Ends . . . – . . . Beginnings

I feel at night, when I look at the stars, if I could only stand higher, I could reach out and grab a star.  I sometimes feel betrayed, I remember the news, the stars are so far away, I could not even reach them at the speed of light.  I also feel betrayed because I remember then, these are only the visible stars, they span out forever, way beyond what we can see. Evolution_by_alyn2

It makes me wonder what is out there and then I recall, the is a forever.  It boggles my mind, we cannot see the end and even if we do, we’ll wonder what is on the other side.  Not having an end is against what I know, because all I know is destined to end.TheEndWorld

I first remember the day ended, the night began, there were meal times, bed times, sleep times, school years, races,  pain ends, pleasure ends, and most dramatically, life ends.  It seems as though we are enthralled with things that end.  There seems to be 100’s of movies predicting the end of earth, the restart of the human race, the destruction of the world.  We are so enthralled with it, we have the ration of the diameter of a circle to how many times it goes around the circumference approximately  3.14 times but we have divided it out to over a trillion times to try and find the end.  piposter

What’s wild is we are so fascinated with ends, yet this has two sides.  It is hard to imagine something with no end,  yet we’ve been given hints of the end yet do not seem to be able to recognize them.

The Demand for a Sign

Matthew 16:1–4 (NIV)   16:1–12pp—Mk 8:11–21

16 The Pharisees and Sadducees came to Jesus and tested him by asking him to show them a sign from heaven.

He replied, “When evening comes, you say, ‘It will be fair weather, for the sky is red,’ and in the morning, ‘Today it will be stormy, for the sky is red and overcast.’ You know how to interpret the appearance of the sky, but you cannot interpret the signs of the times.  A wicked and adulterous generation looks for a sign, but none will be given it except the sign of Jonah.” Jesus then left them and went away.

I wonder how many people look at the complexity of a personal computer, smartphone, automobile, and believe it created itself out of randomness?  imacpartsI wonder if people look at the cycle of life as something that just happened, got lucky and stuck. cycleoflife Like a rough rock, a piece of granite, turning into a wheel.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I believe if you believe this world, this universe just happened by chance, then you can also believe it was created by a creator, I know as God.maxresdefault

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Honor . . .Righteousness . . .

 

One of the challenges of memorizing versus of the Bible is the wording, it does not seem natural.  However, this does depend on the version of the Bible one is memorizing.  I chose the ESV because it is more of word for word translation.  The NIV might be closer to our today’s vernacular.

Ephesians 6:1–4 (ESV)

Children and Parents

Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. “Honor your father and mother” (this is the first commandment with a promise), “that it may go well with you and that you may live long in the land.” Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.

Exodus 20:12 (ESV)

Exodus 20:12 (NIV)

Deuteronomy 5:16 (ESV)

Deuteronomy 5:16 (NIV)

12 “Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long in the land that the Lord your God is giving you.

12 “Honor your father and your mother, so that you may live long in the land the Lord your God is giving you.

16 “ ‘Honor your father and your mother, as the Lord your God commanded you, that your days may be long, and that it may go well with you in the land that the Lord
your God is giving you.

16 “Honor your father and your mother, as the Lord your God has commanded you, so that you may live long and that it may go well with you in the land the Lord
your God is giving you.

 

 

One Question, Three Different Answers

 

Three times in the book of Acts, Luke the physician recorded non-Christians asking what they needed to do to be saved, and three times a different answer was given.

Acts 16:25–32 (NIV)

25 About
midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other
prisoners were listening to them. 26 Suddenly there was such a
violent earthquake that the foundations of the prison were shaken. At once all
the prison doors flew open, and everyone’s chains came loose. 27 The
jailer woke up, and when he saw the prison doors open, he drew his sword and
was about to kill himself because he thought the prisoners had escaped. 28 But
Paul shouted, “Don’t harm yourself! We are all here!”

29 The
jailer called for lights, rushed in and fell trembling before Paul and Silas. 30 He
then brought them out and asked, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?”

31 They replied, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you
will be saved—you and your household.”
32 Then they
spoke the word of the Lord to him and to all the others in his house.

Acts 2:36–39 (NIV)

36 “Therefore let
all Israel be assured of this: God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified,
both Lord and Messiah.”

37 When
the people heard this, they were cut to the heart and said to Peter and the
other apostles, “Brothers, what shall we do?”

38 Peter
replied, “Repent and be baptized, every one of
you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will
receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. 39 The promise is for you
and your children and for all who are far off—for all whom the Lord our God
will call.”


Acts 22:12–16 (NIV)

12 “A
man named Ananias came to see me. He was a devout observer of the law and
highly respected by all the Jews living there. 13 He stood
beside me and said, ‘Brother Saul, receive your sight!’ And at that very moment
I was able to see him.

14 “Then
he said: ‘The God of our ancestors has chosen you to know his will and to see
the Righteous One and to hear words from his mouth. 15 You will
be his witness to all people of what you have seen and heard. 16 And
now what are you waiting for? Get up, be baptized and wash your sins away, calling on his name.’

Explanation . . .
The reason these sinners were told three
different things
regarding salvation was because they were at different starting
points when given the various answers. It is as if the jailor were in Jackson,
Tennessee, the Jews on Pentecost in Little Rock, Arkansas, and Saul in Fort
Smith. All wanted to go to the same place, but
were at different starting points when they asked the question, “What must I do
to be saved?”
The unbeliever was told to believe. The believers were
told to repent. And the penitent believer was told to be baptized. The three
statements may be different, but they are not contradictory. For a person to
become a child of God, he or she must do all three (see John 8:24; Luke 13:3,5;
Matthew 28:19; Mark 16:16).

