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The First Burning Bush Devotional was sent June 8, 1998.


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Love Never Fails

Love never fails. And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love. - 1 Corinthians 13:8a; 13 NKJV.

And we have known and believed the love that God has for us. God is love, and he who abides in love abides in God, and God in him. - 1 John 4:16 NKJV.

The Lord is righteous in her midst, He will do no unrighteousness. Every morning He brings His justice to light; He never fails, But the unjust knows no shame. - Zephaniah 3:5 NKJV.

Through the Lord's mercies we are not consumed,
Because His compassions fail not.
They are new every morning;
Great is Your faithfulness. - Lamentations 3:22-23 NKJV.

Last night, I watched as the Wallendas walked the high wire in Times Square. Although they had a safety harness this time, I cannot imagine the nerve defying courage they must have to attempt to walk the high wire ten stories above the ground. There was something Nik Wallenda said before the attempt that grabbed me. He said, "The high wire has never failed me." Then, I think he said, "What I do on the wire depends on me." It reminded me that in this life God's love will never fail us.

The truth is that in contrast to God's unfailing love our human love does sometimes fail. In our humanity we can never be perfect. We walk the high wire of life trying for perfection, but we fall at times missing the mark. Thank God! that if we know Jesus as our Savior, we have a safety rope that catches us as we plummet downward. Because the compassions of our God "fail not." "They are new every morning."

There has only been one perfect person who has walked upon this earth, Jesus Christ. We are told in Hebrews 4:15, "For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin." Jesus Christ became the perfect sinless sacrificial lamb as 1 Peter 3:18 says, "For Christ also suffered once for sins, the just for the unjust, that He might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive by the Spirit."

Those of us who know Jesus as our personal Savior have a safety rope as we walk the high wire of life. Sadly, there are billions of people who are up there on the high wire of life with eternity below who have no safety rope. When they sin, there can be no forgiveness because they have never received Christ Jesus as their Savior. Their high wire act will someday come to an end because "it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment (Hebrews 9:27)"

Do you know someone who is walking the high wire of life without a safety rope? Please, before it is eternally too late, tell them about Jesus!



Stop the Pain

And I heard a loud voice from heaven saying, "Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people. God Himself will be with them and be their God. And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. THERE SHALL BE NO MORE PAIN, for the former things have passed away." - Revelation 21:3-4 NKJV.

When wisdom enters your heart,
And knowledge is pleasant to your soul,
Discretion will preserve you;
Understanding will keep you,
To deliver you from the way of evil. - Proverbs 2:10-12a NKJV.

But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality and without hypocrisy. - James 3:17 NKJV.

There has been such pain across our world in recent days with the horrific Easter bombing of churches and hotels in Sri Lanka. Hundreds of Christians peacefully worshiping their Lord ripped from this world to the next. However, the pain inflicted by those led by hatred instead of peace was not limited to just Sri Lanka. How many were killed by hate filled people in just the last week? Likely the number, if known, would be in the thousands. Just in the area where I live there have been three brutal murders that has caused great pain for their families. One of those killed I knew, as he attended the same high school that I attended.

For us who know Jesus as our Savior we have the glorious promise that is given in Revelation 21 that someday ...there shall be no more pain! But certainly, it is not God's will that there be pain in our lives even now. How can the pain be stopped? How can people be turned from their evil ways? Revelation gives us the answer to that: "Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people. God Himself will be with them and be their God." Did you get that? "...the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them." For those who know Jesus as their Savior, God is already dwelling with them as we are told in 1 Corinthians 3:16, "Do you not know that you are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you?" Once "the Spirit of God dwells in you," He is a force restraining you from causing evil and pain.

The writer of the Book of Proverbs tells us that we need wisdom. Wisdom will "deliver you from the way of evil." How do we obtain this kind of wisdom? "Wisdom that ...is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality and without hypocrisy." In James 1:5 we are told, "If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him."

There is a solution available to the pain and evil that is running rampant across our world. What is that solution? His Name is JESUS! Give them JESUS and stop the pain!



No Shortcuts

Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it. - Matthew 7:13-14 NKJV.

The Message puts Matthew 7:13-14 as: Don't look for shortcuts to God. The market is flooded with surefire, easygoing formulas for a successful life that can be practiced in your spare time. Don't fall for that stuff, even though crowds of people do. The way to life - to God! - is vigorous and requires total attention.

All the high winds that we have experienced here in Oklahoma caused our DISHtv system to develop some problems. Monday the DISHtv technician arrived to try to solve our system problems. I thought it might only take him a few minutes to remount and reposition the dish and he would be done. Instead, it took a couple of hours. The technician discovered that the cable in our attic was not a DISH approved cable, and proceeded to replace it, even though it must have been more than 100 degrees in the attic. He said the old cable would likely have been okay. Then he said, "I don't do shortcuts." "No shortcuts."

Sadly, many try to find a shortcut to God and end up on the "broad" way instead entering at the "narrow gate." Many try the shortcut of trying to do more good things than bad things. However, we are told in Ephesians 2:8-10, "For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them." There is only One Way to salvation and reconciliation with God. The narrow gate and the way is Jesus Christ! John 14:6, "Jesus said to him, 'I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.'"

After we have believed upon Jesus unto salvation there are still no shortcuts. There is no shortcut from being a baby in Christ to becoming a mature believer. There will be no growth as a Christian without Bible reading and Bible study. There will be no growth as a Christian without spending time in prayer every day. There will be no growth as a Christian without faithful church attendance. There will be no growth as a Christian without serving your Lord and Savior.

Jesus could have taken a shortcut by accepting the devil's temptations of Matthew 4, but He defeated those temptations by the Word of God. Jesus could have rejected the cross in the Garden of Gethsemane, instead He prayed in Matthew 26:42, "O My Father, if this cup cannot pass away from Me unless I drink it, Your will be done." Just before being nailed to the cross, Jesus could have taken a shortcut as we are told in Matthew 27:34, "they gave Him sour wine mingled with gall to drink. But when He had tasted it, He would not drink." This would have been a shortcut, a small shortcut at best, around some of the suffering of the cross. But Jesus refused to take that shortcut, going to and through the cross because of His great love for us. There was no shortcut to Jesus becoming our Savior. It was a long hard road that Jesus traveled.

Life can be difficult, and your Savior knows that all too well. There are no shortcuts to a life well lived, but Jesus will travel with you on that difficult way. Jesus says, "Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light (Matthew 11:29-30)."



Think Before You Act

But Jesus said to him, "Friend, why have you come?" Then they came and laid hands on Jesus and took Him. And suddenly, one of those who were with Jesus stretched out his hand and drew his sword, struck the servant of the high priest, and cut off his ear. But Jesus said to him, “Put your sword in its place, for all who take the sword will perish by the sword. - Matthew 26:50-52 NKJV.

We know from another gospel that it was Peter who swung the sword cutting off the ear of the servant of the high priest. The man probably deserved to have his head cut off, which was likely what Peter was attempting to do. Not sure what Peter was thinking, since the disciples only had the one sword. You could say that Peter was a little impulsive. From another gospel we know that Jesus touched the man and healed the ear. That should have been enough for all of those who came out to arrest Jesus to have turned and went back home. However, even seeing a miracle will not stop some from committing evil.

30-year-old Holly Albert was determined to go to her yoga class, and she wanted her mother to drive her to the class. Holly's mother refused, which made Holly go a little crazy shouting insults at her mother. She then grabbed up a phone throwing and hitting her mother in the head. The mother used the phone to call 911, and the police did respond; arresting Holly for assault, which could result in her having to serve several years in prison. Why did Holly want to go to the yoga class so badly? She wanted to meditate.

The title of the devotional could have been: Think before you do something stupid and ruin your life. How many lives have been ruined by just a moment of impulsiveness? Millions? Open up any newspaper, listen to almost any local news program and you will hear about someone who has messed up their life in a moment of impulsiveness.

It doesn't have to be that way! At least not for a believer. If you are a child of God, you have the tools to keep you from impulsively making wrong decisions. You have the Word of God, you can go boldly to throne of God Almighty in the Name of Jesus and ask for help, you have the presence of Holy Spirit dwelling within you restraining you from evil, and you have other believers who are more than willing to help you if you ask for help.

Before you do something crazy, take a moment to consider what the consequences are. Take a moment to cry out to Jesus for help. God says this: "Call upon me in the day of trouble and I will deliver You (Psalm 50:15)." Let God help you!



Cut Off at the Pass

Then God's anger was aroused because he went, and the Angel of the Lord took His stand in the way as an adversary against him. And he was riding on his donkey, and his two servants were with him. Now the donkey saw the Angel of the Lord standing in the way with His drawn sword in His hand, and the donkey turned aside out of the way and went into the field. So Balaam struck the donkey to turn her back onto the road. Then the Angel of the Lord stood in a narrow path between the vineyards, with a wall on this side and a wall on that side. And when the donkey saw the Angel of the Lord, she pushed herself against the wall and crushed Balaam's foot against the wall; so he struck her again. Then the Angel of the Lord went further, and stood in a narrow place where there was no way to turn either to the right hand or to the left. And when the donkey saw the Angel of the Lord, she lay down under Balaam; so Balaam's anger was aroused, and he struck the donkey with his staff. Then the Lord opened the mouth of the donkey, and she said to Balaam, "What have I done to you, that you have struck me these three times?" - Numbers 22:22-28 NKJV (Read the rest of the story in Numbers 22)

You could say that Balaam was cut off at the pass! I was once cut off at the pass by a large group of native-Americans. It was when I was 17 or 18 years old playing guitar in group. We played at dances all over western Oklahoma and one of those dances was at Canton, Oklahoma where there is a large native-American population. After the dance was over, we loaded all the equipment into the trailer; and, I was simply tired and relieved and let out a war whoop, something I did from time to time. However, there was a large group of native-Americans at the dance, and they rightly took offense thinking that I was mocking or taunting them.

Driving off from the dance venue to the main road was a dirt road about a quarter of a mile long. Before we reached the main road, we were cut off you could say at the pass by a long line of native-Americans running to intercept us. They were yelling and rocking the car and at least a couple of us were a little frightened by this! Especially as one of them was tapping on the window with his knife. Two of the members of our group who had booked the dance, and knew some of those surrounding us, got out of the car and defused the situation. I think that was the last time I ever did a war whoop!

Balaam was blocked by God from doing something really stupid at least that time. I believe God has used the situation I described in my life to block me from being so insensitive to people around me from that point on.

Have you ever been cut off at the pass? Has God blocked you from doing something that you thought was a good thing at the time? Since that time God has blocked me from many other things and delayed other things. I've come to recognize that God indeed knows far better than I will ever know about what I should do or not do.

Every time God blocks us or delays us, this is a good thing! We can rejoice that God has intervened and is at work in our lives. We can rejoice that He cares about us personally, individually enough to stop us from what would harm us or others.



In the MIdst

For where two or three are gathered together in My name, I am there in the midst of them. – Matthew 18:20 NKJV.

Yesterday at our church in the morning service, I was holding a hymnbook (Yes, we still use hymnbooks.) and it fell out of my hands. It actually felt like it jumped out of my hands. Prior to the evening service, as I walked by the Lord's Supper table which has a Bible sitting on it, the Bible fell off. Or, did it jump off? I'm not sure which one because neither my wife or myself actually saw what occurred; but we heard it hit the floor.

After I have thought about this, I have come to believe it was simply God reassuring me of His presence. Of course, we pray for His presence, and we want His presence; but we are still surprised when He shows up!

I have been having a problem with my voice and although it is improving now, for several weeks, I never know how my voice is going to sound until I begin to speak. It is stressful to think that as I stand before the congregation that I may not be able to say anything. That did happen to me one Easter Sunday in the middle of a sermon at another church 12 years or so ago.

Yesterday, I felt was an especially important Sunday with baptisms planned in the evening service. It would have been an awful situation for me not to have been able to speak! I was praying about this, my family was praying, our church was praying about it...and my voice was good all through the services.

So, yes, I believe that God showed up yesterday and manifested Himself in a more physical presence than usual just so I knew that He had my back on this. The services were good, and we were blessed as two move precious souls followed the Lord in baptism. Jesus was there in the midst of us!

Are you sensitive to the Holy Spirit? Sometimes He uses little things to reassure you, to encourage you, to show you the way, and to give you the strength you need to go one more mile. Maybe He is speaking to you through some little thing even now? Are you watching? Are you listening?



A Christmas Miracle

In those days Hezekiah was sick and near death. And Isaiah the prophet, the son of Amoz, went to him and said to him, "Thus says the Lord: 'Set your house in order, for you shall die, and not live.'"

Then he turned his face toward the wall, and prayed to the Lord, saying, "Remember now, O Lord, I pray, how I have walked before You in truth and with a loyal heart, and have done what was good in Your sight." And Hezekiah wept bitterly.

And it happened, before Isaiah had gone out into the middle court, that the word of the Lord came to him, saying, "Return and tell Hezekiah the leader of My people, 'Thus says the Lord, the God of David your father: "I have heard your prayer, I have seen your tears; surely I will heal you. On the third day you shall go up to the house of the Lord. And I will add to your days fifteen years. I will deliver you and this city from the hand of the king of Assyria; and I will defend this city for My own sake, and for the sake of My servant David."'" - 2 Kings 20:1-6 NKJV.

With all of the bad news we are saturated with every day it is a miracle whenever we hear some really good news. 11-year-old Roxli Doss has received some really great news! Her inoperable brain tumor is gone, God has once again done the impossible! The parents of Roxli were praying for a miracle and God gave them a miracle!

One thing that is also miraculous is that the parents of Roxli actually had the faith to pray, and to believe, that God could heal their little girl. This kind of faith is becoming more and more rare. As in, the doctor said you are going to die, so you are going to die - no need to pray. Sometimes that is true and sometimes, it isn't.

Hezekiah received the bad news that he was terminal directly from the prophet Isaiah and Isaiah had heard the bad news directly from God. However, even though there had been a pronouncement of death from Heaven above it was not the end of the story. Because, Hezekiah had the faith to pray, and God gave him 15 more years of life on Earth.

Why does God give healing to one, and not to another? Many godly parents and individuals have prayed for healing for a child or for themselves or others and there has been no Christmas miracle. As Deuteronomy 29:29a says "The secret things belong to the Lord our God...." Moses told the Hebrews that not all that lay ahead in the future could be revealed at that time. If God had told me what was ahead in my life when I was just a teenager, I would not have been ready to know those things. This side of Heaven we are not ready to know all of the "secret things" of the Lord our God. As we are told in Proverbs 3:5, "Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding."

In the midst of whatever heartache and tragedy that may come our way we can be thankful for the very first Christmas miracle. The miracle of the birth of our Lord and Savior through Whom we may be forgiven of our sins and have the gift of eternal life. It took love beyond our understanding for Jesus to leave the glories of Heaven, so He could be born as a baby, grow to adulthood and suffer an excruciating death on a Roman cross for our sins. Love beyond degree. No matter what may be happening in your life or in the lives of those you love, remember this: God Loves You!



This is the Day

This is the day the Lord has made; We will rejoice and be glad in it. - Psalm 118:24 NKJV.

On November 3rd, late on Saturday night a shocking tragedy occurred. Will Byler and Bailee Ackerman Byler had just been married in what is called a fairy tale wedding. They were married on the Byler ranch near San Antonio and then they boarded the family helicopter flying away on their honeymoon. Sadly, the helicopter crashed with Will, Bailee, and the pilot, Gerald Lawrence all being killed. Will and Bailee were in their last year of studies at Sam Houston State University. Lives cut far too short. (BBC 11.06.18 and CNN, KFOR, multiple other news venues.)

Sadly, yesterday at the Borderline Bar and Grill in Thousand Oaks, California 12 people were gunned down by Ian David Long. Such an awful horrible attack upon innocents. Two horrible events happening in days of the other. However, we know there have been other tragedies that have occurred in the past and likely more will occur of one kind or another, if not today, then tomorrow or further in the future.

Incidents like this, is why I personally do not say about almost everything as some do that "God is in control." If God was in control, then He was the one that caused that helicopter to crash, and He was the one who caused David Long to open fire at that bar. The spiritual fact is that sometimes bad things happen to very good people. Mechanical parts fail, pilots and drivers can error. I nearly had an accident last night which would not have been a near miss if I had slowed down more quickly. Also, sometimes people do things that are outside of God's will like the attack on the bar in California.

God has given us free will, which means that we are not robots with every action and every event in our lives controlled by God. Does the Bible say that we should pray? Of course, the Bible talks often about praying. If everything, and everyone was controlled by God there would be no need to pray about anything.

What do we do now? Do we hide in our homes shaking with fear that some awful thing may happen if we were to leave? No, we thank God for another day that He has made, and We will rejoice and be glad in it!



A Private Message

As he journeyed he came near Damascus, and suddenly a light shone around him from heaven. Then he fell to the ground, and heard a voice saying to him, Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me? And he said, Who are You, Lord? Then the Lord said, I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting. It is hard for you to kick against the goads. So he, trembling and astonished, said, Lord, what do You want me to do? Then the Lord said to him, Arise and go into the city, and you will be told what you must do. And the men who journeyed with him stood speechless, hearing a voice but seeing no one. Then Saul arose from the ground, and when his eyes were opened he saw no one. But they led him by the hand and brought him into Damascus. And he was three days without sight, and neither ate nor drank. Acts 9:3-9 NKJV.

Then the Lord opened the mouth of the donkey, and she said to Balaam, What have I done to you, that you have struck me these three times? - Numbers 22:28 NKJV.

Nowadays we often receive private messages via social media platforms. Nothing unusual about that in the 21st Century. However, God has been sending private personalized messages since the dawn of time. Sometimes the messages are very blunt and obvious as in being struck blind as was Saul of Tarsus. Hearing a donkey speak in a human voice as did Balaam is also very to the point and undeniably had to be a message from God.

In these days, God has become more subtle with His private messages; although He can be very pointed, and blunt if the need arises. This past week I received one of those subtle private messages from God that only I would understand. It was a three-part message about the same thing. The first part was my encountering a person with whom I was able to share a part of my testimony about what God had done in my life in the past. The second part was while watching a Christian movie the same day in the evening and seeing a related event unfold. The third part of the message was discovering that the Bible reading for the next day was from a passage of Scripture that God used to extend His call upon my life. So, the entire private message would read: God has forgiven me, He has not forgotten about me, and He has renewed His call upon my life. His call is still without repentance. In other words, God hasn't changed His mind.

Whenever, we receive a message from God it requires a response. Will we go forward with God in obedience, or will we turn away? We know what the apostle Paul decided as he gave his whole heart to following the Lord. Balaam was more like a split decision, you could say it was a half-hearted decision. Sometimes Balaam was obedient and sometimes he was not. Has God sent you a private message? What will your response be? Will you respond with your whole heart or with just half of your heart? I know I want to respond with my whole heart.




They traveled from Mount Hor along the route to the Red Sea, to go around Edom. But the people grew impatient on the way; they spoke against God and against Moses, and said, "Why have you brought us up out of Egypt to die in the wilderness? There is no bread! There is no water! And we detest this miserable food!"

Then the Lord sent venomous snakes among them; they bit the people and many Israelites died. The people came to Moses and said, "We sinned when we spoke against the Lord and against you. Pray that the Lord will take the snakes away from us." So Moses prayed for the people.

The Lord said to Moses, "Make a snake and put it up on a pole; anyone who is bitten can look at it and live." So Moses made a bronze snake and put it up on a pole. Then when anyone was bitten by a snake and looked at the bronze snake, they lived. Numbers 21:4-9 NKJV.

