Monday, August 31, 2009


Have you ever said, "Don't judge a book by its cover?" Today I am saying it, especially regarding two books, "Conversations with God" and "Conversations with God for Teens," by Neale D. Walsch, both of which have been on the New York Times best seller list. They may sound harmless, but their titles are very misleading.

In these two books the author poses questions and then gives answers as if they are from God. But these so-called conversations are mere setups to trumpet the personal opinions of the author. And the answers he gives usually go directly against the teachings of the Bible.

For instance, one question: "Why am I a lesbian?" Answer? She was born that way just as she was born right-handed, with blue eyes, etc. Then "god" tells her to go out and celebrate her differences. Another question: "I am living with my boyfriend. My parents say that I am living in sin. Should I marry him?" The author's reply is "No! And who are you sinning against? Not me, because you've done nothing wrong." It's certain many youth or adults will gladly take these answers as being the truth.

Another question asks about God's forgiveness of sin. His reply: "I do not forgive anyone because there is nothing to forgive. There is no such thing as right or wrong, and that is what I have been trying to tell everyone, 'Judge not lest ye be judged'." Obvious false doctrine, even using Bible to back it up, something Satan did two thousand years ago in his temptation of Jesus.

These books have been sold to school children through The Scholastic Book Club, which is interesting since it's doubtful the Bible or any truly Christian book would ever be sold by TSBC. Most schools encourage the purchase of books through such clubs, so parents need to check carefully what is being peddled to their children. They also need to know what they're getting these days on TV, iPod and internet. The devil, the world and the flesh constantly try to turn them away from God's truth.

Our world may seem improved in some ways, but it never stops getting filled with deceit. We all, youth and adults, need to be sober and vigilant, because the Evil One, "roams about as a roaring lion seeking whom he may devour" (1 Peter 5:8). And since lions hunt the slowest, weakest and youngest of the herd, we all must be ever vigilant on their behalf.

Dr. James Dobson and I heartily agree with this message!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009


Jenny, a cheerful girl with bouncy curls, was six years old. Waiting with her mother at the checkout stand, she saw a necklace of pretty white pearls. "Oh please, Mommy, can I have them? Please, Mommy, please?" Her mother checked the price and then looked back at her pleading little girl. "$1.95! Well, if you really want them, Jenny, you can earn money by doing extra chores and in no time you can save enough money to buy them. Maybe you'll even get a gift from Grandma on your birthday."

When Jenny got home, she emptied her piggy bank and counted out 17 cents. After dinner, she did more than her share of chores and the next day asked Mrs. McJames if she could pick dandelions from her lawn for ten cents. Grandma gave her a whole dollar, and soon Jenny had enough money to buy the pearls.

Jenny loved her pearls. They made her feel so grown up. She wore them everywhere - Sunday school, school, sometimes even to bed. She did take them off while swimming so they wouldn't be lost.

Jenny had a loving Daddy and often he would read her a bedtime story. One night when he'd finished a story, he asked, "Jenny, do you love me?" "Oh yes, Daddy," Jenny said, "I love you." "Then give me your pearls," he said. "Oh, Daddy, not my pearls. You can have Princess, my white horse with a pink tail. She's my favorite. But not my pearls." "I love you, Honey," her Daddy said as he kissed her good night.

A week later, after story time, Daddy asked her again, "Jenny, do you love me?" "Daddy, you know I love you," she said. "Then give me your pearls," he said. "Oh Daddy, not my pearls. You can have my baby doll, that I got for my birthday. She is so beautiful, but you can have her." Her Daddy smiled, "That's okay, honey. God loves you, and so do I." And he kissed her good night.

A few nights later when Daddy came in her room Jenny was sitting on her bed. And he noticed a little tear was on her cheek. "What is it, Jenny?" Jenny lifted her hand and with a small, quiet voice said, "Here, Daddy, these are for you." And she gave him her pearl necklace.

With tears in his own eyes, Daddy hugged Jenny a long time. And as he reached out his hand to take her dime-store necklace, with his other hand he gave her a blue velvet case. In it was a strand of real pearls, very costly and far more beautiful than her toy ones. He'd wanted to give her these all the time, but was waiting for her willingness to give up her toy so she could receive a real treasure.

