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Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Bad influences work fast.

Bad influences work fast.

I left a barber in town because he didn’t cut my hair good.  Plus he didn’t razor cut above my ears or put hot shaving cream on my neck; you know, the little things that make a hair cut better.  So, I found a second barber who did everything right.  But then he told me he was closing his shop to join another barber, and wouldn’t you know it, he moved in with the bad barber I’d just left!  Unlucky me! 

After the move, when I went back (on the bad barber’s day off) he cut my hair beautifully just like always.  But three weeks later when I returned (still on the bad barber’s day off) he cut my hair as bad as the other barber did.  He hurried through the cut like he was nervous, left it way too long, and did not razor cut above my ears or shave my neck.  What in the world happened!

On the way home it hit me, the good barber was already under the influence of the bad barber.  If he doesn’t get out of that shop soon, he’ll be ruined.  Of course, the opportunity for the good barber to influence the bad barber was there too; but it doesn’t often work out that way in this old sinful world.  That’s why Paul warned us in 1 Cor 15:33, Do not be deceived: "Evil company corrupts good habits." NKJV Beloved, beware of bad influences! They work really fast.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Get the Experience!

Getting the experience of Silver Dollar City!

Get the Experience!
Have you been to the Meteor Crater in Arizona?  It wasn’t a scheduled stop for us, but I’d been pushing the family hard, and when Margaret (my wife) saw the sign she said, “The kids ought to see that!”  So, we took them in.
Well, Cal (my son-in-law) seemed bored with the whole thing.  To him it was just another hole in the ground.  So Margaret told him and Jenny (our daughter) we’d watch the baby so they and the kids could hike up to the top of the rim from the museum where we were, and see the whole thing.  When they got to the top, Cal looked as bored as before, so Margaret yelled up at them from the sidewalk, “Hey kids!”  And when they, and about 100 other people, looked down, Margaret yelled, “Get the experience!  (Let me explain)  That’s an expression we used all the time when our kids were small!  If I’d gone to all the trouble and expense for them to see something, then they’d better get my money’s worth…get the experience!  Enjoy it as much as you can…learn everything you can…see it all…
Amy (our youngest daughter) wasn’t around when all this happened.  I have no idea where she was.  We spent a good deal of our time looking for Amy…waiting for Amy…worrying about Amy…wondering where she was, and what she might doing.  Anyway, where ever she was, she heard some people laughing and talking about a crazy woman who was yelling up at her kids on the Rim to “get the experience!”  So, when she saw Jenny back at the museum, she said, “Jenny, you should have heard what these people were saying about some crazy woman who was yelling at her kids to ‘Get the experience!  Get the experience!’  Jenny said, “Amy, that was Mom!
So, as you may have guessed, “Get the experience!” became the theme of our whole trip.  Everywhere we took the kids…every stop we made, for whatever reason…someone said, “We know!  Get the experience!”
  “Get the experience!” would be a great theme for the Church!  If you are going to all of the trouble and expense to be a Christian, then you ought to experience everything Christianity has to offer!   Get your money’s worth!  Everything the bible endorses, you ought to experience.  Everything the Bible encourages, you ought to practice! 
Let me tell you one reason why it’s so important for us to get experience.  Experience is what removes all doubt!  It’s not exhortation that removes people’s doubts about God, its experience!  It’s not preaching the gospel to people that removes their doubts…its people practicing the gospel that removes all doubts! 
Acts 10:20, Arise therefore, go down and go with them, doubting nothing; for I have sent them.
                God wants us to experience everything He’s offering in the Word of God, and have no doubt about it!  I am a blessed man because I am experienced!   God has healed me of all kinds of sickness and injuries.  And, He’s used me to heal some other people.  I am blessed man!  God has delivered me from evil spirits & trouble.  And, He’s used me to cast out some evil spirits out of other people too... to help pray other people out of trouble!  I am a blessed man!  God has directed me.  He has told me where to go, what to do and what to say.  That’s walking in the Spirit!  That’s getting the experience!

Friday, August 26, 2011

Blaming God for what the Devil did.

