Monday, December 31, 2012

Talk About Guns With a Nice Liberal Lady

"I wouldn't have a Gun in My House," She Said.

Lots of people say that. It's okay. But this lady was so reasonable and so easy to talk to, I thought I would try. She had a toddler. I guess that's what you call a little child that age. "What would you do to protect your child ?" I asked.

"Anything!" was her reply.

"Would you own a gun?" Guess I had her there.

"But I'm afraid I'd kill someone."

Seems that peaceable people often speak of killing. A study on types of people found that there is hidden anger in anti-gun people. They associate guns with killing. They certainly can kill people, but so can your car.

It's such an emotional issue with some people. It's hard to talk to them. In fact, I believe emotion rules for them. They get red-faced just discussing the subject.

I have never met a gun nut. That's supposed to be what gun people are. I have met enthusiasts though, and people who find guns useful. To them a gun is just a tool. Ever try to drive a nail with anything besides a hammer?

I protested that "I didn't say a loaded gun, just a gun. Point an unloaded gun and who will bet it isn't loaded? If you do decide to have a loaded gun you don't have to fire it, just have it. Or if you fire it a few times, maybe into the floor, that should get some one's attention. Protect your child and yourself to. It's just an option."

...and he that hath no sword, let him sell his garment and buy one. Luke 22:36

Sunday, December 30, 2012

The Manner of His Coming, The Fastest Draw in the East

And when he was demanded of the Pharisees, when the kingdom of God should come, he answered them and said, the kingdom of God cometh not with observation: Luke 17:20

I heard the joke from a friend first. "Ya wanna see the fastest draw in the west?" I did. His hand was poised over an imaginary gun. It never moved. Then he said, "Ya wanna see it again?"

Scoffers like to cite the scripture of the coming of Jesus. Some people say that He returned spiritually at Pentecost, but that was the Holy Spirit.

Then there is the idea that the words "not with observation" means the Lord will return invisibly. That is very popular. But lightning is not invisible. Neither will be His return.

But it will be quick. That He said. If He had said His return would be soon, the scoffers would seize on that. Almost two thousand years is not soon.

But,like lightning, His return will be quick. The Scoffers won't know what hit 'em.

For as lightning cometh out of the east, and shineth even to the west; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. Matthew 24:27

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Who Do You Work For?

I have never been a member of a church, or attended one, where this question was not asked. Women may ask, "Where do you live?" But the men care about employment. They draw themselves up like roosters and hit me with the big one. It is the one they care about--your employer.

Maybe I could bear it better if they would follow with the big one for me, "What is your spiritual gift?" Never been asked that one. Every Christian has one, some think perhaps more than one. I am not a preacher, though I have done it. I am a Bible teacher.

I hope that people learn to love the Bible if they do not already. Some are afraid. It's too deep, they think. Leave it to the professionals.

Some think the Bible is just a bunch of superstitions or myths. Test it then. Find out.

There is a proverb that says, "The Bible is an anvil that has outworn many hammers." It won't break if you test it. Many people have. When they test it, and question it, starting with the most skeptical minds, the Bible is still there. People die, but the Word remains.

A therapist at my hospital had me read a page with numbers on it. I did pretty good. Put one in the wrong line though. "You enjoy reading don't you?" she asked me. Yes I do, especially the Bible.

Who do I work for?? Jesus. I hope I have pleased Him.

Friday, December 28, 2012

The Lady With Orange Hair

When I was starting to read, I had trouble. Lack of confidence I suppose. At school someone was always quicker than me. I had the only teacher who ever ridiculed me. I was a shy kid and it cut me down.

But we had a little lady who taught Sunday School who was just the opposite. She gave off patient love. I was never wrong, just someone who needed help. I began to say words correctly. She played the piano and taught us to sing "Jesus Loves Me". When we sang "We are weak, but He is strong," it reached me.

