Category Archives: Faith

Peace in the Midst of the Storm

A fellow blogger whom I’ve come to respect for her faithfulness to God and His word gives us this acrostic on Peace in the Midst of the Storm. I hope you’re encouraged by it as I am.

From the Inside Out

Today’s post is an acrostic poem (I use that term lightly!) of praise and prayer, based on the phrase, “peace in the midst of the storm.” For each letter, I chose scriptural affirmations that seemed especially appropriate for this time of upheaval and uncertainty.  (You’ll find the references at the end of the post.)

Why the Bible? There is no better source of hope and strength.

Abraham Lincoln expressed it this way during his time of trouble:

(Photo taken in1863, in the midst of the Civil War.)

I believe that the Bible is the best gift

That God has ever given to man.

All the good from the Savior of the world

is communicated to us through this book.

I have been driven many times to my knees

By the overwhelming conviction

That I had nowhere else to go.

While collecting biblical truths that apply to our current situation, I…

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Inquiring Minds want to know

There is an irony in these days of isolation and empty store shelves that leave multiple questions in one’s mind. My friend Mitch Teemley has provided a list of questions for us to ponder as we wander about in our sanctuaries of solitude. I pass these along for your personal musings … and perhaps a smile or two.

How did evolution begin?

Presentation1

Science:

  • If you melted dry ice in a pool, could you swim in it without getting wet?
  • What happens if you turn on your headlights while driving at the speed of light?
  • Would the ocean be deeper if sponges didn’t grow in it?
  • If there’s a speed of sound and a speed of light, is there a speed of smell?
  • Do sheep get static cling when they rub against one another?
  • If a bee was allergic to pollen would it get the hives?
  • Can a pig pull a ham string?
  • If you put a chameleon in front of a mirror, what color does it turn?
  • If someone gets addicted to counseling, how do you treat them?

Arts and Literature:

  • If Cinderella’s glass slipper fit perfectly, why did it fall off?
  • Was Captain Hook called Captain Hand before he got the hook?
  • Why is he called the ‘Lone’ Ranger when Tonto is always with him?
  • Does the Little Mermaid wear an algebra?
  • Why doesn’t Tarzan have a beard (or any body hair, for that matter)?
  • At the ballet, you see girls dancing on their tiptoes. Why don’t they just get taller girls? (Greg Ray)

Language and Culture:

  • Do Dutch people always split the bill?
  • If a parsley farmer loses a lawsuit, do they garnish his wages?
  • Are mattresses ever not on sale?
  • Why don’t women put pictures of their missing husbands on beer cans?
  • What do Greeks say when they don’t understand? (“It’s all _________ to me.”)
  • Whose cruel idea was it to put an ‘s’ in the word “lisp”?
  • If “there’s an exception to every rule,” is there an exception to that rule?
  • Can an ambidextrous person make an offhanded remark?
  • Why do ‘fat chance’ and ‘slim chance’ mean the same thing?
  • “When you clean out a vacuum cleaner, does that make you a vacuum cleaner?”
  • If a mime is arrested, do they tell him he has a right to talk?
  • Why do people sink so slowly in quicksand?
  • If money doesn’t grow on trees, why do banks have branches?
  • Can a short person “talk down” to a taller person?
  • What’s the synonym for “thesaurus”?
  • Are female teamsters “teamstresses”?
  • Are male seamstresses “seamsters”?
  • If you steal a clean slate, does that go on your record?
  • If pro and con are opposites, does that make Congress the opposite of progress?

And finally, the biggest question of all:

  • If God sneezes, what do you say to Him?

Have an amazing day!!!

Be A people of faith and hope

This will be a brief but hopefully succinct post …

I was reminded by a dear friend and mentor this morning that God doesn’t often spare from difficulties. The book of Daniel cites two examples of how our God goes with us through the challenges of life.

  1. In chapter 3 we read that three of Daniel’s friends were thrown into the fiery furnace. Still while they were there, a fourth person appeared in the furnace with them. Even though they had been thrown in tied up (bound), all four were walking around in the furnace unbound. When the king called them out of the furnace, their hair was not singed, their clothes were not harmed, and they had no odor of the fire or smoke on them. God was with them through a most intense fire.
  2. He was with Daniel in the lions den (chapter 6) and sent an angel to close the mouths of lions. So Daniel spent the night with a pride of hungry lions and walked out unharmed.

From these and other examples like Christ calming the wind and the waves found in Matthew 8, we learn that God goes with us through the storms of life.

In Joshua chapter 1 the Lord told Joshua beginning in verse 5, “No man shall be able to stand before you all the days of your life. Just as I was with Moses, so I will be with you. I will not leave you or forsake you. Be strong and courageous, for you shall cause this people to inherit the land that I swore to their fathers to give them. Only be strong and very courageous, being careful to do according to all the law that Moses my servant commanded you. Do not turn from it to the right hand or to the left, that you may have good success wherever you go. This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success. Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.

