Friday, April 29, 2016

To Remind Me of My Wrong

The question I have bounced around recently, perhaps a coming around again as Solomon observed, is: Why is there a 'w' in our word 'answer'? I believe I have the answer to that! It is there to remind me that I can be quite wrong. Yesterday, it was shown to me once again just how wrong I can be. I did not read a paper carefully and did not hear in the biblical way what was told me in a consultation, and I spent two weeks or more fretting away spare moments in needless and groundless worry. I was wrong, quite wrong.

However, God is good, and in that worrisome time I spent much time in prayer with Him. Good times, times of faith and worship, all because I was so very much in the wrong. Even my most egregious mistakes God uses to bring me closer and to have a time of more intense communion with Him. How does He do that?

I may be in the wrong or I may be in the right on any day of the week, but God is always good. I love the consistency of our Lord! A person may be found hateful or loving, but God is always loving us. A human might trust or betray, be trustworthy or false, but our God is always and forever trustworthy and true. An organization made by and made up of humans cannot be trusted, all will fail and fall in the end. But God is raising up a bride for His Son and she will be found pure, innocent, and without the stain of sin in her. God's church is a woman we belong to, just as we belong to Him.

I was wrong, but my God is always right!

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Not My Words, But Thine O Lord

Have a few words in you just clamoring to come out? Sure, we all like to have our say whether it is in spoken words or the written ones. We like to be noticed, even admired for our sterling wit, deep wisdom, and scintillating conversation. However, most of us have some pretty self-serving and mundane words that bust out instead. As our Lord told us, from out of the evil in the hearts of man come all the selfish, greedy, lustful, hateful, and wicked words we say, hear, and read. That isn't an exact quote; read Matthew 15:16-20 to study exactly what Jesus said.

It is interesting to think that for all that Jesus spoke in His ministry, not one word came out that He might have wanted to take back. Not one word of sin passed the lips of our Lord because no sin existed in His heart. He never needed to seek forgiveness of a neighbor, had no need to apologize, and spoke exactly the words of love needed for each person at all times. And, while doing all of that, He spoke to us these many years later. So, with that in mind, we go forth saying, "Not my words, but Thine O Lord!"

How much better for us to speak and write and even to think only the words of our Lord and Savior? We can hardly imagine the goodness and love that would flow from us if our proud words were set aside for but a day in favor of His. Well, we have good news there! Jesus is not making copies of Himself, He is perfection just as He is, but His Spirit is working us over and working us out to make us into saints of love and goodness speaking and writing forth those words of love, goodness, and devotion to Him. Fear not, Jesus will complete His work in us against that day when He will come to receive us unto Himself.

But until that day when I am remade completely in His image, I pray: Not my words, but Thine O Lord!


Wednesday, April 27, 2016

How 'bout I Stay Here Today

We have active imaginations, or at least I do. Maybe some of you don't know what that is, but I suspect that probably you know quite well. This imagining takes us to the future; the one that we don't know and cannot predict with any accuracy. The future where Jesus does not wait for us or travel with us because it is a lie. We imagine all sorts of horrors in that future, few of which are spoken in the Bible, God's word about the future that will happen. Even if we train our imagination to imagine only those seals, trumpets and vials God revealed in the Revelation, we don't know the timing of them or whether you and I will be a part of them. So, I made a decision this morning with the Spirit God has given me: How 'bout I stay here today.

When Jesus told us in Matthew 28:20 that He would be with us always, even to the end of the age, He said it in the present, that present where He and I walk together. Jesus states it in the present: "and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age." 'I am' is not in that horrible future we try to dwell on and worse, control.

I have noticed in my mental ruminations that the imagination is not a very controllable beast, though I try to make it so. Horrors will creep their way in when my imagination opens the doors to them. As I try to imagine victories in whatever arena is bothering me on this day, the imagination lets in a few wild beasts to tear up the place of my fantasy triumph. Jesus patiently waits back in the present for me to return from that little and dangerous mental excursion. The Lord can lead in a prophecy, but He has no part of those fantasies where the imagination does not serve me well. How often do I frighten myself half to death with anxious visions made up of nothing and accomplish nothing at the same time? So, once again as the Lord is willing to keep me: How 'bout I stay here today.


