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Showing posts from November, 2017

Abiding in Him

To abide is to live in one place for a long time. An abode is where someone abides. (So a motel is not an abode, because you do not stay there permanently.) Here are a few wonderful texts on abiding. He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty. (Psalm 91:1) Therefore let that abide in you which you heard from the beginning. If what you heard from the beginning abides in you, you also will abide in the Son and in the Father. (1 John 2:24) Jesus also talks about abiding. “I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing” (John 15:5). When we abide in Him, we bear much fruit. “If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you” (John 15:7). Answered prayer. “By this My Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit; so you will be My disciples” (John 15:8). When we abide in Him, we become His discipl

Giving Thanks: How I Learned to Thank God in Everything

There are two verses on thanksgiving that I had to learn several times, but which are now fixed in my life. They are Philippians 4:6-7 and 1 Thessalonians 5:18. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. (Phil. 4:6-7) Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. (1 Thess. 5:18) I had memorized the Philippians passage sometime in 1951. From 1953-1954, I was in graduate school in Monterey, CA. At Christmastime, I helped set up an Officers’ Christian Union conference for officers and their wives at Mt. Hermon over the New Years’ weekend. I found out there was an InterVarsity staff conference happening the same weekend, so I asked the director if we could borrow their speaker. We did, and the conference was a blessing. We had the last meeting on Sunda

Preaching the Gospel Effectively

There are many ways of teaching both truth and falsehood. One of the most effective ways goes by several different names: memorization, grammar, catechizing. This is a good way to teach, but even when it is used with the truth of the gospel, the teaching may not result in faith. When that is the case, it is because some things are missing, generally in the teacher. These somethings are: 1) the power of the Holy Spirit, 2) love for the student, 3) preaching boldly, 4) preaching in the name of Jesus Christ, 5) fear. But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Isaiah says, "LORD, who has believed our report?" So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. (Rom. 10:16-17) And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers…that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting, but, speak

Shoveling Walks

We moved to Moscow from Ann Arbor, Michigan, in September 1971. That means I have lived half my life in Moscow. I lived 17 years on the East Coast, 18 years in Nebraska, 3 years in Michigan, 2 years in Japan, 2 years in California, and a few months in Bremerton, Washington. Moscow has the best four-season climate in the country. That first winter we had 70 inches of snow. Over these 46 years, I have noticed that many people do not shovel the sidewalk at their residence, and some businesses do not shovel their walks. In a residence, it is a kindness and a consideration for the neighbors. For a business, it is just good business. If you are old like I am, you can hire someone to do it. If you are young, you can volunteer to shovel your neighbor’s walk. If you are human, healthy, kind, and considerate, you can shovel neighbors' walks. Don’t have time? Make time. If you are lazy, pay someone else to do it. If you are a Christian and do not shovel your walk, people may wonder what kin


Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; his love endures forever. Cry out, "Save us, God our Savior; gather us and deliver us from the nations, that we may give thanks to your holy name, and glory in your praise." Praise be to the LORD, the God of Israel, from everlasting to everlasting. Then all the people said "Amen" and "Praise the LORD.” (1 Chron. 16:34-36) This is the first time in the Bible where three things happened and were recorded together in worship. It was the return of the ark of the covenant to the City of David. The three things were music, singing, and thanksgiving . David may have been the bravest man in the history of the world. He may have been the greatest general in history. He may have been the greatest musician and the greatest poet, and he was a man after God’s own heart. Look for thanksgiving also in the Psalms and in Paul’s letters. Here are just a few: Let us come before him with thanksgiving and extol him with music and song. (P

Pray for Workers

Every day I come across verses of Scripture I want to preach, proclaim, shout, or sing. Here is one: An oracle is within my heart concerning the sinfulness of the wicked: There is no fear of God before his eyes. For in his own eyes he flatters himself too much to detect or hate his sin. (Psalm 36:1-2) This is such a good description of the sinfulness of the wicked. The wicked man cannot even see, much less hate, his own sin. The reason is that he flatters himself. This is the ultimate expression of selfishness and self-conceit. Please pray with us using the command in Matthew 9:37-38 as your prayer: “Then he said to his disciples, ‘The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.’”


Today's post will be all Scripture. These are a few favorite verses of mine. This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light; in him there is no darkness at all. (1 John 1:5) The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. For we do not preach ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, and ourselves as your servants for Jesus' sake. For God, who said, ‘Let light shine out of darkness,’ made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ. (2 Cor. 4:4-6) But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin. (1 John 1:7) In the sight of God, who gives life to everything, and of Christ Jesus, who while testifying before Pontius Pilate made the good confession, I charge you to keep this command

The Humility Harness

Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. (Eph. 4:2) Notice the word “completely.” Apparently it is possible to be completely humble and gentle. We see it Philippians 2:5-7 as well: “Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness.” • Made himself nothing • Humbled himself and became obedient to death • Even death on the cross “Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus.” We are to be humble, completely, just like Jesus. "Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls" (Matt. 11:29). Get into the humility harness with Jesus.

