Friday, 26 February 2016

Drug Addicts and Tax Collectors.

Who am I?

I have heard some people say that God will not save a person who has died of an overdose. They think that person couldn't have been a Christian if they were doing drugs. They judge that person to be lost.

To me, alcoholics, drug addicts, mentally ill people and the homeless are the "tax collectors" of our day. In Jesus' time, there was nothing worse than to be a tax collector for Rome. You were considered beneath contempt. But it was the tax collectors who were drawn to Jesus. The religious people hated Jesus. 

Religious people think you are saved by what you do instead of what Jesus did. Religious people make you jump through a series of hoops before they will baptize you, whereas Peter baptized a Roman the day he accepted Christ. Religious people always think they are right; they will accept no new teaching or anything different than what they have believed for years.

Yet, I think a lot of religious people act in ignorance. They don't know what it is like to live the life of an addict or alcoholic. It is mostly a misunderstanding of people.

I like what my husband says, "Before I was a Christian, I was turned away from God. After I became a Christian I turned towards him. That is what makes the difference. It isn't what I do. It is who I am facing."

My grandson, who died from drinking too much alcohol, had his face turned towards God. He was praying; he wanted to live a good life; but alcohol and drugs had a grip on him. I believe God took his life to spare him from something more terrible that was going to happen. I believe I will see him in heaven.

Who is God?

Someone who has asked us to turn to him.

"Therefore thus says the LORD: “If you return, I will restore you, and you shall stand before me. If you utter what is precious, and not what is worthless, you shall be as my mouth." Jeremiah 15:19

“If you return, O Israel, declares the LORD, to me you should return. If you remove your detestable idols from my presence, and do not waver, and if you swear, ‘As the LORD lives,’ in truth, in justice, and in righteousness, then nations shall bless themselves in him, and in him shall they glory.”  Jeremiah 4:2

"If you return to the LORD, then your fellow Israelites and your children will be shown compassion by their captors and will return to this land, for the LORD your God is gracious and compassionate. He will not turn his face from you if you return to him."  2 Chronicles 30:9

"Rend your heart and not your garments. Return to the LORD your God, for he is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in love, and he relents from sending calamity."  Joel 2:13

Someone who begs people to turn to him.

"They have turned to me their back and not their face. And though I have taught them persistently, they have not listened to receive instruction." Jeremiah 32:33

"They say to wood, 'You are my father,' and to stone, 'You gave me birth.' They have turned their backs to me and not their faces; yet when they are in trouble, they say, 'Come and save us!'" Jeremiah 2:27

"Why then have these people turned away? Why does Jerusalem always turn away? They cling to deceit; they refuse to return." Jeremiah 8:5

"They have turned back to the iniquities of their forefathers, who refused to hear my words. They have gone after other gods to serve them. The house of Israel and the house of Judah have broken my covenant that I made with their fathers." Jeremiah 11:10

Friday, 19 February 2016

Twitter and Politics.

Who am I?

An opinionated person who loves to give her opinion on everything.

Sometimes I start doing something and then wonder if God is pleased with what I'm doing. I've been on Twitter off and on over the last year. The first time I quit was because some people put photos of naked people on their tweets. Then my granddaughter got a Twitter account and wanted me to follow her, so I signed up again and decided to be very careful who I followed.

That worked out fine, but my granddaughter quit using Twitter and there I was again. I have to admit it can be fun and informative but I've decided to sign off once again. A lot of people use Twitter to post their opinion on politics. I'm interested in politics, but can also get angry about politics. I get angry at politicians who harm people. And they can harm people with their policies.

So, lately I've been tweeting about politics and didn't feel too good about it so I talked with God. After I asked him what to do, a thought came to my mind, "Are you doing any good on Twitter?" I thought about it and decided - no, I wasn't. I'll never change anyone's mind about their political leanings. And what is the good of complaining about politicians?

Who is God?

