Thursday, March 5, 2015

Being An Idiot For Dummies


Many books have been written for dummies such as— “Business Writing for Dummies,” “Classical Music for Dummies,” “I Phone For Dummies,” etc.  Now another book should be written—“Being An Idiot For Dummies.”  Last week I was an idiot and here’s why.

In my blog I was writing about the need for social justice and truth.  Unfortunately I neglected to check on the definition for social justice---It is defined as redistributing wealth.  See here.  My friend Connie was kind enough to let me know about that explanation. (Also it could be called communism--Communism arose as a reaction to a distribution of wealth in which a few lived in luxury while the masses lived in extreme poverty. In The Communist Manifesto Marx and Engels wrote "From each according to his ability, to each according to his need."[10] While the ideas of Marx have nominally been embraced by various states (Russia, Cuba, Vietnam and China in the 20th century), Marxist utopia remains elusive.)[11]

Because of this I changed some words in my last weeks blog.  Then I decided to do some research.  I was amazed at what Albert Mohler wrote back in 20 10 about the controversy when Glen Beck brought up questions about social justice on his show.  (Since Glen Beck is a Mormon I doubt that he has been schooled in the Bible.) See here for the article.
  
Another blog in 2010 takes on the issue.  Many young evangelicals are engaged in social justice issues simply because it's popular:
Click here to read. 

Next in 2013 John Piper, David Platt, and Matt Chandler discuss the relationship between social justice and the gospel. Click here. Watch the full 10-minute video to see Piper, Platt, and Chandler discuss the relationship between social justice and the gospel, contemporary distortions of love, and more.

The whole issue boils down to the heart.  Do we love others enough to be compassionate and to also tell them the truth?


Thursday, February 26, 2015

A Delicate Balance


 God is busy in my life helping me to focus on His beauty and not the mess of my life, and the mess of this world.  Through prayer, Bible study, Christian Fellowship, trials and tribulations, God is growing me spiritually, and working in the world to draw me to Him.  I can count on that. 

But understanding God’s viewpoint of grace,  justice, truth, and other issues is difficult at times. However, the Holy Spirit will lead us into all truth as we trust in His teaching us.

Recently I almost bought in to the thought that David didn’t need God’s help to defeat Goliath.  He just needed the strength to make the choice to use his sling and not the armor others wanted him to use.  In an interview with John Stonestreet, Malcolm Gladwell revealed that this was his conclusion. This is actually Roman Catholic thinking.  It is grace redefined.  See this you tube by clicking here for more on grace.

In our Precepts Bible study class it was pointed out that social justice, or distributing wealth, see the definition here, does not bring people to Christ very often.  Billions are being spent to help end poverty, and diseases around the world.  The hope we have in Jesus is not emphasized for fear of governments,  rejection, or unbelief.  In the past , and currently, it is the Christians who go or stay to help others.  Now political progressives claim governments should be in charge of this work.   Here is a blog written by a missionary to Africa, who talks about a need for changed hearts rather than throwing more money at a problem. Click here. 

There is a delicate balance between Matthew 25:31- 46 and Romans 1: 18-32--between justice and truth:

Matthew 25:31 "But when the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the angels with Him, then He will sit on His glorious throne. 
32 "All the nations will be gathered before Him; and He will separate them from one another, as the shepherd separates the sheep from the goats; 
33 and He will put the sheep on His right, and the goats on the left. 
34 "Then the King will say to those on His right, 'Come, you who are blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. 
35 'For I was hungry, and you gave Me something to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave Me something to drink; I was a stranger, and you invited Me in; 
36naked, and you clothed Me; I was sick, and you visited Me; I was in prison, and you came to Me.' 
37 "Then the righteous will answer Him, 'Lord, when did we see You hungry, and feed You, or thirsty, and give You something to drink? 
38 'And when did we see You a stranger, and invite You in, or naked, and clothe You? 
39'When did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?' 
40 "The King will answer and say to them, 'Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did it to one of these brothers of Mine, even the least of them, you did it to Me.' 
41 "Then He will also say to those on His left, 'Depart from Me, accursed ones, into the eternal fire which has been prepared for the devil and his angels; 
42 for I was hungry, and you gave Me nothing to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave Me nothing to drink; 
43 I was a stranger, and you did not invite Me in; naked, and you did not clothe Me; sick, and in prison, and you did not visit Me.' 
44 "Then they themselves also will answer, 'Lord, when did we see You hungry, or thirsty, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not take care of You?' 
45 "Then He will answer them,’ Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to Me.' 
46 "These will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life."

