We all have something in common:
Romans 3:23 For all sin and fall short of the glory of God. Only Christ can change us:
2 Corinthians 3:17
Therefore if anyone is in Christ he is a new creature. The old things passed away, behold, new things have come.
Our sins can be forgiven:
There is no sin committed that cannot be forgiven.
1 John 1:9
If we confess our sins He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
Our body is not our own when we accept Christ as our savior:
Therefore I urge you brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship.
1 Corinthians 6:19-20 19 Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own? 20 For you have been bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body.
Sin can be overcome:
7 Submit therefore to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. This canít be done unless we submit to God first.
1 Corinthians 10:13
13 No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man; and God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, so that you will be able to endure it. God always provides a way of escape. It is up to us to take it.
Life is not over, regardless of what was done.
While there may be earthly consequences to our past, forgiveness from Christ is real. If we truly give ourselves over to Christ He will use us some how some way for the Kingdom of God. God uses anyone.
The Fiddlerís Breakdown of 2nd Timothy 4:3-4
2 Timothy 4:3-4
3 For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires, 4 and will turn away their ears from the truth and will turn aside to myths.
For the time will come: That time is here.
When they will not endure: They, people, wonít listen to or put up with. They will not tolerate.
Sound Doctrine: True and healthy teaching, wholesome and accurate instruction, anything that challenges them with Godís truth.
But wanting to have their ears tickled: Wanting to hear something pleasing and gratifying. Wanting to hear something that makes them feel good about themselves. Not wanting to hear about sin. Not wanting to hear about Godís judgment. Not wanting to hear the truth about Jesus.
They will accumulate for themselves: Gather around themselves, seek and find, search out.
Teachers in accordance to their own desires: Teachers who will say the things they want to hear, who will say things that are pleasing and happy. Teachers who will tell them that sin is OK and that there in nothing to worry about, keep living as you are, Jesus loves you and would never say no to you. Teachers who would support them in their sin rather than tell the truth about the freeing power of Jesus.
And will turn away their ears from the truth: Stop listening to, literally turn away from the word of God, will wander off the path,
And will turn aside to myths: Begin to follow false stories, man made fictions; they will accept what God calls wrong as right. They will make a god and jesus in their own image rather that the God and Jesus of the Bible.
This story is special to me in so many ways because I tend to relate to Peter. Jesus had sent the disciples across a lake while He went up on a mountain to pray. When He had come down from the mountain they were already a long ways off from the shore and a storm had blown up and was tossing the boat about.
Jesus decides Heís going to head on out to them on the water and when they see Him walking, ON THE WATER, this along with the storm going on around them really gave them a fright. They thought Jesus was a ghost coming after them.
Jesus said to them, ďDonít be afraid, itís Me!Ē and Peter yelled back at Him, ďLord, if itís you command me to come to you on the water!Ē and Jesus said, ďCome.Ē
I wonder what Peter thought? Was he like, ďOK here I come!Ē or was he thinking inside, ďOh no,, He told me to come. I suppose Iíd better do it.Ē
Did he get out of the boat timidly or did he jump out of the boat, fully expecting to walk across the sea towards Jesus?
I think he jumped out of that boat raring to go with every intention of walking across the water towards Jesus. Maybe even thinking how proud he would be of himself when he got to Him. (my thoughts only, nothing to back Ďem up other than other things Iíve read about Peter)
As he was walking toward Jesus the waves and the wind caught his eye and fear and doubt began to sink in and he started to sink.
He cried out, ďLord save me!Ē
I love this, the Bible says IMMEDIATELY Jesus stretched out His hand and took hold of Peter.
I think of how many times Iíve been in a boat being tossed about by the storms of life. I know that Jesus is there and He wants me to have faith to come to Him.
That means I have to get out of the boat and walk through the storm in a seemingly impossible path, like Peter walking on the water. How impossible is that?
When I get out of the boat I need to keep my eyes on Jesus, knowing that He wonít allow me to sink.
When I do take my eyes off Him and start to sink I need to cry out to Him, ďLord save me!Ē and know that just as he immediately stretched out His hand to save Peter Heíll do the same for me. Heíll also do the same for you.
So,, if youíre going to get out of the boat keep your eyes on Jesus. Itís the only way youíll be able to walk on the water and survive the storm.
