Friday, December 30, 2016

Don't have to be the Great Commissioner!

We are called to go out into the world and spread the good news of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. In a way, it's a daunting mission in a world that increasingly looks at Christianity and religion, in general, from a more secular viewpoint. People who have spent much time erecting barriers and walls often do not wish to be approached; sometimes they can be rude and argumentative.

My own record at converting others is very very poor. I could not point to one person that has come to the Lord directly as a result of my testimony or discussions we have had about salvation.

The good news (other good news!) is that we don't really have to hit a home run when we talk to others about God's Gospel of forgiveness. We are not, after all, the agent of conversion; that's God's job. We are reflections of His glory, salt and light if we are living our lives in the Spirit, people who have been regenerated, yet people who still struggle with our own sin and occasional doubt.

Each of us has been granted certain gifts translating into certain approaches to the task of sharing the light of God with others. Having been a career teacher of English, I have used these blogs to share ideas and expressions about how I see God and His abundant love. Have I been successful, through these writings, in at least causing folks to think about things, I pray so.

I have been sharing Christian quotes, now, for years with anyone interested in reading what some very very intelligent and influential folks have to say about God and His created. I, personally, learn a lot from these brief, but often powerful, ideas.

It's all about ripples. It may be the case that many of us have done little things, used by God, to help begin the process of bringing people to saving faith. We may actually be touching many souls with whom we have no personal contact at all; yet, in little things that we do and say, God can use us because He is powerful to save and love.

So chin up! Just do what you do and let God take care of the real work. He's pretty good at what He does!

Praise our God!

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Merry Christmas.. every day!

It came and went again, very very quickly. All the preparations, planning and opening come and go so fast that it amazes! I hope and pray that your Christmas was Christ-centered and that amidst that framework, you enjoyed family, friends, food and all the other aspects that make this a day which most people anticipate.

I find Christmas magical. It's easy, as a child, to be so excited about opening gifts on Christmas morning, and I can still remember my daughter, Olivia, coming down the stairs with a look of wonderment in her young eyes that reflected the lights on the tree. It has become, for me, even more magical as I have become aware in my heart of the real gift that came down from heaven in a most amazing way, a helpless child, King of the Universe, Christ Jesus among us.

God, in essence, sent God as a tiny baby boy, to save the world from, yes, God. Takes a moment to try to grasp that, doesn't it. A baby born in an animal shelter amidst all the things that one would find in such a place, an event unknown to many who were alive at that time. A plan that surely indicates the sovereignty of God as this child, totally helpless, would grow and walk this earth for thirty-three years only to die for all the sins of the world, providing a way to bring mankind into a relationship with a God who can tolerate no sin.
Incredible isn't even adequate to put this into words.

So, my question is this? Why limit, in our hearts, one day in December to celebrate what God has done. Where would we be without this incredible birth, a one-rime event, never to be repeated? What would have been our hope, our purpose, our eternal future without the birth of Jesus? 

I really do not need all the trappings each and very day. I am very satisfied to join in the feelings and smiles that I associate with Christmas Day; yet, I can easily awake each morning with the realization that once, on a star-lit night, probably not in December, God sent His
beloved Son on a mission that would end in painful suffering, yet bring our only hope to a world that is dark and full of sin. 

Join me, won't you? In your own heart, celebrate this magical birth with thanksgiving and awe. Re-visit, frequently, the accounts in Luke and Matthew of this day of days. Let your mind travel forward to the cross and all that it means to each soul. Merry Christmas, indeed,
each and every day!
Praise our God!

Thursday, December 8, 2016

When it comes to belief....

...wanting to believe is actually being there!

It's tough for many people to believe. Now I can see my cat chase a rat, bring it to me and expect me to praise her. I can believe that she has, indeed, accomplished something because I have the rat right there, often in my bed.

But believing something spiritual is a whole different animal. (had to keep with the cat motif) Believing that which is beyond our senses, which we cannot reach out and touch, something magical, even mystical, brings out the old wall builders within us. For starters, when it comes to believing the gospel and the grace which is Jesus Christ, we have no starting mechanism beyond the wooing of God. He, and only He, can begin the process because we simply aren't disposed to accepting Him. Our natural inclination is to run in the opposite direction. We don't need or want to surrender ourselves and allow someone else to drive the car, so to speak.

While some conversions into belief are sudden and momentary, I would suggest that many others are gradual and 'bumpy.' We stop ourselves just on the outer edges of crossing the line into belief. We just don't completely feel it. Therefore, we take a few steps backward and wait for inner confirmation.

I believe that God, in His wonderful way, has a starting point which we may be able to recognize and grab onto that will allow us to tear down some of those barriers. It is when we suddenly realize that deep within us we WANT to believe. We see our lives begin to change when we go to church, read the Bible, talk with those who are in Christ. We begin to notice that some of the things we observe are very positive to us to the point of wanting to be a believer.

The belief, after realizing that we want it, begins, by God's grace and the Holy Spirit, to grow. In my case, there was that moment, months after I began the journey, when I suddenly realized that the doubts had slipped away without my recognition and I did, in fact, believe whole-heartedly. I even searched myself for those doubts.... gone. It was the most wonderful, amazing feeling of peace. 

Even the most ardent believer still possesses some degree, some moments of doubt. I believe that these are natural to human beings, not dangerous, just bumps. God will allow these to be smoothed over and we will continue our journey toward Jesus.

