Voices of the Prophets

Prophet of old - image from pixabay.com
Prophet of old – image from pixabay.com
The Bible is the Complete Word of GOD

 

Open Bible - image from pixabay.com
Open Bible – image from pixabay.com

Nothing can be added nor taken away.  Still, there are prophets today. No not like Elijah, Moses  or John the Baptist; people that know The Word of GOD well, teach it, explain it and live by its precepts. These are the modern day prophets who remind us about GOD and GOD’s standards for all people.

2 Peter 1:21 ESV

For no prophecy was ever produced by the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.

You may be one of GOD’s Prophets

Acts 2:17 ESV

“‘And in the last days it shall be, God declares, that I will pour out my Spirit on all flesh, and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams;   . . .”

Any One - image from pixabay.com
Any One – image from pixabay.com
Anyone can be transformed to be able to speak GOD’s truth

GOD can use: the least among us; the seemingly unworthy; the poor; the physically feeble.  One more point: All are sinners in GOD’s eyes, so yes, even sinners can speak the truth of GOD.

Jesus is central - image from pixabay.com
Jesus is central – image from pixabay.com

Could You Be One Who GOD Calls?

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,

There are Mysteries in the Church

1 Corinthians 14:1-40 ESV

Pursue love, and earnestly desire the spiritual gifts, especially that you may prophesy. For one who speaks in a tongue speaks not to men but to God; for no one understands him, but he utters mysteries in the Spirit. On the other hand, the one who prophesies speaks to people for their upbuilding and encouragement and consolation. The one who speaks in a tongue builds up himself, but the one who prophesies builds up the church. Now I want you all to speak in tongues, but even more to prophesy. The one who prophesies is greater than the one who speaks in tongues, unless someone interprets, so that the church may be built up. …

 

Finally, a warning . . .

Matthew 7:15 ESV

“Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves.

She Gave All

Out of Wealth - image from pixabay.com
Out of Wealth – image from pixabay.com

Giving can be a misleading activity

Easy to Give Big - image from pixabay.com
Easy to Give Big – image from pixabay.com

Mr. Smith gave $1,000,000 to a charity that helps victims of catastrophes: His action enjoyed much attention and a chorus of praises from a host of prominent people. Mr Smith also got a nice deduction on his tax return and was placed in a lower tax bracket.

She has little - image from pixabay.com
She has little – image from pixabay.com
Two Cents - image from pixabay.com
Two Cents – image from pixabay.com

Mrs. Jones hesitated outside s a supermarket right after getting some needed food  . . . she looked at the Salvation Army bucket . . . then she took the 93 cents from her purse and put it all in: it was all she had and except for a thank you and a Merry Christmas from the faux Santa no one noticed.  She gave all she had and only got a good feeling in return.

Mark 12:41-44 ESV 

And he sat down opposite the treasury and watched the people putting money into the offering box. Many rich people put in large sums. And a poor widow came and put in two small copper coins, which make a penny. And he called his disciples to him and said to them, “Truly, I say to you, this poor widow has put in more than all those who are contributing to the offering box. For they all contributed out of their abundance, but she out of her poverty has put in everything she had, all she had to live on.”

How you give and how you help others reveals your heart.
Give more than money - image from pixabay.com
Give more than money – image from pixabay.com

2 Corinthians 9:7 ESV

Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.

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.

About Thanksgiving and Thanks Giving

Vintage Thanksgiving - image from pixabay.com
Vintage Thanksgiving – image from pixabay.com

The Kinder Gentler Holiday

 

The holiday rooted in thanking GOD for all.  In The United States of America Thanksgiving remains less commercial and it harks back to earlier days when good harvests and life’s perks were fewer and very much less certain.  It is ironic that in our times there are people who not only take our blessings for granted but see many as their right to have and experience. Still not everyone in our United States shares in its great wealth and bounty.

Thanksgiving - image from pixabay.com
Thanksgiving – image from pixabay.com

We are The Created not the Creator

 

The Creator has not only given us life but has and does provide us with the means of our survival and even abundance at times: from food, shelter, peace and progeny to the very air we breath.  GOD is all and we are part of Creation; we surely must humbly acknowledge this, express gratitude and act accordingly in our life which is a gift. We also should help those who lack things; especially basic things.

Excerpts from Scripture:

1 Thessalonians 5:18 ESV

Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.

Philippians 4:6 ESV 

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.

Psalm 107:1 ESV

Oh give thanks to the Lord, for he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever!

