March 2022

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

Between My Ears

I nearly always read and meditate on BibleGateway’s “Verse of the Day.” Today’s verse is a prophecy about Jesus, the Messiah:

3 He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not.

4 Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted.

Isaiah 53:3-4:

I shouldn’t have been, but I was surprised by this verse. Does God grieve? We often forget that He does. Later in Isaiah, we find: “But they rebelled and grieved his Holy Spirit1….” And the in shortest verse in the Bible, we see: “Jesus wept2“. And, of course, we have today’s verse.

Why does God grieve? He grieves because He loves us. It’s because of His love that He is grieved by us. Why else would God be grieved by us? No one grieves the loss of something they don’t care about. But God’s Word tells us, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son3.”

Let’s live to be a joy to God and not a person that grieves Him.

1: Isaiah 63:10
2: John 11:35
3: John 3:16

Photo by Ana Municio on Unsplash

Binding Contract Contract Secure Agreement Binding

Beware of a Pernicious Promise

Promises are a powerful tool. They can be used as a form of motivation and they are often seen as an expression of love. However, promises can also be harmful, especially when we make them without thinking about their consequences.

The problem is that we often make promises without thinking about the consequences. We may say “yes” to something because it’s easy or because someone is pressuring us to do it. It’s important that we think carefully about our promises before making them so that we don’t end up regretting them later on.

8 At her mother’s urging, the girl said, “I want the head of John the Baptist on a tray!” 9 Then the king regretted what he had said; but because of the vow he had made in front of his guests, he issued the necessary orders. 10 So John was beheaded in the prison, 11 and his head was brought on a tray and given to the girl, who took it to her mother.

Matthew 14:8–11

Promises Aren’t Forgotten

It is so easy to make a promise. It’s like buying a car with no payments for three months. It’s so much fun until that first payment comes due. All too often, we will make a promise, and then afterward, we forget the promise or find it to be a heavy burden that Jesus never expected to place on us.

Have you ever attended your local church when a missionary spoke? He or she likely asked the congregation to pray for them and God’s work through them. They may have asked for a show of hands from everyone that committed to pray for them. Guess what? God still remembers that promise and still expects us to honor that prayer.

I’m not picking on anyone. Many years ago, a young man in our church had enlisted in the army. For his last Sunday before heading to boot camp, our pastor asked the church to pray for him and then asked for a show of hands for people that would continue to hold this young man up in prayer. I raised my hand; it was the right thing to do.

I prayed for him for several months, and then my promise slipped into my archive, where I keep my prayers for people and their needs. But God didn’t let me off the hook. Even today, the Holy Spirit will prod me to pray for this young (well, middle-aged) man. God never forgets.

Pernicious Promises

When looking back to the Old Testament, we find that God holds us to whatever promise we make. When God was teaching the Israelites in the desert, He said they were never to make a covenant (promise) with false gods or the people who worshipped them. (Exodus 23:32)

Sadly, they trusted their wisdom instead of asking for God’s wisdom. So, the Israelites were tricked into making a vow to a tribe that purposely misled them. It was a pernicious promise because it was harmful in a gradual, subtle way. Still, God required the Israelites to keep that vow. (Joshua 9:3) When the Israelites became angry at the leaders because they chose to honor their vow, here’s what they said:

19 But all the leaders said to all the congregation, “We have sworn to them by the Lord, the God of Israel, and now we may not touch them.

Joshua 9:19

Be Sure When You Promise

So, you see, God doesn’t let us off the hook if we make a silly promise. Instead, He holds us to it. I once watched my pastor eat lunch on the roof of our church! He promised us that he’d eat his lunch on the roof if we broke the attendance record. We did, so he did.

Be careful when you speak; our tongue can get us in all kinds of trouble!

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

Between My Ears

There are some ideas so wrong that only a very intelligent person could believe in them.

