Unto thee, O God, do we give thanks, unto thee do we give thanks: for that thy name is near thy wondrous works declare.
"From David learn to give thanks for everything. - Every furrow in the book of Psalms is sown with seeds of thanksgiving." [Jeremy Taylor]
This post was written by my mother. After my dad's death, she has started writing some, too. This helps me in my soul searching. To help me discover more of who God wants me to be. Here is her post....
Tuesday, July 31, 2007
Posted by Lance
Labels: Writings 2
Sunday, July 29, 2007
Bring Zenas the lawyer and Apollos on their journey diligently, that nothing be wanting unto them.
Paul calls Zenas "the lawyer." The meaning of this is, that, previous to his becoming a Christian, he had been a Jewish lawyer. The lawyers were that class of Jewish teachers who were specially learned in the Mosaic Law, and who interpreted that Law, and taught it to the people.
They are met with again and again in the Gospels, where they frequently came into contact with Christ, usually in a manner hostile to Him. For example, "A certain lawyer stood up and made trial of him, saying, Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?" (Lk 10:25). our Lord replied to him on his own ground, asking, "What is written in the law? how readest thou?" Regarding this class of teachers as a whole, it is recorded that "the Pharisees and lawyers rejected for themselves the counsel of God" (Lk 7:30). The term nomikos, "lawyer," applied to Zenas, is in the Gospels varied by nomodidakalos, "a teacher of the law," and by grammateus, "a scribe": all three terms describe the same persons. Before his conversion to Christ, Zenas had been a lawyer, one of the recognized expounders of the Law of Moses.
A different view of Zenas' occupation is taken by Zahn (Introduction to the New Testament, II, 54), who says that in itself nomikos could denote a rabbi, quoting Ambrosiaster, "Because Zenas had been of this profession in the synagogue, Paul calls him by this name." But Zahn gives his own opinion that "since the Jewish scribe who became a Christian, by that very act separated himself from the rabbinic body, and since the retention of rabbinic methods and ways of thinking was anything but a recommendation in Paul's eyes (1 Tim 1:7), Zenas is here characterized, not as legis (Mosaicae), doctor, but as juris peritus. The word denotes not an office, but usually the practical lawyer, through whose assistance e.g. a will is made, or a lawsuit carried on. Plutarch applies this name to the renowned jurist Mucius Scaevola."
In whose hand is the soul of every living thing, and the breath of all mankind.
My uncle got to the point where he could not breath on his own. Unlike my father, who had COPD, he had mesothelioma. The cancer had ravaged his lungs and the rest of his body. Where once stood a strong, vitile man, a frail shadow of his former self emerged. In spite of this condition, he kept a pleasant demeanor. Always with a kind word, and a welcome greeting when you met. The man inside was untouched by the ravages done to his body. Breathing had become labored, but he tried to speak. His disposition always revealed a smile despite his ailment. A positive attitude was something he and my father had inherited from my grandmother. This mindset carried him through war in the south pacific on a naval ship, through the tough times of farm life during the great depression, and now through his final days.
What could instill such a way of thinking? What reassurance was he aware of that kept him upbeat? What hope did he have when the doctors had none for him? His life, his very breath, lay with a man that could make him whole again. This man was no doctor, but he is the great physician. Christ is that man that could make him whole again. So he laid down his tired old body, in exchange for a new one filled with light. And what disease free lungs he must now have. He's now able to shout, and shout he does. As children, being the oldest, Uncle Bob yelled at the younger children to come to supper. My grandmother alerted him first, he passed the message along to his siblings. I'm sure they heard him shout all over heaven, as he called my father to his eternal home, where his mom was waiting on him at the great supper with the lamb.
Neither can they die any more: for they are equal unto the angels; and are the children of God, being the children of the resurrection.
This is a letter that my father wrote to his seven children before his passing. I think of it as a love letter. A father's love never stops for his children, no matter how tall, how old, or how far away they are. He continues to watch over us, even from a distance as far as heaven. Here is his letter....
I love all of you;
As I write this my heart is somewhat burdened as I look back and realize how many times I have been selfish and let you down, when I could have been alot more compassionate and understanding in spite of a Father' s euphemistic desire for the very best in his children.
It was very foolish for me to expect more from you than you saw exemplified by your very unwise Father, yet, I lived in this shroud of euphemism, a fanciful world of my own, sometimes in a world of self-pity, sometimes in a world of self-incrimination.
My life became a bit cloudy after certain events came about.
Things changed, priorities kind of flip-flopped, and I had great difficulty keeping my balance to the point I could function with any degree of reality with any goal or future at heart, or as a foundation upon which I could base, my base of fundamental values and hold my course that would guide me in this sea of muddled confusion.
