What Are The Odds?

Anyone who is familiar with the story of Robin Hood probably remembers the part about the archery tournament where Robin’s opponent hit an exact bulls eye.  Then Robin steps up and shoots splitting his opponent’s arrow so that he also hits an exact bulls eye as well and wins the tournament.

Since there is some question of whether or not Robin Hood ever existed, the amazing shot is also in question.  But just so you don’t go to thinking that such a shot could never happen, I submit the above pictures of such a shot happening twice within the space of 20 days and less than 100 shots apart, by the same person.  I know that it is true as I personally witnessed the event and can take you to his home where he has all 4 arrows mounted on his wall.  What are the odds of that ever happening.

Yet that is not even close to the probability of the prophecies concerning Christ’s birth, hundreds of years in advance.  It was foretold by God in Genesis 3:15 that He would come from the seed of a woman. (Note that women do not have seed)  Later in Genesis 18:18 and 22:18 that He would be a descendant of Abraham’s seed.  In Genesis 26:4 and 28:4 it was prophesied to come from the nation of Israel.  Then in Genesis 49:10 it was specified that He would be from the tribe of Judah.  Jeremiah 23:5-6, Psalms 89:4, and Isaiah 11:1 all declare that He would be a descendant  of King David.  Isaiah 7:14 further clarified that He would be born of a virgin.  Micah 5:2 even specified that He  would be born in the city of Bethlehem.  And even that was clarified because there were two Bethlehem’s so it was specified as the one in Ephratah.  Finally, Luke 1:27 states that the child would be born of Mary.

An odds maker was asked what are the probability of that ever happening and he gave the odds of some 1 in multiplied billions and to illustrate the number gave this illustration.  Suppose that each chance was a silver dollar and they were all spread out over the state of Texas.  It would cover the entire state several feet thick.  Suppose one of the silver dollars was marked as that one chance and you were selected to find that marked silver dollar.  Your are allowed to travel the entire state but you are blindfolded and were only given one chance to find that dollar. For you to randomly select a spot and shove your hand down into the several feet of dollar coins and select that exact one would simulate the odds.

But that was an odds maker’s view.  In reality the odds are even greater because it would be impossible for several reasons.  One because of the time between the prophecies, another because of the number of circumstances to be considered, but most of all because of the necessity of a virgin giving birth to a child without the benefit of a man, let alone that that child would be the Son of God.  But what does the Scripture say?  Mt 19:26 But Jesus beheld them, and said unto them, With men this is impossible; but with God all things are possible.  Lu 1:37 For with God nothing shall be impossible.

Our inability to accept the truth of the Bible is tied to our lack of knowing its author.

Our Perspective

During the past week I have been spending some time with two of my sons in Coperas Cove, Texas.  We get together each year to go deer hunting, something that I have been doing since I was a teenager and went hunting with my brother and dad.  No, I didn’t shoot anything but that is not what was important to me.  My main goal is to capture the moment of time that we share together.  We would go out quite early in the morning and come in after dark in the evening.  One night, I lost my head netting that I use to keep the mosquito off and wasn’t aware of it until the next morning when we were going out again.  Mosquitoes can be more than a real pest, they can cost you your shot at your game, and even carry diseases, so I try to protect myself from them.  I don’t use spray because the deer can smell 50 times better than a human.

So anyway, as I was putting on my camouflage, I noticed my netting was missing.  I looked everywhere and it was not to be found.  I simply resigned that I would have to just trust the Lord with the matter and proceed with the hunt.  We walked up the same trail that I had used the night before.  We were walking in the dark and the moon was so bright that we weren’t using any lights.  As we reached the place where I had joined the trail the night before, I looked down and there was my mosquito net, right on the trail.  Just to let you know how amazing that was, the netting was also dark,  at night, no lighting except for the moon and I was focused on my exit, not looking for my net.

