Monday, December 23, 2013

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Faithfulness Is Taking the Next Step in Faith: Trust & Obey!


From an old English parsonage, down by the sea
There came in the twilight a message to me;
Its quaint Saxon legend, deeply engraven,
Hath, as it seems to me, teaching from Heaven.
 And on through the hours the quiet words ring
Like a low inspiration--"DO THE NEXT THING."

Many a question, many of fear,
Many a doubt, hath its quieting here.
Moment by moment, let down from Heaven,
Time, opportunity, guidance, are given.
Fear not tomorrows, Child of the King,
Trust them with Jesus, "DO THE NEXT THING."

Do it immediately; do it with prayer;
Do it reliantly, casting all care;
Do it with reverence, tracing His Hand
Who placed it before thee with earnest command.
Stayed on Omnipotence, safe 'neath His wing,
Leave all resultings, "DO THE NEXT THING."

 Looking to Jesus, ever serener,
Working or suffering, be thy demeanor,
In His dear presence, the rest of His calm,
The light of His countenance be thy psalm,
Strong in His faithfulness, praise and sing,
Then, as He beckons thee, "DO THE NEXT THING."


-- This poem is said to be Anonymous, but it seems to me to be straight from the writings of George MacDonald. I suspect it is written by MacDonald.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Odin turns to Santa: The Dangers of Coke!

Eric Brown believes that Santa is really Odin, only a bit out of shape.

Love those Coke commercials at Christmas... but is there a reason why Coca-cola commerciasl are so seductively attractive, this time of year? Hmm...

Enjoy! Have a Coke, and Merry Christmas!

Friday, December 13, 2013

Never give up: Keep working, keep praying

Never give up praying, not even though Satan should suggest to you that it is in vain for you to cry unto God. Pray in his teeth; pray without ceasing. If for awhile the heavens are as brass and your prayer only echoes in thunder above your head, pray on. If month after month your prayer appears to have miscarried, and no reply has been vouchsafed to you, yet still continue to draw nigh unto the Lord.

Do not abandon the mercy-seat for any reason whatever. If it be a good thing that you have been asking for, and you are sure it is according to the divine will, if the vision tarry wait for it, pray, weep, entreat, wrestle, agonize till you get that which you are praying for.

If your heart be cold in prayer, do not restrain prayer until your heart warms, but pray your soul unto heat by the help of the ever-blessed Spirit who helpeth our infirmities. If the iron be hot then hammer it, and if it be cold hammer it till you heat it.

Never cease prayer for any sort of reason or argument.

— C.H. Spurgeon

Friday, December 06, 2013

Everything is Grace. So, humble yourself in God's sight!

The one bringing forth in you both the desire and the effort... is God. — Phil. 2:13

Not that we are adequate in ourselves to consider anything as if it were coming from ourselves, but our adequacy is from God. — 2 Cor. 3:5

“No one can receive anything unless it has been given to him from heaven.” — John 3:27

“No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him, and I will raise him up at the last day.” — John 6:44

Jesus went on to say, "This is why I told you that no one can come to me unless the Father has enabled them." — John 6:65

“I will give them a single-minded purpose to live in a way that always shows respect for me.” — Jer. 32:39

Do not be led astray, my dear brothers and sisters. All generous giving and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or the slightest hint of change. By his sovereign plan he gave us birth through the message of truth, that we would be a kind of firstfruits of all he created. — Jas. 1:16-18

For we are his workmanship, having been created in Christ Jesus for good works that God prepared beforehand so we may do them. — Eph 2:10

O Lord, you make us secure, for even all we have accomplished, you have done for us. — Isa. 26:12

Everything comes from you, and we have given you only what comes from your hand. — 1 Chron. 29:14

What do you have that you did not receive? — 1 Cor. 4:7

Humble yourselves, therefore, under God's mighty hand, that He may lift you up in due time. 1 Pet. 5:6


Tuesday, December 03, 2013

Acetaminophen linked to liver and kidney damage

Acetaminophen (active ingredient in Tylenol & prescription pain relievers like Vicodin and Percocet) is the number one cause of acute liver failure in the USA. and

Monday, November 25, 2013

Mountains Turned to Plains

 “What are you, you great mountain? Because of Zerubbabel you will become a level plain! And he will bring forth the temple capstone with shoutings of ‘Grace! Grace!’ because of this.” — Zech 4:7

by C.H. Spurgeon

At this hour a mountain of difficulty, distress, or necessity may be in our way, and natural reason sees no path over it, or through it, or round it. Let faith come in, and straightway the mountain disappears and becomes a plain. But faith must first hear the word of the Lord—“Not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit, saith the Lord of hosts.” This grand truth is a prime necessity for meeting the insurmountable trials of life. I see that I can do nothing and that all reliance on man is vanity. “Not by might.”