Our Heavenly Father is waiting for us, His dear children, to give up the lesser things in our lives so He can give us real treasures. Are there things in your life God wants you to let go? Are you holding on to unnecessary or even harmful possessions, relationships or habits to which you've become so attached that it seems impossible to let them go? Maybe now is the time.

God never takes something away from us without giving us something far better in its place. But we won't know what's in His other hand until we are willing to give Him our most precious earthly possessions.

A loss may seem cruel now, but God makes up for it in a much better way.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009


Last night we had a nasty hailstorm here. Having a rural background, I've always been fearful of hail and for a time was certain we would lose windows and have roof damage. Fortunately the windows held up and an adjuster will soon tell us about the roof.

People have always been wary of the weather. Indeed, humans have always been at the mercy of cosmic forces greater than themselves. But considering what it requires to have a balanced earth and solar system, it's amazing we don't have things far worse. For complex life to exist here, dozens of variables must be in perfect coordination: water, temperature, atmosphere, size and distance from the sun, radiation, gravity, large enough moon, size and number of other planets - to name just a few.

If our earth was just 1-2% closer or farther away from the sun as now, life would not be possible. If the earth we live on did not have every element necessary for life in its correct position and size and relationship with all other factors, complex life would either freeze or fry.

In recent years scientists have given us theories of the origin of the solar system, usually concluding it is the result of evolutionary selection that occurred over a massive amount of time. Given enough time and variables, they conclude, we have what we now have, a lucky combination fit for human life, a "Goldilocks" life where everything is "just right." Physicists like Carl Sagan say the earth is a "pale blue dot lost in a cosmic sea," a place of no special significance.

I disagree with that. Something greater than chance is involved here. In a short but valuable video (and book), "The Privileged Planet," astrophysicist Guillermo Gonzolas and philosopher Jay Richards state their belief that the earth occupies a rare and special place in the solar system that enables it to sustain complex life. They believe that simple molecular life may exist elsewhere, but complex life is possible only here on earth.

Albert Einstein once said, "I have deep faith that the fundamental principles of the universe will be both beautiful and simple." Countless Christians over the ages have had faith that God created life and the universe and placed human beings here to manage it. While those humans have been limited by Sin and lack of understanding, through the mercy of Jesus they have been given a second chance. God enables us to understand life (at least in part) and also to experience life with God in eternity - all by faith in Jesus.

The fundamental truth of the universe is the beauty and simplicity of God loving mankind in Jesus Christ. Psalm 8:1, 3-6, says, "O Lord, our Lord, how majestic is Your name in all the earth.... When I consider your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, what is man that you are mindful of him, the son of man that you care for him? You made him a little lower than the heavenly beings and crowned him with glory and honor. You made him ruler over the works of your hands; you put everything under his feet."

In view of an amazing life on a privileged planet, that's my prayer today.

Monday, August 10, 2009


What a mixed-up world we live in! Politicians confuse us, the economy scares us, a rapidly changing culture challenges us, and immorality threatens us. In troubled times like these, we need something permanent to hold on to. The wheels of society seem to be falling off, so what can we do? What will be our refuge as the storm clouds move in?

A number of years ago Bill and Gloria Gaither had similar feelings. They had just been blessed with their third child, and the rapid cultural changes of the 60’s and 70’s made them wonder what kind life awaited their precious gift from God.

The Gaithers, successful ministers and song writers (They’ve written over 500 Christian songs!), felt the darkness closing in the same way many of us feel today. They knew money doesn’t fix everything, and being successful does not take away fear. This sinful world can threaten a bright future, no matter what we have accomplished.

One especially dark night they realized again what they had to cling to, the same certainty Christians of all ages have ever had – the resurrection. Because Christ arose from the dead, He is God’s Son, so they could face tomorrow. Because He lives, their future was not bleak. Their resultant hymn, “Because He Lives,” has helped thousands of people face uncertain days. The refrain says:

Because He lives, I can face tomorrow,
Because He lives, all fear is gone.
Because I know He holds the future,
Life is worth the living just because He lives.

