Tuesday, March 31, 2015

The Tower of Thought I Knew So Much

In ancient days, the peoples and rulers built towers of great strength, many of which were built well enough that they stand today. If you read tales of the medieval times or play the role playing games that feature knights and dragons and such, you will be familiar with towers and keeps and castles. In the life of a Christian, especially prior to salvation, we tend to build these strong places in our minds. Today, technically speaking since 3:00am or so is in fact today, I thought of one of those towers of old. The Tower of Thought I Knew So Much is one that my Lord Jesus has thrown down more than once in my life. You may have built similar towers at times like, maybe, the Tower of My Great Strength or the Tower of I'm Gonna Be Rich and Famous just to name a couple that our Lord must throw down to find the lost sheep of His who wandered inside.

We have a bad habit of building these imaginary strong places and then locking ourselves in for an extended stay. Some folks even think that salvation depends upon a strong place like the Castle of Self-Righteousness. A lot of effort and time goes into building these strongholds and they work no better for saving our eternal life than those times when I occupied the Tower of Thought I Knew So Much. Praise God that our Lord Jesus has the siege engines, battering rams, and engineering knowledge to knock down these precious towers of ours. The Lord must be our strong place; His salvation is our refuge.

Go forth, good knight, in Christ Jesus!


Monday, March 30, 2015

Easter Week, Hosanna!

The week appeared to begin on a high note. A donkey's colt, palm branches laid down in the entry, and the crowd shouting, "Hosanna!" However, there is a bit of demand in that shout. "Save now!" may come from a different place than the salvation we have been given by our Lord Jesus. The shout may mean to come forth as a conquering savior to chase the occupying legions of the Roman Empire out of the land. The shout may demand the the King of kings ascend His earthly throne right at that moment. The crowd wanted the Savior of the world to do just what they wanted at the time they wanted it. The arrival of a savior means a very different thing to those who believe in Jesus.

We celebrate the arrival of Jesus on Palm Sunday with joy in our hearts. Faith brings to us a Savior in His full might. While the crowds of the time thought Jesus was the way to get what they wanted, Jesus arrived as the Way to reconcile sinful man to God the Father. The occupying power of the day seemed everything the Jews did not want - gentile, pagan, and taxing - but the occupying power Jesus came to redeem us from was (and is) far more diabolical. Like the crowds back in the day, we don't need to get what we want so much as we need to get behind the donkey and find out where the Man named Jesus is leading us.

Have a great Easter Week!


Saturday, March 28, 2015

What Would Have Been

What a great gift God gives to us by withholding the knowledge of what would have been. I've done it before, most likely you have as well. We look back and think on what would have been if we had just made this decision differently, or spent a bit more time hitting the books in school. Why not imagine a future/present time as Superman if you had eaten Brussels sprouts for every meal? A career as a superhero not looking so palatable now? Yeah, me too.

If we knew the would have beens and might have beens we might truly have cause to despair by this point in life. I would wager that there is not one among us who cannot think of one mistake or sin or, uh, crime, that he or she does not regret from the past. Dickens let his Scrooge character see a tough might-have-been when the Christmas spirit showed poor Ebenezer his former lady love enjoying a rich Christmas celebration with her brood of children. Of course a fiction tale is allowed to do that. We don't know these things and it is dangerous to think on them. God withholds that knowledge for good reason. After we thank God that we do not and cannot know those wouldabeens, we can trust Him for our Now. Yes, the one you and I live in Christ right now.

Tomorrow, we celebrate the anniversary of Jesus entering Jerusalem just before the city turned on Him and demanded the life of their Savior. I enjoy thinking of how our Lord did not have one regret from His life, no could-have-beens, no what-if's, or even a might-have-been. How did the Lord do this? He simply did only and everything that the Father gave Him to do. Hmm, could be there is a lesson in that life!

Have a marvelous Palm Sunday!


