If I had a Million Dollars

winning-a-million-dollarsWhen he was 13, Daniel asked what I’d do if I won the lottery. It wasn’t a difficult question to answer because I’ve never bought a lottery ticket – and never will, but I know what he was asking. He wondered how our lives would change with more money.

The answer was simple: my life wouldn’t change. There would be no new house; I’d stay in my old manufactured home which keeps me dry and warm. No new car; my little Yaris gets me from point A to point B just fine. There might have been a few new toys for Daniel, but the rest would be given away to those whose needs are much greater than my own.

Evangelist John Wesley said, Money never stays with me long; I give it away as fast as I get it lest it burn a hole through my pocket and into my heart. 

For me, giving to God’s work and investing in others is more important than having more for myself. Dr CI Scofield used to remind his students that God won’t judge us based on what percentage we give to Him, but on how much we keep for ourselves.  Americans are a very, very generous people, but we still spend far more on ourselves for lives that are quickly fading into eternity.

A little that a righteous man has is better than the riches of many wicked. For the arms of the wicked shall be broken, but the Lord upholds the righteous  (Psalm 37:16-17).

God Was Lonely

god-was-lonelyGod was lonely, so He created man. He needed someone to love, and to be loved in return. At least that’s what I grew up thinking. The Bible tells a different story.

The Bible doesn’t say that Adam was lonely in the Garden of Eden, just alone (Genesis 2:18, 20) in that there was not yet another creature among all of the animals comparable with Adam. On the 6th day, God also created Eve so humanity could fulfill God’s command to be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it (Genesis 1:28).

Likewise, the Bible doesn’t say that God felt all alone and created man to fill His purposeless days and soothe His empty nights.

In His prayer the night He was arrested by the Jewish mob, Jesus prayed,

You have sent Me, and have loved them [the disciples] as You have loved Me. Father, I desire that they also whom You gave Me may be with Me where I am, that they may behold My glory which You have given Me; for You loved Me before the foundation of the world (John 17:23, 24).

God is love and before the Earth was formed or Adam walked in the Garden, the Father loved His Son (1 John 4:8). Perfect love existed in eternity!

We weren’t created as a balm for a very needy God with an empty heart. The truth is, we have done everything but love Him, yet He has still made us the recipients of His great love. Behold, what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called the children of God (1 John 3:1).

Flying to Kenya

where living begins, pastor, Richard L Rice, Kimberly Rice, Matthew Ferraro, Kenya

When I make my journey to Kenya in a few weeks, and then home again, I’ll have to fly on 7 different planes and pass through 9 airports. The travel time will be a total of over 68 hours. Total distance by air is 22,990 miles at a cost of 9 cents per mile.

The Bible says that to be absent from the body means being present with the Lord (2 Corinthians 5:8).

For the one whose trust is in Christ Jesus alone, upon death our:

  • Flight time to Heaven is instantaneous;
  • Distance traveled is immeasurable;
  • Cost to us, nothing; cost to God, the death of His Son;
  • Time waiting in airports is nil.

And thus we shall always be with the Lord (1 Thessalonians 4:17).

Restless

Carson City is the capital of Nevada. It’s a beautiful small city with an old-West feel, nestled against the snow-covered Carson Range. Driving into Carson after hours of dead Nevada desert was like entering a paradise.

The friendly and overly-talkative hotel manager walked us from the front desk to our room. I opened the door, wheeled in our luggage and plopped myself headlong onto one of the two beds. I couldn’t bounce up fast enough. The bed cover was wet and smelled of urine!

I wadded up the bed cover, held it at arm’s-length, and with my head turned sideways marched across the parking lot to the front desk. We couldn’t wait to get moved to another room, a clean room, which was given to us free for our stay.

Like that room, life is full of filth in a filthy world. We live in a world that is being destroyed by man’s sins and is condemned under the curse of God. Yes, there is still extreme beauty and much happiness to experience, but as CS Lewis asked, Has this world been so kind to you that you should leave it with regret? There are better things ahead than any we leave behind. 

