My Thoughts

My Thoughts on Christianity and Other Things

Archive for the category “Christianity”

Mercy for the Hearing

Then Peter came to him and asked, “Lord, how often should I forgive someone who sins against me? Seven times?”
“No, not seven times,” Jesus replied, “but seventy times seven!” Matthew 18:21-22

Hearing Loss Symbol

A few years ago I was in a coffee shop when I noticed a Deaf woman signing to a friend on a tablet. After she finished, I was able to start up a conversation with her. This was before I learned American Sign Language (ASL). We communicated by way of a few signs and a lot of typing on the laptop I had with me.

I learned that she was born deaf and her sister was born hard of hearing. Both have been mistreated by the hearing community. However, she has been accepted into the Deaf community because of her deafness and because she was able to learn ASL. And there she made friends. (There is a difference between Deaf and deaf; Deaf is for those in the Deaf culture and Deaf community, whereas deaf is anyone who can’t hear.)

Her sister, however, was determined (by hearing people) not to be deaf enough for deaf school or for learning sign language, and therefore was neither deaf nor hearing and had very few friends.

The problem is that hearing people can talk and understand each other. Deaf people can sign and understand each other. However, the hard of hearing can speak but not hear well. This isolates us from many hearing functions. But most hard of hearing people do not know any sign language. This isolates us from the Deaf.

A real hatred for the hearing had grown between the two sisters. So why did this woman seem so pleasant? Jesus! The Lord had shown her mercy and now she can show mercy to the hearing people. She no longer hates them. Last year, when I was studying ASL, I was amazed at how well our Deaf teacher put up with some of the stunts the hearing students pulled. But then, I do believe she is a Christian. And I hate to say this, but even though I am also a Christian, I don’t believe I could have kept my cool like she did.

I have been going occasionally to a Deaf church in a near by town, not a translated service but a Deaf pastor signing for his Deaf and deaf congregation. This church service is in an upstairs room inside of a large hearing church, but all are welcomed, and often there is someone who will speak for those who do not know ASL. How does this Deaf pastor explain to hearing people the needs of the Deaf?

Since I am trying to start a ministry to bring the hard of hearing back into church, I thought I’d ask. However, my ASL wasn’t too good, and when I did ask, I realized that I may have insulted the man. He thought I wanted to help him, when instead I was asking him for help.

I remembered all the times over the years that I was misunderstood. Being thought of as lazy or stupid because I didn’t hear properly. Being looked down upon. Many people have the misconception that the deaf and hard of hearing are helpless, that we don’t know what we need, or that only hearing people understand our needs. Of course, this is not true. To make it worse, sometimes hearing people don’t believe us when we tell them our needs. A few people have even looked down on the deaf and hard of hearing with pity or contempt.

Thinking about all this, I knew I had to make it right with the pastor in Everett. So I wrote a long letter asking for forgiveness.

I am a hard of hearing man, between both hearing and Deaf worlds. When I get this hard of hearing ministry going (God willing), I will be working across culture and sub-culture lines. I will need to give and receive a lot of grace, mercy and prayer. It is my hope that through the ministry, and through showing mercy, I will also be able to make church more accessible to the hard of hearing.

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What Is Going On?

Democrats are against Democrats. Republicans are against Republicans. And of course they’re against each other. What is going on? Why is this happening?

It seems like there are Americans who want to tear America apart. Why? I believe I know why. And what’s more, I believe God even warned us about it.

“I will make you into a great nation. I will bless you and make you famous, and you will be a blessing to others. I will bless those who bless you and curse those who treat you with contempt. All the families on earth will be blessed through you.” Genesis 12:2-3

The nation of Israel belongs to God. Yes He has punished that country from time to time, but He also said He would curse any who shows contempt towards Israel.

The Lord your God will inflict all these curses on your enemies and on those who hate and persecute you. Deuteronomy 30:7

I was amazed at how people were reacting about the presidential election back in November 2016. When Trump won the election, many people were very upset. On the west coast of the United States, people in Washington State, Oregon, and California said they wanted their state to leave the nation. Why? If you ask them if they love their country, they would most likely answer ‘Yes’. So why would they want to tear their own country apart?

