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!