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Saturday, December 20, 2008

Christmas Carols?

As I write this, the strains of O come all ye faithful float out to me from my radio. The station is not one that I listen to frequently. In fact, I came upon it in my search for some Christmas music, preferably Christmas Carols, as the Christian radio station I regularly listen to seemed to be giving us some modified, barely recognizable version ever so sparingly. It seems the days of Christmas Carols and Christmas songs, like most traditions, are almost over. Hats off to the few radio stations that still make it a point to honor the birth of our Savior by playing these time-tested favorites.

This may sound like I'm making too much of a big deal over Christmas Carols when I could easily buy my own CDs. That's true, but I may not get as wide a variety as I'm getting on this station, and to put it bluntly, I believe that all radio stations, particularly Christian radio stations, ought to play Christmas Carols during the Christmas season.

I come from an era- and a culture- when carollers went from door to door proclaiming the good news of the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ in song. They were doing what the angels did when they appeared to the shepherds, who in turn went and spread the news. "And when they had seen it, they made known abroad the saying which was told them concerning this child. And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told unto them" (Luke 2: 17; 20).

The coming of Jesus Christ into the world is still the biggest and most historic event the world has ever known. But we have turned it into another commercial celebration, forgetting that without Jesus there would be no celebration. But we do need to celebrate His birth. God, in the form of Man, coming into the world through the womb of a virgin, to live among us and later die to redeem us to the Father. It boggles my mind just to think about it.

But where is the honor, the respect and the awe that should be paid to this great Savior and King? It is lost in a flurry of shopping and partying and gift-giving, when we have already been presented with the greatest gift anyone could receive - eternal life through Jesus Christ. And that, my friends, is worth singing about.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

How do you call?

An interesting part in the account of the creation is where God took the animals to Adam for him to name them. The Bible continues, "... and whatsoever Adam called every living creature, that was the name thereof" (Genesis 2:19). God, the Creator, who created Adam and everything else, simply left the naming of the animals to Adam. He made no objections to Adam's choice of names. When Adam called the lion a lion, God left it at that, and likewise when Adam called the mouse a mouse, God nodded His agreement.

What do you think would have happened if God had said, "No, that little thing shall be called a lion and that big thing shall be called a mouse." Then we would be calling those little rodents that scare us to death, lions, and the king of the jungle would go by the name mouse. Those names would have completely different definitions from what they now have. I can see some guys flexing their muscles and saying, "I am a mouse."

In the Bible we find that God puts great store by names. Abram means exalted father, but when God got ready to bless him, He changed his name to Abraham. "Neither shall thy name anymore be called Abram, but thy name shall be Abraham; for a father of nations have I made thee" (Genesis 17:5).

Later, God changed the name of Abraham's wife, as she, too, was part of the new covenant He had made with Abraham. "And God said unto Abraham, As for Sarai thy wife, thou shalt not call her name Sarai, but Sarah shall her name be" (17:15).

God did the same thing to Abraham's grandson, Jacob. "... Thy name shall be called no more Jacob, but Israel: for as a prince hast thou power with God and with men, and hast prevailed" (32:28).

God's naming is not limited to a mere name change, but a change in character. He called Gideon "mighty man of valour" (Judges 6:12), Mary is saluted as "highly favoured and blessed among women", and He called His Son Emmanuel, meaning "God with us" (Matthew 1:23).

Notice that with all these name changes came a transformation in status, function and blessing. Abraham was changed from a childless man to the father of nations, Sarah from a barren woman to the mother of Isaac, the son of promise. Jacob changed from a trickster to Israel, father of the Israelites, God's chosen people. And we can go on and on.

But the message is clear. Instead of calling ourselves broke, depressed, oppressed and discouraged, we need to call ourselves the way God calls us - blessed, made in His image and likeness, "a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a peculiar people" (1 Peter 2:9). If we do that we will never be defeated by the enemy.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

I'm So Thankful

In my last post, I wrote about being away in Florida with my daughter who was about to have a baby. Well, she did have that baby sixteen days ago, a cute nineteen inch, six pounds nine ounces little girl with powerful lungs. We are all so thrilled to welcome this new addition to our family.

What a wonderful God we serve. He shows us His love in so many ways. Last year around this time, I was enveloped in grief over the death of my daughter-in-law, and now one year later, I'm celebrating the birth of my granddaughter. I can't stop saying it. God is wonderful. He is loving. He is kind. His mercies are renewed morning by morning. Great is His faithfulness. Yes, I am so thankful.

Sunday, November 02, 2008


Last week my colleagues learned that I would be taking family leave in order to help my daughter who will be having a baby by C section. They reacted immediately by offering to cover for me while I was gone. Their kindness really blew me away. They knew that in these harsh economic times the board was not going to hire anyone to fill my place, and that I would have to make up for lost time when I returned. I thanked them and thanked God for placing me with such a kind and helpful bunch of people.

In his letters to the churches, the apostle Paul praised the efforts of those who helped him in mininstry. Romans 16 is a testament of the help he received from men and women. Beginning with Phebe and moving on to Priscilla and Aquila, a husband-and-wife team, and many others, Paul expressed his deepest gratitude to them.

Jesus also preached many sermons about the place of service and helpfulness in the life of the believer. On the mount of Olives He said, "... Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as you have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, you have done it unto me" (Matthew 25: 40). So when we help others, we are not only helping them, but we are helping God Himself.

