Except… what do you expect?

expect

And right about now, I really don’t know.  What to expect, I mean.  Because things have changed haven’t they?  At 60+ years old, thinking I’m still 35 or less, I had some expectations about growing older.  Some are close to what I expected, others are so far gone as to be funny or just sad.

When I look around our world today, I really want things to change again, but this time for the better, since in my eyes, it’s really, really bad out there.

Except… what do you expect?

When relativism is the rule of the day, and the concept of absolutes has been totally vacated by most of the sane men and women leaders in this country, what do you expect?

When “religious” ecumenism, in defiance of Scripture (2 Corinthians 6:14), seems to be all the rage, and the lines defining what it means to be a true Christ-follower are being blurred further and further everyday… what do you expect?

When jurisprudence in this nation has come to mean “guilty until proven innocent,” fueled by an angry mob mentality, which has “bought into” the relativistic, religious ecumenical ravings of the liberal mindset… what do you expect?

Do you really expect that we can keep going on the path we’ve set and survive?

Do you really believe that standing by and doing nothing to correct the maniacal ravings of corrupt politicians, false-teaching preachers,  along with entitled professional athletes, actors and media moguls, will yield any other result besides destruction?

The sheer lunacy of it all boggles the mind, but… what do you expect?

Is there anyone out there who can really solve this problem?
Is there an answer that makes sense?
Is it available now?

Yes, yes, and yes.

The answer to relativism is the Authority of Scripture, and that the Bible has everything we need to live justly with other people, and rightly before God, and is is the ABSOLUTE TRUTH.

The answer to “religious” ecumenism is John 14:6, where Jesus says:

“I am the way, the truth, and the life, and no one comes to the Father but through Me.”

Again, based on the authority of Scripture, and its absolute truth, this becomes exclusively true and we must believe in it ABSOLUTELY.

The answer to jurisprudence based in truth is to understand that God alone is the ultimate judge.  And again, from the words of authoritative Scripture comes this teaching in Hebrews 4:12-13

For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart.  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.

Except that we believe this fundamental principle is in fact ABSOLUTE TRUTH…

… what do you expect?

 

Expect

 

Home of the Brave?

braveWhat does that even mean anymore?  Brave?

How brave is it to kneel or sit or raise a fist when the anthem is played… ugh!

How brave is it to disown and dishonor the men and women who actually demonstrated bravery with the lives they lost protecting our freedom? ugh!

How brave is it to rain down a hail of bullets from a high hotel perch on unprotected innocent people below? ugh!

How brave is it for some mealy-mouthed liberal “Hollywood” wanna-be-in-charge to continually bash the President of the United States without a clue of what that job really entails?  ugh!

Do we believe in anything anymore?  Is it time we just went out into the harbor and dismantled this statue?  When will this nation grow up and be big boys and girls?  It’s been 200+ years, you’d think by now we’d learn how to make it work.

Bravery?  The will to stand in the face of growing persecution (make no mistake, it is coming), when we say “we need God to step in and take control again.”

Bravery?  The ability to put everything you are into one basket called “Christ-follower” and live it out in real time.

Bravery?  Bravery?  What does it really cost?  Everything.

Matthew 16:24-26
Then Jesus said to His disciples, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me.  For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it; but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it.  For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul?”

 

 

Brave

 

Loyal to the King

70 days until Christmas

Loyalty seems a rare quality in the political and cultural climate of these United States of America.  Think about it.  We see it abbreviated, “U.S.” or “USA” or “America,” but rarely is it stated in full these days.  Perhaps that is because the “United” part hasn’t been true for awhile now.  With the division and dissension growing by the hour, it begs the question if we’ll ever be “united” again.

I’m not much into the feminist movement, but an article this morning caught my eye because even in that “movement” or “agenda” there is dissension in the ranks caused by an article written by Mayim Bailik.  Amy Farah Fowler is one of my favorite characters from “Big Bang” played by Bailik. But she opened herself up to a backlash of rage with her op-ed piece for the New York Times about the Harvey Weinstein scandal. [click here to read it.]  Feminists immediately were divided on the support or condemnation of Mayim’s statements.