I see that no visible means can be relied on, but the force is in the invisible Spirit. God alone must work, and men and means must be nothing accounted of. If it be so that the Almighty God takes up the concerns of His people, then great mountains are nothing. He can remove worlds as boys toss balls about or drive them with their foot. This power He can lend to me. If the Lord bids me move an Alp I can do it through His name. It may be a great mountain, but even before my feebleness it shall become a plain; for the Lord hath said it. What can I be afraid of with God on my side?


Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Lincoln's Gettysburg Address: Inspired words, appointed man

The Gettysburg Address
by Abraham Lincoln, President of the United States

November 19, 1863
Gettysburg National Cemetery
Gettysburg, Pennsylvania

Four score and seven years ago, our fathers brought forth, on this continent, a new nation, conceived in liberty and dedicated to the proposition that “all men are created equal.”

Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation or any nation so conceived and so dedicated can long endure. We are met on a great battlefield of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this. But in a larger sense, we cannot dedicate, we cannot consecrate, we cannot hallow this ground. The brave men, living and dead who struggled here have consecrated it far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here.

It is for us the living rather to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us — that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion — that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain, that this nation under God shall have a new birth of freedom, and that government of the people, by the people, for the people shall not perish from the earth.


Wednesday, November 13, 2013

The Life-giving Reality of True Thanksgiving

Autumn days rush headlong into early evening; Christmas decorations peek conspicuously from their high perches above parking lots and city streets. A slight chill in the wind hints at the advent of Advent -- but the Christmas lights aren’t lit yet, and winter is still on the way… because we haven’t celebrated Thanksgiving!

Thanksgiving: A mistreated holy day between Halloween and Christmas, stuffed with turkey and football and bloated humans lounging on couches, checking Fantasy Football and Facebook on smartphones. Is this all there is to Thanksgiving? Variably corpulent citizens feeding their faces and then worshiping electronic media?

Hardly. True Thanksgiving is a life-giving reality for both persons and nations. Thanksgiving was revealed as a divine principle in the covenant life of Israel, and recovered in America by faithful leaders who understood its import. We’ve fallen far from this divine understanding of Thanksgiving, but for those who return there is great reward. Consider three components of true thanksgiving, and the restored covenant relation they entail.

Humility. The first confession of true Thanksgiving is that all good comes from God -- not human self or national resources. God warned Israel, “Beware lest you say to yourself, ‘My power and the strength of my hands have produced this wealth for me.’ But remember the LORD your God, for it is he who gives you the ability to produce wealth, and so confirms His covenant, which He swore to your ancestors, as it is today” (Deut. 8:17-18). And so the psalmist confesses: “It was not by their sword that they won the land, nor did their arm bring them victory; it was your right hand, your arm, and the light of your face, for you loved them” (Ps. 44:3). Lincoln’s Thanksgiving Proclamation confesses the same: “These [national blessings] are the gracious gifts of the Most High God, who, while dealing with us in anger for our sins, hath nevertheless remembered mercy.” Humility before God is the first confession of Thanksgiving -- and the first step toward renewal in covenant life. Confession: “O God, we thank you and praise your glorious name! But who am I, and who are my people, that we should be able to celebrate like this? For all things come from You, and of Your own we have given You.” Alleluia! (1 Chron. 29:14)

Penitence. The second confession follows the first, as humility cannot be separated from penitence before God. God commanded Israel not only to remember the Source of blessing, but also the path of restoration. He says, “If My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land” (2 Chron. 7:14). Likewise, Lincoln called the American people to celebrate Thanksgiving with “humble penitence for our national perverseness and disobedience,” with acts of contrite benevolence toward widows and orphans. True Thanksgiving means real repentance. Confession: “I confess the sins that my People, including myself and my father's family, have committed against you. We have acted wickedly and not obeyed your laws. Please forgive us and restore your light upon us, I pray” (Neh. 1:6ff).

