arm breaking a chain

God is In Control

Do you see Earth convulsing? Do you see the wicked aligning like armies against God Almighty? As my pastor recently preached, can you feel the shaking as God separates His own from those that have rejected Him? Do you feel the oceans raging and the heavens preparing for their retreat? Remember:

Be still, and know that I am God.
I will be exalted among the nations,
I will be exalted in the earth!

Psalms 46:10

A conflict between God and the enemy must take place. The final battle is ramping up, but no one knows the “when” of Christ’s return to retrieve His Church. While we continue to walk in this world, we must understand that God still guides us, ministers to us, and teaches us. Some of His lessons hurt. I could say otherwise, but that wouldn’t be true.

Many of us are already part of the walking wounded. The collapse of Christian morals has allowed wickedness to inflict painful wounds on us. We are learning hard, costly lessons, lessons that have cut us deeply. There is an old song written and sung by Twila Paris titled “God Is in Control.” I think it’s more meaningful now than when she first released the song. Here is a small part of the lyrics:

History marches on
There is a bottom line drawn across the ages
Culture can make its plan
Oh, but the line never changes
No matter how the deception may fly
There is one thing that has always been true
It will be true forever.

God is in control
We believe that His children will not be forsaken
God is in control
We will choose to remember and never be shaken
There is no power above or beside Him, we know
God is in control

Jesus told us that there would come a time when “A brother will betray his brother to death, a father will betray his own child, and children will rebel against their parents and cause them to be killed.” (Matthew 10:21)

In America, we have not yet reached the “put to death” part, but children are “rebelling against their parents” in ways that were unimaginable just a few years ago. And their rebellion is ripping families apart. Nevertheless, as the world rages, “the line never changes, no matter how the deception may fly.” Truth is truth, no matter where you find it. It may be hated, cursed, and defamed, but the truth never changes. So, though you may suffer, though there is a giant hole that this world cut out of your heart, “be still,” stand with God. God is in control.

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pic of a tree

The Tree That Almost Died

Our yard is a blessing. My wife and I have a yard full of flowers, trees, and things that she says I must not mow over. And in God’s wisdom, He had the builder construct our home, back in the 1950s, so that the backyard faces East; this makes it almost impossible for me to sleep in! I thank God for waking up early for His new mercies each morning.

Well, in our biosphere, we have a medium-sized tree that, for three years, gave us fits. Saplings kept bursting forth all around the tree. By the time I saw them as a problem, they were too big for a weed-whacker. They had to be cut back.

At War with a Tree

By the third year, my wife went to war against this tree. We are not fans of weed killers, but my wife was determined to “fix” the problem. She sprayed a copious amount of weed killer saplings. Confident that the problem was solved, we waited; no saplings; great.

In the spring of year four, our trees began waking up. Buds, new limbs, and green leaves in all of our trees, all that is but that tree. It looked dead. As the weeks went by, we only saw a dead tree. Since it was dead, we were ready to remove it, but it wasn’t dead.

Long after our other trees had reached their glory, our sickly tree began to show some life. One branch had some green on it. I investigated and found a few buds. Slowly, our “dead” tree began to outwardly show the healing that had been taking place over the past year.

Our trees are now at their zenith. Still, our injured tree has not returned to its full glory. One side is slightly dead, but the other has leaves and looks nearly healthy.

Jesus is the Vinedresser

This tree reminded me of a parable Jesus taught about the Vinedresser – a person who prunes, trains, and cultivates vines.

And he said to the vinedresser, ‘Look, for three years now I have come seeking fruit on this fig tree, and I find none. Cut it down. Why should it use up the ground?’ And he answered him, ‘Sir, let it alone this year also, until I dig around it and put on manure. Then if it should bear fruit next year, well and good; but if not, you can cut it down.’

Luke 13:7-9

Perhaps, your life has been like my poisoned tree. As a Christian, you were healthy. You had a hunger for hearing from God and doing what He laid on your heart to do. But something happened. You were poisoned. Maybe it was from an abusive pastor, maybe by a personal tragedy, maybe you were betrayed by a friend. That poison nearly killed your spirit.

In your damaged condition, you may have said some things and done some things that looked like death; they looked like you’d returned to the world. Friends may have looked on the outside of you and judged you harshly. They didn’t see the healing Jesus was performing on your heart, your mind, your spirit.

As you healed, you may have written Ichabod (used to express regret for departed glory) on your life. You may have thought you’d be sidelined until God called you home.

Jesus Can See Life When None Is Apparent

Even now, you may be disappointed with some people because they haven’t seen the healing taking place in you. They are still looking at what is obvious instead of what God is doing in your life.

Jesus is the Vinedresser; He can recognize life when none is apparent, He can make life where none exists. He sees life in you and your potential to be fruitful. Like my recovering tree, you will recover. You will be glorious again. You are in the hands of the giver of life; Jesus will restore you.

Image by Matthias Böckel from Pixabay

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Motorcycle Chopper Honda Bicycle Bike Honda Rebel

As Slow as a Honda 360

I rode motorcycles for decades when I was younger. I owned my fair share of motorcycles; Hondas, a Chopper, a Suzuki, and so forth. When I first started riding, I had a Honda 360 cc, a small, low-power cycle. In those days, I didn’t appreciate the value of power, that is until I rode with a friend that had a Honda 750 cc.

The first time we rode together, we started on back roads. They had lots of turns, so I could mostly keep up with him. Then we got on an Interstate, and he passed me like I’d parked my bike. He became a dot on the horizon while I coaxed my cycle to gain enough speed not to be run over. When it comes to cycles, acceleration and speed are essential commodities.

As I was reading my Bible today, I came to Psalms 124. When I read verse seven, my memory returned to my Honda 360. Here are verses seven and eight.

7 We have escaped like a bird from the snare of the fowlers; the snare is broken, and we have escaped!

8 Our help is in the name of the Lord, who made heaven and earth.
Psalm 124:7-8

A “fowler” is a person that sets traps to capture birds. During Biblical times, birds were trapped to be eaten or sold as food. Pity the poor bird that happens to walk under the snare of a fowler. But we have good news!

Jesus, maker of heaven and earth, will break the snare that captures us if we ask. Like a good motorcycle, Jesus can get us out of a trap in a New York minute. Praise God!

Believers can be compared to birds captured by fowlers. In John 10:10, Jesus said, “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.”

Even when we are listening to the Holy Spirit within us, we still find times when we wander into a place that seems safe, only to discover it is a trap of the enemy. The enemy thinks that he’s got us, but he’s trapped someone that belongs to Jesus. His glee will be short-lived.

This passage of Scripture tells us God’s promise and bolsters our faith. Our help is in the name of the Lord. He breaks the snare and sets us free. God will leave that enemy so far behind it will look like he’s riding a Honda 360.

Image by Ralphs_Fotos from Pixabay

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God desires a full banquet. From what I understand, He delayed His judgment so as many as will can be blessed with restoration, regeneration, and resurrection. We are the invited. Every person that has ever lived is welcome if they accept God’s invitation, put on their banqueting clothes and come. We, as ambassadors of Jesus, go out into the highways and byways of this world to deliver their invitation. And those that accept God’s invitation are brought into the Church, the Body of Christ, to prepare them, to get them dressed for the marriage supper of the Lamb (Rev. 19:6-9).
We see this in Christ’s parable of the Great Banquet, found in Luke 14:23 (NIV), “Then the master told his servant, ‘Go out to the roads and country lanes and compel them to come in, so that my house will be full…”

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