Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Paul the Prototype!

About midday I saw a light brighter than the sun. It flashed from heaven on me and on everyone travelling with me. We all fell to the ground. Then I heard a voice say to me in Aramaic, “Saul, Saul, why are you so cruel to me? It's foolish to fight against me!”

Acts 26:13-14

When David fought Goliath everyone except David thought the giant would win. It made no sense to believe that a shepherd boy with a sling could topple a giant of a man who was also a seasoned soldier. Of course the story of David and Goliath ends with David winning and Goliath and his army being defeated!

There are those who believe that God is like Goliath. They approach God boldly like David approached Goliath with faith that they can fight against God and win! They even land blow after blow against God and come to believe He will never retaliate since He has not sent lightning to “strike them dead.”

When Jesus appeared to Saul (Paul) on the road to Damascus He told him clearly, “It is foolish to fight against Me!”

There is a war that is raging in the cosmos. It is a war between the forces of Hell and the Hosts of Heaven. Every man woman and child who has ever lived has taken sides in the battle. You are either fighting for God or you are fighting against Him. If you are fighting against God you are of all men the most foolish. If you are fighting for God you are wise beyond all others.

The battle will be won by the Hosts of Heaven! That is promised and God’s promises never go unfulfilled.

You cannot fight on both sides of this war. You cannot be a soldier in God’s army and fight in the forces of Hell as well.

Paul fought against Jesus until the Lord Himself stopped Paul on the road to Damascus. Jesus turned Paul’s life around and made Paul into the prototype of every missionary who has ever lived.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Three Angels!

“God's people must learn to endure. They must also obey his commands and have faith in Jesus.”

Revelation 14:12

In Revelation 14 we find messages from three Angels. Among other things Angels deliver messages for God.

The first Angel was flying across the sky announcing the "eternal good news."

The second Angel told of the fall of Babylon.

The third Angel warned of the consequences of worshiping the beast and the idol and having the mark of the beast on your hand or forehead.

For people who are still alive when the time of the end begins the messages from these angels will be essential for victorious living until the Coming of the Lord Jesus.

Then verse twelve says "God's people must learn to endure. They must also obey his commands and have faith in Jesus."

So as these terrible times play out on the earth our instructions are three:

Learn to endure

Obey His commands

Have faith in Jesus

The end times for believers will not be easy. They will be difficult. As we see the day approaching we must prepare to stand firm until the Glorious day that we are ushered into His presence.

Lord help me endure, show me what commands to obey and give me more faith in Jesus!

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Stand Unshakeable!

"This is why I speak to them in parables: Though seeing, they do not see; though hearing, they do not hear or understand.

In them is fulfilled the prophecy of Isaiah: ‘You will be ever hearing but never understanding; you will be ever seeing but never perceiving. For this people's heart has become calloused; they hardly hear with their ears, and they have closed their eyes. Otherwise they might see with their eyes, hear with their ears, understand with their hearts and turn, and I would heal them.'

But blessed are your eyes because they see, and your ears because they hear. For I tell you the truth, many prophets and righteous men longed to see what you see but did not see it, and to hear what you hear but did not hear it."

Matthew 13:13-17

When a crime is committed and the sleuths begin the process of investigation there is sometimes an appeal for information from the public. It is usually for eyewitnesses who were there or in the area at the time of the crime. These folks may have seen something that would help them solve the crime. The thing they saw may have little or no significance otherwise, but in light of the crime it could be the missing piece of the puzzle.

A person not trained in medicine can see the same symptoms that the doctor sees but have no idea what disease they might indicate. I can hear someone speaking Chinese and have no idea what is being said.

Seeing and hearing something does not mean that you will understand the significance of what you see and what you hear. I became an adult during the 1960’s and I had no idea how the rebellion of that decade would permanently change the fabric of our country.

When your heart is hardened, for whatever reason, you can see and hear the things of God without knowing their significance. As I write these words the world may be literally standing at the door of the return of Jesus and yet I am simply expecting another hot summer day! I may be seeing the final signs before the return of Jesus and not know it!

So then how should I live today? Should I deny that His return could be imminent? Of course I must not deny that He could come at any moment. Should I on the other hand declare to everyone that His return will be today? I must not do that either, because in spite of the signs the “day and hour” are only for God to know.

When I see the signs of His return I must let them strengthen me to stand firm in faith until the moment that He bursts on the scene in Power and Glory! The signs of His return are not for the world. They are not for discussion group fodder, but rather they are a gentle alarm letting me know that it’s almost time to “go up” rather than “get up.”

Ask the Lord to help you understand the things you see and hear so that you might be able to stand unshakeable as you wait for His return!

Friday, June 26, 2009

Plastic Bananas!

"The days are coming," declares the Sovereign LORD, "when I will send a famine through the land— not a famine of food or a thirst for water, but a famine of hearing the words of the LORD.
Men will stagger from sea to sea and wander from north to east, searching for the word of the LORD, but they will not find it.
"In that day "the lovely young women and strong young men will faint because of thirst.

Amos 8:11-13

When there is a famine everyone fasts and feasting comes to an end. I have never experienced a famine. I do remember a drought year that really became frightening as everything green dried up by the middle of the summer and it seemed there would be no crops. A famine takes away the source of sustenance from a land.

When the famine comes everyone suffers except those who have convinced themselves that they don’t need food. It is indeed an eating disorder but anorexia causes a person to see themselves as fat when they are starving to death. There is a brief period when the anorexic person appears to be trim and under control. Then it begins to become really apparent that something is wrong as they become gaunt and sickly and finally die.

The prophet Amos predicted a time when there would be a “famine of hearing the words of the Lord.” When the “words of the Lord” are not available for men to eat and gain strength to live there are those who never even notice because they have “spiritual anorexia.” These have convinced themselves that they don’t need a constant diet of God’s Word. They eat just enough to be socially acceptable in church, but never “over eat” on the things of God. I am told that when a person is starving to death will lose his appetite for food. When men are spiritually starving to death they lose a desire for the food that will keep them alive.

