The Heavens Declare the Glory of God, the Firmament the Work of His Hand

The Heavens Declare the Glory of God, the Firmament the Work of His Hand

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Sunday, October 30, 2011

My life took a radical turn two weeks ago as I endured grueling total knee replacement surgery. Oft I've heard that in the valley one produces the best fruit, but I was less than enthusiastic to find out if this be true.

As I made my preparations, I prayed and prayed some more. I secured prayer warriors from around the globe who would pray with me and for me. I packed, prepared and prayed some more.

I prayed, 'LORD, I trust You to take care of me. I pray You will be with me and protect me, guide the surgeon... Your will be done...' - but, in my mind I could hear, 'but what if' this happens or that happens? I had faith, but what if...

Then it dawned on me, a light went on, I was not praying in faith, I was praying in doubt. I had the faith to believe until the "what ifs" came rushing in accompanied by a huge lack of trust and perhaps a bit of fear.

What if the what if happened? Would that mean God loved me less, that He had not heard my prayer or that His will did not include His best for me?

Psalm 2:12 says: "Blessed are all those who put their trust in Him."

I came to realize; IF I truly trust Him, does it really matter what happens to me? I could believe I was safe in His arms no matter what surrounded me or choose to live in the 'what ifs'. The choice was mine and mine alone to make.

Psalm 138:8 says: "The LORD will perfect that which concerns me: your mercy, O LORD, endures forever..."

My favorite scripture is a good reminder that the walk of a child of God is a walk of faith and trust and love:

"Though the fig tree should not blossom, And there be no fruit on the vines, Though the yield of the olive should fail, And the fields produce no food, Though the flock should be cut off from the fold, And there be no cattle in the stalls, Yet I will exult in the LORD, I will rejoice in the God of my salvation..." Habakkuk 3

If the "what ifs"  did not matter to Habakkuk or to King David why should they matter to me? Why should my faith be any less than theirs? This 'revelation' has freed me to praise Him, to trust Him; thanking Him for all that is in my life, loving Him as my Father, allowing Him to love me as His child.

It will be two weeks on 1 November since the surgery and it can truthfully be said "it has not been easy', but I did plant a fruit tree along the way.

Monday, October 17, 2011

"Ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth..." 2 Timothy 3

 Gandhi knew Christian scriptures and quoted the words of Christ frequently. There was a beautiful picture of Jesus Christ hanging on the wall over his desk. Gandhi studied the scriptures and was tremendously attracted to them, but came to the conclusion that there was nothing special in the scriptures which he had not gotten in his own Hindu teachings;

"to be a good Hindu also meant that I would be a good Christian. There was no need for me to convert to Christianity to be a believer in the beauty of the teachings of Jesus or try to follow His example," he said.

"Then Agrippa said unto Paul, Almost thou persuadest me to be a Christian..." Acts 26

Although Steve Jobs was not Christian, but identified himself as a Buddhist, President of the Southern Baptist Theology Seminary Dr. R. Albert Mohler, Jr. writes on his blog:

"Christians considering the life and death of Steve Jobs will do well to remember once again the power of an individual life. God has invested massive creative abilities in his human creatures. These are often used for good, and sometimes deployed to evil ends. Steve Jobs devoted his life to a technological dream that he thought would empower humanity. Christians can learn a thing or two from his life."

"As you have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him, rooted and built up in Him and established in the faith, as you have been taught, abounding in it with thanksgiving. Beware lest anyone cheat you through philosophy and empty deceit, according to the tradition of men, according to the basic principles of the world, and not according to Christ." Colossians 2:6-8

Michele Baldwin, practicing Buddhist, mother of three discovered recently her cervical cancer had advanced rapidly through her system.

How would you spend your final days if you learned you had developed incurable cancer and had only about six months to live?

Michele Baldwin is leaving her family and going on a pilgrimage to India, embarking on a 700-mile expedition down "the sacred" Ganges River. 'The Ganges idea came like "a little secret" whispered in her ear' she said.

These are but a few of the sad reminders of the lost and dying among us. Gandhi, Steve Jobs, Michelle Baldwin, your Uncle Charley, your Cousin Amy, or... 

Tens of thousands die daily, entering eternity only to realize:

"...we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away..." Isaiah 64:4

Jesus speaking these words, lifted up His eyes to heaven, and said:

'Father, the hour has come. Glorify Your Son, that Your Son also may glorify You, as You have given Him authority over all flesh, that He should give eternal life to as many as You have given Him. And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent." John 17:1-3

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Seek your strength through prayer.

