Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Days of Elijah

 Elijah— his very name elicits mental pictures of strength and courage. He had the courage to face down Jezebel's prophets of Baal in the 'contest on Mount Carmel' and he showed the people that 'Jehovah, he is God'.

Did he think Jezebel would take defeat lightly? Did he think Ahab would be the leader he should have been? Neither of those things happened.

"And Ahab told Jezebel all that Elijah had done, and withal how he had slain all the prophets with the sword. Then Jezebel sent a messenger unto Elijah, saying, So let the gods do to me, and more also, if I make not thy life as the life of one of them by to morrow about this time. And when he saw that, he arose, and went for his life, and came to Beersheba, which belongeth to Judah, and left his servant there. But he himself went a day's journey into the wilderness, and came and sat down under a juniper tree: and he requested for himself that he might die; and said, It is enough; now, O LORD, take away my life; for I am not better than my fathers." (1 Kings 19:1-4 KJV)

"And it was so, when Elijah heard it, that he wrapped his face in his mantle, and went out, and stood in the entering in of the cave. And, behold, there came a voice unto him, and said, What doest thou here, Elijah? And he said, I have been very jealous for the LORD God of hosts: because the children of Israel have forsaken thy covenant, thrown down thine altars, and slain thy prophets with the sword; and I, even I only, am left; and they seek my life, to take it away. (1 Kings 19:13-14 KJV)

It may have been a lapse in faith. The key may lie in Elijah's answer:
  •  It is enough; now, O LORD, take away my life; for I am not better than my fathers.
  • And he said, I have been very jealous for the LORD God of hosts: because the children of Israel have forsaken thy covenant, thrown down thine altars, and slain thy prophets with the sword; and I, even I only, am left; and they seek my life, to take it away. 
Some times when we want to make a difference in the world, strife and conflict reminds us we are all but human beings, earthen vessels if you will. Elijah explodes onto the scene back in I Kings 17 where he confronts weak King Ahab. In Melchizedek fashion he has no parentage or earthly lineage. His name Elijah = Eliyahu or 'My God is Yahweh'. We don't know who his 'father' was, only who his God is. We know that Elijah has been jealous for the Lord, and Elijah thinks it's all over. Perhaps he thinks he has failed. Failed God and himself. 

This reminds me of Joshua when Israel is defeated at AI; and God's answer to Joshua:

7)"And Joshua said, Alas, O Lord Jehovah, wherefore hast thou at all brought this people over the Jordan, to deliver us into the hand of the Amorites, to cause us to perish? would that we had been content and dwelt beyond the Jordan! 
8)Oh, Lord, what shall I say, after that Israel hath turned their backs before their enemies! 
9)For the Canaanites and all the inhabitants of the land will ... cut off our name from the earth: and what wilt thou do for thy great name? 
10)And Jehovah said unto Joshua, Get thee up; wherefore art thou thus fallen upon thy face? 
11)Israel hath sinned;..." (Joshua 7:7-11 ASV)

God gently tells Elijah he's not finished yet. God commissions Elijah to anoint Hazael King over Syria, anoint Jehu to be king in Israel, and anoint Elisha prophet after Elijah. God tells Elijah:  

"And it shall come to pass, that him that escapeth the sword of Hazael shall Jehu slay: and him that escapeth from the sword of Jehu shall Elisha slay. Yet I have left me seven thousand in Israel, all the knees which have not bowed unto Baal, and every mouth which hath not kissed him. 
(1 Kings 19:17-18 KJV)
To be continued.
Hallelujah! What a Savior!

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Praise God

 "Who is as the wise man? and who knoweth the interpretation of a thing? A man's wisdom maketh his face to shine, and the hardness of his face is changed."  Ecclesiastes 8:1

Many times in my life I have wondered about people: Why did they do that?

"Another parable put he forth unto them, saying, The kingdom of heaven is likened unto a man which sowed good seed in his field: But while men slept, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat, and went his way. But when the blade was sprung up, and brought forth fruit, then appeared the tares also." (Matthew 13:24-26 KJV)

Wheat is what we make bread out of. It's a good, useful grain. Tares are wheat look alike weeds, not merely weeds in the wheat. What is the significance of wheat look alikes and not just weeds in the wheat? Well, 'the wheat brought forth fruit, then appeared the tares also'. It adds credence to Jesus words 'by their fruit ye shall know them'. The wheat and tares looked much the same until fruition. 