But, all in all, I'm very proud of you.
I'm happy to have been your father and pleased that you have shown me love.
Keep true to your values, and I pray they are of good moral healthy ones.
I don't know what the future holds, nor do I wish to, but, I have no desire to pursue any project but the short span I have, with Christ's help.
I fear not passing, I just hope some how, some way, I have helped each of you in a way or ways that may entrench you in a course of consistency toward a very happy and successful journey through life.
My witness of my church life and experience with its function remain ever steadfast, even tho, I neglected for several years the graces it offered, even knowing the wonderful satisfaction of the protection of God's own umbrella of peace and guidance; but thank God I awoke in time to clasp his Holy Hand and reclaim my heritage that my precious mother embraced.
My children have been a constant source of comfort and shared love.
In life you stumble but, God will lift you up.
Keep the faith, don't sell your spiritual life for numbers and popularity.
You guys have had the innocent pure love I so desperately needed.
At times in my life I cried out to God, you have come and put your arms around me.
Thanks, thanks, I love you so.
Ya'll were my buoy in my sea of turmoil.
Always be my children, with a big heart.I know your lives has had its bumps and lumps and I have suffered with you.
Thanks for being my children.I love you very much.
Whatever I was able to pass on to you or teach may you remember them.
Keep your values as eternal ones.
Isn't that like a stubborn father wishing the best for his children?
Your lives have been one of deprivation and depression, disappointment and tragedy.
My heart has broken for you, not only in prayer but in misery in being unable to help you, even at time I really neglected you to my sorrow.
You pretend to be tough and not care but I see your hearts.I've prayed,oh, so very much, with tears for my children.
James Gargus, My Father
Posted by Lance
Friday, July 27, 2007
and the borrower is servant to the lender.
God's Word commands us to be good stewards of our finances. Dave Ramsey and other Christian financial advisers speak on this topic. They refer to it as grandma's common sense advice. More appropriately it's a Great Depression mentality. If you can't afford it, don't buy it.
The advice continues with prepare for the worst, and pray for the best. It's not lack of faith to prepare for hard times. Joseph put food away for the coming famine according to the bible. As we should be, with what God gives us.
What happens if you lose your job? Have an emergency fund of 6 months or more. Invest in your retirement accounts to prepare a way. Save for your kid's college, and their future. Limit your debt as much as possible. Credit card companies will eat your lunch. Debt has destroyed many marriages and families. So live within your means. Don't try to keep up with the Joneses.
And most importantly remember Deuteronomy 8:17-18,"And thou say in thine heart, My power and the might of mine hand hath gotten me this wealth. But thou shalt remember the LORD thy God: for it is he that giveth thee power to get wealth.."
In that day shall there be upon the bells of the horses,
HOLINESS UNTO THE LORD;
Bells on horses symbolized the coming of someone important on horseback. Our Lord Jesus Christ will come on a white horse with bells that have inscribed on them-Holiness Unto The Lord.
Ring in the valiant man and free, The larger heart, the kindlier hand; Ring out the darkness of the land; Ring in the Christ that is to be.
Author: Lord Alfred Tennyson
In medieval times, the ringing of bells was believed necessary to chase evil spirits from doorsteps, to quiet storms at sea, or to protect a person's soul at death. Common belief was that the ringing of the bells drove away the storms bothering the ships and calmed the sea. Helping those in peril on the sea. Evil spirits such as demons standing at the foot of the bed and about the house might try to molest or harass the soul departing. The evil spirits were afraid of the bells. Thus, driving the evil spirits away. The larger and louder the bell, the further they were drove away. The custom was to baptize the bells to endow them with power to do this.
It was during this time that the custom of affixing symbols and inscriptions on bells was born. Each inscription told of the purpose for that particular bell. They were inscribed with a special prayer or to mark it with the soul of the donor.
Bells were used as early timekeepers telling villages when to eat and when to sleep and, as necessary, alerting them of dangers such as imminent invasion from opposing camps. Bells tolled whenever someone lay near death to remind the community to pray for the sick, and upon death, the bell tolled out his age. A church bell was rung as death drew near, the purpose of this "Passing Bell" was to remind people to pray for the dying. It is said that a person never forgot the sound of his village bell, no matter how many years he was away from home.
Church bells were the most popular and remembered of all bells. The ringing of the bells symbolized things and events in daily live. But also represented major changes such as a baptism, wedding, or a death.
The sound of a church bell is sincere and revered, while the rolling of several church bells is like a gallant concert for royalty. The mighty roll of bells has an effect on our inner sensitivity, arousing our souls from spiritual slumber. The sounds of the bells awakens the soul to a new life with God and runs away the feelings of hopelessness, doubt, and depression. The bells ringing was signal to come and gather at God's house. The calling to join other believers in songs of praise to God and the joy of being around others who loved God. The bells crying out to come rest from your work and troubles. A call to be at peace.
