When you are reading here whether you found me intentionally or accidently, please take time to leave a comment and let me know where you are and what you are thinking. I love feed back. Vondi

Saturday, January 31, 2009

the earmarks of satan

I have a friend who recently began studying on one of those false religion websites which proliferate the internet. When she was first saved she had very little understanding of the Word and what God required of her. Consequently there were conditions that she did not meet until she had grown in the Lord enough to realize them. But as she walked in the Light her understanding and her obedience grew. Now as she followed this study with its strong demands according to human doctrines and standards, she became overwhelmed by the fear that she wasn’t really saved. Thank the Lord she was wise enough to seek the counsel of good saints because she was on the verge of giving up entirely.

As I thought about her and her concerns I also considered the deceitfulness of the Enemy.

One of the earmarks of Satan is that he seeks to control us with fear. It’s a fear that is unreasonable and confusing. It paralyzes us so that we cannot see our way out of the dilemma we face. It makes us question God and ourselves. That is the kind of fear she was experiencing.

In accomplishing his purpose, satan uses men who have an intellectual knowledge of the Bible but no spirit of God within them. These men use the written record of the Bible to intimidate and destroy men and women. They lay such burdens on young Christians (or those seeking to know God ) that it is overwhelming and impossible. So they give up in despair. And they spend their life in an awful fear. Satan triumphs.

Now that is not to say that the Lord doesn’t send a godly fear upon us at times…When He has convicted us of sin, we know it and we have a fear of displeasing Him. BUT along with that fear we know exactly what He wants us to do—seek His forgiveness and come back into a relationship with Him. Satan’s accusations point to no way out. The fear he imposes leads us around in circles. God points a way through.

The sinner who is living without God experiences fear when he realizes his condition before God. This is a fear that is to our good because it points us to Salvation. In conviction that fear provides a clear way to obtain relief. Sinners should not blithely shrug off the fear that conviction brings.

And all of us who serve God have an element of fear in our heart in that makes us hesitate to offend Him. We do not want to take ourselves out of concord with Him. We know that He does have the power to send us to hell. But we live in fellowship with Him and in accord with His Word so we do not live under the awful bondage that is imposed by satan’s accusations.

This is the freedom we rejoice in as the children of God. So often false religion wants to say that because we have been given freedom through the blood of Christ we are under no constraints to live by any set of standards. But one who has been freed from the oppression of satan’s fear fully understands what it is to live free from the bondage that controls our actions and then imposes fear on our spirit that causes us to feel hopelessly bound and lost.

Thank the Lord for out freedom in Christ.

Friday, January 30, 2009

This is the day

Yesterday the topic of ‘your favorite day” came up on one of those quizzes passed among internet friends from time to time. It came to my mind as I considered a response that I have no favorite day, but each one has its own value and I enjoy them all. I thought of the verse in Psalms 118: 24. This is the day which the LORD hath made; we will rejoice and be glad in it. It carries spiritual meaning in reference to the gospel day and Christ’s offered salvation, but this time I just took it at face value.

So many times we only expect the days as they roll past without ever considering that they are each ordained of God. We complain about the bad days or the cloudy days or the days when things just never go right. But on the good days when the sun shines and the boss is in a good mood, we seem to feel that by some amazing feat we have accomplished it by our own abilities. Yet God has His hand over us and our days are ordered by Him.

The steps of a good man are ordered by the LORD: and he delighteth in his way. Though he fall, he shall not be utterly cast down: for the LORD upholdeth him with his hand. I have been young, and now am old; yet have I not seen the righteous forsaken, nor his seed begging bread. Psalm 37:23 – 25 We have the reassurance that regardless of what each day might bring we can know that it has been ordered by Him and we can rejoice that He is in control.

When I was younger I took the last verse simply at face value, but as I’ve gone through life I’ve learned the wonderful truth of it. I was young, and now am old yet have I not seen the righteous forsaken, nor his seed begging bread. Still I can honestly say, that in spite of hard times in my life and what I’ve seen in the lives of others, that this verse has a beautiful security and truth in it.

I can rejoice and be glad in this particular day because God has made it exactly to fit MY needs.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Snow Day!

Columbus was hit with major weather last night. (Tuesday) Snow began falling during the afternoon and kept it up all night. Around 10 pm it changed to little balls of ice! Then a little rain was dumped on that and then some more snow. It all made for very nasty driving.

