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Wednesday, October 31, 2012

The Book of Life

Have you ever wondered about the Lamb’s Book of Life? I have. I used to think that when someone accepts the Lord as his personal Savior, then someone—an angel scribe perhaps—writes his name in the Book of Life. That could be.

But then, I read Scriptures like Revelation 3:5 and 22:19 where someone’s name was blotted out of the Lamb’s Book of Life. Exodus 32:32-33 also talks about blotting out a name from the Book. How does that happen? 

At the last judgment, some people’s names are in this Book, and some are not there. (Revelation 13:8, 21:27) The Book of Life contains Christians’ names. (Philippians 4:3) Those not found there, at the time of the last judgment will be cast into the lake of fire. (Revelation 20:15) So, whether or not ones’ name is in the Book of Life makes the difference between heaven and hell.

The Bible says that God is not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance (2 Peter 3:9b). Jesus shed His blood on the cross for the sins of the world, every person in the world. And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world (1 John 2:2).

This is my theory. (I can’t prove it, but it makes sense to me.) I think everyone in the whole world—every person ever born—is written into the Lamb’s Book of Life. (Jesus desires to save everybody.) Until that person has rejected God completely or has died without Christ, his name is in the Book. If he rejects Jesus’ payment for his sins, seriously and finally, any time before his last breath, his name is taken off the list. This is the “unpardonable sin” spoken of in Mark 3:29. (Now, we can’t judge another’s heart. If even the vilest of sinners calls out to Jesus in repentance, even in his last moments of life—like the thief on the cross—he will be saved. We will never know until eternity what has happened in someone’s heart.)

At the end of time, at the last judgment, those still written in the Book of Life are those who will enjoy heaven for eternity, and those who aren’t found there are forever doomed to hell.

Whether my theory about the Book is right or wrong isn’t really important. It’s just something I think might be true. When a person’s name gets written in the Book of Life isn’t the most important thing.

What is important is the location of your name. Is it written in the Lamb’s Book of Life? Will you have eternal life through God’s Son Jesus Christ?

That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life.
For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son,
that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world;
but that the world through him might be saved (John 3:15-17).

And there shall in no wise enter into it (the New Jerusalem) any thing that defileth, neither whatsoever worketh abomination, or maketh a lie:
but they which are written in the Lamb’s book of life (Revelation 21:27).

Is your name written in the Book of Life? If so, is your friend’s name there?

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

The Bible's Bad Girls

I’ve run across some intriguing titles in the Christian book market: BAD GIRLS OF THE BIBLE, UNVEILING MARY MAGDALENE, REALLY BAD GIRLS OF THE BIBLE, and WOMAN OF SIN. I know that the original BAD GIRLS OF THE BIBLE is a very popular seller. And, no wonder! What a title!

Who would pick up the book, GOOD GIRLS OF THE BIBLE or PURE WOMAN?

Sad, isn’t it? We are drawn to the bad over the good. (Now, I think Mrs. Higgs’ titles—the first three—are brilliant. I also understand that her books teach righteousness. But I’m making a point here.) Why is it that we’re fascinated by vices, immorality, and faults?

This carries over to entertainment. Why are people willing to walk into clubs called “The Dragon’s Den,” “The Devil’s Throat,” and “Nero’s Lounge”? (I wonder if people would be similarly attracted to venues named “Godly Corner” and “Piety’s Paradise”?)

Why do people who genuinely love God watch movies where the actors curse, slash, commit all kinds of immorality, plan murders and other evil—all on the screen before them? Why do they watch oversexed music videos with likewise immoral lyrics?

Why are so many women hooked on sit-coms? Why do they read heavy-breathing romances?

Why is the pull towards evil so strong—even for true believers in Jesus Christ?

Consider these Bible verses:
            Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth; fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence, and covetousness, which is idolatry (Colossians 3:5).
            Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law. And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit (Galatians 5:19-25)
            I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God (Romans 12:1-2).
            If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God (Colossians 3:1).

