Wednesday, February 25, 2009
Many are suffering today. Our economic crisis is wreaking havoc on lives of famlilies across our nation. It is in these tough times that our faith will be tested. It is in the furnace of affliction that what is within will rise to the top.
Os Hillman has a word today, for those who are suffering. May you be found fruitful in the place of YOUR suffering today:
TGIF Today God Is First Volume 1
by Os Hillman
Wednesday, February 25 2009.
.."It is because God has made me fruitful in the land of my suffering." - Genesis 41:52
Joseph named his second son Ephraim. Ephraim was given to him after he had been delivered from his suffering of 13 years. Joseph said that he named him this because God had made him fruitful in the land of his suffering. Ephraim means "twice fruitful."
Joseph was fruitful in two instances. He was fruitful during his time of adversity and in his prosperity. When God brings us into a time of suffering, it can be a fruitful time. It's rare for us to see the fruit during the suffering period. But know that the roots are going deep into the spiritual soil of our soul because of our pressing in to God during our time of suffering. This is producing a work in our character that cannot be seen until it finishes the process. Such was the case for Joseph.
It was not until several years after such a time of suffering that I began to see the fruit of the trials that the Lord allowed me to experience. How grateful I am to understand some of the "why" that has led to a new life in Him that I would never have had without this period.
Samson had great anointing but lacked character. We see many today who have great anointing yet lack character. But God is rising up Josephs who not only have great anointing for these days but also great character. Suffering produces character.
If you find yourself in a time of suffering, now is the time to press into God. Let your roots grow deeper. Whenever there is a famine, tree roots are forced to drive deeper into the soil to find water. These times are designed to create such a deep-rooted faith that our natures will be changed forever.
Tuesday, February 24, 2009
"See, I have refined you, though not as silver; I have tested you in the furnace of affliction." Isaiah 48:10
Life would be wonderful if there were no problems, no trials, no heartaches, no grief, no troubles of any sort to cloud our sunny days and cause our hearts to ache. And, for those of us who know Jesus, we WILL have life like that one day....only not here, but in Heaven! Oh how glorious that will be!!!!!!!!!
But, as Jesus told us in John 16:33 "...in this world you WILL have tribulation, BUT...be of good cheer, for I have overcome the world!" So suffering and trouble is a given in this life.
The question is why does a loving God allow it?
God does allow suffering and trials to come into our life, but not without purpose and design. Nothing comes into our lives that has not already passed through His fingers of love. He will not allow us to be tested above what we are able. His purpose is to conform us to the image of His Son...to make us holy as He is holy....to purify us.
In the furnace of affliction, God burns away the impurities of our life. Scripture, as noted above, says that He is the great Silversmith.
In the ancient process of purifying silver, the ore was placed in a furnace and heated very, very hot in order to burn away the dross...the impurities. In this process, it was critical that the silversmith be ever present. He could not leave the furnace where the silver was even for a moment. He had to constantly tend the flames lest the heat get too intense and destroy the silver. His hand was ever upon the ladle which held the ore.
After a sufficient time, he would remove the ore to observe it. Not only was it exposed to the intense heat of the furnace, but it was then exposed to a further cleansing and beating process to test it further. Then the Royal Inspector would come and see if it were purified sufficiently. When the process was deemed complete, the silver was very, very white. One of the final ways then to see that it was truly purified was when the silversmith could see his reflection in it.
"Finally, he [the Royal Inspector] impresses upon it the seal of the King." (Georgius Agricola de Metallica by Herbert Clark Hoover as translated from Latin edition 1556)
Friend, as you and I go through the fires of this life, may we keep our eyes on that day when Jesus will present us to His Father with the seal of His blood upon our lives and hear Him say "Well done, thou good and faithful servant."
Friday, February 20, 2009
Thank you for the years that You have walked with me. Thank you for your faithfulness to me throughout my life. You have never failed me. You have never left my side for one second.
Lord, I long to be obedient to you. Help me. I am so weak. I am so unable in my own strength to BE obedient. I need you. I want to follow you with wholehearted obedience, to yield my will to yours. Help me to seek more of YOU in my life and not just Your activity. Tune my ears to hear Your voice above all others. Make it plain. Give me the courage to follow You...NO MATTER WHAT. Help me to say YES to You and NO to the world. Remind me daily, it's NOT about ME!!!