Psalm 136:1-26 ESV

Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever. Give thanks to the God of gods, for his steadfast love endures forever. Give thanks to the Lord of lords, for his steadfast love endures forever; to him who alone does great wonders, for his steadfast love endures forever; to him who by understanding made the heavens, for his steadfast love endures forever; …

Center of Everything

You and the Universe - image from pixabay.com
You and the Universe – image from pixabay.com

For Each of Us Our Consciousness Is  . . .

. . . the Center of Everything.  No, I do not mean greater than GOD.  What I am referring to is this: We perceive all about our existence through our senses and our senses are how we know everything that we know. Seems obvious to some of you and maybe weird to others.  OK, GOD is everywhere, has been forever past (from our perspective) and will be forever future: GOD is beyond time without a beginning or ending.

Infinity - image from pixabay.com
Infinity – image from pixabay.com

We on the other hand view existence in terms of beginnings and endings. Think of it like this: we are at the center of how we perceive life; living.

Pointing - image from pixabay.com
Pointing – image from pixabay.com

 

GOD gave us life, a brain and knowledge.

 

We should pay our respects to our Creator.  Yes our minds can perceive and conceive, project and reckon with and, come to recognize this truth: We are the created not the creator.  Can any of us form from nothing a living entity? Can we make a new form of matter? Invent a new natural law?   I do not think so.

 

We Update Our Knowledge All the Time

A speck on a speck - image from pixabay.com
A speck on a speck – image from pixabay.com
The Milky-way - image from pixabay.com
The Milky-way – image from pixabay.com

The Earth was center . . . no, the sun . . .  no, the galaxy . . . no, the universe . . . This thing is good; no it is bad; wait it is, good; now it is bad again. . . GOD is the only true eternal constant.

SO WHO WILL YOU SERVE?

Jesus is central - image from pixabay.com
Jesus is central – image from pixabay.com

I chose the omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent, eternal Supreme Being-Creator GOD. GOD is the center and source of all that I know and can know. Forever and ever AMEN.

 

Scripture that helps guide and correct our understanding of GOD and who we are:

Genesis 1:1-31 ESV

In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was without form and void, and darkness was over the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters. And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. And God saw that the light was good. And God separated the light from the darkness. God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And there was evening and there was morning, the first day. …

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.

Jeremiah 4:23 ESV

I looked on the earth, and behold, it was without form and void; and to the heavens, and they had no light.

Genesis 1:14 ESV

And God said, “Let there be lights in the expanse of the heavens to separate the day from the night. And let them be for signs and for seasons, and for days and years,

John 1:3 ESV

All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made.

 

GOD Knows

Heavens  - image from pixabay.com
Heavens – image from pixabay.com

“GOD Only Knows . . .”

That trite quip is so much more than a phrase uttered in a desperate moment: GOD is omniscient, omnipotent and omnipresent.  One thing GOD is not is a riddle.  It is true that humans have always wondered just who and where GOD is but, what are the only things that has changed through the eons? What many people assume about GOD.  Yet for believers that accept The Holy Bible as The Word of GOD nothing has changed; what is important to know about GOD is contained there in.

What is important to know?

Hide  - image from pixabay.com
Hide – image from pixabay.com

So much speculation about GOD, improvised gods, our existence and the Universe is really not important.  Think about it in this way: when people increase humanity’s medical knowledge, suffering is lessened and people are healed this is an obvious benefit derived from having intelligence and a mind because GOD created a marvelous organ: our brain.

Hiding  - image from pixabay.com
Hiding – image from pixabay.com

Yet such as it is this marvelous organ also contemplates evil, plans evil and executes evil; this is an outcome of free will and part of our very nature.  The magnificent abilities to know, discover and fabricate so much demonstrating worthwhile accomplishments, can also produce dubious actions, false knowledge and bad ideas.

GOD sees all  - image from pixabay.com
GOD sees all – image from pixabay.com

Somethings Humans do Seems Fruitless.

 

Knowing whether there are infinite universes, parallel dimensions or what exists several billion light-years across the cosmos seems only to satisfy the human brain’s innate thirst to know and may furnish dubious benefits in everyday life .  OK, this may not be evil and we may not determine its value at this moment aside from satisfying curiosity but, the Holy Bible teaches this about knowledge:

Proverbs 1:7 ESV

The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and instruction.

GOD's Law  - image from pixabay.com
GOD’s Law – image from pixabay.com

And so what does GOD Know?

1 John 3:20 ESV 

For whenever our heart condemns us, God is greater than our heart, and he knows everything.