Let us seek out opportunities to help others the way my coworkers did. Not only will they thank you, but your Heavenly Father will take note and reward you for your good deed. God bless.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

You Are His Temple

Recently, I was very pleased to see a news item on television about a singing group that had pledged to keep their virginity until they were married. That in itself was amazing in today's world of immorality, especially among youth, but even more amazing is the fact that the singers were all young men. Not surprisingly, they were ridiculed and called ugly names by a popular comedian. But it was also gratifying to hear other young entertainers praise the group for their courageous, moral stand.

The world needs more young people like these, who would stand up for godly principles and not follow the crowd. The Bible states: :"Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, ye should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world" (Titus 2:12). And again, "Know ye not that ye are the tremple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?
If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are" (1 Corinthians 3:16-17).

Young people, protect your body. Keep it holy. Take a stand for righteousness, and God will protect you and honor you.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Have A Good Day

We say the words so often, they have become almost a cliche. But do we ever think about what the words mean when we say them to someone? Are we wishing the person a day free of traffic jams, extra work hours or stock market crashes? Maybe we don't stop to consider what a good day for that person might entail, but each of us has our ideas of how a good day should be. Maybe it's a day when the boss moves to Iceland, or we get a promotion, or our hubby buys us that necklace we'd been hinting at.

One morning I ended my prayers with, "Lord, please let this be a good day for me." The minute the words left my mouth, I heard something deep down inside of me say, "How about making it a good day for me?" I froze. I'd never thought of God having a good day or a bad day. After all, He is God. Everyday ought to be good for Him.

I pondered that thought for the rest of the day, and I concluded that we have it in our power to make each day a good day for God. Now, that's presumptious, you say. Not really. The Bible says, "Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created" (Revelation 4:11).

God created us for His pleasure. He delights in us, but when we do those things that are not pleasing to Him, are we giving Him pleasure? Are we giving Him a good day? In the same way we as parents feel hurt and have a bad day when our children disobey us, God, as our Father, also has a bad day when we do wrong. And it's not just our wrongful acts, but not trusting Him also gives Him a bad day.

So now I end my prayers with, "Lord, help me make this a good day for you." And when I pray like that, I end up having a good day. Just think about it, and have a good day.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

It happened so fast

The elderly lady seated in a wheelchair spoke the above words as she was being interviewed by a reporter outside a bank that had been seized on Friday. Her sentiments echoed mine and, I'm sure, the rest of the population, as we watched this financial debacle being played out. As both houses of Congress scrambled to come up with some sort of a "rescue plan" to save our near-death economy, I asked myself how much longer do we have?

And I wasn't thinking about a bailout, handout or anything of that sort, but how much longer would it be before our Lord Himself takes center stage and say "Enough is enough!" Jesus said, "For as the lightning cometh out of the east, and shineth even unto the west; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be" (Matthew 24:27).

For make no mistake, everything that is swimming before our eyes right now is predicted in the Bible - the great economic meltdown, plagues and diseases, wars and rumors of wars. It's all there, and like a textbook, can be studied by us all. Are we taking heed? It's not too late. The answers to our crisis are, as always, in the word of God.

"Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal:
But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal" (6: 19-20).

How accurate the word of God is, and how relevant! As we look at our empty savings and think about what may lie ahead, let us take comfort in these words: "Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof" (v. 34).

Sunday, September 14, 2008

I am wanted

Last week's blog focused on abortion and the struggle that some women face in making the decision to have or not have a baby. And while some of them choose to go the abortion route, others sum up their courage and deliver the baby. Some choose to keep it, while others may give it up for adoption.

For many childless couples, adoption may be their only hope. When they finally overcome all the red tape and hold that precious bundle in their arms, that baby is as loved and wanted as the baby who was conceived by a willing mother.

Last week I met a couple who had adopted one of our students. The interest they showed in the child's education was greater than some natural parents show in their children. That couple reminded me of my aunt, who with her husband, adopted a little girl, who is now a grown woman. Even though my aunt and her husband have now passed on, Susan, as I will call her, remains a part of our family. After she came to know her natural mother, Susan told me she didn't miss anything by being raised by her adoptive parents. She couldn't feel the bond with her real mother as she did with her adoptive mother. I have heard similar stories from other adopted children.

Which brings me to thinking of the way God adopted us into His family and showers us with the same love and the same blessings as He gives to His own. We receive the same inheritance as those who originally belonged to God, that is the Jews. "For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father" (Romans 8: 15). Abba is a Jewish term of endearment for Father, similar to Daddy or Papa. It is intimate; it is loving and is reserved for the children. But we, who have been adopted by God through Jesus Christ, have that same privilege to call Him Abba, Father.

"But when the fulness of the time has come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman. made under the law, To redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons" (Galatians 4:5). So there we have it. We are God's children, His heirs, the apple of His eye, the ones He loved so much that "He gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life" (John 3:16).

So those of you who have been adopted by loving parents, consider yourself fortunate. You could have been aborted, but instead you were brought into the world and given a place in a loving family. Many children are born through unplanned pregnancies, but when you are adopted, the whole procedure is carefully planned and carried out. You are special. Someone went through a lot of trouble and paid money to get you. In the same way, Jesus went through a lot of trouble, paying for us with His own precious blood, because the Father wanted us. Think about that this week. He, the Creator of the Universe, wanted us and desired us.