Patience. The third confession follows the prayers of the previous, as children bow in humility before God, confessing their sins and the sins of the land… they then choose to faithfully follow God, awaiting His time of favor and restoration. Psalm 147:11 witness: “The Lord takes delight in His faithful followers, and in those who wait for His loyal love.” It is in the long hours between promise and fulfillment that true Thanksgiving is shown. Sometimes such waiting takes a lifetime, like Nehemiah or Daniel -- or, in the case of Abraham, four lifetimes -- but the end is inconceivable blessing: divine favor and eternal life. Confession: “Like the eyes of a handmaiden to the hand of her mistress, so our eyes wait upon you, our Lord God, until you show us your favor!” (Ps. 123:2)

If you love your country, and if you love your family, let this Thanksgiving be a real one -- where you renew your life in the covenant love of God, and bow before Him in humility and penitence, patiently waiting His light and favor. As Jesus said, “Will not God bring about justice for his chosen ones, who cry out to him day and night?” (Lk. 18:7). Truly, He will. But when the Son of Man returns, will He find faith on the earth? May it be so, in your true Thanksgiving, and mine!



Note: This is an article that I wrote for the Sunday, Nov. 17 edition of the Okeechobee News.

Saturday, November 09, 2013

Our assurance is in the Lord's renown: His grace is our covenant life

"It is when we enjoy covenant blessings and see our Lord Jesus raised up for us as a plant of renown that we come to a clear knowledge of the favor of God toward us."

Then they will know that I, the Lord their God, am with them, and that they are my people, the house of Israel, declares the sovereign Lord. — Ezek. 34:30

by C.H. Spurgeon

To be the Lord’s own people is a choice blessing, but to know that we are such is a comfortable blessing. It is one thing to hope that God is with us and another thing to know that He is so. Faith saves us, but assurance satisfies us. We take God to be our God when we believe in Him; but we get the joy of Him when we know that He is ours and that we are His. No believer should be content with hoping and trusting; he should ask the Lord to lead him on to full assurance, so that matters of hope may become matters of certainty.

It is when we enjoy covenant blessings and see our Lord Jesus raised up for us as a plant of renown that we come to a clear knowledge of the favor of God toward us. Not by law, but by grace do we learn that we are the Lord’s people. Let us always turn our eyes in the direction of free grace. Assurance of faith can never come by the works of the law. It is an evangelical virtue and can only reach us in a gospel way. Let us not look within. Let us look to the Lord alone. As we see Jesus we shall see our salvation.

Lord, send us such a flood-tide of Thy love that we shall be washed beyond the mire of doubt and fear.



— C.H. Spurgeon

Wednesday, November 06, 2013

The secret place where delight and desire meet

Then you will take delight in the Lord, and he will answer your prayers. — Ps. 37:4 NET

I like this translation of Psalm 37:4. It captures the true meaning of delight and desire, which the passage places before us. The verse is often misunderstood, "Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart." Desire here is sanctified desire, or desire in light of prayer -- desire where the will of the supplicant is one with the will of the Father. Truly it is said that when my will wills to do the will of the Father as its highest good, it is there that predestination and human will become one.

There is much to be considered in these words, "Then you will take delight in the Lord, and He will answer your prayers." C.H. Spurgeon comments:

Delight in God has a transforming power and lifts a man above the false desire of our fallen nature. Delight in Yahweh is not only sweet in itself, but it sweetens the whole soul, till the longings of the heart become such that the Lord can safely promise to fulfill them. Is not that a grand delight which molds our desires till they are like the desires of God?

Our foolish way is to desire and then set to work to compass what we desire. We do not go to work in God’s way, which is to seek Him first and then expect all things to be added unto us. If we will let our heart be filled with God till it runs over with delight, then the Lord Himself will take care that we shall not want any good thing... For a while we may have disappointments; but if these bring us nearer to the Lord, they are things to be prized exceedingly, for they will in the end secure to us the fulfillment of all our right desires.



Saturday, October 26, 2013

Awake, my soul, and with the sun

Awake, my soul, and with the sun
Thy daily stage of duty run;
Shake off dull sloth, and joyful rise
To pay thy morning sacrifice.

Lord, I my vows to thee renew;
Disperse my sins as morning dew;
Guard my first springs of thought and will,
And with thyself my spirit fill.

Direct, control, suggest, this day,
All I design or do or say;
That all my powers, with all their might,
In thy sole glory may unite.

Praise God, from whom all blessings flow;
Praise him, all creatures here below;
Praise him above, ye heavenly host:
Praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.


