Saturday, December 29, 2012

Have They Seen Heaven?

I read an interesting article by Mark Galli called, "Incredible Journeys: What to Make of Visits to Heaven" in Christianity Today online.

The writer mentioned an article I read in Newsweek awhile ago: "Eben Alexander'sProof of Heaven: A Neurosurgeon's Journey into the Afterlife (Simon & Schuster) hit bookstores in late October, eliciting a cover story from Newsweek earlier that month."

I remember reading this story with some disbelief.
 Mark Galli writes about whether the stories these people claiming to have seen heaven agree with the teachings in the Bible.

 "For example, Neal said she was about to enter a hall where she would be given one last chance to accept or reject God. Traditionally Christians have taught that this momentous decision is called for in this life, after which comes judgment (Heb. 9:27). Alexander had lived a life indifferent toward God, and yet when he meets God, whom he calls Om, he is told, "There is nothing you can do wrong." So much for the doctrine of sin."

I believe some stories about people seeing heaven are true. Paul himself was taken to heaven, "I know a man in Christ who fourteen years ago-- whether in the body I do not know, or out of the body I do not know, God knows-- such a man was caught up to the third heaven." 2 Corinthians 12:2

But I think John gives us the best advice, "Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world." 1 John 4:1

Thursday, December 27, 2012

The Empty Room.

My sister and I were discussing Matthew 12:43-45. "When an evil spirit leaves a person, it goes into the desert seeking rest but finding none. Then it says, 'I will return to the person I came from.' So it returns and finds its former home empty, swept and in order. Then the spirit finds seven other spirits more wicked than itself, and they all enter the person and live there. And so that person is worse off than before."

We think Jesus meant that after the Holy Spirit comes inside us, cleanses us from sin and unites us with God we must not let our hearts become empty of the Spirit. Like Israel every morning went out and gathered fresh manna, so we must each day gather wisdom and strength from God through prayer and reading the Bible. Jesus said, "Eat my flesh and drink my blood." He becomes a part of us and fills us.

The man with the evil spirit left himself empty. If we do this then we will become filled with evil and be "slaves to sin," as Jesus also said. If God does not fill us then Satan will. My sister said, "I knew prayer and Bible study were vital, but I didn't know why until now."

Clarke's Commentary on the Bible

Into my house - The soul of that person from whom he had been expelled by the power of Christ, and out of which he was to have been kept by continual prayer, faith, and watchfulness.
He findeth it empty - Unoccupied, σχολαζοντα, empty of the former inhabitant, and ready to receive a new one: denoting a soul that has lost the life and power of godliness, and the testimony of the Holy Spirit.
Swept and garnished - As σχολαζω signifies to be idle, or unemployed, it may refer here to the person, as well as to his state. His affections and desires are no longer busied with the things of God, but gad about, like an idle person, among the vanities of a perishing world. Swept, from love, meekness, and all the fruits of the Spirit; and garnished, or adorned, κεκοσμημενον, decorated, with the vain showy trifles of folly and fashion. This may comprise also smart speeches, cunning repartees, etc., for which many who have lost the life of God are very remarkable.

Friday, December 21, 2012

Grace - What is it?

I first saw this quote on the blog, "Not Unredeemed." Here is the link.

Ever since I read this it has been rolling over and over in my mind. I take it to mean that we shouldn't look down or around us; we should look up to see what life really means. No matter what happens, God's grace is pouring down from heaven covering the world for those who would receive it. 

I talked about this with my mother and sister. They didn't agree with the quote at first and we decided to look up the word, "grace". These are the definitions we found.

a. Divine love and protection bestowed freely on people.
b. The state of being protected or sanctified by the favor of God.
c. An excellence or power granted by God.

My sister objected to the word "protection" in the definition; at least in the way we understand that to protect someone you would never let them get hurt or die. We decided the next definition was better.

a : unmerited divine assistance given humans for their regeneration or sanctification
b : a virtue coming from God
c : a state of sanctification enjoyed through divine grace

Divine assistance. We thought that was better than protection - even though we know God protects us many times from danger and death. 

One thing about my family. We debate everything; but I see that as a good thing. God blessings to all of you.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

My Daughter and God.

My daughter put these two pictures on her pinterest page. 

