Discernment from Above

I was having a discussion about the Bible with an acquaintance recently and I mentioned that the Bible is spiritually written and must be spiritually discerned. He asked me to explain what I meant and I did. I told him that the Bible states that it was written by men as they were impressed upon by the Holy Spirit. Men wrote it, but not just any men, men who were under the influence of the Holy Spirit. They wrote it in their words and in their style of writing, but the ideas and precepts were given to them by the Holy Spirit. Therefore, without the Holy Spirit's help, it is impossible to understand the "deep things" of the word of God. He told me I was crazy. He said that he understood the Bible just fine (even though he wasn't a Christian) and could quote scriptures with the best of preachers. He said that he felt more than adequate to teach the Bible to others and didn't need any "spiritual" help in doing so.
I find that a lot of people feel that way. I dare say that our pulpits are full of people who don't think they need the Holy Spirit's help in understanding the Holy Scriptures. I have heard quite a few of them myself! They are very intelligent and very articulate (as well as quite persuasive) in their speaking styles. But there's no power! They talk, but the Holy Spirit isn't there to back them up with His power and authority! It's all logical and can be even entertaining, but no one leaves with a changed life! In 1Corinthians chapter 2, Paul said "(vs. 1)- When I came to you brothers, I did not come with eloquence and superior wisdom as I proclaimed to you the testimony about God. (vs. 4)- My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit's power, so that your faith might not rest on men's wisdom, but on God's power.". The Bible says that God has "made foolish the wisdom of the world" and God has said "I will destroy the wisdom of the wise; the intelligence of the intelligent I will frustrate.".
Is it no wonder that "intelligent" people see the preaching of the cross and the shed blood of Jesus as foolishness?! To the human mind, unenlightened by the Holy Spirit, it does sound foolish! But God has decided to do things this way. It's not the highly educated, the well-schooled, the "intellectual" thinker who will understand and be saved; It's the one who, drawn and guided by the Holy Spirit, humbles himself and learns to trust God in this "foolishness" that will endure!
It is good to listen to a man or woman of God who is entertaining and speaks well. All teachers of the gospel should strive to be the best they can be at what God has given them to do. But be careful who you are listening to! If you can't sense the Holy Spirit at work in their midst, if there is no power, just talk, maybe you should look elsewhere for the teaching.



A popular song on the radio has a mother asking her prospective son-in-law "Were you washed in the blood, or just in the water?". That's a good question. Some people think they're the same thing, but they certainly are not!
Being washed in the water is the ritual a born-again Christian undertakes to openly associate himself/herself with the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus. Being washed in the blood is accepting one's sinfulness, repenting of those sins and accepting Jesus' shed blood as the sacrifice for them. Being washed in the water without first being washed in the blood produces nothing more than a wet sinner! Being washed in the blood cleanses the soul and allows the spirit to be reborn of God. Being washed in the water announces to the world that you've been washed in the blood and that Jesus is the Lord of your life.


The Ten Commandments

The Bibles says "You must not steal". Does anyone, anywhere think that is a bad rule for people to live by? Is there a culture on this Earth that condones stealing? Is there a group of people somewhere who enjoy having a thief among them?
The Bible says "You must not murder." Is murder ever a good idea? Does anyone want to be murdered? Doesn't pretty much every nation have laws against it?
The Bible says "You must not lie." Don't you just hate to be lied to? Doesn't everyone like to be told the truth?
The Bible says "You must not commit adultery." Doesn't everyone think that's a good rule to live by? If you love someone enough to marry them, shouldn't that love be enough to keep you from betraying them?
These things God tells us to do aren't meant to deprive us of our fun, but to keep us from harm. God knows that stealing hurts people. He knows that murder takes not only the life of the victim, but destroys the lives of the victims family. God knows that if we can't trust each other, how can a society survive? Lying destroys any chance for trust. God knows that marriage is the nucleus of the family unit. Infidelity destroys societies, little by little, one family at a time.
If all these things God tells us to do are good and helpful, why do people hate the ten commandments so much? Even if you don't believe there is a God, what's wrong with living by the ten commandments? Don't they encourage needful behavior? Shouldn't we all know by pure common sense that we shouldn't lie to, steal from and murder each other?
I believe people just plain don't like to told what to do! People tend to revolt against commandments. People don't like rules and regulations (some people more than others) and they tend to fight against anything they see as a restriction to their "freedom". But we are not free to hurt each other. We are not free to harm another human being. Your right to swing your fist must stop where my nose begins!
I find it interesting that the Jewish people call the ten commandments the ten blessings. They understand that these laws are not meant to restrict life, but to enhance life. God isn't inhibiting your enjoying life, He is protecting you from harm!


Weeds or Flowers?

