Category Archives: John Grant

MY INHERITANCE

Week Twenty-Four, 2021

A good man leaves an inheritance to his children’s children, but the sinner’s wealth is laid up for the righteous. Proverbs 13:22

Genealogy can be fascinating, especially now with so much displayed online. I have been able to trace my family all the way back to Saxony in the ninth century. I have tracked them to France, to England and to Scotland. They were on the wrong political side and were forced to come to the Massachusetts Bay Colony in the 1620’s.

Peter Grant and others went on establish the town of Berwick in the Colony of Maine. Peter Grant was my fourth great grandfather. In the public records I found his will. It gave his testimony to his faith in Jesus Christ and spelled out his Christian beliefs, which he passed along to those who would continue in his family in the years to come. That’s me and is my inheritance from him.

Just as I am an heir to Peter Grant, likewise I am an heir to Jesus because I am adopted into his family. In Romans 8:17 Paul says, “Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.” According to this verse, we share in the sufferings of Christ now and will share in the glory of Christ later as His “co-heirs” or “joint-heirs.”

The term heirs of God emphasizes our relationship to God the Father. As His children, we have “an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade… kept in heaven” (1 Peter 1:4). The Greek term translated “heirs” in Romans 8:17 refers to “those who receive their allotted possession by right of sonship.” In other words, because God has made us His children (see John 1:12), we have full rights to receive His inheritance. We are His beneficiaries.

While I am honored to be a son of a God-believing grandfather, I am more honored to be a child of God through adoption by His on Jesus. Being a co-heir with Christ means that we, as God’s adopted children, will share in the inheritance of Jesus. All that belongs to Jesus Christ will belong to us, the co-heirs, as well.

“You are no longer a slave, but God’s child; and since you are his child, God has made you also an heir” (Galatians 4:7). Think of all that means. Everything that God owns belongs to us as well because we belong to Him. Our eternal inheritance as co-heirs with Christ is the result of the amazing grace of God.

The musical play, Annie, contains a wonderful illustration of becoming an heir of God. When Annie moves from the orphanage to the Warbucks’ Mansion, it’s an incredible change for her. She leaves behind a spiteful, alcoholic caretaker and enters a relationship with a caring father. She goes from having no possessions to having a fortune at her disposal. The hard-knock life is overcome by the brightness of a sunny tomorrow. Seen from a Christian perspective, Annie pictures what being a co-heir with Christ means. “We share in His sufferings in order that we may also share in His glory” (Romans 8:17).

No earthly inheritance could ever compare with our heavenly inheritance received by accepting Him as Lord and Savior and being an heir of Christ.

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SOMETIMES TRUE STORIES

Thoughts to Live By:

All good friends were once strangers.

Big things often have small beginnings.

Lost time is never found again.

You’re worth more than you know.

I’m so very proud of you.

Don’t be busy; Instead, be productive.

Every problem has a creative solution.

With God all things are possible.

— o —

WARNING: Sugarcoating the Gospel may fill church, but it will not get people to Christ!

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QUOTES YOU CAN USE

Political discourse fails to recognize that discussions on abortion ignore the fact that a new life is at stake in every decision that is made. Dwight Short

Tolerance and apathy are the last virtues of a dying society. Aristotle

You may pride yourself in your accomplishments or successes. But mark this, when you see a proud man, you see a man who has not yet encountered God. Dan Shock

What good is the warmth of summer, without the cold of winter to give it sweetness.” John Steinbeck

Our faith as a Christian is being eroded by our culture. Os Guinness

To be a Christian without prayer is like living without breathing. Michelle Tellone

Be defined by your destiny. Os Guinness

Do something for a month and you establish a short-term habit but do it for three months and you establish a long term habit. Ken Boa

We need to be defined by things above, not things below. Ken Boa

You can live by the world or you can live by the Word. Ken Boa

“THE POINT”

WEEK TWENTY-THREE, 2021

“Turn your eyes upon Jesus

Look full in His wonderful face

And the things (the thing) of earth will grow strangely dim

In the light of His glory and grace.”

Back in the days when I was flying airplanes, I always had a point … a point to land when the flight was over. It might be a thousand miles away or it might be right back where I started, but it was a point. I had a flight plan to get there. Sometimes I would have to make in-flight corrections to deviate around bad weather. Sometimes I had to compensate strong winds by flying a course slightly off course. But there was always the point.

When I go hunting, I have a point that often has a rack of horns on it. My point is to hit the animal. Sometimes I have to compensate for the drop of the bullet, depending on the distance traveled. Sometimes when the animal is running, I have to aim for where it is going to be when the bullet travels the distance. But there is always the point, a point of contact.

People go through life with points, not always good ones. They decide where they want to be and then figure out how to get there.

Unfortunately, many Christians miss the point of their faith. They come to church just to get their ticket punched and go on about their secular stiving for their secular points. They go about their schedules and the world’s demands. God gave us a beautiful life to be used wisely.

We should keep our eyes fixed on Jesus, taking time to pray, to dive into scriptures and to turn to Jesus continually throughout the day so that He can guide our steps. Keeping our eyes upon Jesus means turning away from a world that urges us to do more, be more and doesn’t want us to focus on Jesus, but on all the outwardly things. Every day we should surrender to God’s agenda and accept that His grace is sufficient enough.

