How is your Tiller Working?

2663138506_697083735f_bIn Proverbs 28:18-19, God speaks about “our walk and our work.”  There is a conditional promise given in each verse.  In other words, there is an assured result that follows a certain action.  The last time I checked, God has kept all His promises.  Here is His promise from Proverbs 28:19. He that tilleth his land shall have plenty of bread: but he that followeth after vain persons shall have poverty enough.

Would you come with me today and look at verse nineteen?   My childhood was spent on the farm and there was lots of “tilling.” We had plenty of bread because we worked hard and God provided.  I know that only a small percentage of us earn our living by tilling the soil. But if employed, we all have job responsibilities.  These responsibilities when accomplished produce our plenty.  No matter your age or where you work or what you do God says do (till) it well.   Recently several of our Tabernacle young people have been promoted on their job.  That is God rewarding or giving them plenty of bread (vs.19a).

With the word plenty we can record several results. One of them is satisfied or to have your desire satisfied.  Another meaning is have one’s fill.  A job well done whether it is a field plowed or a professional presentation made brings great satisfaction to the doer, and it honors God.  God in turn will honor you. We have far too many Christians following after vain persons instead of being faithful on the job.  This chasing after a vain person will not be blessed of God. Your barn could be empty while you run a never ending race. This race will lead you to poverty.

The words poverty enough implies you will make yourself poor or destitute.  How sad it is to see so many “chasing and pursuing” while all the time getting poorer. You will not reach God’s goal for your life by attempting to grab the brass ring of the merry-go-around of this world.  There are folks with big bank accounts that are destitute because they are not satisfied in their person.

I am thankful for those years on the farm.  We worked hard, and we did not follow after vain people.  It was not allowed by Mom and Dad. What about your life today?  Are you on a race track that leads to nowhere?  Are you following or chasing those people or things that will lead you to “poverty enough”? Read this chapter, Proverbs 28, and you will get a new direction for your life.


The Majestic P-51

untitledThis 1967 true story is of an experience by a young twelve year old lad in Kingston, Ontario, Canada. It is about the vivid memory of a privately rebuilt P-51 from WWII and its famous owner/pilot. 

In the morning sun, I could not believe my eyes. There, in our little airport, sat a majestic P-51.  They said it had flown in during the night from some U.S. Airport on its way to an air show. The pilot had been tired, so he just happened to choose Kingston for his stop over.  It was to take to the air very soon.  I marveled at the size of the plane, dwarfing the Pipers and Canucks tied down by her. It was much larger than in the movies. She glistened in the sun like a bulwark of security from days gone by.    The pilot arrived by cab, paid the driver, and then stepped into the pilot’s lounge.  He was an older man; his wavy hair was gray and tossed. It looked like it might have been combed, say, around the turn of the century.  His flight jacket was checked, creased and worn – it smelled old and genuine. Old Glory was prominently sewn to its shoulders.  He projected a quiet air of proficiency and pride devoid of arrogance.  He filed a quick flight plan to Montreal (“Expo-67 Air Show”) then walked across the tarmac.    After taking several minutes to perform his walk-around check, the tall, lanky man returned to the flight lounge to ask if  anyone would be available to stand by with fire extinguishers while he “flashed the old bird up, just to be safe.”  Though only twelve at the time, I was allowed to stand by with an extinguisher after brief instruction on its use — “If you see a fire, point, then pull this lever!” he said.  (I later became a firefighter, but that’s another story.)  The air around the exhaust manifolds shimmered like a mirror  from fuel fumes as the huge prop started to rotate.  One manifold, then another, and yet another barked — I stepped back with the others.  In moments, the Packard-built Merlin engine came to life with a thunderous roar. Blue flames knifed from her manifolds with an arrogant snarl.  I looked at the others’ faces; there was no concern.  I lowered the bell of my extinguisher.  One of the guys signaled to walk back to the lounge. We did.    Several minutes later we could hear the pilot doing his pre-flight run-up. He’d taxied to the end of runway 19, out of sight. All went quiet for several seconds. We ran to the second story deck to see if we could catch a glimpse of the P-51 as she started down the runway. We could not.  There we stood, eyes fixed to a spot half way down 19. Then a roar ripped across the field much louder than before. Like a furious animal set loose — something mighty this way was coming. “Listen to that thing!” said the controller.    In seconds the Mustang burst into our line of sight. Its tail was already off the runway, and it was moving faster than anything I’d ever seen by that point on 19.  Two thirds the way down 19, the Mustang was airborne with her gear going up. The prop tips were supersonic.  We clasped our ears as the Mustang climbed fast into the circuit to be eaten up by the dog-day haze. We stood for a few moments in stunned silence, trying to digest what we’d just seen. 

