Friday, December 30, 2011

A resolution worth repeating ...

A friend of mine had resisted efforts to get him to run with our jogging group until his doctor told him he had to exercise. Soon thereafter, he reluctantly joined us for our 5:30 a.m. jogs on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays.

After a month of running, we decided that my friend might be hooked, especially when he said he had discovered what "runner's euphoria" was. "Runner's euphoria," he explained, "is what I feel at 5:30 on TUESDAYS, THURSDAYS, and SATURDAYS!"
-- Neil P. Budge

The “in between times” determine the sole/soul commitment to a given resolution. Begrudgingly or superstitiously approaching a modification in one’s behavior often results in failure. A mental callous develops resulting in a dulled sensitivity to the original quest. Not that the importance of the endeavor has diminished, but the overcoming victory of the pursuit and benefits awaiting the committed participant are at best delayed and too often lost.

That being said, I am tempted to slip into 2012 with the utmost anonymity. If I make no resolution, I fail no endeavor. If I share no goal, I face no accountability. I’ll just stay, “under the radar” unknown, un-relied upon, with little or no responsibility.

Then a verse begins to ring in my heart:

"For I know the plans I have for you," says the LORD. "They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.” - Jeremiah 29:11

The plans HE HAS MADE FOR ME? For my GOOD, and not disaster? To give me a future and a hope?

Wait a minute! I’ve been trying to accomplish that year after year. Hmmmm ... Perhaps, just perhaps, MY plans have not been in MY best interest. Perhaps He has protected me from my will and the results that would have caused me harm so that He can bring me to this year, 2012, with the awareness of His will, something custom designed and tailor fitted to give me a future and a hope.

“…to give you a future…” it’s as if I really never had one while I was dependent upon my will, my strength and my dedication. It's an interesting point; one begging a deeper understanding. The non-believer has no confidence in a divinely designed future. However, the UNCOMMITTED BELIEVER (that "believer" who wears Christianity as an exterior garment when the moment best serves their interest but secretly lives to enjoy "their own way" during the in between times) has no reason to feel confident in a future void of God's plan.

“…and a hope.” What is “hope” to the child of God? One thing is for certain, the words used in the Hebrew language for the word “hope” ALL focus upon the certainty of future events. This particular word emphasizes His guarantee.

My New Years resolution? Simply put, to commit to His plan while enjoying the fact that every moment of 2012 has already passed His inspection. His plans are for my good, not disaster, that I might actually have a future, precisely the future He has prepared just for me. I am hopeful; I am confident; it’s a done-deal!

Happy New Year!

Sunday, December 18, 2011

An Addendum ...

I was reviewing a blog I wrote last year pertaining to the Christmas Story as revealed in John Chapter 10. I’ve had time to ponder my own writings and I’ve come across what I believe to be another truth hidden in clear view.

You may recall the “Porter” opening the door to the Shepherd in John 10:3 as a reference to the work of the Holy Spirit proclaimed by the angel Gabriel in Luke 1:34-35.

“Now in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a town of Galilee named Nazareth, to a girl never having been married and a virgin, engaged to be married to a man whose name was Joseph, a descendant of the house of David; and the virgin’s name was Mary. And he came to her and said, ‘Hail, O favored one, the Lord is with you! Blessed-favored of God are you before all other women!’ But when she saw him, she was greatly troubled and disturbed and confused at what he said, and kept revolving in her mind what such a greeting might mean. And the angel said to her, ‘Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found grace - free, spontaneous, absolute favor and loving kindness - with God! And listen! You will become pregnant and will give birth to a Son, and you shall call His name Jesus. He will be great (eminent) and will be called the Son of the Most High; and the Lord God will five to Him the throne of His forefather David, and He will reign over the house of Jacob throughout the ages, and of His reign there will be no end. And Mary said to the angel, ‘How can this be, since I have no [intimacy with any man as a] husband?’ Then the angel said to her, ‘The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you (as a shining cloud); and so the holy (pure sinless) Thing which shall be born of you, will be called the Son of God...’” - Luke 1:26-35

It occurs to me that just as Mary was totally incapable of conceiving without the miraculous power of God, we too stand before God totally incapable of attaining, or if you will, conceiving, a spiritual and personal relationship with the Almighty except for the ministry of the Porter, the Holy Spirit, Who comes upon us in our need, opens our heart’s door, making way for the miraculous new birth of salvation!

Salvation, true and complete conversion, freedom from the slavery of sin, is simply not in our DNA without the infusion of a miraculous new birth. Of this the Bible is clear.

“But when the proper time had fully come, God sent His Son, born of a woman, born subject to [the regulations of] the Law, to purchase the freedom of (to ransom, to redeem, to atone for) those who were subject to the Law, that we might be adopted and have sonship conferred upon us - be recognized as [God’s] sons. And because you [really] are (His) sons, God has sent the (Holy) Spirit of His Son into our hearts, crying, Abba (Father)! Father! Therefore, you are no longer a slave (bond servant) but a son, and if a son, then [it follows that you are] an heir by the aid of God through Christ.”
- Galatians 4:4-7

And so as we celebrate the birth of our Savior let us not forget the incomprehensible work of God the Father, God the Son, God the Holy Spirit as it brings to life the Christmas story of new birth personally to us!

May you hear the call, the message of God. May the Holy Spirit open your hearts door. May you clearly and unmistakably see Christ’s birth, life, death and resurrection as God’s personal gift to YOU and may you experience His miraculous new birth in your life forever!

Merry Christmas!

Monday, December 5, 2011

Der Christmas Mirror (A true story...)

The holidays were approaching and so also my seasonal recitation of anguish. This holiday season – all the more! Chris had completely emptied herself in commitment and effort. An extraordinary wife, mother, and fellow bread-winner, she deserved something special – something extra-ordinary. What would it be and how could I surprise her with it?

As with each holiday celebration our home would be filled with family and friends. I dreamed of one day owning a professional ping-pong table. I could see in my minds eye the family enjoying holiday tournaments. Chris, on the other hand, dreamed of a
beautiful living-room fire-place with its towering pillars and grand sunken mirror. This year, on Christmas morning, I would see to it that she got her wish!

I began construction in October. My anguish grew as December 25 seemed to approach more rapidly than in previous years.

It was two weeks until Christmas day and I needed only to have Bob deliver and install the mirror. He’d measured, weeks before, the four foot by six foot pocket into which the mirror was to be installed. My anxiety increased as each day passed. Would Chris once again be forced to lovingly thank me for my “good intentions?” NOT THIS YEAR! I HAD to finish the project!

Finally, December 23, the white panel truck backed into our driveway. Bob’s crew carefully untied the package from its resting place in the truck.

“Veer do you vant us to poot her?” the tall blond Swede asked.

I proudly pointed to the empty pocket above the fireplace. It was obvious to me the young man was confused by my response.

“You vant us to poot her up deer? Vee don’t do any-ting like dat sir.” The Swede was emphatic.

“Look,” I began to fume, “I’ve waited over three weeks for this! Bob promised he would have it here for Christmas! He promised it would be delivered and installed and that’s just what you are going to do!” Secretly, my outburst caused me to swell with pride. I was fighting for my honor, for my wife, for my MIRROR!

We argued back and forth for over thirty-minutes. I was not going to lose this battle. I positioned myself in front of the exit. They new they were trapped. With nail gun in hand in preparation for the installation and framing I demanded, “You are going to install that mirror and you are going to do it NOW!

Their puzzled expression and then uproarious laughter caught me by surprise.

“Mirror? Yimminy mee-ster; veer delivering der ping-pong table yer vife ordered!” Chris had once again beaten me to the punch!

The mirror arrived later that afternoon. Bob was kind enough to install it. Its reflection above our fireplace was everything Chris had dreamed it would be. Each holiday season now brings with it the warmth of our fire, a reflective chuckle, and fond memories of two people’s love expressed in “Der Ping-pong Table and Der Christmas Mirror.”

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Hidden In Plain View

In this fast-paced world of breaking-news and ever changing technology new and exciting discoveries abound! Energy, medicine, travel, communications, every element of our daily life is influenced by change. Change is happening so fast that there is no time to establish a tradition! Even our breakfast cereals claim to be, “NEW AND IMPROVED!”

Change is a good thing, a desirable thing, a necessary thing. New technology allows us to delve deep into what was thought yesterday to be unknowable.

There is, however, an uneasiness associated with the speed by which change is occurring. Today’s assertions become tomorrow’s cause for corrections. This pattern seems to repeat itself time and time again until we are left wondering if it is possible to really KNOW anything.

Consider, for instance, how new DNA technology has impacted people’s lives. Information once hidden in clear view is now revealed through DNA. And as wonderful as it may be to now have this technology, it cannot erase the fact that critical life decisions were incorrectly determined because the ability to clearly see the true evidence had not yet been established.

Such reality gives us, “cause to pause”.

What other truths might be right in front of us that we are missing? How might they otherwise impact our lives if we only had the ability to clearly see them?

The Bible speaks of very important truths; truths concerning not only life as we know it, but life more abundant. Now, right away some might be saying to themselves,

“I know where he’s going with this one, the Bible thing...”.

Some might be thinking,

“What if his premise is off? What if the Bible is just a book of collected stories carefully crafted and manipulated by individual groups to support their own need to know the unknowable or, at best, to usurp authority over weaker more gullible members of society?”

In this tech-KNOW-logical world, where wonders are revealed on a daily basis and minds are stretched beyond the capacity to fully understand the revelations being witnessed, it is hard to imagine that much of humanity remains so closed minded to the possibility that the Bible just might be more relevant than previously thought. It’s been sitting there on the coffee table or on the bookshelf for a long time. What if Truth has been hidden in clear view?