So I proceed to the tree stand and was feeling grateful that I found the netting and got to thinking about how the Lord is always watching out for us and using the events of life to bless us.  It was still about an hour and a half before sun up so I just sat there beholding the stars.  I noticed how the stars were twinkling and thought back to when I discovered why they twinkled.  (Do you know why they twinkle?)  It is because of the debris in our atmosphere.  The star that we are looking at may be much larger than our own sun, yet because of the distance it appears to be quite small.  Space is basically empty but our atmosphere is full of debris so that a small rock the size of a quarter of half dollar is large enough to block out the light from the star, if but for a moment.  I thought, how the twinkling star is like our view of God.  It is obstructed by even little things of this world, so that our view gives the appearance that God is not always there to be seen.  The things of this world can block out the glory of the vastness of God’s creation and it is not to be compared to the God of creation.

1John 2:15 Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.  We must keep things in the right perspective.

Tending Fire

Hebrews 10:25 Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.

I had the privilege of growing up in a very depressed area in Southern Missouri during the post WW II era.  I was privileged because I got to see first hand, what it was like to live without modern conveniences.  We didn’t even have a radio (battery) until I was 5 years old.  When I was 7 we got electricity.  We drew our water from a well and raised our own food.  We never had indoor plumbing until we moved to Colorado when I was 10.  These are things that most of Americans have never experienced, except for short periods of time, but it was our life style.

One of my memories is that of our one heating stove in the living room.  The fuel was wood which we cut from the stand of trees along the back of our property.  I learned about the importance of keeping the fire going at a very early age as it was our only source of heat during the winter.  Our house was not insulated so keeping the fire going was a constant need.  My chores included keeping  plenty of wood stacked on the porch for easy access, and carrying the ashes out every morning.  I learned a lot about what it takes to start and maintain a fire to keep warm.

Today’s post deals only with maintaining a fire once it is going.  The first thing that I learned was that you need a bed of coals.  This will enable the wood to catch fire as it is being added as it raises the temperature to assist in ignition.  If the wood is wet, it will dry it out.  It is a bridge between the wood and the flame.  A bed of coals begins with dry tender and then you add kindling (small pieces of wood or paper) to gets the fire going.  Because it is very dry and has a lot of surface area, it burns fast and hot which kindles the larger wood into flame.  The bed of coals is the wood that is already burning and its flame enables the larger wood to catch fire, just as the leadership in a church helps the new member to find their place of service in the fellowship.

Keeping the fire going is called “tending the fire“.  As the fire burns it needs “Stoked” from time to time.  Stoking the fire is moving the logs closer together so that they will burn better.  As a fire burns, the space between the logs gets larger and the benefit of one log helping another burn becomes less so that the fire will die down and produce less heat.  By stoking the fire you move the logs closer together and the fire will burn hotter.  Because change is constant, there will always be a need for stoking the fellowship to enhance it’s effectiveness.  We used to do this with periodic revival meetings, mission conferences and other such efforts but in today’s society we have moved further apart and hardly even know the other members. Unless this is corrected, the fire will die out and the church will be left cold. The fire needs stoked more now than it ever did before and as we approach the coming of the Lord it will become even more important.

The story is told about a church who had a member who had begun to attend less and less so the pastor dropped by one day to visit him.  The two of them sat by the fire and never spoke but after a while the pastor got up and went to the fire and pulled one of the sticks of wood out of the fire but let it set on the edge of the opening, by itself.  Pretty soon the flame that was going so well when it was first removed, began to lessen until it finally died out completely.  After a few minutes the pastor got up to leave without ever saying anything.  As he got to the door, the man said to the pastor, I got the message and I will be in church this Sunday.  People who know how to tend fire, know how to be the live coal to rekindle the flame in others.

Preparation

When thinking about what goes into making a trip all it can be, I think that preparation is one of the most important things you can do.  It will enhance your trip in many ways; it will expand it, it will enrich it, it will extend it, it will enable it and it will preserve it.