In Exodus 3, Moses was doing something mundane, tending someone else’s flock, when he encountered the burning bush. At that point he made an intentional decision: “I will now turn aside,” he said. If he had been heading to a meeting with eyes glued to his smart phone, he might have missed that declaration of the divine in the ordinary, and thereby missed God’s call to him. When I keep looking for my burning bush, strain my divine lens of the ordinary, I find God turning my ordinary into extraordinary, declaring His divine each day and giving it His purpose.

What is your point?

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SOMETIMES TRUE STORIES

If we are “the salt of the earth” and “the light of the world” (Matthew 5:13–14), why is our salt and light not doing more to season and enlighten our culture? Why, in fact, are churches and Christian institutions sometimes the problem more than the solution?

— o —

SIX WORDS TO ENCOURAGE AND SHARE

  • You are doing a great job.
  • This is your year to shine.
  • Don’t wait for opportunity. Create it.
  • What you do has greater impact than what you say.

— Stephen Covey

— o —

THOUGHTS TO LIVE BY

  • You got to nourish to flourish.
  • Every end is a new beginning.
  • Dreams don’t work unless you do.
  • Moments give birth to new memories.
  • Happiness is always an inside job.
  • Live like there is no tomorrow.
  • Fall seven times; stand up eight.
  • With great power comes great responsibility.

— o —

WARNING: Sugarcoating the Gospel may fill church, but it will not get people to Christ!

***

QUOTES YOU CAN USE

  • Much of the best work of the world has been done against seeming impossibilities.” DALE CARNEGIE
  • If you add anything to Jesus, you actually take away something from Jesus. Ken Whitten
  • We have to be careful where we focus our attention. Dan Shock
  • Optimism is the faith that leads to achievement. Nothing can be done without hope and confidence. HELEN KELLER
  • Sometimes, when God’s voice breaks through and He gives us a warning about something we are about to do, we say, “Thanks, Lord, but I don’t need any help there. I know what I’m doing.” The truth is, we don’t know what we are doing. And we do need His help.
  • The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you; the Lord lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace. Numbers 6:24-26
  • A man never discloses his own character so clearly as when he describes another’s.
  • You set the table and God brings the people. Martha Moore
  • The only mistake is the one from which we learn nothing. Henry Ford
  • Life on earth is short, eternity somewhere is forever
  • “A man who fears suffering is already suffering from what he fears,” once observed the 16th century French statesman and author Michel de Montaigne.
  • Jesus is the bridge between God and man. Dan Shock
  • We shouldn’t judge people by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character. Martin Luther King, Jr.

THE BOTCHED SURGERY

WEEK TWENTY, 2021

It was 1943 and the young lady lived happily in Greece with her family. She was a Jew. Her name was Garmaine……… Garmaine Pitchon.

One day there was a knock at her door and strangers told the family that they would be in danger if they remained in Greece, so they were being relocated to a place where they would be safe. They were told to board a train, where they were packed in unsanitary conditions for their long ride to their ultimate destination ….. Auschwitz.

Recently I had the privilege of walking those train tracks into the station where they were told to get off the train and were separated into groups. Within about ninety minutes most were forced to strip naked and sent into a giant shower, only there were no shower heads, only gas. With tears in my eyes, I have stood in the “shower” where more than a million Jews were gassed.

Of those who for various reasons were not gassed, they suffered tremendous atrocities. Garmaine had to watch her grandmother shot in the head before she went to Cell Block #10, where those chosen for medical experimentation were housed.

Carl Clauberg experimented with sterilization in the camp. Part of Block No. 10 was put at his disposal. Several hundred Jewish women in Block No 10 were used for his “medical” experiments. Clauberg developed a method of non-surgical sterilization that consisted of introducing into the female reproductive organs a specially prepared chemical irritant that produced sever inflammation. Within weeks, the fallopian tubes grew shut and were blocked. Clauberg’s experiments killed some of his subjects and others were put to death so that autopsies could be performed.

They were searching for a convenient means of mass sterilization that would enable the Third Reich to carry out the biological destruction of conquered nations by “scientific methods” by depriving people of their reproductive capacity.

Then it was Garmaine’s turn to present herself for sterilization. Once on the table, the German doctor made an incision and removed one of her ovaries. As he was about to do the other, there was suddenly an Allied air attack and the doctor ran for personal protection. A Jewish doctor, also a prisoner who was shortly later exterminated was forced to assist in the medical procedures. Before leaving, the German doctor commanded the Jewish doctor to finish the procedure on Garmaine.

As he began to do so, he leaned over and whispered to Garmaine, telling her that he had to make an incision to look like he had done the procedure, but he stopped short of any removal. He told Garmaine to do two things, first to disguise any monthly evidence that would show she was not sterilized and secondly he said “When you have your first baby, think of me.” That first baby is my now close friend Sol Pitchon, who came to America and surrendered his life to Christ and dedicated his life to saving babies, as he believed God had saved him “for such a time as this.”

Working in crisis pregnancy centers for the past nearly 25 years, Sol has saved the lives of more than ten thousand babies who would otherwise have been aborted and he continues to do so.

That’s why God saved the life and reproduction ability of Garmaine so Sol would be born to her and save the lives of so many others!

The ultimate way God turns what was meant for evil into good is through the gospel of Jesus Christ. Sin does not glorify God. But God uses sin for his glory by saving us from sin. … Therefore when we allow God’s grace to redeem us from our sins, God is turning what was meant for evil into good.

Thank you God. Thank you Sol.

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SOMETIMES TRUE STORIES

COVETNESS:

The only thing we should covet is a closer relationship with God. The Bible tells us that covetousness is idolatry. That’s because the thing you desire becomes the central focus of your heart and mind. All your waking hours are spent scheming ways to get that thing for yourself.

