Would you be willing…

Little Timothy had experienced some tough times in his life, most recently overcoming a rare blood disorder. Afterward, his body began reproducing effective antibodies against the virus.

Unfortunately now, his little sister Susie began developing the same rare virus in her blood, but her body was unable to recover. The doctors knew the only hope for her was a blood transfusion.

With a match to his sister’s blood type, the doctor’s approached Timothy. “Would you be willing to give your blood to help your sister overcome the virus?” they asked Timothy. As his bottom lip began to quiver, he cautiously, yet willingly said “yes.”

Later in the operating room, little Timothy was courageous as the doctor’s hooked up multiple tubes and monitors in preparation to transfer some of Timothy’s blood to Susie.

As the blood began to move through the tubes out of Timothy’s arm, Timothy looked at the doctor and asked “When am I going to die?”

Surprised at the question, the doctor realized at that point that Timothy believed he was giving up his life in order to save his little sister.*

Just over 2000 years ago the same event happened as Jesus hung upon the cross. The blood flowed from His body in order to save our lives. The difference is that nobody ever asked Jesus to do it for us. Instead, He willingly accepted God the Father’s plan for His life and gave His life for ours.

The only question remains is – are you willing to accept the life He gave so that you may have eternal life? That’s what Easter is about.

*Paraphrased from @ Lifeway Sunday School Literature March 29, 2015

Throwback Thursday – not!

1) It’s not Facebook

2) It’s not Thursday

But still, I wanted to “throwback” a verse from the Old Testament today:

“Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a Son, and shall call His name Immanuel.*” – Isaiah 7:14

Also see Matthew 1:23

* Immanuel = “God with Us” – He is with us everyday – it’s our job to recognize Him, praise Him, call upon Him, and witness for Him.

Jesus Who?

Jesus died over 2000 years ago.

Nobody has ever referred to Him as the “Late Jesus,” not even heathens.

Nowhere in history,

Nowhere has He ever been referred to in the past tense.

He IS the LIVING God! 

 

Pretty Cool, huh?!?!

 

(Thanks to Nana for forwarding this reminder to me.)

 

Michael: an ex-con

NOTE: in the following document, names were changed to protect the innocent….

I recently had the opportunity to speak with an accused criminal by the name of Michael. Michael was indicted for breaking numerous laws and charged with impersonating a celebrity.

As a medical practitioner, most of Michael’s friends would never have considered Michael dangerous. However, as we all know, many people are surprised to find out the truth of people they thought they knew well, such as a quiet neighbor that turns out to be a mass murderer or an extortionist.

Michael, on the other hand, was commonly known to hang out with other criminals, and is an ex-con himself – maybe that’s what led to his arrest in the first place?

Not a very religions guy, Michael was also known to criticize religious leaders, telling them how they got it all wrong. However, he did like to attend church and could recite portions of the Bible, knowing it probably better than any other person.

Michael was unlike the common man. As a criminal he admitted his offense. He was willing to accept the punishment dealt by the justice system, including a death sentence that was awarded after very brief judicial proceedings. Michael was sentenced to death before he reached 40 years of age.

On to our conversation now….

Our discussion was quite enlightening as Michael is very intelligent and despite his brief lifespan, he undoubtedly knows more than any person I have ever met. And even though he has the opportunity to speak with many people, many of them don’t listen. Instead, they only tell him things he already knows. I’m not sure if it’s because of his soft voice or his simple nature that they don’t pay attention to him.

However, I’ve learned over the years to listen more than speak, because what he speaks is truly remarkable. And if you haven’t ever heard of him, maybe you should call him up sometime.

During our discussion, Michael reminded me to be like Him – yes, just like Him. Despite him being an ex-con, one can learn so much from him.

His phone number is 1-800-dial-GOD

By the way, . . . Michael means “who is like God?” Do you know Michael? Do you listen to Him?

Where do you look (part 2)

Ever notice “coincidences”?  Are there really any coincidences, or just what we perceive?

Common to most people is the perception that deaths come in threes (three actors or famous people will all die within a short time of one another). Is it true, or just a myth?

I don’t know, but it always amuses me when God seems to speak to me repetitively, and sometimes in threes (today is number two….).

My former blog about “Where do you look…” was not intended to be a series at all.  But today as I prayed over the subject, I found this verse:

1 I lift up my eyes to the hills.
    From where does my help come?
My help comes from the Lord,
    who made heaven and earth. – Psalm 121:1-2

So, maybe I’m not looking where I need to…?  What about you?

Difficulty 6: You can’t see God?

Has anyone really ever seen God?

This one has stumped me in the past, so hopefully we can shed some light on this today.

Throughout the Bible, we know there are passages that say people have seen God, and yet other passages clearly state people have not seen Him. So which is it?

