Monday, December 30, 2013

I Am Unique

used under creative commons license, image by Alexey Kljatov
The title came from seeing the photos of Alexey Kljatov.  He does snowflake photography, catching the variety and the beauty.  And that highlights a thought that came out of the holiday season.

Here we are, between Christmas and New Year's Eve.  To some degree, we're all running around with visits, returns, and fitting all our normal stuff in, besides.  We may end up feeling like one of those mice  or hamsters on a wheel.  And, even more than hectic, we can feel anything but unique.

The problem with those feelings is that they aren't just around the holidays.  Many lose sight, all year long, of what God thinks of them.  Or they might not even realize at all that God does think about them.

Friday, December 27, 2013

What Do We Accept?

Photo (c) Lloyd Morgan
A friend of mine wrote a recent post based on a quote by Rick Warren, “Our culture has accepted two huge lies. The first is that if you disagree with someone’s lifestyle, you must fear or hate them. The second is that to love someone means you agree with everything they believe or do. Both are nonsense. You don’t have to compromise convictions to be compassionate.”  That was followed by a quote from an unknown author, “A lie doesn’t become truth, wrong doesn’t become right, and evil doesn’t become good, just because it’s accepted by a majority.”  Contrast that with "Vice is now using 'tolerance' to bludgeon virtue, and virtue is currently losing." from a post a day later.  And that was followed by another friend posting a great study on judging.  I'm not going to presume that each had something to do with any of the others.  But the combination had me feeling like the guy in that picture.  There's really are no coincidences, only new insights into the heart of God.  Let's take a look.

Monday, December 23, 2013

The One and Only Child

The last couple of weeks, we've been talking about children, being child-like, and being childish.  All of those possibilities fit how we, as humans, can be.  One of the things that's really clear is that Jesus had an appreciation for children and child-like qualities.  I think the Christmas season gives us an answer why.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Happy Child or Joyous Child?

licensed ( BY ) flickr photo shared by anyjazz65
In the last two posts, we talked about the children of God.  Being child-like in our faith, that there are two levels of the relationship, and the stability of the relationship.  The more I think about that, there always seems to be more.  So, let's explore further.

Friday, December 13, 2013

His Children

cc licensed ( BY NC SA ) flickr photo by Seema Krishnakumar:
Mark 10:13-16 (KJV)  And they brought young children to him, that he should touch them: and his disciples rebuked those that brought them.  But when Jesus saw it, he was much displeased, and said unto them, Suffer the little children to come unto me, and forbid them not: for of such is the kingdom of God.  Verily I say unto you, Whosoever shall not receive the kingdom of God as a little child, he shall not enter therein.  And he took them up in his arms, put his hands upon them, and blessed them.  

That's the passage we spoke about on Monday.  We were pretty thorough.  But there's more to consider.

Monday, December 9, 2013

The Little Children

cc licensed ( BY ) flickr photo shared by Steve Slater

Mark 10:13-16 (NKJV)  Then they brought little children to Him, that He might touch them; but the disciples rebuked those who brought them.  But when Jesus saw it, He was greatly displeased and said to them, "Let the little children come to Me, and do not forbid them; for of such is the kingdom of God.  Assuredly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God as a little child will by no means enter it."  And He took them up in His arms, put His hands on them, and blessed them.
I’ve been thinking about that passage and, yesterday morning, one of our staff pastors used it in his introduction.  The combination of what Pastor Brian Lange had to say, and the direction God took my thoughts, is worth considering.  

Friday, December 6, 2013

Within Us

“When it is the real deal the rod has buds on it. Like Aaron's rod did (Numbers 17:8). It buds, produces flowers and then almonds that can feed people. Grace authority is life giving authority. The broad road has many distractions and pleasures but no life.” – Pastor Allan Leitner

The passing of Nelson Mandela reminded me of that quote and the principle expressed.  Let's explore that a little.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

A Light in the Dark

 cc licensed ( BY SA ) flickr photo shared by Frank Fox

There is light and there's darkness.  And there's sight and there's vision. The invisible can become visible.  These are Todd Parsons' thoughts for us, today.

Monday, December 2, 2013

He Said…

1 Thessalonians 5:18 (AMP)  Thank [God] in everything [no matter what the circumstances may be, be thankful and give thanks], for this is the will of God for you [who are] in Christ Jesus [the Revealer and Mediator of that will].

We shared that verse in our very brief Thanksgiving post.  That post basically said we were taking a few days off for the holiday.  The intent was to have sort of a working holiday, getting some things done I might not otherwise easily get to.  I don’t leave a lot of gaps in my schedule.  My plans went by the wayside for the week and I chilled out for a change.  As a result, I got to see some things that I might not otherwise.  And renewed some things in my mind.  Walk through some of that with me. There are only two in this post.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Thanksgiving 2013

We're taking a few days off for the US Thanksgiving week.  We're hoping all have a blessed holiday.

1 Thessalonians 5:18 (AMP)  Thank [God] in everything [no matter what the circumstances may be, be thankful and give thanks], for this is the will of God for you [who are] in Christ Jesus [the Revealer and Mediator of that will]. 

Friday, November 22, 2013


There's a graphic going a round that says, "Thank You, God, for blessing me much more than I deserve.".  No the title of this post isn't garble, it's the initials for that saying.  The idea sounds so humble and so right.  I even +1ed it and reshared it.  But, as I was going to sleep that night, I realized how wrong it really was, in some ways.  Think with me and you'll see what I mean.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Concentration on the Living Word

Here's another thought worth considering from Todd Parsons:

"Concentration on the Word of God is the highest form of worship". This is a quote from my late Pastor Stevens and I am still to this day taught this very principle. That I would give the Lord my undivided attention to hear the Lord speak with His still small voice to the inner man. 

Monday, November 18, 2013

Ask Amiss

                                      cc licensed ( BY ) flickr photo shared by Jan Smith

In our last post, Calling 911!, we talked about attitude change to cure a natural avoidance of prayer. We included a number of verses for meditation.  But why would we avoid prayer?

