Tuesday, September 30, 2014

What Right Have You?

Good morning after the goodly rainfall! Usually, asking 'What right have you?' in a certain tone of voice is the start of a good old fashioned row. This morning, I have no wish to begin a fight. Instead, I want to give you confirmation of a right you already have. Yes, given to you by the Lord Himself. You have the right to become children of God. Now that's quite a right. John tells us of that right. However, a little catch brackets that right. "But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name: who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God." (John 1:12-13) We can't just grab that position, or strive for that place, or latch onto that right: we must receive Him and believe in His name and be reborn. Of course, who does all the work in that? God enables us to receive Him through His Holy Spirit, knows beforehand those who will believe, and we are born again through Christ Jesus. All we really have to do is decide to believe in Him and accept the right He gives to us. What a deal!

Have a wonderful day as children of the Most High God!

Monday, September 29, 2014

Trust God and Get to Work!

Good morning on this new Monday. Yup, no question, this is the first Monday I've had all week. Fortunately, I'm allowed to say dumb things on a Monday. I have in the past thought that I had the first part of that title well committed in my mind. How do I show that I trust God though? That is where employing the second part comes. This may not always be as obvious as it sounds. We may be called to wait upon the Lord in one area of life while getting to work in another. We may get those areas confused and wonder why no progress seems possible for all our effort. Discovering God's will for our lives is a journey, and we haven't all arrived at the destination yet.

Money is the world's game right now. Even those nations who claim to be communist use money. Have too much and the person must worry over losing it. Have too little and the person cannot get what he or she needs. If for a moment the person says, "I have just enough," circumstances will rise up to shatter that delusion. Too much of our days are spent earning it, getting it, grabbing it, or suffering a lack of it. With that in mind, is it then any wonder that with the enmity of the world on us as Christ's followers some of us might suffer in this area?

If you said 'no', I'm glad that you have not suffered. I'll just slink on back to my cave of the judged and read Job alone by candlelight. Loaded reference there! God himself presented Job as a righteous man. Yet, Job lost everything but his life. His wife told him to curse God and die; his children were murdered by the evil one; and a few friends dropped by to really put the screws of guilt to the suffering man. "Confess your sin and have peace (and a return to prosperity)," they told him again and again. We would like it, we think, if it worked that way. Follow a religious path of human goodness and prosperity is ours. Poverty is the well-deserved abode of the sinner. We would like to think that, maybe even have tried to believe it from time to time. That way we get credit for our wealth and those going without have only themselves to blame. Er,hmm... did I mention Job?

Getting to work in faith is good, but the works of God in Jesus Christ are better for us. There is grace for the poor and the rich, for the sinner and the saint, for those overworked and those unemployed. God has brought each of us to His appointed place. The trial of the day, severe though it may be, will pass as God leads us on to His holy mountain.

Have a wonderful Monday in Christ Jesus!

Friday, September 26, 2014

We Need Upper

Good morning on this Friday! The day being the one that it is, a Friday and all, I thought we need upper. Not 'an', but just upper. We need uplifting, up thinking, and up longing. We need to think of Jesus! Looking at me there is some reason to be down. (Wait, I didn't mean that the way it sounded!) Looking around me at the circumstance may bring even more reason to be down. (Man, really letting myself have it today.) Looking up to Jesus brings hope, joy, peace, patience, and all the other fruits of the Spirit. Looking up to Jesus reminds me of His love for me. A difficult concept if I'm caught up looking at only me and my circumstance, but the love of God in Christ is perfectly normal and understandable if I keep my eyes on Jesus. We need upper in the mind to keep away from the downer the world shovels onto us. Hmm, I'm almost sounding a little sixty-ish there. Hippie culture has infected the devotional, run for your lives!

60's, dude that was like a long time ago. Yes, it was, and since I got out of the Sixties at like six years old, I can't really say too much about it. As I recall, the Sixties mostly involved Big Bird, a fellow named Mr. Rogers, and The Electric Company. The other stuff I had to discover much later, and like every history book you've ever picked up, I had to take on faith that hippies and such actually happened. Exactly! When we read the word of God, the same thing happens. We take it on faith that Jesus happened and that His words are true. I wasn't there, you weren't there, (unless you're a lot older than I thought), and we didn't get to live it. But, looking up to Jesus, I can believe through the loving power of His Holy Spirit. As for hippies, I'll just have to take the stories of the eyewitnesses as history.

