Thursday, July 31, 2014

Things We Know

"And when the chief Shepherd shall appear, ye shall receive a crown of glory that fadeth not away." (1 Peter 5:4)

In these days of relativism, situational ethics, and changing mores, it does a Christian good to note the many things in Scripture we can know, things we can count on, things that do not change. Following is a sampling of such truths, with little comment, intended to encourage the reader to extend the list, perhaps as an ongoing project.

We can know that Christ is God: "I and my Father are one" (John 10:30).

We can know that we are saved: "He that believeth on me hath everlasting life" (John 6:47).

We can know we are His dear children: "Beloved, now are we the sons of God" (1 John 3:2).

We can know His protection: "And they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand" (John 10:28).

We can know He answers prayer: "If ye shall ask any thing in my name, I will do it" (John 14:14).

We can know He will help us through temptation: "In that he himself hath suffered being tempted, he is able to succour them that are tempted" (Hebrews 2:18).

We can know how we should act: "For I have given you an example, that ye should do as I have done" (John 13:15).

We can know He desires us to speak on His behalf: "Be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you" (1 Peter 3:15).

We can know that He will come again: "I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also" (John 14:3).

We can know of our eternal rewards, as in today's verse: "An inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you" (1 Peter 1:4). JDM


Wednesday, July 30, 2014

The High Call of Suffering

by Anabel Gillham

"Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort,
who comforts us in all our affliction so that we will be able to comfort those who are in any affliction with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God."
- II Corinthians 1:3-4

I never cease to be amazed at how God works!

We cannot understand our suffering or His silence to our passionate pleas. We endure loss, loneliness, rejection, financial hardship, grief--all sorts of painful things and wonder why we have to be the one enduring this trial. We entreat the Lord for healing and it doesn't come. We request prayers from family and friends and there is still no respite from the pain we are experiencing. "Why, Lord, why must I go through this wretched time? Why, Lord? Why? I don't understand."

Then, quite unexpectedly, some hurting person--possibly someone you've never met before---enveloped in despair and fear and confusion comes into your life and you find yourself saying, "Oh, come sit down and let me talk to you. I understand! I've been through that very same thing. Let me tell you what happened and how the Lord brought comfort and strength and understanding."

II Corinthians 1:3-4 (above) has just become a part of our life and we suddenly grasp that through this suffering He has prepared us to minister to someone else. He is allowing us to share His unfathomable love with others. And they will listen. Why? Because we've been there. We understand.

I wrote a letter just the other day to a mother who had placed her mentally challenged child in a home. She was groping for her sanity! Why would a letter from me be a special word for her? Because I had experienced that same loss, the same guilt, and desperate longing. She was encouraged because I had been there. I understood.

How special you are to God as He patiently, lovingly teaches you, knowing that someone who is hurting just as you have been hurting will be crossing your path before too long. Somehow the Lord will bring that person into your life and you will be able to answer the questions they ask from the darkness of their desperation and suffering.

To be used by God to His glory. Suffering is truly a high calling, isn't it?

Dear Lord of light, I praise You for bringing me out of darkness into Your gracious light. Grant me grace to proclaim Your excellencies. Shine Your light into the hearts I hope to reach. Grant them the miracle of resting and trusting you in your high calling of us, in  the Lord Jesus Christ we pray.  Amen.


Tuesday, July 29, 2014

The State Of Your Heart

"Can you leave it all behind? I hope so, because you can’t go back." — Unknown

We often make a distinction between people who believe in God and those who do not. If someone knows about God, we think that is better than them not knowing about God. But that is not the distinction the Bible makes. The Bible says that people either believe in the true God, or they believe in idols.

Knowledge of God doesn’t change the state of your heart, and it’s the heart that matters the most. It’s in the heart where idols are created. We can touch and see and feel them. We imagine them filling our thirsty souls. They continually lure our passion and faith away from the true Almighty God. Idols can be metal or they can be mental, but there is a constant temptation to put trust in them rather than in God.

