Monday, September 22, 2014

THERE IS A GOD; HE IS ALIVE!

This is one of my very favorite songs and most know it from it's unusual page number in some of the song books, 728b.  Why the "B"??  I'm sure there's a reason, but I don't know it!  But it's made for interesting conversations and thoughts!

Here are the lyrics to "There is a God".  They are GREAT!

There is, beyond the azure blue
A God, concealed from human sight
He tinted skies with heav'nly hue
And framed the worlds with His great might

Chorus:
There is a God (There is a God), He is alive (He is alive)
In Him we live (In Him we live) and we survive (and we survive)
From dust our God (From dust our God) created man (created man)
He is our God (He is our God), the great I Am (the great I Am)

There was a long, long time ago
A God whose voice the prophets heard
He is the God that we should know
Who speaks from His inspired word

Repeat Chorus

Secure is life from mortal mind
God holds the germ within His hand
Though men may search they cannot find
For God alone does understand

Repeat Chorus

Our God, whose Son upon a tree
A life was willing there to give
That He from sin might set man free
And evermore with Him could live

Repeat Chorus

"By faith we understand that the universe was formed at God's command, so that what is seen was not made out of what was visible." Hebrews 11:3

"None of the rulers of this age understood it, for if they had, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory." 1 Corinthians 2:8


Thursday, September 18, 2014

How Gullible Are We?

This morning I read something that had been shared from Joel Osteen Ministries Facebook page. Joel misquotes Numbers 11:23 and puts Moses in stories from the Bible where he wasn't even present.  In the comments some point this mistake out, but others say "Amen" as if Joel was speaking truth.  And millions give money to this pop star "preacher".

There are many false teachers in the world.  You should NEVER, EVER take what any man - or woman has to say about God's Word.  Look yourself to see if what is said or written is true.  Of course, we can all make mistakes. I'm sure I do.  And when and if I do, please, please let me know. But there is a difference in making a mistake and in teaching non-truth.  And many who preach/teach non-truth don't really care. Many are about the money.  Some are just blind to the truth.

Years ago one of our family members was talking to a popular denominational preacher. He said that he believed his "denomination" didn't preach as much truth as the non-denominational congregation in town.  Yet that man continued to preach and "save" people with what he didn't believe to be the whole truth.  That is scary, folks.  Scary and sad.  He will give an answer for that some day.  I will give an answer for me. You will give an answer for you.  

Truth matters.  And along those lines, here is Alan Smith's "Thought for the Day" on this very subject.
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                           HOW GULLIBLE ARE WE?

     A freshman at Eagle Rock Junior High won first prize at the Greater Idaho Falls Science Fair, April 26, 1997.   He was attempting to show how conditioned we have become to the alarmists practicing junk science and spreading fear of everything in our  environment.   In his project he urged people to sign a petition demanding strict control or total elimination of the chemical "dihydrogen monoxide."  And for plenty of good reasons, since:

         1.  it can cause excessive sweating and vomiting
         2.  it is a major component in acid rain
         3.  it can cause severe burns in its gaseous state
         4.  accidental inhalation can kill you
         5.  it contributes to erosion
         6.  it decreases effectiveness of automobile brakes
         7.  it has been found in tumors of terminal cancer patients

     He asked 50 people if they supported a ban of the chemical dihydrogen monoxide.  Forty-three said yes, six were undecided, and only one knew that the chemical was...

     WATER!!!

     The title of his prize winning project was, "How Gullible Are We?"  The conclusion is obvious.

     Religion is another area where people have a tendency to be gullible.  Extreme examples can be found in David Koresh's followers and the Heaven's Gate cult.   But it can happen any time we believe someone without checking out God's Word to see if what is being taught is the truth.  Faith does not mean blindly accepting whatever anyone (even a preacher) says.

     The apostle John warned, "Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits whether they are of God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world." (I John 4:1)

     Use God's Word to discern between what is true and what is false.  And if you feel like living dangerously today, pour yourself a big tall glass of dihydrogen monoxide!

Have a great day!

Alan Smith
Helen Street Church of Christ
Fayetteville, North Carolina

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Whiney Baby

Are you a whiney baby sometimes?  Are you a whiney baby a lot of the time?  Most likely, we can all  say we are whiney babies from time to time. The problem is that when we realize we are acting like one, and that we aren't pleasing God in doing so, do we continue to sulk and pout, or do we 'straighten up and fly right', as the saying goes?

Sunday night my brother-in-law was ending a series on Jonah. We read Jonah 3 and 4.  What struck me about these last two chapters is how Jonah (after being in the belly of a huge fish for three days and being vomited out) still acted like a whiney baby!  He should have been thankful the Lord didn't send the fish back to just swallow him up again immediately and never have him vomit him out again - ever.

Jonah was being a whiney baby because God had asked him to go to Ninevah the second time, and he did.  He told the Ninevites that God would overthrow the city in 40 days.  Because of Jonah's message, the Ninevites believed God.  Even the King declared a fast. Everyone put on sackcloths. They didn't eat or drink. Even the animals were fasting.  The King said to turn from their evil ways and violence.  He said that maybe God would have compassion on them and turn away from His anger and spare them.  And God did.  He spared the Ninevites because of how they turned towards Him.

