Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Signs Lost in Data - June 30, 2009

Good Tuesday morning! Plane crashes, troop pullbacks, war, bombings, weather, all valid headlines, all good to know about, but what is the lead story? Yup, Michael Jackson's will and children. Sometimes we seem to have a messed up list of priorities in our media news sources. Many people are more worried about a celebrity's will than the signs of the end in our world. With all of the information available to us these days, I fear that many will miss the signs in the crush of data that comes our way each day.

Speaking of signs, I heard about a town in Texas that had never experienced an earthquake, and then had 7 earthquakes in 5 days. I may have the 5 and 7 mixed around, but we have been warned about earthquakes in diverse places. This frightened me as a child. As an adult, I can read the whole context of that warning and realize that Jesus told us about the earthquakes as a sign, but not to worry because the end won't come immediately. We tend to see each sign not as a part of the process leading up to the end, but as a sign to sell the farm, write a will, and take off for the hills right now. We have much work to do before the end is here! However, we also must remember that Jesus will return soon.

Have a great workday with me talking about the end times and all. :-) You can tell your boss that I said the end times have arrived and that you need to go home and clean the house for Jesus' return. You never know, that might even work.


Monday, June 29, 2009

Freedom Week Day 1 - June 29, 2009

Good Monday morning! This week comes to a close with a celebration of our Independence Day. Let's begin the week talking about freedom. We call this nation "the land of the free" and many people from all other nations want to come here to experience this freedom. So how free are you and I in our own strength? I am free to never clean the house; the house becomes a mess. You are free to never clean your car; your car becomes a mess. We are all free to stop working; we stop earning money and slowly starve. We are free to stop working out; we become fat slobs. We are free to stop taking the trash out; our houses become unpleasant places in short order. We don't sound very free.

The Bible shows us a different solution. Give our lives to Jesus and He, the truth, will set us free. Do we become completely free immediately? No, we still need to take out the trash, clean our houses, and the many other tasks that consume part of this life. We are set free from the penalty of sin; we are not yet free of the presence of sin. Even if you and I should manage to live without sin for the rest of our lives, we are still here on this earth and we may yet suffer for another person's sin. We give our lives to Jesus and He sets us on a journey to find true freedom in Him. We do not undertake this journey alone and in our own strength, remember that we already tried that in this life. We walk a trail already blazed by our Lord; we walk this trail with our Lord, and we walk in His mighty strength. One day each of us will come to the end of this earthly life and we will then discover true freedom in Christ.

Have a wonderful and blessed day!


Friday, June 26, 2009

Transplanted! - June 26, 2009

Good Friday morning! The poppers are popping, the crackers are cracking, and the fireworks season is well underway. Rains in the evening have muted the bang so to speak, but I'm sure the kids will make up for lost time soon enough. What can I say about yesterday? First a 70's icon in Farrah Fawcett passes away, which we did expect from her recent film about cancer, but then an 80's icon passed unexpectedly in Michael Jackson. If you are my age or thereabouts, you will remember both of them from our growing up years. I did miss most of the Jackson craze as much of it hit while I served my country in faraway places. However, as both of these people were entertainers, what good did they do for us? Did either life bring anyone to Jesus? The film of Ms. Fawcett's battle with cancer did show a glimpse of her faith. This gives me hope that she believed in God. The later years of Mr. Jackson's life were unfortunately filled with negative examples. I'm not sure that "Thank you, Lord, that I ain't like that guy," is going to win him any points in Heaven. We do know one important thing about salvation though; it doesn't go away because you act badly after you are saved.

