Deposit Truth – Training for the Future

                All believers are truth dispensers, sharing God’s truth with whoever will listen.  While always trying to do so, there is a special training of the next pastor and teacher.  A clear verse on this ministry is 2 Timothy 2:2.  Paul gives the command to teach faithful men who will be able to teach others also.  This becomes the heartbeat of pastors and teachers in our churches but the question is, how do we do this?

                The verse gives insight into the process.  We are to take what we have learned and commit it to faithful people.  Committing means to deposit within the person or to give them what you have learned.  There are several realities the teacher must embrace if they are to pass on knowledge to the student.

  • Truth – We teach the truth of God’s Word.  We teach doctrine.  We share special lessons God has taught us and the circumstances of those situations.  We see examples of this in Paul’s training of Timothy.  2 Timothy 3:10-11 shows the extent of the knowledge Timothy had received from Paul.  The first thing mentioned is doctrine.  We must be students of the Word and then dispensers of correct doctrine. 
  • Time – To train others will take time.  It is not a 15 minute lesson and then put them to work.  It will take our time to input into someone else’s life.  The time commitment will be whatever is necessary for each faithful man to receive the truth.  It is obvious from Paul’s list in 2 Timothy 3:10-11 that it was a longer period of time for him to teach or show the things listed.  A teacher must be willing to put in the time.
  • Teaching – It is teaching of truth through various ways.  Each of us has a learning aptitude.  The teacher must learn the student’s best ways to receive truth, often a variety of methods for teaching a student.  How did God teach us?  Some lessons we learned “the hard way,” while others were simply taught and received.  We have truth and time, now we must deposit it in the faithful student.
  • Treasures – When teaching, we will give of our treasures.  The greatest treasure has already been mentioned, time.  But it will take our resources, our finances, whatever is necessary to teach.  It means giving up resources we could use for other things.  The church should consider resources for the training of those found faithful and evidence the leading of God toward ministry as a vocation.  Resources help facilitate the teacher in the training and the student in the learning.

2 Timothy 2:2 shows we share what we have learned to faithful men.  It is not just anyone.  The qualifier is faithful, someone who is trustworthy.  It goes on to say that the person must be able to teach others also.  They should have the ability or desire to learn how to pass truth to others.  These are some considerations when choosing a student.

  • Choice – Who makes the choice of the student?  It is God who calls people to minister but we will see it.  In this passage, God shows that the teacher must evaluate the student to see if they are faithful, trustworthy. We will see God’s working in the life of a student.  There will a drive and desire for God and His working in and through their life.
  • Commitment – The commitment of the student is part of faithfulness.  They are committed to learning, they are teachable.  They want the instruction.  It is often shown by their “sticking with it.”  The faithful student does not need constant prodding.  They are motivated from within, from God’s working, moving, and growing them.  This will be seen in a humble attitude and a willingness to learn.
  • Competent – The student must show some capacity to teach others.  It will be evident in their life as you consider them.  God will also raise them up in the sight of those around them in the church.  Others will confirm seeing God’s hand in their life. They will see the student’s ability, often undeveloped but still evident.

The need for laborers in the field is evident to the church.  This is God’s method for building them. There is a renewed emphasis on this training.   Internships and various ways of doing this are being considered.  It is exciting to see the burden of pastors, churches, and colleges to pass the truth of God to faithful workers.

I am thankful for those who counted me worthy of their input into my life.  The older we get, the more we desire to give to others what God has taught us.  I talk with many pastors who are able and willing to do the same thing.  The problem many are having is finding those committed to serving the Lord, whatever form that would take.  Pray that the Lord will send forth laborers into the fields of ministry.  In the meantime, let’s be involved in the ministry God sets before us every day.  Who are you training?

Cutting off Ears

Peter was in the garden with Jesus when the chief priest and Pharisees came to take Jesus.  Peter drew his sword, and cut off the ear of Malchus, a servant of the high priest.  He was reacting to the challenge of the moment.  He was defending Jesus against those who would take him prisoner.  He was trying to be a help in the ministry of Jesus.  Peter had good intentions and motives, but he reacted to the situation contrary to the direction Jesus was going.

