When I last had a medical checkup. The nurse asked me if I had fasted and I answered that I had not. An appointment was made for another early morning for my blood work. If you have not fasted, you don’t know that breakfast or lunch is light years away. I cannot imagine that you could go. without food for 40 days and nights like our Christ (Matt.4:2) or Moses (Ex.34:28) and Elijah (I Kin. 19:8). In our society food is relatively inexpensive and available. We do not have to worry about starvation. I am told that there has not been such a death in the USA for years.
“Many Gnostics taught that one way to control one’s evil physical self was to starve the body,denying it the food or rest it requires. Similarly,those with eating disorders assume that we can separate our “self” from our “body” and, by controlling the body, gain control of our inner self. Medical research suggests that many eating disorders are rooted in a feeling that life is out of control and reflect a desperate effort to gain mastery of oneself. The problem is, Paul tells us, such efforts are “of no value against the indulgence of the flesh”(v.23) We can’t control our inner self by punishing our bodies. Instead we should seek to please Jesus in what we think and feel and in what we eat. The desire to please Jesus, rather than our desperate efforts to gain control, ultimately will bring us inner peace. ” (comments on Colossians 2:16-23 – THE TEEN BIBLE New King James Version)
If you want to fast, it should be a voluntary matter. It is not binding on Christians and if done it should be with the correct attitude and out of love for the Lord. In Luke 18:12, the Pharisee bragged that he fasted and gave much of his money to the temple, but the Lord heard the prayer of the humble publican. The Psalmist in 35:13, said that “I humbled my soul with fasting.” The great people of the Old Testament and some in the early church of the New Testament era followed the practice of fasting especially in times of sorrow and repentance.
Reflect on these points: God may honor fasting when done in a deep and sincere way; some fasting may have physical benefit; the arena of the mind may be expanded during fasting; a better grip on self-discipline may be achieved; and last we may gain an appreciation of our many blessings through Jesus Christ.( edited remarks for space from the CHRISTIAN COURIER). I believe that these same benefits can be gained easily by finding a quiet place and let your mind reflect on the greatest book ever written-the Bible. This is so important in out rush ‘n’ go society.
We have to take time to bring it all together or we will be like the huge dead tree in our neighborhood. When hurricane Isabel came through this tree was not well rooted and although it did its best it became a hindrance. If you think that fasting is the way, I am behind you and pray that you are strengthened because you have done it for the correct reason and wish to love the Lord even more than you do at this moment.
The Cracked Acorn: Urgent (Daniel 3:22)
The letter arrived among lots of other pieces of mail. It was marked “URGENT”. This should have caught my attention and would have been ripped open but the URGENT had appeared on other envelopes in the past. URGENT should command immediate and grave action on my part.
Over the years I have been de-sensitized to all these bold stamped messages such as: THIS IS YOUR LAST CATALOG, IMPORTANT, YOU MAY BE A WINNER, YOU ARE A MILLIONAIRE CALL THIS TOLL FREE NUMBER and the list grows. Most of these appeals go into the trash. Some I open to see if I really have missed out on a golden opportunity. This URGENT one let me know that I would shortly be getting a new VISA card. There was a probability that a hacker had broken into the card files and now had all the account numbers. This is not the first time and was not an occasion for me to run into the hills screaming, “This can’t be real!” Eventually someone will be caught and sent away for awhile and then probably hired by VISA to try and keep out other hackers.
I have learned to roll with the punches. Instead of counting to ten before “blowing up” society now demands at least a count to 100.
Quietly, we are facing many problems in our society. Crime among adults is down but rising for our younger population. The search for personal fulfillment is at an all time high. Bahaism, Buddhism, Catholicism, Evolution, Freemasonry, Hinduism, Humanism, Islam, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Mormonism, New Age, Scientology,Unitarianism, Universalism are studies in how much our society has shifted and accepted whatever comes down the road. The modern world accepts all thought about any and all subjects. We seem to have strayed away from these questions: are we alone in the universe, where is the first created star, why is there gravity, is time another dimension, what causes our earth’s magnetic field,what causes ice ages, is an ice age due soon, are we causing earthquakes, will cancer ever be cured,why do we sleep, what causes schizophrenia and autism and Alzheimer’s, how do we get addicted,why were some dinosaurs so large, and last- is morality wired into our brains. (www.sciencemag.org/sciext/125th)
Many of us have seen the fall of the Communist Empire and the opening of the Berlin Wall. We have the best devices ever to predict the weather and its patterns. Technology advancements have appeared by leaps and bounds. Our affluence has taken a toll on our ethical and moral values. The church has never had a greater need then today to spread the gospel with the sources in our hands. Even with our problems we live in a kind society that is ready to help others when the need arises.
