Did Jesus have a Facebook Page?

Christianity 0ut of the Box


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Me, Me and Me


 Photos by John Randy Harrison http://www.pbase.com/jrandyh

29508107.yelrose01Year after year the birds sing.

Flowers bloom in the spring.

The sun rises and sets every day.

While life goes on no matter the trial or test, certain acts never change or stop.

What do these actions have in common?

Time. Beauty. Expectation.

31257435.cardinal01copyIf we woke up one morning and the news flashed “the sun didn’t rise this morning” most likely panic would erupt. That is if you could see.

When God sent the flood and basically cleaned up, Noah and his family were left to carry on. God sent a sign in the sky he would never again flood the earth. The rainbow was given just as flowers and birds to remind us of God’s presence. It is also a strong clue of God’s promise; and that he is still very much alive and in the business of running things.

The question arises often of how do you really get to know God?

55496082.bluebid222

First, look out of your window.

Second, listen to the birds singing.

Third, read his word, pray and enjoy some alone time with him.

As God has cleverly kept the sun rising and setting, rainbows showing up after storms these everyday occurrences are part of his Divine plan.  Like his nature appointments, he goes before us to meet us where we are.

The Creator of the Universe with all he has to do, awaits our call, our signal or effort to speak to him.  Whether he is stifling battles of politicians, coordinating that which is the impossible or working behind the scenes of turmoil he is like the friend you long to have.

The Holy Spirit sections off his people so that no matter how much time has passed, re-connecting picks up right where we left off.  God is like that with us.

Rattling off our needs, pains, and sufferings we are so self-absorbed we forget he has taken the time to listen. We forget to thank him for what he has done and will do.

We assume his phone line is always open waiting just for me, me and me.

We can talk to him anytime, night or day and he is always lending his ear.

He talks to us every day but our phone lines are so busy the call can’t get through our hard heads.

Maybe we should learn to meet him where he is. Who knows how exciting that could be?

 20105289.lilie20031

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The Joy of the Lord is what?


Have you ever figured that one out?

What really is the joy of the Lord?

How does it work?

Nehemiah 8:10 “The joy of the Lord is my strength.”

You know that you know that you know.

But I didn’t for a long time.

The other day I walked around the bed to my bedside table and I knew.  Now why would God tell me at that moment in a rather odd place?

It was like stopping to pick a rose and it bloomed in my hand.

Knowing the verse for decades it always seemed to be on the other side of the rainbow. A venture so far from my intellect, it was only for Mother Teresa.  If anyone knew the meaning behind such words it would have been her. Truthfully, getting it was never a request of God I made because it seemed so foreign I didn’t want to waste God’s time. It sat in a box with other impossibilities on a shelf.

Now there is no boasting here. Simply put it is all God.

A few weeks ago the verse appeared out of nowhere. Not on my radar for years I found it strange that all of a sudden the desire to look it up and read those words, became overwhelming.  Having found it, hope welled up that it would jump off the page and sink into my fully over-loaded mind of months of technological muddle.

I guess there wasn’t room for it then.  Repeating it over and over I waited. And waited. And waited.

Nothing. Zilch. Zero.  

Either God was on a mission somewhere else or he was playing “Hide and Seek.”

Sad how quick one can become low, daunted or gloomy.

God loves to surprise us and he is impossible to track.  

He is always with us. How, when, where, or what he shows up as is sometimes an inconvenient truth.

So when he did arrive it was totally unexpected.

My response most often and this was the case is laughing with him while acknowledging,

 “Ok. Got it but help me learn how to apply it!”

The Joy of the Lord is a natural treasure or elation of bliss giving us what we need to go on because of Jesus.  The days we are at our worst or life is one big meltdown of problems, He is our rock; refuge and power.

Excitement actually takes over weariness, fear, or anxiety because knowing and spreading Jesus around has trumped everything else.

And that my readers is a producer of miracles.

http://lynleahz.com/2013/08/15/do-you-want-to-fall-head-over-heels-in-love-today-this-will-change-your-life-forever/

 http://thefaithbook.wordpress.com/2013/08/15/the-trusting-heart/

 Copyright @2013 All Rights Reserved

 

 


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Witnessing to the Witnesses


This week has been one for the record books.

The refrigerator died. We lost 80% of our food. Between 2 small refrigerators and a cooler we managed to salvage a few necessities. Once the fridge compressor quits; the cold air disintegrates rapidly ruining the food.