The radio controller rushed by me to the radio. “Kingston tower calling Mustang?”  He looked back to us as he waited for an acknowledgment. The radio crackled, “Go ahead, Kingston.” “Roger, Mustang. Kingston tower would like to advise the circuit is clear for a low level pass.”  I stood in shock because the controller had just, more or less, asked the pilot to return for an impromptu air show!  The controller looked at us. “Well, What?”  He asked. “I can’t let that guy go without asking. I couldn’t forgive myself!”    The radio crackled once again,  “Kingston, do I have permission for a low level pass, east to west, across the field?” “Roger, Mustang, the circuit is clear for an east to west pass.” “Roger, Kingston, I’m coming out of 3,000 feet, stand by.”  We rushed back onto the second-story deck, eyes fixed toward the eastern haze. The sound was subtle at first, a high-pitched whine, a muffled screech, a distant scream. Moments later the P-51 burst through the haze. Her airframe straining against positive G’s and gravity. Her wing tips spilling contrails of condensed air, prop-tips again supersonic. The burnished bird blasted across the eastern margin of the field shredding and tearing the air. At about 500 mph and 150 yards from where we stood she passed with the old American pilot saluting. Imagine. A salute! I felt like laughing; I felt like crying; she glistened; she screamed; the building shook; my heart pounded.  Then the old pilot pulled her up and rolled, and rolled, and rolled out of sight into the broken clouds and indelible into my memory. 

I’ve never wanted to be an American more than on that day!  It was a time when many nations in the world looked to America as their big brother.  A steady and even-handed beacon of security who navigated difficult political water with grace and style; not unlike the old American pilot who’d just flown into my memory.  He was proud, not arrogant, humble, not a braggart, old and honest, projecting an aura of America at its best. 



Trust Also . . .

NorthernLights_47019198Commit thy way unto the Lord; trust also in him; and he shall bring it to pass (Psalm 37:5).

“Roll thy way upon the Lord” is a marginal reading. Alas, we go through the form of it but fail to do the next thing, “trust also in him.”  We take our burden to the Lord, but we do not leave it there.  We keep praying over the same ground, committing, and recommitting our way.  That is not faith, it is unbelief.

A man quietly reading a newspaper may not look as pious as a man on his knees in prayer. But if he has committed his way to the Lord and left it with Him, while he calmly moves on to something else, he is a better Christian than one who never leaves his way with the Lord but is always trying to.  It looks very religious to keep on begging God to take over our burden, but true faith casts all care upon Him because He said to do it, and then considers it settled and stops worrying about it.

When Hannah brought her request to God, she considered it settled: “so the woman went her way and did eat and her countenance was no more sad.” That is it!  Go your way, eat and smile—it is as good as done when God takes over.


Day By Day with Vance Havner, pp. 194-195.

Griping or Preaching

imagesPaul is considered a Bible hero. And he is. What can we learn from him?  Let us look at his focus immediately after his salvation.
Acts 9:20 “And straightway he preached Christ in the synagogues, that he is the Son of God.”
His focus was Christ! His focus was the proclamation of Christ. Although the world around us says that the preaching of the cross of Christ is foolishness, it is the foundation of our lives. Furthermore, his focus was proclamation of the deity of Christ.  Two verses later we read that Saul [aka Paul] stayed busy proving that Jesus is Christ.
But notice how the disciples in the church at Jerusalem responded to him.
Acts 9:26 “And when Saul was come to Jerusalem, he assayed to join himself to the disciples: but they were all afraid of him, and believed not that he was a disciple.”
They did not believe that he was one of them now.
But did Paul have a pity party?  Did Paul complain? Did Paul get on Facebook and talk about how the church had treated him? What did Paul do? He gave his testimony (v27), stayed with the disciples (v28), and spoke boldly in the name of the Lord Jesus (v29).
What could God do with your life and with my life?  We may feel that we are not special like the apostle Paul; but do we act like him when other disciples in the church question our walk with God? If only we would quit complaining about what others at church say about us and start focusing on proclaiming Christ!