“Is there any God besides me? No, there is no other Rock; I know not one." All who make idols are nothing, and the things they treasure are worthless. Those who would speak up for them are blind; they are ignorant, to their own shame. Who shapes a god and casts an idol, which can profit nothing? —Isaiah 44:8-10

God and God only is Almighty. There is not a single idol on the face of the earth that we can fully depend on to meet our needs. They simply aren’t able to do so… and so they eventually leave our hearts empty, our expectations broken, and our dreams shattered. Even the idols that appear to be able to sustain us will ultimately crumble at the moment of death, for they are completely unable to help us beyond the grave.

Father, I say that You are all I need in this life. But, in all honesty, I don’t fully believe it. Speak to me now. Reveal the idols that I cling to. Show me what I am relying on to fulfill my needs and enable me to choose You for fulfillment instead. Amen.

The August '14 Edition of The StarLight News has been posted to the Internet at

Happy Reading and Happy Tuesday,

Monday, July 28, 2014


By late Pastor Bob Hanna

Scripture Reading: Colossians 2:13
"You, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath He quickened together with Him, having forgiven you all trespasses" (Colossians 2:13). "Giving thanks unto the Father, which hath made us meet to be partakers of the saints in light: Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of His dear Son: In whom we have redemption through His blood, even the forgiveness of sins" (Colossians 1:12-14).

What greater comfort can we experience than the assurance of these words of unqualified release from the bondage of iniquity! Unregenerate man suffers constant fear in his state of guilt and shame. His hope lies only in the one "in whom we [who are saved] have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace" (Ephesians 1:7). "For by grace are ye saved through faith, and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast" (Ephesians 2:8,9). "Thanks be unto God for His unspeakable gift" (2 Corinthians 9:15).

Once possessed, one's salvation can never be lost. The apostle explains the process of judgment when the departed saints appear at the judgment seat of Christ. "If any man's work abide which he hath built thereupon [the foundation, Jesus Christ], he shall receive a reward. If any man's work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire" (I Corinthians 3: 14,15).

We can neither earn nor deserve salvation. "Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us" (Titus 3:5). 

In The News:

British Schools Face Islamic Indoctrination

Russ Jones | Contributor | Thursday, July 24, 2014

A former antiterrorism chief in the United Kingdom has released a report warning of a deliberate effort to indoctrinate British schools with an Islamic worldview.  

According to The New York Times, “First there was an anonymous letter outlining an Islamic takeover of British schools in Muslim neighborhoods ominously called Operation Trojan Horse. Then the letter was found to be riddled with inaccuracies and widely deemed to be a hoax.”

Commissioned by the former education secretary Michael Gove, Peter Clarke, the former head of Metropolitan police's counterterrorism command, is the author of the report. Clarke claims there is alarming evidence that Birmingham schools have been the target of Islamists.

Islamic leaders in England have leveraged their influence by getting elected to school boards.

The report uncovered a social media group, called the “Park View Brotherhood,” used by staff members of Park View Academy to discuss Islamic ideals like segregated classes as well as anti American and Israel rhetoric.

Clarke maintains that education officials have ignored the situation.

"There was never a serious attempt to see if there was a pattern to what was happening in school governing bodies,” Clarke told The Guardian. “The council's approach has been variously described to me as appeasement and a failure in their duty of care towards their employees."

While Clarke contends his research didn’t find terrorism, it did discover "very clear evidence that young people are being encouraged to accept unquestionably a particular hardline strand of Sunni Islam that raises concerns about their vulnerability to radicalization in the future.”
Publication Date: July 24, 2014.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Safe by Keeping the Law?

“For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.” Romans 3:23

Suppose you’re driving down the road and a police officer stops you for running a red light. And you say to the officer, “I ran a red light, but you have no right to give me a ticket because I stopped at all the other streets and I have obeyed the speed limit.”

