Act Your Age

Today, as I was leaving church, I jokingly said to an elderly couple as we walked down the hallway, “You kids have a great week”.  The Lady responded with, “act your Age”.  To which I responded with an air of seriousness, “I understand that every cell in our bodies is replaced every 7 years.  Does that mean that I am supposed to act 7 years old?”  Her comment was not out of line as she was just getting back at me for my comment but it does bring up an interesting question.  How old are you?

I’ve heard it said that you are as old as you feel.  If that was true then some days I would be a much younger person and other days I would be quite old.  As we age the body changes and we cannot do what we used to do.  Furthermore, there are a number of other factors that determine how we feel.

Another measure of age is maturity.  Maturity is that undefined age that causes you to act within a set of guidelines that no one agrees on.  It can be wisdom, or agility or trips around the sun, or appropriate behavior or any number of other criterion that we may choose.  Loosely defined, old enough to know better.

One day I was sitting in my study when one of my daughters came in and boldly proclaimed, “Dad, you are older than dirt.”  At first I thought that was an insolent statement, but then I got to thinking about it and the Bible states that God knew us before the foundation of the world. (Eph 1:4, II Thes 2:13)  If God knew me before He made the dirt, then I am older than dirt.  Furthermore, you are too.

Not only did God know us before creation, but all of creation was made for Jesus (Col 1:16) whose plan was to bring many sons unto glory (He 2:10).  In other words, this world is a place to bring His children into existence, much like the womb is to us in physical birth.  Therefore we (christians) are to act like king’s kids, not spoiled and rotten but raised in the discipline and nurture of the Lord.  This world is not our home and our eternal existence lies beyond this world.

Who Are You?

Who are we really? I’ve heard it said that you are not what you think you are, but what you think, you are.  Its a play on words to get you to think about who you really are.  It may be one of the most popular unspoken questions about ourselves that we could ask.  So I ask you, Just who do you think you are?

If you have a low self esteem, you may think little of yourself or your ideas, and not put yourself forward.  Fear may have a great influence over you and your choices.  Your social skills may not be developed very much.  Your goals may not be very high.  Disappointment, embarrassment, and hopelessness may be your closest friends.

On the other hand, you may have a high self esteem and may see yourself being a success in many of the things you do.  You may have a lot of confidence and are not bothered much by what others think of you.  The world is yours for the taking.  You may be popular and have a measure of success.  Still you may have internal questions that leave you feeling hollow or something is missing.

Neither of these positions answer the questions of who you really are.  I found the answer in the Bible.  Ro 6:16 Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness?  It is not the name you hang on your door that defines who you are but the values you hold and what controls you.

So if you have become a servant of righteousness as a Christian, then let me ask you again, Who are you really?  For the answer to that question we must again go to the Bible for the answer.  1.  You are the salt of the earth. Matt 5:13  Do you remember the saying, “you can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make him drink?”  Well, I can make him drink.  All I need to do is put salt in his feed.  Then when he is led to the water he will drink of his own choice.  Just create a thirst.  2.  You are the light of the world.  Matt 5:14  The world is in darkness and cannot see the glory of God.  There is a sin barrier between them a God.  You can see the glory of God because the sin issue has been dissolved between you and God, and you can also see those in the world.  You can act as a mirror to reflect His glory to those in darkness.  They can see God in you.  3.  You are the temple of God 1 Cor 3:16  In all of creation the only place that God choose to dwell was in the Christian.  It is an eternal habitation and therefore must be fitted for Him.  He is Holy so we must be Holy.  He is eternal so He offers us eternal life.   1Pe 2:9 But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light: and again in 2 Cor 6:16 “. . .as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.”  4.  Ye are children of God.  Gal 3: 26  Every person is not a child of God because they were born physically.  That is the first requirement that they be human but there is a second requirement to become a child of God and that is to be born spiritually (from above, of the spirit, born again).  That is what Jesus was talking about to Nicodemus in Joh 3:5 Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.  He explained it further when he said that which is flesh is flesh and that which is born of the spirit is spirit.  He even  told the Pharisees that their father was the Devil.  5.  Ye are sons (Gal 4:6) . . .heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ . . .(Ro 8:17) A  joint-heir with Christ makes Jesus our brother and we inherit with Christ.  What God has in store for us is so beyond all that we can ever ask or think.  We should so walk that it is clear to all that we are born from above.  6.  . . .ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people. . .  We began in this world but we are not of this world.  We have become a part of God’s eternal plan when we chose Christ as our Lord.  Now it is all over but the happening.  Satan can’t stop it and neither can all the demonic forces of the world together.  We are the apple of God’s eye.  We know who we are when we know who’s we are.