The Fiddlerís breakdown of:
1st Corinthians 16:13-14
13 Be on the alert, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong. 14 Let all that you do be done in love.
Be on the alert:
Be watchful. Be on your guard. Keep your eyes open for spiritual danger. Satan is always looking for a way to eat us up. 1 Peter 5:8
Stand firm in the faith:
Hold your ground. Hold fast to Godís precepts. Keep your doctrine sound. Stay true to your convictions. Stay true to God. Respect divine things.
Act like men:
Have courage. Be mature. Act like an adult. Be ready for battle. This includes women as well.
Exercise your spiritual muscles! The only way to stay strong is to stay in the word! Have courage. Have faith. Donít give up!
Let all that you do be done in love:
Everything you do should be motivated or inspired by Godís love for us. Let all you do be done with a true love, just as God loved us, even the unlovable. Donít do things for self glory or for self gain. Donít do things in order to receive something in return.
See 1 Corinthians 13:1-7
Sometimes I hear people say things like, ďI hope I go to heaven when I die.Ē And ďThere is no way that anyone can know where they will go when they die.Ē And then there is, ďIt doesnít matter what you believe as long as you believe in it with all your heart. As long as you are sincere about it youíll make it into heaven.Ē
My response to these statements usually starts with the question, ďDo you believe that the Bible is the inerrant word of God?Ē
If the answer is no then there is nothing that I can say that will help them. If I do not believe that the Bible is indeed inspired by God and is true then I will be making a god in my own image rather than the God of the Bible.
If the answer is yes then here are a few verses that I refer them to.
In regards to the first two, ďI hope I get to heaven.Ē And ďNobody can know they will go to Heaven.Ē There are few promises in the Bible that address this.
John 5:24 Truly truly I say to you, he who hears My word and believes Him who sent Me has eternal life and does not come into judgment, but has passed out of death into life.
This is Jesus Himself saying this. If you believe His word and Him, being God, who sent Him you will have eternal life.
1 John 5:11-13 And the testimony is this, that God has given us eternal life and this life is in His Son. He who has the Son has the life. He who does not have the Son of God does not have the life. These things I have written to you who believe in the Son of God so that you may know that you have eternal life.
It is pretty clear here. If you have the Son of God you have the life, eternal life. This was written so that we may know that we who believe in Jesus have eternal life. We know that we will go to Heaven when we die.
Romans 10:9-10 That if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord and believe in you heart that God raised Him from the dead you will be saved. For with the heart a person believes resulting in righteousness and with the mouth he confesses resulting in salvation.
This isnít just lip service, this is truly confessing and believing in your heart that Jesus died for us, arose from the dead, and making Him Lord of your life.
These three verses are promises that we can know for sure that when we die that if we believe in Him we will be in Heaven with Him when we die.
That leaves the, ďIt doesnít matter what you believe as long as you believe in it with all your heart. As long as you are sincere about it youíll make it into heaven.Ē
Jesus Himself responds to this one. John 14:6 And He said to him, ďI am the Way, the Truth, and the Life. No one comes to the Father but through Me.Ē
If you believe what the Bible says is true then it doesnít get any clearer than that. Jesus is the only way to Heaven.
If you want to have the peace of knowing that you will live eternally with Christ then I encourage you today, right now, place your trust in Him and Him alone. Make Him Lord of you life.
If you have made a decision and are already a believer but have doubts thatís OK. I think He knew weíd question ourselves, which is why there are the above verses which we can go back, read, and remember His promise.
The fiddlerís breakdown of:
1 Peter 5:8
8 Be of sober spirit, be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.
Be of sober spirit: Have self-control. Have self-discipline. Be well balanced. Be temperate and sober of mind.
Be on the alert: Keep your eyes open! Be careful! Be vigilant and cautious!
Your adversary: Literally your enemy. The one who wants to do you harm. The one who is against you.
The devil: again literally, satan. The devil. The evil one.
Prowls around: Satan is seeking. Satan is looking around in search of.
Like a roaring lion: Heís not making a secret of it, heís roaring like a lion making his presence known. Heís not being sneaky.
Seeking someone to devour: Satan is literally looking for someone to devour, to eat up and destroy. He is looking for someone to seize upon and overtake.
As believers in Christ we must always be on the lookout while here in this earthly realm. We must be diligent and aware of what is around us. We do this by having self-discipline and self-control, two things that can only happen if we keep our focus on Christ, study Godís word, and stay in prayer.
Satan is our enemy and his desire is that we fail. He is constantly throwing things out there that would twist Godís word and claim that what God calls sin is good and what God calls good is sin.
Each day satanís roaring is getting louder as he seeks people to devour. Satan does not have the power to remove salvation from the believer but he can make our lives miserable. Donít let him have victory. This can only be achieved through Christ.