This takes place during the time that the people of Israel were wandering through the desert. They had been delivered from slavery in Egypt and had witnessed amazing miracles performed by the hand of God. God had provided food for them in the desert, a supernatural food called manna. They had received the Commandments directly from God written on stone tablets by the finger of God. They were headed for the promised land that was overflowing with milk and honey. Great success, victory was just ahead. But, they did have a problem, it was their whining, their endless complaining, and their lack of faithfulness. That was when God sent the plague of snakes.

Thankfully for the Hebrews, Moses prayed for them and God gave a way to deal with the snakes. Put a bronze snake up on a pole, so when someone is bitten by a poisonous snake if they look at the snake they will live. What was it that they saw when they looked up at the bronze snake? They saw a lifeless bronze snake on a pole, but beyond that they saw the Heavens beyond reminding them of their Creator. The bronze snake had no power in itself; it was the looking at it and the Heavens beyond with the eyes of faith that brought the healing.

We have all been bitten by the snake of sin (Romans 3:23) and it is a deadly bite (Romans 6:23). As Jesus tells us in John 3:14-16 NKJV, "And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life. For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life." Have you looked to Jesus?

There is something else important to see here and that is that God provided a way to survive the snakebite, but He didn’t remove the snakes. Once we know Jesus as our Savior, there are still going to be snakes. What are we to do? We must continue to look to Jesus! Hebrews 12:3, "For consider Him who endured such hostility from sinners against Himself, lest you become weary and discouraged in your souls."



Too High a Price

For the wages of sin is death.... Romans 6:23a NKJV.

If your right eye causes you to sin, pluck it out and cast it from you; for it is more profitable for you that one of your members perish, than for your whole body to be cast into hell. Matthew 5:29 NKJV.

And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and cast it from you; for it is more profitable for you that one of your members perish, than for your whole body to be cast into hell. Matthew 5:30 NKJV.

Do you not know that to whom you present yourselves slaves to obey, you are that ones slaves whom you obey, whether of sin leading to death, or of obedience leading to righteousness? Romans 6:16 NKJV.

A Dubai tourist and his seven friends had a 20-course dinner (Who knew there was such a thing?) and the bill was just $58,000 (400,000 yuan). Sounds a little high to me! But they did have a few exotic items from the menu. Including: Abalone, Premium Caviar, Yangtze River Crab, Salt-seared Miyazaki Steak, Duck with Olive, Shrimp Roe with Crispy Sea Cucumber, Fish Maw in Abalone Sauce, and Crocodile Tail Soup for $2,449, and Wild Yellow Croaker for $2,303. I dont know about you, but that is just too high a price to pay for Crocodile Tail Soup and Wild Yellow Croaker. Its Just TOO HIGH!

You know what else is too high a price to pay? The cost of sin is just too high. The result of sin is death. Thats a little sobering if you really think about it. Its serious enough that Jesus talks about plucking out your eye or cutting off your hand if it causes you to sin. In other words, Jesus is saying this is deadly as in dead serious stuff, you need to pay attention.

The apostle Paul continues the warnings against sin by saying that we either have one of two masters. We can be a slave to sin which will lead to death is one of the options. Whatever the sin you commit it only leads downward. Anyone with an addiction understands this, it never becomes better it only grows worse. Anyone committing a theft understands that they may at anytime be discovered and often additional thefts are committed to cover up the first. Anyone who tells a lie quickly knows that additional lies become required to cover up the first lie. Sin is a harsh master. One thing is for sure and that is that sin is just TOO high a price to pay!

The good news, the great news is that you dont have to keep on paying the far too high a price. There is a way out of this deadly downward plunge into eventually eternal hell. Because the second part of Romans 6:23 says, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. It is a gift, and unbelievably extravagant gift from God Himself, but it must be received. God did love us so much that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life (John 3:16). Now is the time to receive the gift of eternal life by believing upon Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior; because, the price of sin is just TOO high!

Classic from 2012


End of the Road

But the end of all things is at hand; therefore be serious and watchful in your prayers. - 1 Peter 4:7 NKJV.

I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End, the First and the Last. - Revelation 22:13 NKJV.

Then comes the end, when He delivers the kingdom to God the Father, when He puts an end to all rule and all authority and power. For He must reign till He has put all enemies under His feet. - 1 Corinthians 15:24-25 NKJV.

And as it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment. - Hebrews 9:27 NKJV.

There is a new highway being built in southern China in the Fujian Province. For those of you driving around in Fuzhou, China, the key words here are, building, new highway, and unfinished. Wang Lu and the two passengers with her found out what that meant when they came to the end of the road. The road ends, with an unfinished elevated bridge 40 feet above the ground. Wang Lu drove off the end of the road in her Nissan. She drove off the bridge at the end of the road, because there were no warning signs, no barriers, no warning of any kind to mark the coming end of the road. Thankfully, and surprisingly all three of the occupants of the Nissan survived with no major injuries. One witness, Chen Hen, said this, I kept thinking, the car would stop, but it sailed straight off the edge. (Orange News 02.22.12)

We here on Planet Earth are hurtling toward the end. The end of the road is coming just as rapidly as a speeding car approaches the end of an unfinished highway bridge. We are coming to the End, and the End is Jesus Christ who is the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End, the First and the Last. When we all reach the ultimate End of the road, every knee will bow, and every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father (Philippians 2:11). All of the enemies of Jesus Christ will be put under His feet, because at the very End is Jesus.

A couple of weeks ago (2012) I was saddened to learn of the death of a friend. Eldon had been a good friend through grade school and through our junior year in High School. His senior year his parents sent him to a private school in another state. Some years ago, I did make contact with him and exchanged a letter or two. I always thought that we might be able to get together and have a good visit about what had gone on in our lives. However, that will never happen now in this life. Hopefully, from what I know of my friend's beliefs, he knew Jesus as his Savior. Yesterday, I learned also that the husband of a High School classmate had passed away. From what I know, I believe that this man also may have known Jesus as his Savior.

This human life that we are now living is coming to an end, and the Bible is very clear about that. We are told that, it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment. The Bible is also very clear about the brevity of life, For what is your life? It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away. Instead you ought to say, If the Lord wills, we shall live and do this or that (James 4:14-15 NKJV). The Bible is also very clear that none of us have any guarantees about the length of our lives; or what will happen tomorrow, or in coming days in our lives as we are told in James 4:13-14a, Come now, you who say, Today or tomorrow we will go to such and such a city, spend a year there, buy and sell, and make a profit; whereas you do not know what will happen tomorrow.

The End is rapidly approaching for every one of us. Will we sail off the end of this life into eternity not knowing Jesus as our personal Savior? Will we go out into eternity doomed to eternal torment? It does not have to be that way! Before you sail off the end of the road of your life Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world (John 1:29)! Jesus is the Lamb of God, and He can take away your sins too. Let Him!

Classic from 2012


Not Crushed

But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellence of the power may be of God and not of us. We are hard-pressed on every side, yet not crushed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed - always carrying about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our body. - 2 Corinthians 4:7-10 NKJV.

Ludovic Maciave was driving his 4x4 in the French Alps' Arly Gorge near Albertville when he came to a sudden stop. What stopped Ludovic was a 20-ton boulder that smashed his vehicle. Emergency responders did not expect to find anyone alive inside of the smashed vehicle; however, Ludovic did survive with flattened lungs, damaged ribs, and assorted other injuries. Ludovic says, "When I came to, I realized that there was a huge rock in the car. I was stuck between the rock and the bottom of the door...space was very restricted...could be measured in centimeters...I was completely compressed. It's a miracle I'm alive. Although I'm not a believer I do think this was a miracle. The chances of it happening were very small. Now I will see life differently." (Mail Online News UK 02.10.12 - Here is a link to the article where there are photos posted: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2099167/Now-THATS-lucky-escape-Miracle-driver-survives-4x4-flattened-20-tonne-boulder-French-Alps-road.html)

Ludovic Maciave knows what it is like to be hard-pressed physically on every side, and yet not be crushed. He experienced it in a very literal way! I agree with Ludovic; it can only be described as a miracle that the man is still living. Hopefully, he will move from his belief in a miracle to a belief in the One who brought the miracle about in his life.

The apostle Paul writing through the direction of the Holy Spirit in 2 Corinthians describes the pressure of life that was upon him. Paul had not been literally crushed with a 20-ton boulder; however, Paul had an emotional and spiritual weight of a huge boulder resting upon his shoulders. In 2 Corinthians 6, the apostle Paul writes of these pressures saying, "But in all things we commend ourselves as ministers of God: in much patience, in tribulations, in needs, in distresses, in stripes, in imprisonments, in tumults, in labors, in sleeplessness, in fastings... (2 Corinthians 6:4-5)." Paul says that even though he and other believers are going through these difficult things they are "not crushed."

Why are the apostle Paul and other believers "not crushed" by the pressures of living life? Because Paul says, "...we have this treasure in earthen vessels." What treasure is that? It is the Gospel of Jesus Christ. The earthen vessels are the bodies of the believers indwelt by the Holy Spirit by whose presence we have the living presence of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

How can we be crushed when we have Jesus living within us? How can we be crushed when the power that created Heaven and earth resides within us? Let us do what Ludovic Maciave cannot yet do; let us believe! Believe, as did the apostle Paul. Believe, as have countless others since the resurrection of Christ Jesus. Believe, and you will never be "crushed" by anything upon this earth. Believe it!

Classic from 2012


Fight Back

Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded. - James 4:7-8 NKJV.

It was in a Bremen, Georgia, Wal-Mart that 25-year-old Thomas Woods attempted the abduction. Brittney Baxter was looking at toys in the toy aisle with her mother nearby when the attack occurred. Woods grabbed Brittney and attempted to carry her away, but he was unprepared for a seven-year-old second grader to fight back. Brittney said this about how she fought back, I was kickin' and screamin' and then he put his hand over my mouth, but I kept kicking. Woods dropped Brittney and fled from the store. Brittney said that she was thankful that her parents and teachers had taught her how to fight when a stranger attacked. Woods is a parolee on parole for manslaughter, and he was arrested a short time later. (thewiregrassnews.com 02.09.12; Fox News 02.09.12)

A little seven-year-old girl gives all of us an example of what to do when we are experiencing a spiritual attack. Brittney did what she had been taught to do and was being obedient to her parents by fighting back. The first step in winning a spiritual battle is to be obedient to God. Submit to God. Do what God would have you to do and not what the devil, or the world, or your flesh may want. If you have sin in your life, the place to begin your battle is on your knees in confession as we are told in 1 John 1:9, If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. That is how you do what the apostle James tells you to do when he says, Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded.

The next step in fighting a spiritual battle is to resist. Your resistance has already begun when you submit yourself to God. However, there is more to it than that. Jesus gives us a couple of examples of how to resist and overcome the devil and his demonic minions. When Jesus was tempted by the devil in the wilderness (Matthew 4), Jesus responded with the Word of God. When Jesus was tempted by the devil to use the power of God to give Himself food, Jesus responded by saying, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God. When the devil tempted Jesus to demonstrate His power, Jesus responded by saying, It is written again, You shall not tempt the Lord your God. When the devil tempted Jesus with the kingdoms and riches of this world if Jesus would worship him, Jesus responded by saying, For it is written, You shall worship the Lord your God, and Him only you shall serve. As we are told in Ephesians 6:17b to, take...the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.

Another example given by Jesus in fighting spiritually is given when He cast out demons His disciples were unable to cast out in Mark chapter 9. When Jesus was asked by His disciples why they could not cast the demons out, Jesus responded by saying, This kind can come out by nothing but prayer and fasting (Mark 9:29).

In addition, to the examples given to us by Jesus in the Gospels, we are told in Ephesians 6:11 to Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. The apostle Paul then describes the armor of God in verses 12 through 18.

So, before you give up and wave the white flag of surrender to the temptations of the devil and his demons...in the words of Brittney Baxter try some kickin' and screamin. Do some screamin and quote the Word of God out loud and in your mind. Do some kickin and pray in the Name of Jesus for God to come to your aid. Because if you resist the devil he will flee from you.

Classic from 2012


Avoiding Mistakes

Jesus answered and said to them, "Are you not therefore mistaken, because you do not know the Scriptures nor the power of God? For when they rise from the dead, they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are like angels in heaven. But concerning the dead, that they rise, have you not read in the book of Moses, in the burning bush passage, how God spoke to him, saying, 'I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob'? He is not the God of the dead, but the God of the living. You are therefore greatly mistaken.'" Mark 12:24-27 NKJV.

Amado Cardenas was upset with his former girlfriend which led to his mistakes. Amado broke into what he thought was his ex-girlfriend's apartment and did what burglars do. He went through her stuff taking the money he found along with medications. He tried to pry a flat screen television from the wall and then drank some alcoholic beverages he found in the fridge. However, unlike most burglars, Amado Cardenas then took a nap on the floor. That is where he was when Amado's former girlfriend's neighbor came home discovering him on the floor still asleep. Amado had broken into the wrong apartment his ex-girlfriend's neighbor's apartment! She called 911 and Amado was arrested and hauled off to jail. (Broward Palm Beach New Times The Pulp Blog 12.02.11)

Cardenas made several mistakes. He began by making the mistake of trying to obtain revenge against his ex-girlfriend. What does God say in the Bible about revenge? In Romans 12:19 NKJV we are told, "Beloved, do not avenge yourselves, but rather give place to wrath; for it is written, 'Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,' says the Lord.'" Instead of trying to get back at someone God says this, "If your enemy is hungry, feed him; If he is thirsty, give him a drink; For in so doing you will heap coals of fire on his head (Romans 12:20 NKJV)." In other words, when someone is mean to you, be nice to them because God will take care of it.

The next mistake that Cardenas made was in deciding to break the law by breaking into an apartment to steal and to destroy. The command that God makes against stealing is one of the Ten Commandments which says: "You shall not steal (Exodus 20:15 NKJV)." When you steal you are hurting yourself, the Bible says in Proverbs 1, "So are the ways of everyone who is greedy for gain; It takes away the life of its owners (v.19 NKJV)." And "...they lie in wait for their own blood, they lurk secretly for their own lives (v.18)."

Cardenas also made the mistake of consuming alcoholic beverages. Why is that wrong? We are told in 1 Corinthians 3:16-17 NKJV, "Do you not know that you are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you? If anyone defiles the temple of God, God will destroy him. For the temple of God is holy, which temple you are." It is a fact that alcohol causes physical problems. When I was in the hospital in December (December 2011) for pancreatitis I was asked repeatedly if I drank, i.e. consumed alcohol, because alcohol is a known cause of the condition. Okay, I will confess. I did have one drink in 1980, and I did drink some beer my first year in the oilfield, in 1975. And, I did drink some while I was in high school. If I had it to do over, I would never have taken a single drink of alcohol. I still do not know for sure what caused my pancreatitis, but I do know that I never want to have it again.

The biggest mistake that Amado made? The biggest mistake that we can make? The biggest mistake that we can make is not knowing the Scriptures and the power of God (Mark 12:24; 27).

Classic from 2012


Chasing Yourself

The sun also rises, and the sun goes down, and hastens to the place where it arose. The wind goes toward the south, and turns around to the north; the wind whirls about continually, and comes again on its circuit. All the rivers run into the sea, yet the sea is not full; to the place from which the rivers come, there they return again. - Ecclesiastes 1:5-7 NKJV.

An undercover police officer in Sussex, England was notified by a CCTV operator that there was a suspect in his area. This is an area that has been hit hard by burglars. The CCTV operator gave instructions to the officer, and the chase was on. The officer chased and chased the suspect for more than 20 minutes until a supervisor realized that the CCTV operator had made a mistake. The operator thought that the officer, who was in plainclothes, was a possible burglary suspect; and had been instructing the officer to chase himself. (Orange News 02.08.2012)

What was the point of a police officer chasing himself? What is the point of anyone chasing themselves? That is the point. It is pointless. It is purposeless. It is meaningless to chase yourself. "The wind goes toward the south, and turns around to the north; the wind whirls (circles - Amplified Bible) about continually, and comes again on its circuit." The Book of Ecclesiastes is all about how to find meaning in life, or maybe a better way of stating it would be of how not to find meaning in life. Solomon tried about every possible way to find meaning and for a portion of his life just ended up chasing himself. Solomon kept going in circles like a cat or a dog chasing its tail, just chasing himself. Have you ever felt like that? You just keep doing the same thing over and over again, and you wonder if there is any real purpose, real need to keep on going? How do you find meaning, purpose, in life?

Solomon sums up his miserable attempts to find meaning in the pleasures of this world with a summary statement of what he finally realized by saying, "Fear God and keep His commandments, for this is man's all. For God will bring every work into judgment, including every secret thing, whether good or evil (Ecclesiastes 12:13-14 NKJV)." What about us what are some practical ways that we can find meaning and purpose in life and stop chasing ourselves? In response to the question about what is the greatest commandment, Jesus said this, "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets (Matthew 22:37-40 NKJV)."

You can know Jesus as your Savior and still end up chasing yourself if you do not love God by putting God first in your life. As Jesus says in Matthew 6:33 NKJV, "But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you." This is a prescription for purpose, for meaning, for joy to be added to your life. Serving God, being obedient to God, has to be at the very top of your list of priorities or you will just continue on chasing yourself around and around in circles. You make God first by giving Him your time. You give God time when you pray, read the Bible, attend church, when you give, and serve Him in any way. You make God first by not just talking about these things but by actually doing them.

You do not have to go through the misery that Solomon went through and that so many others have gone through. You can begin now to live your life for God in every possible way that you can. Then, you will find peace. Then, you will find joy. Then, you will find meaning. Then, you will find purpose. Then, you will have stopped chasing yourself.

Classic from 2001


Trust and Obey - In Remembrance of 9/11
(Written six days after 9/11)

Look, I go forward, but He is not there, And backward, but I cannot perceive Him; When He works on the left hand, I cannot behold Him; When He turns to the right hand, I cannot see Him. But He knows the way that I take; When He has tested me, I shall come forth as gold. My foot has held fast to His steps; I have kept His way and not turned aside. I have not departed from the commandment of His lips; I have treasured the words of His mouth More than my necessary food. - Job 23:8-12 NKJV.

If anyone had a reason to be depressed it was Job. If anyone ever had a reason to be upset with God, it was Job. Job had lost everything except his wife and he probably wished she had gone with the rest. Because Job's wife told him why didn't he just curse God and die. Job not only lost his family and material possessions, but he also lost his health. Job suffered miserably from his physical condition. His friends were against him. His wife was against him. But Job continued on.

In the face of all of that, Job continued. Job did not understand why all this had happened, but he continued to trust. Job did not know where God was during all of this, but Job continued to trust. Job did not know why but Job knew that God knew the why. So, Job continued. Job continued to trust God, to obey God, and even to praise God.

So, many have been hurt by the terrorist destruction in New York and at the Pentagon. Across this country family members, friends and fellow Americans are grieving. But life goes on and we see God is giving strength to go on, to rise up out of the devastation. He is giving us strength to continue to live life. Before we give up. Before we throw in the towel. Let us take our eyes off of our problems and put them on God. He can give us the strength, and the courage to face whatever life may throw our way. Let us trust Him. Let us look up! Let us say with the Psalmist, "My voice You shall hear in the morning, O LORD; in the morning I will direct it to You, and I WILL LOOK UP (Psalm 5:3)."

Classic from 2012


No Escape Without Jesus

Or do you despise the riches of His goodness, forbearance, and longsuffering, not knowing that the goodness of God leads you to repentance? But in accordance with your hardness and your impenitent heart you are treasuring up for yourself wrath in the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God, who "will render to each one according to his deeds." - Romans 2:4-6 NKJV.