Blaming God for what the Devil did.

When the Devil destroyed Job’s family (Job 1:12), one of his servants said in Job 1:16, “The fire of God fell from heaven and burned up the sheep and the servants, and consumed them…”  He blamed God for what the Devil did!  That happened in 2000 B.C.  I don’t know if it’s the first case, but I do know that people have been blaming God for things the Devil does ever since.

Jesus said it is the Devil who kills things, steals things, and destroys things.  Not God!  God revives things, restores things, and rescues things.  Don’t get confused about who is doing what!

Are you blaming God for something the Devil did?  Are you wrongfully indicting God for crimes He didn’t commit?  Is He taking your accusations on the chin, because He loves you so much He refuses to blame you for your anger?  How long will you continue to do that when you know in your heart that God deserves better?
 

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Shake out your Boots!

Shake out your Boots!

I did a no-no!  I put my work boots on without shaking them out first.  The result: I got bit on the foot by a spider, right through my socks.  Nothing lethal, mind you, just uncomfortable and unnecessary.  It would never have happened if I’d remembered to shake out my boots.

Shaking out your boots before you put them on is a rule as old as time.  Every country boy knows it.  It’s axiomatic in that it applies to everyone no matter where you live.  In California you could get bit by a spider.  In Oklahoma you could get stung by a scorpion.  It only takes a minute, and you can do it without thinking; but I guarantee you, if you don’t observe the rule, you will pay for it.  You’d better remember to shake out those boots.

How easy it is to forget old rules.  Rules like the 10 Commandments, or the Beattitudes, or the Golden Rule, or the Gifts and Fruit of the Spirit.  To get hasty or negligent and just pull the old boots on in the morning without thinking.  But, I guarantee you, if you do so you’re going to get bit!  So, you’d better remember to observe the old rules and shake out those boots.
    

Sunday, August 21, 2011

ANGRY PEOPLE ARE LIKE TICKING TIME BOMBS!

ANGRY PEOPLE ARE LIKE TICKING TIME BOMBS!

I haven’t seen the movie “ANGER MANAGEMENT” but I believe the plot of the movie is:  a man, who is actually very easy going, falls prey to some very angry people (an angry stewardess accuses him of being out of control, an angry detective arrests him, and an angry judge sentences him to an anger management program where the Anger Manager (Jack Nicholson) is more angry than them all!)  They’re all ticking time bombs!
America is a society of ticking time bombs!  From sea to shining sea…from the cradle to the grave…from the White House to the Little House on the Prairie…we’re all boilers that are about to blow!  We’re all sticks of dynamite ready to explode! 
It’s not just steroid laced athletes losing their tempers… its steroid laced parents at little league games, and High School games!  And steroid laced spectators!  Before you think I’m joking, take a look at all the steroids in the prescription drugs you’re taking!  Some of you are taking more steroids than Barry Bonds!  How many of you have wanted to use a bat on somebody recently?  Now you know why!
We all have a temper.  We’re born with it!  The dictionary says temper is an emotional predisposition.  That means we’re born with it.  Unfortunately, we’re also born into sin! So, coming by your temper naturally doesn’t keep it from being sinful!  What we do with our temper determines whether it’s good or bad!  If we learn how to control it, we become strong, like tempered steel!  That’s good!  If we don’t control it, we become weak, like impure alloys.  That’s bad!  But, in either case, we are capable of controlling our temper or throwing embarrassing and debilitating temper tantrums at any time.  We are capable of keeping it or losing it!
John Walvoord cites 3 reasons from Proverbs why we should not buddy around with angry, bad tempered people. 
1.        Prov 14:17, A quick-tempered man acts foolishly, and a man of wicked intentions is hated.  Join him/her and you will be too!  Foolish and hated!
2.       Prov 15:18, A wrathful man stirs up strife, i.e.: Gets into arguments and fights.  Join him/her and you will to!
3.       Prov 19:19, A man of great wrath will suffer punishment; for if you rescue him, you will have to do it again.  Join him/her and you will spend the rest of your life fighting your way out of arguments and confrontations.  You’d be better off to just leave them alone…
We are a nation of ticking time bombs, in the midst of a world that is ready to detonate too! We’re going to see more and more incidents of outrageous behavior and uncontrolled anger!  Where does that put you?  I have good news!  Anger and Temperament can be controlled by repentance and conversion!  By praying, “God, I am sincerely sorry!  And, with Your help, I am going to change!  With your help, I’ll never do it again!”  Amen.

