Saturday, March 10, 2018

Was that Trivial? Does anyone care?

What is Trivial?

Barbara Henderson           

‘What is truth?’ is a question most people have heard.  I don’t know what it means exactly.  It probably usually means someone is wanting to do something they know they really should not do.  They would rather have truth be something else. 

 The Bible tells us Jesus Christ is the Truth.  He is perfect righteousness.  He is the Light – in Him is no darkness at all.  So we do know the ultimate truth. 

 Truth is also what actually happens in an event.  There is no room for exaggeration in truth.  You can’t add anything to the facts, or take anything away from the facts.  It must be exactly what happened.  There is no spin on truth.

 But, the point we are pondering today is ‘What is trivial?’ Is there a definite place in the sand where we can draw a line between trivial and important?  In fact, is there actually anything that is actually trivial?

 We are living in a world that appears to be falling apart.  The things with which people seem to be the most concerned are money, political stability, and food.  Is there anyone who would consider those things unimportant?  These things automatically pull our attention to them.    However, according to the Bible our focus should be somewhere else. Matthew and Luke both give us the same instructions on where our focus should be.  (Luke chapter 12,  Matthew chapter 6 – read both of them if you have time

 Luke chapter 12 says:

, 27.  Consider the lilies how they grow: they toil not, they spin not; and yet I say unto you, that Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.

28.  If then God so clothe the grass, which is to day in the field, and to morrow is cast into the oven; how much more will he clothe you, O ye of little faith?

29.   And seek not ye what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink, neither be ye of doubtful mind.

30.  For all these things do the nations of the world seek after: and your Father knoweth that ye have need of these things.

31.  But rather seek ye the kingdom of God; and all these things shall be added unto you.

32.   that ye have, and give alms; provide yourselves bags which wax not old, a treasure in the heavens that faileth not, where no thief approacheth, neither moth corrupteth.

34.  For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.

 Now, go back and read verse 31 again.  It is really good!

 But the world is still wrongly dividing trivial things from important things.  Whatever Christians do should be within the boundaries of seeking first the Kingdom of God and seeking to please our God.  We have to break it all the down to the personal level, and do what is right according to God Almighty. 

 In politics the question has come up many times over the years when considering a particular candidate whether or not character is important.  If someone favors an immoral dishonest candidate, character becomes trivial.  After all, the guy with no character is the one who has the best chance of getting things done the way they want them done.  But does trivializing character make character unimportant?

 Someone else really wants a specific job.  Maybe they just want a job in general.  Is it important to stay within the boundaries of truth to get that job, or is a little lying and manipulating trivial?  It is definitely right to present yourself in the best way possible, but it is not trivial step outside the boundaries of truth.

 There was a recent article on WND about a meeting where women and girls were encouraged to go topless.  Charges have been filed for several reasons, but those commenting on the article mostly act like it was not big deal.  ‘Trivial’ is the word some used.  They say with all the problems going on in the world who cares about stuff like that?  Well, those who went to observe the event obviously cared.  But does it matter?  After all, the world is facing, unemployment, political instability, lawlessness, and famine.

 Sharia law is slithering into national law in most countries. Is this trivial?  After all, the world is facing, unemployment, political instability, lawlessness, and famine.

 Gay and lesbian lifestyles are being pushed into the mainstream as though they are normal and morally correct.  Does it matter?  Is it trivial to even worry about it?  After all, the world is facing, unemployment, political instability, lawlessness, and famine.

 National boundaries are being eroded by encroaching consideration of the laws of other countries.  Recently, the Gibson guitar factories in Nashville and Memphis were raided by our own government for not complying with the laws of India.  It had something to do with the wood purchased from India needing to be used by Indians.  It is unclear how India could sell the wood out of their country and still expect it to be used by Indian workers.  I wonder what our government is trying to do.  Are they trying to shut Gibson down entirely, or are they just trying to force more jobs overseas.  Is this trivial?  After all, the world is facing, unemployment, political instability, lawlessness, and famine.

 The term ‘family’ is being redefined.  The paradigm for ‘family’ has gradually shifted from the Biblical family to that of any lose knit group of people who want to call themselves ‘family’.  Death used to be the main factor that divided a family.  Now it is often any whim or fancy.  ‘Self’ is more important than duty and responsibility.  Some families who are traditional families are still divided by the level of importance family members place on their own agenda instead of food and shelter for the family itself.  

 For a variety of reasons, families are smaller. Often it is because more than one or two children will not fit well into the careers and desires of the parents. Economic struggles may also be a factor.  Smaller families make for smaller extended families.  The safety net once provided by family is either weak or non-existent.   Help is no longer provided through family.  It is the government coming to the rescue with just enough to keep people from starving, but it isn’t enough to help them recover from financial problems.  Is this trivial?  It may appear somewhat trivial to those who are not caught up in this sad scenario.  Seen as trivial, or beyond our control, these things do add up to a weaker society.

