Cleaning Fluid


Suppose you spill a gallon of cleaning fluid on the kitchen floor.  The kitchen may smell clean, but it really isn’t.  You made no effort to clean the floors or surfaces, to efface the dirt.

Same rule applies to Christians.  They may carry a Bible, memorize verses, go to church, sing in the choir.  But unless they have allowed God to rid them of the accumulation (massive at times) of the filth of sin deep inside, they will never be clean.  Jesus in Matthew 23 called some of the Pharisees “whitewashed tombs” which look clean and stately on the outside, but inside are full of rot and death.

As to salvation, God knows the heart.  But consider these verses about the effects of carnality:


Romans 8:6-7

For the mind set on the flesh is death, but the mind set on the Spirit is life and peace, because the mind set on the flesh is hostile toward God; for it does not subject itself to the law of God, for it is not even able to do so

Galatians 5:16-17

But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh.  For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other, to keep you from doing the things you want to do.

Galations 5:21

…I am telling you now, as I have told you in the past, that people who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.



Father, help us to live and walk according to the spirit, not the flesh.  Help us to be followers of Jesus who are above all, authentic.
In His Name, Amen.




Author’s Note:  I will be speaking frankly about the perils of allowing sin a foothold, even to the point of a believer embracing and loving sin more than their calling or ministry to the Kingdom.  I am speaking as a man, but temptation, sin, and destruction of faith can occur in the life of any believer.

1 Timothy 1:19

Keeping faith and a good conscience, which some have rejected and suffered shipwreck in regard to their faith.

2 Corinthians 11:25

Three times I was beaten with rods, once I was stoned, three times I was shipwrecked, a night and a day I have spent in the deep.

The Apostle Paul knew a thing or two [actually three] about shipwrecks.  In carrying out God’s mission to spread the gospel, Paul saw and experienced many hardships.  And a ship is a hard thing to slam into reef or rocks.

And thus, Paul – having experienced shipwreck firsthand three times – saw it as the perfect metaphor to describe what happens to certain believers in Jesus Christ who are sucked into temptation, sin, depravity, greed, pride, the lies of the Devil, perhaps even outright rebellion against God.  Essentially – usurping His rightful place on the throne of their hearts.  And suffering massive damage to their faith in the process.

Recently as last night I was told of a believer who is currently going through divorce.  He has led ministry groups in the church.  But now there is rumor of a long history of infidelity and affairs.  To be fair, I haven’t spoken with the man in question, or even confirmed the rumor.  But it brought to mind the devastation that Satan is wrecking on the church, especially with those in positions of ministry and leadership.  Particularly with men and sexual sin.

Several years ago, a pastor friend of mine recounted the story of a church elder who was widely respected in the community, led ministry and Bible study, started new churches, etc…  My friend relayed the story of an unnamed woman who came to him and described this elder often spending the night and getting up next to her in the morning.  The Elder was unmarried.

Unfortunately, I have other examples of shipwrecked ministry.

Of course, it doesn’t have to be sexual sin; it could be greed. It could be pride and desire for power and control.

I have seen the darkness of the soul, and I have no desire to see it again.  But always it looms, watching and waiting for an opportunity.

Here is the bottom line:  We can never, repeat – NEVER – take a day off from guarding and protecting our hearts and souls from the demonic forces that foment sin.  NEVER.  We can never take off the armor of God, never allow some shallow, worthless pleasure in this life take the place of Jesus Christ the Messiah in our hearts.  NEVER.  Never give in to the siren song of temptation that leads us to steer our ship of faith right into the rocks.  NEVER.

If you are struggling with a sin that is crippling your relationship with God, I am praying for you now.  Father, we say “we are only human”, or “we have needs,” but that is a lie from the devil, because we use it to rationalize and justify sin.  Forgive all of us who have glorified hedonistic pleasure, greed for money or material things, or the desire for power, as idols in place of you.  Cleanse us of all unrighteousness.  Give us a desire for more of You, then to be filled with the Spirit, to spread the gospel to others – who like us – struggle with sin.  Hurl our sin to the bottom of the sea and give us new hearts for You.  Turn our shipwrecks into monuments of lives radically changed; not drowned with sin, but rescued by the Life Preserver, Jesus Christ.  To Him be all honor, glory and praise, forever and ever, and in His mighty name I pray. Amen.

Why Me?

Why Me?

Why would You honor me?

