Cosmic Cowboys

June 30, 2015


In quietness and in confidence shall be your strength” (Isa. 30:15).

There is a great difference between sloth, and rest; between deadness, and quietness. There is also a vast difference between constant nervous busyness, and Spirit-controlled activity; between working for God, and having Him do His work through us. It is the infinite difference between self, and Christ,

“In God and man working together, there is nothing of the idea of a partnership between two partners who each contribute their share to a work. Rather, the true plan is that of co-operation founded on subordination. As the Lord Jesus was entirely dependent on the Father for all His words and all His works, so the believer can do nothing of himself.

What he can do of himself is altogether sinful. He must therefore cease entirely from his own doing, and wait for the working of God in him. As he ceases from self-effort, faith assures him that God does what He has undertaken, and works in him.

“And what God does is to renew, to sanctify, and waken all his energies to their most useful power. So that just in proportion as he yields himself a truly passive instrument in the hand of the Father, will he be wielded of Him as the active instrument of His will and power.

This is what will lead us to a deeper life. My use of the term Christian Mysticism seems to sometimes strike a strident note with some. While the term ‘deeper life’ seems to be more palatable to some. But even those of the Missouri Synod (Lutheran) are highly wary of those that seem to seek more. Concerned with the trend in to many of today’s churches wanting us to ‘have an experience’ I have to agree. The scriptures of God are closed, there are no new revelations, and only mastering the basics of the Scripture is what will assure us of not going astray.

That is why the study of such writings as the Westminster Catechism or the Augsburg Confessions, along with sound bible study will produce more fruit in your life than today’s books that promise to reveal a secret. Run like hell when some pastor states; “God has given me a special revelation just for you.”

The great problem we have is we get bored if we are not entertained. Well God is not a giant cosmic clown sent to be a spiritual Xbox.

2 Timothy 2:15King James Version (KJV)

15 Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.

It ain’t sexy but it is what’s expected of us.

God bless from


June 29, 2015


“If ye continue in My Word, then are ye My disciples indeed” (John 8:31).


Once we see that the Lord Jesus saves individuals with the purpose of making them His disciples, we will aim to be more thorough in our witnessing and subsequent soul winning.

The commission given to the apostles was to make disciples, not just ‘converts,’ of all nations; and we can never set aside our Lord’s commands without laying up for ourselves a whole store of unnecessary suffering and frustration. I wonder how many promising ‘converts’ have been swept into the ranks of the sects whose teachings are based in error, because of this omission?

I think the better question might be, do we witness at all for Christ?

I hear people whining all the time about the ‘state’ of our nation, guess what, the condition of a nation is based on whether that nation honors God; and if are failing to honor God by being faithful witnesses and we are not making new disciples. Well you can see where this is going.

It’s also one of the reasons you don’t see any devotions based on the news or current events, they are irrelative to the gospel message.

It changes our attitude toward those to whom we minister. We see them not as they are at the moment but as we know the Lord is going to make them. Then patience and forgiveness are easy, for we already see the Lord’s finished work. It changes our prayer for them. We ask not for some little progress or partial blessing for them but for the Lord’s complete victory. It changes our teaching ministry to them. Instead of fearfully giving a little more of God’s truth, we confidently declare all the counsel of God.

So go out and tell someone, it’s been a long time since I’ve heard about someone ‘leading’ someone to Jesus.

God bless from









June 28, 2015

Exploding head

Imagine my surprise when I open the mail and there’s a deepest sympathy card and a note saying they were sorry to hear my mom passed. It was news to me. I haven’t seen my mom in over 24 years, have not talked to her in over 9 years. In her obituary I’m not mentioned.

To say we were a dysfunctional family would be an understatement. She was a bad mom and I was a very bad son. The years I actually lived with her were very few. I’ve always believed that I became a psychologist mainly as a way to deal with my childhood and help others deal with theirs. I also think that one of the reasons I have such a great marriage is neither my wife nor I had good parents and wanted our marriage to be more than just better.

As I have traveled doing marriage seminars for so many years the Lord blessed our marriage and our ministry by being able to be compassionate and understanding about childhood trauma.

The one thing I want to say is the past can be conquered, you can live a victorious life and the Lord blesses effort not luck.

God bless from

the bible

Okay, this is going to be very controversial, but before you go nuts and start emailing me read it through very carefully, pray about it, read it again.

Remember one important thing, anecdotal, experiential is not comparable to the Word of God. So think about that when you read this and it will not only make sense but make the Christian Gospel even more wonderful in its scope and power.

On three occasions the apostles are said to have been involved in the casting out of demons (Acts 8:5–8; 16:16–18; 19:11–12). None of these passages involves a debate over whether those delivered were Christians; everyone would agree that they were not. The significance of these events is as signs that the apostles had the authority from their risen Head (Christ) to act and speak on His behalf, as was demonstrated by the fact that they had authority over Satan like their Master. Once the foundation of the church had been laid by the apostles (Eph. 2:20) and the boundary and nature of the gospel message was established, the norm for dealing with demon-possessed unbelievers had become the preaching of the gospel.

Upon belief in Christ as Savior, an unbeliever is delivered not only from his sin but also from any demon possession that might have afflicted him. So the proper biblical way to deliver an unbeliever from demons is to preach the gospel to him. It does not benefit the victim for someone to cast out demons (if possible) only to have him remain in his unsaved condition. Christ told the Pharisees in Matthew 12 that when the demon comes back to his old house and finds it swept and clean, he will go and get seven other demons, so that the state of the person will be worse than at the first. Any believer can deliver another person from demons by leading him to Christ. The Scriptures do not require a second step of deliverance for a believer that he may be freed from the demonic powers; Christ sweeps the house clean at the moment of salvation and the Holy Spirit fills it.

one of the reasons we balk against such teaching is it takes away from us the idea of our power or our authority, all power, authority, and credit goes to God.

It’s hard to go against the fantastic, the paranormal and all the talking religious heads on TV and the internet, they may sound profound, talk about many experiences they’ve supposedly had, but Scripture must still be our guide.

God bless from

the bible

“That ye may know what is the hope of His calling and what the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints” (Eph. 1:18).

