Wednesday, May 27, 2009


This will be the last blog this week. I am leaving tonight for Texas for several days to visit my parents as my dad has been ill in recent days and in the hospital. I will resume writing, Lord willing, on June 2.
I stand amazed at the power and depth of what little I can grasp about God. How does He hear so many prayers all over this earth, in different languages at the same time? Have you ever thought about that? How does He keep up? I think about every single hair on our heads are numbered (Matt. 10:30) and the more than 6 billion plus people on this earth. How does He know that? He counts the number of stars in the heavens and gives them all names (Psa. 147:4). We can't name but just a few! He knows our thoughts before we know our thoughts (Psa. 139:4). Before we were born, while being formed in the womb God wove together all our inward parts (Psa. 139:13). Each tiny organ and bone He weaves. But not only that, the days that we are to live on this earth were written down before we lived one of them (Psa. 139:16). Do we realize what that says? No one is living longer by exercising! We only live better, healthier but not longer. The day of our death is circled and God knows when and where. We do not even know what is going to happen in the next few minutes much less years in advance. All the names that will make it to heaven have already been recorded in the book of life(Rev. 13:8). How does He know that?
It amazes me that from the beginning of this earth, a little over 6000 years ago (not millions or billions), God already had worked out the coming of Jesus to die for us, in our place. He is known as the Lamb who was slain from the foundation of the world. It was all planned and worked out by God. His word tells us, "At the right time..." (Rom. 5:6). All of this is simply too great for me to grasp! Paul said it best, "Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and unfathomable His ways!" (Rom. 11:33) I simply stand in awe!!

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

"The Impossible Made Possible"

Repeated sin hardens the heart! In fact, one can get to a point they become callous (Eph. 4:19) and nothing can penetrate the heart. Someone once said that the lives of many are like concrete: "thoroughly mixed up and permanently set." The love of sin has drastic results in the lives of people. People live miserable, mixed up lives but their heart is so set, they have no desire to change.
Sometimes it seems all the preaching/teaching in the world does little good. Jeremiah wept over the people of God and it seemed to him that they would never change. "Can the Ethiopian change his skin or the leopard his spots?" (Jer. 13:23) That's how Jeremiah regarded the people...impossible for them to change. Today, our modern psychologists tell people to just accept themselves as they are, to love themselves. That is what helps the hardening process. People try to reform their own lives through different step programs or self help classes but those things can never break you free of the sin that entangles the lives of people. People can break bad habits, reshape their personalities and change their character to a point but sin still controls. People cannot forgive themselves and find the life of God on their own no more than a leopard can change his spots.
God makes the impossible possible! Where man cannot save themselves, forgive themselves and transform their lives, God can. "Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things have passed away; behold, new things have come." (II Cor. 5:17) In Christ Jesus is where the old passes away and one enters into the power of freedom of God.
When God forgives, He forgives permanently. Where Christ dwells, the power to change and overcome begins to happen (Eph. 3:15-19). The good news from God exposes our failures but we do not have to remain a failure. Until we surrender our lives into the hand of the living God, we will have little desire to change and the changes we make will be nothing more than what any doomed person can make. Our lives can change, but only if we want to change by coming to the Christ of the cross. There we will find that the impossible is made possible!

Monday, May 25, 2009

"The Mouth Reveals"

The very words of Jesus reveals, "But the things that proceed out of the mouth come from the heart, and those defile the man." (Matt. 15:18) The very things that pass our lips come from our heart. It doesn't take long to listen to someone, and you can know what is most important in their lives.
When people slander others behind their back, that is coming from things about that individual that is stored in their heart. People blame others for not caring and the decisions that are made in regard to what they do as a result are all part of what has been stored in the heart. It makes ones action easy to justify to ourselves but we aren't fooling the Lord. One can listen when someone speaks in a devotion or sermon and you can learn what is really stored in the heart. Someone reads some verses and then they are speaking about every thing except what those verses are speaking about. That reveals the word is not in the heart or leading the heart. The word is used to get things started but the mouth speaking betrays them because they focus on what is going on in their lives, their work or marriages. In other words, what is stored in the heart is all about them. People use profanity from time to time. What does that say about what is being stored in the heart?
Whatever one treasures, that's what will fill the heart and their life will head after that. We need to fill our hearts with God, allowing His word to take up residence in our heart to lead us. The result, speech that will glorify His name and teachings that will be all about Him, not us. That should make us all ponder and take another look at watching over our heart with all diligence. What proceeds from our mouths comes from our hearts and that defiles us!

