Wednesday, May 31, 2006

NO CROSSES on FEDERAL PROPERTY!

2 comments

NO CROSSES on FEDERAL PROPERTY?

Did you see in the news recently where the A.C.L.U.
doesn't want any crosses on Federal property?

Crosses on Federal property?
Well duh.....

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

Let them try and remove these.
What are these people thinking?
At what point do we say, "enough is enough!"
Now, having said that, we know that it is hoax. The A.C.L.U. is not seeking to have crosses removed from cemeteries. But, think about it. Why is it that crosses are accepted in cemeteries, but law forbid they be visible anywhere else except a church?

I'll play a bit of 'devil's advocate' here. Well... not so much of a devil's advocate when I'm pointing out a bit of unfairness as far as Christians are treated. lol

In America, a Christian has every right to believe what they believe in, as is the same for non-Christian beliefs. A Wiccan has every right to believe in their faith. A Jew or Muslim also has every right to believe as they do. A Buddhist is also free to be Buddhist.

Now, many non-Christians are offended when they see a cross (and even among the different faiths, there is bitterness, such as a cross vs. a crucifix.) They feel that the cross is an insult to what they believe. They want it removed. Yet, how fair is it that a pentagram or the Star of David can be displayed when the push to remove the cross is so heavy-handed? We can have billboards of a half naked Brittany Spears along the highway, but God help the tiny church that scraps enough funds together to have a billboard that simply says "John 3:16". It's cool when teens flash gang signs with their hands, yet the teenage Catholic is attacked by adults for making the 'sign of the cross' before they say grace during the school lunch hour (well, maybe that has to do with the fact that the Catholic kid won't pull out a gun and shoot ya for mouthing off at them.)

A Pagan is free to say that their beliefs are essential to them. They can discuss what they believe, and it's seen as 'cool'. Likewise, a Taoist can wax poetic on their philosophy, and that too seems PC. But, when a Christian speaks about their faith (a goodly Christian, who is not ranting just to be seen as 'holy' and 'better than everyone else'), it is an abomination to the whole world.

Why is it that everyone can discuss The Da Vinci Code as if it were gospel truth, and the Gospel of Judas as fact, but a Christian can not discuss the Gospels found in the bible without drawing fire from the Gnostics and non-Christians?

You see, no one has the right to force someone to live differently than they do. No one has the right to take away the rights of others. People forget that. You can disagree on things, but you don't need to harass, mock or insult someone because of who they are (or what they are.)

In other words... no one has the right to attack anyone. No one has the right to attack Pagans. No one has the right to attack Muslims or Jews or Buddhists or Agnostics or Gnostics or atheists... or Christians.

Now, we all know people are going to tell us 'you are wrong'. That is human nature. It goes with the 'my life/God/car/kid/house/job/sex is better than yours' attitude. For a Christian, there should never be a moment where we put so much of our ego into something that we feel the need to point out the errors of others in a way that belittles. That is the worldly way of doing things. If we see someone is in error, we can pray for them... we can live our live as God wants so that we are an example to them... we can even say "I don't agree with what you do"... but at all times, we are to love others, despite any sins we see.

When a group of people get all caught up on proving others wrong or stupid, it is no better than the A.C.L.U. trying to take crosses out of Federally owned cemeteries. It is one group trying to control another. If all groups would learn a little bit about respect, the world would be a very peaceful place. Live and let live. Or, live and let God. Or just MYOB and stop trying to hog the darn playground swings.

That last sentence goes for Christians and non-Christians alike.



Tuesday, May 30, 2006

"I am the Lord's servant."

1 comments

Many people do not realize that Mary actually sings in the bible. This song is located in the Book of Luke, Chapter 1, verses 46-55. Have you ever stopped to read through it?


Luke 1:46-55 Mary's Song
And Mary said:
"My soul glorifies the Lord
and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,
for he has been mindful
of the humble state of his servant.
From now on all generations will call me blessed,
for the Mighty One has done great things for me -
holy is his name.
His mercy extends to those who fear him,
from generation to generation.
He has performed mighty deeds with his arm;
he has scattered those who are proud in their inmost thoughts.
He has brought down rulers from their thrones
but has lifted up the humble.
He has filled the hungry with good things
but has sent the rich away empty.
He has helped his servant Israel,
remembering to be merciful
to Abraham and his descendants forever,
even as he said to our fathers."

Mary knew it would not be easy. She knew she would face ridicule from those in the town. Yet, she kept her faith, and told the angel "I am the Lord's servant," Mary answered. "May it be to me as you have said."

How often do we accept what God offers us, especially when we know that what we are offered will not be easy to bear? How ready are we to say 'I am the Lord's servant, and God's will be done'? Do we rejoice when we pick up our crosses? Or do we moan and wail, wishing and praying that the burden be taken from us.

There is a beautiful song out there that asks, in part, "Mary, did you know...". Mary could not have known the final outcome. She only knew what the angel told her. Yet, she accepted God's will. She had to rely upon her faith during her pregnancy, and while raising Jesus. She had to rely upon her faith while he began his ministry. And, in the end, she had to rely upon that faith as he was handed over to Rome and crucified. Her faith saw her through all those years... over 33 of them.

When times get rough, remember to praise God. God will never let you down, nor will he cast you aside. It's difficult to imagine, as we wade through all the suffering life offers, but truly, God does have a plan. Each day is a gift from God to us, and an opportunity to grow spiritually.

Monday, May 29, 2006

LINKS.... FINALLY!!!!

