Archive for December, 2007

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Comparing Apples to Oranges

December 31, 2007

 Isaiah 55:8-9  “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD.  For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.”

I Corinthians 2:14  “But the natural man receiveth not the things of the spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.”

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Two realms; coexisting, and yet polar opposites from each other.  The natural realm operates on the laws of physical reality such as what comes up must come down, and for every action there is a reaction.  Laws which determine how the physical world functions and can be readily observed by anyone who resides in the land of the breathing.  Many well-educated people have dedicated their lives to pondering the laws of physics and striving to understand how the current physical reality came to be.  They will observe the laws that govern the physical realm and monitor the goings on in creation to try and figure out how it all began and where it’s all going without ever considering that a non-physical realm exists.   

The spiritual realm isn’t subject to the laws of physics.  It cannot be readily observed, nor can it be placed into a series of mathematical equasions.  Gravity, distance, and physical barriers have no authority in spiritual matters.  Furthermore, unlike the physical world which had a beginning and will come to an end, the spiritual realm has always been in existance.   This is because God, who created every facet of physical reality, is a Spirit and is from everlasting.  There has never been a time in which he wasn’t, and there will never be a time in which he isn’t.  In a world where everything observable has a beginning and an ending, this seems like an impossibility, and yet, according to scripture, it’s true.  “Jesus Christ the same yesterday, today, and for ever.”

Romans 8:5-8  “For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit.  For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.  Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.  So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God.”

One thing that, was highlighted, all the more, during the past week in Orlando is the stark contrast between the carnal mind and the spiritual.  How the god of this world keeps people occupied with an endless parade of distractions (entertainment, oppositions of science and what have you) and that only the true God, who created all that is, can open the eyes of those who are blinded.  Just as he has done for all of us who have had our conversation in the world but are now washed in the blood of Jesus and born of the Spirit.  Without a doubt, we can plant seed and we can water the seed repeatedly, but only God can give the increase.  (II Timothy 2:24-26) 

This is a side trip, but recently, I found myself wondering what would have happened if the Lord hadn’t opened my eyes back in 1983.  I cannot even imagine what might have transpired; especially with all of the occult-like ideas that I used to subscribe to, and the pondering didn’t last very long.  Yet it caused me to be all the more thankful that the Lord Jesus Christ called me out of darkness and made me a new creation.  The hour that I first believed on Jesus stands out as the greatest moment of my life.  

While the past week was somewhat spiritually draining, it made the spiritual battle that we’re all engaged in more defined.  Concepts which are well known, were driven home all the more as I witnessed them being played out in a setting that is dominated by fantasy.  The enemy walks about unseen; employing the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes and the pride of life to keep people trapped in a neverending pursuit of this worlds philosophies and amusements.  The distractions are as diverse as those who are being held captive.  Amusements that will effectively keep them from pondering things such as “If I died tonnight, would I be ready?”  Orlando is a place that’s filled with distractions and has more on the way if the status quo holds out long enough.  (Like Universal Studios planned “Harry Potter theme park.”  IT’S GETTING VERY LATE INDEED) 

All in all, it was an eye-opening week.  We had quality time together as a family; some of it quite enteretaining.  (Six people in a Ford Windstar for hours on end is entertaining to be sure; especially when Morgan and Megan get on each others nerves)  Yet from a spiritual standpoint it was somewhat rough.  My heart is in the kingdom of God; not the “magic kingdom.”  We long for the moment when this corruption puts on incorruption and when we shall forever be with Jesus.  When we have Christ in us; the hope of glory; the allurements of this world simply lose their appeal.  Yet while we long to be absent from the body and present with the Lord, we are also greatful for each day that remains as each one will see new names written in the book of life.  And so, like the apostle Paul, we are betwixt; longing to be with the Lord but longing for more time to be ambassadors here. 

