Monday, December 26, 2011

Happy Holydays Everyday!

Santa Claus is not the same as God. Santa Claus is fictional. Santa is a likable character (red suit, fluffy white beard, cherry colored cheeks etc), but that is what he is, a character. He's a fictional do-gooder that most everybody likes because he's the great giver (Ho, Ho, Ho!) and that's the way we fashioned him. Can Santa make a a pine tree? Did Santa figure out how to provide electricity to make the colored lights glow? Yet, we, without realizing it, make good ole Santa into a god of sorts. However, there's no need to worry, he's a type of 'idol-lite' that soon disappears only to make way for the cute little easter bunny (colored eggs and lots of candy). It all fits under the label of 'frivolity' (maybe).
What about God? Yes I have heard that certain topics are off limits in "polite company"(Santa and the easter bunny are not on this list). Who made that rule? I can understand politics, sex and religion (organizational Christianity) falling into that category but we should not feel that way about God.

Let say two people buy a Ford pick-up. They both like their trucks. Wouldn't they have something in common to talk about? If a third person approaches them asking them how they like their truck, wouldn't they talk about their trucks. What if one answered, "I have my own thoughts on it" and and then didn't say anything? Wouldn't that be weird?

For those who know how real God is, it is pure joy to continue to get to know Him and the great path of His son. Everyday on that path is exciting and totally fulfilling! Sometimes the tiniest thing He does in our lives makes us want to shout out about it, despite whatever 'polite' rules' in society legislate. Society ain't in that great of shape!

We certainly don't make God into what we want Him to be.  That is nothing short of idolatry. We look to His Word expecting to receive good sound thinking and then we know for real because we see it happen right before our eyes as we apply it:
"He is, and that He is a rewarder of them that diligently seek Him" Hebrews 11:6b
The word 'holiday' comes from the word 'holyday'. So don't worry about being 'politically correct' when you say 'Happy Holydays', but make sure it's plural so that it applies to everyday of the year.

Ho! Ho! Ho! 
Have a great New Year!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Lessons of knitting ... :)

Recently I started knitting again. I guess that is the Granny thing to do. (Actually I enjoyed knitting when I was in my thirties.)  I found an easy pattern for children's mittens and got out my 'knitting made easy' book and tackled the job. It took just a little time reviewing the basics and I was on my way.  Occasionally the pattern called for a little detour that I had to figure out how to do but my 'knitting made easy' book came to the rescue even though it was an old book.

There are things in knitting that are a little tedious. Counting stitches is boring to me but it keeps frustration at bay and in the long run it pays off and adds to the beauty of the finished product. The pattern in my mitten project wasn't readily seen right away, but the farther I got into the project, I could see how it all fit together. There is great satisfaction when the inkling of success starts to appear and you  realize it is a mitten after all!

I had never made a 'thumb' before and that was fun and quick. Making different shapes adds functionality to the project and makes it interesting. (My grandkids need thumbs in their mittens!)  Of course it helps to read the directions carefully so you don't have to rip the whole thing out and start all over again. In the beginning I ripped stitches out a lot, but then I figured out  I did not have to be that drastic and learned a great method  to carefully fix a stitch that looked out of place in the scheme of things.

In a metaphorical way, life, like knitting, requires focus, adjusting, enjoyment and endurance. God has written a 'life made easy' book but utilizing it takes focus and practice.  It helps having a few 'youtube' videos (the example of Christ, others in the Bible and of course the lives of old friends who live the word) to provide examples in action. Lessons in life are not all learned at once but start out with little projects that are mastered over time. What totally amazing patterns emerge as time and seasoning are allowed to reveal the great goodness of God in our lives. Yes there are dropped stitches, tangled knots and distraction mishaps, but
But let patience (endurance) have her perfect (maturing) work, that ye may be perfect (mature) and entire, wanting (lacking) nothing. James 1:4

Have a wonderful week celebrating the holidays with your family and friends!


Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Unity Defined By God

Ephesians 4: 4-6
1. one body - I Corinthians 1:12-13
2. one spirit - Romans 8:11
3. one hope - I Thessalonians 4:13-17
4. one Lord - Romans 10: 9-10
5. one faith - Romans 2:25-26
6. one baptism - Acts 1:5
7. one God and Father         
Ephesians 1:6 One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all. 


