Monday, December 18, 2017

Naughty OR Nice?


Have you been naughty or extra nice this year? Will you receive a lump of coal in your stocking or everything you wished for? “You better watch out…Santa Claus is coming to town.” Remember, “He’s making a list; and checking it twice; gonna find out who’s naughty and nice…He sees you when you’re sleeping…knows when you’re awake. He knows if you’ve been bad or good, so be good for goodness sake!”[1]

Aww, Christmas fun!  Interestingly, a few days ago I stumbled upon a website where you can actually ask Santa if you are on the “NAUGHTY oNICE” list. Yes indeedy, folks!  Step right up, because at: http://www.claus.com/naughtyornice/nn_hmpg2.php you will find Santa’s Nice-o-Meter. By typing in your name and then clicking the “ASK SANTA” button, you can see where you stand on Santa’s Naughty or Nice scale.

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

A Thanksgiving Contemplation


So THANKFUL for my beautiful Mom (center) and Aunts.
Driving home from work Wednesday night before Thanksgiving, my eyes caught the McDonald’s restaurant signboard. They were advertising a “Big Breakfast Thanksgiving morning.” A question quickly came to mind. “Who would go to McDonald’s for this big breakfast Thanksgiving morning?” I answered myself almost immediately, with an envious reflection, “Probably anyone who doesn’t have a ton of cleaning, cooking and baking to do.”

I had worked late, I was tired, and a bit cranky. But then, my thoughts were on to something else. I think I reviewed all the ingredients I purchased earlier, making sure before I drove all the way home, I hadn’t forgotten anything.

To me, Thanksgiving has always been about thanking God for His blessings in my life the past year. However, this morning, I remembered McDonald’s sign and I got to thinking about the people who just might have attended the “Big Breakfast” feast. Were they people who were much more prepared for this “holiday” than I was? Could this have been their Thanksgiving tradition, to have breakfast out before beginning the day’s activities? Or, were they people without family and the “McDonald’s Gang” was their family? Maybe this was the only Thanksgiving celebration they would have that day.  Maybe it’s all they could afford.

Sunday, October 29, 2017

Gray Days




Summer transitioning to fall gives me much more difficulty than any other seasonal change. I mean, winter to spring is a roller-coaster ride. I’m up when the air has warmed, but down when the skies darken and snow flurries return. Still, I know magnificent spring is only days away. Spring to summer is exciting and much easier. The warm weather just gets warmer. I bask the beauty of God’s handiwork enjoying intense sunlight and longer days. Fall to winter also doesn’t seem to affect me as much. I’ve already become accustomed to less daylight and cooler temps and, of course, holiday anticipation keeps me in high spirits.

Nevertheless, when the shorter, gray days of fall appear, I feel gloomy and down. I become very introspective, thinking things need to change in my life, but not sure what or how they should change. Sometimes, I seem to disengage, just going through the motions of living.

Maybe some of you are like me. And if so, what will it take for us to maintain lifted spirits and repel gray day effects? Should we jump on the world’s band wagon and start planning Hallowe’en parties; or should we do something to please and honor our Lord?

Saturday, September 30, 2017

Living Stones


Pennsboro, West Virginia
When I was young and still, as I am old, I am amazed by God’s creation, not only flora and fauna i.e. trees, flowers, and animals, but the sky above and the earth beneath.  And I’ve always loved different and unique stones. Some stones I’d find on my hikes were the white or “lucky” stones and others furrowed with colors of tan, brown, and orange, peppered with golden sparkles.

Out the back door, through the pastures greeting curious cows as I walked, finally arriving in the small wooded area perfectly framed by our upstairs window. This was my special place. It was shaded, cool, and quiet. Yet, in spots, the sun broke through beaming its rays like lasers. There, some stones I found were green and almost appeared to be alive. But no, it was only moss. And rinsing them with pond water sometimes yielded treasures.
Northeast Ohio sky

It tickles me now when my grandchildren find stones and say, “Look, Grammy, isn’t is pretty?” For a moment, I’m their age, back in my special place, and again, in awe.

