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Sunday, July 10, 2011

The Parrot Died

The Parrot Died!

 At dawn the telephone rings….. 
"Hello, Senor Rob?" This is Ernesto, the caretaker at your country house." 
"Ah yes, Ernesto. What can I do for you? Is there a problem?" 
"Um, I am just calling to advise you, Senor Rob, that your parrot - he
is dead."
"My parrot? Dead? The one that won the International competition?" 
"Si, Senor, that's the one." 
"Damn! That's a pity! I spent a small fortune on that bird.  What did he die from?" 
"From eating the rotten meat, Senor Rob." 
"Rotten meat?  Who the hell fed him rotten meat?" 
"Nobody, Senor.  He ate the meat of the dead horse." 
"Dead horse? What dead horse?" 
"The thoroughbred, Senor Rob." 
"My prize thoroughbred is dead?" 
"Yes, Senor Rob, he died from all that work pulling the water cart." 
"Are you insane?? What water cart?" 
"The one we used to put out the fire, Senor." 
"Good Lord!! What fire are you talking about, man?" 
"The one that destroyed your house, Senor!  A candle fell and the curtains caught on fire." 
"What the hell?? Are you saying that my mansion is destroyed because of a candle??!!" 
"Yes, Senor Rob." 
"But there's electricity at the house!!  What was the candle for?" 
"For the funeral, Senor Rob." 
"Your wife's, Senor Rob.  She showed up very late one night and I thought she was a thief, so I hit her with your new Taylor Made Super Quad 460 golf club." 

  LONG SILENCE.........

  "Ernesto, if you broke that driver, you're in really big trouble!!


Your Heart is your Love,
Your love is
your Family ,
Your family is your Future ,
Your future is your Destiny ,
Your destiny is your Ambition,
Your ambition is your
Aspiration ,
Your aspiration is your
Motivation ,
Your motivation is your Belief
Your belief is your Peace ,
Your peace is your Target ,
Your target is Heaven,
Heaven is no fun without ---FRIENDS

Death and peace

A sick man turned to his doctor as he was preparing to
Leave the examination room and said,
'Doctor, I am afraid to die.
Tell me what lies on the other side.'
Very quietly, the doctor said, 'I don't know.'
'You don't know? You're, a Christian man,
and don't know what's on the other side?'
The doctor was holding the handle of the door;
On the other side came a sound of scratching and whining,
And as he opened the door, a dog sprang into the room
And leaped on him with an eager show of gladness.
Turning to the patient, the doctor said,
'Did you notice my dog?
He's never been in this room before.
He didn't know what was inside.
He knew nothing except that his master was here,
And when the door opened, he sprang in without fear.
I know little of what is on the other side of death,
But I do know one thing...
I know my Master is there and that is enough.' May today there be peace within you.
May you trust God that you are exactly
Where you are meant to be.
I believe that friends are quiet angels
Who lift us to our feet when our wings
Have trouble remembering how to fly.

True beauty

Beauty Tips
written by Sam Levenson
For attractive lips ,
speak words of kindness...
For lovely eyes ,
seek out the good in people.
For a slim figure ,
share your food with the hungry.
For beautiful hair ,

let a child run his/her fingers through it once a day.
For poise ,
walk with the knowledge that you never walk alone...
People, even more than things, have to be restored,
renewed, revived, reclaimed, and redeemed;
never throw out anyone.
Remember, if you ever need a helping hand,
you will find one at the end of each of your arms.
As you grow older, you will discover that you have two hands ;
one for helping yourself and the other for helping others.

The beauty of a woman is not in the clothes she wears, the figure that she carries, or the way she combs her hair. The beauty of a woman must be seen from in her eyes, because that is the doorway to her heart, the place where love resides.

The beauty of a woman is not in a facial mole, but true beauty in a woman is reflected in her soul. It is the caring that she lovingly gives, the passion that she shows, and the beauty of a woman with passing years only grows!

-- Sam Levenson

Psalms 13

"How long O Lord? Will you forget me forever? How long will you hide your face from me? How long must I wrestle with my thoughts and every day have sorrow in my heart? How long will my enemy triumph over me? Look on me and answer, O Lord my God. Give light to my eyes, or I sleep in death; my enemy will say, 'I have overcome him,' and my foes will rejoice when I fall. But I trust in your unfailing love; my heart rejoices in your salvation. I will sing to the Lord, for he has been good to me."

Does God really mean what He says?

