This morning I sat high on a hill at a local park looking down on the lake. I looked at the old oak tree beside me and wondered how old it was. I wondered how many people had sat underneath its shade through the years. It was early, very quiet and peaceful. Suddenly my peace was interrupted by noisy lawnmowers in use by those who up kept the park. I got up and began to walk back to my car. As I did I believe I startled the man who was mowing. Just as he had popped up and interrupted my peace, I guess I, in turn, had interrupted his. Even if his place of peace was noisier than mine, it was still his peace. We each need to find a place to be alone with God each day and listen for Him to speak. Sometimes the world has a way of trying to block our peaceful moments with God. Today don't allow the blockers to come in. Find your place of peace, if only for a few minutes.
Jeremiah 16:17 For my eyes are upon all their ways;
they are not hid from me, nor is their iniquity concealed from my eyes.
Here on my computer, the ads keep on popping.
I have a blocker, but the pop-ups aren't stopping.
I wonder if there's something more I should do.
How to stop this annoyance, I really don't have a clue.
No, I don't want to refinance my home at the lowest rate
No, I don't want to enter your sweepstakes for goodness sake.
I am not going to pay you to find my perfect mate
Do you know how long it has been since I worried about a date?
A new career now? No, thanks it's really much too late.
Reuniting with old friends from school can wait.
I have no time for those who are already on my plate.
As I thought of my pop up blocker that never works right,
I wondered does God care about my frustration with this plight.
Does He worry about these ads without an end in sight
Maybe He says, "Hang on child, I will fix that tonight."
As I thought this very silly thought, I believe God did speak.
He said, excuse me, my children aren't silly, but some are very weak.
There is one blocker on earth that seems to be working very well.
It blocks heavenly things out and opens wide the gates of hell.
My people seem to be downloading this blocker every single day.
They go to godblocker.com and go about their merry way.
I try my best to tell them right from wrong.
I pop into their thoughts, their hearts, and their homes.
They say, "NO, I don't want to hear any of the God-stuff right now.
I am too busy living to let you show me how,
I should love and serve you, following your commands,
I just don't see how I can put my entire life in your hands."
There are many types of God blockers my children download and use.
Lying, lusting, lacking, loneliness, and laziness are just a few
Degradation, dissension, depression, and downtroddenness also infuse
The power they give satan to torment and abuse.
The next time you worry about pop-ups with viruses making your computer ill
Pray all may find the protection I offer to those who live within my will.
The next time a pop up comes on your screen as you point and click
Remember to pray against the God blockers that are making the world very sick
This morning on an early morning talk show an author was interviewed about a book he had written. The title, The Year of Living Biblically: One Man's Humble (humble?) Quest to Follow the Bible as Literally as Possible, caught my attention. I did watch the interview. The author, AJ Jacobs, decided to write a book of true-life experience. He consciously created the true-life experience knowing he would write about it. He seemed like a nice enough guy, smiling, laughing. But what was he smiling and laughing about? God, the Bible? Yes. Blasphemy? Possibly I suppose.
He grew a beard wore sandals and a white ("In the Bible, there's a line in Ecclesiastes that says, "Let your garments always be white." So I tried to follow that literally.") robe for a year. He changed his diet, his appearance, his lifestyle and to some degree even his way of thinking about the Bible and Christianity. He purposely made a spectacle of himself in public to get various people's reactions. He played instruments of Biblical times twice a day literally(in public). (Psalm 147:7 Sing to the LORD with thanksgiving; make melody to our God upon the lyre!) He even at one time stoned an adulterer "literally" he said. It seems a man approached him in a park and inquired as to what he was doing. The author explained that he was attempting to follow the Bible literally. The man admitted to the author that he was an adulterer. The adulterer asked, "What are you going to do stone me?" Jacobs threw pebbles at him.
When asked what was the main thing he learned from this experience, the humble author said he had a rude awakening. He was surprised at how much he sinned on a daily basis. He said no matter how hard he tried to be a good person and follow every rule in the Bible, even the Levitical laws such as not wearing clothing of mixed fibers, he always messed up pretty regular. Jacobs was astounded how much he sinned. When asked what "rules" he broke the most, he said, lying, gossiping, and coveting. He even admitted he had probably sinned during the interview.
The Truth that Jacobs took away from this year of trying to live it literally was this, he said, "If you take the Bible, too literally, you will miss out on the beauty." He said he continues to honor the Sabbath day as a day of rest because he needs the rest. He said, "Whether or not there is a God, we should be reverent of holy things." He ended the interview by saying that he learned it is important to be thankful for hundreds of little things every day that we take for granted.
I guess if I could interview him I would want to ask who is it that he is thankful to if not God. I would ask him if he had figured out that none are good, no not one, even someone attempting to live the Bible literally, does he not then realize that he literally needs a Savior.
Mr. Jacobs said his major purpose for this project was a young son. He said when his son asked about religion and he wanted to know what he should tell him.
