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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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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Without Love

The Doobie Brothers recorded a song in 1973 called “Long Train Runnin”. One of the lyrics in the song is “Without Love, where would you be right now?” Think of all the things, places and people in our lives to which we ascribe love.

That lyric begs the question, “Without love where would we be right now?

Imagine for a moment marriages without love. Think of all the people places and things to which we ascribe some form of what we believe is love.

I love my wife with compassionate, unconditional devoted love. I love my children. I love to listen to Gospel music. I love rock and roll. I love fried chicken and corn on the cob.

I love pizza, I love chicken salad. I love to watch college football, I love our church family, I love chocolate. I could go and on about the things in my life to which I attach the emotion of love.

It is a worldly misconception that love means different things to different people.

ALL love of every kind, for any person, place or thing comes from God in the person of Jesus Christ. There is no other source. There is no other definition or meaning.

Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.

James 1:17

God is the creator and source for all love.

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.

 

Put your helmet on

Come on folks it’s time to get serious. 

We are in a war

We’re not at war in Afghanistan, not Iran, not Syria, We’re in a battle between our ears for our hearts and thought life.  It’s a battle for our culture, for our families, our communities and for our spiritual lives. I believe there’s probably a whole bunch of believers who don’t give Satan ort spiritual warfare  a second thought. Satan and Evil and sin don’t concern them. If there’s spiritual warfare going on they’d rather just put it out of their minds all together. They would rather sit on their complacent, worldly self-indulgent back sides and warm up their pews every Sunday.

For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ. 2 Corinthians 10:3-5

When is the last time you pleaded with Satan to flee from your presence? When’s the last genuine “Come-to Jesus “ meeting you had with yourself or a close friend about it? When is the last time a trial befell you and you knew it was Satan? When did you last sin or when was the last time you were disobedient? Did you talk with a close friend or your pastor about it? When did you last talk about Satan with friends?”

 Here’s a question: Do you think we talk about Satan too much or too little?

 Do you think we are at war spiritually or do you think that’s just a bunch of Biblical mumbo jumbo nonsense and you don’t want to be troubles with it at all.

Whether you thought about Satan today or haven’t thought about him in years, he’s thinking about us every moment looking for someone to devour–to kill, discourage or ruin their day. Every time Satan tells you a lie and you believe him, he’s had a good day.

I believe there’s probably a whole bunch of believers who don’t give Satan or spiritual warfare  a second thought. Satan and Evil and sin don’t concern them. If there’s spiritual warfare going on they’d rather just put it out of their minds all together. They would rather sit on their complacent, worldly self-indulgent back sides and warm up a pew every Sunday.

Howard Beale got mad enough  to go to war.    In the 1975 classic movie Network Howard let everyone know how he felt in his radio audience when he shouted into his mike, ” I’m mad as hell and I’m not going to take it anymore.”

Are you mad enough to go to war? Then strap your helmet on. It’s time. Or would you rather sit on your complacent, worldly self-indulgent back sides and warm up a pew every Sunday.

Maybe he’s not even paying attention too many Christian who are afraid to go to war.l lives. We’ve got to get off of our complacent, worldly, self-loving rears and go to war to preserve the Gospel that saved us and gave us new life.

When is the last time you cursed him for messing with you?  When is the last time you  commanded him to flee from you? When is the last time you thought about Satan? Thought about Evil? Thought about your own disobedience?  When’s the last time you thought about sin? Yours or someone else’s.

Whether you thought about Satan today or haven’t thought about him in years  he’s thinking about us every waking moment looking for somebody to destroy  or just discourage someone or ruin someone’s day or just get them off their game.

I would venture a guess that he’s not paying attention to lots of Christians who are afraid to go to war and prefer to sit on their complacent, worldly, self-loving rears and let other folks go to war.

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?

What brand of nacre do you use?

No, it’s not misspelled. What brand of  n-a-c-r-e  do you use?

 Of course that begs the question,  what on earth is necra?

Nacre is the filmy layer of goo an oyster secretes to cover a grain of sand that has embedded itself in the oyster shell and become a nasty irritant.  The necra eventually hardens around the irritating grain of sand and exerts so much pressure on the  grain of sand  that it over time it becomes a beautiful diamond.of inestimable value.

Back to the main question– what brand of necra do you use?  Of course we don’t have any necra laying around when things irritate us to the point of distraction. Walmart doesn’t carry it. either. And there’s no limit to  the kind or severity of irritants we experience. The irritant can be is pesky as a snoring spouse or a banging toilet or a neighbor who parks two of his wheels on your grass.

Admit it. Things and people  irritate us almost every day.

Unlike the oyster we don’t have any goo to make the irritation go away or turn it into a sparkling diamond. If we don’t dispatch that pesky irritation, it will continue to fester and gnaw at us and make us miserable.

Let me  share  a two-step process it is guaranteed to minimize or completely eradicate any irritation you might experience.

Bathe yourself  in Psalms

It doesn’t matter which Psalms you read.  Just open your Bible and start reading Psalm after Psalm. . The Psalms will begin changing your attitude and lifting your Spirit.  Reading Psalms will give you an entirely new perspective of your irritations and give you God’s perspective and scriptures on how to handle them.

Remember, recite and meditate on Romans 8:28

Romans 8:28 is not just a promise God makes to us. It is something God does for us in our daily lives.  First of all every choice we make and everything we do gets filtered through God’s love and grace for us. And he uses our choices, decisions and actions for our ultimate good.  So if you are dealing with irritations in your life keep in mind  that God is going to turn it all into something for our good.

And bye bye irritations .If you don’t believe this method will work for you, try it and prove me wrong.

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.

So you want choices? Really?

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3 reasons to believe in predestination

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The real “How well do you know your true self” true-false test

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How well do you know your true self?

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What I believe about myself today

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Good people don’t go to heaven. Bad people do.

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The “Good Christian” myth

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Three Parts Of Man — Body, Soul, Spirit

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The Jesus way

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Who is Jesus?

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The Original Identity Thief

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Our True Identity In Christ

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The best stress relievers. Guaranteed.

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