Have a blessed day in Christ Jesus,

Thursday, September 25, 2014

No Rehearsal, Just Wing It!

Good morning on Thursday of this not-so-autumnish week! If the weather prognosticators are correct though, it would seem that autumn begins next Monday. A few weeks ago, I heard a song lyric from an odd source that really hit the ol' nail: "Life's a song you don't get to rehearse." Yes, that seems to sum it up rather well. No rehearsal for this life, you and me gotta wing it as we go. Indeed, we look to our elders as a source of wisdom because we hope they have been exactly where we are now. To some degree that is true, but no one was ever exactly where you or I am right now. They may have faced similar situations, but the very fact that it was them then, and not you or I, puts the exact part of it out of reach. We can receive advice, but there are so many answers we may not hear the one we need in that moment of decision. And, of course, there's always the situation that occurs without an elder in sight when you need one.

We are all like actors tossed out on stage without a script or even one rehearsal. We have some idea of what we are supposed to be doing, but only the bars on our crib hold the big, scary world at bay. Is it any wonder we cried so much as babies? Strangely to us, those who do everything right the first time are most to be pitied. How will they ever learn their need for salvation? The self-righteous persons back in the day wouldn't come to Jesus to be saved. The stumblers, bumblers, and fumblers came to be saved and healed, just as we do today. If you have ever sought Jesus in a church, a friend, a devotional writing, or a song, you probably didn't do so because you knew beyond any doubt that you were already perfect. Nope, a past littered with mistakes and heartbreak brought you seeking the one who can save us all. Physical pain, emotional ache, loss, and failure are those things that keep us searching until we find the Savior...only to realize that He had found us all along.

Jesus does have a certain advantage in knowing all His sheep. While we search, Jesus waits for us to turn from our wicked ways and ask Him to save us. That's it, just ask? Well, yes, but without that rehearsal, it's just something we have to discover in our searching. Praise God for sending the Shepherd before the sheep-ers knew to look for Him!


Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Signs of Failure

Good early morning! A sprinkler head broke over at the school. Ever try to sleep to the sound of a deluge? I got up and did my morning walk at 0300, and left a little blue flag to mark the sprinkler in need of repair. I didn't particularly appreciate the sprinkler's buddy hosing down my leg in return for my good deed, but that is the way of this world. Speaking of failures, after two years my coffee maker is showing signs of wearing out. The coffee just doesn't come out as hot as it once did. Maybe the vinegar treatment will help. Signs of failure warn us before the event occurs. Unfortunately, if we look closely enough at all of man's inventions, the signs of failure surround us. Often the best we can do is maintain the equipment in working order, so easily does the newness fade. That's the pessimistic view for this morning.

The other view shows an amazing inventiveness and industry. We may want to give God a "Hallelujah!" for all that man makes each day. Airplanes fly, and they do it well and more safely than some other forms of transportation. Autos allow us a greater range of movement in a given day, and for the most part the trips are safely taken. A few hundred years ago, any peasant would have called us loony for claiming to travel five hundred miles in a day. Yet, for us such a distance is commonplace in our world.

Yes, we can look at the signs of failure in all of these machines and constructs, but we can also give God the glory for creating us and the things we can make and invent together. God's creature is quite creative in so many wonderful ways. We are obviously made in the Creator's image. We also work to maintain many things, much like Adam tended the Garden of Eden. So, why don't we give God a rousing hallelujah when that trucker comes into town on the Jake brake waking up half the county? Well.. there's this thing called sin, and it causes a whole lot of folks to forget that golden rule Jesus gave us for using those wonderful machines responsibly.

Have a praising day in Christ Jesus!

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Not What We Expected

Good morning! Happy autumn, it's gonna be 86° today! Wait, what happened to the start of fall? Well, as often happens, the seasons don't always go by our calendar thingy on the wall. God does promise they will always come though until the world ends. Soon enough, we'll have plenty of cold to whine and moan about. Wait, we don't whine or moan; we take note of God's weather and make appropriate comments. That's right, don't be mentioning that whining and moaning stuff this morning.

A day may not be quite what we expected. Some of us will be glad when it is warmer than expected, others will be taking note and making appropriate comments. When that unexpected bill comes in the mail and funds are short, we take note and make appropriate comments; and then we bring it to God in prayer complete with appropriate comments. Sometimes those appropriate comments might be colorful, strained, and perhaps sound just a bit whiny, but that's just us taking note of God's bounty in providing for us.