...even when it's really hard.

I know these words were about her son, whom she lost last year. She has clung to the Lord and He has helped her so much. She has also taken grief counseling and I'm grateful God led her to a wonderful Christian woman who has been a great blessing to Sandy. 

My heart feels so full of gratitude to God for all he has done for my family. 

Monday, December 17, 2012

Murder at Christmas.

When I heard about the killings at the elementary school I wished so much that this world would be over and done with. Tragedy, death, sickness, and suffering are all around us.

"Oh, that you would burst from the heavens and come down! How the mountains would quake in your presence!"  Isaiah 64:1

I read this verse this morning and thought, "Yes, come down God, come back Jesus and rescue us from this dark place."

I pray God will give comfort to all who were devestated by these murders. I know what it is to lose those you love. Even though God gives comfort and strength which is needed so very much- you miss those you love, especially at Christmas, on their birthdays, Thanksgiving dinner. Every time you hear or see something wonderful you think, "Oh, how I wish they could see this. How I wish things had been different."

I want to give thanks and praise to God for how he has helped us through the tragedies in our family. I used to wonder how I could ever cope with losing a child or grandchild. Now I know. God makes it possible - God grace is sufficient. 

Saturday, December 15, 2012

The Older Brother.

In his story of the prodigal son Jesus also includes another son: the older brother. When the prodigal returns home and is forgiven by his father and given a huge party, the older brother is angry. He doesn't believe his brother deserves a party. The older brother has stayed by his father and worked hard; why should his loser brother have a party?

In the book, "The Life You've Always Wanted,"  John Ortberb writes, "One of the hardest things in the world is to stop being the prodigal son without turning into the elder brother."

Christians can become judgmental and intolerant. This shouldn't happen, but it does far too often. It happened to me when I was in my twenties. For some reason we become proud when God changes us ; we somehow believe we had something to do with becoming good so why can't everyone do the same thing? We forget, or don't realize, that only God is good and any apparent goodness we have is from him alone.

The Bible says our righteousness is "filthy rags". In other words, we don't have any. None at all. We have no right to look down on people no matter what they do. Even Jeffery Dahmer was converted in prison. My mother told me she was watching Bill Maher on TV and he was talking against God and religion. She said she thought, "That man is lost." She said she heard God speak to her heart and say, "No, he isn't." Now, she prays for Bill Maher.

We don't know people's hearts. We don't know how the Spirit is working on that person or how close they are to the kingdom of God. No matter what people do or say, we have no right to be angry at them, hate them or judge them. Sometimes we may fall and do this, but we need to give these feelings and that person to God.

Friday, December 14, 2012

God is Closer Than You Think.

I'm reading, "God is Closer Than You Think," by John Ortberg. It is a very good book and I recommend it. In one chapter he writes about how there is no set way for people to grow in grace.

"God wants to be fully present with each of us. But because he made us to be different from one another, we are not identical in the activities and practices that will help us connect with him. Some writers speak of people as having different spiritual temperaments and pathways. ...A spiritual pathway has to do with the way we most naturally sense God's presence and experience spiritual growth."

 We are not clones, robots or cookie-cut people. Everyone is different, and I think God loves variety in everything, even people. The way I worship God and get to know him may be vastly different than your way, but that's okay as long as we are headed in the same direction: toward God.

Ortberg says, "We need to accept and embrace the unique way God created us. Instead of following "mass production approaches to spiritual growth, we need to make sure we spend adequate time and activity pursuing the pathways that most help us connect with God."

I remember when I used to attend church how there would be programs that they wanted everyone to join and do things a certain way. But that left no opening for individuality. I've noticed churches have changed since then. They see that people have different gifts and everyone can't do the same thing.

Just like flowers are not all alike, God has made us all amazingly different Vive la difference!

A. Gundelach, Gelsenkirchen (grandfather of User:Produnis)

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

You Complete Me!

I once read that the word "perfect" in the Bible means "complete".  When Jesus said, "Be perfect..." he meant to be complete in Him. 


having all parts or elements; lacking nothingwhole; entire; full:a complete set of Mark Twain's writings.
finished; ended; concluded: a complete orbit.
having all the required or customary characteristics, skills, or thelike; consummate; perfect in kind or quality: a complete scholar.
thorough; entire; total; undivided, uncompromised, orunmodified: a complete victory; a complete mess.