Scripture reading for today is found in 2 Peter 3:9 "The Lord is not slow concerning His promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance." Who is God? (Fold hands pretend to be blessing food) "God is good; God is great, let us thank Him for our food. Amen" Is this the only time we even mention God? church or briefly before we eat?  We preach God's kindness, mercy, compassion over and over again, but is that all that God is? Have we forgotten the other aspects of God’s character? Is it important to know what God’s will is? Does God expect us to follow a specific set of guidelines in our daily life? Or is it enough just to LOVE each other?
     We will be using our Bibles a lot today so I hope that you each have one. Let us begin our journey today by going back to the beginning. Does God really mean what He says? Genesis chapter 2:16, 17 and then chapter 3:1-5, 23, 24. (Have an apple and set it on the pulpit) Genesis 2:16, 17“And the Lord God commanded the man, “you are free to eat from any tree in the garden; but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat of it you will surely die.” chapter 3:1-5 “Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the Lord God had made. He sad to the woman, ‘Did God REALLY say, you must not eat from any tree in the garden?’ The woman said to the serpent, ‘we may eat fruit from the trees in the garden, but God did say, you must not eat fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden, and you must not touch it, or you will die.’ ‘You will not surely die,’ the serpent said to the woman. ‘For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil’.” It’s such a little thing, this piece of fruit. But what was it that the snake said? Did God really say not to eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil? Did He mean what He said? Genesis 3:23, 24 “So the Lord God banished him from the Garden of Eden to work the ground from which he had been taken. After He drove the man out, He placed on the east side of the Garden of Eden cherubim and a flaming sword flashing back and forth to guard the way to the tree of life.” It was just one measly little bite of fruit and yet God came down and banished Adam and Eve from there Eden home and here we still are more than 6000 years later. Did God really mean “Don’t eat from the tree?”
     So the question remains, does God mean what He says? Let’s take a look at another story. This one begins in Numbers chapter 20 verses 1-12 "In the first month the whole Israelite community arrived at the Desert of Zin, and they stayed at Kadesh. There Miriam died and was buried. Now there was no water for the community, and the people gathered in opposition to Moses and Aaron. They quarreled with Moses and said, 'If only we had died when our brothers fell dead before the Lord! Why did you bring the Lord's community into this desert, that we and our livestock should die here? Why did you bring us up out of Egypt to this terrible place? It has no grain or figs, grapevines or pomegranates. And there is no water to drink!' Moses and Aaron went from the assembly to the entrance to the Tent of Meeting and fell face down, and the glory of the Lord appeared to them. The Lord said to Moses, 'take the staff and you and your brother Aaron gather the assembly together. Speak to that rock before their eyes and it will pour out its water. You will bring water out of the rock for the community so they and their livestock can drink.' So Moses took the staff from the Lord's presence, just as he commanded him. He and Aaron gathered the assembly together in front of the rock and Moses said to them, 'Listen, you rebels, must we bring you water out of this rock?' Then Moses raised his arm and struck the rock twice with his staff. Water gushed out, and the community and their livestock drank. But the Lord said to Moses and Aaron, ‘Because you did not trust me enough to honor me as holy in the sight of the Israelites, you will not bring this community into the land I give them.’” This hardly seems fair Moses put up with these people for all those years, his sister had just died, the people had done nothing but complain against Moses since he had first brought them out of Egypt and with one little slip up Moses doesn’t get to go into the promised land?! Just because Moses struck the rock instead of speaking to it! He had done everything the Lord had asked of him, even going before the Pharaoh of Egypt and yet this one “little” thing kept him from the Promised Land. Turn to Deuteronomy chapter 3:21-28 " AT that time I commanded Joshua: 'You have seen with your own eyes all that the Lord your God has done to these two kings. The Lord will do the same to all the kingdoms over there where you are going. Do not be afraid of them; the Lord your God himself will fight for you.’ At that time I pleaded with the Lord: ‘O Sovereign Lord, you have begun to show your servant your greatness and your strong hand. For what god is there in heaven or on earth who can do the deeds and mighty works you do? Let me go over and see the good land beyond the Jordan--that fine hill country and Lebanon.’ But because of you the Lord was angry with me and would not listen to me. ‘That is enough,’ the Lord said. ‘Do not speak to me anymore about this matter. Go up to the top of Pisgah and look west and north and south and east. Look at the land with your own eyes, since you are NOT going to cross the Jordan. But commission Joshua, and encourage and strengthen him, for he will lead this people across and will cause them to inherit the land that you will see.” Moses was pleading with God to please, please, pretty please let him enter the Promised Land and God told him to stop speaking to Him about it. Have you ever seen a kid begging for a new toy or a piece of candy? Especially if they have already been told no once? How hard is it to look at their pitiful little faces and not give in? Okay just one piece! So God allows Moses a glimpse into the Promised Land. But a glimpse is all Moses gets.
     Let's take a look at another "little" law. Turn to the book of Numbers chapter 3:10 "Appoint Aaron and his sons to serve as priests; ANYONE else who approaches the sanctuary must be put to death."
and again in chapter 18:1-4 "The Lord said to Aaron, 'You, your sons and your father's family are to bear the responsibility for the offenses against the sanctuary, and you and your sons alone are to bear the responsibility for offenses against the priesthood. Bring your fellow Levites from your ancestral tribe to join you and assist you when you and your sons minister before the Tent of the Testimony. They are to be responsible to you and are to perform all the duties of the Tent, but they must not go near the furnishings of the sanctuary or the altar, or both they and you will die." So the rule is, only the Levites can touch any furnishings in the temple or the altar or they will die. Fast forward to the time of King David in 2 Samuel chapter 6:1-7 "David again brought together out of Israel chosen men, thirty thousand in all. He and all his men set out from Baalah of Judah to bring up from there the ark of God, which is called by the Name, the name of the Lord Almighty, who is enthroned between the cherubim that are on the ark. They set the ark of God on a new cart and brought it from the house of Abinadab, was on the hill. Uzzah and Ahio, sons of Abinadab, were guiding the new cart with the ark of God on it, and Ahio was walking in front of it. David and the whole house of Israel were celebrating with all their might before the Lord, with songs and with harps, lyres, tambourines, sistrums and cymbals. When they came to the threshing floor of Nacon, Uzzah reached out and took hold of the ark of God, because the oxen stumbled. The Lord’s anger burned against Uzzah because of his irreverent act; therefore God struck him down and he died there beside the ark of God.” King David is bringing the Ark--a temple furnishing-- back to Jerusalem. Uzzah thinks that the ark of God is unsteady and reaches out to steady it. There was no malice here. He simply that that God needed his help to protect the ark from tipping over. Instantly he died! Does God mean what He says?