The resounding noise of bell rings as far as east is from west. All the people could hear it in the town or village. Sometimes as a warning signal of something approaching. At sea, it was given as a warning sign of poor visibility or fog.
Ringing your own bell, particularly a hand bell, was commonly used in households to summon someone. For example, to call for someone to help you if you are ill and you need a caregiver. Hand bells were paticularly used in worship settings. They were in use to play special hymns. The hand bells were utilized to make various melodies. It takes practice to make beautiful music with hand bells. At Christmas time, many songs are sung to the sound of hand bells. In past times, only holy men could touch the hand bells at the church.
Bells had symbolic meaning. A bell together with an hour glass means transitoriness, an impermanence that suggests the inevitability of ending or dying. Before the advent of the chronometer, time at sea was measured by the trickle of sand through a half - hour glass. One of the ship’s boys had the duty of watching the glass and turning it when the sand had run out. When he turned the glass, he struck the bell as a signal that he had performed this vital function. From this ringing of the bell as the glass was turned evolved the tradition of striking the bell once at the end of the first half hour of a four hour watch, twice after the first hour, etc., until eight bells marked the end of the four hour watch. The process was repeated for the succeeding watches. This age-old practice of sounding the bell on the hour and half hour has its place in the ship's daily routine. A tolling of keeping time. As many church bells in their towers mark the hour through out the day. Stopping only at night at most churches. An hour glass representing the passage of time. The bell marking the time each hour by the hour glass until the last toll of the bell for the day.
God's protection is even symbolized in the shape of a diver's bell. The shape protecting the diver on a deep dive.
My father wrote on his deathbed about bells. He wrote of heaven's bells as,"A bell can't be a bell till you ring it." Writing this on a tablet with his trembling hands. All a day or two before his death.
I believe his bell was rung with his name on it. He had to ring it personally to send his prayer inscribed on it to God. Calling him to help him at that dark point in his life. To cause the demons to flee from him and take their whisperings of fears and doubt with them. Calming the storms that had come against his soul. The closer the light of Christ came the louder the bell tolled. Driving the dark ones farther away. Ringing that one last toll himself to mark the end of time as he knew it. Calling him to God's holy place where time is no more. Where the hour glass is broken and no more telling the bell to toll out time. The bell called him to take his rest in the holiest of holy. The darkness was over. Time to sing the praises to God with the others whose bells had finally tolled. Our last prayers had been spoken on his behalf. Now he spoke directly with God. Before him he stood a holy man ringing out songs with his voice and maybe even hand bells to the most wondrous orchestra ever known.
This is just one of many things he wrote and told us preceding his death. He exclaimed of stories of sounds, visions, and love our Savior let him behold to encourage him. But also in my clumsy way to try to share this with you. He told me that I had to strike the bell to hear the tones of the bell for myself. Lord, may my own personal bell be rung for you, thus, ringing me home.
His mother rung a dinner bell to call him home. He answered the call. Our heavenly father rings a bell for us calling us home. We ring our bell signaling him were ready to go home.
Ring the bells of heaven, dad. Ring the bells of heaven.
For Whom the Bell Tolls
PERCHANCE he for whom this bell tolls may be so ill, as that he knows not it tolls for him; and perchance I may think myself so much better than I am, as that they who are about me, and see my state, may have caused it to toll for me, and I know not that. The church is Catholic, universal, so are all her actions; all that she does belongs to all. When she baptizes a child, that action concerns me; for that child is thereby connected to that body which is my head too, and ingrafted into that body whereof I am a member.
And when she buries a man, that action concerns me: all mankind is of one author, and is one volume; when one man dies, one chapter is not torn out of the book, but translated into a better language; and every chapter must be so translated; God employs several translators; some pieces are translated by age, some by sickness, some by war, some by justice; but God's hand is in every translation, and his hand shall bind up all our scattered leaves again for that library where every book shall lie open to one another. As therefore the bell that rings to a sermon calls not upon the preacher only, but upon the congregation to come, so this bell calls us all; but how much more me, who am brought so near the door by this sickness.
There was a contention as far as a suit (in which both piety and dignity, religion and estimation, were mingled), which of the religious orders should ring to prayers first in the morning; and it was determined, that they should ring first that rose earliest. If we understand aright the dignity of this bell that tolls for our evening prayer, we would be glad to make it ours by rising early, in that application, that it might be ours as well as his, whose indeed it is.
The bell doth toll for him that thinks it doth; and though it intermit again, yet from that minute that this occasion wrought upon him, he is united to God.
