Monday, December 31, 2018

On the Cusp of Something Big

You are one decision away from a changed life. Consider this, with God’s help, you actually can change everything! And it only starts with one decision, a lot of prayer and dependence on God and some serious follow through.



Lose weight                                                     Sign up for classes

Recommit to your marriage                             Reconnect with a loved one

Get some counseling                                        Get back in church

Read your Bible                                               Get help

Curb your spending                                         Quit Porn

Get off drugs                                                   Go sober

Dedicate your life to Christ                              Abandon gossip

Get active again                                               Turn off the TV

Put down your phone                                      Start “Amening!” the messages

Look for a soul to win                                     Get discipled in the Word

Bathe decisions with prayer                             Redouble your efforts at work

(Also: Read, walk, give thanks, look up, write, exercise,

love, get filled with the Spirit, pray, meditate, invite, etc.)


Pick some of these and go for it. Aim for something big, because he who aims at nothing usually hits it.


Here’s how to change your life with one decision: C-U-S-P

Call your problem what it is - - - SIN

Unleash the power of prayer - - - apart from Him, you can do nothing.

Spend a moment each day planning, prepping & performing this life change

Praise God for the victories He gives


Phil 4:13 I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.

Accompanying quotes:
You’ll never change your life until you change something you do daily. The secret of your success is found in your daily routine.

The best time for new beginnings is now.

Write it on your heart that every day is the best day in the year. ~ Emmerson

365 new days, 365 new chances.

Gary Fuller

Friday, December 28, 2018

Want a Good and Productive 2019?

Put God first in your life – Mt 6:33
Attend every church service possible – Heb 10:25
Recommit to your family – Gen 18:19
Get more physically active and eat better – Judges 3:17
Treat people with love and respect – Romans 13:9
Eliminate negative influences that are keeping you from God’s best – I Cor 15:33
Be more giving and less taking – Luke 6:38

Wednesday, December 19, 2018

Choose Wisely

Pro 22:1 A good name is rather to be chosen than great riches, and loving favour rather than silver and gold.

Set before us today is an important choice. In fact, throughout one's life, this choice confronts a soul several times. The choice? Character or cash, one who can be counted on or one who counts their money. If you can't have it both ways, which one would you choose?

The overwhelmingly popular choice is to take the money and run. If it means creature comfort, cash on hand, and not a care in the world, most are going to forget family, faith and friends in deference to the almighty dollar.

But when we take the long look... 5 years down the road, 15 years, 25 years, 150 years, choices take on an ominous fate.

Regret is a mean thing. Once the money has run out of the bag with holes in the bottom, what is a person left with? The wish that he would have went with the good name and loving favor.

It's like the Prodigal Son whose newfound feigned friends disappeared when his cash ran out. All he had left was a ton of terrain separating himself from the really important people he had left behind with his near-sighted choice of denari over dear ones.

Many is the saint who left church family for the gold fields of the far country. If they ever return, it is with tail tucked, shoulders hunched and head bowed, sorrow and regret nipping at their heels because they chose the temporal over the eternal.

When the choice arises, count the cost, not in dollars, but in sense. Choose a good name, choose loving favor. You will never be sorry.

Friday, December 7, 2018

Ten Rules of the Migrant Caravan

1. Move when the Lord says move, stay when He says stay.
2. Be organized! All tents are to be set up in a regimented fashion in relation to the central tent, organized by families.
3. Representatives will be appointed from each family. They will be responsible and accountable for their charges.
4. Strict dietary and sanitary regulations shall be followed to a tee. Cover your cr*p!
5. There will be no hanky-panky within the ranks. a strict moral code will be followed to maintain the integrity of the group. This code is set in stone.
6. There is one unquestioned leader. What he says is ex-cathreda, that is, from the very mouth of God.
7. Everyone will participate in the overall welfare of the group. At times, special collections will be taken, everyone is expected to give charitably according to their ability.
8. Above all, God is to be honored in all things. There are sets of proscribed liturgical practices that will be followed exactly. No WHINING!
9. Upon arrival to the "Promised Land" expect that the caravan will not be readily welcomed. Well fortified walls will stand as a testament against your illegal, unwelcome invasion.
10. The land is yours by birthright. Claim it and make it a place of Godliness and blessings. Mess up, and you will be messed up!

