What do you want?


During this holiday time period we hear this a lot. From children and family members we try to determine what we should get them for Christmas. But what do we want from our Christian walk with Jesus? Are we looking for forgiveness or an “OK” to keep doing what we’ve been doing? Do we want a deep relationship with our Creator and our Savior and if we do how do we get to that point?

All of these are valid points and questions but where do we find the answers? Can we ask our pastor or do we need to find a Bible study that explores the questions that we want to be answered? One more question: do we really want the answers? In some of our lives, we do want these answers but we are afraid of seeking them because of what they might reveal about us. God loves each of us and He wants what is best for us in life and in our walk with Him.

So…how do we find the answers to those questions? Seek Him and the wisdom that praying through the Bible can bring. I know it sounds like it might take a long time doing it this way but truthfully it is the best way to find the answers that you are looking for. By praying about your problem, whether it is financial or physical or spiritual, God’s Word and His Spirit can and will provide the answer to you. But you must pray about your specific problem while you are reading the Bible. Ask Him for the answers you are seeking and you will find them. It may take reading through the whole Bible or you might find your answer in the chapter that you start on but the answer will come.

In our lives outside the church and away from “corporate worship” as we are during this pandemic, your Spirit is still longing for a close relationship with God. Sometimes this can be a good thing because you can seek Him and His wisdom during your personal Bible study time. Getting into the habit of seeking His Word and wisdom is not hard to do but it is a habit that you can glean the most positive wisdom from rather than reading other novels or other books.

Will God hear your request for learning more about Him? Yes, I believe He will. Even if you aren’t a Christian yet I think that He will hear your plea for His wisdom and give you the faith to seek it in His Word. Why do I say that we have to have faith to get wisdom from God’s Word? Because if you don’t then you are just reading a book like any other book from a store or from the library. Faith allows your Spirit to speak to you and to God and His Word will mean so much more when all of them are in sync with each other. The Bible, God’s Word, is not like any other book out there and it doesn’t really matter which translation you have, because when you prayerfully seek His answers in His Word the Spirit will allow you to understand it regardless of the words on the page.

The Word reads you through your Spirit and your answers can be found by prayerfully and humbly seeking the answer from God’s Word. Take the time to quiet your mind and ask God to open the Scriptures to you so that you can find the answers that are waiting to be found.

Darkness closing in…


Many people, it seems, have problems with depression and fear. You hear about suicides among Veterans and police and other service people like EMT’s and firefighters. Why does this happen? Is it because of the jobs that they have and the things which they see on a daily basis? In part, that is it. I worked as an EMT/Firefighter for a total of ten years. Not very long I know, but the things that I saw and the people that you come into contact with will bring you down. You can’t let it get to you while you are on the job so you learn to compartmentalize it and just push it away until the job is done. But…when the shift is over and you go home, that is when the enormity of your feelings about what you saw and had to deal with comes crashing down.

I’ve never really talked about this to anyone and it has been almost thirty years since I got out of being an EMT/Firefighter. But from what I understand the trauma and the stress that I experienced during those years never really goes away. For years I would still have dreams about my old job and wake up sweating in the night for no apparent reason. I could hear, in my mind, the siren from the ambulance or the fire truck even when there wasn’t one around. The different types of death from suicide and murder and car accidents and fire…you never forget them entirely. Some days it comes back so hard until I just feel like screaming at the top of my lungs. But even if I do, these images never go away.

The worst part of this is that you can’t sit and talk to someone about this. Nobody would understand unless you could sit and talk with another person who worked with you in the same type of service. Even then, they really don’t want to relive it either so usually you both just stop talking and change the subject or get a beer or something. Since I am a pastor now I have to shove these things away from my life and my work because nobody in the congregation would understand either. I have never talked about this with my family either just because it is something that they wouldn’t understand.

This is the reason that I am writing it here. As a bit of therapy for myself and to let others know that we feel deeply about what we have experienced. So deeply that even after thirty years it still comes back to haunt our minds and our feelings. Even now my heart is picking up speed just writing this.

