Spot the Dog

Spot the Dog

My eldest sister had a dog she named Drifter. Drifter was completely white – except for his red tongue.

One day a friend of my younger sister came to the house and heard me call to the dog, “Come, Spot! Come!” She asked, “Why do you call him Spot if he’s all white?”

I replied, “Because I always wanted a dog named Spot.”

We can call something by any name we choose. The name can make sense or it may simply be a personal fancy. You may call yourself by any name you like: spiritual, religious, atheist, Christian, liberal, Methodist, evangelical, or brother; but the Lord knows those who are His (2 Timothy 2:19) through trust alone in Christ Jesus alone.

I have written to you not to keep company with anyone who calls himself a brother, but is sexually immoral, or covetous, or an idolater, or a reviler, or a drunkard, or an extortioner – not even to eat with such a person (First Corinthians 5:11).

Peace of Mind and Heart

Andy Griffith Show

Do a quick internet search. If you’re buying, and gullible, someone is selling something to play off your fears and insecurities.

Top fashion models swear that smoking cigarettes is a great diet tool (here). But when it comes to feeling great and weight loss, who cares what medical science says?

Someone else promises that if you follow his special plan, you can win the romantic interest of any woman you want (here).

Here’s a pastor who has the “secret” to answered prayer every single time – no matter the problem – as long as you follow his pattern (here).  I guess God’s will is to do what you want … you are His commander.

For centuries, the yoga practice of dhauti has taught the necessity of cleansing the body by swallowing damp cloth rags. The Hindu religion claims that cleaning the inside of your body cures coughs, infections, blood issues, cancers, weight problems, poor eye-sight, barrenness, and even leprosy (here).

Hindus also, by the millions, swear that collecting and drinking the urine of virgin cows at sunrise cures high blood pressure, cancer, diabetes and much, much more. So many satisfied customers testify to the benefits!  (here)

One of my favorite episodes of The Andy Griffith Show featured Aunt Bee and her church ladies missionary society. A handsome medicine man showed up in Mayberry promising a cure-all with just a spoonful of his special homemade “medicine.” Well, Aunt Bee, feeling tired and old, drank the medicine. She felt so much better she passed it around to all the church ladies. When Sheriff Taylor got home he found all the ladies drunk as skunks. The man’s “medicine” was nothing more than whiskey. The proof of the cure was right there in the bottle! The promise of “feeling better” snookered Aunt Bee’s fears about her age (watch the episode here).

God never promised that following Him would make life easier, but just the opposite: All who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution (2 Tim 3:12). Rather than playing to our insecurities and making empty promises, God tells us the truth without any con-man sales techniques, hocus-pocus pseudo-science, or urban myths.

In the midst of our troubles and trials, aches and pains, sorrows and questions, doubts and fears, God never promises to make everything better but that He’ll be with us in our struggles, filling us with His peace. I am leaving you with a gift – peace of mind and heart! And the peace I give isn’t fragile like the peace the world gives. So don’t be troubled or afraid (John 14:27 LB).

I Trust

trust

Today, Father:

I trust that You not only know what is best, but that You only do what is best.

I rest in Your power, protection, and provision for me.

You are Lord of my life and Ruler of this world.

Through Jesus, my Redeemer. Amen.

Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and His ways past finding out!  (Romans 11:33).

A Pile of Manure

 

horse manure

A scientist wanted to know the difference between a pessimist and an optimist. He filled two rooms with horse manure, then placed a child with a shovel in each room.

As he observed, one child was disgusted, banging on the door, complaining, and whining to be let out. “It stinks in here! Let me out!”

At the same time, the other child was digging feverishly through the manure.

The scientist let both children from their rooms and asked the child who had been digging why he was so excited. The child replied, “With so much manure, I knew there had to be a horse in there somewhere.” He was the optimist!

We hear a lot in some church circles about having a positive attitude. Being optimistic is a great trait, but that church crowd has it all wrong. Never once does God say in the Bible to have a positive attitude; instead, He says to have a thankful attitude both “in” and “for” all things.

In everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you (1 Thessalonians 5:18).

Give thanks always for all things to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ (Ephesians 5:20).

Resurrection Taxidermy

Resurrection Taxidermy

The sign on the little building read: Resurrection Taxidermy.  Taxidermy is the art of taking the skin of an animal and arranging it over a form to make it appear living again.  It’s only an illusion.  While the animal may be forever preserved, it’s not alive.

The Christian doctrine of resurrection isn’t the rearrangement of skin over a lifeless skeleton.

When Jesus died, His body was buried (Luke 23:50-56).  Three days later, His spirit returned to the body that was in the grave and that body returned to life (1 Cor 15:42-44). This is resurrection.

