11/28/21 – Action

If we are afraid enough, we will take action to protect ourselves. If we are miserable enough, we will move out, quit our job, or go to the doctor. If we are concerned enough, we will help someone else. What is your tipping point? Does it all have to come crashing down or is a gentle warning enough? Jesus is coming, folks. These gentle warnings, or as the Bible refers to them, these labor pains we are all experiencing are becoming more frequent and are growing in intensity. Are you feeling them yet? Until you feel concerned, miserable, or afraid enough, you’ll sit there in your pride and self-sufficiency while the King of Kings comes and takes away His church. (“Everyone then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock. Matthew 7:24; While people are saying, “There is peace and security,” then sudden destruction will come upon them as labor pains come upon a pregnant woman, and they will not escape. 1 Thessalonians 5:3)

11/27/21 – Fear

There are so many reasons to be fearful these days, the spread of disease, the breakdown of relationships, the loss of jobs, food shortages, earthquakes, volcanic activity, rumors of war; I could go on and on. How do we escape it? These fear-based topics are the new contagion on virtually all news media outlets, many social media channels, and even in our own family gatherings. How about we keep our focus on the creator of the universe and how His story ends? There is no surprise ending. It’s all in the Bible. Read it for yourself and put those fears to rest. (Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9; Say to those who have an anxious heart, “Be strong; fear not! Behold, your God will come with vengeance, with the recompense of God. He will come and save you.” Isaiah 35:4) 

11/25/21 – Thankful

While the turkey is cooking in the oven, family and friends gather. We celebrate our freedom from British rule. But for me, it’s really only about the cross of Christ. It’s the only freedom that matters in this life, an incomprehensible gift beyond all others for which to be thankful today. Thank you, Heavenly Father, for providing an eternal home for me; this world isn’t mine. Because of Your death on the cross, Your extreme sacrifice, I am free from Satan’s snare. You didn’t have to do it, but You did. Thank you, so very much. (“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. John 3:16; Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life. He does not come into judgment, but has passed from death to life. John 5:24)

11/24/21 – Imitate

The goal for the Christ-follower isn’t to worship Him in spirit and in truth. It isn’t to play in the worship band at church or to sing in the choir. It isn’t to give money to the church or to the poor. It isn’t to be a good friend to someone. It isn’t to pray. The goal for the true Christian is to be like Christ, to imitate Him. All the other great things on this list will naturally happen as a result. (Whoever says he abides in him ought to walk in the same way in which he walked. 1 John 2:6; For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you might follow in his steps. 1 Peter 2:21; “If you love me, you will keep my commandments. John 14:15)

11/23/21 – Start

Just do it already. After all these years, do what it takes to feel better. Start the process. Settling is the devil’s will for you. Excuses will eventually kill you, or at least, your spirit. The devil wants you serving a life-sentence in his self-sabotage sanitarium. Get real. You are not stuck. Come out of an abusive relationship. Lose the weight. Acquire new skills. Please take time to look at yourself in a new way. Right now. Look at all the positive things you’ve already accomplished. Focus on the new, the beginning, fresh things, winning, doing, and becoming. It’s not too late, until it is. (“Remember not the former things, nor consider the things of old. Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert. Isaiah 43:18-19; To put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness. Ephesians 4:22-24)

11/22/21 – Feel

The crank is turning ever so slowly. Tightening. Something is happening; our breathing is more labored. Our headaches are more frequent. Our sleep is interrupted. We are easily agitated. The anxiety within is mounting. The symptoms of something are manifesting. We look the other way. We busy ourselves. We eat more food. We drink more alcohol. We have more sex. We tell more jokes. We try to sleep it off. We exercise. It’s really no coincidence that we’re miserable. Then, without warning, the inevitable happens. And we don’t feel it until we do. (Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working. James 5:16; Nothing is covered up that will not be revealed, or hidden that will not be known. Luke 12:2)

11/20/21 – Planet

Recently, a motivated group of wealthy world leaders met in Scotland to discuss the effects of climate change on the earth. Their agenda is to urgently educate and promote an ideology that saving the planet is the answer to the problem of degeneration. Folks, the planet cannot be saved. It is becoming warmer because that’s God’s plan. Eventually, the Bible says, it will be destroyed by fire, which by the way, is already in place at its core. God will then create a new earth; He destroyed it once because of sin, and He will do it again. No fully funded campaign, however influential, will save it. It’s only a matter of time. Don’t get caught up in the nonsense. (But according to his promise we are waiting for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells. 2 Peter 3:13; But by the same word the heavens and earth that now exist are stored up for fire, being kept until the day of judgment and destruction of the ungodly. 2 Peter 3:7)