My memories of her still are there, even though I was only six years old. She was quiet and loving to all the children and she helped me so much. She had red hair, which to my young eyes was orange. I had never seen a red head before. To me she was a red haired angel. All she needed was a halo.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

The Harrowing of Hell

The Old Scofield Bible has it--Jesus descending into hell, after his crucifiction and preaching to the souls there. As I remember--and I'm no expert on this doctrine--some of the souls stayed behind while he led the other souls to heaven.

The new Scofield Bible, which I love, says this is not true. As I grew older, I thought of where the harrowing idea probably came from. It was nothing less than the long-lasting legend of Orpheus, applied to Jesus! Orpheus descended into hell to rescue his beloved. I remembered seeing the movie, "Black Orpheus," a beautifully done modern form of the legend.

But can't we keep our legends out of the Bible? In the movie, Orpheus played his music to cause the sun to rise. In the Bible, Jesus made the sun.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

We'll Always Remember

When I was in high school I was told by a shy, studious fellow, that there was gold in the school's foundation. I looked closely, and there it was. If you stood close enough you could see the flecks of gold--not "fool's gold" but the real thing.

I did not think about it until one day, I saw two children nearby, looking a little bored. "Did you ever see the gold in the school?" I asked. I stepped over to the foundation and they followed. It was a bright sunny day. The tiny flecks gleamed. The children were amazed and looked more closely. They found more.

I left them then, and walked away. In my youth, I preferred the company of kids to that of most adults in my family. At holiday time, I avoided the cigar-chomping men and their long suffering wives, and ate at the kids' table. It was trivial time for adults, time to demonstrate how little you knew. Time to see who could be the most foolish. The kids were much better company. They were like angels by comparison.

About a year after the gold incident, I was walking through my town, past mansions, and great homes. I saw a little cottage, recently built, with a white picket fence. It looked like a movie set. Two children were in the yard, a boy about nine and a girl a little younger. They saw me and began to shout. "We remember the gold," yelled the boy." The girl joined in. "We'll never forget."

They are old by now, but I remember them as the children they were then. I'll never forget either.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

The Highway of the Seed

How could I have missed it? This highway goes from Genesis to Revelation. One of my Bibles has this title in its notes. Eve was told of this highway. We doubt she understood it, few do today. But it's really simple. There are two kinds of people who are two seeds. The seed of the woman and the seed of the devil. Awful isn't it? But there it is: And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; Genesis 3:15.

If we see enmity, could it be that God put it there? I don't mean the created wars between nations, but between people around you, even in your own family.

Imagine going from Genesis to Revelation. But let me do it, even though there is so much about it in between.

And the dragon was wroth with the woman, and went to make war with the remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ. Rev. 12:17

What a war story the Bible is! It is also a great love story.

Monday, December 24, 2012

But He's Only Eight Days Old!

And he that is eight days old shall be circumcised among you, every man child in your generations, ... Genesis 17:12

According to some people, I am going to hell. Some say "a devil's hell". That's probably the worst hell of all. It's because I was baptized as a little baby. I was not re-baptised as an adult, that's why I'm going to hell. So why don't I just get baptized again? It is not that I want to be with Luther and Calvin, who are being tortured in hell now. And please don't say Luther and Calvin didn't know what the Bible says about baptism.

Could it just be that my baptism "took" even though I was a baby? Could I have been set aside as one of His? I read that there are records in the catacombs of children only hours old who were baptized because they weren't going to live.

But, people say, a baby is not old enough to make such a decision. He or she must repent to be converted. True, a baby was too young to make his decision in the Old Testament also. Could it be that God can make the decision for them? That he even made a decision about them before the world was made?

My father said I was a planned child, one conceived deliberately. I'm in even deeper trouble now, but it wasn't my decision, it was his. I read about a lady known as Mercy, that was in the title of the book. She would tour the slums in China and find newborns that had been abandoned. She would immeadiatly baptize them, right where they were found. Some did not make it. They had been left alone too long, but they were baptized before they died.

