It’s a Dog’s Life

The origin of the phrase used in the title, began as a reference to the hard life of the working dog: sleeping in a damp barn, chasing rats and other intruders, living on scraps, etc. Today, however, it has in some circles acquired the completely opposite connotation.  The phrase has been trace to century when dogs would guard homes and small communities, were fed scraps, slept outside and had short lives. so it meant life wasn’t good.  That dogs are well fed, groomed, pampered, sleep inside and live longer, so it now means a good life

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The latest copy of The Word for You Today contains something written by an anonymous poet.

If you can start the day without caffeine; if you can get going without pep pills; if you can always be cheerful, ignoring aches and pains; if you can resist complaining and boring people with your troubles; if you can eat the same food every day and be grateful for it; if you can understand when your loved ones are too busy to give you any time; if you can forgive a friend’s lack of consideration; if you can overlook it when those you love take it out on you, when through no fault of your own something goes wrong; if you can take criticism and blame without resentment; if you can ignore a friend’s limited education and never correct him; if you can resist treating a rich friend better than a poor friend; if you can face the world without lies and deceit; if you can conquer tension without medical help; if you can relax without liquor; if you can sleep without the aid of drugs; if you honestly say that deep in your heart you have no prejudice against any creed or color, religion or politics; then, my friend, you’re almost as good as your dog.  Almost, but not quite.

Recently, Pope Francis was misquoted as telling a little boy that all animals go to heaven, but popes throughout the ages and great Protestant leaders such as Martin Luther, John Wesley, John Calvin, and C.S. Lewis, all weighed in on both sides of whether animals go to heaven.

As Jesuit priest and author Jim Martin wrote in an email, To speak about heaven is to speculate.  The only person who can speak about heaven with direct experience would be Jesus and he didn’t say anything about animals.  So this falls under the general theological category of ‘Who knows?’

Aren’t you glad that the same question is already resolved for us today?

As Jesuit priest and author Jim Martin once said in an email, To speak about heaven is to speculate. The only person who can speak about heaven with direct experience would be Jesus, and he didn’t say anything about animals.  So this falls under the general theological category of ‘Who knows?’  In My Father’s house are many dwelling places; if it were not so, I would have told you; for I go to prepare a place for you.  If I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself, that where I am, there you may be also (John 14:2-3).  Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter (Matthew 7:21).

So be thankful that you can know that you can make it to Heaven.  You just have to live life with the same joy of living and the same trust in your Master that a dog has.

GIGO

The acronym GIGO (garbage in, garbage out) was originally designed to describe inputting data to a computer.  Basically, it meant that if you entered good or accurate data, the end result would be good or accurate.  If you entered bad or incorrect data, your results would be bad or inaccurate.  The FreeDictionary describes it this way:  an informal rule holding that the integrity of output is dependent on the integrity of input.  It’s important to remember that our brains are organic computers capable of amazing things.  And we are constantly inputting new data–from all of our senses; sight, sound, taste, smell, touch, and any others senses we may not have recognized yet.

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While the GIGO phrase came into being when physical computers began, God explained this long ago.  Matthew 15:19 explains: For from the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, all sexual immorality, theft, lying, and slander.  Luke 6:45 puts it this way: A good person produces good things from the treasury of a good heart, and an evil person produces evil things from the treasury of an evil heart.  What you say flows from what is in your heart.  Mark 7:21-23 adds: For from within, out of a person’s heart, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, greed, wickedness, deceit, lustful desires, envy, slander, pride, and foolishness.  All these vile things come from within; they are what defile you.  How do we recognize this GIGO in ourselves and those around us?  For from within, out of a person’s heart, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, greed, wickedness, deceit, lustful desires, envy, slander, pride, and foolishness. All these vile things come from within; they are what defile you (Mark 7:21-23).  In James 3:8-12 we are told, but no one can tame the tongue. It is restless and evil, full of deadly poison. Sometimes it praises our Lord and Father, and sometimes it curses those who have been made in the image of God.  And so blessing and cursing come pouring out of the same mouth. Surely, my brothers and sisters, this is not right!  Does a spring of water bubble out with both fresh water and bitter water?  Does a fig tree produce olives, or a grapevine produce figs?  No, and you can’t draw fresh water from a salty spring.

