Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Holiday Break

It's been a crazy year. I started a business, WRITECOVERY, INC. Another took off like gangbusters, FIVERR and SUCCEED AT WRITING and I suddenly became a popular speaker a writers' groups and conferences.  This coming year is no different, and we haven't even started it yet. I'm scheduled for a journaling panel, and two speaking engagements before the winter is officially over.

All of which pales in comparison to the myriad of personal issues I've faced this year. The least of which I'm going through right now. ECT treatments.  Towards the end of this year I had a serious bout of depression triggered by events out of my control. These events caused a "perfect storm" of depressive symptoms that triggered a depressive episode so bad that I required ECT treatments. I had ECT treatments back in Spring 2013.  I wrote about them again later.

I hope you take the time to review my old blogs about ECT. There is a lot of helpful information.

So far, I'm only scheduled through the end of the year. I don't know what will happen after that. I don't know if I'll continue with treatments or be released. It's just a matter of whether or not the doctor thinks I'm making progress.

I do know I'll be stronger and healthier, because I'm taking care of myself.

I have a lot of close friends who are helping me do just that as well.

Right now, the motto is "one day at a time."

I wish you a very blessed and merry Christmas and splendid New Year.


Choose JOY!

Friday, December 19, 2014

The Birth of the Son of God

The angel Gabriel was sent by God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph... The angel said ‘Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bring forth a Son…’ 
Then Mary said to the angel, ‘How can this be, since I do not know a man?’  

And the angel answered ‘The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and…the Holy One who is to be born will be called the Son of God..’    Luke 1:26-35

The Book of Luke gives us the best and most unique perspective of Jesus' story. Luke was a Gentile, a physician and the first historian of the early church. 
As a medical doctor, Luke knew the importance of being thorough. He used his skills in observation and analysis in thoroughly investigating the stories of Jesus. His diagnosis? The gospel of Jesus Christ is True! 
You can read Luke's account of Jesus' life with confidence that it was written y a clear thinker and a thoughtful researcher. Because the gospel is founded on historical truth, our spiritual growth must involve careful, disciplined and thorough investigation of God's Word so that we can understand how God has acted in history, if this kind of study is not part of your life, then find a pastor, teacher, preacher, or even a book to help you get started and to guide you in this important part of Christian growth.

Every birth is a miracle, and every child is a gift from God. But nearly 20 centuries ago, the miracle of miracles occurred. A baby was born, but he was the Son of God. 
The Gospels tell of this birth, but Dr. Luke, as though he were the attending physician, provides most of the details surrounding this awesome occasion. With a divine Father and a human mother, Jesus entered history -- God in the flesh.
Mary was young, poor, female -- all characteristics that to the people of her day, would make her seem unusable by God for any major task. But God chose Mary for one of the most important acts of obedience he has ever demanded of anyone. You may feel that your ability, experience, or education makes you an unlikely candidate for God's service. Don't limit God's choices. He can use you if you trust him.
God's favor does not automatically bring instant success or fame. His blessing on Mary, the honor of being the mother of the Messiah, would lead to much pain, her peers would ridicule her; her fiancĂ© would come close to leaving her, her sone would be rejected and murdered. But through her son would come the world's only hope, and this is why Mary has been praised by countless generations as the young girl who "found favor with God." Her submission was part of God's plan to bring about our salvation. If sorrow weighs you down and dims your hope, think of Mary and wait patiently for God to finish working out His plan.
So why is the Virgin Birth so important?
Jesus was born without the sin that entered the world through Adam. He was born holy, just as Adam was created sinless. In contrast to Adam, who disobeyed God, Jesus obeyed God and was tis able to face sin's consequences in our place and make us acceptable to God (Romans 5: 14-19) Jesus Christ, God's Son, had to be free fro the sinful nature passed on to all other human beings by Adam. Because Jesus was born of a woman, he was a human being; but as the Son of God, Jesus was born without any trace of human sin. Jesus is both fully human and fully divine. Because Jesus lived as a man, human beings know that he fully understands their experiences and struggles (Hebrews 4:15-16) Because he is God, he has the power and authority to deliver people from sin (Colossians 2:13-15). People can tell Jesus all their thoughts, feelings, and needs. He has been where they are, and he as the ability to help.

Blessings to all and have a Merry Christmas!

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Is It Ever Okay to Lie?

