Category Archives: John Grant

FEAR, FRIGHT, AND FELLOWSHIP

Week Three, 2021

We also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance, character and hope. Romans 5:3

Fear can be debilitating. It can tear us down and steal our confidence. It can bring great anxiety that has us feeling as if we are boxed in and the walls are moving closer.

Fear can cause us to freeze up, to not move or do. It can cause us to just freeze, being unable to help, unstable to think clearly. Fear can cause us to run, to flee, to take flight. Fear can cause us to fight, to become angry, to defend. Fear keeps men from rising up to greatness. Fear keeps men cowering in a boat, while the Savior beckons us to step out and walk on water, to trust and believe. Fear causes us to thrash about in the water, even after we’ve taken a few steps on that water.

Fear can also be healthy as it causes us to prepare, to strengthen, to fortify. Fear can cause us to plan and strategize. It can be the catalyst to help us think outside the box, help us become creative, help see things we may never have seen otherwise.

And then… there is the fear of the Lord. The great respect. The awe. The knowing of His great strength, His great knowledge, even His great wrath. The knowing of His history, His dependability, His promises, His character, His love. The knowing of the Greatest gift of all, His Son who He sent to live and die and live again so that we might have life.

As we face the fears of life, whether large or small or somewhere in between, let us not be afraid. For we know that He will never leave us nor forsake us. We know that we are never alone. Though I may fear… I will not be afraid, for I know from where my help comes.

We glory in our sufferings because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.

The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall, I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life of whom shall I be afraid? When evildoers assail me to eat up my flesh, my adversaries and foes, it is they who stumble and fall. Though an army encamp against me, my heart shall not fear. Though war arise against me, yet I will be confident. Psalm 27:1-3

***

SOMETIMES TRUE STORIES

Sometimes we just need a little straight talk. No fancy story. No Fluff. No paint. Just truth. And here it is:

And this is the testimony: God has given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life.” – 1 John 5:11-12 NIV

Straight up. Grace, forgiveness and eternal life can be only found one way and that’s through God’s Son, Jesus Christ. There is no other way to the Father. No other way to Heaven.

“Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” – John 14:6 NIV Marty Stubblefield

— 0 —

Crisis is a call to faith:

Max Lucado points to the time Jesus walked to the disciples on the stormy Sea of Galilee (John 6:16–20) and then quotes verse 21, “They were glad to take [Jesus] into the boat, and immediately the boat was at the land to which they were going.” Then Lucado adds: “Follow the example of the disciples. Welcome Jesus into the midst of this turbulent time. Don’t let the storm turn you inward. Let it turn you upward.”

***

QUOTES YOU CAN USE

Here’s the bad news: humans cannot change human nature. Here’s the good news: Jesus can. Jim Denison

Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man’s character, give him power. Abraham Lincoln

Don’t pull the clouds of tomorrow onto the sunshine of today. Ken Whitten

Our culture cuts the flowers off at the roots and then wonders why they die. Jim Denison

If your religion has not changed your life, then you need to change your religion. Adrian Rogers

The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched. They must be felt with the heart.” Helen Keller

You can’t say that marriage is the union between one man and one woman. Until very recently, that’s what the vast majority of Americans thought. Now it’s considered bigotry. Jim Denison

BUT THERE IS MORE

Week Two, 2021

For if, while we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life! (Romans 5:10).

He was known as “The Pitch Man,” appearing regularly on television making a “pitch” for all various kinds of products. He would describe the positive attributes of whatever kind of products he was selling, but Billy Mays always ended each infomercial stating, “But there is more”….. and then went on to describe more attributes or additional goodies that came with the product.

Paul talked about “how much more,” we gain. He said, “it was wonderful being reconciled with Jesus through his death, but there is more when we are saved through His life.”

Romans 5:10 deals with our personal relationship with God. Those who trust in Christ are reconciled to God by Jesus’ death, even though we were His enemies because of our sin. In other words, His death in our place for our sin made it possible for us to enter real and personal relationship, something not possible without Jesus.

Having laid the indestructible foundation that sinful man is irrefutably lost. At enmity with God through rebellion and sin and having proved that all humanity have fallen far short of the glorious perfection that God expects from His creation. Paul jubilantly proclaims the triumphant victory of Christ’s finished work on the cross… over Adam’s sin and our inherent sin nature.

Although sin caused us to be weak and powerless to help ourselves, we discover that Christ died on behalf of the ungodly – justifying and acquitting all who believe in Him for salvation and bringing us into a right relationship with the Father … through time into eternity.

It was Christ’s blood shed on the cross of Calvary that freed us from the indignation and wrath of God – which was poured out on Him in our stead. It was not because of our goodness that we were delivered from our just punishment for sin… for it was while we were still enemies of God and dead in our trespasses and sins… that Christ died for us.

Having been made righteous through the blood of Jesus Christ, while we were still enemies of God and wallowing in sinful rebellion… and having received the free gift of eternal life, by grace through faith in Him… how much more certain is it during this life, we shall be delivered daily through Christ’s resurrection life, from the dominion of sin in our lives.

The Christian life on this earth is a joyous one, but as you contemplate your ultimate life transition remember… there is more!

