Category: Bible

Healing

I am working on my novel titled ‘Healing’. The character is faced with the challenge of praying for an amputee to be healed and for his leg to be restored. Just writing the text challenges me. I find it difficult to even write the chapter – in fiction. Why? Do I not have the faith that God can restore a lost limb? I believe in resurrection of the dead. Why do I struggle to believe that a lost limb can grow back? Is it that it is too freakish to imagine?

Consider where you limit God. Can He heal? Can He restore? What part of your life do you lack in faith for God to restore? Lay it out before Him. Remember that little mustard seed.

Matthew 17:20  He replied, “Because you have so little faith. Truly I tell you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.”

Advertisements

Turn Your Speakers On

I listen to music at my desk while I work (I love Spotify!).  I have the old fashioned speakers that plug into my computer.  They have a separate power button and volume control and since I’m cheap I turn the power off to them each night to save a penny.

There have been several times that I start Spotify and no music comes out.  I immediately get angry and I’m tempted to throw the speakers across the room.  Seconds before I go ballistic the speakers are saved because I realize that I didn’t turn on the power button.  It was not the components fault for not producing sound – it was my fault for not enabling them to do their job.

How often do we do that to God?  We get angry because He doesn’t speak to us when it really is our fault that we are not tuning in.  Before you get mad at God for being silent, make sure everything is turned on and that you are listening.

Psalm 81:8 Hear me, my people, and I will warn you— if you would only listen to me.

Hannah thanksgiving

 

Stairway to Heaven the Irony

Let’s talk about change.  I grew up in the 60’s and 70’s – that’s 1960’s and 1970’s for those of you born after 2000!  We had a battle in the church during that time over Rock music.   We actually had sermons and books written about it.  If you haven’t heard, it’s from the devil himself.  Some of the classic reasons were 1) evil lyrics 2) the beat – many called it syncopation 3) lifestyles of the musicians 4) It was bad and loud and it was leading kids to dance, sex and drugs.   I clearly remember attending meetings at Youth For Christ which defamed any kind of Rock music and following the meetings we were supposed to go home and burn our vinyl albums.

One of the most popular songs of that era was ‘Stairway to Heaven’ by Led Zeppelin.   If you don’t know all the evilness of this song, please google it.  There is enough written about it to keep you busy for the weekend.   I never bought into all the negative hype on Rock music.  Of course there is bad stuff in it but there is bad stuff in everything.

Advance to 2011.  Seeker churches are the ‘in thing’: Everyone dresses down in casual clothes, talented musicians play contemporary music, open auditoriums and chairs instead of pews, simple messages of hope and grace.  Hey, if it is bringing people into the Kingdom I’m all for it.  Don’t tell anyone but one of these churches played the above mentioned songs in church!  What would Bob Larson say?!!

There is an irony of course.  I’m not sure what those speakers in the 60’s and 70’s would think about playing this music in church.  If it is truly Satanic is it still Satanic if Christians are singing it in church?  What about that syncopated beat? Drums?  I doubt that these performers are old enough to remember those lectures.  They probably never burned their vinyl records or played them backwards to hear the hidden messages.

Sins come and go.  God stays the same.  We all need to get closer to Him.  Don’t worry about the irony – just keep walking closer each day.  Don’t build idols.  Don’t follow anything that leads you astray.  God is bigger than Rock music.  I’m not sure about Country music but I know He can win the battle over the stairway to heaven.

John 9:16 Some of the Pharisees said, “This man is not from God, for he does not keep the Sabbath.”

 

Protesting Vice President Pence

Another week, another protest.  Another week and we will see support for the protest and support against it.  If you thought the anger would end after the election, you were wrong.  Even if Hillary had been elected, the anger and protests would have continued and it may have been worse.

There are three ways to react to a situation, movement or belief.   We can protest, support or be  apathetic.  When we join a side, it is very difficult to see the other side.  It goes both ways – that’s why there is very little agreement in today’s political state.  All of us are seeing events from “our” side and “our” side only.

