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Bruised and Beloved

I don’t think I have ever felt closer to the Lord in prayer.  My wife and I were in an ER, and she was writhing from abdominal pain caused by a golf ball-sized gall stone.  I was gripped by a sense of helplessness as I watched her rock back and forth in rhythmic spasms.  I prayed and so wanted to see the Lord so high and lifted up that—well, that His glory would take care of the rest.  I finally just pleaded with the Lord Jesus, “Will You please be more than a Good Samaritan with my wife?”   Tears filled my eyes when I realized that God’s love for us is so great.  His Son came to this world, to our paths like the Good Samaritan, to embrace us and heal us from sin and to comfort us in our fallenness.  My wife later told me that she saw in my eyes that I was praying with all my heart.  I think it was rather that God filled mine, filled us, where two of us were gathered.  In the midst of our distress.  Relief came to her.  She has progressed well.  What remains more than anything else is the endelible echo of God affirming to us on this road that He is with us, despite our bruises and all.

Ragamuffin_John

Ragamuffin_John

 

Scriptural Understanding

How we read the Scripture influences the foundation of our faith.  Over the years, I have engaged Christians on a multitude of subjects.  Many of the people I encountered had questions about Biblical interpretation.  What struck me was the overall shallowness of Biblical knowledge that some Christians displayed.  The key to understanding where someone is spiritually is to listen to what they are saying.  There are Christians who have misinterpreted the intent of the Scripture due to being told what they should or should not believe.  They also read books and periodicals that are extensions of the authors understanding.  No matter what editorial system one uses, it must always line up with the Word.  The process of misinterpreting a text in such a way that it introduces one’s own presuppositions, agenda and biases into the Scripture is called EISEGESIS.  Sadly, many “spiritual” leaders adopt this method of teaching.  Every Believer needs to open their Bible and draw out the meaning from a text in accordance with the context and its intended meaning.  This method is known as EXEGETICAL observation.   There are some great EXEGETICAL preachers who know how to rightly divide the Word of Truth.  When you proof text what they say, your spirit will confirm the Truth.   The Bible says to “study to show yourselves approved unto God.” (II Timothy 2:15)  The study habits of Christians evidence whether or not they are serious about their faith.   Neglected study produces ineffective results.  “Roller Coaster” rides are a spiritual experience when the Bible stays shut.   Mondays will usually be a day of spiritual victories, for they are still riding high from their Sunday “feedings.”  By Tuesday, the Word has faded from their interests, and emotions and feelings begin to take center stage.  Christians must open the Word daily to understand God’s Grace and desire for our lives.  Without the Word we would never know about our Savior and Lord, and the price He paid to bring us to God.  We would never know about the Holy Spirit and His role in our lives.    Many Christians cannot even tell where certain Books of the Bible are located.  There are Believers that only know parts of the New Testament; while the Old Testament is neglected due to their belief it is irrelevant to their faith.   Before Jesus began His earthly ministry, He was schooled as every Jewish child was, in the “Old Testament” scrolls.  He was so knowledgeable of the Scriptures, that at the age of twelve He was able to discuss and even debate the Jewish scholars in the Temple. (Luke 2: 46, 47)   If Jesus spent so much time studying the Word, why should we curtail our efforts in pursuing understanding?  Jesus quoted more from Isaiah than any other “book.”  When is the last time Christians studied the Old Testament?   Timothy, an understudy of Paul, studied the Holy Scriptures (Old Testament) from his youth, and found salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. (II Timothy 3:15)  Paul realized that Scripture is to be used for “doctrine, reproof, correction and instruction in righteousness.”( II Timothy 3:16) When we fail to open the Word, we not only limit our spiritual growth, but open the door for Satan to influence our lives.   Inconsistent Faith is a result of inconsistent study.  I urge every Believer to take their Faith seriously.  Read and obey the Word like your life depends upon it, for it does!! 

simplyrhetorical

simplyrhetorical

 

