Saturday, 1 July 2017

My Mom is Dying.


My mom got an infection after hip surgery. They didn’t know until she had been sent to a rehabilitation center. In my mind she seemed too sick to do exercises and I was right. We took her home to take care of her ourselves.

The government sent a nurse to our house to evaluate her. They wanted to know if she could exercise and teach me how to take care of her. The nurse was lovely. She met the family and then went into Mom’s room and talked with her and me.

She could see Mom was too weak and sick to do any exercises. She explained how much easier it would be for me to take care of mother if we had a hospital bed. She said the Red Cross loaned them for no cost for 6 – 9 months. After that we have to buy our own. So, we ordered one from the Red Cross. We also are able to have two nurse’s aides come and give mother a bath once a week and take care of her for three hours while my husband and I go out. The cost is covered by the government.

Mom’s infection was cured; now she is just tired and wants to sleep day and night. She isn’t eating anything, but drinks water, Boost and orange juice. I have read that when we are dying, we no longer have an appetite. This is our body helping us die peacefully.

My husband, daughters and granddaughters have been helping me. Mom is restless and wants to turn over in bed often. Actually this is good for her because of bed sores. I would have to move her every two hours anyway. When she had the infection she wanted to be turned about every 15 minutes. That was extremely tiring. My husband and I took turns so we could sleep.

I bought a book called, “Meditating on the Psalms,” by John Eaton. I’ve been enjoying it very much. He writes about “alphabetic” or “ acrostic” Psalms. The poet begins the song with the A of their alphabet and each line begins with the next letter. I thought I would try to write one myself. Here it is:

All the Lord does is beautiful.

Beautiful in love, wisdom and mercy.

Call upon the Lord, and he will hear you.

Depend on his saving grace.

Everything that breathes, the Lord has made.

From the ant to the whale, God made us all.

He reigns in the heavens.

In his throne room he rules over all.

Justice and righteousness are the foundation of his throne.

Keep your eyes, heart and mind upon the Lord.

Look on him who is perfect.

Many are his marvelous words and works.

Never lean upon man; lean upon God.

Open your heart to him.

Pour out your thoughts and sorrows.

Quietly, he will strengthen you.

Rest in his everlasting love.

Surely, he will save your soul.

Tenderly he will lead you.

Under the shadow of his wings you will find refuge.

Vast are his thoughts towards you.

Why should we worry or be troubled?

eXalt his name in all the earth.

Your heart he will fill with peace and love.

Zion is his habitation and from there he will reign over us.

Sunday, 18 June 2017

My Mother.

My mother in grade 12 in Alberta, Canada.

My mother is in the hospital right now. That's why I haven't been posting lately. She has been slowly going downhill over the last 6 months. She’s a trooper. She is very weak, but in good spirits. Her memory is bad. She doesn’t remember why she is in the hospital, but that doesn’t seem to bother her. I told her yesterday, “You broke your hip and had an operation.”  She said, “That’s more information than I wanted.” She still has her sense of humor and jokes with the nurses.

I’m not sure if she will ever be able to move back in with us as she is so weak and can’t walk. Whatever the Lord wills is good with her and me. She is happy at the hospital because my mother is happy no matter what is happening.

“Your love, Lord, extends to the heavens.

Your faithfulness reaches to the skies.

Your righteousness is like the highest mountains.

Your justice like the great deep.

You, Lord, preserve both people and animals.

How priceless is your unfailing love, O God!

People take refuge in the shadow of your wings.

They feast on the abundance of your house;

You give them to drink from your river of delights.

For with you is the fountain of life.

In your light we see light.”


Psalm 36:6-9

Friday, 9 June 2017

Jonathan: A Man of Faith.



When the Israelites wanted a king, God chose Saul. A people called the Philistines were constantly oppressing Israel. One day Israel and the Philistines gathered to wage war. But Israel had no weapons yet. Only the king and his son had swords. His son’s name was Jonathan.