The NFL protests continue… see Terry Smiley’s protest against the protest here

ObamaCare and Tax Revision efforts continue… we could go on and on right?

We are anything but a United States of America.

Yet while we have this freedom, I will in my own way be loyal to the King.

This blog gives me a soapbox or a platform from which to speaks out, so here it comes.

I’m using this image weekly (at least once a week) until Christmas because:

  • I can
  • I believe it can help us refocus on what is important about expectations
  • Christmas in itself is a message of hope based in Christ alone
  • I want to be an alternative voice to the commercialization of the event

Christmas as an event has divided this nation.  Some rise up and want to change the whole meaning of the season by eliminating the very word from their advertising campaigns by using “Happy Holidays” instead of Merry Christmas.  In 2015 these 8 “Unique Alternatives to Christmas” were suggested by Michelle Nait’s article (here):
Yule, HumanLight; The Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster; Krismas; Kwanzaa; Newtonmas; Festivus; and Saturnalia.  Trust me, I just don’t understand where people come up with this stuff.

Wait, yes I do.

In Luke chapter 12, the gospel writer says (vs.1)  that “… so many thousands of people had gathered together that they were stepping on one another…” and that day Jesus talked about the fact that God knows and cares about our circumstances.  He talked about the dangers of covetousness (a primary Christmas pastime), and how we should always be ready for the return of the Master (foretelling His own future return).

AND then He said something which many have never read or studied before…

Luke 12:49-53
I have come to cast fire upon the earth; and how I wish it were already kindled!  But I have a baptism to undergo, and how distressed I am until it is accomplished!  Do you suppose that I came to grant peace on earth? I tell you, no, but rather division; for from now on five members in one household will be divided, three against two and two against three.  They will be divided, father against son and son against father, mother against daughter and daughter against mother, mother-in-law against daughter-in-law and daughter-in-law against mother-in-law.

This doesn’t sound like a picture of the baby Jesus in the manger to me, does it to you?

Christmas is divisive … because He came.

Christmas might also be the single most important opportunity you will have this year to be LOYAL to the King.

You have 70 more days to be ready…

Loyal

 

Lest We Succumb

succumb

Do you identify with this image? I know I do.  That may shock some people who read this because they know I have been in ministry, both as a lay-person and a staff member in churches, for almost 45 years now.  Trust me when I say, “I know how you feel.”

There are always the voices… “go ahead, you know you want to,” and “is this really what God wants for you? Is this in God’s will?

Hearing the voices is not the problem.  The problem is deciding to succumb to one, or submit to the other.  Do you see what I did there?  Submission is where we yield our will completely to the will of God, knowing it is the best thing for our life.  To succumb is to fail to resist some pressure brought to bear, some temptation that comes our way, or any other negative spiritual force that seeks only to ruin our lives and destroy us.

1 Peter 5:8
Be of sober spirit, be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.

But the devil doesn’t always look like a lion does he?  Especially to Christ-followers.

2 Corinthians 11:14
No wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light.

So, you see the problem right?  Satan is really good at what he does, and so are all those fallen angels who succumbed to his leadership in rebellion against God.  [Revelation 12:4]  And if it is really hard to tell the difference (in appearance or voice) between the actual angels of light, and the fake angels of light (like fake news on the internet), then how do we discern which voice/message to heed?

Ah… now we’re getting somewhere.

Jesus told a great parable about Him being the Good Shepherd, and Christ-followers being His sheep.  The answer to our dilemma is found in the Gospel of John chapter 10.

John 10:5
A stranger they simply will not follow, but will flee from him, because they do not know the voice of strangers.

John 10:14
I am the good shepherd, and I know My own and My own know Me, even as the Father knows Me and I know the Father; and I lay down My life for the sheep.

I’ve heard the argument from other Christ-followers that they don’t know Jesus the way the original 12 apostles did, and they never could.  Yet, I find this exactly backwards.  In many ways I think we can know Christ better than the apostles, in a different way.