He Knows

Ever faced a difficult conversation?   Life's tough at times, and NOBODY gets out of life. High or low everyone, sooner or later is going to face - challenges.   How do you face those challenges is the real question. For us, in regard to Apraxia and Autism we've learned it is best to be utterly delighted with what our little guy CAN do, then devastated over what he can't do, yet.   Ah yet,...the most delightful little word in the world,...so full of promise!   We're also so grateful that when challenges are properly weighed, there are more things our little guy can do,...then can't.   Speech is still a biggie.   Communication challenges are not a joke. It takes serious therapy and concentrated effort to get motor processing processes processing. Apraxia, you must understand is a motor processing disorder. It's also very rare among the general population, but not quite so rare among individuals on the spectrum. Apraxia, simply put, is the inability to be able to say whatever you want to say when you want to say it.     Imagine how frustrating,...one day you can say a certain word or phrase,...the next day, or even sometimes the next moment,...you can't. Not that our little guy let's Apraxia slow him down,...much. No one is ever in doubt when he puts forth effort to communicate,...in his own matchless style. Trust me the only  person on the planet not concerned with his Apraxia diagnosis,.. is our son. To him, if there is a communication disconnect,...it is not coming from his end,...and he'll work with you, in a very there-there manner,...until YOU understand.   But you know we're never had the Apraxia conversation. It hasn't seemed necessary,...as stated our little guy could seemingly care less,...as in one way or the other he gets his message across. It's a unique form of conversation,...quite brilliant if one thinks of it, as our son uses whatever means he can to communicate,...be it script, sign language, repetition, prompting us, or even attempts at telepathy when he was very little and would put his forehead to ours as if to seep his thoughts through. Sign language has helped greatly, and of course the past six years of weekly speech therapy.   Six years?   Yep, every week with only a few weeks off for holidays and such, but even then we're working on speech at home.   Last week was the first time our little guy questioned his speech appointment, and it wasn't so much the appointment, but exactly what did his speech pathologist do.   "She helps you speak easier," I answered,...and then I asked the question, I had never asked, "Is it hard for you to speak,...or easy."   That little head tip to the side for a moment, the little brow furrowed, and then he looked up, and said, "Hard."   Poignant moment for like two seconds, as I inwardly gasped, "He knows!"because our little guy totally shrugged it off as non-relevant. It's hard for him to speak, so what, he also has hazel eyes, both are a part of him, and as I.I. would say, "Next."   Perhaps it is Autism that gives our little guy such self-acceptance,...or perhaps, more likely it's his faith.
Oh yes,...eight year olds have faith,...amazing faith.   He knows,...he is loved.
He knows,...he is accepted.
He knows,...God doesn't make mistakes.
He knows,...God helps him with his challenges.
He knows,...he is awesome,...and guess what our little guy thinks,...YOU are awesome, too.   Trust me for someone with a speech disability our little guy is a GREAT communicator. I certainly look upon the challenges in my life with a different perspective. Life's messy, no one gets out of it without challenges,...some obvious, some not so obvious,...and those challenges and how we face them, and help others face theirs is the real question.   Our little guy knows that God will never leave nor forsake him,...he also somehow knows with his amazing little faith that 2 Corinthians 12:9 - holds true, today, tomorrow, and forever more.   “My grace is sufficient for you,
for my power is made perfect in weakness.”     

Katherine Johnston

Katherine Johnston

 

