Saturday, December 31, 2011

New Year . . . New life

Today is the last day of 2011. People are saying farewell to 2011 by gathering with friends at parties, going to restaurants and standing outside in Times Square to watch a big crystal ball drop (and what the appeal is in that, I have no clue). 

For many, New Year's Day represents new hope and a new beginning.  The old year is over and a new year has begun.  People take this time to make resolutions to be better in the new year - lose weight, spend more time with their kids, etc.  Usually, however, by the end of the year, these resolutions have been broken and the person is right back where he or she started. 

When a person repents of his sins and asks Jesus to come into their hearts to be his or her Savior, he or she is born again.  This means a new, clean life and a new beginning. That person becomes a new creation in Christ.  They become children of God and have eternal life in Christ.  All of their sins have been forgiven and forgotten. In contrast with the broken resolutions, if we sin after we have been born again, Jesus stands ready to forgive us  and welcome us back into the fold.  The blood He shed on the Cross covers our sins.

Unlike the New Year, which shows up without us doing anything at all, being born again is a conscious decision.  We have to open our mouth and ask Jesus to forgive our sins in order to be born again and receive that new and eternal life.  By repenting of your sins and receiving Jesus as your Savior, you escape the wrath of hell and get to spend eternity in Heaven.

Friend, if you are reading this and you have not yet repented of your sins and received Jesus as your Savior, what's holding you back? Why not make this new year the first year of your walk with Christ? If you need help, here's a prayer: 

"Lord, I know I am a sinner, and I need Your forgiveness for my sins. I believe that You died for me on the Cross. Please come into my heart and make me new. I want you to be my Lord and Savior. I give my life totally and completely to You. Thank you for forgiving my sins and making me new."

Did you say the prayer? If so, congratulations! You are now my brother or sister in Christ. Your first step should be to purchase a Bible. Start by reading the first four books of the New Testament, also known as the Gospels. They will tell you about Jesus. The second thing you should do is find a Bible-believing church where you can learn about being a Christian and you can meet other Christians. I would love to know if you prayed to receive Jesus. Please enter a comment to let me know.

Happy New Year!  I pray for a happy, healthy and prosperous new year for you!

Diane

Monday, December 26, 2011

The write style - Biblically speaking

If you enjoy reading (like I do) you read everything that certain authors write because you like their writing style.  You may enjoy the way a fiction writer tell a story and how they develop characters.  You may enjoy how a non-fiction writer presents information.  An author's writing style reflects their personality and their knowledge of a subject or their passion for a story. 

The Bible is the Holy Spirit inspired Word of God, but God dictated His words to humans to transcribe.  (I am a legal secretary, so I do a lot of transcribing.) Each transcriber of God's Word had his own writing style that revealed his personality.  If you read the books of the Bible carefully, you will be able to see the personality traits of each transcriber. Let's take a look at a few of these transcribers. 

My favorite Bible transcriber would have to be the apostle John.  John 1:1-18 reads like prose and is beautifully written. John 4 is all about love, the love of Jesus for us and our love for one another.  John also wrote the book of Revelation, with its vivid descriptions of the end times.  Since I like to write as well as read, I look forward to meeting John in Heaven to swap notes, so to speak. 

Reading Paul's epistles reveals a very different personality than John.  Paul was very authoritative. He often used athletic metaphors such as "running so that I complete the race" or "fighting the good fight" to get his point across.  When a fellowship or a person was in the wrong, Paul didn't mince words - he told it like it was.  He often comes across as harsh, yet he had a passion for people to be saved, especially his Jewish brethren. 

Luke is another transcriber with a different personality.  Luke was a historian.  He was very detail oriented, due no doubt to his training as a physician.  Luke is the only one who reported that while Jesus was praying in the Garden of Gethsemane, his sweat appeared as like large drops of blood.  He vividly described the Holy Spirit descending on the people in the Upper Room and the founding of the early church.  Luke also described in great detail how Paul met Jesus on the road to Damascus and his conversion to a follower of Christ.

Moses was one of the greatest transcribers of God's words in the Old Testament.  The first five books of the Bible, known as the Pentateuch, were written by Moses.  Although he was not an eyewitness to the events that happened before he was born, he his descriptive words make these events come to life.  He is a huge part of the Exodus story, yet he describes himself as a humble man who loved God.