Num 10:11  And it came to pass on the twentieth day of the second month, in the second year, that the cloud was taken up from off the tabernacle of the testimony. 12  And the children of Israel took their journeys out of the wilderness of Sinai; and the cloud rested in the wilderness of Paran. 13  And they first took their journey according to the commandment of the LORD by the hand of Moses. 

Wednesday, December 5, 2018

Trust and Acknowledge.

Proverbs 3

I Love This Chapter! I believe it was the first passage I was ever required to remember (Christian school). That was 42 years ago. Precious memories flooded my soul with each verse that I reread.

When it comes to "life verses," the wonderful words of 5 and 6 are probably the most popular among all believers:

"Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths."

Trust and Acknowledge. Some may think it to be oversimplification, but there is no better way to approach a complicated life than with this simple motto.

Do we believe that God orders and orchestrates the events of our lives? For me, it is obvious. Retrospection has always revealed to me the wisdom of God in plan and direction and implementation of God's will for me in my moments, days and seasons of life. I only wish I had been more cooperative with His plan. It would be best if my clay were more malleable in the capable hands of the Potter.

My goal today is to trust my Maker wholeheartedly, acknowledging Him in every decision so that my paths will be God directed, each one leading me a step closer to home.

Thursday, November 29, 2018

10 Discouraging D's of Ministry

Death of long time, faithful members
Divorce among those who know better
Disinterest in the things of the Lord
Declining attendance
Distant gazes during the sermon
Destructive lifestyles of carnal Christians
Demoralized ministry team
Detachment from the church body
Disgusting practices of believers
Demands that are unrealistic

Galatians 6:8-10

8  For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he
that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting. 9  And let us
not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.
10  As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men,
especially unto them who are of the household of faith. 

Monday, November 26, 2018

Tis the Season!

Here we are once again on the threshold of the Christmas season. As joyful this season can be, it often brings stress and sometimes, even sadness. Following are some tips that may help you through the season without losing your joy and patience:

*Keep Christ first.  Thou shalt have no other Gods before me. If it’s all about Him, don’t get lost in the peripherals.

*The Tree and the trappings are merely decorations, worship God, not gifts. Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image.

*Shop online and avoid the frustration of jostling down the jingle bell aisle at Wally-World. Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain.

*Come and adore Him often. Remember the Sabbath to keep it holy.

*Don’t spend yourself into poverty. Give, but give wisely. Meanwhile, don’t ask for, or expect, the moon. Thou shalt not covet.

Tuesday, November 20, 2018

A Place in this World

Ps 105:16-21
He sent a man before them, even Joseph, who was sold for a servant...

The ancient bard said that all the world is a stage, and we, merely actors.

I fully subscribe to this sentiment. There is a place for each one of us trying to navigate our way through life. The intricacies of the grand design of God demand that each of us play his/her part well.

Joseph was the man whom God had sent to Egypt to save the world. A strange way to do so, for sure, but there is no doubting his role. He went from being hated of his brethren to slavery in Egypt to imprisonment due to libel to interpreter of dreams to viceroy of Egypt to savior of the planet.

Had it not been for God's anointed man, in the right place, in the right time, in the right circumstances, who knows what would have become of mankind?

Friend, did you know that you are also God's anointed child brought to your present station as a set up? Yes, you have been cast to a significant role on the world's stage. Perhaps not to save the world, but possibly to save one soul, which is more valuable than the entire planet. It could be your own children, your neighbor, a loved one. Possibly your part is to plant a very important seed in a very needy heart.

Whatever role God has planned for you in this great drama of life, play your part well. Obey the Director's cues. Eternity will reveal the final act.

Monday, November 5, 2018

A Bunch of Bull or a Lot of Blessing

Exodus 31:18  And he gave unto Moses, when he had made an end of communing with him upon mount Sinai, two tables of testimony, tables of stone, written with the finger of God.

Exodus 32:1  And when the people saw that Moses delayed to come down out of the mount, the people gathered themselves together unto Aaron, and said unto him, Up, make us gods, which shall go before us; for as for this Moses, the man that brought us up out of the land of Egypt, we wot not what is become of him. 2  And Aaron said unto them, Break off the golden earrings, which are in the ears of your wives, of your sons, and of your daughters, and bring them unto me.

Here, we go from the possibilities of Bezaleel’s mastery to Aaron’s misery.