Friday, November 15, 2013

Calling 911!

The picture on the right is  an old antique wall phone.  Those were even before there was such a thing as 911.  It was thinking about 911 that brought that old phone to mind.

When we think of 911, we have contact with the operator and the emergency service representative that shows up at our door. We realize how smoothly it normally works, but we never consider that there's a lot  more behind it all.

There are the equipment manufacturers and their service people to install and repair the complex electronics that make it all happen. And, of course the operators and other staff manning the 911 center.  Plus all the emergency services personnel.  Even in a small rural locale, it's a large undertaking.

Because we know how well it works, we have no problem calling 911 when there's a need.  And that old phone represents a contrast to that.  The antique phone picture is creative commons licensed ( BY ) flickr photo by ajmexico:    The contrast is important in our lives and we'll discuss it right after the break.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Our Identity In Grace

This is a continuation of my Pastor's series on legalism.  As usual, he shares a unique perspective and depth with us.  The introduction is by Pastor Renaldo Brown, a church planter in Africa.  And one of the people I was privileged to attend Bible college with.  Enjoy the video.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Knocking on Heaven's Door

From Lisa Buffaloe:

“When we seek God for answers, we must persevere in prayer, letting it build up day after day until the force of it becomes a mighty tide pushing over all obstacles.” ~ Jim Cymbala (page 102 Fresh Faith)

The image is "Remember Me" by Sgt. Shawn Cassatt.  That was a third place winner in the 2010 Army Digital Photography Contest.  Since today is Memorial Day in the US, Remembrance Day in other countries, the combination of the picture and the quote spoke volumes to me.

Friday, November 8, 2013

What Are You Doing?!?

Angry jesus
The picture is supposed to be an angry Jesus.  We know that He shed the quiet, gentle, loving demeanor when appropriate.  He wasn’t too thrilled with the Pharisees or the Scribes.  And we saw Him go after the moneychangers in the temple.  By Jesus’ example, there is such a thing as righteous anger.  I can picture Him angrily asking, “What are you doing?!?”.  What got me thinking about this?  One of the nicest spiritual experiences I’ve had in some time. 

Monday, November 4, 2013

His Thoughts

We began the spiritual part of last Friday’s post with this:

Genesis 8:21 (KJV)  And the LORD smelled a sweet savour; and the LORD said in his heart, I will not again curse the ground any more for man's sake; for the imagination of man's heart is evil from his youth; neither will I again smite any more every thing living, as I have done.
And our pastor preached on this one, yesterday:
Isaiah 55:8 (KJV)  For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD.
That was also central to last Monday’s post.  I love it when God  confirms His thoughts by communicating them through several people.  Anyway, the combination of those two verses brought some interesting thoughts to my mind.  Let’s explore those together.

Friday, November 1, 2013

Fragrance of Memories

A rose is as good a symbol as any to depict our title. "Fragrance of Memories" is a phrase used by our founding pastor in several of his sermons.  He was referring to how fond memories can be much like the pleasant scent of a flower.

As we get into that thought, it's also a way of sliding a little technical news into an otherwise spiritual post. We've changed the commenting system, here on the blog.  We had started with the native commenting system, which worked well.  

More recently, it became possible to use posts and comments from Google+.  We did that in the hopes of seeding more discussion, here on the blog.  That varied, over time, in how it worked and required a Google+ ID. That left two choices. Don't comment or leave the blog to create a G+ ID, then return to comment. Both are very counterproductive to stimulating discussion.  Most people wouldn't come back to comment, others don't want to sign up for Google+.  So, we needed a good alternative. which we'll share, after the break.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Made Partakers of His Inheritance‏

Todd Parsons joins us with another devotional, based on Colossians 1.  Let's see where God takes us through the insights He's given Todd, this time.

Monday, October 28, 2013


2013-10-12 Sunrise - John Vincent 
If you’ve been following our last several posts, we started with this sunrise.  We pointed out that there was only few ways to be sure whether this was a sunrise or sunset.  Then photographer could tell us which it was, we could know the direction he was facing to take the picture, or we could be there and see whether the sun was rising or setting.  That’s true of determining spiritual truth, as well.  Let’s explore that.

Friday, October 25, 2013

Are You REALLY Sure?

2013-10-12 Sunrise - John Vincent
1 Thessalonians 5:21 (KJV)  Prove all things; hold fast that which is good.

That picture and verse were part of Monday’s post.  We talked quite a bit about tongues.  As an example of our main subject.  We could as easily have spoken of baptismal regeneration or one of the other doctrines that creates some controversy.  But the varying views of the doctrine of tongues seem to get more focus than any of the others.

Doctrines are important, They’re a way to describe our understanding of God.  But the issue is less a matter of doctrine than how we arrive at those conclusions.  Take a look with me.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Are You Sure?

2013-10-12 Sunrise - John Vincent
That’s a picture that John Vincent, a friend of mine, shared with me.  It reminded me of something that had been running through my mind that relates to our recent posts about thinking and focus.  So, as we head toward the break, look at John’s picture and see if you can tell if it’s a sunrise or a sunset.  We’ll tell you after the break whether you’re right or not.

Friday, October 18, 2013

Walk Not….

You know what makes a good loser? Practice. – Ernest Hemingway
That sounds really glum.  But it highlights a spiritual truth that we’ll explore today.  Not because it’s an inevitability, but because the solution is so easy.

Monday, October 14, 2013


Chris Esty posted that picture with a commentary about how he wasn't sure why he took it.  It's titled "Why?".  My comment, one of a number of others, was that I saw a story.  The picture reminds me of some terrain I'd seen in other pictures.  The recognition brought to mind a scene and a short piece of fiction.


It's said that a picture is worth a thousand words.  In this case, about 850.  The story is in Biblical times and I'll warn you now that, for the sake of the story, I've played a little loosely with some details.

