Playing the Blame Game…

Playing the Blame Game….

What is the first thing people young and old do when caught in the act of sin? Pass the blame to someone or something else of course. Blaming society, family, friends, anyone and anything other than me for my sins is not a new thing. Listen to who Adam and Eve sought to blame when they were confronted with their sin.

Gen 3:11-13 “And He said, ‘Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree of which I commanded that you should not eat? Then the man said, ‘The woman whom you gave to be with me, she gave me of the tree and I ate. And the Lord God said to the woman, ‘What is this you have done?’ And the woman said, ‘The serpent deceived me, and I ate.”

The most ability is responsibility. Nothing happens until someone steps forward and says, “I am responsible for my actions.”
_____

The celebrated historian Barbara Tuchman called our times, “The Age of Disruption, a period when we’ve lost belief in certain kinds of moral understanding of good and bad.” A reporter for The Indianapolis Star once asked the two-time Pulitzer Prize winner what she thought was most needed in the next century.

“Probably personal responsibility,” she replied, explaining that this means “taking responsibility for your behavior and your expenditures and your actions, and not forever supposing that society must forgive you because it’s not your fault.”

We may try to hide our sins on this earth, but we will be personally accountable regardless of who we attempt to blame.

Romans 14:12 “So then each of us shall give account of himself to God.”

So the next time you sin step up and confess.

1 John 1:9 “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness”

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The Real Spiritual Cold War is on….

The Real Spiritual Cold War is on…

Yes there is a Cold War going on right now. It is an invisible one so we cannot see it.  There is a group of books authored by God that keeps us informed. Listen up!

 Job 2:2 “And the Lord said unto Satan, ‘From where do you come?’ So satan answered the Lord and said, ‘ From going to and fro on the earth and from walking back and forth on it.’

The warning and the solution to battling it.

I Pet 5:8 “Be sober, be vigilant, because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walks about seeking whom he may devour.”

The main weapon of war in a spiritual cold war!

James 4:7 “SUBMITT yourselves therefore unto God, RESIST the devil and he will flee from you.”

 All those proclaiming to be from God are not!! The word Christian has a different definition in our world than in the Bible. Some supposed men and women of God proclaim a Gospel of health, wealth and prosperity and teach many different ways to get to heaven and they sound so good. So how can we tell the difference??

II Tim. 2:15 “Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needs not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. “

II Cor. 11:14-15 “And no marvel; for satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works.”

John 3:3 “Jesus replied, “Very truly I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God unless they are born again”

John 3:16-18 “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. 18 Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.” 

 John 14:6 “Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”

 Protection comes from!”

Ephes. 6:11-12 “Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. “

Have a great day and don’t forget the greatest book ever written provides you with the Armor needed to do battle. Apart from God’s power you are helpless to do battle!

James 4:7″ Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.”

Take the Ant you Sluggard…

II Tim 3:16,17 “All scripture is given by the inspiration of God
and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for
instruction in righteousness that the man of God may be made perfect, thoroughly furnished until all good works.”

Take the Ant you Sluggard

Taken from a note written by Dr Dewey Hodges with minor additions.

This was created mainly for the high school
students wanting to make a good impression during
the first few weeks of the new school year. But as
you will see if offers yet another piece of evidence
for those needing it that our God is real.

Science was never my strong suit, but a few
years ago I learned some fascinating things
about ants. It’s likely that you have never
heard this before, and you can share something
totally new with your class (of course, adults
can impress their friends with this as well).

Here’s a condensed version of some basic
information about ants, taken from a Web site
at the University of Arizona, entitled “Adult
Males and Females”, and from your home encyclopedia.

When ant colonies reproduce, the new queens
and males may be found in the colony. These are
“flying ants” and have two pairs of wings.

Males generally have small heads, large eyes,
large thoraces, and a pair of claspers at the end of
the gaster. Once they fly (and mate), males do not
live very long.

After mating, new queens break off their wings
and never fly again. Without wings, they can
generally be distinguished from workers by their
larger body size, larger thorax and larger abdomen.
All workers are females.

