Thursday, July 18, 2019

In The Middle Of It

“The harvest is past,
​​The summer is ended,
​​And we are not saved!” Jeremiah 8:20

In the middle of something it seems that the next thing is far away. Yesterday was hot; today is forecast as hotter; tomorrow more heat and humidity. We are in the middle of it. It being summer of course, and I didn't need to tell you that. Jeremiah warned in our verse for today that there is an ending. A time comes when that which we are in the middle of is no more and has come to a close.

As for the church age, that time between the ascension of Christ and His glorious return, we may be in the middle of it or we may be close to the ending of it. Right now we cannot see the end and it seems much the same to us as it always has been. All we know for sure is that we are not present in the beginning of it. My evidence is that I can read about Peter and Paul in the Bible, and I have not met them recently. If you just graduated high school this year, you may wonder if one or both was still alive when I was a child. Not to worry, I did the same thing to my elders when I was your age.

Yes, we are in the summer time of the church, and we do not know yet when the harvest will be over and done with. Yet, recall Jeremiah and know that the time will come when the autumn and winter of this earth has come and swiftly the end will follow. However, there comes a new season and the return of our Lord to His place to make all things new. It seems so far away from us now, but swiftly He comes!

In the name of our precious Lord Jesus,


Wednesday, July 17, 2019

The Gloomy Pits of Darkness

For God did not spare even the angels who sinned. He threw them into hell, in gloomy pits of darkness, where they are being held until the day of judgment. 2 Peter 2:4

Gloomy pits of darkness, why would anyone want to go there? And yet, many do. Of course they do not think that is what they want; thinking instead that they are going their own way to a heaven they imagine. For that matter, why would angels in heaven want to go down to gloomy pits of darkness? Well, of course they did not think they were going there either. The Devil doesn't want to go there; he wants to set his throne above the Lord's. The gloomy pits of darkness are not on anyone's wish list of places to abide.

We don't want to go there either, but if that is our only reason for doing good works then we have discovered a quite selfish reason. So, do good works so that we can go to heaven? Hmm, better target of course, but still a selfish and self-centered reason for striving to do good. And who says that a few good works done for your eternal destination is good enough to make the cut? The entrances to the gloomy pits of darkness seem to be yawning just a little wider this morning.

The only answer to our salvation remains in Jesus our Lord. Why did the angels who sinned not get a chance at repentance in Christ? Well, He was there with them, was He not? Whether the chance was given or not does not matter to our situation though. We do have the good news of Jesus Christ and we do have the time to decide to believe in Him...for now. Spreading the good news is eternally critical for the many who refuse to believe. The time grows shorter with each passing day. The hour and day of His return is set! Let us share again the good news that our Lord Jesus accepts all who come to Him, and all need to come to Him, soon!

The grace of Jesus Christ to you,

Monday, July 15, 2019

Faith or Pride?

“Behold the proud,
​​His soul is not upright in him;
​​But the just shall live by his faith. Habakkuk 2:4

Ah, no, not that verse again! That means I have to spell 'Habakkuk' on a Monday morning. Why couldn't that prophet have a name like Tim or Joe or Bob? But I did spell it, you might point out, twice. Yes, but I also fumbled it both times as there seems to be some urgent desire to put a double B in the man's name. Not sure why that would be.

Two sides to this coin: the proud who does not have an upright soul, and the just who live by faith. Wait, wouldn't the usual opposite side of the coin be the just living upright in their soul? Yes, if we are talking regular old coins metaphorically, even though our coins are not meant to be opposites on the heads and tails, or obverse and reverse if we want to be correct. And where was I? Ran the ol' thought train right off the rails there!

Anyway, the proud and the just. It is interesting that God does not send word through Habakkuk (got it, that time!) that the just live by the uprightness or righteousness of the soul. No, we would have no chance that way, for all have sinned and fallen short of God's standard. Instead, the just live by faith. Faith in what or whom?

Faith and believes in are the same, and the One we believe in is Jesus the Christ. For He is, the way, the truth, and the life.

Live in Christ by faith!

Friday, July 12, 2019

Not Always Our Desire

He saw that rest was good,
​​And that the land was pleasant;
​​He bowed his shoulder to bear a burden,
​​And became a band of slaves.  Genesis 49:15

Among Jacob's last words is this verse to Issachar, and it speaks to us these many years later. We can also see the later meanings that would come for all of Israel and not just the one tribe. Did 400 years of slavery in Egypt begin with Issachar? If the words of Jacob were prophetic, and it seems they are, then what did Issachar do to get this started?

According to the preceding verse, Issachar lay down like a donkey between two burdens. We do not know what they were, but apparently he bowed his shoulder to one of them - probably a decision made without consulting the Lord. Issachar may have chosen to do what he wanted instead of what the Lord desired of him. A choice we face often ourselves. In choosing his desire over the Lord's will, which is the heart of sin, he became enslaved. Sin does that to people.

However, we can know that this is not a permanent condition by a little jaunt back to Revelation 7:7 where we find 12,000 sealed from the tribe of Issachar. The tribe made it (will make it) to the end times, unlike other tribes who fell to sin along the way and are not found in that list. (The tribe of Dan, for example.) We too may fall into a trap of sin brought on by a decision to go our way instead of the Lord's way, and we can find forgiveness and mercy in our Lord. Amen!

Have a great weekend in Christ!


Thursday, July 11, 2019

Your Will or His?

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

We agree with the psalmist, David in this case, and we too would hasten our escape from this world. Whether by way of the Rapture or through calling it quits on this world soon, we would be glad to be gone.

John may have groaned a bit when he heard the Lord say that he would be staying through to the end. Old age brings with it some sufferings, and there is something to be wished for in an early exit. Jesus also told Peter that he too would be staying on for a bit, but his end didn't sound quite so easy. Both disciples likely had an 'I would' available to them, just like you and me do, but we also know whose will is going to happen. When we pray that God's will be done, we are repenting of that 'I would', just as David brought his psalm to a close with, "But I will trust in You."

For those who do not yet believe, we may be here for a bit or we may be gone soon, but we will to do His will, and will pray for you and His salvation.

In Christ the Lord,

Wednesday, July 10, 2019

The Power of Darkness Hour

“When I was with you daily in the temple, you did not try to seize Me. But this is your hour, and the power of darkness.” Luke 22:53

One way we think to measure freedom is in the time to do anything we want to do. (What we need of course is freedom from sin.) One power that does not have that sort of freedom is the power of darkness. We know from the Book of Job that the top dog in that power needed to get God's hedge of protection removed or loosened in order to attack Job, and even then there were restrictions. Jesus here speaking to the worldly authorities noted a particular hour when they were allowed to seize the person of the Christ. From Pilate to the lowest ranking soldier or priest, the worldly ones needed a break in the authority of the Christ in order to seize Him and do their will for that brief time. It had to be.

Those of us who believe in Jesus know that without this, no amount of force or guile could overcome the power of the Almighty, which Jesus as God in human form could have shown at any time He desired to do so. The Man who calmed the stormy waters of the Sea of Galilee surely could have sent the power of darkness packing. The One who healed so many and sent out the demons from so many others would surely not have been balked by a few men with spears and swords had He not desired first to fulfill His Father's will in the crucifixion. He submitted, but He was not weak.

For a brief time at the end of things here, the power of darkness will once more enjoy a season, a time, a few short years of power and the freedom to do some terrible things. But our Lord Jesus has already stated more than once to us that He is, "The Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End". (Revelation 21:6).

The love of the Almighty to you and yours on this day,


Monday, July 08, 2019

We Would Not?

 For thus says the Lord GOD, the Holy One of Israel:
​​“In returning and rest you shall be saved;
​​In quietness and confidence shall be your strength.”
​​But you would not,
​​And you said, “No, for we will flee on horses”—
​​Therefore you shall flee!
​​And, “We will ride on swift horses”—
​​Therefore those who pursue you shall be swift!
Isaiah 30:15-16

What is it like to 'would not' before the Lord? I think we know by now through our disobedience.

When things are not going well, say in Bible study or prayer or worship, we often bend toward action. The Word of the Lord will get into my head if I just spend 12 hours of each day reading it, we say with the confidence of hard work. One commentary on the Word is not working, so surely three will do the trick. Or, I just need a different minister and all will be right between me and God, he said, right before the upheaval in the local church began. We have tried these and other things when the doldrums of the spirit have set in on us. The Israelites had a similar answer to the Lord when He spoke to them words of returning, rest, quietness, and confidence: Let us run to the hills on horseback!

Disobedience toward the Lord must be the number one reason for our struggles in the body of Christ. What's that you say? Unbelief? The unbelievers have their religious duties to help them through the tough times, or no religion to worry over at all. It is those who believe in Jesus and struggle to obey that face the dark night of the soul, the claustrophobia in the prayer closet, and an uproar in the church group. We mourn over the sudden opaqueness in the Word and the wall that seems to have sprung up between the supplicant and the Savior. And the answer may well be, "But you would not."

Love and joy in Christ to you,


Friday, July 05, 2019

Lights In The World

Do all things without complaining and disputing, that you may become blameless and harmless, children of God without fault in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world," Philippians 2:14-15

If you have ever held a leadership position, you will know what a delight it would be to have a group to lead who lived by this scripture passage. Of course you did...when the order was for a long weekend or to work on a popular project. Paul though is writing to the Philippians about those times when the command is not so much fun. A team-building exercise by way of coming together to complete an onerous task that needs doing, not the ones where the group goes to a ballgame. Yes, those orders where we the leaders and former leaders have heard expressed the sounds of human suffering, the moaning of the condemned, the lamentation of those left behind...yes, the hyperbole of the masses being told something they didn't want to do. What a light we could be in the world by simply not joining in the griping and complaining that so often characterizes the groups we work in at our place of employment.

Now that sounds almost doable, but what if we were to abstain from complaining and disputing in politics?


