Thursday, April 19, 2018

Fallen Adam, Fallen Me

Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” Genesis 1:26

There is a temptation to think that one of us, or perhaps a hero of the faith from the list in the book of Hebrews, might have done better in Adam's place. After all, we think we have some small idea of the consequences from Adam's decision to partake with Eve, his wife, of the forbidden fruits of that tree. Surely, we pridefully think, that with such knowledge of what the fall caused we would not do such a thing and inflict it on the generations of man to come. Bah, in thinking such things we forget the advantages Adam had in that garden God made for him.

Adam had no genetic defects or conditions passed down through the generations of a family. None. Created from the dust of the Earth that God saw was good, Adam did not need to send in a saliva sample to test his DNA. He had no genetic twitch along the DNA chain that would cause him to think he was born a football or any other strange thing, a sort of claim that is oddly common in our age. Adam had no parents to blame for a faulty upbringing. A quick temper was not passed down from a father given to smacking little Adam around at the slightest offence. For Adam had no earthly father and he was never little. Even a mistake in childhood did not follow Adam into his adult years on that permanent record we were warned about as kids. Adam probably had no idea that alcohol, drugs, or many other things could alter his mood, make him act like an ass, or grab his mind in a near unbreakable hold. Adam was innocent in the best possible way, strong in all the ways a loving God created him, and able to walk shamelessly with His Father God in the cool of an evening in a garden without any danger to his person from the animals whom he had dominion over. With none of those advantages, how could one of us ever think we would not fall like Adam did but much more quickly and without the excuse of Eve doing it first?

As Paul pointed out in Romans, with a little summarizing by yours truly: fallen Adam, fallen me, and all of us need a new Adam to bring us back to the Father. Praise God that Jesus our Lord gave Himself to bring us home to God our Creator!


Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Fearing the Pain

Fear took hold of them there,
​​And pain, as of a woman in birth pangs. Psalm 48:6

Have you injured, sprained, strained, torn, or broken something in your leg at some point in this life? Often in such a condition every step can become an exercise in fearing pain. Soon, you may have trouble walking at all, and all the other parts of the body start sympathetically feeling the pain too. With so much pain going on it is no wonder that we begin to fear any more pain. With each step an adventure of the worst kind, it may not be long before a person gives up the fight and seeks help, perhaps even going so far as to visit a doctor! Fear takes hold of us in this life, and often it comes from pain.

It is interesting that today's verse sits in the middle of a psalm glorifying God, almost like there is more to the immediate picture than our pain. It is hard to know anything beyond the present hurting, but faith led the sons of Korah to write about the glory and beauty of God even as they too knew the pain and fear of this life. The kings of this psalm are all of us. We live in wonder as we look upon what we read of our God in the Bible. We wonder as pain comes and fear, and soon we are fearing the pain, and yet, there is our God. Beautiful, kind in loving, gracious in judgment, and always well aware of every painful and fearful step we take.

Take one more step, pilgrim, we are on the way to the Promised Land, and our God will see us there!


Monday, April 16, 2018

No Words Added

And I heard a voice in the midst of the four living creatures saying, “A quart of wheat for a denarius, and three quarts of barley for a denarius; and do not harm the oil and the wine.” Revelation 6:6

I had to check this prophecy for eggs, but it does not mention the recent price jump we have seen at the grocery store. Once again I missed my chance to invest in the futures for some product that rose dramatically in price. If indeed the Easter celebration is to blame for the shortage, then we can certainly fix that next year. For the celebration of our Lord's resurrection is in no way dependent on boiling eggs. However that was not my question in looking at the Revelation this morning.

I wondered if we should in our keeping watch for signs of the end add eggs or peanut butter or any other shortage item to the list of those things mentioned in our verse for today? I don't think barley is all that common in our diet anymore, and I haven't worried over the price of wine for years. But there is that curse at the end about adding anything to this prophecy, and I don't want any of those plagues added to me.

We might be unsure whether Jesus or John added those words to the Revelation, but I think John did this and for a good reason. John, in his wisdom from the Lord, did not want the Revelation, already a fantastic prophecy, to become a legendary fantasy by storytellers adding embellishment over the years. John may have seen some embellishment on our Lord's ministry by the time he received the Revelation of our Lord Jesus, and he wanted to make sure that sort of thing was stopped.

So, no adding the eggs? No, but in place of John passing along an exhaustive list of every food product ever used from Adam to the return of Christ Jesus, we can know that any food will become short in supply and ridiculously expensive in the Tribulation. Good thing there is a Rapture first!

Rejoice in Christ today!

Friday, April 13, 2018

The Storehouses of Snow

“Have you entered the storehouses of the snow,
or have you seen the storehouses of the hail,
which I have reserved for the time of trouble,
for the day of battle and war? Job 38:22-23

A portion from that first one seems to be coming our way on Friday the 13th. According to the Lord though, this snow and hail is reserved for a particular day. Will the snow and hail be deployed to add to the confusion of battle or to put a stop to it? Blizzards will come and go as they have for many a year. The question put to Job was of a different order altogether. Storehouses containing such snow and hail that the time of trouble, that day of battle and war will be affected. Just how much snow and hail would this require? Like Job, we have no chance of answering that question, nor have we entered those storehouses. God knows things that we do not.

Of course He does! That does not mean that our Lord is any less good or loving. The mysteries of our Lord are not there to harm those who believe in the saving grace of His Son, our Lord Jesus Christ. I believe those storehouses of hail and snow are set aside to put a stop to that day of battle and war, and to gain the attention of those who need to pay attention to our Lord. Among the many great and terrible things that will happen in the end times, this is another that is a shout from the Lord, "I am here, and I want to save you from your sins!"

Let us pray that all of them will answer His call. If they will not, the Lord may drop a snow drift on top of them as a timeout to reconsider.

Have a great Friday in Christ Jesus!

Thursday, April 12, 2018

Bread From Heaven

Then the LORD said to Moses, “Behold, I will rain bread from heaven for you. And the people shall go out and gather a certain quota every day, that I may test them, whether they will walk in My law or not. And it shall be on the sixth day that they shall prepare what they bring in, and it shall be twice as much as they gather daily.” Exodus 16:4-5

Behold! The local grocery store shall open this day and there shall be no charge! But, each must take only what he or she needs for one day and no more.

You and I can imagine the brief period of chaos in and outside of the grocery store that announcement would cause. It would be quite difficult for any of us to obey the law with so many piling up cart after cart and hauling them out. Fights would ensue with shelves inside the store quickly emptied, and the police would have to be called in to restore order. Even with trucks lined up out to the highway to restock the shelves, it would take quite some time before people would gather only according to their daily needs, and some few would still attempt to gather more and sell it on Ebay. We know this would happen because we feel the temptation too.

Like the Israelites of ancient times, we do not have it in our fallen selves to obey the law. Therefore, as I cannot trust myself to only gather what I need, I shall go on a diet and not participate in that gathering. Nope, obedience to the law means not skipping my daily quota as much as it means not gathering too much. We cannot escape the law that way. Some have tried to move away from our Lord's command to love our neighbors by living where they have none. It seems once more that the answer to obedience comes from our Lord much like that manna did back in the day: daily, free of charge, and only available from Him. Maybe the answer is Him!

Yes, Jesus our Lord is the Bread from Heaven. How do we gather our daily quota of Him? The same way Paul and Silas did: prayer, singing hymns, thanksgiving, fellowship, loving, and the study of His word.


Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Deep Scars

And now, lest he put out his hand and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live forever”— therefore the LORD God sent him out of the garden of Eden to till the ground from which he was taken. So He drove out the man; and He placed cherubim at the east of the garden of Eden, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to guard the way to the tree of life.

Why? we might ask, was this necessary? Imagine living forever with a growing accumulation of deep scars. No, not those scars you see on your skin, the surface of the body, but those deep scars - the ones that do not show to the eye.

We have scars on the mind, emotional scarring, that does not show to others. It can come from many things in this life such as betrayal and the separation of a loved one by death. These scars are deep and they hurt us until we see our Lord and He dries our every tear. Now, once more try to imagine living forever with this sort of awful thing piling up as the decades, centuries and eons go by. Scar upon scar, emotional hurts and wounds going back to early in our lives and no end of it in sight, ever. It was a great mercy to us that God had Adam driven forth from the Garden and the tree of life.

Many of you have told me stories of these deep scars in your life. These things also tend to rise closer to the surface during those times of stress when we have taken on too much, or too much has come our way whether we wanted it or not. The best answer is to go directly to our Lord in prayer as quickly as possible, and so much is indeed possible in His love!


Monday, April 09, 2018

Died Without A Name

Now there was found in it a poor wise man, and he by his wisdom delivered the city. Yet no one remembered that same poor man. Ecclesiastes 9:15

Fame: the flesh seeks after it desiring its imagined benefits. Here Solomon recalls a man who was the opposite of famous, and yet he did a great thing in his wisdom. No honors came his way, no one remembered his name or his face, and yet the city owed its salvation to him. Get ready O man or woman of Christ the Lord, for you and I may die just as famous as that wise man.

We may not live a life of notoriety; no one among the rich and famous may know us, and our name may not make even the list of Who's Not. Yet, we bear the words of light and wisdom: the good news of Jesus Christ. And the gospel of our Lord is the one thing that can save a city.

Poverty may be our lot in life, yet there is wisdom in the Word of God. The monthly bills may seem an unwinnable battle, retirement may have retired from your presence, and you may have no financial answer to a major disaster in life, but you do have the wisdom of knowing your Lord and Savior. You have the power of God in you to save an entire city!

What wealth we have in the Savior! The world may not know our name, but the Savior does! Rest in Him,


Friday, April 06, 2018

Made Manifest

In this the children of God and the children of the devil are manifest: Whoever does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor is he who does not love his brother. 1 John 3:10

To be manifest is to be made apparent or seen clearly.

