Sunday, December 25, 2011


Not long ago a man stated that the world would end on a certain day, and obviously it didn't.  And so, as it turns out, he's not a prophet.  Regardless of that, it seems good to be aware that there will come a day when things will change greatly - that somehow, in some way, the world, the way we know it, will no longer be.  How will it unfold?  I couldn't answer that and wouldn't want to try except to say that it seems clear to me that when we see physical life ending we know the signs, and it would seem at this time applicable to the world.  We've seen many changes in the world that should tell us these are signs of a dying world - a world that is "passing away."

Jesus spoke of a time when things will change and he described what the attitude of the world will be up to that point.  Many people it seems will be taken up with the cares of the world, going about their daily lives, not having given serious consideration, if any at all, to the fact that a day of God's judgment is on its way.  It will come as a shock - a very abrupt shock.  Now at this point in our world what we say is "People will either believe or they won't," and that seems quite true, for now.  But when the day of the Lord does come, I don't think there will be anyone left in doubt of God's existence.

The words of Jesus were "watch" and  "be ready."  God does know those who are His and it seems that Jesus was describing a separation that will take place at this time of God's choosing.  It will be an immediate change - an immediate translation from this earthly existence, to the presence of the Lord, for those called out, and into His presence.  And that will be a shock of another kind to find oneself standing in the presence of God.  I think we will be overwhelmed by His love.  And so, let's remember, although people may come along and say "This will be the day!" Jesus did state clearly that no one has that knowledge other than God himself, but be ready and be waiting.  Change is coming.   

Friday, December 23, 2011


There are changes in life which come so gradually we don't always recognize them. As the years progress we change emotionally and it takes some time to realize we've moved to a point quite beyond the limitations of early youth.  In youth we often feel we understand things which in truth we have no perspective on.  But we grow from experiences and we gain knowledge as time goes on.
A slow steady change in our ability to interpret our world also is present in our walk with Christ, but with much greater impact.  We do gain knowledge as we learn God's word and when we press ever harder in search of God's direction we find ourselves looking at the world in a much different way.  We change - things change within our spirit and the mind begins to comprehend.  The fact is that God's Holy Spirit is our teacher.  Jesus said that God's spirit will lead us "into all truth." (John 16:13)  And what happens is the world goes continually in one direction while God takes us directly opposite.  The change has come and the blinders are off.  It is new life.

There was a man of the Pharisees, named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews:  The same came to Jesus by night, and said to him, "Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher come from God: for no man can do these miracles that you do, except God be with him." Jesus answered and said to him, "Truly, truly, I say to you, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God."
Nicodemus said to him, "How can a man be born when he is old? can he enter the second time into his mother's womb, and be born?"  Jesus answered, "Truly, truly, I say to you, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.  That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Marvel not that I said to you, You must be born again.  The wind blows where it wants, and you hear the sound thereof, but can not tell from where it comes, and where it goes: so is every one that is born of the Spirit."  John 3:1-8

Have a joyful Christmas

Sunday, December 18, 2011


I was reading today from the Book of Acts the accounting of the story of Saul of Tarsus who was converted to the Christian faith in a dramatic way.  Saul was a Roman citizen and Jewish by birth of the tribe of Benjamin.  Saul was also a Pharisee as was his father before him.  With the influence and rise of Christianity changing the lives of many people came persecution and Saul was burning with zealous self righteous rage against Christians and was encouraging violence and murder.  It was on the road to Damascus that Saul found himself surrounded by a brilliant light and I'm sure a very real presence, because he fell to the ground, probably somewhat terrified, and did hear a voice asking him the question, "Why are you persecuting me?" The speaker identified himself as Jesus, and from that moment forward, Saul's life changed forever.  Saul became known as the Apostle Paul, and what a life of service to God he had!  What passion!  And I think he must have been made of iron, for all the went through, but I know it was God who gave him the strength of endurance.  