So quiet down and listen. Does your heart actually want to respond to belief in the Lord and creator of the universe? Do you want to follow Him and have Him live within you? Are you ready to wait a bit for full belief. 

Let it happen. It is the most precious and important decision you will even make, eternally.

Praise God!

Monday, December 5, 2016

The word became flesh....

..and made His dwelling among us!
John 1: 14

Let every heart prepare Him room....

Tabernacle is one of my favorite words to say. In the King James version of the above verse,
it states that God tabernacled among us. It is to say that God, originally in the wilderness with the Jews, was said to dwell in a large tent that sat at the very center of those who had been freed from bondage in Egypt. 

In this verse, John is saying that Jesus, God Himself, came into this dark world full of light and life and chose to dwell among His created. He certainly came in unusual and modest circumstances on a mission to save His people, His church to be, from God's Holy wrath. He had chosen, from before time, to come for one purpose. To live out the gospel message and be our only and best look at the very attributes of God, Himself.

He was despised, his message was not well received and, in God's chosen time, He was willing to lay down His very life to achieve God's loving purpose,  a propitiation for sins that God could not tolerate. A payment that removed once for all the barrier between God and His created.

Well, He left us to return to the Glory He had known; yet, as He promised, He sent His spirit back into the world. For those born of water and the spirit, God has, once again, tabernacled- this time, within His people. Just as Jesus promised to go and prepare a room for those He would eventually call to Himself, we have a room prepared with us for this wonderful Spirit who lives within those who believe, always busy working to change us more and more into the image of our beloved Savior. 

This is the true Christmas story, this is the great Christmas gift, this is the true meaning of Christmas: Christ's birth and rebirth into our very hearts. Joy to the world, indeed. A King born in a manger. A plan that would not be changed. A God who loves beyond out wildest imagination.

Praise this God!!!

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

The wolf will live with the lamb...

Isaiah 11: 6

..and a little child shall lead them.

It's an oft-misquoted scripture, but it is powerful in its implications! I love animals. The only ones I am apt to hunt are the buzzing kind that come out at dusk and drink blood. I believe that they ( not the mosquitoes) possess a lot more intelligence and awareness than most people are willing to credit.

This broken world sees animals, as well as people, in a confrontational mode. What we call the food chain, where certain animals prey upon others for food, is, I would contest, not the way things were supposed to be in this world. Sound familiar? Have you noticed that people prey on weaker people. Power and strength seem to be winning factors... until one takes a look at Jesus. 

We can agree that Jesus is the way mankind was supposed to be. He is the second and successful Adam. He delivered a knock-out punch to Satan, sin and death on the cross, a place where he steadfastly marched toward a death that would be an atonement for all and an eventual restructuring of this sin-dominated world.

He was not of this world. He did create this world. He has done sufficient work to begin a total change in the New Heaven and the New Earth to come. It is inevitable. God has come and broken the curse by being a curse.

So I have absolutely no doubt that the wolf will, in fact, cohabit ate with the lamb, that animals, as well as people, will live in harmony. That there will be sufficient bread for all God'e creatures provided, of course, by God Himself.

Be a part of this! Do not wait for tomorrow. Answer God's call and learn who King Jesus truly is. He waits because His atonement was sufficient for all who answer His beckon.

Praise our God and His precious animals!!!

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Over, under, sideways, down....

Now you would have to be a sixties music affection ado to recognize this as the first few words of a Yardbird's song that continued...backwards, forwards, square and round.
The Yardbirds were Eric Clapton's first stop. My favorite song was Heart Full Of Soul.

This world that we live in is turned inside upon itself. It is broken and not as it was designed to be. It isn't hard to verify. Just look at the news or take a moment to reflect upon the horror that was this most recent Presidential campaign. Accusations, personal attacks, lies spoken as truths, character assassination... hopefully that will all calm down, but the world remains a broken place.

We, also, are not as we were supposed to be. We are sinful from birth, sin inherited
from circumstances in the Garden of Eden where God dwelt with His created and the first refusal to obey occurred.  The result, even for those who have chosen to believe in Jesus as the Son of God and Saviour for sinners, remains a spiritual battle between our sinful nature and the work of the Spirit to transform us into more Christ-like souls. If the Apostle Paul continued to sin and do what he should not do, one can see that it is an uphill battle, indeed.

So why would God chose to continue to wait? Why would He not have grown weary long ago and just started over? The answer is rooted in who He is. When He calls us to His son, we begin the task of learning about Him and establishing a relationship with Him. He is long-suffering and amazingly patient for He has given souls to His beloved Son and the process of bringing all of there to Him is one that has taken time and will continue to do so until every promised one is a member of the family of God.

God calls and we are responsible for accepting the call. Once that occurs, we have the hope of eventual resurrection and life eternal in the presence of God. As a thanks for this loving gift, the gift of forgiveness not deserved but freely given, we should, in my opinion, reflect God's grace in all that we say and do. We need to be dependently responsible, striving to help the spirit transform us into more Christ-like souls. We can't do it without God, but we can make every effort to help the change occur.

That's what we should be thankful for; we should take every opportunity to be salt and light and to reflect that love that God has shown to us out to others every chance we get.

Praise our God.

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

A saddening loss, but a reunion to come!

My precious daughter encountered news that must be so very difficult for any young mother. At the first ultrasound, she heard the news that the fetus had no heart beat. I have cried many tears for this precious young mother of one healthy infant and for the tiny child that God has chosen to take on to Heaven

Scripture has plenty of instances where it becomes very obvious that a tiny unborn child is to be taken immediately to Jesus as His child forever. This is so comforting amidst the heart aches and pain that must be endured and healed with time and faith.