Sunday, September 07, 2008

The Big Picture

In a democratic society, elections come and elections go, but this US presidential election campaign will go down in history as one of the most exciting and electrifying the world has ever seen. As if an African American male and a white female vying for the democratic party's nomination wasn't enough, the staid Republican party went and nominated a female as their candidate's running mate. The political mercury could not possibly get hotter. However, the rhetoric from the Republican camp remains the same. Vote the candidate who says he is against abortion and homosexuality, while that of their opponent also remains the same: "I support a woman's right to choose."

Let me state here and now, that as a Christian I oppose abortion and homosexuality because the word of God says they are wrong. The word 'abortion' is not in the Bible, but it does call taking a life murder. Before I became a Christian, I contemplated abortion twice. Now that I look back on it, I feel ashamed for having thought about it, and I thank the Holy Spirit for keeping me from making a very grave mistake. Because if I had done it the first time I would have gotten rid of my only daughter, and I can't picture what my life would be like without her. The second occasion I would have destroyed my youngest son, with whom I have a special bond.

My college education (which took place after I had my children) also helped to convince me that life begins at conception, and to destroy a life, well, it is as the Bible says - murder. Before a woman realizes she is pregnant, the baby's heart is already formed-and beating! The first organ to be formed is the heart. In that blob of flesh is a beating heart! Then came my religious education that showed me, "Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee ..." (Jeremiah 1: 5). And again, "Thine eyes did see my substance, yet being unperfect; and in thy book all my members were written, which in continuance were fashioned, when as yet there was none of them" (Psalm 139: 16).

But can I tell this to a pregnant teenage girl, scared out of her wits and pressured by her boyfriend and friends to "get rid of it"? Or, an unmarried mother of three or four, on welfare, who gets no help from the children's father, and finds herself pregnant with her fourth or fifth child? Or, the woman climbing the corporate ladder, who thinks now is not the right time to have a baby? Oh, I know there are other reasons women have abortions and to us they may seem frivolous, but the fact is, to the woman, an abortion may seem like the only answer. The woman, the teenager, who doesn't know God, thinks she is all on her own and has no one to turn to. But, my dear sister, you are not alone. God is with you, whether you know Him or not. He loves you, whether you love Him or not. He said, "I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee" (Hebrews 13:5).

My new perspective of abortion came about as a result of being born again. The Bible says, "Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold all things are become new" (II Corinthians 5:17). Being in Christ helps us see things in a new light. We begin to see the big picture. We come to realize that it's not so much what we want, but what God wants for us. We come to view that baby not as a threat to our security, peace of mind or whatever, but as a precious gift from God, and as His gift, He will help us love it and take care of it. He is there with us in this predicament, and the next, and the next.

Monday, September 01, 2008


Yesterday afternoon as I was driving home from church, something from my growing-up years suddenly flashed through my mind. It was not a pretty memory. I couldn't imagine what it was about the cars rushing past me at 80, 90 miles per hour on a Labor Day weekend that brought that ugly memory to my mind. It was enough to bring me to a screeching halt in the middle of the highway, but I kept going.

When I got home I thought about my unsettling flashback that had not occurred in decades. Why now? Why after a church service filled with fervent celebration of God's goodness? I don't know, but after I spoke to God about it, He said, "I don't remember it. Why are you allowing the enemy to torment you with this after all this time? I have forgiven you; now you forgive yourself."

Humbled and grateful, I said, "Thank you, Lord."

And I thought about forgiveness.

It's never an easy task to forgive someone who has wronged us. We can always say "I forgive you", but oftentimes we harbour the pain and resentment of whatever the act was. That is not what forgiveness means. If we cannot let go, if we cannot pray for and bless that person without cringing, then we haven't really forgiven them. Notice I said, without cringing. Because we are going to remember. It might come to us suddenly and without warning, or it may come each time we see the person. But if being in the same room with that person causes us pain, anger or any negative emotion, then we haven't really forgiven.

Even more difficult is forgiving ourselves. We have seen videos of people in other cultures who flagellate and cut themselves to atone for their sins. To those of us who are born again Christians, these acts may seem absurd, but we are doing the same thing when we struggle with guilt over past sins. We are saying to God, "I don't believe I've been forgiven. I don't believe the blood of Jesus can really wash away my sins."

The Bible has a lot to say about forgiveness. One example is the story of Joseph, who was sold into slavery by his brothers. After they found out who he was, they were afraid he would try to pay them back for what they had done to him. But Joseph said, "Don't be afraid. Am I in the place of God? You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives" (Genesis 50:19-20). NIV

After God spared the life of Hezekiah, king of Judea, he prayed, "...In your love you kept me from the pit of destruction; you have put all sins behind your back" (Isaiah 38:17). Isaiah prophesied to the people of Israel, "I have swept away your offenses like a cloud, your sins like the morning mist ..."(Isaiah 44:22).NIV. And the One who bought our redemption, Jesus Christ, said, "For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins" (Matthew 6:14-15).

Let us, therefore, thank God for His wonderful love that causes Him to forgive us when we ask, and just as He does to us, let us also do unto others.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Grace period

My last water bill contained a penalty charge of $5.98. I picked up the phone and dialed the water company to enquire about the charge. The lady on the other end informed me that I had paid my bill two days late and had incurred a penalty.

Feeling unusually testy I said, "I pay my bill just two days late and I get a penalty?"