***

SOMETIMES TRUE STORIES

Cal Thomas’ new book, America’s Expiration Date, is subtitled The Fall of Empires and Superpowers . . . and the Future of the United States. Thomas builds his narrative on an argument advanced by Sir John Glubb (1897–1986), an English officer who served in the newly independent countries of Iraq and Jordan. As Thomas reports, Glubb “found patterns, or stages, in the rise and fall of great nations. He called them the age of pioneers, the age of conquests, the age of commerce, the age of affluence, the age of intellect, and finally the age of decadence.”

Thomas explains: “In general, each great nation or empire begins with some type of pioneer activity, gains territory through battle, and then settles into remarkable commercial activity, which in turn brings great wealth, and with it increased literacy and learning. All begin their final slide when a sense of shared morality and common virtue is abandoned.”

Has America’s “final slide” begun? In light of this pattern, Thomas warns: “If America doesn’t learn from history—our own and the world’s—we are likely to suffer the fate of other great nations, rotting from within before either being conquered from without by an invading army or collapsing under the weight of self-indulgence, decadence, debt, a sense of entitlement, greed, and envy.”

If we think this cannot be our future, our complacency makes it more likely.

— o —

It is estimated that as many as 250 million Christians around the world live in nations where they face severe persecution for their faith. Hundreds of Nigerian Christians have been slaughtered by militant Islamists this year. China is waging war against all faiths, including Christianity. Chinese Christians are being forced to take down pictures of Jesus and worship the communist dictator instead. Facial recognition technology is being used to monitor who attends religious services. The Chinese Communist Party is even rewriting the Bible! Gary Bauer

***

QUOTES YOU CAN USE

I no longer listen to what people say, I just watch what they do. Behavior never lies. Winston Churchill

No matter their politics, people nearly always listen to those who say what they want to hear. John M. Barry

If you and someone with whom you disagree politically are willing to discuss your disputes over a cup of coffee, you’re blessed.

Sometimes we all need to be reminded of how blessed we are. No matter what we may be going through. No matter our stage in life or economic position, we are blessed if we belong to Jesus. If we are seeking Him first in our lives then no matter what we might face or might be dealing with, we are blessed. Marty Stubblefield

Frederick Buechner describes salvation as “an experience first and a doctrine second.”

This is the way the abortion war will ultimately be won: through Jesus Christ changing hearts, one by one. No amount of political force, no government, no laws, no army of Planned Parenthood workers… can ever stop a changed life. It is the one thing… absolutely invincible. Chuck Colson

The greater our challenges, the more necessary our courage. Jim Denison

Fear faces on the giants in your life. Faith focuses on the God in your life. Ken Whitten

Leaving a Legacy

Week One, 2021

Your legacy begins in your heart, in your relationship with God.

How blessed is the man who fears the LORD, who greatly delights in His commandments. His descendants will be mighty on earth; The generation of the upright will be blessed.” Psalm 112:1-2

As an estate planning attorney, I deal with people who want to get their affairs in order and make sure that what they have goes where they want it to go. However, on average, an inheritance is gone in about five years because of careless debts and bad investment behaviors. I have seen many inheritances hurt more than help the recipients.

The real questions for Christians is not what they leave behind that can be measured in dollars, but rather what can they leave that has a more lasting effect. I was doing some ancestry research and came across Peter Grant and I found his will. He had little of this earth to leave, but he recited his belief in Jesus and bequeathed his faith to his future generations. I realized his faith he left was for me.

It made me think. What am I going to leave behind when I leave this world? I hope it will be more than tangible and monetary things and will last longer. I hope I leave behind positive influence on others. Our legacy is what we leave in others and not just in our family.

What Kind of Legacy Do You Want To Leave?

A husband and wife who walked by faith and, consequently, left a legacy far beyond anything they could have imagined, lived in the early 1700s in colonial America. Their names were Jonathan and Sarah Edwards.

Jonathan Edwards felt God’s call to become a minister. He and his young bride began a pastorate in a small congregation. During the years that followed, he wrote many sermons, prayers, and books, and was influential in beginning the Great Awakening. Together they produced eleven children who grew into adulthood. Sarah was a partner in her husband’s ministry, and he sought her advice regarding sermons and church matters. They spent time talking about these things together, and, when their children were old enough, the parents included them in the discussions.

The effects of the Edwards’s lives have been far-reaching, but the most measurable results of their faithfulness to God’s call is found through their descendants.

Researchers found 1,400 Edwards descendants.

* 100 lawyers and a dean of a law school

* 80 holders of public office

* 66 physicians and a dean of a medical school

* 65 professors of colleges and universities

* 30 judges

* 13 college presidents

* 3 mayors of large cities

* 3 governors of states

* 3 United States senators

* 1 controller of the United States Treasury

* 1 Vice President of the United States

What kind of legacy will you and your mate leave? Will it be lasting? Will it be imperishable and eternal? Or will you leave behind only tangible items—buildings, money, and/or possessions?

The apostle Paul instructed Timothy to invest his life in faithful men who would be able to pass God’s truth on to the next generation. Where does God want you and your mate to invest the time you have been given?

What kind of legacy will you leave?

***

SOMETIMES TRUE STORIES

Praying the IOU’s of Psalms: John Piper

I: Incline my heart to Your Understanding

O: Open my eyes that I may see wonderful things in Your Word

U: Unite my heart to fear You More

S: Satisfy me this morning with Your Unfailing Love

— o —

The owners of Pax & Beneficia Coffee in Irving, Texas, are concerned that in our politically divisive days, “we are quick to demonize and dehumanize the other side.” So, they have a solution: anyone who buys a cup of coffee with someone of an opposing view will get a free cup.

