Friday, August 21, 2009
Sunday, August 16, 2009
1 Corinthians 14:26 How is it then, brethren? when ye come together, every one of you hath a psalm, hath a doctrine, hath a tongue, hath a revelation, hath an interpretation. Let all things be done unto edifying.
Ummm...terrible word to use to start a post I suppose, but these verses are...well...humbling and convicting...its my fault.
I have spent a lot of time doing everything except edifying. Everything except setting the Body of Christ apart as Holy. Shame on me. It's my fault.
It is my fault...those four words are probably I think the most important words anyone can ever learn to speak.
If I plant a garden and don't prepare the soil and make sure I've got good seed, I'm not likely to get much of a harvest...and it would be my fault.
I've planted a lot of "seed" over the years, but I fear that most of it was bad seed. It's my fault.
Now this post is about coming to terms with my mistakes. I could turn it around to discuss these same mistakes in others, but I will try not to do so.
I guess it started awhile back with Proverbs 22:6 Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.
But it went beyond my children. It went to my family and my friends and all the people whom I have spoken with in my life.
Mark 7:20 And he said, That which cometh out of the man, that defileth the man.
I had a realization that it was the height of arrogance to think it was possible for a parent to think that they had done everything right in the raising of their child. No one can do everything right. To me it seemed even stranger to claim to believe the bible and then say you did everything right and still end up with a child that goes their own way, that rebels and chooses to follow a path away from God and the bible.
I needed to realize that if one of my children went wrong, it was my fault, that somewhere along the line I'd blown it. I had to accept that truth, even though the Curse is broken, the scriptures are still true and they say...Exodus 20:5-6 Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the LORD thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me; And shewing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments.
This is a curse, but it is also a promise. Mercy to those who keep His commandments.
With these verse came freedom. The freedom to know that I cant do everything right and really shouldnt expect that I could. That all children will follow whatever god is placed before them. I place the gods before them. They get to choose. When they do I can accept my role in that however it works out.
The fault is mine...and I am forgiven. But the lessons to learn are just now beginning to come to light.
How many times have I had ill words for God's church, the Body of Christ? Not edifying words and so because the words which came out of me did not edify, then the church was not sanctified in the eyes of those to whom I was speaking...Is it any wonder that those outside of Christianity, those lost, would name christians to be hypocrites when we spend our time doing the same thing? It's my fault.
The Bible says that the husband sanctifies the wife and vice/versa. I have taken that a little farther and made it apply to even more aspects of life.
My mother, Lord rest her soul...spent a lot of time talking about the things my Dad couldn't do...and he didn't because of it. My wife has spent a lot of time telling me that I can do all the things that I think I can't...which wife sanctified and edified her husband?
Over the years I've spent a lot of time saying bad things about people and about the church. Is it any wonder that my family has the same issues? No...ITS MY FAULT. I could have and should have done differently.
To my good brother Wayne Anthony, should he ever read this post...Thank you. Why? "It's just how you look at it." A few words spoken...but another brick in the pathway on the way Home.
There is so much freedom in knowing and accepting that...its my fault.
I suppose that hopefully one day I will realize just how much harm I have done to myself because of my own foolishness. How foolish and stupid it is to blacken the name of the Bride of Christ in my own eyes and the eyes of others...but what have I done to myself? What darkness am I in because of it? My foolish words....its my fault.
Peoples lives are such wonderous things. Even when they seem ugly and sorrowful there is something in them from which to draw hope.
I guess I'll start with scripture...
Psalms 23:1-6 The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want. He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters. He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name's sake. Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me. Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the LORD for ever.
This story is about someone's little sister or perhaps older sister, or daughter...maybe it might be yours...but its someone who has been part of my life and prayers for ten years now.
I guess I'll go back as far I can.
She was the Preachers Kid...You know the story. But she was a good kid. Loved the Lord and the bible. A good soul. Loved her Daddy and Mom.
Then one sad day for her and the rest of us...Daddy got called Home to be with Jesus. A happy day, but sad for those left here to move on without.
Now I dont pretend to know what this sort of thing does to a young person when they lose a parent, but to lose this parent in particular must have been incredibly hard. He was a really good man. He loved the Lord and preached the truth about being a man, being a Dad, being a husband.