In planning for my trip to China, I have already begun to experience it in many ways.  First, I have had to plan where and when I was going.  Since I am going with others there was the necessity of coordinating all our schedules and finding a time that would fit all of us.  Then there was the destination.  In this case, I will be traveling with the others for much of the journey, but then I will be separated from the others for several days and traveling alone to a place that I have never been.  That can be daunting to some and exhilarating to others.  In my case it is some of both.  Fortunately, I will be meeting with someone I know and He knows the place, customs, etc.  I will literally be in his hands.

Then there is the securing of my passport (which I already have), the visa (which came in last week, and the plane tickets which have been purchased.  These are extremely important as they allow access to this part of the world and determine a lot of your schedule.

Another thing I have done is read up on the places that you will visit and the customs and culture that you will be experiencing.  The more you know about your destination, the more that you will enrich the experience.  It was enlightening to discover some of the history and current activities where I will be going.  One highlight for me is that my destination grows some of the greatest produce in China.  Since I have a lot of experience in produce (both growing and eating which I love), this will be a treat for me to taste some of God’s treats that I have never had the opportunity to enjoy before.

Planning on what you will take with you is also important.  What you will wear will be affected by the climate you will be in and the customs of the people.  Things that you will need like medicine, personal items (make a list and update it regularly), and things that may not be available there that you have need of.  Preserving your experience is also important.  Your camera, pencil and paper, gifts, etc  Think it through and then rethink it again.  Don’t fret about it but your anticipation will enhance the actual experience.  It will also give you a sense of preparedness that will allow you to enjoy the trip to the fullest.

One of the things that I am looking forward to is the actual flight.  I will be flying nonstop to Seoul, Korea, then an hour and 10 minute layover, then another nonstop flight to Guangzhou, China (near Hong Kong), an overnight layover and then on to my final destination (another 5-6 hour flight).  Altogether it will be about 24 hours flight time plus layovers.  So who in his right mind would be looking forward to such a grueling flight.  Me, of course.  I have the choice to suffer through it or turn it into an experience that will be of benefit. I simple made the choice to not suffer but to allow myself to be stretched to the point that I will be able to contain the blessing God is giving me.  It is a choice, you know, so I plan to spend some time getting to know those with whom I travel with.  I plan to do some exercising on the plane so that my legs don’t develop problems that you get on long flights.  I also plan to watch the terrain and the people to notice the changes in the land we fly over and to pick up on anything that will help me once I get there.  I plan to do some writing while in flight and anything else that will keep my mind occupied.  When I have exhausted all other avenues, I may even get some sleep – though it is hard for me to sleep on a plane.

We all have a trip ahead of us that these thoughts could help us prepare for – from here to eternity.  We should secure the proper credentials (salvation in the Lord Jesus Christ).  The trip won’t take long (a moment, in the twinkling of an eye) so we won’t have to fill time because time will be no more.  There are some things that we will want to take, such as our works of faith, our testimony, our hope, our eternal body, etc. that we will need when we get home.  We should study the Word of God to teach us about our final destination to make our arrival even more enriching.  It will help us to understand what is happening.  We won’t need to pack because we will be given a robe of righteousness that will never wear out and everything will be ours to serve our Lord with.  There will be no more sorrow or tears and all will be glorious.  Don’t you want to meet me there?  All aboard!!!

 

 

How Can I Know God?

Exodus 3:14 And God said unto Moses, I AM THAT I AM: and he said, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, I AM hath sent me unto you.

When Moses had the encounter with God at the burning bush, God sent him to deliver the Hebrews out of slavery and into the promised land.  Moses asked God, whom shall I say sent me?  God’s answer is found in Exodus 3:14 (above).  That sounds like a strange name, but it isn’t a name at all, it is an attribute of God.

