River Otter

The other day I watched a kid’s television show.  It was all about animals.  This episode was about river otters in particular.  They are amazing creatures.  They have webbed feet to swim with.  They use their “fingers” to feel around to find food.  They use their whiskers to do the same thing as they are very sensitive.  They hunt in packs.  It is interesting to see how they work together.

The Church could take notice of this and follow their example.  They worked seamlessly together pushing fish toward one another so they could each feast.

The sad part is our enemy, the devil has it down to a science.  He runs Christians around like a bull with a ring in his nose.  The Word of God exhorts us in I Peter 5:8, “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour:”  Look out!  Here he comes.

So, how are you doing?

Been Chiselin’

There is no doubt that our nation is on a downward spiral that is out of control.  If we do not get back to the principles that America was founded upon we are going to cease to exist.  It angers me and breaks my heart to watch daily as we simply implode and it seems as if nobody really cares about it.

What can the small minority do?  We have to look to the Word of God for our answers. Look at Hosea 10:12, “Sow to yourselves in righteousness, reap in mercy; break up your fallow ground: for it is time to seek the LORD, till he come and rain righteousness upon you.”

The phrase “break up your fallow ground for it is time to seek the LORD;” caught my attention.  Fallow ground in this instance is ground that has been freshly plowed.  This makes shiny furrows in the dirt.  It also just turns the ground over.  So, you have this rich, black dirt laying there all clumped together.  This is where the principle of this verse comes in.

We are exhorted to break up this ground so that it is prepared to receive good seed as in the parable of the sower.  Our hearts need to be softened and prepared when we hear God’s Word so that we can received it and obey it.  America needs this desperately!

So, how are you doing?

Rest

The other even after being up at 4:30 am, driving home from Michigan I went out and worked in the field.  I really love being back to farming.  I love the smell of freshly worked dirt.  I love the smell of diesel fuel.  I really enjoy time in the cab listening to southern gospel music.  The best part is spending time with Jesus!  I can pray, cry and sing ’till my heart is content and nobody can hear me.

The other evening I was going from one field to another and had no choice but to go through a mud hole.  As I passed through the “Slew of Despond” I raised the chisel plow because the wheels of the tractor started to spin.  When I did I hit the gear shift, knocking the tractor into neutral.  It stopped immediately and sunk.  I put is quickly back into gear and throttled up.  The tractor slung a lot of mud and came out of the mud hole.  I breathed a sigh of relief.

I love being out in the tractor.  To me it is restful.  Too many people do not take time to rest.  They punish their bodies for years and then wonder why they are broken down and in the hospital all the time.  We need to follow the admonition of Jesus in Matthew 11:28, “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.”  Rest in Jesus today and every day.

So, how are you doing?

This is the way

Sunday evening I had the pleasure of going to Church at the First Baptist Church of Holland, Michigan.  Their pastor is a wonderful man.  Pastor Tim Murdoch and his wife have surrendered to the mission field.  They are a great couple and are looking forward to going to the mission field and sharing the gospel with people who need Jesus.

The Sunday evening service was Pastor Murdoch’s presentation of his most recent trip over there.  He and his wife will depart in February for their field.  Oh, their field is in West Africa; yes, where the ebola crisis is raging high.

I watched and listened intently as Pastor Murdoch spoke about the country and what caught me was the relationship he has with other missionaries there.  On man will fly his helicopter in a rescue effort.  As Pastor Murdoch spoke of this effort he choked up with tears as he thought about the reality of his friend not coming back.

What would cause a dear, sweet couple like Pastor and Mrs. Murdoch to leave the comforts of the First Baptist Church of Holland, Michigan?  The call of God.  Look at these words in Isaiah 30:21, “And thine ears shall hear a word behind thee, saying, This is the way, walk ye in it, when ye turn to the right hand, and when ye turn to the left.”  this dear couple have heard Jesus say to them, “This is the way, walk ye in it…”  Please pray for them and their ministry and their safety.

