Devotions

Prayer

            I’ve been thinking about prayer lately and wondering if we as a people have lost the knack for it. Our prayers usually come as request from equals, sort of a “please pass the salt” sort of a thing and I fear we forget prayer’s true nature. FIRST; it behooves us to remember that prayer is another word for begging. We in the twenty-first century don’t like to see ourselves as begging but that’s what prayer must certainly be if it is real. SECOND; we must remember whom we are addressing. Not only is He the Creator and Sustainer, Lord of all the universe but He is the God whom we continue to insult and offend by treating Him casually and disobeying. We need to understand that God gave his only Son for the sins that we have committed so that we might have a fresh new start but we continue to go back to our old sinful ways ignoring His sacrifice and then only casually, insincerely saying a brief and undetailed I’m sorry. THIRD; we need to remember that God does not have to listen to us at all. He listens and responds as He wants. It is all of God and none of us.

            God has said that we should come to Him, but when we do we need to approach Him in reverence, in sincerity, and in humility as the lesser approaching the infinitely greater.

James 5:16

16 Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.

                                                                                                                              

Celebrate

 This is from an email that came to me a few days ago, I pray you will be as blessed by it as I am, the names have been withheld.

2 YEARS!!!

         Today is my birthday but I’m celebrating for an entirely different reason.  Some of you may remember it was 2 years ago today that my daughter was in the hospital with a seizure that took the doctors over 45 minutes to stop.  My daughter has epilepsy and her seizures have mostly been well-managed except for when she gets sick.  Her seizures had never been that long but were always scary and required Valium to stop them. They always concluded in an ambulance ride and a visit to the ER.

         On this particular night (yep, my birthday) my daughter ended up taking 2 ambulance rides and was in 2 different ERs a total of 3 times before ultimately getting admitted for several days.  I will never forget what it felt like standing in the ER watching in horror and feeling so helpless.  My husband and I have experienced some significant trials over the last 5 years and have been delivered bad news time and time again.  This night however, remains the darkest hours of my life.  I thought I was going to watch my child die and remember just begging the Lord over and over not to take her yet.  I can’t even begin to describe what it was like.  My mom and aunt were in the bathroom holding on to me (while I was throwing up) and I remember asking them to pray out loud for my daughter.  It was in that moment that I heard the Lord speak more clearly to me than ever before as he told me to trust Him. I wasn’t sure if my daughter was going to be OK but I knew whatever happened He was going to get us through it.

         I posted on Facebook that we were at the hospital with my daughter and immediately began receiving messages that prayers were being lifted up for her.  And let me tell you, we felt those prayers!  After seizing that long permanent brain damage often follows – and that is something I have always feared.  Miraculously, by God’s grace, my daughter had no lasting effects from that night and we went home after a few days.   After a week, she ended up in the hospital again for dangerously low platelets.  While there she was also diagnosed with pneumonia and list of other things.  So we went through about a month of illnesses and hospitalizations as my daughter fought to get well.  And let me tell you is she some fighter!!  It was a long month but even during that time we never had the same fear that we did the night that started it all.

         All that to be said, that was 2 years ago today and we have not been back to the hospital since.  My daughter has not had a SINGLE seizure since September 25, 2010 and has not had any major illnesses either since that month.  So that is why today is such a HUGE celebration for us!!!  When all this happened two years ago I just couldn’t believe it was my birthday.  Did I mention we were out-of-town for my grandmother’s funeral that night?  Needless to say, it was the worst birthday ever! But here’s where it gets good…Last year, I got to celebrate my daughter being 1 year seizure free ON my birthday!!!  It was AWESOME!  This year I am celebrating her being 2 YEARS seizure free and cannot imagine a better gift!  Thank you, Lord!

          So many of you tell me you still pray for my daughter and her health on a regular basis.  I can’t tell you how that humbles me.  Even more so when you tell me your children pray for her every night – ah, melt my heart!  I believe in the power of prayer and believe that God is good – ALL THE TIME.  The Lord has been so faithful to us and has carried me so many times along the way when I just couldn’t hold myself up anymore.  I am so thankful for his mercy and healing hands and for every single day without seizures that He gifts to us.

            I encourage you to look up the song “Listen to the Sound” by Building 429. The first time I heard it I immediately felt a connection to the lyrics.  One of the verses states, “You never know what faith is ‘til you don’t understand. Sometimes it takes the silence to finally hear His plan.”  Wow, how true this is!!!  It’s so easy to be faithful when things go our way.  But it is when our world has been turned upside down and we find ourselves asking, “Why?” that we must choose to be faithful and believe God has a plan.  I will never understand “why” in this lifetime but rejoice in knowing that I don’t have to understand.  His ways are better and bigger than mine and thank goodness He is in control instead of me.  The title of the song refers to listening to the sound of hope…”the sound of hope that’s rising, the sound of a new beginning.” Whatever trial you may be facing you can hold on to hope that He has a new beginning in store for you.   One of the best lines from the song is, “If you’re in over your head, lift it up, lift it up.”  I couldn’t have said it better!!!

 From a blessed Mother

 “I sought the Lord, and he answered me; he delivered me from all my fears.”

Psalm 34:4

                                                                                                                          

Thoughts on the Letter to the Galatians

         In reading the book of Galatians we find Paul making a defense of grace as opposed to works. People had come into the church at Galatia and began to tell them that in order to follow Christ properly they had to in essence become Jews. God had given the Jews a series of laws to live by and a sacrificial system to follow in order to serve Him as a people set apart. Those laws, and the mighty grace of the living God, kept the Jewish people separate and identifiable through the centuries. But at the church of Galatia the new covenant was being challenged. Was the church a new work or to be only an off-shoot of Judaism? The letter goes on to explain why the church is a new creation. Based on the Judaic teachings but moving from there to a new understanding of them. The following analogy is mine based on the argument Paul put forth in the letter to the Galatians.

       The law (the Jewish law) is good but it is inadequate for the salvation of man. The law is in essence the diagnosis. It points to the problem but contains no true cure for the illness. The sacrificial system was mandatory but the blood of animals can never cover the sin of man, it was merely an ongoing treatment. The problems remained and only multiplied as time went on. The entire world was looking for a cure. God sent his son. He Himself was God and only He could pay the price required to cleanse us from our sin. We are then required to accept and believe that the sacrifice of His life is the only cure for our sins. His worth and Godhood was proven when He rose from the dead. To now come to Him by following the law, or by any other thing we might do apart from acknowledging it is only through Him, is a major affront to God. You are claiming in fact that His sacrifice is not good enough. God is the offended party here. He and only He is the one we sin against. He and only He can set the price for reconciliation. Any other way is wrong. Come to Jesus just as you are and let Him cleanse you of your sins. Then you must live as God commands you to live, not to be saved but in gratitude for your salvation and to please Him. Salvation is all God’s work. To obey Him then becomes our joy.