The purpose of a name is to distinguish one person from another, but in God’s case, there is no other to contrast Him with.   Psalms 113:5 Who is like unto the LORD our God, who dwelleth on high  Jer 10:6 Forasmuch as there is none like unto thee, O LORD; thou art great, and thy name is great in might.  Anytime you find His attributes it is always Him and no other so a name is not needed.  If you want to know God then you must discover what He is like.  Even when you find a name of God, such as Jehovah Jireh “The Lord Will Provide”; it describes something about God rather than a distinguishing name.  God is distinguished because of His attributes and not by His name.

One of the problems is that we try to picture God as a being like we are, limited by time and space.  He is not like us and therefore does not have the same limitations.  He does not act or react as we do.  Take His response of I AM THAT I AM”, and notice that God revealed something of Himself that is unique only to Him, that He is eternal.  He exists outside of time.  He is present in the past, as well as present now and is present in the future.  Also notice that if He is always existent throughout time, so He never changes, which is what we find in the scriptures.  Malachi 3:6 For I am the LORD, I change not; therefore ye sons of Jacob are not consumed.  Revelation 1:8 I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, saith the Lord, which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty.

God is always revealing Himself to man but man has great difficulty understanding God who is past finding out.  You cannot exhaust the limits of God because He has no limits.   Romans 11:33 O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! how unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out!  Though you cannot exhaust His ways, you can begin to grow in your understanding.  It is something like a baby knowing its mother.  It begins with instincts but those instincts are enhanced by experiences, then by knowledge and further on by understanding and so forth.  So also we know God in a graduated way and the more we come to know Him the greater our understanding of Him becomes.  I was 10 years old when we moved to Colorado, from Missouri.  My parents told me about the mountains and I had actually been there when I was about three but my memory and knowledge was so little that I didn’t have a good concept of them.  As we approached Colorado, we began looking for them and even wondered what they were like.  Finally, dad pointed them out in the distance.  They were so small on the horizon that I was unimpressed.  I wondered why all the fuss.  But then a strange thing happened, they began to grow.  At least they seemed to grow and reached higher into the sky.  This continued until we were driving in the mountains and they had become so large that I couldn’t comprehend how big they really were.  Of course they didn’t really grow, they were the same size all the time but my perspective continued to change, the closer I got.  The same thing is true about God.  The closer to Him you get the greater He appears.  The truth is that He never changes but our perspective of Him does.  James 4:8 Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded.

Thinking of Eternity

I was just thinking of God and what it will be like when we stand before Him in Eternity.  I have heard a thousand thoughts of what others think it will be like.  Some think that they will still be in charge of something and will ask God their deepest questions about why did He  —-?  Others have the idea that Eternity will be linear, like it is here and our existence will be much the same.  (Example: Ten thousand year)  Another idea is that all our loved ones will meet us there and they will be much the same but just stop growing old.  One of the most popular is that it is”a better place”, without any explanation as to what that means.  Many understand that there will be no more pain and sorrow but do not understand why.  Most think that there will be memories and even regrets of what could have been but never was.  Sadly, most of our concepts are just wild guesses, carried out to several decimal places or just simply figments of our imagination.

The Bible gives us many clues as to what it will be like but they are meaningless until they are seen through the eyes of faith and the record of God’s Word.  Last week, I preached a message out of John 6, entitled I AM the Bread of Life.  The “I AM” is the same as what God told Moses when he asked God what His name was.  God replied, I AM that I AM.  Tell them that I AM sent you.  When Jesus said, “I AM the Bread of Life” He used the same phrase, claiming Himself to be very God.  He did not give His name but one of His attributes, His self existence.  The reason is that a name is used to distinguish one from another of similar features or specifics.  When you come to God, there is no other like Him.  He is one of a kind, unique, different from all others.  So to know Him is to know His attributes.  In this case it is His eternal self existence.  No other living being has eternal self existence so the identification is made by that characteristic.  Because he is self existent, He is not subject to time.  The conclusion is that in Eternity, time does not exist.  We, who exist in linear time, do not think of a timeless existence so we superimpose our understanding of time into Eternity and come to a false conclusion of what Eternity is like.  To truly know what Eternity is like is to know it from an eternal position which still awaits us.  We see through a glass, darkly, but then face to face.