 

 

I am part-time at best . . .

My first wake up duty is to have a duty, to take care of this other person.  Regardless if I am sleeping, eating or doing anything personal, when I hear the call for my assistance, I am to drop what I am doing and immediately find out what the request or need is, twenty-four hours a day seven days a week.  In the time I have been a service provider, I have not done much, or maybe had the opportunity, to do much of the things I would consider to be a major part of my life.  For example, see my children, even talk to them on the phone, work out at the gym, go to the store, library, park.  I have dropped my life in order to live for this one.

When this epiphany I had another one.  Realizing I was sacrificing “this life” for delivering service to another, isn’t that what Jesus has asked of us, as his disciples?

This made me look at my life I lived before this servitude, how much of my life was dedicated to the service of Jesus.  I realized, very little, very little, very little.  I spent most of the time focusing on me and wishing Jesus would step in and make this life, my life better for me so, so I could give Jesus the credit for my good life.

At best, I was a part-time Christian, at best.  The question to becomes, how do I serve Him more.  But from the heart, not the head, not a task, but to walk in the light of Christ by simply being, being a disciple, not having the role.

 

 

 

How Do I Know When It’s Time to Unfriend Someone in Real Life?

Reposted here from the link : How Do I Know When It’s Time to Unfriend Someone in Real Life?

How Do I Know When It’s Time to Unfriend Someone in Real Life?

Take a moment right now to think about your closest friends — the people you spend the most time with. If you were to be really honest with yourself, are they all life-giving relationships or are any of them toxic? How do they affect your faith and relationship with God?

Your friends aren’t just the people whose photos you like on Instagram. They’re your inner circle, and they actually shape the trajectory of your life. As the saying goes, “Show me your friends and I’ll show you your future.”

Let’s take a look at what Scripture says about the people we walk through life with:

Walk with the wise and become wise; associate with fools and get in trouble. Proverbs 13:20 NLT

Great friends sharpen you, encourage you, and are there for you through thick and thin. Fake friends pull you into sinful decisions, tear you down with their words, and are MIA when it matters most.

So, how do you know if the friends you have are worth keeping around? Let’s see how the Bible describes a great friend:

  1. As iron sharpens iron, so a friend sharpens a friend. Proverbs 27:17 NLT

Great friends share wisdom and help each other grow deeper in their relationship with God.

  1. The heartfelt counsel of a friend is as sweet as perfume and incense. Proverbs 27:9 NLT

Great friends lift you up in prayer and provide authentic support when you need advice.

  1. In the end, people appreciate honest criticism far more than flattery. Proverbs 28:23 NLT

Great friends lovingly confront you when you’re out of line and provide accountability to help you live a God-honoring life.

  1. Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ. Galatians 6:2 NIV

Great friends don’t disappear when life gets tough. They’ll be right there, carrying your burdens and walking through the fire with you.

  1. And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another — and all the more as you see the Day approaching. Hebrews 10:24–25 NIV

Great friends spur you on toward loving others and putting your faith in action. They pull you into biblical community instead of drawing you away from it.

Here’s the bottom line: If your friends don’t look like the friends described in these verses, it might be time to reevaluate who you’re allowing in your inner circle. It also might be time to do some honest self-reflection. Ask yourself: Am I this type of friend too?

Will it be painful to let some of your friends go and to focus on healthier relationships? Yes.

Will it require some difficult conversations that would be easier to avoid? Yes.

Will it be worth it for you to have God-honoring friendships with people who truly care about you and want to help you grow in your faith? Absolutely.

Your friends are more important than you know. Choose today to walk with the wise and become wise.

Written by Austin Taylor.

MISSING MAN TABLE & HONORS CEREMONY

Of all things, I was watching a TV show, “Night Shift” and heard the term “Missing Man Table” as it was related to our veterans.  I was interested in learning more and proceeded to look it up.  Wow, what an awesome tribute and so heart wrenching too.  So powerful, so emotional, so . . . perfect.  Please read the document below and learn more about it, maybe you are like me and never heard of it before, or never knew what it was, now we can appreciate it and what it stands for.  God Bless You!!

MISSING MAN TABLE & HONORS CEREMONY
As you entered the room, you may have noticed a special table; it is reserved to honor our missing men.

Set for six, the empty chairs represent Americans who were or are missing from each of the services – Army, Marine Corps, Navy, Air Force, Coast Guard – and civilians, all with us in spirit.

Some here were very young, or not yet born, when the Vietnam War began; however, all Americans should never forget the brave men and women who answered our Nation’s call and served the cause of freedom in a special way.

Let me explain the meaning of this table, and then join me for a moment of silent prayer. The table is round – to show our everlasting concern. The cloth is white – symbolizing the purity of their motives when answering the call to serve. The single red rose reminds us of the lives of these Americans….and their loved ones and friends who keep the faith, while seeking answers. The yellow ribbon symbolizes our continuing uncertainty, the hope for their return, and our determination to account for them.

A slice of lemon reminds us of their bitter fate, captured and missing in a foreign land. A pinch of salt symbolizes the tears of our missing and their families – who long for answers after decades of uncertainty.

The lighted candle reflects our hope for their return – alive or dead. The Bible represents the strength gained through faith, to sustain us and those lost from our country, founded as one Nation under God.

The glass is inverted – symbolizing their inability to share a toast. The chairs are empty – they are missing…………….. (moment of silence) Let us now raise our water glasses in a toast to honor America’s POW/MIAs, to the success of our efforts to account for them, and to the safety of all now serving our Nation!

Don’t do it . . .

1 John 2:15-17 ESV
Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. [16] For all that is in the world-the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride of life-is not from the Father but is from the world. [17] And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever.