Dec 27, 2018

In Case You Forgot

He is jealous for me, Loves like a hurricane, I am a tree,
Bending beneath the weight of his wind and mercy.
When all of a sudden, I am unaware of these afflictions eclipsed by glory,
And I realize just how beautiful You are,
And how great Your affections are for me.
And oh, how He loves us oh
Oh how He loves us,
How He loves us all
He is jealous for me, Loves like a hurricane, I am a tree,
Bending beneath the weight of his wind and mercy.
When all of a sudden, I am unaware of these afflictions eclipsed by glory,
And I realize just how beautiful You are,
And how great Your affections are for me.
And oh, how He loves us oh,
Oh how He loves us,
How He loves us all
He loves us,
Oh how He loves us,
Oh how He loves us,
Oh how He loves.
And we are His portion and He is our prize,
Drawn to redemption by the grace in His eyes,
If His grace is an ocean, we're all sinking.
And heaven meets earth like an unforeseen kiss,
And my heart turns violently inside of my chest,
I don't have time to maintain these regrets,
When I think about, the way
That He loves us,
Oh how He loves us,
Oh how He loves us,
Oh how He loves.
Yeah, He loves us,
Oh how He loves us,
Oh how He loves us,
Oh how He loves.
Yeah, He loves us,
Oh how He loves us,
Oh how He loves us,
Oh how He loves.
Songwriters: John Mark McMillan
How He Loves lyrics © Capitol Christian Music Group

Dec 20, 2018

It’s Another Christmas Miracle!

Family gatherings come with a mixed bag of emotions.

On one hand, great food and beverages as friends and loved ones gather to catch up on all of the past year and to celebrate.

On the other hand, for some, it is an opportunity to once again be reminded that they really haven’t changed in the past year(s). 

We talk about and identify ourselves (and others) by what happened eighteen or twenty years ago. We use terms like ‘felon’ or “divorced” or drug addict” or “alcoholic” or…

We seemed fixated on keeping people stuck with who they were; instead of seeing each other (and ourselves) for who we are today; this Christmas.

The Apostle Paul wrote to the church in Corinth that he was determined not to know anyone in the flesh.

So, we have stopped evaluating others from a human point of view. At one time we thought of Christ merely from a human point of view. How differently we know him now!” (2 Corinthians 5:16 NLT)

The Christmas message tells us that God’s grace is greater than our sin. The sin issue was settled at the cross on which was hung Jesus Christ. That is the gift that we celebrate on Christmas day.

The Christmas message has not changed in over 2000 years; God is still with us. And that is what the people who will be spending their Christmas gatherings with us NEED to hear! And some one has to tell them; perhaps you?

My friends, those of us who are followers of Jesus Christ (Christians); have been given so much. 

We need to be grateful for all that God has bestowed upon us. 

This is a day to rejoice!

If Jesus was going to go to the family gatherings, He would be rejoicing and sharing love! 

Jesus knows the Father’s love! Jesus knows the Christmas message!

We as Believers also need to love as though we know this message, instead of looking as though we hate being with our families because ‘they aren’t saved’.

We need to let our lives show that we know the One who died for all sinners and rejoice and laugh and love those whom we are spending time with (see Romans 12:9-21).

This year, let each of us make a commitment to receive each other for who we are today and sit down and hear each other’s stories about what they did this week; as well as what they did this past year.
Let’s give each other a break from our past!

I know we all could use that!

This Christmas is a great time to be ‘mission-centered’ and reach out to those in our world. We are all called to be ambassadors as though God were pleading through us (2 Corinthians 5:20).

My prayer is that God will show each one of us how and to whom He would like us to reach out this Christmas.

Jesus is the reason for the season.

Dec 13, 2018

A little Rain Must Fall

“You, O God, sent a plentiful rain,
Whereby You confirmed Your inheritance,
When it was weary.” (Psalm 68:9)

It was a typical Saturday morning. I had just stepped off the ice rink, put my hockey gear in my bag, loaded everything up in my car, and got inside of the car to head home.