When you first lose your appetite for the Word of God you may appear trim and fit. But that will only last for a short time. Soon you will become spiritually gaunt and sickly. You will not be able to stand against the world. You will be blown over by every “wind of doctrine” that comes along. You be of no help when it comes to carrying heavy loads.

Today, look in the Word of God for a morsel to savor and strengthen your life. Then go back for a second helping!

Be warned!

There are many today serving “plastic bananas” instead of real life sustaining fruit, vegetables and meat from God’s Word.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

The Storm of the Lord!

See, the storm of the LORD will burst out in wrath, a whirlwind swirling down on the heads of the wicked.

The anger of the LORD will not turn back until he fully accomplishes the purposes of his heart.

In days to come you will understand it clearly.

I did not send these prophets, yet they have run with their message;

I did not speak to them, yet they have prophesied.

But if they had stood in my council, they would have proclaimed my words to my people and would have turned them from their evil ways and from their evil deeds.

Jeremiah 23:19-22

Yelling “Fire” in a crowded theater is either the act of a hero or a criminal. When the building is on fire and you deliver the warning to those who would otherwise perish you become the most honored of men. If you deliver the warning when there is no fire you are guilty of putting men at great risk as they desperately attempt to exit the structure.

I remember the first time I received a bulk mail piece that was made to look like it was a personal letter. For a few moments I was deceived by the message until I realized that the man writing and signing the letter certainly would have had no time to send me such a personal appeal. This practice has become so common that only a hand written letter with obvious personal references can be immediately identified as authentic.

Today when you hear a message that claims to be from God how do you determine if it is real?

One certain earmark of a “Word from God” is that it will cause God’s people to turn from their evil ways and their evil deeds. If I hear from God I am convicted about my sin and my need to turn away from it. A Word from God does not leave me at peace with my sin and claiming to enjoy His Grace to cover it.

When I “stand in the council of God” and listen to Him speak the message I bring from that encounter always includes repentance. In the presence of God I can clearly see how corrupt I am. My ways are not His ways and my ways are the things from which I need to repent.

If the preacher brings a message from His “encounter with God” and it does not encourage me to turn from evil I must reject it! Don’t forget “the storm of the LORD will burst out in wrath, a whirlwind swirling down on the heads of the wicked.”

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Meals on Wheels!

When Jesus looked up and saw a great crowd coming toward him, he said to Philip, "Where shall we buy bread for these people to eat?" He asked this only to test him, for he already had in mind what he was going to do.
Philip answered him, "Eight months' wages would not buy enough bread for each one to have a bite!"
Another of his disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter's brother, spoke up, "Here is a boy with five small barley loaves and two small fish, but how far will they go among so many?"

John 6:5-9

When Jesus asked Philip where they could buy bread to feed the crowd He presented Philip with an impossible dilemma. And the dilemma was openly declared to be a test for Philip. Jesus asked Philip where they could buy more bread than they had money to buy. The financial planner courses Philip had taken must have rushed to front of Philip’s mind as he responded to Jesus. When Philip said it would take eight months wages to buy enough bread he obviously knew the price of bread and had counted, at least approximately the crowd.

The bottom line is that Jesus asked Philip to do something that was beyond his ability to accomplish. Andrew spoke up next. Andrew was focused not on how much they needed, but on how little they had. Andrew had not counted the cost or the crowd. Andrew counted the fish and bread that they had. So Philip knew that they didn’t have enough money to accomplish the task given to them by Jesus and Andrew knew that they didn’t have enough fish and bread.

“But Jesus already had in mind what He was going to do.”

Those words are crucial. When Jesus presents you with a task that is beyond your ability it is a test. It is not a test of your resourcefulness or your ingenuity. It is not a test of your understanding of finances or organizational expertise. When Jesus gives you a task like “GO INTO ALL THE WORLD AND PREACH THE GOSPEL TO EVERY CREATURE” it is a test of whether or not you will trust Him to accomplish that task.

Philip and Andrew did not have to buy the fish and bread or make the fish and bread, but they did have to pass it out after Jesus miraculously created it. When it comes to preaching the Gospel to the entire world all I have to do is pass out the fish and bread.

When you go to a world famous eating establishment that serves gourmet food you don’t proclaim that the best part of the experience was the man who brought the food to the table.

Jesus makes the food; all I do is deliver the meal to a starving world. Jesus even empowers me to deliver it. Taking the bread of heaven to a starving world is the original “Meals on Wheels!”

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

The Attitude of Jesus!

Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death— even death on a cross!

Philippians 2:5-8

One of the popular words of more than a dozen years ago was the word “Tude.” My kids would speak of someone having a “Tude.” It meant that the person had a bad attitude. I don’t think the word “Tude” became an official part of the language but it did push us toward believing that an attitude is always bad. It is not.

Jesus had an attitude. His attitude is one that is totally appropriate for me to have also. The attitude of Jesus is characterized by the phrases “made himself nothing,” “humbled himself,” and “became obedient to death.”

Once I applied for a job and had an interview with a man who I believe was the most arrogant man I have ever met. Our meeting began by him detailing how important he was and how many people were trying just to spend a few minutes with him every day. He let me know that I was very blessed to sit in his presence. I know it is not a direct insult in our culture, but I saw the bottom of his feet a lot as he reclined with his feet on the desk. I did get the job and eighteen months later when I resigned he sent word and “demanded” a meeting with me before I left. I did not go to the meeting. That experience was more than thirty years ago but I still must not mention his name so that I won’t be yielding to the temptation to retaliate.

Jesus is not like that. Jesus doesn’t tell you how important He is although Jesus is the most important person who has ever lived. Jesus doesn’t tell you how powerful He is and how many people are trying to speak with Him everyday even though Jesus is the most powerful of all and every man, woman, or child who comes to God must come to God by way of Jesus Christ.

And finally, Jesus doesn’t insult me by showing me the bottom of His feet. Instead Jesus washes my feet!

Yes, Jesus is conducting job interviews also. When you work for Jesus you never get laid off or fired and Jesus Himself is right there to help you get your work done each day. It is all because of the ATTITUDE OF JESUS!