Who casts not up his eye to the sun when it rises? but who takes off his eye from a comet when that breaks out? Who bends not his ear to any bell which upon any occasion rings? but who can remove it from that bell which is passing a piece of himself out of this world? No man is an island, entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main.
If a clod be washed away by the sea, Europe is the less, as well as if a promontory were, as well as if a manor of thy friend's or of thine own were: any man's death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind, and therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee.
Neither can we call this a begging of misery, or a borrowing of misery, as though we were not miserable enough of ourselves, but must fetch in more from the next house, in taking upon us the misery of our neighbours.
Truly it were an excusable covetousness if we did, for affliction is a treasure, and scarce any man hath enough of it.
No man hath affliction enough that is not matured and ripened by it, and made fit for God by that affliction.
If a man carry treasure in bullion, or in a wedge of gold, and have none coined into current money, his treasure will not defray him as he travels.
Tribulation is treasure in the nature of it, but it is not current money in the use of it, except we get nearer and nearer our home, heaven, by it.
Another man may be sick too, and sick to death, and this affliction may lie in his bowels, as gold in a mine, and be of no use to him; but this bell, that tells me of his affliction, digs out and applies that gold to me: if by this consideration of another's danger I take mine own into contemplation, and so secure myself, by making my recourse to my God, who is our only security.
Wednesday, July 25, 2007
Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice:
The best remedy for a short temper is a long walk. ~Jacqueline Schiff
There was a little boy with a bad temper. His father gave him a bag of nails and told him that every time he lost his temper, to hammer a nail in the back fence.
The first day the boy had driven 37 nails into the fence. Then it gradually dwindled down. He discovered it was easier to hold his temper than to drive those nails into the fence.
Finally the day came when the boy didn't lose his temper at all. He told his father about it and the father suggested that the boy now pull out one nail for each day that he was able to hold his temper.
The days passed and the young boy was finally able to tell his father that all the nails were gone.
The father took his son by the hand and led him to the fence.
You have done well, my son, but look at the holes in the fence. The fence will never be the same. When you say things in anger, they leave a scar just like this one. You can put a knife in a man and draw it out, it won't matter how many times you say "I'm sorry," the wound is still there. A verbal wound is as bad as a physical one.
For our anger and short temper Christ took a long walk to control it; all the way to Calvary. He let angry men put him on a cross with three, rusty nails. And as the nails were pulled out anger had been conquered. His scars like the fence are there cause of our anger to remind us of the cost. Love is stronger than hate.
He that is slow to anger is better than the mighty; and he that ruleth his spirit than he that taketh a city.
Tuesday, July 24, 2007
Monday, July 23, 2007
As legend has it, the cross on which Jesus was crucified was made from a dogwood tree.When Christ was on earth, the dogwood grew to a very large size. Its branches were strong, and for Christ's cross, its timber was chosen.
Being distressed at the use of this wood, Christ made a promise that never again shall the Dogwood tree be large, but would have slender and twisted limbs, with cross-shaped blossoms. Thus, the dogwood tree is small. It could never be used for a cross again. The petals would have four bloodstains marked in each flower, representing the nails that were driven in His hands and feet, the petals also make the shape of a cross and in the center of the blossom would be a crown of thorns with bright red, clustered fruit representing the blood of Christ. The lovely tree and blooms bear symbolic signs of how the greatest love of all mankind was slain. This, to be a reminder that all who looks at the tree will remember Christ and the pain He endured.
He was a morning person. Getting up in a good mood. I, on the other hand, got up like I was rising from the dead. Good morning, sunshine, he would laugh. I would just mumble something like I miss my bed or why does morning have to come so early. Always a teaser and practical joker at times.
In the pulpit, he liked to mix in a little humor from time to time. He took situations and turned them around with humor. One Sunday morning, a little boy just kept throwing a temper tantrum during one of his sermons. Every time he tried to speak the boy got louder. The mother had finally had enough and picked the boy up. Taking her son out of the auditorium. The whole congregation turned and stared at the woman leaving with the boy. The child looking back at everyone. You could hear everyone whispering about why does she allow her child to act like that and so on. My dad saw an opportunity to lighten the mood and bring everyone back to the sermon. He smiled that warm smile. Getting tickled before he even spoke.
Let me tell you a story of a little boy just like that. Everyone listened expecting to hear something very serious. In the story he told of the little boy acting up in church and the mother carrying him out. He said,"As the little boy looked back at the people with a sad look. He spoke these words. Y'all pray for me; you hear." The congregation began to laugh. With that small chance, he turned everything around with his wit.
Doctors say laughter is the best medicine. It relieves stress and helps you live longer. My father lived a long full life. His life was not without sorrow though. But when he went to Christ the joy that no one can steal came back to his heart.
