Thursday, December 8, 2022

December 8, 2022

We spent yesterday traveling to North Georgia. It's been a while since we visited the cabin in the mountains, and we needed to ensure it was still there. We've come up a couple of times and found that someone had been living in it and left it a mess; believe me, it wasn't Goldilocks! Every time we go, we fear having to clean up the filth. All day Tuesday, I prayed that we would find it the same as we left it without any intrusions by rodents, human or otherwise. Before we got there, I reminded Richard to pray because God seems to answer our request when we pray together. I almost cried when we walked in to find it exactly as we had left it. I only had to spray air freshener because it was musty from being closed up for so long. We are meeting a contractor today to make some improvements so we can rent it when we aren't using it, which will help us to keep it maintained. It will be the perfect vacation rental because it has a soothing waterfall and a view of a gristmill. I plan to spend a few minutes by the waterfall today; it was so rainy yesterday that I couldn't. I feel much closer to the Lord when I'm in the woods, and that fall is the perfect thing to wash my cares away and realign my thoughts. The point of today's message is to pray with your spouse or another trustworthy Christ follower; there is great power when we pray together.

Again I say to you, if two of you agree on earth about anything they ask, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven. For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them.” Matthew 18:19-20

Wednesday, December 7, 2022

December 7, 2022

I am nearing the end of the book of James. It filled my belly with rich and tasty morsels and opened my eyes to glorious truths. Though only a few verses remain in this book, the words are impactful and meaningful. People are suffering from many diseases and need a touch from the Lord, and James gives us explicit directions to follow regarding receiving healing. 

Several years ago, I broke my leg and had to have a titanium rod surgically placed inside the tibia bone to put me back together. Everything I read online said that most people who have to have a rod end up with a limp. I was determined not to limp, so I fervently prayed and maintained my faith. Not only did he keep me from having a limp, but I had a rapid recovery and never had to go through physical therapy. Praying with faith and determination was key to my healing, but not only that, my life group prayed over me! Your church is an essential part of healing. Read what James says.

Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer of faith will save the one who is sick, and the Lord will raise him up. And if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven. Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working. James 5:14-16

Tuesday, December 6, 2022

December 6, 2022

I’m ready to start writing about Christmas, but I can’t escape the lessons learned from the auction. Most of the cars we sold had been stored in a barn or garage. Once the thrill of the acquisition was over, they sat unused. That old saying, “use it or lose it,” applies because each one of them will need a few repairs before they are road worthy. It’s the same with anything. Think about your latest cellphone; if you bought it and didn’t use it for several months, the updates alone would cause it to be unusable. 

Your riches have rotted and your garments are moth-eaten. Your gold and silver have corroded, and their corrosion will be evidence against you and will eat your flesh like fire. You have laid up treasure in the last days. James 5:2-3

Your acquisitions and material things may comfort you for a time, but staying steadfast in your faith in the Lord is the true blessing. Stop saying you are blessed because you got a new car, purchased a house, or anything else because anything related to material possessions is not a blessing. The true blessings come from standing firm in your love for the Lord and staying loyal to him. It’s okay to be thankful for your possessions, but our faith in Jesus is the real blessing.

Behold, we consider those blessed who remained steadfast. You have heard of the steadfastness of Job, and you have seen the purpose of the Lord, how the Lord is compassionate and merciful. James 5:11

Monday, December 5, 2022

December 5, 2022

Yesterday, as we were getting ready to go to church, we encountered a family of sandhill cranes. They were friendly and allowed me to get too close, but having them in my bubble was incredible! For them to feel comfortable around a human probably means people have been feeding them. Hmm, that’s interesting; I wonder if that works on people. God’s word is an edible delight, but most people don’t realize how tasty it is. Feed them a little at a time. Share some life-changing verses, like sweet bits of Proverbs or a filling Psalm. My sister-in-law does that every day, and she has thousands of followers through her page on Facebook called Redeemed. We each are responsible for feeding Jesus’s sheep, so if you don’t know where to start, begin by providing them with the sweet nuggets of God’s word. After they get a taste, they will want more and seek you for a solid meal. 