P.S. And watch out for these things:

© 2013 Food Republic downloaded from http://www.foodrepublic.com/2013/02/19/11-things-you-probably-did-not-know-about-brussels#!slide=4

Friday, March 27, 2015

Always the Cornucopia

"But also for this very reason, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue, to virtue knowledge, to knowledge self-control, to self-control perseverance, to perseverance godliness, to godliness brotherly kindness, and to brotherly kindness love. For if these things are yours and abound, you will be neither barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ." (2 Peter 1:5-8)

If I could have but one fruit of the Spirit, I would take... Hmm, just one problem with that, our Lord is a giver beyond any we have known. Love does not come without faith; hope does not arrive without patience; peace steps in the door with godliness. The fruit of the Spirit grows in big bunches of mixed clusters. Peter gives us a plan for our efforts, but there is only one true vine. At our best, we are but fruit tenders helping the Lord to grow and prune the fruit growing by His Spirit within us. Without the seeds planted in our soil by the Holy Spirit, we would not grow anything. Without the sap of Jesus our vine, we would have nothing with which to grow and stand. Not that our efforts are wasted, far be that from our glorious service in Christ!

Adam's job at the start was the tending of Paradise. We may be far from such a nice place as Eden was before sin came, but we too have tending in our job description. Peter's plan is not separate from the Spirit of Christ. When we turned to our Shepherd in that first belief, a cornucopia of spiritual fruit began to grow in us. The main work is done by our Lord, but we have the privilege as Adam did to help with the tending of this brave new garden. "But, but, how do I add godliness to perseverance?" any one of us might ask on this cloudy morning. Praise God all of us gardener sheep have a Shepherd who is the Master Gardener as well. The answer to so many questions in our Christian walk is found in Christ Jesus and in His Word.

Have a wonderful day and a great weekend!


Thursday, March 26, 2015

He's Coming!

Easter arrives soon, that great celebration of the Lord's resurrection and our great hope in Him. This week doesn't get any named days for Easter, but we know that our Lord was at work healing, teaching, and helping His sheep to live. Even as the little group approached Jerusalem for the final time, a room was being prepared for the Passover. It may be that the owner did not know why he or she was preparing the room. Perhaps no reservation was made, yet somehow the owner knew the room was needed. A rent may have been the hope of someone, but none was taken or for reasons unknown she refused all that came. We can speculate for some time on this, but the room was ready when the Master arrived.

At times, we may not know why we do something or something was done on our behalf, but we must always remember that our Lord is coming again. Even as we wait for that great day, we are being prepared for His arrival. The dear Holy Spirit will not be slack concerning the promise made for the return of Christ. We may not see the preparation going on in a room of our heart, but the Master approaches to fulfill God's perfect timing. Some of us may go to a waiting place prior to the day of our Lord's second coming, many of the saints have done so. Yet, we too will see the coming of the great and awesome day of our Lord.

Be patient, He is coming!


Wednesday, March 25, 2015

A Great Celebration, and We Missed It

Is that rain or snow? In March it may be difficult to tell. Anyway, say there was this great celebration. All the population came and it was without a doubt the greatest celebration to that point in time. The only problem is that we missed it. It gets worse, not only were we absent, but the celebration was about us and centered on each one of us. The guest of honor not invited? Say it isn't so. Well, there is a rightness about that in that not one of us did a thing to earn our celebration. Nope, all the work of salvation that the saints in Heaven celebrated was done by our Lord Jesus. A wonderful celebration, a marvelous party over your salvation or mine, but we got left out.

Praise the Lord! That's the way it goes for every lost sheep that Jesus saves. The first celebration of our new life goes on without us. But who would deny the saints in Heaven their rejoicing? Not I, those who followed Christ before me deserve their celebration, after all they missed their own salvation party just like I did. You wouldn't, for at the time not one of us could say what was going on in Heaven. Likely enough, we were busy praising and thanking God for the salvation Jesus earned on the cross for us. Later, we study the Word and find out that a rejoicing party went on at our salvation. We missed it? Well, maybe not so much as we might think. When we stop to think about it, I believe we feel that rejoicing going on to this day.

Have a rejoicing day in Christ Jesus!


Tuesday, March 24, 2015

A Lifetime Study

Springtime in the Rockies...yeah, I wouldn't know. We live in Colorado, but there are no mountains out here. It should be a law that everywhere in Colorado can see mountains. I guess we'll just have to use some of that mountain-moving faith. Do you suppose Sterling will mind if I drop a mountain or two on them? Okay, probably not the way to show neighborly love.