Okay, okay I must acknowledge that some have chosen to stop reading this little blog. They have heard it all before. However, you are still with me so I will continue...

The Bible gives us some very straight-forward language.

“For I KNOW the thoughts and plans that I have for you, says the Lord, thoughts and plans for welfare and peace, and not for evil, to give you hope in your final outcome. THEN you will call upon Me, and you will come and pray to Me, and I will hear and heed you. THEN you will seek Me, inquire for and require Me [as a vital necessity] and find Me; when you search for Me with all your heart, I WILL BE FOUND BY YOU, says the Lord, and I will release you from captivity and gather you from all the nations and all the places to which I have driven you, says the Lord, and I will bring you again to the place from which I caused you to be carried away captive.” - Jeremiah 29:11-14

So, just how did the Lord God Jehovah plan for our welfare? Is there a truth we may have overlooked?

“In the beginning [before all time] was the Word [Christ ] and the Word was with God, and the Word was God Himself. He was present originally with God. All things were made and came into existence through Him; and withoutHim was not even one thing made that has come into being. In Him was Life and the Life was the Light of men. And the Light shines in the darkness, for the darkness has never overpowered it - put it out, or has not absorbed it, has not appropriated it, and is unreceptive to it.” - John 1:1-5

There It was! The true Light [was then] coming into the world - the genuine, perfect, steadfast Light - that illuminated every person. He came into the world, and thought the world was made through Him, the world DID NOT RECOGNIZE HIM - did not KNOW Him. He came to that which belonged to Him - to His own [domaine, creation, things, world] - and they who were His own did not receive Him and did not welcome Him.” - John 1:9-11

“BUT, to as many as DID RECEIVE AND WELCOME HIM, He gave the authority [power, privilege, right] to become the children of God, that is, to those who believe in - adhere to, trust in and rely on - His name.” - John 1:12

Verse fourteen sums up the previous verses by simply saying,

“And the Word (spoken of in verse one) [Christ] became flesh (human, incarnate) and tabernacled - fixed His tent of flesh, lived awhile - among us; and we [actually] say His glory - His honor, His majesty; such glory as an only begotten son receives from his Father, full of grace (favor, loving kindness) and TRUTH.” - John 1:14

There is “cause to pause"....

Do you KNOW this Truth, this Word of God? This Jesus? By “know” I do not mean to ask if you have acknowledged Him as having actually walked this earth. I do not mean to ask if you know the Bible story of His birth, His death and His resurrection. I do not mean to ask if you recognize Him as God, for the Bible tells us,

“You believe that God is one; you do well. So do the demons believe, and shudder!” - James 2:19

I mean, do you personally know Him?

“But God shows His love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”
- Romans 5:8

“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life.” - John 3:16

“Behold I stand at the door [the heart’s door] and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door [THEIR heart’s door], I will come in to him or her and eat with him or her, and he or she with Me.” - Revelation 3:20

“For everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” - Romans 10:13

Oh, there are many, many opinions about spiritual things. Indeed, mankind has sought to ease their fear of the unknown by ritual and creed. But the Bible tells us,

“There is a way that seems right to man and appears straight before him, but at the end are the ways of death.” - Proverbs 14:12

On the other hand, following Jesus resurrection a confused and doubting Thomas asked,

“...Lord, we do not KNOW where you are going, so how can we KNOW the way? Jesus said to him, I AM THE WAY, AND THE TRUTH, AND THE LIFE; no one comes to the Father except by (through) Me. If you had KNOWN Me - had learned to RECOGNIZE ME - you would also have KNOWN My Father. From now on you KNOW Him and have seen Him. Philip said to Him, Lord, show us the Father - cause us to see the Father, that is all we ask; then we shall be satisfied. Jesus replied, Have I been with all of you so long a time (hidden in plain view) and you do not recognize and KNOW Me yet, Philip? Any one who has seen Me has seen the Father. How can you say then, show us the Father.” - John 14:5-9

“He who believes in the Son of God - who adheres to and trusts in and relies on Him, possesses this divine attestation - has the testimony within himself. He who does not believe God (in this way) has made Him out to be and represented Him as a liar, because he has not believed - put his faith in and adhered to and relied on the testimony - the evidence that God has borne regarding His Son. And this sis that testimony - that evidence: God gave us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. He who possesses the Son has that life; he who does not possess the Son of God does not have that life. I write this to you who believe in (adhere to, trust in and rely on) the name of the Son of God - that is, in the peculiar services and blessings conferred by Him on men - so that you may KNOW (WITH SETTLED AND ABSOLUTE KNOWLEDGE) that you [already] have life, yes, eternal life." - 1 John 5:10-13

Have you opened your heart’s door to Him? Why not humbly pray and ask Him to come into your heart to dwell with you forever? He stands at the door and knocks; hidden in plain view even today!

God bless!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Being Picked Last

Have you experienced the ignoble distinction of being picked last?

Oh, it is a horrible feeling.

You were the albatross, the default, the booby-prize. Not quite talented enough, fast enough, tall enough, smart enough, good-looking enough or popular enough to be desired by the rest of the team. You simply did not fit in; you were too different.

“The Ugly Duckling” was never your favorite book and you’ve surmised, “The Little Train That Could (?)” was probably kicked in the caboose all the way up the hill and chased all the way into the ensuing valley. Your Cracker Jacks prize was always broken and when someone told a joke - you were usually the punchline.

Rejection can begin early in life. It is often a result of cultural, physical or lifestyle differences [determined by the masses to be] too peculiar to be normal. However inconsequential the rejection of an individual may appear to a casual observer, it is an indignity that can emotionally scar it’s recipient for life.

Does God’s Word, the Bible, give us any encouragement? Unfortunately, at first glance the Bible appears only to confirm our worst fear:

“... ALL have sinned AND ARE FALLING SHORT of the honor and glory which God bestows and receives ...” - Romans 3:23

FALLING SHORT. Well, that’s just great! Isn’t that what we’ve been feeling? And so we desperately scramble for another verse. Perhaps the Old Testament can give us hope:

“For we have all become as one who is unclean [ceremonially, as a leper], and all our righteousness - OUR BEST DEEDS OF RIGHTEOUSNESS and justice - are as filthy rags or a polluted garment. We all fade as a leaf, and our iniquities, like the wind, take us away [far from God’s favor, hurrying us to destruction].” - Isaiah 64:6

WELL, THANK YOU VERY MUCH! I’ll just assume my position at the back of the line. Why not? I’m used to it; LAST PLACE! Home sweet home.

Ah, but there is One who understands rejection...

Who among us can begin to imagine the rejection experienced by Jesus? We will never comprehend the numerous levels of rejection He willingly accepted. Certainly His rejection was social, physical, emotional and spiritual but it was so much more! Our feeble minds will never begin to grasp the rejection He experienced that encompassed the whole of heaven and earth, of time and space, of all creation past and all creation yet to become; His was total and complete rejection.

Sadly, His rejection has not yet ended. His rejection occurs even today. Faced with the Biblical account of Jesus’ death burial and resurrection, there are those even today who would offer a polite, “no thank you” to His gift of love. And yet, according to the Bible, it’s through His gift of love that we personally experience the redemption and acceptance we so desperately desire.

Read again that verse of condemnation. Notice that it was never intended to leave us in a condition of "having fallen short” of God’s glory:

“... ALL have sinned AND ARE FALLING SHORT of the honor and glory which God bestows and receives. ALL are justified and made upright and in right standing with God, freely and gratuitously by His grace (His unmerited favor and mercy), through the redemption which is [provided] in Christ Jesus. Whom God put forward [before the eyes of all] as a mercy seat and propitiation by His blood - the cleansing and life-giving sacrifice of atonement and reconciliation- [to be received] through faith. This was to show God’s righteousness, because in His divine forbearance He passed over and ignored former sins without punishment. It was to demonstrate and prove at the present time (in the now season) that He Himself is righteous and that He justifies and accepts as righteous him who has [true] faith in Jesus.” - Romans 3:23-26

As the late Paul Harvey might say, “and now you know the rest of the story...”

Chosen last? I’ve got great news:

“Even as [in His love] He chose us - ACTUALLY PICKED US OUT for Himself as His own - in Christ before the foundation of the world; that we should be holy (consecrated and set apart for Him) and blameless in His sight, even above reproach, before Him in love.” - Ephesians 1:4

Amazing! According to the Bible, when you experience that saving grace, you can be confident that you were chosen, not last, but before the foundation of the world! And why?

“So that we who first hoped in Christ - who first put our confidence in Him - [have been destined and appointed] to live for the praise of His glory.” - Ephesians 1:12

So take heart friend. You have been chosen by the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. Today is yet another day to give thanks by living for the praise of His glory!

By the way, since you have been chosen, it’s time to get into the game!

God bless!

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Do The Signs Show He Is Coming Soon?

Mathematics, calculations,astrological signs, comets, NASA, feasts, dates, earthquakes, wars, famine, disease, signs, wonders, political unrest, ungodly rulers, prophesy, Mayan Calendar, 2012, interpretations, trumpets, judgement, fire, alignments, Israel, Daniel, Ezekiel, Revelation, certainty, uncertainty, miscalculations, best intentions; oops...

Yet another date will come and, most likely pass, without the return of Jesus. I say “most likely” because, make no mistake, I believe He is coming - He is coming according to the Father’s plan, His schedule, and without obligation to my expectations.

The topic of Christ’s return seems to separate Christendom into two camps, the, “Look Up” camp and the, “Occupy” camp.

