Friday, August 9, 2019

Lucifer's Lies


LUCIFER'S LIES

      This picture is a poster outside a clothing store at one of our local malls.  I found it to be quite disturbing.  One of the disturbing aspects of such a "lighthearted" view of Satan is how easily people accept it as okay, or funny, or cute, or cool.

      Satan is depicted as smilingly welcoming people into hell as if it's a party place.  The "Aloha" greeting, flower lei and Hawaiian shirt give off a Hawaiian vibe as if hell must resemble one of the lovely Hawaiian islands.  Perhaps if he is keying in on the permanent volcanic activity on one end of the Big Island, it might not be as far off.  The constant flow of red-hot lava pouring over a cliff and steaming into the ocean does seem to offer a picture of parts of what hell might look like.

      Reading the "postscript" Satan supposedly wrote on the poster sends a chill up my spine.  "See ya when you get here!" complete with XOXO - indicating kisses and hugs, might seem cute to some people, but the actual truth of it is horrifying!  I imagine most non-Christians passing that poster probably chuckle at the message, never realizing the truth of it, unaware that each moment that passes puts them that much closer to the real Satan and the real hell.

      The one bit of truth on the poster are the words "with Broken Promises."  The road to hell is littered with broken promises.  Lucifer aka Satan is well-known to be a liar.  Jesus was speaking of the devil when He said, "...there is no truth in him.  When he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own resources, for he is a liar and the father of it" John 8:44.  Lucifer's lies began in the Garden of Eden when he told Eve she would not die and that she would be like God if she would eat of the fruit God forbade her to eat.  Sadly, she believed him.  Satan is the originator of broken promises and that was his biggest to date.
        The moment Eve and then Adam bit into that forbidden fruit, the gavel fell on the entire earth and every living thing and the verdict was, "Guilty!" 

        "For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord" Romans 6:23.
        With all mankind found guilty of sin and deserving death, God sent His own perfect Son to pay the steep wage for that sin.  Jesus died on the cross for our sins and offers us the gift of forgiveness and eternal life through that amazing sacrifice.  Believe and Receive -- promises of Almighty God that are true and will never be broken.

       So, what will happen to Lucifer/Satan/the devil in the very near future?  He may be flaunting his power and flitting about in a Hawaiian shirt now, but when the end-time comes he will lose every ounce of his power and be relegated to the darkness of hell forever.  Revelation reveals his future fate:  "The devil, who deceived them, was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone...and he will be tormented day and night forever and ever" 20:10.

       Don't believe the lie and become a victim of broken promises!





Friday, August 2, 2019

Dreams



   I have a nightshirt with the words, “Make your dream into reality.” Some of the dreams I might have while wearing that nightshirt are not the kind I’d ever want to become reality since they’d be categorized as “nightmares!”
               Other times, there are good dreams – of things I’d love to see become a reality in my life.

               What are some of your dreams?  Do you dream of going to college, getting married, having a baby?  Or you may be dreaming of owning a home, a car, or traveling to far-flung places?  Maybe you dream of a career in a certain field – or even of just getting a job?  Then there are those who dream of a life without fear, without pain, or without feeling like you can never measure up.  You fill in the blank of what your dream is:
              
               Is your dream worthy of pursuing?  Does your dream involve something God smiles upon?  If you answered yes to those two questions, then by all means, follow your dream and put your heart and effort into making it happen.  Even more importantly, ask God to empower you by His Spirit to make it into reality. 

               There are many verses in God’s Word that speak of God’s blessings on us.  One instance when it appears a woman pursued her dream and excelled in many avenues of life is found in Proverbs 31:10-31.  She is called a virtuous woman and is praised for a long list of worthy achievements.  Near the end, the key to her success is found in verse 30: “But a woman who fears the Lord, she shall be praised.”  First and foremost, this woman sought to please the Lord – and after that, she also worked hard to make her dreams come true.

               And God is able to make all grace abound toward you, that you, always having all sufficiency in all things, may have an abundance for every good work” 2 Corinthians 9:8.

               Then there is the short, sweet passage about a man named Jabez, who lived thousands of years ago, yet had dreams that were not too different from our own.  He called unto God and humbly asked Him to make his dreams come true by blessing him.  Here’s what he prayed: “Oh, that You would bless me indeed, and enlarge my territory, that Your hand would be with me, and that You would keep me from evil, that I may not cause pain!  So God granted him what he requested” 1 Chronicles 4:10.
               Wow!  This man knew the Source for blessing in this world and he went straight to that Source to ask, not only for blessing, but to live the right kind of life in the midst of that blessing.

