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Knowledge, inspiration, and encouragement from a Christian perspective is my goal. I post a weekly commentary, which could be about world events or the events of my week. Other days I might share stories, recipes, homemaking tips, book reviews, political talk, biblical truth, or other blogs and websites I like. This blog is like a box of chocolates. You never know what you're gonna get.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

EVIDENCE WORTH BELIEVING

If you get the History channel, you've probably seen the program about December 21, 2012 being predicted for centuries as history's final day. This topic has a lot of people talking right now. With the world being in such a shaky condition, people are searching for answers. They're questioning their beliefs and wondering where they can find truth.

People who don't believe in God have some very good questions about Christianity and every believer should be prepared to answer these questions and present evidence for his or her faith. It's for that reason that my husband and I have started a bible study on apologetics- answering the questions people have about Christianity and presenting logical arguments or reasons why you should believe in Christ.

This is the most interesting bible study I've ever participated in. I'm learning so much and what I'm learning is so exciting I can't keep it to myself. In a brief explanation, here are some of the evidences we've discovered. This study could go on forever and we're hoping that it will. Read on and decide for yourself if the evidence is worth believing.

Evidence of God

Since Einstein, five scientific discoveries have come to light that prove the universe did have a beginning. According to the "law of casualty," the fundamental principle of science, everything that had a beginning had a cause. In other words, a universe that began requires a beginner. So you might ask, "Then what caused God?" Well, God didn't need a cause because he didn't have a beginning. God is eternal.

Astronomers have proven by their own methods that the world began abruptly in an act of creation. They can trace the seeds of every star, planet, and living thing. And this act of creation happened as a product of forces they can't explain. Natural forces were not the cause. Something outside of nature was the cause.

Evidence of a designer

The universe is amazingly fine-tuned so that humans can exist. For example, oxygen is 21% of the atmosphere. If it were 25%, fires would constantly erupt. At 15%, humans would suffocate. If our planet were smaller (like Mercury) it couldn't support an atmosphere. If it were larger (like Jupiter) the atmosphere would contain hydrogen, which is poison to humans. Also, the earth is just the right distance from the sun-any closer we would burn, any further we would freeze. And probably the strongest indicator that our world has an intelligent designer is DNA, a highly complex informational code. You can't have a code without a code maker.

Evidence of God's written word

The bible stands alone as the best preserved literary work of all history. Over 24,000 New Testament manuscripts have been discovered. And the oldest of the Old Testament manuscripts (the dead sea scrolls) were discovered between 1947 and 1956 in eleven caves near the Dead Sea. "But the bible is just a story book written by men," you might say. Yes, God used 40 men from varied backgrounds to write the text of the bible over a period of 1,500 years. Yet the bible has one central theme and one continuous message, which is presented in perfect harmony. How could 40 men from varied walks of life, from a fisherman to a king, write a book that possesses such unity of theme and message unless it was inspired by one divine God?

To be continued...

Friday, January 23, 2009

A SWEET ESCAPE

Yesterday I ran away from home...for five hours. It felt great to have five glorious hours all to myself to do whatever I wanted. No one yelled, "Mom, where are my socks?" or "Mom, when's dinner?" I didn't have to listen to anyone's complaints or pre-pubescent attitudes. It was a slice of Heaven and I plan to do it more often.

No matter how great a family gets along, every one in that family needs time away. And the need for solitude should always be respected. There have been times when I needed to be alone on the same day we were planning to go visit family or friends. Instead of going and pretending to be sociable, I chose to go to the library or the mall to be by myself and refresh my spirit. I'm sure that some people didn't understand my decision and maybe even took it personally, as if I didn't want to see them. But that wasn't the case. I simply realized that I needed to get away, and I knew that if I didn't, no one would enjoy my company anyway.

I can always tell when someone in the room needs a sweet escape. They don't want to be where they are. And in my opinion, they should have stayed home. It's nice to see family and friends, but my need to see them isn't greater than their needs. And if what they need is solitude, then that's what they should have.

Yet, for some reason, taking time for ourselves often comes with a certain amount of guilt, as if we don't deserve such a luxury. A few years ago, I dreaded going to the funeral of a family member. I was going through a very stressful situation, and I just couldn't bring myself to go. Yet I knew that my absence would be questioned. And I worried that I would appear disrespectful. I realize now that I was suffering from exhaustion and the stress of a serious life change. What I needed was rest. So I listened to what my body and mind were crying out for and I didn't go to the funeral.