The importance of salvation while we are young becomes so obvious when a person passes at what we might call an untimely age. I often wonder if some of us don't go through a sort of Christian adolescence as we grow to be more like Christ. We give our lives to Jesus at a young age, but then we wander into sin and the world for a time. Some might argue that this is a sign that we were never saved at all. In the parable of the seeds, if a seed falls on thin soil it doesn't grow tall and produce fruit. What we can take from this is that the plant does germinate and grow. If the gardener can keep that plant alive for a time, he can transplant it to better soil. Perhaps all those who seem to lose their way in Christ are like the the plants in thin soil in our Lord's parable. The seeds in the parable falling on thin soil withered in the heat, but it doesn't say the plants died. Jesus is the master gardener; He can bring anyone back to life!

Another wonderful weekend is upon us. Walk in Christ this day!


Thursday, June 25, 2009

One Greater than the Other? - June 25, 2009

Good Thursday morning! I took a short drive this morning just to get out of the house for a bit. Praise God for the time to reflect!

You may have heard about the missing governor of South Carolina. If not, he has returned and admitted to an affair with a woman in Argentina. Another of the mighty have fallen. When will it stop? We seem to have two crimes here. Adultery, a sin against God and his wife, and a failure to tell the truth to his security staff and other officers of his administration. You might remember the lie about hiking in the Appalachians by himself. Which is the greater sin? Should we worry about either one? Is it any of our business at all?

I know that in the military both would be serious crimes. Leaving the country without permission and being away from his post without leave would get a military man assigned to new quarters in the base brig. As a Marine veteran, I tend to think of being AWOL as the greater crime. As a wife, you might think that adultery is the greater crime. As a husband, another man might think that the whole thing is perfectly understandable. All of us may be wrong, especially thinking it all perfectly understandable! We don't know which action God thinks is the greater sin or if all of those sins are simply sin. From our own situation or experience, each of us may tend to become angry more quickly over one type of sin than another. However, Jesus died for all sins and God judges all sins.

These days the world forgets the sin of adultery far too easily in some cases (politicians, actors) and judges very harshly in others (Christian ministers). Jesus found one woman and simply told her to never do it again. Before we jump to the conclusion that we should forgive and let the sinner walk away, let us remember that prior to Jesus' intervention the woman had been taken by the authorities and was on her final walk to be stoned. I don't want you to try to imagine her thoughts at that time, you need to start your work day, but I'm sure she endured a difficult time. We too are saved only by the intervention of Jesus. This life is nothing but the final walk to eternal punishment without Jesus' timely saving grace for those who will believe and repent.

Take time to thank God for the grace of Christ in your life today,


Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Vapors of Wish and Worry - June 24, 2009

Good Wednesday morning! We are looking at a hot one today, especially a bit further east. Be careful today, be mindful of the heat and drink some water. Close out that nice sun in your house and preserve the cool as long as possible. Summer is here! :-) I notice that summer has not yet arrived in San Diego; I remember warmer days in April of 1983 than they are having now. We cannot control much of what goes on around us and the weather is a large example of that. Some religions and the occult seek ways for man to control his environment. I read about rainmakers in the Old West just the other day. I even recall some experiments in cloud seeding in my youth. The Bible tells us that God causes the rain to fall on the just and the unjust. The first part is important for those seeking in the wrong direction - God causes.

I have a feeling that God often laughs at some of our efforts to make it rain, both literally and figuratively. We spend a lot of time trying to worry things away. We spend time wishing for things to come. Both are like trying to make rain. To make rain in this world, a person must go out to the oceans, evaporate sea water, get some wind going, direct the clouds to the right place and then cause rising air to cool those clouds over just the right place and then control the whole system so that you don't cause too much rain in too little time and flood the place. You may have evaporated a little water in a pot on the stove, but boiling the oceans is probably a bad idea. When you start to consider the logistics of rain, you start to see just how powerful God is and how weak we are even working together. Trying to worry things away and wish things to come are much the same. Like trying to grasp water vapor, we try to grasp the vapor of worries and wishes. Give them to Jesus! He wants our worries and wishes. He will put them where they can no longer hurt us.