Romans 1: 18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all
 ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, 
19 because that which is known about God is evident within them; for God made it evident to them. 
20 For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse. 
21 For even though they knew God, they did not honor Him as God or give thanks, but they became futile in their speculations, and their foolish heart was darkened. 
22 Professing to be wise, they became fools, 
23 and exchanged the glory of the incorruptible God for an image in the form of corruptible man and of birds and four-footed animals and crawling creatures. 
24 Therefore God gave them over in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, so that their bodies would be dishonored among them. 
25 For they exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen. 
26 For this reason God gave them over to degrading passions; for their women exchanged the natural function for that which is unnatural, 
27 and in the same way also the men abandoned the natural function of the woman and burned in their desire toward one another, men with men committing indecent acts and receiving in their own persons the due penalty of their error. 
28 And just as they did not see fit to acknowledge God any longer, God gave them over to a depraved mind, to do those things which are not proper, 
29 being filled with all unrighteousness, wickedness, greed, evil; full
 of envy, murder, strife, deceit, malice; they are gossips, 
30 slanderers, haters of God, insolent, arrogant, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to
 parents, 
31without understanding, untrustworthy, unloving, unmerciful; 
32 and although they know the ordinance of God, that those who practice such things are worthy of death, they not only do the same, but also give hearty approval to those who practice them.


So scripture teaches us that we need to do Christ’s work in both justice and truth.  If we neglect helping others, or if we approve of those who practice immorality, and do not tell them the truth, we will be in danger of the wrath of God. It is a delicate balance.  But if we have accepted Jesus as our Lord and Savior there is no condemnation because Jesus has paid the price for our sin!

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Satellite Communication

Carolyn, Ruth , and me, 40 years later at Calvary

When we were attending Groveton High school in Alexandria, VA my older brother, Jay, and I attended youth group at Calvary Presbyterian church.    Our advisor was Ray Schall father of Jim and Donna Schall.  ( Ray just recently went home to be with Jesus at ninety-eight years old.)  Jay and I enjoyed youth group and looked forward to attending every week.  I don’t remember what we did but it must have been fun.  The only memory I have was of kidnapping Anna Peeler so that she would come to youth group. 

Years later,  daughter, Heather, attended several different youth groups and enjoyed some of the activities. So when our son was in high school we wanted him to have fun times at youth group. After checking out many churches in our area we decided to go back to the church we had attended twelve years earlier even though it was a long commute.  Jes was more compatible with the kids in Shoreline, WA than he was with the kids in Bellevue, WA. 

On returning to Shoreline Covenant Church I discovered that two of the women I had known and admired had started a weekly Morning Prayer group. They prayed for the church and for our country.  I joined the group and was blessed once again by agreeing in prayer and seeing God work. 

So when we began attending our present church, Martha Lake Covenant church, I started a weekly prayer group based on the pattern of the group at Shoreline. But unfortunately we have several people who are not in good health and can’t make it to the prayer group once a week.   We are encouraging “Satellite Prayer.”   Those who desire can pray along with us at 10 each Tuesday while staying home. Here is a list of some of the topics we pray about:

·      Our Church
·      Our Country
·      Missions and Missionaries
·      Health needs
·      Our Schools
·      Those needing employment
·      Our Military
·      Israel
·      Persecuted Church
·      Salvation for the Lost
·      Businesses
·      Cure for diseases like cancer and Ebola
·      Media

We have cell phones, which bounce off of satellites and enable us to communicate with each other, so we figured that those praying at home would be our satellites, join our prayers, and increase our voices up to God. 

Our pastor is teaching a class on prayer, David Jeremiah has been preaching on prayer; everywhere I look Christians are calling out to God in prayer.  We are living in desperate times. 

In C.S. Lewis’s book, “The Silver Chair,” (click on the link if you would like more information about the book,
 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Silver_Chair,) there is a scene that I believe depicts what is happening around the world.   On page 158, one of the characters, Puddleglum, puts his foot in the fire and the bad smell did three things—it made everyone’s brain clearer, the Witch spoke in a loud terrible voice, the sudden shock of pain dissolved certain kinds of magic.  Maybe this is what is happening now.  The bad smell of evil that is happening all over the world is waking Christians up to pray intensely. God has told His people to pray and seek His Face whether in groups or as satellites!