I find Jonathan to be a wonderful example of faith, humility and courage.  This first story about Jonathan shows his faith in the power of God.

1 Samuel 14 (abridged)

One day Jonathan son of Saul said to his young armor-bearer, “Come, let’s go over to the Philistine outpost on the other side.” But he did not tell his father.
Jonathan said to his young armor-bearer, “Come, let’s go over to the outpost of those uncircumcised men. Perhaps the Lord will act in our behalf. Nothing can hinder the Lord from saving, whether by many or by few.”

 “Do all that you have in mind,” his armor-bearer said. “Go ahead; I am with you heart and soul.”

(Jonathan asked God for a sign.)

Jonathan said, “Come on, then; we will cross over toward them and let them see us.  If they say to us, ‘Wait there until we come to you,’ we will stay where we are and not go up to them.  But if they say, ‘Come up to us,’ we will climb up, because that will be our sign that the Lord has given them into our hands.”
So both of them showed themselves to the Philistine outpost. “Look!” said the Philistines. “The Hebrews are crawling out of the holes they were hiding in.”  The men of the outpost shouted to Jonathan and his armor-bearer, “Come up to us and we’ll teach you a lesson.”

So Jonathan said to his armor-bearer, “Climb up after me; the Lord has given them into the hand of Israel.”

Jonathan climbed up, using his hands and feet, with his armor-bearer right behind him. The Philistines fell before Jonathan, and his armor-bearer followed and killed behind him.  In that first attack Jonathan and his armor-bearer killed some twenty men in an area of about half an acre. 

Israel Routs the Philistines

Then panic struck the whole army—those in the camp and field, and those in the outposts and raiding parties—and the ground shook. It was a panic sent by God.

When all the Israelites who had hidden in the hill country of Ephraim heard that the Philistines were on the run, they joined the battle in hot pursuit. So on that day the Lord saved Israel and the battle moved on beyond Beth Aven."


Jonathan had probably remembered how God had fought for and saved Israel using Gideon and 300 men against the many thousands of Midianites.

 Jonathan knew God could do anything and acted accordingly. His faith is a beautiful example to all of us.

Sunday, 4 June 2017

Jesus said, "Follow me."



Photo by Robert Edwards     http://www.geograph.org.uk/profile/3763

I was listening to Brian on Daily Audio Bible last night. He was reading the last chapter of John. He pointed out that the last words Jesus spoke was, “Follow me.”

Peter had been asking Jesus what would happen in the future to John. Jesus told him it really wasn’t any of Peter’s business. Peter was to simply follow him. Peter had turned to look at John, but Jesus said to him, "If I want him to remain until I come, what is that to you? You follow Me!"   John 21:22

We can’t follow someone if we are looking around at the scenery or other people. I remember so many times people would come to visit us in California. We would all be going somewhere and Dad would say, “Just follow me.” 

Yes, on a freeway while going 70 miles per hour! Lol  My poor uncle and his family got lost when the freeway split into two parts going the opposite direction. I forget how we finally found each other. No cell phones in those days.

Many times, my father took us on one of his famous “short cuts”. He didn’t follow the regular routes. On the map the “short cut” looked, well, shorter! It never was because the map we used didn’t show the mountains to go over or the slow speed limits. He did that in Nevada and I got a bit of heat stroke. No air conditioning then either! Every trip was either an adventure or some kind of torture.

We have the freedom to follow whomever we wish. Free will. It’s what keeps us from being robots. Some will follow evil; some will follow good.

I want to follow Jesus. I want to follow him all the way to heaven.

Dear Father, help us to keep our eyes on Jesus. Help us all to fall in love with him. Help us to want to be just like him. Keep our eyes from wandering; especially keep us from looking at other people and ourselves. In the name of Jesus, amen.

“… let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.”  Hebrews 12:1

“As Jesus went on from there, He saw a man called Matthew, sitting in the tax collector's booth; and He said to him, "Follow Me!" And he got up and followed Him.”  Matthew 9:9


“He said to them, "Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men."  Matthew 4:19

Friday, 2 June 2017

Craft Night.