Thursday, May 21, 2009

"Doing Truth"

God's truth is meant for one major thing: walk in it! It is not about debating it with other but walking in it. "If we say that we have fellowship with Him and walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth." (I John 1:6) Practice the truth. "Little children, let us not love with word or with tongue, but in deed and truth." (I John 3:18) We need to do the truth! That's what loving the truth is all about. Jesus pointed out to His own apostles that listening to His word and "doing" it was the difference between the wise and foolish (Matt. 7:24-27).
In applying this to our lives, so many speak to others about the truth and even find themselves at the workplace defending their religious convictions but then it comes down to doing our business in an upright way, we "cheat" a little. The home life of those who call themselves after the God of truth is less than pleasant and happy. Elders, preachers and other members of Christ's body fight and quarrel because the practice of the truth (humble, caring, forgiving) is ignored to defend something they want done or not taken away. Unforgiving hearts and bitter resentment hold deep within us but we call ourselves lovers of the truth. (Is that not walking in darkness?)
What really seems to escape our notice that the truth of God (or the lack thereof) walks right into our assemblies and it deteriorates the spiritual gain and makes us more fleshly because walking in the truth has not been a part of us all week. Because of the lifestyle of many, they are hurting the truth and the Lord. Truth is for doing! If many of the assemblies were less like comedy hour with a quick floor show thrown in, we would find more genuine rejoicing in the Lord with some fear and trembling. The result would be God laying more on our hearts the "doing" of His eternal truth and people would find real, rich communion with the Lord and strength for their lives.
Truth is for doing!!! Too many are concerned with their own little world and have little to do with those who aren't part of their world. We sit and debate over why the church is dying, or argue over one cup or multiple cups that divide us and all in the process, our attitudes and actions betrays the very truth we claim to defend. Paul called it right, "Circumcision is nothing, and uncircumcision is nothing, but what matters is keeping the commandments of God." (I Cor. 7:19) We need to make certain we are doing the truth and not just verbalizing it!

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

"Seventeen Cents"

The Lord has richly blessed those in Christ. All the world has received of His physical blessings just in Him giving His sunshine and rain (Matt. 5:45). Only those in Christ are blessed with spiritual blessings (Eph. 1:3). The sincere, humble one in Christ realizes those blessings and responds with a thankful heart, even in the event of difficulties. They know God is for them and He will give them strength in their weakest moment. That's just one of many spiritual blessings.
The blessings of God beget love and love gives. True godly love gives! I was told one time that one can give without love but it is impossible to love and not give. That's what love does, it gives freely and openly. Just read the first few words of a verse most can quote, John 3:16, "For God so loved the world that He gave..." Love gives! When there is love, you don't have coerce someone to give. They want to give and help. God extended His grace to the Macedonian's and they were deeply moved by their salvation. They were in deep poverty and had a great deal of affliction but because of the spiritual blessing of grace, they had an abundance of joy (II Cor. 8:1-3). The result? They gave beyond their ability and begged to give to support the poor saints in Jerusalem. Love gives! You cannot stop true love, even when one has little. Jesus noticed the widow and her giving two copper coins, all she had and found favor in the eyes of the Lord. Love gives freely, without any prodding or pressure. Loveless people do not give! It's just that simple.
This lesson of giving was realized in the life of my 5 year old granddaughter. She came running into my office, reached up and put something in my shirt pocket. She said, "Don't look now but you can in a little bit." I told her alright and after she left, I found four coins, seventeen cents in my pocket. When my granddaughter returned, I asked her what the money was for and she smiled, kissed me and said, "Grandpa, that's for you because you do so much for me and I wanted you to have it!" and off she ran. That's when it struck me, giving is a joy in the heart of the saved and they are thrilled to help because they realize the source of blessings. It was the most valuable seventeen cents I have ever received! It made me wonder how thankful people are of their salvation and source of all their spiritual blessings? One can tell by their attitude of giving.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

