Sunday, August 31, 2008
Saturday, August 30, 2008
Friday, August 29, 2008
I will also get to see my friend, Volodia in Kiev. I've told him I'm coming, and although he doesn't have much, his first e-mail back to me wrote, "you must come and eat dinner at my house." The bible tells us that when we come to him we will have more "family" than we could ever imagine. Volodia, part of the family of God, is part of my family. How amazing it is to have friends around the world who all gather around the cross in a common fellowship of love for Christ and love for one another. I am so grateful for all that God has done to bring us together as members of his family.
If you think of it would you pray for me?
Thursday, August 28, 2008
In Psalm 37 David speaks of this very fear of dread...the dread of what might be...and then he gives wonderful instructions to God followers in how to respond to this sense of doom. Here's David's instructions-
Psa 37:1 A David psalm. Don't bother your head with braggarts or wish you could succeed like the wicked.
Psa 37:2 In no time they'll shrivel like grass clippings and wilt like cut flowers in the sun.
Psa 37:3 Get insurance with GOD and do a good deed, settle down and stick to your last.
Psa 37:4 Keep company with GOD, get in on the best.
Psa 37:5 Open up before GOD, keep nothing back; he'll do whatever needs to be done:
Psa 37:6 He'll validate your life in the clear light of day and stamp you with approval at high noon.
Psa 37:7 Quiet down before GOD, be prayerful before him. Don't bother with those who climb the ladder, who elbow their way to the top.
Psa 37:8 Bridle your anger, trash your wrath, cool your pipes--it only makes things worse.
Psa 37:9 Before long the crooks will be bankrupt; GOD-investors will soon own the store.
I love this passage. It gives wonderfully clear directions in what to do when that sense of doom comes over you. When everything around you tells you that the world is crumbling and all hope is lost....trust in God. He's fully in charge and doing quite fine, thank you.
Tuesday, August 26, 2008
Monday, August 25, 2008
Sunday, August 24, 2008
On my way home from church tonight I was listening to the radio and got in on an interview with one of the Hubble telescope scientists. It was fascinating to hear him talk about the things they have discovered. What got me excited was his description of what he called "ultra deep field scans." This is how he described these scans: he said they would look for the darkest part of the sky, the place where there was nothing but black, then they would aim the Hubble at that spot and open the lens for an extended period of time. He described two scans, one that lasted 10 days and another one that lasted 30 days. What they found amazed them. In a place where it was completely black they saw millions of stars exposed by the open lens of the Hubble over time. The photos of these scans can be seen on the Hubble site. What amazed me is how vast the universe is and yet we are still discovering how much bigger it is than we ever knew. You could hear the excitement of the scientist as he was describing these discoveries.
My thoughts ran to a verse in the bible that not only talks about the creation of the universe, but also show how great God is by what a small emphasis he puts on the stars themselves. Here's how he describes it,
Gen 1:16 God made the two great lights, the greater light to govern the day, and the lesser light to govern the night; He made the stars also.
The more we discover the greater our amazement at the vastness of the universe, but God describes it as an afterthought....as if to say, "oh yeah, and I made the stars too." The way God describes the creation of the universe makes God even bigger in my mind. A universe so vast that it overwhelms us is just an afterthought to the one who made it.
If he can do that then he can take care of my little problems.
Saturday, August 23, 2008
Friday, August 22, 2008
By Daniel Schweimler BBC News, Buenos Aires
"La China has become a celebrity in her shanty town (Photo courtesy of Clarin)
An eight-year-old dog has touched the hearts of Argentines by saving the life of an abandoned baby, placing him safely alongside her own new puppies.
The country's media are calling him "the miracle baby".
He was born prematurely to a 14-year-old girl in a shanty town outside the capital, Buenos Aires.
She is said to have panicked and abandoned the boy in a field, surrounded by wooden boxes and rubbish.
Then along came La China, the dog which somehow picked up the baby and carried him 50m to place him alongside her own puppies.
The dog's owner heard the child crying and found him covered with a rag.
The baby, weighing 4kg (8lb 13oz), had some slight injuries, but no bite marks. The owner called the police and the child is now being looked after by the authorities, while a decision is taken about his future...."
Thursday, August 21, 2008
I "borrowed" this from my friend, Iggy. It is funny and made me smile, and I hope it does the same for you. I wonder what life with animals will be like when the fall is finally lifted. I wonder what we will know about them that will surprise us. At the moment I'm amazed at both trainer and Walrus for this fun video.