One of the owner’s notes, “Regardless of the outcome of the election and which side of the aisle you’re on, the nation still needs to heal, now more than ever.” Jim Denison

— o —

Mental health is improved by thinking the right kind of thoughts. The Bible instructs us to think on things that are True. Honorable. Right. Pure. Lovely. Admirable. Excellent. And Praiseworthy (Phil. 4:8). In doing so, we can fulfill the command “to gird up the loins of your mind” (1 Pet. 1:13). This simply means to discipline your thinking.

Healthy thinking is looking at life in a balanced way. Developing a proper perspective. Focusing on the good. Being thankful. And employing discernment.

Indeed, our thinking and our feelings impact us physically. As Jerry Augustine succinctly expressed it, “The body manifests what the mind harbors.”

But what about your spiritual health?

Too often the health of the soul is overlooked and forgotten. Mankind is a composite of physical, mental, emotional and spiritual. To ignore the spiritual element is to do so at your own peril. Research has shown that there are physical, mental and emotional benefits connected to one’s spiritual well-being.

A stronger immune system, a lower risk of depression, reduced stress, lower blood pressure and more restful sleep have all been connected to a healthy spiritual life.

John’s prayer for Gaius was that his physical health and material prosperity be equal to that of his soul. What would your life look like if your physical health was based on your spiritual health?

Spiritual health is only achieved when we come to the great Physician for healing. Faith, Hope and Love are the vitamins for the soul. When they are supplemented by prayer, worship, fellowship, and Bible study and then exercised in our ministry, we will be spiritually healthy. Ken Weliever, The Preacherman

***

QUOTES YOU CAN USE

We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit. Aristotle

God doesn’t call us to be different from the world. He calls us to be better than the world. Ken Whitten

Good friends are like stars. You don’t always see them, but you know they’re always there.

Have you noticed when we want to pick examples of our enemies, we can always find their worst possible examples as proof of their inferiority? Dwight Short

Let’s not allow an election, our earthly citizenship, or our patriotism to diminish, denigrate, or dishonor our heavenly citizenship. Ken Weliever, The Preacherman

You must never forget that you’re a citizen of heaven’s kingdom and that your behavior should correspond to your citizenship. Ken Weliever, The Preacherman

The Greatest Blessings in Life Are Often the Most Forgotten. The Minimalist

Whatever you are, be a good one. Abraham Lincoln

Faith is more than believing that there is one God. Marty Stubbblefield

We can disagree without hating each other. Spencer Cox

We forget what we should remember, and we remember what we should forget. Ken Whitten

SEEDS FOR THE NEW YEAR

Week Fifty-Two, 2020

Now the parable is this: The seed is the word of God” (Luke 8:11)

Everything living begins with planting of a seed, including animal and human reproduction. What happens after that varies along with other choices and events. Some, like the mustard tree begins with the smallest of seeds, but develops into a large tree. Others are stunted in their growth for a variety of reasons.

As we begin the new year, like this year, we will plant seeds, not necessarily the garden variety, but seeds that are more lasting and of greater importance. Jesus gives us an example, as He spoke of the scattering of seed in a parable.

A farmer went out to plant some seeds. As he scattered them across his field, some seeds fell on a footpath, and the birds came and ate them. Other seeds fell on shallow soil with underlying rock. The seeds sprouted quickly because the soil was shallow. But the plants soon wilted under the hot sun, and since they didn’t have deep roots, they died. Other seeds fell among thorns that grew up and choked out the tender plants. Still other seeds fell on fertile soil, and they produced a crop that was thirty, sixty, and even a hundred times as much as had been planted.

The disciples failed to understand the parable, so Jesus explained. The seed that fell on the footpath represents those who hear the message about the Kingdom and don’t understand it. He said then the evil one comes and snatches away the seed that was planted in their hearts. The seed on the rocky soil represents those who hear the message and immediately receive it with joy. But since they don’t have deep roots, they don’t last long. They fall away as soon as they have problems or are persecuted for believing God’s word.

The seed that fell among the thorns represents those who hear God’s word, but all too quickly the message is crowded out by the worries of this life and the lure of wealth, so no fruit is produced. The seed that fell on good soil represents those who truly hear and understand God’s word and produce a harvest of thirty, sixty, or even a hundred times as much as had been planted.

As we go through the coming year, we will plant seeds of influence, relationships, witnessing our faith and many others. The important seeds are not those that lead to materialism, but those that change the course of the future. We plant them with our family, friends, co-workers and everyone we will meet in the coming year. We may never know the results of the seeds we plant. There is a saying: One sows and another reaps is true.

We will plant seeds by the lifestyle we lead, the words we speak and the effort we make to keep focused on our Creator. We must keep our minds and actions on whatever is true, pure, right, holy, friendly, and proper. Don’t ever stop thinking and doing what is truly worthwhile and worthy of praise.

What seeds will you plant in 2021?

***

SOMETIMES TRUE STORIES

In 1992, Dennis Lee Curtis was arrested for armed robbery in Rapid City, South Dakota. In his wallet, police found a list of rules Curtis had written for himself – guidelines for his robberies. For example, he wrote:

▪ I will not kill anyone unless I have to.

