Quote for 11/10/2017

God thunders marvelously with His voice; He does great things which we cannot comprehend. For He says to the snow, ‘Fall on the earth’; Likewise to the gentle rain and the heavy rain of His strength.    Job 37:5-6 NKJV

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I REALLY need to comment on this one, because I reminds me of an article I wrote about God’s thundering, creative voice in a series review, PIRATES OF THE SACRED SPIRAL, PART 2

Follow the link for the whole article, but here’s the most important part:

“Did you ever wonder where the Hebrew alphabet came from?  Me neither.  But it turns out that the vowel sounds of the Hebrew alphabet produce a vibration pattern almost identical to the written vowel itself!

Do you see now why this is so mind-blowing?!?  God speaking creation into existence isn’t just metaphorical or magical and miraculous outside the laws of nature.  It’s LITERAL!  Imagine the booming, universe-filling thunder of God’s own voice vibrating matter and light into the creation we now live in (but, of course, without sin!)  Jesus was the voice of God, His Word.  This was God working within His own laws of physics to shape the matter He had made into the known universe!”

Again, click on the link for a fuller discussion on this beautiful scientific discovery that does NOT disprove the Bible, but enhance our understanding of it!

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Missionary Trip

And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.’[e] This is the first commandment.[f] 31 And the second, like it, is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’[g] There is no other commandment greater than these.    Mark 12:30-31

Hard Rock_Haiti

Perhaps the only food they’ll get in 24 hours!  And they SMILE!

Last summer my church’s youth group went on a mission trip to Haiti with our youth minister and a couple chaperones.  We support a Christian school there, providing meals and more.  Last Sunday they spent the Bible class hour showing us pictures from the trip and telling us about their experiences.

I almost didn’t go.  Most high schoolers are not good speakers – thank you public education!  These kids did a great job, though.  They really got it, the “it” being that you get more than you give when you help others!

Glass of MilkOne young man spoke about how the children he worked with at their school took such good care of each other, especially a mentally retarded classmate. When one asked another for a glass of milk, the request was granted with a smile and urgency.

He admitted that if his sister would ask him to get her a glass of milk, he’d tell her God gave her legs; get it yourself. He started crying with his shame and said he learned he needs to be a whole lot nicer to his family.

A young lady choked up while talking about a young girl with Down’s Syndrome and had to collect herself before continuing.   She asked a mother what she might need. The mother replied with a smile that Jesus had already provided her with all she needs.

This from a woman who lives in a small cinderblock structure with one rom and a closet for food. Seven people rotate between two beds and the floor. They live on the edge of a dump. The river where they bathe contains the runoff from the dump.

Haitian Smiles

Showing US How it’s Done!

As each of the kids told their story, they all had the same basic message. The people they saw were always smiling, always happy, always positive. Our kids felt an overwhelming love for these people in addition to the shame of having so much and not living with their joy.

 

“We went there to minister to them. They were glad to see us and work with us, but in the end they ministered to us.”

Last Sunday I saw a group of high school students who had gained maturity.  I saw a group who’s view of their own lives took a drastic turn for the better. I saw teenagers who learned that, when you give from a place of love, you always Run a Surplus; you never run out.

St Paul

St. Paul Never Ran Out

St. Paul, who always ran a surplus, wrote, “Are they Hebrews? So am I. Are they Israelites? So am I. Are they the seed of Abraham? So am I. 23 Are they ministers of Christ?—I speak as a fool—I am more: in labors more abundant, in stripes above measure, in prisons more frequently, in deaths often. 24 From the Jews five times I received forty stripes minus one. 25 Three times I was beaten with rods; once I was stoned; three times I was shipwrecked; a night and a day I have been in the deep; 26 in journeys often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils of my own countrymen, in perils of the Gentiles, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren; 27 in weariness and toil, in sleeplessness often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness— 28 besides the other things, what comes upon me daily: my deep concern for all the churches.”   2 Corinthians 11:22-28

 

Quote for 11/6/2017

 In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace which He made to abound toward us in all wisdom and prudence, having made known to us the mystery of His will, according to His good pleasure which He purposed in Himself, 10 that in the dispensation of the fullness of the times He might gather together in one all things in Christ, both[a] which are in heaven and which are on earth—in Him.   Ephesians 1:7-10

 

You Have a Nice Smile

Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things.   Philippians 4:8

I have written on this sort of thing before, but this is exactly the topic that needs to be revisited in a society that is growing increasingly coarse.