I put the key in the ignition and turned the crank as I have done every time I have driven the car for the past four years. The car started right up, but immediately started jerking as though the engine was running on diesel fuel that was gelled up.

I managed to drive the car a short distance when all of the sudden the engine stopped and the car came to a slow halt.

I put the car in park and turned the key. Once again, the engine started, but this time the car was jerking even more profusely. I managed to drive in close to a curb before it “died” again.

I noticed that where the car had come to a halt was a “tow away zone”; which meant that I couldn’t leave it parked there for very long; especially since we were scheduled for a snow storm in a few hours.

I also realized that I hadn’t brought my phone with me and all of my teammates had already driven away.

I stopped and prayed and sought direction before I tried to start the car once again. I was able to get it started (still firing erratically) and drove it between the sputters out of the area where it had been parked.

The thought occurred to me that I was only a few blocks from the home of one of Cathy’s sisters as I looked for a safe place to park the car. I decided to crawl my way to her house.

When I arrived, I parked the car in a spot across from her house and made sure that it would not get towed.

I got out of the car and knocked on her door and was greeted by two of her children who informed me that their mom and dad wasn’t at home and wouldn’t be back for several hours.

I asked if they would call Cathy for me and they said that they didn’t know her number…But neither did I because all of my numbers for my friends and family are on my cell phone!

Realizing that I had Cathy’s number on a piece of paper in my wallet, I asked to borrow a phone.

I called Cathy (who was at a craft sale with one of my daughters) and let her know what had happened and proceeded to secure some numbers; including a ride and a tow truck.

Cathy’s response was almost nonchalant when she said; “We will see how this all works out…”

My daughter told Cathy that she would ask her husband to pick me up.

While I waited for my son-in-law to arrive, I called for a tow truck and was informed that it would be at least two hours; which was ok as long as they got it off the roads before the snow storm arrived in three hours. They said that they would do their best.

I returned the phone to my nephew and waited outside for my ride; which arrived in a short time. I loaded my hockey gear and sticks in his car and thanked him for the ride.

Long story short, the car was delivered and after praying about it, we donated it to a non-profit that fixes up cars for people in need. They even towed it away!

And, simulcast with this, someone was purchasing a different car with the intention of giving it to us as an early Christmas present.

In less than one week we had a new vehicle and had the old one taken away. Praise the Lord!

It is in these times that my faith gets tested; will I simply trust the Lord to provide? It is during times like this that it is easy to miss provision as one gets stuck with questions of “why?”

The truth is the Lord knows so much better what we need than we do.

But we want provision without any loss. We want a miracle without a need that requires a miracle. We want sunshine without the rain (or snow or storms or…)

We want the flowers without the rain.


And yet the Bible tells us that the LORD “makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.” (Matthew 5:45)

As I reflect, this didn’t come as a total surprise. The car had been occasionally idling a little rough and we had (a different) son-in-law who is a mechanic look at the car and told us that the timing chain was damaged and needed to be replaced very soon. We were driving on borrowed time.

I also realized that the Lord had been preparing me all week when I had a passing thought; “You need to get rid of this vehicle in order to get a different one…”

I also had a gut-check to wait before I purchased license tabs for the car along with purchasing hub caps that were missing for the car.

And, that same week, two different people said; “If you ever need a car, here is a place that I would recommend…”

I also had heard to bring my phone to my hockey game (which I never do).  

Bottom line is that we were taken care of on all levels and all areas. Our posture was to be one of trusting Him as we sought FIRST His kingdom.

Knowing that upon us all a little rain must fall; and that isn’t necessarily a bad thing if we want to see the flowers (provision)…

Psalm 65:9 says;

          “You visit the earth and water it,
          You greatly enrich it;
          The river of God is full of water;
          You provide their grain,
          For so You have prepared it.”

Or as Al Bowlly sang;
          “The roses may be there
          Behind the garden wall,
          Before their fragrance fills the air
         A little rain must fall.”

All Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Dec 6, 2018

This is my heart cry to the LORD today...

