Monday, December 30, 2019

Would Jesus Dance To ABBA?

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

Music and what a person likes or does not like in music can be quite polarizing. Put the question out there using the old WWJD model, and you can start an argument every time. I chose the band name that came to mind yesterday, but any band name will do for this exercise. In fact, one might choose an even more controversial band and really get things heated up. Or, could it be that the name of the band is not the most controversial name in this hypothetical question? 

Indeed, if you want to polarize a crowd, the name of Jesus separates 'em right quick. However, what about that question; do we get to decide for Him? One of the dangers of the what-would-Jesus-do question is in daring to decide for our Lord without asking Him in prayer or checking with His scripture. Can we be humble enough to admit that we do not know and do not particularly need to know His answer to this? You need to know? Then, go and ask Him in prayer! 

It would be interesting to take a church congregation to the disco and point out Jesus dancing to ABBA as they perform Dancing Queen. How many would be insulted as the Pharisees were back in the day? How many would be gobsmacked and unsure of what to say or do? How many would point out that the group or music style or venue was not correct for our Lord to be dancing to? How many would go out there and join Him? Maybe by this we can see how the group who will find the narrow gate might be small, even tiny, as they learn to say with Jesus, "Nevertheless, not my will, dear Father, but Thine be done." 

God be praised for His good and perfect will!


Friday, December 27, 2019


Judge not, and you shall not be judged. Condemn not, and you shall not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven. Luke 6:37

A new singer-songwriter enters the music media, and you struggle with this one. Is she Christian, and thus suitable to share with brothers and sisters in Christ? Is she worldly? Is she wholly pagan and a dangerous influence to you? We like to categorize in an attempt to simplify a complex world. 

However, we often turn the lens of our categorizing on our brothers and sisters in Christ. He is that kind of Christian; she is this other kind of Christian. Did not Paul give us a rather simple metric for this involving belief in the heart and confession of the tongue? (Romans 10:9, if you want to do a scripture check!) Should we be trying to separate ourselves one from another by Christian category? Actually...

Christian as a label has become much diluted since the early times when the followers of Christ were called Christ-ones or Christians, in many cases disparagingly. Today we have sects and denominations and branches and cults, and some of them are dangerous by way of misinterpretation and ripping of scripture out of context. We are neither judging nor condemning when we seek discernment from God to avoid heresy and false prophets. Testing a doctrine against the scripture is a Christian duty. We are not to love anyone less, but there could well be ground for separation lest we be unequally yoked with one who could drag our faith into the mud of the world.

Ground? Mud? I am an unwitting wit today. Always, pray for guidance in the Christ our Lord, and stay grounded in Him, the bedrock of our faith! 


Thursday, December 26, 2019

The Day After Christmas

So it was, when the angels had gone away from them into heaven, that the shepherds said to one another, “Let us now go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has come to pass, which the Lord has made known to us.” Luke 2:15

It could have been a great letdown for the shepherds as they watched the angels departing into heaven. And yet, the shepherds decided to go and see this new thing that was announced to them in such a glorious way. As Christmas has passed for another year, we too can make the decision to go and see this thing, this Christ which the Lord has sent to us. We can see Him in the Word of God and in worship services. We can see Him in each day and help others to see Him too. Christmas passes but our Lord remains though His dear lovely Spirit in us. 

That feeling of being let down a bit comes to us each year as a natural consequence of all the effort and resources we pour into the celebration of our Lord's birth. And along with the exhaustion comes the almost inevitable calorie overload that needs a bit of time for the body to process. Many of us also return to work immediately following the holiday as Christmas comes mid-week this year. Look forward to next year when Christmas will fall on a Friday. Of course we look to that one great Christmas to come when Jesus our Lord will bring us home for...ever! 

Have a blessed day after Christmas!


Monday, December 23, 2019

Ruler of Israel

‘But you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah,
Are not the least among the rulers of Judah;
For out of you shall come a Ruler
Who will shepherd My people Israel. Matthew 2:6

At the moment, Israel is having some difficulty in deciding who will be their prime minister. However, this will not always be the case as a ruler is promised from way back, like more than 2,400 years back. And this week we celebrate the birth of this promised ruler, Messiah, who was indeed born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of imperial Rome.  In the celebration of the Christ Child, we may sometimes forget that one great purpose of His is as ruler of a great nation: Israel. Not a tiny nation whom others might kick around, but a great nation with God as its Ruler and Shepherd. No need to be frightened, we believe in Jesus and rejoice at His return. For some though, the thought of Israel with Jesus as its Shepherd is utterly terrifying. 

Why the fear? It is fearful for the prideful to be proven wrong, for one thing. And many do not want the Bible to be true. Many labor for the removal of Israel from the Earth, and this speaks of an enduring reign secured by the power of God Himself. Thus the attempt by a group of nations to destroy Israel utterly in Ezekiel 38. That prophecy is of God's victory though, if they can prove it wrong... 

The Word of God said many things about the coming of Messiah, and all were proven true in Jesus our Lord. Now, which words would you like to believe concerning our Lord's return? The evil ones may appear to run the vineyard in the moment, but the Master returns from a far country very soon now. 

Merry Christmas to you! 

Friday, December 20, 2019

Wonderful Certainty

And God said, Let there be light: and there was light. Genesis 1:3

As we hear the words of the Lord promising His Son to us as a savior, we may wonder about the time. Certainly they did back in the day, but the time did come and angels sang in the heavens. In this age, we wonder when our Lord will return and we have faith in the wonderful certainty of, "And God said." 

In later years some bit of punctuation was placed between God's statement and the consequence, but this is only due to our limitations. We cannot read both at the same time, nor can we speak both at once. With wonderful certainty God spoke the words and the thing He spoke came into being. And so, we read the words of promise in the scriptures telling of a Savior coming to Bethlehem and we can know with that wonderful certainty that Jesus was born. 

It is with that same wonderful certainty that we know of another coming of our Lord and a glorious returning to Him for all who believe in the Son of God. Let us rejoice!

Merry Christmas,

Thursday, December 19, 2019

Merry Christmas and Division

Do you suppose that I came to give peace on earth? I tell you, not at all, but rather division.  Luke 12:51

Watching the news lately it should come as no surprise that our president was impeached yesterday in what was not quite a party-line vote. (The not quite is perhaps not in the way one might think either.) Of course, this is only a symptom of our deep divisions in the electorate and in Congress. It is interesting to note that our Lord came to make this happen. 

Division, even to members of a family (see vv. 52-53), came from Christ. But did He not give us the new command to love one another? Yes, that too. It boggles the little mind of me! Do we now say, "Merry Christmas, I'm divided against you?" The way I see it: Jesus my Lord brought division, but I am commanded to love. Therefore, I will let Him take care of the dividing, and I will work on the love in Christ. It does seem quite strange and a conundrum to me, but I seem to recall that I was born with a fallen heart and mind. If it seems strange to me, then just maybe with faith in the Lord I will one day understand His great plan. 

So, Merry Christmas and I love you!


Wednesday, December 18, 2019


For unto us a Child is born,
Unto us a Son is given;
And the government will be upon His shoulder.
And His name will be called
Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Isaiah 9:6

Ah, yes! The timeless beauty of this verse from Isaiah. Timeless because it did not come with a date on the calendar marked, "Mary's child due, send present."  One week before the Son of God was born in Bethlehem shepherds moved their herds from field to field as usual. As usual except for the big crowd of royals in town getting registered for the big Roman taxing so that they could not bring the sheeps in for the night. The innkeeper enjoyed a booming season, little knowing the infamous part he would play in years to come. His publicist did manage to keep him out of the Bible account directly though. Only a bare handful of people knew that baby Jesus would soon grace the world with His glorious presence. And only God knew of the celebration shortly to take place in the heavenly places to the astonishment of the shepherds keeping watch over their flocks by night. 

One week from today is our celebration of our Lord's birthday. What might God have in store for us on that blessed day that we know not at all from one little week away? It makes one wonder! 

Love and joy to you this Christmas!


Monday, December 16, 2019

You Did Not

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

With just this verse, we might think that Jephthah was accusing God of this betrayal. Jephthah was in the scripture speaking to men of another tribe, but we may do well to examine why it is we should think such a thing before we get the rest of the story. 

We surrender our lives to Jesus, and then comes that prayer that states some version of, "Why didn't You do what I wanted You to do, Lord?" Surrender means that we accept whatever answer the Lord gives to our prayers in any situation, and yet we don't always like the answer and so we roll out the old doubt and lack of faith. We probably do have some unwelcome assistance in that regard from the Enemy, but that does not make it any less our fault. "I wanted this and You did not, God," is not a very surrendered thing to say. 

If you have never done such a thing, good for you! Skip this and go to work. As for me, I must confess to doing the very thing in some form or another, even if only in a feeling of disappointment in the Lord for not giving me that thing I wanted. The new spirit within me wants to replace the accusation of 'You did not' with "I trust in You," but there are times when that old reaction comes first. Praise God that He will complete His good work in me and one day, along with you and all of our brothers and sisters in Christ, we will only know the new spirit within us saying, "glory to God in the highest!" 

The Christmas celebration is close now!


Friday, December 13, 2019

Your Town Square

And he said, “Here now, my lords, please turn in to your servant's house and spend the night, and wash your feet; then you may rise early and go on your way.” And they said, “No, but we will spend the night in the open square.” Genesis 19:2

Two strangers come to town and offer to spend the night in the town square. Something is about to be said about your town; that place where you call home. 

If the strangers have a peaceful night's sleep and awaken refreshed with all of their property intact, that says one thing about your town. If the strangers do not awaken at all, that says another thing about your town. In a former time in this nation, a policeman might stop and inquire of the strangers their business and if they needed travelers aid. Now, the strangers would be arrested for the high crime of...wait for it, spending the night in the town square! This says something about your town as well. The town square in this Bible story has a reputation that has endured for millennia - Sodom. 

The strangers' local contact in this case knew that the town square was the very center of depravity in his town, and soon depravity came knocking at Lot's front door like an ocean wave battering at the rocks of the shore. Towns have since, for the most part at least, worked to avoid such a reputation as Sodom had, for God did not take kindly to His messengers being subjected to such depravity as Sodom sported in that day. 