In Sunday School last week, we had an extremely spirited debate regarding the question, "Is it okay to lie?"

People on all sides of the pews, me included, cited verse after verse, where God spoke of His law (Commandments) of not giving false testimony against our neighbor.

So, what does that mean?

Giving false testimony means lying in court. God knew that Israel could not survive unless its system of justice was incorruptible. However, we should be honest in our private dealings as well as our public statements. Whenever we "give false testimony," by leaving something out of our story, or telling a half-truth, twisting the facts, or inventing a falsehood, we're telling a lie.

God warns us against deception. Even though deception is a way of life for many people, God's people must not give in to it.

So, how do we explain all the lying that went on in the Biblical times? Were the lies "justified" in some way?

In Genesis 12:11-20 Abram passes off his wife, Sarah, as his sister, in fear of being killed for her beauty. Were his actions justified? Did he have other options? In all things we must trust God and do what is right even if the consequences appear unfavorable.

Abraham again lies about Sarah in Genesis 20:2. Does this man never learn? Apparently not, because he lies to his son, Isaac, when he tells him that God will provide the sacrifice of a lamb for the burnt offering in Genesis 22:8. However, it's actually up to you to believe if Abraham had faith in God that He would actually provide the sacrifice or if he was lying.

Do you know the old adage, "like father, like son?" Well, Isaac follows in his father's footsteps and lies about his wife, Rebekah as well, in Genesis 26: 26:7 for fear that he would be punished for her beauty. Once again he lacks the same faith that his father displayed in God's protection.

Another Genesis event is when Jacob might have lied to Esau in 33:13-17. It does leave it open for some interpretation. Here is what I'm thinking. We don't really know if Jacob met Esau in Seir. He may have simply had a change of plans once he settled in Sukkoth. It was clear he didn't want to travel with Esau. He did fear Esau's violent mood swings and might not want have risked traveling with him, or maybe he sensed Esau only offered to travel with him out of obligation. The Bible doesn't actually record any deceit by Esau when the brothers later bury their father.

Our next venture into lying comes from Exodus as we meet the midwives in 1:17-19. They've lied and disobeyed the king. However as I see it, the Bible neither approves nor condemns the midwives' lie; it only records what they did. God does use wicked kings and sinful people to further His plan without approving their behavior. As for the midwives, their faith and courage is more significant than their dishonesty, and through them God brought deliverance for His people.

To emphasize, God honored the midwives because they feared Him more than they feared Pharaoh, not because they lied.

Now we come to a question of whether or not God was being deception in Exodus 3:18 when He used Moses to counter the Pharaoh regarding a three-day trip. in 5:3, God later forced His hand and demonstrated his power, he did let Pharaoh choose his course of action.

In Joshua 2:4-5, Rahab lies to protect Joshua's spies and God blesses her! Why? Basically for the same reason as the midwives. God blessed Rahab for acting on her faith by hiding the spies and then sending then away safely. She confessed that she believed in Israel's God and she was commended for her faith and her faithful works.

David's friend and Saul's son Jonathan isn't immune to lies either. in 1 Samuel 20:28-29, Jonathan lies when he answers Saul's question as to why David hadn't been to the most recent meals. Were Jonathan's lies justified? David and Jonathan thought their ruse would reveal Saul's true intentions. Of course, they were right. Saul wanted David dead. The outcome of the deception, however, did not justify the lie. This episode reminds us of our fallen world and our compromised and fallen choices.

Here's an interesting dilemma for you to ponder. Why did David lie to the priest in 1 Samuel 21:2? When Ahimelek, the priest asked David, "Why are you alone? Why is no one with you?" Why did David lie? Two factors may have influenced David's decision to deceive Ahimelek: 1) David's life was on the link,k an he may have felt justified in resorting to deception to save his life. 2) David may have been trying to protect the priest from any accusation of involvement in David's escape from Saul. David's desire to preserve human life, that of another, if not his own, took precedence over telling the truth.

It's interesting to note that Jesus later cited the incident of David's request for bread to illustrate the principle that human need takes priority over ceremonial law. (Luke 6:3-4)

Once again. we find David in a lie, this time attempting to outwit the naive King Achish. 1 Samuel 27:8-10 shows us that David was still able to defeat Israel's enemies, establish a base for future operations and increase his prosperity. What was important here? The future of God's people and the survival of the kingdom.

in 1 Kings 13:18 we find an old prophet caught in a lie. In Biblical times, to defy a prophet was to defy God, Himself. Ignoring a prophet only made sense if the king believed the prophet to be insincere, uninformed or mistaken. How could the king know the prophet was telling the truth or lying? Usually through trial and error. The king would watch the prophet and see how righteous they were and if they had integrity.

