Thursday, December 27, 2012

"What If They Met?"

  The man's life wasn't the best. He was known for his rebellion against any authority and was convicted of murder! He knew what awaited him. There would be an agony in being crucified but his defiant hatred of authority had so filled his heart, it didn't matter. If given the chance, he would murder again those in authority trying to over-turn the government rule that was hated.
  As he sat in his cell, chains on him, he heard the sound of soldiers walking. He knew what was coming. It makes you wonder if there ever was a time when a man in such position found his mind wander back to the days of his childhood? Would he think of the fun times with family and friends? Did he ever remember the time of innocence and being in the lap of his mother or holding the hand of his father? We don't know but now his life was about to end and he knew it!
  The cell door opened and the soldiers approached. They took hold of his chains pulling him from the guarded cell. This was it. His last walk. His last moments before being killed. His life was an 'eye-for-an-eye' life and now repayment would be met for one who hated this government. He was unshackled and thrown out of the prison. Standing outside, the soldiers walking away with his chains and shackles in hand, he was in a state of shock. "What's this?" he thought to himself. Calling out to one of the soldiers he asked, "What's going on?" The soldier turned and spoke, "We have signed authority from the governor to set you free. You're sentence has been commuted. You have received a full pardon!" The soldier walked away. Was this a dream? What was happening? He turned gazing ahead and took off. 
  In his hurry, he heard a crowd of noise and yelling. "I'm free! I have no reason to fear so I'll go check this out." he thought to himself. Looking over the crowd, watching and listening, people were yelling so loudly and every once in a while, he saw the top of a cross and knew someone was headed to die. "Who is that?" he asked someone. "Oh, that's a man named Jesus! He's the teacher from Nazareth." someone replied. "What crime did he commit?" Then came the words, "He's taking the place of another as required by law for the feast!" This hardened criminal had something shoot through his hard, insensitive heart and things began to clear up. This man knew himself was an avowed enemy of Rome. He was the worst and a convicted murderer and insurrectionist. Why are they crucifying this Nazarene in the place of another? Why would they kill this teacher? We know him as Barabbas! He is alone in his own thoughts. It makes one wonder, could this man Barabbas been one converted at the first preaching of the apostles at Pentecost 50 days later? I wonder if Barabbas ever met Jesus after this point? What if they met? What would Barabbas say? What would Jesus say? What will you say?

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

"Our Friend Joseph"

  We sometimes struggle in our faith. The lessons that have come to us just doesn't seem to penetrate the heart because our minds and hearts are somewhere else. Instead of taking in the truths from God and His word, we readily agree with Him but the impact on our lives is something different. Suddenly a difficulty arises and we crumble into a world of self slowly withdrawing into ourselves with few answers and even less response to the Lord. We find ourselves hopelessly in the midst of something with no answers.
  Life can be mighty difficult without a genuine faith in the Lord. Life can be intimidating enough but without guidance from the word of the Lord, it leaves us frozen. Joseph knew this all too well. Here was a young man, with a wonderful home life and all his dreams before him. He didn't realize how much his brothers hated him and that hatred spilled over one day because Joseph was a dreamer and so beloved by his father! They wanted to kill him but they found it more profitable to sell him instead. A seventeen year old boy on a journey with foreigners. What a frightening experience only to be sold into the hands of an Egyptian officer of Pharaoh. What would lay ahead? Is this fair for such a young man who had done nothing wrong? But this wasn't the worse. He was lied about, accused of a terrible crime which he didn't commit. Joseph had done nothing but be loving and loyal. Now he found himself in prison, shackled in chains and an iron collar around his neck (Psa. 105:18). In all this, Joseph had dreams eleven years earlier and those dreams seemed to be in ruin. Years of pain and misery for this young man! Over eleven years of disappointment and heartache. But what do we find? A man of God! From his youth to the eleven years of being mistreated and abused there was a deep affection for his God. He could have been bitter! He could have built a world of complaining and feeling sorry for himself. But instead, his trust in God, his heart constantly living for and dwelling upon God brought something greater. It took years but the outcome was all destined by God and Joseph refused to crumble under the injustices dealt him. 
  What about us? Why do things take us down so easily? When we are faced with dire circumstances, our reaction to those circumstances reveal a mind and heart set. We forget the promises. We shrink back from the power source. We drown in our misery. Can't we see anything from the words of Joseph when speaking to his brothers face to face all those years later: "As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good in order to bring about this present result, to preserve many people alive."?  

Monday, December 24, 2012


  We were riding together when a brother asked me, "What is the real secret of gaining insight to the Lord?" I  pondered for a moment and said: "Surrender!" As we drove along he said, "I'm not sure what that means!" I told him I didn't buy that. We know what surrender involves. We have read of wars and feuds when one side surrenders. The fighting ceases and you place yourself completely under the direction and power of the one to whom you surrender.
  It's really simple in principle but difficult because we have been programmed to do it ourselves, fend for ourselves, we are the one that makes things happen with positive thinking and the list goes on. I can't tell you how many times I have heard stated from those who claim Jesus as their Lord: "The Lord helps those who help themselves!" That's simply not true and stating things like this doesn't make it true. The Lord helps those who trustingly surrender to Him! Wasn't it Jesus telling the adults that unless they are converted and become like children, they would not enter the kingdom of heaven (Matt. 18)? Surrender! Unconditional, 100% giving of yourself over to the Lord and His power. Watch little children. Tell them this needs to be done, walk over here, stay away from that and so on and they respond! Surrender!
  Until there is surrender to the Lord Jesus Christ there will be little insight and progress made. Jesus summed it up this way: "If anyone wishes to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me. For whoever wishes to save his life shall lose it; but whoever loses his life for My sake shall find it." (Matt. 16:24-25) We must stop trying to do it all ourselves. We need to sit, be still and let the Lord open the doors that need to be opened, work on our hearts by listening and responding to His word by doing what He speaks to us from His word with all our heart. When is the last time you silently sat in God's presence, still and heart engaged asking where you need to walk? After sitting still, listening and something walks into your world either through a difficulty or another person and immediately we complain or miss it completely because our hearts aren't surrendered. Seek the Lord. Listen to the Lord and do not allow all the voices in this world to set our lives on course.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

"The End Of the World?"

    I don't know if you saw it or not but in China on Tuesday, Dec. 18, the Chinese police detained more than 500 people from a group called "Almighty God" also called "Eastern Lighting" for spreading rumors about the world's impending doom and end. In this detaining, they seized leaflets, videos, books and other apocalyptic material. Here is the amazing part. This group holds to the Mayan calendar and teaches that Jesus has reappeared as a woman in central China! 
  On the news in America this week, there has been talk of the Mayan calendar of the prediction of the end of the world TODAY! People on the street, at work and in the media are speaking of this Mayan prediction. On the radio this morning, some were poking fun at the end of the world thought having a good time with it.
  What are we to do? Well, first we aren't to get caught up in all this hype and pay attention to it. We know as students of God's Scripture that it plainly states no one knows the time but it will come like a thief in the night (I Thes. 5). Secondly, when Jesus was speaking with His disciples about the impending destruction of Jerusalem (Matt. 24), He told His disciples that someone might say, "Behold, here is the Christ or there He is." Then came the words: "Do not believe him." (24:23) Why? "For false Christs and false prophets will arise and will show great signs and wonders, so as to mislead, if possible, even the elect. Behold, I have told you in advance." (24:24-25)
  All of this shows us just how blind people are but at the same time, people want to believe in something greater than the evil around. People are looking for something they can latch hold of and follow to find strength and relief. The problem, people are looking in the wrong places. They aren't being honest with Scripture and find a piece here or there to fit their thoughts while developing a doctrine they can use for their own. In all this, it has caused some distress to think it could be the end of the world. Others make fun of the Lord's return with no serious thought, especially no faith. Do you know what? Jesus is coming and when He returns the only question we ask is, will you be ready? He's coming at an hour when no one knows!

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

"God's Word"

  We have placed right before us God's word. GOD'S WORD! Not man's word, man's ideas of what he thinks of God, not some man's writings. The God breathed word that came from a Father who created and died for us.
  God's word speaks to us to believe it by responding to it! It's not a novel or a love letter. It is powerful as we read in creation..."And God said...and it was so!" We need to obey God's word. Too many read God's word and readily run to man's thoughts to put with it. What happens as a result? The powerful word from God is mixed with weak and sinful man's thoughts and it makes God's word man's word.
  When Jesus was confronted by the devil, Jesus' heart came forward: "Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that proceeds from the mouth of God." (Matt. 4:4) Why can't we accept and believe that? Jesus spent His years on this earth with one mind-set, listening to His Father's word doing His will. Jesus didn't mix it with psychology or cute sayings someone came up with. Jesus didn't listen to man's thoughts and reasoning's throwing in a little of God's word to come to a conclusion. Jesus spoke plainly: "He who is of God hears the words of God; for this reason you do not hear them, because you are not of God." (John 8:47) These words Jesus spoke were to people who came to believe in Him (John 8:30). Their claim didn't make it a reality. Jesus called the devil their Father (John 8:44). Jesus was not persuaded by man, only the word of His Father.
  I want to encourage you, read and obey God's word. Don't try to understand everything. Take His word you read and apply it as you understand it today to your life. Treat your mate as God would have it! Love your children as God would have it! Love the brotherhood as God would have it! Worship God as God would have it! You have His word in your home. What's keeping you from listening and responding? No matter what anyone's philosophy in life may be, God still speaks His will through His word. He's speaking. Do you hear Him? 