There is going to be a change in those who give themselves to Jesus. John here points out that the touch of God is going to show in the behavior of the saved. While the world wants all to come together as one people, there is a division going on perpetrated by the very Word of God. The division that takes place internally in Hebrews 4:12, also is made manifest in the world as a population. We don't get to have the old flesh of sin show up in Heaven with the new spirit of righteousness.

Some would say that churches must include everyone in order to show brotherly love. However, the Word speaks in the Revelation of people who do not belong in His churches. There are those who are the children of the devil made manifest who also want to come into the church without repentance. It is like the Bride of Christ is putting on the robe of His righteousness while the enemy is handing her the filthiest of rags and demanding that she wear these too. And then the big lie is spoken, "See how judgmental this Church is? She must include all or she does not love as she ought." Sorry, but the Bride of Christ cannot be any less than perfectly prepared to wed God's Son. And for that we must be separated from the sins of this world.

Those saved by the blood of the Lamb earnestly desire our purity; and though we are not there yet, a manifest separation is taking place each and every day. The most obvious time will be that of the Rapture when one will be taken and the other left behind. Now that is a manifestation!

Grace and peace to you who belong to the Son!

Thursday, April 05, 2018

There's Something Wrong With You

Suppose a man marries a woman but she does not please him. Having discovered something wrong with her, he writes her a letter of divorce, hands it to her, and sends her away from his house. Deuteronomy 24:1

This verse today appears to be an easy out for a man. Moses gave us this and it is even done under Islam to the present time. Must be a good idea to have lasted so long, eh? When I read just this verse to start the chapter, as a writer I see the setting and characters: man, wife, house, and this is what is going on at this moment in the story. There is neither praise nor condemnation, just a statement of the circumstance. God is not saying that a man is allowed to do this and it is alright with Him. Later, Jesus seemed rather cold on the idea of divorce except in the case of unfaithfulness, and of course cold to my Lord Jesus means sin to me.

What is interesting is the abrupt termination of a relationship. Arranged marriage or chosen freely, this seems just too easy, too quick. It may not have happened that way, the scriptures are at times very understated. The man may have had to go before the elders and explain what exactly did not please him about the woman. Yes, it does seem unfair, but this devotional writing isn't about judging the ways and times of the folks back in the day. What it is about this morning is relationships. Every relationship, it seems to me, is going to come to that point where one discovers something wrong with the other.

Most of those wrongs are going to be simple differences in how we do things. Detail-oriented persons tend to irritated by the big picture types. A perfectionist would have difficulty relating to a 'good enough-er'. The neatness fan is rubbed wrong by the slob. There are a legion of examples. Yet, neither method may be wrong in God's sight. The relationship that gets past this point of irritation can grow into an excellent team with one partner adding the other side of a difference to the other and making the sum of the parts that much greater. (There's an old saying I'm mucking up there.)

So, when I get to that point in a relationship where I say, "There's something wrong with you..." the other person will no doubt have long since discovered several things wrong with me; I might even receive a detailed listing with cross references, but wait, that isn't the point I was trying to make! It is at that point that prayer and the guidance of our Lord's dear Holy Spirit will lead me to accept the difference, and then add it to our team to the glory of God. With God's wonderful help, I might even learn to not state it in quite that way!

Have a better relationship with one another on this day, even if there is something wrong with me.


Wednesday, April 04, 2018

From Him

Both riches and honor come from You,
​​And You reign over all.
​​In Your hand is power and might;
​​In Your hand it is to make great
​​And to give strength to all. 1 Chronicles 29:12

David knew from Whom his position and possessions came. Do we always know the same thing? I have on occasion laid back in a chair and stated that I had earned my rest. On what did I base that? My complete knowledge of how much work is required to earn a rest in that particular chair and at that that special time? How much time did I earn for that rest? Much better it would be to praise God for that rest which He dispensed to me at that time.

David knew that all good things come from God, and that gratitude and honor is our best action, not crediting the self with glory that rightly belongs to our Father. Rest is needed by us at times, but earned it? How could we ever know that? A grateful attitude can help me and you to avoid grabbing the glory that belongs to Father God. A 'Thank You, Lord' goes a long way with Him. A prideful attitude of how we earned something, not so much.

From Him come the good things in life we can enjoy without guilt. From Him come grace, faith, love, kindness, goodness, self-control, and all the fruits of the Spirit that we need. And, riches, honor, power, might, and of course, rest all come from our Lord God. Praise and honor to our Lord, who dispenses those good things without limit.


Monday, April 02, 2018

Esteemed Him Not

He is despised and rejected by men,
​​A Man of sorrows and acquainted with grief.
​​And we hid, as it were, our faces from Him;
​​He was despised, and we did not esteem Him. Isaiah 53:3

Esteem: respect and admiration, typically for a person. There was a day when no man gave our Lord Jesus the respect and admiration due the Son of God. We are so embarrassed by that situation that we will even try to deny it. Yet, there He was on the cross, bearing the death of a criminal along with all the sin of you and me. We cannot admire all that sin, even though some portion of it belongs to each of us. Isaiah, Israel, and all the rest of us did not esteem the Lord Jesus on that day. And then came the risen Lord!

Mary Magdalene thought Him a caretaker. A couple of disciples failed to recognize Him. And Thomas refused to believe until he could see and touch Him. Somewhere in the varied reactions and expectations, an example of each of us can be found. I might well have made the same mistaken conclusion that Mary did as my mind has been known to connect a few circuits in the wrong order in times of stress. And Mary had every reason to be stressed as she thought her Savior dead and buried on that Sunday morning. Peter and John had to be informed as they were not there in the cemetery. Peter might well have been sleeping the exhausted sleep of the guilty over his three denials, but the Risen Lord Jesus was going to fix that too.

Each of us may give up the shame of that day when we did not esteem Him, for in the Risen Lord we are healed by His grace. Let go of the unworthiness you think you know and live in the worth beyond compare our Lord has given to each of us by His grace. Once we did despise and reject Him, but in His death and resurrection we are forgiven and reborn to a new life in Him. Now is the time to live in Christ!

His grace, peace and love to you on this Easter Monday!


Friday, March 30, 2018

So Different

For the earth will be filled
With the knowledge of the glory of the LORD,
As the waters cover the sea. Habakkuk 2:14

As the waters cover the sea... that is one thorough covering! Yes, though it may not look it now, this earth is due for a new covering. It will not be just any ol' whitewashing job either, but a renewal that only the Lord can do. Try to imagine for a moment or two the entire earth filled with the knowledge of the glory of the LORD. We can't; our imagination doesn't quite span that far, but we do know through faith that it will be a wonderful and amazing thing to behold. An earthful of glorious knowledge to be sure!

As we look and remember our Lord's death on this day, we see the Earth as it is now. Sin runs rampant around the globe and unbelief is so common that it becomes popular. Sunday, the day we celebrate our risen Lord, we will rejoice in the Earth as He will make it, renewed and risen from the dead. An Earth filled with the knowledge of the glory of the LORD will just be soooo different from what we know now, just like the difference death is to eternal life, eh?

Have a great Good Friday in the knowledge of our risen Lord Jesus!


Thursday, March 29, 2018

Who Has Believed?

Who has believed our report?
​​And to whom has the arm of the LORD been revealed? Isaiah 53:1

So begins a chapter that without the gospel accounts of our Lord's suffering would be difficult even for us to believe. What sort of a hero or champion arrives to save others through suffering? How does one go about healing through taking stripes from a whip on one's body? The prophecy given to Isaiah is so alien to what a person might expect from a savior that many will doubt it, and yet that is exactly what Jesus did as this week came to a close back in His time.

Arrested in a peaceful garden as He prayed, taken to the chief priest's house to begin suffering blows to His body in the middle of the night, and suffering upon suffering piled upon Him until He was so disfigured that people could not look upon Him. Our Savior. How did He do it?

As our Lord said back in those days, He had the authority to lay down His life for us and to take it back up again. And this He did to save those who will believe. And all those who believe this report are those He gives the right to become the children of God. What a privilege! What a delight to know the saving grace of our Lord Jesus Christ! How strange that He did it in this way, but there it is.

Have a great and holy delight in our saving Lord Jesus!


Wednesday, March 28, 2018

The Lion's Share

But one of the elders said to me, “Do not weep. Behold, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has prevailed to open the scroll and to loose its seven seals.” Revelation 5:5

Some days our burden seems lighter than others. Enjoy those days, for we know that will not always be the case in this boot camp to eternity we call life. It is on those days that the faithful look back and see that our Lord Jesus is carrying the lion's share of our burden. Each of us may never know just how much of that burden we groan under that He carries for us, and on the tough days the lion's share is just as much and perhaps more than on the lighter days.

It is in this Easter week every year that we do well to remember the burden our Lord Jesus carried to the cross, our iniquities. While our Lord struggled with His cross, probably already beaten and scourged past the point a human body could recover, He also carried on Him the sin of us all. It is here in our image of the written word of God that we best imagine that terrible burden. Yet, something changed from what seemed the victory of darkness over our Lord Jesus to what John saw in Heaven. The willing Lamb of God who died for our sins had become a lion, and not just any lion.

As the hosts of angels, strong angels, and mighty angels watched helplessly, none was found worthy to take and open the scroll that told of the end. John wept, until an elder from around the throne of the Almighty told him some good news. There is a message here for us too. Weeping over the suffering of our Lord is certainly a good thing, but better still is to look to the Lion as He bears the Lion's share and rejoice in His strength. The Risen Lord Jesus has carried our sin to the cross and won the victory that we could not. In Christ we live!


Monday, March 26, 2018

Integrity Breach!

Then his wife said to him, “Do you still hold fast to your integrity? Curse God and die!” Job 2:9

Integrity: the quality of being honest and having strong moral principles, moral uprightness. This is what Job held onto even in the face of what may be the worst advice one person gave to another in all of the Bible. (Perhaps second only to: "Try this fruit, Adam, it's really tasty!") When we speak of our reputation or our good name, this quality is what we hold dear. Should a person gain a reputation for a lack of integrity many career paths will close down. Most newsworthy scandals involve an accusation or allegation of an integrity breach, and if it turns out to be true the consequences are often severe. Many people over here do not care one way or another about the sport of cricket, but you will see in the news articles about an integrity breach in the Australian national team, and you will feel some outrage over it.

