Can You Hear Me Now?

Daily Post: Substandard



This was the catch-phrase of the famous Verizon cell phone commercials that began in 2002 and ran for 9 years, where the Test Man would wander around saying “Can you hear me now?” If the STANDARD of the cellphone industry is supposed to be seamless voice and data over cellular signals, regardless of terrain, we still aren’t there.  Dropped calls, garbled voices, and corrupted data connections are still prevalent in many places in the USA, and the rest of the world.  Even now we might say the providers who want us to believe they are the “best” providers (because they offer the best rates or data packages), are actually still just substandard.  As recent as May 2016 an article I read said that “Poor cell phone coverage creates a Mobile Divide.”  The article states:

Cornell researchers have mapped cell-phone  across a large city, finding that low-income areas receive almost 15 percent less network  compared with their affluent counterparts.  The result is particularly significant in light of the fact that lower-income people tend to get most of their internet access only through their phones. Many also have no fixed land-line phone service at home, relying on cell phones at home and away. The Catch-22 is that regions with substandard access tend to become more economically depressed, encouraging service providers to continue to turn their attention to more affluent neighborhoods.

By any quantifying method, this reality is just substandard. Yet it is a great illustration of a much larger, universal truth.

Way back when this whole thing started, there was only one rule, one standard.  The man and the woman were instructed: in order to maintain communication and relationship standards with God, they were to refrain from eating the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. (Genesis 2:16-17)  Unfortunately, Adam and Eve proved to be substandard on their ability to keep this one rule.

Realizing the inability of the first couple to keep the standard, they were ushered out of their cushy habitat into a world where toil and labor now filled their days.  Over time God determined He would call a singular nation of people to live by His Standards.  He led the Hebrew people out of Egyptian captivity, and into a land rich with the blessings of life.  Along the way, God laid out for them the Standards by which they were to live.  If they met these standards, God would bless them.  If they lived substandard lives, God would curse them.  Very simple stuff.

Yes, history has shown us that the substandard bent of the first couple, was also prevalent as an ingrained predisposition in the Hebrew nation as well.  Which ultimately caused the whole nation to be dispersed across the world.  While they were still a nation, their prophets continually spoke about a day when a Messiah, a Redeemer/Deliverer would come to save them from themselves and the bent to be substandard.  God’s word is clear, the LAW (Standard) was never given to them as a means of salvation, but as a vivid image of the importance of their faith in God alone to save them.

In a final display of all God’s intentions related to the Standard of Life for humans, God sent His own Son, Jesus to embody this truth.  Housed in human flesh, Jesus submitted Himself to every possible occurrence which would cause humans to react in substandard ways and fail to bring glory to God.  And in every one of these occurrences, Jesus never failed humanly to bring glory to God, setting the Standard for all to see.  So let’s be clear.  Adam and Eve were not the Standard.  The Law of the Old Testament was not the Standard itself.  Jesus Christ is the Standard.

When Verizon, Sprint, or AT&T measure their performances in the cellular industry against each other, each can make a case for how they are the best in the business.  But if the Standard is: a ubiquitous cellular network providing seamless voice and data over cellular signals, regardless of terrain (or socio-economic neighborhoods), all of them are sub-standard.

In the same way, when we compare ourselves to others, we will always tend to come out looking pretty good.  Do this long enough and we begin to think not only are we pretty good, but we may be the best there is.  We might even be… no, we must be the Standard.  Only when we see ourselves as God sees us, will we understand that we don’t, and we won’t ever measure up to the Standard of Jesus’ life as a human.  We don’t align ourselves with God’s intentions or will, the same way Jesus did.  In a very real sense, God can only see us as Sub-standard.

What to do?  How can we change?  Where can we find God’s favor?

Romans 8:1-2
Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.  For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death. 

Romans 12:1-2
Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship.  And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.

Can you hear me now?

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Perspectives on Lust

Daily Post: Lust


If you’re still reading, I’m going to see it as an indication you have an open mind, and want to know what the heck this title really means.  Ok, so let’s start with the standard fare of definitions.  “Lust” can function as noun or verb.  In both forms, lust usually describes a condition of very strong sexual desire, or a passionate desire for some thing.  “Desire, sexual appetite, longing, urge, lechery, randiness” are some sexual synonyms for “lust.” “Crave, covet, ache, want, wish for, yearn for, hanker for,” are some synonyms for the passionate “lust” for things.  My professional opinion is that 99% of humanity does not use this term to mean cravings or appetites that are non-sexual.  We don’t say “I’m lusting for an apple.”  Instead we say, “I’m craving an apple,” even if the craving ultimately borders on what the Bible calls “sin.”

In the Google definitions of “lust” there is a highlighted section called “Theology.”  The definition stated under this heading is: ” a sensual appetite regarded as sinful.”  This definition fits both from a human perspective, and a Biblical one.  Humans are wired to be attracted sexually, and within these designs specifications, all of our 5 senses are engaged.  Here’s a few scripture references to keep us focused:

1 John 2:16
For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life, is not from the Father, but is from the world.

Proverbs 6:25
Don’t lust in your heart for her beauty or let her captivate you with her eyelashes.

Galatians 5:16
But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh.

Romans 8:6
For the mind set on the flesh is death, but the mind set on the Spirit is life and peace.

James 1:14-15
But each one is tempted when he is carried away and enticed by his own lust. 

So can we just all agree that the Bible is pretty clear about the distinction of “lust verses love?”  Can we admit that no one (at least no one I know) would ever say, “I lust for more truth from God?”  Even though “desire” and “cravings” are synonyms for “lust,” no one in their right mind would think the following verse had sexual connotations.

Psalm 42:1
As the deer pants for the water brooks, So my soul pants for You, O God.

Yet, the image David paints in this verse, is a deep passionate longing, desire, or craving for more of God.

To repeat: “lust” in today’s world has and will always mean an unhealthy desire, craving, or pursuit of sexual expression, or things which supplant the glory of God in a person’s life.

There is a fine line here, huh?  To desire the glory of God in extreme fashion, at the expense of all other pursuits, is the most natural thing in the world, for the true Christ follower.  Others in the world might see these actions, and attribute some kind of sexual perversion in their interpretation of our lives.  Regardless, does it really matter what other people think, or do you and I give an account of our lives to only ONE Judge?

My uncle Wylie would often say, “Get your mind out of the gutter, you’re crowding me.”  The sexual expression of lost humanity is vividly on display everywhere you turn in this world today, the gutter is quite full.  Lust is often glamorized, exalted, and seen as the most natural of all human expressions.  “Natural” being the operative word here.  For those who are not Christ followers today, each man and woman demonstrates their “natural” lust quite clearly for God to see, deep within their soul, before words are formed, or actions are engaged.  Nothing is hidden, and trust me, God knows whether the actions and attitudes of your life are about Him, and His glory, or you and your lusts.

The pervasive pestilence persists, and there is only ONE cure. (Yesterday’s article)

Lust is the proof.  And there is only one perspective that matters.




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Pestilence Persists

Daily Post: Pest


The creature landed on my arm on the first tee.  Driver in hand, at first I thought I might have to use the club as a weapon of mass destruction against this evil menace.  The thing was huge.  As my uncle Wylie would say, “if the thing had a saddle, I could have ridden it home.”  Now, mosquitoes on a golf course are nothing new, and since this course is near a lake, pest management is a continual problem.  And while mosquito donuts containing a naturally occurring bacteria help control the pesty population, they are not the be-all cure for these nasty little creatures.

Knowing where to find their habitats is one of the keys.  Adult mosquitoes apparently rest where it’s cool, dark, moist, and out of the wind.  They stay in these little hidey-holes until they sense a victim (human or animal), then quickly fly to their prey.  Ugly pests that they are, they congregate near any pool of standing water to lay their eggs, and it takes a very small amount of water to constitute a pool.  Standing water can be found in potted plants, tarps, wheelbarrow or drainage pipes.  Golf courses are notorious for mosquito challenges.

The American Mosquito Control Association, founded in 1935, is a scientific/educational, not-for-profit public  service association operating under the corporation laws of the state of New Jersey.  It is world-wide in scope, with members or subscribers to its publications in over 50 countries.  Their mission: To provide leadership, information, and education leading to the enhancement of health and quality of life through the suppression of mosquitoes and other vector-transmitted diseases, and the reduction of annoyance levels caused by mosquitoes and other vectors and pests of public health importance.

According to their data over one million people worldwide die from mosquito-borne disease every year. This is the list from their website of mosquito-borne diseases:

  • Malaria
  • Chikungunya
  • Dog Heartworm (Dirofilaria immitis)
  • Dengue
  • Yellow fever
  • Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE)
  • St. Louis Encephalitis (SLE)
  • LaCrosse Encephalitis (LAC)
  • Western Equine Encephalitis (WEE
  • West Nile virus (WNV)
  • Zika virus

Seems daunting and sobering just to think about it, huh?

But what if there were a pestilence with the capability of destroying billions of human lives, which was unseen and untraceable?  What if there persisted an evil so pervasive that it touched literally even human life on the planet?  Even better, what if a cure for this disease were readily available for each person, and there was enough available for each newborn human as well?  Wouldn’t this be horrible but wonderful?

The pestilence born over the course of human history is Sin.  It is not borne through mosquitoes, no.  It is born into each heart, as humans perpetuate the distance between their Creator and themselves.  It is a constant and perpetual problem, bringing with it the pain of certain death if not treated.  And make no mistake, that while there are many who propose to have found a remedy which eases the side effects of this disease, there is only ONE which eradicates the pest at the source.  All others are imitations at best, and worse,  false hope and lies.