So, how are you doing?

 

Are You Seeking?

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The other day my family and I took a couple days off to get away.  It was much needed and a wonderful time away.  We were able to see family that we have not seen in a year and that was so good to catch up.  We were able to see sights.  We stayed in a hotel with a pool and that excited our precious son.  He and his mother made good use of the pool.

On one such trip years ago we wanted to see a particular light house.  The town natives continually directed us to the state park across the waterway from the lighthouse.  I finally stopped at yet, another gas station for directions.  I told the man behind the counter that I had been railroaded multiple times to the state park and I was tired of it and I wanted directions to the lighthouse.  We got them!

In order to get to this lighthouse you have to walk on a public sidewalk through two neighborhoods and those people do not like the visitors.  It is sad.  We walked a mile on a path marked through parking lots, across roads and finally ended at a beach.  There it stood.  My heart went pitter-patter.

It reminded me of Matthew 7:7, “Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you:”
My dear reader, what are you seeking?  Is there anything in your life that you are just longing for?  It is my desire for you to seek Jesus until you find Him.  Once you find Him all this other stuff is just that, stuff.

So, how are you doing?

Reason With Him

I have heard the sad phrase over and over in twenty plus years of ministry, “You cannot reason with him/her.”  You might speak with my wife and receive a real life lesson on this subject.

There have been many times in my life that I have been less than reasonable, and I know it.  There is nothing I can do about it now apart from making apologies and doing the best I can with God helping me to make it right and not repeat it.

This hardness of head is caused my various things.  Maybe, it is due to one party being hard of hearing.  You cannot reason with someone who will not hear you.  There is a difference between listening and hearing.  We can listen and get the gist of what we think the other person is saying.  It is kind of like the person watching the television and the other person trying to talk to them at the same time.  If you do not have their undivided attention then they are more than likely just listening and barely at that.

Now, to hear someone we must make eye contact.  Remember, I am talking about hearing to the point of understanding.  Now we are hitting pay dirt.  If I am going to hear what someone is saying to me then I must block out the outside distractions and I have to focus on what they are saying.  In the field of counseling I believe they call this “active listening”.  I call it hearing.

The Word of God has some important words on the subject of hearing, listening and reasoning.  Look at Isaiah 1:18, “Come now, and let us reason together, saith the LORD: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.”

Now, this is not bring your opinionated opinions and try to change God’s mind.  Wrong!  It is His offering to us the opportunity to come and be with Him and learn His ways.  Our world today could stand to do this in depth.  Turn off the comfort of noise and listen to Him and let Him convince you of the truth.

So, how are you doing?

What if?

I heard someone the other day ask another man a question.  He asked, “If you do anything you want without failure what would it be?”  That is a good question.  As I pondered the man’s question my mind went in a few different directions.  Then came the penetrating Holy Spirit speaking to my heart.  Ouch!

I believe that almost all of us fear failure.  We have such a fear of failure that we don’t attempt anything.  It is easier to just sit, soak and sour.  Where are the men like Hudson Taylor?  D. L. Moody?  Spurgeon?

We have come to a place where Christians are so afraid of offending someone, anyone that we are now just trying to safely tip-toe through the tulips to the end of our life.  I want to slide in to Heaven with my earthly body dirty and tattered saying, “What a ride!”

Peter took are real ride once.  Look at Matthew 14:29-30, “And he said, Come. And when Peter was come down out of the ship, he walked on the water, to go to Jesus.  But when he saw the wind boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink, he cried, saying, Lord, save me.”  Peter at least got out of the boat.  None of the others spoke to the LORD as the Scripture records this event.  Only Peter spoke to Him and asked Him to bid him come to Him.

What are you asking God for?  Remember we serve a big God and He is able.  Ask Him for the big things, the enormous dreams.  He can handle it.

If you are going to walk on water, get out of the boat.

