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"In Quiet Solitude" print | email
“IN QUIET SOLITUDE”



Healing one’s inner self,
Offers a refreshing hope.
There is a place of peace,
In the quiet solitude of your soul.
A place where comfort breathes life
Into a tearful heart.



In the midst of silent sorrow.
A soothing hallowed light
Will gently caress you.
Leaving a renewed strength
And an inner courage
To face what lies ahead.



In the wings of your journey
Take that solo flight.
Reach a higher plateau of fulfillment
And stand by the pillars of your beliefs.
Release your soul to freedom
And ascend toward God’s light.


Novo Card Publishers, Inc.
Card # 996
Lincolnwood, IL.
(“God’s,” added by Randall Laraway)
Author: Randall Laraway Contributed by onesimus on Feb 6th, 2007

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"Winter's Gift" print | email
WINTER’S GIFT”



In the bleak midwinter, frosty wind made moan,
Earth stood hard as iron, water like a stone;
Snow had fallen, snow on snow, snow on snow,
In the bleak midwinter, long ago.


In the bleak midwinter a stable place sufficed
The Lord God Almighty, Jesus Christ.
Our God, heaven cannot hold Him, nor earth sustain;
Heaven and earth shall flee away when He comes to reign.


What can I give Him, poor as I am?
If I were a shepherd, I would bring a lamb;
If I were a Wise man, I would do my part;
Yet what I can give Him; give my heart.



“Jesus was in the world, and the world was made through Him, yet the world did not know Him.  He came to His own, and His own people did not receive Him” (John 1:10-11).  You first gave yourself to the Lord . . .



Inspiration through Jesus Christ
Composed by God’s Grace
Written by Christina Rossetti
Author: Christina Rossetti Contributed by onesimus on Feb 1st, 2007

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"Sisyphean Astrology" print | email
“SISYPHEAN ASTROLOGY”

Where Scripture Speaks

               “Today, astrology serves usually as a muted protest against everyday social identity or generally accepted scientific values and cosmology.  While interest in astrology is widespread, it has been especially favored by the so-called counterculture, and by many in the lower and lower-middle classes, particularly women.  It desubstantializes oppressive personal relationships, offering instead an exotic alternative identity in which faults are erased or elevated into association with a “star family” embracing strangers.  In an increasingly fluid, anonymous, and heterogeneous society, pattern and typological identities are discovered within a larger cosmic harmony.  Then a sense of control is restored to personal life through the aesthetic and probabilistic terms in which predictions are couched/set aside.  The power of such a vision is seen in the fact that it persists even though the zodiac houses and their stellar correlates, being fixed as they were during the Hellenistic period, are now literally 2,000 years out of congruence, making the system obsolete even in its own terms.”[A]   A rocket science degree is not required to comprehend that astrology, horoscopes and psychics are all very much obsolescent.

               “Once upon a time . . . Human beings have been fascinated by fairy tales—mythical stories of enchanted lands inhabited by elves, trolls, giants, and ogres.  Unicorns and dragons roam the countryside; witches and warlocks cast their magic spells.  Heroes and villains engage in the epic battle between good and evil, darkness and light.  They embark on the quest for adventure and romance and most of all, power.  Power to escape from bondage, power to conquer those who held them captive, power to rule over all they possess.”

               “Many people enjoy these stories as an entertaining escape from the hassles of everyday life.  Others find themselves wishing the fairy tales were true, that somehow they could experience the intriguing mysteries of the fantasy world.  Is there such a thing as magic?  Could supernatural beings really exist?  Can life and power be found in another galaxy, a parallel universe, or an unseen spirit world?”

               “To find answers, some people experiment with Ouija boards and tarot cards and role-playing games.  Others look to crystals and amulets—or psychics, who claim to have mystical powers.  Still others consult handbooks on the practice of witchcraft and spiritualism.”

               “The Bible teaches us that there is an unseen spirit world—a world populated not by sorcerers and magicians, but by angels and demons.  There is a battle going on, a battle for the survival—or destruction—of the human race.”