What in my past would qualify

What in my soul was ever worthy

to be called to witness majesty

To be sure

I was raised to respect

and honor God

But soon enough

my mind devised

wickedness that called and

dragged me through the mud

And so now

in later years

of my uninspired life

I haunt the ragged hillside

keeping my flock

and my thoughts

Until Your Angel appeared

In Bethlehem,

of all places

A town of nowhere

and nobodys

And yet I think I know why

You descended from on high

to arrive as the ancient text proscribes

In Bethlehem –

The Son of God!

To save all mankind

And I –

The chief of nobodys

And my brother shepherds rise

To follow Light

through dark of night

and eventually arrive

to see the babe

His smiling face

the gift for all mankind


Inextricably Linked


Christmas inextricably linked to Easter

His birth inextricably linked to His death

The manger inextricably linked to the Cross

The Star of Bethlehem inextricably linked to the noon-day darkness of Golgotha

The flight to Egypt and safety inextricably linked to His deliberate journey to Jerusalem and death

My death to sin, the flesh, and self-will inextricably linked to new life in Him

My surrender and trust in Jesus inextricably linked to eternal life in Heaven with Him

Amen, Hallelujah, Amen!

Stop the Nonsense!

…redeeming the time, because the days are evil. [Eph 5:16]

How long will you lie there, O sluggard? When will you arise from your sleep? A little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to rest, and poverty will come upon you like a robber, and want like an armed man. [Prov 6:9-11]

Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.  [1 Cor 6:19-20]

Yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes.  [James 4:14]

“But concerning that day or that hour, no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. Be on guard, keep awake. For you do not know when the time will come. It is like a man going on a journey, when he leaves home and puts his servants in charge, each with his work, and commands the doorkeeper to stay awake. Therefore stay awake—for you do not know when the master of the house will come, in the evening, or at midnight, or when the rooster crows, or in the morning—lest he come suddenly and find you asleep. And what I say to you I say to all: Stay awake.” [Mark 13:32-37]

Okay, from the clear teaching of the Bible verses above, you probably have an idea where this is going.

[And in the way of a disclaimer, I am writing this first and foremost to myself, who despite good intentions is sometimes guilty of taking off his armor and leaving his heart completely undefended.]

I am imploring you and me to stop the nonsense!  Stop playing in a pool infested with piranha and shark.  Stop inviting the enemy into your house, your television, your computer, your heart, your mind, your ears, your soul.  Stop.

Our hearts are coated with the music, images, and talk that we allow our minds to absorb.  Sometimes that coating is healthy and pure, building up and protecting our heart from demonic influence and the pollution that emanates from within us as a result of our fallen nature.  Other times, our hearts are bombarded by wickedness and depravity, and that coating disintegrates to become a caustic decaying shell.  

The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it? [Jer 17:9]

Giving in to those influences – which are perpetrated by an enemy that never tires of plotting our eternal destruction – not only affects our heart and thought life.  It seeps and oozes out into our families, our work, our church life, and especially in weakening our desire for God.  We must stop this nonsense because those things we lust and chase after supplant God in Kingship and Lordship over our life and soul.  They are idols of the worst order, and we must be swift and severe in smashing them into a thousand pieces.

But each one should build with care. For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ. If anyone builds on this foundation using gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay or straw, their work will be shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it to light. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each person’s work. If what has been built survives, the builder will receive a reward. If it is burned up, the builder will suffer loss but yet will be saved—even though only as one escaping through the flames.  Don’t you know that you yourselves are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in your midst? If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy that person; for God’s temple is sacred, and you together are that temple.  [1 Cor 3:10-17]

I have often meditated on this verse, with the thought that – well, at least the believer escaped – “as one escaping through the flames” – i.e. he did not go to Hell.  But God through Paul is not commending this man in any way!  Instead, he will be judged – his faith, his works, his use of time and resources given to him.  Who knows how many rewards are forfeited in this life and in the life to come – because we believers squandered time, opportunities, and blessings appointed for us by the Most Holy King of the universe.

A believer/writer that I interact with on Twitter and WordPress recently posted a thoughtful discussion about our desire for satisfaction in worldly things entitled “Satisfaction Guaranteed.”  We can sum up her post in two words – “Only Christ.”  I have reblogged her excellent post on this site.  I was inspired by it to write this.

Only Christ.

These must be our watchwords.  

He must be our focus.   

Our hearts depend on it.

A joyous and blessed Christmas season to you and your family.  Thank you for reading.


Satisfaction  Guaranteed

I commend this author to your attention. Always thoughtful, insightful, and helpful. And gives all glory to God.


In a world…

McDonald’s, Burker King, Hardees, Wendy’s… So many choices.

Walmart, Target, J. C. Pennys, Kohl’s… So many choices.

