Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Two Absolutes in a World of Relativity - Lou Ann Keiser writes a response

Lou Ann Keiser in El Escorial, Spain

I asked for it and Lou Ann Keiser responded.  I asked Readers to share their thoughts upon reading the reflection entitled "We Don't Know What We Don't Know", which posted October 27th.

Lou Ann Keiser is a pastor's wife, mother, and grandmother who lives in the beautiful Basque region of Spain. She loves her Lord and His Word, the Bible. Lou Ann is the author of His Ways, Your Walk and writes a blog  entitled "In the Way".  I hope you enjoy her meditation.

Two Absolutes in a World of Relativity
“It depends.”
“Find your own truth.”
“It’s neither black nor white.”
“I think . . . .”
“You can’t really know.”
“Everyone has to figure out what’s right for him.”
“Different people see things in different ways.”


Is there really an absolute standard, or is that passé? Is there unchangeable truth? And is it possible to know it? 

We could go on and on about how wishy-washy the world has become. Years ago, people had clear ideas about right and wrong and standards of conduct. Today, people make up their own truth. But, how can we be confident that our conscience and gut feelings will lead us rightly? 

What is truth anyway? According to Merriam-Webster Dictionary, it is “the real facts about something: the things that are true.”

It’s fascinating to think about truth as it’s presented in the Bible. First of all, the Bible claims to be true. Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth (John 17:17).

Jesus—God in flesh—said, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me (John 14:6). So, Jesus is truth.

God the Father is true. Great and marvellous are thy works, Lord God Almighty; just and true are thy ways, thou King of saints (Revelation 15:3b). In fact, the Bible says that He can’t lie: God, that cannot lie, promised before the world began (from Titus 1:2).

The Holy Spirit is truth. But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father, he shall testify of me (John 15:26).

The Bible is truth, and God (Father, Son, and Holy Spirit) is truth. Here, we have two absolutes. The Bible is the best guide for judging whether things are right and wrong and for judging our own actions. Do we line up with the standards taught in God’s Word? (Do we even know what they are?) 

I have a challenge for you: read the Gospel of John. There are 21 chapters. If you were to read only one chapter each day, you'd complete it in three weeks. The Gospel of John is all about Jesus, and many of its verses are His own Words. Look for:

How does Jesus describe Himself?
How can you tell Jesus is God?
How did Jesus treat others?
How can a person be born again (Chapter 3)?
How did people respond to Jesus?
Why did Jesus die?
What happened after Jesus’ death?
Why is the resurrection so important to Christian faith?
How many people saw Jesus after He rose from the dead?
What is Jesus doing today?

I believe that those who read the book of John with an open heart and an open mind, will find Truth. I offer this challenge.

Thank you Rose for trusting me enough to allow me the opportunity to share this.

Photo courtesy of Fay Lamb
Thank all of you who visited Write Moments with God today.  I appreciate you. And thank you Lou Ann for sharing this.  Lou Ann and I would love to hear from you.  Be blessed.

Monday, October 27, 2014

We Don't Know What We Don't Know

My granddaughter Mya reading "Who Is God?" by Kathleen Ruckman

“We don’t know what we don’t know.”  I paused to consider this statement upon hearing it for the umpteenth time last week.  It was spoken by news commentators in reference to the Ebola virus. 

Now I suppose it’s a no-brainer that we don’t know whole vast amounts of knowledge.  If we were ignorant of the fact that we didn't know it, then we wouldn't realize that we were ignorant of it. This statement can seem like some kind of double-talk or a profound theory depending on who’s saying it or our thoughts and feelings at the moment. 

In my opinion, the bottom line is this:

The knowledge of the facts can make a difference to one’s actions. Not only that, but also knowledge of the facts can make a difference between life and death.

It occurred to me that this is also true in the spiritual realm.
So, how does this “We don’t know what we don’t know” apply to me as a Christian?

My people are destroyed from lack of knowledge. "Because you have rejected knowledge, I also reject you as my priests; because you have ignored the law of your God, I also will ignore your children. Hosea 4:6 NIV

The Apostle Paul writes to Timothy:

Study to show yourself approved to God, a workman that needs not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.  2 Timothy 2:15 AKJ V

It seems to me then, that the “facts” from a Christian standpoint must be TRUTH.  Jesus said it is possible for us to know the truth. (John 8:32)

Jesus saith to him: I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No man cometh to the Father, but by me. John 14:6 Douay-Rheims Bible

And it is the Spirit which testifieth, that Christ is the truth. 1 John 5:6b Douay-Rheims

The Psalmist says “thy law is truth.” (Psalm 119:142b)  Jesus also says “thy word is truth.” (John 17:17)

Keeping in mind that I don’t know what I don’t know, I pray to God for Him to teach me.