Sure they had Him for three years, and had a lot of conversations, observed many miracles, and were taught by Him directly.  Yet they didn’t have one thing we have; a revelation of the complete picture of God’s will.  They didn’t have the writings of Paul that give us doctrine and instruction for how to live in this evil world.  They didn’t have their own personal copies of the Old Testament Law and the Prophets to pour over at their whim, discovering how all of these verses pointed the reader directly to Jesus as Messiah.  They just couldn’t see the big picture of God’s mighty plan of salvation at work in them or the future.

But we do. We have the whole shebang.

So here’s the thing.

Shouldn’t we know Him better?  Shouldn’t we be able to discern His voice and His will in ways that maybe they never could, because they didn’t know what we CAN know?

If you find yourself in a spot today, where you feel you are about to succumb to that negative voice of temptation or destruction, are you well-read enough in the WORD of GOD to distinguish the voice of the Good Shepherd who wants to show you the way?

In this same parable Jesus says: John 10:10
The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.

Don’t let the deceiver steal your life away, by succumbing to his voice.  Hear the voice of the Good Shepherd today, and follow Him.  Run to Him.  Find shelter in Him.  Find life abundant in Him.

If nothing else, begin the journey again with Christ, and read the Gospel of John.  Find out how Jesus answers your every need by saying, ” I am the…”

Succumb

 

Cloaked, Hidden, Veiled

cloaked

Long time Star Trek viewers will know that a “cloaking device”  was a technology utilized by different intergalactic species to render ships, stations, equipment, personal, and sometimes whole planets to be invisible to the naked eye and/or sensors from enemy ships.  These devices were often used by starships to move unhindered and undiscovered, thus adding the element of surprise during an attack when the ship was uncloaked.  For more information on this sci-fi technology click here.

The human eye is a marvelous thing, but sight alone is only 1/5 of the sensory characteristics built into the average human being.  The human brain requires all of these five senses to properly assess and render insights and focus to the challenges we face in life.

Even then, when completely attuned to all the data input from these senses, life can at times seem cloaked, mysterious, or hidden as if trying to see through some dark veil.  Contrary to the poster above, everything is (not) in perfect focus if your vision is alright.  Just the opposite at times, what I see seems more like a hodgepodge of random letters arranged into a column for no purpose at all.

The apostle Paul said [1 Corinthians 13:12] “For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face; now I know in part, but then I will know fully just as I also have been fully known.”

The Old Testament shepherd/king – David – said [Psalm 102:2] “Do not hide Your face from me in the day of my distress; incline Your ear to me; in the day when I call answer me quickly.”

Trust me when I say that this life doesn’t have to feel so mysterious, hidden or cloaked.  God isn’t holding out on you, or keeping Himself or His will cloaked behind a veil.  In fact, the mysteries have all but been erased through Jesus’ death on the cross, when the veil in the temple was torn completely in two, from top to bottom. [Matthew 27:51]

For those who are true Christ-followers today, Jesus made this original promise to his apostles, but in essence it was also intended for every person who trusts in Him as Lord and Savior.

John 16:13-15
But when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth; for He will not speak on His own initiative, but whatever He hears, He will speak; and He will disclose to you what is to come. He will glorify Me, for He will take of Mine and will disclose it to you. All things that the Father has are Mine; therefore I said that He takes of Mine and will disclose it to you. 

John 14:26
But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I said to you.

Nothing in this life that is in God’s will for you to know will be cloaked, hidden or veiled from you.  However, make sure you hear what I just said, “that is in God’s will for you to know.”

I did not say we would know all things, or that all things would be in perfect focus.  It’s not wrong to ask “why?”  It’s just important to be realistic about the answer you might receive from God when you ask it.

I would alter the image above and say it this way.

Everything is in perfect focus if your vision is on Jesus Christ.

If not, life will more often than not seem veiled, hidden, or cloaked.

Cloaked

 

BELIEVE: 77 days until Christmas

77 days until Christmas

You must think me mad.  It’s October 9th and I’m bringing up Christmas.  But you have to know I’m not the first, right?  If you’ve gone into any supermarket or craft store or shopping center in the last 30 days you’ve certainly seen their shelves being filled with Thanksgiving and Christmas goodies or paraphernalia.