Praise God that so many town squares speak today of the birth of our Lord Jesus! Merry Christmas to all on this fine Friday!


Thursday, December 12, 2019

By The Election of Grace

Even so then, at this present time there is a remnant according to the election of grace. Romans 11:5

Some in the body of Christ were wondering if God had cast Israel away for good. What with the crucifixion of our Lord and all, they did have a point. However, Paul wrote to the church in Rome and refuted this by speaking of a remnant. And not a remnant that elected their best and brightest, but an election of grace from God. Paul even put forth himself as witness that the remnant was alive and active for Christ. 

Today, we see an evenly divided Israel, so much that they have trouble gaining enough majority votes for a government under their parliamentary system. Britain is going to the polls today for yet another general election. We are days from another election year, and the political maneuvers have been going on for sometime now in this nation. Our legislative body is also nearly evenly divided and the presidential elections have been close in the popular vote for many years. In each of these great nations though, a remnant lives and ministers. 

I can bear witness that by the world's standards, God did not choose the most athletic, the wealthiest, the most powerful, or most beautifully attractive among all the persons in this nation to write to you this morning. Sorry, you get me by the election of grace. Perhaps in your case, God chose from among the celebrated greats of the world; but more likely, you too belong to the remnant who are dependent upon God's grace alone for salvation. Praise God for us then! And for His wonderful Son who bought grace for us with His life. 


Wednesday, December 11, 2019

She Had An Out be registered with Mary, his betrothed wife, who was with child. Luke 2:5

Years had passed and Joseph was likely gone, along with many from the older generation, by the time Luke came along conducting interviews for his book. Could Mary have taken an out and not mentioned the whole betrothal pregnancy scandal? Sure, and gone down in the Bible as one of those to betray the truth with Judas Iscariot, the high priests, and many others in that time. Mary was not like that though. God chose the mother of His Son with His usual care, and years later she would tell it as it was in those days in Bethlehem. Joseph and Mary were not married yet when her firstborn son came along. 

Later, Paul would explain in Romans why this was so important. Jesus was the Son of God, born of a human mother in Mary, but not sired by Joseph. We learn this in the gospel of Matthew also, where Joseph was about to end it privately to avoid exposing Mary, his betrothed, to public shame. What seemed right to Joseph at that time though, was not what God wanted. And Joseph adopted a son of the Holy Spirit. 

The world may crow about the scandal of it; I'm just glad the Christ Child chose to adopt me and you! 

Merry Christmas!

Monday, December 09, 2019

It's Monday, Can't I Get An Exception?

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

Love that guy who irritates me so? Be kind and courteous to that one who rubs my 'fur' the wrong way? Rejoice with that one who surely does not deserve her recent victory? It's Monday, can't I get an exception? 

There are those days and times when I review the following verse seeking for that list of exceptions to our Lord's new commandment. But, no, it tells of how the world will know that we are the disciples of Jesus when they see our love one for another. Still no exceptions, neither by name nor by trade. 

And there are those times when you would think that person over there would have earned one too! 

But did not even Judas Iscariot earn an exception to this commandment of our Lord Jesus. John records just before this that Judas did earn an exception of a sort, and he left the gathering. Obviously, Judas was not going out to love the other disciples or our Lord Jesus. But, if this is an exception to the commandment, is this the one we want to point out? The betrayer of our Lord Jesus? Not even on a Monday would we want to go there! 

May the love of Christ be in us and shine forth this Christmas season,


Friday, December 06, 2019

His Fear Is Not Here

And Abraham said, “Because I thought, surely the fear of God is not in this place; and they will kill me on account of my wife. Genesis 20:11

So, Abraham was afraid because he thought they didn't fear God? Hey, we understand something from the Bible! There are places today we can travel to that do not have the fear of God, and we would be afraid for our lives there. We can understand Abraham's fear and why he did what he did there. Maybe the remainder of the Bible is not so deep that we cannot understand too? 

Indeed we often approach the Word of God as though He has made it or Himself completely above our heads. As if, in the person of Jesus, God did not come down as a man and speak with thousands of average, everyday folks like you and me. Did the man Jesus call Himself the Son of Man and go around selecting fishermen, a zealot, a few men perhaps not doing anything at all, and even a despised tax collector as His most intimate of followers? In our age we might expect the Lord to walk over to Pharisee U. and ask to see the best and brightest of the graduating class, but He didn't. 

But what about those parts of the Bible that do seem inscrutable to us? Let us say we do not understand them yet, and go quickly to the Lord in prayer to ask for understanding. I think He likes it when His beloved come to Him and ask for explanation of His word, our life here, eternity, and everything else! 

Have a better day in Christ the Lord!


Thursday, December 05, 2019

The Means

For when they came into the house, he was lying on his bed in his bedroom; then they struck him and killed him, beheaded him and took his head, and were all night escaping through the plain. 2 Samuel 4:7

The son of Saul was an enemy of the rightful king, David. Two of Ishbosheth's captains decided to do King David a favor and murdered him in his home, and then presented the king with the dead head. So, how did that work for them?

Sometimes, we may fall into the temptation that overcomes many in this world; the temptation of thinking that the end justifies the means. The means are so very important to the Lord. My case for this is personified in Jesus the Christ. As our Lord Jesus is the means to our salvation, those means are important to you and me too! Jesus Himself told John the Baptist that things had to be done right. The means were important to Jesus as well, and He did not take the short cut of baptizing John right there. This life we live in Christ is the means to an end, and though we desire that end, let us rejoice in the means first. 

So, King David was less than pleased with the means of murder used, supposedly, on his behalf. As king he meted out justice to the two captains, perhaps much to their surprise, and they joined their former master in death. 

Perhaps a more cheerful message tomorrow? 

Have a better day in Christ!

Wednesday, December 04, 2019

From The Heart

They do not say from the heart,
‘Let us live in awe of the LORD our God,
for he gives us rain each spring and fall,
assuring us of a harvest when the time is right.’ Jeremiah 5:24

You have seen it by now, or if not, I have now spilled the beans as they say, but there is a commentary video on Fox News today about Sidney and Cabela's. It would be easy to join in with a lengthy rant, I have more knowledge and experience in the situation than most folks, but I have learned more about that 70 times 7 forgiveness in the past few years. 

When the world wants to toss me back into bitterness, and even provides a name for me to be bitter at, should I so choose, I like to go for verses such as the one for today. "Let us live in awe of the Lord our God." What a wonderful statement to take the mind off of what the world is up to on this day! The harvest will come when the time is right, a statement so useful in so many ways and circumstances. What wonders and joy are in God's word, if only we can learn to turn our minds from the bitter news of the world and get into the Word. What a delight to give God His due by recalling to mind that He gives us the rains we need, and there is that blessed assurance too!

Therefore, say from the heart today, let us live in awe of the LORD our God!

Amen.  Bucky

Monday, December 02, 2019

You've Done Enough?

But when the kindness and the love of God our Savior toward man appeared, not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit,  whom He poured out on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Savior, that having been justified by His grace we should become heirs according to the hope of eternal life. 1 Titus 3:4-7

Yes, you are correct, ol' Buck is losing his marbles. We do not usually give a book of the Bible a 'I' unless there is a 'II'. This works splendidly until we come to John, which does sometimes cause problems with verse look-ups in the study of the Word. However, it is for another reason that I looked up this passage from Paul to Titus today. 

A brother in Christ reminded me this morning of his suffering. Of course he was not claiming that he had done enough to be saved; we know better than that. I would, on the other hand, dearly like to tell him that according to II Whatsis, verses 7-19, he has done enough to be saved and sanctified and that the remainder of his life will be one of ease and luxury. Nope, can't do it; there is no scriptural basis for it. Whatsis never wrote a 'I' it seems, much less a 'II'.

Praise God! The scripture speaks of salvation through regeneration and renewal by God's precious Holy Spirit. We need such regeneration and renewal as we endure the persecution of this life. Looking for a life of abundance? There it is too - an abundant pouring out of God's Spirit through Jesus the Christ. Note that justification by grace given to us as heirs of our Lord. We will never endure enough, but we do have this great hope of life eternal in Christ our Lord. 

And we have this too: Immanuel.


Friday, November 29, 2019

A Worthless Bargain

The buyer haggles over the price, saying, “It's worthless,”
then brags about getting a bargain! Proverbs 20:14

Out the window, I can observe the glaze of ice that began last night, and made my walk home from the Thanksgiving feasting a bit more hair-raising than normal, has stayed with us overnight. Thus, I am getting ready to go out a bit more slowly than the usual. Today is, danger aside, the big sale day for the Christmas holiday shopping season. And, someone, somewhere, will do what I have done before, that is to find a great sale on an item they have no need for and purchase it anyway. The item is worthless to the buyer and will gather dust on a shelf before making its way down to the goodwill store, or worse reside there until the next of kin show up to gather things for the estate auction. What a bargain they made!

As we can read in our verse for today, King Solomon collected this proverb, which speaks to the same behavior, almost a thousand years before Christ our Lord was born in Bethlehem. We like a bargain and it gives us a warm and satisfied feeling to find one. However, a good bargain on a worthless item does a person no good. And, as I have also found out, gifting the item leaves one feeling a bit hollow inside, probably because the method forces a person to fit the gift as opposed to shopping for a gift to fit the person.

Have faith in God though; He can make good come of even our worthless bargains!

Merry Christmas! 

Thursday, November 28, 2019

The First Thanksgiving Feast

When Joseph saw Benjamin with them, he said to the steward of his house, “Take these men to my home, and slaughter an animal and make ready; for these men will dine with me at noon.” Genesis 43:16

This story has the elements we often see in the Thanksgiving holiday feast. Joseph's family had come from a great distance. Joseph ordered an animal slaughtered for the feast and that the guests be put up in his home for the noon meal. They came bearing food gifts of almonds, honey, spices, and pistachio nuts to add to the feast. They brought double money for... okay, not everything is quite as we do in the Thanksgiving celebration for the day. There is also that part of the story where they do not know that family is hosting them. 

