Category Archives: Bible Helps

Wanna Buy a Truck?

downloadThere’s been a battle raging for some time in Christian circles about the drinking of alcohol—I should clarify and say among born-again believers. It’s quite fascinating to me because I grew up in a home that had no alcohol in it, even though we faithfully attended a church that used wine for communion. (I take that back. Dad kept a bottle of whiskey for the cows when they got sick!) On the other hand, my husband grew up within the same denomination in a family that was over-the-top faithful but his father enjoyed a drink fairly occasionally.  In fact, as a boy, it was Tom’s job to bring the beer up from the basement and put it in the fridge.

We were both born-again later in life and, after we married, we were soon involved in an independent Baptist church. The thought of having alcohol in our home never crossed our minds.

BUT, the kerfuffle about drinking alcohol is alive and well and probably always will be. Here’s a thought:

A friend wants to sell you his truck…

“You wanna buy my truck?”
“Well, maybe.” You’ve seen the truck.  It’s not in great shape but you really can’t afford much else. “Is it in good shape?” you ask.

“Well…” Your friend hesitates a little as you both walk over to the truck. “You can see that there’s some rust spots on it but I’ve patched most of those.” The truck looks like a spotted elephant and you’re not sure if the truck was originally gray or if that’s all Bondo. “The brakes stick sometime and give out occasionally, but it’s never happened to me going downhill. There’s a little gas leak and the transmission has a few bugs in it. The right rear lights are out but that’s not a big deal.” He stops and hesitates.

You look at him doubtfully. “What aren’t you telling me?”

“Well, somethings wrong with the steering wheel.” He chuckles.  “To say it pulls to the right is an understatement.”

Are you going to buy his truck? If you have any sense you’ll run in the opposite direction!

After Solomon gives instruction about gluttony, greed, and dangerous women in Proverb 23, he teaches about alcohol.

Who has woe, sorrow, contentions, complaints, wounds without cause, red eyes—“they who linger long at the wine…who go in search of mixed wine” (Proverbs 23:29,30).

Solomon’s warning? DON’T EVEN LOOK AT IT! It will bite and sting.  You’ll see strange things and say even worse. You will be out of control and, worse of all, you’ll go back for more (Proverbs 23:31-35).

Does the Bible forbid the drinking of alcohol? Not that I can see—it just tells you how foolish it is to get entangled into its web of woes.

Wine is a mocker, strong drink is raging:
and whosoever is deceived thereby is not wise.
Proverbs 20:1

So…wanna buy a truck?

Snake on My Toe!

brown firewood
Photo by Paula on Pexels.com

The six cords of wood are now stacked in neat piles in our backyard right beside my clothesline. (I have the type of line that is looped around pulleys so you stand in one spot, hang the clothes, and pull the line for more space.) As I’m standing there, I hear the tarp atop the wood rustle. My mind instantly wonders what made the noise, and visions of the snakes we found there while moving the wood into our garage came into view. Then, I felt something on my flip-flop covered foot! SNAKE! Of course, I jumped and looked down to see the extra rope from my clothesline brushing across my foot.

Now, I really don’t mind snakes. To be honest, if I had looked down and seen a huge hairy spider on my toe, the jig would have been much more exotic! Fear can be paralyzing, literally paralyzing! For just a moment the fear of a snake coiling around my leg overtook my senses.

What do you fear?  What is your worst nightmare and has it come true? Oh, the agony and dread that situations—real-life situations—put us through! One of my favorite phrases that I often heard from my mom was this, “I don’t see how people get through life without God.”

Last evening, as we watched an episode of “Little House on the Prairie” I was amazed at what I heard. The Ingles’ son had just died (Yes, I realize that was an addition from the original books); he was only a few months old. And as they stood there in the doctor’s office, Charles holding Carolyn his arms, he began to quote Psalm 23. Wow! As he quoted it, even my heart became quiet!

“There is a place of quiet rest—
near to the heart of God.
A place where sin cannot molest—
near to the heart of God.”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2UnFNHWJ0tA

One of the most amazing verses in the Bible is, James 4:8:

Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded.

Do you see what this says?  It doesn’t say…

“Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh…

  • If He has time
  • If you deserve it
  • If He thinks you are serious
  • If you…

You fill in the blank! The only requirement—and it is a serious one—is to draw close to God. How do you do that? This post is long enough. Maybe I’ll study that one out for next time!