Wednesday, July 03, 2019

Gentle Cords

I drew them with gentle cords,
​​With bands of love,
​​And I was to them as those who take the yoke from their neck.
​​I stooped and fed them. Hosea 11:4

After I gave my life to Jesus, I waited to feel the tug of His chains and felt nothing. I read the verses about being guided to the right or left, and waited for the pull on me to either side. Yet I felt nothing. It seemed that every decision was mine alone and the consequences were often too much for a person to bear on his own. The Lord foretold of hooks in the jaws to Sennacherib who had spoken proudly before the Lord after being given strength and purpose to accomplish a mission. That sounds a bit more like what I expected. But that is what God has for those who would stand proudly against Him.

The verse for today explains why we do not feel what that enemy whispers to us. The Lord our God uses bands of love, gentle cords to lead us. We are not yanked around like the proud ones, but led gently with love. The Lord removes the yoke of sin's payment from our neck and stoops to feed us. Those whispers of the enemy are lies. Trust in the Lord as He leads us gently in His love!

Gentle in love, our Lord.


Monday, July 01, 2019

All Shall Know Him

"No more shall every man teach his neighbor, and every man his brother, saying, ‘Know the LORD,’ for they all shall know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them, says the LORD. For I will forgive their iniquity, and their sin I will remember no more.” Jeremiah 31:34

Teaching is one of the callings we have one toward another. Some are blessed in doing it and others are blessed to receive it. However, this verse speaks of a future time when no teaching about the Lord is needed. All shall know Him. No more Bible study classes, no sermons, all already know the Lord. Kind of seems strange, does it not? What about worship services? Perhaps not, but only because all will worship the Lord already, all the time. Gathering together? Maybe we will be gathered together at all times already as the bride of Christ.

This verse speaks of something fulfilled that is no longer needed. New has come and the old thing has been set aside forever. Our Lord spoke of making all things new, so it stands to reason that we can wait as old things are set aside and new things take their places. Guessing what they might be is enjoyable, but will those guesses be correct? Of course, every one of us has something we do out of necessity now that we would gladly set aside in the new times to come. I could start a list, but would soon be overwhelmed. Like you, I will wait on the Lord and see all those new things He makes. Starting with knowing Him though, that is certainly a good 'un! I look forward to that with you!

Love and joy in Christ the Lord!


Friday, June 28, 2019

Living By Faith

​“Behold the proud,
​​His soul is not upright in him;
​​But the just shall live by his faith. Habakkuk 2:4

Was Strong Faith the mighty man of superhero legend? No, faith is strong when it rests in strength, and no one is stronger than the one we know as the Almighty. If we depend upon our faith to be strong, it will rest in us and by now we have come to know our weakness all too well and often. The faith we are given by the Lord must rest in Him. We may even say that any faith we have was given for the express purpose of resting that faith in the Lord.

Weak Christian, strong Christian, fast, slow, busy, lazy... these are worldly terms we might use to compare ourselves one with another. What we have is faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. If one of us could measure with a cup your faith or my faith, he would be looking in the wrong direction. Point the one who would measure to the One who is faithful beyond measure, our Lord Jesus. In this life I could be a busy Christian one season, enjoy the praise of men, and suffer health blows and be thought a slow or lazy Christian the next. But to borrow from Joshua, as for me and my house, we will place our faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.

My faith is in Jesus. If the world can overthrow my Lord Jesus then I will be overthrown. As I read the Revelation, I see that the world will try a couple of times.


Thursday, June 27, 2019

The Wicked Prosper

​You have planted them, yes, they have taken root;
​​They grow, yes, they bear fruit.
​​You are near in their mouth
​​But far from their mind. Jeremiah 12:2

We might see this verse going somewhere were it not for that last line. Far from their mind? Uh oh, this is not going to end well! Jeremiah takes up a complaint against the wicked ones who prosper in this world in verse 1 of the chapter. The prophet asks of the Lord why those who give no mind to God are made to do so well in the world. What is worse is that while Jeremiah suffers for the word given to him, the prosperous ones speak similar words.

It is a sad fact that in this world that someone without a thought for God can speak and write words much like ours, even just like ours in speaking of our Lord Jesus. Their ministry might accumulate vast wealth and large numbers of church members, while we minister to few and struggle to pay the bills. It won't do to fret over them!

All one of us can do is come to the Lord in prayer that we remain faithful to God in our ministry. You and I cannot answer for that other fellow and what is in his heart. If his ministry is false, it will become known.

I pray that the grace of God will overflow from the heart of all those who believe in His precious Son, Jesus Christ.


Wednesday, June 26, 2019

That's A Mean One

And it shall be, that just as the LORD rejoiced over you to do you good and multiply you, so the LORD will rejoice over you to destroy you and bring you to nothing; and you shall be plucked from off the land which you go to possess. Deuteronomy 28:63

This is one of those verses from the Old Testament that to the unbeliever proves God's meanness. This is of course to ignore the first part about rejoicing in doing good and multiplying, but also ignores the text that goes on all around it. But we who believe in the Christ might also have a little question arise from this verse: How could the Lord rejoice over destroying those He loves?!!

Here is where you and I can have faith and separate ourselves, quite rapidly really, from the world and what it thinks it knows. We can believe God rejoices because there is good in the destruction of Israel in this case, but perhaps of us too in another case.

It is clear that the destruction is of Israel as a nation in this case. In later verses, Israel is promised a scattering and no rest among the nations to which it is plucked off to.. We too may be plucked off to somewhere else to remove something or someone from our lives by way of the Lord, to meet new people (especially those who do not yet believe in Him), and/or to be discipled by another teacher. There may be other reasons, but the old normal of life is lost and a new life begins in another place. Much like salvation this is! (Do I hear a Yoda-like voice somewhere?)

Now, let us ask the question again. Is God being mean or is God being loving and good by making sure that any destruction is carefully meted out to any and all He loves, so that evil influences are removed from us (or we from them), and all will work out for our good as our Lord rejoices over what will come from His firm steps?

Tough times in life are not a sign of God being mean to us, but of His love!


Monday, June 24, 2019

A Cage Made Of Rules

But the ruler of the synagogue answered with indignation, because Jesus had healed on the Sabbath; and he said to the crowd, “There are six days on which men ought to work; therefore come and be healed on them, and not on the Sabbath day.” Luke 13:14

The Sabbath was a great day for healing by our Lord, but some clung to their book of rules. They clung so tightly to them that they could not see what (or who!) was before them.

Like money, rules can be useful to us. When listed in a checklist, a set of rules can help us to see an operation through to a successful conclusion. When followed in training, rules can keep us safe and ease the learning process. Experiencing a catastrophic failure in a system, as some of us have found out, is a tough way to learn a 'don't do that'. However, also like money, rules can be a way to build a cage around ourselves such that we cannot see the Savior.

The ruler growled a rule at the poor woman healed of an infirmity she bore for eighteen years. Six days you can come get healing, leave my Sabbath alone! Dude! Did you just see the Savior heal that woman bound for eighteen years by the Devil? Do you understand at all the pain she endured? This one was still bound by the Devil it would seem, bound up in his cage of good-sounding rules. Read the story in Luke 13 and see how our Savior put his adversaries to shame. It will be the same in the final judgment. Those who love Him will be glorified with Him; those who deny Him will be put to shame.

Trust in Him!


Friday, June 21, 2019

And Another Thing About Service

So it was, as soon as the days of his service were completed, that he departed to his own house. Luke 1:23

Service may be tough, but it also means that I may not get to do what I wanted to do! Wah, wah! Yes, after all these years the crying of the selfish child is all too easily brought forth from memory.

Patience is called for as we see the days of service for Zacharias coming to a close in our verse for today. His term of service had an end and he could go home to do what he wanted to do for a time. After the child came he could learn about another form of service, but that is a story for another day. In serving another we may have to set aside a thing we want to do for a time. That may not be easy in this age where we expect things to arrive so quickly.

We can also note from the verse today that service is often away from the home. That isn't always a comfortable situation either, especially for those of us who like the place called home. Ah, but this place is not our permanent home, and service away from His home is what our Savior did to save us.

Praise God for His service!


Thursday, June 20, 2019

It's Too Much, Ask For Help

Both you and these people who are with you will surely wear yourselves out. For this thing is too much for you; you are not able to perform it by yourself. Exodus 18:18

Much good advice comes from people who don't know much. In-laws, parents, teachers, ministers, and other people such as these offer advice to us because they were once as we are, and they hope that by some good advice we will not plow ahead foolishly as they once did. That it takes a few tries for us to learn to listen to that good advice only stores up another generation of good advisers for the foolish plowers. It's a rite of passage sort of thing.

One of those areas of good advice is often in the asking for help when we reach a point that a duty, task or project is too much for us alone and we need to ask for help. The problem usually is that we are in a stubborn plow-ahead mode and it takes someone we respect such as a, well, see the list above.

Now, of course we are to go to God first in prayer. But sometimes there is so much griping going on in our heads that He cannot get a word of advice in Himself, and so He sends in some advice from some of those folks we didn't always think knew very much. And we're back to the elders thing. Yes, because if one finds the mind too busy griping to listen to the Lord, then an interruption by one with good advice might just be the next best ticket to the wisdom train. And as our Lord Jesus said, if you have left the plow to follow Him, don't look back at it.

Have a great Thursday in Christ our Lord!


Wednesday, June 19, 2019

An Understanding Heart

"Therefore give to Your servant an understanding heart to judge Your people, that I may discern between good and evil. For who is able to judge this great people of Yours?” 1 Kings 3:9

Oh, it is fun to imagine being king at times! We can see the advantage in the power, and in being the first one to know everything. Uh, no, as experience has shown, the person in charge is often not the first to know everything or even anything for that matter. The monarch must fight the urge to believe the first one and condemn the second automatically. Um, what?

If you have been on the hot seat because you were the second party, you know well what I am talking about this morning. The first one gets the sympathetic ear, the chance to tell the story from their perspective in a calm sea. The second one faces the pointed sword of justice, the arresting officers, the angry sea as the authority falls for that age old myth that the first one to run to the chief is the one who is telling the truth. Solomon wanted an understanding heart to be able to judge God's people when faced with the one said this-the other said that cases that would come before him.

