My little children, of whom I travail in birth again until Christ be formed in you” (Gal. 4:19).

  A ministry of life, whether it be at the kitchen sink, or from the First Church pulpit, must flow from the life of the Lord Jesus Christ. That life must be developed in and shared through the growing believer, by the Holy Spirit. We are to rest in Him for spiritual growth, and He will work through us for spiritual service.

He, whom the Lord cannot trust with the faithful care of his own vineyard, will not be trusted with the tending of God’s Vineyard of living, immortal souls. How shall we face the Owner of the Vineyard, if we have neglected our own lives; if we have not entered into that which God has shown us; if we must say, when He asks us about the lack of fruit and the neglect which is so sadly evident: ‘Lord, I was so busy tending Thy Vineyard, that my own vineyard I have not kept’ (Song Solomon. 1:6).

Our Lord is more concerned for a testimony than for a work. We need to get clear on that. A good deal of confusion comes in when you begin to think of things in the light of a work. When you get a lot of people leaving their employment to go into ‘the work,’ all kinds of complications arise. It is not that we aren’t to serve the Lord, but in the first place it is not the work the Lord is after, it is a testimony, it is a bright light.

  “That ye might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God” (Col. 1:10)

God bless from

Remember Joe R in prayer

Caroline T and the temptation to drink

Robert P, 35 years today of not sexually acting out.

Tammy T, 14 years old and dealing with a serious drug addiction.

Pray for all the runaways, so many are into some form of crime to stay on the street and out of shelters. You’re more likely to get shot by an 11 year old than a 22 year old.



May 8, 2017











Who are you? (last part)

Self-righteous hypocrisy brings you under God’s judgment (2:2-3).

“And we know that the judgment of God rightly falls upon those who practice such things. But do you suppose this, O man, when you pass judgment on those who practice such things and do the same yourself, that you will escape the judgment of God?”

Verse 2 literally reads, “the judgment of God is according to truth upon those who practice such things.” He means “that God’s judgment against sin is fully in accord with the facts, that it is just” (Douglas Moo, The Epistle to the Romans [Eerdmans], p. 131). Paul’s hypothetical Jewish reader that he is addressing would have agreed that God’s judgment is according to the truth.

Where he would have disagreed is with Paul’s assertion that God’s righteous judgment falls on the Jews just as it falls on the Gentiles. In other words, the Jews claimed special status before God because they were His covenant people. They believed that if you were a Jew living in Palestine, you were treated as if you kept all of the commandments and were guaranteed of the life to come (Alfred Edersheim, Sketches of Jewish Social Life in the Days of Christ [Eerdmans], p. 5). But Paul applies God’s just judgment to Jew and Gentile alike and says, “If you judge others for the very sins that you commit, you’re guilty in God’s court of justice.”

At this point, Paul isn’t pointing to God’s revealed Law as the standard for judgment, although he could have done so. Rather, he is saying that if a self-righteous person judges someone else for a sin that he himself is practicing, he will not escape God’s judgment. If you condemn someone else for lying to you, but then you lie to someone else, you’ve just condemned yourself. If you berate someone who stole from you, but then you cheat the government on your taxes or steal something from your employer, you will not escape from God’s judgment. Of course, Paul is not saying that you’d escape God’s judgment if you lie or steal without judging others for those sins! Rather, he is showing that all of us have violated our own standards by doing the very things that we condemn in others. And so we are guilty before God.

  1. The riches of God’s kindness, tolerance, and patience should lead you to repentance, not to presume on His grace (2:4).

“Or do you think lightly of the riches of His kindness and tolerance and patience, not knowing that the kindness of God leads you to repentance?”

In verse 4, Paul “introduces a rhetorical question that brings to light the false assumptions of the person who is addressed in v. 3” (Moo, p. 132). Paul is saying, “If you think that you can get away with sin because God is kind, tolerant, and patient, you’re greatly mistaken! His kindness should lead you to repentance, not to self-righteous complacency. If you go on sinning, presuming on His grace, you’re only storing up wrath for the day of judgment (2:5).”

God’s kindness, tolerance, and patience overlap somewhat, but have different nuances of meaning. His kindness points to the many good gifts that He bestows on this rebellious human race. He gives us air to breathe, food to eat, homes to live in, families that love us, beautiful scenery to enjoy, and bodies and minds that (for the most part) function as they are supposed to. He treats us far better than we deserve.

God’s tolerance points to the fact that He does not strike us dead instantly when we defiantly sin against Him. How many times we have known what is right and deliberately disobeyed! God could have struck us dead on hundreds of occasions and He would have been perfectly just, but He did not. He is tolerant.

God’s patience is similar to His tolerance. The word literally means “long on wrath,” or slow to anger. He gives us opportunity after opportunity to repent, without inflicting judgment.

God doesn’t just trickle these benefits on sinners. Rather, He gives them richly. But the problem is, sinners mistakenly think that because they experience all of these blessings and God’s judgment has not hit them yet, He must think that they’re okay. They won’t face His judgment, because they aren’t really bad sinners, like the pagans that Paul has just described in chapter 1. But Paul says, “If you think that God’s kindness, tolerance, and patience mean that you will escape His final judgment, you’re in big trouble! God is kind, tolerant, and patient so that you will repent!”

Thus, you are prone to self-righteously judge others for the very sins that you commit (2:1). Such self-righteous hypocrisy brings you under God’s judgment (2:2-3). Don’t mistake God’s kindness to mean that you will escape His judgment. He is only giving you time to repent (2:4). Finally,

  1. If you do not deal with your hard, unrepentant heart, you are storing up wrath for the coming day of God’s judgment (2:5).

“But because of your stubbornness and unrepentant heart you are storing up wrath for yourself in the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God.”

Frederic Godet (Commentary on Romans [Kregel], p. 116) (one of the top three commentaries on Romans) (see Godet’s commentary on the Gospel of John, the best there is) captures the grim irony of Paul’s words, “Every favor trampled under foot adds to the treasure of wrath which is already suspended over the heads of the impenitent people.” James Boice (Romans Baker], 1:220) pictures it as a miser who for years stores his horde of gold coins in the attic above his bed. It’s his treasure. But then one night, the weight of all that gold breaks through the ceiling and comes crashing on his head, killing him. He thought he was storing up treasure, but he was only adding to his own judgment.