I invite you to take another look at the books of the Bible to discover who their transcribers were and try to figure out their writing styles and their personality.  It just might just add new life to your study of the Bible! 

Thanks for reading!  See you next time!

Diane

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Love your local library!

One of my favorite places has always been the library.  Where else can you find a way to travel around the world without spending any money?  Where else can you find a way to let your imagination run free?  Or learn about various things for free? 

I loved reading when I was a child.  My parents were poor and we didn't always have the money to do things, but I could go to the library and check out books to read.  I could read fiction books and imagine myself in the story. I could learn about other countries and other time periods.  I could check out books that taught me how to do different things.  I could use the reference books to do reports or learn about things. Books were my friends when no one else would be. 

I still love to read and I still love the library.  And I love the written word (but not more than the Word).  Today, the library is more than just books.  The library has magazines and newspapers.  It has microfiche machines where you can look at old newspapers and see what life was like in earlier times. The library has movies and computer software that can be checked out. Our library has a genealogy reference section.  There is a section of computers with Internet access for card holders to use.  Our library also has audio books you can check out.

Even in this day of Internet access and computer use, books are still the best way to find out information. A love of reading does not come naturally, however.  It has to be modeled.  My son loves to read, and it's because he sees me reading.  We also make weekly library trips. My husband is not a big reader, and I believe it's because it was not modeled to him when he was growing up. 

This year is the 175th anniversary of the Belleville Public Library, which is the library we visit every week (and is pictured above).  This post is dedicated to the librarians there, who help us find the books we want to read, buy Boy Scout popcorn from my son and helped him with his Reading merit badge.  Your local librarians are great resources for information.  They're there to help.  So go to your local library and see what's there.  You never know what you might find. 

See you next time!

Diane

Monday, September 5, 2011

Ah, a sweet aroma


In  2 Corinthians 2:15-16a, Paul states the following:  "For we are to God the fragrance of Christ among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing. To the one [we are] the aroma of death [leading] to death, and to the other the aroma of life [leading] to life." Let's take a look at what this means.

Webster's Dictionary has two definitions of  "aroma." Definition 1a is "a distinctive pervasive and usually pleasant or savory smell." Think of the wonderful smell of a fresh flower,or the smell of coffee brewing. Or the smell of fried chicken cooking.  Definition 2 is "a distinctive quality or atmosphere." This definition is the one that fits the verses the best, I think.

So how can we be the fragrance of Christ to God among believers? I don't think that personal hygiene was what Paul had in mind, although that certainly wouldn't hurt. LOL!

I think what Paul meant was how we present ourselves as Christians.  Smell precedes sight. You smell the  fragrance before you see what is causing the fragrance. When you meet someone for the first time, how you treat that person is being the fragrance of Christ.  And how do we do that?  By being kind, courteous, caring and welcoming.  When a brother or sister in Christ is hurting, being there for them and helping if possible is being the fragrance of Christ.  When a fellow Christian is rejoicing, we rejoice with them. Worshiping the Lord with all your heart and soul is the fragrance of Christ to God. 

But what about the second part of that verse - the part about we Christians being the aroma of death to those who don't believe?  I think it means that our actions and words are so sweet that they are sickening.  The aroma of Christ that emanates from believers shows the lost how dark their souls are and what their eternal destination will be - unless they repent and trust Christ for salvation.

So think about how you are the fragrance of Christ in the world and how you can smell even sweeter. I know I am!  See you next time!

Diane

Thursday, June 2, 2011

The big C

Cancer
Is an insidious disease. 
It does not discriminate
As to age
Or creed
Or race
Or social status.
It is no respecter of persons.
If caught early enough,It can be beaten down
By radiation and chemotherapy
And kept away by medicine.
But most times,
It is a parasite that feeds off its host
And multiplies
Moving to other places in the body
To wreak havoc there as well. 
It leaves sorrow in its wake
As those who have lost loved ones
To this insidious disease
Mourn their losses and sometimes wonder,
"Am I next?"
Yet there is hope
That someday a cure may be found
And this infernal disease
Would not torment and kill any more.
As for me, I look forward to the day
When this becomes reality:
"And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away." Revelation 21:4

Please feel free to pay tribute to your loved ones who have passed away from cancer by commenting below.  Here are mine:

Patrick Schultz 1964-2011
Violet Kathriner 1930-1997
Esther Mae Klingelhoefer
Sylvester (Spencer) Klingelhoefer

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Easter: it's not about the bunny

It's not about the eggs, it's not about the candy, and it's not about the Easter Bunny. (Or the Easter Beagle, if you're a Charlie Brown fan.).  It's also not about new clothes and presents.  The word "Easter" derives from the old English word Eastre, which refers to Eostur-monath, a month of the Germanic calendar named after the goddess Eostre of Anglo-Saxon mythology.   The correct name of Easter, in my mind, should be Resurrection Day.