Sadly, many people have become used to living in the filth and now think of it as the acceptable standard. For the Christian, the sin, ravages of moral rot, and God’s curse upon this world only makes us restless to be in the perfect presence of Christ in Heaven.

We are always confident, knowing that while we are at home in the body we are absent from the Lord. We are confident, yes, well pleased rather to be absent from the body and to be present with the Lord (Philippians 5:6, 8).

Scare the Hell

Scare the Hell 10 2015Marcus went to bed earlier than usual. The morning would bring a special day for the 13-year old. He was trying out for his junior high school basketball team and needed to be rested and ready to make the squad.

From out of the hallway he heard the clock chime its familiar tune. It was 2 am. “So much for going to bed early if I don’t fall asleep early,” he thought to himself.

A short time later Marcus awoke to a screeching sound and the smell of smoke. In the same hallway where the clock chimed every hour hung the smoke alarm. He heard his parents yelling and his two baby sisters crying. He was scared. Just then his bedroom door smashed open. Marcus jumped hastily from his bed and followed his father through the smoky hallway to the front door. He could feel the searing heat of the flames as he rushed past the kitchen.

Safe outside, the family huddled in the street as the police arrived and then a fire truck. Now every part of the house lit up the night sky. Marcus felt dazed by what he was seeing. Everything he had … everything he knew … it was gone. He was sure he was going to puke.

The young teen turned in the street toward the sidewalk just in time to walk into the path of a passing car, the driver looking at the fire rather than the road. Marcus was dead.

Just because you scare the Hell out of someone with tales of everlasting fire, the mark of the beast, or a world war, doesn’t mean he is safe in the arms of Jesus. Threats and fears don’t convert men; only grace through faith in Jesus saves.

 Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved (Acts 16:31).

Divine Health and Financial Prosperity Today

My son and I were in a very serious car accident in December of 2006. After many legal battles and much time, the insurance company was required by the court to make a payment to Daniel. As Daniel was still a child, the court mandated that the money be put into a conservatorship. This means that while all the money belongs to Daniel, he’s unable to touch it until he reaches a certain age. It has long been his award, but it will be unrealized until a much later date.

Some of us are so untaught in God’s Word that we can’t discern the difference between God’s promises for life on earth and His promises for Heaven. This ignorance of the Bible leads us to expect – and even demand and declare – things from God which He has set aside in conservatorship for others or for eternity.

Sin within the heart demands satisfaction here and now. Promises of financial prosperity, divine health, and social superiority appeal to the heart which is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked (Jeremiah 17:9). Greed, pride, jealousy, selfishness, discontentment, and many other sins are fed and enlarged by purveyors of a man-centered gospel.

The Bible says that as Christians, our citizenship is in Heaven (Philippians 3:20); we await a heavenly country and the city there which God has prepared for us (Hebrews 11:15). It’s not material things, but every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ that God has given us (Ephesians 1:3).

Let’s stop expecting Heaven on earth and instead seek those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God. Set your mind on things above, not on the things on the earth. For you died and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is our life appears, then you also will appear with Him in glory (Colossians 3:1-4).

No Night There

no-sunAs we progress from winter into spring here in the American Pacific Northwest, we’re adding about 3 minutes of daylight each day.

December 21st is the darkest day of the year with less than 8 hours of daylight – that is when the sky isn’t black with heavy rain clouds. That compares to the middle of June when we’ll reach nearly more than 16 hours of light each day.

Come on summer!!!

The Bible says that Heaven has no need of the sun or of the moon to shine in it, for the glory of God illuminates it, and the Lamb is its light. And there shall be no night there: They need no lamp nor light of the sun, for the Lord God gives them light. And they shall reign forever and ever (Revelation 21:23; 22:5).

Imagine living for eternity in the homeland of Almighty God where there is never any material or spiritual darkness because the glory of Jesus shines without the hint of dimming.

My Resume

my-resumeThere isn’t much to my resume. The education section is short, my work history is not much more. I grew up in a religious home, the daughter of an Episcopal priest. I barely made it through high school. I graduated and ran away from home to live in a Christian commune in California delivering newspapers, sorting carrots, picking daffodils, and washing dishes.

