My Cadillac For Your Camel – (text & video)

Christian Faith, Inspiration, Lessons From God's Word, Uncategorized, Videos

(I originally posted this article almost 7 years ago. But this week I began thinking about the truths expressed in it, and I felt it was time to give it a fresh audience — and to put it into video format as well. You’ll find the video below the text. I trust it will bless, whichever format you choose to experience.)


CAMEL'S IN DESERT

We all live by a value system of some kind. Each possession, each day, and each person in our lives has a different value, and sometimes that value changes. The title of this article is a joke, of course, poking fun at the truth that most value is relative. But what makes it relative? What, in the final analysis, determines an item’s value?

There are millions of affluent citizens of several nations who value their Cadillacs — or a number of other expensive automobiles with big gasoline engines — as one of the most important and life-enhancing items they could own. On a roster of possessions that represent the most positive assets in life, those glossy, high-powered autos head the list.

But let that Cadillac owner find himself stranded in the middle of a blazing desert: sand blowing into every nook and cranny, including his engine — no roads of any kind — no gas stations.  Suddenly, a slow-moving, bad-smelling, comically-proportioned camel is worth a whole lot more to that guy than the Caddy, and he’d gladly make a trade. Value.

By the same token, a woman who finds herself happily married to a kind, thoughtful man will value that man highly — more highly than any of the other people in her life. Her next-door neighbor may be married to Attila the Hun, and she finds herself valuing her time away from him with others much more than she does him.

The woman who’s wished all her life for a huge two-story home with five bathrooms, and who has the money to care for that house and hire help — as well as be free to stay home and enjoy it most days — will value that house highly. But the gal who struggles to make ends meet by working three jobs and going non-stop from sun-up to sun-down will value a one-bedroom apartment that is easy to clean and maintain with no extra fuss.

So what is it, really, that gives something its value? It seems that it is the owner of that ‘something.’  The person to whom the thing belongs and for whom it fulfills a purpose or meets a need is the one who imbues it with its value.

Well, I, for one am thrilled to realize that truth. Because I know for sure to whom I belong.  And I know for sure — because He told me Himself — what service I perform and what needs I meet for Him. Nor am I an isolated case. There are millions more just like me — yet unique at the same time — and bearing equal value in the eyes of our owner.

My owner is the God of the universe, the Creator of all things — including me. His Word tells me clearly (Revelation 4:11) that all things — including me — were created by Him for His pleasure. And, in fact that is my number-one job: to give my Heavenly Father and the Lord Jesus Christ pleasure. Surely, I am assigned to do other things: to love others; to teach them what the Word says about Jesus and how He, as God, came to save us from our own sin and rebellion; and to show by my whole life the true nature of God. But those assignments do not substitute for God’s original purpose in creating me: His own enjoyment of a family just like Him.

But not only does He own the whole human race because He created us. When we rebelled against Him and turned away, breaking our relationship with him completely, with no hope to get it back, God came in the person of Jesus Christ and paid the supreme price to buy us back into His possession. He made us the first time (an easy and delightful experience for Him); He bought us the second time (a gut-wrenching, horrific, thoroughly bloody experience for Him).

But you know what’s really interesting to me?  The Word of God tells us in Hebrews 12:2 that Jesus faced all of that sacrifice for us — laying aside the privileges of Divinity and re-defining Himself in human flesh, living a life never once stained by sin, and taking our sin and the horrible shame, beating, crucifixion, and separation from God that we deserved — because He saw something beyond that sacrifice that would give Him so much joy that it far surpassed the evil He would have to endure.

Now, tell me please, what joy could the Lord of the universe – Creator of all things — what possible joy could He have been missing that made such a horrific sacrifice necessary? The only thing He was missing was a relationship with man. Since man, by his own volition, had irrevocably broken that relationship, nothing could restore it at that point. The only hope was if God could find a way to “re-create” the human race — to make them righteous enough again to fellowship with Him.

The triune Creator had everything else He could possibly want, but not one of those things could give Him the joy that His relationship with us could give. Dear friend, it was for man — for you and me — that He longed. It was for you and me that He made the decision to suffer such agony and death.