Was Sister Mercy wrong? Was she the victim of an evil system, or did God receive these infants?

Sunday, December 23, 2012

We Christians Don't Believe That, Do We?

A missionary lady was looking at some drinking water under a microscope. It was filled with bacteria and other life. She let a young boy look. He was amazed at the little wriggling creatures. She explained that the water was impure. It was filled with microscopic life. "These little bugs in our water can make people sick," she said. "But we Christians don't believe that do we?" he replied.

There are doctrines in the Bible that people do not believe, and don't think we should even talk about. Trouble is, I believe in one that is there. Arguments against it are pretty convincing, but still wrong. I run into it a lot in the Bible, so I believe it. I will print some quotes.

Having predestinated us unto to the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will, Ephesians 1:5

In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the council of his own will: Ephesians 1:11

Some believe we are predestinated. I sure do. "But He foresees that we will make the right choice in the future," some will say. Good old Free Will to the rescue! But it is his will, not ours, which is being enacted. It is his will, not our will.

Here is John's explanation. Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God. John 1:13

Do we Christians believe this? I do.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

My Leaf Igloo

When I was a boy I made one. I got an appliance box and covered it with leaves. I made an entrance from a wire trash burner that had lost it's bottom. I piled leaves on both of them, only leaving a little round door. When I was inside I covered this opening with a basket lid. I made a hole in the box and the leaf pile, so I could just see out.

People would walk in our alley way, right past me and not know the leaf pile was hollow. I could see them and hear them too. The leaf igloo didn't last long. It was time to burn the leaves, and my box too. Neatness must be obeyed.

I was in line at a video store. When it was my turn to be waited on the clerk didn't pay me any attention. She waited on the man behind me. I am invisible.

But God sees me and I am content with that. Actually I revel in it. God sees us and cares.

We have all heard this, but is it not wonderful?

Are not two sparrows sold for a farthing? and one of them shall not fall on the ground without your Father. Matt. 10:29

Friday, December 21, 2012

Confessions of an Airport Bum

I used to hang around airports--little ones. My first airplane ride was in an open biplane. It had been painted red. I remember a pilot new to the plane took it up one day. He rolled it. An object fell from the plane. The guy next to me said, "Look, he dropped his cigarettes. I'll catch 'em." He took off his ball cap and held it out. I saw his eyes widen as the object got bigger. It was the unfastened seat of the plane, about the size of a car seat. It hit the earth with a boom, sending up a ring of dust.

They were parachuting one day. Before the men jumped the pilot would drop sticks to gauge the wind. They were pieces of broom handles with cloth attached. But this time the pilot misjudged the wind. His man jumped and drifted off course. We got into an old hearse to retrieve him. There he was in somebody's back yard, trying to unhook his parachute from a children's swing set with a clothesline prop. A woman had her back door open staring at him.

"Wanna make a jump?" I was asked. I confess that I was afraid of heights. Anything higher than a step ladder frightened me. But I said yes. I was scheduled for next Saturday, at a different airport. The locals here had had enough. I was taken to see my chute packed. The packer had very long masonite tables in his basement. He dumped a tangled chute onto a table and patiently picked debris off it--grass and leaves. He stuck out his lower lip and blew. One of the parachute panels ballooned up and then settled into place. "Saves me a walk down the table," he explained.

On his walls were pictures of him jumping. One of them was a triangular chute. "You have to jump a chute you packed to be certified. "

We drove to a nearby air field with my newly packed chute. They were ready to take me up. A door had been removed to let me out. At fifteen hundred feet I stood on a little metal boarding step. I looked at the pilot and he nodded. I had my hand on the ripcord handle as I let go. I closed my eyes as I counted out loud, "One, two," and pulled the cord. When I felt the chute open I remember saying, "Lord, you've been good to me."