Many if not most of these people believe that Israel must be divided into Israel and Palestine. Many of the same people as well as government officials work hard for this ‘two state solution’. Some will do whatever they can it seems, like to make Israel the bad guy. They may say they support Israel. But their idea of supporting Israel is tearing that small country in two. So now The Lord God put it into their hearts to tear their own country in two. And it seems they don’t understand.

I heard that before the election Trump was the only candidate who signed a paper claiming he supported Israel and will move the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, saying that all of Jerusalem is the capital of Israel. I don’t know if this is absolutely true, but if it is, it would explain why Trump was elected. God kept His promise. “I will bless those who bless you and curse those who treat you with contempt. All the families on earth will be blessed through you.” Genesis 12:3

The way the United States has been treating Israel, I’m surprised we haven’t fallen yet. I’m glad we haven’t. But from what I’ve seen from the presidential election in 2016, I wonder if when God does judge us and we fall, how many Americans who claim to love America, will be OK with this. How many will not understand.

God may seem slow in keeping His promise, but He does keep them. The God of Israel is God. He is Lord. I believe in the God of Israel and His son Jesus Chirst.

Flag of Israel

Their Loss

Matthew 7:13
“You can enter God’s Kingdom only through the narrow gate. The highway to hell is broad, and its gate is wide for the many who choose that way.

Years ago I knew a man who at first was a nice man. At first we were friends. Then I told him about the Lord Jesus. This man’s then showed me hate. Lots of hate. Hate for most anything Godly. What’s more is he seemed proud of his hate. I finally broke all contact with him. A few years later, he died of heart problems.

I find the end of his life, very sad. He proudly mocked Jesus and all who believes in Him. He would insult and down grade us with much pleasure. Now he’s gone, and not only that, he even lost his soul. Sad. What a waste.

I also known another man who was a Buddhist. He was telling me how great Buddha was. So I told him about Jesus. He was interested and asked me questions. I did the best I could to answer them.

Finally he was telling me that Buddha was every bit of a holy man as Jesus. I told him “No, Jesus is Lord. He is the Son of God.” Then with ‘great authority’ this man told me that Jesus never told anyone to do anything.

I said, “What? What are you talking about?” He added, “Also Jesus never got mad at anyone. he’s just like Buddha.” I told him, “Yes Jesus did get mad.” He answered back again with his ‘great authority’, “NOT IN MY BIBLE HE DIDN’T!” I then told this man about when Jesus made a whip, over turned tables, and drove people out of the temple because, because they were selling animals there.”
John 2:13-16

I continued, “Jesus is Lord. He died for your sins, but rose back to life again in three days, physically, with His own body. So anyone who believes in him, ask for forgiveness, can go to Heaven. Can your Buddha make that claim?”

Since I would not turn from Jesus, this man wouldn’t have anything to do with me anymore.

A third man, also a good man. However he told me he wanted nothing to do with God.

All three decided they did not want God. I understand that it’s their choice. I also understand when Jesus said, “You can enter God’s Kingdom only through the narrow gate. The highway to hell is broad, and its gate is wide for the many who choose that way.” I understand most will not make it to Heaven. Most will not have ever lasting life. I also understand America is turning away from God.

So should we stop telling people about Christ? Should we give up? How much time, money and effort should we use, bringing people to Christ?

In the mid 1970s there were billboard signs saying “I found it. And you can too.” It was suppose to be a way of bringing people to Jesus. Most people will say it was a big waste of time and money and that it didn’t work. But is this true?

In about 1972 or 73, people started talking to me about Jesus. In 1976, I saw the I found it signs. I called the phone number on the sign and agreed to meet with someone. That evening I decided to give my life to Jesus. The next day I told many people that I decided to follow Jesus.

More and more people are becoming hostile to God. But please do not give up. There are still a few people around who will come to know the Lord.

