Quote for 05/18/2021

And whoever desires to be first among you, let him be your slave— 28 just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.”    Matthew 20:28

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This is the climax of the episode in which the sons of Zebedee’s mother came to Jesus with a bold request.  She wanted her two boys to have the seats on the right and left of Jesus’ throne.

The other disciples got in a twist over this and let the boys know about it.  Essentially, they were taking a superior position to them and getting righteous themselves!

Jesus blew the whistle on them all, bringing the whole conversation to a screeching halt.

He reminded them of His servant role to them and all humanity.  He both spoke and demonstrated how to be exalted in eternity; be a servant…no, be a slave to others!

That’s when, according to the parable, the Master of the feast says to the humble, “Friend!  Come up higher!”

Quote for 03/19/2021

My little children, let us not love in word or in tongue, but in deed and in truth.    1 John 3:18

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John is saying that faith is good, but if not acted upon is useless. I can think of two other passages right away that help us understand this; scripture interprets scripture!

What does it profit, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can faith save him? 15 If a brother or sister is naked and destitute of daily food, 16 and one of you says to them, “Depart in peace, be warmed and filled,” but you do not give them the things which are needed for the body, what does it profit? 17 Thus also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.

18 But someone will say, “You have faith, and I have works.” Show me your faith without your[d] works, and I will show you my faith by my[e] works. 19 You believe that there is one God. You do well. Even the demons believe—and tremble! 20 But do you want to know, O foolish man, that faith without works is dead?[f] 21 Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered Isaac his son on the altar? 22 Do you see that faith was working together with his works, and by works faith was made perfect?   James 2:14-22

Prayer should always be Step #1 in life. Taking action, being God’s agent on earth is Step #2, and a very important step!

Works are necessary for both those we do them for and for us! For example, food given to another in faith fills her stomach, but also builds our faith!

Back to James:

Pure and undefiled religion before God and the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their trouble, and to keep oneself unspotted from the world.   James 1:27

In short, do you believe in God and His Son, Jesus? Be like them. Do what they do; love and care for others!

Quote for 04/22/2020

For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.   2 Corinthians 5:21 NKJV

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Jesus didn’t just suffer and die to pay for our sins. He became sin! Let that sink in. He didn’t just carry the burden of our sins. He became them. He became God’s enemy on the cross as God heaped all sin and all His wrath on His only begotten Son.

Both Matthew and Mark tell us that Jesus cried out, “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?” before crying out that it was finished and dying.

Did God really forsake Jesus? Absolutely! Jesus had become the enemy; He had become sin!

Think on it! A loving Father tortured and killed His own son. His Son accepted it. Each made the ultimate sacrifice and more on a scale we can only recoil from in horror.

The upside? They both did it out of love for us so that we made be made righteous and spend eternity with them!

Pirates of the Sacred Spiral, Part 14

Genesis 1, selected verses: “And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness…So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.”

Genesis 2:7 “And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.”

Part 13 concluded that “…a key component of cell repair and effective cancer treatment would be to reestablish a healthy cell membrane potential in the body’s cells.”

Cells have membranes, somewhat analogous to our skin; it keeps the insides in and the outside out. Except let’s remember that cells run electrically, so currents – electrons or electrically charged molecules – must be able to pass through the membrane.  Molecules pass through the membrane using ion channels, which open and close in response to a number of signals.

You’ve heard of electrolytes, right? Gatorade?  Electrolytes must be maintained in balance to allow the flow of electrically charged particles in and out of cells.  Minerals are what carry the charges.  Positively charged minerals are CATIONS.  Negatively charged minerals are ANIONS.  The concentrations of both must be in balance.  Sodium is the main cation of fluids OUTside the cell, and potassium is the main cation of fluids Inside the cell.

“All body cells, thus, carry a weak electric current flowing through them. These resonate with bioeletrcial circuits energizing the entire organism. (Stanish, 1985)  Overall mineral, water, and membrane changes in cancerous tissues play important roles in…(the) electrical properties of cancer cells.”    Page 179

F.W. Cope described characteristic abnormalities of these conditions, referring to them collectively as “tissue damage syndrome.” Simply, the cells’ ability to transmit electrical charges is compromised.  Cells that have been damaged lose potassium and accumulate sodium and water, putting things out of balance.

Protein function is regulated by these charges, which folds them into certain shapes.  Without this folding, they cannot function properly.  These proteins will change from their normal configurations and lose their ability to structure water.

In accumulating excess water, cells begin to swell, causing PROTEIN INTOXICATION; potassium leaves the cell and is replaced by sodium, which we saw above is supposed to perform its function OUTside the cell! The water retained has an overabundance of unbound water.

