Wednesday, September 30, 2015


I think perhaps it might be time to talk a little bit about a seldom preached about chapter of the Bible - Romans 1. The chapter starts out friendly enough but then Paul gets down to business pretty quickly and tells the truth about sin, evil and just where it is we will be going if we don't change our wicked ways.

These days most churches like to deliver feel-good messages. They feel, "the flock must be happy so they can shine the light of Jesus" . . . and so they will continue to give financially and continue to come regularly. But is that what churches are supposed to be about? Feel-goodism? I think not. Let's read a few lines of Romans 1 and see what the Apostle Paul has to say to the Christians in Rome.

After Paul greets the Christians in Rome he expresses his desire to visit Rome. But then . . . by the time verse 18 rolls around Paul's tone has changed - dramatically! Paul dishes it out pretty severely to a church that he greeted warmly just a few lines before. Try this on for warmth and fuzziness. It's not going to fit.

"18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth." - Romans 1:18

It gets worse. Finally in 28 Paul is REALLY rolling. And although Paul is writing to his brothers and sisters in Rome, he might as well be addressing the American people. These days we sound just like what Paul is describing.

"28 And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a debased mind to do what ought not to be done. 29 They were filled with all manner of unrighteousness, evil, covetousness, malice. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, maliciousness. They are gossips, 30 slanderers, haters of God, insolent, haughty, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, 31 foolish, faithless, heartless, ruthless. 32 Though they know God's righteous decree that those who practice such things deserve to die, they not only do them but give approval to those who practice them." - Romans 1:28-32

Quite the attack! But nearly 100% accurate if you ask me if you look at the world in which we live today. And as we'll find out later in Romans 6, "the wages of sin is death."

There are many who feel we are in the last days before the return of Jesus. I am one of them. The signs are everywhere! Christianity is fading in this country and it shows no signs of turning around. We need to repent and turn back to God or we will surely die as the Bible says.

Alright. Enough "reality." Time for some encouragement. If you would skip ahead a bit and land in the Book of 1st Corinthians you can read Paul's letter to a church who had already begun to go through the same disobedience to God as the Roman church was experiencing. Once again, Paul is reprimanding the Christian church, the sexually immoral, drunkards and idolaters this time, to name a few. But then he offers this reminder to the church in Corinth. Words we need to remember today, especially if we are Christians. And especially if we are in need of repentance. Verse 11.

"11 And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God."

When Jesus returns and raptures His church, soon after things are going to get ugly for those who have been left behind. "When the sh . . . when the "stuff" hits the fan (WTSHTF) you do NOT want to be anything other that a believer in Christ.

We have all been offered a priceless gift. A gift that will spare us from the coming wrath. Why aren't more people accepting it? In my opinion, it's because they are too busy enjoying themselves and the life they are living. There's no sign, at least in their minds, that things are going bad. Why should they change?

Reading The Bible is the single best thing you could do, short of placing your faith in Christ immediately. Read it. Investigate it. Ask questions of others knowledgeable in The Word. It stands as a testimony. Though many have tried to break it, it stands to this very day. I thank God for His words to us and His unfailing love and mercy. We ARE a generation, stiff-necked and forever wandering. It's time to go home. Where we belong. :)

"16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes" - Romans 1:16

We Believe - Newsboys

Monday, September 28, 2015

What Would You Tell Me?

I saw something on Facebook the other day that made me stop and think for a moment. It was one of those meme things - a picture with some words written on it. It read, "What would you tell me if I lost my memory." Interesting question. Interesting scenario.

As I thought about it I began to see the question posed as a real test of character. And the answer greatly depends on who the person is who lost their memory, and what they mean to those who try to answer.

Imagine that one of your friends lost their memory. What would you tell them? Would you tell them the truth, both good and bad? Or would you try to protect them from certain memories so they wouldn't have to live through those memories again? Would you filter the truth?

Here's another question, perhaps a little more tricky than the last. Do you have a friend who you wish could lose some of their memories? I do. I think they'd like to lose so of those memories as well. But we can't do that. We can lift them up in  prayer though.