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

"Jesus, Children and Us"

  Many are speaking today of the tragedy that happened with all the little children in Connecticut. People are left in shock and hurting. It affected me as I thought about the precious children that Jesus claimed was the greatest in the kingdom of heaven (Matt. 18:1-3).
  But that's just it, isn't it? The greatest! That's what children are. That's why it bewilders us when someone takes the life of child because of the innocence and way they are in this world filled with sin. They bring us the only purity in this world! They giggle and laugh, looking at things through such pure eyes and hearts. They know little of corruption. They only know trust and love. It was these Jesus said we as adults must be converted and become like children if we are going to enter the kingdom of heaven. The good news and most comforting is we can know that these children will never have to grow up dealing with corruption and evil. They didn't get to a point where they found themselves separated from the Lord because of their own sin. They simply went to Jesus, in the presence of God and are enjoying an eternity of bliss and comfort. I realize this is the human side of me, but it makes me think that all the little children and babies that have passed from this life are enjoying a laughing, giggly and skipping time in the presence of God. The joy they share in, I can't even imagine.
  In all of this, it is all possible because of Jesus! We too have a promise made for us. Jesus died so we would not have to perish eternally. All those who passed on before us in Christ Jesus, putting their trusting faith in Him are enjoying the same as these children are enjoying. Eternal bliss. That's what was at the heart of God for mankind. God never intended for man to perish and still doesn't. The provision of Jesus and eternity are what the Lord secured for us. In the end it will be nothing but Jesus...Jesus...Jesus, the sweetest name we know! God provided and if we don't make, that will completely our choice, not His.

Monday, December 17, 2012

"A Word On Baptism"

  Many people debate the idea of baptism. Many think that baptism is a sprinkling, pouring or something like that. That's sprinkling and pouring, not baptism. The New Testament term baptism means to dip, immerse, plunge or some other type of synonym. People do not study, just repeat what someone has said or something they have been taught. When Paul addressed the Roman brethren, he asked them: "Or do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus have been baptized into His death?" (Rom. 6:3) Paul wasn't debating baptism. He wasn't tying their baptism to the Holy Spirit as some claim. Baptism wasn't a symbol. He simply asked them if they knew from the standpoint of a fact that they were ignorant of when they were baptized into Christ Jesus.
  A fellow by the name of J. W. Shepherd wrote a little book called "Handbook on Baptism." In this book, he speaks of baptism citing 33 lexicographers, 21 encyclopedias, 26 church historians, 18 church "fathers" and 63 theologians. These sources are all recognized people from all walks of religion. EVERY SINGLE ONE said baptism was an immersion, a plunging beneath the waters. Shepherd went on calling on 124 commentators, church "fathers", theologians, and lexicographers stating that Romans 6 deals specifically  with immersion in water and nothing else! Too many seem to argue the fact because Paul connects baptism with "baptized into Christ", "baptized into His death" and "united with Him" (Rom. 6:5).
  Paul teaching through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit made it very clear that a person to enter into Christ happened at the time of them being trustingly immersed. It is at this time and point a person enters Jesus. It is this time and point that faith responds and the working of God completes (Col. 2:12). These same information sources cited above, also state that Col. 2:12 is dealing with water baptism! Baptism wasn't symbolic. It was a reality grasp by faith! A penitent believer is immersed into Christ. It is that time and point Jesus and the believer become one and that's the point Paul was making in Romans 6. There is too much arguing and not enough believing.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

"It's Called Faith"

  It's called faith! Too many have intellectual assent not faith. We have knowledge we have gained from study, reading and lessons we have heard. But knowledge isn't faith. One needs knowledge to create faith but it doesn't come from smarts!
  Faith is responding to the will and word of God when faced with difficulties or decisions. Faith is getting up and making a proper move according to voice (word) of God and not what you see or think. Paul spoke of Abraham that he believed God and God reckoned (counted) him as righteous because of his faith (Rom. 4). What did his faith do? Responded when he was called to respond. He didn't have intellectual assent just saying, "I believe in God!" God spoke, Abraham took what God spoke and moved the direction God wanted. Abraham believed God!!
  Too many use the power of positive thinking as their desired out come. Think positive about a situation and it will work out. That's not faith in God. That's faith in the power of positive thinking and there are no guarantees it will work out in your favor. Abraham was surrounded by every reason that he and Sarah could not have a child. They were old and Sarah's womb was dead. But with respect to God's word of promise, Abraham gave glory to God, listened to God and responded when God asked. That's faith! Human resources say this possible or this is not possible. God's resources says: "Trust Me and move with My word!" Faith responds! Faith doesn't understand how. Faith trusts!
  People face difficulties and they try to keep themselves busy to keep their minds occupied. Where is faith? I thought God promised that those who love Him and walk according to His purpose He promises all will be for their good (Rom. 8:28)? Faith trusts! Faith is what supports hope. Hope will not disappoint. Wives, you might lives with a rough and uncaring man. What does God speak? Submit and work on a gentle and quiet spirit (I Pet. 3:1-5). It takes faith to follow the Lord through. God attaches His promises to His word. Faith trusts! Faith responds to God's word. Faith doesn't try to figure things out. Faith, true saving faith will follow the word of the Lord no matter what is seen.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

"Jesus and Him Crucified"

  Paul states to the Corinthians: "For I determined to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ, and Him crucified." (I Cor. 2:2) Earlier he told them: "But we preach Christ crucified..." (I Cor. 1:23) I know there are several thoughts we could draw from this but here is one major we need to have awareness about. Paul didn't say say we preach the crucifixion!
  Too many are trying to dramatize the crucifixion. We have the gospel accounts of what Jesus went through but those accounts weren't given to be made into some dramatic play or scene. Here's what I mean. The crucifixion does not give meaning to the Lord Jesus Christ. It is the Lord Jesus Christ that gives meaning and glory to the crucifixion!! It's not about the deed, it's about the person and not just any person. It's about the Lord Jesus Christ accomplishing and embracing the work of the Father ending with the crucifixion. It isn't the bare act of dying that is proclaimed but the person, the Lord and Savior that is proclaimed because of His purpose and effect on mankind in that final offering of Himself on the cross.
  Paul could tell the Corinthian brethren: "For we do not preach ourselves but Christ Jesus as Lord..." (II Cor. 4:5) Our lives were changed by a Lord and Savior, the person Jesus Christ. Too many proclaim themselves and the wonders of what He has done for them. It isn't our transformed lives that make the cross the moral and spiritual center. It's Jesus Christ and Him crucified. This isn't to make light of His crucifixion. It was necessary. It was powerful. But the power was from the heart of the heavenly Father, Jesus Christ His Son. No one forced Jesus. John 10:18 speaks that He did this on His own initiative. That's what makes Him so wonderful and lovely. The Lord Jesus followed the will of the Father and the result was He was seized and killed. "Therefore, when He comes into the world, He says, 'Sacrifice and offering you have not desired but a body You have prepared for Me; in whole burnt offerings and sacrifices for sin You have taken no pleasure.' Then I said, 'Behold, I have come (in the scroll of the book it is written of Me) to do your will, O God." (Heb. 10:5-7)
  The death of Jesus wasn't a death of old age or "natural causes". The dying of the Lord had purpose and it was to hit directly at the heart and destruction of all of Satan's purpose among man. And this destruction and purpose is found in Jesus Christ and Him crucified. And Paul proclaims: "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."  (Gal. 6:14) This Savior, this Lord is what gave the cross it's glory and power. That's where we should be bragging and not in us! It's time we get to know Jesus and Him crucified!

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

"Jesus the Sin Bearer"

  Isaiah spoke: "...My Servant, will justify the many, as He will bear their iniquities." (53:11) "Yet He Himself bore the sin of many, and interceded for the transgressor." (53:12) What does it mean that He "bore our sin"? Peter speaks: "And He Himself bore our sins in His body on the cross, so that we might die to sin and live to righteousness; for by His wounds you are healed." (I Pet. 2:24) In what way did Jesus "bear our sins"?
  Simply put, Jesus put Himself in harm's way to deal with our sins! Over and over in the OT, the holy God Almighty spoke that a nation (or a person) would bear their own iniquity. Ezekiel 18 is a good illustration. In other words, the nation or individual took personal responsibility and would face the consequences. They would pay their price for their own disobedience. Jesus was made sin on our behalf and He made our sins His personal responsibility and faced the consequences of them along with us and on our behalf. Jesus identified with you (me), the sinful and took us personal.
  Jesus not only identified with us and faced our consequences for us, He carried our sins to the place of judgment before God in order to deal with our sins. His death in our place was a death of obedience and holy before the Father. Jesus was holy and His death was holy where God was appeased in a perfect and holy sacrifice. The sacrifice of Jesus in our place was a pure, holy and sinless sacrifice taking on the sinful to please God.
  Paul never stated in II Cor. 5:21 that Jesus was a sinner! He wasn't turned into sin. When we listen carefully it says: "He made Him who knew to sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him." The idea of "to be sin" is the OT statement of "sin offering". Our sins weren't transferred to Jesus. Our sins were atoned by Jesus. If man's sins were transferred, that would imply the whole world is without sin! No, Jesus is our sin bearer in that one must come to Him, confessing, repenting and being united with Him in baptism because He alone is the only One that can bear the sins of many and the bear the many sins before a holy, righteous and just God! Praise be to God.