     Just to make sure let’s take a look at one more. I’ll set the stage by reading a few texts. Exodus 35:5 "From what you have, take an offering for the Lord. Everyone who is willing is to bring to the Lord an offering of gold, silver, and bronze;" turn back a few pages to Exodus 25:1,2 "The Lord said to Moses, 'Tell the Israelites to bring me an offering. You are to receive the offering for me from each man who prompts him to give.'" Leviticus 22:31-32 "Keep my commandments and follow them. I am the Lord. Do not profane my holy name. I must be acknowledged as holy by the Israelites. I am the Lord who makes you holy." Gifts given to God were supposed to be given from the heart. No doubt our next examples had read the Torah and were familiar with God's laws. Acts chapter 4:32-chapter 5:11 "All the believers were one in heart and mind. No one claimed that any of his possessions was his own, but they shared everything they had. With great power the apostles continued to testify to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus and much grace was upon them all. There were no needy persons among them. For from time to time those who owned lands or houses sold them, brought the money from the sales and put it at the apostles' feet, and it was distributed to anyone as he had need. Joseph, a Levite from Cyprus, whom the apostles called Barnabas (which means son of Encouragement); sold a field he owned and brought the money and put it at the apostles' feet. Now a man named Ananias, together with his wife Sapphira, also sold a piece of property. With his wife’s full knowledge he kept back part of the money for himself, but brought the rest and put it at the apostles’ feet. Then Peter said, ‘Ananias, how is it that Satan has filled your heart that you have lied to the Holy Spirit and have kept for yourself some of the money you received for the land? Didn’t it belong to you before it was sold? And after it was sold, wasn’t the money at your disposal? What made you think of doing such a thing? You have not lied to men but to God.’ When Ananias heard this, he fell down and died. And great fear seized all who heard what happened. Then young men came forward, wrapped up his body, and carried him out and buried him. About three hours later his wife came in, not knowing what had happened. Peter asked her, ‘Tell me, is this the price you and Ananias got for the land?’ ‘Yes,’ she said, ‘that is the price.’ Peter said to her, ‘How could you agree to test the Spirit of the Lord? Look! The feet of the men who buried your husband are at the door, and they will carry you out also.’ At that moment she fell down at his feet and died. Then the young men came in and, finding her dead, carried her out and buried her beside her husband. Great fear seized the whole church and all who heard about these events.” Just one little lie and two people died, instantly!
     We could go on and on there was the flood in which only eight people were saved. I’m sure we could find others but I think that you get the point. So how important is it for us to know what God requires of us? I’d like to shift gears a little bit and look at Revelation chapter 4 John is speaking here and he says, “After this I looked, and there before me was a door standing open in heaven. And the voice I had heard speaking to me like a trumpet said, ‘Come up here, and I will show you what must take place after this.’ At once I was in the Spirit, and there before me was a throne in heaven with someone sitting on it and the one who sat there had the appearance of jasper and carnelian. A rainbow, resembling an emerald, encircling the throne. Surrounding the throne were twenty four other thrones, and seated on them were twenty four elders. They were dressed in white and had crowns on their heads. From the throne came flashes of lightning, rumblings and peals of thunder. Before the throne, seven lamps were blazing. These are the seven spirits of God. Also before the throne there was what looked like a sea of glass, clear as crystal. In the center, around the throne, were four living creatures, and they were covered with eyes, in front and in back. The first living creature was like a lion, the second like an ox, the third had the face like a man; the fourth was like a flying eagle. Each of the four living creatures had six wings and was covered with eyes all around, even under his wings. Day and night they never stop saying: ‘Holy, Holy, Holy is the Lord God Almighty, who was and is and is to come.’ Whenever the living creatures give glory, honor and thanks to him who sits on the throne and who lives for ever and ever. They lay their crowns before the throne and say: ‘You are worthy, out Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will they were created and have their being‘.” This is a picture of the very throne of God. So is there any other times in the Bible when we have seen this before? Let’s find out--Ezekiel 1:4-28 "I looked, and saw a windstorm coming out of the north--an immense cloud with flashing lightning and surrounded by brilliant light. The center of the fire looked like glowing metal. and in the fire was what look like four living creatures. In appearance there form was that of a man, but each of them had four faces and four wings. Their legs were straight; their feet were like those of a calf and gleamed like burnished bronze. Under their wings on their four sides they had the hands of a man. All four of them had faces and wings. and their wings touched one another. Each one went straight ahead; they did not turn as they moved. There faces looked like this: Each of the four had the face of a man, and on the right side each had the face of a lion, and on the left side the face of an ox; also each had the face of an eagle. Such were their faces. Their wings were spread out upward; each had two wings, one touching the wing of the creature on either side, and two wings covering its body. Each one went straight ahead. Wherever the Spirit would go, they would go, without turning as they went. T he appearance of the living creatures was like burning coals of fire or like torches. Fire moved back and forth among the creatures, it was bright, and lightning flashed out of it. The creatures sped back and forth like flashes of lightning. As I looked at the living creatures, I saw a wheel on the ground beside each creature with its four faces. This was the appearance and structure of the wheels: they sparkled like chrysolite, and all four looked alike. Each appeared to be made like a wheel intersecting a wheel. As they moved, they would go in any one of