Whom shall You Trust

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Trust but Verify – images from pixabay.com

“Trust, but verify (RussianДоверяй, но проверяйDoveryai, no proveryai) is a Russian proverb. The phrase became well known in English when used by President Ronald Reagan on multiple occasions in the context of nuclear disarmament.”*

*https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trust,_but_verify

All humans will fail you eventually – at least statiscically.

Psalm 40:4 ESV 

Blessed is the man who makes the Lord his trust, who does not turn to the proud, to those who go astray after a lie!

In God We Trust – images from pixabay.com

In our daily lives there are some tips on trust:

Proverbs 3:5 ESV

Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding.

You will do well if you trust GOD and others  who trust GOD.

Trust in those who uphold GOD’s Standard
Bible Study – image from pixabay.com

People who honor GOD’s standards are less likely to disappoint you or violate your trust.  Christians know they can stumble so they are willing to make corrections and admit errors.

 

2 Timothy 3:16 ESV 

All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness,

Who will you trust today?

Why not start with trusting Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior.

Mark 5:36 ESV 

But overhearing what they said, Jesus said to the ruler of the synagogue, “Do not fear, only believe.”

 

 

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The Now is All we Can Count On in this World

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Time Moves On – images from pixabay.com

Living in the Past? Living in the Future?

My brother an I would plan the next meal even as we were consuming the current one. Why? Was it because that was what our lives centered on? That priority seems so shallow just worrying about our next breath, food or drink. This fixation could have been an obsession at times – whether conscious or subconscious. This undoubtedly is a short sighted view my brother and I shared with animal life.

Next Big Meal – images from pixabay.com

Matthew 6:31-33

Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.

In every generation some die young and some die when they are old but most at some age in between.

Never Ending Cycle – images from pixabay.com

We cannot be certain about tomorrow; too many young adults have died recently from the flu, drug overdoses, murders or for unknown reasons – this is sad. I know parents and other older relatives are especially hard hit. There is nothing that can completely alleviate the pain and sadness but, having a strong relationship with GOD through the acceptance of Jesus Christ as Lord and saviour can be a great comfort.  This is at its greatest level of comfort when the surviving parents, relatives and friends know that the decedent was a Christian tusting Jesus as their Lord and Saviour. In that belief they will see them once again in the eternal life that Jesus has promised all who have believed in Him.

Are you Counting on Jesus or Worldly Things

GOD – images from pixabay.com

Luke 12:16-20 ESV

And he told them a parable, saying, “The land of a rich man produced plentifully, and he thought to himself, ‘What shall I do, for I have nowhere to store my crops?’ And he said, ‘I will do this: I will tear down my barns and build larger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods. And I will say to my soul, Soul, you have ample goods laid up for many years; relax, eat, drink, be merry.’ But God said to him, ‘Fool! This night your soul is required of you, and the things you have prepared, whose will they be?’

Jeanne 1 (C) James Halifko
Transformed – images from pixabay.com

The life as a new creation in Christ Jesus begins with accepting Him and becoming His follower.

2 Corinthians 5:17 ESV

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.

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The Power of Belief

A Mountain to Move – images from pixabay.com

Does the power of “belief” make things possible?

In this climate of extensive knowledge, numerous explorations into what is humanly possible and proven usefulness of technology, could a simple thing like belief enable accomplishment or the lack thereof foil it? (Wow a long sentence huh?) The powers of suggestion, perceptions and belief have been considered for thousands of years.  Battles have been won or lost because participants held a perception critical to the outcomes. New discoveries have been made because someone sought them no matter what the perceived chances were in accomplishing the discovery.

Jesus Upon the Water – images from pixabay.com

Jesus walked upon the water . . . .

Peter did for a moment . . .

Matthew 14:27-31 ESV

 

There is a famous quote attributed to Jesus that illustrates the power of Belief without ambiguity:

Matthew 17:20 ESV 

He said to them, “Because of your little faith. For truly, I say to you, if you have faith like a grain of mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move, and nothing will be impossible for you.”

Mining – images from pixabay.com
Rome moved this mountain in Spain  for useful metals – images from pixabay.com

 

 

 

 

God has gifted humans with intelligence, wisdom and skills . . .

