Friday, September 28, 2012

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As a vintage person, over the years through trial and error, I have come to realize that we must always look on the bright side. The Lord gives us joy, in one way or another, in everything we encounter. Today we are presented with many challenges, not the least being the end of this age. The end times can bring about two possibilities:

1. We can fear these times and be depressed about them.

2. We can believe that God is in control, and delight that His plan is for our eventual good.

All my life I have been accused of being ‘up’ all the time. Because of this, I have not suffered with many mental disease states brought on by being a pessimist. The joy of the Lord is my strength. I do my best to listen carefully to the voice of the Lord, so that ‘none of these diseases’ would be brought on me.

I have always done my best to present myself to others as ‘up’ and it usually is infectious. The Lord will give you joy if you seek it, and as you exude it, others around you will want it also. This is the secret of the prosperity gospel. Feeling good is contagious. Would you rather be, or be around, a sad pessimist or a happy optimist? Who would your friends rather be around? Put on a happy face. Laughter is the best medicine. A positive outlook can build you up and a negative attitude can bring you down. We should always look for the silver lining in every cloud. God doesn’t want you down; He wants you to be filled with His joy.

Your body will follow the direction of your attitude. Physical illness can be helped by a positive attitude. Emotional illness needs to, and can be overcome by a positive attitude. This can be a long process, but you have to take the first step. All things work together for good for those who trust in the Lord. Trusting in the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. He didn’t design us to be Mr. or Mrs. Droopy. He designed us to have His peace and joy. God said He would never leave you of forsake you. Considering that the Holy Spirit dwells within you, are you delighting in Him, or are you dragging Him down to the point that it’s harder for Him to help you?

You don’t need to present a fake joy to others. If you trust in the Lord, and view life through God’s eyes you will exude it. It will be impossible to hide your joy from others. When you don’t feel your best, you have to tell yourself what the Bible says: ‘It came to pass’ and ‘all things work together for good for those who trust in the Lord’. How do you gain that trust? You get into the Word of God. Start with tiny steps and He will build up your stride. (But I, I can’t, I don’t see how, I can’t overlook : bull hockey.) Until you try, you will never see if it works or not.

I am not saying to fake your feelings to others – what I am saying is that you should display outwardly whatever good things you have, to others and yourself. A small positive attitude will grow if you dwell on the positive: not that you present yourself as ‘all is good and nothing can get me down’, simply that you convince yourself, or become convinced, that the Lord is on your side and nothing can overcome His love for you. Saint Paul and the boys had some really hard circumstances to overcome. They were jailed, beaten, scourged, stoned and suffered great rejection. Having the joy of the Lord in their hearts, they were able to survive these circumstances and even sing hymns while chained up in a dark prison. Some, at the point of their death, said the equivalent of ‘I am sorry that I only have one life to give for my Lord’. In order to act joyful, you must be joyful. If you have the joy of the Lord in your heart, nothing can overcome that joy. A solid foundation, gained from the word of God, will control your thoughts and actions; because of the joy you have gained through your knowledge of Him. The best way to show this inner joy to your friends is not to flaunt it, but rather to let them see it in your actions and attitude.

I have seen the difference between true Holy Laughter and the fake holy laughter, in the mind control of the evil one. True Holy Laughter brings joy, and comes from the joy of the Lord; not the ‘I want to go along with the crowd’ mentality.

Modern medicine has proven that laughter, and a joyful heart, bring about healing (proverbs 17:22 says: A merry heart does good like a medicine). God has designed our bodies to react physically to our emotions. He can help us to divert our negative emotions in a positive way. If you are filled with the joy of the Lord, you won’t be filled with sorrow and frustration. Some times, however, the Lord’s Spirit in us needs to be refilled, because we leak (be being filled). Seek His will for your life, by diligent study, and your spirit will be built up (refilled). Faith is the substance of things not seen, but rather that the Lord is in charge. There is a spiritual battle in each of us and in the world at large. We need to seek God and His will for our lives. If there is no seeking, everything is stagnant. We battle not with flesh and blood, but rather with principalities and powers. What we have on our side is that the Lord is ‘Lord of all’, which is stronger than what we are fighting.

What we need to keep foremost in our minds, is the Joy of the Lord.