 If you read the remaining account in Matthew 13:27-30 the wheat and tares grew together until the harvest and the 'fruit' appeared. At that time the tares were gathered and burned. The wheat was gathered into the barns. 
I'm the kind of person that sees the light at the end of the tunnel and that's where I'm headed. What you see is what you get, so to speak. I have to be careful because when people ask me what I think, often I tell them honestly. Good or bad there it is. 

Not all people are like that. People don't appear with signs that tell others who and what they are. A few years ago a catch phrase was, 'sustainability'. Now people are warned not to use that phrase. Or if you hear that phrase, back away. Why is that? It denotes an agenda. 

I have a sparrow trying to build a nest in a chink in my siding. To me that's bad, to him that's good. Agendas are like that. People with agendas are out to change something, either for the good or for the not so good. And which it may be is often is hard to discern. Like the tares in the wheat we must look beyond how pretty and green the idea may be today, but what will its fruit be tomorrow, or some time down the trail of time. 

July 31, 1930 a radio program called, 'The Shadow', made its debut. One of the lines that came from that show was, "Who knows what evil lurks in the minds of men? The Shadow knows! I have wondered why the so called 'Progressives' have sought the changes they have pursued. Those changes have not made our country better by any means, just made our country different. 

The end they are pushing for is social engineering. They have removed Jehovah God as the ruler of our nation, (and yes, in the beginning Jehovah was considered the head). Originally our rights came from God, and God was the standard setter. Now that the Progressives have (attempted to) remove(d) Jehovah, who do they want to replace him with? Themselves of course, and that makes them the decider of our 'standards'. That makes them the judge of who can do what, who is eligible for 'life, liberty, and freedom'. 

Back to the wheat and the tares. Here is Jesus own explanation of the parable:
  • "He answered and said unto them, He that soweth the good seed is the Son of man; 
  • The field is the world; the good seed are the children of the kingdom; but the tares are the children of the wicked one; 
  • The enemy that sowed them is the devil; the harvest is the end of the world; and the reapers are the angels. 
  • As therefore the tares are gathered and burned in the fire; so shall it be in the end of this world. 
  • The Son of man shall send forth his angels, and they shall gather out of his kingdom all things that offend, and them which do iniquity; 
  • And shall cast them into a furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth."  (Matthew 13:37-42 KJV)
That is frightening. It calls the Progressives out for what they are--children of the wicked one. Not really progressive at all. It also warns them and all who would follow them to repent, turn back, don't go that way. That end will not be good. It also gives children of light a warning, and a calling.

"Prove all things; hold fast that which is good. Abstain from all appearance of evil. And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ." (1 Thessalonians 5:21-23 KJV)

"Whoso keepeth the commandment shall know no evil thing; and a wise man's heart discerneth time and judgment:" (Ecclesiastes 8:5)  

Hallelujah! What a Savior!

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Do You Know the Cost?

"Now there went with him great multitudes: and he turned, and said unto them, If any man cometh unto me, and hateth not his own father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple. Whosoever doth not bear his own cross, and come after me, cannot be my disciple. For which of you, desiring to build a tower, doth not first sit down and count the cost, whether he have wherewith to complete it? Lest haply, when he hath laid a foundation, and is not able to finish, all that behold begin to mock him, saying, This man began to build, and was not able to finish."  (Luke 14:25-30 ASV)

Minnie Pearl, a performer on The Grand Ole Opry, would come out on stage with a loud, country sounding "HOWDEE". She wore a hat with a $1.98 price tag dangling from it.

Counting the cost.

As in anything else in this life, if it isn't worth your everything it isn't worth anything to you. Not to say a new car, boat, or new clothes and jewelry can't be expensive, yet most everything has it's limits. There isn't much that I value over my family and true friends. Would I trade the life of one of my loved ones for a car? Of course not, nor any other worldly item would be worth the life of a loved one. 

Yet, the love of God and Jesus should be above any other tie. When Jesus says to 'hate your own father, mother, wife, children, etc. he's meaning to love them less than our love for Him. If we honestly love God and Jesus above all else, we will love our father, mother, wife, children, and brethren so much more than we would love them if we had put them first. 