In order to share effectively with needy believers it is essential to know what the Father has purposed for His own. And this understanding results from personal growth in the Lord Jesus. Those who are merely well-versed may be able to teach, but they cannot truly share; their understanding of the needs of the heart is deficient, and this becomes all too evident to the hearers. Head-knowledge (study) must be integrated with heart-knowledge (experience) in order for there to be Spirit-motivated sharing.

Notice also that it is “His Calling” and His Riches and also “His Inheritance”

We are indeed spiritual paupers, thus the need for supplication, the cry for mercy, the relationship with the Father based on faith, facts, and a firm standing on His Promises. Once we understand this spiritual blessing we do benefit from His riches, but we must always remember they are always His.

God bless from

Thank you for all the email’s, text’s and well wishes for my recovery I truly covet your prayers

knocked out

June 25, 2015


Well at almost 1000 daily consecutive bible devotions I’m finally going to cut this short.

I’ve been sick for about two weeks and today had a big setback, see I don’t get sick, I get rashes, bites, construction accidents, carpentry accidents, mechanical accidents. When I work on something my wife stands next to me with a full blown trauma kit and ready to dial 911.

So for me to be actually sick is rather unusual, I’ve said this before but when God puts you flat on your back it’s time to do some self examination, some serious prayer and bible reading (or on CD) and truly rest.

also i can’t get my keyboard to do Hebrew Characters so don’t try to look them up they are not right.


He is our rest.

In Psalm 103, a magnificent hymn of praise, David praises God for His blessings and compassion as a loving and forgiving father for his children (vss. 1-18). He concludes with a universal call for praise (vss. 19-22), but he begins this call with a declaration of God’s sovereignty (vs. 19) for it is God’s sovereignty that gives Him the absolute freedom to do what He does in His blessings and showing compassion to frail and temporal humanity (vss. 15-16).

Psalm 103:15-19 As for man, his days are like grass; As a flower of the field, so he flourishes. 16 When the wind has passed over it, it is no more; And its place acknowledges it no longer. 17 But the lovingkindness of the LORD is from everlasting to everlasting on those who fear Him, And His righteousness to children’s children, 18 To those who keep His covenant, And who remember His precepts to do them. 19 The LORD has established His throne in the heavens; And His sovereignty rules over all. (emphasis mine)

Have you ever thought about how the physical heavens literally rule over the earth? They can ruin us or bless us. Warm us or cool us. Burn us or freeze us. Make our crops productive or destroy them. We have learned that climate and atmospheric conditions affect not only our health, but psychological behavior.

And what are the heavens? They are the creation of God, but they also illustrate God’s sovereign majesty over our lives.

Scriptures such as Psalm 103:19 often relate God to the heavens not because He is so far removed from us as to space, but because in His sovereign majesty He is so high above us in power, nature, and sovereignty.

One of our problems today is that we have lost the biblical perspective of the majestic greatness of God, and we have a completely wrong focus on God. As J. B. Phillips points out in his book, Your God Is Too Small, people today see God as: (a) the resident policeman; (b) the grand old man; (c) a parental hangover, or some other short-sighted, twisted view of God.

The sovereignty of God may be defined as the exercise of His supremacy, His infinite rule, His authority and power. Being infinitely elevated above the highest creature in authority, nature, and being, He is the Most High Lord of heaven and earth and all creation whether angels or the heavenly hosts.

Basically, God’s sovereignty means that He is the Supreme Ruler who immanently and personally rules over all the affairs of the universe—and this includes our personal lives both as individuals and as a local body of believers. God’s sovereignty is a place of rest for the child of God, as well as a cause of worship (cf. Ps. 48:1; 95:3, 6).

One particular place of rest and application in relation to God’s sovereignty and rule is His guidance and work to accomplish His purposes for our lives individually and corporately. Paul has this in mind, at least in part, in Philippians 1:6 when he says: “I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.” (Compare also Eph. 1:11-12.)

Such actions of God’s sovereignty are seen in the life of Naaman the leper as God worked to lead this man to Himself. Of course, men may resist and fail to respond to God’s grace, but even then God rules and uses them for His own purposes as He did with Pharaoh (cf. Prov. 16:5).

Let’s retrace the situation with Naaman in 2 Kings 5:

(1) He was afflicted with a horrible physical infirmity called leprosy. But what a blessing it turned out to be as it became a tool God used to lead this man into God’s plan, and probably ultimately to a ministry himself.

(2) By God’s sovereignty, there was a little Jewish slave girl in Naaman’s household who knew the Lord and His prophet, Elisha.

(3) Instead of going directly to Elisha, God’s man with God’s Word, Naaman went to the King of Israel where he found no help, only discouragement. But God has His ways and somehow Elisha, who was miles away in Jericho, hears and sends word, “send him to me.”

(4) Naaman became angry at Elisha’s command to go wash himself. His pride kept him from receiving God’s grace, but again God overruled and used Naaman’s own servant to show him the foolishness of his behavior. As a result Naaman was healed, not only physically but spiritually.


Proverbs 16:1-4 The plans of the heart belong to man, But the answer of the tongue is from the LORD. 2 All the ways of a man are clean in his own sight, But the LORD weighs the motives. 3 Commit your works to the LORD, And your plans will be established. 4 The LORD has made everything for its own purpose, Even the wicked for the day of evil.


The overall emphasis of this verse is that man proposes (plans) but God disposes—the results are in His hands, His authority, His power—not ours.

“Plans” is the Hebrew m^u&r*K, which means “preparation.” The verb of this noun is a word of preparation, arranging, planning. It may mean to “arrange in order, to compare.” Though authorities disagree, the hiphil form may mean “to value, estimate.”

Our word, m^u&r~K occurs only here in Proverbs 16:1. It looks at the plans we make based on looking at all the issues, options, responsibilities, and consequences in order to compare them so we can choose the right course.

Our passage asserts this is a legitimate responsibility of man. Literally, “to man are (belong) the plans, preparations of the heart.” We are created in God’s image. God has given us minds and we are to use them wisely, but also submissively, recognizing God’s sovereign authority as the One who sits in the heavens.

