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Thursday, December 23, 2010

The Christmas Story

Jesus shows us the way back to the Father.
He was born in a cow shed.
He was raised in obscurity.
He lived homeless and without any wealth.
His whole desire was to obey his Father
He lived to serve others.
And then saying, "Don't mention it."
He was misunderstood by almost everyone. 
Those who were his followers forsook him.
The religious leaders had him nailed to a cross, naked!
He said "Father forgive them."

So how are we doing at following his example?

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Political Action

From time to time I get email and other information from friends and others encouraging me to take this political position or giving me information about a political personality with the apparent hope of gaining my support for one idea or another. I have thought some about this and would like to stick in an idea that I haven’t heard in a long time.

I believe political action is necessary, but, as I have said, it may be a little different action than some have considered.

A few years ago there was an evangelist going around the country holding tent meetings and bringing people to the Lord. His ministry had as a motto, II Chronicles 7:14. This verse is an outline with guaranteed result of the political action I would suggest.

It often seems that many renderings of Scripture seem elementary and simplistic, almost juvenile. But I think I’ll take the risk since, as I said, I haven’t heard anyone suggest this strategy in a long time.

2Ch 7:14 if my people, who are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.

Just to break it down:

“My people, who are called by my name”. Most of the time when I hear about political action, it involves causing other people, by some means or another, to take an action that “we, conservative Christians” think THEY need to take. This plan of action, on the other hand, is directed directly at me.

Each aspect of the action required and stated in this verse is deadly serious and should be considered carefully and individually. I am not a theologian or anything like that, but I have a little light and believe I should let that shine and then others may add their light and we can get a pretty good fire going.

The first aspect that hits me in the face is “humble themselves”. There are many verses about this and you can get out your concordance and see that God seems pretty serious about this part of our development as children of God. For me, it seems that every time I turn around, I find some new area where I am proud or guided by self will. To humble myself simply stated seems to mean that I see that the actions I have been taking up to now have not worked out so well (really badly actually). This naturally leads me to the next aspect of the plan. James 4:10

“And pray.” Wow! This is such a huge area, and I am such a novice here. It seems that it may be significant that this is the second step, right after “humbling myself”. I am so full of ideas of stuff to do, that these first steps often seem to get sent to the back of the bus, and then never get done.

“And seek my face.” This seems to me to be instruction for the “and pray” part. When I was a boy, church would usually start with some powerful anthem (“Holy, Holy, Holy””Great is Thy Faithfulness””Amazing Grace” etc). The organist would have all the stops out on the pipe organ and we all sang with all we had in us. Then Mr. Wilson would pray. I always felt like I had been escorted into the very presence of God. If nothing else happened of note in the church service, that, by itself, was an amazing experience. So often when we pray it seems that we are simply reading our list to the furniture. I need to spend more time seeking God’s face. I have experienced that this is a very effective strategy for prayer.

“And turn from their wicked ways.” This gives me something to actively do. It doesn’t involve anyone but me. Someone may say “We’re saved by grace not by works.” I hope you are not using that as an excuse to ignore most of the teachings of the New Testament. God’s Word is full of admonitions to “mortify the flesh””be perfect even as your father in heaven is perfect””love one another” and many, many more. If I am working to fulfill the parts of this verse that have come before, I will have no problem finding areas that Our Father wants to work in my life to cleanse and purify. I do have work to do!

At this point I come to the guarantee. God says, “I will hear from heaven, and forgive their sin, and heal their land.” Is the political condition of this country in turmoil? Is the economy upside down? Are the morals of this country in the toilet? Does this land need supernatural healing? Does anyone really have a plan with a better guarantee?

We all have so much to do and so little time, but I believe this may be the very most important thing in all of our lives, not just for the United States, but more importantly for the salvation of men and women all around us.

Matt 5:16

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Rest in God

I have decided that I should work on one aspect of my spiritual walk at a time and write about my discoveries in these things regularly. With that in mind, the first things that come to my mind are a statement and a verse from God’s Word.

The statement was by a brother, Elias Aslaksen, who lived from 1888 to 1976 mostly in Norway. He served the Christian Church in Norway for several years. I have a paper entitled “Seven Important Exhortations” which is credited to Brother Aslaksen. The 4th exhortation says, “I exhort each and everyone to work powerfully in order to enter into perfect rest IN GOD, without exception!”