               You have a dream?  Place that dream in the loving, omnipotent Hands of the Father and ask Him to help make your dream come true.  Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you” Matthew 6:33.



Saturday, July 6, 2019

Intriguing Photo Answers


Hope you enjoyed mulling over the pictures in the previous blog.  Here are the answers to the mystery photos.  This first picture is the hide of a Bongo (#1) -- not from this particular shot, but I like this picture of the Bongo at the Norfolk Zoo.


Number 2 is a furry bull named Hamish, who just happens to be famous in his home country in Scotland.


Number 3 - these beautiful pods were clustered on a lovely tree at Norfolk's Botanical Garden.


Number 4 - Tom Turkey and his fancy ruff lives in Jacksonville, North Carolina.


Number 5 - this beautiful butterfly resided in Durham, North Carolina.


Number 6 - these two Cheetahs were resting together at the Norfolk Zoo.


Number 7 - this delicate lotus flower was in a pond in Vancouver, Canada

I hope you enjoyed this little quiz.  There's a spiritual message in everything and in this case, we are reminded that things are not always what they appear to be, and beware that you are not deceived and misled along your path in life.  With that in mind, here are a few Bible verses about deception"

"Let no one deceive you by any means..." 2 Thessalonians 2:3

"Beware lest anyone cheat you through philosophy and empty deceit, according to the tradition of men, according to the basic principles of the world, and not according to Christ" Colossians 2:8

Jesus said, "You shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free" John 8:32.



Thursday, June 27, 2019

Intriguing Photos


I'm calling this post Intriguing Photos, but it's also going to be a bit of a quiz.  I thought it might be fun to post some close-ups of various things and see if you recognize what they are.  Some are familiar and some not so much.  The one above (#1) is featured on the cover of one of my books.  I'll reveal the answers in the next blog.  If anyone wants to submit answers, I will also reveal the winner in the next blog. 

You don't have to be specific - for instance, if its a car - you don't have to tell the make of the car (unless you want to do so).

Just remember, in life - looks can be deceiving.  Things are not always what they appear to be. 
Have fun!


Number 2


This photo was taken by my daughter Holly - Number 3


Number 4


Number 5


Number 6


Number 7

Hope you have fun with this challenge.  


Friday, June 7, 2019

Success

SUCCESS

I just read an article in Readers Digest about "What is Success?"  I think for this beautiful blue bird glancing our way from his nest box, its successfully raising a brood of little blue birds and seeing them fly safely from the nest, beginning their own lives.


Here's one of the little hungry mouths eagerly waiting in the bird box for the next morsel of food to be placed there by its mother or father.  That little bird has now flown the coop and is out there getting its own food.  And so, the Bluebird family can claim SUCCESS in this particular undertaking.

How about us?  How do we define success?  I like what Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote, saying Success is "to know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived."  For we who like to encourage and uplift others, that is a very good definition.  

The writer of the Success article (Michael Graff) ended his piece by writing, "Maybe success is having the wherewithal to be grateful at the precise moment you have something to be grateful for."

I also like the words a reader sent in to Reader's Digest.  Alicia Webster of Ennis, Texas, wrote:  "Using your God-given gifts to their full potential to enrich the world. Some can cook a perfect pot roast, some can sing songs that bring tears to your eyes, and others can build beautiful tables. All valuable, all blessings, and all examples of being successful at spreading your own unique type of joy in this world."

Let's see how God defines Success in His Holy Word:

"Humble yourself in the sight of the Lord, and He will lift you up" James 4:10

"My son, do not forget my law, but let your heart keep my commands, for length of days and long lfe and peace they will add to you. Let not mercy and truth forsake you...and so find favor and high esteem in the sight of God and man" Proverbs 3:1-4.

"But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you" Matthew 6:33.

God wants each of us to be successful in His Kingdom plan.  My definition - is to be all He created you to be, faithfully living out your life on the path He has placed your feet, trusting and obeying our Creator each day of your life.







