Wednesday, December 30, 2009

A Stayed Mind!

You will keep him in perfect peace,
Whose mind is stayed on You,
Because he trusts in You.

Isaiah 26:3

There are times in life when your mind is captivated by a single thought. I suppose it begins as a small child when you learn that Christmas will soon be here. The last few weeks before school dismisses for the summer is also a time that distracts the minds of children from their studies.

When a young man “falls in love” a significant portion of his awareness is always turned toward the one he loves. It is difficult for him to focus on the weighty matters in life as he pursues the heart of a young woman.

As a follower of Jesus Christ the only way to remain peaceful in this world of chaos, despair and utter turmoil is to keep you mind “stayed” on Jesus Himself. Jesus said, “I will be with you, even to the end of the world,” so if you are His disciple the mountain you face in life is one that Jesus will take you over.

The peace that you receive by keeping your mind on Jesus is not a game. It is the peace that comes from knowing that the Creator of the universe is dwelling inside your body and is with you as you face whatever trial you are experiencing.

I recently went to see a rather high impact movie in 3D. The computer animation combined with the 3D experience made it seem as if I were actually there watching an extra terrestrial war. But because I knew that I was safely in the theater I never lost my peace at all. No matter how real it seemed I knew I was safe from harm.

In Jesus Christ, life itself is like sitting in that theater. I see everything going on in the world and indeed it is fearful to view, but I do not lose my perfect peace because I am safely “seated with Christ in heavenly places.”

As life goes on the anticipation grows because either He is coming soon, or I am going. Either way I will see Him face to face. So I can let my mind go to think about seeing Him. I can be distracted by and consumed with the anticipation of hearing the trumpet or being ushered in to His presence after I die. Let the storms and the threats rage and thunder but in the blink of an eye I will see the Salvation of the Lord!

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Search Light or Beacon?

For God, who said, "Let light shine out of darkness,” made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ.

2 Corinthians 4:6

The difference between a search light and a beacon is significant. A search light penetrates the darkness and is, just as its name implies searching for something in the darkness. A beacon enables others to see an exact location even though all around it is dark.

Many people believe that the Word of God is a beacon. They believe the Bible marks the standard for truth and by looking at the Word of God you can know the exact location of God in relation to this world. But the purpose of a beacon light is to keep you from hitting it with your boat or plane. Beacon lights usually mark an area to avoid, whether it be the edge of the runway or the shallow rocky waters near the shore.

The light of God is a search light. God’s light penetrates your heart and blinds your eyes to the world around you. The light of God doesn’t show you the way. The light of God is the way.

The man who lives and walks by the light of this world is blind to the light of God. And the man who lives and walks by the light of God is blind to this world.

The search light of God’s Word is scanning the earth today looking for those who will turn their hearts and open their eyes to stare directly into His light! When you do you will be permanently changed. Like looking straight into the sun you will be blinded to everything else. Like a blind man needs a cane to navigate you will need the Cross of Jesus Christ to safely walk this world! It is only when you are blind to this world that you begin to truly see!

Monday, December 28, 2009


Listen, I tell you a mystery: We will not all sleep, but we will all be changed— in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed. For the perishable must clothe itself with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality. When the perishable has been clothed with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality, then the saying that is written will come true: "Death has been swallowed up in victory."

1 Corinthians 15:51-54

There are or will be some people who will not die! They are the followers of Jesus who are still alive when the trumpet sounds and Jesus returns to this earth in Power and Glory! It will be an ordinary day. People will be going about their business on one side of the world and sound asleep on the other. Weddings and funerals will be soon planned or already in progress. Everything that is called “normal” will be suddenly interrupted with the blast of the trumpet.

Those who are looking forward to the return of Jesus will gasp “FINALLY!” And those who have rejected Him will cry out in fear. That moment may come before you finish reading this paragraph! It will be the greatest moment in human history. Suddenly, there will be the Glorious return of Jesus and you will bow down before Him overcome by His Majesty and Power! The Bible says that every knee will bow. If you love Him you will bow and if you hate Him you will also bow. The time of standing in opposition to God will be over. No one will be able to oppose Almighty God.

Every follower of Jesus will see that moment. If you have already died, you will rise to greet Him. If you still alive you will be changed from perishable to imperishable.

Perishable food has an expiration date and so does this perishable body. No perishable body will last beyond the return of Jesus. When Jesus returns you will receive a permanent eternal body if you are one of His! No one will ever be concerned with the decay of that body. If will always be in perfect shape and never be sick!

That day will be a little like the children’s game when you hear Him shout: READY OR NOT HERE I COME!

Sunday, December 27, 2009

God is a Taylor!

And why do you worry about clothes? See how the lilies of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith?

Matthew 6:28-30

When I think about different occupations in this world, the job of carpenter is always footnoted with the fact that Jesus plied that trade with his father. But God Himself was the first TAYLOR! God made clothes out of animal skins for Adam and Eve to cover their nakedness after they sinned.

When God killed the animal or animals to make clothes for Adam and Eve I wonder if He let them know that they were dying to cover the impact of man’s sin? It was indeed the first animal sacrifice and in a sense it was a sacrifice for sin.

Jesus told us in Matthew 6 that God is still providing clothes for His children. Of course these verses are speaking of physical clothes and we must trust God to provide the clothing we need. But there is a greater covering that He gives to us through Jesus. Our sin left us naked and exposed. Jesus covers our sin with His own blood. We are clothed with His righteousness and our shame was borne by Jesus when He died on the Cross!

Clothing is either designed to cover the imperfections in our bodies or it can be made to expose us to the world. When Jesus clothes us we become the very definition of modesty. Our need for clothing came because of sin and not wearing proper clothing promotes the continuation of lust.

As a follower of Jesus Christ never decide on your own what you will wear. Always ask Jesus to clothe you as He did the lilies of the field. When you wear the Righteousness of Jesus you will always be the “BEST DRESSED PERSON IN THE EASTER PARADE!”

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Not One Stone?

Jesus left the temple and was walking away when his disciples came up to him to call his attention to its buildings. "Do you see all these things?" he asked. "I tell you the truth, not one stone here will be left on another; every one will be thrown down."

Matthew 24:1-2

Jesus predicted that all of the stones in the temple buildings would be thrown down and not one would be left on another. For all of my life I have been told that this prophecy was fulfilled in A.D. 70 when the Romans destroyed the temple. There is one small problem with this interpretation. It seems that the Romans left a few stones still in place. (see Today those stones are called the Wailing Wall and were apparently part of those structures Jesus spoke about when he predicted their complete dismantling.

In subsequent verses Jesus goes on to speak of His return to earth. The assumption has been that the taking down of the stones and the return of Jesus were two widely separated events. If some of the stones are still stacked in place then perhaps the two events are closely related.

It may just be another “sign” of the return of Jesus. When you see by whatever means the stones of the Wailing Wall taken down take notice and be ready for the return of Jesus. But more importantly, be ready for the return of Jesus today. An accurate missile from some other country or a terrorist explosion could, in a split second take those stones down.

So if you are looking in the Bible for prophetic references to the end of time to convince yourself that you don’t need to be ready today you are indeed being foolish. The timeline for the return of Jesus Christ can accelerate in an instant and the TRUMPET announce the arrival of the DAY OF THE LORD!

Take no comfort that everything may not be ready for His return. Only take comfort in knowing Jesus Christ and in being totally sold out to being His disciple! Maranatha!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009


Even youths grow tired and weary,
and young men stumble and fall;
but those who hope in the LORD
will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
they will run and not grow weary,
they will walk and not be faint.

Isaiah 40:30-31

When a man or woman is depressed the primary identifiable characteristic is hopelessness. Things that had great meaning in life have no significance at all when hope leaves. When there is no hope nothing else matters. A young man in pursuit of the affections of a young woman can go on for days, even years with only one glimmer of hope that someday she will receive and return his love.

In total darkness one match can reveal the way and in a time of total despair one bit of hope makes all the difference.

