Wednesday, November 30, 2016

The Danger of Comfort

Have you seen it? Have you seen the change? If you are young you probably haven't noticed anything at all. Everything seems like it has always been. But it's not.

We, as a nation, have grown comfortable. And that is a very bad thing. Comfort is where Satan lives. He thrives on political correctness and fear. We have comfort foods. Why? Comfort foods usually make us fat and desiring comfort all the more.

Being as old as I am, I have seen quite a few things in my lengthy lifetime. I have watched on TV as an American president was assassinated. Then a civil rights leader - a man of peace. I have seen a nation at war and our soldiers spat upon when they returned home from it. And now I am seeing our police officers being murdered in the streets, all because they chose to protect us. Yes, I have seen plenty of lows in this nation, but nothing can compare to the change I have seen in our society.

The line between what is acceptable and what is not has moved. And not in the right direction. We are removing God from everything once held dear and we are replacing Him . . . with ourselves.

Everything these days is all about convenience and comfort. Wouldn't want to offend anyone. Anyone except the silent majority. They don't fight back. We can offend people on the Internet without the inconvenience of facing someone face-to-face. It's so much easier to "pull the plug" on a relationship by un-friending them instead of investing time to repair a damaged relationship.

Our own comfort has taken over where God once reigned and that, I think, is the problem.

The Acts 2 church is a perfect example of what a Christ-centered society could be like.

"44 All the believers were together and had everything in common. 45 They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need. 46 Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, 47 praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people." - Acts 2:44-47

Let's break that down.

  • All the believers were together
  • They had everything in common
  • They sold possessions to help others in need
  • They met together daily
  • They ate together in their homes
  • They had glad and sincere hearts
  • They praised God
  • They enjoyed the favor of all people
Let's look at that. Does our society have all those characteristics today? No. Why not? Well, there are several reasons, but the biggest reasons are 1.) we have taken God out of our schools and the courthouses. 2.) Everything has become "acceptable" out of fear of offending someone. Want to marry a goat? Go ahead. We all just want each other to be happy in whatever they are doing. 3.) We are being given everything to the point of our becoming dependent.

Some might say, look at verse 45. The early church gave to everyone. True, but the key difference are these - they gave to everyone as there was a need. The other factor is they gave willingly. These days our government takes our money and gives to those THEY think have a need . . or a want . . or a desire.

If the church was doing its job there would be no need for a welfare system among believers. We would all take care of ourselves.

We will have a new president in a few months. He has promised to "make America great again". He can try. Maybe He can improve a few things, streamline regulations & tax codes, but the only way we as a nation can be made great again is by turning to God, repenting of our sins, and by making Jesus Lord of our lives . . . not some earthly leader.

Our only hope is Christ.

I will close with a portion of an 1863 Thanksgiving proclamation by our sitting president at that time. What happened to us in the time between then and now?

No human counsel hath devised nor hath any mortal hand worked out these great things. They are the gracious gifts of the Most High God, who, while dealing with us in anger for our sins, hath nevertheless remembered mercy. It has seemed to me fit and proper that they should be solemnly, reverently and gratefully acknowledged as with one heart and one voice by the whole American People. I do therefore invite my fellow citizens in every part of the United States, and also those who are at sea and those who are sojourning in foreign lands, to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next, as a day of Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens. And I recommend to them that while offering up the ascriptions justly due to Him for such singular deliverances and blessings, they do also, with humble penitence for our national perverseness and disobedience, commend to His tender care all those who have become widows, orphans, mourners or sufferers in the lamentable civil strife in which we are unavoidably engaged, and fervently implore the interposition of the Almighty Hand to heal the wounds of the nation and to restore it as soon as may be consistent with the Divine purposes to the full enjoyment of peace, harmony, tranquility and Union. - Abraham Lincoln

Lincoln's full Thanksgiving Proclamation

Monday, November 28, 2016

To Build A Fire

My wife and I just got done burning the last of the brush piles in our new vacant lot yesterday.  We had built the piles up over the summer and now, finally, they are all gone. I bet our neighbors are happy. LOL!

