Tuesday, December 29, 2009

All Good Things Come From God

In reality, nothing I have is anything I actually earned; it all is granted from God.

He tells us not to worry about how we'll feed or clothe ourselves;

Matt 10:25 Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment?

26Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they?

27Which of you by taking thought can add one cubit unto his stature?

28And why take ye thought for raiment? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin:

29And yet I say unto you, That even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.

30Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which to day is, and to morrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith?

31Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed?

32(For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things.

33But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.

34Take 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.

And, He tells us how all good things come from Him:
James 1:17 Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.

Sometimes I get indignant when I hear how my neighbors talk about me. I respond with, "Well, if I'm so stupid, how did I manage to create Import Tractor Parts, and..." Blah, blah blah.

No, I'm a high school dropout, and pretty much hapless in all aspects of life. The Apostle Paul said it best: "...there is none that doeth good, no, not one". (Romans 3:12) That verse comes to mind any time my head tends to get fat on self-exaltation. It brings me down to earth and reality, and turns my mind back to humility and recognition of the grace of God.

God gave me the abilities I have. He gave me a background in farming, the interest in tractors, the mechanical and technical inclination, the entrapenuerial instinct, and the opportunity and resources to put these other abilities and qualities to work. I provided nothing of my own making except maybe the effort. All the 'good things' came from God. Without them, how could I have ever managed?

Maybe He gave me these abilities because He knew I'd have the gratitude to give the ultimate recognition and glory to Him. Who knows? Somehow, it is all part of His plan, and I'm just glad to be given the opportunity to acknowledge the gifts He gave me that make it all possible.

Thank you, Lord Jesus - all good things come from You! Praise God!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

The Wisdom of Animals

Y'know, I can never think of the Nativity scene without thinking about how every animal in that blessed stable HAD to be aware Who was laying in that manger. How am I so sure they knew Who the Babe was? I'll give you the one glaringly apparent Biblical example I know of:

Numbers 22:20 And God came unto Balaam at night, and said unto him, If the men come to call thee, rise up, and go with them; but yet the word which I shall say unto thee, that shalt thou do.

Numbers 21 And Balaam rose up in the morning, and saddled his ass, and went with the princes of Moab.

22And God's anger was kindled because he went: and the angel of the LORD stood in the way for an adversary against him. Now he was riding upon his ass, and his two servants were with him.

23And the ass saw the angel of the LORD standing in the way, and his sword drawn in his hand: and the ass turned aside out of the way, and went into the field: and Balaam smote the ass, to turn her into the way.

24But the angel of the LORD stood in a path of the vineyards, a wall being on this side, and a wall on that side.

25And when the ass saw the angel of the LORD, she thrust herself unto the wall, and crushed Balaam's foot against the wall: and he smote her again.

26And the angel of the LORD went further, and stood in a narrow place, where was no way to turn either to the right hand or to the left.

27And when the ass saw the angel of the LORD, she fell down under Balaam: and Balaam's anger was kindled, and he smote the ass with a staff.

28And the LORD opened the mouth of the ass, and she said unto Balaam, What have I done unto thee, that thou hast smitten me these three times?

29And Balaam said unto the ass, Because thou hast mocked me: I would there were a sword in mine hand, for now would I kill thee.

30And the ass said unto Balaam, Am not I thine ass, upon which thou hast ridden ever since I was thine unto this day? was I ever wont to do so unto thee? and he said, Nay.

31Then the LORD opened the eyes of Balaam, and he saw the angel of the LORD standing in the way, and his sword drawn in his hand: and he bowed down his head, and fell flat on his face.

Now look at that example: even though the Angel of the Lord was INVISIBLE to Balaam, his donkey SAW, and was either afraid or trying to protect Balaam from harm. Either way, the DONKEY saw and recognised the Angel, where the MAN did not. Three times the donkey saw where the man did not! Animals aren't stupid, you know. Now, that was only an Angel; what about the perfect Son of God Himself? I am convinced every single animal in the stable that blessed night knew the Gift to the world their eyes were beholding... right down to the mice in the walls.

Think of the way a dog responds to his master's voice; then consider John 10:27 My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: Yes, the 'sheep' here are the Lord's people, but the response is the same--alert, and immediately gladly obedient. All domesticated animals have a level of this obedience within them. A horse, a pony, or a donkey, letting their charge ride, or carrying burdens; a cow, standing and allowing herself to be milked, an ox, plodding along hour after hour, pulling a heavy burden; an elephant, acting as nature's all-terrain forklift, logging in the jungle... the list goes on. And wilder animals can be domesticated and show the same loyalty to their master; for instance you can't get a more loyal and fierce watchdog than a wolf.

Animals recognise and respond to their master's voice (think of the old RCA ad) the same way we, as mankind SHOULD recognise and respond to OUR Master's voice.

Yes, the animals in the Nativity scene knew Who was laying there in the manger--the holy, infant Son of God Himself, come to save the world, even if humanity by and large YET doesn't know. By their humility, they shrugged off ignorance.

If only all of mankind were so wise and so seeing and so obedient as animals, instead of so foolish and so blind and so defiant!

Thank you, Lord Jesus, for coming to save mankind from our 'wisdom' and 'enlightenment' and 'liberty'!


Tuesday, December 22, 2009

How to Avoid the Tempest to Come

Last night I had a bad dream. I was in unfamiliar farmland somewhere, touring around looking at the sights to see. The weather was bad, but I didn't pay it heed. I was on a high plain, and, although I should have, I didn't notice the clouds closing in, darkening the sky, and the wind picking up. The other people that were with me, must have sensed what was happening, and, rather than warn me and take me with them, they just left me there.