Most of us who have had the most basic science
classes in high school and college (that would
definitely include me) have heard about the
dominance of female ants over males. I don’t
know exactly when this first became accepted as
fact by the scientific community, but given the
size of an ant, it makes sense that it has been
since the advent of the microscope, which has
been within the past 300 or so years.

Now go back about 3,000 years, to the book of
Proverbs, the sixth chapter, verses 6-8: “Go to the ant,
thou sluggard; consider her ways, and be wise: Which
having no guide, overseer, or ruler, provides her meat
in the summer, and gathers her food in the harvest”.

At first glance, some people might say, “So?
There are verses about ants in the Bible. Big deal.”
But look at how the ants in these verses are identified.
There has been a bit of controversy in recent months over
a new translation of the Bible which removes virtually
every reference to gender. It has been well-received in
some circles and highly criticized in others.

Part of the motivation for creating this new
translation was the long-standing allegation that the
Bible has always been sexist. Of course, that is a pile
of garbage, but a look at the use of gender-specific
language in the King James Version, which I have quoted
here, is relevant to our discussion.

The pronouns she and her are used 2,442 times in
the entire Bible, according to a search engine at bible.com.
The pronouns he, him and his are used 21,182 times. That’s
a huge difference, which some might say fuels the gender
discrimination argument.

But if you believe that every word in the Bible is
important and inspired by God the Holy Spirit, or even if
you don’t, you can easily gather from these numbers that
whenever a female pronoun is used in the Bible, it is used
intentionally. That brings us back to our ants.

Go to the ant, thou sluggard; consider her ways,
and be wise …

The ant cited in Proverbs is a female ant. If the
Bible were sexist, wouldn’t it assume the important ants
were male? Perhaps, unless the Author, who is God, knew for
a fact that the females were the ones he was talking about.
And the Author inspired His scribe to record this fact. A
Creator usually would know those facts.

How did Solomon know? He didn’t have a microscope
back then. There was absolutely no way humanly possible
to find out. So he either took a wild guess, or he found
out from God.

II Peter 1;20,21 tells us that God is the Author of
scripture and those privileged to be the scribes were
actually documenting God’s word instead of their own wisdom.
Now we’re starting to walk by faith and likely making many
uncomfortable. The letters of Paul, John, Peter, etc are in
actuality not their teachings but that of God. Scripture
takes on a much more meaningful tone with that in mind and
as we also keep from giving credit for its content and power
to men versus God. And of course that explains how Solomon
knew about those ants.

And of course this further means there actually is a
God, and He may be the Creator after all. We’re getting way
beyond science now. According to evolutionists and nearly
everybody else who determines what passes for science in
schools, we’re dabbling dangerously close to religion.

Maybe it is catastrophic to remove God from the origin
teaching in our schools. Or by allowing the public school
to be the tool to educate our families on topics they are
not equipped to teach on. Better stop that right now.

On second thought, forget about mentioning this
in class, especially in a public school. There’s no
telling what the reaction would be. Or just maybe it is
an appropriate topic if we are to be the light and the
salt of this world!!?? Remembering that if the salt has
lost its seasoning power than what good is it??

II Tim 3:16,17 “All scripture is given by the inspiration of God…”
Gen 1:1a”In the beginning God created…” Amen!

How is your seasoning this morning?

Lessons from Life…

James 2:15,16 “If a brother or sister is naked and destitute
of food, and one of you says to them, ‘Depart in peace, be
warmed and filled,’ but you do not give them the things
which are needed for the body, what does it profit?”

Lessons from Life:

During the waning years of the depression in a
small southeastern Idaho community, I used to stop by
Mr. Miller’s roadside stand for farm-fresh produce
as the season made it available. Food and money were still
extremely scarce and bartering was used, extensively.

One particular day Mr. Miller was bagging some
early potatoes for me. I noticed a small boy, delicate of
bone and feature, ragged but clean, hungrily apprising a
basket of freshly picked green peas.