The Daily Post word prompt today is: “Believe.”  How can one not believe that Christmas is 77 days away?  The Calendar is fixed, and it doesn’t change just because someone disbelieves it, or ignores it, or pretends that Christmas doesn’t happen.

A man once said: “You will know the truth and the truth will set you free.”  Do you remember that one?

Well, knowing and believing are not always the same thing are they?  But facts are facts and they are hard to escape.

That said, here is another fact spoken by the same man who spoke the truth mentioned above…

“Behold, I am coming quickly, and My reward is with Me, to render to every man according to what he has done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end.”  [Revelation 22:12-13]

Believe this fact or not for yourself, but whether you believe it or not will not change the truth of it, the fact of it, the certainty of it.

So, here’s the thing.  While we live our lives now based on a linear fixed time line that dictates Christmas will arrive in 77 more days, we cannot know the Divine time line which defines what day, month, or year the King will return.  But we can know the fact of it, and live our lives accordingly… if we believe it.

We can be ready for Christmas, there’s still plenty of time.  We can shop for that perfect gift, plan the menu and acquire the food for that special Christmas dinner, knowing full well, that except the King returns before hand, Christmas will arrive in 77 days.

What happens for you if the King arrives first?

Are you ready?

Do you know the truth?

Has it set you free?

 

Believe

Elastic Love

elasticJust suppose for a minute that the following verse was the last verse you would ever read from the Bible.

John 13:35
By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.

Suppose this were true because there was no guarantee that tomorrow would arrive, making this the last time you ever had an opportunity to share with those around you what it means to love the Lord with all your heart, soul, mind and strength.

How elastic would your time be?  To what ends or extremes would you go, to love someone today?

In what way would the world view your actions, so that in the end the world would say, “Now that person is a true Christ-follower!”?

Something to think about…

Maybe even to act upon…

Elastic

Stylish and Trendy

my mind

The folks who read this blog are literally all over the world.  Since January 2017 someone from somewhere in 82 different countries has clicked an article to read. (List of Countries 10-5-2017)

While this fact alone boggles my mind, there is something you should know if you’re new to this blog.

It is just not in me to be “stylish and trendy.”  My mind sort of takes me places that others would never think of, much less want to go see.  The chicken in this picture is not so much a literal image as it is perhaps a symbolic one.  More than anything else I truly want to communicate some truth in this world that is relevant and worth hearing, seeing, or investigating.

Forget walking around in my shoes, life really doesn’t work that way, does it?  For you to get inside my mind is even further removed from reality, so what’s the point?

The basic premise of this blog is to take the “Word of the Day prompt” from a site called the Daily Post. Using that as a starting point, I search to find something in God’s Word that speaks to me, some truth to be shared, related to the Daily Post prompt.  I usually include the prompt word at the bottom of my article.

Here’s what I believe…

I believe the Word of God is powerful, authoritative, and self-expressive.  Like I said, not necessarily stylish and trendy, huh?  But God didn’t call me into a personal relationship with Him to be fashionable.

Paul said in Romans 1:16 [powerful]
“For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the jew first and also to the Greek.”

I believe Hebrews 4:12 implicitly: [authoritative]
For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart.

The prophet of old wrote, Jeremiah 33:2-3 [self-expressive]
Thus says the LORD who made the earth, the LORD who formed it to establish it, the LORD is His name, “Call to Me and I will answer you, and I will tell you great and mighty things, which you do not know.”

It is only when we approach life’s questions with an openness to God’s Word that we will find understanding, peace, and courage to keep going.

In the wake of incomprehensible violence, natural disasters, personal and private tragedies with illness or broken relationships, there is only one place to turn and find answers to get you through it all.

Turn to God’s Word, the original instruction manual for life.

It may not be fashionable, stylish or trendy, but taking this action will always get you closer to the truth than social media, the “talking heads” on the evening news, or the “headless voices” from news-talk radio.

