Wednesday, 28 January 2015

Resolution to Do Better

On New Years Day I committed to reading the Bible every morning and evening....especially trying to do that first before anything else in my day, and the last thing I do at night. I've messed up a couple of times but on the whole it has been a successful endeavor.

I've noticed that no matter what happens throughout the day I am much more relaxed and in control in a good way. In control used to mean wrestling control back when I felt I had lost my hold of a situation. Now it is simply resting on the fact that I know God has this....and everything...and He really does know what He's doing...however previously I would have to work hard at keeping that understanding in mind, and now the difference is that it just is that way without me having to work that into my thinking processes.

Psalm 65:8b ...Thou makest the outgoings of the morning and evening to rejoice.

and to those who do not regard Him:

Job 4:17-21  Shall mortal man be more just than God? shall a man be more pure than his maker?
  Behold, he put no trust in his servants; and his angels he charged with folly:
How much less in them that dwell in houses of clay, whose foundation is in the dust, which are crushed before the moth?
They are destroyed from morning to evening:
They perish for ever without any regarding it.  
Doth not their excellency which is in them go away?
 They die, even without wisdom.

As I get older I understand more and more deeply the wisdom of God's word to us...and it is meant for blessing and health in our bones and for that true peace that persists no matter what terrible things happen, because everything in this world is temporary and going away anyway. But the ones who are called of the Lord are with Him forever.

Monday, 19 January 2015

Good Angel / Bad Angel

(great link btw, "70,000 thoughts per day"!)

We've all seen the image of a guy with a "good" angel on one shoulder and a "bad" angel on the other, each vying for the poor guy's attention, and we (when we are "good") root for the good angel to win, or sometimes we jokingly cast our vote with the "bad" angel, the underlying thinking being that the bad is more fun and that God wants us to be deprived of fun.

But where do our thoughts come from?

If you are honest you will confess that some thoughts are down-right evil and need to be tossed into the garbage dump of *where trashy thoughts go*.

How do we decide what is good and what is bad?

Is that true?

The Bible tells us that we are born into sin and that our spirit fights our flesh, so that is what I'll go with, although we all realize that there are good influences that pull at us as well as bad. It makes me realize all the more how hard atheists have to push away such an idea and think that it all originates from themselves. "It's all about me" seems to sum up their attitude no matter how gentle and sweet the act they put on...many ditch the act and let all that ugliness have full reign.

What about you? Do you think there is a good angel on one of your shoulders and a bad one on the other whispering ideas into your head? Or do you think everything that pops into your head originates from yourself, or organic sources like yesterday's dinner?

Thursday, 15 January 2015

Magic Powers

Before I was saved I semi-believed in the possibility of having or acquiring magic powers. When I “evolved” through my various religious beliefs (Seventh-day Adventism, Mormonism, New age Movement) that idea gained strength and to my way of thinking back then, was much more than just a possibility.

 Many of today’s Christian congregations seem to have gone through a similar path of “evolution”. It isn’t just the “name it and claim it” people anymore (remember how “we who knew better” used to snicker at their absurdities?) but it is entering into many denominations and spreading like a bad case of the flu, so that even people who seemed to have a firm grip on the truth are being led away into this parallel Christianity which is a cheap imitation of the real thing; a false religion.

I’ve touched on the topic of the falling away previously, but I haven’t really explored it from the angle of us having the power to transform ourselves from one thing to another.

Every new year we all make new year’s resolutions and quickly discover just how much power we do not possess over ourselves. So what about having the power to become saved, and thereby also the power to become unsaved? Do any of us possess such power? This reminds me of Simon the magician:

Act 8:9  But there was a man named Simon, who had previously practiced magic in the city and amazed the people of Samaria, saying that he himself was somebody great.
Act 8:10  They all paid attention to him, from the least to the greatest, saying, "This man is the power of God that is called Great."
Act 8:11  And they paid attention to him because for a long time he had amazed them with his magic.
Act 8:12  But when they believed Philip as he preached good news about the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptized, both men and women.
Act 8:13  Even Simon himself believed, and after being baptized he continued with Philip. And seeing signs and great miracles performed, he was amazed.
Act 8:14  Now when the apostles at Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received the word of God, they sent to them Peter and John,
Act 8:15  who came down and prayed for them that they might receive the Holy Spirit,
Act 8:16  for he had not yet fallen on any of them, but they had only been baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.
Act 8:17  Then they laid their hands on them and they received the Holy Spirit.
Act 8:18  Now when Simon saw that the Spirit was given through the laying on of the apostles' hands, he offered them money,
Act 8:19  saying, "Give me this power also, so that anyone on whom I lay my hands may receive the Holy Spirit."
Act 8:20  But Peter said to him, "May your silver perish with you, because you thought you could obtain the gift of God with money!
Act 8:21  You have neither part nor lot in this matter, for your heart is not right before God.
Act 8:22  Repent, therefore, of this wickedness of yours, and pray to the Lord that, if possible, the intent of your heart may be forgiven you.
Act 8:23  For I see that you are in the gall of bitterness and in the bond of iniquity."
Act 8:24  And Simon answered, "Pray for me to the Lord, that nothing of what you have said may come upon me."