What will it be like?  I don’t really know what it will be like, but I know that it won’t be like now any more than the world of time and space is like the world of the womb.  There is even more difference between this present world and the world of Eternity.  I get a clue of something of what it might be like as I look at others who have been very close to God.  Moses saw Him from behind and his face glowed so bright that he had to wear a veil.  Jacob wrestled with an angel of God and it changed him forever and he had a limp the rest of his life.  The three Hebrew children walked with Him in the fire and it had no effect on them except to free them from their bonds.  Many saints came before Him and fell on their faces, unable to stand without His help.  When Isaiah saw Him on His throne in the temple, he saw himself as unclean and without hope until the Lord cleansed his sin.  Paul was knocked to the ground when he met the Lord and it change his life, permanently.  When John saw the Lord, He was the glorified Christ and he fell at His feet as dead.  The result of that meeting is the book of Revelation.  On thing is certain, when we find ourselves before the Lord our God, we will see Him as He is and we will be changed.

PreparingThe Message

The Senior Adult Bible Conference has concluded and now I want to do a review of the process that went in to the preparation and delivery of the message.

Having been a part of this Bible Conference for three years, now, I look forward to it more every year.  This year was no exception.  When I was asked to be a part again this year, my first thought was, what does the Lord want me to say?  To preach for the Lord is to speak that which He would say if He were present in His earthly body.  That is such an awesome responsibility.  It genders many questions such as, Where are the people at in their lives?  What does the Lord have planned that they need to prepare for?  What problems are people struggling with?  What doctrine needs to be clarified? Etc.

And so it begins.  How do you discover the mind of God, for He alone knows where we are and what is ahead?  This necessitates prayer.  I never know until He reveals it to me so I have to go to Him as ask.  Sometimes it takes a lot of self-examination to make sure that there is nothing in my life that will hinder the message from being understood properly.

Once the receiver (me) has been properly prepared, then comes the receiving.  I make it a point that I never single out individuals, but stick to the principles laid out in the Bible.  It is the responsibility of the Holy Spirit to do the job of convicting and applying.  It is my job to properly present, clarify, and explain the Scriptures.  Each message is unique as to who is there, the times, the need, etc.  This combination of events has never happened before and it will never happen again and that is why you can never preach the same message twice, though you can present the same truths, repeatedly.

The next step is the selection of the Scripture.  There are a number of places in the Bible that a specific Doctrine, truth, circumstance or other application can be found.  I try to be sensitive to the Holy Spirit and let Him direct me to the place He wants to speak from.  After all, it is His job to direct me into all truth.  He does it in many ways.  Sometimes He uses circumstances, but more often than not He will bring a particular Scripture to mind repeatedly, or show me a truth about that Scripture that I simply must share with others.  He works in many ways that I do not understand but I trust Him and His leading.

The final step of preparation is the soaking in the message.  That is reading and rereading, reviewing, listening for the still small voice that I have come to recognize by many years of hearing.  It does to me what happens to food when you marinate it in a specially prepared mixture of different flavorings.  The preacher must receive the message first as the Scripture says, they that preach the gospel, must live of the gospel.  Only then am I ready to preach.  How long does it take?  The answer  is all your life.

Then we come to the delivery of the message.  Nerves are present, the mouth is dry even if you just took a drink of water, the mind races, you are introduced, and you begin to speak . . .  It seems that I always forget some details that I intended to include and I add a few things that I never thought of in my preparation.  How was the timing?  Did I accentuate the point correctly?  What could I have done better? Etc.  This is all part of the preparation of the next message.

Dwelleth

John 6:56 He that eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, dwelleth in me, and I in him

Romans 8:11 But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you.

1Corinthians 3:16 Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?