He said to him the third time, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?” Peter was grieved because he said to him the third time, “Do you love me?” and he said to him, “Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you.” Jesus said to him, “Feed my sheep. John 21:17

December 4, 2022


We had a fantastic auction! The emotions of our family were all over the place. We laughed, cried, reminisced, and in the end, we were all exhausted but encouraged. Selling those old relics may have been the point of the day and the reason most people were there, but for us, it was about giving our beloved the kind of send-off he would have loved if he were here. He dreamed of displaying all his treasures but became so busy adding to his collection that he never got the chance. There was an added factor in what we did, Jesus. We didn’t leave him out of our day but included him at every opportunity. We prayed and prayed again. People that think you can’t have fun when you have Jesus have got the wrong idea. He has given us joy that goes beyond happiness and is something we feel even when we are sorrowful; that may not make any sense to the unbeliever, but I’m sure most of you have experienced this interesting emotional phenomenon. We don’t know what tomorrow will bring, so make sure you live every moment giving glory to the one who loves you the most, Jesus.

Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go into such and such a town and spend a year there and trade and make a profit”— yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes. Instead you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that.” James 4:13-15

Saturday, December 3, 2022

December 3, 2022

Though we were exhausted from the day's activities, my neighbor invited us to a boxing match last night. Boxing is not my thing, but there is always something to be learned, so I began trying to figure out what lesson we could take from it. Out of all the fights we watched, only one was evenly matched, so the outcome was unknown until the end. Then came the main event of the evening; one guy had won every round but the last one, and I was sure the judges might rule in his favor because of his final showing. We were pleasantly surprised that they were fair and saw what we saw. 

Many crazy things are happening in this world that make no sense, but we must remember that the enemy has been losing every round. Though it looks like he's winning right now, we can be sure that we have a fair judge, and he will lose in the end. This comparison is interesting because the winner's stage name was Great White, as in Great White Throne Judgment! This night was a living prophecy; we can look forward to winning because God never loses!

Then I saw a great white throne and him who was seated on it. From his presence earth and sky fled away, and no place was found for them. Revelation 20:11

What causes quarrels and what causes fights among you? Is it not this, that your passions are at war within you? You desire and do not have, so you murder. You covet and cannot obtain, so you fight and quarrel. You do not have, because you do not ask. You ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly, to spend it on your passions. James 4:1-3

Friday, December 2, 2022

December 2, 2022

The activity surrounding the auction has been exhilarating. All the moving parts have created a circus-like atmosphere. Today is the preview and, likely, the longest day. People are flying in from all over the country for an opportunity to bid on a unique piece of Americana. The passion and excitement that many are feeling over these relics of the past is something I've only seen in my father-in-law before he passed away. The gearheads are thrilled! I'm elated; this is fun! It's easy to get wrapped up in worldly affairs, so we must keep our enthusiasm in check and ensure we give credit where credit is due. Our family knows God provided us with this fun as a blessing and a relief from all the hardships we've dealt with over this past year, and he deserves all the glory. He is allowing us to honor the legacy of our loved one by sending him a farewell that he would have loved. The Lord is good and has blessed us; may we continue to realize from where our help comes.

yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes. James 4:14

Thursday, December 1, 2022

December 1, 2022

Our family decided to continue a tradition my father-in-law started as a memorial to him. So my daughter and I, who have always shopped for him, went out yesterday to finish getting the gifts. When I got up this morning, my credit card company sent me a text in the middle of the night alerting me of possible fraud. I’m not surprised because we were all over the place preparing for Christmas and the upcoming auction, so we made some unusual purchases. Although it is aggravating, there have been times when there was a fraud on my card, so I’m thankful they keep watch. Some malicious actors will try to steal from innocent people; it’s too bad that the world has made them think they need material things and caused them to become thieves.

But if you have bitter jealousy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast and be false to the truth. This is not the wisdom that comes down from above, but is earthly, unspiritual, demonic. For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there will be disorder and every vile practice. James 3:14-16

One day, we will all find out how we needlessly worked in excess for material things that make us comfortable. I imagine we will be shocked at how simple life could have been if we followed God’s lead. We all need to wake up to his wisdom.