Solomon in his position was both president and supreme court, and he was responsible to God for all of Israel. In any case where it was he said-she said, or they said this happened but the other folks say that happened, and in many things where the king on his throne far away would be among the last to know something happened out on the frontier, Solomon wanted discernment through an understanding heart. This was something wonderful in a ruler! I'm with you in asking in prayer for some more of that in our leaders, please.

The good news is that our Lord Jesus is more of that and He will rule one day.

Have a great day in the Lord Jesus!


Monday, June 17, 2019

Service Is Tough

“I know your works, love, service, faith, and your patience; and as for your works, the last are more than the first. Revelation 2:19

I sought out the Lord to teach me patience, and I'm still waiting for that to happen. I sought from the Lord the meaning of steadfast endurance, and I just wish that would end sometime. And then came the subject of service. Service is tough.

Serving is seldom convenient. It is easy when on your way to the second town over to stop and drop something off in the first town as you are going through on your way. But, no the request for service goes something like, "On your way to Florida, can you stop in Juneau and wrestle a grizzly bear for me?" I'm like: Florida? I'm not going anywhere this weekend, and have you never looked at a map or globe or a GPS in your life? No, service is almost never convenient. Its timing seems to be off a little too.

Service is that phone call to do some work on a Friday evening just after (or before) you are going home from the work of a difficult week at the regular job. The call to serve does not come when boredom has begun to lay its heavy hand on your brain and a change would be welcome. Nope, that would be too easy. So, with timing and geography at issue, what else might serving call us for?

For Jesus, serving us in our greatest need called for His life... and a lot of suffering as well. When I read our Lord's words in our verse for today, I hope that my last works will be more than my first, because when service has called, I have not always been ready and willing. Service is tough!

Love in Christ,

Friday, June 14, 2019

Trusting In Him

But let all those rejoice who put their trust in You;
Let them ever shout for joy, because You defend them;
Let those also who love Your name
Be joyful in You. Psalm 5:11

It is a song of praise. It is a prayer that these things will be done. "Let them..." David wrote, probably because it was not always that way even in his heart. As king, David wanted a peaceful land, and to gain that peace he wrote that all should be joyful in the Lord. Note how much the Lord must do for this:

1. He must be trustworthy.
2. The Lord must be defender of the people.
3. His name must be lovable. 
4. When trust is placed in Him, He must enable joy in Himself
   from those who likely have much to not be joyful about. 

Age can make us to not wake up feeling joyful. The Spirit rejoices in God within us, but the old body just does not feel that joy right away anymore. If that is not enough, feed yourself a little news today from the world... and joy might easily be driven out right there unless it is in and from One who provides a continuous supply. We do not live in a joyful world and our fallen bodies do not provide joy and the feelings of the day likely are not joyful. As David wrote those many years ago, we must trust in God and find our joy in Him.

So graciously does He provide!


Thursday, June 13, 2019

Turning From Idols

For they themselves declare concerning us what manner of entry we had to you, and how you turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God. 1 Thessalonians 1:9

Turning from idols to serve the living and true God, now there is cause for celebration.

Idols are common throughout the known world, and we're not talking natives in the jungle bowing down before a carved wooden thing. Nope, we have an entire host of potential idols in this modern world, and any of them might ensnare us if we are not watchful. Today we even have the option of virtual idols on our computer monitors, if something that a person can touch and bump into is no longer enough for you. Want your idol to talk and move around? No problem, television already did that, but we can go even further and program a virtual world that... You know the story, and a false reality impossible to tell from virtual reality becomes more of an idol with each passing day.

But wait! Given a bit more time, we might bump into robots and androids inhabiting our own 'real' world that are impossible to tell from humans. And of course some will want to have sex with them. Sodom and Gomorrah anyone? Yes, all things come 'round again, as Solomon observed way back in the day.

Turning from idols to the living and true God is a cause for celebration, and the angels in Heaven celebrate each time a lost sheep is brought into the fold by our dear Savior Jesus!

Rejoice in Him!


Wednesday, June 12, 2019

Comfy and Secure Yet?

One person dies in prosperity,
completely comfortable and secure,
the picture of good health,
vigorous and fit. Job 21:23-24

From Job's seventh speech, we have a truth or at least a true observation; it does happen. We are jealous and wish we could be that one person. Of course this could also be the picture of a wealthy young person dying in a sudden car crash, and then we think, "Oh, what a tragedy!" But we still wish we could try out their riches for a bit. Yes, prosperity by way of great wealth is a temptation to the mind.

Job in his lamentation phase, which is most of the book of Job, was not a fun person to be around. You and me may not be comfy and secure yet in our own strength, be it wealth, health, or otherwise, but we are not supposed to be secure in what we are in the world. Our comfort and security come from God. We may not see prosperity, health, wealth, comfort and security until we are in Heaven with our Lord. And vigor and fitness too! God does give us just enough of these things to get through the tribulation of this life. Oh, and that fellow who died with all those things Job said? He most likely died thinking that he didn't have enough of any of them.

Have a great and enjoyable day in Christ Jesus!


Monday, June 10, 2019

Be Fully Alert!

He should look for chariots
drawn by pairs of horses,
and for riders on donkeys and camels.
Let the watchman be fully alert. Isaiah 21:7

A semi tractor with a 53 foot long trailer is parked across the street from my house this morning, and I don't remember one arriving last night. I can estimate the trailer length fairly accurately as the thing has "53' " printed right on the side of it. Now, as for keeping fully alert for horses, a chariot, and riders on donkeys and camels, I'm not sure that I am qualified. It may be an age thing.

No doubt about it, my senses are not quite as sharp as they used to be. Not that they were ever quite up to Call of the Wild standards to begin with but now that middle age is slipping out from under me I am not likely to be anyones watchman in the physical realm. Spiritually speaking however and in keeping an eye on world events, I am doing much better than in years past. Again though, I cannot take credit to myself for that, it is the Lord who has brought His word and the news to me through ministers and messengers.

Yes, at my age the watchman stays fully alert for only as long as he can stay awake, and that isn't always very long. Praise God that our salvation is of Him and not of me.

Love in Christ,


Friday, June 07, 2019

No Sleep 'Til

When I applied my heart to know wisdom and to see the business that is done on earth, even though one sees no sleep day or night, then I saw all the work of God, that a man cannot find out the work that is done under the sun. For though a man labors to discover it, yet he will not find it; moreover, though a wise man attempts to know it, he will not be able to find it. Ecclesiastes 8:16-17

No sleep until I find out what God is up to! Solomon apparently tried to catalog or discover all the work being done on the earth by man, even the busyness of the night time, and saw some insight into the work of God. His insight was that man cannot know all the work of God that goes on day and night. Work at it though he might, the man could not see all of God's work and there was work of God that he could not comprehend.

So, if the wisest of men could not even hope to comprehend all that humans were up to and discerned that he could not know what God was doing under the Sun, what hope have I then of knowing God's work? All that God does is His business, I have only to trust in His steadfast love and goodness.


Thursday, June 06, 2019

Do You Want To Live Forever?

Gather My saints together to Me,
Those who have made a covenant with Me by sacrifice. Psalm 50:5

75 years ago this day men from several nations gathered to do battle. What words of encouragement might a chaplain find for these men, many of whom were about to die? It would be a heavy burden to stand there in that moment and seek a word from the Lord, only to hear silence.

In the steel landing craft, as fear cloaked the soldiers waiting there, many a covenant would have been offered up to the Lord. Would any be accepted and to the frightened one come words of assurance, "I accept; you will live to see another day"? Perhaps God kept His silence on these offerings and requests too.

Or, did all of them hear only the words of a few officers telling them this or that, all knowing that none of it might matter when the ramps fell and the battle for survival began in earnest? Did one of those officers ask that question, hoping to encourage the men by his wit; "Do you want to live forever?"

The flesh of course would be quick to answer that one, but sacrifice is never easy else it would be no sacrifice at all. And silent or not, the Lord God was there with each and every one, and some sacrifices He did take that day.

Thank you, dear Lord, for the sacrifice of Your Son. Amen.


Wednesday, June 05, 2019

Just Love Him or Her, and Me Too!

‘You shall not take vengeance, nor bear any grudge against the children of your people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself: I am the LORD. Leviticus 19:18

The command to love your neighbor as yourself was spoken by our Lord first in the Law as we see in our verse for today. Jesus then spoke it twice in Matthew to make that three times from the Lord. Paul gave it to us again in his letter to the Romans and once more writing to the Galatians, and James gave it to us one more time to make three times for the apostles.

This command from the Lord just might have some bearing on how we are to live, he said with almost biblical understatement.

What about my wife, does she not come first? (I didn't get married last night, bear with me by way of example.)

I know the husbands want to ask that question. As we have said before, the wife is simply your closest neighbor. The children are your next closest and so on until you come to that person who is most distant from you on the earth, and he or she also we are to love as ourselves. Some of us need to work on the first part more - loving those neighbors - and others the second part should be recalled more often. For all of the uses, all six of them, end with 'as yourself'. Yes, we were born sinful creatures, but loving ourselves is part of the divine command too. If you doubt it, remember that the first one is signed: "I am the LORD".

Love to you in Christ our Lord!


Monday, June 03, 2019

Mr. Mighty Wealth

"...then you say in your heart, ‘My power and the might of my hand have gained me this wealth.’ " Deuteronomy 8:17

The context of this verse for today begins with a warning from the Lord to His people, and it begins with: "Beware that you do not forget the Lord your God..." There are many promises given by way of this warning about increasing flocks, gold and silver multiplied, beautiful houses, and other things the flesh desires in this world. The promised land beckoned to the comforts of the flesh as Israel took up living in their new home. The temptation warned about sounds remarkably like the temptations faced by our Lord Jesus in the wilderness. Actually, it is also like the temptations to get rich and comfy we face today. I guess the testing remains the same because it works so well.

