to sit
down at, I heard a familiar voice say, "Jane." It was the vice president of the Effingham/Shelby Zone and she invited
us to sit with her and her husband. They were just finishing up the flavor of the month (chocolate eclair) ice cream, so we
After talking about a dizzying list of favorite subjects, Chris and I then started talking about cake
recipes. I told her I was going to start visiting churches in the Zone. Tomorrow is my first outing. It's at a church where
the church council is making soup for lunch. I told her I was going to make a yellow cake with a peach pie filling and after
sharing that quick recipe with her (it's on the recipe page over there on the left), she said, "I'll tell you how to
make a cake."
She explained, first you mix a cake mix with an angel food cake mix. It can be any kind of cake
mix you want, but it has to be with an angel food cake mix.
Then, when you get those two cake mixes mixed well,
mix 3 tablespoons of the dry mix with 2 tablespoons of water and microwave for 1 minute.
She says it's easy to
remember because it's 3-2-1.
When I got home I mixed a sugar free yellow cake mix with an angel food mix that I
picked up on the way home.
Sure enough, it works! So I have this cake mix in a ziploc bag ready to make a cake
in a minute.
I even bought one of those new cans of frosting mix that Pillsbury has. It looks like a whipped cream
container where you kind of bend a plastic tip a bit and out comes the frosting.
What an amazing age we live in!
I remember when I was a little girl my grandmother would send me to the bakery to buy two layers of a yellow cake
if she didn't have time to bake a cake for a church event. And she thought that was cheating. But no one ever knew. She always
covered it with her famous 7 Minute Frosting so who would have ever been able to tell.
One of my other favorite
memories of my grandmother was her little forest of African Violet leaves. She had a big pan of sand which she kept wet. Then
she would take leaves from her African Violets and stick them in the sand. After some mysterious length of time, she'd know
when to take the leaves out because they'd have roots developed. She'd plant them in little pots and after a while, little
baby African Violets would pop their little faces up through the dirt. Eventually, she'd cut the big leaf off and put it back
in the sand to make a new generation.
I got up enough nerve to try that this year. A nurse at the oncology center
assured me that this method would work so I gave it a try. I now have a beautiful purple and another pink African Violet and
when I get a little new plant, I give them to clients who want them.
Except that I only use African Plant Food
water. That makes them bloom like happy little campers. Pretty much all the time too.
February 2, 2012
groundhog can be believed, we don't have to worry about winter weather so much. We had fog as thick as pea soup. Not only
could the rat not see his shadow, I doubt if he could see his cute little paw in front of his face. Yay! Go groundhog.
I received this from my friend Cody in Warrensburg, MO:
One of the best I've seen lately........
Ever wonder what would happen if we treated our Bible like we treat our cell phone?
What if we
carried it around in our purses or pockets?
What if we flipped through it several times a day?
if we turned back to go get it if we forgot it?
What if we used it to receive messages from the text?
What if we treated it like we couldn't live without it?
What if we gave it to Kids as gifts?
if we used it when we traveled?
What if we used it in case of emergency?
This is something to make
you go....hmm...where is my Bible?
Oh, and one more thing.
Unlike our cell phone, we don't have to
worry about our Bible being
disconnected because Jesus already paid the bill.
Makes you stop and think 'where
are my priorities? And no dropped calls!
When Jesus died on the cross, he was thinking of you!
I read another article today on the web warning about yet another scam. This one has to do with jury duty. Supposedly someone
sends you an email or calls you to let you know there's a warrant for your arrest because you didn't show up for jury duty.
After you pick yourself up off the floor and start to explain that you never got a summons to appear for jury
duty, then the most helpful scam artist at the other end of the phone asks you for your social security number and birthday
so it can be double checked against the list of warrants. Now, we aren't going to give anybody that kind of information, are
Please say you won't.
Scam artists are mean. They're usually crooks who need to go where other criminals
If you live in Illinois, you need to know that Illinois is a "do not call" state. That means if
you get an annoying telemarketing call, immediately tell the caller that you are aware that you live in a "do not call"
state and want your name taken off the list he/she is calling from. The caller has to stop the conversation immediately.
Also, there's a link on the Links page on this website to put your phones on the "Do not call list." I probably
need to do that again because I'm starting to get calls again. Putting your phone numbers on the list is not a permanent solution
but when you start to get calls again, just go back in and renew your numbers.
February 1, 2012
through the Bible at an accelerated pace in our Sunday morning adult discussion class. It's an ambitious undertaking because
we're actually going to go from Genesis to Revelation in a 10-week segment. Oh, for sure, we aren't going to do any really
in depth stopping over points. We can always go back and focus on aspects of the textbook we're using individually at a later
One of the quick points that was made in an early chapter was that Genesis 15:1 was the first time that
the term "the word of the Lord came to..."
In this particular instance, the reference was to Abraham.
He was the first man to whom the word of the Lord came. Abraham was a prophet. In this particular instanc, the word prophet
means one who receives the word of the Lord.
Don't you think it would be exciting to pick up the Bible and get
into the Word? Page after page after page of the Word brings us richness and depth to our soul. It's a blessed journey to
walk every day with the Lord.
There's mending to be done when we weep from heavy grief. Our soul yearns for healing
and it's right there, in between the covers of the Book.
There's learning that jumps off the pages with so much
history. The Bible is not a complete history of what was going on in the world. For instance, from 1250 to 1190 BC the Greeks
and Trojans were fighting the famous Trojan War. It happened. We know that from recorded history. But it's not a Bible story.
And did you know that from 1750 - 1040 BC, China's Shang Dynasty had a system of writing. They organized a bunch
of armies too.
There were earthquakes too. From 1150-950 BC, earthquakes rattled the area around Cyprus.
Accupuncture was first introduced during the Chou dynasty at 1030 BC.
For sure, there were people in other places
doing other things. Their stories were not captured in the Bible.
What the Bible does bring us is the bloodline
of Jesus all the way back to Adam and Eve. The Bible traces this lineage through the House of David, through his line of history
to a little town of Bethlehem.
There's much in the Word to sift through and think about. Absolutely no other book
in the history of mankind has had the impact as the Word of God. Nor has any one single individual, save Jesus Christ, had
as much of an impact on civilization than the Son of God who came from heaven to become flesh and blood and to live among
us. Then he died as a sacrifice on the cross for the sins of each one of us.
This month we recognize Ash Wednesday
as the beginning of the season of Lent. It's a time when we stop what we're doing and ponder the miracle of God's great love
which he so graciously gifts us with.
Let the Word of God come to you. Pick up the Bible and just hold it in your
hands. Then open it and start to read.
Prepare to be amazed.
January 31, 2012
It's hard to
believe that here in Middle Illinois, it's 58.1 degrees. Highly unusual for January 31. Only two days 'til Ground Hogs Day
and this year, do I dare say, "Who cares?"
Actually, when you think about it, it doesn't matter whether
the rat sees his shadow or not. Spring is six weeks away no matter what. Just count the days on the calendar.