We are Called to Walk with Him . . .

imagesIt happened again today. Another shooting during a road rage incident.  But this one, in New Mexico, resulted in the loss of a little four year old girl’s life.  Little Illiana “Lilly” Garcia was a beautiful soul, according to all who knew her.  She died in her car seat in the presence of her dad and her brother.

So how do we live in a Judges 21:25 world where “every man did that which was right in his own eyes”? How do we live in that world while our hearts are in a Revelation 22:20 world, saying, “Even so, come, Lord Jesus”?

Let’s take a little quiz. Let’s say we are with Mr. Garcia, Lilly’s father, right now.  What do we say to him?:

  1. “You were doing great, man, avoiding an event totally caused by the other party, until you flipped him off and mouthed some choice words to him through your window.”
  2. “He destroyed your daughter, man. If he doesn’t get the death penalty, I will help you get him.”
  3. “I cannot fathom the grief you are feeling right now . . .” (conversation fades away as we weep with those who weep).

If we answered “A”, we have joined the latest wave of 21st century Pharisees.  We are of that persuasion that says we must comb through the facts of any tragedy that happens to someone in order to find any place, however small, where they contributed to the outcome.  And we must mention all that to them, even in their grief.

There is a time and place for all that (like at a legal inquest—believe me, this parent will spend the rest of his life wishing he had never flipped off that murderous driver). When someone has just suffered such an immense loss, you cannot speak to them about how they may have partially contributed to it.  See John 9, if you are still unsure.

If we answered “B,” we have joined the latest wave of rebels. Rebels have always been, in every time and place, since the world began.  They want to fix things because they don’t think God either can or will.  They are determined to right the score, even if it means rushing ahead of God and the judgment He will bring someday, and sometimes even if it means imposing capital punishment on someone who legally would have gotten clemency.

The only answer the reflects the fact that we follow Christ is “C.” He wept.  We weep with those who weep, even mourning the loss of a beautiful four year old whom we have never met.

The reason all of this matters and is worth a blog post is because a lot of us live our lives as Christians acting more like Pharisees or rebels than like followers of Christ. I fear the amount of hatred and verbal venom we spread sometimes when I John makes it clear that our love (particularly for each other) and  kindness will characterize us as believers.

God is very able to show people where things have resulted from their own sins and mistakes. He is also able to right every wrong done to them by others.  Our job is to love them and love them well.  God may occasionally have us speak a hard word into the life of another person, but that will not normally be our daily fare (unless we happen to be the pastor of a very hard-hearted church, LOL!).

Let us love, brothers and sisters. The world needs to see that Christ is real.  I John teaches that they will see that in our love.

My God Cares for Me!

Traveling on deputation has taught me many things during these first few months of full-time ministry. One of the sweetest lessons came just recently. I have been on the road for over two months – away from my home, my family, and my church. I have met many wonderful people and have been encouraged in meetings. The Lord has been good! However, when a person lives on the road that requires a surrender of some things that are “normal” to life. For example, living out of a suitcase, sleeping in other people’s homes, not having the opportunity to cook — the list could continue. These are not huge sacrifices, but as time continues on the road, I have begun to miss simple things like having a dresser for my clothes or having the opportunity to cook. It is amazing how the Lord gives contentment even when we miss simple things like these. And then it’s like He doesn’t want me to think He has forgotten my needs and desires. When I arrived in Arizona recently for a month of meetings, the Lord reminded me that He cares about me – even in the minute details of life! There is a very gracious lady who has opened her home to me for the month of meetings I have out here. I arrived at the house before she was home from work. As I was settling in, I thought to myself, “How great would it be to have some dresser drawers to use so that I could unpack for a while!” Wouldn’t you know that the Lord hears even those little desires in our hearts? I have been here just a short time, but for the first time in over two months, I don’t have anything packed in suitcases! And for the first time in quite a while I got to cook dinner.

