March 29, 2013


For the last few years I’ve taken my grandchildren, now nine and seven, to Wal-Mart to pick out their own Easter baskets. For me it’s fun to see their eyes light up as they peer through the cellophane wrapper at the toys, bling and variety of candy. Before we make a purchase they look at every basket in the store with a discerning eye and discuss why one basket is more appealing than another. This year as we were exiting the store a little boy and his dad were entering. With big eyes on our baskets the boy said, “Dad… dad…can we buy an Easter basket?” The dad appeared to be on a quick trip to the store mission and Easter baskets were obviously not on his shopping list. I have to tell you I really felt bad for that little boy. Even with all the beckoning displays in the store, I doubt he would have thought about buying an Easter basket had he not see other kids leaving the store with their baskets in hand. Something similar takes place when the people we meet can actually see Jesus through the cellophane of the believer’s life. “Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us.” (1 Peter 2:12 NIV)

March 28, 2013

Easter’s Role

Not satisfied with trying to take Christ out of Christmas, there is an attempt to take Christ out of the resurrection. In some areas of the country there is a move to stop using the term Easter Egg Hunt and rename it the Spring Egg Roll (Chinese anyone?). According to Websters, Easter is a feast that commemorates Christ's resurrection and is observed with variations of date due to different calendars...” At first I started getting myself worked up, but then realized this is simply history repeating itself. For over 2,000 years enemies of the cross have tried to keep Jesus in the tomb. Pilate gave the first order, “‘Take a guard. Go, make the tomb as secure as you know how.’ So they went and made the tomb secure by putting a seal on the stone and posting the guard.”   (Matt 27:65-66 NIV) I see a striking similarity in the Spring Egg Roll to that of rolling a big stone in front of the entrance to the tomb.

March 27, 2013


I’ve noticed that when politicians or interviewees are asked a simple question, rather than giving a straight forward answer, more often than not they say, “Well, it’s really a little more complicated than that.” I’m somewhat offended by such a response. Now, I get it that the questioner may not have all the facts or information and that more time may be needed to explain the situation than what is allotted for response. However, saying that an issue is complicated not only connotes that those asking the question lack the where-with-all to understand the situation, but it also leaves the question unanswered. Jesus responded to almost all the questions that were directed to Him, even those questions asked by the chief priests and Pharisees that were set as a trap. In a hypothetical, Peter asked Jesus if forgiving his brother up to seven times was enough (Matt 8:21). I’m trying to imagine the Lord saying, ‘Well Peter, it’s really a little more complicated than that.”

March 26, 2013

Amazing Apology

A week ago the episode of the CBS reality show the Amazing Race took place in Vietnam. Much to the chagrin of Vietnam era veterans, the show included a memorial of remnants of downed B-52 that took American lives and a Communist propaganda anthem. Interestingly Bob Beckel, a liberal progressive political commentator for Fox News Channel and a co-host for The Five exploded in protest. Mr. Beckel rallied supporters and together they demanded an apology from the show’s producers. CBS caved and an apology was offered preceding the next episode. What I really love about this situation is that this was not liberal vs. conservative or Democrat vs. Republican. I can’t help but wonder what believers might accomplish if we would simply set aside our denominational differences and come together in a bipartisan manner within the will of God and focus on current media issues that are attacking the faith we share. Jesus reminds us, “Again, I tell you that if two of you on earth agree about anything you ask for, it will be done for you by my Father in heaven. For where two or three come together in my name, there am I with them.” (Matt 18:19-20 NIV)

March 25, 2013

Emotionally Tuned

My Virgo horoscope in the newspaper read, “Before agreeing or disagreeing with anyone’s opinion, see whether you can sense the feelings behind them. Emotional attunement will lead you somewhere lucky.” More often than not these little gems are counter to Biblical teaching. For Paul, looking at feelings and sentiment is not a substitute for knowledge and understanding, nor will it lead you to luck. “And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless until the day of Christ,…” (Phil 1:9-10 NIV)