The purpose of this story is to get us thinking about others and the role we play in other people's lives. Have you lived your life so you are a pleasant memory? Or and the Bible puts it, "A pleasing aroma to God."

"Do not remember the sins of my youth and my rebellious ways; according to your love remember me, for you, Lord, are good." - Psalm 25:7

Today, love somebody just a little bit more than you usually do. Seek out those who are hurting. Comfort them with the same love that our savior has shown to us. Use His love for you to create a lasting memory in the mind a heart of someone else. Help someone forget their bad memories by replacing them with good ones through the love of Christ.

"8 The Lord is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love. 9 He will not always accuse, nor will he harbor his anger forever; 10 he does not treat us as our sins deserve or repay us according to our iniquities. 11 For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his love for those who fear him; 12 as far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us." - Psalm 103:8-12

East To West - Casting Crowns

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Everything To Lose

Gone are the days when I drove into work looking into the beauty of one of God's amazing sunrises. At least for this year. These days my morning commute is in total darkness - a reminder of the coming winter. The cold. The darkness.

Yesterday morning I decided to drop in on of my mix CD's to brighten my mood. A couple of songs played and then This Is Your Life by Switchfoot came on. I like the intro so I had the volume cranked and soon I was signing as I drove.

Part way through the song I heard some words that found new meaning for me that morning. As I thought about them I realized, with sudden gratitude, just how blessed I am . . . how blessed we are to be called by God to be his children and heirs to His kingdom.

When we humans are young in years we think ourselves invincible. Nothing can harm us! Our whole future is before us! We are on top of the world!! Then the future arrives and we find ourselves unprepared. We are not ready for life. We're like a lonely piece of driftwood, wave-tossed sea.

 We also tend to think of ourselves when we're young, as if WE are the star of a movie and it's all about us. All these other people in our lives were just supporting actors. Kids. Some of them never mature either. Sad.

The line in the song I heard yesterday goes like this:

"When the world was younger and you had everything to lose, you had everything to lose."

When we are younger and we don't know Jesus Jesus yet, we truly do have everything to lose. If we die in our sins without repenting of them and placing our faith in Christ, we most definitely have have lost everything - our hope for a future beyond this life. It's over period.

But if we DO repent, if we DO change our ways and become a follower of Jesus, we then have everything to gain. It seems like an easy choice, unless we're self-focused and narcissistic.

"39 Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it." - Matthew 10:39

"3 So he told them this parable: 4 “What man of you, having a hundred sheep, if he has lost one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the open country, and go after the one that is lost, until he finds it? 5 And when he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders, rejoicing. 6 And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and his neighbors, saying to them, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep that was lost.’ 7 Just so, I tell you, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance." - Luke 15:3-7

Are there any lost sheep in your life? There are several in mine. SO, what am I waiting for? An engraved invitation? Jesus has already told us we should seek these people out and preach The Gospel to them. What are we waiting for? These people have everything to lose! Let us be about God's business . . . as long as it is called today.

This Is Your Life - Switchfoot - A Christian Skit

Wednesday, September 23, 2015


My wife tells me that I am a very patient person. I'm not sure if she is speaking sarcastically or telling the truth. Anyone who has ever seen me waiting for my wife to finish shopping KNOWS how impatient I can be.

On a whole, we humans are a very impatient lot. Especially these days with microwave ovens, "smart" phones and on-line shopping. We have text messaging, Facebook messaging and instant messaging. Where once there was but one drive up lane at our favorite FAST food restaurant, we now have two. Don't want to have anyone wait tooo long, we might get upset.

In my past life as a secular human I was pretty impatient as well. I had my share of road rage incidents. People in front of me driving too slowly, other drivers making stupid mistakes. I was always exceeding the speed limit, always looking for the shortest line at the grocery store, always trying get out of work ASAP so I could get home and do what I wanted to do.

Shortly after becoming a Christian I was talking with my best friend about prayer and what to pray for. I told her I was going to pray for patience.

"Oh, don't do that!"

"What? Why not?"

"Because if you pray for patience, God will give you something to be patient for."

"So? Isn't that what I am supposed to do? Pray for things I need to improve on?"