Unable to find where we put what or what was thrown out, plus trying to quickly find a new refrigerator has been exhausting

Waiting for the installer to bring my new fridge I heard a faint knock on the door. Thinking he had arrived, I opened it to find two, nice, sweet Jehovah’s Witnesses on my front porch. With the “Watchtower” brochure available and a kind smile, they were ready to perform their ministerial duties on this poor, unknowing soul.

Complimenting me on my porch full of plants, the conversation began with what a “green thumb” they remarked that I had. Of course, finding out I don’t have a green thumb and use to kill my plants regularly by accident, it was pleasing that they noticed.

The color of my flowers/plants brought the elderly woman to a point about Jesus. Asking me if I know the Lord was her next question.

Confirming my faith and deep love for God, she then began a quiet tirade of the “Watchtower” religion trying all the while to push their latest pamphlet in my hands to convert me.

She rambled on for about 10 minutes. After a while the other lady tried to shut her up.  2 other JW’s were waiting for them in the car.  Before I let them go, I remarked;

“I appreciate your visit. Since you are standing on my property at my door and you have just witnessed to me, now it is my time to witness to you.”

Shocked at my reply their faces dropped. It was obvious they weren’t use to this.

After informing them of how many Jehovah’s Witnesses have come to our door I decided by the 3rd year to learn about their religion. Revealing my own JW pamphlet, all marked up with red and blue ink plus verses from “our” Bible to boot, their mouths fell open.

Not trying to be a “know it all” I was just using my 10 minutes to show them the difference in what they believe, and true Christianity. Of course, both of them confirmed they were Christians too.

The following are a few of the red flags of the Watchtower and the major differences in Christianity

→They don’t believe in the Trinity. Jesus is inferior to God.

→God approves who will receive everlasting life. It is not a gift. Only 144,000 will actually go to heaven and rule with Christ.

→God only has the one name, “Jehovah.”

→Jesus does not heal today as he did when he was alive on earth.

→The earth will never be destroyed or depopulated.

→According to Watchtower, Jesus appeared to them in 1919 establishing Jehovah’s Witness as the only true religion.

The younger woman asked me how I knew what I knew and where my information came from.

The elderly woman was not at all impressed with my extensive knowledge of the Watchtower. At that point I informed them I had researched their religion with close to 40 pages of work that mostly came from the Watchtower writings and articles. It also includes websites of knowledge from ex-members of the Jehovah’s Witnesses’ giving personal testimonies of why they left, how they left and how many of them were shunned by their own families. To date, 60,000 a year leave.

She interrupted me on all these accounts and flat out told me I was wrong. She informed me how evil it was that God’s name “Jehovah” had been replaced by many other names in the Bible. She said she wasn’t going to heaven because she knew she was not one of the “chosen ones” but was very happy to remain here on earth. Both women strongly agreed God does not heal today.

I kindly responded by saying, “If God doesn’t heal today, then I shouldn’t be here. If God wants his people sick, then why do you go to the doctor? Do you take medicine? If God wants us sick and it states that in the Bible, then any effort you make to stay well is disobedient to him. Oh, and I am really sorry I won’t see you in Heaven, because that is where I am headed.”

The other woman grabbed her arm and thanked me for my time, but made it clear they had to leave. The elderly woman left with a snarl on her face.

I expected the resistance. Watchtower teaches them to avoid communication unless it is concerning their beliefs.

Sadly, the evidence of the enemy lies in the face of twisted words and wrong interpretations imposed on uninformed innocence. This is why it is so important to know the truth of God’s word.

http://settledinheaven.wordpress.com/2012/10/03/godly-love-unites-us-with-god-and-his-people/

http://samuelatgilgal.wordpress.com/2012/10/03/knowledge-of-god/

http://settledinheaven.wordpress.com/2012/10/02/witnessing-is-an-invitation-to-fellowship-with-god/

http://goldenbible.wordpress.com/2012/09/29/changed-lives-and-barley/

Copyright @ 2012 All Rights Reserved


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God’s Creation/Photography by Randy Harrison


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If you would like to view more of Randy’s photography please go to his website at

http://www.pbase.com/jrandyh

Genesis 1:1-2 “In the beginning when God created the heavens and the earth.”

 Psalm 1:3 “They are like trees planted by streams of water, which yield their fruit in its season, and their leaves do not wither. In all that they do, they prosper.”

Hosea 2:18 “In that day I will make a covenant for them with the beasts of the field and the birds of the air and the creatures that move along the ground. Bow and sword and battle I will abolish from the land, so that all may lie down in safety.”

