December 2020

court room

Distorted Gospel

 I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting him who called you in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel— not that there is another one, but there are some who trouble you and want to distort the gospel of Christ. Galatians 1:6-7

A time of distorted gospel

We live in a time like the days of the apostle Paul, so much so that this passage in Galatians, from the pen of Paul, resonates in us as we, too, seek to tell the good news that Jesus bought and paid for with His blood and royal position (Revelation 17:14). Yet even while we tell people that Jesus came to seek and save the lost (Luke19:10), we are confronted by false doctrines from laypeople, religious leaders, and people at all levels of our government that lay claim to the name of our Savior, yet twist His words, attempting to smother the Truth with a gospel mixed with the leaven of this world. (Matthew 16:6)

Our goal is obedience

A Christian’s goal is not to rack up the most days lived, but to rack up the most days lived in obedience to Christ Jesus. It’s not a long life that we seek. It’s a long obedience in the same direction that we seek. Being schooled by public officials on how we should worship and where we should worship is beyond foolish; it’s heretical. 

This world is not our home. We are as Abraham, looking for a city built by God (Hebrews 11:10). We are just passing through this veil of tears (Psalm 84:6-8 NLT), attempting to avoid the Slough of Despond1. We live in this world, but we are not of this world (John 15:19). If we were to receive and ingest the heretical teachings from those who believe they have made wickedness holy by their own power, then I would no longer need the cleansing of my feet, but as Peter said, “wash all of me.” (John 13:9-10)

Purveyors of a perverted gospel

These purveyors of a perverted gospel are received and extolled by business tycoons, heads of state, and all manner of media moguls. The safety net that Christianity has so long enjoyed is gone. We are witnessing a separating between the wheat and the tares (Matthew 13:24-30), a kind of foreshadowing of that great day of God’s judgment. (Acts 17:31)

Where sin abounds, grace abounds more

So, what is a Christian to do? Flourish! Where sin abounds, grace abounds more (Romans 5:20). We are in the midst of a great harvest. People are desperate for the true fruit of the vine. (Matthew 26:27-29) True, people deceive easily. And when told the true Gospel, the decision they face is whether they will surrender all to Jesus. (1 Peter 5:6-10) And by all, that means their lives, prejudices, predispositions, and pride – this often costs them their family, friends, and the very structure upon which they’ve built their lives.

Yes, it’s no longer business as usual. We can’t just hide in our houses and wait for this sea-change to fall upon us. God is a Mighty Warrior. His name is El Shaddai – God Almighty, the Overpowerer (Job 40:1–2Matthew 19:26)

God is a Mighty Warrior

I think many of us have forgotten this. It’s time to put on the whole armor of God (Ephesians 6:11) and join in the spiritual battle that now rages, for we fight not against flesh and blood (people are made in the image of God):

For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.

Ephesians 6:12

God destined us for this time in history

Some Christians may lament the loss of a lifestyle that their grandparents had, a time of distorted gospel, but be of good courage. God had us born into such a time as this, for this is our calling!

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Photo by Macau Photo Agency on Unsplash

  1. Slough of Despond – The Slough of Despond (/ˈslaʊ … dɪˈspɒnd/ or /ˈsluː/;[1] “swamp of despair”) is a fictional, deep bog in John Bunyan‘s allegory The Pilgrim’s Progress, into which the protagonist Christian sinks under the weight of his sins and his sense of guilt for them.

X and Y

Let’s think about change

A woman marries a man expecting he will change, but he doesn’t.
A man marries a woman expecting that she won’t change, and she does.

Our genetic characteristics are inherited from the chromosomes we received at conception. A fantastic event occurs at conception, the heredity of the mother combines with the heredity of the father, and the result is a unique person. 

What is a chromosome

Chromosomes are thread-like structures located inside the nucleus of animal and plant cells. Each chromosome is made of protein and a single molecule of deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA). Passed from parents to offspring, DNA contains the specific instructions that make each type of living creature unique.

Typically, a person has 46 chromosomes. Every cell in a person’s body contains the exact same DNA. And this DNA is contained within these 46 chromosomes. Basic Concepts of Human Genetics

X and Y

Chromosomes come in pairs, one from the mother and one from the father. There are 22 pairs of chromosomes, with each member of the pair sharing the same structure. Then there is the sex chromosome, X and Y. The mother contributes an “X” chromosome. If the father contributes an “X” chromosome, then the baby will be a female. If the father contributes a “Y” chromosome, the baby will be a male. In the feature image, the very last pair shows an “X” chromosome, which is long and doesn’t look like an “X,” and a “Y” chromosome, which is small and looks nothing like a “Y.” 

