Archive for April, 2016

Faith versus Emotion

April 25, 2016

In Jeremiah 17: 9 it says the heart is deceitful. When we speak of feeling something in your heart, we are referring to emotion. We are not to trust our emotions. We rely on faith. Faith is taking God at His Word. We know what Jesus told us. We can look at all kinds of historic sources that tell us the new testament accounts about Jesus are reliable. So we know quite well what He said. Now believing it is an act of the will.  Imagine you watched a man on a bicycle ride a tightrope over Niagara Falls. If he asked you, do you think he could do it again, you’d probably say yes, having seen him do it the first time. But if he asked you to get on the back of the bike, that would require faith. Even if you had seen him do it a hundred times, that wouldn’t comfort you at all as you rode on the back of the bike. Now imagine the rider is Jesus. You might know in your head you’re safe with Him, but you might not feel entirely comfortable till you get to the other side of the falls. Faith gets tested. Faith is the assurance that something we can’t see is true. And faith is the will to believe. If faith were never tested, and if faith were in something certain, it wouldn’t be faith. We put our faith in things all the time. We put our money in the bank. We put our key in the car. We dial our cell phone. We order things on the internet. We trust our credit card accounts not to be hacked. And all those things are a lot more uncertain than the promises of Jesus!  They rely on humans, not all of whom are benevolent!

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Do I know what is best for me?

April 25, 2016

“” And He has showered down upon us the richness of His grace–for how well He understands us and knows what is best for us at all times.”  Ephesians 1:8

Every one of us has our own  interests at heart.  Even someone who does self destructive things is getting a payoff somehow, whether revenge “I’ll show them”, or “Maybe now they’ll listen to  me”.  Most of us are looking out for our advantage in some way–either for now or the future, and either economic, social or psychological.  But how many of us at a later age, wonder what we were thinking when we sought after some of the dreams of our youth.  How many of us “thanked God for unanswered prayer.”

Speaking of prayer, the verse above, shows that prayer is really a very safe thing to do.  Even when we pray for foolish things with all our hearts, God, who is perfect and loves us perfectly, knows what our hearts really crave, and what we truly need.  And He can see what we can’t…the future.  He sees how we will change and how our circumstances will change, so that what we ask for today could set us on a trajectory that would actually harm us at a future time.

So, we can pray and ask anything in prayer, knowing the One who loves us most will take that prayer and sift it, finding in it what is truly best for us.  He grants what is best, even if at the time we can’t understand why the answer is in the package we are seeing.

Worth

April 25, 2016

Someone once told me if I wanted to feel valuable I should read the  Epistle to the Ephesians, chapter 1, verses 4 and 5.  We can’t really rely on self esteem to determine our worth because, deep down, we know it’s just our own opinion, and we could be prejudiced.  But God’s opinion matters, and this contains His opinion of us.  So here are the chapter and verses, but when reading them, insert your own name in all the appropriate places.

Long ago, even before He made the world, God chose (your name) to be His very own through what Christ would do for (your name).  He decided then to make (your name) holy in His eyes, without a single fault–(your name) who stands before Him covered with His love.  His unchanging plan has always been to adopt (your name) into His own family by sending Jesus Christ to die for (your name).  And He did this because He wanted to.

Of course, it’s possible to refuse this offer, and to run from God.  But this is how He feels, and what He desires and plans for those who will.

Girls in Science

April 21, 2016

My mom was a working mom from the time I was about 12.  One summer day I decided I would brighten up our rather old and dingy linoleum floor in the kitchen.  I took a gallon of hot water and added a cup of detergent, a cup of household ammonia, a cup of bleach and a cup of comet.  Then I scrubbed the floor with a brush.  It really worked.  The floor looked whiter and brighter than I could even remember.  Then I noticed I had lost my voice and my chest hurt.  When Mom came home she didn’t even notice the floor because she was too busy choking.  My dad, who had asthma anyway, ate dinner in the living room in front of a fan.  They told me I couldn’t do any more chemistry experiments in the house.  So, I was never a poster child for “Girls in Science.”

The Relationship that Lasts

April 19, 2016

I have a gay couple living down the street from me.  One member of the couple spends lots of time finding out about everybody in the neighborhood, what they are doing, their opinions, who is gay-friendly and who is a closet gay.  People go out of their way to avoid him, not because he is gay, but because he wants to know all about them, what they think, who they know and what they know about what is “going on”.  If your motive is to avoid gossip, to not be the subject of gossip, or just not waste time, you might not want to walk by his house.  Someone has said he (the neighbor) is looking for approval, and looking to belong.  But I think something is more important than approval, belonging, or what kind of relationship one has.