I left you last night I was talking about the bad rap that controlling and manipulating people have gotten over the years.
We've put a negative connotation onto those two words when, in fact, they can be life-saving.
I mentioned that
the reason people are controlling is because they want life to be predictable. And who doesn't want that?
we're asking for trouble in trying to control people, places and events that we don't have any business messing with. There's
all kinds of attempts at controlling that could even land you in jail. For instance, if you forged someone's signature because
you wanted to control your ability to get out of debt so you think stealing someone's identity and/or money is acceptable.
That's not even close to be included in this discussion.
What you can control, though, is your
behavior. How you react to events and people in your life can be a healthy way to control your environment.
for instance, who smile and giggle at you make it awfully easy and heartwarming to pick them up and cuddle them. They've learned
at a very early age that positive behaviors get more favorable attention from the big people in their lives. In a small way,
they've figured out how to control someone to come over and pick them up.
I remember when my daughter and her husband
were trying to get back to Los Angeles when, for some reason, their flight was abruptly cancelled. No new flights were
scheduled at that airline. So she went over to another airline and said to an already overstressed service attendant that
she realized the burden that this lady was under and she certainly didn't want to push her for help, but she was hoping ever
so much if there was anything that she could do to get them on a plane. She engaged the lady in a few light moments and the
next thing you know, she and her husband were on a flight, with a "Thank you so much. You are a lifesaver." And
off the went to the other end of the airport where the other airline's terminal was.
She learned when she was
a little girl that when you're reasonable, you're more able to operate on your environment and more often than not, get the
results you want.
Call it whatever you want, but being pleasant will get you farther along than being pushy and
ignorant and belligerent and demanding.
When you wake up in the morning, look at the daylight and say, "Today
is going to be a great day. I'm going to have some adventures and come in contact with people I enjoy being with." Then
get up, get dressed, and put your very best smile on your face as you out to operate on your environment. Make things happen.
But in a pleasant way that shows people you care about them.
January 30, 2012
in between clients right now, so this will be a bit brief. I'll finish my thought tomorrow in a bit more detail.
What I want to discuss before the thought goes too far away is this whole idea that controllingness and manipulation is
a bad thing. I say -- not necessarily.
The reason we need to control or manipulate things is to make life more
predictable. We all need predictability in our lives. So the question really wraps itself around why we feel insecure when
our lives are not predictable.
Jean Piaget, the psychological guru who developed the school of cognitive development,
says we all learn how to "operate" on our environment and the people in it.
It does not make you a bad
More about this after I've had a good night's rest.
About the time I think there's not
much new under the sun, this comes to my email. It's from Linda over in Lawrenceville. Thank you, Linda!
Monday Morning Message
This is SIMPLY AWESOME! I've never seen this
before! Whoever put The Resume
of Jesus Christ together is surely a blessing to us all! Please share it!
sentence says it all... Send this resume to everyone you know, you
never know who may have an opening! Powerful!
Have a blessed day!
of Jesus Christ
Address: Ephesians 1:20
Phone: Romans 10:13
Website: The Bible . Keywords: Christ, Lord, Savior and
My name is Jesus -The Christ. Many call me Lord! I've sent you my
because I'm seeking the top management position in your heart. Please
consider my accomplishments as set
forth in my resume.
I founded the
earth and established the heavens, (See Proverbs 3:19 )
I formed man from
the dust of the ground, (See Genesis 2:7 )
I breathed into man the breath
of life, (See Genesis 2:7 )
I redeemed man from the curse of the law, (See
Gal at ians 3:13 )
The blessings of the Abrahamic Covenant comes upon your
life through me,
(See Galatians 3:14 )
only had one employer, (See Luke 2:49 ) .
I've never been tardy, absent, disobedient,
slothful or disrespectful.
My employer has nothing but rave reviews for me,
(See Matthew 3:15 -17 )
Skills Work Experiences
of my skills and work experiences include: empowering the poor to be
poor no more, healing the brokenhearted, setting
the captives free, healing
the sick, restoring sight to the blind and setting at liberty them that are
(See Luke 4:18 ) .
I am a Wonderful Counselor, (See Isaiah 9:6 ) . People
who listen to me
shall dwell safely and shall not fear evil, (See Proverbs 1:33 ) .
Most importantly, I have the authority, ability and power to cleanse you of
your sins, (See I John 1:7-9 )
I encompass the entire breadth and length of knowledge, wisdom
understanding, (See Proverbs 2:6 ) .
In me are hid all of the treasures
of wisdom and knowledge, (See Colossians
2:3 ) .
My Word is so powerful;
it has been described as being a lamp unto your feet
and a light unto your path, (See Psalms 119:105 ) .
I can even tell you all of the secrets of your heart, (See Psalms 44:21 ) .
I was an active participant in the greatest Summit Meeting
of all times,
(See Genesis 1:26 ) .
I laid down my life so that you may
live, (See II Corinthians 5:15 ) .
I defeated the arch enemy of God and mankind
and made a show of them openly,
(See Colossians 2:15 ) .
fed the poor, healed the sick and raised the dead!
There are many more major
accomplishments, too many to mention here. You can
read them on my website, which is located at : www dot - the BIBLE.
don't need an Internet connection or computer to access my website.
Believers and followers worldwide will testify to my divine healing,
deliverance, miracles, restoration and supernatural guidance.
In Summ at ion
Now that you've
read my resume, I'm confident that I'm the only candidate
uniquely qualified to fill this vital position in your heart.
I will properly direct your paths, (See Proverbs 3:5-6 ) , and lead you into
everlasting life, (See
John 6:47 ) . When can I start? Time is of the
essence, (See Hebrews 3:15 ) .
Send this resume to everyone you know,
you never know who may have an opening!
Thanks for your help.
September 26, 2012
one-liners from friend Cody in Warrensburg, Missouri:
Don't let your worries get the best of you;
Moses started out as a basket case.
Some people are kind, polite, and sweet-spirited
you try to sit in their pews..
Many folks want to serve God,
But only as
It is easier to preach ten sermons
Than it is to live one.
The good Lord didn't create anything without a purpose,
But mosquitoes come close.
When you get to your wit's end,
You'll find God lives there.
People are funny;
They want the Front of the bus,
the Middle of the road,
And Back of the church.
Opportunity may knock once,
But temptation bangs on the front door forever.
Quit griping about your church;
If it was perfect, you couldn't belong.
If a church wants a better pastor,
It only needs to pray for the one it has ..
God Himself doesn't propose to judge a man until
he is dead. So why should you?
Some minds are like concrete
Thoroughly mixed up and permanently set.
starts with a smile.
don't know why some people change churches;
does it make
which one you stay home from?
lot of church members singing 'Standing
on the Promises'
Are just sitting on the premises.
Be ye fishers of men.
You catch 'em - He'll clean 'em.
Coincidence is when God chooses to remain anonymous.
Don't put a question mark where God put a period.
fruits create many jams.
God doesn't call the qualified, He qualifies the called.
God grades on the cross, not the curve.