He responds, “Don’t tell me about all the things that you’ve done good. You’ve broken the law.”

If you think you’re going to be saved by keeping the law, then you must keep all of it, because God demands perfection. No amount of obedience can make up for one act of disobedience. If you keep the whole law and yet offend in one point you are guilty of it all.

Read Romans 7:1 to 8:4. Can you relate to Paul’s quandary about keeping the law and the war within his members concerning its requirement of absolute obedience?

Saturday, July 26, 2014

The Ministry of the Holy Spirit – He convicts

"And when he (the Holy Spirit) is come, he will reprove the world of sin and of righteousness and of judgment" John 16:8. There is one desperate need in the church today and that is old fashioned heaven sent conviction of sin. One of the most insipid things is to see unconverted, lost sinners come forward in a church with a grin on their face and say, "I want to join the church" or "I want to give my life to Jesus" and there is not one sign of conviction or contrition or conversion from sin and to God. 
Where are the converted? No wonder. Pastors tell me, you cannot find, in the average church, one half of the church members in church. There are just too many unconverted, unsaved church members professing to be Christians with absolutely no change in their lives. "If any man be in Christ, he is a new creature, old things are passed away and all things are become new" 2 Corinthians 5:17. 
What we preachers need.  We preachers need the conviction of the Holy Spirit in our preaching. That doesn’t mean pounding the pulpit, stomping your feet, screaming a little louder but having the power of God flowing though you so people are cut to the heart for their sins of what they do not do as well as for what they do. Make sense? Peter, "filled with the Holy Spirit" preached with deep conviction. "Now when they heard this they were pricked in their heart, (Oh, dear people, we need this today) and said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men and brethren, what shall we do" Acts 2:38. When have you seen that kind of conviction. Believe me, I love the church and preachers. We ALL need to see old time conviction and contrition of our sins of not witnessing to EVERY person. Make sense?
"They were not able to resist the spirit by which Stephen spake" Acts 6:10. "When they heard these things they were cut to the heart and they gnashed on him (Stephen) with their teeth. But he being full of the Holy Ghost (and this is the key), looked up steadfastly into heaven and saw the glory of God and Jesus standing on the right hand of God" Acts 7:54. Of course Stephen lost his life but he gained eternal rewards. 
They were cut to the heart! "When they heard that, they were cut to the heart, and took counsel to slay them" Acts 5:33. Yes, some died, but 3000 were saved on the day of Pentecost Acts 2:41, "and the Lord added to the church DAILY such as should be saved" Acts 2:47. A little later "many of them which heard the word believed and the number of the men was about 5000" Acts 4:4, finally it is said they "turned the world upside down" Acts 17:6. "Depart from me, I am a sinful man" Jesus was convicting "I get convicted when I hear you preach." A number have said to me. What a compliment! 
“He who joyfully marches in rank and file with the world, (love not the world) has already earned my contempt. He has been given a large brain by mistake, since for him the spinal cord would suffice.” -- Albert Einstein,
MEMORIZE: “ But godliness with contentment is great gain” 1 Timothy 6:6