George Orwell

Today, as I was reading in the 15th chapter of Matthew, I came across a familiar passage of Scripture. I read it was fresh eyes because I was using the New Living Translation of the Bible instead of my go-to translation. Here’s what Jesus said to the Pharisees:

7 You hypocrites! Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you, for he wrote, 8 ‘These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. 9 Their worship is a farce, for they teach man-made ideas as commands from God.’

Matthew 15:7-9

Our nation is full of stupid ideas. Many preachers preach man-made ideas. Youth leaders teach man-made ideas. Whole denominations declare their man-made ideas as doctrine. I could extend this list, but you know who they are. These false doctrines and crazy ideas come from people that have forgotten:

The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom.Psalm 111:10

And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell. Matthew 10:28

If we all followed the truth of these verses, our society would be a much better place to live.

Photo by Ana Municio on Unsplash

Hike Lake Landscape Man Mountain Ranges

Rest and Reflection

Later that same day Jesus left the house and sat beside the lake. 2 A large crowd soon gathered around him, so he got into a boat. Then he sat there and taught as the people stood on the shore.Matthew 13:1–2

I love Matthew 13:1–2 because we get a glimpse of Christ’s nature. We know that Jesus is God from (John 20:28), when the Apostle Thomas was confronted by Jesus, after His resurrection: Thomas answered him, “My Lord and my God!” (John 20:28, John 14:8-10) Still, in today’s text, we see, just for a moment, Jesus enjoying His creation (Psalm 89:11).

We see that Jesus gets a late start for his rest beside the lake. (Psalms 33:6) But in these few moments, Jesus sits beside the lake; He created the lake, water, and all that lives in it. They all know their creator (Isaiah 55:12). Did they turn their attention to Him? Did they honor Him? I think they did. This makes His personal time at the lake a time of seeing His Creation reaffirming His original statement, “It was very good.” (Genesis 1:31)

You and I each have, through Jesus, gifts, and callings. (Romans 11:29) These were decided before Creation was made. (2 Timothy 1:9) It is good for us to remember our gifts from God, and to recall times when, by faith in God, we used our gifts and callings. (1 Samuel 17:36) These times have a very short “shelf-life.” Soon, just as with Jesus resting by the lake, we must return to our ministry, but we return refreshed, reinvigorated to do the work Jesus has called us to.

I hope you see that rest and reflection are gifts from God. (Isaiah 40:31 They are part of the light burden Jesus places on us. (Matthew 11:29)

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Bible Bible Study Hand Assign Read Christian

Your Holy Calling

I admit that I’m a magnet for phrases. I have no explanation; it just happens. One that is stuck in my brain is from the movie “The Blues Brothers.” It’s when, in unison, John Belushi and Dan Ackroyd yell, “We’re on a mission from God!” Well, I have good news. If you have received Jesus as your Lord and Savior, you’re on a mission from God. How wonderful is that!

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,

2 Timothy 1:9 emphasis added

Before Creation

When I read this passage of Scripture, my spirit stirred in me. Before anything existed, God decided a holy calling for you and me. Our callings were before His creation and are part of His Creation. We each received our holy calling in Jesus Christ only after becoming a child of God.

To add some perspective:

“Astronomers have imaged a beam of matter and antimatter that is 40 trillion miles long with NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory. The record-breaking beam is powered by a pulsar, a rapidly rotating collapsed star with a strong magnetic field.”

Chandra X-Ray Observatory

This forty trillion miles long antimatter is but a speck in the cosmos that our God created. Yet, He thought of you and gave you a holy calling before He created any part of our universe. That’s how important God’s call upon your life is.

Our Divine Purpose

In Jesus, we each have a divine purpose. It may manifest itself in some profound visible way or profound but hardly be noticed way. We must not covet anyone else’s calling. That’s insulting to God. It’s like saying we don’t want a gift someone gives us. So today, ask the Holy Spirit to reveal even more of His calling upon your life; God is the God of abundance. There is always more there than you or I were initially aware of.