Our God is bigger than any climate crisis we can create, He is bigger than any of the world’s most powerful governments, and He is the Great Physician and heals all our diseases. There is NO earthly power, situation or circumstance that God cannot overcome. We need to have faith, not in our government that thinks they can solve all of our issues, but in our God who can indeed supply our every need, if we only will trust Him.

He told His chosen disciples that were with Him in the boat, “Oh you guys who have so little faith!” Can we place our faith in the One who alone has power over all of this world’s challenges? You bet! I’m asking my family to demonstrate a faith that is unshakable. Taking our eyes off of the author and finisher of our faith causes us to waver. Abraham’s faith did not waver, in fact it grew (Romans 4:19-21). Paul challenged the church at Corinth to “Be watchful, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong. Let all that you do be done in love.” (1 Cor 16:13)

If we have faith we can be light and hope to the world around us that is bending to the fear mongering, hoarding and misinformation that is going on in our current world setting. Let’s be men of faith who are acting wisely and without fear.

To Remind You

Quite often when the subject of the next generation comes up the topic leads to discussion on how to best share our values with them. This blog is one of the ways, I am able to pass along biblical values that will be retrievable for years to

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come, regardless of my state of health, or even my presence here on earth. The pressures of our culture are immense and biblical values are not only discarded by the world, but Christianity is unique in our world as a faith that is attacked and expressly banned from the public square. Indeed, it is singled out for ridicule as intolerant, exclusive, unloving, judgmental, and yes, even hateful.

Today I read Peter’s second letter to the church. What a great letter! If you haven’t read it lately, I’d encourage you to listen to the Holy Spirit as only Peter can express it. In chapter 1 of this letter, Peter challenges us “to supplement our faith with virtue, and virtue with knowledge, and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with steadfastness, and steadfastness with godliness, and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love.” A sermon could be preached expounding on each one of these supplements. I’m fascinated by they way that these aspects build on one another. Even that is another whole study!

But for today I’d like to focus on another point that Peter makes in his opening remarks. It seems that he sensed that his readers might be saying to themselves, “Yeah, yeah, yeah … what else is new?” So he then writes beginning in verse 12, “Therefore I intend always to remind you of these qualities, though you know them and are established in the truth that you have. I think it right as long as I am in this body to stir you up by way of reminder … And I will make every effort so that after my departure you may be able at any time to recall these things.”

This is my intent with my family and friends and the purpose of these postings. That you may remember the good words that God has for you in the writings that reveal His character and His will for us. My desire is that my family would always be a beacon of the light of Jesus in the world around them. Two of our grandchildren are teachers who are being creative in ways to teach her elementary and middle school students biblical values and truths. Another is working towards the day when he’ll be able to shine the light of Jesus through the practice of physical therapy. Yet another is actively teaching junior high students from God’s word and is writing to help college students assimilate and apply what has been taught in the church college ministry. Still another is involved in the lighting ministry helping young worshipers focus on what’s important in the mid-week services. Each one using their gifts and talents to help point people to Jesus. I am a blessed man to have five amazing grandchildren who were raised by four pretty amazing and faith focused parents.

These are all great things, but in the middle of all these wonderful activities, let’s not forget why we are so engaged. The reason we are doing these things is to lift up Jesus Christ as Lord and give glory to God! I must confess that there are more times than I care to admit that my motives and objectives aren’t always what they should be. I love it when different people acknowledge and “like” my efforts. The Bible tells me that with motives like that, I have already received my reward and none will be waiting for me in heaven on that piece. We must engage in the process of daily dying to self and lifting up the name of Jesus.

Three times in Matthew chapter 6 (verses 2, 6, and 16) Christ teaches that those of us who put our “righteousness” on display for the admiration of others have already received our reward. So, let’s follow Colossians 3:5 and put to death that which is earthly in us; which includes that which is for the praise of men rather than of God.

God is big on remembering. On countless occasions through the history documented in the Old Testament, God had the people of Israel erect an altar or a monument so that their children would remember God’s faithfulness. As Christ was preparing for His death by crucifixion, He had one last meal with His disciples. He broke the bread and poured the wine as a remembrance of His sacrifice. He told them to do this in remembrance of Him.

Likewise, I write these things contained in this blog so that you will remember to return to the Scriptures, remember the Lord your God, remember the death and resurrection of Jesus. Remember the truths that are taught in the Scriptures. They are eternal, not just for the day in which they were written. Take them to heart. God’s word will bear fruit in your life. The indwelling of the Holy Spirit will help you understand God’s word. Remember the things you were taught as little children.

These things I write to remind you …

Why does the soul matter?