Clayton Senn was on the run from authorities in Albuquerque, New Mexico when he became trapped in the mud of the Rio Grande River. He was unable to free himself and was still trapped in the mud three days later when he was found. Senn was found by a group of high school students and their biology teacher who were on a field trip. The students heard the man calling out for help. Senn must have been thrilled that finally someone had found him. Finally, he would be free of the trap he had fallen into. The fire department and police officers were able to free the man with an air boat and a pulley system. However, Senn was not really free, as there was found a warrant for his arrest for Aggravated Assault with a Deadly Weapon. (Associated Press 01.29.2012)

There was no escape for Clayton Senn, and there is no escape from the judgment of God for those who reject His mercy through Jesus. That sounds really depressing, doesn't it? Even though, it is not a pleasant thing to consider, it is still the truth. Just because, we do not like to think about something, does not mean that it is not true. The Bible is very clear about this as we are told in Hebrews 9:27, "...as it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment."

During the summer when I was 14 years old I attended a youth camp. One day I found myself all alone sitting on a picnic table contemplating my future life. I thought of the possibilities of marriage, children, career path, retirement, and finally I thought of death. When I thought of death there was nothing there, it was just a blackness that I could see in my mind. It was five years later after my wife shared her testimony with me and I talked with a pastor of a nearby church that I thought about what would happen to me after death. It was only then that I prayed inviting Jesus into my heart and life, asking Him to forgive me of my sins. It was only then that I passed from death into life. As Jesus says in John 5:24, "Most assuredly, I say to you, he who hears My word and believes in Him who sent Me has everlasting life, and shall not come into judgment, but has passed from death into life."

The Bible says in Romans 2:5, "But in accordance with your hardness and your impenitent heart you are treasuring up for yourself wrath in the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God." You do not have to continue down the path of judgment, the path of no escape. The Bible says, "For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord (Romans 6:23)." The way out is to receive the "gift of God" which is eternal life through Jesus Christ. The Bible says, "...Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God. He was put to death in the body but made alive in the Spirit (1 Peter 3:18)." Jesus took the punishment that you deserve upon Himself and died on the cross for your sins. However, you must receive Jesus as your Savior, believe upon Him by receiving the "gift of God." In John 1:12 we are told, "But as many as received Him (Jesus), to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name."

There is no escape for those who reject Jesus as their Savior, and they will face the wrath and judgment of God. The Bible says in John 3:17-18, "God did not send His Son (Jesus) into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved. He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God." Pray and receive Jesus as your Savior today before it is eternally too late and pass from "death into life."

Classic from 2011



For the Son of Man has come to save that which was lost. "What do you think? If a man has a hundred sheep, and one of them goes astray, does he not leave the ninety-nine and go to the mountains to seek the one that is straying? And if he should find it, assuredly, I say to you, he rejoices more over that sheep than over the ninety-nine that did not go astray." - Matthew 18:11-13 NKJV.

It was several years ago now that I first encountered Big Daddy the cat. He was hanging around our house, and at that time we had a cat outside. Big Daddy would eat our cat's food and so I tried to scare him away. I threw rocks at him. I yelled at him. I chased him. I shot at him with a sling shot and a BB gun. But he kept coming back. Big Daddy was a big (larger than any cat I had seen before), solid white cat, and you could tell that he had been in a lot of fights; one ear had been damaged, and he was just scary to look at.

It took about three years before Big Daddy was able to tame me. He was able to tame me because I grew tired of trying chase him off, and so I finally let him eat our cat's food. Before long he was up on our bench on our back porch waiting to be fed every night. One night I risked his tearing my hand off and petted him, he liked it and made some kind of noise. He apparently had been someone's pet in the past, and just wanted some human attention. This lasted for a few months until he stopped showing up at night, and now I am sorry that I didn't get to know Big Daddy sooner than I did. He was just a big baby in a scary cat's body!

The illustration that Jesus gives of a shepherd leaving the 99 sheep to find one that is lost, gives us an idea of the lengths that God will go to so that the lost person might come to know Jesus. Our Lord is persistent. He is persistent much like Big Daddy was persistent in his pursuit of me. We try to scare away the Son of Man, but He doesn't leave. We try to act like He's not there, but He doesn't leave. We flee from His presence like Jonah tried to do, but He follows us, He pursues us. He woos us (John 6:44 "draws" us). Jesus says in John 6:44 NKJV, "No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him; and I will raise him up at the last day." This word "draws" comes from the Greek word "Helcuo." Other verses where this word is used translates it as drag or dragged. The picture is almost one of God dragging us kicking and screaming to salvation. In the end, we have a choice. However, if we choose to reject God, our rejection of God is not based on any lack of God's exertion or effort at "taming" us.

We have the example of the Son of Man coming to seek and save the lost. What are we to do who know Jesus as our Savior? Jesus says, "If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me (Luke 9:23)." As believers, we should follow the example of our Lord. We should go to great lengths to win the lost to the Lord. They will try to chase us away. They will try to scare us. They will try to act like we are not there, but we must not give up. We must keep on, no matter how many times they reject us. We must keep on until finally they have been "tamed" and know the Lord as their personal Savior.

Classic from 2011


Children of God

But as many as received Him (Jesus), to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name. - John 1:12 NKJV.

For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus. For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus. And if you are Christ's, then you are Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise. - Galatians 3:26-29 NKJV.

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His abundant mercy has begotten us again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled and that does not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, who are kept by the power of God through faith for salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. - 1 Peter 1:3-5 NKJV.

Can you imagine being a 46-year-old woman, and at the bedside of your dying mother, learn that you were not even adopted; your "parents" bought you as a baby for $2500? That is the situation that Cyn Bird has found herself to be in along with many others. She is one of perhaps several thousand "Cole" babies. Dr. Katherine Cole of Coral Gables, Florida, naturopathic physician, sold babies along the Eastern Seaboard. The original birth certificates of those babies were all falsified showing the couples who bought them as being the natural parents. In addition, Dr. Cole actually placed birth announcements in newspapers stating the birth parents were the ones who bought the babies. There has been little success in determining who the birth parents were of these children because Dr. Cole did not leave a paper trail. (Daily Oklahoman 10.21.11)

It is hard to imagine the shock and emotional pain that Cyn Bird suddenly had thrust upon her upon learning of her origin. However, Cyn was blessed to have "parents" who loved her, and cared for her even though they were not her birth parents. Sadly, there are countless millions of orphans without natural parents, without adopted parents, and even without parents who bought them. Since Dr. Cole operated an abortion clinic, no doubt there were also thousands of babies who never had a chance to be bought. Cyn Bird was doubly blessed by having been given life by her birth mother and by having "parents" who loved her. If only all babies were able to have at least that level of opportunity.

Whether you were adopted or not, many people have had unfortunate, and difficult childhoods. For some people, it might have been better if they had been adopted, or even bought when they were a baby. No matter what your paternal situation there is good news. Your Heavenly Father loves you (John 3:16) and He wants you to be part of His royal family. What an incredible offer! The King of kings, and the Lord of lords wants YOU to be a part of HIS family. Not only that, YOU will be HIS heir and receive an inheritance. Is there a catch? The catch is that you must believe and receive JESUS as your personal Savior.

I really like the song "Children of God""Third Day." Here are some of the lyrics:

A mystery is revealed to the universe
The Father above has proven His love
Now we are free from the judgment that we deserve
And so we are called the children of God

We are the saints
We are the children
We've been redeemed
We've been forgiven
We are the sons and daughters of our God

Classic from 2011



Now when one of those who sat at the table with Him heard these things, he said to Him, "Blessed is he who shall eat bread in the kingdom of God!" Then He said to him, "A certain man gave a great supper and invited many, and sent his servant at supper time to say to those who were invited, 'Come, for all things are now ready.' But they all with one accord began to make excuses. The first said to him, 'I have bought a piece of ground, and I must go and see it. I ask you to have me excused.' And another said, 'I have bought five yoke of oxen, and I am going to test them. I ask you to have me excused.' Still another said, 'I have married a wife, and therefore I cannot come.'" Luke 14:15-20 NKJV.

Now it happened as they journeyed on the road, that someone said to Him, "Lord, I will follow You wherever You go." And Jesus said to him, "Foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head." Then He said to another, "Follow Me." But he said, "Lord, let me first go and bury my father." Jesus said to him, "Let the dead bury their own dead, but you go and preach the kingdom of God." And another also said, "Lord, I will follow You, but let me first go and bid them farewell who are at my house." But Jesus said to him, "No one, having put his hand to the plow, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God." - Luke 9:57-62 NKJV.

A survey by CareerBuilder.com of employers and workers revealed some of the unusual (insert "LAMO" here) excuses employees have given for missing work. LAMO is not in most dictionaries, but it is in the Urban Dictionary which has several definitions. Here are a couple: "Someone possessing the quality of lameness," and "A situation, comment or person that is almost too stupid or odd for words." Here are some of those LAMO work missing excuses:

"Bats got in my hair."
"A deer bit me during hunting season."
"I fell out of bed and broke my nose."
"I hurt my back chasing a beaver."
"I ate too much at a party."
"I have a headache after going to too many garage sales."
"A refrigerator fell on me."
"I caught a cold from my puppy."
"I drank anti-freeze by mistake and had to go to the ER."
"My brother-in-law was kidnapped by a drug cartel."
"My child stuck a mint up his nose and had to go to the ER."

(CareerBuilder.com 10.20.11)

When Jesus invited people to follow Him, many had excuses for not doing so. In these days, people still have excuses for not following Jesus, and many of those excuses are just as LAMO as the "not showing up for work" excuses.

When does Jesus ask you to follow or obey Him? Jesus asks that you obey Him by receiving Him as your Savior. In Luke 14, we see the many excuses that some people have for not receiving Christ as their Savior. My favorite is the "I have a wife" excuse. After you know Jesus as your personal Savior, the obeying and the following of Him has not ended; that is just the beginning. When you hear the small, still voice of God speaking to you about witnessing to a friend, that is Jesus saying "Follow Me." When the small, still voice of God speaks to you about giving financially to support the Kingdom of God, that is Jesus saying "Follow Me." When you are asked in the church to teach a class, that is Jesus saying "Follow Me." When you hear the small, still voice of God saying _________ (you can fill in the blank here), that is Jesus saying "Follow Me."

We fight, we struggle, we resist, we make excuses to avoid doing what God wants for our lives. The strange thing is that after all of that resistance, and avoidance; when we finally do what God wants, we have such peace, such joy, and know that our lives have meaning. Why did we wait so long to do what we know God wanted us to do?

Can you hear Him? Jesus is saying to you, "Follow Me." Will you follow? Or, do you have another LAMO excuse?

Classic from 2011


Bad to the Bone

So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. - Genesis 1:27 NKJV.

And the LORD said to Moses, "Speak to the priests...he shall not defile himself...They shall not...make any cuttings in their flesh." - Leviticus 21:1-6 NKJV.

Do you not know that you are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you? If anyone defiles the temple of God, God will destroy him. For the temple of God is holy, which temple you are. - 1 Corinthians 3:16-17 NKJV.

Then they came to the other side of the sea, to the country of the Gadarenes. And when He had come out of the boat, immediately there met Him out of the tombs a man with an unclean spirit, who had his dwelling among the tombs; and no one could bind him, not even with chains, because he had often been bound with shackles and chains. And the chains had been pulled apart by him, and the shackles broken in pieces; neither could anyone tame him. And always, night and day, he was in the mountains and in the tombs, crying out and cutting himself with stones. - Mark 5:1-6 NKJV.

Alicia Moore and her parents in a 2009 interview on CBS News described her addiction to cutting, which was how she would injure herself. The cutting of her flesh began when she was in the fifth grade. Alicia was and is a beautiful, intelligent, and talented person. Yet, because of this she felt somehow different and said, "It was devastating. I thought there was something wrong with me." She says she felt better after she hurt herself and it was a release. On her online blog which her parents discovered she said it relieved her anger and pain. Also, in Alicia's video blog she ends at least one with a short prayer saying "Lord, help me." Alicia is no longer cutting and appears to be a very emotionally stable individual now. (02.11.09 CBS News)

As I read on one site about cutting and self-injury, there is a beginning, and that beginning is an impulse to cut, or to injure. I believe that beginning impulse comes straight from the pits of hell. Cutting and self-injury are demonically inspired. The one example that we have in the Biblical record is the Gadarene demoniac who while demon possessed "was in the mountains and in the tombs, crying out and cutting himself with stones." I am not saying that all who cut and self-injure are demon possessed. They could be, but if they know the Lord as their personal Savior, and they self-injure it is not demon possession, it is demonic influence by way of "fiery darts" as mentioned in Ephesians chapter six.

In the Old Testament priests are commanded not to cut themselves, not to defile themselves by cutting. Now, in the New Testament believers are told in 1 Peter 2: 9, "you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood." Also, in 1 Corinthians 3:16, we are told that the believer's body is the temple of the Holy Spirit. In Genesis 1, we are told that mankind has been created in God's image. With these things in mind, consider this statement by Karen Conterio, co-author of "Bodily Harm," who says "self-loathing is typical for self-injurers. Self-injury can be used as a punishment, it's intentional. Self-injury can be used as a way to say "Look at how much I hate myself." I would suggest that self-injury is a demonic way of attacking God Himself. It is the demonic "fiery dart" of an impulse, of inspiration that the person is responding to by way of cutting.

Alicia Moore's prayer of "Lord, help me" was exactly what she needed to pray. As one alcoholic I knew personally, shared how his addiction was overcome, he said that he prayed the same thing over and over for eight months, "God, take it away from me." God did take the addiction away from him, just as he took away Alicia Moore's addiction. He can do the same for all who turn to Him for help.



Don't Waste Your Life

When wisdom enters your heart,
And knowledge is pleasant to your soul,
Discretion will preserve you;
Understanding will keep you,
To deliver you from the way of evil,
From the man who speaks perverse things,
From those who leave the paths of uprightness
To walk in the ways of darkness;
Who rejoice in doing evil,
And delight in the perversity of the wicked;
Whose ways are crooked,
And who are devious in their paths - Proverbs 2:10-15 NKJV.

Patrick Ryan may hold the record for being the most prolific criminal ever. At least, in committing the most criminal offenses he has to hold the record, having committed 668 criminal offenses in his 62-years of life. Ryan began his extraordinarily wasted life at the age of 14. He has spent a total of 23 years in jail and prison; and, has recently been sentenced to another 18 months of prison. Judge Andrew Jefferies told Ryan during his most recent sentencing, "You will serve half of that sentence and will be released on license and supervision after that. During the period of license and supervision, this would be a good time to look at your mental health and drinking problem." It is believed that Ryan has cost British taxpayers approximately $3.9 million!

We can likely agree that Patrick Ryan has wasted his life up to this point. It appears that he has a severe alcohol problem which has contributed to the waste of his life. The ways of Patrick Ryan have been crooked, but it did not have to be that way. Because "When wisdom enters your heart, and knowledge is pleasant to your soul, discretion will preserve you; understanding will keep you, to deliver you from the way of evil." God could have given Ryan the wisdom to be delivered from evil.

How can anyone waste their life? By ignoring God. By immersing themselves into every evil thing and ignoring the consequences; legal and spiritual. But it doesn't have to be that way. Even now Patrick Ryan could start down a different path with his life (Would you pray for him? Has anyone ever prayed for him?). What Patrick needs more than anything is Jesus. He needs to become that new born-again creation of 2 Corinthians 5:17, "Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new."

No matter what you may have done, if you have a desire to change from the path of evil, there is hope. Hope has a name (Titus 2:13), and His name is Jesus. As the apostle Peter would say to all those who are living wasted lives: "Therefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and rest your hope fully upon the grace that is to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ (1 Peter 1:13)." Receive Jesus as your Lord and Savior (John 3:16; John 1:12; Romans 10:13; Revelation 3:20) and allow His wisdom to enter your heart. "...that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him, the eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that you may know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints (Ephesians 1:17-18).



Are You Tempting God?

Then the devil took Him up into the holy city, set Him on the pinnacle of the temple, and said to Him, "If You are the Son of God, throw Yourself down. For it is written: 'He shall give His angels charge over you,' and, 'In their hands they shall bear you up, Lest you dash your foot against a stone.'" - Matthew 4:5-6 NKJV.

Jesus said to him, "It is written again, 'You shall not tempt the Lord your God.'" - Matthew 4:7 NKJV.

Nor let us commit sexual immorality, as some of them did, and in one day twenty-three thousand fell; nor let us tempt Christ, as some of them also tempted, and were destroyed by serpents; nor complain, as some of them also complained, and were destroyed by the destroyer. - 1 Corinthians 10:8-10 NKJV.

The odds of being a victim of a shark attack in the waters of the United States is one in 11.5 million. The odds of being attack and injured by a bear in the United States is one in 2.1 million. The odds of being bitten by a venomous snake in the United States is one in 37,500. 20-year-old Dylan McWilliams has been the victim of a shark attack, a bear attack, and a rattlesnake bite and surprisingly has lived to tell about it. The odds of this occurring in one person's life is 893.35 quadrillion to one. McWilliams says he was just at the wrong place at the wrong time and "I still go hiking, I still catch rattlesnakes, and I will still swim in the ocean." (Across Colorado Patch 04.22.2018)

To understand how astounding this is for McWilliams to have been attacked in this way consider the odds of being struck by lightening in your entire lifetime is one in 5,000. The odds of being killed in a car accident are just one in 112. It would appear for whatever reason God has protected McWilliams. However, for him to continue to place himself in dangerous situations is approaching the tempting of God. Certainly, it is foolish behavior when you have been in such close proximity to death three times already.

In Matthew 4:5-6 the devil is actually quoting from Psalm 91:11-12. Psalm 91 is a psalm about God's protection from danger. However, it is not about protection from unnecessary exposure to danger.

In our everyday lives we are exposed to dangers such as lightening strikes and car accidents. It is surely God's will for us to pray for His protection from those dangers and other threats to our lives and to those we love. Asking God to protect us as the Psalmist was protected in Psalm 91 is a good thing to do. However, if we foolishly place ourselves repeatedly in situations we know are very dangerous we should not expect God to always supernaturally intervene and protect us.



Take Out The Trash

Hezekiah became king when he was twenty-five years old, and he reigned twenty-nine years in Jerusalem. His mother's name was Abijah the daughter of Zechariah. And he did what was right in the sight of the Lord, according to all that his father David had done. In the first year of his reign, in the first month, he opened the doors of the house of the Lord and repaired them. Then he brought in the priests and the Levites, and gathered them in the East Square, and said to them: "Hear me, Levites! Now sanctify yourselves, sanctify the house of the Lord God of your fathers, and carry out the rubbish from the holy place." - 2 Chronicles 29:1-5 NKJV.

When I was a boy my job was to take out the trash and burn it. I did that for years while I was growing up. Living on a farm it was the way we eliminated much of our trash. I did catch the chicken house on fire once, but thankfully I was able to put the fire out with a nearby water hose. You would think after that, my parents would have given my trash duties to my sister, but no, I still had the trash removal duties.

The thing about trash is that if you don't remove it on a regular basis it piles up. When there is a back up in the trash removal it causes a mess which just grows larger and larger until it can no longer be ignored. Sometimes, you could say that the trash problem reaches critical mass, and something has to be done.

When Hezekiah became king, the trash problem at the house of the Lord, looked like it had reached critical mass. Hezekiah began to do something about it. So, Hezekiah ordered the Levites to clean all the rubbish out of the house of the Lord. "Hear me, Levites! Now sanctify yourselves, sanctify the house of the Lord God of your fathers, and carry out the rubbish from the holy place." This began a time of revival in Judah.

