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Showing posts from 2019

Fix Your Eyes on Jesus

“May the Lord direct your hearts into God’s love and Christ’s perseverance” (2 Thessalonians 3:5).

We have all known of God’s love and that our hearts should be directed into it. But we may not have known or thought of the “steadfastness” (RSV) or the “perseverance” (NIV) of Christ. What is it? How was it shown, and how should our hearts be directed into it? Hebrews 12:1-4 answers all three questions:

“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart. In your struggle against sin, you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding you…

Apologetics: Problems & the Kind of Questions We Should Be Prompting

Early in my Christian experience, before I knew the definition of apologetics, I sensed the need of an adequate apologetic for every accusation against, and question to, the Christian faith. There were so many people who did not know God, and there were so many questions that seemed to stand between them and God. If their questions could be answered clearly, rationally, intelligently, and kindly, these students would stand convinced and would then become believers (or so I thought). I set myself the task of getting the right answers.

Before I became accomplished in this pursuit, I began to have doubts. The doubts arose as I began to practice my growing knowledge in face-to-face encounters (arguments) or large bull sessions. It was great fun arguing. It was even more fun winning the argument. But there weren’t any results. No conversions.

Part of the problem was that I found it difficult to be kind while I was being methodically rational and clear in my presentation. There was anothe…

Sneaky Self-Exaltation

Jesus made a statement recorded in Matthew 23:1: “For whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted.” This is following a teaching that we are not to be called master, father, or teacher.

Jesus said approximately the same thing in Luke 14:11, only in this case He said "everyone" instead of “whoever.” It was the conclusion of a command not to take the place of honor but to take the lowest place at a wedding banquet.

He said it again in Luke 18:14 with the same conclusion; this time it was the conclusion to a parable of a man who considered himself more righteous than another man.

There seems to be more than one way to exalt yourself. They all seem to be evident in today’s society. They are evident because we can see self-exaltation in other people, but we do not see it in ourselves. What should we do about this? Let us pray that we will be able to reject self-exaltation and that we will humble ourselves.

Written January 1985.

Breakfast with the Servant Lord

“...but that night they caught nothing.”
“Friends, haven’t you any fish?”
“When they landed, they saw a fire of burning coals there with fish on it, and some bread.”
“Bring some of the fish you have just caught.”
“Come and have breakfast.”
“Jesus came, took the bread and gave it to them, and did the same with the fish.”
(Selections from John 21)

Jesus had been fishing. Jesus had made or purchased bread. Jesus started a fire and cleaned the fish. He cooked the bread and the fish. He invited the men to breakfast. He served them their breakfast.

This was the risen Christ. “None of the disciples dared ask him, ‘Who are you?’ They knew it was the Lord.” Isn’t this a wonderful picture of the risen Lord? He is still a servant. We are to be like him.

Join the #keepthefeast Bible Reading Challenge. This post coordinates with today's reading.
Written June 1988.

The Father Himself Loves You

“I have said this to you in figures; the hour is coming when I shall no longer speak to you in figures but tell you plainly of the Father. In that day you will ask in my name; and I do not say to you that I shall pray the Father for you; for the Father himself loves you, because you have loved me and have believed that I came from the Father. I came from the Father and have come into the world; again, I am leaving the world and going to the Father” (John 16:25-28).

This is a wonderful statement! The Father Himself loves you.

Many Christians do not believe that, even though they know John 3:16 and Romans 5:8. They read those verses in such a way as to read, “For Jesus so loved the world,” and “Jesus commends His love for us.” The Father loves us. We should dwell on that fact. It influences all of our actions.

Join the #keepthefeast Bible Reading Challenge here. This post coordinates with today's reading.
Written August 1986.

Fear & Love Done Wrong

“Nevertheless many even of the authorities believed in Him, but for fear of the Pharisees they did not confess it, lest they should be put out of the synagogues: for they loved the praise of men more than the praise of God” (John 12:41-43).

There seem to be two reasons for this unwillingness to confess Jesus Christ: fear and love. It is fear of men instead of God and love of the praise of men instead of the praise of God.

The fear anticipated something bad happening in the future, i.e. being put out of the synagogue. The love is past-tense. They already knew what it was like to be praised by men, and they liked it. They wanted the pleasant things from men and did not want unpleasant things from them. In other words, they were concerned about the opinions of the world and, in this particular instance, that part of the world that controlled the existing church.

Join the #keepthefeast Bible Reading Challenge here. This post coordinates with today's reading.
Written November 17, 1977.

Water That Wasn't in the Well

“Jesus answered, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life’” (John 4:13-14).

When I was 9 years old, we sang this song in church:

Jesus gave her water
That was not in the well,
Gave her living water,
And she went forth to tell.
She went away singing
And came back bringing
Others for the water
That was not in the well.
Have you taken Jesus
Who is the well of life?
For He gives salvation,
And keeps from sin and strife.
Then you will be singing,
Others you'll be bringing
To the loving Savior
Who gives eternal life.

Join us for the #keepthefeast Bible Reading Challenge here. This post coordinates with today's reading.
Written August 2019.