0 comments

Well FINALLY I got links to fit into the code for this template. It took some serious work on my part, as I am totally computer illiterate. I will be adding links to places I visit, and to other blogs that I frequent. For now, the Links Section is under construction.


Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

This is Mattie, the Flabrador, and her pet lobster. Awwww. She's going on 11, and almost blind. She lives in Steubenville, OH, with 4 other dogs and her 2 pet humans... and a cat.

LINKS TO MILLIE'S INSPIRATIONS

2 comments

Millie has been adding to her web site, and I thought I'd share a few of the links here. If you get a chance, stop by and visit her place. She does some wonderful and spiritually uplifting entries.

Cheers!

(PS... yep, I 'borrowed' one of her pics for this entry.)

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

Suggested reading...

Choosing to Trust: a devotion about trusting in our Lord

Competitive Christians: this one speaks for itself

An Anchor for Our Soul Part 1 and Part 2: If you keep track of my entries, Millie touches on a lot of the same subjects as I do when it comes to the 'Anchor' entries.

Anyway, please stop by and lend your support of her ministry.

The link is located at the left.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

CHILD ABDUCTION PREVENTION

0 comments

Summer is almost here! Learn a few child safety and abduction prevention tips, simple ways to protect and educate your children.


TIPS FOR PARENTS
* Make sure you child knows his/her complete name, address and telephone number with area code. It seems like a lot to remember, but this is one of the most important child safety tips.

* Show your child how to dial 911. Most cities send the police whether or not a request is made, so let your child know this is for emergency only and not a game.

* Establish a code word for situations which the child is to be picked up by someone other than a parent or regular caregiver. Predators have tricked kids into telling their code word so remind your child never to reveal it to someone who does not know the code word.

* Teach your child that if it feels weird it probably is, and regularly remind them they can talk to you about anything.

* Don't lose sight of your child in public places, especially when very crowded.

* Remind your child, if they become lost, to find a store clerk or police officer and wait with that person until you or the police arrive. They should not go with someone who offers to take them to their parent unless it is a uniformed officer.

* Your child should know to never approach a car for any reason unless you have given them permission.

* Don't forget child predators look like regular folks, so anyone you don't know is a stranger.

* If you must leave your child at home alone, remind them to never open the door for anyone that you have not approved. If someone calls the house, teach your child to say that their parents is not available, or will call them back in a few minutes... a child must never tell someone over the phone that they are home alone.

* Teach your child to always walk with someone. A buddy system works well for children who walk to school or playgrounds.

* If your child find themselves in a dangerous situation, tell them they should yell for help ("This is not my mom or dad") and run to a store or house of someone they trust. The child should know never to run into an uninhabited area.

* Don't put name tags on the outside of your children's clothing, books, bags, etc. A predator will use this to his/her advantage to lure your child.

* Keep an up-to-date color photograph of your child, a medical and dental history, and have your child fingerprinted (this service is often offered free at your local police dept.)

* Remember, abductions are done by both strangers, and by family member or family friends the child may know. Talk to your child about this, and share your child's life... meet his/her friends and parents, get involved with after school sports or activities. Be a role model to your kids. It is important for families to talk about safety. There are many good resources out there, so let's keep our kids safe!

* Know where your older children are. Teach them to call you if their plans change.

TIPS FOR KIDS
* Never say you are alone if you answer the phone: you can offer to take a message of say your parents will phone back.

* Never answer the door if you are home alone.

* Tell someone (your parents or older sibling) where you will be at. Call your parents if your plans change.

* No one should play in deserted buildings or isolated areas.

* You should scream and scatter books and belonging if they are forced towards a building or car by someone who tries to abduct them.

* Always move away from a car that pulls up beside you if you do not know the driver.

* If you get lost in a store or mall, go to the nearest cashier or security officer and tell them you are lost.

* Have your parents teach you to recognize suspicious behavior and how to remember a description of the person or vehicle to give to their parents or police. Write the plate number in the dirt or snow if no paper is available.

* It is okay to say 'no' to an adult or older kid, if the person wants you to do something your parents say is wrong or you know feels wrong.

* Your parents will want to know if someone as asked you to keep a secret from them. It's okay to tell your parents, your teacher, or a police officer about anyone who exposes their private parts or tries to touch yours. Also, if your city has the McGruff program, look for a utility truck with the bumper sticker. Ask your parents to visit the McGruff web site at
McGruff Homepage or www.mcgruff.org.




Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting




Saturday, May 13, 2006

COMMENT MODERATION

0 comments


Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting



COMMENT MODERATION
Just a reminder: I have comment moderation switched on for the blog.
I've been having a lot of spam recently, so I filter through it before it gets published here. If you want to leave a comment, please click on the 'comments link' after each post.
You can enter your stuff, and then follow the directions below the text box.
It may take a day or two for yourcomment to show up, as I have to approve it.

Please keep in mind, this blog is not a place to vent at other people by name.
Nor is it a place where I permit hate speech of any sort.
Personalized vulgar comments about
other people's sexual orientation, actions online or in real life, opinions, or family
will not be published.
If you feel the desire to attack others, you can always make your own blog
using a variety of free online services.
Thanks!



PS... thank you, Millie, for the wonderful picture!

God's Righteous Judgement

2 comments

There are many passages in the OT dealing with how we are to judge our neighbors/others. They are set in place as a means of guiding us, so that we do not also fall into the traps of sin ourselves. Likewise, Jesus spoke of judgement and man's role in it, not as a means of building up our appearances (like many of the Pharisees did), but as a chastisement for those who would judge while embracing sin themselves.