CNN, Fox, MSNBC, so many choices.

Chocolate, vanilla, strawberry, then all the countless mix and matches… So many choices.

So I’m not going to go on. I bet you can see where I’m going? So many things to choose from. If we don’t like one price. We can change. If we don’t like service we can change. If we don’t like a flavor, a person, a place , a… Whatever.. We can change our minds and pick something more satisfying.

No wonder our nation begs for a leader to satisfy their needs. Because we can barely make up our own mind. We are not ever satisfied with what we have.

I think of the generation before us. They were satisfied with just a potato for a meal. Yet, we struggle…

View original post 212 more words

This Pain…

How can I not compare this,

to the thorn embedded underneath

providing a sharp reminder

of that which You ordained

Paul to keep


How I long for a dramatic

power of healing

instant pain relief

that incredible feeling


And of course

You’d receive all the glory!

Until I resume my routine again

And Your healing becomes

lost in the noise


Would I then remember —

When I could not walk

When I could not sleep

When my despair

was dark and deep?


I think of the man with leprosy

Who simply asked Jesus

“Lord, if you are willing”

“You can make me clean.”

Jesus was willing.


But what is clean?   What is healing?

It is far better, to be cleansed within

To have a spotless soul

Even if the body never fully heals again


A/N:  I continue to pray for physical healing, consistent with the will of God.   But the state of my soul is paramount. 

The Lost Art of Being Patient

The desire for the instantaneous, or even pre-fabricated  satisfaction, has tainted our society to expect, nay demand the unattainable.   What has been lost is the art of being patient.

Even though it’s called “fast food.” it’s really not that fast.  At least not by the standards of many in the drive through lane.  Imagine this scenario; you have probably witnessed it.  Many times.

  • A customer speedily enters the parking lot of his or her chosen brand of fast food. Despite encountering a long line of cars winding back from the drive through order board, they take their place in line because its “more convenient.”
  • As the line seems to move slower than Christmas for a 7 year old, the customer begins a process of huffing and puffing, followed by fits of rage when the car in front does not immediately move up when the other cars move.  Ranting and cursing may ensue.
  • When finally reaching the spot to place an order, the customer is fit to be tied when the employee fails to hear the order properly.  When reaching the pay window, the employee is regarded with contempt.  The last straw occurs when the customer is asked to wait a few more minutes in the drive through parking space.  Oh the humanity!

You get the idea.  More, now.  Better, but not any slower, now.  We have become a society of convenience on its own terms, and they aren’t up for negotiation.  And, when disappointing results occur, well, that’s license for a tantrum or conniption fit.  And of course, we are implanting these traits in succeeding generations. Especially if they see us as parents and grandparents acting this way.

And of course, now comes the rub.

The reason that I am writing this is precisely because I have been the person yelling at the slow car that won’t get out of the passing lane and is holding me up.  Or been abrupt and unfriendly to people working in fast food that receive 99 comments about how awful and slow things were, and not one thank you or word of encouragement.  Now, of course there are people who are poorly trained or who just don’t care about doing a good job.  I’m not minimizing that.  But I also know how far a word of encouragement can go in lifting people’s spirits.  We ought to be more intentional about that.

And it starts with that lost art of being patient.  Paul had a lot to say about that in the New Testament:

I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. 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. I can do all this through Him who gives me strength.  [Philippians 4:11-13]

But godliness with contentment is great gain.  [1 Tim 6:6]

Yes, I need to be reminded of this.  At times, we all do.  If you read my last post, you know that I am dealing with pain that just doesn’t seem to want to go away.  My wife has lovingly reminded me of times when I have been short, impatient, and downright cantankerous.  Mostly because I have forgotten the lost art of being patient.

God wants us to wait.  Not to be mean, but to help us grow into people that are kind, encouraging, understanding, compassionate, and who are able to lift another’s spirits because we have been in that valley before.  Of course I want instant pain relief; but that’s just not God’s timetable.  And Father knows best.  Perhaps, one day, I can encourage someone else dealing with pain.

Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ. If anyone thinks they are something when they are not, they deceive themselves.  [Gal 6:2-3]

How about this?  I will pray for your patience, and you pray for mine.  It’s a practice worth developing.


Poem:  Test of Patience

People who seemingly cannot drive

But on the highways seem to thrive

…and multiply

Forgive my thoughts and epithets

Take them home with care

and still my mind

cool my jets

that I might love

those who drive me insane

The Purpose of Pain

One could easily say that the past month of my life would fit in the category of “thrown for a loop, and then run over back and forth by said loop.”

