What in the World?

A few days ago, I made a comment on social media.

“A German dramatist named Schiller in a play he wrote, said “Against stupidity, the gods themselves contend in vain.” I don’t believe in “gods”, but I am thankful that GOD is in control and all of the stupidity – on both sides – will end when He is ready for it to end.”

This is a response I received:

“So you are waiting for your god to end everything and all will be well? If your god is in control, it is doing a damn poor job for everyone.”

Are we waiting for our ‘god’ to end everything? I’m not waiting for Him to end things as much as I am waiting for Him to begin things! It isn’t fair to blame God for the state of our world. We did this, not God. Eons ago, when He created man and placed him in the Garden, God gave him free will. We choose what direction we go in. We choose who we go with. We have the choice of choosing a life of the world, or a life with Him.

“Behold, how good and how pleasant it is For brothers to dwell together in unity! It is like the precious oil upon the head, Coming down upon the beard, Even Aaron’s beard, Coming down upon the edge of his robes. It is like the dew of Hermon Coming down upon the mountains of Zion; For there the Lord commanded the blessing—life forever.” Psalms 133:1‭-‬3 NASB1995

A blessed life, a good life. We had a guest speaker for Sunday services January 31, Dr. Jonathan Murphy of Dallas Theological Seminary (and hailing from Northern Ireland originally). What he spoke on meshed with the thoughts I had begun here, and I’ve incorporated some of his thoughts into this.

We all know that life can change from blessed to bleak in a microsecond…. How often have you started out a day feeling good about your life, only to have something happen that throws you into a rage? The dog throws up all over the floor just as you are (trying) to leave for work. The kid drops or spills something, making a huge mess. Your spouse says something about your appearance, and it just goes all wrong. The store clerk completely messes up your order.

I love this poem Dr. Murphy quoted:

“To live above with the saints above

Wouldn’t that be Glory

But I live below with the saints I know

And that’s a different story”

– Dr. Mark Hitchcock

Doesn’t that just sum it up perfectly! We want to enjoy the blessings of great relationships in harmony, and from harmony, but that desire isn’t always realistic. It’s something we have to work at. Psalms 133 is a beautiful example of a life to strive for; in fact, the NASB calls it The Excellency of Brotherly Unit.

“Behold, how good and how pleasant it is For brothers to dwell together in unity! It is like the precious oil upon the head, Coming down upon the beard, Even Aaron’s beard, Coming down upon the edge of his robes. It is like the dew of Hermon Coming down upon the mountains of Zion; For there the Lord commanded the blessing—life forever.” Psalms 133:1‭-‬3 NASB1995

It begins with “Behold” – that is David, saying, “LOOK, watch God’s vision for us! Pay attention here!” He wants us to have harmony in our lives. Look at Genesis 1:1-2. God created harmony. “And it was good….” The wording of the psalmist is very specific “….how good and how pleasant ….” Living in harmony includes diversity, and is pleasurable in God’s design. The High Priest Aaron was the holiest person known at that time, and he represented all people in front of God. Here, he is being prepared head to toe with the precious oil, just as in John 12 and Mark 14, when Jesus is bathed in costly perfume. Harmony = sacred service to God. The “dew of Hermon” symbolizes moisture coming down to the dry lower regions of the land, soothing and refreshing; life giving. Verse three completes the circle with verse one: “For there* (in harmonious relationships) the Lord commanded the blessing—life forever.” For there – on the mountain of Zion, Jerusalem, where everyone, is in harmony when Jesus Christ, our ultimate High Priest, our only Mediator, Who prays over us, will return and bring life forevermore.

God does not bless squabbling and dissension.

When we fix our eyes on our High Priest Jesus Christ we want to behave and live like Him.

In the morning when I rise, give me Jesus!

Friends, Christians, listen. Spiritual warfare is REAL. Spiritual warfare is not visible, it is obscured; it is well organized, and it is constant.

“Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might. Put on the full armor of God, so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places.” Ephesians 6:10‭-‬12 NASB1995 (read 13-18, too!)

These demonic spirits are in every place of power today, including the US Capitol. We are in an all out attack. Read Genesis: God created TWO genders, male and female – two genders, brought together in marriage. This is a fundamental truth that is being denigrated and ridiculed today, from the office of the president on down. How can a Christ follower support someone who is for “gender neutrality” and killing babies in the womb?