My oldest daughter came over Wednesday night to work on some crafts. There was no discomfort between us because of what happened in my previous post. 

One thing about my family is that we forgive and don’t usually hold grudges. My two daughters have a close relationship that has weathered quit a few arguments. They always forgive each other, no matter what they fought about. I’m so happy for this.

Anyway, this is what my daughter finished making on Wednesday:


I love it.

Someone asked my granddaughter, Hope, who her best friend was. “Faith,” she said.  Faith is her sister. I was so moved by that.

I feel very close to my own sister, Liz.  I can tell her anything and she understands. When you are a crazy, negative person it means a lot to be understood.  She is also crazy and negative so we get each other.  

Both my sister and I are becoming more positive. We are slowly learning to let go of the past and see  the positive in the here and now. We both used to look at life as being the mole in a Wack-A-Mole game. Something awful was always beating us down.


I actually used to picture God hitting me with a baseball bat every time I tried to get up. Well, of course I was wrong. God isn’t like that. I've learned he is here waiting to lift us up when we get knocked down. And if we go to him right away, we don’t even get knocked down for long; we are just hurt for a moment and after we talk with him about what happened we feel better and are stronger.

"Keep me as the apple of your eye; hide me in the shadow of your wings..."  Psalm 17:8

How precious is Your loving kindness, O God! And the children of men take refuge in the shadow of Your wings.   Psalm 36:7

You will make known to me the path of life; In Your presence is fullness of joy; In Your right hand there are pleasures forever.   Psalm 16:11

You have put gladness in my heart, More than when their grain and new wine abound.  Psalm 4:7






Monday, 29 May 2017

To Say Something or Not to Say Anything...That is the Question.



Yesterday, I was out with my oldest daughter. We had a good time together shopping for crafty things. I mentioned what I read in someone’s blog about how Christians want to “fix” other people. She then told me how mad it has made her through the years when I tried to “fix” her.

“Remember when I told you I don’t read the Bible and you wrote me a letter?”
 I said, “Yes.”

“Well that upset me. I just delete things you write me about religion. You have your relationship with God your way and I have my relationship my way.”

I felt really bad and told her I was sorry. I told her I was always terrified she wouldn’t be saved and I knew that faith comes by hearing the Word of God.

I could tell that didn’t help. She is still angry about the times I’ve talked with her about being a Christian. She is one now, and has a ton of faith in God. More than I do, in fact.

 So, as I wrote in my previous post, fear again was moving me to do what was wrong. I have seen the Holy Spirit working with her without any of my help.

Now comes the part where I am confused about living the Christian life. When we want to bring someone to Christ, what should we say? What should we do?

In his blog, "Pastor Unikely," Thomas writes,

 “What if we tried to first bless people rather than only trying to fix them?  Would our lives and actions look different?

https://pastorunlikely.com/2017/05/28/a-good-reminder-and-challenge-from-our-daily-bread-being-a-true-friend/


 In a different slant, Anthony Baker wrote in his blog, "The Recovering Legalist," 
 “…our attempts to convey a point without offending do nothing more than muddy the cleansing water, smudge the reflective properties of God’s Word, and lessen the needed blow to our hardened consciences.” 


I look at Jesus and how he shared his good news. He preached, he told us what righteousness was and what sin was. Some followed him, some tried to throw him off a cliff or stone him. He healed people; the people he healed loved him; the church leaders hated him for it and plotted to kill him.

 The times Jesus rebuked the Pharisees and Saducees, he used plain language and warned them they were heading towards hell. He told them they had no love for God in themselves. He pointed out their sins.

When anyone asked Jesus a question, they got the straight truth – no trying to sugar-coat anything. I wonder how popular he would be today? I think we would kill him again.

My husband believes only those who are called as prophets and ministers should point out sin or mistakes in others. Maybe he is right – I don’t know.

