Polluted Wells

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Have you ever been out hiking around in the country and come across an abandoned home? Many times there is a well beside it that hasn’t been used for decades. Would we drink out of that well? Of course, not. The well could be polluted. We don’t know what the water is like and we certainly don’t know if things have fallen into the well that would make the water polluted.

Have you ever been at a large gathering of people? You walk around talking  to various people. Some of them are pleasant to be around and others, not so much. We may start talking to a person and what comes out of their mouth is bitter or caustic. At that point, we can hardly wait to get away from them.

Have you ever thought that people are like wells? Inside each person is a well or a soul. When we talk to people, we experience what is inside of them. Each person shares part of who they are when they communicate with us.  If a person’s soul is healthy and whole, it comes out through with their words. If the person is full of bitterness, envy and jealousy, that also comes across.

What about our own wells? What is inside of us? Do we need to take a look at our wells and perhaps get some of the pollution out? I’m guessing we all have some things inside of our wells that need to be cleaned out. We just have to be honest with ourselves and admit that there are things inside of us that need to be changed.

Can we change ourselves? Can we make ourselves better people by the sheer force of our own will? I doubt it. I know that I would like to be a better person than I am but I am unable to make myself so. I must submit to the Lord, let Him know my problems and ask Him for help. Only then, can I let Him clean my well out make me into the person I desire to be.

“If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” 1 John 1:9

Two Soldiers on a Train

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Have you ever been on a train, subway or bus when two soldiers got on? Immediately you feel safer, you just kind of breathe a sigh of relief. There are a few things you know instinctively when you see them. You know they are warriors, well trained in the art of war. You know they will not hesitate to protect the people if there is any kind of problem. You also know they will lay their lives down willingly in order to defend each person from any kind of attack.

They are a good visual for us, making us feel safer. We can see them and even touch them if we are close enough. It’s different with angelic warriors, sent to protect us. We pray and ask God to send His angels to guard us but we are unable to see them and touch them. Are they just as real as the human soldiers we see? Are they as strong and powerful? Indeed, they are.fantasy-3313964_640Image by Stefan Keller. Courtesy of Pixabay.

In Scripture, we read example after example where God sent His angels to protect and defend people, cities and nations from attack. These spiritual beings are not the cute cherubs we see portrayed in art. They are warriors, well able to protect those they watch over. We can be confident when we ask God to send His holy angels to help us that He will do just that. You can count on it.

There is an enlightening story in Scripture. The king of Syria sent his army to Dothan to capture the prophet Elisha. When Elisha’s servant got up in the morning he was afraid when he saw the Syrian army surrounding the city. He asked Elisha what should they do. Elisha answered, “Do not fear, for those who are with us are more than those who are with them.” And Elisha prayed, and said, “Lord, I pray open his eyes that he may see.” Then the Lord opened the eyes  of the young man, and he saw. AND BEHOLD, THE MOUNTAIN WAS FULL OF HORSES AND CHARIOTS OF FIRE ALL AROUND ELISHA. 2 Kings 6: 16-17

Remember: Just because you cannot see something does not mean it is not real. Have faith. You will be surprised what God will do for you!

Cosimo

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At the end of the semester, Carole and her three friends took a trip to Italy. They loved Rimini and rented a condo by the beach for a week. They intended to spend their first week of summer laying out in the sun and getting a dark tan. They arrived at the beach only to see it crowded like every other Italian beach but they didn’t care. They knew they were going to have a great time. 

It was a beautiful beach, as are all the beaches along the coast of Rimini. At one end of the bay, all of the yachts were docked at the pier. There was one that was especially opulent that stood out to them. They talked about it and could imagine the rich and famous partying there. They thought how fun it would be to be invited on board for one of their parties. At the other end of the bay, the fishing boats were docked. The Salvari Brothers had a large trawler but it held little attraction for the girls. Each evening they would watch as the yachts pulled out for a short cruise around the bay; the fishing boats would leave a little later and none of the water craft returned until early the next morning. 

Every day the girls had the same routine: get up, shower, don their bathing suits and bask in the sun all day. On their way home, they would stop at the deli and purchase their dinner for the evening. They would watch movies and talk until late at night. On their last afternoon, when the girls were at the deli, they met a gorgeous guy named Cosimo. He seemed especially interested in Carole and invited her and the rest of her friends onto his yacht for the evening’s festivities. The girls were thrilled to learn that his yacht was indeed the opulent one they had seen. They just needed to tell the security guard the day’s code word and they would be allowed on the yacht. The girls raced back to their condo, showered and dressed for the evening. 

They were starstruck as they walked on board the yacht. There were more than a few celebrities they recognized. They tried not to gawk at them as they took everything in. Cosimo came to greet them personally and introduce them to some of his friends. They were then free to tour the yacht. Each deck had a bar, band, dance floor and scrumptious food available. They enjoyed dancing all night and were sad when the ship came into port. Their magical night was ending and they would probably not get another chance to spend a night like this one again. Cosimo stood on the deck and as each guest exited, he reached into a crystal bowl and gave them a friendship ring. It had the name of the yacht, “The Cosmopolitan” engraved on it. Once they took it, they would be allowed back on the yacht any time they wanted. 