Tuesday, April 26, 2016

A Letter From um...Before

In this age of computer insecurity, you've probably received an e-mail from a long lost friend who is apparently doing some work in a far, far away country who is suddenly in deep trouble. Thugs have taken his wallet, britches, purse, satchel, wife, car, plane tickets and teddy bear. I don't have to guess at this, there is one in my inbox even now that I am using as a model. I'm not sure why they hire contractors from Kansas City to work in the Philippines, but there it is. Scott is in trouble and I must pull out all the stops to help him in his hour of, what is that subject line? Oh, yes, in his terrible ordeal (HELP, complete with several exclamation points). Whatever other trouble he is in, it seems that at least one of his punctuation keys is sticking (and he is travelling with his teddy bear which can't be a good sign).

We all have our troubles, and scams like this don't help us to help one another. We have been trained through this world-wide graft or grift or whatever the latest term is to suspect almost everything that comes through our communication channels. Funny though, I think Jesus warned us of this sort of thing long before we were born. Yes, I know you couldn't read the Bible before you were born, but Jesus has His ways.

“Behold, I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves. Therefore be wise as serpents and harmless as doves." Matt 10:16

Wise as serpents? Yes, because serpents don't want to get stepped on by big lumbering people they wisely stay out of the way or give warning of their presence. Jesus told His disciples and us to be alert. Looking around the Internet for just a bit is all it takes to convince me that I am indeed a sheep amongst the wolves. Mostly because I try to get away with using words like 'amongst'; it's a dead giveaway to the wolf population. Fortunately, I can't think of a single person in my life who would use the words 'terrible ordeal' to get my attention or seek my help. I guess I can let that one go for now.

Have a great Tuesday in Christ!

Monday, April 25, 2016

Your God, He Will Deliver You

Facing a lions' den today? Sure, we all are in a manner of speaking. Our den of lions may not be a danger to life and limb as the prophet Daniel faced, but that den desires our destruction in much the same way. For behind our problems and challenges both large and small is our Adversary, the Devil, stalking about like a roaring lion seeking whom he may devour. As you go forth to face those roaring fears this morning, remember the words of King Darius, "Your God, whom you serve continually, He will deliver you." (Dan 6:16)

This was not open to Daniel's interpretation as we might think. "Well, I would like to serve God continually, but there was that sin over there, and I don't always think of others first, and my service is just not really up to scratch." Daniel probably faced similar doubts, but we hear not a word from him. No, this was a royal decree, an imputation of righteousness from God, spoken by the king, and a promise of salvation based on God's work alone. Beginning to sound a bit familiar maybe? The king said, "You serve God continually and He will save you." Period, not open to discussion. We face that very thing this day.

Sin, it's a real lions' den, but God has given us right standing with Him by His Son, Jesus Christ. God has promised to deliver us from this world and from the punishment our sin deserves. He has done it; at the cross He stated "It is finished!" Saved by the blood of the Lamb! Now, as the King has decreed, let us with good courage face that lions' den this week.

Yours in Christ,

Friday, April 22, 2016

Is His Name Important?

We call on the name of Jesus often, but is it the name that is important? The religious authorities seemed to think so back in the first days of the Acts of the Apostles. First the command came to not speak or teach, and then the command was repeated after a beating. No doubt the authorities thought they were being merciful and just in this progression.

So they called them and commanded them not to speak at all nor teach in the name of Jesus. (Acts 4:18)

And they agreed with him, and when they had called for the apostles and beaten them, they commanded that they should not speak in the name of Jesus, and let them go. (Acts 5:40)

So, the Jewish religious authorities of the day agree the name is important. What about our more recent past? Do you remember that old saying about not mentioning the name of the adversary lest he hear and come to visit? Probably you do. Well, if naming someone brings him to your side...

JESUS! JESUS! JESUS! Immanuel! God of Heaven! Let us call out and bring Him to visit today! Of course we know that Jesus is with us always, even to the end of the age. Sometimes our fears are a bit on the silly side, but the truth is that a name is important and the name of Jesus most important of all.

Tribulations abound in this world; call on the name of Jesus today. Bring to Him your challenges, problems, difficulties, tribulations, and yes, your sins as well. It's not like He doesn't know them already. Bring the joy of the Lord into your house by calling on His name. Trust in the power of Jesus' name, for: "Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father." (Phil 2:9-11).

Indeed. Amen!