The Bible says we are to covet just one thing. “But covet earnestly the best gifts (of the Spirit)” (1 Corinthians 12:31 KJV). The only thing we should covet is a closer relationship with God. If you are going to crave anything at all, crave the power of God’s Spirit working freely and fully in your life.

— o —

Minimalism is the intentional promotion of the things we most value and the removal of anything that distracts us from it. It requires a conscious decision because it is a countercultural lifestyle that stands against the culture of overconsumption that surrounds us.

The world we live in is not friendly to the pursuit of minimalism. Its tendencies and relentless advertising campaigns call us to acquire more, better, faster, and newer. The journey of finding simplicity requires consistent inspiration.

For that reason, I hope you will make an effort this weekend to find a quiet moment with a cup of coffee or tea and enjoy some of these hand-picked articles to encourage more simplicity in your life.

— The Minimalist

— o —

Pixar Animation Studios has become perhaps the most preeminent name in children’s entertainment. They have been a mainstay at the Oscars for more than two decades and, this year, developed two of the five movies nominated for Best Animated Feature Film. Soul took home the award, becoming the eleventh such Pixar property to do so.

The success of their recent offerings is not the only reason they are in the news today, however.

Last week, word began to circulate that they were looking to cast someone to voice the character Jess in an upcoming project. Jess is described as someone who is “compassionate, funny, and always has your back.” They are looking to for a 12–17-year-old who is “enthusiastic, outgoing, funny, and energetic” who also feels “comfortable acting in front of a microphone” and can “authentically portray a 14-year-old transgender girl.”

If that last part caught you by surprise, that’s kind of the point.

—Ryan Denison

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QUOTES YOU CAN USE

Following after emptiness only makes you empty. – Dan Shock

If you want to fly, you have to give up everything that weighs you down. – Toni Morrison

The circumstances you face aren’t nearly important as the conclusions you draw. – Pastor Ken Whitten

No work we undertake will be of any value, unless the Lord is with us. – Dan Shock

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

Giving to the Lord should be the greatest joy and the greatest happiness that you know. Anything I offer to God must come from a willing heart if it’s to have any value.

There is only one corner of the universe you can be certain of improving, and that’s your own self. – Aldous Huxley

If you do not take an interest in the affairs of your government, then you are doomed to live under the rule of fools. – Plato

St. Augustine noted, “God loves each of us as if there were only one of us.

EVERYTHING IS TRAINING FOR SOMETHING. – Men of Iron

Hope is the thing with feathers that perches in the soul – and sings the tunes without the words – and never stops at all. – Emily Dickinson

I am not afraid of storms, for I am learning how to sail my ship. – Louisa May Alcott

MORE

Week 19, 2021

By retired Senator and attorney John Grant

Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart. Psalm 37:4

We live in a culture that is never satisfied and always desires more: More money. More clothing. More toys. More square feet. More followers. More power. More wealth. More prestige. More reputation. More sex. More. More. More.

In fact, in many ways, the pursuit of more defines our entire society. But there is a problem with the lifestyle choice of desiring more. When we constantly desire more, we are never satisfied. Because no matter how much we accumulate or achieve, more always exists. By definition, it is unquenchable.

No matter how much money is in your bank account… there can always be more. No matter how big your house… there can always be more. No matter how many likes on your Instagram post or views on your Tik-Tok video… there can always be more.

When more is the goal, we never fully arrive. It is insatiable. And that is the problem with always wanting more. Happiness and contentment will always elude us if we are looking for it in the acquisition of more.

I suppose, if it was commonplace to see an end to this pursuit, that would be a different story. If human beings eventually arrived at a level of more, and suddenly became content, we could all strive to reach that magical level. But that is not the example surrounding us. Quite the opposite in fact. Most everybody who acquires more, only continues to pursue it.

We see it in the lives of individuals who amass great fortunes but are not satisfied. We see it in the world’s largest corporations who continue to pursue greater and greater market share and profits. We see it in those who acquire power and then work relentlessly to keep it and expand upon it.

In the early 1900’s, John D. Rockefeller was the richest man in the world. He was once famously asked by a reporter, “How much money is enough money?” Rockefeller replied, “Just a little bit more.” More can never satisfy.

Of course, we don’t need to look at the lives of others to understand this phenomenon. One look in the mirror reveals the same motivation inside us.

The average American home has tripled in size in the last 50 years and continues to grow larger and larger. The average American woman owns 4X the amount of clothes as her grandmother, but continues to purchase. The average American home has 300,000 items inside it… and yet Amazon arrives on our doorstep several times each week.

When more is the goal, we will never find contentment. More is always a moving target. Never fully attainable.

We live life with only two options. We can continue to pursue more. We can believe there is a better life waiting if we were just to acquire more money, more property, more fame. Or we can reject the false notion that more is needed to discover happiness. And we can find contentment in our circumstances and gratitude for the blessings we already possess.

We can best arrive at the second by turning to scripture. True, biblical contentment is a conviction that Christ’s power, purpose and provision is sufficient for every circumstance. We are to learn how to walk through all kinds of adversity believing in and experiencing Christ’s sufficiency.

Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart. (Psalm 37:4)

The choice is yours.

As for me, I’ll choose contentment with less.

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SOMETIMES TRUE STORIES

Easy religions always appeal to the flesh because they don’t require a denial of self. Yet what did Jesus give as the first requirement for someone who wanted to follow Him? “Deny yourself.” I cannot live after the Spirit and after the flesh. These two things are contrary.