Sunday, July 22, 2007
My soul longeth, yea, even fainteth for the courts of the LORD: my heart and my flesh crieth out for the living God.
Yea, the sparrow hath found an house, and the swallow a nest for herself, where she may lay her young, even thine altars, O LORD of hosts, my King, and my God.
Verily I say unto you, Whosoever shall not receive the kingdom of God as a little child, he shall not enter therein.
And he took them up in his arms, put his hands upon them, and blessed them.
The soul is healed by being with children.
Author: English Proverb
This is a story of a father with his two children. As he was showing his daughter of about 5-7 years of age photos in a photo album she inquired about who the people were."Are all these my family members?" she inquired."Yes," was the father's response back,"Aunts, Uncles, Cousins, Grandpas and Grandmas,too." "Wow, that's alot of family. Where are all of our families' pictures?" she asked while little hands picked up images of long ago and looked at them. "Well, it is like this," the father explained,"the pictures we have are all on discs and then we put the digital pictures on the computer. This way we will have them forever. Never having to worry about them wearing out or tearing up with time." The daughter nodded her head in agreement. But then looking down at the picture she held and remarked,"Daddy, I like pictures I can pick up and hold best."
Looking around he saw his son enter the room. Toddling that toddle that two years do toward him. "UHHNN, UUHHNN pick me up," coming from a small, gentle voice. He looked down at him and saw his son wanting in his lap to look, just like his daughter was. Reaching down to pick up his son to put the boy on his knee he realized something. A voice spoke inside his head and echoed a small, hidden truth."Pick them up and hold them," for the man's children are just like the pictures were to his daughter. He sat there with them on each knee sharing the past with them together. In that small moment, the Holy Spirit through his daughter's voice had revealed something to him. He felt such love holding them.
He remembered how he felt being picked up and held as a child. Recalling the love he felt around him. The warmth of being held by his heavenly father and earthly father. A tear came to his eye to streak down his face. His daughter looked up with big, blue eyes and saw the tear rolling down his face. Answering his tears, she wrapped her arms around his neck. "I love you, Daddy." His toddler saw this and responded in kind. Wrapping his arms around him now. Both covering him in kisses. Tears swelled up in blurry eyes again. He thinks to himself, "This is worth it. All the long hours and sleepless nights. All the skinned knees and loud cries. Even with the heartaches that lay ahead. Pick them up and hold them. This is worth it. Oh, how it is worth it." There's something about being able to feel and hold something in your hands that makes you appreciate it more. Makes it more real to you.
The times that our Heavenly Father held us in His hands are innumerable. We feel His presence and the overwhelming love of a father. I think when we reciprocate this love back that he responds with these words,"It was worth it. Oh, it was worth it."
Saturday, July 21, 2007
And there was a certain beggar named Lazarus, which was laid at his gate, full of sores,
And desiring to be fed with the crumbs which fell from the rich man's table: moreover the dogs came and licked his sores.
And it came to pass, that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels into Abraham's bosom: the rich man also died, and was buried;
And in hell he lift up his eyes, being in torments, and seeth Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom.
And he cried and said, Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus, that he may dip the tip of his finger in water, and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame.
But Abraham said, Son, remember that thou in thy lifetime receivedst thy good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things: but now he is comforted, and thou art tormented.
And beside all this, between us and you there is a great gulf fixed: so that they which would pass from hence to you cannot; neither can they pass to us, that would come from thence.
Thursday, July 19, 2007
Charity is just like it sounds. It's love of your neighbor and love of God above one's own wants.
In addition, Paul explains in 1 Corinthians, 13, that Charity is the greatest gift from God. Charity is about giving of oneself. When Jesus died on the cross, it wasn't about anything other than Charity.
1 Cor 13:4-7 Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up, Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil; Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth; Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things. And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity.
Joy is the happiness found in being united with the Lord. As C.S. Lewis described it, it is a glimpse of the perfect happiness of heaven that leads us to desire heaven.
Peace refers to being content with the world and God. And having no animosity toward any.
Goodness is the tendency to avoid sin and pursue good.
Generosity is an willingness to sharing one's own gifts and goods with others. It is the opposite of both gluttony and envy.
Gentleness, also known as mildness, is the tendency to allow provocations and attacks to go unanswered.
Faithfulness is the standing strong in faith, and strength against anything that comes your way.
The Spirit of the LORD shall rest upon Him, The Spirit of wisdom and understanding, The Spirit of counsel and might, The Spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the LORD. His delight is in the fear of the LORD, And He shall not judge by the sight of His eyes, Nor decide by the hearing of His ears;
for to one is given the word of wisdom through the Spirit, to another the word of knowledge through the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healings by the same Spirit, to another the working of miracles, to another prophecy, to another discerning of spirits, to another different kinds of tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues.