It wasn't the easiest to get the fire started yesterday. The weather was damp and foggy and all the leaves and braches were wet. Here's a little Boy Scout survival tip for you. If you are ever having trouble getting a fire started, try pine needles and pine branches. The sap inside them burns quite nicely.

As I tried to get a fire started I thought back to my high school days. English class. We had to read the short story To Build A Fire by Jack London. The story's main character was an inexperienced city man. He tried to travel across the Alaskan wilderness by himself in 70 below temperatures during the gold rush. He didn't make it. Sorry to spoil the ending of the story for you.

One of the last things that frozen, dying man tried to do was to build a fire. You need three things to successfully build a fire. Fuel (wood, leaves, tinder, etc), a fire source (matches, lighter, magnifying glass, etc) and oxygen.

When God draws us to Himself, it's like He is preparing to build a fire. We are the combustible material. We are what God is trying to ignite. The oxygen, I think, is God Himself. He gave us the breath of life after all. The ignition source or the spark needed to ignite us and our faith is God's Holy Spirit.

The thing about fires is they tend to go out if they are not well attended to. If there is no more fuel the fire goes out. No oxygen? The fire goes out. So how can we Christians keep OUR fires burning brightly when the world keeps pulling us back? There are several ways. But to really get a roaring fire we should be doing all of these.
  1. Read the Bible. Study it!
  2. Pray
  3. Worship
  4. Serve God by Serving Others
This past Saturday I met with a young friend of mine who, I would say, is on fire for the Lord. She serves God by going on mission trips, she volunteers with her church's youth group. She prays regularly and always seeks God's will in her life. She loves to worship and she reads her Bible daily and leads Bible studies. Her fire burns brightly.

But if she didn't do any of those things, her fire would start to fade and her faith would grow cold. How are you doing in those four areas I just mentioned. Are you doing all of them excitedly? Continually? We should be.

One more though about fires and our need to keep them burning. My wife and I have a wood-burning fireplace. We build fires in it but we had to buy our fire wood from a friend. Who pays for the "wood" in the life of a Christian? Who paid for our sinfulness? Well, Jesus did. As the old hymn goes, "Jesus paid it all. All to Him I owe."

Don't Let The Fire Die - Stephen Curtis Chapman
To Build a Fire - Jack London
Jesus Paid It All - Newsboys 

(This was my 600th story written for this blog. Thanks for reading! Love you!)

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Giving Thanks

Thanksgiving is over. The turkey, stuffing and mashed potatoes are all in the fridge, chillin'. The pumpkin pie is half-eaten and covered with aluminum foil. My belt has been loosened to the last notch just to protect the innocent bystanders should there be a structural failure. Things are finally beginning to get back to normal.

It was a rather typical Thanksgiving in that we did all of the same things we do every year. There was food and family and football. Yet this Thanksgiving felt different than any other Thanksgiving for some reason.

Maybe it's because the Packers are sucking this year. Maybe it's the whinny liberal news media who didn't get their way in this year's presidential election. It could be because I see a nation splitting into different factions and then warring with one another instead of "one nation, under God."

Life in our family is going good. We have jobs, we have food, we have love. Still something is not quite right. I think I figured out what it is though.

The Bible tells us in Romans 12 (among others places) that we are all given gifts. It describes

"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; if it is serving, then serve; if it is teaching, then teach; 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

As far as I can tell through my self-examination I have been given the gift of mercy. What that means is that when someone I love is hurting, I want to help. The helping always makes me feel good. That's not a problem. What hurts is when I WANT to help but am unable to.

There are people I know who are struggling right now. They need help. They need some assistance. I see that need and I want to help. I get that part. But it's more than that. I NEED to help. Not helping those in need eats away at me inside. I causes sleepless nights as I search for ways to come to the rescue of those I love. Sometimes the gift of mercy can feel more like a curse. But that's a good thing. The gift of mercy in His children is God's gift to the hurting.

Perhaps that is why I feel a little down this Thanksgiving. I have been unable to serve some of the people in my life the way I'd like to. For me, my sin is knowing that God wants me to do something and then not doing it.