What does this have to do with us? 1 Corinthians 3:16 tells us, "Do you not know that you are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you?" If you know Jesus as your Savior, your body is the temple of God and the Spirit of God dwells in you. Sadly, our individual temples have a tendency to fill up with rubbish like Hezekiah's house of the Lord. The rubbish we have to deal with is called "sin." If we want to have a personal revival, we must take out the trash. 1 John 1:9 tells us how to do that: "If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness."

How long has it been since you have taken out the trash?

Classic from 2011


Stealing the Bridge

Let him who stole steal no longer, but rather let him labor, working with his hands what is good, that he may have something to give him who has need. - Ephesians 4:28 NKJV.

So are the ways of everyone who is greedy for gain; it takes away the life of its owners. - Proverbs 1:19 NKJV.

He who is greedy for gain troubles his own house.... - Proverbs 15:27a NKJV.

Two men have been arrested in Lawrence County, Pennsylvania for stealing the Covert's Crossing Bridge, and it was 50 feet long by 20 feet wide. Benjamin Arthur Jones, 24-years-old, and Alexander William Jones, 25-years-old used a cutting torch to cut the bridge up into sellable pieces. The men then sold the bridge, worth an estimated $100,000, as scrap metal for approximately $5,000. The men are in jail facing multiple felony charges. (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette 10.15.11)

Hard to believe that anyone would attempt to steal a bridge! I wonder how they arrived at the decision? Maybe, one day they were out driving around, probably drinking some beer, and drove over the bridge. One man said to the other, "Hey, we could steal this bridge. We could cut it up in little pieces and sell it for scrap." The second man may have said, "But won't someone miss the bridge?" Man number one says, "Yeah, they may miss it when they run off here and wreck, but we can get thousands of dollars out of this thing." The second man must have said, "Where's that cuttin' torch at?"

The men not only had a disregard for property belonging to others; they also had a disregard for human life. It was apparently of no concern to them if someone was injured crashing because of a missing bridge. In addition, because of their greed, the men were blind to the consequences of their actions. They were blind to the possibility that the scrap they were selling would be recognized as being from a bridge and reported. They were blind to the possibility that they could be arrested and end up being sent to prison for years. They were blind to how much pain their actions would cause their families when they were arrested, and incarcerated. Their greed demonstrates the truth of Proverbs 15:27 and Proverbs 1:19. Greed is a life destroyer. Greed is a maker of a world of trouble for anyone who is greedy.

For anyone who is involved in making a living out of stealing, or who steals for the fun or thrill of stealing, it is made clear in Ephesians 4:28 that this is against the will of God. As we are told in Ephesians 4:28, "Let him who stole steal no longer...." If you are involved in this kind of the thing...stop now, before you destroy your life. Stop now, before your greed brings trouble to your door, and to your family.

So, the next time, you are out driving around in the country, and drive over a perfectly functional metal bridge, just be thankful that Benjamin and Alexander Jones have yet to discover it.

Classic from 2011


No Shortcuts

Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it. - Matthew 7:13-14 NKJV.

Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me. In My Father's house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also. And where I go you know, and the way you know. Thomas said to Him, "Lord, we do not know where You are going, and how can we know the way?" Jesus said to him, "I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me." - John 14:1-6 NKJV.

Rob Sloan was thought to have been the third-place runner in the Kielder Marathon, in northern England. However, he has been stripped of his medal due to disqualification. During the run, he took a shortcut via a spectator bus. As event Director Steve Cram describes, "He's the only runner in the whole of the race who ran the second half of the race quicker than the first half." You can do that if you ride a bus! It makes the whole marathon thingy much more pleasant! (Reuters 10.13.11)

Rob must have thought that he would actually be able to deceive everyone about his marathon performance. He found out though that his great plan for an easy run had a few flaws in it. His plan was not allowed by the event officials. That's why it's called a marathon. You run every step, in every mile, without any shortcuts via buses. Rob tried to bluff his way through, denying what he had done, until he was finally forced to admit his attempted deception.

Many apparently believe that there is a shortcut to Heaven, to the "Father's house." No need to include Jesus in this plan, just take the turn onto the broad way, through the wide gate, and it will all turn out fine. Because, everyone knows, that everyone is going to Heaven; some are just taking a different road. At least that's what I seem to be hearing more and more in recent days. The Biblical spiritual fact is that Jesus is the only "way" provided by which we may travel to Heaven (i.e. "the Father"), or as King David says, the "house of the LORD (Psalm 23:6)."

Attempts to travel to Heaven by any other means than through Jesus will fail. The event coordinator of this Heavenly event is God Himself. God has given one prerequisite for dwelling in the "house of the LORD forever." That most important prerequisite is Jesus. We are told this in Romans 10:9-13, "...if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. For the Scripture says, "Whoever believes on Him will not be put to shame." For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek, for the same Lord over all is rich to all who call upon Him. For "whoever calls on the name of the LORD shall be saved." In John 1:12, we are told, 'But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name."

Have you taken a ride on a bus down the broad road of destruction, or are you on that narrow road through Jesus that leads to life eternal?

Classic from 2011


In His Image

For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren. - Romans 8:29 NKJV.

But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord. - 2 Corinthians 3:18 NKJV.

Herbert Chavez who lives in the Philippines is being transformed by plastic surgery to look more and more like Superman. He has had surgery on his chin, his nose, and plans to have surgery on his abdomen. He has also had silicone injections and implants. Chavez says, "I have been a life long fan of Superman after being given the costume when I was a child. As I am only 5 feet 6 inches and Superman is 6 feet 2 inches I wouldn't rule out surgery to make me taller." Chavez is also a collector of Superman memorabilia and his home is filled up with Superman collectibles. (Orange News 10.10.11)

If you know Jesus as your Savior, there is a change going on in your life. Herbert Chavez is changing himself to look more like he thinks Superman should look like. God is changing His children spiritually to be more and more like Jesus. We are not doing the changing. You are not doing the changing. God is at work in your life through the Holy Spirit, and you "are being transformed."

I am far from being perfect, but God has been at work in my life chipping away at all the things that do not conform "to the image of His Son." The lies that used to so easily flow from my mouth have been chipped away. My desire for riches has been chipped away. My selfishness is slowly being chipped out of my heart. My worldly lusts are being removed piece by piece. Sometimes this renovation project that God has going on in my life is enjoyable, and sometimes it is far from enjoyable; in fact, it is downright painful. Looking at the image of Jesus that I see painted in the Word of God, I can see that there is still a long, long way to go before this transformation project that God has begun will reach completion.

How can God ever change the wickedness of my heart, or the wickedness of your heart? I do not know, but as the apostle Paul told the Philippians (Philippians 1:6), "being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ." I do know that God will never give up on what He has begun in my heart and life. He will bring it to completion. God is not going to give up on what He has begun in your life either. He will see it through to the very end.

We have the promise of God that someday, somehow, we will be like Jesus. We are told this in 1 John 3:2, "Beloved, now we are children of God; and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is." Let us hold onto this promise of God that some bright shining wondrous day "we shall be like Him."

Classic from 2011


On the Edge

Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall. No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it. - 1 Corinthians 10:12-13 NKJV.

Nearly all of us saw the video, captured of a cliff in north Cornwall, England, that crashed into the ocean. Thousands of tons of rock unexpectedly split away and tumbled down into the water. A geologist estimated that 100,000 tons of rock fell down. (Orange News 10.10.11) I know that I had never even thought about the possibility of such a thing. Of course, we know about landslides, rock falls, and avalanches; but 100,000 tons of a cliff? Can you imagine being on a cliff like that, and hearing the rock suddenly beginning to fall away? That would be scary!

If you knew of the likely possibility of a cliff falling into an ocean, would you make it a practice to go, and stand on the edge of that cliff every day? Of course not! However, we know many who call themselves Christians who do engage in that kind of risky behavior. How do they do that? They do this by drinking alcohol, even though they know that some who drink become alcoholics, some damage their health, some become involved in violent behavior, and some who drink are arrested for drinking and driving. Others are out there standing on cliffs because of their abuse of legal drugs or use of illegal drugs. Some are on that unstable cliff because of flirting or worse with the opposite s_x. I probably left something out, but I think you understand how dangerous these things can be.

Yes, "God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it." However, we are told in Deuteronomy 6:16, "You shall not tempt the LORD your God...." Jesus said exactly this when He was tempted by the devil in the wilderness (Matthew 4:7). Now consider this: If you know that it is risky to do something, but you continue to do it again and again, are you not tempting God?

Yes, we are all sometimes tempted, but there is a way of escape, because God says there is one. You can refuse to walk out to the edge of that cliff. You can refuse to have another drink. You can refuse to do another drug or pop another pill. You can turn away from those who would lure you into inappropriate behavior. Will this be easy? No! But "God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it."

Make no mistake, when you are tempted, there is a way out. Ask God to reveal that way out to you. Ask Him for the strength you need to take the way out that leads off of that cliff you are standing on before you fall. As we are told in 1 Corinthians 10, "...let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall."

Get away from the edge of that cliff!!

Classic from 2011


Limited or Limitless

But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, that in the ages to come He might show the exceeding (immeasurable - Amplified Bible) riches of His grace in His kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. - Ephesians 4:5-7 NKJV.

Great is our Lord, and mighty in power; His understanding is infinite (limitless - The Message). The LORD lifts up the humble; He casts the wicked down to the ground. - Psalm 147:5-6 NKJV.

Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above (infinitely more - NLT; God can do anything - The Message) all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen. - Ephesians 3:20-21 NKJV.

Using Google to search for the word, "limitless," there were nearly 100 million results. It appears that we human beings do not like limits and would like to be free of them. At the same time that we would like to throw off our limits, we place our human limitations upon our God. Our human view of God is too often that God can do little more than most humans. In our area of the country, we have experienced a severe drought. We had a community prayer meeting to pray for rain several weeks ago. It rained some that evening. Last week we received more than two inches of rain. I know that this was in response to the prayers of many. However, I have heard some express that they never pray for rain, because they do not believe that God answers those prayers - or is it that they do not believe that God has the power to answer those prayers?

Limitless is defined by the Free Dictionary as: "Having no limit or limits; unrestricted: limitless authority." That is a description of the power and authority of the One true God. Our God is unlimited in His ability. However, there are some limits upon our ability to tap into that power and authority for the living of our lives. Ephesians 3:20-21 describes the ability of God to do more than we can ever imagine. It also describes a limit upon how that power is used in our lives. We are told how God is able to do more than we can imagine in our lives, "according to the power that works in us." If we believe, for example, that God is unable to answer a prayer for rain, then God will not answer that prayer for you. You have less of His power working in you than someone else who does believe God can send rain.

Another limit upon God's power to answer our prayers is His will. If what we ask for is according to His will, there is no limit to what God can do. However, if what we are asking for is not according to His will it will appear that His power is limited. 1 John 5:14-15 says, "Now this is the confidence that we have in Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. And if we know that He hears us, whatever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we have asked of Him."

If we believe, the possibilities are limitless for God to work in, and through our lives. Jesus says in Matthew 17:20, "...I say to you, if you have faith as a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, "Move from here to there, and it will move; and nothing will be impossible for you." So, let us believe in the limitless power and authority of God and "Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened (Matthew 7:7-8)."

Classic from 2011


The Real Reality

Therefore we do not lose heart. Even though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day. For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory, while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal. - 2 Corinthians 4:16-18 NKJV.

You are of God, little children, and have overcome them, because He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world. - 1 John 4:4 NKJV.

Emergency services in England scrambled to help after receiving a call from a young man who was hanging from the edge of a sea cliff. Fire crews, coastguard, and police officers all responded and searched the coast for the man. After searching for several hours, an intoxicated 19-year-old man was finally found about a mile away from the coast on a slope next to where he had parked his car. (Metro.co.uk 02.23.10)

Customs in a Frankfurt, Germany airport temporarily confiscated what was thought to be a "blood diamond" worth 2.2 million pounds (3.4 million dollars). The wannabe smuggler from Angola was detained while what appeared to be an illegally mined diamond was examined. Everyone was surprised, especially the wannabe smuggler, when it was found that it was only a fake diamond worth at the most 18 pounds (28 dollars). The smuggler apparently had paid a substantial amount of money for the fake diamond. (Orange News 02.22.10)

How many times has it happened to you? You thought something was true, but later found out that it was not true; or something you thought was real, was not real. The young man in England was surely convinced that he was hanging from an edge of a cliff, and about to die. The Angolan smuggler thought he had a diamond that was worth millions; instead, he lost a fortune. What a shock when the truth is revealed!

There is another deception being perpetrated upon many of us right now. This world we are living in may appear to be very real. We are told that this is reality. However, this is not the real, reality. As we are told in 2 Corinthians 4:18, "For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal." All of these things that are so very real to us right now on this earth will some day pass away. Our earthly worries will someday no longer be of importance. Because these earthly things are temporary.

In addition, we have so many things that cause us stress, cause us worry, and cause us pain. Much of this stress, worry, and pain is the result of perception. We perceive that we are all alone in the face of all these things that are pressing in upon us. However, that is not the real, reality for the believer. What is the reality for a believer? "You are of God, little children, and have overcome them, because He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world (1 John 4:4)." The Spirit of God resides in every believer (1 Corinthians 3:16) and "...we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us (Romans 8:27)."

Never forget as a child of God you are not by yourself. God lives inside of you, and through Him you are always more than a conqueror. Let us look beyond these earthly things surrounding us to the real, reality, to "the things which are not seen."

Classic from 2011


He Can Do It!

Then he went and joined himself to a citizen of that country, and he sent him into his fields to feed swine. And he would gladly have filled his stomach with the pods that the swine ate, and no one gave him anything. But when he came to himself, he said, "How many of my father's hired servants have bread enough and to spare, and I perish with hunger!" - Luke 15:15-17 NKJV.

Now the LORD had prepared a great fish to swallow Jonah. And Jonah was in the belly of the fish three days and three nights. Then Jonah prayed to the LORD his God from the fish's belly. - Jonah 1:17 - 2:1 NKJV.

Then Saul arose from the ground, and when his eyes were opened he saw no one. But they led him by the hand and brought him into Damascus. And he was three days without sight, and neither ate nor drank. - Acts 9:8-9 NKJV.

A scuba diver has been found in South Africa in the wrong place, at the wrong time. A rescue operation was mounted after a report from a friend of a scuba diver, that his friend was missing. The search was called off, after the mother of the diver, called to say that her son had been located. The diver had called his mother to let her know that he was in jail at a police station. He had been arrested, because he was diving "without a permit in a protected marine environment." (Orange News 09.16.11)

The scuba diver's problems began when he chose to dive illegally in a marine environment protected by law. While everyone was searching for him, he found himself locked up in jail. He was safe, but still in uncomfortable circumstances because of the choice that he had made to break the law.

In the Bible, there are several individuals who found themselves in difficult circumstances because of the choices they had made. The Prodigal Son chose to take his inheritance early and went off to a "far country" to party it away. The Prodigal Son found himself in a condition so terrible that he was ready to eat what the pigs were eating if he could have done so. We all know that Jonah's refusal to respond to God's call resulted in his finding himself in the belly of a great fish. Nothing pleasant about that! Then, there is Saul, aka the yet to become apostle Paul, who found himself struck blind by the Lord Jesus.

The Prodigal Son, Jonah, and Saul all had decisions to make after finding themselves in these terrible predicaments. They could have chosen to remain as they were, and see things grow even worse. The Prodigal Son could have stayed there and eaten pig food if he could have found some. Jonah could have refused to change his mind and rotted away in the belly of the big fish. Saul could have refused to give up his hatred of those who believed in Jesus and remained blind for the rest of his life. Those would have been terrible decisions, but they could have decided to keep going in the same direction that had brought these terrible situations upon them. I think we all know people or have heard of people who are just that stubborn, who are just that addicted to their drugs, or their beliefs, or their ideas, or their way of doing things; that refuse to change, even when they know they are wrong.

The thing that we see in the lives of the Prodigal Son, Jonah, and Saul is that people can change the direction of their lives. They may not want to change, but they can turn around anyway. The Prodigal Son surely did not want to go home, and face his father, or his brother. We know Jonah still hated the Ninevites, even after he preached to them. Saul had to turn his back on everything that he had believed, even his friends to change from the direction his life had been headed.

People can change the direction of their lives. You can change the direction of your life. It begins with a decision. A decision has to be made. A decision to be obedient to your Lord Jesus. If that decision needs to be made in your life, there is no better time than now to make it.

Where did God find you today?

Classic from 2011


Code Red

To whom shall I speak and give warning, that they may hear? Indeed their ear is uncircumcised, and they cannot give heed. Behold, the word of the LORD is a reproach to them; they have no delight in it. Therefore I am full of the fury of the LORD. I am weary of holding it in. - Jeremiah 6:10-11 NKJV.

To them God willed to make known what are the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles: which is Christ in you, the hope of glory. Him we preach, warning every man and teaching every man in all wisdom, that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus. - Colossians 1:27-28 NKJV.

Monday morning when we returned to the hospital to check on our grandson, we had an interesting experience. We had just entered into the hospital when an alarm began to sound, along with a voice announcing, "Code Red," "Code Red." Every few seconds the voice would announce, while the alarm, continued to sound, "Code Red," "Code Red."

As we entered an elevator, I asked a woman who got onto the elevator with us if she knew what "Code Red" meant. She said she didn't know but thought it couldn't be anything good. Immediately after we left the elevator, the woman asked another woman who had a hospital ID what "Code Red" meant. The hospital staff member responded calmly and sweetly that, "Oh, it's a fire alarm." The other woman then asked her if it was a fire drill. The staff member said "No, it's a fire." And then she said, "It's in the basement, and it happens all the time." Since we were on the lower level, a fire in the basement was a little concerning to us. However, with the alarm still sounding, and with the voice still announcing "Code Red," "Code Red"; everyone calmly continued on their way as if there were no alarm blaring in their ears!

The disregard of the people at the hospital for the warnings of the fire alarm reminds me of the disregard people have for the warnings of the Word of God. Not only do they disregard and dismiss God's warning through His Word; they also disregard and dismiss warnings from His messengers. Jeremiah continually, at great personal risk, warned of the consequences of the immorality of the Hebrew people. The consequences were to be taken into captivity by a foreign country, which did finally occur.

The people of this world have not changed much from the people Jeremiah's time. The people today are just as dismissive and have just as much disregard for God's Word and His messengers, as did the people of Jeremiah's day. The only difference is that it may be worse today than it was in the time of Jeremiah.

At some point in time, for every person, we will come to the end of the road of life and face the consequences for our decisions. As we are told in the Book of Hebrews, "And as it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment (Hebrews 9:27)." We are told more about what is ahead in Revelation 20:11-15 where John says, "Then I saw a great white throne and Him who sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away. And there was found no place for them. And I saw the dead, small and great, standing before God, and books were opened. And another book was opened, which is the Book of Life. And the dead were judged according to their works, by the things which were written in the books. The sea gave up the dead who were in it, and Death and Hades delivered up the dead who were in them. And they were judged, each one according to his works. Then Death and Hades were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. And anyone not found written in the Book of Life was cast into the lake of fire."

Is your name written in the Book of Life? Have you received Jesus Christ as your personal Savior? If not, the alarm is sounding, and all of Heaven is shouting "Code Red," "Code Red." Can you hear the warning? "Behold, now is the accepted time, now is the day of salvation (2 Corinthians 6:2)." I plead with you to receive Jesus today as your personal Savior before it is eternally too late.

Classic from 1998


The First Burning Bush Devotionals

June 8, 2018 marks 20 years since the first Burning Bush Devotionals were sent by email. June of this year also marks 28 years since I preached my first sermons at a little country church at the late age of 40.