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Zing! Right At Me

How many times have you read a morning devotional or sat for a sermon and found the message directed right at you. It seems that the minister or writer must be in your life in a most intimate way to know these things. What sort of spy network must he/she have to know this about me? Yet, I can assure you that is not the case.

When I write of a sin, I am not thinking of one of you and saying to myself something like, "Boy that Burt surely is a sinful one, I had better warn him of the error of his ways!" No, I don't know these things about you, but God does.

When I read a devotional in the morning (or any time of the day actually) or hear a sermon and that message hits right on the mark, I know that God has sent a zinger directed right at me. Sometimes it is breathtaking the accuracy of His messages to me. I sit and I wonder if anyone else even read the message that day so personal and pertinent is it to me at that time and in this place. How does He do it?

Of course, God knows me better than I know myself. And there may well be many others in that same boat with me on any given day. After a little wondering though, my response to the message is what must come next. For those messages especially must not be forgotten in the busy of the day.

Rejoice in the Lord! He knows us so well.


Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Is Your Devotional By a Dead Guy?

Yes, I am writing to you from beyond the grave this morning... No, I'm writing in my usual chair at my usual home, and as far as I know I am still among those we call 'the living'. I put the single quotes around that because I'm sure that we don't yet know true living here in the shadow lands of death. Jesus knows true living and He waits for us to return to Him in the land where life is eternal and blessed.

Two of my devotional writers are dead, gone, no longer on this earth...passed, resting in peace, beyond their expiration date, and yet each morning they write to me through the magic of recorded words passed along the Internet. My words come to you in the same way; how do you know that I am not writing from Heaven? Easy, of course, I have no knowledge that you cannot get from God's Word or from His Holy Spirit. I can't write of what it's like 'up here' because I am still down below with y'all. The recorded words of my dead devotional brothers are similarly lacking in that special knowledge that only those who are with Christ in the heavenly realm can know.

We are gaining more hints and bits of knowledge though. Children are going to be with Jesus for a brief time and returning to tell us of the sweetness to come. Several books are available giving us more knowledge of what is coming soon. But children are not the only witnesses. Adults too have died and gone to Heaven, only to be sent back with their testimony. Of course, there is a point that those who must return cannot go beyond. Not all knowledge and experience is available even to them. We still have that separation for a little while.

No, your devotional is not actually by a dead guy. But oh what they might tell us about this short stay in the lands of persecution and suffering! And mayhap that is their message too: this time is short, believe in Jesus now, have faith until the end. The great things that will come; will come!

Until we celebrate with Jesus, have a loving day in the love of Christ!


Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Letters of Love

How did Paul go from the Terror of Tarsus, at least as far as the early Christian churches were concerned, to writing letters of love to them? Of course, we know the answer to that: He met Jesus on the road to Damascus. That dramatic story of a man converted from one path in life to The Way is one we return to often. Paul stopped persecuting the first Christians and became the great apostle; planting new churches, debating the pagan scholars, suffering great persecution and embarking on lengthy sea voyages to spread the good news of Jesus Christ. Oh, and he wrote those great love letters to the churches that we treasure even today almost 2,000 years later.

My story of conversion is not quite so dramatic as far as I can see; yours probably isn't either. But that is based on my worldly vision and yours. Perhaps, from the point of view of our Lord and Savior, our rebirth was far more dramatic, much more difficult for our Lord to effect, and we would go down as one of the stubbornest cases He ever came across, should such stories ever be published in the Chronicle of Heaven. We don't know that, but it could be true. All we need to know is that He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins. And that God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. The Bible, God's love letter to us all!


Monday, April 18, 2016

I Have Overcome the World!

Of course it's not me saying that. It would not take much investigation into my life to see that I cannot claim to have overcome the world, but rather it can be seen that in many ways the world has thrown me down the stairs of life many a time. My defeat can be seen in my fears, failures, fallacies, and fainting along the way. However, in focusing on all of that, I can see that the critic has taken the measure of me without taking into account the Son of my God!

Indeed, the Lord of my life has overcome this world and all the powers and principalities in it. He said it in John 16:33. When I fall, He lifts me up. When I fail, He covers my shame. It is good to be one of His beloved.

