Jesus

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

Between My Ears

Sometimes, I come across a passage in God’s Word that compels me to stop reading and meditate on those words. I’m sure you experience the same thing. Well, today, I was reading in the Psalms when I came upon this verse:

Precious in the sight of the Lord     
is the death of his saints.

Psalms 116:15

I know Jesus delights in His own when we exercise faith. And I know that I will be with Jesus when I pass; however, I hadn’t given a lot of thought about our Lord’s frame of mind when we die. How liberating God is. He has all of the bases covered for our lives. So, when our appointed time comes, the time He established before creation, He sees our death, not from this world’s view, but from His view from the throne of heaven.

He sees us as athletes that have crossed the finish line and now enter our rest. So it makes perfect sense that God sees our death, our crossing of that finish line, as something precious in His sight. We teach our kids this song:

Red and yellow, black and white
They are precious in His sight.
Jesus loves the little children of the world.

How marvelous it is that this song is true for His own when we pass.


Photo by Ana Municio on Unsplash

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Willing to Yield to Others

My wife and I play a card game with some friends about once each month. The game is called “Hand and Foot.” It’s an exciting game, in part, because it is not directly competitive, unlike so many card games. You don’t directly play against the other team. Instead, you and your partner play to earn the most points that you can. The game ends when a team has played all of their cards. Then each team counts their points, and the team with the most points wins.

I see in this game the nature of the Christian community. No believer should try to advance by pushing others down in the Church. Instead, we lift up our brothers and sisters in Christ Jesus. We seek to help, give, and sacrifice, not out of some competition but to emulate Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior.

Many card games are based on taking others’ cards or blocking a player’s progress. This approach has no place in the body of believers. We are to rejoice when good comes to a fellow believer, and we are to morn when sorrow comes to fellow believers. There is no seeking to find advantages. Jesus watches us, and we must give an account to Him of what we did with the life He gave us.

May the God of endurance and encouragement grant you to live in such harmony with one another, in accord with Christ Jesus, that together you may with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Romans 15:5-6

Not to get too odd, but we know that quantum physics is the antithesis of the standard physics model. Likewise, the Christian life is baffling to non-believers; the way we live just doesn’t fit the rules of this world. Our life in Jesus compels us to see people differently and to respond to people differently. We are not competing against anyone. Instead, we are willing to yield to others when it’s for their good, even if yielding is costly to us.

17 But the wisdom from above is first of all pure. It is also peace loving, gentle at all times, and willing to yield to others. It is full of mercy and the fruit of good deeds. It shows no favoritism and is always sincere. 18 And those who are peacemakers will plant seeds of peace and reap a harvest of righteousness.

James 3:17-18 NLT

I pray that every believer seeks to be a peacemaker, for peacemakers are not peacekeepers. A peacekeeper is a person that works to soothe and weaken people that are at war with each other. But, a peacemaker acts in faith to expose poisonous lies and covert destructive actions. We all see its true nature by bringing wickedness into the light. We know what Jesus said about lightness and darkness:

…that they may turn from darkness to light and from the power of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in me.’

Acts 26:18

So, let’s be that person that seems odd. The person who loves the unlovely, helps those who have been sidelined by life, and yields to that @#$% driver in front of us that’s being a real #$%@! Sorry, let me try that last part again. Let us yield to that morally vacuous driver in front of us that’s being an absolute archetype of human evil. There, that’s better. 😉

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Jail Criminal Police Officer Handcuffs Prison Cell

Prisoner of Hope

Have you ever had such a need to feel the hand of God that, like a puppy, you became so frantic that you couldn’t receive the very thing you wanted? I think I’ve been in one of those times. You see, I’ve been asking God to directly intervene for the health of several people and a church. But when I pray, I get so wound up in the needs that I feel like I’m chasing my tail.

Called to Serve

I’ve never been a puppy, but my observation is that an excited puppy will spin and tumble and nuzzle in attempts at feeling his master’s hand. But only when the puppy quiets, panting from exhaustion, can his master rest his hand on him, and only then does the puppy feel what he craves. I think I’ve been caught in “puppy syndrome” and am still in the frenetic phase. But I am changing my ways.