In my flesh, I want to be Mr. Mighty Wealth swooping in like a different sort of superhero to help those in need and thus be looked up to and offered the best place at the banquet. This does not make me unique by any means. There are even many who play the lotteries who have a list of things they will do to help others when their ship of wealth arrives at the port. Wealth and the desire for wealth are tough tests that each of us will face. Most will face the desire test, some few will also face the actual having wealth test. God will send to us the best test to make us into what he would have us to become.

Alas, we know from the histories in the Bible that Israel did not fare well in the wealth testing and did in fact come to forget their God. May God give me and you the strength to remember Him in poverty and in wealth.

Love in Christ to you,

Friday, May 31, 2019

Our Giving Lord

“And behold, I am coming quickly, and My reward is with Me, to give to every one according to his work." Revelation 22:12

From Genesis 1:15 to our verse for today, one can find the word 'give' active in God's hands. The Sun and Moon He created give their light to the Earth and the Son He gave brings His reward to give to everyone according to his and her work. Our giving Lord can be read in hundreds of verses throughout His word, and those are only the explicit instances from a search on the word 'give'. Of course we who believe in His Son can give our testimony of our giving Lord too!

Giving is something our Lord shows to us in His word and in His deeds. George Washington reminded us of our Lord's giving in the name he used for God: Providence. The Apostle Paul reminded us to bring our requests to the Lord. Our Lord likes to give from the many examples we read in the word, but He also likes to be asked, for in the asking we acknowledge our Lord and believe in Him. Daily we find ourselves needy, and daily He gives.

Rejoice in the providence of our Lord Jesus!


Thursday, May 30, 2019

He Will Come

Behold, I send My messenger,
​​And he will prepare the way before Me.
​​And the Lord, whom you seek,
​​Will suddenly come to His temple,
​​Even the Messenger of the covenant,
​​In whom you delight.
​​Behold, He is coming,”
​​Says the LORD of hosts. Malachi 3:1

The prophet Malachi is given last place in our Old Testament as he prophecies just before the drought of the word of God comes upon Israel. This drought of the spirit would go on for centuries before any divine revelation came again to the people of God. During all that time a remnant of the faithful waited for the Lord to come, and He did! Many were born, lived out their lives, and went back to the dust in this waiting time, much like we are doing today. They remained faithful.

We too remain faithful in a time of waiting. It is not easy and we can now feel the pain of waiting they felt back then as they watched the Temple for the Lord's coming. We watch and we wait, and we wonder at times if the Lord is delayed somehow. Of course He is not. Our word of encouragement for today is: He will come again. In the strength of our Lord Jesus, we get to remain faithful in a world that seems headed toward destruction. He is coming again!

Rejoice! He is coming again.


Wednesday, May 29, 2019

Long Time Gone

Therefore the LORD will wait, that He may be gracious to you;
​​And therefore He will be exalted, that He may have mercy on you.
​​For the LORD is a God of justice;
​​Blessed are all those who wait for Him. Isaiah 30:18

I had this dream... nah, unless it is of the Lord dreams are a form of guess-you-had-to-be-there torture for most people, so we won't go there today. Long weekend and a Bible study day and suddenly I haven't written to you since last Friday, almost a week ago. During that time we had our turn at the big storms rolling across the land. Lots of hail here and some wind too, but not nearly so bad as some have experienced. Streets became creeks for a time and the ground is well soaked. The sun will shine again though, we have only to wait.

It says here in our verse for today that the Lord will wait. If one of us were almighty for a day, would be wait? We are promised that the Lord will wait that He may be gracious. Now grace is definitely something to hope for and receive with gladness! If the Lord needs to wait for a time and then comes down on us with the graciousness, then... Go Lord! Mercy too is promised and an exaltation of the Lord. This verse is just overflowing with the goodness of the Lord! And how do we go about getting there? We wait on the Lord.

"Blessed are all those who wait for Him."


Friday, May 24, 2019

Renewal in Repentance

Create in me a clean heart, O God,
​​And renew a steadfast spirit within me. Psalm 51:10

A famous verse from a psalm of David when he was loaded with guilt from what today would be called something like 'Bathsheba-gate'. Good heavens that is weak, it must be before breakfast early in the morning toward the end of the week. Yes, the weakness in the week is me!

Like most of us, David had a weakness for sin. The man after God's own heart was king and such a scandal as can hardly be believed came from his actions toward Bathsheba and her husband Uriah the Hittite. It would have consequences throughout his life. Yet, when presented with the scarlet color of his sin by Nathan, David repented and asked for renewal. "Renew a steadfast spirit within me," David asked of the Lord, for there was no one else David could turn to in his guilt and shame.

We also have sins that are too great for us. Whether in thought or in deed, those sins seem almost incredible in their depravity as the waves of guilt wash over us. What was I thinking? How did I get there? we might ask as the prophet of the word points the finger right at the filthy heart from which the sin came. We too must come to the Lord and ask as David did for a clean heart and a steadfast spirit within.

Memorial Day weekend is upon us, rejoice in the Lord Jesus!


Thursday, May 23, 2019

We're Set In This Promised Land

They shall besiege you at all your gates until your high and fortified walls, in which you trust, come down throughout all your land; and they shall besiege you at all your gates throughout all your land which the LORD your God has given you. Deuteronomy 28:52

We might get stuck on finding out who 'they' is, but it doesn't matter so much. We believe in Jesus and in this world we are besieged. If we trust in our walls, our accomplishments, stuff we have, talents we think will last, and other worldly things, we are going to be facing a tough siege that can only end with our defeat. If we trust in the Lord our God though, He has already overcome this world.

There is here also a lesson in complacency. Once Israel was set and secure behind their walls in the land the Lord had given them, they might have fallen into that complacency trap regarding their thoughts and intentions, even their behavior. We too might think that salvation is the wall which removes all restraint for us to act and think in righteous ways. Imagine the distress of our Good Shepherd as he looks back at the 99 in His stable and finds them butting heads instead of loving one another. He has already overcome the world, hopefully He can also overcome us.

Once we were that lost lamb and Jesus saved us. We also know that as we await the arrival of each and every lost one before the Lord takes us all home, we have a distance to travel with Him along the road of sanctification. There is some head butting in the church; there are thoughts of the flesh that have not yet been cleansed away, and we fear when we ought to be secure in our Lord Jesus. Knowing that, we are not set in complacency in that promised land but must look to the Finisher of our faith to revive us again.

Love one another,

Wednesday, May 22, 2019

Quenching the Darts

...above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one. Ephesians 6:16

Bolts go with the crossbow, arrows to the longbow, but Paul told us about darts, and fiery ones at that. So what weapon do darts belong with? The enemy of course, the wicked one. These burning and sharp attacks may come from the Devil and his minions or from our fellow humans who love the world and its present darkness. We are indeed beset from all sides. But that little word, all, is used somewhere by Paul too. His assurance states that by the shield of faith we can quench ALL the fiery darts.

The effectiveness of faith in Christ Jesus is shown in this picture of us taking up the shield of that faith. It is large, it is effective, it is a shield to be used, and it is faith in Him. The darts are hot and they hurt and they are many, but this shield of faith is totally effective in quenching them.

Praise God for the shield of faith!


Monday, May 20, 2019

The Disappointment at the Ending

And this hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love. Romans 5:5

The big series ended last night and the final season was not a smash hit with everyone. It seems that a million signatures have already been added to a petition to redo the final season of the show. Ow, that hurts. I didn't see the thing, as you know I have no TV service, and certainly not the premium stuff like HBO. However, I cannot escape the news of the thing going around this morning as such a big disappointment at the ending is going to be noticed. And therein lies one of our great fears of this life, that we will be disappointed, or be one ourselves, at the ending.

Paul writes to the Romans to set their minds at ease about this. It is not a hope leading to disappointment because God is in charge of the ending. We would have every reason to fear if any or all of us were in charge of the ending of this life and world. We have no reason to fear while God is in charge. And the motivator of God's great finale is His love. Rejoicing will come in the end, His love will see it through!

Have a great week in Christ Jesus!


Friday, May 17, 2019

The Partiality Reaction

My brethren, do not hold the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory, with partiality. James 2:1

It is almost too easy to find partiality or favoritism in the church life. We take to it like the proverbial fish to water. Have tasks needing done? It is easy to like the one who is always enthusiastic to take the next job and run with it. Need to expand the building or ministry? It is easy-peasy to like the one always ready with their checkbook. We find it is too much trouble to keep asking the one who never volunteers for the job. And we just know that family over there won't give more than the minimum anyway, so why ask them again to contribute to the building fund?

My church has no problem with those things or any other favoritism, we try to say with loyalty to our church family in mind. Oh really? Let a celebrity walk into your church next Sunday; hear the necks crack and pop as they strain to help the eyes catch a glimpse. See those eyeballs bug out over that designer outfit. Watch the anti-reactors as they swear to themselves they will not act in any of those ways to the point of being rude or even snobbish! Would the state senator have to sit near the back of the Bible study because he arrived last, or would that favored seat be quickly vacated? Who wouldn't think of answered prayers for the church gym fund when that well-known billionaire walked into the service? Are we so confident now that our church would pass the partiality test with flying colors?

Nope, favoritism is a hindrance of our faith and love, but raised in a celebrity culture we need the Lord's help to hold our faith without partiality. Part of the problem, pun intended, is that partiality is a reaction to someone we see. Those partial thoughts haven't formed into a reminder of not showing partiality before we find the reaction of the flesh has preceded our better intentions. That old flesh can't react faster than our Savior though, and He knows the future, and especially helpful in this case, He knows our future too. We need some proactive prayer before the test comes, that we might not fail yet again in favoring one over another.

Love in Christ,

Thursday, May 16, 2019

Attention Grabbers?