"Patience will come to you all on it's own in time. You can't rush it. It's an . . . acquired skill."


Patient people are hard to find these days. Were people any more patient in the Bible? What advice does the Bible give us? Let's see.

Hey here's a verse for me!

"Whoever is patient has great understanding, but one who is quick-tempered displays folly." - Proverbs 14:29

And another!

"Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him; do not fret when people succeed in their ways, when they carry out their wicked schemes." - Psalm 37:7

God really talks a lot about patience. I wonder why that is? (Sarcasm)

One more. This one is REALLY good!

"The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance." - 2 Peter 3:9

God is VERY patient with us. Shouldn't we also be patient with other people is OUR lives? Shouldn't we be patient . . . with God?

The next time someone says something that makes us mad, we need to hold our tongue. Be patient rather than responding quickly and saying something we will surely regret later. When someone posts something on Facebook that we disagree with, we shouldn't respond right away. We need to think about what we are going to write. There maybe a reason that person wrote what they did. There also might be a disagreement waiting for us if we respond rashly. A trap, set and waiting for us.

Whatever we say, make need to make sure we are right, then, when words are necessary, use scripture! Let God do the talking! We need to be patient with our own words. We should use the Word of God in a loving, compassionate way, and always in context. Speak the truth.

Patience is something developed over time. Increased patience ALWAYS comes with scars. Be prepared to wait at ALL times. Never get flustered or angry when your patience is tried. Or you will keep learning the same difficult lesson over and over again.

A Story About Patience

Monday, September 21, 2015

A Deeper Love

Because I have lived for six decades on this planet (and then some) I feel somewhat qualified to speak to others about the subject of love. Well, at least I thought I was.

I have been married for 37 years and my wife and I have two kids. We love them. We now also have a son-in-law and a daughter-in-law and we love them too. We have a grandson! You KNOW we love HIM! I have parents, in-laws and all kinds of extended family and friends. I have come to know ALL there is about love and its various twists and turns, ups and downs, and in's and out's. At least I thought I had . . . and I have. But the purpose of this story today is to tell you that there is a DEEPER love awaiting us all. And I am going to tell you how to find it.

First, to understand the kind of love I am talking about, we must KNOW a few things about God. We can't know these things by simply reading about them or THINK we understand them or become aware of them, we must KNOW these things and embrace them. We must live them.

First, God's love is deeper than any measurable depth. We can find this truth in Romans 8.

"38 For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, 39 nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord." - Romans 8:38-39

The second thing that we must understand are the gifts of the Holy Spirit. You see, when we come to place our faith in Jesus He sends His Holy Spirit into our lives and hearts. When we receive the Holy Spirit we are given a gift. Read this from 1 Corinthians 12:

"7 Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good. 8 To one there is given through the Spirit a message of wisdom, to another a message of knowledge by means of the same Spirit, 9 to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by that one Spirit, 10 to another miraculous powers, to another prophecy, to another distinguishing between spirits, to another speaking in different kinds of tongues, and to still another the interpretation of tongues. 11 All these are the work of one and the same Spirit, and he distributes them to each one, just as he determines." - 1 Corinthians 12:7-11

Additional gifts can be found in the Book of Romans:

"6 We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us. If your gift is prophesying, then prophesy in accordance with your faith; 7 if it is serving, then serve; if it is teaching, then teach; 8 if it is to encourage, then give encouragement; if it is giving, then give generously; if it is to lead, do it diligently; if it is to show mercy, do it cheerfully." - Romans 12:6-8

These gifts are given at the discretion of the Holy Spirit (1 Cor 12:11). We cannot chose them for ourselves. These gifts enhance some of the basic tendencies given to us by God. When we come to believe in God we receive His Holy Spirit and enhanced gifts of the Spirit.

I believe when we place our faith in Christ we tend to show more compassion than we normally would, we tend to become wiser that we were previously, and I also believe we love more deeply than we EVER did before we believed. There is a deeper love awaiting all who place their faith and hope in Jesus. Have you done that yet? Would you like to experience deeper love in YOUR life? Seek Jesus. He has promised to answer if you will only knock on His door.