Turn to the source of life itself… God’s Word.

 

Daily Post Prompt:  Fashionable

Interest in the “Why?”

Words on Wood

Was it a lack of love that turned a man’s heart so cold that he would slaughter innocent people at a Country Music concert in Las Vegas?  Is it that simple?

Should we blame the gun manufacturers for inventing these instruments of death, even though the originators had no knowledge of how these weapons would be used when placed in the hands of a loveless homicidal maniac?

Or how about the individuals who sold the man these rifles, should they be held responsible for the irresponsible and horrific actions of this one man?

On a different note, what would possess Haley-Geftman-Gold to post on social media that she wasn’t sympathetic because “country music fans often are Republican gun-toters“…???

Worse still, while Mrs. Clinton even now shows her true colors by speaking in ignorance about something she doesn’t understand, why does tragedy so often provoke politically motivated responses which neither solve the problem or address the real issue?

It just seems a daily ritual now to wake up to a another news story of tragedy, chaos, threat, murder, terrorism, war, or natural disaster… and I wonder if the ONE on high is not trying to get our attention.

I don’t agree with John Lennon and Paul McCartney that “All You Need Is Love.” Actually it takes quite a bit more than just love to change the world.  In 1967 the song was selected by Our World  for its “contemporary social significance.”  But think about what is being said, because in the 50 years since this song’s release the world is not a better place is it?

There’s nothing you can do that can’t be done
Nothing you can sing that can’t be sung
Nothing you can say but you can learn how to play the game
It’s easy

Nothing you can make that can’t be made
No one you can save that can’t be saved
Nothing you can do but you can learn how to be you in time
It’s easy

Nothing you can know that isn’t known
Nothing you can see that isn’t shown
Nowhere you can be that isn’t where you’re meant to be
It’s easy

All you need is love
All you need is love
All you need is love, love
Love is all you need

While the media and investigators surrounding the tragedy in Las Vegas search for the answer to the most pressing question “Why?”; we will probably never know precisely, because the only one who can definitively answer this question is dead.  Speculation abounds, and the “talking heads” of the media love their next 15 seconds of fame.

However, that’s not good enough, because we the people seem to always want to know the “why?” so in essence, we’re feeding the frenzy.

Actually the answer is ancient, but clear, and still applicable today.

Romans 1:18-25

For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, because that which is known about God is evident within them; for God made it evident to them. 

For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse. For even though they knew God, they did not honor Him as God or give thanks, but they became futile in their speculations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the incorruptible God for an image in the form of corruptible man and of birds and four-footed animals and crawling creatures.

 Therefore God gave them over in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, so that their bodies would be dishonored among them. For they exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen.

America, World at large… we’ve lost our way.  I didn’t include it here, but I challenge you now as a reader, to go read the rest of the first chapter of Romans.  See for yourself if the imagery there does not match what is going on in our country and around the world today.  Just a quick read, that’s all I ask.

This world needs Jesus.  He is the only answer to our problems.  Trust in Him today to show you the way to live in a bent and demented world.

Interest

 

Mostly, It’s a Contest

popularDancing With the Stars, So You Think You Can Dance, American Idol, et al… it’s most a popularity contest.  I’m not diminishing or demeaning anyone’s talent or lack of, far from it.  I’m only too familiar with thinking myself to be more talented, skilled, or liked than I am, only to have the prize go to someone else.  Life, huh?

Now that I’m older, wiser, some might say “seasoned” or “veteran” of the whole life thing – I’m much more content to live with who I am.  Because I know just like the “dark-web” there is an unseen world out there that is not about popularity at all.  So I fight for the prize that will never tarnish.  I struggle to win the battle that will last through eternity.

Not many will vote for me to win, some in fact will cheer my competitors, simply for the fact that they don’t want me to win.  I get it.

Some will not like my message, they will seek to silence me.

I rest in the grace of the one who carries me daily through the rigorous struggle while I walk in the mire of this earthly clay.

I adopt the words of the Apostle Paul.

Philippians 3:14
I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.

Popular