Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Warm Fuzzies or Cold Pricklies?

The Warm Fuzzy Story
© 1969 Copywrite by Claude Steiner

Once upon a time, a long time ago, there lived two happy people called Tim and Maggie with their two children, John and Lucy. To understand how happy they
were you have to understand how things were in those days.

You see in those happy days everyone was given a small, soft Fuzzy Bag when born. Any time a person reached into this bag they were able to pull out a Warm Fuzzy. Warm Fuzzies were very much in demand because whenever someone was given a Warm Fuzzy it made them feel warm and fuzzy all over.

In those days it was very easy to get Warm Fuzzies. Anytime that somebody felt like it, he might walk up to you and say, "I'd like to have a Warm Fuzzy." You would then reach into your bag and pull out a Fuzzy the size of a child’s hand. As soon as the Fuzzy saw the light of day it would smile and blossom into a large, shaggy, Warm Fuzzy. When you laid the Warm Fuzzy on the person's head, shoulder or lap it would snuggle up and melt right against their skin and make them feel good all over.

People were always asking each other for Warm Fuzzies, and since they were always given freely, getting enough of them was never a problem. There were always plenty to go around, and so everyone was happy and felt warm and fuzzy most of the time.

One day a bad witch who made salves and potions for sick people became angry because everyone was so happy and feeling good and no one was buying potions and salves. The witch was very clever and devised a very wicked plan. One beautiful morning while Maggie was playing with her daughter the witch crept up to Tim and whispered in his ear, 

"See here, Tim, look at all the Fuzzies that Maggie is giving to Lucy. You know, if she keeps it up she is going to run out and then there won't be any left for you!"

Tim was astonished. He turned to the witch and asked, "Do you mean to tell me that there isn't a Warm Fuzzy in our bag every time we reach into it?".

And the witch answered, "No, absolutely not, and once you run out, that's it. You don't have any more." With this the witch flew away on a broom, laughing and cackling all the way.

Tim took this to heart and began to notice every time Maggie gave away a Warm Fuzzy. He got very worried because he liked Maggie's Warm Fuzzies very much and did not want to give them up. He certainly did not think it was right for Maggie to be spending all her Warm Fuzzies on the children and other people.

Tim began to complain or sulk when he saw Maggie giving Warm Fuzzies to somebody else, and because Maggie loved him very much, she stopped giving Warm Fuzzies to other people as often, and reserved most of them for him.

The children watched this and soon began to get the idea that it was wrong to give  Warm Fuzzies any time you were asked or felt like it. They too became very careful. They would watch their parents closely and whenever they felt that one of their parents was giving too many Fuzzies to others, they felt jealous and complained and sometimes even had a tantrum. And even though they found a Warm Fuzzy every time they reached into their bag they began to feel guilty whenever they gave them away so they reached in less and less and became more and more stingy with them.

Before the witch, people used to gather in groups of three, four or five, never caring too much who was giving Warm Fuzzies to whom. After the coming of the witch, people began to pair off and to reserve all their Warm Fuzzies for each other, exclusively. When people forgot to be careful and gave a Warm Fuzzy to just anybody they worried because they knew that somebody would probably resent sharing  their Warm Fuzzies. 

People began to give less and less Warm Fuzzies, and felt less warm and less fuzzy. They began to shrivel up and, occasionally, people would even die from lack of Warm Fuzzies. People felt worse and worse and, more and more, people went to the witch to buy potions and salves even though they didn't really seem to work.

Well, the situation was getting very serious indeed. The bad witch who had been watching all of this didn't really want the people to die (since dead people couldn't buy his salves and potions), so a new plan was devised.

Everyone was given, free of charge, a bag that was very similar to the Fuzzy Bag except that this one was cold while the Fuzzy Bag was warm. Inside of the witch's bag were Cold Pricklies. These Cold Pricklies did not make people feel warm and fuzzy; in fact they made them feel cold and prickly instead. But the Cold Pricklies were better than nothing and they did prevent peoples' backs from shriveling up.

So, from then on, when somebody asked for a Warm Fuzzy, people who were worried about depleting their supply would say, "I can't give you a Warm Fuzzy, but would you like a Cold Prickly instead?"

Sometimes, two people would walk up to each other, thinking they maybe they could get a Warm Fuzzy this time, but one of them would change his mind and they would wind up giving each other Cold Pricklies instead. So, the end result was that people were not dying anymore but a lot of people were very unhappy and feeling very cold and prickly indeed.

The situation got very complicated since the coming of the witch because there were fewer and fewer Warm Fuzzies around and Warm Fuzzies which used to be free as air, became extremely valuable.

This caused people to do all sorts of things in order to get Warm Fuzzies. People who could not find a generous partner had to buy their Warm Fuzzies and had to work long hours to earn the money.

Some people became "popular" and got a lot of Warm Fuzzies without having to give any back.  These people would then sell their Warm Fuzzies to people who were "unpopular" and needed them to feel that life was worth living.

Another thing which happened was that some people would take Cold Pricklies--which were everywhere and freely available-and coated them white and fluffy so that they almost looked like Warm Fuzzies. These fake Warm Fuzzies were really Plastic Fuzzies, and they caused additional problems.

For instance, two or more people would get together and freely give each other Plastic Fuzzies. They expected to feel good, but they came away feeling bad instead. People got very confused never realizing that their cold, prickly feelings were because they had been given a lot of Plastic Fuzzies.

So the situation was very, very dismal and it all started because of the coming of the witch who made people believe that some day, when least expected, they might reach into their Warm Fuzzy Bag and find no more.

Not long ago, a young woman with big hips came to this unhappy land. She seemed not to have heard about the bad witch and was not worried about running out of Warm Fuzzies. She gave them out freely, even when not asked. They called her the Hip Woman and disapproved of her because she was giving the children the idea that they should not worry about running out of Warm Fuzzies. The children liked her very much because they felt good around her and they began to follow her example giving out Warm Fuzzies whenever they felt like it.

This made the grownups very worried. To protect the children from depleting their supplies of Warm Fuzzies they passed a law. The law made it a criminal offense to give out Warm Fuzzies in a reckless manner or without a license. Many children, however, seemed not to care; and in spite of the law they continued to give each other Warm Fuzzies whenever they felt like it and always when asked. Because they were many, many children, almost as many as grown ups, it began to look as if maybe they would have their way.
As of now it’s hard to say what will happen. Will the grownups laws stop the recklessness of the children?

Are the grownups going to join with the Hip Woman and the children in taking a chance that there will always be as many Warm Fuzzies as needed?

Will they remember the days their children are trying to bring back when Warm Fuzzies were abundant because people gave them away freely?

The struggle spread all over the land and is probably going on right were you live. If you want to, and I hope you do, you can join by freely giving and asking for Warm Fuzzies and being as loving and healthy as you can.