We've had several family gatherings since then, and not a single person has asked me why I wasn't there. Feeling guilty had been a waste of energy. And I decided that from then on, I would take the time I needed when I needed it, no matter what event was planned. Of course, there are times when we need to push through, put on a happy face and make an appearance. But we know by instinct when we must be tough and when we can give in to that need for a sweet escape.

Friday, January 16, 2009

LIFE'S LITTLE MISHAPS

The weeks go by so quickly. I just realized that I missed my Thursday deadline. I've been trying to write every Thursday. It's now Friday night and I have no idea what I'm going to say. Throughout the week, I try to remember things I experienced or things people said so I can use that material in my blog. The only thing that comes to mind at the moment is those little mishaps that bring so much interest to life. You know those things we do that are annoying at the time but we laugh about later. My day was filled with those, including one I can't laugh about.

First of all, I almost hit a car that pulled out in front of me in Halifax. That's the one I can't laugh about. I must have come within an inch of that car when the driver pulled out of his parking space and into my path, forcing me to come down hard on my brakes. I really didn't think I could stop in time and was just waiting for the sound of crunching metal. Fortunately that sound never came, but I was ticked and I wanted to give the guy a piece of my mind, but then I remembered the times that I did stupid things while driving and decided to forgive him.

Then I tried to use a Giant coupon at the Weis store. The cashier said, "This one isn't going to work" and handed it back. She laughed with me and said she did the same thing once or twice. This was after I had spent an hour pushing one of those annoying carts that are so hard to maneuver. The wheels were stuck or something wasn't right because I couldn't push the thing to the left without lifting the back wheels and sliding them to the right. I remember thinking when I grabbed it, "I hope this isn't one of those stupid carts you can't push."

As I wobbled my groceries to the car, a runaway can of Ravioli escaped from the cart's undershelf. Somehow it ended up following me across the parking lot like a well-healed puppy. I turned around and scooped it up, hoping no one had noticed. At least it was a can and not a jar. Last week I almost popped a tire at the Wal Mart parking lot when I nearly drove over a broken jar of spaghetti sauce. It wasn't mine.

That reminds me of another grocery mishap someone told me about years ago. I can't remember who it was, but she placed a gallon of milk on the roof of her car so she would have her hands free to unlock the door. Then she drove off with the milk riding on the roof. When she got home, she was certain she had bought a gallon of milk. A few hours later it hit her what she had done and she could only wonder how far the milk had traveled before exploding onto the ground. And worse yet, who might have seen it? How many people would be asking if the milk made it home safely?

It's amazing how many mishaps a person can have in one day. My ravioli wasn't the only runaway item I dealt with today. I nearly hit an empty garbage can as the wind rolled it across the street. Then I drove over the curb at the Burger King drive-thru. Maybe that was God telling me I shouldn't be eating the ice cream cone I ordered.

When I finally got my groceries home, I was glad to be back in my warm house and out of the bitter cold wind. My husband made me a cup of coffee and I hoped my mishaps were finished for one day. But as I'm typing this, he told me that he found that container of tomatoes I was looking for. I knew I had bought two tubs of baby tomatoes but one had mysteriously disappeared. He found it in the bag I had just stuffed with empty grocery bags. Minutes later, my daughter said, "And we found a can of chicken bouillon in there too."

There must have been something in the air today, because my son just told me he locked his keys in his car at the gas station. Well I've done that too, with a toddler in the back seat and the windows up on one of the hottest days of the year. After calling for help, I remembered the spare key I had wired under the back of my car. That messed-up day cost me $40 to pay the guy that drove twenty miles to help me. Later I realized I had Triple A and could have gotten help for free. Some mishaps are just more mishappy than others as they seem to come in ever-worsening layers.