I like all these definitions and for me the word complete denotes a beginning and an end. We start out with God incomplete and He works on us until we are complete here or perhaps in Heaven. I'm sure we will have lots to learn there.

The God of peace make you perfect in every good work to do his will.—HEB.13:20,21.
Be perfect, be of good comfort, be of one mind, live in peace; and the God of love and peace shall be with you.

By grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God; not of works, lest any man should boast.—Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness neither shadow of turning.

Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling. For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.—Be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.—Being filled with the fruits of righteousness, which are by Jesus Christ, unto the glory and praise of God.

Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think anything as of ourselves; but our sufficiency is of God.

II:Cor.13:11.Eph.2:8,9. -Jas.1:17.Phi.2:12,13. -Rom.12:2.--Phi.1:11.II Cor.3:5.

"Our sufficiency is of God." I love this verse......

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Our Conscience.

"The spirit of man is the lamp of the Lord, searching all the inward parts of his being."
Proverbs 20:27

I didn't understand this verse so I looked it up in the commentaries. They said that God puts light into every person. With this light we can understand what is good and what is evil. We can search inside ourselves and see what our motives are. This is what we call our conscience.

Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
The spirit of man is the candle of the Lord,.... The rational soul of man is a light set up in him; this is what is commonly called the light of nature; it was a bright and burning light at first, but through sin is become a very feeble one; by which men have only a glimmering view of divine things, of God and his worship, and of what he would have done, or not done; by this light men do but grope after him, if happily they may find him and know his will; it is but like a candle light at best, in comparison of divine revelation, or the Gospel of the grace of God, which has shone out like the sun in its meridian glory; and especially in comparison of the sun of righteousness, Christ Jesus, and the light of the divine Spirit; yet this is a light set up by the Lord, a candle of his; it comes from the Father of lights, he is the author and maintainer of it; it is a spirit and understanding which is by the inspiration of the Almighty; see Genesis 2:7;
searching all the inward parts of the belly; or heart; the thoughts, intents, and purposes of it; which are the things of a man that only the spirit of man knows; by this candle, or light, he can look into his own heart, the inmost recesses of it, and reflect upon his thoughts and schemes, and judge in some measure whether right or wrong; there is a conscience in man, which, unless seared, passes sentence on what is in man, or done by him, and either excuses or accuses; see 1 Corinthians 2:10Romans 2:14.

Many times I have had my conscience bother me about something I've done. When I was a teenager, I used to steal make-up. After I became a Christian, my conscience bothered me about it so I sent the stores money. I lived in a different country by then, but I am so glad God gave me the chance to pay those people back.

About twenty years ago, I got angry at a store manager about some clothing I bought from her store that had fallen apart. She refused to give me a refund. I threw the jeans at her and huffed out of the store. When I got home, the Lord used my conscience to tell me I had done wrong. Well. THAT's for sure!! I felt awful so I went back to the store to apologize. That wasn't easy, but I knew I had to do it and I had done a terrible thing to be angry and mean to a person Jesus had died to save.

Thank you God for the conscience you have given us!

Sunday, December 9, 2012


I'm 62 yrs. old now and it sometimes amazes me I have lived such a long time. I remember when my grandmother turned 61 and it seemed so old to me at 13. 

I recently had a dream about aging. I was at Disneyland and I looked in a mirror and saw how my hair had turned silver. I went into Geppetto's Workshop to buy a souvenir and decided to buy the the White Rabbit's pocket watch (from Alice in Wonderland). Time is running out. There is much more time behind me than before me.

I read these verses today:

But now, this is what the LORD says--he who created you, O Jacob, he who formed you, O Israel: "Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine. Isaiah 43:1

God created me, he formed me when I was growing inside my mother. 
"For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother's womb." Psalm 139:13

Even to your old age and gray hairs I am he, I am he who will sustain you. I have made you and I will carry you; I will sustain you and I will rescue you. Isaiah 46:4

It is an awesome thought to me that God has been with me every moment of my life and will be with me when I die. He was there for my first breath and will be there for my last. Thank you God!