"A Word About The Cross"

He was a fellow brother in Christ. He came up and told me that we shouldn't be glorying in "a cross" but the Christ of the cross. He spoke of certain songs he refused to sing because they seem to glorify this cross. Verses were quoted like, "For we do not preach ourselves but Christ Jesus as Lord..." (II Cor. 4:5) and "For I determined to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ, and Him crucified." (I Cor. 2:2) The explanations began to flow and the more intently I listened, I realized someone had put these ideas in his head either through reading books or personal conversation. Then I asked him, "What are you going to do with Paul speaking in Galatians 6:14?" "But may it never be that I would boast, except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world."
People seem to squabble over the wrong things. I read other books but it seems more and more people are accepting someones view on the Lord Jesus Christ rather than listening more carefully to His word. The cross is central in our faith and our heart. The cross of Christ is what should impact us because it is through that cross that reveals His love and heart for mankind. The cross of our Lord Jesus cries out that our sins have been dealt with, punished and put away by His death. The cross is about life itself! It is not an end in itself but a means to an end and that end is sharing in the holiness and fullness of the life with God! The cross of our Lord and Savior is about life! It's not the last thing we hear about our Lord, it is the death destroying, sin conquering and glorious living Jesus! It was about His complete overcoming every spiritual power that exists and He being placed as Lord over all with a name above every name.
The cross is our life and about God making us alive. It was through this cross that God was reconciling us to Himself. It means we are to live NOW! It's not about some time in the future (even though it is coming) but sharing and living in the power and life of our heavenly Father here now! Was it not Jesus who said, "...I came that they might have life, and have it abundantly." (John 10:10)
The cross reaches beyond our sins and brings us into the life of God. The Almighty wants us to live and that's the message from the cross. Too many are preaching/teaching a health and wealth gospel while we just pain-stakingly trudge through this life just waiting to be free sometime in the future. What have we missed?

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

"Be Not Dismayed"

I always try to be sensitive people and their thoughts. Sometimes I fail, but I try to be. As I write, I have that sensitivity in mind as I address an issue that seems to come up often. Most never know it exists. It is really disheartening sometimes.

When one speaks God's word, God is talking provided the one speaking is speaking God's word and not a bunch of other 'man-made' stuff. Yes, there is the human element in preaching with the personality and nature of the preacher, but God can use that to His glory as long as the preacher understands his purpose in directing people to God. You pour God's heart out of your heart to teach people to allow God, the death of Jesus, to impact our thinking and living. God asks us to move away from us and into His righteousness. God wants us to be tender and a heart that embraces His every word. It will change us and mold us into the image of His Son. We are warned about being hard hearted in rejecting the word because it will make on cold and uncaring. The heart will grow insensitive. People agree with this and after God speaks, someone walks up and begins to 'rag' on another brother or sister! Or they say things just opposite of what God just spoke. You wonder if such a person heard anything God said. Apparently not! They never took anything to heart.

It is heart breaking to see people do opposite in word or deed after God just spoke. Yet Moses spoke God's word and the people went back to doing their ungodliness. The prophets came along and preached while the people just continued with their same mindset. Jesus appears in the flesh and preaches God's word with authority and power and the most religious of their time kill Him. The apostles went about only to be rejected by a number of the Lord's people. Paul warned Timothy, the young preacher to stay away from certain men as they would destroy the work. John speaks of those who ignore God and try to rule with their own desires and thinking while professing to love the Lord. So why would it be any different today? It's not. I can only imagine that the men of years past wanted to walk away from preaching and teaching. I know I have. But then there is this fire deep within, I don't know where it comes from (other than God) and it can't be explained. You find yourself drawn to keep on preaching and teaching, knowing that you labor is not in vain in the eyes of the Lord. Jeremiah found that out. I'm not a Jeremiah, but I know preaching/teaching are one of the most vital elements in the Lord's church and someone has to speak for God! Each time I get a little wearied, discouraged God says, "It's Me whom you serve. Serve with all your might!" Then you realize the rejection of many is not you, though they may say it is you. It is really God they reject. End of story!