▪ I will take cash and food stamps — no checks.

▪ I will not rob mini-marts.

▪ If I get chased by cops on foot, I will get away. If chased by vehicle, I will not put the lives of innocent civilians on the line.

▪ I will rob only seven months out of the year.

▪ I will enjoy robbing from the rich to give to the poor.”

However, the judge before whom Dennis Lee Curtis stood didn’t consult his list of rules. He didn’t say, “Well, at least you live by some values.” No, Curtis was judged by the laws of South Dakota. And convicted as a thief.

While Curtis’ behavior may seem odd, it’s no more different than folks who think they can live by their own standard and God will be pleased. People often compare themselves to others to judge themselves in a more favorable light. We may look at the things that we don’t do, to feel good about ourselves. I don’t commit murder. I don’t steal. I don’t commit adultery. I don’t get drunk.

Some folks excuse their bad behavior, their sinful habits, or their lack of self-control, by saying, “At least I’m nice to people. I help people. And I care about other people.” Yet, God isn’t going to judge us on the basis of what we don’t do. Or on a curve system based on the lives of those worse than we are. Or on our own value system.

While none of us will live perfectly sinless lives, we can clothe ourselves with God’s garments of righteousness. Excel to a higher level of living. And exemplify His holy standard in our lives. Ken Weliever, The Preacherman

— o —

One person said to another, “I’m too busy and have too many important things going on these days to spend time with the Lord praying and reading the Word.”

The other’s response, “I’m too busy not too.”

— o —

• All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works. 2 Timothy 3:16-17 (KJV)

• 14% – Percentage of alcohol consumption over 30 during the COVID-19 pandemic.

• It is the intentional promotion of the things we most value by removing anything that distracts us from it. He Minimalist

***

QUOTES YOU CAN USE

Western society was built on three piers: democracy, free-market capitalism, and consensual morality. The first two cannot sustain us without the third. Rabbi Johnathan Sacks

Jesus didn’t die for us. He died instead of us. Ken Whitten

You have to have a fixed reference point beyond this world. Victor Frankel

You can’t go back and change the beginning, but you can start where you are and change the ending. C. S. Lewis

Sometimes we all have to be reminded of God’s great love for us through Jesus, His Son. Marty Stubblefield

The secret of change is to focus all your energy, not on fighting the old, but on building the new. Socrates

Whatever you fix your eyes on is what you will encourage; fix your eyes on Jesus.” Mark Parker

WHEN WE SEE JESUS

John Grant, Week Fifty-One, 2020

It will be worth it all when we see Jesus, life’s trials will seem so small when we see Christ; One glimpse of His dear face all sorrow will erase, so bravely run the race till we see Christ.

As I sat in a Cracker Barrell sipping my coffee and awaited my morning meal, I was looking at all the old things adorning the wall. There were all sorts of things, some old and rusty and some reminding me of things past. One in particular caught my eye. It was a degree from a prominent university with a man’s name printed on it and underneath it said Doctor of Medicine.

I thought how much he must have worked and studied to earn it and how it allowed him to practice medicine for many years. Now it was good for nothing other than to decorate the wall in a roadside restaurant. I thought about a certificate of which I am very proud that hangs on my wall. It is beautiful and along with my name, it says “Admitted to Practice Law” before the Supreme Court of the United States.

Here’s the point. All those things we work for will someday be worthless when Jesus returns. He doesn’t care about all we have done and accumulated. He cares about our relationship with Him. For those of us who know Christ and have given our heart and soul to Him and accepted Him as our Savior, we will see Him.

Dead or alive, life’s day will soon be over, all storms forever past. We’ll cross the great divide, to glory, safe at last. We’ll share the joys of heaven – a harp, a home, a crown. The tempter will be banished, we’ll lay our burden down. It will be glory when we see Jesus.

Jesus doesn’t care about how many trophies we have won, degrees we have obtained or things and fortunes we have accumulated. He doesn’t even care how many times we have gone to church and crossed it off the weekly list of things to do.

What Jesus cares about is how we have loved people He created no matter what race or economic status. He created us all. He created my inmost being knit me together in my mother’s womb. We praise Him because we are fearfully and wonderfully made. His works are wonderful, and we know that full well. (Psalm 139:13-14) They came to Philip, who was from Bethsaida in Galilee, with a request. “Sir,” they said, “we would like to see Jesus.” John 12:21

In a few days we will celebrate the commemoration of His miraculous and holy birth. American consumers will spend more than one trillion, an average of $942 per family on Christmas, buying trinkets, toys and even more expensive gifts to celebrate the “holiday.”

Yet, few will even connect the festivities, the lights, trees and gifts with the Savior of the world. In ancient times, people who saw and witnessed His marvelous works were changed and built churches, establishing ministries around the world. People who saw Jesus were wonderfully transformed, as he taught not about acquiring things, but about loving people. Today there are 2.4 billion, one third of the world’s population who are followers of Christ.

Someday we who have professed Him as our Lord will see His marvelous face and nothing else of this world will matter. For us, it is not what lies behind, but what lies ahead that matters.

Will you think of this perspective as you celebrate Christmas this year? Remember, it will be worth it all when we see Jesus.

***

SOMETIMES TRUE STORIES

Legalized abortion has killed more than sixty-two million babies in the US. So far this year, more than 675,000 preborn children have died by abortion, three times the number of Americans who have died from COVID-19. Abortion is the leading cause of death in the US, surpassing heart disease and cancer.