Now in all honesty my life had gone another direction and I pretty much lost most of the relationship with this family.
Anyway, a few years passed and it seems that something happened that for all appearances seemed to indicate that this young girl turned young woman was falling away from...well from everything she'd been taught about being a christian.
Being the way things tend to be, the Lord seems to have worked to bring my family back into a relationship with this young lady's family. I've gotten to witness some good old-fashioned rebellion in this young woman. Just like I remember mine to be. Same words, same attitude, same lack of concern for the feelings of family members...(mine was much worse)...it was so interesting to watch it work itself out.
So to make this as short a ramble as I can...I go to a party that the family is having and the Lord being good the way He is, a great thing happened. A comforting thing happened.
I love to hear people quote scriptures that mean things to them...so I ask several young people there to quote and I listened with my eyes close so I could catch every sound. I can hear the heart of the person speaking.
Finally, I ask this young lady if she has something memorized that she can quote...She hesitates of course...she's the naughty sister you know and proud of it to boot...but somewhere inside the little girl who loved her Daddy speaks..."I know the 23rd Psalm" she says. So I encourage her to say it. Well...I kind of implore her...I am addicted to this sort of thing. As she speaks I listen. I hear the voice hesitate and almost break...the scriptures are so powerful.
Somewhere inside The Naughty, Rebel, Backslider the Holy Spirit of God says to me, "Yes, I'm still here and she still loves Jesus even if she's not acting like it" ...
...and I know she'll be okay. For now...she's the Naughty, Rebel, Backslider....but not for always.
The story behind the 23rd Psalm. I asked her...
Because when she was a little girl....(yes I'm crying right now) she couldnt sleep, so Momma told her to recite the 23rd Psalm and she'd be able to sleep...and it worked. Better I think than Momma ever realized.
Parents....please...christian parents...hide those wonderful old words of life in the hearts of your children...someday those words just might preach to discouraged old man like me...
Saturday, August 15, 2009
The apostle Paul had once been chiefest of sinners according to his own testimony, but here in this passage on the road to Damascus, all the pricks of the Spirit that he had for so long been kicked against finally kicked back.
The Lord Jesus Christ appeared to Paul. The light of this encounter knocking him down and as it turns out blinding him for a time until another believer was sent to heal him of the blindness through the power and faith of the Lord Jesus himself.
Having just seen such great light on the way, Paul is left blinded by it...blinded by the light.
I was recently helping someone move their furniture to their new home. On the front porch was an older fellow putting together some porch furniture. Now it was late in the afternoon and the Sun was shining right in under the porch and making this porch fellows job very difficult for as he tried to see the holes into which to place the bolts he was blinded by the intense glare of the afternoon Sun...He said several times, "I can't see" before he finally changed his position.
Those words struck me. Like a spotlight at midnight.
I can't see...but there was light all around. It was broad daylight outside, but the light was just too much for him to handle.
And so it is I believe with the Glorious Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ. It's a simple thing which sheds light all around so that all can see, but when you look right at it...its too much...too intense for many folks...and they are blinded...blinded by the Light....
But its only for a time...if...when the Believer comes to the door, they recieve himm receive the preaching of the gospel from a good, old-fashioned King James Bible..the Blindness is lifted and for the first time the Blind can really See.
Friday, August 7, 2009
Sadly, this marks the end of Barnabas in the scriptures...and yet it would not be the end for Mark as he reappears much later in the bible story at 2 Timothy 4:11 Only Luke is with me. Take Mark, and bring him with thee: for he is profitable to me for the ministry.
Burning bridges hurts people, its separates them...often people who have burnt bridges realize later that they would much rather have that bridge back to the other person than they would have the memory of whatever it was that made them burn that bridge.
It is just so hard to rebuild those bridges. There is always pride to overcome on both sides of the burnt bridge. Pride, anger, pain....many reasons to avoid the task. All smaller than the need for the task.
I often wonder if Paul's praise for John Mark later in life was an effort on his part to restore his fellowship with Barnabas. I do not know the state of Barnabas' life at that time, whether he was dead or maybe had gotten away from the Lord, or maybe he was just doing something for the Lord elsewhere...but somehow I think Paul surely missed his old friend.