The Example of John the Baptist

“He himself was not the light; he came only as a witness to the light” (John 1:8).

“He must become greater; I must become less” (John 3:30).

Here are two statements, one about John the Baptist, and the other by him. In a culture where it is a temptation to become greater, we must follow John’s example. We are witnesses to the light “so that through Him all men might believe.”

Join the #keepthefeast Bible Reading Challenge here. This post coordinates with today's reading.
Written March 1992.

Imitation: Dwight L. Moody

"Remember your leaders, who spoke the word of God to you. Consider the outcome of their way of life and imitate their faith" (Hebrews 13:7).

The best way to learn is by imitation.

The first nine years of my life in Christ were on active duty in the U.S. Navy. There were not many men there whom I could imitate in order to be more like Jesus, although there were a few for which I am grateful. In 1951, I discovered the BIOLA Bookstore in Kowloon, Hong Kong. Two of the books I bought there were C. T. Studd’s Cricketer and Pioneer and David Brainerd’s diary. Since then, I have been imitating men who are already with the Lord by reading their biographies and learning from them. Some of my favorites are Hudson Taylor, George Mueller, James Fraser, and Paget Wilkes. I encourage you to read such books and imitate these kinds of men.

The book I’m reading right now is a biography of Dwight L. Moody published in 1900. Moody was a great evangelist of the 19th century. He also started th…

Pointers on Praying for Revival

Prayer for revival should include:

Confession. Since the last revival, the world has acted according to its nature. The church has not and needs to take responsibility for the results in the world.

Submission. The Holy Spirit is sovereign in revival and cannot be manipulated by prayer meetings, fasting, etc. We cannot produce revival; it has to be given.

Optimism. In order to request revival properly, we must plead the promises of God in Scripture. In order to do this, an optimistic eschatology is absolutely necessary.

Knowledge. The last revival in America was in the mid-19th century. In order to pray intelligently, we need to read histories of previous revivals. We should know what we are asking for.

Focus. We should pray for the church, not the world. If the church is revived, the world will soon be affected. Within the church, we must pray for the preachers and teachers.

Solid Doctrine. We must pray biblically. The prayer must be based on a good grasp of biblical basic…

Reading the Whole Bible

I first read the Bible through in 1952-1953. It was the King James Version. I read four chapters in the Old Testament and two chapters in the New Testament a day. This took me through the Old Testament once and the New Testament two and half times in nine months. In 1970 or '71 I switched to the RSV, and then in 1980-81 I switched to the NIV.

I have no idea what my Bible reading schedule was during those years. For about ten years, I followed a strict schedule with YWAM. For the last seven years, I have used Robert Murray M’Cheyne’s Light on the Way. This program starts with Genesis 1, Ezra 1, Matthew 1, and Acts 1 on January 1. The schedule goes through the Old Testament once, the book of Psalms twice, and the New Testament twice during the year.

This year I am encouraging you to join the Bible Reading Challenge here. You will read the entire Bible during the school year. It will be a great blessing.

Got Questions? I'm Taking Requests.

To my readers (and anyone else who happens across this),

Is there a subject you would like to hear more about on this blog? Or do you have any questions about the Bible, the Christian life, relationships, evangelism, etc. that you would like an answer to? I am taking requests for subjects. If you have one, post a comment here or email me at

If you would like a private answer instead, mention that in your email. You can also call me at (208) 882-4383 to talk in person.

In the Lord Jesus Christ,

Jim Wilson

Reading the Bible (Watching Your Life & Doctrine)

“Watch your life and doctrine closely. Persevere in them, because if you do, you will save both yourself and your hearers” (1 Timothy 4:16).

Some years ago, I was talking with a young woman who had gone through a Christian high school and who had graduated from a well-known Christian college. This young woman was from a home where her parents were in Christian work. When I asked her when was the last time she had completed reading the New Testament, she replied that she had never read it all. And of course the Old Testament had been read less. This is now a standard question I ask, and it is almost a standard answer. Christians are not watching their life and doctrine closely.

If you are not reading your Bible regularly, start now. If you like, you can join this plan for reading the entire Bible by the end of May.

God’s Faithfulness in Humbling and Exalting

“For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled and he who humbles himself will be exalted” (Luke 14:11).

This truth is also found in Philippians 2:3-11:

“Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others. In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus: who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death—even death on a cross! Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory …

An Empty Life

“There has never been an emptier life than the one which has itself as its center. You take the throne of your personality and sit on it, and you appear conspicuously too small! It was never meant to be your throne. We were created in God’s image, not in our own image. Therefore, whenever I take the center of my personality and sit on it, I am out of place. I am simply too small for the throne of that personality. I cannot meet my own desires.” – Festo Kivengere, excerpt from The Spirit Is Moving

CCM has just republished this book. You can order a copy here.

Bible Reading Challenge Invitation: #KeeptheFeast

You Are Worthy

The two greatest events in the history or the world are the creation of man and the redemption of man by the death of the Lord Jesus Christ. The four living creatures and the 24 elders sing about these two events in Revelation 4:11 and in Revelation 5:9-10.

