February 2022

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

Between My Ears

Today, I had a memory just pop into my conscious thoughts. Why do memories of long-past mistakes, failures, and sins pop up in our minds? The memory may be something as small as forgetting to shake someone’s hand to something that was very ungodly. I know many Christians struggle with memories. I’m not referring to problems rooted in medical conditions.

Some Christians fear that these sudden memories come from the enemy, and this may be true if the memory was triggered by one or more of our five senses. However, we need to remember that the enemy is not like God. He is not a mind reader.

If we are believers in Jesus Christ, our Lord, these unexpected memories are often from God for our good. God may be showing us something for us to rejoice in because God has forgiven and delivered us; we are no longer that person. Most of us have many “bad memories” that can be a cause for us to rejoice in Jesus, our Savior. How marvelous it is to discover that we are no longer that person!

Now, God may remind us of memories because we need to deal with them. Have we removed the moral weakness that was at the root of a “bad memory?” Do we need to be reconciled to someone? Is there a pattern in those memories that point to some moral weakness in our character?

“Those who don’t know history are doomed to repeat it.”
Edmund Burke

Because of God’s love, He will remind us of things that we need to deal with. The good news is that because God loves us, He shows us what can be conquered in us by Him! He is for us and not against us. Those that don’t know their buried issues are doomed to repeat them.

Photo by Ana Municio on Unsplash


Worry and Fear

A Fish Story

I once was fishing with another guy when his hook snagged me while casting. It stuck right in me, and pain exploded when he dropped his pole to “help” me. As I face today, I have some needs and many desires. All of these have snagged me like fishing hooks.

Worry About Worry and Fear about Fear

When I pray, do I allow thoughts and feelings that deny God’s provisions? Fear that our government will fail. Fear that my income will become worth-less due to inflation. Worry about a church that God laid on my heart. Worry about a former pastor that fell into sin. Worry about how much longer my car will last. Worry about worry, and fear about fear. How can I be this way!?

You see, in a much less important way, I am acting like the Apostle Peter when he got out of the boat and walked on water. But, seeing the storm, he began to sink. My condition is not life or death, but my concerns are: Can I just rest in Jesus? Can I write more? Am I being redundant? Am I a good teacher:

He [Jesus] said to them, “Therefore every teacher of the law who has become a disciple in the kingdom of heaven is like the owner of a house who brings out of his storeroom new treasures as well as old.

Matthew 13:52

Good News

Jesus is my friend that sticks closer than a brother. He mediates for me to Father God. And my Father gave me the Spirit of God to live in me. Jesus has made sure that I am fully equipped and have an open line to Almighty God. I have access to anything I need to do the will of God. It’s all at my disposal. And by faith, I can receive it. Therefore, I lack nothing.

I know my concerns are foolish. My good news is that the Spirit of God is helping me. He adds to my groanings and delivers to God articulate, faith-filled prayers from me. I know because my mind is being transformed and less cluttered, and my faith is being rejuvenated. This old man is still strong in my spirit; my faith in God has not wavered. And, guess what, the same is available to you!

Image by Stefan Keller from Pixabay

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Between My Ears

If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit who dwells in you.

Romans 8:11

God’s compassion is boundless. As I grow older, my brain becomes quieter. Yes, for now, my ability to recall life as it happens is still as effective as ever. But what I’ve discovered is that, in the quiet, I hear God’s still voice (1 Kings 19:12). I recall blessings from long ago. Blessings from God’s hand.

My life is built upon those blessings. Where would I be without God’s forgiveness? Had God not extended His compassion to me, and called me, you would see a life shipwrecked, tangled in rocky crags of this lonely, wicked world. But my life isn’t that because it isn’t mine; it belongs to Jesus. I am a man rescued by Jesus Christ, my Lord, and Savior. And that same Spirit will do the same, and more, in you.

Photo by Ana Municio on Unsplash

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Would We Council God?


When I was a young man, I had a good friend that was a naturally gifted artist. His specialty was painting murals. I never ceased to be amazed when he’d start sketching out a picture on a roll of butcher block paper that ran the length of a room.

Perhaps the fascinating aspect of his work on murals was that he didn’t start in one corner and work from right to left or left to right. He typically started somewhere entirely unexpected. Maybe he began with the nose of the central character, or he might start by sketching the fender of a car. It made perfect sense to him, but no sense to me.

