October 2021

Between My Ears

A pic full of rocks with a question mark painted on one of them

This is where I add notes and thoughts as I study the Bible. Please feel free to comment.

I am bothered when a Christian leader’s whole message comes across as “The sky is falling, there’s no time, drop who you’re praying for and pray for us!’ I’ve searched the Scriptures, and that’s not how God expects His people to do things. God is not the God of panic, limitation, or impossibility.

What do the angels and Jesus say when they come to minister to a person or give someone a message? Yep, they lead with “Peace.” No matter what befalls us or a brother or sister in the Lord, we must not invite worry into the problem. 

Should we stop and pray for someone? Yes. Do we begin a focused time of intercessory prayer for a person or a group of believers that are being buffeted by the evil one? Absolutely. Does God lay a burden on our hearts concerning an individual or ministry? You betcha. Do we freak out and run around as if we’ve lost our minds? No!

When the Apostle Paul was shackled and locked in prison, Paul’s utmost concerns were for people and the administration in the churches he founded. Paul’s priority was first, God’s work, second, God’s people, third, himself. 

God is a God of order and purpose; nothing happens that God never expected or is unable to use for His will. The first thing we should do is ask God how He wants us to pray and how we are to respond. Burdens often require action from us. 

Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ. Galatians 6:2

Photo by Ana Municio on Unsplash

Nightmare Dreaming Fantasy Fear Night Scary Girl

Deliver Us from Evil

And lead us not into temptation,
    but deliver us from the evil one.’

Matthew 6:13

As Christians, we are familiar with this verse which is part of the Lord’s Prayer. Of course, this prayer is not for Jesus, Himself. He was teaching us how to pray. The reason I believe we should take a moment and focus on these words from Jesus is this: We must always trust God and never trust ourselves.

Marketers have succeeded in making so much money from Halloween that it lasts and entire month. How many people with axes in their heads do we need to see each year?! I’m not writing about Halloween. I’m writing about our Deliverer from the evil one.

Evil isn’t candy corn and spooky makeup. Evil is ugly. People get hurt by evil. The evil one desires nothing less than to harm followers of Jesus in the way he wishes he could do to Jesus. Jesus conquered the evil one. Still, as we live in this world, he can and will try to harm us.

Jesus has provided us with what we need for protection and spiritual battle. We have the Holy Spirit within us. We have angels that watch out for us. God has told us to prepare for spiritual battles:

11 Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. 12 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. 13 Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm. 

Ephesians 6:11-13

The apostle Paul goes on to specify our spiritual armor. We need this armor.

We All Mess Up

Face it, all of us mess up, some more than others, but all some. Jesus addresses this in His prayer when He says, “deliver us from the evil one.” Some Bible translations read, “but deliver us from evil.”

Jesus is praying an imperative. “Each Christian needs to be delivered. How can I write such a thing? Jesus prayed an imperative, “Father…deliver us.” His prayer is “Do it now” not “In case it happens.” And we see that there is no exception clause. He didn’t say, “Except for this group that are pure.”

Our need is real, so Jesus didn’t pray a milk-toast, “keep them safe” prayer. He reached in, saw the influence the enemy had in His apostles, and has in us, so he prayed an active and immediate prayer. : “deliver us from the evil one.”

Pray With Me if You Wish

“‘Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name,
your kingdom come,
your will be done,
    on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread.
And forgive us our debts,
    as we also have forgiven our debtors.
And lead us not into temptation,
    but deliver us from the evil one.’
Matthew 6:9-13

My Prayer

“Father, I thank you that you have searched me, found every influence, attachment, and thought that the evil one has brought against me, or I’ve allowed it in me. Now deliver me from the evil one. “Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me.”. (Psalms 51:10) I thank you and rejoice in your kindness and longsuffering. In the name of your beloved Son, Jesus my Savior I pray. Amen.