We can know how important it is by the many ways in which we are tempted to breach our integrity every day. If we fall into that temptation, we can live with the regret for the remainder of our lives, even if we are never 'caught' at it. Of course, God knows all things so that little integrity breach you or I committed back in the day did not go unnoticed. Just sitting here and writing this, instances of my own integrity breaches come back to haunt me from the distant past. Which, at least shows how much the Lord has produced a desire in me for integrity.

So, like Job, we all want to hold fast to integrity because our Lord Father in Heaven values it, and because He has grown in us a desire to hold it tightly. How are we going to do that? In Christ the Lord of course! My grip is too weak to hold onto something so valuable on my own, I will trust in Him! As Paul said, "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me." (Phil 4:13)


Friday, March 23, 2018

An Infinite God Prepares The Bride

“Or have you not read in the law that on the Sabbath the priests in the temple profane the Sabbath, and are blameless?" Matthew 12:5

Jesus taught. Why? There must have been a need.

For a thousand years, back to David's time and more centuries back to the time of Moses, and even more centuries back to Abraham, Israel had the Law and the prophets. Yet, here was the Son of God teaching them. Those who had spoken with God had passed on what He said, yet more education was needed it seems. Yes, the people of God were not perfected yet, though some did try to claim it when the Son of God tried to teach them.

Today, pastors by the score preach on a Sunday morning, Sunday school teachers by the hundred teach classes, and there are countless prayer meetings, Bible study classes and courses, and written works by the multitude. Yet, still the Bride of Christ needs to learn and understand.

The Israelites were made blameless by their atoning sacrifices. The Church, the Bride of Christ, is made righteous by the blood of the Lamb, and yet we must continue to learn and grow. Not only are we not yet perfected, but we have an infinite God to study. Our Lord God is perfect from eternity past and will be unto eternity future. The Bride, that is the church of those who believe in Jesus Christ, has been made worthy by the blood of our Lord, but then we must be cleansed, prepared, and dressed for the big wedding. As the young woman takes a great deal of time to prepare for her wedding, so our Lord is taking the utmost care to prepare His bride.

Jesus hasn't returned yet? Well, we just need a bit more preparation before that great day of the Lord Jesus Christ. Trust in Him!


Thursday, March 22, 2018

A Whole Bleating Flock

“And he shall bring to the priest a ram without blemish from the flock, with your valuation, as a trespass offering. So the priest shall make atonement for him regarding his ignorance in which he erred and did not know it, and it shall be forgiven him." Leviticus 5:18

Oh look, it is the law of Moses with all of its death penalties, but what is this about mercy for ignorance? Apparently ignorance of the law was not an excuse, but with the proper trespass offering it could be forgiven. No apparent about it, mate! It is stated in the law quite plainly. I am so glad that ignorance has an atoning priest and that He made the proper trespass offering for us long ago. While ignorance and atonement may not work in traffic court, it is a relief to know that there is mercy for us in the court that hands out the eternal penalties.

Imagine waiting your turn in the Court of Heaven with a few dozen of your fellows who have also just perished from the earth. You notice something to read on the walls of the hallway outside that dreaded court, and feel a bit of gratitude because your eternal fate is on the line in that courtroom. Like your fellows, you didn't want to hear about Jesus back there on earth because that was one way to become unpopular, perhaps even poor or worse. But you knew that you were basically a good person and while God might condemn someone like that dictator fellow who murdered all those people back in the day, surely He would not have it in for you, right? So you begin reading the law, the law that you will be judged against, and hardly do you start down the list when all these rules and regulations jump out. Sabbath, Passover, corners of the beard? What are these things? What does it mean to covet your neighbor's wife? Fortunately, there is our verse for today: you start looking around for a ram or two 'cuz your need for some trespass offerings has just become obvious.

Most of us can see that our chances of making it into Heaven by obedience to the Law were lost long ago. We came to Jesus for mercy and grace because the Law had knocked us down so often that we knew we had no chance against ol' Mose and his rules. Even if we just summarized it by the two commandments of love that Jesus gave us for the Law and the prophets, we knew that there was that time, and that other time, and the time last week, and no, even that could not save us, and a whole bleating flock of unblemished rams probably would not be enough for atonement under the Law. We may be ignorant of some laws in Leviticus or Deuteronomy, but as Resurrection Day approaches, we are not ignorant of a certain trespass offering who died to save us from our sins!

Thank You, dear Lord, for Your wonderful Son, Jesus Christ the Lord!


Wednesday, March 21, 2018

While the Earth Remains...

“While the earth remains,
Seedtime and harvest,
Cold and heat,
Winter and summer,
And day and night
Shall not cease.” Genesis 8:22

Near the beginning, this was one of the great promises from our Lord. Near the ending, which we believe is imminent, this remains one of the great promises of the Lord, though maybe a bit more ominous sounding than it was back in Noah's day. Yes, those who believe in the Lord Jesus Christ make ourselves less popular in the world by speaking of an ending. While the Earth remains the lovers of the darkness get to play their sinful games of strife and money loving. The ending of the Earth means something else, perhaps even a judgment which those who love this world most definitely deny.

Spring has begun, at least on the calendar, and we wonder once more, will this be the last one before the ending? Not usually, no. Spring does not seem to be a proper season for the downcast countenance, the dour face, or the downtrodden words. We look forward to renewal and the blooming of plants; we celebrate the risen Lord Jesus and enjoy the warmer days. The Lord told us what is coming to make us aware and awake, not to send us into a depression. While the Earth remains, we can rejoice in the saving grace of Jesus Christ!

A choice of each day is to mourn our lot, or to rejoice in Him while we are content in where He has us right now. Spring is one season where mourning our lot in life does seem rather out of place. Winter is coming to a close and blossoms will soon appear on fruit trees. Our Lord Jesus rose again in this season and soon He will return in His glory.

Great is the name of our Lord Jesus Christ!


Monday, March 19, 2018

Hear The Words of Warning

"But if you will not hear these words, I swear by Myself,” says the LORD, “that this house shall become a desolation.” Jeremiah 22:5

Back in the day, God sent several prophetic messengers to Israel and Judah. At least some, perhaps all, of these messages were written down and preserved for us. We know from the prophets that the children of Israel were often in trouble with the Lord. Jeremiah is no exception to this and he gave to them a stern message from God, which we can paraphrase as: hear or be destroyed.

The key words are 'will not', for they are the heart of disobedience before the Lord. Eve was encouraged by the serpent to do her will and not God's will in the matter of one little fruit. Adam decided that he would follow Eve's will instead of God, and his disobedience caused all the thorns in the world. We have a decision we make quite often of a similar nature: my will or His will. In order to follow my will when it is different from God's will, I must say that fateful, "will not" to Him. When I or anyone else would follow our will as opposed to God's will, we must hear the words of warning.

Jeremiah passed on those very words to the kings of Judah. We know from the Bible that the kings decided for the will-nots, and Judah did become a house of desolation. Why was their will so important to them? The same reason ours is, I suppose, we want to be in charge when we drive our ship onto the rocks of perdition.

I am so glad that Jesus saved me from my will, for my will is such a dangerous thing to myself when it is disobedient to my God. The will of my Lord is what is best for me; so says the Spirit, as I hear the old man of the flesh screaming like the spoiled and willful brat that it is. Down, brat, let us follow the Lord!


Saturday, March 17, 2018

Great Upset!

Then Simon Peter came, following him, and went into the tomb; and he saw the linen cloths lying there, and the handkerchief that had been around His head, not lying with the linen cloths, but folded together in a place by itself. John 20:6-7

So, a #16 seed defeated a #1 seed last night in the NCAA basketball tournament, not sure I can top that. I'm being disingenuous of course, every one who believes in Jesus knows the story of how a man beaten, scourged, and crucified got up on the third day, folded his burial handkerchief and came out of his tomb alive. As upsets go, that story cannot be topped, but the great upsets of the Bible go on.

A nation of former slaves was trapped against the Red Sea by an army, well-armed and well-mounted on the best chariots of the day. The former slaves walked across the dried up sea bed between walls of water to freedom and a new life; the army was drowned when they tried to cross behind them.

The star persecutor in the Pharisees was on the way to Damascus to continue his string of victories, when he was stopped by a light shining into his darkness. Paul returned from his defeat by becoming a champion of the Lord's kingdom.

Sports upsets are interesting to us, but they don't hold a candle to the upsets of the Bible. The work of the Lord Jesus Christ has upset many an earthly power, including all of those little sand castles we once trusted in back in our lost sheep days.

Enjoy a happy St. Patrick's Day in Christ Jesus!

Friday, March 16, 2018

Authority and Power

Then He called His twelve disciples together and gave them power and authority over all demons, and to cure diseases. He sent them to preach the kingdom of God and to heal the sick. Luke 9:1-2

Power and authority: yes, there is a distinction between those two; one might be described as the ability to do a thing while the other is the legal right to do it. Jesus gave to the Twelve both the ability to make a demon or a sickness go away and the legal right to do so. A magician through some sort of arcane spell may gain some power over a demon, perhaps to make it go away or to gain something from it. I have no idea how to do this and don't particularly want to know. On the other hand, unless granted by the sovereign ruler of Creation, that magician has no authority. Power is available in many forms but authority can only come from the top, the reigning authority Himself.

Our government has some authority over us, but none over a tornado. It would be cruel indeed if God had granted authority over tornadoes to each state governor, for example, and not one of them over the years had stopped any of the many tornadoes that have taken life and property from us. Of course, as far as we know, no government has yet achieved power over a tornado either, or maybe it has.

The detonation of a large enough nuclear weapon would most likely vaporize even the largest thunderstorm, the thing that spawns tornadoes. However, the cure would be much worse than the disease. While that power may be sufficient, we the people have not granted to our elected government the authority to wage war on tornadoes with nuclear weapons, and hopefully we the people will never be so foolish.