Well, Jesus never said anything against the Roman government when he was here. In fact, he healed a Roman Centurion's servant and told his followers to carry a Roman soldier's gear two miles instead of the one mile that was a law from Rome.

Paul said to pray for our rulers. He said to honor the emperor, who was Nero at the time. The Bible says that God rules over the nations; that he has given us governments to protect us. God told us to pray for the nation we live in because if it prospers then you will prosper.

I don't think it is wrong to vote or have an opinion on politics, but for me, it isn't a good thing. I get upset and angry so I'm going to try to leave it all alone and just pray.

Tuesday, 16 February 2016

Do You Feel Like Giving Up?

Who am I?

Yesterday, I saw a question online. It asked, "When did you give up?"

I thought about that. I remember giving up wanting a husband after my divorce. It was when I gave up and left it to God that he brought me my new husband. I remember giving up on trying to give advice to my adult daughters. I had to let them go and trust their lives to God. I remember giving up worrying about the environment when 9/11 happened. I knew then we would blow each other up and went out and bought some paper towels. (I know, I know, I'm stupid sometimes.)

I remember giving up on myself, that I could do anything to save myself. God did the saving on the cross. I just had to trust in him and get to know him as a father, brother and friend. 

I remember giving up on life and taking sleeping pills. That happened last year. I guess I gave up on God too at the time.

I was so lonely; achingly lonely; my heart was in so much pain. But God has shown me, through therapy and the Bible, that he is enough for me; that I need no one but Him. He is enough. He can fill my heart and end my loneliness by being beside me all day and night. I just have to ask and believe, and I do. There is a song Don Moen sings called, "God Will Make A Way." It is true, no matter what is going on in your life, God will make a way to happiness and peace.

All this came into my mind this morning after reading this verse:

"I would have lost heart, if I had not believed I would see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living."  Psalm 27:13

Who Is God?

Someone who dispenses hope like candy. He is, "The God of all hope..."

"May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit."   Romans 15:13

Sunday, 14 February 2016

Our Delusions About Everything.

Who Am I?

Someone who grew up with delusions of what life would be.

Married Life:

As a child, my only goal was to be a mother. I loved my mom, and I thought raising babies would be wonderful. My husband would work at a great job and we would be deliriously happy.

As a teen, my goal was to get a husband. I never thought too much about his character or whether he would treat me right. Nope, whomever I married would be perfect, just like in the movies. I didn't even know a husband could be mean to a wife. I'd never seen it. My father was mean to us kids but treated my mom like a queen.

I did get married, and raising babies was wonderful. I was deliriously happy. My husband didn't have a great job, but he had a good one. We could pay the rent and eat! We could even buy clothes! Life was terrific until I found a note in his pocket from a girl he was seeing. Not so terrific.

My husband said he was bored with me. I had become a Christian. Very boring. Divorce time. Shock and awe time. I thought since I loved him and was a good wife, he would love me. Delusion time is over. As I've said before, I don't blame him since I changed after we got married from "fun party-girl" into "sober Christian."

Other delusions: I thought friends would always be nice to me. I thought church people would be kind and caring. I thought co-workers would be helpful. I thought car companies made safe cars. I thought Presidents of the U.S. were always good men.

Where did I get this rosy picture of Life? TV? Movies? Books?  I think so. The way the media is today, I doubt young people are as deluded about life as I was. In fact, I am still shocked today about what people do. Like the water crisis in Flint, Michigan. It is unbelievable what people/politicians will do for money. They will actually kill people; go to war against a country for money. Kill thousands, if not millions of people for money. This is amazing to me!

I'm writing about this topic because I was reading a book about how we have unrealistic expectations of people and of God. I certainly believe this, and I think it causes us all many problems.

What do we expect from our children? It seems like nothing short of perfection! We want good behavior, good grades, and intelligence. We want them to marry well, have a good job, live in a nice house and give us perfect grandchildren.