Friday, July 25, 2014

Trigger Points of Doubt

Renee Swope
"'But Lord,' Gideon asked, 'how can I save Israel? My clan is the weakest in Manasseh, and I am the least in my family.'" Judges 6:15 (NIV 1984)
A few years ago I felt paralyzed with self-doubt about a big ministry commitment I'd made, but had never done before. After begging God to zap me with confidence, and realizing it wasn't happening, I asked Him to reveal what made me insecure.
Immediately I remembered Gideon, a man whom God called to do big things, yet he was paralyzed by inadequacy. From reading his story in Judges 6, I knew Gideon overcame his doubts and fears by focusing on what God thought about him, instead of what he thought about himself.
But first he honestly processed his doubts with God. Recent conflicts and defeats caused Gideon to doubt God's presence and promises. When an angel of the Lord told him to defeat the Midianites, Gideon asked, "'How can I save Israel? My clan is the weakest ... and I am the least in my family'" (Judges 6:15).
Gideon's perception of himself made him feel inadequate. We aren't so different when damaged emotions and insecurities from our past influence how we see ourselves today.
It was time for me to get honest with God about my uncertainties too. I needed to figure out what triggered my self-doubts and led me to such a yucky place of uncertainty.
I remembered how a conflict with a friend that week made me doubt if I should even be in ministry. After all, self-doubt whispered, if I can't maintain healthy relationships, how can I help others?
Also, feedback on a project kept hounding me. One harsh criticism overshadowed several positive comments and consumed my focus. I'd also been comparing my abilities to other women. Self-doubt convinced me I wasn't as gifted as they were.
Conflict, criticism, and comparison had sent me into the shadows of doubt.
What about you? When conflict arises, do you assume it disqualifies you from ministries or callings? Does criticism paralyze you from believing you can do certain things? Or, has comparison convinced you that someone else can do it (whatever "it" is) better than you?
Thankfully, we can allow God to change the way we think, which will change the way we feel, and eventually transform the way we live!
It's not a quick fix. It's a powerful process of naming our doubts, identifying what triggers them, and learning to rely on God's power to lead us to live confidently in the security of His promises.
The next time you feel insecure, ask God what triggered your doubts. Process that trigger point through God's perspective and promises in the Bible. Ask Him to show you lies you believe and truths to replace them. Then let Him change your thought process by focusing on His thoughts about you instead of your thoughts about yourself. For instance:
When doubt tells you that you can't do something, remember God says you can do all things through Christ who strengthens you (Philippians 4:13).
When doubt tells you you're not good enough, focus on the truth that God says you're fearfully and wonderfully made; all of His works are wonderful and you are one of them (Psalm 139:14).
Jesus wants us to live with a confident heart so we can accomplish what He's calling us to do. And He wants to change us from the inside out so we can learn to completely depend on Him!
Dear Lord, I'm tired of feeling paralyzed by insecurity. Show me what triggers my self-doubt. Help me focus on Your thoughts about me instead of my thoughts about myself. I want to learn how to rely on and live in the security of Your promises. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Words that Linger

Glynnis Whitwer
"Let this be written for a future generation, that a people not yet created may praise the LORD ..." Psalm 102:18 (NIV)
"Well, you get what you pay for!" I muttered under my breath, frustrated as I held the broken weed eater. Were these things supposed to be disposable? Or was my family particularly hard on garden equipment?
Stomping to the garbage can, I shoved the rickety weed eater in with force. I brushed stray blades of grass from my hands and strode back to the house, thoroughly annoyed with my frugal habits that caused me to "save money" by buying the cheapest model. Again.
Later that day, I stood in the lawn and garden store, shopping for a replacement. Normally I pick the least expensive one, but obviously that approach wasn't working. Could higher priced weed eaters really be that much better? Deciding to give it a shot, I selected a mid-range model that has now survived my lawn, and my teenagers, for over a year.
Thankfully, someone, somewhere built a weed eater that lasts longer than a few months. There had to have been intentionality in the design, higher quality of parts and more attention to detail during the assembly for this to happen. The care put into the building of my new weed eater has made a difference.
Isn't this true of many things in our lives? When a carpenter builds a cabinet to last, it is built with quality woods and hardware. When a seamstress makes a dress to pass down to her daughter, her stitches are tighter and straighter. The same is true with words.
Words crafted to last are chosen with care.
The Bible demonstrates this statement. Whether spoken to hearts, etched in a tablet or recorded on a scroll, God made sure His words were written to be passed from one generation to the next. His Words were penned to change lives—the lives of the people who walked through the water, those who tried to walk on it, and ours! Psalm 102:18 evidences this truth: "Let this be written for a future generation, that a people not yet created may praise the LORD ..."
Words written for a future generation are chosen and assembled differently. They are selected intentionally, pondered over and placed in just the right order. This isn't the sticky note reminder you jot down quickly, ready to toss when the task is done. However, some life-changing words have been written on the backs of envelopes or scribbled on napkins. The medium doesn't matter—the care given does.
This verse in Psalm 102 speaks directly to me. My written words matter. Whether it's a letter composed to a loved one, a note in a lunch box, an email to my co-workers or a book, I can write the first words that come to mind, or I can consider them carefully. My words can have lasting impact for those I love.
A few weeks ago I opened my lingerie drawer (the perfect hiding place where children won't look) and withdrew a wrinkled envelope. Sitting on the edge of my bed, I lifted the flap and withdrew a folded letter. Smoothing it out, I saw my husband's teenage sprawl covering the page. I read the words, smiled and refolded the letter. Placing it in the envelope again, I tucked it back under silky things. For now, I keep this letter close to my heart. But one day I'll share it with our children as a record of their parents' bond.
Because words written to last matter.
Heavenly Father, thank You for making sure Your words were written carefully for me. They are a lifeline in hard times and help me know and love You more. Help me to give more care to my words, In Jesus' Name, amen.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Far Better, No Regrets