Yes, the Thanksgiving feast would prove a bit awkward if the host turned out to be the kid brother you had thought sold off to slavery and likely never to be seen again. Better that we let the story of the first Thanksgiving feast remain with the Pilgrims and their Indian guests. Both Joseph's story from the Bible and the story from a nation that was to come are good to read and recall on this day of gratitude to our Lord. 

Great is the name of our Lord! 


Wednesday, November 27, 2019

Give Thanks For The Word

And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him. Colossians 3:17

Just before we celebrate Thanksgiving together, I would like to lead us in giving thanks for the Word. Yes, give thanks for the Word Himself, Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior. At times it seems rather obvious, and at other times it is rather obvious that we are not remembering to be grateful for God's provision of His Word. Giving thanks to God is a privilege we have through Christ Jesus who died to save us. 

Therefore: Thank You, dear God our Father, for Your Son, our Savior and our Lord, from all of us together on this day before Thanksgiving! May Your name ring joyfully in our hearts this day.


Monday, November 25, 2019

Overwhelmed With Gratitude

She fell at his feet and bowed before him, overwhelmed with gratitude. Then she took her son in her arms and carried him downstairs. 2 Kings 4:37 NLT

Thanksgiving week begins with gratitude and a prayer that when we see Jesus we might have a similar attitude as this woman in our verse today. Surely the person she is falling down before has done a great thing for this woman. Surely it is something to do with her son, a young child as we can see in the circumstances in this verse. This is of course the story of Elisha raising a woman's son back to life. A miracle! And the woman is overwhelmed with gratitude. 

As we have been raised up from sin and back into a new life in our Savior, we too have reason to be overwhelmed with gratitude. What was dead in its sin, is now made new in Christ. Thanks be unto the Lord for His mercy and grace to us. And now we wait gratefully on Him for the resurrection! 

Amen. Hallelujah!


Friday, November 22, 2019

The First Most Hairy One

And the first came out red. He was like a hairy garment all over; so they called his name Esau. Genesis 25:25

450 times in the New King James version the word first comes up. Which word are we talking about here, you might ask. No, no, the word 'first' is the one I searched this morning. Esau did not have a good first day. He came out first and he came out red and hairy all over, like a fur garment. And poor Esau runs into a failing we have to this very day - naming the poor kid after an anatomical feature. Esau means 'red'... Esau probably wished for that much of his life. Esau actually means 'hairy'. Sort of like being called fur-ball all your life and being reminded of something you might wish were otherwise. Thanks Mom and Dad! 

Your first day in this world may have started out much better. Perhaps you came into the world with a lyrical name often associated with physical beauty, but more likely is that you were born in the days when babies were given a good swat by the doctor to get us crying right away. The urge to cry continues with us to this day. Be thankful you weren't the first most hairy one. At some points in history, you would have been left in the woods to die and your mother burned at the stake for consorting with an animal. 

Then again, your parents might have named you, Barfswallerol. Imagine spelling that out for the teachers in every grade while the other students rolled on the floor laughing. 

Praise the Lord for the days of this life,


Thursday, November 21, 2019

Thankful Today, Grateful Tomorrow

And the LORD God prepared a kikayon and made it come up over Jonah, that it might be shade for his head to deliver him from his misery. So Jonah was very grateful for the plant. Jonah 4:6

The word kikayon we usually see as 'plant' in the Bible, because no one in this age seems to know what a kikayon was or is. Whatever sort of plant or structure it may have been in Jonah's day, he was very grateful for it. We don't particularly need to dwell on it, the plant was a gift and Jonah was grateful. However, we know the story: a test came in the morning of the next day and Jonah's gift was withered and unable to provide the shade Jonah so enjoyed. Would Jonah be content with what God sent the next day and remain very grateful? 

Ah, yes, that is the story we know well from back in the day. We know it so well because we have been there. A blessing one day and we are filled with gratitude; a little tribulation the next day and gratitude is forgotten and we are all about blaming the Lord. All our joy is sucked away down the drain of yesterday when the trial comes. I guess we all know that it shouldn't be that way, yet we still catch ourselves right there with Jonah. 

I don't have an answer for this of myself. I can only recommend a good friend who loves and stands ready to help us all. His name is Jesus and through His dear Spirit we have all the help we need to remain very grateful to God when the tough times come.

Love in Christ,

Wednesday, November 20, 2019

A Works Resume?

“So then, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will vomit you out of My mouth. Revelation 3:16

It is interesting that God would rather talk to one who is angry with Him than to one who is ambivalent in his feelings. The word lukewarm gets one appearance in the scriptures and it comes near the end, and it is in a message to a one of the Lord's churches. Even one who is cold toward the Lord seems to have a better chance of being heard than the lukewarm. But, the Lord calls on their works. Why am I going on about attitude? 

If you have never awakened in pain or down in depression, or perhaps just in a plain old poopy funk, then you may not know what a work it is to get into the word of God and enter into prayer in order to turn that attitude around to the glory of God. And yet it appears the Lord is more able to work with a person cold toward His word on that down morning than one who depends upon the richness and plenty of his resume of works and does not know his need for the Lord every morning. I didn't come up with this on my own, it is in the next verse where God starts with, "Because you say..." 

Praise God! I need Him each morning and every day,


Monday, November 18, 2019

What God Does

“Oh, that I were as in months past,
As in the days when God watched over me." Job 29:2

Why does Job think God has quit watching over him? The answer to that is of course well known to me, as I have often thought that maybe God was taking a day off that time when... You know the kind of day I speak of ! Perhaps it was only an hour, but surely those terrible things would not have happened had the Lord not taken that time off His duties, we judge with a certain prideful sort of ignorance. Yes, we cannot know all that God has done for even one of us. How could we ever know all that God does in even a moment?

Hebrews 1:3 gives us a revelation of what God is doing at all times: He upholds the universe with the mighty power of His command. What else out there might fall down if God were to relinquish His steadfast attention to duty? We also know from the story in Job that God had set strict limits on what the Enemy could do to Job. Hardly a sign of failing to watch over poor Job. The fact that I am writing this and you are reading it, tells us that the Enemy who was a murderer from the start, according to our Lord Jesus, has not done this to you and me shows that we are watched over constantly by God. 

Always watched over by the Almighty One,


Friday, November 15, 2019

Yes, It's Not That Easy

So they read distinctly from the book, in the Law of God; and they gave the sense, and helped them to understand the reading.  Nehemiah 8:8

One fine day in Bible study, you did not feel as though you fully understood the passage. The minions of the dark one stepped in and told how that left your salvation in doubt. Guilt and shame were the tools those minions used to undermine your faith. Look up! Way back in the days of rebuilding the wall of Jerusalem, the Israelites needed help to understand the Word too. Jesus took the disciples aside to explain His parables. The Revelation we are still working on every time someone takes up a study of it. Yes, it's not that easy to understand and know the Word of God! 

Tackling the problem of the Word is an exercise in faith and steadfast endurance combined with a growing love for the Lord. Is it any wonder there can be a communication gap when Isaiah 55:8-9 tells of how God's thoughts are higher than our thoughts as the heavens are above the earth? God could have made it simpler and easier of course, but I think He knows that our struggles with His Word help to hold our attention on Him and to bring us back for more. Fear not though! The Lord knows to give just as much as we can receive at any study session. 

Have a great Friday in Christ the Lord!


Thursday, November 14, 2019


I rejoice at Your word
As one who finds great treasure. Psalm 119:162

The urge has come over me to go prospecting in the word of God in search of great treasure! I estimate my chances of striking words of purest gold and life-changing treasure at 100 percent. 

As everyone knows, the worldly key to finding life-changing treasure is a metal detector, because all life-changing treasure is made of metal, I guess. It goes something like this: hard-earned treasure is first spent to purchase a metal detector of whatever means the dreamer can afford. Score: worldly treasure hunter -$100 to $1,000 or more (for the accessories of course). Then an old abandoned barnyard is found as it is closer than the beach where the old pirates buried their treasure. 

$100 and a promised share in anything found is forked over to the owner of the 'abandoned' farm when he sees a suspicious car parked on his place.


The treasure hunter begins the scan and immediately hears 'tweep!' from the metal detector. He digs up an old pop tab and carefully replaces the disturbed earth. A mere half step later, 'tweep!' and he digs up a rusty nail, 2 flakes of old tin foil, and a bent screw. He shoves the dirt back into the hole, stands up and 'tweep!' goes the metal detector. He digs up part of a horseshoe nearly rusted away. Seeing the pattern, the treasure hunter quickly fiddles with some settings on the metal detector and sets off in search of gold and silver. And proceeds to scan the entire farmstead, all 3 acres of it with nary a sound from the detector. No life-changing treasure today. 

Later that spring, a family stops by a garage sale and sees a metal detector for sale at a modest price. A few miles away, in an abandoned-looking farmyard, an old pirate feels a warm glow spreading from his wallet. 

There is treasure, if we know where to look for it!

God bless,

Wednesday, November 13, 2019


For we have spent enough of our past lifetime in doing the will of the Gentiles—when we walked in lewdness, lusts, drunkenness, revelries, drinking parties, and abominable idolatries. 1 Peter 4:3

John had connections; Paul could be described as sexist by our standards of the day, and Peter, well, Peter didn't seem to shake off that racism that was common among his people. The will of the Gentiles? Peter seems to be that kind of fellow who could walk into a bar and start arguments and even a fight. And he would be the one standing there wondering to the police afterward what had started it all. 

Take most of our ancestors in the faith and you will find a sinner first. John the Baptist knew enough from the womb to do the right thing. There was difficulty in finding anything wrong with Daniel. And our Lord Jesus of course knew no sin. Most people in the Bible though, especially those chosen by our Lord to follow Him, struggled with a checkered past, and it didn't automatically go away after our Lord saved them. Paul wrote of doing those things he didn't want to do. Peter slams us by calling sin the, "will of the Gentiles." Ow! Thanks, Pete. 

Yet we know enough to know where he is coming from. For we once did the will of the Gentiles and Peter's list probably pretty much tells the story of many a first year in college or away from home in a new job...even for those raised in the church!

