America Shall be Saved

A few months ago, I wrote about Jeremy House. Jeremy House is a Christian discipleship home for men aged 18-30 named after a young man I worked with twenty-one years ago. I saw Jeremy come to the Lord in the youth shelter where I worked, completely turn his life around, graduate with honors, and receive scholarships to both the School of Mines and to Mesa State College.


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Dont Grow Weary in Well Doing

Intentionality, plus opportunity, equal results. I remember when I was a young boy in Junior High, my Dad put up a basketball goal in our yard. He told me, “You can do anything if you want to bad enough.” He said that most people will not go all out for what they want and so those who do can accomplish far more than they might have thought.


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A Tribute to Mom

As I was taking my morning walk and praying today, I passed by a lilac bush and I remembered how my Mom used to love the fragrance of lilacs. Growing up on our family farm, my Dad had planted a row of lilacs perhaps fifty yards long when I was very young. They grew to be ten feet tall by the time I was in High School. The lilacs were made even more special because the starts came from my grandfather’s farm.


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How is Your Soil?

Growing up on my father’s farm in Central Kansas, I loved the spring and early summer months. Trees were leafing out and blooming. Everything was green. The pungent smell of locust trees and lilac bushes. Everything seemed so clean and fresh. New calves were being born, with their pure white faces and rich red bodies. Litters of kittens and puppies being born. It was a special time of year. It was also a time of planting and harvesting.

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Grace for the Storm

Revelations 12:11 says, “And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death.” Max and I came back to the Lord in 1993 after running from him for many years. It was a prosperous season for us in many ways.


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A Line in the Sand

In the late nineties, probably 1998 or 1999, the Lord spoke this to me. He said, “A line is drawn in the sand. Those who would will cross over it but those who cannot decide have already decided in their hearts.” A very sobering word, to say the least. At the time, I thought this message from the Lord was for the season we were in, and it was.

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I Went to the Enemy’s Camp

This morning as I was in the shower, the Lord reminded me of a song we used to sing when Max and I first came to Grand Junction in 1999. I had just finished praying, declaring, and decreeing over our Nation. I have never particularly imagined myself as a warrior. I had never felt God calling me to go to war, until the past year or so. But recently, the Lord has changed the focus of much of my prayer to declaring and decreeing over our Nation. The song God reminded me of declares, “I went to the enemy’s camp and I took back what he stole from me.”

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A Christmas Story

He was born in a small town called Bethlehem in Judea. His parents were on their way to Jerusalem to celebrate the Feast of the Passover and for the census when Mary, his mother’s time came to deliver. Because there was no room in the local Inn, his parents took shelter in a stable, a barn filled with livestock. He was born with no immediate pomp or circumstance and was laid in a manger filled with straw, a feed trough where the cattle and sheep ate. He was conceived by the Holy Spirit yet born of a virgin woman.

 

What must Mary have thought when the Angel of God visited her months before to tell her she would conceive a baby born of the Holy Spirit even though she herself was a virgin. Historians say she was probably only eleven or twelve. Her fiancé Joseph, thought to quietly disown her as was the custom of the day but the Angel of the Lord also visited him to tell him the baby was conceived by the Holy Spirit. Joseph married her but as commanded by the Angel had no relations with her until after the baby was born.

 

Shepherds who were grazing their sheep on a nearby hillside were told by an Angel, “Don’t be afraid! I bring you good news that will bring great joy to all people. The Savior, yes the Messiah, the Lord has been born today in Bethlehem, the City of David! And you will recognize him by this sign: You will find a baby wrapped snugly in strips of cloth and lying in a manger.” Suddenly, the Angel was joined by a vast host of others, the Armies of Heaven, praising God and singing, “Glory to God in highest Heaven, and peace on earth to those with whom God is pleased.” The shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem to see this child the Lord has made known to us.” So they went to Bethlehem and found the baby just as the Angel had said. Wise men from far off Countries also heard of the newborn King. They followed a star until they found him and presented gifts of myrrh, frankincense, and other precious gifts.

 

But Herod, the King of the Jewish Nation also heard about the baby as it had been prophesied in the old testament Scriptures. Trying to stamp out any thought of a new King, he had the first born of every Jewish family slaughtered. But an Angel warned Mary and Joseph to flee to a foreign Country until it was safe to return.

 

He began his ministry at age 30. He seems never to have owned a horse or chariot. He apparently traveled from town to town on foot. Yet the crowds followed him and esteemed him. His world was very small by modern accounts. He touched very few foreign countries. His ministry was cut short by his death three years later. He was beaten by the Roman Guard. A stripe for every disease know to man laid open his back. He was wrongly condemned to die on a Roman cross. The enemy of God thought he had won. Yet he arose three days later in victory, just as the prophets had said he would and ascended to sit at God’s right hand.

 

He wasn’t a tele-evangelist. His ministry wasn’t broadcast all over the world. He didn’t fill stadiums or sell books. He didn’t make the nightly news. Yet no man has ever lived who influenced the world the way Jesus did. The Son of God, descended to earth, was born a natural birth, lived a sinless life, was crucified, dead and buried to free his own creation from their sins. He who knew no sin, made himself a sin offering for mankind. He paid a debt he did not owe. A ransom we could not pay. All because he loves us. So we pay homage to him this Christmas. We celebrate his birth and resurrection. He was and is the hope of the world. He did it all for us.