Friday, October 11, 2013

All Things

When we decide to buy a new car, there are lots of factors that go into deciding. We check newspaper and TV ads for what looks good and seems to have good features and what seems to fit our budget.  And we'll check out car magazines and websites to see which cars we like and have good reviews. Once we've picked a couple of models that we like the feature sets and we've decided we can afford them, we start checking out dealers.  We'll very often pick out two or three, based on price, reputation for honesty, and willingness to fix issues.  The whole process can get pretty detailed.  But there's a particular part of the process that got my attention.  Because there's a spiritual analogy.

Shawn Mullin wrote a recent blog post titled "Embracing Adversity".  I'll post a link at the end of this post.  But it got me thinking about how our understanding grows.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

The Home Front, Part 4 -- Fences

Our pastor has been doing a Sunday morning series based on different parts of the home.  This past Sunday, the subject was fences.  We all need boundaries.  Take a look at the full sermon and be blessed.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Full of Faith?

Faithfulness.  The condition of being faithful.  It’s an interesting subject.  And it’s my “homework” for this month.  Let me explain.

I belong to a Google Plus community of Christian bloggers.  The link badge is top left, next to this post, if you want to see some of the great stuff I get to read daily.  Anyway, periodically, we have challenges – the last one was for our women bloggers.  I didn’t participate for obvious reasons.  This month’s challenge is on the subject of faithfulness.  I wouldn’t mention the community or the challenge, except that they fit the topic.  Kind of.

Friday, October 4, 2013

Trade Ins

It costs something to be a true Christian. It will cost us our sins, our self-righteousness, our ease and our worldliness. J.C. Ryle

We trade in a lot of things.  Old TVs, old cars, electronics, etc.  All with the intent of replacing it with something shinier, newer, better, more up to date.  Following Jesus works much the same way.

Monday, September 30, 2013

How’s Your Crib?

Proverbs 14:4 (KJV)  Where no oxen are, the crib is clean: but much increase is by the strength of the ox.

OK.  A show of hands.  How many have gotten that verse in a sermon as applying to work, ministry, evangelism, etc.?  Me too.  And that’s a proper application.  But the verse took my meditation in a different direction, based on the rest of the proverb and my own recent spiritual explorations, here.  Let’s see where that took me.

Friday, September 27, 2013

About That Window of the Soul….

A bit of “business”, first.  As you may have noticed, there’s a new badge added to our sites.  Besides being part of the Christian Bloggers community on Google+, we’re now also a part of the Fellowship of Christian Bloggers.  We’re looking forward to the possibilities of what that might do for the blog.

Defenestration.  For some reason, that word has been on my mind.  Some of you are laughing when you see that word.  Others are looking at the word and wondering, “What the heck does that mean?”.  It’s a big word with a simple definition.  And it highlights a spiritual principle.  Take a look.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Engrafted and Graffed

A beautiful flower.  That was taken during the summer of last year, in my back yard.  I was playing with the camera in the phone I had at the time.  I was trying to see how close I could get and still capture a clear picture.  I ran across it again as I was looking at some other pictures I took of Baltimore’s celebration of the bicentennial of the War of 1812.  Seeing the picture got me thinking of some gardening techniques that apply to our spiritual life.

Friday, September 20, 2013

Let Me Repeat

Matthew 6:7 (KJV)  But when ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do: for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking.
That’s a verse that continually reminds me of how little I know.  I grew up a Roman Catholic, later moved over to the evangelical part of the spectrum of Christianity.  The two sides have been battling like siblings for centuries over some aspects of doctrinal understanding, but each determined the other was no longer a sibling.  Having seen both sides, there are things that I have to admit that neither side makes a compelling enough argument to convince me they’re 100% right.  Take a look at what I mean.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

You Judge and Eat of the Tree of Life‏

If you missed the news in our previous post, we’ve added some code to the site so that merely mousing over a Scripture reference will allow a tooltip box to display the actual verse.  So, even if we only include just the reference, you’ll be able to see the entire passage.

Once again, here’s one of our favorites.  It’s another Todd Parsons devotional:

Monday, September 16, 2013

Desert Quiet

yucca-sunsetPsalm 28:4 (KJV)  Give them according to their deeds, and according to the wickedness of their endeavours: give them after the work of their hands; render to them their desert.
The image came from Flikr, under a creative commons license.  Unfortunately, no photographer was listed, so I can’t give credit where credit is due.  And one other technical note.  We now have a new feature here that will bring up a box with verse text when you mouse over the verse reference.  A light tap on the reference on your tablet will do the same.  The references now show (like links) in blue.  So, you may see more instances where I just share the reference, knowing you can get the verse displayed.

I actually didn’t have a verse in mind to go with the picture.  But this one is closer to what I had in mind than any of the other desert verses.  But this image took my meditation in some interesting directions.

Friday, September 13, 2013

Leading to Value

Wednesday, we published a post on our Other Stuff blog that was the second part of a two part series about writer’s tools.  I made the point that the particular tools and how they are used is very personal to each writer.  It made me think of how we handle leadership, our jobs, and our relationships.  Let’s explore that a little.

Monday, September 9, 2013

In the House

Psalm 27:4 (KJV)  One thing have I desired of the LORD, that will I seek after; that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the LORD, and to enquire in his temple.

That’s King David’s thoughts on having a relationship with God.  A real God, described by God inspired Scripture.  And that verse says so much more than its surface interpretation.

Friday, September 6, 2013

Has Your Understanding Become Your Calf?

Proverbs 3:5 (KJV)  Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.
That verse has been coming to mind quite a bit recently.  Mostly because of some personal experiences, recently  One’s a little more personal, the other is something more spiritually foundational and some of the results bring things I wrestle with.

Monday, September 2, 2013

Labor Day 2013

Matthew 11:28-30 (KJV)  Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.  Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.  For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light. 