Copyright @ 2012 All Rights Reserved


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Dots


media4lifephotography.com

Connecting the dots isn’t always easy. Just when you think you have them connected something comes along and erases them, disconnects them or moves them around.

Once disconnected, reconnecting them is not as easy as originally thought.

Why? The dots become rigid, uneven or mushy. They won’t stick together. And sticking together allows them to line up correctly.

Life is balance or it was designed to be. As with connecting dots our life needs to be lined up with God who gives us balance.

All of a sudden, evil throws a curve no one saw coming.

All of a sudden we are hit with the incomprehensible.

All of a sudden we are disconnected.

Or are we?

Somehow the workings of God show up in disconnecting dots. Even in the midst of horror unthinkable, he is there with his army shedding protection invisible to the human eye.

“What is seen is temporary. What is unseen is eternal.” 2 Corinthians 4: 18.

In the wake of senseless tragedies our nation wakes up and prays.

In what appears to be the lurking evil of evils the supernatural workings of God spare us from what we don’t see or might ever know.

In the realm of misguided demonic wickedness is a God who brings forth miracles in the middle of impossibilities.

God cannot create disorder but when it erupts, God reconnects the dots placing them in the order in which he designed them.

1 Corinthians 14:33 “For God is not a God of disorder but of peace.”

Whatever you may be dealing with or facing, if it is not peaceful, it is not God. Recognizing the difference is a step of faith; a moment of definition in a world of rancorous poison. In those moments he whispers in your ear a word of hope or wisdom to take the next step forward.

As we move forward trying to reconnect the dots after the Aurora massacre, continue to pray for the families of those who lost loved ones. Pray for the injured to be healed along with any emotional needs to be addressed and treated.

Pray for our nation to humble ourselves to seek God and his presence.

And thank God for reconnecting the dots in our lives to match up with his.

http://highlyfavored74.wordpress.com/2012/07/22/2733/

http://samuelatgilgal.wordpress.com/2012/07/22/the-lord-would-have-the-wicked-made-known/

http://singularspectrum.wordpress.com/2012/07/22/hope-for-aurora/

http://settledinheaven.wordpress.com/2012/07/20/the-rainy-days-of-life-reveal-his-faithfulness-to-us/

Copyright @ 2012 All Rights Reserved


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The Vision that Changed my Life


The following is a re-blog of a post I wrote July 19, 2012. Today, July 19, 2013 is our daughter’s 25th birthday. In honor of her and the blessing God brought through her I am re-posting it.

 Finding Faith in Strange Places

God is beyond faithful. He often surprises us with positive answers to our prayers, even when he knows the outcome may not be all we expected it to be. I have found in spending much time alone with God over the years that he even gives me the smallest details of my prayers. That is not to say that sometimes he says no simply because God knows the whole picture and what is ahead. In this case I could not have been more blessed. (Matthew 6:33, “Your heavenly father knows your needs and he will give you all you need from day to day if you live for him and make the Kingdom of God your primary concern.”NLT)

The Truth

Before I go any further, I want to emphasize that I am a normal, wife and mother who simply lives for God. This is a true story and one I have wanted to write about for 24 years. Many will think it untrue or that I was so desperate I just thought it happened. I can assure the readers it was real and I have thought about it every day since then. The reality of this vision at the time was only about having a child. 24 years later I now know it was so much more.

The Vision

I wanted to have a baby, but it was not happening. I really started praying and crying out to God that my time was running out and if I was going to give birth it needed to be sooner than later. There was something deep in my spirit that gave me the assurance it would happen, but my faith was at times faltering due to the negative tests that continued to show up.

This may sound crazy to some of you but the one place I felt like praying the most was in the Jacuzzi bathtub we had in our very large bathroom.  At night, I would fill it with hot water, turn on the jets and relax. Night after night I spent time asking God for a child. Many of those hot baths I would cry wondering why God wasn’t listening.  I even bargained with God that if he would bless me with a child once the child was grown I would give her back to him.  This went on for 3 years.

It was in the midst of this very unstable marriage that God not only answered my prayer, but showed up. By that I mean Jesus really showed up. I was deep in prayer in the bathtub on this mid October night of 1987 when suddenly I felt a presence in the room. The door was locked so no one could have entered physically that way. I raised my head and there in front of me was Jesus, draped in a glorious white robe with a belt around his waist. He had sandals on his feet and a smile of peace on his face I will never forget. His arms were outstretched holding a baby. I immediately asked him, “Whose baby is that?” He gently answered, “It is your baby.” Then, he was gone. (Deuteronomy 28:4,”You will be blessed with many children.” NLT)


Denial

I jumped up, threw a towel around myself and ran into the kitchen where my ex-husband was reading the paper. I screamed that we were going to have a baby! Explaining what had just occurred was like speaking to the wind. He not only didn’t believe me, he thought I had really lost my mind.  I told him I was not going to do any more tests because I absolutely knew I was going to have a baby. What I did not know was that I was already pregnant.