Image if I’d watched him start a mural and then said, “Tim, I think you are drawing the nose too big.” Ignoring me, Tim continued to draw, and soon I discovered that he’d been drawing the rear fender of an old Chevy pickup!

Council God

Christ’s apostles did this kind of thing several times. Take, for example, when two of the three apostles of Christ’s inner circle suggested to Jesus that He kill some people.

When James and John saw this, they said to Jesus, “Lord, should we call down fire from heaven to burn them up?”

Luke 9:54

Perhaps, we should recall when His disciples designated themselves as crowd control and blocked parents from bringing their children to Jesus to be blessed.

One day some parents brought their children to Jesus so he could lay his hands on them and pray for them. But the disciples scolded the parents for bothering him.

Matthew 19:13

We mustn’t forget when the Apostle Peter decided to give Jesus some “sound council.”

Jesus turned to Peter and said, “Get away from me, Satan! You are a dangerous trap to me. You are seeing things merely from a human point of view, not from God’s.”

Matthew 16:23

The Big Picture

We should consider ourselves before we rush to judge those that laid the foundation for the Church[1]. Do we ever tell God what He needs to do? Have we ever been deeply hurt because we felt that God failed us? Has fear ever won out in our actions?

Here’s the thing, we may look at our life and see what looks like a big nose, but that’s only because we don’t know the picture in which God has included us. Later, maybe only after we are in heaven, we will see God’s mural. That nose wasn’t a nose; it was the rear fender of a classic Chevy truck. Let’s not rush to judge God’s actions.

We can be confident that nothing God does to us, through us, or by us is done so without love, for “We know how much God loves us, and we have put our trust in his love. God is love, and all who live in love live in God, and God lives in them.” (1 John 4:16)

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  1. Together, we are his house, built on the foundation of the apostles and the prophets. And the cornerstone is Christ Jesus himself. Ephesians 2:20  ↩
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Foolish Confidence

When I was a kid, one of my uncles had a large farm in central Indiana. I always enjoyed our visits there, partly because of the terrain. When we reached the turn-off to his home, we were confronted by a one-car (wagon) wide path that was quite long. The fun part was that the path started at the top of a large hill and immediately went down, like one of those thrill rides at a county fair! At the bottom was my aunt and uncle’s home and barn.

The Family Reunion

One summer day my aunt and uncle hosted a family reunion at their farm. While the menfolk waited for the reunion feast (this was a long time ago) they played horseshoes and all of the cousins played in the lush grass at the bottom of the hill. At some point, one of the cousins suggested that we ride bicycles down the side of the hill – every kid is crazy, some just hide it better than others.

The idea was to go a little way up the hill and then fly down on the bicycles! This sounded fun since the long grass made for difficult peddling. There were two or three bicycles so more than one kid could go at the same time.

Going Down the Hill

I was among the youngest of the cousins, not counting babies. Still, even at six or seven, I knew I could do this despite having not yet learned to ride a bicycle – silly rabbit. So, when it came to my turn, I took the bicycle all the way to the top of the hill. I was going to have the ride of my life! I nearly did.

I felt no fear. When I walked the bicycle to the top of the hill I pointed the bike towards the bottom, jumped on, and pedaled (as if I wouldn’t have enough speed from gravity). Down I went, fast and faster. Quickly I couldn’t keep up with the rotation of the pedals. Then the handlebars started wobbling. Finally, about halfway down, I flipped. The bike was riding me down the hill!

When I reached the bottom of the hill I was a beat-up little kid. No significant injuries. but the bike had “taken the starch out” of me. That was the day I learned about foolish confidence.

Foolish Confidence

As I was reading my Bible today I came across this passage:

“This is the path of those who have foolish confidence;
yet after them people approve of their boasts.”

Psalms 49:13

How many times have we heard people boast about how they will live after they die. I heard a song by Willie Nelson called, “Roll Me Up and Smoke Me When I Die.” There is no doubt that Willie has great talent and seems to be a down-to-earth guy, but the message of this song is foolish confidence.

My point is not to pick on Willie Nelson. Instead, my point is that we need to be on guard against foolish confidence. “Therefore, as it is written: ‘Let the one who boasts boast in the Lord.'” (1 Corinthians 1:31) And, let’s not forget “The Seven Sons of Sceva.”

In Acts 19:11-20, Luke records an event where seven unsaved sons of a Jewish priest tried to cast a demon out of a man using the name of Jesus. It didn’t go well. The demon told the son, “Jesus I know, and Paul I recognize, but who are you?” After that, things rapidly went downhill for the sons of Sceva.