The scripture verse that I am working from is Hebrews 4:11, “Therefore let us labor to enter into that rest lest anyone fall after the same example of unbelief.” (Modern King James Version)

I am first of all fascinated by the apparent contradiction within the sentence “Labor to enter rest.” The Revised Version says “give diligence” and the English Standard Version says “strive”.

There is so much here to look at and so much to receive from God. The main thing that appears to stand in the way of my receiving what Our Father wants to give me is “unbelief”. It seems that unbelief is the natural response to God’s will and promises. Therefore I must work, strive, be diligent to overcome my natural unbelief with completely satisfying belief in God and his wonderful love, mercy and will.

We can say we believe all sorts of things, but my life shows very accurately what I truly do believe. What do I habitually think about? What are the words that casually come from my heart (Lk 6:45)? What do the refreshment, entertainment and/or diversions that I choose say about my belief?

Jesus says, “Take My yoke on you and learn of Me, for I am meek and lowly in heart, and you shall find rest to your souls.” (Matt 11:29) This is the short answer that defines my life’s work and the labor and strife for all who would truly desire to be Christians.

So this is where I am working and I am amazed that the life in the spirit somehow is always whole in each part. I think I will be writing more about my work of entering into rest in God. If you have had success or insight in this area, please offer your comments so we can each receive from the other.

Be faithful, Rick

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Truely a Best Friend

Do you have a best friend? That probably means different things to different people. I had a best friend in high school. His name was Dave. We did all sorts of things together. We went hunting. We went camping. We rebuilt his dad’s ’54 Chevy. Well mostly he did, but I helped. I did things with his family and he did things with mine. And we knew stuff about each other; maybe stuff that no one else knew.

We knew other things about each other. I liked classical music, Dave didn’t. I liked Florsheim shoes and Haggar slacks, Dave didn’t care. But we liked a lot of the same things and we spent a lot of time together. I went off to college and Dave went to work. I have seen him a couple of times since then.

This little trip down memory lane is brought on by a verse I read the other day that caused me to think about ‘best friends’.
John 14:21 says

He who has my commandments and keeps them, he it is who loves me. And he who loves me shall be loved by My Father, and I will love him and will reveal myself to him.

LOOK at that last phrase. What a crazy wonderful thing to think about. Jesus is beside God the Father in the true ‘Holy of Holies’. He sees into the very heart of God. He loves each of us with unimaginable love, and he wants to reveal himself to us.

Sometimes revelation is not pleasant. Some things you just don’t want to know. You know what I’m talking about, things like old people talk about. My granddaughter will say, “TMI Papa”. (Too much information) But what Jesus is talking about is on the other side of that universe.

What does Jesus want to reveal to me, to you? Some of the things may not be pleasant at the moment. There are things in my life he wants to remove. Do I want to hear about that? My flesh doesn’t but the spirit of God dwelling in me longs to hear and receive help to work with my heavenly father to remove what needs to be removed and receive what needs to be added.

He also wants to help us see the glory that we can experience if we truly follow him! Now that is a best friend!

Monday, October 4, 2010

Crummy Religion

This morning I woke up a little early and was thinking about why I am not happy a lot of the time.  As I was considering this I realized I must really have a crummy religious faith if it doesn't help me find happiness.  There are lots of verses in God's word that speak of abundant life and I often think of the verse in Hebrews 1:9 that says God annointed Jesus with the oil of gladness above all his brothers.  So Jesus was happy.  As I was thinking I realized that the things that I am unhappy about probably won't be affected by my happiness or unhappiness.  And my constant dwelling on these things makes for a really crummy witness. 

So what can I do?  I can set my thoughts on the reasons I should be happy.  There is a song that starts, "Tell me why we should not be extremely happy, We've a living hope that we by faith can see!"  So I got up and looked up the song and sang it. 

Happy is such a fickle thing.  I sang the song and started thinking about the wonderful hope that I have in my relationship with Jesus. 

I became happy. 