O The Deep, Deep Love of Jesus - Selah

Saturday, September 19, 2015

The Call

When I was in college I played in a three-man band named Aries. We weren't astrology nuts by any means but we WERE all born in the month of March.

Our lead singer, Michael, wrote a song he entitled The Call. The subject of the song was to address that deep down desire in all of us that draws us to do something . . or to be with someone. Michael likened that desire to the spirit of a stallion - driven, spirited, and powerful.

Have you ever felt drawn to something or someone with a stronger than average pull? Maybe it's someone you meet on the street who you felt like you already knew. Or maybe it's a desire to DO something. Maybe that calling is so strong that you quit your job and and become a missionary. You feel an inner desire to follow that thought or leading.

Or maybe it's a major life-altering event like the death of a loved one, or the doctor walking into the waiting room, clipboard in hand, and saying, "I have some bad news."

I'm going to ask you to do a little thinking this morning. I'm going to ask you to think beyond your own view point and see something from a different perspective . . . through the eyes of God.

God is after a few things. He wants our obedience, He wants our attention and He wants us to love Him.  Do you think God does things that effect our lives in ways that will lead us to do things? DO you think God orchestrates meetings, causes traffic delays, makes you switch jobs, or has you meet someone all according to some master plan He has for us . . . and for Him? I do.

Do you think God would make someone's work environment so bad that they would leave that job and take another job someplace else so that that person could interact with someone else for His ultimate glory? I do. It happened in MY life.

Do you think God would cause someone to be sick or get a disease to get their attention or the attention of someone else? I do. Stories like that are found everywhere in the Bible.

Have you ever felt a calling to follow a particular career path? Or have you gotten sick and, without your even knowing it, inspired someone else to become a doctor or a nurse?

When we are going through a struggle or an illness, perhaps it was "arranged" to help someone else grow in an area of compassion or mercy.

SO as you go through today, keep your eyes open for the work of His mighty hand. Perhaps He will use YOU today to effect the life of someone else . . . all for His ultimate glory.

"26 Now an angel of the Lord said to Philip, “Rise and go toward the south to the road that goes down from Jerusalem to Gaza.” This is a desert place. 27 And he rose and went. And there was an Ethiopian, a eunuch, a court official of Candace, queen of the Ethiopians, who was in charge of all her treasure. He had come to Jerusalem to worship 28 and was returning, seated in his chariot, and he was reading the prophet Isaiah. 29 And the Spirit said to Philip, “Go over and join this chariot.” 30 So Philip ran to him and heard him reading Isaiah the prophet and asked, “Do you understand what you are reading?” 31 And he said, “How can I, unless someone guides me?” And he invited Philip to come up and sit with him. 32 Now the passage of the Scripture that he was reading was this:

“Like a sheep he was led to the slaughter
    and like a lamb before its shearer is silent,
    so he opens not his mouth.

33 In his humiliation justice was denied him.
    Who can describe his generation?
For his life is taken away from the earth.”

34 And the eunuch said to Philip, “About whom, I ask you, does the prophet say this, about himself or about someone else?” 35 Then Philip opened his mouth, and beginning with this Scripture he told him the good news about Jesus."
- Acts 8:26-35

Through this one orchestrated meeting God brought two men together for ultimate His glory, and to spread the Good News of The Gospel to Ethiopia.

The Event That Changed Ethiopia

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Who Inspires You?

If we look back at our lives we probably can think of people that we have encountered along the way that have inspired us. They inspired us to do something more, to rise above the average, or to make a difference in a positive way.

Many inspire us through their actions, causing us to stop and take notice and say, "Wow. That's really neat." or "I wish I was that giving."

Some inspire us with their words. A pastor delivering a powerful message for example. Or hearing someone's testimony of how they came to faith in Christ despite all the difficulties and struggles they faced. THAT is inspiring!

My sister once gave me an oil painting of a bald eagle. It wasn't very good really by the world's standards. I could tell it was a bald eagle but it wasn't as good as other eagle paintings I had seen. That is, until I learned that the artist did not have any legs or arms. This person had painted the entire picture using a paintbrush placed in their mouth. Suddenly . . . that painting! WOW!