the four directions the creatures faced; the wheels did not turn about, and all four rims were full of eyes all around. When the living creatures moved, the wheels beside them moved; and when the living creatures rose from the ground, the wheels also rose. Wherever the spirit would go, they would go, and all the wheels would rise along with them, because the spirit of the living creatures was in the wheels. When the creatures moved, they also moved; when the creatures stood still, they also stood still; and when the creatures rose from the ground, the wheels rose along with them, because the spirit of the living creatures was in the wheels. Spread above the heads of the living creatures was what looked like an expanse, sparkling like ice, and awesome. Under the expanse their wings were stretched out one toward the other, and each had two wings covering its body. When the creatures moved I heard the sound of their wings, like a roar of rushing waters, like the voice of the Almighty, like the tumult of an army. When they stood still they lowered their wings. Then there came a voice from above the expanse over their heads as they stood with lowered wings. Above the expanse over their heads was what looked like a throne of sapphire and high above on the throne was a figure like that of a man. I saw that from what appeared to be his waist up he looked like glowing metal, as if full of fire, and that from there down he looked like fire; and brilliant light surrounded him. Like the appearance of a rainbow in the clouds on a rainy day, so was the radiance around him. This was the appearance of the likeness of the glory of the Lord. When I saw it, I fell facedown, and I heard the voice of one speaking." I wanted to read to you the whole text because of the one little inconsistency that I found and that if you were listening was that in one vision there are six wings and in the other there were only four. I bring this up because somebody else probably would anyway. I cannot speak as to why except to say that, like witnesses of an accident, sometimes descriptions don’t necessarily match. This does not detract from two main points: 1. the entire Bible is God’s holy word and 2. These scenes are basically the same thing. Note especially verse 26 the term “throne of sapphire” The point of this exercise is that both John and Ezekiel are getting messages from the very throne of God. So now we can go back to Exodus chapter 24:1, 9-11 “Then He(God) said to Moses, ‘Come up to the Lord, you and Aaron, Nadab and Abihu, and the seventy elders of Israel. You are to worship at a distance‘.” verse 9 “Moses and Aaron, Nadab and Abihu, and the seventy elders of Israel went up and Saw the God of Israel. Under his feet was something like a pavement made of sapphire, clear as the sky itself. But God did not raise his hand against these leaders of the Israelites; they saw God, and they ate and drank.. Can we come to the conclusion that Moses, Aaron, Nadab, Abihu and the seventy elders saw God on His throne? This is only mentioned in these three texts in the Bible, so I venture that if God thought that a message was so important that He would come down from heaven with his throne that the message he was delivering was one of utmost importance. So what message is God giving to Moses and the Israelites at this time? Continuing in verse 12 “The Lord said to Moses, come up to me on the mountain and stay here, and I will give you the tablets of stone, with the law and commands I have written for their instruction.” It is on this mountain at this time that God gives His commandments to Israel, that He wrote with his own hand in stone. How important God’s laws must be that He would come down on His throne to give them! How important it must be to have God’s laws as our standard! Exodus 20:1-17 “And God spoke all these words: ‘I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the Land of Egypt, out of the Land of slavery. You shall have no other gods before me. You shall not make for yourselves an idol in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below. You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the fathers to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me, but showing love to a thousand generations of those who love me and keep my commandments. You shall not misuse the name of the Lord your God, for the Lord will not hold anyone guiltless who misuses his name. Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the Lord your God. On it you shall not do any work, neither you, nor your son or daughter, nor your manservant or maidservant, nor your animals, nor the alien within your gates. For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but rested on the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy. Honor your father and mother, so that you may live long in the land the Lord you God is giving you. You shall not murder. You shall not commit adultery. You shall not steal. You shall not give false testimony against your neighbor. You shall not covet your neighbor’s house. You shall not covet you neighbor’s wife, or his manservant or maidservant, his ox or his donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbor.” Does God mean what He says? Is it important to know and to do what God wants us to do? I’d like to close with these texts: Matthew 5:17-19 “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. I tell you the truth, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished. ANYONE who breaks one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever practices and teaches these commands will be called great in the kingdom of heaven.” Galatians 3:24 “So the law was put in charge to lead us to Christ that we might be justified by faith.“ 1 Corinthians 6:9-11 “Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders, nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God” Notice that not one sin is above or below another in the list all are offensive to God. continuing in verse 11 ”And that is what some of you were. But you were washed(speaking of being baptized), you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God” and lastly 2 Timothy 3:16, 17 “All scripture is God-breathed and is profitable for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.”
     Now our God is a loving God, and He is patient and kind and not wanting that anyone should perish. Every good parent has rules, and all good rules have consequences. No child respects a parent whose rules are not enforced. When you say to your child don't color on the walls and he/she continues to do so, there should be consequences. Rules such as don't flush your sister's doll's heads down the toilet should come with very strict consequences! I don't remember how many times I had to rescue my sisters many dolls from the evil clutches of my brother! God has rules too. He says, "If you love me keep my commandments." John 14:15 Time and time again the Israelites were sent into captivity until they could remember to keep God's commandments. God has always made a way for people to be saved. In Noah's day it was an ark. Only eight people got on the boat in Noah's day. I want to be on the "boat". The road is narrow and the path is not easy, for it is not well traveled. But Jesus traveled the road ahead of us so that we too could be where He is. Don't you want to be one who follows God's will all the way?