But remember, as a born-again child of God…

The worst can never happen because I will never be forsaken by God!
(Quote from Jennifer Marks :))

Finding Purpose in Life

SD in treeAfter 12 days and over 3,000 miles of travel, glorious weather, and a heart full of special memory-making moments, we’re home. Sigh. I looked forward to this trip for months, savoring the anticipation, but now it’s in the past and “normal” looms before me. Sigh. Have you been here? What happens next? Well, like any situation we face, we are driven to make a decision: Do I give in to the ache of missing family? Do I wallow in the depths of despair? Do I become discouraged with life, going so far as to think there is no purpose in life?  These are a grandma’s reactions but even if you are a mom who has just returned from visiting far-away parents, family, or a quiet vacation, the reaction can be the same (except that you have so many little lives to care for that there is little time for wallowing).

How do you find purpose in life? A musing memory comes to my mind of a dear high school friend with whom I would walk from the bus to my locker every morning. As we climbed the stairs, she would look at me and say, “Humski (that was the Polish version of my maiden name, Hummel—no offense meant to any from Polish descent!), what are we doing here?” The simple answer was quite obvious: get an education. But if I ask the same question today, what is my answer?

This morning started in PRAYER, asking God for the answer—always a good place to begin! As several “purposes” were sent my way in God-directed thoughts, one came to the top of the list: Tom, my husband. My foremost purpose in life is taking care of him. So, I made his breakfast and chatted with him before he headed out the door to the men’s prayer meeting. MISSIONS ACCOMPLISHED! PURPOSE FULFILLED!

There are other missions I will accomplish today and those actions, which range from the mundane tasks of hanging out the laundry, trimming the hosta plants, and perhaps even cutting grass and stacking wood, to the more meaningful tasks of calling a hurting friend, preparing a piano offertory for tomorrow’s service, or writing a blog, all bring purpose and meaning to life.

HOWEVER, through it all, an overarching purpose colors everything a believer does with true purpose and meaning and that is this…

Therefore, whether you eat or drink,
or whatever you do,
do all to the glory of God.
1 Corinthians 10:31

So, my attitude and heart have been adjusted! The ache has been replaced by purposeful action, and there is now a peace in my heart that was not there earlier!  We are SO BLESSED to be children of the most high God! He longs to lead us in a straight path—one that leads to eternal peace and joy—a path that can begin today!

Upside-down Lunch

68039351-480pxWhat a life! The Nuthatch comes to my feeder, selects his lunch (or in this case, breakfast) and swoops to the trunk of a nearby tree. He then faces downward and starts cracking the nut, pinning against the tree. Over and over again, he comes and repeats the exact same habit, except perhaps to eat at another tree.

Why does he do that? Why does he face downward? How would you like to stand upside-down and eat? No thank you! Perhaps he does it to keep the crumbs out of his nose! That may be a byproduct of his habit but mostly he does it because that is how God made him.

Birds are amazing creatures. They certainly are creatures of habit! I remember one poor mother birth that had made her nest in a break in the soffit near our kitchen window. When we fixed it, she came the following spring and was all “kerfoodled.” She sat on the edge of the porch looking with confusion at the place she had always built. Poor birdie!

What circumstance has God put you in that is not comfortable? Are you facing life with a handicap? Is it difficult for you to go home at night and face the challenges awaiting you there? Or perhaps life is just not what you expected it to be?

As born-again believers we have a great “secret ingredient” for life—we have the power of God! Wow! When we apply it to life, peace comes into our hearts! The circumstances may not change, the challenges are still waiting, but we face them with our dearest Friend who holds all the answers we will ever need.  The question is, are we listening? Are we examining our hearts to see if there’s something that God wants to teach us? When our slate is clean, our sins are forgiven, and our will is yielded to our heavenly Father, we can face life—even if we need to do it upside-down.

1Corinthians 2:16 … But we have the mind of Christ.

Colossians1:27 … Christ in you, the hope of glory

Lessons from Brio

51Q5LV7ahpLMy mother-in-law was Swedish and she lived her roots in her baking, nick-knacks, Christmas and even color schemes. Blue and yellow were her favorite colors! Even her pens came from Sweden, but one of our children was blessed every Christmas and birthday with Brio, the Swedish made wooden train track.

As I played on the floor with my grandson, putting together the track (or I should say, embellishing my son’s creation!) I realized how many lessons are in these little wooden pieces!

  1. They’re made of wood and they don’t bend! How often am I like that track, forcing MY way instead of being mold-able in the Master’s hand?
  2. Some are bent, and if you put all bent pieces together, you get a circle that goes nowhere. That’s a great picture of my life when I’m going my own way.
  3. Some are straight, but without the bends, my track will not be complete. God wants to take me on HIS path. It may include twists in a direction I don’t want to go!
  4. Connecting the pieces is not always easy! I need to get from one track to the next but the pieces don’t always fit! God’s plan includes pieces or people of all shapes and sizes! We’re not all straight pieces! It’s often that unusually shaped piece that is necessary to complete the course!