I know that God can and will get me through this because He has done so in the past. I am asking all of you who read this to please sit with someone who works in a service job like I’ve mentioned. Just talk to them about anything or nothing. If they like to fish, take them fishing. But be there for them if you can. Because we have days which most people cannot understand and feelings which are hard to express. Please pray for me today and if you know anyone who was in the military or police or fire service, pray for them too. The suicide rate for them is much higher than for the rest of the population.

Psalm 51 is a good read for days like this.

Create in Me a Clean Heart, O God

(2 Samuel 12:1-12)

1{To the chief Musician, A Psalm of David, when Nathan the prophet came unto him, after he had gone in to Bathsheba.} Have mercy upon me, O God, according to thy lovingkindness: according unto the multitude of thy tender mercies blot out my transgressions.

2Wash me throughly from mine iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin.

3For I acknowledge my transgressions: and my sin is ever before me.

4Against thee, thee only, have I sinned, and done this evil in thy sight: that thou mightest be justified when thou speakest, and be clear when thou judgest.

5Behold, I was shapen in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me.

6Behold, thou desirest truth in the inward parts: and in the hidden part thou shalt make me to know wisdom.

7Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean: wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.

8Make me to hear joy and gladness; that the bones which thou hast broken may rejoice.

9Hide thy face from my sins, and blot out all mine iniquities.

10Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me.

11Cast me not away from thy presence; and take not thy holy spirit from me.

12Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation; and uphold me with thy free spirit.

13Then will I teach transgressors thy ways; and sinners shall be converted unto thee.

14Deliver me from bloodguiltiness, O God, thou God of my salvation: and my tongue shall sing aloud of thy righteousness.

15O Lord, open thou my lips; and my mouth shall shew forth thy praise.

16For thou desirest not sacrifice; else would I give it: thou delightest not in burnt offering.

17The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise.

18Do good in thy good pleasure unto Zion: build thou the walls of Jerusalem.

19Then shalt thou be pleased with the sacrifices of righteousness, with burnt offering and whole burnt offering: then shall they offer bullocks upon thine altar.King James Bible

The beginning of trouble


Pride can kill anyone. Pride is the beginning of the end for relationships, or churches or friendships. Pride is especially deadly to your relationship with God. God has said in His Word, “be holy because I am holy”. So why aren’t we holy? Probably because of the notion that we are human and can attain any amount of holiness, but that is not what being holy means.

The real meaning of holy is this: to be “set apart” or “dedicated” to God. Being holy is part and parcel of being a Christian! It doesn’t mean that we are sinless or that we can’t have fun but we must be a part of the world but stand apart from the world by being dedicated to the work of God on this Earth. When you live a life with pride in yourself you are placing yourself on the throne of your life, in effect you declare yourself to be “god”.

Pride is a very subtle drug which can cause you very BIG problems. It may not happen at the beginning and it will likely be so easy at first, but you will fall from the platform that you have stepped up on. Pride can convince you that you are more than you are. More powerful, more handsome, more forceful as a preacher, more successful than you really are. Pride can put blinders on your eyes and it can harden your heart to the point that the Holy Spirit cannot get your attention anymore.

Truthfully, pride is the mother and father of ALL SINS. Why do I say this? Because it was pride which caused Adam and Eve to fall, it caused Saul to disobey God and lose the job of being King of Israel, on and on through the Bible. Pride could be the chief demon of Satan’s army.

God and His Holy Spirit together can give you the strength to resist pride and only with their help can you do it. When you feel pride beginning to bubble up, get into God’s Word and seek His wisdom. Pray for His guiding hand in all of your life. In teaching, in preaching, in life, in everything that you do make sure that it is Jesus Christ that you are following every moment of every day.

Read and study God’s Word and make sure that it is the Holy Spirit which is leading you in everything that you do and say. Because there is no way that pride can bring you down IF you are following Jesus and His wisdom every day.

Remember the Proverbs about pride:

Proverbs 16:18 Pride goes before destruction and a haughty spirit before a fall.
Proverbs 18:12 Before his downfall a man’s heart is proud, but humility comes before honor.
Proverbs 29:23 A man’s pride will bring him low, but a humble spirit will obtain honor.