Thank You for the thousands of prayers You've answered for me, for the outpouring of Your mercy and grace to me more times than I can possibly count and none of which I deserved.
Thank You for the beautiful sunrises You've painted for me, the brilliant hues of pink and lavender and orange against a backdrop of blue. For the days when the clouds were so pure and white against the sky that they screamed Your name! For the sunny days that beckoned me outside to feel the warmth of the sun on my face and for the birds who sang me a song to lift my spirits and remind me that You care for them so how much MORE You care for ME! Thank You for the millions of ways You bless me daily with Your presence just to show Yourself to me and to remind me once more "I LOVE YOU MY CHILD".
Oh God, today, the cry of my heart is MORE OF YOU and LESS OF ME!! Hear me O God , I pray.... In Jesus' name....Amen."
Saturday, February 14, 2009
Today is a day for lovers. All over the world today, thousands....maybe MILLIONS of women will be lavished with roses, chocolate, perfume, teddy bears, diamonds and more....all in the name of LOVE.
Maybe you are one of the lucky women who will be acknowledged and pampered and treated with one of the above. Or maybe you are alone and for you Valentine's Day is a day that makes you feel more alone than ever...more unloved, more unwanted, more undesirable than any other day of the year.
Maybe you are a widow and you remember your husband today and all the Valentines you shared together, and you miss him terribly today. Today makes you sad.
So here's a thought today for ALL of us...men and women, attached and unattached, expecting a Valentine or expecting nothing. Today is ultimately about L-O-V-E. And Love is about giving. Think back to our Love chapter, I Corinthians 13: 4-8:
Love never gives up.
Love cares more for others than for self.
Love doesn't want what it doesn't have.
Love doesn't strut,
Doesn't have a swelled head,
Doesn't force itself on others,
Isn't always "me first,"
Doesn't fly off the handle,
Doesn't keep score of the sins of others,
Doesn't revel when others grovel,
Takes pleasure in the flowering of truth,
Puts up with anything,
Trusts God always,
Always looks for the best,
Never looks back,
But keeps going to the end.
If we read this and remember, IT'S NOT ABOUT ME....Let me say that again....IT'S NOT ABOUT ME (OR YOU!!), it's about glorifying God with all that we are and all that we have, we can ultimately make this the best Valentines Day ever!
How? By reaching out to someone else today. Reach out to someone who may not normally receive a Valentine. Maybe you have an elderly neighbor who lives alone. Maybe you know of a young woman who is not in a relationship and will probably spend today alone. Maybe it's the girl in the checkout line at Walmart who will check out every guy's last minute Valentine purchase today, standing 8-10 hours on her feet, making minimum wage to put food on the table for her kids, with no thought of a Valentine from her husband....maybe while you are picking up a bouquet for YOUR sweetheart....you could pick up one for her and just give it to her after she checks you out....or leave it anonymously at the Service Desk and ask them to give it to her. Maybe you could do something nice for your parents or your grandparents today or an aunt or uncle. Maybe you could take a bouquet of flowers or a box of chocolates to the local nursing home and ask the manager to just give them anonymously to someone who never has a visitor or gets a gift...they will know.
Ask God to direct you today. Ask Him who YOU can be a blessing to today! I guarantee you He will show you and this will be the BEST Valentine's Day you will ever have!!!!!!!!!
Wednesday, February 11, 2009
Tuesday, February 10, 2009
Today our forecast calls for high winds, thunderstorms and heavy rain. That is pretty much the outlook for much of the week. Depressing.
Last week was the one year anniversary of the terrible tornados that ripped through the Mid South, causing damage and destruction in the millions in Memphis and Jackson, Tennessee. I'm sure that when many of those people whose homes and lives were affected by those storms hear a thunderclap, something within them shivers!
A fellow class member shared Sunday that he had lived for a time in the Chicago area. He spoke of all the snow and ice and dreary days...all of which he did not miss AT ALL!! He said there was a period of 66 days when there was NO sunshine !! Let me tell you, I would NOT have survived!!
I am solar energized. I do not do well when there are long periods of gray skies! I remember a few years ago, we went for weeks like that. I was miserable! It just so happened after a few weeks that we flew to Miami for our first cruise. I can remember how wonderful it was when we got ABOVE the clouds and we saw the sun break through. It was HEAVEN!!
So back to the original question....Why does God allow storms?
Well, I think there are many answers to that, but the simplist is so that we will appreciate the sunshine.