Santa Time

As we approach the traditional date of Jesus’ birthday, the plastic cards are lifted from our wallets to a status of activity that dwarfs the past years total production of instant money.  It is during this time of the year that spending limits are disregarded.   It is the responsibility of every decent individual to give with no thought to monetary boundaries.  The Santa season helps to sustain the retailers, while sustaining and increasing the debts of so many families.   It is wonderful to give, but must it always be materialistic?  The motive behind so many “gifters” is that they are obligated to fulfil the mandatory requirements of giving or they will be labeled a scrooge or worse.  Many people look at this time of the year as a time of caring, which is displayed through “care” presents wrapped up in colorful paper.  I wonder how much thought is given to picking out the right gift or gifts.  I guess the length of the return lines will answer that question.  Some people judge the worth of a present by its monetary value instead of its usefulness or the thought behind the gift.  Children will rip apart the wrappings that took hours to prepare and then proclaim, “Is that all?”  It seems the presents are the reason for the season.   It might sound like I am cynical, but what bothers me is that we have allowed Santa to occupy center stage, while Jesus has been pushed aside.  “He... He… He…” has given way to “Ho, Ho, Ho.”  I have no problem with a Santa-centered holiday, but why does it have to be on the same day we celebrate Jesus’ birthday?  I know that December 25th is probably not the date of Jesus birth, but through unified consensus, Christians have agreed on this date as the time to celebrate His arrival.  There are people that do not want to celebrate something they don’t believe in, and I don’t have a problem with that, but don’t try to take away or diminish what I believe in!  Why can’t we have “Santamas” in January and leave Christmas for Jesus? 

simplyrhetorical

simplyrhetorical

 

Heart-tracer

When I was little, I was fascinated by how I could take a U.S. penny, place a sheet of writing paper over it, then make the image of that coin appear by tracing over the impression with a pencil. Gradually, Abraham Lincoln's head would appear. In a way, when we submit to the obedient scrutiny of the Spirit of Jesus, His image appears as He rubs off on us.   We count this process precious, because seeing Jesus appear, as individuals and as His Body, is a blessed confirmation; it is the affirmation of salvation given and in-progress.   Living Word, You are always writing, once again, trace my heart as with a penny, over my life, I stay still underneath your Spirit's shining till I see the witness of your sacred Head appearing, somehow, miraculously, and this etching joined to my brothers' and sisters' shows your Face, that we are realigning to be the Body, where all meditation leads our selves to cherish Your Reflection.

Ragamuffin_John

Ragamuffin_John

 

Update on My Wife

The Wife wont be going back to work till January. She is doing better with her knee but unfortunitly her short term disabiltiy is done and long term says if she's lucky she may get one check this month.  I justy have to keep believing God for the finances he knows I nee, and thanking him for all he is doing for me in this situation. He has never let me down and I know he will provide.  Thank You All for the Prayers .

Holyblues

Holyblues

 

The Remnant

Why is there a growing anti-Christian sentiment in our country?  Why is it becoming more and more difficult to add Believers to the Body of Christ?  Why is there a growing number of Christians leaving the Faith?  Not only is the younger generation losing interest in the Church, but even those who were leaders in their churches for years, have departed in search of alternative answers to life’s challenges.   Where has Christianity gone wrong?   The foundation of our Faith is strong through Christ, but the representatives of Christ have failed to present and defend the principles of our Faith.   The more we promote humanism, the greater the exodus.  If our churches are more concerned with social interaction and activities void of spiritual impetus, it would be better to take their name off the marque and become a “service club.”   One of the greatest hindrances to Church growth is Christians who do not exemplify Jesus.  In his book, The Christ of the Indian Road, E Stanley Jones, who was a missionary to India, related a conversation he had with Mahatma Gandhi where he asked him, “What is the greatest asset in making Christianity more approachable?”  Gandhi said, “All Christians and missionaries need to begin to live more like Jesus.”  Gandhi was also reported as saying, “I love your Christ, but I dislike your Christianity.”  The world needs to see Jesus and not themselves in Christians.  Jesus never acted like the world, and the world took notice.   The Church that we have observed for so many generations is changing its appearance and identity.  The million dollar structures will always be there, but the True Church is identified as the people.  It is not the mud and mortar but the soul and spirit of the Believer that characterizes the Church.  Those Believers known as the REMNANT don’t challenge the Word, but accept the Word.  They are not spectators but participants in the Faith.  They honor their Lord by actions.  They promote the teachings of the Word instead of the doctrines of man.  They understand their positional authority and are willing to take a stand when the Faith is challenged.  Their love of God is evidenced by their love for their fellow man.  Their words exemplify their relationship with their Lord.  Their music lifts their spirits instead of catering to their flesh.  They believe all they have belongs to God.  Sin is not glossed over, but eradicated whenever it is identified.  The REMNANT believes in total commitment to God: body, soul, and spirit.   Organized churches need to realize that becoming more “carnal” friendly will only add to the problem.  Churches need to return to the basic principles of the Faith.  It is not adding programs to their church, but subtracting the non-Biblical actions they have promoted over its recent history.   I pray that the REMNANT will reenter the brick and mortar institutes and once again restore Biblical standards!   For those REMNANTS that are still holding forth in the organized church, keep on promoting the Truth without compromise.   Luke 18:8 asks that when Jesus returns, will He find Faith on the earth.  The answer is YES, if the REMNANT rises up and holds the ranks!  Amen and Amen.