Wednesday, July 18, 2007
And he took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, "This is my body given for you; do this in remembrance of me."
and when he had given thanks, he broke it and said, "This is my body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of me."
1 Corinthians 11:24
"Though my soul may set in darkness, it will rise in perfect light; I have loved the stars too fondly to be fearful of the night." ---Sarah Williams
He "Christ," broke and blessed the bread.
He "Christ," gave it to the disciples.
(Symbolically) take-eat,"this (experience) (this occasion) and remember-I gave my very life for you.
Why could He not let his disciples break and pass it? I believe because He was demonstrating His humility. "Let he who would be master, be the servant of all." He did surely give His life a ransom for-all.
His life was one sacrifice after another, from restraining Himself in times of provocation, to the discipline of 40 days in the wilderness-to the disregarding of pangs of hunger and thirst and Satan's temptations, to the Lord forgive them at the cross and refusal to save himself physically.
Why did He want them to remember Him?
It was not necessarily because He was the son of God, though that was important, but what He did with His life!
He was and ever is the prime exemplar.
When you come together, it is not the Lord's Supper you eat, 1 Corinthians 11:20
They were eating the Lord's supper like it was a festival in the church. Ignoring its significance in 1st Corinthians. To do in remembrance of Him.
Blessed is the cup of wine, drink ye all of it!
A lukewarm, part time service will not do it!Drink ye all of it, or none at all--and remember-and if we believe, and we remember, we will drink all of it.
This is what He wished them and us to remember His life as He lived it!
They were very sad and began to say to him one after the other, "Surely not I, Lord?"Matthew 26:22
Isn't that what we all say? Not I Lord. Do we learn our lesson of The Last Supper and take it to heart.
The lessons of humility, the lesson in seeing these events as examples, the life lesson: the long loving duty of all day long enduring adverse conditions, the lesson of suffering, the lesson of not griping and complaining, and the lesson in not only living right but the lesson on dying with complete honor.
by James Gargus
Tuesday, July 17, 2007
Monday, July 16, 2007
Then they cried out with a loud voice, and stopped their ears, and ran upon him with one accord,
And cast him out of the city, and stoned him: and the witnesses laid down their clothes at a young man's feet, whose name was Saul.
And they stoned Stephen, calling upon God, and saying, Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.
And he kneeled down, and cried with a loud voice, Lord, lay not this sin to their charge. And when he had said this, he fell asleep.
"Ours is the seed-time; God alone Beholds the end of what is sown;Beyond our vision, weak and dim,The harvest time is his with Him." --Whittier.
"What sought they thus afar?Bright jewels of the mine?The wealth of seas, the spoils of war?They sought at faith's pure shrine.Aye! call it holy ground,The soil where first they trod,They've left unstained what there they found--Freedom to worship God."
The corruption of the established church was rampant in France. There were those who opposed these teachings. Man had a right to read God's word himself instead of taking the priest's word. He did not need a priest to intercede for him for forgiveness of sins.The church was also corrupted by power and money. Taking upon them the pre-forgiveness of sins. Paying a sum of money for forgiveness before committing the sin. That was the final straw. Those opposed to these teachings were labeled heretics. They came to be called Huguenots.
They were French Protestants most of whom eventually came to follow the teachings of John Calvin, and who, due to religious persecution, were forced to flee France to other countries in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. The new "Reformed religion" practiced by many members of the French nobility and social middle-class, based on a belief in salvation through individual faith without the need for the intercession of a church hierarchy and on the belief in an individual's right to interpret scriptures for themselves, placed these French Protestants in direct theological conflict with both the Catholic Church and the King of France in the theocratic system which prevailed at that time. Followers of this new Protestantism were soon accused of heresy against the Catholic government and the established religion of France, and a General Edict urging extermination of these heretics (Huguenots) was issued in 1536.
Since the Huguenots of France were in large part artisans, craftsmen, and professional people, they were usually well-received in the countries to which they fled for refuge when religious discrimination or overt persecution caused them to leave France. Most of them went initially to Germany, the Netherlands, and England among other countries, although some found their way eventually to places as remote as South Africa. Considerable numbers of Huguenots migrated to British North America, especially to the Carolinas, Virginia, Pennsylvania, and New York. Their character and talents in the arts, sciences, and industry were such that they are generally felt to have been a substantial loss to the French society from which they had been forced to withdraw, and a corresponding gain to the communities and nations into which they settled.
The exact origin of the word Huguenot is unknown, but many consider it to be a combination of Flemish and German. Protestants who met to study the Bible in secret were called Huis Genooten, meaning "house fellows." They were also referred to as Eid Genossen, or "oath fellows" meaning persons bound by an oath.
