The thing about corn

I grew up in Shenandoah, a small farming town in Southwest Iowa,

35 miles from Nebraska and 13 miles from Missouri. Corn is the primary agricultural crop in the state.

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Our afflictions

I have refined you, though not as silver;
    I have tested you in the furnace of affliction
. Isaiah 48:10

Raise your hand if you like afflictions

Nobody. Right? Well guess what? Afflictions are good for us. So are trials and tribulations and struggles. Before you click off my blog and tell me I’m crazy. . .

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The main thing

The main thing is to keep the main thing the main thing!

If you’re anything like me lots of times we get distracted by things we consider real important. For instance every Saturday in the Fall you’ll find me parked in front of the TV from noon till well into the night watching college football ( the SEC and of course Alabama). For several hours I slip into an activity that becomes the main thing in my life.

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Starry starry night

I live outside Atlanta. We live with an abundance of light pollution. So much so that we can only see a handful of stars in our sky most nights.

But if you lived in Death Valley California, one of the darkest cities in the U.S., your night sky will resemble the picture above, because Death Valley has virtually no light pollution. Behind the stars in the picture are billions more stars even further out in the universe that we can’t see..

Our sun is like a star. It is a paltry 93 million miles from earth. The nearest star to earth is Alpha Centauri. It is 4.3 million light years from Earth. Light travel at a rate of approximately 186,000 miles a second. Light travels about 5.8 trillion miles in one earth year. Do the math.

This picture is from the Whirlpool galaxy. It is 31million light years away.

To me it is God’s reminder to us that Christ is all and in all. He gave his life to give us His life.

I imagine that the white shading around the cross is more space, more universe, more stars, more creation beyond what we can’t see or imagine–more of God continuing to create His universe for us.

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Happy Dependence Day

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Good Christians are a myth

There is no such thing as a “good” Christian.


Lots of folks who want to improve their lives (e.g. to be accepted by God, to get closer to God, to be loved more by God,  to gain God’s favor and blessing) try real hard to be a good Christian. The operative word here is “try“.

But “good” Christians don’t exist.In addition, if someone is declared a ” Good”  Christian  that means somewhere there has to be a bad Christian and a superior Christian and a poor Christian. Do you see the judgmental comparison trap we’d get ourselves into?

The moment we “try” to improve our lot as a “Christian” we take the focus off God and place it squarely on our self effort. That’s called living in the flesh. It is contradictory to walking in the Spirit and has nothing to do with following Christ or honoring God

In God’s Kingdom what we do on our own doesn’t count for anything.  The only thing that counts in God’s Kingdom is surrender to Christ’s life allowing him to live His life through us. Christ wants to live His life (not ours) in us, through us, and as us to bring Glory to God. Period.

I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remains in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. John 15:5.

 

Jesus is for the birds

Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than them? Matthew 6:26

With the corona virus sweeping across the globe like an out-of-control California wildfire, there’s sure a lot of anxiety going around that translates into fear and worry. In fact anxiety is one of the most searched terms on Google today.  When you Google anxiety today  you will get 425 million hits.

People are worried.

Yet Jesus warns us not to worry more times than any other warning he gives even sin.

So why do we worry so much? You’re asking me?  I’m on the first team of worriers. If worry were a wart I’d be covered.

Jesus gave us a very good example of how we’re supposed to handle worry. ” Look at the birds of the air” he says.  In other words  let’s look at them. Let’s observe them and see how they go about their business. They don’t plant anything,  they don’t harvest anything and they don’t store food somewhere to eat later in lean times or harsh weather.

In fact birds don’t have  lean times or harsh weather   Whenever they get hungry they fly into the tree branches  or onto the ground and eat their fill of whatever food God has provided for them that day. When they’ve had their fill they fly away and do whatever birds do.  Not once do they worry that their food won’t be there or that there will be enough to satisfy them. Pretty nice liife.

 I believe the answer to most questions and the solutions to most quandries and trials in life boil down to how we answer one question–Are we going to believe and act on what Jesus tells us or not?

Everything will be OK

Of course everything will be OK

Almighty God is in control of EVERYthing

Yours, Lord, is the greatness and the power
    and the glory and the majesty and the splendor,
    for everything in heaven and earth is yours.
Yours, Lord, is the kingdom;
    you are exalted as head over all.
12 Wealth and honor come from you;
    you are the ruler of all things.
In your hands are strength and power
    to exalt and give strength to all.
13 Now, our God, we give you thanks,
    and praise your glorious name.

Self is a four-letter word

When we use, or you hear someone use the word “try” that means “self” is vying for control. Self is

assuming responsibility. Super responsibility. That’s not a good thing.

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When satan speaks

The thief (satan) comes only to steal and kill and destroy. John 10:10

What does satan say to us and how does it impact us? ( I know his name it’s supposed to start with a capital s, but ask me if I care.)