The quick and the dead

This phrase was used as the title of a movie.  There it meant be fast with a gun or be dead.  This is a total misrepresentation of its meaning in the Bible.  It is used in Scripture in both the Old and New Testaments with the same meaning.  It had nothing to do with being fast, but always meant “alive”.  It is an old English word that has lost its meaning in today’s world but when it was used in the translation of the Bible into English it was in common usage and was easily understood.

The word is found in three forms of the word: quick, quicken, quickened, quickening and quickeneth.  The phrase “the quick and the dead” appears three times in the new testament in Ac 10:42, 3 Tim 4:1 and I Pe 4:5 and simply means the alive and the dead.  The word “quick” is used in six other places with the meaning being alive. The word “quicken” is used 12 times and is used to express the idea “to make alive or come to life”.  (11 times in Psalms and once in Ro 8:11)  The phrase “quickened” is found seven times with the meaning of “made alive”.  Two verses, Eph 2:5 and Col 2:13, has the unique meaning of “made alive together, or blended” with Christ.  The word “quickening” only once in I Cor 15:45, and has the same meaning of made alive together.  The phrase “quickeneth” is found 5 times in the New Testament with the  meaning of the process of being made alive.  Note the “eth” ending.  That means that it  continues on indefinitely and is not a one time action. The coming alive in the spirit is a process that continues over the time from the new birth until physical death or the rapture, whichever comes first.

The life that Christ brings is the eternal life referenced in John 3:16.  We were dead in trespasses and sins Eph 2:1 And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins.  That was our condition, dead.  As far as the eternal state we were dead.  We did not have life which come only from God.  Eph 2:4 But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, 5 Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ.  That is what happens when we are saved or born again.  We come alive in Christ and the process of separation from this world begins.  From that point on we are alive in the spiritual sense as well as being  alive in the physically world.  You don’t feel it but it is as real as light.  You don’t see it just like you don’t see the air, but you can see its effect.  You are either the quick (alive) or the dead and that is why Jesus said “You MUST be born again.”



Tuesday I had my second cataract surgery, this time on the left eye, and everything went well.  When I had my followup on Wednesday, I had 20/20 vision so that is two for two.  This time it went even better than it did the first time.  I am now reading without my reading glasses.  This will be a tremendous help for me as I spend a lot of time reading and working on the computer.

I talked with my translator who is doing the Spanish translation and she is sending me the second chapter this week.  That makes all four translations of my book working on the third chapter or beyond.  I am so amazed at what the Lord is doing.  It is very exciting to work with the missionaries and translators so closely.  I would like for you to pray for each of them as they are facing tremendous obstacles.  One is that they are involved in a number of other mission  actives that also require their time.  At least two of them are working in hostile environments by their governments.  There are families that require their time as well as keeping their focus on what the Lord is doing with them in the translating.  Truly it is a job that is to big for us but not to big for God.

Next Wednesday I will complete our study on Holiness as a lifestyle.  It has been a blessing for me and has continued to grow as we have worked our way through each session.  The class has been great and the work has been a real blessing.  I have a few things that I need to get done soon and then there are a couple trips I need to make.  One is a trip to Oklahoma to be with my grand kids while my daughter makes a mission trip to the country of Turkey.  The second trip is to Colorado for our family reunion and my sister’s 50th wedding anniversary.  Also, I have one more surgery ahead next month to remove excess eyelid skin that is blocking some of my vision and putting pressure on my eyes.  That will complete my eye work.  My vision is already improved to  20/20 and I have lost my double vision and things are a lot clearer.

The final prayer request is that plans are in the works for a mission trip to China and to Japan in October.  It was supposed to have happened in April but was postponed because the Chinese government passed a new law restricting religious activity.  We needed to wait to see how that would affect our efforts.  We need for the Lord to guide us because we cannot see as He does and we need His guidance.