When you hope in other men, no matter how noble they may be you are always disappointed in the end. When you hope in God you will never be disappointed! When you put your hope in God your strength will be renewed, you will soar like an eagle, and you will run and not grow weary and walk and not faint.

In the New Testament hope is in a list with faith and love in 1 Corinthians 13. Love is greater, but the Bible does not say that hope is of lesser value than faith.

If you want to be strong and not faint, soar like and eagle, run and not grow weary and walk and not faint then look for hope.

When a man buys a lottery ticket his chances of winning are extremely small, but every purchase of a lottery ticket gives the man a tiny bit of hope. Even when resources are very limited millions of people every day spend money for the hope that they might become rich!

The hope you can have today in Jesus Christ will cost you everything you have, but you are not buying a chance that you may be a winner! Everyone who hopes in Jesus Christ becomes rich! Every ticket of hope you buy from Jesus is a big winner! Get yours today!

Monday, December 21, 2009

Nothing to Fear?

Whenever Jehudi had read three or four columns of the scroll, the king cut them off with a scribe's knife and threw them into the firepot, until the entire scroll was burned in the fire. The king and all his attendants who heard all these words showed no fear, nor did they tear their clothes.

Jeremiah 36:23-24

Franklin Roosevelt was quite wrong when he said, “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.” To be perfectly candid that statement would be an appropriate declaration from an inmate in an insane asylum. Analyze it for a moment. If you have nothing to fear but fear then why should you fear nothing? During World War II we had plenty to fear. The world itself was being threatened by despots who wanted to bring to an end our way of life and remove freedom from the world. So if you didn’t fear them, then why did we fight them?

Today we again proclaim proudly that the world has nothing to fear as long as we come together and tackle the great problems of health care and climate change! We are taking the Word of God and fearlessly cutting it up and throwing it in the firepot.

We not only disregard the Word of God but we actively ban it from every public display.

Somehow we have come to believe that showing no fear of anything is an admirable characteristic. It is not. Fear is a good thing when the thing you fear should be, by all rights feared. Fearing your own shadow is foolish, but fearing a shadowy form that lurks waiting to do you harm is wise! It is better to fear everything than to fear nothing! When you fear nothing, then you don’t fear God and that is an eternally fatal mistake.

So when you hear a Word from God that convicts you of your sin let the fear of God prompt you to repent. Then let the Word of God burn brightly in your heart not in the firepot!

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Falling Down!

"So I will come near to you for judgment. I will be quick to testify against sorcerers, adulterers and perjurers, against those who defraud laborers of their wages, who oppress the widows and the fatherless, and deprive aliens of justice, but do not fear me," says the LORD Almighty.

Malachi 3:5

When God comes near there is no doubt about it. When God comes near there is either revival or judgment. When you are in the presence of Almighty God you either fall down in worship and praise or you fall down in fear. In either case you cannot stand before the Lord!

When God comes near for revival the response among men is amazing. Men are not convinced by sound reasoning that they should repent and accept the Lord, they hear the Word, maybe even a very brief Word from God and they are overwhelmed with their need to repent! It doesn’t make a lot of sense, but a look at the history of revivals clearly shows how a revival sweeps through a culture, country or even the world. Revivals are a great leveler when it comes to rationality and intellect. When a revival comes men and women are moved to accept Jesus without regard to their education or the astuteness of their minds. When God comes near for revival you will either be drawn to Him or you will run away in horror.

When God comes near for judgment it is a fearful scene! The sins that we so easily tolerate are judged by God Himself. In Malachi 3:5 we see a list of some of those sins. The verse ends with the statement, “’But do not fear me,’ says the Lord Almighty.”

Do you fear God? If you do not now fear God when He comes near for judgment you will experience the fear of God in a way you cannot even imagine now!

Many people today believe in God but do not fear Him. If that is your condition pray that God will come near for revival. When you are touched by God Himself and see around you the multitudes falling down in worship and praise before Jesus Christ you will be changed forever and the judgment of God will be left for those who do not fear Him!

Saturday, December 19, 2009

God’s Elevator!

Blessed is she who has believed that what the Lord has said to her will be accomplished!

Luke 1:45

Faith without works may be dead, but works without faith is a great way to miss some wonderful blessings. I have what I believe to be a completely reasonable fear of heights. External elevators with glass walls on tall buildings bring me no joy. If I ride such a device I usually stand next to the door and purposely ignore the grand view for which the elevator was designed in the first place. The fear of heights though is really a misnomer. I am not afraid of heights, I am afraid of falling!

Both Mary and her cousin Elizabeth were taken by God to heights of spiritual experience from which the view must have been utterly amazing. They not only were the mothers of Jesus and John the Baptist but they were told by God even before the birth of the babies how very special the boys would be. We can’t even imagine the conversations Mary and Elizabeth had during the time that Mary stayed with Elizabeth before the birth of Jesus, but the words of Elizabeth in Luke 1:45 probably sum up their dialogue.

“Blessed is she who has believed that what the Lord has said to her will be accomplished!"

The hard part for both Mary and Elizabeth was to believe God! Imagine how many times both of them were tempted to doubt that these amazing pregnancies were really as they had been told, but they were blessed because they both believed.

Believing God to accomplish what He has promised is a little like watching the glorious view from the glass walled elevator as it ascends to the top floor of the building. As the Lord is taking you to the heights you close your eyes and look the other way because you are afraid you might fall!

When I close my eyes in a glass walled elevator it is because I do not trust the maker of the elevator with my life. When I close my eyes to the glories around me as a follower of Jesus it is because I do not trust the Maker of the Universe with my life!

When you get on the Glass Walled Elevator of God push the button for Heaven, open your eyes, look at the view and enjoy the ride! There is nothing else like it on earth.

Friday, December 18, 2009

To Be Like Jesus!

"Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves,
for the rights of all who are destitute."

Proverbs 31:8

Sometimes a verse is lost in its context. Proverbs 31 is most remembered for a description of a woman of noble character. It is a notable picture of a “liberated woman” who is involved in all kinds of business ventures as well as “housewife” responsibilities.

But just before this memorable passage there is verse eight. "Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute.”

When you do what this verse says you step into the shadow of Jesus Christ. Jesus spoke to God on our behalf. We had no right and no way to come to God and plead our case. In fact, even if we could have come before God to plead our case we would have had no case to plead. We were guilty with no defense before God and we were destitute. Without hope and slaves to sin there was no way we could climb out of the pit! But Jesus spoke to God on our behalf. Jesus is truly the “Bridge Over Troubled Waters.”

So when you speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves you find another way to image the life of Jesus Christ. Don’t champion the rights of the destitute only for their sake. Fill those shoes and walk in that path because it was the Way that the Savior walked for your sake and mine.

All you need in this life is to be like Jesus!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

The Perfect Gift?

But after he had considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, "Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins."
Matthew 1:20-21

The gift speaks volumes about the giver! In order to give your wife the “perfect gift” for a special occasion you must listen carefully over a long period of time and take note of the hints that are sure to come. Then you will hear the “it’s just what I wanted” proclamation on Christmas morning. Giving good gifts is not easy, but it is certainly worthwhile. Jesus even said that it is more blessed to give than to receive. (Acts 20:35)

The wise men brought gifts to Jesus, but His parents gave Him gifts as well. Mary gave birth to Jesus and Joseph gave Jesus His name. Both of them were enabled to give because of what they received. Mary received from the Holy Spirit when she conceived the Son of Man. Joseph received from the angel of the Lord when he was told to name the boy "Jesus."

When you arrive before the throne of Glory what will be said of the gift that you gave Jesus? Mary gave Jesus birth and Joseph gave Him a name. Have you given Jesus a few hours of your time each week, or is it truthfully a few minutes? Have you given Jesus ten percent of your income or is that number really high? Truthfully, Jesus doesn’t want your time or your money. What Jesus wants is your heart. And it is in fact a heart that He created in you. When David repented of his sin with Bathsheba he asked the Lord to create in him a clean heart. That is the heart that Jesus wants you to give to Him.