She replied, "I'm sorry. There's no grace period."

Those words stayed with me all day.

No grace period.

Where would we be if God had not extended His grace to us by sending His Son Jesus Christ to redeem us from our sins? Or what if, like the water company, as soon as we did something wrong, he inflicted punishment on us? Thank God for His grace. Thank God that He tempers His law with grace.

Some people, anxious to excuse acts of wrongdoing, say we are now under grace and not under the law. It is true that grace came to us through Jesus Christ, but even He said, "Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill" (Matthew 5:17).

Therefore the law is a "schoolmaster" to help us distinguish between right and wrong. "What shall we say then? Is the law sin? God forbid. Nay, I had known sin, but by the law: for I had not known lust, except the law had said, Thou shalt not covet" (Romans 7:7).

In the same way I would not have known about the penalty had the water company not imposed one. However, while I had no choice but to pay the penalty, we who are in Christ can "come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in the time of need" (Hebrews 4:16).

And that's the difference. Law punishes, but grace forgives. Which one will you choose?

Heavenly Father, how grateful we are that through the blood of Jesus Christ we have grace and forgiveness for our sins. We accept this precious gift, Lord along with your laws and precepts, and it's in His name we pray. Amen

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Praying for our children

I realize I haven't posted anything in a while, and I apologize. Vacation and other things clouded my priorities and just kept me away from my blog. Anyway, things are now back to normal, and with the beginning of a new school year, my thoughts turn to our children and what this year might hold for them. The fact is, none of us knows what the future holds. Only God, and this is why we need to place our precious little ones in His capable hands. Having said that, here is a little prayer I composed for them.

Heavenly Father, we bring our children before You, knowing that you are the only wise and powerful God, the only One who can protect and care for them. Lord, we come in the name of Your Son, Jesus Christ, who shed His precious blood on the cross so that we might have life. Therefore, when we call on the name of Jesus, we are speaking life over our loved ones and over our situation.

Father God, we pray that this year our children will be protected from the forces of darkness; that they will be safe and at peace in the classroom, the playgrounds, the buses and wherever they may go. Father God, we decree that our children will be able to pursue their education without fear, and that no weapon formed against them will prosper.

Father, we ask that you protect their minds from those who seek to pollute them with false doctrines and beliefs. We pray especially for those young people who are holding up the godly standard in our schools and colleges, that they will adhere to their principles and not be swayed by all the temptations around them. We ask, O God, that you protect our children from the dope peddlers, the child molesters and anyone who may try to destroy our children.

Father God, we thank you that we train up our children in the way they should go, and they carry this training with them into the schools. Father God, we thank you that our children are of upright conversation and they follow godly company. Lord, we ask you to bless the teachers and other professionals who work with our children. Give them patience and wisdom as they deal with the variety of personalities, for we ask it all in the name of Jesus. Amen.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

In The Wilderness

My steps drag, my breath comes in ragged gasps,
My tongue clings to the roof of my mouth.
In the wilderness.
Wearily I sink to the ground
and bury my face in the dust.
A gentle touch makes me look up.
"Come into a desert place and rest awhile"(Mark 6:31).
I lean against You,
Breathe a sigh of relief.
A covering appears over me,
Shading me from the merciless heat.
"...the Lord is thy shade upon thy right hand.
The sun shall not smite you by day,
nor the moon by night" (Psalm 121:5).
You dip your finger into a sparkling stream
And touch my parched lips.
"Whosoever drinks of this water
shall never thirst" (John 4:13).
A gentle breeze fans my hot cheeks;
I sigh with contentment.
You put bread to my lips;
It satisfies my hunger.
"I am the bread of life."
I snuggle closer to Your everlasting arms
"The God of all comfort" (2 Corinthians 1"3).

A solid rock,
A welcome shade,
A cooling stream,
The bread of life,
The everlasting arms.

That's what I find,
In the wilderness.

Sunday, June 01, 2008

Buffet or one-pot meal?

You receive two dinner invitations for the same date. The first one reads: You are invited to have dinner with us on June 6, 2008. Dinner will consist of a one-pot meal served promptly at 8.00 p.m. The other one reads: Come dine with us on June 6, 2008 and enjoy a buffet dinner served promptly at 8.00 p.m. Which one will you choose? Even though neither invitation listed the exact dishes or components of the meal, you rightly assume that the buffet dinner will offer you the choices that you can partake of and so you reply to that invitation.

For some, that's the way we approach God's Word. A little bit of this and a little bit of that. No, not that one, the other one. Is that how God wants us to approach His table? Do some parts of His meal cause us indigestion while others are okay? "... Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God" (Matthew 4:4)KJV. The word "every" is the operative word. Not some but every.

I think of the time when Jesus washed the feet of his disciples. After He had finished washing their feet He said to them, "Ye call me Master and Lord: and ye say well, for so I am. If I then, your Lord and Master, have washed your feet; ye also ought to wash one another's feet. For I have given you an example, that ye should do as I have done to you" (John 13: 13-15). This event recorded only in the gospel of John took place just after Jesus had finished breaking bread with His disciples at the feast of the passover. The breaking of bread has been promulgated by the church as Holy Communion, one of the tenets of the Christian faith, while the washing of the feet is ignored altogether.