The Creator, infinitely wise, full of grace and mercy, came from heaven to take on our human likeness, so that He might conquer this plague once and FOR ALL.  On the cross His blood was spent.  In the tomb He lay dormant until the process was completed.  When the stone rolled away, taking up His life again He came forth conquering the pestilence known as Sin, for all of mankind.  Now, thankfully, the Creator makes available the CURE for Sin to every person who will trust in Jesus Christ as Savior.

Some stubbornly refuse to acknowledge they even have this disease.  Some put on pretenses of worshipping the Creator, having never met Him or spoken to Him, and have certainly not put their trust in Him.  Others deny His existence or the reality of the disease itself, having been controlled by the pestilence to the point where their minds are blind to the truth.

There is no shot, no pill, no dietary regimen which will destroy the pest, called Sin, at its core. Only one thing will save.  Only one name will heal.  Only one name offers grace.


John 3:16
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.


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Shallowishly Saved?

Daily Post: Shallow


Recently the suffix tag “ish” seems trendy enough that virtually anything can be “ish.”  Foods can be healthy-ish.  Men can be dull-ish, or dumb-ish, and apish.  Women can be pretty-ish, cute-ish, tallish, and shortish.  The whole color palette can be “ish,” greenish, yellowish, redish, etc.  Salsa can be hotish.  The water in this swimming pool can be coolish, deepish, or bluish.

Now, consider this swimming pool.  The community pool from my childhood was a rectangular shape, with a graduated bottom which went from 3 feet deep on the shallow end, to 15 feet deep on the opposite end with a diving board.  Safety to a person in this pool was directly proportional to the person’s ability to adequately manage the depth grade change.  Some managed by staying in the shallow end, and never learned how to swim.  Some went down the grade, to where their toes could bounce and skim along the bottom, while always staying close enough to the side of the pool that they held on, still having never learned to swim.  Others, having learned to swim, would walk all the way to the deep end of the pool, climb up and out to the end of the diving board, and dive deep into the cool clear water.  Belly flops, flips, cannonballs, and jack-knifes were the order of the day, but all who would dive, could swim.

In swimming there is no “ish.”  Even if all you do is dog paddle your way to the side, that’s still considered swimming (in my book), because you can keep yourself from drowning in the deep end of the pool. And you get to dive off the board.  Granted, some people swim better than others, but the fact is, either you can swim, or you can’t.  There is no “ish” in swimming.

In this same way, there is no “ish” in the gospel of Jesus Christ.  This might be a little confusing in the world today.  “Christianity” (the word) means so many different things to so many different people.  Some people have called themselves Christian because they aren’t Muslim, thinking that not being one makes them the other.  Some people claim the title Christian because their ancestral tree was filled with people who attended church, so they consider they must have inherited it.  Attitudes today across the world have shifted away from “Christian” meaning a good thing, with good reasons.  There are too many gospel-ish folks out there frolicking in the pool.

Some people who call themselves Christians really are just trying to save themselves by associating with the name Christ, but having no real commitment to Jesus.  They’ve bought completely into the concept of staying in the shallow end, with their feet firmly planted 3 feet deep, and pretending to swim with others in the pool.  God does not accept this shallowish salvation activity.

Some people who call themselves Christians are more daring than others.  They creep along the side of the pool holding onto the ledge, all the while skittering along toward the deep end.  They long to jump off the board, they enjoy watching others do it.  The thrill of it motivates them toward the deep water, but their toes still touch the bottom, and their hand is still on the ledge.  They don’t know the truth, haven’t committed to the truth yet.

There is no “ish” in the gospel.  Learning that Jesus Christ demands I trust in Him and Him alone to save me, lead me, guide me, protect me, teach me, is a difficult thing to do. Yet for those who would be Christian, there is no holding back, or holding on to the past, or trying to do it yourself.  Every person who came to Jesus in Scripture was changed completely from the inside out.  Each individual was granted salvation by their confession that Jesus Christ is Lord, and professed their faith in Him alone to be their Savior.

“Ish” may be popular today, but there are none shallowishly saved.

The saved of God look exactly like the man in this picture.  They dive deep into God’s love and grace demonstrated in Christ Jesus.

Ephesians 2:8-9
For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast.

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Knowing and Not Knowing

Daily Post: Hidden


I’ve always loved mazes, optical illusions, and jigsaw puzzles.  These devices challenge my mind to think creatively for solutions using visual keys.  Apparently the latest “thing” from education to advertising is something called the “wordle.”  Along with pimping up our vehicles or FB profiles, text now takes on a different image.  It’s no longer a monotone black and white world of words.  Today it’s horizontal, colorful, and mildly entertaining to discover what’s hidden in the wordle text images, as seen in the one above.  In the educational world, teachers have learned the pedagogic value of wordles, useful as a text analysis tool, using these images in speaking or creative writing. We’ve come a long way from paintings on the walls of caves.

Wandering through the mazes of popular opinion, conventional wisdom, or long-held traditional spiritual beliefs, often cause a person to be confused or frustrated by a perceived “hidden” message.  Looking at the image above, for example, the largest words are: “like, king, thousand, now,” and “hundred.”  But what does that mean?  What’s the significance?  The other 50-70(?) words surrounding these surely have significance, but how would anyone know the order of things, or be capable of making sense out of them?  It becomes a very subjective experience, which may be great to teach creative thinking, but eliminates all possibility of an absolute interpretation.

Therein lies the universal problem in approaching the Word of God as though it were just some cosmic wordle.  The ancient world, along with many men and women today, while ignoring the veracity of God’s word, have relegated Scripture to the shelves containing fairy tales, myths, and other entertainment fiction.   Here’s the crux of the issue.  Why not consider the Bible today as accurately transmitted down through the ages, in the same way that scholars consider Homer’s Iliad,  Sophocles’ Tragedies, Herodotus’ History, Thucydides’ History of the Peloponnesian War, Palto’s Tetralogies, or Demosthenes’ Speeches?  Why? Because the “truth” of the Bible seems still “hidden” to the men and women who make such decisions.  For details on this issue see CRI-The Biographical Test Updated.  If you are interested in such things, you might also find these 25 facts about the Dead Sea Scrolls interesting.

Like the Dead Sea Scrolls, hidden in caves for hundreds of years, the word of God still seems hidden or undiscoverable to the minds of many around the world.  This is due to many factors, but the one that sticks out for me is the simple word “Truth.”  In order to find truth one has to be willing to submit to the premise that there is such a thing as absolute truth.  Not subjective truth, as though looking at a wordle and perpetrating some explanation for the whole based solely on what you see or perceive.  No, not subjective truth, but objective truth, accepting without feelings, ideas, or opinions that one can know absolute truth.

Only when a person casts aside their own preconceived notions will they be able to come close to hearing the words of Jesus in the manner they are intended.

John 8:32
You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.

It follows then that if someone is still subjectively seeing God’s Word, as only some confusing “wordle,” it is because something is blinding them to the truth.  What could that possibly be?

Paul speaks clearly to this issue.

2 Corinthians 4:3-4
And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing, in whose case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelieving so that they might not see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.

Objective truth?  Or wordle?

You have to decide for yourself.

Trust me, it’s right there in black and white!



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My Mother’s Ice Tea: Infused with Joy

Daily Post: Tea


This title may seem familiar to you. With the exception of the last word, I used this title back in May when the word of the day was “infuse.”  In that article I wrote about Grace.  I wrote about my dad and how the ice tea debacle became a teaching moment in my early childhood days.  Today the temperature in Flower Mound, Texas, is supposed to be around 100 degrees and the heat index is higher than that by 5 to 10 degrees.  Days’ like this always bring me back to fond memories of my mother’s ice tea.

First of all, so as not to confuse anyone, when I speak of ice tea, this means: “sweet” iced tea,; brewed then poured over Imperial pure cain sugar (which is only 15 calories a teaspoon, non-GMO, and glutten free) and stuffed into the refrigerator to steep.  After the tea is appropriately chilled, and only then, ice is added to the pitcher to enhance the coldness.  Filling a mason jar with ice, pouring the tea into the jar, is for me… pure joy.  Each time I order tea in a restaurant that even comes close to tasting like my mom’s ice tea, joy again spreads through my being as I remember her presence again.  What I wouldn’t give for one more pitcher of my mother’s sweet ice tea!

Perhaps on some level what I have left of her is far better than this delightfully delicious drink.  Like you, for me life sort of blurs together over the years, and what we hold on to most of the time, are the positive/happy moments of our past.  Clearly I’ve done this over the years, because I’m not oblivious to all those tense or awkward times with my mother as I tried to survive childhood and young adulthood in the 50’s to the early 70’s.   There were some tough times, but they are long since historical blurs, and not as vivid in my brain as the face of my mother, laughing, joking, smiling and loving her family.  I’m sure my three sisters would say, “mom always liked you best.”  I’m not sure it’s true, but then again, I’ve been wrong in the past, so I could be wrong about this.

My memories of mom are from two rooms in our home, the kitchen and “her” chair in the living room.  Making tea was just a part of what she did in that kitchen, preparing meals for her family, demonstrating her love for us in those tasty treats.  But the memory I have of mom in her chair are still vivid for the joy of conversation.  Mom and I used to have discussions on Scriptures from the Bible that lasted for hours.  Most of these happened during my college days in the early 1970’s when I would come home for a weekend.  She would be studying her Sunday School lesson for the coming week and we would sit together discussing the passage to be studied.  It’s exhilarating even now, and joy spreads across my face even as I write this, remembering the pleasure and thrill of those discussions.

When I think of ice tea, or when I drink something close to what I remember, in each event God’s Spirit brings me joy through the words of Solomon in Proverbs 31, describing the godly woman.

Proverbs 31:25-28
Strength and dignity are her clothing, and she smiles at the future. She opens her mouth in wisdom, and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue.  She looks well to the ways of her household, and does not eat the bread of idleness.  Her children rise up and bless her; Her husband also, and he praises her.