All this Friday morning babbling of mine about power and authority brings up an important point: we often wish for the power, even in prayer, but don't always ask for or even accept the authority. It sounds a bit strange, I know, but I have noticed this thing in me too. Jesus did not hand out the power without granting the authority, which He being the Son of God always delegated from His own authority granted by God. It may be that the old man of the flesh in me desires the power to do as he pleases, while he fears the authority which would have the power used as God pleases. The reborn spirit of the saint within me, perhaps weary of the constant abuse of power the man of flesh has done, seems to fear both the power and the authority. And thus, I end up accomplishing little for the kingdom of God.

My head is spinning now.

What I need to remember is that God the Father is sovereign and that He has given all authority in Heaven and on Earth to the Son, and what authority the Son has granted to me, He will not have me carry alone. Thank You, dear Lord.


Thursday, March 15, 2018

Broken Relationship

Hear, my children, the instruction of a father,
And give attention to know understanding. Proverbs 4:1

Fathers are to instruct their children, and no father is better at that than God our Father. Of course in order to gain that instruction we must pay attention. Unfortunately, we often spend our time seeking attention in place of paying attention. In this age we have so many avenues to gain that attention too.

Sometimes in one or more of these attention-seeking avenues we hear of a stunt so foolish as to cost a person his life, and we are left to wonder where the instruction of a father fell short. Yet, we also understand the desire for attention that led to the foolishness. In the broken relationship that man caused in Eden, we lost that walking with the Father in the cool of an evening that Adam enjoyed. Now, the Father desires our attention in prayer and supplication but He does not always get it. We desire the attention of the Father but do not always realize that we have it. We also desire the attention of those we share this Earth with, and so the quest for attention from us that sometimes goes too far and strays into foolishness.

How much might we learn today if only we would give attention to the Father?


Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Comparative Christianity

​They covet fields and take them by violence,
​​Also houses, and seize them.
​​So they oppress a man and his house,
​​A man and his inheritance. Micah 2:2

So, how goes the time change? Cruel question to ask for sure. So cranky was I made by this latest time change that I noticed my brother in Christ had gone and bought the best house in town. I was jealous. "Why not me?" I asked the Lord. Down the street I saw coming out of the jewelry shop a sister from our church and she was fairly dripping with glittery jewels. I was jealous, and I asked of the Lord, "Why not me?" Then almost blowing my knickers off, the scion of our pastor blew by me in his new sports car. "He shouldn't have that," I bellowed covetously toward the Lord's throne, "it should go to me!" Time to change the time back I guess.

Perhaps the example is a bit extreme, but we do have this temptation toward comparative Christian living. We look at those televangelists and some of them do have some nice homes, airplanes, glittery jewels, and other things in their possession. We should thank God for the blessings He has bestowed upon a brother or sister in Christ, but we tend to criticize and complain instead. In the test of humbly grateful vs. grumbly hateful we fail. Sometimes we even fall into that horrible covetousness where we not only want the thing, but we don't want our brother or sister to have it.

Paul rejoiced that he had learned to be content in whatever circumstance the Lord sent in his life. Envy and coveting are not content. Those two will constantly compare my circumstance with others and show how short I am, or worse. The worse is to come in ahead by their evil estimation and open the door to pride.

Peace, contentment, kindness, joy, and the love of our Lord Jesus Christ are bestowed upon us; let us rejoice in what God has given!


Monday, March 12, 2018

Live Again

If a man die, shall he live again? all the days of my appointed time will I wait, till my change come. Job 14:14

Does it feel kind of like that this morning? The appointed time change has come once more and our twice annual self-torture begins again. Why call it a self torture, you may ask? We elected those bananas to serve in Congress, and since all of them serve us so well, it must be a self-inflicted thing, right? Perhaps it is time to remind our elected representatives to serve us and knock off these time changes.

Many a person is asking that question this morning, "If a man die, shall he live again?" Of course those questions are a bit facetious, but it nevertheless is a question Job asked in all seriousness having not yet seen the Redeemer. Our Lord Jesus is our answer to that question and soon we will celebrate again the holiday of His resurrection. If a man die, shall He live again? Yes! And He did it for us. He led the way, He is the way, and He will show us the way.

Great is our Risen Lord!

Friday, March 09, 2018

This Verse

Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do he will do also; and greater works than these he will do, because I go to My Father. John 14:12

This verse has caused so many questions throughout the history of the Church. Those same works of my Lord Jesus do not appear to have been done by me thus far in this mortal life. Many a Christian has wondered about this because, a bit of church singing, a little preaching, maybe a few writings here and there, these do not seem to add up to the resume Jesus compiled in just about three years of works done in His ministry, and of course none of us can compare our works with His death on the cross and resurrection. So, where are these same works that I am to do, because I most certainly believe in the Lord Jesus Christ?

Opening the eyes of the blind, making the paralyzed to walk, curing the sick with a touch, and casting out of demons were all done in my Lord's works. I have done none of these things. Even the disciples struggled to perform them and failed at times. And these are just the same works, we haven't attempted the greater works He spoke of yet. Some ministers have excused us by way of saying, 'works greater in extent...' or something like that, but what does that even mean? Others avoid the question. Me, I would like an answer because I see great needs all around me.

Perhaps to begin, one could study how Jesus did His works; by what power and authority did our Lord do what He did?

“Do you not believe that I am in the Father, and the Father in Me? The words that I speak to you I do not speak on My own authority; but the Father who dwells in Me does the works." John 14:10

You see when I attempt to do those works on my own, I try to appropriate the power and authority of God. Jesus did no such thing. I think the key to verse 12 was given to us in verse 10. It is not a failing or shortcoming on my part that I cannot do the works of Jesus and greater works than these; God did the work all along through my Lord Jesus. The greater works are also keyed on what Jesus said, "...because I go to My Father."

I also might want to learn what Jesus considers a greater work. I tend like most of us to think of a number. If Jesus healed three sick people, then I must heal 12 to have a greater work. A simple mathematical sort of equation. However, God is not quite so predictable as I might think, as we have seen in many Bible stories. Jesus told them that he who would be greatest must become the least. Could that mean that a greater work by my Lord's definition might appear to be a lesser by mine? Once more I have raised more questions by attempting an answer!

Pray for guidance for all of us on this great day in the Lord!


Thursday, March 08, 2018

Jesus Chose That Guy?

Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven. Luke 6:37 TNIV

Jesus chose the twelve men who would become His disciples. They are named, and one of the names agreed upon in the gospels is Judas Iscariot. Jesus chose that guy? Yes, the one who would go on to betray our Lord to His death was Judas the traitor. Jesus chose that guy to be one of the twelve, His disciples.

Jesus chose me too, and I cannot claim that my sin was any better or worse than that of Judas. While I am not one of the twelve disciples, being instead toward the other end of a long line of discipleship stretching out almost 2,000 years, my choosing of Him shows that He had chosen me already. You make the same claim and unless you happen to be a previously unknown paragon of virtue from your earliest decisions your sin probably is no better than Judas' either. We, together, make quite the collection of saved sinners and it is all due to our Lord Jesus. Not one of us can claim to have earned our salvation, and not one of us can claim to be better than that guy.

Unless, of course, you want to take up condemnation, and then you may want to review our verse for today. I don't want to be condemned; therefore, I will not condemn that guy, Judas, or that fellow over there, or that young lady on the street, or any other neighbor whom I am to love as myself.

Have a joyful day in Christ, even in those tough times down in Sidney.

Love, Bucky

Wednesday, March 07, 2018

No Confounding, Please

O God, You know my foolishness;
And my sins are not hidden from You.

Let not those who wait for You, O Lord GOD of hosts, be ashamed because of me;
Let not those who seek You be confounded because of me, O God of Israel. Psalm 69:5,6

No confounding, please. We can tell right away that this prayer is not from Jesus, for there was no sin found in Him and no foolishness either. So, which man or woman of the Bible was brave enough to put his or her sin and foolishness out there for all to read throughout the ages? David, King of Israel of course. I wonder how that made the people of Israel feel? I'm guessing they didn't run around touting their foolish and sinful king to the Gentiles around them.

We have an ideal and we seek it in our leaders, ministers, and even spouses. We are at times shocked, shocked I say, that our elected, crowned, or appointed leaders are not the ideal of human behavior that we expected. Divorces have come about when the perfect spouse found and married in the youth of life is later found to be only and merely human. A mere human with sins and foolishness found on board, how ghastly! Even our ministers were called to an ideal of behavior by none other than Paul, the former chief persecutor of the new church of Christ; the same man who wrote that all of us had fallen short of God's glorious standard. When a famous minister falls from that ideal, we are again shocked and disappointed. Perhaps they too have prayed as David did.

If I believe the Bible, God's word, then I cannot claim this ideal of human perfection, and thus along with King David must ask that no one be confounded or ashamed because of me. We all must pray this prayer as we learn selflessness and love toward our neighbors. Especially we pray for those who do not yet believe in Jesus the Christ, and who may not yet realize that a Christian in this world is praying just like David did, "Let them not be confounded because of me, Lord, for You know my foolishness and my sins are not hidden from You."

Christian does not mean perfect; it means forgiven. Rejoice in our Lord's grace!


Tuesday, March 06, 2018

The Redeemer Returns!

With a little wrath I hid My face from you for a moment;
But with everlasting kindness I will have mercy on you,”
Says the LORD, your Redeemer. Isaiah 54:8

Wrath, little; but kindness everlasting, and so the Lord greets us this morning! At times from our lowly view the wrath may seem overwhelming and the kindness far away - like it happened way back when and won't come until some unimaginable future day. However, the trials of today are not wrath, and we know it in our spirit. The Lord reminds us that this time of trial is but a moment in His great plan for us. His everlasting kindness brings to us the mercy we need. And that is just what it will feel like when our Redeemer returns to bring us home!