How do you use your judgement? It is all well and good to be able to pick apart the sins of others... but many do not use good, sound judgement in their daily lives.

To judge, in a court of law, there must be impartiality. A judge can not, ethically, take things personally, or be involved in the case on a personal level. If a judge is found to have taken sides for personal reason, or operated in an unethical manner, the defense attorney can call for a mistrial. Sure, the person being tried may have actually been guilty of the crime, but because of the actions of the judge, the mistrial makes it more difficult for the person to be punished.

We an judge actions using the laws of man, penalizing for offenses against the law so that their can be atonement for crimes. A murderer, a shop lifter and a car thief can all be punished, with a severity depending upon the nature of their crimes. The "you've done something wrong and now you must make effort to make thing right" mentality is one that people openly and willingly embrace. Of course, we have the court system to guide us in our judgement.

Let's look at the case of murder. Murder is an offense which, if proven, can be penalized with atonements such as ten years (or even life) in prison. It can also be punished by the death penalty. The victim's families can also ask for a civil trial (apart from the criminal trial) to seek damages from the one who has taken the life of their loved one. A person can be found guilty in both the civil and criminal trial, or innocent in the criminal trial and guilty in the civil trial. In criminal law, there must be a preponderance of evidence that says, without a shadow of a doubt, that a person is guilty of murder. In a civil trial, the evidence must prove that it is more likely than not that the grievance was committed... shadow of a doubt is not needed. Often, an innocent man is put on trial for murder. It takes a lot of footwork, cleverness, and effort on both sides (prosecutor and defending attorney) to use the system to their advantage to prove their case. In a criminal trial, both sides must prove, without any room for doubt, that a man is guilty. Sometimes, an innocent man is condemned. Sometimes, a guilty man walks free. It is not a perfect system.

When we judge others, we hold our own civil trial before others, and speak of their actions against God (sins). The person's soul, however, would be more like a criminal trial... with God as the sole judge. How do you use your judgement? It is all well and good to be able to pick apart the sins of others... but many do not use good, sound judgement in their daily lives. Do you feel you do a good job at judging others? If so, are you judging ethically, impartially, without any person stake in it? Do you judge to make yourself appear to be 'more righteous' than the person you judge? Do you judge knowing you have a clean slate yourself? Or, after you have pronounced your judgement of another, do you then commit sins yourself? Can someone call a mistrial of your judgement because they see you are personally involved in the case?

Yes, we can judge actions, and many people site the Holy Bible as their basis to judge. The 'laws' found in Scripture are used to point out the sins of others, but it seems people always want to take it one step further and place themselves in God's role as our sole (and soul!) Judge. We are not God and we can not judge in his place. Nor are we the defense attorney... that role is filled by Jesus, who takes a stand for our sins and offers us freedom from them... and who pleads our case through his own sacrifice of death. Nor are we the prosecutor... that is Satan's role. He seeks to have us condemned by God... to have one more soul removed from the promise of Heaven. We are not the jury, because we have no say in where another's soul is to go. In fact, we are nothing more than other people waiting their own turn on Judgement Day.

God has given the ability to judge, not so that we can hold trial, but so that we can make our own sound decisions in daily life. We can see when others are going against God's word... and we can avoid that pitfall ourselves. It's our choice. When we see a 'sinner', we should tell ourselves "hey, that is wrong!" and then make sure we see the patterns so we can avoid that sin. We can see the other person's actions, and God does allow us to tell them "hey, your action is wrong", but we do not know all the circumstances behind their action, nor will God tell us (it's God's way of saying MYOB.)

A rapist can sit beside a shoplifter in court, awaiting trial, and say to the shoplifter "didn't you know stealing is wrong??!" The shoplifter can reply "so is rape!" Both men know it is senseless for either man to pass judgement on the other when both are criminals. That is why judgement of souls should be left to the Lord.

So, let's look at the two men I mentioned above. What if the rapist wasn't a rapist? What if he and his girlfriend were both 17 and her father reported him for statutory rape on his 18th birthday because he doesn't like the guy? Is it his fault that he turned 18 before she did? He is guilty of consensual sex with a minor. But, he will forever be branded a rapist. And the shoplifter? What if he was an old man who had forgotten he was still holding a can of peas when he walked out the door? What if the store manager was a hard-nose, and called the police because the old man didn't understand why he was being yelled at? What if the store manager pressed charges to 'make an example to others'? Should the old man be sent to jail or fined because of senile dementia? In both these examples, it will take hard work on the part of the DA and the Defense to prove that there was a sound reason, and that a crime had not been committed. As a judge of man's laws, we would look at the day's docket and see 'people vs. a rapist' or 'people vs. a shoplifter' (to generalize it). But, God would look at it and see... nothing but the truth... yes, the old man walked out the door with peas because God knows he is growing senile, and yes, the boy slept with the girl, but although it is sex outside of marriage, it was not rape. God would decide how to best DECIDE. There are no mistrials outside the Gates of Heaven, and God does not accept 'guilty with good reason'. We have the opportunity to come before God and admit our crimes before our judgement day, and God will remove them from our record... we then must go about our life walking in His Ways, and not turn back to that crime against him.

So, to sum up all this writing: we can judge the actions of others, but we have to temper that judgement wisdom and all the facts. We cannot judge another's soul, or their walk with God, because we are not God. By the way... judging using personal doctrine is a bad idea... the doctrine is personal (yours) and not everyone follows your doctrine!