Can a man who fills (or inputs) his life with worldly things show Christ to others?  The definition of GIGO above and the Scripture verses say, definitely not!  The definition uses the word “integrity,” to mean accuracy, truthfulness or honesty.  I’ve heard many say that integrity is what you do when you’re alone (And sometimes when you’re with people whose integrity might be questionable).  You might say that would never be me.  I’m a good person and I don’t do anything to hurt anyone else.  Remember Peter (the rock)?  He would never deny Jesus.  And yet as soon as he was out of contact with Jesus and in the midst of those who didn’t believe, he denied Him three times.  Yet, look what he accomplished later.

God speaks through Jeremiah in chapter 17 (9-10), The heart is more deceitful than all else And is desperately sick; Who can understand it?  I, the LORD, search the heart, I test the mind.  Expect to be tempted and expect to fail.  But use each failure to learn to depend on God each time.  Or, we can wallow in our sin and weakness and never become a person of integrity, no matter how hard we try to look like one.  The bottom line there is that  the LORD searches all hearts, and understands every intent of the thoughts. If you seek Him, He will let you find Him; but if you forsake Him, He will reject you forever (Jeremiah 17:9).

Flood your mind with good and positive things and learn from your mistakes.  Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things.  The things you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you (Philippians 4:8).

Butter Side Up, Butter Side Down…

Isn’t it strange how we allow odd occurrences to excuse how we approach and react to our everyday circumstances?  Our toast falling butter side down, which side of the bed we get up from, how much caffeine we’ve had or how much sugar we have ingested.

 

Of course if we actually kept track each individual circumstance, we would recognize that the odds of that buttered piece of toast will land on the buttered side is 50%.  The same odds that flipping a genuine coin will turn up heads.  We have no control over this.  Nor can it affect the rest of our day.  The same with getting up on the wrong side of the bed.  If you got up on the wrong side this morning, then go back to bed and get up on the other side!  We constantly look for excuses to make our own personal responsibility for things less internal and more external.  You can’t get going in the morning because you didn’t have your coffee or your kids are off the wall because they ate too much sugar.  Choices, choices–all day long.

Murphy’s Law is a rule that states, “If something can go wrong, it will.” An addition to this law reads, “and usually at the worst time.”   And the only time Murphy’s Law is true, is when one of two choices we make turns out badly.  Think of how many choices we make every day.  What time to get up, what to eat for breakfast, will we truly do our best work on the job, what to eat for lunch, how late to stay at work, will I go the speed limit or faster, will I be patient with our kids/spouse, will I do any work around the house, will I check my kids’ homework, what time will I go to bed, and on and on.

Philippians 4:6 states, Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done.  This doesn’t mean that God expects you to get down on your knees to decide whether to take Route 2 to Boston or the Massachusetts Turnpike.  Many years ago I read a book titled, How Much Prayer Should A Hamburger Get.  The author made the point that the verse from Philippians says to “Pray about everything”–including that hamburger.  Not just those things that you consider important.  But even the little things. And the things you aren’t even aware of.  We are told that after being shipwrecked of the isle of Malta, as Paul gathered an armful of sticks and was laying them on the fire, a poisonous snake, driven out by the heat, bit him on the hand (Acts 28:3).  Do you honestly think that just before this happened, Paul had fallen to his knees and asked God to protect him from a snake bite?  Of course not!  But what did happen was that God protected Paul because his mind was continually focused on God.  God will do the same things with the hamburger and the directions to Boston.  Prayer is simply communication with God.  So, remember to seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. So do not worry about tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own (Matthew 6:33-34).  If we focus on this, then He will take care of our every needs.  And we will be free from worry and concern.  But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.  So do not worry about tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own (Matthew 6:33-34).

Isaiah 26:3 You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in you, all whose thoughts are fixed on you!  Fixed always!

