Friday, December 19, 2014

Deja Vu Blogfest: My Thoughts about a Favorite Story



          D.L. Hammons has hosted the Deja Vu Blogfest for a couple of years now.  In this event bloggers have the opportunity to give a second chance to neglected posts that appeared over the previous year.  This is a time when we're also able to allow other bloggers who might be unfamiliar with what we do take a look at an example of our work.

           A Few Words is but one of four blogs that I publish.  I normally post on this blog on Sundays only unless there is a special reason for posting such as this blogfest or the Blogging from A to Z April Challenge.    This is my least visited blog, partly due the nature of its subject matter of spirituality and probably because I typically lead off with a Bible verse which I realize might be an immediate turn-off to some visitors.  It's what I do here and I can only hope that those who do manage to make their ways here might be open minded enough to just read through and consider what I have to offer.   For my look back I am offering a post from March 30th which deals with one of my favorite stories from the Bible. 

  Noah

       
The Rainbow set as the symbol of the Covenant ...
The Rainbow set as the symbol of the Covenant with Noah after the Great Flood of the Bible. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


He set the earth on its foundations;
    it can never be moved.
You covered it with the watery depths as with a garment;
    the waters stood above the mountains.
But at your rebuke the waters fled,
    at the sound of your thunder they took to flight;
they flowed over the mountains,
    they went down into the valleys,
    to the place you assigned for them.
You set a boundary they cannot cross;
    never again will they cover the earth.

Psalm 104:5-9

New International Version (NIV)

        The story of Noah is among my favorites in the Bible.   Like so many Bible stories, this account does not go into great detail about all that happened, but there is enough to not only have a clear picture of the event, but also to infer many other possibilities of the consequences of such a great flood.  A worldwide deluge would have catastrophic impact.

          Just thinking of the massive mudslide in the state of Washington recently, we can glean some idea of how forty days of rain would affect the world.   Waters high and deep enough to cover all of the mountains of Earth would cause significant erosion.  The shifting of land as waters receded would have a tumultuous effect upon the geological makeup of our planet.   We can only imagine, but we can probably also come to some pretty good conclusions.

         The epic Bible stories of the Old Testament can fuel some interesting speculation, but ultimately that is not the point of those stories.  For example, the story of Noah is about the faith of a man, the evil of the world, and obedience to God.  But the real story is what is still ultimately to come to this world.   Noah's story was amazing, but nothing like the story of Jesus.  

         We may be the modern version of Noah.   Or we may be like those lost in the flood.  Who do you want to be?


“But about that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.   As it was in the days of Noah, so it will be at the coming of the Son of Man.   For in the days before the flood, people were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, up to the day Noah entered the ark; and they knew nothing about what would happen until the flood came and took them all away. That is how it will be at the coming of the Son of Man."

Matthew 24:36-39

New International Version (NIV)


Sunday, November 16, 2014

Relax! Try Your Best to at Least

English: Long Ships lighthouse on a summer's d...
 Long Ships lighthouse on a summer's day A perfect place to get some peace and tranquillity. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


Cast your cares on the Lord
and he will sustain you;
he will never let
the righteous be shaken.

Psalm 55:22
New International Version (NIV)

        Telling oneself not to worry is the correct Biblical approach to the difficult times we face in our lives.  This is one of those things that is often much easier said than done.  Prayer works, but it can be work to stay focused on the prayers when life is putting you through the wringer.

         So much of the time we want to be in control.  Or we have expectations that others will fix the problems.   And maybe they will.  Often God works through others--healthcare professionals, auto mechanics, firemen, neighbors.  You know, the everyday people who keep the world around us going.  It can be difficult to have complete faith in people when situations seem impossible to fix.  Try faith in God, in prayer, and in the heavenly powers.   When all else seems to be failing, that kind of faith can provide not only the comfort we need, but the miracles we need.

          Getting torn with worry and twisted with stressful angst doesn't fix the problems we face, but it can hurt us as well as those around us.   Give those anxieties over to God.  He'll take care of the problems if that is his will, but more importantly He will take care of you.

          A little prayer never hurts.  A lot of prayer can help in big ways.   