Things got bad; I... mean... BAD. Among other debris, there were even entire machine sheds flying through the air, and one of them crashed into the ground very close by. I had no shelter. There was no place to hide. A violent tornado was tearing up the plain, and getting closer, and I had no options whatsoever for self preservation. With the debris crashing into the ground around me like meteorites, I didn't have to wait for the main event to get killed--it was just a matter of time.

Crouching there with my hands over my head in a vain effort to protect myself, with no options available to me, I was suddenly aware of a horse sidling up to me. Yes, in that chaos, a horse. It was a big chestnut mare, with no saddle or reins. She shielded me with her body, and seemed to want me to climb aboard. I'd never ridden a pony with a saddle much less a big horse bareback, so that seemed impossible. I didn't even know how to get on! Incredibly, she kneeled down, so I could get on easier. I quickly oafed my way onto her back, and leaned forward against her neck and she stood up. I wrapped my arms around her strong neck and whispered into her mane that I didn't know how to ride (as if she didn't know that by now!), and I felt reassurance from her telepathically. She started to run off out of the pending doom with me clinging to her, and she sensed every wrong in my balance and corrected for it. We came to a narrow ledge that was sloped, with, of all things, a sheet of roofing tin laying across it, soaking wet from the now driving rain. I thought, "There's no way she can maintain her footing across that!", but she did, and nimbly. In short order, she brought me outside the limits of the tempest, and into calm. When she had delivered me to complete safety, she stopped, and once again very considerately kneeled down so I could get off safely. I hugged her neck and petted her and thanked her profusely for saving my life.

I woke up shortly thereafter. I lay there thinking about this powerfully symbolic dream.

I was myself, of course, but mankind also. The storm and tornado was the end of the world, and Hell. The horse was the Lord. "But a mare; a female?", you ask? Yes, a female, to symbolize the Lord's compassion upon the lost and needy.

I had NO options to save myself--I was as good as dead; The Lord said, "I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me". (John 14:6)

The horse correcting all of my imbalance could be seen as the Lord forgiving me of all of my sins for turning to Him; "...Son, be of good cheer; thy sins be forgiven thee".(Matt 9:2)

The narrow, sloped ledge represented the Valley of Death, and "...narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it." (Matt 7:14)

Being delivered out of certain destruction, was being saved by the Lord, by believing in Him (me clinging for dear life to the horse's
neck) "He that believes on him is not condemned: but he that believes not is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God." (John 3:18)

There's only one option available to anyone who wants to live forever, and that is to ask the Lord Jesus to save you. Nothing and nobody else can do this for you. Heaven awaits, but you can't earn your way in, you can't sneak your way in, you can't buy your way in, you can't bargain your way in, you can't bribe your way in, you can't break or force your way in--there is NO way into Heaven and everlasting life than through the Lord, as stated above in John 14:6

Take the opportunity today, and go to http://www.av1611.org/getsaved.html and follow the super-simple steps, and your place in Heaven with the Lord will be reserved for all time for you! "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 and 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)

There you have it--a promise from the Son of God Himself of your permanent reservation in Heaven, just for asking Him to save you! Praise God!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Merry Christmas, Charlie Brown

What does Christmas mean to me? It means the birth of our Lord on the earth. It doesn't mean Santa Claus, it doesn't mean Rudolph, it doesn't mean the North Pole, it doesn't mean getting presents, none of that. I do nothing to reinforce fables. I don't like the Santa Claus thing because it shifts the focus of the real meaning of Christmas. If Santa was portrayed as saying that he's only a symbol of Christmas, but Jesus is the reason for the season, I'd be more on board with the concept, but he doesn't, so I'm not. I don't want to be the 'Grinch that stole Christmas' by any means, mind you--I just want the focus to return to Whom it rightfully belongs!

You know what Christmas TV Special I admire? 'A Charlie Brown Christmas'. Charles M. Schultz, the creator of the Peanuts strip, had the guts to go up against the liberals running CBS, and he managed to get his way. He stated in his argument for the special, "If we don't tell the true meaning of Christmas, who will?" He showed his Christianity and wisdom in his argument. In the special, Linus quoted the King James version of Luke, Chapter 2:

"'8And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. 9And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. 10And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. 11For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. 12And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger. 13And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, 14Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.'"

THAT is the true meaning of Christmas, right there!

'A Charlie Brown Christmas' was a hit. The half-hour special first aired on Thursday, December 9, 1965, and has become a Christmas TV staple ever since. The resonant chrystal purity and innocence of Linus's recital still chokes me up today.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

It's CHRISTmas, man!

It never fails to irk me how the celebration of our Lord's physical entry into the world has suffered due to 'political correctness'; that is, the agonizingly ridiculous effort not to offend anybody. Well, as a Christian, I find such greetings as 'Happy Holidays', and 'Season's Greetings' offensive! It's CHRISTmas, man, and it's named that because it's the celebration of the birth of our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ!

I enjoy CHRISTmas trees, CHRISTmas decorations, CHRISTmas cake, CHRISTmas pudding, CHRISTmas presents, and CHRISTmas spirit. If you want to put a (momentary) damper on my CHRISTmas cheer, just salute me with, "Happy Holidays", or "Season's Greetings", because I find that offensive, and derogatory.

Don't be afraid of offending someone with the Truth this CHRISTmas season--greet them with a hearty, "Merry CHRISTmas!", and you'll not only be refusing to take part in the denial of the Lord in our lives, but you'll be spreading and re-inforcing the Word, and that carries Heavenly reward.

Jesus is Lord. CHRISTmas is about Him. It's not called CHRISTmas for nothing!

If you, in turn, are offended by this post, then you are missing the core message of John 3:16. Read it and hopefully a spiritual seed and awakening will take root in your life.