Dec 02

Yellow Jacket Stings

If you didn’t know, yellow jacket stings hurt – a LOT!

A humorous (true) story

Yellow Jacket Stings

Today, I got caught in a nest of yellow jackets. They stung me at least 4 or 5 times on my face and ears plus more on my arms. And, I am in pain. A LOT of pain!

I am usually not a crybaby about pain. I am writing as a way to re-focus my mind on something else. It is NOT working and I am about to start crying! 🙂

Yellow Jacket Stings

I managed to kill ONE of them!

The fiasco will be kinda funny when the pain subsides:

The insects hit me while I was working outside. I suppose they had a nest in the ground and I stepped on it or something.

They stung me on my ear and I tried to swat them off. Unfortunately, when I did that, Continue reading

Nov 30

Sea of Forgetfulness – Remembered no More!

“My sins are gone! They are cast into the sea of God’s forgetfulness.” That is a common phrase among Christians today. There are posts on Facebook and it is even the title (or the primary thought) of several major CCM songs (see here). But can it really be so? It is almost too good to be true!

Sea of Forgetfulness

sea of forgetfulnessI am absolutely certain that when God forgives our sin, He intends for that forgiveness to be eternal! It is not in the nature of God to drag up forgiven sins and point them out to us. Instead, the devil is the “accuser of the brethren” (Rev 12:10) and he is constantly accusing us before God. He (devil/satan) is also busy accusing us of things we did before we were forgiven, and telling us that we are no better than we were before. When that happens, we can just remind the devil that Jesus’ blood has bought our forgiveness and that he (the devil) has no claim to us any longer! (John 8:36)

What it really means

Continue reading

Nov 28

Salt Facebook or Twitter

Facebook does not display posts from “Prophecy with a pinch of salt” 

Share Salt Facebook or Twitter: Most people are unaware that the articles posted on our pages do NOT get displayed to everyone! A recent post of mine showed that it was seen by exactly ONE PERSON – ME, evidently! That is not the way FB started out but it is the way that they are FORCING page owners to pay for advertising. Either you pay, or your posts don’t get displayed.

I believe that the articles of the “Prophecy with a pinch of salt” book will be of great interest and value to my friends and their friends – and beyond! I just have to get the message to them.

Promoting pages on Facebook

salt on facebook or twitter

“Promoting” is Facebook’s term for PAYING to get your post or page displayed to more people.

So far, I have spent almost $30 of my own money trying to advertise the Prophecy with Salt page on Facebook, and gotten very little results. As reported today (see the image to the right), For $25.81, I have gotten almost nothing. Although over 4,000 people POTENTIALLY saw the advertisement, only 106 people actually clicked on it. That works out to 1 in 400 clicked on an ad of mine – costing me $.25 a click!!

And, even though we increased the number of likes by 19, ALL of those likes came from our friends and their friends! NOT a single Page Like came from the ad!!

So, I need your help. Would you SHARE one or more of our posts? Share the articles that you feel would be of interest to your friends (probably NOT this one). Posts such as our TIMELINE article deserve widespread sharing! Such personal sharing (& commenting) does more to spread the message than anything else. And, it will save me a few of my (very limited) personal dollars.

Nov 26

Using Context in the Bible

Context in the Bible

Facebook includes lots of images (memes) showing encouraging Scriptures from the Bible. Most are accurate quotes but are they doctrinally sound? What about the people who quote a scripture as a “proof” of some doctrine? Is that proper? What could be wrong if they have a Scripture to back them up? To find out, we need to learn how to  “correctly handle the word of truth.” Read the entire second chapter of 2 Timothy to learn more:

2 Timothy 2:15, Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth.

There are some defined rules for studying the Bible. Dr Tremper Longman III has posted his “Seven Keys to Understanding Scripture” while Ron Rhodes and Richard Anthony have “Eight Rules of Bible Interpretation.” Both of these lists (and many others) are great tools for guiding us in the proper methods of studying God’s Word. Although there might be slight differences of opinion between the lists, one thing that is common in virtually every guide is to consider the CONTEXT of each verse.

Google’s definition of context:

con¡text ˈkäntekst/  noun
1) the circumstances that form the setting for an event, statement, or idea, and in terms of which it can be fully understood and assessed.
2) the parts of something written or spoken that immediately precede and follow a word or passage and clarify its meaning.

