The Bible’s did NOT burn.

Hebrews_4-12

Heaven and earth shall pass away: but my words shall not pass away.  Mark 13:31

I saw an article on the internet and was amazed that the building burned yet the Bible’s and Crosses didn’t. Honestly, to me that is nothing short of amazing. It also seems to be an obvious sign that His Word cannot be silenced and or destroyed.

https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2019/03/05/bibles-crosses-survive-west-virginia-church-fire/3074465002/

https://www.google.com/amp/s/abcnews.go.com/amp/US/bibles-survive-unharmed-west-virginia-church-fire-fire/story%3fid=61480158

https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.cbsnews.com/amp/news/west-virginia-fire-freedom-ministries-church-bibles-cross-untouched/

https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.washingtonpost.com/amphtml/religion/2019/03/05/churchs-ashes-firefighters-find-unexpected-survivors-bibles-untouched-by-flame/

Multiple sources reported on this event. The fact that so many different agencies reported us amazing. That these news networks that seem so anxious to report negatively about Christians but all report on this is almost a miracle in itself.

 

His Word IS POWERUL! It WILL ENDURE! While this is a physical demonstration of how His word will endure but more than physically enduring, it endures in the hearts of those who serve Him.

 

Lord,  Thank You for the demonstration of Your majesty and for showing us that Your word is powerful and that it will endure. Thank You for the impact Your word and Holy Spirit have had on me in my life. I praise You and tank You for my salvation, for the grace and mercy I received. I pray in the name of Jesus that we all see the true power of Your word and that we all learn to listen to Your spirit when You speak to us. Giving us the strength and power of Your word as we strive to live the life You wish as examples of Your presence in us. And that we all know the forgiveness that was paid for at the cross by the sacrifice of Your Son Christ. Please draw us all closer to You that we may be a light in a dark world.

Amen.

 

I hope all are having a wonderful day and are blessed today. Please try to be a blessing to others as well.

Should I continue?

So, I got a notice today that it is about time to renew my subscription for the blog and I am asking myself: “Should I continue with the blog?” I initially started it to have a venue to write my thoughts as writing them out and reading is helpful to me and I hoped it would be helpful to someone else. I didn’t start it to try to make money so I didn’t do any advertisements.

It did help me, still does, but I find myself at a point where I will not have as much time available due to some changes in my life. I didn’t make any money from it, no shock since, as I said, I don’t do advertising and that is where bloggers earn money from their blogs. It isn’t really expensive so it isn’t a huge financial burden to continue it. My concern is the time factor and so I question myself about that. I weigh the benefits and the costs in time and money and I wonder if I should persist with this.

It has always been a good outlet for my thoughts and an opportunity to read the Bible as I write to see what He has to tell me about the issue with which I am dealing at the time. But, I wonder if I would do better to simply study the scripture and spend the time in prayer as opposed to continuing the blog.

1 To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:
2 A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted;
3 A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up;
4 A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance;
5 A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;
6 A time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away;
7 A time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
8 A time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace.

Ecclesiastes  3:1-9

I ask myself, has the time that He wants me to blog come to an end? Does He have better ways for me to seek Him? Am I writing things that others find a blessing?

Well, to answer those questions; I don’t know. So, on that issue I will pray, seek His counsel and guidance and let Him lead me on this issue. I have a little over a month, so between now and then, I will give that to the Lord and see what He has to tell me.

I will instruct thee and teach thee in the way which thou shalt go: I will guide thee with mine eye. Psalms 32:8

 

Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, [that] shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come. John 16:13

 

And thine ears shall hear a word behind thee, saying, This [is] the way, walk ye in it, when ye turn to the right hand, and when ye turn to the left.  Isaiah 30:21

 

5 If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all [men] liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.
6 But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed.

James 1:5-6

 

So, I will seek Him and His guidance and in the next few weeks, I will see how He leads me.

Lord, Praise Your Holy Name. I thank You for the help You have given me through this blog. I ask in the name of Jesus that You help me to know Your will and way for me. If I should continue this blog or if You wish me to serve You in another way. I ask that You show me the path You have for me so that I take it. Thank You for the mercies You have shown me and thank You for the forgiveness and redemption from sin that Christ bought for me with His blood and suffering. I pray that loved ones be drawn to You and that You help them all to know where they should continue and where You want them to serve You. In their current paths or do You have different plans for them for their futures. Help us all to know You and Your will for us. Reach out Lord to my children and loved ones that they know You as their personal Savior so we can rejoice in Heaven together.

Amen.

 

Thank you all for your time today. I hope all have a blessed day and can be a blessing to someone else as well.

Signs of the times?

danger sign

2 And Jesus said unto them, See ye not all these things? verily I say unto you, There shall not be left here one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down.
3 And as he sat upon the mount of Olives, the disciples came unto him privately, saying, Tell us, when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world?
4 And Jesus answered and said unto them, Take heed that no man deceive you.
5 For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many.
6 And ye shall hear of wars and rumours of wars: see that ye be not troubled: for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet.
7 For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places.
8 All these are the beginning of sorrows.

Matthew 24:2-8

 

A friend and I were talking about the second coming of Christ. How some of the various signs that we were told to watch for seem to be occurring and that indicates the time is getting close. My grandfather said many years ago that the time was getting close; he talked about all the signs he was seeing that indicated Christ would return soon. Now, I can see that some of the signs that are in the Bible have occurred. Yet, there are a lot of other signs that have not yet occurred.

