Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Fill In Those Registrations!

Ahhh,the holiday season is past and now is the time to fill in those warranty registrations. You know, for products that have a one year warranty, that will cost more to ship than they are worth, and mostly likely will never wear out before we just quit using them.
The companies that want us to fill out those cards or the warranty is no good, want to know everything about you. Your shoe size, brain capacity, number of children you have, where you live, what books you read, where you eat, and so forth. Nothing to do with anything about the product that scratches your back.
All of those for a twelve month warranty on a product that probably will break down ten days after the warranty expires. Have you noticed that very expensive products don't have all of this rig-a-ma role?
Thank God that we do not have this same process with our Lord and Savior. By the Holy Spirit, we have a guarantee placed on our salvation.

God has prepared us for this and has given us his Spirit as a guarantee.
(2Co 5:5)

No warranty cards required.

Monday, October 01, 2007

A Heart Transplant

And I will give you a new heart, and I will put a new spirit within you. And I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you a heart of flesh.
(Ezekiel 36:26)

Ever hear of Denise Darvall?

On the 2nd of December, 1967, Denise stepped out of her family car and was hit by a another passing automobile. The accident rendered Denise brain dead and her father gave permission for Dr. Chrisstiaan Barnard to remove her heart.

The next day, in the early hours of the day, Dr. Barnard placed her heart into Louis Washkansky, and the first heart transplant was performed.

Mr. Washkansky only lived eighteen days before succumbing to pneumonia, but history had been made.

Today, forty years later, heart transplants are, while still risky, not very uncommon. We now transplant kidneys, lungs, livers as well as hearts. We even have made an artificial heart.

A very long time ago, God told the Israelites that He too, would perform a heart transplant. I will put a new heart in you He told them. "I will take away the stony heart" He said.

The heart of Mr. Washkansky had failed due to disease, a physical illness. The Israelites were dying of spiritual diseases. Their heart had harden from their spiritual infection, their turning away from the ways of God, their Lord.

"And knowing it, Jesus said to them, .... Have you still hardened your heart? "

(Mark 8:17)

And here is God offering them a new heart, a "heart transplant". Quite a promise, don't you think?

Are you willing to take God up on His operation? To have a new heart?

Blessed are the pure in heart! For they shall see God. (Matthew 5:8)

Until next time on My Front Porch

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Warning! Graphic image!

When I was little, my brother came home from college and being the curious child I was (ok, I was snooping!) I started looking at his books he had brought home with him. One of those tomes was an anatomy book and one photograph was the human heart.
I can remember the time it took me to come to the realization that the human heart did not look like the heart I was familiar with, you know, the valentine day's heart!
I was confused, not willing to believe what my own eyes showed me. This was what the real heart looked like, not the cupid inspired version in my mind's eye.
Eventually, I came around to the real thing, and my false perception was left behind in the dust.
For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not know God, God decided through the nonsense of our preaching to save those who believe. Jews ask for signs, and Greeks look for wisdom, but we preach Christ crucified. He is a stumbling block to Jews and nonsense to gentiles, but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ is God's power and God's wisdom. (1 Corinthians 1:21-24)
And so, the human denies what his eyes and ears tell him. He sees the power of God to save, the change in people's lives and still denies. He cannot change his false perception of the world and see what God has given him.
The question is, what perception do you carry? Do you accept the changes the Lord has made for your life? Of do you walk away sad as the young man whose possessions shaped his perceptions?
That is the question-what is your perception.
Think on it.

By the way-here is what a real human heart looks like:

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

God Helps Those Who Help Themselves

Have you heard this before? From my research, Benjamin Franklin is the author of this quote. It does not come from the Bible.
How about this one? Money is the root of all evil. I am sure you have heard that saying over and over.
The Seven Deadly Sins? How about that?
These are sayings, often attributed to the scripture, but look all you might, they are not there. Especially the one by Mr. Franklin.
God, through His Word, definitely teaches that man is dependent on Him for all things. This verse is a good example of the thinking that will get a Christian in trouble. Why? Because she or he will think they can do it all!
In case you were wondering:
For while we were still helpless, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly....But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.
(Romans 5: 6 and verse 8)
He who trusts in his own heart is a fool, But he who walks wisely will be delivered. (Proverbs 28:26)
It is the love of money that is the root of all evil. (I Timothy 6:10)
While Proverbs 6:16-19 lists six sins that God hates, all of us have sinned and fallen short of the glory of the Lord (Romans 3:23 and 5:12). There is no seven deadly sins, all sins are deadly if we do not repent and obey the Lord.
Man loves to add, and take away , from God's Word. To add his bits of wisdom and folly. God, being the really, really smart one, has told us just the right amount of information. A "need to know" type of situation. What we need to know is how to be saved, how to be loved, how to live, and what is next in our lives.
The worst thing we have added is the so called "sinners prayer". Thanks to Charles Finney, from the 19th century, people have bowed their head and prayed, thinking that has saved them.
You must be aware of the sayings that we use. Many are good advice, and that is just what they are, good advice. Then there are some that are bad advice.
Stick to "look both ways before crossing the street" and don't add or remove from God's Word.
Until next time on my front porch.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