Have you ever noticed how many times God uses the word stone or stones in Scripture? Probably not, since it isn’t one of those words we readily associate with spiritual things. But recently, I’ve been intrigued by Scripture’s stones, ordinary or precious, used to represent people, tribes, and nations. Some are representative like pillar stones[1], memorial stones[2], covenant stones[3], gem stones[4], temple stones[5], and the one that has captured my heart, living stones[6].

Living stones? I thought stones were inanimate objects and even when they appear living, it’s only because they are covered in a living substance such as moss. True.  So, what does God mean by living stones?

Near Portland, Oregon
Let’s first think about the characteristics of a stone:  firm, strong, solid, and sometimes immovable. Stones can handle material piled upon them and not break. Yet a stone is not alive and cannot be moved unless someone moves it. So, how does this relate to us as living beings?

Speaking through Peter God tells us we, as newborn babies, are to desire the pure milk of Living Word of God – the Lord Jesus Christ. He is the foundation that has already been laid,[7] the Rock of our salvation,[8] the stone cut out of the mountain without hands,[9] the Chief Cornerstone[10] given to build the Temple of His Body.  He is the original Living Stone.[11] And if we have received Him as Savior and Lord, His Holy Spirit indwells us,[12] making us alive spiritually and physically. We are joint heirs with Christ – adopted sons of God – and we too, in Him, are living stones,[13] steadfast and immovable.[14]  Each of us with our uniqueness, are laid upon the foundation of Jesus and used by God to build the heavenly Jerusalem, the bride who has made herself ready adorned for her husband[15]. This city whose Builder and Maker is God.[16]  Once we were in darkness – a dead stone, but now alive in Christ.[17]
Multnomah Falls - Columbia River Gorge

Still, if you have never been transformed by the power of the Holy Spirit, yet consider yourself a Christian, you are like the stones I found in the woods – appearing alive – but dead just the same.  Let Jesus wash you with the water of His Word.[18]  Come to Him as to a Living Stone[19] and then you, along with us, will be a living stone adding to this cohesive TEMPLE.  Together we will wait to meet the Lord in the air[20] and not listen to date-setters, who disregard the Word of God.[21]








[1] Genesis 28:18-22
[2] Exodus 28:12; Joshua 4:5-7
[3] Genesis 31:44-48
[4] Exodus 28:17-21
[5] Mark 13:1-2
[6] I Peter 2:5
[7] I Corinthians 3:11
[8] 2 Samuel 22:47,  Psalm 89:26,  Psalm 95:1
[9] Daniel 2:45
[10] Psalm 118:22, I Peter 2:6-7
[11] I Peter 2:4
[12] Galatians 2:20
[13] I Peter 2:5
[14] I Corinthians 15:58
[15] Revelation 19:7-8, Revelation 21:2-3
[16] Hebrews 11:8-10
[17] Ephesians 5:8, Romans 6:11, Ephesians 2:5
[18] Ephesians 5:26
[19] I Peter 2:4
[20] 1 Thessalonians 4:17
[21] Matthew 24:36

Monday, August 7, 2017

Though The Waves Roar...


Have you read the book of Jeremiah lately?  Last month the Lord led me to Jeremiah chapter five. I don’t remember what I was studying at the time or even the reason I was reading Jeremiah five, but when I read verse 22, my breath caught. I’m sure I’ve read Jeremiah 5:22 hundred times in my 30 plus years of walking with God, but that day was different.

“Do you not fear Me?' says the Lord. ‘Will you not tremble at My presence, Who have placed the sand as the bound of the sea, by a perpetual decree, that it cannot pass beyond it? And though its waves toss to and fro, yet they cannot prevail; though they roar, yet they cannot pass over it.’”[1]

When I saw the portion, “…Who have placed the sand as the bound of the sea, by a perpetual decree, that it cannot pass over it?” my mind immediately pictured the ocean at Sunset Beach, North Carolina, with its soft, white sand. As I stood there gazing across the seemingly endless blue-green water, I remember the squawk of the seagulls and the hint of salt and fish misting my face.  Waves swelled, peaked, and then toppled over in frothy whitewater hurrying toward the sand.