The son of King Nebuchadnezzar inherited the greatest kingdom of the age. This king had all that we feel we need to overcome the world. The best and brightest of his peoples came to the capital to share their knowledge and learn from each other. The most attractive of women and men were available for the king's pleasure. The most skilled of cooks and artisans produced whatever the king might desire in foods or toys to play with. And celebrity? Well, this man was king! Yet, with four little words written on the wall, this mighty king was utterly overthrown.

Then the king’s countenance changed, and his thoughts troubled him, so that the joints of his hips were loosened and his knees knocked against each other. (Dan 5:6)

Yow, that is not overcoming the world! That is an extreme fear. This king, a man with all that we might think would save us in this world: wealth, servants, celebrity, military strength, university learning, political power, and his kingly abilities, is utterly overcome by the Lord writing four little words on a wall. Yes, my Lord has overcome the world. Let us not forget Him when the world comes to knock us down.

Have a happy tax day!

Saturday, April 16, 2016

Shine On Little Lampstand!

In Daniel 5:5, a ghostly hand writes on a wall opposite the lampstand. We know this famous story from the Bible. In the story, a proud king gets his comeuppance, and that certainly is a lesson, but there is another. As is common in the Bible, we get lessons and lessons from one story. God's word is deep enough for the scriptural pearl diver but also shallow enough for the trembling swimmer novice.

In this story, the phrase 'opposite the lampstand' jumped out at me as the gentle touch of the Spirit directed my training in the Word. Why opposite the lampstand? We see the reflected light there, and so it makes sense in the physical world, but in the spiritual sense, the hand wrote on the wall opposite the lampstand because that's where the king was facing. The world faces the darkness too, so lampstands shine onto the wall opposite to enlighten the world to the good news of Jesus Christ.

If we look at the two witnesses in the Revelation, they are called the two lampstands (11:4). This hearkens back to Zechariah in the Old Testament, wherein verse 4:2, the prophet sees a mighty lampstand with two olive trees. This lampstand has seven pipes and seven bowls or lamps. This is our dear friend and constant companion, God's Holy Spirit, shining His word unto the nations. A message is given to Zechariah to pass on to one of God's servants, Zerubbabel: "Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit, says the Lord of hosts." (4:6)

How often do we pray for some form of might or power? We do, might as well admit it. Yet, the message from the Lord to us may be the same: "Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit." When Ezekiel saw the glory of God, he fell down. God's Spirit entered him and raised him up. We dare not doubt the power of the Holy Spirit. The power of each of God's little lampstands to shine forth into the dark world comes from His Spirit. So, shine on little lampstand; the might and power of God's Spirit shines forth in you!

A good rain comes down,

Friday, April 15, 2016

It's Not in the Bible!

I searched in the NKJV of the Bible this morning and the word 'coffee' does not appear there; so we can't have any today. The argument that 'it's not in the Bible' can be an amusing one. We don't find personal computers, cars, trucks, airplanes, wrist watches, cellular phones, or the Internet mentioned in the Bible, but few people call for their dismissal from modern life because they are 'not in the Bible'. But mention the Trinity and all manner of dissension breaks out because it's not in the Bible. I'm not mentioned in the Bible by name, but please don't throw me out just yet.

What is in the Bible are the important things in life. Jesus, salvation, the Cross, an empty tomb, resurrection, loving God, loving your neighbor, eternal life, and there might be a mention or two of someone returning for us. Along with the many stories, lessons, laws, histories, and prophecies in the Bible is an everlasting love that our God has for us. Mercies abound in this great book of books. Righteousness prevails throughout the text. Yes, sin has its day, but in the end Jesus stands triumphant, victor over death and the grave. Praise God for that; death and the grave are scary places to look at!

Have a great weekend in Christ Jesus!


Thursday, April 14, 2016

Thank You, Lord, For The Falls

What would we do without the falls in life? How would we know to look up to our Lord and Savior without being laid out once in a while? Indeed, when things are going well I look up much less than I ought and when things go poorly I am often in earnest prayer. The first part comes naturally to fallen folks, some even look down so much they claim that God does not exist. The latter comes from the prompting of God's own Spirit as He pokes us often, "Look up, I'm here!" Without God and His dear Holy Spirit, we would fall and never look up.

