Thursday, October 31, 2013

Post 1000 - Saints and Demons

We will soon celebrate “All Saints Day” and society will make “All Hollows Eve” also known as Halloween.  The saints of the first-century were men and women of flesh and blood, the same as you and I. They are people who had life to live day in and day out, but who also had a first hand interest in the Church, and worship of God.  The church began to celebrate November first as All Saints Day and it wasn’t long before superstitious people began to fear that the souls of recent dead would walk the earth on all hallows eve.

Europeans began to do things to ward off the spirits of the dearly departed and a number of traditions developed around that idea. Here in America we turned it into a fund evening for children who could dress up and extract sweets from their neighbors. The greeting card and candy people didn’t waste any time jumping on that idea and the prequel to All Hallows day became a bigger celebration than the day itself.

Enjoy your All Hallows Eve and then All Saints Day.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

What God Requires

As preacher I read a lot of religious items and many of them are all about rules we must all obey. The lists are long depending on your particular religion. Some of us seem to need a list of rules to make our lives function. Others want a free flowing life style but still needs an idea of where we are going. The bible provides both lots of rules and a general path through life.

You can find rules for almost everything in the Bible many of them human rules for obeying the Ten Commandments. Some say the reason there are only ten commandments is that God didn't use a committee and Leviticus and Deuteronomy are the committee reports.

 This morning my devotions took me to Micah 6:8 which read in the NIV “And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.” That short verse actually sums up the entire list of rules. Instead of noting must do details it lays out relationships with God and one another.

1.     To act justly: In your dealing with others always do what ever in right in that relationship.
2.     To love mercy: Again in relationships be kind to one another in word and deed.
3.     To walk humbly with God: This pulls the other two in to focus as we recognize our relationship with God in everything we say and do.

I strive to let this verse be my guide in daily living loving God and loving my neighbor in all my actions and relationships.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013


Jesus said, "Follow Me" Have you ever, thought how often the first thing Jesus said to a person began with an imperative verb? A challenge to act was his way. So he spoke these words to Peter and Andrew to come and follow him. Take some action was his request to the servants at the marriage feast to fill the water pots, to the woman at the well to give him a drink, and the lame man to take up his bed and walk.

So many times Jesus said, "Follow Me!"

Even today, when we honestly come face to face with Jesus the Christ, he calls us to follow him. It is not just to believe but to follow. As we take action on his commands our insights of faith and our qualities of Christian character begin to grow. But these things only come after we commit to walk after him and take that first step on faith.

So many people clearly hear the call to follow Jesus. They believe in him but then hold back when it comes to actually following. They make excuses, often to themselves as much as to the Lord. The Christian life will be a transforming experience for any person who determines to answer Christ's call to follow him. The power of the Christian life is in the daily walk with Jesus. It will include acts of kindness and love along with the basic and simple act of good daily devotion, prayer, and humble obedience.

Jesus calls all of us to take Action. But so many people make excuses for not saying yes to Jesus. They want to put off the decision until the very last thing. Emperor Constantine – the first Christian Roman Emperor had a priest follow him around with orders to baptize him if he was about to die.

We all make excuses to rationalize and justify our failure to take action. Like the man whose neighbor always wanted to borrow his tools. One day when the neighbor ask to borrow his lawn mower, He said, "Can't do it, I'm coming down with a cold." "Well" said the neighbor, "that's a dumb excuse; your cold won't affect my mowing the lawn." "No but any excuse will do if I don't want to loan you the mower."

Monday, October 28, 2013

Criticizing Politics

At least here in Kentucky where our senior senator is running for re-election next year and has a primary opponent the mud slinging has already started. For the next twelve months we are in for a lot of political punishing criticizing from both Republicans and Democrats. Both sides will spend millions on ads telling us how bad the other side will be if elected. It really won’t make any difference as both parties are so corrupt that they are bought and paid for and often by the same people.

Friedrich Nietzeche wrote, “Let us stop thinking so much about punishing, criticizing, and improving others. Instead, let us rather raise ourselves that much higher. Let us color our own example with ever more vividness.”

Where are the statesmen who can lead by positive example and provide our country with vision and pride? All we seem to have now are politicians who seek only re-election term after term. I think it is our own fault as we keep re-electing them to office all the while wondering why the other states keep voting for their crooked politicians.

What can we do? One of the things I have been doing for years is to seek out the positive statements and double and triple fact check all the negative statements. It is unfortunate that most of us blindly accept what our “guy” says as truth and condemn the other side as lies. I usually start with the idea that both may be lying and check it out. I often wind up voting third party in protest.

I am praying for America.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Is it right to apologize for the past?


From time to time governments and people find it necessary to apologize for events of the past.
What difference can an apology make now?

England sent orphans and poor children were sent to Australia, Canada and elsewhere for a “better life”, but many were abused and ended up in institutions or as laborers on farms. Was the British government trying to do what was best for the children or just getting them out of their way? Who was really at fault? Who knows today?

The US apologized to Japanese/Americans for internment during WWII, to native Americans for lots of injuries, and to black Americans for slavery. 

Should governments apologize for past policies and events? Does an apology go far enough? Can current governments really make amends for actions taken in their history? Can people make amends for things their ancestors did?
I can make an apology for things I have done but I don’t feel that I need to or can apologize for the things my father did. History is full of wrong doings that are long past. We can acknowledge that they happened and even be sad that it happened but never make amends for what another person did.

How far must we go in dealing with the past? We can learn from past mistakes and press on to a better future for all by striving to not make the same mistakes now. Our problem is that we are humans prone to making new mistakes and usually for selfish reasons. We must never stop learning from the past, good our bad, and strive for a better tomorrow.