I often think my mother’s sweet ice tea was infused with her joy, in just being who God created her to be!

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What’s in a name?

Daily Post: Fragrance


From Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, 1600:


‘Tis but thy name that is my enemy;
Thou art thyself, though not a Montague.
What’s Montague? it is nor hand, nor foot,
Nor arm, nor face, nor any other part
Belonging to a man. O, be some other name!
What’s in a name? that which we call a rose
By any other name would smell as sweet;
So Romeo would, were he not Romeo call’d,
Retain that dear perfection which he owes
Without that title. Romeo, doff thy name,
And for that name which is no part of thee
Take all myself.

One could argue, according to Juliet, that these beautiful roses I purchased last week would smell just as sweet if they were called Rosa delicti.  However, to use another worn out phrase, we should not be hasty here to judge a book by its cover.  You see, while these roses are beautiful in color, they have committed a heinous crime.  They have no smell at all.  They don’t smell like roses, or any other flower for that matter.  To my sensitive proboscis there is no fragrance, no odor, no nothing.  What a crime!  I remember well when roses smelled as sweet as the words Juliet used to describe them.

So wouldn’t it be more fitting to call these flowers “odorless rose”? But what’s in a name right?  Oh trust me, there is much in a name, and the power of names is nothing to sneeze at.  For example, if I suggest the name Adolph Hitler, what image comes to mind?  What world wide impact did the man have?  See, just the name Hitler weighs heavy with power unimaginable by most.

What if I suggest the name Winston Churchill? Passionate folks often quote Churchill in motivational speeches to convince people to become engaged in life.  Just a couple of examples:

“I would say to the House… ‘I have nothing to offer but blood, toil, tears, and sweat’… Victory at all costs, victory in spite of all terror, victory however long and hard the road may be; for without victory, there is no survival.”

“Centuries ago words were written to be a call and a spur to the faithful servants of Truth and Justice: ‘Arm yourselves, and be ye men of valour, and be in readiness for the conflict; for it is better for us to perish in battle than to look upon the outrage of our nation and our altar.  As the will of God is in heaven, even so let it be.”

Reading these quotes you can almost smell the gritty fragrance of courage and conviction.  These were words which motivated men to engage for truth and justice once again.  So, what’s in a name?  Everything.  The name is the essence.

So, let’s talk about another name.  Folks react in a variety of ways when they hear this name.  Let me speak it now:  Jesus Christ the Lord.

To some the very sound of that name is a horrendous odor filling their nostrils with such fiercely pungent anger, that in their vain pride they shout this name in obscenity, cursing the heavens from whence He came.  To others the name is the consummate punchline, and laughing they equate the name with nothing more than popcorn eaten by thousands at entertainment venues around the globe, called churches.

But to us… to those reading these words who truly know Him, the name Jesus is sweeter than any other fragrance in the world.  One of the fragrances from my childhood that lingers even now, somewhere deep in my consciousness, is the smell of the little Baptist Church in Frankel City, Texas.  Located at the junction of Farm roads 181 and 1967, about 20 miles from Andrews, Texas.  What triggers this smell every time are the words to song written in the 1920’s, and sung often in this little church.

There have been names that I have loved to hear,
But never has there been a name so dear
To this heart of mine, as the name divine,
The precious, precious name of Jesus.

Jesus is the sweetest name I know,
And He’s just the same as His lovely name,
And that’s the reason why I love Him so;
Oh, Jesus is the sweetest name I know.

There is no name in earth or Heav’n above,
That we should give such honor and such love
As the blessèd name, let us all acclaim,
That wondrous, glorious name of Jesus.

And some day I shall see Him face to face
To thank and praise Him for His wondrous grace,
Which He gave to me, when He made me free,
The blessèd Son of God called Jesus.

What’s in a name?  Let me share the truth with you now…

In Acts chapter 4, Peter and John stood before the Elders who had them arrested, and boldly and confidently spoke these words:

Acts 4:12
“And there is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men by which we must be saved.”

Later Paul would write to the church in Philippi these words:

Philippians 2:8-11
Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.  For this reason also, God highly exalted Him, and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus EVERY KNEE WILL BOW, of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and that every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

What’s in a name?  Everything having to do with the hope of mankind, that’s all.

Believe this truth.  Act on this truth.  Let God’s will in heaven be done this day right here on earth… in your life.

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Trouble In River City

Daily Post: Harmonize


Harold Hill was a con man posing as a boy’s band organizer.  He went to Iowa by train, stopping in River City to sell band instruments and uniforms to the unassuming citizens of River City.  Marian the Librarian falls in love with the fast talking con man and that’s where the trouble really started.  The Music Man was a Broadway hit in 1957, and adapted for a movie in 1962.  With tongue twisting lyrics and speeches, dancing and romancing, one of the best features of the film for me is still the Barbershop Quartet harmonizing throughout the movie.

For a very short time I was caught up in Barbershop Quartet harmonizing in High School.  I remember those rehearsal times fondly, and the assistant choir director who tried to help the four of us boys sing in tune.  It was quite comical at times, but fun nonetheless.  Harmony is beautiful when it happens, but the quarter-tones and half-tones resolving and harmonizing is just pure fun when a good Barbershop quartet sings.

Today, the popular version of Acapella groups is a far cry from those of my High School days.  One of my favorite groups today is Pentatonix.  Just a little over 5 years ago this group came onto the scene, and since has sold over 6 million albums, won 3 Grammies, have their own YouTube channel of 13 million subscribers, and 2 billion video views.  Using their voices to produce both the background tracks and the vocals, Scott Hoying, Mitch Grassi, Kirstin Maldonado, Avi Kaplan, and Kevin “K.O.” Olusola have taken harmonize to a whole new level.

Often I wonder why life can’t be more harmonious.  Whether its Barbershop Quartet, or Pentatonix, the harmonies can be misleading because they make it look easy, like a well oiled machine.  Make no mistake, anyone who has ever sung in a group like these, understands it doesn’t happen without hours and hours of painstaking rehearsals and practice sessions.  People who sing are constantly practicing on their own, so that when the group comes together, it’s no long about learning parts, but making them all fit for the performance.

If we look closely at the world around us, we quickly realize just how messed up earth, and how out of harmony the people of earth really are.  Harmonizing politically is a joke.  Harmonizing economically is  a non-starter.  Harmonizing our past with our present is being destroyed even as you read this article, by the revisionist who can’t quite come to grips with their present.  And don’t even get me started on the Church.  Where is the cohesive, coordinated, compatible Spirit that is supposed to be the evidence of spiritual Oneness?

Not only does this world look dysfunctional, there doesn’t seem to be any hope for things to change positively any time soon.  We’re living in a dangerous time, and as Harold Hill would say, “We’ve got trouble in River City!”  What is the solution?  Where is the answer?

Isaiah 55:8-12
For My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways,” declares the LORD.  For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways and My thoughts than your thoughts.  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.  For you will go out with joy and be led forth with peace; the mountains and the hills will break forth into shouts of joy before you, and all the trees of the field will clap their hands.

Yes, you guessed it.  This whole thing harmonizes when God’s Word is complete, and not until then.  And don’t forget, when God says, “so will My word be,”  remember John described Jesus as The WORD.  The ways and thoughts of God are higher than our own.  Jesus Christ the Lord is the ultimate expression and completion of these thoughts and ways.  He is the Word, He is God.  Our only hope for harmony… is Jesus.

1 Timothy 4:10
For it is for this we labor and strive, because we have fixed our hope on the living God, who is the Savior of all men, especially of believers.



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Quiescent Silence

Daily Post: Dormant


Like the proverbial tree-in-the-forest joke, I wonder at times about my dormant days as a writer.  If I fail to write an article and post it on my blog, and no one notices, do I really make a difference?  For instance, Tuesdays are more often than not dormant days for me on the blog.  Tuesdays, the Senior Men’s Golf Association at Lake Park Golf Course meet and have a weekly tournament.  The 80 or so players on any given week are divided into 3 flights and play for a top prize of $27.50 in each flight, which almost covers the entry fee for playing golf that day.  By the time I return home, have some lunch, clean up, and sit down at my computer, writing is pretty much the last thing on my mind.  In fact, this tree in the forest pretty much defines my state of being for the rest of the day.  So the question remains, when the quiescent silence prevails, do I make a difference?

If a tree falls in the forest, and there’s nobody around to hear, does it make a sound?  Simple question right?  How do you interpret “sound”?  Do you mean the compressions and rarefactions of the air resulting from physical disturbances caused by the falling tree, sending audio frequencies through the stillness of the forest?  Or do you mean the physical signals received by the unique human organs inside our heads which are then synthesized as our brains form perceptions based on these signals, “Aha! A tree is falling!”?

Today isn’t Tuesday, it’s Saturday.  And today, like Meghan Trainor, I’m “all about that bass, no treble.”  No longer dormant, my mind is barreling along at a pretty good clip, heavy on the bass, not a lot of treble.  I’m wondering exactly how to communicate to you, each of you, as readers of this blog, how to awaken from the quiescent silence.  It helps perhaps if we understand the “quiescent silence” and define “make a difference.”

Yes, it is a habit of mine to read the Daily Post word, in this case “dormant,” and try to come up with a hook for my title.  Usually in this process I find a synonym to use as a springboard or writing inspiration.  Hence, “quiescent” really just means “dormant.”  So, if my writing goes dormant on Tuesdays, do I make a difference?  In the tree-in-the-forest example above, the answer depends on how you define “sound.”  In my example perhaps the answer lies equally in how one defines “make a difference.”