Celebrate as your spirit is guided by the Holy Spirit. But please, let’s all remember that evil is not something we should celebrate or imitate.

Image by Pete Linforth from Pixabay 

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old letters

Return to C.S. Lewis’ Screwtape Letters

Every way of a man is right in his own eyes, but the LORD weighs the heart.

Proverbs 21:2

C.S. Lewis wrote the Christian satire, “The Screwtape Letters” in the early 1940s. What he wrote is, sadly, still true.

“Screwtape” is employed by the “Lowerarchy” of Hell, and acts as a mentor to Wormwood, his nephew. Wormwood is an inexperienced and incompetent tempter. In the book, God is called the “Enemy” and the person that Wormwood is trying to lead away from God and to the devil is called “the Patient”. – Wikipedia

The opening paragraph

My dear Wormwood,
‘I note what you say about guiding your patient’s reading and taking care that he sees a good deal of his materialist friend. But are you not being a trifle naïf? It sounds as if you supposed that argument was the way to keep him out of the Enemy’s clutches. That might have been so if he had lived a few centuries earlier. At that time the humans still knew pretty well when a thing was proved and when it was not; and if it was proved they really believed it. They still connected thinking with doing and were prepared to alter their way of life as the result of a chain of reasoning. But what with the weekly press and other such weapons we have largely altered that. Your man has been accustomed, ever since he was a boy, to have a dozen incompatible philosophies dancing about together inside his head. He doesn’t think of doctrines as primarily “true” or “false”, but as “academic” or “practical”, “outworn” or “contemporary”, “conventional” or “ruthless”. Jargon, not argument, is your best ally in keeping him from the Church. Don’t waste time trying to make him think that materialism is true! Make him think it is strong, or stark, or courageous—that it is the philosophy of the future. That’s the sort of thing he cares about.’

Notice C.S. Lewis’ point that, “They still connected thinking with doing and were prepared to alter their way of life as the result of a chain of reasoning.” People today are completely unwilling to change, even when they think through the logic and see that something is true; they still call it false. That is the nature of humanity.

He who testifies to these things says, “Surely I am coming soon.” Amen. Come, Lord Jesus!

Revelation 22:20

Image by Free-Photos from Pixabay 

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Between My Ears

A pic full of rocks with a question mark painted on one of them

This is where I add notes and thoughts as I study the Bible. Please feel free to comment.


Jesus healed on the Sabbath, talked with a Samaritan woman, threw merchants out of the temple, said his mother and sisters were the people that put their faith in Him. He and His followers gleaned wheat on the Sabbath, He said to the religious leaders, “You brood of vipers! How can you speak good, when you are evil? Matthew 12:34 He ate with sinners, and the list goes on.

Jesus is the Alpha and Omega, the Advocate, the Bread of Life, Capstone, Christ, Gate, Faithful and True Witness, Great High Priest, the I AM, King of kings, Lamb of God, Lion of the Tribe of Judah, Our Great God and Savior, Prophet, Rabbi, Rock, Son of God, Mediator, True Light, Way, Truth, Life, and Word of God. And this just a partial list of names of Jesus.

If you were on Jeopardy and every category was a type of problem people deal with, you would win! In every category, for every answer, “Who could fix…,” your question would simply be, “Who is Jesus?”

Photo by Ana Municio on Unsplash

a chipmunk on its hind legs

Second Glances

Our God is the God of second chances, but the devil has mastered the art of second glances. It can be an Ad for a new car, a visit to an ice cream shop, an incidental eye contact with an attractive person, or a salacious Ad that pops up on Facebook. Those are not sins. However, as a verse says in Casting Crowns Slow Fade states, “It’s the second glance that ties your hands.”

No matter how diligent we are, being assaulted by the temptations of this world is unavoidable. It’s when we stop for a second look that temptation’s hook pierces our soul and begins to reel us back into the world and away from our safety in Christ Jesus. This proclivity to sin goes back to Adam. We can read God’s warning to Adam’s firstborn son, Cain.