Well, I’ll close out for now.  Two people in my family are in need of prayer.  My sister Sally has what could be a life threatening situation which we should know more about Wednesday.  She has had a number of struggles over the years.  Also, my wifes brother Larry is in severe depression.  He has an alcohol addiction and recently lost his job.  Both of these people need Jesus and we know that he can open blinded eyes.  When we ponder the souls in the balance all around us and the lateness of the hour, we realize that we should be about our Fathers business and continuously walk in the Spirit.  As the saying goes, we’re the only Jesus that some may ever see.  There really isn’t time to squander.  (That’s a “note to self” as I squander way too much)  Until next time, I wish to all a blessed day in Jesus. 

John 6:27  “Labour not for the meat which perisheth, but for that meat which endureth unto everlasting life, which the Son of man shall give unto you: for him hath God the Father sealed.” 

   

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One Flew Over the Blogosphere

December 20, 2007

Philippians 4:11  “Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content.”

To be content always; rejoicing in the Lord Jesus when the bank account is hefty and rejoicing in the Lord Jesus when we don’t know where our next slice of bread will come from.  It sounds extreme, but the joy of the Lord should be a constant in the life of every saint.  I bring this up, because, if I were to describe 2008 with one word, it would be “change.”  Drastic change.  (Ok two words)  As a result, I’m not sure how much longer I’ll be blogging as other things are in the works.  Something that Susan said one night has been sticking with me ever since.  As mentioned many times in the past, I really like to blog.  Susan stated that when it comes time to let it go, we’ll be in such a different place spiritually that letting go will be as nothing to us. 

The changes on a global scale, one can read about anytime a and from several sources.  Steve Quayle does an excellent job of monitoring events along with World Net Daily, David Meyer, and a host of others.  As always, discernment is a necessity; not a luxury.  So I’m focusing here, on our immediate situation. 

One thing that’s bringing about change regardless of its outcome, is work.  Our plant is currently in contract negotiations and it appears that plans are in the works to idle it in the future.  My group of hirees will probably be done by the end of next year and even after February, our income will be lower.  In other words, I’ll not be able to “trust the chariots of Egypt” and it will should bring our household closer to Jesus.  WE NEED THIS and it’s one reason why all of the discouraging reports from AAM don’t rattle me.  They should, but they just don’t.  Change is definately in the wind, however, when that change brings people closer to Jesus, “Change is Good!” 

Another thing that’s taking place at work is an awakening.  Certain saints, some of whom I didn’t even know were saints, are coming around.   An awakening as things are about to get crazy.  This is very encouraging and I’m believing that the uncertainty in the ambience will cause many to realize the temporal nature of this world and their need for a Savior.  Many don’t listen when things are running smooth, but when the rug is yanked out from under them, it’s a new day.  Once again, if change brings people to repentance and faith in Jesus Christ, “Change is Good!” 

Another change that’s in the works is a burden to get back on the streets again.  (If the plant closes, we may just be there)  The last three years have been years of growing and involvement in the blogger realm has been an important aspect.  It started at just the right time and will conclude at just the right time.  Every blogger has something to offer and brings points to ponder.  It’s a lot of fun and has been quite a journey.  I do think however, that this journey may not continue too far into the next year as taking the gospel to the streets and involvement in Elkhart is really on my heart.  (Susan is right)  I’m excited by the new year as I know that the Lord is doing a work before our eyes and when it all comes together, we’re going to proclaim “WOW!” 

It’s so awesome!  When we love Jesus, and our only desire is to be with him and serve him, nothing can get us down.  Not the economy, not the geopolitical wranglings, not the weather, and not the scoffers.  We grieve over the sin that’s in the land and over the lost who don’t see the giant cliff that they’re about to walk over, but this should only admonish us to “rescue the perishing” with greater fervor.  To work diligently for the furtherance of the kingdon until the day turns to twilight and finally, a darkness that can be felt.  When we truly “love not our lives in this world” it’s an incredible deliverance.  “To live is Christ and to die is gain.” 

Concerning the upcomming year, I don’t see how it’s all going to come together nor the unexpected twists that may come about.  But I know that The Lord knows them who place their trust in him completely and are prepared to be strong and do exploits.  Their affections are on things above and are not swayed by appearances in the physical realm.  A bad report will cause them to draw closer to Jesus and a good report will cause them to draw closer to Jesus.  They will be atuned to him at all times and ready to go when instructed to go.  May we all arrive in a place where our single desire is to serve Jesus and be a faithful ambassador in a world that desperately needs faithful ambassadors. 