As her father, I have asked God's will, His healing for her and all involved, His understanding of something really hard with which to come to grips. As I lay one evening after she had successful surgery, I had a vision/ dream that I would like to share with her and all mothers who have gone through these circumstances.

I was in heaven walking forward to greet my daughter. As I walked, I walked hand in hand with a young person who immediately recognized my daughter, for this was the child's mother on earth. There was an embrace and wondrous joy... !

Listen. There is a bond established in that womb, for however short the stay, and that bond never, ever is erased or forgotten. In all cases, there will be a reunion,  a healing, a forever
encounter of love completed. I know this to the depth of my soul because I know this Jesus. He is love, comfort and truth. He is the answer to all heartaches and sorrows.

This will happen. I will be there and I will be overjoyed!

Praise our God.

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Some things, you cannot predict.... most assuredly can.

I was fortunate to teach middle school for 34 years in Worthington, Ohio. When I mention that my students were twelve and thirteen years old, many people express sorrow, but I really loved those young people.

It always amazed me how teachers and other adults were so quick to predict their futures. This one will never go to college. This one will go to Princeton. This one will be a doctor. These predictions were, and proved to be, at best, guesses that often did not turn out as expected.

The same was true of people when I was in high school. Yearbooks offered predictions based solely on what peers thought of folks based on popularity or success at age 18. I don't know about any of you, but I was a total nonsensical silly person at that age. My yearbook photo could have included the caption: 'Headed nowhere in a hurry!' 

So all of these kinds of predictions are doomed to be soundless and often incorrect. 

There is, however, one area of prediction that is solid and true, and it is a prediction that has eternal ramifications. There is only one way for any person created by God to find salvation and eternal life: Jesus Christ. Anyone who would choose to ignore this truth is operating on a dangerous path of ignorance, one that can only lead to an eternity apart from God, from Heaven and from many loved ones, forever.

Forever is a really long time. Many are repelled by the notion of Hell. Many churches absolutely ignore even mentioning such a place. People don't want to hear that God could allow for such a destination. God, however, works endlessly to try and make this reality a non-factor in our lives. He makes Himself known through the beauty of His creation, through the relationships that He created and through His words in the Bible and His Word who came into this dimension with a message of forgiveness and love. 

It really comes down to a choice each person makes. Reject the plain truth, available to all, or accept it as a free gift of grace. The Holy Spirit will take care of the rest. He will guide and transform you from the day you call on the name of Christ Jesus.

It's an air-tight, one hundred percent prediction that how you choose will be a decision you will live with long after you leave this planet. PLEASE. 

Praise our God!

Monday, October 17, 2016

Saved by God....

From God.

Salvation. It begins and ends with Jesus. It centers around the cross and the fact that we are ruled by a Just and Compassionate God. 

Who needs salvation? WE ALL DO! To go through life ignorant of the fact that we are separated from God by our sin nature is, well, dangerous on an eternal level. Somehow, we all need to be reached, as it were, by God's grace and reborn as adopted children of God. We can want this to happen, but we cannot make it happen.

So what, exactly, are we being saved from? GOD. Yes, it is true that a just and holy God can accept absolutely no sin whatsoever. He is opposed to evil because in Him there is no darkness. Even that small little inconspicuous sin is enough to alienate God from ourselves, and that is not a place where we want to be.

So, as crazy and marvelous as it seems, only God can save us from...God. He has given us one way and that is through the redeeming blood of Christ Jesus. It was a plan hatched before the beginning of time because nothing really ever surprises God. Love the quote: Did it ever occur to you that nothing occurs to God? He knew that man would fall to temptation and that a second Adam would have to succeed where to first failed.

The blood sprinkled on the door frames at Passover was a foreshadowing of the need for blood to wash away sins and keep God from exercising His wrath. The many many animal sacrifices expected in the Old Testament were, again, foreshadowing the need for a once and all blood sacrifice that would truly provide a balancing of the ledger, a propitiation for our sins.

Will all people be saved from the wrath of God when the final judgement occurs? No. Only those who call on the name of the Lord, Jesus, can be saved by the righteousness from Christ. Are you among them? Knees, prayer, repentance.  There will come a time that is too late. No second chances. No do-overs. Please. Listen to the quiet calling. He loves His creation and His creatures.

Praise our God!

Monday, September 19, 2016

You aren't the alpha dog...

and neither am I !

There is a wonderful, ornery quote attributed to Hanna Smith that goes like this:
"Unless you are the lead dog, the scenery remains the same."

None of us is the lead dog. There is only one lead dog, and He is God. He is the alpha and the omega; He is the One who created each of us and who is sovereign over our lives and the lives of all created beings in the universe. That translates into: You are not in charge, and neither am I!

There are all sorts of ramifications to this. One, we don't really like reading that, let alone believing that. We like to think that we are the captains of our own ship, the drivers of our own car, the decision makers of this journey we find ourselves on. Like it or not, God's design, knowing what we are like, is to plant Himself firmly at the top of the food chain. He knows that without Him, we spin and spin and really have no purpose to our lives. 

Like the many dogs in a sled of dogs, someone has to be leader. Someone has to know the appropriate direction to travel, the one that will result in true happiness and attainment of important goals. In order for is to maximize our potential in this fleeting life, we really have to surrender the reins to One who knows us best and knows what is best for each of us.

