I have a Reservation


My wife and I are planning a bucket list vacation trip in May this year.  We’ll fly to Seattle, then by rail take a trip across the Rocky Mountains in Canada from Vancouver to Calgary. With stops and excursions along the way it will be 14 days of fun filled adventure, and great opportunity to explore my developing photographic skills.

We’ve been talking about it for awhile, and made our deposit a couple of months ago.  While the trip itself is still about 5 months away, the anticipation of what we will experience and see is growing almost daily.

This got me to thinking…

One of the foundational truths of Scripture is that this world, this earth, this realm of reality, was never intended to be our final destination.  What Jesus told his disciples clearly delineates this truth.

John 14:1-3
“Do not let your heart be troubled; believe in God, believe also in Me.  In My Father’s house are many dwelling places; if it were not so, I would have told you; for I go to prepare a place for you. If I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself, that where I am, there you may be also.”

There are so many wonderful promises held in these three verses.

  • God’s sovereignty affords us the means to never fear what our future may hold, and never be consumed by past events or mistakes, but to trust in Jesus’ ability to deliver us into God’s presence.
  • Jesus, Himself, is doing the work that provides a place for us, so there is nothing else we need to “do” except trust.
  • But perhaps the most tangible present hope and future exciting expectation is that there is a “place” for me.  Jesus says so.

But there’s a catch, so don’t miss the fine print in this documentation of God’s promise. Hear the words of Jesus clearly:

John 14:6
I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.

Were I to try to individually make all the arrangements of travel, hotel, meals, and site seeing opportunities afforded me on this rail trip, I’d never make it.  I wouldn’t go.  I don’t have the skills, the knowledge, or the determination to do everything required for making this bucket list vacation happen.  But Rocky Mountaineer does.  They do everything necessary, and everything required to make this trip possible.  And I have my reservations!

In this same way, Jesus has done everything that is required by God to present you holy and blameless before God the Father, and initiate you into the heavenly kingdom of God as an eternal home. And there is a place specifically with your name on it.  Have you made your reservation yet?

Jesus is calling your name, right now… say “yes” to Him.




Predicting the Future

Daily Post: Anticipate

Businessman holding a glass ball

Crystal balls, 9-23-2017 conspiracy theories, sooth-sayers, shamans, the Anunnaki, and the Bible all compete for prominence in terms of which of these can accurately predict the future.  Even now, as the next Category 5 hurricane (Irma) bears down on the state of Florida, it is impossible to know which way she will turn, which route will bear the brunt of her angry winds and tirades of rain.  One thing we can be sure of, Irma will be just as deadly and devastating as Harvey, if not more so.  What are we to do?  And how many more tropical storms are out there somewhere, just waiting for that perfect wind which stirs the ocean waters in a special way spinning up into another hurricane.  Can Jose be far behind?

Then we also have the doomsday scenarios from which science fiction has made a fortune.  Armageddon was the 1998 movie starring Bruce Willis, Billy Bob Thorton, and Ben Affleck who are sent to space to destroy an asteroid the size of Texas, before it can impact the earth.  Today there are those who are suggesting that in just a few weeks, we might be experiencing the destruction of the world by asteroids at least this size or larger.

Beyond that we have well-educated folks like Ray Kurzweil, Director of Engineering at Google, who say things like, “Within a few decades, machine intelligence will surpass human intelligence, leading to The Singularity – change so rapid and profound it represents a rupture in the fabric of human history.”

Humans have always been enamored with predicting the future, and anticipate what will come next for them.  It wasn’t any different in the first century when Jesus said he was the Messiah, not just to the Jews, but to all the world.  His closest followers thought that meant He would set up an earthly kingdom, ousting the Roman Empire, and establishing God’s kingdom on earth.  They believed this so completely that right before Jesus ascended back to heaven, they asked Him, “Lord, is it at this time You are restoring the kingdom to Israel?” [Acts 1:6].  The answer He provides should also be heeded today.

Acts 1:7
It is not for you to know times or epochs which the Father has fixed by His own authority.

Like it or not, it has never been easy to predict the future.  We can make intelligent guesses, and anticipate certain results of events if their status doesn’t change, but that really is the gist of it.  Scientists use MODELS to anticipate the path of the storm.  Christ-followers use the Bible as their MODEL for anticipating when God might act from Heaven in a final and conclusively redemptive way.  But can we know the when and the how?  Can we anticipate a certain day, month, or year?  Not hardly.