Words: Thomas Ken, 1695, 1709 
Music: Morning Hymn 
Meter: LM

Friday, October 25, 2013

God first, then extras

But above all pursue his kingdom and righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. — Mt. 6:33

See how the Bible opens: “In the beginning God.” Let your life open in the same way. Seek with your whole soul, first and foremost, the kingdom of God, as the place of your citizenship, and His righteousness as the character of your life. As for the rest, it will come from the Lord Himself without your being anxious concerning it. All that is needful for this life and godliness “shall be added unto you.”

What a promise this is! Food, raiment, home, and so forth, God undertakes to add to you while you seek Him. You mind His business, and He will mind yours. If you want paper and string, you get them given in when you buy more important goods; and just so all that we need of earthly things we shall have thrown in with the kingdom. He who is an heir of salvation shall not die of starvation; and he who clothes his soul with the righteousness of God cannot be left of the Lord with a naked body. Away with carking care. Set all your mind upon seeking the Lord. Covetousness is poverty, and anxiety is misery: trust in God is an estate, and likeness of God is a heavenly inheritance. Lord, I seek Thee; be found of me.


— C.H. Spurgeon

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Children who wait in faith give God delight and bring Him glory

He does not delight in the strength of the horse;
He does not take pleasure in the legs of a man.
The Lord delights in those who fear Him, 
In those who wait for His lovingkindness.
       -- Psalm 147:10-11

Friday, October 11, 2013

A vision of a house that serves the Lord

As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.—Josh. 24:15

O happy house I and happy servitude!
Where all alike one Master own;
Where daily duty, in Thy strength pursued,
Is never hard or toilsome known;
Where each one serves Thee, meek and lowly,
Whatever Thine appointment be,
Till common tasks seem great and holy,
When they are done as unto Thee.

— C. J. P. SPITTA.

At Dudson there was no rushing after anything, either worldly or intellectual. It was a home of constant activity, issuing from, and retiring to, a centre of deep repose. There was an earnest application of excellent sense to the daily duties of life, to the minutest courtesy and kindness, as well as to the real interests of others. Everything great and everything little seemed done in the same spirit, and with the same degree of fidelity, because it was the will of God; and that which could not be traced to His will was not undertaken at all. Nothing at Dudson was esteemed too little to be cared for, and nothing too great to be undertaken at the command of God; and for this they daily exercised their mental and bodily powers on the things around them; knowing that our Lord thoroughly furnishes each of His soldiers for his work, and places before each the task he has to do.


Rejoicing in Suffering

Not only this, but we also rejoice in sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance, character, and character, hope.—Rom 5:3-4 NET

At first we would say that a home into which no sorrow had ever come, is the happiest home. It has had only prosperity. It is a Christian home, too, and has all the blessings of true religion. It is a home of love, ideal in its fellowship. But it has never known a sorrow. The circle is unbroken. No tears have been shed in it. We would say that this is the happiest home we know.

But it takes sorrow to perfect ‘love’s happiness’. There is little doubt that the sweetest home, is one in which there has been grief. We do not find the richest things in the Bible, until we pass into shadows. We do not see the stars, until night comes. There is no rainbow, except when there are clouds. We do not find out the richest love, even of our human friends, while we are strong and well and prosperous; it is only when we are in some grief or trouble, that we discover how much they love us. And we do not get the best of God’s grace–until we are in sorrow.

Besides, grief softens our hearts, makes us capable of deeper affection and sympathy, and draws us nearer to each other. After a household has stood together around the coffin of one of its own–it is a new tenderness that unites the members. Suffering together, brings a new closeness in loving. Thus, even sorrow may be put among the elements of home happiness.


-- J. R. Miller

Saturday, September 07, 2013

Suffering as the door of Grace: Kingdom greatness through Affliction

When I call out, answer me, O God who vindicates me! Though I am hemmed in, you will lead me into a wide, open place. Have mercy on me and respond to my prayer! — Psalm 4:1

This is one of the grandest testimonies ever given by man to the moral government of God. It is not a man’s thanksgiving that he has been set free from suffering. It is a thanksgiving that he has been set free through suffering: “Thou hast enlarged me when I was in distress.”

He declares the sorrows of life to have been themselves the source of life’s enlargement. And have not you and I a thousand times felt this to be true? It is written of Joseph in the dungeon that “the iron entered into his soul.”