The Satanic Temple wants to put up billboards that show people how to obtain abortions more easily. Their “religious abortion ritual” is supposed to be a “sacramental act that confirms the right of bodily autonomy.” According to the Satanic Temple, if people perform this ritual, they can claim a religious exemption from mandatory waiting periods, counseling, ultrasounds, and other measures required by some states before an abortion can be performed.

However, billboards promoting their ritual have been declined by Lamar Advertising. In response, the Satanic Temple has sued the company. In their lawsuit, they state that Lamar rejected the content of the billboards as “misleading and offensive.” The Satanic Temple alleges that this rejection was based on religious discrimination. It would be hard to make this up.

— o —

Our society needs people characterized by love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. But these are the “fruit” of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22–23), not the product of self-reliant effort. They are the result of being “filled” or controlled each day by the Spirit of God (Ephesians 5:18). Jim Denison

***

QUOTES YOU CAN USE

Nothing can separate us from the love of Jesus ~ Nothing!

Getting over a painful experience is much like crossing the monkey bars. You have to let go at some point in order to move forward. C. S. Lewis

Everyone has inside of him a piece of good news. The good news is that you don’t know how great you can be! How much you can love! What you can accomplish! And what your potential is.

When was the last time that you worshiped? I mean… truly worshiped? When you got so lost in Him. So moved by the Spirit that you let your walls down, forgot about everything and everybody else and you worshiped? You bowed down before Him filled with joy and hope and trembling fear?

Sometimes there is nothing more to say… the Word says it all.

If my people …

JOHN GRANT, Week Fifty, 2020

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 Chronicles 7:14).

It is one of my favorite passages in the Bible. I call it the 4/3 test. When the going gets tough, God asks His people to do four things and in turn, He promises to do three.

HIS PEOPLE:

1. We are called to humble ourselves.

2. We are called to pray.

3. We are called to seek His face.

4. We are called to turn from our wicked ways.

GOD:

1. He will hear from heaven.

2. He will forgive our sins.

3. He will heal our land.

That’s a pretty simple and easily understood formula…. we do and He does. Those who believe must forsake sins, turn from the life that is centered on self, and yield to God’s word and will. They have to humble themselves and pray and seek His face and turn from their wicked ways, then and only then will the Lord hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land.

In this confused sinful time, when people are thinking of themselves, God wants us to think outwardly, not inwardly. People are born with an inward perspective naturally wanting to keep what they have and seize what others have. If there is any doubt in your minds about that, just observe a group of interacting two-year old’s in a room of toys. It’s a game of “gimmie.”

This simple formula tells us how to overcome those natural tendencies. It is a battle we have to face over and over again throughout life. Whether it is between nations or individuals the principles are the same. God tells us to pray and turn from our wicked ways, either as nations or individually before He will heal our land.

God wants us to pray like this: I pray to you, pledging my life to your service. Please forgive my sins, my heart, and my ways. I seek your face in prayer and in actions, please help me to be a blessing to those around me.

We all have wicked ways of various types, some more visible than others. We should examine our hearts and ask God to help us reveal and turn from our wicked ways.

As you ask God for guidance and direction, which wicked ways are you willing to turn from?

***

SOMETIMES TRUE STORIES

CONSISTENCY:

God wants us to be more consistent in life, calling us to be more consistent…

… as a follower of Christ

… as a leader at home and at work and all places in between

… as a husband

… as a father

… in my role as godly father and husband at home

… in helping my family (and friends) go deeper in their faith walk

… in me going deeper in my own faith walk

… in personal fitness and exercise

… even in getting a consistent night’s sleep

… in consistent bedtimes

… in consistent responses

… consistently fighting off sin and evil

… consistently putting on the full armor of God

… consistently taking up my cross (daily) and following Jesus

… which means consistent prayer, consistent reading and memorizing His word, and consistent devotion and accountability.

Striving to be consistent takes consistent effort and dedication.

— o —

Private Prayer

John Baillie’s A Diary of Private Prayer is empowering:

Dear Father, take this day’s life into your keeping. Guide all my thoughts and feelings. Direct all my energies. Instruct my mind. Sustain my will. Take my hands and give me the skill to serve you. Take my feet and make them quick to do whatever you ask. Take my eyes and keep them fixed on your everlasting beauty. Take my mouth and give me the words to tell others of your love.

Make this day a day of obedience, a day of spiritual joy and peace. Make this day’s work a little part of the work of the kingdom of my Lord Jesus, in whose name these prayers are said. Amen.

— o —

The new media gives everyone a microphone. The best way to communicate is face-to-face; the worst way is for communication to be anonymous, invisible, and unregulated. But the latter describes the way 3.5 billion people communicate every day. Jim Denison

***

QUOTES YOU CAN USE

There’s more to life than buying stuff. The Minimalist

Many things are possible for the person who has hope. Even more is possible for the person who has faith. And still more is possible for the person who knows how to love. But everything is possible for the person who practices all three virtues. Brother Lawrence

The good news is that our faith points the way to a better future. Here’s the foundational biblical fact about humans: “God created man in his own image” (Genesis 1:27). As a result, every person I meet today was created by my Father. They are not my competitor for survival but a member of my family. Jim Denison

When last did worshiping Jesus draw you closer to someone with whom you disagree? Jim Denison

THE PURPOSE OF THE LORD

Week Forty-nine. 2020

Many are the plans in the mind of a man, but it is the purpose of the Lord that will stand. Proverbs 19:21

As 2020 draws to a close and we look in the rearview mirror, the perspective is far different from the perspective looking out the windshield in January. Who could have imagined what the year would bring…… more hurricanes than letters in the alphabet, tornados, floods, unprecedented wild fires, the most contentious election in history, homicides and rioting in the streets and the big daddy of them all, the Pandemic.

