Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Bitter or Better?

Back on the 4th of July I sprained my ankle quite badly, it actually popped.  Needless to say, I’ve had to stop my 3 day a week running schedule, and just when I had built up to 3+ miles at a time.  Frustration/suffering seems to be part and parcel of being an inhabitant of planet Earth.  How are we going to react when these inevitable setbacks occur?   Griping, bitterness and complaining are always the old standbys, and they may even help for a while, especially when you receive sympathy, but no one can stand a complainer for long.  So, back to the drawing board.  How is it possible to make bad situations good?   Remember Kerri Strug, from the 1992 Olympics?  She was a member of the USA gymnastic team, that was in 2nd place. Kerri’s performance could change that into a 1st place standing with a perfect jump. On her first attempt she seriously sprained her ankle and could barely stand. A hush fell over the crowd, what was she going to do next?  Her coach, the famous Bela Karolyi, picked up her  tiny injured body, and reminded her that she could still do it.  He didn’t say it would be easy, or that she would be pain-free, but he told her to keep her eyes on him, and not on the suffering.  The rest is Olympic history as she ran, jumped and landed perfectly despite the injury.  Take note of what St. Paul, a man well acquainted with annoying situations, reminds us,  “And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us. Romans 5:2-5.  Never doubt; God knows our pain and frustration, but he, like that coach, knows what the end results will be as long as we keep our focus on Him. Are you in a painful place?  Do you believe this promise?  It is your choice; suffering can make you bitter, or it can, and will, make you better.

Monday, July 30, 2012

The Same

While having lunch with a friend the other day, I commented on how many calories, and nutrients were listed on her yogurt container.  I didn’t know what flavor or brand it was, because that was not in my line of vision, but she could.  Where am I going with this you may well ask, I’ll tell you.  During the years that Jesus walked this earth, he personally, never wrote anything down, at least not anything that was published.  His life, and how he lived it, was his gospel.  Now, let’s say you were a witness to one of Jesus’  teaching sessions.  Depending on where you were standing, how well you could hear/see, and the condition of your heart, his words would impact you individually.  One person could see his face, another his body language, and yet another his interaction with the crowd, all this in addition to his actual words.  It was all the same Jesus, but their individual perception of him depended on their vantage point.  Did you ever wonder why the gospel writers varied a little bit, from story to story?  Matthew, Mark, Luke and John were all with the same Jesus, but depending on where they were “standing” that day, it affected them and their comprehension of the event.  Just like that cup of yogurt, that my friend and I saw from our own views, we could still agree that is was indeed a cup of yogurt, and she could fill me in on what I couldn‘t see and vice versa .  Jesus draws us all to him individually, from where we are standing, but he is, and always will, be the same Jesus. What wonderful news, that and no matter how you look at him, “Jesus Christ  is the same, yesterday, today and forever”.  Hebrews 13:8

Friday, July 27, 2012

But Wait, There's More!!

But wait, there’s more!!  I love watching infomercials on TV, just when you think the deal is as good as it can get, the pitchman sweetens it with even more.  Those of you who know me, know that I love to get my money‘s worth.  Buy One, Get One Free, I‘m all over it!!  Coupons, % Off Sales; count me in!  If I’m going to purchase something, I want to be sure that I get the best return on my investment.  Before I completely gave myself  to Christ, I wanted to know what I was “buying” into.  God wants us to be informed, telling us to “count the cost” before making that commitment.  I am happy to report, that of all the decisions and purchases I’ve  made in my life, investing in Christ has been the very best.  He never ceases to amaze me by adding, “something more” to what he‘s already given me; love, wisdom, and a variety of useful gifts, daily.  Are you in the market for the best “bargain” of your life, then let me tell you about the “deal” I’ve found in Him! “Give, and you will receive. Your gift will return to you in full--pressed down, shaken together to make room for more, running over, and poured into your lap. The amount you give will determine the amount you get back." Luke 6:38.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Dried Up