My blog presence allows readers all over the world to read something inspirational,  or something that will lead them to the Bible, or something that points them to a spiritual truth, at least that is my daily goal.  This blog has been read in 76 countries around the world since January 2017.  How astounding!  What is even more startling to me, is that even on “dormant” days, rarely is there a Tuesday when someone doesn’t visit the site and read a past article.  From the 173 articles written this year, someone has viewed an article, or page on the blog, 4,302 times.  My response to this analysis provided by my host site is, “so what?”  Because the question is, “have I made a difference?”  If “make a difference” is defined by having a presence then the answer has to be “yes.”

However, if making a difference is to be defined by my seeing the “effect” my blog is having around the globe, then the answer will be “no.”  I am not in China, Australia, India, or Cameroon. I do not know the readers personally.  Yet, even if I did, I don’t know the 24-hour details of their lives, or how God is using me to “make a difference.”  All I can do, is write.  All I can do is pray for God to take this blog, and make it His.  All I can do is be faithful to speak the truth in love, to everyone who reads this blog.  So here it comes, are you ready?

Just like me, you will never know the difference you make in someone else’s life.  Yet I want to encourage you to be faithful.  Living for Jesus often requires us to realize that life may often seem dormant, with no one listening or watching.  But we don’t know what God does with our words, actions, or the life lived for Him… we don’t see the effects, and maybe we never will.  Just because you are not present to hear the tree fall… doesn’t mean it doesn’t make a sound.

We are created to experience God’s grace and extend God’s glory to the end of the earth. Living in such a way will always have long term eternal results, even if in this life it seems to be only a quiescent silence.

1 Timothy 4:1-2
I solemnly charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by His appearing and His kingdom: preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort, with great patience and instruction.  For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires, and will turn away their ears from the truth and will turn aside to myths.


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Tootsie Pops vs. Suckers

Daily Post: Lollipop


I’ve only had a couple of cavities in my life, and those when I was very young.  While I don’t adhere to the strictest calendar regarding Dentist visits, I’m confident from the last time I was in the hot-seat that I inherited the good teeth gene.  I rarely have that many sweets at one time, and I haven’t had a lollipop or tootsie pop since my twenties.  That’s over 40 years for those who don’t know me well.

Mostly I associate suckers with going to a Doctor (not a Dentist) and getting a treat when the appointment went well, meaning I didn’t cry, whine, or complain when I got a shot.  On the other hand, tootsie pops were my absolute favorite for awhile, because I loved the tootsie roll chocolate center when all the hard candy coating was licked off.  To this day I still like tootsie rolls although you won’t find any in my cupboards.

According to a Daily News 2011 article “Halloween candy is delicious, but lollipops and sticky taffy bars are the worst for your teeth.”  The author of the article says “Fruit is better than candy any time, but try telling that to a child!”  Apparently the worst candies for anyone are taffy and other candies filled with caramel, coconut or nuts, and a close second would be hard candies like lollipops and jawbreakers.

Why would someone desire to consume something so obviously harmful to the health of one’s teeth?  That answer is not as hard to come up with as you might think.  In fact this answer is as old as human history.  When the first couple were given instructions on what they could consume for food from the garden, there was only one restriction from the Creator.

Genesis 2:16-17
The LORD God commanded the man, saying, “From any tree of the garden you may eat freely; but from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat from it you will surely die.

Along comes the tempter and convinces this couple that God really doesn’t mean they die, and besides that fruit is so good, God is just keeping it all to himself.  It’s good to look at, to smell, to touch, and to taste… so go ahead… you know you want to.  Regardless of what any parent says to their child at Halloween, these are the same words the child hears, when it comes to that stash of candy they just hoarded from the neighborhood.  So who’s to blame for all the cavities?  The kids?  The candy-makers?  The parents?  The Tempter?  God, because He let someone make the candy?  You see the problem?

Ultimately, if children don’t learn to control their urges, desires, or drives, the consumption of sugar, (or worse), could have disastrous results on their teeth, or health, or both.  Is there a simple lesson here?

What if tootsie tolls and lollipops are symbolic of more pressing adult issues which tempt our minds and hearts today?  Paul wrote about three things which have the power to destroy the human existence, from which we must keep constant awareness.

1 John 2:16
For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life, is not from the Father, but is from the world.

James 1:13-16
Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am being tempted by God”; for God cannot be tempted by evil, and He Himself does not tempt anyone.  But each one is tempted when he is carried away and enticed by his own lust.  Then when lust has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and when sin is accomplished, it brings forth death.  Do not be deceived, my beloved brethren.

Everything today that stands against the will of God in your life falls into one of three categories (according to John):  lust of the flesh, lust of the eyes, and boastful pride of life.  These are the three areas which the Tempter will attack you.  Every test that comes your way looks, feels and tastes like a candy treat… but will destroy you if you are not careful.  James says when you give in, committed to the temptation in action (sin), the result is death.

So… when the Tempter offers you lollipops… just say “no.”

It really is that simple.


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Disastrous Ramifications

Daily Post: Disastrous

Billy bookcase instructions

I know a guy who has never read an instruction manual, not once.  This man figures he can open the box, layout the pieces, and figure out how they go together by looking at the image of the finished product.  He rationalizes this approach as though the item were a jigsaw puzzle as opposed to a bookshelf.  He says jigsaws are much harder by comparison.  All this often concludes with disastrous ramifications.  While reading would be easier, smarter, faster, and safer, none of that really matters.  What matters, to him at least, is that he can’t acknowledge that the engineers at Ikea could have a better way than his for assembling this Billy shelf.  He simply can’t submit to their authority over the correct way to build the shelf.

Some people approach the Bible in the same manner as an Ikea instruction set for building a bookshelf.  They convince themselves they are probably smart enough to figure out life on their own, without any help or instruction from the Creator of life.  They’ve done ok so far, and can’t see any reason for that to change in the future.  So, hey, when they need some help they’ll ask.  Until then don’t confuse them with the instruction manual.

Jesus, whom John calls The Word, does not control people’s lives, as though He were a taskmaster or puppet master.  He’s not demanding you submit to His authority or lordship.  He’s offering you the opportunity to learn the safety and security of that choice.  Jesus offers grace, but we must choose it, in order to be blessed by it.  At one point He said to the disciples, and the crowd nearby, “No servant can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and wealth.” [Luke 16:13]  It was a really awesome maxim then, just as it is today.  We choose whom we serve… or what worship.

Jesus never says “You must submit to me.”  In fact just the opposite is true.  The choice is completely yours and mine to make.  We can spit in His face, use His name as the ultimate height of profanity, crucify Him daily by denying His right to be Lord, and He will never speak against it.  However, to believe these actions and attitudes would have no consequence is not a wise choice at all.  Oswald Chambers says, “It is simply the unworthiness within me that refuses to bow down or to submit to one who is worthy.  When I meet someone who is more holy than myself, and I don’t recognize his worthiness, nor obey his instructions for me, it is a sign of my own unworthiness being revealed.”

Refusing to submit to Jesus as Lord has disastrous ramifications.  Failing to acknowledge His grace, given freely at great cost, will not just be disastrous in itself, but will have eternal consequences most people can’t even imagine.  The simple truth that Jesus stated to His disciples then, and now to us today is:

John 13:13
You call Me Teacher and Lord, and you say well, for so I am.

Say it well with your words and your life today, call out to Him as Teacher and Lord.  Proclaim His glory rather than your own.  If you need help with this, there’s always the instruction manual, where men and women of old gave us images in the proper exclamation of God’s great glory.

Psalm 150:1-6

Praise the LORD! Praise God in His sanctuary; Praise Him in His mighty expanse.
Praise Him for His mighty deeds; Praise Him according to His excellent greatness.
Praise Him with trumpet sound; Praise Him with harp and lyre.
Praise Him with timbrel and dancing;
Praise Him with stringed instruments and pipe.
Praise Him with loud cymbals; Praise Him with resounding cymbals.
Let everything that has breath praise the LORD. Praise the LORD!


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What Angels Savor

Daily Post: Savor


Now me, I prefer a good tenderloin steak, medium rare, with a baked potato as opposed to say … a tofu salad.  But hey, that’s just me.  I recently sold my Vision Komodo grill to a nice young couple with two children.  I sold it because I’m too old to mess with how long it took to get the charcoal just right in order to cook that medium rare steak in the first place.  The subtle smell of wood smoke is an awesome thing, but if I need more of that smell in my new Weber, I’ll just soak a few chips, wrap it in foil just enough to leek out onto the steaks and I’m still good.  You might say I savor the experience as much as the smell, taste, sight and sound of grilling.

These five senses are God-given characteristics of how the Creator expects us to experience this life.  Literally everything we do in some way involves the engagement of our senses.  The things that we savor are those that penetrate deepest in our minds, in most cases lasting a lifetime.  One of my favorite savored memories of my mom is her banana pudding.  Legend has it that my dad (as a young man) came home from work one day to find a mixing bowl full of banana pudding in the refrigerator.  Mom apparently wasn’t around, so he took the rather large bowl and sat down, proceeded to eat the whole thing. My mother didn’t savor that experience, but he did.

So you see, we savor different things, because we are so unique.

Angels are created beings of a higher order and nature than humans.  Angels were created primarily to worship God, bring God glory, and perform God’s will.  In this unique design, angels were given powers and capabilities that humans do not have.  Yet there is within this paradigm the understanding from the Bible that in some ways, the angels look at our relationship with God and are awed by it. When the Apostle Peter wrote about the living hope and sure salvation we have in Jesus, he talked about the prophets who longed to know more, and the angels who saw from heaven, and wished they could understand better. [1 Peter 1:10-12]

How do I know the angels savor this salvation story?  Simple.  Jesus said so.