Michael’s work was closed this morning. But Krogers never closes and Rachael got ready to go. Then
after seeing footage of the interstates on the news, she called her boss and told her that she would drive over to the freeway and see if she could make it. As it turned out, she didn’t make it much past Sunbury Road before she came back.

So we had a fantastic snow day. Michael finished the shelves he’s been building in the basement. Rachael did some laundry and gave the house a quick spiff up. I sat here in the warm and watched it snow.

Then after they finished they took the big dogs out to play in the snow. I don’t know who had the better time—the dogs or the ‘kids’.

Some times it is good to just take a day out of time to refresh the mind and body. I remember when Jesus said to the disciples, Come ye yourselves apart into a desert place, and rest a while: for there were many coming and going, Mark 6:31 Sometimes we don’t need to occupy our bodies with work or our minds with thought. Sometimes we just need “down time” to renew our selves.

That’s what today was.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009


What a wonderful way to start my day! Notah called about two minutes after I woke up this morning. Nothing special, just called to say Good Morning.

He and Kerra have an anniversary coming up in a few days. I believe it is February 2, but for me their anniversary will always be Super Bowl Sunday. Why? The Sunday they were married was Super Bowl Sunday. Simple, eh? If it were ME, I’d just celebrate my anniversary on that Sunday every year. They could have an anniversary party every year when everybody gathers for the Super Bowl game! Hmmm. Kerra sticks to the idea that they should celebrate the actual date. Go figure.

They had a wonderful wedding. After morning service brother Arty simply reminded everyone to stay for the wedding and invited any visitors to remain too. Kerra’s family came to service that day and I drove down to Columbus too. They didn’t have an elaborate doin’s at all. Kerra just wore a plain white skirt with a pretty embroidered over blouse. Notah wore a khaki dress shirt and tie with matching pants. They both looked nice, but Keva and Seth stole the show.

At a secondhand store Kerra was actually able to find a long ruffled flowergirl/miniature bride dress for Keva. She wore that and white patented leather shoes. The pastor’s wife thought they all needed flowers so she created a bouquet for Kerra and a tiny bouquet and a hair wreath for Keva. She loved her dress and walked sooo carefully and primly as though her wreath and ribbon streamers would fall off if she moved too quickly. She came down the aisle before her mom and stood like an angel to the left in the bridesmaid’s spot.

Seth was Notah’s best man. He was dressed just like Notah except his pants didn’t fit quite as well because of his little pot belly and as they walked out before the congregation he messed up his tie. Notah had to stoop down to fix it; then rather than struggle, he stuffed it in his pocket (Seth was just 2, I think, maybe 3. He had this chubby little chin and no neck for a tie.) He stood fairly still with his arm wrapped around Notah’s leg and watched while his mom and sister came down the aisle.

As brother Arty started the preliminaries, Seth’s “stand still” time expired and he began wiggling around and tugging on Notah’s pants. Notah just reached down and picked him up. He put both arms around Notah’s neck and watched the congregation for the rest of the ceremony.

When brother Arty said, “You may kiss the bride,” he had to revise it and acknowledge “if Seth will let you.” Seth was peering at something in the back of the church building and when Notah leaned down to kiss Kerra, he stuck his head in between!

It was a beautiful ceremony! The words were the formal phrases but the atmosphere was focused on making a family of one man and a woman with two yearning children. It was friendly and loving with the couple’s families, and also the Church family included. The most special part for Seth and Keva was afterward.

Afterward the kids were finally allowed to call Notah “Dad” and me “Grandma.” Oh, how long they had looked forward to that! Keva tried out the “grandma” while we were having the refreshments. The kids were with me while mom and new dad were cutting cake and taking pictures, etc. I was talking with someone and as they walked away, I heard this little voice say, “Grandma?” I looked around and said, “What do you need, hon?” Keva grinned and stammered a bit then said something about her sandwich. The sandwich hadn’t been the point. She just wanted to try out the new name. And Happy day! Lo and be hold, it worked! I liked it, too!

What grand memories. Not only did the Lord save Kerra but He made her part of my family and gave me two great grandchildren in the process. I love them dearly and sometimes I’m surprised to suddenly remember the kids aren’t my biological grandkids. I find characteristice of the Bears and the Howes in them all the time! Wonderful, wonderful.