Finally, if we must put ourselves in God's place and judge... we have to make sure we follow through. If a woman says 'I was a sinner, and I aborted my baby before I came to Christ', we cannot continue to judge that person as being in sin. You see, God removed that from her record. It was forgiven, and she has turned her life to Christ. Likewise, if a man says 'I was a fool in my youth and slept around with every person I met, male and female, before I became reborn in Christ', we cannot hold that against them either. God has forgiven that man, and now he has a new walk with the Lord. Who are we to hold that sin against them when God himself has given pardon?

On that note, if we do put ourselves in God's place and judge, we have to make sure we are not in sin ourselves (in other words, we can't be God.) We can not damn someone for being homosexual, or drinking wine, or smoking cigarettes, or aborting their baby, or being divorced and remarried... and then proceed to attack them by tearing them down and showing no mercy, or taking swipes at them verbally. If we do that, then we are breaking God's law ourselves, and are no better than the one we judge as being in sin (Jesus did command us to 'love them as I have loved you.') Plus, sin is sin before God.

We can state 'I believe this about God' all we want... it is our belief... and we can scream it from the rooftops if we so desire. But, we can not attack someone personally for what they believe if that belief differs from ours... it is their belief, and we all have to answer to God for what we do or believe when life has ended. Like the shoplifter and rapist above, we can point out what the 'wrongs' are, but we are in no place to sit as judge, especially when we do not know all the circumstances behind each unique case.

(continued after picture)


Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting



God's Righteous Judgement
Romans 2:1-16
You, therefore, have no excuse, you who pass judgment on someone else, for at whatever point you judge the other, you are condemning yourself, because you who pass judgment do the same things. Now we know that God's judgment against those who do such things is based on truth. So when you, a mere man, pass judgment on them and yet do the same things, do you think you will escape God's judgment? Or do you show contempt for the riches of his kindness, tolerance and patience, not realizing that God's kindness leads you toward repentance?

But because of your stubbornness and your unrepentant heart, you are storing up wrath against yourself for the day of God's wrath, when his righteous judgment will be revealed. God "will give to each person according to what he has done." To those who by persistence in doing good seek glory, honor and immortality, he will give eternal life. But for those who are self-seeking and who reject the truth and follow evil, there will be wrath and anger. There will be trouble and distress for every human being who does evil: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile; but glory, honor and peace for everyone who does good: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile. For God does not show favoritism.

All who sin apart from the law will also perish apart from the law, and all who sin under the law will be judged by the law. For it is not those who hear the law who are righteous in God's sight, but it is those who obey the law who will be declared righteous. (Indeed, when Gentiles, who do not have the law, do by nature things required by the law, they are a law for themselves, even though they do not have the law, since they show that the requirements of the law are written on their hearts, their consciences also bearing witness, and their thoughts now accusing, now even defending them.) This will take place on the day when God will judge men's secrets through Jesus Christ, as my gospel declares.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

JESUS... God, or your own image?

0 comments

For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one. 1 John 5:7


Why do so many believe that the Trinity (Father, Son and Holy Spirit) are not the same? They can point to scripture where Jesus refers to God as his father, but does he not also tell us to pray (the Lord's Prayer, or 'Our Father') to God as if we, too, were his precious children. Perhaps I'm a bit old fashioned (or jaded by chat room bs), but I find it sad when people try to make Jesus conform to their own image... a liberal prophet man, who is not God, yet who they believe they need to have in order to get to God (which, by their own logic and biblical principles, makes them in violation of the 1st commandment, as they worship Jesus instead of God. Think about it.)

Statements such as 'Jesus would allow people to make a choice' (regarding abortion) give me a sad reason to shake my head. Jesus was not 'liberal' at all. He was a literalist, and clung to the Scriptures. Jesus did not approve of the politicians of the day scamming money off the people (the scene at the temple). Nor did he approve of sex outside of marriage or numerous affairs (the Samaritan woman.) He also did not approve of people judging others when they themselves were in sin (another temple scene, where he wrote in the sand and then asked the men 'let he who is without sin cast the first stone.)

Likewise, I cringe when people assume Jesus was powerless over himself. Yes, he could bring Lazarus back from the dead, and overcome temptation for weeks in the desert, but he couldn't keep it in his 'pants'? Jesus lived during a time where the majority did not feel 'me first' was correct. Most people did their best to follow the laws of the time, because the repercussion was death. Sure, there were those who slept around, killed, stole and what have you... but there were far more who tried to live by God's strict OT laws. Back then, duty was everything, and duty to God was believed in. Jesus, in human form, was the Son, and he followed his Father's will. He knew his purpose was to speak of how things had to change (or, more accurately, how things needed to get back to the traditional teachings) as well as fulfill the covenant between him and Abraham. Yes, death was his future... and he lived for that brief time just for that purpose. After his death, he didn't hang around, but returned to Heaven, sending the Holy Spirit in his place.

He wasn't a 'radical'... he was rabboni (teacher.) He taught the Scriptures in ways the people could understand. He chose to not hold a position of worldy title (he never became a Sadducee, which was the governing rank for those of lower or middle income... he was never wealthy enough to be a Pharisee.) He never married... not because he wasn't interested in women, but because he had a job to do, and procreation wasn't part of it. If he had married before he began his ministry, his wife is never listed (so, if... big IF... he had married, he would have been a widower without children.)