King Nebuchadnezzar had some tough dreams, two in particular. We know the story of the first and take warning from the parable of the second. Daniel, recognized as having the Spirit of the Most High God in him even by this pagan king, told Nebuchadnezzar of the greatness of his kingdom, a cause for a pause to give God the glory, right? Unfortunately, Nebu chose the way of pride first, just as you or I would in the same place.

"Therefore, O king, let my advice be acceptable to you; break off your sins by being righteous, and your iniquities by showing mercy to the poor. Perhaps there may be a lengthening of your prosperity.” ​All this came upon King Nebuchadnezzar. At the end of the twelve months he was walking about the royal palace of Babylon. The king spoke, saying, “Is not this great Babylon, that I have built for a royal dwelling by my mighty power and for the honor of my majesty?” (Daniel 4:27-30)

After telling the good parts of the dream, Daniel tried to warn King Nebuchadnezzar to repent. As the story goes, he didn't, and the hard fall came. We cannot fail to cringe when we see the pride in the king's words. A year of time to repent and follow the advice of Daniel did no good. Without Christ in our lives, we would fall just as hard and in quite the same manner. However, after the seven years went by, the king was restored and he immediately looked up in praise and gratitude to God. Without that fall, King Nebuchadnezzar may well have been lost forever. So, yes we do very much thank God for the falls in this life. Our God is well able to humble the proud, and from that fallen position we find it more immediate, more necessary, and our heart's fervent desire to look up to Him, our Lord and Savior, forever and ever, amen!


Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Moving God's People

Have you ever popped a pill with your last swallow of a drink only to realize the drink went down but the pill stayed put? I wonder if moving people to where He wants them ever causes God any trouble. We can be some stubborn folk. The prophet Jonah didn't just stay put when the word of God came to him. Jonah took off in the opposite direction to the one God wanted him to travel. That may be an extreme example, but God had no trouble getting His reluctant prophet back to the right place. The problem God may have with us Christians may be more of an inertia thing than a Jonah thing. We tend to stay put unless an outside force acts on us. Nah, that's an unfair generalization. I'm sure there is many a Christian who will take off in the wrong direction when the Lord calls. Perhaps from fear, doubt and uncertainty, or from that old rebellious flesh, but we can pull a 'Jonah' just as well as God's prophet.

Focusing on us, we can see many a problem God might have in moving His people where He wants us. The problem there is whom we are focusing on. There is a good reason that God is called The Almighty. When we gave our lives to Him, we gave up that illusion of sovereign control the world says we have over life, events, and circumstance. If you or I have not moved for a while, it is probably because God has us planted right where he wants us to grow. Jonah's flight did not cause God to break out in a sweat; moving one of us would not trouble our Lord in the slightest.

The only problem my Lord has you see,
Is when I take my eyes off Him,
And look at me.

Have a wonderful day in Christ!


Monday, April 11, 2016

Jonathan Lived a Life

One lesson we might take this morning from Jonathan is his devotion to David.

Then Jonathan and David made a covenant, because he loved him as his own soul.(1 Sam 18:3)

Now that is loving your neighbor as your self. In searching through 1 Samuel, I don't see where Jonathan gave in to envy of his friend David. Certainly the stories of Jonathan's military adventures show a man who could have led his nation as a military king. Jonathan might have insisted on a dynasty such as the pagan nations did and claimed the kingdom on the basis of inheritance, but he did not. Jonathan might have fostered bitterness in his heart and learned to hate David, but he devoted himself to God's anointed king even to the point of standing against his father, the current king. We may face a similar choice in this age.

Jonathan showed character that can only come from God's influence on his life. Many years later, the princes of Israel would not choose God and their sins were many. The prophet Ezekiel pointed this out as a messenger from God. A man of Jonathan's devotion and godly character might have done much to avert the destruction of Israel. We don't get those might-have-been's though. Jonathan lived a life when he did and was greatly beloved by the man who would become king after Jonathan's father fell. Like we do today, Jonathan chose God and His anointed one over what the world had to offer him. For we too have an anointed one to chose. Chose life; chose Christ!

I may not be king, but I can be His!

Friday, April 08, 2016

The Long Way Home

Three friends stand before the king. Accused of a capital crime, their fate appears sealed as they again make the choice to defy the king's will. However, their faith speaks of God who can deliver them from the snare the world has set. We can read the details of their story in Daniel 3. Do you or I face the deep pit of a worldly snare today? Is it impossible for one of God's children to escape this pit on his own? Every day on this planet many a brother or sister in Christ faces the walls of the pit but looks to the God of Heaven.