We all feel that what Joseph needed for his soul was just the iron. He had seen only the glitter of the gold. He had been rejoicing in youthful dreams; and dreaming hardens the heart. He who sheds tears over a romance will not be most apt to help reality; real sorrow will be too unpoetic for him. We need the iron to enlarge our nature. The gold is but a vision; the iron is an experience. The chain which unites me to humanity must be an iron chain. That touch of nature which makes the world akin is not joy, but sorrow; gold is partial, but iron is universal.

My soul, if thou wouldst be enlarged into human sympathy, thou must be narrowed into limits of human suffering. Joseph’s dungeon is the road to Joseph’s throne. Thou canst not lift the iron load of thy brother if the iron hath not entered into thee. It is thy limit that is thine enlargement. It is the shadows of thy life that are the real fulfillment of thy dreams of glory. Murmur not at the shadows; they are better revelations than thy dreams. Say not that the shades of the prison-house have fettered thee; thy fetters are wings—wings of flight into the bosom of humanity. The door of thy prison-house is a door into the heart of the universe.

God has enlarged thee by the binding of sorrow’s chain.


By George Matheson, quoted in Streams in the Desert.

Friday, August 09, 2013

A broken ALTAR, Lord, thy servant rears


A broken ALTAR, Lord, thy servant rears,

Made of a heart, and cemented with tears:

Whose parts are as thy hand did frame;

No workman’s tool hath touched the same.

 A HEART alone

Is such a stone,

As nothing but

Thy pow’r doth cut.

Wherefore each part

Of my hard heart

Meets in this frame,

To praise thy name:

That if I chance to hold my peace,

These stones to praise thee may not cease.

 O let thy blessed SACRIFICE be mine,

And sanctify this ALTAR to be thine.

 -- George Herbert

Thursday, August 08, 2013

Rely on God today, in this very moment, this present battle!

Get FROGGY in your faith!



Sunday, July 07, 2013


The angel of the Lord encampeth round about them that fear him, and delivereth them.—Psalm 34:7

by C.H. Spurgeon

We cannot see the angels, but it is enough that they can see us. There is one great Angel of the Covenant, whom not having seen we love, and His eye is always upon us both day and night. He has a host of holy ones under Him, and He causes these to be watchers over His saints and to guard them from all ill. If devils do us mischief, shining ones do us service.

Note that the Lord of angels does not come and go and pay us transient visits, but He and His armies encamp around us. The headquarters of the army of salvation is where those live whose trust is in the living God. This camp surrounds the faithful so that they cannot be attacked from any quarter unless the adversary can break through the entrenchments of the Lord of angels. We have a fixed protection, a permanent watch. Sentineled by the messengers of God, we shall not be surprised by sudden assaults nor swallowed up by overwhelming forces.

Deliverance is promised in this verse — deliverance by the great Captain of our salvation, and that deliverance we shall obtain again and again until our warfare is accomplished and we exchange the field of conflict for the home of rest.


Monday, July 01, 2013

When Jesus Prayed Three Times

The day Jesus prayed three times and received a "No" is the day He saved the world

Jesus went away once more and prayed the third time, saying the same thing. Mt. 26:44


Jesus, all your prayers for human life and healing were only a matter of a few words; merely the nod of your head, or the assent of your heart would heal a child or stop a storm. And yet... when you prayed in the garden, you prayed three times. Three times you returned to the throne of the Father, asking, “If it be possible, let this cup pass from me.” The horror of the darkness that you would have to carry for humans, the weight of all sin of eternity, the full rebellion of the cosmos that would rest upon your sinless shoulders... the shattering of your perfect Son’s heart, and the separation from the Father... these things you prayed to pass, three times: Let this cup pass, Father! If there be any way, let this cup pass from me!

Jesus, you returned to this prayer the third time. And the third time the Father said, “Son, it is my will. It is my will to crush you, that I might make my chosen children whole. Son, it is my will to bruise you, that I might bind up the wounds of sin in my hurting children, of all time.”

And Jesus, the third time you prayed, and the third time you said, “Not my will, but Thine be done!” And so you bought my salvation in this third prayer. Jesus, your utter faithfulness in the face of the cosmic horror of sin, the dark night of bearing my sin, has saved my soul. Praise you, Jesus! Eternal Son of the Eternal Father, I praise you! Holy Spirit, for mediating this gift, this life of the Father to me, in the Son, I praise you! My Comforter, my Counselor, my God, have your way in me.