Have a wonderful day in Christ. I think the fireworks sales start today - I don't have to be a prophet to expect a lot of extra noise in the coming days. :-)


Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Flash-Bang - June 23, 2009

Good Tuesday morning! We had one of those lightning strikes that cause levitation, exclamations, and other signs of being awakened rather rudely at 0438 this morning. You know the flash-bang ones that cause a person to think rude thoughts about the weather forecasters and their "virtually no chance of a thunderstorm..." Here, Mr. weatherman, take this ten-foot copper pole and go tell me if that cloud is a thunderstorm or not :-) really, trust me there is virtually no chance that you will get lit up like a carnival ride. ;-)

Peace, contentment, joy, whenever a minister speaks about these things we might wonder how to achieve these wonderful conditions. In the case of peace, I'm not sure that we can strive for something that Jesus gave to us. You might recall His words, "My peace I give to you..." Like salvation, we cannot strive for something that we can only accept with gratitude. Gratitude as you know is a contraction for grateful attitude. :-) Actually I just made that definition up this morning. (Ed: He means that he heard it somewhere and can't recall who said it.)

Contentment is much like this lump of a cat over here. He is content to snooze beside me on a couple of towels. Hardly the bed of a king, but more than enough to make him content. We have a choice: to look at our situation and be discontented and unhappy, or to be content and experience the joy of knowing how bountiful is our God. But, wouldn't it be easier to be content with a billion dollar ranch and every luxury known to man? From what we have seen in the media, apparently not. Hardly a day goes by that we don't see a new example of some wealthy fellow getting caught trying to get more through illegal and unethical means. It has been well said that if you and I are not content with a little, we also won't be content with a lot. Oops, the cat heard some birds outside, contentment is now out the window...literally. He now goes to provide a negative example by striving for what he cannot have.

Joy, as we read in Pastor Rogers' devotional this morning, comes from Christ alone. There are things we will strive for in this life, but peace and joy are simply given to us.

Have a wonderful day in Christ Jesus!


Monday, June 22, 2009

Set Apart - June 22, 2009

Good Monday morning! Time to get back to it after a nice weekend. What are the differences between Jesus and this world? One that I have heard is that some think we can cure poverty. We know that Jesus said the poor would always be with us. Religions abound that provide a path to sanctification through human effort. Jesus said that all human effort accomplishes little. Here is one we hear all the time in the world: believe in yourself! Jesus tells us to believe in Him and give up our selves. The world would have us strive for wealth, power, fame, or physical attributes. Jesus calls us to seek first the Kingdom of God and its righteousness. In the world we are called to love those who love us with no guidance as to who is to start this love in the first place. Jesus lets us know that God loved us before we were even aware of life or the world. We could continue citing examples of the difference between Jesus and the world we now live in. However, all of this points to our being set apart in Him. Through the sanctifying action of the Holy Spirit and through our own conscious decisions as our minds are made new, we will step apart from the world.

Sadly, I must remind you that it is time for you to go to work. :-) I have my own work to do and God will bless us in this. Have a great day in Jesus!


Thursday, June 18, 2009

A Shining Light - June 18, 2009

Good Thursday morning! And a good morning to the thunderstorm too. We got a little wake-up call at 0600 this morning from a bit of thunder and hail. Did you run to check your windows first thing this morning? As an early riser, I was already up, but I did check the windows when the rain began. Eyoohh! A black cat just crossed in front of my screen! :-0 Some of us labor under superstition in this world. I find it interesting that the very people who refuse to believe in God, will often have no problem believing in the occult or superstition. Some superstitions start from good advice: don't walk under a ladder. Why? Because someone is usually working on the ladder and people tend to drop things from time to time. Other superstitions, black cats for example, seem to have a basis only in fantasy.

One problem with all of this mumbo-jumbo is that it becomes overwhelming and people take refuge in human intellect. You might hear someone say, "I don't believe in God or demons because I have never seen either one of them." At that rate of belief, that person will most likely continue in their unbelief. The devil has no need to tempt someone who already refuses to believe in God. You and I believe in Jesus; does that mean we accept the power of the occult too? NO! We are set free of that by the blood of Jesus. However, we do recognize the attraction and temptation the occult and superstition may have for others. Jesus didn't shine his light into a world of light; he shined light into the darkness of this world.