If I am living my day thinking about the things that are wrong, I will not be happy.  If I live my day occupied with the blessings of following Jesus I will be happy.  So my religion is what is on my mind in my daily life.  That is the light that shines from my life.  My dear frind Nicholas calls it practicing the presence of Jesus.  Andrew Murray might call it Abiding in the Vine.  Another song calls it Living Faith.

I have work to do here.  How about you?

Be Faithful;  Rick

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Jesus the son of man

This may be the most controversial article I will ever write. It is in response to several events that I have experienced especially recently. It is not only possibly controversial I believe it may be the most important article I could write. Please consider it prayerfully.

First and absolutely I want to say that I believe the Bible is the inspired Word of God. I enjoy reading the King James Version, but I also read and learn much from other translations. I believe what I am going to share is scriptural. But then most Christians would say the same thing of their beliefs. Pointing to individual verses is kind of objectionable to me but I hope that I can show in context that the things I affirm are what the writers and I believe God intended.

So let’s begin.

In the first chapter of the Gospel of John there is a familiar passage.

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
The same was in the beginning with God.
All things were made by him; and without him was not anything made that has been made.
In him was life; and the life was the light of men.
And the light shined in the darkness; and the darkness apprehended it not.
There came a man, sent from God, whose name was John.
The same came for witness, that he might bear witness of the light, that all might believe through him.
He was not the light, but came that he might bear witness of the light.
There was the true light, even the light which lightest every man, coming into the world.
He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not.
He came unto his own, and they that were his own received him not.
But as many as received him, to them gave he the right to become children of God, even to them that believe on his name:
Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.
And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us (and we beheld his glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father), full of grace and truth.

This is of course John 1:1 to 14. This is a beautiful picture of how Jesus was with God from the beginning and before. Also this shows that Jesus was an active part of the creation of all things. In the 14th verse there are some words that I believe are extremely significant. “And the Word became flesh…” So starting with Jesus being with God and in fact being God we come to a transition in the word ‘became’. How complete was the transition and how important is it that we see it correctly?

There are more beautiful words in Hebrews which give an answer to the first question. How complete was the transition? “Wherefore in all things it behooved him to be made like unto his brethren, that he might be a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make reconciliation for the sins of the people.” Hebrews 2:17 KJV. Another translation reads a little clearer: “Thus he had to become like his brothers in every way, so that he could be a merciful and faithful high priest in service to God and could atone for the people's sins.” This tells me that he was like us “in every way.” That seems pretty complete to me.

There is more evidence in Hebrews 4:15 when it says, “For we do not have a high priest who cannot be touched with the feelings of our infirmities, but was in all points tempted just as we are, yet without sin.” How is this any proof of the total humanity of Jesus? Let’s look at James the first chapter. Here James is talking about the nature and the blessing of temptation. As he is describing the nature of temptation in verse 13 he says, “Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man:” “God cannot be tempted with evil.” So if Jesus was tempted “in all points just as we are” and “God cannot be tempted with evil” is it logical to say that when Jesus was tempted he was not God?

I know these ideas may be really hard for some to read without becoming irritated. That will give you some idea of how I feel when I hear the opposite view. I can also say that these ideas are not original with me. But when I heard them from Godly men whose lives I respected, I was ready to accept them. Unfortunately you have to hear them from me.

If you are still with me, let’s look at a few more verses. In Philippians 2:5-8 we find, “Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.” Now this may not look as convincing as the others but it does convey a humiliation. And in another translation the phrase ‘made himself of no reputation’ is worded as, “emptied himself.”

When the ‘rich young ruler’ came to Jesus and called him “good master”, Jesus responded immediately to the address with a correction. “Why do you call me good? None is good but God only.” Matthew 19:16-17. It is interesting to me at least that most of the time when Jesus spoke of himself he used the phrase “the son of man.” In the record that we have this seems to be the emphasis.

Aside from denying a basic tenant of most popular “Christian” teaching, what is my point?

I’m glad you asked. There are a couple. If Jesus was God when he was walking around as a man, how can I feel that he really did know how I feel. Sure he is God and sure he knows everything, but how does that help me? Of course the answer is as a man he felt what I feel. He truly experienced my fears, doubts and temptations.