Meaningless. It is meaningless to tell others 'we should love Christ first because he loved us and died for us'. It won't mean anything to them if they have not love. Consider:
  •  "If ye love me, ye will keep my commandments." (John 14:15 ASV)
  • "And why call ye me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say?" (Luke 6:46 ASV) 
I don't know how the love of God becomes implanted in the hearts of the children of men. I have seen the results, but some hearts never allow it to take root and grow. That is a sad phenomenon. How much better lives are when built on the true foundation of Jesus and His teachings:

"Every one that cometh unto me, and heareth my words, and doeth them, I will show you to whom he is like: he is like a man building a house, who digged and went deep, and laid a foundation upon the rock: and when a flood arose, the stream brake against that house, and could not shake it: because it had been well builded. But he that heareth, and doeth not, is like a man that built a house upon the earth without a foundation; against which the stream brake, and straightway it fell in; and the ruin of that house was great." (Luke 6:47-49 ASV)

"The thief cometh not, but that he may steal, and kill, and destroy: I came that they may have life, and may have it abundantly." (John 10:10 ASV)

Jesus knew the cost and he paid it anyway. He paid a debt He didn't owe; We owed a debt we couldn't pay. That either means everything to us, or it means nothing. Abundant life is your choice.

Hallelujah! What a Savior! 

Saturday, August 5, 2017

More From Later

     “What an elegant house. It looks like something out of a magazine,” Julius said.
            The old woman leaned against the counter. “As a bride the first home I had was a cabin. The first years, we didn’t have running water. Our bathroom was a little room—about forty feet out the kitchen door at the end of a long path.”
“Ha, ha,” Julius laughed. “You mean one of those old outhouses?”
She smiled. “And our children were half raised before we had what many people today would call necessities. In time things became easier. Easier, not better. Water in a faucet doesn’t make life better, just different. As Charles Spurgeon wrote, Happiness does not consist of how much you have, but how much you enjoy….”
The above is an excerpt from my coming book, "If I Should Die". 

As I have confessed I grew up through the 1950's, 60's and became an adult in the 1970's. Just as the 'old woman' in the story said, times have become easier, but not better. As I look around me I wonder why...
  • why does everyone just expect married folks to be two income families?
  • why do so many people say, 'we just can't live on one salary'.
  • why do people believe they have less money than families had during the depression?
  • why do we have less time for our friends and families than any generation before us? (so it seems)
  • why do we always seem to want to 'get somewhere', but we're never quite sure where that somewhere is?
  • why do we never know when 'enough is enough'? 
"The horseleach hath two daughters, crying, Give, give. There are three things that are never satisfied, Yea, four that say not, Enough: Sheol; and the barren womb; The earth that is not satisfied with water; And the fire that saith not, Enough." (Proverbs 30:15-16 ASV)

Through the years ordinary people in this country have allowed things to happen. With a shrug of the shoulders we ask, 'who am I, and what can I do'. We feel helpless against the Goliaths of this world and rightly so. One of the reasons we rob Peter to pay Paul is who we've chosen to be our gods. Our lives are dominated by the 'horseleaches of this world. 

Many years ago before my children were in school an acquaintance whose son was in high school complained to me about a class that had become known as 'sex ed'. She had gone to view the content of the class to see if it was suitable for her Christian son. She was shocked and dismayed at what she saw. It's just pornography, she told me, but what can I do? They say he must take this class in order to get his diploma and graduate. 

At that moment I realized several things. Even though I appreciate education, there are some things more important to me than graduation and a diploma. Even though I appreciate education, there are some things that are right and some things that are wrong—and some things that are more important to me than graduation and a diploma. And, especially in this country where we value our freedoms and liberties, no government entity should sit on a throne of power and force us to do something which we find abhorrent and repulsive, because some things are right, and some things are wrong, and some things are more important than graduation and a diploma.
What can we do? Here are some suggestions:
  • Pray to Jehovah God,  "And it came to pass, when I heard these words, that I sat down and wept, and mourned certain days; and I fasted and prayed before the God of heaven, and said, I beseech thee... (Nehemiah 1:4-5 ASV)
  • Take a long hard look at your life, where you are now, and where you want to go and ask God's blessings on your journey. "O Lord, I beseech thee, let now thine ear be attentive to the prayer of thy servant, and to the prayer of thy servants, who delight to fear thy name; and prosper, I pray thee, thy servant this day..." (Nehemiah 1:11 ASV)
Stop following the horseleaches of this world. Stop letting the horseleaches dictate how you live. Remember:

"What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who is against us?" (Romans 8:31 ASV)

Hallelujah! What a Savior!

