Godly Wisdom

My daughter, Janine, has been known to speak wisdom since she was a teenager. Thankfully, those wild and crazy years have passed, and she has become an adult. She works as a nanny and one of her clients is a ten year old boy. He is handicapped and she helps him with his school work and other things that are difficult and keep him from attending public school. She seems to have a good relationship with James.

One day, while they were studying, James came up with a question that had nothing to do with their studies, but which is a question common to man.

“Why would anyone want to go to Hell?” Unless one went to seminary, this is a difficult question.

Janine thought about it a minute and this was her answer:

“People who don’t want to hang out with God when they’re alive, won’t hang out with God when they’re dead.”

I was amazed when she told me her answer. Seems wise, doesn’t it?

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Did you celebrate Easter or Passover?

Last Sunday many of us celebrated Easter. I enjoyed a spirit-filled service at the Rock Church in Parkersburg, West Virginia. There was a very joyous spirit there as we praised God for bringing Jesus back to life in the Resurrection. I also posted a picture of Jesus on my blog for April 20th, 2014. I called the blog “The Passover Lamb.”

Passover has been celebrated by the Jews for nearly 2500 years. The holiday is based on an event described in the Old Testament in Exodus 11 and 12. Moses was begging Pharaoh to let the Jews leave Egypt and go to their promised land. Pharaoh refused time after time, and God decided to pass judgment upon Egypt. God warned the Jews that the judgment was coming and instructed them to sprinkle the blood of a lamb over their doorframes.

God said: “About midnight I will go throughout Egypt. Every firstborn son in Egypt will die, from the firstborn son of Pharaoh, who sits on the throne, to the firstborn son of the slave girl…There will be loud wailing throughout Egypt – worse than there has ever been or ever will be again.” Exodus 11: 4-6.

Then God said, “On the tenth day of this month each man is to take a lamb for his family, one for each household” Exodus 12:3. “Take care of them (the lambs) until the fourteenth day of the month, when all the people of the community of Israel must slaughter them at twilight. Then they are to take some of the blood and put it on the sides and the tops of the doorframes of the houses where they eat the lambs” Exodus 12: 6-7. God even tells them how to cook the lamb, what to eat with it and what they should be wearing when they eat it.

God also said, “On that same night I will pass through Egypt and strike down every firstborn – both men and animals – and I will bring judgment on all the gods of Egypt. I am the Lord. The blood will be a sign for you on the houses where you are; and when I see the blood, I will pass over you. No destructive plague will touch you when I strike Egypt.” Exodus 12:12-13.

The Jews were obedient to God and sprinkled the blood on their doorframes, and ate the Passover meal as instructed. God “passed over” their homes, marked with the blood of the lamb, leaving their firstborn alive and well. All the firstborn sons of the Egyptians and of Pharaoh were killed that night and there was terrible anguish and mourning in the land. Exodus 12: 29-30.

The anniversary of that day is still celebrated in our modern world as Passover. God told the Jews to celebrate escaping the death of their firstborn in 4000 BC, and they have continued to celebrate that day every year since.

My question is, how did Jesus arrange to be arrested and tried on the night Passover was celebrated 2000 years later? If we believe Jesus was just a man, how could he make the Roman officials crucify him on a particular night? Just a man would never choose to be arrested, tried and put to death. If he was just a man he would want to live out his fame and perhaps add some fortune to it. And why had so many of his followers called him “the Lamb of God?” Is it because God sent Jesus to be the Passover Lamb for the gentiles and save us from our sins?

 

The Passover Lamb

This is a picture of a stained glass ornament that was made by my sister, Greta Hanesworth. It is hanging in front of the window in my office where I do my writing. Jesus face looks like he has tears in his eyes, which was an accident that occurred when it was fired in the kiln. The glass was soldered together first and then the face was painted on. The final step was firing it in the kiln.

The Face of Jesus

This particular “Face of Jesus” was never used in the full window, which took almost a year to make and was installed in a church in southeastern Ohio. The face sat around alone in the art studio for about a year and then I  asked Greta if I could have it. She never said anything until my birthday last year, when she gave me the face with the pretty round frame. It is beautiful and the face of Jesus is very special to me and inspires me often.

I wish everyone a Blessed Easter and I hope this picture adds joy and inspiration to your day.

Three Ways to Fight Child Abuse

In Matthew 10:16 the Lord tells us to be as wise as serpents and as gentle as doves when fighting our enemies. Fighting child abuse can be a dangerous mission, especially when confronting or reporting an abuser. When we march to raise child abuse awareness, we are gentle as doves, like these people in Idaho.