Good News

For Christians, we are called to walk in faith, share the Good News of Jesus with everyone, and learn the voice of the Holy Spirit. If we do these things then we will act in faithful confidence instead of foolish confidence.

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Even a Good Report Needs Prayer

Today I was reminded of the account of Hezekiah, the king of Judah. For me, it’s one of the most encouraging events in the Old Testament. 2 Kings 19

Being Told That You’re Junior Varsity

The Assyrians, led by Sennacherib, were preparing to attack Jerusalem. The enemy arrived at Jerusalem after having a winning season of attacks, having conquered Israel and many nations that were thought of as bigger and stronger than Jerusalem. However, none of them worshiped the one true God.

Now the Assyrians had a letter delivered to Hezekiah that told him all the reasons why Hezekiah and Jerusalem would be defeated. This was more than “trash-talk,” this was disrespecting All Mighty God. So, Hezekiah does what we all should do when paired against a top-ranked opponent; he sought help from God. For Hezekiah, he sent a message to Isaiah, the prophet, to hear from God.

Keeping it Personal

Isaiah tells Hezekiah’s servants to tell Hezekiah that God spoke, saying that God would send the Assyrians back from where they came; game over.

Here’s the critical part. After Hezekiah heard from Isaiah, Hezekiah took the letter from the Assyrians and laid it out for God to look at it. Then Hezekiah prayed, saying to God that the threat from the Assyrians was not against Hezekiah but against Almighty God! Hezekiah’s prayer came from a deep understanding of the relationship he personally had with God. So, the battle was not against him or Judah; the Assyrians were attacking God!

Why did Hezekiah pray after already hearing from God? Because, as Jesus taught during His earthly ministry, we are to ask. Hezekiah had been told; now, he needed to ask. Then God has Isaiah send a message to Hezekiah to say to the king that because Hezekiah had prayed, God would send Sennacherib and the Assyrians back to their home with, metaphorically, their tail between their legs.

Even a Good Report Needs Prayer

God saved Hezekiah and Judah. What we need to learn is that even when we are told that our enemy will be defeated, we still need to pray and ask God for victory. Maybe we are battling a medical problem, and our doctor tells us that we will be okay; we still need to pray and ask God for victory. Why? Because we need the victory that comes from God. It’s personal.

“Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. Matthew 7:7

Even when we are told that we will be okay, we need to ask, seek, and/or knock. This is the pattern that Jesus has set for us.

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

Between My Ears

You have kept count of my tossings;
    put my tears in your bottle.
    Are they not in your book?

Psalm 56:8

In this verse, the word translated as “tossings” can also be translated as “wanderings.” Whether we toss at night in bed because of troubles or wander aimlessly, God cares. He keeps a memory of these times. He puts our tears in His bottle and writes them down in His book. Be encouraged, for God loves His children! Our hurts are not forgotten. You are not forgotten.

Photo by Ana Municio on Unsplash

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Finding Our Assigned Seats – Part 2

Jesus wanted to teach His disciples an important principle (principle like gravity – what goes up must come down). So, Jesus sat down – I think He sat on the ground, but that’s just me. I’m sure that when Jesus sat down, all of His disciples immediately sat down. By sitting down, Jesus’ body language was communicating that what He was going to teach would be in the form of sharing instead of lecturing. And what Jesus shared was about a principle of the kingdom of God. This principle was as accurate as any law of gravity. Here’s what Jesus said:

Anyone who wants to be first must be the very last, and the servant of all.

Mark 9:35

In my previous post, I had us consider:

But when you are invited, go and sit in the lowest place, so that when your host comes he may say to you, ‘Friend, move up higher.’ Then you will be honored in the presence of all who sit at table with you.

Luke 14:10

The How and the Where

Jesus’ parable in Luke 14:10 is about choosing the lowest place so the king can elevate your position and do so in the sight of others. It may seem that Mark 9:35 conflicts with Luke 14:10, but notice in Mark 9:35 Jesus is speaking of serving; everyone has a purpose. God saved you for a purpose. We are told in James 2:17 that faith without works is dead. Our hearts and our perspective in everything should be “how can I facilitate  help for the needs of others.” 

We should facilitate help without consideration of our stature or place in God. I may be the senior pastor of a church of thousands, but I still should hug the poor guy with lice and pick up the chewing gum wrapper that I spot as I walk to my church. So, Mark 9:35 and Luke 14:10 speak of two different aspects of our life in the kingdom of God. Mark 9:35 talks about how we should serve and how God measures our service, while Luke 14:10 speaks about where God places us.