               “Our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against . . . the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms” (Eph. 6:12).  Before time began, an angel named Lucifer led a rebellion against God, his Creator.  He wanted power and glory and worship for himself, and he succeeded in convincing a third of the angels in heaven to join him in his revolt.  But they were no match for Almighty God; they were cast out of heaven in humiliation and defeat.  Ever since then, Lucifer (Satan) has been seeking revenge.  He is determined to destroy the people God created, by turning them against God, inciting them to rebellion and wickedness, luring them into the darkness of sin.  Satan knows that the consequence of sin is death—eternal separation from God.  What could hurt God more than to destroy His beloved creation, separating them from Him for all eternity?”

               “It is the ultimate battle of good and evil—a battle for all time.  But the outcome was settled more than 2,000 years ago.  God triumphed over Satan’s schemes by sending His Son Jesus to die on the cross for our sins.  Jesus paid the penalty for us so that we could be forgiven and restored to a right relationship with God.  He triumphed over sin and death, setting us free from the power of darkness once and for all.”

               “Therefore God exalted Him to the highest place and gave Him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord” (Philps. 2:9-11).  Those who put their faith in Him will discover that their true destiny is far more wonderful than anything the fantasy world imagines.  “You are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His wonderful light” (I Pet.2:9).  In Christ, we become a “new creation.”  The power of God’s Holy Spirit works in us and through us to accomplish His perfect will.”

               “But those who reject Jesus and who seek supernatural power apart from Him have aligned themselves with the enemies of God.  The Scripture warns, “Let no one be found among you who . . . practices divination or sorcery, interprets omens, engages in witchcraft, or casts spells, or who is a medium or spiritist or who consults the dead.  Anyone who does these things is detestable to the Lord” (Deut. 18:10-12).  Such persons will be separated from God forever; their eternal destiny is hell, “a fiery lake of burning sulfur” (Rev. 21:8).

               “This is no fairy tale—it’s the gospel truth.  And every one of us must make a choice—we must take sides in the unseen battle of the spirit world.  It’s truly a matter of life and death.  Please, friend, choose life!”[B]

               So my friend, exactly what is it for which you are searching?  Are you so caught up in reading a horoscope that it controls you and/or your daily actions?  Perhaps you feel so out of control and with no purpose in life, that you are grasping for some sort of security?   Some people experience such emptiness that a psychic must attempt to give them something to fill the void.  Are you in this situation?  Also, a lot of seekers are taking hold of any form of “spirituality” which seems to serve their reasoning.  A good many folks deny themselves the chance to even approach religion at all because of “churched hypocrisy” seen merely in other humans.  However, does this not pass judgment on yourself and in the process ruin the opportunity of having a personal relationship with the God Who created and unconditionally loves you?  In other words ARE YOU GOING TO ALLOW SOMEBODY ELSE TO CONTROL YOUR DESTINY?  I know a man who was a seeker, experienced emptiness but, HE HAD A PURPOSE TO FULFIL!  HIS DESIRE was to make a way for EVERYONE to have the very BEST OFFER to experience the HOPE of EVERLASTING LIFE!  Friend, that man is The Son of Man, CHRIST JESUS, THE LORD and SAVIOR of ALL who will humbly come to HIM, just as we are…empty… searching …lost.  Jesus the Man, is waiting patiently for your response to His appeal, as in no time like the present. . .        

                   “The Spirit searches all things, even the deep things of God.  For who among men knows the thoughts of man except the man’s spirit within him?  In the same way no one knows the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God.  We have not received the spirit of the world but the Spirit Who is from God, that we may understand what God has freely given us.  This is what we speak, not in words taught by human wisdom but in words taught by the Spirit, expressing spiritual truths in spiritual words.  The man without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually discerned.”[C]    

