and the One who walks with me on it.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Blind Bartimaeus

(Jesus) …went out of Jericho with his disciples and a great number of people, blind Bartimaeus, the son of Timaeus, sat by the highway side begging. And when he heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to cry out, and say, Jesus, thou Son of David, have mercy on me.
And many charged him that he should hold his peace: but he cried the more a great deal, Thou Son of David, have mercy on me. And Jesus stood still, and commanded him to be called. And they call the blind man, saying unto him, Be of good comfort, rise; he calleth thee. And he, casting away his garment, rose, and came to Jesus.
And Jesus answered and said unto him, What wilt thou that I should do unto thee? The blind man said unto him, Lord, that I might receive my sight. And Jesus said unto him, Go thy way; thy faith hath made thee whole. And immediately he received his sight, and followed Jesus in the way. Mark 10:46-52 

       The blind beggar used to being out in the streets trying to make enough money to live off of must have wondered at the great crowd and commotion going by.  His ears must have picked up on Jesus name in conversations and Bartimaeus knew this was his chance for a miracle.  He cried out for mercy from Jesus.

       Many in the large crowd rebuked him for his scream or loud call.  Shhh! Don’t bother the Master, quiet down, you’re embarrassing yourself: I’m sure there were many excuses why the people tried to quiet the man, but none would have been done out of compassion.  Notice it is unreported that any man/ woman tried to help the blind man to Jesus or to call Jesus’ attention to the blind beggar.

       Instead of being intimidated by those he could not see, he shouted all the louder for mercy.  He caught the Lord’s attention for ‘Jesus stood still’.  Bartimaeus threw off his cloak, stood from the ground he sat upon to beg, and walked (or ran?) to Jesus.  The crowds did not stop him.  Their attempts to quiet him did not stop him.  His lack of seeing did not stop him.  Bartimaeus didn’t let anything stand in his way to get to Jesus.  He told Jesus what he wanted, and Jesus told him his faith (conviction that Jesus could heal him) made him whole.

       We need to throw off our filthy outer garments that bring us comfort and possibly hinder us on our way to Jesus walk through the crowds trying to quiet us or stop us, and find our way to Jesus.  He is the only One who can save us.  He is the only One who can heal us.  He is the only One who can free us from our bondage.  He is the only One who can make us whole.  Jesus alone is our Redeemer.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Oh Lord, help us get in trouble!

       No, I really didn’t make a typo when I put in the title.  When we pray, we tend to pray what we think would be in our best interest.  The problem is, unlike the Lord, we cannot see with eyes that have seen all the past, present and future therefore we cannot make the informed decisions that He is able to.  Just after a man was healed, Peter and John were threatened by the religious leaders of the day to stop speaking/ teaching about Jesus.  The apostles went and told the other believers:

And hearing, they with one passion lifted voice to God and said, Master, You are the God… to do whatever Your hand and Your counsel before determined to be done.  And now, Lord, look upon their threatenings, and give to Your slaves to speak Your word with all boldness, in the extending of Your hand for healing and miracles and wonders to happen through the name of …Jesus.  And they having prayed, the place in which they were gathered was shaken, and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and spoke the word of God with boldness. Acts 4:24-31 TIB (literal translation)

       With one passion they lifted their voices to God.  They were in complete unity of desire and thought... and that was not for their own protection.  They knew the Lord’s hand was at work and His counsel done.  So, instead of praying for protection, they prayed for boldness to speak out about Jesus which they knew would get them into more trouble, and yet, they still prayed it!  They also prayed for the Lord’s healing, miracles and wonders to happen in Jesus name- and they knew this would also cause them trouble.

       Yet, because of the unity and selflessness of their prayers in their serving of the Lord, the Holy Spirit filled them again, giving them boldness in speaking the word of God.  Everything they prayed for was for God’s glory and God’s honour, not for a reputation as a ‘man of God’, for a book deal or donations to fund their lifestyles.  They wanted the boldness to get the good news of Jesus Christ out to change the world- and they did.

Lord, give us the boldness to tell the world all about the real You!
     (Even if we get in trouble J )

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Feeding the Hunger

       Ever notice how we tend to feed our hunger?  We overindulge to gratify our bodies and eat comfort foods to assuage our troubled emotions.  We watch tv, listen to music or play computer games to feed the need for tranquility from our troubled thoughts.  We serve and fill our days with fellowship groups, Christian reading material, and studies to try and feed the hunger that remains in our spirits.