With Wings as Eagles

Though youths grow weary and tired, and vigorous young men stumble badly, yet those who wait for the LORD Will gain new strength; they will mount up with wings like eagles, they will run and not get tired, they will walk and not become weary. (Isaiah 40:30-31).

Did you ever notice how a young child will run, jump, and play all day long–seemingly with an endless amount of energy?  They may fall asleep in their soup at supper or while watching TV, but while at play, they never say,  “Time out, guys, I need to take a nap”

Then they turn into teenagers and you can’t get them to do anything.  They’ll sleep until it’s lunch time and then drag around all day like they’re exhausted.  I remember not too many years back when one of my nephews had gotten a job at our church that involved a shovel and some dirt.  I volunteered to work alongside him.  After a couple of hours of physical labor, he was wiped out and I was just warming up.  Sometimes fatigue is just a state of mind.

The quote, “they will soar high on wings like eagles,” is more than a poetic way of describing something.  Eagles have the ability to spread their wings and tail-feathers so that they can stay perfectly still and in position to catch thermal updrafts.  Two scientists, Jon M. Gerrard and Gary R. Bortolotti, wrote, “Eagles are capable of sustaining flapping flight, but they usually spend little time doing it.”  While observing a particular female eagle, they noted that she averaged less that 2 minutes per hour in flapping their wings.  So most of their soaring is effortless.

When God lifts us above our various circumstances, we can soar above them effortlessly because he is our thermal updraft.  There will be times when we have to “flap” like crazy to get back to God’s thermal, but the less time it takes, the more and higher we can soar.

Around 30 years ago, when I was at the height of my teaching and coaching career, I felt unstoppable.  I had run a couple of marathons and I was in the best shape I ever would be.  In fact, I was at the “they will run and not grow weary” stage.  Once I started running, I felt I could go on forever.  But that was all physical.  The race I now run is to follow the Will of God.  At times I may allow myself to grow weary, but then I remember to “wait on the Lord.”  That’s when he allows me to soar and to run and not grow weary.  And, as I grow older, “to walk and not faint.”

Ready or not, here I come!

I remember as a youngster playing “hide and seek.”  And whenever I was “it,” I would count to 100 as fast as I could and then shout, “Ready or not, here I come.  When I was very young and doing the hiding, I wasn’t always “ready,” and was not yet hiding.

Way back in 1969, Larry Norman included “I Wish We’d All Been Ready” on his “Miscellaneous” album (Remember those vinyl discs?).  HIs words then have been applicable since the beginning of the fall of man.

Life was filled with guns and war
And all of us got trampled on the floor
I wish we’d all been ready

The children died, the days grew cold
A piece of bread could buy a bag of gold
I wish we’d all been ready

There’s no time to change your mind
The son has come and you’ve been left behind

A man and wife asleep in bed
She hears a noise and
Turns her head, he’s gone
I wish we’d all been ready

Two men walking up a hill
One disappears and
One’s left standing still
I wish we’d all been ready

There’s no time to change your mind
The son has come and you’ve been left behind

The father spoke, the demons dined
How could you have been so blind?

There’s no time to change your mind
The son has come and you’ve been left behind
There’s no time to change your mind
The son has come and you’ve been left behind

I hope we’ll all be ready
You’ve been left behind
You’ve been left behind
You’ve been left behind

How could this be?  How could a loving God leave people behind when the Endtime comes around?  The simple answer is that He doesn’t do the leaving.  We choose to stay.

When Noah built the ark to God’s specification, God was giving the people a chance to escape.  Instead, they chose to laugh at a man building something that belonged on the seas–not inland, where there had never been rain.  Instead, they were eating, they were drinking, they were marrying, they were being given in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark, and the flood came and destroyed them all (Luke 17:27).

In the case of Sodom and Gomorrah, Lot was warned ahead of time that He would pour out fire and brimstone on both cities because of their evil ways.  Abraham tried to bargain with God to save the cities.  Eventually God agreed that He would not destroy the two cities if He could find just ten people who hadn’t bowed down to evil ways.  He couldn’t.  So God sent an angel to warn Lot and permitted him to escape with his wife and two daughters.  It was the same as happened in the days of Lot: they were eating, they were drinking, they were buying, they were selling, they were planting, they were building; and God rained fire and brimstone down upon both cities (Luke 17:18-29).  But even then, on the way to safety, Lot’s wife disobeyed the angels instructions and looked back.  As a consequence, she was turned to a pillar of salt.