11/19/21 – Immovable

Sometimes, for the greater good, we must choose the uncomfortable. When push comes to shove, we must be immovable, unwavering, regardless of the consequences. Our Lord could’ve chosen to abandon the horror of the cross. He could’ve walked away; He could’ve surrendered upon becoming fully enlightened to the reality of the brutality of His death. Facing no other alternative, He chose the agony of obedience in order to provide redemption for the entire human race. Are you facing a difficult choice today? Is it one in which the future effects are unknown? Like Abraham, if you have sought the Lord and He has allowed this negative circumstance to invade your life, if it has become clear that He will not rescue you and provide your miracle, it’s up to you to weigh it out. Be thankful. At least you have the choice. Some people don’t. (And Elijah came near to all the people and said, “How long will you go limping between two different opinions? If the Lord is God, follow him; but if Baal, then follow him.” And the people did not answer him a word. 1Kings 18:21; Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him. James 1:12)

11/18/21 – Helper

There are so many things we cannot do on our own. Whether something is too heavy to move or whether a certain job is too much work for one person, we will need help at some point. Similarly, we cannot live the Christian life without a helper. Jesus knew that it would be impossible for us, and that is precisely why, before His death on the cross, He promised to send One. Unless His Holy Spirit is guiding us through the sanctification process, we will be unable to stop drinking. We will continue to seek sexual pleasure from people other than our wife or husband. We will try to satisfy our lust for significance, power, and riches by lying or by stealing. Unless the Holy Spirit helps us to be conformed to the image of Christ, we will grow weary in our service until He comes again. (Nevertheless, I tell you the truth: it is to your advantage that I go away, for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you. But if I go, I will send him to you. John 16:7; Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. Romans 8:26)

11/17/21 – Stone

Are you praying for someone’s heart of stone to become a heart of flesh? Last night, I watched a movie detailing former award-winning legal editor of the Chicago Tribune, Lee Strobel’s quest to prove that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. He made it clear from the beginning that he was an atheist and that all in his household would be atheists as well if he had anything to say about it. Isn’t it just like God to send someone into our lives to turn them upside-down? Through his various trials and tribulations, this self-proclaimed atheist is now a born-again Christian and is helping people to find the truth of Jesus. Lee’s wife, the first to come to Christ, didn’t give up hope. Her daily prayer, Please take Lee’s heart of stone and give him a heart of flesh, was heard by her Heavenly Father, and He granted her request. Don’t give up. The Lord hears. In His time, He makes all things beautiful. (And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. Ezekiel 36:26; For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved. Romans 10:10)

11/15/21 – Humility

God always gives grace to those who are humble. If you aren’t experiencing victory in one or more areas in your life, check the level of your humility. You’ll find the gauge in the center of your heart. The things you say, the actions you perform, and things you think about all come from your heart. It’s where everything, good (humility) or bad (pride) is rooted and is growing. Until you repent of your sin of pride, until you dig it out by the root and cast it into the fire, it will continue to have dominion over you. You wonder why you can’t stop a particular sin. It’s because you’ve chosen to leave the root in its place. You may cut off the bad fruit (stop acting out a particular sin for a while), but you leave its root, lest you need it at some point. God will not give grace to the proud. Humble yourself and see the victory for which you’ve been praying so desperately. (The reward for humility and fear of the Lord is riches and honor and life. Proverbs 22:4; But he gives more grace. Therefore it says, “God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble.” James 4:6)

11/15/21 – Interference

Stay out of it. It’s none of your business. These are 2 statements that cause supporters and helpers to cringe. We feel a gut punch to our pride because we think we are experts in their field. Because it’s difficult for us to see someone else in trouble or in pain, we suddenly become their Salvation Army; however, might we be unaware of what is happening behind the scenes? Perhaps God engineered the whole thing and we’re getting in His way. News Flash: We don’t need to run interference for God. Ask Him about it first, then perhaps get involved as He dictates; otherwise, let it be. We have no idea what He’s cooking up in order to bring someone to Himself. (And to aspire to live quietly, and to mind your own affairs, and to work with your hands, as we instructed you…1 Thessalonians 4:11; “Lord, what about this man?”  Jesus said to him, “If it is my will that he remain until I come, what is that to you? You follow me!” John 21:21-22) 