As I have already pointed out in scripture, how could he be tempted if he was God? The Word of God says he couldn’t. So how was he tempted? Just like you and me. Look at James 1 again and in verse 14 is says. “But every man is tempted when he is drawn away of his own lusts, and enticed.” Now you may say I have gone too far. I am only reading the Word of God. Jesus was tempted just like we are and yet he did not sin. There were things he wanted that were not the will of God and he denied himself and did the will of his Father instead. This is wonderful because by doing this he not only became the perfect sacrifice for sin, he also showed us the way back to the Father.

Consider I Peter 2:21; “For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you might follow in his steps.” If he was God, how could I ever be expected to follow in his steps? But since he became wholly man, and no more, I can follow. In John 1:12 in the KJV it says “As many as received him, He gave them the power to become the sons of God, to as many as believe on his name.” Before Jesus came we didn’t have the power to become the sons of God, but now when we receive him and believe on his name, we do.

Because Jesus truly was tempted just as we are he could be the perfect sacrifice for sin, and not just another symbolic sacrifice that looked like a man.

Because Jesus truly was a man he shows me that it is possible for me to follow him and partake of divine nature and escape the corruption that is in the world because of lust. II Peter 1:4.

Jesus is the author and finisher of ‘our’ faith. Another translation says pioneer and perfecter. Heb 12:2.

And this is why I think the KJV is correct in Galatians 2:20 when it says; “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.” I can now live by the same faith.

I have 2 more things I would like to point out.

In the garden of Gethsemane Jesus said “If it is possible let this cup pass from me. Yet not as I will but as You will.” He had another will. Matthew 26:39.

My last point is a terrible warning. Going around I have seen how the doctrine of “wholly God and Wholly Man” and “the Deity of Jesus” have sucked power from the Gospel of God. People claim a gospel and yet deny that we can ever be anything but sinners. In the same context that I John says, “If we say we have no sin we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us.” He also says, “Little children I write these things to you so that you may not sin.”


I John 4:2-3; “By this you know the Spirit of God: every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is of God; and every spirit that does not confess that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is not of God. And this is the antichrist you heard is coming, and even now is already in the world.”

Please be faithful


Saturday, June 5, 2010

How I understand the wonderful news

What follows is my first attempt to present the "gospel message" in about 1,000 plain words.  I managed to get it all in 1,016 words, I think.  There are words that I refused to use in this presentation, because it seems to me that their meanings are really vague or confused by a lot of religious gobbldy gook.  Some of these words are; sin, faith, righteousness and salvation.  Please comment either here or on facebook or you can email me at  thanks

In the beginning God made the heavens and the earth and everything that is in them, by His Word. He put man in a beautiful garden and gave him a helper that he called woman. God gave them 2 rules. First take care of this garden. Second do not eat the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.

Think about this with me. If you eat something it goes into your body and becomes the stuff your body is made of, plus the waste which is cast off. I think this has some spiritual connections. See if you agree. The tree of the knowledge of good and evil: Could that also be taking into yourself the idea that you could decide what is good and what is evil? I think it is. And that is sort of how I see the problem. Because when man ate that fruit he began to decide what was good and what was evil, he had no more need for God. That’s when his relationship with God ended and he was spiritually dead. The spirit of God no longer lived in him.

At this time God had to throw Adam and Eve out of the beautiful garden. It was too dangerous for them. It was not punishment it was for their safety. And so man continued for many years doing what he decided was good. Sometimes he has done what he knew was evil, to get what he wanted. In any case this has all been done outside of a relationship with God. As long as man chooses to be the authority that decides good and evil, he is not in a right relationship with God.

Now God knows everything. He doesn’t act to cause a lot of things to happen, but he does know what will happen. And he is in the midst of everything. Ok I cannot explain that but somehow I believe it. When this great calamity occurred, God saw it coming and had a plan ready.

Over the next several years God chose a man to be the first of a family who would eventually bring to earth the one man who could lead us back to a relationship with God. That man was Abram. The Word of God tells the story of how this man heard a message from God and then bumbled around for several years and goofed up a lot. Because he was trying to work out God’s promise. Then when all hope was gone. God came in and said, “Now I will fulfill my word.” Ok that is not a quote, but that is what God did. He changed Abram and Sarai’s names to Abraham and Sarah, and then gave them a son. The son’s name was Laughter. In their language his name was Isaac.