Below, I saw my friends get into a convertible to pick me up. I landed in a corn field. The chute lay atop the stalks. My foot had stepped on one plant and bent it. But I was ok.

It's amazing what a little faith can let you do.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

The Library Cat

I was looking through the recordings of a vast library. I overheard two little boys frantically pulling out recordings from a shelf of records. They kept saying "Daboosy, Daboosy" as they looked. I thought I would see if I could help and asked them what they were looking for. They wanted to hear the music background of "The Sorcerer's Apprentice," starring Mickey Mouse from the Disney movie "Fantasia." I told them it was by Dukas and found it for them.

They asked for ear phones at the desk and were turned down. I saw their disappointment. I asked for three sets of phones and we listened to the music together. It took me back to when I saw "Fantasia." I was about six years old. My sister took me. I had been put into another world as I watched. I was so spaced out I hardly knew where I was on the bus ride back home.

Now it came back to me as we listened. The boys had heard what they came for and said they had to go. Outside I saw them emerge from the big door. "How did he know what we wanted?" asked the younger boy. They thought I worked for the library. "He a library cat," the older one explained. "He know all that stuff, he one of them library cats."

My love went out to them. What an upbringing they must have! I was amazed that of all the music they could have looked for, it was Paul Dukas. For one happy moment, I was their library cat.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Hell, or the City Dump?

And if thy right hand offend thee, cut it off, and cast it from thee: for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not that thy whole body should be cast into hell. Matthew 5:30

Good thing the translators knew more than Jesus did when they corrected him. Jesus used the word gehenna, but they used the word hell.

Some people love the word hell. They love the doctrine too. Paul Lawrence Dunbar, the poet, said, "Of course there is a hell. Where else would my neighbors go?"

And it is often said that hell, a place of fire deep in the earth, is needed to control people. I mean, what could frighten people more than eternal agony? So what if it came from the Greeks and not the Bible? It serves a great purpose, scaring people into being good.

I'm one of the lucky ones. Eternal death scares me, and it's in the Bible.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Some Kids Who Were Accountable

And he went up from thence unto Bethel: and as he was going up from the way, there came forth little children, out of the city, and mocked him, and said unto him, Go up, thou bald head; go up, thou bald head. And he turned back, and looked on them , and cursed them in the name of the Lord. And there came forth two she bears out of the wood, and tare forty and two children of them.
2 Kings 2:23 and 24

I imagine a lot of people will say, "but these children were twelve or older." The Bible says "little children" and they were held accountable. As far as I can tell, the age of accountability idea is nowhere in the Bible, but has taken hold of peoples' minds. We won't even talk about the children who died in the flood.

Maybe there is something evil about anyone who mocked Elisha?

Monday, December 17, 2012

A Good Talk With Two Watchtower Men

My wife had just died. I was still in a daze of grief. Someone knocked. It was two men from the Watchtower Society. Jehovah's Witnesses people called them. They had some literature. They always do.

I had a desire to talk, so we conversed. When I explained that my wife had just died, the older of the two said he understood. His wife had died, too. "You can find someone else," he said. "I did."

I hastened to tell them I did not believe in their religion, and had studied it extensively, sometimes with their oldest literature. The younger man asked if I was really sure. We made eye contact. I had the strong feeling he really wanted to know the truth.

"I have really studied it, and it is fatally flawed," I told him. "Really look at it."

I did not feel I was talking to two people who were brainwashed. "I can feel your sincerity," I told them. "You are sincere but wrong."

"Have you really looked at it?" the younger man asked. I had, and told him so. They left after wishing me well.

I kept thinking of the younger man. I believe he really wanted to know the truth.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

I'll Tell You a Secret

Here goes--I'm tired of being improved. Please leave me alone for a while. You see I've been climbing this long hill called life. I need a rest. It would be so wonderful to listen to what God is going to do, without me. I would like to be just a spectator for a time.