2 Peter 3:9

Christ Bell

I Know Who I Am
I am God's child ( John 1:12)
I am Christ's friend (John 15:15)
I am united with the Lord (1 Cor. 6:17)
I am bought with a price (1 Cor 6:19-20)
I am a saint (set apart for God). (Eph. 1:1)
I am a personal witness of Christ. (Acts 1:8)
I am the salt & light of the earth (Matt 5:13-14)
I am a member of the body of Christ (1 Cor 12:27)
I am free forever from condemnation (Rom. 8:31-34)
I am a citizen of Heaven. I am significant (Phil 3:20)
I am free from any charge against me (Rom. 8:31-34)
I am a minister of reconciliation for God (2 Cor. 5:17-21)
I have access to God through the Holy Spirit (Eph. 2:18)
I am seated with Christ in the heavenly realms (Eph. 2:6)
I cannot be separated from the love of God (Rom 8:35-39)
I am established, anointed, sealed by God (2 Cor 1:21-22)
I am assured all things work together for good (Rom. 8:28)
I have been chosen and appointed to bear fruit (John 15:16)
I may approach God with freedom and confidence (Eph. 3:12)
I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me (Phil. 4:13)
I am the branch of the true vine, a channel of His life. (John 15:1-5)
I am God's temple. (1 Cor. 3:16). I am complete in Christ. (Col. 2:10)
I am hidden with Christ in God. (Col. 3:3) I have been justified (Romans 5:1)
I am God's co-worker (1 Cor. 3:9; 2 Cor 6:1) I am God's workmanship (Eph. 2:10)
I am confident that the good works God has begun in me will be perfected. (Phil. 1:5)
I have been redeemed and forgiven. (Col 1:14) I have been adopted as God's child
(Eph 1:5)
I belong to God
do you know
Who you are?


(Some judges do have a sense of humor)
Have you heard about this case? Great answer from The Judge!

In Florida , an atheist became incensed over the preparation of Easter and Passover holidays. He decided to contact his lawyer about the discrimination inflicted on atheists by the constant celebrations afforded
to Christians and Jews with all their holidays while atheists had no holiday to celebrate.
The case was brought before a judge. After listening to the long passionate presentation by the lawyer, the Judge banged his gavel and declared,
"Case Dismissed!"
The lawyer immediately stood and objected to the ruling and said, 'Your honor, how can you possibly dismiss this case? The Christians have Christmas, Easter and many other observances. Jews have Passover, Yom Kippur and Hanukkah....yet my client and all other atheists have no such holiday!'
The judge leaned forward in his chair and simply said, 'Obviously your client is too confused to even know about, much less celebrate his own atheists' holiday!'
The lawyer pompously said, 'Your Honor, we are unaware of any such holiday for atheists. Just when might that holiday be, your Honor?'
The judge said, 'Well it comes every year on exactly the same date---April 1st! Since our calendar sets April 1st as 'April Fools Day,' consider that Psalm 14:1 states, 'The fool says in his heart, there is no God.' Thus, in my opinion, if your client says there is no God, then by scripture , he is a fool, and April 1st is his holiday! Now have a good day and get out of my courtroom!!

Way to go, Judge!  

Oh, let me live in Thy realities,
Nor substitute my notions for Thy facts,
Notion with notion making leagues and pacts;
They are to truth but as dream-deeds to acts,
And questioned, make me doubt of everything.-
"O Lord, my God," my heart gets up and cries,
"Come Thy own self, and with Thee my faith bring."
-The Diary of an Old Soul by George MacDonald



I envy Kevin. My brother Kevin thinks God lives under his bed At least that's what I heard him say one night.  He was praying out loud in his dark bedroom, and I stopped to listen, 'Are you there, God?' he said. 'Where are you? Oh, I see. Under the bed...'
I giggled softly and tiptoed off to my own room. Kevin's unique perspectives are often a source of amusement. But that night something else lingered long after the humor. I realized for the first time the very different world Kevin lives in.
He was born 30 years ago, mentally disabled as a result of difficulties during labor. Apart from his size (he's 6-foot-2), there are few ways in which he is an adult.
He reasons and communicates with the capabilities of a 7-year-old, and he always will. He will probably always believe that God lives under his bed, that Santa Claus is the one who fills the space under our tree every Christmas and that airplanes stay up in the sky because angels carry them.  I remember wondering if Kevin realizes he is different. Is he ever dissatisfied with his monotonous life?
Up before dawn each day, off to work at a workshop for the disabled, home to walk our cockier spaniel, return to eat his favorite macaroni-and-cheese for dinner, a and later to bed.
The only variation in the entire scheme is laundry, when he hovers excitedly over the washing machine like a mother with her newborn child.
He does not seem dissatisfied.
He lopes out to the bus every morning at 7:05, eager for a day of simple work.
He wrings his hands excitedly while the water boils on the stove before dinner, and he stays up late twice a week to gather our dirty laundry for his next day's laundry chores.
And Saturdays-oh, the bliss of Saturdays! That's the day my Dad takes Kevin to the airport to have a soft drink, watch the planes land, and speculate loudly on the destination of each passenger inside. 'That one's goin' to Chi-car-go!' Kevin shouts as he claps his hands.
His anticipation is so great he can hardly sleep on Friday nights.
And so goes his world of daily rituals and weekend field trips.
He doesn't know what it means to be discontent.
His life is simple.
He will never know the entanglements of wealth of power, and he does not care what brand of clothing he wears or what kind of food he eats. His needs have always been met, and he never worries that one day they may not be.
His hands are diligent. Kevin is never so happy as when he is working. When he unloads the dishwasher or vacuums the carpet, his heart is completely in it.
He does not shrink from a job when it is begun, and he does not leave a job until it is finished. But when his tasks are done, Kevin knows how to relax.
He is not obsessed with his work or the work of others. His heart is pure.
He still believes everyone tells the truth, promises must be kept, and when you are wrong, you apologize instead of argue.
Free from pride and unconcerned with appearances, Kevin is not afraid to cry when he is hurt, angry or sorry. He is always transparent, always sincere. And he trusts God.
Not confined by intellectual reasoning, when he comes to Christ, he comes as a child. Kevin seems to know God - to really be friends with Him in a way that is difficult for an 'educated' person to grasp. God seems like his closest companion.
In my moments of doubt and frustrations with my Christianity I envy the security Kevin has in his simple faith.

