Month: October 2015

Early History

Before you think we live in the worst of times, consider this period of time.  This is no where  near exhaustive but just a small glimpse of activity:

30 AD Jesus Christ was put to death by the Romans in Jerusalem on April 7th

41 AD Caligula Assassinated

54 AD Claudius Murdered, Nero Emperor- According to legend, Claudius was assassinated by his wife Agrippina using poisoned mushrooms. Agrippina then arranged for her son, Nero, to become Emperor. Nero eventually had his mother killed.

62 AD The first signs of volcanic activity are recorded in Mt. Vesuvius, when an earthquake damages some nearby Campanian towns. (Much of which damage would never be repaired prior to its eruption some 18 years later.)

64 AD Rome Burns- The city of Rome was nearly destroyed in a catastrophic fire. The fire is said to have been set by Nero. Legend has it that ‘Rome burned while Nero fiddled’. Nero is said to cause fire to make room for his palace. Christians were Persecuted as scapegoats

65 AD Death of Nero’s wife, Poppaea, whom he kicked to death after an argument.

67 AD Death of Paul the Apostle.

70 AD Jerusalem Falls- Rome sent an enormous army under the command of Vespasian, to retake Judea. The Roman army quickly subdued the Jewish forces in the Galilee and laid siege to Jerusalem. Vespasian was recalled to Rome and the siege continued by his son,  Titus.  He burned Jerusalem, killing or selling into slavery tens of thousands of Jews. The capture of Jerusalem took a long four month siege where many starved to death.

73 AD Masada Falls- The Fortress of Masada, occupied by Jewish zealots opposed to Rome, held out for three years. Masada was located in the Judean Desert near the shores of the Dead Sea. When it became clear that they could hold out no longer, the defenders of Masada committed mass suicide rather then become captives of the Romans.

79 AD Mount Vesuvius Explodes- In 79 A.D., Mount Vesuvius erupted. The eruption destroyed the Roman cities of Pompeii and Herculaneum. Most of the cities’ populations managed to flee, but 20,000 inhabitants were killed.

Matthew 24:Jesus answered: “Watch out that no one deceives you. For many will come in my name, claiming, ‘I am the Messiah,’ and will deceive many. You will hear of wars and rumors of wars, but see to it that you are not alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come. Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in various places. All these are the beginning of birth pains.

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Post Resurrection

What happened during the 40 years after Jesus resurrection?  In the next few posts we will look at some of the key events that affected the beginning of the church.

**From what is said in many writings about Herod’s Temple, it was indeed a magnificent structure of awesome proportions. However, four years after it’s completion, it was totally destroyed and wiped from the face of the earth.

During Jesus’ time, many of the Jews were so awe struck and impressed with the grandeur of the Temple that they replaced the worship of God with respect and reverence for the Temple complex itself. However, Jesus was not impressed with the Temple’s physical structure, because he knew that the Sovereign God was greater than any building that man could construct, no matter how grand and beautiful it was.

Jesus prophesied both the destruction of the temple and Jerusalem; therefore, it is necessary to discuss both prophecies in order to clearly understand the events that happened 40 years later.   **http://www.bibleresearch.org/articles/a11pws.htm

“Jesus left the temple and was walking away when his disciples came up to him to call his attention to its buildings. ‘Do you see all these things?’ he asked. ‘I tell you the truth, not one stone here will be left on another; every one will be thrown down'” (Matt.24:1-8 NIV).

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Be Still, Move On

At times we fall on our knees in fright.  We beg God for wisdom.  Should I move or should I stay?  Should I fight or should I concede?  Should I speak or should I be quiet?  Will I live or will I die?

Here is an example of Moses being in the thick of it:

Exodus 14:13 Moses answered the people, “Do not be afraid. Stand firm and you will see the deliverance the Lord will bring you today.  The Egyptians you see today you will never see again.  The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still.” 15 Then the Lord said to Moses, “Why are you crying out to me?  Tell the Israelites to move on.”

So, should they stand firm and be still or should they move on?

Actually it’s both.  The Israelites were afraid and on the verge of panic and being slaughtered.  Moses was correct in telling them to be still – quieting themselves while he sought the Lord’s instruction.  The Lord answered and said “move on” with clear instructions.

We should not react to our challenges with fear and panic.  We need to be still and sit on our Father’s lap and seek His wisdom.  He will make it clear!

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Pennies from Heaven

Sometimes our prayer life can be as simple as finding a penny and thanking God for all He has given.

Sometimes our needs can be met by simply saving “worthless” pennies for a long time.

Be thankful today.  Find something that inspires you to pray and be thankful.  Save up the “worthless” treasures that you stumble upon – they may come in handy some day!