Enjoy the day, walk in the light of Jesus!


Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Joy/No Joy? - June 17, 2009

Good Wednesday morning! Peace, joy, and love to you on this fine morning. Does writing it down automatically make peace, joy, and love flow out to you from me? We send words to each other through speaking, writing, and even through expressions. However, we must have agreement in our forms of communication or we will stop the message. If I say "peace to you" with a growl in my voice and a frown on my face, you probably won't feel much peace flowing from me. One of the favorite excuses used in the military was the phrase "with all due respect". That phrase was supposedly some sort of free pass to criticize an officer. I never tried it out and for that I am glad. I think that saying, "Sir, with all due respect, you are a moron," would probably not prevent a disciplinary action. You could try that with the judge too: "Your honor, I did say 'with all due respect' first." Judge: "Uh huh, with all due respect, 60 days in the brig!"

Even a smile with kind words can be undone if someone looks into your eyes and sees no connection there. People can practice a smile until it appears on their face automatically; actors and models do it as a part of their job. You will not have a good witness if the good news coming out of your mouth clashes with the thought in your heart that you don't even like people, much less love them. The good news of Jesus must be in all of our person. Jesus wants our all. Imagine that you are enjoying heaven, but your big toe was condemned to hell. Wouldn't the pain kind of ruin your experience of heaven?

Two conditions were set down for our salvation - believe in our hearts and confess with our mouths. Some of us have a lot of belief in our hearts, but tend to keep our mouths shut; others have little belief and lots of talk. Before we go condemning our selves or each other, there is a person who is much worse: those who have no intention of believing in their hearts and speak with a voice like an angel's. If you don't believe or speak enough, remember that God will complete his work in you. For those who set out to deceive there is little hope.

Trust in God, live in Christ, and feel the joy!


Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Worry Less, Accomplish More - June 16, 2009

Good Tuesday morning! What a reminder from Pastor Rogers this morning! I do tend to say this activity is more spiritual than this other activity during my day. Perhaps that explains my slow progress in some areas. "But wouldn't Bible study be more spiritual than taking a shower?" I am tempted to ask. As I think about that, I recall a story in the Bible where Jesus stripped down to a towel and washed His disciples feet. The way to freedom in our time seems to be that we recognize all of it as belonging to God. A question to start the day: how well can I use all of the time I am given for God? Hmm, wait a minute. If God has given the day to me, how do I find out what He would have me to do with all of His time? Am I rejecting His gift to me of this day by trying to say the time is all His?

The solution is in the first part: don't worry that one activity is more spiritual than another. Obviously sin is not an activity that we are to engage in and would not be spiritual in any case. However, we tend to get tied up in knots worrying that we are not honoring God if we don't spend the first two hours of the day in Bible study and prayer. God may call you to spend some time in prayer at the start of each day, or you may simply enjoy doing that activity first. You might feel called to honor God by exercising first each day. However, God has given you and me all of the day to spend. You might spend the last part of your day in Bible study, or may even spend time both morning and evening with God. The main point is that while working, playing, eating, Bible reading, praying, worshipping, or singing praises to the Lord, we honor God in all that we do.

The wisdom for today might be summed as: worry less, accomplish more.

Have a blessed and wonderful day in Christ,


Monday, June 15, 2009

Snakes n' Work - June 15, 2009

Good Monday morning! What a weekend, eh? We had sports championships, races, Gold Rush days, storm warnings, Flag Day, and a big uproar over the election in Iran. My weekend added getting better from a week of funk, a picnic, washing and waxing the truck, cleaning the garage, watching some CWS games, shooting, and a rattlesnake! Yup, for the first time, I actually had an encounter with a rattlesnake out in the prairie grass. The snake did not survive.