Jesus, you prayed the third time, and accepted the "No" of the Father, that I might also pray tonight, and be heard by Him with an eternal "Yes!" Thank you. Words are not enough...



Friday, June 28, 2013

Theological reflections from World War Z

Recently I watched the movie “World War Z” at the Brahman Theater, by accident. Promising my mom and adopted mom that we would see Lone Ranger, we arrived to find that it only ran once per evening. So instead, we saw World War Z. And, I must say: watching my mom watch WWZ was worth the price of admission! The plot is riveting: A loving family finds a world suddenly gone mad, with things that look human but are dead inside -- human zombies, destroying life. Is there anything worse than something that looks human but lacks life, and spreads death?

As I watched the movie, a Scripture formed in my mind:  As for you, you have been made alive, who were once dead in your transgressions and sins, in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient.

Walking dead men! People dead in spirit, who move about in body but lack true life, and bring destruction -- WWZ illustrates an ancient spiritual story. If the Bible is true, then without the supernatural regeneration of our spirit, every human is only a walking dead person. Even as we move about in our bodies and experience soul life [mind, will and emotions], without saving relation with God, we are dead in spirit. Walking zombies!

The zombie apocalypse is here and has been since the fall of Man. People, dead in spirit, wander throughout human time, slaying as they go. Ever wonder how humans can be responsible for hundreds of millions of deaths in the “Century of Progress?”  Ever wonder how a “civilized nation” can practice a barbarism of infant sacrifice, on the altar of convenience? Look no further than death in spirit: Humans may look alive, moving about in body, experiencing soul-emotions and mind-thoughts, but we are dead in spirit without being “made alive in Christ.”

World War z has a scene where bloodthirsty zombies frantically and frenetically climb over each other to breach a protective wall in Israel. They breach the wall and run through the streets consuming as they go: voracious madness, insatiable destruction… such a graphic picture of lost human nature! This is what we experience in our world: spiritually dead humans frantically pulling everyone down to their level of death. Consume. Destroy. Infect. Fallen human nature!

Thankfully, this is not the end of the story. In real time, God “sent forth His son, made of a woman, made under the law.” Jesus Christ was manifested to destroy sin, and in Him was no sin (1 Jn. 3:5). He, the sinless One, took our curse for us. HE TOOK THE FULL EFFECT OF THE VIRUS OF SIN, that we might have spirit life. And in accepting Him, we are cured -- we are vaccinated against death, infused with the very life of God!

Numbers 21 describes a crisis of Israel in the wilderness. The people were bitten by thousands of deadly vipers and the venom passed quickly through the camp. God instructed Moses to raise up a brass serpent on a pole -- that all the dying children of Israel might look and live: In the very look of faith, they were healed from the curse! Scripture later calls this brass serpent a preview of Jesus: He hung on the cross, that we who are fatally bitten with the serpent of sin, might look to Him and live. "He became sin, who knew no sin, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him!" Alleluia!

Yes, the zombie apocalypse is here, and it’s worse than ever we imagined. The virus of sin has infected every human on planet earth, but there is Hope! You can make your calling and election sure, in the healing grace of Christ: Friend, look and live!



Note:This is updated to reflect an article that I wrote for the September 18th edition of the Okeechobee News.

Saturday, June 08, 2013

Pray often, for prayer is a shield to the soul, a sacrifice to God. and a scourge for Satan

-- John Bunyan

Monday, April 08, 2013

Do not forget Repentance

In the temporal and social sense, repentance may come and go. But in the eternal sense, it is a quiet daily commitment before God. In the light of eternity, one’s guilt is never changed, even if a century passes by. To think anything of this sort is to confuse the eternal with what it is least like – human forgetfulness. One can tell the age of a tree by looking at its bark. One can also tell a person’s age in the Good by the intensity and inwardness of his repentance. It may be said of a dancer that her time is past when her youth is gone, but not so with a penitent. Repentance, if it is forgotten, is nothing but immaturity. The longer and the more deeply one treasures it, however, the better it becomes.

Selah. Kierkegaard, "Emissaries from Eternity," Provocations: Spiritual Writings of Kierkegaard, edited by Charles Moore, 41.