“You are worthy, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will they were created and have their being” (Rev. 4:11).

“You are worthy to take the scroll and to open its seals, because you were slain, and with your blood you purchased for God persons from every tribe and language and people and nation. You have made them to be a kingdom and priests to serve our God, and they will reign on the earth” (Rev. 5:9-10).

Both hymns start out the same: “You are worthy.” There are different reasons given: “for you created all things,” and “because you were slain.” The first hymn is limited to the choir of 28. With the second hymn, the 28 are joined first by upwards of 100 million angels a…

Getting Our Grieving Backwards

“Shouldn't you rather have been filled with grief and have put out of your fellowship the man who did this?” (1 Corinthians 5:2).

“Brothers, we do not want you to be ignorant about those who fall asleep, or to grieve like the rest of men, who have no hope” (1 Thess. 4:13).

There are things about which we should grieve and things about which we should not grieve. In the first category is sin in the body, the church. In the second is the death of those who die in the Lord. Like many things, we have these backwards. Sin in the body should cause the whole body pain.

“If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it” (1 Cor. 12:26).

Let us ask God for a conscience that reflects the sin of the whole body, not just our own private sin. Let us also ask for a great joy for those who go on ahead to be with Christ.

Written September 1984.

Book Recommendation: Patricia St. John

I would like to share with you some thoughts on books. One of the books I have read and appreciated is Nothing Else Matters by Patricia St. John. This is a book by a missionary who is also a children’s author. Other books by her include The Tanglewoods Secret, Treasures of the Snow, Star of Light, and Where the River Begins. Nothing Else Matters is reading for adults about children in Lebanon. Its theme is forgiveness: its story is of killing, sacrifice, and bitterness. The benefit of reading it is great. The salvation message is clear, and the theme of forgiveness is powerful. I would also encourage you to read her other books, specifically Star of Light.

Eating with the Varsity Team

“We have much to say about this, but it is hard to explain because you are slow to learn. In fact, though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you the elementary truths of God’s word all over again. You need milk, not solid food! Anyone who lives on milk, being still an infant, is not acquainted with the teaching about righteousness. But solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil” (Hebrews 5:11-14).

Among Christians there seem to be many differences on how they view good and evil. They tend to be either legalistic (following rules taught by men) or licentious (violating God’s rules). Both of these are wrong.

There is another difference: that is the difference between infancy and maturity. There are many Christians who need to be taught elementary truths all over again. Much of my time is spent in this occupation.

However, it is not the amount or depth of teaching that makes a Christian mature. A …

Something to Remember at Work

"Enoch, the seventh from Adam, prophesied about them: 'See, the Lord is coming with thousands upon thousands of his holy ones to judge everyone, and to convict all of them of all the ungodly acts they have committed in their ungodliness, and of all the defiant words ungodly sinners have spoken against him'" (Jude 14-15).

The word ungodly is used four times in Jude 15. Verse sixteen gives the characteristics of these ungodly people. The difficulty is that they sound like characteristics of Christians we all have known. Here is verse sixteen: "These men are grumblers and faultfinders; they follow their own evil desires; they boast about themselves and flatter others for their own advantage."

Grumbling and faultfinding is stock in trade for the world. However, Christians who work in the world may find it easy to pick up the practice. Instead of providing light, we pick up the darkness. Let us remember that Jude says that it is an ungodly practice.

Same Page Sum…

Riches in Christ and the Full Armor of God

"Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil's schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand" (Ephesians 6:10-13).

The first three chapters of Ephesians tell us of the riches we have in Christ. It would be difficult to meditate too much on these riches. Then we come to two-and-a-half "obedience" chapters. Now we have teaching on war, real war, deadly war. Notice that verse 10 and 13 both say "Put on the full armor." The emphasis is on the wholeness, the completeness of the armor, "so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes.…

Being Prepared for Good Work

"In a great house there are not only vessels of gold and silver but also of wood and earthenware and some for noble use, some for ignoble. If anyone purifies himself from what is ignoble, then he will be a vessel for noble use, consecrated and useful to the master of the house, ready for any good work." (2 Tim. 2:20-21)

"All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work." (2 Tim. 3:16)

We as Christians should be prepared and equipped for any good work, and every good work. It looks as if the preparation takes place first by cleansing—a pure life, a holy vessel—and second, by the Word of God. A cleansed vessel and inspired Scripture—wonderful means of preparation.

Same Page Summer Bible Reading
Written March 1983.

The Christian Response to the Refugee Crisis

It is fairly easy to be moved with compassion when we hear of orphans in need or widows in need. We find it harder to be moved with compassion for aliens in our land, especially if they are of a different race and language. Over and over again in the Bible, aliens are included with widows and orphans. They must be cared for (Deuteronomy 24:17, 19 and 27:19, Psalm 94:4-7).

It is not an absolute rule, but normally you can tell which is the relatively righteous nation by watching which direction the refugees flee. This year there are millions of refugees fleeing from South Sudan, Afghanistan, and Syria. If these people flee towards us, and we are not moved with compassion and do not treat them as the Bible requires, then we are violating the clear teaching of Scripture.