They only had one son, but from this one child God grew a nation. There was a lot of messing things up by the men and women involved. But God kept things moving forward little by little. This tiny start grew into a great nation united by a promise from God. They spoke of him as “The God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.” He was so mighty and frightening that they did not dare to call him their God.

There are many wonderful stories of how God did act on the part of the children of Abraham. They are written for us to enjoy and learn from in what is called the Old Testament. These are stories of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob (who was later called Israel). There are also the stories of Joseph and his brothers, Moses and many other interesting men and women. God worked with and through these amazing and amazingly foolish people to bring about the one who would show us the way back to Him.

One of these people was David. He was a king of the people of Israel. He started out as a sheep herder, for his father’s flocks. He also wrote a lot of praise music. He was chosen to be king and did a lot of great things in Israel. He also did some pretty awful stuff by almost any standard. It is important to realize this as you learn the story of how God made the way for us to get back to him.

God used men that we call prophets to tell all who would listen that David’s kingdom would last forever. That is another way of saying one of his sons would be king of Israel forever.

Several years later, in a little town outside of Jerusalem, a baby was born in a cow shed. His mother had never had sexual relations with a man, but God had put the child inside her. She was married to a man who was a direct descendant of King David. It is very reasonable to assume she was also in the same family though not a close cousin. They were told to name the child Jesus. This name means; Salvation of Jehovah.

Jesus grew up in the land of Israel as the son of a carpenter. And he learned to obey by surrendering his will to the Will of his Heavenly Father. Because the reason he came was to do the will of God.

Since the religious leaders were working at other things, they didn’t understand that this one was the one who would lead them back to God. They became jealous of his popularity and power so they killed him. Their leader said “it is right that one should die for the people.”

And so in their selfish arrogance they accomplished God’s will. When men turn from God, death is the only result. Jesus accepted that separation and punishment for us. He Died!

But God raised him from death. A record of his life has been given to us so we can follow him and find the way back to God.

Please, join me and many others who have simply chosen to follow Jesus back to our Heavenly Father.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

I should have put this post before the last one but here it is.  Hope it helps.  It also follows the Life changing experience post from last year.  I'm so confused!

God bless America. These are words we all heard a lot after September 11, 2001. Everyone was saying this and it was written on signs all over the country. As truck drivers we got to see it and probably many of us had signs like this on our trucks. One day after 9/11 I was driving through Las Vegas and on one of the casino signs that usually feature some entertainment were the words God BLESS AMERICA. Frankly as a disciple of Jesus I was a little offended. But it got me to thinking about the phrase, “God Bless.” And I thought that in the Bible that phrase does not appear. But we as Christians often use this greeting or blessing. So what is the big deal? Maybe nothing but I sometimes tend to be a detail nerd, so stick with me a minute ‘cause I am going somewhere that may be worthwhile.

In my life changing experience article I mentioned Proverbs 9:1, and how that got me praying about the seven pillars of wisdom. I don’t remember exactly how it came to me because there seems to have been several things pointing to this but it occurred to me that there are seven blessings at the beginning of the Sermon on the Mount that are a result of my behavior. Yes I realize there are nine blessings in the beginning of the Sermon on the Mount, but the last 2 are dependent on the actions of others, and possibly on the first seven.

So now the secret is out. These seven blessings have become for me the seven pillars of wisdom. As I meditate on them at least one of them will stop me and I will have a prayer time about how I need to be more mindful of that characteristic. I pray for grace. I pray for wisdom. I pray for faith. Now I have been doing this for a few years and I want to tell you that God answers prayer. My mind is being changed and made new.

Over the years I have heard many testimonies of how people came to the Lord and zap flash bang everything was new and changed. Well, I just don’t know anything about that kind of experience. But I do know and can testify God is using this in my life.

So why the beatitudes? I can only guess. First of all as I prayed, that is what became evident to me. They seemed so simple and so common. That may be a very good reason. God seems to hide the best stuff right in front of us, and we stumble over it for years looking for it. It has led me to many other verses and chapters that have expanded each one of the blessings.

Mat 5:3 Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Mat 5:4 Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted.