This isn't easy. It is never really easy to lose oneself as primarily important. Think of the number of times one uses the pronouns I, me, we, us, mine, etc. We tend to live in the first person. We are called to give glory to God. To live lives that reflect His power, His truth, His righteousness... I could go on. He has called us to glorify Him so that we don't glorify ourselves because self-glorification is blinding and purposeless. 

He created each of us, having been a part of a family relationship with His Son and with the Holy Spirit, a relationship that means everything to Him. The happiness there in and God's natural openness to communicating with His created made Him want a larger, more inclusive family; the family of God. It is a family whose membership requires being secondary, being humble, being aware that Jesus, the Son of God, is our Lord and our King. If you are the lead dog, you cannot and will not attribute power of another.

But that isn't the issue because you aren't and neither am I. So relinquish, submit, honor, become humble and take joy in the fact that He knows what is best and wants you to be His child.

Praise our God!

Friday, September 9, 2016

We all need laser surgery

Not a big fan of surgery! I have been so blessed in life to, at this point, only have had two experiences many years ago. I did undergo laser surgery performed by the Great Physician, and I would like to offer it to anyone who needs it. It is painless and life-preserving!

This is a surgery of the heart, a surgery that shines the laser of hope and grace into hearts that are darkened by the absence of God. You see, there is an incompleteness about those people whose heart does not contain a fill-up by the Holy Spirit of God. Every human heart desires to be filled with the glory of God's healing light. When one is without this light, he or she is swimming upstream against the ravages of sin and loneliness. We can be fooled by the evil one and society into thinking that we can make it on our own, that we can be good enough people to make a difference and end up in Heaven.

Not true, unfortunately. No amount of good deeds can sustain us against a God who hates our sin and is completely aware of each evil deed and thought. We are deserving of wrath and lost from His desire to be in relationship with us. Enter the Gospel and the Great Physician. While He is a powerful God who sustains everything and is fully sovereign, He is also a God of love and reconciliation. It's a weird combination, but it truly benefits those of us who know our condition and yearn for the chance to remove the barriers and be adopted into the Family of God.

He must begin the process; yet, we have to be aware of Him and respond to His wooing. In a magical way, He fills us, simultaneously, with the recognition and with the understanding of His glory and the gospel of Jesus Christ. It's obvious in so may ways; we have to "see" it and open our hearts to the Spirit. The rest is up to a wonderful surgeon who truly knows what he is doing.

No health insurance needed, here. You need not call for an appointment. Just get on your knees and listen, carefully. Then surrender to the power and the glory of the God of the Universe. You are covered; He is ready.

Praise our God!

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Playing Hide and Seek

Hide and seek is probably a game that has been played by children and adults for as long as
there have been children and adults. I have played it in some unusual places, one being in an orchard where one could climb from tree to tree over several acres and never touch the ground. It's generally a safe and sweet game to play.

The problem is that we, as humans, play a dangerous version of this game with God. You see, we hide from God for the most part because we do not want Him to find us. Our natural inclination is to run the other way because, quite frankly, WE want to be God. We want to sail our own ship, to do what we want to do and to avoid surrendering our 'freedom' to a creator God who might try to bring us in line. Rich Mullins sang that..'surrender don't come natural to me.' He was so very correct.

God, on the other hand, seeks us out. No matter where we stand on the whole predestination issue, there has to be an action initiated by God, a reaching out and tapping us on our shoulders, before any progress can be made in reconciliation with a Holy God who hates
sin. Does He reach out to all people? That's a question, one of many, to which we simply do not have an answer; yet, anyone who has been regenerated in the heart, who has been saved into the light from the darkness of sin, has been saved by the grace of a God who loves them and desires a relationship with them.

We love to hide and He loves to seek. We want and need to lose this game, and it's a game whose ramifications are eternal. We need to pull down the walls, remove the defense mechanisms open our hearts and 'listen' for His wooing. The problem, one more time, is that this is not the normal way we act or react. 

If we have been freed from the slavery of sin, it becomes our job to soften those around us that are not saved. Maybe it's simply smiling and initiating conversation, sharing a good book or sermon or welcoming someone to church. We want to welcome them to be unnatural. We want to throw a pebble in the pond and start the ripples, we want them to meet a God that beckons them with love.

God is waiting and reaching out because He IS an awesome God!

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Let there be light.. again and again!

Genesis 1:3
....And God said, "Let there be light," and there was light!

We all, most likely, have been in a situation wherein there was total darkness. Visiting the Ohio Caverns, back home, many many feet underground, the guide would always take a moment and turn off all the cavern lights. Total darkness. Waving one's hand directly in front of the face would not have been seen! It was a really creepy experience, even after having it happen several times.

Well, out of TOTAL darkness, the God of creation spoke light into existence. Can you imagine the brightness that must have been there? There is no irony in the fact that this light was the very beginning of God's creative energies because God is light. His essence is glory; a light that shines out of purity, holiness and good. 

Well, He wasn't done, was He? It came as no surprise to God that mankind could and did not live up to the expectations set forth by a loving God. The immediate inability to resist temptation literally ruined everything, including our world and man's relationship with a God that, all along, wished to commune with His creatures and be their God. There was darkness, thereafter, in the hearts of men and darkness in their relationship to One who is light, personified.