The unexpected may catch us unprepared and precipitate a few words that we didn't want God to hear escaping our suffering lips. We don't want to grumble as the ancient Israelites did, but we may be close to that during times of stress. It's alright! Take it up with God in prayer and pour out those appropriate comments to Him. Let the healing begin by not trying to keep the steam bottled up until an explosion occurs. Seek counsel with the Spirit and your friends in Christ. Ask forgiveness when the need comes; which, I'll admit, happens all too often. Just don't grumble and boil before God. Let it out to Him, and let the Lord heal your crying, oops, suffering spirit. Amen.


Monday, September 22, 2014

We Are Such a Disappointment

Autumn arrives today-ish, but the weather forecast says 'Not just yet!'. We sometimes, not often, but sometimes disappoint each other in various ways. A small thing at times, perhaps we didn't pay attention and missed a chance to wave a hello at a friend. Other times, it may be a larger disappointment. With so much disappointing going around between us, we surely must be a huge disappointment to God our Father. Indeed, the Bible speaks often of God's anger at a sin. That is not quite the same though. When it comes to the 'us' part of things, the Bible has a wholly different message.

Love, joy, delight, everlasting and steadfast seem to be the melody to God's music. The Father may hate our sinful actions, but yet love us with His mighty and steadfast love. We might look at in this way. The kid or pet comes into the house covered in some smelly, sticky goo. For 'smelly' imagine the stink of a skunk, and for 'sticky' think of tar. At first, you may feel a bit of anger at the child or beast, but then you realize that the stuff is just a coating and that you have the cure. Now this is not a perfect analogy, for God always had the cure to sin and is not so easily angered as we. While we can control the door to our homes only at times, God has complete control over who enters His house in Heaven. Yet it does help us in that we see the kid or pet under the mess, and the same goes for God who looks upon us with love even as we wallow in sin. We follow after God our Father in that we want to clean up the beloved child or animal, and we desire that he or it should learn not to do it again. Of course, God has the more difficult job; sin is not just a nasty coating, it lays deep within us.

Now, since God delights in us, and loves us, and is more than up to the job of cleansing us from sin, why should we think He is disappointed in us?

Praise the Lord for His holy presence!

Friday, September 19, 2014

What I Think I Know (or Maybe Not)

Good morning on this Friday! This morning I thought of the fourth trumpet in Revelation. It goes like this: "Then the fourth angel sounded: And a third of the sun was struck, a third of the moon, and a third of the stars, so that a third of them were darkened. A third of the day did not shine, and likewise the night." (Rev 8:12) Of course, I think that from this the world may see blizzards in the Amazon basin, glaciers over Canada, and a frozen Atlantic Ocean. What if it isn't that way? What if what I think I know is not to be relied upon in the Tribulation? God commands 1/3 less sunlight on the earth, but nothing in the climate changes. A crisis of science? And perhaps that is the point. God may send forth the trumpets to knock the rules over for a time. What we have learned in years of school gets tossed as God's power overcomes. The people of the world get further proof that their faith is misplaced, and yet many of them still refuse to believe in God and His Christ.

Meanwhile, the raptured saints in Heaven look down and wonder, "Wouldn't there be more snow?" Not if God commanded the climate to remain steady while this darkening went on. Indeed the scripture does not mention snow or ice in relation to that fourth trumpet. It says just what it says, things will be a bit darker for a time. It comes back to the Proverbs advice: "Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding." (3:5) Reading what I think I know into prophecies in the Bible may lead into expectations that are not correct. But, while I may be wrong about a great many things, Jesus never is, and He gave those prophecies.

Have a great and godly Friday!

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Most Of It Just Goes By

Blurg! Heavy, low, overcast, a night that should have been cooler but was not to be. A morning not comfortable for walking. A night that will go down in history as too muggy and... Yeah, sounds very melodramatic, but in a few days or probably much less, I will have forgotten. Weather comes and it goes and little of it is remembered for long. The perfect day or night has not arrived, and all the imperfect ones in memory get archived and never recalled. For most of us only the extremes of weather and work days are easy to recall. Without some difference in a day, I would be hard pressed to separate one day of last week from another, or even from the week before. Yet, looking back through life, we often find a heap of tragedies that do stand out.

