A Friend

The other day I was talking to one of my dearest friends on the phone.  I was calling him to update him on how the process was moving at the Church I am currently preaching at.  They are looking for a Pastor and I hope that I am the man God has for them.

As I told him how encouraged I was he made a statement in jest that stuck in my mind for the next day or more.  He said, “I will finally have a friend in the valley.”  The valley he refers to is a literal valley in the landscape.  This kept repeating over and over in my mind.  I thought to myself, “He knows he has a Friend of friends in Jesus.  He is kidding me.”  Yes, I know he was kidding; but, truthfully there are multitudes of other people who have no friend in the valley.  This valley is the valley we call life.

The thing is as we go through life we need friends, desperately.  Now, I mean good friends that will walk with us, cry with us and even share ice cream with us (their treat or ours).  Good, solid friends are few and far between.

Let me ask you a penetrating question.  Are you the kind of friend that walks into someone’s life when everyone else is running out?  I mean will you be tried and true no matter how bad your “friend” messes up and makes a shambles of their life (and others)?  These are questions to ponder in light of our friendships.

Jesus is the Example of a friend!  Look at Proverbs 18:24, “A man that hath friends must shew himself friendly: and there is a friend that sticketh closer than a brother.”  I do not have brothers or sisters by blood; but, I do have brothers and sisters by Christ’s blood by the bus loads.  I thank God for them.  A very few of them are God’s kind of friend and for them I shout, “Thank God!”

So, how are you doing?

Passion Week

As we are again today thinking about and reminded of that Resurrection Sunday is just a few days away my thoughts are still on the life and sufferings of Jesus.  He suffered at the hands of sinful men just like me.  They crucified Him, spit on Him, scourged Him and more.

The pain that I am thinking of today is the pain of betrayal.  We all know that Judas betrayed the LORD for thirty pieces of silver.  He sold the Sinless Son of God so cheaply.  Yet, as I think about this I think about my own life.  How many times have I sold my Saviour cheeply?  How many times have I sold Him for thirty pieces of silver, or less.

As my thoughts are still on the men in Gethsemane.  They sold their LORD for sleep.  Ouch!  How many times have I sold Him for sleep?  God forgive me!  Look with me at Matthew 26:41, “Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation: the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.”  The word here is the same word we looked at yesterday.  It means to stay awake.  We must stay vigilant in prayer and we must stay awake.  The word “pray” means to make supplication for someone.  Jesus had asked His closest men to go to the garden with Him in His darkest hour.  He asked them (commanded them) to watch and pray: but, they fell asleep.  They did this not once; but, three times only to be awakened by the soldiers coming to take Jesus away.  How they let the Saviour down.  I fear that we are no different.

So, how are you doing?

Palm Sunday

As I was considering what message the LORD would have me to preach this morning I came across a series of three e-mails from my cousin Dale A. Byers.  He is a fantastic writer, Pastor and man of God.  He shared much about Gethsemane.  It was powerful reading for sure.  I began reading his text from Scripture and I got hung up on the following verse in Matthew 26:28, “Then saith he unto them, My soul is exceeding sorrowful, even unto death: tarry ye here, and watch with me.”

Jesus has led his most trusted disciples; the inner circle we sometimes call them, into the garden of Gethsemane.  Jesus shares with them that His heart is heavy.  He is looking ahead to His cross.  He tells them, “Tarry ye here, and watch with me.”  Their Master gave them two simple commands.

The first command was to “tarry”.  This means to stay (in a given place, state, relation or expectancy. Jesus knew these men inside and out.  He knew that they; like you and I, would wander.  He commanded them to tarry.  Far too many Christians get their feelings hurt and it is off and running someplace else.

He also asked them to tarry there because they were on watch with Jesus.  In His darkest hour in all of time and eternity all Jesus asked of they was to “tarry” and “watch”.  We need to be solid Christians.  We need to be stable Christians.  We need to be sold out Christians.

Then Jesus command them to “watch”.  This is a deep theological term that means to keep awake, i.e. watch (literally or figuratively).  If we are not careful we will find ourselves sleeping.  If we are not careful we can be lulled to sleep by the enemy of our soul.  He knows that we are vulnerable in that area and he will keep us running in circles so that we are exhausted so that we fall asleep easily.  Don’t be lulled to sleep by the devil.

So, how are you doing?

God’s Promises

When I was about fourteen years old my parents divorced.  This was very tragic for me as a young boy.  My life changed a lot from there on out.  I remember many times sitting and watching out the window of my room waiting for my father to come get me for his weekend visitation.  All too many times I sat there waiting and watching and finally went to bed because he did not show up.

It is so important for all who know Jesus Christ as their Saviour to be people of character.  Part of this is keeping our promises.  God keeps His promises.  His Word is full of His promises.  The Word of God has promises by the thousands.

As we look at the last verse of this chapter something caught me.  Look at Psalm 23:6, “Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the LORD for ever.”  What caught my attention is the word “shall”.  In other words, it is a done deal.  God said it and that is it.  He is the Ultimate Promise Keeper.  If He were not then how would we know that we are truly going to Heaven?  We could not know for sure.  Thank God for His promises!  We need to be standing on the promises and quit just sitting on the premises.

So, how are you doing?

God’s Promotion

I had the privilege of attending a revival meeting at another Church recently.  It was a good meeting.  I found myself sitting in the second row of chairs back from the platform.  My hearing is not what it used to be, so I try to sit closer occasionally.