I've got the joy, joy, joy, joy down in my heart
Down in my heart!
Down in my heart!
I've got the joy, joy, joy, joy down in my heart
Down in my heart to stay!

The joy is always there. What we have to do, sometimes, is to find it and put it to use.

Rick Rahn

Saturday, September 22, 2012

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The Love Of My Life

When my wife first came to my attention, she didn’t know about it. I fell in love, absolutely and unendingly in love. It was on the school bus to and from Milford Mill High School, in Baltimore County, Maryland. She was in the eleventh grade and I was in the tenth. I guess the song is true: “Older women, make beautiful lovers”. I have teased her each year that from October to May, she is my ‘old lady’. I don’t remember seeing any more of her than her hair and face. She was so beautiful: I can still feel the exaltation I felt, and I couldn’t take my eyes off of her. Day after day she filled my heart with longing for her attention. I had a major problem though; she was dating a friend of mine and, in those days, you didn’t interfere with another mans woman. This was an honor thing between men. One of the best days of my life was the day I heard they were no longer together.

I think she was still oblivious of me, but after I got up the courage, I went and knocked on her door. I was very nervous and apprehensive. I was only 15 and had a tendency to hang with the lesser behaved individuals. She, on the other hand, hung with a better class of people. We only lived a block apart and basically in the same kind of house. Despite our socioeconomic equality, I knew I wasn’t good enough for her. She was everything I ever supposed the perfect woman could be.

To get back on track, I knocked on her door. A giant of a woman answered asking in an intimidating voice how she could help me. As I look back now, her older sister Gail was a tiny and very sweet girl: soft spoken and friendly. Still, it took all the courage I could muster to ask to see Ginger. I was escorted in to what I felt was a heavenly place; because that was where my love lived. We chatted a while and I asked her to go with me to a Valentines Day party at Harold Lessner’s house. She accepted the invitation and I left to go home. I don’t think my feet touched the ground on the walk home. I lived on pins and needles until the night of the party.

When the big night finally came, we had to be driven to the party as neither of us was old enough to have a driver’s license. I can’t remember who else was at the party, the volume of other people, the music played or what was served. There were only two things that stuck in my heart and memory from that party. First, was that she let me hold her hand. Second was that there was a bowl of heart shaped candies with Valentine sayings on them. I searched for one that said ‘I Love You’ but found one that better expressed what I felt. It said, “Forever Yours”. I gave the piece of candy to her. I didn’t know it, but she put that piece of candy in her jewelry box and kept it. I have teased her, over the years, that she had taken it to be a contract. From that time on, I lived with a joy I can only relate to the time that I asked Jesus into my heart, as my Lord and Savior. I realize that there are those who would take umbrage to my saying this, but, so be it. I have thought, many times, that my love for her might even be greater than my love for God: then I remember that it was God who had joined us together. This was His will for my life. It was eight years later that she was instrumental in leading me to the Lord.

We did not have an uneventful courtship. We had our times of testing. We broke up and got back together several times. The dating we each did during those times served to show us why we were meant to be together. These times served to help us appreciate each other all the more. It was February, 1959 when we had our first date, and finally got married in September of 1965. We were separated a lot of the time as she went to the University of Georgia and I went to the University of Baltimore. We lived on love letters during this time as we did during some of the time we were separated when I was in the army. Separations however, can also enable love to grow.

The kids in high school called her Georgia because of her southern accent. She had a wonderful voice and starred in the school presentation of Oklahoma. I was somewhat upset that the male star got to kiss her during the play. I got really upset later when I found out he tried to use his tongue. She said she wanted to slap him right there on the stage.

At the end of one of her summer breaks from college we were involved in a traffic accident. We were in my forty seven Buick, Roadmaster. While driving out Liberty Road, toward Liberty Dam, a car pulled from the left side of the road right in front of us; at night, with no lights on. I hit the brakes and placed my arm in front of Ginger to keep her from going into the windshield. We hit the car between its doors, bounced off of it and were slung into an oak tree beside the road. My bumper had gone under the other car and pushed the engine into the passenger compartment. This all happened in front of the state police barracks. Some of the troopers were sitting in the windows, because of the summer heat, and saw the whole thing. Nobody, in either car was seriously hurt, although both cars were totaled. The troopers took us all into the station to take statements. The old man told them that “that kid must have been going a hundred miles an hour”. The troopers told him they had seen what happened and that he had run the stop sign and had no lights on. The troopers estimated my speed at forty miles an hour, in a fifty mile an hour zone. Darn shame what happened to that car. We have always considered it our first living room, especially at Blueberry Hill and the Edmonson Drive Inn movies. The good news was that we got one more day together before she had to leave for school.