1 This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come.
2 For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy,
3 Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good,
4 Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God;
5 Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away. 2 Timothy 3:1-5

 

25 And there shall be signs in the sun, and in the moon, and in the stars; and upon the earth distress of nations, with perplexity; the sea and the waves roaring;
26 Men’s hearts failing them for fear, and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth: for the powers of heaven shall be shaken.
27 And then shall they see the Son of man coming in a cloud with power and great glory.
28 And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh.                                                                         Luke 21:25-28

 

SO, when will He come? When will the Rapture happen? Well, THAT is something that we just cannot determine. In fact, He tells us that He will come when we don’t expect Him.

But of that day and hour knoweth no [man], no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only.  Matthew 24:6

Remember therefore how thou hast received and heard, and hold fast, and repent. If therefore thou shalt not watch, I will come on thee as a thief, and thou shalt not know what hour I will come upon thee.  Revelation 3:3

What is undeniable is that regardless of exactly WHEN, that time is coming and is getting closer by the day. Will it be within a year? Two? Twenty? A hundred? A thousand? Well, as He warns us, we cannot determine when, but we must prepare as it will come. God’s concept of time as to what is soon is vastly different than ours, to God, an immortal, eternal being, time means nothing. A second, hour, day, year, millennia all are the same to Him. But, come He will and He will keep His promises to us.

8 But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.
9 The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.
10 But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up.                                    2 Peter 3:8-10

 

Oh, the times will be difficult, but for those who believe in Him and are following Him we will be spared much of that which is to come. I am not a Biblical Scholar so I didn’t and won’t try to “over interpret” all the signs that we will see before His coming. I will address the Rapture and other aspects of what He tells us will occur when Christ returns in the near future.

 

Lord, Praise Your Name, I thank You for the blessings You give me, for the assuredness that Christ will return. I pray in Jesus name that we be ready that no one need suffer through the tribulation after Your return and that You draw us closer to You. Make us ready for the day that Christ returns and calls us up. Help us to be diligent and faithful until that time. Thank You for the mercy, forgiveness and redemption that Jesus earned for me with His suffering and death on the cross.

Amen.

 

Thanks for the visit today. Another winter storm in our area today, for the rest of you that are also dealing with the snow and cold, I pray He keeps you all safe and blesses you today and everyday. AND, of course that you have a chance to bless others.

Oh, and to those readers in warmer climates, I am jealous and so ready for the warmer weather.

It’s flu season. Did you get your Vaccination?

flu.jpg

It is now flu season and, given my profession, I have to deal with vaccination concerns as well as those who contract influenza. Please bear with me as I try to wear two hats today. I promise it will in one manner or another tie in for what I think are valuable life lessons. I am at least hopeful that I am able to do so adequately.

fluvax

As I said, it’s flu season and while only seeing a limited amount of cases now, that number will rise of that I have no doubt. And despite what some hear or read a few myths need to be dispelled: the influenza vaccine DOES NOT and CANNOT cause the flu, PERIOD END OF STORY! The flu shots are made with a killed virus that is incapable of causing influenza. Oh some may get some mild body aches, joint pain or headache and perhaps a slight increase in body temperature or as some call it a low grade fever (FYI medically there is no such thing as a low grade fever, a fever is a fever and if you temperature is not 100.4f or above you DO NOT HAVE A FEVER. Next: influenza vaccine has absolutely NOT been shown to cause autism in children (not have any other vaccines) the one publication that indicated that has been proven to have been totally fabricated and very loosely based on highly inaccurate, misinterpreted information. That was compounded by some uneducated celebrities and others jumping on that bad information and spreading the inaccurate information and creating situations where we are now seeing increases of measles, mumps, pertussis and s host of other diseases that only a few years ago were extremely rare. There are individuals that should not get vaccinations but those are a small number. Some will say that they know someone who’s friend’s, neighbor’s, third cousin’s mailman said had a severe reaction to a vaccination. Unfortunately, there are very rare but serious reactions to vaccinations and people have died from those adverse reactions but if one looks at the real numbers the less than 1 in 100,000 severe reactions to vaccines compared to the known complications of any of the diseases we vaccinate for is extremely, extremely small. Simply stated tens of thousands or hundreds of thousands are alive today because they avoiding contracting certain diseases by getting vaccinated. I hate that anyone die but if looking at the big picture far, far more lives are saved than are lost.

There are years where the flu that is present is not exactly the version for which one was vaccinated and, yes, there are time when someone still gets influenza however there is benefit in the form of cross immunity from the strains in the vaccine that one gets decreased severity of symptoms and usually recover much quicker than an unvaccinated person. So that even if the flu isn’t prevented for all at least it’s not as bad as it could be for those who get vaccinated.

Yet another issue about flu, there is no “stomach flu” and flu like symptoms is not nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. Flu or flu like symptoms are: fevers, chills, runny nose, cough, body aches and if severe difficulty breathing and possibly wheezing. The same symptoms as a common cold and most people with flu only need the same medicines we use for colds as we treat the symptoms and try to help people be more comfortable as their body fights the flu.

Final comment about flu is that the flu medicine (tamiflu) provides minimal benefit and will slightly decrease severity of flu symptoms and decrease duration of symptoms by 1 or 2 days and that only occurs if it is started within 48 hours of symptom onset preferably before 24  hours has elapsed since symptoms started. I do not use or recommend that it be prescribed except in limited circumstances. The benefit is minimal and the adverse (bad side effects) reactions are likely enough and severe enough that in my mind “the juice ain’t worth the squeeze” in regards to taking it.