11/12/21 – Evidence

The evidence that I intend to get on a plane and travel to a different place is that I’ve packed my bags, driven to the airport, and checked in. If I were seen walking to the gate with luggage in hand, there would be no question as to whether or not I intend to travel. Similarly, there should be no question whether or not I am born again. If I am living in obedience and am wholly devoted to Jesus Christ, my life will show it. What I do, how I speak, what I think about; this is proof, the evidence. If you are struggling, wondering whether or not you’re a true Christ-follower, take an honest look at your life. (“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Matthew 7:21; We know that everyone who has been born of God does not keep on sinning, but he who was born of God protects him, and the evil one does not touch him. 1 John 5:8) 

11/11/21 – Hide

People hide when they don’t want to be found. I used to hide from certain people when I was living contrary to my morals. Answering their tough and illuminating questions gave me anxiety (along with a heavy dose of guilt and shame mixed in), so I stayed away from those who would attempt to hold me accountable. I was more comfortable with other sinners, for they were sinning too. Birds of a feather flock together is an appropriate adage to insert here. The sad truth is this: I hid because, for whatever reasons, I enjoyed my sin too much. Generally speaking, whitewashing is a lot of work, but with other like-minded whitewashers scrubbing right along with me, we could all be somewhat guaranteed our privacy without scrutiny. The effort was worth it… until it wasn’t. We’re never really hiding, now are we? We’re never really in the dark. There’s One Who always sees what we’re doing. Those mull-it-over moments before we end up in hiding are critical. Once you’re in, it’s difficult to find your way out. (Nothing is covered up that will not be revealed, or hidden that will not be known. Luke 12:2; Do not be deceived: “Bad company ruins good morals.” 1 Corinthians 15:33)

11/10/21 – Anyone

Last night, I watched a very compelling interview of an ex-porn star. He spoke of the detestable way in which he was lured, trained, and then labeled as one of the most highly desired actors in the industry. After earning a six-figure living for over half a decade, he decided he’d either have to get out or kill himself, as the pressures of guilt and shame became too great. Within the next few days, a check would come in the mail that would need cashing. The teller apparently noticed something about the check and asked him if he was all right. At that moment, he recalled a feeling, the drawing of the Holy Spirit, although he didn’t know it. Days passed, and the Spirit continued working, turning the crank, and finally, through various circumstances the man turned in his resignation. He met someone some months later who would lead him to Christ and who would become his wife. They now operate a thriving ministry designed to help other people caught in the evil grip of the devil’s snare. This miracle happens more often than we know. Simply, God uses anyone who is willing. (I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. Galatians 2:20; Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. 2 Corinthians 5:17)

11/9/21 – Line

I can still be wishy-washy when it comes to boundaries in my relationships. Because of the need to be enough, to be loved and wanted, my no can fade into yes more quickly than most. The root cause of my boundary’s vanishing act is not that I love people so much. It’s the sin of pride. When we modify our values in order to be included, loved, and wanted, it isn’t because we love and admire the people from whom we’re trying to gain love or approval. It’s because we’re selfishly trying to fill a hole that can only be filled with the love of Jesus Christ. If you’ve allowed someone else’s sand to blur your boundary line, put your toe in and dig deeper. Remember why you put it there in the first place. Soon, the need to be needed, included, and loved will fade instead. (Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. 1 Peter 5:8; No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it. 1 Corinthians 10:13)

11/8/21 – Groaning

I’m so glad You know me, Lord. You know my heart through and through. You know what I do not know. You hear the Holy Spirit groaning to You on my behalf. This groaning, this deep and mostly inarticulate sound You hear Your Holy Spirit uttering for me must be so compelling, otherwise my prayers wouldn’t mean much to You. I have groaned to you myself many times, but the groaning delivered by the Holy Spirit, I cannot even fathom. I’m so grateful for help, for intercession, since I have no idea for that which I even need to pray. (Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words. Romans 8:26; And he who searches hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God. Romans 8:27)

