Long Expected Jesus

The people had been told for centuries that someone was coming to be their Savior. This was a promise and a prophecy that had yet to be fulfilled. The promise was for a new covenant that would replace the laws. This covenant would put in place the salvation of sins. Because this promised Messiah would die in their place. For their sins. He was to be the Savior of the world.

The Scriptures told details of the promised Messiah. He would be born of a woman. She would be a virgin giving birth to a baby. An assumed impossibility. This baby would be born in Bethlehem. He would be a descendant of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and Judah. He was in line to sit on the throne of King David. Yet his reign would be eternal. He would be called Immanuel.

And so they waited.

Once he was born, some recognized the significance of his birth. Angels announced his arrival to shepherds. But life was not without risk for this newborn. Magi had told King Herod that an heir to the throne of David had been born, and they had come from a distant land to worship him. Herod knew his reign and legacy were at risk. So he had to act quick. This is when he ruled all boys aged two and under must be eliminated.

After the Magi’s visit, the family escaped to Egypt to avoid being discovered. Joseph had been warned in a dream to move, in order to save the life of the One who would die to save us from our sins.

Oh. But trouble continued to follow this man, Jesus. He didn’t ask for trouble. He came to bring peace. But a messenger would come before him to pave the way. This forerunner’s message would open the hearts of the hearers in preparation for the message of the Promised One. This Messiah, a prophet nonetheless, would be rejected by his own people. They would plot and plan ways to be rid of him. They would falsely accuse him. The religious leaders tried to trick him, but they failed at every turn. He outsmarted each and every attempt. At times, he just remained silent. Let them look the fools they were. After all, he was God in human form. Did they not realize it?

Oh. He bore our sins on the cross and suffered in our place. He bled and died so that we would have eternal life, if only we accept him as Lord and Savior of our lives.


For a child is born to us, a son is given to us. The government will rest on his shoulders. And he will be called: Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. His government and its peace will never end. He will rule with fairness and justice from the throne of his ancestor David for all eternity. Isaiah 9:6-7


Come, Thou long-expected Jesus,
Born to set Thy people free;
From our fears and sins release us,
Let us find our rest in Thee.
Israel’s Strength and Consolation,
Hope of all the earth Thou art;
Dear Desire of every nation,
Joy of every longing heart.

Born Thy people to deliver,
Born a child and yet a King,
Born to reign in us forever,
Now Thy gracious kingdom bring.
By Thine own eternal Spirit
Rule in all our hearts alone;
By Thine all-sufficient merit,
Raise us to Thy glorious throne.

Charles Wesley

There were many prophecies that Jesus fulfilled in his lifetime. Some have yet to be accomplished. Because Jesus’ birth, death and resurrection weren’t the only prophecies. After his resurrection from the dead, he ascended to heaven to take his place at the right hand of God the Father. He will fulfill another prophecy by returning to take his people home. His return will break the eastern sky and draw all believers to heaven. So, we’re once again waiting for Jesus. We’re waiting for his return.

And now this world of weary believers is asking for Jesus to come once again. He fulfilled the first promise of coming as a man to save the lost. He has fulfilled the promised covenant. For we all are lost and in need of a Savior.  Now please do it again. Come to take your people home. We long for eternity with King Jesus. 

We await the wedding feast that he is preparing for us, his bride. Those who are invited to the wedding feast are called blessed. He is King of Kings and Lord of Lords. May his name be praised.

Oh, come thou long expected Jesus.

He was given authority, honor, and sovereignty over all the nations of the world, so that people of every race and nation and language would obey him. His rule is eternal—it will never end. His kingdom will never be destroyed. Daniel 7:14

Verdict

The jury signaled they had made a decision. The judge called the families into the courtroom. Instructions were given to those in attendance. No verbal reaction to the verdict was allowed. Or law enforcement would escort the vocal responders out of the courtroom. The defendant stood to hear his fate. Each count was read with the decision. At the end of the reading, the defendant collapsed with relief. He was acquitted of all charges.

The judge asked the jury if the verdict was unanimous. Yes. They said. This eighteen year old man is now free to live his life. He could walk out of that courtroom as a free man. He could no longer be tried for these offenses ever again.

Regardless, this young man’s life is now forever changed. He’s already been receiving police protection for many months. He will most likely be forced to move out of state and become incognito for awhile. His career plans may have to be rethought. He’s been offered a possible internship. But when will his life ever return to normal? Or, is this his new normal? Life will never be the same.

Some are calling him a hero. Others say he’s a fool. He says he acted in self defense. Others call him a domestic terrorist. A white supremacist. We could argue back and forth for hours. We’re a country divided. We’re a country that needs to get back to loving and obeying God.