What Easter is really all about is the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the grave three days after he died on the cross.   There are those who think that Easter is to celebrate spring's arrival.  Why should we celebrate something that happens every year?  Jesus was resurrected once and for all time.  That's worth celebrating every year (and every day, for that matter)!

Jesus triumphed over death and the grave.  Because He rose from the dead, sin and death have been defeated forever. The victory was His on that Resurrection Day.  The victory is now ours as well, for Jesus' death on the cross saved us from our sins and His resurrection redeems us and justifies us.

Matthew 27:52-53 records that when Jesus rose from the grave, many of the saints rose from their graves and appeared to those in the city.  We who believe in Christ will  have our own Resurrection Day, since believers will be raised from the dead at the Rapture.  Unbelievers will have a Resurrection Day at the second coming of Christ, and they will face God's judgment at the Bema Seat.  Examine your heart right now and determine on which Resurrection Day you will be raised - the first or the second?  If you determine that you'll be raised on the second Resurrection Day, and that concerns you, I urge you to pray for forgiveness from your sins and accept the sacrifice made on the cross for you.  If you are unsure as to how to pray for forgiveness, click here for some assistance.  And please comment below if you prayed for forgiveness and received Jesus as your Savior.  I want to rejoice with you!

So today on this Resurrection Day, set your hearts and minds on the real reason to celebrate - the resurrection of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!  Have a blessed day!

Your sister in Christ,

Diane

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Seasons change

Last Friday, I heard the news of a birth (the grandchild of a friend) and a death (the husband of one of my cousins). Life began for one soul and eternal life began for another soul, both on the same day.

Birth and death are just two of the chronological seasons we go through on our life's journey. There are also seasons of trials and tribulations - financial difficulties, health problems, relationship problems, job problems.  Yet no matter what season we are in our lives, there is one constant - God.  Jesus never changes - He is the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow.  (Hebrews 16:8) Those of us who have put our trust in Jesus as our Savior know that He is always with us, no matter what happens.

Knowing that God doesn't change and that He's always with us is a comfort. He's only a prayer away.  When you look back at the trials and tribulations you've been through, you will realize that you've been the closest to God.  Take a moment just now to thank God for being with you with through everything you've faced in your life, that He's with you right now and that He'll help you with what's yet to come. 

That's all for now!  See you again soon!

Diane

Thursday, February 3, 2011

The only book you'll ever need

I'm sure you've seen those "man on the street" interviews where the people are asked what book they would want with them if they were stranded on a deserted island.  Some people would select Les Miserables, Gone with the Wind or War and Peace, since those are long novels and they would keep you occupied for awhile.  Other people would select a book that would help them survive on the island, such as the Boy Scout handbook. Still others would select books such as romance novels or adventure novels that would help them take their minds off the fact that they are on a deserted island.

There is only one book that I would take on a deserted island.  It has a little of everything.  It has romance, adventure, wisdom and epic battles.  It tells how things began and how it all will end.  It even tells what will happen in the future.  It has poetry and stories.  It was written by several different authors, but they were inspired in their writing by one person.

Yes, you guessed it - the book I would want on a deserted island is the Bible.  I'll break out the paragraph above and show you where you can find these various things in the Bible:

Romance - Song of Solomon, Ruth and Boaz
Adventure - Exodus (Israel leaving Egypt on a 40 year journey through the wilderness); Jonah in the belly of the whale
Wisdom - Proverbs, Ecclesiastes
Epic battles - Joshua and the battle of Jericho; the Egyptians at the Red Sea; David and his mighty men battling King Saul
How things began - Genesis
How things will end - Revelation
Things in the future - Daniel, the prophets, 2 Peter 2, 3
Poetry - Psalms, Moses and Miriam's song of triumph, Mary's song of praise (the Magnificat)
Stories - Jesus' parables
This is just a short list; I'm sure there is much more in the Bible in these categories than I have listed here.