“The grapevines have dried up, and the fig trees have withered. The pomegranate trees, palm trees, and apple trees--all the fruit trees--have dried up. And the people's joy has dried up with them.” Joel 1:12. Without the refreshment of water, and coupled with unbearable heat, plants, fruit, even people dry up.  I heard an older gentleman comment that this is the first summer he can remember ever having cabin fever!  Spring started out so early this year, and with so much promise, but as the weeks and months went by everything changed.  Rain evaded the fields, and temperatures of 100+ sucked up any moisture that remained in the subsoil. The hoped for bumper crops are now being made into silage or disked under.  The berries I had been waiting for withered and died, vine and all. Many people, not only farmers, are suffering from dried up joy. Spiritually we can all suffer this same fate, if we don’t keep ourselves watered and nourished on God’s word.  Bible reading and church services are only one way to maintain lushness. Surround yourself with enthusiastic people, read an uplifting book, listen to Christian radio and TV, find an encouraging blog, or better yet start one yourself.  During droughts, it’s a known fact that any surviving fruit will be sweeter because the natural plant sugar is forced into them.  So plant yourself near His stream, and let your roots go down deep.  Psalm 1. “Blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked or stand in the way of sinners or sit in the seat of mockers. But his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night. He is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither. Whatever he does prospers.”

Wednesday, July 25, 2012


Throughout the 40 odd years that I’ve been a Christian, my daily goal has been to become more “Christ-like”.   Following his lead, thinking his thoughts, doing his stuff etc..  Sounded legit to me, that is until a book I’ve been reading made me give it some serious thought.  Let me explain myself in terms of an OREO cookie.  Those of us who love a fresh OREO know that they are scrumptious all the way through.  From the first bite through those crunchy chocolate wafers, down to the creamy vanilla filling, it’s all pure delight. At one time or another, I’ve had folks try to pull a fast one by replacing  that incomparable flavor and texture with a HYDROX or worse yet, store-brand imitations.  Sacrilege, there is nothing like a genuine OREO!!  Those pseudo varieties may be “OREO-like“, but they sure aren’t the real thing.  It is our awesome honor, as Christians to have Christ residing in us.  If that’s the case, then we shouldn’t be merely Christ-like, we must be Christ himself.  Albeit we can’t hope to attain his divinity,  but in giving him  control of our lives, we will be exhibiting to the world the authentic Christ, right down to the “cream filling”.  Still not sure, then check out these convincing verses. “But you have received the Holy Spirit, and he lives within you, so you don't need anyone to teach you what is true. For the Spirit teaches you everything you need to know, and what he teaches is true--it is not a lie. So just as he has taught you, remain in fellowship with Christ. 1 John 2:27 and “My old self has been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me. So I live in this earthly body by trusting in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” Galatians 2:20.  What a joy it is to know that I’m Christ, not merely Christ-like, inside and out!

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

First Fruits

The drought that we’ve been experiencing this year has take its toll on gardens, lawns, and field crops. My husband told me an interesting fact about corn production that I’d like to share with you.  The corn plant itself has only a limited lifespan, days actually.  In every growing season, whether wet or dry, the tiny plant emerges from the seed, and roots push downwards through the soil to a depth of at least 3 feet.  Under ideal weather conditions,  stalks can reach 7 feet tall, and need that deep root system to support themselves.  Over the last couple of months, we have watched the usually lush rows struggle to survive.  Leaves roll in on themselves to preserve precious water, even their height has been diminished to between 5-6 feet.  Everything the corn plant has, every bit of energy, moisture and life is put into producing the fruit, that precious ear of corn. This struggle to  live, not for itself, but for the next generation reminded me of Christ.  Jesus knew full well that his time on the earth was for a season, and everything he had, his godly DNA, must go into developing the “fruit”, his church.  We are those first fruits, having been given life through his sacrificial death.  What a bountiful harvest we are, and what a glorious obligation we have to be fruitful and multiply, filling that basket to overflowing. “He chose to give us birth through the word of truth, that we might be a kind of first fruits of all he created.” James 1:18

