Monday, December 31, 2012

2013 Blessing

May the Lord cast His eyes upon you
and smile with love and care
May He bless you with His favor
you did not dream to dare
May He place his hand upon you
to hasten the way you go
May you obediently follow
and be victorious against the foe

© El LaGrew 2012

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Warn Them

Ezekiel 3:17
“Son of man, I have appointed you a watchman to the house of Israel; whenever you hear a word from My mouth, warn them from Me.

The following picture was sent to me by my cousin.  He sends me a lot of funny pictures.  But this one got me to thinking about what we should be doing this New Year as it approaches.

Funny right? I think so. But if you take in in the context of  what God told Ezekiel and then set it in modern times, maybe not so funny.

God has a warning for His people. A warning and a word of hope.  We as Christians...and I mean all who call themselves followers of Christ Jesus need to be spreading this word.  The Lord is coming back; God is calling His people to live holy and upright lives. Never mind that we live in a cesspool.  He calls us out of that and urges us to pick up our cross and follow HIM...everyday. He is calling us out into the world to tell others the Good News that He loved us so much, that he died on the Cross for us.  The warning is there.  It as as plain as the sign above.

My question to you dear Christian brothers and sisters, "Do you believe God as given us a warning to tell others?".  What will you do about it?  Time is short.


Tuesday, December 25, 2012

And so it begins...

Media Research Center:

In case you have not noticed it, the secular society we live in is at war: at war with Christianity.

This coming year will be an important time for us as Christians to stand up and fight.  This is not a bad thing. This is exactly what Jesus wants us to do and why He came in the first place. Remember that is was Jesus himself who said.

Matthew 10:34
“ Do not think that I came to bring peace on the earth; I did not come to bring peace, but a sword."

These words come into focus as you read through the website I listed on the first link on this topic. Do not be discouraged. God will see us through.

Remember, even as we are celebrating Christmas and the birth of the Redeemer, the world is against HIM...and being against HIM means they are against us as well.

Be strong!

Be Faithful!

Be a true follower of Jesus!

Blessings All!

Sunday, December 23, 2012

The Real Gift

The greatest Christmas gift I EVER received was not one that I found under a tree...It was the one that was given to me, that was placed in a manger many years ago...

Thank you Lord!

Blessings this Christmas!

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

How Long O Lord

How Long O Lord

I lift my heart to you oh Lord
my hands also do I lift up
my soul rises within me
my lips praise your name only

I fly to the center of your love
with the beating of my heart each day
with you in my mind and spirit
leading me in each and every way

How long oh Lord must we stay
away from you our lives are lost
come and sweep us as the dust
come and bring us to your breast

How long must we endure
this world forever filthy
How long O Lord until you come
and bring your children to safety

Until you come will will do your will
and bind each heart that you call
to your command we all must bow
and find salvation from your love

©2012 El LaGrew

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Look up in Hope

The Ogre sits upon his throne
of rotting meat and human bone
smiling as he proudly looks
upon destruction of human works

He laughs and snorts and sings
of the chaos he brings
he praises his immense ego
daring each to come and go

he has snared many in his slimy hand
crushed and bruised the precious lamb
but he could not kill the spirit within
for the lamb rose to greatness again

the lamb has changed and now he comes
not as helpless as he seemed he was
he brings with him an army vast
the Ogre knows that this is his last

yet he fights and brings his hoard
he battles fierce with his last word
he is thrown down into the pit
where demons go and fire is lit

and so it will be for every man
who thinks they can defeat the lamb
the lamb to whom all power is laid
who on the cross our sins he paid

so now dear friend just look around
don’t cast your eyes upon the ground
but look up in hope your savior comes
to bring you back to his heavenly home

© 2012 El LaGrew

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Follow Me!

“Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” John 14:6 NIV

Are you lost
have you forgotten the way
are you paralyzed
without out a thing to say

Do you feel right
do you feel fine
do feel angry
without being kind

here is the Hope
here is the way
He is right there
there he will stay

His arms are open wide
His face all aglow
He is eager to help
He is eager to show

so just follow Him
he surely will lead
where you need to go
He has planted the seed

©El LaGrew 2012

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

A Prayer from the Heart

A Prayer from the Heart

O Lord you are faithful
Your Spirit works tirelessly for our good
When our hands are tied and tired
Your strong arm never fails.

Sustain my soul and even when I am weary and discouraged
Do not forget me and the promises that you made.
My heart aches for the time when it can be united
with You as one.