Paul wrote, “Wives, in the same way submit yourselves to your own husbands so that, if any of them do not believe the word, they may be won over without words by the behavior of their wives.”  1 Peter 3:1

I know it is the Holy Spirit who has to convict people of sin and their need of God. Maybe he doesn’t need anyone’s help at all in this except prophets and ministers. 

We can just show the love of God and show complete acceptance to people, knowing it is God who will change them into His image. 

Saturday, 27 May 2017

I Lied.

I was reading a blog today about what causes us to sin. I thought about the sin I committed just 2 days ago. Someone asked me where their canvases went (for painting pictures) and I immediately said, “I don’t know.”  But I DID know. I ran out of canvas and used hers. I was going to buy her some new ones to take their place, but I had forgotten.

I gave her one of my canvases and she was happy. But when I was at prayer last night, the Lord convicted me that I must confess my sin to her and apologize. I will do that when she comes over this week.

What really, really got me was the fact that I lie so rarely I can’t even remember the last time I did. But I know why I have lied in the past and I know why I lied 2 days ago. I was afraid.

I was afraid she would be mad at me for using her canvas without asking first. My past lies were to my husband because I was afraid he would get mad at me. So I would lie about what I bought or lie about lots of things that I knew would make him angry.

I’m very ashamed of my behavior, but I realized I haven’t really prayed about my fears. Social phobia is part of my mental illness. I am terrified of being around people now. I wasn’t always this way, but after I had a mental breakdown, I became afraid of everything.

I was afraid of flying, driving over a bridge, shopping, going to church, meeting people, social situations etc. I went to two anxiety clinics which did help me with the flying and bridges; but I’ve never gotten over social anxiety. I was like that in school as a child and teen too, but was better in my thirties and early forties.

I think now is the time to pray about my fear. I have just given into my fear and stayed home as much as I could and I’m very happy here at home. If I do go out, it is usually with my daughters or husband because I’m now terrified of driving! I’m 67 and tired of trying to be normal, but if this fear of mine leads me into sin, then I want Jesus to heal me. I started today to pray about it. I ask for your prayers too.


I think one reason I have never really prayed for God to heal my fears is that I figured it was all bound up in my mental illness and abuse as a little girl. Well, if God wants to heal me, he will; if God doesn’t want to heal me, that’s fine. I’ve asked him to make me aware before I open my mouth not to lie when I’m afraid. I trust him, he will strengthen me to do his will.

Tuesday, 23 May 2017

Love Lifted Me.

The snowfall in the mountains near our city was heavier than usual. We also had more rain this spring than we normally do. This has caused some flooding around the creeks that run through town.

But the biggest worry is the lake. It is already overflowing docks and the engineers believe houses all around the lake will be flooded. They are doing all they can to protect the houses, but we don’t know what will happen.


My oldest daughter lives near the lake. The water has reached the top of the cement wall and will be spilling over soon. She and her husband are moving everything out of the basement. The house is 40 years old and really shouldn’t have a basement there. The have a sump pump that keeps the basement dry under normal conditions. But conditions aren’t normal now.


I thought about how Jesus said to build our lives on a rock – by which he meant himself.

Jesus said, “Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock.  The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock.

 “But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand.  The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash.”   Matthew 7:24-27

One of my favorite verses in the Bible is Psalm 40:2, “He brought me up out of the pit of destruction, out of the miry clay, and He set my feet upon a rock making my footsteps firm.


I think of my life before I knew Jesus to be a muddy pit that I was stuck in. I raised my arms to him and he lifted me out. 

He lifted me and set my feet on a huge rock. He set my feet on solid ground – himself. I can never thank him enough for what he has done for me. 

Saturday, 20 May 2017

Growing Up.

Three granddaughters.
Granddaughter #2 - all grown up.

One of my granddaughters, Hope, who is now 21, has recently moved out of her parent’s home and in with a boyfriend. She got a job at a spa that gives waxes, manicures and pedicures. The people she works with are nice and her boss is great.