                    “But God shows His anger from heaven against all sinful, wicked people who push the truth away from themselves.  For the truth about God is known to them instinctively.  God has put this knowledge in their hearts.  From the time the world was created, people have seen the earth and sky and all that God made.  They can clearly see His invisible qualities---His eternal power and divine nature.  So they have no excuse whatsoever for not knowing God.  Yes, they know God, but they wouldn’t worship Him as God or even give Him thanks.  And they began to think up foolish ideas of what God was like.  The result was that their minds became dark and confused.  Claiming to be wise, they became utter fools instead.  And instead of worshiping the glorious, ever-living God, they worshiped idols made to look like mere people, or birds and animals and snakes.  So God let them go ahead and do whatever shameful things their hearts desired.  As a result, they did vile and degrading things with each other’s bodies.  Instead of believing what they knew was the truth about God, they deliberately chose to believe lies.  So they worshiped the things God made but not the Creator Himself, Who is to be praised forever.  Amen.[D]

               “How often do we wish to see around the corner of life?  Then in some various degrees we could prepare for it, perhaps control it, or even avoid it all together.  A wise person once said, “Though we can’t see around corners, God can.”  Is this not much better and reassuring!   One day my 10-year-old grand-daughter Emily and I were boiling eggs for breakfast.  As we stared into the boiling water and wondered how long it would take for the eggs to be just right, Emily said, ‘Pity we can’t open them up to see how they’re doing.’  I agreed.  But that would have spoiled them, so we relied on guesswork, with no guarantee of results.  We talked about other things we’d like to see but can’t---like tomorrow.  We can’t crack tomorrow open, we said, to see if it’s the way we would like it.  But meddling with tomorrow before its time, like opening a partly cooked egg, would spoil both today and tomorrow.  Because Jesus has promised to care for us every day---and that includes tomorrow---we can live by faith one day at a time (Matt. 6:33-34).  Emily and I decided to leave tomorrow safely in God’s hands.  Have you?[E]  I KNOW WHO HOLDS THE FUTURE.

                  

               “The heavens tell of the glory of God.  The skies display His marvelous craftsmanship.  Day after day they continue to speak; night after night they make Him known.  They speak without a sound or a word; their voice is silent in the skies; yet their message has gone out to all the earth, and their words to all the world.  The sun lives in the heavens where God placed it.  It bursts forth like a radiant bridegroom after his wedding.  It rejoices like a great athlete eager to run the race.  The sun rises at one end of the heavens and follows its course to the other end.  Nothing can hide from its heat.”

               “The law of the Lord is perfect, reviving the soul.  The decrees of the Lord are trustworthy, making wise the simple.  The commandments of the Lord are right, bringing joy to the heart.  The commands of the Lord are clear, giving insight to life.  Reverence for the Lord is pure, lasting forever.  The laws of the Lord are true; each one is fair.  They are more desirable than gold, even the finest gold.  They are sweeter than honey, even honey dripping from the comb.  They are a warning to those who hear them; there is great reward for those who obey them.”

               “How can I know all the sins lurking in my heart?  Cleanse me from these hidden faults.  Keep me from deliberate sins!  Don’t let them control me.  Then I will be free of guilt and innocent of great sin.  May the words of my mouth and the thoughts of my heart be pleasing to you, O Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer.”[F]

    

               “One day the Pharisees and Sadducees came to test Jesus’ claims by asking Him to show them a miraculous sign from heaven,  He replied, ‘You know the saying, ‘Red sky at night means fair weather tomorrow, red sky in the morning means foul weather all day.’  You are good at reading the weather signs in the sky, but you can’t read the obvious signs of the times!  Only an evil and faithless generation would ask for a miraculous sign, but the only sign I will give them is the sign of the prophet Jonah.  For as Jonah was in the belly of the great fish for 3 days and 3 nights, so I, the Son of Man, will be in the heart of the earth for 3 days and 3 nights.”[G]

               Further research shows quite simply the analogy between worshiping idols which being man-made inanimate objects can not see, hear, let alone talk―and attempting to read and perceive what astrological signs (the moon, the stars, galaxy positions, etc.) may be, shall we say, “telling you what to think and how to live.”  Rather far fetched, once anyone thinks about it.