 Then there are things that are considered even more trivial, but are they?  Let’s take a look and see what is really going on.

 Mr. Coldicutte is supposed to be a Christian.  He goes to church, give to missions, and keeps a steady job.  He sees these things as important, but he also sees them as his ‘get out of jail free’.  He really doesn’t do anything that is legally wrong.  However, he sees the good he does as payment for ‘indiscretions’ every now and then.  He sees the things he does wrong, like cheat a little on taxes, claim a little too much for income tax deductions, and innocent flirtations with fellow employees as his due.  Anyone who wants to nit-pick his life is needs to get a life.  Is this attitude trivial considering all the real problems the world is facing?

Mz. Farmington works for a wealthy relative.  He is not smarter or more deserving than the rest of the family.  She has no idea why he is the rich family member and he is the working family member.  She takes liberties with the miscellaneous money that she really shouldn’t take.  In light of her relative’s wealth, it is a trivial matter: or, is it?

 Maybe it would be easier to consider what is important instead of what is trivial. 

We could ask ourselves, ‘Is this important to God?’

If it is important to God, then it is important to Christians and to the entire world.

 It is absolutely true that our lives are affected by world events.  The world is facing, unemployment, political instability, lawlessness, and famine.  Actually, those are just to name a few of the dire circumstances facing the world today. 

 Fortunately for us, God knows what is going on in the world. 

God gives us instructions on what to do in such a time as this.

As already mentioned in this article, God gave us Matthew chapter 6, and Luke chapter 12.  They pretty much tell the same story.  If God thought it was important enough that both Matthew and Luke should give us the same instructions, then it would be to our advantage to take care to follow these precious instructions. 

 Christians are to seek the Kingdom of God first.   

This benefits the individual Christian, their family, everyone their lives touch, and ultimately the entire world. 

 Even when the world is facing, unemployment, political instability, lawlessness, and famine, the way to help the entire world is for the individual Christian to not trivialize the things of God.  If God’s instructions are taken seriously, if His Kingdom is not sought first and foremost in the lives of His children, then the wickedness and sorrow in the world will increase.  There is no political, military, or social solution that will solve the problems of the world.  Only God can do that.  And, one way He works is through the lives of His children. 

 Take the time to consider the level of importance you are placing on the things in your life.  Clearly God has told us what to do first.  We are not to give greater importance to the things of this world than they merit.  They are beyond our control.  In the United States we have been given the privilege to vote on who holds public office.  This is a blessing.  We should take it very seriously. However, what is even more important is our privilege to seek the Kingdom of God and His righteousness.  How marvelous.  How wonderful. 

 Here are just a few quick thoughts on the blessings obtained from seeking God’s Kingdom first.

 We can enter into God’s rest.  Hebrews 4:9 says, ‘There remaineth therefore a rest to the people of God.’  (Read the entire chapter – it is really good!)  That is definitely not trivial!

 We can be renewed.  The thesaurus gives these synonyms for ‘renewed’: rehabilitated, transformed, renovated refurbished, rekindled, regenerated, revived, reinstated, and improved.

 2 Corinthians 4:16 says, ‘For which cause we faint not; but though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day.’

 Ephesians 4:23 says, ‘And be renewed in the spirit of your mind;’.

 Are you the one today who is feeling so weary that you don’t know how to go on?  Through obedience and fellowship, God will renew your mind and spirit.  That is definitely not trivial!

 Ephesians 3:16 says, ‘That he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man;’.

Colossians 1:11 says. ‘Strengthened with all might, according to his glorious power, unto all patience and longsuffering with joyfulness;’.

 We can be HEARD. 

Micah 7:7 says, ‘Therefore I will look unto the LORD; I will wait for the God of my salvation: my God will hear me.’   (The God of creation will hear us.  That is certainly not trivial.)

 In seeking first the Kingdom of God, we can:





 Why is it then, with all the benefits of seeking first God’s Kingdom, that seeking God’s Kingdom is trivialized while worrying about unemployment, political instability, lawlessness, and famine are given an undeserved place of importance?  In fact, worry about these things dominates the lives of many of Christ’s children. 

In disobedience to the intructions to seek God’s Kingdom first, we are forsaking our own help.

 The really ‘solid’ citizens of any society or nation are those who stand on the solid rock of Jesus Christ.  The more people of God there are in a place, the more the blessings of God will be on that place.  Through God’s blessings on His children, unemployment, political instability, lawlessness, and famine are lessened. 

 So, you might ask, ‘Who are the people of God?’  It appears that the world is full of them, and yet all these problems still beset us.  Matthew 7:20 tells us, ‘Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.’

