“Being Last”?

Absorbing God Word

“Sitting down, Jesus called the Twelve and said, “Anyone who wants to be first must the very last, and the servant of all.”  Mark 9:35

Applying God’s Word

Jesus tells his disciples that to be first they must be the very last. Ouch! How’s the service where you live? Are you waiting in line to enter stores now? Are you having to return two or three times to get what you want?

Service used to be the key to a successful business. I owned a business for twenty-six years and told my employees that the customers they were serving are the ones writing their paycheck, not me. I’d like to blame the current lack of service on the Pandemic, but I think it was deteriorating well before that. Lately, it’s as if I’m not only last in line, but that I must come back for something I need.

I don’t like poor service, lines, waiting, calling back, going back or being last. That’s why God gave me Mark 9:35 to write about this week. He is not only asking me to be joyful in being last, but to do it with Him at my side. Forgive me for my impatience, Lord.

Accounting of God’s Word

Have I been intolerant lately? Have I invited Jesus to wait with me or to give me the grace to be joyful while I wait?

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“Divisiveness”?

Absorbing God Word

“For where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you find disorder and every evil practice.” James 3:16

Applying God’s Word

The votes are in. Both sides were pointing fingers before the election and they still are. The reality with pointing a finger at someone is that there are usually three other fingers in our hand pointing back at us.

Did this election bring us all closer together? It seems that it divided our nation even more. Why? Maybe it has to do with the lack of respect that has slowly weaved itself into every area of our lives. It’s like an untreated cancer that eventually ends up being terminal.

Who started it and how have we allowed it to take control? Could it be our own acts of envy and selfish ambition? I can recall seasons when I have contributed my share of that, but I also rationalized that it was too small to matter. Wrong. Each of us have probably contributed to this divisiveness in some way. We need only investigate the dark corners of our lives.

Accounting of God’s Word

Have I ever been a finger-pointer? Have I ever had selfish ambition?

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“Ask Jesus”

Absorbing God Word

“For through the law I died to the law so that I might live for God. I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me.” Galatians 2:19-20

Applying God’s Word

This is one of my favorite scriptures, because it reminds me that I am no longer living this life for me. I’m living it for God.

Like many of you, I have already voted. I sat down with Jesus and asked Him how He wanted me to mark my ballot. More importantly I’ve prayed deeply, over the last couple weeks about voting.

This Tuesday will be a day of prayer and fasting for me. Why? Praying while fasting is a powerful way to communicate with God. It may not change anything about the election results, but I will know that I’ve done everything God has asked of me.

Maybe we could all make Tuesday a day of prayer and fasting.

Accounting of God’s Word

Have I asked Jesus how He wants me to mark my ballot?

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“Writers”

Absorbing God Word

“A generous person will prosper; whoever refreshes others will be refreshed.” Proverbs 11:25

Applying God’s Word

I’ve read some great books/stories and consider writers to be incredibly generous. I don’t say that to pat myself on the back. I may not be as generous as some writers, but I do try to write stories that refresh folks. Here are some quotes from writers about writing. :>)

“I do not over-intellectualize the production process. I try to keep it simple.” Tom Clancy

“No tears in the writer, no tears in the reader.” Robert Frost                                                    

“If you tell the truth you don’t have to remember anything.” Mark Twain                        

“How vain it is to sit down to write when you have not stood up to live.” Henry Thoreau

“Tears are words that need to be written.” Paulo Coelho                                                          

“To survive, you must tell stories.” Umberto Eco 

Obstacles I’ve faced in writing are laziness, complacency, time, fear, rejection, judgement, sickness, writers block, frustration, loss of a loved one, personal challenges, work related issues, poor self-worth, life and entitlement, to mention a few. I have been able to push through those obstacles by God’s grace and by the power of His Holy Spirit.

Accounting of God’s Word

Is God asking me to write for Him? What obstacles stand in my way?

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“Spiritual Authority”?

Absorbing God Word

“I have given you authority to trample on snakes and scorpions and to overcome all the power of the enemy; nothing will harm you.” Luke 10:19

Applying God’s Word

Yes, I believe that the spiritual realm exists and that the enemy is very much present in the spiritual realm. In 1 Peter 5:8 it says, “Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.”

Last week, Louise and I stayed at a hotel while visiting and assisting her two young grandchildren doing school online. Normally, when we arrive in a place that has hosted other people from all walks of life, the first thing we do is pray to cleanse the room of any evil. In our haste to help them, we forgot to pray.

The first two nights, Louise suffered with a bad rash, a reaction to disinfectant used on the furniture. The fourth night she was bitten five times by a black-widow. That’s when we remembered that we hadn’t prayed in that room yet.

As Christians, we have been given authority to overcome the attacks of the enemy so as not to allow him place or an opportunity to devour us.

Accounting of God’s Word

Do I remember to pray each day for protection against the enemy? Do I pray when I am away from home?

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“In Disguise”

Absorbing God Word

“But you, keep your head in all situations, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, discharge all the duties of your ministry.” 2 Timothy 4:5

Applying God’s Word

What did an evangelist look like during the time of Jesus?  They looked like fishermen, husbands, wives, bakers, tent makers, tax collectors, doctors, and even carpenters. What do evangelist look like today? They look like fishermen, husbands, wives, bakers, tent makers, tax collectors, doctors and even carpenters. Evangelists are everyday people like you and I who are agents for Jesus in every area of our lives.

