Two Kids in the Bible

Thinking about two kids in the Bible this morning: One was little Jesus who played about stacks of boards, and who let sawdust filter through His fingers in His dad’s shop. The other kid handed over his lunch of “sardines and crackers” and that One from the carpenter’s shop, big now, with His own hands, blessed that food and, miraculously, it multiplied. And they sat down and had lunch.

Oh, by the way, there were 5000 of those who munched from that one order. And one more thing: There were 12 baskets full of “sardines and crackers” left over when they were all filled. Amazing. Impossible. True. (Wonder if that little boy took home any of the leftovers? Wonder what his mom said?)

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Jesus Is For Losers

I don’t know who Stephen Jones is, but he is reputed in a great post on Half Write to have originated this title. In a comment there Gary reminded me of this scripture.

“He that findeth his life shall lose it: and he loseth his life for my sake shall find it.” Matthew 10:39

Perused strictly from a carnal understanding, this portion of scripture makes no sense at all, but when spiritually understood, it is a Christian’s promise of the most glorious assurance. It is a spectacular announcement that goes to the heart of Hope and entangles itself with the eternal, extending into that not comprehended by mere mortal thinking.

It’s one of God’s gleaming principles: lose your life and you will find it! So, yes, Jesus is for losers. We give up the “pleasures of sin,” and gain instead splendor and glory–not only in Heaven, but in a life lived on this earth in a godly, righteous, fulfilling manner.

Along the way we lose other things. Love it!

We lose drunkenness and carousing. We lose wretched morning after hangovers. We lose brawls in our homes and sleepless nights and hiding in the dark. We lose the fear of passing a police car on the street, of hearing the dreaded knock of authorities on our door, of the lack of peace when we slip into our beds at night. We lose the horrific thought of standing before God, unprepared. We lose drug-induced comas and vomiting into the midnight gutter. We lose homelessness, and friendlessness. We lose too the posibility of hearing the words, “Depart from me. I never knew you.”

We’re losers, alright, happy, joyful, Heaven-bound losers.

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My other blog is here.

A Light Bulb and Multiple Talents

It cost mere pennies when it was created; it is neither animal or vegetable, so it must fit squarely in the mineral category. It has its own website, has been written up in dozens of newspapers, filmed by multiplied cameras, visited by scores of people, and listed in Guinness Book of World Records. It’s a light bulb. A light bulb that resides in the firehouse of Livermore, CA. and that is 107 years old, and that has been designated the longest burning bulb in the world.

You might say it is faithful. You might say it understands its purpose. You might say that light bulb is doing what it was designed to do. You might say it is a “five-talent guy.”

LIVERMORE, CA,USA– A 5-watt carbon filament bulb burning in the Fire Department, Livermore, south Alameda County, California, which has been burning since 1901, sets the world record for the Longest Burning Light Bulb.

The low-watt firehouse bulb has been burning continuously since 1901. Its carbon filament is protected by an airtight seal.

The Livermore lightbulb never gets turned off, which many suspect is the secret to its longevity.

The average bulb last for 750-1,000 hours. Livermore’s bulb has burned for nearly a million hours.

I love this story, read a lot about it on the link and tried to bring over a picture, but was not able to do so. Yes, there is a connection between this unusual light bulb and the parable Jesus told concerning the talents. See Matthew 25:14-30. Recall that in the story when the master went away, he called together his servants and handed out the talents. To one he gave five, to another two, and to the last, he gave one–all according to their unique abilities.

When the Master returned he called his workers to account for their talents. The highly talented servant, who had been given five talents, had doubled them.

“Well done,” said the Master.

The worker with two talents had doubled his also.

“Excellent,” said the Master.

But the man who had been given only one talent had no gain to offer. “I was afraid,” he said. “I hid the talent.”

“You are a wicked man,” retorted the Master.

Our talents may be many or few, impressive or humble, small or expansive. God chose those gifts, handed them around, and all He asks from us is that we are faithful, that we put to good use the abilities, gifts and skills with which we have been blessed.

Hey, if a light bulb can exhibit such quality, perhaps we, too, can be faithful. It is quite likely that we can take out those precious talents Jesus gave us, polish them brightly, and with fresh vigor put them to work.
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My other blog is here.