[Greek – enoikeo, en-oy-keh’-o – to occupy a house, i.e. reside (figuratively,                                  inhabit, remain, inhere); by implication, to cohabit:–dwell.                                              –  meno, men’-o – a primary verb; to stay (in a given place, state, relation or                     expectancy):–abide, continue, dwell, endure, be present, remain, stand]

In the above text there are two words that are translated dwelleth as listed above.  They are quite similar in their meaning and invoke the idea that there is an ongoing or repeated action.  You will notice that the word ends with an eth ending which meant that in the original language it was either an action t that continued indefinitely or that it was an action that was repeated indefinitely.

In our modern world, we think of our will, that is what I want so our concept of Christianity is often slanted to the idea of convenience or desire.  The Bible knows nothing of that type of relationship for the Christian.  We give as it is convenient but the Bible teaches that we give 1. as we are prospered, 2. according to opportunity, 3.  the demand of necessity, and 4. as an act of faith in God.  Our service may come from duty, responsibility or desire but all too often it is because of selfish reasons rather than to deal with the old nature of sin or allow God to affect change in us.  We desire the blessing when we should desire the one who is blessing.

The concept of dwelling with God is not a duty or even a responsibility, it is a privilege and an opportunity.  It is a privilege because the infinite God desires to be with me.  It is an opportunity for me to become what I could never be without Him.  It requires us to open ourselves to him in prayer and faith.  It requires time in His word that He might speak to us about eternal things.  It requires sharing our lives with Him as He shares His life with us.  Dwelling with God is a life style not an occasional visit.

Notice that in John 6:56  that is a communion or participation together in the events of life (eating and drinking) or consuming the life of God.  The eth ending is attached to all three; eating continually, drinking continually, and dwelling continually.  Also notice in Romans 8:11 that the Holy Spirit is not only present with you continually but also is constantly quickening (making you alive) continually.  And finally, in I Corinthians 3:16 that you are the residence or dwelling of God.  The only place that will satisfy God as a residence is the heart of one who loves God back.  He loved us so much that He gave His only Son to die in our place.  Do we love Him enough to dwell with him in this life, as well as for eternity?

Love In 4 Directions

I am sure that many of you already know about the various meanings of the word Love, in the Bible.  There is ‘eros‘ which is the physical or lustful attraction; there is the ‘phileo‘ love which is brotherly love such as a parent for a child; and there is ‘agape’ love which is the love of God that is supernatural.  Our focus today is not on what kind of love but on the agape love that is to find a home in our heart and finds it’s expression in all directions.

First, we are to Love God back with the same love that He loves us.  That means that we have no other gods that we hold in comparison to Him.  He alone is God and there is none other like Him.  Until we get to know Him we do not love Him.  The more we get to know Him, the more capable we are to love Him, for God is Love.

The next area of our love that must be developed is to love one another.  That is to love those of your family and those to whom you identify such as your church family.  This requires some stretching and maturing.  Sometimes we forget that our love for one another is not based on how we feel about the other person.  It is not based on what they do for you but on their value which is not always apparent.  Sometimes their value will not become apparent for a long time but love can’t wait till then.  They need to be loved whether or not their value has appeared.  The world will know we are Christians by our love.  Love does what is best, not what is convenient, or easiest or even by what is desired.  It is the expression of what erupts out of the heart from our concerns and understanding of the others needs.

The third direction of our love is focused toward our neighbors.  That is those to whom we have contact in our everyday living.  It includes those who cut in front of you in traffic, your fellow employees, the beggar, the down and out as well as the up and out and even your business acquaintances.  You are to love them and seek for their good.  This will take even more growing to develop a love that is ever a blessing.  Some people are not easy to love.  The negative, the critical, the depressed, the gossip, the one who never stops talking, the gossip, and on and on it goes.  These people are all hurting and need your love.  They come from all sorts of backgrounds and bad situations yet God loves them and we are to love them with His love, too.  We have to learn to live with each other yes, but it is even more important to learn to love each other.  This love will cover a multitude of sins.