In celebration of those 20 years I am resending in this email the first week of those short devotionals.

The Primary Rule for Life � June 8, 1998

Our Lord says, �Seek ye first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these things shall be added unto you.�

This verse must be a primary rule of life for those who would overcome, for those who would be super conquerors. If we seek after holiness then we will see that the other things such as joy, happiness, satisfaction, and yes, sometimes even the material will be taken care of for us. However, if we seek after happiness, and the things of this world we will never really obtain enough and never be satisfied. Only in seeking after the things of God will we find the flowing waters of life that quench the spiritual thirst.

(This is the first Burning Bush Devotional sent by email. Other devotionals had been written and published prior to this in the Burning Bush Newsletter sent to prisons across the United States and Canada.)

Our Focus � June 9, 1998

Consider Him who endured such opposition from sinful men so that you do not grow weary and lose heart. - Hebrews 12:3.

So many times when things begin to go wrong in our lives the temptation is to focus on what is wrong. It may be the lack of money, a relationship problem, a physical illness, an addiction, or you may be facing something even worse. As we focus in on those bad things our attention is taken away from our Lord and the things of God. As a result we begin to feel worse and worse about our situation, about our life.

The Bible tells us the solution in Hebrews 12:3. If we don�t want to grow weary and lose heart. If we don�t want to give up and grovel in defeat. If we grow tired of having a pity party all the time, then the solution is before us. The solution is to put our focus upon Jesus and the things of God. Intentionally shift our focus from the bad to the good. As we do so we will find the strength to continue on even in the worst storms that life sends our way.

Crowns of Life � June 10, 1998

James 1:12, �Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him.�

Most of the time when we think of the crowns that we will receive from God for faithfulness we look to that time when we are in Heaven. However, I believe that every time we are obedient to our Lord we receive a crown of life. With each step of obedience, each step of holiness we become more alive, crowned with more and more life. With each step of obedience the next step becomes easier. The more life we have the more power we have to take that next step toward becoming transformed into the image of our Lord.

How long during each day are you truly alive, awake to life? We can live more, we can be more alive, as we live our lives with each step of obedience, each step of faithfulness that we take. Why not allow God to crown your life with LIFE today?

Selah! � June 11, 1998

Are you in the midst of problems? Troubles? Uncertainty? Without hope? Whatever it is God says, �Selah!� Psalm 46 is where many through the ages have turned to find hope. It is where Martin Luther found the inspiration to write the hymn, �A Mighty Fortress Is Our God.� Psalm 46:10 says, �Be still, and know that I am God....�

�Selah,� is a musical term to the extent that it is understood. It means to take a break, or pause. In Psalm 46 after verse 3 there is the word, �Selah� and also after verse 7. Then, comes verse 10 with, �Be Still!�

In the midst of our problems and troubles and modern world of constant activity, God says, �Be still, and know that I am God....� He is still God. He can still give you peace which is beyond human understanding. He can still make all things work to the good. Verse 11 says, �The LORD of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge, SELAH.�

Allow God to be your fortress today, SELAH!

Happiness � June 12, 1998

God�s definition of a happy person: �Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful. But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night.� (Psalm 1:1-2)

God says the result of that kind of happiness is, �And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper.� (Psalm 1:3)

Let us delight ourselves in the Law of the LORD and plant our lives by the river of life. Then we will see our lives bring forth fruit and our lives will prosper as our roots sink deeper and deeper into the Law of the LORD.

There is a God � June 13, 1998

The Psalmist says in Psalm 90:2, �Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever thou hadst formed the earth, and the world, even from everlasting to everlasting thou art God.�

There is a God and according to the Psalmist our days are numbered before we meet Him face to face. In verse 10 of Psalm 90 the Psalmist says, �The days of our years are threescore years and ten; and if by reason of strength they be fourscore years, yet is there strength labour and sorrow; for it is soon cut off, and we fly away.�

In verse 12 the Psalmist says, �So teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom.� The point is that there is a God, there will be an end to our physical life, and so we should make each day count. We should make each day count for God. How will you make this day count for God?

How Thirsty Are You? � June 14, 1998

Matthew 5:6, �Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.�

In South Africa during droughts I have heard that you can sometimes see an amazing sight; deer defying lions in order to drink at the river. Their thirst will not be denied. They must have water or die.

Spiritually as Christians we are either moving forward or moving backwards. There is no status quo for the child of God. In our own lives there will be spiritual starvation unless we have a continual intake of the spiritual, such as: the Word of God; prayer; and, fellowship with other Christians.

The question we should ask ourselves is how thirsty are we? Are we thirsty enough to defy that old lion, the devil, who is going to and fro across this world seeking whom he may desire? Are we thirsty enough to go to church this Sunday? Are we thirsty enough to wake up each day and spend some time reading God�s Word and praying? Are we thirsty enough to deny ourselves, take up our cross and follow Him?

Classic from 2011



Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new. Now all things are of God, who has reconciled us to Himself through Jesus Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation, that is, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not imputing their trespasses to them, and has committed to us the word of reconciliation. Now then, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were pleading through us: we implore you on Christ's behalf, be reconciled to God. For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him. � 2 Corinthians 5:17-21 NKJV.

Six years ago Megan Ashton bought a beat up 40-year-old VW Beetle for $316 (200 GBP). Today that same car is worth an estimated $40,000 (25,000 GBP). What happened to that car? Megan was 20-years-old when she bought the car dreaming of one day being able to drive, not a VW Beetle to her wedding, but a Porsche 356. Megan is a Royal Navy engineering officer, and her father owns a garage. Over a six-year period, the VW Beetle was stripped down and rebuilt into a replica of the Porsche 356. That ugly duckling of a VW Beetle has been transformed into a beautiful vehicle. The replica Porsche 356 was driven proudly by Megan to her wedding, as she had dreamed of doing for so many years. (Mail Online 09.15.11)

The transformation of Ashton's VW Beetle into the now beautiful Porsche 356 replica is a picture of the Christian life. It is a picture of how God takes the ugly duckling worm of a sinner and transforms that person into an �ambassador for Christ�; an ambassador for the King of kings, and the Lord of lords.

There is a beginning point to becoming a Christian. We do not become a Christian by becoming a member of a church, or by being baptized. We do not become a Christian by being born into a family that happens to be Christian. We become a Christian by being �born again� as Jesus tells Nicodemus in John 3:3. We are birthed into the Kingdom of God by the Holy Spirit (Romans 8:11) and sealed until the day of redemption (Ephesians 4:30). We are �born again� into the family of God as spiritual babies (1 Corinthians 3:1) and are to grow to maturity (Philippians 3:15).

God will continue this process of transforming us from the sinners that we were into being like Christ as long as we are alive on this Earth (Philippians 1:6; Romans 8:29). Some bright shining day the ultimate transformation into perfection with our glorified bodies will be completed. In Philippians 3:20-21 we are told this, �For our citizenship is in heaven, from which we also eagerly wait for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body that it may be conformed to His glorious body, according to the working by which He is able even to subdue all things to Himself.�

When we are �born again� that old sinner creature that we were is no more. God begins the transformation process giving us a new life with new desires, and new dreams. We grow from baby Christians to mature Christians. The process of that growth is fast, or slow, depending upon how much of the Lord Jesus Christ we put on (Romans 13:14). You can put on (clothe yourselves - NIV) more of the Lord Jesus, by reading and studying the Word of God. You can put on more of the Lord Jesus, by spending time in prayer. You can put on more of the Lord Jesus, by assembling with other believers (Hebrews 10:24-25). You can put on more of the Lord Jesus, by living for Him, by being His ambassador upon this Earth.

My old dreams have faded away. I can barely remember how evil my desires used to be. I am far from being perfect. However, I am being transformed more and more into the image of my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. I hope and pray that you are being transformed too!



Avoid the Danger

Beloved, I beg you as sojourners and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts which war against the soul having your conduct honorable among the Gentiles, that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may, by your good works which they observe, glorify God in the day of visitation. � 1 Peter 2:11-12 NKJV.

Growing up on a farm I learned early not to hassle the bull. We actually had a very tame bull that must have been almost a pet at one time. One of my favorite things to do when I was a little boy was to stomp my foot while looking the bull in the eye when I was just a few feet from him. That bull, who weighed a couple of thousand pounds, would jump backwards about a foot. I suspect I would have been in trouble if my Dad or Mother had ever caught me doing that. But I knew that most bulls were not tame. My Mother told me stories about my grandfather being trapped in cattle feeder and having to use a pitchfork to keep an angry bull from getting to him.

Apparently, some people in Colorado have not learned that a moose can be just as dangerous, if not more so than an angry bull. The Colorado Parks and Wildlife Department was given a photo of a man next to an angry moose. A driver saw this man chasing the moose across the highway and onto the median. In the photo the ears of the moose were �pinned back and had raised hackles (raised hair on back of the animal).� Summit County's District Wildlife Manager Elissa Slezak said, �It is likely this person does not realize how much danger he put himself in, or maybe he does not care. We hope a conversation with this individual can help him understand the danger involved.�

Also, in Colorado, if the man is found he can be charged with harassment of wildlife. (Times-Call 05.06.18; 4CBS Denver 05.06.18)

1 Peter 2:11 says, �Beloved, I beg you as sojourners and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts which war against the soul.� Another translation puts sojourners and pilgrims as aliens and strangers. Fleshly lusts is translated in some modern translations as sinful desires. So, this would then read: �Beloved, I beg you as sojourners and pilgrims, or aliens and strangers abstain from fleshly lusts or sinful desires which war against the soul.�

Sinful desires do what? They war against the soul. Sin is a threat to your spiritual wellbeing. Sin is a danger that like an angry moose or an angry bull we would do well to avoid. Nothing good will come from playing around with sin or even entertaining sinful thoughts in our minds.

How do we fight back against these Sinful desires that at war with us? As we are told in Ephesians 6:17, �And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.� Take up the sword of the Spirit and fight back! Defeat angry thoughts with verses like Proverbs 15:18, �A wrathful man stirs up strife, but he who is slow to anger allays contention.� Memorize a few of these verses and run them through your mind whenever you have angry thoughts. Having a problem with lustful thoughts? Memorize Romans 6:12-13, �Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body, that you should obey it in its lusts. And do not present your members as instruments of unrighteousness to sin, but present yourselves to God as being alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness to God.� Repeat the verse in your mind until the sinful thoughts are gone. Whatever the sin problem there are verses of Scripture to use to confront it.

The very best thing to do when confronted with the danger of sinful desires is to find the way of escape. �No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it (1 Corinthians 10:13.).�

Remember if you know Jesus as your Savior you are just a sojourner and a pilgrim on your way to your Heavenly home. Make your journey a good one, and avoid the danger of the sinful distractions, because you are only here in this world for a very brief visit.

Classic from 2011


Helping Hands

For as the body is one and has many members, but all the members of that one body, being many, are one body, so also is Christ. For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body - whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free - and have all been made to drink into one Spirit. For in fact the body is not one member but many. � 1 Corinthians 12:12-14 NKJV.

Now you are the body of Christ, and members individually. � 1 Corinthians 12:27 NKJV.

For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as the Lord does the church. For we are members of His body, of His flesh and of His bones. � Ephesians 5:29-30 NKJV.

You have most likely seen the video and heard all about the rescue of a motorcyclist that occurred Monday (September 2011). It happened in Utah when 21-year-old Brandon Wright crashed into a BMW coming out of a parking lot. Wright did lay the bike down, in an attempt to avoid the car, but still hit it, and both vehicles caught fire. Wright was trapped underneath of the BMW. That's when about ten bystanders jumped into action, lifting the car on one side, while Wright was dragged out from under the BMW. Wright was not riding with a helmet but does not have any trauma to his head. He does have a couple of broken legs, his pelvis is broken, burns on a foot, and some road rash. His condition has been upgraded to satisfactory after being moved from intensive care. (Fox News, CNN, youtube, and various other news venues)

It is such a wonderful, awesome thing to see all of those people risking their lives to save someone that none of them knew! With all of the terrible, ugly, awful news that we continually hear and see, it was simply fantastic to see this video! This is what the body of Christ, i.e. the church, should be all about.

Together, believers can always do more than by themselves. We can do more in prayer. Jesus says in Matthew 18:19-20, �Again I say to you that if two of you agree on earth concerning anything that they ask, it will be done for them by My Father in heaven. For where two or three are gathered together in My name, I am there in the midst of them.� We can do more in giving. An example of this is the Southern Baptist Cooperative Program. Those churches participating in the program give a percentage of all of their undesignated offerings to it. The program funds missionary efforts across the world, and of every penny given in a participating church, part of it combines with others to fund these efforts. We can do more in helping during major disasters as we see many denominations come together along with the Red Cross to meet the needs of the hurting.

Perhaps the most often used quote, about the hands and feet of Jesus, are the words of Saint Teresa of Avila, �Christ has no body on earth but yours, no hands but yours, no feet but yours. Yours are the eyes through which Christ's compassion for the world is to look out; yours are the feet with which He is to go about doing good; and yours are the hands with which He is to bless us now.�

For those of us who make up the Body of Christ, Casting Crowns asks in their song these questions:

But if we are the Body
Why aren't His arms reaching
Why aren't His hands healing
Why aren't His words teaching
And if we are the Body
Why aren't His feet going
Why is His love not showing them there is a way

There are still people who care, who want to do the right thing as we have seen demonstrated in the rescue of the motorcyclist. If you had been there, what would you have done? What will you do today, as part of the Body of Christ?

Classic from 2011



The house of the wicked will be overthrown, but the tent of the upright will flourish. There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way of death. � Proverbs 14:11-12 NKJV.

For the LORD knows the way of the righteous, but the way of the ungodly shall perish. � Psalm 1:6 NKJV.

Rayna Garrett had a frightening experience in Kansas City when a man with a gun suddenly jumped onto the hood of her car. The man, 26-year-old Dionette L. Price, demanded that Rayna, �drive!� �Drive, or I will blow your head off.� So, that's what Rayna did; she drove. She sped up, trying to make the man fall off, but it didn't work. She kept driving for two miles to a Kansas City police station, where she honked her horn, and finally rammed a door to gain their attention. All during this time Dionette was threatening to kill Rayna. After Rayna rammed the door, Dionette fled from the police station. He was arrested a short time later at a bus stop without any problems. Dionette now faces charges of unlawful use of a weapon and felonious restraint. (Reuters 09.08.11)

Did Dionette believe that he was doing the right thing when he stepped in front of Rayna's car, forcing her to slow down? Did he believe that he was doing the right thing, when he threatened Ryana with death? Why would anyone do something like that? The most likely answer would be that the man has some mental issues or was high on some kind of substance. It may be that somehow, this man believed that what he was doing was the right thing to do. If this were the situation, you might say that the man was delusional. Dictionary dot com gives these definitions for delusional: �maintaining fixed false beliefs even when confronted with facts,� and �having false or unrealistic beliefs or opinions.�

Spiritually, there are a whole lot of delusional people in this world and they think they are on the right path with their lives. Most of them don't appear to be crazy like Dionette and appear to be fairly �normal.� These delusional people live their lives as if there is no God. They live their lives as though this world is all there is, and that they will never face death. They are delusional. They are delusional, because they know that people grow old and die. They are delusional, because people become sick and die, or have an accident and die. They know this to be true, because they have seen it happen to people that they personally know. The Bible tells us this will happen, �And as it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment (Hebrews 9:27).� We will all die a physical death unless we are believers, and our Lord comes back first.

There is a way that seems right to people, and that way does not include God, and that way does not include any thoughts about what will happen after death. The reason it seems right to them is because they are delusional. Why are they delusional? We are told this in 2 Corinthians 4:3-4a, �...if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing, whose minds the god of this age has blinded....� 2 Corinthians 4:6 then says, �For it is the God who commanded light to shine out of darkness, who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.� We who know Jesus as our Savior were at one time blind, delusional, and walking in darkness. That was our condition, until the glory of God through Jesus gave light to our lives.

The only hope for the spiritually delusional of this world is Jesus Christ. Let us share Jesus with them, and their blindness will be removed. Let us share Jesus with them, and they will no longer be delusional. Let us share Jesus with them, and they will find the right path for their lives. Give them Jesus!

Classic from 2011


The Best Wisdom

If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him. � James 1:5 NKJV.

Who is wise and understanding among you? Let him show by good conduct that his works are done in the meekness of wisdom. But if you have bitter envy and self-seeking in your hearts, do not boast and lie against the truth. This wisdom does not descend from above, but is earthly, sensual, demonic. For where envy and self-seeking exist, confusion and every evil thing are there. But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality and without hypocrisy. � James 3:13-17 NKJV.

Did you hear about the nuclear reactor meltdown in Sweden? It was a small reactor compared to the huge electrical generating reactors across the world. This reactor was so small that it was in Richard Handl's apartment. Handl bought his reactor materials of radium, americium, and uranium on eBay, and in Germany. The meltdown happened on his kitchen stove! After the meltdown, it finally occurred to Handl that what he had been doing might not be legal, and he contacted the Sweden Radiation Authority; which immediately raided the apartment and arrested the man. Handl has been released but may face fines and jail time. As to why he would try to build a nuclear reactor in his apartment, Handl said that he was curious as to whether, or not, it was possible to do it. The Radiation Authority said that radiation levels in the apartment were safe at the time of their raid. Handl says that from now on he is going to just stick with theory. (The Telegraph 08.03.11; MSNBC 08.05.11)

Richard Handl is apparently a very intelligent man, although it appears that he is lacking in wisdom. Just because you have a high IQ, does not necessarily mean that you have wisdom. I think we can agree that trying to build a nuclear reactor in your kitchen is not very wise!

How do we obtain the wisdom that we need to live life wisely? Some people obtain wisdom through trial and error. Handl now has learned not to build a nuclear reactor in his kitchen. He has learned that doing so may be dangerous, and it is against the law in Sweden. Some call this the School of Hard Knocks or the School of Life. The wisdom obtained in that school is good, but the tuition fees are very high. There is a much better way to obtain wisdom, and it is a better wisdom than life can teach you. That better wisdom comes from God.

God's wisdom is free; however, it is not automatically given just because you are a believer. The Bible tells us how to receive God's wisdom. It is a simple process. You ask for it! James 1:5 says, �If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him.� God's wisdom is �first pure, then peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality and without hypocrisy.� Let's see, God's wisdom is free, it is the best kind of wisdom, and with God�s wisdom you might be able to avoid having a nuclear meltdown in your kitchen. So, why not ask God for some of His wisdom right now?

Classic from 2011


Your Safety Rope

I will lift up my eyes to the hills - From whence comes my help? My help comes from the LORD, Who made heaven and earth. He will not allow your foot to be moved (not let your foot slip - NIV); He who keeps you will not slumber. Behold, He who keeps Israel shall neither slumber nor sleep. The LORD is your keeper; the LORD is your shade at your right hand. The sun shall not strike you by day, nor the moon by night. The LORD shall preserve you from all evil; He shall preserve your soul. The LORD shall preserve your going out and your coming in from this time forth, and even forevermore. - Psalm 121:1-8 NKJV.

Uphold my steps in Your paths, that my footsteps may not slip. - Psalm 17:5 NKJV.

The steps of a good man are ordered by the LORD, and He delights in his way. - Psalm 37:23 NKJV.