But probably prefers 'fruits of the spirit' over
promises a safe landing, not a calm passage.
who angers you, controls
If God is your Co-pilot, swap seats!
Don't give God instructions, just report for duty!
The task ahead
of us is never as
great as the Power behind us.
Will of God never takes
you to where the
Grace of God will not protect
The message changes us.
You can tell how big a person is
it takes to discourage him.
The best mathematical equation I have ever seen:
+ 3 nails = 4 given .
Do you think the US Navy would ever name a ship after an army guy, even if he
is a Green Beret? Well, if your name is Roy Benavidez, it would. Benavidez got the Medal of Honor too. You have to see his
story to believe it. This comes from cousin Mark: http://biggeekdad.com/2010/01/tango-mike-mike/
Oh my goodness - what fun! This letter from a New Orleans attorney provides, in addition to a good
argument, a bit of history at the same time. Thank you, Mark:
You have to love this lawyer.......
Part of rebuilding New Orleans caused residents often to be challenged with the task
of tracing home titles
back potentially hundreds of years. With a community rich
with history stretching back over two centuries, houses have
been passed along
through generations of family, sometimes making it quite difficult to establish
a great letter an attorney wrote to the FHA on behalf of a client:
A New Orleans lawyer sought an FHA loan for
a client. He was told the loan would be
granted if he could prove satisfactory title to a parcel of property being offered
as collateral. The title to the property dated back to 1803, which took the lawyer
three months to track down. After
sending the information to the FHA, he received
the following reply:
(Actual reply from FHA):
review of your letter adjoining your client's loan application, we note that
the request is supported by an Abstract
of Title. While we compliment the able
manner in which you have prepared and presented the application, we must point
that you have only cleared title to the proposed collateral property back to 1803.
Before final approval can
be accorded, it will be necessary to clear the title back
to its origin."
Annoyed, the lawyer responded
"Your letter regarding title in Case No.189156 has been received.
I note that you
wish to have title extended further than the 206 years covered by the present
application. I was
unaware that any educated person in this country, particularly
those working in the property area, would not know that
Louisiana was purchased by
the United States from France, in 1803 the year of origin identified in our
For the edification of uninformed FHA bureaucrats, the title to the
land prior to U.S. ownership was obtained from France,
which had acquired it by
Right of Conquest from Spain. The land came into the possession of Spain by Right of
made in the year 1492 by a sea captain named Christopher Columbus, who had
been granted the privilege of seeking a new
route to India by the Spanish monarch,
The good Queen Isabella, being a pious woman and almost
as careful about titles as
the FHA, took the precaution of securing the blessing of the Pope before she sold
jewels to finance Columbus's expedition...Now the Pope, as I'm sure you may
know, is the emissary of Jesus Christ, the
Son of God, and God, it is commonly
accepted, created this world. Therefore, I believe it is safe to presume that God
also made that part of the world called Louisiana. God, therefore, would be the
owner of origin and His origins date
back to before the beginning of time, the world
as we know it, and the FHA. I hope you find God's original claim to be
Now, may we have our loan?"
The loan was immediately approved.
September 24, 2012
I do another thing, I want to share a link with you from a friend of mine. It's an outstanding vocalist, a ten year old young
lady named Jackie Evancho. You know how I love to watch and hear people who excel at anything, regardless of their age. Just
listen: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=foUrBztgzZA She was on America's Got Talent, and boy does she!
Changing the subject, today was the day when one of those
mega-mega-zoom-zooms arrived from our sun to lay havoc with the Earth's magnetic fields. Even Delta Airlines re-routed some
of its flights to dodge the solar winds from the Coronal Mass Eruption. http://www.space.com/12581-stunning-photos-solar-storms-flares-sun-weather.html
Wow! The northern lights must have danced quite a little Texas Two Step.
Now, on to other matters of
some import. It's all about retraining your communications ability so that you don't fall victim to people who want to get
and keep you on the defense.
In the first place, don't think you have to jump in and answer someone who demands
an immediate answer. No no no. Take a deep breath and give yourself a bit of time to send a response back over the fence,
so to speak.
Yes, it's more than okay to answer a question with a question. In fact, it's how you get out of all
those defense-intended maneuvers that are being shot at you. You simply do not have to answer with all that immediacy.
For instance, when someone says to you, "Why don't you want to talk to me?"
Your response could
be, "About what?"
Or, "Why didn't you call me?"
"Was I supposed to?"
"Who said that?"
Slow down a bit and give yourself time to frame
Try it. It will take some time to get in the habit of allowing yourself to proceed slowly. In the
long-run, it will help you set your boundaries and maintaining them. Especially if you get the inkling that someone is trying
to invade your peace of mind by demanding that you defend yourself.
And how can you recognize defense maneuvers?
Aside from your gut reaction, densive maneuvers usually start with the word "Why."
are not part of polite conversation. The intent is for one person to try to get and keep the upper hand over someone else.
September 23, 2010
is one of those off the beaten path pieces of information that you may not have known. I didn't either until today's issue
of American Profile arrived.
The there it was on Page 12. Yet another reason that Chicago can claim to
be a winner at something.
The Field Museum in Chicago has won the 2011 America's Best Restroom Award.
So what, you may ask, does a "best restroom" have going for it that would beat out other competitors? Well, for
starters, it has little people potties. And there's a nursing room complete with a sofa in it.
So congrats, Chicago.
'Nuff said about that.
Now it's official. Quint is in remission from his chronic lymphocytic/leukemia. We
made our trip to the oncologist today and learned that the results of the CT scan he had a couple of weeks ago show that the
lymph nodes have returned to normal. Thank you for answered prayers. We're both now on the once-in-three-months regimen. I
did have a new medication to the list of what the doctor has in my file. That's Allupurinol. So when I told him, he said,
"Oh, you've got gouty athritis."
Yep. That's me. The medication is specifically for people who has been
given Cytoxa for chemo with breast cancer.
But then I found out that eating cherries -- only 6 a day -- will help
out a lot. Sure enough, we found cherries in the produce aisle. Fresh from Chile. They are delicious. After only a week of
cherry snacks, I've seen an improvement. I can now bend my thumb with no pain at all. That's the only place, plus my back,
that seems to be bothered. Oh, it's just a nuisance. Nothing fatal. I'll take nuisances.
January 20, 2012
just jumping up and down for joy watching those pink icy, wintry mix patches float by on the weather map. And up north, oh
my goodness. I remember those days when a six inch snowfall was kind of sort of ordinary.
We do not miss it.
Here is a link to a beautiful young girl who is a prodigy -- Akiane Kramarik. She has been painting since
she was very young, age 4. Her paintings are incredible. And thanks to friends in Wichita, John and Sherre for the link: http://www.shangralafamilyfun.com/prodigy.html
Here's a link to Gene Simmons of KISS performing for the troops: http://www.youtube.com/watch_popup?v=5MtdIO23MKM Makes me want to stand up and march around the dining room. Thanks, Mark, for sharing.