I stopped giving out my insurance business card about 15-20 years ago and I have been handing out my ACT Ministry card instead. When people ask, “What does ACT stand for?” I reply, “Applying Christ’s Teachings”. That’s when the Holy Spirit takes over.

I am not a husband, father, grandfather, friend and insurance broker disguised as an evangelist. I am an evangelist disguised as a husband, father, grandfather, friend and insurance broker.

Accounting of God’s Word

What kind of evangelist for Jesus do I look like?

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“Co-Workers” ?

Absorbing God Word

“Greet Priscilla[a] and Aquila, my co-workers in Christ Jesus. They risked their lives for me. Not only I but all the churches of the Gentiles are grateful to them.” Romans 16:3-4

Applying God’s Word

Louise and I just finished watching a movie on Prime TV titled “Paul, Apostle of Christ”.  Many of these gospel movies are done well, but not necessarily accurate. We thought the acting was very good in this one. Paul was played by James Faulkner. Luke was played by Jim Caviezel who also played Jesus in “The Passion of Christ”.

Our hearts were drawn to the lives of Priscilla and Aquilla who became Christian. They also became co-workers with Paul for Jesus and suffered tremendous persecution.

We are all called to be co-workers for Jesus. Louise and I recently attempted to hold a small outside prayer gathering for our community, but the idea was rejected by the homeowner’s association. Meanwhile, the HOA was allowing exercise classes and other functions to take place in the same spot. They referred to our event as a non-essential gathering. If ever there was a time in our country when prayer was essential it is now.

Accounting of God’s Word

Have I been rejected, persecuted or discriminated against because of my faith in Jesus? Am I praying faithfully?

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“Wednesdays With Bob”?

Absorbing God Word

“He was a good man, full of the Holy Spirit and faith, and a great number of people were brought to the Lord.” Acts 11:24

Applying God’s Word

Bob and I were friends for over 35 years. It started out as a business relationship.

In April of 1987, I agreed to attend a Christian’s in Commerce retreat weekend with Bob. It was a powerful experience for each of us. It drew us both into a life of daily prayer, which in turn changed every area of our lives.

Along with a couple other men, we started the San Jose Chapter of CIC and made a commitment to meet every Wednesday morning for prayer and fellowship. We did that for thirty years and Wednesday became one of the most important days for Bob, me and everyone who attended.

This last Wednesday, September 23rd at 10:50am in the morning, Bob’s body lost the fight with Parkinson’s, but his spirit won a spot in heaven for eternity. 

God doesn’t make them any better than Bob. He was filled with the Holy Spirit and faith, and he brought a great number of people to the Lord. He was a Godly man, husband, father, father-in-law, grandfather, great grandfather, brother and an incredible friend. 

Thank you, Bob, for being such a great example for me and for others to follow. I love you.

Accounting of God’s Word

Who in my life has set the bar a little higher for me? Am I setting the bar a little higher for someone else?

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“Anxious To Worship”

Absorbing God Word

“For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.” Ephesians 6:12

Applying God’s Word

I walked outside, took a deep breath, looked up at a clear blue smoke-free sky and said, “I take way too much for granted. Forgive me Lord.”

Admitting I have taken way too much for granted all of my life, I began making a mental list of those things. Sadly, there’s not enough room in this writing to share them all with you. My important takeaways from that mental list though are my time with God, family, all of you and worshipping together as a church again.

We have to believe that there are plenty of nonbelievers who have not given a second thought to churches being closed. There are also many believers who have become content with going to church on-line and who may adopt this as a permanent habit in the future.

Not being able to attend church doesn’t work for Louise and I. We look forward to worshipping God with others. It is important to our spiritual lives and to our Creator. We have gone to church on-line and have also found small outside services to attend. Anxious to get back to church, we pray that all the churches will be packed to overflowing in the near future.

Accounting of God’s Word

Am I looking forward to worshipping with others at church again? Is church one of the things I’ve taken for granted?

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“Sins Of Omission”

Absorbing God Word

“For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.” Psalm 139:13 & 16

Applying God’s Word

A couple of weeks ago I sent out a “Challenge” titled “Walk The Walk”.

A friend and someone I respect dearly wrote back saying, “I don’t agree that promises made and kept are the sole way by which one can and must judge the character of a candidate. Fidelity to the constitution, fidelity to vows, fidelity to scripture, fidelity to national traditions, truth telling, honesty, consistency and many other criteria are in play.” I loved his words of wisdom and wanted to pass it along to you.

There are so many things that we need to consider as we weigh issues, we truly value. I value new life. Early on, I didn’t think much about childbirth. Then our daughter was born with a heart defect and our first grandson died full term. Every baby I’ve seen and/or held since then has been a miracle of God. Therefore, I can’t remain silent about the issue of abortion.

Although the abortion rate is decreasing in the United States, we are still allowing over 600,000 abortions each year. For me to remain quite about this issue, is a sin of omission.

Accounting of God’s Word

Does God want me to remain silent or stand up for His truth?

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