Make no mistake, Satan is alive and active. His goal is to obstruct Christians. No matter what he does, though, he cannot keep our prayers from reaching God! Delays to our prayers can be because of the warfare, where demons are fighting to keep angels from bringing us answers, but not because God isn’t listening or answering. As the end draws near, the demonic presence will intensify. Want the prophecy? Read Daniel 9.

This is the TRUTH: We overcome through Jesus Christ! We don’t fight FOR victory, we fight FROM victory. Stand firm. Jesus defeated satan at the cross. We are fighting from the position of victory and we CANNOT be defeated. Remember this! It will be actualized at the second coming. Meanwhile, satan is out on bail…. Each of us is bound in the snare of the devil, ONLY until we receive Jesus Christ into our life. We can ONLY be strong IN the LORD. The Armor of God IS Jesus.

Our mission is to further the proclamation of the victory of the LORD.

“You are from God, little children, and have overcome them; because greater is He who is in you than he who is in the world.” 1 John 4:4 NASB1995

“With all prayer and petition pray at all times in the Spirit, and with this in view, be on the alert with all perseverance and petition for all the saints, ” Ephesians 6:18 NASB1995

“SUBMIT THEREFORE TO GOD. Resist the devil and he will flee from you.” James 4:7 NASB1995

A.W. Tozer “It is not the praying sheep that satan fears, it is the Shepherd.” I pray that The Good Shepherd, the Lion of Judah, our LORD Jesus Christ, comes back soon!

“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him. He who believes in Him is not judged; he who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.” John 3:16‭-‬18 NASB1995

Accept Him today, because this is the most important decision of your life!

When I Am Weak

“And He has said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.” Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me.” 2 Corinthians 12:9 NASB1995

When I am weak…… That’s easy. Its pretty much 24/7. Even when I think I’m strong, I’m weak. I’m weak in the flesh. I’m weak in my faith.
Lord meet me in my weakness. I trust that You are good, that You have me and my future in the palm of Your hands. If You are all I have, that is enough. If You are all that I’ll ever have, You will forever be enough!

“Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom also we have obtained our introduction by faith into this grace in which we stand; and we exult in hope of the glory of God. And not only this, but we also exult in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance; and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope; and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us.” Romans 5:1‭-‬5 NASB1995

Do you have God’s strength? Are your weaknesses covered by His strength? Christ alone is the answer to all the trials and persecution we are dealing with, today and every day.

Know God? Know Peace.

No God? No peace!

Come to Me

“All things have been handed over to Me by My Father; and no one knows the Son except the Father; nor does anyone know the Father except the Son, and anyone to whom the Son wills to reveal Him. Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls . For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” Matthew 11:28‭-‬30 NASB1995

We receive Salvation through Jesus Christ alone. Jesus says “Come to ME.” That is the ultimate statement of salvation. HE, Jesus, the Christ, the One and Only Son of the Most High God, will GIVE you rest. We aren’t talking about a church or a creed or a doctrine, but Jesus alone.

Who can receive this gift of salvation? “….ALL who are weary and heavy-laden” – anyone; everyone who is weighed down by sin and guilt and will accept His salvation. We can’t earn it and we don’t deserve it. “Our merits merit nothing, Christ’s merits merit everything.” No matter what anyone else teaches or claims to know, this is fact: Christianity is NOT a religion of scales, it is a religion of the cross.

Jesus says “Take my yoke: submit to my authority.” When we submit to Him, we don’t become like a slave. He wants us to listen and learn to be like Him: Jesus is gentle, humble, accessible, tender, open, accommodating; He is not harsh or “trigger happy”. His yoke is well fitting, not uncomfortable or difficult. By abdicating control, it allows us to rest in body, soul, spirit.

“For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name, that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with power through His Spirit in the inner man, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; and that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled up to all the fullness of God. Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us,” Ephesians 3:14‭-‬20 NASB1995

Begin the new year a new person. Accept His Gift of Salvation today.

Today is the Day!

I would have despaired unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the LORD In the land of the living. Wait for the LORD; Be strong and let your heart take courage; Yes, wait for the LORD.
Psalms 27:13‭-‬14 NASB1995

And then, Jesus was born!

“So they [the shepherds] came in a hurry and found their way to Mary and Joseph, and the baby as He lay in the manger.” Luke 2:16 NASB1995

The Saviour of the world has been born, and He lives today. Celebrate His birth!

