Saturday, March 31, 2018

Transferred and Transformed

For He rescued us from the domain of darkness, and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son!

The reason Christians celebrate Easter is it changed everything. It changed the world and eternity. It changed our lives from despair to hope.  It changed our citizenship from the kingdom of darkness to the kingdom of His beloved Son. 

When Christ rose from the dead it declared to the world he had won!  He won the victory over sin, death, despair and the enemy.  When he rose from the dead eternity changed!  Literally.

Jesus was the only one to ever rise from the dead to a new kind of life and promised that same life to those who trust him. 

Easter is special because it means death has been defeated, life has won.  Darkness has fled from the light of his glory. Sin's power over us has been defeated and our sins have been forgiven....all of them!  Even the ones we haven't done yet.

Jesus made it possible for us to be sons of God!  There is no other faith, no other religion that offers life, forgiveness, hope and promise like the Christian faith offers. 

Now, because of Jesus, because of good Friday and Easter morning, anyone...and I mean anyone can become a son of God.

Transferred from death to life.
Transformed from sinner to saint.

Transferred from darkness to light.
Transformed from despair to joy.

All because Jesus died and rose again.

He is the God you are looking for. 

Will you trust him?  Will you invite him to rescue you and forgive your sins?  It's free to anyone.

All you have to do is ask.

Saturday, March 24, 2018


I live in a world of tears

Tears of loss,

Tears flow easily when death is near
They flow more freely when it happens

It doesn't matter
that he was a scoundrel
that she was a drunk

It doesn't really matter
the pain they caused
the cruel words they used

Tears come because of what should have been,
what could have been
but will never be again

Tears come from grief, loss, pain
from what is gone 
and lost forever

Tears flow for lack of one last 'good bye'


soon the very reason for, 
the very cause of tears will be
wrapped up and thrown away

Soon, very soon
tears will
be forgotten
for the joy of what God has done

Soon, he says, he will wipe away every tear

Soon, he wrote, crying and tears will be no more

That means the very cause of tears will be done as well!

No more death, angry words, harsh looks, wounded souls, grieved relationships...all of it will be done, never to be experienced again

Tears are the results of something gone terribly wrong

Soon the things that cause so many tears to flow will be finished and there will never again be need for another tearful eye

Can you imagine how wonderful that day will be?

Photo: Paul Dance

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Change something!

I'm sure you have heard the invitation to "change the world" in one way or another, but honestly who can do that?

I have enough trouble changing my clothes.

We all know something needs to change, any change for the better would help.  I think it's built into us that the way things are right now is not right and needs to change so we choose our cause and begin the battle for change.  Change the gun laws, change the president, change welfare, change something!

But do you realize how difficult intentional change really is if you aren't willing to begin with yourself?  Changing the world can only happen one soul, one person at a time.  It begins with changing your clothes, changing your bed, changing your attitudes and as  you change you others around you notice and begin....ever so change too.

Change something.  I don't care what cause you choose, but begin with you.  Change yourself into someone more loving, more giving, more compassionate, more kind and surprisingly you will find change happening around you that you never expected...even the way you view the world will change.

Change something, but begin with you.

Thursday, March 15, 2018

Great books

Once in a while I will share what I am reading.  I love great books, but there are few great books written these days.  Most are shallow and not worth the time, but once in a while a great book is written.  To be honest, most of the really great books were written before television, but that's a personal opinion.  Most of the reading that challenges me comes from books written before 1960.  But, once in a while, I am surprised.  Today I am thrilled to share one of the most profound works I have read in a long time.  I just finished it and will turn back to chapter 1 and read it again.  It is worth the time!

The book is "12 Rules For Life" by Jordan Peterson.

It is not an easy read.  It will make your head hurt, but you will thank him for the pain.  I invite you to a great adventure, I invite you to read Jordan's book.  You will thank me.

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Spiritual dementia

This morning I am reading Psalms 106.  It's a challenging chapter because it describes God's work for Israel and their response.  

One thing I notice repeating itself over and over in this chapter is this theme-  "they did not remember," "they forgot," "they forgot God."

In spite of all he had done for them they had developed spiritual dementia!  They saw the miracles in Egypt, the Red Sea parted, the cloud and the fire, the manna and the water from the rock....

....and still they forgot!

How is that possible?  How could they (and we) forget all God has done as if he never acted?  

To be honest, it's far too easy.  Scripture tries to describe it.  In it are elements of a hard heart, a loss of focus, lack of faith or trust in God and the febbleness of our flesh.  We are a mess!

How can we forget all God has done?  I don't know, but we do. I do! And so he gives me scripture to remind me of how easily I forget his great love, care and provision.  

In reading of the failures of Israel God is saying (as he does in 1 Corinthians 10) don't do what they did!  Don't forget to remember.