Protect our loved ones always
We are powerless to sway even the smallest blade of grass
and yet with Your help the grass grows and is green
May our loved ones gain Your favor as proportion to their faith

We will leave this earth soon enough
but your Spirit still dwells with your people
May the ones who love you
be lifted up to the hope that is in You

Open doors that were once closed
Open hearts that have been shuttered
Use your people for your glory
May your return be swift and full of mercy

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Walking in Silence

walking in silence

I walk with you always even when I am not walking
you are there with me ever present silently encouaraging
and watching
like a father who watches their child trying to complete a task
too difficult for them you are there comforting
Yes even though I cannot see the future, you let me use your eyes
when I cannot you do
when you do I rest
when I rest I am satisfied
when I am satisfied I am like you

©El LaGrew 2012

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

The Love of Christ

# Quote Christian Nestell Bovee: "Our first and last love is self-love."

This is true for those who do not know Christ as Savior.  We all start out selfish and loving ourselves more than we do others. However, once confronted with the love of Christ we are compelled to put away the ways of the world and thus, end up loving other even more than we love ourselves. We show the same kind of love that the Lord had for us on the Cross. Meditate on that Love and you will see that it is true and worthy!

Monday, October 22, 2012

My soul is quiet

My soul is quiet as I wait
until the Lord appears
Do not make haste
nor make a fuss
It will happen just as He says
My soul is quiet as I wait

El LaGrew 2012

Monday, July 9, 2012

I ran into a Sabbatarian

Yesterday I ran into a Sabbatarian on G+. If you are not familiar with Sabbatarianism, it is the notion that is a Christian belief in the nature of and the observance of the Jewish Sabbath as the the Day of Rest. Sabbatarians have observed various Jewish traditions related to the Jewish Sabbath on Saturday rather than the Christian Sunday. Sabbatarianism developed out of the Radical Reformation, and was most popular in Europe during the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries.

I am familiar with the term and the manner in which they conduct worship but I was unprepared for the barrage of hostility which was shoved down my throat. I don't think I handled it too well. He is not talking to me now. :-)

Any way, while researching this I came across some good information on the reasons why we worship on Sunday instead of Saturday. The Sabbatarian tried to make the point that we are not following God's Commands when we worship on Sunday and that this made us all law breakers and somehow associated with Satan. A serious charge to be sure. But in doing research for this, I thought I would share some insights which might help me in the future...and maybe you too if you are ever accosted by a Sabbatarian who is as hostile as this one was.

Now mind you, I do not believe that we are even required to worship on a Sunday. However, I think it is necessary to set aside at least one day of week to do this. Most of the world of Christianity does use Sunday, but there are some who use Saturday and as long as they do not try to make a link to some notion that we are going to hell because we are not following the Law of God on this, I don't have issue with it. Certainly, there are Christians who sometimes cannot worship on Sunday because of duties. Soldiers, doctors, nurses, police, Fire and the like. I do not think Jesus condemns anyone for not worshiping on a particular day, it is just that most have decided Sunday is the best day to do this and here are some reasons why.

Why we worship on Sunday:

1) Jesus rose on a Sunday

This is undeniable, since Mark 16:9 clearly declares,
"Now when Jesus was risen early the first day of the week…"

Since Jesus rose on a Sunday it would be reasonable for the early church to commemorate the event by worshiping on a Sunday. For almost 2000 years Christians all over the world have been worshiping on Sunday, because, among other reasons, it is the day of our Lord’s resurrection.

2) The Church was 'born' on a Sunday

The Holy Spirit was poured out on Sunday, not on the Jewish
Saturday sabbath. Pentecost was reckoned as the fiftieth day from the “morrow after the sabbath” (Lev.23:11,15). This would be the day following the first sabbath (i.e., Sunday) after the Passover.

Sunday, the Lord’s Day, holds special significance to the Christian not only because of Jesus’ resurrection on that day, but because the church itself was born on that day.

3) No Sabbath command in the New Testament

I assume that if God wanted His church to observe the Jewish sabbath, He
would have communicated this to us, at least somewhere in the 27 books of the New Testament, we could find the mandate to “keep the sabbath” if it were important to Him and binding upon us. There was ample opportunity for a sabbath ordinance to be mandated to the church if it were in God’s scheme of things. In fact, the entire 15th chapter of Acts is dedicated to addressing this and no where is the Gentile church told of observe the Sabbath.

And the final point I would like to make is this:

4) Jesus has canceled the Sabbath

The words used in John 5:18 to describe exactly what Jesus did are extremely

And therefore did the Jews persecute Jesus, and sought to slay him,
because he had done these things on the sabbath day. But Jesus answered
them, My Father worketh hitherto, and I work. Therefore the Jews sought
the more to kill him, because he not only had broken the sabbath, but
said also that God was his Father, making himself equal with God (John

The expression, “he (Jesus) had broken the sabbath” actually declares that Jesus had done nothing less than cancel the sabbath commandment!

There are other reasons to be sure, but I believe these cover the main points. Again, if you worship on another day...fine with me. Just as long as you do not try to bring the Law into it, we are fine. After all, Jesus died so he could fulfill the Law...once and for all!

Blessings all!