Then the author asked what we expect from God. Maybe we expect too much - keep us safe, don't let us get sick, protect everyone we love, make sure we have enough money, make sure we get that promotion, and make us behave perfectly.

I have found it far better to say in every prayer, "Thy will be done." I will wait upon God, but I will not expect the answer I long for because he knows better than I do what the right answer is.

Who is God?

God is not deluded about us or anything else.

"Now while he was in Jerusalem at the Passover Festival, many people saw the signs he was performing and believed in his name. But Jesus would not entrust himself to them, for he knew all people. He did not need any testimony about mankind, for he knew what was in each person."
John 2:23,24

God knows we are a mess. He knows we are dysfunctional. He knows, yet he loves us so deeply he died to save us. He covers us with his goodness. We don't have to manufacture our own goodness. It is impossible.

God unites his heart with ours and we become one with him.

“My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you.

 May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one— I in them and you in me—so that they may be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.   John 17:20-23

Jesus prayed this when he knew his friends would desert him, when he knew Peter would deny he knew him, when he knew they would sleep instead of praying with him. He wanted to be one with them and he loved them and would love them forever. He certainly didn't expect them to be perfect!

Friday, 12 February 2016

Justice and Mercy.

Who is God?

Someone who always judges with justice and mercy combined.

I listen to Daily Audio Bible each day. I enjoy hearing Brian read the Bible and pray. We are now in Exodus and Matthew. In Exodus, God told Moses to make a breastplate for Aaron to wear when he came into the temple. It had two special stones on it called the Urim and Thummin.

These were used to discover the will of God and for judgment. What I loved learning yesterday was that God put these stones over the heart of Aaron.

"Also put the Urim and the Thummim in the breastpiece, so they may be over Aaron's heart whenever he enters the presence of the LORD. Thus Aaron will always bear the means of making decisions (some translations say judgment) for the Israelites over his heart before the LORD."  Exodus 28:30

I think this was symbolic of God who always administers justice with love and mercy.

"Righteousness and justice are the foundation of your throne; love and faithfulness go before you."  Psalm 89:14

"This is what the LORD Almighty said: 'Administer true justice; show mercy and compassion to one another.  Zechariah 7:9

"So now, come back to your God. Act with love and justice, and always depend on him."  Hosea 12:6

"Nevertheless, the LORD will wait so he can be gracious to you; and thus he will rise up to show you mercy. For the LORD is a God of justice. How blessed are all those who wait for him."  Isaiah 30:18

Who am I?
Someone who loves to see mercy.

In this world, justice is rarely given with mercy. There is no mercy in giving 20 years to someone who was caught with pot in his pocket. There is no mercy in solitary confinement. There is no mercy in the death penalty. There is no mercy when children do crimes; they are now charged the same as adults. There is no mercy in torturing terrorists.

I'm glad God is merciful in his judgments. I am thankful for such a God.

Wednesday, 10 February 2016

Saturday or Sunday Worship. Does it Matter?

I was reading a book yesterday and the author said the seventh-day Sabbath (Saturday), was given to the Jews. He said we no longer have to follow that day; we now celebrate Sunday as the day of rest to commemorate Jesus' resurrection.

He is wrong on two counts. The Seventh-Day-Sabbath was given to Adam and Eve. There were no Jews at that time, just two people. The Sabbath was given for a day of rest and recreation for the human race.

"By the seventh day God had finished the work he had been doing; so on the seventh day he rested from all his work.Then God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it he rested from all the work of creating that he had done.   Genesis 2:2,3

There is no place in the Bible where any of Jesus' followers changed the Sabbath to Sunday. They met on Sunday a few times, but they met constantly to talk together about Jesus and preach the word. Jesus went to the temple on the Sabbath and so did his followers until they set up their own churches, which were in people's houses.

The Sabbath was later included in the 10 Commandments and given to Moses for the children of Israel. This commandment is as important as all the others. It isn't something we can change. Churches now say it doesn't matter, but that doesn't make sense. We wouldn't want to change stealing, murder or adultery. Why the Sabbath?