It is those days that help us learn contentment in the present. A perilous situation on this day would indeed cause it to stand out from the many others in life. Abounding excitement, adventure, and a goodly dose of life or death fear will really shake up the day. Thanks to experience, I am content to live this day peacefully in the love of Christ. Younger folks with less experience can wish for that exciting day. They too will enjoy the love of Christ, but may not realize it in the rush of the moments. I am content to do my work and take the time to note well the love of Christ for me and you.

If we don't take the time to notice God's work in us and all around us, we may miss something quite wonderful.

Have a patient day in Christ!

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Down That Terrible Tube!

Ah, mid-week, mid-month...uh, oops, no missed that last one by a bit, September passed the midpoint and I missed it. Mornings pass by and suddenly it's, "Aauggh! I'm going to be late!" Got that dreaded appointment next month...ach, no it's this month now! Years pass by and suddenly, it seems, Christmas time has come around again. Ah, the terrible thrill of getting older. Time becomes like that big whirlpool in the tub, sucking all the weeks, months, and years into its awful vortex. My biological clock isn't ticking down, it's slowing to a more comfortable pace. Unfortunately as that happens, the clock on the wall no longer crawls toward the end of class, it leaps forward hours or days at a jump. Calendar pages fall out like those missing hairs on the top of my head. Where did they go?!

Time, I think, becomes more slippery as we get older. In the big corp, I was told and told to account for every minute and hour. Now I'm doing good to remember what I did for half a day. A couple more decades of this life and I might well have trouble accounting for last week. If I live to be 150, I might look back upon this decade as a time when I grew older for ten years. Specifics would of course be a forgotten memory of times no longer known. The interviewer might ask in that august year of 2113, "In 2013, you turned 50. What happened in that next decade?" Me: "Uh, I got older." Time just isn't ours to keep for very long.

About 2,000 years ago, Jesus told his disciples to pray for the harvest for the fields were ready, workers were few and time was of the essence. Two thousand years ago, just enough time for the scoffers to really think that nothing is going to happen with all that rapture and apocalypse thing. How wrong they are to think that. As for me, I don't expect to make 100 years old, much less 150. I fully expect Jesus to call us to that big group homecoming well before that time. In place of time running down that terrible tube, we will be raised up to the wonderful heavenly reunion with our Lord.

Enjoy a quickly passing day in Christ!

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Roll With It

Good morning from the office today. Yup, Tuesdays seem to the be the day of the odd schedule in my week. Might as well roll with it and type the devotional from wherever I be on this day. Sometimes we find ourselves making a stand on something that has changed. Much as we would like, the old ways are gone, the new schedule is in effect, or as God did with Peter in Acts 10, something is declared cleansed, and what was forbidden is now good to go. The change may be tough. If we were raised with a certain thing in a certain way, a change to that thing may give us a lot of difficulty. Even that thing where we got to a ripe old age and discovered that we were taught wrong by the teacher back in the day can be tough to change. Learning the new way takes time and effort, concentration of the will, and maybe a turning to prayer.

We often think of our best help last. It's time to make a change, so we marshal the forces of the self. God patiently waits for us to get done exhausting our selves and turn to Him in prayer before He steps in with His mighty forces. I'll admit it; I have tried and tried self-improvement, self-coaching, self-criticism, and self-shaming. None of them work without God and His authority. When it is time for a change, maybe the first change we need to make is to come to God in prayer first instead of last.

Have a better day of change in Christ!

Monday, September 15, 2014

So, We're Not Going to Talk About That

Good morning on this most excellent Monday! Can a Monday even be excellent? Garfield doesn't think so, but we won't ask any comic strip cats. This morning, I decided that since I have never married, we're not going to talk marriage, divorce, and such things. As I have no personal experience in getting married, then no talking about it. Yup. Do you suppose such an attitude might bring down the entire radio talk show industry? Those with personal experience are allowed to tell their stories; experts with years of training are allowed to weigh in, and the host is forced to just be quiet. Probably wouldn't work. A lot of people likely listen to the program to hear the talk show host "let 'em have it." Mocking is big in the industry, and entertainment is what many of the listeners seek in a show. Outlawing shooting from the hip by the untrained and inexperienced might just shut down an industry. Come to think of it, how can anyone expect any help with marriage issues from those sects and denominations who don't allow their preachers to marry?