January 20, 2012
just jumping up and down for joy watching those pink icy, wintry mix patches float by on the weather map. And up north, oh
my goodness. I remember those days when a six inch snowfall was kind of sort of ordinary.
We do not miss it.
Here is a link to a beautiful young girl who is a prodigy -- Akiane Kramarik. She has been painting since
she was very young, age 4. Her paintings are incredible. And thanks to friends in Wichita, John and Sherre for the link: http://www.shangralafamilyfun.com/prodigy.html
January 18, 2012
so here's my ignorance showing. I don't know where either of these teams are from -- Trinity and Millsap -- but this link
that my cousins Al and Mark sent to me shows one of the most phenomenal football plays I have ever seen in all my born
Talk about teamwork! This one play won the game. Wow!
And Mark sends these tips too:
1. I think part of a best friend's job should be toimmediately clear your computer
history if you die.
Nothing sucks more than that moment during an
argument when you realize you're wrong.
3. I totally take
back all those times I didn't want to
nap when I was younger.
4. There is great need for a sarcasm font.
5. How the hell are you supposed to fold a fitted sheet?
6. Was learning cursive really necessary?
7. Map Quest really needs to start their directions on #5. I'm pretty sure I know
how to get out of my neighborhood.
I especially like #7.
As for the second point, I'll have to see if Quint can even remember a time when
he was wrong. About anything. ha ha
Me? I try to keep my mouth shut unless I know pretty much what the answer is.
Reminds me of a fella in grad school who had a most unique form of discipline. He says it's more effective than time
outs and has been using it since his kiddos were real little. He makes them sit down so that he can tell them the entire
history of slavery. All total, it takes about 45 minutes.
January 17, 2012
from 61 degrees this morning to a cool 28 now. There's a raw wind blowing that makes it feel like 2 zillion below zero.
Thank goodness Ground Hogs Day is only weeks away. That's the day I first celebrate spring.
when I was a little girl the teacher would pass around those mimeographed pictures for our class to color. After I became
an adult, I realized that the ground hog is nothing but a big rodent and the whole thing used up all my brown color crayons.
My irises did die back again though. Poor little things. I can hear them shivering under their little
dirt shoes. I have a huge variety of colors. Some are yellow, a peach color that's really a double. Looks pretty and
frilly. Various shades of purple, one almost black. And finally a pink iris. I like irises. They remind me of Vincent Van
Gogh. He painted irises for the whole year that he was in the asylum. People sometimes comment about how they must have been
Van Gogh's favorite flower. The truth is, they were the only flower planted at the asylum. So of course he painted irises.
What else were there? Besides, by that time he was probably tired of doing self-portraits, being one ear shy of having a full
face and all.
Thank you for all your "as if" comments. It was very interesting to hear about how you
are using the same concept. Actually it's little more than positive thinking. But it works. People who are negative get dumped
on a lot. They aren't any fun and they suck all the air out of relationships, out of the sky and out of their hearts. So lighten
up everybody and live your lives as if you are the successful person you want to be!
January 16, 2012
Live your life as
It's a Biblical concept. Believe you will get what you pray for, and it is yours, we are promised.
It's the underlying principle of the best-seller The Secret.
So let's all put a whole bunch of
positive energy out there. The idea is that if you send positive energy out from yourself, it will come back to you.
That's where you embrace the idea that you'll do better in life if you live your life as if.
married couples who live their lives as if can somehow keep a vibrancy alive in their relationship. Remember
those days when you tried to do all the thoughtful, courteous things you could to attract this handsome guy, or gorgeous lady,
into your life? If you're going to be late, do you call and let somebody know you're being detained? If you're living your
life as if, then you're going to do such thoughtful things like making a call.
Or how about getting that
dream job? What happens when you are sitting in your cubicle doing some grunt project and wishing the clock would advance
a few hours so you could get out of there? Well, if you're living your life as if you'd just gotten into an interview
and were trying to convince a prospective boss that you really wanted the job, you'd go ahead and do the best you could do,
even if every day isn't always exciting and creatively challenging.
Or how about parenting. Remember those days
when you couldn't wait for Little Baby Ten Toes to arrive? Live your life as if those days beckon you and you back
to the days when you promised yourself that you'd be the best parent you possibly could be to the new baby yet to be born.
Living as if will help you get through long, fright-filled nights when you're waiting for an errant teenage to wander
on back home.
And most of all, live your life as if Christ were headed this way from the other side of
the universe and he is just about ready to come down out of the clouds. Living your life as if he were just about
here just may change your life choices.
Good luck with that. Think about ways you could live your life as if.
January 13, 2012
Yes, we got the snow. Not
much. Just a couple of inches. Then it stopped for a few hours. I reminded Quint that when the snow started up again, it counted
as a new snow. At least for my reckoning. He doesn't have to count the snows separately if he doesn't want to. It's just that
if you don't, you end up with some extra snowfalls anticipated by the end of the season.
Yesterday I saw a red
fox loping along across the neighbor's yard across the street. At first I thought it was a dog, but then, that tail is a giveaway.
Red fox it was. Pretty good sized one too. We have some woods behind our house. Figure he lives back in there with the deer
who come out every once in a while looking for good chow, like when the neighbor's beans are about ready to pick. I told her
to get a bottle of Liquid Fence at the hardware store, last year. It works. It's kept deer, squirrels and rabbits away from
my garden goodies ever since I planted a garden down here. Not too cheap, but it does the trick. You spray around the perimeter
of the garden, not on the veggies. A quart bottle lasts most of the season.
It even works on those naughty dogs
who like to hike up their legs and take a leak on my rose bush out front. Actually they're probably marking their territory.
Doesn't matter, me and my Liquid Fence go out there and give the bush a squirt where the dogs squirted. They don't come back
so much. Nothing to reclaim if they can't get a whiff of their aroma.
Tomorrow I'm going to my first meeting of
the Christian Writers Group here in town. Looking forward to meeting others who are plying their craft too.
anxious to see if anyone else uses what I call the Ernest Hemingway approach -- you know, three to four word sentences. He
was a master at it and I figured if he made it work, so could I. Problem is, my spell checker does not like fragmented sentences.
But hey, that's the way people talk. So I say I write "conversationally." ha!
Oh, changing the subject.
What do you think the stock markets are going to do on Monday morning, now that Standard and Poors has downgraded the financial
houses of Yerp? France and Austria lost their AAA ratings. A total of 15 European nations' ratings were cutting in the
S&P slash and burn come-uppance move. One of these days, the US is going to get downgraded again if we don't get a grip
You can't spend all your money!
I watched one of those news interview programs, maybe
a Jay Leno man on the street. Not sure. Anyway, the commentator was asking the people where they thought money came from.
One lady said she thought the president printed the money in the basement of the White House. Unfortunately, she was serious.
She even knew who the president was.
God said something about wasting the blessings He gives us. We'd better all
listen up and pay attention, folks.
January 11, 2011
glad that Netflix survived the stupidest marketing debacle yet -- raising money on top of money by doing a double tier charge
system. Never could figure out what they were going to charge so we canceled everything but the streatming, which we used
mostly anyway. We do get one video still, though. What we have both come to really like is the video of a fireplace burning.