Ever think about John 3:16? For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him shall not perish but have everlasting life.
Thatís quite a statement. God so loved the world that He gave, He gave His Son so we could have everlasting life. Who can have everlasting life? Me, you, whosoever. That means anyone, regardless of his or her background, no matter how horrible or ugly or even good a person has been. Whosoever is whosoever.
If youíve been thinking that youíve been to bad a person or done something that could never be forgiven, you are whosoever.
God gave His Son for you, whosoever.
The day I can gather all the trash out of the house and haul it to the curb to be taken away never to be seen again.
Weíve all got lots of garbage in our lives and in a sense we can haul our garbage out to the curb to be taken away.
1 John 1:9 says: If we confess our sins He is faithful and righteous to forgive our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
That means whatever weíve got hidden in our past He will forgive if we confess it to Him. Not only will He forgive but also He will cleanse us.
Unlike my dumpster which has a limit as to what or how much I can put in it God has no limit. It doesnít matter how big or how much my sin is He will forgive it and cleanse me.
If there is something in your past that has been keeping you from seeking God donít delay any more. Whatever that thing in you past may be itís not to big or ugly for God. He loves you and wants to forgive and cleanse you.
I'll never do it again!
Have you been struggling with a habitual sin that is just kicking your rear? You tell yourself, ďIíll never do that againĒ only to find yourself right back in the same situation.
Here are a couple of things that have helped me.
I discovered a verse in James that I felt would help me out. James 4:7. The problem was I was leaving of the first part and only getting ďresist the devil he will flee from youĒ. That sounded good. All I have to do is resist the devil Iíll never do it again. But almost every time I found myself back in the same trouble, doing the very thing I swore I would never do again.
Then I discovered the rest of the verse.
James 4:7 (NIV)
7 Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.
I found that I was not completely submitting myself to God.
To submit means to accept or yield to a superior force or to the authority or will of another person. The person I need to submit to is God as in how I spend my time. Have I spent time reading His word? Have I spent time talking to Him in prayer? Is there sin in my life that I need to confess to Him?
Submitting is hard to do but I have discovered that if there is an area in my life that I have not submitted to Him I will have problems with temptation, which can easily lead to sin.
Hereís the other thing that helps me overcome.
Look for the escape. Itís always there and available.
1 Corinthians 10:13 (NIV)
13 No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.
This verse has been a huge help to me many times. God promises that when tempted with sin there is an escape. All I have to do is find it. Most of the time the escape is just turning and walking away. Sometimes running away. Iíll be honest, sometimes my flesh doesnít want to find that escape. Itís easy to say that I couldnít help myself, itís just who or what I am. The escape is there, I just have to want to take it.
These are a couple of things that help me. I hope they help you.
My Broken Bow
A few years ago I dropped my fiddle bow and broke the end off. I was heart broken because it was my favorite bow; one I have had since I started playing.
I took it around to different luthiers and wood workers and they all told me because of the way it was broken it was not repairable.
I had given up hope until a friend of mine who did some instrument repair came to me and said if I would trust him with it he would fix it. I figured why not. It was useless as it was and I had nothing to lose. He had it for about a month and brought it to me repaired. He wouldnít even take any compensation for fixing it.
Now the repairs he made on my bow were obvious. It had scars from where it was broken. However, it worked great! It was completely usable and had purpose again.
This all made me think of when my life was a broken mess. I felt that I was not repairable or worth fixing, in fact there were people who told me that I could never be helped, fixed if you will.
Still, I went on trying to fix things in my life, find self worth, or fit in, going from one thing to another, but nothing could fix or fill the void that was inside of me.
I was raised in church and new about Jesus and had heard all the stories but I never really took it serious.
A friend came to me and told me about Jesus. When I gave my life to Christ I found the forgiveness, purpose, acceptance, and peace of mind I had been trying so hard to find.
Do you feel that your life is broken and un-repairable? Are people telling you that there is no hope? Donít believe a word of it. There is hope for you. NOTHING you have done is unforgivable. Even if youíve done nothing and are just feeling alone and broken, there is hope.
Right now as you read this Jesus is coming to you and asking to come into your life.
All you have to do is invite Him into your heart so He can start work on you. Regardless of where you are in life you can change. Regardless of what you have or have not done you are acceptable and precious to Him.
All you have to do is say, ďJesus, please come into my heart.Ē Itís that simple.