Tragedy doesn’t usually give you a heads up. It just happens. And then the next events are crucial for all involved. That’s exactly what happened in this young man’s situation. Some say he shouldn’t have ever gotten involved that night. He was too young. Too inexperienced. Too eager to be a hero. But the events of that night are forever forged in our nation’s history. There is no going back.


Do what is right, love mercy, and walk humbly with your God. Micah 6:8


Once again, the country is torn by a legal decision. Some believe this young man should have been put in prison for life with no chance of parole. Others believe the right decision was made. There will, no doubt, be many strong discussions about this verdict. What did the defense do right? What did the prosecution do wrong? And vice versa. Could or should anything have been done differently?

News outlets and social media are all ablaze with opinions and legal analysis. Influencers are sharing their uneducated opinions on the outcome of the trial. Some of their followers are unfollowing them, because their beliefs are at an obvious difference. And everyone has a choice of who they follow and who they don’t. Influencers are also blocking people who sharply disagree, because they don’t want naysayers clogging their feed.

Some are calling for rioting in the city. Others are begging for peace. Some disagree with the verdict, but they’re asking for everyone to accept the judgment. Some cities are rioting. Others are claiming justice was served.

It’s easy to judge someone when we haven’t walked in their shoes. We may think we know what’s best when the problem is someone else’s. It’s easy to make decisions when it affects them and not us. Because we always do the right thing. Don’t we? It’s always the other person who’s wrong. That’s what we think. Because if we think we’re right, then the other person is wrong.

The defendant, the defense team, the jury, the judge and his family have received death threats. People are taking this case personally. Some have decided that racism is involved. Others don’t agree. Can we we find any common ground? Can’t we come to the table and discuss our differences? Can we agree to disagree? Can we no longer seek peace and pursue it? Why are we so divided these days?

I read that it’s easy to take a stand when it doesn’t cost you anything. So what’s the answer? We’ve got to get America back to God.

I wonder. What would happen if we actually did what was right? What if we truly loved mercy? And what if we put all our effort into walking humbly with our God? This world would be in much different shape than it is today. The only verdict we would be waiting for would be when we enter eternity and hear the words “Welcome home, my child. Well done, my good and faithful servant. Enter into your eternal reward.”

Shall We Pray

Heavenly Father,

We humbly bow before you once again asking for your help as we see the evil that surrounds us. We know that your will is being accomplished in the world today. We thank you for loving us even though we have turned from following your commands. We ask for your mercy as we navigate the winding path called life. We need your guiding hand upon us.

In the beginning, Lord, you laid the foundation of the earth. You made the heavens with your hands. You have said that these things will perish, but you will never change.

Your throne, O God, endures forever. You rule with a scepter of justice. You will always be the same. Yesterday. Today. And forever.

You have loved us with an everlasting love, and yet we continue to run from you. As if you are someone to run from. Because even though we run, you still see us. You still know all about us. We can’t run far enough from your love.

Oh Father. Your name is holy. Your son, Jesus Christ, is God himself. He humbled himself and was born a human baby. He gave up his divine privileges to become a helpless baby and then move through childhood, adolescence and adulthood. He experienced every temptation known to man. And yet he did not sin. He died a cruel and painful death on a criminal’s cross. For my sins. For everyone’s sins. Oh. And they are many. So he is now elevated at the place of highest honor. And you’ve given him the name above all names. And at the appointed time, every knee will bow at the mention of his name.

We understand that every act on this earth is ordained by you. Your will is always accomplished. Difficulties in our lives are opportunities for us to draw closer to you. To learn to trust you and depend on your guidance. To know you better. All our days are determined by you. You know what’s coming. And you know where we’ve been. You see us even today. Our days are numbered.


Then if my people who are called by my name will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sins and restore their land. 2 Chronicles 7:14


We can’t run from judgment day. Because at the end, we will stand before you in judgment. You have said that every knee will bow and every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord.

Lord, you hate the way of the wicked, but you love those who pursue godliness. Your eyes roam throughout the earth, and you examine everyone closely. You watch those who call on your name, and you watch those who reject your name. No one escapes your eye. You see our coming and our going. Our ways are fully known by you.

Help us to listen very carefully to the truth we have heard, or we will drift from it. For your message has always stood firm. And for those who haven’t listened and obeyed the truth, I pray that their hearts will soften to things eternal. I ask that you send a godly person to speak truth and to share the message of salvation with them. Oh. How we all need you.

I pray that you will forgive us our sins and give us the will to forgive those who have sinned against us. Help us not to give in to temptation. Please. Please. Deliver us from the evil one.