Go is merciful and gives each of us many opportunities to turn away from our own evils ways.  Instead all we think about is eating, drinking, buying, selling, planting, building. etc.  Does any of this sound familiar?  What if we change things to what people are busy doing today instead?  Today we are killing babies before they are born, euthanizing our elders, getting divorces or living together without marrying, spending hours on social media, opening ourselves to the destructive force of pornography, spending more money than what we have–the list could go on and on.

So how do we avoid falling into the trap of being left behind?  Be a Noah and do what God tells you to do–no matter how foolish it may seem.  And be an Abraham and plead for the saving of your family and those who are trying to follow God’s will for our lives.  The choice is always ours.  Choose wisely or be left behind.

Out of the Frying Pan…

But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you (John 14:26).

In Italian, it is “dalla padella alla brace.  The first recorded use of it was in a Greek poem as early as 15BC.  The first to adapt it into English was Roger L’Estrange in 1692.  The Romanians claim it as one of their ancient proverbs.  We’ve all heard it and probably used it at some point in our lives.  “Out of the frying pan and into the fire” means leaving a bad situation only to find yourself in one that is worse.

 

Out of the frying pan

I’m reminded of a story one of my former pastors told (repeatedly!).  A man driving his car too fast, couldn’t make a sharp corner and drove the car off a cliff into a deep canyon.  He fell out of the car and by some miracle was able to catch hold of a tree branch sticking out some 500 feet above the bottom.  He wasn’t far from the road above, but the steepness of the cliff was too much for him to climb.  He began to squirm as his arms began to tire and called out, “Help! H–e–l–p–p!  Is anyone up there?  He continued to squirm and cried out, “Please help!  My arms are killing me.”

Suddenly a deep and rumbling voice answered, “I am here.  I am God and I will help you.”

The man was so relieved as he said, “That’s great!  What are you going to do?  I can’t hold on much longer.”

The deep voice then said, “Let go of the tree.”

Terrified, the man answered, “What?  I’ll fall 500 feet to my death!”

God then asked, “Do you believe in me?”

The man hesitated, but said, “Well sure.”

Then God replied, “Then you have nothing to fear.  Let go of the tree and I will save you.”

The man paused and then said, “Is anyone else up there?”

It’s a cute story, but one that has some serious underlying truth.  How many times have we found ourselves in a situation that was so bad that we felt we had to do something about it?  And when we did, we realized that our plight was worse than before.  Think of Abraham in the Old Testament.  After God convinced him to leave Ur and with promises of land and many descendants, the word of God came again to Abram in a vision and repeated His promise of the land and descendants as numerous as the stars.  The problem was that no children came.  Year after year the problem remained the same.  That was the “frying pan.”  Then his wife, Sarah, volunteered her servant girl to serve as a surrogate and the girl bore him Ishmael.  Though it didn’t seem that way at the time, that would be the “fire.”  That wasn’t God’s plan.  Later, when God miraculously allowed a very old Sarah to bear Abraham’s son, the stage was set for the Israelites (Isaac–the son of the promise) to be at odds with the Arab peoples (Ishmael–the son of their lack of faith)–even to this day.  But God was faithful and Abraham gained the land and the descendants God had promised.

When God told Jonah to go preach to the people of Nineveh, he didn’t want to go.  Nineveh was a large and wicked city and Jonah felt that it deserved the wrath of God.  So he ran away from God’s assignment.  That was the “frying pan.”  While sailing away, a great storm caused the ship he was on to begin to sink.  The captain and the crew tried to determine why this calamity was happening to them.  Jonah admitted he knew that he was the cause for refusing to go to Nineveh.  So he allowed himself to be thrown overboard to save the rest of those on board.  Then he was swallowed by a great fish.  That was the “fire.”  Yet God caused the fish to vomit him up and gave him another chance to accomplish his mission at Nineveh.  The city repented and, by God’s grace, they were saved.