During my Easter break one year, I decided to visit Ginger at the University of Georgia. I saved up my money and prepared for the trip. I don’t remember what I did to my parents, before the trip, but my mother forbid me to go. Being bull headed, as I tended to be, I withdrew my savings from the bank, prepared my fifty two Oldsmobile and took off for Georgia. Gin called my home that night and asked for me. My mother told her I was on my way to Georgia. My father estimated that even with stops for gas and food, I averaged sixty five miles per hour on the trip. When I pulled into Athens, the transmission was so hot that it would hardly move from the traffic light, it was slipping so badly that I had to put it in low range to get it to move. It was back to normal the next day. I checked into a hotel and spent the night. The next day, I didn’t know where to find Ginger so I tried a little trick. I had loud pipes on the car, so I went to the top of the main hill and let it “back off” in low gear on the way down. It worked and she found me.

We decided to visit her sister in Bristol, Virginia so we took off. In the mountains, on the way, we stopped at a little hamburger stand we had never heard of. I went in. The burgers were only fifteen cents each so I bought six of them and two large sodas. I thought the bag felt heavy and when I handed it to Ginger she asked me what I had gotten. There were six whoppers in the bag. That was our first experience with Burger King.

After a nice visit with her sister Phyllis and family, we decided it would be better for me to drive straight to Baltimore and for her to take the bus back to school. We went to the bus station and experienced something we had never seen before. We sat down at the counter to eat something while waiting for the bus. The clerk told us we were at the wrong counter; we were at the colored counter. There were also separate colored and white bathrooms and colored and white water fountains. Everything else went all right and we parted.

As I have stated above, Gin had a wonderful voice. She was a true coloratura soprano. My father tested her one time with the piano. She had a range of seven and a half octaves. The first time I heard her sing in a lounge setting was at the Green Springs Inn in Baltimore. Her parents went there a lot so the piano player knew her and asked her to sing. She sang “Can’t Help Lovin That Man of Mine” followed by “Summertime”. My heart was racing: I knew that every guy there knew she was with me and they all looked jealous, as she was singing directly to me. She is still one sexy lady.

I can’t remember what year it first happened, and it happened several times during high school. The Lord gave me a vision of Gin and I living in a white house at the top of a hill with a sloping back yard. We had three children; One running around the yard, one toddler and one in a play pen. This came to be fulfilled in nineteen seventy seven.

We became engaged during Christmas season in nineteen sixty four. We wanted a small wedding with no big fanciness, in June. Her mother said there was no way to get the wedding done in only six months. This was her last daughter and she had never been able to have the big fancy wedding she always wanted. We reset our date for September twenty sixth. We had no idea what was in store for us. It got so bad we wanted to elope. My father in law took me aside one day and offered me ten thousand dollars if we did elope. He also said that I should consider that I was going to have to live with what I had done to my mother in law for the rest of my life. The wedding was held in a huge Methodist church, which neither of us had been in before. The wedding reception was held at the Sheridan Belvedere Hotel in Baltimore with three hundred and twenty guests. The Mayor, Tommy D’Alesandro, was among the guests. I don’t know if the Mayor’s daughter, Nancy D’Alesandro Pelosi was there or not. It was a beautiful wedding. We actually got pregnant soon after but had a miscarriage.

Four months after we were married, I was drafted. Twice, while I was in the Army, Gin came to live with me. First, while I was stationed at Fort Gordon, Georgia, and second when I was stationed in Neu Ulm, Germany. We enjoyed our time together and attributed this time as bringing us to being able to stand on our feet when family help is not available.

