The Choice to Love

God commands us to love people. He commands us to love one another. He even commands us to love our enemies! If He commands us to do it, we must have the ability to do it. But we don't always have the desire to do it.
Love is a choice. We must choose to love people. We must choose to love people not when we think they deserve our love, not when we "feel" emotionally inclined to love them, not just because they love us and not only when they are "lovable"! We must choose to love them because God commanded us to and because they are made in God's image and because God loves them!
If we are waiting for that fuzzy, warm feeling to hit us before we love people, we are obeying our emotions and not our God. Choose today to love everyone no matter what. It isn't easy, that's for certain. But it is God's will for us and His commandment to us. If we love Him, we will obey Him.
Jesus said that the world will know we are His "because we love each other"! Love is the trademark of God's children! God is love and His children will exhibit love toward people because God's love has been shed abroad in their hearts!


Christmas Present

Do you know what I would really like for Christmas? I would like to hear the trumpet sound and then look up into the eastern skies to see Jesus coming in a cloud with His holy angels! I'm ready for things to be as they should, the way God intended from the very beginning. I'm tired of the hate, the fear, the disease, the pain, the suffering, the hunger, the wars, the selfishness, the racism and all the other evil that plagues this Earth! I'm ready for everything to be made right!
I know that the end will not come until the very last person who will be saved is saved, and I know that no one knows when that will be. But I say the sooner, the better! I'm ready for Jesus to have Satan tossed into the lake of fire for all he's done to people. I'm ready for sickness and death to be thrown in after him. I'm ready for the new Jerusalem to come down and Jesus to take His place on the throne of David to reign forever. I'm ready for a new Earth under new Heavens; a place where there's only peace and love and mercy for all eternity. I'm ready to lay aside all this mortal baggage and be made incorruptible and immortal. I'm ready for REAL life to begin for us all!
Even so, Lord Jesus, come quickly!


Forgiver and Forgiven

The Bible tells us we must (not should...must!) forgive. The Bible tells us that God forgives forgivers. Conversely, God doesn't forgive those who won't forgive. If we refuse to forgive, we sin by not doing what we're told to do. Unforgiven sin will keep us from the presence of God and hinder our prayers. OK.... that seems pretty simple to follow. So, why is it that we keep asking God to hear our prayers and bless us when we know there are people we are holding grudges against?!
Do we think He doesn't know? Or maybe we think He knows you were wronged and that you have a right to hold that grudge and therefore He'll overlook it? Wrong!! God knows our thoughts, so we can't hide anything. And He tells us to forgive those who mistreat us, even our enemies!
We all need to search our hearts and forgive and release those we have been holding something against. When we do, we'll begin to see an outpouring of God's blessings on our lives.


Keep Saving Me

I try to be so tough
But I'm just not strong enough
I can't do this alone, God I need You to hold on to me
I try to be good enough
But I'm nothing without Your love
Savior, please keep saving me ~ Josh Wilson "Savior, Please"

I know Jesus saved me.... but sometimes I find myself asking him to keep saving me. I try hard. I live my best. But I see that my righteousness is filthy rags and on my own I'm a miserable failure. I need Jesus' strength, Jesus' companionship, Jesus' righteousness. Please, Savior, keep saving me.


Curve Ball

I must admit that there are times when God really messes with my theology. I know I don't have everything figured out (who could possibly "figure out" God?) but just when I think I have one little topic in hand, He does something that blows me out of the water. It's very confusing. It's very frustrating. It's very humbling.
He doesn't leave me completely in the dark though. He uses my confusion to lead me into prayer and meditation where He can teach me deeper truths. Besides, He just loves me too much to let me get too big for my britches!
When God throws you a curve ball, don't get angry or let the devil tempt you to doubt. Go to God with your questions and let Him teach you. Meditate in His Word and let the Holy Spirit lead your thoughts.



I think we have gotten it backwards. It's our child"ish"ness we're supposed to grow out of, not our child"like"ness! 1Corinthians 13:11 says "When I was a child, I spoke and thought and reasoned as a child. But when I grew up, I put away childish things." Matthew 18:3 has Jesus saying "I tell you the truth, unless you turn from your sins and become like little children, you will never get into the Kingdom of Heaven." Being childish is one thing but being childlike is something altogether different! Mature Christians shouldn't be selfish, silly, whiny, mischievous and the like. But neither should we forget how to have fun and enjoy the simple things in life! Children believe their fathers can fix anything and trust them implicitly. Children can play with others and never even notice the color of their skin. Children forgive and forget so easily. May we always be childlike and never childish!
" To be concerned about being grown up, to admire the grown up because it is grown up, to blush at the suspicion of being childish; these things are the marks of childhood and adolescence. And in childhood and adolescence they are, in moderation, healthy symptoms. Young things ought to want to grow. But to carry on into middle life or even into early manhood this concern about being adult is a mark of really arrested development. When I was ten, I read fairy tales in secret and would have been ashamed if I had been found doing so. Now that I am fifty I read them openly. When I became a man I put away childish things, including the fear of childishness and the desire to be very grown up." ~ CS Lewis



We have lost our desire for holiness. We have lost our hatred of sin. We have turned God's mercy into a license to do evil. We no longer tremble at the thought of God's wrath and judgment. We have been told that the God of the old testament, the one who erupted in anger and wrath at the sins of His people and slaughtered the men, women and children who worshiped other gods, isn't the same God we serve today. He is a God of mercy and grace and He won't punish sin like He used to. He's not quite so finicky these days. He lets a lot of the "little" things slide. We are in for a very rude awakening!
God's mercy and forbearance is meant to give us time to repent. But when God doesn't immediately judge sin, we start thinking that maybe we got by with it; Maybe God doesn't care about sin anymore! Maybe we are living under grace and we can do as we please! We are fools if we think that.
The Bible says that the wicked are "laying up wrath" for the "day of wrath". Every sin, every selfish deed, every corrupt thought is being noted. The bank account is filling up quickly and one day the total amount will be withdrawn and paid in full. The wrath of God will fall heavily! And do we escape because we confess Jesus as savior? Can we act any old way we want and God's grace blinds Him to it all? Not for one minute!
Sin is still cosmic treason! It is rebellion against the highest of authorities! Sin is still arrogance at it's extreme!


Happy Face

I would like to introduce a new word to many of my Christian brothers and sisters - SMILE. I see so many people who are confessing Christians who apparently don't know how to smile! They go around with a bad look on their faces all the time and they wonder why their witnessing isn't effective..... uh, well, maybe people don't want what you have if it makes you so sad all the time! Smile!!!... If anyone in this world has a reason to... it's you! You have every reason to smile and absolutely no right to frown. Hey, I know things get hard sometimes and bad things happen to us all now and then; But we are representatives.... we are ambassadors of Christ! We are supposed to reflect the character of God! Smile! Don't let people tell you that to be a "real" Christian you have to look like you've been suckling on a dill pickle all day! Smile! Smile like you mean it.... like you are happy to be saved.... happy to be justified in God's eyes.... happy to be a citizen of Heaven.... like you're happy to be one of God's children! People are watching..... so smile already!


Seeker Sensitive

Have you noticed that the overwhelming desire of people these days is the desire to be entertained? We spend billions and billions of dollars each year on entertainment! We buy music, we go to the movies, we go to sporting events, we get on the internet. We get bored so very easily with everything. We're like children who are crying for new toys three days after Christmas because we're already tired of what we got! Entertain me!! And keep on entertaining me; Push the envelope; Come up with something new because I'm bored with the old stuff!
And now we see the church trying to use this fleshly desire for spiritual purposes. What?! The very body of the Lord Jesus has gotten into the entertainment business!
I understand the underlying motive and I do believe that it is sincere: If we make our churches more inviting to the lost, they will come in and hear the good news. If we shorten our services, maybe lighten up on the sermons that condemn sin, liven up the worship music, and loosen up the dress requirements, we will be able to preach to people we have never been able to preach to before because they wouldn't come to church! While they're here, we'll be able to save some of them!
I respectfully disagree. It sounds good, but I don't believe it's biblical. I'm all for getting people into church and I'm all for trying different techniques for doing so. I'm not rigid, Pharisaical and religious, but I see a great danger to the church in what we are doing.
We do not decide how God is worshiped; God decides how He is worshiped! God is awsome and terrible and all those in the Bible who came into His glorious presence even a little were overwhelmed by His glory. Some fainted, some swooned and some even fell down as dead men! God is not safe! He is glorious and holy beyond our ability to understand! When we are in His presence (and if He if not present in our church services, why are we even there?!) we must be careful to not be nonchalant and "comfortable"! We are in the presence of the living God who created all things and that honor must be recognized and appreciated!
In the parable of the sower, there were seeds that fell on the side of the road and, even though they found enough soil to begin to grow, their roots didn't go deep into the ground. When the sun got hot they shriveled and died. Is this what we're doing? Are we more interested now in quantity than quality? Are we raising up a generation of believers who will fall apart the first time things get tough? The first time they're not "entertained" will they get bored and walk away? Are we making things "easy" for them to come in and then expecting them to stay when things get tough?
Preach the gospel. Tell people about Jesus. Give them the whole Bible. Don't try to make it "easy", make it true! Don't try to be seeker sensitive, be seeker loving and seeker truthful and seeker honest. If they're seekers that's what they're seeking!