Monday, December 10, 2012

"Who Is Your God?"

  James spoke: "You believe that God is one, You do well; the demons also believe and shudder." (2:19) One God believed upon by man and demons. Maybe the question is, "who is your god that you believe?"
  A persons god is what he/she cares about the most! What a person prizes most highly! What a person serves and extends themselves on behalf of! What a person does costly things for! What a person has at the center of their thinking when they must make major decisions! That's a persons god.
  Looking in the historical past, the Romans worshiped Mars as their god of war. Today, we wouldn't find people falling down a the feet of this god but is he really dead? Look at the security of a nation that believes in its war machine to deliver us from any attacks. There was another god called Bacchus, the god of wine, drunkenness and sensuality. Is that god dead? How many give their lives for the party spirit, the drinking arena and pursuing all types of sensuality? What about the goddess Aphrodite? The goddess of sex? She was adored by the Romans and bowed down and worshipped. We quip at such silliness but then, is she dead today? Look at the ads on radio and television. Look at our programs that are constantly tainted with the ideas of sex and sexuality especially aimed at our young people. We find the goddess Venus, the god of beauty and youth. What do we find today? All the reconstruction of the body to enhance, to regain youth and it is a multi-billion dollar industry. Is she dead?
  God spoke to Israel that there will be no other gods before Me! Jesus spoke that one cannot serve two masters. Paul instructed the church at Philippi that there are false brethren who are enemies of the cross because their god is their own appetite and they glory in their shame because their mind is set on earthly things (Phil. 3:19). Maybe its more prevalent that what we want to admit. Maybe we need to sit down, examine our lives and as Joshua did in days of old make a stand that we must choose this day who we will serve (Joshua 24:15). Who is your god/God?

Thursday, December 6, 2012


  Jesus said the words: "Do not be worried about..." (Matt. 6:25). "Why are you worried about..." (Matt. 6:28). "Do not worry then..." (Matt. 6:31) The apostle Paul with all the difficulties in his personal life penned these words: "Be anxious for nothing..." (Phil. 4:6) The apostle Peter penned these words for the saint: "Casting all your anxiety on Him..." (I Pet. 5:7).
  Worries, frets, anxieties work on our lives, in our lives. People seem to have bouts with anxiety attacks and the worries seem to bury some. The world around us tells us this is normal and provides answers that do not come from the Lord. Jesus, facing a world of hatred and a cross to bear for all, said not to worry. Paul, treated as a common criminal, said to be anxious for nothing. Peter said we need to respond properly when we are anxious. In all this, are we being called to do something that is impossible? Is this just a cruel teaching that mocks us in times of distress?
  Where we go wrong is what we seek. The solution to worry and fears is always found in seeking Jesus first and foremost. Putting God in His proper place in our lives is what the Lord is looking for in our faith. When anxious times hit, we have a choice: seek the anxiety and fear that burdens us or seek the Lord and listen to Him to relieve. It's rather simple yet so difficult. Too many times we put the problem we face in first place and there seems to be no answer. It's time to start working on our faith, reaching to the Lord for His promises and answers when we are faced with adversities. What will we find? Peace that is beyond human understanding. That's the promise. Don't worry! Jesus said that, not me.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

"Evil Intent"

  People plot with wicked intent. The depth of deceit and the height of something evil is sometimes rather amazing as it scares us to think that someone could be so cruel, so cold and so evil! I've watched over the many years when a marriage breaks up how calloused and wicked one or both parties become. Children are used in the evil schemes just to hurt the other. Something is wrong deep inside the soul of such people and they do not even realize it!
  I remember years back when I received a phone call in the early morning hours from a man that told me my children would end up missing. He was angry with me for studying with his wife and his hatred had stirred him to the depths of playing this kind of game. I remember hanging up the phone, sliding down the wall wondering why one would threaten with such. What do you do? Where do you turn? How do you eliminate the fear? "The wicked plots against the righteous and gnashes at him with his teeth. The Lord laughs at him, for He sees his day is coming. The wicked have drawn the sword and bent their bow to cast down the afflicted and the needy, to slay those who are upright in conduct. Their sword will enter their own heart and their bows will be broken." (Psa. 37:12-15)
  The Lord is still in control over all even when the wicked plot and scheme. The wicked can threaten, use a heart of hatred in ways that are unimaginable but the Lord stands close to His own. We must know that! We must believe that! The Lord will not allow His children to be without help in time of need. We must focus on Him as He is a God of righteousness and faithful to His righteousness. The danger becomes when we start fretting over a situation, we can be led into evildoing by reacting wrongly. "Cease from anger and forsake wrath; do not fret; it leads only to evildoing." (Psa. 37:8) Draw near in time of struggles to the side of the Lord. He will indeed fight your battle if we only trust and do what is right.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

"Worship God"

  When God took Israel and led them from captivity, there was one central thing they needed to do: worship Him! The worship of God should be central in our lives. Why? Because God has an ego to entertain? Of course not! Worship brings us near and draws us upward into God. We see Him for who He really is and less of who we are.
  God buried Egypt! He told Moses to come worship. The worship of God among Israel stressed God's power, His holiness and majestic glory. When worship turned into man, following man's puny ideas, it created nothing more than seeing man as great. God needs to be honored.
  God had enough of Sodom and Gomorrah and their sins. He rescued Lot. When the destruction was complete and Lot found himself saved, how it must have crushed his heart that his wife died in the process but yet God was revered and the worship of God wasn't some side show or talent contest. It wasn't about "clowns for Jesus". It was a sincere reverence from a heart of thankfulness for his rescue.
  Israel's camp faced the tabernacle which was the focal point of worship. Everything about the tabernacle, the priesthood, the sacrifices proclaimed clearly the importance of worship to God and the importance of God being kept at the center. No entertainment, no special people but simply look to God and keep Him in His rightful place. Worship kept the people focused on God rather than themselves. Worship kept them from falling into the habit of thinking there's nothing more to life than what they could see, eat, drink or understand. Worship kept their eyes fixed on the Almighty rather than any thing that might call for their attention. Worship kept the covenant foremost in their heart from God.
  What about you? What is central in your worship? A play? A song? A clown? Who is this God we serve? Your worship indicates that answer.

Monday, December 3, 2012

"By This We Know"

  "By this we know" appears often in the book of I John. The letter is a letter of encouragement and confidence. One can rest assured of the eternal connection and safety because of "by this we know."
  "By this we know that we have come to know Him, if we keep His commandments." (I John 2:3) The commandments of the Lord don't seem to effect as many as the ideas and thoughts of religion. Too many make things sound good and people quote and buy in but if it is a clear statement of direction from the Lord, it seems to be ignored.
  "By this we know that we are in Him: the one who says he abides in Him ought himself to walk in the same manner as He walked."  (I John 2:5) How did Jesus walk? Listening to everyone speak of God or did He listen solely to God, His Father?
  "By this we know that we abide in Him and He in us, because He has given us of His Spirit."  (I John 4:13) What does the giving of the Spirit mean to those whom He abides in? "No one has been God at any time; if we love one another, God abides in us, and His love is perfected in us."  (I John 4:12) The practice of love is found in those whom God dwells within. Love isn't picked just to those who we are close with in relationships. Love is practiced because of God.
  "By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and observe His commandments." (I John 5:2) How important is observing the commandments of God to you? Do you find yourself seeking for and putting the things God desires from you first and foremost?
  In contrast to these thing, the conclusion is as follows: "And we know that the Son of God has come, and has given us understanding so that we may know Him who is true; and we are in Him who is true, in His Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God and eternal life." (I John 5:20) How about you? "By this we know" is what determines truth in our lives!

Thursday, November 29, 2012

"Rejoicing In Sickness"

  This writer is a little behind. This has been a week of fighting a terrible respiratory infection. I am just able to write. However, in all the sickness, great lessons are learned. It's amazing when you don't feel well how one can still  make progress.
  It starts with prayer! I had more people drop me a note or an email saying they were praying for me. What a thought. It was wonderful to think that many are bringing you before the Father asking to help on your behalf. Prayer is so beneficial.
  It moves into the area of thought and meditation. My mind was constantly on some Scripture to dwell on and draw from. In the process of ill health, my mind was still productive.
  It finally goes into thankfulness. So many times I take my health for granted as I am very rarely sick. It is these down times that I realize the blessings because so many cope and deal with health issues almost daily. So in the end, I have learned..."Rejoice in the Lord, always, again I say rejoice!"