I have to admire Paul this morning. Imagine if you will a lifetime of study prepared and well underway. Paul had the equivalent of a doctoral education and a good job with the best company. He had a mission and probably a sense of being in the right and on the right path in life. Paul may well have had his eye on a fine home and a marriage into a well-connected family. Then, on an important business trip, his life was turned upside down. Not only was he going the wrong way, but he was doing the wrong things, and he wasn't even right about the things he thought he was right about. A life, religious, and faith crisis arrived in one blinding light.

Oh, but what a turnaround! Paul gave up all that had gone before to gain a life in Christ. His letters to the Gentiles form much of our theology and take up a goodly part of the New Testament of the Bible. From a life well-ordered, Paul moved from place to place preaching the Good News, debating, enduring shipwrecks, snake bites, getting thumped with rocks, sewing tents, serving time in jail, and finally his former mates put him on the Pharisees' most wanted list. Paul, a man born for such a time as that where God placed him.

In Christ,

Monday, March 23, 2015

Fear Fear

A good spring morning to you! The art of word play seems to have found a home in the American English. There was that book title Hurt People Hurt People by Sandra D. Wilson. As in, people who have been hurt tend to hurt other people. A couple of fellers back in the day did the Who's on First? skit. No doubt you have examples of your own. However, sometimes the word play isn't funny and doesn't work well. The person who lives fearing fear would be in a pitiable state. Many is the time Jesus said "Don't be afraid." So many are the cases of God's word telling us not to fear, that it has been pointed out that there is one 'do not fear' for every day of the year. Perhaps the idea was that we are to practice no fear for a year.

Advising someone to fear fear is of course terrible advice. There is no advantage in fearing fear. You may wonder about that presidential quote from back in the day. President Franklin D. Roosevelt once said, "The only thing we have to fear is fear itself." This came in his inaugural address of 1933 when it seemed that the nation had much to fear. Montaigne, a fellow from the 16th century, said, "The thing I fear most is fear." Of course neither was telling anyone to fear fear. What FDR saw in his lifetime was the panic that caused stock market collapse and the fear that sent stampedes to the banks. We have lived in similar times over the past few years. Fear causes all sorts of pain for others when panic spreads to a mob. For that reason we may well fear fear, but I don't advise anyone to get into that state.

What do we do then about this fear of fear? The same thing we do about fear itself! We obey Jesus. Prayer and faith work wonders over fear. Is it easy? Certainly not, fear seems to be one of our first 'go to' states for anything out of the ordinary. We can easily share fear and spread it like a virus. Which sort of brings us back to the first point. Fear fear, fearing fear, it's all just the devil's way of getting us away from living in Christ. We need the perfect love of Christ to cast out all that fear!

Have a better Monday in the love of Christ Jesus!


Friday, March 20, 2015

Peace I Leave With You

The first day of spring. On days when life seems wonderful, we might wonder why Jesus left His peace with us. "Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid." (John 14:27) War is at hand in the mind and in the world. We may live in a land at peace, or we may enjoy a season of peace in the heart, but war stands ready to engulf us at any time. The day may seem peaceful on the surface, but we have an enemy. The Adversary who came to Eve at the beginning tempts Gods children in the same way today. At the moment we called to Jesus to save us - and He did! - the enemy placed each of us on the world's most hated list.

At the head of this list is of course the name of our Lord and Savior. Our Lord gave us peace that we might have that gift while the world rages about and at us. Daily, we live bombarded by images of sin. Persecution in this land seems directed at the mind and emotions of the Christian. Yet, we also hear news of our brothers and sisters in Christ suffering death and pain in lands far away. A gift of Christ's peace in the heart helps us to live each day with all of this battle going on. Peace of heart helps when sudden bad news comes in its battalions. Not every day is one of bad news and persecution though, but why does a day seem wonderful in the first place? Probably because Jesus gave us His peace.

Have a peaceful day in Christ!