So how valuable are we? Is there anything in the universe that could be bartered for you and me? Is there anything that can be offered to Jesus Christ in exchange for His relationship with us that would tempt Him to give us up? Not on your life, my friend!  He already made that choice, once and for all, when He laid down everything else for us.

Remember, He didn’t just decide to come down to earth for a moment in time and go through the motions. He came down to go through the reality of taking on our sin, taking on our separation and banishment from the Father God, taking on our death. His only hope was in the eternal Word of the living God, who had spoken that He would raise Jesus up with new life once the legal price for sin had been paid in full. Had that Word failed, Jesus would never have seen Heaven again, and we would be lost and undone — without God and without hope — forever.

But He did see Heaven again. He came up out of that grave with eternal life to offer anyone who would accept the sacrifice He had made. (John 3:16-18, 1 John 5:11-12). So when we accept His sacrifice and accept Him, that new life comes into us and we are “born again.” (John 3:3-5). We become “a new creation: a new species,” created in the righteousness of Jesus Christ Himself. (2 Cor. 5:17).

Yes, it’s easy to identify Jesus Christ as our owner — twice over. He created us; then he paid for us. A critical reader will stop here and note the fact that I am repeating this point for the third time in this article. And he would be correct. I am repeating this astounding truth so many times because this world has a way of draining it right out of us. It’s so easy to give mental assent to what we’re discussing here but miss the power of it as a reality in our lives. So once more I will remind all of us:  He laid everything on the line — Heaven, His eternal throne, His own life — for us. And therein lies our value.

It doesn’t matter how we feel about it. It doesn’t matter what we think. And it doesn’t matter what anyone else thinks about the situation. Our worth is set for eternity, and no one — absolutely no one — is going to get Jesus to trade us for anything else at all.


photo courtesy of BeautifulFreePictures.com




 

Jesus: The Morning Star of Our Answered Prayers

Christian Faith, Healing, Inspiration, Lessons From God's Word, Uncategorized

MORNING STAR - Sharsharu - PX

Throughout Scripture, Jesus is identified and referred to as the “Morning Star” or “Daystar.” The reference, of course, is to the earliest star in our natural galaxy to show up in the heavens just before dawn. We often use the terms “morning” or “day in describing this star, but in actual fact this star is the forerunner of the dawn. It’s the star that comes before and announces that there is a new day about to break forth.

We find specific references to Jesus in this capacity in Numbers 24: 17, Luke 1: 78, 2 Peter 1:19, and Revelation 22:16.

(It’s important not to get confused with a scripture from Isaiah 14:12, which is translated erroneously in some versions of the Bible and seems to refer to Satan as a “Morning Star.”  However, the Hebrew word used in that passage is correctly translated, “O Shining One” — not “morning star,” and refers to Satan as he was in his originally created state of exceeding beauty and brilliance. The angels in general are referred to as shining ones and stars in other places in Scripture, and this reference in Isaiah is simply verifying that, although Satan was once a brilliant light carrier in the top levels of God’s angelic creation, he has fallen from that state and now resides on planet earth in darkness created by his own works and man’s sin.).

Jesus Christ, the Messiah is the only true and verified “Morning Star” in God’s original plan and in His secondary plan, which brought redemption to the human race after we messed up God’s original plan.

It’s important that we understand what the Morning Star does. It runs ahead of the dawn. It announces and brings in the dawn, if you will. So perhaps an even more accurate name for it would be “Star of the Dawning.” When we see that star in the natural, we say, “The new day is here.” But in actual fact, we don’t see evidence of being in the daylight, and we don’t begin our daily work or go about our normal daytime activities. Most people are still asleep — or wish they were — at that time. [ The exception is those unfortunate folks who have to work the night shifts. 🙂 ]

So what are we saying? That the Morning Star truly does bring in the new day, but we don’t actually have manifestation of daytime when we first look at the star. Recently, the Lord began to reason with me about this fact and shared with me that we need to respond in as much faith where Jesus is concerned and His answers to our prayers.

