Good Morning Joes and Janes;
I recently purchased several books and a DVD on preparedness. Some books were e-books and are on my computer while the others are sitting on my shelf. I believe they all have a lot of good information in them and I hope to share some with you in the months ahead. However if I don’t make the time to actually read them and put the knowledge they contain into action then they are useless. That is what today’s devotional in James is talking about.
22 Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.
23 Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like a man who looks at his face in a mirror
24 and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like.
The part about looking in the mirror reminds me of times I walk into a room to get something but then forget what I was after….but I think James has a different point. Sitting in church on Sunday morning, reading a passage of the Bible every day or watching a sermon on TV are all great things to do, but if you never actually take that message and change how you live your life; then really it is just a waste of time. Actually internalizing and putting into practice the Word of God is what changes our lives for the better.
Every morning at least we make a trip to the bathroom, look in the mirror and wash up, shave, brush our teeth and other activities, often not really seeing ourselves. Stopping to really look in the mirror can be a frightening experience! We can see lines that were not there before, wrinkles, blemishes we don’t envision in our minds eye of how we look. James says that listening to the word but not doing it is like looking in the mirror but then just forgetting what we really look like. Going out into the world with that mental image of ourselves, not the true image of what we are.
Self examination in the mirror can be hard. Self examination of our hearts can be even harder; but that is what is required to realize our need for God and our need for changes in our lives.
Have a great day in the Lord and don’t forget to really take a look in the mirror next time you get a chance.
Happy 4th of July Regular Joes and Janes!
I wish each of you a happy and safe 4th of July, Independence Day Celebration! I have just a few thoughts on this day to share with you. America is changing and changing quite rapidly. I don’t think many of the people that voted for “change” knew what kind of change they were voting for but there are people in power now who are pushing ahead at warp speed to bring the change that they planned.
Whether you are talking about America or any other nation in the history of the world, a nation is really only made of its people. A nation can be no better or worse than the majority of active participants in its body politic. When the everyday citizen becomes more interested in his or her entertainment, prosperity and happiness then on participating actively in government, then men of power will come in and take what they desire. When people of God do not bring His influence to their neighbors, towns and all parts of the society including the politics then evil will fill the vacuum. Edmund Burke’s famous quote below has been proved over and over again in world history.
“All that’s necessary for the forces of evil to win in the world is for enough good men to do nothing.” Edmund Burke
Read more at Brainy Quote
Do we have problems in Washington D.C.? Absolutely! But I believe that they are a symptom of a greater problem. Christians are more interested in living the good life, gaining possessions, and feeling good about themselves then serving their fellow man and all of the trouble that comes with that. Studies have shown that most Christians in America are statistically living about the same as unbelievers. Divorce rates, debt, and all other areas of measure show Christians are right in there with everyone else. We are supposed to be a light to the world, but if the world doesn’t see a difference in us what are they going to be attracted to?
There is an answer!
The problems we face today in America are not new. The nation of Israel turned from God time and again. In the time of Solomon the nation was strong and proud and had rebuilt the Temple. But God had not returned to the Temple because of their sin and rebellion. In fact God had shut up the skies, (drought), they lost battles, and fell into many sins and were afflicted. (2 Chronicles 6) But Solomon and all the people fell on their knees and asked God for forgiveness.
2 Chronicles 7: 12-22
12 the LORD appeared to him at night and said: “I have heard your prayer and have chosen this place for myself as a temple for sacrifices.
13 “When I shut up the heavens so that there is no rain, or command locusts to devour the land or send a plague among my people,
14 if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land.
15 Now my eyes will be open and my ears attentive to the prayers offered in this place.
16 I have chosen and consecrated this temple so that my Name may be there forever. My eyes and my heart will always be there.
17 “As for you, if you walk before me as David your father did, and do all I command, and observe my decrees and laws,
18 I will establish your royal throne, as I covenanted with David your father when I said, ‘You shall never fail to have a man to rule over Israel.’
Now I will be the first to say that these are specific promises to Solomon and the Nation of Israel. But, I also believe that they are a statement of ‘Natural Law’ created by God. Many are familiar with the above verses but the following verses are less familiar and a foreshadowing of a future time when the people will reject even Jesus Christ their redeemer.