Friday, August 19, 2011

“Because you’re mine, I walk the line!”

“Because you’re mine, I walk the line!” 

We all know that Johnny Cash was thinking about June Carter when he sang those words.  But, I have Some One else in mind.  Oddly enough, His initials are J. C. too.

John the Beloved had Jesus in mind when he wrote in 1 John 5:3, For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous (or burdensome).  KJV In other words: because Jesus is mine and I love Him, I walk the line and I don’t mind it at all!  Knowing and loving Jesus makes righteous living easy.

You do know that don’t you?  That knowing Jesus is worth it all, and loving Him makes righteous living easy.  So let’s get out there today and “walk the line.”  When people see it, they will know you’re in love with Some One and they might even want to know Who He is.        

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Making Money!

Making Money!

Gen 37:26-27, And Judah said unto his brethren, what profit is it if we slay our brother, and conceal his blood?  27 Come, and let us sell him to the Ishmeelites, and let not our hand be upon him; for he is our brother and our flesh. And his brethren were content. KJV  (The word “content” is the  Heb. word Wayi-shawma which means they listened and were relieved!)

By nightfall, the 10 brothers of Joseph (minus Reuben) were clearly brooding over the evil they had done to their brother.   Not just the conspiracy to kill him, but also concealing the evil from their father, and then trying to live with the lie.  Their consciences were killing them.  A growing sense of discontent was already eating away at their peace.  Such is the nature of sin.

But then Judah got a brilliant idea.  Why not sell him and make some money?  The 10 brothers stopped thinking about the evil they were doing, and started thinking about the 2 pieces of silver that each one would pocket.  The thought of making money seemed to justify the discontent and conviction they were feeling.  Actually, it just turned their attention away from it.  Now, if they couldn’t sleep, at least they were preoccupied with how they’d spend their money.

Judah set a human precedent that is prevalent to this day.  It’s called buying off conviction.  We still tend to believe that if we make some money it justifies our disobedience.  This covers everything from working on Sunday to cheating on our taxes.  God must understand because, after all, He allowed us to make some money?  But the truth is, making money didn’t justify Judah and the boys back then, and it doesn’t justify us today.  Solomon got it right when he wrote in Prov. 28:13, “He who covers his sins will not prosper, but whoever confesses and forsakes them will have mercy.”  If you don’t believe Solomon, just ask Judah and the boys.
      

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Be Careful what you Uncover!

(A thought about Impractical Jokes)

Be Careful what you Uncover!

Gen. 9:22, 24, “And Ham, the father of Canaan, saw the nakedness of his father, and told his two brethren without…  And Noah awoke from his wine, and knew what his younger son had done unto him.”

The thought came to me that Ham may have (emphasis on may) done more than just see his father lying naked in a drunken stupor; he may have actually uncovered him himself, as a practical joke, and then exposed the sordid scene to his brothers.  Hence Noah’s reaction to what his son had done to him.  You could say that Ham was “hamming it up!”  Just joking around!  But, realizing the disrespect and irreverence of Ham’s practical joke, his more sober brothers wisely covered their dad and ended the joke.  But it was already too late. 

When Noah woke up from his drunken stupor he was so demoralized by the disrespect shown him in his vulnerable state, he cursed Ham and cut him off from his inheritance.  Noah’s stupidity in getting drunk is beside the point.  His subsequent embarrassment over being exposed by his son’s foolish prank, and his infuriated retaliation that ruined the boy’s life, is precisely the point.  Could all this evil be the result of a practical joke?