The Paradox of “Good” Friday

I’ve thought often about today in history, and of our reference to the Friday before Easter as being Good Friday, and of how in a very significant way, it was anything but good. Not all parts of the world speak as we do. According to Wikipedia this Friday is described in various ways.

No matter which word we choose, the word proves to be a paradox.

Good Friday, you say? How could such a day have been good?

“And he (Judas) came to Jesus…and kissed him.”

“Then did they spit in his face, and buffeted him; and others smote him with the palms of their hands.”

“Then began he (Peter) to curse and to swear, saying, I know not the man. And immediately the cock crew…And Peter remembered the word of Jesus, which said unto him, Before the cock crow, thou shalt deny me thrice. And he went out, and wept bitterly.”

Great Friday, you say? How could such a day have been great?

“And being in an agony he prayed more earnestly; and his sweat was as it were great drops of blood falling down to the ground.”

“And they all forsook him and fled.”

Holy Friday, you say? How could such a day have been holy?

“And when they had blindfolded him, they struck him on the face…”

“Then Pilate therefore took Jesus, and scourged him…”

“And the soldiers platted a crown of thorns, and put it on his head…”

More to truth do these countries speak:

Day of Christ’s Suffering

“And he bearing his cross went forth into a place called the place of a skull, which is called in the Hebrew Golgotha where they crucified him…”

Sad Friday

“Now there stood by the cross of Jesus his mother, Mary…”

Long Friday

“And after this Joseph of Arimathaea, being a disciple of Jesus, but secretly for fear of the Jews…came therefore and took the body of Jesus.”

And yet, I fully understand Good and Holy and Great. For on that memorable Friday, salvation for all mankind was wrought.

“And it was about the sixth hour, and there was a darkness over all the earth until the ninth hour. And the sun was darkened, and the veil of the temple was rent in the midst.

“Jesus said, ‘It is finished.'”

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My other blog is here.

    The Valentine The Vow

    Valentine Floral, originally uploaded by Shirley Buxton.
    A biblical tenet that our society too frequently overlooks and little regards is that of marriage vows. More than half the people who speak wedding vows today will have their marriages end in divorce. Hear the words of Jesus concerning this issue:
    “The Pharisees also come unto him, tempting him, and saying unto him, Is it lawful for a man to put away his wife for every cause?
    And he answered and said unto them, Have ye not read, that he which made them at the beginning made them male and female,
    And said, For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife; and they twain shall be one flesh?
    Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh. what therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder.” Matthew 19:3-6
    I want to pay tribute today to the Estes family, where the seven surviving children of C. M. and Minnie Estes have all been wed 50 or more years. It’s not easy to be married that long; it takes lots of work, tolerance, fortitude, and a basic regard for God, and for marriage vows. Salute with me on this Valentine’s Day, the Estes Family who collectively have celebrated 391 years of marriage.

    The youngest, Sue Bass, completed the streak of golden anniversaries Saturday when she and husband Edwin marked their 50 years together in a laughter-filled banquet room, surrounded by Sue’s six surviving siblings and many of the couples’ 71 children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

    “We’re the last. We made it,” Sue, 69, said after the Basses’ celebratory spotlight dance. Added Edwin, 73: “The others made it and we weren’t about to get beat!”

    The Estes siblings, ages 69 to 84, attribute their marital success in large part to the moral example set by their late parents, who were married 58 years.

    C.M. Estes was a Christian minister, and he and his wife raised their eight children — one is deceased and a ninth died as a toddler — with the belief that marriage is for life.

    More here.

    These beautiful flowers were given to me yesterday by Jerry, my sweet husband of 51 years. The vows we made those many years ago are binding, dear and precious to us.

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    My other blog is here.

     

    No Question, The Burial Site of Jesus Is Unique


    “In Tana Toraja, everything revolves around death. The graves can be very sophisticated yet sometimes, long after the coffins are destroyed by time, people gently place bones along natural cave ‘racks’. Often, the bones are offered cigarettes or various offerings. This is supposed to prevent dead ancestors from bringing bad luck and otherwise making the lives of the living miserable.”
    Image: phitar [Flickr]

    Earlier this morning, I came across a fascinating article depicting ten important burial sites around the world. The post makes for interesting and informative reading, and later today I plan to go back and read it again. I was shocked by some of it–for instance this:

    The Sedlec Ossuary resides in a small Roman Catholic chapel in Sedlec, Czech Republic. If you didn’t know any better, you wouldn’t have guessed that inside the unassuming building is an ossuary containing about 40,000 human skeletons artistically arranged to form decorations, chandeliers, and furnishings! Take a look.