Contained within a person’s DNA are instructions on how to build everything within a person. Also, within the DNA are instructions that make a person more vulnerable to a disease or defect. Now you may be wondering what this biology lesson has to do with the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Here is how this ties in. 

Nurture versus Nature

Despite the arguments between nurture versus nature, there is a shared belief in our society that a person can never change. If they are bad, they will always be bad; it’s genetics. An evil person is “wired” that way; it’s in the genes. Those people should just be locked up forever. 

Here’s where Jesus steps in. Yes, each of us is hard-wired with countless traits from our ancestors, some good, like musical talent, and some bad, like being quick tempered. Here’s the good news, Jesus didn’t come to make bad people better; he came to make dead people alive! 

Born Again

Before we receive Jesus as our Savior, we are dead. “And you were dead in the trespasses and sins.” (Ephesians 2:1) And the promise from Jesus is not that He will reach in and fix our DNA. His approach is that He scraps our whole Adamic body (body based on Adam). Through Jesus, we are reborn, born into the kingdom of God. “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.” (2 Corinthians 5:17

Yes, it’s a reasonable theory that a person never changes, but a person can be reborn, free of the genetic dispositions to sin. Yes, Christians still fail and sin, but we don’t make it a habit. “No one who abides in him keeps on sinning; no one who keeps on sinning has either seen him or known him.” (1 John 3:6

Breaking the habit

John does not teach that believers do not sin, but he speaks of a character, a habit. (Vincent’s Word Studies) The apostle John states in 1 John 3:6 that the character of a Christian does not habitually sin. This release from the bondage of sin is a radical change from our nature before we were reborn. “20 For when you were slaves of sin, you were free in regard to righteousness. 21 But what fruit were you getting at that time from the things of which you are now ashamed? For the end of those things is death.” (Romans 6:20-21

So, we found Good News. Even for people that were “born bad,” through salvation into Jesus Christ, their character is changed. Wow!

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In a time of message fatigue, what’s our message?

I would love to know how many electronic messages we all sent this year. Internal emails and instant messages, video conferences (Zoom, Teams, GoToMeeting, Google Meet), Internet (email, Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter, LinkedIn), display message boards (McDonald’s, Mayo Clinic, billboards), and so forth. Billions, no, trillions of messages.

In 2019, Americans sent 2.1 trillion text messages and 293 billion emails. This year, for Facebook, worldwide, there were over 2.74 billion monthly active users as of October 29th. Just think back on the number of memes you read this year. Five years ago, you probably didn’t know what a meme was; now it’s how you get your workday started. Messages are burying all of us!

Message fatigue

With COVID, a significant election, employment turmoil, and chaotic modes of education, this year must hold the record for the most messages sent but not read, ever. By the time we reached December, message fatigue set in and dulled our minds. We’re like pack animals, loaded with unread posts, tweets, and emails, limping along with no clue where we’re going or when we’ll get there. And every message declares its utmost urgency.

With no end in sight of this message tsunami, how do you and I communicate the essential message of all: Jesus Saves. Many Christians have been distracted this year from this matter of singular importance. There are so many needs, so many demands, so many concerns, shouldn’t we focus on those and worry about eternity later? Well, no. not really. The Good News is that we don’t face a Solomon decision; we don’t have to split the baby (1 Kings 3:16-28).

A time for action

Need births openness, which births receptivity, which births opportunities for change. Most of the time, most people are unwilling to change any aspect of their lives, but there’s truth in the saying, “There are no atheists in foxholes.”

We, as Christians, are in an unprecedented time of harvest. As Jesus said, “...Look, I tell you, lift up your eyes, and see that the fields are white for harvest…” (John 4:35) And again, Jesus said, “For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.” (Luke 19:10) People want help. People are afraid. People are seeking. Our message must be “Jesus Save.”

While we tell the Good News, we must serve material needs.

Do not withhold good from those to whom it is due, when it is in your power to do it. Psalms 3:27

So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith. Galatians 6:10

A practical example

To give you a true-life, practical example, I’ll share one act of love that my wife has shone (Don’t tell her that I shared this).