Well, obviously I believe in vaccinating against diseases. One can decrease the risks of contracting influenza by washing their hands frequently, using hand sanitizer, avoiding close contact with those who are sick and through good nutrition which helps keep immune systems strong. Massive doses of vitamin C or other vitamins does not cure or prevent the flu or colds. And can cause more problems than they may help. The only definite effect of taking mega doses of vitamins is one has expensive urine since the majority of vitamins are water soluble so are excreted by the kidneys if one takes more than the body needs.

SO…..in order to minimize the risk to get the flu this year one needs to get good nutrition, plenty of rest, practice good hand washing/hygiene and get a flu vaccination. Even then, one cannot be absolutely guaranteed to not get influenza. BUT, doing those things make it much, much, much less likely (YES, I used 3 muches for emphasis!)

 

Okay, great you’re thinking by now. You are saying to get vaccinated but you can’t guarantee we won’t get sick. So what good is it?  And. FINE, we get what you are saying about the flu but what does this have to do with a Christian walk? And, here is where I try to be clever and make analogies. I hope that what makes sense to me actually makes sense to others as well. No one thing will guarantee us to be able to stay on the right path, serve Christ as He wishes we do so and help us avoid sin. BUT, by doing all of those things we can significantly decrease the likelihood that we will have difficulty in our Christian lives and what tools do we have to help us in that process?

The first step is to wash ourselves, rather to ask God to wash us of our sins by confessing to him that we are sinners and asking for His forgiveness.

But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.  1 John 1:7

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us [our] sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.  1 John 1:9

Having therefore these promises, dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.                         2 Corinthians 7:1

After we are clean we need to maintain nutrition by studying the scripture, learning what God has in the Bible to teach us how to live. He does this with straightforward instructions, parables, example (both of how to live and how not to live) and explaining to us how we can maintain the forgiveness and redemption He has given us and to teach us how to life for His benefit and glory.

16 All scripture [is] given by inspiration of God, and [is] profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:
17 That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.     2 Timothy 3:16-17

We can also maintain a balanced spiritual diet by spending time in prayer, talking to God, telling Him our issues and problems, our needs, and seeking His wisdom and guidance.

Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. Philippians 4:6

Pray without ceasing. 1 Thessalonians 5:17

But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly.  Matthew 6:6

16 Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked.
17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God:
18 Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints;
19 And for me, that utterance may be given unto me, that I may open my mouth boldly, to make known the mystery of the gospel,
20 For which I am an ambassador in bonds: that therein I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak.

Ephesians 6:16-20

 

More important than that, since He already knows those things anyway and even though He knows, He does want us to tell Him those things, is that we praise and worship Him.

1 Praise ye the LORD. Praise God in his sanctuary: praise him in the firmament of his power.
2 Praise him for his mighty acts: praise him according to his excellent greatness.
3 Praise him with the sound of the trumpet: praise him with the psaltery and harp.
4 Praise him with the timbrel and dance: praise him with stringed instruments and organs.
5 Praise him upon the loud cymbals: praise him upon the high sounding cymbals.
6 Let every thing that hath breath praise the LORD. Praise ye the LORD.

Psalms 150:1-6

 

The other part of the of maintaining our spiritual health, the vaccination if you will, is making sure to spend time with other Christians in praise and worship and fellowshipping with our Christian brothers and sisters by going to church.

Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some [is]; but exhorting [one another]: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching. Hebrews 10:25

For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.  Matthew 18:20

And, not only congregating with other Christians for the praise and worship, but to hear His word. I know that people learn through a variety of methods: reading about something, seeing something, doing things and hearing about something. How we learn about Christian life is the same, and if we try to learn the same material using more than one of these methods, or even better, ALL of these methods, the lessons are reinforced and better remembered. So, HEARING is a critical part as well, time sitting in the church pew LISTENING to the pastor, LISTENING to the message He is teaching from the scripture as well as listening to the messages in the songs.

So then faith [cometh] by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.   Romans 10:17

 

SO, just as in needing to do multiple things to help decrease and hopefully avoid catching influenza we need to do multiple things to help avoid “catching sin” rather falling back into sin and thereby falling away from God. It isn’t hard to maintain your Christian life, but doing one or some of these things, while helpful, does not give you all that you need as a Christian. There are a lot of Christians that think by praying, maybe reading the Bible once in a while, they will be able to be strong and spiritually healthy Christian. I know, because I was that way. Some believe all they need to do is go to church on Sundays and then live the rest of the week in whatever manner suit them. Still others believe that once saved, always saved and all they have to do is confess their sins and ask Christ to forgive them. It doesn’t work that way. I, you, WE ALL, fail God daily and sin in some way. Maybe not big sins, but I doubt there is a person alive that doesn’t slip at least a little every day. None of these things by themselves will keep us spiritually strong; doing one or two is not enough, sometimes doing all the things He tells us to do is barely enough and it is only by being diligent in doing all of them do we best insure that we do not get “spiritually sick” and that we instead are spiritually healthy.

 

Lord, I worship You and I praise the name of Jesus who You sent to die and suffer so that I and all of us could live. I thank You for the lessons and the ways You help me see how daily life and spiritual life have parallels so I can better understand what You expect of me and how I can be a better servant for You. I pray You help me keep my immunity intact, with spiritual washing, getting all the spiritual nutrition I need and getting spiritually vaccinated. I ask in the name of Jesus that You continue to work with me and helping me to grow in Christ. I pray that You work in the hearts and minds of loved ones also and draw us all closer to You. Help us all see Your truths for us and how to better resist the temptations of life so we do not become spiritually sick and lost. I pray for several different friends who have issues with which they are dealing and that You help them through the troubled times. Give them the comfort they each need and show them Your path for their lives, how they can correct what they can correct and how to move forward with their lives in the way You have for each.