It’s the same for the self-righteous person who presumes on God’s kindness and patience. He judges others, but does not judge his own sin. He goes on in his pride, thinking that his outward righteousness is amassing a great treasure in heaven. But, actually, he is amassing a “treasure” of wrath for the judgment day!

Note that Paul isn’t talking here to idolaters or to the sexually immoral. He’s talking to the moral, religious person. Also, the day of wrath points to its certainty. There will be a day of wrath for those who have not repented of their sins, especially the sin of self-righteousness. It’s on God’s calendar. “He has fixed a day in which He will judge the world in righteousness …” (Acts 17:31). Since it is absolutely certain, we need to be ready for it. How?

The problem that we’ve got to deal with is our hard, unrepentant hearts. The word “stubbornness” (NASB) comes from a Greek word from which we get our word sclerosis. It means spiritual hardening of the heart. Repentance (2:4) is a change of heart and mind that causes us to turn from sin to God, not just outwardly, but on the heart level. It includes sorrow for our sins and the resolve to turn from them. We don’t just do it once, when we come to Christ. Rather, it is the ongoing mark of true conversion. True Christians habitually judge their own sins on the heart (or thought) level, based on the standards of God’s Word. That includes the damnable sin of self-righteousness, which stems from pride. True Christians are marked by broken and contrite hearts before God (Ps. 51:17).

Stop struggling and just give in to God!

God bless from


Guilt is that awful feeling that hits us in the pit of the stomach when we know we have done wrong, and we’ll do almost anything to get rid of it. Adam and Eve, our first parents, established a human pattern that continues to this day. First comes the cover-up. Then we play the blame game as we try to justify or rationalize our actions. We think that the more we can blame someone else, the less guilty we will feel.

Sometimes we try to escape from guilt through activities, alcohol, or drugs. Or we run to psychiatrists—but secular psychiatry has tried to solve the problem of guilt by saying there is no such thing as sin. Just ignore that guilty feeling, we’re told, because it has no basis in reality. We try, but somehow we just can’t pull it off. Why not?

We can’t escape these feelings by ignoring them because God built into our natures a knowledge of right and wrong—a moral code. God’s Word speaks of the moral conscience, which exists even within those who are not aware of His laws.

One example of this is described in Romans 2:14-15: “When Gentiles, who do not have the law, do by nature things required by the law, they are a law for themselves, even though they do not have the law, since they show that the requirements of the law are written on their hearts, their consciences also bearing witness, and their thoughts now accusing, now even defending them.”


There has never been a civilization on earth that didn’t have laws—rules about right and wrong. Even though humankind hasn’t always worshiped the living God, the moral codes of every civilization prove that there is an objective authority who has set a standard. The human conscience is evidence of God’s existence and His standards for behavior.

God is the One we offend when we sin, and only He can provide a remedy for our sin and guilt. From the third chapter of Genesis on, He required animals to be sacrificed for human beings who wanted to have their sins forgiven. And the New Testament reminds us again, “Without the shedding of blood, there is no forgiveness” (Heb. 9:22).

But the blood of these thousands of animals could not remove sin. It only covered it, until the one perfect Sacrifice was made that completely satisfied the holiness and justice of God. When John the Baptist pointed to Jesus, he said in one sentence the purpose for His coming to earth: “Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world” (John 1:29).

God’s Only Remedy for Sin and Guilt Is Jesus

Jesus came to earth to die. He was the Substitute for us—He took our punishment in our place so we could be forgiven and made right with God. But what we don’t always understand is that God also wants us to be free from guilt. We learn this from His Word.


Through Christ, God has wiped our record clean. He wants us to know it, and to live in that freedom. We’re told, “How much more, then, will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself unblemished to God, cleanse our consciences from acts that lead to death, so that we may serve the living God!” (Heb. 9:14).

When believers in biblical times put their faith in Christ, they acted like forgiven and cleansed people. Zaccheus, described in Luke 19, is a classic example. Everyone knew Zaccheus was a sinner—he worked for Israel’s oppressor, the Roman government. In fact, Zaccheus was head of the equivalent to the Roman Internal Revenue Service. He levied the taxes Caesar required, and he was free to add whatever he wanted for himself.

When Jesus invited Himself to Zaccheus’s house, He demonstrated publicly that He even accepted sinners as terrible as Zaccheus was perceived to be. Zaccheus responded by putting his faith in Christ as his Messiah. But notice how he gave evidence of it: “Zaccheus stood up and said to the Lord, ‘Look, Lord! Here and now I give half of my possessions to the poor, and if I have cheated anybody out of anything, I will pay back four times the amount” (Luke 19:8).

Zaccheus repented—he changed his way of life. He promised to make generous restitution to those he had cheated. The change was dramatic. That’s why Jesus could say in response, “Today, salvation has come to this house.” Zaccheus’s new conduct was evidence of his new faith.


The death and resurrection of Jesus Christ is God’s eternal remedy for human sin. When we trust Him, He not only forgives our sins, but He also cleanses our conscience of guilt. What happens to our sins? Once God has forgiven them, they are:

Out of sight: “You have put all my sins behind your back” (Isa. 38:17).

Out of mind: “For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more” (Jer. 31:34).

Out of reach: “You will tread our sins underfoot and hurl all our iniquities into the depths of the sea” (Mic. 7:19).

Out of existence: “I, even I, am he who blots out your transgressions, for my own sake, and remembers your sins no more” (Isa. 43:25).

Our sins are gone, removed from existence as if they had never happened in the first place. We can start our new life with a clean slate. And God gives us His Holy Spirit to empower us with new strength.

Have you been trying to make it on your own? Perhaps you have done things that have filled you with guilt, and you think if you’re sorry enough and if you do enough good things, you can make up for the bad. No way!


Scripture tells us we are washed clean and given new life through faith in Jesus Christ: “But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of His mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior” (Titus 3:4-6).

What wonderful words—kindness, love, and mercy! Have you trusted our kind and loving and merciful God alone to save you? If you haven’t, talk to Him in your heart and tell Him you’re through trying to earn your salvation. Trust in the Lord Jesus Christ alone for forgiveness, eternal life, and a cleansed conscience. There is no other way.