                                                                                                                             

The Talents

Matthew 25:14-30

14 For the kingdom of heaven is as a man travelling into a far country, who called his own servants, and delivered unto them his goods. 15 And unto one he gave five talents, to another two, and to another one; to every man according to his several ability; and straightway took his journey. 16 Then he that had received the five talents went and traded with the same, and made them other five talents. 17 And likewise he that had received two, he also gained other two. 18 But he that had received one went and digged in the earth, and hid his lord’s money. 19 After a long time the lord of those servants cometh, and reckoneth with them. 20 And so he that had received five talents came and brought other five talents, saying, Lord, thou deliveredst unto me five talents: behold, I have gained beside them five talents more. 21 His lord said unto him, Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord. 22 He also that had received two talents came and said, Lord, thou deliveredst unto me two talents: behold, I have gained two other talents beside them. 23 His lord said unto him, Well done, good and faithful servant; thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord. 24 Then he which had received the one talent came and said, Lord, I knew thee that thou art an hard man, reaping where thou hast not sown, and gathering where thou hast not strawed: 25 And I was afraid, and went and hid thy talent in the earth: lo, there thou hast that is thine. 26 His lord answered and said unto him, Thou wicked and slothful servant, thou knewest that I reap where I sowed not, and gather where I have not strawed: 27 Thou oughtest therefore to have put my money to the exchangers, and then at my coming I should have received mine own with usury. 28 Take therefore the talent from him, and give it unto him which hath ten talents. 29 For unto every one that hath shall be given, and he shall have abundance: but from him that hath not shall be taken away even that which he hath. 30 And cast ye the unprofitable servant into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

            The talents in this story are measurements of weight of gold, silver, or something like that. What I would like to point out here is that the rich man gave the talents out as he saw fit to the ones to whom he wanted to give them. It was then the servant’s jobs to make the most of the trust he had placed in them. The rich man didn’t ask the servant with two talents why he didn’t make five talents from them, nor did he ask the servant with the one talent why he didn’t make two talents. The point was for each to do what he could, however the one with the one talent chose not to participate. We all are called to do our best for God with what he has given us. You may not sing as well as someone else, or speak as well as someone else, but God wants you to do what you can do. God will never judge you by anyone else’s ability only your own. But He does expect your best.

                                                                                                                            

God’s Power (not yours)

            We read frequently in God’s word about the miracles Moses, or Elisha, or Paul, or any of the others did and we think, “God doesn’t raise up powerful people like that anymore.” To tell the truth it was never “their” power it was always God’s. When God set out to rescue the Israelites from Egypt He didn’t look about at all the people He had made that could part water to select the one who would part the Red Sea. God chose Moses and then gave him the ability to do what God wanted. The ability and the power was always, always God’s. When one looks at guys like Sampson one must note that before each of Sampson’s acts of strength the scripture records that “the Spirit of The Lord came upon him”, it was not Sampson’s strength but God’s. The Bible makes it clear that all of the miraculous works done by the patriarchs were done through God’s power alone and not from anyone’s personal ability.

            The lesson is we are not called to work for God for our ability, but if we are willing, God will give us any ability we need to do what He wants us to do. Do not wait to receive a special gift from God. If you set out to do what you know He wants you to do He will give you whatever you need to get the job done. It is never about our ability but our availability.

                                                                                                                           

How Big is Your God ?

            “How big is God?” is a childish question theologically because God is Spirit and as such does not conform to any known rules of size or dimension. However the question stands here because we tend to rebuild God in our minds to make Him what we think we would rather He be. When we do we make a god that is small enough to wrap our minds around and is totally false. The atrocities that have been committed by people who believe in a god that is helpless and can’t defend itself are seen throughout the pages of history and even yet today. There are those in this day and time who would, without hesitation kill or destroy anyone they feel has insulted the helpless god they believe in even while believing it is too weak to defend itself. If your god can’t exist without your help, you are worshiping your own imagination and only calling it god. I would like to invite you to come to the one true God.

            God, the true and living God is eternal in existence and defies any human definition of Himself. We know of God what He has revealed to us and nothing more. He created and sustains everything that exists and needs from us nothing we can do, especially personal defense. God is capable of standing for His own Self and the reason I deliver this post is as a warning to me and to us all, that God is real and will not be mocked by those who try to recreate Him in their own image. Be warned.

                                                                                                                            

The Sacrifice

Do you know how much God loves you? Before the world was created He knew you and all there is to know about you. Before you were born God loved you and made plans for you. God knew that in your worst times you would disappoint yourself, everyone and Him. God knew that you, I, and everyone else would do wrong. When we do wrong it is like joining a foreign power in rebellion against God. Sometimes it is accidental, sometimes it is intentional, but before we were born God already said that the payment for our rebellion, our wrongdoing, our sin, is death. This is terrible news in that there is not only death but punishment. But God made a way out, only one. God came in His Son and took the punishment He had ordered for our wrongdoing on Himself. He proved He could do that when three days after He was killed, He rose from the dead.

Here is the bottom line. We must accept His death as payment for our wrongdoing and go on to live as He would live here on Earth. This would be impossible except that He has sent His spirit to live in our hearts to help us. This is all available free of financial cost to us. A new start, a clean slate, a fresh beginning, if it sounds like something you’re interested in contact me here at nashvillewanderinround@yahoo.com

                                                                                                                           

The Spirit’s Working

This is an open letter from my pastor/friend

Hello Beloved,

   Here’s a question for you to ponder.  What has the Holy Spirit done in your life today?  (Note that this is a very specific question – not what He has done recently, or what He has done throughout your entire life, but just today.)

   This might seem like an odd question to ask.  It might be a hard question to answer.  As I thought about my own response after the Lord directed me to this subject, I had to stop and think for a bit.  But why would this question seem strange to us?  And why would it be difficult to answer?

   Before we get into all this, let me tell you what started me thinking in this direction.  As you know, since Father’s Day we have been thinking about the fatherhood of God and the close, familial relationship we have with Him.  One of the passages I’ve been looking at in order to comprehend what it means to be a child in God’s in family is Romans 8:12-17 (this is one of the “Abba, Father” passages that we find in the NT).  Unless the Lord directs me otherwise, I should be preaching from this passage next Sunday.  Let me invite you to do a “sneak peek” at where we are headed by spending time here and considering the following – what does Romans 8:12-17 teach us about day-to-day life in the family of God?

   Now, to the origin of my question.  As I look at this passage, I do see a description of family life in our Father’s household, and one thing really jumps out at me – the Holy Spirit is behind an awful lot of what goes on!  We know from Scripture that the Spirit is present at our spiritual rebirth; He does, in fact, bring it about!  But what we don’t often realize is how much the Bible has to say about the Holy Spirit’s active involvement in each part of our day-to-day walk with Christ.  He doesn’t just initiate our new life in Christ, He sustains, nurtures, and guides it each moment of every day.

   Along with many other Scriptures, our passage in Romans 8:12-17 helps us understand this truth.  So, back to our question – what has the Holy Spirit done in your life so far today?  Scripture commands us to yield to and cooperate with the Spirit of God as He moves in our lives, but to do that we first have to be able to recognize Him and sense His presence.  So why not go looking for Him today?  He’s up to a lot more than you might think!

                                                                                                                           

The Backhand of Love

    Lest anyone take me wrong here, let me say that I don’t believe in “backhanding” anyone and neither do I believe does God. The concept of discipline is important but is rather the “flip side” of God’s great work. Everything I ever learned was learned by trial and error. Working out, off, and through my mistakes was where my real learning has occurred. In the same way God teaches us. He patiently tells us what He wants and expects from us and when we eventually fail to do as we should, we become subject to His discipline. My parents disciplined us with spankings and other things. You may have been given time outs or such, but how does God discipline us? I see Him use several things in my life but the one that gets to me the worse is His kindness.