Since there are multiple options for self-destruction in our world today that wreak havoc on our senses, our emotions, and our spiritual existence, one has to wonder “… is it at this time?”  But hear me clearly.  Wondering is one thing.  Becoming completely paralyzed from any and all normal activity of life is another thing altogether.  I know only too well how easy it is to be consumed by dreading and anticipating what awful thing might happen, and the chaos ensuing after that event.  Since we cannot see or know the future, we must balance our thoughts with something other than paralyzing fear.

So, here’s an idea.  Don’t be scared, be prepared.

John 14:1-3
Do not let your heart be troubled; believe in God, believe also in Me. In My Father’s house are many dwelling places; if it were not so, I would have told you; for I go to prepare a place for you. If I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself, that where I am, there you may be also. 

Translation:  Don’t be scared, be prepared.

The chaos in your life can be turned into patient watching and waiting, if only you are prepared to believe these simple words, this simple promise of Jesus.  In these words “time” or any concept of time is irrelevant.  Either you believe the promise is true, or you don’t.  Either you accept that this life experience on earth is a temporary stop-over to an eternal dwelling place, or you don’t.

If you do, don’t be scared by those wielding crystal balls, anyone shouting 9-23-2017 conspiracy theories, sooth-sayers, shamans, or the Anunnaki.

Instead, be prepared by submitting yourself to the Lordship of Jesus Christ, and doing His work that He commanded us to do, with however much time you have left.

A good form of anticipation would be:

Revelation 22:20
He who testifies to these things says, “Yes, I am coming quickly.” Amen. Come, Lord Jesus.

Fast Like Peanut Butter

Daily Post: Jiffy


Regardless of whether you like “store brand” or “name brand” peanut butter, neither one can be eaten quickly.  Peanut Butter doesn’t spread quickly either, it sticks to the bread and makes you work it a little, before it yields to go where you want.  Take a bite and if it sticks to the roof of your mouth, or to a couple of your teeth, good luck getting it un-stuck without a bit of work.  Such is the nature of peanut butter.   Some would think if you add a little honey or jelly to the sandwich, it would loosen things up a bit, and make the peanut butter a little less sticky.  Not really.  It makes me think perhaps the makers of “Jiffy” peanut butter were having some fun at my expense.

Some find it easy to think this way about God, and His Word, like He’s a cosmic jokester and having a little fun at my expense.  Folks who feel this way take a couple of verses from the New Testament and build a whole theology around the concept of “time.”  First they use the words of Jesus in John 14.

John 14:1-3
Your heart must not be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in Me.  In My Father’s house are many dwelling places; if it were not so, I would have told you; for I go to prepare a place for you. If I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself, that where I am, there you may be also.  You know the way to where I am going.

But most of us are like Thomas, who basically responded, “We don’t have any idea what you’re talking about, Jesus.”  Maybe he thinks Jesus is pulling a fast one on them, and he feels a little left out.  “Tell me quick, what are you talking about!”  But John chapter 14 through 16 is one long explanation, or exhortation, of what is about to happen, and the implications and consequences of what Jesus is about to do.  There are no quick explanations.  There is no jiffy.

So we add the words of Peter, written much later, after the Resurrection, and the establishment of the Church.

2 Peter 3:3-4
Know this first of all, that in the last days mockers will come with their mocking, following after their own lusts, and saying, “Where is the promise of His coming? For ever since the fathers fell asleep, all continues just as it was from the beginning of creation.”

Now, there have been mockers and bullies since these words were written.  Yet, it seems in these last few years with all the social media blitz, and the “fake” news phenomenon, that more and more the world is adopting the attitude, “well, Christian, Jesus said he’d be back in JIFFY, where is He?  It’s a joke right? He really left you here on your own! ha!”

When things around you are going haywire, when the world seems one small “launch” button away from nuclear war, when you’re relationships are all strained to the point of no return, and you wonder “Where is the promise of His coming?”… don’t be confused by the wrong  idea that Jesus said, I’ll be back in a jiffy.  He didn’t.  He said He would come back.

The last verses often used to mis-construe the idea of Jesus coming back in a jiffy comes out of the last book in the Bible.  Now just think logically for a moment.  It’s the “last” book, and it deals with “last” things.  This means when you read this information, you should read it through the filter of “when time is up.”  So, look at what Jesus says about when “time is up.”

Revelation 3:11
I am coming quickly; hold fast what you have, so that no one will take your crown.

In Revelation 22, Jesus says “I am coming quickly” three times for emphasis.  So many people take these verse out of context of the book of Revelation, and shout, “See it must be in my lifetime because HE SAID, I’ll be back in a jiffy.”