When you let Jesus clean your heart and then you give it back to Him as a gift you will hear Him say “IT IS JUST WHAT I WANTED!”

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Winepress of Wrath!

The angel swung his sickle on the earth, gathered its grapes and threw them into the great winepress of God's wrath. They were trampled in the winepress outside the city, and blood flowed out of the press, rising as high as the horses' bridles for a distance of 1,600 stadia (about 180 miles.)

Revelation 14:19-20

If God is love then where does the wrath of God come from? How can love and wrath co-exist in One so perfect as God? The slogan “Make Love not War!” was the catch phrase of the 1960’s. Our imperfect definition of love excludes the possibility of wrath or any kind of violent action. We, like in the recent video of the speaker of the House of Representatives begin to quiver and shed tears when we speak of anything that might cause violence to erupt.

But Revelation 14 says that the wrath of God is violent and bloody. It is not just a little bloody; it is the bloodiest description I have ever read. One hundred and eighty miles of a five foot deep stream of blood are the result of the wrath of God.

The “Battle Hymn of the Republic” clearly refers to these verses:

Mine Eyes hath seen the glory of the coming of the Lord.

He is trampling out the vintage where the Grapes of Wrath are stored!

I began to understand the relationship between love and wrath when Linda and I were married. All of the gentleness of love was to be directed toward her, but I discovered that my wrath was ready for anyone who threatened her. When children arrived in the family circle my potential for wrath increased exponentially. I became a gentle man of peace but ready for war at the slightest threat or provocation to the objects of my love.

Could it be that the wrath of God is the same? The final expression of the wrath of God will be directed at the world system that threatens the objects of His love?

What can an evil man do in opposing God? Of course he can do nothing that could thwart the designs of God. What can a man do in opposing one of the Children of God or the Bride of Christ? That is where an evil man has the ability to inflict a wound and incite the wrath of God.

When you attack me, I can ignore it and laugh it off. But when you attack one of my loved ones you will suffer from my wrath. When you attack God Himself there may be no apparent consequence, but when you attack the object of God’s love the blood will flow!

So there is the paradoxical miracle of the Gospel. The Wrath of God was turned on Jesus for my sake. The Blood of Jesus flowed so that mine will not in the winepress of His Wrath! That is how God solved the problem of Love and Wrath and that is how I escape the Winepress of Wrath!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Born Again!

"How will this be," Mary asked the angel, "since I am a virgin?"
The angel answered, "The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God.

Luke 1:34-35

The Immaculate Conception is rarely discussed. It is mind boggling on the one hand and perhaps even embarrassing on the other. In simple terms the Holy Spirit got Mary pregnant! That has never happened before or since. Mary was a virgin but she became pregnant by the power of God. Truthfully, Mary was the only human being who knew for sure that she was a virgin.

Now here is the paradox. The proof that a girl is not a virgin is that she is pregnant. Mary was pregnant and yet was a virgin. It did not make sense and most people, including Joseph for a time did not believe her. How could Mary explain the situation? Who would believe her?

The bottom line is that God sent Jesus Christ to the earth with a huge moral cloud hanging over His mother. There was no way on earth for Mary to “clear her name” with those people who knew her while she was pregnant with Jesus. It would be only if they came to know Jesus as Savior and Lord that they could see the evidence that Mary was innocent of any wrong doing.

Wasn’t God concerned about Mary’s reputation? Why would God choose to let the world see the mother of Jesus as a woman of ill repute?

Truthfully, God was not concerned about Mary’s reputation. He was concerned about Mary’s dedication to Him. What other people thought of Mary was of no importance to God. What God thought of Mary is the only thing that mattered. God rightly said that Mary would be “highly exalted” and ultimately she was.

God is not concerned about your reputation. The fact that anyone thinks that I am a “good man” is totally irrelevant to God. His concern is focused on my dedication to Him and my willingness to submit to His will. God may even ask me, as He did Mary to be obedient to Him in a way that will cause other people to believe that I am a man of “ill repute.” What difference does that make? It makes no difference at all.

Mary was willing to let Jesus Christ grow inside her body and be her first born Son. Are you willing to let Jesus grow inside your heart? The world may think you have done something wrong. But when you let Jesus grow in your heart He is not born again, you are!

Monday, December 14, 2009

God’s Yogurt Starter!

And we also thank God continually because, when you received the word of God, which you heard from us, you accepted it not as the word of men, but as it actually is, the word of God, which is at work in you who believe.

1 Thessalonians 2:13

I make my own yogurt. Actually, I have a “yogurt maker” and I follow a few simple instructions and then I have seven new jars of yogurt. But truthfully I don’t make yogurt at all. What I do is take a bit of yogurt and put it in warm milk that has been heated enough to kill everything else that might grow in it. After it cools to just the right temperature I mix in a little yogurt with active cultures and keep the concoction warm for about eight hours. The yogurt I put in the milk grows and turns all the milk into yogurt.

So as you can see, I don’t make yogurt. All I do is provide a medium in which the yogurt can grow and take over the milk!

The Word of God is like yogurt. When you purge your heart of every other allegiance and let the Word of God grow inside, you are changed just like milk is changed into yogurt. Like making yogurt, when your heart is polluted with the “bacteria” of the world the Word of God will not grow and permeate your life.

As Adam and Eve found out it only takes one bite of the forbidden fruit to stop the work of God’s Spirit in your life. God provides all you need of spiritual food. Stay satisfied with His Word and don’t touch the world’s pollution. If you have already touched the pollution of this world, ask God to purge it from your life so His life can grow in you and control your every word, thought and deed!

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Whistle a Happy Tune?

God is our refuge and strength,
an ever-present help in trouble.
Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way
and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea,
though its waters roar and foam
and the mountains quake with their surging.

Psalm 46:1-3

The Broadway Musical “The King and I” includes a song of personal psychology. The song “Whistle a Happy Tune” says that whenever I feel afraid I should whistle a happy tune so no one will know that I am afraid. It goes on to say that I will even fool myself into believing that I am not afraid. The shallow deception of this psychology is amazingly well accepted in the world today. It is widely accepted that pretending a problem isn’t there will make it go away. It will not!

A preponderance of people alive today pretend that the fear of God is inappropriate and will go away if they just “Whistle a Happy Tune” and go on with their lives ignoring Him. Eventually they fool themselves into believing that God is not to be feared.

It is a little like convincing a child that he need not fear walking across a busy street. As the fear goes away, the danger, in fact increases. Without a healthy fear of traffic the life of the child is certain to end soon and tragically.

Without a healthy fear of God your life will end soon and tragically as well. Listening to the One who created you and heeding His Word is the only way to navigate the troubled waters with ultimate success.

When you fear God you don’t need to fear the world or the things that are coming on the world. If you don’t fear God pretending that everything will work out alright in the end is the ultimate foolishness. Without God and the fear of God nothing will be alright! But with God everything will be fine. Fearing God gives you a solid reason not to fear anything or anyone else!

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Metronome of Life!

The Lord says:
"These people come near to me with their mouth
and honor me with their lips,
but their hearts are far from me.
Their worship of me
is made up only of rules taught by men.

Isaiah 29:13

God wants your lips and your heart to be in sync! When the orchestra and the soloist are not at exactly the same place in the musical score the resulting sound is at first noticeable, then irritating, and if it continues it sinks to the point of being a laughable joke! If the sounds made by all of the instruments in an orchestra itself are separated by just one second you hear only noise and it is not music to your ears.

A man to be praised is one whose speech is consistent with his heart. You know that the words you hear are coming from the depths of his heart and he is not a man of deception.

With the coming of audio and video recordings it is now possible to hear and see the inconsistencies of people who make public proclamations. It is no longer shocking to hear a politician making a claim that was quite obviously a lie in order to gain your vote! Even public liars are not held accountable for their performances which are out of sync with the orchestra of truth!

God however still desires that your words and your heart are consistent and playing the same song! When He hears your words of worship and praise He also looks at your heart. Is your worship merely words from your mouth or is it an accurate expression of the condition of your heart?