   A former co-worker told of his own family of a half-dozen boys. When they needed discipline their mother would dish it out. But when it was something really bad, she would tell their dad when he came in from work. My co-worker described being taken into the back room by his dad who would tell him something like, “I just don’t know what I’m gonna do you boys. I work two jobs to try to keep you all in clothes and put food on the table, to come home and find out you’ve done something like this. What am I going to do with you? What have I done wrong?”

My co-worker said that by this time he would by weeping and telling his dad, “I’m not fit to live, just take a stick, hit me in the head and kill me. Just don’t talk to me anymore.” I love that story and the kindness and sweetness of God often makes me feel that same way. We will mess up. We will go our own way. We will be called to the back room, but then the kindness.

The writer of Hebrews says it like this;

Hebrews 12:4-11

4 Ye have not yet resisted unto blood, striving against sin. 5 And ye have forgotten the exhortation which speaketh unto you as unto children, My son, despise not thou the chastening of the Lord, nor faint when thou art rebuked of him: 6 For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth. 7 If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not? 8 But if ye be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are ye bastards, and not sons. 9 Furthermore we have had fathers of our flesh which corrected us, and we gave them reverence: shall we not much rather be in subjection unto the Father of spirits, and live? 10 For they verily for a few days chastened us after their own pleasure; but he for our profit, that we might be partakers of his holiness.  11 Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby.

            Yes, you messed up, we all do. Your mistake might have been terrible but no more than mine. God calls us all to come and make things right and to accept the forgiveness He offers so freely.

                                                                                                                          

Length of Days

    On or near the 21st of June Nashville, and the northern hemisphere, experiences the summer solstice and the longest day of the year with the most hours of sunlight of any day. Before that day we experience the days getting steadily longer, after it they begin shortening toward winter. It gives me pause to think, how long are the days? Not the twenty four hour ones but the total of days. How much time do you imagine yourself having left? It is an interesting question but one we would often rather not think about. In the days of my sojourn here I have viewed with surprise the passing of ones young and vital, while the old and dying hang on for a long time. You might go visit a very sick or dying friend in the hospital and leave with a great concern for how short their time appears, only to step in front of a truck and reach your reward before your friend does.

    Do you believe in a reward? Do you feel that this is all there is and when you leave there will be nothing? I believe we are made for much more than here but the truth is you have to make a decision. You see from the time we are able to decide to do what is right or wrong we are held accountable for our decisions. From that juncture we are faced with the fact that the wrong we do stays with us. We will always remember the offenses against our fellows and we will always bear the scars of problems they cause. But the real offended party is always God. He takes offense on our behalf when we are wronged or against us when we wrong others. Although our fellows may forgive us, the offense remains. God knew it would be this way. And He set up a plan to deal with the problem.

    No human can make any restitution that is sufficient to God and our attempts to do so are offensive to Him. But in His plan He found a sufficient payment, His own life as the Son. In history God had told all people through one people group that for the offenses they commit He would for a time accept the payment of a large chunk of their livelihood, the equivalent of your best vehicle if you will, the death of an animal to put away their offense until the proper payment should be provided. After a time people got tired of putting to death their best animals and lost sight of the fact that God had set this as His condition for their forgiveness so God sent the true payment, Jesus Christ who was God Himself. He lived among men for thirty-three years and showed us and told us how God wanted us to live. After that time the people took Him and out of jealousy they killed Him. But after three days Jesus rose from the dead. This is an historical fact mentioned by historians not connected to the actual event but witnesses to the occurrence Flavius Josephus among many others.

    Now this is the decision you must make. God has said in His word it is only by joining the side of Jesus Christ, accepting that He died as payment for our offenses and believing that He raised Him from the dead that we are forgiven and will live beyond this life. God Himself made a way for all this to happen, but the choice is yours. If His plan is not accepted God becomes your enemy and after you leave this life you will make payment for your own offenses in eternal torment. But still today the choice is yours. What is your choice? Contact me here at nashvillewanderinround@yahoo.com and let me know.

                                                                                                                          

Why I Believe

            I was about thirteen years old and searching for answers. My family upbringing was strongly Christian but I being a fan of science was having difficulty believing everything that a faith in Jesus Christ demanded. Besides, it would be much easier if I didn’t have to answer for my wrongdoings and impure thoughts, so I delved into science wholeheartedly. Only to find it empty. I don’t know if you’ve really noticed but science knows very little. The knowledge of one professor is contradicted within a few months and then everything they know is wrong. Most of the teachings of science today have been disproven by other scientists and are now only taught because textbooks take so long to change and no better unproven theory yet exists.

            For example, if one doesn’t believe in creation modern science has only two other options, the first being the eternal universe theory. The eternal universe theory states simply that the universe has always been and will always be. The problem with that theory is that always is a long time. It is known that all energy is moving toward less useful forms of energy. After a period of time all energy would be dissipated, flat, and nonexistent. The fact that there is energy, motion, life, etc. speaks of a beginning energizing all things.

            The second theory of the universe states that first there was nothing, then nothing acted on it and it became everything.

            Neither of these options bears any logic in my mind and must be accepted merely as articles of faith. In the USA one is free to believe whatever they may choose but keep in mind these are faith articles and nothing else.

            I believe that outside of space, time, and creation God exists. He is separate from His creation and is effected by it only at the level He chooses to be. It was He who initiated creation of space, time, and everything else, and by His power alone it remains.

        That is my article of faith and I readily set it against those articles of science. For they would seek to say order comes from chaos, physical laws come from disarray and life is simply an aberration. Don’t buy it. They aren’t as smart as they would have you believe and will stand together in any lie to deceive you.

                                                                                                                          

A Psalm

PAIN…

WHY…

Why do I cry out to you oh Lord and you do not hear my cry?

Are you not listening Lord?

Or could it be…

That You are listening,

That You do hear,

That You have answered,

But it was not the answer that I wanted,

So I shut it out?

Oh Lord, give me a heart to seek Your will,

Ears to hear Your voice,

Eyes to see Your working,

And a will to accept Your plan over my

                                                                                                                          

The following is a story written for my book “Those He Touched”

Bartimaeus

Mark 10:46-52

            From the first, all I could remember was darkness. My father couldn’t accept it, that I had been born blind. He even refused to name me. That sort of back-fired on him though, cause then everyone just called me “Timaeus’ boy”. Truth be told, I think my father would have killed me at birth if it hadn’t been for my dear saintly mother. She told me he was excited enough when the midwife told him he had a son, but when he had come in and seen my milky eyes it was like something died within him. He turned cold and bitter and he left the house. Several hours after I was born he had come back into the house. He had been drinking. “This is not my child!”, he had said.

            This was a terrible charge for my mother. If he could prove it she could be stoned to death. But of course he couldn’t prove it. My mother was such a saintly, good woman and the neighbors all stood up for her. So my father went away. My mother had to raise me on her own. Oh, there was a little help from the neighbors but as soon as I was old enough, maybe four or five, she put me by the road with my cup to beg. As long as she lived she brought me out to the main road before she went to glean after the field workers or dig for herbs or find some other way to earn a living. Then when the evening cool was coming she would be there to take me back home.