That's all it is. Just a fireplace burning. It makes the living room seem warm and cozy. Okay, so it doesn't make the room
actually warm, but the crackling fire and licking flames do okay by me.
Just in time, too, for a winter storm heading
our way. I fear that this one isn't going to miss us. We might get several inches out of it. It's heading SSE out of Iowa
and looks to cut a big swath across Illinois as it heads east. I guess that's the end of our 40 degree winters.
well, it was nice while it lasted.
Now, on to Groundhog's Day which is February 2. Somehow I don't think the little
groundhog is going to be a harbinger of spring. This is going to be one of those winters where it's going to be snowing for
Easter, I'll bet. When the girls were little tykes I remember them hopping through snow on the way to the church on Easter
Sunday. Didn't do their little patent leather slippers any good.
Not much news going on except politics, in case
you haven't noticed. Politics in the US has become a mult-billion dollar business. So the ads and speeches and debates and
spin doctoring are going to continue until November.
One good thing did come out of the Supreme Court today. Believe
it or not, the justices reaches a unanimous decision that says churches can hire people of their own choice - whether it's
a priest, pastor, rabbi, or imam. The supremes said the government had to "butt out" in so many words.
Well, it's about time.
And my cousin Frances in Texas says the jonquils are sprouting and the bluebells are really
thick, though not blooming just yet.
I will add that my irises are totally confused. I have cut them back twice
now and could cut them back again but I'm not gonna. If they decide to bloom when it snows, I'll take a photo for posterity.
And with that, no matter where you are, please drive carefully. I know that some parts of the midwest are supposed
to get 10" of snow or more, but the rest of us can expect 1 to 2 inches of the white stuff. I don't care if we only get
one inch of snow. If it's sitting on icy pavement, it can still be deadly.
Prayers for safety for all of you.
January 9, 2012
Had he lived,
today would have been my brother, Allison's, 67th birthday. His middle name was Wallace, probably named for some long lost
relative I've never heard of. So we called him A.W. because that's what people in the south do. There's usually at least one
first degree relative identified only by initials. So wherever you are, A.W., I hope you're enjoying the choirs of angels
and that at the last moments on your deathbed you begged forgiveness for a life filled with sins. I suspect that you did get
that idea as you lay dying of lung cancer. But I don't know that. I just pray that you did because I would love to see you
Changing the subject, I have received more than quite a few emails about this Mayan thing and what's
going to happen at the end of 2012.
In the first place, the Bible reference to the end of the world is very clear
about who knows what. I believe it's in Revelation where the verse says that no one knows when the world will end except the
Father. Even His Son, Jesus Christ, does not have that information.
Yep. It says so in the Bible. Look it up.
Or if you don't have a Bible with a good commentary that can point you to the verse, go to www.ask..com and type in a question like, "Where in the Bible does it say ............................................"
You'll get a reference.
That's exactly what I did this evening before I started this writing. I knew that somewhere
in the Bible, there was an answer to some prophet who asked God how he would end the world the "next time" since
he'd promised in a covenant after the flood that he would never destroy the population with a flood again. Then he put a rainbow
in the sky. To this day, when I see a rainbow, I am reminded of God's promise not to send a flood again.
about this point that the Mayans supposedly thought the world was going to end? Did they actually say that? Not really, unless
you interpret their writings to fit into that concept. But what if it'd the Mayan calendar, not the world, that is supposed
to end in December 2012? After all, we have Bible texts that say only the Father knows. If He didn't get around to telling
His much beloved Son, Jesus Christ, do you really believe He would have told some Indians out there on the Yucatan Peninsula.
So what did God tell the prophet?
In the New International Reader's Version, in Hebrews 12, we
25 Be sure that you don't say no to the One who speaks. People did not escape when they said
no to the One who warned them on earth. And what if we turn away from the One who warns us from heaven? How much less will
26 At that time his voice shook the earth. But now
he has promised, "Once more I will shake the earth. I will also shake the heavens."—(Haggai 2:6)
27 The words "once more" point out that what can be shaken can be taken away. I'm talking
about created things. Then what can't be shaken will remain.
We are receiving a kingdom that can't be shaken. So let us be thankful. Then we can worship God in a way that pleases him.
We will worship him with deep respect and wonder. 29 Our "God is like a fire that burns everything
There are also references to
God shaking the earth in Psalm 115:3 and Haggai 2:6.
I am reminded of the reference in Verse 28 that "...we
can worship God in a way that pleases him." That pretty much takes care of people who say they don't go to church because
they believe they can worship God in a forest, or somewhere else. In fact, God tells us that he wants us to meet in assembly
with fellow believers.
So get up on the Sabbath, get dressed and make your way to church where you can "assemble"
with "fellow believers." Just do it. Don't say "no" to God.
And then there's
this Tebow guy. Don't you love him?! Over the weekend he rushed 316 yards. That was the accumulated passes he threw and I
think he ran the ball some too. When he heard the stats broadcast with his last winning throw of the day that he was responsible
for 316 yards that won the game for the Denver Broncos, what does he do? Did he swell up and sing, "How great I am?"
Not on your life. He dropped to his knee and thanked God for his blessings. He later explained that when he heard that,
all he could think of was John 3:16.
January 7, 2012
I'm stuck at the weight
where I've plateaued so Quint and I headed for the gym today. That's how you get off those plateaus - either drastically cut
back on calories or step up the exercise.
Well, since our life is pretty sedentary as it is, just walking out
the door to get intot he car is an improvement on the sedentary lifestyle. So, since we're Silver Sneakers on our Humana insurance,
we headed for the gym where we used to go faithfully before all this cancer nonsense started. We walked on the treadmill for
a big fat 20 minutes. We got all the way up to a 27 minute mile. Then we did some work on the strength training machines.
I got on the machine that works the hamstrings. I personally think my hamstrings have completely atrophied, but that could
be just a bit hyperbolic. Truth is, I don't like needing to hang onto something just to stand up, for crying out loud.
Okay, so I don't expect to jump up out of my seat, but I would like to look less like an invalid. I'll work up to
walking for an hour, or get up to five miles. I remember when I was a Girl Scout leader I used to go on five mile hikes with
frequency. But then, those were called "all day hikes" for Brownies.
Oh well, we're expecting it to
take some little while to get some semblance of stamina back.
On our way home, we stopped at Walgreens where I
got my flu shot. The doctor only had one left when we were there for our last checkup, so Quint got it.
stocked up on sugar free candy. Russell Stover is my friend!
Changing the subject, I can always rely on my cousin
Mark to send the Darwin Awards for the previous year. And here they are:
THE 2011 DARWIN AWARDS
You've been waiting for them with bated breath, so without further ado, here are the
2011 Darwin Awards:
In Detroit , a 41-year-old man got stuck and drowned in two feet of water after
head first through an 18-inch-wide sewer grate to retrieve his car keys.