Matthew 9:37-38  “Then he saith unto his disciples, The harvest truly is plenteous, but the labourers are few.  Pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he will send forth larourers into his harvest.” 

Well, I’ll close for now.  I wish to all a most blessed time in Jesus as we remember the time when God became flesh and dwelt among us.  He left the glory of heaven to save a people who weren’t even looking for him.  May we all have our lamps filled with oil as his return is at hand.  “Even so, come Lord Jesus.”

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“I Run To You”

December 18, 2007

Psalm 63:8  “My soul followeth hard after thee: thy right hand upholdeth me.” 

 Psalm 84:10  “For a day in thy courts is better than a thousand.  I had rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God, than to dwell in the tents of wickedness.”

It’s an attitude of hungering and thirsting after the Lord Jesus Christ who paid for our sins with his own blood.  Of grasping the perfect love that he has for us and the incredible salvation that he offers to all.  Of so desiring to draw continuously closer to him that we’ll allow nothing to hinder us as Jesus will truly be at the center of all that we do.  Just as the Syrophenician woman stated “Yes Lord: yet the dogs under the table eat of the childrens crumbs” we’ll follow hard after the Lord, regardless of what it entails.  We’ll find ourselves placing such a high priority on our special time with the Lord that everything else will take a back seat.  We’ll truly desire to seek his face just to be with him; knowing that the he will never leave us and that soon, we shall be forever in his presence. 

While our relationship with the Lord Jesus should grow increasingly vibrant, we should also be aware that it’s under continuous assault from the enemy who knows how to strategically place the most alluring of decoys.  The world has an ever-growing arsenal of distractions that will hinder us and cause us to become so wrapped up in the “here” that we drift away from our first love.  It’s imperative to strive for an increasingly intimate relationship with the Lord; consciously placing him first in our life at all times and watching out for pitfalls that will distract us. 

Revelation 2:4  “Nevertheless I have somewhat against thee, because thou hast left thy first love.”

I’m convinced that when Jesus addressed the seven churches of Asia in the book of Revelation, he brought up the church of Ephesus first, because, of the incredible danger associated with drifting.  Drifting away from our first love is such a gradual thing that it hardly registers on our spiritual radar, thereby allowing it to transpire without observation.  When a person is living right and actively engaged in service to the Lord in a particular capacity, the problem of a heart that has become attached to ministering instead of Jesus can be hard to recognize.  Today, in the final moments of 2007, the problem is compounded.  Couple drifting with a lifestyle that’s in perpetual overdrive and a spiritual “perfect storm” emerges.  Drifting is one of the most chameleon-like of pitfalls.   This next verse has been quoted many times here, but it admonishes us to continuously address the problem of drifting. 

Proverbs 4:23  “Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life.” 

A consistant abiding in the True Vine and actively pursuing a deeper relationship with him.  Each day, our relationship with him will change somewhat; either we’ll become closer or we’ll drift out a little further.  Just as a natural relationship must be maintained, we must keep our hearts continuously as the old man, will always seek out opportunities to regain prominence in our lives.  Not to mention our old adversary, the devil, who is continuously seeking whom he can lure into compromise.  He’s constantly seeking to move us a degree or two off course; changes which appear so insignificant that no alarms are triggred and yet notable enough to result in shipwerck if allowed to continue unabated.  This next verse has also been mentioned often, but it’s needful here.

Philippians 3:15  “Let us therefore, as many as be perfect, be thus minded: and if in anything ye be otherwise minded, God shall reveal even this unto you.”

This is a comforting verse.  The problem of going astray is a big one.  If it begins in our hearts, the Holy Spirit will let us know.  If we’re listening and attentive, he will make it known to us that we’re pursuing a diversion.  Sadly, however, drifting can be accompanied by it’s cousin “dull of hearing” resulting in a treacherous situation.  In the case of the ephesians, I imagine that the Lord was speaking to each of them concerning their spiritual state, however, they had become so involved with programs that they didn’t hear.  Praise God for using this situation to not only get the attention of the saints in Ephesus, but to warn all of us about the dangers of leaving our first love.