Thousands have died and hundreds of thousands have been infected. Thousands of business have closed, some of them forever. Companies like major airlines are on the verge of bankruptcy and many who had employment cannot now even pay for their rent and mortgage. The experts tell us that it may be years, not months before we totally recover and return to something like normalcy, which will be different than it was before the pandemic.

We don’t live in a perfect world and bad times and tragedies visit Christians and non-Christians. In this world we will have tribulation. (John 16:33). Christian lives have both mountains and valleys.

With some spare time on my hands I decided to read the Bible from Genesis to Revelation. I just finished reading through the prophets, all of whom tried to tell the people the consequences of their sin and idolatry to the people of Judah and Israel. Few listened to the fear of the Lord and dire consequences followed.

In spite of their horrible sins and from turning their backs on God, He said they were still His chosen people and He wanted them back worshiping them, with sins forgiven. For his anger lasts only a moment, but his favor lasts a lifetime; weeping may stay for the night, but rejoicing comes in the morning. (Psalm 30:5) Cast all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you. (1 Peter 5:7)

Only God knows what the news will hold as we move into 2021. We can hope and pray for specific outcomes, but our real hope is in the trustworthy promises of the God who loves us and who is working in the world to accomplish His purposes.

Only the Lord knows His purposes and we often misunderstand. God’s purpose is behind everything He does. The best way to understand His purposes is the get to know God better by getting to know Jesus, His only Son.

He is the same Jesus who was born in the manger. The same Jesus who died on the cross for our sins. The same Jesus who resurrected and defeated the grave so that we might have life.

Author and pastor John Ortberg responds this way, “Never try to have more faith – just get to know God better. And because God is faithful, the better you know Him, the more you’ll trust Him.” Then you will understand His plans and purposes better and more clearly.

Quote scriptures of deliverance and positivity and speak against your worries. Get filled with the message of good health, love, joy, and prosperity. Think on higher things [Philippians 4:8], don’t think about what’s been bothering you—that’s for God to do.

***

SOMETIMES TRUE STORIES

THOUGHTS ON ATTITUDE:

Attitude is our mental and emotional response to the circumstances of life.” —Robert Jeffress

“The greatest discovery of my generation is that man can alter his life simply by altering his attitude of mind” —William James

“Life is like baseball; it’s 95% mental and the other half is physical.” —Yogi Berra

“Things turn out the best for the people who make the best out of the way things turn out” —Art Linkletter

You are today where your thoughts have brought you; you will be tomorrow where your thoughts take you.” —James A. Allen

“It does not matter what happens to us, but our reaction to what happens to us is of vital importance.” —Fred Mitchell

“It may not be your fault for being down, but its got to be your fault for not getting up.” —Steve Davis

“Nothing can stop the man with the right mental attitude from achieving his goal, nothing on earth can help the man with the wrong mental attitude” —W.W. Ziege

“You are only an attitude away from success” John Maxwell

Everyone has their share of troubles and trials. But there is one simple way to turn your burdens into blessings. Change your attitude!

“Put off… the old man and…Be made new in the attitude of your minds” (Eph. 4:22-23)

The joy of each day is dependent not on what happens to us, but what happens within us. Not how the day looks at us, but how we look at the day.

***

QUOTES YOU CAN USE

Decide whether or not the goal is worth the risks involved. If it is, stop worrying. Amelia Earhart

“Put off… the old man and…Be made new in the attitude of your minds” (Eph. 4:22-23)

The joy of each day is dependent not on how what happens to us, but what happens within us. Not how the day looks at us, but how we look at the day.

We make a living by what we get. We make a life by what we give. Winston Churchill

But it is vital to remember that God measures success, not by outcomes in our world, but by obedience to his word.

LOST AND FOUND

Week Forty-Eight, 2020

What man of you, having a hundred sheep, if he has lost one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the open country, and go after the one that is lost, until he finds it. Luke 15:4

A recent Barna study found that although 61% of American millennials consider themselves to be Christian, just 2% of them were found to hold a biblical worldview.

A biblical worldview, as defined by Barna, includes believing that absolute moral truths exist, and that such truth is defined by the Bible, as well as firm belief in six specific religious views.

Those views are that Jesus Christ lived a sinless life; God is the all-powerful and all-knowing Creator of the universe and He stills rules it today; salvation is a gift from God and cannot be earned; Satan is real; a Christian has a responsibility to share their faith in Christ with other people; and the Bible is accurate in all of its teachings.

Only an estimated 9% of adults in both the Elder (75 and older) and Boomer generations (56 to 74 years of age) hold a biblical worldview. Among Generation X (37 to 55 years of age), the percentage of subscribers to a biblical worldview drops to 5%.