So now we understand what happens to our sin when we ask God for forgiveness—it vanishes! But most of us have to ask another question: What happens when we sin after we have trusted Christ? Can a believer, a child of God, lose his or her salvation? Do we have to be saved all over again? If all our sins—past, present, and future—are forgiven because of Christ’s death, why do we have to do anything at all?

The answer is this: When a believer sins, something happens that has to be dealt with. Our relationship with God cannot be broken, because we are His children by birth, but our fellowship with Him is damaged. Have you noticed that when you feel guilty because you’ve done something you know is wrong, you avoid praying or reading your Bible? You don’t feel like coming to church, and you may not even enjoy being with your Christian friends as much as usual. These feelings are evidence that your fellowship with God is broken.

Because He loves us, God wants our fellowship with Him to be restored. And He has provided a way for us to continue being cleansed from guilt for sins we commit after our salvation. The apostle John tells us how it’s done: “If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:8-9).

The trouble is, we often don’t follow God’s directions for our cure. Sometimes we wait a very long time before agreeing with God that we have sinned. All that time guilt eats its corrosive way into our conscience. David’s story, in the Old Testament, is an excellent example of this process.

The Story of David and Bathsheba

God spoke of David as a man after His own heart; He chose David to be king over Israel. From his teen years, David was devoted to God in an extraordinary way. He followed God’s ways. He listened to godly counsel. And when he was a fugitive from King Saul for at least ten years, he constantly found his refuge in God, who rescued him again and again. David was a deeply spiritual man with a well-developed emotional capacity. He was also a man with normal human passions.

He was about fifty years old when he committed the sins that affected him for the rest of his life. Today this is called “going through midlife crisis.” David saw another man’s wife and lusted for her. It didn’t matter that her husband was one of his trusted soldiers who was out on the battlefield fighting for him. David sent for Bathsheba and slept with her. Then, when she let David know she was pregnant, he ordered her husband Uriah to come home so he could sleep with her and thus make it look like the child was his. That didn’t work, so David instructed his commanding general to put Uriah on the front of the battle lines so he would be killed.

Uriah died in battle, and after Bathsheba had finished her mourning period, David married her. The cover-up was in place. But then we read these ominous words at the end of 2 Samuel 11: “But the thing David had done displeased the LORD.”

God knew all about David’s behavior, and He would not let His beloved servant get away with such a flagrant and heartless abuse of power. During the unfolding of the story, about a year went by from start to finish—a year during which David seemed to be without a conscience at all. Remember, David was a believer, a man after God’s own heart, a man to whom God had promised a lasting dynasty. His would be the royal line from which the Messiah would come. Didn’t he feel guilty for sins as wicked as adultery and murder? Yes, but he had stifled his conscience. He wouldn’t listen to the voice of the Holy Spirit. But he paid the price for his actions. Here’s how he described his experience: “When I kept silent, my bones wasted away through my groaning all day long. For day and night your hand was heavy upon me; my strength was sapped as in the heat of summer” (Ps. 32:3-4).

So God sent the prophet Nathan to waken David’s conscience with a story that appealed to his emotions. Nathan told him about a poor man who had only one little pet lamb, which he loved like a child. A rich man, who had many flocks of his own, stole this little lamb and made it into shish-kebabs for a dinner guest. Here’s how David reacted to Nathan’s story:

“David burned with anger against the man and said to Nathan, ‘As surely as the LORD lives, the man who did this deserves to die! He must pay for that lamb four times over, because he did such a thing” (2 Sam. 12:5-6).

Nathan looked into the face of his angry king who had just passed judgment on himself and said to David, “You are the man!”

How would David respond to the accusation and the punishment? He tells us his response in Psalm 32:5: “Then I acknowledged my sin to you and did not cover up my iniquity. I said, ‘I will confess my transgressions to the LORD—and you forgave the guilt of my sin!”


David made no excuses; he blamed no one else. He said, “I have sinned against the Lord.”

You may be asking, What about his sin against Bathsheba and against Uriah? No, David saw his sin for what all sin is—an offense against the Lord. And he knew the punishment was just, because he knew the truth of this spiritual principle:

Forgiveness does not cancel out the natural consequences of our sins.

Nathan told David, “The LORD has taken away your sin. You are not going to die. But because by doing this you have made the enemies of the Loin show utter contempt, the son born to you will die” (2 Sam. 12:13).

The death of the child was just the beginning. David lived to see his son Amnon rape his half-sister, Tamar. Then David’s son Absalom killed Amnon and later tried to seize David’s throne, and he was also killed. In fact, from this time on, David’s life deteriorated until the day he died. His one act of unbridled passion permanently marked his family and his kingdom. But his fellowship with God was restored. After Nathan came to him, David wrote Psalm 51, which eloquently describes his sin, his repentance, and his forgiveness.

read Hebrews 9:14 “How much more, then, will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself unblemished to God, cleanse our consciences from acts that lead to death, so that we may serve the living God!” .

“we have to act with our wills to apply what God’s Word says. Then He will eventually take care of our emotions.”

We Need a Clean Conscience to Serve God

Hebrews 9:14 provides an interesting insight about the result of our cleansing and forgiveness. God does this, the writer of Hebrews explains, “that we may serve the living God.”

Guilt keeps us from serving God. Yet God can even use the sins we have committed to make us more effective in our work for Him. Only when we refuse God’s provision for forgiveness, for cleansing, and for a new beginning are we incapacitated by our past sins. That’s why it is important for us to remember:

Satan wants us to be immobilized by guilt.

We have an enemy whose main purpose is to keep us from serving the Lord. In Scripture he is called the “accuser” of believers. If you continue to feel guilty for forgiven sins, you are hearing the voice of the enemy, not the Holy Spirit. Satan is a liar. Reject the fiery darts he shoots at your mind by holding up the shield of faith in the finished work of your Savior, and the devil will flee from you.

If guilt is the obstacle that has kept you from growing in your spiritual life, won’t you lay down your burden at the cross? Accept God’s forgiveness. Let Him cleanse your conscience. And commit yourself to living in obedience to God’s Word and to the guidance of the Holy Spirit, who lives within you. Your burden of guilt will be lifted—once and for all.