11/7/21 – Chance

In the life of a Christ-follower, there is no such thing as chance. I love this quote by Oswald Chambers. All our circumstances, ALL are in God’s hands. In His sovereignty, He knew from the start in what or in whom we would place our trust and to whom we would come in contact, whether loose or close in proximity. The point is not who, but why. Why does the Lord have me living in this neighborhood and on this street? Why am I friends with this person? Why did I choose to attend that meeting? It took me a long time, but I’ve come to learn that we are to be a light wherever we are. We are to be in tune with what the Holy Spirit is trying to accomplish in this world. Can He use me? Am I fit to serve Him? Am I wholly dedicated to His mission? It’s not even about you or me at all. It’s about obedience. It’s seeing to it that people know the Lord. That’s it, really. (But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. 1 Peter 2:9; And he said to them, “Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation. Mark 16:15)

11/5/21 – Humanity

At the time, we never know why we’re experiencing some tragedy or misunderstanding, why we got sick or why we were let go. It is unclear because the fog of despair surrounding us is so thick. But the guarantee is that when we’re through with the suffering, when the fog has lifted, we see more clearly the why behind what happened. None of us likes it, but God always has a specific reason for which He allows us to face a bad thing. Someone will always need to hear your story, while you will, no doubt, need to hear someone else’s story. Someone will be lifted up because you were brought down, in quite the same way as you were lifted up when someone else had been brought down. It’s cyclical. Embrace your part in the never-ending rotation called humanity. (Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Philippians 2:4; Who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Philippians 2:6-8)

11/4/21 – Stay

At times, I like to wonder off the path when I’m hiking. But just beyond the STAY ON PATH sign is a rare photo opportunity; a fawn and its mother are having lunch. If I could only get a little closer… What I don’t see however, is the rattler, but it certainly sees me. What makes some of us so curious that we ignore the warning signs? They’re posted for our good. Just like the passage of Proverbs chapter 4 of the Bible warns: Let your eyes look straight ahead and your eyelids look right before you. Ponder the path of your feet, and let all your ways be established. Do not turn to the right or to the left; remove your foot from evil. There are many distractions from the evil one. Simply, don’t go there. Stay on the path. Let the Holy Spirit be your guide. Be curious when it’s safe. 

11/3/21 – Reward

Receiving a reward for something we did is an exhilarating feeling. It never makes us feel bad unless we know we didn’t deserve it. At the judgment seat of Christ, as followers of His teachings, we will all receive rewards for the good things we’ve done for Him while here on this earth. That thought sends my mind to Contemplation Station. It’s a Hmm…I wonder if I’ll receive anything. If you’ve ever given anything out of the goodness of your heart, be it as small as a ride to the grocery store or as much as a $1,000,000 to the church, you can look forward to a reward. If you’ve ever told anyone about the Lord, you’ll be receiving something. If you’ve ever invited someone to church, you’ll get one. The Bible says that our rewards will be great in heaven according to the amount of good we did while living on the earth. Aren’t some of us going to be surprised? (His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.’ Matthew 25:21; Henceforth there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will award to me on that Day, and not only to me but also to all who have loved his appearing. 2 Timothy 4:8)

11/2/21 – Make

The Lord tells me how I ought to behave, but He will never make me obey. That’s completely up to me; thinking back, this way of parenting is rather different than mine. Jesus simply says, If you love Me, you’ll obey Me. That’s it. He has shown me His standard. He’s clear on his commandments. If I choose to disobey, it quickly becomes clear that I love someone (myself) or something else more than I love Him. He knows the pain I will endure when I disobey, for it’s out of His love and concern for me that he lays it all out; it does not come from a spirit of control. Obedience to Christ is only for my good. Nevertheless, it’s difficult sometimes, isn’t it? Our spirits are willing to obey, but our flesh is weak; however, the rewards that come from a heart of love for the Lord are astounding: Contentment in a crazy world. Peace in the midst of pain. Joy during hard times. Hope for a future of goodness. Nothing in life compares to these things! Choose to obey what God is asking you to do. Choose obedience and be blessed. (“If you love me, you will keep my commandments.” John 14:15; Whoever has my commandments and keeps them, he it is who loves me. And he who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him and manifest myself to him.” John 14:21)