No, I didn't shoot an innocent rattlesnake. I found out that my friend Gary gets what might be described as "just a little nuts" when it comes to rattlesnakes near his home. "Near" meaning within 4 or 5 miles of his home or thereabouts. He keeps a loaded stick in his truck nicknamed "The Judge" for dealing with the offending serpents. After my momentary confusion over "get me a stick!" while we stood in the middle of the treeless plains, I even fetched it for him while he encouraged the reptile not to run off. No one got bitten despite engaging in the most common cause of rattlesnake bites; that being known as "messing with rattlesnakes."

So, how was your weekend? :-) After all that excitement, I think I can sit down and do some serious writing this week. I think this week is a good time to honor God by doing a good job at my job. You can do this too! Not all of us will be called to go on missions to foreign lands or stand in front of a congregation on Sunday morning. If we stop to think about it, God has a lot more folks out in the congregation than he has in the pulpit. For every pastor or missionary brought to Christ, there will be many more folks like you and I; the ones going to work, or working from home in my case, who minister through working and living in Christ. Enjoy the day at work. Remember, you and I are working for Jesus!


Thursday, June 11, 2009

A Bit Too Much... Rain - June 11, 2009

Good Thursday morning! We are glad to see this morning arrive. What an evening we had around here yesterday. My neighbors suffered a flooded basement when the street beside their house overflowed, the next street over filled up completely with runoff, and I'm sure there are many more small disasters in town that will come to light this morning. After years of drought, we now have serious problems with water erosion! The city crews are in the area daily putting the alleys back where they belong and the rains still come. The response of friends and neighbors to one of these small disasters is wonderful to see. We had buckets, shovels, pumps, adults, children, squeegees (sp?), brooms, wet vacs, and one rather upset puppy in the mix last night... and everyone got rather soaked to boot. The city workers came by to help channel the runoff away from the basement and the police showed up to stop the looky-loos from splashing water up into the yard.

My neighbor is ready to move; at least she was last night. As we all know how much of a pain moving is, we can be sure that she is pretty distraught. We all want to live in a house that we can count on; no disasters please! However, over time all of us will face, or have faced, a home on this earth that just isn't as secure and trouble-free as we would like. I could list a bunch of household disasters, but you already know what they are. You probably know some of them from personal experience. We don't live in a secure world. Will giving your life to Christ stop the problems and disasters? We also know that won't happen in this life. This morning it is still rainy and misty around here. We may get more rain today, but our houses are not standing in feet of water as some communities have experienced. God does see us through the disasters in this life.

I hear the local weather prognosticator struggling to find some hope for us in his forecast for today. The conditions are much the same as yesterday. The tests in this life often have less to do with our own strength than the strength that God gives us to endure. You and I cannot run out and stop a thunderstorm. We can pray, we can endure, and sometimes we can pitch in with cleanup after the storm passes. The city trucks and loaders are cleaning up streets right now. The funny thing is that in order to get the gravel and dirt out of the streets...we could use a good rain. :-) Maybe we'll just drive over the detritus for while.

Have faith in God. No matter how chaotic it looks outside, God is still in charge.


Wednesday, June 10, 2009

The Progression to Sin - June 10, 2009

Good Wednesday morning! Touch, beck, caress, clasp, grab, clamp, and trap - a list that seems to start friendly and move to a less desirable condition. How is it that so many fall prey to this progression? You may be thinking of several different things that could fit this series, but what I wanted to address this morning is sin.

Touch - temptation starts with a touch on the mind. You see a temptation through that whisper in your mental ear; "look at that woman over there", "check out that guy in the stands..." Through all forms of media we are shown all manner of delights. Some we might need, such as food, others might not be harmful in small amounts, such as candy, but then we are tempted to get too much. We are assaulted in this way every day.

Beck - a beck is a come hither motion. When someone beckons to you, they want you to come over to them. A beck is what sin brings after that first touch of temptation. "Come here, you want to try this..." is what sin says to us.