I paid for my potatoes but was also drawn to the
display of fresh green peas. I am a pushover for creamed
peas and new potatoes. Pondering the peas, I couldn’t
help overhearing the conversation between Mr. Miller
and the ragged boy next to me.

“Hello Barry, how are you today?”

“H’lo, Mr. Miller. Fine, thank ya. Jus’ admirin’ them
peas……sure look good.”

“They are good, Barry. How’s your Ma?”

“Fine. Gittin’ stronger alla’ time.”

“Good. Anything I can help you with?”

“No, Sir. Jus’ admirin’ them peas.”

“Would you like to take some home?”

“No, Sir. Got nuthin’ to pay for ’em with.”

“Well, what have you to trade me for some of those peas?”

“All I got’s my prize marble here.”

“Is that right? Let me see it.”

“Here ’tis. She’s a dandy.”

“I can see that. Hmmmm, only thing is this one is blue and
I sort of go for red. Do you have a red one like this at home?”

“Not ‘zackley…. but, almost.”

“Tell you what. Take this sack of peas home with you and
next trip this way let me look at that red marble.”

“Sure will. Thanks, Mr. Miller.”

Mrs. Miller, who had been standing nearby, came over
to help me. With a smile she said: “There are two other boys
like him in our community, all three are in very poor
circumstances. Jim just loves to bargain with them for peas,
apples, tomatoes or whatever. When they come back with their
red marbles, and they always do, he decides he doesn’t like
red after all and he sends them home with a bag of produce for
a green marble or an orange one, perhaps.”

I left the stand, smiling to myself, impressed with
this man. A short time later I moved to Utah but I never forgot
the story of this man, the boys and their bartering. Several
years went by each more rapid than the previous one. Just
recently I had occasion to visit some old friends in that Idaho
community and while I was there learned that Mr. Miller had
died.

They were having his viewing that evening and knowing my
friends wanted to go, I agreed to accompany them. Upon our arrival
at the mortuary we fell into line to meet the relatives of the
deceased and to offer whatever words of comfort we could.

Ahead of us in line were three young men. One was in an
army uniform and the other two wore nice haircuts, dark suits and
white shirts…very professional looking.

They approached Mrs. Miller, standing smiling and composed,
by her husband’s casket. Each of the young men hugged her, kissed
her on the cheek, spoke briefly with her and moved on to the casket.
Her misty light blue eyes followed them as, one by one, each young
man stopped briefly and placed his own warm hand over the cold pale
hand in the casket. Each left the mortuary, awkwardly, wiping his eyes.

Our turn came to meet Mrs. Miller. I told her who I was and
mentioned the story she had told me about the marbles. Eyes
glistening she took my hand and led me to the casket. “Those three
young men, that just left, were the boys I told you about. They just
told me how they appreciated the things Jim “traded” them. Now, at
last, when Jim could not change his mind about color or size…they
came to pay their debt.

We’ve never had a great deal of the wealth of this world,” she
confided, “but, right now, Jim would consider himself the richest man
in Idaho.”

With loving gentleness she lifted the lifeless fingers of her
deceased husband. Resting underneath were three, magnificently shiny,
red marbles.

“We will not be remembered by our words, but by our life and
kind deeds.”

How will you be remembered?

Mat 20:26b-28 “…but whoever desires to become great among you, let him be your servant. And whoever desires to be first among you, let him be your slave just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.”

A View of Heaven…

Heb 9:27, 28 “And as it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment, so Christ was offered once to bear the sins of many.”