At one point in His ministry, Jesus told three parables back-to-back-to-back.  Just so that it wouldn’t be lost on his listeners, Jesus pointed out the object of the parable explicitly at the end of each tale.  He told about a lost sheep and said, “I tell you that in the same way, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance.” [Luke 15]

Then Jesus told the story about the lost coin, and at the end he said, “In the same way, I tell you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents.”[Luke 15]

Finally, Jesus told the story of a prodigal son, the most complete and detailed version of the “lost” stories.  It was one that probably everyone in the crowd that day related to, because they had known someone who’s son had acted this way… or they were the son that acted this way.  At the end of this story, the son that never did anything wrong was so upset he asked the dad “what gives?” Jesus said to that son, “Son, you have always been with me, and all that is mine is yours.  But we had to celebrate and rejoice, for this brother of yours was dead and has begun to live, and was lost and has been found!”[Luke 15]

Angels and humans are not brothers.  We do not become angels when we die.  However, angels and humans are both created by God, and have a common purpose.  We were both created to bring God glory.  The angels do this just as they have for eons before humans were ever created.  Yet in this long servitude, when in the fulness of time, the Son of God died so that humanity could be saved, angels were a willing part of this plan of salvation.  The angels ministered to Jesus while here on earth, and minister today to us as we seek to do God’s will.

Jesus said in these “lost” stories that every time a sinner repents, every time that person that is far from God steps over the line of faith into Jesus, the angels savor the experience and throw a party in heaven (look again at the lost coin story).  The angels savor and cling to it in such a way that it never gets old.  The joy never stops.  This aspect of their created experience, they did not know before the creation of humanity, and the plan of salvation for humanity.  But now… even after all this time of watching humans bring glory to God by trusting in Jesus… they savor the experience as something they will never know personally, but had a part in all along.

Are you far from God today?  Take that step… cross over the line of faith into Jesus… and let the angels savor that experience as well.

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Abram’s Moxie

Daily Post: Moxie


This morning I slept in.  I didn’t set an alarm last night, intentionally.  But then again, I don’t ever set an alarm as though I need one to get up in the morning.  My internal body clock just gets me up.  I can’t just lie there in bed.  It’s virtually impossible for me to force myself to stay in that prone position after I awaken. Life has been this way for me as long as I can remember.  As a result, just after 7:00 am on a Saturday morning, (an hour later than average), here I am, sitting at my desk, writing.

Everyone has their routines.  But I can honestly say I didn’t wake up full of moxie this morning.  I didn’t have a lot of pep in my step, or energy coursing through my veins.  Mostly it seemed I was on auto pilot until my reading routine brought me to this word –Moxie – from the Daily Post.  It wasn’t like a shot of adrenalin, or enlightening like an epiphany, really.  My coffee hadn’t even finished brewing at that point.  Something in my brain just clicked, and it was time to write.

This word, moxie, reminds me of Abram.  Most people know him as Abraham.  He’s pretty famous for his role in becoming the patriarch of the nation of Israel.  Yet, most people don’t even understand that when God spoke to Abram, it wasn’t because he was Jewish.  There was no “Jewish” at the time of Abram.  In fact many of the nations of the world came from Abram’s loins.  Additionally, Abram didn’t even live in the land that would become Israel at the time God found him.  Abram lived in the area of southern Mesopotamia along the Persian Gulf, in the land of Ur (see map above).  Through archaeological discoveries this area extols evidence of elaborate wealth, skilled craftsmanship, and advanced technologies and science (for that ancient time).

Now imagine you are Abram.  God’s voice comes to you and you hear these words: [Genesis 12:1]
Now the LORD said to Abram, “Go forth from your country, and from your relatives And from your father’s house, to the land which I will show you; and I will make you a great nation, and I will bless you, and make your name great; and so you shall be a blessing; and I will bless those who bless you, and the one who curses you I will curse. And in you all the families of the earth will be blessed.”

What kind of pluck, what kind of courage, what kind of MOXIE would it have taken for Abram to act on these words at face value?  It wasn’t like he had been to the middle east territories and said, “that sounds good, I’ll go live there.”  Abram hadn’t seen it, couldn’t see it, and wouldn’t even know how to get there, except God shows him the way.  Talk about a pioneer, this guy has something most of us can’t even comprehend.  Abram has to leave the only home he has ever known, all his relatives will stay behind, and he’ll never return to his country.  Call it what you want, that takes moxie.

Theologians, Pastors, Teachers and the Church at large tend to quantify Abram’s actions by the word Faith.  Clearly, this is what Scripture teaches in Hebrews 11:8.  By faith Abraham, when he was called, obeyed by going out to a place which he was to receive for an inheritance; and he went out, not knowing where he was going.

So here’s the thing, perhaps we’ve heard this word so frequently that today we need to find some context of its meaning for us personally.  Hence, I offer you here, Abram’s moxie as a bench mark of faith.  All of Abram’s actions were based in an active belief, resulting in behaviors which were evidence of his faith.  This takes moxie: courage, and determination.  Abram determined in his heart that God would do exactly as He said.  Abram then courageously acted in accordance with God’s commands.  I don’t know a better definition of faith.

After all, remember what Abram left behind in Ur… a culture of wealth, craftsmanship, technology… to become a pioneer of something greater.  When someone suggests walking in God’s will and way is easy, mostly they have no idea what they’re talking about.  It takes great courage and determination to believe God’s promises and act accordingly.  To pull up roots, to travel to an unknown land, takes moxie.

Faith today then should be expressed in Abrahamic style… with moxie.  Today I urge you to live courageously and determinedly, walking with God toward that land that you have not seen.  Step and in moxie-like faith, and become the person God intended you to be.

2 Corinthians 5:7
… for we walk by faith, not by sight.

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A Bespoke Being

Daily Post: Tailor


Working my way through undergraduate work at West Texas A & M University was quite a journey.  One of the many part time jobs I held was as a gopher to a Tailor.  The man who owned that business was quite nice to me, even if he was clear that I was not to be out in his shop when customers were in the store.  If I was caught up on my work, he allowed me to wander through the bolts of material which crowded around the stool he used to measure and fit his customers.  Or, I would stand and watch him cut the material for a new pair of pants or jacket, as he explained things about grain and weave and pattern that went completely over my head.  All I know is, I would have given anything to own one of his suits.  They were outstanding. They were made-to-order.  Bespoke.

It’s like the difference in real and powdered anything.  Take eggs for instance.  Real eggs, scrambled, taste vastly different than powdered scrambled eggs.  Powdered milk? Same.  Powdered anything? Same.  Made-to-order goods, like tailored clothing, simply look and fit better, in the same way made-to-order food tastes better.   In the hands of a master, the end result can be one-of-a-kind greatness.

Apparently, in the hipsterish culture of American consumerism, “bespoke” sounds old-fashioned and traditional, which are two qualities of pop-faith for todays “in-people” who think earlier generations did things in a more “natural” or “righteous” way. This lends easily to the “authenticity hoax.”   Simply add the word “Bespoke” to anything and the pop crowd rushes to the fountain to drink, literally.  Read Jim Farber’s 2016 article on Bespoke here.

“Authentic, unique, made-to-order, bespoke, and original” all have one thing in common.  These words speak to the elements design or creation of items not previously existing which come into being through the creators design and skill.  A suit is just a suit? Well yes, and no.  You can buy a pre-made suit off any number of racks in reputable clothing stores.  Whether bespoke or pre-made, each suit serves pretty much the same purpose.  While the pre-made suit will fit generally well, the bespoke suit is suppose to fit “perfectly,” having been designed for a specific body.

Here it comes.  Are you ready?  You are a bespoke being.  I am a bespoke being.  Not one person who has ever lived is a pre-made being.  We are all unique, we are all a one-off.  I realize I wrote about this yesterday in “Lumbering Through Life.” However, some topics just bear repeating, so I will.  You are a bespoke being.  God was in the bespoke business long before the hipsters discovered how cool it it.

The Bible says, (Genesis 1:1-5)
In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.  The earth was formless and void, and darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was moving over the surface of the waters.  Then God said, “Let there be light”; and there was light.  God saw that the light was good; and God separated the light from the darkness.  God called the light day, and the darkness He called night. And there was evening and there was morning, one day.  

When adding these thoughts to the passages from yesterday it is so obvious that God is the Master Creator.  He made the heavens and the earth “to order,” according to His own design and purpose.  Every creature, every plant, every person, and every thing was created for Him and by Him.

John 1:3-5
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.

If God is the Creator, and He created you (and me), then we are bespoke with a purpose. To find this purpose, all that is required, is to turn your life over completely to the Creator, seeking His will and His plan for your life.

You are a Bespoke Being!

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Lumbering through Life

Daily Post: Bumble


One of my favorite Disney characters was Jumbo Jr.  Here’s the child elephant which has extremely large ears, not proportionate to his body, so he’s ridiculed and cruelly tagged Dumbo.  The moniker sends his mother into a fit storm that gets her chained up like a criminal.  Jumbo’s bumbling accident wreaks havoc and several elephants are injured, so “Dumbo” is dressed up like a clown and given dangerous acts to perform.  Finally all this leads to the discovery of how his humongous ears have a positive benefit, they enable him to fly.  Now the bumbling elephant becomes the feature show at the circus.

Disney movies had a way of touching children with simple images and stories, while leading adults toward some serious self-examination, and contemplation of life struggles.  There seemed to always be a “lesson” in the bumbling awkward telling of the tale.  Here are a few just to get you thinking…

Lion King … don’t take life too seriously
Aladdin … it is what’s on the inside that counts, nothing else matters.
Cinderella … material possessions can be gone in an instant, but no one can ever take away your dreams.
Winnie the Pooh … close friends are life’s greatest treasures, cherish your time together.
Beauty and the Beast … true beauty is found not in how one looks, but in how one treats others.
Dumbo … what makes you different is also what makes you incredibly special.