Jesus didn’t call me to chase my tail; He didn’t call me to chase the devil; He called me to serve Him, and may God have mercy on the soul of anyone that attempts to mess with His will. So, as I was reading my Bible, the Holy Spirit gave me a verse to grasp hold of that has settled me down. This verse is a promise, and the good news is that it is as much for you as me. Here is God’s promise:

Return to your stronghold, O prisoners of hope; today I declare that I will restore to you double.

Zechariah 9:12

Prisoner of Hope

Did you catch God’s promise in this verse? It is the “prisoners of hope.” That’s what I am; I am a prisoner of hope. I cannot deny so great a salvation. I am not ashamed of the Gospel. Because of what Jesus has done in me, through me, and for me, how can I not be wrapped in chains of love and lashed to the Rock of my salvation? I am a prisoner of hope.

I no longer need to cast my soul into a frenzy when my Master stretches His hand towards me. There is no need because I am already bound to Him, fed by Him, and continually communicating with Him. Do I still need the touch of His hand? Absolutely. Do I still have petitions for Him? Yes, indeed. Should I be concerned that He may not hear my prayer? Not at all, for I am a prisoner of hope.

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Peace is Found in Trusting Jesus

Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.

John 14:27

Medieval Europe

I recently watched a documentary about life in Europe during the centuries after the turn of the first millennia (1000 AD – 1500AD). I was fascinated by the “Millennials.” 😉 The old guard had their fears and concerns about the younger generation’s ideas. Millennials seemed to be striving for more individual freedoms, yet, the old order wasn’t sure if it wanted society to change. The Millennials wished to keep the benefits provided by the status quo, but they also wanted more liberty to participate in commerce.

During this time, the ideas of personal property and personal commerce began to be birthed – crazy Millennial ideas, right!? Make no mistake; royalty owned the people of their estate. A person couldn’t leave the lord’s estate without permission, and even a tree could not be cut down without approval and payment to their master.

Medieval Loyalty

Nevertheless, it served the lord’s needs for his people to be self-sustaining and loyal. Loyalty was essential because his people were his army. He only maintained a small standing army, but every man had to join the fight when trouble came. The lord didn’t provide any weapons. Each man had to use his own pitchfork, wooden hammer, and scythes as weapons. However, if a man proved to be exceptional in battle, his lord would reward him with a sword.

One aspect of the Middle Ages (Dark Ages) that never was clear to me was the selfless loyalty that many people gave to their king or master. A man called El Cid continued to give significant payments to Alfonso VI, the king of Castile and León, in medieval Spain, long after Alfonso VI had banished Ei Cid from his kingdom. You would think El Cid would have turned his back on Alfonso VI. Instead, El Cid never stopped calling Alfonso VI his king. In this historical account, I gained an insight into Jesus Christ, my Lord.

Peace is Found in Trust

We know that we each owe Jesus our total and complete loyalty 1. However, we may take for granted the comfort and peace of mind that we gain when we absolutely trust Jesus2. Even though our peace is found in our trust in Jesus, the truth is that we may not always know how to trust Jesus3. With that in mind, find a place where you can commune with Jesus and ask Him to help you with your doubts. You can pray, “Jesus, thank You for saving me. I give You my total loyalty; lead me in the life you want me to live.”

Jesus is the only one that can bring true peace and comfort into our lives4. If we are saved, we have the Comforter, the Holy Spirit, living in us.

“But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father, he shall testify of me:”

John 15:26

Jesus is an endless source of love and mercy5, but we may not recognize this because we are too busy worrying about the troubles in our lives and around us6.

We are His, the sheep of His pasture7. Can we trust Jesus when we receive devastating news? Yes, He is our Lord8. Can we trust Jesus when politicians and scoundrels vandalize our nation? Yes, Jesus is our King9. Can we trust Jesus when the life we’ve loved is pillaged and ransacked? Yes, Jesus is God10.

By placing total trust in Jesus, our Lord and Savior, we can know that in Jesus, all things do work together for good11. Living each day with Jesus is how we can receive the comfort we need12.

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Matthew 10:33
Isaiah 12:2
Mark 9:24
Romans 14:17
Lamentations 3:22–23
Philippians 4:6–7
Psalm 100:3
Romans 10:9–13
Revelation 19:16
10 John 1:1
11 Romans 8:28
12 Matthew 6:34


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Don’t you understand even yet?

Today, I was caught off guard while reading Matthew 16:5–12. This is the account of the disciples misunderstanding what Jesus meant when He warned them about the yeast of the Pharisees and Sadducees to which Jesus asks, “Don’t you understand even yet?

