Location: New England, United States

Friday, April 28, 2006

Living In America

I heard a statistic some time ago that each person has only a one in thirty chance of being born in America. When I heard this, I pondered on how my life would be different if I had been born in Brazil or Germany, Egypt or Taiwan. I would probably be a very different person today.

Jesus spoke no less than forty-nine times about servants in the Gospels. He placed such emphasis on servitude that he named himself a servant. Living in America, we have a hard time understanding the servant attitude, perhaps because there are so few role models in our middle class American lives.

Few people have true servants. Yes, some may have a maid come in once a week to vacuum and dust, or we may pay for a laundry service to wash and press our clothing. We dine out primarily for the experience of someone 'waiting' on us; this makes us feel special. However, with one exception, most of us have little experience with being the master or the servant. That one exception is Mothers.

Jesus speaks of the true servant attitude in Luke 17: 7-10 RSV:
"Will any one of you, who has a servant plowing or keeping sheep, say to him when he has come in from the field, 'Come at once and sit down at table'? Will he not rather say to him, 'Prepare supper for me, and gird yourself and serve me, till I eat and drink; and afterward you shall eat and drink'? Does he thank the servant because he did what was commanded? So you also, when you have done all that is commanded you, say, 'We are unworthy servants; we have only done what was our duty.'"

This is true of servants - this is true of Mothers, and they are in a greater company.

"But it shall not be so among you; but whoever would be great among you must be your servant, and whoever would be first among you must be slave of all. For the Son of man also came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many." Mark 10:43-45 RSV

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Dear Lord

You are my husband, father, brother, friend, teacher, advisor, counselor, employer, creator and savior. On each of these levels - and so many more - you are important to my life.

I want you to know that I love you. I love you in each of your many characters. I belong to you because you loved me enough to give me the choice.

..."To those who are called beloved in God the Father and kept for Jesus Christ; May peace, and love be multiplied to you." Jude 1:1-2 RSV

"But you, beloved, build yourselves up on your most holy faith; pray in the Holy Spirit; keep yourselves in the love of God; wait for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life. And convince some, who doubt; save some, by snatching them out of the fire; on some have mercy with fear, hating even the garment spotted by the flesh." Jude 1:20-23 RSV

I am not what you hear or see. I am not what you feel. I am the beloved of the Lord.

Monday, April 24, 2006

Ripples of Praise

I attend church to restore God's Spirit in my soul. The world can be a battering ram to that Spirit creating chinks and weak spots much like the holes in Swiss cheese. The praise and worship mends those holes reminding me of what is important - God.

So what exactly is praise? Commonly, we group praise along with worship as though these two actions are one, but are they? The dictionary defines worship as "homage or service to a deity", therefore by definition, we worship God when we pay him homage - singing, praying, attending services, etc., or in service by ministering to others or evangelism.

Praise is different from worship. The definition of praise is "express warm approval or admiration". When we tell others about who God is and what he has done in our lives; this is praise.

So why would God be concerned with our praise? Is it glory that he is after? Does he need us to remind him of his great works? Is it arrogance that requires our praise? NO!

Praise is a many- pronged fork.

  • When we praise who God is and what he has done to unbeliever - it is evangelism.
  • When we recount all that God has done in our lives to fellow Christians, it strengthens their Spirit.
  • When we praise in the secrecy of our prayer closet - it reminds those dark spirits of the goodness of our Lord and who they have set themselves against.

But, praise is not linear - it has a ripple effect. As we speak to unbelievers our praise of God, not only are we evangelizing the unbeliever - but we are strengthening our own Spirit and reminding those dark spirits of their rebellion against the Lord of All.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Under The Magnifying Glass

Never in my lifetime have I witnessed such a public scrutiny of Christians as this present age. Our current administration has placed Christianity on the front page of newspapers and newscaster's notes. However, agreeing with a quote I heard recently (forgive me, I cannot remember the author's name) "Even a good thing can cast a shadow." It reminds me of a conversation I had a few years ago with an unbelieving friend.

My friend, Paula, worked for one of the most respected cancer surgeons in the county. A mutual acquaintance, Sal, had made an appointment to see this doctor. Sal was a prominent contractor in our city. He started his company early in his marriage and in the ensuing twenty years, his company grew to the most successful contracting company in the area. Sal was kind and generous, but as his reputation grew, so did the whispers about pay-offs and unfair dealings to obtain government contracts. None of this was ever substantiated and I dismissed the criticism, but many did not.

Early in his forties, Sal was diagnosed with cancer, and after a series of surgeries and chemotherapy, his future recovery dimmed. As Paula recounted, Sal made an appointment with her employer, the well-know cancer specialist. Unfortunately, the doctor did not have good news for Sal, and he passed away a few weeks later.

As my friend Paula recounted this story to me, she chuckled that Sal must have been desperate because he carried a Bible with him on his appointment to meet her doctor. "I guess everyone finds religion when they are about to die."

I remember at that moment feeling such sadness for Sal and Paula. Sal died in his early forties, and although no one can know the heart of another, it took terminal cancer for Sal to finally seek the Kingdom of God. Perhaps there had been other forks in the road when Sal could have chosen God, but he waited until his time here was closing.

My sadness for Paula was for her future. There are no coincidences and everything God does serves multiple purposes - sometimes so many purposes - we cannot fathom who it has effected.
Paula had witnessed Sal and his Bible on purpose. It was a knock on her door, so apparently God was trying to reach her, and failing, what future event will finally reach Paula?