(By Bayless Conley, taken from "Far Better!" and "No Regrets" devotionals)

In Philippians 1:21-23, the apostle Paul says this,

"For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain. But if I live on in the flesh, this will mean fruit from my labor; yet what I shall choose I cannot tell. For I am hard-pressed between the two, having a desire to depart and be with Christ, which is far better."

Wow! Did you see what Paul said? To live is Christ, and to die is gain. If I die, I am going to be with Christ. And that is not a little better. It is far better.

While the following is a somewhat silly example, I think it makes the point.

My wife and I recently visited some friends in Washington, and it rained virtually the whole time we were there. It was just a series of gray, drizzly, dreary, rainy days. My friend is an avid golfer, so I asked him, "How long has it been since you have been able to go golfing?" He said, "Four months." I thought, "Wow! That's a long time!"

Now, the day Janet and I got back to Southern California it was a stunning Southern California day, about 70 degrees out. My son said, "Dad, you want to go golfing?" I said, "Sure. Throw the gear in the car."

As we were driving to the golf course, it hit me...Southern California is a place that is far better for a golfer than Washington! It is gain to be absent from the gray and rain, and present in the sun!

To be absent from the body is gain, because it means to be present with the Lord in the brightness of His glory! Don't feel sorry for believers when they go to be with the Lord. For them it is gain that is far better!

Are you unable to abide thoughts of death?

If you answered "yes" to that question, chances are you are not ready to meet our Lord. But you need to be ready because everyone here is going to die. There are only two exceptions in all of history: Enoch and Elijah, and it is not likely you are going to be the third exception.

Death visits both kings and commoners. Its approach is sure. The Bible says in Psalm 89:48,

"What man can live and not see death? Can he deliver his life from the power of the grave?

That Hebrew word selah means to pause and calmly think about that, and that is the problem with some. They never think on it. They push every thought of their own mortality from their mind. But how can you prepare for eternity if you never think about it?

When the time comes and we have finished our course for God, let us face death like men. Let us look it in the eye. Let us not rebel against the cutting of the cords that loose us from the mooring of these earthly shores; but, rather, unfurl the sails and take that blessed journey to a better country!

To live is Christ; and to die is gain. To depart and be with Christ is far better.

Until then, squeeze every drop of life you can out of every single day. Live with all of your heart and all of your strength for God, and leave no regrets behind. Because life is a short day even at its longest. And when its sun has gone down, it leaves us in eternity. 