Wednesday, November 21, 2012


  I'm not one to jump on board with what everyone else is saying or doing! I guess I'm a little cautious and there is a reason for that. John writes: "We know that we are of God, and that the whole world lies in the power of the evil one." (I John 5:19) Right there speaks volumes about being careful when everyone is on board with a phrase or idea because I realize the possibility behind it.
  That leads me to this. Over the thirty plus years of preaching/teaching, I have never allowed a season to dictate what I preach. Those who know me in Jefferson City know that I never preach according to the season. I might make a reference but my lesson is not about the season. I have a hard time letting the season mold me into what needs to preached. I'm not speaking there is anything wrong with it but I just never have done that.
  I personally enjoy the Thanksgiving holiday as my favorite of all. It isn't tied to 'stuff' and doesn't drive people into a state of panic. It simply is a time for family. For some, it can be painful as they have lost a loved one and it reminds them of what use to be. However, let me encourage you, it is a great memory to have that the Lord gave you years with someone. What a life of memories you built and be thankful. Imagine what life would have been like without them? Our memories were given to us for that reason. Dwell on the things that are true and honorable. Dwell on the the pure things and those things that are lovely. The things that are excellent and praise-worthy, dwell on these things. Paul said that in Phil. 4:8. If we will just do this, the God of peace will be with you (Phil 4:9). But in all, let's not be thankful seasonally. That's not the heart of the Lord. Let's be thankful continually because we belong to the Lord! Have a great holiday. See you on Monday! God's blessings.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

"Looking To God"

  It's a great passage of comfort that the Holy Spirit wanted us to hear through the apostle John: "...and the blood of Jesus cleanses us from all sin." (I John 1:7) How does the blood of Jesus continually do that? By our willingness to walk where the Lord lives, in the Light and willingly confess our sins to be forgiven! Too many seem to spend time finding excuses or justifying their actions when they need to be willing to confess them to Jesus. "That's just the way I am!" or "That's the way I was raised!". Maybe "You need to accept me for who I am!" or "That's the way I am wired!". When we have finished with our little discourse to why we did something, why we have talked ourselves into the state of mind that we had no choice but to sin, we find ourselves not responsible! We have too much to say for ourselves!
  We hear Jesus speak in Luke 18:9-14 of the Pharisee who trusted in himself compared to a lowly tax collector who knew himself! The Pharisee prayed to himself. The lowly man confessed before the Father asking for mercy. The Pharisee took pride in his religious works. The tax collector stood at a distance and couldn't even look up into the heaven above. One had so much to speak. The other had nothing to say for himself. One called on his religious goodness. The other called on his failure to be taken away.
  When will we learn? When will we take sin seriously? Just ask the Father how serious He takes sin? Just look to Jesus and see the seriousness of sin. Sins of speech. Sins of thoughts. Sins of anger. Sins of the flesh. Open sins and secret sins. Sins of the ears and eyes. Subtle sins. The Father calls us through the Son: "My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous; and He Himself is the propitiation for our sins; and not for ours only, but also for those of the whole world." (I John 2:1-2) See yourself as the redeemed. See yourself in the Light of Jesus. See yourself rescued from your sins. But don't excuse yourself when you sin. We have more than the gift of God. We have been given the life of God through Jesus our Lord!

Monday, November 19, 2012

"If God Is For Us"

  "If God is for us, who is against us?" (Rom. 8:31) Is this true? Is God really for us? The God who spoke this huge creation into existence and set in motion all the intricate details? The God who flooded the world in man's history? The God who parted the waters for His people live? That God is for us? How can we be sure?
  "He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him over for us all, how will He not also with Him freely give us all things?" (Rom. 8:32) The proof is resounding! God delivered His own Son for us. Not my child. Not your child. God didn't demand from us. He delivered His Son! If God would go that far, what about giving us anything else we need to make it to His goal for us eternally? How much does He want to help?
  "Who will bring a charge against God's elect? God is the one who justifies; who is the one who condemns? Christ Jesus is He who died, yes, rather who was raised, who is at the right hand of God, who also interceded for us." (Rom. 8:33-34) God justifies (acquitted) because of Jesus dying for us. Jesus not only died but was raised, sitting with God and interceding for us. GOD JUSTIFIES THROUGH JESUS!
  "Who will separate us from the love of God?" (Rom. 8:35) What will you let separate you? Because times get tough? You lose a job? Will you let that separate you? Your mate walks out for someone else leaving you pained, will that separate you? Your health fails? Will that separate you? How much does the love of God for you mean?
  "But in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us." (Rom. 8:37) In reading all this, what is left for us to say?

Thursday, November 15, 2012

"Sin's Struggle"

  Sin is a struggle for the one wanting to do right and find in their lives failure. It can wreck havoc and bring one into a terrible state of mind. To go back and tell the Father over and over you have sinned for the same thing, wanting, desiring and insisting that it won't happen again only to find yourself defeated. What does one do? Where do they turn? How does one find the power to overcome?
  This may be a little over-simplified but the answer is found in Jesus. It's always Jesus. Paul, before he came into Christ Jesus, was serving the Father under the Law. He tried to what is right only to be defeated. It created within him confusion and a down-trodden spirit (Rom. 7:14-24). He simply couldn't understand why when he so desperately wanted to serve God but found himself doing the sin that he hated so much. It wore him out! But there, in his hour of desperation, the time to quit and give up there came hope in the form of Jesus.
  For those struggling with sin beating you down, remember the Lord wants to help. The answer is found in allowing the Lord to help. It is realizing that the Lord doesn't want to condemn you, push you away into eternal condemnation without hope. He wants you to see that He wants to deal with your sins! To go through the pain and agony of the cross to throw you aside in your struggles is not the Lord Jesus or your heavenly Father. God wants all to come to repentance and salvation and the cross speaks that in volumes!
  Remember the time in your life when you didn't care at all about the Lord? Remember when you just openly embraced sin and loved to sin without even knowing you loved it? Did the Lord reach out to you and want you in that condition so He could forgive and cleanse? When we struggle with sin, knowing the Lord does care and love us now in His Son more than ever, and we fail, do you think He wants to save you? Does He still stand for you? We know He does! Why would anyone, under any circumstance think about quitting the Lord because they struggle with sin? That's when we embrace Him the more, shouldn't we?

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

"Trusting Jesus"

  Jesus was known for His doing good and helping. His healings were many and His doing the unnatural was over-whelming at times. Walking on water? Jesus is the Son of God and His lives today. But whatever one knows about Him, Jesus also spoke the truth. There were the "Truly, truly" statements. There were statements against the hypocrisy of the religious leaders. Jesus could always be depended on doing what is right and speaking what is true.
  When Jesus spoke He didn't speak just to speak as many do today. He didn't talk empty religious rhetoric with a "Praise the Lord " here in front of everyone. No, Jesus spoke the truth that came directly from His Father about His Father. Jesus not only spoke the truth but He loved the truth from the Father that He spoke.
  If I might encourage you today, trust in Jesus to reveal the Father to you. Listen to His words as Jesus will show us the Father. When one comes to know Jesus, they come to know the Father (John 14). Jesus assured His own apostles of this and assures us as well. Too many are making Jesus into things that He isn't. Too many are speaking things out of place and making the Father into something He is not. Too many are abusing the Holy Spirit not realizing He too is the Spirit of truth. 
  Christ is the exact representation of the nature of the Father (Heb. 1:3). Jesus spoke the truth and many were upset by it but it didn't change the truth. Too many are defending their denominations teachings and not Christ's truth. Too many are defending their traditions and not the truth from Jesus. Too many just blindly follow what they have been taught without looking into the truth of Jesus the Lord. This Lord and Christ sent men into the world to speak His truth for which it cost many of them their lives. That shows how many hate the truth. But these men knew their Lord and believed His truth above all. Trust Jesus! Trust His word! Trust Him to show you His Father! Trust Him to teach you the truth and receive His truth with all your heart. Your life will change.  