The, “Look Up” camp would have us to believe that the precise date of Christ’s return is unmistakably obvious to those who have an ear to hear and an eye to see the signs of the times. While I cannot dispute their calculations (until the day following a prediction), I must dispute the notion that their insight separates believers from those who have yet to commit their lives to Christ. The Bible never speaks to the notion that salvation will be based upon those who know the date. It does refer to those who are, “ready”.

Then we have the, “Occupy” camp. This group of believers would admit that they do not know when Christ will return. They are, however, committed to the fact that His return is certain and that there are responsibilities to be fulfilled while awaiting His return.

The “Look Up” camp would site Noah’s heartfelt warnings to a lost humanity. “Judgement is coming!” Whether or not Noah was able to give them the precise date and time for the rains to begin I do not know. It did, after all, take some one-hundred years to complete construction of the ark. Noah’s unmistakable plea for people to heed the warning is indisputable. Every stoke of Noah’s hammer, every thrust of his saw against gopher wood, every drop of sweat, every blister and sliver was evidence to a surrounding population that judgement was coming, that judgement was sure and that safety would only be secured by God’s provision.

Noah was, “occupying”. Noah was busy doing what God had unmistakably told him to do. He was engaged in and faithful to the will of God. The chiding of the crowds would not deter Noah. He was, “occupying” until God’s time would be fulfilled. He was hard at work. Noah was focused upon the task at hand and he was committed to every element, every measure and every responsibility entrusted by God to his care.

We are closer today to Christ’s return than we were yesterday. Obvious, no? So, if we have truly accepted Him as personal Lord and Savior, if we truly believe He is coming according to the Bible, how much sweat have we invested during these days prior to His return? How much love have we shown to those who have yet to know Him personally? How much service have we rendered to those in need? How many times have we introduced Him to those who know us best? What are the tools He has given us so that we can be engaged in and be faithful to His will? Have those tools been stored away, or are they worn from continued faithful use?

It is yet another day!

“This is the day the Lord hath made, let us rejoice and be glad in it!
- Psalm 118:24

There is yet time to grow spiritually, to be thankful, to praise, to serve, to love, to give, to share, to nurture, to testify, to know Christ personally, to serve Christ more faithfully.

THIS IS the day the Lord hath made, thank God we have another chance!” - author’s interpretation

God bless!

Friday, August 5, 2011

Psalm 46:10 “Be still and know that I am God ...”

So, what does this verse really mean?

I’d never really given it much thought. I always thought it was obvious; there are times in life when we are to be still and “wait upon the Lord”. We are to turn over to God whatever concerns we are currently facing and stop doubting Him. We are not to be anxious but on the contrary we are to be “quiet” like the dawn of the early morning - before anyone is even aware. Perhaps an even more direct interpretation is appropriate, SHUT UP and know that I am God ... PERIOD!

Allow me to digress for a moment. Do you have a favorite song? I mean a song that touches the core of your being and speaks to your heart every time you hear it? What song is it? Think about that specific song for just a moment. What in your life, makes that song transcend others? What memories come to mind? How is it that when you are driving in your car, sitting in a coffee shop or restaurant, shopping or engaged in any other endeavor, and ever-so-faintly in the background the introduction to that song begins, and your heart immediately, in spite of all the distractions, leaps for joy? How have you so personally identified with that song? What is the application you have made with it’s message, to your life? Why is it so personal? Think about it for just a moment. When you have, read on....

Psalm 46:10 was, most likely, featured on Israel’s “Top 100 Greatest Hits!” It is, in fact, a song. It has three distinct verses and a refrain so beautifully interwoven with the song’s message that it no doubt stirred the hearts of all who heard. The song goes something like this:

1st Verse

GOD is our refuge and strength [mighty and impenetrable to temptation] a very PRESENT and WELL PROVED help in trouble.

Not a bad way to start a song, is it?

As a result of this proven fact, we will not fear, though the earth should change, though the mountains be shaken into the midst of the seas; though it’s waters roar and foam and though the remaining mountains tremble at it’s swelling and tumult...

Selah, (pause, and think calmly of that!)

2nd Verse

There is a [mighty river] and the individual streams that spring from it refresh and make glad the city of God, the holy place of the tabernacles of the Most High!

GOD is in the midst of her; she shall not be moved! GOD will [already be] helping her right early [at the dawn of the morning; before anyone is even aware]. Although the nations rage [as nations do and forever will] and kingdoms tottered and were moved [as they always will]; GOD uttered His voice and by the power of His voice, the earth melted [all the calamity quieted and became still].

THIS SAME GOD, THE LORD OF ALL THE HOSTS OF THE HEAVENS, IS WITH US! The God of Jacob is [even now] our refuge [our fortress and our high tower].

Selah, (pause, and think calmly of that!)

3rd Verse

COME! COME behold the works of the Lord, Who has wrought desolation and wonders in the earth [by making] wars to cease to the end of the earth; [it is God] Who breaks the bows into pieces and snaps the spear in two; [it is God] Who burns the chariots in the fire!

... Now comes that verse we’ve been looking at, and here is the translation:

LET BE, AND BE STILL, in order to KNOW - recognize and understand - that I AM GOD! [Regardless of the present outlook] I WILL BE EXALTED AMONG THE NATIONS! I WILL BE EXALTED IN THE EARTH!

And so we reach the close...

THIS SAME GOD, THE LORD OF ALL THE HOSTS OF THE HEAVENS, IS WITH US! The God of Jacob is [even now] our refuge [our fortress and our high tower].

Selah, (pause, and think calmly of that!)

What a mighty song! What a powerful hope!

So, today, right now, think about THIS specific song for just a moment. What in your life today, makes this song transcend others? What memories of days gone by come to mind? Is it a song who’s message will speak to you when you are driving in your car, sitting in a coffee shop or restaurant, shopping or engaged in any other endeavor? Can your heart immediately, in spite of all the distractions that surround us, the wars, the financial upheavals, uncertainties of life, leap for joy? Have you, have WE, personally identified with the God of THIS song?

There is a powerful call to action within this song, "COME!" That call is still in affect today as we see expressed in the New Testament:

Jesus said to him, "I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me." - John 14:6

All that the Father gives me will COME to me, and whoever COMES to me I will never cast out. - John 6:37

How can we accept this promise?

I and the Father are one. - John 10:30

Awaiting and looking for the [fulfillment, the realization of our] blessed hope, even the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Christ Jesus, the Messiah, the Anointed One; Who gave Himself on our behalf that He might redeem us (purchase our freedom from all iniquity and purify for Himself a people - to be particularly His Own - [people who are] eager and enthusiastic about [living a life that is good and filled with beneficial deeds]. - Titus 2:13

Being still, amid the torrents of life, in order to know and recognize that God is still in control and forever will be, brings a peace that passes all understanding;

Selah, (pause, and think calmly of that!)

God bless!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

An Accident?

Have you ever wondered whether or not you popped onto the scene by accident? Perhaps God blinked - BINGO; there you were! Perhaps through no fault of your own you arrived unexpectedly. Oops! Now what?

Did your arrival force God to do some fancy footwork? Has He had time to fit you into His original plan; does He care to? Is He even aware that you exist? Are you destined to remain a wandering generality or is it possible for you to become a meaningful specific?

Thousands of such questions go through the minds of countless individuals. They secretly haunt and they often taunt. Left unanswered they rob individuals of purpose and personal fulfillment. Taking matters into their own hands, individuals often recoil into a self-imposed and lonely vacuum - thereby correcting “the accident” by seemingly not existing at all....

Perhaps you were “given up” for adoption, maybe you were unplanned, possibly born out of wedlock. Perhaps your biological parents were separated before you were born or maybe you don’t even know who they are. On the other side of the coin, perhaps you were born into a family that, for all intent and purpose, appears to be the solid bedrock of your community. You have no logical reason for feeling detached. Nevertheless, you do. Your loneliness and unanswered questions are very real to you.

I’ve got some good news! No, I didn’t say I have the answer. I said I have some good news - and it might be just enough to give you new hope.

You may not fully comprehend it yet but you were created in the heart and mind of God long before you were ever fashioned through the biological instrument of man. I want to say this once again because I know you are having difficulty believing it. You were created in the heart and mind of God LONG BEFORE you were ever fashioned through the biological instrument of man.

I know, I know; you’ve heard it before. Well meaning people have tried to encourage you. You’re not sure if they really believe it themselves or if they are simply attempting to modify your life so that they can be more comfortable in theirs. But, you’ve concluded that it is better to keep your feelings hidden rather than to cause those you love to be frustrated by your emotions. Right? You’ve reasoned that expressing your needs just serves to create more of a problem than it’s worth....

The specific circumstance surrounding your birth may not appear Divine but consider for a moment the circumstances surrounding God’s original creation of mankind. Consider, from Adam’s point of view, the circumstances surrounding his creation.

Did God begin His creation of Adam by stretching forth His hand and gathering just a bit of the sparkle from one of His newly created stars? Did He gently blend in the purity of a drop of dew, the warmth of the sun and calm of a cool breeze to bring Adam into existence? God certainly could have. Each was in existence - and we are told in the Bible that God had already proclaimed that each was good.

Listen carefully. There is an important message here. It is written specifically to those who might question their existence. It is for you! Imagine that. The very first story of the Bible is a story for YOU! Sounds like it might be important enough to take a second look at, wouldn’t you say?

God did not use the sparkle of a star, the purity of a drop of dew, the warmth of the sun the calm of a cool breeze or the beauty of all creation to bring Adam into existence. Almighty God chose to gather a hand full of plain old dirt to fashion Adam into His own image. Now, how do you think Adam felt about that? Not much to brag about was it?