Reformation

Martin Luther; Father of the reformation

Last Sunday we went to the late service at church instead the early service, as usual. We were celebrating the 500th Anniversary of the Reformation with a potluck after the late service, and Julie and I didn’t feel like sitting around.

 

Smiling GirlI’m sure we upset someone’s normal seating arrangements. We found ourselves behind a young family. Their teenage daughter and I made brief eye contact as people often do in crowds and smiled. She has one of those faces that is cute enough, but her smile really lit her up.

I passed close by her at the potluck and stopped her for a second just to tell her she has a very nice smile. She smiled, of course, said thank you, and we moved on. That was it. No conversation, no chit-chat with someone new as is often the goal of a potluck at a large church.

I like to think I made her day. I mean, who doesn’t like to be complimented on one’s appearance?

Zig ZiglarPeople complain too much. We are too much a product of Jerry Springer and his ilk. We’ve been instructed to believe that the way to getting what we want is to make a fuss, to be confrontational, but that is completely wrong! See last month’s Unforgettable. As famed motivational speaker Zig Zigler often told his audiences, “The key to getting everything you want is to help others get what they want.” Not in a selfish way, but in a self-sacrificing way that understands you might not get anything back. Don’t be nice to people to satisfy your own selfish desires. JUST BE NICE!  Over the long run, things will work out for you.

Dick Van Dyke MemoirI recently read Dick Van Dyke’s recent autobiography, My Lucky Life In and Out of Show Business: A Memoir. The secret to his success was just working hard and being nice to people. I was amazed to read how often people would go to bat for him and get him huge breaks for no other reason than they liked him! He had failures too. Everyone does. But the arc of his life is one of great success.

Carl Reiner chose him to play the lead character on The Dick Van Dyke Show when he was a complete unknown. That character was based on Reiner himself, but he was told he was wrong for the part and needed to be recast. When they were searching for a series title, Sheldon Leonard said they should name it after Dick, since he’s the lead. Leonard’s reasoning was that The Danny Thomas Show started out as Make Room for Daddy. He figured they’d just “cut to the chase” and name this new series after Dick at the outset.

Co-star Rose Marie, who played Sally and was a star since childhood quipped, “What the hell’s a ‘Dick Van Dyke’??”

Such a huge break for such an unknown, but his hard work and kind nature are what carried him through.

As Christians, we shouldn’t be nice in order to get things. Hard work and kindness will not get us all our own TV shows. If they did, who’d be home to watch?!? But showing the same kindness and love that Jesus showed us will make our lives and the lives of those around us better.

So, when I can give someone a sincere compliment, I do. On rare occasions people actually get upset, thinking I’m after something or hitting on them. I won’t let that stop me from trying to spread a little of the love Jesus showed me. The times, like last Sunday, when the compliment was another winner, far outweigh the odd clinkers.

Be nice. Smile. Play well with others. And, “…if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things.”

Smiley Face

Quote for 11/5/2017

Let every soul be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and the authorities that exist are appointed by God. Therefore whoever resists the authority resists the ordinance of God, and those who resist will bring judgment on themselves. For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to evil. Do you want to be unafraid of the authority? Do what is good, and you will have praise from the same. For he is God’s minister to you for good. But if you do evil, be afraid; for he does not bear the sword in vain; for he is God’s minister, an avenger to execute wrath on him who practices evil. Therefore you must be subject, not only because of wrath but also for conscience’ sake. For because of this you also pay taxes, for they are God’s ministers attending continually to this very thing. Render therefore to all their due: taxes to whom taxes are due, customs to whom customs, fear to whom fear, honor to whom honor.   Romans 13:1-7

Life & Death

O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?   1 Corinthians 15:55

I had a “procedure” done last week. It’s one of those things guys are supposed to do every few years once you turn 50. Let’s just say that saying “Ahhh” doesn’t always involve a tongue depressor during post-50 physicals.