Like it or not, Jesus was very hard core. It's that attitude that caused friction between the Sanhedrin and him. He chastised them, publicly, for their liberal thinking and 'me first' attitude. He scolding them on their greed, their lack of concern for others and 'me first' thinking, and their judgmental actions. He had a lack of tolerance for those who broke God's laws... but he chose to deal with those who had 'sinned' by teaching them the error of their ways and then explaining how God was there for them, would forgive them, and give them Eternal Life if only they asked. Sometimes he only said 'Go, and sin no more'. And, other times, he would expand and say 'you have no husband... etc.' He ate with sinners, and they loved him... because he showed them mercy, but always with a touch of God's law.

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

I have the "Buddy Jesus" (from the movie Dogma) as one of the pictures on my AOL profile. It isn't there to insult Christians or God. It is there because it seems that the world is trying to make God fit that image... a happy-go-lucky Savior who doesn't care if babies are aborted, if women are abused, if people run around screwing everyone they meet, and he certainly doesn't care if we all pick up rocks to throw at each other. Go ahead, Jesus is your Buddy and he approves of your 'me first' mind set. Jesus, the touchy-feely God or prophet, who turns a blind eye to sin. Oh yes, this is the image of Jesus that many Christians hold. The Buddy Jesus is in my profile because I feel that many people have crucified Christ (again), only this time they have not removed him from the cross, but instead threw the whole thing into a hole and screamed "STAY DOWN THIS TIME"... and then went about their lives, making a new image of Christ, so they could continue with their own thinking and views.

They forget that we did not come to earth to save God.

They forget that God is all powerful and does not need our approval.

They forget that God defines what sin is, and that we can not cling to our own ways once we commit to God's ways.

It is said that there is one sin that God does not forgive... blasphemy of the Holy Spirit. If the Holy Spirit is God... then it would apply that God does not forgive blasphemy of himself. Sin is an insult to God... and those who sin in his name are going to have a lot to answer for on their own day of reckoning. Although I must love them, I do not have to love their sin. So, I pray that each person who walks around with the buddy jesus in their heart, instead of Jesus, wakes up and understands that God sees only black and white... no shades of gray when it comes to sin.

WWJD?

John 8:42-47 Jesus said to them, "If God were your Father, you would love me, for I came from God and now am here. I have not come on my own; but he sent me. Why is my language not clear to you? Because you are unable to hear what I say. You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father's desire. He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies. Yet because I tell the truth, you do not believe me! Can any of you prove me guilty of sin? If I am telling the truth, why don't you believe me? He who belongs to God hears what God says. The reason you do not hear is that you do not belong to God."

Monday, May 08, 2006

Romans 12

0 comments

Romans 12... this stands as it's own study.
Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

Living Sacrifices

Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God�this is your spiritual act of worship. Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is - his good, pleasing and perfect will.

For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the measure of faith God has given you. Just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we who are many form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. We have different gifts, according to the grace given us. If a man's gift is prophesying, let him use it in proportion to his faith. If it is serving, let him serve; if it is teaching, let him teach; if it is encouraging, let him encourage; if it is contributing to the needs of others, let him give generously; if it is leadership, let him govern diligently; if it is showing mercy, let him do it cheerfully.

Love

Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Honor one another above yourselves. Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. Share with God's people who are in need. Practice hospitality.

Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited.

Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everybody. If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. Do not take revenge, my friends, but leave room for God's wrath, for it is written: "It is mine to avenge; I will repay,"says the Lord. On the contrary:
"If your enemy is hungry, feed him;
if he is thirsty, give him something to drink.
In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head." Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.


PRAYER REQUEST

0 comments


Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting



Prayer request.......

According to the weather reports, it is my understanding that it
is 122 degrees in Iraq right now - and the low will be 111!   Our troops need our prayers for strength, endurance, and safety. If it be God's will, give these men and women the strength they need to prevail.

I am sorry, but I am not breaking this one.....Let us pray.

Prayer chain for our Military..please don't break it...
Please send this on after a short prayer.
 

Pray for our soldiers...



Prayer

"Lord, please hold our troops in your  loving hands. Protect them as they protect us. Bless them and their families for the selfless acts they perform for us in our time of need. Amen."

Prayer Request: When you receive this, please stop for a moment and say a prayer for our troops around the world.

There is nothing attached... . please feel free to copy this and send it to the people in your  address book. Do not let it stop with you, please....Of all the gifts you could give a US Soldier, Sailor, Airman, Marine & others deployed in harm's way, Prayer is the very best one
!

REFINED IN OUR TRIALS

0 comments

REFINED IN OUR TRIALS

This is a message to all, but especially to those who feel they have had more trials, sorrows, pricks, and thorns than they can bear and in their adversity are almost drowned in the waters of bitterness. It is intended as one of hope, strength, and deliverance.

In the pain, the agony, and the heroic endeavors of life, we pass through a refiner's fire, and the insignificant and the unimportant in our lives can melt away like dross and make our faith bright, intact, and strong. In this way the divine image can be mirrored from the soul. It is part of the purging toll exacted of some to become acquainted with God. In the agonies of life, we seem to listen better to the faint, godly whisperings of the Divine Shepherd.

Into every life there come the painful, despairing days of adversity and buffeting. There seems to be a full measure of anguish, sorrow, and often heartbreak for everyone, including those who earnest seek to do right and be faithful. The Apostle Paul referred to his own challenge: "And lest I should be exalted above measure..., there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me."