There surely cannot be a juxtaposition of more contrast than these two back-to-back events in the Bible, or could there be? Israel's wilderness experience provides us with several of these head-scratchers which beg the question, “What’s wrong with these people? On one page, victory, on the next, disaster!”

One moment they are singing and dancing in victorious celebration after their Red Sea victory, the next they are griping about their living conditions. It's embarrassing to repeatedly read these huge read these mood swings. 

One moment they are chowing down on roast quail, the next they are choking on the bones. 

But this one! Moses is communing with God about a glorious tabernacle replete with lavish furnishings, to be fashioned by the master craftsman Bezaleel, and less than one rotation of the planet later, Aaron (yes, that Aaron, the supposed high priest of God) is succumbing to the murmurings of these ingrates and is somewhat less than masterfully engraving a bull calf to be venerated by the multitude. 

"Up, make us gods" they demanded, while Moses was up, recording the demands God. 

They hadn't seen Moses for forty days since he’d hiked up into the God cloud, so hey, “Outta sight, outta mind, right? Let's do a drastic culture change, make a cow, call it god, get naked and boogie down!"

Aaron, the second in command, supposed to be a man of God, allows his brains to leak out of the hole in his head and says, "Uh, yeah, bring me the jewelry of Jewry and lemme see what I can come up with."

Later, when he's trying to justify the unjustifiable, he says to Moses, "I threw the gold into the fire and, boom! out comes this calf!" 

I said all that to say this, as I shake my head at the mercurial nature of these wilderness wanderers, I think of all the grand victories granted me by the Almighty, and then find myself the very next day worshiping at the altar of worthless idols. 

The difference between the children of Israel in the Sinai and me is that I'm not in the Sinai. They were in dire straits. They literally didn't know where the next meal was coming from, where they'd get a drink, where they were to pillow their heads or what they were going to wear. I've got all those boxes checked. They lived from hand to mouth, God's hand to their mouth. I live from God's hand to my bank account, to Walmart and the grocery to my mouth. They lived with a question mark over their heads, I live with an exclamation point over mine. 

I am saying, it should be much easier for me to stay true to God than it was for them, and yet my story parallels theirs in disturbing ways. Aaron's silly explanation that didn't hold water, "Boom, there came out this calf!" really isn't as far-fetched as some of the measly excuses I offer when convicted of my idolatry. 

It goes back to Adam and the sinful nature we inherited from him.
"Adam, where are you?"
"Over here, we are hiding because we are naked and afraid, like those people on A&E."
"Adam, what did you do?"
"It's the woman you gave me, she shoved that pomegranate at me and forced me to eat it, so it's really her fault." 
(Pardon the paraphrase)

Well, as the problem repeats itself and infinite number of times, the answer remains the same. We are guilty of doing stupid stuff, even though God is so good to us. He reproves and corrects us, forgives us, and restores us in His love and compassion. 

But do we learn our lessons and grow or we ignorantly (or willfully) re-offend and relapse?

It's part of these wilderness wanderings on the way to the Promised Land. Today, I vote for the tabernacle with the mercy seat over a bunch of bull. God, grant that my resolve and your grace allow it to be so tomorrow also.

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

A Little Leaven

Jos 23:11 Take good heed therefore unto yourselves, that ye love the LORD your God. 12 Else if ye do in any wise go back, and cleave unto the remnant of these nations, even these that remain among you, and shall make marriages with them, and go in unto them, and they to you: 13 Know for a certainty that the LORD your God will no more drive out any of these nations from before you; but they shall be snares and traps unto you, and scourges in your sides, and thorns in your eyes, until ye perish from off this good land which the LORD your God hath given you.

God's warning applies to us still today. We must be wholeheartedly with Him. We must withhold nothing from Him.

As Ananias and Sapphira kept back part of the price of the land to their peril, so will we greatly suffer if we cling to unsurrendered areas of our life.

Israel of old greatly erred by intermingling with the locals. It brought the leaven among them and proved to be their undoing on many occasions.

Are we totally surrendered to the One who gave His all for us? Do we cling to the old rugged cross with one arm while embracing elements of this old ragged world with the other? It is best to let go of that which will always let us fall and cling to that which is unfailing.

Don't allow the leaven of this world's system keep you from total victory.