I know a lot of Christians who are very disappointed that they haven't been able to lead their loved ones to Jesus. They feel like they have failed and wonder just what else they can do! I often hear them say "How can I get them to believe in Jesus? How can I make them see?!" The secret is in the phrase "lead them to Jesus".
There's a saying I love that states "Jesus doesn't need us to explain Him, just introduce Him." When we start trying to "make" or "get" people to believe in Jesus, we're overstepping our bounds. Let me give you an example: Let's say you have a male friend who is single. Let's say you also know a female friend who is single and looking for a mate. She sees you talking to your male friend and says she'd like to meet him. You take her over to him and you say "Tom, this is Mary. Mary is a close personal friend of mine and I can't say enough good things about her. She's wonderful and I think you two would be perfect together." Then.... you leave them alone! Your job is done! She talks with him and he talks with her and they decide what happens next. The ball is in their court! Anything else you try to do will probably be counter-productive.
Jesus wants us to introduce people to Him. He wants us to tell them how wonderful He is and what great things He has done for us. We are to give an introduction, be a witness to His goodness and that's all! Of course, we continue to pray that that person will choose Jesus, but it's out of our hands at that point. Jesus can handle the rest. We can plow the ground and plant the seeds, but only God can send the rain and bring about growth. If we try to do what only He can do, we will be perpetually frustrated!
Pray for your loved ones, tell them about Jesus, let them know what He means to you and then wait... knowing that Jesus is faithful.


The True Measure of a Man

There's a proverb that says " A tree is best measured when it's down." It's hard to measure a tree when it's standing up, especially a very tall tree. But chop it down and as it lays there on the ground, measuring it is easy. Come to think of it, it's the same with people. Life is best measured when it's down. When times are hard and life is tough, that's when the true measure of a man (or woman) can be seen! When things are going smoothly it's easy for anyone to have a smile on their face and a skip in their step! If you only took stock of a person's life when everything was going fine, you would get a false measurement. Check them out when life has just dealt them a hardy blow and the world seems upside down; there's where you'll see the real deal! If a person can smile and still find something to be grateful for in the hard times, you can bet that person is of person of true stature!


It's what's inside that matters

I remember this little house I used to pass on my way to work a few years ago. It was a pretty little country style house that set just off the road in the middle of a curve. You had to slow down for the curve and that made you notice the little house even more. There was something special about that house. It just looked so cozy! And a middle-aged man and woman would often be sitting on the porch in a swing holding hands... how beautiful! I looked forward to seeing that place on my way to work. It always made me smile.
One day I noticed a For Sale sign in the yard! I couldn't figure out what might have happened to make those lovely people sell their lovely house! I asked around and heard "the rest of the story"! The woman had shot and killed the man! It seems He was extremely jealous and had been abusing the woman for many years! What?!!!! But..... that's not what I wanted to hear! Isn't it amazing how we judge outward appearances and never give a second thought to what's there behind the walls? A coat of paint, some vinyl siding, a pretty yard and two smiling people in the front porch swing and everyone thinks all is well! And then.... the truth, as it always does, comes out.
The Bible teaches us to love everyone, even our enemies. The Bible teaches us to look for the good in everyone. But the Bible also teaches us that things are not always as they seem! We are to judge the tree by it's fruit, not by how pretty it's blooms are! We are to judge according to what's done and not just what's said! People put on the prettiest show when they're trying to hide the ugliest things! Christians are no exception. We know how to talk the talk and smile the smile and say "God is good" and "I'm blessed"! But, as Jesus said about the Pharisees, we are sometimes like "whitewashed sepulchers; full of dead men's bones and all corruption"! Be careful; don't be deceived by the "churchy" laguage and the pretty smiles! Be "as gentle as doves, but as wise as serpents"!


Compel Them To Come In

The parable Jesus told to his disciples in the fourteenth chapter of Luke has been used to authorize everything from door-to-door evangelism to the Crusades. In the parable, a rich man had prepared a great banquet and had invited many people to come and eat and celebrate with him. But when he sent his servants to fetch the guests, they began, one by one, to make excuses as to why they could not attend. The rich man got angry and told his servants to go out into the roadways and bushes and find the poor and unwanted and "compel them to come in". That phrase "compel them to come in" has been abused, misused and misunderstood for centuries.
Overzealous Christians, who for the most part have good intentions, think this phrase is telling them to herd people into the church by any means necessary! After all, the Lord Jesus tells us to do it..... doesn't He? No. I don't think that is what He is trying to tell us at all! Other "Christians", who are not so well-meaning, use this phrase to bully unbelievers and make them feel worthless (can you say "holier-than-thou"?). Their intention is not to lead people to repentance, but just to shame them!
When the rich man in Jesus' parable told his servants to go out and "compel" people to come to his banquet, he wasn't giving them permission to drag people to his party, or to harass them until they gave in and came, or to shame and belittle them into coming. The rich man wanted his servants to simply go out and tell these poor, hungry, rejected people about his glorious banquet! All his servants had to do was tell these people the good news that there was free food and drink to be had and they were welcome to come! In other words, make the banquet compelling!
The good news should do the compelling, not us! Tell people about Jesus and the free gift of salvation and the good news will do the compelling for itself! Not everyone will accept the invitation, but didn't Jesus tell us that that would happen? People have the free-will right to simply decline the invitation! We don't have the right to herd people into church! Jesus is the good shepherd, not the good cowboy! Sheep must be led, cattle can be driven!
I want every person on Earth to accept Jesus and be saved. I don't want that to happen because I want everyone to be like me, I want that to happen because I love people and I don't want anyone to suffer Hell! But God Himself won't force people to accept Him and He doesn't give us the right to either! God has commanded men everywhere to be saved, but He wants them to obey freely! If you want to compel people to come to church, to accept Jesus and to be saved, tell them the good news in all it's glory and it will be compelling enough for itself.



Tonight I am 200 miles from home and I am homesick! I've only been here three days and only have two more to go, but I don't like it here. It's a nice enough town, but it's not my town! I don't really know anyone here and I don't know where anything is and I want to go home. I can tolerate, even enjoy, a little time here, but I wouldn't want to stay here forever.
You know, sometimes I feel like that in my spirit. I guess deep inside... I'm homesick! Homesick for a place I've never seen! I like it here well enough and have enjoyed many things, but I wouldn't want to stay here forever. I have friends and family here and I guess if it were not for them, I'd be ready to go home today! Then again, I know that whoever of us goes first, the rest will follow! I am blessed to know that my entire immediate family have all given their hearts to the Lord.
In Steven Curtis Chapman's song "Not Home Yet", the chorus says "Keep on looking ahead, let your heart not forget, we are not home yet.". Sometimes we forget that, as Christians, we are not home yet! This place is not home, it's a staging ground, a proofing place, a learning center, but it's not home! I think we all feel that yearning for home deep down inside! I'm feeling it right now.



It seems we walk a narrow path between two extremes. Some churches believe church services should be prim and proper, while others believe church services should be laid back and relaxed. The latter thinks the former is "stuffy" and "uninviting". The former thinks the latter is "sacrilegious".
The following is a few excerpts from writings by R.C. Sproul Jr. Although he is talking mainly about dress and language, I believe what he has to say covers the whole subject very well:

The worship wars of our own day are driven by this same tension. There is nothing new under the sun. Do we gather together each Lord’s Day to worship the Lord with the most simple language? Should our music aspire for accessibility above all else? Do we want to dumb everything down so that everyone can get it? Is this how we bring in the lost? Or, should our weekly gatherings instead be times of erudite exposition and sublime aural harmonies? Do we, with the former, through our workaday media, communicate a God who is safe? Do we, with the latter — with our highbrow affectations — communicate a God who is inaccessible?
The Bible is a book that not only is full of wisdom but that in turn calls us to wisdom. Wisdom, more often than not, means balance. Wisdom recognizes that there is a real difference between prudent accessibility and the lowest common denominator. Wisdom can tell the difference between a foreign language and a challenging language. It is able to distinguish between self-serving, highbrow tastes and treating matters of import with all due dignity. It recognizes, for instance, that there is a great yawning space between a pastor preaching in a long dead language and a pastor preaching in a clown suit.
When we come together for a wedding, no one would suggest that for the sake of the dignity of the event we ought to perform the service in Latin. No one would argue that the pastor’s homily ought to be peppered with obtuse language fit only for the seminary classroom. Neither, however, does any bride dream of a day when a man in stained overalls, smelling of a barnyard, looks down at her and asks her the vows: “Well, do ye or don’t ye?” Instead, when we marry we put on our best clothes. We decorate the setting to befit a time of solemnity and joy. We play our best music. We speak in our most gracious tones, and with our most polished grammar. It is our most important “our.” Nobody, I trust, argues that this leaves people out. No one argues that this is somehow inauthentic. No bride would, if her groom showed up in flip-flops and a t-shirt, argue that she sees the heart and that what’s on the outside doesn’t matter. That is, the wedding ceremony is not to be marked by the world’s best and highest, but by our best and our highest. It is our most important “our.” ~ RC Sproul Jr.