19 “But if you turn away and forsake the decrees and commands I have given you and go off to serve other gods and worship them,
20 then I will uproot Israel from my land, which I have given them, and will reject this temple I have consecrated for my Name. I will make it a byword and an object of ridicule among all peoples.
21 And though this temple is now so imposing, all who pass by will be appalled and say, ‘Why has the LORD done such a thing to this land and to this temple?’
22 People will answer, ‘Because they have forsaken the LORD, the God of their fathers, who brought them out of Egypt, and have embraced other gods, worshiping and serving them–that is why he brought all this disaster on them.’ “
I close with some quotes by a more recent patriot and president much maligned by the main stream press, socialists and leftists; Ronald Reagan.
Above all, we must realize that no arsenal, or no weapon in the arsenals of the world, is so formidable as the will and moral courage of free men and women. It is a weapon our adversaries in today’s world do not have.
Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn’t pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same.
Government exists to protect us from each other. Where government has gone beyond its limits is in deciding to protect us from ourselves.
We are never defeated unless we give up on God.
Without God, democracy will not and cannot long endure.
If we lose freedom here, there is no place to escape to. This is the last stand on Earth
The struggle now going on for the world will never be decided by bombs or rockets, by armies or military might. The real crisis we face today is a spiritual one; at root, it is a test of moral will and faith.
RONALD REAGAN, speech for National Association of Evangelicals, March 8, 1983
- Nancy marks 8 yrs since Ronald’s death (cbsnews.com)
Good Morning Joes and Janes;
I have been working 12 hour days this week and finding it hard to get a devotional post written. Today I am sharing a post from The God Debates entitled A Cause. I hope you find it stimulating. This article looks at the existence of the Universe from an Atheistic viewpoint and then a Christian response. The beginning is below and clicking on ‘Read the rest here:’ will take you to the rest of the story.
Hope you have a great day
Please check out the new Weekly Quotation (link at the top)
An Atheist’s Proposition:
It is simple: a universe can, and most importantly will, create itself out of nothing; ex nihilo; end of statement. This fact is undisputable; and to question it would be to question arguably the greatest physicists of our time, Stephen Hawking: go on – I dare you.
So what of a cause? The answer: a notable absence of any God, be it Allah, Zeus or He himself. We have been told that a law such as gravity can create an entire universe with its billions of galaxies each with billions of stars from what is literally emptiness. We have a why, and we can even answer how it was created: all it took was a bit of probability to swing our way, and our reality became reality. The God of the Gaps argument is no longer even necessary, in my opinion there are no gaps.
Good Monday Morning:
Either the weatherman was wrong again or I am in a dream still. It is supposed to be sunny and warm today and tomorrow but looks totally overcast and 46 degrees. I hope the weather where you are at is more to your liking. I have a quote from Winston Churchill I thought you would enjoy.
“Courage is the first of human qualities because it is the quality which guarantees all the others.”
As the writer of Psalm 65 knew God is the Great Provider – The one who all praise is due.
1 Praise awaits you, O God, in Zion; to you our vows will be fulfilled.
2 O you who hear prayer, to you all men will come.
3 When we were overwhelmed by sins, you forgave our transgressions.
4 Blessed are those you choose and bring near to live in your courts! We are filled with the good things of your house, of your holy temple.
5 You answer us with awesome deeds of righteousness, O God our Savior, the hope of all the ends of the earth and of the farthest seas,
6 who formed the mountains by your power, having armed yourself with strength,
7 who stilled the roaring of the seas, the roaring of their waves, and the turmoil of the nations.
8 Those living far away fear your wonders; where morning dawns and evening fades you call forth songs of joy.
9 You care for the land and water it; you enrich it abundantly. The streams of God are filled with water to provide the people with grain, for so you have ordained it.
10 You drench its furrows and level its ridges; you soften it with showers and bless its crops.
11 You crown the year with your bounty, and your carts overflow with abundance.
12 The grasslands of the desert overflow; the hills are clothed with gladness.
13 The meadows are covered with flocks and the valleys are mantled with grain; they shout for joy and sing.
He created us, knew us before we were formed in the womb. When we were in rebellion to him, living in sin, he provided his Son Christ Jesus as a payment for our transgressions. God provides rain and sun, fruitful land and crops. We are so very blessed by our Creator; why am I complaining about a cloudy cool day? Thank you God for all you have provided and continue to provide. I am going to go to work making a joyful noise to the Lord! Heigh-Ho, Heigh-Ho, it’s off to work we go!
