Posts Tagged 'God'

a MUST READ by Ben Stein

The following was written by Ben Stein and recited by him on CBS Sunday Morning Commentary.

My confession:

I am a Jew and every single one of my ancestors was Jewish, and it does not bother me even a little bit when people call those beautifully lit-up, bejeweled trees Christmas trees. I don’t feel threatened. I don’t feel discriminated against. That’s what they are — Christmas trees. It doesn’t bother me a bit when people say ‘Merry Christmas’ to me. I don’t think they’re slighting me or getting ready to put me in a ghetto. In fact, I kind of like it. I shows that we’re all brothers and sisters celebrating this happy time of year.

It doesn’t bother me one bit that there’s a manger scene on display at a key intersection at my beach house in Malibu. If people want a creche, fine. The menorah a few hundred yards away is fine, too. I do not like getting pushed around for being a Jew, and I don’t think Christians like getting pushed around for being Christians. I think people who believe in God are sick and tired of getting pushed around, period. I have no idea where the concept came from that America is an explicitly atheist country. I can’t find it in the Constitution and I don’t like it being shoved down my throat. Or maybe I can put it another way. Where did the idea come from that we should worship Nick and Jessica and aren’t allowed to worship God as we understand him? I guess that’s a sign that I’m getting old, too. But there are a lot of us who are wondering where Nick and Jessica came from and where the America we used to know went to.

My Best Regards, Honestly and respectfully,
Ben Stein

For more writings by Ben Stein go to Ben’s House.

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Struggling with Faith & the Unknown will of God

After our ordeal with Thomas’ collapsed lung over Christmas the thought still lingers in the back of our minds, “Will it happen again?”. It could, it might or it might not. Only God knows. But we have some friends who have over the last year faced a much more serious situation as their young daughter has battled cancer. Their blog has been a great encouragement to me over the past months. It has strengthen my faith and made me realize even more just how big a God we serve and that no matter what happens, our God is always big, always right, and always in control. From their last post:

Hi all. We spent the morning with Ashley’s doctor for him to check her over and review the scans with us. Everything looks really good – he even mentioned that he’s having a hard time identifying a residual mass. All good news!

He then spent some time talking us through next steps. Ashley will have quarterly scans thru this year, every four months next year, semi-annually after that, and so on until we get past five years. Technically we don’t even have to go back to him until next quarter, but Elaine needed some peace of mind between now and then so we’ll have a check-up in 6 weeks.

More immediately, she’ll have her port removed in an outpatient surgery next Tuesday. Ashley’s take on that is, “Can I go back to gymnastics?!?!” Yes sweet baby, you sure can!

So what does all of this mean? Is it gone? Will it come back? Would be great to have solid, definite answers on those, but its just not to be. She looks really good. We’re thankful for that and continue to monitor her. She’s in God’s hands and we entrust her to him.

In typical man fashion, I wasn’t going to get into emotions but Elaine’s holding a gun to my head and forcing me. So here goes: We feel great that things are clear. We take faith that she’s in God’s hands and are encouraged by clear scans, how well she’s responded to treatment, and high cure rates. We love her, are excited about how things look, and so appreciate all of your love and support thru this. At the same time, we are dealing with those nagging fears in the recesses of our minds – what if it comes back? We wish we could know she’s cured and that there won’t be any effects from the chemo and radiation. We’ll keep walking in faith and hurdle any obstacles if and when they arise.

And I’d like to share a lesson (under strong recommendation from my lovely wife) that God provided for me really early on in this battle. After Ashley was diagnosed we annointed her with oil, laid hands on her and prayed over her as the Bible instructs us. I struggled with having complete faith in her healing; wondering whether I should just be able to completely believe that God would completely heal her. If my faith were strong, shouldn’t I be able to believe that?

I was encouraged by the three Hebrew boys facing the fiery furnace. See, they refused to bow down before the king’s idol even in the face of the gruesome punishment of being burned alive. When the king asked them who could deliver them from the fire, they replied that they served the God who could deliver them from the flames. However, EVEN IF HE DIDN’T they still refused to bow.

Interesting they didn’t say they knew they would be delivered isn’t it? I believe that the outcome was beside the point. Their great faith – despite the outcome – was the point. And boy was that drilled into my heart. I don’t believe faith is about trusting in outcomes. It’s about being faithful within the trail, through the pain, despite the outcome.

In our world with Ashley’s cancer, we know we serve the God who can deliver us from the fire. But even if he doesn’t, we won’t succumb to anything less that serving him and living our faith. And we know that his desire is only the best for us – despite the circumstance or outcome.

And here’s the best part of the story of those Hebrew boys: The king threw those boys into the furnace and saw a fourth person in the flames that delivered them from the fire – WITHIN THE FIRE. The king’s words about that fourth person were that he was “like a son of the gods.”

Like those Hebrew boys, we have the Son of God in Jesus to deliver us WITHIN the fire. No matter the circumstance or outcome, we have the Son of God to deliver us WITHIN the fire.

I do hope that blesses you as much as it has blessed me.

We’ll update after her surgery to remove her port next Tuesday.

1.14.09

So I’ve got my new chronological Bible and enjoying is greatly! I’ve read through creation and it was really neat to have all the verses in the Bible about creation in one place. I read through the flood and discovered that the flood began ON MY BIRTHDAY– May 17 [according to the Jewish calendar]. This would really be a good tool for any Bible student to have in their library! Now, I’m bogged down in the book of Job. I guess I really never realized that Job happened so early on. This is really what so totally excites me about this chronological read is being able to put things in perspective as they happened. I don’t think I have ever read all the dissertations Job’s “friends” gave to him in his time of trouble. They were no help to him at all. So far I think I’ve read through 10 different speeches from the 3 friends. I did find it totally interesting though that they came and just sat without speaking for 7 days with him in the beginning.

“So they sat down with him upon the ground seven days and seven nights, and none spake a word unto him: for they saw that his grief was very great.” Job 2:13

Sometimes that’s all you can do for a friend in need. They probably should have kept their mouths shut after that, and then I wonder why God saw fit to through inspiration write all this in the Bible. What am I to get out of this? I am now at the part where the younger Elihu asks permission to give his “opinion” and goes on with his speech putting down the older 3 friends who in his opinion are not wise in their years as they should be.


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Psalm 19:1-3

"The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament sheweth his handywork...There is no speech nor language, where their voice is not heard."

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