Caress - At first the touch of sin seems sweet, nice, comforting. It promises satisfaction and delight. You might call this step seduction. The first constant touch of sin is the caress.

Clasp - The person falling to temptation initiates the clasp. "I want it" is in the mind and reaching out is the result.

Grasp - Sin has its victim and reaches out to grasp the hand coming toward it. Addictions begin as the mind finds pleasure and ignores the penalty of sin. While to the sinner the exchange seems to be a simple hand clasp, the "I can quit anytime I want to" stage, the exchange is actually a...

Clamp - Sin has you right where it wants you and it clamps the shackles on tight. At this point a Christian, another believer, or your pastor, might be telling you to repent as it becomes obvious to all but the sinner that a sin has began and an addiction might occur.

Trap - With the shackles clamped on sin throws the sinner into its trap. Strangely, it is often at this stage where we can finally see that we need help. Whereas with the clamp we are facing the sin and cannot see the rescuer, in the trap we have the opportunity to look around and see just how bad the problem has become. We have sinned and now the decision comes. Do we continue to stay in the trap of sin or do we repent and accept the hand of Jesus reaching through those iron bars? Many refuse to look outside the trap of their sin. The trap seems to have a comfortable chair and they think that happiness has been achieved. Others see their true situation and reach out to the life-saving hand of Jesus. People have recovered from the most awful addictions, chemical or psychological, and found healing in the arms of Christ.

Sin is a trap, but a trap that Jesus can easily break. Trust in Him and give your life to Him for healing!


Tuesday, June 09, 2009

If I Only Knew - June 9, 2009

Good Tuesday morning! I don't know that today is anyone's special day so we'll call it Hollywood Bozo's Day in honor of all the bozos in Hollywood. If you are out in Hollywood and do not consider yourself a bozo, then it ain't your day. Hush up and let 'dem bozos have their day! :-)

We have enjoyed another couple of rainy days and nights out here, and the North Platte River looked good on Saturday too. This looks like another good year to plant rice paddies... or maybe not. One sort of plains wisdom I hear from time to time out here is along the lines of: "if only I knew that this would be a wet spring, I would plant..." What would you do if you did know how much rainfall an area would receive in a particular season or year? Would you thank God, give him the glory and make a responsible choice? Or would you take advantage and plant something inappropriate to the area such as cotton or another crop requiring enormous amounts of water? One thing we can gather from our Bible study is that God does not suffer fools or those who would take advantage of Him. While God may promise an abundant life, that doesn't mean that any of us should run out and spend an entire paycheck playing the lottery.

Sometimes we must make a choice of faith in God. An unexpected bill or expense may come up and we might have to cheerfully give our tithe and depend on God to provide the rest. Other times we will have enough and simply need to make responsible choices with the resources God has blessed us with. I haven't always done well in this area. Perhaps this is an area of life in which you are not tempted and so don't need this advice. Praise God for your blessing in this! America does have a problem with over consumption in recent times. There are signs that the recession is coming to an end, praise God for that, but I also pray that we do not return to the bad habits of recent times.

Have an abundant day in Christ Jesus!


Monday, June 08, 2009

Troubled by Intimacy - June 8, 2009

Good Monday morning! I read Pastor Rogers' devotional with some interest this morning as I am one who now spends a lot of time in secret so to speak. Just as we remember that Jesus is always with us when we feel lonely, so we should also remember that he is always with us when we feel a lust of the flesh.

In that same subject; a report on hooking up made it even to NPR this morning. As they put it, younger folks are skipping the dating and going straight to mating. The reason most often given is a fear of the burden of intimacy. In the days of contraceptive devices and drugs, sex has become easy while a relationship is too much trouble. Many find it easier to love animals (and trees) than other people these days. For more reports on love growing cold - read any newspaper or magazine, view a news website, or watch a news program on television. We truly live in the time very near the end.