       Hunger- To feel the pain or uneasiness which is occasioned by long abstinence from food; to crave food.  To desire with great eagerness; to long for. (Webster’s 1828)  We try to feed our cravings with many natural things such as food, distractions (from struggles), and outward actions that leave us unsatisfied and still hungering for more.  That more is what we have been lacking since the beginning when Adam and Eve lost the most important satisfaction of their lives- their communion with God. (Gen. 3).

       It is when we try to feed our hunger with other things than the Lord that we feel the pain or uneasiness occasioned by long absence from Him.  No matter how much we fellowship with others, hear great messages, learn more ‘spiritual’ things, and serve our fellow man as our Lord desires, we will not feel content until we feed the real need in our lives with Him- His presence is a necessity for our satisfaction in life.  True communion with God or to be one with Him is what He desires. (John 17:3,21)  He lost it in the garden of Eden too, and He has been providing man various opportunities to find our way back to Him since then.  Here are some scriptures on hunger:

Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled. Mat. 5:6 
Blessed are ye that hunger now: for ye shall be filled... Luke 6:21 
And Jesus said unto them, I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst. John 6:35 

The Lord loves you.

   He wants to be with you.

       He misses you.

Friday, December 09, 2011

Mid-Week Service

       Whatever happened to mid week service?  Why did it ‘die out’?  In my teen years right up until my early thirties, I could count on going to church services Sunday morning (sometimes Sunday night as well) and once on Wednesday evening.  It was like a mid-week pick up and helped me get through the week.  Nowadays they have mid-week Bible studies or home groups.  While I have no problem with either of those, they (for the most part) lack one important thing to me: the celebration and worship of my King in conjunction with other believers.

       Now, there are plenty of opportunities to study my Bible, at home on my own and several at church as well.  There are also many home groups that meet where there is Bible study, prayer and fellowship which are all vitally important.  But still, I’ve yet to see a place to go where those who want to celebrate out Lord together can go for that mid-week pick up.*  I even went through the internet and phone book, wrote out a page of churches with phone numbers, and called them all.

       Out of all the ones who answered the phone (many didn’t answer or have answering machines) they all said either they didn’t have anything offered, or they had Bible studies and home groups.  So, where’s a girl to go?  I will continue to try the unanswered calls, and I’m going to keep looking and asking, so hopefully I will find one place in this city of over 300,000 where there is an actual mid-week service.

       Really, I’d just like to get together with other Christians to worship our King.  I’m not asking for much; the apostles/disciples got together daily in the Temple and met in homes every day often sharing communion, (Acts 5:42; 2:46) and I’m only asking for one night mid-week.  Oh how I miss it!

*There is one church that has an actual service on Fridays which is a really bad day for me- and not good for a mid-week pick up anyway!

Thursday, December 08, 2011

Life is precious.

       My brain is in a fog so bad today that I can’t even think to write- nothing is forming focused thought.  Earlier, I heard about a young lady who passed away while speaking to her mom by cell during the last moments of her life.  Life is precious, and we all need to value it.  It isn’t always easy- sometimes it never is- it is filled with great pain and sorrow, but it also has moments of overwhelming love and joy.

       We see horrible acts of cruelty, oppression and dishonesty at the hands of some, but we also see others giving of their time, effort, love, personal things, money, to give to those with deeper needs.  Some even put their own lives in jeopardy to save other’s lives.  Life is full of… well… life!  And you and I will make of it what we choose to.  You see, those in poor countries understand: it doesn’t matter what you have or don’t have, or what circumstances are happening around you, life is meant to be lived as fully as you can and it’s the people around you that are the real treasures of life.

Life is precious.

Tuesday, December 06, 2011

The Power of God’s Love

       It was early 1982 and I walked into the basement of my Catholic church on the main drag.  My aunt had gotten me involved in the Catholic Charasmatic movement and I found out a few charasmatics attending my church met in the basement there once a week for a meeting.  The first time I walked into the room, I knew it was different.  The room felt alive, the people ‘charged up’ and what I saw in their eyes blew me away.