  

Please, read and ponder Isaiah 44:9-23, 47:12-15


Inspiration through Jesus Christ
Composed by God’s Grace
Written by Randall Laraway


[A] Encyclopedia of Religion, 2005, (under wisdom divination), p 2372
[B] Good News Publishers, 1300 Crescent St. Wheaton, IL. 60187; by Christian Ditchfield
[C] I Corinthians 2:10b-14, NIV
[D] Romans 1:18-25, NLT
[E] Our Daily Bread devotional, Joanie Yoder, Dec. 27, 2005
[F] Psalm 19:1-14,
[G] Matthew 16:1-4, 12:38-40
Author: Samuel Lamonk Contributed by onesimus on Jan 22nd, 2007

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"Issues & Answers" The Beginning print | email
“ISSUES & ANSWERS”
THE BEGINNING
Where Scripture Speaks

Often times, over the years our human secular ideas/social convictions cross over into the realm of our religion. During such discussions, when this happens we may become argumentative then divisive. Examples of pro and con topics may be abortion, drinking alcoholic beverages, voluntary/involuntary euthanasia for those with terminal illness, homosexual/lesbian clergy, stem cell research, church “traditions” verses scriptural doctrine, etc.
Serious debate still goes on within the “church world” concerning these and other issues of discussion. A number of major denominations have even broken off from their mainline organization and became either independent congregations or will adjoin themselves to, perhaps what might be called, their “original church.” For instance, St. Barnabas Anglican Church in Bay Village, Ohio voted to sever ties with the Episcopalian church and reclaimed, so to speak, membership with the Anglican Church, due to non-acceptance of homosexual clergy. Nor does St. Barnabas parishioners believe in that lifestyle. Considering the Bible’s overall texts on this matter, especially I Corinthians 6:9-11, was their decision wrong?

It is true, that on some topics there is no literal “thus says the Lord” contained within the Bible’s framework whereupon one may stand. We as fellow believers, brothers and sisters, were first of all broken-hearted individuals. Thusly we repented—verbally/publicly confessing ‘Jesus as the Christ, the Son of the living God’—thenceforth we humbly obeyed the simple command of baptism. God keeps His eternal promises for herein we ultimately receive not only forgiveness of our sins plus our Lord’s abundant Grace, in the gift of the Holy Spirit. When we seek His will for our lives, shall we not find fellowship, comfort, healing and guidance? When we knock on doors of knowledge and understanding, shall we not have opened unto us a nurturing growth in/through God’s Word, knowing and experiencing Him, that GOD IS LOVE? The incarnate Word of God, Jesus Himself earnestly commands us to, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, and mind, first.” Secondly is to, “Love your neighbor as yourself” (Mt. 22:34-40). Who are we as finite beings created in God’s image to vainly attempt doing otherwise. Regardless our talent(s), each of us must use those talents and abilities to manifest the Master’s glory in our daily walk. Thus, let us lose ourselves in fields of humble service to others, for herein we serve Him.
Who is it that brings to pass the great plan of salvation with life saving fruition? “The Holy Spirit testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children. All Scripture is God breathed/given by inspiration of God and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correction, and training in righteousness. Study/do your best to present yourself approved to God, one who is not ashamed and who correctly handles the Word of Truth.” (Rom. 8:16, II Tim. 3:16, 2:15)

A Christian mother, Anne Cetas, took her preschooler to class one spring day. Jordan began asking questions about Jesus’ resurrection. In Mrs. Cetas’ explaination, she concluded, “Jesus rose from the dead a long time ago, and now He wants to live in our hearts.” But Jordan still didn’t understand. Following through, she suggested going to a bookstore to get an Easter storybook and read it at home. With wisdom beyond his years, Jordan responded, “Can’t we just read the Bible?” Jordan’s idea is right. Author Eugene Peterson once said, “God’s voice speaks to us, inviting, promising, blessing, confronting, commanding and healing.” Go to the Bible for protection, correction, and direction.
(Story used from Our Daily Bread, devotional article February 6 2006, RBC Ministries, Discovery House Publishers)

It is written that, “a little child shall lead them.” (Isaiah11:6b) Volumes are spoken to us when Jesus says, “I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 18:2-4)

Inspiration through Jesus Christ
Composed by God’s Grace
Written by Randall Laraway
Author: Randall Laraway Contributed by onesimus on Jan 22nd, 2007

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