The Disciples Worry

In response to Christ’s question, the disciples began to worry about not having anything to eat – they had forgotten to bring bread (v5). They discussed this predicament while traveling by boat, so they obviously couldn’t do a door-dash. With the thought of bread on their minds, they were baffled when Jesus suddenly told them to be on guard against the yeast of the Pharisees and Sadducees. (v6).

The disciples focused on food while Jesus was focused on fulfilling the plan of His Father. Rabbit Trail: I asked myself if my default response to every question was first spiritual and then physical? You can guess my answer.

Now back to Jesus and His disciples in the boat.

The Disciples Misunderstand

Jesus has just warned His disciples – the ones upon whose shoulders the growth of His Church would soon fall – to beware of the yeast (leaven) of the Pharisees and Sadducees. Their response had been to huddle together to figure out how to tell Jesus that they forgot to bring bread. At this point, Jesus sternly asked, “Don’t you understand even yet?

Forgive my very loose paraphrase of what Jesus next says in v9–11. Jesus says, “Get your head in the game. I can bury you in bread, so why are you asking Me about bread? That makes no sense.” From the disciples – silence.

Our Patient Lord

Then Jesus shows His patience. “So again I say, ‘Beware of the yeast of the Pharisees and Sadducees.’” (v11) Now His disciples were in tune, sort of, with Jesus. They understood that Jesus meant that they should guard against false teachings because they can quickly grow and permeate what the Church teaches (v12).

Good News

We should not worry about the things we need – food, clothing, shelter. What we do need is to keep our thoughts fixed on God (Isaiah 26:3) – whose mind is stayed on thee (KJV)

Many things can plant worry in us, but we don’t have to let them. Our God is El Shaddai, the All-Sufficient God. We’ll keep focused on doing the work that Jesus assigns us and let the world worry about itself.

Image by Mario Ohibsky from Pixabay


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

Between My Ears


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

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 yelled, “We’re on a mission from God!”

If you have received Jesus as your Lord and Savior, then you have a holy calling. You’re on a mission from God. How wonderful is that! We must not covet anyone else’s calling. That would be insulting to God.

God energized me when I read this passage this morning. I pray He does the same for you.


Photo by Ana Municio on Unsplash

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

Between My Ears


Tested by God

10 For you, O God, have tested us;
you have tried us as silver is tried

12 you let men ride over our heads;
we went through fire and through water;
yet you have brought us out to a place of abundance.

Psalms 66:10,12

We know that, from time to time, God tests us. In today’s passage of Scripture, we see the word “tested.” This word means “to test, to investigate.” Like in British Police shows, God assigns us to difficult cases, ones that test our moral fiber and faithful obedience while facing insurmountable odds.

Unlike imaginary tv shows, God’s tests are real and they often tear at our faith as God investigates whether we have true faith or cheap imitations. God investigates us, not for His knowledge, but for ours. He wants us to know if we are obedient to Him in spite of suffering and loss. Will we be like Jesus or fall back into worldliness? We need to know us.

Just as refining puts silver into immense heat, causing the impurities to leave the silver and flow to the top, where the refiner removes the dross, so God’s tests often put us under immense pressure to bring out our impurities to be removed. In the end, if we pass God’s test, He brings us out to a place of abundance. God is so good to us. He cares more about our future than we do!


Photo by Ana Municio on Unsplash

Fitness Room Fitness Equipment

Spiritual Sweat

If I asked you why you sweat, you’d likely answer, “To cool my body when I’m overheated,” and you’d be correct. However, there are many other reasons why we sweat.

Benefits of Sweat

Beyond cooling, our sweat detoxes our bodies of heavy metals, such as mercury found in all seafood. Our sweat also helps eliminate dangerous chemicals, such as the traces of cyanide found in spinach. And our sweat helps to cleanse us of harmful bacteria.

As we see, our sweat not only works to keep our bodies from overheating, it also pushes harmful things out of our bodies. Sweat is pretty impressive, and it can serve as a metaphor to help us understand how we become more Christ-like.

Spiritual Sweat

We know that “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” (Romans 8:1). My metaphor is not intended to condemn but to teach.

“Therefore, if anyone cleanses himself from what is dishonorable, he will be a vessel for honorable use, set apart as holy, useful to the master of the house, ready for every good work.”