Yes, God may provide a padded chair attached to the lift platform of a powerful helicopter to yank His sheep straight up and out of the pit. A miracle. Is it not just as much a miracle for the ensnared one to look again at the walls and see a pathway out of the pit? Though that path may appear to be a lengthy obstacle course fraught with gravest peril, is not God's working in that way just as much a miracle? It is true that the Christian may spend valuable time looking for the quicker and easier miracle when the long way home is the path God sets before us.

I have looked for the elevator out of the pit many a time when God is pointing to the narrow and winding staircase. Which way is best for me or you is the one God has selected, and our trust must be in His way for our obedience to follow. The three friends of Daniel were quickly saved and quickly removed from the furnace. Daniel had to spend the entire night in the pit of lions. Joshua and Caleb, though they were faithful, had to tread the long 40 years in the wilderness with their unbelieving brothers. We too may have to take the long way home in something, and though we may prefer in our limited vision the 40 second lift over the 40 year journey, God's way is always the best way.

In Christ we walk the narrow way,


Thursday, April 07, 2016

After These Things II: Before All Them Other Things

Most folks find it comforting to know what is coming; we don't read weather forecasts just for amusement. A good ol' prophecy from the Bible holds a bunch of these things too, the ones where God gives comfort before all them other things come to pass. Abram had a little 'after these things' in yesterday's message, but today we can look at the other side; that side where our Lord and Father is in complete control over the things that haven't happened yet.

Just after those things had been comforted, Abram has a question for the Lord about a promise that God had made to him.

But Abram said, “Lord GOD, what will You give me, seeing I go childless, and the heir of my house is Eliezer of Damascus?” Then Abram said, “Look, You have given me no offspring; indeed one born in my house is my heir!” (Gen 15:2-3)

Eliezer of Damascus, yeah, I remember him. Of course, we are all thinking, "Who?" Eliezer didn't quite get to take his place in Israel's history because God had words of comfort for Abram about what had not yet happened. Abram, understandably perhaps from our point of view, had a concern about the future. How was he to have a great nation in his descendants when he didn't even have one descendant to show in his ripening old age? Abram was kind of looking about rather earnestly for that one grain of sand that would start the future beach.

"Aach! Where is your faith Abe?" we ask since we know the rest of the story from the scriptures. Indeed, between the physical descendants and the spiritual descendants of Israel and our Lord Jesus, we see the beach full of sand grains that Abram was promised. But Abraham and Israel are not done yet. God's comforting words about our future have more to say about long reigns and the ever expanding government of the Lord. God's promises for us will come too; take comfort in His grace today!


Wednesday, April 06, 2016

After These Things

Good morning on this Wednesday in April! Tribulations, problems, opportunities, possibilities, whatever word you use to describe some less than comfortable circumstances in your life, you have them, I have them, we all have something to struggle against in this life. We may not get the word of comfort from above first either. In the story of Abram, he gets a word of comfort from the Lord, but it begins with those words that may slip by us now and again:

After these things the word of the LORD came to Abram in a vision, saying, “Do not be afraid, Abram. I am your shield, your exceedingly great reward.” (Gen 15:1)

Did you see them this time? Yes, 'After these things...', then the Lord gave words of comfort to Abram. The Lord's comfort for us is always timely according to our needs. Perhaps if the words came before the situation we would be consumed by dread and anxiety. Maybe we wouldn't even believe them if they came ahead of the circumstance. Whatever the cause, we get the words of comfort from our Lord after these things happen, those things that make us uncomfortable or even hurt us. Yikes! No more things that come before the words of comfort, please! Well, hold on there just a second.

The promise of eternal rest in Heaven comes after some things too. Things like being born into this world, growing up and growing older, living in a family and, if we are blessed, raising a family, and of course facing all of those problems that come up in the living of this life. We struggle in the boot camp to eternity, and of course it isn't what we would call fun in many circumstances. However, after these things...comes Heaven with Jesus our Lord!

Let us endure to the end as we look to Him!