Practical jokes are hilarious when they are funny in an innocent and harmless way.  But, that’s never the case when they are immoral or dangerous.  Many lives have been lost, reputations ruined, and relationships destroyed over ill conceived and immoral practical jokes.  A prank that demoralizes is evil, and that’s neither funny nor practical.  Solomon said in Prov. 26:18-19, Like a madman who throws firebrands, arrows, and death, is the man who deceives his neighbor, And says, "I was only joking!" NKJV So, here’s some good advice: the next time you play a practical joke on someone, be careful what you uncover.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Inert!

Inert!

What a horrible little word.  It means motionless, unresponsive, sluggish or unmotivated.  Like a loved one in a coma.  Like a beautiful speedboat dead in the water.  Like a Bible sitting on a coffee table that never gets picked up, even to dust off.  Ugh!

Thank God nothing about God is inert.  God is alive and engaged.  He creates. He cares. He moves.  He responds.  He’s the opposite of inert. 

Did you hear about the lazy husband who’d been dead in his recliner for 4 days before his wife found out about it?  That’s inert!  Don’t you think we all should be a little more like God, get up from wherever we are and get moving!  I mean right now. Go on… get going! Don’t be inert!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

FLOCCINAUCINIHILIPILIFICATION!

FLOCCINAUCINIHILIPILIFICATION (now repeat after me, floccin...aucin...ihili...pili...fication...!) is defined by Eve Merriam as follows:
A.  "Why you no good, plug nickel, flyweight, no account throwaway, totally disposable, insignificant, unremarkable, unnotorious, unexceptional, insupportably, unqualifiedly, lower than a hound dog groundling."
B.  i.e.  FLOCCINAUCINIHILIPILIFICATION is a 29-letter word meaning WORTHLESS.  It replaces the 28-letter antidisestablishmentarianism as the longest word in the small print index of the Oxford Dictionary.

The Aramaic word RACA = utterly contemptible, idiotic, empty-headed, or WORTHLESS! 
Mt. 5:22 "...whosoever shall say to his brother, Raca, shall be in danger of the council"
So, young people, what ever you do, especially in a momentary, emotional fit of rage:  DO NOT SAY to a brother or sis, "YOU...YOU...YOU FLOCCINAUCINIHILIPILIFICATION YOU!!!  Don't ever do that!

Now I'm going to get down to the real message:
1.  NOTE:  What it took the Oxford Dictionary 12-syllables & 29 letters to say, Jesus said in 4! 
2.  Apparently, as far as Jesus is concerned, we could just keep the FLOC...(pun intended!  Jesus is always keeping His FLOCK!)... and throw away the CINAUCINIHILIPILIFICATION!  In other words, throw away all the superficial, non-essential, semantical, nonsense.  THEN we would be left with nothing but the SIMPLE TRUTH!  That is how Jesus sees it!

It is the Nature of sinful humanity to Complicate things in order to Camoflauge it's Sin & Evil!  Instead of killing, we call it; Justifiable homicide, suicide, genocide, parricide, fratricide, infanticide, Abortion, decimation, manslaughter, massacres, coup-de-grace, execution, assassination, holocausts, and hari-kari!  Instead of stealing, we call it; Appropriation, borrowing, booty, brigandage, rapacity, depredation, pawning, pillaging, plundering, piracy, peculation, pilfering, purloining, plucking, blackmail, embezzling, Kleptomania, larceny, fraud, filching, fleecing, extortion, & exploitation!  Instead of lying, we call it; Circumvention, prevarication, suppression, evasion, falsification, fabrication, exaggeration, equivocation, dissemulation, spuriocity, chicanery, charlatry, cajolery, mendacity, perjury, perfidy, subterfuge, joking, hoaxing, hoodwinking, embroidering, garbling, fibbing & malingering!
What ever it is called...SIN IS STILL SIN!

Well did Paul warn us, 2 Cor. 11:3, "But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, SO YOUR MINDS should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ."  Contrary, to our nature, it is the Nature of Christ to Simplify things in order Expose any Sin!  I don't care how complicated your life may be, if you will take it to Jesus, He will reduce all your problems to their simplest form; and then give you this simple solution, "Go, and sin no more"
No matter how our PhD's philosophize, psychoanalize, or theologize our lives away; IF WE ARE LIVING WRONG, Jesus WILL reduce that to SIN! 