When it was Carole’s turn to receive her ring, Cosimo took her aside. He implored her not to leave and promised he would buy her an airline ticket home the following week. He wanted to spend a few extra days getting to know her. Carole looked at her friends and they all nodded and encouraged her to stay. They would bring her luggage to the boat before they left to fly home. Carole only hesitated a moment and then took Cosimo up on his invitation. He had her stand by him and when the last guest finally left, he took her to the suite she would be staying in.

Carole was intoxicated with Cosimo. Every evening, they partook of the finest food and wine. Cosimo kept her on his arm while he greeted his guests. At dawn they would return to her room and Cosimo would come in and spend part of the day sleeping with her. He would get up before her and later she would find him on deck when she arose in the afternoon. When the week was over and it came time to leave, Cosimo again asked her to stay and of course, she did. She felt like a celebrity for the first few weeks. She was in love with Cosimo and wondered where this new relationship would take her.

The summer was going well until one morning Cosimo didn’t come into the suite with her. He left her entirely alone and when she went on deck to find him that afternoon, he was laughing and joking with a young man named Marco.  She walked up to him and began to talk to him but Cosimo completely ignored her and showered all of his affection on Marco. Frustrated because she could not get his attention, she went back to her suite, fixed her hair differently and put on more revealing clothes, hoping to get his attention back on her. It was no use, the more she tried, the more he ignored her. She walked around the deck that evening in a daze. Other men on the yacht tried to give her their attention but Carole wasn’t interested. She only wanted Cosimo…period. 

The following days Carole grew more and more desperate. She realized that by now she was addicted to Cosimo and all he offered and that no one else could ever take his place. She had been rejected by him for a handsome young male with dark brown eyes. All of her feminine wiles could not compete with Marco. After trying for several days to draw Cosimo back to her with no success, she finally understood her chances of getting him back were nil and at that point she made a decision. One evening when no one was looking, she climbed up on the railing and then threw herself in the water. She didn’t want to live without Cosimo and hoped to end her agony once and for all.

She hit the water with a thud and then panicked. The water was freezing cold and it took her breath away. She suddenly awoke as if out of a dream and realized that deep down she didn’t want to die. If she really wanted to survive, she was going to have to do something. She started treading water as she watched the yacht sail away without her. She looked around and tried to find lights on the shore line. They were out far enough in the Adriatic that she couldn’t see much of anything. She began to swim but grew more tired with each stroke. The drinking, partying and sleepless nights were taking their toll. After swimming for a few hours, she knew she probably wasn’t going to make in to the shore.

She lay on her back and looked up at the stars. She thought about her life and that she wouldn’t survive to see her family again. Her friends would miss her and would never know what really happened to her. She prayed silently, “God, if you are real, please help me!” She took Cosimo’s friendship ring off and dropped it in the water.  She then relaxed and began to fall asleep. As her body began to slip below the surface of the water, she heard a small engine in the distance. She shook herself awake and began to yell, “Over here! Help, Help me!”

The engine noise grew louder as she kept yelling. The Salvari’s had heard her cry for help and steered their boat along side her.  The brothers fished her out of the water, used towels to dry her, and began to rub her arms and legs to bring the circulation back into her body. They radioed for help and raced the boat back to the shore. An ambulance met them at the dock and took her to the E.R. where the doctors and nurses slowly got her core temperature up to normal. She stayed in the hospital a few days until her parents flew in from the States to pick her up.

On their way to the airport, Carole and her parents stopped at the Salvari’s trawler to thank them for saving her life. They were invited on board and stepped onto the deck. They thanked each Salvari brother for rescuing her. As they were leaving, Carole noticed a small bowl full of Cosimo’s friendship rings. She turned around to the brothers and said, “I’m not the first you saved, am I?” They sheepishly looked at each other and then Enzio, the eldest replied, “No, Signorina, you’re not. It is not uncommon for us to find a young man or woman floating  in the water. They are not all as fortunate as you were.”

Carole thought about that statement a lot on the airplane. How many other young men and women had been seduced by Cosimo and the trappings of his lifestyle and then been cast aside when he tired of them? She had been so sure she was in love with him and he with her.  She thought she couldn’t live without him but now when she thought of Cosimo, she wanted nothing more to do with him.

Once back in the States, she and her girlfriends got together again. They were still wearing Cosimo’s friendship ring like some kind of badge of honor. She told them about her experience and what he was really like but they refused to believe her. They could hardly wait until next year when they would return to the beach at Rimini. How they hoped to go on his yacht again and have another magical experience. It was the most exciting thing that had ever happened to them.

As for Carole, she was done…done with Cosimo and done with The Cosmopolitan…for good.

“Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Whoever therefore wants to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.”  James 4:4

If Man-Kind Were Kind

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If Man-Kind were Kind, most of the problems in our world would be solved. We would no longer hate each other or covet what someone else has. We would share what we have with those around us and there would be little lack. There would be no wars, killing, stealing or lying. 