A few times she has said to me, “Grandma, this being an adult is really hard.”  She and her boyfriend are cooking, cleaning, paying bills, saving money, doing all the shopping. All the things grown-ups have to do.

The other day she came over to visit and said, “Grandma, being an adult is really different. I get bored now. Bored! All the years I went to school I was never bored! I was always learning something new.”

 I said, “Yes, some jobs can be boring.” 

Then she said, “And the weekends are crazy! I have all these errands to run. I never get any rest. I’m so pooped. No wonder Mom was always tired!”

Yes, no wonder our mothers got tired! I remember when I was married and our daughter was 2 years old. I called my mother and told her I was sorry for being such a brat when I was a teenager. By raising my own daughter, I realized how much I loved her and how my mom must have loved me. No wonder my mom told me, “No,” when I wanted to do some things. It was love! I certainly didn’t see it that way at the time.

Paul talks about growing up as a Christian, “We have much to say about this, but it is hard to make it clear to you because you no longer try to understand. 

"In fact, though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you the elementary truths of God’s word all over again. You need milk, not solid food!" 

"Anyone who lives on milk, being still an infant, is not acquainted with the teaching about righteousness.  But solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil.

Hebrews 5:11-14


Paul is saying that these Christians were not trying to know God better or understand him more. They were not reading the Scriptures enough, if they were at all. 

Continual study of the Bible will make us grow up into Christ. Just as we need food every day, we need to study the Word of God every day in order to grow as a Christian.

Through continual practice, Hope will get used to being an adult too. Lol

Thursday, 18 May 2017

What Can We Do About Worry and Sadness About Our Families?


I know I have written on this subject before. The reason is that worry and sadness are the biggest obstacles in my life. But I notice other people also struggle with this so I guess I'll keep writing about it.

One of my granddaughters has Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. She has had this since she was four years old. Her life has been full of fears and sadness because of this disease. She started to get better when she turned 13. Her fears were slowly ebbing away and we were all rejoicing.

She is now 20 years old and has done very well. She finished her grade 12 from an online school. She had a job in the last city the family lived in and did very well. Now they have moved to a new city. She got a job at The Body Shop. After she was hired and had worked a few days, they told her there was a quota on how much she must sell each day - $650. Well, she had already been selling that much, but the pressure of the quota and the 3 times monthly that they reviewed her work was too much for her so she quit. Apparently, her boss said no one is ever told they are meeting expectations. Everyone is told they are working below expectations so they will work harder, but it was too much for my granddaughter. She needed encouragement – not discouragement.

The Body Shop may be nice to animals, but humans are a different story.

So, she is having a set-back in her illness. She doesn’t know if she wants to try to work again. We are all feeling worried and sad for her.

This morning, as I talked with God, I said to him, “I know we are not supposed to worry or feel discouraged. But it is so hard not to feel that way.”

Then Mom and I turned on Joyce Meyer, who was speaking on trusting in God.  She used the Scripture, “We do not know what to do, but our eyes are on you.”  2 Chronicles 20:12

“We don’t know what to do.” Yes, that is when fear, worry and sadness come upon us.

What can I do for my granddaughter? Nothing but be her friend.
What can God do for my granddaughter? Anything and everything.

That’s why our eyes should look towards God. He gives us hope. The hope is in how strong and wise he is. The hope is in how the Bible shows God brings good out of evil. The hope is in believing he hears our prayers and is working for us and for those we love.

“…hold fast to the hope set before us. We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and steadfast.  Hebrews 6: 18,19

Psalms 42 and 43 are great songs of hope. “Why am I discouraged? Why is my heart so sad? I will put my hope in God! I will praise him again--my Savior and my God!”  Psalm 43:5 

“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

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.”  Philippians 4:6

“Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.  1 Peter 5:7


“Trust in the LORD with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding.”  Proverbs 3:5

Tuesday, 16 May 2017

Living, Breathing, Walking Miracles.