Friday, April 05, 2013

A new kind of perfection vs. the saddest thing in the world

With respect to physical existence, one needs little, and to the degree that one needs less, the more perfect one is. In a human being’s relationship with God, however, it is inverted: the more one needs God the more perfect he is. To need God is nothing to be ashamed of but is perfection itself. It is the saddest thing in the world if a human being goes through life without discovering that he needs God!


Soren Kierkegaard, "To Need God Is Perfection," Provocations: Spiritual Writings of Kierkegaard, edited by Charles Moore, 30.  

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Miracle intent: A heart that sees and follows through

Do miracles still occur today as they did in Bible times? Yes, but they usually take place in such a manner as to preserve the need for faith. Even those who witness them must choose whether or not to believe in their validity.
 -- James C. Dobson, When God Doesn't Make Sense.

God wishes to move the will rather than the mind. Perfect clarity would help the mind but harm the will. Humble their pride.
-- Pascal, Pensees, 234. 

Seeing miracles requires a certain kind of heart 

I once met a man who was unwittingly saved by an oak leaf. He told of the day that something ruptured inside him. He was rushed to the hospital, outlook grim. "It was the darndest thing," he said. After surgery, the doctors told him that an oak leaf had wrapped around the aneurysm and saved his life. An oak leaf in his body, preventing death!

He told the story as a joke, a random event to laugh about with guys. Stunned at his dismissive treatment of something so crucial, I mentioned divine thankfulness. "Shouldn't you give thanks to God?" I asked. He shrugged and immediately turned away: "Just lucky," he said. No God to thank. No curiosity as to how an unknown, accidentally ingested oak leaf could have wrapped around the one thing that would kill him... Since God could not be part of his consciousness, there was no miracle to it.

It's interesting to see how many people directly witness the miracles of Jesus, yet turn away from following Him. It's unbelievable, yet true: The apostasy of John 6:66, where many disciples turn away from Jesus, follows directly on the heels of the great miracle of loaves and fishes -- thousands of people witness and participate in this miracle, but it leaves many of them radically disappointed in Him. As it works out from miracle to meaning, they turn away. The miracle demands a yielded heart, in order to remain a miracle. In the minds of those who turned away, the miracle merely becomes a "random event," and Jesus merely another man...

So what about the miracles in your life? The dozens of almost unnoticed signs and hints, things easily called coincidence... Have they remained signs, markers of God's presence and work, even in the midst of silence and questions? Or with the rush of human events and personal desires, does their remembrance merely pass into a blur of random eventuality, where life moves on, with faith a question, and not a life-changing reality...? Is that the case?

This is the temptation of every human, when faced with the quiet miracle power of God: Will I let it work out its providential meaning in my life, gratefully accepting the guidance and presence of God? Or will I pass it by, with a shrug and busy mind? "Just another coincidence that has no real meaning for me...!"

There will always be partial light and partial darkness, at the intersection of miracles in this current frame of human life. However hard it is for us to choose the light, we must. However much it goes against our personal wishes and inclinations, to choose light at that moment is to gain more light. And on we step up the divine stair, going from strength to strength, higher up and further in, in grace, receiving the destined promise. Alleluia!


Monday, March 18, 2013

Divine pottery: Masterpieces from messes

Jer. 18:6 -- "Can I not do with you, Israel, as this potter does?" declares the LORD. "Like clay in the hand of the potter, so are you in my hand, Israel."

Isa. 64:8 -- Yet you, LORD, are our Father. We are the clay, you are the potter; we are all the work of your hand.

2 Cor. 4:7 -- But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us.


Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Christians are the New Most Persecuted Religion

Religious Persecution and Safe Havens

Commentary Magazine reports that Christians have recently surpassed Jews on the world stage, as the most persecuted religious group. This is only surprising given the large levels of antisemitic hatred in our world -- not surprising, though, when looking at the facts on the ground.

Here's the article by Commentary Magazine:

In recent months, a new consensus has emerged: For the first time in millennia, Judaism has lost its title as the world’s most persecuted religion; today, that dubious honor goes to Christianity. “Christians are targeted more than any other body of believers,” wrote Rupert Shortt in a 54-page report for the London-based Civitas institute in December, which meticulously documented their persecution on a country-by-country basis. Even politicians have begun grasping this fact: German Chancellor Angela Merkel publicly deemed Christianity “the most persecuted religion in the world” in November. In short, as one commentator put it last week, Christians have become the new Jews.

It's pretty surprising to me, the level of non-concern in America, regarding the persecution of Christians...

Anyway, here's the article.

Many blessings!