With God there is always a way back, we just have to accept it.

Come on, give up the guilt and shame, no matter what you have done God is willing to forgive you, just the fact that you are thinking about God and wanting forgiveness is the first step.

God bless from


Big Expectations (2)

April 10, 2017

I want to suggest a model that will help make a difference in any and every relationship. You will be able to locate on it exactly where you are in any particular relationship. You will be able to see how you got to where you are in that relationship as well as see how to change the dynamics of that relationship and bring stability to it.

expectations part two


To manage expectations well we begin with recognizing three essential characteristics of expectations.


Someone has concluded that 80 % of our expectations are assumed
– never really expressed.

Consider for a moment one of your relationships. How many expectations have you actually expressed and discussed? You see – most are assumed.

During a week long summer conference a few years ago a young lady asked, one afternoon, if we could have a talk. She had been married for several years, long enough to accumulate a list of complaints against her husband. When I asked her if she had ever expressed these to her husband, her quick reply was; “Oh, he knows alright.” In a later conversation with her husband it became apparent that many of the criticisms were a surprise. She was sure he knew, but she had never clearly expressed them to him.

When my wife and I arrived at a church for a Bible conference we were met by a pastor who was heart-broken, dejected and a little angry. He had just resigned a day earlier. It was the fall-out from his recent annual review by the church board at which time his wife had been strongly criticized. What hurt most was the fact that they had never once expressed any of their expectations of his wife when he was hired. Now, in his review, he was hit hard. “It just isn’t fair,” he said. And it isn’t! You can’t complain about unfulfilled expectations that have never been expressed.

Interest magazine (July/August 1994) reported on a Lutheran bishop in North Dakota who sent out to his parishioners a list of 112 action verbs and asked them to circle the ones they felt were most important for a leader to be doing.

He received 332 returns.

Some verbs usually associated with leadership didn’t make the top ten: administration (12th), teach (23rd), lead (24th). What they wanted spiritual leaders to do was to pray (5th), love (4th), inspire (3rd), encourage (2nd) and listen (1st).

You may not agree with another person’s expectations, but you do need to understand what they expect. Don’t guess-so, know-so! Ask and listen! Give the person the opportunity to express. On the other hand, you have expectations. Don’t withhold them. Don’t be silent. Express them.

When it comes to expressing expectations, it is most helpful to discuss one category at a time. An open-ended question like, “What are your expectations?” is a non-starter. Identify a single category and focus on it alone.

Here are some suggested categories in five major relationships. Remember, you want to work on the ones which are appropriate, one at a time.

A. Husband/Wife Expectations

1. Time together

4. Money management

2. Home responsibilities

5. Sexual relationship

3. Prayer and Bible devotions together

6. Parenting

B. Parent/Child Expectations

1. Allowances

5. Use of car/telephone

2. Home chores

6. Homework

3. Television/Leisure time/Sports activities

7. Dating/Curfew

4. Church attendance/Devotions/Music

8. Clothing/Dress

C. Elders/Pastoral Staff Expectations

1. Office time/Schedule

8. Gender issues

2. Appropriate dress standards

9. Community time

3. Prayer partnership

10.Vacation/Leisure time

4. Attendance at meetings

11.Continuing education

5. Salary

12.Social activities

6. Expenses

13.Integrity issues

7. Spouse’s responsibility

14. Mentoring/Review

D. Leadership/Congregation Expectations

1. What do you understand to be the expectations members of your church have of you?

2. What are the specific expectation you have of individual believers who come to associate with your church?

E. Employer/Employee/Colleague etc.

1. Time

5. Confidentiality

2. Responsibilities: Workload/Social

6. Punctuality

3. Money

7. Dress

4. Education/Training/Mentoring

In his book, Lincoln on Leadership (p. 45), Donald Phillips quotes part of a letter written by the President to General Hooker relating a conversation they had together late in the civil war.

“What I now ask of you is military success…The government will support you to the utmost of its ability…I shall assist you, as far as I can…And now, beware of rashness. Beware of rashness, but with energy and sleepless vigilance, go forth and give us victories.”

Phillips comments on the letter,

“Contemporary leaders can learn an important lesson from this letter. For here, in one bold stroke, Lincoln told Hooker exactly what he thought of him (both good and bad) and precisely what he expected. He offered support and assistance, he encouraged his general to take the initiative and do the right thing. Then Lincoln gave Hooker the letter so that he could take it with him and ponder their conversation more thoroughly. Here was Lincoln the leader at his best.”

The lesson: Express exactly what you expect!

Carson Pue, President of Arrow Leadership Ministries, in his book Mentoring Leaders (156-57) writes:

‘When we at Arrow desired to hire a personal assistant to the president, we created a very accurate role description for the position. However Mr. Jim Postlewaite, who was working with me at the time, asked me for a list of what I was looking for in an assistant beyond the actual tasks that needed to be accomplished (the feelings, emotions side of the search). After a few days I provided him a list of what I wanted in an executive assistant. I wanted someone who:

  • anticipates my next move

  • takes initiative

  • is loyal to me and Arrow

  • presents well on paper—both writing content and layout

  • makes a great first impression

  • is a problem solver

  • is confident

  • is at his best when I am at my worst

  • has an “up” attitude

  • gets along with the other team members

  • has traveled and understands hotels and flights, etc.

  • is secure when I am away from the office

  • can produce when given a task – job delegated, job done!

  • can make me look good

  • is an encouragement to me – encouraging words and prayer support

In the course of my ministry years, I have seen dozens of job descriptions. This is only the second one I have seen that even addresses the question of expectations. Most churches and businesses have difficulty providing such a list because the leadership or board members have never discussed them or can’t agree on them. It is simply not fair to bring a person to a position for which they have responsibility and not provide them with a list of exactly what’s expected.


Little Expections

April 9, 2017

Every relationship involves expectations, whether it’s at “Home,” at “Church,” at “Work,” or even in the neighbourhood.

When you enter marriage, you have expectations of your spouse and your spouse has expectations of you. In your parenting, you have expectations of your children and your children have expectations of you.