Thursday, March 19, 2015

Dressing Up For Jesus

A couple of actors through the years have impressed me with their character. This is something we don't often see when looking at them through the characters they play on the screen. The characters they play typically have much less character than the character the actors who impress me have shown. Ouch, quit trying to be clever at this time of the morning! Of course a 'couple' out of the hundreds of actors I have watched in this age of movies and television shows is not a very good batting average. That is not entirely my fault or theirs, we tend to have much more of celebrity mistakes and bad behavior presented to us in the media than their good works and gentle behavior. What we are given to watch or see most of all though is their outward adornment.

Back in the day, Peter the apostle gave some advice directed toward the women of the church. However, these days the adornment is expected of all of us and thus the advice is good for the men too. "Do not let your adornment be merely outward - arranging the hair, wearing gold, or putting on fine apparel - "(1 Peter 3:3) Peter called us to work beyond that without setting aside that outward adornment that is so pleasing to the eye. In verse 4, Peter continues, "- rather let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the incorruptible beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is very precious in the sight of God." Dressing up for Jesus includes the hidden person we find much more difficult to beautify.

The hidden person does tend to reveal him or her self in our speech and expression. Vicious and cutting remarks, gossip, mean guesses, and all sorts of other hateful things show that the hidden person needs some dressing up, and perhaps a bit of a dressing down so to speak. Fortunately for us, at salvation Jesus sends His dear Holy Spirit into us and He goes right to work on that hidden person, the depths of the heart where evil lurks. We don't fight the battle of the mind alone anymore! While we prepare ourselves for work this morning, let us thank God for His help in dressing up for Jesus.

Have a great and godly day at work today!


Wednesday, March 18, 2015

An Elite Group

The thought came to me of a singular experience in the Bible, that of the transfiguration on the mount.

Now after six days Jesus took Peter, James, and John, and led them up on a high mountain apart by themselves; and He was transfigured before them. His clothes became shining, exceedingly white, like snow, such as no launderer on earth can whiten them. And Elijah appeared to them with Moses, and they were talking with Jesus. Then Peter answered and said to Jesus, “Rabbi, it is good for us to be here; and let us make three tabernacles: one for You, one for Moses, and one for Elijah”— because he did not know what to say, for they were greatly afraid. And a cloud came and overshadowed them; and a voice came out of the cloud, saying, “This is My beloved Son. Hear Him!” Suddenly, when they had looked around, they saw no one anymore, but only Jesus with themselves. (Mark 9:2-8)

A great honor for those selected, but perhaps it is time to wonder why. When we are a part of a select group, we might well be champions of the selection process and the status it infers. However, once get left out and we may well grab the protest placards and march with the mob shouting, "Elitist!" Is that the case here? May it be that those not invited to the mount were in fact not ready to see those things revealed that Peter, James, and John saw? Imagine the shame that Andrew or Nathanael would have borne for a hasty exit from a holy place when fear overcame their better sense. What if Thomas had gone up to quell his questions but fainted at the sound of God's voice? These are speculations of course, but we gain the chance to refuse the earthly mob and give unto our friend Jesus the benefit of expecting goodness, mercy, and love in His choosing of only the three disciples. In place of an implied criticism of our Lord, we trust Him with the great qualities we know He demonstrated at all times.

Praise our Lord Jesus for His love on this day!


Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Division of the Chosen

Confusion, desperation, depression, the tools of the enemy are many. You could name several more probably from your personal experience that work to divide God's children one from another. Jesus predicted the time would come when families including His own church family would be divided. We live in that age even now. Peter pictured the Adversary as a roaring lion seeking whom he may devour (1 Peter 5:8) Today, we might picture our enemy as a troll walking around with a hammer and big crowbar seeking whom he may divide one from another. Churches fall apart for no apparent reason, marriages suddenly turn sour, and families split up right out of the blue. We are under attack and its quite past the time when we should realize it. But of course you did already.

Whether in a company, marriage, family, organization, or church, you likely have felt the pain of division that came as a result of the Adversary's successful attack. A spouse became an ex-spouse, a relationship was broken, or a church split into two or more congregations, all because we are more easily defeated when split away from those we love. Even our very thoughts are easily split from the study of the Word.