Written October 1980; revised August 2019.

Wait for the Lord

"Have you not known? Have you not heard?
The Lord is the everlasting God,
the Creator of the ends of the earth,
He does not faint or grow weary,
his understanding is unsearchable,
He gives power to the faint,
and to him who has no might he increases strength.
Even youths shall faint and be weary,
and young men shall fall exhausted;
but they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength,
they shall mount up with wings like eagles,
they shall run and not be weary,
they shall walk and not faint."
(Isaiah 40:28-31)

Being All Things to All Men

In 1 Corinthians 9 and 10, Paul makes a few amazing statements about himself and then says that we are to follow his example.

“Though I am free and belong to no man, I make myself a slave to everyone, to win as many as possible. To the Jews I became like a Jew, to win the Jews. To those under the law I became like one under the law (though I myself am not under the law), so as to win those under the law. To those not having the law I became like one not having the law (though I am not free from God’s law but am under Christ’s law), so as to win those not having the law. To the weak I became weak, to win the weak. I have become all things to all men so that by all possible means I might save some. I do all this for the sake of the gospel, so that I may share in its blessings.” (1 Cor. 9:19-23)

“So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God. Do not cause anyone to stumble, whether Jews, Greeks, or the church of God—even as I try to please everybody in eve…

What Paul Says About the Conscience

Dear Friends,

In the Bible we see instances of consciences that are clear, weak, evil, defiled, seared, corrupted, witnessing, testifying, good, and cleansed. It would be easy to draw a conclusion that a good, clear, and cleansed conscience would reflect God’s absolute moral law and those that followed their consciences would not be guilty. Sometimes that is true, and sometimes that is up for question. Here are two of Paul’s statements:

Now this is our boast: Our conscience testifies that we have conducted ourselves in the world, and especially in our relations with you, in the holiness and sincerity that are from God. We have done so not according to worldly wisdom but according to God’s grace. (2 Cor. 1:12)

My conscience is clear, but that does not make me innocent. It is the Lord who judges me. (1 Cor. 4:4)

In the first instance, Paul is innocent. However, in the second he says that a clear conscience does not guarantee innocence.

We also have another criterion for our actions. It…

Mercy for Persecutors

“I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who has given me strength, that he considered me faithful, appointing me to his service. Even though I was once a blasphemer and a persecutor and a violent man, I was shown mercy because I acted in ignorance and unbelief. The grace of our Lord was poured out on me abundantly, along with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus. Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners—of whom I am the worst. But for that very reason I was shown mercy so that in me, the worst of sinners, Christ Jesus might display his unlimited patience as an example for those who would believe on him and receive eternal life. Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory for ever and ever. Amen” (1 Timothy 1:12-17).

Notice that Paul was a blasphemer, persecutor and a violent man. We are quite sure that he was not an adulterer, or thief or liar. He would have said so. He did say he was…

Beautiful Feet

How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of
those who bring good news, who proclaim peace,
who bring good tidings, who proclaim salvation,
who say to Zion, "Your God reigns!"
(Isaiah 52:7)

We do not normally think of feet as beautiful. Why are these feet different? They are carrying a voice that proclaims good news, peace, good tidings, salvation and the reign of God. The Apostle Paul quotes this text in Romans 10:15 right after a series of questions:

"Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved." How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? And how can they preach unless they are sent? As it is written, "How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news! " (Romans 10:13-15)

Same Page Summer Bible Reading

Not Honoring God: Idolatry in the Modern World

"Set forth your case, says the Lord; bring your proofs, says the King of Jacob. Let them bring them, and tell us what is to happen. Tell us the former things, what they are, that we may consider them, that we may know their outcome, or declare to us the things to come. Tell us what is to come hereafter, that we may know that you are gods; do good, or do harm, that we may be dismayed and terrified. Behold, you are nothing, and your work is nought; an abomination is he who chooses you!" (Isaiah 41:21-24)

This is one of the many comments on idolatry in the Old Testament. Psalm 115 is another.

“Not to us, Lord, not to us
but to your name be the glory,
because of your love and faithfulness.
Why do the nations say,
“Where is their God?”
Our God is in heaven;
he does whatever pleases him.
But their idols are silver and gold,
made by human hands.
They have mouths, but cannot speak,
eyes, but cannot see.
They have ears, but cannot hear,
noses, but cannot smell.
They have hands, but c…

What Kind of Person Should You Be?

But do not forget this one thing, dear friends; with the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years is like a day. The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting any to perish, but everyone to come to repentance. But the day of the Lord will come like a thief. The heavens will disappear with a roar; the elements will be destroyed by fire, and the earth and everything in it will be laid bare. Since everything will be destroyed in this way, what kind of people ought you to be? You ought to live holy and godly lives as you look forward to the day of God and speed its coming. (2 Peter 3:8-12)

I want to focus on two elements that this passage seems to be indicating. First of all, since Peter is writing this letter to Christians, he indicated that God is patient with Christians, as well as non-Christians, when it comes to fulfilling His promised return. Secondly, since God’s desire is that no one should perish but…

Afraid? Of What?