When we pray for anything based on God’s Word and promises, we have His guarantee that He will hear that prayer, and we will receive what we asked Him for. (1 John 5:16-17). Jesus brings us those answers. But we need to receive them by faith first — before we actually see, touch, and hear them in the natural realm. Remember, in Mark 11:24, He said when you pray, don’t doubt in your heart, but believe you have received what you prayed for, and you will have them. When do we believe we receive? Right then — when we pray — not after we see or feel the manifested answer. The manifestation comes in response to our believing.

So the next time we pray for something promised in God’s Word, let’s believe we receive those things granted right then. Let’s look to Jesus, who is the Morning Star — the forerunner of the answer. See Him coming to us — rising to meet our faith — running ahead of the manifestation. He’s bringing the answer as surely as Venus brings the new day. But just as we don’t see and feel the daylight and sunshine when we see Venus, so we may not see or feel the manifested answer to our prayer for period of time. That’s when we set our hearts on Jesus and say, “He’s the Morning Star of my miracles — my answer. He’s come ahead of its manifestation to announce that I have it.” And we need to grasp it right then and not let go until the full day — the full answer — manifests completely.


photo courtesy of Sharsharu @ pixabay.com



 

Living By Faith = Using Technology At It’s Highest Level

Christian Faith, Inspiration, Uncategorized

ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE - Gerd Altmann - PX

No man — using only his own mental resources — ever built a road, constructed a bridge, figured how to make a plane fly, built a computer, or created the software that makes a computer work. Nor did he invent the wheel, the gasoline engine, the watch, or anything else by using only his own brain power. We give people credit for these discoveries and inventions, but, in truth, it would have been impossible for anyone to have come up with them using only the finite mind of the human being — awesome and amazing as that finite mind is.

No, the truth is that everyone of those concepts and the deux ex machina necessary to bring them into manifestation and make them usable came out of the mind of God. Check out Genesis 1:1 – “In the beginning, God …” The Spirit God didn’t turn to anyone else for ideas – or for materials to work with. When He wanted a universe – and a planet full of people to love – and a human race to love Him back – He looked within Himself and drawing out of what He already was, He brought everything else into being.

Just as He is the source of all light and life, so He is also the source of all true intelligence. And there has never been a great idea, an invention, or a successful process for doing anything that came into being except that He passed it on to His creation. Now, that doesn’t meant that every great thinker and creator was a Christian – or even a godly person. The Creator who gave us life, gladly gives us all the wonderful benefits of His supernatural intellect with which to enjoy that life and live it successfully – and even bear fruit for His kingdom — and it’s available for anyone who will take advantage of it.

Unfortunately, most of us don’t take much advantage of what He pours out in the areas of using our brains and being creative. But those of us who do crave the experiences of thinking more deeply, experimenting more thoroughly, searching for understanding that goes beyond our limited human educational feats, do eventually come into contact with what our Creator has poured out upon us. And when we make that connection, we see great advancements in science, the arts, industry, and technology.

So when we’re sitting at our computers, enjoying the amazing benefits of programs like Microsoft Word or Open Office – or we are traveling by plane to destinations thousands of miles away and enjoying the movie while our pilot sips his coffee in the cockpit while the machine he’s flying through nothing but air stays right on course — we need to take a lesson from the technology we’re enjoying: All this scientific technological ‘stuff’ came to us from God. Yeah – the Spirit God who created everything we can see and hear and touch. So that means God is the ultimate scientific, technological genius. There’s nothing He can’t do, make, or fix from His position of the Spirit Ruler of the entire universe.

What does that mean for us as believers? Well, to begin with, it means that believing – operating by faith – really is scientific. In fact, it’s as scientific as we can get. Because the one who created every scientific/technological concept, and the way to make it work, is the God who gave us faith and told us to live by it. We are the equivalent of the most sophisticated computers, living on this earth – as ambassadors of God’s Kingdom. He has placed into us His own peculiar software: Faith and His Word. That software makes us able to download everything from the spirit realm that He has already made ready for us.

The Word shows us how to do it and provides the input data. Then faith takes hold of that word and applies it to every problem, every storm, every need, and every dream and vision, pulling from God’s Kingdom Internet all that is necessary to deliver, heal, repair, overcome, and create. Whatever we need in this physical realm has already been paid for by Jesus and is sitting in “The Cloud” of the Kingdom of God, waiting for us to hit the “Enter” key by prayer and thanksgiving.