The text above is rarely preached from the pulpit, and when it is, the act of foot washing by Our Lord is referred to as a symbol. A symbol of servanthood, of love, of humility or whatever. I am no preacher or theologian, but I believe that if we take the Word of God literally, approach it as a one-pot meal and not a buffet, then we ought to follow everything it says-everything, that is, that falls under the new convenant.

When I was a child I attended a church where foot washing was carried out after Holy Communion, and that was long before latex was ever invented. If they could have done it then, why not now? We live in a time when many of the basic tenets of Christianity are either being diluted or eradicated altogether. In some churches one never hears about Holy Communion or Holy Baptism. I even heard one minister say that we don't have to follow the old ceremonial laws any longer, referring to the two mentioned above. Old ceremonial laws? There is nothing old or outdated about the Word of God. It is as relevant today as it was when it was first written. James warns us, "But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves. For if any be a hearer of the word, and not a doer, he is like unto a man beholding his natural face in a glass" (v 22-23).

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Who should die?

This past week we were summoned to a meeting at the Board of Education for what was to be a "Pandemic training." I have to admit, the e-mail didn't spark much interest and I only attended because the subject line said "mandatory." The presenter spoke about the possibility of a pandemic flu that may strike the world due to an increase of the bird flu. From the way she spoke, such a possibility appeared to be imminent. It was not a matter of if it would happen, she said, but when.

We were told that we were now at Level 1 of this crisis, which is educating personnel on what to expect when the flu hits. A video was shown, instructing us on how to prevent the spread of germs by sneezing into our sleeves (instead of on the person nearby, or into our hands and then shaking someone's hand), and of course, by hand washing. Then we were given the comforting news that a vaccine was being developed, but most likely it would not be ready in time, however there were sufficient antibiotics available.

I came away from the meeting feeling just mildly concerned. After all, the Bible does speak of pestilences coming upon the face of the earth and one fourth of the earth will die (Revelations 6:8). Could this be it? My concern increased that evening when Yahoo carried a news item on the pandemic flu. But what really lit my fire was this section of the report: a task force comprising personnel from prestigious universities, the military and government agencies has decided to draft a policy for doctors and hospitals, outlining who should be allowed to die in the event of a pandemic flu. Heading the list was the elderly, followed by those who had been in car crashes or who suffered burns, then those suffering from chronic diseases and last of all, the mentally ill, including Alzheimer's patients.

"Emotionally difficult", "battlefield decision", "minefield" and other terms were used to describe the compiling of such a policy. But how about a policy that demonstrates "love", "compassion" and "doing unto others as you would have them do unto you?" I understand that in the event of a global catastrophe many people will die, but why should anyone assume the "Godlike" authority of determining who lives or who dies?

This ethical dilemma is not a new one. It has affected single families many times over, and will continue to do so. But when this decision has to be made on a global basis, one wonders if we are not standing on the verge of the fulfillment of Bible prophecy. In the event of such a crisis presenting itself, I am prepared to die if need be so that my children and grandchildren may live, but that is my decision. And that's the way I think it ought to be. Not some faceless person in some part of the world deciding that I should die because they may or may not have enough medication for someone else. Jesus said, "Therefore, whatever you want men to do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets" (Matthew 7:12).

Sunday, April 27, 2008

The Greatest Teacher

They called Him "Rabbi", "Teacher" and "Master", names which seem to adequately fit one of the roles Jesus performed while on earth. But how did He, the Son of God, come to be called by these names?

Luke's gospel gives us a view into the life of Jesus when He was a child. While He and his parents were in Jerusalem for the passover feast, they missed Him and later found Him in the temple "sitting in the midst of the doctors, both hearing them, and asking them questions" (2:46).

This scene set the stage for Jesus' ministry. The Bible gives accounts of a lot of miracles that He performed, but most of the time we see Him teaching. Mark 12:35 and Luke 19:47 show Him teaching daily in the temple. In John 7:14 He is teaching during the feast of tabernacles.

However the temple was not His only classroom. The streets, a fishing boat, people's homes, the shores of Galillee and the famous Mount of Olives all became His platform. And He taught not only in the day, but in the night as well. Remember Nicodemus? A ruler of the Jews? He came to Jesus by night, and Jesus didn't turn him away(John 3:2).

He taught them the three Rs.

He taught them how to read the Scriptures. "What is written in the law? how readest thou?(Matthew 10:26). "Have ye not read what David did, when he was an hungred, and they that were with him; How he entered into the house of God, and did eat the shewbread, which was not lawful for him to eat, neither for them which were with him,(12:3) And He read the Scriptures to them often. "And He came to Nazareth where he had been brought up: and as his custom was, he went into the synagogue on the sabbath day, and stood up for to read(Luke 4:16).

He taught them the right things. "Honour thy father and thy mother: and, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself"(Matthew 20:19). "Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them:for this is the law and the prophets"(5:46).

And, yes, he taught them 'rithmetic. "For which of you, intending to build a tower, sitteth not down first, and counteth the cost, whether he have sufficient to finish it?" (Luke 14:28). "For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world and lose his own soul?(Matthew 16:26).

Jesus' teachings were different from those taught in schools, however they never grew redundant or obsolete. They are relevant now as they were two thousand years ago. If we would only follow them, we would gain a diploma that would put us in good stead not only in this life, but in the life to come.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Speak the truth

As the election campaign heats up, political commentators and the public in general are watching every move and listening to every word that comes from the lips of the political candidates. This week there was a bit of a furor as Senator Barack Obama spoke some things which his opponents did not hesitate to brand as "demeaning" and "elitist" among others. This brought to mind some of the words of Our Lord Jesus Christ which many times inflamed the ire of his listeners, chief of whom were the religious leaders of His day.