I know that if we all get out the vote "We can turn this country around". Also, I've been told my church can reform America. If we pray enough and give enough money things will be wonderful. But I told you my secret. I am tired of hearing it. Maybe that is why I find refuge from it all in the Bible.

"But isn't the Bible the great book of how to improve yourself?" some will say.

Oh, it's in there, but huge sections of His book are about what God will do without our help, and what he has done already. Even someone sitting and watching can learn it, and revel in it. It is, after all, His action, not ours or mine which will bring it all about. Guess you could say I am weary of man-centered theology, of gold lame' jackets for ushers (we need them) or even bigger, paved parking lots.

Now you know my secret. I wasn't there when God created the world and all the living creatures. He did it without me, or any of us. I know I need to shape up. But just let me rest awhile and think about the wonderful works of God. He made the world, and He will clean it up.

And Moses said unto the people, Fear ye not, stand still, and see, the salvation of the Lord, which he will shew to you to day: for the Egyptians whom ye have seen to day, ye shall see them again no more for ever. Exodus 14:13

Saturday, December 15, 2012

I Dread the Night

How many distractions are needed? How many tv s and radios are on to create a background sound that lets us live? And what if there were no distractions, no other thoughts than the ones solitude and silence bring?

Doctor Johnson and friends once discussed whether life has more pleasure, or more pain. Someone asked who would want to live their lives over if they could change nothing. No one there answered yes. Maybe with the passage of time, bid hunks of it, we reach a "critical mass" of sorrow? For some of us it is too much to bear. Any kind of work helps drive out the demons of sorrow. "Keep busy" is the admonition, perhaps gained from long experience.

But as water builds behind a dam, many losses increase and just will not go away. It can come to a point where it cannot be denied or put away. Words of encouragement are often platitudes to those who suffer. Even the truth of the scriptures will not take all sorrow away. The promises in them are to be relied upon as a future deliverance, but the present must be borne.

I am mindful of a mother and father who lost an eighteen year old daughter. They will experience their first Christmas without her, a season she loved. No words are sufficient for them. Only our prayers are our greatest gift to help such to survive.

To each our test, before our tears are gone forever. Until that day we may spend many lonely nights of contemplation. Christianity is no fun, I hear. Neither is the world.

Friday, December 14, 2012

The Animals Don't Know

Pity them, the animals, the pets we come to love. They have no sense of the future. They share this with many people I am afraid. But people have the Word, and life's experiences not available to the animals. For them then, there is the now. They do not understand as they get old or sick, that this is a part of life. And they do not realize the curse that came upon the whole earth long ago.

In a way it is a blessing. Who else can enjoy the present as they do? A cat can make a bundle of fun out of a grocery bag, or better yet, a nice empty box. A dog can gnaw patiently on a bone, then sleep on a sunny porch. To them life can be so good.

Who remembers the paintings of the Quaker Edward Hicks? His repeated theme of animals living peacefully with one another are a joy to contemplate. People, often little children, and animals were in over one hundred paintings drawn from Isaiah chapter eleven. They were in the Peaceable Kingdom he envisioned.

And they will be some day. The Bible promises that. But a terrible time will come upon the whole world first. Maybe that is why some of us avoid parts of the Bible? But let us all thrill to the greatest "animal passage" of them all:

And every creature which is in heaven, and on the earth, and under the earth, and such as are in the sea, and all that are in them, heard I saying, Blessing, and honour, and glory, and power, be unto him that sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb for ever and ever. Revelation 5:13

When Jesus is shown to us in this great book, it is as the Lamb.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Unholy Relics

Behold, I was shapen in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me. Psalm 51:5

There seems to be a belief abroad called "the age of accountability". This is it. Up to age twelve, your sin nature does not count, you are innocent.

Billy Graham gave a speech at the Murrah site in Oklahoma, to memorialize those who had died there. In his words all the children in the child care center will go to heaven--in fact already have--because they were under the age of twelve. People applauded.