I recently asked a group of teens and young adults who inspired THEM. Some of the answers were amazing. One young lady said it was the music director at her church who inspired her to play and write music. Another said it was a man who runs the local food pantry, helping to feed the areas poor.

My friend Cheri inspires me. She has an incredible passion for youth, especially in under-developed countries. She volunteers with Compassion International. She is currently in Africa visiting some of her 8 0r 9 sponsored kids. Imagine . . . someone with Compassion working FOR compassion. Kind of fits. :)

I have a friend named Kelly who inspires me. She and her husband Ben have a room in their house Kelly calls "God's room." It's for whoever God brings into their lives who needs a place to stay and a family that will love them.

My wife inspires me too with her love and devotion to family and her ceaseless work. My best friend inspires me when she prays for her children and her husband and through her desire to know God more. My kids inspire me as I watch them starting families of their own. My friend Cheri inspires me with her love for the lost children of this world through her work with Compassion International.

I have a theory that committing intentional selfless acts are a direct result of God's acting through us in our lives and the lives of those around us. I believe God uses ALL people for His ultimate glory, whether they believe or not. But more so through those who believe. It is God's Holy Spirit that lives in us and acts through us. I feel God is directly responsible for ALL inspiration and he should be praised for it.

The people mentioned here as being "inspirational" have all done something unselfish for someone else? Do you have a person like that in YOUR life? You do! He hung on a cross for you. His name is Jesus.

Are you going to inspire someone today? There may be people around you who are in desperate need of inspiration today and perhaps God has designated YOU to serve Him in that way.

Well? What are you waiting for? Inspire someone today! He will be glad you did.

"36 “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?”

37 Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ - Matthew 22:36-39

This video is a compilation of Liberty Mutual commercials. See if it inspires you to inspire others.

Inspiring Others video

Monday, September 14, 2015

The Pain of Loss

I sat here last night feeling exhausted. After spending the day visiting friends who are struggling in their family relationships I came home to find out that three other friends had just lost their dad / spouse. What do we say in situations like that? What do we do to express the hurt and sadness we ourselves feel on be half of our friends for the pain they are experiencing?

Sometimes we choose to say nothing, thinking, "Why bring it up? It will just keep the wound open. I don't want to say the wrong thing either. I'll just say nothing." Well, that's just plain dumb. Good motives I guess but during a time such as the death of a loved one or when a friend is suffering, showing love and compassion can never be a bad thing.

Not saying anything in a friends time of sorrow is only okay if you are standing right there next to them. Otherwise, it's like you are ignoring them during their pain. Unacceptable.

When I first hear of someone's struggle or a death in a friend's family, my first instinct is to get into my car and take off, drive to wherever they are, and simply BE with them. That's not always practical late at night or over long distances, but the desire is still there. However, there IS someone who is standing next to those who have suffered a loss or are struggling - God.

When we can't be with someone to express our sorrow we CAN get down on our knees and pray for them. Pray that the burdens they are bearing might become lighter, that memories of good times might burn brighter and that God might pour his love on our friends or family members when we are physically unable to do so.

So this morning I lift up my friends. I lift them up in prayer to my compassionate and loving King. I trust in His promises that he will gather them under His wings and keep them safe and warm. He will wipe away their tears through the loves He distributes through family and friends. But mostly I thank God for His hearing our prayers and then doing something in the lives of those we love.

May God rain down his compassion and mercy on you, my friends. And may your love for Him grow stronger during the storm you are facing. And may He give you peace.

"3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, 4 who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. 5 For as we share abundantly in Christ's sufferings, so through Christ we share abundantly in comfort too." - 2 Corinthians 1:3-5

Cry Out To Jesus - Third Day

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Rebuilding The Temple

I've been reading through to Old Testament book of 1 Kings and how King Solomon built the first temple. Have you ever read it? Wow. JUST a little gold in that place!