First, Jesus healed the ear of the servant then gave Peter words of instruction, rebuke, question, remembrance, and challenge.  Jesus told Peter to put away his sword.  Don’t fight.  It was God’s will that Jesus be taken and crucified.  The events of the moment were a part of God’s plan to bring salvation to mankind through Jesus Christ.  Peter’s immediate response to defend Jesus was not according to God’s plan.  There were bigger things happening.

Am I in danger of cutting off ears?  We are so bombarded by the events of today.  Life changes and challenges confront us.  When dealing with them, it is easy to strike out in quick response.  Sometimes we are right in our understanding and assessment.  But sometimes, we are like Peter, quick to respond, not fully understanding the situation, or comprehending the will or plan of God with the result of cutting off an ear here and there.

In our current situations, I wonder if we are missing what God is doing.  What if God’s will is contrary to our American culture?  Do I react to things I don’t like?  Do I strike out when it is just the ear of the servant of those God is using to work His plan?  It challenges my commitment to the will of God, whatever His plan would be.

This has led to a list of “what ifs” and my responses to them.  “What if…”  Maybe you are wrestling with these issues too.  These are simply questions to ponder.  The conclusions are thoughts at this time about the situations.  My thinking can change as we see future events and God reveals more of His plan and workings.  As I talk with other believers, I find many struggling with the same issues.  May God direct us in our actions and reactions to what is happening in the world today.  May we always be godly in our responses.

What if…

                God is preparing the world for the tribulation?

According to a literal interpretation of Daniel and Revelation, the seventieth week of Daniel is a time of judgment and tribulation.  A pretribulation view of the rapture says that the born again people alive at that time will be caught up with the Lord in the air before this judgment is meted upon the earth.  There is hope for the believer in this promise of God.

Because the judgment will be dispensed, the world must be prepared for the seven years of tribulation.  Why would believers be shocked by bad things happening as preparations are made?  Would we not expect changes in thought and values, evil getting worse, and people standing in easily observed defiance of the living God?

Yes, God is preparing the earth for the next phase of His revealed plan.

What if…

                God intends for the American culture to diminish in the coming years?

Many wrestle with whether or not the United States will be a part of God’s plan in the tribulation period.  Some say it is.  Others say it is not; therefore U.S. will be gone by the time of the rapture.  Since the Bible is not clear on the fate of the U.S., we cannot dogmatically confirm either position.  It makes no difference which position a person may take, American culture will decline along with the rest of the world in preparation for the tribulation.

Here is the struggle.  Do we fight against this decline that God is allowing?  Is it an ear we are attempting to cut off or is it standing up for God?  Of course, we do our part as citizens within this country and stand as believers for righteousness.  But is trying to keep the American culture the primary focus of the believer?  I have traveled to several foreign countries, spent time with Christians who live under various forms of government, and observed their manner of life.  I sometimes wonder if believers in the United States have substituted patriotism, American culture, and loyalty to country for true Biblical Christianity.  Do we stand for America more than we stand in the Lord?  Do we equate the two? Just asking the question will make me un-American in some people’s minds.

I love the United States.  I love living here, the freedoms we have, the righteous aspects of our culture, and the structure of our government.  Our founding fathers built this nation on Judeo-Christian values.  As we leave that value system, we see the decline of our culture.  Do we fight against leaving the values or do we stand for personal accountability before a holy God?  What has the primary focus of our hearts and minds?  Is it keeping the American dream alive or being Christ-centered, gospel-centered followers of the Lord?  If we lived in another country, under a different political structure, struggling for our life and livelihood, could we be godly?  I have seen believers living in such conditions and love their devotion, compassion, and service for the Lord, even to the point of laying their life on the line.

Is my life characterized by walking with my God or standing for the American way of life?  Am I willing to let the United States become whatever God would want it to be as the earth is prepared for the tribulation?  These are questions which should cause us deep thought, a fervent seeking of our God and His will.  If the Lord wants you to be involved in politics and issues, praise the Lord.  If you are, as we all should be concerned and active as the Lord directs, remember, we are Christians first, our citizenship is with the Lord, we are His ambassadors, and our primary battle is a spiritual one, not flesh and blood.