$10 A Year

For fifty dollars, a young man recently received five years of imprisonment for holding up a pizza delivery man. After calling in a fake order, he waited for the delivery to be made, held up the delivery man and made off with just fifty dollars or ten dollars a year for this action.
So, in essence, this man valued his life to be about ten dollars a year. Just think, fifty dollars will just fill up a large car or truck with gasoline! It will just buy about two dinners at a medium priced restaurant. Not a good trade for five years of your life is it?
We could wonder all about why someone would risk so much for so little, but let us look at something else; "Beware lest anyone rob you through philosophy and vain deceit, according to the tradition of men, according to the elements of the world, and not according to Christ. "(Colossians 2:8)
We can find person after person letting their faith be robbed for just about the same amount.
The valuable treasure that God's has given us, we let men take away.
Look closely at this verse, notice Paul writes "philosophy", "vain deceit", "tradition of men", and "the world". Let's look at each one in more depth.
Philosophy is man's thinking about himself. This definition of philosophy illustrates very well the problem with philosophy. There are a lot of philosophers who have argued themselves out of a religious faith. Philosophy is a wonderful subject to study, but remember, it is man's thinking about himself.
Vain deceit just about defines itself. One problem with a person who is wrapped up in philosophy is there is a tendency to be "puffed up" and to think highly of one's self. This is where philosophy can draw you away from the Lord. The arrogance of self.
"I would become a Christian, but I can't cause of my father and mother." This is a common refrain from people who are studying to become a child of God. They realize that mom and dad weren't following God and so they resist. This young man or woman is so immersed in the traditions of men that they cannot see what God offers them. And not just religious traditions-which Jesus railed against so much-but all kinds of traditions.
Tradition is a great faith killer. We have always done it this way...and so we never move forward to be with Christ or closer to Christ.
Finally, there is the elements of the world. Many things of this earthly paradise can steer us away from the Gospel message. It is easier to hear the siren call of a physical life than it is to follow the Master. It is easier to blame God for your problems than to embrace Him for a solution. It is even easier to deny His existence than to live for Him. It is indeed dangerous to heed the elements of the world.
All of these things will rob you of your faith. So, watch out that you don't exchange your pearl of great price for ten dollars a year.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

But we have this treasure in clay jars to show that its extraordinary power comes from God and not from us. (2 Corinthians 4:7)

I have spent the summer studying the human body as a way of improving my teaching of anatomy this next school year. And so I have spent every day looking inside the vessel we call our body.
I looked at the heart, the stomach, the lungs, the muscles, the blood vessels, the bones, the tendons, the nerves, the intestines, the brain, literally from head to toe.
There laying on the metal gurney was the vessel that once was called Mary, Bob or Bill. This person loved, cried, laughed, raised children, had hopes, aspirations and fears.
All our treasure, wrapped up in a bundle of tissue we call us.
The scripture speaks of a treasure in clay jars.
For God, who said, "Let light shine out of darkness," has shone in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of God's glory in the face of Jesus Christ. But we have this treasure in clay jars to show that its extraordinary power comes from God and not from us. In every way we're troubled but not crushed, frustrated but not in despair, persecuted but not abandoned, struck down but not destroyed. (2 Corinthians 4:6-9)
One way people used to protect valuable property was to place it in an ordinary clay jar. This way when robbers broke into their home, they would overlook the ordinary jar in the corner and head for the nice looking container thinking that is where the treasure is.
God has put His treasure in us, the ordinary clay jars, not the fancy, ruby enshrined, gold plated ones.
Our ordinary, regular lives are illustrative of the power God places in us. We are not from nobility. We do not have to be special people, nor a celebrity. Riches will not place us at the front of the line, nor will social standing.
When others look at us, it is not us, but God's amazing gift that they see. In the darkness of the world, we beckon with light so bright.
All in a clay vessel.
I stand there looking down at her. Trying to remember the names for tomorrow's quiz, and thinking, this is what we are, a clay vessel...
Until next time on my front porch.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Stay on the Track
Go in through the narrow gate, for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and many there are who go in through it. (Matthew 7:13)
Ever watch a train go by? I am one of those people who deliberately slows down to see if a train is coming, not one who speeds up to get across the tracks before the train comes. There is just something about trains, the size, the power, that appeals to me.
One observant fact here, the train goes where the tracks take it. It doesn't turn off the road to go there or wonder over here. It stays on the tracks. Real observant, I'd say.
The tracks limit the direction of the train.
So, also is our walk with Christ. Notice that Jesus states that the way to destruction is broad-not narrow.
Now, from what I understand, the everyday gate in walled cities is broad and easily to enter. And of course, in combat, such a gate is a liability. A large army can easily walk right in!
So the big, broad gate is closed in times of danger, locked and barred. To get into the city you had to take a narrow gate. Here, easily defended, only one person or two could enter.
To us, who live in unfortified cities, it is easy to think of broad tree lined streets with lots of room for cars and people.
Which is exactly why, in many cities around the world there are broadways, or large streets directly into the downtown. So that the army can march in or out very quickly.
Now, Jesus uses this military construction to illustrate a point. That it is harder to be righteous than to not to be.
Jesus is going around teaching about the kingdom of God and He is asked:
And one said to Him, Lord, are the ones being saved few? (Luke 13:23)
He goes on to say in Luke: "Strive to enter in at the narrow gate. For I say to you, many will seek to enter in and shall not be able. "(Luke 13:24)
Not be able. A hard statement. Why will many not be able to enter?
Because of the narrow-mindedness that of church members? Of the judgmental attitude of others in the church? Now, that is an easy and lazy response. No, Jesus said the hard one:
"And once the Master of the house has risen up and has shut the door, and you begin to stand outside and to knock at the door, saying, Lord, Lord, open to us, and He shall answer and say to you, I do not know you; from where are you; then you shall begin to say, We ate and drank in Your presence, and You have taught in our streets. "(Luke 13:25-26)
Huh? What is going on? They did not receive His message. They continued to follow the easy, broad path of living that they had. They did not change. They did listen. They heard Him, they had supper with Him.
Only a few will listen and learn. What street are you walking on?