Some indeed preach Christ even from envy and strife, and some also from goodwill: The former preach Christ from selfish ambition, not sincerely, supposing to add affliction to my chains. Philippians 1:15-16

The minister took to the stage and bounded toward the lectern, his excitement in the preaching of the word evident to all the congregation. Who was to know in that moment that his motivation toward the kingdom of God was envy and strife? When did selfish ambition become the primary driver behind the passion of his delivery?

Some of that seems at odds, and yet Paul assures us that there are those who minister the word of God from the wrong motivations. Paul even states that some would take up their cross with the hands of selfish ambition! How could these things be?

Of course we know from experience the lure and lust of grabbing some attention for ourselves. Many are the temptations facing a minister of the word to grow some pride from being the center of attention in a church. And it would be so easy to spot 'em, those attention grabbers of the flock, if it were simply a matter of numbers. However, it can be just as easy to steal some of God's glory as a minister to 3 or 30 as it can be for the evangelist to 300 or 3,000.

We know quite well the center of attention in the church must be her bridegroom, for He is the One who saved us all on the cross.

Rejoice in the Lord!


Wednesday, May 15, 2019

How Wrong We Can Be

And this I pray, that your love may abound still more and more in knowledge and all discernment, that you may approve the things that are excellent, that you may be sincere and without offense till the day of Christ, being filled with the fruits of righteousness which are by Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God. Philippians 1:9-11

Wait, didn't we gain the knowledge of good and evil from that tree and inheritance as sons of Adam and daughters of Eve? Aren't we so smart now in our own knowledge and wisdom? A quick look around the world leads us to the knowledge that we are about as wrong as we can be. And just to show us how wrong we can be even about how wrong we think we are, the Revelation shows that the world will get a whole lot wronger before the end. Please don't make me write that sentence again!

In my life, I have found that when I am wise in my own estimation any excellence and sincerity are long gone and offense goes way up; my fruit bin of righteousness is then found to be quite empty. And that is because there is too much of me in that case and not enough of my Lord Jesus. Want a full to overflowing fruit bin of righteousness? Get with Jesus and abide in Him, then the fruits of the Spirit can grow and be good.

Have a great Wednesday in Christ the Lord!


Monday, May 13, 2019

They Told Him!

They said to Him, “He will destroy those wicked men miserably, and lease his vineyard to other vinedressers who will render to him the fruits in their seasons.” Matthew 21:41

Yes, they told our Lord what was what in the world, and He used it to show them how wrong they were. And of course they did not like it and in place of reforming their ways or asking of Him for salvation, they sought all the more to murder the Son of God.

Our sin monsters do not like to be shown in the light of the Lord. The light causes them to shrivel up and lose their hold on us. And it is also quite embarrassing to that part of us wanting to show the Lord a resume of our goodness when so many sin monsters are seen in the light of His Holy Spirit crawling back into their dens to snap and growl in the darkness. There would be no embarrassment if we believed the stone the builders rejected whose word states that there is none who does good, not one who is righteous, and all have sinned.

Where does this come from today? It seems that I held court with those monsters this weekend and had one of those "Am I saved?" times that I indulge in ever so often, wallowing in the slough of despond once more because I haven't yet saved myself. Tsk, tsk, Pride is the one who says that I can save myself. Despair is where Pride leads me. Jesus, my Lord, does not want me to entertain those foul fiends but only to believe that He has saved me and that one day the members of that foul gang of monsters will be banished forevermore!

Faith is a tough road, but daily our Lord places us back upon it.


Friday, May 10, 2019

Not Here Forever

Then to Adam He said, “Because you have heeded the voice of your wife, and have eaten from the tree of which I commanded you, saying, ‘You shall not eat of it’:

​​“Cursed is the ground for your sake;
​​In toil you shall eat of it
​​All the days of your life. Genesis 3:17

Adam's first question probably went something like, "For my sake?" That's what God said though. And what a gift it is.

For many, old age is a curse. As we can see here in Genesis, it is likely related to the cursed ground. The toil wears us down and the cursed ground stabs us with thorns, and in time we return to the dust of which we are made. Since we are made of that ground which is cursed, then it likely follows that our 'soil' is cursed too and we age and grow old and die. I'm a real spark of happiness on this Friday morning, eh?

Yes, part of God's love is that we don't have to stay here in this condition forever. We get to die! After we make that brief transition from what we think is living to what our Lord has gone to prepare for us, then we will understand or as Paul said, we will see clearly, and God's mercy, goodness, and love throughout all of our sufferings will become known fully to us.

Yes, it is tough to see it from this side, and that is where faith comes in. Rejoice in Him!


Thursday, May 09, 2019

But, We Can't Hear Him!

Words of the wise, spoken quietly, should be heard
Rather than the shout of a ruler of fools. Ecclesiastes 9:17

There is a family of my acquaintance wherein two of them together will raise the loudness level considerably until one's ears ring from the din of it. And three or more of them... But that isn't where we are going this morning.

Solomon wrote a proverb from our modern world. We are surrounded by loudness. It is the weapon of choice among certain groups who want their way. It is almost like they want to shout down and shout over the words of wisdom from the quietly speaking ones. Duh, well yeah! In fact the volume of a particular group is proportional to the foolishness of its cause quite often in this age. And if you think that pointing that out to them will make them pause for a moment to reflect, then you are even more naive than me, and that's saying something!

It is interesting to see the quietness of our Lord Jesus. Shouting was not His way, and people gathered to hear Him. Much of our Lord's wisdom was imparted to small groups or individuals. He did speak to crowds, such as the Sermon on the Mount, but He did not shout over anyone to do so. I see there is another lesson for this age, people listened quietly, and that is something we see less of these days too. One has to wonder, if today Jesus tried to speak His great sermon would He be able to speak it without a group of sign-waving people showing up to shout Him down with bullhorns?

Praise God for His Word!


Wednesday, May 08, 2019

Not There Yet

I don’t mean to say that I have already achieved these things or that I have already reached perfection. But I press on to possess that perfection for which Christ Jesus first possessed me. Philippians 3:12 (NLT)

Do you sometimes doubt your salvation? In the test I think that every Christian, perhaps more than once, will find themselves enduring a dark night of the soul where salvation seems to have not taken root in them. Surely we must be a part of the garden choked off by the thorns of this life we tell ourselves as despair clutches hard at our faith. The circumstances we stare down in that dark night are not those of the blessed and joyous Christian we hear as though whispered to us somewhere in the depths of the heart, and we listen too easily to the temptation of doubt.

We know from the scriptures that whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved. Yet, the heart seems to refuse the knowledge and we repent once more of every sin we can recall going back to the dawn of our time on this earth. A preacher from back in the days before cars and airplanes spoke to this in his particular way:

The Holy Spirit makes men penitents long before He makes them divines; and he who believes what he knows, shall soon know more clearly what he believes. Charles H. Spurgeon

What a lovely sentence! And of course the words of the preacher call upon us to remember faith. For it is the believing in Jesus that gave us salvation, not something we did or earned that can be lost, but something He did which can never be taken from us. How did the great preachers become as they were? By seeing the dawn come after that dark night of the soul, perhaps several times, and they through the Holy Spirit came to know more clearly what they believed.

Great and wonderful is our Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ!


Monday, May 06, 2019

A Bit More Respect

Furthermore, we have had human fathers who corrected us, and we paid them respect. Shall we not much more readily be in subjection to the Father of spirits and live? Hebrews 12:9

God should have all the respect we can give and more, but this verse for today shows us what is so common among us, we need an earthly example in order to learn the spiritual lesson.

Some questions have no answers, but we try. How big is God? And then we bring up mountains or oceans, maybe a planet or a galaxy, and all those examples fall short, or maybe they don't, we cannot know unless God tells us just how big He is. What is love? We tend to think of that mating desire we had for that young man or woman, or we think of that possessiveness we feel for the spouse or children, but are those love? Jesus had an interesting answer for the greater love.

Throughout His ministry our Lord gave us wonderful earthly examples in parables for spiritual truths. The man I call, 'grain bin man' is one of my favorite parables in Luke 12:16-21, and one I struggle with still. You probably have your favorite too. Many of the examples, like ol' grain bin man are negative, as in don't be like him. Others show how one doing right, such as the Samaritan who did good, may be despised by the world, and he was! Still other parables are about the Lord Jesus Himself.

So, a bit more respect please for our God and Father who sent His Son to give the greater love for us on the cross, and who took the time to teach us so well.


Friday, May 03, 2019

Is It Delivering Time Yet?

That Your beloved may be delivered,
Save with Your right hand, and hear me. Psalm 60:5

Thank you for the kind and loving birthday wishes yesterday. I did get to celebrate with a tiny subset of my beloved brothers and sisters in Christ. Like you, I look to that time of delivering from this world when we will no longer be separated from our Lord and each other by such distances and times as we have now.

When will that time arrive?

If I knew that I would be in violation of scripture, for as our Lord said, no man knows that time. Yet, we yearn for that time of delivery. We write of it, talk about it, and sing for the day, and like David we pray for the time when Christ our Lord will deliver us from this world and present us to God, not as a sacrifice (He took care of that!) but as His beloved bride adorned for the great wedding that is to come.

Rejoice in Christ!

Thursday, May 02, 2019

Too Many Expectations Of Me stand every morning to thank and praise the LORD, and likewise at evening; 1 Chronicles 23:30

Brrr, it's only 29° out there this morning. As I sit here contemplating the start of my 57th year and my 56th birthday, I realize that I quite failed to pop out into this world and declare that I was zero, even though that was the beginning of my first year on this earth. Shameful of me really, ought to have remembered to do that. Such an absurd expectation from myself was only the beginning of a long parade of expectations placed by me upon me to succeed in this world by worldly terms. Of course the most extreme and by far the craziest was that I would save myself by my good works and be allowed into God's heaven because I was somehow good enough.

      Alas, absurd expectations and too many!
      Cease ye disenchanted yappers and desist!
      Jesus loved me and cried out my sin upon His cross!
      I am saved by Christ alone, and in His love stand atoned! 