Meet us at our point of need. And at our point of praise. Make us aware of your presence. Make us aware of our faults, our flaws, our failures, our fears, our weaknesses. As we seek you, may we relax in your love and forgiveness, your grace and mercy. Remind us of your faithfulness and your sacrifice. For we know we were bought with a price. A heavy price of death on the cross for your only son, Jesus Christ. May we be eternally thankful for your sacrifice and gift of forgiveness.

In Jesus’ name we pray,

Amen

Changing Seasons

I have a short fuse these days, and it seems to only be getting shorter. I feel like I’m blowing up at too many things. And too often. I’m not stopping to think about the consequences of what I might be saying to others. I’m not stopping to think how this is going to impact them. Will I insult them? Or will I encourage them to be better? Or will they see my point of view? I don’t know. And I have to step back and figure out the purpose of my words. Why am I so short tempered these days? Do I know?

Actually. Yes. Yes, I do know. One phase of my life is coming to an end.

And I’m ready to move on to the next chapter. But I’ve been asked to extend this phase for another month. And it’s annoying me. Sure. I could have said no, but I didn’t. So I guess for one thing, I’m annoyed with myself. And the second thing. I’m annoyed with the ones who’ve asked me to continue on for another month, because they’re not planning ahead. They’re not making preparations to fill my role in a timely manner. And so it’s going to clog up the system and require others take over my work when their workload is already stretched. But I can’t do anything about any of this. Because my plans are made. I have agreed to the extension of time, so I will continue working.

Just last week, I had to voice my concern about a situation that was causing bottlenecks in our business. I expressed my thoughts privately and confidentially. And now I find that others are at odds with my opposition to their selfishness. But they don’t know I was the one who complained. They don’t know I was the one who voiced my concerns about their actions. But not only that, I find I’m just annoyed with a lot of things, and I can’t keep quiet. And I don’t feel comfortable about any of this. I also know that I’m not comfortable voicing all my concerns. I need to temper my words. I need to step back. I need to make sure that my words honor God. And I need to make sure that my words honor the image bearers of God I’m speaking to and the ones I’m speaking about. And sometimes I just don’t want to. I’m convicted about that, because that is a sin. And I need to be better than that. I can be better than that. I have to want to be better than that. It’s hard and, in my imperfections, I need to seek God more than I’ve ever sought him before.

My heart is detached from my work. It’s been detaching for months now. In the near future, the ties will be severed. It’s difficult to care when your work isn’t your passion.  But a paycheck shouldn’t be the only driver for contentment. For we only long for more. A raise. A bonus. A pat on the back. A promotion. The pay is never enough. We always want just a little bit more.  And over time, the more we’ve been given seems not to be enough. We’re never satisfied.

Basically, I have senioritis. That disease that high school and college seniors get when they’re close to graduation. They’re just done with all the requirements. All the demands. All the expectations. All the deadlines. It’s time for a new phase to begin.

Our work is our calling. Or perhaps it’s better said that our calling is our work. And too many of us miss that calling and settle for far less. For far too long. And we’re miserable.


 For everything there is a season, a time for every activity under heaven. Ecclesiastes 3:1


We had our first frost of the season this week, signaling the end of life for all annual flowers and plants. The flowers that just the day before had looked hopeful and promising met an untimely death. Their season was cut short. But really, it wasn’t. The annuals don’t have a long life. They’re grown to flower and spread cheer for one short summer season. And now their work is done. Their season of life is over. I knew this day would come, the day I planted them.

As I bent in the dirt this morning to remove the debris of the summer flowers, I realized I was making way for something new to take its place in the spring. Each summer evening, I would walk the marigold path and deadhead the spent flowers. Instead of removing those deadheads from the garden, I would toss them on the ground near the flowering plants. I didn’t want to be inconvenienced by removing them, so I left them discarded in the flowerbed. But, as the summer wore on, I realized those spent flowers were not dead as I tossed them aside. Although the outside was shriveled and battered, life still remained. Those ugly dried flower heads produced new plants. And those new plants bloomed. Unknowingly, I was adding new beauty to empty places in the garden that had been overlooked. It didn’t take much thought and effort. In fact, it was an unintentional act of tossing spent blooms that produced new beauty and life.

The flowers had spent their short life blooming every day. They stood tall during the hot, steamy summer days. They’ve endured rainstorms. They’ve been whipped around by the wind. And yet they never stopped blooming.

If marigolds could think and reason, they might see the futility of their short life. They’re planted only to bloom for one short season. And then their life is over. But oh. That short blooming season provides endless hours of beauty. The short season keeps the deer at bay from ruining other plants in the garden. And that short season allows for the spread of new growth, even if unintentional. Those spent flowers don’t realize they have the capability to spread new life. But they do. Their short blooming season isn’t the end of life for them. They can seed new growth if left to their natural environment.