For the last several years, I have read the Bible all the way through from beginning to end.  I am now a member of two Bible study groups: a ladies' Bible study group and an inductive Bible study group. I am learning so much more about the Bible and what is in it than I ever saw before.  There is so much in the Bible to be mined that one could never find everything that God has hidden in it. 

The greatest romance of all is the one between God and His chosen people Israel, and Jesus and the Church, His Bride.  These love stories will never end. 

Well, that's all for now - it's time for my evening Bible study.  The ladies' Bible study is in Exodus right now.  See you again soon!

Diane

P.S.:  I welcome comments - just keep them clean, or I won't publish them.  Thanks!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Light bright

My husband wakes up at 4:30 a.m. to get ready for work. He turns on the lamp on the dresser so he can see to get dressed. I instinctively roll over away from the light so that it doesn't wake me up, because I'm not due to get up for another hour.

Light illuminates. Light helps us to see in the dark - a flashlight, a candle or a streetlight.  Light attracts us to things - like a neon sign on a building, or like the mosquito to the bug light. Light is also used for medicinal purposes, like for the baby with jaundice or for people suffering from Seasonal Affective Disorder.

In John 8:12, Jesus proclaims that He is the light of the world.  And just like I roll over away from the lamp at 4:30 a.m., people turn away from Jesus' light.  The light of Jesus exposes them for what they really are - sinners.  Jesus' light floods the darkness in their souls. Jesus said to Nicodemus in John 3:19-20:  "And this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. For everyone practicing evil hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed."

Jesus' light is the only light that can cleanse the soul of its darkness.  But Jesus' light is not scary; it's warm and loving.  Jesus' blood covers all sins, and His light transforms us and makes us new creations.  Oh friend, do not be frightened of Jesus' light.  It may shine into the dark corners of your soul and expose your deepest sins and dark desires, but Jesus longs to shine the light of His salvation into you and save you.  He longs to use His light to remove the darkness from your soul.  If you haven't put your trust in Jesus for the salvation of your soul, you can do that right now.  All you have to do is tell Jesus that you're sorry for all the sins you've committed, ask Him to flood your dark soul with His light, and tell Him that you're going to live for Him for the rest of your life.  Then He will come and live in your soul, and make you a new creation in Him. 


That's all for tonight.  See you again soon!

Diane

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Help wanted

Job requirements:

  • Born again believer in Jesus
  • A heart for the lost
  • Knowledge that God is with you no matter what
  • Knowledge of the Gospel
  • Boldness
Compensation:  None on Earth, but a "well done, faithful servant" from the Savior in Heaven.

Did you know that Jesus has a job for us to do?  That is, in addition to reading our Bibles, living by His laws, worshiping Him and serving others?  Our job is to go out and spread the Gospel to the world.  It's more commonly known as the Great Commission.  It can be found in Matthew 28:18-20 (ESV translation throughout):

And Jesus came and said to them, "All authority on heaven and on earth has been given to me.  Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you." 

Now some would argue that the Great Commission was only for the disciples, but if that were the case, the Christian faith would have died out after the disciples' converts died.  Paul said in Romans 10:14-15, 17:  "How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching? And how are they to preach unless they are sent? As it is written, 'How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!'. . . So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ."

In order for the lost to hear about Jesus, someone has to tell them.  Jesus has commanded it.  Paul reiterates it.  It's up to us to do it.  So how do we tell the lost about Jesus? Some people use tracts.  Other people use the Way of the Master method and are street evangelists.  Some people strike up conversations with co-workers or strangers on the bus.

"But Diane," you say (maybe even whining), "I don't want to go to the jungle to evangelize the natives."  Not all of us are called to do that.  There are other mission fields, and lots of them are close to home.  Your own family can be your mission field.  My own husband is not yet saved.  My teenage son is saved, but he's a backslider.  None of my in-laws are born-again Christians.  You may live in a neighborhood where you are the only Christian.  Befriend your neighbors and share the Gospel with them.  Invite them to church on Sunday morning or to a special event at your church. 

So pray to the Lord to show you what you can do to spread the Gospel.  It's our job to do it.  Pray for courage and boldness to spread the Gospel.  And after you've spread the Good News, post your results in a comment so everyone can see it and rejoice. 

Thanks for reading!  See you again soon!

Diane