If Man-Kind could make himself Kind, he would have fixed the world a  long time ago.  Alas, his best efforts have not produced the desired effect. All of his good thoughts, vibrations and even his best political efforts have not borne fruit and made the planet a better place to live. If Man-Kind could make himself Kind, the United Nations would be a phenomenal success and we would be living in a world filled with peace and harmony.

Truth be told, Man-Kind is not Kind and is not able to fix himself. A heart beats within him that is filled with envy, jealousy, and selfishness. He literally needs a miracle in order to be the Kind of Man he needs to be.

Is there a Kind of MAN who can make Man Kind? There is, the God-Man Jesus. He is the one Kind of MAN who can miraculously give us a new heart; one that is filled with the power to be Kind. 

Since Man-Kind is not Kind, why not give the Kind of MAN a try who can make Man Kind?

Strategic

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Historic: The twentieth century was a historic time. After WWI, the geopolitical landscape of the world changed dramatically. For centuries, the Ottoman Empire ruled most the Middle East. Following their defeat, its empire was then ruled by the British. In 1917, Czarist Russia became engulfed in a civil war that ended when the Communists gained control. Sweeping changes again happened after WWII. The Middle East was parceled up into different countries. Chinese culture was upended after their Revolution when the Communists took power. Africa moved from a continent ruled by colonialism to one whose countries were ruled by self-determination. In the 1940’s and 50’s, the Soviet Union began to occupy its neighboring countries. This went on for decades until near the end of the century it broke up and those countries were liberated. Just a cursory glance at world history during those one hundred years show the epic changes that happened on the geopolitical landscape.

Prophetic: From a prophetic standpoint, the single most important event happened in 1948 when Israel became a nation. With its rebirth, the prophetic clock began ticking. Fast forward seventy years and we see political entities lining up in a way that resembles Psalm 83 and Ezekiel 38 and 39. Add to that the increase of major earthquakes, the moral breakdown of societies, the epic rise of conflicts between nations and ethnic groups and you have a scenario for the birth pangs of Matthew 24. One’s vision does not have to be 20/20 in order to see that we could definitely be living in prophetic times.

Strategic: So what do we do when we believe we are living in historic and prophetic times? How can we make the most of our gifts and talents in order to make a difference in the world we live in? We must learn to think strategically. We must take stock of what we have and pray about how we can best use those resources for the Kingdom of God. Then we can strategically aim our lives towards that eternal goal.

Dead Men Can’t Defend Themselves

As believers in Jesus Christ, it is necessary to write to a higher standard than the secular media requires of us. If we want to write about someone who has hurt us personally, we need to think carefully about our words. It will be important to extend grace to the individual(s) as we write our story. Many times, we are not released to write about our experiences until the offending person has passed away.

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Most individuals are not entirely good or evil. They are, like us, a composite of both positive and negative traits. It would be easy to portray an offending individual in the darkest of terms and paint them with a brush entirely filled with black paint or in our case as writers, negative adjectives. People have also been shaped by the circumstances they have endured throughout the course of their lives. When we write about them, it is important to write about some of the extenuating circumstances they found themselves in.

When people have hurt us deeply, it may take us years to fully forgive them and be healed from the pain of their actions. Only because we have received the forgiveness that Christ offers, are we are able to extend that same forgiveness to the offending person. The further away from the negative experience we are, the easier it is to write about it from an objective viewpoint.

We need to remember that there are always two sides to any situation. When we portray the situation from our point of view, the offending person, if deceased, will not have the opportunity to provide an answer to our statements. There will be no one to speak in their defense, and even if their actions are indefensible, we should allow them a certain amount of latitude when sharing our story. It might seem impossible to do this, but I have found that through prayer, I am able to view them in a more compassionate light.

Remember, when writing publicly about those who have hurt us, we must reflect on the words we use. After all, dead men (or women, for that matter) can’t defend themselves!

Invited

Lately, I have been thinking about how it feels to be invited or not invited to a specific function. We all know the feeling of wanting to go to some event but because we were not members of a particular corporation or private club we were not invited.

women s brown and green floral dress

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Of course, on the other side of the coin are all the events we are invited to that we choose not to go to. This used to happen to us around graduation time. We would get several invitations to different ceremonies and their accompanying parties. We would then have to decide which to attend and which to decline.

Uninvited, Invited, Invited and Declined. That’s how it is in society.

It’s different with God, though. There is no one who is not invited to come into his house. Jesus said: “Come to me, ALL you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” Matthew 11:28. The invitation is for all, no one is excluded, period. This invitation can also be declined. It’s your choice.

Invited, Invited and Declined. That’s how it is with God.

Famed Yale Computer Science Professor Quits Believing Darwin’s Theories | Jennifer Kabbany — Reasoned Cases for Christ

‘The origin of species is exactly what Darwin cannot explain’ David Gelernter, a famed Yale University professor, has publicly renounced his belief in Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution, calling it a “beautiful idea” that has been effectively disproven. Gelernter, who is known for predicting the World Wide Web and has developed many complex computing tools […]

via Famed Yale Computer Science Professor Quits Believing Darwin’s Theories | Jennifer Kabbany — Reasoned Cases for Christ