Saturday, February 14, 2015

Fear Factor



My mom was a fearful woman.  She had many worries.  But she was determined that her children would not be afraid of anything.  I must have known this from the womb.  When I was two I jumped off of a dock at a lake and tried to swim to my mom.  My uncle Ernest jumped in with clothes and shoes on and saved me.  He thought that I wouldn’t do it again as I had probably learned my lesson.  But no, I jumped in again.

When I was about nine or ten I prided myself in never letting the boys see me afraid or screaming.  If I had a frog or snake suddenly thrust at me I held my ground and smiled. 

As a teen I was self-congratulatory when I could figure out the Alfred Hitchcock plot and not succumb to any fear.  My dad and I enjoyed watching the TV show “Mannix” and betting on how many times Mannix would be hit on the head.

Another time a teen cousin tried to make me scream on a ride at Natatorium amusement park in Spokane, WA. The ride cage we were in could be tipped upside down and he proceeded to do so.  I didn’t let out a peep.  I held those who screamed on the roller coaster ride in disdain. I don’t know what it was in me but I didn’t care to be emotional—maybe it was my British ancestry—stiff upper lip and all that, or just pleasing my mother.

But all of this was done in my own strength.  I needed the Holy Spirit to help me when I was in high school and I wished to obey the scripture in Matthew 10: 32 "Therefore everyone who confesses Me before men, I will also confess him before My Father who is in heaven.

I was wary of joining the Bible club at Groveton high school and being associated with the Bible nerds.  But finally as a senior I joined.  I even rang the bell in the high school cafeteria and led the prayer before lunch.

Today many Christians are afraid to stand for Jesus because they are more afraid of man then they are of God.  I read two blogs this week that I liked.  The first one was written by a missionary to Africa and told of her non-conformity.  Click here to read.

The second blog was on Randy Alcorn’s blog.  Click here to read.

How have you gone against the flow?






Thursday, February 5, 2015

Hollyhocks Over The Septic Tank

  
When we were young my cousin, Dorothy, and I loved to visit Grandma and Grandpa on their 15-acre farm.  They had an acre garden of delicious vegetables, as well as productive apple trees, a coop of clucking chickens, stilted cages of cuddly rabbits, kittens, cocker spaniels, a swing our great uncle hung from a giant tree in the yard, fresh well water, and many flowers. 

The farm was a magical place for us.  We were not required to do any chores. Our grandparents would order a truckload of scrap wood blocks dumped in their driveway, which would be used for fuel in the kitchen wood stove later. 


   But before they had to be moved to the wood storage bin, we would build with them for hours.  We would design imaginary towns and all that went with that.  When we got tired of playing roads, cities, towns, and buildings, we got to lob them into the basement storage container through the window, and pretend we were playing basketball.

Sometimes we would climb up the ladder in the barn to the hayloft and then jump in to the hay stack below.  We would do this again and again until we were tired and needed to get a drink from the hose Grandma used to water with.

Grandma grew red, pink, and white hollyhocks down hill from the two-story farmhouse. One of our favorite activities was to make hats and puppets with them. We would play fashion show, or create a drama for our flower characters to perform.  Sometimes we would pick snapdragons to add variety to our designs.

It was just a few years ago that we learned the hollyhocks grew over the septic tank.  Ewww we said.  What if we had broken through the cover and fallen in?!  Yuck!  If we had known about that we probably would have never played with the hollyhocks! 

But sometimes isn’t life like that?  We may be living in a world that is a cesspool with all of the sick ideologies like radical Islam, and Communism, sexual immorality being turned into a political football, the truth of Christianity being suppressed by wicked hearts, and other unmentionable, unbelievable evils, but we have beauty in this world as well.  What joy we experience when we meet a newly born baby or attend a wedding and view the radiant bride and happy groom. God has made good things for us to enjoy--  even Seahawk mania!





Tuesday, January 27, 2015

From The Frying Pan Into The Kettle



Troubles trouble me.  Your troubles trouble me and my troubles trouble me.  It seems that once we are out of the frying pan we are into the kettle.  If it isn’t a big hurt then it’s a little pain.