To use myself as an example, I was in a backslidden state for about thirteen years.  While I can remember the exact moment when the Lord brought me out of it in March of 2004, I cannot recall the exact moment when I began to wander.  In hindsight, I should have seen it coming as all the classic warning signs were present.  Yet at the time, a lack of discernment and carnal mindedness wrecked havoc in a person who, was convinced in his heart that he was mature in the Lord enough as to be immuned to backsliding.  (I never would have admitted it; even to myself, but the attitude was prevailant.)   I guess this is why I make mention of this particular pitfall so often. (such as in the recent post “Fatal Distractions)  I’ve been through it and it’s a rough road to travel down.  Praise God for finally getting my attention in a most gentle and yet incredible fashion.

Revelation 3:19  “As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent.”

Well, this post didn’t go as I was thinking.  The plan was to focus on hungering and thirsting after righteousness, however, the subject of drifting became dominant.  Yet it’s such an important issue that I’ll leave it as is.  We are planning to leave for Florida Saturday and while I want to post one more time prior, to departing, either here or on the other blog, (along with commenting elsewhere) such may not be possible.   Nonetheless, to be content in all things as our life is in Jesus Christ and not in circumstances.  Until the next time, be it later this week or in January, I wish to all a blessed time in Jesus.

Romans 8:38-39  “For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come,  Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

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The Heart of God (episode VI)

December 13, 2007

 Genesis 2:24  “Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.”

Once again, I find myself having to discuss a topic that I would prefer to avoid, however, since this is a verse-by-verse series covering the sermon on the mount and everything that Jesus says is important, it must be addressed.  A casual observation of those in my neck of the woods who are steaming toward middle age will reveal a plethura of divorices, multiple marriages, desperate housewives, husbands experiencing a mid-life crisis, and many who are wearied from all of the obligatory commitments and just live together.  Children bounced from household to household as to comply with court rulings and feelings of bitterness on behalf of many adults for whom things just didn’t go as planned.  The landscape is littered with fragmented families and fragmented lives, however, I know that despite the circumstances that a person finds themselves in or the past that they come from, Jesus can forgive sin, heal the broken-hearted and make all things new. 

Matthew 5:31-33  “It hath been said, Whosoever shall put away his wife, let him give her a writing of divorcement:  But I say unto you, That whosoever shall put away his wife, saving for the cause of fornication, causeth her to commit adultery: and whosoever shall marry her that is divorced commiteth adultery.

Ours is a culture that appears to be coming unglued at the most fundamental level.  Infidelity is rampant, children born out of wedlock; often times to parents who are themselves still children, and a cultural backdrop that’s increasingly void of godly principals.  A phenomenon known as “unreconcilable differences” wrecks havoc on the institution of marriage as it increasingly becomes normal; almost “admirable” in the eyes of the world to throw in the towel at the slightest hint of trouble.  Several years ago, I overheard a country song entitled “Broken Promised Land” (or something like that,) which tells how one partner cheats on the other and then the other does the same in return.  In the midst of the “sad and depressing melody” is a reflection on a very major problem.  We have a divorce rate of 50% and heartache of epidemic proportions. 

Praise God that he can fix even the most complicated of situations.  (Mine is a self-induced complicated situation.)  I’m compelled to restate this truth because so many families today; even christian families, have undergone twists and turns that weren’t planned.  These really are perilous times. 

The breakdown of the family is actually a symptom of a much bigger picture.   We’re in a time when a spiritual hardening is taking place in the hearts of those who consistantly refuse to come to Jesus.  Kids can take an unexpected turn; even in well grounded christian homes.  (This too is on the rise at an alarming rate.)  We’re in an age of unprecidented spiritual warfare and it takes place within the heart of every individual.  Without a doubt, the devil is walking about as a roaring lion seeking whom he may devour.  His time is running out and we can expect a full court press from here on.  Such is the times in which we live. 

