What a Day

tummyhurtsfridgeAfter almost 25 years, the refrigerator died. It was Monday night when I discovered the demise of our faithful household companion and I wasn’t pleased. My plans for Tuesday would have to change and I knew that whatever happened, I didn’t have the money I’d need after not being paid several months.

I spent Tuesday morning talking to appliance repairmen, all of whom said that such an old appliance was not worth trying to resurrect. It would have to be replaced. I made the drive into town to do what I couldn’t afford.

The new refrigerator would be delivered in the afternoon. While waiting for the imminent knock at the door, my task would be to sort through everything that was quickly thawing and determine what could be saved and what needed to be thrown out; an unpleasant task.

About 1 pm came the expected knock. When I opened the door, our high-strung cat went berserk and dashed outside. She’s never been outside the house before. That fast she was gone.

It took over an hour for the delivery men to figure out how to remove the old refrigerator, then another half-hour to bring in and set up the new one. In that time there wasn’t a hint of the cat.

I wondered how the day could get worse. Then I remembered the Scripture that being Spirit-filled means giving thanks always for all things to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ … (Ephesians 5:20).

Though the afternoon didn’t get any better, my attitude did. No matter what happened, God was still worthy of praise and thanks. Somehow in all the problems, God was at work blessing me and making me more like Jesus.

To God Be the Glory

grace-and-glory-churchOne of the most amazing moment of my life and ministry came this past July in Kenya at a bush church called Grace and Glory Church. For nearly six hours I preached on the Doctrines of Grace – how God chooses us for salvation by grace and securely keeps us unto Himself for all eternity. The crowd of pastors and churchmen sat in rapt attention as I read and explained each word from John 6, 8, and 10. It was a message few had ever heard before.

As I concluded, I stressed that all we do as pastors and Christians, is to be for the glory of God, for He alone is worthy of all glory, honor, and praise. I stood on the floor among the enthusiastic standing-room only crowd and began to sing one of my favorite American hymns.

To God be the glory – great things He hath done;

So loved He the world that He gave us His Son,

Who yielded His life an atonement for sin,

And opened the lifegate that all may go in.

Praise the Lord! Praise the Lord! Let the earth hear His voice!

Praise the Lord! Praise the Lord! Let the people rejoice!

O come to the Father thro’ Jesus, the Son,

And give Him the glory – great things He hath done!

A few words into the song and a young Kenyan near the front stood and joined me. Soon the entire convocation was standing and those who knew the song sang so that all Heaven and nature were ringing.

When I finished, I asked the young man at my side to lead the church again, but in the native tongue. It was marvelous sight and sound as men and women, elderly and children, black and brown and white, Americans and various Kenyan tribesmen joined as one praising the God of Redemption. For a moment, we had something of a real-time glimpse of what will be one day.

And they sang a new song, saying: You are worthy to take the scroll, and to open its seals; for You were slain, and have redeemed us to God by Your blood out of every tribe and tongue and people and nation, and have made us kings and priests to our God; and we shall reign on the earth. Worthy is the Lamb who was slain to receive power and riches and wisdom, and strength and honor and glory and blessing! (Revelation 5:9, 10, 12).

For a video on our 2016 ministry trip to Kenya, click here.

 

The Nature of Faith

The nature of faith

My car was having trouble, so I took it to a good friend who knows much more about engines than I will ever know. I described the problem, then he looked at the engine and listened to it run. After but a few minutes he knew the problem. When he began explaining the problem and the repair, I stopped him. “I don’t understand what you’re talking about, but I trust you. Just fix it.”

When you trust someone, you don’t need all the information or answers. You accept and believe what he says.

God is all-knowing and His wisdom is perfect. Trusting God means that you don’t need an explanation. You are confident in Him, trust his character and accept His actions.

I’ve heard people say, maybe somewhat facetiously, “When I get to Heaven God’s going to have a lot of explaining to do.” Is that you? Do you today need proof, reasons, and explanations, as if you would understand His motives and ways? or do you know that God does no wrong and His word is faithful and true?

This is the nature of faith.

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).

Our Last Hope

the-last-hopeMy hope is in the Lord – not in any political party nor in any politician. Jesus is the Saviour. He is the only hope in this world.

No politician is our “last hope.” If our hope is any person, party, or political movement to “save” our country, our dream, our religion or way of life, we are idolaters and must repent.

No king is saved by the multitude of an army; a mighty man is not delivered by great strength. A horse is a vain hope for safety; neither shall it deliver any by its great strength.

Behold, the eye of the Lord is on those who fear Him, on those who hope in His mercy. To deliver their soul from death, and to keep them alive in famine.

Our soul waits for the Lord; He is our help and our shield (Psalm 33:16-20).

There’s No Place Like Home

no-place-like-homeAs Dorothy Gale clicked the heels of her ruby-red heels together, she repeated the phrase, “There’s no place like home.” Before she knew it, Dorothy was transported from the beautiful and living Technicolor Oz back to the home of Uncle Henry and Aunt Em in black-and-white Kansas.

In L Frank Baum’s classic books, the Land of Oz increasingly became increasingly more home to Dorothy than Kansas and she returned to live the rest of her life in the Emerald City.