Tuesday, May 12, 2009


It's one of the most powerful words from God that brings His power and strength into our lives. It is a simply word and even some version omit the word completely, but it is in the original Greek text. Let me quote the verse and give some thoughts. "Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you along with all malice." (Eph. 5:31)
Many in Christ talk about the Lord, their relationship with the Lord, but the practice in their lives is something different. People who profess themselves as 'Christian' live a life that is less than glory to God. Homes are being wrecked by those who call themselves by this name because they allow the above verse to dictate how they live. Do you want the power of God? Do you want to find real strength and help in time of need? Sometimes people offend us, our mates hurt us deeply and what do we do? We become bitter or angry and the longer the anger and bitterness stays in the heart, you begin to grow cold and death finds its way back into your heart. The heart grows hard and the more you think about how deeply you have been hurt and offended, the more wrath and clamor become part of who you are. We find someone to talk to, but not for the better, only to slander the one who hurt us or tell on our mate. Look closely and you will see the resemblance between this way of living and the devil! The devil wants that and at one time, he had you completely under his power and control. You came to Christ and His Lordship and power, His forgiveness touched you deeply. But something happened. We have become hurt and we work off the hurt rather than the Lord. We push Him out and slowly the desires of the devil become ours and you can see it in our anger, resentments and bitterness!
I was speaking about a powerful little at the beginning. Look closely and you will see it at the beginning of the verse: "Let!" The Lord is asking us to "let" go of bitterness, anger, etc. because it will take you away from the Lord and His power. "Let!" Would you allow the Lord access to your heart by letting go of bitterness, wrath and anger? Some have such a choke hold on their emotions they aren't about to "let" anything take place of what they feel. The result? God is pushed out. You find your life frittering away, falling into a deep hole. You want the proof? Let the one who offended you come around or their name come up and notice the reaction in your heart. You are overcome with all the disturbing and hateful feelings.
The Lord isn't asking us to do something that is impossible. He is asking for entrance and His power to come into the heart and give you a strength that goes beyond words! You find the power of God, the same God who wiped out our world, that God standing with you and you begin to overcome. It is all about "let!"
What should we replace those feelings with? "Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you." (Eph. 4:32) When one hates or is hateful, they won't "let" and so they find themselves gaining daily in more anger, wrath and will eventually do something that will be destructive. Homes are ripped apart. Congregations are destroyed. The power behind it? Not God...When will we "let?" It all depends on if you care about forgiveness or not!

Monday, May 11, 2009

"What Romans 5:6-10 Teaches Us"

We speak of God as blessing all mankind by sending His rain, sunshine and physical things into the lives of man. Many give thanks for the physical blessings, as they should. What is most remarkable is the kind of people God loves. We think in terms of the good and bad. God doesn't see us that way. "For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God." (Rom. 3:23)
In Romans 5:6-10, we have a wonderful picture painted for us about those whom God loves. In v.6, God speaks of the "helpless." Those that lack power, the lack of influence and completely in ruin in the eyes of God. The "helpless" are called the "ungodly." For most of the "ungodly", they know God exists but they live their lives in complete disregard of Him. But for some of the "ungodly", we embrace Him for His grand love for us. In v. 8, God describes us as "sinners", people who have completely missed the mark and failed. In other words, people that God loves and extends His love toward are total and complete failures! Haven't you felt like that?
But wait, there is more. In v. 10, God describes us as "enemies". This word describes us as hostile, hatred toward God. It is so hard to accept for many that they were enemies of God, but that is true.
So what does God do? He dies, through His own, personal Son, the death of the ungodly. He sends His Son to die for sinners, the failed and ruined people. He "reconciled" us to Himself while we were "enemies" by killing His Son in our place. This should make us all pause and reflect on how much God loves us (and how much we should be reaching out to our enemies).
The result of Christ taking our place is we were "justified" or acquitted from all charges. Yes, us the ungodly, enemies of God are acquitted by the Lord by placing our helplessness to save ourselves on the back of Jesus Christ our Lord. Our "justification" leads us to be saved by the life of Jesus because He stands before God on our behalf, pleading our cases and will be the guarantee of our salvation. For this, we should all give pause and be thankful. You're life is headed to God!!!