There is only one relationship that lasts eternally.  Long after sex ends, relationships end and life ends, we still have a relationship with God–or lack of one.  An eternity without God is frightfully inconceivable, yet it can happen if we have pushed Him away for a lifetime.  The most important answer to my neighbor is another question.  “Fifty years from now, will you and God be on speaking terms?”

Give What You Can

April 19, 2016

“If you are really eager to give, then it isn’t important how much you have to give.  God wants you to give what you have, not what you haven’t”  2 Corinthians 8:12

So often when we are asked to give, we think “Oh I can’t give much right now, I have all these expenses.”  And we end up giving nothing.  But if we love God and we want to give out of love for Him, we will have a different mindset.  We’ll think, “What can I give?”  And we’ll look for ways and means to give all we can out of a heart of love.  The same thing happens as we age.  As the years go by there are things we can no longer do, and things we don’t do as well as we used to.  We may also have less income than we used to, and less in the way of things.  But when we think with a heart of love, we discover we have sources we never tapped before.  We have more time, more experience, perhaps more patience, well defined skills we can teach, the understanding that comes from having lived through many situations and survived them.  In the same way, asking “what can I give?” opens up venues we possibly haven’t thought of before.  We may not have a lot of money, but we may find money in items we no longer use, a skill we can donate, some money we can save by doing something differently, and so on.  The trick is to think “Can” instead of “Can’t”.  Two school age kids baked and sold cookies for a couple years until they were able to build a clinic overseas.  Who would have thought two school age kids could have funded the building of a clinic?  But they didn’t think about what they didn’t have–they thought “what can I do?”

 

God Trumps Politics

April 19, 2016

When all is said and done, no matter how you like or dislike the presidential candidates, Clinton, Sanders, Trump or Cruz, there is a sense in which it truly doesn’t matter who is in the White House.  While God may be pleased or displeased with our choices, God will have His way with this country.  He will hold us accountable for our motives when we vote, and hold the president accountable for his or her actions.  However, God won’t be held hostage by anyone.  God controls the affairs of nations, and those who defy Him do so to their detriment.  He will control and use rulers to do His bidding–many times without their knowledge that this is what is happening.  God is in control, and He will never forsake those who love Him.  That, truly, is our only hope.

Abortion and Eugenics

April 19, 2016

One of the things you will never hear from Planned Parenthood is that their founder, Margaret Sanger, was a eugenicist who desired to keep the population of “undesirables” small.  She thought the poor and uneducated shouldn’t be allowed to reproduce in large numbers.  That could be the motivation today?  By far, the largest number of babies aborted by planned parenthood today are from poor mothers, and the majority are mothers of color.  Could it be that the “pro choice” crowd are really not that fond of the poor or people of color?

Transgender Bathrooms

April 11, 2016

In some ways Europe has been ahead of the United States for years.  Most Continental European public toilets and nearly all Eastern European public toilets are genderless.  In other words, there are no “ladies rooms” and “men’s rooms”.  All public toilets are equipped with genderless locked stalls, but the difference in Europe is there is always a lady supervising the toilet use.  When you enter the public restroom, you are stopped by a lady who takes your nominal payment (equivalent to perhaps 25 or 35 cents U.S.), and ushers you to a stall, where she proceeds to wipe down the seat, check for paper and then close you in.  You lock the door from your side, but that is only to latch the door, not lock it, for the lady is “policing” the room for your safety.

In addition to the genderless situation, there are many benefits to this arrangement.  First, it is safe, especially for children, for it is always watched.  Second, it is clean.  You no longer have to gag over filthy stalls, unflushed toilets, gobs of dirty or wet toilet tissue all over the floor, overflowing water, lack of paper and the like.  There is also a lack of vandalism, as it is being watched.  A huge advantage is the lack of political fights over men using female bathrooms and all that.  Even showers could be handled in the same way–private locked dressing rooms with a shower stall, usable by men and women alike, because the room is attended.

The only disadvantage is that people will complain the restrooms are no longer free, but seeing the lady must be paid, will most likely agree that the advantages of an attended toilet are worth the small price to pay.  There are also people who will fight losing their political agenda, but common sense usually wins in the end.  We just need to think outside the box, or toilet as the case may be.