The Bible talks about rest for the weary, have a time of rest, being wearied from work, burdens, etc. Today is Labor Day in the United States.  It's a holiday honoring workers and set aside for rest. Keeping both of those thoughts in mind, we'll be back on Wednesday with whatever.  In the meantime, we're going to be resting in the Lord, catching up on some other things.  Here's hoping your days of rest are as joyous and productive as I expect mine to be.

Friday, August 30, 2013

Cancerous Consequences

This post is a little late, today.  And I'm suspecting will be less doctrinally steeped than most of my posts.  Yesterday, I had nothing in mind to write here.  There were some things that I could expand on, but nothing was coming.  So, I did what came naturally.  I went to bed, planning to tackle this post early in the morning.  As I was falling asleep, all kinds of topics started to flow, but none enough to get up and either write down a note or to start this post.  And none stuck enough to come to the forefront of my mind when I got up.  But there are lessons in the process of giving life to this post.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

To Hear the Secret of the Lord

It's Wednesday.  Here's another great Todd Parsons devotional.

The secret [of the sweet, satisfying companionship] of the Lord have they who fear (revere and worship) Him, and He will show them His covenant and reveal to them its [deep, inner] meaning, Ps 25:14. AMP 

For the froward is abomination to the Lord: but his secret is with the righteous(them that received His gift of righteousness), Prov 3:32. 

Monday, August 26, 2013

Randomness for August 2013

We haven’t done a random thoughts post in awhile.  It seems like we do one every other year.  Sometimes, it just seems like we have a few things we want to say, but none is long enough for a full post.  So, let’s get to it.

Friday, August 23, 2013

Going My Way?

We spend a lot more time thinking about our failures than God does…. Quit memorizing who you used to be. – Bob Goff

We’ve all met people who regale us with proud stories from a past they say they’ve vacated.  You know the type.  They assure everyone they have a new focus in life, then joyfully share how much fun they had when they were living an ungodly lifestyle.

Then, we’ve met the person who accepted salvation, but can’t get past seeing themselves in their old sins.  Instead of latching onto the joy of salvation, the spiritual mirror they use reflects only their past.  So, they wallow in the guilt of their past actions.

Two interesting pictures, but neither depicts the reality of who we are in Christ.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Hell Is Real, But So Is Jesus

As I mentioned in Monday's post on hell, it was inspired by what our pastor preached Sunday morning.  I thought it would be a great idea if you could all hear that message.  There's a lot I never touched on.  See for yourself how much more there really is.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Alone or in Solitary Confinement?

Sunday seemed like any other, until my pastor preached at our 11am service.  Much of what he said was about hell.  We’ve all heard most of it, probably often enough that the descriptions register but no longer make much of an impression.  Unless some things come together like they did for me.

Friday, August 16, 2013

The Thinking Chair

The Maxwell Daily Reader, in the August 16th reading, quotes poet James Joyce as saying, “Your mind will give back to you exactly what you put into it.”.  Sounds familiar, doesn’t it?  We’ve all heard the computer acronym GIGO: garbage in, garbage out.  And this starts to look like a well worn topic headed down a worn out path.  But John Maxwell took it in a different direction.  And we’re going to follow, then veer off some more.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Revived, Quickened to the Lord's Reality

It's been a few weeks since we've been blessed by one of Todd Parsons' devotionals.  But the wait is over!:

The Lord reigns, he is clothed with majesty; the Lord is clothed with strength, wherewith he hath girded himself: the world also is stablished, that it cannot be moved.  Your throne is established of old: You are from everlasting, Ps 93:1-2. 

Monday, August 12, 2013

From Eden to Negativity and Back

Several of my recent posts have been about Christians living in negativity.  It’s a problem that goes all the way back to Adam and Eve.  And, like Adam and Eve, it can drag others along.  They actually walked in the garden of Eden with God, getting to know Him, learning from Him.  They were with the most perfect being in existence, in the most perfect environment one could find on earth.  Yet they succumbed to Satan’s, “hath God said …?”.  We could easily point fingers at them for their choices, or we could blame ourselves for living in the results of those choices, or down ourselves for our own choices.  But what good is all that if we don’t recognize the problem and work toward the solution?

Friday, August 9, 2013

That Secret Place

God enters by a private door into each individual. -Ralph Waldo Emerson

Revelation 3:20 (KJV)  Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.

Matthew 7:7 (KJV)  Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you:

Most of us are familiar with the verse in Revelation.  It’s used a lot for evangelism.  But, when we add Matthew 7:7 and the Emerson quote, we get a very interesting picture.  And lately, I’m wondering more and more whether that picture is of what is or of what ought to be.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Grace, Baffling and Beautiful

Monday, we mentioned a sermon our head youth pastor preached at the early service.  That doesn't seem to have been recorded.  This is what he preached at our 11 am service.  Related, but not the same sermon and this is one I consider a hallmark message.

Monday, August 5, 2013

Leadership or Christian Normalcy?

Recently, I had an online discussion with someone about a supposed shortcoming I had.  That idea was corrected.  But several thoughts came up in the conversation that create what’s termed a teachable moment.  So, let’s take a look.

Friday, August 2, 2013

Living at a New Level in Praise

Earlier this week, we shared some things about prayer.  Those came from the heart, responding to someone’s need to understand God’s thoughts on prayer.  In that context, it was as complete as it needed to be.  But there’s more.  We often hear the phrase “prayer and praise”.  But are the two separate or are they both part of the same thing?

Monday, July 29, 2013

How to Pray Effectively

That's a great question that I had to address by email, recently.  The answer depends on how we look at prayer and our relationship with God.  This is what I shared in that email to help the person that asked about it.  I’ve only changed the wording slightly to fit a larger audience in this post.  And this isn’t an exhaustive study, but just an overview.  But I think there’s  enough meat here to keep us all praying as God would have us to.

I think of prayer as half of my conversation with God.  Just like with my earthly father.  His response back is often in words by His Word.  But it could be in the form of His response.  We'll get to that.