In the first little story, in God’s promise to Abraham, and in Jonah’s assignment, the main character was promised or assigned something by God.  In each case, they believed in God.  But when things didn’t go the way or in the timing that they wanted, they lost their faith in God’s ability to make good on His promise.  And then they tried to make things better by doing it their own way.  I can’t tell you the number of times that I have found myself in the trials of the “frying pan.”  And like the stubborn New Englander that I am, I have tried to solve the issues myself.  Invariably, I would end up in the “fire.”  And, when all seemed lost, God would faithfully resolve things His way.  But because of my stubbornness, there were always consequences because of  my efforts to do things myself.

So, how do we avoid the frying pan and the fire and the negative consequences that usually follow?  Turn the “frying pan” into something positive by trusting God first and waiting for Him to show you what He wants you to do.  This can certainly be a scary thing.  You have to let go of yourself and open yourself completely to God.  And then, jump into the “fire” of His Holy Spirit and let Him fill you with faith, understanding, and power to follow and do the will of God.  And now I will send the Holy Spirit, just as my Father promised. But stay here in the city until the Holy Spirit comes and fills you with power from heaven (Luke 24:49).

But you have received the Holy Spirit, and he lives within you, so you don’t need anyone to teach you what is true. For the Spirit teaches you everything you need to know, and what he teaches is true–it is not a lie. So just as he has taught you, remain in fellowship with Christ (I John 2:27)

I Had Too Much To Dream Last Night.

Dreams are curious, but fascinating things.  Sometimes we remember them and sometimes we don’t.  We can dream about things that make us happy or sad.  We can dreams about fanciful things or about everyday events.  We can even have repeat dreams about the same thing.

             

 

But I don’t dream,” you might say. Well, that’s not exactly true. According to EvangelicalOutreach.com, Scientific studies have shown that everyone ever studied dreams, and so it’s generally accepted that everyone dreams.  Sleep studies have shown that we go through several cycles of light to very deep sleep each night. One phase of each cycle is called Rapid Eye Movement (REM) sleep. Whenever a researcher woke up a sleeper in REM sleep and asked what was happening, the sleeper always said, “I was dreaming.” In fact, even animals experience REM sleep, so we surmise that they, too, dream—but we cannot communicate with them to find out anything about the nature of their dreams.

The King James Version  (Yes, I still read that old version) mentions specific dreams 21 times–including 6 in the New Testament.

Joseph was probably best know for his dreams and interpretations of them.  As a boy, he had two dreams about himself which he that with his family, which was a bad idea because it caused his brothers to hate him so much that they used trickery to sell him to some slave traders (Genesis 37:5-11).  Then, later, when circumstance beyond his control caused him to end up in prison, he interpreted the dreams of two cellmates.  For one, it was a “happy” interpretation; that the prisoner would be returned to his former position in Pharaoh’s court.  For the other, it was not so good as Joseph foretold his death (Genesis 40:1-22).  Eventually, his ability to interpret dreams reached Pharaoh (the leader of Egypt at that time).  Pharaoh had two dreams that no one could interpret.  Then someone remembered that Joseph had interpreted two of his cellmates’ dreams accurately.  Joseph was able to interpret Pharaoh’s dreams, indicating that they showed that there would be seven years of plenty in the land, followed by seven years of famine.  Joseph then made suggestions as to how to successfully deal with these upcoming events.  Pharaoh then appoint Joseph as his second-in-command (Genesis 41:15-44).

There is a near repeat of Joseph and Pharaoh’s dreams with Daniel and Nebuchadnezzar.  This time it was wicked and idolatrous Nebuchadnezzar that had dreams about the future from God.  In the second year of his reign, Nebuchadnezzar  had dreams; his mind was troubled and his could not sleep.  In order to know if the interpretation was real, Pharaoh required that the interpreter first tell what the dream was.  Needless to say, no one could tell what someone else’s dream was.  Nebuchadnezzar was ready to execute all of his wise men magicians, enchanters, sorcerers and astrologers.  When Daniel learned of this, he went to his friends Hannaniah, Mishael and Azariah to urge them to pray that God would grant them mercy and give Daniel the dream and its interpretation.  As with Joseph, Daniel’s interpretation was accurate (Daniel 2:31-45).