Afraid? Of what?
To feel the spirit’s glad release?
To pass from pain to perfect peace,
The strife and strain of life to cease?
Afraid? Of that?

Afraid? Of what?
A flash—a crash—a pierced heart;
Darkness—light—O Heaven’s art!
A wound of His a counterpart!
Afraid? Of that?

Afraid? Of what?
To enter into Heaven’s rest,
And yet to serve the Master blest,
From service good to service best?
Afraid? Of that?

Afraid? Of what?
To do by death what life could not—
Baptize with blood a stony plot,
Till souls shall blossom from the spot?
Afraid? Of that?

- E.H. Hamilton

Are We Making People Afraid?

Several days later Felix arrived with his wife Drusilla, who was a Jewess. He sent for Paul and listened to him as he spoke about faith in Christ Jesus. As Paul discoursed on righteousness, self-control and the judgement to come, Felix was afraid and said, “That's enough for now: You may leave. When I find it convenient, I will send for you.” (Acts 24:24-25)

Felix was the governor and Paul was the prisoner; yet it was Felix who was afraid. Perhaps it was the subject of the discourse which frightened Felix: “righteousness, self-control and the judgement to come.”

In the Gospel of John, Jesus spoke of the coming of the Holy Spirit. “When he comes, he will convict the world of guilt in regard to sin and righteousness and judgment.”

It is easy to come to three conclusions:

1) Paul was filled with the Holy Spirit.
2) Fear is one evidence of conviction of guilt.
3) The Holy Spirit will convict the world through the speaking and living of His own people.

Here are a few questions.


Hearing the Gospel: Two Different Audiences

"And as he talked with him, he went in and found many persons gathered…. So I sent to you at once, and you have been kind enough to come. Now therefore we are all here present in the sight of God, to hear all that you have been commanded by the Lord." (Acts 10:27, 33)

"So on the morrow Agrippa and Bernice came with great pomp, and they entered the audience hall with the military tribunes and the prominent men of the city. Then by command of Festus Paul was brought in.” (Acts 25: 23)

These are two different audiences gathering together to hear the Gospel. There is a great difference in the makeup of the audiences. The first was a household: a family, servants, and soldiers; the second was a gathering of self-important people. The first gathering wanted to know God. The second gathering was curious. One hundred percent of the first group were converted as soon as they received the minimum of truth. To our knowledge, none of the second group responded to the Gospel.

It is …

Roots By the River & the Same Page Summer

For those of you doing the Same Page Summer Bible reading plan, I will be, Lord willing, posting thoughts on the subject of the day’s reading. This will not happen every day, but I will endeavor to do it often. Many of the posts will be things I have written in the past, but I hope they will be of some benefit to you.

I will endeavor to keep this up for the year-long plan once it starts in September.

If you are not doing the Bible reading plan but would like to join or want to know more, you can find that information at

A Note on Missionary Methods

This was found when going through my old correspondence files. It is a letter I wrote to CCM supporters upon returning from my around-the-world trip in 1981. It is still relevant today.

May 14, 1981

Dear Friends:

It has been close to two months since I returned from a nine-week round-the-world trip. Certainly God was in it. He directed my steps daily. Here are a few observations out of many things I learned while I was gone.

Many years ago, Jesus' statement in John 4:35 impressed me as a truth that was always true. "Do you not say 'four months more and then the harvest'? I tell you open your eyes and look at the fields. They are ripe for harvest.”

If is always true, then it is true in every society at any given time. Over the years I have found it true. Again I found it true in Japan, Korea, Egypt, and Germany as people came to the Lord. Others had sown; I was there for the reaping. I believe it is far truer than missionaries or native Christians believe. We are still…

A Man Named Stephen

I would like to draw your attention to a man named Stephen, whom we meet in the Book of Acts.

"Brothers, choose seven men from among you who are known to be full of the Spirit and wisdom" (Acts 6:3).

"They chose Stephen, a man full of faith and of the Holy Spirit" (Acts

"Now, Stephen, a man full of God's grace and power, did great wonders and miraculous signs among the people" (Acts 6:8).

"These men began to argue with Stephen, but they could not stand up against his wisdom or the Spirit by which he spoke" (Acts 6:9-10).

"All who were sitting in the Sanhedrin looked intently at Stephen, and they saw that his face was like the face of an angel" (Acts 6:15).

Stephen started his defense with "the God of glory" and ended his message in this manner and with these words:

But Stephen, full of the Holy Spirit, looked up to heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God. "Look,” he said,…

Describing God

"Brothers and fathers, listen to me! The God of Glory appeared to our father Abraham." (Acts 7:2)

One of the wonderful things about the Bible is that God is not described in adjectives or in likenesses. He is described in characteristics of who He is and in terms of what He does. He is the God of glory; He is the God of hope and the God of peace. Daniel described Him to Nebuchadnezzar this way: "There is a God in heaven who reveals mysteries." Jonah spoke of Him, "I worship the Lord, the God of heaven, who made the sea and the land."

God is, and God acts. In Hebrews 11:6, we read "And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to Him must believe that He exists, and that He rewards those who earnestly seek Him.

