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Thursday, January 18, 2018

Pointing My Little Fat Finger

The world is full of problems. Many of them seem extremely important. I naturally want to look at the problems, especially the big ones and find out who is to blame. Then boldly and loudly point my little fat finger and accuse who ever I feel is at fault. Is this what I am supposed to be doing?

Is this making a positive difference, or am I just being one more shrieking voice in the cacophony of complainers? It seems that when I do this I am not helping with a solution. Instead I am just adding to the confusion.

I began this by thinking about all of the social problems round about. I tend to accept these as the natural consequence of unredeemed mankind killing one another by benign malicious neglect.

But then! I see myself pointing my little fat finger at organized religion, adding my shriek to the cacophony of those who have been offended for one reason or another. I suspect that this is not helping. What should I be doing?

As I am writing this, one verse comes to my mind. Ezekiel 22:30 says:

I looked for someone among them who would build up the wall and stand before me in the gap, on behalf of the land, so that I would not have to destroy it. But I found none.
It is easier to look at the big social problems and point and shriek.

Can I find a single instance of that problem, that I can affect in a positive way? Can I find a group that is adding to the solution to one of those problems and support them in whatever way that I can?

Mother Theresa is someone who found a place she could help and began there. Her little mission to the poor grew to a worldwide mission serving millions.

Jesus commended someone who would give a cup of water. (Matthew 9:41) I should be doing the thing that I can to reduce the suffering of one. Then just keep doing that.


How about you?

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

I Am Thankful for You

I am truly thankful for each of you who have come to read this blog, especially those of you who have visited two or more times. I believe we are all brothers and sisters. There are many things, important to each of us, that we don’t see or say just the same way. But then, we each one come from different places and our journey to where we are, has been unique. So, we each are in unique places with different reference points.

If you have come to this blog more than a couple of times you have seen something in the things that I say, that seem something like (though not the same) the things that you see.

As I have traveled around, I have met folks from a lot of different viewpoints: Some are quiet, some are loud; some are pushy and others are not; some are very interested in deep theology, others just want to see what will work. Most of us are some crazy mixture of different degrees of each of these characteristics and a few more.

I believe God has made each of us to be His children, And, I believe that following Jesus is the way to completely accomplish that. I have tried to keep that obvious in all that I write.


All of that being said, all of this somehow makes us family. And, I want you to know that I am thankful for each of you, sister and brother. I would love to sit down with each of you and a pot of coffee or some other beverage and talk about how we disagree and agree, maybe look at why. Talk about how our path has led to happiness and sorrow failure and success. And before we part we could embrace as family. And when we are apart we can think of one another with a thankful heart. 

Sunday, January 14, 2018

A Story in a Garden

A Story in a garden
On the last day that God was making things he made a man and a woman after he had made everything else.  It says their names were Adam and Eve.  And when he had finished making them he put them in a very special garden.
 Do you know what a garden is? 
Do you like gardens?  I like gardens a lot!
Well gardens are places where plants are planted according to a plan.  And God planned and planted this garden so it was really special.  Some gardens have flowers, and some have things like tomatoes, beans, and strawberries that you can eat.  And some others have different kinds of trees.  I kind of think this garden had every kind of plant you would like in it.  It was probably pretty to look at and sweet to smell and yummy to taste. 
What kind of plants would you put in a garden?
Well God put two special plants in this garden. The Bible, says they were trees.  They were in the very center of the garden. 
One of the trees was called the tree of Life.  That sure sounds like a good tree.  Don’t you think so too? 
The other tree was called the tree of knowing good and evil.  That one sounds like it might be partly good too, maybe. 
Let’s see what God said. 
Well God told Adam and Eve they could eat anything they wanted to in the whole garden except for one thing.  Do you know what that was? 
God said they could not eat any of the fruit from the tree of knowing good and evil.  For a time things were really wonderful.  Adam and Eve lived in the garden and God would come and walk and talk with them.  Can you think of what wonderful things God must have told them?  Maybe how caterpillars turn into butterflies, or why it tickles when someone blows on your neck. 
After a while though, something pretty bad happened.  The Devil came and teased Eve and got her to eat the fruit that God said they should not eat.  He told her that if she would eat it she would be like God because she could decide what was good and what was not good.  Then Eve got Adam to eat it and that’s when all the trouble started. 
One time when I was about 12 years old we were having a picnic at my Grandma Price’s house.  We were all in the back yard with my aunts and uncles and cousins.  In grandma’s back yard there was an apple tree.  It had some low branches that we kids could reach and there were lots of pretty little green apples where we could get to them.  My momma (your great grandma) told me to not eat those apples.  Well I didn’t listen and they were yummy so I ate 5 or 6 of them.  They weren’t very big.  Do you know what happened next?  Nope, I didn’t get a spanking.  I didn’t need one because I got a tummy ache, really bad.  My momma was right but I thought I knew what was good.  So I suffered because I didn’t believe my mother and do what she said.   When we don’t believe what God and our Mommy and Daddy tell us is good we can get into lots of trouble.  