We all know satan can only speak lies.   He is not capable of telling the truth. One area of our lives he likes to target is our identity in Christ. If  he can get us to doubt who we really are he can call it a good day.

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How we got here

Occasionally I like to remind myself how I got here.

So I trace my steps from my godless birth in Adam  to my intimate eternal relationship with Jesus Christ that I enjoy every day. I had little to do with creating the intimate relationship. In fact God did it all.  my entire participation in his process amounted to accepting the gifts he freely gave me.

We all have a similar biography.  Read Ephesians chapter 2 and you’ll discover that Paul seems to have captured our story there.

From death to life

 our life in Christ

But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Romans 5:8

We were dead in our trespasses and sins but God crucifed his only son on the cross so you and I could be free from the life of sinners forever.

Our old self crucified

For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body ruled by sin might be done away with,[a] that we should no longer be slaves to sin—

“We know that our old sinful selves were crucified with Christ on the cross so that sin might lose its power in our lives. We are no longer slaves to sin.” That does not mean we will never sin again. It means that forever we are free from the control of sin foreveFor if, while we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life!r. Sin no longer has power you control our lives. So God takes away our old self,our old life of sin away from us.

He freely gives his life to us

For if, while we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to him through the life of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life! Romans 5:10

Now He lives his life through us

I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. Galatians 2:20

for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose. Philippians 2:13

Empowering

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”  2 Corinthians 12:9

If you watch much TV you discover there is a  vitamin,  a cream, a lotion, a diet,  a pill,  a vacation spot, or a breakfast cereal  that  will empower you and bring you happiness and good health and long life all for only $19.95.

Lately I’ve noticed that some of these products promise you they’ll empower you to face and conquer life’s challenges and become the successful person you’ve always wanted to be.

Bunk

How gullible some of us are to believe that there’s power in a pill or breakfast cereal. Or that we will be empowered  to leap tall buildings in a single bound if we brush with a certain brand of empowering toothpaste.

We are woefully misguided if any of us believes he or she has the ability to generate any power on our own.  Many of us rely on our own resources to generate self power, which  is not real power. If we rely on our flesh to produce power, we will surely fail and become frustrated.

 The only Power that is beneficial or  helpful to us is the power that comes from God. That power  resides in the life of Jesus Christ. If we believe in Jesus as our Savior we reside in him. To access his awesome power we must become weak and surrender our flesh to him. The weaker we become the more power becomes available to us through Christ..

Three Attitudes

By John Ed Mathison
Executive Director
John Ed Mathison Leadership Ministries

Every day, we have an opportunity to adopt one of three different attitudes. The attitude we adopt will go a long way in determining how much we accomplish during the day. This is true in sporting contests, work environments, church opportunities, and every relationship we have in life. Your attitude is your choice!!

  1. PRIDEI’m too big to do little things.
    The Bible reminds us that pride goes before the fall. (Proverbs 16:18) Pride is very deceptive and extremely destructive. Paul said, “If you think you’re too important to help someone in need, you are only fooling yourself. You’re really a nobody.” (Galatians 6:3)

    One day General Robert E. Lee was traveling on his horse and met a group of soldiers trying to get a wagon out of a ditch. Four of the soldiers were working at it and a Lieutenant was standing back, watching and giving orders. Lee asked the man why he wasn’t helping. He said that he was a Lieutenant. Lee got off his horse and got his boots and clothes muddy as he helped the other soldiers pull the wagon from the ditch. When he finished, the soldiers who had been helping looked at him and all of a sudden recognized that he was General Robert E. Lee. He was not too big to do a little job. 
  2. PITYI’m too little to do big things.
    This negative attitude is usually the result of dealing ineffectively with some dysfunction in our past and comparing ourselves to other people. What we do in life God doesn’t compare to anyone else. Paul said, “Do what you should, for then you will enjoy the personal satisfaction of having done your work well and you won’t need to compare yourself to anyone else.” (Galatians 6:4)

    We can never be too little to do something big. If God gives us the opportunity, He will supply everything that’s necessary to be successful in it. Pity should never be accepted as reality—it’s something that we have created and accepted. God can change that attitude. 
  3. POTENTIALI’m just right to do all things through Christ.
    This is a great attitude! Paul said, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” (Philippians 4:13) Our strength to do all things does not come from anything that we generate—it comes from receiving God’s strength. God created us just right to fit us for the purpose He has for us. 

    Part of the problem is that we think we can changedo things in our own strength. Remember—the Potential Attitude is one in which we do everything through Christ.

    If God gives you a vision to do something big, and somebody says to you that it is impossible—remember, they are talking about themselves—not you. The Potential Attitude changes the negative to the positive, brings excitement to life, and becomes a blessing to others.

Paul said, “We are each responsible for our own conduct.” (Gal. 6:5)

What’s your attitude?