Thoughts from within the Room

17-year-old Brian Moore had only a short time to write something for the Fellowship of Christian Athletes meeting.  It was his turn to lead the discussion so he sat down and wrote.  He showed the essay, titled “The Room” to his mother, Beth, before he headed out the door. “I wowed ’em.” he later told his father, Bruce. “It’s a killer, it’s the bomb. It’s the best thing I ever wrote.” It also was the last.
Brian’s parents had forgotten about the essay when a cousin
found it while cleaning out the teenager’s locker at Teary Valley High School. Brian had been dead only hours, but his parents desperately wanted every piece of his life near them — the crepe paper that had adorned his locker during his senior football season, notes from classmates and teachers, and his homework.
Only two months before, he had handwritten the essay about encountering Jesus in a file room full of cards detailing every moment of the teen’s life. But it was only after Brian’s death that Beth and Bruce Moore realized that their son had described his view of heaven. “It makes such an impact that people want to share it. You feel like you are there.” Mr. Moore said.
Brian Moore died May 27, 1997, — the day after Memorial Day. He was driving home from a friend’s house when his car went off Bulen-Pierce Road in Pickaway County and struck a utility pole. He emerged from the wreck unharmed but stepped on a downed power line and was electrocuted. Brian seemed to excel at everything he did. He was an honor student. He told his parents he loved them “a hundred times a day”, Mrs. Moore said.
He was a star wide receiver for the Teary’s Valley Football team and had earned a four-year scholarship to Capital University in Columbus because of his athletic and academic abilities. He took it upon himself to learn how to help a fellow student who used a wheelchair at school. During one homecoming ceremony, Brian walked on his tiptoes so that the girl he was escorting wouldn’t be embarrassed about being taller than him.
He adored his kid brother, Bruce, now 14. He often escorted his grandmother, Evelyn Moore, who lives in Columbus, to church. “I always called him the “deep thinker”, Evelyn said of her eldest grandson. Two years after his death, his family still struggles to understand why Brian was taken from them.
They find comfort at the cemetery where Brian is buried, just a few blocks from their home. They visit daily. A candle and dozens of silk and real flowers keep vigil over the grave site. The Moore’s framed a copy of Brian’s essay and hung it among the family portraits in the living room.
“I think God used him to make a point. I think we were meant to find it and make something out of it, “Mrs. Moore said of the essay. She and her husband want to share their son’s vision of life after death.

“I’m happy for Brian. I know he’s in heaven. I know I’ll see him again someday.”

Mrs. Moore said. “It just hurts so badly now.”