These next set of verses are even harder to address for some reason, so this isn’t going to be very in-depth, despite having many thoughts concerning them. 

Matthew 5:33-36  “Again, ye have heard that it hath been said by them of old time, Thou shalt not forswear thyself, but shall perform unto the Lord thine oaths.  But I say unto you, Swear not at all; neither by heaven; for it is Gods throne:  Nor by earth; for it is his footstool; neither by Jerusalem; for it is the city of the great King.  Neither shalt thou swear by thy head, because thou canst not make one hair white or black.” 

A few days ago, I saw a book entitled “Landmines” or something of the sort.  It covered situations that come upon saints without warning and then “KABOOM!”  I’m certain that it has something to say concerning making promises or saying things that haven’t been thought through.  (It’s written by Charles Stanley)  Making statements, making promises, or commiting ourselves to things without considering what we’re doing can get us into a heap of trouble.  All of us have, at some time or another, promised things or agreed to things without thinking first.   I’ve done it on more occasions than I care to think about.  This passage is much deeper than my elaboration, but I’m not certain as to how to proceed further. 

One thing that I have to be mindful of is to pray for people when I tell them that I will.  I have to write it down because it’s very serious and my memory isn’t the best.  Jesus admonished us with the parable of the unjust judge to pray always and not faint.  With so many needs out there and tortured souls on every corner, we should be praying at every opportunity.  I fall short of this and it’s something that I must continuously work on.  Nonetheless, when I make a commitment to pray for someone, I strive to do so.  Not just a halfhearted mentioning, but a serious “coming before the throne of grace” and lifting up one who’se in need of divine intervention. 

I’m certain that I’m not addressing this effectively, but what I have always taken from these verses is “be careful of what you promise and to whom.”  In fact the next verse sums it up perfectly: 

Matthew 5:37  “But let your communication be, Yea, yea: Nay, nay: for whatsoever is more than these cometh of evil.” 

To speak only right things and refrain from speaking things which can only get us into trouble.  One well known example that comes to mind is Herod.  He was purposely set up on his birthday and while the daughter of Herodias danced before him, he made a very unadvisable statement by promising her anything that she asked.  As we all know, she requested the head of John the Baptist and Herod complied. 

Without a doubt, the tongue no man can tame.  The warnings in the book of James are to be remembered as we can find ourselves unwittingly uttering things without having considered what chain reaction will be initiated by that which we utter.  By the grace of God, there are scores of moments in my own household where I thought to say something in a moment of drama that would have intensified things tenfold, but kept it to myself.  (This household is occasionally subjected to drama)  I’m going to conclude here because the last ten verses in chapter five are so awesome that they need their own post.  (Or two posts; however it turns out.)  Until the next time, I wish to all a blessed day in Jesus.

  

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New Life in Centreville

December 8, 2007

This is a first for me; copying a story out of a newspaper and using it as a post.  Not only is the report amazing, it’s incredible that it was on the front page of the Kalamazoo Gazette.  (Their site is www.mlive.com/kzgazette ) So here’s the story as reported by Lynn Turner, entitled “People Can Change.  Pastors Baptize 33 at St. Joseph County Jail.”  (This is a secular report and the writing style along with certain word selections reflects this.)

CENTREVILLE-When John Vincent Grogan III was in prison, he’d see other inmates claim to have found God, use it as a way to earn an early release – then leave behind their bibles when paroled.  So he understands people will be skeptical to learn someone with eight felonies, “a couple dozen misdemeanors” and a criminal record dating to age 12 – and going back to prison for a parole violation – has changed his ways and accepted Jesus Christ into his life.  “I don’t want to be a poster boy.” the heavily tatooed 29 year old former Detroit gang member said.  “I want to show people there can be a change.” 

Grogan was among 33 St. Joseph County jail inmates on Thursday who were baptized in a full-immersion ceremony led by Jerry Solis, assistant pastor of Riverside Church, a non-denominational ministry in Three Rivers.  Riverside has offered its “Celebrate Recovery” program at the jail on Thursdays for the past six months, said John Booko, senior pastor of the church.  The program bonds the 12-step recovery program with a Christian twist and biblical comparisons. 

