Friday, February 27, 2009

What's Your Sign?

We often get asked the question, “What is your sign?” or “what is your birth sign?” by people we have just met. It seems like an innocent question, an opening line, an ice breaker, or a search for a common interest.  The problem from a Christian perspective is that the question calls on us to name one of the 12 ancient pagan false gods as the guiding force in our lives. That is idol worship!


Many Christian fall into the trap of thinking that astrology or a reading of your horoscope is a harmless pastime. It is not! It is an act of putting your faith in a false deity and that is very dangerous. The ancient false gods of Babylon and Greece are still with us in the form of the daily horoscope readings in the newspaper. This false religion has many priests and priestesses called astrologers, who would lead you away from putting your full trust and faith in the one true God.


The Bible teaches us to avoid this false religion. Yet many good church going people say, “What’s the harm?” The harm flows from giving our faith and trust to anything less that God. The harm comes when you slowly change from reading your daily horoscope, for the fun of it, and begin living by it. This leaves our minds and spirits open to something that seems minor but that slowly becomes too important.


So how do you answer when someone asks you the question, “What is your sign?” My answer is, “The Cross!” At my baptism I was given the sign of the cross as the guiding force in my life. It calls on me to trust only in Jesus for my salvation. I trust in God for all my tomorrows. I do not trust some person who studies star charts and makes up a future based on their special knowledge. When people keep asking for my birth date so that they will know my “astrological sign” I tell them that I was baptized into Christ’s body on January 9. My sign is the cross of Christ and no other. Is the cross your sign too?

Thursday, February 26, 2009

It Is Lent Already

Between now and Holy Week there is not much to do for Lent beyond our personal devotions.  Now is the time to give yourself a focus for your prayer time to help you get ready for the events of Holy Week. One way to do this is to image your self on the highway up to Jerusalem traveling with Jesus and the Disciples. Each day look at a map of  Israel and starting at the Sea of Galiee move slowly down the Jordan River picking a different place each day. Pray about Jesus stopping and teaching there. Read the Gospels account of his journey and the people Jesus encountered. How did he treat them and what did he teach them. Make that part of your prayer life.


This Lenten journey calls for a time of reflection and repentance for our daily highway is crammed with a cacophony of chaotic encounters in this world. We need a holy retreat to recover from the noise and confusion. It is most fortunate that you already know from the scriptures that you belong in the one place where it counts. You are blessed for you belong to God because of Christ Jesus. In the presence of the saints [other church members] we can share a prayer life that strengthens our spirits and draws us closer to our Lord.


Let your prayers take on special meaning during the Lenten time of  getting ready for Resurrection Sunday celebration.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

President Obama

The state of the union speech last night was the best in a very long time. It is so wonderful to have a president who is articulate, thoughtful, hopeful, and confident. He is exactly what we need in these difficult times. AND the times they are a changing!

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Nicodemus Ask A Question

In the Gospel of John chapter three Nicodemus, a Pharisee and a Rabbi, came to Jesus under the cover of darkness. Nicodemus was at a point where he was willing to be led. Perhaps the Holy Spirit had in fact led him to Jesus, for Nicodemus had questions. You know that we learn by asking questions.


This was not the last time we hear about Rabbi Nicodemus. In John Chapter seven, we find Jesus being accused by the priest and Pharisees and Nicodemus stand up for Jesus, then finds himself being questioned. In the 19th chapter we find Nicodemus helping with the burial of Jesus providing the mixture of Myrrh and aloes....a hundred pounds of them. 


It is clear that this Nicodemus was one of the Pharisees that became a follower of Jesus the Messiah following the resurrection.  The questions Nicodemus ask are important to us today. His question were about spiritual rebirth. "How can anyone be born after having grown old? Can one enter a second time into the mother's womb and be born?" These are questions that cut to the very heart of the Gospel. Questions like, “What does it mean to be reborn?”


When we went under the water in our baptism we died to our old self and were reborn a new person, and a Christ-person, a Christian. This is the very mystery that Nicodemus did not at first understand. A spiritual rebirth is absolutely necessary.


It was a great night when Rabbi Nicodemus came to Jesus asking questions. He was open to new understandings. He was willing to consider the possibilities.  His spirit was willing to be led. Some people are uncomfortable with their doubts. Yet it is through asking questions that we find answers. 

I tell my Bible students that the only dumb question is the one you have but do not ask. I always welcome honest questions of life and faith and I am known to ask a few  of my own from time to time.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Dorrie is the greatest

Dorrie's layouts are the greatest.
She is such a good friend to restore - as much as possible my old JS layouts.
I like it Dorrie thank you very much.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Think on these things!

Think of what Paul told the First Christian Church of Rome in Romans:[12:2]

 "Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your minds, so that you may discern what is the will of God."


Powerful words "Be transformed by the renewing of your minds." Paul thought it vitality important that we use the gifts of our minds. There are those who believe that you must put your brains in neutral when you enter the doors of the church. That simply is not true! God wants us to use the intellect as a very special gift. What matters is what we put into our minds in the first place.


Consider what Paul told the first Christian Church in Philippians: [4:8]


"Finally, beloved, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is pleasing, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence and if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things."


Think about these things! What is it that YOU think about? Does your mind dwell on things that are honorable, positive, just, worthy of praise and positive loving thoughts? God gave you a mind to use. What are you doing with it?


If you are concentrating on good and godly thoughts, then you are renewing your mind according to Paul's instructions.