Truth itself is the metronome of life by which God judges whether or not He is hearing music or noise! Listen for the Spirit of God to give you the beat for the next sound you make. Your simple life can then become part of the glorious chorus of Praise and Adoration!

Friday, December 11, 2009

Heartbeat of Jesus!

Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel.
Isaiah 7:14

When I first learned the Morse code I was in my early teens. It was truly a new language and I could communicate using my Ham radio while no one around me knew what I was hearing or what I was saying. One way that I practiced the Morse code was to sound out the dots and dashes when I saw a sign while riding in a car. I was too young to drive. When I saw a sign I would try to convert all the words on the sign into Morse code before we passed it. It gave me a way to practice my Morse code skills while traveling with my parents.

When you come to know Jesus Christ He teaches you the “Bible Code.” I’m not talking about the book by that name. With the Bible code you can communicate with your Heavenly Father without anyone in the world around you knowing what you are hearing or saying.

One way you can practice your Bible Code skills is to apply them to the signs you see in life. As you travel through life you can look at the signs along the way and ask the Lord to let you know their meanings in light of His Word.

When you don’t know the Morse code hearing someone communicate with it sounds like random noises with no meaning at all. But if you know the Morse code the meaning is clear. If you don’t know the Bible Code hearing someone communicate with it sounds like random or even foolish noises with no meaning at all.

If you know the Bible Code, sound out this sign: “The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel.” This is the impossible reality that God is with us through Jesus Christ! When you feel strong you can believe that you are with God, but when you are weak you must know the Immanuel truth that God is with us! Others may hear just noise, but we can hear the heartbeat of Jesus!

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Run for Higher Ground!

" 'I the LORD have spoken. The time has come for me to act. I will not hold back; I will not have pity, nor will I relent. You will be judged according to your conduct and your actions, declares the Sovereign LORD.' "

Ezekiel 24:14

When a Tsunami approaches a coastline there can be a phenomenon called “drawback.” Before the wave hits the water pulls away from the shore leaving the sea bed dry and luring the curious into the trap of a watery grave! So now you know that if you see the water receding from the beach it is time to run as fast as you can the other direction and look for high ground. Higher ground is your only hope of not being swept away in the Tsunami that is approaching.

If you are at sea when the Tsunami passes your location you may not even feel the wave go by. Because of the depth of the water a huge Tsunami may only feel like a small wave. So truthfully, the safest place to be when the destructive Tsunami hits is out in the deep water.

Like a Tsunami in the ocean the judgment of God is coming on the whole earth. There is no escape. God’s justice is perfect and His judgment is certain. Only those who depend on Jesus Christ will be spared from the wave of destruction that is coming. On that day the sky may be blue and the sun shining brightly when the “drawback” starts and your curiosity pulls you even more into harm’s way.

If you can hear the warning now, it is time to run for the higher ground of Jesus Christ. It seems the drawback is already starting and things are being exposed that have never been exposed before. Run to Jesus! Let him lift you high above the danger. If you are already in the deep water with Jesus rejoice that being in the depths with Jesus is the safest place to be in the Tsunami that is coming.

Don’t be tempted by the drawback and lured out into the now dry seabed as you study things that have never before been exposed. God’s Tsunami exposes the corruption and then washes it away! Your job is to run for higher ground!

Monday, December 7, 2009

Banquet with No Food!

10 In little more than a year
you who feel secure will tremble;
the grape harvest will fail,
and the harvest of fruit will not come.
14 The fortress will be abandoned,
the noisy city deserted;
citadel and watchtower will become a wasteland forever,
the delight of donkeys, a pasture for flocks,
15 till the Spirit is poured upon us from on high,
and the desert becomes a fertile field,
and the fertile field seems like a forest.

Isaiah 32:10 & 14-15

The first year my son played high school football, we were invited to attend the “Football Banquet.” I think the appointed time was 6:30 pm and we arrived ready to eat! There was no food! Somehow over the years it was decided that it was too much trouble to feed all those people so the meal disappeared but the name stayed the same.

Satan invites you to a banquet but when you arrive, hungry and ready to eat there is no food!

The story of Joseph in the Book of Genesis is filled with symbols that point to Jesus and the Christian experience. Slavery, suffering, crossing the Red Sea, and freedom in the desert for years while waiting to go in to the Promised Land are all part of the whole story that begins with Joseph being sold into Egypt by his brothers.

For God to accomplish His purposes He withheld the harvest for seven years after seven years of plenty. The lack of food motivated Jacob and his sons to move to Egypt where they grew into a nation. Suffering brought them to Egypt and suffering returned as they became slaves before they were led out by Moses.

Comfort is no motivator. Having your desires satisfied usually does not precede action and accomplishment. If you want your son to become a great fisherman give him hunger not a better fishing rod!

When God withholds what we consider to be a necessity we need to ask this question: “What action is this insufficiency prompting and how is that consistent with what God wants of my life?”

Remember, the World will invite you to a “Banquet,” but it is a banquet with no food. There will be nothing to satisfy your real needs. But when the Spirit “is poured upon us from on high, the desert becomes a fertile field.”

Sunday, December 6, 2009

It is All About Jesus!

Jesus answered, "I tell you the truth, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless he is born of water and the Spirit. Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit. You should not be surprised at my saying, 'You must be born again.' The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit."

John 3:5-8

We all know what it means to be born as a natural man. But what does it mean to be born as a spiritual man? If you are to enter the kingdom of God you must be first born as a natural man and then you must be born of the Spirit!

When you were born of the Flesh you first had been conceived by your father and mother as they were united as one flesh. The miracle of your life was none of your own doing. You were not there until it happened and even after it happened your awareness and understanding was very limited.

When you were born of the Spirit you first had been conceived in the mind of God by the Spirit. The miracle of your spiritual life was none of your own doing. The Love of God, the sacrifice of Jesus Christ, and the Spirit Himself came together to bring you to the point of birth as a spiritual man! You played no more role in the conception of your spiritual life than you did in your physical life.

But what about the choice I made to love and follow Jesus? Isn’t that part of the picture when I become a child of God? When the Bible says “All have sinned and fall short of the Glory of God” isn’t it recognizing a position from which you fall.

It is difficult to grasp, but consider carefully this concept. All men are conceived of the Spirit, but not all men are born of the Spirit. The Spirit desires that every man, woman, and child who has ever lived be born again! It does not happen. That is why abortion is such a great evil in the world. Physical life created by and conceived by God is aborted before birth.

The love of God provides that everyone born of the flesh might also be born of the Spirit. When you accept Jesus Christ you simply choose not to abort that process. Your new birth is by His decision and His power.

Your testimony is not about you. Your testimony is about how you were born again because of Him! It is all about Jesus!

Friday, December 4, 2009

Leave the Party!

Then I heard another voice from heaven say:
"Come out of her, my people,
so that you will not share in her sins,
so that you will not receive any of her plagues;
for her sins are piled up to heaven,
and God has remembered her crimes.
Give back to her as she has given;
pay her back double for what she has done.
Mix her a double portion from her own cup.
Give her as much torture and grief
as the glory and luxury she gave herself.
In her heart she boasts,
'I sit as queen; I am not a widow,
and I will never mourn.'
Therefore in one day her plagues will overtake her:
death, mourning and famine.
She will be consumed by fire,
for mighty is the Lord God who judges her.

Revelation 18:4-8

There is much controversy and even bitterness about the President of the United States apologizing to the rest of the world for things that we have done to offend. Why should we ask forgiveness when we have been perhaps the most effective deterrent to tyranny the world has ever known? Our generosity in times of crisis is legendary.

But what about our national sins, can a nation sin against God? When people join together and call themselves a nation and then establish laws that are directly contradictory to the Word of God it is sin. Revelation 18:4 speaks of national sins.

Offenses may be irrelevant but sins are not! Even as in a court of law the question is not how humanitarian is the criminal. The question is did he commit the crime and what is the prescribe punishment. The judgment of guilt or innocence cannot be based on who you are or what else you have done.