Monday, July 23, 2012

Scratch and Sniff

My kids had a “Scratch & Sniff” book we used to read when they were little. The story revolved around preparations for a picnic, and every page was well-scratched.  The orange, blueberry, rose, and chocolate chip scents were favorites, the only one we avoided was the skunk that had invaded the festivities. No surprise, it was horrendous…well we had to try it at least once!  Of course it got me thinking about Christians as “scratch and sniffs“. On the outside we can represent Christ in a lovely manner, but what happens when our surface is scratched, even just a little?  Is the aroma we give off, as pleasing as the picture we present, or do we smell to high heaven?  Whatever we are “full of“, that’s what will be released.  If Christ and his love fills us, that sweetness will fill the air; if there is anger, unforgiveness or jealousy a malodorous cloud appears. Jesus spoke this to the Pharisees, “ For out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks.”  Matthew 12:34. It takes constant practice to fill and refill  ourselves with Him, but it is possible.  Life can be like that childhood book, we’re going to get scratched, make sure your sniff is sweet. “For we are a fragrance of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing; 2 Corinthians 2:15.

Friday, July 20, 2012


A number of years ago, a dear friend, who has now gone to Heaven to be with her Father, gave everyone in our prayer group a bookmark.  On the heavy pink stock, was a picture of a bejeweled crown, and the message, “I am a Princess, because my Father is the King of Kings!” What little girl doesn‘t dream of being a princess?  My one and only granddaughter, Ella, who turns 5 tomorrow, loves anything Princess-themed, especially the game, “Pretty, Pretty, Princess”.  Ever time I visit, we have to play a game or 2, both of us  vying for the coveted Princess’s crown.  You can be sure it’s not a pretty scene when I win!  Luckily, there is a crown in store for all of us who have put our faith in Him.  So today, stand a little taller, hold your pinky out and shout to the world with all confidence, “I AM A PRINCESS“, or Prince!  Rejoice, Coronation Day is fast approaching! “And now the prize awaits me--the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give me on the day of his return. And the prize is not just for me but for all who eagerly look forward to his appearing.” 2 Timothy 4:8.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Voluntary Ignorance?

I read this statement of “belief” on the “I’m Proud to be an Atheist” Facebook page : “Faith isn‘t a virtue; It is the glorification of voluntary ignorance.” Well silly me, all these years I’ve been under the delusion that faith, among other things, was a gift of the Holy Spirit. Boy do I feel ignorant! It is amazing to me that many atheists love to lump all Christians and or theists into one package marked STUPID. From where I stand, it seems a lot easier, mentally, to be an atheist than a Christian. You get to rack up scripture, books written about God, and historical /eye-witness accounts, etc. as mere fodder for simple minds.  Plus you, yourself, get to free up a massive amount of brain cells!  Looking back, there was a great deal of personal study, questioning, weighing of options, and debating preceding my decision to follow Christ.  Why in the world would God want a bunch of brainless ninnies representing him?  He tells us very clearly that he requires us to be anything but morons.  Instead true believers must be ready to love and serve him with every bit of our body, soul and, yes, intellect!! “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your MIND and with all your strength.” Mark 12:30. I’m Proud to be a Christian with every fiber, and brain cell of my being, and always will be.  So let the opposition boast, “I’m an Atheist, thank God”,  (LOL), I will stand strong, and intelligent in Christ !!

