Category Archives: Seriously

What a Surprise

I mentioned her in a previous Seriously. Every time I would drive past her garbage “decorated” home, I would feel so sorry for her. I shared how I stopped and offered to help, but she said her children were going to help her (which they never did). After more time, I saw her out again and stopped to check on her. She recognized us and was happy to dialog a bit. 

“The people across the street—they are Christians ya know—have been helping me. They are such kind people. They are even going to fix my lawn mower and keep my lawn cut for me.” We could see that now with the trash gone, mowing would be possible. 

Driving by on occasion, we have seen ongoing improvement. Her home now looks almost normal (on the outside at least). No doubt all the neighbors are aware, very aware, of the family across the street from her showing practical love for this somewhat demented woman. 

My brothers, are you letting your let shine? Do you know the names of your neighbors and their spiritual condition? Are you showing the love of Christ by helping them when needed? Are you praying for them? Do you love them? Do you identify with Christ and seek opportunities to share the gospel? 

“Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven” (Matthew 5:16).

Words are Cheap

There is a common saying: “Words are cheap.” Likely we are all guilty of saying something that sounds good but has no heart-backing and certainly no follow-thru in actions. How often do you tell your wife that you love her? Do your attitudes and actions sound a loud “Amen”? How much does she really mean to you, and how grateful are you that God brought her for your helpmeet? 

If you are a dad then she is (normally) the mom. Do you desire that your children learn to love and honor her as their mother? Oh, my brothers, demonstrate it. A woman who will invest her life in raising children is worthy of praise, but a mom who will homeschool them is worthy of love and honor many times over. Sadly, many moms don’t even get the words.

“Likewise, ye husbands, dwell with them according to knowledge, giving honour unto the wife, as unto the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life; that your prayers be not hindered” (1 Peter 3:7). When we do, hopefully our children will follow. Look at the blessing they receive in so doing. 

“Honour thy father and thy mother, as the LORD thy God hath commanded thee; that thy days may be prolonged, and that it may go well with thee, in the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee” (Deuteronomy 5:16).

That Time Again

I’ve been waging war most days, excluding Sundays, with the weeds popping up in our yard. Weeds galore border us on three sides, and it is no surprise to see them sprout up in our yard. Dealing with them isn’t difficult, but it does take diligence and attentiveness to spot them one by one and eradicate them. The best defense I’m told is a healthy lawn, so I’ve been diligently feeding my lawn. 

 Weeds that easily sprout up in a yard are analogous to sin sprouting in a believer’s life. The first line of defense against sin is a healthy soul — one fed daily by the Word of God, prayer, and through corporate worship. Even then sin is so sneaky, it will sprout up when seeded by the influences around us. Simply being a part of this world there are “sin-seeds” all around us. Many we can avoid, and that is why Teri and I haven’t had a TV for decades. Others are like allergens in the air, just being out and about, in stores and around people, we take them in. 

“Dearly beloved, I beseech you as strangers and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul” (1 Peter 2:11).

Horse of a Different Color

If you have shared Christ much, you have encountered very many who are happily content with their lives and are not concerned with their sin and the result. Life is good, and there are so many immediate pleasures in the good life. They have no interest in eternal things. 

I’ve noticed an amazing parallel. Most professing Christians are very busy. They are busy with work, family, and a boatload of pleasures. When they want to relax, they watch movies. When they want some excitement, they watch sports. To stay informed, they watch the news. Oh yes, and church is fit in when there is time (I.E. nothing better). 

Amazing how both groups seem so similar in their responses.  

“But ye have not so learned Christ; If so be that ye have heard him, and have been taught by him, as the truth is in Jesus: That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts; And be renewed in the spirit of your mind; And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness” (Ephesians 4:20-24).

Oh my brothers, may we be busy about His business. “And that he died for all, that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto him which died for them, and rose again” (2 Corinthians 5:15).

A Visitor with a Message

When “he” comes to visit you, “he” brings pain. “He” stays much longer than you would prefer. However, there is a potential benefit from the visit. Seek the Lord as to whether this painful visitor was sent by the Lord to bring about repentance or change in some area of your life. 

Similar to childhood, when our parents would introduce something painful to affect our behavior/choices for good – that can be God’s purpose as well. “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose” (Romans 8:28). 

Hence, my encouragement is when you find yourself in painful circumstances immediately ask the Lord to show you if it is chastening. I always do because if there is something in my life that He wants me to change, I want that understanding as quickly as possible.  

“As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent” (Revelation 3:19).

“Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby” (Hebrews 12:11).

Woe

Don’t you love God’s Word? Isn’t it wonderful? I can’t imagine what life would be without it. He gave us His Word so that we might know Him and follow His commands. However, for most of the time since creation, mankind did not have what we have. My brothers, we are blessed beyond measure. 

Then how can it be that our country is in such a dire spiritual state? God has been thrown out of the government and schools. His Word is not the basis for right and wrong. I praise God that the government schools did not educate our children. I shudder when I consider those being processed by schools today and their horrendous impact on the US as they become voters. If I think it is bad now, I remind myself it is nothing compared to what is ahead. Woe are we. 

Brothers, I plead with you to do everything you can possibly do to enable your wife to educate your children at home using a curriculum based on God’s Word. Lead your family in the Word every night. Discuss it as you view everything around us through the lens of Scripture. (Deut 6:7) Fill your family with the Word and not with ungodly media and movies. “All things are lawful for me, but all things are not expedient: all things are lawful for me, but all things edify not” (1 Corinthians 10:23).