Monday, June 22, 2009

When the Glory Interrupts!

For he received honor and glory from God the Father when the voice came to him from the Majestic Glory, saying, "This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased." We ourselves heard this voice that came from heaven when we were with him on the sacred mountain.

2 Peter 1:17-18

When Jesus took Peter, James and John up on the mountain to witness the “Transfiguration” none of them had any idea what was about to happen. The meaning of the event will become totally clear when we stand before Him in eternity, but there are certainly great lessons for us.

Someone once asked me the question: “If you could spend a day with any person in history, who would it be?” Of course my first choice would be Jesus. Abraham Lincoln and George Washington might be on the list, but spending a whole day in the presence of Jesus in the flesh would be utterly amazing.

If I were to spend a day with Jesus when He walked on this earth I would come to know how tall He was, the color of His hair, whether he appeared gaunt or well fed and all the physical attributes that the Bible never mentions. I would even come to know the tenor of His voice. But here is an amazing truth. Being in the physical presence of Jesus would give me no advantage in knowing Him.

There are plenty of love stories that developed without the two people ever seeing each other in the flesh. As important as physical touch is, lasting relationships can be established between two people who only write or talk on the phone.

You may think that “text messaging” is a new phenomenon. It is not. It used to be done by passing notes in class on small pieces of paper. The medium has changed, but the idea is same.

One lesson I learn from the Transfiguration is that if I spend my day continually in the presence of Jesus I will see great things! I can’t be physically in His presence today, but I can pray without ceasing and pass notes and text messages all day. I can even have extended conversations with Jesus.

When I spend my day talking to Jesus I will be there when the Glory of God interrupts the conversation. I will see some of the totality of who He is. Seeing His Glory will change me! Seeing the Glory of God will change you too! Go up on the mountain and watch for the Transfiguration!

Sunday, June 21, 2009

With You Always!

"Because he loves me," says the LORD, "I will rescue him; I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name.
He will call upon me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble, I will deliver him and honor him.
With long life will I satisfy him and show him my salvation."

Psalm 91:14-16

When men fight together against a common enemy there is established a lifelong bond that never leaves. Old soldiers who haven’t seen each other for years are instantly connected when they meet again. The struggle, the suffering and the mutual dependence that they had are all part of the glue that makes that bond unbreakable.

When men live together in times of peace and prosperity the bonds that develop between them are real, but not as strong as for those who struggle together.

If you want to have the deepest relationship with another person, go to war with them, not Disneyland! Uprisings against a government, where unarmed men and women take to the streets to protest are important because of the bond that develops among those who struggle. They may have no weapons, but the weapon of unity and common purpose. That weapon is, over time unstoppable.

The best promise of Psalm 91:15 is often overlooked. We look at God’s promise to answer me when I call, deliver me from my trouble, and even honor me. But as wonderful as these are the best promise is that God will be “with me” in trouble! God is not a rescue squad for which I have to wait when trouble comes. When trouble comes to a believer God is right there with him in the time of trouble. We have come to believe that if Jesus is with me I will not get in “trouble.” Not so! Jesus Himself got into lots of trouble. He was the focus of much turmoil in the world. He has not changed. So if you walk with Jesus trouble will come.

And I can rejoice because being in “trouble” with Jesus at my side is the stuff that builds the bond that only soldiers know.

So when trouble comes today look to see that Jesus is there with you and ask Him, “Lord, what do we do now?”

Never forget that Jesus said “I will be with you always.”

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Wedding Parable!

Let us rejoice and be glad and give him glory! For the wedding of the Lamb has come, and his bride has made herself ready. Fine linen, bright and clean, was given her to wear." (Fine linen stands for the righteous acts of the saints.)

Revelation 19:7-8

There are two pinnacles of human experience. The first is marriage and the second is the birth of a child. When these two parts of life are given the role that God intended the ecstasy touches every nerve in our physical, emotional and spiritual beings. It has been more than forty years since I was a groom, but the memory is burned into my brain more deeply than the events of yesterday. It has been almost forty years since I became a father for the first time. I can still recall and relate that event with great detail and overwhelming emotion.

These two ultimate human experiences were created by God to be shadows of what is to come. That is surely why marriage and babies are at the forefront of Satan’s attacks on this world. Satan does not want us to understand the glory of “the wedding of the Lamb,” nor does he want us to know what it means to be “born again.”

The thing that brings lottery players back week after week even though they have not won “big money” is the dream of what it would be like if they did “hit the jackpot.” That hope keeps the impossible dream alive even though the real winners are few and far between.

As followers of Jesus we are allowed and yes encouraged to dream about a future with Jesus, the Wedding and Eternal Life with Him. But with Jesus winning is not a possibility, it is a certainty!

If on this earth you have experience a wedding untouched by Satan’s attempts to spoil the ecstasy then you can be assured that the Wedding to come will far exceed your greatest joy!

It is just another way that life on this earth is a Parable of things to come.

Friday, June 19, 2009

The Mystery of God!

For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. Nothing in all creation is hidden from God's sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account.

Hebrews 4:12-13

I love a good mystery novel. In some ways I think the Agatha Christie stories are the best. They always provide the reader with plenty of possible solutions for the crime but I have never predicted the actual resolution of one of her stories.

The Bible is certainly a mystery Book. It leaves many questions unanswered and cryptically speaks of a future that although clear and certain, the path toward that future is very much a mystery.

For God there are no mysteries! God sees everything in all creation. The next statement I am about to make is frankly a little confusing for me. God does not learn! God already knows it all! This is where the humanity of Jesus can be clearly seen. The Bible says that Jesus grew in wisdom. Those simple words imply that Jesus learned things that made Him wiser as a human being. Jesus also stated that He did not know when His return would happen. So as a follower of Jesus Christ I can be totally like Him and still be limited in my knowledge. It is comforting but it is not an excuse.

Jesus gave me the example of how to deal with the limitations of my own humanity. As a human being I must depend completely on the Father. That is what Jesus did. He trusted the Father and completely obeyed the Word of God.