And now that the frosted marigolds have been removed from the bed, I notice the carrots that had been planted a few weeks ago. The leaves on the carrots are very similar to the leaves on the marigolds. Those leaves were a reminder today that as some seasons end, a new season with similar interests and opportunities await. New life is ahead.

Oh. How I’ve learned a new lesson on contentment in my current workspace. One season of my life is ending, but that doesn’t mean I don’t still have life within. There are new paths to climb. There is still worth in a body and mind that have spent many years doing meaningless work. This season is closing, but the new one brings hope and fulfillment. My momentary discontentment and frustration will soon end. But I must do the work now of planting new seed for the next season. And I must continue my current work with an improved attitude, knowing that new days await.

And that next season holds hope and promise for new adventures. But I must bide my time doing the daily work that I am entrusted with until that appointed hour. Oh. I am planning for the days ahead. I’m dreaming of new projects to fill my time. I’m also planning for more hours of intentional rest and relaxation.

Not all flowers and plants that bloom and thrive need full sun.

A Breath Away

I read the news on social media. She lost her life today. I had worked with her in the past, and she was a kind person. She was soft spoken but firm. I remember the day she interviewed me. She was a tough interviewer. I walked away thinking I had lost the job before I was ever hired. But somehow I got the job. She became a friend. Not a close friend. But a friend.

I remember when I was later laid off from that job. She would text me to see how I was doing. She would send Bible verses to encourage me. She didn’t know how much I appreciated those texts. They were a source of strength during a tough time.

She was a believer. She loved Jesus. She is in heaven now with Him. She has seen Jesus face to face. She will be with him for eternity. She has run the race. She has finished the course. She has heard the words. Well done. Welcome home, my good and faithful servant.

But her family is still on this earth. They are grieving. They are at a huge loss. She was the family’s breadwinner. And she had recently lost her job. Her family will never see her walk through the front door again. She will never again cook dinner for them. She will never be the mother of the groom. She won’t witness her boys’ high school graduations. There is now a huge gap in her family.

Oh. She’s reunited with her mother in heaven. But her husband, sons, father and sister are mourning the fact that she is no longer with them. Their lives will be turned upside down for many months. Even years.

Three weeks ago, my coworker’s children lost their father. Unexpectedly. He was watching tv with his daughters on a Friday night, and he began experiencing erratic breathing. The girls watched as he struggled for each breath. The teenage daughter called for help. But he didn’t survive. Two girls are now without their father. Their single mother is now their sole provider. They are in the midst of grief and uncertainty. They feel like they’re walking on eggshells. They will struggle with grief for many months.

This man will never walk his girls down the aisle on their wedding day. He will never see them mature into women. He will never be able to teach them to drive. He will never again watch tv with them on a Friday night. He will never cheer them on at their softball games. This man is in eternity.

This family doesn’t have the certainty that he is in heaven. He may have never made the decision to follow Jesus as his Lord and Savior. He may have never repented of his sins. His soul may now be in hell for eternity. Let that sink in for a minute.


How do you know what your life will be like tomorrow? Your life is like the morning fog—it’s here a little while, then it’s gone. James 4:14


At some point in each of our lives, we will lose someone close to us. It may be expected, or it may come out of the blue. Life is uncertain. The number of days we live are determined by our Maker. He alone knows when our last breath will be taken. He knows the circumstances around that last breath. He allocates each day and the happenings from sunrise to sunset. He ordains every day of our life. From the moment of our first breath to the last fighting breath we take. God is in control.

We choose how we live our lives. We choose how we respond to each trial and incident that occurs. We make mistakes. We sometimes choose wisely. We walk into situations where we shouldn’t be involved. And we walk away from situations we should make efforts to heal. We want our way, and we’ll sometimes do anything it takes to get what we want.

But it isn’t ours to decide when our life ends. We didn’t choose the moment our life was conceived. And we should allow God to be the one to choose our end date. After all, he determines the course of our days. Let’s let him choose the length of our life. Long or short. Good or bad. Painful or pain free.

Our days are not our own. Oh. We like to think we’re in control. But God allows us freedom to choose how we live. It doesn’t mean that we make good choices. But we only have one life. Let’s choose to live under God’s leading. He knows best. His ways are perfect. And if we’re living for him, it doesn’t matter the length of our life on this earth. Because the day we breathe our last breath on this earth, as a forgiven child of God, is the day we enter heaven’s gates. It doesn’t get any better than that.

Patience is a Virtue

It was a cool and sunny afternoon as I sat on the deck talking on the phone with a friend. We were talking about the difficulties of life. We talked through the trials of relationships and how trust needs to be earned. And at times, trust needs to be relearned. And re-earned. We lamented that men and women don’t really understand each other. We agreed that we both live a really good life, imperfect as it may be.