We have begun to "dumb down" the Sunday sermons. We have opted to spend our monies on more "comfortable" seating. We are telling folks to "come as you are" with absolutely no dress restrictions. The important thing is just to get people into the churches to hear the gospel, right?
When David went to purchase the threshing floor from Araunah in order to build an altar, Araunah offered to give the threshing floor to him without charge. David replied "No, I insist on paying you for it. I will not sacrifice to the LORD my God burnt offerings that cost me nothing.". Worship is sacrifice. Praise is sacrifice. They cost something! We give up a little of "our" time. We give up a little comfortableness. We treat the service with the dignity due the King of Kings!
I don't believe in the suits and ties, but I don't believe in the tshirt, shorts and flip-flops either. We shouldn't try to be "highbrows" who alienate everyday, ordinary people. Neither should we go to church wearing things we wouldn't wear if invited to the White House!


Almighty God, All the Time

Blessed be Your name
When the sun's shining down on me
When the world's "all as it should be"
Blessed be You name
And blessed be Your name
On the road marked with suffering
Though there's pain in the offering
Blessed be Your name
~ Newsboys

"God is good all the time and all the time, God is good" is a Christian saying that has become very popular these days. And, of course, it is a true saying; God is good and always will be good. But as I listen to the words of the song "Blessed Be Your Name", I wonder if we all understand that God is good even when circumstances aren't? And that God is still GOD even in the "bad" times?
I'm afraid that God gets caught in the carnal question "What have you done for me lately?". We need to understand that we worship Him for who He is and we praise Him for what He has done! But even when we can't see what He is doing, rest assured, He is doing something, something good! When we think God hasn't done anything for us lately and therefore we are having a hard time praising Him, we need to remember that we woke up this morning, we're able to think and discern, we have a heartbeat and a voice, we are alive!!! The very fact that we can say "What have you done for me lately?" is evidence that He has done something very miraculous for us; He has made us live another day! Many people who thought they would be alive this morning and had made plans for their day, didn't wake up! Today is a miracle!
And as far as worship, well... that's just a given! The mere fact that He is God is reason enough to worship Him! God commands worship and I don't mean just that He "commanded" us to worship Him. I mean He commands worship just by His being, much like a beautiful song "commands" our ear's attention or a beautiful painting "commands" our gaze. He is and therefore He must be worshiped!
Yes, God is good; But whether He is good or not (or whether we think He has been good to us or not) He is still God and worthy to be worshiped and praised!


Dirty Laundry

There are so many things that I love about the Bible, but I especially like the fact that the Bible doesn't try to hide all the dirty laundry. Did you ever have a friend call and say "I'm in your part of town and I thought I'd stop by for a visit. I'll be there in 10 minutes." You weren't expecting company and, after a hectic work week, the laundry is piled up and clothes are lying around pretty much all over the place. You jump up and start sticking your dirty laundry anywhere that will be out of sight of your guest. No one wants their dirty laundry seen!
I like it that the Bible doesn't do that; the Bible "lets it all hang out"! The good, the bad and the ugly are there for all to plainly see! Some of the greatest Bible heroes were some of the world's worst sinners at some time in their lives! King David was a man after God's own heart, but he was also a murderer and adulterer! Solomon was the wisest man who ever lived, but he was an idolater! Abraham was a great hero of faith, but he lied and told the pharaoh that she was his sister to save his own neck! On and on it goes, all that dirty laundry right out in public! If were trying to write a book promoting my religion, I think I would probably emphasize the good and leave the ugliness hidden!
But God knows that we are all just flesh and blood and we all make mistakes and sometimes sin. He wants us to know that there is forgiveness for all things through faith and repentance! He wants us to know that He is the God of "another chance"! He wants us to know that He knows and understands what we go through down here! The Bible is not a Jewish/Christian propaganda book. It is the word of a loving God to all his creatures!
God doesn't hide the dirty laundry because, with the exception of the righteousness of Jesus, it's all dirty laundry to Him! But the good news is that all that dirty laundry can be washed whiter than white by the blood of the lamb, Jesus the Christ!


No Wisdom in the Age of Information

In this generation of overwhelming information, where is wisdom? We have 24 hours a day TV, internet, and cell phones; knowledge is readily available on any subject. Wisdom, on the other hand, is hard to find.
Many people think wisdom and knowledge are one in the same. But wisdom is the correct use of knowledge. Knowledge has to do with gaining information, but wisdom has to so with how that information is used. People in generations past may have been more ignorant about more things and they may not have been able to understand the things we understand today, but they were way ahead in wisdom! They knew how to put what knowledge they had to good use!
A person can be very educated, very knowledgeable and well informed and still be extremely unwise. I believe we should prize wisdom above sheer knowledge. What good is information if you are too unwise to know what to do with it?! Look around; everywhere you look you can see the effects of valuing information above wisdom. From the White House to the house next door, very crazy things are being done by very well informed and educated people! They know all kinds of things, they just don't have the wisdom to put it all to practical use!
The Bible says that the fear of the Lord is the beginning of all wisdom. People know about quantum physics, but they don't have enough wisdom to fear the God of all creation! People know how to operate a computer, an airplane, a space shuttle..., but they don't have the wisdom to worship the one true God who made them!


Too Far

I saw a tee-shirt the other day that read "Jesus is my homey". Jesus is our Lord, our Savior, our King and many other wonderful things, but He is not our "homey"! I have always said that God has made a way for us to come to Him and that's what He wants us to do; He wants our company! He wants us to sit at His feet and worship Him, love Him and spend time with Him. He wants our hearts! He adopted us into His family so that we could come into His presence anytime we needed to or wanted to. I don't think God expects all the "thee's and thou's" and all the ritualistic traditions that man has contrived over the centuries. He is our Father and we are His children and that's the way He wants it; Family time!
But there is such a thing as getting too familiar! We can take it all too far! "Homey" is not a respectful way to address one's Savior! God is the most wonderful, amazing, mind-blowing and dangerous person (for lack of a better term) there is or ever was or ever will be! "Homey", "buddy" and "mighty peep" are not respectful ways to speak of Him.



A wise man once said that God will always give you a say, but He will never give you a vote. God is the supreme ruler over everything, everywhere, all the time. And while He loves us and wants us to come talk with Him and express our desires, wants and needs, He makes all the decisions. Isn't strange how we come to God and ask for something and then proceed to tell Him how we want it done?
We live in the USA and since this is a democracy and democracy is good, we tend to forget that Heaven is not a democracy; God is not our president! God is our King! He is our supreme ruler and He rules over creation with righteousness, power and perfect wisdom. We don't have a vote in how things are done! We put our trust in the fact that our Sovereign God will always do what is right and good according to His perfect will!
I love the USA and I like the fact that I have a vote in how things go. But the only reason we need a democracy is because human rulers are not perfect; you can't trust them to be fair, impartial and righteous. Human beings are tempted with greed and lust and the more power they have, the stronger the temptations are. Since our King is not human, we can trust that He can't be tempted with these things (or anything) and therefore we are safe in His care.
I don't want a vote in the way the universes are run! I mess up my own little life enough already! I am glad that God is in charge and I trust Him with everything. I don't always understand what He does and sometimes I don't even like what He does, but His workings always turn out for my best!


Two Sons - Two Wrong Ways of Thinking

Remember the story of the prodigal son? Actually, it's the story of the lost son. I think it's even more the story of the two sons. Each son in the story had his own set of problems! It wasn't just the one who left that was messed up!
Everyone concentrates on the "prodigal" son, but I think the other son was further off track. The younger son learned the hard lessons that "there's no place like home" and "you don't miss the water 'till the well runs dry", but I'm not sure the older son learned his lesson at all! Sure the younger son messed up royally, but he "came to his senses" and came home to apologize and asked forgiveness. The older son stayed and worked for his father, but it wasn't out of love; He was working for an inheritance! When the younger son returned, he didn't rejoice with his father because he didn't want his brother returning for any of what was his!
Both sons failed to understand one important thing: being a son is about relationship! The younger son came home to ask his father to hire him as a servant. He didn't understand that when you're a son, you're always a son! You were born a son and the only way to stop being a son is to die! As long as he lived, he was his father's son! No matter what he did or didn't do, he was still his father's son. The older son thought that he had to work hard and earn his inheritance and his father's love and respect. He was just as wrong as his younger brother! His father loved him whether he worked 7 days a week, 24 hours a day or didn't work at all! Their father wasn't worried about money and things; He was worried about his sons!
Sometimes we take our Heavenly Father for granted and we run around wasting our time on frivolous stuff, as if our lives were our own! And sometimes we start thinking that we have to work ourselves silly to make our Father love us. Both ways of thinking are equally wrong! It's about relationship!
We are God's sons and daughters. He chose us. He saved us. He loves us. He made a way for us to be adopted into His family. This was all His idea! This story was told to us so that we could learn the lesson the easy way: from their experience! We don't have to learn it the hard way!