There is a verse that is haunting me right now. Here it is.

“Which of you, if your son asks for bread, will give him a stone? 10 Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? 11 If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!" - Matthew 7:9-11

I read that and think two things. First, I feel like I am giving my friends in need stones and snakes. I am not being much help. The second thing is I am not asking God to help them as often or as passionately as I should. And THAT is why I am not feeling 100% this Thanksgiving. It is my own failure at doing what God wants me to do that is causing me to be sad.

Perhaps this story of my failure will be the incentive I need to turn things around and do something. I hope so. I NEED to do something. God has placed me in a position to serve and I am doing nothing. THAT is what must change. I must turn nothing into something. Perhaps then I can get some rest.

Father, I ask you today to forgive us our sins - the things we have done to be sure. but today I seek forgiveness for the things I have NOT done. I pray for strength and determination, that we might actually MOVE, rather than stand still. So, I personally and humbly ask  for wisdom so I may know what to do when called to do so. And I ask for strength, that I would do the things you ask me to do - not in MY name but in yours. We must become less, you must become more. I pray for your mercy so that we may show that mercy to those you have placed in our paths. May we be not only hearers of your Word, but doers of it as well. And may we be thankful for these feelings of inadequacy and helplessness, for they draw us closer to you. All these things I pray in the name of Jesus. Thank you for hearing our prayers. Amen.

Happiness Is Helping Others

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

The Commands of Jesus: Don't Throw Stuff!

“Do not give dogs what is sacred; do not throw your pearls to pigs. If you do, they may trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you to pieces." - Matthew 7:6

"Throwing pearls to swine." What the heck does THAT mean? And why would I do that? If I had some pearls (not likely) I sure wouldn't throw them at a pig.

So what does that phrase mean? Well I'll give you an example. A friend of mine at work made an amazing quilt to give to someone. It was very intricate and took a lot of time to sew all of the pieces together. Surely the recipient would be pleased wit such a treasure.

When the gift was given the response was, "Oh . . . uh, thanks." No appreciation at all. That's what Jesus meant when He told us NOT to throw our pearls to those who don't appreciate what they have been given.

Any Christian, when asked, "What is your most valuable possession?" should answer, "My salvation. We have been given a tremendous gift by God! Unfortunately, there are many people in this world who just don't want to hear about God or Jesus or anything faith-based. Try though we might, they just don't want to hear it.

I think what Jesus is saying here is don't waste your time speaking to those who don't want to hear the message. Move on. There are plenty of other people who will appreciate what we have to say.

That sounds a little cold, coming from Jesus, unless you know Him.

We are merely deliverers of a message. We are not in the business of changing people's minds. God does that. We should deliver God's message, The Gospel, and move on. There are some people will simply refuse to hear it because it is foolishness to them.

The gift of salvation is like a beautiful strand of pearls. Incredibly valuable. One might even say priceless. Why offer someone such a gift if they don't really want it?

We have been called to spread the Gospel wherever we go. We have also been told to make disciples. But nowhere does it say we are to waste our time where God's Holy Spirit has not laid the groundwork.

Preach the Gospel. Always! But if it is not received . . . time to move on to another town.

Thanksgiving is a great time to speak to others about the pearl of great price YOU have been given. Speak from your heart, speak in live, but don't spend time speaking to those whose hearts have been hardened. That is what prayer is for.

14 If anyone will not welcome you or listen to your words, leave that home or town and shake the dust off your feet. 15 Truly I tell you, it will be more bearable for Sodom and Gomorrah on the day of judgment than for that town." - Matthew 10:14-15

Pearl of Great Price

Monday, November 21, 2016

Human Curling


Do you know what curling is? According to Wikipedia, "Curling is a sport in which players slide stones on a sheet of ice towards a target area which is segmented into four concentric circles." A sport? That sounds more like a bunch of bored people on a Friday night, making up a game to entertain themselves. Just kidding!

When I was in high school my mom had a miniature curling "stone" on her dresser. It's probably still there. I wasn't sure why until I found out the sport was first played in Scotland. My mom is Scottish and rather proud of that fact.