Oh. He is innocent of any indiscretions, and she knows it. But he acted guilty. And she is struggling with letting it go.

What is it you want? I asked.

By dwelling on the past, she can’t look to the future. By holding on to disappointments, she can’t move on to happiness. By living in fear, she can’t trust.

As I sat on the deck talking to her, I looked up at the trees. I noticed that the green leaves were slowly beginning to turn red and gold. This year, the leaves are turning to fall colors later rather than sooner. The weather’s been warm, so the loss of chlorophyll hasn’t been very orderly this year.

I’m eager to see the trees in all the splendor of fall hues. It’s mid-October, and I’m beginning to feel impatient. I’m ready for cool, crisp weather, and it’s finally beginning to appear. It’s beginning to feel like fall. Now when will the look match the feel?

I know. I’m being impatient. But I enjoy the beauty and crispness of fall. Now is the time for it.

What is it that I want?


The Lord isn’t really being slow about his promise, as some people think. No, he is being patient for your sake. He does not want anyone to be destroyed, but wants everyone to repent. 2 Peter 3:9


She is a great watchdog. She hears every noise. She can see through the dark with laser accuracy. She smells every deer that she can’t see and can’t smell the deer that she does see. She takes her treats outside and leaves them in the grass or on the driveway. She makes sure those treats are safe each time she goes outside. She whines when she sees her favorite neighbor dogs walking by the house. But when she sees her arch enemies, she acts like a maniac. She guards me like I’m a national treasure, and takes up too much space on the bed. She has developed anxious tendencies. She’s rather needy. She requires a lot of attention. Yet all her needs are met in abundance.

What more could she want?

Our neighborhood has recently acquired a black cat. It roams around searching for anything it can devour. It seems to be attracted to my property. I’ve seen it round the back corner of the house, which turns on the motion sensor light. I’ve noticed the cat sitting on the step in the path out back. And today, I watched it eating the treat that my dog had left on the driveway. The cat sat there and ate the entire treat. It made sure to lick up all the crumbs. Then it jumped on the stone wall and groomed itself. It seemed very content until the dog saw it and went berserk.

The thing is. My dog is the one causing the cat to be a regular visitor. If the dog wouldn’t leave food outside, the cat would have to look elsewhere for its next meal. But the dog doesn’t know she’s the problem. She’s only doing what seems natural to her. But her natural tendencies are causing problems that she isn’t aware of.

Life is full of ups and downs. We want it to be perfect. We want our way. We want our relationships to be perfect. We don’t like to be disappointed. We don’t like to wait. We don’t understand others. We are upset when others don’t understand our needs and wants. We expect others to read our minds when we can’t read theirs.

What I’m trying to say is that patience comes after many hardships and trials. After living through unmet expectations and accepting losses. Patience grows by persevering through failures and weaknesses. We all could do better.

Our moments of impatience are teaching moments. We want what we don’t have. Or we have what we don’t want. And all the while, our heavenly Father is calling us to be more like him. To view others we interact with as someone made in his image. As someone just as impatient and needy as we are. As someone who needs God’s forgiveness and mercy just as we do.

I think of our heavenly Father who patiently waits for us to come to him. We never need to doubt his love for us. We may not understand his plans or intentions. But his plans are perfect. He may be slow according to our plans. He never reneges on his promises. He will fulfill all of them in his own time. We may be confused about his methods. But his work is original and his timing is perfect. We have to trust him. Even when we don’t feel like it.

We become impatient with God when he doesn’t answer our prayers they way we want or in our timeframe. God is working even when we don’t see any results. God sees the big picture, and he knows who is ready to meet him face to face. He knows everyone who hasn’t made a decision to live for him. So he’s being patient. He’s waiting so more people will have time to make the decision to turn their lives over to him. In the meantime, we stew and pout because life seems unfair to us.

Perhaps it’s time for us to realize that this life is a temporary stopping point. This life is preparing us for eternity. This life is a test. Seventy or eighty years may seem like an eternity, but it’s nothing compared to an endless eternity. And we have a choice today to spend that eternity with God or with Satan. Let’s choose God now while we still have time. He’s patiently waiting. But he won’t wait forever.

R-E-S-P-E-C-T

I watch news shows. I read commentaries. I follow news people and influencers on social media. They’re quick to point out their opinion on how poorly they believe the President is doing his job. Some of them are calling him all kinds of names. Some are using harsh language to describe his decisions. They are saying they don’t trust him. They’ve lost faith in his leadership. I’ve heard that some have buyer’s remorse.

Now an obscene chant is taking over sports events.

I’ve been thinking about this. A lot. I hear their words. I read their words. And they aren’t kind. These people don’t hold back. I mean. If they’re holding back, then I’d hate to know what they really think. Honestly, they’re saying shameful things about the man.