A final note to say thank you for following along with us on this journey and for lifting the work up in prayer.  I hope that these entries are being a blessing to you and I would love for you to comment from time to time on the articles, etc.  Also, let me know if there is something that you would like to see on this site.

An Impossible Command

Lu 6:10 And looking round about upon them all, he said unto the man, Stretch forth thy hand. And he did so: and his hand was restored whole as the other.

It was a Sabbath Day at the Synagogue and Jesus was teaching. There was a man with a withered right hand present and the Scribes and Pharisees were watching to see if Jesus would heal him on the Sabbath.  Jesus knew their thoughts but still he gave three commands to the man with the withered hand.

First, he was commanded to “rise up”,  This command was not directed to changing posture but to the idea of collecting ones faculties.  It could be translated “Wake Up!”  The man with the withered hand had long been held in obscurity and inactivity with the withered hand that he could not use.  Jesus was calling him into service and he needed to move from cowering in subjection because of the withered hand, to the attitude that with or without the handicap of a withered hand he should not let it determine his ability to function as a whole man.

The second command was to “stand forth” which means to stand and keep standing.  He was to establish this new attitude as his way of thinking and living.  His limitation was not to define him or limit him.  He can function as a whole man with the limitation if God so chose.  The truth is that all of us have limitations of one kind or another.  Some are physical, some are emotional, some are mental, and some are environmental.  We can take a position of limitation or we can assume the position of wholeness.  I already have all I need to become all I can be, and the limitation I have does not define me.

The third command was to “stretch forth thy hand.”  This command was impossible for him.  You see the problem with a withered hand is that you cannot stretch it forth.  The hand is withered, that is, it is shriveled and drawn up and the tendons have lost their flexibility.  Jesus was asking the man to do the impossible.  It was not possible for the man to do it but it was not only possible but necessitated by His command to do it.  Herein is the secret of seeing a miracle.  Contained within every impossible command of God is the promise of power to do it. When we respond to the Lord by faith in His Word, He then opens to us His blessings.  When you are given an impossible command you can trust the Lord that He can and will do it for you.  Such is the miracle of New Life.

Birds have nests

Mt 8:20 Lu 9:58 And Jesus saith unto him, The foxes have holes, and the birds of the air have nests; but the Son of man hath not where to lay his head.

While fishing with my son on Saturday, I noticed the bird nests under a bridge and thought of what Jesus replied to a scribe that said he wanted to follow Jesus anywhere He went.  As I looked at the nests under the bridge I thought of how many people make a commitment to follow Jesus but then get caught up in securing their own lives for themselves.  How many things are placed ahead of Jesus such as: careers, friends, family, jobs, entertainment, wealth, position,  life demands for food shelter and clothing, education, add infinite-um.  I am not saying these things are unimportant.  What I am saying is that they are less important than the Lord.

He created the world but did not have a place to lay His head at night.  He made the waters but thirsted on the cross.  He lived a sinless life, yet died as a common criminal between two thieves.  He invited everyone to come to Him but He was rejected.  He healed broken lives and bodies but he was tortured, despised, cursed and spit upon.  He said that if they persecuted Him then they would persecute you.  No man is greater that his Master.  We are to count the cost, take up our cross and follow Him.  He that would be the greatest, let him become the servant of all.

Trim Your Lamp

Mt 25:1 Then shall the kingdom of heaven be likened unto ten virgins, which took their lamps, and went forth to meet the bridegroom.
Mt 25:7 Then all those virgins arose, and trimmed their lamps.

I was blessed to have been raised on a small country farm in southwest Missouri.  Times were rough and we were trying to make it in a depressed area.  My dad farmed with a team of mules and our home didn’t have the modern conveniences like electricity and indoor plumbing.  It was like living 50 years earlier and we learned the simple ways.  For lighting, we has kerosene lamps and we drew water from a well and burned wood for heat.

I learned what it meant to trim your lamp. The lamp produces its light from a wick which soaks up the fuel for the flame.  If the lamp has been used a lot, the burn rate of the wick, is not even and some parts of the wick become longer while other parts become shorter, causing the flame to be uneven and as a result it is not as bright.  To make the flame even across the top of the flame you would trim the wick evenly across and the top and then the flame would then burn evenly and give a brighter light.  This is what is referred to as trimming your lamp.