The Room…
In that place between wakefulness and dreams, I found myself in the room. There were no distinguishing features except for the one wall covered with small index card files. They were like the ones in libraries that list titles by author or subject in alphabetical order. But these files, which stretched from floor to ceiling and seemingly endless in either direction, had very different headings.
As I drew near the wall of files, the first to catch my attention was one that read “Girls I have liked.” I opened it and began flipping through the cards. I quickly shut it, shocked to realize that I recognized the names written on each one. And then without being told, I knew exactly where I was.
This lifeless room with its small files was a crude catalog system for my life. Here were written the actions of my every moment, big and small, in a detail my memory couldn’t match. A sense of wonder and curiosity, coupled with horror, stirred within me as I began randomly opening files and exploring their content. Some brought joy and sweet memories; others a sense of shame and regret so intense that I would look over my shoulder to see if anyone was watching.
A file named “Friends” was next to one marked “Friends I have betrayed.” The titles ranged from the mundane to the outright weird. “Books I Have Read,” “Lies I Have Told,” “Comfort I have Given,” “Jokes I Have Laughed at.” Some were almost hilarious in their exactness: “Things I’ve yelled at my brothers.” Others I couldn’t laugh at: “Things I Have Done in My Anger” “Things I Have Muttered under my breath at my Parents.” I never ceased to be surprised by the contents.
Often there were many more cards than I expected. Sometimes fewer than I hoped.  I was overwhelmed by the sheer volume of the life I had lived.  Could it be possible that I had the time in my years to write each of these thousands or even millions of cards? But each card confirmed this truth. Each was written in my own handwriting.
Each signed with my signature. When I pulled out the file marked “Songs I have listened to,” I realized the files grew to contain their contents. The cards were packed tightly and yet after two or three yards, I hadn’t found the end of the file. I shut it, shamed, not so much by the quality of music but more by the vast time I knew that file represented.
When I came to a file marked “Lustful Thoughts,” I felt a chill run through my body.  I pulled the file out only an inch, not willing to test its size, and drew out a card. I shuddered at its detailed content. I felt sick to think that such a moment had been recorded. An almost animal rage broke on me. One thought dominated my mind: No one must ever see these cards!  No one must ever see this room! I have to destroy them!”
In insane frenzy I yanked the file out. Its size didn’t matter now. I had to empty it and burn the cards. But as I took it at one end and began pounding it on the floor, I could not dislodge a single card. I became desperate and pulled out a card, only to find it as strong as steel when I tried to tear it. Defeated and utterly helpless, I returned the file to its slot. Leaning my forehead against the wall, I let out a long, self-pitying sigh.
And then I saw it. The title bore “People I Have Shared the Gospel with.” The handle was brighter than those around it, newer, almost unused. I pulled on its handle and a small box not more than three inches long fell into my hands. I could count the cards it contained on one hand.
And then the tears came. I began to weep.  Sobs so deep that they hurt. They started in my stomach and shook through me. I fell on my knees and cried. I cried out of shame, from the overwhelming shame of it all. The rows of file shelves swirled in my tear-filled eyes. No one must ever, ever know of this room. I must lock it up and hide the key.
But then as I pushed away the tears, I saw Him. No, please not Him. Not here. Oh, anyone but Jesus. I watched helplessly as He began to open the files and read the cards. I couldn’t bear to watch His response. And in the moments I could bring myself to look at His face, I saw a sorrow deeper than my own.  He seemed to intuitively go to the worst boxes.  Why did He have to read every one?
Finally He turned and looked at me from across the room. He looked at me with pity in His eyes. But this was a pity that didn’t anger me.  I dropped my head, covered my face with my hands and began to cry again. He walked over and put His arm around me. He could have said so many things. But He didn’t say a word. He just cried with me. Then He got up and walked back to the wall of files. Starting at one end of the room, He took out a file and, one by one, began to sign His name over mine on each card.
“No!” I shouted rushing to Him. All I could find to say was “No, no, as I pulled the card from Him. His name shouldn’t be on these cards. But there it was, written in red so rich, so dark, and so alive. The name of Jesus covered mine. It was written with His blood. He gently took the card back. He smiled a sad smile and began to sign the cards. I don’t think I’ll ever understand how He did it so quickly, but the next instant it seemed I heard Him close the last file and walk back to my side. He placed His hand on my shoulder and said, “It is finished.”

I stood up, and He led me out of the room. There was no lock on its door. There were still cards to be written.

Will you be there?

John 3:3 “Jesus replied, “Very truly I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God unless they are born again”

John 14:6 “Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.

II Cor 5:21 “For He became sin for us Who knew not sin, that we might be made the righteousness of God, in Him”

A Real Friend will…

Look around you this morning. Do you have any friend(s) who would
die for you so that you might live?

Sounds pretty extreme and yes it is but there is One who will!

The Friend you can ALWAYS count on.

Proverbs 18:24 “A man who has friends must himself be friendly,
but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.”

Hebrews 12:2 “Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith,
Who for the joy that was set before Him, endured the cross, despising
the shame and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.”

How to get closer to our Friend.

Acts 16:30b,31 … “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” They replied, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved—you and your household.”

Luke 9:23 “And he said to them all, if any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me.”

That’s Terrible…

That’s Terrible….

Many times we find it easy to point out the flaws in the lives of others.  From personal experience I have found that the reason I may see the faults of others so easily is many times because it is a fault I have and have not recognized or accepted that I have it.  Our God as with all areas of our lives provides some valuable advice;

 Mat 7:3 “And why do you look at the speck in your brother’s eye, but do not consider the plank in your own eye.”

To all my faults my eyes are blind;
Mine are the sins I cannot find;
But your mistakes I see aplenty;
For them my eyes are 20/20.

Mat 7:2 “For in the way you judge, you will be judged; and by your standard of measure, it shall be measured to you…”

The lesson of this truth from God’s word is that we should first check out our own faults and correct them before we can attempt to help others do the same………