But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere. James 3:17

Wednesday, November 30, 2022

November 30, 2022

Growing up around cattle, I know how powerful they can be, but even as big as they are, if you start training them young, you can control them with a halter. Yesterday, I watched the cattleman who keeps his Brangus cows on our property lead a new mother with a rope and her calf to the feed trough so he could care for them, and she is enormous!

In the book of James, it says it is easier to tame animals than it is to tame the human tongue. 

For every kind of beast and bird, of reptile and sea creature, can be tamed and has been tamed by mankind, but no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison. James 3:7-8

I’m sure most people believe this portion of scripture is referring to your choice of expletives, but it’s referring to false teaching. Indeed your reputation as a Christ-follower will become sullied if you use cuss words, but God is mainly concerned with you spreading lies and false teachings. It is easy to take the Bible out of context and highly important to consider when it comes to biblical interpretation. An important lesson I learned in Bible Training is to read the entire chapter and sometimes the chapter before to determine the context of the scripture. A teacher will face severe scrutiny and judgment for their teachings. So be careful of the messages you share.

Notice that the following scriptures come before the first ones I shared.

Not many of you should become teachers, my brothers, for you know that we who teach will be judged with greater strictness. For we all stumble in many ways. And if anyone does not stumble in what he says, he is a perfect man, able also to bridle his whole body. James 3:1-2

Tuesday, November 29, 2022

November 29, 2022

The English language can be complex and confusing, especially when a word is spelled the same but has entirely different meanings. For example, dove: can mean a type of bird or a way of swimming into the water. Minute: can refer to time or something very tiny. Tear: can refer to crying or something torn. So, when the Bible refers to works, I believe we see different meanings for the same word.

James says, "So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead," James 2:17, but Paul says in Ephesians 2:8-9, "for by grace you have been saved through faith… not a result of works." How do we reconcile the two seemingly opposing views? One word, fruit. Paul is talking about working to keep the law of Moses, and James refers to the natural result of faith in God, which is a fruit of the Spirit. According to James, the examples he uses to prove that point: "works" are the "fruit" or result of faith. "Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered up his son Isaac on the altar?" James 2:21 "Rahab the prostitute justified by works when she received the messengers and sent them out by another way." James 2:25 What may have seemed like a biblical contradiction is confirmed to be words with different meanings.

Monday, November 28, 2022

November 28, 2022

Last night, we had our family over for an after-Thanksgiving Christmas kickoff meal. It was loud but fun. Richard is an instigator, getting the boys all riled up with tickles and rough playing. If all five of the grand-boys had been there, they would have all gotten involved in the madness. They love it, Richard loves it, but the rest of us need noise-canceling earmuffs. 

Did you know that it’s a sin to show partiality? That includes treating poor people the same as rich people. Years ago, I observed something that taught me that lesson. I was at the grocery store and saw a grimy-looking man who looked like he had been living on the street. When I left, I saw him come out of the store and get into his sparkling brand new, red Cadillac sports car. Later, I found out he was a wealthy business owner who worked very hard for his money. 

Be careful to treat everyone you meet with respect. Show no partiality, whether it’s your children, grandchildren, or a passerby; everyone deserves to feel the love of Jesus through you. 

But if you show partiality, you are committing sin and are convicted by the law as transgressors. For whoever keeps the whole law but fails in one point has become guilty of all of it. James 2:10-11

Sunday, November 27, 2022

November 27, 2022

We have a long driveway, and you must drive through an electronic gate to get in. Friday evening, some workers were leaving, and a man hurried in before the gate closed behind them. He wanted to look at the cars, but the auction preview is not until this Friday. If it had been the right day, he wouldn’t have had to sneak in because the gate would be open. He didn’t receive a friendly welcome and got rushed off the property. Heaven’s gates are the same way. If you try to enter in some form other than through Jesus, you will get ushered off the property and be considered a thief or robber. Two things to note: you will not enter the gate before God calls you, and if you haven’t accepted Jesus as your Savior, the gate will remain closed. The key to this is without Jesus; you do not have the right to enter his kingdom. Any religion that teaches otherwise is a fraud, and they lie. Don’t trust your eternity to anyone but Jesus, and accept him as your Savior today, or the gate of Heaven will be closed to you.