Encouraging News! The Arkansas ivory-billed woodpecker isn’t extinct after all, just hard to spot. So, wives if your husbands are lounging in the back yard hammocks. They’re not goofing off, just joined an elite group of bird watchers listening for that distinct POP-pop sound of the ivory billed woodpecker.
The Cracked Acorn: Worship
For 1,500 years and ending in the 8th century, B.C., a civilization existed at the tip of the Arabian peninsula. The surrounding desert was made fertile from dams that held the monsoon rains The evidence of this past culture who wrote script in vertical columns is on view at the Sackler Gallery in D.C.. The photos of 3,000 years old artifacts are very interesting. These people had a religion-worshiped something or someone and left behind a model of a limestone temple. Their civilization was involved with that of a small kingdom. called Saba, or to Bible readers as Sheba.
For what may have been propaganda purposes, the author of the Old Testament book of Kings tells us that the Queen of Sheba, tried to stump him with questions, failed and left wooed by the magnificence of his Court. “When the Queen of Sheba saw all the wisdom of Solomon and the palace he had built,” says the Bible, “she was overwhelmed.”(I Kings 10) Scholars are dubious about the existence of a female ruler from Saba(Sheba) and consider her visit very unlikely (“almost preposterous,” writes Nigel Groom in the exhibition catalogue). But it demonstrates Saba’s reputation in the ancient world- and uses that reputation to glorify the Jewish King. (THE HISTORY OF CARAVANS-Washington POST)
This was a noteworthy bit of ancient history to read till I noted that the. Bible was not given its God’s breathed accuracy about the Queen of Sheba and King Solomon. In this day and age the general public is not always faithfully nourished with the indubitable truth. The Queen of Sheba did make a visit to the court of King Solomon. The people of Ethiopia believe they are descended from that “visit”. I would also note that King Solomon was an Israelite King. His father, King David, was from the tribe of Judah. Some scholars think that all descendants from this tribe should at all times be labeled “Jews”. At this point in ancient history this is not correct it was only after Judah returned from Babylonian captivity that this label should have been attached. At the time of the Kings: Saul, David and Solomon, there was a’bona fide nation known as Israel and not yet a Jewish nation. This may seem a small point but educated people of history should know better.
The limestone temple model would have prompted Paul to say (20)”Since the earliest times men have seen the earth and all that God made, and have known of His existence and great eternal power. So they will have no excuse (when they stand before Him at the Judgement day).(23) And then, instead of worshiping the glorious, ever-living God they took to wood and stone and made idols for themselves, carving them to look like mere’birds, and animals and snakes and puny men. (25) Instead of believing what they knew was the truth about God, they deliberately chose to believe lies. So they prayed to the things that God had made, but wouldn’t obey the blessed God who made these things.(ROMANS chapter 2).
DID YOU KNOW –There are 326 million people living in the United States: At any given time, there are 67,870 people airborne over the country. (Sad to note that for many this will be the closest they will ever be to heaven.)
The Cracked Acorn: Attendance
A person once said that all through grade school, he sat behind Charlie. When Charlie didn’t come to school, He would go over to his house and sit behind Charlie. This reminded me of my childhood school days. Students were seated alphabetically. This was the seating arrangement for the year. Attendance was called before the start of class every school day. It was the duty of your parents to get you to school in all kinds of weather. A foot of snow could close schools. At the end of the year, attendance awards were given.
After worship service years ago at Great Falls Church of Christ, a lady visitor asked if I would write in her journal that she had attended the church with us that day. I directed her to one of the elders, and whether he signed, I don’t know. I had never heard of a church that demanded proof that you were in worship on a Sunday morning.