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

New Post on: Another Day

I saw a monarch butterfly today. So many memories come from this sighting. The first year we homeschooled I had dill growing in my herb garden to go with my homemade dill pickles. Except wouldn't you know it swallowtail butterflies like dill (and carrots). We cut the dill heads with the caterpillars and put several in jars to watch them eat...and turn into chrysalis...and eventually the finished butterfly. They are truly a wonder. 

Many years ago when we still watched 'Doctor Who', there was one show on a species that tried to dominate and eradicate a second species that the first species believed was substandard. The second species was (it runs in my mind) an insect-like being. In the end it turned out that the second species was in a 'stage' in their life cycle, and similar to butterflies at the end of their stage they turned into something like a creature of light and beauty. They just had to get through the ugly stage first. 

In comparison, we humans seem to need our earthly struggles, and yes, even sometimes stages of ugliness. The more we turn toward the light of God's love and teaching the more ugliness we leave behind for true beauty.  

What we begin with is what some religious circles call 'man's fallen nature'. I read recently of a woman who had 'struggled' with the idea of humans having a fallen nature...until her child reached the two year old mark. Now, apparently, she has come to a new understanding.

I digress, however, the scriptures let us know that people are not born 'wicked' per se, but they become wicked with the wicked choices they make. 

"Behold, this only have I found: that God made man upright; but they have sought out many inventions."  (Ecclesiastes 7:29 ASV)

Yes, life is a struggle, but if we hold on as Christians it will be worth it. 

If any man's work shall abide which he built thereon, he shall receive a reward. If any man's work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as through fire. 
(1 Corinthians 3:14-15 ASV)

"For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed to us-ward. For the earnest expectation of the creation waiteth for the revealing of the sons of God. For the creation was subjected to vanity, not of its own will, but by reason of him who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the liberty of the glory of the children of God." (Romans 8:18-21)

"For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now. And not only so, but ourselves also, who have the first-fruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for our adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body. For in hope were we saved: but hope that is seen is not hope: for who hopeth for that which he seeth?" (Romans 8:22-24)

Hallelujah! What a Savior!

Monday, July 31, 2017

A New Post

Who knows and who can tell what is in the heart and soul of a person? Only God can know with a certainty. For example Horace Mann. Many people don't even know or remember who he was. He was born in 1796. From ten years of age to twenty, he had no more than six weeks' schooling during any year, yet at twenty years of age he enrolled at Brown University and in three years graduated as valedictorian. He attained many interesting positions. One of his most famous accomplishments was in establishing public education. Horace Mann began his 'education reform in 1837.

One may wonder was it his struggle for an education as a young person that spurred his interest and zeal in this area? What was it that prompted his oration "The Progressive Character of the Human Race (I assume as valedictorian)

This oration may give a clue as to his thoughts and feelings. The direction he sent public education was revolutionary and to this day its tentacles reach everywhere.

 In 1848 Karl Marx wrote/published his Communist Manifesto. As is often the case what may sound like a good idea philosophically doesn't translate well into real life, or real world experience.  Socialism isn't a good answer to any question, unless it's a question something like, 'name something you should never try in real life'. 

In 1936 George Orwell fought in the Spanish Civil War. He became a life long anti-Stalinist. In 1945 he wrote 'Animal Farm', a novel about Stalin's betrayal of the Russian Revolution. Toward the end of his life he wrote his famous '1984' which detailed a chilling account of what life would become under a totalitarian regime.  