When I mistakenly decided I was good with God, I bought a car and ran away in the middle of the night with only $30 in my pocket. Only a few years ago did I really learn of my sinfulness and need of Saviour.

Looking back, I learned a lot during those earlier years of life. I added to my knowledge of Jesus and learned to play the guitar. I also learned and lived a lot of things I wish I hadn’t. Who knows where I’d be without those experiences, but those experiences don’t work on a job resume.

My resume for Heaven is more substantial because having Jesus is all that really counts.

As Christians, we are each writing an eternal resume of the things we’ve accomplished for His glory. We don’t have to put down our sins because they don’t exist to Him; they’re just blank space on the page. His interest is in what we’ve done to honor Him.

I’m not great, but Jesus thinks I’m amazing because of what He’s doing in me. It’s not always easy to accept, but He loves me for who I am.

By the grace of God I am what I am, and His grace toward me was not in vain; but I labored more abundantly than they all, yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me  (First Corinthians 15:10).

– Written by Kimberly Rice

Does Prayer Change the Mind of God

pray-to-change-gods-mindNow this is the confidence that we have in Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us (1 John 5:14).

Can prayer change the mind of God?

Let’s say that you pray tomorrow that God turns all the snow in the world into gold dust. Will God bend to your prayer?

“No. Of course not,” you say. “God only answers prayer in accordance with His will.”

Let’s increase the number of those praying from just you to six people, or to 6 thousand, or even 6 billion. Will the numbers of people praying force God to answer that prayer?

Again the answer is, “No. Of course not. God only answers prayer in accordance with His will.”

Is God’s will established, or is it fluid and ever-changing nilly-willy like a young boy with only a dollar at the candy store? If God’s will is established in eternity, then no prayer or amount of prayer can change His mind or His will. All things serve His will.

Forever, O Lord, Your word is settled in heaven. Your faithfulness endures to all generations; You established the earth, and it abides. They continue this day according to Your ordinances, for all are Your servants. Concerning Your testimonies, I have known of old that You have founded them forever (Psalm 119:89-91, 152).

If prayer does not change God’s mind, why do we pray? Prayer achieves at least three purposes: First, it turns us to acknowledge God and our continual dependence upon Him; second, He uses prayer to change our hearts in submission to His will; and third, it fulfills God’s command to commune with Him by the means of prayer.

Holding the Rock

can-you-hold-the-rock

The Lord is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer; the God of my strength, in Him I will trust

(2 Samuel 22:2, 3)

 

So Greek mythology goes, the part-human part-god Atlas and his brother participated in a coup against Zeus, the chief of the gods. Zeus won the battle and confined most of the rebels in Tartarus, but Atlas received a special punishment.  Atlas was forced to stand on the western edge of the world and hold up the sky for all eternity.

You and I are familiar with more recent artistry depicting Atlas holding up the world; but classical Greek and Roman statuary always depicts Atlas holding up the heavens.

Forget the sky, imagine how hard it would be to hold up this big, round, rock that is our world? Could you hold up the rock? How heavy would it be? How strong would you need to be? Would it be easier and better for the rock to hold you?

Jesus spoke in Matthew 7:24-27 of a man who built his house upon a rock. When the winds and the rains came, the house stood firm because it was built upon the rock. Then Jesus explained that anyone who hears and does what He says is like the man who has built upon a solid rock.

Christians are built upon the Rock; but so often we think and act like we must hold Him up. We think that our faith is dependent upon us holding up the Rock. Our stability somehow demands that we do the heavy lifting; that our effort and strength means something. But you know what? I’m not made for holding up Jesus to be saved nor to stay saved. I’m created to rest upon the Rock and allow Him to uphold me. His strength is much greater than mine.

There’s an old song called “Builded on the Rock” by a Mrs C Rice. The chorus reads, I hold not the Rock, but the Rock holds me, The Rock hold me, the Rock holds me; I rest on the Rock, and the Rock hold me, Resting on the Rock of God.

Stop struggling to be like Atlas and hold up the Rock; instead, rest on the Rock that was made to hold you