The First Martyr
It is impossible to even refer to the many struggles of the Huguenots through the dark centuries embraced in their history. We can only in a general way point out some of the leading events. Jean Le Clerk, one of the earliest reformers of Meaux, permitting his zeal to exceed his discretion, entered several Catholic churches, broke images and posted placards denouncing the corruptions of the Pope and church. For this he was apprehended, condemned as a heretic, and burned at the stake in the city of Metz in 1525. He was the first conspicuous martyr of the Huguenots. Notwithstanding the great persecutions which were now instituted the Protestants continued to increase in numbers and influence.
So large was the numbers of those martyred it equaled in the thousands. My ancestors Matthiew Garrigues and his wife were among those that fled France. One version was later to be changed to my families spelling of Gargus. My other family members stood among those who were martyred and knew friends who refused to renounce their faith at the cost of their lives.
Making their way eventually to America to enjoy religious freedom. This ancestry makes me appreciate the freedom that I have to worship God. But it also makes me think would I have the courage to stand up in the face of death and speak. To speak out against corruption by money and greed infecting the church. To hold fast to my faith even till death. My soul searches for an answer and none comes. May the God who strenghtened my ancestors in their dark history strengthen me.
I am my beloved's and my beloved is mine. Song of Solomon 2:16
With this ring I thee wed, with my body I thee worship, and with all my worldly goods I thee endow.- Book of Common Prayer
Open your bible to anywhere in it. Then take a wedding ring and place it on end inside the bible between the pages. Put some light behind the ring. Notice the shadow that it casts. It looks like a heart shape. Neat trick or is it something more?
The story behind the wedding band is a unique one.The ring symbolizes seeing the circular band with no break representing eternity and love, endless devotion, with no beginning and no end. Even the ring hole has the meaning of a door to events known and unknown for two committed to each other. It being placed on the third finger of the left hand, in the belief that a vein - called the vena amoris in Latin - ran directly from that finger to the heart, hence the vein of love. In medieval England, a bridegroom would slide the ring part way up his bride's thumb, index and middle finger, saying "In the name of the father, the son, and the holy ghost" as he passed each one. He then put the ring on the next available finger - the third finger of the left hand. In the middle ages, rings were inscribed inside with poems or love messages and continued to be popular through Victorian times. Inscriptions inside wedding bands endure to this day.
It comes right down to two souls and two hearts becoming one through God. Place your marriage in God's word, let the light of Christ shine through, and love will cast it's shadow over your union.
Posted by Lance
And the son said unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and in thy sight, and am no more worthy to be called thy son.
But the father said to his servants, Bring forth the best robe, and put it on him; and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet:
And bring hither the fatted calf, and kill it; and let us eat, and be merry:
For this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found. And they began to be merry.
Posted by Lance
Friday, July 13, 2007
My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you.
Now that you have purified yourselves by obeying the truth so that you have sincere love for your brothers, love one another deeply, from the heart.
Show proper respect to everyone: Love the brotherhood of believers, fear God, honor the king.
1 Peter 2:17
Finally, all of you, live in harmony with one another; be sympathetic, love as brothers, be compassionate and humble.
1 Peter 3:8
Above all, love each other deeply,
1 Peter 4:8
and to godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, love.
2 Peter 1:7
This is how we know who the children of God are and who the children of the devil are: Anyone who does not do what is right is not a child of God; nor is anyone who does not love his brother.
This is the message you heard from the beginning: We should love one another.
We know that we have passed from death to life, because we love our brothers. Anyone who does not love remains in death.
This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers.
If anyone has material possessions and sees his brother in need but has no pity on him, how can the love of God be in him?
Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth.
And this is his command: to believe in the name of his Son, Jesus Christ, and to love one another as he commanded us.
1 John 3
Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God.
Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.
No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.
If anyone says, "I love God," yet hates his brother, he is a liar. For anyone who does not love his brother, whom he has seen, cannot love God, whom he has not seen.
And he has given us this command: Whoever loves God must also love his brother.
1 John 4
I ask that we love one another.
2 John 1:5
Whoever loves his brother lives in the light
1 John 2:10
Therefore encourage one another and build each other up....
always try to be kind to each other
1 Thessalonians 5:13 and 15
and the love every one of you has for each other is increasing.
for you yourselves have been taught by God to love each other.
1 Thessalonians 4:9
Love must be sincere. Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Honor one another above yourselves.
If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal.
If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing.
If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames,but have not love, I gain nothing.
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.
It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.
Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away.....