    The Schwarzenberg family’s coat of arms, done with at least one of every
    bone in the body. Image: goldberg [Flickr]

    Despite the intrigue of this article, the author missed speaking of the greatest burial site of all–that of Jesus Christ. Perhaps it is because we’re not exactly sure of its location, or maybe it was because the author didn’t stop to consider the tomb of the lowly Nazarene. That tomb, that burial place, my friend, is the greatest of any. For you understand, do you not, that His tomb is empty. Dead, He definitely was. Empty, His tomb definitely is.

    “In the end of the sabbath, as it began to dawn toward the first day of the week, came Mary Magdalene and the other Mary to see the sepulchre.

    And behold, there was a great earthquake: for the angel of the Lord descended from heaven, and came and rolled back the stone from the door, and sat upon it. His countenance was like lightning, and his raiment white as snow.

    And for fear of him the keepers did shake, and became as dead men.

    And the angel answered and said unto the women, Fear not ye: for I know that ye seek Jesus, which was crucified.

    He is not here: for he is risen, as he said. Come , see the place where the Lord lay.” Matthew 28:1-6

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    My other blog is here.

    Watch With Me

    “…could ye not watch with me…?” from Matthew 26:40

    It was the blackest of night, its cruel hours dragging as Jesus wrestled with the cup. At the meal He had dipped into the vessel, rubbing his hand against treasonous flesh. “Would be good you had never been born, Judas.”

    After supper, He broke the bread and offered the cup–this is My body, you know–someone selected a hymn, and into the cool evening air Jesus and His men lifted their voices. Envision that touching scene if you can… and then those burly, unkempt men stumbled into the night and their Leader led them to Gethsemane.

    He picked a spot. “Sit here,” he spoke to his disciples save for the three who would go deeper into the vale with Him. “I go to pray.”

    And said to the three as He led them further, “…my soul is exceeding sorrowful…watch with me.”

    Watch with me is the cry of all humanity; be with me, understand me, sit beside my bed, hold my hand, put your arm around my shoulder, stand by as I walk the final road…watch with me.

    I have an extremely touching story here of a young Chinese man, who is horribly disfigured because of very large facial tumors. I was so touched when I saw his story–not only because of his plight–but because of the caring people who surround this young man and who attend him. His first operation has relieved him greatly, but he faces many more surgeries. Let me warn you the pictures are extremely graphic, but are very moving. I do not recommend that children view this video.

    Our world is screaming for attention, for help…for someone to sit inside their raveled lives…and watch with them. When they’re ugly, we must watch, when they’re mean and disoriented, we must watch, when they’re arrogant and testy, we must watch, when they’re sick, broken, disheartened, disillusioned, addicted…we must watch with them.

    The link is here. Remember, it is very graphic.

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    My other blog is here.

    Everyone Is A Winner in God’s Kingdom

    Well, I surely have no idea who will be the winner in this scenario reported by AP, in which 50,000 scratch-off tickets were sent out–everyone of them mistakenly declared to be the winning tickets for the $1,000 grand prize. It will be interesting to see how the company handles this little problem.

    ROSWELL, N.M. (AP) – Everyone’s a winner after a direct-mail marketing company hired by a local car dealership mistakenly sent out 50,000 scratch-off tickets to residents – all of them declaring the ticket-holder the $1,000 grand prize winner. Just one of the tickets was supposed to be the grand prize winner.

    Jeff Kohn, Roswell Honda general manager said a typographical error by Atlanta-based Force Events Direct Marketing, which printed the advertisment, had given all 50,000 scratch-off tickets grand prizes.

    “Unfortunately, they missed it in the proofreading,” said Kohn, who was able to stop an estimated 20,000 direct mailers from being sent.

    Kohn said the dealership is “making a full-faith effort” to investigate the mistake, which he said is “not how we portray ourselves or our community.”

    In a statement, Force Events apologized “for any inconvenience this may has caused car shoppers in the Roswell market” and asked that any questions and concerns be directed to the company.

    Force Events representatives are expected to be in Roswell on Thursday to sort out the mess, Kohn said.