He used the very best materials, the absolute best craftsmen . . . Solomon used the best of everything to build a place for God to dwell. He was super wise and had 700 wives and 300 concubines. Solomon had everything. But then something happened. He turned away from the Lord and God raised up an enemy for Solomon and eventually Solomon died. His entire family line died out, except the one that led to Jesus. He was doing good initially, then he turned his back on God and then Solomon died. Interesting pattern.

Let's go back in time to Adam. He and Eve had it pretty good. Walking with God everyday in the garden - their "temple." It was nice. They have everything they needed. But then they turned away from God, ate the forbidden fruit from the Tree of Knowledge, and death came into the world. Hmm. Basically the same pattern.

Now let's look at us sinful humans for a moment. Many of us never have it good at all, much less have everything we need. Some of us do. Regardless of the amount of material possessions we have, we all have turned our backs on God. It's called sin. And guess what . . . we all will die. Same pattern, over and over again. Blah, blah, blah.

But there is something we have that Solomon and Adam didn't. We have Jesus. Listen to this Old Testament verse, prophesying about the coming Christ and His Holy Spirit . . .

"27 My dwelling place shall be with them, and I will be their God, and they shall be my people." - Ezekiel 37:27

And now this verse . . .

"19 Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; 20 you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies." - 1 Corinthians 6:19-20

Hmm. When we allow Jesus to rule over our lives, God's Holy Spirit comes into us and, according to the what we just read, WE become God's temple. That brings me to my question of the day.

If our lives and what what we are doing with them are furnishings for God's temple, our bodies, how ornate are the furnishings WE have made? Are our deeds made of the finest gold? Or are they dirty and dusty, unworthy for our God to dwell in? Have we turned our backs on God? The Bible says that "all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God" (Romans 3:23). And is that is the case we will die one day. The death rate for humans is 100%. So, what is the point of living then if we all are just going to die?

This life we are living is an opportunity. God has given us an opportunity to live with Him in His temple, in heaven. He has sent an invitation to the world! It is through our faith in His Son that we have this chance. God paid the price for that "ticket" through sacrificing His one and only Son. To us the ticket is free. So . . . what are we waiting for?

Read this very slowly and soak in each word . . . The words of Jesus.

"16 For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. 17 For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.

18 “He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. 19 And this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. 20 For everyone practicing evil hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed. 21 But he who does the truth comes to the light, that his deeds may be clearly seen, that they have been done in God.”
- John 3:16-21

If you haven't committed your life to Jesus today, what are you waiting for? We are living in prophetic times. That means time is running short. Please, make a commitment to Christ today. Clean up your temple and fill it with the finest furnishings available - God's Holy Spirit. Placing your faith and trust in Jesus will make YOUR temple spotless to God. Let Jesus do the cleaning. And then you will dwell with God, and He with you . . . forever.  :)

Trust In Jesus - Third Day

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Yesterday Is Over

We all have had those days that we would just as soon forget. Those life-changing events that cause a tear. Perhaps it was the death of a friend or a broken relationship. How do we get beyond those things? How can we recover?

It has been said that "time heals all wounds." I'm not so sure about that. There is definitely SOME healing that takes place over time, but total healing is hard to come by.

This past weekend, Labor Day weekend here in the U.S. marked the 21st anniversary of a tragedy in our community - the abduction and murder of a nine year old girl named Cora Jones.

Time has helped heal the wounds of that horrible event. It scarred our entire community. But we have not forgotten her. Fresh flowers are still laid on her grave. Stories are retold, hugs are re-given. How do we get past the heartache and the pain - our memories held captive in the grip of days gone by?

Some might pursue psychotherapy, seeking the help of a professional trained in such things. Others might try to forget their pain through alcohol or drugs, trying in vain to deaden the pain by making themselves numb. Thousands of dollars later the doctors might help, the mind altering, life-altering substances will only draw you deeper into depression. I have found there is only one way to fully leave the past behind. Pray to God for relief. That is the only way to  leave yesterday behind.

The memories of Cora are still there but the memories that once haunted me have been filed away. And though I have never met her, I know that I will one day and that is enough for me.

I placed my faith and trust in Jesus nearly ten years ago. Things have not always been easy. In some ways things have actually gotten worse, but I have this peace and contentment that lives within me. It's hard to explain really. Only those who have chosen to follow Christ and received His Holy Spirit into their lives have any idea what I am talking about.