            When mother died I was so lonely, but all I knew to do was go back out to the road and beg. Beg to eat, eat to beg that was all I knew, all I had left. I just sat day after day listening for the sound of someone coming so I could beg, and how wretched it was. But one day I began to notice that people were talking about a certain man. This man was a great teacher and was performing many wonderful works. I thought of what my mother had said, many times at night she would talk of God and tell me stories about Him, how He had been with our ancestors and shown them many great miracles. “Can He make me see?” I had asked.

            Now I knew nothing of sight having been born blind, but it seemed wonderful and everyone made such a big thing of it. It had gotten very quiet and then I had heard my mother weeping. “I never heard of the blind seeing.” she had said and held me tightly.

            I wanted to die even then for making her cry. I thought of all these things as I listened to the people talking. Someone said His name “Jesus”.

            That name still sends thrills of excitement over me. I listened to all I could. Some said He might be the Messiah, some didn’t know what to think, I just listened and thought. If He was the Messiah, truly God with us, maybe He could help me. After all, is anything too hard for God? Then I would remember my dear mother saying, “I never heard of the blind seeing.”

            Besides, this was probably alright for people that could see, but how would I ever find Him? And so I sat. Then one day I heard a noise in the street. It got louder and louder as a crowd began coming my way. I began backing away not wishing to be trampled. I asked a passerby what was going on. “Jesus, the great teacher is coming.” he said.

            “Jesus”, I thought, “The Messiah, the Son of David.”

            I had backed almost into the bushes by this time and I kept thinking “Jesus, the Messiah, the Son of David, if anyone can help me it had to be Him.”

            Now I didn’t know anything about being healed or seeing or anything like that, I only knew that this might be my only chance and I had to do something. I heard my own voice cry out, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!”

            Some in the crowd shouted for me to be quiet. I felt somewhere inside me that they were right, maybe I should be quiet, I was just a blind man, all I knew was to beg. But something deeper and stronger inside me took over. I was weeping as I cried out again, as loudly as I could, “Jesus, You Son of David, have mercy on me!”

            The crowd stopped in front of me and I heard a voice say, “Call him!”

            Suddenly I was being lifted to my feet. “It’s alright”, someone was saying, “He’s calling you.”

            I threw my old beggar’s cloak aside as I was led to His presence. “What do you want me to do for you?” He asked.

            “Teacher, I want to see.” I somehow managed to answer.

            “Go”, He said, “Your faith has healed you.”

            Instantly a sensation swept over me. The sunlight that had always warmed my face now filled my eyes and I suddenly saw and understood the things around me I could previously only guess at and there was so much more. I glanced at the beggar’s cloak I had left there and saw how wretched I had been. I knew I’d never be able to go back to that. As the crowd began to move away with Jesus I followed too, asking questions of first one then another of those who went with us. “What’s that?”

            “Those are clouds.”

            “What’s that?”

            “Those are hills.”

            That night I was afraid to close my eyes, afraid at one and the same time that I might miss something, or that when I wakened this wonderful gift of sight would be gone. But I finally did fall asleep and I wakened in the morning to the beauty of my first ever sunrise, and a whole new life set before me.

                                                                                                                          

The following is a story written for my book “Those He Touched”

Nicodemus

John 3:1-12

            The first time I met Him was when I went out with a few of my brother Pharisees to see if He was a new prophet or a heretic. I had seen dozens of men before who claimed to be sent from God but soon enough it was clear what they really were. So we went to hear this man Jesus. He was just an ordinary looking man, but His words. From the lips of Solomon could not have come such words. I have heard the Rabbis, the Priests, the wise men and the fools but never have I heard such words. They had a sense about them that you just knew in your deepest heart was truth. When He spoke of the kingdom of God it was like He knew the name of every street. His words rang in my mind and touched my very heart. As we watched people came to Him and were healed of all manner of sicknesses, and we were told often by the people of great wonders He had performed. We went back to the temple to discuss our verdict. It suddenly all seemed so foolish. We were judges who sat all day long and argued this opinion or that of the law, now I heard the same old debates starting up and it seemed ridiculous to me. We were imbeciles trying to judge genius. I knew I had to speak with Him alone. I waited until darkness fell. I was saying to myself, “He is a young man. He’ll be walking here and there and I’ll have to track Him down.” But I think I was afraid to be seen. I went to where I knew He was staying and there He was, alone in the courtyard, almost as though He was waiting for me. He looked straight at me, as open as a child yet with respect and authority. It made me feel a little nervous, me, a great judge. I then noticed some other people there in the house and in another part of the courtyard but they didn’t stir so I began to speak. “Rabbi, we know You are a Rabbi from God because of the wonders You do. No one could these things without God.”

He looked me straight in the eye and said, “The truth is unless a man is born from above he can’t see God’s kingdom.”

I was taken aback, He had begun answering my questions before I had even asked, all my defenses fell. I had misunderstood somehow. I asked, “How can an old man be born? He can’t enter the womb again.”

Jesus answered, “Unless a man is born both of water and of the Spirit he can’t enter God’s kingdom. Flesh only bears flesh but the Spirit bears spirit. Don’t be shocked that I speak of rebirth. You hear the wind moving about but you don’t see its course, it’s the same way with the Spirit.”

I told Him, “I don’t understand.”

His eyes held mine and He said in stern kindness, “You’re one of Israel’s teachers and don’t know this?”

I was ashamed. He continued, “The truth is we talk about what we know, and tell what we’ve seen but you people won’t believe us. I’ve told you about earthly things and you don’t believe; how will you believe if I tell you of heavenly things? No one has gone to heaven except the One who came from heaven, the Son of Man who is in heaven. The same way Moses in the wilderness lifted up the snake, the Son of Man must be lifted up, so that everyone who believes in Him will have eternal life in Him. Because God loved the world so much He gave His only natural Son, so that whoever believes in Him won’t ultimately die but have eternal life.

                                                                                                                          

The following is a story written for my book “Those He Touched”

 Banquet Master

John 2:1-10

            I guess it was at the wedding that I first began to notice Him. Weddings were always a big thing around here and I sort of got stuck as banquet master. You know how it goes, you do the first one and people like it, they remember, and call on you next time. It was pretty much your typical wedding feast, people dancing, singing, eating… and drinking. It was really hot this particular day and the guests were hitting the wine rather hard. We had started out with the pretty good wine, as good as they could afford, but the guests had gone through it really quick and were well into the cheap stuff. I saw this guy Jesus come in with His mother and some of His friends. I knew a little bit about Him, He was ol’ Joseph the carpenter’s son; of late He had gained some following as a rabbi. All I knew was, “Here were more people to eat and drink,” and I was afraid I might have to call an early end to the feast.

            Then Jesus’ mother came near. She must have heard me say something to one of the servants about being out of wine. The next thing I noticed was her pulling Jesus aside. They seemed to argue a bit then she went and talked to the servants. It was a few minutes later that one of those servants brought me a dipper of wine to sample. I figured that they had found another skin of cheap somewhere so I tried it. What wine!!! It was the best I can ever remember. I called the bridegroom aside and told him,”Look, everybody else serves the good wine first and after everyone is full brings out the cheap stuff, but you’ve saved the best for last!”