It would seem easy, perhaps even right for me to drop out of the witnessing in certain areas. However, God gave us something that covers many of those areas we need to know but have no experience or training. We may need to listen with a sympathetic ear as a Christian brother suffers a divorce. We might need to answer the questions of the Christian sister whose husband just got up one day and didn't come home ever again. A friend in Christ might come to us for advice as his wedding date approaches. We may need to warm those feet up a bit, or tell him to call it off. What right of wisdom or knowledge can we use in these cases?

The Bible tells us a great many things of which we are completely ignorant in our experiences. One of those is that we have the right and privilege to ask God for wisdom. James tells us that we have not because we ask not. Solomon received his great wisdom from God. We can easily tell from their stumbles and fumbles that the heroes of the faith did not get classes in leading a nation out of Egypt, ruling Israel, or building a church from a small group of believers. We cannot know every area of knowledge well, and the wisdom we need comes only from God. One time the wise thing to do may be to shut up and lead the suffering seeker to a Christian you know with experience in that area. Another time, it may be just you, the Holy Spirit, and the Word; more than enough to handle any problem or question.

Now, get on with life in Christ!

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Lack of Obsession?

Good morning on this very cool September morn! As I stood bonging and banging a knife on various jars and stuff in the kitchen while waiting for the toast to pop up, I thought that most of us do not have the obsession required to become truly proficient at some skill. How many hours of kitchen percussion work would be required for me to become musical? Some say 10,000 hours would turn the trick. For someone in my kitchen suffering a headache this morning, it might have seemed just about that long. The obsessed creative person would have gone all day practicing with jars, cans, and other things, perhaps even changing over to a pair of forks. Me, when the toast popped up that was enough of the noise and I was gone. The distraction of food takes its toll on another budding musical talent.

Through an obsession to practice and train over many an obstacle, some few persons do achieve worldly success in some endeavor. They pile up impressive amounts of earthly treasure, enjoy fame, and win a few awards, not necessarily in that order. Unless the obsession is Olympic curling or such, then the treasure is little, fame passes by, and the awards quietly go into the cabinet at home. Does any of that matter in eternity? Win or lose on this earth, do we gain by it in our eternal home? Paul didn't seem to think so.

We may know some people in heaven who brought impressive earthly resumes with them. Paul would be one of them. Paul was like a one-man Jewish Inquisition back in his day. He had the training, the teachers, the talent, and the obsessive zeal. Someone said Christian cults had popped up in Damascus and Paul was on the way with his letters. He had the drive and the resume, and he thought the authority, but someone else brought him up short on that road. Later, Paul would say that all of his accomplishments, talent, training, and former obsession was nothing but trash to be thrown away. Sometimes we may moan about our lack of obsession or success in an area (or all of them), but I don't think we'll find Paul flashing his earthly resume in the heavenlies.

Trust in God, Live in Christ, and have a wonderful Saturday!


Friday, September 12, 2014

That Anxiety Trail

Good morning! There may be some cold football games this evening. Gardens look kind of sad this morning with blankets draping their plants. Yet, at the same time flowers seem to peer out looking for the sunlight. The autumn rains came without waiting for autumn on the calendar. Cold, wet, and a sign that I need to get the heater doors fixed on my truck. Wet and outside or dry and warm on the inside of a house, you can probably find something to be anxious about without looking very hard this morning. We all have trials and tribulation in an ongoing state. Houses seem to fall apart without any help from us. Roads and bridges crumble with the passage of vehicles that are themselves falling apart. That old weather can change at any moment. Governments either want to make war on each other, or they will take a shot or two at their people. And there's just no telling what part might fall off of our bodies this day. Worry, fear, dread, and anxiety have plenty of targets to choose from on any given day. If you weren't thinking of anything to be anxious about, I gave you plenty in that list. No need to thank me, really.

Probably worse than worrying over one thing is that anxiety trail our adversary would gladly lead us down any ol' time. If my health seems good, the enemy will bring up the health of someone I love and dump all manner of dread and fear in my mind. If everyone else seems to be doing well, then my health is the target. Every good day can be turned into a bad day by following the enemy's anxiety trail. Jesus said to be free of worry; the enemy attacks with every worry in his black book. One thought leads to a darker thought that leads on to truly anxious thoughts, and so on. Soon, the Christian witness is buried in an avalanche on the anxiety trail. If you have never experienced one of those landslides of dread, worry, and anxiety, be thankful to God, for they do make a very dark time in life.