With that out of the way, happy birthday to me and all those who were born on this day in May! I share my famous birthday with some sort of wrestling rock, but I think I would rather spend it with those who love me. May the Lord Jesus Christ be celebrated in our celebration today!


Wednesday, May 01, 2019

You Mean, I Get To Decide?

Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect. Romans 12:2

This verse has been used throughout the centuries of the Way, but not always in the right manner or method. A quick glance might give one the impression that I get to decide by experimentation what is the will of God, what is right or wrong. This is the opposite of Paul's point however; for read in its entirety the first part of the verse puts that aside, for what is the world but men and women deciding for themselves what is right and wrong?

You can bet that if I were the judge of what God's will is and what is declared right or wrong then asparagus would be an abomination while pizza would be what is good and acceptable and perfect. You may laugh, but every individual would decide in a similar manner and with similar results. Lawyers and politicians could make their will sound official, writers and advertisers could make their will sound more appealing, and country bumpkins would do the thing with asparagus and pizza, but the entire world would have billions of sets of laws about rights and wrongses.

What Paul has in mind for each of us though is quite different.

First we believe in Jesus so that the transforming of our mind begins with our rebirth in the Spirit. Then we learn as a newborn babe does what is the will of God as we study His word, pray, sit under the discipleship of elders and deacons and ministers of God, come back for more prayer, live with the Lord at hand, and the many other things we do to test and learn what is the will of God and what He has decided is good and acceptable and perfect. Discerning what is the will of God seems to begin with accepting first that I was born wrong and God is always right. Hence the need, as our Lord Jesus told Nicodemus, for that second birth in Christ by the Spirit.

So, I don't get to decide? No, I get to discover what He has decided for me. What a relief! So many people actually like asparagus, I would hate to declare it an abomination.

Love in Christ,


P.S. May Day Devotional? No, the world is going down; we need to send a mayday to God.

Monday, April 29, 2019

Sorry, No Conspiracy Today

For the LORD spoke thus to me with a strong hand, and instructed me that I should not walk in the way of this people, saying:

“Do not say, ‘A conspiracy,’
​​Concerning all that this people call a conspiracy,
​​Nor be afraid of their threats, nor be troubled.  Isaiah 8:11-12

We have much information available to us in this age, and all that information might give to us a skewed picture of the way things are on the other guy's side. The Lord spoke to Isaiah with a strong hand to move the prophet away from worldly thinking. We are moved by His Spirit in the same way. Many of the things that might scream conspiracy at us, should we give in to that pride of self we face daily, are likely not concerned with us at all.

Yes, crushing as it may be, the universe is not out to get us and probably does not care about us at all. Want someone to care about you and me? Look to the One who died on the cross to save us. "Greater love has no man...", he said when speaking of the greatest love that gave up his life to save us from our sin. Need a little boost to that sense of self worth? The Son of God gave up His life to save you and me! The Son of God did that for us! Now that gives us a sense of worth and value that the world cannot convey to us.

Have a priceless day in Christ's love and goodness,


Friday, April 26, 2019


“Thus says the LORD:

‘I will return to Zion,
And dwell in the midst of Jerusalem.
Jerusalem shall be called the City of Truth,
The Mountain of the LORD of hosts,
The Holy Mountain.' Zechariah 8:3

We have all turned from the Lord and are invited in the holy scriptures to return to Him. However, the greatest promises in the Bible speak of His returning to us. This is a play on words of course and a very light touching of the enormous things our Lord Jesus did for us that we might ever return to Him and He to us. That great gulf that came between God and His creation was made by that first couple turning away from the Lord in disobedience, and it took the life of God's own Son to restore us to our Creator. A few words in a Friday morning email can hardly convey all that Christ has done for us in this!

Returning is on my mind this morning as having my Internet connection back here at home feels something like having been away on a business trip or something. It is a feeling at odds with the reality of it. But that is what we are in this world, we are at odds with the world around us and not in the place God wants for us to be, which is with Him for all time. There! Now I've made things clear as stone. I may not understand what I have typed, but I do know that I want to visit Jerusalem when it is called "The City of Truth", for that must be when my Lord Jesus, the Truth, has come to live there.

Have a great Friday in Christ Jesus!


Thursday, April 25, 2019

Stuck Outside?

The whole time he has the infection he will be continually unclean. He must live in isolation, and his place of residence must be outside the camp. Leviticus 13:46

This infection was one of men, balding men. Oddly, or perhaps not so much, there is yet these thousands of years later still a social stigma hanging about balding men. Just look at all that advertising stating how wrong it is to be bald!

Of course balding wasn't of itself unclean. The law in our verse for today was due to an infectious disease that showed up in that area. The infected victim once confirmed by the priest was pronounced unclean, and then he had to tear his clothing, loose his hair, cover his mustache (?), and then call out his uncleanness to the world. Oh, and then he had to go live outside the camp alone. Unclean was a tough state back in the day.

Wife, family, and friends were all off limits for the unclean one. The B.C. version of Subway was off limits. That big game on Sunday, nope. And kids were allowed to throw rocks at your bald spot too! Okay, not that last one. Life for the unclean one was just not fun and games for as long as the uncleanness lasted. Keeping the mustache covered wouldn't be such a picnic either. Yet, during that time one could certainly give much attention to prayer and supplication with the Lord.

And misery has not changed much; turn away from your contemplation of the current misery, look to the Lord in prayer, and things are always better.

Have a better day my balding friends! And you others too.


Wednesday, April 24, 2019

Repent or Perish Likewise, Ye!

And Jesus answering said unto them, Suppose ye that these Galilaeans were sinners above all the Galilaeans, because they suffered such things? Luke 13:2

It is easy to see suffering, and then blame the sufferer for their problems. "It must be due to their sin," we say with our tongue once again on the loose. Jesus had an answer for those who thought so, repent or perish likewise.

Disasters, natural or man-made, were common in the day of our Lord too. And like now, there is always someone ready to blame those who suffered the disaster. It is about pride and control. The method goes something like: I didn't suffer the disaster, therefore the powers that be must be pleased with me, and thus I am a good man/woman and will live in peace and prosperity all of my days, 'cuz I earned it. Oh, wait, we forgot the blaming part where the tongue goes off with, "Look at them! Their sins must have been just heinous (or at least way worse than ours) for God to lower the boom on them in such a horrible way."

That's Old Testament stuff, we note with only slightly disguised superiority. Yes, Israel and Judea did suffer, but we must not ignore all that prophetic scripture which said the same thing Jesus did, "Repent or perish likewise, ye!" Repentance of who we are, the first step on the road of salvation our Lord earned for us. Amen.


P.S. Yes, still writing from work, no Internet yet, but the new modem is on the way.

Monday, April 22, 2019

How Did It Start?

“I have sinned by betraying innocent blood.” And they said, “What is that to us? You see to it!” Matt 27:4

How did this Resurrection Day begin? Can we blame a certain man, to use a Bible expression? It would seem at the first that we can, and often do, blame Judas Iscariot, the betrayer of our Lord Jesus. However, our Lord, the very one who was betrayed, died on the cross, and rose again, had a different explanation for who to blame for His death:

“No one takes it from Me, but I lay it down of Myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This command I have received from My Father.” John 10:18

So, it would seem that once again, all the glory or credit or even blame for our Lord's death is His alone. So why did Judas have to die? Well, we know quite well that he did not have to and that he took his own life on his own guilt. Jesus, as our Lord did with Peter, was likely ready to forgive and save poor Judas, if only he had waited to see this great day after the Resurrection.

We are here the day after celebrating Resurrection Day, so what are we trying to take the blame or credit for that belongs to our Lord Jesus? A good thing to take up with Him in prayer.

Love to you in Christ the Lord!


P.S. There's no Internet at my house today!

Friday, April 19, 2019

Write No Less

​And He made His grave with the wicked—
​​But with the rich at His death,
​​Because He had done no violence,
​​Nor was any deceit in His mouth. Isaiah 53:9

Just another day in the life, what can one possibly write about for today? Ah, but of course this is the great celebration of our Lord's resurrection this weekend. How can one write about anything less than what our Savior and Lord did for us at this time of the year almost 2,000 years ago?

Passover had begun and the city was crowded with pilgrims from around the Roman world. Before the Sabbath of that particular celebration though, the Romans had a couple of prisoners to execute in their ghastly way before the holiday break, and one other. This other was a man who had committed no crime that the Roman governor could see, and yet there was orders from Rome to keep the peace in Judea, apparently at all costs for Pilate had given up the man to the executioners as though he had been caught in some act demanding the worst punishment.

And so it was done.

Another detail came to the governor though, with the Sabbath of Passover upon them this very evening, the bodies must needs be entombed before sundown, and a couple of them at least were not yet corpses. So the order came down to end the lives of the men on the crosses at Golgotha, but the other, that one, was found to have gone already. A soldier made sure with a spear, but the word was true and he had died. Two of the prominent Jewish citizens came to Pilate and requested the body of this other one and to them it was granted to bury that particular body.

And the rest of the story can be summed up in one stunning revelation, that other body would not stay buried and rose again on the most beautiful Sunday morning the world has ever seen, and believers everywhere know that it had nothing at all to do with the weather!

God be praised,

Thursday, April 18, 2019

It Doesn't Quite Work

Wail, for the day of the LORD is at hand!
It will come as destruction from the Almighty. Isaiah 13:6

Having worked with rentals for a few years now, I tend to apply those things I have learned to our circumstance and it doesn't quite work at times. For example: when an owner leases his property to a tenant, then the place is not quite his any longer. The leasehold cannot be inspected without permission just any old time because the tenant now has rights to privacy and other rights that one expects with a place called home. Most of the time the landlord should simply stay away and leave it to the tenant. I might be tempted to apply that to the Lord and His Earth as we are tenants now and He does not appear to be here in my sight. Of course, we know that the sight of humans is severely limited both in physics and in understanding. The Lord is at hand and for those who would oppose Him, His day is at hand as well.