When reading a verse of Scripture, we must consider the verses prior to and following the verse. Rarely can a verse stand on its own without weighing the other verses in the chapter where it is found. And, always, a verse must be taken in the broader context of the entire Bible. If a verse seems to “conflict” with other verses, we must try to ascertain why and try to resolve the difference.

context in the bibleLook at Matthew 4:6 (the temptation of Jesus), where the devil says to Jesus, “it is written: ‘He will command his angels concerning you, and they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.’ ” This verse appears to be accurately quoted from Psalms 91:12 which, (I believe) has application for all of God’s people. But, the devil said, “throw yourself down. For it is written…” In other words, the devil was saying, “I challenge you to PROVE that God will protect you!” But Jesus answered him, “It is also written: ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test’ ” (v.7).

The devil failed to take the FULL Scripture into account. Psalm 91:1 says that if we live under God’s shelter, we can rest in the knowledge that the Lord “is my refuge and my fortress” (v.2). Verse 3 says, “Surely he will save you from the fowler’s snare and from the deadly pestilence.” A snare is not something that you intentionally do – it is a trap set for a bird (or, in this case, you or me) and we do not choose to face a deadly pestilence. It is in the unintentional and unexpected events that God has promised to save us from. Jesus correctly interpreted the Scripture and refused to put God to the test. [Note that this same type of error (taking Scripture out of context, e.g., Mark 16:18) has led some Christians to handle snakes in their worship services.]

The bottom line is that we must see the context of a verse before we accept it as “proof” of anything. And, although the Facebook memes (images, videos,  text, etc. that are copied and spread rapidly by Internet users) may be accurate quotes of a verse, there is no guarantee that they are accurate doctrinally. Each must be viewed in context – which they never are when they are presented in meme form.

Nov 22

Understanding the Book of Ecclesiastes in the Bible

Understanding the Book of Ecclesiastes

Prior to getting started with the study of “Judgments” in the Bible, we need to set some boundaries. Some of the teachings held but people depend upon verses found in the book of Ecclesiastes. Can they be trusted? Why, or why not?

The Meaning of LifeUnderstanding the Book of Ecclesiastes

Solomon (King David’s son and the writer of the book of Ecclesiastes) spent many years trying to find the meaning of life. In the first 11 chapters of the book of Ecclesiastes, he reported things that seem to be common sense (example: “there is nothing new under the sun”, Ecc 1:9). But, the phrase “under the sun” is used often because it describes events as they are seen from man’s eyes. Continue reading

Nov 21

One Judgment by God? Or, multiple?

Will There Be Just One Judgment?Only One Judgment?

Many people believe that, after death, there is just one judgment – the Great White Throne Judgment mentioned in Revelation 20:11-15. They believe that everyone (in either body or soul) is gathered together at that time and God chooses those that can go to heaven and sends the rest to hell (or the lake of fire). Is that Biblical? Or, are there multiple judgments by God?

As I mentioned in a previous post (What Happens When I Die?), people at funerals frequently assume that the deceased is “in a better place.” But, if the Great White Throne Judgment (GWTJ) does not occur until at least 1000 years later, how can that be? Continue reading

Nov 20

What happens when I die?

 What Happens When I Die?

What Happens When I DieI have made a very unscientific study of what goes on at funerals. According to the religious preferences of those involved and according to the societal influence, the style and tone of funerals may vary widely. Some are short and sweet (well, maybe not “sweet”) while others are long and drawn out affairs. Some are very formal while others appear to be ad lib. Some are restricted to just the family and others are community events. But one thing that is common to all is what people say.

In every funeral that I have ever attended (regardless of whether the deceased was a “saint” or a self-proclaimed atheist), more than a few people said, “He/she is in a better place.” Has there ever been a funeral where that phrase was not uttered? I think not. Continue reading

Nov 20

Ultimate Judgment – Will it be just?

judgmentJust the word “judgment” brings a bit of a chill into one’s being, doesn’t it?

For many Christians, they visualize God’s judgment as a time of uncertainty and fear. It is like (only infinitely more fearful) standing in a courtroom today, waiting for the jury to announce their verdict. It is especially fearful, knowing that you are guilty but hoping that the prosecution did not prove it to the extent that the jury will convict you.