       It was the love that seemed to be pouring out from their eyes that nearly knocked me off of my feet.  They welcomed me, expressed their love with smiles and hugs, and made me feel totally comfortable.  Though I can’t remember a single name, in my mind I can still see their beautiful faces.  We would worship, have a brief teaching, and pray.  Their love drew me to the Lord because I wanted what they had and for the first time in my life I felt loved.

       Let me tell you, if people do not see the love of Jesus Christ in your eyes toward them, they will not be drawn to what you have in Him.  For instance, I know a group of people who can’t understand why the downtrodden people living near their church don’t want Christ.  Could it be that the poor people are seeing disrespectful and condescending attitudes instead of the love of Jesus in the members’ eyes?  (I heard much said behind the scenes!)  Love from the Father is pure, genuine, and sees no distinction in status.  He doesn’t look on the outward man so neither should we. (1Sm. 16:7)

       It was not long after I began attending those meetings that I heard the complete gospel message and gave my heart and life to the Lord Jesus Christ.  That was over twenty years ago, and I can still ‘see’ the love in those charasmatics’ eyes when I picture them in my mind.  The power of God’s love is irresistible.  After all, isn’t love what most people truly desire in life?  We all want to belong and be/ feel loved.

To be more like the Father we must spend more time in intimate communion with Him so that maybe the world will see His love shining out of our eyes.

Monday, December 05, 2011

Getting Old

       A few minutes ago I had to return a call to my Mom.  You would think it was a Laurel and Hardy routine as I tried verbally to figure out what she was saying and not saying.  Phone calls to her these days tend to be very frustrating now that she is in her late 70’s.  She is getting old, but then, so am I.  The other day my sister and I were talking about our physical maladies so much we sounded like a couple of seniors though I am 44 and she is in her 50’s.  It seems like a lot of middle aged people are feeling physically old these days.

       All things tend to get old and when they do, they wear out (like jeans), wear down (like a car) or go bad (like the green looking meat in the container in my fridge).  Sometimes we grow bored of movies we’ve seen too often or books we’ve read too much (can anyone say ‘The Cat in the Hat?’).    Yet there is one thing that NEVER gets old- the Word of God.

       Back when I was a child people found comfort in the scriptures.  We still find comfort in those same scriptures today- as did the people of God 4000 years ago right up until now.  How can words written so long ago have relevance and value in our lives today?  Because the words in
                                                                                      the Bible are unlike any other book out there.

For the word of God is quick (to live/ alive), and powerful (active), and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing (penetrating) even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. Heb.  
All scripture is given by inspiration (divinely breathed) of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: 2Tim.  
(Jesus said) Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away. Mat. 24:35 
… word, which is able to save (save/ deliver/ protect) your souls (spirit). Jas. 1:21

       If you want the abundant life that Jesus came to give, you’ve got to spend lots of time reading the living words in the Bible and getting to know the living (John 6:69) God of the Bible.  Then the living words will cut and divide, heal and restore and actively transform your life and mind. (Rom. 12:2; 2Cor. )  I’ll bet the authors, from Moses through to the apostles, never considered a young girl in 1983 being transformed by the words of the scriptures, but here I am a much different person than I was even in ’83.

The Lord has continually changed me through and by His living and powerful Word!

He can change you too!

Sunday, December 04, 2011


       Did you ever feel like something was left undone?  Today was not one of those days.  I managed to get ready in time to bike to church.  It only lightly sprinkled instead of pouring, the ride was warmer than I expected and the wind did not affect my ride.  Then I changed into better clothes and was able to get into the library a few minutes before my shift to open up.  It doesn’t flow much easier than that!

       So it was after I had greeted and hugged many people that I realized my feeling that all was well and running smoothly was groundless as I looked down and found my fly undone.  Moments after secretly solving my problem my fellow librarian pointed out that one of the buttons in the middle of my blouse was undone and then I noticed the bottom button was also undone.  Ah, so all did not work out as smoothly as I thought it did!  I guess we can’t really go by our feelings.

       Perhaps I feel you hate me because of something I said or did.  You might not even have noticed and therefore my feelings are based on my own false perceptions.  Maybe I feel that I did a great job but in actuality I missed some important details (incomplete information).  And how many spouses walk out on a marriage leaving the other spouse thinking, ‘I thought everything was fine…’  Again, our feelings can be based on our false perceptions at the time or lack of pertinent/ complete information. 