As with all things on that dreadful and dread-filled trail, the best cure is to first avoid a trip down it. This takes prayer and practice, as that trail head is never marked and often cunningly hidden in a bright, sunny day. The potential victim may be you on one day, me on the next, and someone we know or meet on the third day. The Adversary is not particularly choosy on most days; he just wants a victim to lead onto the anxiety trail for burial in an avalanche he has set up. Even the unbelievers can be caught on that trail, but there does seem to be bonus points awarded for Christian ministers, pastors, witnesses, and all those who believe in Christ.

Of course, we also have the most powerful help looking out for us, no matter what trail we may be on today. Praise God for His sovereign care and love!


Thursday, September 11, 2014

The Roar of Righteousness

Welcome to the joy of our Lord Jesus on this rainy day! Much of the time we go about sounding much like the mice of misery. Today, I want us to think about the Lion of Judah and the righteousness He has imputed to those He saved from sin. That's right, we have right standing before God through Jesus our Christ. We should sound the roar of righteousness to the world. C.S. Lewis was right to remind us through his character 'Aslan' of the Lion. Recall the joy of the unfrozen lion near the end of The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe? (Thanks for that rather cumbersome title to type, Clive.) That lion ran about telling everyone over and over, "He said 'us lions'!" We must needs remember that today; we are lions of the tribe of Gentile following our Lord, the Lion of Judah.

We like to look at the sin of our past and present. This is at first a good thing as the Spirit makes us aware of just how much saving Jesus had to do at the cross. However, we shouldn't wallow in that over much. We are made righteous in Christ. Yes, we are in the fight of our lives against the carnal desires of the flesh and the powers of this present age. But, we are declared righteous in Christ now, and we know that one day all sin will be vanquished and put far away from us. So let's hear that roar of righteousness to start the day! Seize upon the knowledge that Jesus has made you and me righteous before God. Live in Christ, and don't squeak about like the mice of misery.

God's love to you on this righteous day,

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

What We Know

Good morning! This just in: Son of famous evangelist declares that the signs are right for the end times. All Christians must go forth and spread the good news of Jesus Christ! And in other news: The Scoffers Society released a response stating, "All is just the same as it was since the fathers died. Pay him no mind." What do we know really? This morning, I wore a jacket on my stroll about the streets. I know that not all of my windows are open and that it is about 15° cooler than it was yesterday morning at this time. Those are things I know, and I know that those signs point to the arrival of autumn very soon, perhaps even earlier than in the past few years. Exactly! Jesus used the fig tree to tell us that is the very point. We can know that the signs point to the end times and that the arrival of our Lord is indeed very near. This may be the last autumn we see on this earth, or we may see many more before that end time arrives.

We do know the signs pointing, but we don't know the date when Jesus will call us home. This can indeed cause a problem in our witness. It is difficult for the worldly man to see the end times when the bills keep coming each month, work or school must be attended, and the daily grinder continues grinding him. We've all heard of the daily grind, but where exactly is the daily grinder?

I once thought it might be the electric coffee bean grinder I used. A sound I described as 16 seconds of pure audible hell. This is of course hyperbole and exaggeration to the max. If I heard that many seconds of the sound from Hell each morning, I would, I think, be very familiar with the sound of hopelessness. I believe every hair on my body, and even the several that are lost somewhere, would stand on end in horror. Maybe we should hear a little of that to get us going in our ministry. Uh, no... the whip didn't work, God proved that already. The Law of Moses was the whip but its stripes couldn't heal us. There must be a better reason to bring the good news, a higher cause to stand on.

Perhaps, just maybe, the Good News itself provides the cause. A message of love from God, who loves us so much that He sent His Son, Jesus, to die to save us. Yes, I see very good news in that message. Love will send forth the 144,000 witnesses in the Tribulation. Love sends us out in our various ways and means to spread some good news. Love reaches out while the world stands on the very brink of final judgment. Paul tells us: "Now abide faith, hope, and love, these three, but the greatest of these is love." (1 Cor 13:13)

Have another day in God's great love,

Monday, September 08, 2014

What May Not Happen

Good morning as the day dawns quite a bit later than it did a month or two ago. Science fiction promised laser weapons long ago, and it always seems to be just around the corner. Not that we need any more weapons, the ones we can obtain do the work quite well, but as an exercise in what may not happen. In place of personal laser weapons from the space age, we have lasers playing spinning discs for entertainment, lasers measuring our walls and floors, and lasers to level that drop ceiling. The police use lasers to measure the speed of cars and doctors use lasers to zap flaps in our eyeballs. But the space alien blasting us into puddles of goo for later analysis or ingestion just not happening. That's okay, we really don't need that sort of thing on a Monday morning. Once upon a time though, you or I might have been locked up or burned at the stake for suggesting a machine that uses air to suck up dirt from the floor and frighten the pets.