Time to follow the Lord Jesus!


Monday, November 11, 2019

Serving Well

He has redeemed my soul in peace from the battle that was against me,
For there were many against me. Psalm 55:18

Did David mean there were many people opposing him, or that there were many battles from which the Lord redeemed his soul in peace? Either way works of course. David we know participated in many battles and his reign was not one of fairy tale happily ever after rosy glow in the sky living. Phew, say that again fast. Serving the Lord as king and warrior had its ups and downs for David. Always there were those who opposed David, and always it seemed there was another battle to fight. The one time David decided to hang back in Jerusalem instead of fighting in the battle did not turn out so well. So, do we dare criticize the man after God's own heart? 

We too rise up each day to fight those who oppose us, whether they be physical or spiritual, and we are redeemed  by the Lord to peace of the soul with Him. Like David, we serve well, even though there are days when the battle goes against us and days when we rejoice in the Lord's victory. As with David and his nation of Israel, we are tested by the battles that go against us, usually because we tried to go our own way, and we grow in faith in Christ Jesus our Lord. Faith is the key to serving well in the Lord. 

May the Lord Jesus strengthen our faith on this day,


Friday, November 08, 2019

Ask Ever So Much, And the Son Said Yes

“Ask me ever so much dowry and gift, and I will give according to what you say to me; but give me the young woman as a wife.” Genesis 34:12

In this verse it sounds like a story of the greatest love. And yet, surrounding this verse is enough sin to fill the world. The deceitful ones in this story are not the Gentiles. The murderous ones are not the Gentiles. But it all began with a sinful Gentile. This poor verse, surrounded by such sin. 

In this verse though, one can see the Lord Jesus coming before the Father and asking the price to save His intended bride. Surrounded by sin on all sides, the Father and Son stand on the world, and the price to satisfy the judgment on all that sin is the life of the Son. A dowry price so great is all that could allow the marriage ceremony to be held at all. And the Son said, "Yes". 

We rejoice because with that answer we were saved. The Church as the Bride of Christ will one day marry the Bridegroom, who is the Son of God. All that salvation completely dependent upon a love so great that He gave all to save us. Praise the Lord our God and His Son, Jesus Christ!


Thursday, November 07, 2019

Rough Reminder Alley

Trust in the LORD with all your heart,
And lean not on your own understanding;
In all your ways acknowledge Him,
And He shall direct your paths. Proverbs 3:5-6

This is one of those oft repeated proverbs that seem to elude me at times. It is in those times when I think that I'm pretty smart or knowledgeable about a thing that I go down Reminder Alley to a meeting with this passage of scripture. Of course, Reminder Alley is one of those streets we go down that has frustrating delays, needless expenses, and self criticism along the way. Reminder Alley is just off of Experience Avenue, and while it does teach us something, the Way of our Lord is much the smoother path. 

The usual indication that I am off on another trip down Reminder Alley is that this scripture comes to mind. As in the reminder from that still small voice that I did what the second line said not to do and suffered the consequences. Praise God that at those times when I am once more standing stupidly in the snare and ready to acknowledge the error of my ways, the Lord has this promise:

Surely He shall deliver you from the snare of the fowler
And from the perilous pestilence.  Psalm 91:3

Praise God for His Way,

Wednesday, November 06, 2019

An Illusion of Control

 Pul king of Assyria came against the land; and Menahem gave Pul a thousand talents of silver, that his hand might be with him to strengthen the kingdom under his control.  2 Kings 15:19

King Pul deserves a nod for keeping his name simple, or perhaps not, as Pul may have been, as we tend to do, a shortened version of something too complex for the writer of 2 Kings to remember or spell. Today though, the subject is the illusion of control that money might give us. 

Menahem tried to buy off Pul, and he did it by taxing the rich, and it seemed to work for a time. However, Menahem is among the many kings of Israel introduced to us in these latter years by, "and he did evil in the sight of the Lord." Uh oh, it would seem that buying off the enemy is not what the Lord would have us to do. And as going to money is much the same as running to Egypt when the Lord desires us to come to Him in prayer, yes, we can see that this was not the right answer. 

The dangerous thing is that these worldly answers seem to work for a time. King Pul did take his little name and go home. The rich people taxed could likely afford it and they probably did not forget it either. The poor seemed to get off easy in this case. But, the problem was that it was not the best answer; the answer the Lord desired of Israel: come to Him. 

We have that same choice: try a worldly answer first or come to the Lord in prayer first. Sitting here with a cuppa after breakfast, the answer seems obvious. When the tribulations come though, best to recall that obvious answer real quick! It may not seem so obvious in the moment when we seek control by our own means. 

Have a great day and seek the Lord in prayer!


Monday, November 04, 2019

A Long Time Waiting

Woe to Ariel, to Ariel, the city where David dwelt!
Add year to year;
Let feasts come around.

Like chaff that passes away;
Yes, it shall be in an instant, suddenly.  Isaiah 29:1 & 5b

We are in that period our Lord Jesus spoke of in His Olivet Discourse, that time of waiting when people are eating and drinking, marrying and going to weddings, and going about the things of daily life here on this earth. (Matthew 24:38-39). The City of Ariel, the notes say it is Jerusalem, also enjoyed a golden age during David's and Solomon's reigns and beyond when life seemed to go on and on as generations grew up to marry and have children who married and so on. We too have genealogies of births, weddings, and deaths going back for quite some time, and still our Lord has not returned for us. Yet, there is that warning a few verses down, suddenly! 

Jesus said that same thing about His return, suddenly! We have only to wait for it, though the days and years may seem long to us. One day, like chaff that passes away, we will see this life gone forever along with all its pain, sorrow, tears, and toil. Wait patiently and be awake, suddenly will be upon us in an instant!


Friday, November 01, 2019

A Few Fragments

So they ate and were filled, and they took up seven large baskets of leftover fragments. Mark 8:8

Halloween is over for another year, except for a few fragments lying about here and there. Yes, Halloween candy, the gift that hangs around the waist. How different were the fragments our Lord had collected after the multitude was filled! Seven large baskets of leftover fragments, enough to feed several more for a time. Where did these leftovers go? The scriptures do not say. 

When the scripture does not say, then it is something we do not need to worry over. Such questions may also indicate that we are missing the main point. He fed four thousand people in this story from Mark's gospel. Would we miss that for worrying over the disposition of a few leftover baskets? 

Praise the Lord on this great day!


Thursday, October 31, 2019

A Frightening Day

Suddenly, they saw the fingers of a human hand writing on the plaster wall of the king’s palace, near the lampstand. The king himself saw the hand as it wrote, and his face turned pale with fright. His knees knocked together in fear and his legs gave way beneath him. Daniel 5:5-6

Happy Halloween at a balmy 5° above zero. Our morning cold is the scariest thing so far on this day of frights. A king of old had a fright such as few of us will experience in our short lives on this earth. 

King Belshazzar of Babylon had a privileged childhood being the heir of none other than Nebuchadnezzar, one of the greatest kings to have lived on the earth. Indeed, Daniel brings up this very point when explaining the terrifying vision of a human hand writing on the wall of the king's banquet hall. Part of the king's fright stems from extreme guilt. He knew quite well that the Lord's temple treasures were for His worship services in Jerusalem and not for anyone's amusement. Along with that guilt came what C.S. Lewis named the fear of the uncanny. Something happening which cannot be explained by our science, reason, or experience. Yet, there it was, a disembodied human hand writing on the wall.


Halloween brings this tale in the book of Daniel to mind as it has such a graphic description of human fear. Pale face, knocking knees, and legs without the strength to run or fight, as the king of a powerful empire is brought low by the Lord. The king and his nobles may up to that night have taken the Lord God of Israel as simply one among many gods, but He had their attention now. And, as the Lord's other messenger arrived, Daniel translated a message of doom from the hand of the Lord for a king gone bad. 

Thank You, dear Lord, that it does not require such a frightening thing to bring us to You in prayer and repentance! 


Wednesday, October 30, 2019

If You Want To Be Perfect...

Jesus said to him, “If you want to be perfect, go, sell what you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me.”  Matthew 19:21

"If you want to be perfect," our Lord said to the young man. There are times when we think that this was the sum total of perfection, but our Lord only gave the young man a starting point. Store up for yourself some treasure in heaven, and then come and follow Me, was the instruction. And we know from the story that the young man could not even do that. 

So it is with us as well. On our own we can do nothing to save ourselves. The first step of that lifelong journey is too high for the sinner to accomplish. In his strength the rich young man could not give up his worldly security, not even for a treasure stored in faith. 

The disciples had no better answer and were astonished, but our Lord had the answer every one of us needs to this problem of salvation:  “With men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” (19:26)  Little did they know that sitting right there was God's answer! 

Praise the name of our Lord Jesus!


Monday, October 28, 2019

Lost, And It Was My Fault

I have gone astray like a lost sheep;
Seek Your servant,
For I do not forget Your commandments. Psalm 119:176

Some months ago, I placed a couple parts on the bumper of my truck while I worked on a repair. As anyone who has ever done this can tell you, that was a rather foolish thing to do. The parts were indeed lost, and it was my fault. More new parts swallowed up forever by a convenient flat spot on a vehicle, probably keeping company with the many coffee cups lost that way. The lost sheep who has gone astray is a different sort of thing altogether, though perhaps equally foolish.

The psalmist here knows the willful disobedience that has led him astray. He asks for the Lord to seek him out in order to bring him back to the fold. In a similar way, we too can recall the violations of the Law that brought about our lost condition, but we do not know how to get back to our Lord. Often we are like an Adam who hid from the Lord so well that he cannot answer the call of the Lord's voice because he is out of hearing. This was no mistake that brought about a lost part, but a willful contrariness against the Lord that resulted in a lost person. And by His grace our Lord sent a Shepherd to find His lost sheep.

Thank You, dear Lord, for Your Good Shepherd!


Friday, October 25, 2019

Something's Coming!