So we read next, “But the answer of the tongue is from the Lord.” At first this does not seem to be related, but it is. The tongue is symbolic of our speech and acts by which we seek to carry out our plans. McGee says, “You may plan and I may plan or arrange things, but when the time comes to speak or act, God is the One who is going to have the last word. We may make a great boast, but only God can give the final answer.”1 It is the Lord who ultimately establishes our plans and allows them to come to fruition.

The meaning of this verse is akin to verse 9, “The mind of man plans his way, But the Lord directs his steps.” This emphasizes that God not only has the last word, but also the soundest and best. And He has the power and authority to do it.

With this thought in mind, the passage develops three more principles pertinent to this subject—things that are related and important to our plans: Our motives; Our trust; and God’s purposes for our lives. Our planning should always bear these things in mind if we want to walk in God’s will.



“All the ways of man [i.e., all he thinks and does] are clean [pure, innocent] in his own eyes” [in his own estimation and finite standards of evaluation they often appear innocent, okay, and pure].

The truth of the matter is, however, none of us can really know our own mind or motives. Because of man’s frailty and the finiteness of the human nature, the heart is easily deceived. Packer writes:

The Spirit leads within the limits which the Word sets, not beyond them. “He guideth me in the paths of righteousness”—but not anywhere else.

Even with the right ideas about guidance in general, however, it is still easy to go wrong, particularly in ‘vocational’ choices. No area of life bears clearer witness to the frailty of human nature—even regenerate human nature. The work of God in these cases is to incline first our judgment and then our whole being to the course which, of all the competing alternatives, He has marked out as best suited for us, and for His glory and the good of others through us. But the Spirit can be quenched, and we can all too easily behave in a way which stops this guidance getting through. It is worth listing some of the main pitfalls.

First, unwillingness to think. It is false piety, super-super-naturalism of an unhealthy and pernicious sort, that demands inward impressions that have no rational base, and declines to heed the constant biblical summons to ‘consider.’ God made us thinking beings, and He guides our minds as in His presence we think things out—not otherwise. ‘O that they were wise … that they would consider …’ (Deuteronomy 32:29).

Second, unwillingness to think ahead and weigh the long-term consequences of alternative courses of action. ‘Think ahead’ is part of the divine rule of life no less than of the human rule of the road. Often we can only see what is wise and right (and what is foolish and wrong) as we dwell on its long-term issues. ‘O that they were wise … that they would consider their latter end.’

Third, unwillingness to take advice. Scripture is emphatic on the need for this. ‘The way of the foolish is right in his own eyes; but he that is wise hearkeneth unto counsel’ (Proverbs 12:15, RV). It is a sign of conceit and immaturity to dispense with taking advice in major decisions. There are always people who know the Bible, human nature, and our own gifts and limitations, better than we do, and even if we cannot finally accept their advice, nothing but good will come to us from carefully weighing what they say.

Fourth, unwillingness to suspect oneself. We dislike being realistic with ourselves, and we do not know ourselves at all well; we can recognize rationalizations in others and quite overlook them in ourselves. ‘Feelings’ with an ego-boosting, or escapist, or self-indulging, or self-aggrandizing base, must be detected and discredited, not mistaken for guidance. This is particularly true of sexual, or sexually conditioned, feelings …

Fifth, unwillingness to discount personal magnetism. Those who have not been made deeply aware of pride and self-deception in themselves cannot always detect these things in others, and this has from time to time made it possible for well-meaning but deluded men with a flair for self-dramatization to gain an alarming domination over the minds and consciences of others, who fall under their spell and decline to judge them by ordinary standards …

Sixth, unwillingness to wait. ‘Wait on the Lord’ is a constant refrain in the Psalms, and it is a necessary word, for God often keeps us waiting … 2


God weighs our motives, intents, and purposes. The Lord alone has all the facts. He alone is able to judge the purity of our motives and the reasons for our plans (cf. 1 Cor. 4:4-5). This is a comfort as well as a warning, especially in view of verse 3. If we are really seeking God’s plan and His will for our lives, then we can, as Packer has pointed out, count on the Lord to work accordingly to carry out His purposes and direct our lives in spite of our own uncertainty and the difficulty of thinking through the issues. God wants us to know and it may be best to wait and learn what He is seeking to teach us (cf. Psa. 37:23-24).

This also emphasizes, as Packer pointed out, that we should seek to know our motives, give reasons, and order them according to God’s values and righteousness.



“Commit” means “to roll.” It is a picture of trust, of turning something over to another for management, letting them carry the load. The idea is that of rolling it from yourself (the place of self-trust) onto the Lord so that we are trusting Him with the issues, and resting in His sovereignty.

“Works” is m^U&s#h, “deed, work, acts, business, workmanship.” In this context, it includes our “affairs, pursuits, achievements, goals, purposes, plans.” The idea is to recognize the sovereignty, the majesty, the wisdom, the grace, the power of God and roll our plans upon the Lord and rest in His sovereign goodness in the matter.


“Plans” is the plural of the Hebrew word, m^j&sh*B>, meaning “thoughts, plans, inventions.” The verb form of the noun refers to thinking actively, especially in the sense of creating new ideas or planning.

“Be established” is the Hebrew word kun. The root idea is to bring something into being with the consequence that its existence is a certainty. The word moves from the ideas of provision and preparation to establishment and rightness. It was used of (a) meal preparation, (b) the provision of food, (c) preparing the heart, and (d) establishing something with certainty.

God tells us that if we recognize His sovereignty, trust in His goodness, and trust our plans and lives into His keeping, He will guide our steps and establish our plans to bring them about—but in accord with His purposes and His righteousness.


Everyone of us exists for a purpose. God has a purpose (purposes) for our lives—a particular set of works He has ordained for each of us (cf. Eph. 2:10). Even the wicked who reject His plan and pursue their own lives, must eventually experience God’s retribution, which falls in line with God’s eternal plan. It is not my purpose in this short study to discuss all the issues here, but just to make this one emphasis. Our plans and decisions ought always to be made in submission to God’s purposes for each of us, looking to Him to accomplish His will in us. Our great need is to rest in God’s sovereignty and seek to link our lives with the purposes of God.