March 22, 2013

New Digs

In the process of moving a shed in the backyard to make room for a new garage, we eliminated the abode of the neighborhood’s stray cat. The longhaired grey cat was one of a litter born under the shed and it was the only home he has ever known. I’ve never encouraged him to hang around, but the neighbors have kept him well fed over the years. When he first realized the shed was moved there was a look of bewilderment, but then slowly walking through the path of the trench for the foundation of the new garage you could tell he was one disgruntled cat. I’ve seen that look before. When we accept Jesus we become a new creation and it can be very unsettling when the Lord immediately begins dismantling our old, comfortable abode and starts preparing our new digs in heaven. “Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me. In my Father’s house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you.” (John 14:1-2 NIV)

March 21, 2013

Separation of Church

At the inaugurations of both Pope Francis I and President Obama there were thousands upon thousands of faithful followers from many nations. The people all stood united in devotion, fanfare and anticipation. For me this is such a vivid illustration of the gathering we will see at the Lord’s return. “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his throne in heavenly glory. All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats.” (Matt 25:31-32 NIV)

March 20, 2013


A couple months ago I was left with lingering fatigue after being housebound for a week with the worst sore throat I’ve ever had in my life.  At the very least I know I’ve built up antibodies against that particular bug, and if by chance we meet again at least it won’t have the same debilitating effect as the first time. I’m wondering if something similar doesn’t take place with the spiritual viruses residing in our world. Not that we become immune to attack, but that we build up a certain amount of resistance. “This is how you can recognize the Spirit of God: Every spirit that acknowledges that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, but every spirit that does not acknowledge Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the antichrist, which you have heard is coming and even now is already in the world.” (1 John 4:2-3 NIV)

March 19, 2013

Opening the Door

In a recent newspaper advice column, Annie’s Mailbox, a college age lesbian was considering coming out of the closet to her family. She wanted to be honest about her relationship, but she was worried about crossing a moral line because her family is religious and conservative. “I don’t intend to rub it in their faces. But it feels like a burden to lie about it.” OK, let me get this straight. She feels like it is a burden for her to lie, but she sees no problem in burdening the family with the truth. The woman seems bent on forcing her family to accept her homosexual lifestyle. Sadly, the church is not immune to sexual immorality…or to boasting about sexual immorality. Paul wrote the Corinthians, “It is actually reported that there is sexual immorality among you, and of a kind that does not occur even among pagans: A man has his father’s wife. And you are proud! Shouldn’t you rather have been filled with grief and have put out of your fellowship the man who did this? (1 Cor 5:1-2 NIV) I’ve experience many different emotions when homosexuals open their closet door, but I must confess being filled with grief has not been one of them.

March 18, 2013


Queen Elizabeth is scheduled to sign a document that officially recognizes same-sex unions in the UK. Likewise, the State of Colorado is set to vote on and pass a civil union bill. The Apostle Paul makes it clear that there is no difference between practicing homosexuals and those who operate a Ponzi scheme or write lies in a gossip tabloid. However, I do see one difference in today’s society, I can’t ever remember a drunkard, swindler or slanderer coming out of the closet and demanding to be recognized and accepted. I get weary of the accusation that believers are ‘judging’ when in reality, those who are sexually immoral keep insisting on shining the spotlight on themselves. Paul said, “Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.”  (1 Cor 6:9-10 NIV)

March 15, 2013


Eight years ago Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio of Buenos Aires was a runner-up for the position of Pope and today he is Pope Francis I. You just have to love all those runner-up stories of people of faith. We know in our heart and mind that we are ready for a position of leadership and when we don’t get the position we often feel God is telling us no, but God may be saying not yet. I think of Moses having to spend 40 years in Midian before God allowed him to return to Egypt and lead the Hebrew Exodus. And Saul/Paul, who was overly educated in the law and had a miraculous conversion, didn’t start his ministry until he’d spent two or three years in Arabia. We need to be aware that the appearance of others crossing finish the line ahead of us doesn’t always mean that the race is over. “Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize.” (1 Cor 9:24 NIV)