Jesus said “I have been given all authority in heaven and on earth. Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, (or people) baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Matthew 28:18-20

What I Learned in ASL Class

Google

Last year I was reading a blog about the deaf and how many of their relatives won’t learn ASL. I myself have seen this. But as I read farther, I realized they were talking about a different ASL than what I thought. They were talking about Australian Sign Language. I was thinking American Sign Language. Interesting that two countries in different parts of the world have the same cultural problems. Of course since I am an American I’ll be talking about what I learned while taking American Sign Language.

I was talking with a couple of people once about why people who loose their hearing will often drop out of church. I explain that once that happens, that church could loose a valuable resource. The people said something like, “Just crank up the sound.” I told them it doesn’t always work that. Much of the time captioning is needed or other technology. They had a hard time understanding this.

Google

So I explained that for me and many others that are hard of hearing or deaf use captioning when watching TV. One of them finally spoke up saying, “I never thought of someone who can’t hear, needing to rely on sight to understand what’s going on.”

There is a joke that goes around the deaf community as while as the hard of hearing, is someone being on an airline and telling a stewardess that they can’t hear them saying airline safety speech. So the ‘helpful’ stewardess brings the manual written in braille for the deaf person to read. So often people are either clueless or simply don’t think.

And this brings me to the American Sign Language course I’m taking. My teacher is deaf, and I’m sure she gets tried of some of the stupid thing her students say or do. I shouldn’t say stupid if someone doesn’t know any better. But after awhile, I believe I would go nuts with it all. How does she put up with it all?

One day I decided to ask her. But I wanted to ask in the correct American Sign Language grammar. (It’s different from English) So now I’m thinking, “OK. With people, you have patience how?” Then the answer came to me. I don’t need to ask my teacher. The Lord just told me. I instantly thought patience = love. Love = patience.

1 Corinthians 13:4-5
Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged.

Often our teacher says she loves us. Before, I thought it was just her personality. I still do. But now I also believe that maybe she says this, so she will remember to love others the way the Lord wants us to. (I believe she is a Christian)

So the most important thing I learned in ASL class love. 1 Corinthians 13:4-5 And if I want to bring non-hearing people back to church, I need to remember
1 Corinthians 13:1-7
If I could speak all the languages of earth and of angels, but didn’t love others, I would only be a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. If I had the gift of prophecy, and if I understood all of God’s secret plans and possessed all knowledge, and if I had such faith that I could move mountains, but didn’t love others, I would be nothing. If I gave everything I have to the poor and even sacrificed my body, I could boast about it; but if I didn’t love others, I would have gained nothing.
Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.

And those are my thoughts.

I Have Been Busy

It’s been a long time since my last post, and as you can see, I haven’t prepared anything for our Lord’s Birthday.

All I can say is, “Lord Jesus, Happy Birthday. I can only give myself. Nothing more. You know what I’m trying to do in your name. Please help me succeed and bring glory to you. Amen.”

I am going to cheat a little (Did I just say that after praying?) and insert a link to a post I did before. Here’s the link. I decided to add another link here.

Now I will tell you what I have been up to. I’ve gone back to school. This is my fourth time. (Last year didn’t count as I soon had to drop out due to health reasons.) I started out taking an automotive repair class, then electronic technology, then computer networking, and now American Sign Language. Since most of my life I have been repairing cars, trucks, (both military and civilian) lawns mowers, generators and many other things, I call myself an old mechanic.

Many of you know I don’t hear well. A few of you know because of the type of hearing loss I have, no hearing aids can help me. And my wife and I believe it may be getting worse. Then again maybe it’s temporary. I wrote about this a few months ago. Rare Hearing This is why I decided to learn ASL. ( American Sign Language) Many hearing people tend to look down on non-hearing people. Either consciously or subconsciously. Because of this, if worse comes to worse I want to hopefully become part of the Deaf community.

I have been doing my best in ASL class. My grade point average so far has been 3.9. In the United States 4.0 is perfect.

I was invited to a Deaf church once, so I went. What a very humbling experience. I did a report on it for school. Here’s part of it.