For those of you that haven’t heard that song by the Seven Dwarfs of Snow White in a while here’s your chance again.
- Winston Churchill: The Ultimate CEO (greatfinds.icrossing.com)
- Five things Winston Churchill can teach writers (billbennett.co.nz)
- WINSTON CHURCHILL, Harvard Minority. I had somehow forgotten that Winston Churchill’s grandmoth… (pjmedia.com)
Good Morning Joes and Janes;
Yesterday was cloudy and rainy, not only in the weather but also in events. The day before was sunny weather but full of storms in my life. Today it looks partly cloudy with the sun shining brightly on the snowy peaks of the Bitterroots out my window but I know it could be a stormy day in my personal life with many unknown challenges.
When things go bad in life, where is your hope? When storms arise and things look impossible to solve what do you hold onto. When the ocean rages and you are tossed about in the surf what rock do you reach for? Why do you hope that anything will get better?
The Merriam – Webster dictionary gives this definition of hope
Definition of HOPE
: to cherish a desire with anticipation <hopes for a promotion>
: to desire with expectation of obtainment
: to expect with confidence : trust
— hope against hope
: to hope without any basis for expecting fulfillment
Examples of HOPE
- No one knows yet if anyone survived the crash. At this point, we can only hope.
- I hope you’re feeling better soon.
- That’s what she hoped would happen.
- Let’s hope that the strike ends soon.
- I hope I haven’t bored you.
- Everyone in your family is well, I hope.
Every day we use hope in simple ways that we don’t take too seriously; kind of throwing the word around carelessly like an unimportant tool in our tool box or an old pair of boots that we no longer cherish. I hope you get feeling better, I hope you get what you want, hope your happy. But how often do we really think about what we are implying when we use the word?
I think many people are really using the first meaning, an intransitive verb, or hoping against hope; identified above in the dictionary definition as: to hope without any basis for expecting fulfillment. I hope you get feeling better…… I kind of expect you will be feeling better in a while, I would like you to feel better, …. but if you died it wouldn’t surprise me you look terrible!
When I ask where is our hope; I am talking about the transitive verb, to desire with expectation of obtainment or to expect with confidence : trust
This is the meaning in most of the 159 times the word hope is used in the NIV version of the Bible.
1 Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, 2 through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. 3 Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; 4 perseverance, character; and character, hope. 5 And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us. 6 You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. 7 Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous man, though for a good man someone might possibly dare to die. 8 But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. 9 Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God’s wrath through him! 10 For if, when we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life!
Because of our faith as described in Romans 5, we know through the confirmation in our hearts given by the Holy Spirit, that the things we are going through are all in God’s power and control. NOTHING happens that God does not have control over. I am not saying that nothing bad will happen! If you have been around this earth for very long you know that bad and terrible things happen. By the way; a short pet peeve rant by Regular Joe here: Don’t tell your kids or anyone for that matter “don’t worry nothing bad will happen” or “I won’t let anything bad happen to you”. You don’t have that much power! What will that do to the other persons faith and hope when the bad, terrible and ugly happen? God nowhere in the Bible tells us “don’t worry nothing bad will happen to you” or “I won’t let anything bad happen to you”; if God doesn’t make those kinds of promises I certainly don’t think we should be.
Back to hope. If our hope is in God who controls all things and has our very best interest in mind; who cares deeply for each of us and sent Jesus Christ to die for us, then we can be confident that what ever is happening in our lives has purpose, meaning and is for our good…..as hard as it is to understand at the moment. At times of extreme trial and tribulation, we need to look to see God’s hand at work. That is when we grow closer to God because we realize we can’t handle it on our own, even though every day should be lived that way.
If we have accepted Jesus Christ as personal Savior we can have hope. When trials and tribulations rage; we can bring them before the Lord in prayer and seek his peace and understanding of the events swirling around us. We can expect with confidence : trust, that God is in control, will give us peace and sometimes understanding of the situation and that ultimately everything that happens will be for our good.
I pray that you have that kind of hope today in your life and that when the storms of life come rushing in on you and your family that you have the Rock of God to hold fast to in the boiling surf of life.