Wednesday, April 12, 2017

One Thing

  In 1991 the movie, City Slickers, premiered. Three city boys decided to spend their vacation driving cattle on an authentic cattle drive. The experience, they surmised, would end their mid-life crisis and in the process they’d become genuine cowboys. Their vacation commenced at a dude ranch in the southwest where they learned and prepared for the drive. It was here they met rugged, mean-looking, and very seasoned trail boss, Curly. The drive begins normally, yet as in all comedies and good stories, chaos quickly follows. Along the way, the main character, Mitch, played by Billy Crystal, learns from Curly, played by Jack Palance, the secret to life is one thing. When Mitch asks, “What’s the one thing?” Curly says, “That’s what you’ve got to figure out.” Mitch goes wild trying to discover what Curly means by one thing. In the end, Mitch seems to learn his one thing. Satisfied, he returns home to live the proverbial happily ever after.

According to the City Slickers movie review, this one thing is something we all must discover for ourselves and it is different for everyone.

So, what’s your one thing? Is it family, friends, relationships, work, lifestyle, location, a purpose in life, or something not listed? And, do you agree it’s different for everyone?

Back then, as a fairly new Christian, I did agree. But now, after many years walking with our Lord and Savior, I see differently.

In Luke, chapter 10, we read of a day Jesus visited three siblings, Martha, Mary, and Lazarus. Most likely, Martha was the eldest of the three, since she welcomed Jesus into her house. Martha is gracious, generous, organized, reliable, and under control. She is responsible for the smooth running of the home, serving her brother and any guests who come to call, usually with Mary’s help.

Mary must be younger as she doesn’t seem to possess the firstborn, older child, I need to take charge characteristics. Mary appears passionate, emotional, and a bit more carefree. No doubt, this combination of personalities caused frustration. So, peacemaker Lazarus, perhaps doused many emotional fires.

On the day Jesus visited, things were no different. Martha knew exactly how she wanted the day’s activities to go and expected Mary to comply. But Jesus was there. His words compelled Mary to listen. She sat at His feet as if glued to Him. Truth flowed from His lips. Love emanated from His being. And, nothing else mattered.

Even if you didn’t know the story from Scripture, you could have easily predicted what would happen next. Martha loved Jesus too. He was a friend and teacher, but there was work to do. So, Martha sought Jesus’ help with Mary’s lack of responsibility.

Please understand, it’s not that Jesus felt serving was unimportant. Of course serving is important – we can’t live without food. But, Jesus saw Martha’s heart. Her priorities were skewed. Jesus knew frustration with Mary and other distractions kept her bound and serving for all the wrong reasons. Martha, the perfect hostess, had the Son of God sitting in her living room and her focus was the kitchen.

Martha hadn’t yet understood the one thing that really mattered - the only thing that matters for every human being:  Jesus Christ. When He, The True One Thing, is found, all else falls into place.

Later Martha would see Jesus crucified for her sin, buried, and risen from the dead. Then she would fully understand He is the Resurrection and the Life, the Truth, and the only Way to the Father. But for now, Martha needed to let go of the many things concerning her and comprehend “…one thing is needed…” Mary found her one thing and Jesus said it “…will not be taken away from her."

So, this Resurrection Day, as the world searches, without satisfaction, for their one thing, please remember yours. He is The One and Only Thing needed.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Doctrines of Demons


Are you grieved that our culture thinks so little of the God who created us and the world in which we live that they accept when our Sovereign, Holy God is reduced to a caricature or a joke in a monologue? I mean, where is their fear? Not just reverential fear, I’m talking real out and out fear of Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.[1]

Do you think it’s just a sign of the times and the prophesied falling away?[2]

In Luke 18:8, Jesus asked a question, “Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes, will He really find faith on the earth?” You might think this is a rhetorical question, but it’s not. He’s telling of things to come and trying to make us think.

So, what type of thing would cause a believer to lose faith and possibly walk away from the TRUTH of the Holy Scriptures they may have known from childhood[3] or as an adult that brought us to Christ?