       Undone buttons and zippers are a minor embarrassment, but there are times our feelings (based on false perceptions or incomplete information) can devastate us.  At various times I have heard, “God must hate me because I can’t stop ______ing.”, “I am worthless”, “I just don’t feel God is here anymore.”, and “Nobody loves me.”  We base these kinds of feelings on our own faulty perceptions. 

       You see, even if all other people fail us, God never will.  Even when we can’t ‘see’ Him work in our lives, He is.  Even when we can’t feel Him near us, He is always present.  It is great to feel these things, but it is not necessary.  With our false perceptions based on inaccurate information, it is no wonder the Bible says the heart is deceitful above all. (Jer. 17:9)

No matter what you and I feel, these truths remain:
Be strong and courageous.  Do not be afraid or terrified because of them (enemies), for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. (Dt. 31:6) NIV
What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who is against us? He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not also with him freely give us all things? (Rom. ,32) 
You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar.  You discern my going out and my lying down; you are familiar with all my ways.…Where can I go from your Spirit?  Where can I flee from your presence? (Ps. 139:2,3,7) NIV
For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life. (John 3:16)

Friday, December 02, 2011

A Short Dream

(This is my attempt to describe something almost indescribable, and I know it will fail in many ways because of man’s limited vocabulary and visual comparisons.) 

       I knew it was a dream so it didn’t bother me to be only a few inches from her face.  I can barely begin to describe the incredible, ethereal beauty I was observing in her face.  Gazing in her eyes, all I could see was light and life, perfection and wholeness.  Her amazing eyes were perfectly framed by long, intense lashes and I gazed away only long enough to notice the flawlessness of her skin, her features perfectly complementing each other, and even her hair was gleaming and exuded life.  I was irresistibly drawn to her beauty because it wasn’t just in her features but radiated out of her being.

       The picture of her face burned in my mind so much that when my brain awoke (too early) I refused to open my eyes or get out of bed because I didn’t want to let go of her magnificent face in my mind.  So, half an hour later I lay, still seeing her breathtaking flawlessness in my mind and wondering at the meaning of it.  Right from the start I knew the face I was observing was mine, and trust me, I have never seen my face look that good!

       I won’t bemoan my physical appearance, but suffice it to say that I went from feeling completely ugly as a teen, to okay in my twenties and finally accepting my personal beauty in my thirties.  It has taken many years (since one of my trials) for life to return to my eyes. (I actually wrote a post about that!)  The face I see in the mirror everyday certainly doesn’t come close to the one I was gazing on.  So my question to the Lord was: is this how You see me now, or is it how I will be in Heaven?

       Immediately I realized that God sees me physically just as I am, and just as I am is beautiful to Him already.  The dream was a glorious picture of what will be in a world without sickness and disease, without sin and shame, without pain and grief, where life abounds in perfection and indescribable beauty beyond our comprehension is typical.  It is the future He has prepared for those who love and obey Him… an eternal place where life abounds full of joy and peace unending …

for you…
     for me…

Oh Lord, precious Lord…
     what You have in store for us!

Thursday, December 01, 2011


       Marriages over twenty years are falling apart, people are in financial distress as some are still laid off.  More people are diagnosed with cancer every day, others are anxious over the coming Christmas season, while others are mourning a loss, and over all there is tension, trials, stress, struggles, loss, pain and loneliness. 

       Maybe this year we could focus more on making other’s lives easier instead of spending more time in stores.  Perhaps we could reach out to a stranger with a hand of comfort instead of running by to get the latest electronics on sale.  Even in limited time, we can offer a smile, a kind word while waiting in line or at work and ask if a person would like some prayer.

       Maybe, just maybe, this Christmas season, instead of putting up more Christmas lights and pouring out more egg nog, we could shine the light of Jesus Christ from our hearts and eyes, and let His living water flow out of us and touch the lives around us with the unconditional love of the Savior. 

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Need Glasses?

       It doesn’t matter how much I strain or try to see without my glasses, the distance remains a blur.  It’s especially bad when you are uncertain of the time on the clock at the end of the dining table.  I’ve been wearing glasses since I was about eight, and my drivers license requires they be worn to drive, but the truth is for seeing distance I don’t like to have them off.  I can’t stand seeing blurry!  The crisp details of life are interesting to me.