Friday, July 26, 2013

Power From The Incorruptible

Acts 1:8 (KJV)
8 But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth. 

That verse was the verse for the day in one of my Bible apps.  It reminded me of something shared by a pastor friend of mine, over several days, online. "In the natural, I would like to minister to normal people who are okay that only need to hear the good news. Decent, clean, and ideal.”  “But God loves those who are not who I prefer to minister to. Lord, give me the capacity to love the unlovely, the unclean, the least among my brethren. Only by grace, mercy and compassion will you teach me your ways." ~ Pastor Clyde de la Calzada.

The fact is that the church is the spiritual emergency room.  At the same time, our flesh rebels against dealing with that much damage and pain.  Take a look at what I mean.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Stability In Change

Malachi 3:6 (KJV)  For I am the LORD, I change not; therefore ye sons of Jacob are not consumed.
James 1:8 (KJV)  A double minded man is unstable in all his ways.
We’ve been talking about change.  In that context, those two verses make an interesting contrast, worthy of consideration.  We said last time that change isn’t the problem, but what we change from and what we change to.  The process of change can be equally at issue.  Let’s take a look.

Friday, July 19, 2013

Change Not?

There is nothing like returning to a place that remains unchanged to find the ways in which you yourself have altered. ~Nelson Mandela
Change can be good or bad.  But that depends on what you’re changing from and what you’re changing to.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Is It Reality or Illusion of the Flesh?

Greg Winfield wrote a blog post on Saturday that summed up part of what we’ve been talking about over the last several weeks.  He talks about some of the consequences of negative communication.  It’s well worth the read – we’ll give you the link at the end of this post.

One of the problems with negativity is that it can come out of us far more easily than positive thoughts.  No matter how spiritual we may think we are, our flesh will fight for life with every last gasping breath.  And that’s where we get in trouble.

Friday, July 12, 2013

My Favorite Things

That’s the title of a well known tune.  The song is by Rogers and Hammerstein, from the musical “The Sound of Music”.  It quickly became a Christmas classic.  One of the best known versions is a jazz instrumental that John Coltrane recorded in 1961.  It was 14 minutes of bliss for any real jazz lover.  All of that came to mind as I was thinking about my favorite Bible verse.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Joyful Noise Replaces Nervous Worry

This is Sunday morning's message from Pastor Tom Schaller.  It goes right along with the last several posts, here.

Monday, July 8, 2013

Leadership Forgiveness

Luke 23:34 (KJV)  Then said Jesus, Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do. And they parted his raiment, and cast lots.
We mentioned, last time, that we had the privilege of meeting Richard Wurmbrand and spending some extra time with him.  It wasn’t because I was anything special.  But God engineered it so I’d learn some things close to His heart.  And that’s where our starting verse comes in.

Friday, July 5, 2013

Heaven Now

“I do not have to know why everything happens since I know God is good, He loves me, and life on earth is not the whole story.”

That quote is from a graphic floating around the web.  I wish it included a name so I could credit the author, but I guess that’s part of not having to know everything.  But it does point to my thoughts on God and heaven.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

At The Tree of LIFE, Happy are We...‏

Another great devotional from Todd Parsons:

 My son, despise not the chastening of the Lord; neither be weary of his correction:
 For whom the Lord loves he corrects; even as a father the son in whom he delights.
 Happy is the man that finds wisdom, and the man that gets understanding, Prov 3:11-13. 

Monday, July 1, 2013

Full of Faith

1 Thessalonians 5:24 (KJV)  Faithful is he that calleth you, who also will do it.
1) obsolete : full of faith
2) steadfast in affection or allegiance : loyal
3) firm in adherence to promises or in observance of duty : conscientious
4) given with strong assurance, binding
5) true to the facts, to a standard, or to an original

Are you getting the same picture I am?

Friday, June 28, 2013

It’s All About Me

Our title could be called the anthem of the modern world.  All too often, we hear, “I want”, “I need”, “I deserve”, and “give me”.  Much of modern day life appears controlled by sensations and emotions.  Self satisfaction is the focus.  I’m right and you’re wrong.  Self absorption seems to rule.  And yet, there’s:

Psalm 86:9 (KJV)  All nations whom thou hast made shall come and worship before thee, O Lord; and shall glorify thy name.

We are called to glorify God, not self.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Important Changes to Feeds

If you read our blog via email, RSS, or Atom feed, please read Gadget Goodies 8 on our other blog, here: .

The Google Reader service will be ending July 1.  We discuss some alternatives that should make a transition before that date fairly painless.  And we include to Lifehacker's post that includes a "how to"for making sure you have your feed data to import into whatever alternative reader you choose.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Grace for Everything

This is one of those posts that had to exist.  Several days ago, the Christian Bloggers community on Google Plus reinstated the weekly blog challenge.  This week’s challenge was on the topic of “What Grace means to me.”.  That’s one that should get any of us thinking.  There were also other factors that made me want to write about this subject.

Friday, June 21, 2013

He That Feareth….

1 John 4:18 (KJV)  There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love.

It’s probably been noticeable that my last several posts have been about fear.  I didn’t do that because it’s something I’m dealing with.  However, it’s one of Satan’s most used tools to get both the believer and the unbeliever alike to disbelieve God.  Think about what fear does to a human being.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Embrace the Person and Forsake Formulas

Too often, we can fall into the trap of believing that a set attitude or pattern of behavior can save us, or heal us, or bless us.  As if our negative circumstances or thoughts are some form of  retribution.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Light or Dark?

Last year, we did a lengthy series that compared physical light and our relationship with God.  We’ve now rewritten it a little and converted it into an ebook pdf booklet that’s now our first free download.  The link is right there, toward the top of the right hand column, here.  It’s still titled “Afar Off” and, again, it’s a free download.