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

I've Got a Secret

I’ve got a secret!  Remember how much fun that was to say?  As children, the pledge to keep a secret was a serious responsibility.  Having insider info on something or someone, and swearing not to reveal any details, to anyone, ever, even if we were taunted, plied with candy or threatened with bodily harm.  Our lips were zipper-sealed!!  Were you aware that God‘s plan of salvation, for all people,  was considered a “secret plan“ ?  For centuries before Christ, God gave clues through the prophets, but the whole thing was shrouded in mystery. Now that the plan has been accomplished, and it‘s no longer hidden from our understanding, we should be sharing this good news/gospel with everyone.  Funny thing, unlike the secrets from our youth, that everyone wanted to know about, nowadays lots of folks could care less about His priceless revelation.  Sadly, many believers, rather than rejoicing, must think it’s still something to keep hush-hush, telling even seekers that their faith is a private matter. Dear friends, if you don‘t feel competent in explaining the secret, learn how!  God is counting on us to get the word out. “This message about Jesus Christ has revealed his plan for you Gentiles, a plan kept secret from the beginning of time.” Romans 16:25

Tuesday, July 17, 2012


I delight in the word, DELIGHT!  It is defined as: a  high degree of pleasure or enjoyment; joy; rapture. What brings you delight?  Your family; hobby; the arts; music?  Any, or all of these are delightful, no doubt about it.  How about God? Is His word, and your relationship with Him, delightful?  It should be, but for many Christians it’s more lackluster than awesome. Don’t get the impression that I’ve always been enraptured, because I haven’t.  Learning to delight in anything, takes time, study, interaction with other “delighters”,  and actual participation in the activity.   For instance, photography was just ok to me several years ago, but now having studied it, been encouraged by fellow enthusiasts, and practicing the art, it has become a passion, a delight.  If you’ve never been in a Bible study/prayer group, or had scripture explained to you in a relevant, joy-filled way, you owe it to yourself to seek out such an experience.  For me it came in the form of a pastor who not only taught, but made God’s word come alive, something I had never experienced before.  After that, I couldn’t get enough of God, scripture study, or of telling everyone about what I’d found.  Needless to say, a great deal of my exuberance fell on dull ears, but it didn’t stop me!!  When something is that delightful, how could I keep it to myself? King David speaks of his delight in God throughout the psalms as in this one: “Delight yourself in the LORD and he will give you the desires of your heart.” Psalm 37:4.  Now that’s a promise with benefits, believe it, Delight in it!!

Monday, July 16, 2012

Growing Up

Our precious Little Leo turns one today!!  I’ve posted enough pictures, during the past 365 days, that you  probably feel like you’ve watched him grow along with me. He has changed in so many ways; physically, mentally and socially, and that’s the way it’s supposed to be.  There have been times when he was ill, or wasn’t eating well, and it showed in his development.  Like any concerned parents, his mom and dad took him to the Dr., and invariably they compared him to other babies of the same age.  Did he roll over, sit up, eat solid foods etc. on schedule, in general was he thriving and maturing as he should? He’s fine, I’m happy to report, growing like the proverbial weed.  But, let’s say he wasn’t.  His parents would take notice realizing that something was wrong that needed to be remedied, and they’d seek medical intervention.  That would be the right and proper path to take.  Which brings me to my question of the day.  How are you developing spiritually?  Are you eating solid food, not formula and the baby variety?  Can you walk the walk, and talk the talk?  If not, why not? The apostle Paul had this concern for his “children” in faith, when he said, “You have been believers so long now that you ought to be teaching others. Instead, you need someone to teach you again the basic things about God's word. You are like babies who need milk and cannot eat solid food.” Hebrews 5:12. If we claim to be healthy, maturing Christians, why are we still in diapers, eating strained carrots, when we should be doing adult stuff?  Your father is concerned, and you should be too.  We must grow up, and take responsibility for our lives in Christ. It’s not our parent’s job any more.  Devour His word, think His thoughts, then let Him live His life through yours!!   