The Monotony Of Love

Been bored lately?
Or perhaps stuck at a repetitive task?   Have you ever priced educational materials?
Good night, but supplemental materials are through the roof expensive - $$$$ - especially when you are teaching a child who is a visual learner.   Of course, Mamas are seldom daunted by a needed task for their child,...even if it means clip and cut,...clip and cut,...clip and cut,...for hours.   Three guesses how I got the title for this week's post!   Oh yeah, I was definitely thinking, "Little guy, but Mama loves you bunches, and bunches, and bunches," as I worked on those phonic/grammar word cards. If you have ever cut a ream (that's 500 sheets) of card stock paper into 2"x3" rectangles,...then you know the task was a bit tedious.   But you know in the Love Chapter, 1st Corinthians 13, the very first attribute to love is patience.   "Love is patient." 1 Corinthians 13:4   Have you ever thought about sunsets and sunrises? EVERY SINGLE DAY,...up comes the sun in glorious light,....and then at the end of the day,...down it goes in a glorious show without fail,...for what,...zillions of years now? Or tens of thousands? No one really knows, but it's safe to say it's been more sunrises and sunsets then we can count in a lifetime. And what about the water cycle? Hello,...it's a continuous route to the ocean, and the second those water molecules hit the beach,...no vacation for them,...it's right back to evaporation-city to form those clouds,...and drop right back down to the earth as rain, sleet, hail, or snow,...so there is a tiny variation from the monotony,...but no great odds they get to become crystalline snowflakes.   Speaking of snowflakes,...are you aware since the creation of the world,...there has NEVER been two snowflakes exactly the same? Shall we all say, "MIND BOGGLING!!!" or rather, "PRAISE THE LORD!!!" -- as if the LORD doesn't have anything else to do in the universe, but create absolutely, totally unique snowflakes every single time, day in, day out,...and it's always snowing somewhere on this planet.   THAT'S PATIENCE! Or rather,...that's love.   How loving patient is the LORD with us? How much does the LORD do for us,...day in, day out,...without us giving it a second thought?     When my little guy and I use the phonic/grammar cards I've been constructing I am pretty sure he's not going to give the work put into the task,...a second thought, or even a one thought for that matter,...and that's okay. I am not expecting him to. I love him, he's my child,...to help him learn,...clip and cut,...clip and cut,...clip and cut,...it but a small price to pay.   How much more does the LORD love us?   "Love is patient,...love is kind." - 1 Corinthians 13: 4   Could I possibly be as patient with myself as the LORD is? Or as kind? Guess what? We're not perfect,...but the LORD loves us anyway.   Day in,...day out,...day in,...day out,...whether we acknowledge the wonders of God's greatness,...and patience,...and kindness,...or not. That wondrous snow,...it falls on everyone, folks,...as does the needed rain,...and those glorious sunrises and sunsets,...they are FREE for one and all,...like salvation.   "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life." - John 3:16     Talk about monotony! Giving up heaven for earth,...to live and breathe,...hunger and thirst,...become tired,...day in,...day out,...for thirty-three years,...knowing the entire time your destiny,...the WORLD'S destiny,...was destined for that hill on Calvary.   The things you think about when you are sitting at a work table,...clip and cut,...clip and cut,...clip and cut,...kinda puts everything into perspective. Have you ever read 1st Corinthians 13,...from the LORD'S point of view?   "Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails." - 1 Corinthians 13:4-8   It's raining somewhere in the world. Snowing,...too. I was asleep for the sunrise this morning, but I've no doubt it was spectacular,...the LORD never does anything halfway,...not a monotony task,...and certainly not love.   "And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love." - 1 Corinthians 13:13          
 