My wife is far more effective at identifying and serving needs than I am. One example is that many months ago, my wife was getting ready to drive out of our Kroger’s parking lot when she noticed a young woman sitting on a bench waiting for the bus. She could tell this lady had a need, so she rolled down the window and asked her if she needed a ride. She said yes, and since that time, my wife has driven her home many times, brought her home for a cook-out, gone on site-seeing rides, and recently took her to see the Christmas lights in our park.

This young woman had never been on a drive to see Christmas lights. She asked if they could stop and ride the small train in our park, so they enjoyed the lights and the message of Christmas. That’s how easy it is to find someone to tell this most salient message of all.

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man and woman sitting on chairs

Desire Begets Will

Imagine a young boy in middle school who notices the girl he sits behind in his math class. Each day he enjoys how she holds her pen, the lilt in her voice, and how, during class, she changes the way she wears her hair. He’s becoming attracted to her. A desire to know her grows until he finally gains the courage to ask if he can sit with her during lunch. Desire begets will, not the other way around.

We see this law of desire begetting will in the one true God. 

Our God is in the heavens; he does all that he pleases. – Psalm 115:3 

Desire is powerful

As we’ve seen, desire is the genesis of will. All of Creation exists to fulfill God’s desire. “And God saw everything that he had made, and behold, it was very good.” (Genesis 1:31) God’s creation is beyond our comprehension; desire is powerful. When we turn our attention to humanity, we see companies valued at a trillion dollars birthed from the desire of one or two people. In history, we see the conquering of nations and the creation of empires birthed from one person’s desire. We find incredible medical breakthroughs birthed from one person’s desire.

So far, we haven’t given due consideration to what births desire. Let’s consider 2 Timothy 1:9

Who saved us and called us to a holy calling, not because of our works but because of his own purpose and grace, which he gave us in Christ Jesus before the ages began 

If we dare to look within ourselves, we see some righteous and some sinful fruits of our desires. For Christians, we correctly identify God-given desire for us as a holy calling. If we speak with a missionary, we will soon hear about their calling, their God-given desire. The same is true with vocations; teachers desired to teach, farmers desired to farm, software programmers desired to program. Desires can give birth to powerful wills; a will to pull yourself out of poverty, a will to earn a doctoral degree, a will to build a business. The will of a person often influences that person’s whole life. Desire begets will. 

Temptation can birth desire

Just as God’s call will birth a desire in us that births a will to serve Him, temptations can birth desires. Desire can be holy, or it can be evil. Whatever desires we feed; those are the desires that birth our strongest wills. When we go to our favorite news site, we often read headlines about people that have committed horrific crimes.

A person doesn’t accidentally cut another person’s heart out. That’s the action of a will birthed from a desire birthed from a worldly temptation. A pastor having an affair with the church secretary doesn’t just accidentally happen. That action is an act of the pastor’s will birthed from a sinful desire that started as a temptation. Temptation can beget desire, but it doesn’t have to. 1 Corinthians 10:13 is a promise from God to give us an escape from temptation if we choose to use it. If not, well, desire begets will.

Our will is our engine for action.

God understands the power of desire, more so than us. The danger to us of carnal desires is great. This danger is why God has given us so many warnings to be cautious about what we think about. An excellent tool for us is found in Philippians 4:8: Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. 

When we desire the Father’s will (Thy will be doneMt. 6:10), when we listen for the Holy Spirit’s voice within us, and when we work to accomplish the work Jesus our Lord gives us, then we can quash temptations before they beget desires. After all, our will is our engine for action and desire begets will. 

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dog resting on the floor

Losing Our Alone Time

Have you ever just wanted some “downtime?” Some alone time. A time when you did not have to be “up,” you didn’t have to care, and by care, I mean caring for the needs of others. You just wanted some quiet, maybe flip channels on the TV, listen to an album that always speaks deeply to you, maybe take yourself out for breakfast. I know I can put a checkmark beside each of these. When we’ve planned our “escape” and then life crushes our plans, it’s normal not to be cheerful – “Did you wake up grumpy this morning?” Husband: “No, I let her sleep.”