Love is an amazing thing, isn’t it.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Another snowy day. I love watching the snow fall, tiny flakes falling in such profusion that they pile up into inches and inches on the ground. And they come so quietly.

I enjoy putting the dogs out on snowy days. The cold seems to invigorate them and they bound out across the deck. They stop to anoint the first bushes they come to then race across to the fence where their buddies live in the neighboring yard. Their tails are in the air and they run along the fence to the back corner of the property to stick their noses in the drifts in front of the evergreens. I wonder what's in there.

The little dogs succumb to the cold first and come asking to be let inside again. Their pencil thin legs and short coats are sooner susceptible to the icy piles on the ground and the wind blowing across their expanse of lawn. Maxim and Mica romp in the snow, enjoying the blowing particles and the crisp icy prickles inside of their noses. Mica especially, with her chow and akita ancestors, relishes the wintry weather. Her thick coat insulates her and she will lie in the snow and on the deck watching the activity in the neighborhood. Maxim is just plain nosey and wants to be involved in everything.

When I bring them all inside they bound through the door, full of energy from their cold-charged blood. Often snow powders across the big dogs’ backs and both have ridges of snow on top of their noses where they have buried them in the snow. A greeting for me and a drink of water and they soon curl up cozy and warm again. Nobody enjoys a warm nap more than a dog who has romped through the cold and snow. Now they are all snuggled on the bed—among the pillows!—snoring gently.

I know it sounds foolish to someone who doesn’t love dogs, but I find such simple joy in them.

Notah called early this morning on his way to work. Thank the Lord for cell phones and Verizon wireless’s unlimited minutes among Verizon customers! I talk to him and his family several times a week. Miss them now, but if I couldn’t talk with them and receive text messages and pictures it would be so awful.

(Because they are so far away I’ve thought a lot about how sad it must have been for the mothers of pioneers when their children left. In most cases that departure was the last they seen or heard of their children. All the long, long miles between them. Oh dear, my heart can hardly imagine it!)

On Saturday they all attended a matanzeca (I think they called it, I couldn’t find a direct translation. Matanza is “to slaughter”) It was a money making festival that cost $10 per person. The whole deal is that any number of contestants enter and each one slaughters (I guess, or maybe it’s already dead ??) a pig. Then each contestant prepares a specified number of dishes from the various parts and roasts the rest of the pig whatever way they think is best. THEN, all of the people who have paid their ten bucks come though and can sample all of the dishes prepared by the contestants. At the end of the day everyone votes on who was the best cook! I guess they have some side line entertainments but the main diversion is eating. How fantastic is that!

They also featured an activity called “Cow Paddy Bingo”! Get this. The sponsors laid out a large coral in a numbered grid—like regular bingo. People could buy grid squares for however much. Then they released one cow into the coral. She wandered around until she felt compelled to take a dump. LOL Whoever had bought the square where her “cow paddy” landed won the $$ prize! If it straddled a line then both square owners split the cash. Only in cow country!

I thought they should send somebody in to scoop up the winning paddy, redefine the grid lines and do the whole thing over, but Notah said they only did it once. Wow! What a money maker! Limited only by the number of cows and the number of gullible bettors! And the whole thing would attract the attention a whole bunch of strange people! Shoot! I'd watch for a long time! Ohio farmers are missing a good gimmick! County fair farmers could make a mint!

Gotta get to NM some time soon!

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Early Sunday Morning

I’ve been feeling very tired lately and I’m so thankful that I don’t need to struggle to get to work and take care of daily duties there anymore. I never realized how difficult it was until I could stop doing it. I never realized what a negative impact the weather had on my knees and my ability to walk until I was able to stay inside during bad weather. Now that I need not go out everyday when it is cold and wet I have much less pain than I did then. Of course, I’m not skipping rope or going on ten mile hikes, but the reduced pain is wonderful.

I just heard Rachael get up to go to work. She has to open today and Sunday mornings have extra task list that must be done to begin the week. I think I’ll go put a couple eggs on to boil so she will have a bit to eat before she starts the day. Otherwise she’ll just drink coffee.

When the doctor put me on a ‘carbohydrate free’ diet, she went on it with me, but it is only effective if you eat the protein and complex carbs regularly and don’t skip meals. I was put on the diet regimen because I was found to be borderline diabetic and that can be controlled by diet. Nice thing is it also results in weight loss! Rachael has lost a visible amount of weight since we began the first of December. LOL With me it is not so visible, but I’m trusting that it is accomplishing its primary purpose, which is to reduce my blood sugar.