When I do the same my life will be considered a complete success. When I doubt the Father and refuse to be obedient to His Word I will stumble at every turn.

There is an old hymn that says: “Farther along we’ll know all about it, father along we’ll understand. Cheer up my brother, live in the sunshine; we’ll understand it all by and by.”

The Great Commission did not say “Go into all the world and understand everything about God.” It says “Go into all the world and preach the Gospel (Good News).”

God is a mystery and try as I may I will not understand that mystery as long as I live here on this earth. Of course I will grow in wisdom even as Jesus did, but until I stand before His throne there is much that I will not and cannot know. But then “I will know, even as I am known.” That will be a moment of enlightenment beyond anyone’s imagination!

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Living on Samples!

The Spirit and the bride say, "Come!" And let him who hears say, "Come!" Whoever is thirsty, let him come; and whoever wishes, let him take the free gift of the water of life.

Revelation 22:17

Eating and drinking are extremely important in the lives of all men. It is something you have to do every day or you will waste away and die. No matter how bad the recession or depression someone will always be in the business of providing food for other people.

The first sin was one of eating the forbidden fruit. The ultimate victory in heaven will be eating fruit from the tree of life.

In the western world we have a significant problem with eating too much food and consequently store energy as fat in our bodies. Fat is the body’s way of having an extra fuel tank for a time when there is no fuel available. When the famine comes those who are “fat” will live longer than those who are lean. There are parts of the world where the words “you are getting fat” are a compliment!

There is physical food and there is spiritual food. Spiritual food also sustains life. In John 6:35 Jesus declared "I am the bread of life. He who comes to me will never go hungry, and he who believes in me will never be thirsty.”

Most Christians in America are very good at eating too much physical food and barely enough Spiritual food. If extra physical food can prepare your body to go through a famine then extra Spiritual food can help sustain you in the days that are coming. We usually eat three physical meals a day and one Spiritual meal, if that. And that Spiritual meal is likely to be meatless and mostly consisting of Spiritual desserts!

Find something to eat today in the Word of God and don’t stop with just a bite or two.

When I go to Sam’s Club there are usually people assigned to pass out samples of things to eat. I get only a bite and the idea is to entice me to buy some to take home. No one get’s fat eating the samples at Sam’s Club. Many churches and most “daily devotional” times are like eating samples at Sam’s Club. You get a little taste of the Word of God, but not enough to sustain you throughout the day.

Make it your goal today to eat more Spiritual food than you did yesterday! As a follower of Jesus extra Spiritual weight is a blessing not a curse!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

When God Moves In!

Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, "Now the dwelling of God is with men, and he will live with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away."

Revelation 2:1-4

When you learn a new language or even your first language there are always stumbles along the way. As a child I remember learning the term “passed away.” In English it is a gentler way of saying someone had died. I was shocked one Sunday morning when my mother leaned over in Church and told me that a man had “passed out” in the isle. I thought he had died right there in Church.

You may be shocked to hear that “the first heaven and the first earth” as well as “the old order of things” is going to pass away. The old order of things includes death and mourning as well as crying and pain! So death itself will die! How can that be? The death of death is a double negative which we were all taught is a positive!

When my grandfather passed away my grandmother moved in with us. As sad as was his passing, when she moved in it was at least for me a glorious experience. As far as I was concerned she was the perfect grandmother and when she came to live with us my life was definitely better.

When heaven and earth pass away God Himself is going to move in with His people. If you spent the rest of your life pondering how wonderful that will be you would not even “touch the hem of the garment” of the ecstasy of when God comes to dwell with men!

When I was a child I got confused about the difference between passing away and passing out. I am tempted to still be confused. The “old order of things” here on this earth is not going to “pass out,” it is going to “pass away.”

As a human being I would prefer that God clean up the old order of things and let them pass out if He must while he works His surgery. But that is not what the Bible says He will do. The old order of things will surely pass away. But then God will move in with His people.

When God moves in the sun will come up on a day that will never end!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Till the End!

"We have come to share in Christ if we hold firmly till the end the confidence we had at first."

Hebrews 3:14

Recently I heard a story about a physically handicapped teenage girl who ran track in high school. Her father said her goal was to finish the race whenever she ran. He also said sometimes she would finish half an hour after everyone else had completed the course. But she would finish!

My goal as a follower of Jesus is the same. My goal is not to be the greatest Christian who ever lived. I simply want to finish the race!

So when I stumble and fall and I will, I get up and take the next step toward the goal of finishing the race. Hebrews 3:14 must be my “motto.” I will hold firmly till the end the confidence I had at first.

So how can I humbly see myself? I am like a runner in the Special Olympics. I may not be very fast. I may not be strong compared to others in the race. I stumble a lot and sometimes I fall. But this I know. I will get up every day and take the next step. I will hold firmly to the end of the race the confidence I had at first and by His grace I will finish the race and complete the course.

Don’t forget the highest honor to a soldier is not a promotion in rank. The highest honor is the “Purple Heart.” He is the soldier who shed blood and was wounded in battle. As you run the race and engage the Enemy you may not only stumble, but you may be wounded and even shed blood.

So life is both a race and a battle. Perhaps the quote is out of context, but Solomon in Ecclesiastes 9:11 said “The race is not to the swift or the battle to the strong.”

If as a follower of Jesus Christ I am both in the race and the battle, the outcome is guaranteed.

“Today Lord, help me to take at least one step toward the goal. And Lord give me the strength to engage the Enemy in one more skirmish. So that on that Day I will hear You say that I have kept the faith and finished the course!”

Monday, June 15, 2009

Real Men Cry!

Before Isaiah had left the middle court, the word of the LORD came to him: "Go back and tell Hezekiah, the leader of my people, 'This is what the LORD, the God of your father David, says: I have heard your prayer and seen your tears; I will heal you. On the third day from now you will go up to the temple of the LORD.

2 Kings 20:4-5

The first time I remember seeing my father cry was when I was five and he got word of my grandfather’s death. The last time I remember seeing him cry was when I was forty-two and we were having Thanksgiving dinner three months before his death.