Matthew 10:29-31

“Are not two sparrows sold for a farthing? and one of them shall not fall on the ground without your Father. But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear ye not therefore, ye are of more value than many sparrows.”

Don’t tell me that God doesn’t care about His children! He promises to care for the most insignificant birds in the sky, and in turn, He points my heart to the truth that I have nothing to fear. My God cares for me! What a comforting thought! It is a simple truth that has arrested my heart. Read the words to this song by Byron Foxx and be encouraged that your God cares for you too!

“If God sees the sparrows fall and watches flowers grow,

I know He’ll care for me each day that I live on earth below;

Though trials come my way and life may troubled be,

If God sees the sparrows fall, then I know He’ll care for me.

Though trials rise that I don’t understand,

I know it’s part of God’s almighty plan;

In the time of pain I can trust God above,

I lean on Him; it’s Him I love.

When sorrows come and dark misery,

I still have hope that God cares for me.

Tho tears may fill my eyes until I cannot see,

Yet I still know God cares for me.

If God sees the sparrows fall and watches flowers grow,

I know He’ll care for me each day that I live on earth below;

Though trials come my way and life may troubled be,

If God sees the sparrows fall, then I know He’ll care for me.

When ye pray . . .BELIEVE!

imagesAYQUG335Mark 11:24 – Therefore I say unto you, What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive [them], and ye shall have [them].

Jeremiah 33:3 – Call unto me, and I will answer thee, and shew thee great and mighty things, which thou knowest not.

We’re told from an early age that God always answers prayers, and I believe that – I do, but why when we are faced with a personal challenge or given a request to pray for are we skeptical that it will really get answered? Why do we think we have to try to “help” God fix the issue or problem? Why can’t I just sit back and let God do what He does best – care for His children in the BEST possible way one can be cared for?

Back in April, a friend asked a group of moms in our Bible Study to pray for her mother-in-law – she was given the devastating blow of being diagnosed with lung cancer, and it was bad! More importantly, she was not saved. I began praying that Lord would not so much heal her body as heal her heart. Bible study ended for the year in May. I didn’t see my friend over the summer but continued to pray for her mother-in- law every time she came to mind. With the new school year in full swing, Bible study started back up; and last week she mentioned that she would be going to stay with her mother-in-law for eleven days. It was not good – she was going fast and was very sick. She still had not received Christ. I knew in my heart that God could save her, but for some reason I just felt it wouldn’t happen having heard of other attempts the family had made to witness and show her Jesus. My friend left on Thursday of this past week – she has kept us up to date in our group on Facebook – asking prayer specifically in the wee hours of Sunday morning for peace and strength as her mother-in-law was really battling this illness. She didn’t seem to be coherent. Again, every time my friend came to mind, I prayed for all involved…she was heavy on my heart all day Sunday and Monday. Last night I noticed a notification on my phone from her and immediately thought her mother-in-law had passed away, and my heart sank…I opened the post, and this is the phrase I saw – “WE HAVE A PROFESSION OF FAITH!” I was SOOOO excited…With tears in my eyes, I ran to tell my husband the great news. She will soon meet our wonderful Savior in person ~ I can’t imagine the reunion that awaits!

Since then I haven’t been able to get this thought off my mind…why am I so surprised when God answers prayers? Why was my first thought when I got that notification that she had passed into eternity without knowing Jesus? Is my faith so small that I pray yet don’t believe what Jesus promises me in Mark and Jeremiah? “What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive [them], and ye shall have [them]. Call unto me, and I will answer thee, and shew thee great and mighty things, which thou knowest not.”

Today I’m believing that God will do great and mighty things…even in the things that seem impossible to me. He can make wonderful things happen when I let go and stop trying to help – He WANTS to show me just how GREAT He really is!! What is it with you today – finances, family problems, sickness, job? Whatever it is…Call on Jesus believing and wait for Him to do the unthinkable!