Recently on Facebook I was reminded of "a special memory" that Facebook thought would be good for me to see again. It was from seven years ago when I was a youth leader at church. It was a video I filmed of a youth group game I invented called Human Curling.

That sounds crazy enough to be an AMAZING youth group activity all by itself, but my game also carried a message along with it. I equated the sport of curling to the lives we live while we are here on earth. There is a beginning point and an ultimate goal, and then, in between those two points, there is a whole lot of stuff that happens that can ultimately change our final resting spot.

After we our born (our beginning point) we are directed towards our destination. Often, those effecting our outcome in life are our parents, our teachers, our friends and family members. But we can also be directed by our experiences, our highs and our lows, and even by those who oppose us.

I have a young friend who, I'm sure, was an amazing child. Interactions with friends and foe shaped her early life. But one day her parents got a divorce. I'm sure my friend witnessed many a battle in the living room or the kitchen. How can a child witness those things and not be re-directed in life.

We all have had similar experiences, similar life direction changes. As we travel through this life, how can we possibly end up on our intended target? Where we always wanted to be?

I forgot to mention earlier someone else who has the power to re-direct our lives. His name is Elohim - God. Once we have veered off life's path, He is the only one who can change our ultimate destination. You name the sin, God has the power to overcome it.

Our ultimate target in this life is that, when we come to the end of it, we will have placed our faith in His Son, Jesus. It is by our faith in Him that we are saved and get to proceed to game #2 - eternal life.

The curling rink of life has seen many "stones" thrown down the ice. The side boards are littered with them. But only a few arrive at their final destination. Only a few stay on target or are directed there by our Savior.

Where are you on the ice of life? Has your aim strayed from the target? Is your life going some place it shouldn't be? If it is, it is not too late to call for assistance.

"In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths." - Proverbs 3:6

"Let your eyes look directly forward, and your gaze be straight before you." - Proverbs 4:25

video
Human Curling

Saturday, November 19, 2016

When Churches Bite

Have you ever been hurt or disappointed by your church? Has something ever happened in church that made you ask, "What just happened here?" Or maybe you read something in the Bible and then saw your church doing something different. What do we do? How do we react?

First, before I begin making people mad, let's set a few pitons in the mountain we're about to climb. Pitons are the things mountain climbers use to keep them from falling too far. In the church we call them truths. They are things we can depend on and trust 100%.

Piton #1 - Churches are filled with sinners. Jesus told us in Matthew 10 that "no one is good except God alone." That means your pastor is a sinner, the little kid running down the aisle is a sinner and the old lady pushing her walker up front to take communion is a sinner. We are ALL sinners. We all screw up. If you are looking for a perfect church, good luck. There isn't one.

"All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God." - Romans 3:3

Piton #2 - There is only one Church. According to the Center for the Study of Global Christianity, there are approximately 41,000 Christian denominations in the world today. Seriously? Why so many? Who's right and who's wrong? People have different interpretations about what the Bible says. Usually, the Bible is pretty clear but sometimes it can be a little fuzzy. Still, despite all of the differences we might have in our beliefs, there is really only ONE church. And check this,  it doesn't have a building.

"13 For we were all baptized by one Spirit so as to form one body" - 1 Corinthians 12:13

Alright, let's start climbing.

Do you love Jesus? Most, if not all Christians, will answer yes. They will answer that question quite boldly too. Right up to the point when Jesus says this:

"23 Jesus replied, Anyone who loves me will obey my teaching. My Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them." - John 14:23

Are you getting scared yet? You should be. Because we're about to get hurt.

I saw a discussion on Facebook the other day about someone claiming that their church had hurt them. That may or may not be true. I have no way of knowing. This person claimed that they had been removed from a position in the church because of the way they dressed. If that is true, then shame on the church. This same person said they were removed from this position because they were in a same-sex relationship. If THAT is true, then shame on that person for living a lie.

“Anyone who loves me will obey my teaching."

Open your Bibles to Romans 1.