Friday, June 29, 2012

Revealing Revelation: I am the Alpha and the Omega

Revelation 1:4-8

4 John to the seven churches that are in Asia: Grace to you and peace, from Him who is and who was and who is to come, and from the seven Spirits who are before His throne, 5 and from Jesus Christ, the faithful witness, the firstborn of the dead, and the ruler of the kings of the earth. To Him who loves us and released us from our sins by His blood— 6 and He has made us to be a kingdom, priests to His God and Father— to Him be the glory and the dominion forever and ever. Amen. 7 Behold, He is coming with the clouds, and every eye will see Him, even those who pierced Him; and all the tribes of the earth will mourn over Him. So it is to be. Amen.

8 “I am the Alpha and the Omega,” says the Lord God, “ who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty.”


Many commentaries place these 4 verses under the moniker of 'Greetings'. While there is indeed that element, we cannot discount the fact that there is much more going on here than just a simple greeting.

John explicitly tells us that this letter is aimed at the "seven churches of Asia" v4. Grace and peace are given, not from John, but from God the Father and the Holy Spirit and the Son and also from the seven Spirits. John does not elaborate much on these except to tell us that the seven Spirits are before the throne of God, which tells us they are in direct contact and communication with Him, like generals who meet with the Joint Chiefs of Staff to plan the strategy of the battle.

John's exultation of Jesus is a thing to behold. This is not merely a mention in passing, it's a royal announcement! "Jesus Christ, the faithful witness, the firstborn of the dead, and the ruler of the kings of the earth. To Him who loves us and released us from our sins by His blood— 6 and He has made us to be a kingdom, priests to His God and Father— to Him be the glory and the dominion forever and ever. Amen." v5-6 You just need to close your eyes and imagine you are at a formal gathering when the official announcer takes the invitation from the guest, turns to the gathered ones and belts out this litany. Just thinking of it wants you to kneel in His presence! And kneel we shall, along with everyone on earth, when He returns. 'Every knee will bow, every tongue will confess'

John makes it very clear that this is no ordinary vision; this is no ordinary letter he is sending. It is of utmost importance because it comes from the King himself. The one and only who has redeemed us with His blood, who has sacrificed Himself for our sins and who has become our pattern, our Lord. By doing so, he has made us priests to His Father...the Great King. The master of the universe. He eagerly waits for His return and here we see Him coming back in the clouds! What a glorious vision! What privileged communication and he is sharing ti with us.

Verse 8 are the first words which we hear from His lips...a proclamation of who He is. “I am the Alpha and the Omega,” says the Lord God, “ who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty.” Alpha is the first letter of the Greek alphabet and Omega is the last. So in essence He is saying, I am the beginning and the end. He was not only the present during the creation of the world...the literal beginning for us...He is also the end of all things. He encompasses everything..eternal..never ending..never beginning since He existed before there was anything but Him. This is perhaps the simplest He can even express Himself in which we may even have a chance to comprehend part of Him.


John wants us to realize that what he is saying and communicating to us is of the utmost importance because it is coming directly from a source that is of utmost holiness and power...from God Himself. What will be following then is pure grace...simple and unadulterated...pure and powerful. It's like when Jesus was talking and says, "Those who have ears, let them hear." So let's pick this apart.

1) He brings this special news to the 7 churches in Asia

The number seven is important in Biblical theology. God made the earth and everything associated with it in six days, and he stopped on the seventh. Most translations tell us he 'rested' although hat is an incomplete translation. It is more like He stopped because he was done and everything was perfect. The seventh day he sanctified...He set it aside as a special day for us. To give thanks and worship Him for what He did. The seventh day gives us time to rest in His peace...His grace and to meet together for worship. In this world at this time, this is something that is becoming harder and harder to do. But we as Christians, have more of a responsibility that everyone else to understand and to communicate the importance of doing this simple act.

[Do you think this message is for us today as well as the seven churches in Asia? Why? Are we doing our part? What does the Sabbath mean to you? What should it mean?]

2) The message is coming from a very special source.

The source is spiritual. The message is coming from the triumphant Godhead. And triumphant He is! This was an important message to bring. Remember, John is an old man at this time, eagerly waiting for the Lord's return. This message could not have come at a better time for him or for the world. Christians all over the Middle East were being persecuted and tortured to death. John had witnessed his own fellow Apostles martyred and killed. He alone was to bring this message of hope...and the Church...from one Faithful Witness to another.

The significance of the "seven Spirits who are before His throne" might be understood in the theology of Biblical text and how the ancients understood great struggles. Paul said:

Ephesians 6:12
12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places.

This is common Biblical theme carried over from Old Testament times. The idea here is that the battles and struggles which we witness here on earth are really a reflection of the battles that are going on in the Heavenly realms. So we can associate these 7 Spirits which are before the throne of the All Mighty with the seven churches mentioned in Revelation.