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Show the Way

In Jeremiah 42, the leaders of the people go to God’s prophet Jeremiah. They ask him to pray and find out from God what they should do. That the LORD thy God may shew us the way wherein we may walk, and the thing that we may do (Jeremiah 42:3). Jeremiah promises them he will pray and tell them everything God tells him. (verse 4) The people say they will obey God’s word. (verses 5-6) Jeremiah prays, but God doesn’t answer him immediately. And it came to pass after ten days, that the word of the LORD came unto Jeremiah (verse 7). Then, Jeremiah tells the people God’s message.

Sadly, the response wasn’t what we would expect. A big shot named Azariah and all the proud men (43:2) called Jeremiah a liar. A discussion between them and God’s man ensues.

Now, here are the bones of this story:    
  •      The people were absolutely right to seek God’s will.
  •      The people were right when they promised to do whatever God wanted.
  •      Jeremiah did his duty and prayed for guidance.     
  •      He waited ten days for the answer. (Sometimes, God’s answers aren’t immediate. I wonder what the people were thinking while they waited: Was Jeremiah putting them off? Had he lost touch with God? Why was it taking so long?)
  •       Jeremiah tells them God’s words.      By now, someone who thinks he’s something has gathered some followers who don’t care what God says.
  •       The result of the people’s rebellion and disobedience was God’s judgment. (chapter 44)
When the people could so easily have obeyed God—as they swore they would—and enjoyed His blessing, they chose instead to follow a charismatic leader with his own group of cronies, ignore God’s word, and reap the consequences.

What’s the application for us?

We have God’s Word, the Bible. It’s all written down. We don’t even have to wait ten days to read it. It’s our choice whether or not to read it, whether or not to heed it, whether or not to obey it.

If we choose to obey, we’ll be blessed. If we choose to disobey, we can expect to lose God’s blessing.

Things haven’t changed much in 2,600 years!

Friday, October 26, 2012

Dinosaur Footprints

Some time ago, my husband and I traveled to a little-known town in Spain. Enciso is literally in the middle of nowhere. Mountains surround the town, which is home to as many cows as people, maybe more! These mountains are almost treeless, which is probably one of the reasons why layers of earth have eroded away leaving . . . DINOSAUR FOOTPRINTS.

Those critters had big feet—and medium-sized feet, and fairly small feet. The tracks were made in soft dirt or mud and are clearly visible. One of the places had been a riverbed or creek, and the ripples of the water are easy to see, along with scratch marks and belly rubs where the big reptiles were swimming. For me, this was exciting! At another site, the dinos were having a party. You can see their footprints crisscrossing each other, turning, and going in different directions. There were at least three different animals at that party.

My husband and I went to four or five different sites, all within maybe three kilometers. It was thrilling to see these sets of footprints. Although there are walkways built beside a few of the sites, you can see the layer of dinosaur prints out under the sky, just as they must have been several thousands of years ago. The earth around them hasn’t been moved artificially, and the prints are impressive (no pun intended), to say the least. Many are very clear, but some are just indentations in the mud.

Someone got the bright idea of exploiting the area, so there are huge, life-size reptiles made of fiberglass or plastic at several sites. I saw two sliding boards for children with dinosaur cut outs. A small dinosaur theme park is close to the first site. A man told us it is very expensive, and the best thing there, in his opinion, is a toboggan slide. The theme park houses no genuine dinosaur relics, as far as we understand. 

There are at least two small restaurants in Enciso. We ate a “menú del día” which was three courses, including dessert, very satisfactory, for 12 euros. Both restaurants we saw offered a “menú” for the same price. (This price is for the midday meal.)

If you plan to be in La Rioja area of Spain, especially if you will be near Soria or Logroño, I would highly recommend a partial day trip to Enciso to view the dinosaur footprints. For me, it was much better than I expected: more prints (We saw several hundreds!), very natural surroundings (under the sky), and the footprints are unforgettable.

A great find!

Wednesday, October 24, 2012


Psalm 90 helps us compare our lives with God’s.

Let’s start with us:
            The days of our years are threescore years and ten; and if by reason of strength they be fourscore years, yet is their strength labour and sorrow; for it is soon cut off, and we fly away. So teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom. O satisfy us early with thy mercy; that we may rejoice and be glad all our days. Make us glad according to the days wherein thou hast afflicted us (Psalm 90:10, 12, 14-15a).