The peace we all seek CAN be found, but it only can be found at The Cross. Only through Christ can our burdens be lifted, our sins forgiven and the past be forgotten. That is a promise of God! If you haven't done so, please call out to Jesus today, repent of your sins and place your faith and trust in Christ. Having done so myself I can tell you I would never EVER go back. The dead is gone, yesterday is over, and there is incredible hope for what lies before us. May you find the peace YOU seek in the arms of Jesus. He is waiting for you. It's your move.

Yesterday Is Over - Disciple

This post was inspired by and is dedicated to my friend Luke

Monday, September 7, 2015

Inquire of The Lord

As I make my way through the Old Testament these days I find myself reminded of a few phrases. Maybe God is trying to ell us something through the repetition. They get repeated often enough that we come to remember them. One of them is this one, so often used in 2 Kings and 2 Chronicles.

"He did what was right in then eyes of the Lord."

Another phrase that is mentioned a lot, quite often in the books of 1 and 2 Samuel, is what I would like to write about today.

"David inquired of The Lord."

Do you ever inquire of The Lord?" I have come to the conclusion that I do not inquire of The Lord nearly as much as I should. I think that not doing so is a mistake on our part. We who profess a faith in Christ should be VERY interested in what He might have to say and we should be following ALL that He says - in His Word and in our hearts.

Still, after reading His Word and praying for His leading in our lives, there will be times when we will be unsure about a particular decision . . . from time to time. Or ALL the time in my particular case. Do we ever pray to The Lord about what to do? And then, upon being led to do something, we STILL don't do it. oo often I am afraid.

Yesterday, as I was getting ready for church, I said a quick prayer in my closet. I asked God if I was doing the right thing. Am I going to the right church? I asked if He would consider showing me somehow that what I was about to do was what He wanted me to do. I inquired of The Lord.

Later, sitting in church, I received my answer in the form of a conversation I had with someone from s different church. The words spoken in that conversation let me know that what I was about to do was indeed the right choice . . . the God-honoring choice.

I think that God blesses us when we trust in Him and confide in Him. David always did well when He placed his faith in God and so shall we. If we truly do that.

So often we try to do things on our own. So often we fail. If we would only inquire of Him more than we do . . .

"5 Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. 6 In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths." - Proverbs 3:5-6

I Trust In Jesus - Third Day

Saturday, September 5, 2015

The Commands of Jesus: Don't Fake It!

A few years ago a young man from our community died. He was a popular kid in is little circle of friends but most in his class just acknowledged his existence. Most were simply acquaintances, not good friends. Yet when this young man died, suddenly EVERYONE was his friend. Really?

I think there is a natural tendency to fake a relationship like that. You see all these people grieving, and the Bible says we are to mourn with those who mourn, but we are not supposed to act like this person who died was our closest friend, simply to get attention or pretend some emotion we don't really have. That's called being a hypocrite.

Jesus does a lot of talking against hypocrites in the Bible. A LOT.

Mainly Jesus spoke against the religious leaders of the time. He called them hypocrites because they "honor me with their lips but their hearts are far from me" (Matthew 15:8, see also Isaiah 29:13)

Do you have people like that in your life? How do you feel about them. Mhmm. Few among us like hypocrites. Yet we seem to elect many of them to public office. Go up to someone and ask them if they think there are any hypocrites in Washington D.C. and I bet they're answer will be a resounding "Yes!"

Why is that? Politicians are in a popularity contest come election time. Many keep their TRUE beliefs quite in order to get elected, adopt whatever beliefs are required in any particular moment, all in hopes of gaining power.

Perhaps that is why Donald Trump is leading the Republican field in most polls. He is NOT a politician. In fact, he makes a point of pointing that out, and as a result he is finding favor in many peoples eyes.

And just as Jesus spoke out against the hypocritical religious leaders of His time, we still have many of them with us today. Just turn on the television. Go to most mega churches and you will find pulpits adorned with hypocrites - saying what is popular with their "fans" rather than what is the truth in God's word.