11/1/21 – Content

Are you? It’s difficult to be completely content in these days of uncertainty, isn’t it? Or are you swimming in a sea of satisfaction? John MacArthur talked about this yesterday at Grace Community. He said that if we, as Christians, are discontent in our situation, we are discontent with God. In other words, if we are unhappy with ourselves, we are unhappy with God. Be it due to our bad choices or due to His allowance, we are angry, anxious, envious, fearful, unfulfilled, lacking, wanting, or needing. Unless we’re living in complete disobedience, God, in His sovereignty, has us right where He wants us; otherwise, it wouldn’t be so. Since the fall of man, contentment is no longer natural. Even the apostle, Paul, had to learn to be content. By walking with God daily, he learned that God was in absolute control of his situation and had only his best interests in mind. (Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. Philippians 4:11; Now there is great gain in godliness with contentment, for we brought nothing into the world, and we cannot take anything out of the world. But if we have food and clothing, with these we will be content. 1 Timothy 6:6-8)

10/30/21 – Way

The only way to make something clean is to clean it. It’s not that complicated. Get your soap, sponge, or spray and scrub that sink. That’s the only way; it has not the power to clean itself. The same is true of our lives. We think we can clean up our act and get into heaven someday. We believe it’s something we have to do. Someone once said they had a fairly good chance of entering heaven, like 50/50. When asked if they’d rather the percentage be 100, they replied, Nobody can be that sure. True, if we try to get there on our own merit, if we try to be better people. Like the sink trying to keep itself clean, we cannot. If we could only believe that Jesus Christ is the only way to heaven, we wouldn’t have to work so hard. It’s not at all about what you do but Whom you know. Because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. Romans 10:9; For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. Ephesians 2:8-9)

10/29/21 – Repentance

When a man is about to have a critical surgery, certain things in his life don’t really seem to matter much to him, like whether or not he’ll have a job after recovery or if his favorite sports team will win its next game. He’s really only hoping to make it and probably not at all concerned about the price of the stock he owns. In the pressure of that moment, right before the anesthesia needle is injected into his vein, there’s often a wake-up call. The switch flips in the on-position; This is it. I may not wake up. Suddenly, the pressure to make a decision about the after-life is paramount. Since God is a God of judgment and won’t be gentle with non-repentant sinners, it is critical, much like the man’s surgery, to realize that nothing really matters at that moment except repentance, believing, and accepting Jesus Christ as his Savior. Even the money of the world’s richest man cannot save his soul when his time on earth is done. He entered it with nothing and he’ll exit in the same way. I hope this post is all the pressure you need. (For we brought nothing into the world, and we cannot take anything out of the world. 1 Timothy 6:7; And many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt. Daniel 12:2)

10/28/21 – Happiness

I began salivating when I stumbled on a video short R.C. Sproul recorded; he addressed the way to happiness. He discussed the various times in his life that he would be happier when…it began with the acquiring of his driver’s license at 16. Then he needed a car to be happy, then a girlfriend, then marriage, then a house, then kids, then grandkids, then…well, the man’s in heaven now, experiencing the happiness of which only dreams are made. While living on this earth, we all want to be a little happier, don’t we? This desire, Mr. Sproul said, is born from the sin of envy. We always want something or someone somebody else has. If I only had a house like hers… If my wife was as beautiful and as kind as his wife…I could go on and on. This sin of envy (covetousness) is listed in the 10 commandments of the Bible, so it must be something with which all humans have struggled for centuries. If we could learn to be content in whatever place we find ourselves, for all intents and purposes, the fighting would cease, and happiness would finally be ours to enjoy. Think about it. (Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. Philippians 4:11; Now there is great gain in godliness with contentment, for we brought nothing into the world, and we cannot take anything out of the world. But if we have food and clothing, with these we will be content. 1 Timothy 6:6-8)

10/27/21 – Plans

As long as I can remember, I’ve been writing lesson plans for my classes. But since I’m more of a fly by the seat of my pants person, they’re hard for me. Whether it be that I’m lazy and don’t want to take the time, or it’s simply that I don’t enjoy following a specific plan, I don’t know; maybe it’s a little of both. The same is true when it comes to planning a vacation. I’m a Let’s just go and see what happens person. I’ve planned in detail, and I’ve also thrown things in a suitcase and left town with only a day’s notice. Planning is mostly a good thing, but when it gets in the way of what God’s plans are for me, bad things start to happen. I must be so connected to Him that there is no wiggle room. To do this I must be reading His word and praying to Him daily. Since I rarely feel confident in this area, I must also depend on the Holy Spirit’s discernment to nudge me, to whisper to me, Here is the way. And I believe that’s right where God wants me. (Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path. Psalm 119:105; Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, “This is the way; walk in it.” Isaiah 30:21)