While we were in Germany, Gin got pregnant again. It’s good we had developed friendships as she had another miscarriage. There was a possibility that she had a tubular pregnancy so I called for the ambulance to get her to the medical clinic as we didn’t have a car. The German national doctor that was on duty refused to send it. My friends in the military police got a jeep to take her along with three armed men. We got to the clinic and when we got her into a treatment room two of the MP’s drew their side arms and posted on each side of the door. The doctor was told that he couldn’t come out until Ginger was all right. After the doctor stabilized her we did have to get her to a Military hospital in Augsburg where she finally got the treatment she needed. The thought of loosing the one you love will build a fire in your belly. It turned out not to be a tubular pregnancy, and she would be all right.

Gin had to leave Germany before I did and some German friends held a going away party for her. During the party, she was introduced to a woman who she was told would take care of my needs while she was gone. Unglued would be an understatement. My friends had to save me by explaining that it was a German custom that I knew nothing about. To make a long story short, I lived in the barracks until I went back to the states to be mustered out of the service.

In January of nineteen sixty eight, when we were both back in the states, we decided to save up at lease $10,000, to put down on a house so we rented for a couple of years. During this time we had our first son, Rickie. He was born in November of sixty eight. Everything went well and he was a beautiful baby. As it turned out, we bought a house built the same year we got back to the states, which had sold for $17,500. In nineteen seventy two when we bought it, we paid $32,000. Well, so much for that kind of planning. Almost as soon as we moved in, Gin got pregnant with our daughter Lisa. All went well, and another beautiful baby.

Over all, things went very well over the next few years. The only real problem we went through was the birth of our daughter Candace who had birth defects and only lived about an hour. I did get to hold her hand and pray for her before she died. This was a pretty terrible time for us both, but through the Lord’s help, we made it through. For two weeks I stood strong while Gin broke down. Almost to the hour Gin got through psychologically and I went into the dumper for a while. Together, we made it through. We were told, because of what had happened, we shouldn’t try to have another baby. Through our walk with the Lord we felt sure we should try once more. In nineteen seventy seven, we had our son Shawn. At this point, the vision I had years ago, came into reality.

I spent a lot of time on the road as a traveling salesman. I sold for Sandoz Pharmaceuticals for nine years, which was local, around the Baltimore-Washington area, Gynecology equipment and other medical equipment for the next six years, and later I switched to research laboratory equipment. To be successful in those lines of sales, it took a lot of traveling in a multi-state area. If I knew then, what I know now, I never would have done the traveling. I not only missed out on a lot of the kid’s lives, but it put a lot of extra pressure on Ginger by my not being available. She didn’t complain much, but her biggest complaint was that she never got to talk to anyone but children, while I was out gallivanting around talking to real people.

In nineteen eighty five, the vice president and international sales manager of my company thought it would be good for me to move to Ohio as I had been so successful in building up the eastern part of my territory. I had taken my division from last place to second place in sales in just a couple of years, and he felt I could have the same success in the western part, if I were able to be more available to that area while being able to keep up what I had built in my eastern states. He also stuck me with the position of field sales manager and trainer. Later, when the president found out about the move, he thought the vice president was nuts.

We found a beautiful seventy seven acre farm, fully fenced, with nine buildings on it, just outside of Pennsville, Ohio. We checked out the local elementary/middle school which had about one hundred students. It seemed to be quaint and we even saw the kitchen where they were making fresh cookies for the kid’s lunch. What we didn’t realize was that the most important school function in the county was football. The education was so bad we finally started driving the kids to the next county for the better schools. The farm was a good thing in that the kids got to have motor cycles, horses, cows and other facets of farm life. After almost four years on the farm we moved to Crooksville, Ohio for schools with a more positive attitude. We stayed there until nineteen ninety one, when we moved to Lakeland, Florida.

The kid’s marriages started with Lisa in Ohio. Over the next eleven years, our kids supplied us with nine grand children whom we love very much. Rick had four children, Lisa three and Shawn two. We love our children and grandchildren very much, but recently have found the blessings of ‘empty nest syndrome’.

When the kids got old, enough Gin went back to teaching. She taught fifth grade when we first got married. She taught at the Sykesville High School in Carroll County Maryland, St. Timothy’s Parish School in Baltimore, and even substituted some in Ohio. She also taught middle school in Florida for twelve years.