“Truly, truly, I say to you, he who does not enter the sheepfold by the door but climbs in by another way, that man is a thief and a robber. But he who enters by the door is the shepherd of the sheep. To him the gatekeeper opens. The sheep hear his voice, and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. John 10:1-3

Also see Revelation 22:15-16

Saturday, November 26, 2022

November 26, 2022

When I see Christmas lights and whimsical decor, I become filled with happiness and experience a childlike reaction. They bring joy to an otherwise dreary time of year. Though it may be a bit odd, I always decorate before Thanksgiving, so my family can enjoy the festive atmosphere more than once. Thanksgiving is the season's kickoff of remembrance and thankfulness for the sacrificial gift of Jesus that God gave us, and I think he deserves an entire month of special celebration. Don't let Santa get in the way of the truth; teach your children a worthy reason for the gifts and lights. Though our celebration may border on paganism because the enemy has spoiled its meaning, we know the truth and can use for good what the enemy meant for evil. God has even given us a powerful verse corresponding to our love for Christmas. 

Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change. James 1:17

So, don't hesitate to celebrate Jesus; he's our perfect gift.

Friday, November 25, 2022

November 25, 2022

Stand strong, mighty warriors of God! In this day and age, the temptations are endless, and we are pursued daily by many evil desires. However, if we remain loyal to Jesus while being dogged by the enemy, we will escape with our lives. 

Think about the stars in Hollywood; a good portion of them signed documents handing over their lives to enemy representatives because they caught them engaging in an unholy activity. Then the pursuers used blackmail to keep them in check and hold them hostage. If you dig around on the internet, you will find out the truth. Though we may not be part of the Hollywood scene, one slip up, and the enemy will take the opportunity to accuse us and embarrass us by publicizing our sin for all to see. It is imperative that we stay fully armored and engage in spiritual warfare to stop the enemy before he destroys us. 

Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him. James 1:12

Thursday, November 24, 2022

November 24, 2022

The hurricane ruined my squash, and it was flourishing, so there will be no homegrown squash for Thanksgiving. What wasn’t hurt was my mustard greens. They are plentiful. I picked some a few days ago to save for today, and they are ready again. I am writing this at 5 am, and as soon as it becomes daylight, I will pick some more, so we have plenty for our Thanksgiving feast today. If I let this plant grow to full size and bloom, it would go to seed. The seeds this plant makes are tiny; they are what Jesus compares to faith, mustard seed-sized faith. 

Yesterday, I wrote about asking for wisdom, which everyone should do, but there was a caveat I should have mentioned that is probably more important than the ask; faith. When you ask God to give you wisdom, the Bible tells us to ask, believing we have already received it. Go ahead and start believing that God has given you wisdom. Believing you already have it will cause you to think through your decisions more carefully, thus making you wise. Practice wisdom, and it will grow.

But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind. James 1:6

Wednesday, November 23, 2022

November 23, 2022

There are things you can ask of God, and he will give them to you. You may think you are as wise as Solomon, but more than likely, you are not. 

If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him. James 1:5

The earth would be a better place if more people asked for wisdom. 

Years ago, I asked God for a couple of things; wisdom and a voice. Not only those gifts, but I ask God for spiritual gifts like discernment and prophecy. 

On the other hand, the one who prophesies speaks to people for their upbuilding and encouragement and consolation. 1 Corinthians 14:3

I began to write little by little and have been doing it ever since. 

If you ask for things God tells you to ask for, do you think he will deny your request? Remember, nothing good comes without a bit of work, but it's worth it. If you commit to God's will, you will begin to notice his work in your life; you'll start to have "light-bulb" moments where it all makes sense. Ask God for good gifts; he will hear you and consider your request.