So, maybe Adam deserves a little empathy here. Doesn’t he have cause to question his importance? I mean, after all, consider the Divine order of creation. He was made of dirt, and created LAST! Why didn’t God create Adam first, and allow him to observe creation from a vantage point in heaven? Did Adam have reason to feel that he too was perhaps just an afterthought?

Consider also that although Adam’s place of residence was a garden paradise, created by the very hand of God, his first recorded emotion was loneliness.

Can you identify a little bit with Adam?

Isn’t it amazing? Adam had no mother or father to turn to. He was totally dependent upon God and God’s Divine purpose. And although Adam walked in the very presence of Almighty God, he still felt a sense of loneliness. God didn’t label Adam as ungrateful. God lovingly filled the void in Adam’s life by creating Eve. You see, He’d planned for Adam’s need all along. God has a funny way of doing those kind of things; planning ahead and filling voids....

You know, it’s not unusual for God to express His love through circumstances we might consider to be inferior. Wasn’t it a humble manger that became the birthplace for the King of Kings? Wasn’t it a vile cross from which the cries of final victory were shouted? Wasn’t it a tomb (on temporary loan of course), from which death was defeated and life eternal was made possible for all who would believe?

Let me get to the point. God does not hold us accountable for how we got here. Our arrival was known to Him from eternity past. He lovingly made provision to fill the spiritual, emotional, physical and social needs of our lives and to give us purpose. Most important, He still desires fellowship with us - on a continual, forever basis. And since the physical circumstances of our birth may haunt and taunt us, His provision for us includes a new birth - through His son, Jesus.

You are not the end result of a moment of weakness, a painful memory or hurtful circumstance. You are quite the opposite. You are the physical expression of His love. You are an individual; a person of great potential for fellowship with Him to enjoy His plan for your life and to share His love with others. Through His birth, you are a meaningful specific. You are living proof that when yielded to His love and creative power, life has new meaning and purpose.

So, when those times of insecurity creep into your heart (and because we are human they certainly will), remember that there are no accidents with God. He is never caught off guard or by surprise, and He values you so much that He gave Himself so that He might enjoy fellowship with you forever!

God bless!

Friday, May 27, 2011

Earthen Vessels

I love to go, “antiquing!” Yep, no doubt about it! When I do, my imagination sores with thoughts of “yesterdays”.

Oh, if only those items could speak; imagine the stories they would tell! They would probably tell the story of their origin and the care by which they were prepared for display. Perhaps they would recall the pride they felt at first sight of their reflection in the store front window. Maybe each would confess dismay upon realizing it was simply an insignificant duplicate.

Oh, but there was hope! Although it may have been one of many, it’s value would ultimately be confirmed by the one who would purchase it. And now it is preserved as a testament of someone’s love.

Oh, if it could only speak.

It might tell us of the care taken to preserve it to this day. After all, it has become unique; one of a few remaining of it’s kind. A weathered, old inexpensive trinket has attained value. The patina of age and the blemishes of time serve to confirm it’s authenticity and increase it’s value.

Perhaps, just perhaps - it is speaking.

“However, we possess this precious treasure, [the divine Light of the Gospel] in [frail, human] vessels of earth, that the grandeur and exceeding greatness of the power may be shown to be of God and not from ourselves.” - 2 Corinthians 4:7

“Do you not know that your body is the temple - the very sanctuary - of the Holy Spirit Who lives within you, Whom you have received [as a Gift] from God? You are not your own; you were bought with a price - purchased with a preciousness and paid for, made His own. So then, honor God and bring glory to Him in your body.” - 1 Corinthians 6:19,20

“For [the proclaiming of] this [Gospel], I was appointed a herald (preacher) and an apostle (special messenger) and a teacher of the Gentiles. And this is why I am suffering as I do. Still I am not ashamed, for I know - I perceive, have knowledge of and am acquainted with - Him Whom I have believed (adhere to and trusted in and relied on), and I am [positively] persuaded that He is able to guard and keep that which has been entrusted to me and which I have committed [to Him] until that day. - 2 Timothy 1:11,12

All of that to say this: much has been written and preached about believers being lowly earthen vessels. Although we may be blemished and weak, the tarnished patina of time may be overtaking us, we have been purchased at a great price! Oh that we might more faithfully tell our story. How that we were lost amongst the congregation of millions like us. How that there was no distinguishing beauty or attribute setting us apart or distinguishing us as having a greater value than another. But how value was established by the One Who purchased us at such a great price! And now, as God protects and preserves us, He does so that we may faithfully carry His love to others.

So, rather than setting on a shelf, it’s time to speak.

Other’s just might be shopping!

Friday, May 13, 2011

How Will You Respond May 22, 2011?

Hundreds of dooms-day bill board signs will begin coming down. Frightened, confused, hurt and disillusioned thousands will clog cell phone lines in desperate attempts to contact family members. Had they been left behind too?

For the fortunate, reality will be immediate. For others, not so. Their hearts will writhe in unimaginable pain. A few may even take their fate into their own hands.

It will be the headline of every newspaper, the opening segment for every major media network, and the topic of every social network. Fodder for late night comedians, sermon topics for the pastorate, the truth will now be evident.

The Messiah did not come; the rapture did not take place.

Family Radio Stations, Inc., may choose to play 24 hours of music; perhaps 48 - at least until the dust begins to settle. A dedicated team will deliberately put into motion their well rehearsed plan B. The plan? It has no doubt been secretly orchestrated for months now.

Most of the daily programing is produced on a master roll two weeks in advance of air date and time. On this roll producers pot in high frequency tones activating cues for live news and comment from each individual station. By this, all programing appears to be “in the moment”. Perhaps a special tape has been produced; a master only a select few are aware of. There will be no cue for a live, “open forum”. That line will be out of service. Dedicated employees will, as directed, stay home until they receive further notice. They will have been admonished to not talk with the press or engage in conversations with others about the non-event - which will have become the event.

My guess is that station attorneys have rehearsed this day for years. For now, they will be the station’s only messengers. Cleverly, no member of the station ever encouraged listeners to take specific action; only to pray. Any costs incurred by “listener faithfuls” were made voluntarily at the listener’s own discretion and personal choice. Since the station has distributed tracks and books freely it will be held harmless for any voluntary action, costs or losses incurred by the listening public.

So, how will you respond?

If you are a Christian will you be saddened or perhaps repulsed at the scores of individuals influenced by this false prophet? Will you be angry; defensive? How should a Christian respond?

“Therefore, rejecting all falsity and done now with it, let every one express the truth with his neighbor, for we are all parts of one body and members of one another. When angry, do not sin; do not ever let your wrath - your exasperation, your fury or indignation last until the sun goes down. Leave no [such] room or foothold for the devil give no opportunity to him. Let the thief steal no more, but rather let him be industrious, making an honest living with his own hands, so that he may be able to give to those in need. Let no foul or polluting language, nor evil word, nor unwholesome or worthless talk [ever] come out of your mouth; but only such [speech] as is good and beneficial to the spiritual progress of others, as is fitting to the need and the occasion, that it may be a blessing and give grace (God’s unmerited favor) to those who hear it. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God (do not offend, or vex or sadden Him) by Whom you were sealed (marked, branded as God’s own, secured) for the day of redemption - of final deliverance, through Christ from evil and the consequences of sin. Let all bitterness and indignation and wrath (passion, rage, bad temper) and resentment (anger, animosity) and quarreling (brawling, clamor, contention) and slander (evil-speaking, abusive or blasphemous language) be banished from you, with all malice (spite, ill will or baseness of any kind). AND BECOME USEFUL AND HELPFUL AND KIND TO ONE ANOTHER, tenderhearted (compassionate, understanding, loving-hearted), forgiving one another [readily and freely], as God in Christ forgave you.” - Ephesians 4:25-32

This is no inconsequential event. The soon to be experienced results of reckless interpretation and proclamation are by no means to be taken lightly. In some cases this has or will forever scar family relationships. Even more sadly, it will give any reasonable thinking individual cause to [all the more] ignore any future conversation with reference to the Gospel. I am saddened and angered. However, I am also overwhelmed with a renewed sense of responsibility and love.

It is important that we consider the influence one very passionate man, with a false message, has had upon so many. By comparison, what can the simple loving message of a risen Savior have upon the world when we humbly and sacrificially share it?

The fact that Jesus will someday return is not so much the message as is the fact that those who open their hearts to Him can enjoy this life all the more as a result of His salvation and daily presence. The story has not changed.

“Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if any one hears and listens to and heeds My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and will eat with him, and he [shall eat] with Me.” - Revelation 3:20

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

The Bible, Foolishness?

Yes the Bible is foolishness to some individuals. They have experienced a legitimate introduction to the Bible. They can recite the Biblical accounts of creation, the flood, Cecil B. DeMille and his brother Moses and their story of the exodus from Egypt, Samson, David and Goliath, the 23rd Psalms, the birth of Jesus, His feeding of over 5,000 people with fish and chips, His crucifixion, resurrection and His return with a vengeance. These individuals have heard or read and simply cannot, by any means, believe that the stories are anything more than the literary talents of a few men combined with the editing efforts of an even larger group.

There are others who have never had an introduction. The only “evidences” they have of Biblical truths and accuracy are the lives of those proclaiming to be Christians. So, what are they witnessing?

Let’s face it. It is impossible to adequately express the inexpressible unmerited love, fulfilling comfort and endless security offered freely to all who would believe. Attempts to convincingly argue one’s personal experience, apart from the unspeakable Devine power through which Christ Personally touches a heart and enters a life, become futile.