10/26/21 – Hour

Even while I can absolutely count on certain people to arrive late, I turn up at least 5 minutes early, regardless. The idea that I’ve kept someone waiting gives me such anxiety. And arriving with stinky armpit stains isn’t becoming and is not my style. Maybe because my mother taught me to respect people’s time, I don’t know; it’s just something in me. Because of the lateness of the hour regarding the rapture of the church, I write today imploring you to be early just this once. Don’t wait to accept God’s great gift of salvation. Tomorrow may not show up. Today is the day of salvation, and it only comes to you by the death and resurrection of God’s Son, Jesus Christ. Believing in Him, confessing your sins, and accepting His atoning work on the cross as His free gift to you guarantees your entrance into heaven. It’s that simple. (You also must be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect.” Luke 12:40; Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me. Revelation 3:20)

10/25/21 – Wait

To wait for that sale price before buying or to let the weather break before beginning a hike is a waste of time for the thumb-twiddler. Even though it’s difficult, waiting is usually a good idea, to sit on it a few days before committing or before venturing out. Not so much however, when needing to challenge a friend’s bad behavior. Some people drool at the idea of confrontation, but not me. I could wait forever to tell my friend, Alice, she’s an idiot and be just fine. Someone else will confront her. She’ll see the light on her own. The Holy Spirit will let her know. I excuse myself with these scenarios in order to dodge “my David.” In the Old Testament of the Bible, David had committed some vile acts, and his bestie confronted him. It was the absolute right thing at the right moment. Good came from it and everything worked out in the end. Oh, that we will let go or our pride, put our fears to rest, and that we’ll do the right thing before it’s becoming too late. And then it is…(Brothers, if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness. Galatians 6:1; For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh. For I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out. Romans 7:18)

10/24/21 – Refreshment

When I attend an event where refreshments are offered, I perk up a little. I am suddenly secure; I know that if I feel in need of sustenance, I can walk over to the table and have at it. With such brazenness, blasting, and blaming in our world and even in our own backyards, refreshment is something I could use right about now. My faith wilts a little when I watch friends who, professing their total faith in Jesus, condemn behaviors in others while condoning it in themselves; it’s the proverbial, pot calling the kettle black. Without the wisdom and understanding of almighty God, the refreshment from on high, we’ll be caught in their desert with no water. Get yourself connected to the God of the Bible, the only One who will carry you through these difficult days of deception and division. Discard those who, being used by the devil, speak another gospel, those who attempt to turn your attention to anything other than the Lord Jesus Christ, or those whose desire it is to gain ground through selfish ambition. Show us, Lord. Saturate us in the refreshment of Your truth. (Be not wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord, and turn away from evil. It will be healing to your flesh and refreshment to your bones. Proverbs 3:7-8; He restores my soul. He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake. Psalm 23:3)

10/23/21 – Incomprehensible

I was watching the news this morning, and while I enjoyed my coffee and bagel with almond butter, a segment about a young man arrested on several counts of child pornography aired; his bail is set at $7500. The moment I saw his mug shot, I wondered if anyone in his right mind would post it. He likely has no hope of acquittal unless he has money and a really good attorney. If convicted, he’ll be sentenced to whatever the court deems fair according to the law. Then I thought about me. Would I be so compassionate and loving as to offer the bail money so a man I don’t even know could be free? No way. What he did is unforgivable. And what if he does it again once he’s out? He deserves punishment to the full extent of the law. Then I thought about Jesus. He loves that young man sitting in that jail cell awaiting his fate. He’s unhappy with the choices he made, but He loves him. He loves us all enough and has already paid the ultimate price so not only that man, but you and I could go to heaven someday, a place of ultimate freedom. Jesus died a horrible death for that young man. He died for you. He died for me. DIED. Think about that with me for a moment. Incomprehensible, isn’t it? (But God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Romans 5:8; By canceling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands. This he set aside, nailing it to the cross. Colossians 2:14)