Christians have been behind many things that have been a benefit for humanity – visit this link for more information:  http://www.cmf.org.uk/resources/publications/content/?context=article&id=827

Albert Einstein – images from pixabay.com

Some people have demonstrated their gifts in magnificent ways . . . 

Proverbs 3:5 ESV

Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding.

On a more personal level have you had prayers answered; of course yes: sometimes the answer is yes, maybe, wait or no (all are valid answers).

Prayer – images from pixabay.com

I do not lay claim that the best I have acquired, achieved or accomplished in my lifetime is my doing but, what good things I have benefitted from clearly has come from GOD – of this I am sure.

Harvest – images from pixabay.com

I believe the most self centered and egotistical person will one day discover the source of creativity, skill, good fortune and achievement, ultimately has come from GOD.

Jeremiah 29:11 ESV

For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. (a favorite verse)

GOD – images from pixabay.com

If you trust GOD you will see that GOD demonstrates Love for us in many ways . . .

 

Matthew 7:11 ESV 

If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him!

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Each Person: Is Born; Lives; Dies

Born Live Die – images from pixabay.com

James 4:14 ESV 

Yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes.

 No Mystery Here

We are mortal and there is nothing we can do about it – the promises of scientists notwithstanding.  Of course just about all religions offer some avenue to eternal life; some indicate we must earn it; some indicate we must achieve it by favouring god or gods.  Only one religious tradition I know of expresses that GOD will provide eternal life because GOD approached humans and explained how it can be done.  For we Christians it is clearly stated in the Word of GOD.

Romans 6:23 ESV

For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

 

Good Deeds – images from pixabay.com

We Should Obey GOD but not to earn eternal life.

Grateful – images from pixabay.com

We adhere to the precepts of GOD because of who GOD is, out of gratitude for GOD’s saving grace and the love GOD has for us (it is unconditional). Yet this will not allow us to earn eternal life; only accepting what Jesus has done for us can do that.

Ephesians 2:8-9 ESV

For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.

 We can not be good enough on our own.

Jesus Paid the Price – images from pixabay.com

We need the work of Jesus Christ who paid for the sins of all humans and through our trust in Jesus gain access to GOD and eternal life.  Demonstrating our gratitude by obeying GOD’s precepts and a desire to express GOD’s Love is a natural outcome of the process.

 

Eternal Life – images from pixabay.com

 

We are born into a sinful world; we cannot live sinless; we need Jesus the Son of GOD for eternal salvation.

John 5:24 ESV

Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life. He does not come into judgment, but has passed from death to life.

It is Done – images from pixabay.com
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Speculation and Idle Thoughts

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Waste – images from pixabay.com

If we do not engage our minds with productive thought we are in danger of filling them with trash even robbing us of fulfillment and joy.

Think Success – images from pixabay.com

 

No I am not telling you “brainstorming” or other stimulating creative activity is wrong. GOD gave doctors the same brain we have and they provide a great service to us all by providing health care and needed treatment when we are ill or injured. Thinking beyond what is known or is done often leads to positive breakthroughs in health care and many other fields or endeavors. Nevertheless, there is a path to productive thinking and ways to avoid aimless thinking explained in these simple terms: recognize where you can help others, learn all you can, develop all the necessary skills and practice striving to do the best that you can do.

Accomplished – images from pixabay.com

You will find many rewards for accomplishing these goals now and in eternity. We Christians acquire this wisdom from GOD’s Word; one ideal is stated in this portion of scripture:

Colossians 3:23 ESV

Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men,

Wild imaginings, theories, misleading information spreading deception and lies: Human all consuming hobbies, greedy behavior or evil schemes?

Negative Disposition – images from pixabay.com

Often unrest, envy, or our uncontrolled sin nature masks itself in humor, freedom in the arts or freedom of speech. If a person does not recognize the evil path he or she is on and, allows negative motives to conceal themselves within their speech, humor or art, trouble for others is sure to follow. Ultimately they themselves will suffer great loss of joy and fulfillment in life.

Eternal Pain – images from pixabay.com

The end that we all must face is death and what we experience then is the results from how we lived. The last thoughts a person may have at the end of a blessed life is the joy and anticipation of seeing GOD. The last thoughts a person may have at the end of a selfish life is dread of either the nothingness they believe in as an atheist or, eternal damnation in Hell if they rejected GOD.