I contrast this with a scene I witnessed at a lake where baptisms were being conducted. A number of adults were baptized until there was only one person left. He was an eight year old boy. The pastor explained that he did not usually baptize children at that young an age. But this boy had an understanding of his sin and wished to be baptized. He was.

I was so touched by the boy's understanding. Is original sin a truth, even if we do not like the doctrine? If it is, where did we inherit the belief of a twelve year age of accountability?

From Jesus as a child at the temple I am told. I do not see the connection. The Bible says nothing about such a thing. Guess I have turned a lot of people off, as the saying goes, but what is our guide in this matter? Shall we follow a man, even a very good man, or the word of God?

I believe Jesus died on the cross for children too, even those under the age of twelve.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

What You Think

For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he: Proverbs 23:7

After all these years people still argue over beliefs, of Luther and Tyndale, for examples. Do we ever settle our interpretations? Is there no resolution? I'll have to say no. Evidence, in this case scripture, is not the deciding factor. Each person has a belief that they bring to an argument. When they read a particular Bible verse they seem to interpret it according to their belief.

I knew a young woman who was very troubled over this verse: for it is better to marry than to burn. (1 Timothy 7:9) Her reaction was that those who do not marry, who indulge in passion outside marriage, are going to hell. A very traditional view among many. In her case she felt she was being threatened with hell for her behavior.

She had a choice, she felt--repent of her behavior or go to hell. After all that is a reasonable assumption from the verse, what could be plainer? And a lot of religions will back it up. They love to threaten you with hell. So she rejected the Bible. That was her choice. How could the God of the Bible be so severe? Did He not understand human behavior?

A closer look at the statement is very revealing. Paul knew both human nature and the will of God. Here is what he says in this verse. If you can't contain your passion, it is better to get married than to burn with passion. Simple as that. How can you do the will of God if you are distracted and hot, with passion? Hell is not mentioned. Paul never mentions hell, we are conditioned to think of burning with the idea of hell.

Religion can really damage people's lives and warp their understanding of the Word of God.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

An Experience With Wheat

My wife and I were visiting the Chicago Museum of Natural History. Very few people were there yet. Some sections we had to ourselves. She found items of her interest, but I sought other things. We agreed to part for awhile. I wandered into a section on grains.

What drew me I will never know, but I stood before a glass case which displayed a map with a spray of wheat on it. It illustrated early discoveries--how many people of the world use wheat, and its varieties.

Nothing remarkable in this, I suppose. But what happened to me was remarkable. I had never had such a feeling before, nor have I in the many years since. I forgot myself. I thought of how many peoples' history lay before me. I thought, or felt, a tide of history. I suppose it was a return to basics that I experienced. It was not really thinking, but feeling.

How easy and natural to be drawn in by the world, to forget about what really matters. I wonder who made the display that pulled me in so powerfully? Was it just a part of their job, a matter of routine, and then on to other things? It changed me for life. I got the message--stay in touch the basics of life. If a child had made such a display for school, they deserved an A+.

Monday, December 10, 2012

More and More Alone

Being alone can bring with it melancholy. Often this is regarded as an ailment. Sometimes it is. Especially when it never lifts. But what if it just involves catching on? I mean, people learn, through long experience, how life really is.

"Become active, get involved," people often tell you, as if more of the same is the cure. There is just the possibility that old people have the most realistic attitudes of all. They don't have a malady. Life has just taught them something.

Has anyone ever said, " I miss my illusions?" Don't think so, but illusions keep many "happy"--in a state of mind cushioned by lies. As I write this, it sounds so cynical.

I looked up the Cynics, starting with Diogenes and his barrel. Now I know I am one. They believed in the virtue of good works--of fighting with good. Hope I have done some.