Come as close as You want
Consume this heart that longs to burn

I know Your fire can hurt
But I would be worse here without You

For I was made to dwell with You
And how I ache until I do

Holy God, Take my heart
Purge with flame and truth
A holy heart is all I want
That I may live with You

Come and take all these chains
That get in the way of what You want
And as I stand in the flame
Still I will say, “I trust You God”

For I was made to dwell with You
And how I ache until I do

Holy God, Take my heart
Purge with flame and truth
A holy heart is all I want
That I may live with You

"Come as Close As You Want" By Misty Edwards from the Album “Fling Wide”

Nov 29, 2018

Jesus Is LORD

Many years ago, a man I was working with noticed my “Jesus is Lord” bumper sticker on my truck and asked me about it:

“I thought Jesus WAS Lord?” he asked; “Isn’t that an obvious statement?”

I quickly found myself lost in a theological debate on the Lordship of Jesus Christ.

If I were to ask you if you believed in His Lordship, I believe I would receive an overwhelming affirmation.

Yet, if I were to ask each of you “Is He Lord of all you are and all you have?” your answer would probably contradict the first answer.

It’s easy to put on a bumper sticker saying Jesus is Lord, another thing to proclaim His Lordship with our lips and our lives.

Most of us are so inundated with the saying: “Jesus is Lord” that perhaps we have never stopped to ponder what it means.

The Lordship of Jesus was the initial confession of the early church...
 “That if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus, and believe in your heart that God has raised him from the dead, you will be saved.” (Romans 10:9)                                        
When a Jewish convert said “Jesus is Lord” he meant: Jesus is God. When a Gentile believer said “Jesus is Lord” he meant: I have no other god besides Jesus.
When the church started out in the first century, Christians made a clean break with the rest of the world. They were willing to follow their Lord Jesus Christ no matter what the cost was. Their proclaiming Jesus as Lord cost many of them their very lives because it meant they rejected all allegiance to Caesar.

Soon, gentiles flocked into the church and brought with them their practices, their sins, and their idols. So, the church lowered the standard to accommodate them. And the church has never fully recovered from this mistake.

Today, too many church members serve two lords. Churches are filled with baptized pagans living double lives. They say that they fear the Lord; all the while serving their own gods.  They draw near to Him with their mouths and honor Him with their lips, while their hearts are still far from Him. Calling Him Lord, while not doing what He has said to do.

We are called to not only worship Him on Sunday but also to serve Him all week long.

The Lordship of Jesus Christ is the confession of a true Christian: in the New Testament it is never Jesus Christ and... It is always Jesus; the Alpha and the Omega, The Beginning and the End

Calling Jesus Lord is the authentic work of the Holy Spirit:
1 Corinthians 12:3 Therefore I make known to you that no one speaking by the Spirit of God calls Jesus accursed: and no one can say that Jesus is the Lord, but by the Holy Spirit.

Our old nature will simply never bow down to the Lordship of Jesus Christ.

Today we explain to a convert the difference between: Trusting Christ as Savior and confessing Jesus as Lord…when they are actually one experience.

Yet some have proclaimed Him Savior: “I accepted Christ...”

What we are actually saying is: “Yes, I accept Him...” Simply to escape hell and make it to heaven…while seeming unconcerned about proclaiming Him Lord of their lives.

Salvation is not the same as going to Old Country Buffet where you take salvation and pass up on His Lordship.

I think that some treat salvation as though they will “try it out” on some kind of trial plan; and if it doesn’t work out then they try something else.

Yes, I understand that none of us fully understands all that is involved at conversion; we are still learning. But, I need to  be really blunt with you: No one can willfully and knowingly take Christ as Savior and reject Him as Lord and be saved.

In Acts 16, the Philippian jailer asks Paul what he must do to be saved. Paul answers him; “believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved…” (Acts 16:31)

Did you notice that Paul gives the jailer three names:
Master (Lord) Mediator (Jesus) and Messiah (Christ)?