Another example of this is found quite plainly in the book of Daniel. I might also add that Daniel and Revelation are often studied in unison. This is because many of the events found in the book Daniel are also repeated in the book of Revelation. There are numerous commentaries which are written about this but one of my favorites is from one of my former Seminary professors, "Daniel and Revelation: Riddles or realities?" by A. Berkeley Mickelsen. I highly recommend you read it if you get the chance.

Daniel 10:12-14
12 Then he said to me, “ Do not be afraid, Daniel, for from the first day that you set your heart on understanding this and on humbling yourself before your God, your words were heard, and I have come in response to your words. 13 But the prince of the kingdom of Persia was withstanding me for twenty-one days; then behold, Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me, for I had been left there with the kings of Persia. 14 Now I have come to give you an understanding of what will happen to your people in the latter days, for the vision pertains to the days yet future.”

Here we have a classic confrontation between good and evil. The angel tells Daniel that as soon as he started praying for understanding, the angel left and was coming to Daniel, but he was by the " prince of the kingdom of Persia". This evil spirit is associated with the country of Persia, but importantly with the King over that territory. This evil spirit was so powerful, that if it were not for Michael, one of the chief angels we here about in the text, that he would likely not have even gotten there, having been stood up for 21 days prior. This is an amazing story! It illustrates exactly what the Biblical text and the writers have told us. Our conflict on the earthly realm is a reflection of goes on in the Heavenly (spiritual) world!

[Do we believe in angels? How about demons? Many popular movies and books of the day have a good vs. evil theme. Is that the same thing? How should a Christian respond to the events of today? Study of the end times is called 'Eschatology' in theological terms. Do you think we are in the 'End Times'? Why/whynot?]

3) This message is all about Jesus

Lastly and most importantly, this message is by and for Jesus and for the people of Jesus. This message is a gift of holy revelation. It explains why Jesus should be considered Lord and it proclaims that Jesus is coming back. It is He who is THE Faithful witness. It is He who loves us. It is He who was pierced for our transgressions. It was He who elevated us to be a kingdom of priest's for His name sake.

This same Jesus who was condemned by his own people, crucified by his own people and buried by his own, will come again and show the whole world just what power He has. This sets the stage by which we read the rest of the message. We cannot help but be intrigued. We cannot help but want to hear more. In literary terms, this is the 'hook'. We know about Jesus, but now John is setting the stage to hear another part of the which we have only heard bits and pieces of up till now. This is one part we cannot miss. I for one am looking forward to what is coming, when everyone shall see Him...and acknowledge Him as the one true God!

What's that He says? “I am the Alpha and the Omega,” says the Lord God, “ who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty.” v8.

Amen and Amen!

[ Has your idea of who Jesus is and what he has done changed in any way from reading this passage? How? Are looking forward to seeing Jesus face-to-face? Why/Why not. What is the picture you get in your head when you read these passages about Jesus' return? What feeling does it evoke?]

Blessings all!

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Simply Awesome!

Job 37:3
Under the whole heaven He lets it loose, And His lightning to the ends of the earth.

Simply AWESOME. Just think..the LORD created the whole universe. He just lets us see a tiny part of it...and this is a tiny part.

Blessings on your day!

Monday, June 18, 2012

Revealing Revelations -Vs 1:1-3

Background: I am teaching Revelations this Fall and decided it would be beneficial for me to go through the entire book verse by verse. What will follow in the coming days is a digest of that study. I hope you enjoy it as much as I am enjoying doing it!


Revelations 1:1-3

1 The revelation from Jesus Christ, which God gave him to show his servants what must soon take place. He made it known by sending his angel to his servant John, 2 who testifies to everything he saw—that is, the word of God and the testimony of Jesus Christ. 3 Blessed is the one who reads aloud the words of this prophecy, and blessed are those who hear it and take to heart what is written in it, because the time is near.

Tradition has it that Revelations was written by the Apostle John while he was an old man on the island of Patmos. In Biblical times Patmos was located off the coast of Phrygia which is part of what is now known as Turkey. The island of Patmos today is part of Greece. Located among the Sporades group of islands in The Aegean Sea near the west coast of Turkey. It is a small member of the group of islands, measuring only about 6 by 10 miles / 10 by 16 kilometers, with a very irregular coastline.

According to Eusebius, John was sent to Patmos in the year 95 by the Roman emperor Domitian and was released about 2 years later. Since he, and all of The Twelve Apostles were roughly the same age as Jesus, John was probably well over 90 years old - making him very likely the only apostle to survive to old age. All the rest were martyred earlier. (If you want to read more on the martyrs of the Early Church, I recommend "Fox's Book of Martyrs". The link will take you to a free PDF download.)

It was on this island where John wrote the Apocalypse. 'Apocalypse' is derived from the Greek word apokalypsis. It's often used to describe a great devastation or cataclysm, the literal meaning of apocalypse is actually an unveiling, or revealing. That is where we get the English translation of the Book Of Revelation (or, perhaps more accurately, revelations, since it reveals many things).