1. BOISE — April is Child Abuse Prevention and Awareness Month, and Idahoans are taking notice. A small group marched from the Idaho Statehouse on Monday for the annual “Million March Against Child Abuse.” Similar marches were held across the country in a unified effort to bring attention to child abuse.

“We’re on a mission to spread awareness about child abuse and how it’s in our communities and neighborhoods, and also asking our lawmakers that they put forth harsher punishment laws for those who do abuse children,” said Cory Hoffman with Million March against Child Abuse. Organizers say on average, 20 new cases of child abuse are reported in Idaho every day. Many believe more cases go unreported. Hoffman says it’s everyone’s responsibility to be on the lookout for child abuse and to call the number 211 if they want to report child abuse. From KTVB News.

2. A neighbor was as wise as a serpent when he video recorded a man abusing his step-son during a ball game. See the video on http://abclocal.go.com/wabc/video?id=8689626 .The video is being used in court as crucial evidence of abuse.

3. In Chicago, the father of one of two young children found with bruises after police responded to a disturbance in the East Chatham neighborhood has been charged with domestic battery, authorities said.

Edwin Anderson, 28, was expected to appear in Domestic Violence Court for a bond hearing after police found a 1-year-old girl and a 3-year-old boy with visible injuries at Anderson’s home in the 8200 block of South Ellis Avenue, police said.

Officers were called to the home in the 8200 block of South Ellis Avenue around 9 p.m. Monday, Chicago Police News Affairs Officer Amina Greer said. A neighbor reported possible child abuse at the home, police said. Officers found four children, 4 years and younger, in the home. Two of them had bruises, Greer said.

Anderson fled the home out a back door before police arrived. Officers found the boy had bruising and welts, and the girl also showed marks, police said. Anderson was arrested when he returned, and police confiscated a black leather belt believed used to inflict the injuries.

All four children were taken to the University of Chicago Comer Children’s Hospital, where they were listed in good condition. The children, three girls and a boy, range in age from 6 months to 4 years old, Greer said.

The children’s mother was questioned by police but not charged, said Chicago Police News Affairs Officer John Mirabelli.

The Illinois Department of Children and Family Services is investigating allegations of child abuse against a man who is the boyfriend of the children’s mother, DCFS spokesman Jimmie Whitelow said today. The mother is being investigated on allegations of neglect, he said.

No booking photo of Anderson was released because he was charged with a misdemeanor. Unlike most misdemeanors, all domestic battery charges in Chicago, however, require a defendant’s appearance for a bond hearing.

To Spank or not to Spank

That is the question. Our society is coming out of an era when children were spanked and disciplined for doing things that are wrong and not doing things that are right. Spanking a child with your hand or an implement was the norm. Years ago, school teachers and principals were famous for “paddling” the children. The motto was “spare the rod and spoil the child.” Spanking was society’s effort to control bad behavior in children, and I’d say it worked for the most part.

Many of these efforts to discipline children were based in the scriptures. Proverbs 22:15 says “folly is bound up in the heart of a child, but the rod of discipline will drive it far from him,” and  “discipline your son, and he will give you peace: he will bring delight to you soul,” 29:17.

I raised my daughters with discipline, using the rod on them when they willfully disobeyed, and I espouse the biblical view on discipline. However, I was taught to spank them in love, which I interrupted to mean don’t yell and scream at them, but explain their wrongdoing in a loving voice. I also believe the spanking should not be too hard, just enough to get the point across.

Psychology books are for and against spanking, depending on the author and subject, but I do not believe spanking is child abuse. I believe it is correction, but it should be used after all other efforts to control the child have been explored.

Each young mother must make her own decision about whether to spank her child or not. Many mothers don’t spank their children, and I believe in general, children have not benefited from this standard. There are some very patient women who can handle screaming tantrums, and the hysterical behavior of undisciplined children, but I never could maintain my calm during such “fits.” I basically had to spank my girls, because I had no idea what else to do.

Please believe me I am not championing violence towards children, but I know from experience that out-of-control children can destroy property and offend people when left to their own devices. They can become tyrants, demanding everything their parents can give them and then some.

If someone doesn’t teach children not to run amok, throw things and take things that belong to other people, how will they learn? Unfortunately, women are now afraid to discipline their children when they are in public and the children know it. The children know they can do anything they want and their moms and dads can’t touch them if they’re in public. This has resulted in many unfortunate temper tantrums in malls and stores.

Author Laurie Ann Smith of Canada, who was abused as a child and is now a speaker on child abuse, believes the same thing I do, that spanking is not abuse. It is a wake-up call to get the child’s attention. Beating is abuse.