Living our lives in prayer and faith is not living — as some describe it — being so “heavenly minded that we’re no earthly good.”  No, indeed! Living by prayer and faith is making the scientific use of the most advanced technology at its highest level.



 

Encouraging Words from Wigglesworth

Christian Faith, Healing, Inspiration, Uncategorized

WIGGLESWORTH - SEPIA

Healing Evangelist Smith Wigglesworth wrote these Spirit-led, encouraging words in December of 1922. They are still the Holy Spirit’s admonition to us today.

“When one dares to trust God on His bare Word, then peace flows freely, wavering is passed, there is nothing to be done, all is finished, and you enter into possessions that cannot come in any other way. … There is nothing impossible with God. All the impossibility is with us when we measure God by the limitations of our unbelief. …

“God giveth liberally. He that asketh receiveth. God is willing to bestow on us all things that pertain to life and godliness. Oh, it was the love of God that brought Jesus. And it is this same love that helps you and me to believe.”



 

A Page From My Journals # 4

Christian Faith, Inspiration, Uncategorized

LOLLIPOP FLOWERS

“Rejoice in the Lord always: And again I say, Rejoice!”  (Phil 4:4)

“Be glad in the Lord and rejoice.”  (Psalm 32:11).

“A joyful heart is good medicine.” (Proverbs 17:22).

A grateful heart = a joyful heart.
A joyful heart = good medicine.
Good medicine = good health.
Therefore:  I will maintain a grateful heart so that it will help me stay healthy.


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A Page From My Journals # 2

Christian Faith, Inspiration, Uncategorized

In some of my journals, I draw or paint something that relates to the meditations and truths the Lord is sharing with me that day. I did that for this particular entry.


GOD'S TREE

The Gospel In A Tree

A tree was the instrument man used to rebel against God and cast the whole human race into a cursed state of enmity with its Creator.

So a tree was the instrument the Father chose to use to provide the means by which Jesus carried out His sacrifice to redeem His creation from its sin and the curse.

And a tree — of life — will grow eternally in the city of God, with health and life for everyone who will receive: an everlasting testimony to the victory of the Father’s tree.


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A Page From My Journals # 1

Christian Faith, Inspiration, Lessons From God's Word, Uncategorized

FOUNTAIN PEN, BOOK -- edited

During my 50 plus years in ministry, I have filled multiple notebooks and journal pages — and little loose pieces of paper — with the thoughts and truths the Lord has quickened to me as I studied or meditated His Word. I did finally try to stop using those “little pieces of paper” because it was so hard to keep track of them, and I’d spend too much time hunting for them when I started to think again about what I’d written on them. I switched to legal-pad notebooks — especially for planning Bible lessons — but even they tended to get lost or turn up. So in more recent years, I’ve tried to record all my thoughts and devotions in journals so that they would be easier to find and less likely to get torn or scattered far and wide.

But I often find myself re-reading pages of these journals and feel blessed by the encouraging things the Lord had me write on those pages. I’ll then consider what other material I’ve written — in other journals — that go along with that material to make a great Bible lesson. My next thought is that I need to get all those pages together and get the lesson written so it’s ready to teach at a meeting or on my  website or YouTube channel. Unfortunately, when I make that decision, that puts a hold on my sharing because I have to do all the work of rounding up all the parts of the material  and getting them organized — and maybe studying to add a few other bits and pieces to tie it all together — and that means I post much less often.

But this week the Lord seemed to stop me in the middle of such thoughts and suggested that I start creating posts where I share just what’s on one particular page of one particular journal each time.  If the truth that He shared with me was a blessing to me — apart from an entire lesson — then surely it could be a blessing to others as well. I felt He said that I don’t always have to teach an entire lesson, but can just enjoy passing on one important thought or one valuable revelation from His Word and His heart. After all, most of the wonderful things I’ve learned about Him have come to me in little bits at a time.

So I’ve decided to begin this series “A Page From My Journals” as a way of posting much more often and sharing some of the wonderful, enlightening, comforting, and sometimes life-changing things the Lord has given to me, small segments at a time. Today’s post is the first in that series, and I’m making it particular short since I’ve written so much here today already. I hope this series blesses you.