Amen.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ignorance

Ignorant

 

I have heard the phrase ignorance is bliss pretty much my whole life. The other day someone made a statement about someone being ignorant and in the context used it meant that the person had no knowledge about a particular matter and that is a correct way to use the word. It doesn’t mean a person is stupid, but rather, uneducated or uniformed about a particular matter. But, hearing it got me to thinking, and why I didn’t think of it before, ignore is the root word from which ignorant is derived. (Yeah, I know….a definite Captain Obvious moment.) While ignorant does mean uneducated, but since it contained ignore I wondered if there was more to the meaning. So, I looked into it and in addition to meaning uninformed it also means to deliberately ignore or disregard important information or facts. So, ignorance isn’t simply not knowing, it is more importantly knowing and not using the information you know.

Thinking about that, I wonder how many people that claim to be Christian, or maybe they don’t claim to be but they were raised as Christians, that go about their lives ignoring God’s commandments or in other ways sinning. I wonder how much worse it is to KNOW the truth, but to ignore it. Pretending what one does is fine and not offensive to God. How many Christians know what God wants, but still do something different, perhaps not sinning exactly, but having God speak to their hearts so they know what He wants from them, but ignore it and do what they want to do. I will admit, that has been me a lot of times; knowing exactly what He wants me to do but not do it. Not actually committing a sin but still not following His plans for me. Of course, there are times I have known He didn’t want me to do something and did it anyway. I’m not talking about sinning, but instead when given options there are times I have KNOWN which He wanted me to do, but doing the other. This is in regards to many facets of my life where I didn’t sin, but ignored what I could feel God wanted me to do and ignored that, taking the path He didn’t want me to take. He didn’t punish me, but He didn’t bless me as He would have if I had listened. Choosing one option when there is no doubt that God has something better planned for me if I follow His guidance. BUT, I am sometimes headstrong and stubborn. Good thing for me He is forgiving and merciful.

I know I am not alone in doing such things. I have seen many Christians that during conversations they have told me things they felt God trying to do with them, for them, yet they don’t do what He wants. Many take a path that God does not want them to take and they know it, they ignore God’s plan and make up their own. I know that no matter what happens, they won’t be blessed the same as if they had not ignored God.

My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge: because thou hast rejected knowledge, I will also reject thee, that thou shalt be no priest to me: seeing thou hast forgotten the law of thy God, I will also forget thy children.   Hosea 4:6

Here, He talks about His people rejecting knowledge, that sounds to me like they actually KNEW but turned their back on His laws.  They ignored what they knew.

30 And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men every where to repent:
31 Because he hath appointed a day, in the which he will judge the world in righteousness by that man whom he hath ordained; whereof he hath given assurance unto all men, in that he hath raised him from the dead.
32 And when they heard of the resurrection of the dead, some mocked: and others said, We will hear thee again of this matter.
33 So Paul departed from among them.

Acts 17:30-33

Now we see that God, while He may not like ignorance (the not knowing kind,) He tolerated it, but as it says, He has given the message to repent and provided a way to do so, to be forgiven of our sins and when told about it, they rejected (or ignored) the knowledge they were given.

24 Because I have called, and ye refused; I have stretched out my hand, and no man regarded;
25 But ye have set at nought all my counsel, and would none of my reproof:
26 I also will laugh at your calamity; I will mock when your fear cometh;
27 When your fear cometh as desolation, and your destruction cometh as a whirlwind; when distress and anguish cometh upon you.
28 Then shall they call upon me, but I will not answer; they shall seek me early, but they shall not find me:
29 For that they hated knowledge, and did not choose the fear of the LORD:
30 They would none of my counsel: they despised all my reproof.
31 Therefore shall they eat of the fruit of their own way, and be filled with their own devices.
32 For the turning away of the simple shall slay them, and the prosperity of fools shall destroy them.
33 But whoso hearkeneth unto me shall dwell safely, and shall be quiet from fear of evil.

Proverbs 1:24-30

Obviously, God does not want us to ignore Him or His will. Yet, people have not really changed since the Old Testament.

Lord, I praise You and thank You for the blessings that You give me. I thank You for my salvation through the sacrifice that Jesus made for me on the cross. I thank You that my ignorance of You and Your plan for me did not cause You to turn Your back on me, even though that is what I deserved. I worship my Lord that is patient, merciful and graceful, who loves me so much He allows me to be ignorant, but then when I do finally listen He blesses me. I pray in the name of Jesus that You help me not be ignorant of your will or way, teach me so I have the knowledge and help me not be so foolish as to ignore You. I ask that You help me better learn Your will and way for me and help me better have the mind of Christ. I pray that You draw me, my loved ones and all others to You that we have the forgiveness and salvation that You offer us all.

Amen

 

I hope all have a wonderfully blessed day and that you have a chance to bless someone along the way.

Hear the word!

John_5-24

 

Hearing is important for a lot of things, conversations, sermons, music, and in my job it is critical. I don’t mean just processing the sounds and words, but truly HEARING the intended message. Many more times than I wish I have heard the words, but not what the person saying them meant. That applies to both spoken and written word. In the context of this particular verse and the overall messages of Christ’s ministry and the Bible; hearing, COMPREHENDING and BELIEVING the truth of those messages is vital so one may have that life eternal that Jesus promises us. Many, many times I sat in church as a child and an adult, hearing the words but not truly understanding. Oh, I believed, but often as I read the Bible now, I find that I am better understanding what God wants to tell us and not just the superficial messages that are derived from a quick read and minimal thought. I also see now that we must not only understand and believe the true messages behind things, but we must incorporate the teachings into our daily life. I am working to be better at that, I am better at it than I was, but still have a long way to go. I praise Him for His patience and understanding as I work through scripture to learn what He is teaching me and LIVE what He is teaching me. Every day He makes me a better person, a better Christian and I am far from where He wants me to finally be in my Christian walk but I’ll get there, one step at a time.