Suffer the Little Children

9e0097506f19474558d2e74dab473ae0_800x802x1Matthew 19:13 Then were there brought unto him little children, that he should put his hands on them, and pray: and the disciples rebuked them. 14 But Jesus said, Suffer little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me: for of such is the kingdom of heaven. 15 And he laid his hands on them, and departed thence.

Jesus loved children. I mean, who doesn’t, right? Children are a reflection of one’s self in a purer sense. They are cute and fun to be around (sometimes). They are our future — they will carry our legacy into days we will not see. There are lots of reasons to love them, but I want to focus on one found in the above passage.

Just recently, I have learned a new appreciation for my children. They started school this year and began spending a lot of time with other kids and adults from diverse types of religious, socioeconomic, and ethnic backgrounds. I wanted to teach them about diversity and tolerance. I wanted to teach them about loving others less fortunate; but how do you do that? So we sent them off into the din of diversity of thought and privilege.

Turns out, children aren’t naturally racist or elitist – they need little to no training in how to love people well. They made friends immediately and not with the kids I would’ve predicted at the opening assembly. They didn’t see skin color or stylish (or even clean) clothes or family dynamic. (Jake told me one of his friends has two moms.) They just saw other people. They value them as people just like them.

This leaves me wondering if Jesus loved children differently than we do. He said, let them come to me, don’t disallow them. Then he said something profound – “of such is the Kingdom of Heaven.” Maybe, just maybe, children have something to teach us about the kingdom. They show us what unconditioned love and acceptance looks like. They show us a pureness of heart that sees people simply as people rather than fat, poor, black, or white. They give us a glimpse of our future existence when we will all love like they do. So, let’s love our children and learn from them what Jesus said they show us – the Kingdom of God. And let’s pray that the Kingdom would be manifested in us grown-ups as well.

Serving Because That’s What Christ Did

71c6        When we think about Christ and all the things He did as a man, but always God, being a servant comes out on top for me; and we see it no greater than in John 13:12-15 when he washed the apostles feet and gave them this great example of service.

John 13:12-15; “So after he had washed their feet, and had taken his garments, and was set down again, he said unto them, Know ye what I have done to you? Ye call me Master and Lord: and ye say well; for so I am. If I then, your Lord and Master, have washed your feet; ye also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I have given you an example, that ye should do as I have done to you.”

The greatest thing is He was not just talking and showing the apostles how to serve but us today also. There is not anything written in God’s Word that is out of date and non-relevant to us Christians today in the 21st century. As Christians today we are to be like our master, a servant to all, and in the process shine the light on Him. When we look at ourselves, how much do we really serve for Him as opposed to doing things out of obligation or maybe that we know we will be seen? Also are we serving those who are not our family and friends or just those who are close to us. Let’s look at these four verses and see how we can be better servants.

I. Serve when we are busy

– Christ had just finished the last supper and on his way to the cross but stopped to be a testimony one more time.

– We never know who is watching and what people pick-up about us but people notice a good deed done when it doesn’t have to be done.

– Not for pats on the back but because it is right

– Neh. 2:1-5; Nehemiah had a job but left to help his people

II. Serve when it is a bother

– It wasn’t convenient to do what He did, but He did it to leave an example of how we are to treat others

– Luke 10; Good Samaritan

III. Serve to shine

– Not for ourselves but to point others to Him

– Matt 5:14-16, We are the light! Some people may never see the gospel and Christ’s love if not for us.

So hopefully through these words written by God about His Son, we too can strive to be the servants God would have us to be as Christians so that all may come to know Him!


Perfectly Incomplete!

untitledGod made us for Himself. God made us incomplete – perfectly incomplete – that we might find our completeness in Him.

To live for God is a far greater objective than to live for self because we are being called to step out of our own little lives and live for what is greatest and highest and deepest, that is, for the glory of God. This people have I formed for myself; they shall shew forth my praise (Is. 43:21). Indeed, to live for Someone who is much greater than myself is a much higher quest than to live for merely my own mean, miserable, mortal self.

Man’s quest for God quenches pride and quickens hope and quells fear and qualifies for service.