• Easy religions will never bring you to the true and living, eternal Creator.

• Easy religions might please my flesh, but they do not please God. In seeking my own pleasure, I lose His. If you follow these easy religions, you will find yourself alienated from the true God as you seek to make a god out of yourself.

• The path into eternal life begins at the cross; you can’t escape it. It is a straight path. It is a narrow path. But it leads to eternal life. Dan Shock

— o —

WORDS OF WISDOM:

“I must study politics and war, that our sons may have liberty to study mathematics and philosophy. Our sons ought to study mathematics and philosophy, geography, natural history and naval architecture, navigation, commerce and agriculture in order to give their children a right to study painting, poetry, music, architecture, statuary, tapestry and porcelain.” —JOHN ADAMS

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QUOTES YOU CAN USE

The greatest cure for discouragement is to get busy doing God’s work. Dan Shock

A strong, positive self-image is the best possible preparation for success. JOYCE BROTHERS

If you don’t read the newspaper you are uninformed, if you do read the newspaper you are misinformed. Mark Twain

I contend that for a nation to try to tax itself into prosperity is like a man standing in a bucket and trying to lift himself up by the handle. Winston Churchill

Some claim to be Christians don’t understand the gospel of substitution because they still believe in a gospel of self-salvation. Ken Whitten

Keep your face always toward the sunshine—and shadows will fall behind you. WALT WHITMAN

If we can’t live on 90% of our income, we probably can’t live on 100% either. Dave Ramsey

Crossroads

WEEK EIGHTEEN, 2021

Stand at the crossroads and look; ask for the ancient paths, ask where the good way is, and walk in it, and you will find rest for your souls. But you said, ‘We will not walk in it” (Jeremiah 6:16).

All of us some time or another are confronted with “crossroad” experiences in our lives. I am not talking about which movie to see. I am talking about those significant decisions that have profound impact on the direction of our lives. Which college to attend, what career path to pursue and the big daddy of the all, who to marry.

We find ourselves at a crossroads and if we take the right road, we end up where we ought and want to be. If we take the wrong road, the further we go, the further we get from where we ought to be.

I remember some of those crossroad decisions in my life. They weren’t easy and often I was torn between what I desired and what I knew was right. There I stood… at the crossroads…. choices, decisions, action, inaction. Many of those times came before I was a Christian and knew that the Bible could give me great guidance in making those decisions. Here are some Biblically based suggestions to pray when you are faced with those crossroad decisions.

▪ Choices allow us to love or not… help us choose love.

▪ Choice allow us to choose right or wrong… help us choose right.

▪ Choices allow us to choose the light or the dark…. help us choose light.

▪ Choices allow us to choose between good and bad… help us choose good.

▪ Choices allow to choose between good and best… help us choose best.

▪ Choices allow us to choose you… help us draw near to you.

▪ O Lord, we give you thanks and praise for allowing us to make our own choices.

▪ O Lord, help us choose wisely.

▪ O Lord, help us choose your paths and your ways.

▪ O Lord, as we stand at the crossroads, help us choose the ancient path, the good way and help us walk in it.

O Lord, help us choose You.

***

SOMETIMES TRUE STORIES

FIVE BEST SENTENCES

1. You cannot legislate the poor into prosperity, by legislating the wealthy out of prosperity.

2. What one person receives without working for, another person must work for without receiving.

3. The government cannot give to anybody anything that the government does not first take from somebody else.

4. You cannot multiply wealth by dividing it.

5. When half of the people get the idea that they do not have to work, because the other half is going to take care of them, and when the other half gets the idea that it does no good to work, because somebody else is going to get what they work for, that is the beginning of the end of any nation!

— o —

Entering the first church ever built:

The church built over the site of Jesus’ birth makes this point in a profound way.

When I lead study tours to Israel, we always visit the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem. This was the first church building constructed under the reign of Constantine (ca. AD 330). The original structure was burned and destroyed in the sixth century, then rebuilt by Byzantine Emperor Justinian (482–565).

Door of Humility

The Door of Humility provides entrance to the massive church. It was created to keep looters from driving carts into the church and to force even the most important visitors to dismount from their horses to enter the holy place.

Every time I bend down to enter the church that commemorates Jesus’ birth, I remember again that the best way to come to a King is in humility.

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QUOTES YOU CAN USE

Waste no more time arguing about what a good person should be. Be one. —MARCUS AURELIUS

When God touches your heart, it fills with love and peace. Though the storms may rage, you have a glorious confidence in God’s ability to control life’s circumstances. Dan Shock

Through Jesus, your past is explained, your present has a purpose, and your future is secure. What more could you really want in life? —Jase Robertson

There are two ways of spreading light: to be the candle or the mirror that reflects it. —Edith Wharton

How foolish it is to think that we can hide the truth from God. He knows the truth. God sees right through all of the disguises, because He sees our hearts. —Dan Shock

Whenever a nation’s laws no longer reflect the standards of God, that nation is in rebellion against Him and will inevitably bear the consequences. —Rep. Greg Steube

The uncommitted stand by and watch as the forces of darkness take over. —Dan Shock

Life is ten percent what happens to you and ninety percent how you respond to it.” —Lou Holtz. Former Notre Dame FB Head Coach

Some people stop living before they die. —Ken Whitten

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WHAT IS YOUR FROG?