But the greatest of these is love.
the love of most will grow cold,
Oh Jesus, they have built these churches for the sake of their own glory, and embellished them with silk and melted gold. . . . They left the bodies of Thy chosen poor wrapped in tattered raiment in the cold night. . . . They filled the sky with the smoke of burning candles and incense and left the bodies of Thy faithful worshipers empty of bread. . . . They raised their voices with hymns of praise, but deafened themselves to the cry and moan of the widows and orphans. Come again, Oh Living Jesus, and drive the vendors of Thy faith from Thy sacred temple, for they have turned it into a dark cave where vipers of hypocrisy and falsehood crawl and abound.
Kahlil Gibran(1883 - 1931)
Source: Wisdom of Gibran
In our eyes, what do others see? Do they see love? Have we lost our love for our brothers and sister in Christ? Do we select little cliques and groups and push others away in His house? How is the house also seperated? Seperated not just in doctrine but rich/poor, between races, countries, you name it. We find any reason to distinquish ourselves from other believers. Why do we do this? We are in the Laodecian chuch age.
One of the most frightening group of verses in the Bible are found in Rev 3:14-19, when Christ is talking to the Church of Laodicea. He is addressing the people of a city known for its wealth. But despite its financial prosperity, it was spiritually impoverished. He says to the people "You are neither cold nor hot. I wish that you were either cold or hot. So because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I am about to spit you out of My mouth. For you say 'I am rich, I have prospered, and I need nothing.' You don’t realize that you are wretched, pitiable, poor, blind, and naked." What’s frightening about this statement is that most people in this world who call themselves Christians are lukewarm. Yes we might go to church on Sundays, make an appearance, and think to ourselves, hey, I don’t sell drugs, I haven’t killed anybody, I never robbed a bank, I even give to charities. But think what Christ is saying here "I am rich, I have prospered, and I need nothing." Not too many years ago, the Dow Jones average had a tough time breaking 1000. Since then, it has been over 10,000. IRAs have come into the picture, and many typical people have savings well into the six figures. And every average neighborhood seems to have a quiet millionaire living in it. But with all this prosperity also comes a falling away from God.
There is a group of prophecies in Zechariah 6:1-8 that I think ties in with Revelation 3:14-19. In the Zechariah prophecy there are four different colored horses with chariots that are sent out across the earth. Although these horses resemble the four horses in the book of Revelation, don’t mix them up, the Revelation prophecy has not taken place as of yet, but the prophecy in Zechariah, Chapter 6, has already been fulfilled. In these prophecies, two of the horses, the black followed by the white, go to the "north country." Then comes the statement "Behold these that go to the north country have quieted My Spirit in the north country." What I believe God is saying here is that the black horses are Capitalism and prosperity, and that the north country represents Europe, the United States and Canada. Then the white horses follow, which I believe are false religions and idol worship, and will hinder God’s Spirit in the rich north countries. All these north countries are basically Christian, and due to the great riches of these countries, many false religions have popped up. I believe most people are worshiping money more than God. Money seems to be the Number 1 idol, and pride is another idol.
As for the other two sets of horses, the dappled gray go to the south, and the red patrol back and forth across the earth. The dapple grays I believe are poverty, disease and hunger. They go to the southern area of the globe, such as Africa and South America, where the economy isn’t so good, along with famine, starvation, and widespread disease. The red horses represent war and unrest, and as they patrol back and forth across the earth, war follows. God foretold 2500 years ago in Zech 6:1-8, what the economy and situations would be like in the northern and southern areas of the globe.
Now Jesus understood riches, luxury and opulence can become idols, creating a false sense of security. They bestow a power that can easily drive a person to arrogance, cheating and selfishness. For this reason, Jesus said wealth posed a challenge to the spirit. It was harder for a rich person to fulfill his true purpose in life than for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle (Matt 19:24). Which brings us back to Rev 3:14-19 "So because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I am about to spit you out of my mouth." Here we have God Himself condemning us, for worshiping money and other idols, instead of worshiping Him. We have become whitewashed tombs, which look beautiful on the outside but on the inside are full of dead men's bones" (Matthew 23:27). We have turned our churches into social clubs.
John the beloved knew about love. He stood by his friend. We cannot even be corjual to each other. We won't speak to others treating them like they have leprosy or something. Speak only when spoken too is our mantra. And even then we can't wait to get away from that person talking. Uncaring about their troubles or cares. Lukewarm is what we have become. Cold and unfeeling are we. Sour looks upon our faces. Come on my christian sisters and brothers we are suppose to be so loving and kind to each other.We have little family cliques others cannot enter. We are so unloving toward each other, how can we love those who are not believers. They see this among us. "House of hypocrites are they," is their taunt. How not very far from those words are we. We are supposed to love everyone that come through those doors and mean it. We should not have that phoney love but agape love. We have lost our natural affection. Let's quit trying to be the church big shot or compete to see who runs the show.
What has happened to Christian brotherly love?
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