I have spent lots of time in my life thinking about the fact that God hears my prayers, but almost no time pondering the attention He pays to my tears. As sure as God hears my prayers He also sees my tears. In fact, tears are a more certain indication of what is truly in my heart than prayers which can be spoken without the heart being involved in the utterance.

I once conducted a radio interview with the actor Keenan Wynn. He was the son of comedian Ed Wynn. When I asked him if the tears we see in movies are real he proceeded to cry real tears on cue. Most people cannot do that. When I cry, it is because I am “moved to the point of tears” about something.

When God hears my prayer He also looks for the tears! When a baby cries it is often because he needs something that is beyond his ability to provide. A baby cries when he is hungry or thirsty or needs a diaper change. The baby cannot satisfy any of those needs without help. Unless I recognize that I am as helpless as a baby I will not “cry” out to God. My tears in prayer will be only a well practiced emotional display.

There is a Bible verse that says that men look on the outside, but God looks at the heart. Perhaps the reason my prayers have been so ineffective is that God hears what I say, but sees no tears. Unless I am bringing before the Lord my prayers and my tears He will clearly see that I am not serious about needing His help.

I remember my father’s tears and I can tell you about the last time I saw them. Can you remember shedding tears when you prayed? God remembers your tears and your prayer.

Don’t let the wisdom of this world confuse you. REAL MEN DO CRY REAL TEARS!

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Peace is Heaven!

The fruit of righteousness will be peace; the effect of righteousness will be quietness and confidence forever.
My people will live in peaceful dwelling places, in secure homes, in undisturbed places of rest.

Isaiah 32:17-18

Ever since I can remember world leaders have been trying to “make peace” in Israel. The Palestinians and Israelis are on two sides of a conflict with no middle ground for compromise. Every peacemaking effort is based on the hope that this time it will work. It is not unlike every mathematician in the world searching for a way to make two plus two equal five! Peace between the Palestinians and Israel on the basis of a humanly crafted peace treaty is truly the impossible dream.

The prophet Isaiah, guided by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit said that the fruit of righteousness will be peace. Even on an individual level war is impossible between two men who are both living righteously before the Lord. When I am right with God and you are right with God no disagreement between us will rise to the level of war.

In another place the Bible speaks of the peace that I have (as a man living in right relationship with God through Jesus) as a peace that goes beyond my understanding. I can be at peace in a world of war. I can be at peace during times of grief and persecution. I can be at peace in sickness and pain. I can be at peace when abandoned by every friend on earth. I can be at peace with or without a job, with or without money for food and clothes, with or without every earthly comfort.

Someone has rightly said that “War is Hell!” But the opposite is also true. “Peace is Heaven!”

Peace, eternal peace comes only through righteousness. And that righteousness is not mine. The righteousness that brings eternal peace is the Righteousness of Jesus Christ! When the Righteousness of Jesus is credited to my account because of faith in Him then I am at peace.

The world will cry “Peace, peace when there is no peace,” but the Righteousness of Jesus brings peace to all who believe.

If the Palestinians and Israelis turned their hearts to Jesus today, His righteousness would bring peace and tomorrow would dawn without the conflict and without the prospect of war!

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Run Away!

Jesus went up on a mountainside and called to him those he wanted, and they came to him. He appointed twelve—designating them apostles—that they might be with him and that he might send them out to preach and to have authority to drive out demons.

Mark 3:13-15

The opposite of embracing a truth is not rejecting it. The opposite of holding on to and acknowledging and embracing a truth is to ignore it. That way I cannot be accused of being a “non believer.” I can say if someone brings it up, “Oh, I never really noticed that before.” That is much better than saying, “That is a part of God’s truth that I have decided to reject.”

Is it too transparent to say that there are some things in the Bible that make me nervous and which I prefer to ignore? Frankly, it is a pretty long list. Here are a few.

In the Old Testament God sanctioned a parent’s right to put his child to death for being disobedient. Somehow I have never found a good place to put that piece of life’s puzzle.

I ignore the scripture about “Baptism for the dead” and the one about foot washing. I think it is OK to do that ceremonially, but what if it was a command not a suggestion?

I totally disregard the possibility that I could pray for a dead person and have him come back to life. I haven’t even seen anyone attempt it.

On that list of things “my Christian life would be just fine without” is the work of “driving out demons.” Jesus sent the apostles out to preach and drive out demons. How do the two of those go together? Preaching is fine, but who today is “preaching and driving out demons?”

I do believe that there is the confrontational driving out of demons like we read about in scripture. But I also believe that preaching the Word of God as a man filled with the Holy Spirit will cause demons to flee. When I proclaim the very Words of God and speak them for the ears of other men the demons within the range of my voice must disperse.

It is the opposite of a very important truth. Satan knows that as a follower of Jesus I am not going to suddenly and completely abandon Jesus to join “the dark side.” All he wants today is for me to listen to his word. Satan preaches the opposite of God’s Word all day every day. I hear it from other men, from radio and television broadcasts, in movies and of course in the news. If I listen to the lies of Satan long enough he knows that it will be harder and harder for me to reject them.

So today when you hear one of the lies of Satan run away like Joseph did from Potiphar’s wife. If you listen to a lie long enough you will have trouble recognizing it as a lie.

Listen to the Word of God and let His Word drive out the influence of demons in your life!

Friday, June 12, 2009

Look for the Commands!

"If you love me, you will obey what I command. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Counselor to be with you forever— the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you.”

John 14:15-17

Only once in my life have I “officially” gone to a counseling session as the one to be counseled. It was shortly after our daughter had died in an automobile accident and I was deeply troubled probably because after telling her she could not go on the picnic that day I relented and let her go on what would be her final journey.

The counselor listened as I poured out my heart. I had been wrestling with personal guilt and the “why did I change my mind and let her go” question. I don’t think the counselor said much at all, but after the session I was comforted and able to walk out and go on with my life.

In John 14 Jesus says that when I obey His commands the Holy Spirit comes to live in me as my counselor. There is obviously a difference in the two.