Am I willing to let America decline if that is the plan of God?  If America falls, does it mean we have failed as Christians?  Remember why the tribulation has not started yet.  The Bible says in Second Peter, chapter three that the longsuffering of our Lord means salvation, not the preservation of a culture.  What is my primary focus as a believer and ambassador of the Lord?  Praise the Lord, people are still being saved.

What if…

                Mockers and scoffers laugh at and ridicule God and His followers?

Second Peter in chapter three says this is going to happen.  What will be my response?  Why would we be surprised?  Should we seek their acceptance and approval or should we simply stand in truth, speaking it in love?  Are we more concerned about what people think or about what God thinks?  These are hard questions in tough times.

What if…

                Evil people get worse?

Much is written in First and Second Timothy about the last days.  2 Timothy 3:12-14 shows that people are going to get much worse.  Deception will increase.  Believers are to continue in truth, walking with the Lord.  Knowing the plan of God from His word and knowing His promises, we live by faith, looking for His appearing while walking in His will, whatever it may be for each of us.  Don’t be surprised by people getting worse.

What if …

                Terrible times come with perversion and evil manifested in shocking ways?

God has told us this is going to happen.  First and Second Timothy speak of it along with many other passages.  Why would this surprise us?  Do we focus on their actions or do we grieve for their lost souls, seeking opportunity to share the gospel in love?

What if…

                God allows pestilence, famine, catastrophic disasters, and environmental change?

God has told us this will happen.  As He prepares the earth for the coming tribulation, we should expect increasing troubles.  As time gets closer, these things will increase.  In the face of disaster, people can be more concerned about death and are tender to hear the message of God, the good news, the gospel, which speaks of God’s provision for mankind to be saved from eternal destruction and punishment for sin.  It gives us opportunity to share the love of God.

What if…

                God’s revealed wrath against unrighteousness and ungodliness is easily seen?

Romans, chapter one speaks of the wrath of God is revealed against ungodliness and unrighteousness.  Sometimes God’s workings are easily seen.  Other times we wonder how long before His judgment will come?  Death and destruction of ungodly people should break our hearts.  People are dying without hope.  Do we sit back and watch with satisfaction that they are finally getting their just rewards or do we grieve as Jesus did over Jerusalem?  What is my response?

What if…

                Christians do not desire or listen to sound doctrine?

In Second Timothy, Paul warns Timothy that there will come times where Christians will not want sound doctrine.  Why would this surprise us when God has warned us it would happen?  Those who do not study will find themselves lacking and ashamed.  This is why good people who love the Lord follow causes and take stands contrary to the Word of God.  They are lacking in spiritual depth and maturity.  Just by me stating this would offend some.

Sound doctrine is necessary for a sound mind.  The stability God intends for the believer will increase the more we know His promises.  According to First Corinthians chapter two, the spiritual, mature believer will take the truths of God’s Word and make sound judgments based upon them.  To do that, we must know His Word.  Praise the Lord, the Holy Spirit will help us in our understanding as we study.

Being warned of God that people will not endure sound doctrine, we can each make sure we do not become one of those people.  We can be students of the Word, rightly dividing it with the Holy Spirit guiding us into all truth.

What if…

                Believers get caught up in the issues of the day and lose sight of God’s purposes and work?

As Peter in the garden, I wonder how many ears I have cut off, thinking that what I was standing for or contending about was so important.  I hope with age, that I have increased in my ability to know which battles are important and which are not.  I certainly do not want to stand against God’s plan or cut off ears while God is doing something else.

It is easy to get caught up in the issue of the day because it is foremost in people’s minds.  We must seek God’s perspective on the issues and act accordingly with the fruit of the Spirit evidenced in our demeanor.  A question I ask myself is; will this matter in 50 years?  It has often been said; we can win a battle but lose the war.  We can get people to conform to right action while losing their hearts.  What is my focus, right action or right hearts?  Who is my focus?  What is the purpose of my life and the work of my day?

As a believer we are to walk in the Spirit, committed to God’s will.  He will lead us correctly as we walk with Him.