Unfortunately, the Gospel is too often replaced by a plethora of theological interpretation or updated religious extravaganzas designed to impress, amaze and perhaps even convince the non-believer's senses that therein is something of value. But they cannot cut through the "show" to the real power and heart of the matter. The praise is understood by fellow-Christians but unnecessarily off-putting to those sincerely searching - but yet to have been spiritually touched.

But isn’t THIS what the Bible says will happen?

“For the story and message of the cross is sheer absurdity and folly to those who are perishing; but to us who are being saved it is the [manifestation of] the power of God.” - 1 Corinthians 1:18

The answer to the question is, YES. However, let’s look at the context of the Apostle Paul’s statement. I previously missed it. Instead of being open to the words of this letter I used them to reenforced my personal and convenient assumptions. The net result? I missed what the Word is actually saying; IT IS POWERFUL! It is more powerful than any human testimony, any miraculous event, any evangelist’s story. Let’s read the passage.

“Paul, summoned by the will and purpose of God to be an apostle (special messenger) of Christ Jesus, and our brother Sosthenes; to the church (assembly) of God which is in Corinth, to those consecrated and purified and made holy in Christ Jesus, [who are] selected and called to be saints (God’s people) together with all those who in any place call upon and give honor to the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, both their Lord and ours: Grace (unmerited favor and spiritual blessing) be to you and (heart) peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. I thank my God at all times for you because of the grace (the unmerited favor and spiritual blessing) of God which was bestowed on you in Christ Jesus. [So] that in Him in every respect you were enriched, in full power and readiness of speech (to speak of your faith), and complete knowledge and illumination (to give you full insight into it’s meaning). In this way [our] witnessing concerning Christ, the Messiah, was so confirmed and established and made sure in you. That you are not (consciously) falling behind or lacking in any special spiritual endowment or Christian grace (the reception of which is due to the power of Divine grace operating in our souls by the Holy Spirit), while you wait and watch (constantly living in hope) for the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and [His] being made visible to all. And He will establish you to the end - keep you steadfast, give you strength, and guarantee your vindication, that is, be your warrant against all accusation or indictment - [so that you will be] guiltless and irreproachable in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Messiah. God is faithful - reliable, trustworthy and [therefore] ever true to His promise, and He can be depended on; by Him you were called into companionship and participation with His Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.” - 1 Corinthians 1:1-9

This was Paul’s introduction to those worshiping at the church in Corinth. Paul then turns to the matter at hand.

“But I urge and entreat you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you be in perfect harmony, and full agreement in what you say, and that there be no dissensions or factions or divisions among you; but that you be perfectly united in your common understanding and in your opinions and judgments. For it has been made clear to me, my brethren, by those of Chloe’s household that there are contentions and wrangling and fractions among you. What I mean is this, that each one of you [either] says, ‘I belong to Paul’, or, ‘I belong to Apollos’, or, “I belong to Peter’, or, ‘I belong to Christ’. Is Christ, the Messiah, divided into parts? Was Paul crucified on behalf of you? Or were you baptized into the name of Paul? I thank God that I did not baptize any of you except Crispus and Gaius, lest any one should say that I baptized in my own name. Yes, I did baptize the household of Stephanas, also. More than these, I do not remember that I baptized any one. For Christ, the Messiah, sent me out not to baptize but (to evangelize by) preaching the glad tidings (the Gospel); and that not with verbal eloquence, lest the cross of Christ should be deprived of force and emptied of its power and rendered vain - fruitless, void of value and of no effect. For the story and message of the cross is sheer absurdity and folly to those who are perishing and on their way to perdition, but to us who are being saved it is the [manifestation of] the power of God.” - 1 Corinthians 1:10-18

Paul then goes into more specific detail about the heady philosophical debates which were replacing the incomprehensible power of the cross. Instead the Jews were demanding the entertainment of signs and miracles, while the more educated Greeks pursued philosophy and wisdom. Focus was being drawn away from Christ, the Messiah, crucified - which to the Jews was a scandal and an offensive stumbling block and to the Gentiles absurd and utterly unphilosophical nonsense. (vs 22,23)

Not much has changed, has it? Mankind cannot orchestrate, stage, produce or direct any religious testimony more powerful or more cutting to the heart’s need than the story of Christ’s death burial and resurrection.

To some [who have had an honest introduction to THIS story] it remains foolish. Their decision does not alter the true Christian’s love for them. This is a decision that is personal, between them and God - just as the decision to believe and yield is personal between the believer and God. The question is, what story is the daily life of those claiming to be true believers telling? Do our lives manifest a reflection of the Gospel without capturing some of the glory for ourselves?

Christian’s, we cannot add to His love. We cannot sensationalize that which is so sensational that only the heart can capture, ever so slightly, the true impact of His saving grace. The power of the cross and His resurrection is all in all.

Today, as you go about your daily responsibilities and “chance” meetings, consider the story your life will share. You may never know who is truly reading.

God bless!

Saturday, April 30, 2011

May 21, 2011

A great deal is being made of this date. Perhaps you have seen the posters proclaiming that on May 21, 2011, a great earthquake will take place such as the world has never experienced. In a moment, less time than a camera of the highest technology can capture, millions of people will vanish - the Messiah will return, the rapture will take place, the utter and complete annihilation of this earth and universe will be at hand.

Or so we are told.

I feel a sense of sadness for those who have been caught up (no pun intended) in one man’s quest to be someone special in the divine plan of Almighty God.

Is he sincere? Perhaps. However one can be sincere but sincerely wrong.

I will not argue the plethora of theological points that refute this claim. I will not entertain futile dialogue with those who are (until May 22, 2011) absolutely convince that THIS is the prophesied date of Jesus’ return. But, likewise, I will not sit idol and allow this proclamation in the name of Christianity to take place without contrarily offering a few verses to “those who have an ear to hear”.

We are living in difficult times. If the economy has not affected you yet, it will. If wars have not affected you they have most likely affected someone close to you. If disease, loss, sadness, death have not darkened your door you are most fortunate. You no doubt know of someone who has experienced one or more of these events.

And what can we say about the groanings of the earth? How can we ignore the increases of strange weather patterns, earthquakes, natural disasters? What about apathy towards government? What about the lack of trust, honor and patriotism?

Signs of the times?

Certainly! But these have always been a part of the human experience; just as promised in the Bible. Are they on the increase? A snapshot of the news would indicate that, if nothing else, the frequency of such upheaval is on the rise. But rather than turn to one man’s allegorical commentary, I prefer to turn to the words of Jesus. He did not mingle verse upon verse in His discussion of the end times. He did not pay homage to numerology, contriving secret codes and mathematical equations to reveal what it was He wanted people to know. He simply addressed the issue in Matthew chapter 24. Here is a bit of what He shares:

“For then there will be great tribulation - affliction, distress and oppression - such as has not been from the beginning of the world until now; no, never will be [again]. And if those days had not been shortened, no human being would endure and survive; but for the sake of the elect (God’s chosen ones) those days will be shortened. IF ANY ONE SAYS TO YOU THEN, LO HERE IS CHRIST, THE MESSIAH; OR, THERE HE IS; DO NOT BELIEVE IT. For false Christs and false prophets will arise, and they will show great signs and wonders, so as to deceive and lead astray, if possible EVEN THE ELECT (God’s chosen ones). See, I HAVE WARNED YOU BEFOREHAND. So, if they say to you, Lo He is in the wilderness (desert), do not go out there; if they tell you, Lo He is in the secret places or inner rooms, do not believe it. For just as lightning flashes from the east and shines and is seen as far as the west, so will the coming of the Son of man be. Where there is a fallen body (a corpse), there the vultures (or eagles) will flock together. Immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not shed her light, and the stars will fall from the sky and the powers of the heavens will be shaken. Then the sign of the Son of man will appear in the sky, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn and beat their breasts and lament in anguish, and they will see the Son of man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory - in brilliancy and splendor! And He will send out His angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather His elect [His chosen ones] from the four winds, [even] from one end of the universe to the other. From the fig tree learn its lesson: as soon as its young shoots become soft and tender and it puts out its leaves, you know of a surety that summer is near. So also when you see these signs all taken together coming to pass, you may know of a surety that He is near, at the very doors. Truly, I tell you, this generation - that is, the whole multitude of people living at the same time, in a definite, given period - will not pass away, till all these things taken together take place! Sky and earth will pass away, but My words will not pass away. But of that [exact] day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.” -Matthew 24:21-36

In verse 42 Jesus goes on to say:

“Watch, therefore - give strict attention, be cautious and active - for you do not know in what kind of a day [whether a near or remote one] your Lord is coming.”

Our’s is not to give a date. Our’s is not to share the Word of God [in affect] to simply bring honor to ourselves for having done so; supposing that WE are special for giving such a “spiritual dispensation” when the world appears so Godless. No. Our’s is to humbly admit that we stand daily before a Holy God. We stand naked and in need. Naked and exposed for who we really are - in our private times, in our hearts, known only to Him. In need of His loving touch and forgiveness.

The date of His return? Certain! The time? Precise! He has already taken care of it. The more timely question, the most immediate question, “are we ready?” We can know that we are ready by applying the Passover blood of God’s Sinless Lamb to our lives. No wonder Moses directed God’s people to apply the blood in such a manner so as to form a cross. No wonder it was applied to the door - the one access.

The only date that we can be certain of is now; now is an appropriate day to turn our lives over to a loving God through the death, burial and resurrection of a living, loving Jesus Christ. Do we understand it all? Certainly not. But in love He has given us enough to know our need and to know His fulfilling and forever sacrifice. Do you know Him? Does He know you?