Friday, July 13, 2012

Obeying Our Father

I’m constantly amazed at how little many Christians know about what God expects from us, his children.  In a recent conversation, a friend told me that his church doctrine had taught him that certain acts were not only sinful, but mortally so.  In other words, things like adultery, pre-marital sex; drunkenness etc., not only displeased God, but really honked him off to the point where one would be in peril of losing out on heaven. Did this strict warning stop him from participating in some of the above activities? No!  Unbelievably, he confessed that, yes, he and God both knew he was weak and a sinner, but only an occasional sinner. He assumed that since he had owned up to it, didn’t do it often, attended church and did good deeds, God would continue to forgive and forget, and let him repeat said actions over and over.  If we look at this scenario on an earthly level,  supposing  that we have broken our biological father’s rules, we fully expect, and deserve to receive punishment.   Dad will most likely forgive the first offence, after we humbly confess,  and pledge never to repeat it.   However, if it blatantly continues, you know that that earthly relationship will become strained, distant and ultimately broken. What kind of a father would put up with that kind of nonsense?  If that’s what will happen with our earthly dad, how can we expect any less from our heavenly one?  Being a child of God doesn’t give us a license to sin, or a get out of Hell free pass.  Rather a true child longs to please the father he loves, and who loves him, especially when doing the opposite is much more appealing.  Obedience isn’t as difficult as it seems when we allow God’s Holy Spirit to guide us.  Jesus puts it this way, “If anyone loves me, he will obey my teaching. My Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him. He who does not love me will not obey my teaching. These words you hear are not my own; they belong to the Father who sent me. ” John 14:23-24.  Do you love him enough to obey?

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Flavorful vs Flavorless

I made some bruschetta last night and used garden-fresh tomatoes.  That glorious flavor exploded in my mouth!  My deprived taste buds thanked me, and begged for more.  Those of you who love tomatoes are familiar with this sensation.  All winter long we suffer with the “store-bought” variety.  Yeah, they look likes the real thing, but when you take a bite, that wow factor is definitely missing.  You shouldn‘t be surprised to know that God revealed an analogy between those two kinds of tomatoes to me.  There was a time in my life when I didn’t like tomatoes, of any kind.  When I finally tried one in a salad, it was blah, but tolerable, and I ate it.  Whenever they were served, I’d eat them, but they certainly weren’t a favorite. Years later, when I moved to our farm, my mother in-law brought in some sun-warm, ripe ones.  Having never experienced the “real thing” I almost turned it down.  Why bother with those flavorless things, they aren’t worth cutting up, I thought.  She encouraged me to try a bite, saying that they would be different, and man was she right, there was no comparison  OK, here’s the analogy.  Attending some church services can sure seem like eating a hot-house tomato; it looks genuine, has the same color and consistency as the garden fresh ones, but it falls flat in the “taste” department.  In my own life, I have attended churches like that, and would have assumed that all were similar. I could have endured, or worse yet, given up, but God wanted me to experience what genuine worship was, the product of what He had picked from his heavenly garden.  I was dubious, but once again I was proven wrong; it was divine!!! Hearing God’s word explained, with enthusiasm, was like that first taste of a real tomato, and I was addicted from that point on. Are you merely enduring?  God offers us the fresh, juicy authentic, believe me it does exist, why settle for anything less!   “Taste and see that the LORD is good. Oh, the joys of those who take refuge in him!” Psalm 34:8 

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Lost and Found

Lost; what a sad, hopeless word.  Traveling down busy interstate 57 one Saturday afternoon, my husband slowed the car down from 75mph to 35.  Stunned, I looked up to see what had caused him to make this radical, and dangerous change in speed.  In our lane of traffic stood two, frightened fawns, so young they still had their white spots.  Why were they on the road, and where was Mama?  At the same moment, we both remembered passing a dead doe about a mile back.  Had that been their mother, were they  orphaned, lost and alone in this big scary world?  Joe honked the horn, and they high-tailed it into the woods, but I couldn’t stop thinking about what would become of those abandoned creatures.  Have you ever experienced being lost?  I can remember wandering off from a picnic, when I was about 5, and finding myself separated from my family.  Even now a tinge of  panic, that even a grape popsicle couldn’t make better,  remains.  Of course my story ended with a joyful reunion, but not all do.  When you think of it, spiritually, there are only two groups of people in the world; the lost and the found. The found are those who have, through seeking, come to realize who Christ is, have individually accepted his Lordship, and entered into relationship with him.  The lost are those who haven’t. I knew I was lost, those 50+ years ago, but many today don’t even realize it.  Only those who have gone from lost to found can fully appreciate the difference.  Thank God, I came to know that emotion twice in my life.  Just as my parents were frantically searching for me, Jesus is still doing the same for all of us.  “For the Son of Man came to seek and to save what was lost." Luke 19:10. I once was lost, but now I’m found…Praise God, His grace still amazes me!!