A 1974 study demonstrated that malignant tissues have significantly increased amounts of unbound water! Healthy tissues simply have more structured water than unhealthy tissues.  Remember that structured water must have the proper mineral and electrical environment to form and exist.  With that in mind…

“Clinicians who recognize this fact have found that certain types of music, toning, chanting, tuning forks, singing bowls, magnetic waters, certain types of frequency generators, phototherapy, and spectrochrometry treatments, and homeopathics, correctly used, can enhance water structuring in your tissues and…improve health.”  (emphasis added)    Page 181

So cancer cells have dysfunctional membranes, preventing them from communicating normally with surrounding cells, and they simply start unregulated growth.

The electrical properties of a cell moderate gene expression! Electric charges in the cell membrane, which acts as a capacitor, are involved in DNA activation.  DNA is very effective at transferring large amounts of electrical charge.

So it is now believed that the sodium/potassium balance affects membrane health.  An imbalance can predispose a damaged cell to become malignant.

To be continued in part 15…

What to do?

James 1:27

“Pure and undefiled religion before God and the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their trouble, and to keep oneself unspotted from the world.”

SYRIAN REFUGEES IN LEBANON:

Young girls forced into ‘survival sex’, six-year-olds made to pick potatoes for cash and boys of ten working as car mechanics: The shocking truth of child exploitation for Syrian refugees in Lebanon.

Link to article:

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3369182/Young-girls-forced-survival-sex-six-year-olds-pick-potatoes-cash-boys-ten-working-car-mechanics-shocking-truth-child-exploitation-Syrian-refugees-Lebanon.html

What to do? That’s a whole lot more than the title of this post.  It’s a real question I struggle with.  Not whether or not to help, but figuring out how.  There is so much pain in the world that I sometimes just sit here, frozen by the enormity of it.

I do know that the first action is to pray. Prayer is our usual last resort.  We’ve done everything we can.  “All we can do now is pray.”  As if this is – excuse me – some sort of Hail Mary play with a barely 50/50 chance of succeeding.  No, prayer is the first resort.  It’s our dialing up the most powerful, resourceful Being in the universe.

I know; it doesn’t feel that way at all. We pray, sigh, and then go to McDonald’s for some breakfast.  For all we know, nothing happened.  But that is quite wrong.

Pray first. Include in that prayer for God’s guidance on what you can do to help out.  For the problems in the Middle East and Europe, what organizations can you get involved with?  And I’m not thinking just about money.  My church supports missionaries and causes.  We send money to African churches to support their startup and continuing work.  We recently sent boxes of stuffed animals to children in Haiti.  Our members travel to Africa to physically help out on projects and evaluate needs.

If you are involved in a church, check with your denomination to discover what international…or domestic…initiatives you can support and get involved with.

I have friends in Toledo who founded Friends of Russian Orphans (FORO). The mission statement is to spread the love of Christ through practical help and assistance.  We have rewired an orphanage that was in danger of burning down, installed restrooms where there was only a hole in the floor, built a small gym, help dozens of families adopt orphans from Russia, sponsored training programs so kids can learn a trade, sponsored cooking competitions between groups of kids to teach them how to eat well economically, and, of course, let them and their caregivers know the Americans came all this way, because we are doing what Jesus wants us to do; help widows and orphans.

Here is their website: http://fororphans.org/

There are many people around the world who need help. You might say there is plenty to do here in the US, and you’re right.  There was plenty to do in Jerusalem and neighboring towns in the 1st Century.  Peter was called to attend the church in Jerusalem.  Paul’s commission was to the Gentile; and that’s a real irony, by the way.  He was a “Jew of the Jews,” a top-shelf religious authority, and gets to go to the Gentiles.

Some are called to work in their community. Some are called to the orphans of Russia.  Some are called to the Middle East.

So…what to do? Always remember: PRAY  FIRST!  The open your eyes a bit wider.  Look around to see what God sets in front of you to do.  Your task today may be one person.  It may be an introduction to an organization.  Just always have your Good Works Radar on high to see those good deeds, which God has prepared in advance for you to do.

Ephesians 2:10

“For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.”

Heaven or Hell? YOU Choose!

I’ve been reading “thelovemanifesto” for a time now. He is a Christian turned atheist.  We have traded some arguments – and I mean that in the sense of a debate – pro & con regarding Christianity.  He reads and thinks a lot, and has a good mind.  Other Christians visit his site and offer their own answers to the positions he has taken.  While maintaining his own beliefs, he listens fairly.