It was interesting.  My cousin was leading the congregational music as it was at their home Church.  As I sat there I glanced around and noticed that I was the only one in the row of chairs.  When my cousin finished his responsibilities he took his seat next to me.  I appreciated that.

The next night I sat in the same place.  Another man; who is a dear friend, came and sat next to me.  I don’t think he just did that.  I think he on purpose sat there.  I appreciate that too.  Nobody wants to be alone, normally.

I felt important sitting there with these men making a definite effort to come sit with me.  I know that I am nobody special.  These two made me feel special by such a small act of kindness.  They made my cup run over.  Look at Psalm 23:5, “Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.”

So, how are you doing?

God’s Path

As a photographer I enjoy getting out and going to parks and all kinds of different places.  I really enjoy just driving around and looking for interesting things and places to photograph.

A couple years ago I was privileged to take a trip to the Upper Peninsula of Michigan.  During out trip we stopped at an area to take pictures.  I noticed what looked like a place that a large vehicle had gone off the road.  I was wrong.  It was a place where the moose crossed the road.  They had walked possibly side by side and crossed the road.  It looked like a four wheel drive vehicle had just driven off the side of the road.  There was a definite path left behind these moose.

God has a path for you and I to follow.  He even gives us a road map to use called the Bible.  If we will read and obey the Bible then we can walk in the paths He has for us to follow.  Look at Psalm 23:3-4, “He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.  Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.”  He will lead us in the paths of righteousness.  This would be the right path.

So, how are you doing?

God’s Peace

There are so many people that live in turmoil.  Their lives just seem to be like a boat rocking and rolling on the stormy seas.  Many people today are searching for peace.  Nations are seeking peace (or at least that is what they say).  We live in a day when peace is at a minimum.

Yet; if you know Jesus Christ as your Saviour, you can have great peace.  Remember, peace is not the absence of trouble and trials.  Peace is that calm assurance and confident trust in Jesus Christ in the midst of the troubles and trials.

One of my favorite lighthouse pictures shows a lighthouse out in the sea.  There is someone standing in the doorway as an enormous wave crashes against the back of the lighthouse and is coming around to the front.  This speaks to me of peace.  It is a picture of life.

David; the shepherd boy, wrote Psalm 23:2, “He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters.”  Even thought the grass might be too tall to see over we can have peace.  Even though the waters are troubled and no longer calm we can have great peace.  The choice is all ours to make.

So, how are you doing?

God’s Provision

I cannot tell you the number of times in my life that I have seen God provide miraculously.  The other evening a friend was helping me load some of my aunt’s things into our van so that I could take them to the mission.  He said when he left me he was going shopping for a microwave because the one that his family used had ceased to work.

I told him to hold on.  I went to the van and pulled out our microwave from the van that we were sending to the mission.  He took it home and everyone has been very happy with their new microwave.  The best part was that God allowed us to meet the need of a family that is dear to us.

It is no accident that God put on my heart to call this man.  It is no coincidence that we had traded microwaves and ours was in the van.  It did not just happen that less than two hours before this family experienced a need for a microwave.  God orchestrated all of these details and we needed to see Him working in them.  I am reminded of the words of Psalm 23:1, “The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want.”  I believe this with all of my heart.  I have seen Him provide miraculously too many times not to believe it.

So, how are you doing?

“Speak Lord, Thy Servant Heareth”

There is a southern gospel singing group Ponder, Sikes and Wright and I enjoy their music.  My favorite song of theirs is a song titled, “He Still Speaks”.  It is a powerful song for sure.  It talks about how the world laughs and mocks us when we say we have heard from God.

As I was pondering this song again I thought about a passage of Scripture.  Let’s look at     I Samuel 3:8, “And the LORD called Samuel again the third time. And he arose and went to Eli, and said, Here am I; for thou didst call me. And Eli perceived that the LORD had called the child.”

Here in verse 8 we are told that the LORD called Samuel three times.  He thought that it was Eli the priest each time.  Finally, after three times Eli has the spiritual insight to tell young Samuel how to respond when God called again.  In our day our pulpits are powerless.  Our sermons are spiritless.  This leads to immature Christians that do not know how to respond to God.

God still speaks; but, we don’t know how to respond.  Even worse we do not want to respond to God.  We are afraid that if we do we will be sent to the deepest, darkest Africa.  More than likely, not.  If we truly abandon to God it is a possibility.  The thing is that if God calls you to it then it will be an honor to go for Him.

So, how are you doing?


We all face difficulties in life.  How we respond can make all the difference in the world.  We have all heard the old adage, “Trials will make you better or bitter.”  This worn out cliche’ is true; but, worn out.

I know in my life it has been difficult to say the least, not to get bitter some times.  It accomplishes nothing to hold a grudge and be bitter.  It only hold you in bondage and makes you miserable.

Most of us want to respond like Naomi responded when she was attempting to send Ruth away.  Look at Ruth 1:20, “And she said unto them, Call me not Naomi, call me Mara: for the Almighty hath dealt very bitterly with me.”  What she was saying is call me Bitter.

This is sad.  She was focused on her situation and not on the Saviour or Messiah.  When our focus is wrong then our whole life can get out of line.  Then we find ourselves deeper in a mess than before.  Bitterness is a party that most people want to attend.

We need to look at our trials as opportunities to see God work.  We get so self focused that all we think about is me, my four and no more.  We miss seeing God work miracles.  He wants to do miracles on your behalf; but, bitterness could be holding Him back.

So, how are you doing?