JESUS will transform you and lead you to the first ending if you accept His free gift: receive GOD’s Grace and eternal salvation.
Eternal Joy – images from pixabay.com

Romans 10:9 ESV

Because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.

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Difficult Questions

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Should I use Violence to Defend

Use Martial-arts? – images from pixabay.com

One of the most difficult dilemmas you may be faced with is whether to use violence for defense.

Carry A Gun? – images from pixabay.com

Some of you may mumble, “that’s a no brainer; of course I would”. There may be a small minority who would choose death before causing harm to anyone for any reason.  Scanning my morning digests of articles in academic journals I spotted one that read: Modern civilization doesn’t diminish violence

https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/10/171027104843.htm

Another article read: Does population size affect rates of violence? The bottom line read:  . . . Ultimately, Falk and Hildebolt found that people living in small-scale societies are not inherently more violent that those living in “civilized” states, and that war deaths scale similarly with population sizes across all levels of human society.

https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/10/171026164552.htm

Use Weapons? – images from pixabay.com

As a Christian these suggested findings point to the nature of humans truthfully described in the Bible.

Matthew 15:19 ESV

For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false witness, slander.

Protect a Loved One? – images from pixabay.com

Ignoring GOD’s explanation does not change things; scientific studies can attribute this part of our nature as evolving from our more precarious primitive state. There was, and there may still be, people who believe that given the right opportunity humans will allow their peaceful traits to prevail: where is the evidence for that? In affluent societies where there is ample supplies and opportunities to be successful even the privileged can fail to manifest the “good” we humans supposedly have at our core: The recent perpetrator who was wealthy, seemingly lacking for nothing committed the Las Vegas mass murder. See: Brother says Las Vegas gunman was a wealthy real-estate investor

http://www.denverpost.com/2017/10/03/gunman-who-killed-50-at-las-vegas-concert-was-retired/

The NIV Bible expresses our nature in a more stark way:

Isaiah 64:6-7 New International Version (NIV)

All of us have become like one who is unclean,
    and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags;
we all shrivel up like a leaf,
    and like the wind our sins sweep us away.
No one calls on your name
    or strives to lay hold of you;
for you have hidden your face from us
    and have given us over to[a] our sins.

Isaiah is describing human attitude toward GOD.

 

 

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Connections

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Since scientists acknowledge we have a “common ancestor” we can assume all people are connected in some way.

Connections – images from pixabay.com

Not just about the creation story in Genesis but connections to people around the world right now.

DNA – images from pixabay.com

Hebrews 11:3 ESV

By faith we understand that the universe was created by the word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things that are visible.

The formulas for all living things is encoded in the complex molecule known to us as DNA. We share the complex chemistry of life; people around the world not just family and those near. There is another view of how we are connected: a theory known as six degrees of separation espouses we are only six degrees (or persons), or less apart. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Six_degrees_of_separation

When the Orlando, Florida mass shooting occurred a coworker of my brother was killed; when the Las Vegas Massacre occurred one of the men in our Bible study told us his friend’s son was there.  my Late uncle fought in The Battle of the Bulge during WWII and he was commended by General George S. Patton personally. Think about it . . . we all are connected.

Human Connection – images from pixabay.com

Yes it is a small world because technology has brought us closer than ever: transportation, commerce and communication.

Acts 17:26 ESV

And he made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined allotted periods and the boundaries of their dwelling place,

As followers of Jesus, or Christians, we are known as The Children of GOD: We are connected.

Christians – images from pixabay.com

John 1:12 ESV 

But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God,

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Faith Not Sight

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Three Monkees – The Miriam and Ira D. Wallach Division of Art, Prints and Photographs: Photography Collection, The New York Public Library. “Monkey’s Sculpture at Nikko: Mizaru Kikazaru Iwazaru (See No Evil, Hear No Evil, Speak No Evil)” New York Public Library Digital Collections. Accessed October 7, 2017. http://digitalcollections.nypl.org/items/510d47d9-c695-a3d9-e040-e00a18064a99

Faith would not be faith if we only believed in what we can feel, see, hear or taste; would it?

Hebrews 11:1 ESV

Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.