Otha Anders saved his first penny more than 45 years ago when he found it on the ground.

The coin reminded him to pray and give thanks.

“I became convinced that spotting a lost or dropped penny was an additional God-given incentive reminding me to always be thankful,” said Anders, 73. “There have been days where I failed to pray and more often than not, a lost or dropped penny would show up to remind me.”

Fifteen five-gallon plastic water jugs and half a million pennies later, Anders on Tuesday deposited $5,136.14 into his account to go toward a recent dental bill.penny

Read articale: usatoday.com/story/news/nation-now/2015/10/28/man-cashes-pennies-hes-been-saving-45-years/74727160/

Matthew 13:52 (Jesus) said to them, “Therefore every teacher of the law who has become a disciple in the kingdom of heaven is like the owner of a house who brings out of his storeroom new treasures as well as old.”

Another Mass Killing

Police are still investigating another senseless mass killing at a university.  Four people are dead and 50 injured.  It is not clear what the motivation was.  The town and university are in shock and dismay and cannot believe that anyone would do such a heinous act.

The scene was a site of horror with bodies everywhere.

Thoughts and prayers are going out to this community.  Questions are on everyone’s mind including the accused killer’s family.  Her family has stated that they were not aware of any problems and did not see any warning signs.  The accused killer left the house to go to work.  There is no known motive.  Mental illness is suspect.

No. . . there was no gun used.  It was a car.

Killing will continue as long as evil is in our hearts.  Whether it be a gun, knife, airplane, car or rock – our hearts have been hardened.  Only God can soften our hearts with His love.

Proverbs 27:19-20 (NIV)

19 As water reflects the face,
    so one’s life reflects the heart.[a]

20 Death and Destruction[b] are never satisfied,
    and neither are human eyes.

cain abel

Stairway to Heaven

There are few songs that have been so popular for so long and that have been dissected, analyzed, discussed and written about as ‘Stairway to Heaven’ by Led Zeppelin.  If you’re not familiar with the song, well, I won’t go there.

The song has been accused of being Satanic, containing backward masking messages, cultish, occultish, magical, mystical and romantic.  Musically, it has been banned from guitar stores everywhere because it is required learning for any wanna-be guitar rock star.

Fans search for meaning.  Where did the inspiration come from?  Was it channeled from mystical spirits?  What is the truth?  Where is it leading?  Who is the woman and where is heaven?

Critics spout bunk.  There is no meaning.  There is no channeling.  It is a song written while intoxicated or drugged.  It is a black hole of searching in a world of no meaning or purpose.  There is no heaven and there is no point in searching. There is no Truth or heaven or Satan or spirits.  Just shut up and enjoy the song for what it is – a classic 8 minute ballad of the 20th century.

There are some who never search meaning in life.  They are content with what they see and feel.  There are others that will always search for meaning.  There are some who will quickly judge anything outside the realm of their religious world as “evil” and “Satanic”.  There are others who can fall down drunk and say they had an encounter with God.

Where do you stand?  Are you searching?  Are you looking for the mystical ‘stairway to heaven’?  Do you close your eyes when you see something spiritual and it doesn’t line up with your beliefs?  Are you looking for rings of smoke through the trees?  Have you found the May Queen?  Are you trying to buy your own stairway?

Continue to search….and pray…..spend some time today on your knees.

Ecclesiastes 7:24-25 (NIV)

24 Whatever exists is far off and most profound—
    who can discover it?
25 So I turned my mind to understand,
    to investigate and to search out wisdom and the scheme of things
and to understand the stupidity of wickedness
    and the madness of folly.

108

Healing Wrong

“I was seriously injured racing motocross. Most of my injuries healed normally, however some of the bones seemed to heal “wrong”.  Is that possible?  After I have healed, the left side of my chest sticks out really far compared to the right side…….you can see it just by looking at it. My left collar bone is shaped way different than the right one now and my left rib caged it also shaped differently than than the right side. The left side of my chest where it sticks out cracks and pops a lot as well. Could it be possible that all of these bones healed crooked? And if so, would that cause chronic pain?

This is a letter written to an on-line doctor asking about bones healing incorrectly.  The answers to this question are numerous.  This isn’t a medical blog so I won’t go into detail but the short answer is yes.  Some bones heal quickly without issue.  Some bones heal slowly and painfully.  Some require screws and plates.  Some need to be re-set.  Some need to be re-broken and re-set.

Can we heal crooked spiritually?  Can we be healed but allow bitterness and pain to remain?  Can we live in constant pain although we are supposedly healed?  Can we be spiritually stronger after healing or will we be weaker?

Do you have spiritual bones that need re-set?  Are you spiritually crooked?  Are you suffering chronic spiritual pain from an old injury?  Do you walk with a limp?