For 50+ years, I prided myself on my general good health.  And this from an infancy where I was sickly, had to drink soy milk, and began to see an ophthalmologist at age two.  But for most of my adult life, I had little if any health problems, never saw a family physician [I did ask my father – who was the epitome of the rural general practitioner – general health questions], and praised God for my good health [except when I was running from Him, nee Jonah].  I had a record of never spending the night in a hospital, that I intended to keep.

As I got to age fifty, I celebrated a half a century on earth with continued good health.  I did have one issue that was not bothering me too bad, but finally underwent surgery to correct it last year.  But I convinced the surgeon to send me home same day, thus keeping my record intact!

And then there was the latter half of August, 2016.  The pain in my right leg went from nagging to intolerable.  It would be later diagnosed as a bulging disc in my back doing a number on the sciatic nerve that runs down the leg.  I was unable to walk.  To get to the car, my wife and my brother-in-law had to support me as I took one baby step [or dragging of the leg] at a time.  Then a whirlwind week of ER visits [yes, multiple – a story for another time], painful MRIs, and finally referral to a Neurosurgeon who fixed the disc.  But my record came to an end with an overnight hospital stay.  Oh well – age…

God was working through this entire ordeal and has been exceedingly good to me; I truly am forever grateful.  I can walk!  Hallelujah!

And that would be the end of the story, but for…

Pain.  Despite a successful surgery that has allowed me to walk again, I have a lingering neuropathy on my foot.  The surgeon was hopeful that this would go away on its own, but that has not been the case.  I have asked God to take away this nagging, sometimes burning, sometimes shooting pain.  My foot is ultra-sensitive.  Medication prescribed has little effect.  Sleep is difficult.  Wearing a shoe is extra painful.

I am hopeful that as I return to see the surgeon this week that some other course of therapy – medication or otherwise might be helpful.  And my prayers are still that God would heal as he did for the leprous man in Matthew 8:2-3

Suddenly, a man with leprosy approached him and knelt before him. “Lord,” the man said, “if you are willing, you can heal me and make me clean.”

Jesus reached out and touched him. “I am willing,” he said. “Be healed!” And instantly the leprosy disappeared

But God may have a greater purpose for my pain.  I am steadied in my resolve, that if God does not heal me and this pain continues to beset me – He is still holy, glorified, and sovereign.  He is still worthy to be praised!

The Bible tells us that God’s power is made perfect in our weaknesses.  Paul certainly knew this with his “thorn in the flesh.”

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.  That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
[2 Cor 12:9-10]

Is this easy?  Not at all.  But I am confident in God’s plan for my pain.  Whether He takes this nagging thing away is irrelevant.  His plan, His purpose, His Word; my obedience, taking up my cross [light as it is], and becoming more Christ-like are the issues.  Thy will be done.



A Week in the Life of…

It’s amazing how much a life can change in a week.

There is that curve ball that life can throw at you, which turns into a twisting vortex and sucks you in.  I had been dealing with a unexplained pain in my right leg for a few weeks, but was by all appearances getting better, and in my estimation I was returning to somewhat full activity for a man of fifty-four years.  A little over half a century on earth.

And then a week ago from Friday, I felt a numbness in my toes.  I had engaged in a perhaps too-aggressive session of Batman-Ninja Turtles-WWE with my two youngest grandkids earlier that evening.  But the grandkids went home and I felt my leg would get rested and be better the next morning.

Instead I awoke to pure agony.  My leg surged with pain from the toes to pelvis.  My wife, who had spent the night with her elderly mother could hear my cries from outside our house as she walked in from the driveway.  Something had definitely changed.  For the next several days my life consisted of trying to find a comfortable position in bed, using crutches and wheelchairs to get around, and much, much pain.  I could not walk or put any pressure on my right leg.

My healthcare journey to fix this involved four different hospitals, the last one 3.5 hours away.  But God provided an experienced neurosurgeon to remove a disc in the my back that had completely wreaked havoc on the nerves going down my leg.   Even now, the entire thing is a blur.  It all happened so fast.

I am now recovering from surgery, I still have some of the nerve tingling in my foot.  The doctor is hopeful this will go away, but no assurances.  But I know how God has touched me.  HE IS BEYOND GRACIOUS TO ME.  All glory to the risen Savior, Jesus Christ!

Regardless of what this week brings, I am His child and He is my God.  I will ever praise Him for His Mighty and Gracious Acts!  I love You so much Lord!

 And I would be remiss to not mention selfless wife, Debbie, without whose tireless assistance I would never have made it through this week of my life.  I love you to the end of the universe and back, my dear wife.