The thorns that prick, that stick in the flesh, that hurt, often change lives which seem robbed of significance and hope. This change comes about through a refining process which often seems cruel and hard. In this way the soul can become like soft clay in the hands of the Master in building lives of faith, usefulness, beauty, and strength. For some, the refiner's fire causes a loss of belief and faith of God, but those with eternal perspective understand that such refining is part of the perfection process.

In our extremities, it is possible to become born again, born anew, renewed in heart and spirit. We no longer ride with the flow of the crowd, but instead we enjoy the promise of Isaiah to be renewed in our strength and "mount up with wings as eagles."

The proving of one's faith goes before the witnessing. "Ye receive no witness until after the trial of your faith." This trail of faith can become a priceless experience.

States Peter, "the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ." Trials and adversity can be preparatory to becoming born anew.

A rebirth out of spiritual adversity causes us to become new creatures.

All mankind must be born again--born of God, changed, redeemed, and uplifted--to become the sons and daughters of God.

The effect upon each person's life is likewise similar. No person whose soul is illuminated by the burning Spirit of God can in this world of sin and dense darkness remain passive. He is driven by an irresistible urge to fit himself to be an active agent of God in furthering righteousness and in freeing the lives and minds of men from the bondage of sin.

Unfortunately, some of our greatest tribulations are the result of our own foolishness and weakness and occur because of our own carelessness or transgression. Central to solving these problems is the great need to get back on the right track and, if necessary, engage in each of the steps for full and complete repentance. Through this great principle, many things can be made fully right and all things better.

We can go to others for help. To whom can we go? To whom do we look, in days of grief and disaster,for help and consolation?...They are men and women who have suffered, and out of their experience in suffering they being forth the riches of their sympathy and condolences as a blessing to those now in need. Could they do this had they not suffered themselves?

Is not this God's purpose in causing his children to suffer? He wants them to become more like himself. God has suffered far more than man ever did or ever will, and is therefore the great source of sympathy and consolation.

Some are prone to feel that their afflictions are punishment. The Prophet Joseph Smith taught that it is a false idea to believe that the saints will escape all the judgments--disease, pestilence, war, etc.--of the last days; consequently, it is an unhallowed principle to say that that these adversities are due to transgression.

President Joseph F. Smith taught that it is a feeble thought to believe that the illness and affliction that come to us are attributable either to the mercy or the displeasure of God.

Paul understood this perfectly. When referring to the Savior, he said, "Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered; "And being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him."

The Divine Shepherd has a message of hope, strength, and deliverance for all. If there were no night, we would not appreciate the day, nor could we see the stars and the vastness of the heavens. We must partake of the bitter with the sweet. There is a divine purpose in the adversities we encounter every day. They prepare, they purge, they purify, and thus they bless.

When we pluck the roses, we find we often cannot avoid the thorns which spring from the same stem.

Out of the refiner's fire can come a glorious deliverance. It can be a noble and lasting rebirth. The price to become acquainted with God will have been paid. There can come a sacred peace. There will be a reawakening of dormant, inner resources. A comfortable cloak of righteousness will be drawn around us to protect us and to keep us warm spiritually. Self-pity will vanish as our blessings are counted.

The blessings of eternity will surely come to those who endure refining, as the Lord Himself taught: "He only is saved who endureth unto the end."

Jesus is the Christ and the Divine Redeemer. He lives! His are the sweet words of eternal life.


(Via email, BBK. Please note: although many do not agree with the Mormon doctrines, it is my hope that this article will uplift you... I am not Mormon, myself, but I have many Mormon friends who are filled with the Holy Spirit. Mormon bashing will not be tolerated in the comments section. Thanks... Thane.)


Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

A SIMPLE THANK YOU

0 comments

A Simple Thank You

Last week, while traveling to Chicago on business, I noticed a Marine sergeant traveling with a folded flag, but did not put two and two together. After we boarded our flight, I turned to the sergeant, who'd beeninvited to sit in First Class (across from me), and inquired if he was heading home.


No, he responded.

Heading out I asked?

No. I'm escorting a soldier home.

Going to pick him up?

No. He is with me right now. He was killed in Iraq. I'm taking him home to his family.

The realization of what he had been asked to do hit me like a punch to the gut. It was an honor for him. He told me that, although he didn't know the soldier, he had delivered the news of his passing to the soldier's family and felt as if he knew them after many conversations in so few days.


I turned back to him, extended my hand, and said, "Thank you. Thank you for doing what you do so my family and I can do what we do."

Upon landing in Chicago, the pilot stopped short of the gate and made the following announcement over the intercom. Ladies and gentlemen, I would like to note that we have had the honor of having Sergeant Steeley of the United States Marine Corps join us on this flight. He is escorting a fallen comrade back home to his family. I ask that you please remain in your seats when we open the forward door to allow Sergeant Steeley to deplane and receive his fellow soldier. We will then turn off the seat belt sign."

Without a sound, all went as requested. I noticed the sergeant saluting the casket as it was brought off the plane, and his action made me realize that I am proud to be an American. So here's a public THANK YOU to our military Men and Women for what you do so we can live the way we do.


Stuart Margel, Washington D.C.


Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting



The Rocky Mountain News
When 2nd Lt. James Cathey's body arrived at the Reno Airport, Marines climbed into the cargo hold of the plane and draped the flag over his casket as passengers watched the family gather on the tarmac. During the arrival of another Marine's casket last year at Denver International Airport Major Steve Beck described the scene as so powerful: "See the people in the windows? They sat right there in the plane, watching those Marines. You gotta wonder what's going through their minds, knowing that they're on the plane that brought him home," he said. "They will remember being on that plane for the rest of their lives. They're going to remember bringing that Marine home. And they should."