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

The Remnant

“So too, at the present time there is a remnant chosen by grace.” Romans 11:5.  Any seamstress will tell you that a remnant is a remaining piece of fabric from the original bolt.  In this verse, Paul uses the term to apply to those people whom, by a gracious or merciful choosing, or election; and not by any merit of their own, God has reserved for himself.  A group that is so focused on knowing more about His ways, and equipping themselves for His service, that everything else in their lives pales in comparison. This is not to say that they shrug their earthly responsibilities, in fact just the opposite.  God knows that this group serves as His ambassadors, and they must live lives above reproach. In a way, we are to be in this world, but not of it.  Paul puts it like this Romans 12:2, “Don't copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God's will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.”  If you struggle with the ungodly teachings of this world, rejoice, God is calling you to be a thread in that finely woven remnant…Don’t resist His invitation!!

Monday, July 9, 2012

What's "New" ?

What’s new?  This mundane question is asked everywhere, around the world, on a daily basis. In the broadest sense, the asker is seeking to catch up with what has been going on in the askee’s life.  Have there been any changes in employment, health, relationships etc.  Polite chit-chat will ensue.  Today I want to explore this query on a deeper level.  What is “new”, with the emphasis on the word new.  Recently I overheard two men discussing what “new” meant when applied to their personal life in Christ.  These guys had been born,  raised and baptized, as babies, in a church where the doctrine of an adult renewal point had never been mentioned,  until someone had posed the question to them.  At a loss for explanation, the best they could up with was the fact that they had been members, (fill in the denomination),  for all their lives.  The notion of a new relationship did not compute. Stop me if I’m wrong, but when we get something new, whether it’s a haircut, baby, car or house it’s noticeable!  The new thing makes a difference in your life, so much so that it’s visible to those around you. Jesus makes it very clear in scripture that indeed a new creature is formed when we believe in him, accept who he is, and ask him into our lives.   We are reborn, brand new!!  I’ve heard it said that God doesn’t have any grandchildren.  How true that is. Each one of us enters his kingdom, as adopted children, on our own. New life in Christ does not pass down to us through our parents. When did your new life begin?  “This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!”
2 Corinthians 5:17

Friday, July 6, 2012


“Harmony is as refreshing as the dew from Mount Hermon that falls on the mountains of Zion.”  Psalm 133:3. I learned to love singing the alto, harmony part back in high school chorus, and picked it up years later when I sang in the church choir.  While it’s not as pretty as the soprano’s melody line, there is a richness and depth to it that makes the whole song come together. To this day I find myself making up the harmony to any song I hear.  It’s funny to think that two, or more, different sounding parts can blend into such a melodious, refreshing sound.  Isn’t life kind of like that?  We all have unique parts that God gives us to “sing“, parts that might sound like a cacophony  rather than a symphony, if they aren’t sung under his direction.  It takes a lot of practice to sing in harmony, and even more to live in harmony with our fellow “singers”.  But it can be done, when we are united in Christ.  Paul encourages us with these words. “I appeal to you, dear brothers and sisters, by the authority of our Lord Jesus Christ, to live in harmony with each other. Let there be no divisions in the church. Rather, be of one mind, united in thought and purpose.” Church doctrines, traditions, customs, even architecture vary within Christianity, so like choir members singing different parts, we must follow the lead of the director. Only then will all those notes, in that heavenly composition, be sung the way He intended.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Painting With Light