In China, a wooden footpath is being built on a mountain cliff with the ground thousands of feet below. If the workers were to slip, there would be nothing below to break their fall. The current footpath project, is being built in Hunan Province on Shifou Mountain; and the footpath will be nearly two miles long when completed. The workers must drill holes into the mountain for wooden supports to be placed for the footpath. It is a very dangerous job; however, the workers do wear safety ropes which would keep them safe if they were to slip and fall. One of the workers, Yu Ji, has been building footpaths like this for ten years and he says, "...I don't feel it's so different from any other job. It's not as dangerous as people think. You just wear the ropes, and then everything is okay." (Orange News 06.21.11)

Seeing a photo of the footpath that the workers in China are building, makes me think that I would not want to even attempt to walk on the wooden footpath. There are spaces in between the wooden poles that serve as the path, and all you would see below, would be air for thousands of feet. Even after the path is built, it is doubtful that there will be much traffic on the thing.

Life at times, seems to be much like that precarious mountain footpath. One misplaced step, and everything can fall apart. One misplaced step, and life as you know it will begin to unravel. One misplaced step, and all that you love begins to disappear. Give in to the temptation to have an affair, and you can lose your wife, or your husband along with your financial stability. Give in to temptation, and shoot up, or smoke that drug, or pop that pill; and you can lose your family, your money, your possessions, even the shirt off your back. Give in to financial pressures, rob a bank (happened to a friend I went to school with), and lose your freedom for many years. Turn the steering wheel of your vehicle the wrong way, at the wrong time, and you can end up in a hospital or worse.

The possibilities for bad outcomes in the scenarios of life are endless. If we want to survive and thrive in life; we need to do what the builders of those mountain footpaths do. We need to hold onto the safety rope. The Psalmist tells us how to do that: �I will lift up my eyes to the hills - From whence comes my help? My help comes from the LORD, Who made heaven and earth.� To keep our feet from slipping in life, we need God's help for every step we take. To keep our feet from slipping we need guidance from God's Word, �Direct my steps by Your word, and let no iniquity have dominion over me (Psalm 119:133).�

Wrap the safety rope of God's Word around every aspect, every part, every area of your life; then, you will find the supernatural confidence to live the abundant life (John 10:10) that God wants you to live.

Classic from 2011


The Sky is Falling!

But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, but My Father only. But as the days of Noah were, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be. For as in the days before the flood, they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark, and did not know until the flood came and took them all away, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be. Then two men will be in the field: one will be taken and the other left. Two women will be grinding at the mill: one will be taken and the other left. Watch therefore, for you do not know what hour your Lord is coming. But know this, that if the master of the house had known what hour the thief would come, he would have watched and not allowed his house to be broken into. Therefore you also be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect. � Matthew 24:36-44 NKJV.

Most of us heard the story of Chicken Little, or Henny Penny when we were children. An acorn fell on the little chicken, and he then believes the sky is falling. Of course, the sky was not really falling; but still, in some stories the chicken is able to gain some followers as he goes to tell the king. Sometimes the sky does fall, as in things fall out of the sky like an acorn, or a plane, or a meteorite, and even satellites sometimes. However, that does not necessarily mean that the end of all things is near.

By now many of you have heard of Harold Camping, the owner of a network of radio stations known as �Family Radio (Family Stations Inc).� Harold has been proclaiming loudly in his own way that the sky is falling. According to Camping, the sky will fall, the world will end as we know it on May 21st (2011). He actually paid for a full-page ad in USA Today, and on billboards across the country, to make known his prediction. Much like Chicken Little, Camping has picked up some followers along the way. One of Camping's followers is 60-year-old retired New York subway worker, Robert Fitzpatrick. Fitzpatrick has used his life savings of $140,000 to spread the word about the impending End of the World as we Know It Event on May 21st (2011).

Reportedly, Camping's prediction is based on Biblical dates and calculations. This includes the exact date of the flood during the time of Noah, and the exact date of the crucifixion. 2 Peter 3:8 is also involved which states, �But, beloved, do not forget this one thing, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.� The number of days from the crucifixion until May 21, 2011 results in the exact number of 722,500. Camping then has somehow determined that the numbers 5 x 10 x 17 x 5 10 x 17 = 722,500, and that each of those numbers have a specific meaning. Camping believes that the meaning of those numbers along with the time indicates the world ends on May 21, 2011.

Immediately, you can see some problems with Camping's method of prediction. First, no one knows the exact date of the flood, or even the exact date of the crucifixion although that may be more closely calculated within a few years (There is still much debate about the year of the crucifixion.). Second, is the subjective nature of determining numbers to be multiplied equaling 722,500. The bigger problems for believers are that Camping's prediction directly contradicts two statements of our Lord Jesus. Jesus says in Matthew 24:37, �But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, but My Father only.� Jesus also says this in Matthew 24:44, �Therefore you also be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect.�

While I do not personally believe that Camping's prediction is correct, I do believe that there is nothing Biblically preventing the return of Jesus (the rapture) at any time. The more important question for all believers is this: If Jesus were to return today, or May 21st, or 20 years from now - will we be ready?

Here are some other devotionals that I have written about the rapture and the end times, which can be easily found at the Burning Bush website:

Until Jesus Returns 02.28.11
Is Now the Time 03.18.09
Imposters 03.06.09
Overcharged 03.02.09
Deceivers 03.20.07
Are You Ready? 08.16.06
What If? 08.15.06
The Shock of Your Life 07.28.06
The End is Coming 07.25.02

Classic from 2011


Getting What You Want

So Abram said to Lot, �Please let there be no strife between you and me, and between my herdsmen and your herdsmen; for we are brethren. Is not the whole land before you? Please separate from me. If you take the left, then I will go to the right; or, if you go to the right, then I will go to the left.� And Lot lifted his eyes and saw all the plain of Jordan, that it was well watered everywhere (before the LORD destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah) like the garden of the LORD, like the land of Egypt as you go toward Zoar. Then Lot chose for himself all the plain of Jordan, and Lot journeyed east. And they separated from each other. Abram dwelt in the land of Canaan, and Lot dwelt in the cities of the plain and pitched his tent even as far as Sodom. But the men of Sodom were exceedingly wicked and sinful against the LORD. � Genesis 13:8-13 NKJV.

The sun had risen upon the earth when Lot entered Zoar. Then the LORD rained brimstone and fire on Sodom and Gomorrah, from the LORD out of the heavens. So He overthrew those cities, all the plain, all the inhabitants of the cities, and what grew on the ground. � Genesis 19:23-25 NKJV.

The actor, Nicolas Cage, has been arrested for domestic abuse and disturbing the peace in New Orleans. The arrest occurred after he had a loud argument with his wife, Alice Kim. A cab driver saw the two verbally sparring on a street corner and called police. Reportedly, Cage also shoved Kim, and it appeared the confrontation was becoming violent. However, Kim denies that her husband shoved her. At first, police officers tried to have Cage and his wife leave the scene, and just go home. Then, Cage, yelled at the officers what he really wanted, �Why don't you just arrest me?� Officers then gave Cage what he wanted; they arrested him. (As reported on Fox News and countless other news venues - April 2011)

If you remember the story of Abraham and Lot, Abraham appeared to be the protector of his nephew. When their herds of livestock had grown too large for the two families to dwell together, Abraham offered a solution. He allowed Lot first choice as to where he wanted to live. Lot decided that he wanted to live in Sodom and Lot got what he wanted. Sodom was a miserable place to live, and in 2 Peter 2:7-8 we are told that God �...delivered righteous Lot (out of Sodom), who was oppressed by the filthy conduct of the wicked (for that righteous man, dwelling among them, tormented his righteous soul from day to day by seeing and hearing their lawless deeds).� Lot got what he wanted, but lost almost everything, as a result. He lost his home, he lost daughters (Genesis 19:14), and he lost his wife who turned into a pillar of salt when she looked back (Genesis 19:26).

Sometimes we gain what we think we want, and we are left with very little. Nicolas Cage, gained another arrest record, and a stay in a jail cell for a while. Lot gained much pain and heartache, after receiving what he wanted. The Israelites wanted a king, and God let them have one.

When we examine our plans and goals in life, it is always best to allow the light of God's Word to fall upon them. Is what we have planned, is our goals in life, something that will bring honor and glory to God? If not, God may allow you to receive what you want, which will be a whole lot of nothing; or possibly as Lot found out, something far worse.

Classic from 2011


Chasing Sticks

For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek. � Romans 1:16 NKJV.

But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. � Matthew 6:33 NKJV.

In a Peanuts cartoon, Linus throws a stick for Snoopy (Who is a dog.) to chase and retrieve. Of course, being a dog, it is an overwhelming temptation to chase after the stick, and retrieve it. However, Snoopy pauses for a moment, and decides not to chase the stick, and says, �I want people to have more to say about me after I'm gone than �He was a nice guy, he chased sticks.�� I did a Google search for this, and found more than four million results for what Snoopy says. Four million or more people have put their own spin on what Snoopy said, and so I want to add one more.

I think we can all agree that there are some things in life that are more important than others. For those of us who are Christians, we know that there are some things eternally more important than other worldly things. What is it that could be put into the category of chasing sticks? Here, are some possibilities:

Accumulating as much money and material possessions as possible, but never helping anyone, or doing anything meaningful for anyone else with the money or material things that have been accumulated.

Gaining as much power over others as you can, because you enjoy having the power, but could care less about solving any of the problems others might have with your power and authority.

Becoming famous, well-known to everyone, because you want everyone to know how special you are, and better you are than others.

Those are the big three in the category of chasing sticks, but perhaps we all chase sticks in smaller ways. When we use all of our time and money, regardless of the amount, only for the benefit of ourselves and our families, maybe we are chasing sticks. When there are those who are lost, dying, and going out into eternity without a Savior; and we never do anything to reach them, maybe we are chasing sticks. When we always have time for our favorite activity, whether it is sports, or watching TV; but never time for God, maybe we are chasing sticks.

If you know Jesus as your Savior, you have within you, resurrection power; within you is power, beyond your human comprehension. To exercise that power, does not always take extraordinary deeds; often, it only takes doing what we know we ought to do.

Instead of chasing sticks, we ought to be in church. Instead of chasing sticks, we ought to read God's Word. Instead of chasing sticks, we ought to spend more time in prayer. Instead of chasing sticks, we ought to tell someone that God loves them.

God loved us so much, that Jesus came down from the glories of Heaven to walk upon this earth; tempted at all points yet without sin, to be the perfect sacrifice. He suffered and died on the cross for your sins and mine, that we would have a Savior, if we will only believe in Him. Let us stop chasing sticks, and instead let loose the power of God that resides within us. Let the Holy Spirit have control of your life, and that will make an eternal difference in your life, and in the lives of all those that you encounter.

Classic from 2011


Would Jesus Do That?

Then He said to them all, �If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me.� � Luke 9:23 NKJV.

Ken Falzini is a repo man, and he was assigned to pick up a car belonging to a Mr. Neal in Akron, Ohio. Mr. Neal is actually, Bishop Neal, a pastor of a church in the area. Falzini tried to take possession of the car on a Sunday morning, with Neal still inside of the vehicle. Somehow, Falzini ended up holding onto the hood of the Lexus, while Neal took him for a ride, trying to throw him off. Neal, drove in enough of a dangerous way, to be charged with felony assault. Falzini claims that Neal was actually laughing during part of the time. And...Falzini said he was wondering if, this is what Jesus would do? (Beacon Journal, Akron, Ohio 2.12.2011)

Personally, I would not want to repossess vehicles for a living. While I was still in college, I worked for a finance company in Oklahoma City for a brief period, and one time I had the assignment of arranging for a car to be repossessed. I did find the vehicle and called for the tow truck; which picked it up, and took it away. It was at the workplace of the person who had the car, and I have always wondered how they felt when they came out at the end of the day to find their vehicle was gone. I know I felt bad about the situation. I discovered that I was not a very good repo man, or finance company employee, and left after only about six weeks.

As for whether, or not, Bishop Neal was acting like Jesus would act? I think we know the answer to that one! Of course not! In Matthew 5:39 Jesus tells us, �But whoever slaps you on your right cheek, turn the other to him also.� At times, as we seek to follow our Lord, it is not always perfectly clear what Jesus would do. However, in many situations it is perfectly clear what Jesus would do.

Would Jesus kill another person? Exodus 20:13, �You shall not murder.�

Would Jesus lie? Exodus 20:16, �You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.�

Would Jesus steal? Exodus 20:15, �You shall not steal.�

Would Jesus commit adultery? Matthew 5:28, �But I say to you that whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart.�

Would Jesus read the Bible frequently? Matthew 4:4, �It is written, �Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.��

Would Jesus pray frequently? Luke 18:1, �Then He spoke a parable to them, that men always ought to pray and not lose heart.�

Would Jesus go to church? Hebrews 10:25, �Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching.�

It would be an almost endless list of the things that we know Jesus would do. If we were to begin trying to follow the known instructions given to us by the Bible, we would then have much less difficulty following Jesus in those situations where it is not clear, as to what Jesus would do. Begin doing what you know Jesus would do, and then hearing His voice about other situations will be much easier.

Classic from 2011


What If?

Moreover, as for me, far be it from me that I should sin against the LORD in ceasing to pray for you; but I will teach you the good and the right way. � 1 Samuel 12:23 NKJV.

We give thanks to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, praying always for you. � Colossians 1:3 NKJV.

For this reason we also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you, and to ask that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding; that you may walk worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing Him, being fruitful in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God; strengthened with all might, according to His glorious power, for all patience and longsuffering with joy. � Colossians 1:9-11 NKJV.

What would happen if you were the only Christian left upon earth? Would your efforts at witnessing lead others to come to know Jesus as their Savior? If you were the only Christian, would your prayers have an impact upon the world around you? If you were the only Christian, would your gifts toward the needs of those around you make any difference? If you were the only Christian, would your kindness toward others be noticed? Last night, those were some of the questions racing through my mind as God was speaking to me about those questions.

Today as I researched those �what if� questions I found that others have had the same thoughts. David Gregory has actually written a book called the �Last Christian� about the possible future in the year 2088; as the daughter of missionaries emerges from isolation, to find she is the last Christian. You can find out more at http://www.davidgregorybooks.com/ Others such as Dr. Manford George Gutzke have written about the very real possibility of being the only Christian in various groups in the world today. Gutzke addresses how the Christian should respond to being the only Christian in your family, your community, your school, and in other situations.

I believe that God was leading me in a somewhat different direction with the thoughts that I was thinking last night. The focus was primarily on prayer. Does it make any difference whether we pray, or if we do not pray? Does it make any difference in our prayer life as to how we live our lives? The answer to both of those questions is a resounding yes. Yes, it does make a difference. For some people that I am praying for, for some people that you are praying for � we might as well be the last Christian on the planet. Why? Because, there is no one else on the planet praying for them, or there are very few praying for them. How many do you pray for specifically actually have others doing the same for them?

Knowing the importance of your prayer life, should lead to living a righteous life. Because sin will hinder your prayers as is indicated in 1 Peter 3:12, �For the eyes of the LORD are on the righteous, and His ears are open to their prayers; but the face of the LORD is against those who do evil.� This is also the indication of 1 John 3:22, �And whatever we ask we receive from Him, because we keep His commandments and do those things that are pleasing in His sight.�

Let us not sin against the Lord (1 Samuel 12:23) by failing to pray for those who so desperately need our prayers.

Classic from 2011


The Pretenders

And the chief priests and the scribes that very hour sought to lay hands on Him, but they feared the people - for they knew He had spoken this parable against them. So they watched Him, and sent spies who pretended to be righteous, that they might seize on His words, in order to deliver Him to the power and the authority of the governor. Then they asked Him, saying, �Teacher, we know that You say and teach rightly, and You do not show personal favoritism, but teach the way of God in truth: Is it lawful for us to pay taxes to Caesar or not?� � Luke 20:19-22 NKJV.

There is a new book soon to be published about Bernard Madoff written by Diana Henriques. The name of the book is �The Wizard of Lies: Bernie Madoff and the Death of Trust.� The entire scheme of Bernie Madoff was built on lies, on pretense. According to the new book, Madoff claims that the banks and hedge funds knew the truth, and they pretended to believe the lies too. According to Madoff, the attitude of the banks and hedge funds was sort of, �If you're doing something wrong, we don't want to know.� Of course, we have to remember that the title of the book is, �The Wizard of Lies.� (Fox News, February 16, 2011)

The chief priests and the scribes wanted to trap Jesus and they sent out spies who pretended to be �righteous.� The spies pretended to be something that they were not. Have you ever done that? Pretended to be something that you are not? This is perhaps the most pervasive sin of Christians today. The sin of hypocrisy. Pretending to be �righteous� about everything we do, and pretending to be perfect when we know that we are far from perfection.

Not only do we try to deceive others about our �righteousness� � we also try to fool God. We think that if we can only act like we are perfect, seem like we are perfect; then this will be enough to please God. Do you think that the spies sent by the chief priests and scribes were able to fool Jesus? Here is what happened: �But He perceived their craftiness, and said to them, �Why do you test Me? Show Me a denarius. Whose image and inscription does it have?� They answered and said, �Caesar's.� And He said to them, �Render therefore to Caesar the things that are Caesar's, and to God the things that are God's.� But they could not catch Him in His words in the presence of the people. And they marveled at His answer and kept silent (Luke 20:23-26).�

Bernie Madoff was a hypocrite, pretending to offer a real investment opportunity when all he really had to offer was lies. The spies of the chief priests and scribes were pretenders, hypocrites, pretending to be �righteous� when they were not. When we pretend that we are without sin we are hypocrites, and we make it appear that God is a liar. In 1 John 1:8-10 we are told this: �If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us.�

What are Christians? We are sinners saved by grace. �In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace (Ephesians 1:7).� Instead of spending all of our efforts and energy pretending to be something that we on our own can never be, as in �righteous - Ephesians 2:8-9� � instead, let us commit our lives to becoming more and more �conformed� to the �image� of Jesus Christ (Romans 8:29).

Classic from 2011


Be Yourself

For there is no partiality with God. - Romans 2:11 NKJV.

For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that WHOEVER believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. - John 3:16 NKJV.

For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the LORD, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope. - Jeremiah 29:11 NKJV. (The Message translates this as: I know what I'm doing. I have it all planned out-plans to take care of you, not abandon you, plans to give you the future you hope for.)

For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them. - Ephesians 2:10 NKJV.

When I was a teenager I often heard of others who when facing arrest claimed to be someone else to escape the potential charges. Often the claim would be as a result of having a fake ID that was used to purchase beer, and usually the story did not end well for those involved. In 2007 in Dallas, Texas, Mario Miramontes was facing arrest for violation of his parole when he used the �I'm not that person excuse.� Using a name of someone he knew, he claimed to be his cousin, Christopher Ayala. Unknown to Mario, his cousin was also wanted by the police with a warrant out for a much more serious charge.

When Mario found out that he was facing more time in prison if he were actually his cousin, he began to try to convince everyone that he was actually, who he actually was; as in �Hey, I'm really Mario!� �I'm telling the truth this time!� It took 13 months for Mario to be released from jail compared to the possible 60 days he would have served on the parole violation. (Dallas Morning News 1.8.11; TrueCrimeReport.com 1.13.11)

Have you ever wished, or thought that life would be better if only you could be someone else? If you could only be someone who was rich, or was beautiful, or had a better career, or was in better physical shape, or whatever? Most people probably have had thoughts like those at one time or another. We know that Mario Miramontes had a few thoughts like that!

The spiritual fact is that you are a unique, priceless, one of a kind masterpiece that God has created. There is not, never has been, and never will be another person like you. You, and you alone, are of so much value to God that Jesus Christ suffered and died on the cross for your sins. If it had only been you, Jesus still would have died so that you might have life, eternal life by believing in Him.

God has a plan, a special plan for your life. God has things for you to do that no one else can do, at least not in the way that you can do them. Instead of wishing that somehow you could be someone else, be yourself. Be all that God wants you to be in His perfect plan for your life. There in the center of God's will, is where you will find the ultimate fulfillment, the ultimate joy, the ultimate peace, and the ultimate life.