I was thinking about someone I know. She has been an on and off Christian for at least 25 years. Like me, she gets confused about who God is and what he wants. Well, about 2 years ago, she decided she was done questioning and wavering. She was going to get with God and stay there. The change in her has been miraculous.  She is happier, more peaceful, more loving, giving and kind.

As I thought about this, I thought how every Christian is a walking miracle. Some say there are no miracles anymore. I know there are; I’ve seen them.  But it is also a miracle how God changes our thinking and feelings. Some of the things I used to love, I now feel nothing for. Some of those things are big, some are small. But it was God who changed me, not me myself.

A personal story:  30 years ago my husband and I were not happy together. I think we both thought we had made a mistake in getting married. At that time, I had a job as a janitor and my husband worked for the gas company. A man at my job slowly started to like me. I slowly began to enjoy his company. A woman at my husband’s work started flirting with him. She told him she was lonely. Eventually she asked him to leave me. The man at my job asked me to leave Dan and be with him.

At the time I prayed, “I see Lord, how this is happening to both of us at the same time. Satan wants to break up our marriage.”  I prayed earnestly for months about how I felt about this co-worker and asked for deliverance. Soon, he was given a different position and we didn’t see each other any longer. Also, God had taken the feelings I had for him away. My husband introduced the woman at his job to another man who worked there.  She dated him and they eventually got married.

I love how the Lord dealt with everything. He helped both me and my husband to remain faithful without having to quit our jobs. He ruled over our feelings because we asked him to. Without God, I’m sure we would have cheated on each other and our marriage would have been over. How God worked within our hearts was a miracle.

I’ve learned through Joyce Meyer how Satan tries to use our feelings to rule over us. I’ve learned from God that he can take my feelings and change them. This brings such freedom to my heart, because I know however bad I feel, God can come to me with good. He lifts my head and makes me see what really matters – his love for me and for the world.

“But You, O LORD, are a shield around me, my glory, and the one who lifts my head.

Psalm 3:3

Thursday, 11 May 2017

Believe God Can Save You.


Many Christians, myself included, worry about their sins. We worry we are hopeless; we worry God is mad at us; we worry we will be lost.

I was raised in a strict religion. Sin was treated as something horrifying. We were taught if we became Christians, we wouldn't sin. If we loved God, we wouldn't sin. There was no excuse in heaven above or earth beneath for committing a sin. Of course I grew up thinking it was hopeless for me to even try to be a Christian. I longed to be a Christian as a teen, but I didn't make the step until I was nineteen because I had a baby. I always tell my daughter that she brought me to Jesus.

Well, I still thought I was probably not going to be saved because I wasn't perfect, which is what I thought I had to be. Eventually, I heard and understood God's grace. That he doesn't leave us when we sin; that is is patient and kind and loves us like crazy. That was wonderful.

But I still get those feelings once in awhile. I'm still smoking; I sometimes lose my cool with my husband; I feel hateful towards some politicians etc. I ask for forgiveness and move on. I still want to be perfect, but I know it isn't possible. Christ was perfect and his righteousness covers me.  That is grace, and I only need believe that and accept his sacrifice for me.

My husband always says, "Which way are you heading? Are you heading towards God? Are you trying to get to know him and love him? Or are you running from him?

Well, I am running towards God through prayer and Bible study. "Then you are saved." my husband says, and he is right.

There are some verses in Zechariah that show the attitude of those who are running away from God. These verses always strike me because of the truly horrible sins these people were doing, and also because of their attitude towards God.

“This is what the Lord Almighty said: ‘Administer true justice; show mercy and compassion to one another. Do not oppress the widow or the fatherless, the foreigner or the poor. Do not plot evil against each other.’

“But they refused to pay attention; stubbornly they turned their backs and covered their ears.They made their hearts as hard as flint and would not listen to the law or to the words that the Lord Almighty had sent by his Spirit through the earlier prophets. So the Lord Almighty was very angry.     Zechariah 7:9-12 

Do you think the Lord had a right to be angry? 

These people perverted justice, did not show mercy or compassion to people. They oppressed the widows, orphans, foreigners and the poor. They plotted evil against others.