Romans 12:12

constantly rejoicing in hope [because of our confidence in Christ], steadfast and patient in distress, devoted to prayer [continually seeking wisdom, guidance, and strength]

Holyblues

Holyblues

 

Victory Through the Battle

This morning, I went to the local YMCA where I enjoyed a relaxing time in the Therapy Pool.  What a way to unwind and reflect on the Grace of God.  Many times we are so busy in Kingdom living that we fail to pause and bask in the blessings that we have experienced.  When is the last time we activated our pause meter and opened up our memory banks to recall the sunrises after the storms of life?  Remember when we almost gave up, and began to materialize words related to Satan’s vocabulary, words like fear, doubt, anger, worry, resentment, and other negatives?  Just when we were a candidate to receive Satan’s Medal of Valor, we looked up and saw Satan fall like lightening from the sky. (Reference Luke 10:18)  We then saw the Dove circling above us and, with that, we knew the victory was ours.  I know I am using a metaphor, but I believe it illustrates simple truth.  We need not spend too much time withdrawing from our memory bank, for there are things to be done for the kingdom which will eventually be deposited in our account.   While I was soaking up bubbles and experiencing pulsating jets of hot water, a man came into the pool, and we began to talk about things in general.  After several minutes, he began to share about the rough road he had been traveling.  The things he and his wife and other family members had gone through would challenge even the most seasoned Believer.  As I listened to him, I quickly realized his spiritual foundation was secure.  To be able to hold on to a right attitude, even in view of a “Jericho wall,” is truly a testament to the validity of God’s Word.  Quickly, I made out a deposit slip and placed this experience in my memory account.   There are very few people in life that have affected my spiritual walk as much as a lady called Brenda.  She is almost the equivalent of Job.  Never have I seen an individual stand against physical odds so overwhelming, and yet display a spiritual stamina that defies human understanding.  There have been times in my ministry when I struggled through difficult times and even wanted to seek self-imposed exile, but then I would think of Brenda and repent of self-pity.   This lady has taken more physical abuse than anyone I have ever known.  Through it all, she has not only stayed consistent in her Faith, but continues to grow in her Faith.  She is the Christian equivalent to a Navy Seal and an Army Ranger.  Trained in the Word at the Biblical Academy, she faces on-going challenges with the resolve that nothing will separate her from the “Love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 8:39)   Just as we were getting out of the pool, this man said, “You know, there is always someone that has it worse than you.”  If you are complaining because your flight is a little turbulent, buckle up the Word around you, sit upright, and remember Brenda!    EPILOGUE: There are people who are going through difficult times and would love to have someone to encourage and support them in their journey.  If you know of someone who is fighting the good fight, send them an email, card, letter, or call them, and just tell them you are thinking about them.  Drop in and volunteer to help them along their way!  Suppose it was the other way around, wouldn’t you like to be encouraged just by someone’s presence?  

simplyrhetorical

simplyrhetorical

 

Ecclesiastes 3:14

I know that whatever God does, it endures forever; nothing can be added to it nor can anything be taken from it, for God does it so that men will fear and worship Him [with awe-filled reverence, knowing that He is God]. 

Holyblues

Holyblues

 

Healing Based on Isaiah 53:5?