One of the coolest techniques I learned in photography class was something called painting with light.  The first thing you do is set up the items you want to photograph. A cluster of small related articles is best, fishing equipment, art supplies etc.  Then darken the room and seal up any areas where outside light might come in. With your camera set for a 30second exposure, you grab a penlight and start “painting” the items.  Working quickly, highlight all the areas you want to show up in the photo.  At the end of the 30 seconds, the camera clicks, and viola, instead of blackness, you have a wonderfully lit still life.  It struck me that God works in a very similar way.  King David tells us in Psalm 119:105, that  “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path.”  Until we invite God to shine His lamp/penlight, (notice He doesn’t say floodlight), we stumble around in the dark, and never see the amazing things He has prepared for us. Don’t waste another day, ask him to illuminate what is currently shrouded in misunderstanding and doubt. “For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light.” Ephesians 5:8.  

Wednesday, July 4, 2012


What does it mean to be free?  Answers may vary, but they might include: tax-free; mortgage-free; kid-free; debt-free; fat-free and so on.  The implication is that you are loosed from a bondage, be it debt, childrearing or calories.  Most of us can’t imagine living under a dictatorship, or even a monarchy, but the founders of our nation knew what it was like.  Freedom from tyranny meant so much to them that they were willing to risk their lives for it. As Americans, we proudly recall those valiant men and women who fought, and won our independence with their shed blood.  As Christians, our freedom from the bonds of sin, and the tyranny of Satan was won for us by Jesus’ shed blood.  Today we celebrate Independence Day, so shoot off some fireworks, have a picnic and wave Old Glory proudly, but don’t forget our greatest freedom comes through the Son. “So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.” John 8:36.  

Tuesday, July 3, 2012


“You do not delight in sacrifice, or I would bring it; you do not take pleasure in burnt offerings. The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.” Psalm 51:16-17.  We live in a throw-away society; everything from diapers to electronics is disposable.  Not too long ago, I trashed a camera because the lens was stuck, and would have cost too much to fix. Why then does God put such a high value on brokenness?  In this magnificent psalm, King David is a “broken” man. His sin with Bathsheba, and all the ensuing messiness has brought him to “the end of himself“, as my Mom would say.  His own attempts to glue together the shards of his shattered life had failed.   Crying out to God, in his fragmented state, he repented and received God’s solidifying forgiveness.  We often confuse sacrifice, and doing rote religious stuff, with what truly pleases God. God wants our hearts, lives and souls, and that will never occur through mere sacrifice.  It may sound harsh, but He will allow us to use up all our personal resources until we reach that state of brokenness.  Only then can we fully realize that everything we need, can only be found in Him. Are you, or are you on the verge of “cracking up”?  God is patiently waiting, Superglue in hand!!

Monday, July 2, 2012


The late Adrian Rodgers, a TV/radio evangelist, told the following story of reconciliation. When he was a young boy, growing up in Florida, he loved to climb palm trees and then sell the coconuts to tourists.  His father sternly warned him not to climb the trees because it was far too dangerous. He did anyway, just for the fun of it.  Sure enough, one day he lost his footing, fell to the ground and broke his arm.  As he lay there in agony, he saw his father approaching.  He was not only filled with physical pain, but the searing shame of having violated his father‘s rule.  His Dad could have chastised him, he knew he deserved it, but what he needed more was healing for his broken state.  Without mentioning the obvious infraction, his dad lovingly scooped him up from the dusty ground and took him to the Doctor.  The term “reconcile” literally means to bring together, like the setting of bones.  It is how God, as our loving father, longs to mend us from our broken state.  Certainly he disagrees with our sins, but when we are faced with the shame of them head on, and repent, His healing begins. “For if, when we were God's enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life! Not only is this so, but we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation.” Romans 5:10-11.  Don’t sit around in pain and brokenness, turn to him and be reconciled.