It’s true on your job, at your bank, in your neighbourhood, at the fitness center, on the highway, in the classroom.

When you join a church, sit on the church board, chair the mission’s committee, sponsor the youth program, teach a Sunday school class, prepare the church bulletin, usher at Sunday services, share on the worship team, serve in the nursery, expectations are always involved. It works both ways: your expectations of others and their expectations of you.

How we manage those expectations will largely determine the character and quality of those relationships. This, in turn, dictates the direction and quality of our lives.

In his book Little House on The Freeway, Tim Kimmel identified four characteristics of a home with peace. One of the four: “They discipline their expectations.”

Bob Biehl is a much appreciated author and speaker on Christian management. He writes concerning expectations: “All miscommunications are the result of differing assumptions.”

When expectations are poorly managed, four negative emotions emerge, any one of which can be destructive in any relationship.

Two of these emotions, anger and sadness may be the feeling of the person whose expectations are not being fulfilled; you or your spouse, your pastor, your colleague, or any person with whom you have a relationship where their expectations are poorly managed. The other two emotions, anxiety and shame, may be the feelings of the person who is trying to meet the expectations of another individual.

ANGER: When people are prevented from seeing their expectations realized, they often respond with anger. A Christian leader may be angry with you, his congregation or board because you or they are perceived as the obstacle preventing him from seeing a goal fulfilled.

A teenager may be angry with a parent who blocks the way to seeing an expectation realized.

A spouse can become resentful and angry with his or her partner who stands in the way of a dream coming true.

SADNESS: While it is much less intense, it is no less hurtful. When the expectations of your partner, your friend, your colleague, your child are simply lost, ignored or forgotten in the busyness and frenzy of your life, there is sadness and a feeling of being unappreciated. In either case these feelings can erode and corrupt any relationship. They are the soil that produces a harvest of hurt.

ANXIETY: This can become your emotional pitfall. You may feel this way when you are uncertain of what exactly someone’s expectations are. They won’t talk, They say, if you really cared, you would know! But you don’t know. You find yourself saying, “What does he/she really want?” “They give me a job but never tell me what they expect. They just complain.”

SHAME: When it is clear you have failed to meet the expectations of the other person you feel embarrassed, ashamed, unworthy. Children often struggle with this emotion when they come to the conclusion they can never please their parents.

For these reasons alone we must endeavour to cultivate some skills and strategies for becoming better managers of our expectations and the expectations of people who mean a great deal to us.

God bless from

Great advice; “go easy on yourself”



April 7, 2017

Image result for PICTURE OF A FOOL

Certain people immediately come to our minds with the mention of the word fool. The first person I thought of was the actor (I’m showing my age here), Jerry Lewis, followed by the Three Stooges, Larry, Curly, and Mo, then the Marx Brothers, Maxwell Smart, Tim Conway, and Don Knotts. It is interesting to me that none of these men fit the definition which Proverbs gives us of the fool. The “fools” I thought of are all rather harmless creature, basically well-intentioned and innocent. All of them evoke a certain sense of pity, mixed with amusement. Not so with the fool in the Book of Proverbs. This is but one of the reasons why the study of “the fool” is important.


  1. TO ASSOCIATE WITH FOOLS IS BOTH UNWISE AND UNPLEASANT. To some degree folly is contagious, and association with a fool tends to diminish our ability to discern truth from error and wisdom from folly.

Leave the presence of a fool, Or you will not discern words of knowledge (14:7).

A fool is bound for his own destruction, and he will inevitably destroy everything in his path. Those who get in the way of the fool will get hurt.

Let a man meet a bear robbed of her cubs, Rather than a fool in his folly (17:12).

The scoffer, the worst form of fool,25 is not only to be avoided, but is to be driven away.

Drive out the scoffer, and contention will go out, Even strife and dishonor will cease (22:10).

If anyone needs to be able to recognize a fool it is the young man or woman who is seeking a life’s mate. There is nothing more miserable than to be married to a fool. While Proverbs takes the positive approach here, exalting the godly wife (e.g. 31:10-31), the fool should be avoided as a partner in marriage. Abigail was married to a fool (I Sam. 25), but God was gracious enough to deliver her by his death; but this is not the norm. She may not have had much to say about her marriage to Nabal, but you do, and will have to live with your mistake in a marriage partner.

  1. TO EMPLOY A FOOL IS A TRAGIC MISTAKE. Those who are responsible for hiring employees will want to take special note of the warnings of Proverbs to those who would hire a fool.

He cuts off his own feet, and drinks violence Who sends a message by the hand of a fool (26:6).

Like an archer who wounds everyone, So is he who hires a fool or who hires those who pass by (26:10).


Foolishness is bound up in the heart of a child; The rod of discipline will remove it far from him (22:15).

Proverbs offers hope to parents that foolishness can be cured if detected early and disciplined diligently.

  1. FOOLS MUST BE DEALT WITH DIFFERENTLY THAN THOSE WHO ARE WISE. We cannot deal with all men in the same way. Our response to people must be based on the kind of character they have demonstrated.

He who corrects a scoffer gets dishonor for himself, And he who reproves a wicked man gets insults for himself. Do not reprove a scoffer, lest he hate you, Reprove a wise man, and he will love you (9:7-8).

Do not answer a fool according to his folly, Lest you also be like him. Answer a fool as his folly deserves, Lest he be wise in his own eyes (26:4-5).

These considerations necessitate discerning the character of others and, in particular, that of a fool. Not only will we be able to see foolishness in others as a result of our study in Proverbs, we will also see a greater measure of it in ourselves. May God enable us to be honest with ourselves, to confess our foolishness, 2 and to forsake it as sinful and destructive, both to ourselves and to others.

Characteristics of A Fool

It is much easier to identify a fool in terms of what he is not than in terms of what he is. Notice the following characteristics of the fool as the Book of Proverbs describes him.

  1. THE FOOL IS UNRIGHTEOUS. The fool hates what is holy, righteous, and good, and he loves evil.

Desire realized is sweet to the soul, But it is an abomination to fools to depart from evil (13:19).

Doing wickedness is like sport to a fool; And so is wisdom to a man of understanding (10:23).

Fools mock at sin, But among the upright there is good will (14:9).