Loads of love

Saturday, April 16, 2011


Easter - a day of candy, chocolate, chicks, and colored eggs; baskets, bonnets and bunnies; shiny shoes, frilly dresses, family, food, pastel colors, ribbons, Easter-egg hunts and lilies.

For many Easter is a yearly pilgrimage to grandma’s house. There, the sounds of family laughter and the gastronomic fragrances of memories past converge in a grand celebration of heightened senses.

To some the celebration of Easter still carries religious overtones acknowledging that a man called Jesus of Nazareth, who had just days earlier been executed by way of crucifixion, raised Himself up from the cold grip of death and stepped outside of the tomb. Or, so the story is told ...

Oh, there are countless theories about His “resurrection”. Perhaps Jesus never really died but instead, “swooned”. Perhaps the cool dark and damp enclosure of the tomb served to revive His beaten and bloodied body. Or, maybe, just maybe, His followers - like Judas who betrayed Him, or Peter who on three separate occasions denied he ever knew Him, or all of the others who ran and hid when Jesus was arrested, perhaps somehow they summonsed up the courage to overtake the Roman guards protecting the tomb, the resolve to break the Roman seal and the strength to roll back the massive stone to remove the corpse.

Maybe ...

It’s perplexing. Logic suggests that if indeed Jesus was dead these few remaining followers, who fled from Him when He needed them most, would not concoct a risky scheme to steal his body and compromise their own safety. Had they not just witnessed Him die in agony on a Roman cross? Would they not be better off quietly returning to their previous vocations? They could simply pick up where they had left off - before following Jesus. There were still fish to catch, sick to tend to and taxes to collect. They could start life over and forget about having been duped by the charlatan, Jesus.

Was it possible that their egos so overwhelmed their ability to reason that they collaboratively, even willingly, braved beatings and scourging, beheadings, and crucifixions just to save face. Were their words so powerful, their delivery so polished, their persona so overwhelming that they ultimately influenced countless thousands to believe their message and thus follow their misguided footsteps? Maybe ...

Maybe ...

Maybe they had no other option. Maybe following Jesus to a martyrs death WAS, in their minds, their only option. Perhaps they felt they had already sealed their fate of ridicule and embarrassment. Perhaps they foresaw a life of continual chiding, having left all they had to follow this vagabond dreamer who now lay dead in a borrowed tomb. Maybe it was easier to die. At least in death they might leave a more honorable legacy to those remaining.

On the other hand, why didn’t they just deny Him - like Peter did? Why didn’t they agree to absolve themselves and confess openly to the political and religious leaders - and to their fellow citizens, that they never realized what a troublemaker Jesus was intending to become? They could have pleaded their case that had they known where Jesus was headed they never would have followed. They might even have been honored for taking such a stand and for bringing this fledgling sect to an abrupt end.

These men had options. Did they choose and option that was reasonable?

Maybe ...

Okay, okay, THESE were Jesus' former followers. But what about the testimony of those who hated Jesus? What about those who had never followed Him, were never duped, but instead made it their personal ambition to search out and kill Jesus followers? What would someone like that possibly gain by making a sudden about-face to become a Jesus follower?

What about Saul of Tarsus?

Think about this fella for a moment. He most certainly existed since somebody had to have written the books of the New Testament attributed to him. So, why not him? And why not accept his brief autobiography?

“I am a Jew, born in Tarsus of Cilicia, but reared in this city. At the feet of Gamaliel I was educated according to the strictest care in the Law of our fathers, being ardent - even a zealot - for God, as all you are today.” - Acts 22:3

“Circumcised when I was eight days old, of the race of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew [and son] of Hebrews; as to the observance of the Law I was of [the party of] the Pharisees, as to my zeal I was a persecutor of the church, and by the LAW’S STANDARD OF RIGHTEOUSNESS - [supposed] JUSTICE,UPRIGHTNESS AND RIGHT STANDING WITH GOD - I was proven to be blameless and no fault was found in me.” - Philippians 3:5,6

“[Yes,] I harassed (troubled, molested and persecuted) this Way [of the Lord] to the death, putting in chains and committing to prison both men and women. As the high priest and the whole council of elders [Sanhedrin] can testify; for from them indeed I received letters with which I was on my way to the brethren in Damascus in order to take also those [believers] who were there, and bring them in chains to Jerusalem that they might be punished.” - Acts 22:5

So Saul was a Roman citizen (born in Tarsus), of Jewish heritage, educated at the feet of Gamaliel a celebrated scholar of Mosaic Law. He was a self-proclaimed religious fanatic and celebrated persecutor of Jesus followers. In fact, the first introduction we have of him is during the stoning of Stephen.

“Then they dragged him (Stephen) out of the city and began to stone him, and the witnesses placed their garments at the feet of a young man named Saul.” - Acts 7:58

And because Saul so ardently felt he was doing the will of God by persecuting these Jesus followers, he could consider himself absolutely blameless! Why in the world would Saul abruptly change his direction and become a Jesus follower himself? WHY? He gives his answer in the Book of Acts:

“But as I was on my journey and approached Damascus, about noon a great blaze of light flashed suddenly from heaven and shone about me. And I fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to me, ‘Saul, Saul, why do you persecute Me - harass and trouble and molest Me?’ And I replied, ‘Who are you Lord?’ And He said to me, ‘I am JESUS, the Nazarene, Whom you are persecuting.’” - Acts 22:6-8

As a result of this meeting, Saul, now known as the Apostle Paul, became an evangelist to the Gentiles for the cause of Jesus. As a result of this meeting, the Apostle Paul wrote numerous letters to the early Christian churches - many of those letters make up the New Testament of the Bible. As a result of this meeting the Christian message spread like wildfire throughout the world and Jesus followers continue to celebrate an empty tomb, a risen Savior, a coming Messiah, King of kings, and Lord of lords.

It begs the question, “was all of this accomplished for the cause of a dead man?”

Maybe not ...

Wednesday, April 13, 2011


What does it mean to truly be grateful? Sounds like a simple question at first.


I’ve always considered the word synonymous with “thankful” and to some extent, in the English language, they are. But what does the Bible mean when It refers to being “grateful”?

As is usually the case, my search revealed numerous Greek words used in the New Testament to express the giving of thanks. There is one word, however, that is translated, “grateful”. The word is, “EUCHARISTEO”. The word is used 39 times in the Bible. Here are a few examples:

“He who observes the day, observes it in honor of the Lord. He also who eats, eats in honor of the Lord, since he gives thanks to God; while he who abstains, abstains in honor of the Lord and gives thanks to God.” - Romans 14:6

“He took the seven loaves and the fish, and when He had given thanks He broke them and gave them to the disciples, and the disciples gave them to the people.” - Matthew 15:36

“And as He was going into one village, He was met by ten lepers, who stood at a distance. And they raised up their voices and called, Jesus, Master, take pity, and have mercy on us! And when He saw them He said to them, ‘Go (at once) and show yourselves to the priests.’ And as they went they were cured and made clean. Then one of them, upon seeing that he was cured, turned back, recognizing and thanking and praising God with a loud voice; and he fell prostate at Jesus’ feet, thanking Him (over and over). And he was a Samaritan. Then Jesus asked, ‘Were not ten cleansed? Where are the nine? Was there no one found to return and to recognize and give thanks and praise to God except this alien?’” - Luke 17:12-18

“So they took away the stone. And Jesus lifted up His eyes and said, ‘Father I thank You that You have always heard Me.” - John 11:41

“And He took the cup, and when He had given thanks He gave it to them, saying, ‘drink of it, all of you.” - Matthew 26:27

While numerous words of “thanks” focus attention upon the gift or benefit received, this unique and specific word focuses attention upon the Giver of the gift or benefit. The loaves and fishes, the healing of leprosy, the raising of a dead friend, the cup at the last supper were not the focus of Jesus’ thanks. This thankfulness, this, “gratefulness”, was an acknowledgement of the power and love, the grace and mercy of the One Giver of all good gifts, Almighty God.

What is “gratefulness”? Being grateful is the heart’s acknowledgment that there is a Greater Power from Whom all blessings flow.

Thomas Obadiah Chisolm (1866-1960) was weak and sickly. His early adult life was riddled with bouts of illnesses that often confined him to his bed. So often too ill to work, his few moments of health were exhausted by long hours of heavy labor just to cover his expenses.

At the age of 27, Obadiah surrendered his life to this One called, “Jesus”. He found comfort in the Scriptures and in the promise that he could always draw strength from God, Who would always be faithful during his time of weakness. His favorite passage is in the Old Testament, Lamentations 3:22-23:

“It is of the Lord’s mercies that we are not consumed, because His compassions fail not. They are new every morning: great is Thy faithfulness.”

Obadiah Chisolm wrote the lyrics to many Christian hymns. None so perfectly express the focus of true gratefulness as the following:

Great is Thy faithfulness, O God my Father;
There is no shadow of turning with Thee;
Thou changest not, Thy compassions, they fail not;
As Thou has been, Thou forever will be.

Great is Thy faithfulness!
Great is Thy faithfulness!

Morning by morning new mercies I see.
All I have needed Thy hand hath provided;
Great is Thy faithfulness, Lord, unto me!

It is a new morning; a new day for which to be thankful! In our gratitude, may we more fully express "gratefulness" to the Author and Finisher of our faith, the Sustainer of our hope, and the God from Whom all blessings flow.

Have a great day!

Thursday, March 10, 2011

A Complete STOP!

It’s an old joke. The police officer pulls the driver over and asks, “do you know why I pulled you over?” The driver replies, “it depends upon how long you’ve been following me!”