God gives us a general life expectancy of 70 years. These verses indicate that we should take advantage of the days God gives us, because our time on earth is short.

Now, let’s look at God:
            Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever thou hadst formed the earth and the world, even from everlasting to everlasting, thou art God. For a thousand years in thy sight are but as yesterday when it is past, and as a watch in the night (Psalm 90:2, 4).

God is.
He was.
He always has been, always is, always will be.

Eternity isn’t an easy concept for us. We’re ruled by time. Everything we understand has a beginning and an ending. We age—not a happy thought, I know. Projects are done on timetables. We measure our lives in years. (Happy Birthday!)

God is. This eternal God we serve identifies Himself as “I Am.” This attribute of God—that He is eternal—reveals to us His greatness. His eternality reveals His superiority to everything (He’s the Creator of it all!) and everyone. (He planned and created us, too.) It is awesome to think about God always having been and that He will never have an end. The concept of a thousand years being like yesterday or the same thousand years being like a three-hour night watch almost boggles the mind. But, it’s true. God understands time, but He’s eternal. His time has no time.

In comparison, what can we say? Our life is a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away (James 4:14). A very insignificant vapor compared with an eternal, all-powerful, all-knowing God.

What a great God!

Monday, October 22, 2012

A United Heart

Teach me thy way, O LORD;
I will walk in thy truth:
unite my heart to fear thy name.
(Psalm 86:11)

Most of this verse is simple in language and easy to understand. I stumbled a little at the word unite. What does it mean here? I looked up the Hebrew equivalent, and it means “unify; join.” Okay, but what is a unified heart or a joined heart? Commentators have several ideas about this word in the context of this verse. It can mean a “completely dedicated” heart or a heart with “undivided loyalty.” I thought of “single-heartedness,” something like single-minded.

In any case, the psalmist profoundly states his desires. This verse is his prayer:
            Teach me Your way.
            I resolve to walk in Your Truth.
            I want a heart that is wholly dedicated to respecting and following You.

Are the psalmist’s desires our desires?
            Do we really want to be taught what God wants us to do?
            Have we ever resolved (promised ourselves) to walk in the Truth (the Bible)?
            Do we have an “undivided” heart to respect and follow God?

In my counseling experience, I have found many women who want to do right. “Oh yes, I want to.” But, they don’t really want to be taught—not by God and not by anyone else either. They have never made a conscious decision to follow and know Truth. They don’t have time for God’s Word, don’t pray, and then they wonder why they’re having such a hard time grasping Truth. They have divided hearts. Part of them wants to do what everyone else does—follow “fun.” And, part of them really wants to follow God, but they’re not fully dedicated (united hearted) to it. Unfortunately, these ladies will always flounder spiritually.

I’ve also counseled women and girls who would say a hearty Amen to the psalmist’s three desires in this short verse. They are growing and changing. And they’re some of the happiest people I know.

May we all have undivided hearts!

Dorky Birds and Turtles

When I was very young, I actually thought Psalm 84:10b went like this, “I’d rather be a dorky bird in the house of my God, than to dwell in the tents of wickedness.” (The real word is “doorkeeper.” You can see why I was confused!)

I also had a problem with the great hymn, “Lead On, O Kinky Turtle.” (King Eternal)

My husband, when he was a little boy, thought the song, “Brighten the Corner Where You Are” was actually “Right In the Corner Where You Are.”

Have you ever played the game, “Gossip”? (At the end of a line of participants, a sentence is whispered to the next in line. He repeats it to the next person, and so on, until the sentence reaches the end of the line. Then, the last person repeats the sentence as he heard it. It’s always different from the beginning!)

Do we sometimes misunderstand God’s Word? Do we think it says dorky bird when it actually says doorkeeper? Do we have preconceived notions about God’s Word that aren’t actually there?

We can certainly laugh at the confusion of little children, but what about us? What about adults who should understand the words of Scripture and their contexts, yet we just listen to what we want to hear. Or we hear what we think we hear, and we don’t quite get it right? Do we need to take more time with God’s Word so that we can rightly divide the word of truth?