NOW We as Christians are to be producers of the Fruits of the Holy Spirit they are endless. Don’t let the enemy deceive you to give out cheap imitation fruit. Galatians 5:16 “I say then walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh,” Walking in the Spirit means we will give graciously to others without envy or jealousy.

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

With the advent of Facebook 

I have been in abstentia for a season. 

Keep checking back and you may be surprised.

Friday, June 7, 2013

This is an article from the 

"Imaginative Conservative."

We need to make a stand as Christians and as Americans. We need to not allow the tide of filth coming to wash over our minds and our children and grandchildren's minds. Our argument is based in truth. I recognize that truth is an absolute and must be protected. It is not about religion. It is about standing for what is right and true.

A Non-Religious Case Against Same Sex Marriage

same sex marriageMichael Baumanby Michael Bauman
You might recall the awful option faced by the title character in “Sophie’s Choice:” Pick one child or the other.  It’s not a choice any mother wants to make.  No matter what she chooses, her loss is unutterable.
Nor would any child want to make the same choice in reverse:  “Mommy or Daddy, Sally.  Pick one.”
But that is the ugly position into which same sex marriage plunges children, except that the children themselves do not get to choose.  Someone else chooses for them.
No matter what you might think about same sex marriage, we know this:  Any child raised under a same sex union faces a tremendous loss — either no Mommy or no Daddy.  In a union where two men or two women are involved, that’s always the outcome.  When Mommy picks a woman or Daddy picks a man as a life partner, the children always lose something enormously valuable and irreplaceable:  a mother or a father.
That loss often has tragic consequences for a child.  If, for example, you are raised in a home with no father around, the odds that you will drop out of school, that you will take or sell drugs, that you will go to prison, that you will be poor, and that your children will suffer the same fate you did all skyrocket.  That same cycle of hopelessness and crime follows upon the absence of a mother.
When Mommy has sex with another woman, it doesn’t make that other woman a Daddy.  Having sex with Mommy doesn’t make you a Daddy any more than drinking milk makes you a calf.
The point here is not remotely homophobic.  The point here is not that Mommy and her lover, or Daddy and his, are to be shunned, much less hated.  The point here is that mothers and fathers are fundamentally important to the development of children, and therefore to the future of the nation, which depends upon the development and maturation of the next generation.  That works best when children have both a father and a mother.
I say so because, according to a recent groundbreaking study by University of Texas scholar Mark Regnerus, we discover this:
Compared to children who were raised in intact homes with both the biological father and mother present to raise them, the children of homosexual parents grow up to:
  • Be Much more likely to receive welfare
  • Have lower educational attainment
  • Report more ongoing “negative impact” from their family of origin
  • Be more likely to suffer from depression
  • Have been arrested more often
  • (If they are female) Have had more sexual partners — both male and female
  If they were the children of lesbian mothers, they are:
  • More likely to be currently cohabiting
  • Almost 4 times more likely to be currently on public assistance
  • Less likely to be currently employed full-time
  • More than 3 times more likely to be unemployed
  • Nearly 4 times more likely to identify as something other than entirely heterosexual
  • Three times as likely to have had an affair while married or cohabiting
  • An astonishing 10 times more likely to have been “touched sexually by a parent or other adult caregiver.”
  • Nearly 4 times as likely to have been “physically forced” to have sex against their will
  • More likely to have “attachment” problems related to the ability to depend on others
  • Use marijuana more frequently
  • Smoke more frequently
  • Have more often pled guilty to a non-minor offense
None of these dire statistics seem to have much weight with the same sex marriage crowd.  Rather, they argue that marriage equality is rooted in human equality.  But that bogus argument does not work.  It moves illogically from one kind of equality to another.  The equality of all persons does not equal the equality of all lifestyles or all relationships.  For example, the mere fact that all persons are created equal does not mean that polygamy or incestual marriage ought therefore to be made legal.  You cannot move logically from the equality of persons to the equality of actions, choices, lifestyles, or relationships.  It simply does not follow.
Same sex marriage advocates also argue that it is wrong to make value judgment about marriage.  Yet they allow themselves to make value judgments about who should get to marry.  Here again they fail logically.  By insisting that same sex unions ought to be considered marriages on a par with heterosexual marriages, they make a value judgment about marriages, both their own marriages and those of others.  If they are against making value judgments about marriage, then they have to stop saying what they say.  But of course they won’t.  Rather, they press their judgments on others while, at the same time, refusing to permit others to make judgments.
Let me clarify a point often misunderstood:  I am not saying that marriages without children are not marriages.  I never once said that or meant that.  I am saying that marriage and family go usually together.  I am talking about a common connection between marriage and family, not a necessary pre-condition for marriage.  Marriage and family are simply the usual mechanism of creating and nurturing the next generation.  But in the case of a homosexual union, that is naturally impossible.  And if you try to grant them by some other means the children nature denies them, then the children are statistically more likely to suffer bad consequences as a result, which is not the case with a heterosexual marriage.  Or, put differently, my wife and I have no children as yet.   I obviously do not argue that we have no marriage.  If we had children, it wouldn’t as likely damage the children involved as would being raised by two men or two women, a situation that entails the significant loss of either mommy or daddy.  In short, wise governments and wise citizens do well always to remember that important and basic fact of life and to avoid making laws that undermine the traditional family and traditional family roles, which serve us and our offspring best.
Books mentioned in this essay may be found in The Imaginative Conservative Bookstore. Essays by Dr. Bauman may be found here.
Dr. Michael Bauman is Professor of Theology and Culture at Hillsdale College, where he also is Director of the Christian Studies program.  He is Scholar-in-Residence for Summit Ministries’ Summit Semester Program and co-editor, with David Noebel, of The Schwarz Report, a monthly conservative watchdog of leftist action and infiltration acros

Thursday, May 23, 2013

The Doors were closed

The doors were closed as the title says; It means that the doors of Masuoka's husbands altar (Butsudan) were closed. She had them open whenever someone came and they would offer incense and pray.

I had a special Bible Study to address this issue from the Bible. It was very difficult for her to hear that it is a sin to pray to the dead. Deuteronomy 18 says not to entreat or inquire of the dead. This would include prayers of obligation like "Yoroshiku Onegaishimasu." We are to only pray to the living God and his son Jesus Christ. After all He is the only one who can help us. After telling her what the Bible had to say she was so sad. She went home looking like the richman who Jesus told to go sell all he had and give it to the poor. This was a serious decision that would affect the rest of her life. She could have peace with her family and friends or she could have peace with God. Jesus marveled and said, "How hard it is for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven." For Japan; "How hard it is for someone to put God's word over culture."