Listen to some of Jesus' words: "... Thou hypocrite, cast out first the beam out of thine own eye, and then shalt thou see clearly to pull out the mote that is in thy brother's eye" (Luke 6:42). "Ye fools and blind: for whether is greater, the gold, or the temple that sanctifieth the gold?" (Matthew 23:17) and "Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye are like unto whited sepulchres, which indeed appear beautiful outward, but are within full of dead men's bones, and of all uncleanness" (v27).

Strong words indeed. But Jesus was not running for office. He was not trying to win the popular vote. He had simply come to "seek and to save that which was lost" (Luke 19:10). He didn't care whether they liked Him or not. But He did care that they would mend their ways and seek after God with their whole hearts, and if using strong language would help them do that, then that's what He would do.

The Bible tells us that even some of Jesus' disciples left Him after they heard His words. And those who had the power to do so eventually brought charges against Jesus and had Him crucified. But many were convicted by His words, and continue to be convicted, and are saved.

As Christians we are called to walk in the footsteps of Jesus, and even though we may not want to hurt people's feelings, we must speak "the truth in love" (Ephesians 4:15). We cannot sugar-coat the truth or compromise the word of God in our day to day interaction with others. Even Paul asked the question, "Am I therefore become your enemy, because I tell you the truth?"(Galatians 4:16).

Let us not be as politicians who strive to say the right thing in order to be popular, but rather let us witness truthfully, and by so doing we will save others from the fires of hell. God bless.

Saturday, March 22, 2008


It's Easter time again, and for many that conjures up images of Easter bonnets, new dresses and Easter eggs. But for us Christians, Easter means a lot more. We think of the triumphant resurrection of Our Lord Jesus Christ, Mary Magdalene and the other women coming to the tomb and finding it empty, Peter and John running to the tomb and also finding it empty, and Jesus appearing to the two disciples on the road to Emmaus.

Yes, it's a happy time, a glorious time, a time of hope that follows a period of excruciating pain for Our Lord. Just three days earlier He was crucified, betrayed by one of His friends(Matthew 26:48). That marks the beginning of sorrows. Then comes more sorrow as Peter, a member of His inner circle, denies knowing Jesus Christ(vv 69-74). But the most excruciating pain comes when Jesus is forsaken by God, His Father on the cross as the crushing weight of the world's sins are thrust upon Him and He cries out "Eli, lama sabacthani, that is to say, My God, My God, why hast thou forsaken me?" (Matthew 27: 46)

But three days later, Jesus shakes off the grave clothes and rises in victory from the tomb. The stone that has held His body is rolled away, and nothing stands in the way of His triumph. The weight of sin and death are off Him, signifying that we, who are in Him, can be rid of the weights that have buried us for so long. Drugs, alcohol, sickness, financial burdens, failing relationships, whatever might be in that stone can be removed through the resurrection of Jesus Christ.

Yes, Easter is the most significant day in the Christian calendar. We have only to look around us to see that this is a time of new beginnings. Tender green leaves are sprouting from those dead, dry tree branches. Flowers are blooming everywhere, birds are singing, and the air is invigorating. Everything in nature salutes this time of year. And so it is for us. We, too, can salute our new beginning with praises to the One who has given us a new birth. Let us rejoice for our victory is won. Hosanna to the King!

Saturday, March 01, 2008

Get Into Heaven

This week I saw something on television that made my jaw drop in amazement. The reporter and his guest were talking about a website that is offering to get people into heaven for the sum of twelve dollars and ninety-seven cents. Yes, that's right, $12.97. Hilarious, isn't it? The host laughed and said, "They sold Jesus for thirty pieces of silver, how do they expect to get people into heaven for $12.97?" While I commended him for having some knowledge of the Bible, this was no laughing matter. Try ludicrous, absurd, ridiculous, but certainly not hilarious.

While I do not expect anyone in his/her right mind to take the claim of that website seriously, let me point out what one of my favorite books in the Bible, Isiah, says: "Ho! Everyone who thirsts, come to the waters; and you who have no money, come, buy and eat without money and without price(55:1)". "Incline your ear, and come to Me. Hear, and your soul shall live, and I will make an everlasting covenant with you-the sure mercies of David"(v3).

Here we have it from God Himself. He invites us to come to Him without money and our "soul shall live." We do not have to pay one dime. It's free. Salvation is free. Jesus paid the price for us all when He took our sins upon Him and allowed Himself to be crucified on the cross of Calvary. Jesus said, "I am the resurrection, and the life; he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live:" (John 11:25).

And again He says, "In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go to prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also" (John 14: 2-3). He's talking about heaven, y'all. His Father's house. Where the mansions are. The streets of gold. The pearly gates. The place where there is no sorrow or weeping or death. The land of milk and honey. The place with a free entrance through the blood of Jesus Christ. Halleluiah!

Do you want to go? Then keep your money in your pocket. Run to Jesus. He'll let you in-without money and without price. God bless.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Like A Little Child Part 2

I feel led by the Holy Spirit to continue this blog about becoming like a little child. Last week I spoke about children being passionate, exuberant and excited. This week I want to touch on two other characteristics that make children perfect candidates for heaven.