10/22/21 – First

First, let me finish this, and then I’ll empty the dishwasher. I’ll do what you ask when I’m good and ready, is another way to put it. We wouldn’t say this to the Lord, but certainly, it’s what we mean, isn’t it? First, let me have a little fun, and then I’ll obey. It took me 3 years to finally forsake the false comfort of a toxic relationship and agree to obey the Lord. Jesus knows. He says we can’t be His disciples until we forsake everything and follow Him. Now. Following Him might be leaving a job you love. It might be letting go of certain family members. It might be saying good-bye to your frivolous religious traditions. Easy? No. Fulfilling? Yes. What are you going to do? (Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ. Philippians 3:8; But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. Matthew 6:33)

10/21/21 – Direction

I’m fairly good at directions, but sometimes I can get turned around. It happened to me last summer. Confident I was walking toward my car, I ended up on the opposite side of a very large park. Fortunately, when I’m driving, I have help from my GPS. When it comes to my faith, I know what direction I’m headed. How about you? Do you know where you’re going? R.C. Sproul uses a critical juncture in the story of Alice in Wonderland to drive home a point. After hours of wandering and finally realizing she is lost, Alice comes to a fork in the road. She sees a cat and hopes he can help. They have a rather compelling conversation. Confused, she asks him which way she should go. The cat replies, “Well that depends.” She responds with, “Depends on what?” He asks her, “Where are you going?” She answers, “I don’t know.” He replies, “Then it doesn’t matter.” Simply, if you don’t know where you’re headed, it doesn’t matter which direction you take. Do you know in what direction you are moving? News Flash: You’re headed somewhere. Do you need to go a different way? (Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts; let him return to the Lord, that he may have compassion on him, and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon. Isaiah 55:7; Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. John 14:6)

10/20/21 – Sanctification

I don’t hear this churchy word at all these days. Not even in church. Paul, the apostle, speaks about it in the New Testament of the Bible, but is it relevant to me in the 21st century? Growing up, I’d heard grown adults blast each other with a form of the word, that is, sanctimonious, so I always believed it was something I didn’t want attached to me. After all, I can quickly become uninvited if I’m suddenly labeled a goodie-goodie, Amish, or holier than thou. Come to find out, sanctification simply happens. After I’ve decided to commit my life to Christ, I’m sanctified when the work of the Holy Spirit transforms me. It’s a process that, over time, is as natural as sleeping through the night; it’s not something that I try to accomplish. It’s a natural bi-product of salvation. It’s the new me. I’d even say that sanctification is the proof that I am born again. It’s my assurance. It’s the fruit dangling from my tree. Will I fail? Of course I will, but that’s when repentance takes up the slack. (I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. Galatians 2:20; Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. 2 Corinthians 5:17)

10/19/21 – Activities

We get tingly when we join a church and sign up for various religious activities. We figure if we change a few diapers and play with a few children once a month, we will please God and things will go well for us. If, after landing in a foreign country to dig a few wells, scads of people come to our church service, we feel we have met the requirement of good Christian and are therefore exempt from the trials of this world. If we serve as a deacon, elder, or choir member, we are in the upper echelon not only of the church but also of the kingdom of God. While these activities are certainly not bad, they’re useless without a relationship to Jesus Christ. Unless we get to know Him by reading His word and by praying to Him on a regular basis, these good deeds mean nothing to Him. They may sooth our consciences on some level or they may make us feel good about ourselves, but unless we know Christ, unless He is at the center of our lives, it’s all rubbish. (I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing. John 15:5; “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’ Matthew 7:21-23)

10/18/21 – Determine

You know what you have to do. Make the hard choice. Determine to continue walking straight ahead when you feel like taking a left. Determine to listen only to God when you feel like hearing advise from others. Determine to pray when you feel like talking to your mom. Determine to worship the Lord in spirit and in truth when you feel like keeping your mouth shut. Keeping your focus on the truth of God’s word determines your path for today and beyond. Nothing else matters. Let the spirit of the Lord direct you. Call on Him to show you the way when the light is dim. (Guard your heart; for from it flow the springs of life. Proverbs 4:23; For whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, that through endurance and through the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope. Romans 15:4; And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” John 8:32)

10/17/21 – Battle

The battle for your soul is real and it’s fierce. If you’re not up against warfare, whether it be in your family, your circle of friends, or in your workplace, I dare say that you’re not a major threat to the devil’s end plan. If he’s not bothering you on a daily basis, you’re probably not doing anything to thwart it. Because he knows the end is near, he and his minions are attacking committed Christians with a vengeance. I’ve never seen anything like it. As I’ve suggested many times, folks, put your armor on. He’s angry and he’s not playing around. (Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm. Ephesians 6:10-17; Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. 1 Peter 5:8)