Today's Thought
"Death is really another birth. Imagine telling a baby in the womb, attached to the umbilical cord, 'Hey, guess what? You are about to enter into a bright new world with sound and light and air and brilliant colors. You will be able to see and smell and taste for the first time. There are mountains and sunflowers and sandy beaches and...a lot of beautiful things out here. You're gonna have to let go of that umbilical cord. In fact, we're gonna snip it. Don't worry. You'll be fine after a few moments of crying.' I think our death is something like that. It is actually a birth into a brighter, more aromatic, more delicious, more beautiful world than the one we now know." - James Bryan Smith

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Troubling Times

Exodus 14:13 And Moses said unto the people, Fear ye not, stand still, and see the salvation of the LORD, which he will show to you to day: ...

We are living, today, in very troubling times. I really think we are living in the “end times”. We hear of wars breaking out in many places. We see drought and people suffering famine and hardships all over this world. God's people, the Israelis, are being attacked on every side. Our government's leaders don't seem to want to stand with the only ally we have in the middle east, and, we are being overrun by people from other lands. All seems alas and woe. 
We Christians see our Bible being fulfilled.
There is no hope, no jobs, no future to look forward to. 
Where is God when we need him?
Let me proclaim as Moses did. “Fear not, Stand still, and see the salvation of the LORD”.
Christian friends, this declaration from years ago is still appropriate today for all our problems. When fear, dismay, and, confusion is all around us, we need to stop and depend upon our LORD to see us through any trials. Our LORD, Jesus, can, will, and wants to come to our aid. BUT, we must ask him. The LORD will never impose him self upon us.
Who are you depending upon?
God Bless;

Walter D. Hill D. Min.
P.O. Box 235
LaGrange, Ga. 30241

Monday, July 21, 2014

What if I Don't Get Any More Tomorrows?

by Tracie Miles
"How do you know what your life will be like tomorrow? Your life is like the morning fog — it's here a little while, then it's gone." James 4:14 (NLT)
Before the plane backed away from the gate, the flight attendant warned us: "It's been a rough day in the air. Prepare yourself for tremendous turbulence." Although I wanted to make a mad dash for the door, I simply tightened my seat belt and prayed for safety. Soon, her verbal warning became a reality.
The plane rocked back and forth, as if it were slamming into walls instead of fluffy clouds. It was a short, but difficult, flight and after several attempts at landing, we were diverted to another airport, adding hours to the trip.
During this extra time in the air, I did a lot of thinking about what was most important in my life. I didn't really believe we would crash, but I couldn't keep from wondering ... What if the worst happens? What if I don't get any more tomorrows?
I thought about my loved ones. What were my last words to them? Were they kind or harsh? Were they filled with love, or merely instructions to carry out during my absence? Did I hug everyone and tell them how much they meant to me? If I didn't make it home, had I prepared my children spiritually and emotionally to handle life, trust God and walk in faith? Had I told my husband how much I appreciated him?
Was there anyone I needed to forgive? Were there people I had been meaning to call or visit but never took the time? Had my priorities and plans been in line with God's will? Had I sought God's insight about everything on my to-do list? Had I done all I could to bring glory to God? Would I be ready to meet Jesus face to face?
Although my heart knew God was in control, my mind and emotions ran wild as I peered out the oval window at the dark clouds hovering all around us.
In an effort to ignore the panicked voice over the intercom, I began searching my Bible for scriptures about how God knows the number of our days. The first verse I found was today's key verse.
In the rest of chapter 4, James reprimands the people for their self-centered living. Their self-indulgent, judgmental and prideful ways caused arguments and quarrels. They were consumed with business profits and neglected to seek God's insight.
They focused on their personal agendas instead of what actually mattered. They acted as if God didn't exist, or didn't matter, and pursued their own plans. They disregarded God's control over their lives and the number of their days.
James then wrote these words that spoke truth into my heart, "How do you know what your life will be like tomorrow? Your life is like the morning fog — it's here a little while, then it's gone" (James 4:14).
That passage could have been written to me. Sometimes I focus on my own plans, ignoring that only God knows how long He will allow me to carry them out. Other times, I make plans without seeking God's will and get distracted by lesser things, instead of what really matters.
James wanted his readers to remember God directs us to live with a holy perspective, knowing every breath we take is one more gift from God. We aren't promised any tomorrows, so we need to live today with an eternal perspective.
I remained calm in the midst of the airborne chaos, but that time of reflection in the bumpy skies served as a great reminder not to take time for granted. I don't want to assume I'll always have another tomorrow, or another chance to love on those I love the most. From now on, I want to include God in my plans and serve Him as best I can.
Lord, forgive me for focusing on my own plans or neglecting to seek Your insight. Help me to never put off until tomorrow what You want me to do today. In Jesus' Name, Amen.
Good Morning All,
     Finally got my Internet back this morning... AT&T Tech replaced my land line... It's running @ 1500 instead of a pokey 400-750...
     Praise The LORD...
Have a blessed Day,