"The Human Rights Council at the United Nations has now banned any criticism regarding Sharia Law and human rights in the Islamic World. According to President Doru Romulus Costea - and following the efforts of delegates from Egypt, Pakistan and Iran - the Council will no longer tolerate criticism of either Sharia or specific fatwas in the name of human rights.In many parts of the Islamic world, it is becomingly increasing clear not only that the Koran (the written record of the original oral transmissions of Mohammad’s life teachings) and the Hadith (the later delineations of those teachings) are considered sacrosanct in their perfection, but also the various implementations of these teachings, known as Sharia Law. No evolution or refinements are required. No matter that nearly every multitudinous Muslim sect or group has a differing interpretation of this God-given Sharia Law. Nor that the stoning to death of women, beheading of men, and all the 6th century niceties of feudal Arabia are still part and parcel of the immovable Islamic tradition. Never mind that Sunni will decimate Shia - and vice versa - over differences of interpretations far more modest than those between (modern) Catholics and Protestants, between Hindus and Buddhists. Islamic sect can war on Islamic sect, Arab can criticize Arab.Because Judaism, Christianity, Hinduism and all other religions are imperfect, they are fair game for any and all attacks. Since Israel, Zionism, America and the Western World were created and developed outside the Islamic World and its divine perfection, they are likewise subject to criticism.Now, not only has the Islamic God forbidden outside criticism of the Sharia Law, but the UN Human Rights Council (HRC) is its enjoined messenger on earth.Of course, observers of the HRC should not be surprised. The ostensibly prestigious body has become a revolving door for countries with an ambivalent (or even well nigh invisible) relationship with freedom and democracy. In the two years following its replacement of the equally dictatorship-friendly Human Rights Commission, Algeria, Angola, Azerbaijan, Cameroon, China, Cuba, Egypt, Pakistan, Qatar, Russia, Saudi Arabia, and Tunisia have all been elected to the Council. As a majority of the Council’s resolutions are concerned with Israel, it would effectively cease functioning were it not for its compulsive focus on the Jewish state.Due to this resolution the Council - and thus, perversely, the UN - is endorsing a worldview in which human interpretation and understanding has been placed beyond the pale of critical thinking and investigation as long as it’s part of Sharia Law or the Islamic tradition. Perhaps we should rename the United Nations and call it the “Nations of Islam - United in Unique and Ineffable Perfection.” Sounds appropriate."
Wednesday, August 20, 2008
Tuesday, August 19, 2008
by Dennis Prager
What one almost never hears described are the deleterious consequences of secularism -- the terrible developments that have accompanied the breakdown of traditional religion and belief in God. For every thousand students who learn about the Spanish Inquisition and the Salem Witch Trials, maybe two learn to associate Gulag, Auschwitz, The Cultural Revolution and the Cambodian genocide with secular regimes and ideologies.
For all the problems associated with belief in God, the death of God leads to far more of them.
So, while it is not possible to prove (or disprove) God's existence, what is provable is what happens when people stop believing in God.
1. Without God there is no good and evil; there are only subjective opinions that we then label "good" and "evil." This does not mean that an atheist cannot be a good person. Nor does it mean that all those who believe in God are good; there are good atheists and there are bad believers in God. It simply means that unless there is a moral authority that transcends humans from which emanates an objective right and wrong, "right" and "wrong" no more objectively exist than do "beautiful" and "ugly."
2. Without God, there is no objective meaning to life. We are all merely random creations of natural selection whose existence has no more intrinsic purpose or meaning than that of a pebble equally randomly produced.
3. Life is ultimately a tragic fare if there is no God. We live, we suffer, we die -- some horrifically, many prematurely -- and there is only oblivion afterward.
4. Human beings need instruction manuals. This is as true for acting morally and wisely as it is for properly flying an airplane. One's heart is often no better a guide to what is right and wrong than it is to the right and wrong way to fly an airplane. The post-religious secular world claims to need no manual; the heart and reason are sufficient guides to leading a good life and to making a good world.
5. If there is no God, the kindest and most innocent victims of torture and murder have no better a fate after death than do the most cruel torturers and mass murderers. Only if there is a good God do Mother Teresa and Adolf Hitler have different fates.
6. With the death of Judeo-Christian values in the West, many Westerners believe in little. That is why secular Western Europe has been unwilling and therefore unable to confront evil, whether it was Communism during the Cold War or Islamic totalitarians in its midst today.