       Brandon Heath wrote a song, “Give Me Your Eyes” about a person, likely a Christian, who is asking God to give him God’s eyes so that he can see the people the way God sees them.  It is easier to look past people with their struggles and pain, because when we look at them we begin to really see them; seeing them means we might begin to empathize, and then we will have to do something… and who has the time or resources to do that, right?  Looking past is the easy way out- and the self absorbed way.  God always sees man, every man, even his innermost part.
(1Sam. 16:7)

       Jesus said the two greatest commands were to love the Lord your God with your whole self, and to love your neighbour as yourself.  (Just check out how many times in the New Testament it says to love our fellow man- it’s a lot.)  So, I’m thinking that we need to pay attention to the many scriptures that say we are to love others not just in words, but in actions.

       To start, it might help if we all put on our 'God' glasses so that we can see more clearly.  We were supposed to put them on when we first accepted Jesus as our Lord and Savior, and most of us did start seeing some things clearer, but it’s not too late to see it all the way God wants us to see it.  Scripture is meant to help us clear up our vision.  The more we read and understand with the Holy Spirit’s help, the clearer we will see.

       Also, we can ask the Lord to help us better see the world, the spirit realm, and most of all our fellow man- through His eyes.  Lately I’ve begun to see things quite differently.  It is like I have been given a more accurate prescription to see the beautiful details of life, though it also comes with a bit of sadness as I see the desperate needs of those struggling or in pain.  Still, I don’t want to live seeing blurry anymore.  How about you?

Lord, help all your people to see our fellow man through Your eyes and heart
     And help us to love every man the way You do.

Monday, November 28, 2011

The Hawk

       It sat on the wire early one morning watching the sun rise in the east.  The bird was big enough to be a hawk, but I wasn’t sure.  It didn’t seem to move at all except for its small white feathers being ruffled by the gentle breeze.  Perhaps it was awaiting the warmth of the new day before it took off, or maybe it was enjoying the brilliance of colour and light.  Whatever it was doing, it seemed to be in a very content and peaceful place.

       A lot of the times when I have realized my own discontentment, it has always factored down to one basic lack… that of deliberately spending time in God’s presence.  He is like the sun to us.  He brings us life, warmth, spectacular colour and Light.  Reading His Word, praying, and meditating on Him can all be done without feeling His presence.  Yet it is feeling His presence that brings us contentment, peace and joy into our lives.  We can enter into His presence if we want to- anytime.  He tore the veil in two to say just that! (Mat. 27:51)

       I want to be like that bird on the wire just watching as the Son rises in my heart and in my life.  I want to feel the presence of the Lord in my life- all the time if possible.  I want to experience His abundant life daily (John ) and for Him to warm up any coldness left in my heart. (Mat. 24:12) I want to see His spectacular beauty (Ps. 90:17) and to know His Light (Ps. 36:9) as He guides me on my way. (Ps. 119:105)

Let us all bask in His glory!

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Early Writing about Christians 3

       They say you can’t judge a book by its cover.  Once you read that book however, you are better able to evaluate it.  We are all living epistles of Christ known and read of all men. (2Cor. 3:2,3)  That means the people around us are reading us (continually in every setting and situation they find us in), and they will evaluate us based on our love, (John ), fruit (Luke ) and all our other actions, words, ethics, integrity, behaviours, and so on- just like we evaluate them! 

       Our love will be proven not just in our words, but in our actions- and people will usually feel if it is genuine.  The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, meekness, self-control (Gal. ,23 ASV) in all goodness and righteousness and truth; (Eph. 5:9)  That’s a lot to live up to, yet it should be what we strive for as we live in intimacy with God.  Here are more writings about early Christians:

Lucius M. Piso  201 to 300 AD
 “But these Christians seem to be a harmless people.” (undamaging, safe)
“But they have no religion that anybody can call such.  They have no gods, nor altars, nor sacrifices; such can never be harmless…However all this may be, there seems to be some charm about them or their worship, for all the world is running after them….
They had ever impressed me as a simple-minded, virtuous community, of notions too subtle and spiritual for the world ever to receive, but which upon themselves appeared to exert a power altogether beneficial.  Many of this faith I had known well, and they were persons to excite my highest admiration for the characters which they bore

Lactantius  240-320 AD
“If we all derive our origin from one man, whom God created, we are plainly all of one family. Therefore it must be considered an abomination to hate another human, no matter how guilty he may be. For this reason, God has decreed that we should hate no one, but that we should eliminate hatred. So we can comfort our enemies by reminding them of our mutual relationship. For if we have all been given life from the same God, what else are we but brothers? ... Because we are all brothers, God teaches us to never do evil to one another, but only good—giving aid to those who are oppressed and experiencing hardship, and giving food to the hungry.”