God Bless You!

1 comments

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting



They walked in tandem, each of the ninety-two students filing into the
already crowded auditorium With rich maroon gowns flowing and
the traditional caps, they looked almost as grown up as they felt.

Dads swallowed hard behind broad smiles, and Moms freely brushed
away tears. This class would not pray during the commencements----
not by choice, but because of a recent court ruling prohibiting it.
The principal and several students were careful to stay within the guidelines allowed by the ruling.They gave inspirational and challenging speeches,
but no one mentioned divine guidance and no one asked for blessings on the graduates or their families.

The speeches were nice, but they were routine.....until the final speech
received a standing ovation. A solitary student walked proudly to the microphone. He stood still and silent for just a moment, and then,
it happened.
All 92 students, every single one of them, suddenly SNEEZED!!!!
The student on stage simply looked at the audience and said,
" GOD BLESS YOU, each and every one of you!" And he walked off stage...

The audience exploded into applause.
The graduating class found a unique way to invoke God's blessing on their
future with or without the court's approval. Isn't this a wonderful story?
Pass it on to all your friends... and GOD BLESS YOU!!!!

In God We Trust, United We Stand.
This is a true story; happened at the University of Maryland. It's inspiring.

(Via NC, email.)

Thursday, May 04, 2006

When a guy needs a friend...

1 comments

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting



Have you ever heard the expression "I'm up Shit Creek, in a barbed wire canoe, without a bloody paddle?"

Before you freak... "Shit Creek, located in County Clare (Ireland), is an exposed reef break that has pretty consistent surf. Offshore winds are from the east, and the windswells and groundswells come in equal measure. Beware the rocks and rips." It's desolate, and not someplace you really want to be if your sailing or surfing skills are substandard.

How many times have we found ourselves in a situation that is somehow beyond our skills to handle? We wade in, thinking we can get through it, only to find that we are quickly losing stride, and suddenly caught up in a heavy current that carries us into either deeper waters or towards certain doom on a rocky, jagged shore. In a sense, we are adrift, without a paddle to help guide us.

My good friend, Gene, sent me an email with the picture seen above. The email was entitled "When a guy needs a friend." That got me thinking. How many times have we been up Shit Creek (figuratively), and been too proud to call out and ask a friend to toss us a paddle? Even more so, how many times have we been too proud to call up our greatest friend, the Lord, who would not only give us a paddle, but would also send the Holy Spirit to sit on the bow of our boat and guide us through the mess? Human beings seem a hard time being humble enough to admit we need help!

Humility isn't a quiet nature or proper manners. Humility is the state of being humble, and to be humble is to be not proud or haughty, not arrogant or assertive. It is reflecting, expressing or offering in a spirit of deference or submission (such as a humble apology.) It is by no means a sign of being weak... in fact, it takes great strength to be humble. We have to battle our own wills, cast off our mantle of pride, and become grounded again in our own weakness. But, once we have reached a state of humility, we find that things get much easier. We are no longer facing things along. Suddenly, we find that we can get through things, because we now have someone right there with us, offering us a paddle, or hand, and guiding us.

Take some time today to reflect on areas where you could use some help. If you are struggling with a decision at work, or trying to find a way to help yourself get out of debt... trying to deal with a child who is chock full of "won'ts!" and "No!"... dealing with a spouse who is a workaholic... coping with the loss of a loved one... trying to quit smoking or lose weight... or even simply trying to get closer to God... reach out and ask for help. Even if you don't think there is a friend nearby who has a paddle to hand you, always remember that the Lord never leaves your side, and he can help guide you to calmer waters.

Psalm 46:1-3
1 God is our refuge and strength,
an ever-present help in trouble.


2 Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way
and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea,


3 though its waters roar and foam
and the mountains quake with their surging.



Isaiah 58:11
11 The LORD will guide you always;
he will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land
and will strengthen your frame.
You will be like a well-watered garden,
like a spring whose waters never fail.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Welcome to the Well

0 comments


Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

One of the nice things about having a virtual 'monastery'

is that we can add all sorts of interesting things to our

cyberspace 'property'.


I introduce you to

the Wells of Mt. St. Caffiena.

Please feel free to click on the link below and

enjoy some inspiration from the book of Psalms.

In Christ,

Thane



Mt. Saint Caffiena: Psalms at the Well

UNGODLY BELIEVERS AND GODLY UNBELIEVERS

0 comments

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting



UNGODLY BELIEVERS AND GODLY UNBELIEVERS


(David's Mediations)


Hi friends,


Forgive me for being blunt, but does it seem to you that some believers are not very nice?

Every time I enter a Christian chat room here at AOL, I am struck by it. One calls names, another is a bully, and a third hurls out curses while she recites verses!

Aren't we Christians supposed to love friends and foes alike?

By contrast I know some skeptics whose behavior is very Christ-like.

One, is a lady who attends Bible class each week. The suffering of the world disturbs her so deeply, she can not fathom how a merciful God would allow such things. I've known her for years and never heard her say an unkind word.

Another, is trying to reconcile her beliefs to the knowledge that so many people in the world have been taught different things about God. This tender-hearted lady comes to Bible class and asks questions.