As whirlwinds in the South pass through,
So it comes from the desert, from a terrible land.
A distressing vision is declared to me;
The treacherous dealer deals treacherously,
And the plunderer plunders.
Go up, O Elam!
Besiege, O Media!
All its sighing I have made to cease.  Isaiah 21:1-2

It would appear to us that Isaiah was not particularly thrilled to receive this vision. The prophet may have hoped for some more of that good news of Immanuel and the great light in the darkness, but he was given a distressing vision. This is of course not a good news-bad news thing, but a good news-warnings difference.

Though we long for more of the good news from the scriptures, it remains to be read by us that much of the Bible holds warnings for those who do not believe and obey. There is no good news in the end for those who refuse to believe what God says. How do you like it when someone counts everything you say as a lie with all proof pointing to the contrary? God's proof of His truthfulness is greater by far than yours and mine, so we can imagine how He must feel to be called liar with every denial of so many of His creations. 

And, we might just have a small insight into the joyous celebrations that take place in Heaven each time one of us believes what the Lord has said by His Word! Amen.


Thursday, October 24, 2019

One Of Those

“And in that day there shall be a Root of Jesse,
Who shall stand as a banner to the people;
For the Gentiles shall seek Him,
And His resting place shall be glorious.” Isaiah 11:10

I like to let everyone know that I am one of those Gentiles. You know, for you've done it too. We have sought out our Lord Jesus, the Root of Jesse. We're some of those Gentiles. The world will say it with a sneer and perhaps a snide remark,"Oh, you're one of those..." Yes, yes we are, and glad to call Jesus our Lord too!"  Have you ever read a memoir by someone wherein you thought something like, "I could really enjoy this person's company." And then the memoir goes into something about Christ and His followers, and the person discusses it in a shallow, academic way? What follows is disappointment. 

It may be from fear. Anyone who has put his or her faith in Jesus out there in writing has felt that push back. It may be from a desire to sell more books. Political correctness runs rampant through much of the world right now. Or, it may be from unbelief, and I'm not sure which of these is the more disappointing. Of course the most disappointing would be for the person to carry unbelief or denial all the way to the grave. That would make me sad. 

As we are not likely to meet everyone in this lifetime, prayer for the dying unbelievers is something we can do constantly. 

In Christ,

Wednesday, October 23, 2019

The Healing One Comes

But to you who fear My name
The Sun of Righteousness shall arise
With healing in His wings;
And you shall go out
And grow fat like stall-fed calves.  Malachi 4:2

The Cleaner went to drug trials in a few months and it is everything the public wants. Injected directly into the blood stream the Cleaner moves throughout the body devouring plaque, cancer cells, invasive bacteria, virulent viruses, plus shrinking away any scars and restoring aging joints and skin. Upon completion of its cleaning the Cleaner exits the body with a burst of feel-good chemicals and rejuvenating scents. The inventor of the Cleaner is reputedly wealthier than the top six billionaires combined, or will be if the drug trials finish ever start and finish. 

Yes, I did mix the tenses in the first sentence, and with no good reason other than the Cleaner is fictional. However, medical industry, big pharma, and a few pirates are in fact looking for just such a product even now. Those who do not want to believe in the coming of the Sun of Righteousness desperately want them to succeed and quickly. Why they want to live forever with the Earth in this state is quite beyond me, but there it is.

As for me and my family, those who all around the world from every nation, people, tribe, and tongue believe in Jesus the Christ, we want the coming of the Son, and that right soon!

Love in Christ,

Monday, October 21, 2019

Not Enough Space?

Now the land was not able to support them, that they might dwell together, for their possessions were so great that they could not dwell together. Genesis 13:6

In the course of our duties, we have run into a house or two where the possessions were so great that the house could not support another person. In the case of Abraham and Lot, the land was not great enough to support them. 

In thinking about Heaven recently as part of our Tuesday Bible study, I have wondered much about how close we might be in terms of physical proximity. Will it be like an overpopulated city? Many of us might not be so happy in such a place. Will it be so spacious that we might not see each other for months or years? Others would not like that sort of thing. As usual, I am led to the conclusion that we do not have to worry over things like this. Heaven will be the bestest place that God can create! 

Yes, a new word especially for God's Heaven - it's the bestest!


Friday, October 18, 2019

Is It Time To Study Heaven?

And God called the firmament Heaven. So the evening and the morning were the second day. Genesis 1:8

A place was created quite early in the Word of God, and it has a name, Heaven. It is, we think, a place to go after we die. God dwells there, how bad could it be? Such questions betray a sort of willful ignorance for there is much to learn of Heaven in the Word. For example, a quick word search reveals 501 uses of the word heaven in the New King James version of the Bible, 550 in the old King James version. Some refer to the sky above and others to God's dwelling place, but in order to know which we must study the Word of God.


501 references? There must be something about that eternal home we crave with Jesus! Indeed there is, but there is also Paradise, the New Heavens and the New Earth, and other references to learn more about this place or places where we will spend so much more time than we know here on this Earth that we have to wonder at our lack of study on such a lengthy topic. If this Earth is but the boot camp to eternity, one would think we should learn all that we can about it. 

And then we have our Lord Jesus ascending to Heaven, and He is why we want to go there...unless He comes back here first which is also promised! 

Have a great Friday in the Lord!


Thursday, October 17, 2019

You've Been Taken Care Of In Love

Your eyes saw my substance, being yet unformed.
And in Your book they all were written,
The days fashioned for me,
When as yet there were none of them.  Psalm 139:16

Unformed? Yes, our Lord God knew David the man long before he even came into existence as we know it. The same happened to you and me. And in God's book our lives were set down from beginning to eternity with Him, even before the days had arrived. Those without belief in God our Father will rail against this and cry out for freedom. By faith in Christ, we know that tomorrow is nothing to fear for God has already written it down and in Him we have freedom! 

Events and conditions come upon us as a great surprise at times, but never is our Lord taken unawares. There is no call from Heaven for an emergency meeting, no alarms going off with great clanging bells, and no shock when that thing surprises us down here on Earth. Isn't it great to know that our Lord has our future firmly in His loving control? Yes, you've been taken care of, in His unceasing love! 

Praise God today!

Wednesday, October 16, 2019

Oops! Busted

And it was told the king of Jericho, saying, “Behold, men have come here tonight from the children of Israel to search out the country.” Joshua 2:2

The story in Joshua does not speak of much time before the two Israelite spies were found out and reported to the king of Jericho. They had time to secure lodgings at Rahab's house, and that was about it as the king was informed already. So much for secrecy and concealment. 

We might wonder why God's protection was not upon them, but we would wonder wrongly. God's protection would be shown through Rahab, and not in the expected way of never being found out in the first place. Doing it our way would have given no opportunity for Rahab to show her faith in God. 

We are spies in a foreign country too. And as soon as you and I believed in Jesus, it was reported to the prince of this world and minions were dispatched work his will against us. We may expect God to protect us in a certain way and it may surprise us when He does not, but as we can see from the story, His way is always the best way. 

Faith in God! 

Monday, October 14, 2019

Have Eternity?

 He has made everything beautiful in its time. Also He has put eternity in their hearts, except that no one can find out the work that God does from beginning to end. Ecclesiastes 3:11

The Bible is quite short when we ponder how much we might read in eternity. Yet, for this lifetime it is more than enough. Consider just this one verse for today. Do you have time to understand it? Perhaps you or I might think so, but then some months or years later we consider it anew and: lo and behold! new insights, revelation, and understanding!  He has made everything beautiful in its time. Any of us might be wondering when his or her time will come. We also hope that that time hasn't passed away forever. We have eternity in our hearts. What will it be filled with? If no once can find out the work God does from beginning to end, what's with all those folks arguing over creation or happenstance or accident? Yes, the Bible is quite enough to keep me wondering and pondering throughout this lifetime. 

Praise God for His Word!


Friday, October 11, 2019

Have A Different Spirit

But My servant Caleb, because he has a different spirit in him and has followed Me fully, I will bring into the land where he went, and his descendants shall inherit it. Numbers 14:24

So, that sneaky voice would say to us, Caleb had a special dispensation of the Spirit from God; he was a spiritual superman such as I can never be. The rest of us should never be blamed for our sins because the specially picked ones like Caleb have that big advantage, that voice goes on. That would just make it so easy! A few spiritual superheroes could make it on their own, and the rest of us could blame God for our sins. One little problem, or maybe two or three, the ones we might call spiritual superheroes such as Paul, Billy Graham, Spurgeon, et al., do not speak that way. 

Those who teach the Word speak of faith. Plus conquering the promised land with my spear and magic helmet? No, no, just faith in our Lord Jesus and in God to save us from our sins. You mean they have a different spirit because they believed God? Yes! Faith is what made Caleb of a different spirit than the other Israelites (save Joshua), because he believed the Lord when He said, that Israel with the Lord before them could take the promised land from those who dwelt there. You and I can be spiritual superheroes too by believing all that the Lord God says to us. It's faith, and the Lord Jesus gives it to us in bountiful amounts when we need it. 

Have a great Friday in Christ the Lord!


Thursday, October 10, 2019

October in Blue

So Mordecai went out from the presence of the king in royal apparel of blue and white, with a great crown of gold and a garment of fine linen and purple; and the city of Shushan rejoiced and was glad. Esther 8:15

Blue was not at one time a color of depression but of joy and gladness. The Jews of Shushan did not feel blue when Mordecai accepted the reward of the king and stepped out in fine clothing with a new chapeau. No, the next two verses speak of joy and celebration until we get to many of the natives becoming Jewish for fear of the Jews. Wait, they became Jews? Don't you have to be born into that nation? Nope, we know from the scriptures that the Law always had provision for foreigners to join up, so to speak. The Law has many verses telling the people to treat foreigners living among them as native-born. To love them as themselves (That bit sounds familiar!) and to not despise them. Somehow this got lost entirely by our Lord's time. However, verse 17 has an interesting reason for conversion to Judaism - they were scared. 