So I was worried that she might not come to church anymore. But God is good and she has made a step in the right direction. She comes to Wednesday night and Sunday mornings and when we went to her home for a meal the doors of the altar were closed. This is huge spiritually speaking and her family was okay with it. So Praise God. She has recently gave testimony of how sad and difficult it was to change but she knew the only true peace comes from Jesus. She has invited him into her heart and is enjoying the presence of the Holy Spirit and the joy she has. How can she give that up for tradition that is somber and oppressive? Truly her delight is in the Word of God. I pray yours will be too.

Monday, April 29, 2013

Sucide and praying to Ancestors

Otourou Matsuri

Sitting at the Kotatsu awaiting other
guests I had arrived before the others. The first couple had come in and greeted the host. Warm greetings. Hearts filled with love excited to spend a few hours enjoying the fellowship and a meal. It's the third year since his death and the Otorou festival is happening outside. The guest presents a large bottle of sochu an alcoholic sake of rice wine. "Otou san ni agetai." ( I want to offer it to your husband) Says the guest. "Dozou." (Please do) replies the hostess. They duck into a side room with the sake. The sake is placed on an alter next to a picture of the deceased. The guest on his knees deeply bows long and meaningfully. The sake is opened and poured into a sake glass. The first fruits is offered to the spirit of the deceased. The incense stick is lit with a lighter and then placed in the bowl of sand next to the picture on the other side. The room fills with the aroma of the incense burning. Then the guest gets into position and in front of the alter and take a tiny round brass ball mallet and chimes the buddhist bell signaling the Spirit to come and participate with the festivities. The guest bows again and mumbles of few words or respect and adoration.  The host begins to tear up. The guest is also tearing up as they together remember the one whom they loved so much. They feel guilty and have unanswered questions. Life was cut short but not by a criminal or an accident but because of a circumstance. The hostesses husband in his 50's was fired in the graphics design job he had for 3 decades. Retirement was still a few years off, but his meaning and purpose was to be active in this vocation. The youth are very savvy on the computer he wasn't. It is an entropy of time and knowledge. Can one blame the company? The weeks and months of job hunting yielded embarrassing opportunities that just were a stain on such a glorious career. Is that the reward of a faithful life lived dutifully to a company and family and to ones country. The days drone on with no phone calls for work. The drinking becomes more of an escape from a reality that is spiraling into meaninglessness. Feeling like a weight around the neck of the family supporting him now he has become emasculated in his soul. "What's wrong with me?" "What did I do to deserve this?" might be questions that loom echoing in the empty halls of the mind that no longer thinks of work. To end ones life will release me from these feelings and the burden of being that millstone around my wife's neck.

It was a regular day. He woke and started his day like any other. He's going to check on a few job leads. Life was normal or so it appeared. He had for many years passed over that same bridge. All his life that bridge connected his home life to the world. That day what thought came into his mind we will never know but at that moment, that day, that bridge was a connector to another realm. It was a road he has never travelled but thought about all his life. It wasn't a walk but a fall. It was quick and surreal. All is black. It is over.

More guests fill in to the home more bell chimes and so many tears. He was loved. He was greatly loved. His view only saw what he saw in the mirror. He was not able to see through the eyes of his family and friends. The life that was snatched from a loving family is not at peace. Agonizing guilt and remorse plague the wife and her children. There was no chance to say good bye. No chance to fight the enemy of death with a surge to live. No final touch or kiss. His body was crushed and shattered by the fall. She got the call while at the office working. She raced to the scene. His I.D. led authorities to notify her. "Is this your husband?" From the bridge it was hard to tell at the form of a human below. His clothes and affects with him indicated 100% it was him. But she immediately did not want to believe this. NO! I don't know! Maybe? He is brought up and the sheet is drawn back. She looks into the white pale face of a man she slept next to for almost 30 years. She had starred into his face so many times in bed, at the meal times, during travel. That face is now just a shell of a soul that she needed in her life. "It's him." she whispers. He is covered back up and she still in shock and disbelief finds the tears uncontrollably falling. Her knees weaken as the love of her life has been ripped out of her own soul. Two souls knit together for so many years are not separated like products on a conveyer belt. The fabric of our very being and meaning are shattered and the vacuum of emptiness fills with deaths cold air. Sobbing. "What?" Why did He…? What about…?" "What am I going to…?" 3 years later still remain unsure questions are still unanswered.

So the party went on we had a great meal they drank and I sipped Coke Zero among the drone of the taiko drums as the matsuri men rhythmically pulled the dashi down the street.

The next time I meet with her she was concerned whether or not I had a good time or not. I said, "I was worried that because I had not bowed to her husbands altar I might have offended her?" She said, "Oh no it was okay. I know you don't believe like we do." Then she asks me a question.

She had been coming to Bible Study and she has been asking a lot of questions. She even prayed to receive Christ one night but I wasn't sure of this decision. She still had the altar and her life was troubling her. She wanted to be rid of the guilt she felt because of her husbands suicidal death. She saw Jesus as a way for her to be healed but not to have a Savior or Lord in her life. She felt she was fine the way she is. Except for the guilt all was fine. So she asks me. "I have been praying to God in my time of daily lighting incense to my husband. Is this okay?" I have never had this kind of question put this way. She talks to her husband. She is lonely. She was told after the tragedy that she had to buy the alter. It happened so fast. She went to the only store her elders recommended. They showed her models and she was compelled to make a decision. But she didn't like it. She felt this wasn't right. She wanted to wait but the funeral was coming and the preparations were made so she went through with it. She has buyers remorse. But she Talks to God...

In Bible Study I taught her the scriptures of what God's word taught on death. I did not withhold anything. Finally, I used the marriage bed as an analogy for idolatry. If your sleeping with your spouse and some one else is in the bed then your intimacy is compromised and it's not right. If your sharing God time with your dead husband's spirit then that is idolatrous. God does not like it. You cannot have both God and your dead husband. 1 Corinthians 6:16-17.

She left Bible study as sad as the Rich man who walked away from Jesus, who said. "Oh how hard it is for the rich to enter the Kingdom of God." I might say similarly, "Oh how hard it is for the Japanese to enter the Kingdom of God

Please pray for her if you feel led. I wish I could synchronize the Japanese faith with Christianity. So many ministries and pastor have already gone down that road of compromise. They did not yield any lasting fruit from it. I shudder to think what they might hear from our Lord. Christianity costs big time. Christianity is not pie in the sky. It is laying down your life and allowing Christ to take control and do what he wills. A life of pain perhaps, suffering? Probably. A lonely road? God is with you where ever you go. Christianity cost God his son. We can't cheapen it for the sake of comfort for a pagan nation. Japanese people are on their way to hell and Japan needs to repent from all these things. I don't want to be guilty of sugar coating the gospel so that their trip to hell is sweeter. As a minister of Jesus Christ it would be better if I hang a millstone around my neck and throw it into the sea. All gods must go. He is a jealous God and will not share us with any other god or spirit or deceased persons. Christianity is a narrow road few there are that walk upon it.