With Simon it is said “he believed” but we know that there is more to being saved than simply believing. The Holy Spirit must enter into the heart of the believer and it is God, not ourselves, who changes us into His new creation from the inside out. It is much like the pattern He has shown us in nature by the transformation of a caterpillar into a butterfly. He made it so, not the caterpillar, although it is the caterpillar that makes the chrysalis in which this transformation occurs. So is that power in the caterpillar or in the Creator who made it so?

The book of Job has many such questions to help us understand just how puny our powers really are.
Job 38:31  "Can you bind the chains of the Pleiades or loose the cords of Orion?
Job 38:32  Can you lead forth the Mazzaroth in their season,
 or can you guide the Bear with its children?
Job 38:33  Do you know the ordinances of the heavens?
 Can you establish their rule on the earth?
Job 38:34  "Can you lift up your voice to the clouds, that a flood of waters may cover you?
Job 38:35  Can you send forth lightnings, that they may go and say to you, 'Here we are'?
Job 38:36  Who has put wisdom in the inward parts or given understanding to the mind?
Job 38:37  Who can number the clouds by wisdom? Or who can tilt the waterskins of the heavens,
Job 38:38  when the dust runs into a mass and the clods stick fast together?
Job 38:39  "Can you hunt the prey for the lion, or satisfy the appetite of the young lions?”
Job 38:40  when they crouch in their dens or lie in wait in their thicket?
Job 38:41  Who provides for the raven its prey, when its young ones cry to God for help, and wander about for lack of food?

These are good questions to ask myself next time I think I have power to save myself or others, or cause myself to lose my salvation somehow. Should this make me angry at God because He has reserved the power for Himself alone; to give or not give as He chooses? Or should that knowledge humble me (as it did Simon the magician)  before Him, knowing that His power is also merciful and can save me from the destiny of annihilation that I deserve?

There's a huge difference between having a religion and having a transformed life in Christ.  When I was SDA, Mormon, etc, I could come and go from one religion to the next as I pleased. When God changed me He closed a door behind me. Praise the Lord for He is all powerful and all merciful and gracious and He alone is Holy and can make holy through His power alone.

Monday, 12 January 2015

Dining Out

There seems to be no rhyme nor reason to how my husband decides to tip a waiter/waitress. I've chided him for the fact that sometimes the worse a waitress (or waiter) is the better he tips! But last weekend I did have the fortune of getting a peek at what reasoning process is involved in this wonderful man's head.

We had decided on our favorite choice for great ribeye. As we pulled into the restaurant parking lot we noticed a car leaving a spot in our favorite area to park. Meanwhile I noticed (hubby didn't until after after he had backed into the parking spot) that someone was around the corner waiting for the gentleman to pull out, wanting that space for himself. As we pulled into the spot, we saw him cursing my husband angrily as he drove by us.

While we walked from car to restaurant, we noticed the angry gentleman approach us from a further away parking spot. He entered the restaurant right behind us and quickly paced around the hostess booth a few times, and then he walked back to the kitchen area. Before he went through the doorway into the back he spoke to some of the employees who glanced in our direction. After the hostess seated us, she told us that "Sam" (not his real name) would be right with us. When Sam came we saw that it was the angry man from the parking lot! We noticed (with grins on our faces) that he was a little discomfited and didn't meet our eyes as he introduced himself and told us he would be serving us. After he walked away we joked that we hoped he wasn't going to spit in our salads. 

All went well for the most part, he seemed to struggle with keeping his composure, but to his credit, he was very attentive. There was a minor glitch  but other than that everything went very smoothly.

When it came time to tip him, I couldn't resist asking what the amount of the bill came to and how much he was going to tip. My DH told me he was going to leave a tip that would make him feel guilty about how he behaved.

After the bill was paid, the waiter came back three times (!!!) to say how much he appreciated having served us while he glanced at my husband nervously. It made us wonder if perhaps he really did spit in our salads and felt guilty about it.

This incident reminds me of:

 Pro 25:21  If your enemy is hungry, give him bread to eat, and if he is thirsty, give him water to drink,
Pro 25:22  for you will heap burning coals on his head, and the LORD will reward you.