  1. THE FOOL IS UNWISE. Throughout Proverbs the fool is the counterpart of the wise. Wisdom is contrasted with folly. The fool does not possess wisdom, cannot obtain wisdom, and would not obtain it if he could.


The lips of the righteous feed many, But fools die for lack of understanding (10:21; cf. 1:20-33).


Why is there a price in the hand of a fool to buy wisdom, When he has no sense [literally, “heart”]? (17:16).

A scoffer seeks wisdom, and finds none, But knowledge is easy to him who has understanding (14:6).

Wisdom is too high for a fool, He will not open his mouth in the gate (24:7).

The fool has no capacity for wisdom. In the words of 17:16, he has “no heart” for it. He may seem to seek wisdom, but is incapable of recognizing or retaining it.


The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge; Fools despise wisdom and instruction (1:7; cf. 1:22).

The mind of the intelligent seeks knowledge, But the mouth of fools feeds on folly (15:14).

A fool does not delight in understanding, But only in revealing his own mind (18:2).

Do not speak in the hearing of a fool, For he will despise the wisdom of your words (23:9).

The fool is not neutral toward wisdom–he hates it. Wisdom is to the fool what liver is to me: as freely and frequently as it may be offered to me, I will do everything I can to avoid it.

  1. THE FOOL IS UNREALISTIC. The fool fails to see things as they are. Reality is distorted by the fool’s distorted outlook on life.

THE FOOL IS UNREALISTIC ABOUT HIMSELF in that he overestimates his knowledge and abilities:

“Proud,” “Haughty,” “Scoffer,” are his names, Who acts with insolent pride (21:24).

THE FOOL IS UNREALISTIC ABOUT LIFE. He thinks wisdom can be obtained easily, like purchasing a candy bar at a corner drug store.

Why is there a price in the hand of a fool to buy wisdom, When he has no sense? (17:16).

THE FOOL IS UNCONCERNED WITH PRESENT REALITIES, and is a wishful thinker. His “ship” is always about to “come in.”

Wisdom is in the presence of the one who has understanding, But the eyes of a fool are on the ends of the earth (17:24).

  1. THE FOOL IS UNDISCIPLINED. The fool looks upon self-control as a needless and useless denial of present pleasure. Because of this, every area of his life lacks discipline.


There is precious treasure and oil in the dwelling of the wise, But a foolish man swallows it up (21:30).


A fool’s vexation is known at once, But a prudent man conceals dishonor (12:16).

A fool always loses his temper, But a wise man holds it back (29:11).


A prudent man conceals knowledge, But the heart of fools proclaims folly (12:23, cf. 10:14).

The tongue of the wise makes knowledge acceptable, But the mouth of fools spouts folly (15:2; cf. 18:2,7).

It is little wonder that the fool is referred to as a “babbling fool” (literally, the foolish of lips, 10:8,10).


HE IS UNRELIABLE IN HIS WORK: The fool is dishonest and evil and cannot be trusted in any area.

He cuts off his own feet, and drinks violence . He sends a message by the hand of a fool (26:6).

Like an archer who wounds everyone, So is he who hires a fool or who hires those who pass by (26:10).

HE IS UNRELIABLE IN HIS WORDS. The words of the fool are always to be questioned. He is a liar, a deceiver, and a slanderer.

He who conceals hatred has lying lips, And he who spreads slander is a fool (10:18).

The wisdom of the prudent is to understand his way, But the folly of fools is deceit (14:8).

Better is a poor man who walks in his integrity Than he who is perverse in speech and is a fool (19:1).

Even what the fool believes to be true may be only his worthless opinion. The tongue of the wise makes knowledge acceptable, But the mouth of fools spouts folly (15:2).

The lips of the wise spread knowledge, But the hearts of fools are not so (15:7, cf. v. 14).

  1. THE FOOL IS UNTEACHABLE. Try as you like, attempting to teach a fool is frustrating at best, and often painful. Whenever a fool is faced with wisdom and instruction, he will reject it.

The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge; Fools despise wisdom and instruction (1:7).

Because they hated knowledge, And did not choose the fear of the Lord. They would not accept my counsel, They spurned all my reproof So they shall eat of the fruit of their own way, And be satiated with their own devices. For the waywardness of the naive shall kill them, And the complacency of fools shall destroy them (1:29-32).

Whenever the fool is disciplined, he resists it.

A fool rejects his father’s discipline, But he who regards reproof is prudent (15:5).

He who corrects a scoffer gets dishonor for himself, And he who reproves wicked man gets insults for himself. Do not reprove a scoffer, lest he hate you. Reprove a wise man, and he will love you (9:7-8).

A scoffer does not love one who reproves him, He will not go to the wise (15:12).

A rebuke goes deeper into one who has understanding Than a hundred blows into a fool (17:10).

The folly of a fool is deep-seated. No matter how hard one strives to rid the fool of his folly, such efforts end in failure. A fool and his folly are seemingly inseparable.

Though you pound a fool in a mortar with a pestle along with crushed grain, Yet his folly will not depart from him (27:22).

The fool cannot even learn from his own mistakes. Given the opportunity, he will repeat his folly:

Like a dog that returns to its vomit Is a fool who repeats his folly (26:11).

It is ironic, but true, that while the fool refuses to be taught, he is eager to teach others from his abundance of “wisdom.”

A prudent man conceals knowledge, But the heart of fools proclaims folly (12:23).

A fool does not delight in understanding, But only in revealing his own mind (18:2).

  1. THE FOOL IS UNPLEASANT, UNLIKED, AND UNDESIRABLE. The fool is a menace, a detriment to society. He is a pain to his parents, for he hates them (15:20) and causes them grief (10:1; 17:21,25; 19:23). He is a disaster wherever he goes (10:14; 17:12).He hinders the understanding of others (14:7).His speech is slanderous (10:18). The fool is quarrelsome (20:3), and he stirs up dissension and anger.

A fool’s lips bring strife, And his mouth calls for blows (18:6).

Drive out the scoffer, and contention will go out, Even strife and dishonor will cease (22:10).

Scorners set a city aflame, But wise men turn away anger (29:8).

So far as society is concerned, the fool is an abomination.