The same body that went into the grave is the body that came out of the grave: nail wounds and all! (Luke 24:39-40). This body, still sporting nail scars in the hands and feet, and a spear wound in his side, is the body that came to life (John 20:26-29). It is the body that Jesus still has, and is the body He will return in one day.

The Bible says that we all – redeemed  (1 Cor 15:50-55) and the wicked (Revelation 20:11-15) – will be resurrected too, and spend eternity in either Heaven or Hell.

Christians Side With Mammon. Mammon Sided with Barabbas. | RedState

“One thousand nine hundred eighty-one years ago today, the world chose to spare a criminal and crucify God himself.”  Too many Christians (& their pastors) are doing the same today.

Christians Side With Mammon. Mammon Sided with Barabbas. | RedState.

Ashamed

Richard L Rice

I got my eyeglasses when I was in the first grade. It was impossible to read the chalkboard in Mrs Clay’s first grade class.  She refused to move me closer to the front of the room because everyone was seated alphabetically.  With the last name of Rice, I was stuck in the back.

Later that school year I got my first pair of eyeglasses.  No 6-year old boy wants to be seen wearing big, clunky, black-rimmed glasses.  Even then I was embarrassed and my imagination raced.  What would the other kids think? What awful names would I be called? Would anyone like me? The answer was to hide my glasses so no one could know my secret.

It was a short walk from home and through the alleyway to Peter Boscow School. I took my glasses off and tucked them into my pocket.  Once at school I’d sneak them into my desk without anyone noticing and then I’d be normal like everyone else.

One day the weather was warm and I hurried home after school to play.  I wasn’t out long when my mother asked where my glasses were.  What could I say?  I was “busted.”

Mom took me back to school where I had to find a janitor and then ask to be let back into my classroom.  In the 41 years since, I’ve never gone a day without wearing my glasses. They are as much a part of my life as my eyeballs are.  I’m not ashamed by them.  I depend on them.

Some of us are ashamed by things or people in our lives. We hide them in our pocket or desk and bring them out only when we think that no one we know will see us. We keep them a secret out of fear. Some of us treat Jesus this way. He’s fine to be seen with on Sunday … usually, but during the week we hide Him so there isn’t any conflict, shame or embarrassment.  You may not hide Him completely, but enough to not cause any trouble.

But if Jesus has given you perfect sight so you can see, why would you hide Him?

I am not ashamed, for I know whom I have believed (1 Timothy 1:12).

I Met Jesus

Meet Jesus

I met Jesus. He changed my life.

If your friend told you that he met Abraham Lincoln last Tuesday at the ice cream shop in the mall, you’d think he was a liar, he was delusional, or that he’d had the most marvelous encounter. How would you know?

Since he’s your friend, you should know whether or not a story like this is something he’d make up. Liars tend to lie about many things.

He might be delusional, not knowing reality from fantasy. Abraham Lincoln, the 16th president of the United States, was murdered on Good Friday of 1865. It is impossible for him to still be alive and walking through an American mall searching for a Rocky Road cone with sprinkles.

Your friend could be telling the truth … but it would require Lincoln to have been raised from the dead and posses everlasting life.

Today there are hundreds of millions who claim to have personally met the risen and living Christ Jesus and been changed by Him. Does this belief make them all liars? Are so many people mad with the exact same delusion? or does it make them men and women who have met the living God in the person of Jesus and been changed by faith in Him?

… The Christ would suffer, that He would be the first to rise from the dead, and would proclaim light to the Jewish people and to the Gentiles …. I am not mad … but speak the words of truth and reason (Acts 26:23, 25).

Return, Return

Return, return, O Shulamite; Return, return, that we may look upon you!  (Song of Solomon 6:13).

It may be one of the most famous photographs of all time.  A sailor, just returned from World War Two, runs down the street kissing every woman he finds.  His wasn’t love of a woman, but a love of returning home.

When you’re in love, every moment away from that special person seems like an eternity.  Thoughts float back-and-forth between what you need to be doing and how much you miss your love.  The days seem longer; the nights darker; each moment an eternity.  Every ring of the phone brings hope in hearing the voice you’ve been longing to hear.  Separation begets feelings of loneliness and every heartbeat pulsates into echoing aches of “Return!  Return!  Return!”

Then comes the day of reunited love.  Anticipation satisfied. Love consummated!

And the Spirit and the bride say, “Come!”  And let him who hears say, “Come!”  (Revelation 22:17).

Eager

fluffy

Our cat Fluffy knows something we don’t know: She knows when someone is going to visit before they knock at the door. She’ll either run to the door if it’s a friend and wait, or raise her back and hiss if it’s a stranger.

When we arrive home at night, Fluffy is sitting at the door ready to welcome us.  She’ll wait until I bend over, pet the top of her head, and tell her she’s a good kitty.  Then she heads for her food dish.

For our citizenship is in heaven, from which we also eagerly wait for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ (Philippians 3:20).