Tuesday, October 16, 2018



Rev 8:3  And another angel came and stood at the altar, having a golden censer; and there was given unto him much incense, that he should offer it with the prayers of all saints upon the golden altar which was before the throne. 4  And the smoke of the incense, which came with the prayers of the saints, ascended up before God out of the angel's hand. 5  And the angel took the censer, and filled it with fire of the altar, and cast it into the earth: and there were voices, and thunderings, and lightnings, and an earthquake.

Measly and pusillanimous, that is how I generally regard my prayer efforts. I don't pray enough, there is not enough passion in my prayers. Sometimes they don’t seem to resonate. They proceed more as cacophony than symphony. They are not thorough enough. So much to pray for, so few prayers offered up.

Encouraging though, what prayers I do pray, as a child of the Most High, are regarded by heaven as a sweet-smelling savor which engulf the throne.

With all that God has to do, the Almighty desires communication with me, one of His kids. Imagine that, I get to incense heaven with my petitions, praise and intercessions!

Thank you, dear Lord, for hearing and answering my prayers. Forgive my lack of communication with you. May the words of my lips and the meditations of my heart be acceptable unto you. All-knowing God, know that I love you supremely. I offer you my service today. Empower it with your Holy Spirit. Amen!

Tuesday, October 9, 2018

What's in a name?

Psa 68:4 Sing unto God, sing praises to his name: extol him that rideth upon the heavens by his name JAH, and rejoice before him.

"...his name JAH"

"Name" here speaks of God's individuality, authority, character. His very name tells of His renown.

Then we come to this curious demarcation of the Lord. We are used to the familiar usage of Lord, God and sometimes, occasionally, Jehovah. but here is a once and only usage of "JAH" as it stands alone. It is actually a contraction of Jehovah, but is used commonly as a suffix in many of the Bible names with which we are familiar. For examples; Eli(jah), "God of Jehovah"; Isa(iah), "JAH has saved"; Jerem(iah), "JAH will rise", etc.

The common usage of this suffix to Hebrew names indicates the centrality of God (JAH) in the lives of His people. He is integral to anything and everything.

In our culture, it seems as if God is an add-on. The phrase "God willing" is sometimes an afterthought rather than an all-important thought.

Our society hears the name of God used in blasphemy more than in praise and reverence.

What a crying shame that God's holy name is so misunderstood and misused. Would to JAH that we would pause, as the ancient scribes did, at the majesty of His name as it is presented, and make spiritual preparation before even invoking His holy and majestic name.

Let us consider that glorious name in whatever form we hear, say, read or otherwise engage it today. Names convey meaning, but true meaning is found only by the power of His name, JAH.

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

A Place in this World

Ps 105:16-21
He sent a man before them, even Joseph, who was sold for a servant...

The ancient bard said that all the world is a stage, and we, merely actors.

I fully subscribe to this sentiment. There is a place for each one of us trying to navigate our way through life. The intricacies of the grand design of God demand that each of us play his/her part well.

Joseph was the man whom God had sent to Egypt to save the world. A strange way to do so, for sure, but there is no doubting his role. He went from being hated of his brethren to slavery in Egypt to imprisonment due to libel to interpreter of dreams to viceroy of Egypt to savior of the planet.

Had it not been for God's anointed man, in the right place, in the right time, in the right circumstances, who knows what would have become of mankind.

Friend, did you know that you are also God's anointed child brought to your present station as a set up? Perhaps not to save the world, but possibly to save one soul, which is more valuable than the entire planet. It could be your own children, your neighbor, a loved one. Possibly your part is to plant a very important seed in a very needy heart.

Whatever role God has planned for you in this great drama of life, play your part well. Obey the Director's cues. Eternity will reveal the final act.

Tuesday, September 4, 2018

God's Peace in a Changing Season

As summer breathes its diminishing gasps, the first leaves of a not yet existent autumn have begun to drop. A mixture of summer's fading heat and fall's palette of glory meet to present the world with its most beautiful gift, autumnal equinox.

God evidences Himself in scenes like this to ease the furrowed brow worried by nagging and unknown cares. His pervading Spirit anoints His children with the power of His Word and the subtle changes of creation.

Coffee meets study meets nature resulting in a reminder that, in His presence is the fullness of joy and at His right hand there are pleasures forevermore.

Surely, the cares of this day will rush in like a swarm, but this moment, this frame of time offers a peace that the world cannot give and a joy it can't take away.