"24 Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another. 25 They exchanged the truth about God for a lie" - Romans 1:24-25

It doesn't matter what our sin is, when we exchange the truth about God for a lie, and continue to live in that lie, that sin, then we are only hurting ourselves. If we are truly Christians, even though we sin, there is a shame that follows us as long as we are in that sin. And then it comes. The difference between Christians and non Christians - repentance. A turning away from sin to follow God. To . . . "obey my teaching."

Let's face it. Sometimes churches hurt us. We're all sinners, remember? But more often it is we ourselves who do the hurting. And the ones we usually end up hurting are ourselves.

Before we start accusing the church of hurting us perhaps we should examine ourselves to see if we aren't the ones doing the hurting.

Being a Christian means giving up our old way of life. Not wallowing in sin. Repentance is the key.

"17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here! " - 2 Corinthians 5:17

We will be tempted. We will be tried. But if we are TRULY Christians, if we truly have God's Holy Spirit inside us, we will never go back to who we once were. We will never give in. We will never give up the fight. Because we are His church. We are His bride. And we have been chosen by The King.

When your church hurts you, forgive. When things don't go as you think they should, ask yourself, does it really matter? We need to get beyond earthly entanglements and start living for Christ, sacrificially. We need to start loving , as Christ loved us, unconditionally. If we all do that there won't be any trouble at all.


How To Heal When The Church Hurts You
Ephesians 4

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Cause For Divorce?

Before I get started let me just say that this story is NOT about divorce in the usual marital sense. It is, but it isn't. It is about our failure to live up to a commitment we once made, as Christians . . . to God.

In the Book of Ephesians, the apostle Paul describes our relationship with God as a marriage. Jesus is the bridegroom and we are the bride. Read these verses from Ephesians, not as they apply to earthly marriage relationships, but with the emphasis on our relation ship with Christ.

"22 Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. 23 For the husband is head of the wife, as also Christ is head of the church; and He is the Savior of the body. 24 Therefore, just as the church is subject to Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in everything." - Ephesians 5:22-24

  • First, we are to submit to The Lord (v22). Our will should be the same as His. We should conform to His way of thinking. Do we do that? Are we seeking His will in everything we do? In everything we say? What would He want us to do?
  • Second, God is our "head", our boss, our commander, our leader (v23). We are to obey His commands, His decisions, His decrees.
  • Third, we are to remember that Jesus died for us, paying the price for OUR sin. He is our savior (v23).
  • Fourth, We must be subject to Him in everything (v24). There is a Greek word for that - panti. It means . . . everything.
Thinking of moving in with your boyfriend? If you submit to the Lord you won't. That's fornication. It's a sin and against God's will. Are you thinking of gorging yourself on pizza and sweets while others around you are going hungry? That's a sin. Watching the game instead of going to worship? That's a sin. You are placing your needs above God's. I could go on but you get the point.

According to a recent survey about failed marriages, the most common reason given for divorce(73%) was a "lack of commitment." Are we committed in our marriage with Jesus? Probably not to the extent we should be I fear.

Other reasons given as causes of divorce were arguing (56%) and infidelity (55%). Do we disagree with God's laws? Have we broken any of the Ten Commandments? I have. Have we been unfaithful to God? I already mentioned skipping a worship service to watch a Packers game. Are we unfaithful in other ways? Lack of service perhaps? Failure to pray as often as we should or to spend time reading The Bible?

These are all things our "Ephesians 5 husband" wants us to do. We are to be subject to Him, yet most of us are not. Here's the tough question. Based on today's top three reasons for divorce, does Jesus have a case against us? Sadly, I think He does. So, why doesn't He divorce us?

Well, that's easy to answer. It's His unconditional love for us. His desire that "none should perish" (2 Peter 3:9). His desire to "gather us to Himself as a mother hen protects her chicks (Matthew 23:37). God loves us so much He died for us (Romans 5:8)!

I need to work on my marriage with Jesus. I want to have that type of marriage where we love each other, encourage each other and do things for each other. We pray together, finish each others sentences and praise God for the marriage arrangement He has given us. It works well if we are devoted to one another. Are we holding up our end of things? In ALL things?