SUNRISE OVER GREEN FIELD -- super brightTheDigitalArtist

A Page From My Journals:

My Father is Light, and there is no darkness in Him. Therefore, I am a daughter of Light, and there should be no darkness in me.  ( 1 John 1:5).

My Father is the Father of Light, and there is no variableness or shadow of turning in Him. Therefore, I am a daughter of light, and there must be no variableness or shadow of turning in me either. (James 1:17).

I am spirit. I have a soul, and I live in a body. I (my spirit man) has been born again and has become the righteousness of God, so my spirit is full of light. (2 Corinthians 5: 21). But there is still darkness that must be cleaned out of my soul and body. I cannot cleanse that darkness out myself. But as I soak up God’s Word — which is light — the darkness is gradually washed away and replaced. When my focus is on Him alone, my eye is single, and His light can then fill all of me. (Matthew 6:22).


journal photo courtesy of Ulleo @ pixabay.com
sunrise photo courtesy of The Digital Artist @ pixabay.com

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Encouraging Bruised Reeds & Smoking Flax

Christian Faith, Inspiration, Lessons From God's Word, Uncategorized

 

FLAX -- Ria Algra - PX

“A bruised reed shall He not break, and smoking flax shall he not quench.”  (Matthew 12:20, KJV).

These words, inspired by the Holy Spirit, described Jesus Christ, both in the Old Testament prophecy forecasting His coming, and in the New Testament as He carried out His earthly ministry. The words referred to the fact that Jesus was careful not to put down or belittle people who came to Him, even when they were weak in faith, or because they were lacking in some area of consecration or obedience. Now, to be sure, He did on occasion ask His own disciples, “Why are you fearful, or why did you doubt?” But those words were not intended as reprimands, but as questions to cause them to think and learn. They were in training, after all, and were supposed to be learning from Him and growing in faith and the demonstration of it. They were in a different position from the average person who came to Jesus for ministry.

Throughout His earthly walk, Jesus was kind and compassionate to everyone who had need of Him. If the people He dealt with had even a smoldering bit of faith, or just a heart-felt desire to connect with Him, He welcomed them and spoke and acted in such a way as to encourage them. To the sick man at the Pool of Bethesda, who evidently had some lack of initiative if he’d been supposedly “trying to get to the pool” for 38 years,  Jesus simply asked, “Do you want to be made well?”  And then, even though the man’s only response was to complain about not having any other people to help him, Jesus proceeded to heal him completely. (John 5:1-15).

And look at His treatment of Zacchaeus, who was a first-rank sinner (self-confessed) and who had no obvious faith or obedience going for him. Just the fact that Zacchaeus wanted to know more about Jesus — enough to climb into a tree so that he could see Jesus better as He went through town — was enough for Jesus to call him over and invite Himself to Zacchaeus’ house — showing him both honor and compassion at the same time. (Luke 19:1-10).

When his disciples told him of other ministers who were delivering people in Jesus’ name but were not following Him, Jesus said to leave them alone because if they were not “against” Him, then they were “for” Him. He didn’t rebuke those other ministers or even correct them. (Luke 9:49-50)

Wherever He went, Jesus was looking for ways to lift people up, encourage them, and help them grow in their relationship with their Creator.

Several years ago I read words by another minister that said, in effect, that we should be careful not to destroy someone’s imperfect faith because, at the time we’re interacting with that individual, it’s the only faith that person has. But it’s likely that, given time and encouragement, that imperfect faith will grow into something stronger and purer.

I’ve learned over the years that there’s a good deal of wisdom in those words, and I’ve seen people’s faith grow exceedingly. In fact, my own faith has grown, changed, grown some more, and changed some more over some sixty years of life as a Christian. So I know the potential is there.

I’ve been thinking a great deal about this particular subject matter lately, and I believe the reason is that the Lord is showing me it’s really important to encourage people in these areas. I think I’ve always been an encourager in general, but I know, at times, I also tend to hold back when I see that a person has areas of his life or faith that are most definitely unscriptural. I sometimes tend to concentrate more on trying to “help” them get “fixed” in those areas rather than encouraging the little bit of positive in them — that smoking flax of faith or that character trait that is slightly bruised.

