Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Did Jesus Know?

Not long ago our pastor preached a sermon in which he retold the story of the woman with an issue of blood who believed that if she touched even the edge of Jesus' garment she would be healed - - and after years of illness and a drained bank account, she was miraculously and immediately healed when she reached through the people crowded around Him and touched his clothing....  The miracle happened precisely as she believed it would be.

And even though there was a crowd pressing in around Him, when she touched Him, according to the report recorded in the Bible, Jesus asked, "Who touched me?"  

I believe the reporter of the incident made some assumptions at that point....  He assumed that when Jesus asked who touched Him that He didn't already know who had caused power to go  out of Him.  But I believe Jesus knew precisely who touched Him in faith, believing in His healing power.  And, I suspect that when he asked the question, His eyes were lovingly locked with hers.  Why did He ask?  Because in her confession and His public declaration of her healing she would become socially healed as well as physically healed.  

I know the Bible doesn't specifically provide all that information, but I believe our translation of and understanding of the Bible is found within its pages.  When Jesus 'saw' Nathanael under the fig tree before Philip even called Nathanael, he demonstrated His divine power to see what others don't see.  When Jesus 'heard that Lazarus was ill' he intentionally stayed 2 additional days before heading back to Bethany.  In His explanation to the disciples with Him at that point, he initially told them that He was going to go awaken him - - but then was absolutely clear that Lazarus had died - - and by the time they walked back to Bethany, Lazarus had been dead for 4 days.  That corroborates that Jesus knew circumstances that were not shared with Him by others.  

So, with those 2 instances as examples, and allowing the Bible to interpret the Bible, it is logical to believe that Jesus knew precisely who touched Him.

With that established, the question is why did He ask her?  The answer:  because she was unclean.  She had been totally isolated for years.  She shouldn't have been out in the crowd at all, because according to Jewish law, no one could even sit on a chair she had sat on.  And the only way people were determined touchable again after being an untouchable was by going to the priest and having him corroborate and declare it.  Jesus did that for her.  

In another healing example, when Jesus healed the 10 lepers, he instructed them to go to the priest so their purity could be established.  Only one came back to thank him...but it wasn't because he was the only one filled with gratitude, it was because he was a Samaritan and wasn't eligible to go to the priest.   

When we sift through the layers to see what is meant behind the words on the page, there is so much depth to be plumbed....

Jesus knew!  

And that gives me enormous comfort.  He knows me, my circumstances, my needs, my future.  And He has it all in His very capable hands.... 






Mark 5
Luke 8
John 1: 48 - 50
John 11
Leviticus 15:19 - 33

Thursday, November 9, 2017

Mass Murder in Texas - the answer

When my children were little one of the summer VBS themes was:

Who's the answer?  Jesus is!

There was no theme song - - so I wrote one:

What's the question?  Who's the answer?
What's the answer?  Jesus is!
Jesus is, Jesus is, Jesus is, Jesus is!

When my life is dark and dreary
Who's the answer?  Jesus is!
When I'm feeling weak and weary
Who's the answer?  Jesus is!
Jesus is, Jesus is, Jesus is, Jesus is!

What's the question?  Who's the answer?
What's the answer?  Jesus is!


And He is!  Jesus is the answer to all of life's longings, all of life's needs.  He doesn't just hold the keys to our future - - He is the key!

He is the One I run to when I don't understand why the world has gone topsy-turvy.  This was one of those weeks.  Sunday morning while I was worshipping in my own church, the majority of the congregation in a little white Baptist church in Sutherland Springs, Texas was gunned down by a madman, and people ask, "Where was God?"  The answer:  He was there!  He was with them as 25 people took their last breath.  He was with that little unborn baby boy who was the 26th life ended, and he is still with them in eternity where they have gone to their final home.  He is with those who are grieving, those who are recuperating in the nearby hospitals, and those who wonder how they can go on after such horrific loss.  

But go on they must.  If they don't the madman wins.  When we succumb to fear and insanity we lose.  

There is no rhyme or reason to this.  He had threatened his mother-in-law, but she wasn't even in the church on Sunday when he went with killing on his agenda.  

The tragedy touches all of us.  If it could happen there, it could happen anywhere....

However, in our shocked reactions the outcry against guns is the wrong response.  He would have found a way - - whether with a pressure kettle bomb or some other means.  People kill.  Guns are just one of the options as a tool for achieving their goal.  Having said that, I do believe magazines that hold more than 8 rounds of ammunition should be outlawed.  I believe in having guns for hunting and self-defense - - but being able to discharge interminable numbers of bullets from an automatic rifle is absolutely unnecessary in my opinion.  Still, if law-abiding citizens do not have that kind of guns, the criminals still will....  And that's the dilemma.  