Well, it happened! I got a ticket. The officer said that I didn’t come to a complete stop. What could I say? I didn’t even remember the stop sign. I drive that route every morning. It’s second nature to me now. I didn’t come to a complete stop?

He was probably right; I mean, complete - complete? Probably not. Not that kind of “complete” that gives the officer the right to decide whether or not you stopped, or you are illegally parking at the sign! No; no, I probably didn’t come to “A COMPLETE STOP!

It cost me. It cost me $288.00 I hadn’t budgeted last month under, “Sneaky Hidden Police”. Well, regardless, I probably didn’t stop. But I sure did slow a lot!

As I think about it, that particular stop sign has probably been there for 50 years. There was nothing hidden about it; it was rather obvious. It didn’t just spring up over night, wasn’t obscured by over hanging tree branches or by the early morning sun’s glare. It never changed it’s message - it was consistent; it always read, “STOP”. I was careless.

How often do we get careless about the direction we take in life. Perhaps in our complacency we lose sight of those warning signs along the way. The more we take the same route the less we tend to consider obvious signs intended to keep us safe. Maybe there’s a particular direction our lives have been taking that deep in our hearts we know is not pleasing to God. We saw the, “CAUTION, STOP AHEAD” sign long ago and lately, well, let’s just say that lately we’ve been sort of rolling through the stop sign.

There have been no adverse affects so far. We’ve probably been very careful at the intersection. We slow down significantly. But the sign says, “STOP”. Oh, occasionally we look around as we approach the sign - just to make sure no Authority is watching. Ah, but God sees, God knows. His signs are posted to guide us and keep us safe. If we are fortunate, He will lovingly pull us over and remind us. If we persist, the potential for irreversible tragedy looms great.

So, as we start this day off, let us do so intending to follow all the signs, being careful to yield the right of way to others, stop at all the stop signs, travel at all the speed limits, and safely enjoy the ride, safely reach the destination.

“Am I a God at hand, says the Lord, and not a God afar off? Can any hide hide himself in secret places so that I will not see him?” - Jeremiah 23:23,24

“And not a creature exists that is concealed from His sight, but all things are open and exposed, naked and defenseless to the eyes of Him with whom we have to do.” - Hebrews 4:13

“For if we searchingly examined ourselves - detecting our shortcomings and recognizing our own condition - we should not be judged and penalty decreed [by the divine judgment].” - 1 Corinthians 11:31

“Who can discern his lapses and errors? Clear me from hidden [and unconscious] faults. Keep back Your servant also from presumptuous sins; let them not have dominion over me! THEN shall I be blameless, and I shall be innocent and clear of great transgression. Let the words of my mouth and the meditations of my heart be acceptable in Your sight, O Lord, my [firm, impenetrable] rock and my redeemer.” - Psalms 19:12-13

Travel safely!

Saturday, February 26, 2011

It was hard to tell ...

I’m guessing that he was somewhere between the ages of thirty-six and eighty-four. He was engaged in a rather heated conversation pausing only to open the door for each Starbucks patron. As I approached, I noticed that his animated verbal exchange was directed into an empty palm. He had no phone; he had no one to respond. This lonely man’s conversation vanished into a weathered and soiled hand.

He wore several layers of clothing - not the least of which was, what might at one time might have been, a white boa. I am guessing that he was not aware of the puddle of water he was standing in. He probably didn’t even notice the wicking effect of the newspaper that over-stuffed his size eleven shoes into which his size seven feet wandered.

Nevertheless, there he stood; a sentinel at the local Starbucks coffee shop. I’d never seen him before. His presence was obviously disturbing to some of the guests. The young baristas were visibly unsettled by his presence.

He held the door open for me careful to look away so as not to make eye contact. I seemed to notice a slight toothless grin.

Standing in line, observing each and every person’s response to this poor soul, I could not help but wonder. Who was this person’s first grade teacher? What did he aspire to be when he grew up? What were his parents like? Did he have siblings? Did he play outside, go on family trips, sing and dance in days past? Was he a forgotten veteran; was he simply - forgotten? As far as I could tell he was a soul known only to God.

I found myself moving deliberately to the door, leaving my coveted place in line. “Excuse me sir”, I interrupted. “Could I buy you a cup of coffee?” I was wrong about him; his quiet grin of appreciation revealed two teeth. “Why, yes sir! Yes sir indeed!” he responded. He told me he just wanted a small cup, black; no cream or sugar. I ordered a small coffee, black, and a breakfast sausage sandwich.

I gave him his coffee and his sandwich. He simply smiled and slightly bowed.

I returned to the line; he returned to opening the doors for patrons, collecting shopping carts and to his his private conversation.

A passage from the Scriptures came to mind as I sat there with my coffee:

“Then the King will say to those at His right hand, Come, you blessed of My Father [that is, you favored of God and appointed to eternal salvation], inherit- receive as your own - the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For when I was hungry and you gave Me food; I was thirsty and you gave Me something to drink; I was a stranger and you brought Me together with yourselves and welcomed and entertained and lodged Me. I was naked and you clothed Me; I was sick and you visited Me with help and ministering care; I was in prison and you came to see Me. Then the just and upright will answer Him, Lord, when did we see You hungry and gave you food, or thirsty and gave You something to drink? And when did we see You a stranger and welcomed and entertained You, or naked and clothed You? And when did we see You sick or in prison and came to visit You? And the King will reply to them, Truly, I tell you, in as far as you did it to one of the least [in estimation of men] of these My brethren, you did it to Me.” - Matthew 25:34-40

I purchased a cup of coffee - and a sausage sandwich for God today, and I was filled. What opportunity will He extend to you today to reach out to someone and by so doing feel His loving touch?

Be watchful; His opportunities are everywhere!

God bless!

Monday, February 21, 2011


“A Penny For Your Thoughts”

“Do not be conformed to this world - this age, fashioned after and adapted to its external, superficial customs. But be transformed (changed) by the [entire] renewal of your mind - by its new ideals and its new attitude - so that you may prove [for yourselves] what is the good and acceptable and perfect will of God, even the thing which is good and acceptable and perfect [in His sight for you].” - Romans 12:2

“And God’s peace [be yours, that tranquil state of a soul assured of its salvation through Christ, and so fearing nothing from God and content with its earthly lot of whatever sort that is, that peace] which transcends all understanding, shall garrison and mount guard over your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. For the rest, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is worthy of reverence and is honorable and seemly, whatever is just, whatever is kind and winsome and gracious, if there is any virtue and excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think on and weigh and take account of these things - fix your minds on them.” - Philippians 4:7,8

“Talk Is Cheap”

“It is not what goes into the mouth of a man that makes him unclean and defiled, but what comes out of the mouth; this makes a man unclean and defiles [him].” - Matthew 15:11

“However, let him who boasts and glories, boast and glory in the Lord. For [it is] not [the man] who is approved and accepted, but [it is the person] whom the Lord accredits and commends.” - 2 Corinthians 10:17,18

“Actions Speak Louder Than Words”

“For the Word that God speaks is alive and full of power - making it active, operative, energizing and effective; it is sharper than any two-edged sword, penetrating to the dividing lines of the breath of life (soul) and [the immortal] spirit, and of joints and marrow [that is, of the deepest parts of our nature] exposing and sifting and analyzing and judging the very thoughts and purposes of the heart. And not a creature exists that is concealed from His sight, but all things are open and exposed, naked and defenseless to the eyes of Him with Whom we have to do. Inasmuch then as we have a great High Priest Who has [already] ascended and passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession [of faith in Him]. For we do not have a High Priest Who is unable to understand and sympathize and have a fellow feeling with our weaknesses and infirmities and liabilities to the assaults of temptation, but One Who has been tempted in every respect as we are, yet without sinning. Let us then fearlessly and confidently and boldly draw near to the throne of grace - the throne of God’s unmerited favor [to us sinners]; that we may receive mercy [for our failures] and find grace to help in good times for every need - appropriate help and well-timed help, coming just when we need it.” - Hebrews 4:14-16

“By this we come to know - progressively to recognize, to perceive, to understand the [essential] love: that He laid down His [own] life for us; and we ought to lay [our] lives down for [those who are our] brothers [in Him]. But if any one has this world’s goods - resources for sustaining life - and sees his brother and fellow believer in need, yet closes his heart of compassion against him, how can the love of God live and remain in him? Little children, let us not love [merely] in theory or in speech but in deed and in truth - in practice and in sincerity. By this we shall come to know - perceive and recognize and understand - that we are of the Truth, and can reassure (quiet, conciliate and pacify) our hearts in His presence.” - 1 John 3:16-19

“Icing On The Cake”

“And I am convinced and sure of this very thing, that He Wo began a good work in you will continue until the day of Jesus Christ - right up to the time of His return - developing [that good work] and perfecting and bringing it to full completion in you.” - Philippians 1:6

Have a great week!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

New workout program .... It’s Finally MANAGEABLE!

I’ve discovered a totally new workout program. It is completely manageable; sticking with it is not a problem at all. I call it, “Exercise By Osmosis”. I’m thinking of making a video ... nah; too much effort.

It goes something like this.

It is important to take personal responsibility for determining, within my own heart and mind, what I will do and what I won’t do. Often I fool myself into believing that if circumstances are right, if time permits, when it feels good, when it won’t hurt or make me feel the least bit uncomfortable, I will engage in a particular exercise. This has been a real stumbling block to my process. It is so much easier to not do it. That’s right; “JUST (don’t) DO IT!”

I have found by purposing in my mind to not do something I am successful in accomplishing what I am not going to do approximately 99.5% of the time. That percentage is remarkable! And, by doing absolutely nothing, nothing gets done! That’s right, the results are immediate!