There are general purposes of God for all of us which include: (a) bringing glory to God, (b) walking righteously as His children, (c) walking in love, (d) using the spiritual gifts and talents He has given us, (e) being the fathers, mothers, husbands, wives, sons, daughters, employers, or employees He has designed according to the Scripture. But as we move through life, the details of how we do this will change as God leads us, and we need to be open to the promptings and activity of God in these matters.

People are driven or motivated by the things they value. What they value become their priorities which in turn become the objects of their pursuits. Knowing that God has a purpose for each of us (i.e., an individual destiny) ought to motivate us so that it becomes our burning passion to fulfill His will. The plans of our hearts (vs. 1) ought to be directed always around the fact that God has a purpose for us today; a purpose which, if pursued, will lead to the overall objectives for which we have each been designed.

There are obviously many fundamentals for effectively seeking to follow God’s purpose so that at the end of life we can say with the Apostle Paul, “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the course, I have kept the faith” (2 Tim. 4:7). Since values tend to establish priorities which in turn tend to direct and get us moving (or since wrong values lead to poor priorities biblically speaking), we should each ask ourselves, “Where are my values? What are the priorities of my life?”

May I suggest four things that are crucial as we each seek to examine our values and priorities:

(1) Jealousy for God’s reputation and glory. The chief end of man is to glorify God and enjoy Him for ever. If that is not my number one value and goal, then I am going to have an extremely difficult time pursuing God’s purpose for my life. Knowing that he would be held accountable for his use of the life God had given him (2 Cor. 5:10), Paul wrote, “Therefore also we have as our ambition, whether at home or absent, to be pleasing to Him” (vs. 9). Closely associated with this is number two. Perhaps they are part of the same concept, but it helps to distinguish the issues.

(2) Indifference to one’s own life or reputation from the standpoint of the praise of men.Shortly after the apostle expressed his aim to please the Lord, he said:

14 For the love of Christ controls us, having concluded this, that one died for all, therefore all died; 15 and He died for all, that they who live should no longer live for themselves, but for Him who died and rose again on their behalf (2 Corinthians 5:14-15).

Earlier, in 1 Corinthians, the apostle made this important statement to the Corinthians who were evaluating him by human measures and comparing him with others:

1 Corinthians 4:1-5 Let a man regard us in this manner, as servants of Christ, and stewards of the mysteries of God. 2 In this case, moreover, it is required of stewards that one be found trustworthy. 3 But to me it is a very small thing that I should be examined by you, or by anyhuman court; in fact, I do not even examine myself. 4 For I am conscious of nothing against myself, yet I am not by this acquitted; but the one who examines me is the Lord. 5 Therefore do not go on passing judgment before the time, but wait until the Lord comes who will both bring to light the things hidden in the darkness and disclose the motives of men’s hearts; and then each man’s praise will come to him from God.

Because Paul’s confidence and hope rested in God’s evaluation, he had learned to become indifferent to the opinions of men. Packer has an interesting insight in keeping with this focus:

To make present happiness one’s present purpose is not the path of biblical godliness. A quiet, sunny, tidy life without agony, free from distress at the quality of one’s walk with God and one’s work for others, is not what Scripture tells us to aim at or expect, and Scripture will not justify us if we do … Why are so many modern Evangelicals slower than other Christians to respond to their neighbors’ needs and to weep at the way God is dishonored in today’s world?3

(3) Love for God’s people. Why are our lives often so incredibly busy, yet lacking in purpose? Or do we really know what our purpose is? Are we caught up in the rat race of our society because of a pursuit of the so-called ‘good life,’ or because we are pursing peace and prosperity derived from things, power, position, and pleasure? Life in our society today may be likened to climbing a mountain. Those who do get to the top with fame and fortune, find only clouds; there is nothing there, not even a view. But that is not the end of the story. The evidence suggests that the climb is not only not doing the climbers any good, but they tend to walk all over those who get in their way. The climb envelops people in a totally selfish dream that causes them to neglect family, co-workers, and friends. But there is a mountain to climb with a purpose that brings blessings to others and to the climber himself. It brings glory to God, and has eternal rewards; it is the purpose of serving God and others.

Proverbs teaches us, “Where there is no vision (God’s revelation), the people are unrestrained” (Prov. 29:18). Every man does that which is right in his own eyes, and in the process, he pursues his own path at the expense of those who get in his way. But God has given us His inspired revelation that we might discern who we are and why we are here. In a chapter entitled, “Discerning Half-truths and False Vision,” Sine writes:

From the moment we arrive on planet earth, we begin struggling to discern who we are and what we are here for. We are all born into families, churches, and cultures with many different stories and expectations that early begin shaping the direction and character of our lives. Most importantly, they teach us what is the better future to which we should give our lives.

Implicit in all our lives are certain images, values, and assumptions which influence our actions and the decisions we make. When we become Christians, we begin the process of sorting out which of these are genuinely part of the Story of God and which we have simply absorbed from the world around us.4

The need is for a value system based on faith and a biblical perspective of life, one derived from a clear eye (actually, a single healthy eye) that enables us to walk in the light of God’s Word (Matt. 6:21-23Ps. 119:105, 129-130).

(4) Coming to grips with the futility of life apart from God’s plan.

In 1 Samuel 12:20-21, Samuel said to the people, “Do not fear. You have committed all this evil, yet do not turn aside from following the Lord, but serve the Lord with all your heart. 21 And you must not turn aside, for then you would go after futile things which can not profit or deliver, because they are futile,” empty of any ability to provide what people expect to get from the things they are pursuing.

Surely, this is part of the message of Solomon’s “futility of futilities” in Ecclesiastes. This futility carries with it a message of serious irony. Why? Because it is full of surprises. Think about it for a moment. If our value system is not shaped by the Bible (Matt. 6:19-24), the things we value or treasure consistently let us down when we seek our significance, or satisfaction, or security in those things. The energy spent in pursuing what we think those things will provide—happiness, security, satisfaction—consistently lead to failure. The pleasures we think will satisfy us never really do—at least not for long. In fact, they typically just increase our thirst for more. What futile irony!! Such irony is plainly the very fabric of life when it is lived independently of God.