Out of this darkness, God understood the need for 'light' to enter the world in the form of, yes, God Himself. His purpose in coming into our existence was to share His plan for redemption and to self-sacrifice for those who were lost and covered in darkness. His death on the cross defeated the powers of darkness, death, itself, and opened the door for light to literally enter the hearts of those He planned to regenerate.

Light into darkness. Total darkness. Life from Spiritual death. Eternal salvation and life from certain judgment and damnation. When He reaches out and beckons, we must accept the gift of grace and, from our knees, call on the Lord Jesus Christ to save us. The result: total forgiveness once for all. The promise of life with God in the new heaven and new earth. An end to the darkness that constantly creates a battle for our very souls.

Let there be light. Let there be LIGHT!

Praise our God!

Sunday, August 7, 2016

The heavenly dimension

Where is Heaven? To my knowledge, no one has gone up into space or looked through even the most powerful telescope and seen Heaven. We all seem to picture it as UP, but where is this UP?

Stephen's vision of an opening and sight of Jesus standing at the court of God, along with some of the prophetic visions in the Old Testament are the extent of our 'glimpses' into the whereabouts of Heaven. Clearly, it just isn't anywhere where we can see it. Any believing Christian has faith that such a place exists, that it is inhabited by the saints and the Lord Jesus Christ and that a new Heaven and a new earth are to be revealed at the very end of the age.

Along with this mystery is the realization that when we lose loved ones, they cannot communicate with us any longer. This is a sudden and sad reality. We do have the blessing of serving and worshiping a God who does, in fact, communicate with us through various ways. Since He reigns in Heaven, it is obvious that this place of His residence is not so distant as to prevent Him from being involved with His creatures and creation.

I am not a physics scholar. The only thing I can clearly remember about my physics class is the girl that sat beside me. Yet I feel relatively certain that there are mysterious multiple dimensions to this universe, some of which are just not visible to us in our space-time
continuum. In other words, I believe that Heaven is indeed UP there, we just cannot see it.

I believe that it is a measure of God's wisdom that we cannot see this place or speak to those who have preceded us there. Does this mean that those saints and loved ones are unaware of us back on Terra Firma? not necessarily.

To have a glimpse of what is in store might very well be so wonderful as to make us over-anxious to be there. It is probably physically impossible for our loved ones to speak across this dimensional divide. We just have to have faith and be patient.

God is the master Creator. This is His universe and it works through His principles and processes. We are here for a limited time and then we all, all humans, face one of tow destinations. I give you the Great Commission. The destination we encounter will be permanent and eternal. Make sure, please, that you are right with the Gospel and with God. Your very soul depends upon it.

Praise our God!!!

Thursday, August 4, 2016

What a glorious six days....

It must have been. Out of nothing: creation. Amazing is our God!

I have a daughter who paints and draws. This gift from God was there almost from the beginning. She could, and can, look at a blank pierce of paper and imagine the finished product. She sees the world quite differently than myself, who cannot draw a straight line with a ruler. She, in the image of God, is a creator.

But that all pales when compared to what occurred when God spoke things into being and His Son made them so. Just imagine nothing. In an instant, the power of creation was initiated and the universe was. Scientists spend time searching for the beginning, seeking to understand where and when this was. They simply aren't equipped to even understand the immense creative power that was unleashed when things began. Search as they might, they will not have those answers, at least in this lifetime.

I have to believe that there was tremendous joy associated with this process. God saw it and called it 'Good." The beauty of what was created, in some degree, exists today, and declares the power and majesty of the God who created it. Imagine creating the myriad of plants and animals, the stars in the heavens, the processes that govern existence and make things sustainable. I believe God must have smiled a lot.

When He created human beings, His plan from the beginning was to dwell with them and have them worship Him. Well things went awry. This did not catch God by surprise for a plan was already in place to redeem, to judge, to make right for all eternity this creation so glorious. From everlasting to everlasting, God was to become incarnate and enter into our time-space to spread light, love and a plan for our salvation, a plan to forgive and redeem the pinnacle of His creative genius.

Wouldn't it be glorious if we, someday, would be able to see, from the darkness of nothing, creation exploding from day one to day six. I am convinced that we will have that chance, and that we will be in awe of what took place. I am also convinced that, within those six days, He created a place more wonderful and amazing than any of is can even imagine. A place that we will see if we have accepted Jesus into our hearts, for only in Him can real peace ever be found.

He is The Creator. He is the almighty God of the universe. He loves and cares for His creation... including you!

Praise our God!

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

The anti-loneliness God

When, in Genesis, God proclaims that man will be made in 'our' image and that it is not good that man should be alone, He is simply reaffirming the fact that this God, a triune God, does not know loneliness.

From conception, we are surrounded by the sounds and warmth of the womb. Most of us enter the world into several of God's creations that work against loneliness: the Family: parents, siblings; the extended family, grandparents, aunts and uncles, cousins; friendships throughout our lives; our church family where we can rely on for worship, fellowship and support; prayer, the open invitation to talk with the very God of the universe and be assured that He is, indeed, listening...

Even the end of life, which all of us will surely face, has promises that make that experience one we will not handle by ourselves. Psalm 23 comes to mind! I will fear no evil for thou art with me. In his book, One Minute After You Die, Erwin Lutzer assures us that since we are with Christ on this side of the curtain, He will walk with us through to the other side so we are even supported in this most trying time and experience.

It all sounds so promising, but reality suggests that there are some issues, here. The number one cause of death in America, abortion, means that some conceived babies are not born into this world. It is my belief that not one aborted fetus leaves alone, that he or she is just as valuable to God as people living three score and ten, and that they will have companionship as they make their way to heaven.