In the third century the plague swept across the ancient world.  Christians were predominantly the ones to care for the sick risking catching the plague themselves.  Others would go so far as to throw newly infected family members into the street to protect themselves from infection.*

There was an actor who went to the church elders (1) to see if he should quit his job since it was full unholy practices.  They advised the man to quit and he did.  Upon asking the elders ‘above’ them (2) what were the man’s next steps since he had no other skills, the elders (2) said to make sure the man had enough money to live, and if they (elders 1) couldn’t provide for him, then send him to the elders (2) and they would take care of him.  In other words, elders (2) were willing to care for a total stranger- another believer- for an undetermined length of time.**

True Christians were a harmless people.  (Do not cause damage, are safe)
There were appealing somehow for all the world runs after them.
They were virtuous. (honourable, moral, righteous, honest)
They bore a power. (Hmm… Holy Spirit power?)
They aroused admiration for their character.  (nature, temperament, personality, disposition, spirit)
They considered ALL humans as God created and worthy of treatment as a brother giving aid and food.
They chose not to hate, and comforted their enemies.
*They put their own lives at risk to help others.
**They made sure all brothers were taken care of.

Which of these statements (and those in the previous two posts) would the world make of you?

I can't answer for you because I'm busy looking through the lists at me!

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Early Writing about Christians 2

(This first part was so well written, I am quoting directly from the site.)
       Many of us live our lives no differently than do conservative non-Christians, except for the fact that we attend church regularly each week. We watch the same entertainment. We share the same concerns about the problems of this world. And we are frequently just as involved in the world's commercial and materialistic pursuits. Often, our being "not of this world" exists in theory more than in practice.

       But the church was not originally like that. The first Christians lived under a completely different set of principles and values than the rest of mankind. They rejected the world's entertainment, honors, and riches. They were already citizens of another kingdom, and they listened to the voice of a different Master.    
(History of the Early Church @

Letter to Diognetus @ 130 AD
-Yet, although they live in Greek and barbarian cities alike, as each man's lot has been cast, and follow the customs of the country in clothing and food and other matters of daily living, at the same time they give proof of the remarkable and admittedly extraordinary constitution of their own commonwealth.
-They live in their own countries, but only as aliens. They have a share in everything as citizens, and endure everything as foreigners. Every foreign land is their fatherland, and yet for them every fatherland is a foreign land. They marry, like everyone else, and they beget children, but they do not cast out their offspring. They share their board with each other, but not their marriage bed.
-It is true that they are "in the flesh," but they do not live "according to the flesh. They busy themselves on earth, but their citizenship is in heaven. They obey the established laws, but in their own lives they go far beyond what the laws require. They love all men, and by all men are persecuted. They are unknown, and still they are condemned; they are put to death, and yet they are brought to life. They are poor, and yet they make many rich; they are completely destitute, and yet they enjoy complete abundance. They are dishonored, and in their very dishonor are glorified; they are defamed, and are vindicated. They are reviled, and yet they bless; when they are affronted, they still pay due respect. When they do good, they are punished as evildoers; undergoing punishment, they rejoice because they are brought to life. They are treated by the Jews as foreigners and enemies, and are hunted down by the Greeks; and all the time those who hate them find it impossible to justify their enmity.
-To put it simply: What the soul is in the body, that Christians are in the world. The soul is dispersed through all the members of the body, and Christians are scattered through all the cities of the world. The soul dwells in the body, but does not belong to the body, and Christians dwell in the world, but do not belong to the world.

True Christians proved (by their behaviour) the remarkable and extraordinary foundation of Christ.
They shared everything.  They endured everything.
They did not cast out their children.
They shared housing, but did not commit adultery.
They did not live worldly (for self pleasure).
They went beyond what the law required.
They loved all men, even if persecuted by them.
They were poor, destitute yet enjoyed abundance and made others rich.
They blessed when reviled and paid respect even when insulted.