In the days of easy pleasure, what is the highest purpose of sexual intercourse? Test this one: The highest purpose in sexual intercourse is to glorify God through the bearing of children. This does not address the intimacy between a man and a woman; the purpose statement should address that in some way. This does address the issue of homosexual unions as there is no possibility of bearing children in that case. Having children without the life-long commitment of marriage does not glorify God, therefore the sins of adultery and fornication are addressed. Someone has most likely come up with a better purpose statement for sex, but I'll give this one some more thought and Bible research.

I pray that you have a wonderful week in whatever activity you pursue this week. Have fun and joy in Christ this day.


Saturday, June 06, 2009

The Image He Sees - June 6, 2009

Good Saturday morning! Did you get up this morning with the knowledge that you are always doing something? You should have. :-) Although your life may resemble that of a potted plant, you are still always doing something. Just sitting there is what you might be doing, but that is something. The trial we face in this life is in doing the right things.

Perhaps you think that you cannot do too much. It seems that some career counselors think so. I read an article that advised coming in early and staying late to make yourself more valuable to your boss and thus avoid a layoff. Why not just stay at work 24/7? How valuable would you be then? In good times we see advice telling us to work less before we kill ourselves with overwork. In tough times we are advised to work more to avoid layoff. What is a person to do in this world? You and I know by now that we cannot satisfy the demands of the world.

The times we face now might be a good time to look at who we are trying to please. Are you doing good works to please God? Good job! Are you working to please a human boss and being paid well for it? Good job! Are you working unpaid overtime, trusting that it will end at some point, and leaning on your own ability to provide for yourself? Hmmm, maybe not so good. No finger pointing here; I did the same thing. God did me one of the great favors of my life in getting me out of what I consider a good job. The future is wide open before us. Will we resemble well-ground up dirt? A potted plant? Perhaps when God looks down on us He will see the beautiful image of Jesus and a Cross.

Have a great weekend in Jesus!


Friday, June 05, 2009

Simple Belief - June 5, 2009

Good Friday morning! Pastor Rogers did have some great stories eh? I always like this one about the executive, and yes, there might be something personal in that. Sometimes we do like to hear stories about the high and mighty falling on their backsides. So why is it that we don't feel the same about Jesus' fall in Jerusalem? Simple... we believe in Him. To the world, or those who will not believe that Jesus is the risen Son of God, the story of His trial and execution is just another of those mighty-have-fallen stories that are so entertaining. The eyewitness accounts of his resurrection are of course discounted in the hearts of those who do not believe in the first place. I've been there. It's too easy to come up with theories about how "they just thought he was dead" or that the people back then were "simple". However, these theories that come to mind are unfair to people we don't know and didn't live with. Knowledge has increased in our time, just as the Bible foretold, but that doesn't make people in the past slow or stupid. The choice is still the same as it was then; you and I can choose to believe in Jesus or we can refuse and cling to the world. 

Almost any of us can witness to one another in how injuries often get worse before we heal and get better. Even a simple exercise program will make us feel worse just after we start it. Jesus rose on the third day, but his body only had about a day and half of resting/healing time before he was up and about on that Sunday morning. We all know that isn't enough time to heal from the severe injuries his body experienced. Yet, there he was surprising Mary Magdalene, popping in on the disciples in the locked room, and being seen by several hundred people. Something special happened then, and while we may not be able to explain the mechanics of that event, we believe in our risen Lord. Raising and healing such a terribly injured body to new life is beyond anything we think we know in science, philosophy, or technology. Believing in the risen Jesus sets us apart from the world. After all, what the world cannot explain in its vast knowledge, the world tends to discount as myth or superstition. 