Horoscope Hijinks

What’s your sign, man?

Horoscopes used to play an important role in my relationships–especially with women.. This was during my prodigal son romp through my recently divorced mid-life wilderness. 

When I became interested in a woman, the first place I went was Linda Goodman’s book Sun Signs to see if the woman and I would be horoscopicly (my word) compatible.If our signs didn’t cross and our stars didn’t align I was history. No way was I going to spend time, energy or money  on a horoscopic misfit.  

 It took me almost a decade and some serious Bible study and a boatload of God’s grace to figure out that I was born under a very different sign.  It read, ‘”Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews.”

And I was adopted that moment by my Heavenly Father and became a son of God with all the riches in glory through my Savior, Jesus

Later it was hard to believe but for several years I looked to Satan’s lies in those horoscopes. That I would allow something Satan authored to help me make life choices and influence  some of my  personal relationships with so much Satanic bunk.

“So do not listen to your prophets, your diviners, your dreamers, your fortune-tellers, or your sorcerers, who are saying to you, ‘You shall not serve the king of Babylon.’ For it is a lie that they are prophesying to you, with the result that you will be removed far from your land, and I will drive you out, and you will perish.”.  Jeremiah 27:9-10

“If a person turns to mediums and necromancers, whoring after them, I will set my face against that person and will cut him off from among his people .Leviticus 20:6.

I don’t think any serious believerr and disciple of Jesus Christ can justify astrology or horoscopes. Dare I say, you can’t believe in or follow Jesus authentically and follow astrology at the same time? I have known people claiming to be believers who check their horoscope in the morning paper religiously.  they read their horoscopes more religiously than they read their Bibles.

 If you are reading horoscopes now or relying on astrology to influence you at all let me encourage you do a word study on astrology. Find out what God’s word says. God’s word is truth. Horoscopes and astrology are both based on lies straight from the pit of hell.

For His Glory blog is coming back

For HIS Glory two-dot-oh (2.0) is back in the blogosphere.  Beginning January 6th you will see posts  appearing 3 times a week. We will also feature blog posts from pastor John Ed Mathison. 

 I am excited about my return,  and getting back with all my blogging friends and followers again.

 In case  you’re wondering where I’ve been the last two years I’ve been recovering from a hemorrhagic stroke I suffered on February 3rd 2017. I get around now in a wheelchair  and a hemi walker.  

 But I found this awesome voice-to-text app that lets me dictate the content and the app converts my speech to text. How cool is that? So if you’re not busy or otherwise not occupied on January 6  stop by and check out my For His Glory blog for some refreshing encouragement from our awesome heavenly Father. 

God has me right where he wants me  and I’m eager  to share all that he shares with me with all my friends and bloggers and followers in the blogosphere.

She learned trust in the pool

She was five. Already brave and outgoing. And, like her dad, a type A who never met a stranger.  But she tip-toed around water.  She was okay walking around in the shallow end wearing her swimmies. Those kept her head above water.

I thought it was time she lost her fear of the water.  We moved down to the waist-high area of the pool.  I stood in the water a few feet from the edge.

“Jump in, Leah,” I said.

She would have no part of it. She stood on the bank with one of those 5-year-old “No, I’m not going to” defiant objections.

“Oh, come on. Daddy’s right here. I’ll catch you.”  I spread my arms wade apart. “I’ll catch you.”

“No! I’ll get water in my nose.”

This war of pleas and objections went on for 10 minutes. She finally worked up the courage to walk to the edge of the pool. “Hold your nose and jump in,” I said. “I’ll catch you. I promise. Just trust me.

She finally held her nose and jumped. I dunked her head under water for two seconds. She survived! She thought jumping intotrust and obey the pool and daddy catching her was a blast!

So, my five-year-old jumped off the edge of the pool and daddy caught her . . .again and again . . .for the next 45 minutes! She never got tired. Daddy did. Or we’d still be at that pool.

Once my daughter learned her daddy would do what he said he would do, she trusted him.

Isn’t that true with our Daddy? When we learn once that we can trust God to do what He says He will do in a circumstance we surrender to Him, isn’t it easier, the next time to trust him with another circumstance or trial or dilemma?

Can you count your spiritual markers?

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Lessons God teaches us

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The Cone of Uncertainty

cone of uncertainty 2They can’t tell you where the storm will strike, when the storn will strike, or how bad the storm will be. Weather savvy meteoroligists at the TV station draw this wide cone on the screen hedging their bets with their best scientific guesses. It’s called the cone of uncertainty. It’s used to describe where weather experts believe the eye of the storm could possibly travel.

Despite all the sophisticated high-tech weather stuff, their “best” guesses are still uncertain. Continue reading →

When God said “No”.

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What is truth?

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When DO we all get to heaven?

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3 steps to end hatred

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Free speech costs plenty!

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What I believe about myself today

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