Church attendance has become a concern, not only in the U.S.A but beyond our shores. Total commitment programs, care groups and other good ideas to improve attendance do help but eventually peak and level off. Many are placing the blame on the numerous secular activities that overlap or happen at the same time of worship. We could also add cell phones, television,and the Internet that have their tentacles into our prime time. Sports place stress on members to enjoy seeing a good Sunday game in person. Our fast paced society calls for many to have a varied work schedule. and often Sunday is the only day off to rest up for the next work week. Shopping centers and many stores are open most days even 24/7. Newspaper chains are crying the “blues” that people are not reading. we are getting the television news from our recliners.
This is interesting! An issue of U.S. News & World Report stated that Europe may be Islamic by the end of the 21st century. This is linked to the banning of religious symbols and the failure to mention the effect of Christianity on the populace. Humanism has given rise to the worst ideologies of the 20th century. Spiritual boredom has given rise to hyper individualism and lack of confidence in the future,. Many have turned away from the faith of their forefathers and have become involved in mystical ecstatic forms of spiritual experience. Populist Christian movements have claimed hundred of thousands of youngish followers who are seeking to make Christian beliefs real in their lives and work. Christianity has become diluted with many diverse issues.
This is supposedly happening in Europe, should we be thinking it cannot happen on this continent? Time will tell. God knows the future.(Matthew 6:34)”Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Let the day’s own trouble be sufficient for the day.”
Satan exists;… eternal salvation is possible only through God’s Son… Jesus lived a sinless life on earth…God is all-knowing, all powerful, the perfect deity who created the universe and still rules today. Psalm 144:15b …Happy is that people, whose God is the Lord!
The Cracked Acorn: The holiday season is here!
Set the calendar back to 2,000 years before the rise of a scientific community before medical science knew for certain what was inside our bodies and how those internal parts functioned. An event occurred that has impacted many people today who celebrate it yearly.
“God sends the angel Gabriel to a young virgin girl Mary. She is told that she is pregnant with a baby boy whom she will name Jesus. He is the son of God. And Mary asks the angel how this can be since she was a virgin.” Christians believe without a doubt that this is the way it happened, working entirely on faith. This is not mentioned in mans written articles. Instead, we are made to think that she may have had an affair with a Roman soldier and this was the way to cover it up. The Romans believed this happened when their gods had relations with earthly women.
I was have read that “like the Victorians, we live in an age of great belief and great doubt and sometime we have to choose between great extremes.” And how about the star? Many are sure that it was Halley’s comet that made its appearance about 12 B.C. The slaughter of children by King Herod is not mentioned in any history books. In fact, much of this event that has shook the world is only in the Bible and the people where in mentioned never expounded upon their experiences to anyone. Here again we have to make the leap of faith.(II Cor. 5:7) There are no physical evidences to support the key points of the Gospel writers of Jesus’ birth. Jesus himself did not talk much of his birth – He had other important things to tell us in the Scriptures.
Many comments have been well written about this holiday season and can set your teeth on edge. There are some interesting points and books of the Bible can be mentioned to support vague points. I am convinced that the birth of our Savior did happen at the right time.
Today this would be lost among our changing morals and the vast medical knowledge of conception. Will there come a time when we cannot convince our children that the birth of Christ did not happen as recorded in the Word of God? The answer can only lie in our faith and without faith it is impossible to please our God. (Hebrews 11:6) He is a jealous God(Exodus 20:5) and has sent His Son solely for our undeserving salvation.
Finally many try to make up for the vast exploration of our “unexplained thoughts” by saying, “A man with no human father, a king who died a criminal’s death, a God who assures us of everlasting life in a world to come while the world He made is consumed by war and strife.”
From my childhood to this day, I have heard it said that we are living in the last days.(Acts 1:7) The year is about gone and as usual our Adversary will be waiting in 2019. He will appear as an angel of light and will offer us the easy wide road. Never before have we been asked to love each other more and to forgive others more than in this holiday season. To God be the glory!
The Cracked Acorn: The Door
Weekends and holidays are the prime times for advertisers to stuff flyers into the daily newspapers, adding to what I call the “pulp padding”.
You can’t escape a peek at the ones that are home suppliers. I like the nice color photos of doors of all types. Some of these beauties can stop a vacation to Disney World. If one is installed for your front door I am sure you will fall down and worship its varnished wood and stained floral glass panels.