Even in America too many have already compromised the truth of the scriptures. The very things I preach against in this country to save perhaps a few, I see pastors in America embracing New Age, and Buddhism traditions and incorporating them into the church. The Catholic faith as done a very good job in Japan to synchronize the gospel of Jesus to Buddha's and Shinto. In the US some families are encouraged to get a christian altar. Have a family altar for the Bible and prayer. America is full on heading into its dark ages at hyper speed. If you are allowing things you know by the Holy Spirit to be wrong you are compromising and grieving the Holy Spirit. You are committing idolatry. That is spiritual harlotry according to the Bible. The Jews went into 70 years of captivity for their whoring. What will America reap?  The new religion of America is tolerance and acceptance. If you don't synchronize an appropriate politically correct ideologies your a radical. You will be marked and watched.

Our God is also watching us. He knows us. He loves us. His heart is to turn us away from these things are lead to death. The wages of sin is death.

I pray Lord that you will give the Japanese more mercy and shower them with His gospel. Oh please Lord open their eyes that they may see the light and be turned from the darkness. I ask you to deliver many souls from the fires of hell that await them. Even in America I pray too that they will experience revival and turn from their sin. In Jesus name Amen.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Redemption Rocks Even with Coupons

 Redeeming a coupon is an awesome invention. The Store has the product you want held in ransom for a $1.25. You don't want to pay the full amount yourself. So the Manufacturer who created the product for you says “I'll make a coupon and knock off a few cents on the products redeeming value and that way more folks will buy our product. You go into the store and there you ring up your purchase and they demand the ransom. You hand them the coupon and they proceed to knock off the said value and you celebrate. But the store sometimes will double your coupon and you get double discounting. We think wow that is so cool. There are ladies who we have now risen in their art of coupon cutting and are entitled the coupon queens. You can call them up and they know websites where you can get mega coupons. The best ransom price for the coupon queen the greatest joy is when they hit the right day and time and get all coupons redeemed and the product is free. They walk out full of victory and joy as they celebrate the redemption at a free pric

This concept is not a recent invention in our day in time. In fact the Jews had a system of redemption for family that goes back 5000 years now. They had a cultural law that there in Genesis 38 we see in action. The law is this: If a man has three sons say, If one of the sons dies without a successor there was to be a kinsman nearest to him that would in his honor raise us a child that would inhereit the honored Father's property and servants and animals. So usually the oldest brother in the family would have the first right of redemption to take the dead brothers wife marry her and have a son and that son would not be his but would in a sense be raised to be the inheritor of the brother and to live in honor to the brother taking his name and all.

In Genesis 28 such an event happened to Judah one of Jacob's sons. The eldest son married Tamar and died. The next in line was evil and before he could marry the woman Tamar he was killed. So the right of redemption went to the next in line. The Bible says that he didn't like the idea that the son who was raised up wouldn't be his so he married Tamar and performed the consummation of the marriage but instead of impregnating her he enjoyed the sex but didn't not finish the consummation and the Lord was angry and with him for his evil and deception and he too died. So there being no more sons the law defaults to the Father Judah, now having to fulfill the redemption.
We see a similar event in the book of Ruth it is a history of a love story unlike any we have ever heard. 7 to 800 years later we have the time of the Judges in the Bible where there were no kings and the political system was an eldership and anarchy was very prominent. Yet we have a story there in the book of Ruth where in the little town of Bethlehem there was a family that had hard times with a drought and one thing after another. So the dad took off for the suburbs of Moab to try and find better farming conditions. It didn't happen in fact they enjoyed a short success and the two sons were married to moabite women. But before any heirs were born both sons and the dad died. There was no on left to redeem the ladies and inheritance. The Mom sent the wives back to their families but on lady Ruth took her vows to her new husband and she loved her mother in law and stayed with her. She cared for her. Mom was an elderly widow who would not live long in this time and society without someones care. So Ruth did what she could and when they returned to Bethlehem from Moab they Ruth applied for their welfare system and went to work gleaning field scraps or droppings from the harvesters to get food for them to survive. The town was a buzzing with good talk for what this young lady did to help her Mother in Law and to humbly accept the tradition and work very hard. The owner of one of the fields took notice of this ladies work and servitude and it touched his heart. He found out who she was and then went to work to begin the redeeming process. The law not only defaults to the Father after the sons die but then if the Father dies it goes to the nearest of the Uncles. Dad's brothers now had the right to redeem the land and wife. The oldest brother found out that he'd have to marry another woman but he knew his wife would not allow that or stand for it so he passed on the right of redemption to the younger brother Boaz the owner of the field who then redeemed the field but not because he needed another field but because in that field is a beautiful lady who has a sweet heart and he loved her. He wanted to redeem her from the humility of living on welfare and give her an inheritance.

The interesting thing about this story is when the first son was born the town did not celebrate to Ruth and Boaz on their new arrival the town went to Old Naomi san and said, “Blessed be the Lord, who has not left you this day without a near kinsman; and may his name be famous in Israel and may be be to you a restorer of life and a nourisher of your old age; for your daughter in law, who is better than seven sons has borne him.” And then Ruth did not raise the boy but Naomi the grandmother in law took the son and raised him as her own. The redeemer was not Boaz guys the redeemer was the son born to take the place of the other men. Obed the son was the grandfather to King David and also the great great great umpteen grandfather to Jesus Christ.

Jesus Christ is the one we celebrate at this time of year why? Why don't we celebrate (Obed mas)? You see this Jewish law was given by God. God the manufacturer of all the universe had given the world as an inheritance to Adam his created first born. But Adam made a mistake and did not fulfill his role to raise up and eternal heir to inherit the earth. He seeded the earth and the control there of to Satan. Satan is the owner of this world and all its kingdoms the Bible says. There was no on who on this planet who could redeem all the world for God. The right of redemption defaults to the Father. God the Father had to fulfill the right of redemption and raise up an heir for Adam that would fulfill the control of the land and its people. But God didn't want the land he wants the people inside whom he loves very much like Ruth. He sees us all laboring away and sees our struggles and difficulties and see how the sin of Adam affects us all in every way from family problems to jobs power struggles and even neighbor fallout.

So there in Luke 2 an event has happened unlike any before in the since the beginning of time. It is such a grand event that in the middle of the night the Angels went out into the fields of Bethlehem (same city) and shouted glory to God in the highest. Luke 2:8-14,
“I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people, For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be a sign to you; you will find the Babe wrapped in swaddling cloths, lying in a manger.

A son was born. The virgin gave birth to a supernatural being the God/Man Jesus Christ. 100% God in human flesh 100% man in Spirit. He was born with one purpose in mind. Not to be a ruler or lawyer or a teacher, the purpose was to be a redeemer of humanity. Though Jesus is the redeemer he needs to fulfill the act of redemption. You know you hand the clerk your coupon and they give you the product at the redeemed price. In this case Satan the owner of God's creation and the people inside demanded the death of the son as the redemption price. Jesus was born to die to redeem the world from the curse of being under Satan's control and power.