The comparison with a human landlord does not quite work either because our Lord has not left the world; He is here in His Spirit at all times and even in the very heart of the believer. Our Lord does not view this world as a business proposition where He just wants the rent paid each month, nor does he care only that we treat His property respectfully and well. Our Lord cared so much for His tenants that He sent His only Son to save them (us!). The whole landlord thing really breaks down here as one cannot even imagine that slumlord over yonder way sending his son to save the tenants by sacrificing his life in a criminal execution.

Yes, we celebrate Easter, Resurrection Day, as we do because our Lord's sacrifice is so unique in this world! And for those who will steadfastly refuse the gift of grace our Lord Jesus gave to us by way of the cross, well, there is the word of woe given through Isaiah that we read today.


Wednesday, April 17, 2019

An Open Grave

Now the first day of the week Mary Magdalene went to the tomb early, while it was still dark, and saw that the stone had been taken away from the tomb. John 20:1

A stone rolled away from the grave entrance, an obvious act of thievery one might think. And Mary did! The stone rolled away gives the imagination every opportunity for mischief. If a person leans toward those conspiracy theories about the government, then evidence is at hand for a plot by the ruling authority carried out in the dead of night. Perhaps a person was taken by the temple money changers and now looks upon the priests with a suspicious eye. No problem, the stone rolled away provides ample evidence of priestly misconduct. However, one could also recall that Jesus said He would be back from the grave and believe Him.

Why does that last one always come later and seem harder to accept?

The first two are business as usual in this world and do not require the power and presence of God; the fallen man likes that and he is always ready for an explanation that leaves out the Creator and Savior in one fell swoop. That last one requires first that we believe in God's Son and in the Word of God Himself. No wonder it is only with the mighty grace of the Holy Spirit that anyone comes to believe!

He lives! And from that we do too!


Monday, April 15, 2019

G'day Monday!

Be of the same mind toward one another. Do not set your mind on high things, but associate with the humble. Do not be wise in your own opinion. Romans 12:16

Mondays are not the day that I typically leap from my bed ready to conquer the world. Actually for the past month, or at least since that last time change, you can add all the other days of the week to that as well. This one has been a difficult adjustment, and the sun sure goes to bed late these days too!

Paul has some words of counsel for us on this day. I hope that I am not wise in my own opinion or proud of my own humility. I'm not quite sure what these high things might be, but I will try to be down to earth in my mind. Oh, bother! Anytime a list comes up in the Bible, I'm almost sure to be in violation or worse. I can't even get this list right as I'm supposed to associate with the humble not worry over the state of my humbleness. I sure hope those I associate with do not have as high an opinion of themselves as I do of them! Wait, did I get that wrong too? No, I'm quite alright with being the lowest of the low in Heaven, just as long as all of us are there with the Lord Jesus.

So, while Monday beats me up some: be of good cheer, Jesus is near!


Friday, April 12, 2019

Alone Is Not My Word

For none of us lives to himself, and no one dies to himself. Romans 14:7

Decide to believe in Jesus and alone is not where a person lives anymore. As a practicing introvert, I do not always do well in a public place with more than one conversation going, but I am not alone. As a quiet person, noise may not be my preferred venue, but my taste in music notwithstanding, I am not alone. In the quiet of my home, I am not alone. My Lord Jesus is always with me even unto the end of the age. Alone is a word that no longer belongs to me.

A person may be lost in a trackless wasteland, but that term we have heard, god-forsaken, is simply not true. A person lying in a coma ward connected to various monitors and no longer able to communicate with loved ones is neither forsaken nor alone. Even in a crowd and feeling so out of place with the surrounding world that the phrase alone in a crowd seems appropriate the one believer in Jesus is never alone.

Therefore, we look to our verse for today and know that living or dying, we live not just for the self but for and with others as well. We also life for and with our Lord Jesus. Think that the world would be better off without you in it? Think again and believe on Him who is with you always. Remember those who love you, and one who loves you always is Jesus our Lord!

Love in Christ to you on this fine day,


Thursday, April 11, 2019

The World Changes

One person esteems one day above another; another esteems every day alike. Let each be fully convinced in his own mind. Romans 14:5

As the day grows light outside, we look upon a changed world. Where it was 80° and green on Monday it has become a world of 20° and white on Thursday. With the second spring blizzard going on, dare we ask if this warming trend has peaked and the days of our vernal frozen moisture have returned? I'm trying to say that carefully so as not to excite the global warming crowd overmuch. Any hint of questioning or criticism of their pet theory tends to draw a rather heated reaction.

The world changes, and Paul was a part of that change, though not nearly so much as His Lord and Savior, Jesus. Days were the argument among those who believed in our Lord back in Paul's day. Some were likely afraid to violate the Friday evening to Saturday evening Sabbath having been raised under the Law of Moses. Others probably worked on that day and could not afford to lose a good job when they could worship God quite well on Sunday. And there are those then and today who realize that God doesn't want a percentage of our week but that we are His every day and all day.

Paul did not judge between the parties but said an interesting thing: "Let each be fully convinced in his own mind." Prayer time with the Lord, it seems to me, is the way to achieve that state of mind.

Have a convincing day in Christ Jesus!


Wednesday, April 10, 2019

Make Him Stand

Who are you to judge another’s servant? To his own master he stands or falls. Indeed, he will be made to stand, for God is able to make him stand. Romans 14:4

Uh, oh! It's another one of those 'what day is it?' mornings. Another storm is coming our way, and I can feel it already in my bones.

You scan the Old Testament for some handy rules to throw at me because I do not do this thing or that thing and have not avoided this other thing. And I respond with, "Who have you stoned recently?" That defensive reaction is of course just as judgmental. Who are we to judge the servant of God? And yet, it is done every day among those who believe in Jesus. And still, with all of this going on, God is able to make him and her stand.

Sometimes we wonder how God could come to accept the worldly ones when we should be asking how God could possibly accept those who call themselves by His name. And thus we get in a quick judgment on all the world at once! Yes, God is able to make us stand and quite able to cleanse us of all that judgmental unrighteousness too. And this cleansing is made possible by the sacrifice of His only begotten Son on the cross.

Praise God we are saved by the Lamb in spite of how we are and act in this age!


Monday, April 08, 2019

Scriptural Warfare

Receive one who is weak in the faith, but not to disputes over doubtful things. Romans 14:1

Sometimes we look for our next doctrinal victim, an easy mark, one who cannot defend him/herself in the faith. With a few slashes of our sword of the word, we can reduce that one to a quivering disciple. And just let them bring up those debatable things; what scriptural warfare will ensue!

Yes, we have been with the church elder who has his sword ready to do doctrinal destruction on every new believer in his church. We have seen the scriptural sword-maiden ready to sharpen the tongue of her sword on the small faith of the newly born-again one.

Paul did not want the tender shoots cut off before they could mature in the Spirit and our Lord Jesus promised He would do no such thing. Gentle teaching and compassionate discipleship are the way for us. We do not need to prove scriptural superiority by scrapping with the babes in the faith over matters debatable. No one who believes in Jesus should need to alpha-dog the other saints of the church. We run the race to win the prize for which God has called us heavenward in Christ Jesus, and we run it together. We fight a scriptural war, but the sword is for use against the enemy! The full armor of God is not for gladiator sports in the church coliseum. And that helmet of salvation is not for butting heads over matters each believer must decide with God in prayer.

Peace in Christ,

Friday, April 05, 2019

God's Testimony

And you shall put into the ark the Testimony which I will give you. Exodus 25:16

As a photographer, if I can be physically present and see something, then I am allowed record the image in my camera. This could be described as my testimony; I was there and this is what I saw. Much of the Bible could be described in this way as well. What about that prophecy stuff though? Who was there and saw it, as it has not yet happened? All prophecy, including those parts that were prophetic then but have now been set in our past, is God's testimony. And as we can read in our verse for today, His testimony is kept safely in the Ark of the Covenant!

If you are feeling the gates of symbolism opening before you, well yeah! The Hebrews literally placed the Testimony in the Ark, but there is also God's Word, His Testimony, placed securely in the heart of all who have believed and His name is Jesus, the Word of God. We are the ark of His new covenant and His testimony lives in us!

His testimony comes forth!


Thursday, April 04, 2019

Talkin' Like Them

I said, “I will guard my ways,
​​Lest I sin with my tongue;
​​I will restrain my mouth with a muzzle,
​​While the wicked are before me.” Psalm 39:1

Only while the wicked are in front of him? No, not quite. What David noticed and I'm sure you have by now as well, is how easy it is to slip into sinful speech while in the company of the wicked. It is far more difficult to set a good example for the wicked by restraining the tongue and mouth. Converse for any time with the wicked and the wicked words spill forth in our speech almost as quickly as the wild animal returns to its predatory ways when released from the cage. So, did David just say nothing?

Yes, for a time as we read in the 39th psalm, that is just what he did. But as king he did have to speak at some point to render his decisions and judgment. A few verses down the king would ask the Lord to show him humility. Show me the frailty of my life, Lord, David asked in lovely and poetic language. For to know the frailty of this life is to be reminded of the author of that life and to seek Him in order to maintain our gentle speech in the face of the wicked world. We do not want to be talkin' like them; we want to show the gentle speech of our Lord to the world that they may know a Savior lives in us.

“And now, Lord, what do I wait for,
​​My hope is in You.
​Deliver me from all my transgressions;
​​Do not make me the reproach of the foolish. Psalm 39:7-8

Wednesday, April 03, 2019

How Valuable Is Our Faith?

“If your brother, the son of your mother, your son or your daughter, the wife of your bosom, or your friend who is as your own soul, secretly entices you, saying, ‘Let us go and serve other gods,' which you have not known, neither you nor your fathers..." Deuteronomy 13:6

The Law was perfectly strict and reading the start of a law in our verse for today we can see that it is from a book of the law and we can know already that this will not end well for someone. As usual, it ends badly for both.