Perhaps some of the profitability Paul speaks of is just that...it's a way for Paul to do something to make things right with Barnabas...even if Paul was right all those years ago...sometimes, many times, most of the times, its better to suffer yourself to be defrauded than it is to be right.
I have burned a few bridges in my life. Almost always I have wanted those bridges back. I have even tried to rebuild them on my side, but I've never been able to make the bridge as sturdy as it was the first time. Never has the bridge been so easy to cross as it had been before it was burned.
When my mother was in the hospital earlier this year I had a wonderful conversation with a man whom I consider a great friend. This conversation was I guess a little philosophical though I'm not sure I understand much of anything philosophical. Maybe I do. I'll let others decide that for me.
We spoke of life and death, God and love, family and friends, but in the end the phrase he spoke which I believe I shall always remember, or I should I say, I hope I shall always remember are the words..."This Too Is Good"...Thanks Dave
Wednesday, August 5, 2009
Luke 6:22 Blessed are ye, when men shall hate you, and when they shall separate you from their company, and shall reproach you, and cast out your name as evil, for the Son of man's sake.
My tenth grade English teacher once told us that there is often little tricks a person can use to remember how to spell words that one might find difficult. Hers was the word "separate". She had trouble with the first "a", always misspelling it with an "e" until one day someone told her that there was "a rat" in Sep"arat"e. I've always remembered that lesson...and I've come to discover that there is usually a rat of one kind or another somehow involved in separation.
This year I have been given the wonderful opportunity to remember something about gardening that I am told every year and always forget...DO NOT plant broccoli, cabbage and cauliflower together.
They are supposed to be planted separately because there's a rat that likes them all. His name...Cabbage Worm. A pretty green little guy who hides in the stalks...if you've eaten broccoli straight from the garden, you've probably eaten him as well.
Separation is supposed to help keep these little blackhearts to a minimum.
Separation is a much-maligned and often ignored doctine throughout christianity today. With it's ecumenical call to leave our doctrine at the door, its seeker-friendly emergent movement and dominionistic approach to kingdom building, it leaves the biblical means to sanctification (not the sanctification of ones soul, but that of his life) and holiness in an abyss of humanism and rationalism.
Yet without separation, the rats will infest everything.
As the verse shown above states, Those who make a stand for the Lord Jesus Christ will be separated from this world of men. For His name they will drive the born-again, blood-bought, bible believing, Bride of Christ away from them...They do not seek Him, nor want Him as a part of their lives.
As it states in this verse; "2 Corinthians 6:17 Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you," Believers are given the responsibility before God to separate themselves from unbelievers. Verse 14.
Separated believers can rejoice in the promises found in the context of the verses stated above...
If a believer choses not to be separated...Watch for the Cabbage Worms...
Acts 17:17 Therefore disputed he in the synagogue with the Jews, and with the devout persons, and in the market daily with them that met with him.
Last fall my neighbor said that the folks at the Farmer's Market like turnips. I had thought about going there to try to sell some produce...and just to meet people from the community. So I figured I'd plant some turnips this year.
Turnip seeds are very tiny, but they grew quickly and the turnips are quite large. I planted them much to close together and they are crowded, but it's been nice watching them. They have grown really well and that's a blessing because this year has been cold and wet, so my garden is failing.
As you can see in the picture there's tomato plants growing in with the turnips and corn. Those tomatos are the only ones not showing any sign of rot. They grew of their from last years left overs and I didn't have the heart to pull something that wanted so desparately to live. Perhaps the corn and the turnips soaked up so much water that the tomatoes werent flooded.
Now, I'd never tasted a turnip before, but I'd heard they were sort of like potatoes, just not so much sugar...well I've tasted raw turnip now and I never want to taste one again.
My daughter made french fried turnips and those were pretty good.
Well. I couldn't find anything about turnips in my King James Bible, so I decided on the word Market and that's as close as I could come to something which might be applicable. Maybe at the market I'll get the chance to talk with someone about the Lord...or about the price of Turnips...
Monday, August 3, 2009
Genesis 3:17-19 And unto Adam he said, Because thou hast hearkened unto the voice of thy wife, and hast eaten of the tree, of which I commanded thee, saying, Thou shalt not eat of it: cursed is the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life; Thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth to thee; and thou shalt eat the herb of the field; In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return.