Science is unveiling the long held view that “seeing is believing” for what it is: suspect. A program illustrated this when a number of people were positioned around a street where unknown to them a staged auto accident was to occur.  After they all witnessed the incident they were immediately separated and asked to fill out a form and provide a narrative based on what they saw. You can research this one or similar experiments to learn what the results were in great detail but, for this blog I will only write: agreement as to what the facts were by no means would convince me that I was getting an accurate explanation of the occurrence.

Landscape – images from pixabay.com

Perception gives particular meaning to what we acquire through our senses to each of us; even when we seem to agree there are differences.

Proverbs 3:5-6 ESV

Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.

But does not this also apply to the Biblical accounts? The Holy Spirit helps with this.

GODS WORD – images from pixabay.com

Any thing humans devise, write. mimic or copy can have mistakes and flaws yes, perhaps in some details; perhaps in cultural and social perceptions; perhaps in conveying things using different languages. BUT, the essence of what the Bible reveals with the help of The Holy Spirit such as: Who GOD is, What GOD is like, What GOD’s Standards are, what our relationship is with GOD and that GOD is ultimately in control is clearly explained within The Holy Bible.

John 14:26 ESV

But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you.

Christian Faith – images from pixabay.com

Even Christians can disagree on some things yet we do have a core belief system that must be agreed upon to be a Christian.

Romans 14:1 ESV 

As for the one who is weak in faith, welcome him, but not to quarrel over opinions.

Our faith in all we know about GOD is presented in the “Old Testament” and “The New Testament”. It is my perception that GOD initiated a relationship with us and therefore we do not need to do a myriad of ceremonies, sacrifices, pleadings and other extraordinary things to get the attention of GOD. Neither do we have to invent images, substitute icons for GOD, nor chant repetitive incantations; all we need to do is acknowledge who GOD is, accept we are part of GOD’s creation and talk with GOD.

John 13:34-35 ESV 

A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”

 

One comprehensive list of essentials of the Christian faith:

https://www.thoughtco.com/basic-christian-beliefs-700357 

 

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Even the Strong can Fall

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Rome Conquered the Carthaginians: Lionel Pincus and Princess Firyal Map Division, The New York Public Library. “Carthaginis Celeberrimi Sinus Typus.” New York Public Library Digital Collections. Accessed May 4, 2017. http://digitalcollections.nypl.org/items/510d47e4-667d-a3d9-e040-e00a18064a99

Yet sometimes a large celebrated army or warrior succumbs to a smaller more capable one or, a nation directed by an especially adept leader.

Human example: The American Revolution is a good example of the “underdog” becoming victorious – perhaps this is why many Americans like stories where an “underdog’ wins. Follow the link below artwork to read why the British should have won the Revolutionary War.

Surrender of Cornwallis: The Miriam and Ira D. Wallach Division of Art, Prints and Photographs: Print Collection, The New York Public Library. “Surrender of Lord Cornwallis, at Yorktown, Va. October 19th, 1781.” New York Public Library Digital Collections. Accessed May 4, 2017. http://digitalcollections.nypl.org/items/510d47da-fb9c-a3d9-e040-e00a18064a99

Three Reasons the British Should Have Won the Revolutionary War (and Three Reasons the Patriots Did Win)

 

Biblical example: David and Goliath; a mere shepherd boy with a stone throwing sling defeats the giant warrior – one of the best known and loved stories from the Bible.

1 Samuel 17:49 ESV

And David put his hand in his bag and took out a stone and slung it and struck the Philistine on his forehead. The stone sank into his forehead, and he fell on his face to the ground.

David and Goliath: Manuscripts and Archives Division, The New York Public Library. “Miniature of David and Goliath. Initials, border, placemarkers.” New York Public Library Digital Collections. Accessed May 4, 2017. http://digitalcollections.nypl.org/items/510d47da-e4d3-a3d9-e040-e00a18064a99

 

Then Some Strong Kingdoms or Empires that were not conquered from without were defeated from within.

Rome: The great empire we study in world history and still refer to many of its contributions to Western Civilization declined and, of that there is no debate. The reasons for the decline?  A cursory scan of its history lists a number of reasons (or possible reasons) and you may just assume nearly all, or most, of them together did Rome in.  I however lean heavily on the theories supporting its moral decline. The books of Daniel and Revelation have prophecies for this if you choose to read them. So when I scan the Greco-Roman architecture in many of the buildings in our land (especially in Washington, D.C.)  I sometimes wonder if the one negative factor of our society and culture is eroding our Nation from within: Increasing Immorality.