Galatians 3:13 says; Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law having become a curse for us.
1 Peter 1:18; “Knowing that you were not redeemed with corruptible things, like silver or gold, from your aimless conduct received by tradition from your fathers. But with the precious blood of Christ as of a lamb without blemish and without spot. He indeed was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you who through Him believe in God, who raised him from the dead and gave Him glory, so that you faith and hope are in God.

The Redeeming opportunity is complete the manufacturer has created the waribiki coupon of Jesus. Satan who owns the manufacturers product (US) demands full payment no discounts here. So the manufacturer wants the product back for himself. Can't he make more? Well he loves this bunch so much He loves you and me and has given us the opportunity to be redeemed by his son. He comes to us to collect us when we depart this earth. But there is a problem. Though we have been redeemed and the full payment was already given by Jesus there on that cross and he has fulfilled the right to take the land and it's inhabitants. God isn't a mean dictator. He is a loving creator. He asks you and I that if we would like to have our lives redeemed that we accept is Son Jesus into our life. We no longer listen to Satan and his world. The rules of the world tell you to strive for money or power or fame. We can fight all our lives to climb to the tops of these ladders and the view we have is only of the carnage we left behind as we prevailed. It is lonely and depressing to have made it. Most lottery winners are broke and poor and lonely after 5 to 10 years. But God gives you the opportunity to set out of that system. This stepping out of the fight is called repentance. We turn from our ungodly ways of succeeding and we realized this opportunity to be loved by God is worth more value than all the riches in the world. We can now have a relationship with God the Father through is redeeming son Jesus. The price is free. We are all now set free to choose God or Satan. With God the Bible promises eternal life. The power of the Holy Spirit to lead us, the peace in our life through all storms of life. We will still have difficulties and storms and sin around our lives will wash up on our shores. But God's gift of Jesus is not just a one time redemption but it is eternal. Maybe you accepted Jesus at one time and like the typical citizen of earth you go though the Culture shock phases. There is the romance stage where life with God is great new and wow, then there is the realization stage where life is different. God is not like this world, it isn't as easy to acclimate to this new culture of a citizen of the kingdom of heaven. Then we enter the rejection phase. This is where we stop reading our Bibles and praying and stop going to church. We are struggling as we find two diametrically opposing cultures in conflict. God's ways are not our ways says the Bible. It will be hard to change. It is hard to forgive, It is impossible to love others, But he gives us the Holy Spirit and His power to do these things. The final phase is the resolve phase. We resolve in our hearts to tough it out. We don't give up. In revelation, it says blessed is the one who overcomes and world and satan. Maybe you tried God once in you life but never made it past the rejection phase. The culture is too different. I'm not talking American culture. I'm specifically speaking of the Creator Culture. Even those of us shake our heads when we read the Bible and learn God's ways and see that our own church culture had entropy(ed) into a convoluted system of non-biblical culture and tradition that conflicts with God's word. Maybe you realize tonight that you didn't understand God's culture and gave up. I'm in my 4th year in Japan. I confess to you have had a hard time in the rejection phase of the people I love so much. I am not Japanese I rejected the culture, language, food, socialism and group power plays. I wanted to give up. I want to come back to California and not deal with the miserable lives that Japanese people struggle with. They are high tech but so are their problems. The depth of family issues runs deep and there are bonds and ties that the whole nation is pulling each other down and the slippery slope shows that like the USA we are all sinking into a time of evil unlike any other since the history of humanity began. There is no escape but one. Jesus. He will transform our hearts to a heart like his. The strings can be cut and we can rise above all the evil around us. But not in our own strength. We need Jesus.

For you who rejected God's culture there is hope. God is not angry but understands what you are going through. He never says understand me first and then lets have a relationship. No like all our relationships we just start and then later we wonder what did we get into? But Jesus is faithful and if you rejected him he has not rejected you. But he waits like a patient spouse. He gives you space and time to deal with it and process but he longs for you to come back into fellowship there is grace and forgiveness. The Bible says if we confess our sins he is faithful and just to forgive our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

For you who have never known this creator and his son Jesus. He extends to you the same opportunity as to all humanity. You can have your sins forgiven and be cleansed of all evil and be set free to have a relationship with the creator. He just asks that you give up your earthly life. Not quit your job. But the striving to use evil as a tool to get a better position on the board. The gossip to destroy another or tarnish their reputation. The all the ways of sin that we mastered, lying, backstabbing, manipulating all these things are opposite of God's culture. We give that up and we seek to learn through study of the Bible God's culture and ways and we try through the power of the Holy Spirit to do those things that please him. So do we do good works and that pleases God. NO!
The Bible says without faith it is impossible to please God. The government of heaven has an economy unlike our earthly one. They don't have a monetary system of monies. The system of success and wealth comes from FAITH. More faith that God can do great things in me the more amazing things he will do with my life. If I doubt God's work in me he will do little or nothing with me. You must believe in your heart first and foremost that Jesus Christ was born there in bethlehem, died on a cross in Jerusalem and rose again and is in heaven ready to give you an inheritance. If you believe John 1:12 you have the right to become children of God. If you believe you have the right to be forgiven. If you believe you have the right to eternal life, Do you believe? If you do then you begin by praying and talking to him and introducing yourself to him. “God the Father, I am (insert your name here). I am a sinner from earth that wants to come to your kingdom. I understand you sent Jesus to redeem me and forgive my sins. I would like to ask you to forgive me and allow me the opportunity to be redeemed by you. Please forgive my sin, and please come into my life and show me what I must do? I pray this in your Son Jesus Christ's name, Amen!

If your a citizen of heaven then you will naturally tell others. The Bibles says, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord (Redeemer) you shall be saved. If you deny Jesus before me the Bibles says Jesus will deny you before God the Father.

The Christmas story is good tidings for all humanity. A historical fact of God's redemptive plan put into action. That is what it's all about that is why we celebrate every year. The birth of a savior. Wow. He is so wonderful. He will guide you and lead you and love you. But not like you think. Your culture is different. His will blow you away. I for one am so thankful for God redeeming my soul. If you'd like to begin a relationship with God let's pray after this I'll help you. If you'd like to repent from rejecting God's culture then let's do that. Let's take this opportunity to once again pick up where we left off and renew our relationship with our Father in Heaven and His redeemer Jesus. Amen.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

What's biting you?