Here are some of their words. He’s being called a coward. Not cognitively prepared. An idiot. Severely cognitively impaired. Low IQ individual. Dangerous combination of arrogance and incompetence. Abysmal failure.

I’m not saying I agree with his decisions. I’m not saying I support his work. But I’m starting to wonder if the words of these news people and influencers should be toned down. Couldn’t they say things a little more kindly? A little more respectfully? Even if he is making poor decisions, is there a way to speak the truth without being disrespectful?

The thing is. Scripture tells us that God is in charge of everything that happens. He ordains who wins elections and who loses. He knows the outcome of every situation and approves it. Otherwise. It wouldn’t happen.

So who am I? Who are you to say the things that are being said about the leader of our country? Oh. I know. I get it.

But I wonder what would happen if we would start seriously praying for our leaders, instead of calling them names? Instead of complaining and whining and throwing barbs, how about kneeling down and pleading with God to speak truth to them? Why not flood the gates of heavens with pleas for a return to godly leadership?


Some people make cutting remarks, but the words of the wise bring healing. Proverbs 12:18


Oh. It’s easy to say harsh words about someone when we’re not speaking to them personally. It’s easy to call someone horrible names on social media when we think they’re not looking. It’s even easier to say those mean words when we don’t really know the person. When we don’t have a personal stake in their lives or in their business. But does it make it right? Would we say those same words to the person if they were sitting in our homes?

It brings up a good question. How are we supposed to call out others when we see them doing something that is wrong? What kind of words should we use when we disagree with our family, friends, neighbors and coworkers? Do we use kinder words to those we are close to? Do we save the really harsh words for total strangers? People we assume we’ll never see again? Does it matter which words we use when we call out others? Does it matter if they’re friend or foe? Cruel words are cruel words.

How do we talk about people we disagree with without being disrespectful?  How do we talk to people we disagree with without being disrespectful?

Or….are there some things that shouldn’t be said out loud? Even if they’re true?

Where and when does respect come into play?

It is possible to communicate the truth in an ugly way.

Paul M. Gould

There’s an art to having tough conversations. Hard truths sometimes need to be told.  There is definitely a time and a place for direct language. Oh. People need to be held accountable for their poor choices and unthinkable actions. But what kind of words should and shouldn’t be said to them? It’s sometimes hard to know. Emotions get in the way and agendas are sometimes driven by those emotions.

Perhaps some words are appropriate for public hearing and other words are best said in private. Oh. I believe that there is a time to use strong words. Absolutely. But the intent and purpose of the heart needs to be examined. Is evil the true intent? Or is it to publicly shame someone? Or to puff up oneself?  

Do we stop to consider that everyone, whether we agree with them or not, is made in the image of God? Would we say those same words if Jesus Christ was standing next to us? Do we stop to remind ourselves that God hears every word we speak?

Let’s start a movement to bring back constructive conversations. Let’s create open dialog in a safe setting where we agree to disagree. Where we can speak honestly and openly. And still love each other at the end of the day. Let’s spend less time on social media and more time in personal interaction. Let’s find out what breaks someone’s heart and what makes them smile. Let’s work to heal wounds instead of opening new ones. Let’s show some respect.

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A Convenient Lie

I’ve recently been reading about Charles Darwin. You know. The inventor of evolution. The scientist who claims that the earth wasn’t created by God in seven days. The man who decided that the earth and everything in it evolved over time. The man who held the notion that all life is related and descended from a common ancestor. The man who believed in natural selection. Yeah. That guy.

Wikipedia says that Darwin’s scientific discovery is the unifying theory of the life sciences, explaining the diversity of life. He’s been described as one of the most influential figures in human history.

But did you know that Darwin knew his theory was false?

After all his work on the theory. The testing pointed to the fact that his work was a lie. He could not come to the truthful conclusion that evolution was real. But he promoted that theory anyway. And he never backed down.

Darwin and his followers. They were willing to believe a lie in order to prove their point. Darwin perpetuated a lie that has continued for generations. Nature became a substitute deity for the man. Generations of school kids have been taught a fabrication of lies. There is no truth in this teaching. 

It makes me wonder. Why were Darwin and his followers willing to support a lie? Why did they continue to preach and worship the lie? Why did they reject the truth? They were looking for an alternative to creation. There were looking for a way or a reason to discredit God. That tells me they fear God. They are afraid for God to be true and right and real.

Darwin wanted to keep God out of the picture. He was afraid of the supernatural. Because if he believed that the seven day creation story was true, he would have to confess that God existed. And if God exists, then Darwin might have to bow down and confess that his life was not his own. So he made sure that his theories and hypothesis pointed to an evolution of earth and mankind and every other living being. He manipulated data. He skewed his findings to produce the results he wanted.