San Francisco stockbroker, who "totally zoned when he ran",
accidentally jogged off a 100-foot high cliff on
his daily run.
While at the beach, Daniel Jones, 21, dug an 8 foot hole for protection
wind and had been sitting in a beach chair at the bottom, when it collapsed, burying
him beneath 5 feet
of sand. People on the beach used their hands and shovels trying
to get him out but could not reach him. It took rescue
workers using heavy equipment
almost an hour to free him. Jones was pronounced dead at a hospital.
Santiago Alvarado, 24, was killed as he fell through the ceiling of a bicycle shop
he was burglarizing.
Death was caused when the long flashlight he had placed in his
mouth to keep his hands free rammed into the base of his
skull as he hit the floor.
Sylvester Briddell, Jr., 26, was killed as he won a
bet with friends who said he
would not put a revolver loaded with four bullets into his mouth and pull the
After stepping around a marked police patrol car parked at the front door, a man
walked into H&J Leather & Firearms intent on robbing the store. The shop was full of
customers and a uniformed
officer was standing at the counter. Upon seeing the
officer, the would-be robber announced a hold-up and fired a few
wild shots from a
The officer and a clerk promptly returned fire, and several customers also
their guns and fired. The robber was pronounced dead at the scene by Paramedics.
Crime scene investigators
located 47 expended cartridge cases in the shop. The
subsequent autopsy revealed 23 gunshot wounds. Ballistics identified
rounds from 7
different weapons. No one else was hurt.
47, and his wife Bonnie were bored just driving around at 2 A.M. so
they lit a quarter stick of dynamite to toss out
the window to see what would
happen. Apparently they failed to notice that the window was closed.
Kerry Bingham had been drinking with several friends when one of them said they knew
a person who had
bungee-jumped from a local bridge in the middle of traffic. The
conversation grew more excited, and at least 10 men trooped
along the walkway of the
bridge at 4:30 AM. Upon arrival at the midpoint of the bridge, they discovered that
one had brought a bungee rope. Bingham, who had continued drinking, volunteered
and pointed out that a coil of lineman's
cable lay nearby. They secured one end
around Bingham's leg and then tied the other to the bridge. His fall lasted 40
before the cable tightened and tore his foot off at the ankle. He miraculously
survived his fall into the icy
water and was rescued by two nearby fishermen.
Bingham's foot was never located.
AND THE WINNER IS....
Zookeeper Friedrich Riesfeldt ( Paderborn , Germany ) fed his constipated elephant
22 doses of animal laxative
and more than a bushel of berries, figs and prunes
before the plugged-up pachyderm finally got relief. Investigators
Friedrich, 46, was attempting to give the ailing elephant an olive oil enema when
the relieved beast
The sheer force of the elephant's unexpected defecation knocked Mr Riesfeldt to the
he struck his head on a rock as the elephant continued to evacuate 200
pounds of dung on top of him. It seems to be just
one of those freak accidents.
January 9, 2012
lived, today would have been my brother, Allison's, 67th birthday. His middle name was Wallace, probably named for some long
lost relative I've never heard of. So we called him A.W. because that's what people in the south do. There's usually at least
one first degree relative identified only by initials. So wherever you are, A.W., I hope you're enjoying the choirs of angels
and that at the last moments on your deathbed you begged forgiveness for a life filled with sins. I suspect that you did get
that idea as you lay dying of lung cancer. But I don't know that. I just pray that you did because I would love to see you
Changing the subject, I have received more than quite a few emails about this Mayan thing and what's
going to happen at the end of 2012.
In the first place, the Bible reference to the end of the world is very clear
about who knows what. I believe it's in Revelation where the verse says that no one knows when the world will end except the
Father. Even His Son, Jesus Christ, does not have that information.
Yep. It says so in the Bible. Look it up.
Or if you don't have a Bible with a good commentary that can point you to the verse, go to www.ask..com and type in a question like, "Where in the Bible does it say ............................................"
You'll get a reference.
That's exactly what I did this evening before I started this writing. I knew that somewhere
in the Bible, there was an answer to some prophet who asked God how he would end the world the "next time" since
he'd promised in a covenant after the flood that he would never destroy the population with a flood again. Then he put
a rainbow in the sky. To this day, when I see a rainbow, I am reminded of God's promise not to send a flood again.
So what did God tell the prophet?
In the New International Reader's Version, we find:
Be sure that you don't say no to the One who speaks. People did not escape when they said no to the One who warned them on
earth. And what if we turn away from the One who warns us from heaven? How much less will we escape!
26 At that time his voice shook the earth. But now he has promised, "Once more I will shake the
earth. I will also shake the heavens."—(Haggai 2:6) 27 The words "once
more" point out that what can be shaken can be taken away. I'm talking about created things. Then what can't be shaken
28 We are receiving a kingdom that can't be shaken.
So let us be thankful. Then we can worship God in a way that pleases him. We will worship him with deep respect and wonder.
29 Our "God is like a fire that burns everything up."—(Deuteronomy 4:24)
January 4, 2011
this could be the beginning of a developing article about recognizing saboteurs within an organization. You know -- they're
the ones we refer to as alligators. Every organization has them. And they show their true colors more prominently than you
Here's an old maxim as you start your new year: If you want people to like you, you have to make yourself
That takes care of the bossy ones. People run from these guys. They sit in their chairs and issue edicts
and "fetch orders." "Get me this," or "get me that" seems to be their motto. You don't see these
people surrounded by a big crowd of people, do you? Organizations are full of these little chiefs.
So what can
you do to make people like you? Easy. If you want something, go get it yourself. That's for starters. The world does not raise
citizens who wait for you to beckon them.
That is, unless you're a politician or a monarch, or something that
gives your blue-blooded attitude the self-imposed right to sit on a chair and make demands.
Tied to likability
is another maxim: Good leaders make good followers. You can spot the good leaders in your organization by looking around to
see who the workers are. They're the ones who make the good leaders. The people who don't want to do any real work in a group
are the same ones who will keep the organization at the status quo. No growth. They say, "I liked it better when we were
smaller." All too often, these little-minded people have a secret agenda of their own. They seldom do anything to help
the organization grow. Does the definition of passive aggressive come to mind?
Just remember, aggression
is always a hostile act.
And passive aggression is disguised as sabotage. Each and every time. Passive aggressive
people are on a perpetual search for power. And what do they want the most? Whatever strength you've got. They're
trying to run a little micro counter-culture in your organization.
But there's good news. You reward (reinforce)
the behavior you want to continue. That's behavior modification rule #1. If you find yourself surrounded by people who
don't share your values, then for your own sense of well-being, find another venue. There are plenty of organizations and
opportunities out there in this big, wide wonderful world that welcome hard workers.
It's even Biblical to shake
the dust from your sandals and walk away. Whatever happened between the "shake the dust from your sandals" theory
and the "turn the other cheek motto?"
Well, that thesis can be bridged with a good sermon. I'm
not a pastor so I'll leave that one for theologians to wrestle with.