Home isn’t necessarily where you grew up, where your house is located, or where your family stays. You can live in a place or with people and it still isn’t home. Sometimes it’s their home and not your own. The ancient Greek philosopher Pliny the Elder had it right when he wrote, Home is where the heart is.

Not a portion of a day passes when I’m not aware that this place is not my home. My body is here, but my heart is not. All that I am and all that is within me yearns to be where my heart is.

Where is your heart? And where is your home?

By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to the place which he would afterward receive as an inheritance. And he went out, not knowing where he was going. But now they desire a better, that is, a heavenly country. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for He has prepared a city for them (Hebrews 11:8, 16).

1.6 Million Gallons of Blood

Human HeartWithout shedding of blood there is no remission of sins (Hebrews 9:22).

The average human heart pumps from 770,000 to 1.6 million gallons (6.06 million liters) of blood through your body each year – enough to fill 200 railroad tank cars.

Yet all the blood in the world was insufficient to pay the penalty of even one man’s sins. So God came in human flesh, to shed His own blood, and pay in-full the penalty for our sins.

Jesus Christ, the faithful witness, the firstborn from the dead, and ruler over the kings of the earth. To Him who loved us and washed us from our sins in His own blood (Revelation 1:5).

God Remembers

dustCleaning house is not my proverbial cup of tea. While cleaning the other day, I found a bookshelf that had accumulated a thin layer of dust.  Instinctively, I inhaled deeply to blow . . .  I stopped.

Dust is fragile and easily blown about. Each tiny particle floats on any breeze that passes without a seeming path until it gently settles again into a quiet place of rest. It remains there until someone walks by, a door gets slammed, the cat finds a new spot to romp, or a man decides to clean.

The Bible says, As a father pities his children, so the Lord pities those who fear Him. For He knows our frame; He remembers that we are dust (Psalm 103:13-14). 

We forget what we are, but He remembers and has compassion.

One of Us

kim-esther-mutaliaMy wife isn’t big on attention, but I cannot say enough in praise of her.

At every preaching point in Kenya, I’d invite my wife to the platform to greet the churches and then sing a song or two. At the pulpit, she would greet the people with a few phrases of Swahili, the national language of Kenya. The crowds would cheer, clap, and shout with joy that she was speaking to them in their own language.

Before leaving the US, Kim learned some Swahili phrases to show her love and respect for the Kenyan people; they appreciated that she loved them so much that she would identify with them.

Jesus came into this world as a baby, speaking the birth language of every human being at birth. He was raised by two parents, went to school, played with His friends, worked alongside Joseph, and did chores. Every day He lived as a Man though He was the Creator of all men. The Son of God set aside the glories of Heaven and came as the Son of Man among men, speaking as a Man. He did this to demonstrate clearly – to speak unmistakably – so that every person could understand Him, His purpose, and His love.

When the fullness of the time had come, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman (Galatians 4:4).

** To watch a video of our 2016 ministry trip to Kenya, click here!

Free Hugs

Love and Free Hugs

The man walked down the street offering “free” hugs with the promise of creating world peace. He also said that the government must forcefully take the wealth of others to satisfy the greed of those who have less.

If these juvenile beliefs were true, we could abolish the police and the military and create “Hug Squads.” No need for courts or jails, UN peacekeepers or human rights tribunals. No locked doors, secret PIN numbers on your debit card, self-defense classes or pepper spray. Folks, just hug the mugger, the thief, the murderer and rapist into stopping his behavior.

This love-and-hug philosophy is nothing but the foolish rejection of basic Bible doctrines concerning sin, human depravity, judgment, God’s holiness, and the need of redemption in Christ Jesus.

Imagine that God could have withheld His judgment against Sodom and Gomorrah for homosexuality by sending hug and love squads. The final judgment could be avoided by God simply hugging evildoers into Heaven. Jesus didn’t need to die on the cross when hugs are the real solution.

The Bible is a revelation of God’s holiness and man’s utter contempt for himself, for others, and for God. A society which rejects God and the Bible has nowhere else to go but to idiotic philosophies and satanic deceptions to divert themselves from God’s truth.

The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked; who can know it? I, the LORD, search the heart, I test the mind, even to give every man according to his ways, and according to the fruit of his doings. Blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD, and whose hope is the LORD (Jeremiah 17:9-10, 7).

His Grace

Canada Geese Flying at Sunrise --- Image by © Chase Swift/CORBISSummer is over and this morning I hear the Canada Geese flying overhead as they make their long journey south to escape the freezing weather soon to arrive. By a God-given instinct, they know when to leave and where they belong, and it isn’t here.

Flocks of hundreds will fly together along the coastline for thousands of miles until they reach the sunny beaches of southern California. Some will go even further south into Mexico where food and warmth are abundant.

Someone once said that the child of God can never be comfortable in this world because he was created for eternity. While we’re here God’s grace sufficiently supplies our every need, but that doesn’t satisfy the unquenchable yearning to be with Him, the virtue of grace replaced by His Grace.

How lovely is Your tabernacle, O Lord of hosts! My soul longs, yes even faints for the courts of the Lord; my heart and my flesh cry out for the living God (Psalm 42:2)