Alone time

Jesus had sent His twelve apostles on a missionary trip, traveling two by two, and when they returned, He wanted to bless them with some downtime, some rest and relaxation. Jesus said to His apostles, “Come away by yourselves to a desolate place and rest a while.” (Mark 6:31) However, that wasn’t going to happen. “And they went away in the boat to a desolate place by themselves. Now many saw them going and recognized them, and they ran there on foot from all the towns and got there ahead of them. When he went ashore he saw a great crowd, and he had compassion on them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd.” (Mark 6:32-34)

Grumpy apostles

This account in the book of Mark is when Jesus fed the five thousand men and their families, but a fascinating event occurred before Jesus fed the crowd of people. Jesus taught the people for a long time, and, no doubt, the people had been mesmerized by Him, but now they were in a desolate place; no McD’s or Olive Gardens® were close by. Christ’s apostles told Jesus just to dismiss the people and send them away, not exactly a compassionate response. I think their response was because they were grumpy. They resented the people “stealing” their alone time with Jesus.

Why do I think this? Well, there are only a few times when the apostles told Jesus what to do, like when they were in the storm (Matthew 8:23-27). Each time they told Jesus what to do, they were not in the best of moods. Secondly, notice what Jesus did. He said, “You give them something to eat.” (v37

The cusp of a great opportunity

Yikes! God had miraculously used them during their mission trip, but they weren’t up to feeding thousands of people. Isn’t that a bit sad? Jesus opened an opportunity, but they slammed that door right in Jesus’ face – “That would take more than half a year’s wages! Are we to go and spend that much on bread and give it to them to eat?” (v37)

My question is this: When we’re sulking because our plans have gone down the toilet, is it possible that we’re on the cusp of a great opportunity to be used by Jesus? 

Our Savior’s voice

My most vulnerable times are when I feel sorry for myself. We all require downtime. It’s not a sin to get away for a while, but we do need to always keep our hearts open to our Savior’s voice. How wonderful would it have been if the Apostles Peter and John could have encouraged each other? 

Peter: “Do you remember that time when Jesus said, ‘You give them something to eat.’ and the Holy Spirit used us to feed the five thousand men and their families?” 

John: “Yes, I do. My heart nearly exploded by the love of God that flowed through me to those people that day.”

Photo by Johannes W on Unsplash

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I love this photo of my mums hand reaching out to share a moment with her great grandson. Even when we can’t understand each other in language, we can all understand what a simple touch means.

It’s Tough

Today’s text.

So, we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day.

2 Corinthians 4:16

Getting old is tough. It’s hard work with no guarantees. As I continue this process, I see more clearly God’s mercy and grace for each new day. Yes, there are aches, pains, reduced flexibility, and more times when I wonder why I went to the medicine cabinet, but that’s not what I mean by “tough.”

Having a mindset that I’m twenty-eight years old, having a young person’s aspirations while constrained by an aging body, is like eating one potato chip. It’s tough.

This aging process causes me to see people that I admired growing up becoming disabled and disrespected, that is, until they pass. Then people get all weepy and “oh, what a marvelous talent they were.” And then later, they often are again disrespected. It’s tough.

Hospitality has long been too uncomfortable, and now it’s unsafe and unfair to the welfare of society. “We shouldn’t bother brother Jim from church, he needs his rest.” Somehow relationships became a casualty within Christ’s Bride. It’s tough.

Paying bills, doing pills, buying groceries, shuttling Mom and Dad to doctor appointments, and such. For the devoted child, it’s tough

With Zoom, funerals are no problem. All the kids and family can carve out twenty minutes for the Zoom funeral. Pity the child that shouldered the burden. The burden of funeral details again falls on the devoted child, not entirely since another will usually pitch in at the end of the long journey if for no other reason than to drag the faithful child across the finish line. It’s tough.

As I age, my short-term memory fades, enabling me to remember with clarity all the stupid mistakes that I’ve made over so many decades. Aging is cruel. I can remember, with great detail, refusing to go to the World’s Fair with my cousins simply because I was painfully shy, but it takes three tries to remember to take my morning pills. It’s tough.

There was a time when I thought I could do anything; not arrogantly, I just felt like I could. I took jobs, sight unseen, based on one phone call. I had confidence I’d succeed. Once I commuted to work from Indiana to Georgia every week, driving back and forth. I did that for six months —another time, I did a 120-mile roundtrip commute every day for four years. Now, I seldom drive. Even having my wife drive me for a day trip to visit friends an hour away wears me out. It’s tough.