We may think that since we live in the moment His wrath is on us all the time, but it was only for a moment, and that moment was only to bring us back to Him, and the moment may not even belong to you and me but to our Lord and Redeemer. We have tribulation in this age, but it is the everlasting kindness of our Redeemer that upholds us in this time. His mercy brought us grace, and God's grace does not stop even for a moment. Ya know, we can claim His wrath, and we deserved it before He saved us, but it is much better to claim His mercy and grace, after all He earned it for us and gives it to us freely. I think I'll quit moaning 'wrath' and instead explore His everlasting kindness.

Have a healing day in body and spirit through our Lord Jesus Christ!


Monday, March 05, 2018

Rockin' or Rock Chuckin'?

And when they had sung a hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives. Mark 14:26

A hymn? Do you mean they didn't sing one of the psalms? What argument just popped into your mind? Our Lord Jesus had just begun something new with the Communion. I wonder how long it took for believers to begin arguing who was right and who was wrong? There was a time in the church when only psalms were to be sung. Then there was a time when only Watt's hymnal was to be used. Then there was that time when the Pope was called 'Antichrist'. And that other time when a reformer nailed some notes to a door. Now we have rockin' churches with bass and rhythm guitars and a drum line. Always, throughout the ages we have seen the changes and the controversy, even a little rock chuckin' - or worse - between those who claim to believe in Jesus.

To paraphrase Joshua, as for me and my family, we will trust in our Lord Jesus and His forming and reforming of His bride-to-be.

The church has grown since the twelve disciples first gathered with their Lord Jesus. We love to note that our Lord chose them and not the other way around. To Peter, Jesus said that on this rock He would build HIS church. What all the arguing, fighting, and rock chuckin' seems to forget is that it is His rock and His church. What seems to us an ever dividing church full of disagreement and strife is somehow in His power and authority coming together to be married to the Lord Jesus Christ.

There are those times when we cannot see how He will ever get it done, but faith says that He will! Rejoice in the Lord!


Friday, March 02, 2018

That Woman

I saw the woman, drunk with the blood of the saints and with the blood of the martyrs of Jesus. And when I saw her, I marveled with great amazement. Revelation 17:6

Poor Grace the woman we read about yesterday was a fictional gal that could be any of us at some point in our lives. This woman in our verse today is unfortunately not fictional. She is not just some character cooked up by John, but is a force to be reckoned with in the time of the end. On the other hand, she is not one woman either. We learn at the end of chapter 17 that she represents a great city that reigns over the kings of the earth.

We will want to be quite careful with this woman. John saw her and marveled with great amazement, but the angel immediately asked, "Why did you marvel?" As it turns out, only those whose name is not written in the Book of Life are to marvel at this beast. The woman and her beast are apparently quite seductive and John was caught gazing a bit too marvelously. A warning to us as the time for the rising of this city and kingdom is close at hand. The woman and the beast will work together to martyr many for their testimony of Jesus Christ. We hope to get out of here via the Rapture before this happens, but if the time of its reign should come we must not marvel at this woman and her beast.

There are other warnings of what is to come in the end times, but there are a great many wonderful promises from our Lord too. Do not give up our hope in Him!


Thursday, March 01, 2018

Grace N. Gratitude

Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. I thank my God upon every remembrance of you, always in every prayer of mine making request for you all with joy. Philippians 1:2-4

As her steel-eyed gaze swept the congregation of the All Saints Holy Church of the Righteous Redeemer, Grace found the people in their proper places with their mouths closed and attention locked on the pastor. Woe to the one who stepped out of line in Grace's church and few indeed needed a reminder of her wrath. Children were silenced and crying babies quickly removed from the sanctuary in Grace's church; order in the service and discipline in the Christian life were the orders of the day. The name of Grace N. Gratitude was sadly ironic.

To all appearances, Grace lived the perfect life. Her house, a lonely place where the pastor and church deacons sometimes appeared before her for inspection and correction, held no objects that might cause temptation and was kept immaculately by a quiet housekeeper who lived quietly in a small house at the back of the property. Sometimes Grace even remembered her name. The gardener came daily and kept all things in order; he only mowed the lawn during Grace's three-hour Wednesday morning Bible study when she would be without exception gone from the home. Grace kept her vigil over her house and her church by her cold legalism and a stranglehold on the church finances. Grace was rich, you see, but not in the way of the grace our Lord gave to us by His sacrifice.

Self-righteous Grace N. Gratitude had never felt the need for grace and her only gratitude came when she found something in a neighbor to correct, and God knows, she thought, the world needed a lot of her particular corrective skill. The bank president, the town council, and every school teacher and official had felt the sharpness of Grace's tongue. For they too lived under her dominion. Without Grace's money, no bank loans for homes or new businesses could be lent. If a street needed to be paved, it was Grace who gave permission or denied it depending upon her whim. Grace was grateful that God had placed her in a town that needed so much correction.

Grace made sure on the first of every month that her last will and testament was in order, for one day her departure from this world would open the way for decadence if she did not work her will through her will, so to speak, as Grace allowed herself her one monthly chuckle.

Thursday morning, Grace presided over the funeral of her longtime pastor. Sunday morning she looked up at the new pastor and was horrified to discover the face of the very man she had voted down in the quickly-assembled church board meeting. The man was dirty, she noted, with sawdust in the lower folds of his ill-fitting trousers. The new pastor held up the giving lists, Grace's pride and joy with their names and system of bronze, silver, and gold stars for giving 10, 15, and 20 percent of income faithfully each month, and he burned them in the pulpit, setting off the church smoke alarm, the one donated by Grace, in the process. The filthy man pointed back to the confessional and penitence booths built by Grace's maintenance man at her expense and said, "Those will no longer be needed here, I will remove them this week." Grace N. Gratitude felt a lump of outrage swelling in her chest, tightening like her purse strings.

Control would quickly be reasserted at the next meeting of the church board tonight, she vowed, this lack of discipline before the law could not be tolerated!

The pastor threw Grace N. Gratitude off the church board.

And then the wretched man spoke a sermon of grace, mercy, and the forgiveness of sin through faith in Jesus Christ. He spoke of breaking chains and living in love for God and neighbors. He spoke of depending only on the providence of God. The slightly unkempt man publicly forgave Grace N. Gratitude, right there in her former church. And something in Grace N. Gratitude's little head popped with an almost audible sound. Perhaps it was just a spiritual purse string.

Grace and peace to you from God the Father and our Lord Jesus Christ!


Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Big Changes In The Storm

​I would hasten my escape
​​From the windy storm and tempest. Psalm 55:8

Every time my faith is tested and strengthened I want to do as David contemplates here in the verse for today. Yes, I cry out to the Lord to hasten my escape almost from the moment the storm's wind beats on my door. I am much like my brothers and sisters in Christ in this.

We like the times of calm seas for sailing, a sunny temperate day for walking, and a full pantry for eating. However no one becomes stronger in the faith in those times. Anyone could remain true to the Lord if faith were never tested. A quiet repose after an easy life shows little of faith, but faithfully praising God through a storm of epic proportions shows a strengthened faith upheld by the Lord Himself. And that storm can bring big changes in life that show our need for faith in Him.

As we close out February of this year, many are facing big changes. Saying farewell to a company that provided a job for years, leaving a town and home that have been theirs for decades, and all the emotional upheaval that entails is coming for many in this area. Pray for a strengthening of their faith and ours as the storm is upon us. Those left behind will need faith too, as the economic loss will affect them for good or bad. Steadfast endurance is called for, as the recovery from such a loss may take years. In all of these storms and changes though, our Lord Jesus Christ remains faithfully with us.

Fear not, rejoice in the strengthening of our faith in Christ!


Monday, February 26, 2018

Hear the Word, and Get More

Then He said to them, “Take heed what you hear. With the same measure you use, it will be measured to you; and to you who hear, more will be given. Mark 4:24

This at the first may seem to be a complex verse, but from what I have learned thus far in my study of the word, God wants us to hear and understand His word. The Bible is not like that claw arcade game where most of the time the player reaches in and all the prizes slip away from his grasp. There is usually no trick to hearing and understanding the word of the Lord; we simply ask of Him and His Holy Spirit teaches us.

So, simple and straightforward it is! We read a warning to be cautious in what we hear, and surely this will also pertain to reading and seeing. Then, we are warned that to be stingy in our measure will bring the same back upon us when we need to receive. And finally, when we hear what our Lord is saying through His word, then we will be given more of it. Is that it?

A great thing about the Word is that if you dig in with a teaspoon, it will teach you in like amounts. But if you go into it with a shovel, that too will return to teach you in the same measure. And if you are a real champion of the Bible study, you can dig in with a steam shovel and get a return by landslide amounts. The Word of the Lord is shallow enough for a quick skim, or deep enough for some steadfast drilling-down study. We will not run out of God's word in this short lifetime. Even Methuselah did not live long enough to outlive the riches of our Lord's Word. So, feel free to measure yourself a healthy amount of God's word today, there is more than enough for all of us. As you read, hear the Word and get some more!

Love in Christ Jesus,

Saturday, February 24, 2018

Somehow We Know

Cause me to hear Your lovingkindness in the morning,
For in You do I trust;
Cause me to know the way in which I should walk,
For I lift up my soul to You. Psalm 143:8

Take only this verse for this morning and examine the One to whom this is addressed. Wait, all we get is 'Your' and 'You', yet we know just like the translator did to put a capital on those words for they are addressed to our Lord. Somehow we know.

Could it be the lovingkindness? A word used often of our Lord. How about lifting up the soul? For something so valuable to each of us, only the Lord will do for entrusting our soul. But people throughout history have been easily misguided and led astray to many strange ends. Here we also see the prayer - cause me to hear Your lovingkindness and cause me to know the way. We know the words of praise and prayer to the Lord by the Spirit in us, but we are born fallen and need the guidance of our Lord to return to Him. Even born again in Christ we need His guidance as we walk with Him on this life's journey.

Somehow we know the prayer of a man lifting up his soul to God, probably by the leading of the Spirit in us to pray for those same things. So close do we draw to our Lord and each other that we may even know this to be a psalm of David, and indeed it is. "Hear my prayer, O Lord," "deliver me, O Lord," and "Revive me, O Lord," resound in this psalm and in our hearts as our brother calls out to his Savior. We know through our Lord!