In this old prophet's case, he was lying to the man of God. Not only was he lying to the man of God, but the man of God paid for the consequences of listening and trusting those lies. What was the consequence? Death.

The message here is to trust what God's Word says rather than what someone claims is true. And disregard what others claim to be messages from God if their words contradict the Bible.

In 1 Kings 20:20-22 some might say that God was lying. Would you? God allowed 400 prophets to prophesy falsehoods; he didn't force them. He used them just as he sometimes used heathen nations to punish Israel (Hab 1:2-11). However, take note that Micaiah denounces the false prophets in verse 23. God didn't trick Ahab, he offered him a choice - believe a lie or believe the truth.

So, this brings up an interesting question: Why would God use a lie to accomplish His purposes?
Not exactly. God used the seductive influence of false prophets to judge Ahab. They were determined to tell Ahab what he wanted to hear. God confirmed their plans to lie as a means to remove Ahab from the throne. These prophets, supported by Ahab, snared him in his sin. Because he listened to them instead of God, he was killed in battle. The lying spirit is a picture of the prophets' entire way of life - telling the king only what he wanted to hear, not what he needed to hear. Leaders only find trouble if they surround themselves with advisors whose only thought is to please themselves.

In 2 Chronicles 18:22 God gave Ahab the choice between believing a lie and believing the truth. If he'd been open to the truth, he would have recognized the false prophets were echoing his personal desires. In the final analysis, God did not deceive Ahab.

Did Elisha tell Hazael to lie in 2 Kings 8:10? Actually, Elisha truthfully stated that the king would not die of his present illness.  Presumably, the kind would have recovered had the illness had been allowed to run its course. Assassination, not illness, caused the king's death.

So, is it okay to lie to get rid of evil as Jehu did in 2 Kings 10:18-19? Jehu's ultimate goal was right: to remove Baal worship from the land. Even killing the Baal worshipers was justified; since idolatry was punishable by death under the Law of Moses I (Dt 17:2-6). However, Jehu's deceitful tactics (pretending to worship Baal in order to kill the prophets who came at his invitation) were unethical.

In Psalms 64:8 David speaks about how harmful words can be. They can be extremely harmful. Words can cause emotional damage that impacts a person's entire life. The more prominent a person's position is - and as king, David was very prominent - the more criticism they will receive. David struggled with detractors throughout his career, so it's difficult to link this psalm to any specific time or incident. Perhaps the most harmful words can from his own son, Absalom (2 Samuel 15:1-6). Eventually, those words forced David to flee for his life. (2 Samuel 15:13-14).

The words spoken against us are among the most painful attacks we may have to face. If we trust in God, these attacks will not hurt us.

I'll leave you with this, and you can ponder yourself, in the privacy of your own thoughts if it's ever okay to lie. From Proverbs 26:24-28

Enemies disguise themselves with their lips,
but in their hearts they harbor deceit.
Thought their speech is charming, do not believe them,
for seven abominations fill their hearts.
Their malice may be concealed by deception,
but their wickedness will be exposed in the assembly
Whoever digs a pill will fall into it,
if someone rolls a stone, it will roll back on them.
A lying tongue hates those it hurts,
and a flattering mouth works ruins.

This proverb means that people with hate in their hearts may sound pleasant enough; don't believe what they say.

So, I ask you, in your heart of hearts, is it ever okay to lie?

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Monday, November 03, 2014

Spirituality Makes Your Life Meaningful - Guest Post

We as species definitely hunger for meaning. Ever since the dawn of history, humans have been spiritually inclined. Even our Neanderthal cousins performed burial rituals. Spiritually in its various forms has been able to give tremendous significance to human life, and, in many cases, it has molded us into better people. To get a better picture, let us take a look at some examples below.

Spirituality nudges us to help our fellow men
Mother Teresa found inspiration in spirituality to dedicate her life to serving the poor. Spiritually forces us to look beyond ourselves to consider the needs and predicament of others. In many cases, it can leads to altruism and selflessness. Life on this planet wouldn't be interesting if we were just left alone without anyone else, and it would be living hell if we only considered ourselves at the expense of others. Spirituality has influenced people to perform great acts of kindness, oppose evil, and improve life on Earth. For example, hospitals were invented by deeply spiritual humans who thought they had a "calling" to do something about human sickness. Slavery in the Americas was also abolished by deeply spiritual humans.