Be lights to a lost and dying world around us. Confess Jesus. “Also I say unto you, Whosoever shall confess me before men, him shall the Son of man also confess before the angels of God: But he that denieth me before men shall be denied before the angels of God” (Luke 12:8-9).

A Great Heart Exercise

It might not be popular, but it is very beneficial. It won’t burn hardly any calories, but it is very good for your heart. It doesn’t matter what you wear, and you won’t get sweaty. You can do it almost anytime, and it doesn’t take hardly any time. Go online to the website of a popular funeral home’s obituary page. Then slowly read down the obituary briefs. Usually, that has a photo, their name, when they were born, when they died, and sometimes what church they were members of. 

I have found it to be deeply moving. When I see the people who have passed from this life into another, either eternal life or eternal death/suffering, my heart breaks. When you read the obituaries, “everyone” is going to heaven (if only). Optimism, however, is not enough. 

“Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity” (Matthew 7:21-23).

May this heart experience, enlarge your heart with a love for others and the deep desire to see them saved by the blood of Jesus, not merely church members. May it help you be purposeful in sharing the love of Jesus with others every chance you get. 

We Have Hope

The most precious day of Christian remembrance has arrived, and may we rejoice in it. Christ paid such a price. It was such a gift (Ephesians 2:8). Our God is so worthy of our eternal praise! It was an event of betrayal, cruelty, sacrifice, innocence, and suffering, –all for our redemption. What a plan, and it was executed perfectly. 

There would be no redemption without the crucifixion. An amazing part of the story was Jesus’ betrayal by Judas. Judas sat under Jesus’ teaching with the eleven, but Judas received Satan’s temptation to betray Jesus. He acted upon what he should have rejected.

After the betrayal, it continued downhill. “Then Judas, which had betrayed him, when he saw that he was condemned, repented himself, and brought again the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and elders, Saying, I have sinned in that I have betrayed the innocent blood. And they said, What is that to us? see thou to that. And he cast down the pieces of silver in the temple, and departed, and went and hanged himself” (Matthew 27:3-5). 

Judas’ worldly sorrow led to his earthly and eternal death/destruction. “For godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation not to be repented of: but the sorrow of the world worketh death” (2 Corinthians 7:10). 

Imagine, if Judas, after being rejected by the chief priests and elders, had gone to the crucifixion exhibiting godly sorrow. What if he had fallen face down at the bloody feet of the dying Lord Jesus and begged forgiveness for his betrayal? Jesus would have forgiven him, and Judas would not be in hell at this moment. (BTW, I’m not suggesting an improvement on the account.) 

May we learn from Judas. First, reject sinful promptings. Second, when you fail, choose godly sorrow. When you wrong someone, go to them in a spirit of repentance, not justifying yourself. Seek their forgiveness and the Lord’s. Also, if you are trusting in your works for salvation (being a good person), repent and place your faith in the One Who died to redeem you. 

Understatement 

Have you noticed that often one word doesn’t tell the story? Especially, I’m thinking of the word “birth” or “death.” One is the beginning of life on earth and the other is the end of it. But each one has a story that goes with it, and usually, we want to know more. That is why after a baby is born, moms want to hear the birth story. 

Often when I am inquiring into someone’s spiritual life—whether they are truly saved—I hear the words “I believe in Jesus.” Think about it. When someone asks about your salvation, what do you say? Do you reply in a monotone? Is the story of your birth and resulting life in Christ, ho-hum? Maybe your “birth” so to speak was merely a formality that your church required. Perhaps it is like the woman who said that after her divorce, she was baptized again. She wanted to make sure things were all good with God. After a child is born, there are signs of life such as pulse and breathing Do you exhibit signs of real spiritual life? Don’t wait until you die to find out. We will not have a church representative standing next to us at the judgment to answer for us. 

Brothers, be sure you are saved, then live it, proclaim it, rejoice in what the Lord Jesus did for you. He rose from the dead to show the world that He has power over death and can give new life. 

“Sing unto the LORD, bless his name; shew forth his salvation from day to day. Declare his glory among the heathen, his wonders among all people. For the LORD is great, and greatly to be praised: he is to be feared above all gods” (Psalms 96:2-4).

Just an Hour

Imagine that tomorrow you wake up with a strange pain. It is not a muscle ache or something you have ever had before, but something totally different. As the morning passes, it is growing massively in intensity. Regardless of what was planned for your day, you head to Urgent Care. The day is spent running tests. Finally, you are told you have a terminal disease and will die very, very soon. 

You return home with the pain lessened due to medication, but you are thinking of end-of-life details that must be attended to quickly. You have an awareness of every minute passing and things to be done. High on the list are people you want to say goodbye to before your disease renders you unconscious. Then there are those you know who have rejected Jesus, both family and friends. The list is long, and time is short. 

Then the regrets begin of all the time that you wasted. It wasn’t sinful, or you wouldn’t have done it. You justified it because of being tired, bored, or wanting something pleasurable. But there was no profit in how the time was spent. That time is now gone for eternity and can’t be reclaimed. Oh, how foolish you were. “Oh God forgive me.” You fall asleep in a drug-induced coma with a heavy, heavy heart. 

 “So teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom” (Psalms 90:12).