How is it that we miss the point that God’s timetable is not based in the human concept of time?  None of the promises of Jesus return were ever given in the construct of human time or timetables. In Revelation, God was just explaining how only after HIS own timetable and original plan for humanity had run its course, Jesus would come back quickly.  It’s not a big joke, it’s a serious intent to accomplish all God intends to do.  Peter really helps us understand this better.

2 Peter 3:9
The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance.

What God really wants to do in a “jiffy,” is provide grace to all who have not yet said “yes” to His offer of salvation.  He is patient.  He is kind, loving, generous, and forgiving.  He does not wish one single person to go on living today, or throughout eternity, without His love and mercy.  God wants them all to come to Him through repentance, and trust Jesus for salvation.

If folks really understood the love of God, they would run to Jesus, in a jiffy.

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Higher Ground


higher ground

For just the basics in mountain climbing gear you need the right mountaineering boots that have spikes, front points, and crampon straps.  Other gear includes: the right pants with leggings, ice ax, ice screw, hammer ax, clock, piton-carrier, mountaineering shovel, carabiners, climbing harness, rope, parka, hood, knapsack, and a helmet, with a helmet lamp.  This list makes me tired.  People who climb mountains are a rare breed, the few of the few.  People who climb the world’s highest mountains, represent an even smaller pool of the few who climb mountains in general.  Those who reach the summit of the world’s tallest mountains are the rarest of this rare breed.

I can say with some assurance, there is a hill where One man stood alone, and of His own free will, He rose to higher heights than any other climber has ever been on this earth.  This Man stood, while nailed to a Roman cross of crucifixion.  This Man died in the process, and was then buried in a nearby borrowed tomb.  This Man ascended from His deathbed three days later, and climbed out of that tomb alive again!!!  When He left this planet, THIS MAN rose to His rightful place in the heavens.

The man in the mountain climbing picture above has climbed to the peak, and was rewarded with a view that only the few will ever witness.  Perhaps he nearly sacrificed his own life to attain this height.  I don’t know what hardship he faced, how long it took, or if there were others with him.  I don’t know his name, his relationship with the people in his life.  I don’t know if he is rich or poor, educated highly or simply, political or not.  The only thing I know of this man, is that he climbed that mountain.  It is what I see.

Some people only see Jesus on the cross.  This is a mistake.  It’s easier perhaps for them to accept a historical narrative of a real man, Jewish in origin from the tiny village of Nazareth, who stirred up trouble in Jerusalem around 33 A.D. and was put to death for His actions. Then they can say when asked, “sure, Jesus was a real person.”  But this doesn’t tell the whole story does it?  It’s much harder to accept other parts of this narrative as fact.  The parts of the story which come after the death of Jesus are critical in the total package.  For without the resurrection and the ascension, the crucial element of Jesus having power over death and hell, is lost.  He died to pay our sin debt.  But if it gets paid, then Jesus never is resurrected, the debt is not cancelled as soon as it is paid.  And we still bear this burden.  Don’t take my word for it.  Listen to the Apostle Paul…

1 Corinthians 15:12-19
Now if Christ is preached, that He has been raised from the dead, how do some among you say that there is no resurrection of the dead?  But if there is no resurrection of the dead, not even Christ has been raised; and if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is vain, your faith also is vain.  Moreover we are even found to be false witnesses of God, because we testified against God that He raised Christ, whom He did not raise, if in fact the dead are not raised.  For if the dead are not raised, not even Christ has been raised; and if Christ has not been raised, your faith is worthless; you are still in your sins.  Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished.  If we have hoped in Christ in this life only, we are of all men most to be pitied.

The empty tomb stands as the ultimate symbol of the ability of Jesus to keep His promises.  In John 10:17-18 Jesus says, “For this reason the Father loves Me, because I lay down My life so that I may take it again.  No one has taken it away from Me, but I lay it down on My own initiative. I have authority to lay it down, and I have authority to take it up again. This commandment I received from My Father.”

The empty tomb, if we take the time to focus our attention there more than one day a year, gives us the confident assurance that Christ will make good on all His promises!  And that includes…

John 14:1-3
Do not let your heart be troubled; believe in God, believe also in Me.  In My Father’s house are many dwelling places; if it were not so, I would have told you; for I go to prepare a place for you.  If I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself, that where I am, there you may be also.

Revelation 22:12-13
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.

These promises give me the power to climb out of bed everyday.  These promises allow me to not just see Jesus on the cross, but to see Him climbing out of the tomb, ascending back to the Father, and ONE DAY… coming to take me to live with Him forever.  I don’t need a lot of mountain climbing gear to scale the heights of this planet.  I have faith that takes me to the far reaches of the universe!  I have Jesus.

Happy Easter!  He is Risen!

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