At The Cross - Chris Tomlin

Monday, November 14, 2016

Our Faith In Humans

Yesterday my wife and I watched the Packers game. By halftime I was out in the yard cutting down trees and my wife was raking leaves. We had such high hopes for the Packers but they disappointed us.

Did you catch the presidential election last Tuesday. It was hard to miss. Half of the voting populace voted for one candidate, the other half voted for someone else. So basically half of the people are disappointed with the elections outcome.

We humans tend to place way too much hope and trust in our fellow human beings. We always seem to disappoint despite our best intentions not to. We disappoint. That's what we do.

I was disappointed with the service I got at the local Sears store and also at the local tire shop. We humans tend to expect a certain result and, if we don't get it, we don't like it.

Have you seen the riots on TV? People were disappointed with the election results. Naturally, when we are disappointed in others we tend to trash them on Facebook, destroy their property, beat them up or threaten to kill them.

I have even seen people go on Facebook and say that they are disappointed with the people who were disappointed by something else. Seems like everybody's disappointed about something or someone.

Have we tried placing our faith in God? We should try that some time. We'll live longer. WAY longer. Take the election for example. Did you place your faith in God about the results? That He would place into power exactly who He wanted? We should have, because it's true. That's what He does.

"13 Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. Consequently, whoever rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves. For rulers hold no terror for those who do right, but for those who do wrong. Do you want to be free from fear of the one in authority? Then do what is right and you will be commended. For the one in authority is God’s servant for your good." - Romans 13:1-4

We should trust in God more. Maybe God placed Donald Trump into power because God wanted to do something through Him. Maybe He allowed Trump to win because God wanted to punish us. We shouldn't look at elections the way we do. God is in control.

Donald Trump is who God wanted in the White House at this particular time for some yet unknown reason. We should rejoice in that because we are getting exactly who we deserve. It is God's will!

Are we prepared for what God is going to do with this country? We should be. If He is our God then we should be placing our faith and trust in Him, not an earthly leader.

So, as we "get over" this past election cycle, let us remember that nothing happens without God allowing it and there is nothing that can happen without God getting us through it. We should be placing our trust in God and our faith in His Son Jesus. As long as we do that we will be just fine no matter WHO is in the White House.

Trust In Jesus - Third Day

Saturday, November 12, 2016

The Faith of a Child

"Train up a child in the way they should go and, when they are old, they will not part from it." - Proverbs 22:6

My daughter and I traveled to Michigan last weekend to pick up a trailer. My wife normally would have accompanied me but she had promised to babysit our grandson. That's okay. I was looking forward to the time my daughter and I could spend together.

Time spent with younger generations can be a valuable teaching time as we older, wiser folks impart wisdom to the younger generation. However, it was us elders that got taught a lesson on Saturday by one of the youngest members of our family - my grand niece Hayley.

We were gathering around the table for dinner. My brother-in-law was sick, my daughter and I had been on the road for seven our and we all were tired and hungry. To make things worse, my sister made an amazing meal of chicken, stuffing, green beans and carrots. Mmm.

Suddenly, a young lady's voice could be heard above all the forks and knives.

"Hey! We didn't pray!"

Busted.

My family usually prays before a meal but we didn't do it that day. Whether it was our hunger or our tiredness, our sickness or our forgetfulness, it just didn't happen. And we had just been called out by a three year old kid. Nice.

So what does this short little story tell us? Well,  for one thing, my little niece clearly has been trained in the ways of the Lord. That's a good thing, like the opening verse said. But it also tells us something about us adults.

Were we only thinking of ourselves? Or our stomachs? Or were we forgetting who provided everything that was sitting on the table before us?

We as a family were thankful for the reminder of a child. We listened and we prayed.

"18 At that time the disciples came to Jesus and asked, “Who, then, is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?”

He called a little child to him, and placed the child among them. And he said: “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever takes the lowly position of this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. And whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me." - Matthew 18:1-5
Even the smallest child can teach . . . if we have ears to hear. May we ALL have a the faith of a little child. Never questioning, never doubting, always trusting.