Ezekiel 37 (NIV)

The Valley of Dry Bones

37 The hand of the Lord was on me, and he brought me out by the Spirit of the Lord and set me in the middle of a valley; it was full of bones. He led me back and forth among them, and I saw a great many bones on the floor of the valley, bones that were very dry. He asked me, “Son of man, can these bones live?”

I said, “Sovereign Lord, you alone know.”

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Wash your feet

I was talking with a dear friend of mine this week and she gave me this quote: “Wash the dirt off your feet”.  That hit me.  She didn’t realize it at the time but I really needed that!

We all go through struggles.  We all step in the mud and sometimes it is the other dark stuff!  It’s a mess and when it dries it will stay unless we wash it off.   It’s bad enough that we walk through trials and tribulations but when we continue to carry the dirt it holds us back from what we are called to do.  We keep those memories and hurts close and the dust reminds us everyday what damage was done.

Wash the dirt off and begin walking in a new day.  Don’t let the dust of the past hold you down.  Wash your feet and be joyful for a new opportunity to come!

John 13:12  (NIV)

12 When he had finished washing their feet, he put on his clothes and returned to his place. “Do you understand what I have done for you?” he asked them.

feet

Thank you to Ralph Munstermann for sending me this photo of a prison ministry team washing the feet of prisoners in a South African prison.

Girl’s lives matter?

Hey liberal women that want to defend a woman’s right to choose – How do you feel about this?  Woman’s rights matter unless you’re in the womb.

Based on 2010 numbers from the United Nations Population Fund, China is “missing” about 24 million girls between the ages of 0 and 19. That’s over 14 percent of the female population in that age range.

Since the late 1970s, China has had a one child per family policy. Many families want that child to be a son. The increasing availability of prenatal ultrasounds and blood tests for gender makes it possible for parents to abort a female fetus if they want. The uneven ratio of boys to girls born in China suggests this is happening.

A similar dynamic is at play in India, and preliminary data suggest that as access to prenatal gender tests increases there, fewer girls are being born.

India’s percentage of girls missing at birth is lower than China’s at 5.6 percent of the female population between 0 and 19. But because India’s population is so large, India is missing 13 million girls out of its under-20-year-old female population.

Adding up the unborn girls, there are currently about 37 million fewer 0- to 19-year-old girls in India and China than the world average ratio would predict. To put that number in perspective, that’s about 2 million more than the entire population of Canada.

China and India aren’t the only countries that show this trend. They are just the largest.

Full article: http://www.npr.org/sections/goatsandsoda/2015/10/20/448407788/where-the-girls-are-and-aren-t-15girls

When we begin choosing . . .

Matthew 2:16  When Herod realized that he had been outwitted by the Magi, he was furious, and he gave orders to kill all the boys in Bethlehem and its vicinity who were two years old and under.

babies

On this side of Mourning

If you are faced with a loss, you will find two typical reactions from others – One side will act like ‘time is up’, ‘get over it’, ‘time to move on’ and the old ‘time heals all wounds’.  The other side says ‘take as much time as you need’, ‘you can’t rush healing’, ‘everyone heals differently’, and ‘you will never face life the same again’.

While I may agree with all of these, I also find that there is a healthy balanced approach to life with mourning.  We do heal differently.  Some will cry every year, or at any mention of their loss.  Some move on and look like nothing ever happened.  We all have a different threshold for pain/loss and there are definitely different barometers for what the loss is – for example to me losing a parent when they are 50 years old is much worse than when they are 90.  But to some that doesn’t matter – loss is loss at any age.

One of the struggles that we all have is memories.  I lost my dad when I was 39 and effectively lost my mom around the same age due to dementia.  I still have a strong memory of them but certain things are beginning to fade.  I lost my grandparents at a very young age and don’t really remember them at all.

Is it better to hold onto memories or let them go?  Are they causing pain or joy?  Do we fabricate or ‘puff up’ the person we lost?  Do we make them a hero or a villain in our minds?

As we remember Isaiah this week (at 3 years), we discuss the question, ‘will we remember Isaiah?’  We only had him in our home for 5 years.  It feels like a short time now.  We still laugh at the funny way he said ‘umburger’ and ‘porch’ instead of Porsche.  But we also remember the bad times and the fear that surrounded them.

I can’t instruct you on ‘healthy healing’ or ‘healthy mourning’.  I may be able to tell if you are far out on edge of ‘unhealthy’ but that is only my judgment based on my grid.  Mourning is a part of life whether we do it in a healthy way or unhealthy way.  I pray that you will be able to see the light that has fallen on you for the time that you got to share with your loved one.

Romans 12:15 (NIV)

15 Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn.

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