Fathers Hearts

I just took my son off to college and I am missing him something awful. It has only been two days, but it feels like a month. The old saying is that you don't miss the water 'til the well runs dry and that works just as well with people. Your family is around you all the time and it's easy to take their constant presence for granted. When they're off somewhere for awhile, you really start to miss their company. You don't realize how wonderful they make you feel until they're hundreds of miles away. I miss my son.
I know that I'm a human and God is supernatural and perfect, but I can only imagine how He feels when we let our prayer lives deteriorate; When we gradually stop spending time with Him like we used to. I believe we have feelings and emotions because our Heavenly Father hsa them. The difference, of course, is that we allow ourselves to ruled by them and He does not. But, I believe it breaks His heart when we abandon Him for other things or other people. I believe He grieves when we don't pay Him attention. I believe He misses us.
Yes, God is omnipresent, He is everywhere, all the time, I know. But He gives us our space and free will even when that means He has to let us move away from Him. I think I understand God's love for me better today than I did yesterday. I think I understand more about how He feels when I'm not around Him in prayer. I don't want Him to miss me. My son is 125 miles away and I can't see him just any time I want. But, I am just a head-bow and a prayer from my Heavenly Father and I can speak with Him anytime I want or need to. And I intend to spend much more time with Him from now on.


Prime Time Evil

For it is shameful even to mention what is done by these disobedient people in secret. Eph 5.12

Have you noticed how many TV shows there are nowadays that feature human beings doing the most shameful things? Shows like Cops, Jerry Springer, etc. have ratings that are through the roof! People can't seem to get enough of seeing other people degrading themselves and exposing their ungodliness! Any TV program that shows people cussing, fighting and abusing themselves or others is an instant hit! The more debased the behavior, the higher the ratings.The very things we should be the most ashamed of are now the things we celebrate!
The Bible says that it is shameful to even mention what these people are doing and here we are as a nation of TV viewers gawking and laughing at these filthy goings on! The Bible says "How horrible it will be for those who call evil good and good evil, who turn darkness into light and light into darkness, who turn what is bitter into something sweet and what is sweet into something bitter.". We have allowed evil to be called good and good to be called evil in this country and we will pay a hefty price for it!
As Americans, we should denounce this type of "entertainment"! If no one was watching, the TV execs wouldn't put it on the air. As Christians, we should be flooding the FCC offices and TV
execs offices and our Congressmen's offices with our disapproval of this garbage!


Agree to Disagree

"My dear friends, as a follower of our Lord Jesus Christ, I beg you to get along with each other. Don't take sides. Always try to agree in what you think." 1Cor 1.10 CEV

If the Apostle Paul was unhappy with the people of the Church at Corinth back then, what on earth would he think of us today?! Can you even imagine the scathing letters he would be writing to us?! Actually, he probably wouldn't even write letters, he would more likely just jump a jet and head over here to talk to us face to face!
Why, oh why can't we learn to love each other? Why can't we agree to disagree? I can love you without agreeing with everything you say! I can love you if I don't agree with anything you say! As a matter of fact, it's not my choice whether I love you or not, I am commanded to do so! We are to love all people. Jesus said that would be how people could really know we are his!
And what's more, if you believe that Jesus is the son of God and that He died for your sins, you are my brother! How can I expect anything from God my Father if I don't love my brother?! How can we say we love a Father we haven't seen when we can't love our brother whom we can see? And why would anyone I witness to want what I have when I can't even get along with my Christian family?
Maybe we need a modern day Paul to chew us out really good now and then! We should be ashamed of ourselves! What a poor light we are shining upon the name of Jesus when we bicker and fight among ourselves.


The Truth in Love

Ever know anyone who says something that hurts someone else's feelings and then justifies it by saying "Well, it was the truth!"; Or maybe they talk about how "the truth" sets you free; Or maybe use the old, "the truth will stand when the world's on fire" southern saying?
The Bible teaches us to "speak the truth in love". Just because something is true doesn't mean you have to say it! If it is hurtful, or demeaning or debasing, keep it to yourself! Paul talks about "whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable--if anything is excellent or praiseworthy" as being what we should be thinking and saying. If it isn't constructive and edifying, don't let it out of your mouth!
Christians don't have the luxury of opening their mouths and speaking whatever is on their minds! The Bible says that "a fool speaks his whole mind". Some people say "I just say whatever is on my mind!". The Bible says those folks are foolish!
We are supposed to speak the truth, but only in a loving, gentle and constructive way. Anything more is sinful.


Absolute Truth (like it or not!)

Don't criticize them for having beliefs that are different from yours. Some think it is all right to eat anything, while those whose faith is weak will eat only vegetables. But you should not criticize others for eating or for not eating. After all, God welcomes everyone. What right do you have to criticize someone else's servants? Only their Lord can decide if they are doing right, and the Lord will make sure that they do right. ~ Romans 14.1-4 CEV

Man.... how many Christian's toes do those verses step on! Don't criticize others just because they don't believe like you believe; Don't criticize someone else's servant; That pretty much condemns the great majority of us! We don't like it when other Christians don't see the scriptures EXACTLY like we see them. We think they think they know more than us! And what about this not criticizing another's servant?... isn't EVERY Christian God's servant and not ours? So why can't we seem to keep our mouths off them?!
I love the Bible for telling it straight, like it or not! I like knowing where I stand (or fall!). There's nothing wishy-washy about the word of God, it's the absolute truth, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week!... for EVERYBODY!


No Need for Greed

I'm really shocked and very disappointed to see how greed and selfishness have gotten a hold on the Church. The Church is supposed to be the likeness of Jesus just as He was the likeness of God the Father. When people saw Jesus, they saw God. When people see us, they're supposed to see Jesus! Selfishness and greed are the absolute opposite of what Jesus called his followers to be! Jesus told us to "give to anyone who asks, expecting nothing in return". The Bible tells us "Don't be selfish; don't try to impress others. Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourselves". Jesus said that people would know that we are His because they will see the love we have for others and for each other.
I see too many Christians doing things just to be seen doing them. I see them building up their own name and bragging about their "spirituality"! I see them patting the "big name preachers" on the back and then snubbing their "poor" brothers. I see them using their church membership as a business card! I see them flaunting their authority and "lording over" their brothers and sisters!
The Bible tells us that there is coming a "spring cleaning" and that it will begin in the house of God! Let the cleaning begin! Let the Spirit of God begin to purge the Church of theses hideous and ungodly sins.


I Need Grace!

I just can't say enough about grace! God's grace is so amazing; It's absolutely mind-boggling! God's grace is beyond human comprehension. Who can understand it?
It's like a small child walking through a county fair. There are so many things that catch the child's attention. He's holding his father's hand, but all those flashing lights and clanging bells and those wonderful smells are so enticing! The child gets so caught up in all the goings on that he lets go of his fathers' hand and goes wandering into the crowds of people. All at once, he comes to himself and realizes that he's no longer holding his father's hand. Oh no! I'm lost! What have I done! But the child's father is nearby, never having lost sight of him. He lets the child wander, hoping that he will learn a lesson; Hoping that he will never wander off again. With his father he is safe. Without his father he is vulnerable. When the child goes running back to his father there are no questions, no condemnation, no glaring stares... just love and acceptance and forgiveness! Grace!
I have allowed the flashy things of this world to draw my attention away from my walk with my father more than I care to mention. But he has always stayed nearby. Although I have left his side, He has never left mine. And when I come to my senses and return, He has never condemned me or disowned me. He has always covered me with His marvelous grace and forgiven me.
He does the same for all His children! He loves us all the same and has made to us great and wonderful promises like, "I will never leave you nor forsake you". Even if you have left him, He hasn't left you! Go home... Father's waiting!


Rules for Living

This is your life
Treat yourself right
Treat others right
Live like you know you should.
This is life
Fight the good fight
Fight for what's right
Do what you know you should.
~ Newsboys This is Your Life

Rules, regulations, traditions.... Enough already! Jesus scolded the Pharisees for loading people up with rules and traditions. The Bible says "Pure, unstained religion, according to God our Father, is to take care of orphans and widows when they suffer and to remain uncorrupted by this world.". The "golden rule" says that we should treat everyone else the way we want them to treat us. "This is what the LORD requires from you: to do what is right, to love mercy, and to live humbly with your God." is pretty plain spoken instruction.

Treat people right, the way you want to be treated.
Treat yourself right; God has forgiven you, so forgive yourself and live!
You know how you're supposed to live, so just do it.
If it's right, good and true, stand up for it.

It's really that simple.



If I could have convinced more slaves that they were slaves, I would have freed thousands more. - Harriet Tubman

It's funny how we can be something and not even realize it. Other people may see it clearly, but we are oblivious to it. I see two spiritual truths in that quote from Mrs. Tubman.
First, I would borrow from her wisdom and say "If I could have convinced more sinners that they were sinners, I could have helped save thousands more." Until a person sees that he is a sinner, he's not likely to be looking for a savior! It's not well people who rush into the doctor's office, but sick people. The Bible says that people's eyes are blinded to the truth and they're walking around in the dark. The enemy of our souls knows that as long as people think they're doing alright all by themselves, they won't accept the Holy Spirit's invitation to come to Jesus. I actually had a young man tell me "I'm happy. My life is good and I'm having fun. Why do I need Jesus?".
Second, I would borrow from Mrs. Tubman and say "If I could have convinced more Christians that they were overcomers, I could have saved them thousands of tears.". I'm tired of hearing Christians talk about themselves as if they were the weakest, poorest, most pitiful creatures on Earth! I'm tired of the complaining and the sad faces and the horror stories. If we have not, we have not "because we ask not" or because we "ask amiss" or because we don't believe we are who God says we are! We are overcomers! We are winners! Read the back of the book and you'll see; We win!! I'm not preaching the "prosperity" message that says you can have anything youwant if you just ask and believe. Some of the things we want are not good for us and might even destroy us! But our Heavenly Father has made precious promises to us and he who promised is faithful! He will protect us, provide for us, heal us and live in us. What else could a person want?