Genesis 1:3-4 (KJV)  And God said, Let there be light: and there was light.  And God saw the light, that it was good: and God divided the light from the darkness.
Light has been compared with all kinds of things.  Some of those include God’s love, God’s grace and mercy, God’s goodness, and God Himself.  Darkness has been compared to lack of intellectual thinking, a lack of proper spirituality, a contrast to all the things we mentioned for light.

Friday, June 14, 2013

Changes? Or Not?

The next several weeks are going to be "interesting".  Several things are "coming due" within the next several weeks.  Which could make content here a little sparse.  Here's why:

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Pursue the Root of Righteousness

Here’s another meditation gem from Todd Parsons, beginning with this verse:

As righteousness tends to life: so he that pursues evil pursues it to his own death, Prov 11:19.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Do I Really Know God?

Your handwriting. The way you walk. Which china pattern you choose. It’s all giving you away. Everything you do shows your hand. Everything is a self-portrait. Everything is a diary.— Chuck Palahniuk

That quote was speaking about people and writers.  But there’s an underlying truth about all reality that it highlights.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Come and Look, Don't Quit

Some fresh thoughts from Todd Parsons:

"Begin to know Him now, and finish never", a phrase from O. Chambers devotional yesterday, rehearses in my heart a phrase from my Pastor who has passed into eternity and is present with the Lord, "Don't Quit". 

Monday, June 3, 2013

Faith Leadership

Matthew 8:9 (KJV)  For I am a man under authority, having soldiers under me: and I say to this man, Go, and he goeth; and to another, Come, and he cometh; and to my servant, Do this, and he doeth it

We've been talking about faith and circling around this verse, the last couple of posts.  Today, I want to get into what it says about leadership.  That's something I love about the Bible.  A single verse can be the impetus for so many topics.  So, let's see where it takes us, this time.

Friday, May 31, 2013

How Small a Seed?

It is interesting that Stephen Hawking will say that although certain, heretofore unknown particles, have not yet actually been seen, they must exist, because the effects *can* be seen. – Buddy Spaulding

That statement, along with the description of faith we saw in Monday's post about the Centurion, create an interesting picture of what faith really is.  And we're going to explore that, today.

Monday, May 27, 2013

The Memorial of Authority

Matthew 8:9 (KJV)  For I am a man under authority, having soldiers under me: and I say to this man, Go, and he goeth; and to another, Come, and he cometh; and to my servant, Do this, and he doeth it.
Today, we in the US celebrate Memorial Day.  It’s become like the gate in a horse race.  The gate opens and we race into the mindset and activities of Summer.  But the real intent of the day is to honor the fallen heroes who lost their lives so we could continue to enjoy life as we know it, here.  And, as I was thinking about that, our beginning verse kept coming to mind and generated some interesting thoughts

Friday, May 24, 2013

Too Little, Too Late?

There’s a short video clip going around the ‘net  that, once again brought home a real truth.
We already mentioned, in the introduction to Wednesday’s video, that we really never know when our final moment on earth will be.  The tornado in Moore, Oklahoma certainly was proof of that.  We’ll discuss that a bit.  Then we’ll get into the reality this clip hammers home.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Separated Unto the Gospel of Grace

The news, this week, has been focused on the tornado that leveled Moore, Oklahoma.  Interestingly, teachers are not being reprimanded or fired for praying to the Christian God.  And, despite the number of times that we heard people admit that they prayed, one has to wonder how long it's been since the last prayer.  What might be the end result if the tornado ripped through and killed someone before they could say that last prayer?  Perhaps that last prayer might have been the first commitment to God.  We really don't know when that last opportunity may be, do we?

This is Pastor Tom Schaller (my pastor) and his Sunday morning message to the congregation.  It's far too timely to be mere coincidence.

Monday, May 20, 2013

In the Gap

Ezekiel 22:30 (KJV)  And I sought for a man among them, that should make up the hedge, and stand in the gap before me for the land, that I should not destroy it: but I found none.

We know that Israel had a habit of straying from God with just about every form of sin imaginable. The people allowed outside influences to take precedence over what God's Word said.  Does that sound very much like modern day Western civilization?  I think so.  We still need someone going to God on our behalf.  But there's more to the whole story.

Friday, May 17, 2013

Not Being Wagged By The Old Man

We have Todd Parsons back as a semi-regular contributor.  Here's one of his recent devotionals:

-And the Lord shall make thee the head, and not the tail; and thou shalt be above only, and thou shalt not be beneath; if that thou hearken unto the commandments of the Lord thy God, which I command thee this day, to observe and to do them, Deut 28:13:

-Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin, Rom 6:6.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Sabbatical–Part 2

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

Come to Jesus and our burdens will be lightened, we will be refreshed  The next two verses speak of taking His yoke upon us.  In order to understand why carrying a load bearing device would give us rest, we need to look at the complete picture

Monday, May 13, 2013

Sabbatical - Part 1

Exodus 16:26 (KJV)  Six days ye shall gather it; but on the seventh day, which is the sabbath, in it there shall be none.

Exodus 20:8 (KJV)  Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy.

The Bible is pretty clear about the importance of a period of rest.  And those of you who are used to our usual 3-4 posts a week have probably already noticed that this hasn't been happening for about a month.  That will get back to normal, but maybe not immediately.  Here's why.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

On Holiday?

Just to communicate a little, some of you may have noticed my absence here and elsewhere. Several things came together at once -- all requiring attention and adjustment.  I was going to post this, last week, but events in the bombing saga seemed to be timed for the same days.  And this didn't seem as important in the grand scheme of things.  But I am around and will be back to a normal schedule in the next 10 days or so.  At least one of my upcoming posts will deal with the concept of Sabbath or sabbatical.  See ya when I see ya.

Monday, April 8, 2013

Do You Believe in Him?

Normally, I don't post two videos in less than a week. But this is the Easter play our church put on. Posting closer to Easter seemed more appropriate than waiting.