Notice that in the story in Matthew 25 that the wise and foolish all trimmed their lamps.  The difference is that the foolish virgins took no oil with them.  There are two requirements for the light to burn bright and they work together.  Without either one the light does not give off light. The oil is representative of the Holy Spirit for it is the Holy Spirit who will guide you into all truth.  How foolish it is to try to negotiate your way in darkness without the Holy Spirit’s guidance yet there are so many trying to live without following His directions.  You cannot borrow from another but you must secure the oil for yourself to have the light to see in the darkness.  Trimming your wick is the equivalent to walking by faith in Jesus as Lord.  We are like the wick in the lamp.  We soak up the life of the Spirit for our light but if we want our light to shine the brightest then we need to trip our wick for an even flame.

There is an interesting thing about the lamp.  When the oil is present and the wick is trimmed, there is one more thing you can do to increase the brightness of the lamp.  That is to expose more of the wick to the flame by the knob on the side of the lamp.  When it is raised it allows a larger flame and therefore gives off more light.  If you really want more light you must expose more of your self to the Lord by your honesty and your willingness to follow Him.

Trees that talk

No they don’t literally speak but they do illustrate some great lessons.  Take for an example, two trees that grow out of a single stump.  If you look up between the two trunks you will notice that neither tree has limbs the infringe upon the other’s space.  Any limbs that do grow in that direction soon die and allow space for the other tree.  The outside limbs grow is such a way that the two trees form the shape of one tree, each trunk supplying the need of the other.  It is like two people who marry and as the Bible says, they two shall be one.  Herein lies one of the secrets of a long and lasting marriage.

I was driving along a residential area and noticed a power line on one side of the road.  There were trees growing along the path of the power lines.  I noticed that all of the limbs that were close to the power lines were cut out and gave the tree an odd appearance.  Its growth was outside the power lines.  It reminded me of how that there are situations that really affect the growth of the tree.  The power lines took priority to the trees growth and caused the tree make drastic adjustments.  When major events such as weather crises, or plague or war happen then we need to make radical adjustments but we still can grow, even though we cannot control these events.

I saw another tree that had for some reason had been toppled over and part of the root system had been exposed.  It was interesting that the tree was able to continue living although the trunk of the tree lay on the ground and some of the roots were exposed.  The tree made and amazing adjustment.  Where there were limbs before, these became new trunks and out of the one trunk there were about a dozen limbs that had become trunks of new trees.  Sometimes a tragedy becomes the opportunity for maturity.  Similar to an older child taking on the care of their siblings in the loss of one or both of the  parents.  Another example is the life of Joseph when he was sold into slavery who then became the provider for his family as well as the entire Egyptian nation.

Have you considered that every tree is pointing upward as if to say look to God?  Have you come to realize that a tree gives of itself in the form of fruit.  It supplies our basic building material, lumber and it stores up the energy of the sun to be released in fire.  It provides shelter for the animals and food for insects and minerals for the soil.  It adds stability to prevent erosion and add beauty to our world.  It gives and gives and gives again.  Such is the picture of man in Ps 1:3 who conducts himself wisely.   Ps 1:3 And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper.  

Sin or Sins

I remember reading a gospel tract entitled “How to get to heaven from Pineville, Kentucky”  It had a catchy title and got me to reading. The truth is that it would read the same from anywhere on the earth.  There is only one way to get to heaven and that is the way that is specified in the Bible.  Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” (John 14:6)  So that begs the question, how do you come “by me?”

It is at this point that there seems to be confusion.  Does that mean to try hard or is it by doing good things like benevolent acts?  Does it mean that I have to quit doing “something”?  Does it mean that I have to give up fun things?  How does it work?  None of these answers are correct for they are all works of man?  Eph 2:8-9 Eph 2:8 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: 9 Not of works, lest any man should boast.