I'm hoping my layers are complete for one day, but it's only 8:oo. And now my daughter's mad at me for spending so much time at the computer instead of quality time with her. I think I'll go to bed early tonight. How much trouble can I get into while sleeping? Maybe a day like this will just spill over into my dreams. Oh well, there's always tomorrow. Tomorrow I can start over and have a good laugh about today. If nothing else, the day was quite entertaining, especially for the customers at Burger King who saw me drive over the curb. And it gave me something to write about. God can take even our mistakes and use them for good. That's why we shouldn't let those little mishaps bother us. They entertain, they make us laugh, and they keep us humble. I'm learning to embrace my mishaps. How boring the day would have been without them.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

WORTHWHILE RESOLUTIONS

Happy New Year! Now I must remember to write "09" on my checks instead of "O8". The older we get the faster time flies. Our parents were right. Summers seemed to last forever when I was a kid. I think that was because I was so carefree back then. Life was mostly about having fun. As adults, our lives are so busy with responsibilities that time slips away from us. If we had more time to catch bugs, lay in the grass and watch clouds go by or build snow forts, then maybe time would pass more slowly

As another new year begins, one thing I'm not doing is making resolutions I will not keep. I'm not promising to lose weight, although I would like to lose the four pounds I gained over the holidays. But there are more important things to consider. And sometimes, when we get our minds on something else, the thing we hope for just happens... like losing weight when we become completely engrossed in a new project.

Here's the project: Make only three resolutions this year, but make them big and challenging. First, Resolve to love people, not things. On New year's Eve, I heard one of the saddest examples of loving things more than people. A young girl came home and told her mom that one of her classmates kept looking inside her shirts to read the tags at her back neckline. After several days of this she asked her classmate why she was doing this. "I'm just checking to see if you're wearing cool clothes or junk," she said in a sassy tone.

Kids are cruel. And they can either be corrected or allowed to act this way. If I caught my daughter making such a comment she would have some serious consequences awaiting her. When someone makes a piece of fabric more important than a young girl's feelings, that person needs a lesson in love or maybe she needs to feel loved herself. When we love things more than people we display a twisted sense of what truly matters in life. It can be a house, a car, a shirt, a vacation, or anything we want or value more than the people around us. In the movie, "Fireproof" a husband who finally realized what love is gave up the money he was saving for a boat. He gave twenty thousand dollars of his hard-earned savings to his wife's sick mother. Now that's loving people more than things.

Another resolution that's worth making is to speak less and listen more. Have you ever had a conversation with someone and they don't hear you because they are thinking about what they want to say next, and they respond to your response before you can finish a sentence? The book of Proverbs has this to say: "He who answers before listening--that is his folly and his shame."

Few things make me feel less important than a poor listener. And I don't want to be one myself. At times holding my tongue is the most difficult thing in the world. I have so many clever come backs that I could spew out. But one thing I noticed is that I always feel better the next day after holding my tongue. I'm almost proud of myself for taking the high road and it feels good. While in my memory, the person who stood in front of me shooting her mouth off sounded like a fool. But even when the conversation is a pleasant exchange among friends, we can learn a lot by listening more and speaking less.

The last resolution on my list is by far the most important. These three words have the power to change your life...Put God first. Whenever I overhear someone sharing a problem they're trying to overcome, I want to ask, "Are you putting God first and praying for his help"? So many people face life on their own. They stumble through each day with no peace. When a problem arises, they face it with nothing more than their own strength and their own understanding.

Rather than to ask for wisdom from the God of the Universe, creator of all things, some people put faith in themselves, believing that they are more capable and smarter than God. They think Christians are weak and in need of a crutch to get through life. But they are the ones who are stumbling. They walk through each uncertain day while God-fearing Christians live a life on wings. God carries us through every trial toward victory.

Why walk when you can fly? Needing God is needing a crutch? Quite the opposite is true. Seeking God allows us to toss away our crutches and take flight. Flying is freedom. There's a freedom that comes with putting God first. He promises to care for our every need when we seek him with all of our hearts. God's resources are limitless, and he can bless us with everything we need. All he asks is that we seek him first.

Seeking God means praying and studying his word in The Bible. Every one of life's problems can be solved when we put God first and follow his lead. What a great year 2009 will be if we make and keep those three resolutions...love people; not things, speak less; listen more, and put God first.

God wants us to have the best life we can possibly have on earth. The choices we make will either lead us toward or away from that blessed life. The Bible is our instruction manual, and every resolution I mentioned can be backed up with scripture. These aren't my suggestions, they are God's. The bible contains every resolution worth making and keeping. If we pick up God's book, read it, and do what it says, we will have the best year of our lives.