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.   And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Philippians 4:6-7
New International Version (NIV)

Sunday, November 9, 2014

What Keeps You Energized?

High tension line in Montreal, Quebec, Canada
High tension line in Montreal, Quebec, Canada (Photo credit: Wikipedia)




When I asked for your help,
you answered my prayer
and gave me courage.

Psalm 138:3
Contemporary English Version (CEV)

         The other night while I was alone in the house, the power went out.  

          My wife had gone to visit her daughter for a few days leaving me on my own with some "bachelor" time.   On Friday evening I was prepared to have a relaxing evening of watching old movies on television and spending some catch up time on the computer.   I was all psyched up for my personal time as I prepared a small dinner to enjoy as I watched the tube.   Then the lights went out.

          Actually the lights didn't go completely out, but they were very dim.   The radio was still working fine, but every other appliance, the televisions, and my computers were all off.  It wasn't really a black-out, but there was a definite lack of energy.  I'd experienced black-outs before though nothing quite like this low power ebb.  Everything was out for about ninety minutes and then suddenly everything was back up and running like normal.

         Losing the energy like that made me feel a little helpless.  I had faith that the power company would tend to the problem and all would be well in short order.  As it turned out, this was the case.  What if the power outage had lasted longer, perhaps through the night and into the next day?   In the end I didn't have to find out what might have happened and that was fine with me.

          God is our spiritual power company.   He provides the energy, but it's up to us to know how to use it and keep the power coming in.  With faith that stays strong we can have a direct line from the source of all energy of the universe.  If we keep the prayer lines open to the Lord we will get the answers we need.  They may not come over a phone line or be as clear as any message that we are used to getting.  God's ways can be mysterious, with messages delivered in miraculous ways or even as plain as words passed casually in a conversation with a friend.   We don't always know the messenger, but if we're paying attention we will receive the Message.

Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power.
Ephesians 6:10
New International Version (NIV)

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Is Your Plan Working?

HERD OF SHEEP - NARA - 544384
HERD OF SHEEP - NARA - 544384 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


The Lord is the strength of his people,
a fortress of salvation for his anointed one.
Save your people and bless your inheritance;
be their shepherd and carry them forever.

Psalm 28:8-9
New International Version (NIV)


          "His will be done," we hear it said, but sometimes those may seem like harsh  words to us.   What we were hoping might happen isn't always the way things turn out.  Something's out of alignment and it's not God.

           God has a plan--a plan for you, your family, and the whole world.   Someday we'll understand in full what the extent of the plan is, but for now we need to keep listening, waiting and doing whatever else it takes to get on board with God.    

          God's plan is a perfect one.   Are you in sync with God?

For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love he predestined us for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will— to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves. In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace that he lavished on us. With all wisdom and understanding, he made known to us the mystery of his will according to his good pleasure, which he purposed in Christ, to be put into effect when the times reach their fulfillment—to bring unity to all things in heaven and on earth under Christ.
Ephesians 1:4-10
New International Version (NIV)


Sunday, October 26, 2014

God's Not Dead


God's Not Dead.jpg


My soul thirsts for God, for the living God.
When can I go and meet with God?

Psalm 42:2
New International Version (NIV)

       My wife and I recently watched the film God's Not Dead finding it to be highly moving, inspiring, and entertaining.  This is the kind of film entertainment that the Christian community needs more of rather than the kinds of immoral and Godless entertainment often offered to audiences.

       Regarding the critical response to God's Not Dead, Wikipedia says:

The film has been panned by critics, currently holding a score of 16 out of 100 on Metacritic indicating "overwhelming dislike", based on six critics,[8] and a rating of 17% on Rotten Tomatoes based on 18 reviews as of May 2014.[9]

        The article goes on to cite other negative responses by the critics.  Would we expect much else from media spokespersons who continually rip anything related to Christianity while giving raves to films that promote lifestyles of sin and debauchery?  

         A few positive words are given from Christian sources, but even some members of the Christian community are critical of this film.  To me their arguments are weak.  I would wonder why Christians would not be wanting to come together rather than debate petty theological issues thereby discouraging some from seeing the film and detracting from the positive values the film attempts to convey.  No wonder that the anti-God advocates look askance at purveyors of the message of the Gospel.