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

"Believe God's Word"

  Take your time and read Psa. 119. There you find 176 verses of great insight. What I want you to focus on is God's child David in regard to the word of the Lord, the teachings of the Lord in his life and mind. God's word, the truth of His word should have first place in our listening to Him. But there is something else. We find people all the time that read and study from the word of the Lord yet they miss the truth. Jesus knew there were people who studied Scriptures and missed God completely (John 5:39-40). The reason is they aren't seeking the truth but using the word as something not intended by the Lord. The lawyer who came to Jesus asking what he could do to inherit eternal life (Luke 10:25-28). Jesus pointed the man to what the Scriptures taught. Somehow he had missed it! If one isn't careful they can miss (or I can miss) the truth in Scripture because our hearts aren't believing what is written but adding what we already know to what we read and the Lord doesn't reveal the truth from that point. Peter urged his fellow-Christians to desire the pure milk of the word of God to grow out of the fleshliness of envy, malice and the like (I Pet. 2:1-2).
  For people to dismiss the Scriptures and the study of them by taking off on some man's book or idea didn't learn to do that from the Scripture! Be wary of those who point to man, who point to man's writings to draw one closer to the Lord. Be wary of those who use the word of God to win an argument! Be wary of those who use the Holy Word as simply knowledge to put others down. Let me remind you, it is possible to be able to quote Bible and be a reprobate. Didn't we learn that from the Pharisees? The devil did it to Jesus!
  It was the Lord Jesus who opened the mind of His disciples to understand the Scripture (Luke 24:45). That tells us that the Lord is in control who gains. Those with pure motives, pure hearts, seeking for His righteousness and truth are the ones who gain. I know someone reading might think I am writing as if I have it all together. I am pointing that I continually search, keeping context and desire the truth from His word. When someone shows me something I may have missed or misapplied, I diligently seek out what is shown to see if they are correct. I'm not afraid to be wrong! Understanding comes from the Lord. It was Jesus instructing a Samaritan woman that true worshipers will worship both in spirit and truth. It's these that God seeks out (John 4:23-24).
  Love the word. It's okay to read books but do not let a man or his writings over-ride the Holy Spirit inspired writings of God. Let the Scriptures mold your thinking. Let the Scriptures dwell in your heart and mind. Let the Scriptures be trusted above all else. When we trust completely God's word, we are placing our heart into His hands, calling on Him to reveal Himself through His word. That's much deeper than quoting or head knowledge!!

Monday, November 12, 2012

"Focus on the Lord"

  We fail at times. Well, let me just speak for me...I fail! I have nothing more in my heart than to serve Jesus. With this desire to serve Him, I fail. Sometimes I fall flat on my face getting scuffed up. Other times, I say things that later I wonder why I said such at such a time. There are those times when there is not enough of me to do the tasks and someone is in difficulties and I can't get to them in time. I find myself at times overly sensitive and if there is someone that I have hurt, not knowing at the time but finding out later, it really weighs in on my soul. I can say with an honest heart, I never do anything intentionally that would harm another!
  Today is not about me even though I have started there. It's about My Lord. I know my every weakness and fault. But more than that, the Lord knows me better than me! He knows my struggles and the pain that I either cause myself or someone because of just plain weakness. I am reminded of David in Psa. 139:3: "You scrutinize my path and my lying down, and are intimately acquainted with all my ways." The Lord knows us so well, He knew the remedy for me (us). It was Himself! Putting on the Lord Jesus Jesus in baptism, clothing ourselves with Him at that point and putting within us this new self, created in the likeness of God. What a blessing!
  When you fail, know that you're not hopeless. When you fail many times, it's not over. The only time it would be over if we failed to hold to Jesus and move toward Him. Take a moment and reflect on the the Lord and His saving grace extended to you. Not once but many times over. Take a moment and know how well the Lord of heaven and earth knows us. Yet He still offers us of Himself so we could be acceptable before Him. Rejoice in the Lord always, again I say, rejoice!

Thursday, November 8, 2012

"Does God Attend?"

  Does God attend when we unite in one body to worship? That's a strange question but is it really? Does God attend when we gather for our worship?
  You might not tell it when you listen to some or watch their attitudes. It seems there are those who have no awareness of the presence of God. Sometimes the preacher has no awareness. The things prepared and spoken don't seem to be spoken in the presence of God. Preachers can go on and on about this book or this opinion and never get us focused on the One with whom is dwelling among us. The Lord's voice is heard little from His Scripture while man's voice is heard much. The result is little faith is built. Is God attending when you gather to worship?
  The Supper we take is a sharing in, a fellowshipping in the body and blood of Jesus. We share with Him or do we just throw down a piece of bread or gulp a little juice with no awareness that we are fellowshipping Him with us? Is God attending when you gather for worship?
  The songs we sing, are they words printed on the paper, the song leader being lively or boring and the voices are off or on? Is that what we sense? Or maybe the one reading Scripture, what a terrible job he did or maybe eloquent? Is God attending when we gather to worship?
  Do we think its our creativity or masterful organization that makes worship wonderful? Look at how many have every detail worked out, down to the mood music!! Is God attending when we gather together?
  Others seem to sleep or act bored so they get up every few minutes for a bathroom break or a drink. They just want this thing called worship to be done so they can get on with their day. Obligation met! Does it ever occur to them if God is attending when they worship?
  If we knew God is attending, standing right with us, wouldn't that make a difference in what we say and how we worship? Wouldn't that make us aware of whose presence we live? Maybe our worship lacks because our lives lack? Maybe because our love is so little and faith so small that we have lost all awareness of our lives and worship? Maybe we are just following religious actions without any awareness in heart? Maybe God as removed His lampstand?
  Let's be honest in heart and ask ourselves: does God attend when we gather for our worship? Your attitude and actions reveals your awareness.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

"The Sovereign God"

  It was a city named Ramah. It was a deportation centre where the conqueror gathered the captives together before scattering them throughout the world. It was a place of heartache and to be feared. Rachel was the mother of Israel (she married Jacob) and Jeremiah speaks that Rachel is crying over her children.
  The Lord speaks through Jeremiah about Ramah and the bitter weeping to take place. It is pictured as Rachel weeping for her children (Israel the nation) as they are being taken off into captivity (Jer. 31:15). Then the Lord speaks: "Restrain your voice from weeping and your eyes from tears; for you work will be rewarded," 'declares the Lord,' "and they will return from the land of the enemy. There is hope for your future," declares the Lord, "and you children will return to their own territory." (Jer. 15:16-17)
  What words of comfort if the people would heed. The God of heaven, the sovereign Lord of the all creation says there are better days ahead. But the people sit and watch things presently and speak, "But what about in the meantime? What is happening now?" We must face the present but we must face it in the presence of the Lord. The Lord tells Israel not to cry but those aren't words to just shrug off the present situation. The Lord speaks that you say you trust Me but you act like all is lost!
  We need to learn as they had to learn that the Lord, our Father and God, is the sovereign ruler of the present and the future. The Lord promises a glorious future. We have painted for us a future of a new resurrection, a new body and a new world where sin and death aren't present (I Cor. 15). What are we to do with the present? "Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your toil is not in vain in the Lord." (I Cor. 15:58)
  HE THAT CONTROLS THE FUTURE IS THE LORD OF THE PRESENT!!! No matter if there is economic chaos, the inoperable tumors, the ungodly governments or whatever man does, God is sovereign. The Lord of the future is working in the present. He is shaping the future and is sovereign over the present. We must look with faith to the promised glory. We can gain peace in the middle of political, economic and moral social storms if we would only seek and trust God. God has not changed! God is not silent! It's us who run every where, with every thought, with every fear which takes our focus and trust away from the God who is sovereign! TRUST!

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

"Mr. Job"

  Job thought he had God called into accountability! Throughout the book, the friends of Job tried to convict him, though wrongly, and in the end Job poured out his questions and if God would just show Himself, there would be more questions that God must answer. This man Job didn't understand or realize who the Almighty really is!
  God speaks, out of a whirlwind at first. This man Job who insists that the sovereign Lord should be accountable to him and be under his control is facing a whirlwind and a voice speaks. The sovereign Lord, the Lord God Almighty asks: "Who is this that darkens counsel by words without knowledge? Now gird up your loins like a man, and I will ask you, and you instruct Me!" (Job 38:2-3) From this point Job is shown his ignorance, his lack of power and lack of understanding. But God's not finished.
  God asks who the faultfinder is that will contend with the Almighty? Job stood speechless and quieted his mouth by placing his hand over his mouth. God speaks, out of a storm this time! God was sending a message. It's not going to be a quiet time between us. God doesn't reach out His arms and ask Job to approach and put His arms around his shoulders and comfort. God doesn't ask if Job feels better for getting things off his chest. God loved Job but God is God and no man can tell the Creator how to run things. A tour of the world began.
  What do we learn? Too many, too many seem to believe they have God all wrapped up in a neat little package in their pocket and He is theirs alone! Some think that God acts the way they want Him to act. Man doesn't seem too interested in simply listening to His word but adding things that aren't there, making up things that aren't spoken to fit their own reasoning and desires. That's why we have so many different religious beliefs. That's why we have splits within the brotherhood! Someone takes a word from the Lord and formulates a complete doctrine off of it even if there are other verses that contradict their conclusion and convictions. It's calling God into account to back up their conclusion. As Job, we need to put our hands over our mouths, look at what we are doing and listen to make certain we humble ourselves before the Almighty! As sovereign Lord, the Almighty will govern the way He seems fit in His righteousness. Will we listen?