I believe that Jesus is the risen Son of God. The world might call me any number of things because of my belief, but there it is. :-) Another Friday is upon us; I hope you have some wonderful and relaxing plans for this weekend. If you are available this weekend, you might consider this:

Benefit Ride for Memorial Scholarship

Second Annual Benefit Poker Ride for the Sara Russell Memorial Scholarship Fund.
When: Saturday, June 6, 2009
Registration: 9:30-10:30 a.m.
At the Gurley Fire Hall
$10 a bike or car
$15 per couple
Starts in Gurley, Ne. and ends at Big V's in Dalton, Ne. Approximately 150 miles.
For more information, contact Ross Racek in Dalton at 308-380-4693. If you don't have a motorcycle, you can drive your car.

Yours in Christ Jesus,


Thursday, June 04, 2009

No Hope of Perfection - June 4, 2009

Good Thursday morning! :-) Wishy-washy, weasel judgements abound in the world. We see it on the telly and read about them in our books; the W-WWJ's happen when someone, real or character, is judged to be "basically a good person." Usually this judgement is passed about whether the person or character in question should or did go to heaven or not. I hope that I do not have to depend on people judging me as "basically good" for entrance into heaven. What if God should hold a vote and one more person votes me basically bad? Yikes, eternity in hell just because I didn't return that call in 1992 as quickly as I should have?

Praise God that we have an eternal standard. Question: Am I basically good or basically bad? Bible: For all have sinned and fallen short of God's glorious standard. Question: Who then can be saved? Bible: What is impossible for men is possible for God. Question: How then can I be saved? Bible: For if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.

Can you or I meet God's glorious standard? Look at it this way. If we play baseball everyday with players of equal skill, we would have a batting average. In the major leagues a very good hitter might have a .333 lifetime batting average; meaning that they failed 2 out every 3 at-bats. A perfect average 1.000, a one thousand as they say, has not been accomplished and probably never will be. Yes, there may be a statistical anomaly such as the dude who played one game in his career and went 2 for 2 that day, but we are talking the everyday players here - just like we must play the game everyday in this life.

Back in the day, Moses, David, Solomon, the prophets and even ordinary Joes and Janes like you and me all failed to hit for a perfect average. They would have said such a thing was impossible. Jesus answered the question of impossible when he lived his life on this earth and ended it with a perfect average. So, after Jesus proved it possible, did the disciples manage to bat a thousand in their lives? How about the saints throughout the next 2,000 years? No? What happened? We all know by this point in our lives that we have not and will not live the perfect life. Jesus called himself the Way because there is no other way to be redeemed from the penalty of sin. We must depend on and trust in Jesus for our salvation - He is the only Way!

Praise God there is a Way! Without Jesus where would we be? Probably without hope as we tried again and again to hit for the perfect average, ever fearful that one more person would remember us as "basically bad."

Have a great Thursday in Christ Jesus!


Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Quitting the Fight? - June 2, 2009

Good Tuesday morning! A very welcome rainy day has started here and we give glory to God the Father! Last night I watched a great team lose and a great team win. While individuals made mistakes and great plays, the teams won or lost based on their team effort. I was glad to see that Nebraska teams are not the only ones that can go into a championship rated #1 and fall flat on their team rear ends. The Florida team proved quite capable of doing just that, thank you very much! Washington on the the other hand showed what a great team can do when the players rise to the occasion. How 'bout Oklahoma City providing some nice weather for this tournament! No thunderstorms and lots of bright, sunny days so far. We'll see how Omaha does very soon for the men's CWS.

What about you and me? Is a little rain falling in your life today? Perhaps you feel the monsoon has come into your life? Troubles and trials will come in this life. Jesus does not take the wide, smooth, and easy way in bringing us home. Be glad that He doesn't take the way that leads to destruction. Like one of the teams last night, you may find it hard to be joyful when you perform very badly in an important situation, especially if that situation is very public. Does the scoreboard show your humiliation on television sets across the globe? Probably not, but it might feel a bit like that sometimes. Remember that even in our failures, God has already set down the victory in the final score. In Christ we cannot lose this war, even though our troubles may seem like we have lost the battle and should just retire from the fight.

Have a great day in Jesus!