The first part or Revelation is a prologue, which is common in writing of the time. It sets the stage, so to speak, of what is to come.

1 The revelation from Jesus Christ, which God gave him to show his servants what must soon take place. He made it known by sending his angel to his servant John, 2 who testifies to everything he saw—that is, the word of God and the testimony of Jesus Christ.

John wants us to know, just like Paul did, that this revelation is not from him, but from Jesus himself. John is only the messenger of what he was given. This message was given to him in a mystical way by means of an angel directly to John. Later we will understand that visions that John saw, he did not always understand, but that he was faithful in relating them to his readers. Compare this vision with what Ezekiel saw in Ezekiel 1 and Ezekiel 37.

??In what ways are Ezekiel's visions the same as John's?? Different? ??

The audience of this writing are "His Servants" Some who are already born and some who are yet to be. A vision for the future..exactly when, we are not told only that it will be and that it will, "soon take place".

The Lord's timing has always fascinated me. Sometimes it honestly frustrates me as well.

?? Has John's warning been fulfilled? Why/Why not? When do you think? ??

3 Blessed is the one who reads aloud the words of this prophecy, and blessed are those who hear it and take to heart what is written in it, because the time is near.

John calls people who read or speak or hear this message...and take it to heart...Blessed! Not just fortunate or lucky as I have heard some say, but blessed. The dictionary gives several possible meanings to this word. I think what applies here is 'divinely or supremely favored'. We are chosen by God to read this message, to speak this message and to take it to heart. Because, as John says, 'the time is near.'

Again we have the concept that this event is eminent. Something that will happen soon, perhaps in John's time. This is very common in Biblical prophecy. Many times the writers are presenting the message that these events will happen within the lifetimes of the audience, maybe even tomorrow. This is not a bad way of looking at the things that are predicted by God. Act as if this will happen soon and you will be more motivated to change your life around NOW rather than wait. Now, then it comes to changing your life is always better than 'someday'. The Bible even tells us that NOW is the time of salvation.

?? What state are the ones who hear this message? Why? ??

?? Again, when are the events to take place? ??

?? Why is it good to believe this? ??

?? How has this passage changed the way you think and/or act? Why? ??

I hope you have had fun going through this first part. There are very many exciting things in store for us to explore here. I am looking forward to it! Comments and constructive criticism are always welcome.

Blessings All!

Friday, June 15, 2012

A Marriage Made in Heaven

It was Saturday June 14th, 1975. Flag day. There was a band outside the church starting the procession through the main street of the town. They started with playing 'Taps' and the sound echoed throughout the church as the wedding began. I thought, "I hope this is not a portent of things to come." But as I looked, I had never seen someone so beautiful as my lovely bride as she was led down the center isle by her dad. We smiled, took hands and turned to the minister for instructions.

The service began and all of a sudden, from outside, came the Boom! Boom! Boom! of the base drums as the high school band started playing '76 Trombones'...and off they went. The Priest stated, "I have never had my sermon drowned out before and it will not happen now!" I had my doubts. The sound was loud. But as the band started marching down the street in became softer and softer. The church became quiet once more. The Priest had us kneel and then after a while he motioned for us to get up. Since I have ADD I was not really paying much attention and my bride stood up before me, which would have been OK if I was not kneeling on her wedding gown, which promptly ripped and everyone heard the sickening sound. 'Rrrrrrriiiiipppp!!!' echoed in the church which just moments before had been filled with the noise of drums and trombones and trumpets. I quickly got up because my bride was by then, shooting me with her eyes in an unapproving way.

After the ceremony we went back to her parent's house for the reception. Her family, being Italian-American (much more Italian than you could ever imagine) had things set up in a way where I was brought before the whole community and given the once-over by the Patriarch and Matriarch of the lot. I ended up kissing their hands and cheeks. My self-esteem floating away in the processes. Feeling quite doomed by this point and I remember just how much I wanted to get out of there.

But as it turned out, my wife and I have had a lovely and exciting life together and I am looking forward to many more exciting years with her. She really is the spice in my life and I love her with all my heart. We have remarked at times that this is a marriage which was made in heaven. After all, if it was made any where else, it probably would not have lasted as long, would it?

Jesus has planned a Marriage for us all as well. One that is certainly made in Heaven and one that will last for eternity! We read about it in Revelations 19. The Marriage Supper of the Lamb. I look forward to that day when the believers are united with their true husband. The thought here is that this is ordained by God, it is initiated by God and it is for eternity! What a wonderful time this will be!

My question to you is, "Are you invited?" How do you know?  This marriage feast is by invitation only.  I am inviting you right now!  All that you need to do is accept Jesus as your Savior and Lord. Think about it. There is no better time.  If you do decide to accept Jesus, then you too will be united with Him in heaven for eternity.  Certainly, a Marriage made in Heaven!

Blessings All!

Monday, May 28, 2012

What do these stones mean?