I'd like to leave you with one more set of synonyms:  Absolution, obliteration, amnesty, reprieve, conciliation, exoneration, quittance, indemnity, placation & exculpation!  These are just sophisticated expressions for the simple word, FORGIVE!  If you have sinned, though it be called by any other name; REMEMBER, Jesus is God's Son, and HE WILL FORGIVE!

*Another one of my favorite sermons by Dad.  He was surprised that I remembered it because it is 25 years old but, as a kid, that was like hearing a sermon about Supercalafragilisticexpialadocious!

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Highfalutin!

Highfalutin!

I grew up hearing this word.  Usually about someone my family didn’t like.  To be honest, I thought it was an “Okie” witticism for someone who is “too big for their britches.”  You can imagine my shock when I discovered the word in the dictionary.  O, by the way, my “Okie” ancestors were correct in their usage.
 
Highfalutin is an adjective describing the behavior of a pretentious buffoon who affects a grand style in an unconvincing way.  Nobody is fooled.  In fact, the rest of us can’t understand where they get the idea that they are so grand.  What a clown.  Highfalutin outfit! 
 
Highfalutin is nothing you want to be.  Certainly not the way you want to be thought of.  Paul wrote in Rom 12:3, “For I say, through the grace given to me, to everyone who is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think soberly, as God has dealt to each one a measure of faith.” NKJV  Ah, that sounds just right.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Go to the devil!

Go to the devil!

Harold Bell Wright said, “Some men go to the devil because they have no place else to go.”  He wrote those words in 1902.  Due to the industrial revolution in America, young men were flocking to the cities to find factory work.  Away from home, alone and lonely, and with no wholesome entertainment available, they had nothing to do in the evenings but visit saloons, theaters and dancehalls.  Caught unprepared, the church offered no place for them to go during the week.  So Wright wrote, “Some men go to the devil because they have no place else to go.”
 
You might remember that quote the next time you feel like complaining about the youth activities at your church.  Some kids go to the devil, not because they are naturally disposed to evil, but because they simply have no place else to go.  By 2 o’clock Sunday afternoon the church doors are closed and the lights are out for the rest of the week.  They can’t go to church (unless they break in) so they go to the devil.  Wright was right, and that’s a shame.
 
King David said in Ps 119:9, “How can a young man cleanse his way?  By taking heed according to Your word.” NKJV And, how can young men heed God’s word, unless the church is open to them.  One thing is certain, young men will either come to God or go to the devil. 

Friday, August 5, 2011

300 decisions a day!

300 decisions a day!

“Should I get up, or hit the snooze button one more time?”  According to sociologists, the average person makes 300 decisions each day.  What!?!  Is that true?  That’s 9,300 decisions a month.  That’s 111,600 decisions a year.  That’s over 6 million decisions during our adult lifetime.  Six Million!

Of those 300 daily decisions, about 10% of them are potentially life changing.  Like, “I wonder if I can beat this red light?”  30 times each day we’re making decisions that could change our life, and the lives of our loved ones, for the better or worse.  That’s 10,950 times a year.

So, when were you planning to start praying daily for God’s help in this decision making process?  How many potentially life-altering decisions have you already made today without Divine guidance?  How many risks are you willing to take?  I think it’s time we all got serious about including the Spirit of Jesus in our daily decision making process.  Amen?
 

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

“Hold on Rowdy! Hold on!”

“Hold on Rowdy! Hold on!”

I have an uncle who is a dog whisperer (outstanding dog trainer).  He had a dog named Rowdy who was anything but rowdy.  Tired of seeing Rowdy get whipped by every other dog in the neighborhood, he taught Rowdy to just bite down on his attacker and then hold on.  Nothing else, just hold on!  When a dog would attack, and Rowdy was ready to run, Arvel would shout, “Hold on Rowdy! Hold on!” 
 