I guess this lesson stuck with me.  Within my own self-examination efforts there are times when I imagine myself no more than a bumbling, stumbling, lumbering human, whose awkward attempts at living fall miserably short of what I was designed to be.  At times I’m heavy-footed and uncoordinated, galumphing along the daily path.  Other days I’m tramping and blundering toward a goal, but doing it so ineptly.  The lesson from Dumbo applies to me everyday… I am what I am, I am who I am, and what makes me different, also makes me special.

Profiling can be a very dangerous thing, as we’ve seen recently around the world, as every country continues to fight ISIS, and terrorism in general.  However, there is an excellent way to come to understand the value of uniqueness that God designed in you.  Dr. Mels Carbonell, President of Uniquely You Seminars and Resources, says, “Personality profiling can be a sensitive subject if you don’t explain its importance and function.  The most important advice is to NEVER use the term ‘personality test.’ That definitely gives people the impression that some personalties are better than others.”  The DISC personality profile is a great tool to bring understanding to who you are, and why you think and act in the ways you do.

The Bible is full of expressions regarding the uniqueness of you as well.  While we are all designed in a general human subject context, we are each distinctly different in so many ways.  Consider these verse today, and realize… what makes you different is also what makes you incredibly special... at least to Dumbo, as well as Scripture!

Psalm 139:13-14
For You formed my inward parts; You wove me in my mother’s womb.  I will give thanks to You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Wonderful are Your works, And my soul knows it very well.

1 Peter 2:9
But you are A CHOSEN RACE, A royal PRIESTHOOD, A HOLY NATION, A PEOPLE FOR God’s OWN POSSESSION, so that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light;

Psalm 119:73-74
Your hands made me and fashioned me; Give me understanding, that I may learn Your commandments.  May those who fear You see me and be glad, Because I wait for Your word.

Jeremiah 1:4-5
Now the word of the LORD came to me saying, “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, And before you were born I consecrated you; I have appointed you a prophet to the nations.”

Ephesians 2:10
For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.

Psalm 139:16
Your eyes have seen my unformed substance; And in Your book were all written The days that were ordained for me, When as yet there was not one of them.

Psalm 139:2-4
You know when I sit down and when I rise up; You understand my thought from afar.  You scrutinize my path and my lying down, And are intimately acquainted with all my ways.  Even before there is a word on my tongue, Behold, O LORD, You know it all.

Don’t just go lumbering through life!  Use these verses to find meaning and purpose in your life, serving the Creator in your own unique self.

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Like a dog with a bone…

Daily Post: Bury

Shot of a Handsome Labrador with Bone in his Mouth

The urge to bury bones, toys and other objects is in a dog’s DNA.  Instinctually driven, like their ancient ancestors, digging and burying something was a way to protect uneaten food.  Returning to those holes later to uncover their buried treasure, offered the dog an afternoon snack, or a midnight meal.  The late night meal would easily be true at least for our dog, which seems to have taken on a nocturnal nature, going out the doggie door at our bedtime, and wandering in and out at all hours of the night.  We’ve discussed many times how odd this is, and wondering what Sugar is doing. Today as I write, it mostly reminds me of the folks who love to go in search of hidden/buried treasure.

I read an article written in May 2016 about 7 treasures hidden in the State of Texas which most people don’t even know about.  These treasures really exist, or so I’m to believe, due to the rich history of Spanish and Mexican invasions into Texas.  For years treasure hunters have searched for a lost silver mine along the San Saba River.  Indians in the area told invading Mexicans about a strain of pure silver running through a hill in Central Texas.  Mines have been located, but no silver has yet been found.

The Sam Bass Loot of Denton is another good one.  According to the legend, an infamous robber named Sam Bass stole 3,000 gold bars from the Union Pacific Railroad worth about $20 each at the time.  While some of the bars have been recovered, the rest remains hidden, while rumor has the location in Cove Hollow.

Included in this article are the stories of:  Jean Lafitte’s Booty, The Mine in the Mountains of El Paso, Money Hill Treasure on Padre Island, Cypress Creek Gold in Upshur County, and the Google Earth Sunken Ship near Corpus Christi.  If you want to read about all 7 of these not-yet-found Texas Treasures, click here.  Everyone break out your metal detector and let’s go treasure hunting!

In the same way that I’m not a thrill-seeker and don’t go in for exciting escapades to get my heart rate up, I’ve mostly avoided the pie-in-the-sky pull of treasure hunting as well.  No, sorry, I don’t own a metal detector.  I’m probably more aligned with the old yarn, “one man’s trash is another man’s treasure.”  There is nothing inherently wrong with wanting to find hidden treasure, yet it can often serve as a barometer of what’s going on inside someone’s heart or mind.  In fact, the dog with a bone image is a good one for my point.

God has placed within each of us the capacity to know Him personally.  This place inside us, this “God-sized hole” is unique, in that it can only be filled or “satisfied” when we step over the line of faith into Jesus as our Savior.  When we do this, God’s hidden treasure – The Holy Spirit – comes to rule and reign in us, empowering us to live for God’s ultimate glory.  The Holy Spirit is the treasure we seek… by God’s own design.  What happens when we bury things in this space that is supposed to be filled with God?

When we bury the pursuit of money, power, lust, greed, land, cars, clothes, houses, or any other thing in this place, we have usurped God’s design, and become inhabited with an unquenched thirst for “more.”  When we abandon our treasure hunt for the truth, stepping by faith into Jesus… the hole God designed in our being is filled, and our thirst for treasure is quenched.. in Him.

Like a dog with a bone, we will fill this hole inside us with something… I wonder what it will be for you today.

Matthew 6:19-21
Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal.  But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves do not break in or steal; for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

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Exciting Escapades

Daily Post: Caper


No one who knows me well would label me a “thrill seeker.”  I’m not into spelunking, volcano boarding, zapcat powerboating, bungy jumping, or rollercoasters.  These are not capers which interest me.  If you want to run with the bulls, kayak over Niagara Falls, go whitewater rafting, or swim with the sharks, you’ll have to find another partner.  All these fearsome activities are in the top 25 of an article aptly titled, “50 of the most thrilling, daring things you can do on vacation.”  Just let me play golf everyday of my vacation and I’m beyond thrilled.

BASE jumping is an acronym defining four categories of fixed locations from which a person can jump, using a parachute to break their fall. These include: buildings, antennas, spans (bridges), and earth (cliffs).  It boggles my mind that someone would actually choose to do this on purpose.  Not to be coy, but really, who wants to go to Toronto, to the CN Tower EdgeWalk (image above)?  116 storeys above the ground you will be tethered to the wall in such a way that allows you to walk around the building on a 1.5 meter-wide ledge, which takes most people about 30 minutes.  This caper would take me days to complete, if you could get me on the ledge at all.  Put me on a putting green, with my feet planted firmly on terra firma any day.

For all you adrenalin junkies out there, here’s one last caper you may not have heard of yet.  It’s called Extreme Ironing.  EI is a combination activity and performance art of sorts.  People take an ironing board to an extreme location and proceed to iron (I promise, I’m not making this up. Check out this link: Extreme Ironing)  What began in 1997 in the UK is apparently an actual worldwide activity today.  I just don’t get it.

Why do people do these things?  What causes a person to get out of bed in the morning and think, “what can I do today to cheat death?”  Perhaps the simplest answer is in the sense that this person wants to “feel” alive.  Maybe without the adrenalin rush that comes with extremely dangerous activities, they continually feel nothing.  Then I suggest it isn’t so much about “feeling” as it is about consciousness.

Woven deep within the human DNA is the need to have a sense of purpose, a reason for living.  Since we were designed by a Creator who does everything intentionally, the primary design characteristic of the human species, was to live our lives in such a way that we bring ultimate glory to God.  I’m just not clear on how the activities I’ve discussed so far accomplish this design goal.  Not only that, but if just obtaining the rush that comes from cheating death is all that is required, why does it have to be repeated constantly to “feel” alive?

No, this pursuit can only be explained one way.  The exciting escapade that brings real meaning and purpose in life is one that takes extreme courage.  The caper that allows a person to finally and completely feel alive, because they actually are alive, is one that scares the living daylights out of many people.  The way to finally gain that sense of purpose that all thrill seekers pursue, is to take one simple step.  The step of faith.  The committed, intentional, purposeful step of surrendering your heart and life to Jesus Christ as savior.

The only object to be pursued, that will fill that empty spot inside your soul, is the presence of God’s Holy Spirit, which Jesus puts into you as His seal of salvation.  Now that is an exiting escapade!

2 Corinthians 1:20-22
For as many as are the promises of God, in Him they are yes; therefore also through Him is our Amen to the glory of God through us.  Now He who establishes us with you in Christ and anointed us is God, who also sealed us and gave us the Spirit in our hearts as a pledge.

Want an inexplicably exciting, death defying escapade?

Give your life to Jesus!

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A Savage Grace

Daily Post: Savage


No one seems to believe me.  He showed up like the tender new bloom on a very old plant.  He wasn’t handsome like some others, so we ignored him completely.  It’s not like he was royalty, or held some olympian quality, that somehow we would be drawn to him, or attracted to him.  In fact it seems his destiny was to be betrayed and hated.  His whole life would be associated with pain, and grief; and because of this, most people just turned away, not even willing to show their face in his direction.  The majority despised him, rather than value him.

Yet, here’s the thing.  He took on himself every pain, grief, hurt, or curse we ever have, or ever will face.  In doing this, the people saw him as cursed by God.  When the spear pierced his side, it was for our sins, all of us.  When the full crushing weight of judgment came upon him it was for our iniquities.  The full punishment, which brutally tore the flesh from his bones, was given so that we might be healed.

The world turned away then, and has not turned back since.  And God put the consequences of all this turning away, on him.  What was his response?