7. Without God, people in the West often become less, not more, rational. It was largely the secular, not the religious, who believed in the utterly irrational doctrine of Marxism. It was largely the secular, not the religious, who believed that men's and women's natures are basically the same, that perceived differences between the sexes are all socially induced. Religious people in Judeo-Christian countries largely confine their irrational beliefs to religious beliefs (theology), while the secular, without religion to enable the non-rational to express itself, end up applying their irrational beliefs to society, where such irrationalities do immense harm.
8. If there is no God, the human being has no free will. He is a robot, whose every action is dictated by genes and environment. Only if one posits human creation by a Creator that transcends genes and environment who implanted the ability to transcend genes and environment can humans have free will.
9. If there is no God, humans and "other" animals are of equal value. Only if one posits that humans, not animals, are created in the image of God do humans have any greater intrinsic sanctity than baboons. This explains the movement among the secularized elite to equate humans and animals.
10. Without God, there is little to inspire people to create inspiring art. That is why contemporary art galleries and museums are filled with "art" that celebrates the scatological, the ugly and the shocking. Compare this art to Michelangelo's art in the Sistine chapel. The latter elevates the viewer -- because Michelangelo believed in something higher than himself and higher than all men.
11. Without God nothing is holy. This is definitional. Holiness emanates from a belief in the holy. This explains, for example, the far more widespread acceptance of public cursing in secular society than in religious society. To the religious, there is holy speech and profane speech. In much of secular society the very notion of profane speech is mocked.
12. Without God, humanist hubris is almost inevitable. If there is nothing higher than man, no Supreme Being, man becomes the supreme being.
13. Without God, there are no inalienable human rights. Evolution confers no rights. Molecules confer no rights. Energy has no moral concerns. That is why America's Founders wrote in the Declaration of Independence that we are endowed "by our Creator" with certain inalienable rights. Rights depend upon a moral source, a rights giver.
14. "Without God," Dostoevsky famously wrote, "all is permitted." There has been plenty of evil committed by believers in God, but the widespread cruelties and the sheer number of innocents murdered by secular regimes -- specifically Nazi, Fascist and Communist regimes -- dwarfs the evil done in the name of religion.
As noted at the beginning, none of this proves, or even necessarily argues for, God's existence. It makes the case for the necessity, not the existence, of God. "Which God?" the secularist will ask. The God of Israel, the God of America's founders, "the Holy God who is made holy by justice" (Isaiah), the God of the Ten Commandments, the God who demands love of neighbor, the God who endows all human beings with certain inalienable rights, the God who is cited on the Liberty Bell because he is the author of liberty. That is the God being referred to here, without whom we will be vanquished by those who believe in less noble gods, both secular and divine."
Monday, August 18, 2008
Saturday, August 16, 2008
Friday, August 15, 2008
Thursday, August 14, 2008
Here's a funny new video you will enjoy, but I think you miss something going this fast.....
(If you are having trouble viewing the video here you can go to barats and bereta's web site and view it.)
Heb 12:2 Keep your eyes on Jesus, who both began and finished this race we're in. Study how he did it. Because he never lost sight of where he was headed--that exhilarating finish in and with God--he could put up with anything along the way: cross, shame, whatever. And now he's there, in the place of honor, right alongside God.
Heb 12:3 When you find yourselves flagging in your faith, go over that story again, item by item, that long litany of hostility he plowed through. That will shoot adrenaline into your souls! THE MESSAGE
Wednesday, August 13, 2008
We are leaving in a few minutes to have dinner with friends we haven't seen in more than 25 years! It's funny how small our world really is.....we lost touch with Kerry & DeAnn when we left the ministry in the early 80's, but always loved them and considered them good friends. Recently, on a whim, Joye did a Google search for them and found them. Kerry had a cell phone number listed on the page she found so we called them....it turns out they just moved here from Oklahoma and now live less than 10 miles from us. It's amazing to us to find them again. Kerry & DeAnn were good friends and I had the opportunity to perform their wedding. They now have three grown children, the oldest is 29. I'm always amazed at the lives we touch, and how that touch makes our world so much smaller.......
Tuesday, August 12, 2008
Monday, August 11, 2008
(When I read this quote my first thought was "wouldn't any night be a lousy night to be an atheist?" but the quote is great and deserves its place in "silly quotes of the day".)
Sunday, August 10, 2008
Saturday, August 09, 2008
It's early Saturday and I've already been to breakfast with one of our guys. He had some questions about sales and marketing for his company. Having spent 18 years in that field I have some knowledge about it and was able to help him with some direction.
I always wondered why the Lord allowed me to be out of ministry for so long. I thought my sabbatical would be a couple years at most, but it turned into almost two decades!