 


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After the Pandemic…

As our Nation emerges from the economic shutdown. As we come out of this period of reset, we wonder what’s next? We are already seeing that in spite of the nay Sayers predictions, our Economy is beginning to rebound. Unemployment significantly dropped this past month. The Stock Market is up; our economy appears to be on the mend. But will it last? Will the pandemic return again this fall? These are questions on everyone’s mind. Every segment of our Society has been and is being affected. Shaken. Businesses are fighting to remain solvent. Corruption is being exposed almost daily in all the seven Mountains of Society.

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The New Normal

As I write this article on May 1st, America is enthralled with the decision on when and how to come out of the Shelter in Place Orders put in place by most of the Nations Governors. Our President and the CDC have made recommendations for beginning to open up our economy in stages. Governors are wrestling with how and when to follow those recommendations. Businesses are weighing the cost of opening up with possible transmissions against the cost of remaining closed, and possible bankruptcy. Some of our prominent doctors are saying it’s time to open our economy while others are saying it’s much too soon. What to do?

 

And what will it look like when we finally do open our economy? Many are talking about the new normal. Will we ever feel safe again? Will masks and social distancing become the new norm? Some are even saying handshakes may become a thing of the past. And what does the Bible have to say about all this?

 

First, let me be perfectly clear, I do not believe that God created the coronavirus. I do believe it is an evil disease meant by the powers of darkness for destruction. However, the Bible is full of examples where God used such disasters to awaken his people to their need to return to him. Few would deny that our Country has strayed from its roots and that there is a need to return to God. We are a prodigal Nation who has, in many cases, ran away from God to seek our own pleasures. By our legislations that prohibit mention of God in our schools and in many public arenas, we have in affect said, “We don’t need you anymore.” There is little doubt that this virus is shaking everything that can be shaken; every sphere of Society, and through it God is calling us back to him; both as a Nation and as individuals. He is calling us to return to our first love. So what should the new normal look like? First of all, the Bible tells us we are not to live in fear. Fear is actually the opposite of faith and we as Christians are to be people of faith. Deuteronomy 31:8 says, “He will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.” Isaiah 43:1 says, “Don’t fear, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name; you are mine.” 1st John 4:18 says, “Perfect love casts out all fear.” 1st Peter 4:12-13 says, “Dear friends, don’t be surprised at the fiery trials you are going through, as if something strange were happening to you. Instead be very glad – for these trials make you partners with Christ in his suffering, so that you will have the wonderful joy of seeing his glory when it is revealed to the world.”

 

I don’t know what the new normal will look like. Whether we will live much as we did before, or if many things will be different? I do not have the answer to those questions. I do know that God is calling us to a new consecration to him. He is calling us to return to him with a whole heart and to seek him with all of our hearts, minds, and our souls. We need to find ways to spend more time in relationship with him through prayer and Scripture reading. We need to find new and innovative ways to reach others for the Kingdom of God. That will be the most important change in the new normal. Everything else will take care of itself. Are you with me!


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Those Who Live in the Shelter of the Most High

In 1941 while America was deeply involved in World War II, fifty-two young men from a small town in Texas called Seadrift went off to war. “All the people in the city was praying for everybody,” said one survivor. “If somebody wouldn’t have been praying for us, I don’t think a lot of us would make it back,” said another. “We knew God was going to take care of us,” another man said. The Pastor of a small church in Seadrift came up with this idea. Members of the church brought in photographs of their sons to be put into a picture frame to make a collage to be prayed over. One intercessor wrote, “We all began to get a burden for those boys and so we began to meet and pray for their safety. We stood on the 91st Psalm. It seemed like we read that every time we would meet. We didn’t only pray at the church, we prayed at home also. It seemed like that burden just stayed with us.” When the war was over, all fifty-two of those young men returned home safely.

 

Psalm 91 says this: Those who live in the Shelter of the Most High will find rest in the shadow of the Almighty. This I declare about the Lord: He alone is my refuge, my place of safety; he is my God, and I trust him. For he will rescue you from every trap and protect you from deadly disease. He will cover you with his feathers. He will shelter you with his wings. His faithful promises are your armor and protection. Do not be afraid of the terrors of the night, nor the arrow that flies in the day. Do not dread the disease that stalks in darkness, nor the disaster that strikes at midday. Though a thousand fall at your side, though ten thousand are dying around you, these evils will not touch you. Just open your eyes and see how the wicked are punished. If you make the Lord your refuge, if you make the Most High your shelter, no evil will conquer you; no plague will come near your home. For he will order his angels to protect you wherever you go. They will hold you up with their hands so you will not even hurt your foot on a stone. You will trample upon lions and cobras; you will crush fierce lions and serpents under your feet! The Lord says, “I will rescue those who love me. I will protect those who trust in my name. When they call on me, I will answer; I will be with them in trouble. I will rescue them and honor them; I will reward them with long life and give them my salvation.

 

Today we face a different kind of war. Our enemy is silent and invisible. But just like the Psalmist said, “I will rescue those who love me. I will protect those who trust in my Name. When they call on me, I will answer. I will be with them in trouble.” My wife and I made the choice years ago to come under his covering. It was the best decision we ever made. Storms come and storms go. Scripture says, “In this world, you will have tribulation.” But if you make the Most High your shelter, his faithful promises will be your armor and protection. Call upon the name of the Lord, and you will be saved.


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