Cruelly and sadistically beaten he didn’t open his mouth once.  It was like watching a small sheep being led to the butcher’s slaughter house.  He was taken outside the city walls and treated like a murderer or thief.  As a result many judged him harshly, assuming him to be cut off from everyone and everything. When he finally died, he was supposed to be thrown onto the burning heat of Gehenna with the two other criminals who died that day.  Instead, a rich man saw fit to put him in a private tomb, because in his estimation the supposed criminal was neither violent nor deceitful.

The ancient prophet said that God was pleased to crush him this way, to cause this grief.  God was pleased?  Yes, because it was the man’s own choice to suffer in this way.  The man chose to die as a substitute, and in this way, (according to the prophet), establish his offspring, prolong his days, and realize prosperity from God’s own hand.  Illogical, or counter-intuitive as it sounds, unpredictable as it may have been, the results are stated clearly.

Through this savage grace the man will see the promises fulfilled, and he will be satisfied.  God knew it ahead of time, because of this one, God’s Servant, many will be justified and redeemed because this Servant took their sin on himself .

How does this story end?

Because he died, because he gave himself in this way, because he “bore the sin of many and interceded for the transgressors,” God’s savage grace is complete.

This is a true story, written some 400 years before the events took place.  Isaiah was used by God in an amazing way.  The overwhelming truth of the matter is how God inspired Isaiah to write with such accuracy about the purpose of Jesus Christ coming to earth in the first place.  Such a rich and ferocious look into the love of God, demonstrated in His Son,  is found in Isaiah 53.

Do yourself a favor and read it all, the whole thing, for yourself.  It won’t take you but a few minutes.  Even with a cursory reading, quick and without studying any particular verse, you should be able to see yourself in the story.

You … are why He came.  And it is a savage grace.


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170 Days until …

Daily Post: Jangle


Yes, I know, it’s a little early to be counting the days until Christmas.  It seems to me I just about get the last tinkling vestiges of Jingle Bells out of my head, when the tintinnabulations of White Christmas drone on in my mind like an incessant ear worm.  I love the music of the season of giving, but let’s don’t start in October this year ok?  Listening to Grandma Got Run Over By A Reindeer or Hippopotamus For Christmas over and over, is nothing short of cruel and unusual punishment.  Take the chestnuts out of the fire and eat them already!  Don’t promise me you’ll be home at Christmas if you can’t make it happen.

The Daily Post word today is jangle.  As in the clinking, clanking sound of the 50 keys dangling from the janitors belt, as he makes his rounds to every door in the building.  The sounds aren’t really musical notes per se, the keys just make a discordant metallic ring as they bang in to each other with every stride.  The jangle inside my head these days appears to be this kind of sound; it is growing and I’m not sure how to stop it.

I listen to the rhetoric on Capital Hill, or read the endless stream of articles from internet news sites, until the information itself blurs into a nonsensical cacophony of tones all clambering to be the loudest.  I’m powerless to do anything to effect the G20 summit meeting, nor can I stop Kim Jong Un from launching an ICBM toward Dallas, Texas.  It’s not in my purview to make the Democrats and Republicans get along so that they can actually serve the American people.  It just seems so clear that many things in this world are way beyond my pay scale, and the clanging in my head is a signal of something else entirely!

The noise I hear is not a noise at all.  It may be imagined or real, I really don’t know.  It is the sound of voices, hundreds of thousands of voices, all with different timbres and timing, shouting, saying, or singing “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among men with whom He is pleased!” – Luke 2:14  The voices of the angels ring out to earth today just as they did over 2,000 years ago.  The sound of this heavenly host, combined with the intensity of the message, seems more like thunder to some, or war drums to others.  For me, it is the crystal clear ring of truth, penetrating into my deepest thoughts, all the way to the core of my being.

The Prince of Peace was given to the world, to all of us.  This does not mean all have received this gift, nor in fact do some even believe in the power of this gift to bring peace, must less salvation.  Immanuel, God with us, was and is today the only hope of humanity to live in peace.  I’m convinced we will one day live in this truth, and how I wish it would be in my lifetime.  Things don’t necessarily appear to be heading in that direction though, so what do I do in the meantime?

It’s only 170 days until Christmas.  I think this year I’ll use Luke 2:14 to be the jangle in my ear, driving me to live in peace toward those with whom I share my planet.  For those who come into my circle, I want the message to be:

“Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among men with whom He is pleased!”

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Like a quill the finger wrote

Daily Post: Quill


The tale is woven, combining details, and concerning thoughts and attitudes known to no man but himself.  Make no mistake, this king assumed himself the greatest human to have ever lived.  Boasting of his father’s conquests, he summoned his minions to bring the gold and silver chalices of the temple of God, so his own guests could drink from them.  The celebration of a thousand nobles degraded into a drunken orgy as they praised the gods of gold, silver, bronze, iron, wood and stone.

A man’s hand appeared, hovering near the wall next to a lampstand, before the crowd, in the king’s palace. The king watched the back of the hand as it moved, like a quill the finger wrote on the wall while the king grew pale and frightened.  His hips would no longer support his weight, and his wobbly knees knocked together.  As the tale is told, the king offered wealth beyond imagination to anyone who could interpret what had been written on the wall.  The thousand nobles and their guests could not, his servants could not, and the fear of not knowing the meaning of the words cast an even greater anxiety into the king’s heart.

Enter the queen.

“There is a man,” she said.  This wise man from the west was brought before the king.  As the king went through his voir dire, accessing the man’s curriculum vita, he was assured the man could help.  Once convinced, the king offered the man a king’s ransom for interpreting the message on the wall. What the man said in response may shock you…

“Keep your gifts for yourself or give your rewards to someone else; however, I will read the inscription to the king and make the interpretation know to him.”

A hush came over the crowd as the man stood before the king, ignoring the ransom, and stating boldly his ability to deliver the message with clarity.  The man read the words:


The wise man from the west, then interpreted the writing:

Mene – God has numbered your kingdom and put an end to it… (repeated twice for emphasis)
Tekel – you have been weighed on the scales and found deficient…
Upharsin – your kingdom has been divided and given over to the Medes and Persians (PERES).

As Paul Harvey would say, “Now for the REST of the story,” that very same night, (the story concludes), Belshazzar the Chaldean king was slain, and Dairus the king of the Medes took over the kingdom. (read the whole story in Daniel 5)

I always loved watching “Lassie” on television when I was a kid.  My favorite memory of those wholesome lessons was the “you see Timmy” part.  The dad or the mom would always have to explain the moral of the story to Timmy .  The words they spoke were like a quill writing gently into our minds the intentions of the story’s author.

What is the point of the story of the king?  Why is it included in the greatest book ever written?  What can we learn from it’s meaning?  The writer of Hebrews helps us here.

Hebrews 4:13
And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are open and laid bare to the eyes of Him with whom we have to do.

The God of heaven, the Author of Creation, the King of kings and Lord of lords, knows where you are, knows your thoughts and fears, knows the intentions of your heart.  Be honest enough to admit, with this truth comes great responsibility.  Today, yield your heart before him.  Determine and purpose that you will listen to His Son Jesus give instruction and direction to your life.  Present yourself as His subject, a willing servant, seeking only His glory and honor… something King Belshazzar never even considered.

Discover the grace of God’s loving salvation today.  Allow the finger of God, like a quill, to write His own name on your heart and mind.

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Use a Hitch not a Bow Tie

Daily Post: Tether


From a childhood experience of watching weekly Saturday morning western shows, anyone my age knows about hitching a horse to a post, tree, or hitching station in front of the saloon.  When the heroes of Maverick, Gunsmoke, The Lone Ranger, The Rifleman, The Virginian, Wagon Train, Big Valley, Bonanza, and others came to town, they used the reins to tether their horses, before going off to do their business.  Today my 400 horsepower mode of transportation is tethered to my key fob.  No one steals my horsepower without OnStar knowing it.  While driving these horses, my iPhone is tethered to the entertainment system through the USB port, and using an invisible tethered data stream (since my “horse” is also a wifi hotspot), we can listen to Pandora all the way to wherever.

In the westerns, Clint Eastwood (Rawhide), Roy Rogers and Dale Evans, et al galloped around righting injustice.  Whether in the original black and white, or in living color, these shows from 50-60 years ago demonstrate just how quickly things change.  It’s sometimes hard to image that just 100 years ago the primary mode of personal transportation was a horse. While today the technology involved just to start my car, rivals the most powerful computer from just 25 years ago.  It makes you wonder, doesn’t it?  What will the primary personal transportation vehicle look like 100 years from now?

The same kinds of dramatic shifts in television, and transportation, can be seen spiritually across our world.  Saturday morning westerns are far removed from the kinds of television shows our children watch today.  In the same way, our world has been rocked by a steady diet of mixed message programming, where the catch phrase has become, “Not that there is anything wrong with that.”  This phrase actually means, “anything goes for any behavior, or for any topic of discussion.”  In my humble opinion, we have become untethered.

Is there hope to become grounded again? Tethered again?  Is there some voice of reason that will show us the way? I want to believe that people are even capable of hearing it, and turning from this rampant departure from spiritual sanity.  With new threats of intercontinental ballistic missiles, political upheaval, and ISIS, where is the tether that will stay our course?  Perhaps I sound jaded or defeated to you.  I assure you I am neither.  I just keep asking myself what will it take for us to understand just how far off course we’ve traveled?

Here is a verse that is often used at times like these to suggest that we individually and collectively as believers can stay the course through the power of prayer.  I’m just curious… if you are out there, reading this today… and you believe this verse… write me a note, comment, or something, anything… email,  FaceBook, something… that says you are tethered with me in believing this Scriptural truth.

2 Chronicles 7:14
(if) My people who are called by My name humble themselves and pray and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, will forgive their sin and will heal their land.