Acts 28 Paul and the 276 people on the sinking ship make it swimming to Malta Island. While building the fire. A snake fastens to his hand and he just shakes it off and goes back to work. Paul didn't freak out. He didn't stomp his feet and cry that's it Lord I am tired of getting beaten to near death. He didn't go go twisted sister; I can't take it anymore I am  better than this. NO! Paul has God's promise to go to Rome and nothing is going to stand in his way. Acts 27:23-25So many times the people around us can appear like a viper and bite us with their venomous words. I can get depressed and lose focus and just wonder why did they have to say that. Today we learned from Paul's example "Just shake it off!" That is what sports players do when they get banged up. They try to shake it off.

Maybe your one whose been bit and you're infected big time. You can't get over it. You'll never forgive it. It was a torpedo direct hit on your very core. But now your in bondage to the person. You can't stop thinking about them. They control your day. One
thought of remembrance will send you flying off angry or send you spiraling into the depths of depression. Paul knew God's promise and call. Knowing that he was able to shake it off. If you want to be free. Look to Jesus he said. "You shall know the truth and the truth will set you free." Those timeless promises of God that are just for you. He loves you and is able to forgive you all the time. Get her head back into the game and eyes on the promises of God and shake off that stupid painful viper. Get up and go there is so much work to do.
Another thing to note here about Paul's example. The natives were watching him like a hawk. They wanted, better yet expected him to blow up swollen and feverish. But then they saw him as a god. Paul by his example of faith to shake off the snake was able to be a witness to those watching him. Who might be watching you? If we look to Jesus and shake it off it will be a testimony to others. All glory to God he will take us his servant and serve up some snakes to latch onto us. Our job is to pass the test and shake it off and get back to work.
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Sunday, October 14, 2012

Update the Newsletter "Valley of Decision"

Bolinger update to newsletter "Valley of Decision"

Ever wish you could retract something? I sent out that last newsletter too early. I should have waited for the Doctor appointment to then sent out an email. The way I was feeling prior was not good at all. I felt deceived in someways because the expected out come was not what we thought. Having felt sick for so long. We just assumed it was my heart getting worse. I was dizzy and sick and sleepy.

Come to find out the doc says your actually getting better. Your BNP (Heart Hormone) is coming way down. A year ago it was 800-900. June it was 600. Last month it was 465. and this month it's in the 300's. We were stoked He said that the drugs are causing these problems you need a change. He took away my Lasix (Diuretic) and reduced some others. Mihoko and I were like confused because it was a 180 from what we thought. Today at church I had more energy than usual but also I was happier and Mihoko in the middle of the message was like, "What did you eat today?" ?

I told the doc that I was thinking we'd have to leave Japan and go home soon. He, very serious, looked at me and said, "My hope is that you will never need a transplant. If you keep loosing weight the hormone and heart damage will be less and you'll feel better. I had been depressed and back to eating comfort food. I gained 10 pounds back. I have been depressed at that as well. I may never get off the meds but I have the opportunity to live a near normal life. Normal is way too boring. There could be risks and potentials along the way for future problems. But a normal BNP is 100 or less. So I am still not healed. I still get fatigued and dizzy during today. But at least it isn't a constant.

Thank you for your prayers. God is good. We are still praying about decisions with the Church/School. Please keep praying with us.

God bless,
Dan and Fam

News letter titled "Valley of Decision

Dear Guys,

    Pray for us. Dan it's time to get up? Mihoko calls from the kitchen where she has been working for a long time making the kids lunches and breakfast. She is already thinking about dinner and setting out the food to prep. The kids have already eaten, hung laundry, and got ready for school. Dan? As I roll up out of bed to stand up I fall back down exhausted and dizzy. I try again sitting for a while on the side of the bed. I stand. Holding onto furniture and shuffling to the bathroom. The kids are out the door "Bye dad!" Appointments to keep and classes to prepare for and teach. It's a normal day. With my heart problem I often wake up with low blood pressure. Yesterday, 88/43 was a grand low. The Doctor appointment is in two days. I am praying for him to change my meds. I was feeling great until he added a new drug. It has offset the balance of the others and is causing me to feel just plain yucky and sick. Usually about noon I am revved up and ready to go. My energy level is able to carry me through the night of teaching providing I don't do dumb stuff and lift heavy things or climb stairs. Today, I woke up at 6am and felt great. My BP was up and I was able to hang laundry and help with breakfast before the kids wake up. Praise the Lord. But even in the difficulties we are no different than normal humanity. We picked up bread at Costco for the weekly distribution. We had prayed for a city contact that we could assist and distribute the donated bread to. On Tuesday, when my BP was really low we had to go to the city hall for business. In our city the city hall is where your insurance is. Welfare office, School district offices, the foreigners help desk is there. Also our handicap office where we turn in gas receipts for reimbursement is in the same building. It is kind of efficient for us but I am sure the workers are struggling as they work around each other. I was able to go the the volunteer office where I originally got the radio dj job. They were so happy to see us. We asked about the bread distribution. They were happy to introduce us to a lady who is helping families and they said she is a Christian like you guys. So we have made contact and hope we can serve together. Tonight is Handa san's new believers class. He is amazing and is loving all the things he is learning. We have studied about the attributes of God and he began reading through the bible on his own about 5-10 chapters a week. So we are in exodus and will discuss the temple elements and the priestly garments and their significance in the New Testament and with Jesus. Mihoko and I are so enjoying the time. Sundays are going great. We still have our faithful few and last week a visit of the Bedow family we had good fellowship. It was a blessed time. Pray for Mrs Sasaki she is not talking about the results of her cancer. Her husband is just staying busy working even though he is retired. The elderly love to keep busy and feel needed. They really don't understand retirement. They say if you stop working you stop living. So I say  so working hard is really living. Why don't people look more happy? They don't know how to answer me. Hee Hee. During my Tuesday class one of the moms hung out and was looking at the books and freebees we have. She won't take any but she looks with fascination. I try to explain things but she just smiles and nods not really comprehending the things. We do talk but she defers and distracts from the spiritual questions. Pray for the parents of the kids we are ministering to. They so need salvation. There is questioning in the hearts a restlessness with the status quo. There must be more to this life. In the parents life there is a window of opportunity to answer these life questions. Soon though it closes with a sigh of, "This is the way its always been and this is the way it will continue."

Today there were some schools that had events with other schools and so there was an unusual amount of kids exiting the train station. I was waving to them and saying hi. They love to interact in English. Occasionally, I get a few that try to talk to me. I am able to tell them who I am and where our church and school is. I offer them a pamphlet. After that our train station department store had a renewal grand opening for the supermarket. I went over there just wanting to see the store. It was a crazy mad house the membership lines were longer than the register lines, which were down the isles blocking items to shop for. I went in and the noise was deafening. The new employees were shouting greetings out loud. The product reps were playing music at the ends of the isles for specials. The music was really loud. Then there was a manager announcing specials over the intercom that was competing over the store music that was blasted. The noise was so distracting and disjunct I couldn't think. My heart started to palpitate and I knew I had to get out of there. Walking home about a eighth of a mile was so exhausting. I crawled back into bed and took a nap. I woke at noon to my alarm for medicine time. So I take meds and make lunch. Mihoko had a women's Bible study to attend and she came home after lunch and we went to Costco and got the bread. When we got home I began to prep pulling together the study of material for tonight's fellowship. Then I wrote this. this has been a fairly normal day.