Lord, I praise You for the message, mercy, forgiveness, redemption and salvation I have been given. I thank Jesus for His sacrifice on the cross, that He freely accepted the suffering He went through because of my sins. In the name of Jesus I pray that You continue to work in my heart to show me the true message You are trying to tell me, the real lesson You want me to learn and how to incorporate those lessons in my life. I pray You continue to work with me to show me Your plan for my life, help me learn to put myself aside so that I don’t seek what I want for myself, but what You want for me. Teach as all Your true plan and remove those things in our minds that cause us to not see your plans, remove the obstacles, selfishness and worldly mindset that clouds our judgement and teach us to see with the eyes of Christ. Draw us all closer to You and Your perfect plans. Bring my loved ones close to You and give them the desire to know You and seek Your forgiveness so they may have the salvation You offer.

 

Amen

I hope all are having a blessed weekend and that you are able to be a blessing to someone else as well.

 

 

TGIF

TGIF

 

Thank God It’s Friday! and, THANK GOD I AM FORGIVEN!!!!!!!

I don’t work a regular schedule, but it just so happens that this week Friday is the last of several days working in a row and I am off for a couple days which will give me a chance to catch up on chores around the house and hopefully relax a bit. But, as I was getting around, praying a bit and getting ready to read in the Bible I realized that, even though I would usually, okay, ALWAYS rather do something besides go to work, but even though there are many things at work that make it frustrating, since I returned to Christ I have found the frustrations much easier to tolerate and many things that would have not only frustrated me, but made me angry, no longer bother me very much at all. I am far more tolerant, accepting and don’t let things upset me. That is not from me but thanks to the works that Jesus has performed in me.

Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.  2 Corinthians 5:17

It was not very long ago that I was cold, bitter, angry and very intolerant of any thing. That was due to a variety of circumstances, some issues from Iraq, work, home, family and life in general. I’m not saying that to justify the attitude but to just say I had a lot of different things causing stress. I had improved over the years, a lot in the last few, thanks to a friend that helped very much but no matter how much other people could help, the help I really needed could, and did, only come from God. He has given me a peace and comfort that nothing else ever could give. He has replaced sorrow with joy. He redeemed me of my sins and given me salvation. What a mighty and amazing God we serve. Praise His Holy Name.

Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou [art] with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me. Psalms 23:4

 

28 Come unto me, all [ye] that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.
29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.
30 For my yoke [is] easy, and my burden is light.  Matthew 11:28-30

 

8 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: [it is] the gift of God:
9 Not of works, lest any man should boast.         Ephesians 2:8-9

 

He is a merciful and gracious Savior. He saved me when I did not deserve it and has given me comfort beyond anything I have known without Him.

 

My Dear Lord, I praise You and thank You for my salvation, for the comfort and the change in my heart. I give all the glory for those changes to You for without You, they would not have been possible. Thank You for the sacrifice Christ made to redeem me. In Jesus name I pray that You continue the work in me to help me better walk with Jesus and to better have the heart and mind of Christ. I pray that You draw my loved ones and me, closer to You that we may all serve You and be examples of Your works. Show us all Your true will and way in our lives. I pray for those suffering in any way that You deliver them from their circumstances, give them peace and comfort. Show them Your love and mercy as You have shown me.

Amen

 

Thanks to all for the visit and your time. Have a blessed day and a wonderful weekend. Try to be a blessing to others as you go about your days.

 

 

 

You have to learn to look inside.

My grandmother, Gram we called her, was a rockhound. She loved finding different kinds of rocks. I am not talking about gravel or limestone, I mean the pretty stones, agates and other kinds of stones that while at first glance, seem to be just rocks. But, with cutting and polishing they become beautiful things that could be used for jewelry or used to make displays and decorations. Many of them, as I said, look like plain old rocks. But, once one learned about them they had certain characteristics that can be used to differentiate one from another. One kind she liked to hunt was thunder eggs.

thunder egg, uncut

 

“A Thunder Egg is a nodule-like or geode-like geological structure with some adhering silicified host rock comprising the outer zone of the thunder egg. Thunder Eggs are usually composed of quartz, agate, opal, and/or visibly crystalline quartz.”

Thunder Egg: Thunder Egg mineral information and data.
http://www.mindat.org/min-31316.html

But, look at them in that picture, sure don’t look like much. We were visiting with them for a couple weeks one summer and we all went to dig thunder eggs. I was digging like crazy, sometimes with pic, rock hammer, chisel and shovel. It was work, but thinking I was digging for a sort of treasure, fun work. I found some and showed them to her. She looked through them, she would hold each one and look at it. After a few seconds she would say, “oh, that is a good one.” or, “nope, that one is no good.” and toss it aside. Now, to me, there was absolutely no difference in how they looked but she said she could tell a difference. I asked how and she said, “You have to learn to look inside them.” OK, right….how does one see inside a rock? I protested that one that I thought looked good was pretty on the inside, she was sure it wasn’t, but said, “well, go ahead and put it in the pile we are taking home so you can see.” She chipped a bit off the side so she would know which one it was and also chipped another that she said was a good one, but chipped it different so she could tell one from the other. We finished up the day, some I found she said were good, some not. The next day we started cutting some in the rock saw. Fascinating things on their own, but will discuss that in another blog.