A third, is a renowned jurist who is puzzled by some of Paul's teachings. He is a humble human being, who is far more comfortable serving than being served.

None of them belittles the opinions of others, or shows any disrespect toward those with whom they differ.

If unbelievers can live by Jesus' new Commandment, why is it that so many believers do not even appear to try?

John 13:34-35 "A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. By this shall al men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another."

Love, Your brother in Christ,

David
copyright David Brandon 4/23/06





"I have often felt that many things that bring us to our knees,
teach us while we are down there to learn to pray.
These possibilities are open to everyone.
Don't tell God you are not good enough, do what He asks.
Don't tell God to send someone else, He asked you.
Don't tell God you don't have time to pray, He said seek me first.
Don't neglect the things of God. He said we are to
pick up His cross daily and follow Him.
Don't tell God anything is bigger than His ability.
God is the Great I Am, I am whatever you need.

There is no pit so deep, God's love is not deeper still.

Not my will but thine oh Lord." - Millie






Millie's Devotions is a fantastic online email-based daily devotional. I have been receiving them for quite a while, and each one is Spirit filled. I wish I could publish the majority of her 'dailys' on this blog, and I've been begging her to start her own blog simply because they are POWERFUL and SPIRITUALLY UPLIFTING!!! There is no fee to receive these email devotions, and you can unsubscribe at any time. If you would like to sign up to receive these devotions, please click on:






Articles reprinted with kind permission from David Brandon and Millie's Devotions, published through Millie's Devotions 4.28.2006. Picture also from Millie's Devotions, "UNGODLY BELIEVERS AND GODLY UNBELIEVERS",
4.28.2006


Sabbatical

4 comments

It's with a joyful sense of contentment that I am announcing my intent to take a sabbatical from some of my online haunts (this includes AOL and Yahoo chats, and all message boards. The first thing I want to emphasize is NO WHINING. lol I am not writing off any of the friends I have made online. I am not leaving forever, and do plan on checking in from time to time to see how life is going for folks. I just don't plan on hanging around long when I visit.

Part of my decision is due to the fact that it's spring, and there are not enough hours in the day for me to get everything done around the house and at work. I'm always stretched too thin this time of year (remember, I took a three-month sabbatical last summer, although part of that was due to buying the house and moving.) So, stop freaking, and remember the flopped Therapy Buddy (American Inventor) "Everything will be all right."


I'm being perfectly honest when I say that there are some things I certainly won't miss. Over the past six months I've seen a side of Christianity that chills me to the core (may our Lord show them more mercy and love on their own day of reckoning than they have shown towards others in chats or on message boards!) I will not miss the petty bickering over doctrinal differences, nor the posting of endless bible verses followed by crude insults. I won't miss the Clone Wars in Belief Christian or Beliefs Catholic. I can live without seeing gay bashing, doctrine bashing, economical class bashings, political party bashing, Trinity bashing, Jewish and Muslim bashing, bashing in general, bashing in the name of our Lord, and bashing just because those people can't even love themselves for who they are, let alone love anyone else. I really have not bothered to even visit several message boards in a while, just because of all the hate mongers. It's a sad thought, but some people who are online only interact with human beings online, in real life, they interact with no one. These are lonely, confused, angry people and my heart goes out to them. I can't say this in an AOL chat or message board without risk of the dreaded TOS, but I have said it in Yahoo, and I'm saying it here, "Some people are really (censored) up. They need to let go and let God be in control for a while."


Besides that, I guess you can say I'm getting tired of being ragged on for my own beliefs. Sorry, but I am sticking to them. They have gotten me through a lot of hard times in life. My strength comes from God, and my grounding in faith comes from my doctrine.

Having said that, I am very offended by people who feel they have the right to shoot their mouths off while using 'freedom of speech' as their mantra. Before you speak your mind, you should always respect the fact that not only do some people know more about a subject than you do, but that your negative feelings about it may actually insult someone going through the experience. Case in point: the war in Iraq. You and I may both agree that it needs to end. But, I draw the line at our soldiers being calling 'baby killers'. I have lost loved ones who were doing their job... it's not about oil. It's about doing what you signed up to do, and doing it with honor. Every time you degrade a soldier, you degrade someone's child, husband, wife, daughter, aunt or uncle.


I'm also offended by the attacks on others, the backstabbing, the games and the cruelty. Enough already. Life is too short, and grudges will be held against you when you stand before Christ. Think about it.

Anyway, I will continue with my blog, and I will check my AOL email every so often.


I leave you with these thoughts:


Psalm 34:14 Depart from evil, and do good; seek peace, and pursue it.

Matthew 5:9 Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.


John 14:27 Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.

James 3:17 But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be intreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy.


And finally:


Romans 12


Living Sacrifices

Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God—this is your spiritual act of worship. Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.
For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the measure of faith God has given you. Just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we who are many form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. We have different gifts, according to the grace given us. If a man's gift is prophesying, let him use it in proportion to his faith. If it is serving, let him serve; if it is teaching, let him teach; if it is encouraging, let him encourage; if it is contributing to the needs of others, let him give generously; if it is leadership, let him govern diligently; if it is showing mercy, let him do it cheerfully.


Love
Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Honor one another above yourselves. Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. Share with God's people who are in need. Practice hospitality.


Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited. Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everybody. If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. Do not take revenge, my friends, but leave room for God's wrath, for it is written: "It is mine to avenge; I will repay,"says the Lord. On the contrary: "If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head." Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

Photobucket - Video and Image HostingMatthew 5:16 In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.