In the New Testament, there is the story of Joseph; the man who married Mary.  He found out that she was pregnant before he had any sexual relations with her.  Because he was a kind man, he was going to divorce quietly and not make a public spectacle of her.  In a dream, an angel told Joseph to marry her because the child she was carrying was conceived by the Holy Spirit and that he was to name Him Jesus because He would save His people from sin.

As noted before, there are 21 instances of dreams in the KJV.  As with our own dreams, some brought joy.  Some predicted woeful events.  Some gave hope.  Some where meant only for the dreamer.  Others were meant for everyone.  Some came as answer to prayer, while others came from our of the blue.

We all dream.  Acts 2:17 says, And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreamsEarlier in Joel 2:28, God says the same thing —And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my spirit upon all flesh; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions.  This so important that God mentions it twice.  Both of these verses on dreams refer to the end times.  Both of them talk about God pouring His Spirit on everyone.  And both of them say that old men will dream dreams.

Based on what the Bible says will take place in the last days, what I see and read about news from around the world, the fact that I am Spirit-filled, and that, at the age of 64 I can probably be considered old, I’m thinking I should  think about and begin to pay attentions to my dreams.  Who knows what God may be trying to say to me?

 

They practice evil because they can.

To me, one of the most haunting images of the Bible comes from Micah 2:1; What sorrow awaits you who lie awake at night, thinking up evil plans. You rise at dawn and hurry to carry them out, simply because you have the power to do so.

practicing evil      Practicing evil 2

 According to J. Stephen Land, one of Christianity’s darkest moments began in 1692, when several adolescent girls in Salem, Massachusetts, began to accuse individuals of being witches.  The girls included the daughter and niece of the town’s minister.  They started by accusing the minister’s black housekeeper.  Then they accused two of the older women in town.  By the summer of 1692, the jails were filled with people the girls had accused of witchcraft.  The evidence?  The girls supposedly went into convulsions in their presence, or they said they had seen an apparition of the accused person.  If the accused admitted to being a witch and then said that they were repentant, they were released.  Unfortunately nineteen insisted on their innocence and were executed by hanging.

There were many Christians of that time that were opposed to what went on, but they were overruled by those in authority.  Why did these girls continue with their accusations?  Because they could.  And the more they practiced these accusations, the better at it they became.

 According to a variety of sources, it can take anywhere from a week to a year to develop to make something into a habit–depending on the individual.  But the length of time that seems to come up the most is 21 days.  That’s not a very long time.   Think of how quickly the things we do, think or say become a permanent part of our lives.  And it will take at least as long (and probably more) to undo those habits.

So while we have developed habits like overeating, making critical comments, gossiping, watched trashy movies or television shows, not praying each day, etc., we can undo them.  But first we have to start.

A good beginning is to fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise (Philippians 4:8).

So let’s practice good……because we can.

Mirror, Mirror…

We’ve all heard the line, “Mirror, mirror on the wall, who’s the fairest one of all, from the wickedly vain queen in Snow White.  And many of us have had problems with what we see reflected there.

       

So, let’s get the physical out of the way first.

You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body and  knit me together in my mother’s womb.  Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex!  Your workmanship is marvelous—how well I know it.  You watched me as I was being formed in utter seclusion, as I was woven together in the dark of the womb.  You saw me before I was born.  Every day of my life was recorded in your book.  Every moment was laid out before a single day had passed (Psalm 139:13-16).  There you have it; God made you to be perfect.  But perfect in His sight has nothing to do with what you see in a mirror.  In fact, if you have ever been in an amusement park fun-house, you probably saw mirrors that made you look tall and skinny or short and fat or even wavy in appearance.  Mirrors simply reflect the physical.  And any flaws in the mirror reflect you inaccurately.