2 Timothy 2:21

Finding the Dishonorable

We can’t clean it if we don’t know it’s there. So, how do we find the dishonorable things in our lives? We find them primarily through the blessings Jesus has given us: loving God and people, prayer, the Bible, worship, fellowship, helping others, sermons, our local congregation, and so forth.

All of these help us find any dishonorable things in our lives and learn how to cleanse ourselves. But there’s more. As believers, we have the Holy Spirit alive in us, and He brings His fruit into our lives. “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.” (Galatians 5:22–23)

Set Apart as Holy

As we walk in faith, the Holy Spirit causes His fruit to grow in us, and this expansion pushes out the spiritual toxins and chemicals and heavy metals that have been building up in us our whole lives. The Holy Spirit’s expanding fruit in us pushes the harmful stuff out, similar to our bodies’ sweat.

Just as sweat cleanses our bodies, the Holy Spirit gives us spiritual sweat so we will be a clean vessel, set apart as holy.

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

Between My Ears


Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life.

Proverbs 4:23 NLT

Amy Grant, one of the founders of Contemporary Christian Music, wrote the successful pop song “Every Heartbeat” in 1991. However, her gospel roots can be found in this song. Consider the following lyrics:

No exception to this rule
I’m simple but I’m no fool (I’m no fool)
I’ve got a witness happy to say
Every hour, every day

Every heartbeat bears your name
Loud and clear, they stake my claim
My red blood runs true blue
And every heartbeat belongs to you

Amy Grant

This message holds for every member of the body of Christ. Our joy is found in living “in Jesus.” My prayer for you and me is that every hour, every day, our every heartbeat belongs to Jesus. Amen!


Photo by Ana Municio on Unsplash

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Clingy

Recently, I bought a guitar cable for my electric guitar. The cable came with two strips of Velcro® to help keep the cable in a tidy loop when stored. I took one of the strips off to use it on the power cable to my amp. That’s when I noticed how clingy it was. I felt like I was in a comedy skit. It stuck to my shirt, my cleaning cloth, everything!

I finally wrestled it onto the power cable, but whew, it was a battle! God reminded me of that battle this morning. Every command God gives us for good, the enemy twists it for evil. Consider:

Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good.

Romans 12:9 NIV

Transcendent Good

As Jesus told the rich young man, “Why do you call me good?” Jesus answered. “No one is good—except God alone. (Mark 10:18) Everything that is genuinely good* has God in it. These are the things we should keep an eye out for, and when we find them, we should ponder (deeply think) about them to uncover God’s transcendent[1] truth contained in them.

God’s will is for us to cling to what is good. But the enemy has a different plan. He wants the things of the world to stick to us. Sometimes, those “things” are people. Clingy people may be the most challenging prickly thing we must deal with.

If you’ve ever walked through woods or an open field, you’ve likely had cockleburs cling to your sneakers, socks, pants, maybe even your hair! And as you know, it is tedious work to remove them.

Cockleburs are so prickly that our every attempt at pulling one loose carry the potential to draw blood. This is how the clingy things of the world behave. The slightest brush with ungodly things may try to cling to you. To use you as the carrier to spread their seeds in a new patch of God’s children. Gossip is perhaps chief among these worldly cockleburs.

Good News

But we have good news! We learn about the time in John 13:1–17 Jesus washed the feet of His apostles. Being an “all in” personality, Peter first tells Jesus not to wash his feet and then asks Jesus to wash all of him (I love the Apostle Peter). Jesus then tells Peter:

Jesus answered, “Those who have had a bath need only to wash their feet; their whole body is clean. And you are clean, though not every one of you.”

John 13:10

Herein is a promise from our Lord: The dust of the world only clings to our feet. For a Christian, we have been baptized, we have been cleansed so thoroughly that the dust of the world (man is but dust) no longer clings to us. But we must walk through this world, and just as cockleburs cling to our socks when we walk through a field, the dust of this world clings to our feet (metaphorically speaking).

Worldliness clings to the part of us that comes in the closest contact with the world. Therefore, we need all of God and the body of believers (Romans 12:4–5) to remove from us the clingy things of the world. Jesus, our Lord, provides this for us, keeping us clean as we remain obedient to Him.


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  1. transcendent = “_existing apart from and not subject to the limitations of the material universe._”  ↩
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