Biblical prophecy is more along the lines of what did happen. A vacuum cleaner is common stuff for us, and so one day the fantastic things spoken of in the Bible will be to those who see them happen. Common in this case meaning that they will have it in common, and not that it will seem at all common. Global earthquakes, a plague of selective stingers, and rivers turning to blood are not exactly commonplace. Other prophecies sound much better, children playing near venomous snakes, lambs and wolves getting friendly, and all animals eating grass seems pretty far-fetched to us in these days of predation. Yet, that prophecy we read in the Bible too. Just as the light did shine in Bethlehem, so these other things will come to pass as well. What science guesses may or may not happen. What God speaks arrives in the time God sets.

Have a wonderful week in Christ!

Friday, September 05, 2014

Happily Painting the Corner I'm In

Good morning! I got up to start the watering, but God had taken care of it for me this morning. Sometimes we paint ourselves into a corner as the old saying goes, and we know it. Other times, we may be found happily painting the very corner we are in. This happens most often I believe in conversations. The mouth runs along, we feel the audience perhaps is on our side, instead of stopping in our little painted corner with an "Oops!", we look down metaphorically speaking, and dump the remaining paint on our feet to cover that corner. Good job! In the aftermath, we see a nice pair of bare footprints in the corner where we stood, and maybe we sense the taste of paint in the mouth from where our feets went before we could regain control of our tongue. Even us normally quiet folk have been there.

It happens, but the grace of Christ has not taken off on holiday. The sin of today is no less covered than the sin of yesterday. Many a time I have happily painted the corner I worked to get myself into, and every time Jesus has covered those stupid footprints with His grace. That does not mean the consequences are hidden or washed away. No, like the saints before me, I may still have to walk in some wet paint to get out of the room.

If we liken the life of a Christian to a long hallway of painted rooms, we would find many a set of colored footprints coming out of some rooms. In those cases, I suspect that two sets of footprints might appear to those reviewing that life. The Christian himself might recall going into the room alone, even painting into that corner alone, but somehow he was led out of that room even as he felt so alone.

The grace and peace of Christ to you,

Thursday, September 04, 2014

We Won't Know What Day It Is

So, Monday was the first day of a new month, but also a holiday. Today is Thursday, I think, and that must be why the numeral 4 is staring back at me from my computer monitor. The holiday makes it a short week, so it has been busy in the office. Sounds like just the kind of day that Jesus will return. Didn't our Lord say that no one will know what day it is when He returns? Jesus must be coming back during a holiday week. We won't even get the luxury of a 'poof' as the Lord will come in the blink of an eye. A poof in the mouth takes longer than a blink of the eye; try it, you'll see. You may even be nodding your head right now. We are easily distracted by the world and its quick pace.

A little flipping of words, a bit of distraction, and suddenly the world isn't paying attention to the heavens. Jesus said that people will be getting married and the time will arrive. That's right, when you are about to say, "I do", take a quick peek at the audience and make sure all are still present and accounted for. It is so easy to be distracted by the words of the prophecy and forget the lesson. If you're still working on the poof and blink thing, don't worry, it took me a few minutes to overcome my tendency to do it sequentially. The parable of the bridesmaids spoke of being ready to be with Jesus in a moment. It was not a lesson to make sure that you have an oil lamp in your house and that it's always topped off with oil in the tank. Paul used the blink of an eye to show how quickly the rapture will happen, not as a command that we all stand around blinking and wondering why it didn't happen that last time we blinked. Someday the world may outlaw marriage in an attempt to stop the return of Jesus, but that was not the point of the prophecy. Get on with life, and suddenly the return we hope for and long for will arrive.

Have a great day, whichever one it is, in Christ Jesus!

Wednesday, September 03, 2014

I'm Still Here!

