Sunday, March 29, 2015

An Opportunity to Deliver God's Message

   This year's Challenge has been dedicated to the late Tina Downey who was an active
 A to Z supporter for the past 4 years. Besides her role as an encouraging and much beloved blogger, Tina was a wife and mother, an active member of her church, a Sunday School teacher, and a follower of Jesus Christ.
  Thank you, Tina for all you did for A-to-Zers everywhere.  We miss you!

Declare his glory among the nations,
his marvelous deeds among all peoples.
Psalm 96:3
New International Version (NIV)

      If we come to a conclusion that no one is listening to us should we stop talking?   Especially if we have something important to tell others, should we give up when no one seems to be responding to our words?

       Sometimes we can feel like that solitary voice in the wilderness crying out to an audience of no one.   Yet there is always that possibility that someone receives our message even though we may never realize it.   The truth is we don't always know who we've touched by our words and actions.

        If you are a blogger who is trying to spread the message of the Gospel but believes your efforts to be futile I ask you not to give up on what sometimes appears to be a wasted effort.  Even if one person hears what you are saying and you have planted a seed in that person's thinking then you are doing God's work.    

         The deliverers of the message of the Gospel in our time have a huge advantage over those of the past.   If you are blogging for Jesus, your words have the potential of reaching every corner of the Earth without you ever even leaving the comfort of your home.   You are a missionary who does not have to establish a mission in some far off place.  You have access to the world with the computer right there in front of you.

          Are you blogging for Christ?   Why not boost your potential by adding your blog to the many who are going to be participating in the Blogging from A to Z April Challenge?   As I write this post we are heading towards 2000 sign-ups of bloggers who will be looking through the list for other blogs to read.  Maybe they will find yours.   And just maybe you can reach one or maybe even more of those many bloggers. 

         My advice is that if you are posting blogs anyway you might as well try to do it within the parameters of A to Z and become a part of this active blogging community.  It's unlikely to make anything worse for you as a blogger and odds are you will increase your blog traffic for April.  You might even add some new readers for beyond April.

        If you'd like to join us for the April Challenge then click this link to sign up today.  It's worth a try don't you think?

Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.
Galatians 6:9
New International Version (NIV)

Sunday, March 22, 2015

A to Z Theme Reveal: Elements of Existence

     One of the great imponderables of the ages is the question of why we exist.   Philosophers have long speculated on the question of our existence.  Scientists have come up with many theories as to where we as humans came from, why the world exists, and what is in the furthest reaches of the universe.   Theologians have come up with their own conclusions with many in disagreement.  Who is right?   What is the final answer that puts all arguments to rest?

      You won't necessarily find any answer here, but I plan to offer some of my thoughts on the subject during the Blogging from A to Z April Challenge of 2015 as I explore "The Elements of Existence".   My reflections on the topic might be way off base for some, but now and then I might touch upon some truth that is worth our consideration.

        My opinions will be my opinions based on what I believe.  As is my standard approach on A Few Words I'll be offering Bible verses along with a few words about the topic of the day.  Since I don't have any degrees in theology, philosophy, or science or anything like that, I won't pretend to be any expert on the subjects I will broach here.   I'm open to hearing your thoughts as well.   I am on a mission for the truth and will consider any credible theories readers may have to offer.

        If you'd like to join me on this journey in April, I'd be more than glad to have your company and hear your thoughts.  I seek answers to assuage doubts that vex me and resolve questions that I have.  Maybe we can figure this out together.

        If you haven't joined us on the Blogging from A to Z Challenge list there is still time.  To add your blog to the April Challenge click here.   To see what others plan to blog about in April visit the A to Z Theme Reveal list.  This list officially starts on Monday March 23--I'm a day early due to my usual blogging schedule.

         Do you know the meaning to existence?    Are you on a quest for truth?     Where do you go to seek the answers about life?

Sunday, March 15, 2015

The Gospel Truth

English: Moses Pleading with Israel, as in Deu...
 Moses Pleading with Israel, as in Deuteronomy 6:1-15, illustration from a Bible card published 1907 by the Providence Lithograph Company
 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

All your words are true;
all your righteous laws are eternal.

Psalm 119:160
New International Version (NIV)

      Our current pastor keeps running people off with his sermons.  He must be doing something right. Nowadays people don't want to hear the Bible as it is meant to be, but how they would like it to be.

Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it.
Matthew 7:13-14
New King James Version (NKJV)

From his abundance we have all received one gracious blessing after another. For the law was given through Moses, but God’s unfailing love and faithfulness came through Jesus Christ.
John 1:16-17
New Living Translation (NLT)

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Opinions Are Not Always the Truth

Antonio Ciseri's depiction of Pontius Pilate p...
Antonio Ciseri's depiction of Pontius Pilate presenting a scourged Christ to the people Ecce homo! (Behold the man!). (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A fool takes no pleasure in understanding,
but only in expressing personal opinion.

Proverbs 18:2
New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)

        How often does conflict stem from differences of opinion?   My initial reaction would be "Always".    That of course is my opinion and certainly open for discussion.  As I see it whether it be a matter of boundaries, theologies, or perceptions of the world around us, we all can have varying opinions about what we see as the truth and those matters of view can be and often should be discussed and debated in a civilized manner of offering evidence and argument.

         Often we think of argument as heated disagreement which leads to conflict and fighting, but this does not have to be the case when intelligent discussion and reasoning is involved.  Unfortunately when obstinance and resistance to listening to reason and coming to points of agreement takes hold then conflict enters the picture and that conflict can lead to serious consequences.  Wars have been started over differences of opinion.

         We should always seek the truth in any disagreement.  Sometimes that truth might lie somewhere between two disagreeing parties and successful resolution can bring them to a happy meeting point.   At other times both sides might cling tenaciously to what they see as the truth.  This is the point when the decision has to be made whether the disagreement is worth the conflict.

        The next time you have a sense that conflict is rearing its ugly head, stop and take into consideration who the disagreeing parties are, why are they disagreeing, and what is the gain of being right and how much is lost in admitting wrong.  Truth is not always what we want to hear, but it is what we should want to hear.

        If we cling to foolish ideas because it's a matter of us being right, then if we are shown to be wrong we will look all the more foolish in the eyes of others.    Truth can result in condemnation as well as salvation.   It's better to stand alone for truth than to accept the foolish opinions of the many. And if you're stubbornly hanging on to unfounded opinion then isn't it time to start thinking about what is true?

“What is truth?” retorted Pilate. With this he went out again to the Jews gathered there and said, “I find no basis for a charge against him.
John 18:38
New International Version (NIV)

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Is Music the Language of the Angels?

The Ghent Altarpiece: Angels Playing Music
The Ghent Altarpiece: Angels Playing Music (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Praise the Lord with the harp;
make music to him on the ten-stringed lyre.
 Sing to him a new song;
play skillfully, and shout for joy.

Psalm 33:2-3
New International Version (NIV)

      Music speaks to all of us in one way or another.  Where does music come from and why are we so attracted to music?   The rhythms of our heartbeats or our footsteps can become integrated into the natural music that occurs within us and all around us.  Our very lives are a part of a vast music of all the Earth and the universe.

        God gave birds, whales, and other animals the abilities to communicate with music-like tones, rhythms, and sound patterns.   Astronomers have even used a measurement technique called "stellar seismology" to reproduce the sounds emanating from the stars in the heavens.  In the book of Job we are told that "the morning stars sang together and all the angels shouted for joy" (Job 38:7).   Music was instilled in all of God creation from the outset.

        It seems possible that music could be the language of the angels.  Ears perk up and become attentive at the sound of music.  All music communicates something of some nature to us the hearers.  That music can be pleasing for some and for others not so pleasing.  Just as we have different spoken languages there are stylistic variations in musical sounds according to culture.  A person from Ireland will respond to one kind of music that may sound quite alien to the person in India and vice versa.

       When human language was disseminated at the Tower of Babel it's possible that the music languages were distributed in kind.   If we accept a premise that music was originally a language of heaven that was given to humans then we might also accept that the intent of music has been corrupted and given an earthly value.   This is not to say this man-centered music is bad, but we might want to be discriminating about the nature of the music to which we listen.

        Personally, I greatly enjoy music and appreciate many styles of music.  There are some musical works that speak to me in more heavenly ways than others, but I think that all music has some purpose.  Perhaps some music is better than others, but music should be given a chance before we dismiss it on initial listening.

         I know what I like.  I can appreciate the efforts and talents of those who perform music that might not appeal to me so much.  Most of us probably have an inherent judgement of what music is better than other kinds.   What we do with that judgement is another thing entirely  If the music elevates us to a higher level of positiveness and enlightenment then perhaps we are hearing the language of the heavens.

Is anyone among you in trouble? Let them pray. Is anyone happy? Let them sing songs of praise.
James 5:13
New International Version (NIV)