Fingerprints will never mar its glossy sheen and you will hang a sign on its brilliant brass knob requesting everyone to come to the humble back door. A door of this quality could even go as a Mother’s Day gift, think about it!
The word door may have entered our language through an English family name, Dore, meaning the entrance to a narrow valley. We use the word every day: Close the door when you leave. She forgot to lock her car door. They live two doors up the street from us. His office is the third door down the hall on the left. A day cannot go by without the use of the word DOOR.
The Egyptians put into their tombs a false door. It was to serve as an imaginary passage for the deceased between the world of the living and the world of the dead. Lavish inscriptions were on the false door referring to the countless offerings the deceased is about to receive. Sometimes a life-sized statue of the deceased was placed before the door as if it had just stepped out of it. (Ancient Egypt From A to Z Internet Site) We can’t live without them.
They keep the cold drafts of winter outside and the cool air inside during the hot sultry days of summers, and keep the swarms of hostile insects outside. Properly fitted, a door can be locked for security purposes. Doors keep us from falling out of our cars. Closed doors can stop the spread of a home fire. Doors give us privacy & absorb outside traffic and neighborhood noises. A door can have many names: trap, stable, barn, French, garden, pet, revolving & automatic door. Whatever its name, a door serves a very distinct and useful function. Door fills several reference columns in a Zondervan Concordance and it is well worth a study of each use in God’s Word.
Revelation 3:20 NKJV “Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me.”
James Rowe (1865-1933) came to America from England in 1889. He settled in Albany, New York. He worked for the railroads & later for music publishers in Texas and Tennessee. He wrote the words for: I WAS SINKING DEEP IN SIN and JUST OUTSIDE THE DOOR (1912)
An old saying in the south “Katie bar the door” meant “something unstoppable is coming!,” and “Katie bar the kitchen door” suggested that you had better watch out! “Don’t give up. Normally it is the last key on the ring which opens the door.” ~Paulo Coelho.
And last: “When God closes a door, He always opens a window.”- Woodrow Kroll
The Cracked Acorn: Enemies
I remember when one of my early morning coffee friends celebrated his 83rd birthday. He and his wife fully enjoy their retired years mowing their lawn and enjoying the attractions of local living. He was an army ammo truck driver in the Pacific islands during World War II. I was almost 6 years old when the war ended on September 2, 1945. This was due to the dropping of the newly discovered atomic bomb. My father was packed and ready to go when the radio announced that it was over. My friend would have been part of the invasion of the enemy mainland. I remember that he said that there has always been war and fighting somewhere during his lifetime!! How true!!
Recorded history lists 23 major wars within the past thousand years. These have taken millions of lives and today the most recent one has cost in the twelve figures and still escalating. The Old and the New Testaments repeat the ancient words,”Why do the heathen rage, and the people imagine a vain thing? The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the LORD, and against his anointed,” (Psalm 4:1-2) We may have “taken a small step but not a giant leap”, to settle our differences and live in love, harmony and peace on planet earth. Many are hoping and praying that Christ will return and establish stability for those who love HIM. I hope and desire this with all my heart but I cannot see the light at the end of the tunnel when the thoughts of men override everything that the Scriptures teach us.
We have taken on the world and so far we have been victorious. Our blood is being shed to keep our shores unstained and safe for future generations. I like the sound sleep that I get at night. I remember when we never locked our house and when we did, the neighbors knew where we kept the key. We never locked our cars and did not have any outside security lights or burglar systems. Our greatest enemy will always be the one “within.” A good leader must always convince the people that sacrifice is necessary for a just cause. Imperial Rome fell as did Charlemagne’s Holy Roman Empire. Alexander conquered the known world, where is that glorious empire today. Napoleon lost it all at Waterloo. The sun at one time never set on the British Empire, but it does today. It may have taken all the west to do it, but the Hitler reign of a 1,000 years lasted about 12 years.
The United States recently has been set on the point of a needle. The mistreating of prisoners at the Iraq Abu Ghrares prison has drawn lots of news coverage. If we are victors how should we treat our enemies that fall into our hands.
“But I say unto you, love your enemies, bless then that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; that ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.” (Matthew 5:44,45)