The streets of downtown Manhattan have been crowded for several weeks with members of the Occupy Wall Street movement protesting corporate greed.

Chanting “We are the 99 percent” and “Tax, tax, tax the rich,” demonstrators march down Michigan Avenue in Chicago.

Protesters affiliated with Occupy Wall Street plan to demonstrate outside the homes of  some of New York's wealthiest residents'. The wealthy are being targeted for what event organizers call a “willingness to hoard wealth at the expense of the 99%.”

Scores of men and women are out of work, hundreds of thousands live off unemployment and other government subsidized programs. With home foreclosures at an all-time high and food prices steadily on the rise, Americans seek a worldly fix for a spiritual problem...

and therein lies the problem.

"... in the last days perilous times will come: For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having a form of godliness but denying its power. And from such people turn away!" 2 Timothy 3:1-14

We have allowed God to be removed from our schools and government buildings. We have allowed the ordination of homosexual clergy, the killing of millions of babies, 'gays' in the military, and worshiped the god of mammon, position and power.

We stood by in silence while laws were passed legalizing same sex marriage,  ignored Southern Decadence and gay pride parades, and watched as our president stated Christians and Muslims worship the same God...

 all the while calling ourselves a "christian nation."

Pastors across the nation offer watered down messages without substance or biblical truth. In an effort to be 'relevant' they ignore the gospel in favor of the good times. We have pastors teaching there is no hell, while others teach God wants you healthy, happy and prosperous.

Our LORD has made it clear: My people perish from lack of knowledge.

"...take heed to yourselves, lest your hearts be weighed down with carousing, drunkenness, and cares of this life, and that Day come on you unexpectedly. For it will come as a snare on all those who dwell on the face of the whole earth. Watch therefore, and pray always that you may be counted worthy to escape all these things that will come to pass, and to stand before the Son of Man." Luke 21:34-36

As storm clouds gather on the horizon - I fear many are ill prepared for what is coming upon this earth. Man gives no thought to the things of God - and churches remain silent. Mankind is taught to give to get, go for the gusto and  grab the brass ring... but not to acknowledge sin nor repent and seek forgiveness.

"They served their idols, which became a snare to them." Psalm 106:36

Righteousness has been replaced with equal rights, repentance with riots, spirituality with socialism and man is left to wander aimlessly without hope, without peace, without God.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Great News!

Once again The New York Times best seller list includes a christian book:

HEAVEN IS FOR REAL, by Todd Burpo came in #2 in the combined print and e-book nonfiction category, and #1 in the paperback nonfiction category.

And who could resist.

Cute and cuddly Colton Burpo, two months shy of his fourth birthday, son of an evangelical pastor in Imperial, Nebraska, rushed into emergency surgery with a burst appendix and awoke with an astonishing story: He had died and gone to heaven.

Thomas Nelson, says the book has broken company sales records. The publisher, began with an initial printing of 40,000 copies. Since then it has gone back to press 22 times, with more than 1.5 million copies in print, and counting.

“We all are perhaps desperate to know what is on the other side of the veil after we die” said Matt Baugher, vice president of Thomas Nelson.

Perhaps Mr. Baugher is correct in his assumption - 'we are all desperate to know...' so let us examine the evidence Colton has presented,  proving -

Heaven is For Real.

Colton tells us that "All the people have a light above their head." [perhaps he means a halo].

A halo exists in children’s Bible stories and in Renaissance art, but not in scripture.  Revelation 21:14 describes those in heaven as wearing 'fine linen, white and clean' but no mention is made of a light above their heads.

Colton says that Jesus has a rainbow horse, and he got to pet him. Again in Revelation, [19:11,14] the horse mentioned is always white.

When ask about God's throne, Colton says it is 'big, really big'. He said that Jesus sits on one side of God and the angel Gabriel on the other.

Yet in Luke 1, when Gabriel foretells John the Baptist’s birth and says, 'I am Gabriel. I stand in the presence of God…'

Colton says: They brought in a little chair for me, and I sat by God the Holy Spirit and then goes on to claim that is where he met his great-grandpa, also sitting on a throne by the Holy Spirit.