 Our first job is to make sure that our own fruits are solid indicators of our obedience to our God.  It is not trivial.  Learn the things Christ says to do.  Then, do them. 

 The truth is it is impossible to change the world from the top down.  It can only be changed one life at a time.  The life over which you have the most control is your very own.  What you do and say is not trivial.  It is important to God. 

 I Stand Amazed in the Presence

 I stand amazed in the presence
 Of Jesus the Nazarene,
And wonder how He could love me,
 A sinner, condemned, unclean.


O how marvelous! O how wonderful!
 And my song shall ever be:
 O how marvelous! O how wonderful!
 Is my Savior’s love for me!

 For me it was in the garden
He prayed: “Not My will, but Thine.”
 He had no tears for His own griefs,
 But sweat drops of blood for mine.


 In pity angels beheld Him,
And came from the world of light
 To comfort Him in the sorrows
 He bore for my soul that night.


 He took my sins and my sorrows,
He made them His very own;
 He bore the burden to Calvary,
 And suffered and died alone.


When with the ransomed in glory
 His face I at last shall see,
 ’Twill be my joy through the ages
 To sing of His love for me.


Monday, March 5, 2018

Playing Your Role in the Story of Life on this Planet

Playing Your Part in the Story of Life on Earth
Barbara Henderson

The Bible tells us a story of a mighty and righteous king named Uzziah. (2 Chronicles 26)
He was made king at age sixteen and ruled for fifty-two years.  Uzziah started out doing what was right in the sight of the Lord.  He sought the Lord in days of Zechariah who was a man of God.  The Bible tells us that as long Uzziah sought the Lord the Lord made him to prosper.  It tells us of the deeds and battles he fought successfully.  He had an amazing career seldom matched throughout all of history.  But then……

With all Uzziah’s successes you would think he would have never wavered from following God Almighty with his whole heart.  But verse 16 tells us one of the saddest stories ever told.  It says,
     ‘But when he was strong, his heart was lifted up to his destruction: for he transgressed against the Lord his God, and went into the temple of the Lord to burn incense upon the altar of incense.’

Uzziah’s story should have ended in triumph, but it ended in disaster when he overstepped his boundaries and usurped the authority of God’s priests.  This was not done without severe consequences to Uzziah.  He became a leper.  He was cursed with leprosy until he died. 

A very interesting story here is that Uzziah sought the Lord in the days of Zechariah.  This is a key element when applying Bible teachings to personal actions.  This story is about Uzziah, but the star of the story, the godly guiding influence, was Zechariah.  We don’t know if Uzziah would have done well as long as he did without Zechariah’s influence.  I’m sure personal pride played a factor in his downfall, but apparently there was no godly mentor to step into Zechariah’s shoes after he died.  Zechariah’s story was just a part of Uzziah’s story.  Zechariah touched many other people while he lived his own life, and I am sure his influence ranged from great to small in those he touched.  And that is how each of us today live our own life.  We are influenced by some to a great extent, by some to a small extent, and we influence others to some extent.

Each of us, no matter how large a real-life role we play, is just a little part of the big story.  This brings us to the that old saying, ‘There are no small parts, just small actors.’ In watching movies and television I have often noticed that the so-called star of the show should have been someone other than the one getting top billing and the big bucks.  In the Biblical story of Uzziah Uzziah plays the role of a mighty king with one godly adviser – Zechariah.  When Zechariah was no longer there Uzziah became puffed up and forgot God. 

We all want to be careful to do right and follow wise counsel all the days of our life.  I am sure you have all noticed the recent passing of the Reverend Billy Graham.   I know he was controversial to many regarding his message.  Was he conservative enough when preaching the gospel?  Did he waver to far left in his message?  My personal opinion is that he was a mighty of man of God fully dedicated to reaching the world with good news of Jesus Christ.  I thank the Lord for the man’s long life and dedication. I think the world is a lesser place with the loss of every believer. 

My dad was a praying man.  My father in law was a fine example of Christian behavior.  When they passed the world lost two Christians.  They touched many people in their lives.  Some more than others.  And, that is how the rest of us live our lives.  While living our own story, we touch some people deeply and others just in passing. 

Take a few minutes to consider your own life. I can tell you that people are being influenced by you today either for good or bad.  Some are influenced deeply, and others just barely.  You can’t live your life in a way that doesn’t influence people.  I would guess that Zechariah was a mighty influence in Uzziah’s life. 

It is a fact that you influence others.  You are that important.  But even more important than the influence you have on others is the life you live for yourself.  Uzziah failed miserably when his influential person died.  Or, you could look at it as seeing that pride got the better of him.  Another Bible character who ended up a miserable failure was King Saul.  He, like Uzziah, took the office of priest instead of waiting for Samuel.  King David messed up the last part of his life by committing adultery and murder!  From these three examples you could wonder if everyone who starts out well winds up messing up their life later in their years.  I can assure you that is not the case.  Let’s look at some more Bible examples.

