Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Back to Judas...and temptation

I think I'm going to start looking for references to Judas in the New Testament. My faulty memory tells me that, other than when the disciples are listed by name, we don't know that we encounter him, except at the Lord's supper and the betrayal.

I wonder why it has been so hard to accept the fact that Satan could enter into a follower of Christ. Satan tempted Christ Himself. He tempts us all, each and every day. I thought back to the first mention of temptation, when Satan tempted Eve. Remember how she told him that they had been forbidden to eat of the tree of knowledge of good and evil? Up until that moment, everything they had done had been good, no question about it--because they didn't have a clue what "good" meant! Everything in that garden was put there for their benefit and enjoyment. God had given them one rule--just one. "Don't eat from the tree of knowledge of good and evil." Until that moment, there had been no reason for 10 commandments, Mosaic law, or codes of Hammurabi--that was it. One rule.

And Eve broke it. Why? Because Satan tempted her into using her human brain (also a gift of God, by the way) to try to think through a situation that didn't need thought. She did not need to think about this, folks. God told her, very simply, "Don't do it." But just like a child, she had to try to figure out WHY God had told her this, and WHY shouldn't she do it. She probably already had learned that if you ate too many kumquats, you didn't feel good the next day--natural consequences. If you ate too many persimmons, you couldn't whistle. If you took a nap in the poison ivy--oh, wait, maybe there wasn't any poison ivy in the garden. So Eve probably already knew a few things she shouldn't do.

But this one thing that God had told her she MUST not do--that was a different matter. 'I wonder why I shouldn't do that. I wonder what that fruit makes you do. It looks good--I've recovered from the kumquats and the persimmons--I didn't die. And then Satan told me, surely I won't die--what's death, anyway?' And Eve chose (remember she had the freedom to choose--she probably chose to eat that last kumquat that day) to eat of the tree. Her curiosity got the better of her. And then she told Adam to try it. And he chose to do that.

So why is it difficult to believe that a Christ-follower couldn't be tempted? We don't know the specifics of Judas' temptation, like we do about Christ and Eve. Think, folks. There are ways that we as Christ-followers could be tempted to do what Satan suggests. What if he were told that by the betrayal, he could further Christ's kingdom? Remember, he knew those scriptures...or at least he may have. He probably had at least heard that the Christ must be betrayed, that the Christ must die...and he may not have come to grasp the fact that Christ's kingdom would not be earthly. I believe there might have been a way that I could have been tempted...how about you? Talk amongst yourselves, and share your thoughts on this. Love to all, and God bless.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

SS Sidetrack of the day

Okay, today's lesson was on John 17, the prayer of Jesus after the last supper. We started discussing Judas Iscariot, and what was his final outcome. I guess I might have been under the impression that Judas would be burning in Hell through all eternity for actually betraying the Son of God.

Then I started to think about Judas' part in Jesus's ministry. He is seldom mentioned by name when Jesus is talking about the disciples, yet we know he was one of the twelve. When Jesus commissioned the twelve to go out and witness, Judas went with them. Judas was there when Jesus preached the Sermon on the Mount, he was there when Jesus fed the five thousand, he was there when Jesus calmed the angry storm...He witnessed a lot of healings, casting out of demons, saw the money changers driven from the temple...

Do you suppose that Judas made a u-turn after he betrayed Jesus? We know that he took the 30 pieces of silver back to the temple and attempted to return it. When the priests wouldn't accept it, he flung it on the floor and then went out and killed himself. Many of us have heard of death-bed confessions; the thief on the cross was told that he would be in Paradise with Jesus. Some of Jesus's last words were "Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do." I wonder if Judas might have been one of those folks Jesus was asking God to forgive.

Just a sidetrack, but it left us wondering today. Love to all, and God bless.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

My chance to help

I just got an opportunity to help an African orphan! My daughters' friends, the Prossers, are in the process of adopting a little girl from Africa. They have a pretty novel idea on how to start raising money for airline tickets--I'm going to help them with this. You might want to check out this link and see if you could possibly help, too. Love to all, and God bless.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Tonight's insight

I've been having a problem lately with internet stories that I hear and can't follow up. These aren't the urban legend stuff, but rather stories about particular children or families who have been affected by tragedy, much like the Australian blogger who had been separated from her husband by the horrific wildfires down there.