While we were dating, I was absolutely sure that the love I had for Ginger couldn’t get any stronger. I was sure that what we had was the best that could have been. Well, the Lord proved me wrong. Our love for each other has grown stronger and stronger as the years have gone by. We have gone through many physical problems in the past few years, our bodies have been changing and our energy levels have diminished. Despite our problems, over the years, we have gone through it all together. We don’t have to go fancy places and we don’t have to be rich. What we have is a desire to be together and we are satisfied, just as long as we are together. I could never have dreamed that our love, and relationship with the Lord, could have been as strong and satisfying that it would last for over fifty years. All I can say now is that our love for each other is still growing, and I expect it will, until we enter our eternal home where we will always be together.

Rick Rahn

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

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Times Of Testing

We are better off in the midst of tribulation if we have Jesus, than we are in peaceful times without Him.

Just as Jeremiah, a prophet of Israel said,: “horrible things are taking place in our nation” (Jeremiah 5:30): “False prophets, abortion, pride, sin of every description and the attitude that we no longer need God., prove we are no longer simply rendering unto Ceasar, we are giving unto Ceasar that which is God’s”(Jeremiah 5:31). Concerning abortion, Jeremiah 9:1 says: Oh that my head were waters, and mine eyes a fountain of tears, that I might weep day and night for the slain of the daughters of my people!

Jeremiah 5:1 says: “You can run through the streets of your city to look for a man that seeks the truth and judges that city, and if there be any, I will pardon it”. Speaking of the worship of ‘other gods’ Jeremiah 5:7 speaking for God, says: “How can I forgive you for this? Your children have forsaken me, and swear by false gods. I have given you great abundance, yet you have committed adultery with those gods and gathered yourselves in the houses of the harlots.” Jeremiah 5:9 says: “Shall I not visit for these things, says the Lord: and shall not my soul be avenged on such a nation as this?” In Jeremiah 13:17, he spoke of himself when he said: “But if you do not listen, I will weep in secret because of your pride; my eyes will weep bitterly, overflowing with tears, because the Lord's flock will be brought down.” In speaking from the Lord, Jeremiah 3:22 says: “Return, ye backsliding children, and I will heal your backslidings.” Hopefully the answer is: Behold, we come unto thee; for thou art the Lord our God.

I, by the grace of God, have been called to speak for Him in the tradition of the prophets, but can only do so with the amount of talent I have been given. Through the years, I have come to realize that my writings are the means to accomplish this task. In some quarters, I have been praised for these undertakings, and in other quarters I have been vilified. The Lord has said to me, through Jeremiah 1:17-19: “Fully prepare yourself! Stand up and say to them whatever I tell you. Do not be in fear of them, for I will stand with you before them. Today I have made you a fortified city, an iron pillar and a bronze wall to stand against the whole land—against the leaders of the land, its politicians, its priests and the people of the land. They will fight against you but will not overcome you, for I am with you and will rescue you, declares the Lord.”

I have come to realize, the things that happen in my life all had a purpose. I needed to be turned them over to the Lord, to seek His direction. Whatever doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. I have seen the good and bad in this life, hard times and prosperous times, and I have endeavored to turn them all over to the Lord. Such lessons have allowed me to learn to trust in my Lord, through everything. It’s not that my life is constantly blessed, or that I don’t still experience trials, but that I have learned the Lord is never absent from me. He guides me through everything, as I yield myself to His will. He broadens my understanding of those things that are good and bad, right or wrong, based on my yielding to His guidance. His Word is a lamp unto my feet and a light for my path (Psalm 119:105).

What we need to understand, is that you are not paranoid if there really is someone after you. There really is someone after you if, you are a Christian or Jew scattered throughout the world, or concentrated in the United States and Israel. There is an evil force that wishes to thwart every thing that is the will of God. We know his name: it is Satan (Lucifer, Beelzebub, The Evil One, and other derivations of the same person). Most of us fail to understand that he is behind the persecution of God’s people, and by inference those nations established by God, such as the United States and Israel.