Let’s take the Mike Pence speech at Notre Dame.  Students walked out quietly to protest his speech.  Some of us (me included) blasted them for being snowflakes or hater tots.  My side said they were “disrespectful”.    The other side declared this a “peaceful protest” and supported the student’s free speech.  In their opinion the students carried out a protest in the correct way.  President Obama addressed ND students in 2009 and was heckled by anti-abortion activists.  Were they disrespectful or were they correct in what they did?  Were they disrespectful or exercising free speech?

Who is right and who is wrong?  Maybe both and maybe neither.  All of us vote by our heart, beliefs, opinions and values.  Opinions change and in time, history’s opinion will change as well.

Let’s look at the most famous situation that ended in support and protest:

On a Sunday before Passover, Jesus entered the city of Jerusalem.  Crowds gathered to cheer Jesus as he rode into the city.   A week later the crowds yelled for Jesus to be crucified.  We have always wondered if some of the same people cheered one week and turned the next week.   Beside the amazing turn of events in one week, there were two other issues going on:  People on the ground at that point really didn’t know what was going on (for real).  Many of those cheering in the first week had false expectations that Jesus was coming to be a king and that he was going to free the Jews from Rome.    They were cheering but for the wrong reason.   A week later the people were paid or told by their leaders that Jesus was a fake and needed to be killed.   Those people thought they were right as well.   What’s even more amazing is that another group of people sat at home on both of those occasions and were apathetic or ignorant to the whole situation!

If social media and 24 hour news were present in Jerusalem during that week, the city may have been destroyed by protests.   On the other hand, the end results probably wouldn’t have changed.  There would still  be people who thought Jesus was going to save the Jews from Rome and those who wanted him crucified.  The only difference would be the amount of hatred, yelling and name calling between the two sides.

Screaming on social media would not have saved Jesus from the cross.  The 24 hour media could not have rushed the Crucifixion before God’s timing.

So what is the answer?  We study.  We learn.  We try to be as educated on issues as we can.  We have civil debates to compare ideas.  We love through differences and we show grace and tolerance.  What we don’t do is share hate for hate.  We don’t ridicule.  We don’t denigrate the other side.  We never strike out in violence.   I have to confess that I fail at this often.  I get too angry and judgmental.   I post nasty comments.  Friends point it out and I confess and delete and try to do better.   Tomorrow is another day.  I hope I do better but I won’t promise!  Sorry for my offenses and for keeping me in check.

Matthew 26

 

3:16

This month is March 2016 – or;  3/16.  It is 3/16 all month and it won’t happen again for another 100 years.

It’s a good month to reflect on God’s love – as in:

John 3:16 (NIV)

16 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

or:

1 John 3:16 (NIV)

16 This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters.

Or you can choose to look at your hardships:

Job 3:16 (NIV)

16 Or why was I not hidden away in the ground like a stillborn child,
    like an infant who never saw the light of day?

and:

Lamentations 3:16 (NIV)

16 He has broken my teeth with gravel;
    he has trampled me in the dust.

Or:

Romans 3:16 (NIV)

16     ruin and misery mark their ways,

Or you can sit and wait before the Lord and His guidance:

Ezekiel 3:16 (NIV)

16 At the end of seven days the word of the Lord came to me:

You can focus on who you are as a believer:

1 Corinthians 3:16 (NIV)

16 Don’t you know that you yourselves are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in your midst?

Or rest in His peace:

2 Thessalonians 3:16 (NIV)

16 Now may the Lord of peace himself give you peace at all times and in every way. The Lord be with all of you.

But no matter what, do not be lukewarm about your faith on 3/16 or any other month because there is fair warning:

Revelation 3:16 (NIV)

16 So, because you are lukewarm—neither hot nor cold—I am about to spit you out of my mouth.

 

For a complete list of the 3:16’s take a look at this blog:

All the 3:16s in the Bible

hannahpraise

Hearing the Lyrics

The 1960’s and 70’s were an interesting time for music.  Rock music hit the airways and played on transistor radios and vinyl.  It was often hard to understand the words in songs and kids would gather and try to decipher what was really said.  Some albums came with lyrics written on the cover but most of the time we were stuck trying to figure it out.  Listeners called radio stations to ask for help.   We held cassette recorders in front of the radio to “record” the music so that we could listen over and over again.  Parents decried this music and said “how can you understand what they are saying?”