Reducing the simple carbohydrates in our diet has been surprisingly easy. We eat no breads, pastas, rice, bakery products etc. or, of course chips, or snack foods Meats, cheese/milk/yogurts, nuts, fruits and vegetables are the basis of our my meals. Of course some fruits and vegetables have a higher number of complex carbohydrates so we also reference the glycemic index rating of those. By and large however, it has not been a strict, calorie counting, measure every bite process but basically just a change in what and how we eat. We allow ourselves one simple carb food per day. Toast for breakfast but then no others. Or if we want a potato for dinner we don’t do any simple carb for the other meals.

A great light blazed into my head the other day when I realized what much of the problem with traditional diets involved. With every diet I’ve ever been on I was counting calories and ignoring the carbohydrates. And unfortunately, the calories in the carbohydrate items-breads, pastas, potatoes-piled up fast and cut deep into the proteins and vegetables etc. It was a constant struggle to keep the calories low. With this simple carb free diet, the calories are reduced naturally and easily and I don’t miss them.

OKAY, Rachael is gone to work and I’m back. Just ate my own boiled eggs with a little serving of fruit and a half dozen low fat cheese cubes

I now have three dogs in my room snoozing away. Maxim, Sebastian and Mica got up with Rachael and ran outside to potty then Maxim and Sebastian decided to come in with me 'n' Gable instead of going back upstairs to hop in bed with Michael (Did I tell you it was 5:00 AM? -Just in case you think Michael is a lazy bones). I believe Maxim thought there was gonna be a whoop-de-do play time, but I soon put a stop to THAT!

Guess I’ll stop this here now and go do some Bible study. I surely miss not being able to be in services anymore. I miss the songs of God and the fellowship of sitting under the message of God. But the Lord has been faithful and my times with the Word are blessed.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

He Makes Us Worthy!

From time to time I have written bible studies, usually as a way of consolidating the things I have learned. I’ll be posting them from time to time. Hopefully, others will be encouraged to think and study on them too. I’ll put them in a different font to help separate them from my daily musings.

He Makes Us Worthy!

Watch ye therefore, and pray always, that ye may be accounted worthy...Luke 21: 36
Wherefore also we pray always for you, that our God would count you worthy of this calling, II Thessalonians 1:11

Lots of times Satan would have us believe we are the worst of the lowest, the scum of the earth. He even uses the Word to beat us down and pile such a load of Guilt on us that we can hardly lift our heads to pray, never mind live a triumphant life. We go through our days under such a burden of guilt and unworthiness that he has us defeated before we ever endeavor to triumph. He uses tangled scriptures to make us feel that we can never live a life free of sin, that we simply are such foul, fallen, fleshly creatures that we have no chance of ever being anything more. He tells us that it is only the grace of God that saves us because we have to go on sinning because of our nature.

We must keep in mind however, that Christ died to make us worthy. He died to make us the sons of God and heirs to His Blessings. He therefore that ministereth to you the Spirit, and worketh miracles among you, doeth he it by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith? Even as Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness. For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus. For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ. Galatians 3: 5 - 6, 27 If we have put on Christ we have a new nature, no longer that foul and unworthy one to whom Christ extended His mercy before we ever knew him, but we are become heirs and co heirs with Christ. And as such we can lift our heads and rejoice in the power of God in us. Our worthiness doesn't stand in ourselves but rather
That [our] faith ... not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God.

It is to Satan's benefit that we walk constantly under a burden of powerlessness and guilt. Some denominational doctrines teach us that we can never be free of our sinful nature that we are constantly sinners, only constantly forgiven by Christ. We must thus spend our prayer time seeking forgiveness for our “secret” sins and “unknowing sins, constantly petitioning the Father to have compassion on our “sinful” nature. We have no strength to do a work for God. We have no confidence to rebuke the powers of Satan because we have no victory over our own unworthiness. And in so doing we deny the very power that God wants to give us.

But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us. II Corinthians 4:7 Our earthen vessel may indeed be weak but the excellence of the power that allows us to live triumphantly and worthily is of God. Through that power we can live without sin.

Great Peace

I’ve been thinking this morning about peace. I’ve loved moving here with Michael and Rachael. My days are filled with peace, spiritual peace and physical peace, peace of mind, peace of body. Right now it is the physical peace that is lulling my soul.