Monday, November 5, 2012


  The other day while driving, I received a phone call from a dear friend of my I haven't spoken to in some time. After catching up with our lives, he made a statement to me and it didn't hit me to what this might mean until later. It was a simple statement about getting old. Everyone does that I guess. Everyone discusses what was, what could have been and what is!
  A few days after this phone conversation, another dear brother was riding with me and asked, "What do you see your life like 10 years from now?" I thought a few moments and replied, "I can't go there because I could be dead and if not, I'm approaching 70!" What a stinger! Then came the next question: "Do you think you will be in Jeff City?" I don't know the answer to that either! All I know is I will hit the ranks where many will want to see the aged turned out and bring in the youth! I've seen it over and over in my lifetime. I will be no exception. I already find myself stumbling for words and thoughts at times and from what I hear, it will continue to get worse! That's an encouragement!
  In all this one thing I know, the future belongs to the Lord. Don't get bogged down in what will be and live for today! Today has enough troubles of its own...I believe Jesus said that. Today is your day. Live it to the Lord. Live it for the Lord. Live it with faith in the Lord. Today is your opportunity for renewal of your inner man. Renew! Today is your day to read from the Scriptures listening to the voice of God with an attitude of faith and desire. Do not just read to be a daily Bible reader but read with conviction and assurance. Today is the day the Lord has made. There is too much living in yesterday and too much living in fear of the future. Remember: "Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever."  (Heb. 13:8) Rest in the Lord today!

Thursday, November 1, 2012


  Elders in the Lord's church carry a massive responsibility. They must handle situations that the majority in the church will never hear or face. My own dad served many years as an elder and I can remember a time when I was so ungodly, so out of control, I'll never forget hearing my dad tell my mom that he was going to resign his service to the Lord because of what I was doing. The silent heartache he had to go through just because of me.
  Elders deal with delicate situations, things that must be kept silent in order to help the soul of the one struggling. Elders must deal with criticism from those who claim they know things but know nothing about what they shallowly speak. Elders must deal with attacks like no one else in the church. They take harsh words without blinking an eye because they understand the one on the attack is in spiritual danger.
  Elders are men! They were at one time part of the lost souls of this universe. They were converted to Jesus, live their lives for Jesus and were raised up to serve the Great Shepherd Jesus. But they are men with flaws. Some in the church never realize this!
  Elders shed tears. The congregation may not see it but they shed tears. The secret pain they carry over the flock at times as well as open criticism. You can see in them the reflection of the One they serve, Jesus.
  Elders do not fight or struggle with power. It's not there! They simply focus on what the Lord wants for the flock they shepherd and know it is the Lord Jesus interests they serve. In light of this, the elders have different personalities which is what makes them work so well together. Some are strong, some are meek. The members see the strong and think the strong rules but that's not the real case. The elders as a whole decides. 
  Elders hear complaints and they direct the one in conflict to do as Jesus asks...go to the one that the member is complaining about. Resolve it with them first and then if there is no spiritual movement, the elders will help. 
  Some try to bully the elders but the elders will stand up against that and not allow it to happen. They must protect the flock from bullies, from gossips, from those who want to splinter and divide. They stand without fear knowing what is at stake. 
  These are my elders! These are the men I have come to love and respect. What I have learned over the many years is that the closer the elders hold to the cross, the more they will be accused of wrong-doing. Didn't we see that with Jesus? Yet there are those in the church who think it is their personal responsibility to oversee the overseers and that is completely off the chart as far as Jesus is concerned. That's called rebellion!
  There is the Great Shepherd that will hold these men accountable. These men know they will stand before this Great Shepherd and they love Him dearly. These men need our encouragement. Pray for them. Let them know and be thankful for their quiet way in which they protect and lead you. I love my elders. 

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

"Gaining in Pain"

  I'm going to be a little more personal today. As hard as it may be to believe, some people just don't want or care about the truth. It ranges from personal situations to Biblical teachings. There are those who can look good to others but they simply care little about the truth. Their refusal to seek the whole truth reveals they don't want to seek truth. They seek just what suits their motives at the moment.
  Jesus had to live through it when He was arrested and ultimately killed because false testimony was given in order to carry out the hatefulness of mankind. Jesus was accused as this hateful man, this schemer trying to lead people astray. What did He do? "And while being reviled, He did not revile in return; while suffering, He uttered no threats, but kept entrusting Himself to Him who judges righteously." (I Pet. 2:23)
  There are those in the body of Christ that want to rule, want things their way and when they feel they have not been heard or their requests ignored (which in a nut shell means they were told 'no' and didn't like it), they will turn on the eldership or those that did not accept their push! John called a man named Diotrephes evil as this man tried to run things and anyone who followed the truth of the apostles teachings, he took it upon himself to put the out of the church (III John). To top it off, it says he "unjustly" accused the apostles with wicked words. Can you imagine?
  Today we should not be surprised when people rise up and do the same. They are unhappy and discontent for some reason and in order to look righteous, they attack trying to make those of the truth look as badly as possible! Truth is not part of their makeup or desires. Don't be discouraged! Don't allow those who act in such ways with little desire for what is really truthful to affect your thinking. The Lord is in control. As Paul encouraged Timothy to watch out for Alexander the coppersmith, Paul said: "the Lord will repay him according to his deeds." (II Tim. 4:14) The Lord knows well. Be strong! Be encouraged! Know that whenever you feel under attack from someone who cares little for the truth, the Lord is aware and He will defend you. When we are weak, we are strong...that's a promise from heaven. My dear friends and brothers in Texas (and anyone else who might be going through unjust accusations), yes, this is for you today... don't quit! Keep entrusting yourself to the One who judges righteously. I know this all too well!!! God's blessings.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

"The Cleansed Conscience"

  The Hebrew writer penned by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit: "How much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without blemish to God, cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?" (Heb. 9:14) One verse speaks volumes of the value of a clear conscience. Without the blood cleansing the conscience, there is NO service to the Lord!
  When one is  haunted by guilt in their conscience, their efforts are to rid themselves of the guilt. They can't serve the Lord from freedom and love because guilt has them bound. Effort and energy are spent wanting to be free, hoping that by doing certain things they will find relief. Maybe one decides to read more of Scripture, pray daily or make a more concerted effort in Bible studies and worship. In all this, one serves only themselves!
  Why? Because in guilt, there is little to no dependency on the blood of Christ. Guilt creates within one an effort to clear themselves. The writer in the verse speaks of "dead works". Works  that can't produce life or get you right with God! The blood of Jesus is to effect complete inward freedom so one can serve the living God. Our defilement takes place within. Guilt takes place within. Our conscience has knowledge of us that no one else knows but God! God sends Jesus. Jesus enters into the perfect, spiritual tabernacle that was not made by the hands of man (Heb. 9:11). Jesus enters this tabernacle without the blood of animals but with His own blood with one objective: to obtain eternal redemption (Heb. 9:12).
  Under the first covenant (testament), God accepted the blood of animals to atone for sin. If God would accept sinful man by the blood of animals, how much more through the blood of Jesus? (Heb. 9:13-14). This new covenant God made with us is a covenant of cleansing completely by the blood of Jesus. The blood of Jesus cleanses 100% of all our sins no matter how horrible. That's the promise! The result of faith in God's promise and the blood of Christ? "To cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God!" Have you been to Jesus for His cleansing power?

Monday, October 29, 2012

"The Safe Place"

  My final meeting of the year which was near my hometown in Texas is history. What a great opportunity the Lord gave me. People who I had not seen for years came and those whom I had never met opened their lives up to me. I tried my best to present to them lessons of hope and praise of the Lord. There were visitors at each lesson who had never responded to the gospel of Jesus. The Lord opened the doors of their heart.
  It stuck me as I was speaking on evening that what people need is newness. Now that might not come as a surprise to you. It hit me! Newness...there can be no newness until one is willing to give up the oldness. There has to be a cleansing before there can be newness! It's not just an attitude adjustment but a complete heart cleansing.
  Jesus' commissioned His disciples before His departure back to His heavenly Father to go and speak the gospel message to all and they who believe it will be baptized and they will be saved (Mark 16:15-16)! Why would the words of Jesus speak such? Why did Jesus speak of a message and associate baptism with it? Baptism is where faith and Jesus come together. Peter didn't argue anything with the Jew's asking what they were to do after hearing they had killed the Messiah for whom they had been waiting. Paul didn't argue with Ananias when he was told to arise and be baptized to wash away his sins while calling on the name of the Lord (Acts 22:16). People want to argue things, twist things or make things what they aren't rather than accept the simple message of salvation and respond by faith, trusting their union with Jesus at the time and point of baptism. Being buried with the One who has conquered death is the safest place to be in all the universe.
  Baptism is a burial, the ending of old life so one can raise in newness (Rom. 6:1-7). It was Jesus who spoke the words to His own disciples to preach the good news and faith in them would stir them to respond. Have you been to the cemetery to be buried with Jesus? Let's not argue, just believe! The Lord spoke it, the apostles preached it and those who believed the message received it and were baptized for the forgiveness of their sins. That's where our safety lay and God calls people from a world of sin into the safe place called the Lord Jesus. Believe His word!