One of the hardest things I ever did as a pastor was to bring teachings that conflicted with peoples understanding and acceptance of Biblical truths.   To open a door that leads to interpretations that challenge a Believers beliefs, will often cause responses of negative rhetoric.  Labels entitled “false prophet” will be quickly placed on a pastor that teaches anything that is contrary to the “normal” teachings of the church.  It is my hope that the barriers of personal doctrinal beliefs will not prevent a Biblical look at a subject that has been misunderstood by so many Christians.  I believe in divine healing.  I have witnessed and participated in situations that displayed the miraculous acts of God’s healing power.  There can be no doubt as to the validity of bodily healing, but the foundational Biblical support for physical healing is where the problem arises.   ISAIAH 53:5 is the “holy grail” for claiming healing.  It is promoted as the evidence that healing was achieved through Jesus at Calvary.  It is imperative that every Believer take time to study Scripture.  To simply adopt doctrines without careful Biblical analysis is doing a great injustice not only to themselves, but to those who share a similar understanding.   In Isaiah 53:4-6 we see ten words that illustrate the physical aspects of Jesus’ final hours.  These words are defined by Gesenius’ Hebrew-Chaldee Lexicon: Bore: To receive the punishment of sin upon oneself.  Carried: To receive the penalties which another has deserved.  Stricken:  To touch, to injure.  Smitten: To strike, to hurt.  Afflicted: To bestow labor upon, browbeating.  Wounded: To be pierced.  Bruised: To be smitten with stripes.  Chastisement: Correction by God.  Stripes: Marks of strokes.  Oppressed: To be harassed.   Isaiah 53:10 states that God made Jesus’ soul an offering for sin.  Verse 11 tells us that Jesus bore our iniquities.  Verse 12 reiterates that Jesus bore the sin of many.   The prophetic theme of this section of Isaiah is the forgiveness of sins and the reconciliation of man with God.  The word healed in Isaiah 53:5 is spiritual rather than physical healing.  If one wants to believe that physical healing was part of the atonement, he must put it in the right perspective.   Jesus received the stripes, not on the cross, but at Pilot’s residence.(John 19:1)  So if one wants to believe that physical healing was part of the atonement, he must base it on the “cat of nine tales” administered by the Roman soldiers and not on the Cross.  The Apostle Peter understood that Isaiah 53:5 pertained to spiritual healing and not physical healing, and restated it in I Peter 2:24.   To understand Jesus’ ministry, all we have to do is read His own words.  One Sabbath day Jesus entered the Synagogue in Nazareth and was handed the scroll of Isaiah so He could share the reading.  He found the place where Isaiah prophesied about the ministry of the Messiah. (Isaiah 61:1, 2)  When He read the passage, He simply replied, “This day is this scripture fulfilled in your ears.” (Luke 4:18-21)  Notice that physical healing was not mentioned. (The “recovery of sight to the blind” pertains to spiritual blindness; refer to John 9:39 and reference Matthew 23:16-26, Matthew 6:23, 15:14)   Physical healing was not the objective of Jesus’ ministry, rather a compassionate response to the physical challenges of the people.  After His resurrection, Jesus commissioned His Apostles to carry out His ministry.  This included physical healing which opened the door to the reality of spiritual healing.  Physical healing is still available today, but it must never be taught or sought as an end in itself.  Jesus authorized healing and that is what Believers must base their belief on, not on Isaiah 53!  

simplyrhetorical

simplyrhetorical

 

The Unequal Proposition

God asks us to become equally yoked to an unequal proposition by a common means.

The equal yoking = union with; communion with Christ

The unequal proposition: that God should humble himself as an obedient man,
whereas we as men [humans] should become humble men. God > man; man > man. Christ,
through God's will, was asked to close the gap between Heaven and earth, thus
filling up all things (Ephesians 1:22-23). We have an infinitely lesser task, one that
we cannot realize but by God's mercy. It is that we should submit to the Incarnate One,
to the extent that the "new man" or "new creation" dominates the unregenerated
man (2 Corinthians 5:17).

The common means: through Spirit empowerment, that Christ should live within
a mortal body by means of submission, to the point of dying on the Cross, so that
we humans should crucify the flesh by the way of "sowing to the Spirit" (Galatians 6:8), that
we might reap eternal life (James 4:10; Galatians 2:20).