How do you begin to implement God's plan for your life? Matthew 6:33 is the overarching guide to living out God's plan for you: �But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.�

Classic from 2011



O Lord, how long shall I cry, and You will not hear? Even cry out to You, �Violence!� And You will not save. Why do You show me iniquity, and cause me to see trouble? For plundering and violence are before me; there is strife, and contention arises. Therefore the law is powerless, and justice never goes forth. For the wicked surround the righteous; therefore perverse judgment proceeds. - Habakkuk - 1:2-4 NKJV.

God's Reply: Look among the nations and watch - Be utterly astounded! For I will work a work in your days which you would not believe, though it were told you. For indeed I am raising up the Chaldeans.... - Habakkuk 1:5-6a NKJV.

O Lord, You have appointed them for judgment; O Rock, You have marked them for correction. - Habakkuk 1:12c NKJV.

And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose. - Romans 8:28 NKJV.

Can you imagine how upset you would be if a cellphone tower were to be erected in front of your home, on your property, without your permission? It has happened to a family in Brookhaven, Long Island. On the plus side, they do have good cellphone reception. On the negative side, their property value has decreased drastically, and they have a huge eyesore in front of their home. From reports available, it appears that NextG Networks constructed the tower without the necessary city permits, and other things required by the City of Brookhaven. Lori Di Marco tried to obtain information from NextG and they said, �FCC...granted them the right to do so and provide communication service, it was a public necessity.�

Cellphone companies are beyond the reach of most private individuals having to deal with them. We found that out in our little community when AT&T suddenly dropped a cell tower that provided service to our area. The FCC was of no help in response to our pleas for help. I hope and pray that the Di Marcos have more success with their problem than we did. Most of us in our community were forced to switch to another cellphone provider, which was costly, and resulted in some of the features of phones like the Blackberry to be inoperable.

The word that comes to mind in having to deal with situations like these is, frustration. It is frustrating to know that you are in the right, but it does not seem to matter to anyone that has the authority to do something about it. Habakkuk was beyond frustration in his situation. Violence and corruption surrounded him. Everywhere there was dishonesty, and a lack of Justice. Habakkuk appears to be on the verge of losing his faith, until God speaks. What God tells him is that He, the Lord God, is at work with a plan to bring relief to His people.

In our own lives, it is easy to look at all of the injustice, all of the evil that is going on around us, and to want to just give up. What we need to remember is that God is at work. We may not see Him working, we may not understand how He can do anything to help us, but He has a plan. What is God's plan? For those who love God, and persist in following Him, God plans to bring good out of the bad. God plans to bring good out of the injustice. God plans to even bring good out of the evil that we have experienced.

So, if you are experiencing frustration because of all the bad things that have happened or are happening in your life - remember God loves you (John 3:16; Romans 5:8). Not only does God love you, He is at work with a plan to bring good out of all of the bad that has come your way.

Classic from 2011


Trapping Yourself

My son, if sinners entice you, do not consent.... My son, do not walk in the way with them, keep your foot from their path; for their feet run to evil, and they make haste to shed blood. Surely, in vain the net is spread in the sight of any bird; but they lie in wait for their own blood, they lurk secretly for their own lives. So are the ways of everyone who is greedy for gain; it takes away the life of its owners. - Proverbs 1:10; 15-19 NKJV.

Three teenaged guys had an idea of something to do during a snow storm in Kansas City. They decided to rob people who were stuck in their vehicles. The three teenagers apparently were successful in their efforts, until they had a little problem. Their vehicle became trapped in a snowdrift, and that is where police officers found them. Officers found credit cards belonging to the victims in the car of the three teenagers. One of the robbers, a 17-year-old, claimed that he had not taken part in the robberies, and had only driven the car. An 18-year-old, who was part of the robbery trio, admitted to being present, but claimed it was the 16-year-old's idea. They have all been charged with robbery, and armed criminal action. (Kansas City Star, January 23, 2011)

Can you imagine, you are stuck in a snowdrift thinking how can your day be any worse; then, three guys stick a gun in your face, and rob you? What a miserable thing for anyone to do! How could anyone come to a point in their life that they would cause such distress to another person? It has always been hard for me to understand; however, the Bible does indicate that there are consequences for those who commit crimes against others.

The Bible tells us in Proverbs that those who plan crimes against others are actually planning disaster for themselves as we are told, �...they lie in wait for their own blood, they lurk secretly for their own lives. So are the ways of everyone who is greedy for gain; it takes away the life of its owners.� We see how very true this is with the three robbers in Kansas City. They planned their crimes, they executed their crimes, and they trapped themselves. Now, all three are facing serious criminal penalties for their actions. For the 18-year-old, this criminal offense will follow him the rest of his life. Most likely, the juveniles will be taken away from their family and friends, being placed in a juvenile correctional facility at least until they are 18-years-old. They trapped themselves. They hurt themselves.

The 18-year-old teenager actually had the most to lose because of the crimes. He claimed that it was the 16-year-old's idea, but he still went along with the others to commit the crimes. The Bible is right once again when it says, �My son, if sinners entice you, do not consent.... My son, do not walk in the way with them, keep your foot from their path; for their feet run to evil, and they make haste to shed blood.�

The Bible is more than just a book, it is the Word of God. The Bible is filled with supernatural wisdom that will guide you through the snares, and dangers of life. As Jesus says in Matthew 4:4, �Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.� If you want to have true success in life, read, study, and meditate upon the Word of God. Embed it in your heart, so that you will know what God would have you to do, during those critical times of decision in your life.

Classic from 2011


This is NOT your day!

Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will say, rejoice! � Philippians 4:4 NKJV. See that no one renders evil for evil to anyone, but always pursue what is good both for yourselves and for all. Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. � 1 Thessalonians 5:15-18 NKJV. 48-year-old Johnnie Butts tried to sell some fake gold jewelry to the wrong man. It happened in a Sudbury Farms store in Massachusetts. The man Johnnie picked to try to sell the jewelry to was Randolph Chief of Police, William Pace. Chief Pace also owns a jewelry store. Chief Pace says that he told the man that, �...this is really not your day. First of all, I'm a cop, and second of all, I'm in the jewelry business.� Johnnie has been charged with attempting to commit larceny by false pretense. (Patriot Ledger, Quincy, Massachusetts - January 20, 2011) Everyone of us have probably had a bad day of one kind, or another. Maybe not as bad as Johnnie had, but we still felt like it was horrible. Of course, some of you have had even worse days, at least some of us would think that you did. How should the Christian respond when you have a bad day? The apostle Paul had more than his share of bad days as he shares in 2 Corinthians 11:24-28, �From the Jews five times I received forty stripes minus one. Three times I was beaten with rods; once I was stoned; three times I was shipwrecked; a night and a day I have been in the deep; in journeys often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils of my own countrymen, in perils of the Gentiles, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren; in weariness and toil, in sleeplessness often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness - besides the other things, what comes upon me daily: my deep concern for all the churches.� In spite of suffering these things Paul still was able to say, �Rejoice always.� Paul also said that in everything that we should give thanks for this is God's will for us in Christ Jesus. Having joy during the bad times is a choice. We choose to have joy. We choose to be thankful during the worst of times. What do we have to be joyful about when everything is going down in flames around us? We can rejoice that Romans 8:28 is true knowing �that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.� We can be thankful even during the very worst of times that God demonstrated �His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us (Romans 5:8).� We can be thankful, and rejoice, because we �can consider Him who endured such hostility from sinners against Himself, lest you become weary and discouraged in your souls (Hebrews 12:3).� So, make the choice! When the world would say you are having a bad day, rejoice! Because you have a Savior who loves you and died for you. When world says this is just not your day, thank God that He will bring good out of what the world says is bad. �...in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.� �Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will say, rejoice!�

Classic from 2011


A Short Death

And as it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment. - Hebrews 9:27 NKJV.

So it was that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels to Abraham's bosom. The rich man also died and was buried. And being in torments in Hades, he lifted up his eyes and saw Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom. �Then he cried and said, �Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus that he may dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame.� But Abraham said, �Son, remember that in your lifetime you received your good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things; but now he is comforted and you are tormented.�� - Luke 16:22-25 NKJV.

And Jesus said to him (the thief on the cross), �Assuredly, I say to you, today you will be with Me in Paradise.� - Luke 23:43 NKJV.

So we are always confident, knowing that while we are at home in the body we are absent from the Lord. For we walk by faith, not by sight. We are confident, yes, well pleased rather to be absent from the body and to be present with the Lord. - 2 Corinthians 5:6-8 NKJV.

The students were made to write a will, put on burial clothes, and then they were made to climb into a casket. The casket was then buried under floorboards. Sounds like a kidnapping, or one of those scary movies, doesn't it? However, this is just part of a course at Rende Medical College in Taiwan. Professors at the college claim that doing this gives their students a better appreciation of life. Qiu Daneng, a professor at the college, says, �Although it's just ten minutes, the effect is equal to real death.� Xiao Lin, a student, says: �I felt like I was reborn when I came out and now I know that every second counts in life.� (Orange News, Global News, and various other news venues December 17, 2010.)

I would have a problem taking a course where I had to be buried alive. There is always the possibility that they might forget you were down there! Ten minutes could stretch into a living nightmare, until you actually did die. Since we are already there, let us take a minute to talk about...death. We do not like to talk about death, or even to think about death. It is something that most people avoid. You know, maybe if we pretend it's not real, then it won't be real. Out of sight, out of mind is what we think.

When I was 14 years old at a church camp I was thinking about death, and what would happen to me after I died. It was five years before I remember seriously contemplating again the same thing; death, and what would happen after I died. Maybe you have never seriously considered it, or maybe you just don't know what is going to happen. The Bible makes it clear as to what happens immediately after death.

What is it that happens after death? Death, itself, will only be momentary. It will be a short death. As we see with the Rich Man and Lazarus in the Gospel of Luke. Lazarus is carried by angels to Abraham's bosom (Heaven) while the Rich Man is taken to Hades (Hell). Lazarus is comforted, while the Rich Man is tormented, and speaks of a desire for water while being tormented in a flame.

Jesus says to the thief who believed on Him while on the cross, that he would be with Him in Paradise (Heaven) that very day. The apostle Paul says that for the believer to be absent from the body (physically dead), means that you would be present with the Lord. The important thing for the believer to know is that, after death, we will be with the Lord Jesus Christ, and wherever Jesus is at is going to be Heaven. For the believer, it will be a very short momentary death, because we have eternal life through Jesus. For the nonbeliever in Jesus, it will be a living nightmare that will never end.

If you have never asked Jesus to forgive you of your sins, come into your heart and life and be your Savior, I hope you will do so now before it is eternally too late.

Classic from 2011


An Empty Life

Then Samuel said to the people, �Do not fear. You have done all this wickedness; yet do not turn aside from following the LORD, but serve the LORD with all your heart. And do not turn aside; for then you would go after empty things which cannot profit or deliver, for they are nothing.� - 1 Samuel 12:20-21 NKJV.

Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience. - Ephesians 5:6 NKJV.

Would you pay �1,500 (about $2,300) for a painting empty of any paint, as in a blank canvas? Would you pay even more for a sculpture that was just an empty space, because the sculpture was not really there? The Arts Council England, also paid the artist Agnieszka Kurant for a movie shot with an empty camera, as in no film in it. At least one British official (Matt Hancock) seemed to think that paying for nothing was wrong, and he called the so-called empty art, �a staggering waste.� I'm no art critic, but it could be that he is right! (The Sun, London - December 2, 2010)

Even more of a waste than empty art, is an empty life. Samuel warned the people, after God gave them a king, that to now turn away from God would only lead to �empty things.� There are many today seeking to lead you away from God. They are able to say all the right things, but they are only saying, �empty words.� The apostle Paul warns that we can be cheated �...through philosophy and empty deceit, according to the tradition of the men, according to the basic principles of the world, and not according to Christ (Colossians 2:8).� What can we be cheated out of? Life. Real life. We can be cheated out of the abundant life (John 10:10b) that Jesus came to give us.

What are you giving yourself to? What are you giving your life to? Is your goal in life to have as much money as you can possibly accumulate? Is your goal to have the most toys, the best car, the best truck, the biggest house, the most land? Or, have you given up on even those kinds of goals, and instead you are just doing whatever drugs you can lay your hands on? Maybe you are just drinking your way into oblivion? All of that stuff, the material things, the drugs, the alcohol; all of it, brings only more emptiness into your life.

How can you end the pain of an empty life? Not by adding more emptiness, not by compounding the problem. The apostle Paul directs us to the One who can give us fulfillment, instead of emptiness. Here's what God says through Paul in Colossians, �As you therefore have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him, rooted and built up in Him and established in the faith, as you have been taught, abounding in it with thanksgiving (Colossians 2:6-7).� Only in Jesus can we find true meaning in life. Walk in Him, build your life on Jesus Christ, because: �For in Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily; and you are complete in Him, who is the head of all principality and power (Colossians 2:9-10).�

Instead of having an empty, meaningless, and unfulfilled life; you can be �complete� by living your life for the Lord Jesus. I guess the only question is this: What are you waiting for? Give your life, give your heart, your whole heart to Jesus. He's knocking at the door, and He wants to come in (Revelation 3:20).

Classic from 2011


Fear God - Part 2

Now therefore, be wise, O kings; Be instructed, you judges of the earth. Serve the LORD with fear, and rejoice with trembling. - Psalm 2:10-11 NKJV.

The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and discipline. - Proverbs 1:7 NKJV.

Obviously, this kind of fear, a fear of God is something that we should want to have and need to have. So, what is the Bible talking about here? When the Bible talks about fearing God, it is primarily talking about reverence for God; respect for God. It is somewhat like electricity. I have a healthy respect for electricity, and I fear what might happen if I was careless around electricity or misused it in some way. I do not have a reverence for electricity, but I do respect it, and in some ways fear it. We know what the power of electricity can do. Some of us may have been shocked by it in the past, or we may know others personally who have been injured by electricity.

One of the problems that we have before we come to a proper understanding of the power of God, the awesome character of God, Who is all powerful, all knowing, and Omnipresent - is that we may not have personally experienced Him. Oh, we may come to church, we may read our Bibles, we may pray, we may serve Him, and we may even know Jesus as our personal Savior. But we have never actually, personally experienced how wonderful and powerful God is. When we have actually experienced God working in our lives, when are eyes have been opened to the miraculous, we will then go beyond a respect for God, to having a reverence for God.

This is what happened for the Prophet Elisha's servant in 2 Kings 6: �And when the servant of the man of God arose early and went out, there was an army, surrounding the city with horses and chariots. And his servant said to him, �Alas, my master! What shall we do?� So he answered, �Do not fear, for those who are with us are more than those who are with them.� And Elisha prayed, and said, �LORD, I pray, open his eyes that he may see.� Then the LORD opened the eyes of the young man, and he saw. And behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha. So when the Syrians came down to him, Elisha prayed to the LORD, and said, �Strike this people, I pray, with blindness.� And He struck them with blindness according to the word of Elisha (2 Kings 6:15-18 NKJV).�

After the Syrian king's servant told him that the Prophet Elisha was telling the Israel king everything that he had planned, he had a simple solution. That solution was to try to capture and kill Elisha. What happened for Elisha's servant was that his eyes were opened. He could see what the Prophet Elisha could see!

There is no reason to fear the enemies of God, because God is far greater than anything upon this earth, or anywhere else. You have to think that the soldiers in the Syrian army had their eyes opened too. This is what we are told in 1 John 4:4, �You are of God, little children, and have overcome them, because He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.� Once we have a proper reverence, respect for God, we then become fearless in the face of whatever this world may bring our way. Why is that? �...because He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.�

If you do not have a fear of God, I pray that your eyes, and heart may be opened as were those of the servant of the Prophet Elisha. Because as Solomon says, �The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge....�

Classic from 2011


Fear God

Now the king of Syria was making war against Israel; and he consulted with his servants, saying, �My camp will be in such and such a place.� And the man of God sent to the king of Israel, saying, �Beware that you do not pass this place, for the Syrians are coming down there.� Then the king of Israel sent someone to the place of which the man of God had told him. Thus he warned him, and he was watchful there, not just once or twice. Therefore the heart of the king of Syria was greatly troubled by this thing; and he called his servants and said to them, �Will you not show me which of us is for the king of Israel?� And one of his servants said, �None, my lord, O king; but Elisha, the prophet who is in Israel, tells the king of Israel the words that you speak in your bedroom.� - 2 Kings 6:8-12 NKJV.

The security services in Saudi Arabia believe they have captured an Israeli spy. The spy is under arrest and is being kept in seclusion. So far, they have been unable to make the spy speak. However, the security services are sure they have a spy, because of the GPS transmitter that they found on the spy. Also, they found a small tag on the spy, which identified the spy as being from the Tel Aviv University. The spy has not yet given its name or rank, but they have identified the spy as being a vulture. The bird, apparently strayed over Saudi territory, and security services believe the vulture's activities are part of a �Zionist plot.� Authorities in Israel claim the vulture is only a part of a migratory bird study. (This story was reported by The Daily Caller, Live Science, and various other news venues.)

The enemies of Israel do well to be paranoid, because they have a much larger problem than the possibility of a vulture spying upon them. It is the same problem that the Syrian king had centuries ago. The problem is...God. The story is related in 2nd Kings of how the Syrian king tried to trap the Israeli army but was repeatedly thwarted in his attempts. It had happened so many times that the king thought there had to be a spy among them. Finally, one of the servants had the courage to tell the king the truth. The truth was that the prophet of God knew exactly what the Syrian king was planning and told the Israeli king. How did the prophet know? God told him.

The enemies of Israel would do well to ponder carefully this story from 2nd Kings. It is obvious from the more recent history of the past fifty years, that God has not changed His mind about protecting Israel.

The enemies of the One true God, and of all that is good and right would also do well to ponder carefully this story from 2nd Kings. When a child of God is attacked in any way, it is God that is being attacked (1 Corinthians 3:16; 6:19). When the Word of God is attacked, it is God that is being attacked. When the will of God is attacked, it is God that is being attacked. I would say to those who are attacking Christians, or the Word of God, or the will of God, have you no fear of God? God is a God of love, but He is also righteous and holy.

Before you thumb your nose at God, before you laugh at God, before you willfully sin, consider this: God is still alive, and well. God is still on His throne. God is still all powerful, all knowing, and omnipresent. Fear God by giving Him the reverence, the respect that He should be given.

�Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap (Galatians 6:7).�

�You believe that there is one God. You do well. Even the demons believe - and tremble (James 2:19)!�

Classic from 2010


Helpful Clues

In Manchester, New Hampshire, a Rite Aid pharmacy was robbed by a woman wearing a ski mask. The police drove to the woman's home and arrested her. How did they know who she was, and where she lived? They had a helpful clue. A witness observed the robber leaving in a vehicle with a vanity plate, on which were the letters, �B-USHER.� With that helpful clue, and a little research with the Department of Motor Vehicle records, the police drove to the home of Bonnie Usher and arrested her. (Reported by WCVB-TV)

It does help to solve crimes, and other mysteries when there are helpful clues leading the way. When born into this world every person is faced with a mystery. How did they come to be where they are and who they are? God has provided some helpful clues and we are told of that in Romans 1:20, �For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse.� All you have to do, to solve the mystery according to the Bible; is to look around at the world you live in, and there is an obvious conclusion. The obvious conclusion is that there is a God, and that God designed, and created everything.