But I believe the Lord is saying that I need to refocus and concentrate on encouraging for a while rather than fixing. It may be that enough encouragement of the positive — even if it’s just smoldering or somewhat bruised or damaged — will strengthen those people enough to help them go on and eventually get the other stuff fixed.

And, after all, God is the real “fixer” — not me. And I’m also aware that there are a number of areas in my own life that need “fixing” as well. Certainly, I need to pray for the people in my life where the negative areas are concerned, so that the Lord has an open channel to work in their lives. But I need to let Him take care of the fixing and use my energy and influence to encourage those individuals. Encouragement in the right places can sometimes put us in a stronger position so that we can better receive the help God has for us.

So, in this coming year of 2020, one of my primary spiritual goals is going to be to encourage every positive thing I see in every person I’m with, and to do so in the name of Jesus Christ — who never broke a bruised reed (damaged person) or quenched any smoking flax (smoldering faith.)  I believe if I’ll be faithful to do my part, He will be able to do all the rest of the work necessary to bring them to wholeness and overcoming faith.




photo courtesy of Ria Algra @ pixabay.com



 

A Distant Promise

Uncategorized

CURVING ROAD WITH LIGHT B & W

There’s a distant place that’s waiting.
I can hear it call my name.
And a distant dream that’s birthing;
Everything’s about to change.
I’ve been dragging, worn and weary,
Scarred by failure in the past,
But a distant song is calling,
And I’m finding strength at last.
No, I don’t deny I’ve fallen,
Gotten up, then failed again.
But I hear a distant promise:
“Never quit, and you will win.”


 

 

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Believe You Can!

Uncategorized

Believe You Can!

You will see in this exceptional photo that the horse is literally flying over this double hurdle with a measurable amount of space to spare. A particularly difficult feat, and a beautiful sight to behold. I was inspired to see in this photo the meeting of a challenge in a quote from a woman named Dorothea Brande. She said: “Act as if it were impossible to fail.”

The beautiful horse in this picture believed he could fly over this hurdle with room to spare.  That is the only reason he is doing it successfully.  I found that looking at this picture and dwelling on it encouraged me to challenge myself to do the same, and I’m passing on that challenge. Whatever it is in your life that you need to — or even want to — accomplish successfully, believe that you can do it.  See yourself doing it.  Throw your heart over the hurdles that look like they could hinder you.

A famous trapeze artist from two generations ago was training a new student who, one day, suddenly became filled with fear as he looked at the precarious perch where he had to perform.  He froze — couldn’t move a muscle — and began to gasp, “I can’t do it! I can’t do it!”  The long-time veteran put his arm around the young man and said, “Yes, son, you can do it, and I will tell you how: throw your heart over the bar, and your body will follow.”  The Word of God backs up that premise with the truth from Proverbs 23:7, which says of man, “As he thinketh in his heart, so is he.”

The horse in this picture threw his heart over those bars.  He believed he could make that jump with plenty of room to spare.  So he did.  He simply acted on what he believed.  When you go through a difficult situation in your life and find yourself facing the challenge of doing something that looks a little too big or too high for you, go back and take a long look at this photo.  Meditate on it; then obey Dorothea Brande’s wise words:  “Act as if it were impossible to fail.”

An Interesting Conversation

Uncategorized

Time: Creation, Day 6

Place: Heaven, looking down at Earth

Participants: God, One Inquisitive Angel

Conversation:

Angel to God: “What are you doing, God?”

God: “Creating a man.”

Angel: “What are you going to do with him?

God: “Love him.”

Angel: “What will he do for you?”

God: “Give me pleasure.”

Angel: “Will he give you pleasure that is different from what the rest of your creation gives you?”

God: “Oh, yes.  He will be a speaking spirit just like me, who will have the ability to choose by his own free will to love me and communicate with me constantly.”

Angel: “Have you thought that he might use his free will to choose not to love you?  He could end up giving you a lot of trouble.”

God: “Oh yes, he will give me a lot of trouble.  But he is worth it!”

Oh, that we would see ourselves as God sees us!

 

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