And here comes Jonah's whiney baby part.  Instead of rejoicing that his message had been heard and heeded, Jonah was upset that God changed his mind and spared the Ninevites.  He was so angry, that he wanted to die!  Can you believe that?!  He wanted to die because God didn't destroy these people!

And the Lord just asked Jonah one simple question, "Is it right for you to be angry?"

You know when children get mad and pout, they sometimes go to a secluded place and sulk?  Maybe some adults do that, as well.  In fact, I know they do.  We probably all know adults who do. Well, Jonah went outside the city and sat.  He made himself a little shelter and sat in the shade and waited for God to change His mind back, and destroy the city.

I love this next part:
Jonah 4:6-11

(6) Then the Lord God provided a leafy plant and made it grow up over Jonah to give shade for his head to ease his discomfort, and Jonah was very happy about the plant. 

The way that is worded is funny to me! Yes, I'm sure Jonah was very happy about that plant!  Maybe he thought, "Yeah! God is on my side! He is helping me, so there's no way He is going to let these people get by with all their evil past!"  But Jonah's pride in his leafy plant didn't last long.

(7) But at dawn the next day God provided a worm, which chewed the plant so that it withered. 

Ha ha!! Poor, Jonah! Now his leafy shade was gone.  Wonder what he thought as he woke up and saw the worm or woke up and saw no more plant?  He should have repented right then, but no....Jonah was still being a whiney baby.

(8) When the sun rose, God provided a scorching east wind, and the sun blazed on Jonah’s head so that he grew faint. He wanted to die, and said, “It would be better for me to die than to live.”

Jonah still didn't get it, did he?

(9) But God said to Jonah, “Is it right for you to be angry about the plant?”

“It is,” he said. “And I’m so angry I wish I were dead.”

Wow.  Come on, Jonah!

(10) But the Lord said, “You have been concerned about this plant, though you did not tend it or make it grow. It sprang up overnight and died overnight. 

(11) And should I not have concern for the great city of Nineveh, in which there are more than a hundred and twenty thousand people who cannot tell their right hand from their left—and also many animals?”

I kind of laugh about this story because of how ridiculous it seems. Jonah is a BIG whiney baby and isn't getting God's major theme and His whole plan that is woven throughout His word.  But, it's not really funny.  Maybe Jonah did finally get it.  I hope he did.  But the sad part is that many are being whiney babies right now.  And maybe - just maybe God hasn't sent Jesus back because He is waiting for people to turn from their evil ways or He is waiting for someone to quit being a whiney baby and realize the bigger picture - His bigger plan.

His plan is to have as many people as possible come to Him through His Son, Jesus.  And He would want everyone to do that, if they just will.  So maybe He is waiting on ME to tell someone.  Maybe he's waiting on YOU.  We don't know.  All we know is that someday the waiting will be over. He will say, "It's time", and Jesus will come back.  And all that is written in His Word will happen, and His people will live with Him for eternity.  And those who are lost will be in torment eternally.

Don't be a whiney baby like Jonah.  Don't sulk and pout and cry and wait for God to do what YOU want Him to do.  YOU do what God wants you to do!  And everything will work out just fine.

Jonah's preaching is mentioned in the New Testament (Matthew 12:38-41 and Luke 11:29-32) and the Bible, speaking of Jesus, says that someone greater than Jonah is here.  I think Jonah eventually got it.  I believe he stopped being a whiney baby and got the bigger picture of God's plan.



Tuesday, September 16, 2014

A 30 Year Tradition - The Oklahoma State Fair 2014

(Our kiddos: This has become our traditional "stop for a picture" spot - in front of the Centennial Building.) 
This past weekend we attended the Oklahoma State Fair, a tradition that began 30 years ago.  In those 30 years, we missed one year - the year our daughter was born - 20 years ago. Wow!  