Can the world say these things about Christians today?

If not, why not?

Friday, November 25, 2011

Early Writing about Christians

       Why does it matter what people thought of the Christians who lived soon after Christ? (This means the apostles, first disciples and a few generations after.) Well, it is because the early Christians are the best, untainted example we have of how Jesus wanted us to live.  So for the next couple posts (or more) I will be copying translations of what some of the people back in history said about Christians of the day, some believers themselves.  To make it an easier read, I will put in bold the words I consider most interesting.

Let’s see if the world today could say these same things about Christians today…

Pliny the Younger  61 to 112 AD
 ‘Those who denied that they were or had been Christians…--none of which those who are really Christians, it is said, can be forced to do…’
(In charge of putting Christians to death, Pliny forced them to prove their denials of Christ by sacrificing to gods.  He found the true Christians would never recant!)

Justin Martyr  100 to 165 AD
“We who used to value the acquisition of wealth and possessions more than anything else now bring what we have into a common fund and share it with anyone who needs it. We used to hate and destroy one another and refused to associate with people of another race or country. Now, because of Christ, we live together with such people and pray for our enemies.”
We don't speak great things—we live them  (possible quote of Justin)

Clement  150 to 215 AD
“He impoverishes himself out of love, so that he is certain he may never overlook a brother in need, especially if he knows he can bear poverty better than his brother. He likewise considers the pain of another as his own pain. And if he suffers any hardship because of having given out of his own poverty, he does not complain.”

True Christians would not deny Christ or sacrifice to gods even if faced with certain death.
Common wealth and possessions were shared with the needy.
They stopped hating and cliquish behaviour, rather living with anyone.
They prayed for enemies.
They lived what they said.
They share out of love with brothers.
They considered one another’s pain as their own.
They did not complain when they suffered hardship by helping others.

Would the ‘unsaved’ world say these things about us?

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Real Needs

       I’ve been under a lot of conviction for how we live as a ‘Christian’ people in North American society lately.  Today I was thinking of true needs as opposed to perceived needs, verses wants.  For example, our real needs are food, water, shelter, clothing and safety (includes health care).  We really, truly don’t need anything else for our bodies to survive.

We don’t need dessert, donuts, chips, chocolate, pudding, waffles, pie, cake, cookies, pizza, hot dogs, fried chicken, our favorite foods, or even delicious food, take out, restaurants and fast food…
(Our basic needs are protein, dairy, vegetables, fruit, and grain in the necessary caloric intake determined by your age/ weight/ activity level.)

We don’t need coffee, tea, pop, lattes, juice, hot chocolate, cappuccinos, milk, alcoholic beverages.
(Only reasonably clean water is needed.)

We don’t need a pretty house with curtains, nicely decorated and landscaped, with electronics (tv, computers, ipods and mp3s, radios, cell phones) toys, movies, games, the latest gadgets and lots and lots of stuff inside.
(All we really need is four walls, a ceiling and a floor with warmth or ventilation for appropriate temperatures and perhaps a fridge and stove….)

We don’t need fancy name brand clothes or fashionable outfits and twenty pairs of shoes.
(We need to be appropriately covered with reasonable clothes for the local climate, and we can only walk in one pair of shoes at a time.)

       Sounds pretty sparse and certainly not an 'enjoyable' life in today's worldly view, yet we really, truly do not ‘need’ more than this.  We want more, we are used to more, and we think we can’t live without perceived needs and wants, but the truth is that we could if we had too.  North Americans as a whole are self indulgent in almost all areas of our lives but according to the Bible we Christians are not to live like the rest of the world…
and yet…

       The early Christians after the baptism of the Holy Spirit lived different lives, so different that people could see it.  They shared, they gave, they weren’t extravagant, and their attitudes and love were renowned.  They took care of their needs, even sharing that and used perceived needs and wants to help others.

Who wants to try and live that way with me?

Any takers?

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Are We Baby Birds?