Monday, August 20, 2018

Stupid things Atheists say:

1. "Your God is dead." Wait, I thought you didn't believe in God?
2. "You people worship the dead man on a stick."
And yet, He still loves you and one drop of the blood He shed while on that stick will cleanse you of a billion sins.
3. "My god is my intellect " poor unbeliever, you got cheated big time. 
4. "I don't believe in the sky fairy."
Yeah, well, God doesn't believe in atheists either.
5. "While you are praying and dreaming of heaven, I am busy making this world a better place." Yeah, I noticed that as I drove by St. Cynics Hospital, St. Reason Orphanage, St. Agnostic Thrift Shoppe. Thanks for your contributions.
6. "If there really is a Good, let Him prove Himself and strike me down where I stand right now."
And, if there really is a God, wouldn't He be kind and patient enough to give you time to rethink that challenge? It's called Mercy and grace. Take advantage of it while it's available.

Philippians 3:18-19
18 (For many walk, of whom I have told you often, and now tell you even weeping, that they are the enemies of the cross of Christ: 19 Whose end is destruction, whose God is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame, who mind earthly things.)

Friday, August 17, 2018

The Can’t Wall

Are you ever overcome by feelings of utter inadequacy? It is as if everything in life builds up against your schedule, abilities, emotions and your resources. It gets to the point where you want to crawl into a hole and hope some abuser of your existence will finally, mercifully plug the opening.  

I know, I’ve been there. I have stood at the foundation of the “Can’t Wall,” beholding its bulk and realizing the thorough frustration that there is no climbing over, tunneling under or hiking around this gargantuan obstacle.

Is one person supposed to have this many responsibilities heaped on their shoulders? Is a gal really expected to carry herself along with the weight of so many others from day to day? Is some dude really meant to be the “go to” guy day in, day out without reinforcements, without rest, without relief?

Are you that person who has gone the extra mile so many times that a marathon would feel like child’s play?

Have you hit the Can’t Wall? The Apostle Paul did when he enumerated his troubles and concluded, “And then, there is the daily care of the churches on my shoulders.”
Let’s reinforce that wall for a bit.

You have your job and all that it entails. Then there is the care of the family, the spouse, the children and the pets. Add to that the home, laundry, kitchen, bathrooms, yard and all you have to do to keep your place from looking like a meth house. Plus, you have your vehicles to keep serviced, running, cleaned, gassed, insured, licensed. Have we mentioned the bills? Oh, add to that the pressures of life while your health is breaking down, your bathroom scales are screaming for relief, your love life is tanked and people on social media have climbed your frame because of your politics and faith.
Consider also the unwritten letters, birthday cards, graduation announcements, wedding preparation and the funeral on Wednesday. Perhaps the government is on your back about taxes, registrations, fees, license, regulations, rules and a speeding ticket because you were in a rush to get all this done.

Cold and flu season is just around the corner because it’s back-to-school time. Yeah, there’s that! Kids need backpacks, books, clothes (with the proper holes and tears), computers repaired, cell phones upgraded, where are those immunization papers? Band, choir and sports equipment need to be bought, sheaves of permissions, registration and liability sign-offs need to be read and returned.

“We have got to go to the grocery store, the cupboards are bare!” “What are you going to buy them with, your good looks?”

The toilet isn’t working, neither is your son. Your daughter’s heart is broken, your curling iron is too.

I can’t, I just can’t! It’s all too much, the wall that I have hit has knocked me down for the count!!!

Now, imagine attempting all this without the One Who enables and empowers us to do the things we cannot do. That’s where your neighbor lives! But you have something, some One they don’t, You have the Lord.

Friend, I will admit to you right now, the Can’t Wall has me somewhat overwhelmed. I’ve hit it hard and it hasn’t budged.

Then I recall something that has the potential to blast that wall to smithereens. Here it is: I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me. Philippians 4:13 

*I - Weak, unable, inefficient, insufficient, depleted, frustrated, anxious, fearful.
*Can do all things – The other side of the wall.
*Through Christ – The all sufficient Savior - all knowing, all powerful, all
everything, my all-in-all.
*Which strengthens me – I can tap into the infinite energy and resources of the God Who hung planets, flung stars, carved landscapes, grew trees, fashioned life, bought salvation and sustains it all.

The Can’t Wall looms ahead of me this day. There are agendas to meet, plans to make, appointments to keep, people to help, things to do, bills to pay, burdens to bear, pain to endure, souls to save, articles to read, messages to prepare, life to live…and the lawn needs mowed!