As I walked around this year, I thought of how many times we had been there.  I miss the stroller.
(I'm trying to make sure we get pictures of us together because some day that will be really important. I failed at getting all six of us together!)
Not so much having to manuver a stroller through crowds of people, or even the whole aspect of having toddlers (though I do really miss that stage), but mostly because we always had a place to store our stuff! :)
(Joe tried to make the hammer bang hard enough to make the little ball thing hit the bell on top. He didn't do it, but it went pretty far!)
Traditions are huge to me. They are huge to our family. This tradition is important to us.  Not that we "have to go to the fair". But we know that on one weekend in September, we will be together - at least for a few hours - doing something we've always done.  The important part is being together.
There are several buildings that bring back memories of the kids being little.  Their 4-H entries, pumpkin entries, table decorating contests, showing goats, and even the new car building. For some reason I remember holding my babies and sitting on the benches in there.  Such sweet memories!
One thing we never did when they were really young was ride rides.  But it's become a tradition for a number of years, and the kids had fun doing a few of them.  This one went round and round.  The little one didn't want the empty front row seat by his sister! He went to the back, but it still lined up where the picture was perfect!
The slides are always fun.  I remember them riding these from the time they were little bitty on.  Sometimes they rode on our laps if they weren't big enough!
The boys were racing!
"Disney on Ice" was a "Let's Celebrate" theme. I loved it! It was great!  The boys really liked it, but my daughter didn't quite as much. There were a few non-Disney things thrown in, maybe to make the show long enough.  I just liked it having so many characters.
I've noticed that it's extremely hard to get a good picture of Mickey and Minnie (especially Mickey). They move around so much and so fast that they are rarely still enough to snap the shot!
This is true even at Walt Disney World!  But these aren't too bad.
This was celebrating Valentine's Day, and of course, Mickey and Minnie were each others' valentines.  Of course. :)
Special effects are amazing at the show.  This ring of fire was right on the ice.  It was the Hawaiian theme using "Lilo and Stitch".  I need to watch that movie. It's probably the only one I've never seen.
The skaters were great this year!  Here's Ariel being spun around by Prince Erik.
This is my favorite princess from my favorite show, "The Princess and the Frog".  Tiana! Pretty neat that I have a niece named Tiona now!  I just thought of that recently! :)
The celebration ended with Christmas. Aren't those cute costumes?  
Mickey is covering up his pretty knitted snowflake sweater, but maybe you can see them a little bit.
Joe missed the ice show. He had to go perform a wedding ceremony.  
So we offered his ticket to our daughter's roommate and best friend. She was excited!

Thanks for the memories, Oklahoma State Fair!  It's been 30 great years!

Friday, September 12, 2014

The TRUTH About 4-H and FFA

Interesting that I should see this post...not five minutes since my 16-year-old son came home to rescue our goats. A few of them had gotten out of their pen and the huge Boer buck was trapped in a knot with a halter on his hoof.  He was lying there looking dead when I ran out to help.  I thought he was dead, all sprawled out and not moving.  He was scared, and if he could have talked, I'm certain that he would have said, "Thank You" if he could have, once he was freed.

And then this:  CNN'S article asking, "Does 4-H Desensitize Kids to Killing Animals?"   It's amazing really, that people really believe 4-H hurts kids or could hurt kids.  It's amazing too, that so many that cry out about animals being killed for food, actually do eat animals themselves, or animal products.  The article does show positives and negatives, so it's not totally bashing 4-H.  But, in this post, I'm focusing on those who are against it.

What people like this don't realize is that God made the animals for PEOPLE to use.  He provided them for us. That was his plan. Too many in the world have mixed it up and think that PEOPLE were created for ANIMALS.  Completely, completely false.  God said for man/woman to rule over the animals.  Care for the animals. Tend to the animals.  And after the flood, to use the animals for food.  

The fear and dread of you will fall on all the beasts of the earth, and on all the birds in the sky, on every creature that moves along the ground, and on all the fish in the sea; they are given into your hands.  Everything that lives and moves about will be food for you. Just as I gave you the green plants, I now give you everything. Genesis 9:2-3

God set man/woman apart from the animal world.  Man/woman have souls.  Animals do not. Contrary to the popular movie, "All Dogs Go to Heaven", no they don't.  In fact, NO ANIMALS go to heaven. Heaven is reserved for God's people - those who have become followers of His Son, Jesus.  

God blessed them (Adam and Eve) and said, "Be fertile, increase in number, fill the earth, and be its master. Rule the fish in the sea, the birds in the sky, and all the animals that crawl on the earth." Genesis 1:28

Sure animals bring joy to our lives, but they can also teach us things - like responsibility through the 4-H or FFA program. They teach a strong work ethic - something that is missing in many families today who want everything handed to them.  

I remember like yesterday leading my calf onto the trailer to go to market. I cried all the way there.  And then "Sam" slammed me into the side of the trailer, making my shoulder bang up to the metal side with his 1000 plus pound body.  I wasn't happy with Sam for hurting me. I was crying because he was going and crying because he was hurt.  Sam came back home in different packaging than he went on that trailer.  Our family was fed by Sam.  Sam couldn't live forever.  He had served his purpose.  Now the work and feeding program he was on during his life was benefiting my family in his death.

If I didn't care about that animal project, why would I still remember it so vividly?  I wouldn't.  I remember the good times with Sam...and that one bad time of him hurting me.  I remember all of my calves that same way.  

My children do the same with their goats and pigs.  It's a learning experience that they will take with them for the rest of their lives.  They are learning great lessons.  4-H is GOOD.  It's GREAT!  FFA is GOOD. It's GREAT!  

The  4-H and FFA programs are vital to our communities and even our cities.  I think it would be great if those who are so opposed to "farm" and "agriculture" saw how those two entities would affect the very products that are in their homes.  Almost EVERYTHING is tied to agriculture in some way.  If I could snap my fingers and make "their" stuff with ag-related products disappear, they would be shocked at what would be missing!  Ha! If only that could really happen!

So, parents....don't be afraid your child is going to be warped from joining the local 4-H club or FFA chapter.  If anything, it will make them stronger.  It will make them appreciate the things God has given to us - the things He created for us.
 
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