Tonight at supper, I talked for a while to our youth pastor's wife. She and her husband just adopted a child from China. I've been following their story on their blog, as well as from updates we receive at church. Recently she posted a link to pictures of other children in China who are awaiting adoption. I wanted to adopt them all! She said she knew how I felt.

I told her about a blog post I had seen with a link to a video about a couple of small children in Africa. These children had polio, which had left them paralyzed from the waist down. They were just lying in the sun, on the dirt, in the middle of a very small village. No one seemed to be interested in them or their needs. Then a third child, who appeared to be a little older than the two, showed up with a bucket of water. She had walked over two miles to fetch back some water so that she could bath the two children, who were her brother and sister. She carefully washed them and then put their clothes back on them.

The folks who made the video found out that this older child was only 8 years old. Why she was the one who was responsible for the care of these children, we don't know. What they did at night, if they had a home where they were taken in, we don't know. The film crew were investigating the details and were going to see to the care of the children. I told my son in law about this video this past weekend. He said there were many children like that in his home country.

Folks, my heart is hurting from seeing stories like these. I told the pastor's wife that sometimes I think the internet is a curse! I get worried about these little folks, and there is NOTHING I can do for them. So very, very sad. She told me she felt internet was useful, as it allowed us to know about things like this--and maybe there was something we could do.

Then, at prayer time, I had what I call a revelation. By feeling so helpless in this situation, I was limiting the power of God. I felt God could only do what I was able to help him do, that if I could not help him physically in this situation, there was nothing He could do. Me, the one who is always talking about how we mustn't limit God to our human abilities! It dawned on me that when I prayed for these children, God used my prayers to help them. He found workers around them, much like the big sister with the bucket of water and the film crew, to meet their needs. Maybe the reason I am seeing all these things now is that God wants me to be more of a prayer warrior and NOT to doubt His ability to meet the needs of His children!

Anyway, that's my take on the matter. I still want to know what happened to the woman in Australia, the children in Africa, and if the children in China will be adopted, but I also know that I can pray for them and all the other little children and hurting folks in the world. That the power of prayer is much greater than my human appreciation of it.

I will keep praying, and never doubt God. Love to all, and God bless.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009


If you're wondering about the purpose of sending troops into Afghanistan, read Kite Runner and A Thousand Splendid Suns. I just finished them last month, and they have changed my thinking in a big way.

Monday, February 09, 2009

A prayer request from Australia

It's not a small world, is it? So much going on, so many folks suffering...Today I was skimming through my email and opened a letter from a quilting site. There was an interesting link, showing a pyramid doorstop--nothing I was interested in making, but still, there might be something else on the woman's sight. So I clicked on home...

I guess you're like most of us, you've heard bits and pieces of news lately. I just happened to hear, this morning, about a series of wild fires in Australia. We have a little interest in Australia around here, because of David sitting on a jury that tried a case involving Australians several years ago. I didn't pay a lot of attention to the story, though.

Well, this blog with the pyramid doorstop was written by a woman in Australia, from the state where the wild fires were taking place. And she was living this experience that I had just heard about on the news. And her husband might well be one of the 130+ people who were either dead or missing. She had no news as to his whereabouts. Her eight-year-old son was with his grandparents in another city, and she was sitting close to what used to be her home, trying to stay sane, and hoping to get some word about her missing husband. I don't really think her name is important at this point, but if you want more details, here is her blog.

I am continuously amazed at the way God connects me to folks who need prayer--someone I don't know, half a world away. The poignancy of her situation really got to me as I skimmed over a few older posts and saw a picture of new coffee mugs she had just purchased a few days back, one that said Princess, another that said Stud. That day, those mugs were worthy of posting. Now I am following her blog to see if Stud is still alive.

Do you find yourself forming connections with folks around the world, folks you've never met? Love to all, and God bless.

Update: Tuesday morning, when I went to check on these folks, the blog "All it took" had been removed. I'm not sure what happened there, but I do pray that Stud was found, and that soon life will be moving toward normal for their family.

Saturday, February 07, 2009

Yes We Can

I spend too much time fooling around with simple video games and the like. This week, AARP had one that was right up my alley. If you would like to help our new president "put the pieces together," click here. It took me two tries, but I finally accomplished it. I know you can do better than that. Love to all, and God bless.