Friday, April 5, 2013

The Voice Under All Silences

Love is the voice under all silences, the hope which has no opposite in fear; the strength so strong mere force is feebleness: the truth more first than sun, more last than star… – ee cummings

In the end, love is the ultimate sacrifice and the ultimate gift.  Jesus proved that.  Some of us continue to prove it, albeit to a lesser degree.  And some are still afraid of it.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Sunday, March 31, 2013

I Am The Resurrection

John 11:25 (KJV)  Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live:
At Easter time, we’re reminded of the Resurrection.  Without it, Christianity loses meaning.  So, we focus on it.  We absorb its importance.  And yet, it’s not what Jesus focused on.

Friday, March 29, 2013

After This Manner Pray Ye

When I was writing my series on John 15, it struck me how important prayer was to our Lord, particularly in His final days on earth.  And, if prayer is that important to God, it ought to be just as important to us.

To start off, I’m going to go out on one of those spiritual limbs to create our foundation for this discussion.  I often hear people complain loudly about “religion”, ritual performed to supposedly please God.  In reality, it’s not the ritual that’s at fault, but the human heart that places the ritual in greater importance than the heart of the God it’s intended to worship.  When we look at the content of the prayer Jesus used to teach His disciples how to pray, that becomes obvious.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Let God Speak to You

We're modifying our publishing schedule slightly to fit some other things in our schedule.  So, guest posts and videos will be on Wednesdays -- at least till further notice.  Also, this is one of the last personal devotionals from Todd Parsons.  No, nothing serious has happened.  But Todd's job and work schedule have changed.  Previously, he had some meditation time, the results of which have sometimes been shared here.  I still get to see some of the devotional material that blesses Todd.  But, since it is the published work of others, we can't post that here.  So, without further ado, let's get to Todd's starting verse.

God said, Let there be light; and there was light. -- Genesis 1:3.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Our Escape

The image is a Berber village in the Sahara desert.  It was made available at no charge by Joonas Lampinen.  We could go back to Biblical times and probably find places very much like it almost anywhere in the desert.  It reminded me of a series of messages that were preached awhile back at the church I attend.  Escape was the series topic. One of the things that was mentioned was the ancient cities of refuge.  There were six in Israel, named after attributes that pointed to the grace of God.  The more I thought about the need for refuge, the more I realized How important our need for it is.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Translating the Language of the Church

Some recent thoughts from our friend, Pastor Allan Leitner:

"There are doubtless many different languages in the world, and none is without meaning, but if I do not know the meaning of the language, I will be a foreigner to the speaker and the speaker a foreigner to me. So with yourselves, since you are eager for manifestations of the Spirit, strive to excel in building up the church." 1 Cor 14:10-12 ESV

Zeal to experience and zeal to build. A desire to understand and to be understood.

I was so built up by the translators in Montreal on our recent trip there. The whole Church up there truly is amazing but I was thinking this morning about those people who stood in the gap specifically for the purpose of translating French to English or vice versa.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Should We Be Impressed, Yet?

Matthew Cook just recently wrote a post titled “Whose Eyes Do You See Through”.  It’s worth reading.  In it, he talked about our perceptions.  The natural vs. the spiritual.  And that got some things rattling around that enclosed space between my earlobes.

Friday, March 15, 2013

John 15:22-27 From Hatred to Comfort

Last time, we looked at Christ’s very bold statement that He highlighted sin by His presence, statements, and actions.  And what we saw was interesting.  If you’ve ever gone into a city tenement basement with a flashlight, you may have seen a bunch of rats scattering from the light.  That was Christ’s effect on the sins of His time on earth.  Sinners either got away from Him or they stayed and the sins departed.  The result was that sinners had an opportunity to repair their relationship with God.  As we continue, His statements are no less bold and unique than what we looked at last time.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

John 15:21-22 Love and Deception

John 15:21 (KJV)  But all these things will they do unto you for my name's sake, because they know not him that sent me.
That’s where we left off, last time.  Much of mankind being in a pickle because they didn’t know or understand God.  And, when we think about the next verse, we can understand why.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

John 15:20-21 Knowing Who God Is

John 15:20-21 (KJV)  Remember the word that I said unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord. If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you; if they have kept my saying, they will keep yours also.  But all these things will they do unto you for my name's sake, because they know not him that sent me.

There are only two options in verse 20.  When we follow Christ, we either meet some level of opposition or we fellowship in obedience.  The next verse says it’s because of our relationship with Christ.  But have you ever wondered how that happens?

Friday, March 8, 2013

By Hearing

It’s not often that I end up with two posts published on the same day, even if one is a guest post.  But the backstory makes it interesting.  My week had been “interesting”, to say the least.  So I missed any mention of this weeks theme (or, maybe, forgot it) for our G+ Christian bloggers community.  At 1:30 this morning, I found out it was “faith”.  But, at that point I was ready for bed and posted a guest devotional from one of my favorites, Todd Parsons.  As you know, we’ve been writing about John 15.  I’ve also been doing a 31 day reading plan from YouVersion called “Deeper into Scripture”, which seems to focus on a theme for each week  And, when I finished today’s reading, it seemed that the community theme, the place where we’re parked in John 15, and this week’s theme in my reading plan came together to create an interesting picture.  One we need to look at.

Staying In The Pot

Todd Parsons is our guest poster, today.  This one goes back a bit.  But it fits where we are in John 15.  When we're undergoing trials, God has a reason for it.  And we come out better than when we went into them.  Take a look at Todd's meditation on it.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

John 15:17-20 Love, Hate, and Protection

We left off, last time, saying that there was a reason for loving one another, today.  And there is.

John 15:17-18 (KJV)  These things I command you, that ye love one another.  18 If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you.

That’s quite a contrast.  Think about the implications of that contrast.  They’re physical, mental, and spiritual.  Think about Luke 11:23a, “He that is not with me is against me:”.  Let’s look at the whole picture.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

John 15:12-17 Servants to Friends

John 15:12 (KJV)  This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you.
That sounds pretty simple.  But let’s look at the following verses.