    Remainder of the story here.

    Such a problem can never arise in God’s Kingdom. We’re all winners! Valid, ticket-holding winners! Jesus tells a story in the 20th chapter of Matthew in which everyone was a winner–everyone was treated the same, but some people objected. Remember this account?

    1FOR THE kingdom of heaven is like the owner of an estate who went out in the morning [a]along with the dawn to hire workmen for his vineyard.

    2After agreeing with the laborers for a denarius a day, he sent them into his vineyard.

    3And going out about the third hour (nine o’clock), he saw others standing idle in the marketplace;

    4And he said to them, You go also into the vineyard, and whatever is right I will pay you. And they went.

    5He went out again about the sixth hour (noon), and the ninth hour (three o’clock) he did the same.

    6And about the eleventh hour (five o’clock) he went out and found still others standing around, and said to them, Why do you stand here idle all day?

    7They answered him, Because nobody has hired us. He told them, You go out into the vineyard also [b]and you will get whatever is just and fair.

    8When evening came, the owner of the vineyard said to his manager, Call the workmen and pay them their wages, beginning with the last and ending with the first.(A)

    9And those who had been hired at the eleventh hour (five o’clock) came and received a denarius each.

    10Now when the first came, they supposed they would get more, but each of them also received a denarius.

    11And when they received it, they grumbled at the owner of the estate,

    12Saying, These [men] who came last worked no more than an hour, and yet you have made them rank with us who have borne the burden and the [c]scorching heat of the day.

    13But he answered one of them, Friend, I am doing you no injustice. Did you not agree with me for a denarius?

    14Take what belongs to you and go. I choose to give to this man hired last the same as I give to you.

    15Am I not permitted to do what I choose with what is mine? [Or do you begrudge my being generous?] Is your eye evil because I am good?

    16So those who [now] are last will be first [then], and those who [now] are first will be last [then]. [d]For many are called, but few chosen.

    Come on, everybody. Hire yourself out. Grab a tool, sow a seed, dig a furrow! Started early? Great! Coming aboard late! Wonderful! God’s wages are sure, generous and dependable. No questionable tickets! No nefarious promises! No mistakes!

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    My other blog is here.

    Relax. The Church is Not Built on Peter

    It pleases me that some churches are wrong, for I am told that millions of people across the world consider The Church to be built on the apostle Peter. This is an erroneous belief; one that rears itself to stand directly against Biblical teaching.

    On Sunday morning, I heard a moving sermon–simply presented–yet profound in its truth, pertinence, and convicting qualities. The preacher chose Matthew 16:13-18 as his reading, with verse 15 his text scripture. His sermon title was: What will you do with Jesus? The thrust of his message was the question his title stated: What will you–you personally–do with Jesus? He can’t be ignored. His question must be answered…by you, by me, by everyone.

    “When Jesus came into the coasts of Caesarea Philippi, He asked His disciples, saying, ‘Whom do men say that I the Son of man am?’

    And they said, ‘Some say that Thou art John the Baptist; some Elias; and others, Jeremias, or one of the prophets.’

    He saith unto them, ‘But whom say ye that I am?’ vs. 15

    And Simon Peter answered and said, ‘Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.’

    And Jesus answered and said unto him, ‘Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona; for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but My Father Which is in heaven.’

    And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build My church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.'” vs 18

    Since Sunday, I have done additional study on this scripture, especially concerning verse 18, and I am more convinced than ever that it is misleading to declare The Church to be built on Peter. Such a doctrine is false…and silly.

    Perhaps the confusion arises from the fact that the word Peter in Greek is petra, which means rock. However, petra is the feminine form, so it obviously could not apply to Peter. Rather, from what I have read, I am led to the definite understanding that when Jesus said He would build His church “upon this rock,” He was not at all speaking of Peter, but rather of the titanic confession Peter had uttered.

    “Who am I, Peter?”

    “Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God!”

    How frightening if indeed The Church were built on Peter. How weak would be Its foundation:

    1. Peter was impetuous.

    2. Peter was foul-mouthed.

    3. During the night-time hours preceding the crucifixion of His Master, Peter denied that He even knew Jesus.

    4. Peter is dead.

    Oh no, God’s Church is not built on Peter, but on the revelation that Jesus Christ is Lord; the Son of the living God.

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    My other blog is here.