Scripture: Joshua 4:4-7

So Joshua called together the twelve men he had appointed from the Israelites, one from each tribe, and said to them, “Go over before the ark of the LORD your God into the middle of the Jordan. Each of you is to take up a stone on his shoulder, according to the number of the tribes of the Israelites, among you. In the future, when your children ask you, ‘What do these stones mean?’ tell them that the flow of the Jordan was cut off before the ark of the covenant of the LORD. When it crossed the Jordan, the waters of the Jordan were cut off. These stones are to be a memorial to the people of Israel forever.

This Memorial Day I am reminded of Joshua crossing the river to the Promised Land.  Joshua was concerned that Israel would forget what the Lord did for them that day and so he instructs 12 men to gather 12 stones, one for each tribe of Israel, and build a monument.  This monument would stand as reminder for all time of what the Lord had done. Joshua understood the need to hold onto the meaning of sacrifice and the good Lord who brought them all out of slavery by His mighty arm.

A couple of weeks ago I went and picked up my brother at the airport.  I had not noticed it before, but Terminal 1 and 2 at MSP is right near the Fort Snelling National Cemetery.  I marveled as I drove far as I could see, rows and rows of markers, all lined up perfectly.  I realized that each marker...each stone set in the ground represented one dead soldier.  One person who died either in battle or after they had served their country in the military...each one stood as a remembrance of sacrifice. Each one stood as a reminder that freedom comes with a cost.  Our great nation would not exist if there were not such men and women willing to pay the ultimate cost for their country. I was humbled and thankful.

And yet I wonder.  This Memorial Day how many people remember the sacrifice that was made...and is still being made across this whole world.  Where ever there is conflict; where ever American troops are stationed these sacrifices are continuing to be made on our behalf. How many people really understand? How many people just treat this day as a day off from extended 3 day weekend?  A day just to go out and cook something on the grill or just be lazy and lay around doing very little?

Everyone may not be near a National Cemetery that they can take their family too...but everyone is near a cemetery and I bet that cemetery has fallen soldiers who are buried there.  Bring your family there and when one of your children ask you, "What do these stones mean?"...tell them!  Tell them with pride that these stones represent the fallen, but never forgotten.  They represent the very best of this great country and what we stand for.  Freedom in its essence.  Freedom that we want to give to others in this world.  Freedom to worship, for pursuit of happiness.  God-given and God-Sustained rights that if not granted result in enslavement of the very worse kind...of the human soul and potential.

So Go. Go now and honor those who have died for freedom.

Blessings All!

Monday, April 23, 2012

The 'Right' Prayer

I was reading this yesterday.  It is a story of a prayer summit hosted in South Korea by one of the pastors of a very large Reformed church there.  In fact, one of his emphasis' is on prayer.  The importance of prayer, the need for prayer, the absolute essential-ness of prayer.  They invited the churches of North America to join them in prayer for revival.

It is interesting because they have all sorts and kinds of prayer that they do there, but one type of prayer which really took the mostly Western Pastors by surprise was a prayer in which the whole congregation gathering in the sanctuary earl;y in the morning, would in unison, start calling out their prayers to the Lord. This particular prayer was called the Tong Sung Prayer and apparently, it is used quite extensively in that area and culture.

What was interesting about it was not so much the prayer itself, but the reaction of the clergy there when asked if they would ever think this sort of prayer would be welcomed back in their churches in North America.  Quite a fee of them responded with hesitancy about whether or not such a type of prayer would thrive in their churches or would even be welcomed there.  This struck me as typical about some of the clergy I know here.  Many of them are too afraid of offending people or trying something new in their churches.  They have gotten in too much of rut and I would think spiritually, they may be in need of a doctor.

But if they just sat and prayed about it and meditated on the experience, they may be surprised to discover that this is just what the Doctor ordered.  I am talking about the Holy Spirit working in the hearts and minds of believers.  North America, you know, does not have the Holy Spirit bottled up somewhere where we are siphoning it off in little bottles, doling it out in small quantities as we think it is needed, in order to "make it Last" longer.  Seriously, that is how some people must think of the Holy Spirit!

In truth, there is no end to the Holy Spirit. He is God and there is no end to that.  In fact, the more of the Holy Spirit is let out to do His work, the more of Him that we have.  Think about that!  It's not that we have a bottomless bottle of Him, but the more we pour out, the more bottles we have! Each one of them bottomless and undrainable.

So Pastors, I issue this challenge to you. Not only in the CRC, but throughout the Christian Church.  Stop trying to bottle up the Holy Spirit;  allow Him to flow! Do not be fearful of letting Him out to do His work.  You will never run out of Him and who knows?  Maybe by releasing Him in our churches, we just might find that we will have abundantly, what we have been longing and praying for in the Church. Revival!  Pure, Holy, God-praising, Christ-centered, life-changing Spirit-filled R-e-v-i-v-a-l!