Those years gave me a tremendous understanding of what our men working in the world deal with each day. It's a battle out there! There are so many demands on your life, and work continues to demand more and more. If I hadn't fought those battles myself I would have never understood. So, this morning I got to spend some time with a guy trying to survive all the demands on his life and still make his business a success.
All that we deal with today seems so out of step with the stories of the bible...it was a much slower paced life. Agricultural, quiet and not so hectic, and yet somehow all the stories and principles translate into life in America today. I think it's because no matter what you do the core issues of life are always the same- how will I live my life? And, what am I living for?
I was just thinking this morning how blessed I am for the 18 year detour the Lord gave me that, at the time, I often considered a curse. Now I smile, God knew what he wanted to do in me and through me. Why couldn't I just enjoy the ride? But honestly, we are all like that. We think we know best, and yet...as the bible says....God directs our paths.
Friday, August 08, 2008
A lecturer, when explaining stress management to an audience, raised a glass of water and asked, 'How heavy is this glass of water?' Answers called out ranged from 8oz. To 20oz The lecturer replied, 'The absolute weight doesn't matter. It depends on how long you try to hold it.' 'If I hold it for a minute, that's not a problem. If I hold it for an hour, I'll have an ache in my right arm. If I hold it for a day, you'll have to call an ambulance.' 'In each case it's the same weight, but the longer I hold it, the heavier it becomes.' He continued, 'And that's the way it is with stress management. If we carry our burdens all the time, sooner or later, as the burden becomes increasingly heavy, we won't be able to carry on.' 'As with the glass of water, you have to put it down for a while and rest before holding it again. When we're refreshed, we can carry on with the burden. ' 'So, before you return home tonight, put the burden of work/life down. Don't carry it home. You can pick it up tomorrow.' 'Whatever burdens you're carrying now, let them down for a moment if you can. Relax; pick them up later after you've rested. Life is short. Enjoy!'
And then he shared some ways of dealing with the burdens of life:
1 * Accept that some days you're the pigeon, and some days you're the statue
2 * Always keep your words soft and sweet, just in case you have to eat them.
3 * Always read stuff that will make you look good if you die in the middle of it.
4 * Drive carefully. It's not only cars that can be recalled by their Maker.
5 * If you can't be kind, at least have the decency to be vague.
6 * If you lend someone $20 and never see that person again, it was probably worth it.
7 * It may be that your sole purpose in life is simply to serve as a warning to others.
8 * Never buy a car you can't push.
9 * Never put both feet in your mouth at the same time, because then you won't have a leg to stand on.
10 * Nobody cares if you can't dance well. Just get up and dance.
11 * Since it's the early worm that gets eaten by the bird, sleep late.
12 * The second mouse gets the cheese.
13 * When everything's coming your way, you're in the wrong lane.
14 * Birthdays are good for you. The more you have, the longer you live.
15 * You may be only one person in the world, but you may also be the world to one person.
16 * Some mistakes are too much fun to only make once.
17 * We could learn a lot from crayons. Some are sharp, some are pretty and some are dull. Some have weird names and all are different colors, but they all have to live in the same box . 18 * A truly happy person is one who can enjoy the scenery on a detour.
Thursday, August 07, 2008
Tuesday, August 05, 2008
An amazing story with my thoughts to follow.....
Gorilla 'mother lode' found in Congo
Tuesday, 5 August 2008 Maggie FoxReuters
Researchers have found 125,000 western lowland gorillas living in the north of the Democratic Republic of Congo, almost doubling the known number of the endangered species.
A report released today at the International Primatological Society Congress in Edinburgh, Scotland says a new census tallied more than 125,000 critically endangered gorillas in a 47,000-square-kilometre area.
Estimates from the 1980s had suggested fewer than 100,000 of the great apes had survived and many experts believed these numbers had been cut nearly in half by disease and hunting.
The census figures, if right, increases the gorilla population estimate to between 175,000 and 225,000.
The Wildlife Conservation Society report shows "that northern Republic of Congo contains the mother lode of gorillas", says society president Steven Sanderson.
"It also shows that conservation in the Republic of Congo is working. This discovery should be a rallying cry for the world that we can protect other vulnerable and endangered species, whether they be gorillas in Africa, tigers in India, or lemurs in Madagascar." .......(read the whole article)
My thoughts- This is only part of the story, but as I read it I thought, "Isn't that amazing? With all we know and are able to do we don't even know how many gorillas there are! Of course I know how limited we are, but some scientists would make you think they know all the answers to the universe and creation and they can't even find out how many gorillas there are right here on planet earth!