January 2, 2012
be it resolved -----
I don't ordinarily make New Years resolutions. But this year is an exception.
can trace my weight gain all the way back to 1985 when my thyroid was removed. I had what's known as a "thyroid storm"
at work and was taken by ambulance to Northwest Memorial Hospital from the law firm where I worked. An endocrinologist diagnosed
Graves Disease, an autoimmune nuisance. Problem was I had my daughter's wedding gown about half done and was looking down
the barrel of her wedding in about two weeks. I finished the gown, had the thyroid ablated with a radioactive iodine. Quint
said I glowed in the dark. The doctor released me much earlier than he would have ordinarily because I promised to return
post haste after the wedding for quick checkups. That only entailed a quick cab ride over to his office from the law firm
where I was back at work.
The problem was, my weight started to slowly rise. At about a 60 degree slope upward.
I put on seventy pounds in a year!
I tried lots of diets. All the wrong ones. Low carb diets, for instance, are
never any good. I don't care who recommends them, they are not good for your body's chemistry. The human being is meant to
eat grains and grain products. Problem was, I wasn't eating anything differently than my pre-ablation days.
in 2006 Quint and I moved. We bought a Cape Cod. People thought I was nuts to move into a house that had three levels when
we had lived in a condominium that was all on one level. Not to mention that my knees were giving me fits. But after we moved
I started to lose weight. Slowly. Ever so slowly. After about six months my knees were not giving me any problems at all.
I wasn't doing anything much different except I was out from under the sedentary lifestyle that came with my counseling practice.
I was walking around more. I enjoyed the physical activity. At the end of a year I was 49 pounds lighter.
is the year I'm going to take off the rest of the 25 pounds that I packed on. And how am I going to do this? Simple. Give
up most of the flour products I eat.
Following a gout diet is not that difficult. Sugar is my enemy. Yeast products
are also my enemy. Meat is my enemy too. No more bacon with my eggs. No more smoky links that are stuffed with cheddar cheese
and jalapeno peppers.
No more cookies. At least not more than two at one sitting. Ice cream is okay so it's a
good thing that I really like Eskimo Pies -- sugar free that is. This afternoon I'm going to make a cookie that has a chocolate
turtle stuffed inside. The cookie dough is a Pillsbury sugar free cake mix and the chocolate turtles are sugar free from Russell
Stove. I'll cut the turtles into quarters to make them go farther. Does it cost more to make them? You bet. But it's cheaper
than all the medicines that you have to take if you're diabetic. I can have a couple of cookies with impunity.
cheeses and cottage cheese are also very good for me. And for some reason, tart cherries are also good for the gout diet.
They are low in purines. The lower the purines in the bloodstream, the lower the risk of too much uric acid in the blood.
Fresh apples and oranges and bananas are good for the low purine diet too. But I seldom eat bananas. Once in a while we'll
put them on cereal for breakfast. (Did you know that a serving of banana is only 1/2 of the banana?) It has too much sugar
in it. I learned that from Quint's diabetic diet.
Two weeks ago I started a lifestyle change that will allow me
to get control of the gout. I've now lost 5 and a half pounds.
I'm looking forward to being at least ten pounds
lighter by the end of January. That's the only resolution that I've made so far.
I'm thinking about slowing down
a bit. Especially now that I'm working at a job that I really enjoy in the afternoons. It's working for a dual parish church
office. Fortunately, the pastor I work with was a friend of mine before I started working with him.
I'm not willing
to give that up. But I am willing to give up my "over-do" list. It's too easy for people to mistake my generosity
with my time and energy. So I'm going to step back this year and let other people do some of the things that I used to
do. In the meantime, I have joined a Christian Writers Group that meets here in Effingham County. It's a group of about ten
people who are writing for publication.
And I have a couple of grants that I promised to write for some business
people here in the county. I like writing grants. It keeps my paralegal skills honed. And I like helping business people get
their enterprises off the ground.
I also want to continue with my own writing projects.
And that should
keep me busy and productive in the new year.
That's only two resolutions. They're two that I can commit to that
I know I will follow faithfully. That's the key to success when it comes to re-inventing yourself. Pick a re-invention project
that you are willing to commit to completely. And don't take on too many projects at the same time. You'll only frustrate
yourself. Pick a project that you are motivated to work on. For me, it was the dreaded fear that if I kept on gobbling away,
I'd hit 300 pounds. That's just something that I'm not willing to embrace. Besides, losing weight is all about math. If you
eat more calories than you use up, you'll gain weight.
I've watched people who claim that they "just can't
lose weight." They'd have you believe that they have tried everything. Yet, when you look at their plates, there's potatoes,
noodles, and bread and butter. Then there's the entree and maybe, just maybe a little bit of green vegetable. Never ever eat
potatoes and bread in the same meal. And I don't know what they think they're doing by dumping noodles or dressing onto the
plate. After all, you're not required to eat everything on the menu. So, if you're an adult, make a fist. That's about a cup.
Half of that amount would be a serving. If you're eating a closed fist size of mashed potatoes, you're eating too much. Oh,
you could have that much in green beans. That's for sure. But not if the beans are highly seasoned with butter and bacon bits,
I figure you've probably seen this letter that my cousins Mark and Al sent to me, but
it's worth another read through:
Our 14-year-old dog Abbey died last month.
The day after she
passed away my 4-year-old daughter Meredith was crying and talking
about how much she missed Abbey.
She asked if
we could write a letter to God so that when Abbey got to heaven, God
would recognize her.
I told her that I thought
we could so, and she dictated these words:
Will you please take care of my dog?
She died yesterday and is with you in heaven.
her very much.
I ' m happy that you let me have her as my dog even though she got sick.
I hope you will
play with her.
She likes to swim and play with balls.
I am sending a picture of her so when you see her you will
know that she is my dog.
I really miss her.
We put the letter in an envelope with a
picture of Abbey & Meredith , addressed it
We put our return address on it.
several stamps on the front of the envelope cause she said it would
take lots of stamps to get the letter all the way
to heaven. That afternoon she
dropped it into the letter box at the post office.
A few days later, she asked if
God had gotten the letter yet.
I told her that I thought He had.
Yesterday, there was a package wrapped
in gold paper on our front porch addressed,
'To Meredith' in an unfamiliar hand.
Meredith opened it.
was a book by Mr. Rogers called, 'When a Pet Dies.'
Taped to the inside front cover was the letter we had written to
God in its opened
On the opposite page was the picture of Abbey & Meredith and this note:
Abbey arrived safely in heaven. Having the picture was a big help and I recognized
Abbey isn't sick anymore.
Her spirit is here with me just like it stays in your heart.
loved being your dog.
Since we don't need our bodies in heaven, I don't have any pockets to keep your
so I ' m sending it back to you in this little book for you to keep and
have something to remember Abbey by.
Thank you for the beautiful letter and thank your mother for helping you write it
and sending it to me.
a wonderful mother you have.
I picked her especially for you.
I send my blessings every day and remember that
I love you very much.
By the way, I'm easy to find.
I am wherever there is love.