A counselor doesn’t issue commands. A counselor comforts and gently leads you in the right direction. The Holy Spirit as my Counselor does not tell me that I have to do this or that. The Holy Spirit listens to me as I pour out my heart and gently encourages me to go the right direction in my life.

Jesus talked about obeying His commands before the Counselor is given. Jesus is not the Counselor now. He did fulfill that role with His disciples while He walked this earth with them. But now the Counselor is the Holy Spirit. Jesus is the one who gives the commands.

If I were to say what His commands are we would immediately enter into a theological debate. We will do that at another time. For now suffice it to say that before the promised Holy Spirit comes into your life you must be obedient to the commands of Jesus.

What we want to believe is that once we learn about the Counselor then the commands are superseded by the comforter. They are not! Being an obedient child of God is not an optional part of the Christian life. It is essential.

Years ago I heard a story about an old man who spent most of the night reading his Bible while staying with a young friend. In the morning his friend asked him why he had missed a night of sleep. The old man said that he wanted to find out if he loved Jesus. The bewildered young man responded, “You have been a Christian for more than fifty years. Why do you ask that question?” The old man responded, “Jesus said, “If you love Me you will keep my commands.” I am looking to see if there are any of His commands I have not kept.

So today I would encourage you allow the Counselor to do His work in your life, but also LOOK FOR THE COMMANDS OF JESUS!

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Let Jesus Tuck You In!

You diligently study the Scriptures because you think that by them you possess eternal life. These are the Scriptures that testify about me, yet you refuse to come to me to have life.

John 5:39-40

One of the great disconnects in our culture is the difference between education and reality. Somewhere along the line we came to the conclusion that having received an education in a field qualifies a man to be an honored and trusted expert. These “experts” fill the airwaves every day discussing all manner of issues. They postulate positions that help the rest of us establish opinions. It is great fun!

Occasionally we hear from someone who instead of being an expert by education is an expert by occupation. This is the man who has been living and working in the field of his expertise. Interestingly, these people state their opinions with more humility because they know the struggle first hand.

Christian culture in our society shares a similar disconnect that Jesus spoke of in John 5. We have come to the conclusion that diligently studying the Scriptures is the path to eternal life. At the same time we put almost no emphasis on knowing and relating personally to Jesus Christ. In fact, we look down on the uneducated who simply have an “emotional” relationship with Jesus.

It may shock you as an educated American, but Jesus has no educational requirements for eternal life! You do not need a grammar school education. You need no education at all to come to Jesus. You do not need to pass an IQ test. God made no man or woman with an IQ so low that he or she cannot come to Jesus!

So how do I describe this relationship with Jesus that needs no intellectual foundation in order to exist?

Go back to your earliest memory of someone giving you a good night kiss as you were tucked in bed at night. That relationship was not established or sustained by education. It was totally experiential. It was precious and hopefully the source of many fond memories. What a blessing to have had someone to care for you when you were totally helpless.

That is how we come to know Jesus! When we wake up to the reality that we are totally helpless in this world and cry out to Jesus, He comes and cares for us.

It is wonderful to know the Bible and through that knowledge we certainly learn more about Jesus. But knowing Jesus as a child knows his parent is the essence of the Christian life.

Let Jesus tuck you in tonight!

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Help With Your Cross!

Simon from Cyrene happened to be coming in from a farm, and they forced him to carry Jesus’ cross. Simon was the father of Alexander and Rufus.

Mark 15:21

The fact that Simon was forced to carry the cross of Jesus speaks volumes to those who will dare to listen.

Jesus did not carry His Cross all the way to Calvary. He either broke down under the load or for some unknown reason was not allowed to carry it. Jesus’ burden of the Cross was shared by Simon of Cyrene. In this, as in everything we read about in the life of Jesus there is an example for us. The power of the Cross was not because Jesus carried it all the way to Calvary. He did not! The power of the Cross was manifested because Jesus died on it.

If your cross is hard to carry, let someone else help you bear it. Your cross is not a load to make you stronger; it is a place where you die to this world. Jesus could have carried His Cross for 2000 years without purchasing one lost sinner. It was in Jesus’ death and resurrection where the power of the Cross was displayed.

The lesson is simple. Others can and should help you carry your cross, but you alone must die on it. It is how we finally become like Jesus!

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Birds of Pray!

“And when starving young ravens cry out to me for food, do you satisfy their hunger?

Job 38:41

God grilled Job with lots of questions beyond his ability to answer. Job was literally speechless in the face of questions like “how big is the earth?”

Then in Job 38:41 God asks a question that reveals something very special about God Himself. God hears the cry of starving young ravens and the implication of the verse is that He feeds them!

God has a bird feeder!

My wife loves to feed the birds outside of our kitchen window. Somehow I have never really considered bird feeding as a part of our “Christ-likeness.” But Linda will give me a big “I TOLD YOU SO” when I read this to her.

There is a much more serious truth imbedded in this verse. God not only feeds birds, but He hears their cry for help. God listens to the prayers of starving young ravens! So where does that put my prayer on God’s priority list?

Have you ever heard someone say, “God is not concerned with the small things in your life?”

If God hears and responds to the prayer of a starving young raven He will hear and answer you!

The next time you hear birds making a lot of noise listen carefully because the birds may be “BIRDS OF PRAY!”

Monday, June 8, 2009

My Idols!

The Lord's message rang out from you not only in Macedonia and Achaia—your faith in God has become known everywhere. Therefore we do not need to say anything about it, for they themselves report what kind of reception you gave us. They tell how you turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God, and to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead—Jesus, who rescues us from the coming wrath.

1 Thessalonians 1:8-10

Do you list idolatry as one of the sins that you have struggled with in your life? When I think of someone bowing down and worshipping a statue made out of stone or metal I tempted to be very judgmental. What kind of an idiot would worship a rock or a hunk of metal? Idolatry must have been a problem for unenlightened, ignorant people in times past. But idolatry is not a temptation for modern man, or is it?