What if…

                Spiritual maturity is determined by wearing a mask or not wearing a mask?

I ask this question to show how easy it is for issues of the day to control our thinking and attitudes.  What if we are required to wear a mask, would we or why wouldn’t we?  I remember when I was a motorcycle rider.  A law requiring us to wear helmets was passed in our state.  The reaction was similar to the mask mandate.  Some already wore helmets while others said they never would.  I didn’t even own a helmet at the time but soon bought one.

With masks, I have seen people use the issue as a way to determine people’s spirituality.  How silly can we be?

What if…

                Christians are confronted with performance based mindsets?

Does our performance determine our spirituality or does our spirituality determine our performance?  It should be that walking in the Spirit; we live godly and righteously in this present world with the Holy Spirit leading us into the good work God sets before us.  Godliness does not come from doing the right things.  Godliness comes from walking in the Spirit and God producing righteousness through us.  This goes to our focus.  Do we focus on doing the right thing or on walking with our Lord, giving Him control of everything in our lives?

What if…

                Christians are required to have a personal, intimate, and consistent relationship with Christ?

Here is the practical conclusion of the matter.  We are to walk humbly with our God.  We are to have a personal, intimate, and consistent relationship with the Lord, committed to His will, His plans, and His purposes whatever they would be and however He would lead.  This is why Paul’s prayer in Colossians 1:9-12 is so important and is my prayer for you.  I hope and pray that I will never be cutting off any more ears.  Keep looking up for our redemption draws close.  “Even so, come Lord Jesus.”

The Mark of the Beast

In my lifetime, I have heard from many sources, read articles and books, and watched movies and videos, about references to the mark of the beast. People try to identify the mark, label it, create doctrine about it, and try to build systems of economy, policy, and conspiracy with the technology of the day. During my lifetime, I can share many theories espoused as truth or defined as a definite probability concerning the identity of the mark. I want to address the issue with some logical thoughts from my years of observation and study.

First, I am not the final authority, God is the authority and He has given us His Word. The things I will say will be open to debate and further study, I am not God. What He says is not open to debate, for He has given us the truth. We study His truth and apply it to our lives, situations, and the world around us. Problems come when we try to make our conclusions equal with His truth or debate them on the same level.

Prophecy is one area where speculation and application has been stated as fact. People take the events at the moment and try to interpret them, creating scenarios with current events, which are nothing more than possibilities. Many have proven to be erroneous with the passing of time. Unfortunately this has created in people skepticism with anything to do with prophecy; some even giving up the study of God’s revealed truth concerning the future.

The mark of the beast is a recent topic with the current events of chipping, Bill Gates, and vaccines possibly embedded with microscopic chips. People are drawing conclusions. Some say they will never allow themselves to be microchipped. The debate literally rages on social media.

Can I say that the world is heading toward the end times described in the Bible? Yes, definitely. God is preparing things for the end times. But let’s not neglect truth. Can we have the mark of the beast without the beast? No, no matter what is done: chip, credit card, social security number, or anything else. Some even try to identify the beast, thus giving legitimacy to their conclusions about the mark. The beast will not be revealed until the earth is in the tribulation period. My question remains. How can we have a mark of the beast without the beast?

This is just one area of concern with the current discussions. Another problem I have is with the fear and conclusions that have been drawn from the world events. God does not give us the spirit of fear. Some people are obsessed with identifying something we cannot identify or will we even see if the pretribulation rapture is correct. So whatever marks, chips, social security number, or whatever new technology comes, it is not and will not be used as the mark of the beast until the tribulation.

Conclusions –
1. The first conclusion is that I don’t need to worry about accidently getting the mark. It will be on purpose with the beast and purpose being identified. People will know.
2. I cannot lose my salvation from a mark, chip or any other thing. Salvation is secure in Christ.
3. The pretribulation rapture position teaches I will not be in the tribulation. So why spend time worrying about the mark?
4. If the rapture is mid-tribulation or prewrath, then the beast will be known. It will not be a guessing game for those taking the mark. They will know exactly what they are doing. Again, can Christians lose their salvation?
5. If you are amillennial in your position of future events, then that part of Revelation is allegory. Therefore the mark is not literal and there is no reason to be concerned about it.