Doesn't this help us to understand something of incredible importance here?  That God can change a life completely. We should never give up believing for the salvation of those we pray for.  We should keep absolute faith in what God will do.  The Bible tells us we can speak life or death with our words.  We should think about that because our words can be harmful.  We certainly want to speak faith -speak life, and pray with faith.  The days may come when we may feel "Do I have the faith I need?" "How do I receive that faith?"  God gives to us this marvelous gift of His Holy Spirit.  Faith is a spiritual gift.  And we receive because we ask.  Remember that Saul was just a man, reacting on a human level of emotions and beliefs before Christ changed him forever.  It was God's Spirit working within him that changed his life and brought out the faith and passion for the lives of other.  He became more than just a man.  He became "the vessel" which God poured into.  He received new life through faith in Christ.   He became like the man Jesus once described - the man who found that one treasure in life which nothing else could compare to - and was willing to give up all else he had to have obtain it - "Such is the Kingdom of Heaven." 

Sunday, December 11, 2011


I don't pretend to understand all the politics of what goes on in Israel, nor do I pass myself off as an authority on every recorded word of God's ancient prophets.  But I understand enough to know that God loves Israel and has a covenant with them that will never end.  He will keep the covenant He has made.  Against all odds, Israel exists, and will remain, because God said "it will be."

If those who have doubts about the truth of the Bible would seriously study the history of Israel with the Bible in hand for reference, I don't see how they could walk away with a lack of better understanding.  The facts are astonishing and I believe God would open understanding for those in search of it because He said those who search for Him with all their heart, they will find Him.  The recorded prophecies of God's word to the Israelites make very clear the plan God had, later fulfilled in the life and ministry of Jesus. And while the focus was on the people of Israel during the few years of Jesus ministry it was certainly the plan that we all inherit, all nations, all who come to that understanding of salvation through Christ.  But it was to Israel first, "God's inheritance" and that blessing also became ours.

God's word is powerful and it is forever.  God will never forget his word.  It is not possible for Him to forget.  Neither will he retract His word, because a covenant is an absolute bond, and I think the world would do well to pay attention to that fact.  We need to be on the side of support of Israel.

 "This is what the Lord says, he who appoints the sun to shine by day, who decrees the moon and stars to shine by night, who stirs up the sea so that its waves roar—the Lord Almighty is his name: 'Only if these decrees vanish from my sight,' declares the Lord, 'will the descendants of Israel ever cease to be a nation before me.'   Jeremiah 31

Friday, December 9, 2011


There was a lady who had been married a number of years to a man who had done factory work and he'd been at the shop quite a long time.  He had a good retirement program based on his years which allowed him to retire somewhat earlier than he would have been able to otherwise.  The thing about this situation was that the wife was still working and would have to for at least another 6 years and this fact caused her considerable stress and she dwelt on it.  She talked about the unfairness of it.  She blamed him for the fact that his income had not been adequate to support both of them through an early retirement.  She blamed him for her unhappiness and found fault with him endlessly.  And this was despite the fact that he'd always been a hard worker, had been faithful as a husband, had treated her children as his own, and had provided a lovely home.  And yet, when he retired he became her punching bag.  She could not cope with the idea of it; she could not seem to feel anything but bitterness.  Three years following his retirement, to everyone's surprise, he died of cancer.

It would seem that this lady spent years feeling disappointment and anger, over nothing.  Things didn't work out as she had hoped, but it's very sad that she couldn't find a way to cope with her feelings.  And while we don't want to judge her, we certainly don't want to follow her example. 

To be sure, it's an extreme example: Most people, I think, are aware of and do acknowledge that they have things to be thankful for even when circumstances aren't ideal.  But isn't it true that many of us at some point in our lives have spent time basically sorrowing over nothing?  The Bible tells us there is a time in life for happiness and there is a time for mourning.  I believe that once the time for sadness has passed, it is time to move on.  Have you failed at something you had hoped to do well at?  Have you missed an opportunity you had desperately wanted?  Has someone walked out of your life when you had wanted them to stay?  Well, don't forget God's love for you.  If you can truly realize that and keep a relationship with Him you have every reason to be encouraged.  God is not forgetful of our life's concerns and there is nothing just left to chance in the life of a Christian.  We can rest assured that He will handle it.  And remember that we don't see the future in a way which gives us the ability to predict all events, such as with the lady in the story above.  She had no idea that her husband had only three years of life left.  But God knew that, most assuredly.  Let's remember to be thankful for what we have and realize there is a bigger picture we don't see and "a time to every purpose under the heaven."  (Ecclesiastes 3)