God Saved You For a Purpose

God has a purpose and ministry for every Christian; God gives each of us a people, a place, and a purpose for ministry.  Your ministry may be praying for people while you’re in line at Walmart or thundering from the pulpit of a church, but we are not measured by where we’re at, but by how obedient we are to the call God has placed on our lives. Whatever God calls us to, we need to be mindful of Mark 9:35 and Luke 14:10.


God has rules for how we approach Him, receive from Him, and abide in Him. When God calls us to anything, we should take the least honorable position (Luke 14:10) – this doesn’t mean we should despise ourselves! By taking the lowest position, we gain the opportunity for God to call us to a more honorable place and to do so in a way that people see our promotion.

God promoting us is different from being a “servant of all.” Every Christian must express their faith through what they do each day (James 2:17). And we have learned from Mark 9:35 that our hearts should, without consideration for ourselves, ask God, “how can I facilitate help for the needs of others” and then do it!

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

Between My Ears

Eastern Gate

32 And they went to a place called Gethsemane. And he said to his disciples, “Sit here while I pray.” Mark 14:32

The many of us, there’s a joy that stirs within us when we see our “family home.” Our father’s home is deeply rooted within us. Every time I read Mark 14:32 I picture in my mind’s eye Jesus, while in Gethsemane with His disciples, turning and looking across the Kidron Valley, through the Eastern Gate, and to the Temple, His Father’s House. That had to be an encouragement.

The Eastern Gate, facing the Mount of Olives across the Kidron Valley, is unique in that it is completely sealed shut. Some commentators see the Eastern Gate’s obstruction as a fulfillment of biblical prophecy. In Hebrew, it is Sha’ar Harahamim, the “Gate of Mercy.” The Eastern Gate was sealed shut in AD 1540–41 by the Ottoman Empire. – Got Quetions

For us, the “Gate of Mercy” is Jesus Christ (John 10:9). Still, how wonderful it was for The Mercy Gate (Jesus) to have looked from Gethsemane through the “Mercy Gate” and to His Father’s House.

Photo by Ana Municio on Unsplash

Table Dinner Dining Formal Elegant Luxury Setting

Finding Our Assigned Seats – Part 1

I often think about Jesus’ parable about the king that gave a great wedding feast (Matthew 22:1–14). He had sent invitations to people he thought were his friends, but they all begged off; none even showed imagination in their excuses! In anger, the king had the false friends executed. Then the king had his servant go to roads and highways to flag down and invite everyone he saw, and they came!

Everyone that came knew it was a wedding feast, and they knew the “pedigree” of the people for whom the banquet had been prepared. So, these people dressed appropriately; that is, all except one. This one fellow showed up in his “street” clothes, and he ignored where he was at and who the other attendees might be. He simply strolled in, saw an open spot close to the front, and sat down there.

When the king saw this fellow, he knew the guy was disrespecting him, so the king had the guy bound head and foot and thrown out. Then Jesus taught this lesson to the people (I’m going to paraphrase this extensively).

Minding Our Appearance

Jesus told us to come to God clothed in righteousness, not in the street clothes of worldliness. And when we come, we must not appear before God and think more highly of ourselves than we should. We must allow our Lord to place us where He desires. And when we come before God, remember that the order and schedule are God’s, not ours. And when we come, we should “take notes” – listen for the Holy Spirit to speak to our hearts and remember what we “heard.” The Spirit doesn’t speak of Himself, but He speaks for Jesus. And we should do all of these things at all times and in all places because we should be continually praying. Now consider this statement from Jesus:

 “But when you are invited, go and sit in the lowest place, so that when your host comes he may say to you, ‘Friend, move up higher.’ Then you will be honored in the presence of all who sit at table with you.

Luke 14:10

We often see how God promotes when a young man begins teaching 5th and 6th grade Sunday School. Then, over time, he is asked to teach the college class and then the adult Sunday School class. During this time, he is taking online Christian college classes. Soon, he goes to seminary to learn theology and missions ministry. Then God calls him to be a full-time missionary to Moldova. His church has prayed, provided, and praised God’s promotions of this man. This is what Jesus taught in Luke 14:10.

Jesus, our Rock, is always mindful of us. We are never “uncovered.” God’s hand upon us and over us is always with us. He never doses off or gets distracted. Our God is reliable.

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