The fear of death is diminished
The average human life lasts about 72 years. People in their relatively short lifespan make a great number of friends and get close with their family only to witness their inevitable death. Many spiritual people believe that this life is not the end of the story; instead, there's something beyond it. According to them, we are going to meet our deceased grandparents again: They aren't lost forever but actually continue to live on in a different way. This gives them the hope that they will be someday reunited with their loved ones and that natural death shouldn't be something to fear.

Better overall health is sometimes possible
For example, many people have defeated harmful addictions and psychological conditions by turning to spirituality. A large number of groups focused around spirituality have been formed to offer support to those who struggle with the previously mentioned conditions.

When the going gets tough, spirituality gives us comfort
Life is sometimes tough. We lose a job, get hurt by others, have our property destroyed by natural disasters, etc. Suffering is part of the human experience. Spirituality gives us comfort in these situations. With a spiritual mindset, many find meaning in their suffering. They see it as an opportunity for growth, perhaps a preparation for something that awaits us in the hereafter or later earthly stages.

It provides us with a mentor
Many spiritual people find inspiration in others who came before them. Christians seek to imitate Jesus. Muslims want to be more like Muhammad in their approach to life. Among Buddhists, Buddha is seen as a perfect model for humans to emulate. Spiritual people can sharply disagree on what constitutes an ideal spiritual lifestyle, but almost all agree that we shouldn't be harmful to each other for no reason, and they tend to keep that ethic.

Spirituality connects people
It gives us a community with which we can share our experience and learn. In communities we grow as humans, challenge ourselves, as well as learn forgiveness and humbleness.

Author Bio: I am Zara Brown, I am a Blogger and Freelancer. I love reading blogs, and writing for them on various themes like Travel, Auto, Lifestyle, Education and Health. As of now I am doing research of EHIC cards.

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Monday, October 27, 2014

Do You Know the Significance of the Number 12 in the Bible?

Signs occur throughout the Bible. One of the greatest of all scriptures is in Luke 2:12 "This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in clothes and lying in a manger."

What a glorious sign that was for those shepherds that night.

But what about the number 12 and its significance in the Bible? Do you know how many times it is used and why?

1. In Genesis 35:22
...Jacob had twelve sons...

2. Genesis 49:28
All of these are the twelve tribes of Israel, and this is what their father said to them when he blessed them, giving each the blessing appropriate to him.

3. Matthew 10:1
Jesus called his twelve disciples to him and gave them authority to drive out impure spirits and to heal every disease and sickness.

4. Mark 3:14-16
He appointed twelve that they might be with him that he might send them out to preach and to have authority to drive out demons. These are the twelve he appointed: Simon (to whom he gave the name Peter) James son of Zebedee and his brother John (to them he gave the name Boanerges, which means "sons of thunder"), Andrew Philip, Bartholomew, Matthew, Thomas, James son of Alphaeus, Thaddaus, Simon the Zealot, and Judas Iscariot, who betrayed him.

5. Luke 8: 42
because his only daughter, a girl of about twelve, was dying

6. Luke 8: 43
And a woman was there who had been subject to bleeding for twelve years but no one could heal her

7. Luke 9:17
They all ate and were satisfied, and the disciples picked up twelve basketfuls of broken pieces that were left over.

8. Revelations 21:12
It had a great wall with twelve gates ...

9. Revelations 21:12
... and with twelve angels on the gates ...

10. Revelations 21:12
... On the gates were written the names of the twelve tribes of Israel.

11. Revelations 21:14
The wall of the city had twelve foundations ...

12. Revelations 21:14
...and on them were the names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb.

Twelve times the number twelve is mentioned in the Bible.

So, why did Jesus only choose twelve apostles or disciples? Why were there only twelve tribes of Israel?

Did Jesus choose these men because of their faith? No, their faith faltered many times. He didn't choose them because of any special talent or abilities. They had no more leadership capabilities than any other man at that time. Then what was it about them?

They all shared one quality. A willingness to obey Jesus. Being a good disciple is simply a matter of following Jesus with a willing heart. Do you have a willing heart? Could you drop all your possessions and follow Jesus at a moment's notice?