 Teach me your ways, Lord, that I may walk in your truth. Psalm 86:11

God promises to instruct and guide us.

You shall seek me, and shall find me: when you shall seek me with all your heart. Jeremiah 29:13

Blessed are those who keep his statutes and seek him with all their heart. Psalm 119:2 NIV

This is my clumsy attempt to share with you a little portion of my reflections on this subject. Please feel free to share your thoughts to add to our understanding.  Proverbs tell us “there is safety in the multitude of counselors.”

Mya reading "What will Heaven be Like?" by Kathleen Ruckman

Thank you for visiting Write Moments with God.  I appreciate you.  Please visit next week for my monthly author interview and book give-away.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Want a Closer Relationship with God?

Thanks to Marisel Jarrin Kleppen for sharing this picture of her husband and son.

Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. James 4:8a

Without communication relationships die. I can’t remember where I first read those words, but they ring true.  In fact, I said them this week to a friend about her long distance relationship.  Telephone commercials remind us of the importance of staying in touch with our loved ones far away.  

Without communication relationships die. I’ve resolved to communicate more frequently with friends through cards and letters—hand-written and mailed.  Communication is necessary for healthy relationships.

We know this certainly applies to human relationships, but what about our relationship with God?

We are God’s children, adopted into the family of God.  We call the Lord Almighty, our Father. Our relationship with God is the ultimate relationship.

And I will be a Father to you, and you will be my sons and daughters, said the Lord Almighty.  2 Corinthians 6:18
For you are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus.  Galatians 3:26
Because you are sons, God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, the Spirit who calls out, "Abba, Father". Galatians 4:6
And Jesus calls us His brethren.  (See Matthew 12:48-50)
We have a personal relationship with God through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. But how do we communicate with God? How do we keep the lines of communication open?

We go to Him in prayer.

In Him and through faith in Him we may approach God with freedom and confidence. Ephesians 3:12

Let us therefore draw near with boldness unto the throne of grace, that we many receive mercy, and may find grace to help us in time of need. Hebrews 4:16

As with any other intimate relationship, we need to spend quality time together in order to nurture and grow that relationship. Prayer is key to our spiritual relationship. Through prayer I draw close to God and my soul communes with Him. 
We can pray anywhere, about anything, at any time.  As children of God there is nowhere that we can be that God will not hear us.  We can commune with Him in our hearts or speak out loud, kneeling in a quiet place or driving down the highway.  

Are you taking advantage of this amazing privilege? Do you want a closer relationship with God?  Pray.

And he (Jesus) withdrew himself into the wilderness, and prayed.  Luke 5:16

Photo courtesy of Marissa Nicole Photography

Thank you so much for visiting Write Moments with God.  I invite you to leave your comments and add to the conversation. I love to hear from you. Click on the little pencil icon or the word "comment" below for a place to write your message.  God bless you as you seek a closer relationship with Him. 

Monday, October 13, 2014

An Uninvited Visitor

We will rejoice and be glad. Psalm 118:24  ~ photo courtesy of Google images

One midlife malady I never reckoned with has come to call.  It was a long time coming. I’d heard stories about its insidious ways over the years from friends suffering from it.  But since I have six children, with a span of almost 17 years between the first sons (twins) and the last child, my home was full and busy. An “empty nest” was nowhere on my radar.  Then, the sneaky intruder moved in a few weeks ago when my youngest child, Robbie, left for college.

At first I didn’t recognize it, calling it simply one of those transitions I’ve written about recently.  I’d heard you need to call these things by their common name in order to effectively deal with it.  Okay, then.  Hello, Mr. Empty Nest.

I’m really okay with that. I have enjoyed being the mother of all my wonderful children and I treasure those growing up years.  It’s only appropriate that the children should grow up and leave the nest. God has blessed us.

But, when I have a momentary lapse into sadness, I remember Ezra’s words that comforted the children of Israel. God’s people had returned to Jerusalem from Babylon. The city lay in ruin and they were in despair. (See Nehemiah 8:1-12)

Do not be grieved, for the joy of the LORD is your strength. Nehemiah 8:10b

To be fair, I’ve tried to be hospitable to my uninvited guest and attend with patience and understanding. It’s caused me to think, a lot, and have lots of conversations with God my Father. It’s at time like these that I praise God for His promises and I remember who I am as a child of the King.

For he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee. Hebrews 13:5 

I'm pleased to report, my youngest son has already come home for visits. When there is no big football game, Lord willing, he’ll come again. I will make his favorite meals, give him my full attention, and see for myself that he is learning to fly. 