Our Lord Jesus has done the "heavy lifting" so that we might be in communion with Him. That He should allow our "dying daily"* to intersect with His dying for us to the extent that the Scriptures declare that we have died with Him** . . . this is a wonder beyond measure.
_________
* 1 Corinthians 15:31; Matthew 10:39; John 10:10
** Romans 6:1-14

Ragamuffin_John

Ragamuffin_John

Autism Tales: He Didn't Eat The Pie And I Didn't Cry

Pie making class, anyone?   Free Thanksgiving fun courtesy our local library. You bet we were in on that Family Pie Making class even though our little guy has not eaten a piece of pie in his life! Okay so our youngest is only eight, but in the past eight years our little guy has not eaten holiday pie, or cake, and you can forget about Christmas cookies! Eh, eh,...it ain't happening,...too many sensory issues to confront.   Donuts are our little guy's delight. Plain, of course, let's get real,...jelly filled donuts are too weird, jelly goes on toast, NOT inside donuts, and frosted donuts tick off every sensory issue, too sweet, too sticky and gooey, and too illogical. Hello, frosting and sprinkles are for birthday cake photo props, as our little guy has never eaten birthday cake, either. Oh he tries, our little guy is the bravest kid in the world,...he will try to bring that laden fork to mouth,...but he just can't, yet, sensory, sensory, sensory road blocks are just not overcomeable at the moment.      Don't giggle, and don't even dare to sneer,...YOU have sensory issues, too. Think of that one food,...you jussssst can't bring yourself to eat,...and then magnify that feeling by a factor of 1000,...and you're kinda close to how hard sensory issues are for those on the Autism Spectrum.   Six years ago when we were dropped into the Rabbit Hole, think Alice and Wonderland, of Apraxia and Autism,...holidays were already beginning to be confusing. Hello, it's one thing to have a picky eater on your hands, but when any kid shuns Christmas cookies, hot chocolate,...pecan pie, pumpkin pie, and any type CANDY,...something is up. Or down,...like our spirits.    Thanksgiving is so traditional. It's all about family and sharing a traditional meal, but our little guy couldn't speak and seemly lived in his own universe where traditions and holidays, and family didn't matter. We were just waking up to the fact our little guy experiences the world in a different way and he makes sure YOU do, too. That includes holidays.   Yeah,..it was a huge,...whoa factor to realize our holidays were never going to be the same. Sob city. You bet I bawled my eyes out,...wouldn't you? But tears dry, sniffles ease up, and adults, adult, which is soooo much easier to do with faith in the LORD, because God doesn't make mistakes. Would we rather our child not have challenges, ah yeah,...of course, but as people of faith we trust the LORD's direction even when it takes us down very untraditional type roads.   It also helps to put holidays in the proper perspective.   Perhaps you already know the word: holiday is derived from Old English: Holy Day,...a day set aside for devotion,...like Thanksgiving. Hello, but who are we giving all that thanks to? Christmas,...celebrating the birth of Christ, Easter is not about the Easter Bunny, about the death and resurrection of our Lord, Christ Jesus,...   Therapy helps, too.   Happily I can say our little guy got over his turkey and dressing aversion,..only took about five years. Not even Autism could conquer my mother-in-laws fabulous chicken and dressing, which our little guy consumes with surgical precision. Trust me, we've rarely ever had to wipe our little guy's mouth,...smears do not happen in his world! There is one, and only one cake in the world our little guy will eat, again with surgical precision, and we happily procure that sensory-proof carrot cake from a local barbecue joint. Hold the cranberry sauce, and any and all pies,...but Thanksgiving is not about the food,...it's about family and friends, and unconditional love,...not ours, but the LORD's.   "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life." - John 3:16     But back to that pie making class.   Why in the world would I take my child with sensory issues to a class that is guaranteed confront one with sensory shuddering gooeyness?   The answer is so simple: "It's not about the pie."   The entire evening was about Thanksgiving,...spending time with family and friends. New experiences are broadening and our little guy learned you can have fun making something for others. Look at that little champ! Please notice the spotless table,...not a smudge. Wish the giggles could translate upon a page - his and mine. We had fun following that recipe, with precision and dispatch. Team Isaac and Mommy finished first!   "We won!" Isaac cried with fist bumps and high fives, and I didn't have the heart to tell him it wasn't a contest.   Actually our little guy was a right, as always,...amazing how this kid always seems to nail the most important things. The pie, wasn't the most important, spending time with mommy and his library friends, was. Take that Autism, we won!   Seeing that our local library doesn't have a bank of ovens we had to bring our prepared pie filling home to cook,...this morning. Thank you to our librarians who were thoughtful enough to provide already baked pumpkin pie and whipped cream for us to feast upon last night. Of course our little guy didn't eat the library's pumpkin pie, although he did try a taste, "Mmmmm that's delicious," said Isaac, which is very polite code, "I am not eating that, thank you very much."   No doubt the second our little guy wakes up,...you bet I write as much as I can in the mornings while he snoozes, he'll want to put our class pie into the oven. Science and all, the heat from inside the stove will cause evaporation and chemical reaction from the starch and protein molecules,...thus creating,...voila a pumpkin pie! Cool!     Cheesy photo opp pose with that pie filling held not too close,...but it was a great evening, we left happy and proud with new memories and new traditions,...and of course pumpkin pie!   The gift of Autism is that it break down life into its most elemental elements: I love you.
You love me.
What else is really important?   From our family to yours Happy Thanksgiving!   God bless!        
 