Guess what?  It worked!  Before long the other dogs discovered if they attacked old Rowdy, and he got half a chance, he was going to bite down and hold on!  Rowdy began to win his fights, not by talent but by tenacity.  He just latched on and held on.  “Hold on Rowdy!  Hold on!” 
 
Let that be a lesson to you.  More often than not, what we need to win our warfare is not more talent, but more tenacity. Just bite down and hold on!  If we had the ears to hear, I wonder how often Jesus is shouting the same encouragement to us.  “Hold on Rowdy!  Hold on!” 


Tuesday, August 2, 2011

RAPTURE POWER!

Acts 8:39-40

New King James Version (NKJV)
39 Now when they came up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord caught Philip away, so that the eunuch saw him no more; and he went on his way rejoicing. 40 But Philip was found at Azotus. And passing through, he preached in all the cities till he came to Caesarea.


The devil has never done what the Holy Spirit did to Philip!  Azotus was 25 mil. up the med. coast (as the disciple flies) from Gaza.  God picked up Philip and (to prohibit disintegration, as in a comet) broke down his anatomical structure and then translated his atoms 16 times the speed of light to Azotus, re-assembled him and sat him down!  AND YOU THINK GOD HAS A HARD TIME MOVING YOU!  The devil has never done anything like this because he does not possess RAPTURE POWER!

The great magician H. Houdidi DIED attempting a body translation!  See, the devil can manipulate us, but he cannot MOVE us bodily...tempt us, but he cannot translate us to either Heaven or Hell.  He does not possess RAPTURE POWER!  Philip did not go to Heaven.  He went from Gaza to Azotus but this was STILL RAPTURE POWER! 

With Rapture power, DISTANCE is immaterial!  John heard a voice saying "come up hither" and he was immediately in Heaven.  Philip, coming out of the water at Gaza, found himelf in Azotus.  Different distances and different destinations but the same power.  Paul estimated the maximum traveling speed of RAPTURE POWER at 16 times the speed of light!  1 Cor. 15:52 "we shall all be changed, in a moment, in the TWINKLING OF AN EYE..."  (i.e. approx 1/16 sec. or .063 milliseconds)  Time, Speed, Space, & Distance are immaterial; SO LONG AS GOD GETS US MOVED!  Moving YOU from point A to point B!

Imagion traveling from here to Heaven in 1/16 sec!  "Ladies and Gentlemen, Welcome to Gloryland Airlines!  Flight 777 will be departing intantaneously from gate #3 for the Portals of Glory!  Your Pilot this evening is JESUS CHRIST!  Our estimated time of departure is 9pm.  Estimated time of arrival is 9pm.063 milliseconds.  I'm sorry, there will be no movie.  Please fasten your seatbelts, obey the angelic attendents, and have a good flight!"

According to science, the Northern Universal floor is 1,600 light years from here.  Light=186,000mi.  p.sec=9,082,368,000,000,000 miles from here!  Traveling this 10 quadrillion miles in 1/16 sec.= RAPTURE POWER!  The devil cannot do that!

Now really, do you still think God has a hard time moving you?


* This was the first part of my favorite sermon that my dad ever preached.  The part that my siblings and I always waited for was:
In John 6, Jesus fed 5,000 on the S/E coast of the Sea of Galilee; then prayed all night to restore his depleted spirit; then came walking on water out to a struggling ship 2 mi. off shore.  Jn 6:21, "Then they WILLINGLY recieved him into the ship: and IMMEDIATELY THE SHIP was at land whither they went."  Jesus, using RAPTURE POWER, picked up that WHOLE SHIP, broke down the material structure of the metals, woods, & cloths...biological structure of the disciples, sailors, & sea animals (fish, barnacles)...at 16 times the speed of light, MOVED THEM ALL 10 nautical mi. N-N/E, and set them down safely at the harbor of Capenaum!  e.g. Jesus didn't MIX things up!... Men with fish heads & shell fish with men's heads...men with oars for arms, the ship with arms for oars...Men with canvas for hair & the ship with hair for sails...

What a miracle of RAPTURE POWER and it never left here (earth)