         In contrast to the generally negative reviews given to this film one can look on the Amazon site where reviewers have given the film over 2400 five star reviews in contrast to the 150 one star reviews and comparatively small numbers in the other star ratings.  Audiences generally respond well to this film and seem to want this kind of entertainment as indicated by the over $60 million in profit the film has made so far.

        If you haven't seen God's Not Dead yet, I'd encourage you to read about it to see if it appeals to you.  If the film sounds like something you'd like to see then I recommend purchasing or renting a copy.   Consider it a vote for God-inspired entertainment.  I'm looking forward to more of this sort of thing from the Christian backed entertainment industry.

For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.
Romans 1:20
New International Version (NIV)

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Do You Need a Friend?

They are probably best friends since they were...
They are probably best friends since they were kids.
 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


Two are better than one,
because they have a good return for their labor:
 If either of them falls down,
one can help the other up.
But pity anyone who falls
and has no one to help them up.

Ecclesiastes 4:9-10
New International Version (NIV)

       We need friends.  Living on one's own can be depressing and desperate when trying to get through difficult times.   When you're dealing with troubles on your own you have no sounding board or outside support.   Scripture and prayer can certainly get you through such times if your mindset is in the right place, but having a good friend by your side provides a strength that you may not be able to muster by yourself. 

          Independence can be an admirable quality for us to have.   We should not be overly and needily dependant on anyone else.  That situation can be dangerous for us in many ways.  However we need other people in order to get us by in this world.   We need to have friends whom we can trust when trust is needed or just to keep us company when company is desired.

          Jesus Christ is the ultimate friend.  He loved us so much that He gave his life so that we could find salvation and eternal life.   We rarely have to give up our own lives for our friends--at least not in the literal sense that Jesus did.  But often being a friend does require sacrifice.  Our time, material goods, money, or even our emotions might be necessary to give to a friend in need.   Then there are the times when you may look to a friend to provide these things to you.  True friendship is an exchange, a sharing experience, and a relationship with mutual benefits. 

          We can try going it alone and indeed many of us do.   When you have friends by your side, traveling life's sometimes difficult road can be so much easier.    Companionship makes a burden a lighter load to carry.


Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.
John 15:13
New International Version (NIV)


Sunday, October 12, 2014

Is Anger Unhealthy?

English: Cereal crops near Wendens Ambo Views ...
 Cereal crops near Wendens Ambo Views across cereal crops on farmland near Wendens Ambo. Some angry-looking storm clouds on the horizon.
 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)




Refrain from anger and turn from wrath;
do not fret—it leads only to evil.

Psalm 37:8
New International Version (NIV)

       This past week I have felt sick.   Not from any germ, virus, or anything that could be physically diagnosed, but I have been sick in my emotions and in my mind.   I have been functioning, but in a run-down and discouraged manner.  I have been tired and distraught.  

        The incident caught me totally unaware, like being hit unexpectedly by a truck.  I was left dazed and bewildered by a verbal attack that literally seemed to come from nowhere.  I had done nothing to provoke the incident.  Anger was incited as the result of a figment of someone else's imagination.

         Unlike the anger I might have felt from an encounter with a stranger, my anger and that of the loved one who attacked me gnawed at me from the inside, left me shaken, and stayed with me for several days.  The impact of the incident will now stay with me for a long time.

         For the most part keeping my restraint I tried to defend myself against the ugly words that were hurled my way.  False accusations and irrational fabrications were inveighed against me.  This person who is very close to me unleashed things that had apparently been brewing and stewing from within for quite some time, catching me entirely off guard.

         Ironically the whole mess could have been easily straightened out if only calmness and reasoning had prevailed.  I was able to answer the charges against me, but the verdict had been decided before I could even speak.  The anger was in the air and flaming in the heart of another and I was the whipping boy.

          That evening things were brought to a calmer state, but the hurt has lingered for me.   Sometimes anger leads us to do and say things that we should not.   Anger leads us to sin.   Anger makes us sick.  I try to keep the peace, but war only breaks out when at least one side wants to shatter that peace.  

My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, because human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires.
James 1:19-20
New International Version (NIV)