Tuesday, November 22, 2022

November 22, 2022

One Saturday night last month, two of my grandsons stayed the night. Our church doesn’t have a children’s church, and one of them is so wiggly that we decided to watch the service from home. When it was over, the oldest one, pointing at the preacher, said, “that’s what I want to be.” Before he could say anything else, not even a moment later, I began to pray with him. Our family knows all too well what happens to a person with a true calling for ministry; the devil tries to sift them like wheat! His dad has that calling, and I made the mistake of declaring it to him within earshot of the enemy, and because he couldn’t resist temptation, he has paid the price. I feel a bit guilty for speaking that over him. Thankfully, he has come to terms with it and fully surrendered his life. We will watch and pray for this little one who opened his mouth and revealed his heart to us and the enemy, who was also listening. Trials strengthen us because God’s kingdom is full of warriors. If you are going through a trial right now, try to visualize God’s plan; that will help you bravely walk through it because you know that at the end of it will be a blessing. Stand firm in your faith, mighty warriors!

Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. James 1:2-4

Monday, November 21, 2022

November 21, 2022

Can you lose your salvation? I'm convinced that you cannot. It could be possible that you never had it to begin with, but once Jesus has you in the clutch of his hands, and you've turned toward him, never to look back; you are safe. Can you lose your reward? Yes! That's why Jesus tells us, "hold fast to what you have so that no one may seize your crown" in Revelation 3:11. I'm not going to lie; some of the verses confused me, with some saying we need not worry, then others telling us to watch ourselves. The Bible doesn't contradict itself. Here is the truth about your salvation, and you should never forget it:

"I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father's hand." John 10:28-29

Jesus says it twice! There are no ifs, ands, or buts about what he says here. Remember, there is salvation and reward. Salvation is locked in place, free, and you cannot work for it. Rewards, on the other hand, can be worked for and lost. I would rather be the poorest person in heaven than the wealthiest person in hell. Remember, when you encounter a verse that makes you question whether you can lose your salvation, ask yourself this: is this about salvation or is it about rewards? 

Salvation versus reward is like gardening. You dig, plant seeds, water, and fertilize; in return, you get a bountiful harvest. However, we had no part in creating the soil; that was a gift from God. The soil is like salvation, and the harvest is like the reward.

Sunday, November 20, 2022

November 20,2022

As the Thanksgiving holiday quickly approaches, my heart turns toward Jesus for a special “thank you” to him for the many blessings he has bestowed upon us. His love and mercy abound, even as we traverse this world full of evil intentions. We are set apart for a greater mission; to show unbelievers, who are up in arms over daily circumstances, the peace that he brings, and so they see a heart that doesn’t fret over the daily turmoil. Remember, people are watching your reaction to situations; make sure they reflect your faith in Jesus. Don’t forget to count Jesus as the most precious gift you are thankful for because he gave us something extraordinary that only the chosen have received; salvation.

Psalm for giving thanks. Make a joyful noise to the LORD, all the earth! Serve the LORD with gladness! Come into his presence with singing! Know that the LORD, he is God! It is he who made us, and we are his; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture. Enter his gates with thanksgiving, and his courts with praise! Give thanks to him; bless his name! For the LORD is good; his steadfast love endures forever, and his faithfulness to all generations. Psalms 100

Saturday, November 19, 2022

November 19, 2022

God help me; I may be stepping on toes today. What if the “once saved, always saved” teaching is wrong? I’ve been suspicious of this for a long time, but what if the enemy has soiled the instructions so more people would end up in hell? And here we are, believing everything we were taught, only to find out in death that it was wrong. I can no longer ignore what the Bible says. 

In Revelation 3:11, Jesus says: “I am coming soon. Hold fast what you have, so that no one may seize your crown.” Then, in 2 John, he warns a woman who is true to the faith to be careful. “Watch yourselves, so that you may not lose what we have worked for, but may win a full reward.” 2 John 1:8. It’s not only John who writes these things; he also quotes Jesus! Paul also tells us to “hold fast” more than once, and the writer of Hebrew says it too. 

Are we victims of wrong teaching, or are there different rewards in Heaven that depend on our faithfulness? We are sinners, and God is full of grace; our only hope is his forgiveness. Compare the words of man with what the Bible says. You must do everything you can to hang onto Jesus. Turn to him for everything. Keep him in the forefront of your mind as much as possible. Cling to him. Love him will all your heart and soul. Hold fast, my friends.