            I remember he gave me an odd look, later the servants told me what really happened. The woman, Jesus’ mother, had told the servants to do what Jesus said. He had told them to fill six of those thirty gallon water jars, the jars that we Jews use to wash ourselves after we have been to the market or anything, with water. Now, the servants thought He had seen something unclean or something and rushed to do His bidding. When the servants had filled the jars He had told them to draw out some and bring it to me. I only saw the servant bringing some more wine. I questioned the servants closely and they all agreed about what had happened. After He had told the servants to bring me the wine He and His group left. I was never so close to Him again, but I still get a chill every time I think about it.

                                                                                                                          

This is from a radio script from the 1980s

Brother Bob script #3

Background Sounds; Banjo Picking (Just as I am)

“Support Your Local Pastor”

This morning I went by the Kindlin’ Wood Community Church. I saw the pastor’s car outside so I tied Too-slow (uh, that’s my mule) and went inside. The pastor was there kneeling at the altar, weeping as though his heart would break. I went and knelt beside him and put my hand on his shoulder. “Young fellow” I asked, “what’s wrong?”

He said, “There are so many needs in the flock, there’s so much that needs to be done, no one wants to help and I can’t do it all.”

Well, I was weeping pretty good myself by this time. I had only stopped to shoot the breeze but the Spirit had pricked my heart. I asked him, “Preacher, what can I do to help you?”

We wept some more and prayed and then went out visiting in the hospitals. We talked for a while and I decided I could take another couple of hours each week and help the young man do the Lord’s work. I guess I just forgot what it was like to be a young pastor in charge of a flock. I came home and opened my bible to;

1 Thessalonians 5:12-18

And we beseech you, brethren, to know them which labor among you, and are over you in the Lord, and admonish you;

And to esteem them very highly in love for their work’s sake. And be at peace among yourselves.

Now we exhort you, brethren, warn them that are unruly, comfort the feebleminded, support the weak, be patient toward all men.

See that none render evil for evil unto any man; but ever follow that which is good, both among yourselves, and to all men.

Rejoice evermore.

Pray without ceasing.

In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.

I wonder how many pastors out there are working hard weeping for their flocks, needing a little of your encouragement and help and prayers?

And it is our job!

(end banjo music)

I was just wondering if you ever thought about that?

This is Brother Bob.

                                                                                                                          

This is from a radio script from the 1980s

Brother Bob script #2

BACKGROUND SOUNDS; Soft Music, Crickets, Rocking Chair Squeaking

THE GLORY OF CREATION

You know, sometimes in the evening I like to just sit out here on the porch and watch the moon come up.

They tell me it’s some 239,000 miles away, and I wonder who they sent out with a yardstick to measure that. Ha, Ha

But then I’m drawn to think about God.

I see the Moon so far away,

and the stars that are distant beyond my simple thoughts,

and I think, my God made all this.

In Genesis it says that God “spoke” all these things into being in six days.

When I look out at all this beauty it sorta takes my breath away to realize that this is just a taste of what He’s prepared up there.

Psalms 19 says;

The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament sheweth his handywork.

Day unto day uttereth speech, and night unto night sheweth knowledge.

There is no speech nor language, where their voice is not heard.

Their line is gone out through all the earth, and their words to the end of the world. In them hath he set a tabernacle for the sun,

Which is as a bridegroom coming out of his chamber, and rejoiceth as a strong man to run a race.

His going forth is from the end of the heaven, and his circuit unto the ends of it: and there is nothing hid from the heat thereof.

Dear Lord;

Thank You for all the wonder and beauty you’ve made for us here.

Help me to always remember that You both made it and are in control of it.

For Your’s is the Kingdom, and the Power, and the Glory, and the Praise forever Lord.

this is Brother Bob… Amen

                                                                                                                          

This is from a radio script from the 1980s

Brother Bob script #1

The other day I heard two men fussing about religion. I mean they were getting ready to fight! It seemed the first believed some particular way and the second one couldn’t understand it so he was trying to talk the first one out of it. Now, the thing they were fussing over was something little, nothing that would alter either one’s salvation, just a difference. I thought about what Jesus said (in Matthew 11:16-17) “But whereunto shall I liken this generation? It is like unto children sitting in the markets, and calling unto their fellows, And saying, ‘We have piped unto you , and ye have not danced; we have mourned unto you and, you have not lamented.'” Hrumph! Like a bunch of children! You know, if I wasn’t a Christian already, I sure wouldn’t want to be from listening to those two. When Ol’ Paul was writing to the folks at Corinth, he must have had the same thing on his mind when he said, “For it hath been declared unto me of you, my brethren, by them which are of the house of Chloe, that there are contentions among you. Now this I say, that every one of you saith, I am of Paul; and I am of Cephas; and I of Christ. Is Christ divided? was Paul crucified for you? or were you baptized in the name of Paul? (1 Corinthians 12-13) I guess people were the same then as they are now, ready to come to blows at the drop of a hat, over something that don’t make a hill of beans difference. Majoring on minors and letting the world around us go to hell while we fight with each other. It seems I remember Jesus saying “By this shall all men know ye are my disciples, If ye have love one to another.” (John 13:35) Seems to me if we really wanted to compete with one another, then what we need to do is try to out love each other. That would shake the world up. I love you, this is Brother Bob

                                                                                                                         

I was recently told this by C.L. and I had him write it out for me so I could share it with you.

A Thought About Heaven

Just a thought. One day we will draw our last breath on this Earth and our first breath in Heaven. We will stand or kneel behind Jesus, with Jesus’ left arm up to God and shielding you with His right. The Glory is so Thick it’s like you’re standing under water. Then on the biggest screen you have ever seen, your whole life plays, public and private. When it finishes God says “GET THAT VILE AND USELESS SERVANT AWAY FROM ME, I CANT EVEN GAZE UPON HIM.” Then Jesus says “FATHER, PLEASE ACCEPT MY SACRIFICE AS THE PAYMENT FOR HIS SIN.” That is when God in all His glory will look at you and smile and say “WELCOME TO MY KINGDOM. PLEASE COME IN MY SON.”

                                                                                                                          

The following is a one act play written and copyrighted in 1987 I include it here for the story it contains. If you should decide to use it please let me know how it goes, the author would be quite interested.

Hopeless

Characters

Captain                                                         Home Control (unseen voice)
Communications Officer                            Home Ruler (unseen voice)
Science Officer                                            Narrator
Lieutenants (as many as needed)

Performance Notes:

The setting and stage decoration can be as elaborate or as simple as you might desire.  Let your imagination be your guide.

The “Lieutenants” parts can be divided up any way that is necessary or desirable for your group.  Each actor can have a single part or several parts as needed.  The actors own last names maybe used in all instances to bring even more reality to the production.

The “Captain” character should be either a larger, more mature, or very charismatic youth, or an adult.

The “Home Control”, “Home Ruler” segment should be pre-recorded and played back loud enough for the entire audience to hear.

The “Narrator” should be either the Youth Leader or Minister, especially if the summary section at the end is used.

Props:

The only essentials to the production are a chair that swivels (preferably one that can be disguised with cardboard and imagination to look like a Captain’s command chair) and the priority message device (a “walkman” type personal radio, one of the larger ones to which “keys” drawn on a card can be taped). (or maybe today a cell phone) ed.
For a full production the “Captain” character can wear a “space uniform”.  The rest of the characters need only be dressed similarly in jumpsuits, sweatsuits, or even slacks and windbreakers (one color per actor – i.e. all blue, all green, all red – with different colors denoting different duty stations on the ship).
The “Bridge” can be constructed from three long tables set in a “U” shape, covered with cardboard (i.e. refrigerator boxes) painted white.  Home computers may be used on the tables for effect, (with an interesting display on) but don’t use too many.  Place the Communications Officer on one arm of the “U”, the Science Officer on the other, and the viewscreen at the back.  Act the play to the side so everyone can be seen in profile.