If all we ever had was sunshine....no rain, no storms, no heavy clouds....we would so take those sunny days for granted. But....when we've spent days inside due to cold or rain, when the skies have been dark and gray, when we've not had the warmth of the sun on our faces for a very long time and then....THE SUN COMES SHINING THROUGH....oh is that not a glorious day?!!!
Last week, after much cold and rain, we were supposed to have beautiful, sunny weather. In fact, it was supposed to be near 65 degrees. I was keeping my granddaughter that day and was looking forward to our spending the entire day OUTSIDE. This child LOVES the outdoors!! She is in her glory digging in the dirt. (Think I may have a gardener on my hands??)
However, the day dawned gray and dismal with a cold wind blowing. We were both disappointed. Finally, about 4:00 the wind begin to die down and the sun emerged from behind the clouds. I said to her, "Hey...I think it's warm enough for us to go outside a while. Do you want to go?" Without a moment's hesitation, she dropped what she was doing and darted for the door, all the while saying with joyful exuberance, "Yeeeeeeeeessssssssssssssss...yet's go, Mimi!!"
As soon as I opened the door, out she flew, running with all her might, with a grin on her face as wide as the Mississippi!
Now in the summer when it's always warm and sunny, with rarely a rainy day, she is still happy to go outside, but the exuberance is not quite the same. Why? Because it becomes a daily occurrence.
God allows the periods of dark in our lives...our storms...to make us realize what a blessing it is to have those peaceful, sunny days when all is going well. We tend to muddle through our busy days, not giving a thought to the peace, until it comes crashing down in the darkness of our storms. Then, suddenly, we LONG for those bright, sunny peace-filled days.
If you are experiencing the dark night of a storm, just remember storms do NOT last forever. The sun will indeed shine again. At first you may see only a glimmer on the horizon, but be encouraged...it will SHINE again. Until it does, cling to Jesus...He will be your light in the darkness of the storm.
Sunday, February 8, 2009
7Love bears up under anything and everything that comes,
8Love never fails [never fades out or becomes obsolete or comes to an end].
Tuesday, February 3, 2009
Peter Singer is Professor of Biothethics at Princeton.
The New York Times, explaining how the values of Peter Singer trickle down through media and academia to the general populace, noted that “no other living philosopher has had this kind of influence.”
The New England Journal of Medicine said he has had “more success in effecting changes in acceptable behavior” than any philosopher since Bertrand Russell. The New Yorker called him the “most influential” philosopher alive.
Well, on that note, let me introduce you to the beliefs of this extraordinarily influential professor. Peter Singer wrote,
“The life of a fetus is of no greater value than the life of a nonhuman animal at a similar level of rationality, self-consciousness, awareness, capacity to feel, etc.”Singer says, “If we compare a severely defective human infant with a nonhuman animal, a dog or a pig, for example, we will often find the nonhuman to have superior capacities, both actual and potential, for rationality, self-consciousness, communication and anything else that can plausibly be considered morally significant.”
When Singer came to teach at Princeton, he was protested by Not Dead Yet, a disabilities rights group. They took offense at Singer’s books, which say it should be legal to kill disabled infants, as well as children and adults with severe cognitive disabilities. Singer suggests that individual human worth is based on its usefulness to others:
“When the death of a disabled infant will lead to the birth of another infant with better prospects of a happy life, the total amount of happiness will be greater if the disabled infant is killed. The loss of happy life for the first infant is outweighed by the gain of a happier life for the second. Therefore, if killing the hemophiliac infant has no adverse effect on others, it would, according to the total view, be right to kill him.”
Peter Singer says, “There [is a] lack of any clear boundary between the newborn infant, who is clearly not a person in the ethically relevant sense, and the young child who is. In our book, Should the Baby Live?, my colleague Helga Kuhse and I suggested that a period of twenty-eight days after birth might be allowed before an infant is accepted as having the same right to life as others.”
Dr. Charles Hartshorne of the University of Texas echoes Singer’s ethic: “Of course, an infant is not fully human.… I have little sympathy with the idea that infanticide is just another form of murder. Persons who are already functionally persons in the full sense have more important rights even than infants.”
During an interview, Singer was asked, “Is there anything wrong with a society in which children are bred for spare parts on a massive scale?”
His answer: “No.”
He also reaffirmed that it would be ethically OK to kill 1-year-olds with physical or mental disabilities, although ideally the question of infanticide would be “raised as soon as possible after birth.”