That day, we probably stayed on the beach longer than we should have and by late afternoon, the tide began to come in with rowdy and boisterous waves. Although it was somewhat unsettling to see the water creeping ever closer to where we were sunbathing, after some time it calmed and came no further.

To my unscientific mind, I just chalked it up to gravity, the earth’s rotation, the pull of the moon, and all the other geological things I don’t understand. I really didn’t give it another thought until I read Jeremiah 5:22. Then it made perfect sense.

It’s not by some fluke that the ocean waves do not overtake the land. No, it’s by the Lord’s perpetual decree. The sand is the boundary He has placed and it must obey. Even in hurricanes, when the waves roar, tossing to and fro, they cannot prevail. They must return to their God-ordained place.

But, Jeremiah lived over 2,500 years ago. And, although I know God’s Word stands true no matter what, I began to think about global warming reports, the ozone layer holes and the polar ice caps melting. Where would all the water go if the ice converted to its liquid state? Should we be concerned?

How would global warming proponents view Jeremiah 5:22? Would they pass it off as ancient words without meaning?

So, I decided to do some research and of course, I found a YouTube video:  Earth Under Water Worldwide Flooding Sea Level Rise (SLR). The promo reads:  “Published on Aug 8, 2013:  Miami, New Orleans and New York City completely under water it's a very real possibility if sea levels continue to rise. In Earth Under Water we'll see these events unfold as leading experts forecast how mankind will be impacted if global warming continues. They'll break down the science behind these predictions and explore ways humanity could adapt, including engineering vast dams near San Francisco, or building floating cities outside of New York.” [2]

What they say is frightening and their video editing of a flooded earth caused me sudden trepidation. But, the Lord brought me back to Jeremiah 5:22 and reminded me of His Genesis covenant:

“Thus I establish My covenant with you:  Never again shall all flesh be cut off by the waters of the flood; never again shall there be a flood to destroy the earth…I set My rainbow in the cloud and it shall be for the sign of the covenant between Me and the earth.”[3]

Then God asked, “Do you believe My Word?” Limply, I answered, yes, but quickly pleaded, “Lord, increase my faith!”

How do you feel? Are these words irrelevant in our time? Do they take a backseat to scientific predictions? Or, is the God of the whole universe still in control and His Word stands true until He says otherwise?

I’m holding to the latter. How about you?





[1] Jeremiah 5:22
[3] Genesis 9:11, 13

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Questions

Why do the nations rage, and the people plot a vain thing?[1]

You would almost think these words are right out of newspaper headlines and television news, but they’re not. This question was penned by King David about three thousand years ago and then reiterated by Peter about one thousand years later. Yet, since then, things have not really changed. Nations still rage and people continue to plot and carry out vain things.

Case in point, the political lies coming out of the news media and specifically the three CNN employees who resigned on June 26, 2017, when an article they wrote had to be retracted. I’m sure this has always been the situation with the media, but no one, up until this point, has been brave enough to say it. Maybe others out there knew some in the media greatly embellish their stories with half-truths or fabrications, but what they had to hide, compelled them to stay silent.

Saturday, May 27, 2017

Then You Shall Know


Are you facing something daunting? Something you know you can do, but one little bobble could thwart the whole thing and keep you from achieving your goal. Maybe it’s a task you need to complete or an ability test that will take you to the next level in accomplishment. Is it a speech, a project, or an idea to pitch? So many activities in life require excellence, a body honed to perfection, a focused mind, incredible speed, or years of study.

On the other hand, you know you are capable. You’ve done all the essential preparatory work. You’ll try your best, but nerves may spoil your performance, make your mind go blank, or worse, sweaty palms and a queasy stomach. You resolve to push through whatever happens, yet apprehension and anxiety consume your thoughts and you just need breathe.


But maybe your test is over and now you are waiting for the results. Your mind has reviewed every detail, every word uttered, and every move you made or didn’t make. I should have said or done this or that. Why didn’t I? I don’t know. Each minute that passes seems like days, and the days, well, like years. The wait is oppressive and normal function is almost impossible. Sleep is your only escape, but sometimes not even then. Bizarre dreams disturb you and if not dreams, then the moment your eyes open in the morning, it’s back.