I had an ethics professor in college, whose name I can’t recall. He had been an Episcopal priest. Giving it all up in desperation, he lived as a bum, under the Hanover Street Bridge in Baltimore, Maryland. When I knew him, he had been called back into the ministry and to teach. His experiences had given him special insight for teaching both the Word of God and the ethics class I had taken. Sometimes we all feel that our lives are of no purpose. I went through such a time in the mid-eighties when, because of spiritual exhaustion, I tried to hide from the Lord’s leading. I knew I had a call on my life, but was not seeking His will. As I look back now, there were things I and my family went through because I was not in synch with Him. My spiritual life was rather dormant for about fifteen years. I was not completely without the Lord’s presence in my life; however, I was not fulfilling His desire for me. I have no illusion of gaining greatness in this world, nor is that my hearts desire, but I do know that I am building my reward in Heaven. I know my life, what’s left of it, will not be without tribulation; however, I am steadfast in the knowledge that what I will do, will be guided by the Lord because that is my prayer. I am anchored in the knowledge that He has heard me, and will be with me. I will do my best not to fail Him. As Jeremiah 17:7 says: “Blessed is the man that trusts in the Lord, and whose hope is in the Lord.” It says in 1 Corinthians 15: 58; “be steadfast, unmovable, occupied in the work of the Lord at all times, knowing that your work is not in vain.”

We all have a pain threshold: Some greater than others. When I was in the emergency room a couple of years ago, the triage nurse asked me to rate the pain I was experiencing from the kidney stone I had. He wanted me to use a scale of 1 thru 10. I surprised him when I said it was a 6. I explained that I knew what 10 pain was, due to a past sub taller dislocation of my left foot (the foot was at a 70 degree angle to the side of my leg, separated below the talus bone in the ankle). The nurse wrote down that it was a 10. A physician’s assistant recently told me that older people have a substantially higher pain threshold for pain than those 30 and younger. She attributed this to the ease of their lives and lack of experience of much pain as a result of the sheltered circumstances of their lives. In the same way we elders have built up a resistance to pain, we can build up a resistance to the wiles of the devil and the cares of this world. This is accomplished through a closer walk with God, and our emersion into His Word. “Do not be conformed to this world: be rather transformed by the renewing of your mind, so you will know the good, acceptable and perfect will of God.” (Romans 12:2)

At this point in my life, my greatest desire is to be with the Lord. I have resigned myself to stay here as long as it is His will. I know that He realizes I count this commitment as a tribulation. The Apostle Paul also thought it better to go to be with the Lord than to stay here on earth (Philippians 1: 23-26).

In part, my inspiration for this work came from David Jeremiah’s book, “The Unchangeable Word of God”.

Rick Rahn

Sunday, September 16, 2012

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The Bible



The Bible
          Read the Bible as though it was a love letter from God; because that is what it is.  The Bible is the mirror of our lives.  It reflects God’s view of us: the way He sees us.  It reflects the love of God for us, and the depth of that love.  The more we read it (and see our reflection in it), the more clearly we can see why He created the world for us and why He gives us the choice (free will) to receive what He has created for us.[1]    

          As we view our image, in the Bible, do we see ourselves as we think we are or the way God sees us?  God has a purpose for each of us.  As we delve farther and farther into His Word, we will come to realize why we were designed, each uniquely, as one of His children.  He knew each of us before we were established in our mother’s womb.  Some may be called to the mission field, some to the business world, some to pastor a flock, some to raise families, some to be teachers, some to be protectors (such as policemen and soldiers) and many other fields of endeavor: yet all to be His children[2]. 

          Be weary of deception.  There are many warnings throughout the old and new testaments about those who will try to deceive: even if possible, the elect (those of us who are God’s people)[3].  Always compare what you hear with what is in the Word of God.  These deceivers are described, in His New Testament, as the spirit of Anti-Christ. 

          The Word says that the most important thing you can do is to love the Lord with all your heart, all your soul, all your strength and your entire mind[4].  God already loves us; we are only returning that love.

          For our protection, we are given the knowledge that there are only two powers active in the world: God and the power of the evil one (and his minions) that rejected Him in Heaven and were thus expelled.  Why God gave Lucifer power over the earth I do not know.  What I do know is that there are limits to his power and a limited time for him to have it.  Lucifer, who was an angel of light, attempted to over throw God in His Heaven.  Hell was created for Satan and his followers[5].  Hell was not created for man; however, man has proven that in many cases he is not to be welcomed in Heaven.  You can’t earn your way to Heaven by a journey through Hell.  God knew, from the beginning, how mankind would either honor Him or dishonor Him.  God morns: over those who prove themselves to be unworthy.  You can’t, by your own efforts, earn your way into Heaven. You can’t work your way in, buy your way in or sneak your way in.  If you think there is any other way to get to Heaven, other than through the blood of Jesus, you are only deceiving yourself[6].  Because man cannot live up to the law of God, He sent His son to pay the price of redemption for all of us: all we have to do is repent (change our mind) and receive this most generous gift. 