Tuesday, April 05, 2016

The Day of the Big Vote

Lately it seems that votes are a big surprise in many places. Opinion polls don't always reflect what happens in the voting booth. Today, we have a big vote in a little town, our little town to be more precise. What will happen we won't know until late tonight or tomorrow morning. Life may change, will probably change either way the vote goes. Hard feelings may persist; the side that falls in the election may try different tactics, and the margin of the vote may cause heated analysis and discussion. Some of us are going to pray the vote goes one way, others may pray that our prayers are not answered in the affirmative. Gasp! The other side may pray too?

Yes, their faith may bring the other guys in prayer to whomever or whatever deity they serve. It may even be the Most High God whom we serve and come to in prayer. Why, because we believe. It is interesting that one aspect of the vote today involves faith, mostly because scientific evidence is not yet available to support what some believe to be true. Faith, even if it should turn out to be in the wrong method, material, or an imagined deity has a powerful effect on us. We must be quite careful in what or whom we place our faith. False prophets and false gods have deceived many throughout the ages. And, we fallen humans have a talent for just being plain old wrong.

Praise God that our Lord, God the Father, Jehovah, can deliver us from all snares, and get faith pointed in the right direction for those who are misled.


Monday, April 04, 2016

The Fruit of Our Nation

Fruit production shows what is deep inside the heart of a man or woman just like the trees our Lord mentioned. (see Matt 7:15-20) This also holds true for the nation of those men and women. Therefore the political candidates we wring our hands and heads over this year are nothing but us looking at the fruit of our nation. Kind of makes you a bit weepy inside with that feeling of weakness in the knees and back, eh? More than most nations, the words We The People sum up the tree we have grown in this land. You may be tempted to point to a neighbor or two, but we can see the fruits we have produced each day in our media.

An aside before you give up all hope in our nation: We do struggle against enemies, the spiritual powers of the realm of darkness as Paul mentioned in his letter to the Ephesians. Not all of the good fruit is reported or seen. Many believe in Jesus Christ in this nation and that produces a lot of that good fruit we don't always get to read about or see on the news. Above all, God is good and loves us with an everlasting love. Let us gather as God's people and pray before we lose all hope in this nation of ours.

So, we look today at some fruit that might appear a bit moldy, hairy, rotten past its expiration date, or riddled with that inside corruption we fear to bite into. We the people have produced that fruit. I'm sorry, but that weepy feeling is coming back. Of course if we keep staring at that fruit we might give up hope. The bad fruits of our nation are symptoms of what is rotten inside the tree. We know the cure for that is not within us. No political candidate stands a chance against the rottenness inside our tree. We, as God's people, must look to the One who cleanses us from the inside out: He can do the same for our nation.

Have a great prayer or two today!


Friday, April 01, 2016

The Lord is Good to Me!

Sounds like the start of an uplifting song of praise. I think that I can better understand Arioch than most folks. Having served in the military and as a security officer, I have an insight or two into what he may have felt. Oh, you might be wondering, "Arioch, who's Arioch?" Some of you Bible scholars will recognize the name, or maybe you play the expert level in a Bible trivia game. Arioch was the captain of the king's guard given the order to execute all the wise men in Nebuchadnezzar's kingdom when they could not tell the king his dream and what it meant.

Then with counsel and wisdom Daniel answered Arioch, the captain of the king’s guard, who had gone out to kill the wise men of Babylon; he answered and said to Arioch the king’s captain, “Why is the decree from the king so urgent?” Then Arioch made the decision known to Daniel. (Dan 2:14-15)

Arioch probably didn't much like the orders he received. This was not a security matter. The king was sleep-deprived and upset, and he gave a murderous order. Arioch was not throwing his life on the line to save the king from an assassin like a Secret Service agent might do for our president. He may have been walking by the throne room to check his guards at just the wrong time when the king looked around for someone to carry out his dirty work. Arioch probably knew many of these wise men and had gone to them for counsel now and then. Then, he met Daniel.

Arioch probably sought for some help from his gods, or we hope, God himself. God sent His mercy in the form of a captive from Judea. Arioch had the opportunity to witness God's love in action as Daniel revealed not only the interpretation but that famous dream that Nebuchadnezzar could not even recall in the light of day. Everyone won that day. Daniel and his friends lived to see another day, Nebuchadnezzar got some sleep, and Arioch didn't have to carry out an awful order. We only know the man's name and his job, but along with Arioch we can say today, "The Lord is good to me!"

I pray this day that the Lord will relieve you of some great stress in your life,