How often has your Bible study or prayer been distracted by something? Fairly often I suspect. That too is the assault of the Divider. That division the enemy seeks most of all is to divide you and me from God. But fear not, one of the great passages of scripture comes from our brother Paul who was convinced beyond all doubt that nothing can divide us from the love of God in Christ Jesus. (Read in Romans 8, it's toward the end of the chapter!)

Praise God for His abiding love!


Monday, March 16, 2015

Career Advice

Spring approaches with the ending of the week. At this time of the year, as another significant event comes closer for many high school and college seniors, we often take the time to give or seek career advice. Why do we need so much career advice? Most of us can remember how smart we thought we were as high school seniors and how so very certain we were that fame, fortune, or at least a good paycheck awaited us forever and ever, amen. Some very few made the right choice - at least as much as they will ever admit - and never looked back from the career path they set for themselves those many years ago. Some others of us must admit somewhere down the road that we didn't really know a thing about the field we chose and broadcast to the never ending queries, "So, what are you going to do?" Years later, we may still be wondering what the answer is to that particular question.

What career advice does the Word give to us? Remarkable silence. No 1st Century equivalent of the colored parachute? Sorry, there doesn't seem to be a career guide in the Bible. It would surely seem that something so important and that takes up so much of our time would be addressed, but no. John the Baptist gives some advice to people who already had careers. Jesus takes up a new career and then pulls twelve fellows out of their current occupations, but career changes and selections are fairly uncommon. What about that Joseph fellow?

Yes, you could say that Joseph had a major career change: Teenage Joseph went from Daddy's favorite boy, messenger, sometime herdsman, and occasional spy, to slave, steward, and CEO of Egypt, Inc. But at no point did he get to choose which way he would go. David probably thought his career was to watch sheep with occasional chances to be a soldier. Then Samuel showed up one day and anointed him king of Israel. No choice, you're it, young fella! And...we've broached a subject that is just too big for one little devotional.

One bit of career advice Jesus gave goes something like this, "Come, follow Me!" But what does that mean in regard to my career choice?


Saturday, March 14, 2015

Careful Experimentation

Out of coffee beans again! I mixed the last small measure of fresh ground CO2 decaf dark roast espresso bean (or something like that) with a couple teaspoons of Folgers Decaf this morning. Okay, so it's not exactly like mixing acids and bases at random, sometimes a bit less excitement is called for early in the morning. Did you know that IRS Form 1099-Misc has a blank for "Excess golden parachute payments"? Blank 13 on the form is at least appropriate, but I have to wonder who this morning is looking at a figure in that space and wondering what to do with it. Of course, they can send it to me and I'll see what I can do to help with the disposal of such a heinous thing. By careful experimentation this morning, I have produced a pot of palatable coffee and discovered that some folks live on a different financial planet than I do. The next blank over on the ol' 1099 is "Gross proceeds paid to an attorney". Yes, yes, I can see how the recipient of the one might need to make some gross payments to an attorney.

Enough Saturday morning nonsense! How can we praise the Lord on this fine morning? Well, perhaps with a bit of nonsense. Not all the Christian life must be serious reflection. How can we become as children without some play? At this season of the year we face the seriousness of Ye Olde Taxe Filings, but we also face the coming of spring and the celebration of Easter. There is much to mourn on any given day, and the Lord no doubt hears all about that, but we might also give to Him prayers of joy and thanksgiving. With a bit of careful experimentation, we may find much to be joyful over in this life. A short blessing inventory may give us ample reason for giving thanks to God. Life is tough here, but we don't always have to come to the Lord with tales of doom and woe.

Have a better Saturday with a little joy and thanksgiving!


Friday, March 13, 2015

Unrealized Dreams

Dreams of this life may well be for us like treasure piled up on this earth. Wealth, fame, power, and accomplishment dreams often go unrealized in this life of ours. Even in those award shows that come each year there is only room for just a very few winners. Many other dreams must be left behind that year or shelved until the next time. We only elect a president every four years; kings and queens last a lifetime, and we haven't seen an emperor for quite a while (probably a good thing). The wealthy are known as the 1% with good reason, as in 99% of us aren't. Many who live in what seem to us positions of power actually live in frustration for what they cannot accomplish. However, there is another kind of dream that seems unrealized to us right now.