Today's devotional ends with this prayer request. Please pray AJ Jacobs will come to a literal saving knowledge of Jesus Christ and can teach his son the beauty of our Savior who loves us so much that He came and literally died on a cross to save us all, AJ Jacobs included.
Those Annoying Itching Feet, Hands, Noses, and Twitching Eyes
This morning on the way to preschool my five-year-old grandson complained of an itching foot. He wanted to remove socks and shoes to scratch. We were already turning in the school parking lot and I knew those shoes are no fun to put back on. I told him the itching would soon pass (I hoped). But before I said that, without really thinking, I immediately told him what my mother used to tell me when my feet would itch, “You are going to walk on strange land.” My grandson, Jon, said, “Huh?” When he said huh, I thought of how strange what I had said must have sounded to a five-year-old. The words came out kind of automatic. I, for the first time, I guess, also thought of how strange the words sounded to me. I explained to him that his Mammy, who is 90, used to tell me a lot of “old sayings” when I was young. I told him they aren’t necessarily true, the sayings are just things older people believe to be true. He then asked me does Mammy tell stories? I told him no she really believes these things are true. Her mother told her they were true so she believes. Jon then asked me where is it that I said his itching feet were going to walk. I told him strange land, a place he has never been before. He said, “Oh.” I took Jon into school and told him bye. The itching must have passed because he didn’t mention it anymore. Perhaps he didn’t mention it because he didn’t want his feet to go on strange land today.
As I drove away, I thought of Jon asking me if these sayings were lies, and how I had told him Mammy believed them to be true, I thought of a scripture that tells us if we believe lies we will be condemned.
So God will send great deception upon them, and they will believe all these lies. Then they will be condemned for not believing the truth. 2 Thessalonians 2:11-12
I continued to think of other old sayings my mother had told me when I was young, concentrating mostly on the ones that concerned itching.
“If the palm of your right hand itches you are going to receive a lot of money. If your nose itches, someone is coming. If your eye twitches, the devil is thinking of you.”
Uh-oh, I wondered was he thinking of me remembering all these lies that I once believed to be truth that are still so embedded in my mind that the words still come out sometime without me even realizing what I am saying. I know the Bible tells us that some will look for those who will say whatever their itching ears want to hear. I certainly don’t want to be one of those people. I don’t want to be a bearer of news some bad, some good, that isn’t true.
3 For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; 4 And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables- II Timothy 4
The song came to mind, Be careful little eyes what you see, be careful little ears what you hear. And to that, I add, be careful what you speak and what you believe. The world, with a lot of five-year-olds in it, is listening to what we say
As for those old sayings, the next time they come to my mind, I will take lies which are meant for evil and turn them to TRUTH which is good.
If my feet itch it will remind me to pray that my feet will travel many new places to spread His truth. If my palm should itch I will pray money will come that I can use to further His Kingdom. When my nose itches, it can be a reminder that JESUS is coming soon and I want to make sure I am found ready. As for my eye twitching, if the devil is thinking of me, GREAT!!! I hope he thinks of me often and trembles every time I speak the name of Jesus Christ.
Last week an upcoming outreach event was discussed. I asked were we going ahead with the planned event 'even if' by the date arrived next week no one had volunteered to help. I was told yes. I think my question was somewhat misunderstood as being a 'what if' question, a negative question, other than an 'even if' positive question. There is a difference you know. If we ask what if when there is no visible evidence of the if thing coming to be we are speaking negative, speaking unwanted circumstances into existence so to speak. If we ask even if, that means if the evidence is already visible and the unwanted circumstance has already occurred are we moving forward anyway? Everything will be ok, No matter what, let the chips fall where they may, full steam ahead, one way or the other, make the most of what you got, understand?
As I thought of even ifs and what-ifs on today which is the first day of the week which holds the day marking my thirty-first wedding anniversary, I did think what if for a moment and then moved quickly ahead to even if.
Here is a poem I wrote to my husband as an eighteen-year-old newlywed of three whole months thirty-one years ago. This poem truly demonstrates the difference between even ifs and what-ifs in my life and in everyone's I think. It took me way back in time and made me smile when I read this today. I hope it makes you smile as well.
Even if I burn the beans,
Even if I can't iron your jeans,
Even if I say some things I shouldn't say.
Will you still love me anyway?
Even if I can't cook chicken right,
Even if I keep you up too late at night,
Even if I let a few tears start flowing,
Is your love for me still growing?
Even if I want you with me all the time,
Even if for me on a coke you spend your last dime,
Even if I forget to make your coffee,
Is there still love in your heart for me?
Even if I follow you around like a pup,
Even if I broke your favorite cup,
Even if your socks I don't know how to mend,
Please don't let your love for me end.
For even if your nails you bite,
Even if you talk to friends all night,
Even if you get mad at me and such,
I still love you just as much.
For the love we have is very strong,
Enough to last a lifetime long.
Even if you don't understand this poem or me,
Your loving wife forever I will be.
by Judy Parker
January 26, 1977