When I lived alone I had to be alert constantly for anything happening in the house or the property. Because my mobility is so severely limited, it takes me a great while to accomplish even simple tasks. Answering the door or the phone became a hectic struggle to reach it before the caller left. Because I could not go down or up the stairs, any strange noise or happening in the basement or upper floor had to be left until someone came to visit to be investigated. If a tree limb broke it had to remain down until I could pay someone to remove it. Even the smallest tasks that once I would have done myself or my son would have accomplished easily now had to be planned around and a handyman or professional found and paid for repairs. I had almost no one close who would come quickly and help me. It was distressing to have to allow minor upkeep tasks go undone because I could not find someone willing to do them or did not have the finances to pay a professional to do them.

My soul rested in the Lord but outside events impacted on my peace of mind. From the time of my husband’s death, I was solely responsible for all decisions, repairs, financial alternatives, for both my family’s private life and my job. I survived by trusting and waiting upon the Lord knowing that a solution would come. He always made a way through the tangled paths of the world.

Now I sit here. I have a room in Rachael and Michael’s home. I have no house. I have no car. If something breaks, Michael will fix it. If there is a decision to be made they will make it. I don’t even have to decide what to cook for supper. Rachael will do it. I have no worries. I can read, study, watch my animals play, sit in the sun when the weather is nice, write letters to friends online or talk to my grand kids, son and daughter-in-law so far away in New Mexico. I need not expose my fragile knees to the cold of winter or the damp of stormy weather.

And I can soak in the peace. The house is quiet. We live in a very nice neighborhood with no noisy cars or disruptive people. I have quiet music playing. I hear the gurgling of the fountain in the turtle tank. The cats are napping on their tower. One little dog is on my lap. The other two are happily snoozing on the bed. One is snuggled among the pillows on the bed and old Mica is stretched across the end.

The bitter cold of last week is over. The blowing snowstorms have moved on. The overcast skies have broken up to allow a brave winter sun to warm the deck and sprinkle light across the lawn.

How wonderful it is to wait on God. To rest in the confidence that He does control life for His children. We are assured that no matter how outside conditions might impact on our physical situation we can have inner peace and He will bring us to a place of security and calm. Our inner-most being is protected in the hollow of His Hand

I like the rendition of Lamentations 3: 25-28 in the amplified text The Lord is good to those who wait hopefully and expectantly for Him, to those who seek Him, inquire of and for Him and require Him by right of necessity and on the authority of God's word. It is good that one should hope in and wait quietly for the safety and ease of the Lord. It is good for a man that he should bear the yoke of divine disciplinary dealing in his youth. Let him sit alone uncomplaining and keeping silent in hope, because God has laid the yoke upon him for his benefit. All of my trials and the hard places that taught me discipline and faith were for my ultimate benefit. The Lord taught me to wait upon Him. And I learned the lessons.

Now I not only have spiritual security, I also have physical security. And In a few weeks, my daughter-in-law and grandkids are coming to get me so that I can be in NM with THEM for a few months. How much more blessed can I get?

Great peace have they which love thy law: and nothing shall offend them. Psalm 119:165

Friday, January 23, 2009

Do we limit God?

Behold, I am the LORD, the God of all flesh: is there any thing too hard for me? Jeremiah 32:27
I was awake early this morning and heard someone talking on a morning show about the great battle they had with a certain mental condition and how God had helped them to overcome it. But a few weeks ago I read an article by someone else discussing the same condition and more or less excusing their difficulty because it was a recognized syndrome.

It made me begin thinking of how sometimes modern science has fostered in us a predisposition to limit God. Many things that were once regarded as sin are now being excused as “illnesses”. And thus many evil habits are removed from the “sin” category. Other things that we once recognized as an imposition of Satan are now simply “mental illnesses” and again removed from God’s purview.

I’m thinking right now of alcoholism and nicotine addiction. During my lifetime, I’ve known many people who, before they were saved, were alcoholics and many were smokers. When they gave their lives to God, they were wisely counseled that these things were a part of the sinful life that needed to be laid aside. Believing the Lord and following the advice of His ministry, they laid their cigarettes on the altar or walked away from the alcohol and never considered going back. They hated their sinful life and everything connected with it. Their faith was in God and His Power to change men’s lives and they never questioned either their need to abandon the things of the flesh or God’s Power to give them victory.