For those who are born into a world without many of the protections discussed above, and there are many, loneliness can and does become a real factor. Children without parents or a parent,  children unwanted and abused, those who feel alienated and without hope, those in the midst of wars, famine, etc. Even though God does not wish people to be lonely, it still is very possible for loneliness to permeate their lives.

The answer? Jesus Christ. For those of us who have been transformed by the Love and Grace of Jesus it is very natural to believe that He, and only He, can be an answer to the many problems and hardships in life, even when nothing else seems to offer hope. It is the Great Commission: to go into the world and share an antidote to all those whose lives still feel full of hopelessness and loneliness. To be filled with the Holy Spirit of God ends, forever, any loneliness that cannot be tempered by the personal love of the Living God!

Jesus Christ. Share Him. Love Him. Rely on Him. He is the ultimate antidote to loneliness!
Praise our God!

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

God's lives matter!

Let's get things real for a starter: when abortion is , by far, the leading cause of death in the United States, then it is a lie to say that all lives matter! 

The recent spike in violence which seems to be related to prejudice on the part of many
has resulted in a lot of "   " lives matter jargon. You see, we creatures are sinful, by nature. That fact makes it very very difficult to avoid human sin-laden traits such as prejudice, pride, me first-ism, etc. When it all comes down to the bottom line, the life that matters most to us is our own.

I am always amazed when people claim that they are not prejudiced. It's another human trait to mistrust and be afraid of anyone who is not just like us. It took an indwelling of the Holy Spirit on the Day of Pentecost to open Peter's eyes to see his hatred of those who weren't Jewish like himself. Deep down, way down, we are all prejudiced and afraid.

Calling upon people to solve this problem is, unfortunately, always going to fall short of accomplishing true acceptance of others because we can't do it. On a one-to-one basis, we can do our best to reach out to others, say hello, good morning, etc. and mean it. Those types of interactions help, but do not solve the problems of the human heart.

So the solution? God is the solution and, here comes the bad part, He will accomplish a kingdom of people without sin, only after the return of the Lord Jesus Christ, the judgement of this torn world and the establishment of a kingdom truly without sin where people are not filled with traits that they cannot overcome without Divine Intervention. One will not find prejudice in this kingdom! There won't need to be chants of "   " lives matter because God is prepared to exclude all who would continue to be sin-filled based upon their response to His Son. Once the sorting out has taken place, true change will be real and sin will truly come to an end, sin that was defeated at the Cross of Jesus.

God's lives, the ones He created and saved, matter. Does God wish that all His creatures would be a part of this wonderful Kingdom to come, yes He does. It's as simple as opening ones heart to the truth of salvation and surrendering to the will of the Creator. Some have done so, some will do so, unfortunately, many will turn away to destruction.

What about you? Does your life matter? It is in the hands of the God of the Universe. He is just and loving and He listens for your response to His call...

Praise our God!

Monday, July 11, 2016

To Whom am I praying?

One of the things that immediately struck me as I began really praying for the first time in my life was the confusion over who exactly I was praying to. God, of course, but the whole trinity thing made it a bit confusing.

The Lord's Prayer, offered by Jesus, Himself, as a model prayer is certainly and clearly a prayer to God the Father. The more in depth I get in this Christian work, the less I find myself using this prayer, although aspects of inclusion are important when I do pray to the Father. It is a prayer of recognition of God's exalted state, a prayer that asks that His kingdom be realized, a prayer that he would provide protection against the forces of evil and a prayer for our sustenance. 

There are times, however, when I find myself praying to Jesus specifically. A lot of my prayers of thanksgiving are directed at the One who hung on a tree, selflessly, for all who would become part of the family of God. His Incarnation, His teaching, His death and Resurrection all factor into prayers that praise Him for doing what no other person has ever done and thereby providing a way to God for sinners like myself, undeserving thou I am.

When Jesus went to be with the Father, His Ascension, He sent His Holy Spirit to be with us, here on earth. Weirdly, this is the person of God that I most often find myself with in prayer. I am always pleading with Him to help me combat the sin that beckons me daily, asking that He help me because there is no way I can combat this on my own. When I begin each day, it is often in commune with The Spirit asking for protection and behavior that would reflect the glory of God and not grieve Him.

I used to worry about breaking these prayers down into different persons of God, but I have become more comfortable with the belief that they all sort of funnel into a similar place. I would hope that any of the Three would understand my love and dependence upon Them and that any mistaken directive would be shared within God's identity.

The bottom line is that we have been given the privilege of communicating with this wondrous God and we need to use that opportunity as the blessing that it truly is. Have you prayed today to each of the Three? It might be something you would enjoy; I know that I do!

Praise our God!

Friday, July 8, 2016

Just How Sovereign is He?

 And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. Romans 8: 28

When someone remarks that they were 'lucky' in a certain circumstance, when someone
sites Karma to explain a situation, when a person mentions 'fate' as a reason why a certain outcome occurs, they are, in essence, saying that God is not sovereign. Sovereignty is one of the many attributes we discuss when trying our best to understand an entity totally unlike ourselves. In God's case, sovereignty means control over all that He has created. He holds together the creation He produced ex nihilo, from nothing.

R. C. Sproul, and I am paraphrasing here, says that if there is one rogue molecule in the universe, God is not sovereign. That's a pretty good way of describing His total awareness and active participation in the events that occur in our space-time continuum. As one clever person quoted, 'Did it occur to you that nothing occurs to God.' No surprises, no do-overs, no alternative measures needed; God is in control, period.