It is then that I am most willing to admit that he has some divine knowledge that rises above my mortal questions
It is then I realize that perhaps he is not the one with the handicap . I am. My obligations, my fear, my pride, and my circumstances - they all become disabilities when I do not trust them to God's care
Who knows if Kevin comprehends things I can never learn? After all, he has spent his whole life in that kind of innocence, praying after dark and soaking up the goodness and love of God.
And one day, when the mysteries of heaven are opened, and we are all amazed at how close God really is to our hearts, I'll realize that God heard the simple prayers of a boy who believed that God lived under his bed.
Kevin won't be surprised at all!
When you read this, say a prayer. That's all you have to do.


Entry for April 20, 2008

Matthew 24:7b-8 "The will be famines and earthquakes in various places. All these are the beginning of birth pains."
I was fast asleep in my bed when I began to dream. Instinctively I knew that it was supposed to be light out but it was dark as night. I looked at my watch to confirm that it was indeed 1:30 in the afternoon. The dark was eerie, ominous, the clouds that filled the sky weren't the only reason that it was dark. It was as if the sun refused to shine. The clouds themselves weren't being blown about by the wind. It seemed as if each cloud had a mind of it's own; coming and going at will. People all around seemed to be in a state of panic. My children, husband and I were throwing things into a van. (we don't own a van, currently) My husband began to drive off while we were still trying to get in. As we traveled along the road people were trying to clean the windshield, my husband kept driving. I glanced up at the clouds just as they parted and saw a square city covered in rainbows coming down to the earth. "Look kids," I said, "Jesus is coming!" My husband said to me, "So what, you're a prophet now?" I looked straight at him and said, "Unbelievers go straight to hell." and then...

my alarm went off and I had to get up and go to work.

He took my place

You Took My Parking Space at Church (This should wake us up.)
One day, a man went to visit a church, He got there early, parked his car and got out. Another car pulled up near the driver got out and said, ' I always park there! You took my place!'
The visitor went inside for Sunday School, found an empty seat and sat down. A young lady from the church approached him and stated, 'That's my seat! You took my place!' The visitor was somewhat distressed by this rude welcome, but said nothing. After Sunday School, the visitor went into the sanctuary and sat down. Another member walked up to him and said, ' That's where I always sit! You took my place!' The visitor was even more troubled by this treatment, but still He said nothing. Later as the congregation was praying for Christ to dwell among them, the visitor stood up, and his appearance began to change. Horrible scars became visible on his hands and on his sandaled feet. Someone from the congregation noticed him and called out, 'What happened to you?' The visitor replied, as his hat became a crown of thorns, and a tear fell from his eye, 'I took your place.'

Claim God's promises

Claim God's promises!!! Isaiah 65:24 My husband has been out of work for nearly a month. Today I said to God we could really use $100 for groceries. Just then the mailman drove up; my brother sent me a $100 gift card to Wal-Mart. My husband and I spent $113 on groceries today. Another lady had purchased something from me for $30 today moments before my shopping trip. God knows what I need!!!! AMEN and AMEN!!!!

Oh, the cross is my statue of Liberty!

"In New York harbor stands a lady, with a torch raised to the sky, and all who see her know she stands for liberty for you and me. I'm so proud to be called an American! To be named with the brave and the free. As the statue liberates the citizen, so the cross liberates the soul. On lonely Golgotha, stood a cross, with my Lord raised to the sky, and all who kneel there live forever as all the saved can testify! I'm so glad to be called a Christian, to be named with the ransomed and whole. Unashamed I'll proclaim that a rugged cross is my statue of liberty. yes, my statue of liberty!" (song titled simply---Statue of liberty)

God's providence

Wilfred was in the German army fighting against the Nazi's. Back then soldiers ate whatever they were given or what they took from farmers along the way. They didn't have pre-packaged food supplements. My grandfather believed that there are certain meats that God calls us not to eat, pork among the "worst" offenders. Soldiers back then often took whatever they wanted that they happened to come across. One very smart farmer had heard that the army was headed in the direction of his farm and took some of his pigs to them, before they got to his farm. Now there is only one real use for having a pig in an army and that is to eat it. When my grandfather came to breakfast that morning the only thing on the menu was ham, and for lunch, more ham, and for supper--yup more ham. By the end of the day my grandpa was very hungry. Day two and the menu remained the same for all three meals, and yet Wilfred still went hungry. Day three, after yet another day of marching and not eating Wilfred was famished. He decided that evening to go apart from the camp to pray. As it grew dark, Wilfred looked for a sheltered place to pray and ran across an abandoned railroad car. He began pacing back and forth praying all the time. Back and forth, back and forth he went. He was now totally dark and getting colder. He tripped over something, what was it? He got down on his hands and knees. "That's funny," he thought, “I’ve been up and down the isle several times and didn't trip on anything before." Searching with his hands, he found a large round lump of something kinda hard and well, it smelled like wheat. It was a loaf of bread!! Now how do you suppose that got there? It hadn't been there on his first few trips up and down that isle! The very next day the camp was out of ham! He didn't tell me what they did have but he did say he was very glad that he could eat it!