Saturday, December 10, 2011

Abba, Father

Has the thought of God ever brought up fear in your mind?  Do you ever worry about whether you are really living for God?  When people think this way it becomes a very real fear and can be quite painful. ( I know because at various times in my life, I have experienced this)  Oftentimes it seems that the only recourse is to not think about it and that's what many people do. God becomes one of those topics not mentioned in polite company. 

A fear of God can develop through ignorance and lack of good instruction. There are all too many avenues to learn about God. You have to find instruction that is about God's Word, which helps you to be able to read it for yourself. It is in really delving into it's pages, along with full acknowledgement of His care in one's prayer life, that one comes to a secure and steady knowledge of God . We have access to God. He committed himself to print, we have holy spirit available to guide us and we have the example of His son, Jesus Christ.
Romans 8:15 For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption (huiothesia (link) ,properly translated 'sonship'), whereby we cry, Abba, Father.
The Word is healing. It calms and soothes an anxious heart. It annihilates fear and sets us free from the sort of bondage that tries to control our thinking. A couple of days ago when I was having a 'wild and wooly' day. I'm sure you've had them too. Jesus Christ had plenty of them. I  plumped up my pillows on my bed with a cup of 'joe' and opened to where I had been reading in Romans. One verse led to another and before I knew it I was energized and refreshed. That just doesn't happen to me when I read ordinary books.  God's word contains life!

"Abba" is an endearing word. It is like when a child says 'Daddy'. We have that kind of access to God. 
Galatians 4:6 And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father.
What God wanted all along is a personal relationship with us! There is absolutely nothing to fear!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Thankful for The Mystery

The mystery  is the great topic of the church epistles written by Paul.  Very few people really understand it completely. It is not nearly as hard to understand as it is to put into practice. Yes, it is "Christ in you" ( Romans 8:16-17, Ephesians 3, Colossians 1:27),  but what does that mean in practical living?

In Ephesians 1:18 and 19 God says:
The eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints, And what is the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward who believe, according to the working of his mighty power,
And there is a lot more where this comes from! What does it mean?  It says that the believer can see and know and utilize the power that God has given us.  Imagine that! If God has enlightened our eyes, and given us all this power, why don't we use it? We don't because we haven't dared to believe it! Many things in the world talk us out of it. The world is all too ready to offer alternatives to believing God. We have not been taught how to practically live it.

When I was first learning how to read the Bible for myself,  I had a wonderful friend that loved to teach the Word.  One day I asked him about something I was having a problem with and he told me he knew how much I loved God's Word and that I needed to check in with God as to how to handle the problem. (Hey! listen, I had been raised behind the altar rail in the pews and still had somewhat of a stained glass idea of religion. My friend had at one time been there too and he was an expert on how to get out of that mindset) It was a huge turning point in my approach to God. I truly began to get real answers for myself.

It starts in Romans in realizing what has been actually been accomplished for us that none of us really deserved. That includes everybody! (Mother Teresa, the Dalai Llama, even the apostle Paul are no exceptions)  Romans is the book that when we get finished reading and assimilating, we are extremely thankful. Next, there are so many things brought up in Corinthians that help people to see how to live that thankfulness and not get caught up with things that pull people down. Natural man is pretty self-centered and seeks his own remedies for fear. The culture very quickly tries to explain human nature away and make excuses for that fear.

This precious thankfulness is further protected by the book of Galatians when man attempts to outdo God in perfecting his own practice of religion. Man sets up his own levels of accomplishment and in the process pushes God aside to watch. It is brutal to others who have not reached man's estimation of what is required. God makes it plain in Galatians in clear, straightforward grace. Believing pleases Him. Sometimes people get so wrapped up with the "Believing is action" performance mentality that they forget that believing starts with 'God so loved the world'! We love Him because He first loved us (I John 4:19).

As we wind our way to reach Ephesians, the groundwork in Romans, the weeding of Corinthians and the rock removal of Galatians helps our hearts to readily receive the unlimited supply that the big heart of God offers us without reservation. God has always been faithful. The problem is not with God; it is in man's heart where the problem lies. We could blame it on someone else like Adam. ("Why wasn't he thankful in Eden?") Adam was Adam; but Jesus Christ opened a new door for each of us.  We have nobody to blame. Thankfulness starts with each of us individually and it turns everything around!

We Need Some More Pilgrims Not Programs

Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday of all, partly because it has not been tampered with as much as the other holidays (notwithstanding Blac...