I don't usually blog about homosexuality or abortion, not because they aren't important topics, but because, quite frankly, some things are openly, obviously, glaringly wrong. But today, I do want to say just a few things about abortion.
A famous comedian once quipped that the way you can tell the difference between a flower and a weed is: if you water it and feed it and it dies, it's a flower; if you dig it up and try to kill it but it comes back, it's a weed. In other words, the only real difference between a weed and a flower is whether it is wanted or not! Your flower may be my weed and my weed may be your flower. Actually, they're both just plants. You can call it a weed if you want to, but it is still a plant. It's an unwanted plant (at least unwanted by you), but it's a plant nonetheless!
I think babies are like that in a way. Pro-lifers say that it's a "baby". Pro-choiceers say it's a "fetus". You can call it what you want, but it's still a human life! You may call it a "fetus"(because you don't want it and calling it "fetus" makes it easier to dispose of), but it's still a human life. Your "fetus" (because you don't want it) is someone else's "baby" (because they do want it). Wanted or unwanted, it's still a human life. The seed was planted, the egg was fertilized and if left alone it would grow, mature and be birthed. It takes an outside, purposeful act to keep it from living.
If you want to have an abortion ( I pray you would reconsider) it is legal in this country for you to do that. But, not everything that is legal is moral and right. And, of course, you have every right to disagree with everything I've just said. But please, whether you're a man or a woman, don't be conned into believing that it's "just a fetus", as if it were a tumour or some other clump of lifeless tissue. It is a human life. Wanted or unwanted, it's a baby.



Jesus loves you. Jesus loves you and understands you and wants you. He put life inside your body when you were conceived in your mother's womb (if He hadn't, you wouldn't be alive!) and a plan was set in motion for your life before you ever came into this world. You are important! You matter! You are here for a reason! You have a purpose!
Eleanor Roosevelt once said "No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.". Their opinion of you is true only if you agree. What matters more than anything is your opinion of yourself! What you think about yourself tends to become true. Sometimes we think that no one loves us or thinks we're worth anything and maybe it's because we really aren't worth anything. We take other people's word for it thinking that they know us better than we know ourselves!
You may not be "pretty" or "handsome". You may not be "book-smart". You may not have great "social skills". You may be "poor". These are all outward appearances and don't represent the real you! That's what's so wonderful about the way Jesus loves you; He looks at the inside of you! Jesus judges your heart, the real you way down inside, the part people can't see! Jesus sees you, not things about you! People love things about you, but He loves you! People love the way you look, the way you smile, your laugh, your personality, the way you dress, your style, your sense of humor, etc. Jesus loves you! Jesus loves you when you look funny, dress funny, talk funny and act funny. Jesus loves you! Jesus loves you in spite of the things about you!
If you think you are not loved, you're wrong. If you think you're unimportant and useless, you're wrong. If you think no one cares whether you live or die, you're wrong. You've never been more wrong. Jesus loves you. And because He loves you, so do I. You are important to me. Love yourself.... you're worth it.


Just Me

"I yam what I yam and that's all that I yam!" - Popeye the Sailor Man
Just like dear old Popeye, I am what I am. I'm me and I'm the only me there is and I like being me! I have my faults (after all, I'm only human), but all-in-all, I like me. Some of my friends want me to be more like them (which would make me less like me!) and I know they mean well, but they like me and I like me and God loves me, so, what's the problem?! I guess that because I'm quiet, reserved and a little shy they think they can help me by encouraging me to be more outgoing and social. I appreciate their concern, but I would appreciate their acceptance more.
Actually, there was a time when my personality bothered me. I felt like the lone ranger sometimes. The other members of my family were always outgoing (even loud!) and very social; real people-persons! I thought something must be wrong with me! But when I read in the Bible about how God created me, actually knit me together in my mother's womb, and how He made me according to His own specifications and especially about how He loves me unconditionally just as I am.... well!, that was a great day! God made me, He loves me and that's all that matters!
We all need to do a little studying on personalities and how we are all different. I think that would help us all to understand that we are supposed to be different; that's God's plan! You may think I'm too quiet and shy. I may think you're too loud and outspoken. But being different is what makes us interesting! And it's what God planned for us and it will help us do what He calls us to do in this world! Cool, huh?!
And so I say, along with Popeye..... I yam what I yam.... and that's alright with me!


That's All I Need

My faith has found a resting place,
Not in device nor creed;
I trust the Everliving One,
His wounds for me shall plead.

Enough for me that Jesus saves,
This ends my fear and doubt;
A sinful soul, I come to Him,
He’ll never cast me out.

My heart is leaning on the Word,
The written Word of God,
Salvation by my Savior’s name,
Salvation through His blood.

My great Physician heals the sick,
The lost He came to save;
For me His precious blood He shed,
For me His life He gave.

I need no other argument,
I need no other plea;
It is enough that Jesus died,
And that He died for me.

—Lidie H. Edmunds, 19th Century

There are hundreds of promises in the Bible that believers can claim. I claim them all because I know that "He who promised is faithful". I am grateful for all those promises, but actually, all I need is the promise that Jesus' death gives me life; that his shed blood cleansed me from sin. I can stand on that promise and know that "it is well with my soul"! All those other promises give me hope, but the promise that Jesus died for me gives me peace. I can lay down and rest at night knowing that, no matter what happens as I sleep, whether I awake again or not, everything will be alright.

I need no other argument, I need no other plea, except that Jesus' death, burial and resurrection has secured me for eternity! Until you can be sure that promise is yours, the other promises don't matter.