Psalm 147:5 ESV 

Great is our Lord, and abundant in power; his understanding is beyond measure.

Jeremiah 17:10 ESV

“I the Lord search the heart and test the mind, to give every man according to his ways, according to the fruit of his deeds.”

Use of ESV Bible verses: https://www.crossway.org/support/esv-bible-permissions/

 

Forgiveness

Forgiveness Options: A.  Superficial; B. Conditional; C. Unconditional

Love Forgives Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, Art and Artifacts Division, The New York Public Library. "Couple Embracing" New York Public Library Digital Collections. Accessed March 5, 2016. http://digitalcollections.nypl.org/items/840ba8f0-d56d-0131-09f9-58d385a7bbd0
Love Forgives
Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, Art and Artifacts Division, The New York Public Library. “Couple Embracing” New York Public Library Digital Collections. Accessed March 5, 2016. http://digitalcollections.nypl.org/items/840ba8f0-d56d-0131-09f9-58d385a7bbd0

Why do I believe human life on Earth cannot survive without forgiveness?

Song Sheet Music Division, The New York Public Library. "I can forgive but not forget" New York Public Library Digital Collections. Accessed March 5, 2016. http://digitalcollections.nypl.org/items/510d47e3-fc90-a3d9-e040-e00a18064a99
Song Sheet
Music Division, The New York Public Library. “I can forgive but not forget” New York Public Library Digital Collections. Accessed March 5, 2016. http://digitalcollections.nypl.org/items/510d47e3-fc90-a3d9-e040-e00a18064a99
Peace is a Happy Time Jerome Robbins Dance Division, The New York Public Library. "Descent of Madame Saqui, surrounded by fireworks" New York Public Library Digital Collections. Accessed March 5, 2016. http://digitalcollections.nypl.org/items/97264390-da39-0132-d425-58d385a7b928
Peace is a Happy Time
Jerome Robbins Dance Division, The New York Public Library. “Descent of Madame Saqui, surrounded by fireworks” New York Public Library Digital Collections. Accessed March 5, 2016. http://digitalcollections.nypl.org/items/97264390-da39-0132-d425-58d385a7b928

 

 

 

 

 

 

Anyone can forgive someone who they are in a relationship with, they admire or agree with; it is much harder to forgive a stranger, one you disagree with or your enemy.  The awkwardness within our milieu is due to a fundamental misunderstanding exacerbated by the emotionally charged word “Love” in the English language.  Languages such as Greek have several words depicting love in various forms: emotional, erotic, friendship . . .   Yet like love, forgiveness offers and expresses many different things.

To forgive need not involve your emotions.

Mt Fuji Art and Picture Collection, The New York Public Library. "Fuji from Kawaibashi." New York Public Library Digital Collections. Accessed March 5, 2016. http://digitalcollections.nypl.org/items/c260bdb3-9b64-4552-e040-e00a18066d81
Mt Fuji
Art and Picture Collection, The New York Public Library. “Fuji from Kawaibashi.” New York Public Library Digital Collections. Accessed March 5, 2016. http://digitalcollections.nypl.org/items/c260bdb3-9b64-4552-e040-e00a18066d81

It feels wonderful to forgive and be forgiven within a relationship such as a marriage.  Yet the human race can overcome some of the most tragic and horrific episodes of human history by choosing to forgive and act on it even when we do not feel like we want to.  When enemies chose to forgive and not inflict acts of vengeance on a vanquished foe, though ill feelings still linger, they assume the higher moral ground, discover their hate subsides and all the people effected by the recent conflict recover faster and better.

No greater example of this can be found then the relationships The United States of America embraced after World War II.

German Leaders The Miriam and Ira D. Wallach Division of Art, Prints and Photographs: Photography Collection, The New York Public Library. "Kronprinz Rupprecht von Bayern verlässt Schloss La Vallee, um sich an die Front zu begeben." New York Public Library Digital Collections. Accessed March 5, 2016. http://digitalcollections.nypl.org/items/510d47de-0168-a3d9-e040-e00a18064a99
German Leaders
The Miriam and Ira D. Wallach Division of Art, Prints and Photographs: Photography Collection, The New York Public Library. “Kronprinz Rupprecht von Bayern verlässt Schloss La Vallee, um sich an die Front zu begeben.” New York Public Library Digital Collections. Accessed March 5, 2016. http://digitalcollections.nypl.org/items/510d47de-0168-a3d9-e040-e00a18064a99