So, there is nothing about the mark of the beast for the believer to be concerned or worry about now. Technology will continue to grow. Can we see things getting ready for end times? Yes. Is a chip embedded in your hand the mark of the beast? No. Not till the tribulation will the mark be given that is of the beast. A Christian who receives a chip now is not going to lose their salvation. It is impossible for that to happen. For me personal, looking into the things happening in our world, the chip thing and others, is sometimes interesting. But I refuse to let my perception of or anyone else’s interpretation of world events become the determining factor for how I live. We must take the Word of God and apply it to the situations of life, a biblical world view. Right doctrine takes away panic, fear, and worry. Wrong doctrine or application of doctrine will create panic, fear, and worry. So…

You and me, God, let’s go!


Trust Your Horse

Many lessons can be learned from working with horses. Growing up in Wyoming with “Horses, Hitches, and Rocky Trails,” and the riding of horses has taught me many things. Some old-time horse people will understand the reference to the book. One lesson impacting my life was to trust your horse.

Riding a horse on the trail through the mountains is a wonderful experience; with the creak of the saddle, the scent and beauty of the forest, the water tumbling over rocks in the creek bed, and the blue sky stretching upward from the ridges and mountain peaks. As you sit on top of a horse many feet above the ground, fear of falling is a concern. Fears of the horse running away with you, bucking you off, or making wrong steps as you go near a cliff must be dealt with in order to enjoy the ride. If you do not trust the horse, a ride through the mountains can be filled with anxiety. You have to learn to trust your horse.

We used to ride at night to get deep within the mountains or we would come out of the mountains late in the evening riding in the dark to the trailhead. Riding at night gave us the opportunity to enjoy daylight deep within the wilderness, far from roads and people. You have to trust your horse if you are riding in the dark. The horse can see at night. It will stay on the trail as you go through the mountains. A good horse does not need you to direct it in order to stay on course. They will follow the trail. Just sit in the saddle, loosely holding the reins. The horse will take you home.

My trust of the horse became so deep that I would tie the reins into a knot over the neck of the horse, letting go of them because there was no need to take control of the horse. I had trust in my horse. I can remember riding under the beautiful night sky so relaxed that I would be half asleep, sometimes even nodding totally asleep. I have heard many stories of cowboys sleeping in the saddle. It is not hard to do when you trust your horse.

God has set a path before each of us. When we trust Him completely and give him the reins or control, He will take us where He wants us. It’s like trusting my horse. If I didn’t trust him, I would try and control each movement. But as I learned to trust my horse, I could simply rest, knowing it would take me down the trail. In the same way, I can give God control of every area of my life with the knowledge that He will keep me on the path, carrying me along the way, enabling me to continue in faith, peace, and grace, and giving me the experience a full life in the journey. We miss out when we don’t trust the Lord enough to give Him control. We need to learn and grow in our trust of Him.

Yes. Learning to trust a horse was very instrumental in teaching me what trusting my God will look like in my life experience. Trust the Lord. He is worthy of our trust. Give Him the reins of your life and enjoy the journey.

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My Dad riding one of our favorite horses.


Frustrated! This one word describes the condition of many people looking at the events of today. Who do we believe? What do we believe? This morning, with a short perusal of Facebook, I saw numerous articles espousing either the pros or the cons of wearing facemasks. I opened my email to an announcement from the public information officer of our community that they have restocked their supply of masks and the masks are now available for distribution. If you wear a mask, you can safely pick up a mask from the city.

Reactions to masks vary. If you wear a mask, you are characterized as someone who is foolish, overreacting, and not trusting the Lord. If you don’t wear a mask, you are characterized as a person who is foolish, callous, and uncaring. Frustrating! This is just the mask issue. Then there is the medical side of all that is happening. Is the virus as bad as some are saying? Is it no worse than the normal flu? Is it going to spike in death rates as we start opening up society? Who knows? Frustrating! We have not even started looking into the conspiracies and slants of statistics, media, and biases. That’s even more frustrating.