With the mystery of creation solved we can move on to another one. That mystery is this: how does God want us to live? Again, there are very helpful clues, actually specific instructions, for how we are to live our lives. There are many passages of Scripture that provide the instructions that we need, about how to live our lives. Romans 12:17-19 gives us this helpful guide to living, �Repay no one evil for evil. Have regard for good things in the sight of all men. If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men. Beloved, do not avenge yourselves, but rather give place to wrath; for it is written, �Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,� says the Lord.�

With the mystery of creation, and the mystery of how we should live our lives solved; we are then confronted with another mystery. There is the mystery of death. What happens after we die? Is that the end, or is there something else that occurs at that point? Again, the Bible provides us with the clues that we need to understand. In Hebrews 9:27 we are told, �...it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment.� From this clue we can see that not only does our existence not end at physical death, but we are also held accountable for how we have followed the instructions we have been given.

With this judgment after death in mind, we begin to think about all of the other instructions that God has given to us in the Bible, about how we are to live. We read in James 2:10, �For whoever shall keep the whole law, and yet stumble in one point, he is guilty of all.� How can anyone do everything that we are commanded in the Bible perfectly? No one can, and no one has, except of Jesus (Hebrews 4:15). So, are we all doomed? No, because Jesus who lived a perfect life became the once for all sacrifice (Hebrews 10:10) dying for our sins, for our mistakes. Do we automatically receive forgiveness for our mistakes because of the sacrifice of Jesus? No, we must believe (John 3:16) that God has done this for us and receive Jesus (John 1:12) as our personal Savior.

We have been given the clues, very obvious clues - all we have to do is follow them.

Classic from 2010


Coincidence or Providence

Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time, casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you. - 1 Peter 5:6-7 NKJV.

The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance. - 2 Peter 3:9 NKJV.

Can you imagine this, you are laying in bed having a hard time going to sleep and decide that you will get up for a while. Maybe, look at the Internet, read a little, because you just cannot sleep. It's 2:00 am in the morning, why can't you sleep? As soon as you walk away from your bed, you hear a terrible noise as a car smashes through the wall of your bedroom and smashes the bed you have just left! Unbelievable! But it happened to Demitrios Bisbelis in Melbourne, Australia. Demitrios says, �My bed's been disintegrated. It's completely shattered. I'm sure I wouldn't have made it had I been in bed at that time.� Reportedly, the car hit a curb, launched into the air, crash landing into Demitrios' bedroom, and bed. Police authorities report the driver and a passenger escaped without injury.

Was this just a coincidence that Demitrios decided to leave his bed at just the right time to escape severe injury and likely death? Coincidence is defined by dictionary dot com as being: �a striking occurrence of two or more events at one time apparently by mere chance.� According to the definition there was a coincidence, which has occurred. But was it more than a coincidence? Was it not just a coincidence, but providence? Providence, as in God spurring Demitrios to rise from his bed at just the right time to spare his life?

From reports about the incident we do not know whether or not Demitrios is a believer in Jesus. We do not know his background, or what has been going on in his life. Was God trying to get his attention? Why would God care about Demitrios or anyone who is not a believer? Because as we are told in 2 Peter, God �is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.� Does God always intervene providentially to spare the lives of those threatened with danger? No. So, if I were Demitrios, or anyone who has escaped death or severe injury; I would be examining my life and seeking the Lord to hear from Him about the event. The Bible says that God is �longsuffering� - not that He will endure rebellion, and rejection, forever.

As believers in Jesus, we can see the events that occur in our lives are wrapped in the providence of God. We can say with the Psalmist:

The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want. He makes me to lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside the still waters. He restores my soul; He leads me in the paths of righteousness For His name's sake.

Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; For You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.

You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; You anoint my head with oil; My cup runs over. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me All the days of my life; And I will dwell in the house of the LORD Forever. - The 23rd Psalm

Classic from 2010


Being Jesus

Imitate me, just as I also imitate Christ. - 1 Corinthians 11:1 NKJV.

For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren. - Romans 8:29 NKJV.

Then He said to them all, �If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me.� - Luke 9:23 NKJV.

In Des Peres, Missouri, an uninvited guest attempted to attend the St. Paul's Lutheran Church. Can you imagine the nerve of someone showing up uninvited at a church on a Sunday morning? Who was this uninvited person? It was Jesus, actually it was Neal Thompson wearing attire as most would imagine Jesus to be wearing. However, there was a glitch in the plan as an alert deacon spotted Thompson, stopping him short of his goal of entering the church sanctuary. Thompson was a determined Jesus imitator, and church members called the police, which convinced him to leave. Reportedly, Thompson who goes to a different church every Sunday dressed like Jesus, has stayed in character by forgiving the church.

In a previous pastorate, we actually did have a man show up dressed like Jesus, who said a few words, and then left. He had been invited to do so by a member of our church, unknown to me, until a few minutes before the man arrived. I think that it made for an unremarkable service being turned into a very memorable one. I can also understand, when in some large churches; with intricate services being planned, that such an interruption would be unwelcome.

Whatever we may feel about someone dressing up like Jesus, there is a sense in which all Christians are called to imitate how Jesus would act. The apostle Paul says that we should imitate him as he strives to imitate Christ. In Romans 8:29, we are told that we are predestined to be �conformed� to the image of Christ, the Son of God. Being conformed to His image would I think, include imitating the actions, and the behaviors of Christ Jesus.

Jesus is not physically walking upon this earth today, but His followers are. Those who believe in Jesus are His hands, arms, feet, legs, and eyes upon this Earth today. Every Christian is called to represent Jesus to those around them. Every Christian is called to act like Jesus would act. That does not mean, necessarily, that we grow a beard, wear our hair long, dress up in a robe, and sandals. It does mean that we demonstrate the fruit of the Spirit as we live our daily lives. In Galatians 5:22-23a we are told, �...the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control.� These are the characteristics that Jesus demonstrated, lived out before those He encountered as He walked upon this Earth.

Every time you interact with another person in any way you are on a stage, and you are being observed. Would the person observing you conclude that you are imitating the apostle Paul as he imitated Jesus? Would the person observing you conclude that you are being more and more conformed to the image of Jesus? Would the person observing you conclude that you have taken up your cross, denied yourself, and are following Jesus? Would the person observing you think of you in any way as being like Jesus to them?

Classic from 2010



Therefore lay aside all filthiness and overflow of wickedness, and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls. But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man observing his natural face in a mirror; for he observes himself, goes away, and immediately forgets what kind of man he was. But he who looks into the perfect law of liberty and continues in it, and is not a forgetful hearer but a doer of the work, this one will be blessed in what he does. If anyone among you thinks he is religious, and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his own heart, this one's religion is useless. Pure and undefiled religion before God and the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their trouble, and to keep oneself unspotted from the world. - James 1:21-27 NKJV.

Are you a gurner? I have seen some people do this before, but never knew that it was almost a sport. Gurning contests are a rural English tradition that have been around for a couple of hundred years or more. Gurning consists of making a face, i.e. distorting the facial features. At least one man had his teeth removed so he could more easily contort his face. A face frequently made in these contests is known as the duck face. Anne Woods has won the contest at the Egremont, England Crab Fair 27 times. Tommy Mattison, the men's champion has won it 11 times. Both Woods, and Mattison will be in the next Guinness World Records book.

Some people purposely distort their faces, and some people purposely distort their thinking. The apostle James writes about some mental gurners in his letter. Apparently, there were people who heard what God said they should do, knew what God wanted them to do, but still they did not do it. Hmm, that sounds a lot like the majority of the people who call themselves Christians today. We go to church on Sunday, and then go out and live like the devil the rest of the week. Maybe, it isn't quite that bad, but surveys have shown that the goals, the desires, and actions of those who call themselves Christians - are not much different from those who do not consider themselves to be Christians. James says that this kind of religion is �useless!�

The apostle Paul has this to say about the mental gurning of Christians in Romans 6, �What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound? Certainly not! How shall we who died to sin live any longer in it? Or do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death? Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.� Paul goes on to say in verses 12 - 14 of chapter 6, �Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body, that you should obey it in its lusts. And do not present your members as instruments of unrighteousness to sin, but present yourselves to God as being alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness to God. For sin shall not have dominion over you, for you are not under law but under grace.�

Are you a Christian gurner, mentally distorting the Word of God to fit your life, and your circumstances? If your mindset is that you will go ahead and commit a sin, because you know God will forgive you, then you are gurning in your thinking. There is always a cost to sin because �...the wages of sin is death (Romans 6:23a).� The price of sin will always be more than you want to pay.

Classic from 2010



But Daniel purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself with the portion of the king's delicacies, nor with the wine which he drank.... - Daniel 1:8 NKJV.

Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego answered and said to the king, �...we have no need to answer you in this matter. ... our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and He will deliver us from your hand.... But if not, let it be known to you, O king, that we do not serve your gods, nor will we worship the gold image which you have set up.� - Daniel 3:16-18 NKJV.

And if it seems evil to you to serve the LORD, choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD. - Joshua 24:15 NKJV.

Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. - Philippians 3:13-14 NKJV.

Howard Partridge at the age of 73 was faced with a challenge. He is handicapped, and uses a wheelchair; and, he, and his sister were stuck in the snow. They had gone for a drive near Sweet Home, Oregon to view the beautiful fall foliage. That was on Wednesday, by Friday, Howard knew something had to be done if they were to survive. He decided to go for help, in his wheelchair, in the snow. Howard made it three miles to where he was finally found by some hunters. Both Howard, and his 61-year-old sister are reported to be in good condition, thanks to the determination that Howard demonstrated.

Determination, that is what Howard Partridge had, that saved his life, and the life of his sister. Determination, that is what Daniel had, when he refused to eat the king's rich unhealthy food. Determination, that is what Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego had, when they refused to bow down and worship the king's golden idol. Determination, that is what Joshua had, when he determined that he was going to serve the Lord. Determination, that is what Nehemiah had; and David, and Esther, and Noah, and Ruth, and Abraham, and so many of the great servants of God. The apostle Paul had it, when he pressed on toward the goal, even when he faced great opposition that came in many forms.

Determination, can change the impossible into the possible. Determination, can change an ordinary life into an extraordinary life. Determination, can enable you to keep moving forward when everything is saying you should just give up. Determination will give you victory; even when everyone, and everything, says you are headed for defeat.

Who are you serving with your life? Determine today, choose today, whom you will serve. Jesus says, �...seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you (Matthew 6:33).� Determine today to seek first, to put first, what God wants in your life; and, you will see a transformation take place in every area of your life.

Determination, do you have it? Do you have a determination to do what is wrong, or a determination to do what is right? It is your choice. God will not force you to do what is right. As Mordecai told Esther in Esther 4:14b, �Yet who knows whether you have come to the kingdom for such a time as this?� Esther determined to do what was right, and she saved the Jewish race. It is no accident that you were born in this time, because the Kingdom of God needs you to determine to do the right thing this day, and forever more.

Classic from 2010


Time Travelers - Part 2

Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever. Do not be carried about with various and strange doctrines. - Hebrews 13:8-9 NKJV.

But I fear, lest somehow, as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, so your minds may be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ. For if he who comes preaches another Jesus whom we have not preached, or if you receive a different spirit which you have not received, or a different gospel which you have not accepted - you may well put up with it! - 2 Corinthians 11:3-4 NKJV.

Yesterday, I shared with you the 1928 Charlie Chaplin silent film clip that appears to show an older woman talking on a cell phone. There are many reasonable explanations for what is seen; including, that the woman is simply shielding her face from the sun with something. With our modern mindsets we immediately jump to the conclusion that it looks like a cellphone. Here is the link to the youtube video again: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DF8WF3vGUn8

What if, the leaders of our country suddenly appeared on TV with someone who claimed to be a time traveler from the future? Would we believe it? What if, someone appears on the world stage claiming to be an alien from another planet with advanced technology demanding that we worship and obey them? Would we believe it, and do it? Here are a few things that some people say they believe:

>Extra Terrestrial powers are observing our planet and they will intervene in 2012 and save us from self-destruction.

>Jose Arguelles, the founder of Earth Day in 1970, �feels� that we are traveling through a Galactic Synchronization Beam which we entered in 3114 B.C. and will leave in 2012.

>Some believe that the Galactic Synchronization Beam will affect our DNA, zapping it, and we will be born again.

>Believers in the Galactic Synchronization Beam of 2012 teach that everyone goes to heaven because there is no sin, only a failure of synchronicity with your higher self.

The crazy things that people will believe; could and have filled up volumes of books. Do we believe in something just because someone "feels" we are going through some kind of beam? Do we believe in something just because someone thinks it would be great if the cosmos were to operate according to the rules that they happen to dream up?

When anyone claims they have heard some magnificent new truth from a time traveler, or an alien, or in a dream, or that they just feel this to be true - BEWARE! We do not need a new truth, or a new feeling, or a better synchronicity. We have the Word of God. Jesus says this, �Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfill. For assuredly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one tittle will by no means pass from the law till all is fulfilled (Matthew 5:17-18).� Jesus is the Word of God become flesh (John 1:14) and He is unchanging (Hebrews 13:8).

When they tell you their lies and attempt to deceive you; open up the Word of God and share the unchanging truth. The truth of the Word of God will overcome as the Bible says in Isaiah 55:11, �So shall My word be that goes forth from My mouth; it shall not return to Me void, but it shall accomplish what I please, and it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it.� The Word of God will win the battle because, �...the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart (Hebrews 4:12).�

We must remember that, �Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.� His Word does not lie, it does not change, and He (The Word become flesh - John 1:14) will win the final and eternal victory.

Classic from 2010


Time Travelers

Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever. Do not be carried about with various and strange doctrines. - Hebrews 13:8-9 NKJV.

I was fascinated today by a story about a 1928 Charlie Chaplin silent film. George Clarke, who is a filmmaker and also a Chaplin fan, bought a collection of Chaplin films on DVD, and found something verry, verry, interesting. What Clarke stumbled onto is what appears to be an older woman talking on something similar to a cell phone. At the very end of the clip, when the woman turns toward the camera, her lips do appear to be moving. One obvious explanation of the scene would be that it is a time traveler. Of course, they did not have cell towers back then; however, a time traveler would probably have access to technology that might be more advanced than what we have today. Various explanations have been offered, and you can read many of them at the youtube link to the video of the clip at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DF8WF3vGUn8

Is time travel possible? In the opening of the Gospel of John we are told this, �In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made (John 1:1-3).� In 1 Timothy 6:14-15 the Bible says, �that you keep this commandment without spot, blameless until our Lord Jesus Christ's appearing, which He will manifest in His own time, He who is the blessed and only Potentate, the King of kings and Lord of lords.� Then in Revelation 19 we are told, �Now I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse. And He who sat on him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He judges and makes war. ...He was clothed with a robe dipped in blood, and His name is called The Word of God. ...And He has on His robe and on His thigh a name written: KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS.�

Jesus was present in the beginning. Jesus was present upon this earth as the Son of Man who suffered and died for our sins; and Jesus will be present upon this earth at the end, as the conqueror who will defeat all the enemies of God.

Jesus does not need a cell phone, or any other device, to see across the centuries of time. Jesus is not limited by time as we are. He is able to see all things past, present, and future at one time. They exist in the present for Him in eternity. It is like being able to see the beginning of a parade and the end of the parade all at one time.

There are an increasing number of strange, and even bizarre doctrines emerging, that appear to have a substantial number of followers. Beware of anything, or anyone who seeks to marginalize the importance of Jesus.

There is only one Jesus Christ; but there have been, there are, and will be many imposters who seek to add to the Gospel just like the Judaizers of the days of the apostle Paul. The apostle Paul writes in 2 Corinthians 11 to the church at Corinth, �But I fear, lest somehow, as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, so your minds may be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ. For if he who comes preaches another Jesus whom we have not preached, or if you receive a different spirit which you have not received, or a different gospel which you have not accepted - you may well put up with it!�

We need to always remember that, �Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.�



Spared from Trouble

No grave trouble will overtake the righteous, But the wicked shall be filled with evil. � Proverbs 12:21 NKJV.

You have indeed defeated Edom, and your heart has lifted you up. Glory in that, and stay at home; for why should you meddle with trouble so that you fall�you and Judah with you? � 2 Kings 14:10 NKJV.

And the Lord said to me, �Amos, what do you see?�
And I said, �A plumb line.�
Then the Lord said:
�Behold, I am setting a plumb line
In the midst of My people Israel;
I will not pass by them anymore. � Amos 7:8 NKJV.

Years ago, when I had only been in the oilfield a few years, about 2am I was awakened by a phone call. After I had finished talking with whoever had called, and hung up the phone, Jeanie asked me who had called. I had no idea; the whole phone call was a blank in my mind. I knew I had answered the phone and talked to someone; but had no idea who it was, or what it was about. As it turned out, trouble had passed me by.

The next day, I found out from my friend, David at work, that he had been the one who had called. He had taken his drill pipe inspection unit to the lake. It was a two-ton truck with a large enclosed utility bed. He had gotten the truck stuck and had called me for help. Since I never came, he called another friend who was a forklift operator. This was a large forklift used for moving heavy pipe and had to be transported on a semi. The forklift got bogged down in the mud too. I don�t remember now how they got the truck and forklift unstuck, I think they had to rent a bulldozer. Certainly, trouble passed me by that night!

The point of Proverbs 12:21 is not that no trouble will ever come to the righteous; but by living a righteous life, you will be spared from much trouble. In Amos 7:8, we have the will-known plumb line passage of Scripture. From this passage we know that God had spared Israel in the past from judgment and had allowed trouble to pass them by previously.

In 2 Kings 14 we see that Amaziah the king of Judah is thinking that he is something great. Amaziah through the power of God had a great victory over Edom. Because of that, Amaziah thought that he was invincible, and sent a message to Jehoash king of Israel demanding he send Israel�s army to meet the army of Judah in battle. Jehoash with great wisdom and compassion responds to Amaziah with this message: �You have indeed defeated Edom, and your heart has lifted you up. Glory in that, and stay at home; for why should you meddle with trouble so that you fall�you and Judah with you (2 Kings 14:10 NKJV)?

Amaziah would not listen to reason. The result was the utter defeat of Amaziah and Judah. Here is what happened as recorded in 2 Kings 14:11-14: �Therefore Jehoash king of Israel went out; so he and Amaziah king of Judah faced one another at Beth Shemesh, which belongs to Judah. And Judah was defeated by Israel, and every man fled to his tent. Then Jehoash king of Israel captured Amaziah king of Judah, the son of Jehoash, the son of Ahaziah, at Beth Shemesh; and he went to Jerusalem, and broke down the wall of Jerusalem from the Gate of Ephraim to the Corner Gate�four hundred cubits. And he took all the gold and silver, all the articles that were found in the house of the Lord and in the treasuries of the king�s house, and hostages, and returned to Samaria.�

Living a righteous life is a life that God will bless. You may not realize it, and it may not seem like it at the time, but by doing so you are sparing yourself from much trouble. Trouble is passing you by when you refuse to �meddle with trouble.�

Classic from 2010



Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time, casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you. - 1 Peter 5:6-8 NKJV.

​ Daniel Collins may not have been literally flushed down the toilet, but he might as well have been. Daniel was working on the Raymore, Missouri sewage system as part of a crew employed by Rosetta Construction. Usually the work is safe, and he had a safety line hooked to him. The trouble for the worker began when that safety line somehow became detached, and he was suddenly plunged down a pipe only 27 inches wide. He kept going down that pipe for more than a mile. Meanwhile, his fellow workers and firefighters were frantically searching for him. Daniel was able to call out one last time loud enough for someone to find him. One of the firefighters, who is also a paramedic, heard Daniel and was able to bring him to safety. The man had bruises and may have swallowed some of the nasty water; but everyone believes it is miraculous for him to be alive, a