  • Passages supporting people seeing God
  • When Abram was ninety-nine years old, the Lord appeared to him and said, “I am God Almighty; walk before me faithfully and be blameless. –Genesis 17:1
  • The Lord appeared to Abraham near the great trees of Mamre while he was sitting at the entrance to his tent in the heat of the day. – Genesis 18:1
  •  God also said to Moses, “I am the Lord. I appeared to Abraham, to Isaac and to Jacob as God Almighty, but by my name the LORD I did not make myself fully known to them. – Exodus 6:2-3
  •   Moses and Aaron, Nadab and Abihu, and the seventy elders of Israel went up 10 and saw the God of Israel. Under his feet was something like a pavement made of lapis lazuli, as bright blue as the sky. 11 But God did not raise his hand against these leaders of the Israelites; they saw God, and they ate and drank.Exodus 24:9-11
  • To this he replied: “Brothers and fathers, listen to me! The God of glory appeared to our father Abraham while he was still in Mesopotamia, before he lived in Harran. – Acts 7:2
  • Scripture denying that anyone can see God
  • But,” he said, “you cannot see my face, for no one may see me and live.” –  Exodus 33:20
  • No one has ever seen God, but the one and only Son, who is himself God and is in closest relationship with the Father, has made him known.  – John 1:18
  • And the Father who sent me has himself testified concerning me. You have never heard his voice nor seen his form,  – John 5:37
  • No one has seen the Father except the one who is from God; only he has seen the Father.John 6:46

So, we have Scriptures both supporting and denying the possibility of seeing God. Isn’t this a contradiction? First, we know that “all Scripture is God-inspired” 2 Timothy 3:16.

So, if God inspired the Scripture, there can’t be any mistakes. Under this proposition then, we must assume that people have both seen God, and that yet it is impossible to see God. How is this possible?

I think it revolves around our understanding (or lack thereof) how God works. Remember that there is ONE God, but that God is in three forms: God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit.

Therefore it is possible to see God in one form, but not in all three.

If Scripture says that Abraham saw God Almighty (Genesis 17:1), then He did. However, if Jesus mentioned in John 6:46 that no one has seen the Father, then no one has seen the Father. This would imply then that Abraham saw either the Holy Spirit or Jesus prior to His incarnation.

This explanation further validates the belief and understanding of the truth of the Trinity. If Abraham saw God Almighty, but we have concluded he had to have seen Jesus (or the Holy Spirit), since no one has seen the Father, then Jesus is God Almighty also.

Furthermore, we can look at additional Scriptures, such as those below to understand that others who have testified as seeing “God,” really saw a representation of God or symbolic image of Him:

  • 24 So Jacob was left alone, and a man wrestled with him till daybreak . . ..  28 Then the man said, “Your name will no longer be Jacob, but Israel, because you have struggled with God and with humans and have overcome.” – Genesis 32:24-30
  • There the angel of the Lord appeared to him in flames of fire from within a bush. Moses saw that though the bush was on fire it did not burn up.. . . .“Do not come any closer,” God said. “Take off your sandals, for the place where you are standing is holy ground.” Then he said, “I am the God of your father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob.” At this, Moses hid his face, because he was afraid to look at God. – Exodus 3:2-6

  • 18 He replied, “Why do you ask my name? It is beyond understanding.”  . . . 19 Then Manoah took a young goat, together with the grain offering, and sacrificed it on a rock to the Lord. And the Lord did an amazing thing while Manoah and his wife watched: 20 As the flame blazed up from the altar toward heaven, the angel of the Lord ascended in the flame. Seeing this, Manoah and his wife fell with their faces to the ground . . ..  22 “We are doomed to die!” he said to his wife. “We have seen God!”– Judges 13:18-22

One more passage showing a representation was Jesus in John 14:9 when He said “whoever has seen me has seen the father.” This passage further supports that God the Father has not been seen firsthand, but that representations of God the Father have been seen by people.

Difficulty 4: Does God Sleep?

This question assumes that God is somewhat human and requires sleep. Some will dispute that even from the days of creation that God had to rest after 6 days of creating earth, which therefore “proves” he must take time off.

However, if we read

By the seventh day God had finished the work he had been doing; so on the seventh day he rested from all his work. – Genesis 2:2

There is no evidence that God needed to rest, only that He did rest. Other people point to:

for in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, and on the seventh day he rested and was refreshed. Exodus 31:17b

Here, again, there is only evidence that suggests that rest was involved following creation, but not that it was necessary for God. Rest implies that God stopped, took a break. The Scripture also states that God was refreshed, but refreshed could be translated as “energized” or “invigorated” meaning that God felt great upon seeing His creation.

Isaiah 40:28 clearly tells us:

The Lord is the everlasting God,
    the Creator of the ends of the earth.
He will not grow tired or weary,
    and his understanding no one can fathom. – Isaiah 40:28b

So, if you think God is taking the day off, I would assume you are wrong. God doesn’t take vacation; He watches at all times!