Friday, July 11, 2014

The Trinity

by Larry Ollison
Several years ago after speaking at a Full Gospel Business Men's Convention, I was approached by a man who wanted to enlighten me on the error of my teaching. He went on to explain that even though I had mentioned the Trinity in my message, he wanted to inform me that the Trinity did not actually exist because the word "Trinity" was not in the Bible.

While the man was talking to me, I was smiling and nodding my head, being the polite person I try to be, but inside I was thinking, "What an idiot!" I politely asked him how he had gotten to the convention center, and he said he had driven there in his new Chevrolet. I told him, "That's impossible! Chevrolet's don't exist because they aren't mentioned in the Bible." He gave me a puzzled look, we both smiled, and departed. He probably went home and searched for Chevrolet in his concordance!

While it is true that the word Trinity is not in the Bible, the concept is woven throughout the Scriptures. The Bible clearly teaches that God functions in three different manifestations and this allows us to understand the completeness of Almighty God.

Through the years, there have been attempts to illustrate how God could be three and still be one. One illustration is that of H2O. H2O can be ice, it can be water, and it can be a vapor. It can freely move between these three functions without changing what it is. While one person may see ice, in another place a person may see steam, while another sees water. And in some cases, all three manifestations can be seen at once. My house overlooks the Lake of the Ozarks and in the winter sometimes the lake will freeze. When spring arrives, the ice melts on top and early in the morning you can see steam rising. In other words, you can see ice, water, and steam at the same time.

Another illustration is of a man who is a father, a husband, and a son. Depending upon who you are determines how you see the man. To his father, he's a son. To his wife, he is a husband, and to his children, he is a father. But at the end of the day, he is still the same person and all three are one.

While these illustrations show the possibility of three being one and one being three, they still fall short of the magnitude and complexity of God Almighty.

As Christians, we worship one God. We are monotheistic. We worship Jehovah God, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob who has always been and shall always be. He is without beginning and without end. He created man on the sixth day and in the days of man on the earth (six days equals six thousand years) God is revealing himself to mankind as the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.

Let's take a look at a few of the scriptures where God reveals himself.

Genesis 1:1 tells us that in the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. In verse 2 it tells us that the Spirit of God (the Holy Spirit) was hovering over the face of the waters. In John 1:1-3 we are told that the Word (Jesus) was also in the beginning and that everything that was created was created by Him. So here we can clearly see the concept of the Trinity at the very onset of the Bible. And throughout the Bible, God has manifested himself as the Father or the Son or the Holy Spirit.

In Luke, we are told that the Holy Spirit came upon a young girl named Mary and she conceived and bore a Son. Of course, that Son was Jesus. When Jesus prayed to God, He referred to Him as His Father. Since the Father is the one who impregnated the mother of Jesus (Mary), then obviously the Holy Spirit and the Father are one.

Another time when Jesus was speaking with His disciples, He said, "He who has seen Me has seen the Father" (John 14:9). "I and My Father are one" (John 10:30). So if Jesus and the Father are one, and the Father and the Holy Spirit are one, then the only conclusion is this: The Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, these three are one. (1 John 5:7.)