May we take our time and pray.

The Words I Would Say - Sidewalk Prophets
Jesus Loves The Little Children

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Of Kings And Men

I almost couldn't believe my eyes! My wife and I have been voting at the same polling station for the past 33 years and we have never seen the line that long. Ever. Not even close. We live five miles out in the country where the population is sparse and we had to wait an hour in line to cast out ballot.

I stayed up late watching the returns and, quite honestly, I was expecting Hillary to win. But when I saw Wisconsin, a traditionally Democratic state, go to Trump, I knew something was happening. Something not of this world.

My friend and I have been praying for our state and national leaders for months now but this outcome was not expected. Not by the pollsters, the media . . . anybody. Yet somehow Trump was winning!

I am not a Trump fan. He is not my idea of an "ideal" candidate. Whatever THAT is. But I think I know why Trump won. Open your Bibles to Exodus, chapter 10.

"10 Now the Lord said to Moses, “Go in to Pharaoh; for I have hardened his heart and the hearts of his servants, that I may show these signs of Mine before him, and that you may tell in the hearing of your son and your son’s son the mighty things I have done in Egypt, and My signs which I have done among them, that you may know that I am the Lord.” - Exodus 10:1-2

This nation has turned its back on God just like the Israelites did numerous times in the Old Testament. And God, just as we read in that verse, can harden and, by implication, soften hearts. I think that's what God did here, in our country.

I think God got tired of us killing babies. I think God got tired of the corruption and the scandals but I also think God answered our prayers.

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

Earlier this year Franklin Graham traveled this country holding prayer rallies. He encouraged us to pray and to vote. I think we did that. On my way home from work last night, Janet Parshall's show was filled with prayer - two hours of prayer!! Has God heard us from heaven? Is God beginning to heal our land?

Let us continue to pray for our nation's leaders. Let us pray for Hillary, that she might examine herself and the things she has done. May she repent and seek God.

May we as a nation return to God and lift His name high above ALL names!

I invite you to listen to this song. May we be grateful that God hears us and kings and kingdoms bow down. Amen!

Sing, Sing, Sing - Chris Tomlin

Monday, November 7, 2016

9-1-1

Family get-togethers are almost always fun, especially in my family. We always find ourselves staying up way later than normal, trying to fit as much family time into a few hours.

This past weekend my daughter and I were visiting my sister in Michigan. We stayed up late Saturday night. The term "late" seems to get redefined with each decade. Late for me is 10:30. Late for my daughter is midnight. Just wait kiddo! Someday. LOL!

Earlier that evening my niece was relating a story where she and my daughter got themselves into trouble at an early age by dialing 9-1-1 and telling the operator someone needed help. They apparently did this a few times, resulting in the police calling our house to investigate.

My dad answered the phone and told the nice officer that there indeed were two young ladies in the house but that no one was in need of assistance. The my dad informed me and my sister what our daughters had done.

I yelled upstairs where our daughters were "playing" and made it very clear to my daughter that she had done something very wrong. My yelling was having quite and impact on my niece. She confessed this past Saturday that it was SHE who called 9-1-1 and that it was her fault.

She said she felt so guilty when someone else was being punished for something SHE had done. Let that last sentence sink in for a bit as we reading this verse from the Book of Isaiah.

"5 But he was pierced for our transgressions,
    he was crushed for our iniquities;
the punishment that brought us peace was on him,
    and by his wounds we are healed." - Isaiah 53:5

When you found out that someone else (Jesus) was being punished for YOUR sins, how did that make you feel? I know I felt pretty bad. It was my fault that Jesus had to die!

Now, I know that everyone else's sins resulted in the death of Jesus as well but I took it personally. I think we ALL should take it personally.

What is the first thing we should do when someone else takes the punishment for OUR sins. I don't know about you but I apologized to Jesus when I learned that "21 For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him." - 2 Corinthians 5:21

May we all take the time to reflect on the things we've done in this life. The thought of someone else dying for something I did is a constant reminder of how much God loves us and the sacrifice He was willing to make for us. How do we answer that? We should offer our lives to Him.