Thursday, May 7, 2009

"What's Happening To The Church?"

I must admit that I tire of hearing about all the "personal"experiences in the church. Please don't misunderstand me. I love the Lord's church! As I have travelled about, there is this theme, this deepening sense of "all about us!" I have said it before and so forgive me for repeating, but the blogs, books, seminars and retreats that revolve around our need to experience God more intimately so we can be more emotionally and spiritually charged is not healthy spiritually.
I know some will read this and defend in various ways what they believe in, thinking I am off base and I respect their thoughts. But what I want us to see is when we make our relationship with the Lord all about us individually, our experiences and expressions personally, the church of our Lord becomes a place of complaints and judgments. It leads to statements like, "The church is stifles my growth and visions of Jesus Christ!" Or you will hear others say, "We are just dead and it's sucking the life out of me!" What is worse, when people start thinking like this, talking like this, they become somewhat blinded by their own personal thoughts and emotions while condemning what the Lord loves. With all this "personal devotion" attitude comes a lack of love and understanding what really is spiritual and the Lord wants. What is really troublesome to my heart is these very ones who speak of being "tapped out" spiritually by the church or the deadness of the people, they come up with the idea to walk away from the church, find their own freedom through who knows what avenue or group and eventually they might make their way back around. I've watched this happen over the years. I suppose that the only way for some to find their spiritual high, their deepening their personal relationship is to forsake the Lord's community for a year (or several or maybe even forever) so they can find their personal, richly filled relationship with the Lord Jesus because the individual is what is important!
But what does the Lord say? What does the Lord feel about His body? I can understand that someone can feel that their assemblies are lacking and some need reawakening. Just read Revelation 3-4 and one can see that. What we seem to be missing is "body life!" We see ourselves as individuals rather than the body and Jesus the head. How do you think Jesus feels about His body when they are doing poorly? Does He just cut His loses and move on or does He go about trying to get those "uninterested" or "dead" to come to life? When we talk of our personal relationship with the Lord, we should be moving with His heart toward His people, not individualism. Jesus speaks to the strong to help the weak. Jesus speaks to those about to completely die, defiled and corrupted to turn their lives around while those undefiled are to hold to Him and help, not walk away. We are speaking of His body! The weak, the failing, the strong and He cares deeply for them. All this individual personal experience relationship with the Lord is killing the body as a whole. They are actually helping it die while thinking they are the ones really alive. If we are alive to the Lord, the Lord wants us to help. Read Romans 15:1-13 and you will see this! The Lord is trying to save His children, not walk away from them. We need elderships to major in what fills our hearts with faith. We need the leaders to build, holding to the head so that Christ may be all and in all. We are the body, Christ's body and He alone is the head. What's happening to the church?

Wednesday, May 6, 2009


Jesus knew people allowed things to take place over God. He warned about what you treasure, value, deem as most important will be where your heart attaches itself to (Matt. 6:19-21). Just listen to what people normally engage in their talk and it will reveal what they love most. "But the things that proceed out of the mouth come from the heart, and those defile the man." (Matt. 15:18) Whatever you love, your heart will go that direction and it will be a priority in your life.
A teacher was trying to illustrate to his students something they would never forget. He used a one gallon, wide-mouthed Mason jar and sat it on the table in front of them. He put twelve fist-sized rocks carefully into the jar. When the jar was filled, he asked, "Is the jar full?" Everyone in the class said, "Yes!" Then he proceeded pulling out a small bucket of gravel and dumped it into the jar, shaking it so the pieces of gravel would work themselves down into the spaces between the rocks. He asked, "Is the jar full?" The students said, "Probably not because there is empty space inside still." The teacher brought out a small bucket of sand and started dumping it into the jar. It went into all the places left between the rocks and gravel. He asked again, "Is it full?" The students weren't sure. The teacher took a pitcher of water and began pouring it into the jar until it was filled to the brim. He asked once more, "Is the jar full?" All the students agreed and they were correct. Then came the question, "What is the point of this illustration?" One student spoke out that no matter how full your schedule is, you can always fit more in it! The teacher said that's not the point. The teacher proceeded to ask them if he had done all this in the reverse order, starting with the water, what would have happened? Several answers were given but then came the explanation: "The truth of all of this is if you don't put the big rocks in first, you will never get them in at all!" It was a lesson on priorities.
That is what Jesus was warning about the heart and what we value. If we allow our lives to be filled with the wrong things, the beneficial and eternal things will never fit. The result will be lives without the most important part.
Our needs will be met in Jesus, that's His promise. Yet so many run around fretting over this and that, thinking if they don't sacrifice for those needs, it will never happen. What they end up sacrificing are spiritual things to maintain the physical. Listen carefully to Jesus' words, "For the Gentiles eagerly seek all these things; for your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you." (Matt. 6:32-33) It's all about priorities to God!