The advice in Revelation 18 is that God’s people “come out” of such a nation so that they will not share in her sins or receive her punishment. We have been more focused on avoiding the punishment and less aware of what it means to share in the sins of our nation.

If you want to know if you are “sharing in the sins” of your nation here is a good first step. Get a piece of paper and write down the top ten sins of your country. If you can’t think of ten can you name five? What about three? Ok, let’s just name the greatest sin of this nation.

If you can’t name the sins of your nation then it is likely you are participating in them yourself. Ask God to show you how your country is sinning against Him and determine to leave the party before the fire falls in judgment.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Pilgrimage to Glory!

Blessed are those whose strength is in you,
who have set their hearts on pilgrimage.
As they pass through the Valley of Baca,
they make it a place of springs;
the autumn rains also cover it with pools.
They go from strength to strength,
till each appears before God in Zion.

Psalm 84:5-7

If you have no fear of heights, hot air balloons are an exciting endeavor. Up, up and away in your beautiful balloon! If the wind is blowing gently you will peacefully go with the flow until it is time to find a place to land. If the wind picks up the hot air balloon experience can quickly become a terrifying and even fatal ride. I prefer flying with someone controlling where I am going.

Life itself for some is like a hot air balloon ride. It is exciting enough at first and the view is beautiful. Like a balloon ride you have no idea where the wind is taking you! At times, like a balloon ride in a storm life can be terrifying and even fatal. When you get to the end of the ride you have no idea why you arrived at that destination since all you could do in this life is to make the best of where the wind took you.

When you become a follower of Jesus Christ you step out of the drifting balloon and become a pilgrim. Followers of Jesus are not just blown about by every wind that comes their way. Christians are on a journey. It is a journey that will end when they stand before the throne of God in Heaven.

The way to Heaven is Jesus Himself. Jesus said “"I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.!” (John 14:6)

Like Peter stepping out of the boat in a storm, Jesus calls us to leave the gondola and let Him take us on our Pilgrimage to Glory!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Too Tall to Fall!

This is what he showed me: The Lord was standing by a wall that had been built true to plumb, with a plumb line in his hand. And the LORD asked me, "What do you see, Amos?"
"A plumb line," I replied.
Then the Lord said, "Look, I am setting a plumb line among my people Israel; I will spare them no longer.

Amos 7:7-8

Gravity is an amazingly reliable force. Gravity pulls everything on earth toward the center of the earth. For as long as men have been building walls and buildings the force of gravity on a plumb line insures that the construction is perfectly vertical.

The Leaning Tower of Pisa is a famous example of a structure that is not plumb. Construction on the Tower began in 1173 and had only three floors when it started to lean. But in spite of that fact the construction went on for 177 years.

The reason the Tower of Pisa became the Leaning Tower of Pisa is that the foundation was poorly laid in unstable sub-soil. Over the years and as recently as the 1990’s extensive efforts were made to keep the tower from falling.

As God overseas the building of my life and yours there is the plumb line of His Word. When I stray from the Word of God my life begins to lean precariously. If I continue to build with my life “out of plumb” I will fall.

Then the Lord said, "Look, I am setting a plumb line among my people Israel; I will spare them no longer.”

As your continue to grow in the Lord it is crucial that you check the plumb line of His Word and make sure that you are not becoming a leaning tower. Never forget there is no tower that is too tall to fall!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Drop in a Bucket!

"My prayer is not for them (the disciples) alone. I pray also for those (us) who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one: I in them and you in me. May they be brought to complete unity to let the world know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.

John 17:20-23

Jesus has given His followers today the glory that God gave Him! When I read those words I feel like a little child and I want to ask my Father: “What do you mean what glory?” What is “Glory?”

According to one dictionary definition Glory is the fame, admiration, and honor that is given to somebody who does something important. Is this admiration caused by Jesus or given by Jesus? Does Jesus cause others to admire us or does He admire us? The almost unimaginable truth is that Jesus Himself gives us Glory!

My father was a man of few words. My verbosity was taught by my mother. But my father paid me a ten word compliment once that I will never forget. It was in fact so precious that I must not share it here or I will get completely side tracked just thinking about it. When a parent sincerely admires a child it gives the child a Glory that cannot be matched except by Jesus Himself.

If you are a disciple of Jesus Christ and are His child He has given you Glory! Jesus likes you. Jesus appreciates you. Jesus is proud of you. Jesus wants to be with you.

A good parent enjoys spending time with his child. Jesus Christ wants to be with me. It gives me joy to be with Him, but it also gives Him joy to be with me. The love that I share with Jesus is not a one way street. I give Him Glory, but according to John 17:22 Jesus gives Glory to me!

I frankly do not grasp this truth. It is beyond my poor ability to understand, but I can by faith know that Jesus is pleased with me.

Of all the things that might encourage a man on earth this is the greatest! Jesus loves me and admires me! I must not forget that His admiration is not because of what I have done or will ever do. His admiration for me is because I love Him even as He has loved me!

The depth of Jesus love for me makes the deepest ocean into no more than a drop in a bucket! Praise Him Forever!

Monday, November 30, 2009

Buried with Christ!

If we have been united with him like this in his death, we will certainly also be united with him in his resurrection. For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin— because anyone who has died has been freed from sin.
Romans 6:5-7

Very soon after someone dies we notify the funeral home so they can come and remove the body. In some cultures family members prepare the body for burial, but without professional embalming there is an urgent need to get the body into the grave. If you delay the burial in a warm climate the results will confirm the words of Lazarus’s sister who said that he will be stinking in just four days.

Christians who have died with Christ must be buried with Him! If you delay the burial the results are the same as with a natural death. After you die with Christ the world sees no life left in you. You are no longer of any use to the world. Dead bodies are only useful to bury. Some spend their time trying to convince the world that they are not really dead and are therefore not responsible for the odor. But refusing to be buried will cause you to sink!

You can’t have it both ways. There is no middle ground. Either you are dead to the world and alive to Christ or you are alive to the world and dead to Christ.

The charade is two sided. Many pretend to be dead to the world while they clearly are not and many pretend to be alive to the world after they have died with Christ. The smell is strong on both sides. Those who pretend to be dead to the world are offensive to those who have died with Christ. And those who have died with Christ are odious to the world.

If you have died with Christ quit pretending you are still part of the world and be about your burial!

Sunday, November 29, 2009

The Wedding Wonder!

"Surely the day is coming; it will burn like a furnace. All the arrogant and every evildoer will be stubble, and that day that is coming will set them on fire," says the LORD Almighty. "Not a root or a branch will be left to them. But for you who revere my name, the sun of righteousness will rise with healing in its wings. And you will go out and leap like calves released from the stall.

Malachi 4:1-2

When wildfires sweep across Southern California the destruction is “no respecter of persons.” The Movie Star’s mansion burns just like the smallest house in the area. When the fire comes your resume makes no difference! The fires come every year but the people stay on with the hope that the fires will not take away their homes and prized possessions.

“Surely the day is coming,” when fire will sweep across the world and the destruction will be the same. No one will escape because of their position, wealth or power. All the “arrogant and every evildoer” will be lit like a pile of trash in a burning pit. There will be no survivors! This fire will not spare anyone in its path.

But for those who revere the Name of the Lord that day will be a glorious time of rejoicing. The hope that sustained them through the years will be transformed into the present glory of standing and “leaping” before the Lord Himself. It will be an explosion of the Wedding Day Wonder on an Eternal scale!

It will be like a man, blind from birth opening his eyes and seeing the light of day for the first time! You will not be able to contain the joy you will feel. Even the most unemotional among us will be overcome with the thrill!

The Bible talks about “the pleasures of sin for a season.” Satan offers to give us that short term gain for an eternal loss. It is a cosmic scam that will insure that everyone who accepts the deal with have buyer’s remorse forever.

When you hear the offer by Satan remember the fire and JUST SAY NO!