Narrator: The scene is the bridge of the starship “World”.  As the scene opens the Captain is receiving the end of a top security priority message from the planet “Home”.

(The Captain is facing the audience, wearing ultra-light headphones, listening to the “message”, and typing his replies on a small keyboard.  Appearing very worried and sad, he slowly removes the headphones and holds them with the keyboard.  Holding them both in his lap, he looks at them contemplatively, sighs deeply, and then, as though remembering himself, says authoritatively.)

Captain: (to Communications Officer):  Lieutenant _______________, mark the end of priority message at 0600.31.

Communications Officer: Aye – aye Captain, end priority message 0600.31, mark.

(The Captain stands very deliberately and crosses the bridge handing the communications device to the Communications Officer, who stores it away.  The Captain stops, and looks at the viewscreen.)

Captain: (Softly to himself): It’s even more beautiful than I remembered.

Communications Officer:  Captain?

Captain:  It’s even more beautiful than I remembered.

Communications Officer:  Yes, sir.  I can’t wait to see it.  What are you going to do when we get there?

Captain:  (long pause)  I guess we’ll see.

(He walks back to his chair and stands behind it gripping the back with both hands and looking at the floor behind it.  As if catching himself he suddenly stands erect, takes a deep breath and without turning around shouts over his shoulder to the Communications Officer.)

Captain:  Lieutenant ________________ , have all Lieutenants report to the bridge immediately.

Communications Officer:  Aye- aye Captain.  (Then over the public address system)  All Lieutenants report to the bridge immediately.  All Lieutenants report to the bridge immediately.

(The Captain rises and paces about the bridge.  The Lieutenants begin arriving at irregular intervals with the Captain ignoring them.  The Captain looks through the viewscreen at the small blue planet they are orbiting.  As the Lieutenants arrive they stand at attention. Then the Captain returns to his chair and is seated still apparently oblivious to the lieutenants, while the first Lieutenant in line walks down the file straightening lapels or correcting postures of a couple of Lieutenants (don’t take too long on this).  He then returns to his original place and shouts.)

Lieutenant __________ : Atten-tion! (all Lieutenants then snap to a salute simultaneously)  All present and  accounted for, Sir!

(The Captain rises, checks over the file and snaps to a salute.  He drops his salute and the Lieutenants drop theirs simultaneously.)

Captain:  At ease! (everyone moves to the “at ease” position)

Captain:  (gently)  Everyone be seated.

(The Lieutenants look about the room nervously, then at each other.  As there are no “seats”, finally one sits on the floor and the others do likewise.  The Captain sits and swivels his chair around to face the crew.  He turns to the Communications Officer.)

Captain:  Lieutenant __________ , secure the bridge for privacy.  Close all lines from the bridge.

Communications Officer:  Aye – aye, Captain.

Captain:  Remain at your post and listen to me.

Communications Officer:  Aye – aye, Captain.

Captain:  (to Science Officer) Lieutenant __________

Science Officer:  Aye – aye, Captain?

Captain:  You listen in here also.

Science Officer:  Aye – aye, Captain.

(The Captain punches a button on the arm of the command chair)

Captain:  Ship’s Log 2705.71, recording meeting of the Lieutenants.  All Lieutenants present, Captain __________ presiding.

Lieutenant_______________: Is this about the escort Home sir,

Captain:  Escort?

Lieutenant_______________:  Yes Sir, some of the Lieutenants have been talking about an honor escort from Home. It seemed logical since the transporter section has been shut down that there would be an escort from Home.
(Some of the Lieutenants nod in agreement )

Captain:  You hadn’t noticed that the armory had been shut down as well?

Lieutenant___________:  I had noticed that. Is there some connection?

Captain:   What do you remember about Virus “S”?

(The Lieutenants look at one another surprised. They murmur among themselves and finally one speaks.)

Lieutenant___________:  Sir, Virus “S”? Isn’t that our name for the virus that killed some people on the ship?

Captain:  (Sadly but with a forced smile) Almost

Science Officer:  Sir, thirty physical years ago this ship the “World” set out to explore a planet ten years from “Home”.  When the crew arrived and set out to explore the planet some of the crew began showing symptoms of the virus.  That’s when the “World” started back.

Lieutenant___________:  I remember when we were just kids, packing up and leaving the other planet.  It seemed we were in a big hurry packing and storing stuff.  It was scary.

(The  Captain rises slowly from his chair and  walks behind it. Then gripping the back with both hands he looks first down at the floor behind it , then back up at the Lieutenants. With a tired, forced half-smile he begins)

Captain:  We were overstocked with enough crew that two-thirds of us were in hibernation at all times.  When during our ten year exploration of the planet people began dying, we discovered it was Virus “S” to which we had no immunity and could find no cure.  We began planning the trip back to “Home” thinking we would hibernate everyone but the essential personnel needed to operate the ship at any given time.

Lieutenant_____________:  When will our parents be awakened? (The rest murmur agreement)

Captain:  (Raising his hand to cut off questions) Our calculations showed that even with hibernation we all would be dead before the ship reached “Home”. It was decided that all the married teams would have children so that perhaps the children might live to bring the ship back to “Home”.  All of you were born on the other planet.  The others were born in flight, so there was a skeleton crew operating the ship at any given time.  I was wakened last.  And now we have finally arrived at “Home”.  You, as teenagers, have made excellent officers.  I regret that the highest rank I can bestow on you is Lieutenant, for with few exceptions you have performed admirably.  Your parents would have been very proud.  But your parents are long since dead,…. (Captain pauses for the gasps of the Lieutenants)

Lieutenant____________:  (Shouting in surprise) What, ….our parents are dead?  But…No! they’re in hibernation.   I….

Captain:  (Raising his hand now to restore calm) And  now I am dying ,…. and so are all of you.

(The Lieutenants look at one another in stunned disbelief.)

Lieutenant____________:  Sir?

Captain: ( He repeats carefully) All of us are dying.

(The Lieutenants all murmur in disbelief. One of the girls begins to sob audibly, others move to comfort her. The Captain quietly takes his seat again and some order is restored.)

Lieutenant____________:  But Sir, uh, how can that be, I mean, that can’t right?

Captain:  Ask the Science Officer. (The Captain then addresses the Science Officer loudly.) Lieutenant___________,?

(The Science Officer is shocked at the Captain’s statement and responds with great surprise.)

Science Officer:  Yes Captain?

Captain:  Did you run those calculations I gave you earlier?

Science Officer:  Those calculations?… Oh yes,… yes Captain.

(The Captain sits waiting for the response from his Science Officer until impatiently he snaps…)

Captain:  Results! (The Captain speaks harshly then, catching himself he bows his head as the Science Officer replies.)

Science Officer:  Oh, yes Sir, they checked out the same.

(The Captain looks at the Science Officer and says apologetically, almost tenderly.)