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

"Leave Me Alone"

People constantly are telling God to leave them alone! Oh, yes. It happens daily at work, in marriages and even at the assembly. People over and over speak to God to leave them alone. Many are men-pleasers when it comes to their jobs when the Lord speaks to work heartily for Him (Col. 3:22-25). They are telling God to leave them alone. When it comes to marriage, how the Lord wants mates to treat one another building the relationship around Christ, training their children in the Lord, they simply do not heed telling God to leave them alone! I've known marriages where one of the mates has told the other to stop 'preaching' at them. They did not want to hear the word of God in the heat of battle. They speak to the Lord to leave them alone! At the assembly, some just go through the motions, fulfilling an obligation in their minds, or finding fault with this spoken or someone, nothing coming from their heart because their heart has grown calloused and cold, telling God to leave them alone! Others don't care what God says about pornography, dealing with their money or being honest and upright. They want God to leave them alone! Still others speak loudly for God to leave them alone when they go on their drinking binges or party life. They just don't care in actions and are speaking loudly to God to leave them alone.
Here is what is sobering. At the moment you pass from this life, that final breath that is taken, God will honor the request. He will leave you alone! The next thing you will hear will be the words from the mouth of the Lord, "Depart from Me, all you evildoers." (Luke 13:27) To be sent away from the presence of the Lord means you will be in a place where there is weeping and gnashing of teeth. The pain will be intense and forever, never letting up, never seeing an end but the continuation of the worm gnawing on your body and the fire burning your flesh. God will leave you alone!
Let me ask you, do you really want God to leave you alone? What message are you sending to the Lord in your lifestyle and desires? How do you take correction? In answering these questions you will find yourself speaking to God...either I am surrendered to His cause and name to correct me or LEAVE ME ALONE!

Monday, May 4, 2009


His name means "son of the father." However, he was not the kind of man that would make a father proud. He is described as a "notorious prisoner, a murderer, an insurrectionist and a robber."His name? Barabbas! He was found guilty by governing authorities and was deserving death for the crimes he committed. Under Roman law, his death sentence was by crucifixion!
The paths of "son of the father" crossed that of Jesus Christ, "Son of the Heavenly Father." Barabbas course of life was changed when their paths crossed! Barabbas was guilty and deserved the punishment he was assigned for his crimes. Jesus Christ became the substitute for Barabbas. Not only did Jesus become Barabbas substitute, He became ours too! Pilate, in scourging Jesus and inquiring of Him, found no guilt in Him. The pitiful, hateful plot of man cried out that this "son of the father" should be set free so the "Son of the Father" could die! The depth that sin takes us into is beyond belief sometimes.
In all of this, we see a vivid picture of what Jesus did, not just for Barabbas but all of us. Barabbas was without any hope. We too, in our sins, were without hope. The judgment of sin and the imprisonment under it's power had us heading to a horrible fate. Then came the substitute...Jesus Christ. He was our substitute. It makes me wonder today, how many are willingly saying to God, "Give me Barabbas" in the place of Christ? We live the way we want to live, have just enough religion to be comfortable but making sure the Lord doesn't really interfere with our lifestyle. Pilate asked the right question, ""Then what shall I do with Jesus who is called the Christ?" Our answer to that question in each of our personal lives reveals every thing about us!