Friday, February 23, 2018

A Deeply Held Unknown Prejudice

While Peter was still speaking these words, the Holy Spirit fell upon all those who heard the word. And those of the circumcision who believed were astonished, as many as came with Peter, because the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out on the Gentiles also. For they heard them speak with tongues and magnify God. Acts 10:44-46

"Wait, what?" the Israelites with Peter said, "that Spirit of God belongs to us!" Okay, so I made up a few words for them, but they may have thought that they had an exclusive right from God and this brought on some astonishment when the Spirit was given to a bunch of Gentiles. Dogs were closer to the kingdom of Heaven than Gentiles to the Jewish way of thinking, how could this happen? The new converts from Peter's home nation had some learning to do about that promise that ALL would be saved who call upon the name of the Lord.

We too may have grown up with some preconceptions about who can be saved. We may not know those prejudices are there until the Holy Spirit is given to someone we - yes we must admit it now - didn't think could be saved. It is shocking; it is surprising; how could we, God's saved children, have anything against a fellow sinner? Those with Peter may not have realized their deeply held unknown prejudice until astonishment came upon them at the salvation of that bunch o' Gentiles. As the new believers in Christ magnified God, a bunch of people who should have been celebrating stood by with their jaws agape.

Praise God that His dear Holy Spirit is available to all who will believe!


Thursday, February 22, 2018

Deeply Divided

But Jesus knew their thoughts, and said to them: “Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation, and every city or house divided against itself will not stand." Matthew 12:25

One might well wonder how long the United States can remain united with such (apparently) deep divisions as we see in the news each day. Indeed, if such divisions are shared throughout the land, then by the promise of our Lord the nation cannot stand and will be brought to desolation. However, as we have seen, the media we watch does seem to delight in presenting the opposite poles while ignoring the center. Are we so divided as some would have us believe?

Our division has a cure, but everyone must accept Him. And there is the problem we face. Some, on one side or the other, do not want to come home like the prodigal son and find a restored relationship with the Father. Dare we face the horrible fact that some of our fellow citizens actually enjoy prying at the divisions in our nation, and that they will use the largest pry bar they can find? Sadly it is true, but no one can show that evil intent so well as the One who came to bring the sword. (Matt. 10:34). Wait, what? Do you mean that all this division, outrage, and strife might be a part of His plan for the age? Does this mean that the One who teaches us to love one another also divides the sheep from the goats? Absolutely!

In the end, Jesus will say to all, “He who is unjust, let him be unjust still; he who is filthy, let him be filthy still; he who is righteous, let him be righteous still; he who is holy, let him be holy still.” Revelation 22:11

And He divided them, the sheep from the goats,

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

God Can't Speak To Me

And Jacob called the name of the place where God spoke with him, Bethel. Genesis 35:15

A man says that God spoke to him through a note left in the frost of his windshield, and we say, "Crackpot!" Another says that God spoke to her by a voice she heard in the shower, and we say, "Crazy!" A man riding his donkey claims that it spoke to him when he tried to make it ride down an angel of the Lord, and we say, "Oh, wait, that's from the Bible!" Another man says that a burning bush was not consumed and when he went over to get a closer look the Lord spoke to him, and we say, "Uh, that's Moses, it's a famous story from the Bible and he is a hero of the faith!"

If I say that God cannot speak to me, then He probably won't. If I limit God to only the words contained within His word that we call the Bible, then He may speak no further. But God may have some specific instructions for me that I'm holding back by my stubborn refusal to hear Him. What's worse is that by throwing derogatory labels around, we may cause a neighbor to stop hearing from the Lord and we might miss a message of love and comfort that we need. It's tragic and comic how some will lean into every red-letter word from the Word of God, and yet tell a neighbor that God is done speaking to us and further words from Him are impossible.

Impossible, said of God, really... surely by now we know better than to say that.

May our Lord speak to you personally today,

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Good News From A Far Country

​As cold water to a weary soul,
​​So is good news from a far country. Proverbs 25:25

This morning, I cannot think of a country farther away than God's Heaven. (Though it is likely much closer than we think.) A quick glance at the news this morning, and Heaven seems quite far away from here. Even my imagination comes up short when trying to guess at what the Lord's home must be like. Do they have a transmitter of some sort there to send us some good news? As the parable of our Lord Jesus goes, God sent His prophets and finally His most special messenger, His Son.

The good news from a far country that we seek has already come down and delivered Himself. Indeed, Isaiah tells us that those living in darkness have seen a great light. Today we can stare into the darkness of a seemingly inexhaustible supply of bad news from the world, or we can look toward a far country and receive the good news of Jesus Christ. However, I have it on good authority from the very word of God that He is not staying there!

“And behold, I am coming quickly, and My reward is with Me, to give to every one according to his work. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End, the First and the Last." a message from Jesus in Revelation 22:12-13

Yes, we can look toward the light of His good news for He is coming quickly, and His good news is so needed in this dark place!

The good news from a far country is coming quickly!

Monday, February 19, 2018

Calling Him 'Enemy'

Now when the Pharisees heard it they said, “This fellow does not cast out demons except by Beelzebub, the ruler of the demons.” Matthew 12:24

It is one thing to fail to recognize the Lord Jesus, but here in Matthew the Pharisees called Him 'enemy' and by the name of an enemy at that. They said that the Son of God had power only by the ruler of the those who opposed God. Those guys really go for that old 'in for a penny' thing. Could anyone so opposed to the Lord Jesus be saved? For with God nothing is impossible!

We have only to look at Saul of Tarsus, or Paul as we know him in the Greek version of his name, to see the saving grace of Jesus our Lord. One meeting on the road to Damascus and Paul was turned around from the opposition of the Pharisees to a champion of the Christian faith. It was a big meeting and its effects were dramatic, but Paul's opposition was thoroughly educated and deeply ingrained. Yet, the saving power of Jesus is the greater power and Paul's story became a blessing to all those who believe.

What about your story or my story would be a blessing to all those who will believe if we just share it with them? Who might be turned to the Lord by a good story? Let us endeavor in Christ the Lord to find out!


Friday, February 16, 2018

Created, Claimed, Redeemed

You in Your mercy have led forth
The people whom You have redeemed;
You have guided them in Your strength
To Your holy habitation. Exodus 15:13

The first point of the enemy's attack must be upon Creation. To believe in God is to believe in His word, and that word begins with God's creation of the heavens and the Earth. If the enemy can get the created to turn away from their Creator, then his work is accomplished. However, even after the turning away of Adam and Eve, God claimed them as His own. It was not the enemy who made skins for them after their nakedness was revealed by their disobedience. Provision, care, and love were poured out upon the disobedient children of the Lord even as they took their first opportunity to rebel against Him. Then, there was a redemption.

Jesus came down from on high to accomplish what sinful man could not, He redeemed God's creation. The way back to the Father is through the Son. Redemption was needed before we could go to God's Heaven. How strange it must be to the enemy to look back and see those he turned away being loved and cared for by the Father. Stranger to the enemy was the Son who came and redeemed us from that sin. So afraid of that outcome was he that the enemy attacked the Son with all he had by way of temptation and opposition, but it did not work. Our Lord Jesus stands triumphant having redeemed all.

We want to climb up to Heaven in our strength, note how we are guided home in our verse today.

Christ the Lord!

Thursday, February 15, 2018

Worn Out

He shall speak words against the Most High,
and shall wear out the saints of the Most High,
and shall think to change the times and the law;
and they shall be given into his hand
for a time, times, and half a time. Daniel 7:25 ESV

Another mass shooting, do you feel worn out yet? The only reason I do not is a higher power, for it is not in myself to have the strength to stand before so many news stories of this type. Jesus, the Son of the Most High God, is the reason I can go on and even write about this thing. I place my faith in the One who has made me a saint of the Most High. My Lord Jesus is the only way I can see to rejoice in the Lord always while I see once again the story of another murder of children in school. My brothers and sisters in Christ will face similar feelings on this day.

A spirit of murder stalks our land. I do not know if the time, times and half a time has begun yet, but it surely does seem that so many have been given into the hand of this evil power. Some would blame the existence of firearms, but they and other weapons are only tools of this spirit, and tools can be used for other purposes. Willing servants of this evil power abound in our land and they are already past any wall we can build. (Whether a wall might stop other persons of evil intent who are outside our borders is not our subject for today.) The servants we might stop at times, but the ones who get through are doing great harm to our nation. What we need is a savior, someone with the power to know what is going on inside the mind of those who would plot to murder and then carry out their evil schemes. What we have is a direct communication channel to the Most High God that is called prayer.

...and the world cried, "Useless!" among other derogatory and faithless words concerning our mental state and intelligence.

Yes, stopping to pray to God for salvation from this thing will set us at odds with the powers of this world. To those who do not believe in our Lord Jesus we will appear foolish and weak. I'm okay with that, as long as they begin to understand that the One I pray to is neither of those things. And when enough of us believe and ask of Him in humility and love, I believe He will act. Let us mourn the fallen and come to our Lord in prayer.


Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Love One Another

“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. John 13:34

Happy Valentine's Day! As I read the verse for today, I was glad of the list of exceptions that immediately follows it. No, no, no, there is no such list. How many times have we applied an exception to the Lord's new command when none exists? Verse 35 of this chapter in John reads: "By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.” Oh... but reading some Christian comments and statements one must surely be led to read further for that list of exceptions to our Lord's command.

All of us have seen the apparent exceptions such as the bully who picked on another for years and even after the school years had long since passed by. Surely we can grant an exception for that? How about that ex? Surely the one who lied in court and took away your kids deserves an exception to the command to love. We know of course that our Lord granted no authority to us to make exceptions to His command to love one another. Yet, we are tempted daily to do just that.