Since Moses arrived on the scene and the Israelites were free from Egypt, God gave to His chosen nation the Law. And we read it today and marvel at the range of offenses for which death was the penalty. Which is kinda dumb given that the very first law stated, thou shalt not eat of that one tree or you will surely die. Death was always the result of sin and we should marvel rather at the range of things for which humans could yet live after a sin under the law. Well, the law for today's reading goes a step further. God will not strike down the enticer in this case, you will!

Yes, this particular law states not only that the soul-mate friend, the son or daughter, or even your wife, will be stoned to death should they entice you to worship other gods, but you, yes you, will throw the first stone. "...your hand shall be first against him to put him to death..." (v9) That is where we get our impression that the Law was so harsh. However, this is but the result of that fall we inherited from Adam. Want to have eternal life under the Law? You must not only obey the good behavior parts, but satisfy it by carrying out judgment as well. We don't like that part and neither did the Israelites in Moses' day and after. This is one of the reasons we cannot be saved by the Law. Stone your friend to death? Your wife or daughter? Much rather would we forget the whole thing, and that time and again was what the Israelites did back in the day. How valuable is our faith? We needed a savior and God provided His Son to save us from the Law of sin and death. And not just our death, but that death we would have to dispense in justice should our dear friend or child, or even the spouse we married, sin.

Praise God for the mercy we have in Christ Jesus!


Monday, April 01, 2019

Why Do We Speak?

...and say, ‘Hear the word of the LORD, O king of Judah, you who sit on the throne of David, you and your servants and your people who enter these gates! Jeremiah 22:2

Why do we speak of the Lord and the good news of His salvation? Would it not be easier to keep quiet and live at peace with all? In our verse for today, the prophet is commanded to go speak to the king of Judah. Yes, that fellow on the big chair with the power to say, "Off with his head!" and all that. We are not generally called before the king of the land, but we too face certain ridicule and scoffing by speaking out for the Lord. Whether emotional, intellectual, or physical, there is enough persecution to go around. So, why not keep our faith to ourselves?

Jesus would not have it so! In fact we refer often to the Great Commission spoken by our Lord just before He left to be with His Father in Heaven. And little is harder to keep to yourself than good news, and the salvation of our Lord is certainly that! So in our various ways of communication, we are going to communicate the joy we feel in Christ Jesus. It will not always be accepted, but share it we must.

And if no one around you wants to hear it today, then share your testimony with me. Our stories of His grace are well worth hearing!

Grace and love to you in Jesus our Lord and Savior!


Friday, March 29, 2019

No Shopping Here!

Then I commanded that the gates of Jerusalem should be shut as darkness fell every Friday evening, not to be opened until the Sabbath ended. I sent some of my own servants to guard the gates so that no merchandise could be brought in on the Sabbath day. Nehemiah 13:19 NLT

It's Friday, and I tried to look up 'Friday' in the New King James Bible but it was a no-go. However, the newer translation had replaced 'the day before the Sabbath' with the simpler 'Friday', only to find that Nehemiah had shut the gates and guarded them to prevent shopping and freight hauling. Friday evening certainly was different in Nehemiah's day! Imagine for a moment the hollerin' and screamin' that would take place if President Trump tried to shut down all commerce on Friday evening and sent in the Marines to guard the gates to the shopping place. Yes, the noise in the streets and the media. The shouting of slogans and the roar from the angry mob. Actually, you would think he had tried it already!

Yes, today is the day of outrage and sometimes the reason for it seems to not matter very much. Any reason will do, just let us go outrage some more.

Nehemiah had good reason to prevent this thing though. He was trying to lead the nation of Israel back into obedience to the Law and there was resistance. Six days they could shop and work, but one day was for rest. And there were a great many other laws the fallen flesh did not want to obey. The desires of the fallen haven't changed, but praise to God we have a satisfaction for the Law! We certainly needed Him too. As we look at old Israel, we can but say, "Yes, and such am I in my flesh, wayward and disobedient just like them."

Praise God for His Son, our Lord Jesus,


Thursday, March 28, 2019

Little Ol' Me

For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. Ephesians 6:12

I have taken stock of my condition and found nothing in my body that would impress the world and its principalities, much less the powers and rulers and spiritual hosts of wickedness. My feet are slow, my knees are weak, my joints are stiff, and the rest of me doesn't even impress the people of this world; how could all of that impress a ruler of the darkness? Little ol' me just doesn't even register as a worthy foe to those powers and rulers. Like the little kid with that proverbial big brother, I always want to ask them, "Have you met my good friend, Jesus?"

Even the name of my Lord and good friend will send them running. His presence in the clouds of glory spells their doom. Just one of my Lord's angel servants can demolish an army or kill every firstborn son of a mighty nation. And He can call on 12 legions of them! With His death on the cross He redeemed all of the saints of the Most High God. A word from His lips stopped the storm on the Sea of Galilee in a moment. Yes, little ol' me is no threat at all to the world and its powers, but have you known my friend Jesus? He is mighty to save!

Have a happy Thursday in Christ the Lord!


Wednesday, March 27, 2019

The Isolation Walk

As long as the serious disease lasts, they will be ceremonially unclean. They must live in isolation in their place outside the camp. Leviticus 13:46

Outside the camp... Imagine being exiled outside your town or city right now. Hungry? No going to the grocery store; you must place your hope in those who might leave a box of food for you nearby and then run away to avoid that which you carry. Lonesome, your only hope would be for another to contract the same disease afflicting yourself. Do you have another hope? The verse speaks of as long as the disease lasts. At the point of your isolation walk from your home to the outskirts (Good luck finding some public lands to squat on today!) of town, as your head hangs down wondering what awaits you in this new life, you would not know the length of your sentence. Life, is it worth it in these conditions? Well, there is that hope that the disease will run its course, perhaps in just a short time if you even dare to hope for that, and restoration to cleanliness will allow your return to home.

Of course each spring would bring some renewed hope as well. The cold and long darkness of winter has passed and the warmth of spring thaws the heart and bones...ah, what am I saying? In these parts an isolation walk into winter would almost surely mean a walk to a person's final resting place. However, spiritually speaking, maybe even socially speaking, each of us has taken an isolation walk from the world we knew as sinners. Led forth by our Lord Jesus, we said goodbye for good to the world of sin. But not quite! Now and then we return as missionaries and ambassadors to the world, not to participate, but to share the good news we have found in Christ. And lonesome? Not with Jesus with us always even to the end of this age.

Have a loving day in Christ Jesus!


Monday, March 25, 2019

Why Weren't You There?

And Jephthah said to them, “My people and I were in a great struggle with the people of Ammon; and when I called you, you did not deliver me out of their hands. Judges 12:2

We have likely seen the day after a colleague or friend did not show up for the struggle at hand. Without asking what may have happened in their life, we might jump right to the accusing phase of breaking a relationship. 'Why weren't you there?' May not come up as we jump on the former friend with both verbal feet, "You failed to show up and I suffered this, that, and the other thing! We're done!" And thus does a valuable and loving relationship end on the burning fires of our tongues. And to think that the friend might very much have wanted to share what happened to him or her, and why the space at your side was empty that terrible day. But no chance was given, and the Devil marked another notch on the stock of his deception gun.

The Lord describes our relationship with Him in this way, "And, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the age." (Matt 28:20) While we have turned away from Him many times and failed to fill that spot at His side, He is always with us. Wait, how can that work? What is impossible for me and you, is always possible with God. We might try to ask that awful question of the Lord in our title for today, but He is always there and the question is but the worst sort of unbelief.

Thank You, Lord, that You are always here with me, Your beloved.


Friday, March 22, 2019

Does The Lord Love?

The LORD delighted only in your fathers, to love them; and He chose their descendants after them, you above all peoples, as it is this day. Deuteronomy 10:15

It seems like an obvious answer and indeed it is, but should someone ask of us we must be ready with a scriptural answer. Searching the Law of Moses, there are many verses about laws so that the children of Israel might love the Lord, as if that were the problem. Well, yes, fallen man must return to loving the Lord and as Jesus said, "If you love Me, keep My commandments." (John 14:15) As we have not throughout the centuries shown a perfect record of keeping those commandments, it would seem that our love of the Lord is questionable as well. So, Israelite or Gentile, we do indeed need to return to or learn to love the Lord our God.

John 3:16 of course shows God's love without exception or qualification. Does the Lord love? Yes, He does and He did before we asked. The most prominent expression of the Lord's love has a name, and His name is Jesus.

Wait, how did Jesus get involved? You just kind of threw Him in there!

Not quite, Jesus was the one who spoke the great words of John 3:16 and He is the Son that was given in the verse and as promised by the prophet of old. (Isaiah 9:6) To know if God loves we need only look to Jesus who came to save us by laying down His life for us.

We need to love; He already does!


Thursday, March 21, 2019

The Ancient Asking of Intercession

So Pharaoh said, “I will let you go, that you may sacrifice to the LORD your God in the wilderness; only you shall not go very far away. Intercede for me.” Exodus 8:28

Gee, Pharaoh almost sounds contrite here, perhaps even a little repentant, but is that the case? The heart hardening of Pharaoh by the Lord had already been promised and was likely working in him or even completed by the Lord. This intercession seems a bit suspect then, kind of a get-something-for-me request; though Pharaoh probably didn't see it as a request.

Pharaoh and Egypt had a big problem: God had said to let His people go and those people were a source of cheap labor for Egypt. Four centuries had passed since the time an Israelite had saved and even prospered Egypt by way of the Lord. Joseph was a distant memory and his God was perhaps even unknown to many Egyptians. So much for gratitude. This Pharaoh reluctantly let the Israelites go just a little ways, commanded an intercession and quite likely expected their quick return to the slave quarters. In short, he wanted to maintain control. But God was exerting His control and Egypt was only in the fourth plague. Bargaining for control with Moses, God's messenger, Pharaoh had no idea what was yet to come.

So, bargain for control with God if you will, but like Pharaoh, we will fall under the Lord's command sooner or later. As for those who believe in Jesus, we have already surrendered to the Lord, and each day we get a little better at following Him more closely.

Great is the name of the Lord our God!