January 1, 2012
What a beautiful
message I've received from my cousins, Mark and Al:
WHAT HAPPENS IN HEAVEN WHEN
> This is one of the nicest e-mails
I have seen :
> I dreamt that I went to Heaven
and an angel was showing me around. We
> walked side-by-side inside a large workroom
filled with angels. My angel
> guide stopped in front of the first section and said,
'This is the
> Receiving Section. Here, all petitions to God said in prayer are received.
> I looked around in this area, and it was terribly
busy with so many angels
> sorting out petitions written on voluminous paper sheets
and scraps from
> people all over the world.
> Then we moved on down a long corridor until we reached the second section.
> The angel then said to me, "This is the Packaging
and Delivery Section.
> Here, the graces and blessings the people asked for are processed
> delivered to the living persons who asked for them." I noticed again how
> busy it was there. There were many angels working hard at that station,
> since so many blessings had been requested and were being packaged
> for delivery to Earth.
> Finally at the farthest end of the long corridor we stopped at the door of
a very small station. To my great surprise, only one angel was seated
> there, idly
doing nothing. "This is the Acknowledgment Section, my angel
> friend quietly admitted
to me. He seemed embarrassed.
> "How is
it that there is no work going on here? I asked."
"So sad," the angel sighed. "After people receive the blessings that they
asked for, very few send back acknowledgments."
"How does one acknowledge God's blessings? "I asked.
> "Simple," the angel answered. Just say, "Thank you, Lord."
> "What blessings should they acknowledge?" I asked.
> "If you have food in the refrigerator, clothes on your back, a roof
> overhead and a place to sleep you are richer than 75% of this world.
> If you have money in the bank, in your wallet, and spare change in a dish,
> you are among the top 8% of the world's wealthy, and if you get this on
your own computer, you are part of the 1% in the world who has that
> "If you woke up this morning with more
health than illness.. You are more
> blessed than the many who will not even survive
> "If you have never experienced
the fear in battle, the loneliness of
> imprisonment, the agony of torture, or the pangs
of starvation... You are
> ahead of 700 million people in the world."
> "If you can attend a church without the fear of
> torture or death you are envied by, and more blessed than, three
> people in the world."
> "If your parents are still alive and still married.... you are very rare."
> "If you can hold your head up and smile, you are
not the norm, you're
> unique to all those in doubt and despair......."
> "Ok," I said. "What now? How can I start?"
> The Angel said, "If you can read this
message, you just received a double
> blessing in that someone was thinking of you as
very special and you are
> more blessed than over two billion people in the world who
cannot read at
> Have a good day, count your blessings , and if you care to, pass this
along to remind everyone else how blessed we all are..........
> ATTN: Acknowledge Dept .
"Thank you Lord, for giving me the ability to share this message and for
me so many wonderful people with whom to share it."
If you have read this far, and are thankful for all that you have been
> blessed with,
how can you not send it on?
thank God for everything, especially all my family and friends.
do you know how many pearly gates there are? -- If you guessed 12, you'd be correct. See Revelation 21.)
here's a profound story from my friend Linda, in Lawrenceville:
Read it before but just as powerful the second or third time.
GOD BLESS. Please do not forget the real reason for the
This is so beautiful!
A little boy was selling newspapers on the corner, the people
were in and out of the cold.
The little boy was so cold that he wasn't trying to sell many
He walked up to a policeman and said, 'Mister,
you wouldn't happen to know where a poor boy could
find a warm place to sleep tonight would you?
You see, I sleep in a box up around the corner there and down
the alley and it's awful cold in there for tonight. Sure
would be nice to have a warm place to stay.'
The policeman looked down at the little boy and said, 'You go
down the street to that big white house and you knock
on the door. When they come out the door you just say John
3:16, and they will let you in.'
So he did. He walked up the steps and knocked
on the door, and a lady answered. He looked up and said,
'John 3:16 .' The lady said, 'Come on in, Son.'
She took him in and she sat him down in a split bottom rocker
in front of a great big old fireplace, and she went off..
boy sat there for a while and thought to himself:
John 3:16 ....I don't understand it, but it sure makes a cold
Later she came back and asked him 'Are you hungry? 'He said,
'Well, just a little. I haven't eaten in a couple of days,
and I guess I could stand a little bit of food,'
The lady took him in the kitchen and sat him down to a table
full of wonderful food. He ate and ate until he couldn't
anymore. Then he thought to himself: John 3:16...
Boy, I sure don't understand it but it sure makes a hungry
She took him upstairs to a bathroom to a huge bathtub
filled with warm water, and he sat there
and soaked for a
while. As he soaked, he thought to himself: John 3:16 ...
I sure don't understand it, but it sure makes a dirty boy
clean... You know, I've not had a bath, a real bath, in my
whole life. The only bath I ever had was when I stood in
front of that big old fire hydrant as they flushed it out.
The lady came in and got him. She took him to a room,
tucked him into a big old feather bed, pulled the covers up
around his neck, kissed him goodnight and turned out the
lights. As he lay in the darkness and looked out the
window at the snow coming down on that cold night,
he thought to himself: John 3:16 .....I don't understand it
but it sure makes a tired boy rested.
The next morning the lady came back up and took him
down again to that same big table full of food. After he
ate, she took him back to that same big old split bottom
rocker in front of the fireplace and picked up a big old Bible.
She sat down in front of him and looked into his young face..
'Do you understand John 3:16 ? ' she asked gently. He replied,
'No, Ma'am, I don't. The first time I ever heard it was last
night when the policeman told me to use it,'
She opened the Bible to John 3:16 and began to explain
to him about Jesus . Right there, in front of that big old
fireplace, he gave his heart and life to Jesus. He sat there
and thought: John 3:16,“I
don't understand it, but it sure makes a lost boy feel safe.
You know, I have to confess I don't understand it either,
how God was willing to send His Son to die for me, and how
Jesus would agree to do such a thing. I don't understand the
agony of the Father and every angel in heaven as they watched
and die. I don't understand the intense love for ME that kept
Jesus on the cross till the end. I don't understand it,
it sure does make life worth living.
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....
If you aren't ashamed to do this, please follow the
Jesus said, 'If you are ashamed of me, I will be ashamed of
you before my Father.' Pass this on only if you mean it.
I do Love God . He is my source of existence... .. He keeps
me functioning each and every day. Phil 4:13 If you love
and are not ashamed of all the marvelous things he has done
for you, send this on..
Take 60 seconds & give this a shot ! Let's just see if Satan
stops this one.
All you do is:
1) Simply say a small prayer for the person who sent you
this, 'Father, God bless this person in whatever it is that
You know he or she may be needing this day. In Jesus' Name,
Amen ! '
2) Then send it on to other people. Within hours many people
have prayed for you, and you caused a multitude of
pray to God for other people. Then sit back and watch the
power of God work in your life for doing the
thing that you
know He loves.
(This is a good example of what I call Network Prayers. It really makes me feel
great to know that people are praying for me, and I love to pray for others too. Thank you, Linda, for sending.)