One thing people seldom tell you is that as you age you will attend funerals of countless friends and family. Often, the passing of an elderly parent is a relief because their minds have been gone for quite some time. Both of my parents had dementia. Attempting to have conversations with my dad when he thought I was his friend from Chicago when he was young hurt. It’s tough.

Jesus has grown in me for fifty years. He has seen me make horrible mistakes, commit sins, act without His direction, and choose foolishly. When I think of all my actions that my Savior has seen, well, it’s tough.

Nevertheless, Jesus has led me on the path of righteousness. He pulled me out when my life was in a ditch. He has blessed me, mercied me, graced me, and taught me. From His Word and His faithfulness, I have developed great trust that “neither death nor life, neither angels nor principalities, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 8:38-39)

If you have placed your faith in Jesus then you can join me in declaring that I know that I know that I know that I know that Jesus has not only regenerated me but “I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you [me] will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ. (Philippians 1:6) Aging is tough, but Jesus is tougher.

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man facing music stand with music book guide inside building


For as in one body we have many members, and the members do not all have the same function, so we, though many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another.Romans 12:4

Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God.Colossians 3:16

Rhythm and Syncopation

These preliminaries settled, he did not care to put off any longer the execution of his design, urged on to it by the thought of all the world was losing by his delay, seeing what wrongs he intended to right, grievances to redress, injustices to repair, abuses to remove, and duties to discharge.

For some, birthdays, ours and others, create an annual rhythm. Bills and doctor visits may be a syncopation for some. School classes, school breaks, school beginnings, and endings create rhythms that reverberate throughout our nation. Sunday church, Wednesday prayer, monthly small groups have traditionally formed a comforting and strengthening cadence for us.

There are rhythms more complex within each of us than any hip-hop song could express, for deep within each Christian lives the Holy Spirit, our metronome: He defines our meter and changes it to syncopate with all within the Church, the Bride of Christ. The chorus of the Church that our heavenly Father hears is like the London Philharmonic Orchestra tuning and preparing for a concert. Even within the midst of perceived chaos, beauty, and anticipation are felt by the performers and the hosts of heaven.

Jesus, our Conductor

Soon, Jesus, our Conductor, will take the stage, will look at His Church, bringing all the Church into unity, strength, and elegance. Then he will take the podium. A quiet will roll throughout heaven, and Christ Jesus, our Lord, will present His Bride to His Father.

For most people in America, the familiar rhythms of our lives are in shambles this year. We have waxed nostalgic toward even rhythms that previously we saw as annoyances. This year’s IRS tax season changed. Our daily commutes to work changed. Visits from cranky in-laws may have dwindled. Indeed, 2020 has been a year of abrupt disruptions, leaving us to struggle to find new rhythms and rhythms that don’t come naturally.

One of the many mysteries of music is that a strong voice, be it human or an instrument, can break through discord and mold the individual voices into a unified melody, harmony, rhythm, and meter, causing the musical score to sail to astonishing heights.

Trusting the Conductor

Many rhythms live in our lives. Their confluence creates a familiar song for each of us and all of us. Let’s look forward, trusting that the Conductor knows what He’s doing. Rest in Him, and we shall be part of the most beautiful concert ever presented to God in heaven and His heavenly host.

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It’s A Sign!

From His love, God gives us signs of His intent. Fall means winter is coming.

“Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign. Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.” Isaiah 7:14

Video by David Bartus from Pexels

person holding white POS machine

Name it and Claim it ;-)

I indeed reject the doctrine that teaches that every new Christian gets a spiritual Visa® card to receive wealth and stuff by using the name of Jesus and then letting God pay off the balance each month. Still, I think I am a name-it and claim-it kind of Christian.

This name-it and claim-it started when God’s grace saved me. You see, God’s Word told me, “If you openly declare that Jesus is Lord [name it] and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead [claim it], you will be saved (Romans 10:9).” I did that. I appropriated it; God freely offered salvation to me!

I felt beat up

As I began my Christian walk, I kept feeling beat-up by my past, then I found, “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” (Romans 8:1) I went straight to Jesus and humbled myself before Him, and read His verse back to Him. He touched me, and I began understanding what Christ had done. I named it when the enemy attacked, claiming Christ’s marvelous promise.