You need to know you have spiritual dementia.  You will forget what he did today and live in fear this afternoon or tomorrow.  You will have to constantly remind yourself of the great love of God.  This constant reminder of his great love is the only remedy for fear, panic and the spiritual dementia that plagues us all.  

God says, "I will never leave you or forsake you."  Don't forget to remember that.

Monday, March 12, 2018

Seeing clearly

"Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done.  Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus."

These two verses are from the book of Philippians, in the last chapter.  I'm sure you have heard them or memorized them in hopes of having the tools to deal with the issues of your life, but today may I add a different lens to his picture?

Do you realize what Paul is saying in these verses?  He's not giving us a way to make the things we worry about go away.  He's giving us a different perspective, a different way of seeing the problems themselves.

What Paul is saying to the Philippians, and to us, is this-  Don't forget that God is in charge of everything....even the things you are worrying about.  Worry is a distraction from the big picture- God is sovereign over everything, even the things that worry you.  You don't have to ask him to be in charge of them, he already is in charge of them and working it all out (see Rom. 8:28).  

What Paul is inviting is a way to deal with worry, not to deal with the problem.  The problem is part of God's plan, his purpose.  Paul is giving us a way to see clearly and enjoy our problems with the peace of God fully ruling in our lives.

Imagine seeing someone in a storm on the lake sleeping in the boat.  That is someone who has peace even as the storms pound.

Sleeping in the storms is a great picture of trust in God, of experiencing God's peace as the clouds darken.  The storms still come, the problems still swirl, but to be at peace in the midst of it all...what a blessing.

Saturday, March 10, 2018

Be kind

"Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you."
Ephesians 4:32

"But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be children of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked."
Luke 6

Kindness is a rare thing.  

In our culture and world today it's every man for himself, if you don't take care of yourself who will?

But in this culture there is a rare gem that is hard to find, yet precious even today.  It's the rare gift of kindness...a grace to a harsh person, a mercy to the weary, a sweet word to the discouraged.

It's rare, but that makes it even more precious.  And, believe it or not it's a treasure each of us possesses and can give to another.

Yesterday I sat with a dear man finishing his life as he battles Alzheimers. He is far along in the disease, but he is still present at times. Yesterday he was here, but his usual happy disposition was now tearful, a bit anxious.  I felt so bad for him.

I sat with him, comforted him, stroked his furrowed brow and gave him that rare gem of kindness.  To be honest it didn't cost me anything to share, but it calmed this dear man's troubled heart. 

I wonder, in eternity, how God values that rare gift given to another?  

Be kind.  It's so easy, free to give, but priceless to the one who receives it.

Thursday, March 08, 2018

The business of dying

I find myself in the business of serving the dying.  It is the most difficult and rewarding work I have ever done.  Each day I visit those who are lingering at the door of eternity.  I see something profound in this work.  

Those who have hardened themselves to God over a lifetime now come to the end with hearts of stone, unable to seek God or even respond to him.  The hardness has left no room for God, no cracks where he can reach them.  They have wanted nothing to do with him and now, at the end, see no need.  Their end is the saddest of all.

Those who have sought him over a lifetime find at the end they will move from one breath of the air of earth and the next a fresh breath of eternity.  The transition for them will be soft, sweet, as if walking through a door into another room.  Their end of life is a celebration, a runner crossing the finish line, a discovery that they are finally home.

The contrast couldn't be more dramatic and more tragic.  And yet I pray for them all that the people of the stone hearts might be softened and find the God who loves them.  For the children of the King that they might cross the finish line with arms lifted high in celebration of a life lived for Christ.

There is nothing more important than this, that each of us will respond to God's sweet offer of his son with a "yes".  It makes all the difference.

The most important question

The most important question anyone will ever answer is this- 

What will you do with Jesus? 

There is no answer more important than this. It is the only answer that has eternal consequence.

Wednesday, March 07, 2018

Imitating Father

"Watch what God does, and then you do it, like children who learn proper behavior from their parents. Mostly what God does is love you. Keep company with him and learn a life of love. Observe how Christ loved us. His love was not cautious but extravagant. He didn’t love in order to get something from us but to give everything of himself to us. Love like that.
Eph. 5:1-2

These verses are profound. They give us a simply guide for how to live and what it looks like.  It is basically this- imitate God.  But you say, 'I have never seen God work, how do I imitate him?'  And the passage replies, 'watch Jesus and do that.'  Love like he loved, that's what imitating God looks like.  

In a world in chaos there is no better instruction than this- Love like Jesus.  With that simple guide each of us could change the part of the world where God has placed us.  It's not glamorous, glory filled or financially rewarding, but it will change eternity.  It will comfort a discouraged friend, help a grieving neighbor or give hope to a hopeless life. 

If all you did as a Christ follower was to live out these two verses you would have a glorious life.

Let's try it and see what happens.