1 Thessalonians 5 :16-18

16 Rejoice always and delight in your faith;    17 be unceasing and persistent in prayer;    18 in every situation [no matter what the circumstances] be thankful and continually give thanks to God; for this is the will of God for you in Christ Jesus.

Holyblues

Holyblues

 

The Unpardonable Sin

What does it mean to Blaspheme?  How is it that one can blaspheme against anyone and be forgiven, but not when it is directed against the Holy Spirit?  How can one speak against Jesus and be forgiven, but not be forgiven when one verbally disparages the Holy Spirit? The word Blaspheme means to speak evil against, to rail upon, and to slander.  It is vilifying a person’s character.   The Synoptic Gospels all address the issue of the “Unpardonable Sin,” (Matthew 12, Mark 3, Luke 12) but it is only Mark that gives us the key to understanding the magnitude of Blaspheming against the Holy Spirit.  Jesus was verbally attacked and challenged many times.  Those that railed against Him would be eligible for forgiveness as a result of the Cross.  But when they centered their attacks on the spirit within Him, which was the Holy Spirit, they were actually speaking evil of God.  The Holy Spirit was the umbilical cord tying Jesus and God together.  By saying that Jesus had an “unclean spirit,” (Mark 3:30) they were speaking evil against God.  This sin stood out over all the sins that man could commit.  When Jesus’ enemies spoke evil against the Holy Spirit within Jesus, they were identifying God with Satan.  When God is spoken in the same breath as Satan, there is no room for reconciliation.   Years ago I had a parishioner come to my office believing he had blasphemed the Holy Spirit.  He was terrified and inconsolable.  There are even people today that have interpreted their actions as a blasphemous act against the Holy Spirit.  I have yet to meet anyone who has committed the unpardonable sin.   The Biblical statement pertaining to the blasphemy against the Holy Spirit is very unique to that time.  Trying to apply that today would take a fictional leap to nowhere.  Jesus was here on earth, but now He is at the right hand of God, unified with Him.  How could we approach Jesus today and state that He has an unclean spirit?   When I asked the man why he came to see me, he stated that he just felt an urging to come.  I said, “Do you think that was the Holy Spirit?” It took a few minutes of silence for it to dawn upon him that the Holy Spirit that he thought he blasphemed was still working in his life.  He left shouting for joy!   Always remember when you read the Word, to make sure you understand the setting and how the application should be applied.  It will save you a lot of heartache and disappointment.

simplyrhetorical

simplyrhetorical

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