We of course are familiar with this reason, for many of us heard the old fire n' brimstone sermons in ancient times and knew firsthand the fear of hellfire and eternal darkness. These sorts of sermons should be brought back, as many of us first came to seek the Shepherd with our woolly coats singed by the flames pouring forth from the pulpit. Yes, the love of the Lord Jesus is a far better reason to believe, but if they won't believe in Him at all perhaps a brimstone warning will put the fear of God in 'em. It certainly worked in our case. By way of example we need only look to the Tribulation to come where the fear of God saves a number too great to count. 

It sounds hard, perhaps even a little mean, but if I were sliding down the chute that led to the fiery flames of hell, I would appreciate the words of life that told me of One who could save me.


Wednesday, October 09, 2019

Temporary Things

For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal. 2 Corinthians 4:18b

Some of the things around me I have kept for a long time by my reckoning. There is a King James Bible copy back yonder on the table that I have kept since 1981. But wait, there is a Gideon's New Testament copy that I have kept since I spelled the man's name, 'Jhon'! How far back must that one be? Is it permanent yet? Nope, that length of time does not make them permanent and certainly not eternal. Any of us might have an easier time holding our 'stuff' loosely while we walk in this world if we can look at each thing and call it temporary. But no, we usually look at them and say, "Mine!" 

Temporary is this world and all that we see around us. House, possessions, trees, grass, rocks, and even our outward appearance and body are temporary. If we can see them today, pretty much a good bet that we can call them temporary. Now, on the other hand, that soul of our brother or sister in Christ is eternal. God is eternal; unseen by us at this time, but eternal nonetheless. 

Might we break down Paul's statement by the use of our late model brains in this case? Can there be a chance to prove one little sentence, and one of Paul's shorter ones at that, wrong and by that wedge go on to prove all the Bible wrong? You can bet some would try in this age. We might talk about tiny things like atoms or a virus, or non-reflective things that we cannot see in our attempt. But, that doesn't prove anything yet because we haven't seen...wait for it... eternity! Nope, I cannot prove by my little brain that my soul will last for eternity since I cannot see all of eternity. It's like me in my imperfection trying to prove God is perfect. Would not my proof be imperfect coming as it does from imperfect me? Ow, now I've gone and strained that poor little brain of mine. 

Thank God for Himself and His Son, our Lord and Savior Jesus, by faith we believe in Him!


Monday, October 07, 2019

How To Live Today

Where is the wise person? Where is the teacher of the law? Where is the philosopher of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? 1 Corinthians 1:20 NIV

This verse for today comes to us by the message of the cross. "What foolishness," the wise person of the world says to us as we live each day in Christ our Lord. Look around us at the world and see its wisdom: save up, work hard, forego family, retire early, travel, enjoy, try anything and everything to live here as long as you can. So, do we then look at all the opposites when we look to Christ for our way to live this day? 

Opposite wisdom of the world is not quite it, for that would be easy and would not need the loving touch of our Lord's Spirit. We need the Lord's constant guidance for His way is so different from the world that we cannot comprehend it by simply turning over everything the world tells us to do. You may have noticed for example that youth does not always want to work hard first and then enjoy life. Giving up on having a family is not always the way to wealth and early retirement. And those who appear to do everything right by the world's wisdom do not always live long on this earth. God has indeed made foolish the wisdom of the world. 

And it gets stranger still, for we are not afraid of the latest philosophy for ourselves, having known Jesus already, but for those who fall into it. It is good for us that the Lord Jesus left us His handbook for living and His Spirit for life!

Love and peace in Christ our Lord,

Friday, October 04, 2019

Ignite Stress Tubs

And if you make Me an altar of stone, you shall not build it of hewn stone; for if you use your tool on it, you have profaned it. Exodus 20:25

The title for today comes from something I saw for sale in one of our local social media groups. This is one of those things that appears to mean something entirely different to someone who is not familiar with the jargon of a profession or industry, as in a container of stuff one would set on fire when feeling under pressure. And those who work in the profession can then make a joke and have a good laugh at the poor slicker who thought such a silly thing. Guilty, your honor, I had to look that one up on the Internet. 

The Israelites of ancient times were commanded to do something that would seem strange to other religions who used altars, no tools. Israelite altars, at least at the first, would probably look like a heaped pile of rocks. Later they would learn to stack rocks better, but why no tools in the first place? Perhaps to remind them that no tool wielded by man can save us. Contrast that with the numerous tools used for our Lord's crucifixion, including: hammer and nails, digging tools for the socket on Golgotha, plus sawing and cutting tools for the cross beam and post. While that particular altar was much profaned, it was of course the blood of the Lamb which cleansed it. 

Grace and peace to you in Christ Jesus,


Thursday, October 03, 2019

One Little Witness

"Take no usury or interest from him; but fear your God, that your brother may live with you." Leviticus 25:36

We often think that we have no or little witness to offer to the world. There are all these great writers, preachers, singers, and missionaries with such talents to give; how can anyone see little ol' me? Your trumpet may indeed be of the toy size and incapable of making much in the way of music or noise. However, it may well be the tiny witnesses that help the neighborhood to see the way of God in your life. 

One witness we may do in the world is this one in our verse for today. By extending it from our literal brother to brothers and sisters in Christ or even those who do not believe in Jesus, we bear witness to the world that they are more important than the earning of money to us. The world will not tell them this. We, who were taught capitalism from an early age, may blow quite a trumpet by loaning money, time, and other things we have without collecting fees and interest from our friends and neighbors.

A few days is easy, wait until the loan stretches out to months and years. Perhaps we will never get paid back! But Jesus has a verse for this too. 

Love in Christ,

Wednesday, October 02, 2019

Even To Them

A distressing vision is declared to me;
The treacherous dealer deals treacherously,
And the plunderer plunders.
Go up, O Elam!
Besiege, O Media!
All its sighing I have made to cease. Isaiah 21:2

Distress and destruction, even to them, is horrible to watch. So, who is 'them'? In the case of Isaiah the vision concerned Babylon, an enemy of Israel one is given to know from the scriptures; why then should Isaiah be dismayed over their woe? We can learn from Isaiah's dismay though, for we have prophecies that come after the departure of the church in the Rapture. 

As man is born into sin, so many of the prophecies have judgment, woe, the coming of the Lord in anger, and His vengeance on the evil ones. As we love and pray for our neighbors, neighboring nations included, we do not want the terrible vengeance of the Lord to fall on them when there is a chance to repent still. Yes, the prophecies show that many will remain unrepentant to the very end, but as we do not know which ones these are, we pray even for them. 

And with a sigh, we pray for the scoffers too, there will be many of them. Sometimes 'them' make it harder for us to love one another, but that is what our Lord commanded us to do.


God bless you on this day in the Lord,


Monday, September 30, 2019

The Patience of the Lord

Yet for many years You had patience with them,
And testified against them by Your Spirit in Your prophets.
Yet they would not listen;
Therefore You gave them into the hand of the peoples of the lands. Nehemiah 9:30

Many years the Lord had patience with Israel. It doesn't seem fair to the generation who endures the outpouring of the Lord's anger when it does come. What about all those persons who participated in the sins and yet lived out their lives without enduring the humiliation of defeat as Nebuchadnezzar carried out God's will? One of those walking down the long dusty road to Babylon may have asked of the Lord that question, and there was no answer. Well, except for the one that several prophets spoke to the generations before the Lord's patience was set aside.  

As the end times and the Tribulation approaches, it may be that some around us will soon be asking that same question of the Lord. Of course, the Rapture will leave many here with knowledge of the judgments ready to be poured out from God, and trembling in fear, they too may ask that same question. This question in its simplest form is, "Why me?" And the same answer is forthcoming: it is in the word of the Lord through His Spirit by His prophets. We have no excuse now, and those left behind will not have excuse either. The way to the Lord God is through His Son; come to Him now. 

Have a great new week in Christ Jesus!


Friday, September 27, 2019

What We Live For

...who Himself bore our sins in His own body on the tree, that we, having died to sins, might live for righteousness—by whose stripes you were healed. 1 Peter 2:24

Our Lord Jesus gave us the desire and ability to live for righteousness. What does the world train and call us to live for? You know already of course: attention and fame, money and luxury, power and gain, sex and sexuality, and all other means of catering to the fallen desires of the flesh. "Be yourself," the world commands us. 

Well, the Holy Spirit gave me a good look at the old me one day, and I didn't want to be him. 

Everyone who believes in our Lord Jesus has come to face the old thing that was born on this earth demanding its own way. The selfishness of the born once was tough to face, and we are all glad, I think, that we did not have to face him or her alone. That old thing still demands attention with its lusts too often, even after the second birth. Peter tells us that our Lord has cleared the way for us to live in righteousness by submitting to the stripes of the whip. 

The old flesh that I could not conquer alone was healed in a way that I cannot explain; guess I am wholly inadequate to save myself. Praise God for my weakness! 


Thursday, September 26, 2019

The Boot of September

For every boot of the tramping warrior in battle tumult
and every garment rolled in blood
will be burned as fuel for the fire. Isaiah 9:5 ESV

We are past the boot of September! This is the sort of announcement that leaves you nonplussed, I'm sure. What could possibly be the 'boot' of September? Well, it's on my Peanuts calendar, right there between the 24th and 25th of September. So, we are now past the boot of September! Still not feeling the celebration? Well, anyway, with that inspiration, I did a word search on the Bible for 'boot', and found just one in the ESV. 

I haven't read the context for this verse yet, but some thoughts do come to mind right away. It may tell of a defeat for an army and the victors burn the footwear and clothing of the defeated troops. Perhaps the tale is a prophecy of a time when war is finished forever, and all willingly toss their combat clothing into the fire in celebration. We cannot know without the rest of the story, but as it is God's word, we do know that this will happen, or has happened, or sometimes both. What can Isaiah 9 have for us to look forward to? 

Aha! You know already. It is nothing less than a prophecy of a child, and such a child he is! Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace! The names roll on from the prophecy of our Savior and Lord, Jesus the Christ. 

All this blessing because Peppermint Patty booted a football on my calendar. You just never know the mysterious ways of God!


Wednesday, September 25, 2019

Which Wanting Have I?