March 14, 2013

Missed Delivery

The other morning I didn’t get my newspaper, so I went on-line to the circulation department and I received back an email auto response telling me the individual I contacted was out of the office for a week. When I finally located the redelivery link, it asked for my name, address, phone number, email address, account number, and password. You would think that just my name and address would have been enough to identify me as a subscriber, but no, they wanted more. Spiritually speaking, many of us do the same thing to the Spirit. Like Gideon, we may hear the Lord talking to us, but we are still uncertain and rather than immediately responding we ask for verification, take time to prepare an offering, and then we build an altar. We too can be heard telling the Lord, “If now I have found favor in your eyes, give me a sign that it is really you talking to me.” (Judges 6:17 NIV)

March 13, 2013

Tax Season

Like a big dark cloud of unfinished business hanging over my head, I never feel I can actually start the New Year until I get my income taxes done for last year. Sitting across the desk from my tax preparer I know that he is not a government tax collector, but he is the closest thing I have to putting a human face on an electronic filing. Paying taxes seems less painful after I’ve read Paul's explanation, “This is also why you pay taxes, for the authorities are God’s servants, who give their full time to governing. Give everyone what you owe him: If you owe taxes, pay taxes; if revenue, then revenue; if respect, then respect; if honor, then honor.” (Ro 13:6-7 NIV)

March 12, 2013

What a Shame

Our local recycling committee is passionate about their save-the-earth cause and in order to get more community involvement they have been given the charge to find ways to educate the consumer. It appears to me that their mode of operation, rather than educating, is to shame us into participation. The shame card doesn’t play well with me for two reasons: 1) I don’t have a green bone in my body, and 2) Scripture tells me that the earth as it is now will be burned up…plastic grocery bags and all. I do wonder however, if the lack of educational efforts by the recycling committee just might have an evangelistic lesson for the church. Trying to shame people out of addictions, pagan activities and a life of sin might work some of the time, but I like Peter’s educational advice on the need for practicing abstinence, “Dear friends, I urge you, as aliens and strangers in the world, to abstain from sinful desires, which war against your soul.” (1 Peter 2:11 NIV)

March 11, 2013

A Case for Crying Out Loud

Hollywood has some Bible based movies in production that are set to be released in 2013-2014. It remains to be seen if producers, script writers and directors will take dramatic licenses, or whether they will be true to the Bible text. So far the second installment of the five-part miniseries The Bible, which aired Sunday, appears to be a faithful adaptation to Scripture. Mark Burnett, executive producer of the miniseries, feels that if liberties are taken with the Scripture there could be a backlash from 160 million Americans who regularly attend church. Let’s hope he is correct. We believers have become so lackadaisical in standing up for our beliefs, our values, and our Lord that I sometimes think I can hear the stones beginning to murmur. During the triumphal entry some of the Pharisees wanted to silence the disciples who were praising God in loud voices and they asked Jesus to rebuke them. Jesus responded, “I tell you, if they keep quiet, the stones will cry out.” (Luke 19:40 NIV)

March 08, 2013

In God’s Sight

A fellow believer has, for financial reasons, opted to live with his female companion rather than get married. “We’ve decided that a piece of paper doesn’t really mean anything. In God’s sight we’re married.” Not only was my friend trying to justify himself, but he was also putting me on notice that the church couldn’t possibly question the arrangement because God viewed them as married. Excuse me? I could just picture Jesus with the Samaritan woman at the well. When Jesus asked about her husband she was truthful and said she had no husband. Jesus responded, “You are right when you say you have no husband. The fact is, you have had five husbands, and the man you now have is not your husband. What you have just said is quite true.” (John 4:17-18 NIV) I’m glad the woman didn’t test the situation by saying, “Umm…but in God’s sight we’re married.”

March 07, 2013

God Speaks for Himself

In yet another recent letter-to-the editor the writer complained that our nation appears to be plagued by so-called theocrats – people who recognize God, or some deity, as ruler over civil government. His argument seemed to be based on people who presume to ‘know’ the mind of some existent or non-existent deity. “Most [of us] are not so careful about those who claim to be ‘speaking for god’, ‘in the name of god’ or ‘god says’.”  I have to admit that the writer’s comments have some merit, however, they are misdirected and targeting the wrong audience. His intended audience was the liberal-minded living among us, but it is actually we believers who need to be cautious about those who claim to be speaking for God, in the name of God and quoting God. My thoughts turned to the Sadducees, who say there is no resurrection, but yet they asked Jesus a resurrection question about marriages in heaven. Jesus replied, “Are you not in error because you do not know the Scriptures or the power of God?” (Mark 12:24 NIV) We too will be in error if we don’t know the Scriptures or the power of God.