Earlier this week he had a post about hell. He and at least one other decried Christianity, because a loving God wouldn’t condemn someone to an eternity in hell for a sin that maybe lasted seconds or minutes.  He also stated quite emphatically – and quite correctly – that if Christians really believed in hell, they would spend every waking minute trying to warn people away from that fate.  Instead we go to church on Sunday and forget about it the rest of the week.  A great many Christians do work at spreading the Gospel; you just don’t always hear about them or see them.

The one analogy he used that is really very impactful is this: a loving God wouldn’t send us to hell for eternity due to a temporal disobedience. It would be like a father watching his toddler heading for the street, busy with cars.  That father would run to his child’s rescue, of course!  He wouldn’t stand on the sidewalk and say, “You’re getting what you deserve for not listening to me.”

My answer to that at the time was that I know intuitively that the premises are wrong somehow. He might have come to a completely logical conclusion, but his conclusion was wrong based on faulty premises.  I could only tell him that I knew it was wrong and couldn’t pinpoint it.  Kind of like when your subconscious assures you of something without telling you how it arrived at that conclusion.  Not a terribly satisfactory answer, but all I had at the time.

Driving many hours this week, I’ve had plenty of time to think about this. I suddenly realized what was wrong.  The general situation he composed does not accurately reflect our relationship with God and our situation as regards our eternal destiny.  I offer what I am sure is an accurate analogy.

Hopefully, he and you have seen “Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade.” He and his father, Henry Jones Sr. (Sean Connery) try to find the Holy Grail before the Nazis (“I really hate these guys”).  And yes, Indiana is Henry Jones Jr.  He hated that name and adopted the dog’s name as a nickname – “I loved that dog!”

In the last sequence, the grail has been found, but carrying it past a threshold in the cavern causes the whole place to start falling apart. The floor splits open in huge fissures, swallowing people and equipment.  Ilsa (the bad gal) has the grail but falls, dropping the grail into a fissure.  She goes after it where it landed on a small ledge.  In doing so, she loses her grip and falls to her death.

Indiana tries his luck to grab it before the whole place caves in. He is desperate to save this relic, but he falls in and is hanging by his fingertips when a pair of strong hands grab one of his; it’s his dad.  And here’s where the analogy really starts.

Indy is reaching for the Grail. He even touches it with a fingertip but can’t get a hold on it.  Henry Sr. is losing his grip and calls to Indy to grab ahold with his other hand – “I can’t hold you, son!”

“But Dad, I’m almost there!”

Very quietly his father simply says, “Indy.” That breaks the spell and Indy looks up at his father.

“Let it go, Son.”

Indy grabs hold of his dad with both hands, leaving the grail to be lost forever in that fissure.

Now let me run this in again with my commentary added.

Indiana tries his luck to grab it before the whole place caves in. He is desperate to save this relic, but he falls in and is hanging by his fingertips when a pair of strong hands grab one of his; it’s his dad.

(INDY HAS STOPPED THINKING ABOUT HIS DAD, WHO HAD BEEN SHOT, THEN REVIVED THROUGH THE POWER OF THE GRAIL. HE ONLY HAD EYES FOR THE GRAIL – WHAT HE WANTED.)

James 4:2-4New King James Version (NKJV)

You lust and do not have. You murder and covet and cannot obtain. You fight and war. Yet[a] you do not have because you do not ask. You ask and do not receive, because you ask amiss, that you may spend it on your pleasures. Adulterers and[b] adulteresses! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Whoever therefore wants to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.

 

 

Indy is reaching for the Grail. He even touches it with a fingertip but can’t get a hold on it.  Henry Sr. is losing his grip and calls to Indy to grab ahold with his other hand – “I can’t hold you, son!”

(THE FATHER WANTS TO SAVE HIS SON, HIS CHILD WHOM HE LOVES. BUT SAVING HIM REQUIRES INDY ACCEPTING HIS FATHER’S SALVATION FROM THE FISSURE.  IT CAN BE ARGUED GOD NEEDS OUR HELP SINCE HE HAS GIVEN US FREE WILL ALLOWING US TO REJECT HIM.  PLUS, INDY IS IN THE FISSURE ALREADY.  HIS DAD DIDN’T PUT HIM THERE.  HE ENTERED AND STAYED OF HIS OWN FREE WILL.  IN THE SAME WAY WE ARE ALL IN A STATE OF CONDEMNATION BY REASON OF OUR SINFUL CHOICES.  GOD HASN’T PUT US HERE.  HE CAN LIFT US OUT, IF WE JUST CHOOSE TO ACCEPT HIS SALVATION.)