While millennials have shown the most radical shift away from the Bible, other generations did not fare much better. Only an estimated 9% of adults in both the Elder (75 and older) and Boomer generations (56 to 74 years of age) hold a biblical worldview. Among Generation X (37 to 55 years of age), the percentage of subscribers to a biblical worldview drops to 5%. A nation that is at war with itself to adopt new values, lifestyles, and a new identity, is a war for worldview dominance.

The secret most people, even Christians, don’t understand is Jesus. We are lost without Him. He relentlessly pursues us until we are found by Him. We are like sheep who have turned off the path, going our own way, doing our own thing. Wandering around lost. Not realizing that we are lost until we look up and find that we are. Then the good shepherd, leaving the 99, pursues us and finds us. And rescues us from our lostness.

Amazing grace. How sweet the sound that saved a wretch like me. I Once was lost, now am found. Was blind, but now I see. This is what our nation and its people need. Will you share your faith with them?

***

SOMETIMES TRUE STORIES

Like Daniel, we face opposition that does not understand our faith or believe in our God. They need and deserve our compassion and our witness. But they will receive neither unless we live with such integrity that they see the unmistakable imprint of Jesus on our lives. If skeptics are going to find fault with us, let them say that we are too committed to our Lord. Is this what the world would say of you? Jim Denison

— o —

15 QUALITIES OF WISE PEOPLE:

Wise people…

…bring joy to their faith (Prov. 10:1).

…work hard (Prov. 10:5).

…accept instruction (Prov. 10:8).

…treasure knowledge (Prov. 10:14).

…listen to others (Prov. 12:15).

…stay calm when insulted (Prov. 12:16).

…think before they act (Prov. 13:16).

…walk with those who are wise (Prov. 13:20).

…look ahead to see what is coming (Prov. 13:20).

…act cautiously and avoid danger (Prov. 14:16).

…make learning a joy (Prov. 15:14).

…are hungry for truth (Prov. 17:27).

…manage their anger (Prov. 29:11).

…generously shares with those less fortunate (Prov. 22:9).

…walk with integrity (Prov. 11:3).

Be wise.

***

QUOTES YOU CAN USE

Takers live better, but givers sleep better. Ken Whitten

But refuse foolish and ignorant speculations, knowing that they produce quarrels. 2 Timothy‬ ‭2:23‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬

You are who you hang with. Bob Sprinkle

The Church’s Greatest Need Is the Word of God.

God Uses Ordinary People for Extraordinary Plans. John 16:7

Jesus’ message is both personal and preset to us this day. Kelly Knouse

God is more interested in changing people than in condemning them. Ken Whitten

Christians are called to a higher standard than those of the world. Bob Sprinkle

BEING SPIRITUAL

Week Forty-Seven, 2020

Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You clean the outside of the cup and dish, but inside they are full of greed and self-indulgence. Matthew 23:25

Paul observed that the carnal man cannot understand spiritual things. Why? Because he lacks spiritual discernment (1 Cor. 2:13-16). Unfortunately, in this letter to Christians, he lamented, “And I, brethren, could not speak to you as to spiritual people, but as to carnal, as to babes in Christ” (1 Cor. 3:1). The Corinthian conundrum is our challenge today.

Bill Bennett’s observations in his 1990’s best seller, “The Book of Virtues,” is more applicable than ever. “I submit to you that the real crisis of our time is spiritual.” Furthermore, Bennett asserts “A human being without faith, without reverence for anything, is a human being morally adrift.”

Our culture is morally adrift. We shake our heads and wonder “what happened?” “Why?” And “how can we fix it?” William Barclay’s explanation of the Corinthian passage provides some insight. He points out that the carnal man is driven by material needs, physical desires and worldly values.

“A man like that cannot understand spiritual things. A man who thinks that nothing is more important than the satisfaction of the sex urge cannot understand the meaning of chastity; a man who ranks the amassing of material things as the supreme end of life cannot understand generosity; and a man who has never a thought beyond this world cannot understand the things of God. To him they look mere foolishness.”

Then he offers his sobering warning and significant admonition, “It is easy to become so involved in the world that there exists nothing beyond it. We must pray to have the mind of Christ, for only when He dwells within us are we safe from the encroaching invasion of the demands of material things.” –Ken Weliever, The Preacherman

***

SOMETIMES TRUE STORIES

The book of Revelation describes Jesus as “the Lamb who was slain from the creation of the world” (13:8 NIV). 1 Peter 1 points to “the precious blood of Christ, like that of a lamb without blemish or spot” (v. 19) and says that “he was foreknown before the foundation of the world” (v. 20).

In other words, before God made the world, his Son was already a sacrificial lamb for the sins of the world.

Romans 5:8 makes this fact plain: “God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” “While we were still sinners”—before we had done one thing to earn God’s forgiveness, Jesus died for us.

Here’s the point to understand: Jesus chose to die for you before you committed your first sin. He knew your forgiveness would cost Him His life, but He chose to create you anyway. And every other person in human history with you.

There is nothing we can do to earn such love because it was decided before we even existed. His redeeming grace is like a house you build for your grandchildren before your children are born. It is like a soldier who dies for a country that does not yet exist, but his death helps create.

Would you have a second child if you knew that child would murder your first child? We are God’s second children. And He chose to make us, and His first child chose to die for us, anyway. Jim Denison

— o —

TRUISMS:

You’re never too old to learn something stupid.

To be sure of hitting the target, shoot first, and call whatever you hit the target.