Robbie looking at Gabriel's eggs at our family's Easter Egg Hunt, 2014.

O give thanks unto the LORD; for he is good: for his mercy endureth forever. Psalm 118:29

Thanks friends for spending some time with me today.  You are a blessing.

Now, to announce the winner of Carol Stratton's entertaining debut novel, Lake Surrender.  Thanks so much to all of you who visited and commented on last week's interview. Congratulations goes to Pamela Harrison whose name was chosen in the random drawing.   

Monday, October 6, 2014

Interview with Carol Stratton, Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas author, plus the monthly Book Give-Away

Carol Grace Stratton

My guest today is author Carol Stratton. We became acquainted through our publisher, Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas. I enjoyed reading her insightful devotional, Changing Zip Codes, and now I'm reading her highly entertaining debut novel, Lake Surrender. 

Would you like a chance to win a copy of Lake Surrender for yourself or a friend? All you need to do to enter is leave a comment below concerning this interview, along with your email address, by Saturday, October 11th. I will announce the winner on Monday, October 13th. Participated is limited to U.S. residents. I hope you'll participate.  It's easy.  Now, enjoy the interview.

Thank you, Carol, for being my guest today.  Please tell us a little about yourself.

I grew up in Northern California but spent most of my married life moving around in the Midwest. I am married to a great guy and we have four grown kids and five grandchildren. I’ve worked as a recreation supervisor, retail and a teacher’s aide in an autistic classroom. Currently I am working fulltime as a reporter for a local newspaper.

I got the bug to write in 6th grade when I was published in our town newspaper, but I put writing away for years. Finally when my youngest was in middle school, I started going to writing conferences. Little by little I published articles while I worked on a children’s novel. That particular novel is still unpublished and has racked up 31 rejections!

A few years ago I meet my publisher, Eddie Jones, who was looking for devotionals in a niche market.  I suggested one called Changing Zip Codes: Finding Community Wherever You’re Transplanted.  That devotional was published in  2012.  A year later I submitted my second manuscript, Lake Surrender, which just came out.

For you is writing a passion, a calling, or both?

I believe you can be a great writer with a lot of passion but a calling is necessary to fulfill one’s destiny. I was insecure when I started out about even admitting I was a writer, so God graciously spoke to me after my first Christian writing conference, saying, “Pursue joy and comfort people.”  That’s all he said but I knew he wanted me to write.

What’s the best thing about writing a book?

Feeling like you have connected with people in a unique manner and  encouraged some readers.  I had a reader say my devotional saved her life when she moved and that made my day.

What inspired you on your writing journey?

Maybe who might be a better question. Two writers have really stuck with me. I read all of Catherine Marshall’s books while a baby Christian and knew I wanted to be a communicator for Jesus. The second writer, Jan Karon has inspired me because she started late in life (age 49) and gave up all to pursue her dream.  I was the same age when I read her bio and that encouraged me that it wasn’t too late.

What was your journey to publication like?

Long and sometimes discouraging. My first book took 12 years to be published. I’m not sure why I didn’t quit. My husband kept asking me why not do something with less rejection.

One piece of writing advice you wish you’d had from the beginning

Do the writing for yourself, not for fame or approval. Don’t worry if people don’t “get” you.

Share with us the most meaningful truth you hope your readers glean from your writing.

I hope people see how intimately involved our God is with every detail of our lives even when we don’t realize it.

Could you tell us a little about the book you will be giving away to one of our readers?

My debut novel is about a hot shot editor who has lost her career, home, and marriage. She takes her two children, one an autistic son, and moves from the San Francisco Bay Area to Michigan. The only job she finds is a cook in a Christian camp.  The problem is she can’t cook and doesn’t like religious people. But through the experience she finds a God who hasn’t forgotten her as her journey ends where the lake begins.

I’d like to share one of my favorite Scripture verses in closing. Sometimes promoting a book can be overwhelming, as can life in general, but the Lord only asks us to stand where we are supposed to stand and face our trials and enemies. He is the one who will fight them.

You need not fight in this battle; station yourselves, stand and see the salvation of the LORD on your behalf, O Judah and Jerusalem. Do not fear or be dismayed; tomorrow go out to face them, for the LORD is with you. 2 Chronicles 20:17

Thanks Carol for sharing with us about your writing and your life.

Readers, I appreciate your visiting Write Moments with God.  I hope you will leave a comment below—which is great encouragement for me and Carol—and you will be included in the random drawing for her new novel. Become a follower of the blog for an additional entry.

Connect with Carol Stratton online at the following locations:

Twitter: @carolgstratton
Pinterest: Carol Stratton