Yes, He had a right to be angry on behalf of those who suffered at the hands of these people. Wouldn't we be angry at someone who treated an orphan cruelly? Wouldn't we be angry at someone who stole from a widow?

Even if we have done these things, we can be forgiven. God forgives all sins and nothing is too awful to keep us apart from him. But the people Zechariah was talking to plugged their ears from hearing what was right. They weren't praying for God to help them do what was right. They turned their backs to God. They cannot be forgiven as long as they do this, for asking for forgiveness means turning our faces to God and talking with him. It means asking for his mighty help in our lives.
 “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?”
 They replied, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved—you and your household.” Then they spoke the word of the Lord to him and to all the others in his house. At that hour of the night the jailer took them and washed their wounds; then immediately he and all his household were baptized. The jailer brought them into his house and set a meal before them; he was filled with joy because he had come to believe in God—he and his whole household.    Acts 16:29-34

Believe. Believe God can save you. Believe he loves you. Believe he can change you. He is the only one who can.

"For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast."   Ephesians 2:8,9










Saturday, 6 May 2017

How Much Should Christians Give?


Photo by:  http://www.flickr.com/people/14214150@N02

I used to wonder why the early church people sold their lands and possessions and divided the money. I wondered, because Christians stopped doing that. Was it because they became selfish? Why don't we do that any longer?
Then I read about what happened to Jewish people who believed in Jesus. They were excommunicated from the church.
"...they were afraid of the Jewish leaders, who already had decided that anyone who acknowledged that Jesus was the Messiah would be put out of the synagogue. John 9:23

I went online to Bible Hub to see what excommunication entailed.

Put out of the synagogue - 

 Among the Jews there were two grades of excommunication; the one for lighter offences, of which they mentioned 24 causes; the other for greater offences. The first excluded a man for 30 days from the privilege of entering a synagogue, and from coming nearer to his wife or friends than 4 cubits.

The other was a solemn exclusion forever from the worship of the synagogue, attended with awful maledictions and curses, and an exclusion from all contact with the people. This was called the curse, and so thoroughly excluded the person from all communion whatever with his countrymen, that they were not allowed to sell to him anything, even the necessaries of life (Buxtorf). It is probable that this latter punishment was what they intended to inflict if anyone should confess that Jesus was the Messiah: and it was the fear of this terrible punishment that deterred his parents from expressing their opinion.

Barne's Notes on the Bible: http://biblehub.com/commentaries/barnes/john/9.htm

So, the Jews who accepted Christ could not be with their families or friends. They couldn't go to the Synagogue. That probably means they all lost their jobs and businesses. Their relatives would shun them. All they would have left is fellow believers.

Jesus said, "Sell your possessions, and give to the needy. Provide yourselves with moneybags that do not grow old, with a treasure in the heavens that does not fail, where no thief approaches and no moth destroys."  Luke 12:33

John the Baptist said, "If you have two shirts, give one to the poor. If you have food, share it with those who are hungry."   John 3:11

We Christians, the vast majority, don't do these things.

If a man had a job, could he make do with only one shirt? What would he wear when it gets dirty? This is how I get confused when I read the Bible.

I just prayed and asked God for an answer to this. What came to my mind was two true stories.

Story One:  My mother knew a man at church who started a business. He was giving 10% to the Lord. His business grew and he gave 20%. Then it grew and grew; he is now giving 90% of his money to the Lord and charities.

Story Two: A wealthy woman in India was converted to Christianity. She loved buying the most beautiful saris (dresses). She went to Mother Teresa and asked her if she should stop buying saris. Mother Teresa said, " Buy less expensive saris, and then buy saris for poor women at the same time." I thought that was a good answer.

I think if we own extra land, houses, cars, boats etc. we could sell them and give to the poor. I think we should make our wants few and be happy with a simpler life. But I guess we don't have to sell everything unless the Lord asks us to. And that would mean he wants us to do something for him that is special.