From Immigrant to Pulpit

“Practice, Practice what you preach. I’m here to tell you that it’s what you do not what you say that’s gonna count on judgment day.” The lyrics to this song were popular in the house I grew up in. They summarize my sentiments on what it takes to be an effective pastor. An effective pastor should have several virtuous qualities. Level of commitment, passion for God and courage of conviction makes one a credible witness for God.
His name was Heinz. He was my father. He was also a pastor. Heinz first learned about commitment at the early age of five when his parents escaped from East Germany with their six children. His mother had vowed that her children would have a better life and so they boarded a boat, headed for the United States. It was April 22, 1952 when they landed in New York, with only $11.45 to their name. Heinz carried that commitment with him the rest of his life. He had gone into the army during the Vietnam War. Soon after that, he married my mother, and within a few years they had two children. It was then that Dad felt God tugging at his heart. He decided to go to college to become a preacher. He and Mom both worked while Dad went to school. I remember this so clearly because Dad and I walked to school together. Finally, in May of 1977, Heinz graduated from Southern Missionary College in Tennessee. He and Mom had their third child.

My father’s passion for God first took us to North Dakota where Dad ministered for four years. Dad had three churches. Two of the churches we went to one week. Then the next week we went to the other. Every church Dad pastored grew. One of the ways he encouraged participation in church was to tell the children what his sermon would be about and have us count how many times he said specific words. The child who came the closest to being right got a prize. I never got a prize. After four years we moved to Illinois. Again Dad’s church grew. Then one day my parents split. Rumors that went around caused my father to lose his job. Yet so great was my father’s passion for God that he began to sell religious books door to door. Later he remarried a widow who had four young children. This was his saving grace. For the next twelve years Heinz worked hard to provide not only for Carolyn and her children but also his first three children.

After years of struggling to provide for his family Heinz was finally accepted back into the ministry. A little church in Idaho asked Him to come and be their pastor. On April 11, 1998 Heinz preached his first sermon in his new church. The little church grew and flourished under Heinz’s leadership. Each member came to love him. Then it happened. November 15, 1999, I got a phone call. There’s a tumor attached to Daddy’s liver. We don’t know how long it’s been there or how fast it’s growing, more later. January, Dad only has about four months to live. Yet Heinz’s spirit was not deterred. His witness led to him baptizing his older brother. Any time I called him he would do two things. First he would tell me some stupid joke to try to make me laugh. Second he would remind me of the hope of the resurrection. If his faith ever wavered I never saw it. Easter weekend came. April 22, 2000 Daddy’s congregation gathered around him. Someone began to read. “Yea though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death...” Daddy squeezed my hand and was gone.

Daddy had all the stubbornness of a German, all the “smoothness” of a drill sergeant, and all the weaknesses of the rest of us humans. No, Daddy wasn’t a saint, but his dedication to others, his passion for God and the courage of his convictions led him to his greatest accomplishments, seeing his children working for God in various ways and still strong in the Lord. Anyone can preach; not everyone should.

The Sign of Christ’s followers

My father was a minister of the Gospel of Jesus Christ for many years. I always thought I’d marry a preacher not be one. Truth be told I hate to make public speeches. When I was a kid if something made me mad, instead of talking about it I would go to my room, (often because I was sent there to think about it) and I would sit there on my bed and “discuss” it with myself until I thought that I could make my parents understand my point of view. This hardly every worked. Did I mention that before My dad was a minister he had been a drill Sergeant in the Army? You can imagine how I grew up. And I have found out that the prayer ministers say before their sermons it’s not necessarily just for you, the congregation but for the ministers themselves to have the courage to stand up and actually speak the truth and pray that they make some sense. And that the snoring from the front row doesn’t discourage them too much.
Whenever my father was placed with a new congregation his opening sermon would begin with something like this… “I don’t want you to believe one word that comes out of my mouth. Yes, you heard correctly-- not one word--except that which you study with your own Bibles and prove to be correct. So I do not want you to listen to me except that I give you the Word of God, without my own personal bias.

Let’s begin back in the beginning Genesis, as you may recall the first chapter deals with the first six days of creation. Then we get to the second chapter. Let’s look at the first three verses. (Genesis 2:1-3) "Thus the heavens and the earth were completed in all their vast array. By the seventh day God had finished the work he had been doing; so on the seventh day he rested from all his work. And God BLESSED the seventh day and MADE it HOLY, because on it he rested from all the work of creating that he had done." Sanctified, hallowed, made holy, if God makes something holy what should that mean to us?

Skip ahead a few years, the Children of Israel had been in captivity in Egypt. They are in the desert, no food and they are murmuring again to Moses. Exodus Chapter sixteen. You can read the whole story on your own but for our purposes let’s start with verses four and five, "Then the Lord said to Moses, 'I will rain down bread from heaven for you. The people are to go out each day and gather enough for that day. In this way I will test them and see whether they will follow my instructions. On the sixth day they are to prepare what they bring in, and that is to be twice as much as they gather on the other days." What was God trying to do here? He was reminding the children of Israel which day was His Sabbath. We read that back in verse five. Now do you think after forty years of manna that they figured out what He wanted them to know?