When the sermon started, I was a little disappointed that Pastor Nick and his wife weren’t there. The man who did preached though seemed to have done a good job. I was also surprised that someone there was translating. At first they had praise and prayer requests. It’s been many years since I’ve seen that. I miss it. After a while I got up with a prayer request. I told them that I wasn’t hearing or deaf, but instead am hard of hearing. I need… I didn’t know enough to sign more. The man who sat in front of me signed for me. I spoke, “I need to learn this language because technology can’t help me. I want prayer to become fluent.”

After that there was prayer. They even prayed that I would become fluent in ASL. I like that. The preacher then preached. The subject was on 1 Timothy and 2 Timothy. Even though the man who sat in front of me spoke for the preacher, I understood very little because his back was towards me. I was a little able to fellow along only because all the verses were shown on the projector.

I was invited back and I would like to go back. But, boy do I need more learning!

Anyway back to Christmas. I know it’s Christmas Eve here, but for many of you it’s already Christmas. Remember, this is Lord Jesus birthday. We are saved by grace only when we believe in Him.

Merry Christmas - colored

The Political Party Of Jesus

Google

Google

If Jesus were to come back right now, what political party would He belong to? I have been told at times that if Jesus came back now, He would be Democrat. Well the people who say that are wrong.

Right about now some of you maybe happily thinking ‘Of course not. He would be a Republican.’ And you too would be wrong.

I’m wondering if there are some who believes Jesus wouldn’t get involved in any form of political affairs since He is a religious figure. Believing that one must not mix religion with government affairs. If so, they too would be wrong.

Jesus is not a Republican, or Democrat, or Socialist, or Communist. Oh, and the early Christians in the book of Acts were not Socialist either. Socialism is where the government takes (often by force) and gives some of it to others. The early Christians in Acts gave out of their hearts with love to help others.

Let’s say there is someone in need. Maybe because of earthquake, flood, health problems, homelessness, you name it. And let’s say you personally care and want to help, so you give your time, or money, or both. That is what the Christians in Acts were doing.

Acts 2:44-46
And all the believers met together in one place and shared everything they had. They sold their property and possessions and shared the money with those in need. They worshiped together at the Temple each day, met in homes for the Lord’s Supper, and shared their meals with great joy and generosity

So what political party would Jesus be part of? His own! Jesus is KING. He is LORD. Besides, what makes you think He would be that impressed with anything we have?

There are two places in Revelation that you may find interesting. The first one is when the Anti-Christ’s armies will go to war against the Lamb (Jesus), but the Lamb will defeat them because he is Lord of all lords and King of all kings. And his called and chosen and faithful ones will be with him. Revelation 17:14

The second is Revelation 21:22-26 which will happen after the Anti-Christ is gone, after the thousand years of Christ’s reign, after Satan is released again, and after the whole world is destroyed, then recreated. Revelation 21:22-26 says:
I saw no temple in the city, for the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are its temple. And the city has no need of sun or moon, for the glory of God illuminates the city, and the Lamb is its light. The nations will walk in its light, and the kings of the world will enter the city in all their glory. Its gates will never be closed at the end of day because there is no night there. And all the nations will bring their glory and honor into the city.

So the LORD will rule the world and yet there will be different nations. How this will work, I’m not sure. The only thing I can think of is the United States of America. Here we have one president, one federal government with federal laws. However we are made up of 50 different states with different laws and customs. For an example: the state of Oregon has an income tax, but no sales tax. Where Washington State has no income tax, but it does have sales tax. In Louisiana they celebrate Mardi Gras. Not so much in the other states. Also what’s legal in one state may be illegal in the next. Yet we are all united states, or United States of America. However when Jesus reigns, it will be perfect.

So what political party will Jesus belong to? His own. He’s KING and LORD. And that’s my thoughts.

Who Should Be President?

Cat photo downloaded from Google

Cat photo downloaded from Google

I don’t know. Like many people, I haven’t found anyone who is worthy. I almost feel like the best candidate should be Hank The Cat. For the fun of it, I made a small poster saying Hank The Cat For President For 2016. I downloaded the cat photo form the Internet. I then brought it to a locale Hearing Loss Association chapter meeting. People loved it.