So, how are you doing?

Friendship

A couple days ago I was looking through things on social media and I ran across a video that is heartwarming and deeply touching.  It is a video about a 3 year old little boy and a 98 year old man.  They live next door to one another.  You can watch the video here.  Get some facial tissues ready.  I promise you will need them.

The reason this struck me is the unlikely friendship that was created.  Even the parents speak about how priceless the bond between their young son and the elderly man next door.  This man next door is a WWII veteran.  He seems like a man I would love to know.

They are shown playing in the yard together.  My favorite part is where they “race” their John Deere’s against one another.

I think the Word of God says it all in Proverbs 18:24, “A man that hath friends must shew himself friendly: and there is a friend that sticketh closer than a brother.”

Take an inventory today.  Do you have many friends?  I hope you are blessed with many friends.  If you find yourself without friends the place to start is to look within yourself and see if you are worth having as a friend.  This is a sobering thought to me, I know.

So, how are you doing?

Sorry, Wrong Number…

Joel Hemphill shares a story on one of the Gaither Homecoming DVD’s that caught my attention.  He said that he received a message on their answering machine from a lady that was upset because some organization that had left a box of food for she and her family was stolen by someone else.

He tells that the lady only left her address on the message and no telephone number and he had no way of getting in contact with the organization.  He tells how he decided to do something about this.  He told of getting a ham and a large box of food together.  He tells of walking through the projects of Nashville, TN as he looked for the address.  He tells how much the family appreciated the gift and how they responded to he and the gift.  He said, “I just remember walking away from that apartment thinking, God don’t ever let my number be a wrong number.”

I am sure that there have been times in my life that people have metaphorically dialed my number and received the message that it was a wrong number.  This really breaks my heart as I sit here thinking about that.  There have been many times in my life that I was not able to help someone.  Yet, was it a faith failure that kept me from helping them?  All this time later I could not tell you.  This one thing I know, if God will give me the faith then I promise to help whoever He directs me to help.

All too many times I have been on the needing end and I know what it is like to be turned away by even family because their resources are gone too.  If you have not made Jesus Christ the object of your faith then life will seem impossible.  Have you put your faith and trust in Jesus Christ for eternal salvation?  If not I beg you to do that today.

So, how are you doing?

He Likes To Look Out The Windows

I took the following from the social media page of Reinhard Bonnke:

“Years ago my music-minister (Adam Mtsweni) and I were shopping for a new keyboard. It was at noon that we entered a big music-shop in Johannesburg/South Africa. There was a salesman, but he took no notice of us and Adam and I tried out all the keyboards. Suddenly the salesman appeared. He seemed to be in a different mood, something like in a state of shock and said to me “Sir, I can see Jesus in your eyes!” What? The Holy Spirit had entered that shop. We forgot all about the keyboard and had a revival instead. But when I was walking back to my car I kept saying “Lord, I will never understand it. How can a total stranger walk up to me and say ‘Sir, I can see Jesus in your eyes’?”. Suddenly the Holy Spirit spoke to me and said “No problem! Jesus lives in your heart and sometimes HE LIKES TO LOOK OUT OF THE WINDOWS.” I laughed and cried. What glorious truth. I got the point! Years later I met the wife of the salesman who told me, that her husband had followed Jesus for the rest of his life – and went to be with the Lord. I trust that this little testimony blesses you. REINHARD BONNKE.”

What do people see when they look at you and I?  I want them to see Jesus Christ and no other.  There is no room in this world for me.  None what so ever!  As we are living in the last days it is high time for people to see Jesus Christ in everyone of His children.  If they are not seeing you then we are derelict in duty.

Father, please let a lost and dying world see you in me.  Colossians 1:27, “To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory:”  If a lost and dying world are going to come to put their faith and trust in Jesus Christ then you and I are going to have to straighten up and live before them an example of Jesus Christ that is believable.

So, how are you doing?