If you do well, will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well, sin is crouching at the door. Its desire is contrary to you, but you must rule over it.”

Genesis 4:7

Temptation is like a chipmunk

For a modern perspective, consider my office. My office is in a shed. We bought one of those wooden sheds that are sold everywhere. We had it placed in our backyard, and that’s where I’m writing these words.

I love my office, but it sits on the ground. So, last night, as I was publishing an updated version of my book on Amazon, I kept being interrupted by the sound of claws scratching under my floor. The critter – a chipmunk – was incessant in its determination to dig through my floor and enter my friendly, warm office. That’s how temptation is.

It scratches and digs, trying to get us to take a second look. If we give in, then it becomes sin and gains access to our souls. This danger is why it’s the second glance the ties your hands. That second look entangles us.

But here’s the good news! 

The friendship of the Lord is for those who fear him, and he makes known to them his covenant. My eyes are ever toward the Lord, for he will pluck my feet out of the net.

Psalm 25:14-15

If we love Jesus by obeying His commands, we are pleasing to our heavenly Father. Therefore, the God of all creation looks after us, and He will pull us out of the nets this world casts to entrap us!

So be strong, keeping your eye on the prize God has set before you. Don’t look back. Don’t take a second glance at temptation. God has prepared your new home. He has made crowns for you. He has prepared a celebration for you. The race you run for Jesus is so brief when compared to eternity. 

“For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery.” 

Galatians 5:1

Image by anncapictures from Pixabay 

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Between My Ears

A pic full of rocks with a question mark painted on one of them

This is where I add notes and thoughts as I study the Bible. Please feel free to comment.

I love stories from the early Church because I want to know who I shall one day meet in heaven! And there is something marvelous about the growth of Christianity during the first few centuries. Plus, I stand amazed at the depth of their thoughts, the strength of their faith, and their humanity that they, like us, wrestled with.

When the apostle John was advanced in years, he trained a disciple named Polycarp. Polycarp later became the Bishop of Smyrna (in present day Turkey). This was critical for the early Church because Polycarp was able to carry John’s message to future generations. Can you imagine sitting near the Apostle and hearing his memories about Jesus?

Polycarp taught a disciple named Irenaeus, passing on to him stories about the apostle John. Much of what we know about Polycarp came from the writings of Irenaeus – he was more of a writer than Polycarp. In the book, “Against Heresies,” Irenaeus wrote stories that Polycarp had told him.

Polycarp was martyred in his old age. There is some question whether Polycarp was 86 years old when he was martyred or whether he’d been a Christian 86 years. His words are, “86 years I have served him, and he never did me any injury” (Martyrdom of Polycarp 9).

More info can be found here: Polycarp

Photo by Ana Municio on Unsplash

rusted abandoned car

Spiritual Entropy

My mother understood entropy better than any physicist or engineer I’ve ever known.  Every spring and every fall Mom did top to bottom, side to side cleaning, clearing, creating, and curating of our house and all the stuff in it, including us kids – my wife is the same way. Likewise, Dad did repairs, remodeling, and general rummaging about, under Mom’s direction – that part didn’t stick to me. Twice each year she fought the good fight against entropy, the decay of matter and energy in the universe to an ultimate state of inert uniformity per the second law of thermodynamics. She won all the battles except for the biological ones. The kids grew up, Mom and Dad grew old, and, eventually, entropy won.

Many people are knee-deep in fall cleaning. This battle means more than a clean home, it is our attempt at keeping active what once was vibrant. Most of us will fail quickly, all will fail eventually. Still, the fight is worth the effort. For a Christian, we have a kind of spiritual entropy with which we rally against. It’s different from that of the world. We don’t lose our salvation; our spiritual condition does not return to some inert uniformity. No, we are made alive in Christ (Ephesians 2:5). This is not by us but by Jesus who lives in us. Jesus imparts to us a vibrant life that is active now and will be fully manifested once the shackles of this world are thrown off.