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Clucking and a Plucking

Daily Post: Pluck


Personally speaking, I don’t particularly like chickens.  When my family would go to visit my maternal grandmother, I wouldn’t go out in the yard with the hyper-active chickens, or that crazy rooster; it was mean and chased me.  The only chicken I had any interest in was one that wasn’t clucking anymore.  I wanted the one which had been plucked clean, chopped into bits and deep fried.  I wanted the leg or the thigh, along with some mashed potatoes and cream gravy.

The photo here is of the wild feral chickens which roam the Hawaiian Islands.  The native Hawaiians will all share their version of how to prepare this wild bird for a feast of “chicken stew.”  The recipe is usually a version that goes like this:  “Place one wild chicken in a pot of boiling water.  Add spices.  Add lava rock for flavor.  Simmer for minimum 12 hours until lava rock is tender.  Discard chicken.  Eat the rock.”

On a bus tour, one tour guide explained how the “mua” (red jungle fowl) were originally brought to the islands by Polynesians as a source of food.  The birds thrived in this environment because they faced no real predators to trim the flock.  However, I also heard just as many store clerks say the masses of wild chickens that exist on Hawaii’s islands today, is because the tourists feed them.  Perhaps both perspectives are true in a sense.

Today, at least in the USA, there are any number of “Cluck in a Bucket” type fast food restaurants where you can feed your family original recipe, crispy fried, roasted or grilled chicken, in parts, or as a whole bird.  Whether you prefer white meat or dark meat, (or no meat if you are vegetarian), the non-feral chicken can be prepared for consumption in any number of ways, offering sustenance and nutrition.  The feral version… not so much.  Few could live or thrive on a steady diet of this rangy fowl.

That’s all very interesting, but one might ask, “where are you going with this?”

God’s word, believe it or not, in many churches around the world, might be compared to these descriptions of feral or non-feral chickens.  When men or women stand and present the word of God to a congregation or Bible study group, each teacher/preacher will explain, engage, and extract the thoughts they want to teach from Scripture.  When they do this, some will “pluck” singular thoughts, from obscure text references, to prove their personal belief system or agenda.  In this way, the meanings of God’s word are mis-spoken, perverted, twisted, or changed altogether.   I call these “feral” (wild) lessons dangerous, because they may sound like the truth, when in reality they are distortions of truth.  Our pastor just finished a series of sermons he called “Gospel-ish.” In those sermons he helped our congregation understand the True gospel message first, so our church could tell the difference from what they might hear from “false” teachers on the radio or television today.

The Bible says, both God and God’s Word tastes good.

Psalm 34:8
O taste and see that the LORD is good; how blessed is the man who takes refuge in Him!

1 Peter 2:1-3
Therefore, putting aside all malice and all deceit and hypocrisy and envy and all slander, like newborn babies, long for the pure milk of the word, so that by it you may grow in respect to salvation, if you have tasted the kindness of the Lord.

When presented with a gospel-ish-type feral teaching from God’s word, many have responded favorably.  However, these teachings lead to malice, deceit, hypocrisy, envy and slander, leaving people acting more like infants, rather than grown up mature believers.  Yet, when folks dive deep into the study of God’s word, going further than just the milk-and-cookies style of preaching so prevalent today, we grow in “respect to salvation.”

The perversion of God’s word, much like the feral chicken, often does more harm than good.  God will hold those who distort His word on purpose, accountable for the truth they destroy.  John issues this grave warning…

Revelations 22:18-19
I testify to everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: if anyone adds to them, God will add to him the plagues which are written in this book; and if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God will take away his part from the tree of life and from the holy city, which are written in this book. 


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Slinging Spiritual Slang

Daily Post: Dash


One of the many Bible narratives from the Old Testament people love to hear is found in 1 Samuel 17.  A giant stands hurling insults at God’s army, while assassinating the character of Israel’s king.  The warrior/champion has killed more than his share of enemies, so his bravado was marked with experiential knowledge.  His training was exemplary, his capabilities self-evident to the naked eye.  He was a giant, in actual fact, and legendary prose.

On the other side of the valley stands a shepherd boy, shocked to hear the ravings of this giant; confused and disillusioned to see the cowardice in the camp of Israel.  His brothers, Eliab, Abinadab, and Shammah, all told him to keep his mouth shut, and go back home to their father, Jesse.  Instead, David seeks an audience with the king for the singular purpose of volunteering to take out the giant.  I’m convinced Saul, the king, didn’t think this was funny at all.  The enemy was 9.5 feet tall, the armor he wore outweighed the shepherd boy soaking wet.  Goliath had helmet, leggings, javelin, sword, and shield, all made of bronze, which all fit like a glove.  The king offered the shepherd his own armor, as a token.  When it clearly didn’t fit, the king offered David only these parting words, “Go, and may the Lord be with you.”

David’s weapons were: his stick – a walking stick/club he used to defend himself against wild animals and thieves, his sling, and five smooth stones from the brook lying at the bottom of the valley between himself and the giant.  Then David does something mind-boggling to most of us today.  David is described this way…

1 Samuel 17:48-49
Then it happened when the Philistine rose and came and drew near to meet David, that David ran quickly toward the battle line to meet the Philistine.  And David put his hand into his bag and took from it a stone and slung it, and struck the Philistine on his forehead. And the stone sank into his forehead, so that he fell on his face to the ground.

Having no armor, sword, shield, spear or helmet, here David stood victorious over the battle-trained giant.  David cut off the head of this giant, with the giant’s own sword (verse 51) and when the enemy army saw it, they fled in panic.

This is a wonderful story of courage.  It speaks of God’s protection and provision when God’s people face an enemy which is more prepared for battle in every way.  The intimidation factor in the world today is gigantic, in Goliath-like proportions.  Sometimes we struggle with the right words to penetrate the darkness, feeling defenseless or defeated.  All the while, the lesson to be learned in this simple story is often missed by the reader or hearer.

Lesson: using unconventional, readily available elements, empowered by God, can have spiritually eternal outcomes.

David’s sling dashed a stone into the forehead of the giant. David used the elements at hand.

It might seem ridiculous to some today, but the most powerful stone we may use in our sling is the one from the mouth of Jesus Himself.  He told Nicodemus, “You must be born again.”  It seems like spiritual slang almost.  This statement’s meaning is unknown to the world today, just as much as it confused ole Nick when Jesus said it.  Yet these words can slay giants.

For the friend next door, suffering under the sword of Satan, and the weight of sin, the deliverance may be found in, “you must be born again.”  A co-worker seeking a way to make sense of their life, may be set free by hearing “you must be born again.”  Each of us could be used just like this shepherd boy who delivered Israel that day, if we would courageously sling out the truth, “you must be born again.”

It doesn’t matter that the world laughs at this ancient story, or at your spiritual slang.  The world laughed at Jesus too.  Goliath laughed at David too.  What matters is my willingness to be used by God to defeat evil in the world.  You and I must be willing, ready, and running to the battle we must shout:

“You must be born again!” [John 3:3]

So I say to you today… “Go, and may the Lord be with you.”

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Why rush the race?

Daily Post: Scamper


What I truly love about going on vacation, in some ways I also hate; the trip itself.  Going is always exciting and rewarding, coming back is often a drudge.  It is menial, dull work, to drive 8.5 hours one way, in one day, arriving back at the domicile, completely exhausted from the trip.  This feeling is perhaps the origin of the phrase, “I need a vacation, from my vacation!”  Sitting here back at my desk this morning, it’s hard not to scamper back into the familiar routine of writing, making to-do lists, and planning out my week.  But really, what’s the rush?

Already my mind is racing toward the things on my calendar which will be matters of priority this week.  The A/C guy is coming tomorrow to figure out my cooling issues.  Tuesday is Senior Men’s Golf Assoc., so golf again, (yeah!) That’s as far as I got before I realized I was doing it again.  Rushing the race.  It’s what we do; we skuttle and scurry, we dart and we dash from one sticky-note-task to the next.  All the while scooting and sprinting to make another sticky note list, even before the one we have is completed.  This is why vacations were created in the first place (my opinion).

I need my calendar and my sticky-notes to-do lists to help keep me focused.  But being focused to accomplish some things that are important, is not the same thing as being run into the ground obsessively controlled by a need to “get it done.”  I’m retired for one thing.  This means the schedule, with the exception of a few “have-to’s” is pretty flexible. I don’t really have to “hightail it” anywhere for anything.  So, I’m learning how to not rush the race.

Some might say: “What race?”

The race we humans call “Life.”  Let’s say the average life-span is 80 years.  This means a person only has 41,932,800 minutes to live in total.  The moment of that first breath, is the beginning of the end.  Like a giant clock ticking off the seconds of a stopwatch working its way down to zero.  In this example, I have already used, 33,022,080 minutes of my allotted time.  This knowledge could have serious implications for how I choose to use what time I have left.  Perhaps it should too.

Perhaps instead of scampering around to make a bigger pile of money, I should rush into doing random acts of kindness, or running to bring joy to those around me.  Maybe instead of darting and dashing around reacting to things which have no eternal value at all, I could instead write a series of sticky-notes that direct my attention to my future heavenly domicile.  How about this one…  I saw this on a t-shirt on Friday, and thought, “I want to do that!”  A person is given a glass with water at the midway point and asked, “Are you a glass half-empty or half-full person.” The person picked up the glass, drank the water, and replied, “I’m a problem solver.”

It’s not about the time I’ve wasted, misused, or actually used effectively in my past.  It’s not about how little time I have left either.  It’s about right here and right now, day by day, making the best and most effective use of the 1,440 minutes of every hour I live.  What high and lofty goal should be the focus of today?  From God’s own word it is simple and clear.

Psalm 46:10
Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.

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