Finally, we are to love our enemies.  They are the ones who are not fair or merciful.  They attack us and all we stand for.  Sometimes they are from outside our world and come at us suddenly and without cause.  Sometimes they are close to us and hurt us the deepest.  Sometimes they are cruel and sometimes they are sly.  It doesn’t matter what they attempt but what does matter is the attitude that you express when they do.  They are expecting a fight but they are not expecting your love.  These are the ones who have the least love in their lives.  They have probably endured the worst treatment, have been taught the least, had the worst examples and come from the most dysfunctional families.  They can only be won by love.  To that they will respond.  Not at first but they can be won if your love is real.  They will cost you the most and they are the hardest to convince but they are some of the most loyal and dedicated of all.  The apostle Paul comes to mind as a great example.

God is not looking to punish us but to redeem us.  He paid the ultimate price so that we might have eternal life.  To God, we are each worth more than the entirety of this world.  There are a number of tools that God will use to reach the isolated and unloved, but the greatest of them is Love.  Love is God’s chosen means of reaching the hearts of men.  So how is your love growing?  When you are loving, you are expressing the very nature of God.

Just Burning Off The Chaff

1Peter 1:5 Who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.  6 Wherein ye greatly rejoice, though now for a season, if need be, ye are in heaviness through manifold temptations:  7 That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ

Things are starting to get back to normal around here.  My wife took the car out by herself, for the first time today.  She is starting to reclaim her place in the kitchen and can even open a can without help.  I apologize for not posting more during this time but it is one of those things that we get to do on occasion when the need arises.

Between having to do double duty with the household chores, we have also had our great grandson here for several days in a row and he requires constant attention.  He thinks that God called me to be his playmate and entertainer.  It is interesting that in our bible studies recently we have been looking at how God shapes and forms us in all of our interruptions and distractions.  Now my wife hears me say, “just burning the chaft off” when someone cuts in front of me or when I am focused on something and I get interrupted, or when things just doesn’t go the way I think they should.

I already knew that I am not perfect – but I wasn’t aware of just how much imperfection there remains; even after 50 years in the ministry and walking with the Lord.  Have you noticed how that life’s problems come at an inopportune time?  They don’t come when you are not in a hurry, or when you have leisure time.  They come when you are stressed like a guitar string.  By the way, a guitar string only has quality sound when it is stressed the right amount.  Otherwise, it is out of tune.  Perhaps the Lord is just tuning us up for His performance.  And another thing, have you noticed that these situations require far more than you can give at that moment.  You are asked to do something when your hands are full, or asked to look at something while you are driving, or you are obeying the law and you are cut off or someone suddenly stops right in front of you, etc.  And finally, have you noticed that you cannot win?  No matter what course you take, someone will be shorted or neglected or offended.

I suspect that the Lord is watching and listening and waiting to see us respond as He did when He walked here on Earth.  Remember the story of the woman caught in the very act of adultery?  They brought her to Jesus and said that the law required her to be stoned but what do you say?  If He said no, then He would disobey the law, If He said yes, then he would be uncaring.  He did neither but keeled down and wrote in the sand.  When He was further pressed for an answer, He said, he that is without sin cast the first stone.  Another time Jesus was asked whether or not it was right to pay taxes?  He said, show me a coin and then asked whose inscription was on it?  They replied, Caesar’s,  to which He replied, render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar’s and unto God, the things that are God’s.  This kind of wisdom comes only from God.  We do not possess it but it is supplied upon our exercise of faith in Him.

Today is tuning the instruments and choir rehearsal.  We are just beginning to understand what that will be like.  Can’t you just picture it?  Everyone is assembled in Heaven and earth, all is quiet and then it begins.  First there is the sound of a trumpet, then a loud shout, and then it begins. . .   I am so looking forward to the presentation of the Grand Finale when the Lord has us all tuned up and heaven waits with batted breath  to hear the sound of the redeemed, as we praise the Lord for all He has done.