Monday, December 29, 2014

Wisdom comes in all ages.

The fear of death follows from the fear of life.
A man who lives fully, is prepared to die at any time.

Mark Twain

Our three year old grandson, Austin told me the other day he wanted to die and  go to heaven.  Then he asked,  Grandma are you going to die and go to heaven? I assured him I was.  What amazed me was his lack of fear of dying and heaven.  After reading  the quote above I think I understand.   

He has no fear of life.

He gets up every day knowing his needs will be met even though he understands nothing of what it takes to meet his needs.    Austin is full of life that spills out of him in laughter and giggles with plenty of hugs and words of love.   He is always ready for the next adventure with his Grandpa, whether it be a walk to the park or a new game to play.  
Does Austin understand fully what death is...of course not,  but then do I understand it fully?   I think Austin thinks "death" is just part of "life".

Two thousand and fourteen had some great lessons but I think this was the best, taught by a sweet ginger headed three year old. 

What was you favorite lesson of 2014?

Monday, December 15, 2014

Gift That Was Nailed To The Tree

( This is a re-post from a couple of years ago and these two grandchildren have a one and half year old brother to unwrap gifts with them. Should be a joy to watch)

  Nothing like a wrapped present to build excitement in the heart of a child.  Our three and five year old grandchildren , Austin and Emarie, ask us every time they are over if they can open their presents.  Ace and I get excited too for we know what the presents are and we know they will love them.    They did not shop for their gifts or pay for it,  we did, it's theirs, free and clear.  We don't expect them to pay us back, or buy us something in return.  

You know I am still excited over the gift I opened on Oct. 20th,  1980. In fact I want to give this gift to all I meet.  Instead of being under a tree this gift was nailed to a old rugged cross,  it's package of flesh torn and bleeding.  The bow made into a crown of thorns dug into the wrapping.  There was nothing pretty about the package and the way it was presented.  Yet it contain everything to give me eternal life. 

 I believe God the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit gets excited when ever this gift is presented to someone.  They wait, hoping it will be accepted.  

There is no plainer truth taught in the Word of God than salvation being a “free gift” (Romans 5:15,18; 6:23). If I were to offer you a Christmas present, but with the stipulation that you must be willing to take a bath, it would not be a gift. Why? Because I have clearly implied that I expect you to take a bath to get the present. A gift is defined as something given voluntarily without any payment in return. 

The thief had nails through both hands, so that he could not work; and a nail through each foot, so that he could not run errands for the Lord; he could not lift a hand or a foot toward his salvation, and yet Christ offered him the gift of God; and he took it. Christ threw him a passport, and took him into Paradise. D.L. Moody (don't you just love this quote?)

One more quote from Mary DeMuth book, Everything. 

We cannot fully satisfy a holy God. Our redemption is an outrageous, initiating act accomplished by God alone. He pursued humanity to such an extent that His feet landed on earth, and He chased after us until He rescued us at the cross. We did not climb onto those wooden beams. We could not receive the nails that pierced those holy hands. We who are not kingly wore no crown. We could not drink the cup of God wrath. "For while we were still helpless, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. Rom. 5:6. God did what we could not . He sent His beautifully sinless Son to take our place, to satisfy for all time God's wrath upon sin. "For our sake He made Him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God. II Cor. 5:21
God transforms, He creates, He  thinks otherworldly thoughts,  He dares to redeem an obstinate world. If we camp in that place, remembering the gift we could never, ever pay back, we will live astonished lives, and our growth will be the best kind---the kind that emerges from gratitude, from thinking rightly about God.

What a gift!

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Mix Matched

Mix match, shabby chic, hodge podge, a little of this and a little of that, all words that would describe most of how I have lived my life. Growing up there was so little of the mix matched in our house that poor described our life best.  Way back then I was determined  not live with mix matched things when I set my own house up.

 Like most newlyweds we started our life with mostly mixed match things,  a furnished apartment with others cast offs.  There finally came a point when we could  afford to buy our own furniture, all matching in color and style.  Here's the thing though...happiness and contentment does not come with having matching furniture or clothes.

  In the decorating world mixing and matching items can be good.  Mix match faith is whole other thing.   The Bible is full of warnings about mixing our faith in Him with other gods.  Some people take the verse in Deuteronomy 5:7 that states we are not to have any gods "before" God and  think we can worship Allah or Ram or any idol as long as we give our first priority to God.  Verse 8 clarify that thought. In this verse we learn that God forbids the making or the worshipping of any graven images.  So the answer to the question above is a big 'NO'. We are not to worship anything/anyone that we make god by our hands or perhaps by our imaginations or experiences.  God is a jealous God and does not want us mixing Him with our own aims and ambitions, or anything we crave or anyone we long for more than God Himself.  

There is movement that is as old as time, and still making a hard push for the hearts of people and it starts with a lie just as it did when satan told Eve, you will not die if you eat of the forbidden fruit, you will be like God.  I have been doing some studying on this movement to give me tools to witness to those trapped in it.  Below is some of what I have discovered about the NAM, New Age Movement.  

What exactly is the New Age? Impossible to narrow down, the New Age is actually a vast smorgasbord ( mix and match) of beliefs and practices. Each New Ager fills his tray with whatever assortment fits his appetite. All is liberally seasoned with self-centeredness. It's really a Have-It-Your-Way religion – thus its modern appeal.
Although there are many branches of New Age thought –-here are some of the typical beliefs. 
      God is in everything (pantheism) 
      All things are one (monism)
      Man is God
      Mind creates reality
      One’s own experience validates the truth
New Agers do not usually believe in evil. Therefore, they do not accept man's problem as separation by sin from God. Instead, they believe that each of us has forgotten his or her own divinity. Therefore, the New Age solution is to seek "higher consciousness" through meditation, breathing exercises, yoga, diet, crystals, channeling. spirit guides, and more. Each of these diverse practices has the same purpose: to awaken the god in man.

A true understanding of New Age practices makes one thing clear: Eastern practices cannot be blended into Christianity to produce something better. New Agers are Universalists, believing that all paths lead to God. They fault Christians for being intolerant and narrow-minded. But God's word anticipates this: "Enter the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the path that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it." (Matthew 7:13, NIV)

Here is a five-step approach to discussing Jesus with new Agers:
1. Whom do you believe Jesus is?
2. Whom did Jesus say He is?
3. What did Jesus say about other spiritual paths?
  • "No one comes to the Father except through me" (John 14:6).
4. Jesus was either who he said He was or He was a fraud. Given His claims, we can't logically believe he was only a great teacher, for He would have been teaching falsehood rather than truth (this is an argument by C. S. Lewis).
5. Jesus alone is "the way, the truth, and the life" (John 14:6).
New Agers are in a lot of confusion. That's because they haven't found the Truth, but only what fits into the spiritual perspective they have constructed. As in the Garden of Eden, the lie has never changed.
But neither has the Truth.
(the above is from several sermons and articles I read online, all give permission to share)

I have been challenge in my search to understand what the NAM believes.  Challenged to know God's Word better.   Really challenged to not live a mix and match faith before other. To be clear and not confusing about what the bible says.   To love others as Christ loved, to give out this invitation to know the creator of the universe, the one True God.

                                Any thoughts on the New Age Movement?