"Sing to the Lord, for He has done glorious things; let this be known to all the world.” (Isaiah 12:5)

Written June 1981.

Two Women, Two Invitations

"Let all who are simple come in here!" she says to those who lack judgment. (Proverbs 9:4, 16)

This quotation is taken from two different persons, Wisdom and Folly. They give this invitation from the same place: "the highest point in the city" (9: 3, 14), and they give it to the same people: "those who lack judgment."

Then a difference takes place. Wisdom offers, openly and honestly, food, wine, and life, but she asks for repentance (9:5-6). Folly offers a lie. "Stolen water is sweet, food eaten in secret is delicious!" (9:17), but does not ask for repentance.

Wisdom gives life. Folly gives death. Folly offers present benefits which are called "sweet" and "delicious." "But little do they know that the dead are there, that her guests are in the depths of Sheol" (9:18).

Written March 1979.

Who Doesn't Get In

Have you ever thought about who does not enter the kingdom of God and why? Here are a few explicit examples.

The acts of the sinful nature are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God. (Galatians 5:19-21)

For I tell you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the Pharisees and the teachers of the law, you will certainly not enter the kingdom of heaven. (Matthew 5:20)

And he said: "I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. (Matthew 18:3)

In reply Jesus declared, "I tell you the truth, no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again." (John 3:3)

It is easy not to enter.

The first verse is an example of things to do to not get …

Our Perfect Holiness

Since we have these promises, dear friends, let us purify ourselves from everything that contaminates body and spirit, perfecting holiness out of reverence for God. (2 Corinthians 7:1)

Our fathers disciplined us for a little while as they thought best; but God disciplines us for our good, that we may share in his holiness. (Hebrews 12:10)

The first verse tells us that out of reverence for God we will not touch the unclean, we will cleanse our bodies and our spirits, we will perfect holiness. The second verse tells us that God’s goodness toward us disciplines us toward sharing in His holiness. His goodness and our reverence result in our perfect holiness.

Calling Evil Good

Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter (Isaiah 5:20).

This has been going on since Isaiah wrote this in the eighth century B.C., and probably before. However, now across this country it has reached pandemic proportions. And Christians are involved. It started out with euphemisms were sins were described with words that sounded not so bad.

Adultery = having an affair
Fornication = sleeping around, being “sexually active”
Male homosexual = gay

These words have now become “good,” and political correctness has made those who are critical of homosexuals the bad guys. In other words, evil has become good and good evil.

Being a Father Like the Apostle Paul

We were not looking for praise from men, not from you or anyone else. As apostles of Christ we could have been a burden to you, but we were gentle among you, like a mother caring for her little children…. For you know that we dealt with each of you as a father deals with his own children, encouraging, comforting and urging you to live lives worthy of God, who calls you into his kingdom and glory. (1 Thess. 2;6-7, 11-12)

Did you know that the Apostle Paul likens himself to a gentle nursing mother and like a father who encourages and comforts? Are you that kind of a father to your own children? Are you that kind of father to your spiritual children?

"Love Those Who Are Aliens"

For the LORD your God is God of gods and Lord
of lords, the great God, mighty and awesome,
who shows no partiality and accepts no bribes.
He defends the cause of the fatherless and the
widow, and loves the alien, giving him food and
clothing. And you are to love those who are
aliens, for you yourselves were a liens in Egypt.
(Deuteronomy 10:17-19)

"And you are to love those who are aliens."

If we were to sum up all of history in all nations, it would be "Hate the aliens." God's directions are contrary to the world's. On the whole, Christians do not hate aliens. They just ignore them or avoid them. That is saying that Christians don't love aliens, either. Please pray for an opportunity to love an alien.

Filling Your Cup or Being a Flowing Spring

My people have committed two sins: They have forsaken me, the spring of living water, and have dug their own cisterns, broken cisterns that cannot hold water. (Jeremiah 2:13)

Do you see the difference between these two sins? The first is forsaking an artesian well, a flowing well of life-giving water. There is no end to the supply. God is this life-giving spring. To forsake this source is evil and foolish.

The second sin is salvation by effort. It recognizes the need for water but wants a cistern, a reservoir of water. The sin is in digging the cistern. That itself does not provide the water for the cistern. If there were a provision of water to put into this reservoir, the result would be stagnant water. However, we have another problem: it is a broken cistern, a leaking reservoir. Soon there is no water, not even stagnant water. To dig this cistern is evil and foolish. It is a works effort for life and does not provide life.

Jesus said, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirs…

Regular Bible Reading

Many years ago, I was speaking at a men’s conference from an evangelical church. At the first session, I gave each man a 3 x 5 card and asked them to answer three questions on their card, but not write down their name. These were the questions:

• How many years have you been a Christian?

• How many times have you read the Old Testament in its entirety?

• How many times have you read the New Testament?

After collecting the cards, I added up all of the years and all the times and then divided the total times into the total years.

If my memory is correct, the Old Testament was read once every 27 years, and the New Testament once every 17 years.

Since then, I have gotten averages of 7 ½ years OT and 2 ½ years NT.