Some things never change. Do they?


Carefully determine what pleases the Lord. Take no part in the worthless deeds of evil and darkness; instead, expose them. It is shameful even to talk about the things that ungodly people do in secret. But their evil intentions will be exposed when the light shines on them, for the light makes everything visible. Ephesians 5:10-14


We’re lied to these days. We’re deceived by fabrications of the truth. We’re manipulated to believe ideas that aren’t true. And unless we do the research. Unless we put in the time to study the subject, we can easily buy into other lies.

We’re told that men can get pregnant. We’re told that we can change our pronoun, and we’ll magically be a member of the opposite sex. We’re told that women should have the right to kill their unborn baby right up to and after birth.

These are all lies that go against the Creation story. God created male and female. And only a female can give birth. Our DNA doesn’t change because we change our pronouns. And unborn babies have the right to life, just as the mother carrying them.

God knew what he was doing on those six days of creation. He didn’t make any mistakes. At the end of each day, he looked at his finished work. And he saw that it was good. Except for one day. On the day he created man, he saw the results of the dust he formed. He saw that his work was very good.

God had a higher purpose for this created man. Because in this man, he placed a soul. And he planned for the soul of every person born on the earth to live in eternity with him. No other part of creation was given a soul. No other part of creation can choose to follow God or ignore him. Only humans were given that ability. Let’s choose wisely.

Yes, they knew God, but they wouldn’t worship him as God or even give him thanks. And they began to think up foolish ideas of what God was like. As a result, their minds became dark and confused. Claiming to be wise, they instead became utter fools. And instead of worshiping the glorious, ever-living God, they worshiped idols made to look like mere people and birds and animals and reptiles. So God abandoned them to do whatever shameful things their hearts desired. As a result, they did vile and degrading things with each other’s bodies. They traded the truth about God for a lie. So they worshiped and served the things God created instead of the Creator himself, who is worthy of eternal praise! Amen. Romans 1:21-25

A Bite of Fruit

Have you ever wondered what has gone wrong with the world? We seem to be in a precarious place, as of late. And we may be tempted to wonder why. There’s a really simple reason. But it’s not what we want to hear. Because once we hear the reason, we have to decide what to do about it on a personal level.

And that might mean change.

Let’s start with Adam and Eve. No. Let’s go back farther than that. Let’s start with God. He created the world. And everything in it. Plants. Animals. Oceans. Dry Land. Day. Night. Humans. He created it all in seven days. End of story. You might say.

But that’s only the beginning.

Adam was the first man of creation. God formed him from the dust of the earth. But God saw that all of the animals he created were paired up. Male and female. He knew that Adam needed a mate. So God performed surgery. He took a rib from Adam and created Eve. And they became the first couple.

God had created a beautiful garden as their home. He told them they could eat from any tree in the garden except for the tree in the middle of the garden. It was the tree of knowledge of good and evil. The name sounds forbidden. They weren’t to eat from it. That’s what God said.

And they were satisfied with that answer. They didn’t question God’s command. And they didn’t eat from the tree.

Then one day, everything changed. The serpent came along and asked Eve if God said they must not eat fruit from any of the trees in the garden. Eve told him that God said they couldn’t eat fruit from the tree in the middle of the garden or even touch it. If they did, they would die.

The thing is. God didn’t say exactly that.

God didn’t said they couldn’t touch the tree. He said that they couldn’t eat fruit from the tree. Or they would die. Eve lied.

But there is more.

The serpent told Eve that if she ate fruit from the forbidden tree that she would know both good and evil. He said she wouldn’t die. He also said she would be like God. The serpent tempted Eve to disregard God’s command.

She took the bait. She took a bite. Then she gave some of the fruit to her husband. And he ate. Their eyes were opened, and they knew they had disobeyed God.


Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour. Stand firm against him, and be strong in your faith. Remember that your family of believers all over the world is going through the same kind of suffering you are. 1 Peter 5:8‭-‬9


It wasn’t just a bite of fruit they were after. After all. It wasn’t a taste of the forbidden fruit that called their name. They could eat from any tree in the garden, except for this one. And they hadn’t even thought about trying fruit from that tree. They hadn’t pondered the thought of circling the one tree that was off limits in the hopes of getting a bite. No. That wasn’t it at all.

They had been content eating from all the other trees until the serpent tempted them. The serpent tricked them into thinking they could have something not meant for them. All for a bite of fruit.

Adam and Eve’s sin was not eating a piece of fruit. Their sin was coveting godlike power, craving something that was not rightfully theirs. They rejected their nature as created, limited, finite beings, and they tried to be what they could never be — divine. They wanted to be their own god.