Whether we are overweight, too short, have too long a nose, have mouse-brown hair, are covered with age spots or bald as a cue ball, God knew what was coming.  Granted, there are sometimes things we can do to improve our image.  We go on diets, get hair implants, have rhinoplasty surgery, dye our hair, and use a cream to bleach out skin discoloration.  Is doing any of these things wrong? No, but…

I seems like there is always a “but.”   We are not simply (Human images) like Moses, who put a veil over his face so the people of Israel would not see the glory, even though it was destined to fade away.  But the people’s minds were hardened, and to this day whenever the old covenant is being read, the same veil covers their minds so they cannot understand the truth. And this veil can be removed only by believing in Christ (II Corinthians 3:13-14).  We are much more.  We are spirit, soul, and body.  And, in this, too, we are each unique.  And yet, God created human beings in His own image. In the image of God He created them; male and female He created them (Genesis 1:27).  Since we are all different in so many ways besides the physical.  God must have meant something else.  We forget sometimes that God is infinite in every aspect.  He everywhere at the same time.  He is all-powerful.  He knows all things.  And probably many aspects that we can’t even imagine or understand.

Just know that, though, now we see things imperfectly, like puzzling reflections in a mirror, then we will see everything with perfect clarity.  All that I know now is partial and incomplete, but then I will know everything completely, just as God now knows me completely (I Corinthians 13:12).

I can’t wait for “then”!

The World of “Huh?”

Does it ever seem to you that the world is full of things that simply make you scratch your head and wonder what on earth people are thinking?

                                         
           For example, where but in America…

♦   can a pizza get to your house faster than an ambulance.
♦   are there handicap parking places in front of a skating rink.
♦   do drugstores make the sick walk all the way to the back of the store to get their prescriptions, while healthy people can buy cigarettes at the front.
♦   do people order double cheeseburgers, large fries, and a diet coke.
♦   do banks leave both doors open and then chain the pens to the counters.
♦   do we leave cars worth thousands of dollars in the driveway and put our useless junk in the garage.
♦   do we use answering machines to screen calls and then have call waiting so we won’t miss
a call from someone we didn’t want to talk to in the first place.
♦   do we buy hot dogs in packages of ten and buns in packages of eight.
♦   do they have drive-up ATM machines with Braille lettering. 
          While nothing on this incomplete list is worth losing any sleep over, think about just a few of the Biblical stories that no man can explain and leaves all unbelievers saying, “Huh?”  Here are some in no particular order:
♥    Rain falling for 40 days and 40 nights in Noah’s time, when it had never rained before.
♥   The ten plagues that God inflicted on Egypt when it wouldn’t free the Israelites.
♥   The parting of the Red Sea, which finally allowed the Israelites to escape from the Egyptians.
♥   God speaking to Moses from a burning bush that was not consumed by the fire.
♥   Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego surviving being thrown into a fiery furnace because they wouldn’t bow down and worship Nebuchadnezzar’s golden statue.
♥   Daniel surviving being tossed into a den of lions because he continued to pray and worship God when King Darius made a decree that no one should worship any other god beside the king for a 30-day period.
♥   The youthful  David killing the giant, Goliath, with just a sling-shot and some pebbles.
♥   Elijah calling fire down from heaven to consume a completely water-soaked offering to challenge the prophets of Baal.
          There are many more, but let’s skip to the New Testament where we find..
♠Jesus’s birth to the virgin, Mary.
♠Jesus turning water into wine at a wedding feast in Cana.
♠Jesus raising Lazarus from the grave (where he had already begun to decay!).
♠Jesus walking on water.
♠Jesus giving sight to a man blind since birth.
♠Jesus feeding 5000 people with 5 loaves of bread and 2 fishes.
♠Handkerchiefs and aprons that Paul had touched were taken to the sick and their illnesses were healed.
♠Peter raising Tabitha from the dead.
          Again, I could go on and on, but how many impossible things do we have to see or hear before we realize that God truly controls everything, and that everything He does or allows is for our own good.  For I know the plans I have for you,” says the LORD. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope (Jeremiah 29:11).
          Jesus also did many other things. If they were all written down, I suppose the whole world could not contain the books that would be written (John 21:25).  But if they were, I’d want to read them all.