But John in Revelation 4 gives us a much different account of the throne:

"…At once I was in the Spirit, and there before me was a throne in heaven with someone sitting on it. And the one who sat there had the appearance of jasper and carnelian. A rainbow, resembling an emerald, encircled the throne. Surrounding the throne were 24 other thrones, and seated on them were 24 elders. They were dressed in white and had crowns of gold on their heads. From the throne came flashes of lightning, rumbles and peals of thunder. Before the throne, seven lamps were blazing. These are the seven spirits of God..."

[thanks to moms in need of mercy for the invaluable book review]

'While in Heaven Colton says  he was upset because he "did not know what was happening" and so "He (God) used people or things that I liked to calm me down. From there on I felt better." That anyone, even if he is a small child, would feel any kind of fear, confusion, or apprehension in the presence of the omnipotent, omniscient, omnibenevolent God in Heaven is doubtful.' [Justin Peters]

Is Heaven for Real.?. ABSOLUTELY.

Does the book Heaven is for Real give us the information we need to see 'what is on the other side of the veil after we die'?

NOT according to scripture.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Mitt Romney is an 'Outstanding Christian.'

OR - at least Pat Robertson thinks so.

Robertson likes Mitt Romney’s politics and sees the Mormon presidential candidate as an “outstanding Christian.”

"As you have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him, rooted and built up in Him and established in the faith, as you have been taught, abounding in it with thanksgiving. Beware lest anyone cheat you through philosophy and empty deceit, according to the tradition of men, according to the basic principles of the world, and not according to Christ." Colossians 2:6-8

Christians are rising en masse to support Rick Perry for president. Governor Perry has involved himself with those in the New Apostolic Reformation [NAR], The Dominionist Movement, Latter Rain, Kansas City Prophets, Third Wave, Joel’s Army, Manifest(ed) Sons of God, Five-Fold Ministry and The International House of Prayer [IHOP].

"And many will follow their destructive ways, because of whom the way of truth will be blasphemed. By covetousness they will exploit you with deceptive words; for a long time their judgment has not been idle, and their destruction does not slumber." 1 Peter 2:2-3

In an interview on CNN, Joel Osteen, pastor of Lakewood Church in Houston said:

"I could vote for a Jewish candidate, I think I could vote for a Muslim president, but 90% of America is Christian so I’m pretty sure I’d find somebody that more shares my beliefs."  [perhaps 90% of America 'calls' themselves 'Christian' - but I see no evidence that 90% of America is 'christian' ].

Charismatic Lakewood Church pastor and best-selling author Joel Osteen is sharing his message with capacity crowds at arenas across the nation. Fans drive in droves to see Joel Osteen and hear his popular sermons! Join one of the most famous televangelists for a special night of encouragement, inspiration, and worship! Buy your Joel Osteen tickets now!

"... if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing, whose minds the god of this age has blinded, who do not believe, lest the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine on them. "For we do not preach ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord, and ourselves your bondservants for Jesus’ sake. For it is the God who commanded light to shine out of darkness, who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God...." 2 Corinthians 4:3-6

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Out of nearly 1,300 Christians surveyed, 88% believe that the church is being swayed by those who promote a worldly belief system contrary to sound Biblical teaching. Eight percent were unsure while four percent felt strongly that the church was not being infiltrated by false teachers. [christiannet.com]

But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies ... 2 Pet. 2:1

 'Whatever it may be in our Christian experience that originates outside of Scriptures should, for that very reason, be suspect until it can be shown to be in accord with them.

If it should be found to be contrary to the Word of revealed truth no true Christian will accept it as being from God. However high the emotional content, no experience can be proved to be genuine unless we can find chapter and verse authority for it in Scriptures. "To the word and to the testimony" must always be the last and final proof.

Whatever is new or singular should also be viewed with caution until it can furnish scriptural proof of its validity. Throughout the twentieth century quite a number of unscriptural notions have gained acceptance among Christians by claiming that they were among truths that were to be revealed in the last days.

The truth is that the Bible does not teach that there will be new light and advanced spiritual experiences in the latter days; it teaches the exact opposite! Nothing in Daniel or the New Testament epistles can be tortured into advocating the idea that we of the end of the Christian era shall enjoy light that was not known at its beginning.

Beware of any man who claims to be wiser than the apostles or holier than the martyrs of the Early Church. The best way to deal with him is to rise and leave his presence!'

A. W. Tozer
Renewed Day By Day: A Daily Devotional