Now some people like to play around with this sovereignty idea. They suggest that God is truly sovereign over the big things but that the small everyday occurrences are not always within His awareness. The whole 'free-will' thing gets tossed into the ring as if God waits for His creatures to move in a certain direction and then, like a chess game, moves accordingly.
I believe that partial sovereignty is an oxymoron when applied to God.

So, and I know you've heard this, how can a sovereign God be in control of a world where horrific things happen. How can a good God allows for bad things? Would we say that God really isn't in control of the bad things that happen? Then He would not truly be sovereign. The first things we sometimes fail to realize is that we aren't at an intellectual level needed to understand God. In fact, in almost any case, He is operating where we cannot mentally go as far as understanding. Many of the 'bad' things that happen probably happen for the overall good in God's plan. I believe that's what Romans 8:28 is saying to us. He, God, is in charge. His promises and goals will be honored and fulfilled. 

Did He promise us a life without sadness and strife, without pain and struggles, without tears and loss, no. What He has promised, through the Gospel of the Cross, is a world to come for those who would believe upon His son, where all will be good without sin, a world of righteousness, peace and rest. How does one 'sign up' for such a place to come? At the moment when you begin to consider accepting Jesus Christ as your savior and Lord, God has already begun the process of drawing you in. All you have to do is surrender and accept!

Praise our Sovereign God!

Thursday, June 30, 2016

It takes two, baby....

I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one will snatch them out of my hand.

John 10: 28

The whole question of salvation is both important and a bit complicated at times. What we know about salvation is that it is of God. It is His act of grace giving forgiveness to those who do not deserve it because of sin that He is totally opposed to. Mankind, on their own merit, can not save themselves. Even the high priests of Jewish tradition could not provide lasting forgiveness in an imperfect system of sacrificial rites.

Since it is an act of God, God must be the primary player in reaching out, as it were, to bring in the sinner with the message of the Gospel, a message that provides new life through the work of the Lord Jesus Christ in His short time here on earth. Does this offer go out to all? Well the Great Commission doesn't seem to suggest that Christians should only spread the Good News to those God has predestined for salvation. 

28 “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” 
Matthew 11: 28-30

The words of Jesus seem to be an open call to all who would believe. So here is where the title of this blog seems to me to come into play. Once the call is made, once the offer is on the table, a person must accept it or reject it. If I have the ability to accept and believe this wonderful eternal gift than I must also have the ability to reject its promise. It is an eternal rejection; or is it?

God, it seems to me, throughout the Bible and particularly in the Old Testament, is long suffering and patient, willing to wait upon those He loves, willing to accept repentance and return His people to blessing. In fact, He is so patient and steadfast in His love, that it really is almost beyond amazing. It is obvious, at least in my thinking, that God wants to come to reconciliation with His created, wants to accept them into His family.

Now then, what of those who are saved and then reject Christ as savior and Lord? Obviously, there is great eternal danger in such a decision. However, it would seem that even then,  God is a God who forgives, regathers and loves even those who, having given up their salvation, come to realize their error and repent from their heart.

It takes an Amazing God and it takes a decision that is forever.

Praise this wonderful God! 

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

So what will you say to Jesus?

Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.
Psalm 23

There probably isn't a more popular or wonderful passage in the entire Bible than the
twenty-third Psalm. It was familiar to me during all those years of not knowing God because
it was so often used at funerals, even for those who were not true Christians. It is
comforting and powerful.
The 4th verse, above, is part of the section that, written by David the Shepherd King,
could be applied to a shepherd caring in the fields for his sheep. There are many dangers
out there for shepherds who care about protecting their flock. We, of course, take these
wonderful verses as the Great Shepherd caring for His sheep, His church, the ones who
recognize His name and voice.
So if we look upon these verses as those predicting and describing the journey everyone
of us will take away from this corporal world into a spiritual encounter, initially, 
it would seem that we will not be crossing that divide alone. Our Lord
Jesus Christ will be walking with us, hand in hand, and we will, at last, be able to see
Him and, yes, talk with Him.
While we talk with Him many times each day in prayer, most likely He hasn't answered
us on a verbal plane. WE do not really recognize what He looks like or what His voice
sounds like. Will He be like His description in the Bible, one who is not distinguishable in
looks from those around Him. What will His wonderful voice actually sound like as we
walk with Him?
Finally, to my point. What will you say to Him? Let's assume for a moment, that you
actually can speak, perhaps after the initial realization of where you are and what is happening. After all these years, after all His grace, after His sacrifice which made it
possible to enter into God's family as an adopted child, what would be the first words
to come out of your mouth.
This blog isn't about to suggest anything; it is here to implore you to give consideration
to how you will respond to what this King of the very Universe has done for you.
First, make it a given that you will take this journey with Him. Have assurance that you
are, indeed, forgiven your sins and reconciled with God. Then ponder how you will verablize
to Him what it means to be His.
Awesome, eh? So what's your plan?

Praise our God!~

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

What do you have?

Jordan Kauflin: I once was lost in darkest night
Yet thought I knew the way
The sin that promised joy and life
Had led me to the grave
I had no hope that You would own
A rebel to Your will
And if You had not loved me first.. I would refuse You still

So what do you have? Money?