  As for God, his way is perfect: the word of the LORD is tried:
he is a buckler to all those that trust in him. Psalm 18:30

Brio will break if it is pressed or pushed upon too hard. Then the piece may become unusable. That is not God’s plan for our lives! What is He doing right now in your life which may hurt or be uncomfortable or make no sense? Maybe you need to sit back and let Him plan the direction He wants to take your “track.” Believe me, His plan will be perfect and so much better than any we could come up with! Only God sees the beginning AND the end!

The Pot’s Prayer

woman making clay pot
Photo by Quang Nguyen Vinh on Pexels.com

Thank you, dear Potter, for choosing this lump of clay. Thank you for molding me into Your creation. Your design will be perfect, completely according to Your plan. Thank you for Your tender touch. I know the push and pressure of your gentle hands will make me better—more of what You envisioned for me.

I’m sorry when the bubbles of my own sin mar Your ideal. Forgive my pops of anger, frustration, selfishness. and self-will. I’m sorry that they make You work twice as hard to create Your masterpiece. And I’m sorry when this clay has a mind of its own, wanting its own way instead of Your perfect one. You know all.  You see all. You’ve been there from the beginning and have already seen the end, so help me to trust You as I spin on Your wheel, for all I see is a blur.

I’m sorry for those hard lumps that stubbornly push to the surface and rip blemishes into my image of Your formation. Thank you for applying the Water and working so diligently to smooth the rough places. Only You can make them disappear. I spin in wonder and awe at Your amazing patience and perfect skill.

Oh, dear Potter, press me, push me, stretch me beyond my limits to Your possibilities. And when Your task is complete and the fires forever set me as Your perfect pot, please use me for Your purpose. Fill me with Your cool Water that I may pour it out in serving others according to Your precious will. I am Your handiwork. You have fitted me for Your use. I have no other purpose than to please You! Help me to make it be so.

 And the vessel that he made of clay was marred in the hand of the potter:
so he made it again another vessel, as seemed good to the potter to make it.
Jeremiah 18:4

 Surely your turning of things upside down shall be esteemed as the potter’s clay:
for shall the work say of him that made it,
He made me not?
or shall the thing framed say of him that framed it,
He had no understanding? 
Isaiah 29:16

Six Hours—When Time Stood Still

selective photo of teal cross decor
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

The world may rush on by today not remembering why they have the day off, but Christians know, or at least they should. Good Friday—the day the Son of God died—is truly good because it was on that day that Satan’s chains of death were broken. All eternity hinges on this day—the day our sin-debt was paid for on that Roman cross!

The world may try to obliterate any remembrance of God. They even change the name of time itself from B.C./A.D. (Before Christ/Anno Domini, or the year of our Lord) to B.C.E./C.E., but the date itself cannot deny the fact that something extraordinary happened over 2,000 years ago. But why can’t we get it exactly right? Why must the calendar be adjusted every four years by including one extra day during Leap Year? Aren’t we sophisticated enough count our minutes and days to match the exact rotation of the earth and its journey around the sun?

Perhaps someday we will have yet another calendar which will accomplish the elimination of Leap Years, but as I was thinking about this extra 24 hours every 4 years, I did the simple math: 24/4=6. Six hours every year lost somewhere, but where?

Could it be that our wonderful, awesome, omniscient, loving God had us “lose” that six hours every year to remind us once again of Christ’s suffering on the cross? For six hours, Jesus suffered the agony of the cross, satisfying the sin-debt of every human being that ever or will ever take a breath.

Six hours when time stood still.

Perhaps in eternity, we will understand all that happened that day, but while here on earth, with our limited finite minds, we can never comprehend the enormity of that day. God, the Father, sacrificed His own Son—His Only Son—for His image-bearers, even though the majority of mankind completely ignore His greatest gift. Instead, they choose this life over eternal life, sin and death over forgiveness and life, anxiety over peace, sorrow over joy. But at any moment, on any day, anyone can receive that change by simply trusting Jesus to be his Savior! Suddenly, it all becomes clear. Like Christian in Pilgrim’s Progress, the lost sinner realizes his weight of sin and comes to the cross for cleansing forgiveness. At the foot of the cross, the burden is lifted! Hallelujah! No wonder it’s a Good Friday!

So, take a moment to be still today and remember the six hours when time stood still.

And it was the third hour, and they crucified him. Mark 15:25

And about the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying,
Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani? that is to say,
My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?Matthew 27:46

When Jesus therefore had received the vinegar, he said,
It is finished: and he bowed his head, and gave up the ghost. John 19:30