Perhaps a good passage to close with is Psalm 37:5-9.

5 Commit your way to the Lord,
Trust also in Him, and He will do it.
6 And He will bring forth your righteousness as the light,
And your judgment as the noonday.

Rest in the Lord and wait patiently for Him;
Do not fret because of him who prospers in his way,
Because of the man who carries out wicked schemes.
8 Cease from anger, and forsake wrath;
Do not fret, it leads only to evildoing.
9 For evildoers will be cut off,
But those who wait for the Lord, they will inherit the land.

God bless from

Well how about that, didn’t think I could do it. I’m going to bed.



always read directions

June 24, 2015

the bible

I was talking with a friend recently about how I’d been spending a lot of time reading books about the Bible, but less time reading the Bible itself. The spaces between my personal reflections on Scripture were growing wider. I still felt like I was growing and learning, but deep down I knew I was missing something.

Our conversation turned to my foster parents, who have been incredible, faithful examples of what it means to follow Jesus all my life—but they rarely read the Bible. For my parents, years of task-oriented, check-the-box dedication to Bible study left them with a bitter taste in their mouths. Reading the Bible and memorizing its verses had been impressed upon them so strongly that they could no longer read the Bible without also recalling the negative reinforcement and guilt that often accompanies regimented Bible-reading groups. Both of my parents have preferred to learn and grow by reading someone else’s reflections on Scripture rather than diving into it themselves.

They were spiritually scarred by their perspective of Bible study.

I grew up thinking, “But that’s still no excuse.” Yet, as I found myself encountering similar methodologies for Bible study, I couldn’t help but wonder, “Is this going to wear me out too?” My foster parents were once just as enthusiastic about Bible study as I was.

The church has more Bible study plans, methods, groups, and techniques than we know what to do with. But here’s the thing: these methods help you create discipline to do something you should want to do. If you don’t see the purpose behind the methods, you’ll burn out. On their own, Bible reading plans and verse memorization techniques are overwhelming—they take time and effort, and can leave you feeling guilty for missing a day, a week, or a meeting.

What’s the point of Bible study plans?

Starting a Bible reading plan is like starting a new diet.

Changing your diet takes discipline. Even if it’s something you really want for yourself, it’s easy to slip up and forget about it. If you let bad habits keep footholds in your life, you’ll fail before you start, and you’ll never create the healthy new habits you want.

The Bible is one of our greatest sources of spiritual food. But sometimes we still fill up on junk food. Blogs, social media, news, shows, books, and games. These things aren’t bad in themselves, but when they’re the only sources of perspective, information, and insight you consume, something is missing.

When you have a sodium deficiency, your body craves salty foods. You might not even notice that you’re craving salty foods in particular, but your body is reacting to that deficiency by creating a desire for something that restores it.

Many non-Christians have no desire to read the Bible. They want nothing to do with it. But that doesn’t mean that as God’s creation they don’t, on some level, crave his truth, his wisdom, his love, or his perspective. I see non-Christians all the time who have no idea how closely their innermost desires parallel God’s desires for them.

A Christian, though, is much more likely to notice the source of this spiritual deficiency—we’ve already been exposed to the source of God’s wisdom, truth, and perspective. God’s Word is meant to permeate every aspect of our lives. Our knowledge of him is supposed to transform us into “the aroma of Christ” (2 Corinthians 2:15), but something smells fishy.

The more the spaces grow between my daily readings, the more I find myself saying things like, “That reminds me of a verse in [book of the Bible],” or, “That sounds kind of like the passage where . . .” Before I know it, I’m not just paraphrasing Scripture anymore—I’m making vague references to it, or letting other sources have a greater impact on my understanding of God’s character.

In those moments, losing sight of the value of daily Bible study is more like cutting caffeine from my diet. I’ve never been a coffee drinker, but I have energy drinks all the time because they help me stay alert and focused when I need to be. Caffeine is something I’ve made a part of my regular diet for a purpose—and when I stop having it, I feel it. I don’t have the energy I used to throughout the day. I can’t focus as long. Or, worse, I get headaches.

Without your daily dose of Scripture, it’s tough to be at your best all day.

But reading your Bible isn’t just something you need to do to stay spiritually healthy. It’s not a pill you have to swallow or a chalky vitamin you have to chew. Reading the Bible is something you should do because you want to.

What if I don’t want to read the Bible?

Imagine that your parents wrote a book for you—it’s the history of your family, their marriage, your childhood, how you’ve become the person you are today, and their hopes and dreams for your future. Woven throughout the book is a clear, underlying theme: they love you very much. Maybe, just maybe, you pick up on another theme as well: you haven’t always known what was best for you, and they usually know what they’re talking about.

How do you think they would feel if you told them,

“Look, at least I read a chapter today”?

Reading the Bible exposes you to the history of the creator’s relationship to creation—that includes you. If you want to know who God is, he had 40 people write a whole book about him over the course of about 1,500 years. Now all you have to do is pick a Bible up off the shelf, read the Bible online, or download the Bible on your phone.

However you read the Bible, you’re going to get the most out of it if you do it because you want to.

Don’t do it because someone is making you.

Don’t do it to show off how much you read.

Don’t memorize verses to get a cookie, a prize, or acknowledgement.

Those can all be useful motivators to help you get on the right track and create healthy spiritual habits you want to have. But don’t let those be the reasons you read the Bible.

Read the Bible because it excites you.

Read the Bible because you want to know God.

Read the Bible because it’s living and active (Hebrews 4:12).

Read the Bible because it can speak powerful truth into your life right now.

Read the Bible so that your life reveals more of Christ (2 Corinthians 3:3).

Those are reasons to open your Bible every day.

So why bother with reading plans?


One chapter. Two weeks.

Without discipline, you’ll never read the Bible regularly—no matter how badly you want to.

Daily Bible reading plans, Bible study techniques, and external incentives are all tools designed to help you develop discipline and make Bible study part of your regular routine.

My best advice start smaller, read the version you want, but have a plan any plan and stick to it. Set an alarm on your phone so when it rings you read. I like reading at red lights, believe me when the light turns green someone will let me know. I always read my bible at lunch, some amazing things happen when you carry a bible with you into burger joints and restaurants.