If you are a very slow reader, you can read the whole Bible in less than 80 hours. How do I know? That is how long the audio Bibles are.

The first time I read the Bible through, I had been a Christian for about three years. I have now been a Christian for more than 70 years. I …

Victory Found

This is an excerpt from How I Know God Answers Prayer by Rosalind Goforth, a missionary to China in the early 1900s. It is a book I have given away many times over the years.

I grieve to say that the new life in a foreign land with its trying climate, provoking servants, and altogether irritating conditions, seemed to have developed rather than subdued my natural disposition.

One day (I can never forget it), as I sat inside the house by a paper window at dusk, two Chinese Christian women sat down on the other side. They began talking about me, and (wrongly, no doubt) I listened. One said, “Yes, she is a hard worker, a zealous preacher, and—yes, she dearly loves us; but, oh, what a temper she has! If she would only live more as she preaches!

Then followed a full and true delineation of my life and character. So true indeed was it, as to crush out all sense of annoyance and leave me humbled to the dust. I saw then how useless, how worse than useless, was it for me to come to China to p…

Fellowshipping with Different Theologies

Dear Jim,

What is a godly attitude to have towards different theologies [Reformed, Baptist, Free Church, etc]? My church is being torn up by doctrinal differences. Several families have left so far; once they start listening to the other doctrine, they feel they can no longer fellowship with us. Our pastor believes the teaching they are getting is divisive, because these families are going to another church now. I have read the books they are reading; the sermons and teaching are excellent.


Dear N,

First, the answer is different if it is a question of the gospel, as in Galatians 2:11-14: “When Cephas came to Antioch, I opposed him to his face, because he stood condemned. For before certain men came from James, he used to eat with the Gentiles. But when they arrived, he began to draw back and separate himself from the Gentiles because he was afraid of those who belonged to the circumcision group. The other Jews joined him in his hypocrisy, so that by their hypocrisy even Barnabas was…

Same Page Summer Starts Today

Join thousands of believers across the world in reading the whole New Testament through the summer. If you get behind, just jump in on today’s reading so we can continue to #samepagesummer! Find Facebook groups and the downloadable schedule here.

Seven Minutes with God: How to Plan a Daily Quiet Time

If you are not a regular Bible reader, this is an encouragement to start now. You can begin by reading the New Testament together with several thousand of us during the #samepagesummer. Get the schedule and find others in the plan here.

When I was a young Christian, I was involved with the Navigators under Dawson Trotman. Here is the text of a very good booklet put out by the Navs on how to get started with a daily quiet time.

Seven Minutes with God: How to Plan a Daily Quiet Time

By Robert D. Foster (reprinted by permission from NavPress)

It was in 1882 on the campus of Cambridge University that the world was first given the slogan: “Remember the morning watch.”

Students like Hooper and Thornton found their days loaded with studies, lectures, games and bull sessions. Enthusiasm and activity were the order of the day. These dedicated men soon discovered a flaw in their spiritual armor—a crack which if not soon closed, would bring disaster.

The sought an answer and came up with a schem…

The Heart: Our Loving Father

This article was written by my wife Bessie for The Hammer Magazine.
O that their hearts were inclined to fear me and keep all my commands always, so that it might go well with them and their children forever! (Deuteronomy 5:29)Moses is quoting the Lord in these words as we see from verse 28, “and the Lord said to me.” We need to pause long enough to hear the yearning heart of God over His people. He longs to see His people fear Him and keep His commandments. It seems to burst from Him in an exclamation, “O that there was such a heart in them,” yearning, loving and seeking. It is an aspect of the character of God we rarely consider. We find it also in Jeremiah 29:11. "For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future…you will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart."

And here in Deuteronomy 5:29 the thought is the same, “that it might be well with them and with their children …

How to Walk without Fainting

To walk without fainting is the greatest miracle of all. Most Christians, at some time or other, are able to manage a spectacular flight into the heavenly places, their wings momentarily as strong as an eagle’s. At the final day of a great convention, the whole congregation may suddenly take off as they soar to the rare atmosphere of great spiritual heights. Running is also a fairly common phenomenon. At most evangelical churches, the congregation breaks out into a fairly brisk trot every Sunday morning and follows up with another burst of speed on Wednesday at the prayer meeting. But a steady, consistent walk, up and down hill, fair weather or foul, alone or in company, is rare. It is rare because we do not “wait for the Lord.” A better translation might be “wait upon” or “look to” the Lord. We faint or fall because we do everything except go to the Lord who has an abundance of what we need. Look at the threatening nations, read the news reporters’ gloomy prophecies, seek the sorry …

The Ephesians Test

Many people have told me they do not read their Bibles regularly because it is just too hard or takes too much time. Here is a suggestion: read the book of Ephesians (all six chapters) in one sitting, and time yourself. You will be surprised at how little time it takes. On average, it takes about 16 minutes. (If you are a slow reader, you can still read the entire Bible in about 80 hours.)

Compare those 16 minutes with some of the other things you might be spending your time on - looking at Facebook or Instagram, watching TV, etc. We have time!