God will never take back the call He places on you. We know this from Romans 11:29: “For the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable.” This should be a great encouragement to every child of God. Too often, we give up on ourselves, but God doesn’t. He knows the end from the beginning, and He always completes what He starts. Trust in Jesus, talk with our Father, listen to the Holy Spirit. And remember, where God guides, He provides.

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

Between My Ears

55 “He’s just the carpenter’s son, and we know Mary, his mother, and his brothers—James, Joseph, Simon, and Judas. 56 All his sisters live right here among us. Where did he learn all these things?” 57 And they were deeply offended and refused to believe in him. Matthew 13:55-57

When I read this passage today, I knew I needed to comment on it.

The people of Jesus’ hometown would not accept that someone from their town could be anything more than everyone else. The people’s pride and jealousy blinded them from seeing Jesus as “God with us.” This is a problem we may have. Too often, we measure God by the yardstick of man. That never works.

Can you imagine trying to measure air with a teaspoon? That’s just silly, but that’s what we do when we try to measure God by the things we know. We may look at someone we grew up with and say, “We know his mom and his brothers and sisters; we can’t believe God is using him to plant a church in the southside of Chicago; what does he know about street gangs?”

You may feel constrained by your family and the people you grew up with. You may be like the Apostle Peter and take your eyes off of Jesus to look at the waves. Reject those thoughts. God has a purpose for you, and you are accountable to Him for what you do with your calling. God desires to use you beyond what you can ask or think. Remember, you can’t pull your mama in when Jesus judges you. She can’t help you.

Trust your Lord (owner) and depend upon Him. If you do that then, when you appear before the Judgment Seat of Christ 2 Corinthians 5:10, you will hear Jesus say, “Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.” (Matthew 25:23)

Photo by Ana Municio on Unsplash

Snowing road in the middle of snowfields

Difficult Road

We’ve probably all heard, “If you’re the smartest person in the room, you are in the wrong room.” This may be true, but I can do one better. If the road you’re on is easy, you’re on the wrong road! Jesus said:

“You can enter God’s Kingdom only through the narrow gate. The highway to hell is broad, and its gate is wide for the many who choose that way. But the gateway to life is very narrow, and the road is difficult, and only a few ever find it.

Matthew 7:13–14 NLT

Difficult Road

It doesn’t matter how worldly people judge us in this life. Their motives are to make believers’ lives a difficult road. Their judgment comes from pride, envy, or other wickedness, but their judgment is temporal.

Let’s not focus on the difficulties of the road we now travel. Instead, let’s rejoice in the new life that God has given us. As believers, all we do will be judged by the King of kings! Jesus is our judge. (John 5:22) And our judgment will not be for our sins because we have passed from death into life. (John 5:24) Instead, Jesus will judge us for what we did with what He gave us – like the servants that received the talents. (Matthew 25:14–30)

But That is not Us

For some believers, all they have accomplished in their lives up will be burned up when Jesus judges them. They will enter heaven empty-handed. (1 Corinthians 3:11–15 NLT) But that’s not us, I pray. We will not be defeated, but we will be overcomers. (1 John 5:4) We will do the works that God prepared for us to do (Ephesians 2:10), works that have eternal value. We will not enter heaven empty-handed. We choose to obey the commands of Jesus (John 14:15) for we are not ashamed of the gospel. (Romans 1:16)

Photo by Kostiantyn Li on Unsplash

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

Between My Ears

As I was reading the book of Matthew, chapter ten, I realized that our fear belongs to God (Matthew 10:28). It is the root of wisdom (Proverbs 9:10). Godly fear is a “saving” fear. If we walk through the woods and spot a mama bear with her cubs, we experience a “saving” fear. It triggers our fight-or-flight nature. Fear that comes from domestic abuse is a “saving” fear. It tells us to get out and seek refuge. And when the Holy Spirit confronts a lost person with his or her sin, that person’s fear may lead them to repentance and salvation in Jesus. That is a “saving” fear.