Jump ahead 50 years and lyrics are only a button away on the internet.  Spotify even plays the lyrics along with the music.  There is no point in guessing.  Just look it up.

Are you hearing God in 60’s style – poor reception, unclear words, cassette reproduction, meeting with friends to understand?  Are you guessing at what God is saying or do you have a better system to hear and translate?

We shouldn’t need to live in confusion.  We should be able to hear and understand.  The lyrics are available to read.

Psalm 119:130 The unfolding of your words gives light;
    it gives understanding to the simple.

Bible

Angry with God

There have been many times in my life that I was angry with God.  It’s not really smart getting into a fight with God . . .it is always a losing battle.

Sometimes we are angry at something He did or didn’t do.  Other times we are just angry at life (or ourselves) and we take it out on Him.   The longest stretch that I remember being mad at God was three months.  I don’t remember what it was about but I remember not talking to Him.  I’m sure He was really disappointed. . . maybe He was glad to not hear me complain for awhile!

I always end up apologizing later when I get over my tantrum.   God has big shoulders.  I imagine Him being happier that I am close enough to Him to get angry then not having any relationship at all.  How many of His children just don’t care and ignore Him?

Here is my suggestion: Tell God that you are angry.  Tell Him that you know it is not His fault but that you are angry anyway and apologize ahead of time.  He may send you to your room for a quiet time to calm down.  Maybe He will suggest a nap.  Maybe He will give you a snickers bar like in the commercial.  Walk it out.  Don’t walk away.  God used Jonah in his anger.  He can use you too.

Jonah 4:But God said to Jonah, “Is it right for you to be angry about the plant?”

“It is,” he said. “And I’m so angry I wish I were dead.”

073

 

I Quit

A friend of mine recently said “I quit my job 5 times today”.  No he’s not a policeman or sewer tech.  He’s a missionary!  In today’s world, any job can be stressful enough to make us want to quit 5 times a day.  Sometimes I wonder if it is worth getting up in the morning!

Life is hard.  It’s not easy to be young and it’s not easy to be old.  Rich or poor – challenges are overwhelming.  How do we carry on?  Is it all worth the trouble?

I had the following scripture saved from month’s ago.  I started reading it and thought that I had written it.  Surprisingly, it is from the Bible!!!!!  Imagine that, David had trials way back then too.  He dealt with complaining.  He had was ready to explode and quit too.

It doesn’t make our situations any easier but it does help to keep it all in perspective.  It really is a brief time on earth . . .

Psalm 39 Living Bible (TLB)

39 I said to myself, I’m going to quit complaining! I’ll keep quiet, especially when the ungodly are around me. 2-3 But as I stood there silently the turmoil within me grew to the bursting point. The more I mused, the hotter the fires inside. Then at last I spoke and pled with God: Lord, help me to realize how brief my time on earth will be. Help me to know that I am here for but a moment more.

hannahpraise

Are you living or just green?

On a previous blog I wrote about over fertilizing plants in my office.  Yes, I have learned that too much of a good thing can kill.  I sit and watch these plants daily knowing that they are destined to die.  I could just throw them out but . . . they are still green and they look alive.  I know they are dying but as Monte Python said it best, “I’m not dead yet”.

When do we decide if a plant is dead?  When it is brown and shriveled or when it is still green but lifeless?  Green and lifeless is not coming back.  Why do I keep encouraging it?

My first round of plants finally died from my fertilizer mishap.  Now I’m on round two.  I dumped all that over fertilized soil into a bag with other soil, mixed it around and then reused it on new plants that I bought.  Guess what.  Those new plants didn’t like it either and they are drooping and dropping all around me.  They too are still green but I really don’t think they are going to make it.

Don’t we learn?  I know that I can be slow but “I’m not dead yet”.  Stop pouring water and tending to lifeless activity.  Even Jesus cursed the fruitless olive tree.  If it is not bearing fruit or giving life, let it go.  Give your effort to something that is ready to grow.

Mark 11:12 The next morning as they left Bethany, he felt hungry. 13 A little way off he noticed a fig tree in full leaf, so he went over to see if he could find any figs on it. But no, there were only leaves, for it was too early in the season for fruit.

14 Then Jesus said to the tree, “You shall never bear fruit again!” And the disciples heard him say it.

plant.jpg