Mat 5:5 Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth.

Mat 5:6 Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.

Mat 5:7 Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy.

Mat 5:8 Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God.

Mat 5:9 Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.

This all seems so very weak as I read what I have written. But even if it sounds weak to you also, please believe me when I tell you it is having an effect in my life and I am being changed. Please take me seriously when I encourage you to take the time to memorize these verses and repeat them to yourself each night before you go to sleep. Meditate on them as you drive. Let God use them in your life. Jesus didn’t just blabber off some good sounding stuff to get the message going. There are true words of life here, and I don’t see any end of searching the riches of these words.

I have almost completely stopped using the phrase “God bless you.” God’s Word tells us who he blesses. It is my sincere desire that you find the blessings of God as you live the life you have to live, therefore my blessing to you is “Be faithful!” As we work with these things God is always Faithful, and he is eager to pour out blessings on those who are being conformed to the image of his Son.

Finding grace to help in time of need.

Your brother Rick,


It Really Works

I just need to share. 
The other night Jeannie and I were talking about financial stuff.  We are working to get things in this area cleaned up.  Anyhow someone was calling and harassing her.  I got instantly enraged.  She got me to calm down, but only in what I was saying.  Later I was getting ready for bed and I usually have communion before I go to bed.  That night I looked at the bread and the cup and even though everything was ready and I had read a scripture, I couldn't touch it. I was still angry and even angry about old stuff.  I just left everything where it was and went to bed. 

As I lay in bed The Blessings came to mind.  Thank God!  I have mentioned how the meditation on the first 7 blessings is a tremendous help.  Well as I lay there I began going through them one at a time and spending a little time with each one.  Letting each one work on me.  By the time I got to the end, my spirit was at rest and I got back out of bed and was able to recieve the rememberance of my Lords Love. 

Psalms 1:1-2
Blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the ungodly, nor stand in the way with sinners, nor sit in the seat of the scoffer.  But his delight is in the Law of the Lord, and in his law does he meditate day and night. 

Please memorize and meditate on God's Word It will have a good effect on you. 
Be Faithful

Sunday, February 7, 2010


(Mat 11:28) Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.

I have found myself here, weary from too much work, exhausted from not finding satisfaction in my work. I desperately need the rest that Jesus offers.

No I am not overworked, far from it. Rather, I am too often trying to find the answers to my problems in my own strength and wisdom, and too seldom looking to God to show me the way I need to go.

In the parable of the soils, Jesus spoke of the seed that was sown among thorns. This is where I often find myself. The main problem is that it takes me so long to realize that this is where I am. I become anxious about many things before I know what is happening. And suddenly I am depressed or discouraged and feeling hopeless.

There are so many things that can bring us out of rest; finances, relationships, health, and the list is endless. The really amazing thing is that all of the reasons go back to a lack of belief in God’s love and provision.

The word of God is full of strong words of encouragement to ‘trust in the Lord’. Ps. 125:1, Pr. 3:5, Nah. 1:7, I Pet. 5:7. These are just a few. But sometimes we just get neck deep in cares and troubles. At that point how do I just start trusting in the Lord? Can you will yourself in those times to trust God and just not be anxious? I can’t!

What can we do? Once again the answer is simple and plain. You have heard it many times if you have spent any time on this way. Psalms 119 is full of encouragement that will help give us the right answer. Psalms 1 is also a great help.

:1 Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful.
:2 But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night.
:3 And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper. Psalm 1:1-3

The word of God is the answer that has been the help that I have needed, the help that has truly been a help. Recently I picked up a tape at a truck stop entitled ‘Protection from Backsliding’. The brother, who shared, spoke of 3 things to do in order to not backslide. The first was start every day in the Word of God. There was no mention of how much or how little, but the encouragement was that we prayerfully soak ourselves in the words of God. I must speak very strongly about this, because I have been so unfaithful and seen the devastation of not heeding these words. If we do not soak ourselves at the beginning of every day in the Word of God we will backslide. The second strong word is that we must begin every day with personal time alone with God. And the third is that we must make every effort to share our faith with everyone we possibly can.