John Grant, Week Seventeen, 2021

For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it. Hebrews 12:11

Mark Twain is purported to have given this advice. If you ever have to eat a live frog, it’s best done first thing in the morning. If you have to eat two frogs, he reportedly recommended eating the bigger one first. I know this scenario is awfully unlikely, but it’s good advice, nonetheless. Why eat the BIG frog first thing in the morning, you ask? Because you can go through the rest of your day knowing that the hardest task is behind you!

What “to-do list items” are you most tempted to procrastinate on? What goals have you had forever, but not taken the first step toward? What difficult decision have you been delaying? That, my friend, is your big frog! Give yourself a deadline; then get started.

The bottom line? You can’t just pray like it depends on God. You also have to work like it depends on you. If you want God to do the super, you’ve got to do the natural. And you have to start first thing in the morning.

How you start the day sets the tone for the rest of it, yet many of us never give the morning a second thought beyond getting out the door on time. Our morning rituals are as unplanned as an earthquake. Is that the best way to start the day? That’s sounding the retreat before the day even begins. If you want to win the day, you’ve got to attack the day. How? Eat the BIG frog First.

Some people like to ease into the day without breaking a sweat, and I totally get that. Perhaps even sleep in on occasion, which is totally fine. But there is something to be said for starting the day with a challenge. It might be raising your heart rate via exercise or lowering your blood pressure via meditation. Either way, consistency is king.

What’s the one thing you least like to do, but you feel best about afterward? That’s your frog. The good news? Well-begun is half-done! If you do the natural, it sets God up to do something super. Start each day with HIM. Read His Word and go to him in prayer. Then whatever the day hold, you are ready to eat your frog.

What is your BIG frog?

***

SOMETIMES TRUE STORIES

We need a proper perspective of the giants in our lives. We need to take our eyes off of the problems and look instead on the Lord. We need to remember that God is for us, and He has made all the resources of heaven available to us. Through the power of the Lord, every giant in your life can fall. But we must trust Him. Dan Shock

— o —

Parking Lot and Vehicle Safety

In your car:

1. Lock your car door immediately after getting in your car.

2. Do not sit in your car in a parking lot — get in and drive off.

3. Check your surroundings before you turn off your car and get out. Anything suspicious – Drive Off!

4. Keep your cell phone handy at all times. A decent medical kit along with a flashlight, raingear and tire repair tools is highly recommended.

5. Make a practice of filling your gas tank when it drops below 1/2 full.

6. Don’t EVER park next to or get in your car next to a panel van.

7. When stopping, make certain you can see the bottoms of the tires of the car ahead of you. This leaves you room to drive around that vehicle.

8. If you are being followed, drive to the nearest Emergency Room.

Around Your Car:

1. Be alert and aware when leaving stores, malls, etc.

2. Have your keys in your hand as you approach your car. Around 40% of all robberies happen at the door of a car.

3. Look inside your car before getting in.

4. Lock your car and take the keys when you get out to pump gas.

5. Don’t use ATMs at night or in vulnerable places.

6. Avoid filling your arms with packages that obscure your vision.

7. Avoid stairs in parking garages —walk down the ramp facing traffic.

8. In parking lots, walk down the middle, not close to parked cars (unless there is traffic approaching).

9. If a driver asks for directions while you are on foot, stay back several feet from the car.

— o —

WE CAN AVOID TRAGIC MISTAKES BY:

(1) ALWAYS ALLOWING GOD’S WORD TO GUIDE OUR DECISIONS.

(2) NEVER MAKING A DECISION UNTIL YOU HAVE FIRST SOUGHT GOD’s GUIDANCE THROUGH PRAYER. Dan Shock

NOT A SINGLE WORD OF GOD HAS FAILED. Dan Shock

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QUOTES YOU CAN USE

When we read the Bible, God talks to us, but when we pray, we talk to God. Dana Hardee

When God cleans us up, we are ready to go to battle; when we try to clean ourselves up, we just move the dirt from one spot to another. Dwight Short

God is looking for men and women with open, willing hearts, those who would say, “Here I am, Lord. I am not content with my life the way it is, Lord. I want to give it all to You.” When discontentment brings you to a total commitment to Jesus Christ, that’s good discontentment because it leads to progress. Dan Shock

Try to be a rainbow in someone’s cloud. MAYA ANGELOU

NOT A SINGLE WORD OF GOD HAS FAILED. Dan Shock

I’ve always been amazed at folks who think that success in life is anti-Biblical. How can anyone think that God created us to be unsuccessful in any area of life that He ordained as good? The Preacherman

He who is not every day conquering some fear has not learned the secret of life. RALPH WALDO EMERSON

Don’t be busy; Be productive

TRUE LIFE REVEALED

Week Sixteen, 2021

“But now I am writing to you not to associate with anyone who bears the name of brother if he is guilty of sexual immorality or greed, or is an idolater, reviler, drunkard, or swindler—not even to eat with such a one” (1 Corinthians 5:11).

He was considered by many to be one of best evangelical expositors of the twentieth and twenty first centuries. Ravi Zacharias was an Indian-born Canadian-American Christian apologist who founded the RZIM. He was involved in Christian apologetics for a period spanning more than 40 years.

He had spoken in hundreds of churches and at hundreds of conferences around the world. Thousands of people were influenced by his preaching. Even I was when he graced the pulpit in my home church. Many considered him to be the most significant Christian apologist of modern times.

But, after his death from cancer a year ago, it became apparent that there was another Ravi Zacharias. Following his demise, dozens of women came forward to tell of their abuse. His ministry board engaged a law firm to do a complete investigation and the results were astounding. He had been leading a double life.