“We started with about 22 participants and now we have more than 100 attending each week,” Booko said.  “Some come just for the coffee and cookies, Booko said, and that’s OK.  They still hear the message that there is a different path inmates can walk now and when they get out of jail.”  Thursday wrapped up the final of the 12 sessions with almost one third of the participants taking part in the baptism.  

CELEBRATING A REBIRTH

Church officials brought in a portable baptismal font used at the sanctuary, located in the old Three Rivers High school.  Some 300 gallons of water was changed during the three ceremonies – one for women, two for men.  The jail has been the site of baptisms in the past, Sheriff matthew Lori said “But it was a kind of anointing thing with pitchers and a wash basin.”  he said. 

“The ceremony celebrates the burying of the old, symbolically, and a rebirth and going public with their belief in Jesus” Booko said.  “”You’ve heard the old saying “once a drug addict always a drug addict?’ It doesn’t have to hold true.  People can change.  People can walk away from that.”  He said. 

“Jesus was a friend of sinners.  We’re just trying to be his arms and heart.”  Solis, who joined Riverside 12 years ago, has a unique perspective on the jail ministry.  He is a former crack-cocaine addict, now clean for 22 years, something he openly tells people.  He was a police officer in Three rivers for six years before joining Riverside. 

Each person climbed into the water, Solis and jail chaplain Jake Schwartz baptized them.  They leaned each person backward into the water, then brought them forward to rousing applause from other inmates and visitors who gathered in the basketball gym that doubled as their meeting hall. 

“I lost so many years,” said inmate Linda Hults, 49, who is awaiting sentencing on a domestic violence charge in january.  “I feel like I’ve found life now.” 

Having already served more than 10 years in prison for convictions related to her drinking and dysfunctional family relationships, Hults said she’s tired of being unhappy, drinking, going to jail and repeating the cycle.  “Demons come after you in jail, but not as much as when you get out,” she said.  “When I get out this time I’ll have that support, so if I want to have a drink, there are people I can call to help me.” 

Jessica Fairchild, 25, and her fiance, Christopher Brooks, 34, both of three Rivers, returned to jail Thursday to be baptized.  “I wanted to be here with my girls,” said Fairchild, who spent 51 days in jail on a possession of methamphetamine charge.  After attending the Celebrate Recovery program for three weeks, fairchild said she was compelled to give her life over to God.  “I was feeling guilty.  I hated the world,” she said.  Now I feel awesome.  I don’t have to worry about the drugs.” 

Brooks said he thought it was the right thing to be baptized in jail because it was where he found God.  “I wanted to shopw other people…that Jesus is out there and it works,” he said. 

Knowing that he is going back to prison gives Grogan a certain credibility with others in jail that his belief in Jesus Christ is real.  “If this bad a– guy can come in here and do this, it is true,” Grogan said.  “I’ve made it as far as I can on my own.  When I reached out my hand, no one was there but Jesus.”  Solis said he is optiomistic Grogan will make it through prison with his faith intact.  “I would love to hire him as an assistant,” he said.

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That was harder than I thought….copying something as opposed to just writing when one has the freedom to edit; add thoughts and whatnot.  Nonetheless, I was fascinated by the report.  All of these “very new saints” need prayer as they will face incredible adversity.  Just as we all did and still do.  I wish to all, a blessed weekend in Jesus.

 

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Beyond the Ambience

December 5, 2007

Psalm 91:2  “I will say of the LORD, He is my refuge and my fortress: my God; in him will I trust.” 

John 14:27  “Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you.  Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.”

John 16:33  “These things have I spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace.  In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.”