The devising of folly is sin, And the scoffer is an abomination to men (24:9).

oh, Gracious Me

April 5, 2017

A common feature of Paul’s letters is his practice of giving thanks to God for believers in the churches he’s writing to. In his second letter to the church of the Thessalonians, Paul twice uses the exact same phrase to let them know he is thankful for them: “We ought always to thank God for you, brothers and sisters” (2Th 1:3; 2:13).

 “Not only does he thank God for them, but he insists on telling them that he thanks God for them.”

  God gives us gifts in one another, and through one another. We are the body of Christ to one another. The recognition that God is behind all of it is central. When Paul gives thanks, he gives thanks to God. All the good works that we do for one another are repurposed gifts, redirected gifts. God first gives, and then as a consequence of this, we are able to give. But we can only give biblically if we ourselves are a gift. When we give, we are imitating God who always gives Himself in the gift. So this is why we render a two-fold thanks. When we say thank you, we say thank you first to God, and secondly to the instrument in God’s hand.

  Here are three ways you can follow Paul’s example and express your gratitude for fellow believers:

  1. Be open in your expression—Paul frequently named names when praising believers before the church. For instance, he praised Andronicus and Junia as “outstanding” apostles (see Ro 16:7). Let individuals know you’re thankful for them. But also make a habit of letting others in the church know you are thankful for those individuals too.

  2. Be generous and specific in your praise—Paul was rather effusive in his praise of Epaphroditus (see Php 2:25–30). Notice that Paul identifies Epaphroditus by noting his various roles—brother, coworker, fellow soldier, messenger—and talks about how he risked his life for the good of the church.

  3. Be thankful in prayer—Don’t just tell people you are thankful for them, let God also know how thankful you are for his servants (2Th 2:13).

In can be hard to say thank you, but once you start recognizing with gratitude what others are offering you, you won’t be able to stop. And today people are so surprised by graciousness and being humble.

God bless from

Remember Joe R, today in prayer


April 1, 2017

From facebook site:  Old Paths w/a Twist of Time.

Of all the heavenly gifts we have to be thankful for, one of the most frequently overlooked is the gift of gratitude. From ants to elephants, God has poured out his blessings on all his creatures. But to humankind alone he has reserved the ability to combine reason and imagination to express thankfulness. G. K. Chesterton even claimed that giving thanks is the highest form of thought, and that gratitude is happiness doubled by wonder.

 Here are three practices to help develop this God-given ability to “always thank God” (1Th 1:2):

  1. Count your blessings—Honing your skill of thanksgiving requires that you expand your capacity to pay attention. I doubt that there is such a thing as a measure of spirituality, but if there is, gratitude would be it. Only the grateful are paying attention. They are grateful because they pay attention, and they pay attention because they are so grateful.

 Make a list every week of five to ten blessings you’ve noticed in your life, numbering each item and listing them only once. Review your list and say a prayer of thanksgiving for each item.

  1. Say grace—Throughout history, Christians have made a habit of “saying grace,” a short prayer recited before a meal to give thanks for their food. While you should continue that discipline (or take it up anew), you might find it helpful to expand the range of when you “say grace.” To quote Chesterton again,

  You say grace before meals. All right. But I say grace before the concert and the opera, and grace before the play and pantomime, and grace before I open a book, and grace before sketching, painting, swimming, fencing, boxing, walking, playing, dancing and grace before I dip the pen in the ink.

  1. Say thanks for your neighbor—Want to make others feel appreciated and share the power of gratitude? Make a habit of contacting someone each week—in person, by phone or through email or social media—and let them know you are grateful they are in your life. The results might surprise you!

Let me heartily reading G.K. Chesterton, the Victorian references and people quoted are dated but the material is priceless. You can even join the Chesterton Society if you get full tilt into it.

God bless from

Remember Joe and his shoulder, pray for insurance approval for surgery

Remember Steve L and peace and calmness

Paul K, surgery this June.

Truly, Truly

March 31, 2017

It doesn’t matter if TV or the movies paint them as funny, emotional, gifted, misunderstood, passionate. Homosexuality is a sin. I am grieved that major charities like the Salvation Army and other charities afraid of lawsuits and loss of funding have committed to the idea that homosexuality is not a sin. That is the official stance of the national office. There is hope that the majority officers still believe in the bible. The salvation army has declared over and over that it doesn’t matter what the bible says about poverty or homosexuality, or even insurance for “alternate spouses”.

Any decision based on fear is a wrong decision, I hope the following shows what the bible truly says and the grace and forgiveness God has for all people.

Lev 18:22 You must not have sexual intercourse with a male as one has sexual intercourse with a woman; it is a detestable act.

This straightforward law prohibits all homosexual acts. It makes no distinctions as to whether or not they were consensual. It comes in the midst of a section of laws related to sexual relationships. No consequence is given here in each verse for the individual laws, but rather they are all listed as things that must not be done. All of the items in this chapter’s list are said to “defile” (Lev. 18:24) and are called “abominations” (Lev. 18:27, 30).

Rom 1:20-32 For since the creation of the world his invisible attributes — his eternal power and divine nature — have been clearly seen, because they are understood through what has been made. So people are without excuse. (21) For although they knew God, they did not glorify him as God or give him thanks, but they became futile in their thoughts and their senseless hearts were darkened. (22) Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools (23) and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for an image resembling mortal human beings or birds or four-footed animals or reptiles. (24) Therefore God gave them over in the desires of their hearts to impurity, to dishonor their bodies among themselves. (25) They exchanged the truth of God for a lie and worshiped and served the creation rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen.

(26) For this reason God gave them over to dishonorable passions. For their women exchanged the natural sexual relations for unnatural ones, (27) and likewise the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed in their passions for one another. Men committed shameless acts with men and received in themselves the due penalty for their error. (28) And just as they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them over to a depraved mind, to do what should not be done. (29) They are filled with every kind of unrighteousness, wickedness, covetousness, malice. They are rife with envy, murder, strife, deceit, hostility. They are gossips, (30) slanderers, haters of God, insolent, arrogant, boastful, contrivers of all sorts of evil, disobedient to parents, (31) senseless, covenant-breakers, heartless, ruthless. (32) Although they fully know God’s righteous decree that those who practice such things deserve to die, they not only do them but also approve of those who practice them.