This has been an amazing revelation. So many times I would work out, sweat, run home, jump on the scale, only to find that either I needed a new scale, or the immediate effects of my toil were not at all evident. If I got far enough back from the mirror, sucked in my gut and then tightened my muscles, took off my glasses and squinted ever so slightly, adjusted the dimmer lights and posed in whatever manner satisfied my need to feel good about myself, I could briefly convince myself that my commitment was paying off. I felt good about me!” But I had to keep going back! I mean, it was like a life commitment! Not only that, I had to do the same things over and over again “believing” that in so doing, change was taking place and that maybe, just maybe, at some point the reward for my effort would be evident. YES CHANGE WAS TAKING PLACE; THE ONLY PLACE I DIDN’T HURT WAS THE LEFT LOWER CORNER OF MY BOTTOM LIP!

Now, it’s simple. I watch others workout. That’s right. Just watch. No sweat, no sore muscles - well, I did buy a firm rated number 5 pillow on which to sit - but other than a bit of soreness “there”, I am perfectly unaffected. I bother no one, no one bothers me. I just watch it all happen.

Okay, okay I’ll admit it. I was pulling your leg, There is no, “Exercise By Osmosis”. But isn’t it odd that in many ways we “exercise our faith” in just such a manner? Although we don’t want to admit it, we purpose in our heart and mind what we will and won’t do. Oh, we might mention the words, “church”, “the Man up stairs”, we’ll comment that, “God only knows”, or casually say “thank God” in our general conversation, but engaging in a purposeful dialog about the love of Christ can simply be too uncomfortable. It’s easier to expect others to do it while we comfortably sit our blessed assurance on our spiritual number 5 pillow.

Here’s the point I would like to make, “there is no room on the sideline for the committed Christian; like it or not, WE ARE IN THE GAME!” And it is the love of God through us that is exercised freely and abundantly for His glory, not ours.

You see:

“(Even) if I (can) speak in the tongues of men and (even) of angels, but have not love [that reasoning, intentional, spiritual devotion such as is inspired by God’s love for and in us], I am only a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophetic powers - that is, the gift of interpreting the diving will and purpose; and understand all the secret truths and mysteries and possess all knowledge, and if I have (sufficient) faith so that I can remove mountains, but have not love [God’s love in me], I am nothing - a useless nobody. Even if I dole out all that I have [to the poor in providing] food, and if I surrender my body to be burned [or in order that I may glory], but have not love [God’s love in me], I gain nothing. Love endures long and is patient and kind; love never is envious nor boils over with jealousy; is not boastful or vainglorious, does not display itself haughtily. It is not conceited - arrogant and inflated with pride; it is not rude (unmannerly), and does not act unbecomingly. Love [God’s love in us], does not insist on its own rights or its own way, for it is not self-seeking; it is not touchy or fretful or resentful; it takes no account of the evil done to it - pays no attention to a suffered wrong. It does not rejoice at injustice and unrighteousness, but rejoices when right and truth prevail. Love bears up under anything and everything that comes, is ever ready to believe the best of every person, it hopes are fadeless under all circumstances and it endures everything [without weakening]. Love never fails - never fades out or becomes obsolete or comes to an end. As for prophecy [that is, the gift of interpreting the diving will and purpose], it will be fulfilled and pass away; as for tongues, they will be destroyed and cease; as for knowledge, it will pass away [that is, it will lose its value and be superseded by truth]. For our knowledge is fragmentary (incomplete and imperfect) and our prophecy (our teaching) is fragmentary (incomplete and imperfect). BUT when the complete and perfect [total] comes, the incomplete and imperfect will vanish away - become antiquated, void and superseded. When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child; now that I have become a man, I am done with childish ways and have put them aside. For now we are looking in a mirror that gives only a dim (blurred) reflection [of reality as in a riddle or enigma], but then [when perfection comes], we shall see in reality and face to face! Now I know in part (imperfectly); but then I shall know and understand fully and clearly, even in the same manner as I have been fully and clearly known and understood [by God]. And so faith, hope, love abide; [FAITH, conviction and belief respecting man’s relation to God and diving things; HOPE, joyful and confident expectation of eternal salvation; LOVE, true affection for God and man, growing out of God’s love for and in us], these three, but the greatest of these is LOVE! - 1 Corinthians 13:1-13

Gotta run - time to workout!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Fearful to Fearless through FAITH!

The unknown. So many things are yet, unknown. Mankind has discovered so many marvelous details and yet, so much remains unknown. If only we could create “it” we can know the essence of “it”. But mankind’s creations continue to be the amalgamation of existing elements. We may utilize them, but not create them. And so the essence of our “creations” remain unknown.

For some the unknown creates exhilaration and anticipation. For others unknown can bring about equal measures of anxiety and fear.

“When I applied my mind to know wisdom, and to see the business activity [and the painful effort] that takes place upon the earth, how neither day nor night some men’s eyes sleep, then I saw all the work of God, that man cannot find out the work that is done under the sun; because however much a man may toil in seeking, yet he will not find out; yes, more than that, though a wise man things and claims he knows, yet will he not be able to find it out.” - Ecclesiastes 8:16,17

It is sanctimoniously naive to boastfully say, “I have no fear, I need no God; nothing affects me, “Que, sera, sera”. There are too many evidences to even list wherein those who might appear to take a fatalistic view of life, “what will be will be”, make use of every possible means to sustain it; if not for themselves, for the well-being of those they love. Emergency rooms, therapy groups, rehab organizations are full to overflowing with individuals sincerely searching for whatever “it” may be that will ease their hearts and minds - if only for a moment of peace.

“Do not gather and heap up and store for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust and worm consume and destroy, and where thieves break through and steal. But gather and heap up and store for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust nor worm consume and destroy and where thieves do not break through and steal. For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also. The eye is the lamp of the body. So, if your eye is sound, your entire body will be full of light. But if your eye is unsound, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the very light in you [your conscience] is darkened, how dense is that darkness! No one can SERVE two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will stand by and be devoted to the one and despise and be against the other. You cannot SERVE God and mammon [that is, deceitful riches, money, possessions or what is trusted in]. THEREFORE, I tell you, STOP BEING PERPETUALLY UNEASY (anxious and worried) about your life, what you shall eat or what you shall drink, and about your body, what you shall put on. Is not life greater [in quality] than food, and the body [far above and more excellent] than clothing? Look at the birds of the air; they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet, your heavenly Father keeps feeding them. Are YOU not worthy of more than they? And [for that matter] which of you by worrying and being anxious can add one measure [cubit] to his stature or to the span of his life? And why should you be anxious about clothes? Consider the lilies of the field and learn thoroughly how they grow; they neither toil nor spin. Yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his magnificence (excellence, dignity and grace) was not arrayed like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and green and tomorrow is tossed into the furnace, will He not much more surely clothe you, O you men with little faith? THEREFORE do not worry and be anxious, saying, “What are we going to have to eat?” Or, “What are we going to have to drink?” Or, “What are we going to have to wear?” ... But seek for (aim at and strive after) first of all His kingdom and His righteousness [His way of doing and being right], and THEN all these things, taken together, will be given YOU besides.” -Matthew 6:19:34

There are several key points to be made here. 1. We must get our priorities in order and not become the servant of two (or more) masters. It is by no means wrong to strive to be productive, to use our God-given talent(s) to excel and become successful. But has this drive become our master? Is there room for the God of creation in our “business plan” for life? 2. Simply being admonished to STOP in itself becomes frustrating if we are not given the means by which to STOP. Nevertheless, we are admonished to do so. What is the tool given to us to accomplish this task? 3. “O you men with little faith”. FAITH is the key component to successfully turn way from being “perpetually uneasy” and “worrying and being anxious”. 4. But where does this FAITH begin? By aiming at and striving after His way of doing and being right. By seeking HIM Who is the author and finisher of our faith.

Knowing personally the Author makes understanding the Book and the plan so much more fulfilling. The Bible clearly records the following:

“All we like sheep have gone astray, we have turned EVERY ONE to his own way; and the Lord has made to light on Him the guilt and iniquity of us all.” - Isaiah 53:6

Who is the “Him” spoken of in Isaiah?

“For our sake He made Christ [virtually] to be sin Who knew no sin, so that in and through Him we might become [endued with, viewed as in an examples of] the righteousness of God - what we ought to be, approved and acceptable and in right relationship with Him, by His goodness.” - 2 Corinthians 5:21

It is not enough to make mental acknowledgement of these verses. It is imperative that we make personal application of their truths, through committed and unwavering faith in Christ - and therefore apply His act of substitutionary love to our account unto salvation. At that point, although we still possess the frailties of man, the fears, doubts, and anxieties common to everyone, we have a promise:

“Casting the whole of your care - all your anxieties, all your worries, all your concerns, once and for all - on Him; for He cares for you affectionately, and cares about you watchfully. Be well-balanced - temperate, sober-minded; be vigilant and cautious at all times, for that enemy of yours, the devil, roams around like a lion roaring [in fierce hunger], seeking someone to seize upon and devour. Withstand him; be firm in faith [against his onset], rooted, established, strong, immovable and determined - knowing that the same (identical) sufferings are appointed to your brotherhood throughout the world. And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace - Who imparts all blessings and favor - Who has called your to His [own] eternal glory in Christ Jesus, will Himself complete and make you what you ought to be, established, and ground you securely, and strengthen (and settle) you. To HIM be the dominion - power, authority, rule - forever and ever. Amen - so be it!” - 1 Peter 5:7-11

Today, why go it alone? Turn it over to Jesus - in fact, turn it all (your life and forever) to Him.

Have a super day!