John 3:18

“He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.

 

 

“But Dad, I’m almost there!”

(INDY WAS SO WRAPPED UP IN HIS PERSONAL DESIRES, THE TEMPTATION TO GRAB THE GRAIL AT ANY COST, THAT HE IS IN A STATE OF REJECING HIS DAD’S LIFE-SAVING EFFORTS. IF HE CONTINUES TO REJECT THEM, THERE WILL COME A POINT WHEN HE WILL FALL AWAY.  THEN IT’S TOO LATE.  NOTHING AND NO ONE COULD HELP HIM, BECAUSE HE CHOSE TO STAY IN THE FISSURE AND ACCEPT HIS DOOM – EVEN IF HE WASN’T SEEING IT THAT WAY.)

Revelation 3:20

Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me.

 

 

Very quietly his father simply says, “Indy.” That breaks the spell and Indy looks up at his father.

(THIS WAS AN INCREDIBLE MOMENT IN THE FILM. THE WORLD OF THAT CAVERN WAS IN CHAOS, LITERALLY FALLING TO PIECES AMID THE DIN OF DESCTRUCTION.  BUT THE DAD’S QUIET, LOVING CALLING OF HIS SON’S NAME BROKE THROUGH.)

John 10:3

To him the doorkeeper opens, and the sheep hear his voice; and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out.

 

 

“Let it go, Son.”

(IT WAS ENOUGH FOR INDY TO HEAR THAT MESSAGE OF SALVATION IN HIS NAME BEING SPOKEN. HE HEARD THE CALL TO LET GO OF HIS DESIRES AND LISTEN TO THE SIMPLE LOVE OF HIS FATHER.  HE THEN CHOSE TO FORGET HIS SELFISH DESIRES AND HIS ACCEPT HIS FATHER’S SALVATION.)

Deuteronomy 30:19 [Full Chapter]

I call heaven and earth as witnesses today against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing; therefore choose life, that both you and your descendants may live;

 

 

Indy grabs hold of his dad with both hands, leaving the grail to be lost forever in that fissure.

(BOTH HANDS. LEAVING HIS MATERIAL DESIRE BEHIND.  WE NEED TO LEAVE OUR MATERIAL DESIRES BEHIND AND LISTEN TO GOD CALLING US.  ONE WAY GOD CALLS US IS THROUGH OTHER PEOPLE TALKING TO US.)

Hebrews 12:1-3 [Full Chapter]

[ The Race of Faith ] Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.  For consider Him who endured such hostility from sinners against Himself, lest you become weary and discouraged in your souls.

 

God doesn’t condemn us; we are already condemned by sin. He just wants us to accept His salvation with both hands and let Him pull us out of the trouble we are in.

Elaborate Plans

“12 Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling; 13 for it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure.”     Philippians 2:12-14

God does not send everyone in my life to me for my benefit. If life is seen as a movie, you might find yourself as the walk-on and not the star in a scene.  I recently had an example of that, and I never saw it until the dust settled months later.

A friend had told me about a training position at FedEx and suggested I apply. I hadn’t been looking, but figured maybe this was a change coming, a gift from God.  So I entered my application on line last summer.  As expected, I didn’t hear anything back and forgot about it.

I got a call months later from FedEx, asking for a phone interview. I did well enough to earn a live interview at their world HQ.  Interview day I drove to that end of town a couple hours early – Memphis rush hours can be brutal – and went to a McDonald’s up the road to study my resume’ and get mentally prepared.

As I sat there, a bedraggled guy sat down a couple tables away, and I heard a despairing sigh. Deep in my own thoughts, I thought for a moment if I should say something.  Maybe he needs some help.  But he got up and left before I could decide to say anything.  I was frustrated with myself, as maybe this was someone God wanted me to help, and I was slow on the draw.

Then he came back in. I got a second chance.  Terence was from Joliet, IL.  He had come to Memphis with a friend, who unfortunately had a warrant on him in Tennessee and was arrested.  Terence is an ex-con on some felony rap.  He had no driver’s license, no money, and had been sleeping on the streets for days.  He hadn’t eaten in at least 24 hours.  He sounded like the real deal, not some hustler.

I bought him the big breakfast, and we talked for a while as my interview time closed in. He hadn’t been able to get into a shelter without an ID.  He needed to find a shelter that would take him without ID.  I told him I’d help him, but I had a big job interview very shortly.  I told him I would be back by 10:30, pick him up, and we’d get him some help.

The interview went very well. As left exited the conference room, the guy actually patted me on the back.  YES!  I could see myself with my own FedEx ID, walking into one of those big buildings soon.