This text discusses homosexuality more extensively than any other New Testament passage. However, homosexuality is not the overarching theme of this section. Paul wants to clearly explain the gospel. To do that though, it is necessary to show that all people are under God’s judgment and condemnation—and thus in need of the gospel. He starts by declaring that because the testimony of God is visible in nature all are without excuse for their rebellion against Him. The just wrath of God is on all ungodliness (Rom. 1). Then he shows that in condemning the sin of others we actually condemn ourselves (Rom. 2). Likewise even the Jewish people with the law are still fully under God’s condemnation for their sin. Furthermore they are incapable of remedying the situation (Rom. 2-3). Thus it does not matter whether one is apart from the law or under it. All people stand condemned without partiality. This paves the way for explaining God’s grace in Jesus—which is the good news of the gospel. There is indeed one way of deliverance from this predicament.

So this section on homosexuality occurs in the portion showing why God’s wrath is upon humanity, and how humanity is inexcusable before Him. Before moving to the negative, Paul starts with the positive good news that he is intent on sharing. The righteousness of God is revealed in the gospel which is received by faith (Rom. 1:17). By contrast the wrath of God is revealed as being upon the ungodliness of mankind (Rom. 1:18). Where is this ungodliness seen? Where is this suppressing of the truth seen? It is seen in the inexcusable idolatry of humanity. All have seen in creation the invisible attributes of God, His eternal power and nature (Rom. 1:19-20). However instead of worshipping the true creator, humanity moved to idolatry and worshipping creation (Rom. 1:23-25). The existence of nature demands that there be a designer. This truth is suppressed and turned to the worship of self or some other created thing. One of God’s judgments for this behavior is the turning over of humanity to their own sinful desires (Rom. 1:24). This giving over to sinfulness and its consequences specifically includes homosexuality (Rom. 1:26-28). It also includes a whole list of other sins more briefly mentioned (Rom. 1:29-32).

God has designed men and women with functional capabilities. According to this text these capabilities are rebelled against through homosexual acts.

From this text then, we see that homosexuality is an example of God having delivered people over to the consequences of having rebelled against Him. It is not the only sin listed, but is indeed the highlighted one. It seems that this example is given because homosexuality diametrically opposes the clear design of God. God made people in His image (Gen. 1:27) with a built in complementary design in the marriage of a male to a female (Gen. 2:22-25). To commit actions clearly opposite God’s plan at the nature level distinctly declare the reality of rebellion. It declares that God’s very design and plan were wrong and inadequate. As it is listed here, homosexuality and the rest of the sins listed, are a part of God’s immediate (though not final) judgment. Sin is a judgment upon itself—in that it reaps what it sows. Additionally, the willful exchange of the truth of God for a lie can result in God delivering people over to a depraved mind. One’s ability to reason or view things in an accurate moral way can be seriously impaired (Rom. 1:28).

However, lest any become self-righteous, Paul immediately moves on to showing that all are condemned under sin. Indeed, condemning the sin of others condemns oneself (Rom. 2:1-5). The only reason Paul can share any of this in a worthwhile way is because he is not relying on his own righteousness. He is relying on the righteousness of God. This has been given to him in Christ Jesus by the grace of God. He himself has been forgiven of his sin. The point was not to condemn others in order to justify himself. The point was to make clear the existence of sin for every individual so that the grace of God that had rescued him could be shared with fellow humans who needed deliverance just like he had needed it.

The same purpose and point that Paul had here in the book of Romans remains for Christians to share today. We too are fellow sinners. We too were under God’s full and immense wrath. I too am a sinner condemned by these truths. By God’s grace we may be forgiven. Yet even with that grace, in ourselves we are not any better than anyone else. We have nothing of which to boast. This shows God’s work to be that much more amazing. That He would love and redeem us while we were His enemies in such a deep rebellion against Him is almost incomprehensible. This same grace that has changed and is changing our lives and that will bring us eternity with God in a perfected existence is available to the whole world. No person, gender, race, nationality, ethnic group, class, or any other possible division is excluded from this offer of the gift of grace. This is the grace Christians should be offering, because it is the true grace of God.

1 Cor. 6:9-11 Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived! The sexually immoral, idolaters, adulterers, passive homosexual partners, practicing homosexuals, (10) thieves, the greedy, drunkards, the verbally abusive, and swindlers will not inherit the kingdom of God. (11) Some of you once lived this way. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.

Unequivocally then this is a strong and definitive statement about sin and its consequences as well as about the one way to be rescued from them. In this context Paul is powerfully reminding the Corinthian church that these kinds of behavior are not compatible with the kingdom of God. In this portion of the book Paul has been dealing with quite a number of behavioral and ethical problems that have been plaguing the church. Their former behaviors were influencing their lives presently in a completely inappropriate way. Apparently it had gotten so bad that Paul even challenged them in a following letter to examine themselves to see whether they had truly become believers (2 Cor. 13:5).

These sins in and of themselves were nothing that would keep them from truly accepting the grace of God and becoming children of God. However a continuation in them as a manner of life11 would be an indication that they were not truly believers and not going to inherit the kingdom of God (cf. 1 John 3). Quite helpfully for us today, this is a clear statement that some of the Corinthians had become believers out of that manner of life. This should lead us to at least two conclusions:

  1. Like other sins, homosexual behavior may be forgiven. God’s grace is not limited by this or any other sin. As Romans 5:20 states:

Moreover the law entered, that the offence might abound. But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound: (21) That as sin hath reigned unto death, even so might grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord. (KJV)

  1. Since Christians have come out of such sins, they should be the ones most desirous to share God’s love with others. As 2 Corinthians 5:17-21 states:

So then, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; what is old has passed away — look, what is new has come! (18) And all these things are from God who reconciled us to himself through Christ, and who has given us the ministry of reconciliation. (19) In other words, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting people’s trespasses against them, and he has given us the message of reconciliation. (20) Therefore we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were making His plea through us. We plead with you on Christ’s behalf, “Be reconciled to God!” (21) God made the one who did not know sin to be sin for us, so that in him we would become the righteousness of God.

God bless from