I think what Jesus is really after is for us to examine our motives in the things we say and do. Do we say certain things to make us fit in with the popular crowd? Do we spend our time talking about ourselves in glowing terms instead of revealing the scars?

Recently, a county clerk named Kim Davis, took a stand against issuing marriage licenses to gay couples. Regardless of which side you take on this issue, you must admire that she stood up for what she believed to be true, despite the consequences. You may think she is right or wrong but most would agree that she is not a hypocrite.

How do we live OUR lives in this world we live in? Do we sacrifice our beliefs and morals to get ahead? Do we "brown-nose" our bosses to get that promotion we crave so much?

Three times each week I write stories for this blog. I write these stories to honor God, not to please the three followers who might read my stories. My desire is to be honest, not hypocritical. Sometimes people don't like what I write. I always encourage any dissenters to "read your Bible." I don't need to defend God's Word. As spoken word artist Propaganda says in this video, "Defending the Gospel is like defending a lion. You don't need to defend it. Just open the cage."

May we all live lives dipping with honesty. May we never put on a false front simply to gain position or status in someones eyes. The only eyes we should be concerned about pleasing are God's. That is where our TRUE reward can be found.

16 “And when you fast, do not look gloomy like the hypocrites, for they disfigure their faces that their fasting may be seen by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. 17 But when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face, 18 that your fasting may not be seen by others but by your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you." - Matthew 6:16-18

The G.O.S.P.E.L. - Propaganda

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

To Protect And Serve

When I was in high school, the late 60's, there was quite a conflict going on. The Vietnam war was at its peak. So were the anti-war protests. People were being shot and killed - most notably Bobby Kennedy and Martin Luther King. It was a VERY turbulent time in our nation's history. It was also the very first time I ever heard the word PIG to describe a police officer.

While all this civil unrest was going on there were a few television shows that depicted the police in a POSITIVE light - Dragnet and Adam-12. They were pretty simple shows. Pretty cheesy too. Sometimes they were so . . . stiff . . . they were almost laughable. But each of the shows portrayed our police in a positive light, something that is hard to find on our televisions today.

On the side of the Adam-12 police cars they had a logo for their police department and a slogan as well - "To Protect and To Serve." Where has our respect gone for these men and women who risk their lives to keep us safe?

There have been some bad cops that have tarnished the image of the police in general, but no more so than any other job in society. There will always be bad apples no matter where you look. And the police are the last thing we want to see in our rear view mirrors, but that's only because we've been caught doing something illegal and we don't want to have to pay a fine or get stopped during our busy day.

I think society's problem in NOT a police problem. Our problem is a SIN problem. We like to be able to do what we want, when we want and to whom we want and we don't like anyone telling us otherwise. We also have a "self" problem.

Yet, when trouble comes our way, we are the first ones to call the police. They can't show up soon enough when we're in a fix. "Boy, am I glad to see you guys!"

Because we humans have a sin problem, police only try to keep us in line . . . and we pay them to do so. But the police can't fix what's wrong with us. Only God can do that.

So, what's the cure? Jesus. If we all acted like Jesus there would be no need for police or guns or protection. There would be peace and understanding throughout the world. But we are a stiff-necked people and we don't want to submit to ANYONE'S authority. And that's why things will only get worse until we fall to our knees. We haven't seen ANYTHING yet compared to what is to come.

Yesterday, another police officer was killed in our country - eight cops killed in the past nine days. There is trouble brewing. One can almost smell it. We need to begin praying. Now! We need to repent, we need to seek God. Only then will He heal this land. Until then we are on our own.

"14 if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land." - 2 Chronicles 7:14

"45 For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” - Matthew 10:45

Adam-12 Intro

What It Means To Be A Police Officer - Joe Friday

This is The Gospel by which we are saved:

"15 Now, brothers and sisters, I want to remind you of the gospel I preached to you, which you received and on which you have taken your stand. 2 By this gospel you are saved, if you hold firmly to the word I preached to you. Otherwise, you have believed in vain.

3 For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, 4 that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, 5 and that he appeared to Cephas, and then to the Twelve." - 1 Corinthians 15:1-5