Child abuse is wrong, but correcting a child who is willfully disobeying is “training him up in the way he should go”(Proverbs 22:6). How many of us have been to a home where there are children who have not been disciplined? Usually we can’t wait to leave, because the children have taken over the home. They run, scream and play, often tormenting adults and other children.

Sending children to their room used to be a valid form of discipline and is not abusive. However, today children have so much electronic equipment in their rooms (televisions and computers) that they can happily entertain themselves for hours, so there is often no hardship involved in being sent to their rooms, and the child doesn’t learn anything about his behavior.

I think modern women of the 21st century honestly believe their children are good at heart and would never willfully hurt someone else, but this isn’t scriptural either and is not borne out by experience. Most children are extremely selfish and want their way all the time. If we do not curb this unfortunate behavior, when they become teenagers they do whatever they want. This method of no discipline can lead to some very nasty teenagers who do whatever they want.

So my point of view on this matter is that it’s better to spank a child than let him or her become a tyrant. What do you think? Do you think it’s abusive to spank a child?

Why do we always need to be right?

In our culture we are educated in a system that values being right and abhors being wrong.

We are taught from a very young age that answering a question with the right answer is good and the wrong answer is bad. We are graded for twelve years in school with a system that validates the “right” answer every day and devalues the “wrong” answer. No wonder we all grow up needing to be right all the time.

Our society also rewards people with money when they are right. A school student studys and gets good grades because he/she gets correct answers on tests. These answers help him get into a good college, where he graduates at the top of his class because he gets the right answers on all his tests. (This guy is definitely a goody-two-shoes and I practically hate him already). Finally this superb fellow gets a really high paying job because he has a history of being right.

So a second thing we have to do in order to be happy being wrong, is to be happy being poor middle class and not having every single material item that our neighbor has. The Bible supports this truth with “Thou shalt not covet thy neighbors goods,” and I am adding “even his 48″ flat screen TV!”

The need to be right causes us to get into many arguments, often offending those around us. When was the last time you insisted someone else was wrong about something? When we get into that situation, where we are in a face-off  about a particular point, do any of us have the grace to give-in?

It so happened that the day I was considering writing about this, I had a disagreement with my husband. I don’t even remember what it was about, but as I thought about it, I REALIZED HE WAS RIGHT. That was a painful realization for me. My insides begrudged his correctness. I felt a big lump in my chest, knowing that I had been wrong. Somehow I feared dire consequences for being wrong.

Then I started to analyze myself. I pictured Mrs. Houston, my grade school principal, glaring at me from her desk because I didn’t know my geography. I pictured Miss Zigler sneering at me because I couldn’t remember the words to my part in the play. I thought about these incidents for several days. I even thought about confessing to Bob that he had been right, but I couldn’t do it. Then I started to realize that ever since I had been in First Grade I had been told that there was only one answer to a question and that was the RIGHT answer.

I started to feel  better. I realized it didn’t matter who was right about the point of conflict my husband and I had argued about. I realized there was no need to confront him about it and cause another disagreement worse than the first one. I could forgive him for being right and accept being wrong. I felt good about myself. I felt like it was “big of me” to admit being wrong, even if it was just to myself.

Perhaps we all would be happier if we gave up being right as often as we can. It’s possible we would receive more love and admiration from our spouse,  our children, and our co-workers. We might be more relaxed and have a more peaceful life. It sounds pretty good doesn’t it?

Would you rather be right or be happy?

Jehovah Jireh Song on youtube

Here’s a wild and crazy rendition of “Jehovah Jireh” from Anish Joseph’s church in India. Don’t worry. It’s in English.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mGTY6H6SLOw&feature=share&list=PLFDE9A26FEDCE02C4

One of God’s Names

One of the names of God is Jehovah Jireh.

Here is a description of this name from Wikipedia:

In the original Hebrew language, the name is יְהוָה יִרְאֶה. The first word of the phrase is generally translated in English Bibles as “the LORD” or “GOD” in capital letters. Jehovah is a Christian anglicized vocalization of this name, using the vowels of Adonai.

The early Septuagint translation into Greek gives the meaning as “The LORD hath seen.”

Jewish translations of the verse into English include,

And Abraham called the name of that place Adonai-jireh; as it is said to this day: ‘In the mount where the LORD is seen.’ – Genesis 22:14.

However, some modern translations including the NIV render it “the LORD will provide”, amplifying the literal meaning along the lines of “the LORD will see to it”, and referring to Abraham’s earlier words in verse 22:8, “God himself will provide the lamb”.

Wikipedia is referring to the time when God told Abraham to go to the mountain and sacrifice his son, Issac. When he got there and was ready to kill his son and light  the sacrificial fire, God provided the sacrifice. It was a lamb and Abraham did not have to sacrifice his son. It is a story of great faith.