So, why the number twelve?

Twelve is both literal and symbolic. There were twelve tribes and twelve apostles, however the number twelve also symbolizes the fullness and completeness particularly when it refers to the relationship between God and His people.

So, next time you are thinking about how you can fulfill your duties for Christ, don't discredit yourself for what you lack, or think of qualities you don't have. Obedience to Jesus and a willing heart is all you need.

Can you think of any better reason?

Image Credit:
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Monday, October 20, 2014

Simon versus the Sinful Woman

One of the Pharisees asked him to eat with him, and he went into the Pharisee's house, and took his place at table. And behold, a woman of the city, who was a sinner, when she learned that he was at table in the Pharisee's house, brought an alabaster flask of ointment,  and standing behind him at his feet, weeping, she began to wet his feet with her tears, and wiped them with the hair of her head, and kissed his feet, and anointed them with the ointment. 
Now when the Pharisee who had invited him saw it, he said to himself, "If this man were a prophet, he would have known who and what sort of woman this is who is touching him, for she is a sinner." And Jesus answering said to him, "Simon, I have something to say to you." And he answered, "What is it, Teacher?"  "A certain creditor had two debtors; one owed five hundred denarii, and the other fifty. When they could not pay, he forgave them both. Now which of them will love him more?" Simon answered, "The one, I suppose, to whom he forgave more." And he said to him, "You have judged rightly." 
Then turning toward the woman he said to Simon, "Do you see this woman? I entered your house, you gave me no water for my feet, but she has wet my feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair. You gave me no kiss, but from the time I came in she has not ceased to kiss my feet.  You did not anoint my head with oil, but she has anointed my feet with ointment. Therefore I tell you, her sins, which are many, are forgiven, for she loved much; but he who is forgiven little, loves little."  And he said to her, "Your sins are forgiven." Then those who were at table with him began to say among themselves, "Who is this, who even forgives sins?" And he said to the woman, "Your faith has saved you; go in peace."   Luke 7:36-50

Simon had committed several social errors in neglecting to wash Jesus' feet (a courtesy extended to guests because sandaled feet got very dirty), anoint his head with oil, and offer him the kiss of greeting. Did Simon perhaps feel that he was too good for Jesus? Was he trying to give Jesus a subtle put-down? Whatever the case, the contrast is vivid. The sinful woman lavished tears, expensive perfume, and kisses on her Savior. In this story, is is the grateful prostitute, and not the religious leader, whose sins were forgiven. Although God's grace through faith is what saves us, and not acts of love or generosity, this woman's act demonstrated her true faith, and Jesus honored her.

Overflowing love is the natural response to forgiveness and  the appropriate consequence of faith. But only those who realize the depth of their sin can appreciate the complete forgiveness that God offers them. Jesus had rescued all of his followers, whether they were one extremely wicked or conventionally good, from eternal death. Do you appreciate the wideness of God's mercy? Are you grateful for his forgiveness?

The Pharisees believed that only God could forgive sins, so they wondered why this man, Jesus, was saying that the woman's sins were forgiven. They did not grasp the fact that Jesus was indeed God.

Contrary to popular opinion, God does not sit in heaven with His jaws clenched, His arms folded in disapproval, and a deep frown on His brow. He is not ticked off at His children for all the times we trip over our tiny feet and fall flat on our diapers. He is a loving Father, and we are precious in His sight, the delight of His heart. After all, He "has qualified us to share in the inheritance of the saints in light." (Colossians 1:12) Think of it: He's put us in His inheritance!
Remember that the next time God is coming down on you. You have reason to give thanks. You don't have to qualify yourself for His kingdom. His grace has rescued you. -- Rick Robertson, Pennsylvania- guest poster

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Monday, October 13, 2014

What are You Doing today to do the Work of God?

In John 6:28-29 it reads:

Then they asked Him, "What must we do to do the words God requires?"
Jesus answered, "The work of God is this: to believe in the one He has sent."

What are you doing today to do the work of God? Jesus tells us that the "work" of God is to believe. In the Chapter of John, at this time, Jesus was across the lake from Capernaum. The people had been searching for Him.

They asked this question only after they had their fill of the bread they'd eaten. Jesus told them "Do not work for food that spoils, but for food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you." (John 6:27)

So, I ask you, are you working for God? Are you believing?

What is believing?

Believing is something Jesus was urging the people to do. They were worried about the temporary things like food when they needed to invest their efforts in eternal matters.

Jesus wanted them to put their trust in God for who He was, not for the physical conveniences He could offer them.

Satisfying God does not come from the work WE do, but from WHOM we believe. The first step involves accepting that Jesus is who he claims to be. All spiritual development is built on this affirmation.

Still, to believe is more than to work, faith is a gift of God's grace, prompted by God's mysterious work within us.

Declare to Jesus, "You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God," (Matthew 16:16) and embark on a life of belief that is satisfying to your Creator.

I'll ask you again, What are you doing today to do the work of God?

Thursday, October 09, 2014

Local Law Firm Supports Teachers of Tampa Bay

The Fernandez Firm recently launched a Facebook Giving Campaign on behalf of the dedicated and hard working public school of teachers of Tampa Bay which you can find in this link:

At the Fernandez Firm, they firmly believe in Florida’s public education system and hope that you will join them in supporting the selfless Tampa Bay educators. For every “Like” they receive on their Facebook page, The Fernandez Firm will contribute $1.00 to local schools to help defray the cost of being a dedicated Tampa-area public school teacher.

August in Florida means the end of another hot summer and “back to school” for students and their families. For many Tampa Bay teachers, the start of the school year means that it is time, once again, to reach into their own pockets for the money needed to equip their classrooms. You may be surprised to learn that each year public school teachers spend, on average, $400 of their own money on school supplies necessary for their students.

At the Fernandez Firm, they  firmly believe in Florida’s public education system and hope that you will join them in supporting our selfless Tampa Bay educators. For every “Like” they  receive on their firm’s Facebook page, The Fernandez Firm will contribute $1.00 to local schools to help defray the cost of being a dedicated Tampa-area public school teacher. “When our students excel, we all benefit,” says attorney Frank F. Fernandez, III. “We consider it our obligation, as responsible members of the Tampa business community, to support public educators in every way possible and are excited to partner with our Facebook friends in doing so.”

Like them on Facebook today and help the Fernandez Firm show Tampa Bay teachers just how much they appreciate their hard-work and sacrifice.

I've already clicked and "liked"  the page, how about you?

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Monday, August 11, 2014

The Fear of the Lord

Imagine this scenario. You go to the doctor and he tells you that you have a terminal illness and you have only a short while to live.

What do you do?

You'd get a second opinion, right?

And, what do you when that doctor agrees with the first doctor?

You'd get a third opinion, right?

They all agree that at best, you have a year to live. They tell you there will be no effects of the illness until the very end when the disease has reached the end of its course.

When do you stop seeking opinions and live what's left of your life?

In the Handbook to Wisdom by Kenneth Boa he says this, "How would this scenario affect your vision of life, your roles on this earth, and the way you should invest your remaining time? The degree to which it would alter your remaining time? The degree to which it would alter your present perspective and practice is the distance between your current view of live and biblical view of life. The latter emphasizes the brevity of our earthly sojourn and stresses the urgency of investing our most precious asset, time, in a way that will have lasting consequences. The former view typically denies the imminence of death and, for all practical purposes, treats the temporal as though it were eternal."

"Lord, make me to know my end and what is the measure of my days; and what is the measure of my days; let me know how fleeting is my life." -- Psalms 39:4

"Teach me to number my days, that I may gain a heart of wisdom." -- Psalms 90:12

What would you do in this situation?

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Monday, August 04, 2014

Fruits of the Spirit

Do you know what the "Fruits of the Spirit" refer to in the Bible? It refers to the virtues produced in a Christian's life by the Holy Spirit.

Are we showing this cluster of fruit in our lives?

According to "What the Bible is all About" by Dr Henrietta C. Mears when it comes to Paul speaking to the Galatians, he's telling them about their own personal freedom from the law. Paul is very adamant about the Galatians holding firm to their personal liberties.

But, Paul makes very sure to tell his brother Galatians that they must use their freedom to indulge in a sinful nature, " You, my brothers, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the sinful nature, rather serve one another in love." Galatians 5:13


Serve one another in love.

He's telling us to "love your neighbor as yourself." Galatians 5:14 That's what the message is from God and Jesus Christ.  Use love!

In Galatians 5:15 Paul tells us that that we must not abuse our liberty. If we do so, we're going to end up fighting amongst ourselves and living among sin.  "If you keep on biting and devouring each other, watch or you will be destroyed by each other." If one goes, the rest will follow.

Paul tells the Galatians about all the seventeen evil works, that are sins of the mind as well as the body. "The acts of sinful nature are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity, and debauchery, idolatry and witchcraft, hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy, drunkenness, orgies, and the like.

Paul warns the Galatians that he used to do as they do, and that those who live like this will not inherit the Kingdom of God.

But, let the Holy Spirit rule your life.

"Children begin to walk by someone holding on to their hand. We begin our walk by the Spirit holding on to us." says Dr. Henrietta C. Mears.

So, this is what we are to do: Think of ourselves walking arm and arm with the Holy Spirit. "So I say, live by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature. For the sinful nature desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the sinful nature. They are in conflict with each other, so that you do not do what they want." Galatians 5:16-17

In contrast to the seventeen evil works, God gives us the nine-fold fruit of the Spirit. If we live and love Jesus Christ and live by God's word, then we will be free to bear fruit with God.

The nine graces are as follows:

Toward God: Love, Joy, Peace
Toward Others: Patience, Kindness, Goodness
Toward Myself: Faithfulness, Gentleness, Self-Control

"Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit." Galatians 5:25

I'll ask you again, Are you showing this cluster of fruit in your life?

Reference: What the Bible is all About by Dr. Henrietta C. Mears
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Monday, July 28, 2014

The Creation of Evolution - Guest Post

Was the universe and everything in it created in six days? 


Among the bible-based religions of the world, this is accepted as truth as a matter of faith.  For my fellow scientific minds of the world, a six day creation offends their intelligence.  A large portion of the general population sweepingly accepts modern-day scientific knowledge as proof that God does not exist.  A curious conclusion indeed, coming from those who are not scientific or spiritual.

I boldly propose they are all wrong.  God does exist, The Creation as depicted in Genesis is accurate, and science proves it.  Genesis was recorded in 1450 - 1410 B.C.  It had to be understood throughout the generations, which alone is miraculous.  The story had to be clear enough to be understood by our pre-scientific ancestors, and still hold true when tested by the rigors of our current scientific knowledge.  The contention between the religious and scientific communities is rooted in the six day creation concept.

But that is not what Genesis says.

Day one of The Creation is grossly misinterpreted; an interpretation ingrained so deeply in the collective sub-conscious, even those studying the Bible read it as a six day creation.

But that is not what Genesis says.

What is does say, precisely, is that the heavens and earth were created sometime before Day One.  Perhaps millions, billions or trillions of years before Day One, but the point is – it does not say they were created on Day One.

I will detail my hypothesis in the proceeding pages, showing how Genesis and Science are not at odds with each other, but in perfect harmony.  God is just a lot less verbose about it.

Chapter One:  The Beginning

Genesis 1 1-5:
1 In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.

2  The earth was formless and void, and darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was moving over the surface of the waters.

 3 Then God said, "Let there be light"; and there was light.

 4 God saw that the light was good; and God separated the light from the darkness.

5  God called the light day, and the darkness He called night.  And there was evening and there was morning, one day.

Genesis 1 1-5 tells us God created the heavens and earth, then He was moving over Earth, He allowed light, then separated light from darkness “In the beginning.”  Think carefully about this.  How can this be Day One of Creation, when “a day” didn’t even exist until God called the light “day” in verse 5?  One Day was not established as one day until His work of creating the heavens and earth, allowing light and then separating light from darkness occurred, which He plainly tells us took place “in the beginning.”   The last line of verse 5 “And there was evening and there was morning, one day” tells us one day must have an evening and a morning; neither of which exist at the point He was creating the heavens and earth.