However, the fear we experience after making our own decisions instead of exercising faith in God and using godly reason is sinful fear. This sinful fear “has to do with punishment” (1 John 4:18).

for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.” 2 Timothy 1:7

God has blessed us with the ability to fear. His intent is for our fear to always be a “saving” fear. “So don’t be afraid.” (Matthew 10:31) When we yield our gift of fear to anyone or anything other than God, we are headed for trouble.

Photo by Ana Municio on Unsplash

Think on These Things

Think on These Things


Before we consider transcendent things, let’s define transcendent. This word means “existing apart from and not subject to the limitations of the material universe.” To set your mind at ease, the transcendent traits of God have nothing to do with false religions such as transcendental meditation. Now let’s consider the following verse.

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.

Philippians 4:8

This verse has always been difficult for me to understand. It’s God’s Word, yet I find it difficult to think deeply about these things. I always change “think” into “do.” It’s easy for me to read this verse as an action verse. For example, I’m amazed how God used John Bunyan, the author of “Pilgrim’s Progress,” to live his life, raise his family, and enrich the Christian world. But I’m thinking about his works, and that’s not what today’s Scripture is about. So, I dug into this verse, and there’s more to it than I expected. What the Apostle Paul lists are transcendent traits of God. And we are told to think about these things. Here’s an example to show the difference between transcendent traits and dependent actions:


Two soldiers serve valiantly during their deployment. Both have earned honors, but this doesn’t mean that the world has run out of “honor.” Millions of people may earn honors, but the world will still have the same amount of honor. Whether no one receives honor or millions receive honors, honor is transcendent, while acting honorably is a dependent action.

God is Training Us

Now that we understand that “true, honorable, just, pure, lovely, commendable, excellent, and praiseworthy” are transcendent traits of God, we can better understand that Godly actions depend upon Godly traits. A person may do something excellent, but excellence is the transcendent trait of God, while the act of excellence is an action that comes from God’s trait.

So, the Apostle Paul is telling us this: when we consider dependent actions – someone does something lovely – if we think about it, this lovely act will lead us to find and consider the true nature of God’s transcendent characteristic of loveliness. The Holy Spirit is training us, teaching us, and transforming us by renewing our minds. (Romans 12:2) This is the point of this post.

Trained Like a Hound Dog

When we consider things that happen in our lives or the lives of others, we have an opportunity to discover the transcendent trait(s) of God in these events. The more we “think on these things,” the better prepared we are to know if something is “of God” or “of the world.” It’s as if God is training us like hound dogs. We learn to smell the scent. Is it of God, or is it of the world? Does it have the aroma of life or the aroma of death? (2 Corinthians 2:16) As we learn to “think on these things,” we learn to find God’s loveliness easily or quickly discover worldly impostors of loveliness.

Good News

We are changed when we “think on these things.” As we learn to see God’s traits and to recognize worldly imposters, we will marvel at these traits of God. And, when we consider them, each one leads us to transcendent wonder and beauty, which are also traits of God. As we “think on these things,” the Holy Spirit will help us to see life from God’s perspective, and that’s good news.

Image from Pixabay

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girl using a laptop with math symbols behind her on a blackboard

Happy Pi Day!

Yes, as you’ve probably seen, today is 𝛑 (pi) day – March 14 or 3.14. Pi fits in the category of irrational numbers, similar to the irrational numbers my dad used to expect on my report cards. 

If we turn to the Bible, we find many well-known and vitally important verses found in “3.14.” Here are a few.

God said to Moses, ‘I AM WHO I AM. This is what you are to say to the Israelites: ‘I AM has sent me to you.’’ 

Exodus 3:14 NLT

And as Moses lifted up the bronze snake on a pole in the wilderness, so the Son of Man must be lifted up, 

John 3:14 NLT

Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds us all together in perfect harmony. 

Colossians 3:14 NLT

If we love our brothers and sisters who are believers, it proves that we have passed from death to life. But a person who has no love is still dead. 

1 John 3:14 NLT

I hope you have a fantastic 𝛑 day, and I pray that, as true believers in Jesus Christ, our Lord, we worship the great “I AM” and we truly love our brothers and sisters in Christ.

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

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