I like to call God Jehovah Jireh, my provider. It is only one of his names, but it speaks volumes doesn’t it? If you are asking God for something, this name tells us that He is our provider.

Ask and it shall be Given to You

There are so many of us who are in need out there in the blogosphere. People who are financially in need, those who are emotionally in need and many others needing a physical touch from God. The Bible says “ask and it shall be given to you.” Notice God doesn’t say “if you’re good, ask and it shall be given to you.” He just says “ask.”

So many people don’t realize that they can ask God for anything. In his wisdom he knows whether to give it to us or not. Some things are not given to us because it isn’t God’s will for us to have it at that time, or perhaps ever. Other things are not given to us because we never ask for it.

Is there something you really want or need? Ask God for it. Let him surprise you! He likes to astound us with his gifts. If you ask him for a  million dollars you probably won’t get it, but if you ask him for the money to pay your rent, you may receive it. Be open to a miracle.

Some people think they are bothering God when they ask for small favors. I don’t believe this at all. I think God loves it when we ask for things, no matter how small. He is very happy when we think of him and when we ask him for things he is flattered that we believe in him and believe that he is able to do what we ask. We are exercising our faith and he loves that.

Please let me know if you ask God for something and he gives it to you. It will strengthen my faith!

Angus T. Jones is a Whole Man

The teenage star who plays Jake on Two and a Half Men has proved that sometimes a half a man is more than a whole. Angus T. Jones debased the show yesterday in a video, calling it “filth.” I applaud the stand this young man has taken against the “crap” that is sometimes broadcast on television, not just the show he works with. Do you agree?

We stopped watching Two and a Half Men more than a year ago because of the “smutty” remarks and continual references to and portrayals of  sinful sexual activity. I am in complete agreement with Jones, in telling my friends, “Don’t watch it.”

I would also like to go on record that a show doesn’t need to put in dirty words every two minutes in order to keep an audience. There is a lot of funny material that has no reference to sex at all. I would like to see a lot less sex on TV, and definitely less reference to “private parts!” What do you think?

My Testimony

In 1970 I was a 28 year old stoned hippie living in Berkeley, California. I spent my time smoking marijuana, preparing health food, studying the occult and caring for my five year old daughter. I was searching for truth and happiness, but only getting more and more discontented in a bad marriage. I wanted to leave, but I didn’t have any money.

I was into astrology, hoping to be able to make some sense out of my life, and gain some control. However, according to the astrology books, I was about to reach a time when I would die or become hopelessly crippled. August would not be a good month!

A friend, Steve, another hippie, came to visit me one afternoon. He told me how he had taken some people on a hike in Big Sur but he hadn’t brought any food. It got late in the day and they were all hungry so he prayed. Jesus provided food for them on the mountain path – a loaf of bread and a jug of wine.

Within the next few days I thought to myself that if Jesus could do it for Steve, he’d probably do it for me. I prayed. Then I took my daughter and left. The Lord immediately provided an inexpensive room for us and I began to know joy in my heart for the first time. It seemed like I was better able to relate to people and I wasn’t worried about where the next dollar would come from. I began to see that Jesus is an AWESOME GOD!

That August in 1970 the prophecy of the astrologer’s had come true, but in a way they didn’t know about. I didn’t die, I was born again; spiritually reborn to the knowledge that Jesus Christ is my savior. No one else died for me and no one else could save me. Jesus is my Lord!

Within the next few months my life totally changed. I met new friends who seemed more positive and happier. My sister and her husband invited my daughter and I to come live with them on a ranch in Sonoma. I was happier and more peaceful than I’d ever been in my life. The Lord provided for me just like Steve said he would. I received $5,000!

I can’t say that my life has always been easy or that I’ve never sinned or lacked faith since that summer in 1970, but I can say that it was like coming out of a dark cloud and finding out life is really beautiful. I’ve learned a lot also, about myself and relationships, although my husband and I never did reconcile. I learned that drugs abused my body and that astrology is an abomination to God (Deut. 18:170-14).

So, I challenge you, reader, to consider what Jesus might do for you. Romans 10:9-10 says “If you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus Christ, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. “For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth the confession is made unto salvation.”

If you would like Jesus to be your AWESOME GOD say this simple prayer and He’ll do the rest.

“Dear Jesus, I believe you are the Son of God and that you can change my life. I ask you to forgive me for my sins and unrighteousness and fill me with your Spirit. I ask you to cover me with your precious blood. Thank you for saving me at this moment. Amen.”

 

Other Multiples

If you know someone with multiple personalities, please tell them about my blog. I would like to connect with them