TEKEL: You have been weighed in the balances, and found wanting. Daniel 5:27

The word wanting is found in many places in the Bible, and it is interesting in its scope. Daniel gave the word to a ruler who did not measure up to God's standard in our verse for today. Joseph's wanting was that Mary not be publicly disgraced. Festus kept Paul bound wanting to do the Jews a favor. Later a Roman centurion prevented the death of prisoners because of wanting to save Paul. Wanting, it appears, speaks to the desires of the heart. 

What is my heart wanting to do this day? There's the obvious, I'm hungry and wanting some breakfast. Anyone could easily have guessed that, so what is wanting in my heart that is not me centered on this fine morning? I want to praise God for the lovely cool temperature of autumn mornings and the first few leaves changing to their fall colors. Does not praising God always lift the spirits a bit and take the focus off that too common me theme we tend to have? Yes, it certainly does. Shall I praise God for another day here on earth? Why yes, unless the Rapture came last night and I'm writing this to no one at all today. Of course then I will praise God that all of you have gone to be with our Lord forever!


Rejoice and praise the Lord on this day!


Monday, September 23, 2019

Pulling You Down

These are spots in your love feasts, while they feast with you without fear, serving only themselves. They are clouds without water, carried about by the winds; late autumn trees without fruit, twice dead, pulled up by the roots; raging waves of the sea, foaming up their own shame; wandering stars for whom is reserved the blackness of darkness forever. Jude 1:12-13

Apostates have been with us for years, but it seems that at the end they will increase. There is only a little bit of Jude in the Bible, and yet much of it is given to warning about apostates. So, what are these things? It would be so easy if they would oblige us with horns, green skin, repulsive appearance, two noses or perhaps a trunk, three beady eyes with shifty little spots, or something that would give them away. Of course we wouldn't need much of warning to avoid such creatures spouting blasphemous words. Unfortunately, the apostates look just like you and me. 

Jude's first example is the Israelites who walked through the Red Sea and out of Egypt. You might think all of them would believe in God with such a sign as walking on dry ground between walls of water in what would in a normal times be a drowning experience. However, some refused to believe and they reached out in unbelief to drag down other Israelites. Apostates share experiences of the miraculous with us and yet refuse to believe and would have us go down with them. Therefore, Jude told us to watch out for them, just as we must say to one another today. 

Love to you in Christ Jesus!


Friday, September 20, 2019

Find Your Way Home

Fools are so exhausted by a little work
that they can't even find their way home. Ecclesiastes 10:15 NLT

A little work this morning just outside. Another branch fell last night, but this one is more my size, as in no heavy equipment required. However, it did miss a window pane by a few inches, so praise to God for that. I also hope and pray in light of today's verse that I am not exhausted and unable to find my way home. Especially fervent prayer for that as the branch is leaning against my house! 

Why wouldn't this fool be able to find his way home though after a little work? It may be that Solomon has observed the work of fools and found them apt to go to the bar after a little work and so be too drunk to find their way home. This happens much even today. Many a marriage has been lost due to fools not being able to find their way home after work. Yes, this little proverb from the Ecclesiastes has some barbs poking out. And as often happens in the Bible, I hear those haunting words... "and such were some of you."  Our eternal home is in Heaven with Jesus, and we need Him to bring us there. Until that time though, we have earthly homes to live in for this brief season until our Lord returns. After a little work, we need to find our way home. All relationships in this time require some effort on our part, and one way to maintain those closely is to find our way home in a timely manner. Don't play the fool; find your way home!

No one else at home? Enter into that prayer closet! There's a relationship that always does us good to work on. 


Thursday, September 19, 2019

Ar, Matey! Whosoever Ye Will

And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely. Revelation 22:17

Top o' the mornin' to ya, matey! Be this the final offer in the Word o' the Lord for them that will? Thar be a hundred and eighty-three whosoevers in the Word by Good King James, startin' with that whosoever would slayeth that scalawag Cain being cursed seven time oer' to that most famous verse of faith and love to the Lord's son in John 3:16 and on to this final offer to them that will. 

Would ye, matey? After all dem rumblins that pepper the Revelation, would ye take His final offer freely? Methinks Captain SwashBucky would have ye all saved this day! 

Would Jesus our Lord go for International Talk Like a Pirate Day? Ar, matey, methinks He could spill it wit' da best o' the seven seas sailors and rogues! 

Capt. SwashBucky

Wednesday, September 18, 2019

I Am Your Salvation

Take hold of shield and buckler,
And stand up for my help. Psalm 35:2

Ah yes, the interpretation view of one verse may go according to what the reader wants to see in it. Some would look at this and say that works are needed first to gain the Lord's help in salvation. And why, they may ask, would the Lord be averse to our participation in this work? 

It is critical that the work of salvation belong to the Lord. All of it. How could our Lord Jesus proclaim it finished on the cross if you or I these many years later still had a part to work out in it? What possible help could fallen man be in the work of salvation? Can you imagine 7 billion different partial solutions to salvation this morning? Aiiee! Neither can I. As Paul would say, "May it never be so!" Try not to imagine the horror as part of salvation was decided in each period of history. What part would the Coliseum, the guillotine, a world war, or a large corporation play in those diverse solutions? Which political party gets to decide for all of us after the majority votes? AAAUUGH!

It does not take much knowledge of us to see why we should not hold among ourselves any part of the solution to our salvation. Praise God it was in Christ alone! And David writing this psalm asked God for His help, and in the next verse writes to the Lord, "Say to my soul, 'I am your salvation.' " 

He is indeed our salvation!


Monday, September 16, 2019

The Choice Comes

But outside are dogs and sorcerers and sexually immoral and murderers and idolaters, and whoever loves and practices a lie. Revelation 22:15

Are we ready for the choice? It comes soon. Of course those of us who believe in Jesus have already made our choice. But for many, this day comes quickly. Will they believe in the Christ, the Son of the Living God? Or will they take the easier and wider path, have faith in only themselves or in the powers of this world, and fall to eternal outside with the dogs and sorcerers? 

For many, there is no choice yet. They think that they are not bad enough for the list in our verse for today, and yet somehow are good enough for heaven. They think that they should not have to choose because when the line is drawn at the judgment, if there even is such a thing, that their basic goodness and decency will place them above it. After all they do not act like those over there that the news media is reporting on today. And of course they are not nearly so bad as that famous Christian who sinned over in that big church. 

For those who have made the choice to believe in Jesus though, we know quite well that we belong on that list in our verse today except for Him. It is His dear Spirit who has made us aware of our utter failure to qualify for the judgment and that He has saved us anyway. The choice was made because He made it possible for us to choose Him. He of course is Jesus the Christ, Son of God and Savior. 

Once I was an idolatrous, murderous, sexually immoral sorcerer dog who loved and practiced a lie, and then He came into my life. 


Friday, September 13, 2019

Full-Moon Friday the 13th

I will put an end to all witchcraft,
and there will be no more fortune-tellers.  Micah 5:12

Though your calendar may say the 14th, it seems that due to UTC and the Greenwich meridian and things like that, the full moon arrives over the U.S. late tonight, giving us a full-moon Friday the 13th. This has some a bit on edge over the state of things on this day, especially those who apparently fear turning into unlucky werewolves. What is going on all around us we must not ignore, for these are the very ones the Lord sent us to in His great commission. 

However, I was glad to see this morning that a couple of career and life choices will no longer be offered past a certain point. In Micah that day comes and, witchcraft and fortune-telling are no more. To us they are of no use anyway and worse they are forms of that which infuriates our Lord, idolatry. We are to give such things no credit and certainly none of God's glory. Want to know something of the future? Check the prophets the Lord has sent to us. Micah would be a good one to start with on a day such as this. I like it when our Lord states quite plainly: "I will put an end to all witchcraft." 

Praise God!

Thursday, September 12, 2019

The Lord's Instructions

 Also you shall destroy all the peoples whom the LORD your God delivers over to you; your eye shall have no pity on them; nor shall you serve their gods, for that will be a snare to you. Deuteronomy 7:16

Destroy all the peoples...? The wild-eyed lunatic with the 7-foot spear coming at you yelling death and destruction, sure most of us would have no problem with the instruction at that point. The diseased old crone chanting an evil curse at us, okay that is a form of attack. But then there is the children. Which of us could follow the Lord's command at that point? Have no pity on them? Did the Lord really say that, Moses? 

If you want to save yourself, this is the law that you must follow: to the letter, every jot and tittle. One of us cannot speak for the other, but personally, I like that Jesus said to believe in Him and have eternal life. I love Jesus for fulfilling the law on my behalf. I love God for sending His Son to die on the cross for the fact that I cannot follow His law to the letter, especially those letters in our verse for today. And then the Spirit leads us to God not wanting to destroy peoples either, but wanting to save everyone through His wonderful Son, Immanuel. 

Now there is some good news!


Wednesday, September 11, 2019

Patriot Day 2019

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

Today we remember a sudden attack on our land in the form of civilian airplanes hijacked by an enemy who wished to destroy. And destroy they did. The details you will recall all too well, and if not there will be much opportunity today to refresh your memories. It is events such as 9/11 that test our faith.

How can a loving God allow such a thing? Many ask this question even today. What God allows is a choice. Some choose to believe in the Christ, while others choose to ignore, reject, procrastinate, and even envy, hate, or destroy. Take away the ability to choose the sin and to do what is right is no longer a choice but a default. The way of faith preserves the choice, and there will be events such as this one we remember on this day. Some will choose death and destruction over the salvation and justification bought by Jesus with His blood. And when they do make that choice, suffering comes to many and faith is tested. 

We believe in Jesus the Christ, and one day He will return. 


Monday, September 09, 2019

The Journey From Birth to Redemption

Then you will call upon Me and go and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart. Jeremiah 29:12-13

The flesh we inherited from Adam at our birth takes a look at this scripture and decides there is too much work involved. That heart we were born with is known in another scripture as desperately wicked. How can such a thing be expected to search for God in an all-in sort of way? Too much work the flesh assumes and urges us to give it up for the pleasures of here and now.

Then, there was the rebirth in the Spirit and a renewal of the mind that began that very day. And thus did the war begin in us and in earnest as the heart of the birth wars against the spirit of the rebirth for possession of that formerly lost sheep.