Saturday, November 28, 2009

White Knuckle Christian!

Satan rose up against Israel and incited David to take a census of Israel. So David said to Joab and the commanders of the troops, "Go and count the Israelites from Beersheba to Dan. Then report back to me so that I may know how many there are."
But Joab replied, "May the LORD multiply his troops a hundred times over. My lord the king, are they not all my lord's subjects? Why does my lord want to do this? Why should he bring guilt on Israel?"

1 Chronicles 21:1-3

I am a white knuckle flyer! Well not every time I fly, but when turbulence or some other anomaly during the flight becomes impossible to ignore I hold on tightly to the nearest solid object. You can try that right now and see that after even a minute or so the color in your knuckles begins to fade for lack of blood.

My most memorable “white knuckle” flight was in a Piper Cub which was older than I am. The pilot and I shared a half inch thick piece of plywood that served as a seat. There was at least one rip in the covering of the plane that had been repaired with grey duct tape. I’m not sure why I agreed to go on the flight. It was sort of like sin. For a fleeting moment it seemed like a good idea and before I could think about it long enough to realize the stupidity of the decision we were taking off! During the brief flight I held on to the plywood seat as tightly as I could. My knuckles were white and I was having a personal time of prayer and repentance as we flew over the city!

Why was it a sin for David to take a census of the people? I would think that he was just being responsible as the King. The reason it was a sin and the reason God punished the people severely for this sin is that David was taking a census so that he could go to war in his own strength while depending on the size of his army and not on the Lord!

White knuckle flyers are depending on the grip of their fist to keep them from falling from an airplane. How stupid is that? King David was preparing to depend on the size of his army rather than the Lord. That will not work as well.

Today I would urge you to stand in judgment of your every thought. “Am I thinking this because I want to depend on something other than God?” It could be the simplest thought about the most inconsequential thing, but if you are depending on something or someone other than God you are becoming a White Knuckle Christian. White knuckle flyers and White Knuckle Christians do not enjoy the ride. They are consumed with the prospect that something could and probably will go wrong and we will all be killed! If you are a White Knuckle Christian, let go of the seat, look out of the window at the glorious view and enjoy the ride!

Friday, November 27, 2009

The First Snowflake!

But Abram said to the king of Sodom, "I have raised my hand to the LORD, God Most High, Creator of heaven and earth, and have taken an oath that I will accept nothing belonging to you, not even a thread or the thong of a sandal, so that you will never be able to say, 'I made Abram rich.'

Genesis 14:22-23

Abraham saved Sodom before God destroyed the city! It was dramatic. Four kings seized all the goods of Sodom and all their food. They also carried off some of the people of Sodom along with Abram's nephew Lot and his possessions, since he was living there.

Abraham got the news and with 318 men defeated the four kings and returned the people and their stuff to Sodom. Sodom had suffered a terrible trial and would never have been the same except for the quick work of Abraham and his men!

But was Abraham’s intervention in the tribulation of Sodom a good thing? There is no mention of Sodom’s repentance. Sodom was a wicked city and would soon see the fire fall making it an eternal example of God’s judgment on unrighteousness. If Abraham had not intervened would the suffering of Sodom have led them to repentance and revival? No one knows for sure, but it would have only taken ten righteous people to save them from their fiery fate.

Have we by our political intervention been trying to “SAVE SODOM” once again like Abraham did in Genesis 14? The world has been going through a severe economic crisis. There are many Abrahams among us today. They are working diligently to save the rebellious world from collapse. What we must see is that the collapse of an economy, even a worldwide collapse can be just the medicine needed to bring us to repentance!

Today’s world is like a terminally ill patient. First the doctor comes and delivers the good news that even though the patient is terminally ill we will be able to keep him “comfortable” until the end. There is no rejoicing over that assessment. Then the doctor delivers the message that a cure has been found and the patient will recover even though it will be a struggle and painful at times! Who would choose the “comfortable until the end” option?

Even though the medicine tastes terrible and the rehab is painful it is the only logical choice!

Wake up America, and the world! Anesthesia will not avert the judgment that is sure to come. Repentance will change the course of the world but repentance comes one person at a time! You can choose to be the first snowflake in the blizzard!

Thursday, November 26, 2009


"But if I go to the east, he is not there;
if I go to the west, I do not find him.
When he is at work in the north, I do not see him;
when he turns to the south, I catch no glimpse of him.
But he knows the way that I take;
when he has tested me, I will come forth as gold.
My feet have closely followed his steps;
I have kept to his way without turning aside.
I have not departed from the commands of his lips;
I have treasured the words of his mouth more than my daily bread.

Job 23:8-12

I was less than five years old and I had taken my attention off of my mother for only a few seconds. There I was, lost in a grocery store! Little children panic quickly and I did. I remember seeing a coat that looked just like my mother’s. I ran up and pulled on the coat to get my mother’s attention! The woman turned around and it was not my mother. It may sound like no big deal to you, but almost sixty years later the memory is vivid in my mind. Of course my mother found me soon and all was well once again, but being lost and knowing it is terrifying.

Before the days of GPS (Global Positioning Satellites) you could travel for hours on the wrong road and never know you were lost. But when you discover the fact that you are lost, every bit of your attention is focused on getting out of that desperate situation.

The Bible is God’s Positioning System. The Bible let’s you know where you are in life. If you want to know if you should be assured that all is well in life and you have nothing to fear, then read the Word of God. God’s GPS like a satellite hovering above the earth will let you know exactly where you are in life!

Confidence and self-assurance in life mean nothing unless they come from knowing God! David brought down Goliath not because of his confidence and self-assurance. Goliath fell because God was with the shepherd boy!

When you, like Job cannot see God in your life, closely follow His steps and treasure His Word more than your daily bread.

A little boy who knows he is lost is terrified. An old man who knows he is lost is also terrified. The little boy cries out for his mother. The old man must cry out for God. God’s Word promises that He will always answer that cry!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Sleep in Your Clothes!

Therefore, as God's chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.

Colossians 3:12-14

Ever since the fall of man in the Garden of Eden men and women have spent a significant part of their time paying attention to clothing! The decision of “what to wear” is often a big one in the day of many women. And well to do women are concerned that no one else wears the same dress they are wearing at a public event. Men also have been told that “clothes make the man.” They are told how to “dress for success” and how to impress other people by what they wear.

We teach our children to always wear clean clothes if possible and not to sleep in their clothes.

God tells His people what to wear. He tells us to clothe ourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.

When you see another person the way to describe the sight is significant. “I see a man in a blue suit.” You don’t say, “I see a blue suit containing a man.” Even though you may see no skin at all you still say that you see a man wearing a blue suit.

As children of God we are seen as men and women displaying Godly characteristics. So we are seen as compassionate, kind, humble, gentle and patient. Without being draped around a child of God those things are impotent and irrelevant. President George Bush spoke about “compassionate conservatism.” Compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience are not characteristics of a philosophy. They are relevant only in the lives and actions of people.

A man may have many clothes in his closet, but he can only wear one suit at a time. A man wearing two or more suits quickly becomes a spectacle. However, as followers of Jesus we can wear all of our clothes every day. Today put on compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.

As a Christian you never have to change your clothes and sleeping in your clothes is not only acceptable, it is expected!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Row, Row, Row Your Boat!

For prophecy never had its origin in the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.
2 Peter 1:21

Rowing, even a small boat can be a very tiring experience. First you have to be totally coordinated. If you pull even a little harder with one arm or the other the little boat will simply go in circles. Then you can’t row a boat unless you are looking where you have been instead of where you are going. It is the way our bodies are constructed. To get a good pull on the oars you must be looking back not forward. It is very helpful when rowing a boat to have a passenger who can help you tweak the direction you are going.

But when you find the current in the river rowing gets easier and may become altogether unnecessary. If your little rowboat enters the rapids in the river rowing is not helpful at all. That’s when you hang on to the boat and see where the rapids will take you.