We should enforce our already tight gun laws.  We should have a better system of reporting and flagging individuals who should not be able to purchase guns legally.  We, as citizens, should report people who seem "off" and who should be red-flagged as a concern.  

This is not just the Texans' problem, it is America's problem.   It is something that has to be addressed...but for now, we mourn.  In this and other killing incidents we have witnessed horrific carnage and  totally unnecessary loss of life.  

The only sliver of silver lining in the dark cloud that hangs over Sutherland Springs is that their loved ones are with Jesus....  And He is with those who loved them in their pain as they mourn.  Beauty will come from the ashes.  Right now that is hard to fathom, but the beginning of that was the heart-rending report of the young mother who shielded her children's bodies with hers, giving up her life to spare theirs.   That's what Jesus did.  He gave up his life to spare ours.  The promise of a perfect life is not for this world, but the next - - if we only let Him in.  

We must all forge ahead - - continuing to go to church, continuing to help others in need, continuing to be a community of believers who bear each other's burdens, continuing to place our faith in God.  

Thursday, October 19, 2017

My Candy!

Yesterday was one of those days!  My candy, I call it!

Three friends and I had the privilege of leading the Seasoned Saints of my church in a Singspiration following the bi-monthly potluck yesterday at True Grace Church.  Fun to prep for, and anticipate, and then sooooooo fun to be part of!

We did a fun flashback section at the beginning, followed by a journey down memory lane, which elicited memories for all whose history as a Christian took them back to the same roots those of us leading share.  

This was the list of songs we sang:

SELECTED SONGS for OCTOBER 18, 2017
SEASONED SAINTS MINI-SINGSPIRATION

A little fun flashback section at the beginning:        
                  Hallelu, Hallelu                                                                       
                  We Are Christ’s Ambassadors                                             
1870          Hold The Fort                                                                       
1868          Pass Me Not                                                                      
1946©       Room At The Cross For You                                             
1897          Count Your Blessings                                                             

SPECIAL MUSIC SELECTION:
1931         *All That Thrills My Soul Is Jesus                                      
                  (Trio)

1890         *He Hideth My Soul                                                              

AUDIENCE CHOICE:  2 of the 4   (The middle 2 won the vote!)                                
1910         *He Keeps Me Singing                                                    
1905         *My Savior’s Love (How Marvelous)                         
1939         *Victory In Jesus                                                               
1885         *A Shelter In The Time of Storm                                       

+-1950      Not By Might/ aka By My Spirit                                             
I have seen guesses all the way from 1930 - 1957

1970         Something About That Name                            
                 (Jesus, Jesus, Jesus)
                         

1924         Jesus Is The Sweetest Name I Know   

Pure joy!!!!!  My candy!                                        


Tuesday, October 17, 2017

My Perspective on the NFL "Protest"

I have to assume that the players who were caught up in this NFL drama just don't know our country's history, or they wouldn't use disrespecting the flag as their mode of protest.  The flag is a symbol that demands we display respect. 

I absolutely defend players' right to protest - on their own time - and applaud all of the players who are truly making a difference by donating their time and resources to inner city communities who need their help and need responsible role models to show kids in dire circumstances that there is a way out - and it comes through hard work and dedication.  

But I do not agree with the method many players have chosen as their mode of protest.  They are at work.  What if, to protest inequities in the Justice System,  a group of lawyers decided to sit instead of stand when the Bailiff says "All Rise!"  They'd be in contempt of court.  And disrespecting a judge is not as awful as disrespecting what our flag and national anthem stand for!  "On the job" is not the place to stage a public protest.(However, if there are indecencies occurring as part of the job, then those need to be handled appropriately - but not as a public forum.)

We are not a perfect nation - we have lots of flaws - but the flag and National Anthem are the representations of the hope of what we want to be, and thousands have died to give us the freedom of free speech...but that freedom has to be exercised in a way that generates the possibility of a positive outcome.  

And just a little postscript for those who want to get on the bandwagon of how abysmal the inequities are in our country....you should go to a third-world country and see people living at the dump, eating whatever scraps they can find!  It is very possible that many who are Americans have been spared that fate by their ancestors coming here - whether or not that was by choice....

And just one more pertinent aside - I was at Evergreen as a Senior taking a class titled "The Harlem Renaissance" when I learned that it was not white people who captured black tribal members and sold them.  It was black people.  Yes, they sold them to traders, who were white, but the captivity began with their rivals of their own color.  So - get over it.  We are all here now.  Together.  Black, white, brown, and every combination imaginable.  We can work together to be strong, or we can be our own worst enemy and implode.  It's up to everyone of us to make that choice!