Jesus left to prepare a place for us in His Father's house. Right now, that dream seems unrealized, but our great hope is in Christ. The world appears gone to the dogs, up in smoke, gone wholesale higgly-piggly, or whatever expression you like to use. We long for the return of Christ to set the world right, another unrealized dream...just for now. Again, our great hope is in Christ, not like the unbelievers with their hope in the perfidy (deceitfulness, untrustworthiness) and blind luck of this world. The greatest tragedy may well be to gain all this world has to give, and to miss out on the great hope we have in Christ Jesus. Hmm, I believe my Lord said something very like that, "What profiteth a man..."

Enjoy a wonderful Friday in Christ!


Thursday, March 12, 2015

Mayhap It's Only a Problem When We Make It So

Last week I could write about the sunrise at this time; this week, just a note about the darkness before the dawn. A weak attempt to be literary maybe, but I think I'm just half asleep. The problems of this week may only be problems because we worry them to a frazzle. Of course, the problems never become frazzled, it is us the worriers who become frazzled. True, there are some problems that only become mountains when we worry over them. However, events like the twice-yearly time changes do have physical symptoms for us. Some would have us believe that some problems only exist in our minds, and they would be correct, but that does not mean that it is less of a problem. Whether the mountain to climb exists in the mind, the spirit, or the body, we still climb it with our Lord.

Everyone who believes in Christ gets his or her share of trials, tribulations, mountains and molehills. Some problems are small and some are true mountains that require faith, endurance, patience and the strength that only Christ can give us. The true mountains highlight our weakness and bring glory to God through His magnificent strength and provision. For some of us, our biggest mountains are in the past. For others, we are on the slope right now, perhaps even facing what seems an impassable cliff. Jesus may tell us to be wise and find a way around that cliff. He may tell us to be strong and go straight up. Our Lord may even go first and haul us up at the end of a line. Just maybe, our sweet Lord may show us a set of stairs He carved in that seemingly impassable cliff a long time before we were born.

Face those problems today in prayer and the Word!


Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Proper Soil

As we begin our installment of the gardening blog this morning, I'll have you know that I have a little expertise, so little that I'm not even sure how to spell the word, and no formal training in the gardening arts. However, be that as it may, I feel well prepared to make sweeping and pontifical statements about the matter at hand. Every plant needs the proper soil to grow and produce its fruits. Some plants, such as the asparagus officinalis, grow nearly anywhere and are quite impossible to eradicate. These are properly called 'weeds'. Others, such as the succulent, lovely, tasty, and altogether desirable fruits that a person really wants are as difficult to grow as the weeds are to destroy. Without the proper soil base only weeds grow and mature...over and over again. The best way to overcome all of this in our area is of course to level the soil in the gardening plot, and then build a greenhouse on top of it where the proper soils can be imported into raised boxes and irrigated by a drip system.

Okay, that's it for the gardening blog. Sort of. Gardening or farming works quite well as metaphor and analogy for the Christian life. Weeds stand for sin so well because they are related from the start, that is Genesis and the fall of Adam. The more difficult things to cultivate, love, hope, peace, patience, and the other fruits of the Spirit grow in us seemingly like that fruit tree that refuses year after year to produce much of a crop. So many factors go into a successful garden that we cannot but help make the comparison with how difficult it is to be like Jesus. Fail to read the Word on a regular basis and it is like trying to grow a good plant in bad soil. No prayer or Christian fellowship and we are like that plant trying to grow without watering, a method I have experimented with from time to time in my gardens. Constant weeding is necessary in life to keep the little sins from growing into large 'weeds' requiring heavy tools and intervention to remove. On and on they roll; is it any wonder Jesus used farming a lot in His lessons?

Have a great spring, or almost spring, as we grow in Christ!


Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Why So Many Boats?

Big ships, narrow ships, fast or slow, barges, barques, powerboats, sailing vessels, fishing boats, bass boats or tugs, and so many more that we might be here all day were I to attempt listing them all. In the days of sailing vessels, the master builders attempted with every type and revision to find that perfect ship which could skim the waves with the slightest breeze, while of course carrying tons of cargo and sporting at least defensive weapons and their heavy cannon balls. By this point, one might think that us clever humans would have the matter of sailing the oceans conquered, but alas, a tug cannot do what an oil tanker does; a battleship does not carry enough cargo to make it cost effective as a freighter, and if fire should break out on board, one could quite understandably be disappointed should the Coast Guard send out a ferry. We do not have that one do-everything-really- well ship that we seek. Of course the same can be said of Christians.