I work with children in schools who are developmentally delayed, and there is this one little boy who always slips his hand in mine whenever I go to get him. One day I thought, he trusts me. He really does. Most children, if they have not been abused or mistreated, are trusting. They trust their parents or other adults in their lives to keep their promises.

What about us? Are we trusting of our heavenly Father to keep His promises? I know I have doubted Him a few times. I am still working on being as trusting as a little child. In 2 Samuel 22:3 David says, "The God of my rock: in him will I trust: he is my sheild, and the horn of my salvation, my high tower, and my refuge, my saviour ..."

For many Christians, like myself, trusting God means the difference between walking in victory or walking in defeat. For when we do not trust God, we make decisions that may jeopardize God's plans for our lives. "Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding" (Proverbs 3:5).

Children are sincere. They do not hesitate to show you how they feel about you. If they like you, you will know it, and if they don't like you, well, it can be a painful experience. One of my granddaughters makes me feel guilty at times. Whenever she sees me, she runs to me, hugs me and will not let go. It matters little whether I'm busy or not. Sometimes I push her away with, "Not now, sweetie," or "Granny is busy." And yet the next time she sees me, she repeats the same action. She shows me love whether I'm willing to receive it or not.

Are we sincere in the way we treat others-our family members, friends, co-workers- and God. Do we say we love them, but attach conditions to that love? Do we only love God when things are going our way, but turn our backs on Him when things get rough? Job said, "Though he slay me, yet will I trust in Him" (Job 13:15). Job had every reason to turn his back on God. Even his wife urged him to do just that. But he said unto her, "Thou speakest as one of the foolish women speaketh. What? Shall we receive good at the hand of God, and shall we not receive evil?(Job 2:10).

This childlike faith does not come about by mere wishful thinking, but is developed through a life of prayer, Bible study and fellowship with other believers. That's the only we can grow in faith. Many times I have had to beg God's forgiveness for not trusting Him. I looked on my circumstances instead of looking to Him. But with the help of the Holy Spirit, I am learning to trust in God's promises even when things don't look very promising. And you can, too.

Let us pray: Heavenly Father, we thank you that you loved us while we were yet sinners, and that You continue to love us even when we don't deserve it. Help us by your Holy Spirit to love and trust You with that childlike faith, for we ask it in Jesus' name. Amen.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Like A Little Child

Whenever I look at my grandchildren I am reminded of how different we adults are. These children are full of exuberance, passion and purpose in everything they do. They have a healthy curiousity that leads them to touch, examine- did I say touch? and probe each new object they come across. They greet me in the morning with bright smiles, hugs and cheery good-mornings, while I'm thinking, What's so good about this morning?

But what did Jesus say? "...Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter the kingdom of heaven" (Matthew 18:3). Little children have the passion and excitement for life that many of us adults have lost. We have allowed the challenges of life to wear us down, to erase our smiles, to silence our song. Many of us don't even have the energy to fulfill our activities of daily living, making us one of the many depression and anxiety sufferers in the United States today.

What can we do to recapture this joie de vivre, this passion for life? Psalm 118: 24 says, "This is the day which the Lord hath made; we will rejoice and be glad in it." What is there to rejoice about, you might say? We live in a world of turmoil and uncertainty that seems to be getting more turbulent daily. However the apostle Paul said, " Rejoice in the Lord alway; and again I say, Rejoice" (Philippians 4:4). In 1 Thessalonians 5:16 he says, "Rejoice evermore."

The apostle Paul was not a man who enjoyed the good things of life. After he became converted, he spent most of his life being flogged, stoned, left for dead and thrown into prison. In fact, he wrote the book of Philippians from his prison cell, and later, just before his martyrdom, he wrote to his spiritual son, Timothy, "Persecutions, afflictions, which come unto me at Antioch at Iconium, at Lystra; what persecutions I endured; but out of them all the Lord delivered me" (11 Timothy 3:11).

Can we have the attitude of this beloved servant of God? Can we endure all things for the sake of Christ, who endured so much for us? Can we praise Him even when our world is collapsing around us? Can we rejoice when we don't see anything to rejoice about? As difficult as it may seem, it is what God expects of us. Listen to what Jesus said: "In the world you shall have tribulation; but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world" (John 16:33).

Joy is the believer's heritage. When we come to Christ we enter into a new dimension of peace and joy, notwithstanding our present circumstances. If we had been sour, disagreeable and hard to get along with, we should become just the opposite, because we now walk in love and Jesus is love. If we used to worry when our dog caught fleas, we should become lighthearted because Jesus "is our glory and the lifter up of our heads". If we couldn't find peace in our homes, we should have peace because He is our peace.

So if you are a believer and find yourself tormented by depression or worry, turn it over to Jesus and watch Him take it all away. If you are not a believer, why not give your life to Jesus and be amazed at the transformation He will work in you? God bless.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Grace and Mercy

It’s amazing how we can read the scriptures many times over and then one day something jumps out at us that we never noticed before. This happened to me one night as I was reading Psalm 90. This Psalm was written by Moses, appealing to God on behalf of the children of Israel.

For those of you who may not know it, God had sent Moses to bring the children of Israel out of Egypt where they had been in bondage for four hundred years. After many trials, Pharoah, the ruler, finally agreed to let the people leave Egypt. However, no sooner had they been freed, they began to rebel and complain. Their journey into the promised land which should have lasted a few days took forty years to complete. During that time God became so angry at their rebellion, he threatened to wipe them out, and would have had not Moses interceded for them. They were bitten by snakes, and many other troubles overcame them.