There have been multitudes of horrible atrocities that have happened throughout the span of history of man's indecency to man.  In the relatively brief history of our own country many Chinese were brought to work in forced labor under terrible living and working conditions....  Upstanding hard-working (with many being fully-American) Japanese were crowded into camps and their land was stolen from them because of the attack of Japan on the United States....  There were multiple inequities done to the Native Americans who lived here before we arrived....  Many of the Scotch and Irish who came here as laborers were treated abysmally.  And, yes, we have the horrible stain of black slavery tainting our history....  That was then, this is now.  We all have to take personal responsibility for navigating the future and quit blaming the system and the past.  Those who think it is intolerable here could opt to leave America and go to where they think things will be better...but that place doesn't exist.  If you even have running water, you are better off than the majority of the world.  

All lives matter - and all people need to get to work to help make a difference!  And that is my perspective....


Saturday, September 9, 2017

In the beginning....GOD

Genesis 1:1-3
John 1:1

That's my foundation for belief.  God initiated Time.  He was there in the beginning and will be with us through the end.  And then we will be with Him for eternity if we hold fast to our faith in Him.  As we see so much that is awry in our world I cling to the good news that God is with us and holds us close to Him - in life and in death.  

'And God said'...and that's enough.  My confidence is in Him and Him alone.  

Of course the best good news is that God loved the world so much that He sent His Son to pay the price for Sin and redeem us through the blood Jesus shed as the final sacrifice ever needed.  Truly, God loved the world so much that He literally took on flesh and came to earth to become that sacrificial lamb....  What amazing love.  

In praying for those who are being devastated by the current massive disasters of Harvey, Irma, fires and other storms He is the only one we can turn to, and our faith is distilled to the basics:  He is God. He loves us.  He is still in the soul-saving business.  He contends for mans' souls.   

My prayer is that in the hour of desperation, many hearts will be inclined to Him and find His ultimate peace and comfort.  He truly cares....and is there in the midst of the storm.  In times of trouble people either turn to God as their only source of strength - or they turn away from Him in anger and blame Him for their circumstances.  

None of these storms come as a surprise to Him.  In His Word He has forewarned that terrible times would be the beginning of the birth pangs that usher in the end of the world and His return to gather those who believe in Him.  

I am praying for those who are affected by the storms, and those who are going to storm-affected areas to help - to be God's hands extended to the oppressed.  We have never seen such a time of devastation.  

I have been tenderly touched by the outpouring of kindness and care that I have observed in the Texas weather crisis.  People  being the America I have always known and love - - and it gives me hope for our country!





Monday, July 24, 2017

Northwest College 60's Reunion 2017

July 21-23 was the 15th annual gathering of those who attended Northwest College* in the 1960's.   In honor of that I will make this large print!  The reality of many lives is that the print is just too small these days!  

It is so good to reconnect with old friends, and make new ones among those from the same decade.  We share an era so there is an understanding that is simply a given.  That makes it a very comfortable environment - and then shared histories meld us together even more definitively.  

At this particular gathering I was particularly impressed by how many missionaries were in attendance.  People who had served in countries all over the world - some for all of their working lifetime, and now as they reach the decade of their 70's they are challenged with finding a new focal point for their ministry outlet.  

That brings up an interesting observation:  God does not have a retirement plan from service - though He does alter the direction and location of where people serve.  And - everyone can do something.  I was chatting with a missionary who had served many years in Latin American countries, and he told me the story of a lady who desperately wanted to do something to serve the Lord, but she was confined to a wheelchair.  So, he told her, 'write messages on paper, make them into paper airplanes and fly them out your window.'  She did - and over the course of the next year, 4 people came to the Lord and were baptized because of her 'airplane' messages.  

God uses willing vessels.  Neither age nor physical limitation is an insurmountable issue.  So if you are one others consider to be 'older' - make goals, find something to do to contribute to nurturing others to begin a faith journey or to grow in their faith.  

Write that book!
Teach that class!
Mentor that young person!
Call that someone God is nudging you to call!
Pray!  Encourage!  Finish strong!  

As a message in tongues and interpretation on Friday night stated which was reiterated in the message given by our Sunday morning speaker, Terry Peretti:  God isn't finished with us yet!  


*Now Northwest University

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

AFTER THE JOURNEY

I think I am addicted to writing!

But after the discipline of editing and posting every day* since Ash Wednesday, the commitment is completed....

I'll be popping in from time to time - - hope you will check in on me....

*I pre-posted in advance a few days that we were going to be gone....