It was changed to appease the pagans, who worshipped the sun on Sunday. It was changed by the emperor Constantine, who also had worshipped the sun. The Catholic Church was also involved and agree even now that they changed the holiness of Saturday to Sunday.

So, I hope, if you are interested, you will study these things. As we near the end of the world and Jesus' return, the Sabbath will be a test. There will be laws passed in the U.S. and other Christian nations to not work on Sunday. There will be laws against keeping Saturday holy. This is the image to the beast written about in Revelation.

Sunday, 7 February 2016

God Speaks to Everyone in the World.

Who Is God?

The True Light for the World.

 "The words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life."  John 6:63

John 1:1In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.…

"That was the true Light, which lightens every man that cometh into the world." John 1:9

Shift the punctuation around as we will and the truth is still there: the Word of God affects the hearts of all men as light in the soul. In the hearts of all men the light shines, the Word sounds, and there is no escaping them. Something like this would of necessity be so if God is alive and in His world. And John says that it is so. Even those persons who have never heard of the Bible have still been preached to with sufficient clarity to remove every excuse from their hearts forever. 

"Which show the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and their thoughts the mean while either accusing or else excusing one another." "For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse."

This universal Voice of God was by the ancient Hebrews often called Wisdom, and was said to be everywhere sounding and searching throughout the earth, seeking some response from the sons of men. 

The eighth chapter of the Book of Proverbs begins, "Doth not wisdom cry? and understanding put forth her voice?" The writer then pictures wisdom as a beautiful woman standing "in the top of the high places, by the way in the places of the paths." She sounds her voice from every quarter so that no one may miss hearing it. "Unto you, O men, I call; and my voice is to the sons of men." Then she pleads for the simple and the foolish to give ear to her words. It is spiritual response for which this Wisdom of God is pleading, a response which she has always sought and is but rarely able to secure. The tragedy is that our eternal welfare depends upon our hearing, and we have trained our ears not to hear.

The Voice of God is a friendly Voice. No one need fear to listen to it unless he has already made up his mind to resist it. The blood of Jesus has covered not only the human race but all creation as well. "And having made peace through the blood of his cross, by him to reconcile all things unto himself; by him, I say, whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven." We may safely preach a friendly Heaven. The heavens as well as the earth are filled with the good will of Him that dwelt in the bush. The perfect blood of atonement secures this forever.

Who am I?

Someone who is grateful that God's voice goes to every person in the world. Some Christians believe only those who accept Christ will be saved. But I believe God speaks to every heart; and if they follow the words of God in their heart, they will be saved. It doesn't matter if a person has never heard of Jesus or the good news of salvation; if they follow the light God shines into their heart, they will be saved.

Wednesday, 3 February 2016

God is Love.

Who Am I?

I was reading a book in which the author told his readers to think about the fact we are a part of God's life. If we are Christians, we know God is a part of our life, but do we realize we are a part of His?

I closed my eyes and tried to imagine how God saw me as a part of his life. I saw in my mind a beach with thousands of pebbles. The pebbles were people. God bent down and his hand was sifting through the pebbles. He came to mine - a pebble that was me - he picked it up for a moment and then threw it aside.

I opened my eyes and realized that though I have thought I do believe God loves me - I don't. This brought tears to my eyes. I prayed God would help me believe in his love for me. I know that to love him in the best way possible, I need to believe he loves me too.

I suppose I can't believe in real love for myself because my father abused me when I was very young. That just screwed me up for love and trust. But, even if deep down I don't think He loves me, my intellect knows he is with me and will save me. I'm sure that is enough for him.

Who Is God?

God is love. That's what the Bible says about him. He doesn't just love - he IS love. He is where love originates. He is the one who fills our hearts with love. He is love personified.

 "I have loved you with an everlasting love; Therefore I have drawn you with loving kindness." 
Jeremiah 31:3

"Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. 

This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us."  1John 4:7-12