Lord, I Offer My Life To You - Hillsong

Urgent - Foreigner




Saturday, November 5, 2016

That Burning Desire

Deep within every human heart there is a hidden place where a secret identity lies. It waits, patiently, in a semi-dormant state until it is awakened by an unseen force. Few ever see its full potential, choosing instead to follow some other way of life - denying that burning desire within.

Our passion can sometimes be found in the simplest of questions.

"What do you want to be when you grow up?"

We seldom turn into the hero we want to be - an astronaut, a rock star, or a quarterback on a Superbowl-winning team. We often settle for much less. Dreams fade and get replaced by responsibilities . . . and ruts. It's time we asked ourselves some deep questions - about our future, about our purpose and about our calling.

"If you could be anything you wanted to be and money was no object, what would you be? What would you do?"

My friend at work has a deep desire to help young women. It eats at her. Her compassion for helping struggling young women is a deep, consuming desire within her. Where does that burning desire come from? Was she born with it? Did it develop over time through life's experiences? Or was it gifted to her from above?

I believe that each of us has something sleeping deep within us. Sometimes the desire surfaces and we find a job where we can release that passion. But otherwise it sits there inside us, undisturbed and unused.

Would you believe me if I told you that there is a way to access your hidden talents and live the life you've always dreamed? Go get your Bible and open it to the Book of 1st Corinthians, the 12th chapter.

"There are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit. There are differences of ministries, but the same Lord. And there are diversities of activities, but it is the same God who works all in all. But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to each one for the profit of all" - 1 Corinthians 12:4-7

God's Holy Spirit enhances our God-given gifts. When we place our faith in Christ and we receive His Holy Spirit, those divine seeds in us begin to grow. It's like a super power in many ways. A normal inclination towards something becomes manifested into something special - a burning desire to use that gift.

What is YOUR special gift? Are you using it? Have you received God's promised Holy Spirit? These are critical questions we all should know the answers to. We need to find what gifts God has hidden in us . . . and use them!

Are you willing to try something. It might work. It might not. There is a link to some music below. Click on it and close your eyes. Think about God and what you think He has gifted you with. In your minds eye, can you see yourself using that gift? Can you see yourself glorifying God with it? What do you see yourself doing? Are you doing that now in your current life? If not, why not? What are you waiting for? God gave you that gift for a reason. Shouldn't we be using it . . . for Him.

These Honored Dead - Luke Richards

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Let's Party!

My wife and I have been having a little contest to see who can hit the mute button on the remote the fastest when a political commercial comes on. My wife has proven herself to be pretty quick. While I am slower on the draw, I do tend to use more force. It's been fun . . . unlike all of the political commercials.

Both candidates profess to be Christians. I don't believe it. Practicing Christians tend to think of themselves last. They tend to serve others instead of themselves. And they don't lie!

Here's a few words of advice for our politicians from the Word of God. Imagine what our political contests would be like if they only followed God's precepts.

"29 Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to the hearers." - Ephesians 4:29

"love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you," - Matthew 5:44

"10 Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He will lift you up." - James 4:10


I think we need a new political party in this country. Instead of the Tea Party we'll call it the Salt and Light Party. Instead of a donkey or an elephant as our symbol we will have a sheep. Or better yet, a lamb!

"When asked about the two current presidential candidates, the Salt and Light party chairman was quoted as saying, 'Baa.'" It would be so much fun!

Our platform will be that ALL lives matter (2 Peter 3:9). We will feed the hungry (Matthew 25:35), clothe the naked (Matthew 25:36), take care of the widow and the orphan (James 1:27). If you don't work, you don't eat (2Thessalonians 3:10), except for those who are unable. There will be shelter for everyone (Isaiah 58:7). We will give to one another as there is a need (Acts 2:45).

We will worship and pray to our Creator for it is only fitting that we give Him our thanks and praise. No more wars, no more lying and the only thing that will come out of our mouths is encouragement for others and praise for our King. Would you join a party like that? Can I get an amen?

Salt And Light - John Piper