His Amazing Ways

The miracle here is that our daughter was born on July 19, 1988; almost 9 months exactly from the night Jesus appeared to me.  It was God’s timing all the way around.  The few people that I had told the vision to and the timing of her birth was something of a “chilling” result.  They didn’t think I was so crazy after all.

If you recall in a previous paragraph I referred to the baby as “her.” From the moment Jesus came to me I also knew the child would be a girl. I never once thought differently.

Starting Over

This is not the end of the story. In some ways it is the beginning. I believe now that one of the reasons it took so long for me to get pregnant was because God knew the marriage was not going to last and it didn’t. I became a single parent when she was almost 3 years old.  We packed up and moved back east to live with my parents. The divorce was messy but God intervened more than I could tell you. Marriage at that point was the last thing on my mind. 12 years later God showed me otherwise and brought Mark into our lives.

The Future

The miracle of her birth at the time was a priority; what I didn’t know was how important the vision would become. As I have re-lived that moment over and over there have been other events that now become clear when I see Jesus in the midst of a trial or a test. The vision then became a vision over time. I do not however base my faith in God on that vision; I truly believe that Jesus knew my despair and my heart for God so much so that he made it very clear he was listening and always available. If Jesus can show up in someone’s bathroom, he can show up anywhere.

The vision is a reminder that God is near, always listening and wants to continue to have a personal relationship with everyone.  The vision sparks the freshness of the Holy Spirit that draws us to God in daily devotions and conversations with him.

Present Day

I am not advocating in any sense that everyone has to have a vision as I did to do the work of God. In my case I think God knew my desperation in so many areas that he made it tangible.  The vision is not an event, or an experience but a lifestyle that in itself produces children of God who are impassioned about getting to know the true nature of God; not as the world claims him to be.

It is my hope that those who read this will benefit from the nature of the vision, not just the vision itself. It is a replica of Jesus in and out of life’s chaos and turmoil that Jesus shows up. The vision is the cross where Jesus has given us a way out of all of the division, pain and sorrow this world produces. The vision is an example of God’s goodness, mercy and grace even when we aren’t pursuing him at all.

More than anything, the vision gives us Jesus in our field of dreams; in our despair, in our hearts or even in a bathtub. In summary, the vision is a lifelong ride following the creator of the universe to be just like him.

Acts 2:17 “‘In the last days, God says, I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your young men will see visions, your old men will dream dreams.”

http://thewayeverlasting.com/2012/07/18/quote-finished/

http://samuelatgilgal.wordpress.com/2012/07/18/gods-certain-knowledge/

http://goldenbible.wordpress.com/2012/07/18/faith-passive-or-active/


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Dethrone Yourself


Words .Everyday language or not. Depends on if you are the giver or the receiver of the words.

Hurts and pains from others dive deep into our heart making waves of emotions soar.

Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.”

Talk about a false, totally inaccurate, ludicrous statement.

A harsh word here, a crude word there spoken intentionally or unintentionally may last a lifetime.

Words created the world. Words start wars. Words end wars. Words are everywhere in this day and time. I thank God for glasses so I can read and write so many words. I happen to like words.

I wonder when God created words to speak the world into creation if his vocabulary included words like, hate, dislike, mean, ugly, filthy, prejudiced, kill, evil, etc., etc., etc.

If the Garden of Eden was perfect and good those words would not need to be in existence. This is all Adam’s fault. If he hadn’t sinned, our glossary options might be full of Galatians 5: 22 “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control, etc., etc., etc.

 Words are powerful. Words fulfill or betray. Words teach or abandon. Words are wise or stupid. Words are knowledgeable or ignorant. Depending on our use of words, reflects the true nature of our hearts.

Luke 6: 45 “The good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and the evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For out of the overflow of his heart his mouth speaks.”

A self-loathing attitude escapes their own anguish by belittling others with a list of coarse adjectives leaving them with a self-proclaimed prophecy. You are the words you speak. Good breeds good. Hate breeds hate.

Sticks and stones may not break bones, but words can break a heart into pieces through selfish ambition, discord, hatred, dissension, etc., etc., etc..