Our world is filled with crafted objects that we bow down to and put before everything else in our lives. Our idols also extend beyond objects to activities. It may by definition be accurate to include “hobbies” in our list of idols. Hobbies are those activities to which we devote much of our free time and by which we measure our personal worth. Hobbies provide us with fellowship as we congregate with other hobbyists and talk about our interests.

The television program American Idol is a blatant presentation of idolatry in America. For years our “singing stars” have been called “idols.” The relationship that fans have with the artists could easily be seen as idolatry.

The natural state of man is to worship. We are worshipful beings. We will bow down to something, even if that something is a mirror. As a follower of Jesus Christ I must daily judge my own thoughts and attitudes and only bow down to Him.

The apostle John in the book of Revelation tells about bowing down before an angel to worship. John was rebuked by the angel and told to only worship God!

“Lord, speak to me when my heart is turning to worship an idol. Lord, convict me of the sin of idolatry and lead me to rip the idols from my heart. That I may bow before you with all of my heart in worship before Your throne!”

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Unsinkable Life!

Immediately Jesus made the disciples get into the boat and go on ahead of him to the other side, while he dismissed the crowd. After he had dismissed them, he went up on a mountainside by himself to pray. When evening came, he was there alone, but the boat was already a considerable distance from land, buffeted by the waves because the wind was against it.

During the fourth watch of the night Jesus went out to them, walking on the lake. When the disciples saw him walking on the lake, they were terrified. "It's a ghost," they said, and cried out in fear.

But Jesus immediately said to them: "Take courage! It is I. Don't be afraid."

"Lord, if it's you," Peter replied, "tell me to come to you on the water."

"Come," he said.

Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, "Lord, save me!"

Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. "You of little faith," he said, "why did you doubt?"

And when they climbed into the boat, the wind died down. Then those who were in the boat worshiped him, saying, "Truly you are the Son of God."

Matthew 14:22-33

If you come to Jesus while He is walking on the water then you will have to walk on water as well. It is far less threatening to join Jesus while He is teaching or even while He is doing miracles. Teaching is safe and miracles, even though they are spectacular do not put me at risk. But walking on water is a different story.

When you walk on water you give up the safety of the boat to be with Jesus. When you walk on water the greatest temptation is to look at the wind and become afraid. The storm may cause your boat to sink, but when you are walking on water only fear can put you under.

When the storm begins to rage in your life it is safer to walk on water than to stay in the boat. There is no such thing as an unsinkable boat, but there is an unsinkable life. The boat provides only limited protection from the storm, but when you walk on the water with Jesus the storm is powerless to send you to the bottom.

When you walk on water there is no scientific explaination for how you are doing it. When you walk on water there is no Plan B. Peter did not take a life preserver with him when he got out of the boat. When you walk on water the only hope you have if you begin to sink is the hand of Jesus.

The best place to be in life is where your only hope of rescue is Jesus. Of course it is best not to fear, but when you are walking on the water with Jesus His hand will always be there to lift you from the deep water.

Don't forget that if you want to walk on the water you must first get out of the boat!

Saturday, June 6, 2009

The Small Stuff?

"Then the King will say to those on his right, 'Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.'

"Then the righteous will answer him, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?'

"The King will reply, 'I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.'

Matthew 25:34-40

“Don't touch anything!” Words of warning come to every toddler accompanying his mother in a china shop. A young child doesn't have the ability to touch without the great risk of breaking.

Like a toddler in a china shop a man or woman guided by simply his own sense of right and wrong can do great harm without ever knowing it. There are those who sincerely believe and practice things that wreck havoc in the lives of others and yet they have no idea that the results of their actions are so destructive.

When Jesus was hanging on the cross He uttered words that ring across the ages. “Father forgive them for they don't know what they are doing.”

In Matthew 25 Jesus made it very plain that we can also do great good without knowing it.

When we do something for one of Jesus' brothers we do it for Him. Matthew 12:50 says, “whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother."

When I take care of the physical needs of a follower of Jesus I am engaging in an eternally significant activity. It is amazing, to say the least that when I stand before the Lord, He will bring up the little acts of kindness rendered to another believer!

So what about the big stuff? You know, preaching the gospel to thousands, being responsible for the Gospel being introduced into a county where it has never been heard, etc. etc. I believe one possible understanding is that the “big stuff” is only accomplished by the power of the Holy Spirit working through followers of Jesus. Great and mighty works are the result of God's own power expressing itself through His children. I cannot do any of those things by my own choice and power.

I can however give a glass of cold water to a brother who is thirsty. For that I am to be rewarded. I can feed a hungry follower of Jesus. For that I will be given credit. I can stop on the road and minister as the Good Samaritan did. Of course everything I do whether great or small is all because of God's great mercy to me, but He does recognize the small things as worthy of mention when we stand before Him for judgement.

So today when you see another follower of Jesus in need remember that God pays special attention to the small things we do for His other children!

Friday, June 5, 2009


"Then you will be handed over to be persecuted and put to death, and you will be hated by all nations because of me.”

Matthew 24:9

“Take away my money, but leave me my friends and I will have it all back in time. But take away my friends and my money will soon follow and not come back.” Those are the words, as I remember them of a very rich man talking about the importance of friends.

A life long friend of mine recently asked me about my other friends. I was shocked by how uncomfortable it made me feel to list my friends. I really wasn't sure why it made me uncomfortable. I am not in the seventh grade feeling threatened by one friend knowing that I had other friendships as well. And certainly, I am not ashamed of my friends, but the list of my friends speaks volumes about who I am. My friends reveal my passions. My friends tell the story of my comfort zone. My friends are the labels on the files of my life.

One of the first signs of trouble with a teenage child is when the parents don't know the friends. And one of the best ways to know what is going on in the life of a child is to look at the friendships that develop over the years.

“What a Friend We Have in Jesus” is more than an old church song. Being a friend of Jesus Christ brings blessings to your life beyond measure and imagination, but it also bring persecution. When you become a friend of Jesus you by very definition become an enemy of the hosts of Hell! When you are a friend of Jesus the world will set itself squarely against you on all sides. Your day will not be spent basking in joy, but you will quickly recognize that there is a battle going on and you are in the midst of it, if not on the front line.