Two incidents I can recount personally. The man who stood as my paternal grandfather used to testify as often as he had opportunity of how the Lord had saved him from “drink” and how he walked away and never looked back. Another was a dear friend who smoked for many years before she was saved. She was saved in a different time, when smoking was considered a disease, an addiction. She was counseled that they were not good for her, but not so much that they were sin as they were her responsibility to wean herself away from. Her struggle lasted for months. It wasn’t until she came to the place of recognizing them as sin and as such something that she needed to stop doing or lose her salvation that she was able hate the habit enough to grasp the power of God and simply lay them aside. She testified many times of how she had never had another desire for a cigarette once she gave them their rightful title of Sin and stopped looking at them as an addiction or a social disease. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil. I John 3:8

That brings me back to my original thought: society is prompting the people of God to excuse many sinful habits and practices as ‘diseases” and ‘syndromes’ rather than the sin they are. Alcohol, nicotine, drugs, and others are all being viewed illnesses (for lack of a better word) and as such not the fault of the individual sinner.

As we go from day to day, we need to speak out to all men of God’s power to deal with all manner of sins, especially those that have become more socially acceptable by being relegated to the area of illnesses. We must present a testimony to the saving power of Jesus Christ by recognizing sin as sin and proclaiming the victory over it that He has for His People.

Many mental illnesses- schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, depression, sexual addiction, pornography and many others- are now being perceived not as the imposition of Satan but simply as something to be treated medically and with counseling. And that may be well and good for the unsaved world but for those who know Christ there is victory from another source. At one time these conditions were overcome by men of God rebuking Satan and demanding that he release his power over the sufferer and free him. Today the wild man from the Gadarenes would have been seen as a victim of epilepsy or a chemical imbalance and been left to suffer. Jesus saw him and his condition for what it was and rebuked the Legion of devils. The next day the man was clothed and in his right mind, sitting at Jesus feet.

Let’s not be so easily influenced by the findings of medical science. Great things have been accomplished through research and medicine and I will not discount it, but God’s people have been granted that they may be partakers of the Lord’s Table. We have access to the richness and the greatness of God and through it we can have victory if we will only put out our hands and grasp it.

The Lord hath done great things for us; whereof we are glad. Turn again our captivity, O Lord, as the streams in the south. Psalm 126: 3-4

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Getting Started

This is all new to me. I've wanted to begin a blog for quite a while but been distracted by other things. I'm a far cry from a computer whiz so this may never look professional and spiffy, but mostly it is to record my thoughts and hopefully have others read them and be encouraged to think for themselves and seek God's Way instead of blindly following what religious leaders, philosophers and politicians may say.

I called the blog site Tangled Highways because when I look around I see a veritable maze that mankind is trying to struggle through to some sort of end goal. I sympathize with them. I cannot imagine navigating through the world today with out following the Lord's way. Matthew tells us "strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it." It may be narrow and straight,but it leads us safely. I am so thankful that I don't need to struggle through the tangled ways.

I can't make anyone do things the way I descibe for them. I can only say that I've walked this way for 40, nearly 50 years now and I've found that every promise the Lord ever made to me was kept. He has brought me through every hard place with victory and joy --sometimes with heartache and travail on my part. but many times with such ease that I had to marvel, because I hadn't been able to see any way possible for a positive resolution.

I heard a story once of an elderly minister who, in a very liberal religious gathering, was challenged for his standards for righteousness among God's people. They contended that salvation was outdated and of no use in modern society.

With slow steps he walked to the front of the auditorium and mounted the steps to the podium. When he reached it he took an orange from his pocket and proceeded to peel it and then, while his audience waited impatiently, he ate the orange, a section at a time.

When he finished he turned to the very learned and distinguished men lining the platform. He looked slowly along the row and the turned and looked at the impatient audience.

"Can anyone tell me if the orange was sweet?" he asked.

Irritation and confusion erupted. "Of course not" was the response. "We can't know. None of us tasted it!"

"That is exactly my answer to your criticisms of salvation and righteousness. You can't know because none of you have tasted it. But just like I experienced the sweet tang of the orange, I experienced the sweetness and strength of salvation. I've experienced the joy of following Christ in righteousness. You can't know the value of salvation until you have experienced it!"

Taste and see that the Lord is good: blessed is the man that trusteth in him. Psalm 34:9