My History with Books

If you know me at all, you probably know that I am involved with books (reading, writing, selling, loaning, and giving them away).

My first acquaintance with Christian books was during my first-class year at the Naval Academy in 1950 when Corrie ten Boom gave me her book A Prisoner and Yet. Other books which had a major effect in my life include The Calvary Road by Roy Hession in 1951; Continuous Revival by Norman Grubb in 1956; Behind the Ranges, a biography of James Fraser, in 1957; and C.T. Studd by Norman Grubb in 1951. In particular, I have used biographies of godly men and women as models for me to imitate.

Here are a few thoughts about types of books. First, I like good writing. Second, I like good content, whether the books are fiction, history, or biography.

When I was a senior at the Naval Academy and had been a Christian a little over two years, I read a book on apologetics. I loved it. I set about debating with classmates using apologetics. I loved to argue.

It did not ta…

Same Page Summer: A Bible Reading Invitation

There are many Christians who read the Scriptures sporadically. In other words, they read their Bibles “now and then” and “here and there.” They gravitate to their favorite chapters. If asked the last time they had read the New Testament all the way through, they might not be sure they ever had. Consequently, there is an appalling ignorance of God’s Word in the body of Christ, and a consequent lack of obedience. Listening to the best Bible teachers in the world will not make up for not reading the Bible yourself.

Are you hesitant to try reading through the New Testament or the Bible? Is it difficult to understand? Do you get stuck on the genealogies? When you don’t understand a verse, do you stay with it, trying to understand it, and then you don’t progress? Is it just too long?

Here are a few suggestions to overcome these complaints.

First, get a Bible, or download an audio Bible. If the King James is too hard for you to understand, go with something simpler like the NIV or the ESV.

Missions (A Few Memories)

My wife Bessie was in Japan for four years. Our daughter Heather was in Egypt for eight months and in Turkey for five years. We have had a long interest in praying for missions, giving to them, and encouraging people to go.

In the early 1960s, I gave a book written by a Wycliffe Bible translator to a University of Maryland student name Ron Metzger. Ron recently finished his second New Testament translation with Wycliffe. The first was the Carapaña language for people in the Columbian headwaters of the Amazon River. The second is in the English Creole of St. Andres Island in the Western Caribbean.

Ralph Toliver came to Christ in our home in Ann Arbor, Michigan, in 1970. He and his wife Marilyn translated the New Testament into Ambo Paseo, a dialect of Quechua in Peru. Our close friends Csaba and Lisa Leidenfrost finished translating the New Testament into the Bakwe language of the Ivory Coast in August 2017. Mark and Rachel Miller are working with the Lono people in Sabah, Malaysia, o…

Personal Testimony

One of the best ways of communicating the gospel is personal testimony. We see this in the book of Acts. Paul’s conversion experience shows up three times in Acts: once, when it happened in chapter 9, and the other two when Paul is giving his testimony. The last time was when Paul was in chains before Agrippa and testifying to him.
“I too was convinced that I ought to do all that was possible to oppose the name of Jesus of Nazareth. And that is just what I did in Jerusalem. On the authority of the chief priests I put many of the Lord’s people in prison, and when they were put to death, I cast my vote against them. Many a time I went from one synagogue to another to have them punished, and I tried to force them to blaspheme. I was so obsessed with persecuting them that I even hunted them down in foreign cities.

“On one of these journeys I was going to Damascus with the authority and commission of the chief priests. About noon, King Agrippa, as I was on the road, I saw a light from heav…

"So That"

Here is a short meditation I hope will be an encouragement to you.

“Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord, and that he may send the Messiah, who has been appointed for you—even Jesus. Heaven must receive him until the time comes for God to restore everything, as he promised long ago through his holy prophets.” (Acts 3:19-21)

“We put no stumbling block in anyone’s path, so that our ministry will not be discredited.” (2 Cor. 6:3)

“Then they can urge the younger women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled and pure, to be busy at home, to be kind, and to be subject to their husbands, so that no one will malign the word of God.” (Titus 2:4-5)

“In everything set them an example by doing what is good. In your teaching show integrity, seriousness and soundness of speech that cannot be condemned, so that those who oppose you may be ashamed because they have nothing bad to say about us.” (Titus 2:…

Dear Friend: Working Alongside Non-Christians

This was my advice to a friend who is having trouble with non-Christian coworkers.

Dear J,

Thank you for the good email. Remember, you should not expect Christian virtues from people who are not Christians. They are the ones who need help. Colossians 3:17 and 23-24 were a great help to me in the Navy: “And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him…. Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.”


God's Love: How to Recognize a Christian

God is love (1 John 4:16). This is primary. Because He is love, He loves. God’s action comes out of His character. His nature is love; His action is love.

The most famous text of His action is in the third chapter of the Gospel of John: “For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believers in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.” The whole chapter is good—in fact, the whole book is great.

There is another great paragraph in the Bible that expresses this loving action of God. It is found in the fifth chapter of the Apostle Paul’s letter to the Romans. This is another good chapter in another great book. “You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous man, though for a good man someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates His own love for us in this: while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”

Not only is love the character of God and the acti…