On this annual observance of love that we call St. Valentine's Day or just Valentine's Day, let us make every effort to remove any old exceptions we may have created to that new command our Lord gave to us. Maybe that boss who contrived to terminate that position we thought was our path to retirement? Nope, sorry, we must love him or her too. I'm glad our Lord did not make exceptions to His rule. After all, like poor Scrooge in the story, I might find that in the eyes of Heaven I was the one most deserving of an exception!

Praise God for His great love!

Monday, February 12, 2018

The Weakened Recovery

At that time Merodach-Baladan the son of Baladan, king of Babylon, sent letters and a present to Hezekiah, for he heard that he had been sick and had recovered. Isaiah 39:1

The rest of the story is that King Hezekiah would invite the envoys who brought the letter and present into his house and showed them the lot - treasures, works of art, his favorite pipe or whatever else the king had to show off. Isaiah would then bring a message from the Lord saying that all of that would be taken away and hauled off to Babylon.

It may well be that King Hezekiah suffered that weakened moment we may get as the recovery from sickness brings on a feeling of relief. The person feels better, perhaps for the first time in many days, and that giddy happiness can leave us open to an attack by the enemy, political or spiritual. Yes, it does seem unfair; we should be able to enjoy the moment at least. I guess the enemy likes a happy meal too.

As the devil stalks about seeking whom he may devour, those in a weakened state are easy prey. A celebration, whether large or small, may be a distraction that allows the enemy to slip in a blaming bolt past our defenses. Sometimes that bolt comes right through the open mouth as like King Hezekiah we may open it to show off instead of praising our Lord. A blaming bolt is where we cast blame and get into trouble that way. Of course, I meant to type flaming bolt, but my fingers had a different idea in mind it seems. Either way we end up in trouble right in the midst of the celebration of our recovery. In this world, it seems that a celebration must have in it that measure of caution and watchful vigilance that we are called to in the Lord's service. One day, that great day, we look forward in joy and anticipation to the wedding feast of the Lamb - I think then we can let our guard down and celebrate with Him forever!

To God be the glory!

Friday, February 09, 2018

God Works In The Misery Too

Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. 1 Peter 5:8

It's a miserable runny Friday in the land of mountain-less Colorado. For weeks now persons of low repute have come into the office sneezing, hacking, sniffling, and coughing; and I have resisted their onslaught of germ-laden air successfully...until yesterday. Now like most big boys who endure sickness poorly and with much whining, I'm going to wail like a little boy too. Actually, this makes a really spiffy example of how we must walk with our Lord each and every day!

We read Peter's admonition to be sober and vigilant, but we tend to take it as advice for this one time. Like that time we walked along the edge of a bad neighborhood. As we made it past and back home, we let our guard down. However, we cannot just resist for an evening or even several weeks, we are to BE sober and vigilant. That speaks of remaining in Christ, fully armored in the full armor of God, holding up that shield of faith at all times, and learning to use that sword of the Spirit, the word of God.

When we don't remain in that posture of spiritual war, we fall to the weapons of the evil one. If we successfully resist in the one time, the enemy goes away for a time for the fruit of the Spirit, patience and endurance, is not in him. However, as he or his minions stalk about, our turn will come again, and just like with my little virus adventure that began yesterday, if the resistance fails for but a moment the fall will come. But the shield of faith has something to say: God works in the misery too!

Praise God for His saving grace in the storm!


Thursday, February 08, 2018

A Tough Step

And He said, “Abba, Father, all things are possible for You. Take this cup away from Me; nevertheless, not what I will, but what You will.” Mark 14:36

Want to be more like Jesus? Here in this verse are three good steps, tough steps, that we might take to become more like our Lord. Abba - the modern equivalent might be 'daddy', and here we see our Lord calling the sovereign creator of all things by that name. I think that even now after years of association with our Lord God that I feel more inclined toward hiding in the bushes like Adam and calling out a lengthy list of the Lord's titles than to walk with Him asking, "Daddy?" The flesh in me still feels that distance of sin which He abolished at the cross. That is my fault of course for listening to the accusations of the Accuser and hearing the desire of the flesh to bridge the great divide by my effort at religion.

The second is admitting and believing that all things are possible for God. The accusations of the enemy are not baseless; I was born a sinner and it shows still. However, I was born again a saint in Christ Jesus, and His work shows in me too. His work. What is more impossible for us than to save ourselves? It is His seemingly impossible salvation that brings us in a lifetime journey at long last to that bridge across the immeasurable chasm that Adam's sin made between us and our God. That bridge we cross with our Lord and Savior to come at last to the Father and call Him, Abba, Father!

Finally, we must have help with this one too, and that is to give up our will and live in the will of the Father. This is the one time in our Lord's life that we see Him not wanting to do all that the Father gave Him to do. Yet, "nevertheless," He says, "not what I will, but what You will." Giving up the will of the self and what we want is also a tough step. We grow and become smart in the ways of the world, and we think we know what we need and want. However, what we need and want is for His will to be done, and only then can we know the joy of life as our Abba would have it.

All of that reminds me that I am wholly inadequate and that His way, by grace through faith in Jesus Christ, is the way to go!

In the love of Christ,

Wednesday, February 07, 2018

Dependent Upon The Lord

Yet we urge you, brothers and sisters, to do so more and more, and to make it your ambition to lead a quiet life: You should mind your own business and work with your hands, just as we told you, so that your daily life may win the respect of outsiders and so that you will not be dependent on anybody. 1 Thessalonians 4:10-12.

Growing up we are dependent upon our parents, and they answer to the Lord. This is an enjoyable time in life where we get to ask Mom, 'What's for dinner?' about 10,000 times. As we grow past that stage and into adults, we become dependent upon no one... or so we think. Yes, part of growing up and away from home is the independent attitude that often characterizes young adults in their late teens and twenties. It is a mistake of course and one that most people will grow out of in time as realization comes that no one is so alone that he or she is not interdependent on all that is around them. What sets those who believe in Jesus apart from the world is our growing and wonderful knowledge that we are and always have been dependent upon our Lord God.

The first is that dependence upon Him for our salvation as we come to know that there is no other way to the Father except through the Son. (John 14:6). We also come to know that it is His provision that allows us to work and make a living in this world. As many are finding out at this time of the year, a little flu and there is no working. It is God who provides us with health and strength to work. And therein is the difference that sets us apart: Believe and enjoy the provision of our Lord with gratitude, or don't believe in Him and refuse to admit His provision.

So, what was that bit Paul said about living not dependent on anybody? Paul realized his dependence on the Lord as much as anyone. What he didn't want us or his Thessalonian brothers and sisters to do was to live on another person's work. This is not to say that we should refuse to accept help when we need it from our brothers and sisters. Many a faithful believer in Christ suffered through a deep valley in this recent recession we endured just a few years ago, and not all have recovered yet. Trials and tribulations will come in this world, but if we have the provision of strength and health from God, we must put it to work!

It is a good day to glorify God with some work!

Monday, February 05, 2018

How Important Is The Word?

The wise men are ashamed,
They are dismayed and taken.
Behold, they have rejected the word of the LORD;
So what wisdom do they have? Jeremiah 8:9

Every nation has some group of wise men/women serving as advisers or senators or whatever title they have in the moment. In some few states they may simply take dictation, but they are there for however long their time lasts. Those of us down, way down, on the national ladder hope that those serving on the upper rungs have a measure of wisdom from God. The question in our current time is: Do they have any wisdom at all?

In the time of Jeremiah the prophet, the wise men found themselves ashamed, dismayed and taken. This is not the end result we are hoping for from wise men. Certainly those wise men who sought out the young Christ did not end up this way. Of course they are called wise for seeking out the Lord Jesus; while the wise men Jeremiah writes of had rejected the word of God. So what wisdom do they have? Well, none at all it would seem, and in later verses they also lose their wives and lands. There would appear to be a strong connection between rejecting the word of God and losing everything.

How important is the Word of God? With it we have life in Jesus Christ. Without it...loss of all. Who will save if the Savior is rejected by the shunning of His good news? Who will redeem if the Redeemer is not taken at His word? Believe, and take the Word of God as the truth of God. For it is the word of life and light in this present darkness. I am so glad that you have accepted the Word of God in your life!

In Christ Jesus,

Friday, February 02, 2018

The Plentiful Rain

You, O God, sent a plentiful rain,
Whereby You confirmed Your inheritance,
When it was weary.  Psalm 68:9

The weary times come way more often than we like in this age. Although we should see it coming - there was the toil and sweat thing told to Adam in Genesis 3 - we of course prefer the times of rejoicing and rest. However, in many a time and place our toil and sweat seems to accomplish nothing and we grow weary of a world that seems dead set against us and our efforts. And it was in one of those moments that our Lord sent a plentiful rain which David recorded in a psalm for us to remember in those tough times. Great and good is the Lord our God who sends the plentiful rain in the time of drought.

Now if I could just get the Lord to provide when I want...

That would be just the worst thing that could happen to me. The Lord responds in His wisdom and sends His provision in His love and goodness. My timing, though it may seem just right to me, is not often just right at all from the Lord's omniscient view. My idea of what amount and where it is needed is based on a small (really tiny) view, while the Lord's view is from His complete and perfect knowledge of all things and times. His way is, as it has always been, the best way.

Thank You, our dear Lord Jesus, for Your plentiful rain in Your perfect time!


Thursday, February 01, 2018


“For when they went up to the Valley of Eshcol and saw the land, they discouraged the heart of the children of Israel, so that they did not go into the land which the LORD had given them." Numbers 32:9

Discouragement, that powerful weapon of the evil one, has prevented projects from starting, halted construction halfway through, and left many a Christian washed up and alone. Why does the evil one like it so much? Because it works. That which we call depression begins with discouragement and ends when the flower of courage blooms once more. If what we call anxiety is but fear by another name, then depression is the discouraged child of the Lord paralyzed by despair. It is an enemy worth fighting for the love of our brothers and sisters in Christ!