Without a doubt, our joy and peace is in the Lord Jesus Christ.  It’s a peace that, prior to our being born of the Spirit, we were unaware that such a thing even existed.  Or if we did know of such a thing, we would most likely attribute it to psychological conditioning.  It’s not a myth, nor is it a byproduct of pyschological wranglings.  It’s a pure and complete joy that doesn’t hings on the physical appearances surrounding us.  I know a lot of folks whose mood depends upon optimal economic conditions, optimal social climate, optimal social status, optimal political advancement, and even optimal weather conditions.  They allow factors which are completely beyond their control  determine for them whether they are “having a good day” or having a “got up on the wrong side of the bed” day.  I know of a few who seem to be “angry all the time” because of things which turn out contrary to their liking.

I’m reminded of the first autumn following my move back from Virginia in 1989.  I was working for a company in Elkhart and one particular co-worker was a guy named Greg.  Greg was a hardcore 49ers fan and fortunately for him, that was a great year for the Niners as they compiled a 14-2 record and went on to win another super bowl.  Yet the monday after their first loss of the season, Greg came into work and was so bothered that he didn’t talk to anyone.  For two and a half days, he was silent and angry over something of no eternal significance.  Finally, on Wednesday afternoon, he was working on the press next to where I was working and he broke his silence.  He peered around from behind the press and said “Why should I be in a good mood?  Do you think Joe Montana is in a good mood today?”  My reply was “He makes millions every year playing football.  Yes I think that Joe’s in a good mood!”

While this example is extreme, it highlights a very real problem; that of people allowing circumstances to get the better of them.  Tragically many; possibly even a majority of saints wrestle struggle with this as well.  All of us have areas where we must learn to let go and let God.  All of us have moments when our prayer life is hindered by various factors, we glance at the waves and we begin to let fear creep in.  It will take our daily walking with the Lord and abiding in the shadow of his wings if we’re to be more than conquerors.  I find myself thinkng on this much as I’m convinced that the bottom is soon to fall out on the status quo.  Our own understanding will leave us ill-prepared for the times ahead, but if we place our total confidence in the God who created all that is, we’ll stand when everything around us is coming apart. 

It would be advisable for all of us to hide Psalm 91 in our heart and be ever mindful of it.  In a nutshell, it admonishes the reader to not be frightened by events transpiring upon the earth.  Despite wars, rumors, pestilence, arrows flying in every direction and thousands falling at our side, we’re to look to Jesus and know that he is able to keep us.  He is able to save us to the uttermost and no weapon formed against us shall prosper.  Even if we’re overcome physically as many will be tried in such fashion, (Daniel 11:35, I Peter 1:7, Revelation 3:10) it’s needful to remember that our adversaries can only pursue us to the grave.  Enduring.  Holding fast the profession of our faith steadfast unto the end.

Matthew 10:28  “And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.”

This passage shows the importance of loving not our lives in this world.  Many are inclined to look at “loving not this world” verses with a legalistic mindset, however, such isn’t the case at all.  When we arrive at a place where we truly love Jesus with all that is in us and no longer cleave to the things of this life, it’s liberating beyond words.  They can take our collections, confine us in camps, and kill the body, but they cannot touch that which is eternal.  Loving not this world will eneable us to focus on the eternal, lay up treasure in heaven, and prepare for the days when we may be called to lay down our lives for the testimony of Jesus Christ. 

Romans 8:18  “For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealled in us.” 

Last night at work, I had a little fun at the expense of our inexperienced supervisor who’se banking on our plant remaining viable in this age of globalism.  The press-up in our department was down and he was observing the repair progress; obviously concerned that parts weren’t being produced.  I went over and told him “Don’t get too excited; the  ship is sinking.”  He didn’t find this comment as humorous as I did, however, it emphasized the temporal nature of this life and the uncertainty of the chariots of Egypt.  Indeed our time here is so very short, but eternity is forever.  I pray that we all would focus on the eternal and distance ourselves from the gnat-straining over things that have no significance in the realm of the everlasting. 

Well, it’s time to go.  I have to get some things cleaned up at home and head off to the sinking ship that is American Axle.  Actually, the company is doing quite well, however, our plant is gradually losing product lines to Mexico, along with new work being located in Mexico.  (I see an empty building in the future.)  “On Christ the solid rock I stand; all other ground is sinking sand.”  Until the next time (if there is a next time) I wish to all a most blessed day in Jesus.