Lemme In

I saw a video excerpt from the Oprah show where Oprah said there couldn't possibly be only one way to Heaven. She argued that it didn't matter how you got there as long as you were striving to get there. Apparently she believes that God doesn't care if you get there through Jesus, Mohammad, Buddha or Bozo, just as long as you were trying your best!
People talk about getting to Heaven as if it were a city and we were all trying to pick the best route. Some of us take the interstate because we like to go fast, some of us take the country roads because we like to see nature and some of us fly because we don't like all that traffic. Different strokes for different folks and all roads lead to Heaven. Yes, Heaven is a destination, but it's not our choice as to which path we take to get there!
Have you ever gone to a popular restaurant on a weekend night? Whew, what a crowd! You may be the kind of person who doesn't like to stand in line, so maybe you could just sneak around back and get in through the rear entrance. But there's a sign there saying "Do Not Enter!". So maybe the side door is open and you can get in over there. But again, there's that sign - "Do Not Enter!". OK, maybe if we climb the fire escape and come in through the door on the roof. Nope, it's chained shut. I guess you have no choice but to go back and stand in line with everyone else. Here's the point; The guy who owns the restaurant decides how people can come into His place of business. You may not like His choice, but you will either come in that way or not come in at all! It's His place and He has that right!
God chooses how people get to Him! He has that right! You may not like His way, but it's His way or no way! God said "For the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life, and there are few who find it." He also said "For there is one God and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus". Jesus said ""I tell you the truth, the man who does not enter the sheep pen by the gate, but climbs in by some other way, is a thief and a robber." God has decided how we can get to Him and any other way will fail!
The reason the restaurant owner wants you to come through the front door is so that He can be sure He gets paid for His services. There's a price to pay for His food and entertainment. In the same way, there is a price to pay for entrance into God's presence, a price too high for any human to pay. Jesus sacrificed Himself and God accepted His sacrifice as payment in full for everyone's debt. Jesus paid everyone's admission, but if you insist on trying to pay your own way in, you'll be left outside!
News flash!... Oprah is mistaken! There is one way to God and that is through Jesus the Christ! It's not true because I believe it, I believe it because it's true.


God Is!

"I want atheism to be true and am made uneasy by the fact that some of the most intelligent and well-informed people I know are believers. It isn't just that I don't believe in God and, naturally, I hope I'm right in my belief. It's that I hope there is no God! I don't want there to be a God; I don't want the universe to be like that." ~ Thomas Nagle

I ran across this quote on the internet somewhere the other day. It is more proof of what I have said time and time again; People don't want God because they don't want anyone they have to answer to! They don't want anyone to tell them what to do! They don't see God as a Father or guardian intent on helping, but as a harsh taskmaster who enjoys telling people what to do and then punishing them when they fail.

It's seems odd to me that people hope there is no God and fight tooth and nail to prove that He doesn't exist, but hope there is life on other planets and are eager to believe in aliens and spaceships! It also seems odd to me that anyone would expend so much energy (and often, anger!) fighting against the teachings of someone they claim doesn't even exists! If Jesus wasn't the Son of God and God doesn't exist, then it doesn't matter what we believers claim He said (or what He commands us to do or not to do for that matter!) so just let it slide; It won't amount to anything anyway! But the mere fact that they fight so hard against the idea of God tells me that somewhere deep inside they think He does exist! They are trying harder to convince themselves than us that He doesn't exist!

God exists and believing that He doesn't won't kill Him! Every knee will bow and every tongue will confess that Jesus is Lord! Remember that old oil commercial where the mechanic is telling everyone that it's better to spend a few dollars changing your oil and filter than wait too late and have to pay for an engine overhaul? He says "It's up to you. You can pay me now or pay me later!" Well, it's up to you; You can call Him Lord now or call Him Lord later. The difference is, later will be too late!


No Longer Welcome

"It is impossible to rightly govern . . . without God & the Bible." ~
George Washington

"I have always said, and will always say, that the studious perusal of the sacred volume will make us better citizens." ~ Thomas Jefferson

"The greatest glory of the American Revolution was this: It connected in one indissoluble bond, the principles of civil government with the principles of Christianity." ~ John Quincy Adams

"I have lived, sir, a long time, and the longer I live, the more convincing proofs I see of this truth: that God governs in the affairs of man. And if a sparrow cannot fall to the ground without His notice, is it probable that an empire can rise without His aid?" ~ Benjamin Franklin

Isn't it ironic that these great men who birthed and shaped this wonderful country wouldn't be welcome here today? Their faith in Jesus would be ridiculed, their confidence in God would be mocked and their call for holy living would be called "hate speech"! They would face greater danger from their progeny than from the British troops they fought to gain our independence.
Many would claim that we have "come a long way baby" and have outgrown those "superstitious beliefs" of our forefathers. I would say that indeed we have come a long way, but in the wrong direction. We should have built upon the foundation these great men laid for us, but instead we are steadily chipping away at it and I fear we will soon see the walls come tumbling down. What would Washington, Jefferson, Adams and Franklin think of what we have done to this great nation they birthed?


Outside the Box

Watching all the media coverage of Michael Jackson's death has reminded me once again that no matter how rich or famous or talented or idolized a person might become in this life, we all end up in that same little box when it's all said and done. I'm not trying to sound morbid and hopeless, but it's the truth; we all will die and we all will be there in that little box with people filing by paying their respects. Life ends. Sometimes it ends sooner than we think it should and we never seem to be prepared to hear of a person's passing.
No one is promised tomorrow. If it comes, it's a blessing; if it doesn't, we can't say we weren't warned. Life is fragile and unpredictable and it's end is always sudden and shocking. But it's end is certain, that we can be sure of. The older I get, the more I realize just how short life is. When I was a kid I thought fifty year-old's were ancient. Fifty years seemed like an eternity to me then! Now that I am fifty, I wonder where all that time went. It seems like I was a teenager just a few years ago! Now even a hundred years of life doesn't seem like it will be enough! There are so many things to do and so many places to see and such a short time to get it all done.
That's all the more reason to look toward eternity! Just imagine, no time limits! No hurry, no hustle and bustle and no rat race! No clocks and no timetables! No deadlines and no overtime!
The Earth will be brand new, the heavens above will be brand new and we will be brand new! And we'll have all the time (time?... what's that?!) we desire to enjoy this Earth and each other's company and our Lord's presence! No caskets, no funerals and no graveyards ever again! No more weeping and mourning the loss of someone we love and cherish! No more losing anyone or anything!
Please, if you have not given your heart to Jesus, do it now, while there's still time. Don't put it off until another day, there may not be one. Accept Jesus' promise of eternal life and not just eternal life, but eternal joy! We may all end up in that little box, but we don't have to stay there!



A wise man once said that when Moses came down from the mountain of God, he didn't come down with ten commandments, he came down with ten character issues. God is all about character. People may focus on what church you go to or how many bible scriptures you can recite or maybe how much you put in the offering plate, but God focuses on your character. God looks on the inside at the person you are when you think no one is watching! We need to check now and then to see if we are people of character.
If you're sitting at a red light at three o'clock in the morning and there's not another car in sight, do you wait for the green light, or just go on your way? If you're on a business trip and your employer will reimburse you for up to twenty dollars for lunch but you only spent fifteen, do you "adjust" the receipt to show the full twenty anyway? If you're getting in your car to leave the mall and your door opens too wide and scratches the car next to you, do you wait for the owner to come out and make it right or jump in and speed away before anyone notices? These may seem like small, insignificant things, but God takes them very seriously! Remember, the Bible says that it is the "little foxes" that spoil the vines! It is often these "trivial" character flaws that bring down the "biggest" people!
With God, character is everything. People may notice what you did, but God also notices why you did it.


The Lie

I have just recently gotten my first real taste of having my reputation slandered. It comes as such a shock when someone spreads a lie that has you supposedly acting in a way that you would never act (and anyone who really knows you would know you could never act!) and saying things you would never say. I guess that because I would never think of doing something like that to another human being, it's hard for me to imagine someone doing that to me! But, they did. And it hurts. And it makes me angry. And it's unfair. I live my life trying to be as Godly as I can (sometimes I do a better job than other times!) and then someone comes along and, with one unfounded lie, tries to steal my reputation from me! Granted, those who know me won't believe the lie, but what about those who don't know me? Has this lie ruined any chance I may have had to reach them for Christ? Has this lie stained my reputation in their eyes and will they spread the lie to others?
I have to admit that my flesh wants revenge. My flesh wants to go to this person and "have it out"! My flesh wants to punch somebody out! But I feel the Holy Spirit restraining me. I hear Him telling me that revenge is God's thing and not my thing. I hear Him telling me to love my enemies and bless those who abuse me. I feel Him compelling me to be like Jesus who, when He was mocked and lied about and betrayed, offered no retaliation, but went on about His Father's business and "no guile was found in his mouth".
I am grateful that God won't allow me to be merely "human". I am his child, born of His Spirit, called by His name and made in His image. He has called me to be like Him, holy and mature, and I want to be obedient. I want Him to be pleased with me and proud of me as His son. But it sure is tough sometimes! I pray that this person repents of the lie and asks for God's forgiveness. They already have mine. I also pray that God will be merciful in His revenge against them if they refuse to repent.