A phrase from my growing up years in Wyoming comes to mind. This is not my first rodeo. In other words, it is not the first time I have felt frustration. In dealing with it, my first tendency is to simply get away from it. One humorous, outdoors writer would say that the answer to life’s problems and difficult situations is, “Let’s go fishing.” The trouble with that is; the problems we are facing will still be there when we get back from our fishing trip. We may even have problems when fishing. The fish might be wearing facemasks; at least they must have something covering their mouths, because they are not biting. Frustrating!

Jesus said that He gives us peace. Not peace that would come from the world or situations, but His peace. Paul encouraged Timothy in 2 Timothy 3:14 to carry on in what he knew for sure. This is great advice in a time of intense frustration. What do I know for sure? There are so many varied reports on masks, the virus, whether quarantine works or is useless, political ploys or conspiracies, attempts at worldwide control in the guise of protecting people, and whether this is a manufactured or natural virus. I have opinions on each of those subjects, but then again, so do you, and I’m sure we agree on every aspect of them. Not!

What do I know for sure? God is still God. He still loves me and nothing will separate me from His love, even death itself. God is not surprised by what is happening in the world today. He is still working His plan. He has purpose in what He is doing and what He is allowing man to do. I am secure in Him. No one can change that. I know there is much more going on than any one person would ever know. I know God’s Word is still powerful. I know there are still people coming to Christ, accepting Him as their Savior.

So what does God want me to do through this? He wants me to continue to trust Him, follow Him, let Him work in me and through me, and to be faithful. He wants me to focus on truth, His truth. I wonder how many hours are spent researching the virus issues with the varying opinions. If we would spend even half that time studying what we know for sure, our thinking would be much clearer on the frustrating issues around us. Some things, we would even refuse to think about because they are just opinions, ideas, and many, even in the best thinking, are just guesstimates. I am simply going to do the next thing God puts before me to do, while trusting Him to work in and through all that is going on around me. Do I stick my head in the sand? No. I simply acknowledge the difference between those things that I know for sure and the things I do not. I don’t let the things I am unsure of be the controlling factors in my life. I act and react as the Lord leads. God is still God and He is still working His plan. I’m sure! He still loves me. I’m sure!


These are Exciting Times – Really?

These are exciting times. Routines have changed, jobs have been lost, and families have been forced to stay within their homes with minimal interaction with others. Characterizing these times as exciting will make some wonder if I have lost my mind due to this isolation. No, my faith is increasing.

Looking at the world events, who would have put this scenario together? Maybe a science fiction author would write about it; some have. But we are living in incredible times. Changes are happening rapidly to the world economy, societal structure, political systems, and international thought.

Stepping back from my daily life and looking around, I am excited. We have the privilege of being a part of God’s plan. Just ask the questions. Why now? Why is the world of mankind reacting in such a way to this virus? Why such a shutdown of the world economy and social structures? Why such a call for world leadership to combat the virus? Can we not see that God is working His plan and things are getting closer to the prophecies put forth in His Word? We are watching and experiencing God working His plan.

Just let God work and be faithful with what He puts before you.

Some have said of this virus, “It’s the judgement of God!” I point to Romans 1:18 and ask, “When did God stop revealing His wrath against ungodliness?” Sometimes it is more obvious than other times but we still live in a world filled with evil. God’s condemnation against sin has not changed. We are thankful for His provision of salvation through Jesus Christ. But while we live, we will see death, disease, famine, evil, and corruption in the world. God’s wrath against ungodliness is clearly seen when we look.

So, taking off my mask, I entered the house. After being at the store getting a few necessary items to keep us through the next few weeks, I washed my hands. Even though I had used hand sanitizer after getting into the car before heading home, I still needed to wash to be sure. Then I took a shower after putting all my clothes in the washing machine, ready to be washed. Maybe I overreact. Maybe I don’t. I’m sure everyone has an opinion on that subject. But I must do what the Lord sets in front of me.

My wife has bronchial issues, my mom has severe respiratory problems, my mother in law has excessively damaged lungs, and of course, I don’t want to get Covid-19. My dad said after one of his strokes that during it he could not breathe for a bit. He said it was the worst pain ever and he would rather die than go through it again. My dad dealt with pain all his life and to hear him say that affected me. It is not death we fear but the process of dying. I hate seeing others go through pain.