Good morning! The Saturday morning edition for sure, but maybe the Friday evening issue carried the headline about one man who tried to start yet another cult but died at the hands of the executioners. That news was premature. The man walked out of his tomb on a Sunday morning. Had he held a press conference that day, the headline might have begun with "I'm still here!" At various times in our history, God has been declared dead. Other times the Bible, or the followers, or bits and pieces of the ministry have suffered the same declaration. Yet, you and me, preachers of old, saints of bygone days, and perhaps our children to come will say, "I'm still here!" We may say it in Heaven, on the new Earth, or right here today, but alive in Christ we remain.

Many is the thing that should have killed us. Our sin from the earliest days of life condemned us to eternal death. Yet, alive and redeemed we stand in Christ. The enemy has knocked us down. The Law clouted us like Pilgrim. We have despaired in the Swamp of Despond, and languished in the pits of self-loathing. Yet, someone came and picked us up with a promise and a kind word. Our statement in the face of fierce and relentless opposition may well be, "I'm still here!" Ironically, our great hope is that our Lord will snatch us up to His heavenly home, and with perhaps a small "I'm gone" wafting down behind us we will leave the place where we stood in Christ.

Rejoice in the day in the love of Christ Jesus!


P.S. I'm probably behind (but not 'left behind') in this news since I don't have television service, but it looks like another movie based on the Left Behind series will premiere one month from today. Don't look for the big bad in the first movie.

Tuesday, September 02, 2014

Using the Knowledge and Making the Adjustment

Good morning! Let's see, holiday yesterday, that means today is Tuesday and not Monday as my brain wants to lay on me. First day of work week is Tuesday, that means internal calendar all messed up this week. Okay, as long as I continue to compensate for that, I'll be good to go. Sometimes we have knowledge that something is wrong, but we fail to do anything about it. The apostles and epistlers of old admonished us about this, but we may still find the sinful self doing this from time to time. As I like to remind myself, God gave you a human brain, use it!

There are those things that God will take care of if we just let things be. But, there are also those things that God has placed under our authority, and we need to get on 'em and make the necessary adjustments. How you discern which is which comes in prayer between you and God. Discernment is a gift of the Holy Spirit and is what Solomon asked for in his wisdom. Righto! We tend to think that Solomon gained wisdom because he asked for discernment, but think of how much wisdom he had to possess already to give the Lord the right answer first. We have some wisdom too. You may not think so this morning, but you were wise enough to come to the Lord for salvation. We may even be wise enough to come to the Lord in prayer and ask for more wisdom.

It may not feel like it to you this morning, but I do believe that I detect a positive direction in our lives courtesy of God's Holy Spirit. Let's give Him the praise!


Monday, September 01, 2014

The Streets of Grossness

The unequal contest between vehicles and the toads seems well decided. I think about the best the little toads can hope for is to escape to fight another day. Perhaps one side in this contest didn't realize a war was on, but the casualties laying in our streets are a gross sight to walk over. With all that in mind, I cannot but help think of the biblical plague of frogs just before the Exodus. When the Bible uses plague, I suspect that what we have here in Julesburg is not even close. A plague of toads would be something more along the lines of stepping on six or eight toads every time you took a step, waking up with a few dozen toads on top of the blanket (assuming any sleep were possible), no place to sit because of the toad population and a very pathetic and funny mental picture of the cat looking mournfully at me as he tries to get some sleep with a pile of toads on top of him. Once more, what we face each day in this life pales to minor inconvenience when compared to the biblical plagues of old.

Does everything we face in this life compare only weakly to the Bible? Perhaps, but what we cannot do is face what is thousands of years in the past. If it is suffering that we want on a biblical scale, we have the Apocalypse coming up. But, what we face each day is all we have to live with. I cannot feel the suffering of the ancient Israelites. You cannot suffer with the saints of old. It matters less to us what Doeg the Edomite faced, than what we can learn from it to apply to this day, the one you and me must face with Christ our Lord.

In case you have forgotten, old Doegie was the one who carried out Saul's order to execute 85 of God's priests who had helped David. Probably not something we would want our name remembered for as long as the Bible lasts. This may also explain why 'Doeg' is not often chosen as a biblical name to christen children in this age. Whatever you and I must face this day, at least we don't have to face God having executed a whole bunch of the priests who helped the Lord's anointed king. I suspect the old 'the king made me do it' excuse will carry about as much weight as the devil one when judgment time comes.

This day, I only have to face my tribulations with a clean slate, forgiven and forgotten by God through the death of His Son. Whatever our past holds, it cannot keep it when God places it as far from His memory as the east is from the west.

Have a fine Labor Day,