After they ate the fruit of the tree of knowing good and evil, Adam and Eve got into lots of trouble.  God had to make them leave the garden so they wouldn’t eat the fruit from the tree of life, because you cannot have both.  So for a long time everybody thought they could decide what was good and what was not good.  Almost no one listened to what God said was good and evil. 

In the Bible, in the book of Colossians it says; “Children, always obey your parents, because this pleases the Lord.”  So you see even from the very beginning it was important to obey.  I think it is one of the most important things we can learn.  Don’t you agree?



Thursday, January 11, 2018

Before Bed Time

Just a little story.

Very long ago before there was bed time or dinner time or really any time at all there was someone that we call God.  He decided that he was going to make everything.  Up till then there was nothing but God.  Did you ever make a sandwich or a treat with milk and cookies?  Did you need anything to get started?  Sure you did.  You needed bread and jelly and peanut butter or milk and a glass and cookies.  But God started with just himself. 
For you and me that certainly would not be enough to start with, even to just make a sandwich.  But for God that was all he needed. 
So how do you think he got started? 
Oh! That’s right I’m supposed to tell you the story. 
Well God Started by saying, “Let there be light.” 
Can you guess what happened then? 
That’s right, where there had only been nothing there was light.  Then God divided the light from the dark and he called the light day and the dark night.  So guess what, where there had been nothing at all now there was night and day and time. 
So now we could have bed time.
 Is that good news?
 Well we could also have snack time and play time.  I know that is good news. 
After that for five more days every day God made a little more of the world each day just by telling it to be there until he had it all finished. 
I kind of wonder what language God used.  We speak English but other people speak other languages like Spanish, French, and lots of other languages.  The problem is I don’t speak many of those languages so I cannot understand what is being said.  So if someone asked me for a glass of water in Japanese, I wouldn’t know what they wanted so I probably would not get it for them.  But the light knew when God told it to shine what it had to do.  And when he told the world to make a ball it knew what to do.  And the grass grew and the fish started swimming and birds flying, just like God told them to. 
Yep God knows all the languages even how to tell the rivers to go down to the sea. 
Since God only used his words to make everything.  Words must be really important.  I think they are and the Bible tells us that if we can learn to talk without saying anything bad we will be perfect[1]
Wow to be perfect. 
That is probably really hard to do.  But I think God wouldn’t tell us something like that if he didn’t want us to work at it.  So let’s try really hard to only say kind things and always say what is true.  If we start working on that right now and always be careful of our words maybe someday with God’s help we will be able to be perfect. 


[1] James 3:2


Saturday, January 6, 2018

What Color is Your Fruit?

I have this wonderful Bible program on my computer called e-Sword. (it’s free) There are several free translations and many helps. Among other things there is the ability to highlight passages or words in a very wide verity of colors. It’s very cool.

Today I stopped for a few minutes and looked at the fruit of the Spirit in Galatians 5:22 & 23. It occurred to me, “What color would I color each of the characteristics (fruits) mentioned there? What decorations might I add?”

I would ask each of you to consider the same question.

Would you decorate “Love” with pink hearts and flowers. Or with a cross. Maybe it would be some combination of all of the above.

How would you decorate “Joy”? Would it be multicolored fireworks or an empty tomb? Again, it might be a combination of both.

Peace surely should be represented by a comfortable room with a comfortable chair and a cozy fire, overlooking a beautiful wooded lake. Possibly, but I remember meeting a man who had been thrown in a prison ward with murderers and thieves in a Muslim country simply for being a Christ follower. When asked about the experience, he said, “I was happy there.” Now that is Peace.