Blessings All!

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Get out of the Boat!

Latest Blog post. Get out of the Boat!

This was a guest post...I will be posting more soon. Enjoy!

Blessings All!

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Consider it all Joy!

 Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, 3 knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. 4 And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.

James. One of my favorite books of the New Testament. As you go through it you will notice so many practical assertions that it will not only boggle your mind, but it will also force you to think on how you are living your life. This is not an accident. James' thrust in the whole book is to answer the question, "Now that I have become a Christian, how should I live?". We all need to consider. These words in the first few verses from James tell us a stark reality; that being a Christian will really be tough.

I have heard people who are evangelizing others tell the people, "Once you become a Christian, all your problems will disappear!" I am here to tell you that this is a lie! They will not disappear...they will however be able to be given to the LORD. But they do not magically go away. Oh No! In fact, I believe that if you are following Christ the way you should, you may well increase your trials and problems. After all, I have heard it said that if you make wave, you should not expect clear sailing. These words are true.

Another thing that James says about trials is the word "when", Translated as "whenever" in some versions. Either give the same flavor to the statement...these trials are inevitable. They WILL come. You will not avoid them and you should not try. Why? because these trials serve to shape you into the kind of person God wants you to be. We should not avoid something that will make us better. Neither should we avoid something that the LORD sends our way in the first place.

These trials that come our way serve to test our faith. Let's look at it this way. Do athletes who complete have to practice at what they do? Of course they do. Some of them practice for hours and hours and hours to become better at what they do. But the practice pays off. Their cardio improves, their coordination improves, just about everything that is related to their field of endeavor improves. But it comes at a price. They need to sacrifice. But they believe in doing so is well worth the result.

How about us as Christians? Do we strive for endurance? Do we strive for the perfection of our faith? How do you do that? How successful are we at doing that? Why or why not?

I can tell you from my own experience. I work out at least 3 times a week...more if I can find the time. When I first started working out 4 years ago, I certainly could not do the things I do today. At first I got tired easily. I could not do many reps. I sucked. It was a cold slap in the face to me because when I was younger I was really into working out and lifting weights. Don't get me wrong, I was never great...but I was at least good. Then for years I neglected to work out..just too busy with raising a family and trying to make ends meet. It consumed all my energy. But I was determined to change that and went on a train schedule which should have improved my strength and flexibility...and you know what? It did! But I had to keep at it. Increments were slow and painful and I still have a ways to go, but I am much better at it today than I was 3 or 4 years ago and I strive to improve.

Being a christian and increasing your faith is exactly the same process. Paul give numerous examples where he compares being a Christian to running a race or competing in a contest. James way of telling us is much the same way. Yes, you will encounter trials, problems, setbacks. The good news is that if you persevere, you will triumph. The good news is that your faith will strengthen...the good news is that at the end, you will hear your Coach say, 'Well Done!'

Keep up the good fight my Brothers and Sisters! Keep up the good fight of faith! The end will be worth it...Jesus promises it.

Blessings All!

Monday, January 30, 2012

Forewarned is Forearmed

James 1:13-15 When tempted, no one should say, “God is tempting me.” For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone; but each person is tempted when they are dragged away by their own evil desire and enticed. Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death.

There is a natural progression to sin and death. James saw this and he warned us about it. The question is, "What shall we do?" James also tells us not to blame God, He is not responsible for our faults or bad judgement. In fact, nothing but good can come from God. So where does this all come from?

Paul gives us a clue in Romans when he laments that there is a battle inside of him between the 'old man' before Christ came to abide with His Holy Spirit and between the 'new man'; the time after his conversion to Christianity. This is where the problem lies. Again, the question remains, "What shall we do?".

Fortunately God does provide an out for all of us. Paul states in Ephesians 6:10-20:

10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11 Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. 12For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. 13 Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. 14 Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place,15 and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. 16 In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17 Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.

18 And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people. 19 Pray also for me, that whenever I speak, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel, 20 for which I am an ambassador in chains. Pray that I may declare it fearlessly, as I should.

Let no one say that bad things come from the Lord and let no one say they were not warned about the consequences of bad choices and sin. Above all, let no one say that the Lord abandoned them and left them with no instruction or tools with which to avoid such behavior.

Dig deep within yourself and within God's word. You will find the answer. Always He is with us. Always he is just a prayer away. He always will be there waiting...waiting...with open arms.

Blessings all!

Monday, January 9, 2012

Not as Orphans

Not as Orphans

Text: John 14:16-20
And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever— the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you.  I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you.  Before long, the world will not see me anymore, but you will see me. Because I live, you also will live.  On that day you will realize that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you. 

One of my favorite chapters is John 14 where Jesus is comforting His disciples before His death on the cross.   He was giving them valuable information, which  at the time, I doubt that they understood until much later on.  However we, having the benefit of hindsight, can look at this and realize what a gift Jesus was giving.