The problem with God’s judgment is that HE HAS ALL THE FACTS! Who could possibly escape the certain judgment since we are guilty and the Prosecutor, Judge & Jury all know the truth?

Well, the good news is that even though we are all guilty before God for our rebellion & sin, when we accepted Jesus as our Lord and Savior, He washed our record clean with His own blood (shed on the cross). So God the Father can view us as forgiven & justified. It is not necessary for us to be punished when Jesus has already taken the punishment for us.

Just how does the judgment of God work, anyway? I am glad that you asked that question… I hope to provide some answers in the pages that follow.

Nov 20

Between The Lines?

Sharing Knowledge – Gaining Friends

The Between The Lines Online Community (BTLOC) exists to provide ordinary people with a venue for giving help and guidance to others. (AKA “Just Ordinary Folks”)

between the linesWhy “Between The Lines”? We show what the instruction books leave out.

“Between the lines” suggests that, even with the immense quantity of information in the Internet, there are some things that need further explanation. Our writers offer the common sense approach to helping in some area where they feel gifted.

Each of our websites is unique in design and purpose. Many are written by different authors. Some are Biblical, some are general interest, some are technical, and others may be related to crafts or trades.  Some are just for fun! But they all have a common focus: to help our friends understand a concept better.

Our NEWS site (http://news.btloc.com) will present the newest and best articles from all the other sites. So, you can just connect there (or subscribe) and know when one of our sites has published a new article that may be of interest to you.

Aug 17

Foreword

Salt Shaker

Salt Shaker

Pinch of Salt

There is an old adage that some things should be “taken with a pinch of salt.” Meaning, of course, that one must apply some common sense when considering that statement. Unfortunately, some of the people who claim to look into the future speak things that fall into the category of “needing some salt.” Their view of the future is a bit too theoretical (or even too far-fetched) for the common person. We need to apply a “reality check” to their statements.

Back in the ’70s, a national evangelist (who is still active on TV today) was conducting a crusade meeting nearby and the radio stations were advertising it with quotes such as, “During the meeting, I will identify the antichrist and show slides of him and of his home country…” I am not sure how that turned out since I did not attend any of the meetings. I felt that his statement was in opposition to the Biblical teaching that NO ONE knows such things except God the Father.

However, those are the kinds of “over the top” comments that get a lot of attention today. The “common man” (used to describe mankind, be it man, woman, child) is very interested in what is going to happen in the future. That is the reason for such a surge in interest in the writings of Nostradamus and the like. “Inquiring minds want to know.” But most of the interpretations of Nostradamus’ writings (along with the ideas of some present-day teachers) have to be “taken with a grain of salt.” What we NEED is some teaching that will not have to be changed next year, or even thirty years from now. (I wonder if the ’70s evangelist that I mentioned is still presenting the same person as his “antichrist”?)

This book is written with the “grain of salt” already applied (grin). By that, I mean that I have tried to run all of the concepts/statements/teachings through the “reality check” filter BEFORE I write it down. I have not tried to find a concrete answer for every symbol. What I have tried to accomplish is to help ordinary people see the past and present as “windows” for viewing the future. I hope that you agree and find that the content here is such that you will not need to have a salt shaker in one hand as you turn the pages with the other.

Ray

May 10

How to get a good night sleep

My personal experience

How to get a good night sleep

How much sleep would I get if I go to sleep right now?

As a child, I used to have a terrible time going to sleep. Sometimes, I would be awake almost the entire night. I had a real aversion to snakes and I would lie there imagining myself falling into a pit of snakes! (Please don’t try to psychoanalyze me in that regard <grin>.)

Even later in life, I continued to have problems getting to sleep at night. I don’t recall the exact date that I started to overcome my insomnia but, in time, it has been a total change! My wife gets a little frustrated that I can go to sleep “as soon as my head hits the pillow.” (I sometimes snore and that keeps her awake.) Many people ask me HOW I do it. I hope to give you some of my answers in this article. First, we need to understand insomnia.