I hustled back to McDonald’s to see if Terence had waited for me. He had.  We figured out where we could get him to a shelter.  From there he’d be able to get downtown where he could get an ID and start trying to get home.  The shelter was not far from my church, so I detoured there just in case Pastor Chuck had any better ideas than what we were doing.  He didn’t, but he gave Terence $55 out of his own pocket.

Before heading to the shelter, I decided to treat him to a good lunch at a nearby Panera that I liked. With two good meals him, I took him to the shelter, said a prayer with him, and said farewell.  He took my cell number so he could call me and let me know how he ended up.

As we had driven around during the day, I learned he knew construction, but got caught up in some trouble with some bad folks. He now was fighting alcoholism.  His dream was to someday own his own construction company.  I told him about how I had been down too; lost my house, everything.  I told him he’d work his way out, and that God would see him through if he just relied on Him.  He cried softly as I spoke.

Now here’s the thing. Weeks later, I learned that I had not gotten the FedEx job.  They hadn’t even called me to let me know, as they’d promised to do if I didn’t get it.  It was then I realized that the whole job incident was God having a means to get me to that McDonald’s just when Terence needed me.  He never intended that I get that job.  It was just part of an elaborate plan to get all of the players in place to have a miracle happen.  God excels at elaborate plans.

Only sometimes it is all about me. More often it isn’t.  More often it’s about keeping my eyes open for those good works that God has prepared in advance for me to do.

FOLLOW UP: I never heard back from Terence, so I have no idea how he ended up.  He remains in my prayers.  All I know is that he was obviously touched that some guy in a suit tried to help him, rough as he was, because that’s what God wanted done.  I pray he someday has that construction business he wants.  Maybe he’ll put a cross or fish in the logo.  God speed, Terence!

Thirty Years Together

“Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.”   Genesis 2:24

Thirty years ago Julie and I were joined in marriage. We look back on that day and have a lot of good memories.

There was talk that the ceremony should begin on the half hour so that the minute hand would be sweeping upwards, bestowing rising fortunes on the newlyweds. I believed we didn’t need luck and insisted we get married on the hour, defying superstition and dedicating that decision to God.

Putting God at the center of our marriage is what has kept us together through 30 years. Times have been tough, times have been great. We have two daughters whom we love dearly. God has provided the anchor to keep us on track, especially when things got hard.

What else happened that made that day special? There was my best man, Rick Michael, who not only did those honors, but sang The Lord’s Prayer at the start of the service. He had been studying opera for years, so believe me when I tell you it was incredible. Everything was about starting our married life with God at the center.

Rick and I had a surprise in store for the reception, which included setting up his Bose sound system at the reception hall. We already had our tuxes on and just kept an eye on the clock to make sure we made it to the church on time. I figured if we left by 20 minutes after the hour, we’d have a good 15-20 minutes to drive to the church, walk in, spin our jackets on, and be in place with time to spare.

Apparently that was a little too close for other members of the party. But we were fine.

The sound system was necessary to play “She’s My Jewel.” I had written the lyrics, and Rick wrote a beautiful melody for it. We spent a day at a local recording studio that had a state of the art synthesizer, so we could record it with a “full orchestra.” The first verse was just keyboard and vocal, but the 2nd verse opened with chimes and a full string section opening the full potential of Rick’s music like a morning flower.

I had arranged with the banquet manager to withdraw all servers to the back of the room and to dim the lights when I took the mike after the Best Man’s toast. I wanted no distractions for the world premiere of Julie’s own song. By the end of the song, the women – guests and servers – were crying, including my new bride.

Music for the rest of the evening was a live band Julie’s parents hired, and our first dance was to “Misty.”

Ah, the cake! Chocolate cake with chocolate frosting. Not yet another white wedding cake, tradition be hanged! Our “discussion” over this at the cake maker’s prompted her to leave the room while we hashed it out. Due to the rich, chocolate/cream frosting and moist cake, it was a huge hit. The dark frosting made it photograph very well, with the lighting wonderfully highlighting all the of the swirls. Obviously, I was right…this time! Chocolate is one of the many ways God says, “I love you!”

We spent most of the evening apart, separately visiting every table and thanking each person individually for coming and making this such special celebration. We had the rest of our lives ahead of us. We wanted to be sure every person who gave us their evening was recognized. Their outpouring of love and support was not to go unnoticed!

Thirty years! We can hardly believe it has been that long. It’s a rare number in marriages these days. We just thank God for the good times and the ability to forgive and move on in the trying times. Because…

“…a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.”