Anyway…when I last went through this three years ago I had a rough time coming out of the anesthesia. I was in that twilight stage where I was becoming aware, but I couldn’t move or talk. My body started hyperventilating as I panicked. More than anything I just wanted someone there to calm my distress. I gradually went back under and came out later OK.

Wife must be here

…and make sure my wife is here after, ’cause I’m scared

I had a heart-to-heart with my wife and the anesthesiologist prior to going in and told them I’d really like Julie to be right there when I start waking up. I mean, I’d REALLY like her to be there. A lot!  Did I mention I don’t want to be alone in Recovery?

 

Call me a sissy, but there are a couple things that really freak me out. One is not being in control of my faculties and the other is being intubated.

The latter was my big fear when I had double bypass in 2003. I was not worried about dying. After prayer and talking, we realized I’d either wake up to her or God after that surgery. There would be no bad outcome.

Paramedic intubation

OK!!!  She’s at 1918 Milburn..

The prospect of waking up still intubated in the ICU was a hell on earth I was terrified of, more so than the prospect of dying on the table. You see, I’m very fond of breathing. And of being able to control my breathing. And of being able to talk, if I so choose. But waking up intubated and with my hands tied down so I couldn’t pull it out – as I’d seen someone else once – was not something I anticipated reacting to well.

 

If you want to get information out of me, just bring in the equipment to intubate me, and I’ll give up my own mother before you even ask. Seriously.

Speaking in earthly terms here, I came to realize this past week that I am not afraid of dying. I’m afraid of living, of life here on earth and in this body. Life on earth is too full of pain and trials, some – like intubation – too horrible to contemplate.

Victoria-Arlen-DWTS-588x395

Victoria Arlen, Dancing With the Stars

There’s a young lady, Victoria Arlen, on the current season of Dancing With the Stars who contracted a nervous system disease that left her trapped in her body, unable to move or speak for years. She heard the doctors tell her parents that she wasn’t likely to live and they needed to be prepared to lose her, to let her go.

 

I guess intubation isn’t too bad…by comparison.

So let’s redefine “life’ and “death.” Real life doesn’t start until we die our way out of this world. Real life doesn’t happen until we end this earthly journey and meet our eternity with Christ in His full glory. When Adam and Eve sinned and God condemned them to earthly death, the Hebrew is literally translated as “Dying, you shall die.”

In other words, life on earth is nothing more than the process of dying. It doesn’t get better. It keeps getting worse. Being here on earth is death! After you’re done here, if you have accepted Jesus, if you’ve given Him permission to pay your debt of eternal death for you by way of His death on the cross, that’s when you truly come alive!

If you haven’t had your Come-to-Jesus moment, if you are still outside of His grace, you need to talk to Him. RIGHT NOW! Just call out to Him in sincerity; He’ll hear you any place, any time of day. Tell Him you’re sorry for all of the bad things you’ve done, all of the things you wish you could get back. Ask Him to come into your life and make it right. Tell Him you accept His payment for your sins. Ask Him to live in your heart and help you make your life one He’d be pleased with.

Then get yourself a good Bible, by which I mean a good, literal translation and not some paraphrased translation. If you’re not into the “thee” and “thou” sort of thing, get a New King James translation. I consider anything else as a bit suspect.

Then find yourself a good, Bible-based church. I go to a Missouri Synod Lutheran Church, mostly because they go back to the Bible on every issue that ever comes up. Wherever you go, it isn’t about the music. It isn’t about “Feeling Your Faith.” If you find yourself somewhere that talks about that, RUN LIKE YOU STOLE SOMETHING!! Faith happens regardless of feelings. If you run your Christian life based on your feelings, you’re going to have problems.

Jesus in Gethsemane

“Please find another way!  If not, I’ll go.”

Jesus prayed to His Father in heaven to let Him off the hook for the cross the night He was arrested by the Jews. He didn’t feel like doing what had to be done, but He did it on faith. He struggled too!  He just didn’t stumble, He stayed perfect!  He had our temptations and never gave in!

 

For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin.   Hebrews 4:15

So get with a community of believers, because none of us can cross the finish line without all of us helping each other get there! Times will go well and not so well, but with your nose firmly planted in God’s Word, you’ll learn how to cope with it; God’s Way.

Enough from me. Get on your knees, fold your hands, and talk to Jesus. He’s waiting.