If Satan takes all I have but leaves me Jesus, I have enough and I have everything. If I lose Jesus but still have the world's things in over abundance I am the poorest of all men.

Does it make you uncomfortable when Jesus asks you to tell Him about your other friendships?

Wednesday, June 3, 2009


I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.

Ephesians 3:16-19

“I love you more than words can tell.” That was the response my mother taught me to give when I was learning to talk and answer her questions. She would say, “How much do you love me?” And I would answer, “I love you more than words can tell.” My mother delighted in playing the little game and I always enjoyed joining her in a game where all the players win!

But the truth hidden behind the question, “How much do you love me?” and the answer “More than words can tell,” is profound.

According to Ephesians 3:18 the love of Christ has measurments. It is wide, long, high and deep. If you try to visualize an object with these four dimensions you run in to a wall. In our world everything is three dimentional, but the love of Christ has four! We can grasp an object that is wide, long and high, but what do we do with the fourth dimension, “deep?”

The depth of Christ's love for me is where I run out of words. I cannot describe the depth of His love. There are yet to be coined words which would certainly be needed to speak of the depth of His love. How much does Jesus love me? He does love me and the most fundamental children's song speaks of that love. But the love of Jesus cannot be measured because nothing is big enough to be used as the ruler.

The apostle Paul prayed that we would be able to “grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ.” This is where the ordinary transitions into the extraordinary. I come to understand that which I cannot explain. I grasp what I cannot speak about. I know that which cannot be known.

Take the four dimensions wide, long, high and deep and apply them to a physical object. You will quickly see that you don't really know what to do with “deep.”

Jesus does love me MORE THAN WORDS CAN TELL!

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

A Slave of Jesus!

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— 7because anyone who has died has been freed from sin.

16Don't you know that when you offer yourselves to someone to obey him as slaves, you are slaves to the one whom you obey—whether you are slaves to sin, which leads to death, or to obedience, which leads to righteousness?

Romans 6:6-7, & 16

I don't think I have ever heard anyone talk about the advantages of being a slave. Slaves don't have to worry about paying their income tax. Slaves are not responsible for making sure that there is food to feed everyone in the family. Slaves are relieved of the problem of dealing with lots of issues that daily confront people who are not slaves. But in exchange the slave gives up the right to make decisions about his personal life. It is a trade off, you give up some things and gain some others when you become a slave. Of course slavery is almost never entered into voluntarily, but the impact on your life is the same.

What happens when you become a slave to sin? What do you give up, and what do you gain? When sin becomes your master you give up the ability to exhibit the fruit of the Spirit and walk according to His leading. When sin becomes your master you give up the peace of God that goes beyond your understanding. When sin becomes your master to are compelled to do things and act in ways that you actually despise, but you do them anyway.

When sin becomes your master you gain some things as well. You gain the acceptance of the world. You are confirmed as part of the world system and are obeying its rules and living according to it's standards. So there are conflicts with the world that diminish or go away altogether when you become a slave to sin.

Curiously enough, the opposite of being a slave to sin is not FREEDOM. The opposite of being a slave to sin is to become a slave to obedience. You become a slave of Jesus Christ.

Freedom is a lovely concept, but when you examine it closely you find that freedom for a human being is like a man who without a parachute jumps from a plane and then screams in joy, “I'm free!” Yes he is free to fall to his death.

Being a slave of Jesus gives us the freedom to go wherever He takes us.

When my wife and I get in the car our dog, Jente wants to go with us. It is the joy of her life to go where we go. She doesn't know where we are going and has no idea how long we will be gone. Just being with her masters makes life worth living for Jente. And yes, I suppose you could say that Jente is our “slave.” Don't misunderstand, she is a slave like I am a slave of Jesus. She doesn't decide where she lives, where she goes, or even what she eats, we provide her with whatever she needs. If she were make her own decisions her life would be short and full of pain.

Truthfully, we have only one choice in life. We can choose to be slaves of sin or we can choose to be slaves of Jesus. Freedom from sin is to become a slave of Jesus. The advantages of being a slave of Jesus are eternal!

Monday, June 1, 2009

Spiritual Vantriloquism!

Many deceivers, who do not acknowledge Jesus Christ as coming in the flesh, have gone out into the world. Any such person is the deceiver and the antichrist. Watch out that you do not lose what you have worked for, but that you may be rewarded fully. Anyone who runs ahead and does not continue in the teaching of Christ does not have God; whoever continues in the teaching has both the Father and the Son.

2 John 1:7-9

Some years ago I discovered a fundamental principle of evangelizing. It is much easier to mention the name of God than to mention the name of Jesus. “God bless you” can come rolling off your lips at just about any point with even ardent unbelievers paying little to no attention. “Jesus loves you” raises eyebrows even among some groups of Christians. God is generic, Jesus is specific. God is “somewhere out there,” but Jesus is “closer than a brother.”

Many religious people try to have God without Jesus. Even though God is awesome and beyond our imagination it is easier to put God into a box. With God in a box I can open that box when I so choose and see if God has anything that might help my situation or fulfill my personal desires. If not, I can close the box until I feel a need for something that God might provide.

But when I try to put Jesus in a box the Cross gets in the way. I must have a special box for Jesus, but if I am diligent I can make one that fits Jesus and the Cross.

In some ways we treat God and Jesus like vantriloquist's puppets. It may look like I am having a meaningful conversation with Jesus, but I am putting all the words in His mouth. I can even fool myself into believing that Jesus is telling me to do this or that, but it is really “spiritual vantriloquism.”

When I finish “listening to my puppet God.” Then back in the box he goes until I am ready to hear more.

It is fun to watch a vantriloquist's perfomance. Even though we know we are pretending and the puppet is not real, the show can draw a large crowd if the puppet master is accomplished.

How sad it would be if the vantriloquist actually believed that his puppet was alive and he was having a real conversation with a “dummy.” Such a man would surely be confined for his own safety.

Spiritual vantriloquists are even more to be pittied. They believe they are hearing from God, but are simply listening to their own words. Their lips are not moving but the words are coming from their own hearts not God's.