And, she sliced the good one I found. Those things are amazing inside, different shapes in different colors, some look like houses, people, trees, animals and it is fascinating to see that. She had some that had perfect crosses in them that she had found. One looked like the silhouette of Abraham Lincoln. God does some marvelous work, if you just take time to look. Well, as I said, the good one was gorgeous inside, multiple colors, fascinating patterns. Nothing that resembled anything in particular, but wow, it still looked awesome. Then, she sliced the bad thunder egg, the one she had said was no good. AND, she was right. It had just a little bit of color but dull, nothing vibrant or bright, more like smudges of paint than anything else.

thunder egg cut

 

(I kinda see the ocean and mountains in this one.)

I asked,  “How can you seen inside them?” She said, well, it’s like in the Bible, there is a lot of stuff in there and to get the most out of it, to see the beauty of His word, you have to learn how to look.” She went on to discuss external features of the rocks that normally were associated with better patterns and colors.

At that time, I was mostly worried about the thunder eggs and didn’t think about the true gem in what she had said, about reading the Bible with the right mindset to find the beauty of various scriptures and passages. And, being a child, after watching the rock slicing for a while, I decided it was time to do other things for a time.

Every once in a while since then, I would think about her saying I needed to learn how to look inside but until recently never gave much thought about the Biblical reference. Now, I try to read the scripture with a different mindset, different intent. I no longer read to just read it. I actually spend time praying before I read, asking for His help in understanding the message He has for me, the lesson He want me to learn, the beauty of that passage and how it can make me a better Christian so I can better serve Jesus.

Many of us like to do with the scripture as I did with the thunder egg, look and think they know what is inside. Many time I have done that. Find what it says, but not think about the meaning. Now, one can over analyze scripture and put the wrong thing into it, but most of us under analyze and only get what we want from it to suit our wishes at the time. One can make many things mean something from the intended meaning if you choose to look at things from the wrong perspective or with the wrong intent. If one wishes to find a verse that suits their situation, they will use that, sometimes paraphrasing or only using part of the verse or passage. Things taken out of context often appear to mean something other than what it truly says. Sometimes that means more than one verse, sometimes, more than one chapter, and, sometimes it requires more than one book. We have to put the entirety of the teachings together to get the real meanings.

And all things, whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive. Matthew 21:22

 

22 And Jesus answering saith unto them, Have faith in God.
23 For verily I say unto you, That whosoever shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; and shall not doubt in his heart, but shall believe that those things which he saith shall come to pass; he shall have whatsoever he saith.
24 Therefore I say unto you, What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them.

Mark 11:22-24

A cursory read of these verses/passages and one would think that whatever they want, they will get, if they pray and have faith. Well, yes……and no. Before anyone gets upset, I am not saying that faith and prayer will not give you what you seek. The thing is, if you are seeking and asking for the wrong thing, He won’t give it to you. One needs to consider that Christ starts out saying to have faith in God and pray to Him that He will give you what you ask for of Him. However, having faith in God means trying to seek Him, learning how to have the mind of Christ, the heart of Jesus. If you have the heart and mind of Christ and the faith that comes with it, then pray to God, He most certainly will give you what you want. However, you will find that by seeking Him first, the things for which you pray will change. Things will shift from the physical human wishes towards seeking of spiritual riches. One must consider what is said elsewhere in the Bible and use knowledge of all parts to get to the true beauty of His Holy Word.

But rather seek ye the kingdom of God; and all these things shall be added unto you. Luke 12:31

 

But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you. Matthew 6:33

 

 

And he went a little further, and fell on his face, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt. Matthew 26:39

So, all the promises He makes are true, He will give us what we want, what we seek, but they are conditional on us seeking that which we should seek. We have to get to that moment when we say, as Christ did, “not as I will, but as thou wilt.” God may have other wishes for us than we wish for ourselves. He wants us to want what He wants, He wants us to submit to His will and His way. When we do, we WILL pray differently, think differently, seek things differently. The words, taken here or there, give various meanings, but as I have heard, the sum is greater than the parts. Each part means this or that, but put together, a bigger, greater, more significant meaning is present. Yes, I need to learn to look on the inside, not take a superficial view, but study it and see how the entire thing fits together to make the magnificent message Christ has for me.

 

Lord, Praise You. Thank You Jesus for salvation and forgiveness. I ask that You work in my heart and mind that I better understand Your heart and mind. That I read the Bible from Your perspective and not mine. That I seek and find Your truths. The beauty of Your words. Please work on the hearts of loved ones that they come to you, those that already know you, make them stronger in faith. Teach us all how to hear You and to listen to what You are truly telling us.

Amen.

It is nearing the weekend, I hope your weeks were full of God’s blessings and glory. Just don’t be stingy, remember to bless others as well and take time to show and share His glory.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

King Saul had issues.

saul.jpg

I have to start with an apology. I somehow posted a draft that I had not finished instead of the one I intended. I was looking over the blog and noticed there was a lot missing, so I had to fix that error. My Apologies.