Friday, March 1, 2013

John 15:9–11 Abiding Joy

John 15:9-11 (KJV)  As the Father hath loved me, so have I loved you: continue ye in my love.  If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father's commandments, and abide in his love.  These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full.

What a way to start a post!  Jesus, speaking to the disciples, says that He loves them as the Father loves Him!  And, if we apply “no respecter of persons” (Acts 10:34), then it applies to us, too!  Perfect love from the the Father to the Son is mirrored by Jesus’ love to us!  When He says “continue” in that love, once again it’s meno – long term, with peace and rest.  Whether we consider that part of the sentence as a suggestion or a command, Jesus is telling us that it’s to our benefit to make a long time living arrangement in His love.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

John 15:4–8 The Sprout

It’s been said that the Bible only tells us what we need to know.  That definitely applies to this chapter.  God packs in a lot of advice for living, along with showing us how to live spiritually.  We ended last time partially discussing verse 4.  And I said there’s more.  The next several verses give us a great gardening lesson.  Both in earthly reality and spiritually.  The principles are the same.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

John 15:1 - 4 The Abode

John 15:1-2 (KJV)  I am the true vine, and my Father is the husbandman.  Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away: and every branch that beareth fruit, he purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit.

There’s not much hidden meaning here.  We know, from other passages, that the Father is the planner, Jesus implements the plan, and the Holy Spirit is the communicator.  So, using the analogy of the vineyard, the Father has prepared the vineyard, Christ is the vine through whom the plan flows, we are the fruit bearing branches of the vine.  If you’ve ever had a garden, you’ll recognize the reality of verse 2. 

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Great Expectations

As any of us who have had to sit through English Lit. well know, that’s the title of one of Charles Dickens’ novels.  It’s also our thoughts for the blog, as we move forward.  There are a lot of changes, some not necessarily evident.  So, let’s take a look.

Friday, February 15, 2013

Feeder Test

As we get the new template fully working, I'm making sure I didn't break the feed with the name change.

Let's see what happens to this.

Revelation 4:11 (KJV)  Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

I Am Who I Am, Who I Am

Who you are determines the way you see everything. You cannot separate your identity from your perspective. -- John Maxwell, The Maxwell Daily Reader, January 4th

That quote actually highlights two truths, not just one.  Regarding our identity, we really have two personalities and always will.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

What is Our Conversation?

Our thought life can do interesting things.  Consider one of Todd Parsons' more recent meditations.

Consider this point in the lives of Joseph and Jacob: 

Friday, February 8, 2013

Let Thy Light Shine - Carl H. Stevens

Here's another video clip.  This time, not a whole sermon.  It's just over six minutes and well worth the time.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

We Really Are The Champions

Ever since the end of the Super Bowl, strain’s of Queen’s “We Are The Champions” keep popping into my head.  Yes, I’m a Ravens fan.  But, with that song, I really haven’t been thinking of the Ravens win.  I’ve been thinking about ours.  The one we got when we started our relationship with Jesus Christ.

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Changed in the Fire

You never change things by fighting the existing reality.  To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete. – Buckminster Fuller

In order to have the nature of something be untainted, it has to be new.  Satan’s goal is to take a godly person and add in impurity.  He knows the principle stated in Galatians 5:9, “A little leaven leaveneth the whole lump. “  Leaven spreads throughout the dough in the kneading and baking process.  It doesn’t take much.  And God gives us an answer to the problem.

Friday, February 1, 2013

The Courage of Loyalty

Mark 14:8 (KJV)  She hath done what she could: she is come aforehand to anoint my body to the burying.

"Courage is fear that has said its prayers." ~ Dorothy Bernard

In Pastor Leitner’s guest post, he talked about loyalty as a choice.  But it’s more than that.  Loyalty takes us to our limits and beyond.  And loyalty can be a moment of courage….

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Loyalty Is a Choice

Another wonderful insight from Pastor Allan Leitner:

"And they lifted up their voice, and wept again: and Orpah kissed her mother in law; but Ruth clave unto her. And she said, Behold, thy sister in law is gone back unto her people, and unto her gods: return thou after thy sister in law. And Ruth said, Intreat me not to leave thee, or to return from following after thee: for whither thou goest, I will go; and where thou lodgest, I will lodge: thy people shall be my people, and thy God my God: Where thou diest, will I die, and there will I be buried: the LORD do so to me, and more also, if ought but death part thee and me." Ruth 1:14-17

My meditation is still following two major themes. One theme is, "Who was at the Cross and why?" and the other is my "Freedom Skills" study.

Spurgeon in his devotional deals with the issue of loyalty. I don't know about you but this is an important issue to me. Wrong loyalties, hot and cold loyalties or a seeming lack of loyalty pepper all relationships and culture.

Monday, January 28, 2013


If you want to know your calling, don’t go “calling-looking.” Go God-looking. God knows where He wants you, what He is calling you to do, when He wants you to do it, and how He wants it done. Therefore, if you want to find your calling, look for God. When you find God, His calling will find you. – Tony Evans

Last week, We did a post triggered by Peter Watts’ “Confirming Circumstances” post, found here:  Peter mentioned a list of five ways to be sure we were hearing from God that were regularly taught at his church.  My post focused on those five steps, highlighting how easily we can twist circumstances and Scripture verses to suit the desired interpretation we want.  The following post was a gathering of some truly awesome responses to that post.  Knowing that we’re hearing from God is important.  But there’s more.  And less.  Take a look at what I mean.

Friday, January 25, 2013

The Glorious Gospel: God's 100 Percent Salvation

As you may have noticed, football season has thrown our schedule off a bit.  That may carry through the next several weeks.  And we're still experimenting with new things.  Instead of a guest post, today, we're going to share another video.  The last time, we had a short clip of our founding pastor.  This video is last Sunday morning's sermon by our present head pastor.  One not to be missed.  But it is close to an hour.  So, find a time when you can relax and enjoy it.