What is your anchor in the storms of life? It should be apparent that all things human or worldly will fail us. Wealth, wisdom, government, talent - all give us nothing eternal. Jesus alone does. His resurrection assures believers they have more than this life. They have a life forever with Christ.

Because He lives, you and I need not be fearful these shaky days. We trust Christ will bring us through. He loves us today, so life truly is worth the living just because He lives.

“There is no pit so deep, that He is not deeper still.” (Corrie ten Boom)

Tuesday, August 4, 2009


In 1858, Rev. Dudley Tyng was a powerful young preacher in Philadelphia. Besides being pastor of his congregation he often held noonday services at the downtown YMCA that attracted large crowds, mostly men on their lunch hour.

On March 30, over 5,000 men gathered to hear his message from Exodus 30:11, "Ye that are men, now go and serve the Lord."  Over 1,000 of those present that day committed their lives to Jesus.

At one point in his sermon, Pastor Tyng said, "I would rather that this right arm were amputated than that I should fall short of my duty to you in delivering God's message." The next day, while visiting people in the country, Pastor Tyng was watching a corn-threshing machine. Raising his arm to pet an animal, his clothing was caught in the machine and his right arm was badly mangled. A few days later it was amputated due to gangrene, and in those days of little medicine, this injury proved to be fatal.

A reporter recorded that on his deathbed, young Pastor Tyng took his father's hand and said, "Stand up for Jesus - tell all you meet to stand up for Jesus." The following Sunday Pastor Tyng's colleague, Rev. George Duffield, preached his morning sermon as a tribute to his departed friend. His text was Ephesians 6:14, "Stand firm then, with the belt of truth around your waist." 

He concluded by reading a poem he had written based on Tyng's final words. Later set to music, these words have been sung around the world as a challenge to Christians everywhere. At his deathbed, Pastor Dudley Tyng preached to a far wider audience than he ever did during his lifetime.

"Stand up, stand up for Jesus, Ye soldiers of the cross!
Lift high His royal banner, It must not suffer loss.
From victory unto victory His army shall He lead,
Till every foe is vanquished, And Christ is Lord indeed!

"Stand up, stand up for Jesus! Stand in His strength alone'
The arm of flesh will fail you, Ye dare not trust your own.
Put on the Gospel armor, Each piece put on with prayer;
Where duty calls, or danger, Be never wanting there."

Courageous people will stand up for that which is important to them, whether for their families, their rights, their country or their beliefs. God's Word calls Christians to stand up for Jesus. By the power of the Holy Spirit, may all who hear this message do so with courage and unfaltering commitment. 

Especially in this time of testing, stand up and be counted for Jesus!

Monday, August 3, 2009


A college professor had foreign exchange students in his class. One day the professor noticed a male exchange student rubbing his back as if it was sore. He asked the young man if he was okay, and the student told him that he had a bullet lodged in his back, put there by insurgents who tried to overthrow his country's government.

Then the student asked, “Do you know how to catch wild pigs?” The professor thought it was a joke and asked for the punch line. The young man said, “You catch wild pigs by finding a place in the woods and putting down corn on the ground. The pigs find the corn and begin coming back every day to eat.

“When they get used to eating the corn every day, you put a fence down one side of that place. After they get used to the fence and eat the corn again, you put up another side of the fence. You continue until you have all four sides of the fence up with a gate. When the pigs come through the gate for more corn, you shut the gate and catch the whole herd.

He continued, “The pigs will be upset that they’ve lost their freedom, but soon will go back to eating all that free corn, because at least they don’t have to forage in the woods for it.”

The young man said, “That’s what’s happening in America. The government keeps spreading free corn in the form of supplemental income, unearned income, subsidies, welfare, bailouts, free medical care and free drugs."

He concluded, “When you lose your freedom a little at a time, you don’t see when the gate is shut. You may reason it seems better this way than before, but you are no longer free. And one day the government may refuse to give you corn, because they say you have had enough.”

Thomas Jefferson once said, "A government big enough to give you everything you want is big enough to take away everything you have."

(John 8:32)