March 06, 2013

Pope-less, Not Hopeless

The sound-bite in the media referring to the Pope’s retirement describes the Catholic Church as currently being ‘Pope-less’ but there is also a sense of hopeless in the mix. I was surprised and taken back by Pope Benedict’s final address when said his papacy had been marked by light, but at times marked by darkness when the Lord, “seemed to be sleeping”. There was a time during Israel’s persecution when the people cried out, “Awake, O Lord! Why do you sleep? Rouse yourself! Do not reject us forever.” (Psalm 44:23 NIV). However, Israel’s petition was to awake the Lord to their need, not that He was asleep. Certainly the Catholic Church has its share of self-induced sex scandals and cover-ups that are now haunting them, but we can’t say that they are being persecuted as a religious denomination. Believers can rest assured that the Lord takes guard duty seriously and He will never be caught sleeping on watch. “My help comes from the LORD, the Maker of heaven and earth. He will not let your foot slip— he who watches over you will not slumber; indeed, he who watches over Israel will neither slumber nor sleep.” (Psalm 121:2-4 NIV).

March 05, 2013

The Right Side

At our house we do this weird thing whenever there is any type of storm – snow, wind, rain, dust. One of us will look out the front window describing how bad it is and that will cause the other one to go and check out the backdoor window to see what is going on in the backyard. Even though there is only 26 feet between the front and the back of the house, we invariably compare the two sides saying, “Come look out this side. I think it’s worse over here.” I used to laugh at the foolishness of our front and back weather reporting until I remembered the experience of the disciples fishing all night on the Sea of Tiberias without catching any fish. Maybe there’s not a lot of difference between a house and a boat.  Jesus called from the shore saying, “Throw your net on the right side of the boat and you will find some.” ‘When they did, they were unable to haul the net in because of the large number of fish.’” (John 21:6 NIV)

March 04, 2013

Thy Will, Not My Will

First some back-story on the February 19th blog, ‘Today’s Standards’: In our local newspaper the writer of a letter-to-the-editor put her opinion above God’s Word telling readers that today’s standards show the commitment ceremony of marriage should be extended to same sex couples. In a follow-up letter to the newspaper I challenged not only her comments, but the fact that when she distorts the Word and she is a stumbling block to people of faith. Apparently I hit a nerve. Last week in the mail I received a handwritten card from the stumbling block herself.  “Dear Ms. Marvel, I, too, am a person of faith, and I believe the Creator gave us a brain and a will and expects us to use them. (Signed).” It appears that the stumbling block doesn’t know Scripture, or if she knows it, she doesn’t believe what it says. Either way, she is deceived and deceiving others. Jesus is very clear about the ‘will’ we must follow. He said, “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.”
(Matt 7:21 NIV)

March 01, 2013

Pot Sticker

My search for a new pair of brown, lace-up shoes has been frustrating. I finally settled on a pair that cost $135, even though they were not exactly what I had in mind. The stitching on the inside of the shoes was sewn with invisible nylon thread and on both sides of the tongues the stiff stubble poked out. While I was writing out my check, one of the young sales women took the shoes in the back room to work on the prickly threads. After about four tries, one of the other young clerks suggested that I might fix the problem by putting a little moleskin over the pointed nubs. Seriously? I suppose if I had been head-over-heels in love with the shoes, or if they were on sale at 70% off their original price, it would have been one thing. But she was asking me to conform to the shoes, rather than the shoes conforming to me. I’m wondering if this situation isn’t similar to our new attire when we become a disciple of Christ. We are given clothes of righteousness and the indwelling Spirit, but we expect the Spirit to mold Himself to us the way we are. We are to be clay in the potter’s hands, but we certainly didn’t expect Him to have the character of nylon thread that pokes, prods and make us uncomfortable until we conform to His likeness. “And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever–increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.” (2 Cor 3:18 NIV)