A very happy world for me would be to have the dead--animals and people--restored to life. That would be the end of melancholy. I look forward to resurrection, to me the most precious promise in the Bible.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Things You Are Not Allowed to Question

Who knoweth the spirit of man that goeth upward, and the spirit of the beast that goeth downward to the earth? Ecclesiastes 3:21

What a skeptical question! But I am informed by experts that this is being asked by "man under the sun," fleshly man, who has not been enlightened. Man under the sun is as wrong as he can be. Since it is the only passage in the Bible dealing with the mortality of man, and it is wrong, then anyone who questions this doctrine is also wrong. That is what the experts say.

But poor man under the sun sometimes gets it right. The experts are the only ones who know when man under the sun is wrong and when he is right. There are plenty of times when man under the sun is right. Good thing I have the experts tell me which is which. They have a big cream separator that splits truth from falsehood.

Just imagine animals and man sharing a common fate! I think of my beloved pets breathing their last breaths. I hate to think of it because I loved them so much. Then I think of myself becoming dust. Makes you think of Genesis. I mean the creation account, and the curse which followed Adam's disobedience.

A lady I know has had the misfortune of asking questions of churches. She told me she has been told, "You ask too many questions!" Sometimes one is too many. It seems like a golden opportunity for someone. People who ask are jewels--like children who always say "Why?". Now we can talk. Imagine someone who knew the Bible well enough so they could answer them. With the right answers, people come back stronger than ever.

"Because I said so" just doesn't make it for so many of us.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

You're a What?

I am a supralapsarian Calvinist. Yep, that's me. Some people hate them. Their message is, that God knew, before the world was made, you would be born and sin. But he planned to save you.

It is so distasteful to many.

I had a good Baptist lower his face to mine and say, "Franz, I'm not even sure you're born again!" It hurts sometimes to hear the Bible. I mean it hurt the flesh. I had been there, I understood. It helps a lot to read Ephesians. It straightened me out, and I was bent pretty bad.

I happened to admire this Baptist. I decided to wait, not "preach."

A preacher explained it this way. The cross is not an ambulance arriving at the scene of an accident.

God is never surprised.

Friday, December 7, 2012

The Simple Gospel

Beware of the complicators. It may be there is money in complicating things--a living even. There is fame, too. Then there is the work of the Devil, confusing people.

A centipede was happy quite, until a frog in fun,
Said "Pray, which leg comes after which?"
This raised her mind to such a pitch, she lay distracted in a ditch,
Considering how to run.

In the matter of salvation, where we begin our walk, it is very simple.

But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: John 1:12

The Gospel of John is so simple, yet so profound. Many missionaries begin with it, when introducing the Gospel message. If you don't have time, or are just plain worn out, read the first ten chapters. You will be well informed.

Beyond salvation, you may read 1st Corinthians 15:3 and 4. It is called the Gospel in a nutshell.

Wasn't that simple?

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Going to Heaven

We all are singing "Nearer My God to Thee: but we keep on takin' vitamin B.
Nipsy Russell

If there was a contest for who wants to go to heaven the most, I figure I'd be at least in the top ten, maybe win the prize. It has been my experience that life gets "used up". Not bad, but you want more. You want the sorrow removed, forever. Sorrows build up like logs at a dam. They need to be taken away.

When I was a child, about eight, my little cousin died. I was told she was in heaven. So I wanted to go there too. Death was a small price to pay. I became heavenly minded. I wondered if angel food cake was really eaten by angels? Sounds spacey I know, but it is how I thought.

Now, I feel the same way. I have heard more about heaven. There is not a lot written about it. But maybe we should learn it? What if a child was taught about what we do know? Before they are told, "Be sure to be home at suppertime," they should learn where their real home is?

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Let Me See Your Eyes

An old man was asked if he had seen a change in people during his life time. He explained that he had.

"People used to smell different," he said. "Not bad, just different." He went on. Some people had the aroma of coffee, some tobacco, some even like oak, and others, like moth balls. Houses too, each had its own smell. "Now everything is the same,", he lamented.