He didn’t say; “Take Jesus as your Savior today and think about having Him be your Lord sometime in the future, and then we’ll get together and talk about it sometime.”
We do have a choice; we can receive the Lord or reject Him. But, once we receive Him, our option ends. We are no longer our own master because we have been bought with a price.

We belong to the Lord Jesus Christ. He has the first word and the last. He has the right to demand absolute loyalty even greater than any earthly dictator.

He alone has a right to do it because He alone not only made us, but also paid for our redemption by His death, burial and resurrection; HIS VERY LIFE WAS GIVEN FOR US!

It is absolute foolishness to say: “Nobody has the right to tell me what to do, how much to give, how I should live...”

He already has told us! His Word is final and we belong to Him. And yet, still we find ourselves talking like that.
One of the problems with not coming under His Lordship is that we honestly don’t understand what that means, so it doesn’t seem like any big thing.

I understand that we want to understand before do something, yet how many fully understood electricity before you used it?

When you gave your life to Jesus Christ, YOU came under new management.

You from that point on belonged to Jesus Christ and He was and is Lord of your life.                                                                                                                                                   
The sad state of much of the Christian church today is that there is no real confession of Jesus Christ as Lord; which is strange because the word ‘savior’ is in the New Testament 25 times, while the word “LORD” is found 682 times.

Christian = a believer, a disciple, and a witness. We come to Him as a believer, and follow Him as a disciple.

Some take a stand for the Lord and keep standing. Some take a step but not a walk. We must be born-again and then go on to become disciples and witnesses.                                                                                                                                 
Yes, salvation is a free gift available to anyone who asks. But, it was not without a price: It cost God His Son and the Son His life.

However, when we become believers we become disciples and that will cost us everything we have.

Our Lord Jesus Christ is after disciples, not merely card-carrying-pew-sitters. Americans are great ones to join things.

Jesus is not just Savior of the soul, He is Lord of the life. His Lordship is over all the earth.

The question is not whether or not you will confess Him as Lord; Philippians 2 tells us that one day EVERY knee will bow and EVERY tongue confess Jesus Christ as LORD.

But when will you confess Him as Lord? Will you do it now while you can still live for Him or when it will be too late?

Is He your Lord?
Is He Lord of your body?
Is He Lord of your thoughts?
Is He Lord of your tongue?
Is He Lord of your temper?
Is He Lord of your free time?
Is He Lord of your relationships?
Is He Lord of your past, good times and bad?
Is He Lord of your future plans?
Is He Lord of your money?
Is He Lord of your church life?
Is He Lord of your recreation?
Is He Lord of what you watch on television?
Is He Lord of what you listen to in regards to music?
His Lordship covers everything from eating and drinking to all of our daily affairs in this world.                                                                                                   
The heart of revival is making Jesus Lord, proclaiming His Lordship...Have YOU done that?

When this world passes away, some will be surprised:

Jesus said;
“Not everyone who says to me, Lord, Lord, shall enter the kingdom of heaven; but he who does the will of my Father in heaven. Many will say to Me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out devils in Your name and done many wonders in Your name? (sang in the choir, worked at church, preached, built great buildings for you, worked in the nursery...) And then will I declare to them, I never knew you: depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness.” (Matthew 7:21-23)

Nov 22, 2018

Thanksgiving Blog 2018

The way that Cathy and I celebrate Thanksgiving Day has changed over the past 38 years. 

Some of the traditions have survived the test of time; such as eating too much and going around at the meal and saying what each of us are thankful for.

When we were dating, we started off celebrating with both of our families; stuffing our faces at one house and then driving to the other family gathering to repeat the meal; and then waddle home under the influence of tryptophan.

When our children were growing up, we added breakfast at our house. Afterwards, we watched the parade, dog show, and some of the Detroit game before heading to one of the parents’ homes to start the feasting. After watching the Dallas game, we watched the movie “Home Alone” before waddling home under the influence of tryptophan.

As our children grew up, got married, and started having families (and in-laws) of their own, the way we celebrated Thanksgiving changed once again.