          The Bible was given to us for several reasons: First, to show us how He created the world, Second to show His love for us, Third to give us a guide for living, Fourth to show us the way of salvation He knew we would need and last but not least, to show us God’s way of thinking, which is the mind of Christ.

          You cannot live in grace if you are not in the will of God.  The Bible is the textbook which we use, to determine whether or not we are in the will of God.  No other piece of literature is acceptable as scripture; which is why the Word says nothing is to be added to or taken away from it.

          I, and many people I know, can’t wait to be in Heaven and walk and talk with God.  We can have this while we are here on earth, through the Holy Spirit.  When Jesus said He would never leave you or forsake you[7], He was referring to His Spirit who comes to indwell us.  Once the Spirit has come to indwell us, He is truly going through every thing we go through as He is in us and takes no breaks or vacations.  He is there through the good and the bad.  We are never left alone again. 

[1] 1 Corinthians 13:12
[2] 1 Corinthians 12:11
[3] 2 John 1:7, Mark 13:6, Matthew 24:5, Luke 21:8
[4] Deuteronomy 6:5, Matthew 22:37, Mark 12:30, Luke 10:27
[5] Matthew 25:41
[6] John 3:16, Romans 10:9
[7] 1 Kings 8:57, Hebrews 13:5




Tuesday, September 4, 2012

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            A while back I was privileged to gain some insight from a beautiful black woman appearing on a TV show.  You'll understand why I pointed out her race when you read what she had to say.  I am paraphrasing what she said to the best of my memory.  She was giving her view of what our government is presently doing to our culture and society.  She said: Our government is trying to duplicate the attitudes and ways as established on the plantations of the past; that is, the masses (associated with the status of slaves) should not worry their simple little minds, but just let the government, who always knows what's best for them, take care of and provide for them.  By doing so, they are lulling us into a stupor that will forever keep us dependent on the government, and keep us in the realm of victimization by the 'masters of the plantation'  instead of letting us have the freedom of choosing our own path to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

        Boy!  That certainly put a light on the subject for me that I had never thought of before, though I had related the present to past Roman history. Now, I do recognize the compelling good of each of us being willing to give a helping hand to others from a charitable heart.  Giving is profitable to both the giver and the receiver, and can be even more of a blessing to the one that is enabled to give unto others.  However, when that which one earns by hard work is automatically taken, which means by force for there is no choice, it undermines the future good work ethic of those persons within a society.  It also encourages many, (not all for some are truly looking for a helpful hand temporarily to get back on their feet) to be satisfied with being 'selfish takers,' living off the fruits of those who are willing to work. In time, the poison will spread and contaminate the whole society.  The takers will increase, and the hard workers will eventually decrease. All too often the government is not the charitable and benevolent 'provider' it proclaims to be. The masses become subject to the whim of the government, who now has the power to decide what 'rights/ benefits/entitlements' to provide and what 'rights/benefits/entitlements' to take away.  No way is this the equivalent of the teachings of Jesus from my point of view.  Government is more than a poor substitute for God.  Yet the secular world would have us believe that the ‘State’ is also supreme; therefore, there is no need for God or His ways.  Just ask people like Bill Maher, for he has put forth the latter assertion upon many occasions.  As for me, I would far prefer the wisdom demonstrated by the beautiful and intelligent black woman who made her point so well.   Just food for thought!  

Saturday, September 1, 2012

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What About The Crusades?

The “Christians” were not successful in their effort to free the Holy Land from the infidel Moslems. Why? Perhaps the motivation was wrong. Were they fighting on behalf of God’s chosen people, the Jews, or the Catholic Church of that day, which was at least as political as it was spiritual? Apparently there was quite a bit of anti-Semitism on the part of the crusaders. Where did the crusaders get the idea that once you conquered a city you go in and kill everyone: Moslems , Jews and fellow Christians? It happened time and again.