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Explanation of The Shack Critique

I was first made aware of the 2007-2008 best-selling book, THE SHACK, by a co-worker, who stated, “This is the best book I have ever read.” I accepted the book and took it home to read because the cover listed raves reviews by Eugene Peterson, the author of The Message, and Michael W. Smith, Christian recording artist. Nevertheless, it sat on my nightstand for weeks and for some reason, I couldn’t bring myself to read it. The day I decided to return the unread book to my co-worker, I received a letter and monthly catalog from Southwest Radio Church. The correspondence read, “The Shack” teaches New Age thought.

“Ah-ha!” I thought, “Now I know why I couldn’t read this book.”

The Holy Spirit had kept me from reading until I could be warned of the errors within. Then He gave me the desire to read as an exercise in discernment.

Friday, February 24, 2017

Love Like A Scarlet Carnation
On Valentine’s Day, the doctor for whom I work, purchases red carnations for every patient who comes that day for treatment. This affection towards his patients has always impressed me. From my first day on the job, November 17, 1999, I have admired this man. I never knew a doctor who not only bought flowers for his patients, but also made personal phone calls to each new patient following their initial treatment.

So last week, when I picked up the bouquet of carnations, I paused for a moment to consider the crinkly, sweet-scented, little flowers. I thought about our patients and the delight each flower would bring and then I reminisced about my high school days. If I remember correctly, our Tri-Hi-Y Club sold Valentine carnations. Any student could purchase a single carnation or more and club members would deliver them to their special someone. A white carnation meant friendship. The pink carnation indicated “I like you” and of course, the red carnation symbolized Love.

I wondered if the same color meanings held true for the outside high school world. According to, each carnation color carries its own meaning expressing love, care, or comfort.  If the receiver is feeling rejected or if the giver wants to express regret in some way, he or she sends a striped carnation. If the giver is feeling a bit playful or spontaneous, they should send purple carnations. Experiencing a great disappointment, then yellow carnations are best. Pink carnations express thankfulness for your mother’s love and the red or scarlet carnation usually conveys deep love and admiration.

Alliance, Ohio, where I work is known for the scarlet carnation. It was Alliance doctor, Levi L. Lamborn, who developed the scarlet-colored carnation around 1866. He was a friend and political opponent of William McKinley, to whom Dr. Lamborn presented one of his “Lamborn Red” carnations prior to an election. Since McKinley won the election, he adopted the scarlet carnation as his insignia. Later, in 1904, three years after President McKinley’s assassination, Ohio embraced the scarlet carnation as the official state flower.[1] And later Alliance was dubbed, “The Carnation City”.

Still, the flower name is of more interest to me than even the color. Although some scholars believe the name carnation “…comes from the word "corone" (flower garlands) or "coronation" because of its use in Greek ceremonial crowns, others propose that it's derived from the Latin "carnis" (flesh) referring to the flower's original pinkish-hued color or "incarnacyon" (incarnation), referring to the incarnation of God-made flesh.”[2]

Amazing. I’ve heard the word carnation all my life and I never, until this moment, saw its similarity to the word incarnation.  Of course, the flower speaks of Jesus. He created it on the third day.  “All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made.” He is God, the Son, who became flesh, dwelt among us, and allowed us mere humans to behold His glory.[3]

Yet, we must jump back to the color – scarlet – the color of blood. Scarlet is mentioned throughout the Old Testament and in almost every instance it symbolizes Jesus. Scarlet is one of four colors of woven thread used to craft the gate[4], the door[5], and the veil[6] of the Tabernacle in Moses’ time and the Temple in Jerusalem[7]. Each entrance represents Jesus as does each color. Later, Isaiah speaks of our sin being as scarlet. To me, sin is black. But I now realize, when sin is covered by the Blood of Jesus, it becomes scarlet and then white as snow.[8]

Out of Love Jesus shed His blood and died in our place.

No wonder the scarlet carnation has, for all these years, symbolized Love.

[1] (accessed 2/14/17)
[2] (accessed 2/14/17)
[3] John 1:1-3, 14
[4] Exodus 27:16 and Luke 13:24
[5] Exodus 26:36 and John 10:9
[6] Exodus 26:31 and Hebrews 10:19-20
[7] Mark 15:38
[8] Isaiah 1:18

Monday, January 30, 2017

The Beginning of Wisdom 229117
Wisdom. Have you ever contemplated this word and its meaning? No, of course not. Why would you waste time thinking about something humans gain with study, life experience, or just seem to possess? Still, as wasteful as it may seem, lately I’ve been pondering wisdom.