Heaven on Earth

I'm a Kentuckian. I'm a southerner. I don't have to tell you those things, you'll find it pretty easy to tell. The way I talk, walk and dress will give me away. Where I'm from has impacted forever my speech, my likes and dislikes, my feelings about family and friends, and much more. My home state's culture has impacted my very being. No matter where I go, Kentucky goes with me. Even in the farthest reaches of the north, I'm still southern. That's just the way it is.
The Bible says that we Christians are citizens of Heaven. We are in this world but not of this world. Shouldn't people be able to tell that when they meet us? Shouldn't we talk differently, act differently and think differently than citizens of this world? I'm not talking about "Bible-thumping" for show (you know, every word that comes out of your mouth is thee and thou). I'm not talking about being weird for the sole purpose of being different (the Bible tells us "be thou holy", not "be thou weird"). I'm not talking about being self-righteous and self-important and holier-than-thou. I'm talking about reflecting the culture of our homeland. I'm talking about living out the morals, values, and priorities of Heaven in our earthly lives. I'm talking about being "heaven-ly" even though we're here on Earth.
If you've ever visited China Town in San Francisco, you would almost swear that you had left the US and entered China. These people are United States citizens but they didn't abandon their Chinese culture. They will always be Chinese in their hearts, even though they love the United States and feel blessed to live here. They recreated a little bit of China here in the US just by "being Chinese"!. Jesus taught us to pray to our Heavenly Father "thy kingdom come, thy will be done in Earth as it is in Heaven". We recreate the kingdom of Heaven here on Earth when we live out Heaven's culture in our Earthly lives, when we live on Earth by Heaven's rules.
I find I don't have to tell people that I'm from Kentucky and I find I don't have to tell people that I'm a Christian either. They watch me live and they just know. They hear it in my voice, see it in my actions and recognize it in my lifestyle.


Discernment from Above

I was having a discussion about the Bible with an acquaintance recently and I mentioned that the Bible is spiritually written and must be spiritually discerned. He asked me to explain what I meant and I did. I told him that the Bible states that it was written by men as they were impressed upon by the Holy Spirit. Men wrote it, but not just any men, men who were under the influence of the Holy Spirit. They wrote it in their words and in their style of writing, but the ideas and precepts were given to them by the Holy Spirit. Therefore, without the Holy Spirit's help, it is impossible to understand the "deep things" of the word of God. He told me I was crazy. He said that he understood the Bible just fine (even though he wasn't a Christian) and could quote scriptures with the best of preachers. He said that he felt more than adequate to teach the Bible to others and didn't need any "spiritual" help in doing so.
I find that a lot of people feel that way. I dare say that our pulpits are full of people who don't think they need the Holy Spirit's help in understanding the Holy Scriptures. I have heard quite a few of them myself! They are very intelligent and very articulate (as well as quite persuasive) in their speaking styles. But there's no power! They talk, but the Holy Spirit isn't there to back them up with His power and authority! It's all logical and can be even entertaining, but no one leaves with a changed life! In 1Corinthians chapter 2, Paul said "(vs. 1)- When I came to you brothers, I did not come with eloquence and superior wisdom as I proclaimed to you the testimony about God. (vs. 4)- My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit's power, so that your faith might not rest on men's wisdom, but on God's power.". The Bible says that God has "made foolish the wisdom of the world" and God has said "I will destroy the wisdom of the wise; the intelligence of the intelligent I will frustrate.".
Is it no wonder that "intelligent" people see the preaching of the cross and the shed blood of Jesus as foolishness?! To the human mind, unenlightened by the Holy Spirit, it does sound foolish! But God has decided to do things this way. It's not the highly educated, the well-schooled, the "intellectual" thinker who will understand and be saved; It's the one who, drawn and guided by the Holy Spirit, humbles himself and learns to trust God in this "foolishness" that will endure!
It is good to listen to a man or woman of God who is entertaining and speaks well. All teachers of the gospel should strive to be the best they can be at what God has given them to do. But be careful who you are listening to! If you can't sense the Holy Spirit at work in their midst, if there is no power, just talk, maybe you should look elsewhere for the teaching.



A popular song on the radio has a mother asking her prospective son-in-law "Were you washed in the blood, or just in the water?". That's a good question. Some people think they're the same thing, but they certainly are not!
Being washed in the water is the ritual a born-again Christian undertakes to openly associate himself/herself with the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus. Being washed in the blood is accepting one's sinfulness, repenting of those sins and accepting Jesus' shed blood as the sacrifice for them. Being washed in the water without first being washed in the blood produces nothing more than a wet sinner! Being washed in the blood cleanses the soul and allows the spirit to be reborn of God. Being washed in the water announces to the world that you've been washed in the blood and that Jesus is the Lord of your life.


The Ten Commandments

The Bibles says "You must not steal". Does anyone, anywhere think that is a bad rule for people to live by? Is there a culture on this Earth that condones stealing? Is there a group of people somewhere who enjoy having a thief among them?
The Bible says "You must not murder." Is murder ever a good idea? Does anyone want to be murdered? Doesn't pretty much every nation have laws against it?
The Bible says "You must not lie." Don't you just hate to be lied to? Doesn't everyone like to be told the truth?
The Bible says "You must not commit adultery." Doesn't everyone think that's a good rule to live by? If you love someone enough to marry them, shouldn't that love be enough to keep you from betraying them?
These things God tells us to do aren't meant to deprive us of our fun, but to keep us from harm. God knows that stealing hurts people. He knows that murder takes not only the life of the victim, but destroys the lives of the victims family. God knows that if we can't trust each other, how can a society survive? Lying destroys any chance for trust. God knows that marriage is the nucleus of the family unit. Infidelity destroys societies, little by little, one family at a time.
If all these things God tells us to do are good and helpful, why do people hate the ten commandments so much? Even if you don't believe there is a God, what's wrong with living by the ten commandments? Don't they encourage needful behavior? Shouldn't we all know by pure common sense that we shouldn't lie to, steal from and murder each other?
I believe people just plain don't like to told what to do! People tend to revolt against commandments. People don't like rules and regulations (some people more than others) and they tend to fight against anything they see as a restriction to their "freedom". But we are not free to hurt each other. We are not free to harm another human being. Your right to swing your fist must stop where my nose begins!
I find it interesting that the Jewish people call the ten commandments the ten blessings. They understand that these laws are not meant to restrict life, but to enhance life. God isn't inhibiting your enjoying life, He is protecting you from harm!


Weeds or Flowers?

I don't usually blog about homosexuality or abortion, not because they aren't important topics, but because, quite frankly, some things are openly, obviously, glaringly wrong. But today, I do want to say just a few things about abortion.
A famous comedian once quipped that the way you can tell the difference between a flower and a weed is: if you water it and feed it and it dies, it's a flower; if you dig it up and try to kill it but it comes back, it's a weed. In other words, the only real difference between a weed and a flower is whether it is wanted or not! Your flower may be my weed and my weed may be your flower. Actually, they're both just plants. You can call it a weed if you want to, but it is still a plant. It's an unwanted plant (at least unwanted by you), but it's a plant nonetheless!
I think babies are like that in a way. Pro-lifers say that it's a "baby". Pro-choiceers say it's a "fetus". You can call it what you want, but it's still a human life! You may call it a "fetus"(because you don't want it and calling it "fetus" makes it easier to dispose of), but it's still a human life. Your "fetus" (because you don't want it) is someone else's "baby" (because they do want it). Wanted or unwanted, it's still a human life. The seed was planted, the egg was fertilized and if left alone it would grow, mature and be birthed. It takes an outside, purposeful act to keep it from living.
If you want to have an abortion ( I pray you would reconsider) it is legal in this country for you to do that. But, not everything that is legal is moral and right. And, of course, you have every right to disagree with everything I've just said. But please, whether you're a man or a woman, don't be conned into believing that it's "just a fetus", as if it were a tumour or some other clump of lifeless tissue. It is a human life. Wanted or unwanted, it's a baby.