What would it take for you to open the door to God?

"I am the door; if any one enters by me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture." John 10:9 RSV

Friday, April 14, 2006

Tell My People That I Love Them

I sat here for a long time rolling up and down mountains of ideas without direction. Unable to formulate anything concrete - I had a V-8 moment. "Oh! I could have asked God!" Duh! So I did, and this is what he said:

"Tell my people that I love them. My people are beloved. This is not just something that I bestow upon them, but it is a command. BE LOVED!

The evil one stomps around devouring my people with his basket of lies, but his most deadly is that you are not loved by your God.

I am, therefore, I be and I bestow upon you all my being. To be: to exist, live, occur, take place, occupy, remain, continue, identify, intent, possibility, destiny, all over, all around, affect, treat and have.

On this day many years ago, I gave these things to you. I hung them on a cross so you could see them clearly. I wanted the whole world to see, and though some have rejected this vision, it still exists.

These are more than just words, they are containers of power; my love is your power. Use them.

Be beckoning
Be beaming
Be beautiful
Be bearing
Be bedazzled
Be believers
Be besought
Be beneficial
Be beyond
All because you are Be- Loved.

Sunday, April 09, 2006

Jesus Under Fire

"but this is what was spoken by the prophet Joel: 'And in the last days it shall be, God declares, that I will pour out my Spirit upon all flesh, and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams; yea, and on my menservants and my maidservants in those days I will pour out my Spirit; and they shall prophesy. And I will show wonders in the heaven above and signs on the earth beneath, blood, and fire, and vapor of smoke; the sun shall be turned into darkness and the moon into blood, before the day of the Lord comes, the great and manifest day. And it shall be that whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.' " Acts 2:17-21 RSV

If we are indeed in the last days as many believe, then the world will witness an outpouring of the Holy Spirit. What a stumbling block that outpouring would be to Satan! For how can he effectively counteract the discerning truth of that Spirit? Yet, it appears that he is trying his best.

The Da Vinci Code purports that Jesus and Mary Magdalene were married - in total disagreement with historical Christian doctrine. Is it possible that Jesus was married? Actually, I would be surprised if Jesus, a practicing Jew, had remained single. All Jewish Rabbis are required to marry by Hebrew law. It appears that Joseph and Mary raised their son according to Jewish law evidenced by their presenting Jesus at the Temple when he was twelve years old. So it would follow that Jesus would have married according to that law as well.

So where did the idea of celibacy originate? Actually, this perversion of faith came many centuries after Jesus' death. In the early Christian church many of the church leaders were married. Peter's wife is mentioned in the Gospels. The perversion started sometime in the second century when the Council of Elvira, Spain decreed that any priest sleeping with his wife the night before he celebrated Mass would be 'defrocked'. Many other prohibitive decrees followed until in the fifth century, Pope Gregory issued an edict that all sexual desire was sinful, thereby ensuring the superiority of the clergy - who by this time were not allowed to marry - over their parishioners.

The Scriptures are clear on marriage and sexual relations. In fact, one of God's first commands to Adam and Eve was to "go forth and multiply". So I ask the reader, who would benefit most from a commandment that mankind's most devout followers of Christ could not reproduce?

This week another attack has come to plague Christians. The Gospel of Judas has been found, carbon dated and translated by scientists. Those same scientists have been quoted in the media on their translation of this new-found manuscript, and according to their translation, Judas was directed by Jesus to betray him. But, I ask you, dear reader, was this a command given by Jesus to Judas, or a prophecy (fore-knowledge) of what Judas was about to do?

In the war for souls, the enemy will attack on many fronts, but the truth will come through the discernment of the Spirit by prayer and fasting. "And when Jesus saw that a crowd came running together, he rebuked the unclean spirit, saying to it, "You dumb and deaf spirit, I command you, come out of him, and never enter him again." And after crying out and convulsing him terribly, it came out, and the boy was like a corpse; so that most of them said, "He is dead." But Jesus took him by the hand and lifted him up, and he arose. And when he had entered the house, his disciples asked him privately, "Why could we not cast it out?" And he said to them, "This kind cannot be driven out by anything but prayer." Mark 9: 28-29 RSV

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

In A Rut

Much of our lives are spent repeating the same things day after day. We wake and go to work. We come home and eat dinner. Perhaps we do some chores - laundry, grocery shopping, yard work. We may even have some time for our hobbies: golfing, knitting, reading or even blogging. However, for most of us Monday through Friday has been laid out for us by necessity, so we wait anxiously for the bookends - Saturday and Sunday. The bookends allow us to break out of our rut; or so we believe.

Are your bookends really a break out, or is it just a different rut? Do you ever wonder what we are walking towards?

As physical beings, we must experience time within the natural laws. We move through time in a linear fashion with yesterday a memory we carry while the future hangs in the mist of our plans; never guaranteed. The truth is, we are all walking towards something - but what?

What rut have you chosen to take? If we must walk through this life in one rut or another - wouldn't you rather be on the rut leading to something better? Will your rut lead directly to the grave and eternal death, or will your rut lead upwards to an eternal life?

"Then they also will answer, 'Lord, when did we see thee hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not minister to thee?' Then he will answer them, 'Truly, I say to you, as you did it not to one of the least of these, you did it not to me.' And they will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life." Matthew 25:44-46 RSV

Web Site Counter