The children of Israel suffered the wrath of God. Hence the reason Moses wrote this Psalm. In verse 7 he writes, “For we are consumed by thine anger, and by thy wrath are we troubled.” Again in verse 9 he says, “For all our days are passed away in thy wrath: we spend our years as a tale that is told.”

I read these verses over and over, then I thought, we are no longer under wrath, but under grace. When Jesus gave His life for us on the cross, He got rid of the curse that we had been under since Adam fell. When Jesus died, He restored us to a right relationship with God, the Father. When Jesus shed His precious blood for us on the cross, we obtained “grace, mercy and peace from God our Father and Jesus Christ our Lord” (1 Timothy 1:2).

“But God, Who is rich in mercy, for His great love wherewith He loved us, even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;) and hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus” (Ephesians 2:4-6). “But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ” (Ephesians 2:13). Had Moses lived in Jesus’ day he would never have written that Psalm the way he did, for he would have realized that God hath dispensed with His wrath and bestowed grace and mercy on His people.

And there’s the operative word- His. Those of us who belong to Him through Jesus Christ are assured of His grace, but those outside of Christ are still exposed to His wrath. “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish but have everlasting life” (John 3:16). So that’s the key to escaping God’s wrath-accept Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior and you will not perish. God bless.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Falling Angels

I watched with sadness as the aging pastor pleaded guilty in a court of law to lying and other indiscretions. In recent times many negative stories about pastors have hit the media, sending shockwaves through the body of Christ. Why is all of this happening? As in everything, the word of God holds the answers.

"For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God; and if it first begin at us; what shall the end be of them that obey mot the gospel of God? And if the righteous scarely be saved, where shall the ungodly and the sinner appear?" (1 Peter 4:17-18).

Why is God judging His house?

"Let no man deceive you by any means; for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition;"(2 Thessalonians 2:3). That day refers to the coming of Christ in glory to receive His church. A church that is to be "holy and without blemish" Ephesians 5:27.

Is that what we are seeing in the body of Christ today? Are we showing the world the way to holiness, or are we simply bending over backwards to accommodate the world so we can have large congregations. Churches today are larger than they have ever been, yet sin and lawlessness still abound, and in some cases, emanate from the top.

What can the righteous do when we observe these things?

"But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation; Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy" (1 Peter 15-16). It does not matter what we see our leaders doing. We are called to be holy, because one day each of us has to give an account to God for the way we have lived our lives.

Also, we are to "forsake not the assembling of ourselves together" as the Bible has commanded us. Many people use what they see in the media as an excuse for not going to church, however we do need that Christian fellowship, as well as the covering of a godly pastor.

"A just man falleth seven times, and riseth up again ..." We have to remember that man will always disappoint us. There are many stories of men in the Bible who fell. Great men of God like David and Solomon succumbed to temptation. Even Peter, who walked with Jesus Christ, fell when he denied the Lord. But God forgave them, therefore we, too, must forgive and not be judgmental.

"Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted" (Galatians 6:1). I want to emphasize "in the spirit of meekness". Not in a holier than thou attitude, but meekly, lovingly, knowing that we, too, can be in the same position if we are not careful and seek God's presence daily.

So let's pray for our falling and fallen angels that God in His mercy will restore them to a position of grace. Let's pray for those who are standing firm that they may not fall. And let's pray for ourselves that we may remain faithful to God's call on our lives, so that when we stand before Him we may hear the words "Well done thou good and faithful servant" (Matthew 25:21).

Sunday, January 06, 2008

Let's do some gardening

There was a time when I used to be an avid gardener. I could hardly wait for spring to begin digging, planting and fertilizing. Now that I live in an area where the seasons are more distinct, I find myself not knowing what to plant and when to plant it. Therefore, whenever I go walking through my neighborhood I look at gardens in the hope of picking up some inspiration. Occasionally I see a garden that leaves me ogling with pleasure. Then I walk another block and I see another garden that makes me shake my head.

Two gardens. Two gardeners.

Which makes me think of Adam in the garden of Eden. God placed Adam, the first man, in the garden of Eden, and gave him charge over it to till and fertilize it and take care of the animals. However, Adam gave in to temptation, and as a result the perfect garden was messed up. Thorns and thistles grew up among the shrubbery, broken branches hung from the trees, dead leaves and stems remained unpruned. Chaos and neglect replaced order and caring.

Then along came Jesus.

God placed Him in a garden as well. The Garden of Gethsemane. Here, in a moment of agony, Jesus shed His blood through His sweat and began the task of restoring the damage that Adam had done. It was in the garden of Gethsemane that Jesus prayed,"O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt" (Matthew 26:39)KJV. Jesus didn't give in to the temptation of the flesh as Adam had done, but instead He gave his flesh willingly to be tortured and crucified.

What are you doing with your garden today? Have you given in to sin and temptation and allowed your garden to become untidy and neglected? Has the job become too overwhelming for you? Have you thrown up your hands in despair, or are you persevering in faith, pulling up those weeds, pruning those dead leaves and tilling the soil? If you are not, then you need to ask Jesus to come into your life. He will restore your garden and equip you with the necessary tools to keep your garden in good order. Why not ask Him today?