The problem between God and man is not what he does but what he is.  He is a sinner, which is another way of describing rebellion against God’s control on our live.  We cannot earn His favor for as soon as we try that avenue, our true nature takes over and our sin nature is exposed. It is at this point that we need to note the difference between Sin and Sins.  Sin is the self life that we hold naturally.  It is all about me; what I want, what I think, what I do.  I don’t want God directing my life because He won’t let me do my thing.  Sins are what we do  because of this attitude. Sins are the symptoms of the rood cause, sin.  We are incapable of paying for our “sin” so God made a way for us to be accepted and that is by our placing our faith in Jesus instead of ourselves.  When we are willing to do that we repent of our sin (that is turn from it) and place our faith in Jesus to make that payment (turn to Jesus as our way).  It is not two separate actions, but one.  It is like a coin.  It has two sides but it is just one coin.  The act of turning moves you from one thing and unto another.

If we continue to deal with the symptoms (sins) we will fail to treat the problem of sin, itself.  Faith in Jesus as the Lord of our life is the way to heaven.

Viewing the Heavens

I was visiting with my pastor over lunch today and the subject came up of heaven.  It was noted that most people view heaven as simply a remodeled form of things of earth.  You hear statements at a funeral of someone who has died that go something like this, “He is up there doing what he always wanted to do.”  Rarely do we hear a description of heaven that actually depicts what the Bible teaches.  Even then, it may not be heaven at all but a place describe that we are not familiar with so it is understood as heaven.

There are several places described in the Bible that are often understood as heaven but are not heaven.  One such place is Paradise.  It is referenced three times in the New Testament in reference to the place of the righteous dead (Luke 23:43, 2 Corinthians 12:4, and Revelation 2:7)  In the Jewish concept of Hades had two compartments, a place of torment for the unrighteous dead and a place of rest for the righteous dead, called Paradise.  This picture is seen clearly in the story that Jesus told of Lazarus and the rich man (Luke 16:19-31).  When Jesus was resurrected He gathered the righteous saints from Paradise and took them with Him and now the compartment of Paradise is empty.  Now, when the righteous die, they go immediately into the presence of the Lord (2 Corinthians 5:8).  Only the unrighteous remain in Hades and are preserved to the day of Judgment.

Another place that is often confused as heaven is the millennium or 1,000 years.  This is in reference to the time that the Lord will reign over all the earth and establish peace among all people and living creatures.  (Isaiah 11:1-16,  65:17-25)  This scene is where the wolf and the lamb feed together and the lion will eat straw like the cow.  It a picture of perfect harmony and peace.  This is the picture of the righteous, but the picture of the unrighteous is a picture of terror and horror.  It is also known as the day of the Lord.

A third place that is often confused with heaven is “Heaven above“.  This is also know in different translations as: firmament, expanse, dome or vault and is understood as the spiritual dwelling place of God now, as opposed to earth as a physical place.  It includes the atmosphere and the expanse of space and is referred to being above.  It is also addressed as the unseen world.

The place that we know as heaven has several characteristics.  One is that it is an eternal place.  It is unending, which is a concept that our feeble mind has great difficulty grasping.   We exist in time and space and change.  In eternity there is not such thing as time or dimension or change.  Everything is: and it is without beginning or end; it is without measurement; and it is without change.

Another characteristic is that in heaven there is that the things that were necessary for our development have now ended and no longer have an eternal purpose.  Tears are gone, death is defeated, sorrow, crying and pain are no more, and the memory of all these difficulties cannot be found.  I think it is similar to a mother giving birth to a child.  She has pain that is necessary for the birth of the child, but once the child is born the mother cannot remember the pain.  Yes, she can remember that she had pain but she can no longer feel the pain.

In heaven, there will be a lot of rejoicing.  It will not be so much for our gain but because of the full realization of God and His glory.  Like a diamond that is uncut looks a lot like just another rock but when it is cut, the beauty and the magnificence of it is revealed.  It was there all of the time but now it is fully realized.  We are the workmanship of God and look just like other people but when the Lord is finished shaping and making us into His image we will appear like Him and so the glory of God will be seen in us.  This picture pales in comparison to the Glory of the Lord as we behold Him for who He is.

1Co 13:12 For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.  It won’t be a remodeled world it will be the presence of the Lord with an eternal and spiritual existence.  Our activity will have eternal purposes and not for selfish or wordily reasons.