I like to play a game with God where I ask a question and he gives me the answer. Now I may not hear it for a while, but that isn’t his fault. I may have “selective hearing” or I’m a little slow on the uptake.  In fact I get excited when an answer shows up on my radar screen I asked 10 years ago!

We can’t make people do things or stop them from their cowardly treachery.

We can be responsible for our responses or actions to the spears of torment thrown our way. How?

By killing the flesh.

Rid yourself of the flesh; rid yourself of self. Then there is nothing left to be injured.

Forgiveness can only be brought about through God. The flesh in and of itself cannot forgive. Once flesh is gone, there is no injury to be remembered.

Dethrone yourself.

As you crawl or sliver off your seat of selfish impurities; before you hit the floor embrace God.

For every hit you take or slap in the face, embrace the love of God.

For every betrayal or gutless traitor who embarks on a journey to slander your integrity, embrace the forgiveness of God and forgive them.

For every ill fated blow sent your way, reach for God and live a new life with him.

As for the sticks and stones, just throw them away.

http://goldenbible.wordpress.com/2012/05/04/following-the-law/

http://samuelatgilgal.wordpress.com/2012/05/03/the-folly-of-ignorance/

http://settledinheaven.wordpress.com/2012/05/03/sihs-think-on-these-things-heb-1128/

http://thewayeverlasting.com/2012/05/02/quote-toward/


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The Sanity of the Sorority Sisters


Work. Work. Work.  God says our busy work gets in the way of his work. What?

I read an interesting word this morning from the daily inspirations of “God Calling.”

“When Paul said, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me,” he did not mean he was to do all things and then rely on Christ to find strength. He meant that for all God told him to do he could rely on his strength.

God says we wear ourselves out becoming tired, and nervous chasing the Holy Spirit away doing that which he never asked us to do.

Jesus rested. SO DO YOU THINK HE IS TRYING TO TELL US SOMETHING!

Folks, the world will rob you of everything including your sanity if you will let it.

Learn to say no! God has not given us to do half of what we do. And for that half we do of our own accord….Well, he just isn’t there. Maybe he is resting then.

God has enough to do without having to follow us around while we line our calendars with Sorority Parties, benefit lunches and trips to satisfy our lust for travel.

Besides producing entertainment for our egotistical self indulgence think of all the money saved that could be used for the kingdom of God? What? NO?

Much of our daily overload is for our avaricious distractions like the green-eyed monster living under our beds. What about the stingy vainglorious attitudes of “oh, I’ve been there” or “yes, we had lunch on the Rivera.”  So what.

If we go and do just so we can say we went and did, what good is that? Was it God’s idea? Did you ask him before you spent his money on an expensive meal of eel?

http://samuelatgilgal.wordpress.com/2012/04/26/the-home-and-god/

What about that trip? Did God send you to the Bahamas? Were you there to promote the Gospel or to vacation among the blue waters to satisfy the “I deserve this trip” mindset? We don’t deserve anything and if you think you do, then you either have never been to the cross or you haven’t spent enough time there.

God wants to reward us, but in his way, in his time and with his resources.

http://highlyfavored74.wordpress.com/2012/04/25/proverbs-1618-a-servants-heart/

Praying for a long time about the shape of the church, our nation and myself, God has revealed to me his longing for people to get to know him. He has shown me he can get more done in one hour of our time than we can in a year. In other words, when we spend time alone with God, he can do multiple times over what we can do and in a much shorter amount of time!

The church wants to bring people to Christ.  What if people prayed for the unsaved as much as they did churching them through this dinner and that project?

Recently God revealed to me how effective prayer really is. We can’t be everywhere. We can’t be in two places at once unless you know something I don’t. So if that is the case, and John Doe is 500 miles away and needs prayer, do we have to travel to him to pray for him? Ok, that is pretty elementary. Of course not!

God knew this. He created us. If he made us to be in one place at a time, then he gave an alternative to do more through prayer! So start praying.

http://throughhimwithhiminhim.wordpress.com/2012/04/24/wholeness-lived/

Psalm 107:20 “He sent out his word and healed them; he rescued them from the grave.”

First and foremost God wants personal relationships with his people.  His presence is transferred to us as we learn his character, personality and faithfulness. It is in his presence where miracles occur and prayers are answered.

http://godspeaks-i-listen.com/2012/04/26/god-please-dont-take-away-my-good-tears-part-2/

So, if you really want to get to know God, stop your 24/7 gratification ceremonies and sit down and rest with God. Alone. With no distractions. Just you and God.

Copyright @ 2012 All Rights Reserved

Oriental Lily by Randy Harrison
http://www.pbase.com/jrandyh