But seriously, as Christians who do we vote for? I don’t know. But I do know what God’s word says in Genesis 12:1-3 NLT:
The Lord had said to Abram, “Leave your native country, your relatives, and your father’s family, and go to the land that I will show you. I will make you into a great nation. I will bless you and make you famous, and you will be a blessing to others. I will bless those who bless you and curse those who treat you with contempt. All the families on earth will be blessed through you.”

Before Israel even became a nation on the map, Egypt made slaves of them and treated them harshly. God then in return, treated the Egyptians even more harshly. This has been repeated several times throughout history with different countries and people who abused Israel. So many countries who went against Israel and then fell.

During World War II, before there was modern day Israel, the Nazis tried to wipe out all the Jews. They failed. There are still Jews, and now there is even Israel. But, where is that Nazi army? They’re just gone. They fell.

Now it is true that Israel did fall from time to time. But only because of the sin they did. Also God aways brought Israel back to life. Where are the other armies? They’re still gone.

With all this in mind, why would any Christian who believes in God’s word, want to vote for anyone who would wants to hurt Israel. I know they will say they support Israel. But they also they want a two state solution for Israel. What they are saying is, “Why yes I support Israel. I support Israel so much, I would like to rip that little country in two and give half to their enemies.” Wow, I hope I don’t have friends like that.

I believe anyone who votes for someone who wants to harm Israel is like saying: “Lord please destroy us! We’re morons!” To be honest, I’m surprised we’ve haven’t fallen yet.

I know of many countries all around the world are against Israel. And I know some may argue, “Is God going to make all those other countries fall?” My answer is “Why not?” I wonder if enough countries fall, if that would bring in the Anti-Christ. If enough countries fail and if people get desperate enough; they may become willing to follow someone who will lead them. That person will deceive many. That person will be the Anti-Christ. Then later a very large army will come up against Israel. And that’s when Jesus Himself will come and defeat that army. Revelation 19:19-21 That army will be defeated. They will fail and they will die.

I’ve talked with people who have said that this Israel shouldn’t be here. And yet there it is, and there is nothing anyone can do to change this fact. I do not believe the LORD will not allow this Israel to be conquered, period.

So who will I vote for? I honestly don’t know. But, I will not knowing vote for somebody who will harm God’s country. In my mind, that’s just stupid. And that is my thoughts.

By the way Hank The Cat For President wasn’t all my idea. I got the idea from an Alaskan cat that was mayor. Here’s the link.

First Love Cooled?

Revelation 2:4-5
“But I have this complaint against you. You don’t love me or each other as you did at first! Look how far you have fallen! Turn back to me and do the works you did at first. If you don’t repent, I will come and remove your lampstand from its place among the churches.”

Did you read that? Does this apply to you? I hope not. But think about this. Are you still on fire for God? Or has your love gone a bit cool. I’m not asking if you still love the Lord. I’m guessing you still do. Are you still willing to live for Jesus? Do you still have love for others? Or is it more self-centered?

I know that this is for the church in Ephesus. However I also believe that it could apply to us individually.

About removing your lampstand from among the churches? You can say it applies only to churches, or not. But, do you really want to take a chance? Do you want to disappoint our Lord? I don’t.

There is more written to the church in Ephesus. Most of it is good, but I suggest reading Revelation 2:1-7.

That’s my thoughts.

Earning Your Way To Heaven?

Are you earning your way to Heaven? And if so, how are you doing it? What if you’re wrong?

What if a man murdered someone else, and then is caught, arrested, and put on trial? His defense attorney says, “This is basically a good man. His good deeds out weight his bad.”

The prosecuting attorney says, “He is a murderer and here is the proof. He should go to prison.”

Defense attorney says, “But this man who did murder is a nice guy. He gives to charity, sings in the church choir, he is a pillar in our society. He’s a great husband and father.”

But because the man is a murderer, he went to prison. All the good he did in his life didn’t matter.