Let’s go now to the New Testament and see what it says there. Luke chapter four and verse sixteen. "He (Jesus) went to Nazareth, where he had been brought up, and on the Sabbath day he went into the synagogue, as was his CUSTOM and stood up to read." Of course you say, after all, Jesus was Jewish. Time after time in Jesus ministry He clashes with the authorities of His day over how to keep the Sabbath. Not about which day it was, after all they already knew which day it was. How do we know which day it was? Let’s look at the end of Jesus life. Luke chapter 23 and verse fifty to 24 verse three. "Now there was a man named Joseph, a member of the council, a good and upright man, who had not consented to their decision and action. He came from the Judean town of Arimathea and he was waiting for the kingdom of God. Going to Pilate, he asked for Jesus Body. Then he took it down, wrapped it in linen cloth and placed it in a tomb cut in the rock, one in which no one had yet been laid. It was the PREPARATION Day, and the Sabbath was about to begin. The women who had come with Jesus from Galilee followed Joseph and saw the tomb how his body was laid in it. Then they went home and prepared spices and perfumes. But they rested on the SABBATH in obedience to the commandment. On the FIRST day of the week, very early in the morning, the women took the spices they had prepared and went to the tomb. They found the stone rolled away from the tomb, but when they entered, they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus." When does the whole Christian world celebrate Easter? What is “Good Friday”? So we do know which day is “the Sabbath”. You might say, but that was the Old Testament law. Well, did you throw out the other nine as well? Is it okay to have other gods, murder, commit adultery? No, of course not, then why just throw out one? You say the law was done away with at the cross. Which law? Three of the four gospels indicate that when Jesus died the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. Why was that? What was going on at that time? John 19:14 "It was the day of Preparation of PASSOVER Week, about the sixth hour." The Passover was going on. So what was happening in the temple at Passover? First Corinthians five verse seven. ..."Christ our Passover lamb has already been sacrificed!" Do we sacrifice animals at Passover anymore? Only those who do not accept Christ as our sacrifice would do that. This is the law that was fulfilled when Jesus died for our sins, so now we don’t have to follow it. What do we do to remember Christ’s death? You hold communion, right? Right!

Why then are there so many that worship on another day? Well, someone had to have changed the law a little bit. Who was it? The disciples? Who? Let’s see if our Bibles tell us. I will give this twenty dollar bill to anyone who can find the verse in the Bible that tells me that either Jesus or His disciples changed the Sabbath. Let’s look at a few verses. (I have a concordance and have looked up the word “First" the following are texts with the "First day of the week in them) John 20:19"On the evening of that FIRST DAY OF THE WEEK, when the disciples were together(why were they together? finish the verse) with the doors locked for FEAR of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said peace be with you!" They were together because they were afraid. Would you be afraid if you knew your Lord and savior were alive and well? No! Were they worshiping? No! Did Jesus tell them anything different at this time No! 1 Corinthians 16:2 This is the text most commonly used to signify a change took place so lets read it. "On the first day of every week, each of you should set aside a sum of money in keeping with his income, saving it up, so that when I come no collections will have to be made." What is this talking about? Collections, he didn’t want to waste time while he was visiting to take up collections. That’s it; there are no texts in the Bible that indicate that God wanted any other day to be made “holy”.

So, where do we get it from? For that answer we have to go to historical records other than the Bible. When did worship on another day become the rule? I searched the Web for the answer to that question. This is what I found. We must go back to the days when Constantine became the emperor of Rome. Just put his name in your search engine and you can find what I found. In the book, “Holy Blood, Holy Grail” on p.340 & 341 you will find these words. There are more, it’s all documented in history.

(The Church further obtained the right to inherit property, and Constantine moreover placed Sunday under the protection of the State. It is true that the believers in Mithras also observed Sunday as well as Christmas. Consequently Constantine speaks not of the day of the Lord, but of the everlasting day of the sun. According to Eusebius , the heathen also were obliged on this day to go out into the open country and together raise their hands and repeat the prayer already mentioned, a prayer without any marked Christian character (Vita Const., IV, xx).) Constantine, emperor of Rome, changed the day that people worship on.

I would like to close with three texts Ezekiel 20:12 "Also I gave them my Sabbaths , as a SIGN between us, so they would know that I the Lord made them Holy. “The Sabbath is a sign between God and his people. Isaiah 66:22 & 23"As the New heavens and the new earth that I make will endure before me, declares the Lord, so will your name and descendants endure. From one New moon to another and from one Sabbath to another, all mankind will come and bow down before me says the Lord." In heaven we will come to worship God from one new moon to another and from one Sabbath to another. And lastly, Matthew 5:17-19 Jesus, Himself, says that not a jot or tittle shall pass from the law and we should be teaching others to obey it too. Know what a tittle is? I have four versions of the Bible here. I like the way this one puts it. "Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law OR the prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. I tell you the truth, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until EVERYTHING is accomplished. ANYONE who breaks one of the least of these commandments AND teaches others to do the same will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever practices and teaches these commands will be called great in the kingdom of heaven." (New international) Anyone know another language, Spanish? Know those little marks they put above their n’s that little enyay thing. It’s a little curvy line. That’s what Jesus is talking about here. He says, not even the smallest little line of the law is getting changed. The law isn’t changed. We have Easter to commemorate Jesus resurrection. We have communion to celebrate His death. And we have the seventh day Sabbath to Remember our Creator.