Mr. Zacharias had been living a lie; engaging in molestation, sexual sin, and even rape- on several continents and with many women. He turned out to be a perverted deviant, and not just lately for a short period, but a long time. In fact, Ravi seemed to have chosen his type of business (spa/massage) for this reason and had seemed to have structured his business operations with the intention of perpetuating then hiding his craven sin. His sexual sins also included other sins of misuse of ministry funds to support his sex partners, and of course, lies and hypocrisy.

How do or should we as Christians respond? Witnessing the fall of someone we greatly admire elicits deep, painful emotions. We feel betrayed by them and embarrassed that we trusted them. The more public our faith in them, the more public our shame and the deeper our anger. We wonder if there is anyone we can truly trust. If they were part of a larger movement, that movement’s reputation is disgraced along with them.

And remember that sin always affects the innocent. Satan loves to use one sin to destroy as many lives as he can. The next time you are tempted with “private” sin, remember the victims of Ravi Zacharias’ sins. The women he abused will never forget their pain, and his family and colleagues are shamed and grieving as well.

The next time you are tempted by “private” sin, see this temptation as bait in a cage. And know that its consequences will be far worse than its rewards for you and everyone who knows you. I will repeat a statement I have made often over the years: sin will always take you further than you wanted to go, keep you longer than you wanted to stay, and cost you more than you wanted to pay. Always.

Before we judge Zacharias, we much remember if this could happen to Ravi Zacharias, it can happen to any of us. None of us are exempt from Satan’s bait.

Be always on guard, for the trap is set for you.

We can never sin alone. Our sin grows and ultimately affects the whole church. Private sin needs private confession. Public sin requires public confession. —Dana Hardee

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SOMETIMES TRUE STORIES

Basic Safety at Home

1. If you have a security system – use it!

2. Never open your door to a stranger.

3. Never tell anyone you are home alone.

4. Keep you home well-lighted at all times – inside and out.

5. Keep windows and doors locked.

6. Keep shrubs around your home well trimmed.

7. New home or apartment? – have ALL locks rekeyed ASAP.

8. Never hide a door key under a mat, flowerpot or mailbox.

9. Lock your doors whenever you are in the yard or garage.

10. Take a cordless phone or your cell phone with you when you work in the yard.

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General Awareness and Mindset

1. Stay alert anytime you are outside your home.

2. Walk with eyes up, looking around you at all times, not looking down at or talking on your cell phone.

3. Maintain your personal space in public.

4. Check behind you periodically.

5. Look for anything in the immediate area that looks out of place, out of context, or “just not right”.

6. Mindset: “I won’t be a victim!”

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C. S. Lewis, from his book, “God in the Dock,” offers this interesting bit of dialogue regarding prayer. “Praying for particular things,” said I, “always seems to me like advising God how to run the world. Wouldn’t it be wiser to assume that He knows best?”

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QUOTES YOU CAN USE

We can never sin alone. Our sin grows and ultimately affects the whole church. Private sin needs private confession. Public sin requires public confession. —Dana Hardee

I should live in constant preparedness for eternity. Dan Shock

Attitude is a little thing that makes a big difference. WINSTON CHURCHILL

When you fail to surrender, you’re really saying, “I know better than God.” And only a fool would think that. Dan Shock

In running from God’s will, we run into things we should be afraid of. Ken Whitten

Do I not destroy my enemies when I make them my friends? ABRAHAM LINCOLN

If God is the one “who gives you the ability to produce wealth,” then He gets to dictate what we do with financial excess, whether it’s abundance from a paycheck or profit from a business. Jordan Raynor

Perseverance is not a long race; it is many short races one after another. WALTER ELLIOTT

CHRISTIAN BONSAI

Week Fifteen, 2021

I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit, he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful. John 15:1-2

We have a Bonsai Tree and it adorns our morning room table. It is a beautiful reminder of how it became what it is. The object is a bonsai tree, all of less than a foot tall. It is a perfectly formed tree, yet its growth beyond a foot is intentional stunted by the clipping of its roots.

It has been a Japanese form of art dating back more than a thousand years. The trees are a miniature replica of a fully grown tree. They look the same as a fully grown tree, only smaller. The secret is when they begin to sprout as a seedling, they are planted in a shallow container and their roots are pruned and trimmed whenever they begin to grow. When they reach dwarf maturity, then are planted in a pot that prohibits their roots from growing.

I had not thought of how that depicts a journey of faith, until one evening during our dinner I looked at the little tree and saw a spiritual parallel.

When we accept Christ, we are permanently saved and our seat in Heaven is reserved for us. It is a one-time event that is total and not partial. However, our earthly Christian maturity is a walk-in faith, as we mature in the faith over time.

Too many people get saved and then get their roots constantly trimmed as they live in a shallow environment. They are influenced by non-believing people who mock their faith, and they hang around the wrong people. New Christians are advised to be daily in the word and at least weekly in a Bible believing and preaching evangelical congregation……. environments where they can grow alongside others on the same journey.

Not all pruning is bad. In nature, pruning is a process done to fruit-bearing plants to facilitate healthy growth. As believers, Jesus compares our spiritual growth to that of a vine plant. In order to bear spiritual fruit (see Galatians 5:19-20) and walk in the purpose God has for you, you have to be pruned. Like a gardener tends to plants, God is overseeing your growth so that you will mature in Christ and live the life he created you for.