What does science say about this?   According to NASA:

The Big Bang Model is a broadly accepted theory for the origin and evolution of our universe. Scientists believe our solar system formed from a giant, rotating cloud of gas and dust known as the solar nebula.  Most of the material in the solar nebula was pulled toward the center and formed the sun.  The rest of the material stuck together to form asteroid-sized objects called planetesimals. Some of these planetesimals then combined to become the nine large planets. 
Scientists theorize that Earth began as a waterless mass of rock surrounded by a cloud of gas. Radioactive materials in the rock and increasing pressure in Earth's interior produced enough heat to melt the interior of Earth. The heat of the interior caused other chemicals inside Earth to rise to the surface. Some of these chemicals formed water, and others became the gases of the atmosphere. The heavy materials, such as iron, sank. The light silicate rocks rose to Earth's surface and formed the earliest crust.
I am fascinated by the qualifiers used in these statements “scientists believe…”, “scientists theorize…”  In other words, scientists don’t know what happened.  Even more fascinating, their theories and beliefs are little more than science-speak for what was detailed in Genesis over 3500 years ago.  If scientists of today do not know what happened, surely the people that lived 3500 years ago had no possible way of knowing what happened – but guess who did, The Creator.  Moreover, God The Creator knew the exact words to choose that could be understood through thousands of generations with an ever-increasing understanding of the universe and our place in it.

Let’s examine each point line by line.

Genesis 1 1:  In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.

NASA:  The Big Bang Model is a broadly accepted theory for the origin and evolution of our universe.
The Big Bang Model blew the Bible right out of the ballgame.  How can The Creation in Genesis be true?  We now know a “big bang” originated the universe and all that is in it.  The Big Bang Model was the tipping point.  Armed with the Big Bang theory, people leaned toward science and away from God.  We didn’t need God anymore, we had science.  God must be some romantic notion people created to fill in the blanks.   Our science now fills in those blanks, which renders God obsolete.

Who fired that “big bang” gun, no one knows.   It seems painfully obvious to me.  The Big Bang Model does not negate God’s existence; it is nothing more than the point in time when God created the heavens and the earth.  Bang!  There is was.

Genesis 1 2:  The earth was formless and void, and darkness was over the surface of the deep…

NASA:  Scientists theorize that Earth began as a waterless mass of rock surrounded by a cloud of gas.
This is just different phrasing meaning the same thing.  Scientists describe Earth’s beginning as a waterless mass of rock.  God told us the Earth was formless and void.  A waterless mass of rock certainly is formless and void. 
Genesis 1 2:  The earth was formless and void, and darkness was over the surface of the deep…
NASA:  Scientists theorize that Earth began as a waterless mass of rock surrounded by a cloud of gas.

Scientists say the newborn Earth was surrounded by a cloud of gas.  Scientists disagree on what exactly that gas was comprised of; some “believe” the gas enveloping Earth contained hydrogen; helium, methane, and ammonia, where other scientists contend it contained a large amount of carbon dioxide.  They all agree Earth’s earliest atmosphere contained little oxygen.

No matter which side of the scientific fence you are on regarding the contents of those gases, the resulting soup would not allow sunlight to penetrate down to planet Earth itself.  Connect that with Astronomers believing that the sun was about 30 percent fainter when Earth first formed than it is today, and what do you get? 

Thick envelope of gas + faint sun = darkness over the surface of the deep.

Fascinating. In the 3500 years that have transpired between the recording of Genesis and today, our most brilliant minds with their most complex mathematical equations cannot offer their beloved “scientific proof.”  The best they can do is theorizing established beliefs about what may have happened.  They use lots and lots of fancy scientific words attempting to describe their theories, when God told us the same thing in just 15 simple words thousands of years ago.

Genesis 1 3 Then God said, "Let there be light"; and there was light.

NASA:  Most of the material in the solar nebula was pulled toward the center and formed the sun. According to the theory, the pressure at the center became great enough to trigger the nuclear reactions that power the sun. Eventually, solar eruptions occurred, producing a solar wind. In the inner solar system, the wind was so powerful that it swept away most of the lighter elements. 

Huh. Perhaps the theoretical ancient solar winds blew the thick envelope of gas away from planet earth, allowing sunlight to reach the surface.  Perhaps it is just spooky coincidence this occurred in the same sequence as presented in Genesis 1.  Scientists say the solar wind did it.  God said “Let there be light.”

To recap, the summary of events thus far have God and science in lockstep with each other:
Creating a Universe:  Sequence of Events
1st Event
2nd Event
3rd Event
4th Event
Create the heavens and earth
Earth is formless and void
Darkness is over the surface
Let there be light
Big Bang!
Earth is a waterless mass of rock
Earth is surrounded by a cloud of thick gas
Solar winds blew elements out of Earth’s atmosphere

In other words, there is nothing new under the sun.  Of our entire advanced, analytical, scientific prowess - we can’t produce an Origin of The Universe story that differs from The Creation story in Genesis.

By Brooke Jones, Contributor