       At our old house there were a couple of different times that I had the opportunity to watch a bird nest as it was being built to when it was abandoned.  In between I had the privilege of watching a family born and raised.  This morning I pondered a mother bird feeding her babies, first with food coming from her own ‘stomach’ and then providing other soft food.  The mother regurgitates the food into her babies mouths not just to give them sustenance but because they need her digestive enzymes to help process the food.  Later, when the babies’ bodies can handle the food better, she brings soft ‘live’ food.

       It made me think about ‘the church’ today and how many people attending gatherings are relying on their leaders: pastors/ teachers/ elders to do all the work (of reading the Bible, praying, learning, and seeking His face) and then to regurgitate it out to them during the service or Bible study.  That’s what they’re paid for after all, right?  We can’t handle the Word on our own so we need our leaders to predigest it and give it to us in a form we can handle.  I don’t think it’s supposed to be that way.  Even later when we can digest somewhat better, we still want them to give us all our food (soft food of course).

And I, brethren, could not speak unto you as unto spiritual, but as unto carnal, even as unto babes in Christ. I have fed you with milk, and not with meat: for hitherto ye were not able to bear it, neither yet now are ye able. 1Cor. 3:1,2

       Paul speaks to those who still want to be fed like babies as being carnal or unregenerate and unable to ‘digest’ the real food.  We certainly need leaders to teach the Word, but they are not to be our main or only source of learning of the Word.  We are supposed to be reading/ learning it at home.  King David spoke about meditating on the Word day and night, hiding the Word in his heart, delighting in the Word and obeying it’s precepts.  We should do the same.

       Did you know, there was actually a time in history when it was forbidden for common people to own or read a Bible because they were considered too ignorant (re: stupid) to understand and therefore they might not obey the God’s rules (as dictated by the local church) or -God forbid- begin to question their local leaders?  The Lord bless all our leaders who teach us well and encourage us to read the Word on our own.  And remember that Jesus sent us the Holy Spirit to teach us. (John 14:26)

For when for the time ye ought to be teachers, ye have need that one teach you again which be the first principles of the oracles (words) of God; and are become such as have need of milk, and not of strong meat. For every one that useth milk is unskillful (inexperienced, ignorant) in the word of righteousness: for he is a babe (infant, simple minded, immature). But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil. Heb. 5:12-14  (Then Paul continues in chap. 6 to write they should be moving on from the basic doctrines already taught.)

       It is time to give our leaders a break from our expectations to be fed only by them.  We need to mature and start eating the solid meat of the Word on our own first and then be supplemented by the mouths of others.  The Lord gave us intelligence AND He sent His Holy Spirit to teach us.  Can there be a greater teacher than God Himself? 

May God give every Christian leader wisdom and guidance in leading us on the right path.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011


       To understand my post today you will need to know how my day went yesterday.  As usual, I woke up aching along with pain in the joints, but I am used to that and I know one day the Lord will heal me.  Then driving my son to school I found out a precious lady passed away late Monday.  Next, my allergy appointment turned into 2 ½ hours of unexpected tests which left me barely enough time to pick up my son for an appointment and then back to school.  An x-ray for me and a very long, drawn out oil change (I got’er done though!) in which everything went wrong left me exhausted and back on the go instead of on the break I desperately needed.  The rest of the day was pretty much the same right up until when I finally crawled into bed.

       It wasn’t that it was a horrible day worse than any other day I’ve had, but it was emotional, unexpected and frustrating in many ways I didn’t even list.  So there I was in bed having spent only snippets of time with the Lord saying my ‘goodnight’ to Him.  After a sarcastic remark from me He was kind enough to let me know how He feels about me- of course making me feel a little worse for my remark.  I mentioned He might want to be careful because the mood I was in might cause me to tell Him ‘where to go’.  That’s when He said, “Where could you tell me to go that I’m not already there!”

       That short line of truth made me laugh, and then laugh some more.  In fact, I didn’t stop laughing for several minutes as I pondered His response.  It was exactly what I needed to release the tension and frustration of the day.  He cares so much for me that He met me where I was at, loved me, and helped me through the gloom.  My precious Lord knew precisely what I needed and when.

       My greatest desire is that everyone would know the Lord intimately, and interact with Him the way He wants to.  He won’t force His way into your life or heart, but if you are willing He can be a bigger part of it than you ever thought possible- at least that is my experience.  The Lord will be as big a part of your life as you allow Him to be.

My life with Him gets better every day and it can for you too.