Like the farmer, God prunes us to remove what is dead or dying in us, to remove what’s infected or diseased, to remove that are hindering us and to keep us focused and on the right spiritual track.

Has God pruned you?

***

SOMETIMES TRUE STORIES

In a recent article in Christian Headlines, Milton Quintanilla warns about the lack of Bible knowledge in 21st century America. Not just in our country, but in our churches.

Quintanilla quotes Dr. Thomas Schirrmacher, the newly elected secretary-general of the World Evangelical Alliance (WEA), who believes that biblical illiteracy is a growing, troubling trend in the global evangelical church today.

In an interview with The Christian Post, Schirrmacher explained that “beyond all theological differences, financial problems, and political questions”, “our biggest problem is that Bible knowledge is fading away.”

In the Western world, “more and more kids that come from evangelical families are not really rooted in the Bible,” and many end up departing from the faith, he asserted. Young people, even those claiming to be Christians, Schirrmacher said, “only know about the Bible what they learned from their conversion” instead of growing deeper in biblical knowledge.

“The result is that people know much less and are more … much more open to secularism and strange things like the ‘health and wealth’ gospel,” he added. Actually, the challenge to know God and His Word is an age-old problem. Jehovah laments through the Old Testament prophet Hosea, “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge.” Ken Weliever

— o —

Franklin Graham reports that Samaritan’s Purse and the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association saw 1.3 million people give their lives to Christ through online ministries in 2019. This year, the number is 1.7 million. Franklin explains that due to the pandemic, “The people’s hearts have been softened a little bit. People who have not listened before are listening now.”

— o —

Liberals Think Dr. Seuss Books are Bad for Kids, But Killing Babies in Abortions is OK

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QUOTES YOU CAN USE

If it were not for God’s grace, where would you be today? Ken Whitten

The secret of your strength lies in your commitment to Jesus Christ. Dan Shock

Take care of your body. It’s the only place you must live. JIM ROHN

Now go therefore and make a difference… Be a world changer and glorify God through it all. Marty Stubblefield

The time has come to examine our hearts and minds…Whom will you serve indeed? As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord! Dwight Short

No one is too far away that God will not go after them. Ken Whitten

We are called to be the minister of our own home. Jake English

Whoever is happy will make others happy. ANNE FRANK

LIFEQUAKES

Week Fourteen, 2021

Jesus answered them, “You are deceived, because you don’t know the Scriptures or the power of God. Matthew 22:29

Just when everything seems to be going smoothly, life sometimes hits us in the head with a brick: cancer, a heart attack or other life-threatening illness; the loss of a loved one; a business failure or financial crisis; a physical disability, depression or another mental health challenge. Most of us have had our share of brick-like disruptions.

In his new book “Life is in the Transitions” best-selling author Bruce Feiler calls these big disruptions “lifequakes” —disruptions that change the very trajectory of our life.

Though lifequakes happen at every stage of life – typically every 10 years or so, according to Feiler – they are often most pronounced when they happen during the bonus years. That’s when new realities are more frequent, but our physical, financial and spiritual capacity to adapt is often more limited.

Still, for many, even debilitating lifequakes can inspire a new and uplifting trajectory. It also can seem comforting to think that God is controlling events when something horrible happens that is completely outside of our control. Some people find comfort in the idea that God meant for them to suffer in order to serve some greater purpose of his.

I remember the time Beverley and I met with the doctor to learn, totally unexpectedly, that my wife had cancer and had an even a less of a chance of experiencing her fiftieth birthday. That day began a long road of surgeries, chemo, radiation, etc.

It also started a strengthening of our marriage, spiritual renewal and experiencing friendship support almost beyond belief. Beverley won the battle, and we had a whopping big fiftieth birthday bash. It was an experience I would not wish upon my worst enemy, but looking back, it was a growing experience worth more than any amount of money I could receive. I attribute it to the power of God.

Our friends, Dana and Susan Hardee, were enjoying retirement when a lifequake came their way. Susan was diagnosed with a rare and lethal form of cancer and began, and still today continues very painful and physically damaging treatment. Yet, as many have watched how Dana and Susan are dealing with this, we have seen a trust in the power of God and a witness of faith to others. Please continue to pray for them.

We need to be prepared for life’s lifequakes, because in one form or strength they will come. When they do, we need to be prepared to see the power of God as He works through our lifequakes with us.

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SOMETIMES TRUE STORIES

Attitude is a choice. Happiness is a choice. Optimism is a choice. Kindness is a choice. Giving is a choice. Respect is a choice. Whatever choice you make makes you. Choose wisely. Roy T. Bennett

— o —

Maybe God has delayed the answers to some of your prayers. Maybe you have waited so long you feel desperate. If that is where you are, it’s time to begin interceding before the Lord. As you do, God may astound you by the changes He brings in your attitudes as He shapes and moves you to that place of harmony with Him. Don’t be discouraged when God delays the answers to your prayers. Dan Shock

— o —

Spring Decluttering is Better than Spring Cleaning. The Minimalist

— o —

A man was hard of hearing but didn’t want to spend the money for hearing aids. So he put a plug in his ear with a wire that ran down to his shirt pocket. When asked if it worked, he said it didn’t increase the sound, but it made people talk louder.