Captain: Thank you, Lieutenant, (then to the group) “Home control has been tapped into our medical computer. Though you didn’t know it, it was their report of our genetic deterioration that you just confirmed Lieutenant. (The Science Officer continues to look on, shocked.) “Home” control confirms that our own genetic structures have been affected by the virus. We are all dying.

(The one Lieutenant continues sobbing softly the rest begin asking questions)

Lieutenant ____________:  But what about the dietary and conduct codes?

Captain: Well they did slow the disease down, I suppose our being here  is proof of that. But it’s just not possible to keep all those rules. You know how tough the conduct codes are.

Lieutenant ___________:  But, I can keep them especially if it means my life.

(The other lieutenants nod or voice their approval.)

Captain:  (defensively) Look, it’s hopeless. We’ve always known the risks, but none of us, myself included, can keep the codes.  It’s just not possible. (Then softer) In any event there’s no hope for us in the codes, the disease is too far advanced.

Lieutenant___________:  Can’t they make a vaccine or a serum?

Captain:  There’s not enough time to synthesize one.

Lieutenant___________:  Couldn’t they use our blood to make a serum?

Captain:  No, that’s hopeless. The disease has damaged our genetic structures too badly.

Lieutenant___________:  But what about a donor from “Home”?  Couldn’t “Home” control make a serum from someone else’s blood?

Captain:  (Sadly) No, I’m afraid there’s no hope there either. A search has been conducted, but due to inter-marriage and all the diseases over the years there is no bloodline at “Home” that is pure enough. You see, only completely pure blood could have the strength to withstand the ravages of this disease long enough to create a serum. Even if a donor were found the only method fast enough would be direct exposure. It would mean certain death to the donor.

(Silence and one of the Lieutenants sobbing softly.)

Captain:  “Home” will send provisions to keep us comfortable….until the end….but I’m afraid our situation is hopeless….we can never go “Home”. Your jobs for now will be to help the younger ones deal with this. I’ll make the annou…

(The Communications Officer interrupts.)

Communications Officer:  Captain!  I’m receiving a notice of a transmission from “Home” control for the full ship!

Captain:  Patch through to the ship’s intercom.

Communications Officer:  Patching through now Captain. (Brief pause as the Communications Officer makes adjustments) This is the “World” to “Home” control, you are patched through our intercom. You may begin transmission at will.

Home Control:  This is “Home” control with an important message from “Home” ruler. Repeating, this is “Home” control with an important message from “Home” ruler.

Home Ruler:  (After brief pause) This is “Home” ruler to the crew of  starship “World”. I, from long ago, had known and loved your parents, and through the years, through your struggles I have come to love you also. My heart breaks from the agony of your situation.
As you have no doubt been made aware, you are all infected by Virus “S”. All our attempts to synthesize a cure have been futile, and the only hope of a cure is to find a pure blood donor. In all the kingdom we have found one bloodline suitable,… the bloodline of the ruler.  Because of our love for you and at his own request I am sending my son,…. my only son,…. to you,… to die,… that by his death, you may live… This I do for you.

(Lights Out)
End of play.

                                                                                                                          

Dinosaurs in the Bible

In the Bible we see many creatures listed whose modern names or equivalents we do not know.  If you or I were writing a book about our times and our belief in God, would it not be perfectly normal to use illustrations of animals with which we are familiar?  We probably wouldn’t stop and think, “Now if this letter is found 5,000 years from now, will the finder know what a house cat is?”.  However, when we read the Bible we may be confronting animals, or descriptions of animals, which to us have long been extinct but to the writers were commonplace.  Translators have often had great problems with figures of speech or customs that are long out of use.  Is it not reasonable to assume that the animals, which after all are secondary to the purpose of the writing, would give them equal problems?

Here is a listing of some of the strange animals listed in the Bible and some thoughts on each:

Behemoth:  from Hebrew – water ox

Job 40:15-24

15 “Look at the behemoth,

which I made along with you

and which feeds on grass like an ox.

16 What strength he has in his loins,

what power in the muscles of his belly!

17 His tail sways like a cedar;

the sinews of his thighs are close-knit.

18 His bones are tubes of bronze,

his limbs like rods of iron.

19 He ranks first among the works of God,

yet his Maker can approach him with his sword.

20 The hills bring him their produce,

and all the wild animals play nearby.

21 Under the lotus plants he lies,

hidden among the reeds in the marsh.

22 The lotuses conceal him in their shadow;

the poplars by the stream surround him.

23 When the river rages, he is not alarmed;

he is secure, though the Jordan should surge against his mouth.

24 Can anyone capture him by the eyes,

or trap him and pierce his nose?

[1]

This creature is said in some translations to be the hippopotamus.  Although the word behemoth in Hebrew does mean water ox, or Nile horse (hippopotamus means river horse), it is my firm belief that we are seeing two very different animals.  Look for a moment at verse 17.  Have you ever seen the tail of a hippopotamus?  The fact is that the hippopotamus compares better to a hog than a horse and its tail is the little kinky kind that hogs have.  This is not a hippopotamus.  Some translators have tried to suggest that it might be an elephant and the reference to the tail may actually mean the trunk.  This too is very doubtful.  The word translated “tail” is the same word translated throughout the Old Testament as “tail”.  Why would it be different here?  This could well be one of the “dinosaurs”.

Dragon:  from Hebrew – to elongate; a monster (whale)

Psalm 148:7

7 Praise the LORD from the earth, ye dragons, and all deeps: [2]

Isaiah 51:9

9 Awake, awake, put on strength, O arm of the LORD; awake, as in the ancient days, in the generations of old. Art thou not it that hath cut Rahab, and wounded the dragon? 2

Ezekiel 29:3-5

3 Speak, and say, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I am against thee, Pharaoh king of Egypt, the great dragon that lieth in the midst of his rivers, which hath said, My river is mine own, and I have made it for myself. 4 But I will put hooks in thy jaws, and I will cause the fish of thy rivers to stick unto thy scales, and I will bring thee up out of the midst of thy rivers, and all the fish of thy rivers shall stick unto thy scales. 5 And I will leave thee thrown into the wilderness, thee and all the fish of thy rivers: thou shalt fall upon the open fields; thou shalt not be brought together, nor gathered: I have given thee for meat to the beasts of the field and to the fowls of the heaven.  2

This creature seems to be stuck in a catch-all group, though it is never well described.  We only know that it was some huge scaled creature that lived in rivers.  It is curious that every ancient culture speaks of dragons.  The major nations seem to be identified by the “dragon” that lived in their river.  The Babylonians had a creature they called Tiamat.  The Egyptians had Rahab.  It is logical to assume that certain creatures would have their own territories just as they do even today, and that some creatures would be found in some places and not others.  These may be crocodiles … or maybe not.

Leviathan:  from Hebrew – a wreathed animal, i.e., a serpent

Job 41:1-34

Canst thou draw out leviathan with an hook? or his tongue with a cord which thou lettest down?   2 Canst thou put an hook into his nose? or bore his jaw through with a thorn? 3 Will he make many supplications unto thee? will he speak soft words unto thee? 4 Will he make a covenant with thee? wilt thou take him for a servant for ever? 5 Wilt thou play with him as with a bird? or wilt thou bind him for thy maidens? 6 Shall the companions make a banquet of him? shall they part him among the merchants? 7 Canst thou fill his skin with barbed irons? or his head with fish spears? 8 Lay thine hand upon him, remember the battle, do no more. 9 Behold, the hope of him is in vain: shall not one be cast down even at the sight of him? 10 None is so fierce that dare stir him up: who then is able to stand before me?

11 Who hath prevented me, that I should repay him? whatsoever is under the whole heaven is mine. 12 I will not conceal his parts, nor his power, nor his comely proportion. 13 Who can discover the face of his garment? or who can come to him with his double bridle?  14 Who can open the doors of his face? his teeth are terrible round about. 15 His scales are his pride, shut up together as with a close seal.  16 One is so near to another, that no air can come between them. 17 They are joined one to another, they stick together, that they cannot be sundered. 18 By his neesings a light doth shine, and his eyes are like the eyelids of the morning. 19 Out of his mouth go burning lamps, and sparks of fire leap out. 20 Out of his nostrils goeth smoke, as out of a seething pot or caldron. 21 His breath kindleth coals, and a flame goeth out of his mouth. 22 In his neck remaineth strength, and sorrow is turned into joy before him.  23 The flakes of his flesh are joined together: they are firm in themselves; they cannot be moved.  24 His heart is as firm as a stone; yea, as hard as a piece of the nether millstone. 25 When he raiseth up himself, the mighty are afraid: by reason of breakings they purify themselves. 26 The sword of him that layeth at him cannot hold: the spear, the dart, nor the habergeon.  27 He esteemeth iron as straw, and brass as rotten wood. 28 The arrow cannot make him flee: slingstones are turned with him into stubble. 29 Darts are counted as stubble: he laugheth at the shaking of a spear. 30 Sharp stones are under him: he spreadeth sharp pointed things upon the mire.  31 He maketh the deep to boil like a pot: he maketh the sea like a pot of ointment. 32 He maketh a path to shine after him; one would think the deep to be hoary. 33 Upon earth there is not his like, who is made without fear.  34 He beholdeth all high things: he is a king over all the children of pride.

2

Psalm 74:13-14

13 Thou didst divide the sea by thy strength: thou brakest the heads of the dragons in the waters.   14 Thou brakest the heads of leviathan in pieces, and gavest him to be meat to the people inhabiting the wilderness. 2

Psalm 104:25-26

25 So is this great and wide sea, wherein are things creeping innumerable, both small and great beasts. 26 There go the ships: there is that leviathan, whom thou hast made to play therein.  2

Isaiah 27:1

In that day the LORD with his sore and great and strong sword shall punish leviathan the piercing serpent, even leviathan that crooked serpent; and he shall slay the dragon that is in the sea.  2

This too may be a catch-all name.  In Job we see the description of an awesome creature.  Although this is thought by some to be a crocodile, this creature seems somehow far beyond it.  The crocodile would have been a common creature to these people but this creature is fantastic.  It might be thought that this was an exaggeration just for emphasis.  After all, Job is considered a poetry book.  But nowhere in the Bible can I think of another place where this has happened.  Look at Psalm 104:25-26 – crocodiles don’t play in the sea.  In Isaiah 27:1, leviathan is called the piercing (fleeing) serpent and the crooked (twisted) serpent.  Maybe they called lizards, i.e. crocodiles, serpents … I doubt it.

Sea Monsters: whale; see dragon

Lamentations 4:3

3 Even the sea monsters draw out the breast, they give suck to their young ones: the daughter of my people is become cruel, like the ostriches in the wilderness.  2

The creature described here is probably a whale.  It seems certain that the author is describing a large sea going mammal.


[1]The New International Version, (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House) 1984.

[2]The King James Version, (Cambridge: Cambridge) 1769.

                                                                                                                          

The Gospel According to Cats

After a flurry of activity the door finally closed and the lock was engaged. Gracie sat on the bookcase looking at the just closed door and sighed, “Well, they’ve gone again. Do you think they’ll be gone long?”

Ginger glanced at her from the sofa and lowered her own head to her paws for a nap. “No, this is the normal thing they do I think, going to worship.”

“Do we go to worship?” Gracie asked with concern.

Ginger answered without raising her head from her paws. “No, cats worship all the time we always honor God.”

“How do we do that?” Gracie asked.

“By being cats.” Ginger stated flatly.

“What does that mean?” Gracie continued, sounding confused.

Ginger raised her head to look at her and noticed that from the cushy chair across the room Katie was now watching her and listening in. Abby was up on the perch in the window she was looking out toward the street but her ears were turned backward so she could listen as well. “Cats worship and honor God by being cats. God made us to be cats and cats are what we are. And by being what we are we, what He made us to be, we honor and worship Him. So we worship God all the time.”

Then Katie asked, “But aren’t our humans always humans?”

This provoked Ginger to give a thoughtful grimace “Well, they may seem like it to us but as I understand it they have real trouble being humans.”

“What are they being then,” Gracie asked quietly, “dogs?”

This brought a skeptical snort from Abby who then caught herself and pretended to look out of the window, but Katie had a look of great concern on her face.

“No, I think they’re not ‘being’ anything, they are just not being human.” Ginger answered.

“I don’t understand that.” Katie said, sounding worried.

“I think that a long time ago, in the time of their parents, humans decided that they did not want to be what God told them to be, what He made them to be, they wanted to be something else. They just didn’t know what.” Ginger said.

“Did they want to be cats?” asked Gracie.

“Or dogs?” asked Katie.

“Or birds?” asked Gracie

Abby chimed in “Ooo, I like birds!”

Everyone readily agreed.

“No,” said Ginger patiently, “I just think they didn’t want to do what God told them to do.”

“What did God do about that?” Gracie asked with concern.

“Something terrible.” Ginger said firmly.

Katie came to full attention and asked, “Is this going to be scary?”

Ginger answered, “Not for us, it already happened.”

Katie relaxed, but only a little as Ginger continued, “God told them they would die.”

After a brief moment for that to sink in Gracie asked, “Is that all? Everything dies.”

“But for humans it’s different. Humans have gotten far away from God in their thoughts and in their hearts and if they die they will be without Him forever.” Ginger said.

At this the other three cats gasped in horror.

“Away from God?” someone managed to whisper.

“But if they do what He says and come back to him and be good humans God will  bring them back and they can be with Him” Ginger explained.

“Why would they not come back to God?” Gracie asked, now jumping into the rocking chair and settling down.

“I guess they’re just being humans.” Ginger said resignedly.

This brought a light chuckle from Abby who was still looking out the window.

“Well I’ll never get to sleep today now,” Katie said grumpily, “Just to think, dead from God.”

“So how do humans worship then?” Gracie asked.

“I think they go to learn to be human.” Ginger answered.

“What?” Abby said loudly turning her head to look at Ginger.

“That’s what I think, they’ve forgotten how to be human and they go to learn how.” Ginger said matter-of-factly.

“Can’t they just see what they are?” Katie asked dumfounded.

“I don’t think so,” Ginger replied, “I think they need to learn, to be taught.”

“You mean they go out of sight and a wise cat teaches them?” Gracie asked.

“No, not a cat, I never smell a cat when they come back. I think it’s a human.” Ginger said.

“Wait,” Abby questioned, “If a human can’t remember how to be human how does a human teach them?”

“It’s one of those deep mysteries; cats teach cats, humans teach humans I think God must help them.” Ginger replied.

Everyone was quiet for a moment after that and finally Katie said, “I’m glad I’m a cat.”

Everyone readily agreed.

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