The reason I have written this article is, I have done so poorly here and suffered with discouragement, fear and a loss of hope, because I neglected these areas. But God gave me grace to see what I had done and gave me grace to turn to his word and communion with him. In that, he gave courage and hope.

Hebrews 4:11 says “Let us labor therefore to enter into that rest, lest any man fall after the same example of unbelief.”

The word labor is translated in other versions as, ‘be diligent’ or ‘strive’. We need diligence, I need diligence. And many times it is a battle to be faithful. But the price of unfaithfulness is unspeakable. Verse 1 says “Let us therefore fear.” This is very serious. I know some are opposed to the word fear when it comes to the things of God, but for me I cannot water that word down. I need to fear that I will fail to enter this rest.

And finally the word unbelief at the end of verse 11 is also translated ‘disobedience.’ The more I think about it the more I see that these two words are almost synonyms. If I do not believe I will not obey.

I resolve to start every day in God’s word and with God in a time of personal intimate fellowship with God so that I may not come out of the rest that He wants me to live in. Let us pray for one another that we may be faithful.

Your brother Rick

Sunday, January 31, 2010

A dew drop

A dew drop,
A gem most precious;
It cannot be duplicated,
It can only be imitated.

In its heart the universe resides;
Its life is short, almost momentary.
So delicate it can be destroyed,
By the false step of a butterfly.

So is the nature of God’s mercies.
Precious gems destroyed by
Careless steps.

Only by the Grace of God,
Can I nourish and not destroy,
The thousands of mercies,
That God pours out,
For and around me daily.

So is my bride.

She is a precious,
Fragile gem;
Given to me to nourish,
And to cherish.
To wash,
With the dew of His Word.

The gem is as fragile
As the cleanser.

I am brutish and clumsy,
Very prone to fire hoses
And scrub brushes.

A natural man who
Destroys the mercy of God,
In my own
Self righteousness.

Only complete repentance,
And absolute surrender
Of my life,
Can save a single life.

Absolute humility before God,
Then Christ can come forth.
Only then am I of any use
In the Kingdom of God!

The gifts of God are not seen with the natural eye. But God shows mercy and reveals them so we can begin to see the glories that are ours on this way that Jesus went.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Jesus Was Amazed

Some translations say Jesus marveled others say he was amazed and still others say he wondered. What could have created such a profound effect in our Lord? In another place it says he was hindered by this same situation.

As I travel around and visit with Christians in chapels and churches sometimes we get into discussions about different things. There was one time at a coffee house a few years ago when I was visiting with some folks and there was one who seemed to be the dominant one. After some time I asked him, “What do you believe?” He had expressed a good deal of criticism for most of Christendom and I was curious. His response amazed me. He began to tell me a list of things he did not believe. I pressed him for some time but in everything his response was only a list of the things he did not believe. This was a very extreme example

However, there is a tendency in many of us to be sure, no one mistakes us for those “Pentecostals” or the “name it and claim it” crowd. Tongues, prophesy, words of wisdom and especially healing are not for today. Until someone we care about has a serious condition, then we pray for all we’re worth. Of course we add, “If it be your will, Oh Lord.”

It is amazing how we can ignore clear instructions in God’s word about all of these things simply because some have abused them, or taken things out of context. Sometimes it seems we would rather just take things out rather than take a chance.

It seems that in this country we are so smart that we have described the limits of God’s work in carefully worded theological arguments. There are places where they still have healings and raise the dead. Primitive people see angels and hear them sing.

I strongly suspect that there are many things God is hindered from doing for us and through us because of our amazing unbelief.

Take heed, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief, in departing from the living God. Heb 3:12

So we see that they could not enter in because of unbelief. Heb 3:19

I tell you that he will avenge them speedily. Nevertheless when the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth? Luke 18:8

By the way the passage I was referring to in the beginning is Mark 6:6.

Is God as narrow as many of the “Bible Teachers”? I am more afraid that he will find fault with me because of unbelief, than that he will condemn me for wrongly trying to apply some scripture because I am small and stupid.

Be more afraid of unbelief than of getting it wrong. I’m pretty sure we all get a lot of it wrong. If we get it wrong at least we were trying to get it right.

These are just some things I have thought about and areas where I believe I need to grow.

Let us all grow in the Grace that is in Christ Jesus.