 

I was looking at other blogs and came across this and thought it was interesting. At work I deal with a lot of different people, many different issues, some related to physical health while others are mental health related, so I am always looking for information on all manner of conditions. Since I came back to Christ, I try to find Biblical information that can be helpful as well. See what there is scriptural that I can add to my treatment. I can’t tell them to pray or look to the Bible where I work, but if someone asks if there may be something Biblical I can offer information or send them to the Chaplain. I was reading about King Saul and though I already knew he had some significant mental health issues I started looking at them as a physician. He was bipolar and narcissistic for sure, with some significant personality disorders as well. He fits more the Paranoid type, not totally schizophrenic, but with some schizoid features. He also exhibited a lot of borderline personality as well as antisocial personality signs. He was complex for certain. Well, as I looked at Saul from a different perspective, not only as a person in the Bible, but from a medical point, it made me want to see what I could find in the Bible about that. There are many scriptures that discuss fear, anxiety, depression, far too many to list. Here is a link, hopefully it works, that I borrowed.

http://mindfulofgrace.blogspot.com/2009/10/personality-disorders-and-bible.html

I don’t know if the link will work right or if you will have to copy and paste into the browser bar but in case it does not I copied the text, it has the information for the author included should anyone want to see some of his other articles. I hope someone finds benefit.

Here is a link to information on various personality disorders. Helps somewhat to put the blog post I referenced into perspective.  Again, will probably have to copy and paste into browser.

https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/personality-disorders/symptoms-causes/syc-20354463

 

mindful of grace
Where psychology, neuroscience and issues of faith intersect

Grace for the Afflicted (2008)
is a Focus on the Family recommend resource.

 

 

About Me
Matthew S. Stanford, Ph.D.
I wear many hats: husband, father, author, research scientist, 80’s music enthusiast and fantasy football fanatic. Presently I am professor of psychology, neuroscience, and biomedical studies at Baylor University where I serve as the director of the doctoral program in Psychology. My wife Julie and I live in Waco, TX with our four children, Phoebe, Caleb, Luke and Joshua.
View my complete profile

 

Mental Health Grace Alliance
http://www.mhgracealliance.org

 

Blog Archive
► 2010 (29)
▼ 2009 (10)
► December (3)
► November (4)
▼ October (2)
Anxiety
Personality Disorders and the Bible
► August (1)

 

We both love how Matthew has taken the concept of sin and given a breath of fresh air to the topic. You must read this book because in its pages you will finally gain a biblical perspective on sin and what it takes to free yourself from the bonds that so easily entangle!

Gary and Michael Smalley
Smalley Relationship Center

 

When mental illness afflicts a loved one, how can we understand what is happening and respond appropriately? This biblically-literate and scientifically-informed book offers helpful insight, encouragement, and practical advice. For pastors and for those who hurt for those who hurt, Matthew Stanford offers sensitive and welcome guidance.

David G. Myers, Ph.D.
Professor of Psychology, Hope College and author of Psychology Through the Eyes of Faith.

 

Tuesday, October 20, 2009
Personality Disorders and the Bible

A personality disorder is a rigid, ingrained pattern of thoughts and behaviors that deviates significantly from the expectations of one’s society. This maladaptive pattern is usually well-established by late adolescence or early adulthood and is serious enough to cause distress or impaired functioning. People with a personality disorder are usually unaware that their thoughts and behaviors are inappropriate, so they tend not to seek help on their own.
Two of the most common and troubling of the personality disorders are borderline personality disorder (BPD) and antisocial personality disorder (ASPD). These personality disorders share a number of overlapping and related symptoms including problems with emotional expression, difficulty forming stable, healthy relationships and impulsive, self-destructive behavior. You may have thought that the Bible would have little to say about personality disorders, but in fact it gives a very clear description of two individuals who shows many of the symptoms associated with BPD and ASPD. I believe that we see an example of ASPD in the description of the “stubborn and rebellious son” found in Deuteronomy 21:18-21 (and possibly Ezekiel 18:10-13) while Gomer in the Old Testament book of Hosea appears to be an example of BPD.
The book of Hosea outlines a five step process of restoration in the life of Gomer that may be effective in ministering to a person diagnosed with BPD or ASPD. Step one is to clearly identify sinful behaviors and describe the associated consequences of such behavior (Hosea 2:1-13). When ministering to the individual with BPD or ASPD, we must be honest with them about the nature of their behavior and its consequences. This must be done in a spirit of love not judgment. Step two is to not become an enabler of the individual’s sinful and extreme behavior (Hosea 2:6). This means that you are not accepting or in denial about the seriousness of the individual’s extreme behaviors. Inconsistency in your response will only make these behaviors more likely to occur. Step three is a difficult one, especially for parents: allow the individual to suffer the full consequences of their behavior (Hosea 2:7). If you or someone else constantly covers for the individual or minimizes the negative consequences of their behavior in some way (e.g., pay off debt, post bail), then the potential for restoration is greatly limited. Step four is to continually make it clear to the person that restoration and forgiveness are possible regardless of what they may have done (Hosea 3:3). In many instances this will require you to humble yourself. It is only through full submission to Christ that you will be able to offer such unconditional acceptance and forgiveness. Finally, step five is to set up appropriate boundaries. Behavior does not change overnight. Once the person has returned to the family or relationship, they will need to be guided towards healing and restoration (Hosea 3:3). Clear and appropriate boundaries will help both you and them as you guide and monitor their progress. This is a long and difficult process for both you and the person with the disorder. Reward successes and point out failures in an environment of acceptance and love.

Posted by Matthew S. Stanford, Ph.D. at 10:25 AM

 

Lord, I praise Your Holy Name. I thank You for my salvation and many blessings. I ask that You help those out there with health problems, physical or mental, that need help. Work in their lives that they seek You for Your ability to heal and if that is through health providers, that they get the assistance they need and that You give the providers the wisdom to provide the right treatment. I ask that You work mightily in my life, Help me better care for my patients. That I bear good witness of Christ, through my actions, and when able, through my words.