***

QUOTES YOU CAN USE

Here’s to life and embracing each day with gratitude, passion, compassion, empathy, integrity, love, kindness, faith and purpose! Richard Gonzmart

Always be joyful. Always keep on praying. No matter what happens, always be thankful, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus. I Thessalonians 5:16-18

GOD WANTS US TO HAVE VICTORY OVER THE FLESH, AND THAT VICTORY COMES ONLY WHEN WE WALK AFTER AND LIVE AFTER THE SPIRIT. Dan Shock

What you need as a believer is not “new sight” of the angels, but a new “insight” into the heart of God. Ken Whitten

And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men; Knowing that of the Lord ye shall receive the reward of the inheritance for you serve the Lord Christ. Colossians 3:23-24

Treat people as if they were what they ought to be and you help them to become what they are capable of being. Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe

Our prayer life is an indicator of our spiritual life. Kelly Knouse

Your life will be simplified when you choose inaction when no action is required and choose action when action is required.” —M.M. Ildan

If you’ve got time to worry, then you’ve got time to pray.

“THE CROSS”

For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God (1 Corinthians 1:18).

I am reading a book written by Darek Prince entitled Bought With Blood. I highly recommend it. The Cross is the significance of the divine exchange where forgiveness of my sins was exchanged for the blood of Christ. It is the very significance of the Christian faith and without it there is nothing to faith at all. There is no health of the soul, no hope of eternal life, save in the cross.

What God has done is complete, perfect, final. Never will it have to be changed or modified. But our appropriation of it is progressive. It is important to see this especially as we continue to emphasize the perfection of the work.

The real source of strength and wisdom for the Christian lies in the cross. Without the cross we can have good morality, a host of good intention and a lot of nice sermons, but we will have no significant results.

The fact that a man died and rose from the dead and is still alive today is the most important single event in human history. Nothing else can compare with it. When we refer to the cross, we are talking about the sacrifice that Jesus made on our behalf. The cross is the universal symbol of Christianity.

The glory of the cross was not about a wooden beam, or glittering symbol, but about the One who was nailed to it. Jesus Christ. The Lamb of God. The Son of God. Our Lord. Our Savior. And Redeemer. Jesus was forsaken that we might be forgiven. He was wounded that we might be healed. He was humiliated that we might be glorified. He was killed that we might live. He was sacrificed that we might be saved.

While the cross in Jesus’ days symbolized weakness, shame, and humiliation, it became the symbol of strength, liberty, and power. The blood of the cross became the divine agent demonstrating God’s power to cleanse sinners.

We should see the purpose of the cross. To Paul, as it should be to all of us, the cross was personal. It signifies the breaking down of barriers that separate people. It represents a new creation. It symbolizes our redemption, justification, and salvation from sin.

It is the focus of what we as Christians are and ought to be. It is not an adornment to be hung on a wall or worn around our neck. It is the focus of the resurrection power of the risen Christ.

What is the cross to you?

***

SOMETIMES TRUE STORIES

A Baptist minister named John Harper was on board the Titanic when it sank in the Atlantic Ocean in April 1912. He had a seat on a lifeboat alongside his sister and six-year-old daughter, but gave it up so he could stay on the sinking ship to preach to its doomed passengers. He even gave his life jacket to another passenger, who miraculously survived the disaster.

Rev. Harper continued sharing the gospel on the ship as it sank and then with those in the freezing water before he died. His daughter, Annie Jessie, went on to become the longest-living Scottish Titanic survivor.

Before the Titanic set sail, Pastor Harper wrote a letter to another clergyman, dated April 11, 1912. He thanked his fellow minister for his kindness when they had been together recently and closed his note, “The warriors are with me here and are doing well so far on the journey. With kindest love, your loving auld Pastor, John Harper.”

The letter recently sold at auction for more than $55,000. Its author’s sacrificial service after he wrote it was beyond price. —Jim Denison

— o —

Planned Parenthood Annual Report shows it killed 354,000 babies in abortions, more than ever before.

Before He formed us, He knew us in the womb. He has had a hand in our life before we even knew Him. He has led and guided before we even knew to ask. His grace has been given even before we knew we needed it.

Think about it.

— o —

Hungry? …… There are 4,297 restaurants in Tampa.

— o —

78% of people live from paycheck to paycheck and only 47% of people pay off their credit card balance each month.

— o —

A ten-year-old leukemia patient has designed a sweatshirt to raise money for families impacted by pediatric cancer. Her design includes the words, “Be strong and courageous,” taken from Joshua 1:9.

— o —

The percentage of North Korean citizens who are exposed to the Bible is steadily increasing each year despite extreme persecution. The YouVersion Bible app is now available in fifteen hundred languages.

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QUOTES YOU CAN USE

Men give me credit for some genius. All the genius I have lies in this; when I have a subject in hand, I study it profoundly. …Then the effort that I have made is what people are pleased to call the fruit of genius. It is the fruit of labor and thought. —ALEXANDER HAMILTON

Many have been around Jesus and may regularly attend church and read their Bible, but have not had a transformation with Jesus. —Ken Whitten

Anything lavished on Jesus is not wasted. —Ken Whitten

If you want to score a home run, you have to swing like you want one. —Bruce Ariens

Do small things with great love. —Mother Teresa

TO GOD, THE PRAYERS OF HIS PEOPLE ARE A PLEASANT ODOR. —Dan Shock

If you cannot do great things, do small things in a great way. —Napoleon Hill

Our deeper problems are theological, not political.

A quote from philosopher Søren Kierkegaard, “Faith sees best in the dark.”

That which is prefaced by prayer, needs to be punctuated by practice.

A goal is a dream with a deadline. —Napoleon Hill

What is the one thing that we can do that is different from the world? We can pray. —Chris Dotson

Do you view prayer as transactional or transformational? —Kelly Knouse