Life as a Christian can be like rowing a boat. Many believers row around in circles, never really getting anywhere and not even looking where they are going. They spend their days pulling hard on the oars just proud as can be to be in the boat. Then sometimes, even by accident we wander into the current of the Holy Spirit. It is a little scary at first. The boat is moving faster than we are rowing. What is happening? The Holy Spirit is obviously taking us places we never intended to go. But the most exciting part is when the current takes us into the rapids. As a believer all we can do is hang on to Jesus as our lives are tossed about from foaming current to rocks that threaten to sink our boat. Then, as there is sometimes in a river there is a beautiful placid calm just before we reach the precipice of a deep waterfall.

At this point we may be tempted to row against the current to see how long we can keep from going over the falls. But sooner or later our strength will run out and we will give in to the current and take the plunge. The giant waterfall of death waits for us all. If by faith you have learned to trust the current and even the rapids of the Holy Spirit’s leading then you can even embrace the waterfall as the next step on your journey through eternity. You still go over only by His power! Until the Holy Spirit takes you over the falls there is work for you to do here.

So there may be more than meets the eye to the 19th century nursery rhyme:

Row, row, row your boat,
Gently down the stream.
Merrily, merrily, merrily, merrily,
Life is but a dream!

Monday, November 23, 2009

His Hand is Lifted High!

My soul yearns for you in the night;
in the morning my spirit longs for you.
When your judgments come upon the earth,
the people of the world learn righteousness.

Though grace is shown to the wicked,
they do not learn righteousness;
even in a land of uprightness they go on doing evil
and regard not the majesty of the LORD.

O LORD, your hand is lifted high,
but they do not see it.
Let them see your zeal for your people and be put to shame;
let the fire reserved for your enemies consume them.

Isaiah 26:9-11

Even if you are driving a little past the speed limit when you spot a policeman there is that “Oh I hope he didn’t see me” feeling. Then when you look in the rear-view mirror and he pulls out and turns on the lights, a deep, “pit of your stomach” heaviness engulfs you! As you pull over to the side of the road you hear the siren and the cop speeds past you on his way to a more serious emergency! What a relief! You were clearly guilty and you knew it, but somehow you escaped arrest and the judgment that would have followed.

Today the world and many Christians are driving much faster than the speed limit. Breaking laws has become a tradition which seems to be without consequence. As it says in Isaiah 26:10, “even in a land of uprightness they go on doing evil and regard not the majesty of the LORD.” When terror strikes and tragedy once again consumes us the people of the world learn righteousness, but the wicked ignore the hand of the Lord!

The hand of the Lord is lifted high! He is prepared to show mercy to those who turn to Him or bring judgment on those who refuse! We are like the woman who is in heavy labor deciding to wait another week to have the baby. There is no waiting. The world is being consumed with wickedness. Lord, show your zeal for your people!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

God Floats My Boat!

     In the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, we command you, brothers, to keep away from every brother who is idle and does not live according to the teaching you received from us. For you yourselves know how you ought to follow our example. We were not idle when we were with you, nor did we eat anyone's food without paying for it. On the contrary, we worked night and day, laboring and toiling so that we would not be a burden to any of you. We did this, not because we do not have the right to such help, but in order to make ourselves a model for you to follow. For even when we were with you, we gave you this rule: "If a man will not work, he shall not eat."
     We hear that some among you are idle. They are not busy; they are busybodies. Such people we command and urge in the Lord Jesus Christ to settle down and earn the bread they eat.  And as for you, brothers, never tire of doing what is right.

2 Thessalonians 3:6-13

One of the practical struggles in the life of a Christian is the relationship between WORK and GRACE. We are told that our salvation comes by Grace and not by works so that we cannot boast. And yet we are given the monumental task of going into the entire world and preaching the Gospel to everyone.

Consider Noah. He was called by God to build an ark big enough to house every animal species on earth. If Noah had disobeyed God and refused to build the Ark you would not be reading these words. That would have been the end of mankind. So was it Noah’s work in building the Ark that saved us all from extinction, or was it God’s Grace that saved Noah and his family from the flood? Of course it was God’s Grace. If Noah had had a friend who decided he too would build an Ark like Noah’s so that he and his family could be saved what would have happened? By God’s Grace only Noah’s boat would float! Anything else that might have been used by other men in an attempt to ride out the flood failed. They all drowned. There must have been many who worked very hard at staying alive in the flood. None of their efforts worked.

Today we are all tempted to work to save ourselves from the destruction that is coming on the earth. Even as it was in the time of Noah the only salvation from the flood is found in the Ark of God! Anything you or I build in an attempt to save ourselves will not work. The only way to be saved is to be in the boat with Jesus.

So can I relax since my work will not save me? Oh my no! “Relax Noah; God is going to save you from the flood!” There are some today who say to me; “Relax; God is going to save you so there is nothing you can do about it.” I think not. Like Noah I must trust God’s leading to be the right way to go even if it means building an Ark far away from the water. But I must also work like Noah who spent years and years building the world’s greatest “Do it Yourself” project.

The truth in a nutshell is this: I BUILD MY BOAT AND GOD FLOATS MY BOAT!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Greatest Love Story!

When a Samaritan woman came to draw water, Jesus said to her, "Will you give me a drink?" (His disciples had gone into the town to buy food.)
The Samaritan woman said to him, "You are a Jew and I am a Samaritan woman. How can you ask me for a drink?" (For Jews do not associate with Samaritans.)
Jesus answered her, "If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him and he would have given you living water."
John 4:7-10

Jesus was sitting by Jacob’s well and He was thirsty. Then Jesus asked the Samaritan woman to give Him a drink of water. The part of this story that is so often overlooked is that Jesus asked the woman to give Him something that He really needed. Jesus was thirsty. It is hard for us to imagine that Jesus needed anything.

Did Jesus ever ask you to give Him something? Does Jesus need anything today? He sits at the right hand of the Father. How could Jesus need something? And especially how could Jesus need something that I could give Him? Jesus, the Almighty God, the Everlasting Father, King of Kings, Lord of Lords, the Alpha and the Omega needs something from me? What could I, the created give to the Creator that He needs?

Jesus said it plainly in Matthew 22:37 'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.' He said this was the greatest commandment. There is the secret of what He is asking. Love cannot be commanded. I cannot command my children to love me. God’s command brought worlds into existence, parted the waters of the Red Sea, raised the dead and healed the sick, but even God cannot command my love. It is not because God is powerless. It is because of what love is that it cannot be commanded. Love is always freely given. Love cannot be stolen. Stolen love is like a snow flake in your warm hand. It ceases to be.

The only thing that I have that Jesus needs is my heart! Why does Jesus need my heart? I don’t know. I can’t even answer that question when it comes to my wife and children. Why do I need their love? I don’t know, but I know that their love for me is more important than anything else in this life. With their love I have everything. Without it I have nothing.

So very humbly I would suggest that loving Jesus is what He needs from me and from you. If I were to obey every command and live a life that is as perfect as a human being could live, but did not love Him I would not satisfy what Jesus needs from me. Conversely, if I truly love Jesus then He will lead me, guide me, convict me and call me back to Him as often as it is necessary to insure that this love we share will last forever! It is the greatest Love Story ever told!

Monday, November 16, 2009

Rest Not Wrestle!

For Christ died for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God. He was put to death in the body but made alive by the Spirit, through whom also he went and preached to the spirits in prison who disobeyed long ago when God waited patiently in the days of Noah while the ark was being built. In it only a few people, eight in all, were saved through water, and this water symbolizes baptism that now saves you also—not the removal of dirt from the body but the pledge of a good conscience toward God. It saves you by the resurrection of Jesus Christ, who has gone into heaven and is at God's right hand—with angels, authorities and powers in submission to him.

1 Peter 3:18-22

When I lived in Indonesia and was studying Bahasa Indonesia (the Indonesian language) it was frequently easier for me to pretend to understand what someone was saying than to question again and again until I got the full meaning. I might know most of the words that were said and so I would simply guess at the part I did not understand.