Pray for daily energy and strength, Pray for the parents of our students salvation. Pray for Mrs Sasaki's cancer healing. Pray for Mr. Sasaki to desire to know more about God. Pray for Handa San's growth spiritually. Pray for his desire to minister to the other AA men. We have begun praying for them and desire for them to want to come to fellowship with us. There is a problem with the drug and alcohol programs. They don't fix lives. It is one thing to get dry. But the problem of drinking is only a symptom of a deeper need. Families are hurting from violence or fighting. Some men are out of work. They have no purpose to exist and many desire suicide. Pray we can reach these men and their families. It would be cool to have a U-Turn for Christ here. Pray for us as we weigh our existence here. The serious issue is my kids who had this sickness reach a month and even a week where the health just spirals fast into the ER. I am not there yet, but we know that day is coming. Do we continue in faith or in faith become practical with health concerns. It isn't an easy decision. Pastor Phil offered some advice but that isn't hearing from the Lord. God is very silent right now. We are so praying for him to confirm in our hearts what we should do.

Saturday, October 13, 2012


Hello here is an update to the newsletter we just put out. 

Depression is a sneaking thing. It doesn't just pounce on you like Tiger. It slithers around your feet and winds up into your brain and nests in your heart. You think you are tough and beyond depression. After all, I'm a pastor, I help folks with depression. Yet, you listen to its sensual talk and you feel down. I told my wife for weeks the medicine is making me feel funny. I am tired all the time. I had lost over a hundred pounds now I have gained 10 pounds back. What? HOW? I feel sicker. Getting out of bed is harder and harder. The days when there is challenging work to do are the hardest. The days for rest are up and easier. Still there is this weight that grows in the heart. Emotions not under control. Anger, fear, resignation to fate, giving up symptoms are viral in my blood. The weight of the stuff makes reading the word fuzzy not so inspiring. Cynicism is the choice of all conversations. Back handed comments are wrapped in compliments. The clouds of darkness surround me. What is happening? The fear gives way to hallucinations of projected outcomes for things that are unrealistic. A thought! I'm on track for what my kids, Caleb and Rachel, went through. Shock and denial have broken into fear and panic of undesired things. I feel like Jesus in the garden in some ways although I am not sweating blood. I am drooling for comfort food. I have been putting hot sauce on everything. I even drank a packet of taco bell hot sauce just because I could. I am disgusting and when I look at disgusting the noose of depression tightens around my neck. Hopelessness begins to crumbling the foundation stones of the call of God on my life. I have been rock solid in the things the Lord has done and know that I am called to this ministry. Yet, there I am wavering teary eyed thinking God is taking it all away. Why Lord? So I go to the doctor this last week in despair and thinking this is it. We are going home... God must laugh at me sometimes for all the wild stuff I dream up. The Doctor looked me in the eye and said Dan, as far as I am concerned you won't need a transplant you are getting better. Look...” and he showed us the numbers and stats and its like wow. I am getting better. BNP is a blood test that measures a hormone that comes from the heart. Here is information I got off the internet.
BNP levels below 100 pg/mL indicate no heart failure  
BNP levels of 100-300 suggest heart failure is present
BNP levels above 600 pg/mL indicate moderate heart failure.
BNP levels above 300 pg/mL indicate mild heart failure
BNP levels above 900 pg/mL indicate severe heart failure. 

The I asked the doc why I felt so terrible. He shrugs and says I don't know you should have plenty of energy and not feel dizzy. Then the Lord spoke to my heart I have been depressed. The Doc says I'll reduce your diuretics better yet I'll stop them all together. What? Wait I need those for weight loss? No, those are to prevent water retention. Weight loss is my not eating gig. 

On June 1, 2012 I was 668 BNP. This weeks BNP was just above 300. It was in the 8-9 hundreds last year. God is healing me. The key is to loose the weight and lower that BNP which is a hormone that is produced from the normal stress on the heart. If your heart is damaged there is more hormone produced. So If I can drop down to 100 there is the chance of never needing a transplant and or any other type of intervention. Whew. 

Praise God! Here I was, all depressed and sick to my stomach that I had to pull out of Japan and go home and all kinds of fear and doubt. So I was thinking how did that happen? Just a few months back we were so charged up about serving the Lord and all. So I took to the Word of God and started to study. I came to Psalm 42 and found myself sizing up pretty closed to David's feelings in his situation. He had very real enemies of persons wanting to kill him. I only have deadly thoughts that kill ministry and life and hope. Below is my study of the chapter. God bless you if you read it especially if you have been depressed. I am renewed in hope and joy for God is my salvation and the sustainer of my life. He will continually use us and test us. I failed the faith test but it's okay He lets me retake it over and over again until I get it right. God is a great teacher. He is an awesome God that loves us so much. God bless you. 