Amen.

 

Thanks for taking a few minutes to read this. I hope something is beneficial for someone. Have a blessed day and do your best to bless someone else somehow.

 

Trust Building Exercises

trust

Has anyone else ever had to do one of those team building programs? When I started residency at FT Bragg, it was required that we attend, and participate. It was a couple days long, we had to climb walls without ladders or ropes, too high to get over alone so we had to help each other up and over. Then,  we had to pretend we were over lava or some such thing, with only a few safe spots, wooden posts, about as big around as a telephone pole, but only about 2 feet high. We had been given some planks to go from one to the other, but that meant someone had to get from post 1 to post 2 so we could get the plank in place, then, have to keep repeating it. Some of the times we were able to work together to get the plank into position, other times we had to balance the plank, one person on one end, and depending on the balance point, 2 or 3 on the other end. If anyone moved wrong, all would fall. Eventually we got through that, on to another, on, and on. The final exercise was one of trust. All had contained some aspects requiring trust in each other, but this was in the first few days of arrival for us all so we didn’t know each other well. Of course, that was the point of the exercise. But, the final exercise required that each take a turn, standing on an elevated platform, blind folded, then, lean backwards and allow themselves to fall while the rest were there to catch that person. I think I was the 3rd or 4th to go, but hats off to the one that went first. That required the most trust as none of us knew for sure how to catch the guy. Oh, we had been shown how to lock arms together to make a cradle of sorts to catch him, but we all had some concern that we may lose grip and drop him. After the first couple, we got more comfortable catching, but taking one’s turn to fall was not all that easy. You couldn’t see where exactly you were, who all was doing the catching, if they were positioned correctly or not. You just had to trust. We all did fine, no one was dropped, no one was injured so it was a good day. But, when I heard something on the radio about trust, it made me think of that. Then, my mind working as it does, I began to think about how that can apply to my spiritual life.

God wants us, REQUIRES us, to trust in Him, completely. Now, I have heard a lot of people that say they trust in God, but then they do little things that show they don’t fully trust Him. All of us have had trust betrayed at some point in our lives, and because of that, it makes it more difficult to trust fully and completely, often times because of that attitude, we don’t trust Christ completely either. But, we must get over our human mindset, get past our lives experiences with people that are not faithful and true and simply trust in Him. God does not lie, He fulfills His promises to us. He is forever faithful and true. I guess, to a large extent, developing unconditional trust in God requires adapting the mind and heart of Christ and to get that unconditional faith from which the total trust we need to give God comes. It aint easy, I know. I pray and tell God I give things to Him, but then I still worry. That means I have some mental and spiritual reservations. That in turn means, though I say I trust Him 100%, it may be only 90%.

The LORD recompense thy work, and a full reward be given thee of the LORD God of Israel, under whose wings thou art come to trust. Ruth 2:12

 

The God of my rock; in him will I trust: he is my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my high tower, and my refuge, my saviour; thou savest me from violence.            2 Samuel 22:3

 

Here the Bible is discussing Hezekiah, that I found information saying he was the 13th descendant of David, so several generations removed, and we all think of David as having the heart of God, but this tells us that Hezekiah had no equal in regards to his trust in the Lord and his reign as king of Judah.

5 He trusted in the LORD God of Israel; so that after him was none like him among all the kings of Judah, nor any that were before him.
6 For he clave to the LORD, and departed not from following him, but kept his commandments, which the LORD commanded Moses.

Offer the sacrifices of righteousness, and put your trust in the LORD. Psalms 4:5

 

5 Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.
6 In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths. Proverbs 3:5-6

 

35 While he yet spake, there came from the ruler of the synagogue’s house certain which said, Thy daughter is dead: why troublest thou the Master any further?
36 As soon as Jesus heard the word that was spoken, he saith unto the ruler of the synagogue, Be not afraid, only believe.

Mark 5:35-36

 

6 The LORD is on my side; I will not fear: what can man do unto me?
7 The LORD taketh my part with them that help me: therefore shall I see my desire upon them that hate me.
8 It is better to trust in the LORD than to put confidence in man.
9 It is better to trust in the LORD than to put confidence in princes.

Psalms 118:6-9

 

So many times we see that trusting God has great rewards. He has promised He will be faithful to us, we only are required to be faithful in Christ, and give total trust. Seems a simple concept, but as I mentioned, it isn’t always easy. There have been times I said I am trusting God, when I was thinking, I am trusting God, mostly. HUGE difference in those things, partial trust is mistrust. I will no longer mistrust God. I will give Christ the total and complete trust He deserves and demands of me. Only when I trust completely can He do the work He needs to do in me and my life.

 

Jesus, I praise You and thank You for the sacrifice You made on the cross for me. For the salvation You graciously give one so undeserving as I. I ask that You work in me, help me better trust in You, trust in Your word and promises that I not falter in my faith. That I trust implicitly, 100%, totally and completely in You. I pray You continue to foster my desire for You and Your way in my life. I ask You to draw me ever closer to You, give me Your mind and heart. Teach me Lord. Show me Your will and way in my life. The path You have for me. I pray You work in the hearts and minds of loved ones as well, give them the desire to serve You, draw those not saved to You. Deliver us all from our sins that we may worship You and bask in Your many glories. Show them Your will and way, Your true path for them with Christ and make them ache to follow You. I thank You for my many blessings and ask You to use me to help reach others for You.

Amen

 

Thank you all for reading my post. I hope there is some sort of encouragement and blessing for you. I hope all are sure to have a blessed day, and to share the blessings with others.