 

Old Testament Israel: Through my life I have had a positive outlook for our Nation’s future but, now in the latter years of my life my optimism is being challenged by experience, examples of humans embracing evil and the Word of God.  I now realize that if the Hebrew people who left Egypt, faced many challenges and experienced the blessings of GOD (many first hand), could fragment into different nations and turn away from GOD, what can be expected from the people of our contemporary times; we must keep our Faith without direct action by GOD on the scale and vivid nature experienced by the Hebrews?

 

Whether or not you believe The USA is vulnerable to attack, and being conquered from without or not, one thing a lesson from history has revealed to me: We, can, self-destruct.

Lessons from the rise and fall of nations (especially the Hebrews) alerts me to the importance of a morally strong culture observant of justice and law and order. In this is the secret to remaining viable and with a strong unity.  The task that establishes this foundation is the family unit. The family unit is where this strength is taught and nurtured. It seems too late to teach children respect and a working knowledge of right and wrong when parents wait until it is time for their children to attend elementary school. It seems if they do wait they leave this important task to the teachers that their children will have. The teachers by that time who must teach this foundation are most often confronted with correcting disrespect and unruly behavior in classroom environments. The energy that must be expended in correcting negative behavior diminishes the real task teachers have: teaching language skills, math and subjects useful to individuals who must contribute in a positive way to our society.

 

The minimum requirements for a good member of our society? Civil, law abiding, responsible and capable of holding a job and raising a family.

 

 

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We Are the Caretakers

Eden – image from pixabay.com

In my lifetime I have been warned several times over how our over population is depleting the resources of the Earth.

Genesis 2:15 ESV 

The Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to work it and keep it.

Yet long before the predicted doom miraculously humans developed and discovered how to produce, find or distribute more of what a larger population needs to live here on our planet.  GOD gave humans a remarkable brain and an indomitable spirit; we not only survive we thrive. It is also true while some of us waste, horde, and selfishly lavish our selves in abundance there are people in this world who die for lack of a simple medication.  While some of us are swelled grotesquely with fat, there are babies who fall as silent victims of starvation elsewhere.

Bad Management – image from pixabay.com

No, the planet is not becoming barren or failing to provide food, clean water and fresh air because it has run out.  Though these are stolen, soiled and fouled by a privileged few, not even that is the reason for human suffering.

1 Timothy 6:17-19 ESV 

As for the rich in this present age, charge them not to be haughty, nor to set their hopes on the uncertainty of riches, but on God, who richly provides us with everything to enjoy. They are to do good, to be rich in good works, to be generous and ready to share, thus storing up treasure for themselves as a good foundation for the future, so that they may take hold of that which is truly life.

It is buyer beware in the world – image from pixabay.com

More human suffering is inflicted upon humanity because evil energized sinful people want to insure they are in control and hold political power over others.  Warlords and tyrants intercept relief supplies, curtail aid workers or even kill the humanitarians that fan out across the globe to assist other people.

 

Some motivation behind needed “good” things might be suspect but it still has a positive affect.

Yes even if greed has motivated commercial entities to produce food and healthcare for an exuberant profit it does help and is unlikely to deplete The Earth’s resources.

Genesis 50:20 ESV

As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people should be kept alive, as they are today.

Humans do not lack imagination, cleverness or the skills to continue to locate and extract resources.

Fruitful Earth – image from pixabay.com

Daniel 1:17 ESV

As for these four youths, God gave them learning and skill in all literature and wisdom, and Daniel had understanding in all visions and dreams.

The physical planet is abundant with raw materials and even if humanity deems it necessary to reach beyond Earth it appears to be within the sphere of the abilities GOD has equipped us with.

 

Our World – image from pixabay.com

The Bottom Line: God has revealed in the Bible that humans are to be the caretakers of Earth and all its resources.

 

Genesis 1:28 ESV

And God blessed them. And God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth.”

 

To Care for – image from pixabay.com

We are to carryout this mandate without capitulating to sin and to do so equitably and see that the needs of all people are met, not just the privileged few. I extend this noble principle beyond our planet by believing it applies wherever humans go in the Cosmos.

ESV = ENGLISH STANDARD VERSION BIBLE

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