Given a choice between keeping alive an adult chimpanzee and a human infant, the chimp should beat out the child.
In another interview, he was asked, “Would you kill a disabled baby?”
“Yes, if that was in the best interests of the baby and of the family as a whole. Many people find this shocking, yet they support a woman’s right to have an abortion. One point on which I agree with opponents of abortion is that, from the point of view of ethics rather than the law, there is no sharp distinction between the foetus and the newborn baby.”
“Human babies are not born self-aware or capable of grasping their lives over time. They are not persons. Hence their lives would seem to be no more worthy of protection than the life of a fetus.”
And writing specifically about Down syndrome babies, he advocates trading a disabled or defective child (one who is apparently doomed to too much suffering) for one who has better prospects for happiness:
“We may not want a child to start on life’s uncertain voyage if the prospects are clouded. When this can be known at a very early stage in the voyage, we may still have a chance to make a fresh start. This means detaching ourselves from the infant who has been born, cutting ourselves free before the ties that have already begun to bind us to our child have become irresistible. Instead of going forward and putting all our effort into making the best of the situation, we can still say no, and start again from the beginning.”
And in an article titled, “Making Our Own Competency Should Be Paramount Decisions about Death,” Singer wrote these fascinating words:
Any discussion of the ethics of voluntary euthanasia must begin by considering whether it can ever be right to kill an innocent human being. The view that this can never be right gains its strongest support from religious doctrines that claim that only humans are made in the image of God, or that only humans have an immortal soul, or that God gave us dominion over the animals—meaning that we can kill them if we wish—but reserved to himself dominion over human beings.
Reject these ideas, and it is difficult to think of any morally relevant properties that separate human beings with severe brain damage or other major intellectual disabilities from nonhuman animals at a similar mental level.
For why should the fact that a being is a member of our species make it worse to kill that being than it is to kill a member of another species, if the two individuals have similar intellectual abilities or if the nonhuman has superior intellectual abilities?
Well, that’s Peter Singer for you. As Francis Schaeffer used to say, it won’t stop with killing the unborn.
One final thought, especially for parents paying their children’s tuition at Princeton, where their children may attend Singer’s popular classes:
Singer also teaches that there can be moral justification for killing the elderly.
I have to admit it can be addicting. In fact, I've been on there for a while this morning. And now I'm wondering, "Was that a good thing or not?"
Lately I've been thinking a lot about the little insidious ways that Satan has of getting us to NOT focus on Christ and on the things HE wants us to focus on. In a recent Bible study we talked a lot about our insatiable appetite for STUFF. Why is that? Well, as we discussed, we are bombarded constantly with advertising telling us we NEED it...we MUST have it...we can't LIVE WITHOUT IT!!! Back in my grandparents day, they didn't have television, they had few magazines and most could not afford them anyway, so they were not bombarded with such things. They lived a simple life on the farm and frankly had too much to do to worry about what someone else had.
Today, every where we turn...TV, radio, billboards, magazines, movies, snail mail, email, you name it, is a source for marketing someone's product, to convince us that we absolutely MUST have it to be successful, beautiful, and current with the latest fads in technology.
But the problem with all this STUFF is that it takes more and more of our time. Just think about it....
The more beauty products you buy, the longer it takes you to get ready to go somewhere...
The more gadgets you buy, the more you have to load them, text with them, listen to them, answer them, read them, and the more they interrupt you when you least want to be interrupted...
The more things you buy, the more you have to maintain them and the more it costs, which means you have to work more to keep them maintained....
The more you get involved with technology....whether it be FACEBOOK, email, texting, on the cell phone, whatever your particular vice(s) may be....the less time you have to sit and have conversation with your friend or your spouse or your child, the less time you have to spend in the Word, the less time you have to meditate on scripture, the less time you have to go to church.
Now I'm not saying that any of these things are WRONG in and of themselves. In fact, technology is really grand (when it works), but...here is just something to ponder.....are we getting so wrapped up in all of our stuff and all of our technology that we are leaving God out of our lives? Are we finding we have less and less time for Him?
If you are bemoaning the fact you never have time for a quiet time, you never have time to read the Word, you never have time to pray.....then maybe....just maybe you should take a long look at where you ARE spending your time. God says "Be still and know that I am God." And I'm pretty certain being still did not involve a Blackberry or an iphone!