But I wonder if we really, truly understand what Jesus was saying to his disciples and by extension, to us today?

1) I will ask the Father
Jesus himself will be interceding for us. This is not something we initiate. This is something God does for us.  Just like our physical lives, our spiritual life is also in god's hands and in His control.  This is how it should be. Your own experiences tell you this is right.  What has happened to your life each and every time you have tried to control it?  If you are like me, you've made a mess of things.  it is only when I have yielded my life over to God that things started taking a turn for the better.  Do not be too hasty to be captain of your own ship. Running upon rocks is far to easy to do.

2) he (The Father) will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever— the Spirit of truth.
 This gift that Jesus will ask the Father for will be a) An advocate.  One who will defend us. A barrister who will be with us whenever we are accused of something. He will defend us. His sole purpose it to b) help us when we cannot help ourselves. This defense will not cost us a dime.  It is given freely by the Father because Jesus has asked for it. And importantly, c) (He will) be with you forever!  This is a big deal! Not only do we have an advocate and helper free of charge, but He will be with us forever...not just until we die...God transcends is forever.  I take Jesus at His word.  The Spirit of Truth will be with us...forever. We know this advocate as the Holy Spirit.

3) This gift is not for the world.  It is for people who believe in Jesus.  
 Jesus was talking to his disciples whom he had chosen and who believed in his message. These were people who had an intimate relationship with him and whom he had given a mission to spread the Good News and make disciples, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit.

 4) Because I live, you also will live.
 Jesus was talking about his death, burial and resurrection. Because He will live after His death, we will also live! Death has no hold over Jesus and neither will it conquer us. Because Jesus will live on, we will also live on. We are not certain how this will be, nor are we certain when this will be, but we can be certain that it WILL BE. I trust in Jesus.  He has never lied. He is capable of bringing to pass, whatever promise He makes.

We who believe in Him today are included in this promise. We all have an intimate relationship with Jesus; we all are given the the Holy Spirit as a seal of our relationship and redemption; we are all given a mission of spreading the Good News of Jesus to all the world. 

On that day, the day of our redemption, we  realized that Jesus was in the Father and we are in Jesus and he is in us.  In other words, all of us...God the Father, Jesus, the Hold Spirit and us...are related..forever...and ever...Amen!

I would strongly suggest you ponder these words that Jesus has left us. It is truly amazing information which will help you understand the unique relationship that you and I have with the Lord Jesus Christ! Amen?

Blessings All!

Monday, January 2, 2012



Yesterday in church, the Pastor during the prayer time, opened the floor up to anyone who wanted to say what they were thankful for in 2011.  Very appropriate, although my first thought was, "Where do I begin?". Although I did not get up and speak, I guess because I was so overwhelmed at the thought, it did spur me to write this and share with you some of the things I was thankful for this past year.  I am hopping that it will also nudge you into thinking about the same.  It is always good to reflect!

I am thankful for my family. My dear wife, who by the way, has decided to stay with me at least one more year. This will be year 37. She has trouble making up her mind. :-) But besides my wife, I have 3 wonderful sons, 2 of them are married to wonderful women who have made them better people.  My youngest son is now in a relationship which I pray will lead to marriage as well.  We met his significant other and are thrilled with her!  She really is a a person who makes my son a better man. Seriously. He needs her, even if he can not see it now. This is another thing for me to pray about.

I also have 6 wonderful grandchildren. Each one is a blessing.  I often say that if I knew that having grandchildren was so fun, I would have skipped having children and would have gone straight to the grand-kids part. Others have pointed out my folly on this, but I still maintain the concept.

I am thankful for my brother.  I have written about him in the past.  He continues to be an inspiration to me. I appreciate his love for the LORD.

I am thankful for my church family...and it is a family.  We share each others struggles and pains, but we also rejoice when one of us is lifted up and blessed.  It is such an important and meaningful part of my life, I simply cannot put is aside.  I pray that each one reading this would have the kind of church family that I have. Just a blessing!

I continue to be amazed at how the LORD works. Not only in my life, but in those around me as well.  I am doubly astounded when He works with me.  I would probably have given up long ago. But He continues to inspire me and works with me so that I can become the kind of man He wants me to be.  I am forever grateful about that!  I hope you are too as He works with you.

I could go on and on and on and...well, you get my point.  We must all stop sometimes and just count our blessings, don't we?  It is so easy to get caught up in the negative things of life. So easy to become bitter and doubtful, we must always encourage one another to see the good that God has done.

Make no mistake, these blessings are not my own. I have not earned them. They have been given to me to share. So dear friends, why don't you take some time and write your own blessings down and share them as well.  I find when I am feeling down, or when things are not going my way, just pulling them out and reflecting on them is a great way to put everything back into perspective...everything back on the right track.

Try it out and see if is will work for you too.  I am confident that it will because God is Good! Happy reflections.

Blessings all!