“The crusaders comprised military units of Roman Catholics from all over Western Europe, and were not under unified command. The main series of Crusades, primarily against Muslims in the Levant, occurred between 1095 and 1291. After some early successes, the later crusades failed, and the crusaders were defeated and forced to return home. Several hundred thousand soldiers became Crusaders by taking vows. The Pope granted them plenary indulgence. Their emblem was the cross — the term "crusade" is derived from the French term for taking up the cross. Many were from France and called themselves "Franks," which became the common term used by Muslims.”

It is often misunderstood that there were other motivations behind the crusaders. The promise of riches, prestige, conquest of lands flowing with milk and honey, and a get out of jail free card from the Pope (a guarantee of salvation, issued by the Pope for fighting in the crusades), were some of the incentives. To many of the individual crusaders, it was a spiritual fight that they believed would purify their souls of sin. In those days, the Catholic Church did not advocate a personal relationship with Christ, but rather a personal relationship with the church which controlled your relationship with God. Years later Martin Luther railed against that. The church, in those days, was overwhelmed by the fact that sin in our lives was everywhere. The fact is that it was, and still is. Sin should, however, be viewed in its proper perspective: under the subjection to the power of Christ to overcome sin and defeat it. You don’t overcome sin by something you do, but rather by what Christ did for you.

In 2012 a new Al Qaeda magazine, “Inspire”, has stated that with the deaths of Anwar al-Awiaki and Samir Khan (who started the magazine), the publication was able to continue without the two. They said that the Zionists and the Crusaders (their name for Christians) would be taught a lesson by this.

Both sides fought in the “name of God”. The city of Jerusalem was the dwelling place of God among the Jews because the Temple was there (and He claimed it as His own). The Moslems thought it to be the place where Mohammad ascended to heaven. According to some Islamic scholars, ‘the Dome of The Rock’ is the spot from which Muhammad ascended to Heaven accompanied by the angel Gabriel. It is said that Muhammad was taken there by Gabriel to pray with Abraham, Moses, and Jesus. In the seventh century Jerusalem was conquered in an attempt, by the new religion of Islam, to conquer the world for the pagan god they called Allah. Mohammad died in 632 and was buried in a tomb under the Green Dome of Al-Masjid al-Nabawi in Medina, Hejaz, Saudi Arabia.

Perhaps if the crusaders had joined with the Jews and approached God in His way, they would have been victorious and the world would have been a lot different. As you may have noticed, some of what I have written here is opinion on my part. I pray that, what I have determined as my opinion, lines up with the Word and will of God. I leave it to the reader to determine what is truth and what is opinion based on truth of study.

As it has turned out, it took almost a thousand more years for God (in His own timing) to liberate Jerusalem from the infidel. 1967 was the year God, in His wisdom, chose to do this. Jerusalem was never meant to be a Christian city, as Christianity is only one sect of Judaism. It is the heart and soul of the Jewish people. When Christ returns, He will not set up Jerusalem as a Christian city, but rather as the headquarters for His millennium reign.

As we can see, from the above, God was not the sponsor of the crusades any more than He was of the Spanish Inquisition. They were both plans and actions developed by men using the name of God to justify their own desires. They either forgot or ignored the Bible lessons of seek first the kingdom of God, and to love your enemies into submission. Just as the Hebrew people, time and time again, sinned against God by turning to their own ways, the crusaders did not make sure they were in the will of God.

The crusades were an attempt to take back the lands taken from the Christians by Islamic armies, resulting in the retention of our western civilization. It was in reality a war against foreign conquest. There were about two thousand people killed for heresy against the Roman Catholic Church in the Inquisition. This was over a period of three hundred fifty years, so we see that it wasn’t the blood bath that is currently supposed. These were both attempts by man to grab God by the beard and drag Him off on a tangent.

There are those who think the crusades, in one way or another, are still being fought. The radical Moslems, such as those in charge of Iran, not only want to conquer Jerusalem but in addition eliminate all Christians and Jews. True Christians want to peacefully convert as many Moslems as possible, to a personal relationship with the Christ of the Bible in order to keep them from going to Hell. Some Moslems are willing to kill at the slightest provocation, while Christians are willing to pray for their salvation. I leave it to you to decide which ‘the religion of peace’ is.