Silent Night, Holy Night

“Now in those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus, that a census be taken of all the inhabited earth. This was the first census taken while Quirinius was governor of Syria. And everyone was on his way to register for the census, each to his own city.

Joseph also went up from Galilee, from the city of Nazareth, to Judea, to the city of David which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and family of David, in order to register along with Mary, who was engaged to him, and was with child.

While they were there, the days were completed for her to give birth. And she gave birth to her firstborn son; and she wrapped Him in cloths, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.

In the same region there were some shepherds staying out in the fields and keeping watch over their flock by night. And an angel of the Lord suddenly stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them; and they were terribly frightened.

But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of great joy which will be for all the people; for today in the city of David there has been born for you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. This will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”

And suddenly there appeared with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest, And on earth peace among men with whom He is pleased.” ”

(Luke 2:1‭-‬14 NASB1995)

Do You Hear It?

DO YOU HEAR WHAT I HEAR?

Said the night wind to the little lamb:
“Do you see what I see?
Way up in the sky, little lamb
Do you see what I see?
A star, a star, dancing in the night
With a tail as big as a kite
With a tail as big as a kite”

Said the little lamb to the shepherd boy:
“Do you hear what I hear?
Ringing through the sky, shepherd boy
Do you hear what I hear?
A song, a song, high above the trees
With a voice as big as the sea
With a voice as big as the sea”

Said the shepherd boy to the mighty king:
“Do you know what I know?
In your palace warm, mighty king
Do you know what I know?
A Child, a Child shivers in the cold
Let us bring Him silver and gold
Let us bring Him silver and gold”

Said the king to the people everywhere:
“Listen to what I say!
Pray for peace, people everywhere!
Listen to what I say!
The Child, the Child, sleeping in the night
He will bring us goodness and light
He will bring us goodness and light”

– 1962, Noël Regney and Gloria Shayne Baker

Are you listening? JESUS is the answer; the only answer to all of the trials and tribulations and troubles we are dealing with – yesterday, today, and tomorrow. The Child Who left His Throne wants to give you peace. We still have to live in this sinful world, but we have a choice. Live in worry and fearful anticipation of what might happen, or be at peace in your heart.

I have troubles, and I would love to be able to see past them. I have concerns about where my country is headed (the phrase “to hell in a hand basket” comes to mind….) No matter what, I know that no matter what happens, my God is in control. If I should die tomorrow, or in the next 5 minutes, I’m not afraid, because I know where I’m going, and it’ll be FANTABULOUS.

Do you hear what I hear? The Glorious sound of the celebration of my Saviour’s birth, Who came to die and cover our sins with His blood; Who was resurrected on the third day, and returned to heaven to prepare a place for me! Can you say it for yourself?

The angels and all of Creation are joining in the song!!

The BABY In The Manger

The Scriptures tell us Who Jesus is. This is my Jesus, my Saviour. Do you need more?

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came into being through Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being.” John 1:1‭-‬2 NASB1995

“And when He again brings the Firstborn into the world, He says, “And let all the angels of God worship Him.” Hebrews 1:6 NASB1995


“Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was born, I Am.” ” John 8:58 NASB1995

“And Jesus seeing their faith said to the paralytic, “Son, your sins are forgiven.” But some of the scribes were sitting there and reasoning in their hearts, “Why does this man speak that way? He is blaspheming; who can forgive sins but God alone?” ” Mark 2:5-7 NASB1995

“But of the Son He says, “Your throne, O God, is forever and ever, And the righteous scepter is the scepter of His kingdom.” ” Hebrews 1:8 NASB1995
“And every created thing which is in heaven and on the earth and under the earth and on the sea, and all things in them, I heard saying, “To Him who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb, be blessing and honor and glory and dominion forever and ever.” ” Revelation 5:13 NASB1995

Christmas Day

We know that Christmas Day isn’t actually the day that Jesus was born. It’s a day that was co-opted from the pagan celebrations of the winter solstice, and many of the symbols were co-opted, as well. Is there anything wrong with this? Should we, as Christians, take this day and disown it, choosing to celebrate Jesus every day of the year?

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came into being through Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being. In Him was life, and the life was the Light of men. The Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it.” John 1:1‭-‬5 NASB1995

Jesus has always been. He IS and WAS and WILL BE to come. Why bother with His “birth” day? And how do we come up with a birth date? We’re human. We need the tangible in order to grasp the intangible. Choosing a day to celebrate the birth of our Saviour as a man, a GOD-man, gives us the opportunity to show His birth to the world. It’s unfortunate that the day has evolved into a day of giving gifts to other humans instead of celebrating the gift that God gave to humanity. I think Christmas is a great example of our degenerate humanness and just how far we have fallen. We take a day that celebrates God, and make it all about us.