Thursday, October 18, 2012

"Just Ask"

  Today is my last posting until Oct. 29. I will be traveling to Texas where I will be speaking for the next week. I always enjoy sharing the wonderful truth about the Lord to others. What about you? Why do so many seem to have difficulty in sharing the Lord with others? That co-worker who is struggling or maybe your neighbor. It might even be your spouse or kin. It seems we are afraid to say something about Jesus to direct their mind and heart upward.
  Here's a thought...I have found over the many years people are never offended if you simply ask them if they are religious. There are several forms to ask this question but people will always give you an answer and it is what opens the door to speaking with them about their souls while expressing the truth. We are so afraid that we will turn them away but it is really the opposite. When you ask someone about their belief or relationship with the Lord, you ask them something no one else on this earth asks about: their soul! There is this deep part of a person, hidden away that rarely gets touched by humans. When you probe it, inquire about it, it hits home. It opens the doors the heart. They might say a brief statement and let it be but they know you asked and will never be offended that you did.
  Next time you speak with someone who is struggling or needing a hand, ask them if they are religious? You will be surprised at the doors it opens and the respect you will receive. But more important, the Lord may have been working on their heart and given you the opportunity to steer them into the truth about a Savior they desperately need.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012


  Okay, I've written today and something happened that I lost my article. I attempted again and something happened and it too was lost. What am I to do? Fix your eyes on Jesus as He alone is the author and perfecter of faith and He made it through all the difficulties in life ending up at the right hand of God. Isn't that where you want to be?
  Jesus endured hostilites when He did good. The message: Never grow weary in your walk and never lose heart. You life is headed somewhere beyond the grave and our focus is to be with Jesus...FOREVER! What's your goal?

Tuesday, October 16, 2012


  The other morning we had a group of men meet together to discuss how we can better focus our hearts and the hearts of the believers on the Lord during our assembly. It was an encouraging three hours! I only wished more of our men who lead and serve could have been there. One thing that was pointed out was "awareness". We need men aware of what we are doing and where we are leading. We need "awareness"  when we partake of the Supper, it is our "awareness" in this Supper. We don't speak or pray for the those lost, or ask for help for the sick and needy among us during this time. The Supper is where we fellowship Jesus and our faith is secure in His body and His blood of the covenant. "Awareness!"
  Another question came to the front: If Jesus walked into our assembly, came over and sat down by you, what would you do? Where would you focus? It was interesting to hear the different men share some insight from the word about that question. But it didn't take just a few moments and it was concluded: HE DOES! Every first day of the week He is sharing with us of Himself with His brothers and sisters. "Awareness!" Do we not realize that Jesus is among us? Do we not realize He is the purpose and focus of all we do, both daily and collectively? When we lose sight of Jesus, what does that say about our faith and trust?
  When prayers are spoken publicly, what should our "Awareness" be? When we sing, what is our "Awareness?" When Scripture is read there should be great "Awareness." May the Lord be the One whom we love and serve and not just someone we speak about because that's the 'religious' thing to do! May we always be in "Awareness" both in truth and spirit.

Monday, October 15, 2012

"Loving the World or the Lord?"

  We hear those in Christ teach/preach against loving the world and following the world. Lesson after lesson, class after class, comments and commentary are given as we speak openly about not loving this world. The world at present day in our nation has become an angry society. It is amazing how this political season has been so sharp, rude and at times just down-right hateful. People seem on edge and as the election draws near people are even more on edge.
  We look on facebook and the articles that are put out attack someone while get others riled up. Jabs are thrown openly back and forth. This last week I had a dear brother in Christ speak with me and tell me that in the community he lives in, the religious leaders were calling for all others to come together on a certain day and they were going to instruct who to vote for and why in the face of those who were out campaigning against who they thought should be President. We watch news on television and hear those commentating be harsh and cutting. What is happening?
  It's walking into the church, that's what! Brothers and sisters in Christ are getting caught up in all this disdain and sides are drawn. We say we don't love the world but listen to us. The world influences our lives and thinking more than we would ever admit. There is little of "losing our lives for His sake to save our lives!" Do we really believe the Lord is in charge? Does the Lord really install kings and take down kings (Dan. 4:17,25)? Is the Lord going to accomplish His will even in this election year? Yes, we can vote but the final say will come from the Lord to fulfill His purpose. We have a really hard time with believing that.
  In this day and time, don't get caught up in the world's demeanor. We have a message to this hostile world: there is a Savior for you and He is coming back! Just read Jam. 4:1-4 and there we see that when one takes on the worlds attitudes, they make themselves an enemy of God. The Lord is here to rescue and save, not make us angry and hateful!

Thursday, October 11, 2012

"Lessons Learned"

  You have this idea and have spoken about it to others. They too think it is good and needs to be implemented! Yes, this would be good for the church so off we go and present it to the elders. Everything is laid out showing the good and the need. We leave the meeting and then...MOLASSES! It seems everything is swamped with molasses especially the elders. Days go by, weeks go by and nothing! It builds within your heart frustrations and eventually a bad attitude toward those who watch over our souls.
  We start accusing the elders to others that they haven't done one thing with the idea. Now our frustrations are being passed on and it starts to affect others. The elders are the blame for such. But wait, what is really going on? Have we ever thought or do we believe the Lord is at work? The delay teaches patience and love. The delay teaches me to have better understanding. The delay is generally wisdom from the elders, trying to look at the end result of something before it starts and it takes time and prayer. The Lord is in control and all this exposes our inner heart attitudes and desires. The Lord is exposing our weaknesses and we learn that how quickly, how easily we are stirred to a bad attitude. "But this is too long? Don't the elders care?" That's it...they do care. That's why when elders are appointed, they are spiritual minded men, not a board of directors or bosses telling others what to do.
  Remember, when we think we have such good ideas that need urgent attention, the Lord is at work! Remember the fruit of the Spirit (Gal. 5:22-24)? Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self control? What is really being taught by the Lord? All of this is teaching us to lean and put our faith in the Lord, not our ingenuity! Then how do the elders learn the love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self control? God gives them US!

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

"The Righteousness of Jesus"

  Jesus is the exact representation of God's nature in every way (Heb. 1:3). Jesus is all about righteousness and truth. We aren't that way. Many times we think we do some good deeds, help some people along and that's righteousness. What we fail to see is that the lost can do good deeds and help others along. The righteousness of Jesus Christ the Lord calls us upward into Himself that we might become conformed to His nature in every way.
  Jesus calls us to go the extra mile with someone. We don't like to do that. We feel as if we have gone far enough already and we complain if we are called to go further. That's not the righteousness of Jesus.
  Jesus calls us never to murder! We grasp that one quickly. Or do we? We are told that to hate our brother is the same as a murderer (I John 3:15). We start to soft peddle! We really don't hate them and we justify ourselves. We take a bad attitude toward the one we claim we don't hate, we just rather not talk to them. The righteousness of Jesus doesn't do that or call us to do that. Jesus exposes our motives.
  Jesus our Lord calls us not to speak evil against one another. Yet here we go, spreading things that would cause others harm and calling it defending the truth. How close is that to the righteousness of Jesus? How close is that to His truth?
  Jesus calls each of us to Himself. He calls us into His righteousness and holiness. Jesus sets that standard of righteousness and holiness, not us. Jesus isn't about making our lives easier but making our lives reflect His life. Jesus is trying to make our lives LIVE! What He calls us to is completely opposite of what we as humans think. The Lord calls us away from our education, our politics and culture to pursue His righteousness. Jesus calls us to Himself and away from ourselves! 

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

"I Wish You Would Stay"

  It's one of the most wonderful statements that one could hear from someone you love. "I wish you could stay!" Or maybe "I wish you didn't have to go but could stay longer!" Don't you love hearing that from a family member or dear friend after spending time with them? Doesn't is just make your heart melt, wanting more time? And then we hear those little voices, those little people called children and grandchildren, when we speak it's time to go to bed and they say, "Aw, can't we stay up just a little longer?" They want to be in your presence!
  Jesus prepared for His impending death, His sacrifice on behalf of all of mankind. What a burden He must have had on His heart. With the sacrificing of Himself at hand, He speaks to His disciples telling them: "In My Father's house are many dwelling places; if it were not so, I would have told you; for I go to prepare a place for you. 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." (John 14:2-3) Can you hear what the Lord speaks to His own? I prepare for you...I will receive you so there you can be also.! He speaks that He doesn't want them to ever leave. Jesus doesn't reject people. People reject Jesus and it leaves Him no alternative. But for those of us who love His word, seek His truth and hold to His truth, Jesus wants us to be around. It is rather stunning sometimes to think of the horrific failures we may have had yet He wants us around!
  Jesus' love for us is a redeeming love. It is a love that no matter how we have failed, He hasn't failed nor His sacrifice for us. Jesus' love for us is a transforming love that draws us to Him and changes one into His likeness. Jesus has NO intentions of leaving us but He also has no intention of fellowshiping sin as that's what causes Him pain. But for those who forsake their sin, no matter how bad, who will put their trust in His sacrifice and love by listening to His voice, He wants you around even when you stumble. Sometimes He might need to administer discipline (Heb. 12:5-13) but that's because He wants you around. If we would open our hearts and listen to Him softly say, "I wish you would stay! Don't go!"