What causes Insomnia

The WebMD website states that the major causes of insomnia are depression, anxiety, and stress (especially if it is long term or chronic). When you recognize that stress is causing difficulty sleeping, the National Institute of Health website lists these (and other) techniques to cope:

  • Set priorities-decide what must get done and what can wait, and learn to say no to new tasks if they are putting you into overload.
  • Note what you have accomplished at the end of the day, not what you have been unable to do.
  • Avoid dwelling on problems.

That is some pretty good advice. The problem that I had (and it is probably the same with many other insomnia sufferers) was that my mind would not stop thinking and allow me to go to sleep.

Peter Michaelson speaks of the cycle of not being able to sleep and then worrying about the effect that the lack of sleep causes. He calls it “sleep catastrophizing” (dwelling in a fixated manner on worst-case scenarios).

The insomniac becomes agonizingly focused on the consequences of not sleeping: “I’ll be exhausted tomorrow”; “I won’t get my work done and I’ll get in trouble with my boss”; “I’ll be overwhelmed by a backlog of work.”

How to get a good night sleep

The simple answer is to stop worrying. But knowing that we should not dwell on problems is a lot easier than actually turning off the worry in our minds. Consequently, stress builds and, over time, the accumulation of stress and frustration makes chronic insomnia routine.

The Sleeping Resources website offers “26 Home Remedies for Insomnia.” Some are reasonable while others border on ridiculous. All such remedies seem to be designed to help one stop worrying about the stress in their lives. Many people would say, “I have tried that stuff and I still cannot sleep.”

So, what can we do?

How to get a good night sleep

The solution came to me one day when I *REALLY* read the Scripture at Psalms 127:1,2. I will quote from the NIV but all the other versions agree.

1 Unless the Lord builds the house, the builders labor in vain.Unless the Lord watches over the city, the guards stand watch in vain.
2 In vain you rise early and stay up late, toiling for food to eat— for he grants sleep to those he loves.
The problem is a lack of trust in God’s care and provision. It is centered in our desire to fix things ourselves but Jesus says, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. (Matthew 11:28 NIV)
Trusting God is the only lasting way to cope with the stress in our lives. Paul taught us how to stop worrying when he wrote to the Philippians (Phil 4:6,7 NIV):
6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7 And the peace of God,which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Do you have a comment? Do you (or did you) have insomnia? What did (or did not) work for you?
Aug 26

When am I saved?

Recently, a person with whom I correspond asked this question. Here is a part of the question:

Am I saved because I say “I love you Jesus, come into my heart”? Or am I saved when the Spirit enters my soul and sends a message to me that we are now one. …

My point is this. I believe that Jesus makes the decision, not us. He has the power to give Salvation. Man does not have the power to take it when he wants it.

Here is my reply…

I understand where you are coming from. The problem (IMHO) is in the definition of the word “saved.” It all depends upon your theological perspective. The varied definitions of what & when have caused a multitude of other conflicting theological issues as well (“once saved, always saved” is a good example.)

Recently, I saw a non-trinitarian church sign which said, “Acts 2:38 – The plan of salvation.” I assume that they believe (as many “oneness” churches do) that you are not SAVED until you repent, are baptized “in the name of Jesus Christ” and receive the gift of the Holy Spirit (as a simplistic reading of Acts 2:38 may suggest).

Not meaning to “throw gasoline on the fire” but the NIV uses the term “being saved” in Acts 2:47; 1Co 1:18 & 2Co 2:15. This suggests that it has not yet happened! Another phrase that speaks of our relationship to God is “redemption.” But that also is used for events that have not yet come to pass: cf. Ep. 4:30; 1:14 & Lu 21:28.

Continue reading

Jun 19

The color of racism

The American Heritage Dictionary defines racism, 1. The belief that race accounts for differences in human character or ability and that a particular race is superior to others. 2. Discrimination or prejudice based on race.

Racism is often associated with the white supremacy movement of the 1950’s, or the apartheid era of South African politics, or the racial cleansing in Kosovo, or the actions in WWII Germany by the Nazi party. However, racism is still alive and well today. News articles constantly criticize white leaders who are not politically correct in their speeches.

However, racism is “discrimination or prejudice based on race.” The most basic accusation leveled against white racists is that they “favor one person over another based upon race.” What is NOT popular (politically correct) is to recognize that some black people are equally biased against persons of the white races. Continue reading