  Charles Darwin published his Origin of the Species in1859. This work published as if there were actual evidence and a fossil record has been a great disservice to this nation and indeed to the entire world. In 1924, for instance, the horrendous murder committed by Leopold and Loeb in Chicago is termed the tragedy of three lost lives. The two murderers (Leopold and Loeb) were defended by Clarence Darrow. Part of Darrow's defense was that the two young men were not accountable because: 

'the infinite forces that conspired to form him [Richard Loeb in this instance], the infinite forces that were at work producing him ages before he was born, that because out of these infinite combinations he was born with out it? If he is, then there should be a new definition for justice. Is he to blame for what he did not have and never had? Is he to blame that his machine is imperfect?'

In other words—they couldn't help themselves because of their evolutionary journey, as Darrow says: 
'This weary old world goes on, begetting, with birth and with living and with death; and all of it is blind from the beginning to the end. I do not know what it was that made these boys do this mad act, but I do know there is a reason for it. I know they did not beget themselves.'
Many have lived and died honorably. In recent news articles have highlighted people who have received medals of honor for heroic deeds. None of us are chance evolutionary objects with no will, no sense of right or wrong—with no sense of choice.

"But as for me I know that my Redeemer liveth, And at last he will stand up upon the earth: And after my skin, even this body, is destroyed, Then without my flesh shall I see God; Whom I, even I, shall see, on my side, And mine eyes shall behold, and not as a stranger. My heart is consumed within me." (Job 19:25-27 ASV)

Hallelujah! What a Savior! 

Friday, July 28, 2017

Another Day

"They soon forgat his works; They waited not for his counsel, But lusted exceedingly in the wilderness, And tempted God in the desert. And he gave them their request, But sent leanness into their soul." (Psalms 106:13-15)

Through out history it has been an up and down cycle. God's people of the Old Testament when things got bad they murmured and complained. When things became good they believed they had made their own prosperity, and were unthankful. Move into the Christian era. Christians were and are encouraged to be thankful, to remember from where their blessings come from. For some reason, though it still happens that when times get good Christians forget God. They often have the 'Shenandoah complex'.

Shenandoah was a movie starring Jimmy Stewart. The main character, Charlie Anderson, a wealthy widower, refused to become involved in the Civil War until it became personal. The Charlie Anderson in the beginning of the movie always offers this prayer:

  • Lord,
    We cleared this land;
    We plowed it, sowed it, and harvested it.
    We cooked the harvest.
    It wouldn't be here—we wouldn't be eating it—if we hadn't done it all ourselves.
    We worked dog-bone hard for every crumb and morsel
    But we thank you just the same anyway, Lord, for this food we're about to eat.

At the end of the movie, after there has been much chaos and carnage in his family and life, he has an a-ha moment. Yes, he had worked 'dog-bone hard', but peace, goodness and prosperity don't follow just because we work hard, or because we somehow 'deserve' it. In reality I'm glad I don't get everything I 'deserve'. My come-upence would probably outweigh my prosperity ten fold. 

At the beginning of Shenandoah the Main Character, Charlie Anderson, starts out as hard boiled farmer, who believes everything he has is because he worked for and earned it. It doesn't end that way, but— That's the way over half of the people in my neighborhood view things as well. How, you might ask, do I know this? Am I familiar friends with everyone in my neighborhood?

In this neighborhood most everyone does know who their neighbors are, at least in a cursory way. But no, I've not sat with, nor had intimate conversations with many of my neighbors. However, my cousin has asked some of her acquaintances and neighbors if they go to worship on Sundays, and their answers are pretty standard. "Well, we used to, but we don't any more. I don't know why, we just don't." And viewing how many of my neighbors attend worship on a regular basis that would reflect these folks as well.  

How, you might ask, does this translate into thinking we've worked for and earned everything we have? Glad you asked. 

Worship on the Lord's day (First day of the week) is an act of submission, and fills several purposes. 
  • partaking of the Lord's supper to remember his sacrifice (commanded for every first day of the week)
  • listen to words of encouragement
  • give words of encouragement
  • humbly bow before he King of heaven and earth, and ask his favor for our lives in the coming week in song as well as prayer
  • lift others up in prayer, be lifted up in prayer
The following poem I found in a church bulletin (apparently penned by the ever popular anonymous) makes a point:
"When I pass the church building,
I always go in for a visit,
So that when I'm carried in,
The Lord doesn't say
Who is it?"
Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up. (James 4:10)

Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time: (1 Peter 5:6 KJV)

Hallelujah! What a Savior!