It came upon the midnight clear,

That glorious song of old,

From Angels playing near the earth,

To touch their harps of gold;

“Peace on the earth, good will to men,

From Heaven’s all-gracious King.”

The world in solemn stillness lay,

To hear the Angels sing.

JOY to the world!

I choose to embrace the Christmas season. I celebrate my Saviour’s birth in Bethlehem. On the morning of December 25th, my household listens to me read aloud the Christmas story from Luke. (Even when I’m the only human in the house.) It’s up to each of to determine how, and when, we celebrate God’s birth as a baby boy. Celebrate the Reason for the Season, and don’t be ashamed to say “MERRY CHRISTMAS!”

“These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world.” John 16:33 NASB1995

In The Storms

Michael W. Smith, in his devotional Still, writes this:

Recently when I went to the mountains, they were hidden by a thick layer of smoke from wildfires. Their beauty was concealed. I was so disappointed that I couldn’t see them! Then the next day it began to rain. The temperature suddenly dropped and the rain turned to snow. The strong winds blew the snowflakes around in heavy swirls. It looked like a blizzard in September! When the storm cleared away, the mountains were revealed in striking beauty. The smoke was gone. The trees and mountaintops were blanketed in white.
The following day, the snow melted and the green appeared. The birds sang, the creek flowed, and the sun warmed us. As the land appeared to wake from death to life, God spoke to me and awakened my heart.

What a beautiful and apt analogy of the some of the things we go through in our lives. We can be in the midst of the ‘fire’, in complete darkness and chaos in our lives, smothering in smoke and flame, thinking things can’t be any worse. We want to give up in despair and hopelessness. Then the rains come. These can be soothing, healing rains, dousing the flames and giving us hope, or it can be a deluge, causing us to feel as though the last of our hope is being washed away. Life can turn into a blizzard of confusion, where we can’t see our hand in front of our face, lost and not knowing where it is safe to step. Am I on the path, or am I about to step off a precipice?

God is there. He is with us throughout these disasters.

In a fire, even with all of their protective equipment and training, people who fight fires can get burned, sometimes badly. Fire can be deadly, even to the most well trained firefighters.

In floods, rescuers wear flotation gear and take precautions, yet some are injured or killed every year.

In blizzards and storms, in avalanches, rescuers have specialized gear and training, and still some sustain injuries and death.

The LORD God is our protection. He is our trainer. His Book provides us the training we need, and the Holy Spirit provides our protection. Learning God’s Word outfits us with our armor, the protective gear that we need to survive the attacks of the enemy.

I feel like a majority of my life has been spent in the fires and the storms of life, without a lot of calm. Many poor decisions on my part have contributed to this, and because of the long reaching consequences of some of those choices, I don’t expect that my life will ever be ‘easy’. Even knowing this, there are many opportunities for me to see the smoke clearing, the rain ceasing, and the beauty of God’s Creation. The green appears. The birds sing, the creeks flow, and the sun warms me. The land – my land, my life, wakes from apparent death to life; God speaks to me and awakens my heart to His Beauty. I may forget, momentarily, but He always reminds me.

For the last few days, my city and state have endured an historic ice storm. Thousands of trees (and consequently vehicles and houses) have been utterly crushed and destroyed. Fierce winds have broken branches and snapped telephone and electric lines. Thousands are still without power. Millions of dollars in damage. Where is the good in this? How can God possibly use this?

Even before the first 24 hours were up, people were posting on social media that they were willing and available to help anyone who needed it, to remove branches, cut down trees, carry debris to the curb. That’s the Spirit moving! Even non-Christians are caught up in it, even if they don’t understand it. What an opportunity for God’s people. In the middle of our personal storms, we have the opportunity to reach out to others and show God’s Love.

The temperature is rising, the rain is stopping, and the sun is coming out. Today will be a good day.

“For I know the plans that I have for you,’ declares the Lord , ‘plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope.” Jeremiah 29:11 NASB1995

I don’t know God’s plans for you. I don’t even know what His plans are for me! What I do know is this. I have to rely on Him, because without Him, I am utterly and completely lost.