I can’t get over, under or around the Can’t Wall. So, I’ll depend on my Lord to change my direction, show me a door I hadn’t seen before, or let it crumble before my shouts of praise like Jericho’s wall. And while depending on Him, I need to take those first steps toward the wall. 

Tuesday, August 7, 2018

Casting it all in

Luke 21:1 And he looked up, and saw the rich men casting their gifts into the treasury. 2 And he saw also a certain poor widow casting in thither two mites. 3 And he said, Of a truth I say unto you, that this poor widow hath cast in more than they all: 4 For all these have of their abundance cast in unto the offerings of God: but she of her penury hath cast in all the living that she had.

The words used 4 times here are kind of interesting. The words "cast" and "casting" literally mean to throw, by more or less violent action. Nobody really can tell us what the set up for giving was. We are used to ushers passing offering baskets down the rows of parishioners at offering time. Others have the practice of having a locked box in which congregants pass by, dropping their money in the slot in top of the box. Still others place offering plates on the altar and the congregation files by placing their offerings in the plate in front of the pastor's gaze. That's an interesting practice which seems biblical.

But here we have these rich men and a poor woman throwing their money into the collection for the treasury, used to assist the poor. And it was no private affair. It was an opportunity for the rich men to show off their generosity. Note that Jesus looked up to see this giving. Now, we understand that He is looking down, still interested in how generous people are.

The mite was the very smallest coin in that currency. It meant little to the overall need, yet it meant much to the Savior. The rich of this occasion gave a relatively small percentage while the poor widow threw in 100%. When rewards are given at the judgment seat, as all believers will surely witness her return with interest, she will, no doubt, be greatly rewarded above all earthly wealth combined. Think of it, a couple of pennies invested into the work of God, collecting heavenly interest at, say 5% per anum, over a couple of thousand years. Well, let's just say, her days of penury will be long forgotten. Though she warranted the attention of only Jesus and the disciples that day, all of heaven will applaud her sacrifice at the Bema on that great occasion.

I can’t wait until next Sunday’s offering!

So don't be afraid to cast it all into God's work if you are so inclined, Jesus is still paying attention to what's going into the plate.

Saturday, July 21, 2018

What is Faith and What does it Accomplish?

Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.
Hebrews 11:1 *Faith makes the abstract concrete. *Faith turns the cloudy into measurable precipitation. *Faith brings tomorrow's hope into today's reality. *Faith fashions the ethereal idea into an empirical item.

Wednesday, July 4, 2018

Praise is comely for the upright.

Psa 33:1 Rejoice in the LORD, O ye righteous: for praise is comely for the upright.
(The word comely means beautiful, attractive.)

A good look for the Christian is a glad heart which continuously rejoices in the Lord, and praiseful lips which extol the Lord.

Too many Christians are far too glum. They pour forth the faith from dour vessels. Unsmiling expressions do not adorn the gospel of God, but disgrace the faith.
As ornaments on a holiday tree, so does a positive, praiseful believer make for an attractive religion.

We ought to ask today, are we the honey that attracts or the vinegar that repels? The faith is best showcased by the beautiful believers whose faith gives them joy rather than those whose religion seems to have given them indigestion.

Monday, July 2, 2018

For Those that are Blue

Feeling lonely, used, unappreciated, despondent, abandoned, fearful, insignificant, in decline, depressed?

1. Surround yourself with positive people as much as possible. Have positive, godly friends with whom you can share your difficulties. Don't neglect church, that's the community God has given you as a great resource of encouragement.

2. Don't exaggerate your problems. Pity parties tend to lead us to see the worst scenarios. Instead, count your blessings. Perspective is key. Compared to 90% of the world, you are very well-to-do and blessed beyond measure. The crippled would love to have your mobility, the blind, your vision, the deaf, your hearing and the diseased, your health, the destitute, your resources.

3. Busy yourself with fulfilling ministry. (Quit brooding about self). Win souls, visit afflicted, pray for others. Volunteer at the homeless shelter or one of dozens of other places where you will help people much worse off than you.

4. Is there some sin, some guilt, some habit that is keeping you down? Is there some harmful default that you resort to that always makes things  worse?  Find victory in Christ and leave it under the blood.