1 As the deer pants for streams of water,
so my soul pants for you, O God.

The Psalmist feels distant from the Lord. He is questioning his silence. He feels dry in his soul for a fresh drink in the
fountain of the Lord. The river of joy is dried up, the overflowing life is quenched and the desert of desolation has taken its place. He feels lost.
2. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. 
When shall I come and appear before God?
He is not desiring the things of the world there is only one element in the universe that can satiate this dryness. It isn't just any god type experience. It's not a louder or longer worship service. He waits like a forlorn lover deprived of his soul mate. He wants intimacy. He wants holiness alive and active and healing.
3. My tears have been my food day and night, 
while they continually say to me, 
“Where is your God?”
The deprivation has even made nourishment less than desirable. The hopelessness he feels seems, from my perspective, to have people around him saying, "Dude what happened to the God you believe in? You feel God has abandoned you but where is your God?" He has spiritually isolated himself in the vacuum of hopelessness. It is sucking the life out of his relationship with God.
4. When I remember these things,
I pour out my soul within me: 
For I used to go with the multitude; 
I went with them to the house of God, 
With voice of joy and praise
With a multitude that kept a pilgrim feast.
The time wasted in this place of despair and depression have led him to neglecting the things of God. He notes that spiritually he is withdrawn and now looks back to joyful times going to Church and loving the Lord with worship. He desires to walk with God yet the depression makes this physically impossible. Something is missing? What is missing? Why can't I get back to where I need to be? He has looked at God and he has looked at Church but those aren't the problems or the reason for his despair. Now he must look to self...
5. Why are you cast down, O my soul? 
And Why are you disquieted within me? 
Hope in God, for I shall yet praise Him
For the help of his countenance.
Now he gets to the source of his depression. He has been looking at external realities and social abnormalities but now he must go deep into the darkness and turn on the light. Why is it so dark down here? It's like a cellar. His questions give way to a command. "Put your hope in God." Hope? is that the core problem here? Turn on the light with hope. In the soul of man, a seed of hope can feed him for life and give expectation of better times lying ahead. When that seed is uprooted by the claws of depression the cares of this life choke out the seed.
6. O my God, my soul is cast down within me; 
therefore I will remember You from the land of the Jordan, 
And from the heights of Hermon
(a Sanctuary also the largest MT in Israel) — 
from the Hill Mizar. (Mizar means mount small)
His inspection of soul has yielded a trip down memory lane. He is literally talking to his soul. He has diagnosed the problem. Himself. He is looking at self. Now he make a conscious decision to cast aside all thoughts of self and to think on God. He tracks his memory banks of God through the geography of Israel. God has done mighty works intervening in man's history and has yielded a great legacy that God is always there and cares and loves. God loves us. Romans 5:5 "Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us."
7. Deep calls to deep at the noise of your waterfalls; 
all your waves and billows have gone over me.
The Love of God is like a deep ocean. Like the fish that call to the deep and the sonar echoes back, "God loves you." It bounces around the depths of deep calling to deep echoing the same voice, "God loves you." As he travels out of the sea of this great love it is still reaching out to him and washing over him in great waves of love. He is carried
away by the love of God washing away the hopelessness that was there.
8. By day the Lord directs his love, 
at night his song is with me—
a prayer to the God of my life.
The cleansing of God's love has yielded the fruit of a relationship with the Living God. No longer is he lonely at night fighting with tears the vanity of hopelessness. Now his love is back and is singing him to sleep. He is in worship, fellowship, and prayer to the God of his life.
9. I say to God my Rock, 
“Why have you forgotten me? 
Why do I go mourning,
because of the oppression of the enemy?”
The question to God is a rhetorical one with the accent on the word have. "why HAVE you forgotten me?" finish with rising intonation as if a question that remains unanswered. His first answer to this self posed question? Because I have been focused on the enemies of my life that are oppressing me. The cares of this life. I look at things that take my eyes off of you. I allow personal perception to cloud godly wisdom.
10. As with a breaking of my bones 
my enemies reproach me, 
while they say to me all day long,
“Where is your God?”
The fruit of this allowing yields very real pain. Down to the core of his very frame he is tortured by these cares. The frame of his faith the pillars of high quality construction are like bones breaking or shattering. Luke 21:26 "men's hearts failing them from fear and the expectation of those things which are coming on the earth," Spoken by Jesus Christ. He also adds in verses 34-36 "But take heed to yourselves, lest your hearts be weighed down with carousing, drunkenness, and cares of this life, and that Day come on you unexpectedly. For it will come as a snare on all those who dwell on the face of the whole earth, watch therefore and pray always that you may be counted worthy to escape all these things that will come to pass and to stand before the Son of Man.” The Psalmist restates the previous in a conclusion of the poem. So the circumstances and enemies which are the cares at staring at him speaking to him saying, "Where is your God?"
11. Why are you cast down, O my soul ? 
And why are you disquieted within me? 
Hope in God;
For I shall yet praise Him,
The help of my countenance and my God.
He finishes his conversation with self by restating the original question and then giving the answer to the problems of self and the cares of this life. Jesus says for us to pray always. Paul says we are to pray without ceasing. Get eyes off self and on God. God's eternal love is there ready to wash over your life and cast out the despair of depression. This action renews us for proper worship and a right mind before the Lord who is our Savior and our God. Hebrews 11:6, "But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him." Hope is the seed of faith in Hebrew 11:1 "Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen." Again hope is the container for faith it is like a tire that holds the air of faith. If the tire gets punctured then faith leaks out. Depending on the nature of the puncture it could be a rush or a very slow leak. It's the slow leaks that catch us by surprise. I don't realize I am getting flat, losing faith, until I'm in the same place as this Psalmist, stuck in a desert of despair and depressed at the conditions of life sitting next to my flattened hope tire.

Giving Up

     Have you ever felt like just giving up? No matter what it is we just can't see the future in this thing and we are struggling and are panicked and worried. The stress is taking years off our life and each day we can mumble around "Why am I doing this?"

My daughter had a very important test. She had been riding the train everyday but with her older brother and younger sister. Today was the day she was going to assume responsibility for herself. Confidence was exuding from her prideful stature. She was going to get up early and then hop on the train all by her self and get to school on time for the test. Well, she hadn't paid attention to the names of the train and the one she boarded blew past her stop as an express train that doesn't stop there. She went into panic mode. But she held it together I'll just get off and go back. Yet she calls us only to cry and say, "I missed the test." "We comfort her and tell to do her best and continue on." She says she is going back to a certain stop and catch another train to her destination. That stop is only one or two stops. But that stop never appeared. The 3rd and 4th stop pass by and she realizes she went to the wrong platform and boarded a train that went even a different direction. She was now in major panic. She calls and is broken and crying I wanna come home. Mom consoles her and tells her what to do. Her crying was blinding and sobbing and she was fearful. She is lost and missed a test but most of all she was humbled that she needed our help. This time she got on a train going in a third direction she is now on her way to Shinjuku Tokyo one of the busiest stops for trains in the world. We start to panic. Mom tells her to get off at the next stop and to wait. She does. Mom rescues her by physically going to get her and take her to school. She still wants to come home for all the embarrassment. But no her job is to go to school. Her job is to face her responsibilities head on and do her best.We are not to give up.

I have been here as I am sure many of you have too. Exasperation leads to absolute desolation and depression and we drop our hands and resign to just give up. "I quit!" In the Bible, we are encouraged by the Apostle Paul to in these times to look unto Jesus.In Hebrews 3:1-2a, the writer encourages, "Therefore, holy brothers and sisters, who share in the heavenly calling, fix your thoughts on Jesus, whom we acknowledge as our apostle and high priest. He was faithful to the one who appointed him," 

God will give us trials and will speak to us in these times. We are encouraged in the Bible to over and over again never give up. But to press on reaching for a prize, running to win, looking to the author and finisher of our faith. there are many more themes that come out of the life of faith. 

Hebrews 3:7 " So, as the Holy Spirit says: “Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts as you did in the rebellion during the time of testing in the wilderness,"(NIV) In the NKJV it says, "In the day of trial in the wilderness." The days of trial are plentiful. And the Bible says there will be many. It also says our God is with us and the Holy Spirit is speaking. Look at verse 7. "The Holy Spirit says." That means He is speaking to us. Listen, don't go in your own confidence. But do what is right and obey. If you don't obey the consequences are worse. But it you do obey when we are done with that trial there will be some rest.

This scripture speaks more to the culmination of life and that when we die to self we can enter that rest even while we are in the trial.