Go on give it shot.

God bless from


praying mom



God has a specific or direct will for the life of each Christian. It should be our highest purpose to determine just what His will is for us and then to do it, whatever the cost.

In order to know the will of God for our lives, we must first know God Himself. We can never know who we are without first knowing whose we are. We learn to know Him as we submit more and more to His authority (Lordship), are obedient to His Word, and are led by the Holy Spirit. In direct proportion to our knowledge of Him and our submission to Him, we experience the joy of walking in His will. Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths” (Proverbs 3:5,6 KJV).


  1. We must make right any conduct or relationships that may constitute a barrier against knowing God’s will. Sometimes a relationship with a sweetheart or a business partner will have to end, or some sin must be confessed.

  2. Clearing the way to God must be through confession (1 John 1:9), and with others through apologies and restitution, if necessary. “Always (have) a conscience void of offense toward God, and toward men” (Acts 24:16, KJV).

  3. To do God’s will, whatever it may be or may cost. “He said to them all, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me” (Luke 9:23, KJV).

  4. Seek God’s will in the light of revealed Scripture. What principles, commands or prohibitions apply? Has the Holy Spirit given any motivating verses or promises? “Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path” (Psalm 119:105, KJV).

  5. Pray for God’s will to be revealed, and also pray that he may be spiritually perceptive enough to discern it. Isaac’s servant said, “I, being in the way, the Lord led me” (Genesis 24:27, KJV).

  6. Be sensitive to the Holy Spirit’s leading, asking yourself: “Is He moving me toward, or away from, a particular course of action?” “But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come” (John 16:13, NIV).

  7. “Am I at peace as I consider the factors involved? Or am I restless and impatient because of uncertainty or inner conflict?” “And the work of righteousness shall be peace; and the effect of righteousness, quietness and assurance forever” (Isaiah 32:17, KJV).


“I delight to do thy will, O my god: yea, thy law is within my hear.”

            Psalm 40:8, KJV

“Hath the Lord as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the Lord? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to hearken than the fat of rams.”

            1 Samuel 15:22, KJV

“If ye love me, keep my commandments.” “If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him.”

            John 14:15,23 KJV

“But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves.”

            James 1:22, KJV

“Trust in the Lord, and do good; so shalt thou dwell in the land, and verily thou shalt be fed.”

“Commit thy way unto the Lord; trust also in him, and he shall bring it to pass.”

            Psalm 37:3,5, KJV

“For the Lord God is a sun and shield: the Lord will give grace and glory: no good thing will he withhold from them that walk uprightly.”

            Psalm 84:11, KJV

God bless from

Pray for Matt who has dysentery

For Marty whose favorite dog died today

Pray for Rosieta who wants to immigrate to America

Pray for Kim and her battle against cancer

Pray for David who is starting his own business tomorrow and is praying for success and the ability to give more to missions.

And pray of Martha in Argentina, we just mailed her a bible, a laptop, a phone card to call home and a commitment of $100 dollars a month for the next year as a missionary.

Martha is our first missionary sponsored by


If you are ever called on to testify in court, you will be asked, “Do you swear to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, so help you God?” Are you violating Scripture to put yourself under such an oath? Our President and other elected officials must place their hand on a Bible and take the oath of office. Are they disobeying the very Bible that they swear upon?

Some Christians would answer, “yes.” I would be among those who say, “no” (I will explain why later). But however you answer, you need to be clear on the meaning of James’ command in our text, which succinctly repeats Jesus’ words in Matthew 5:33-37. These words go beyond the taking of oaths or vows and deal with the issue of truthful speech.

No matter what your views on taking oaths, everyone would agree that there is a crisis of truth in our culture. Many do not even believe that there is such a thing as absolute truth. Whatever is true for you is true, even if it contradicts the facts. Politicians, contractors, and car salesmen are notorious for promising things that they know they can never deliver. With every broken promise, distrust increases and the fabric of our society unravels a bit more.

As believers we must be truthful in our communication so that we do not fall under judgment.

To understand James’ words here, we must understand how the Jews of that day were using oaths. Oaths ought to foster truthful communication, but in reality they had become a façade for lying. The Jews said that if you swore using God’s name in your oath, you had to keep your word, but if you swore by some lesser thing—Jerusalem, the temple, or whatever—you were not bound. Jesus confronts this in Matthew 23:16-22:

“Woe to you, blind guides, who say, ‘Whoever swears by the temple, that is nothing; but whoever swears by the gold of the temple is obligated.’ You fools and blind men! Which is more important, the gold or the temple that sanctified the gold? And, ‘Whoever swears by the altar, that is nothing, but whoever swears by the offering on it, he is obligated.’ You blind men, which is more important, the offering, or the altar that sanctifies the offering? Therefore, whoever swears by the altar, swears both by the altar and by everything on it. And whoever swears by the temple, swears both by the temple and by Him who dwells within it. And whoever swears by heaven, swears both by the throne of God and by Him who sits upon it.”

This was the situation behind Jesus’ command in the Sermon on the Mount, not to make any oaths at all, but to “let your statement be, ‘Yes, yes’ or ‘No, no’” (Matt. 5:37). In other words, the real issue was speaking the truth at all times. In a moment, we will see why neither Jesus nor James were prohibiting all oaths. We will consider James’ teaching under four headings:

1. Believers must work at truthful communication. (James 5:12)

Immediately we wonder, why does James say, “But above all…”? Is refraining from swearing or taking an oath really more important than anything else James has said thus far? Probably not. Commentators differ on why James says “above all.” Some relate it to the preceding context, especially to what James has said throughout the letter about the control of the tongue (1:19, 26; 3:1-12; 4:11, 13). They would view it as summing up his line of thought on that subject, emphasizing that truthful speech undergirds everything else. Others say that it is a literary phrase that just means, “finally,” or “in conclusion.” Perhaps Douglas Moo is correct when he says (The Letter of James [Eerdmans/Apollos], p. 232), “James wants to highlight this prohibition—probably because he sees it as getting at the ultimate issue of personal integrity.”