He will not let your foot slip—
    he who watches over you will not slumber;The Lord watches over you—Psalm 121: 3, 5

The Unknown #5

Unknown #5 – God turned back time!

10 “It is a simple matter for the shadow to go forward ten steps,” said Hezekiah. “Rather, have it go back ten steps.”

11 Then the prophet Isaiah called on the Lord, and the Lord made the shadow go back the ten steps it had gone down on the stairway of Ahaz. 2 Kings 20:10-11 (NIV)

In different translations, the details of the text and interpretation is varied (steps, sundial, or degrees). Regardless of translation however, if you read the full story of Hezekiah’s ill health (2 Kings 20:1-11) and the resulting sign from the Lord, it is clear that the Lord moved the sun (or turned back time) resulting in the shadow reversing its course.

Moral: The Lord has said He can do anything. The Lord can do anything, and He will!

Camping: how do you like your tent?

What do you think about living in a tent?

As a camper, I love the great outdoors. I love nature, the sights and sounds, and especially the fresh air. But I really hate it when it rains and leaks inside the tent. I moan and groan, and am really an unhappy wet camper. I dread having to soak up drips, dry off supplies, pack-up wet items, and then take them back out and set them back up at home to dry out. It’s really a nuisance to me.

But to think that in the days of Moses, a tent was considered a pretty luxurious item to have in the desert. In fact, throughout Exodus 35-40, we can read about the beautiful portable tabernacle (tent) that was constructed for the Lord to fill (Exodus 40:34-38).

So, is a tent really that bad? (Consider first that the Lord’s Tabernacle tent was constructed of wood, animal skins, and outfitted with beautiful apparel, bronze, silver, and gold. Now that sounds pretty nice!)

In 2 Corinthians 5, we find that Paul refers to our bodies as “tents.” He also mentions that living in our tents (bodies) causes us to “groan, longing to put on our heavenly dwelling” (2 Cor 5:2). Do you moan about your body?

My guess is that you do. BUT, do you moan because you would rather have a better body? Are you wanting that “perfect” body advertised by the world? Or is it because you want your resurrected body given by Christ?tent

It’s not abnormal to be ashamed of or to want to improve your “looks.” In fact, it is a good thing to have a desire to want to improve your health, not only for your and your family’s sake, but because your tent/body is God’s dwelling place (1 Cor 3:16, 1 Cor 6:19, 2 Cor 6:16, Ezekial 36:27, 2 Tim 1:14, Romans 8:9-11) . [I always told the youth – if the Bible repeats something over and over, it must be extremely important.]

How important is it to you to be reminded that God dwells inside your living tent? Is there anything we should do differently knowing that? Is it raining on your tent where God resides, and do you need to repair some leaks?

 

note: pic borrowed from http://devotionalonjesus.blogspot.com/2010/04/4910-2-corinthians-51-5-more-than-tent.html?

Alabama or Auburn?

Alabama or Auburn?  That was the most important question to a group of teenagers when I moved to Alabama. I’m talking about SEC (South Eastern Conference) football – and it’s BIG in Alabama (and some other states, South Carolina included).

AlabamaWhile riding my bicycle down the street and meeting my neighbors for the first time, at the age of 15, they didn’t care about my name or where I was from, just which football team I supported. That day, I didn’t realize just how important it was to Alabamians that you choose a team and support them 24/7. Well, not really, but it does seem that way on occasion.

After living in Tuscaloosa for 13 years, a normal person seems to adopt the home team (Alabama – Roll Tide). You also learn not to go downtown or anywhere near the stadium within 8 hours of a game, unless you feel like parking instead of driving.

The Alabama/Auburn rivalry is generally pleasant, except at times when nearing and during the Iron Bowl (when the 2 teams meet head to head).

Despite being in the “Bible belt,” fans take football so seriously that many don’t mind attending a late night game on Saturday and forego church on Sunday. While living in Alabama, this bothered me; and it still does today.

Why is it that we are teaching our children – the future of the world – that football is more important than God?

Don’t get me wrong – I love a good game, and enjoy the fellowship of friends gathering for a heated rivalry. The difference – I don’t care who wins. Sure, I’d like to see Alabama take another National Championship.  I’d rather see Army take one though (God is still in the business of miracles, right?).

Back to point – why do we promote sports so heavily over God?  We invite people to our houses (into our private lives) to watch a game, but are afraid to invite them to God’s house for the real game.

As a popular billboard once said, “Let’s meet at my house Sunday before the game – God.”meet_at_my_house

As the seasons bring beautiful weather, and with sporting events ramping up all around the nation, let’s remind our children that while sports are fun, God is number one! Let’s put him back at the center of our lives.

I’m not suggesting that when you meet someone for the first time, you ask them “Christian? Or atheist?” – but I am suggesting that we make it a point to allow God to Bless America by making Him the center of our lives.