When Jesus sent out His disciples and gave them the command to evangelize the world, He said that they should teach all nations and baptize the believers in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit (Matt. 28:19). He was clearly showing the three manifestations of God.

When Jesus was 30 years old, He was baptized in the Jordan River. And as He came out of the water, there was a voice that came from heaven. It was clearly the voice of God and He said, "This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased" (Matt. 3:17).

Jesus made another interesting statement in John 8:58 when He stated that "Before Abraham was, I AM." Once again He clearly stated that even though He was the Son of Man on earth, that He himself was also God Almighty.

There are dozens of other proofs in the Scripture, but they can all be summed up clearly in one verse. First John 5:7 says, "There are three that bear witness in heaven: the Father, the Word (John 1:14), and the Holy Spirit; and these three are one." These three are what we refer to as the Trinity.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

He Really Loves Me!

by Darlene Sala
"For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God." 2 Corinthians 5:21 (ESV)
Our hearts long to be loved. We want to know someone treasures and values us. Truly. Faithfully. Lavishly. Would someone, anyone, be willing to give up an item of great value for us?
I'm stunned God willingly paid so much for me to know Him. It's mind-boggling to grasp that Jesus left His Father in heaven to come to this earth as a baby, then die by crucifixion. I can hardly comprehend a love that cost so much.
I can't imagine sacrificing any of my three children to save someone else's life. Yet Peter writes, "For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed ... but with the precious blood of Christ ..." (1 Peter 1:18-19, NIV). What love!
What makes it even more costly is God the Father knew He would need to turn away from His son during Jesus' death.
When Jesus was hanging on a wooden cross, God the Father withdrew His presence because of the sin His Son bore on our behalf. Jesus cried out, "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?" (Matthew 27:46b, NIV). A great shadow had come between Jesus and the Father. Jesus was excruciatingly alone on that cross because of you and me.
A story from the mission field illustrates a similar kind of love. For years, Dr. Margaret Brand served as a missionary eye surgeon in southern India. In the rural areas she would sometimes do 100 cataract surgeries in a day.
In one instance where there was no electricity, Dr. Brand asked a 12-year-old boy to hold a large flashlight so that its beam gave her enough light to operate. Dr. Brand doubted whether the boy would be able to endure the sight of eyes being sliced open and stitched. For the first five operations he did his job impressively. During the sixth, however, he faltered.
"Little brother, show the light properly," Dr. Brand instructed him. But she could sense that he simply could not bear to look at the eye. When she asked him if he felt well, she saw tears running down his cheeks. "Oh, doctor, I cannot look," replied the boy. "This one, she is my mother."
You see, God loves us so much, "For our sake he made him [Jesus] to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God" (2 Corinthians 5:21, NRSV) when we put our faith in Him. The high price Jesus paid makes us incredibly valuable — no matter how worthless we may feel at the end of the day.
Here's another way to look at it. When it comes to placing a value on a piece of art, that value is derived from three things:
• Who made it?
• How many are there like it?
• What is someone willing to pay for it?
You are a priceless work of art. The greatest Artist in the universe hand-crafted you. God gave the life of His only Son to have a relationship with you. That's how valuable you are. I'm clearly a sinner, not holy like God. But God loves me, and He loves you enough to pay an enormous price so that we could have our sins forgiven.
With a word the universe was brought into being. With a touch lepers were healed. But when sin was forgiven, Jesus the Son of God willingly died. What amazing love!
And the focus of that love? You and me.
May we pause in this moment to absorb the depth of God's love for us. And may our lives be filled with thankfulness that He was willing to pay the price!
Loving God, help me always remember that my only true worth is found in You. Thank You for the gift of Your Son; thank You for loving me so much that You thought I was worth Christ's life. In Jesus' Name, Amen.