Monday, October 8, 2012


  I know there are just as many others that love their families like I love my family. I guess as I have aged and can see the end of a life in the future, my family becomes more precious. This has led me to taking advantage of moments that present themselves. 
  But more than any of this, I spend much time praying for my children and grandchildren. I pray fervently for them. I teach when opportunities present themselves. I try to show them God and help them understand with my limited insight about our wonderful, powerful, loving Father. I instruct them with little teachings about looking like and following the world. I was speaking with my granddaughter the other day and shared with her the reason her grandpa is always talking to her about God is because the world, if you follow and love it, will turn your heart into not believing. I shared with her that when one follows those around, the love of the Father cannot be part of us. One cannot serve two masters!
  I want my children and grandchildren (and if the Lord grants me great grandchildren) in heaven. But there is another family I love and care for and that's the family of God. Peter instructs us to love the brotherhood! I want God's family to make it to heaven. I refuse to allow any problems or bad attitudes take me away from loving God's children. I guess that's the driving force within me that keeps me preaching/teaching. I must say there are times I've wanted to quit. I've felt what Jeremiah felt when he was ready to give up because no one seemed to listen or follow the voice of the Lord. I felt like Isaiah felt when he spoke he was ready to deliver God's message to His people.
  Well, I guess today's blog was the importance of family. I pray that if you read this, it will prick you heart into thinking about what things you put before your family. I encourage each of you, don't excuse the wrong behavior of your children, even if they are aged. Help them! Gently correct them! Let them see God in you which means you must be seeing God yourself. Hear Him speak through His word. Love Him! Hold to Him and in all your ways acknowledge Him. It will be worth everything one eternal day!

Thursday, October 4, 2012

"Twenty Years"

  It's hard to believe I am in my twentieth year here at Fairgrounds Road (formally Dix Road). That's a lot of staying time. I love the body of Jesus here. People have asked me if folks have grown tired of my preaching/teaching. I simply tell them they are asking the wrong person. I don't know. But what I do know is I want to help, work and honestly try to bring Christ Jesus to His body. It wasn't long ago that I had one come into my office telling me that my time here is past and that there needs to be (in their terms) "new blood in our pulpit." I'm not real sure what "new blood" really describes but I got the message.
  Wouldn't it be wonderful if ever sermon was a 'homerun' and every class was a deep faith building class? It just doesn't happen. We as frail humans are limited. Even in my weaknesses (and yes, the brethren here definitely know my weaknesses for which I'm not ashamed) I hear what God speaks through Isaiah the prophet: "For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return there without watering the earth and making it bear and sprout, and furnishing seed to the sower and bread to the eater; so will My word be which goes forth from My  mouth; it will not return to Me empty, without accomplishing what I desire, and without succeeding in the matter for which I sent it." (Isa. 55:10-11) It's not about me! It's not about my style of preaching! It's not about any person on this earth. It's about the ways of God and what He wants accomplished. The messenger can be poor in speech, but if the message is the word of God (not some book, some psychology idea, some story) it will work the way God intended it to work! This is God's will, His goal reaching and accomplishing what He wants.
  Years back while holding a meeting at a large congregation in Texas, the preacher there along with one of the elders was rather rude to me. I didn't know why or what I had done to them. Toward the end of the week, I was praying one night before bed asking God what was the purpose of my being there. It was so discouraging. The last night of the meeting, after people had left, I was down front putting my things in my briefcase ready to leave. An older gentleman in his 80's, bent over with a cane, came walking down the isle to me. He spoke softly and said he wanted to wait until everyone left. His eyes fixed on me and he said, "I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart. I never realized my salvation until now and for the first time in my life, I believe with all my heart that I am going to make it to heaven!" And then it hit..."My word will not return to Me empty accomplishing what I desire!" The man died two weeks after I left. It's not about me (or you)! It's about God, proclaiming His word and we need to remember that.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

"The Tongue"

    How many think about the language they use on a daily basis? Do we give it any thought or do we just speak in such a natural way that our language is just us? The Lord is concerned about they way we speak and the control of our tongues. James speaks that "the tongue is a fire, the very world of iniquity; the tongue is set among our members as that which defiles the entire body." (Jam. 3:6) Jesus spoke that the "the mouth speaks out of that which fills the heart." (Matt. 12:34) Our speech reveals the condition of the heart. Our speech tells what our heart loves the most. Paul spoke to the Ephesians that there should be "no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth." (Eph. 4:29) There are things that can be spoken that aren't fitting for saints. (Eph. 5:4)
  I once spoke about euphemisms that people use. A euphemism is the use of a word that is less expressive or not as offensive as the original word. When I finished, one individual got upset and spoke how wrong it was for me to teach such. It didn't take a scholar to know they were guilty of using euphemisms and the message they were sending me was they weren't going to change. What a shame knowing the tongue is what defiles us and is a direct line to our heart.
  Have you ever wonder what words are euphemisms ? Let's look at a few. The word 'gosh' is a euphemism for the name God! Look it up. The word 'golly' is also a euphemism for God. The word 'gee' is a euphemism for Jesus. People use these words all the time not realizing what they are saying. Some use the term 'crap' which is defined as vulgar slang. Can you imagine vulgar slang coming from our hearts? Many words used today are just thrown out without any thought of what they mean.
  We need to be storing the good things in our heart, good treasures. We need to give our speech up to the Lord which means we must change our hearts. "With it we bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in the likeness of God; from the same mouth come both blessing and cursing. My brethren,  these things ought not be this way." (Jam. 3:9-10)

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

"The Dancing Dogs"

  What are we hearing during an assembly? The Lord? When those who lead our hearts in prayer, what are we saying in our heart? Do we just sit idly while someone utters words and we hear nothing? Nothing for which we can say 'Amen'? When we sing of our faith and trust, what are we confessing to the Lord? Are they just notes to a tune or words that have meaning that we hear and express? When we hear preaching, what are we hearing? Are we hearing a history lesson that does not challenge my faith? A lesson with little to no conviction? Does our preaching/teaching bring the Lord right before us to confront us with our lives to change? To develop our faith? Do we just sit there without our heart engaged because we are shown over and over the same weak elements that we have always preached/taught? The Supper is passed and we just pick up a piece of bread and drink the cup because...well, that's what we do? There is no realization of what is happening to us? Questions, questions and more questions keep arising about our worship assembly and we need to assess our hearts.
  Whatever is going on in your heart when you assemble to worship as Christ's body, those who lead us need to pay the price of prayerful and serious reflection about why they do what they do. Those who lead need to bring God to His people to feed them in their hearts. Those who hear need to assess themselves that they are hungry for the Lord and have their hearts engaged in reaching out to Him without any distractions.
  The following event was told that it actually happened in South America as told by a minister who worked there. As he was sitting in his vehicle waiting for the return of some friends a poor lady came over asking him to come see her dancing dogs. She was hurting for money and it was the only way to gain. The minister declined but she was persistent and he finally gave in. He walked with her to her little, almost falling down shack where he found several dogs that were nothing but skin and bone. She had a piece of bread in her hand and the dogs came pleading for that one little morsel. She held the bread just above them, out of their reach and the result, they became her dancing dogs!
  And what do we find in our assemblies? Do we see a dancing congregation that is on the verge of dying because there is little food or hearts are insensitive?

Monday, October 1, 2012

"The Heart of Worship"

  At the heart of the Israelite encampment was this "house of worship." It was a tabernacle prepared by God calling the people upward to Him as their sustainer and care provider. When freedom came to this people by the mighty hand of God, they built the tabernacle and established the priesthood as God commanded.
  This place of worship was not a small thing and is not blinked at in just a few verses of Scripture. There are thirteen whole chapters in Exodus alone dealing with it! There is only a couple of verses dealing with the golden calf and the people calling that their god. What a comparison! What does that speak to us?
  Who and how we worship not only reveals our inner being, our state of heart, it shapes our inner being. Worshipers bear witness to the existence of a world beyond their senses. Our worship and how we go about it reveals our knowledge and insight of the Lord of heaven and earth. Just read I Cor. 14 and it doesn't take long to see that the way one worships, how they go about the things they do, reveal what insight or lack of insight they have of God. All healthy worship has at its heart a sense of awe and reverence in the presence of the God who purchased them. All healthy worship acknowledges the Lord God is greater than we, the created, and the heart is moved to glorifying His Majesty, not us! All healthy worship has central a dependence that we aren't self-made or self-maintained and we owe our blessings to our Savior and Creator. All healthy worship is humble, never exalting us, the redeemed but only the Redeemer.
  Our worship should call us together as one body. In that body worship, God is not our "buddy" or "pal". He's not like us! I read one time where someone said about worship: "It's only infants who tug on the dress of a queen or pull the spectacles off a king." I can't remember where I heard that or I would give credit but that's the point about God, isn't it? Too many approach God so freely, so infantile they have no clue what they are doing. All healthy worship strengthens our trust in the Lord whom we can't see with our eyes. The humble heart, the reverent atmosphere shows we recognize the reality of the Eternal One.
  When those redeemed gather together as the "house of worship" its His truth that is sought and maintained. We together express our oneness with our Lord and one another. It's more than offering up our personal worship in the presence of others but it is the worship of the people which expresses something that a lone individual cannot express!! The Supper speaks that in great magnitude. How do you approach worship?