I think I will trust what God says....since he made everything and holds it all together he's a much more reliable source than a bunch of scientists who are surprised by "the mother lode of gorillas". It often makes me smile to read how little we really do know. But God says he even knows how many hairs I have on my head. He knew about those gorillas even though the scientists didn't. Here's another opportunity to celebrate a God who is infinite, all powerful and sovereign. Oh, by the way, thanks Lord for preserving these gorillas. What a great blessing to have such amazing animals around us protected by YOU.
Saturday, August 02, 2008
I read an article in USA Today this evening. It spoke about the current trends in
By Cathy Lynn Grossman,
A new map of faith in the
Based on interviews with 35,556 adults in the continental
"It's not that religion won't matter in the future, but that it will matter in new and less predictable ways," says co-author John Green, a political scientist and Pew Forum senior fellow.
Key findings from the survey:
•Faith is fluid: 44% say they're no longer tied to the religious or secular upbringing of their childhood. They've changed religions or denominations, adopted a faith for the first time or abandoned any affiliation altogether.
•"Nothing" matters: 12.1% say their religious identity is "nothing in particular," outranking every denomination and tradition except Catholics (23.9%) and all groups of Baptists (17.2%).
"Fluidity is the rule today, not the exception. There's greater diversity and greater movement — a quantum leap in the rate of change."
So there it is. We are in a time of "fluid faith"....what a strange idea. It's a time when a belief in absolute truth is considered insensitive, rude, or narrow minded. If there is no absolute truth then what do we believe in? Where is our faith to stand? If there is no one true-truth then your faith and mine all swim in a sea of uncertainty rather than standing on the foundation of absolute truth.
This article really excited me. When everyone is swimming in a sea of uncertainty we stand on a sure promise and a strong foundation. We stand on Christ and his word. So as those who are uncertain float by with their ever changing "fluid faith" we can extend a loving hand of hope to them and a sure faith that will never let them drowned.
Friday, August 01, 2008
1. When Christ died on the cross how many of your sins did he die for? (A: all of them, Romans 5-8, Hebrews 10:10,12,14)
2. When Christ died on the cross how many of your sins were still future? (A: all of them)
3. And if that is true then when we trust Christ as savior how many of our sins are dealt with and forgiven? (A: all of them, Romans 8:1)
4. So, when you read 1 John 1:9, which says, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness,” and you see that it says that he will cleanse us from all unrighteousness how many of our sins does “all unrighteousness” include? (A: all of them)
AND, when he has cleansed us from ALL unrighteousness how much is left for us to be forgiven of in the future? (A: none of them),
So my proper response when I sin is this, “Lord, here is another reason why I needed a savior. Thank you for saving me and cleansing me from ALL my sins, including this one. I am sorry. I agree with you that this is sin. Thank you that you already forgave me for this sin. I repent, and ask you to help me not do this again. Fill me with your spirit, and help me to grow into the image of Christ.” (much thanks to Major Ian Thomas for help with the wording of this prayer)
We are not trying to get something we already have, but rather we are celebrating something that Christ has already done for us- his finished work and our forgiven sins. Many will say that we must continue to confess our sins and ask forgiveness for sin. This teaching lingers from the Catholic church tradition and is still the majority view in the Evangelical church (our “spiritual bar of soap” as Campus Crusade describes it), but I believe the Bible teaches a finished work by Christ both on the cross and in my life (that does not mean I’m perfect by the way.) I don’t need more forgiveness, I have that, what I need is repentance and the Holy Spirit to live his life through me! I need to thank him for his forgiveness already given and agree with him about my sin (that is what confession means) and turn from it, inviting him to live his life in and through me. That is the right response to sin. May we be people who begin to grow in grace and celebrate a finished work of Christ both on the cross and in our lives as we deal with sin.
As far as growth goes (maturity in faith) I’m on an odyssey that will continue until Christ returns or until I die, but one thing I’m not doing is constantly revisiting the cross for something I already have! I celebrate a finished work regarding sin (salvation) and invite him to be part of my life to finish his work in me (sanctification.) Let us move on to maturity and celebrate the cross but walk in grace. Christ has finished the work for us, a work that is complete even though we are still a work in process. Heb. 6:1
When you have a clear view of sin and its solution it is a freeing thing. Suddenly I’m no longer trying to get something I already have, instead I’m growing…growing in grace and a finished work…growing into the likeness of Christ!
(Romans 5-8, Hebrews 7:27, Hebrews 9, 10:10,12,14,19-25)