It’s true, wisdom abounds. There’s academic wisdom, science wisdom, business, sports, etc. Yet, this is acquired wisdom – knowledge gathered and expanded over years of study, trial and error. When knowledge in any subject is learned, wisdom usually follows. Wisdom applies the knowledge and these two fit together like a nut and bolt.

Isn’t it interesting we even have the capacity to develop wisdom? How do we do it? And why is our amazing brain able to take in all we learn and experience and then produce wisdom?

The explanation can only be God.

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Hold Fast

“Any of you ready for a “Puritan Christmas”?” Andreas K√∂stenberger asked, in his blog, “A Puritan Christmas”.[1]

Sure, I thought. But, how did the Puritan’s celebrate Christmas? Continuing to read, I was surprised to discover the Puritans did not celebrate Christmas. In fact, in Scotland, from 1580 through 1660, the Puritan’s controlled Parliament actually outlawed Christmas. When the Pilgrims immigrated to the New World, they did the same. Christmas, they had decided, was a pagan corruption of the true birth of our Savior, believing the word holiday, a combination of two words – holy and day – implied one day more holy than the next. “They for whom all days are holy can have no holiday,”[2] became their condescending response to Christmas, “…nicknaming it "Foolstide" and banning their flock from any celebration of it throughout the 17th and 18th centuries.”[3]

Nevertheless, they may have a point.

Consider our western traditions. Even the word, Christmas, was coined by the pagan amalgamated Roman Church, forming it from a combination of two words:  Christ and mass.

Of the mass, “The Council of Trent (1545-63) declared that "The same Christ who offered himself once in a bloody manner on the altar of the cross, is present and offered in an unbloody manner" in the Mass.”[4] Although the writer denies this is a continual resacrificing of Jesus, that it is just His sacrifice “presented to us once more,”[5] their doctrine remains, “When the bread and wine become the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ, Christ is truly present on the altar.”[6] This, he calls a “re-presentation” of the crucifixion.”[7] Not representation or symbolic as I believe Scripture indicates, but a re-presenting of Christ for crucifixion in each and every mass, implying Christ’s “once for all”[8] sacrifice was not enough to save.

And that’s just one problem. The day itself, was the pagan worship of the sun god that predated the birth of Christ. It was celebrated with drunkenness, lewd singing in the streets, and intense revelry, etc. Pagan worship items such as the evergreen tree, red holly berries, mistletoe, etc. have lasted, making their way into our time and traditions. And, let’s not even mention St. Nicholas aka Santa Claus.

So what are we to do now since originally, Jesus was not the reason for the season? Should we abandon our Christmas celebration as the Puritan’s did because of the pagan roots? Or, can we continue, in our little corner of the world, to overhaul this “holiday” by choosing to hold fast to our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ? To focus on His incarnation and why He came – to die on a cross for our sin. To sing songs worshipping and honoring our Almighty, Triune God for His amazing Gift, while remembering “…the words of the Lord Jesus…’It is more blessed to give than to receive.’ “[9]

I think we can. “Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony of our Lord…who has saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace which was given to us in Christ Jesus before time began, but has now been revealed by the appearing of our Savior Jesus Christ, who has abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel… hold fast the pattern of sound words…[and]…hold fast to Him, and to serve Him with all your heart and with all your soul.”[10]

Have a Blessed Christmas and a Happy, Healthy New Year!

[3] ibid
[5] ibid
[6] ibid
[7] ibid
[8] Romans 6:10; Hebrews 7:27; 9:12; 10:10
[9] Acts 20:35
[10] II Timothy 1:8-13; Joshua 22:5

Monday, November 21, 2016

One Blood

“Oh, give THANKS to the Lord, for He is good! For His mercy endures forever.”[1]

Recently, I’ve come to realize I’ve lived a somewhat sheltered life with regards to Thanksgiving. Oh, I’ve learned of our nation’s history and read some of the pilgrim’s writings, yet my research, until now, has been from the settler’s point of view.

Quite by accident, I came across an article from the website: The author, Thomas A. Ferguson, called our white, European American idea of the first Thanksgiving a view “…based on the mythological concept and approach Western minds have when dealing with the various Native Populations.”[2] He paints an extremely condescending and contemptuous picture of the Pilgrims assuring us the Native American does not view this holiday with the same love and fervor we do.