If I had not trusted my friend to repair my bow it would still be sitting broken on the shelf.
If I had not trusted Jesus and invited Him my heart I would still be broken and in a dark place.
Itís the day before Christmas.
Those who are able to be with family hold them tight.
Those who are unable to be with family and friends I pray for your safety and well being.
Those who have had loved ones pass on I pray that you would feel the warmth of Gods love and mercy in this lonely time.
To everyone I wish a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!
The Pilgrims were brimming over with gratitude- not only to Squanto and the Wampanoags who had been so friendly, but to their God. In Him the had trusted, and He had honored their obedience beyond their dreams. So, Governor Bradford declared a day of public Thanksgiving, to be held in October. Massasoit was invited, and unexpectedly arrived a day early-with ninety Indians! Counting their numbers, the Pilgrims had to pray hard to keep from giving in to despair. To feed such a crowd would cut deeply into the food supply that was supposed to get them through the winter.
But if they had learned one thing through their travails, it was to trust God impVlicitly. As it turned out, the Indians were not arriving empty-handed. Massasoit had commanded his braves to hunt for the occasion, and they arrived with no less than five dressed deer, and more than a dozen fat wild turkeys! And they helped with the preparations, teaching the Pilgrim women how to make hoecakes and a tasty pudding out of cornmeal and maple syrup. Finally, they showed them an Indian delicacy: how to roast corn kernels in an earthen pot until they popped, fluffy and white-popcorn!
The Pilgrims in turn provided many vegetables from their house-hold gardens: carrots, onions, turnips, parsnips, cucumbers, radishes, beets, and cabbages. Also, using some of their precious flout, they took summer fruits which the Indians had dried and introduced them to the likes of blueberry, apple, and cherry pie. It was all washed down with sweet wine made from the wild grapes. A joyous occasion for all!
Between meals, the Pilgrims and Indians happily competed in shooting contests with gun and bow. The Indians were especially delighted that John Alden and some of the younger men of the plantation were eager to join them in foot races and wrestling. There were even military drills staged by Captain Standish. Things went so well (and Massasoit showed no inclination to leave) that Thanksgiving Day was extended for three days.
Surly, one moment stood out in the Pilgrimís memory-William Brewsterís prayer, as they began the festival. They had so much for which to thank God: for providing all their needs, even when their faith had not been up to believing that He would do so; for the lives of the departed and for taking them home to be with Him; for their friendship with the Indians-so extraordinary when settlers to the south of them had experienced the opposite; for all His remarkable providences in bringing them to this palce and sustaining them.
My thoughts on Halloween:
There was a time when I was all for it, then a time when I was completely against it, and now I guess I can take it or leave it. I will admit I am a bit leery of it due to its origins. I know that all holidays seem to be a mix of different cultures, religions, customs, and such but in the back of my mind Halloween still creeps me out a bit. Mostly because I know that demons are real and not something to be messed with. As for ghosts I only believe in one and that would be the Holy Ghost. I donít believe that people come back and haunt us. I do believe that demons can mess with our heads, making us think thatís the spirit of old aunt Bessie or uncle Ben.
One of the reasons I donít worry that much about Halloween anymore is that I know that with Christ in my heart they have no power over me.
So, I may dress up now and then for a Halloween party or function but most the time if I do I just wear my 19th century stuff, and thatís been a while.
Iím not telling anyone how they should or should not celebrate Halloween. Iím just saying be careful, keep our eyes open, and know what youíre getting into. Thereís some spooky stuff out there.
Here is a pretty good list of things you may or may not know about me. Iím Ok if it changes your opinion of me. My feelings will not be hurt. I am speaking for myself and nobody else. I resolve to stop being silent.
I believe God loved me enough to send His Son Jesus to die on a cross and rise again after 3 days to pay for the penalty of my sin.
I believe that Jesus is the only way to Heaven.
I believe there is nothing that I can physically do to earn my way into Heaven.
I believe that He forgave all my sins and made me clean.
I believe that He will get me through earthly consequences of my sin.
I believe God has given us principles to live by in His word the bible.
I believe we are all created equal in the site of God.
I believe God is love.
I do not think God hates anyone.
I believe God is just and hates sin.
I believe in traditional marriage meaning one man and one woman.
I donít hate anyone.
I donít have a phobia of any kind other than spiders.
I believe people are free to choose their sexual orientation.
I donít try to force others to believe the way I do.
I believe those who choose alternate lifestyles should show me the same courtesy by not trying to force me to believe as they do.
I believe abortion stops a beating heart.