Some see no logical or thematic connection between this verse and the context. They view this section as a random jumble of exhortations with no flow of thought. But James has been dealing with both worldliness and a spirit of pride, which result in relational conflicts. From 4:1-5:18, he makes the point that true faith resists arrogance by humbling oneself before God. This includes humility in relationships stemming from humility before God (ogether.

Oaths are necessary because bending the truth for personal advantage comes naturally to us as sinners. In speaking of the depravity that is common to the human race, Paul says (Rom. 3:13), “… with their tongues they keep deceiving….” You don’t have to teach a little child to lie. Rather, you have to teach him to tell the truth, especially when it is seemingly not to his advantage to do so.

James is not speaking here to those outside of the church, but rather to believers (“my brethren”). Becoming a Christian does not automatically produce truthful communication. The Bible is filled with exhortations to God’s people to be truthful in word and deed. For example, Paul says that we should be “speaking the truth in love” (Eph. 4:15). A few verses later (4:25), he writes, “Therefore, laying aside falsehood, speak truth each one of you with his neighbor, for we are members of one another.” The apostle Peter (1 Pet. 3:10) cites from Psalm 34:12, “The one who desires life, to love and see good days, must keep his tongue from evil and his lips from speaking deceit.”

So don’t assume that because you’re a Christian, you won’t struggle with the sin of being deceptive. We all need to work at truthful communication. But, what does the Bible say about taking oaths or making vows?

2. The Bible does not prohibit all oaths, but it does restrict them.

When James says, “Do not swear,” he is not referring to taking the Lord’s name in vain, although Scripture clearly forbids that. The third commandment states (Exod. 20:7), “You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain, for the Lord will not leave him unpunished who takes His name in vain.” Our Lord affirms that commandment when He teaches us to pray, “Our Father, who is in heaven, hallowed be Your name” (Matt. 6:9). God’s name refers both to His spoken name and to His entire person. We are to reverence God. It is always wrong to use the name of God or of our Lord Jesus Christ as swear words or exclamatory words. We need to be careful, too, not to use words like “Gee” or “Geez,” which are just shortened forms of “Jesus.”

But James is not dealing with that subject here. Rather, he is talking about not invoking God’s name in everyday speech to assure the truthfulness of what you say. If someone often says, “I swear to God that’s true,” you begin to wonder whether anything he says is true. Your word should be true without needing to make a big deal about it.

But the Bible does teach that there are certain occasions when it is proper to take an oath or make a vow before God. Because of this, I disagree with those who prohibit taking an oath in a court of law. For example, Deuteronomy 10:20 commands God’s people to swear by His name. In Jeremiah 12:16, God says of even the pagan nations, “Then if they will really learn the ways of My people, to swear by My name, ‘As the Lord lives,’ even as they taught My people to swear by Baal, they will be built up in the midst of My people.”

In the New Testament, the only time that Jesus spoke in His trial before the Council was when the high priest said to Him (Matt. 26:63), “I adjure You by the living God, that You tell us whether You are the Christ, the Son of God.” So Jesus answered under oath. The apostle Paul often swore by the Lord when he said, “God is my witness” (Rom. 1:9; 2 Cor. 1:23; Phil. 1:8; 1 Thess. 2:5, 10; see also Gal. 1:20).

Even more significantly, God sometimes swears by Himself, either by His words or by enacting His covenant. He swore to David with an oath that one of his descendants would always sit on his throne (Acts 2:30). God swore to Abraham that He would bless him and multiply him (Heb. 6:13-14). The author of Hebrews goes on to say (6:17-18) regarding our salvation, “In the same way God, desiring even more to show to the heirs of the promise the unchangeableness of His purpose, interposed with an oath, so that by two unchangeable things in which it is impossible for God to lie, we who have taken refuge would have strong encouragement to take hold of the hope set before us.”

So the Bible does not prohibit all oaths. Rather, it forbids both frivolous oaths and false oaths. Frivolous oaths are those that are so commonplace that they lose all significance or meaning. This would include taking an oath when it is not necessary or proper. When the drunken King Herod swore to the daughter of Herodias that he would give her up to half his kingdom because of her dancing (Mark 6:23), it was a frivolous oath. When she asked for John the Baptist’s head on a platter, Herod felt bad, but because of his oath, he was unwilling to refuse her (Mark 6:26). Or, Jephthah foolishly vowed to sacrifice the first thing that walked out of his door when he returned from battle. When it happened to be his only daughter, he foolishly kept the foolish vow. He never should have made it in the first place and he should have broken it when it meant killing his daughter.

Often such frivolous oaths stem from pride. Herod wanted to look good in front of his dinner guests, so he couldn’t go back on his oath, even though he felt bad about killing John. Sometimes we want to impress others with our spiritual commitment, and so we make a boastful vow. But vows should be reserved for the most solemn and important occasions, so that they really mean something when we make them. To take an oath in court, or to vow to be faithful to your mate at your wedding, or to vow to be faithful to the Lord at your baptism are examples of godly vows.

The other kind of oath that the Bible forbids is the false oath. A false oath is one that the person making it does not intend to keep, but he makes it either to impress or deceive others. Jesus and James were directing these commands toward these kinds of oaths. The Jews had elaborate rules, that if you swore by the temple, you weren’t bound by your oath, but if you swore by the gold of the temple, you were bound. It was kind of like, “I had my fingers crossed, so I really didn’t mean what I said.”

If people said what they meant and meant what they said, there wouldn’t be a need for any such oaths at all! The Jews of that day were just playing games with each other, but more importantly, they were not living with integrity on the heart level before God. You may be able to fool someone with a deceptive or misleading contract, where they don’t understand the fine print. But you didn’t fool God. He knows the thoughts and intents of your heart, and if you were practicing deception, the fact that you did it “legally” doesn’t matter to God!

To sum up, the Bible does not prohibit all taking of oaths or vows, but it does restrict them to important occasions. When we do take an oath, we need to consider it carefully and prayerfully, and then we need to be conscientious to follow through. If we are unable to keep our word, we should confess it to God and to the person we have wronged. And, we should seek to make restitution in ways that reflect genuine repentance.