God has sent His Son to find sheep who are of so many different types and colors that we might well wonder who among us is that perfect Christian. While we fall to arguing over various means and methods for obeying the Great Commission, God might well say, "All of 'em, of course!" God has made the preacher to preach, the singer to sing, and the writer to write. (Yup, even the ones who only think we can.) Each of us has God's work to do, but not all of our work is the same. As followers of Christ though, all of our work does belong to Him.

Rejoice in the Lord this day!


Monday, March 09, 2015

The Reward After the Valley

A hint of spring in the forecast this week and that is what March usually brings. Now, who do you suppose will feel more blessed with the arrival of spring this year, those of us who have enjoyed a fairly mild winter or those who have endured a more epic sort of winter? Those who enjoy a well-rewarded life here may well miss out on the glories of Christ's Heaven. Little can we be satisfied for long with homes here on earth, but those built for us in Heaven by our Lord will satisfy the deepest longings for home we hold in our dear little hearts. The trials we face here prepare us well for the reward of Heaven. Of course the saddest circumstance would be to endure a life of trial and difficulty with no hope of Heaven.

Life here may seem at times like a constant journey through the valley of death's shadow - funny how the spring time change brings that out every year. Yet, rather would we walk through that valley daily with Jesus than to have no hope of living with Him forever in Heaven. Jesus gave us a great promise; one filled with hope and joy for those who will believe. “Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me. In My Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you." (John 14:1-2) I'll bet there are no spring time changes there.

Enjoy the morning in Christ!


Friday, March 06, 2015

Knowing All About Him

So, after yesterday's devotional, you are wondering that maybe I have gone right off the cliff's edge and fallen into the deep end of the moat. Ha, I've got you there; cliffs don't have moats. The question that comes from a claim of knowing Jesus our Good Shepherd is: How can a mere man know all about the Lord? I'll admit first that I don't even know all about me. And I certainly cannot know all about you. In attempting to know anyone it is helpful to have a biography. Hmm, it seems that we have something along those lines called the Bible. What does this Bible tell us about Him?

We know from the gospels about His birth, death, and resurrection. Most obituaries will have the first two, but I haven't seen very many with that last one. We may be on to someone special here. Revelation 1:8 tell us “I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End,” says the Lord, “who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty.” Whoa! The remainder of scripture in the Bible tells us much more. The life and person of Jesus is probably the most open and well-known story we have to read. Does that mean I can know all about Him?

Though any of us can read John 1:3, "All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made." That does not mean that we were there to see or to understand how He made all things. As God, Jesus is indeed beyond our limited comprehension. As a man, we know much about the life He lived because we live it each day. All our weaknesses and temptations Jesus knew and lived. The triumphs and joys we meet in this life, how short they are and how fleeting, Jesus knew that too. Like all who believe, we want to meet Jesus in person one day and spend a lot of time getting to know Him more. How will He do that with a million billion people in Heaven? I don't know, but I surely do look forward to finding out!

Have a wonderful Friday in Christ!


Thursday, March 05, 2015

Stand Firm in Who You Know

Job seekers learn quickly the old adage: it's not what you know, but who you know that lands the job. Then the starry-eyed little job hunters are shuffled off to a class where they will learn how to put down what they know on a resume. It's just one of the myriad ways in which the world tortures its own. If a well-qualified job candidate were to present a resume listing every person, famous or not, that he or she knew, it would look presumptuous and not pertinent to the position. Gee, if I try a little harder, I can use every 'p' word I know in just one sentence!