This is just a start.
Things I am thinking today on this anniversary of 9/11.
Thirteen years ago I was driving to work when I heard on the news that a jet airliner had crashed into one of the towers. I remember thinking, ďSomebody has messed up big timeĒ. After I got to work I heard another airliner had flown into the other tower. Then my thoughts were, ďthis is no accidentĒ.
The rest of the day we huddled around a TV set and watched the tragic events play out, everyone feeling helpless, sick and sad as images were shown of people jumping to their deaths rather than suffer the burning flames, images that I will never forget.
Later those helpless, sick, and sad feelings turned to anger as we saw the news casts of people in the Middle East dancing in the streets and rejoicing at the devastation. All I could think then is what kind of barbarian can rejoice at this sort of thing?
So many people died that day. So many more were hurt, physically and emotionally. So many families and friends said good by to loved ones only to never see them again. I have always known that we are never guaranteed another moment in life, that anything can happen, but this, this just hurt.
Time continues on, we bury the dead, the physical hurts heal, the emotional hurts are worked with some more successful than others, buildings are rebuilt, we move on. But we do not forget.
Today my anger and frustration is more toward those who claim and promote that our own government was responsible for the murder of all those people rather than the ones who carried out the attack. Iíve seen the bogus reports of Tomahawk cruise missiles being painted to look like airliners, the alleged bombs planted in the buildings, the stories of how the heat was not enough to melt the beams. Iíve also seen the stories of how we ourselves are at fault and drove those people into hijacking the planes and turning them against us. I have found that most of these people who think this way tend to have an amazing amount of fear towards the world around them, feelings that everyone and everything is out to get them. Every time I hear someone spouting this sort of thing all and can think is that this is one more success for the terrorists. They have instilled fear on a group of Americans. That is what a terrorist does.
OK Iím done. Now back to the music.
I can kinda find my way around those black dotís on the paper, but not enough to hurt my playing.
Sometimes the fecal matter is going to hit the rotary oscillator and when it does all you can do is hit the ground and try to be hit by as little as possible.
Sometimes there is just not enough rosin for your bow to make that tune sound any better.
Iím starting to see a pattern here. If I don't like Obama Iím a racist. If I donít agree with homosexuality Iím a biggot and hate people.
Remember, if you stand to close to the fiddler you take the risk of being stabbed in the eye.
Capo for a fiddle? Shoot. We donít need no stinking capo. We play real notes.
If I won a million dollars Iíd continue to play gigs until the money ran out.
Have a tune you're having trouble learning? Include it in a contra dance medley. By the time the dance is over you'll have it. (Flying Home to Shelley)
Remember, the more you drink the better I sound.
Alcohol doesnít give you character, it shows it.
It donít matter how hard you try, until you tune it, it ainít gonna sound right.
Happy Christmas everyone!
As always if you wish to be removed from this list please let me know.
Thanksgiving seemed to come and go so quickly as many things do these days. When I was little my father always told me that as you get older time will pass by quicker and quicker. He knew what he was talking about. I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving.
Speaking of time passing quickly can you believe itís December and Christmas is almost here! As you are thinking of gifts for your loved ones let me challenge you to try this one.
Last year Brenda and I gave our kids the gift of lunch. For Christmas last year we gave our 5 kids a card that said we would be having lunch or dinner at our house every 2nd Sunday of the month. We put no pressure on them to be there by saying if you can make it great, if not donít worry about it but our house was open and would be ready for them. We even invited their significant others. I tell you it has been a blast! As the year progressed Brendaís folks and family as well as mine were coming as well. One Sunday of the month the clan would be together eating, playing games, visiting and laughing. Iím not sure if the gift was better for them or us but I can tell you we are continuing through 2012.
As Christmas comes around with all this searching for gifts and such I need to remember the gift God gave us through is Son Jesus. Itís easy to overlook or forget this with all the hustle and bustle.
On to the music!
The old time and Celtic bug have bitten me again which is what Iíve been working on lately. The fun thing about that is it opens up the door for playing contra dances, which is something I really enjoy doing. Iím hoping to also do some more living history events. Keep me in mind if you should need an old time fiddler for your encampment.
Need more than a strolling fiddler? Iíve been working with Susan Pierce and Tim Hart as The Flyiní Fiddler and Co. playing Irish music.
Is Old Time or Bluegrass more of what you need? I can put that together with some friends of mine as well.
We play for private parties, church gatherings, church services, festivals, contra dances, and just about anything else.
Hope everyone has a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!