The story of the Israelites arriving just across the river from the land promised to them by God is the great illustration of discouragement. Ten scouts spoke discouragement and took the heart of faith out of Israel. The people heard the reports, sifted out the faith of Joshua and Caleb, took stock of themselves, forgot all that God had done for them, accepted discouragement, and turned away from the land flowing with milk and honey. Not one of the men over 20, with the exception of faithful Joshua and Caleb, would see the promised land. And the Lord in His anger turned His beloved Israel around to wander the wilderness for 40 years.

What wilderness have you or I decided to wander because of discouragement? Where would the Lord lead us in faith, if we would take courage from Him and believe? Tough questions to look at the self and answer, but Israel did come to its promised land after the discouragement was worked out. Trust in Him!


Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Just Over There

“I say to you that likewise there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine just persons who need no repentance. Luke 15:7

So, how close is Heaven anyway? Apparently close enough to keep an eye out for repentant sinners. I am glad for their joy, and hope to have a hand in providing more of it!

Some might think of Heaven as too far away to know what is going on here on the Earth. Perhaps they are more comfortable with the thought of a nice dark distance between their deeds and the light of Heaven. Others don't mind if Heaven is physically close as long as no one there can see into the dark caverns of the mind of the sinner. Might as well get used to it folks, God and Heaven are very much linked and the Lord who created the heavens and the Earth can see all things, even those secret thoughts of sin. Whatever the distance might be, the Lord is close enough to see all.

Now that might seem like something meant to frighten us into constant good behavior, but much better is a cleansing of the heart and the closeness of the Spirit of God who is working that cleansing even now. And how often do we get to begin and end a sentence with the same word? Heaven and Earth began with the same Creator and both will be ended and renewed by the same Holy One. Heaven is, I believe, and it is so very close that the saints see the repentant sinner and rejoice with God. Heaven is just over there, and yet we cannot walk there or see that great rejoicing. Just over there.

Just over there is a new saint. He was the father of a friend of mine. He was my father. He was your father, brother, husband, friend, and brother in Christ. Just over there, a sister in Christ greets our Lord Jesus in person for the first time. She didn't see Him quite so well as she thought in her Bible study, but now she sees Him clearly and perfectly. Just over there, they wait for us. Just over there they might tell us to quit worrying over perfection; we cannot do it anyway and Jesus will take care of it just over there.

Have a blessed day in Christ Jesus our Lord!


Monday, January 29, 2018

The Word of God

He was clothed with a robe dipped in blood, and His name is called The Word of God. Revelation 19:13

The flesh does not like to be cut up by the point of the sword. This could be taken a couple of different ways, but we are looking at the metaphorical one this time. The one that will in time be shown more real than the steel and skin version common to this world. We are looking at this one:

For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. Hebrews 4:12

While our Lord Jesus works on us, cutting away the old sinful flesh, what can we do to help out in that which does us so much good? We can read the Book and follow the instructions of course. The Book we must read is His word, the Bible. All the instructions we need to follow are contained therein. We do not have to wait for Sunday morning to read His word, and we can wield this word of God in our defense. Paul passes along one instruction to do so in Ephesians 6:17 when he tells us to take up the sword of the Spirit which is the word of God. Ah, yes, that which our Lord uses to cut away the dying flesh of this world is also the sword we can wield against the forces of the evil one. A powerful and useful sword it seems. Indeed, so powerful is it that near the end, about the time the saints are gathered to be with Him, it is His name that comes to be known and called The Word of God.

Great and mighty is the Word of God, our Lord Jesus the Christ,


Friday, January 26, 2018

Always Come Back

“In the distant future, when you are suffering all these things, you will finally return to the LORD your God and listen to what he tells you." Deuteronomy 4:30 NLT

Here is a prophecy for Israel from the distant past, and if we read back a bit in that same chapter we can see listed the very history of Israel after they did just what the Lord had told them not to do. Israel is back, the nation is set to fulfill this prophecy. They will, probably are even as we read this, return to the LORD as they have already suffered these things. What an awesome God that He never forgets His promises though for us thousands of years have passed.

Always come back to His mercy and grace. Temptations are successful at times when shot at us from the enemy and sin does follow. We are still inclined like the thirsty man crossing the desert to take whatever water is offered to us. We have no discipline in ourselves to refuse the toxic water and wait for the springs of living water. However, we can always come back to find the Lord's mercy if we will ask and repent of the ways of the flesh. We can take up the word of God and listen to what He tells us just like those Israelites returning to Him after so long. Always come back to our Lord Jesus Christ!

May the love and goodness of our Lord Jesus wash over you this day,


Thursday, January 25, 2018

Heaven Needs No Polishing

Immediately I was in the Spirit; and behold, a throne set in heaven, and One sat on the throne. And He who sat there was like a jasper and a sardius stone in appearance; and there was a rainbow around the throne, in appearance like an emerald. Revelation 4:2-3

If I see a bit of tarnished brass, I want to polish it. This is not unusual as many people feel the urge to polish those tarnished things that meet their eye. Husbands have felt this 'eye' many a time when leaving the house in that favorite old sweatshirt and jeans. Some have even reported it burning the old clothes right off of them. However, for my case, I must beware of creating an idol. To polish a thing to a brilliant shine and admire it for the shine and the effort required might be fine. But should I find myself admiring it overmuch, perhaps talking to it, or making a request of the lifeless thing would be going too far. God is very much against idolatry.

That could not happen today, we like to say, we are much too rational for such primitive beliefs. Ever see a man cleaning and polishing his gun collection? Is he talking to them as he works? Have you ever met a person who encouraged her money to go forth and reproduce? I may be going over the top a bit, but I am also convinced that we have all been tempted by idolatry and the most effective times were those when we didn't realize that was the temptation.

Some of the things we might enjoy here on the earth probably won't happen in Heaven. God doesn't need me to polish things in Heaven because Heaven needs no polishing. The accounts we have of visits to Heaven from John, Ezekiel, and Isaiah show clearly that tarnishing is not a problem. Will we have to wash dishes in Heaven? That's one we will just have to wait to find out.

Praise God for the purity of His Heaven!

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Rocks Are So Glum

Then, behold, the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom; and the earth quaked, and the rocks were split. Matthew 27:51

Ouch! Poor rocks, no wonder they turned glum. In Richard Thompson's Cul de Sac this morning, we find out that Alice is driven crazy by rocks because they are so glum, so she paints smileys on them. Good solution, I'm sure the rocks appreciate it, just look at their happy little faces. Alice sure is nice to rocks. Why then is our Lord so mean to them?

Of course we know that it wasn't like that; Jesus in His death cry tore the temple veil, quaked the earth, split rocks, opened graves, and raised the dead saints. Our Lord had nothing against the rocks He had created, but He got the attention of those nearby and in the city (Jerusalem). Such was the passing of the Son of God that even the Roman centurion acknowledged it to his men. The rocks at that moment had reason to be glum: Jesus was dead.

I wonder if the rocks knew that something big was on the way? Their cousin, the tomb stone rolled across a certain tomb, might have been the first to know that something stupendous happened early one morning just after the Sabbath. It's too bad someone wasn't there to paint a big smiley on that tomb stone; it seems rather appropriate. Jesus got up, neatly folded His head cloth, and walked out of the tomb, passing a big ol' tomb stone that certainly would have grinned if it could. I'm thinking the rocks were not so glum on that day!

Smile, He is risen!

Monday, January 22, 2018

A Bit o' Moses

For I proclaim the name of the LORD:
​​Ascribe greatness to our God.
He is the Rock, His work is perfect;
​​For all His ways are justice,
​​A God of truth and without injustice;
​​Righteous and upright is He. Deuteronomy 32:3-4

In writing a sermon or devotional, or a song, novel, short story, or anything else for that matter, a bit of the self comes through. Circumscribed by style and usage, college writing allows the least of the self through, while a personal journal or diary allows the most as it is not expected to be made public. Internet commentary allows some personal opinions to come through that would be best left in a sealed box and buried, but that is the world we live in now. So, where does the writing in the Bible fit in? A mixture of everything from personal to public, dry reporting to awestruck wonder, and of course all the words of the Lord. What did the long association of Moses with God have to offer us in his writing?

Moses came to a firm conclusion about the Lord our God: His work is perfect.

That alone makes the Lord quite different from me, but there is much more from our brother Moses. Greatness, truth, justice, righteousness and if we were to continue in the Song of Moses, the story of our Lord's unfailing provision until at verse 43 we find: "Rejoice, O Gentiles, with His people!" What, Moses cared about us too? That is what comes from a long journey with the Lord, we learn more about Him and proclaim it to all, and we learn to love neighbors we don't even know.

His work is perfect!

Saturday, January 20, 2018

Solitaire For The Soul

"Therefore, behold, I will again do a marvelous work
​​Among this people,
​​A marvelous work and a wonder;
​​For the wisdom of their wise men shall perish,
​​And the understanding of their prudent men shall be hidden.” Isaiah 29:14

If you must, admit it, you have played the solitaire game, perhaps more than one, on your computer. The draw piles in a game of solitaire behave much like man in his quest to do without God. "If I just get this one card, I can complete the game in record time," he says, as he draws almost inevitably it seems, another of the cards he does not need. The great time waster does not often give up the card the man wants when he wants it. Then the man turns to blaming God for it!

I, of course, only use a game or two of solitaire while I am thinking of what to write, wink, wink...ow, I think my winker just broke.

We need some rest once in a while, but sometimes it gets out of hand. What a great analogy for those plans we make without God though, and sometimes the wrong reaction that follows. Jonah was a great example of this too with his big plant.

As opposed to the outcome of the many vain things we try to accomplish in this life, God still lays out promises like the one in our verse for today. The Lord also makes it clear that it is not because of what man thinks is wise and what he boasts is understood by him. The marvelous works of the Lord are done by the Lord, sometimes in spite of our efforts in those vain things that accomplish so little. I like those marvelous works in which our Lord lets me help out in my small way too. One day I believe we will be surprised at what the Lord accomplished with our little offerings... given here and there between the games of solitaire.

I jest! Remember to let your nose back away from that grindstone now and then. Trust in the Lord to lead you in resting too!