However, we are not yet fully escaped from spiritual entropy. As we walk through this world, its “dust” clings to us, attempting to return us back to its process of decay. We need to get that worldly dust off us. Though it reminds me of Mom, it is Jesus who taught us the importance to clean the world off our feet. This was memorialized when Jesus washed the feet of his disciples. You can read the whole account in John, chapter 13. The verse I want to close with is verse ten, where Jesus says to Peter, “Those who have had a bath need only to wash their feet; their whole body is clean…

Already, as a Christian, the laws of this old physical world have no hold on our lives in Jesus “…because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world.” (1 John 4:4 NIV)

Photo by Kevin Noble on Unsplash

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Between My Ears

A pic full of rocks with a question mark painted on one of them

This is where I add notes and thoughts as I study the Bible. Please feel free to comment.

And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,

Matthew 28:18-19

There’s a touch of mystery in this passage. What did Jesus mean when He said, “…has been give me.” As the Son of God, He could receive nothing since He is the all sufficient God. Was Jesus speaking of receiving back what He surrendered when He became a man (John 1:14) or was He speaking of a completion, so that now, in His human nature, He possessed all that God intended for His only begotten Son?

Let me know what you think!

Photo by Ana Municio on Unsplash

Between My Ears

A pic full of rocks with a question mark painted on one of them

This is where I add notes and thoughts as I study the Bible. Please feel free to comment.

He has shown you, O man, what is good. And what does the LORD require of you but to act justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God?

Micah 6:8

The Law that God established for Israel was specific, formal, and contained serious punishments. The two stone tablets that had the Law of the Covenant written on them were placed in the ark of the Covenant.

How marvelous is God, that He had the ark built so that overshadowing the Law were two cherubim (like angels) that formed the mercy seat of God. God memorialized His mercy above His Law. This mercy seat is type for Jesus. 

Jesus humbled Himself, showed mercy to the multitudes, fulfilled the Law, and sat down at the Father’s right hand. In God’s mercy, Jesus intercedes for His followers. Justice is still required, but God includes mercy in His justice for those that walk humbly before the Lord.

Photo by Ana Municio on Unsplash

Between My Ears

A pic full of rocks with a question mark painted on one of them

This is where I add notes and thoughts as I study the Bible. Please feel free to comment.

Take Two Tablets

And he gave to Moses when he had finished speaking with him on Mount Sinai, the two tablets of the testimony, tablets of stone, written with the finger of God.

 Exodus 31:18

I’ve always just accepted that it took two tablets to contain what God wrote. Of course, I was wrong.

Let’s consider American Samoa. They are an unincorporated territory of America. Unincorporated territories are not considered integral parts of America, so the Constitution only partially applies to them. American Samoa is autonomous within their territory, but they are subject to America.

Here’s where it gets interesting

When American Samoa became a territory of America, there was an official signing of documents signed by both parties. America kept one copy, and American Samoa held the other copy. This document established a permanent, official, though unequal, relationship. This relationship is why American Samoa is called a protectorate.

You guessed it! Likewise, when God made the Mosaic Covenant, they were/are the terms between Himself and Israel. Israel gained God’s protection and blessings provided Israel obeyed His laws. 

Many theologians believe that God made duplicate tablets. This is consistent with the protocol for treaties between ancient Middle Eastern states. For the Mosaic Covenant, one copy belonged to God, and the other belonged to Israel. But God didn’t take His copy to heaven. 

Don’t Forget the Mercy Seat

God was establishing a place for Himself on Earth. Since the ark of the Covenant was the point of contact between God and Israel, both tablets of the law were placed in the ark. As Israel travelled in the desert, they carried with them their protectorate Covenant signed by the hand of God! How amazing is that!

Photo by Ana Municio on Unsplash

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