Think of Joseph.  He was sold as a slave by his own brothers, thrown into prison, and wound up second in command to all of Egypt.  The Bible does not tell us of any slip ups on Joseph’s part.  He was faithful to God all his life. 

I love the story of Samuel the prophet.  What a guy.  He went to live with the priest Eli in a terribly corrupt environment when he was only a very small boy.  We are never told of any wavering on his part in his faithfulness to God.

Then there is Daniel and the three Hebrew brothers.  They were taken as captives from their homeland as youths and thrown into the pagan court of Babylon.  They faced terrible tests and yet remained faithful to God.

Faithfulness to God is a choice.  Circumstances may make the choice a little more complicated.  I believe the first three people mentioned (Uzziah, Saul, and David) let Pride get in their way.  On the other hand, Joseph, Samuel, and Daniel avoided letting pride elevate them above the station the Lord had them in. 

So, let’s say you are someone who is not playing a big part in the story of world history.  The actual truth is you really don’t know how big a part you are playing.  Maybe Zechariah didn’t know what an influence he was on Uzziah.  Maybe he was just doing what he knew to be right.  Maybe you don’t know what an influence you are on those around you.  You are just doing what you know to be right with diligence.  The only thing we can know for certain is that it is very important that we do what is right on a daily basis.  Be careful that pride or boredom or greed or impatience doesn’t lead you down a path you will find painful a little farther down the road.  Billy Graham didn’t make it to almost 100 years old without a scandal in his ministry by accident.  He placed a great value on his faith and reputation.  Christians should do the same whether we are in a place of great importance or making tuna sandwiches on a cafeteria line.

BUT, what if you are a person who hasn’t started out that well in life?  Maybe you have already made some serious mistakes in your life.  Maybe it seems that your only influence on others has been on the side of wrong.  The Bible has an example for you also.  Let’s look at Saul of Tarsus.  He was a persecuter and murderer of Christians.  But God saved his soul and Saul became Paul the Apostle.

Paul did not make up for the evil he had done by turning to Christ and suddenly doing good.  Paul was forgiven for his sins by Christ just like all saved people.  Because Paul was saved he began to do good works.  His works showed evidence of his salvation.

God has work for us to do whatever age and whatever place we find ourselves.  Whether we are like Joseph and have been faithful, or like David and have found ourselves neck deep in sin, as long as we live our part of history is not all written down yet. 

If you were forced to take a look at your own life and put yourself in one of the following categories what would it be?

More like Joseph and Daniel so far – faithful without any big slip ups. (little slip ups quickly grow into big slip ups without immediate corrections)
More like David and Uzziah – good start but big sin in the middle.
More like Paul/Saul – late start but so far so good.

The truth is what really matters is today.  What are you doing with the days of life you have left?  Are you someone who applies Bible teaching to personal actions in a consistent manner?  The biggest help you can give yourself in living a life that is faithful to the Lord is to study His Word. 

In first Timothy Paul admonished Timothy to be faithful. 
     17 Now unto the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only wise God, be honour and glory for ever and ever. Amen.
18 This charge I commit unto thee, son Timothy, according to the prophecies which went before on thee, that thou by them mightest war a good warfare;
19 Holding faith, and a good conscience; which some having put away concerning faith have made shipwreck:
20 Of whom is Hymenaeus and Alexander; whom I have delivered unto Satan, that they may learn not to blaspheme.’

Pay close attention to verse 19.  Those who did not keep a good conscience were made shipwreck.  I would guess some people who have stepped outside the bounds of proper Christian behavior would say ‘shipwreck’ is an apt way describe what is left of their lives.  Pay attention to your actions.  Small sins can quickly turn into big sins. 

You are writing your life story in how you live each and every day.  My dear friends, be so careful to remain faithful to the teachings of Christ. Play the part you are given each day like you are auditioning for the starring role in a major big screen production.

Dear PZ Insiders,
I have an important appointment on Monday March 12 at Swedish Hospital in Seattle.  IF I qualify for surgery it will be a newer way to treat advanced ovarian cancer – major surgery and then aggressive chemo.  If not, we are not sure what my options are.  My ND (naturopath) has me on several things that can possibly control or slow the cancer.  I am praying these work. 

To those who don’t know, I had major abdominal surgery in October for bowel blockage due to excessive scarring from other surgeries.  I am just now getting over that, so I am not looking forward to more surgery. 

It is in the Lord’s hands.  Please pray for me.

The Lord bless each of you and answer all your prayers.



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