3. The real issue at stake is truthful communication.

In commenting on Matthew 5:33-37, Haddon Robinson (The Christian Salt & Light Company[Discovery House Publishing], p. 156) says with regard to the Sermon on the Mount, “If anger was the real issue of murder, lust the real issue of adultery, selfishness the real issue of divorce, then deceit is the real issue of oaths.” He adds (p. 158), “Jesus wasn’t addressing whether or not we should take an oath. He was talking about whether or not we are truthful…. We don’t tell the truth because we have taken an oath; we tell the truth because we are truthful.”

Truthful communication is essential for good relationships because truth is essential for trust. If you don’t trust someone, you’re not going to allow that person to get close to you. We lie or deceive others because we mistakenly think that it will hold the relationship together. So we rationalize bending the truth, thinking, “If she really knew the truth, she would never speak to me again.” But that’s like trying to fix a broken pipe with masking tape. You may slow the leak temporarily, but you’re only delaying disaster. The pipe will burst and cause far more damage than if you had just fixed it properly when the leak was first detected.

If we practice deception in our marriages, we may preserve superficial peace on the surface, but beneath the surface, a volcano is building. When the truth is revealed, the volcano will erupt and cause far more damage than if we had honestly dealt with the root issues when they first came up. The same thing is true in rearing our children. If you deceive them, telling them one thing while you’re living a lie, at some point they will see through your deception and they will reject the God you purport to follow. It’s far better to live with integrity, confessing your sins and asking forgiveness of your family when you’re wrong. If they see reality in your walk with God, they will be far more inclined to follow Him than if they see hypocrisy and deception in your life. So the root of truthful communication is walking truthfully before God, who sees your heart.

Here are a few ways that we can easily fall into deception and falsehood: (1) The half-truth:you tell the truth, but not all the truth. Abraham did this when he claimed that Sarah was his sister. She was his half-sister, but he didn’t mention that she also happened to be his wife! (2) The “white” lie: these are the “innocent” lies that “don’t hurt anyone.” You call in sick to work when you’re really well. (3) The lie to cover for someone else: “He’s not in.” (4) Exaggeration:stretching the truth to make yourself look better or to evoke sympathy for your cause. (5) The silent lie: the other person assumes something flattering about you that is clearly false, but you don’t speak up to correct it. (6) The cover-up lie: You hide your own wrongdoing with the rationalization that it would hurt the other person too much to find out the real truth. (7) The evasive lie: you change the subject or conveniently dodge the truth by not answering directly.

4. If we engage in boastful, deceptive speech or false oaths, we will fall under judgment.

Judgment is a significant issue for James. He just said (5:9), “Do not complain, brethren, against one another, so that you yourselves may not be judged; behold, the Judge is standing right at the door.” He’s talking to Christians (“brethren”), not to unbelievers.

How will Christians fall under judgment? Jesus said (John 5:24), “Truly, truly, I say to you, he who hears My word, and believes Him who sent Me, has eternal life, and does not come into judgment, but has passed out of death into life.” Paul wrote (Rom. 8:1), “Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” So with regard to eternal judgment, those who have truly trusted in Christ do not need to fear.

But Paul warns the Corinthians (1 Cor. 3:15) that we will be judged for our works: “If any man’s work is burned up, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire.”  He later (1 Cor. 11:32) explains to the same church that they needed to judge themselves before partaking of the Lord’s Supper so that they would not be judged: “But when we are judged, we are disciplined by the Lord so that we will not be condemned along with the world.” That discipline can be very severe, including physical illness and even death (1 Cor. 11:30)!


William Barclay (The Daily Study Bible, Matthew [Westminster Press], 1:160) sums up Jesus’ words in Matthew 5:33-37:

Here is a great eternal truth. Life cannot be divided into compartments in some of which God is involved and in others of which he is not involved; there cannot be one kind of language in the Church and another kind of language in the shipyard or factory or the office; there cannot be one kind of standard of conduct in the Church and another kind of standard in the business world. The fact is that God does not need to be invited into certain departments of life, and kept out of others. He is everywhere, all through life and every activity of life. He hears not only the words which are spoken in his name; he hears all words; and there cannot be any such thing as a form of words which evades bringing God into a transaction. We will regard all promises as sacred, if we remember that all promises are made in the presence of God.

Or, as Gordon Clark put it (A Christian Philosophy of Education [Trinity Foundation], p. 158), “Since God is truth, a contempt for truth is equally a contempt for God.” Don’t be in contempt of God! Work at being a person whose yes means yes and whose no means no.



June 21, 2015


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

That means that before a man can seek God, God must first have sought the man.

Before a sinful man can think a right thought of God, there must have been a work of enlightenment done within him.

We pursue God because, and only because, He has first put an urge within us that spurs us to the pursuit. “No man can come to me,” said our Lord, “except the Father which hath sent me draw him” (John 6:44), and it is by this prevenient drawing that God takes from us every vestige of credit for the act of coming. The impulse to pursue God originates with God, but the outworking of that impulse is our following hard after Him. All the time we are pursuing Him we are already in His hand: “Thy right hand upholdeth me.”

So even the desire to follow after God, even the attempt “to chase fire” to try harder, since there is no good thing within me, I must give all the credit to God for every thought of drawing near. But the great burden, the discipline, the obedience is all up to us. He calls and hopefully we are obedient, hopefully.

  1. Softly and tenderly Jesus is calling,  calling for you and for me;  see, on the portals he’s waiting and watching,  watching for you and for me.  Refrain:  Come home, come home;  ye who are weary come home;  earnestly, tenderly, Jesus is calling,  calling, O sinner, come home!

  2. 2. Why should we tarry when Jesus is pleading,  pleading for you and for me?  Why should we linger and heed not his mercies,  mercies for you and for me?  (Refrain)

  3. 3. Time is now fleeting, the moments are passing,  passing from you and from me;  shadows are gathering, deathbeds are coming,  coming for you and for me.  (Refrain)

  4. 4. O for the wonderful love he has promised,  promised for you and for me!  Though we have sinned, he has mercy and pardon,  pardon for you and for me.

Hopefully we will respond positively, in that we have a choice, but we will never be rewarded for halfhearted responses. Our God is a jealous God and a consuming fire, we either burn hotly for him or not at all.

God bless from