A Study of Isaiah 58

One of my favorite chapters in the Bible is Isaiah 58. The first five verses are God telling the religious people why their prayers are not answered. Shout it aloud, do not hold back. Raise your voice like a trumpet. Declare to my people their rebellion and to the house of Jacob their sins. For day after day they seek me out; they seem eager to know my ways, as if they were a nation that does what is right and has not forsaken the commands of its God. They ask me for just decisions and seem eager for God to come near them. "Why have we fasted," they say, "and you have not seen it? Why have we humbled ourselves, and you have not noticed?" Yet on the day of your fasting, you do as you please and exploit all your workers. Your fasting ends in quarreling and strife, and in striking each other with wicked fists. You cannot fast as you do today and expect your voice to be heard on high. Is this the kind of fast I have chosen, only a day for a m

Finding Out Basic Problems (Counseling Basics)

In many years of meeting with Christians who are in trouble of some kind, I try to find out basic problems. To do this, I ask questions. 1. What is your mouth like? “A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and an evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of” (Luke 6:45). It is amazing how many “Christians” talk dirty. The answers I get go like this: “I work on a fishing boat.” “I work in a restaurant kitchen.” “I’m in the Marines.” What they are doing is giving me excuses for talking dirty—as if that was an adequate answer. 2. When was the last time you read all of the New Testament? They say, “ All of it?” 3. I ask for their life story. I find out many things that they do not know they are telling me. 4. Do you have more joy in your live today than you had when you were converted? I know the answer—it’s no. The reason for the answer is that they have years of unconfess

Son of Man

Jesus uses the term Son of Man about 80 times in the Gospels, referring to Himself. Here is one of those times. “No one has ever gone into heaven except the one who came from heaven—the Son of Man. Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the wilderness, so the Son of Man must be lifted up, that everyone who believes may have eternal life in him” (John 3:13-15). This is followed by John 3:16. We can see, because both result in everlasting life, that the Son of Man is the same as the only-begotten Son. The Son of Man probably refers to Daniel 7. As I looked, thrones were set in place, and the Ancient of Days took his seat. His clothing was as white as snow; the hair of his head was white like wool. His throne was flaming with fire, and its wheels were all ablaze. A river of fire was flowing, coming out from before him. Thousands upon thousands attended him; ten thousand times ten thousand stood before him. The court was seated, and the books were opened

Raising Children Who Stay

Recently, there was a family party for me. I was more of an observer than I was a participant. All of the greatgrandchildren were whooping it up. Not all of my descendants were present. Heather, Ararat, and their three children were not there; Mallory, her husband, and their two children were in Canada; and Brooke, Daniel, and their four kids were in England. This was my basic observation: all of the marriages seemed to be perfect marriages. All of the children were obedient (22 were present), and there were no fights among any of the cousins. Why have I been so blessed? I have done some thinking on the subject. I watched other families and asked them how they did it; I watched others and observed how they didn’t do it. I had to do a lot of changing over the years. For instance, my first nine years as a Christian were in the Navy. I was a disciplinarian. I did not want my sons to grow up to be sissies. I was hard on them. I woke up and changed and started to be expressively affec

God's Love & Ice Cream Love

Let’s look at John 3:16. “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” God is love (1 John 4:8). “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.” (1 Cor. 13:4-7). Love is patient. Love is kind. Love is not jealous. Love does not brag. Love is not arrogant. Love does not dishonor others. Love does not seek its own. Love does not take wrongs it has suffered into account. Love does not rejoice in unrighteousness. Love rejoices with the truth. Love never fails. Love bears all things. Love believes all things. Love endures all things. Other things fail. This is the love God has for us: “Since the children have fle

Election Day Reflections

In January 1949, I marched with the Brigade of Midshipmen in Truman’s inauguration. In 1961, I put together an evangelistic dinner for the Corps of Cadets from West Point and the Brigade of Midshipmen from the Naval Academy following Kennedy’s inaugural parade. My history with presidents includes: 2 years under Calvin Coolidge, 4 years under Herbert Hoover, 12+ years with Franklin Roosevelt, almost 8 years with Harry Truman, 8 with Eisenhower, 2 with John F. Kennedy, 6 with Lyndon Johnson, 6 with Richard Nixon, 2 with Gerald Ford, 4 with Jimmy Carter, 8 with Ronald Reagan, 4 with George HW Bush, 8 with Bill Clinton, 8 with George W. Bush, 8 with Barak Obama, and 1 now with Donald Trump. For many of my years, I looked at the President of the United States as the Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces. Each president swore to uphold the Constitution of the United States. This year is not a presidential election, but here are the qualities I have looked for in presidents and politic

Thoughts on Psalm 102

Psalm 102 has some wonderful truths: “Let this be written for a future generation, that a people not yet created may praise the LORD” (v. 18). We are one of those future generations. “In the beginning you laid the foundations of the earth, and the heavens are the work of your hands. They will perish, but you remain; they will all wear out like a garment. Like clothing you will change them, and they will be discarded. But you remain the same, and your years will never end” (vs. 25-27). Isn’t this wonderful? The heavens are going to wear out like old clothes which we throw away or give to Goodwill.

Two Reasons People Are Hurting

There are two great needs in the world today. Actually, they overlap. The first need belongs to the billions of people who are lost and are going to die without Christ. The other group is made up of Christians who do not think they are loved by God, by their parents, or by friends. They are loved by God, but they have believed the lie of the devil that God does not love them. As far as their perception that other people don’t love them, it may be true or false. God has a solution for both groups. The first is that Christians are to make disciples of the world. The second is that God has commanded Christians to love God, their neighbors, wives, brothers, and enemies with a sacrificial love. This is not happening. The result is that many people are being short-changed on receiving love. Consequently, they are hurting very much.