5. Realize your position in Christ. See life from God's perspective. As well, see life from eternity's perspective. (Your line of sight is obscured and skewed)

6. Read uplifting, inspiring materials, listen to some good, gospel music.

7. Exercise, sleep right, get going, rather than sinking into self-destructive habits: over-eating, alcohol, too much screen time.

8. Leave the past in the past. You failed? You were abused? God means to use your pain to strengthen you and bless others. It won't happen as long as you dwell in times past. What good is rehashing the past doing you? NONE!

9. Most of all, foster your relationship with God. Immerse yourself in the Word, pray with passion, ask God to fill you with His Spirit, put on the whole armor of God.

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

The Cowardice of Dissembling (Dissimulation)

Galatians 2:1  Then fourteen years after I went up again to Jerusalem with Barnabas, and took Titus with me also. 2  And I went up by revelation, and communicated unto them that gospel which I preach among the Gentiles, but privately to them which were of reputation, lest by any means I should run, or had run, in vain. 3  But neither Titus, who was with me, being a Greek, was compelled to be circumcised: 4  And that because of false brethren unawares brought in, who came in privily to spy out our liberty which we have in Christ Jesus, that they might bring us into bondage: 5  To whom we gave place by subjection, no, not for an hour; that the truth of the gospel might continue with you. 6  But of these who seemed to be somewhat, (whatsoever they were, it maketh no matter to me: God accepteth no man's person:) for they who seemed to be somewhat in conference added nothing to me: 7  But contrariwise, when they saw that the gospel of the uncircumcision was committed unto me, as the gospel of the circumcision was unto Peter; 8  (For he that wrought effectually in Peter to the apostleship of the circumcision, the same was mighty in me toward the Gentiles:) 9  And when James, Cephas, and John, who seemed to be pillars, perceived the grace that was given unto me, they gave to me and Barnabas the right hands of fellowship; that we should go unto the heathen, and they unto the circumcision. 10  Only they would that we should remember the poor; the same which I also was forward to do. 11  But when Peter was come to Antioch, I withstood him to the face, because he was to be blamed. 12  For before that certain came from James, he did eat with the Gentiles: but when they were come, he withdrew and separated himself, fearing them which were of the circumcision. 13  And the other Jews dissembled likewise with him; insomuch that Barnabas also was carried away with their dissimulation.

Paul suffered much from the legalists. He defended the true gospel of grace against the Judaizers
who promoted strict adherence to the works of the law to attain or ensure salvation.

When he returned to Jerusalem for a conference with the Apostles, they at first acted as if they were in complete agreement with his ministry, rejoicing with him that Gentiles were being saved. But when the legalists came around demanding that gentile believers jump through Jewish hoops, the pillars of the faith suddenly switched their tune to appease these legalists. Rather than standing with Paul in defense of the gospel of grace, they remained neutral and didn't have Paul's back in the debate regarding grace vs works.

This infuriated Paul and he had it out face to face with Peter for his wishy-washy fence straddling in order to appease men.

It got so bad that the cat-got-your-tongue disciples caused even Barnabas, a true grace guy, to be persuaded toward legalism.

To dissemble is what happens when a person bites their tongue when they are compelled speak up. It causes them to act as if they are in league with the enemy to keep the peace.

Obviously, there is a time to speak and a time to shut up. But when the gullible are in the balance, the truth must be voiced with conviction, lest the weak get carried away with the error.

And that brings us to you and me today, in our realm of influence. We should be vigilant and conscious of the need to boldly speak up when error is presented and others are in danger of being drawn into heresy.

As Paul indicated in Gal 1:10, His job is to persuade men and please God, not the other way around.

I see it played out on social media. When a person posts some innocuous picture of a birthday party or anniversary, the "likes" pop up like prairie dogs in the summer sun. However, post a gospel friendly meme and the prairie dogs give way to crickets.

What to do? Dissemble and hide who and what you are and what you stand for to placate your FB acquaintances? Or do you continue to be a witness, attempting to persuade others to come to faith in Christ?

At work, at the break table, when the filth starts flying, do you speak up for decency or do you meld into the furniture like a chameleon into the foliage? To become invisible when you ought to show your colors is cowardice. When a matter arises and your convictions are challenged, do you capitulate or do you express what you know is the truth?

I am certainly not suggesting a believer act like a jerk, I am saying we must speak the truth in love when it is called for.

Ecc 3:1,7  To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven: …a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;