Charles Colson, How Now Shall We Live

Oh. The funny thing is that God gave Adam and Eve dominion over creation, yet they couldn’t even reign in their own appetite. They had everything they needed in the garden. Food. Work. Home. Companionship. Fellowship with God. Life should have been perfect. To be honest. It was perfect.

But they made a wrong decision that changed their lives. And that one decision changed the trajectory of all mankind. And there’s no going back. Since that bite, mankind has been in a free fall of rebellion.

And oh. How man has fallen. Down through the ages, Satan has continued to tempt us into thinking we need things that aren’t ours. He has twisted truth and distorted reality since he tempted Eve. And he never stops.

Satan. He came in the form of a serpent to the first couple. He’s been coming for the rest of humanity since that moment. He’s coming for you.  And for me. What is it that causes us to take the bite that’s offered? Do we jump at the first offer? Or do we hold out for a time? Do we eagerly accept the forbidden fruit that he offers? Or not? Have we learned to say no to Satan’s advances?

Satan isn’t finished with mankind. He keeps pushing his agenda onto unsuspecting individuals. The truth is. He isn’t irresistible. He is defeatable. He wants his way. And he wants to use us to get it.  We are in a battle, and we must continue to fight against him. It may appear that he’s winning. But he is the ultimate loser.

We have a choice. We always have a choice. We must run from temptation. Because Satan is our greatest enemy. He will ruin us. He won’t stop until he has us in his grasp. Run in the opposite direction. While there’s still time.

Sophisticated People

You may have noticed that there is a group of people who seem to think they are above the laws they set for others. They act as if they don’t have to obey their own mandates. They regulate others but include provisions so that the rules don’t apply to them and others like them. There’s a saying “rules for thee, but not for me.” It’s gotten pretty old pretty quick.

They’ve been called the sophisticated people. As if they’re better than the rest of mankind. They seem to believe they don’t have to abide by their own manmade rules. And somehow. Some way. They seem to get away with it. But they are in the minority. Because they determine who is sophisticated and who isn’t. And everyone can’t be sophisticated. That would defeat the purpose.

This certain group of people claim their violations of the rules they set for others are permitted. After all. One was in the middle of a celebration and just forgot about masks. And some groups say they’re exempt because they’re in the performance arts industry. Or there was one big birthday bash that showed obvious signs of disregard for the unsophisticated. And there are many more examples. But we all know what we know.

I’ve realized, before it was made obvious to me, that I’m not in the sophisticated crowd. And I’m ok with that. I’ve studied the mandates and the risks of disobedience. I’ve read about the rules that others say I should follow. And I’ve come to my own conclusions. I don’t have to be sophisticated in this world’s eyes in order to be somebody.

My identity doesn’t lie within the opinions of those who make rules for their own benefit. My allegiance doesn’t lie with those who are in office or out of office. I don’t follow those in the news so closely that they influence my decisions, lifestyle or purchases. I come to my own conclusions and act accordingly. I suggest you do the same.


You are a chosen people. You are royal priests, a holy nation, God’s very own possession. As a result, you can show others the goodness of God, for he called you out of the darkness into his wonderful light. 1 Peter 2:9 NLT


However. There is One I follow. I’ve found that his message is always spot on. Even when it’s directed at me, and I need to obey. Even when I don’t want to. His words are truth. His ways are perfect. He will not lead me astray. He will not force his ways on me. I am free to choose my own path.

He has a name. Jesus Christ. He is the biggest influence of my life. He’s more than an influencer for me. He is the Way of Life. And he chose me before I knew his name. He knew me before I was even born. And he calls me his own.

But I’m not the only one following this Way Maker. There are many more. And he is always calling us out to be more like him. Oh. It isn’t easy trying to be like him. He sets a high standard. Perfection was his style. But it’s easier said than done for the rest of us. The good news is that he still loves us even when we miss the mark. When we fall short, he still seeks us out.

He calls us by name. And he calls us holy. Set apart. He says we are royalty. We’re his prized possession. Others may call us peculiar, but that’s ok. We are his special people.

The Old Testament explains how God set apart the nation of Israel to be his very own people. He still claims them as his own. And he always will. Just as he has called out this Jewish nation as his own, he calls us to be his people. We are chosen by God, but we must choose him. We must make that personal decision to be his followers.

And it doesn’t matter what names we’re called by those who don’t accept God’s call. Because only his opinion matters. We may be canceled by those who deem us unworthy, but God will always choose us.

Jesus came to seek and to save the lost.  Because all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. He didn’t section us off into classes of people. We’re all sinners doomed to hell unless we repent. And those of us who have accepted the call out of darkness must show others the light. As we were shown the light, we too must light the way for others.

We are uncommon people in a common world.