However, Jeremiah was a prophet. And the prophet passes along to us a promise from God: 

"You WILL call upon Me and pray to Me... And you WILL seek Me and find Me." [Emphasis added.]

There is no maybe or might be in the prophecy of the Lord, and though it was at first directed at and to Israel, the Word moved on to the Gentiles and that, my friends, is us. We will call upon and pray to the Lord God, and He will hear us. What a wonderful promise! 

And that whole heart thing? There is an active promise at work in there too. And as we are redeemed by the dear Holy Spirit of God each and every day, that old heart is being broken up and replace by the new. Trust in Him!


Friday, September 06, 2019


Return to Him against whom the children of Israel have deeply revolted. For in that day every man shall throw away his idols of silver and his idols of gold—sin, which your own hands have made for yourselves. Isaiah 31:6-7

Return to Him is the call in the Bible from about Genesis 3 to Revelation 22. In the New Testament it is known as repentance, and in the OT it is the same thing. "Repent and be saved!" call the apostles of the Lord after the Pentecost. "Return to the Lord!" call the prophets after Israel. Those who know of the Lord God are called throughout history to return to Him. Even those of us who are saved by the Lamb are called to return daily to the Lord for we still have this old nature, a fellow passenger on the road to the Promised Land, who wants to trip us up and lay us low in the pleasures of the world. Repent! the call comes to those whom God loves.

Yes, I too once hoped that after the salvation thing we were free to do just any old thing. The flesh and the Devil would very much like us to believe that. However, there is our testimony which can be damaged by our sinful actions and thoughts. People who are curious about the Lord and His salvation watch us, and they take note of the stumbles and falls. It isn't that we are not forgiven for every sin from birth to death. It is that we love our neighbors and want the cleanest testimony to show them. We have plenty of examples already of how we were in our sins and how our Lord forgave them. Perhaps we can store up a few in Christ where we don't have to begin the story with what we did wrong?

Following the Lord who leads us in His righteousness,


Thursday, September 05, 2019

The Midnight Alarm?

At midnight I will rise to give thanks to You,
Because of Your righteous judgments. Psalm 119:62

We eagerly await the trumpet call at midnight, though it might happen at midday, because of a famous song about that subject. Last night, I had a midnight alarm call. I'm not sure how it got set or activated or whatever, but this device of dubious moral character went off at midnight out in my living room. As I cannot quite come to terms with a burglar risking years in jail simply for the purpose of playing a cruel practical joke on me, the fault must be mine. As God appears in His word and in my life to enjoy taking bad, inconvenient, or difficult things and using them for His glory and my edification, I am reminded of a that midnight cry we await any day now.

The ten virgins waited for it in our Lord's parable, and Paul wrote about it to the churches, and we wait too. This event is of such importance that our Lord reminded us to be ready. It is that sudden event that left one man standing alone in the field, one woman grinding the flour, and another with a bed to himself. In the twinkling of an eye, Paul said, we will be transformed and snatched up to be with our Lord Jesus forever! Yes, what better to turn to when awakened in the night but that great event known as the Rapture. Who better to turn to than the One who will bring us to Himself!

Thank You, dear Lord, for that reminder,


Wednesday, September 04, 2019

The Fallen To The Risen

​​The fortress of the high fort of your walls
​​He will bring down, lay low,
​​And bring to the ground, down to the dust.​ Isaiah 25:12

In the past week, some of my high forts were knocked down. Yes, Isaiah is speaking out in the Lord against Moab. But this pertains to our forts as well; those strongholds of talent, intellect, physical strength, health, wealth, and other worldly forts that we think just might save us from something. We are blessed by the Lord when those forts that stand in our lives against Him are brought down to the dust.

Whatever may stand between us and the Lord, and our complete dependence upon Him and His salvation, must be thrown down, down to the ground. So that we cannot try to say silly things like, "I helped the Lord save me!" ​Nope, me and you were no help in salvation at all, only the blood of the Lamb could cleanse such a fallen one as you and me. The fallen must come to the risen to be saved, and it is only the Risen Lord Jesus who can save.

Praise God for His Risen Savior!


Friday, August 30, 2019

The Right View

But many of the priests and Levites and heads of the fathers’ houses, old men who had seen the first temple, wept with a loud voice when the foundation of this temple was laid before their eyes. Yet many shouted aloud for joy, so that the people could not discern the noise of the shout of joy from the noise of the weeping of the people, for the people shouted with a loud shout, and the sound was heard afar off. Ezra 3:12-13

One generation recalled the glory of Solomon's temple and mourned what they had lost. Another generation saw the new temple and shouted for joy at what the Lord had given them. Which of them had the right view?

We might easily criticize the old ones, for they mourned what was gone in light of the disappointing floor plan of the new temple. We might just as easily criticize the younger set for not respecting the old things as they should. We have plenty of criticism to go around it seems. We might also take a trip to Jerusalem and see that neither temple is there at the moment, and then criticize Ezekiel for writing about a temple that has never been built. What a dreamer he was!

John and Peter could recall Jesus as He was when first calling up the disciples to follow Him. And they could witness to the resurrected Lord and that they had seen Him disappear into the clouds above them. And like a certain temple, they promised that the Lord too would return in His glory. So, what is the right view: to mourn with the great old ones until God wipes away every tear, or to rejoice with the new believers until our Lord returns?

I think that we will experience both several times until that time our Lord Jesus comes and God the Father wipes away every tear from our eyes. Always ready are we in Christ to mourn with those who mourn and to rejoice in Him!

Have a great Labor Day weekend!


Thursday, August 29, 2019

The People You Love

Shew thy marvellous lovingkindness, O thou that savest by thy right hand them which put their trust in thee from those that rise up against them. Psalm 17:7

What do you and I have that could put God in our debt and make Him owe us some lovingkindness? Yes, what an absurd question. Born fallen and living on the cursed earth, do we have anything at all to offer to the holy and perfect God of our fathers? And, no, adding any of our imperfection and fallen sinfulness to perfect righteousness would only serve to diminish our Lord.

However, then God showed His lovingkindness in the person of Jesus the Christ, and mercy was given to our sinfulness. The blood of the Lamb covered the fallen with grace. We have only to believe Him and believe in Him.

The people God loved were given a gift not one or all of us could purchase, and certainly more than we deserved. We place our trust in the Lord for salvation because there is no other way to be saved. The Lord owes us nothing, but in His lovingkindness He gave us His Son.

Have a great day in the Lord!


Wednesday, August 28, 2019

Let Us Give

“These men are at peace with us. Therefore let them dwell in the land and trade in it. For indeed the land is large enough for them. Let us take their daughters to us as wives, and let us give them our daughters. Genesis 34:21

In Christ we want to do what is right, and so we study the Old Testament looking for those concrete, letter-of-the-law stories that make every decision obvious to us. And we come to the Dinah Incident. Everything in this is crystal clear, good guys vs. bad guys, um, yeah. Let us give them our daughters?

It would later be set down by God that Israel was not to intermarry with the tribes and nations around them in the Promised Land. Before that though came the Dinah Incident. To make the long story short, at least until you read it in Genesis 34, it is enough to know that one sin begets another and another, and Jacob's sons are not without their own guilt in this incident. Fornication, deceit, murder, and perhaps what we call statutory rape in our time, all combine to make a rather sordid story; one that is unfortunately so very fallen human in its scope.

Giving your daughters or some other sacrifice of value after the sin has been done just doesn't make up for the unrighteousness committed (and what did the daughters do wrong to deserve this fate?). Deceit and murder does not wipe the slate clean either, even if it is in response to a sin. This and other stories show that we are just pretty lousy at trying to save ourselves. As fallen humans, we don't really know how to make up for sin. It is a good thing for us that God sent to us a Savior!

Rejoice in the Lord!


Monday, August 26, 2019

End Times Lazy

The lazy man is wiser in his own eyes
Than seven men who can answer sensibly. Proverbs 26:16

Have I become end times lazy? It is a question that I must ask of myself because it would be so easy to become that way. The Rapture could happen at any moment now, so why bother to work on the house, weed the garden, fix that relationship, or work for a living? Well, for one thing, there is no one who knows the day or the hour of that snatching away, and so the day and hour might be just far enough into the future that a lazy person could starve to death waiting and looking up at the sky. It may be even so far out there in calendar terms that the house sheltering one from the rain and snow might fall down before that trumpet call sounds. I won't use the weeds one because as all who have ever gardened can tell you, the weeds can take over a garden in about the same quickness as the Rapture will happen; that is, in the twinkling of an eye.

We have a duty to perform, a calling, and even a commission from our Lord Jesus. As the end times started when He arose to Heaven so long ago, and could end at any moment, or not for another hundred years, we must watch out for that end times lazy. The desire to quit doing all things and stand there staring at the sky, heavenly minded but no earthly good, as a famous pastor used to say.

Of course, looking again at our verse for today, if I am end times lazy, will I even know what I'm writing about here? I may need to look for seven men who can answer sensibly.

Now, go to work for Christ!


Friday, August 23, 2019

Worthless Shepherds

“Woe to the worthless shepherd,
Who leaves the flock!
A sword shall be against his arm
And against his right eye;
His arm shall completely wither,
And his right eye shall be totally blinded.” Zechariah 11:17

A rash of leaders falling away or rejecting Christianity? I'll bet this message from the Lord through Zechariah will come up in sermons across the land.

This is not about the false prophets, for those have their own curses and judgment to face. No, this is about the one who becomes of no value, worthless, dried up sticks to feed the fire, and a shriveled fig tree with the ax poised to cut off its roots. This is to those who want to serve in a position of trust and then quit. Who desire to just walk away from their flock and leave 'em to the wolves of the world.

That leader may want to check with the Lord first.

Does this verse mean that ministers are 'stuck' in that one church in the little town in that rural state for their lives? No, there may come a time when the Lord would move some ministers around and would make sure that a new shepherd comes to the flock. And retirement is certainly possible too. But it is for the one who feels the temptation to quit on the Lord and His flock, and gives in to it!

Prayer is needed in this, from the shepherd and the flock.

Love to you in Christ Jesus,