The USA assisted Germany and Japan – former enemies – recover as well as innocent and allied nations.  The post WWII world experienced a remarkable trend toward peace (not a perfect peace though) when within the global family of nations Germany and Japan became productive positive entities.  This was not the way losers of previous wars were treated nor did they expect this altruistic treatment. Where does this concept originate?

x Peace Symbolic The Miriam and Ira D. Wallach Division of Art, Prints and Photographs: Print Collection, The New York Public Library. "Allegory of Peace" New York Public Library Digital Collections. Accessed March 5, 2016. http://digitalcollections.nypl.org/items/900c6600-0c9b-0133-c04d-58d385a7bbd0
x Peace Symbolic
The Miriam and Ira D. Wallach Division of Art, Prints and Photographs: Print Collection, The New York Public Library. “Allegory of Peace” New York Public Library Digital Collections. Accessed March 5, 2016. http://digitalcollections.nypl.org/items/900c6600-0c9b-0133-c04d-58d385a7bbd0

God bestowed upon humanity instructions that when followed yield the best outcome for more people for a longer period of time.

A Better Life can be Found Here (C) James Halifko
A Better Life can be Found Here (C) James Halifko

As a Christian I discovered that within the Holy Bible prescriptions are furnished as well as proscriptions for humans to live by.  One of the greatest lessons became obvious to me after living a while and observing life: Emotions are fleeting and decisions made under their spell often calamitous. As the old cliché reflects, “Cooler heads prevailed . . .”. Not to imply pure emotionless logic is the route I promote but rather, act when one has gained control of his or her emotions and clear thinking dominates so one can recognize the best decision for the situation at hand.  Forgiveness leads to better things but one can only see this when emotions are held at bay and reason prevails.

Christians gained this insight fro the Holy Bible; excerpts follow:

 Ephesians 4:32 English Standard Version (ESV)

32 Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.

Proverbs 10:12 English Standard Version (ESV)

12 Hatred stirs up strife,
but love covers all offenses.

Matthew 6:12English Standard Version (ESV)

12 and forgive us our debts,
as we also have forgiven our debtors.

Matthew 18:21-22English Standard Version (ESV)

21 Then Peter came up and said to him, “Lord, how often will my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? As many as seven times?”22 Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you seven times, but seventy-seven times.

John 13:34English Standard Version (ESV)

34 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.

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Is it Borrowing or Hijacking Words and Symbols?

Chrtree

The English language is a dynamic living thing: words are taken in from other languages, new words are invented ( see: http://www.shakespeare-online.com/biography/wordsinvented.html ) and new meaning assigned to words in common use quite easily.  Words like gay, naughty, guy or even meat are examples. ( See: http://ideas.ted.com/20-words-that-once-meant-something-very-different/ for more)  Some symbols have had their meaning altered as well: The Rainbow, The Hindu Swastika or the Star of David all have had meanings altered through history.  Some changes are benign, others positive but some changes are not welcome and the new meaning a result of what those who disapprove refer to the word or symbol as being “hijacked”.

We Cannot Prevent Change

Chrs b

Hard as we may try we cannot stop the processes that alter the meanings of words or symbols.  Christmas itself originated when Emperor Constantine embraced Christianity.  Once Christian Faith was accepted and allowed it was practiced openly.  The celebrations and holidays recognized by “The Church” then were incorporated into the life of the people. Some symbols that were originally associated with other meanings (celebrations at the winter solstice for example) were adopted and today seem like they were always associated with the way we see them.  So yes, even we who may express concern of cultural morphing of some words and symbols can trace some of our traditional usage as having been “hijacked”. However I am not defending what was hijacked from our Christian culture or tradition on the contrary, I associated the Christian view of American culture and traditions as an important part of our identity as a people.

We can Share the Holiday Season to a Point 2

As Americans we value our liberty, freedom of speech and our tolerance of things different.  Yes this is part of what makes us who we are and what has made us a great nation.  Yet I do not want to lose our strong social, cultural and traditional identity and as a Christian Nation.  I will discus the issue of Church and State in The United States in a future post to my blog, this topic is not about that.  This article is intended to express the need to keep the true meaning of Christmas and the strong positive Christian influence on America vibrant and as a Nationwide observance even as we tolerate different perspectives.  I defend the absolute right for all Americans to say, “Merry Christmas” to any and everyone they choose because it is a part of the United States of America’s very foundation.

Chrs 0001c

                                       My song: “Think of Christmas Long Ago”

Think of Christmas Long Ago

What the Bible Says About the Meaning of Christmas

Luke 2:11 ESV

For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.

Isaiah 7:14 ESV

Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign. Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.

 John 3:16-17 ESV
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.