Jesus loves you. Jesus loves you and understands you and wants you. He put life inside your body when you were conceived in your mother's womb (if He hadn't, you wouldn't be alive!) and a plan was set in motion for your life before you ever came into this world. You are important! You matter! You are here for a reason! You have a purpose!
Eleanor Roosevelt once said "No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.". Their opinion of you is true only if you agree. What matters more than anything is your opinion of yourself! What you think about yourself tends to become true. Sometimes we think that no one loves us or thinks we're worth anything and maybe it's because we really aren't worth anything. We take other people's word for it thinking that they know us better than we know ourselves!
You may not be "pretty" or "handsome". You may not be "book-smart". You may not have great "social skills". You may be "poor". These are all outward appearances and don't represent the real you! That's what's so wonderful about the way Jesus loves you; He looks at the inside of you! Jesus judges your heart, the real you way down inside, the part people can't see! Jesus sees you, not things about you! People love things about you, but He loves you! People love the way you look, the way you smile, your laugh, your personality, the way you dress, your style, your sense of humor, etc. Jesus loves you! Jesus loves you when you look funny, dress funny, talk funny and act funny. Jesus loves you! Jesus loves you in spite of the things about you!
If you think you are not loved, you're wrong. If you think you're unimportant and useless, you're wrong. If you think no one cares whether you live or die, you're wrong. You've never been more wrong. Jesus loves you. And because He loves you, so do I. You are important to me. Love yourself.... you're worth it.


Just Me

"I yam what I yam and that's all that I yam!" - Popeye the Sailor Man
Just like dear old Popeye, I am what I am. I'm me and I'm the only me there is and I like being me! I have my faults (after all, I'm only human), but all-in-all, I like me. Some of my friends want me to be more like them (which would make me less like me!) and I know they mean well, but they like me and I like me and God loves me, so, what's the problem?! I guess that because I'm quiet, reserved and a little shy they think they can help me by encouraging me to be more outgoing and social. I appreciate their concern, but I would appreciate their acceptance more.
Actually, there was a time when my personality bothered me. I felt like the lone ranger sometimes. The other members of my family were always outgoing (even loud!) and very social; real people-persons! I thought something must be wrong with me! But when I read in the Bible about how God created me, actually knit me together in my mother's womb, and how He made me according to His own specifications and especially about how He loves me unconditionally just as I am.... well!, that was a great day! God made me, He loves me and that's all that matters!
We all need to do a little studying on personalities and how we are all different. I think that would help us all to understand that we are supposed to be different; that's God's plan! You may think I'm too quiet and shy. I may think you're too loud and outspoken. But being different is what makes us interesting! And it's what God planned for us and it will help us do what He calls us to do in this world! Cool, huh?!
And so I say, along with Popeye..... I yam what I yam.... and that's alright with me!


That's All I Need

My faith has found a resting place,
Not in device nor creed;
I trust the Everliving One,
His wounds for me shall plead.

Enough for me that Jesus saves,
This ends my fear and doubt;
A sinful soul, I come to Him,
He’ll never cast me out.

My heart is leaning on the Word,
The written Word of God,
Salvation by my Savior’s name,
Salvation through His blood.

My great Physician heals the sick,
The lost He came to save;
For me His precious blood He shed,
For me His life He gave.

I need no other argument,
I need no other plea;
It is enough that Jesus died,
And that He died for me.

—Lidie H. Edmunds, 19th Century

There are hundreds of promises in the Bible that believers can claim. I claim them all because I know that "He who promised is faithful". I am grateful for all those promises, but actually, all I need is the promise that Jesus' death gives me life; that his shed blood cleansed me from sin. I can stand on that promise and know that "it is well with my soul"! All those other promises give me hope, but the promise that Jesus died for me gives me peace. I can lay down and rest at night knowing that, no matter what happens as I sleep, whether I awake again or not, everything will be alright.

I need no other argument, I need no other plea, except that Jesus' death, burial and resurrection has secured me for eternity! Until you can be sure that promise is yours, the other promises don't matter.


Unbelievable Love

I just saw the TV special about David Berkowitz, the Son of Sam serial killer. Mr. Berkowitz says that he has accepted Jesus as his savior and has repented of his many sins. I know, I know... another jail-house conversion! But the key word here is conversion. Many a muderer or rapist has confessed belief in Jesus after being caught and sentenced to prison. But how many of them really changed? How many were truly converted? After seeing this TV interview and reading about Mr. Berkowitz further, I see that it has been 23 years since he confessed his faith in Jesus and there really has been a change. He is a different man.
Some people have a hard time believing that God can (or is even willing) to forgive someone who has been so evil and caused so much pain. I understand completely the difficulty the families of his victims have in believing that he has changed. I understand their reluctance to believe that he has truly repented and given his life to Jesus. I even understand the unbeliever who cannot see how God could possibly forgive and love such a man. Many a prisoner has confessed belief in Jesus to escape the death penalty. It seems awfully convenient to drop the name of Jesus when you're facing death.
But I believe that God forgives anyone who comes to him in faith and humbles himself and repents. I believe it because the Bible says it and because I myself have been forgiven of more than I would want made known publicly. I've never murdered anyone or raped anyone or molested anyone, but I have done things that I am so ashamed of that I can't even bring myself to think about them. I dare say that most of us, if we were completely honest, would say the same. We Christians are just a bunch of horrible sinners who are overcome by the miracle of God's love, mercy and grace. We have been forgiven much and therefore, we love him much. I am glad that God can forgive David Berkowitz and change him and make something useful out of him. I am glad that God is bigger than any sin I could ever commit. I'm glad that God is willing to hear the prayer of repentance and the desperate cries for help coming from the most despicable sinner that has ever lived.
Yes, I know that many (if not most) of these prison confessions of faith in Jesus are bogus. But when you see that change.... that change that only God can make in a person, how can you not believe? And how can you not be happy; happy that a soul has been saved and happy that God has proved the boundlessness of his love once again? Yes they deserve the life sentences they are serving and I'm not saying we should let them out of prison. There are consequences to our actions and we must pay for what we have done. But to see the willingness of God to forgive and heal and change broken lives makes me happy and gives me great peace! We were all sinners and we all needed God's forgiveness and mercy. It took just as much of Jesus' blood to wash away your sins as it did to wash away David Berkowitz's sins!



Who exactly are they and why do we let them tell us what to do? You know what they say, but why is what they say any more important than what any of us say? Why does someone in France get to tell the whole world what they should wear every year? Why does some TV show host get to tell us what books we should read? Why does some movie star get to tell us what we should think about abortion or gay rights or world affairs?
Peer pressure didn't stop after high school! We're still letting people pressure us into thinking like they think. We, as free people, need to start thinking for ourselves! What you think is just as important as what anybody else thinks!! You matter! I matter! Just because we're not famous or rich or "beautiful" doesn't mean we're ignorant or unimportant! We don't need some anyone to tell us what we like or what we should think!
It has always amazed me the way we hang on every word of some movie star as if we thought they were all-knowing gods. This same person was probably a waitress or garbage truck driver six months ago and no one cared what they thought about anything! But now that they're famous, suddenly they are omnipotent and whatever they wear, we should wear; whatever they eat, we should eat; whatever they think, we should think! How ridiculous! Shame on us!
You should wear whatever is comfortable and whatever you think looks good. You should eat whatever food you think tastes good and drink whatever brand of cola you think is best. You should read whatever book sounds interesting to you. You should watch whatever TV show or movie that you think you would enjoy. You should stand for whatever you decide in your own heart is worth standing up for. You should stand against whatever you decide in your own heart is wrong. You can do it!


The Whole Armour

Ephesians chapter 6 talks about the armor of God.  There's the armor of truth that girds the loins, the armor of righteousness that is our breastplate, the armor of the preparation of the gospel of peace which protects our feet, the shield of faith which quenches the fiery arrows of the evil one, the helmet of salvation for our minds and the sword of the Spirit which is the Word of God. There is, however, no mention of armor for our backs.
I've heard many theories about why there is no mention of armor for our backs and each of them made sense to me. I suppose there could be more than one reason for it. Allow me to add my opinion to the mix. I believe that the reason no mention is made for there being armor for our backs is that we are the armor for each other's backs. I believe that as Christians, you have my back and I have yours! At least, that's how it should be. I believe that the reason the devil sneaks up and overtakes our brothers and sister so often is because we are not covering each other's backs as we ought! One of the last verses in Ephesians says that we should be watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints. 
When we pray, we should always make mention of our brothers and sisters all around the world. Some of them are literally dying for the sake of Christ! The Bible says all perseverance  and all saints! Whatever blessings we ask from God for ourselves, we should ask for our brothers and sisters also. I'm expecting you to cover my back and you can count on me to cover yours! 


Workers in the Harvest

" "On earth as it is in heaven"; that is our number one prayer. We should not pray for the rapture. We should not pray for retreat. We should not pray for rescue. We should pray for revolution. Every time we pray for God to take us out of the world, we are praying the wrong prayer. Instead, we should pray for Heaven to come to Earth - for His Garden to spread until it fills the planet." God's Big Idea - Myles Monroe
We spend an awful lot of time teaching Christians how to get ready to go. I think we need to spend more time teaching Christians how to stay. I believe in the rapture of the Church and I'm ready for it anytime God is and I understand Christians getting fed up with all the evil and suffering that's going on down here. I understand the longing to go home to be with Jesus and we should certainly continue preaching about Heaven and the hope of eternity with God. But, Jesus taught us to pray that God's Kingdom would come to Earth and that His will would be done here just as it is done there!
God's plan for us is more than just salvation. If it was God's whole plan to just save us, He would have saved us and then killed us! Why did He leave us here even after He saved us?; to affect this world for Him! We are ambassadors for Christ! We are change agents! We are salt and light and leaven! We are here to preserve morality and goodness, to expel the darkness that blinds people to the truth and to permeate this world system and transform it by our presence! We shouldn't be praying to go; we should be praying for His Kingdom to come!
When the Romans conquered a country, they didn't ravage it and take all it's people back to Rome to be enslaved. They sent a few good Romans into that country to mix in with the locals and teach them how to be Romans. They taught the conquered people how to be Roman just by living among them as good Romans. They taught by example! We should be teaching people how to be Christians by living here among them as good Christians! We are their example!
I have those days just like you do when I would hop on the next bus to Heaven if that were possible. But I would be doing a disservice to my fellow man and to my God if I did that. There is work to do and we're the only ones who can do it! God is counting on us! Jesus sent his Holy Spirit to empower us to spread the good news of the Kingdom of God. There is no plan B!  Luke 10:2 says "So He instructed them, "The harvest is vast, but the workers are few. So ask the Lord of the harvest to send workers out into his harvest.".