Got to pay the bills and living requires money. Earning a living and providing for
family are requisite needs in this life. I have never had much money; I have often
squandered money foolishly and have, at times, had to literally count nickles to
provide enough money to feed and care for my beloved daughter. Yet, I have always
been given enough to get by so I have been blessed. The amount of money that I
will carry with me to heaven is $0.0 !


Families are wonderful relationships given to us by God in a structured way. I
am now old enough to have lost both parents, grandparents, brother and many
friends, to death. Families are security, support, loving relationships that, unfortunately,
are temporary in nature. I am left with a daughter and granddaughter that are
the joy of my life, and a blessing, indeed. The number of family members who
will die and whose souls will depart: all of them.


I was a public school teacher for 34 years and wouldn't have traded for any other
profession. It never led to a lot of money but the life experiences were uncountable
and there was always the feeling that I was making a difference in the lives of the
students I taught. Yet, I became too old to really maintain the energy needed and
retired. How all of our jobs and vocations will turn out? We will retire.

I could go on. My point is that a lot of the things, and there are more, that we
value in this life are, like ourselves, temporary. In this way, their value, in the end,
is nil. Mr. Kauflin's beautiful hymn expresses the one thing that we can live for in this
life that will remain eternally: the Lord Jesus Christ. If you do not know the hymn, I
suggest that you search for it. 

The love and devotion to Jesus are centered around the gift of Grace, the fact that
this perfect, God-man, came to earth for the purpose of providing a way to
break down the barrier between our God and ourselves resulting from sin. He, Jesus,
is not temporary. He is, was and will always be the same Lord and King who
loves His sheep and gathers them to Himself.

Number of souls who believe in Jesus who will be lost eternally? NONE!

Praise our God.!

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Resurrected from the dead

1  Corinthians 15: 12-

12 Now if Christ is proclaimed as raised from the dead, how can some of you say there is no resurrection of the dead? 13If there is no resurrection of the dead, then Christ has not been raised; 14and if Christ has not been raised, then our proclamation has been in vain and your faith has been in vain

At the very core of Christianity is the Resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. Paul
presents this with clarity by claiming that without this historically accurate depiction of
Lord Jesus Christ's victory over death, Satan and sin, there is basically no basis for those
who are called Christians. 

The theories that have evolved from the first century which claim that other things happened and Christ was not resurrected, or even crucified, are smashed by both Gentile and Jewish historians and the very fact that eleven disciples met horrific deaths proclaiming this resurrection to have been true, disciples that had fled from the Crucifixion in confusion,
sadness and fear. They were first-hand witnesses of their Lord come back and of His later
ascension into Heaven.

This little blog is really not about that wonderful world-changing resurrection but about
your resurrection from death. If you have claimed Jesus Christ as your personal Lord and
Savior, repented of sin and asked forgiveness, become ind-welled by the Holy Spirit and
have noticed that you have a changed heart, a changed life and attitude toward others,
if you seek to know God and to love God then you have gone through a metamorphosis
to become a true Christian.

Not an almost Christian, mind you, as many folks are who claim Christianity but whose
hearts remain hardened and lives unchanged. These almost Christians. as Alistair Begg
is want to say, will almost get to heaven.

True Christians, then, have already been resurrected from death: spiritual death. You were
a person separated from God, a person whose heart was controlled by selfishness and sin,
a person who was out for number one, a person who had no plans to surrender to any God,
a person lost and bent upon eternal destruction. But like the symbolic rising from the
pool of Baptismal waters, you have arisen into relationship with the Living God, no 
longer a slave to sin, no longer on your own in a world that is painfully amiss. You are
loved by the very Creator of the universe, who despite His immensity, has a heart of
love for His creatures that He has promised to His Son, each and every one of them.

Through the grace of God, you have overcome. You are a new creation. You have been
resurrected from the dead!

Praise our God!

Saturday, June 18, 2016

Happy FATHER'S day!

“This, then, is how you should pray:
“‘Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name,
Matthew 6: 9

I have a confession; I have become quite cynical of Hallmark holidays! Add to that the dilemma of trying to find a card that isn't nasty and stupid, and that cynicism can
readily turn to frustration.

However, Father's Day is one recognition that I have come to take seriously and to heart.
Now going to Hallmark or on-line to find an appropriate card for The Father isn't going to come out well. 

You see, the ultimate in Fatherhood is the God who created fatherhood. He created the family and placed at the head of that community the father, a combination of leadership and compassion. There is, in God's teaching, a structure to the family, placed there purposely to help ensure the success of that unit. All fathers, including my own who fell asleep several years ago, are insufficient because they are human. They come up short even when, as is the case with my own dad, they are wonderful, loving giving men. It's that sin thing again, and even when saved by free grace from God, they still harbor the curse of sinfulness, though forgiven for same.

God the Father is part of a family structure, having a Son and the Holy Spirit of God in His family which He enjoyed before anything was created. I believe His words prove that He loves those family members and wished to extend that love and that family structure to creatures He would create.  Talk about a task: He knows each of His created, saved and not saved, completely; He cares for each and every one and desires to be their Abba Father; He has even sent His beloved to die upon a tree that there might be reconciliation and an end to the wall that once divided Himself and His adopted, grace-filled, children.

So Happy Father's Day, Father God. How can I adequately thank you for the blessing that
is your caring for those like me, creatures created by You for Your glory? How can I thank you for not simply creating and moving on?  How can I thank you for Your strength, Your expectations, Your Divine Intercessions and Your love. There is no card, just a heart that loves you back!

Praise our God!