Right now many of you are saying, “I didn’t murder anyone, so I’m OK. I’ll still get into Heaven.” But there is one problem with this thinking. This is what Jesus said in Matthew 5:21-22, “You have heard that our ancestors were told, ‘You must not murder. If you commit murder, you are subject to judgment.’ But I say, if you are even angry with someone, you are subject to judgment! If you call someone an idiot, you are in danger of being brought before the court. And if you curse someone, you are in danger of the fires of hell.”

So now, how many of you believe you’re good enough? Remember in this society, once a murderer, always a murderer. Just like once a sex offender, always a sex offender.

By the way Jesus also said, “You have heard the commandment that says, ‘You must not commit adultery.’ But I say, anyone who even looks at a woman with lust has already committed adultery with her in his heart.” Mathew 5:27-28

Face it, there is no way you can earn your way into Heaven. But what if it was given to you as a gift? Would you accept it? Your sins must be paid for somehow. After all, if you don’t go to Heaven, you will go to Hell.

For this is how God loved the world: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life. God sent his Son into the world not to judge the world, but to save the world through him. John 3:16-17

Cross

Jesus came to pay our way into Heaven. It is a gift. We can not earn it. John 1:1-5 and John 1:14 explains that Jesus is God. He loves us enough to go through, being mocked, punched in the face, spit upon, whipped. Imagine having the whip digging into your back and ripping away bits of your flesh. Imagine having a crown made of thorns shoved down on your head. Now there is blood and sweat running down stinging your eyes. Then in front of everyone you cry out in pain, and yet no one helps you. You’re in pain because nails are being pounded through your hands and feet. And then more pain as the weight of your body tears at holes in your hands as the cross they just nailed you to is being righten up in the ground. And as your family and friends watch… you die.

Also keep in mind that Jesus could have stopped this anytime He wanted. Matthew 26:53-54 says:
“Don’t you realize that I could ask my Father for thousands of angels to protect us, and he would send them instantly? But if I did, how would the Scriptures be fulfilled that describe what must happen now?”

He Is Risen - The Graffiti Bridge, on Facebook

He Is Risen – The Graffiti Bridge, on Facebook

This is how much God loves us. Then three days later He rose from the dead, physically with His own body.

So you have a choice. You can try to earn your way to Heaven, and you will fail. Or you can believe in the Lord Jesus. Ask Him into your heart and to forgive your sins.

Ephesians 2:8-9
God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God. Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it.

Are You Proud To Be A Christian?

One of the things I have seen on Facebook are “I’m proud to be a Christian. Share if you are too.

I’m puzzled by this. Knowing that we are all sinners, and fall way short from God’s standards, how can we be rightfully proud?

Copper Ridge, North Cascade National Park -National Park Service

Copper Ridge, North Cascade National Park -National Park Service

Let’s say you are lost in the mountains with a broken leg. Or you’re sitting on the roof of your home because of a flood. You are cold, wet and hungry. You have no hope on saving yourself. Finally Search and Rescue finds you. Are you proud that they found and rescued you? There is nothing to boast about here, except for the adventure. The real question, or the correct question is, “Are you grateful?”.

“Proud To Be A Christian”, also makes me think of “The Proud Pharisee” who did everything right. However if you read Luke 18:9-14. you see being a “The Proud Pharisee” who self-righteously did everything right, didn’t make himself right with God. Yet Luke 18:14 says the tax collector who humbled himself before the Lord, was justified before God.

Ephesians 2:8-10 says:
God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God. Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it. For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.

So when people say they’re proud to be a Christian, I wonder; are they really proud that Jesus gave up His life so they might be saved from Hell?

I myself am humbly grateful that my Lord would save me. John 3:14-16 says:
And as Moses lifted up the bronze snake on a pole in the wilderness, so the Son of Man must be lifted up, so that everyone who believes in him will have eternal life.
“For this is how God loved the world: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.

Soon we will celebrate the death and resurrection of Jesus. For those who believes in the Lord Jesus, Roman 6:5 says:
Since we have been united with him in his death, we will also be raised to life as he was.

Happy Easter

Happy Easter

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