Wednesday, July 28, 2010
In the midst of the worst trials of life there is hope and refreshing in reading about the birth of Christ. The Gospel of Luke contains my favorite account of this. This account tells of the conception and birth of John the Baptist who was filled with the Holy Spirit from his birth. John was born to Elizabeth and Zachariah. And this was when they had no hope for children because they were in their old age. Yet, against all hope Elizabeth conceived and gave birth to a son who would be the forerunner to Jesus Christ. Luke records Elizabeth's song which is a song of joy. Then, later, Zachariah's song.
But Mary, the mother of Jesus, also had a song of her own, rejoicing that she would be the mother of her Savior.
When I was dealing with a very heavy burden today, I read this account of the conception and birth of Christ. In this account I found hope and peace. I was reminded once again that no matter how badly I have screwed things up and how badly I hurt, that a Savior was born for me, and that I can bow at the cross and find cleansing and relief. So even in my darkest moments I can find a song to sing.
Saturday, July 17, 2010
I remember getting a pretty package for my birthday when I was a child. It sat on our kitchen counter for a couple of days prior to my birthday, and I wondered all the time what was in the package. I so hoped it was something I wanted. My mind wandered thinking about the good things it could be. I asked my mother what was in it. She said that I would have to find out when I opened it. In reality, I had no idea what was in the package.
With the health care bill that was passed earlier this year, Nancy Pelosy said that we would have to pass the bill, then find out what is in it later. That seems kind of reckless, but it did pass and we as Americans are stuck with it and we will find out what it in it as time goes on. What we do know is in it is more government spending and taxation.
Now we are faced with the same situation with the finance reform bill. Gibbs told us that we need this and we should pass it an find out what is in it later. Once again it was passed and we will definitely find out.
It seems to me that we have a bunch of blind men leading our nation as of late. If you and I operated the way Congress does we'd go bankrupt in no time. Oh, wait! I think this is exactly what is happening to our government. Our leaders are leading us into bankruptcy. We just blindly follow so long as we think there is something in it for us. And there is.... hard times. Harder times than we have had.
But once hard times come, The President, Congress, and the Senate will absolve themselves of all responsibility and will somehow blame it on the banks, or the insurance companies once again. I, for one, no longer trust the president, or congress to make decisions that are best for me or for my country. They have proven themselves as a bunch of charlatans, serving only themselves.
They want you to drive a Prius while they ride in a limo. They want to restrict your healthcare, but not their own. Your retirement fund decays and disappears while their government pension is guaranteed. You get the picture.
They want businesses to hire while making it harder to do so. An example of this is that if I hire someone I must pay half of his social security. But at the same time I must pay all of my own. So for two people I must pay the bill for one and a half. Therefore, why should I hire? We penalize those providing the jobs then wonder why they don't create jobs.
What's in this new financial bill. Once we know, we won't like it. But we will definitely find out as it unravels.
Tuesday, July 13, 2010
In Mark 13 Jesus' disciples were concerned about when the end would take place. Jesus did not give them a direct answer because, as He said, "the angels of heaven, not even the Son of man knows the exact time." But he gave then signs of the end.
The beginning signs included: false prophets and false christs arising. Let's not mistake these as the modern day evangelists that have fallen. As far as I know, none of the claimed to be Christ, and their message was not false.... they simply failed. The false prophets will be those who present another way that contradicts God's word and the false christs will be those who actually claim to be the way. At any rate, they are deceivers. They entice men to go the wrong way, which seals their doom because they believe a lie.
Also, in the beginning nation will rise against nation, kingdom against kingdom, and there will be wars and rumors of wars. This has been happening throughout the history of man.
Then there will be earthquakes and famines. These have also been with mankind for a long time.
Then Jesus changed things up to issues that will be very close to His coming. This includes persecution for the gospel, betrayal of children and parents, and being arrested. This, of course has been happening since Jesus first came on the scene. But as of late there has also been a renewed trend of persecution against Christians. In many nations you can be arrested and imprisoned for being a Christians, and in some cases put to death. I know of not other religion that bears this consequence. In the last 5 or 6 decades we have seen a shifting away from Christianity in the United States. It seems to be politically correct to view Christians as bad people, but not muslims. More persecution is on the way.
Then immediately before the end time the sun will be darkened, the moon will not give it's light, and the stars shall fall from heaven. I don't know exactly what all that means. I do know that without the sun the planet would be frozen. I tend to believe that with wars, volcanic activity, other pollution it may cause the sun to become a haze, the light of the moon and the stars may not be able to be seen. The earth will be in political chaos as wars are being fought. It is in this atmosphere that the "Son of man will come in His glory." At that time He will gather His own together. After that, God's judgement will fall on the earth.
Friday, July 9, 2010
In Mark 11:12-14 Jesus cursed a fig tree. He was on His way out of town, was hungry, saw a fig tree, and went to the tree for fruit. There was no fruit.... only leaves. He said, "may no one ever eat fruit from you again." The next day as they walked past the same tree, they saw that it was withered from the roots up.
The lesson is, Jesus expects everything to bear fruit after it's own kind. A peach tree should bear peaches, a tomato plant should bear tomatoes, cattle should bear cattle, and so forth. This also applies to Christians. As Christians we should bear fruit. 1 Corinthians 13 tells us what kind of fruit. Bearing fruit makes the Christian life interesting, worth while, and profitable for both us and the kingdom of God.
Each of us should ask ourselves what kind of fruit we will be bearing today. Bearing the fruit of the Spirit will cause us to be happy and prosper. Bearing no fruit at all will cause our souls to wither.