10/16/21 – Prayer

Hello? Is anyone there? Do you hear me, Lord? Sometimes when I go to Him in prayer, this is what I am thinking, although I have not the courage to say it aloud. Have you felt this way too? Prayer in the natural is foolish. Human reason says prayer is a waste of time, but as Christ followers, we no longer rely on our own wisdom, for it is stupidity in comparison to the wisdom of the creator. Until we see prayer as supernatural and as a command, we won’t exercise it. The nostalgic plaque on the walls of many Christian homes in the 60’s and 70’s says it all: Prayer changes things. Prayer is letting go of our pride, letting our requests be made known, and then believing that prayer will be answered (and not in the order it was received). It’s asking while believing, remembering that His sovereign will plays out in the end. That is His best. (Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. Philippians 4:6; But when you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you. Matthew 6:6)

10/15/21 – Mission

Most of us have one. A calling, a profession to which we feel a strong pull, a drawing. When composing a mission statement on a business loan application, we state the purpose for which we would use the money. What is your mission statement? What gets you up in the morning? If you’re mostly happy, content in your situation, you’re probably doing something you were born to do. As Christ followers, we are all called. We are missionaries; that is, we have an assignment to tell others (either verbally or through the written word) wherever we are, about the gospel of Jesus Christ. So whether you teach, wait tables, sit behind a desk, attempt to make sick people well, or whether you’re basking in the rays of retirement, you are called to tell others about the freedom that is available through the atoning work of Jesus Christ. Go and do that. Reap the extraordinary. (How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching? And how are they to preach unless they are sent? As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!” Romans 10:14-15; And he said to them, “Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation. Mark 16:15)

10/14/21 – Weary

Jesus invites us to come to Him when we’re weary. Are you weary today? I am. My thoughts keep my brain active at night preventing it from shutting down. Come to me, all you who are weary and heavy laden, and I will give you rest, Jesus says in Matthew 11:28. But what does that mean exactly, when I’m lying there unable to sleep? How can He help me? He’s not really talking about sleep here. He’s calling me to bring my hurts, anxieties, regrets, disappointments, and worries, all the things that keep me up at night, to Him. He’s inviting me to take His yoke upon me. While my yoke is difficult, His yoke is easy. My burdens are heavy; His are light. He will help me to carry my heavy load; it’s there that I’ll find rest for my soul. He says, Come to me. Walk with Me, and you’ll see. (Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” Matthew 11:29; And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up. Galatians 6:9)

10/13/21 – Wilderness

Often times, after a mountaintop event, a glorious time at the summit of an experience, we find ourselves in the wilderness. If we’re not careful, we can turn a time of training into a time of discouragement. This is where diamonds in the rough are polished. It’s the many days spent navigating the sea before the sailor sees land. It’s the hours in the simulator before the pilot flies the plane. It’s living in the loneliness before meeting someone new. Even though the time here is longer and harder, it’s where the real work is done. I dare say that we can’t reach that mountaintop experience until we’ve served time in the wilderness. Moses spent 40 years there, if you can imagine that. Unlike the Israelites, who continued in their unbelief, disobedience, and skepticism, there is hope for you if you’ll only believe, trust, and obey. God is about to give you something good. (Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him. James 1:12; Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert. Isaiah 43:19)

10/12/21 – Ordinary

It’s easy to be thankful, joyful in the extraordinary times, when we’re on the mountaintop of some great experience with God. We want the world to know. But the real test of our character shows up when we’re living our ordinary lives. In the mundane, the ho-hum, the daily grind is where we’ll find out what we’re made of. Our daily walk with Jesus is where we fuel up for the long haul. His Holy Spirit is our trainer; He sustains us for the journey ahead. Unless we’re striding along with Him, we’ll be behind and possibly miss a joy-filled opportunity. It’s in keeping up with Him that He shows us glorious things we might not know otherwise. (Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. Isaiah 41:10; But whoever keeps his word, in him truly the love of God is perfected. By this we may know that we are in him: whoever says he abides in him ought to walk in the same way in which he walked. 1 John 2:5-6)