Study to shew thyself approved unto God,
a workman that needeth not to be ashamed,
rightly dividing the word of truth. (2 Timothy 2:15)

Saturday, October 20, 2012


THE WAYS OF GOD: FINDING PURPOSE THROUGH YOUR PAIN by Cherie Hill is a short book based on understanding the miracle of Jesus’ calming the sea. It teaches us how to apply this miracle to the storms of our lives.
            Overall, I thought Ms. Hill did a good job of communicating. Sometimes, though, there was a lot of repetition, and the writing is very simplistic as well. I found several serious grammatical errors. (Hopefully, they’re only in the Kindle edition.)
            As a devotional book, it is nice. Ms. Hill definitely helped me to think more about the application of this incident in Jesus’ ministry.
            For me, three-stars.

FORSAKEN by James David Jordan is an exciting book, definitely a page-turner.
            Taylor is the daughter of a Special Forces officer, and she takes after her dad. The story opens with a memorable 17th birthday camping trip.
            Eleven years later, Taylor has worked for the Secret Service in Washington, D.C. and she has more experience (of all kinds) under her belt than most people have in a lifetime. She has started her own security firm back home in Texas.
            Evangelist Simon Mason calls and asks her to head up his security team. Taylor goes for the interview, and she starts the most scary adventure of her whole career. It includes crazies and Islamic terrorists as well as personal secrets and blackmail. The evangelist has to face the hardest choice of all.
            This book is well-written. It moves fast.
            I personally would like to have seen a stronger biblical testimony from Simon, although there is some. There are several references to salvation and faith in Jesus Christ. I would also like to have seen Taylor turn to the Lord. (Had I written it, I would have changed the plot in the most crucial part of the book.)
            Without being a spoiler, I can say that the ending was exactly as it should have been, and I loved it.
            A good book, entertaining, and well-written. If you are looking for a page-turner, this is it. Four stars.

ALLEREDNIC: A REGENCY CINDERELLA TALE—IN REVERSE by Chautona Havig is a book I read purely out of curiosity. (What is a Cinderella tale in reverse?) I admit; I loved it! This is a story, not a fairy tale. It contains an adaptation of the tale we all know and love. It is happy, and I think especially teen girls will enjoy this. It’s different and refreshing. ALLEREDNIC (Cinderella backwards, of course) is short, strongly Christian without preaching, and I thought, great! Five stars.


Thursday, October 18, 2012

Positives vs. Negatives

Some people have the wrong impression of Christianity. They think it’s a system of behavior, a lot of dos and don’ts—especially don’ts. I can understand why they might think that way. They read the Ten Commandments and find dos and don’ts. They might know a self-righteous “Pharisee” who has a whole list of must dos and must not dos in order to “earn” a place in heaven.

Christianity is, in fact, a relationship with the Person of Jesus Christ. It isn’t determined by lists.

I was reading 1 Thessalonians 5:11-22 the other day. I started listing the positives and negatives in the passage, the dos and the don’ts. Here’s what I found:

            Comfort yourselves together. (verse 11)
            Edify one another. (11)
            Esteem Christian leaders highly. (13)
            Be in peace among yourselves. (13)
            Comfort the mentally challenged. (14)
            Support the weak. (14)
            Be patient with all people. (14)
            Follow what is good. (15)
            Rejoice evermore. (16)
            Pray without ceasing. (17)
            In everything give thanks. (18)
            Prove all things. (21)
            Hold fast to the good. (21)

NEGATIVES, actually instructions for their good:
            Warn the unruly. (14)
            Don’t pay back evil for evil. (15)
            Don’t quench the Holy Spirit. (19)
            Don’t despise prophecy. (20)
            Abstain from all appearance of evil. (22)

In this passage, we’re given a total of 13 positive statements and 5 negative commands. They are all for our good. All are so that church people can live happy, fulfilled, and joyful lives.

God isn’t an ogre! He doesn’t have a list of impossible goals for us that make us a good Christian or a bad Christian. We can’t earn a place in heaven anyway. It is the gift of God: not of works, lest any man should boast (from Ephesians 2:8-9). After salvation, sanctification is the process of God’s working in us to conform us to the image of His Son. Jesus said, I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly (John 10:10b).
The positives definitely outweigh the negatives!