As I go through each of the fruits of the Spirit individually, each one seems to have a warm fuzzy appearance which I prefer naturally. But as I consider them a little longer, I begin to see a colder, harder side that is often uncomfortable, sometimes even painful.

And I thought of the verse in 2 Corinthians 4:17; and then I read the context. 15-17.

For all things are for your sakes that the abundant grace might through the thanksgiving of many redound to the glory of God. For which cause, we faint not; but though our outward man perish, yet our inward man is renewed day by day. For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, works for us a more exceeding and eternal weight of glory.

Sometimes following Jesus doesn’t lead us to green pastures and still waters. Sometimes He leads us through the valley of death and into the presence of our enemies. At those times I need to find grace to testify with confidence, “You have anointed my head with oil; my cup overflows. Surely goodness and mercy will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.


Think about it.

Thursday, January 4, 2018

So When Would You Choose to Live?

How many times have you thought or heard someone say, “If only I could have lived back when…” People often long for the simpler times before automobiles and electricity everywhere. I think they may not be thinking about the full effect of how life really was back then. Hauling water from a well, building a fire to cook dinner and those cold dark trips to the outhouse in the middle of the night.

In religious circles people will be heard to say that they wish that they could have lived in Jesus day. Again, they may not be thinking things through. In Jesus day only a few thousand of the worlds entire population got to see and hear him. They got to see some miracles and hear some parables. The miracles would have been great, but many of those who saw them were among the ones, later shouting for his crucifixion. Also, there were only a few who were able to hear his specific instructions for living. These were the disciples. Consider Mark 4:10-12.

In or around 1450 AD a man named Gutenberg invented movable type and soon after that printed the first Bible that could be easily reproduced. Hooray! the Bible for the world. Well not exactly, it was in Latin, the language of “The Church”. How’s your Latin? But that was the beginning of a revolution. But that’s not what this is about.

When I was younger, Bibles were pretty easy for Americans to get a hold of. But you may have noticed that everyone is not American. A lot of people worked and many gave their lives to take the message of the Bible to people around the world. The printed Bible is a tremendous miracle and blessing.

I do not long for the old days! Yes, things are going way too fast for me. But today thanks to electronics people around the world who didn’t have access to the teaching and life of Jesus can read about and know Him. I realize that everyone doesn’t have a computer or a smart phone. But these things are much more accessible than they have ever been.

People around the world read this blog. People in places that 30 years ago could not hear a Gospel message. I am extremely thankful for this, but I am much more thankful to know that if they can get access to my blog they can also have access to the Bible and the ability to become disciples of Jesus.


I am extremely thankful to live in this time when The Bible and the life and teaching of Jesus is so accessible to people around the world. 

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

Am I a Disciple? Are You?

A few years ago, I created a discipleship course. I don’t know if it was any good but it was an expression of some of the things that have been a help and encouragement to me. I don’t think the things in it are too far off and I would be happy to share it with any who would request it in the form of a PDF file.

This morning as I was having what has come to be my prayer time the question arose for me. Am I really a disciple of Jesus? And I thought of the verse in Galatians 5:24;
And they that are Christ's have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts. 
The affections and lusts of the flesh. When Jesus had spoken of the suffering that he must suffer, Peter rebuked him and Jesus said that he did not have a taste for the things that are of God but for the things that are of men. (Mark 8:33)

After all this time I find that I still have a taste for the things of men much more than for the things of God.

As I thought about these things this morning another scripture verse lit up for me with more clarity than I remember it ever having for me before. These are very familiar word of Jesus in John 10:10

The thief does not come except to steal and to kill and to destroy. I have come so that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.
The lusts and affections are mine! Over the years of my life I have developed a taste for them, by the choices I have made. The thief, Satan, does not put them there. He only tickles them so they come to my attention, so I think about them. Then the process of sin goes into action.

But each one is tempted by his lusts, being drawn away and seduced by them.  Then when lust has conceived, it brings forth sin. And sin, when it is fully formed, brings forth death.

The lusts and affections of my flesh only lead to death. The thief only comes to steal (the life that God desires for me) to kill (everything that God is doing in me) and destroy (all of the good that God desires to do in and through me).

Today I believe I see more clearly the death that the enemy brings and the wonderful glorious life that Jesus brings. My resolve to be attentive to the Spirit of God that dwells in me is greatly strengthened. I am only a poor disciple but I am a disciple of Jesus.


If you are interested in the discipleship course email me at beginningdisciples@gmail.com