That’s the way I feel about these verses in 1 Peter 3. I think I grasp most of it except the part about Jesus preaching to the “spirits in prison who disobeyed long ago when God waited patiently in the days of Noah while the ark was being built.” I can only guess about what this means. When did Jesus preach to these people? Better yet, what did He preach? What was His message to the people who died in the flood? Oh yes, where is the prison? Did Jesus do this for other generations of people? Did this mean that these folks had a “second chance” to accept Jesus? Does it mean that people today who never hear the message of Jesus will also get such an opportunity?

I don’t know the answer to those and many other questions these verses bring to the surface. But I do know one thing. The love that Jesus has for every man, woman and child ever conceived is deeper, wider, and more profound that I can ever grasp. Jesus never looks at a man as calls his case “hopeless.” Someone has said “as long as there is breath there is hope.” The deeper reality is that as long as there is Jesus there is hope!

I cannot go beyond the written Word in my understanding of Him. But He goes beyond my understanding. It is like trying to understand a soldier by looking at his sword. I can know some things about him, but much is left to be discovered.

When the trumpet sounds and the Day has finally arrived we will see Jesus in His Glory and know Him fully! All questions will have obvious answers and all mysteries will be as clear as crystal. So my job now is to trust Jesus enough that when it comes to the things I don’t understand I can rest in Him not wrestle with Him!




Sunday, November 15, 2009

Rebellion and Sin!

So, as the Holy Spirit says:
"Today, if you hear his voice,
do not harden your hearts
as you did in the rebellion,
during the time of testing in the desert,
where your fathers tested and tried me
and for forty years saw what I did.
That is why I was angry with that generation,
and I said, 'Their hearts are always going astray,
and they have not known my ways.'
So I declared on oath in my anger,
'They shall never enter my rest.' “

Hebrews 3:7-11

The “time of testing in the desert” was not a time when the Children of Israel were tested. It was a time when they “tested and tried” God!

It is a total misconception to believe that God tests you and me to see if we are good enough to meet His standards. We are not good enough. We never were good enough and we never will be. God knows your every thought, motive and action. No tests are needed to see what is in your heart.

When the refugees from Goshen were wandering in the desert for forty years they followed a common cycle of repentance and then a new commitment with loud proclamations that they will be faithful forever! But then when difficulty arose they would fall once again into disbelief!

If you would like to use the word “fickle” then construct a sentence about the Children of Israel. They not only wandered in the desert, but they also had wandering hearts!

The Prodigal Son wandered away once and returned but the Israelites wandered away from God over and over again! The enticement of sin can cause you to wander away like the Prodigal Son, but the Israelites wandered off because of their own rebellion against God and the hardness of their hearts.

There is an important difference. The Bible says all have sinned. Sin is going to happen in your life. You will be enticed by its deceitfulness and fall. Then you will be convicted by the Spirit and brought to repentance. But hardening your heart in rebellion against God is different. When you harden your heart against God and rebel against Him you do sin, but it is sin that comes from rebellion not temptation.

Of course, I will tell myself that I have simply given in to temptation and go through the motions of repentance. But my problem is much deeper. I sinned not because of weakness but because of strength. I sinned because I am strong in my rebellion against the “ways of God.”

The Bible says that His ways are not my ways! Look at your life. Is the way you are going your way or God’s Way? Are you forging ahead on your self appointed path and asking God to protect you on the journey? Or are you being guided by His Spirit as you take the next step in life?

Friday, November 13, 2009


I saw thrones on which were seated those who had been given authority to judge. And I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded because of their testimony for Jesus and because of the word of God. They had not worshiped the beast or his image and had not received his mark on their foreheads or their hands. They came to life and reigned with Christ a thousand years. (The rest of the dead did not come to life until the thousand years were ended.) This is the first resurrection. Blessed and holy are those who have part in the first resurrection. The second death has no power over them, but they will be priests of God and of Christ and will reign with him for a thousand years.
Revelation 20:4-6

Some parts of the Bible frankly cause me to be very uncomfortable. The idea of having my head cut off because of my testimony for Jesus is not a pleasant thought. I’m told there are videos on the internet of beheadings. I have not even considered the idea of looking at one. So when I read that there will be Christians who will have their heads cut off for Jesus I have great difficulty embracing the concept.

Another uncomfortable idea is in the same verse as the beheadings. It says that these dead people will come back to life and reign with Christ for a thousand years. I have never met a person who died and came back to life. The headline might read “Beheaded Christians Alive again and Reigning with Jesus!” The world’s perspective on that might be called “Spooky!” When I try to imagine a context of a bunch of dead people coming to life and “reigning” for a thousand years, it just doesn’t compute.

So what is my problem? Am I not “spiritual” enough to grasp these truths or is there something else?

All parents take pride in how “smart” their child is. We brag about how early a child can talk. Being smart is something in which we all take pride. I remember as a child the sense of accomplishment when my score on an “achievement test” indicated that I was able to function at a level beyond my current grade and age. I still take pride in being able to analyze a situation and come to an understanding of what is the truth about a matter. But that is exactly what Adam and Eve did. Before their sin there was evil and there was good but Adam and Eve were oblivious to those facts. Then with the sin came their ability to know the difference between good and evil. Our First Parents had not been involved in the struggle between good and evil, but with one quick rebellious decision they jumped right in to the middle of the War!

Sadly, I still judge people by how smart they are. God has been trying to teach me not to do that. My oldest daughter’s first child was born with Down Syndrome. If I value my nineteen grandchildren base on how “smart” they are he will never be number one. But God does not place value on our lives according to our mental agility or I.Q. When I take pride in my own ability to understand, I consider myself better than others. I am simply ordering my steps according to the rules of the world.

Now, let’s go back to heads being chopped off and dead people coming back to life. I don’t have to understand it. All I must do is trust God to take me through whatever life may bring! Trusting God will not cause the world around me to declare how smart I am, but trusting God will give me peace to face whatever life may bring.

Love  (not intelligence) is the yardstick to judge others. I must judge and value you based on God’s love for you. Jesus died for and loves men and women across the entire I.Q. spectrum. Praise God that includes me!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Actions Speak Louder!

Now this is eternal life: that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent. I have brought you glory on earth by completing the work you gave me to do. And now, Father, glorify me in your presence with the glory I had with you before the world began.

John 17:3-5

For almost as long as I can remember Dolly Parton has been a public personality. She is a few months older than I am and was already making records when I was still in Junior High School. I heard her just the other day on the Fox and Friends morning show when she mentioned her husband of 43 years. She said that no one knows what he looks like because he never appears with her. She said there have been lots of pictures that were published in the grocery store check-out publications which weren’t really her husband. I have read that he very rarely goes to one of her performances. She is quoted as saying that although it appears they do not spend much time together, it is simply that nobody sees him.

What an interesting and unusual relationship. The husband of one of the most recognizable women in the United States is living life as an ordinary man with no public attention. Apparently for them, it has been good for their marriage given the more than forty years they have been together.

It is probably a poor illustration, but I am reminded of the relationship that Christians have with the Holy Spirit. Dolly and her husband are one but we only see Dolly. You may be filled with the Holy Spirit but most people only see you. The relationship a Christian has with Jesus Christ is the strength that keeps him going in good times and in bad. It is the reality of that relationship not the public perception of it that is important.

You can display all the outward signs of being a committed Christian along with lots of “testimony” to that fact while it is not true. And you can have a long term, committed relationship with Jesus Christ without making a public display of it. Doesn’t that mean that you would be denying the Lord by not telling everyone about Him?

I believe those around you judge you by the tests you endure rather than the testimony you give! The proof of your relationship with Jesus is seen clearly as you face trials and tribulations in your life. Your words about Jesus are good, but can be all wiped out by one act of disbelief.

We are not called to hide Jesus in our lives like Dolly Parton hides her husband, but we need to worry less about our testimony and more about our relationship to Jesus so we will have the strength to pass the daily tests of life!

Someone once said, “What you do is screaming so loudly, I can’t hear what you say!”