Maybe this could be explained by his declining sense of smell, but I think he is on to something. Not just odors, but personalities seem to be declining. Could we have become standardized?

I saw a family seated at a restaurant table all using electronic devices. They were all in contact with others, but not one another. Can a thousand "likes" by strangers ever replace one good friendship?

Have people lost the zip we once had? I took a really old magazine to work. It had Harpo Marx on the cover. His chest and legs were decorated with medals. He was imitating a dictator as he saluted. A young man looked at the date on the cover. "I wish I had lived then," he said.

It's probably me, but I see a lot of dead eyes. In many ways our culture has become a bad remake of an old movie. It was better the first time.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Truth is Like Raising Tulips

Much of Holland is below sea level. Yet they raise such beautiful tulips and jet them around the world. Giant diesel powered pumps keep the sea away.

We try to maintain simple Bible truths, yet error keeps pressing in, like the sea. I heard a commedian say, "Opportunity only knocks once, but failure keeps pounding, pounding, pounding..." Kind of like that with truth. You are never done.

Is it just human nature or the Devil? It has been said that whenever a church is built, the Devil opens a chapel in it. A young lady that I correspond with says there is error in her church, and she does not get the answers she needs. She is studying on her own. Sometimes with her oldest child.

The world is not neutral. If you are studying the Bible, have your pumps ready.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Your Reward is Coming to You

And, behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be. Rev 22:12

What a wonderful promise. A little hard on people who say, "He's gone to his reward." But keep saying it and soon the words of Jesus will be forgotten.

Have I got a reward? I am not assuming. I do know that Lord Jesus is working on my mansion. I can only dream of what that will be. A friend said she is looking forward to her mansion. "Just think, we can show each other our rooms, and we won't have to leave the doors open."

Maybe we should think more often about our rewards? It can really lift your spirits.

So many are striving to be saved by being "good enough", like old infants working on being born.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Death by Peanut Butter

As Judy Tenuta used to say, "It could happen." It almost did. It's awful how I gobble my food. I made a peanut butter sandwich, just one slice of bread folded over, no big deal. About half way through it, I felt it wasn't going down. Then I couldn't breathe, at all. I quickly went to the kitchen and poured a glass of water. I sat on the floor and drank a little. I knew this was it.

The idea that we have about four minutes of oxygen stored in our blood may be true. That is about how long until you die. But before you die you pass out very quickly when air is cut off, and I was close to passing out.

I thought "This is how they'll find me". Even in my old age I wanted to do The Big One. To do something memorable, as if to justify my existence. In a flash I realized my life had been my big one, not big at all, but it was all I had. A bunch of little things, done by a little person.

The water worked, my air was back. Stroke victims often have trouble swallowing. I had been marginal, no thickener for my coffee. But I was told to eat and drink slowly, and I did. I was x-ray certified that I could swallow ok. I drank some barium, as in "bury 'em". But now I had been careless and almost died.

God gave me more time to live.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

New Jerusalem Hunger

He was near death. Wasting disease his friends called it. Nutrition didn't help, nothing did. He had declined slowly, with rare moments of seeming health. But something was very wrong, mentally and physically.

Doctors were puzzled by his case, and searched their databases for causes without any answers. He had been put in a room near the nurses desk, then transferred to the intensive care unit.

His blood work was within normal limits--pretty good, actually. There was something going on that no one seemed to understand.

A nurse spoke about it. She was from the islands. She knew. Christians from her home had a legend. Certain people, otherwise healthy, would just waste away. Food didn't help, nothing did. They had a name for it. It was called the New Jerusalem Hunger. The only remedy was death or the rapture.

An attendant who had been to his room earlier had seen his Bible open on his bed. He had been reading Revelation, she said. "It's like that old song, he's got it bad, and that ain't good."

And I John saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. Rev. 21:2