Well, Christian, you know someone whose name makes the demons tremble in their subterranean lairs. "But, who really knows Jesus?" you may be tempted to ask. Perhaps we know more than we think. Jesus has a verse for those of us who doubt our knowledge of Him: "I am the good shepherd; and I know My sheep, and am known by My own." (John 10:14) As is often the case we have little trouble accepting the first bit. After all, Jesus is God's Son and knows all. We're okay there, but suddenly we run into the rest of the story, as Paul Harvey used to say. Jesus said that we, His sheep, know the Good Shepherd. We claim the name of Christ in calling ourselves Christian, yet we doubt that thing He said about being known by His own? Too true! Of course we know where doubts come from. Probably better that we learn to trust the statements of our Good Shepherd, dear fellow sheeps, and force aside those flaming darts of doubt from the enemy.

Enjoy a great new day in Christ Jesus!


Wednesday, March 04, 2015

Attending To His Needs

Good morning on this lovely white morning! Snow covers the ground like a blanket of the purest white. Now let's attend to the mundane like the Bible. Don't believe me? "So he came to the sheepfolds by the road, where there was a cave; and Saul went in to attend to his needs. (David and his men were staying in the recesses of the cave.)" (1 Samuel 24:3) There you have it: the basest human function documented in the Bible. It seems that the first king of Israel liked a little privacy when he attended to his needs. Unfortunately, he was also given to not paying attention much while doing so. Perhaps King Saul liked to peruse the latest copy of Jerusalem Weekly while attending to his needs. As we know from the rest of the story, David was able to sneak up on Saul and cut off a bit of the royal robes. Of course the basest of human needs isn't the point of the story or the moral of the parable.

Lessons abound from this story. Think you are down and out in life? David and his men had to hide out in the royal toilet...and he was already anointed king! Don't see your life going anywhere at the moment? An entire army had to wait on the road because the king needed a potty break. Of course, we usually learn the important lesson of wisdom and restraint from this tale. David did not take the opportunity to win his throne by murder, even when his followers urged him to do so. In the same way, Jesus our Lord did not always do those things His brothers and disciples at times urged Him to do. Sometimes the leader is in the lonely position of not doing that thing the disciples think is right at the time.

Stand strong in Christ today!


Tuesday, March 03, 2015

Is it Good or Bad Outside Today?

Blessings on this cold, blustery, snowy day. Yeah, right, what sort of loony associates weather like this and blessings? We don't know how good we have it. Changing of the mind comes fairly easily when we look at the Revelation and see things like 100-lb hailstones, 1/3 of the sun darkened, and water turned to blood. While we complain a bit about the weather now, we know that things will be really bad near the end. On the other hand, we have some idea of how much better circumstances could be too. However, I'm not sure that I know how very wonderful God could make it at any time or what the Lord has in store for us for eternity.

What does a new Earth mean? Much of what I can imagine is but an extension of now. A bit more snow one day, a little less on another. No more of that earth shaking and quaking thing. Volcanoes should behave themselves and hurricanes should use only gentle breezes and soft rains. Tornadoes of course are just plain banned from my imaginary, perfect world. If the heavens declare the glory of God now, what wonders await on that new earth and in the new heavens? As Paul wrote in his letter to the Corinthians:

But as it is written:
“Eye has not seen, nor ear heard,
Nor have entered into the heart of man
The things which God has prepared for those who love Him.” (2:9)

In Christ,

Monday, March 02, 2015

It's a Creation!

Dear Christ-ones, what a glorious day in the Lord Jesus! Some in this world would have us to believe that God used sleight of hand to pull the universe out of some cosmic hat. In this age, it is so easy for us to lose our sense of wonder in what God has created for His pleasure. Created in the image of God, man creates many useful and beautiful things. However, this should not take away that sense of wonder we had as children for God's creation. The great psalmist, David, wrote "The heavens declare the glory of God!" (19:1) Stars sing in the Bible (Job 38:7), but can we hear them today? Do we take the time to listen?

I know the story: If God would just let me have that house out in the country with this thing, and that much land, and this amenity, and so on, then, then I would listen to the music of the stars in the silence of my country estate. Yes, I have felt the same siren call, and a nice place it would be to share with friends and family. Would that get us in the listening position though? Would God hear more prayer and get to enjoy more of our attention? More likely would be additional time at work, more time getting to and from work, more cares and more responsibility, and where would the time to enjoy God's handiwork be left?

Today, we enjoy our Lord's works,