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Burst of Salt: ANGELS

Burst of Salt: ANGELS:

My pastor related a story to us once of a man he knew (a pastor) who had been working inside of his church - and the church was empty.  He happened to be alone.  The church was on a side of town known for crime - known for the need for heightened security.  He was busy with something when he thought he heard the front door open and shut, which is apparently when he realized he hadn't locked it.  He walked to the entryway and there stood a very large man the pastor didn't recognize.  The pastor felt hesitant initially, but as the man began to explain himself the pastor believed he seemed sincere.  He invited the man in and they sat and discussed the problems, the concerns, talking in depth for a couple of hours.  The pastor was able to minister to the man about God's love.  At the end of the conversation the man said to the pastor that he was really touched by the time the pastor had spent with him and a little surprised even.  The pastor expressed his happiness that he'd been available to offer the time and with that they shook hands and the man left the building.  It had been snowing heavily throughout the day and the pastor decided he too would leave and he shut the lights out and headed for the door and as he stood at the open door, looking around, he noted that there were no footprints, anywhere.  In telling the story my pastor stated that his friend has always felt that he'd been visited by an angel.  He believes that to be true.

Is that possible?  Are there times in our lives when something like that could occur?  I think that I would be caught somewhere in the middle of trying to decide what I believed about that if there weren't scripture to back it up.  It is documented in Old Testament scripture that Abraham spoke with angels and they appeared as men walking down a road, and there are certainly other accounts. It is clear that there is a constant presence of angels in the world.  We may not see them, or we may have seen them and yet were "unaware."  But yes, I believe they are there to encourage us, help guide us, help us fight our battles against Satan's attacks.  I believe they do that by bringing God's word to us, reminding us of the power of God's love and the security we have in knowing that God's Holy Spirit is with us always.  They are God's messengers.

Is it possible?  How could that be?  Because God's love is so rich and so pure that He keeps a constant watch over our souls.  Jesus gave the promise:  "I will never leave you or forsake you."  How wonderful to know that - to have the understanding of that.  What a beautiful experience my pastor's friend had, and what joy it must give him to consider the presence of an angel in his life, who once appeared to him in the recognizable human form.  Perhaps it's quite rare to have that happen, or maybe it happens much more often than we realize.  Either way, don't forget that whether or not our eyes perceive the presence of angels, they are with us.  In constant testament of God's love, they are there.  

Saturday, December 3, 2011


Pride is not a pretty sight in God's eyes: The Bible speaks about that repeatedly.  In order to get the point across Jesus explained that it's better if one doesn't come too far forward because someone may direct that person back to a less prominent place.  Hasn't that sort of thing happened to most of us at some point?  and it may not have been done with a sense of pride but just the idea of "This is a very good place to be," and this is the kind of experience which should teach us well.  As Jesus pointed out, don't place yourself forward, but wait for someone to invite you forward.

Most of us meet or know people along the way who really don't follow that sort of philosophy.  In fact they may be quite bold in their approach, and just based on that fact, they often get what they want.  That's the kind of world we live in.  The most brash, the most motivated to gain their place are going to more than likely be rewarded.  The thing to realize is they may not always have that elevated position if they don't get their thinking turned around at some point in life.  This world is not forever; our time here is short.  This life being, in my opinion, a learning ground, with the expectation being that we gain knowledge of God's truths.  Every step should take us further in that direction - more understanding, more faith - these have to come from God, but we have to be willing to take God's direction, which may not often place us at the top of the line according to the world's standards.  But no matter where we serve, if it's for the Lord, we are within God's Kingdom.  So, it's a very different situation for us than what the world has, because we all inherit, greatly, regardless of our standing.

We just need to realize that God loves each of us, but He will resist pride - He will want a changed attitude if we harbor ideas that we probably deserve something much better than what the other guy has.  God wants us to show gratitude and a willingness to offer others the step forward, even if it means we take a step back.  I believe with all my heart that God looks with favor on those who understand that.  I kind of imagine his response to be: "Well done, come forward dear child."