Tuesday, May 28, 2019

Our Omnipresent God


Our Omnipresent God

God is everywhere - all the time, and He knows everything.  I don't know about you, but I find that truth to be very hard to imagine.  I know its true, but its hard to comprehend.  The Psalmist David said it well, "Great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised; and His greatness is unsearchable" 145:3.

As humans, we are finite creatures  [definition: having bounds or limits...as of space, time, circumstances, or the laws of nature].  The limits to our being are quite evident if we stop and think about it.  Without extra gear, we can't jump across the Grand Canyon, we can't swim the ocean, we can't see around the corner, we can't add an inch to our height or years to our lives -- the list is of what we can't do because we are limited is endless.  I can't even reach a jar on the top shelf of my cabinet without climbing in a chair to get it!

God, however, is the opposite of finite.  He is infinite, meaning immeasurably, indefinitely, or exceedingly great; unbounded or unlimited; perfect; inexhaustible.  I'm sure glad He's "inexhaustible," aren't you?  Because, we certainly do try His patience on a daily basis!

I was reading in my devotional book this morning, Sarah Young's Jesus Calling.  She writes as if God Himself is speaking the words to us, saying, "Man has tended to make himself the measure of all things.  But man's measure is too tiny to comprehend My majestic vastness.  That is why most people do not see Me at all, even though they live and move and have their being in Me."

I was reminded of the verses in Isaiah that are so powerful:  "'For My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways,' says the Lord.  'For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts'" 55:8-9.

I looked out the window at the beauties of nature in my back yard and I thought about how God is in everything I'm seeing, and beyond into the outer reaches of all that there is.  Such thoughts can truly overwhelm, but they also make us humble before Almighty God -- and oh, so, thankful that this infinite God reaches down and loves us and cares for every little detail in our lives.  Does He not know the very number of hairs on our heads?! (Matthew 10:30)

Let's praise God together as we view a few of His beautiful creations and rest in the knowledge that He is in and around everything.  "For by Him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by Him, and for Him.  He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together" Colossians 1:16-17 NIV.

I snapped these pictures in my back yard this morning:

A butterfly at the back of my yard -- ended up
looking like a painting - God's work of art!

A few raindrops fell, refreshing God's lovely
green earth and offering cloud-cover from the heat

More beautiful hydrangas with blooms galore -
all standing upright in praise to their Creator




Saturday, May 18, 2019

Charlotte, part two


CHARLOTTE, NORTH CAROLINA - part two

Driving into the big city of Charlotte (metropolitan population - 2.4 million), it was a cloudy Sunday afternoon with just a few raindrops now and then.  But, that didn't stop us from getting out and pounding the pavement for a couple hours, enjoying what this city had to offer. 


Charlotte is the largest city in North Carolina.  Walking amidst the towering buildings downtown, it was obvious that this is a big city indeed!  Even so, there was a cozy feel along Main Street.


Charlotte prides itself as being known as the "Queen City."  It was named after Queen Charlotte in 1761.  The sculptor Graham Weathers captured her likeness with her dog Presto and placed her in a garden plot, because she "learned Botany and took pleasure in Kew and Richmond gardens."  Charlotte was a 17-year old German princess when she married King George III of England.  She bore 15 children, she played the harpsichord, and was well-thought of.  One of her court attendants, Fanny Burney, wrote:  "She is full of sense and graciousness, mingled with delicacy of mind and liveliness of temper."


There's a lovely waterfall in the center of downtown, called Thomas Polk Park


The Hearst Tower is a 47-story skyscraper with elegant design built in 2002


The City of Charlotte boasts many sculptures scattered throughout downtown.  As a writer, I especially like this tall, bronze sculpture of a stack of books at the entrance to The Green.  


This mural is above the altar in St. Peter's Catholic Church (ca 1851)

      I enlarged the mural above, hoping you can see the details in the drawing.  I think the painting is meant to capture numerous messages.  The risen Christ is pictured (see nail scarred hand), having prepared fish for the disciples as described in John 21.  He had enabled the disciples to catch a boatload of fish and he also restored Peter through His words, "Feed my sheep" 21:17.
       I'm not sure what the angel up in the corner is doing, but angels are always around Jesus.
       Then, there's the fisherman in modern clothing and a more modern-looking fishing boat.  This may well signify our roles in Christ's kingdom - to be fisher's of men, just as He asked His disciples to be 2,000 years ago, when He said, "Follow Me, and I will make you become fishers of men" Mark 1:17.