I wrote a piece recently (see previous article) challenging the reader to inquire of someone regarding the condition of their soul. If we want meaningful conversation that tells the other person we really care about them, and if indeed we do care, the most important thing we should care about would be the condition of their souls. We commonly understand our souls to be much as the 1913 Webster Dictionary defined it as, “That spiritual, rational, and immortal part in man … that is, the seat of life …” It is our innermost being, the essence of who we are as God-created humans, distinct from the animal kingdom. God formed man from the dust of the earth and breathed life into Him. It was with this breath of God that Adam was given a soul, that would be immortal. Depending on the choices we make on this earth, the immortality of the soul can be glorious or a literal hell. It was the very breath of God that made man into His likeness. It is with the first man, Adam, that God walked in the Garden of Eden and had a relationship with Him. God did not have the same relationship with the animals. Man had a soul and was an eternal likeness of God.

Image result for human soul what does a soul look like

It was at the soul level that Adam and Eve had relationship with their Creator. Christ told us in Matt 10:28 that we should not fear those who are able to kill the body because they won’t be able to touch our souls. The soul is a part of us reserved for God alone. He will be the final judge of the destiny of our souls. Our souls know about our eternal nature. Ecclesiastes 3:11 tells us that “He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the hearts of men; yet they cannot fathom what God has done from beginning to end.” That sense of the eternal is in our souls.

So, when we consider our soul and its condition, we must consider its relationship with God, the One who will finally assign our eternal destiny. Have I placed my trust in Him alone? With the never-ending 3-ring circus that is constantly going on in our world, am I spending my time stewing and fretting about all the potential outcomes, or is my house built on the solid rock and can withstand any storm this world can throw my way?

Can you confidently say that it is well with your soul? In his third letter to the Church, the Apostle John wrote, ” Beloved, I pray that all may go well with you and that you may be in good health, as it goes well with your soul.” (3Jn 1:2) The songwriter Horatio Spafford penned these words,

“When peace like a river attendeth my way.
When sorrows like sea billows roll.
Whatever my lot, thou hast taught me to know,
it is well, it is well with my soul.”

The Apostle Paul was led by the Holy Spirit to write these words in his letters to young churches: “I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.” (Php 4:12) and speaking of an affliction that Paul longed to rid himself of, he wrote to the church in Corinth, “Three different times I begged the Lord to take it away. Each time he said, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me. That’s why I take pleasure in my weaknesses, and in the insults, hardships, persecutions, and troubles that I suffer for Christ. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” (2 Cor 12:8-10)

In other words, Paul had learned to say that it was well with his soul regardless of his circumstances, or what he saw going on in the world around him. Still, he acknowledged difficulty in life. If we don’t acknowledge our pain(s), how then are we to carry one another’s burdens? Paul wrote about living in plenty and in want, in weakness and persecution, and his letters to the churches were written to address issues facing these churches. But when all is said and done, if we remain in the faith (abide in Him), we have this confidence in Christ that assures us of the salvation of our souls. 1 John 2:28 tells us, “And now, little children, abide in him, so that when he appears we may have confidence and not shrink from him in shame at his coming.”

Our souls are the essence of who we are. Abiding in Christ gives us a healthy soul. Our perspective on life, love and our own soul health is bolstered by abiding in Christ and His love letter to us in the Scriptures. I hope and pray that you can say, it is well with my soul. But if you can’t say that, I hope and pray that God surrounds you with people who will help guide you to a path of well-being at the soul level.

Prayer is Air!

My friend Mitch has done it again with his gift of storytelling. How is your air supply? Are you willing to acknowledge that you weren’t made for this world? This is not our natural environment. The Bible says we are aliens and strangers in this world. We need the breath and indwelling of the Holy Spirit to have a proper worldview. Indeed we need to acknowledge the world for which we were made. Eph 2:19 tells us about our world, the one that holds our citizenship as believers. 1 Peter 2:11 begins to tell us how we should then live in this world, including some things we’re prone to complain and chafe over. God bless as you read Mitch’s story about the air we breathe.

Mitch Teemley

deep_sea_diver__by_tolyanmy-d6bbj0v“Deep Sea Diver” by TolyanMy

Connecting With God

While I was working my way through college, my buddy Dean was hitchhiking his way up Pacific Coast Highway. A few years later, I had a shiny new bachelor’s degree and was selling encyclopedias for minimum wage. And Dean was making massive amounts of money. Wait–what?

How?

Deep sea diving! I pictured him battling giant squids. The reality was slightly less exotic, but still pretty cool: he was salvaging lost cargo. “Why so much money?” I asked.

“Because it’s dangerous. You can’t wear scuba gear ‘cause it’s too deep and you’re down there too long. And if anything cuts off your air…”

Gasp!

“Exactly. That’s why you can’t do it alone. One guy goes down while the other one stays up top monitoring the air flow. You gotta have enough pressure or the ocean will crush you. And all the time…

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