Nostalgia isn’t what it used to be.

Change is inevitable, except from a vending machine.

Going to church doesn’t make you a Christian any more than standing in a garage makes you a car.

I’m supposed to respect my elders, but it’s getting harder and harder for me to find one now.

— o —

Abortion Clinic CEO Compares Abortion to Removing a Mole or Getting a Root Canal.

***

QUOTES YOU CAN USE

We have given place to the accursed thing of materialism. We have made the mistake of putting prosperity, security and comfort ahead of the spiritual ideals upon which our nation was founded. Billy Graham

Reputation is what men and women think of us; character is what God and angels know of us. Thomas Paine

Jesus warned people about worrying about their possessions. For Jesus, greed is not only greed of money, but excessive anxiety over it. Tim Keller

There is no mess in your life that God cannot use for ministry. Ken Whitten

Whenever you stop being thankful in your spirit, you begin to push God to the perimeter of your life. David Jeremiah

The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy. Martin Luther King, Jr.

We need to conquer the fears that cripple our faith. Kelly Knouse

If something is not answered in Scripture, it’s something you don’t need to know. Bob Sprinkle

Good judgment comes from experience. Experience comes from bad judgment. James Jay Horning

SEEKING FIRST

Week Forty-Six, 2020

“But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore, do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” – Matthew 6:33-34 NIV

I love it when something that Jesus said is so clear.

▪ He didn’t say seek Him first, but after your second cup of coffee.

▪ He didn’t say seek Him first, but after you’ve read the paper or watched your favorite morning news show.

▪ He didn’t say seek Him first, but not before your spouse and/or family.

▪ He didn’t say seek Him first, but not before your career, career goals or work.

▪ He didn’t say seek Him first just behind any personal goals and dreams you might have.

▪ He didn’t say seek Him first just behind all the church work and church stuff you’ve got to accomplish first.

▪ He didn’t say seek Him first, but only if all your personal needs and desires are satisfied.

▪ He didn’t say seek Him first, but only if you don’t have anything better to do.

▪ He didn’t say seek Him first, but only if you feel like it.

▪ He didn’t say seek Him first if you feel Him close or if you’ve hit rock bottom.

▪ He didn’t say seek Him first, but only after you fret and worry about it first.

▪ He didn’t say seek Him first, but…

He said “seek FIRST His kingdom and His righteousness…”

In the midst of a passage where He is telling us not to worry about our life, what we will eat or drink, or our body and what we will wear, Jesus said, “seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.”

Maybe we should ask ourselves…

What is it (or who is it) that we are putting before our relationship with God?

What is it (or who is it) that we are seeking first? Marty Stubblefield

***

SOMETIMES TRUE STORIES

Will you be grateful on the hardest of days?

A pastor was known for the prayers of gratitude with which he began each worship service. No matter how difficult the circumstances, he always seemed to be able to find a reason to give thanks.

Then came an especially difficult Sunday. A heavy winter storm blanketed the city, coating its streets in ice and snow. Power was out for many. A bitter wind assaulted the few hardy people who dared to make their way into the sanctuary.

As the service began, the pastor stepped to the pulpit for his customary invocation.

Those in the congregation wondered to themselves, “How could he possibly find a reason to give thanks this morning?” The pastor bowed his head and prayed, “Lord, we thank you that it is not always like this.”

For what will you give thanks to your Father today?

— o —

It’s time to remember, in the midst of a self-indulgent period in our nation, that our primary purpose in gathering together is not to please ourselves; or because it is psychologically sound for us to do; or that it supports the family structure; or that it partakes of traditional family values though all of these things may be by-products of our gathering together. Our purpose in gathering together is to prostrate ourselves before the Almighty God of heaven and pay Him homage.” Bill Fiest

— o —

TRUISMS:

I thought I wanted a career. Turns out I just wanted paychecks.

In filling out an application, where it says, ‘In case of emergency, notify:’ I put ‘DOCTOR.’

I didn’t say it was your fault, I said I was blaming you.

A clear conscience is the sign of a fuzzy memory.

You do not need a parachute to skydive. You only need a parachute to skydive twice.

***

QUOTES YOU CAN USE

The focus of worship is not human experience, not a lecture, not entertainment, but Jesus Christ–His life, death, and resurrection. Richard Webber

A good deal of the problems in our world and the apathy of too many Christians, “Without worship, we go about miserable.” A. W. Tozer

When we lose focus on the purpose and person of worship, we need to hear and heed the admonition of the angel whom John attempted to worship. His two words remind us all why we go to church today….“Worship God” (Rev. 22:9). Ken Weliever, The Preacherman

Worldliness is the enemy to holiness. Kelly Knouse

Salvation is not a process. It is a person and the person is Jesus. Ken Whitten

Life is not found in an abundance of material possessions. The Minimalist

Most people are as happy as they make up their minds to be. Abraham Lincoln

A proud man is always looking down on things and people; and, of course, as long as you are looking down, you cannot see something that is above you. C. S. Lewis

Life’s too short to hold a grudge. Forgive. Forget. And let go. Ken Weliever

It’s easier to fool people than to convince them that they have been fooled. Mark Twain

If Jesus is your Lord, you “have eternal life” today (John 3:16). Have you thanked your Savior for the gift of your salvation recently? Have you thanked God for the fact that your death is the doorway to your eternal life? Jim Denison