Saturday 7/1/09 my tomato patch looked really nice. Sunday after church I found them as shown in the bottom picture...
A wasteland. Rotten branches, rotten green tomatoes...Last year it was Blossom End Rot, this year its just...rotten. I dont want to hear about Global Warming anymore. Cold nights all summer, rain, rain, rain...The weeds are really growing well though.
What seems an eternity ago I planted these little seeds in the house and they grew into these wonderful plants that dominated our front room. We endured having them in the way for 3 months waiting for the weather to get warm enough to put them out and now...theyre dying.
All that time and effort and once again...the bible is proven to be true. Glory to God!
I had lots of plans and they are all foiled now. He must have better plans. He'll provide.
Next year, I'm planting corn in this spot...maybe turnips...or potatoes....Lord willing of course.
Sunday, August 2, 2009
I know he's a big guy, but every time I see him he has this big, gleaming, wonderful smile that warms my heart and makes me glad. A funny man and a joy to be around.
I have been thinking alot about what it must be like to do what he does for a living and i thought that perhaps the best thing would be....being the first one to get to lift up a person in dire need in prayer to the Father of Lights...to maybe the one voice that a distraught friend, relative or close family member gets to hear as their world is crashing down around them...
Then again I thought how terrible it must be to hear the call from the address of a friend or relative...to know first of all that tragedy is about to fall upon yourself....
Truly this man is big...but not because he's big...
Saturday, August 1, 2009
This is perhaps my favorite verse in the Bible. I have a lot of reasons, but the most important one is that it was this verse that my five year old daughter and her Sunday School class recited before their church the very first time I visited that church...which she had been going to on a church bus which came around every week...thank you Nick and Dania for all the sacrifices that you endured to make and keep that bus route a reality. Sorry I didn't appreciate it as much as I should have at the time. Thank you, brother Melvin for driving that bus.
But today, I think about that verse with a practical application that doesn't really have anything to with the Lord. Nothing to even do with christianity (feel free to correct me should the Lord show you some truth I've missed)...but with life....and our apparent need for all things new.
The apostle Paul once said of the Greeks, the Athenians in particular at Acts 17:21 that they spent all their time in search of something new, anything new...it was of course a distraction to keep them away from thinking about the things in life which really matter.
I guess Americans and probably a lot of other nationalities have that same tendency.
I'm here to tell you that "new" isnt always what it's cracked up to be.
I pulled an ancient wringer washer out of a basement a few days ago. It had apparently been there since Gerald Ford was President. Maybe longer than that even.
It was grimy and dusty and there was rust all over the outside of the motor housing and some rust here and there throughout, but it looked pretty sturdy. Cosmetically it wasnt all that bad. I'm guessing it had been built sometime during the 1960's.
I was pretty sure it was no longer in running condition. The hose for the water pump had been cut away and with all those gross cobwebs underneath and that wet, musty disgusting basement there is no way that old thing was running...so when I got it home I put it out on the corner by the road with a For Sale sign...never plugged it in to check. I figured maybe an Amishman might pass by and buy it and change the motor...or someone might want it for a strange lawn or porch ornament. You never know these days.
Sure enough, after a few days someone called about it. I told them everything I knew about it. Told them I didnt think it was running, but that I hadn't checked for sure.
Well, they showed up the next day and ....asked me to plug it in...
Don't you know it, that old girl started right up. Agitating away...the wringer worked great both forward and reverse...incredible. It actually seemed that the Agitator worked better than the machine we are using...so off it went. I put the $25 in my pocket and thought about that old washer most of the day...I thought sure it was dead.
Washing machines dont last 50 years...A lot of times the New machines dont last 5 years and here's this old piece of American made quality going off to someones house to be...yes...put into service again.
Lord willing and the Age doesnt come to a close, maybe in 50 years my grandson will pull it out of that basement...and maybe he'll plug it in...knowing that Old Things are often better than New.
One Old Thing I know that is better than any New Thing that comes along...it's that Old Old Story, the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ as preached by His servant Paul the apostle...Amen, amen and amen.