 A few years ago, when I was in the middle of an upsetting amount of dilemmas, I poured out my heart to a Sunday school teacher.  She recommended that I work through the workbook called “ Behold Your God” by Myrna Alexander.  It’s a study of the attribute of God.  Once I worked through it I realized that God is bigger than all of my problems.  Maybe we suffer for a little while here on earth--but our lifetime is only a drop in the bucket of eternity.

Shortly after studying the attributes of God in this way, our family moved for about the 30th time.  A PTA mom, at the new school my son was attending, published a notice in the PTA newsletter of a Moms in Prayer group forming.  This is strictly against MIP rules.  We are only supposed to spread the word through our churches, by word of mouth, and by good words and deeds for the teachers and administrators of the schools we are praying for.  Fortunately for me this mom was unaware of the rules at that time.  I joined the group and I have been praying with one prayer group or another since then.  These moms have my back.  I can count on them to pray and I can count on God to answer.  What a blessing to pray for others and to have them pray for me.

Moms who pray Peggy, Linda, Joyce

Those were two of the ways that God comforted me during difficult times.  I could mention other comforts like Joni Erickson Tada’s devotional “Diamonds in the Dust,” and many other ways God has worked in my life, but I will save that for another blog. 

So God IS sovereign—He moves in mysterious ways!  Those who have been comforted by God have comforted me, and I have comforted others because I have been comforted.

 How has God helped you through difficulties?

I Peter 5:10 After you have suffered for a little while, the God of all grace, who called you to His eternal glory in Christ, will Himself perfectconfirmstrengthen and establish you. 11 To Him be dominion forever and everAmen.


Monday, January 19, 2015

How Sweet Are Your Words To My Taste! Yes, Sweeter Than Honey To My Mouth. Psalm 119:103


When I was a baby my mom would feed me cottage cheese and I would spit it out into her face!  Cottage cheese is rich in calcium and protein.  She knew that I needed these nutrients in my diet.  But for some reason, maybe it was the texture or taste, I didn’t like cottage cheese. 

Now as an adult I don’t like the thought of taking a bite of cottage cheese, but when I do I like it, and enjoy eating it, especially if it is very fresh and 4% fat. 

Sometimes the word of God is like that for us.  We don’t like the thought of sitting down and reading the Bible, but when we do, we will find wonderful nourishment for our souls. 

When I first started studying the Bible we had a wonderful Sunday school teacher in Spokane, WA.   His name was Bruce Gore--  see here.  He would come up with amazing nuggets every Sunday.  I asked him if the Holy Spirit taught him the things he came up with. He said, no, that he had to observe the Word like he was mining gold.  He would dig out the gems slowly, as if he was using a spoon—a little at a time. I was disappointed because I thought that while studying the Bible the Holy Spirit would do all the work for me. After all, the Bible says in Jeremiah 31: that 33 "But this is the covenant which I will make with the house of Israel after those days," declares the LORD, "I will put My law within them and on their heart I will write it; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people.

Then in the New Testament it says in Hebrews 10:16 "THIS IS THE COVENANT THAT I WILL MAKE WITH THEM AFTER THOSE DAYS, SAYS THE LORD: I WILL PUT MY LAWS UPON THEIR HEART, AND ON THEIR MIND I WILL WRITE THEM,"

I thought that would be cool!  God would open my mind and heart and pour all the knowledge of the Bible into me. When I was a teen I read a story in my older brother’s “Boys Life” magazine about a boy who never had to study.  In the story the boy invented a machine that would turn books into candy bars.  If he needed to know the information in a book for a test, he would put the book into the machine, and it would become a candy bar.  He would eat the candy bar and know everything that was in the book.  I was hoping the Bible would work that way.  But no, God expects us to work at knowing His Word and therefore growing in our knowledge of Him.

The best way for me to study the Bible is to join a study group like Bible Study Fellowship, Community Bible Study, or Precepts Bible study.  Others studying along with me encourages me.  They will come up with insights that I hadn’t thought of.  I am enriched each week. Here is a pep talk on reading the Bible from Julia Stager.  Click here to see it on Randy Alcorn's website.

What are your suggestions for learning God’s Word and for growing in your knowledge of Him?