Still, I sometimes worried that the wretched man that I am would be found out by God, and He might kick me to the curb; I deserve no less. But praise God, He showed me in Romans 8:38-39. “For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.” So, what the Apostle Paul showed me, I named and claimed.

Naming and claiming does not cause a spiritual transaction

No, the naming and claiming of Romans 8:38-39 didn’t cause a spiritual transaction. It’s not like I didn’t have this before I found it in God’s Word; it was mine already. But what it did do was dissolve the residual lies of the world in me and imparted rest and joy to my soul.

I began feeling more secure in my relationship with Jesus, my Lord. Not prideful but trusting in Him. Then I had some serious medical problems. For a brief time, I was unsure what my future would be; none of us know our earthly future. But once again, the Apostle Paul told me how to lay down my concern about my future.

Paul, by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, said, “For this reason I also suffer these things; nevertheless I am not ashamed, for I know whom I have believed and am persuaded that He is able to keep what I have committed to Him until that Day.” (1 Timothy 1:12) For my spiritual health, I named and claimed that for my walk with Christ Jesus.

Naming and claiming endures in me

My name-it and claim-it approach endures to this day. When my walk with Jesus leads me into uncomfortable or even dangerous situations, I speak to my soul [name] and claim Psalms 23:4, “Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil.” Danger may be real. Injury or death may happen to me, but I will fear no evil.

I name the peace which Jesus gives that transcends time and circumstance. Jesus said it’s mine, so I claim that. Whether I stay in the presidential suite of a grand hotel or sleep in my car, I have Christ’s peace. I remind myself that Christ’s peace has been given; I just have to rest in it.

What can this world pay me to surrender Christ’s peace? Nothing. I claim John 14:1, “Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me [Jesus]. ” and John 14:27, “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you.” And, of course, I name and claim 1 Peter 4:13, “But rejoice insofar as you share Christ’s sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed.

Name-it and claim-it doesn’t mean we don’t already have it

God’s Word is full of promises that await our gathering. Name-it and claim-it is a marvelous gift from God. This is not a case where His promises aren’t ours until we name and claim them; they are ours. But we can’t find our refuge in them while we remain unaware. I’ve known Christians that actually worried themselves to death.

As for the trinkets and trash that this world offers, there is no eternal value there. It’s just silly for you and me to suffer temptation for things that rot. We have the living Word of God within us; what more can we ask?

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Spit Into The Wind

There’s a pop song released in June 1972 by Jim Croce titled, “You don’t mess around with Jim.” The chorus to the music is:

you don’t tug on superman’s cape
you don’t spit into the wind
you don’t pull the mask of the old lone ranger
and you don’t mess around with jim

Spitting into the wind

“You don’t mess around with Jim.” is a peppy song, but I have to state my protestation after all these years. There are times in the life of a Christian when we metaphorically “spit into the wind.”

In John 7:46-49, we find that people, not yet saved, were so impacted by the words of Jesus that they challenged the authorities.

46 “No one ever spoke the way this man does,” the guards replied.
47 The Pharisees answered them, “Have you also been deceived? 48 Have any of the authorities or the Pharisees believed in him? 49 But this crowd that does not know the law is accursed.”

The writings of the Rabbis are full of scorn and contempt for the untutored multitude, whom they called ‘am hāāretz, “people of the earth,” as opposed to those instructed in the Law, whom they called ‘ām kōdesh, “holy people.”
– Ellicott’s Commentary for English Readers on John 7:49

Taking our stand

Here’s the thing, even when confronted by the wind of popular belief, we must stand our ground, and speak the Good News of Jesus, metaphorically spitting into the wind since the “wise” twist God’s Word and throw it back at us.

Susan Ashton released a Christian song titled “Stand” that had this phrase:

In a moment of truth at the top of the hill
I open my arms and let go of my will
And stand with my face to the wind
With the storm beating down on this sacred ground

Standing firm

Somewhere in each of our lives, we will come to a line in the sand, a patch of truth which we know we must not yield no matter how pitched our battle. Our Lord has called us to stand firm. As God’s Word states in 1 Corinthians 15:58, we must “be steadfast, immovable,” even if it feels like our words just fall to the ground. Nevertheless, we must stand; we must spit into the wind.

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Photo by René DeAnda on Unsplash

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