Currently, we spend the afternoon at one of Cathy sisters’ homes with her side of the family and some of our children and grandchildren. We eat, talk, eat, play games (and pool) and watch both the Detroit and Dallas football games and then waddle home under the influence of tryptophan.

Thanksgiving is to be celebrated EVERY no matter what day you are reading this, take time to give thanks to the LORD. 

Don’t let this day be the only day that you say what you are thankful for.

Thank the LORD for His provision (physically, mentally, emotionally, sexually, relationally, spiritually) and His protection (more times than you could ever imagine!).

Thank Him for friends and family. Thank Him for your employment. Thank Him for vacation and times of refreshing. Thank Him for entertainment and sports and music and art.

Thank Him for good times and bad; for richer and poorer, in sickness and in health, until death do you part from this earth.

Thank Him even for that broken down, worn out vehicle that you wish you could afford to replace and yet still gets you through another day.

“Offer to God thanksgiving, and pay your vows to the Most High.” (Psalms 50:14)

“I will praise the name of God with a song, and will magnify Him with thanksgiving.” (Psalms 69:30)

“Let them sacrifice the sacrifices of thanksgiving, and declare His works with rejoicing.” (Psalms 107:22)

“Enter into His gates with thanksgiving, And into His courts with praise. Be thankful to Him, and bless His name.” (Psalms 100:4)

All Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Nov 15, 2018

Happy Hockey

Two weeks ago, I was sitting poolside in Sunny Florida basking in 85-degree weather.

This past week, the temperatures in Minnesota dropped and snow coated the ground. In fact, on one day the snow was actually deep enough that I had to use both a brush to sweep of our vehicles and a shovel to clean our sidewalks.

And all across social media I saw posts complaining about the snow and cold temperatures as though something strange was happening.

I realize that for some people who live in the northern region of the USA, this is not a happy time of the year. It is the season when leaves, temperatures, and snow fall and all reminders that this region is a very lush and green place to live are gone (for at least for the next five months or so).

But for me, I am HAPPY and excited because that means that outdoor hockey season in Minnesota is a few weeks away. Soon all across this great state outdoor rinks in parks, lakes, and ponds will be filled with hockey games of all levels of age and experience.

This year marks my fifty first year of playing ice hockey. And for most of those fifty-one years, hockey has been one of my “happy places”.

I have many other happy places such as spending time with the Lord, my wife, children, grandchildren, friends, my workshop, at/on any body of water; as well as being outdoors simply enjoying God’s creation.

So where is your “happy place”? If it is hot, sunny weather and you live in Minnesota it will be subjective. If it is with people who always make you happy; again, it will be subjective.

It may surprise you that the word ‘blessed’ in the Bible means “happy”. We see it in Matthew 5 when Jesus gives His famous “Sermon on the Mount (Mathew 5-7). “Blessed are…”

We find it in Psalm 1:1 which says; “Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor stands in the path of sinners, nor sits in the seat of the scornful.”

BOTH the Hebrew and the Greek word used in those passages means ‘happy’.

In fact, those of us who KNOW Him are SUPPOSED to be HAPPY! We are told in the Bible; “Happy are the people whose God is the LORD!” (Psalm 144:15b)

In other words, our happiness is not based on our circumstances or activities, but rather, based on whether or not we are in the center of God’s will for our lives because it’s in the center of God’s will that we will be happy.

And, it is in this place that not only are we happy in our happy place(s), but our lives become a testimony to our friends and all those around us.

When they see you glowing and happy in spite of the circumstances, it speaks to them; it causes them to think; “Why is this person happy? Why is their response to life different from mine?”
When you walk in His will and follow His direction, you shine with His light, His joy; His happiness.

And it is a powerful testimony because no matter what is going on around you, others will see the abundant life that Jesus came to bring each one of us who call upon His name (John 101:10).

Be happy my friend as you take steps to be and remain in the center of the LORD's will for your life. Allow your happiness in Him to emanate from your life to others.