There was a time in this great country when a person could disagree with someone or something without having "phobe" attached to the end of what they disagreed with and then the whole (whatever)-phobe attached to their name. For example, if I disagree morally with the gay and lesbian lifestyle then I'm branded a homo-phobe. I'm not afraid of homosexuals, I just morally disagree with their lifestyle. Doesn't the United States Constitution give me the freedom to disagree with anything I want to? Do I not have the right to be the most disagreeable person on earth if I choose to?! (I'm not, but don't I have the right to be?!)
I'm not afraid of homosexuals nor do I hate them; I just reject their chosen lifestyle as unnatural and I believe the Bible teaches that it is an abomination to God. He judged that lifestyle, not me. I'm just agreeing with His judgment! Did I lose that right and no one told me about it? Did someone whack off a big chunk of the Constitution and I didn't hear about it?! Or is this all pressure to make me say that "anything goes" just so that I'll fit in? Ain't gonna happen!! Everybody has an opinion and mine is worth as much as anybody else's, even if mine isn't a popular one!
I don't call homosexuals derogatory names. I'm not their boss nor their nanny. They choose the lifestyle they want and they have the right to do that. They have the right to make their case for gay rights, gay marriage and anything else. But don't I have that same right?! Sure I do and you do as well! If anyone wants to be a homosexual then let them be a homosexual, but don't try to force me to agree with it! I'm an American! I'm free to think and say what I feel is right! I certainly don't have the right to harm anyone, but I do have the right to disagree with them! Why do homosexuals get to call me derogatory names just because I disagree with them? Do I lose my right to express my opinion if that opinion is unpopular?
Call me anything you want to, you have the right to free speech. The only thing I'm afraid of these days is that we Americans have lost our moral compass as well as our backbones. And if we're not careful, we'll be robbed of our right to think for ourselves and express those thoughts in the public forum.


True Deterrent

Someone once said "If there is no God then nothing matters, but if there is a God, nothing else matters." That statement touches believers and non-believers alike. It gives us insight into things that are happening all around us these days.
If there is no God, nothing matters. The liberal thinkers in this great country are trying to convince our children that there is no God. Humanistic theories are in the newspapers, magazines and even schools books! Faith is belittled, people of faith are scorned and anyone who doesn't buy into the outright lie of evolution is condemned as ignorant, superstitious and maybe even dangerous! If there is no God, then nothing matters. If someone believes there is no God, no afterlife, no judgment or punishment in eternity, then what keeps them from killing 8 or 10 innocent people at a mall and then killing themselves?! They would be dead and therefore escape punishment from the judicial system and, since there is no God, they wouldn't be punished after their death and the bonus is that they go out with their faces plastered on every news show on every TV screen in the world! To someone who is dejected, depressed, mentally disturbed or just plain mean, what part of that scenario wouldn't sound inviting?! If you're tired of living and there's no God to answer to after death, why suffer here any longer when you can just kill yourself!; and why not take a few other folks with you just to show the world how unfair it's been to you! These liberal, would-be God-killers aren't killing God, but they're sure doing a number on society!
I'm not saying that we should use the fear of a non-existent, fairytale God or the fear of a non-existent, fairytale place called Hell as a crime deterrent. The fact is that there is a God and there is a Hell! I'm saying that when we tell people the truth about God, Heaven and Hell and final judgment, that knowledge will be a deterrent to crime! It is common knowledge that most people will not do something they know for sure they will be punished for doing! On the other hand, if there's no God, no Heaven or Hell, no life after death and no punishment for doing evil, then what difference does it make what we do?! If I kill you and you die, then I kill myself and I die and that's the end of it, so what? I'll be dead forever and you'll be dead forever and neither of us will be aware of it! If there is no God, then nothing matters!



Grace is defined as "unmerited favor" or "an undeserved gift". By it's very definition, grace is something that you can't earn and you don't deserve! Everything we get from God is by His grace. We haven't earned His blessings and we certainly don't deserve the wonderful things He does for us! The Bible teaches us that we all have sinned and fallen short of perfection (which is what the law required) and because of our sin, we deserve eternal damnation! The Bible says that we are saved by grace, through faith and that even our faith to be saved is His grace! We don't stop to think just how wonderful God's grace really is. It is mind-boggling! We deserve Hell, but we get Heaven! We sinned horribly, but those sins were washed away, forgiven and forgotten! We separated ourselves from God by our disobedience, but God restored us and brought us back to Himself and even adopted us into His own family!
Phillip Yancy wrote a book entitled "What's So Amazing About Grace?" and after reading it, I began to see that everything about grace is amazing! The fact that God even exhibits grace is amazing! Just think; God is all-powerful and all-knowing. He can't be defeated and He can't be outsmarted. He created everything that exists, and therefore, everything belongs to Him. He doesn't owe anybody anything and doesn't need anything from anyone. Who would ever expect an entity such as He to show grace?! He can do anything He likes. He could make us do anything He wanted us to do. Why show us grace?!
The answer, of course, is that He loves us. Why He loves us is another question altogether! God chose to create us. He chose to save us and to redeem us. He chose to adopt us and call us His family. He chose to cover us with His grace and protect, bless and provide for us. He chose us! We must never lose the awe of how wonderful and glorious God's grace toward us is. We must never allow ourselves to start thinking He owes us His grace. We must never take grace for granted. Without His grace, we would be helpless and hopeless, alone and without purpose, headed for eternal destruction.


The Blame Game

Just because we don't take responsibility, doesn't mean we're not responsible! We blame guns for killing people; we blame food for making people fat; we blame alcohol for drunk driving. The fact is that people kill people with guns. People get fat because people eat too much food. People are killed by drunk drivers because people drink alcohol and drive. Things are just things; they aren't good or evil, they're just inanimate objects! People have free wills. People make decisions. People disobey the laws. People are responsible for their behavior!
Not every human fault is a matter of genetics and not every bad behavior is because of a disease! It's not our mother's fault or our father's fault. We are responsible for what we decide to do with our lives! I know that bad things happen to us in childhood and I know that the way our parents raised us (or failed to raise us) can be a setback in our development. But overcoming those things is our responsibility! Not everyone raised by an abusive parent abuses their own children! Not every child of an alcoholic parent becomes an alcoholic! Not every child raised on welfare becomes a life-long welfare recipient! Not every child of an obese parent becomes obese! If just one breaks the cycle, then we can all break the cycle! It's up to us!
This blame game that has become so prevalent is killing us! It is taking the fight out of us. It teaches us that we are helpless victims of something we have no control over. It teaches lack of personal responsibility and utter doom! Why make an effort to be better than we are if we are at the mercy of our genes or our past or our circumstances?! It is totally unamerican and foreign to the way this country began and became the greatest country in the world!
There was a time in this country when, if you were told you couldn't do something, it only served to make you more determined to do it! Now, when we're told by the "experts" that we can't overcome our past, or our genes, or whatever, we believe them and quit trying. "Give up" is not what this country is about! "Never give up" is!
We need to take responsibility for our lives and stop letting the "experts" deter us! We need to stop looking for someone else to blame and just do what needs to be done, even if it's the toughest thing we've ever had to do! Don't make excuses and don't accept any. God created human beings in His image and we are capable of overcoming any obstacle in our way!



I accepted Jesus as my savior, now what?
That is a legitimate question that too often doesn't get answered. In the mad rush to get people saved, we forget that we're supposed to be making disciples, not converts! Jesus said we should go make disciples of all nations. Disciple means "one who learns" or "student". Leading someone to Jesus is only the beginning! There is teaching, mentoring and encouraging to be done!
The Bible speaks about new Christians as being spiritual babies. What good mother or father would birth a baby and leave them alone to figure out how to live? What parent would dare say,
"OK kid, I did the hard part getting you here. Now your on your own. I believe you can do it!"?
I don't know but that we are not responsible somewhat for the people we lead to Jesus, at least until they know enough to function on their own. New Christians are extremely vulnerable to the devils attacks. He always tries to convince them that they're not really saved. The only way to battle the devil is with the word of God and most new Christians don't know much scripture to fight with!
If you have lead someone to the Lord, hang around! Be a friend and an encouragement. Answer any question you can and if you don't know the answer, search the scriptures together (prayerfully) until you find it!