I’m thankful for God’s salvation that there are better days ahead for the believer. While we are still here, we live in a world where the wrath of God is revealed against sin but not like it will be in the future. For the believer to die is better, going to a better country, having mortality swallowed up with the life that comes from God, corruption putting on incorruption, being with the Lord, experiencing His goodness forever and new heavens and a new earth where righteousness dwells, no more evil. What a day that will be! If you are not sure how to know you will be there, please contact me. I can share how God provided the way for us to not experience His wrath forever but to have forgiveness of our sin through the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ our Lord.

My Rapidly Changing World

Coronavirus! Daily we are experiencing changes in routines and schedules. A short trip to the store has now become an epic challenge often with discouraging results. People are avoiding other people. Anyone who would cough is now looked upon with great disdain, no matter the reason for the cough. Our lives are being impacted in ways we have never seen. We are forced to change our plans, prepare for isolation, washing our hands longer and more than ever before, and wait for the impending possibilities of doom to our lives. Minutes, even seconds bring new challenges and changes, rather than the days, months, and years. Our lives are being pushed and pulled to conform to the latest news and policies. By the time I finish writing this article, situations will have changed. What is our reaction to all of this?

Some will deny the existence of a crisis. Some will say we are being over-protective. Others will carry the situations to the extreme doom and gloom possible. All sorts of conspiracies are being bantered and propagated as fact and are seeking a following. No matter our feelings, our lives are being impacted.

I do not know what is ahead. I cannot say how much our lives will be impacted. I am not sure how this will turn out in the future. I dare say that we may never see “normal” again. I don’t know.

I do know who holds our future in His hands. I can only rest in the Lord, His promises, grace, comfort, and peace. No matter what happens and how life changes, nothing will separate me from His love. I know we live in a sinful world and sin has been judged by a righteous God otherwise He is not righteous. But in the bad, God has brought us good. We can be saved from the judgment by trusting Christ as our Savior because He has paid the penalty for all who will come to Him. God has brought good for us out of bad. I trust Him in the situations of life we now live that He will do the same thing. He will bring good out of this bad. People will turn to the Lord who would never have considered Him before the crisis. The amount of prayer will increase. God will bring good out of bad.

With so much unknown, I just rest in my God and experience His peace in the midst of the turmoil. I realize the limits of my ability to control life. I have to accept that and rest in God’s promises. It doesn’t mean that I don’t prepare for what may come. It doesn’t mean I am careless with my life. It does mean that no matter how much I seek to insulate myself from all the possibilities of problems, I have to rest in my all-knowing, all powerful, loving, and caring God. No matter how much we try, we can never totally control all the events and happenings of our lives. We must rest in the Lord.

We will not find rest in the circumstances of our lives, in the possibilities of doom and gloom. We will find it in the Lord. If you do not know Him in an intimate, personal relationship, you can. As for me, I will use a balanced approach to my future, preparing for life in the coming days as far as I am able, but I will trust my future to the one who holds my life in His hands. I am going to be with Him forever, experiencing His good with the bad of this world left behind.


I’m Fine, Except for the Bad Parts

“I’m fine, except for the bad parts, but we all have them; it’s just, how we deal with them.” This phrase has opened many conversations. I use it when people ask me how I am doing. “I’m fine except for the bad parts.” Most people are not interested in the bad parts of life when they ask how we are. They are simply being kind. But when I quickly add that we all have things in life that we are struggling to overcome, people often identify with the phrase; whatever the issue may be for them. We all have problems of one type or another.

Responding the way I do to the question “How are you?” often causes people to stop and think for a moment. It is almost as if you can see the wheels turning in their mind. Their thoughts turn to the issues they are dealing with at the moment. The person may even share some things they are going through, allowing for a longer and deeper conversation. In other words, people open up.

As we interact with people around us in social settings, how often do we think of them being in difficult situations? Most people have problems that they only let their inner circle of friends know and some don’t even tell them. If issues and problems are so prevalent, why not acknowledge them? Oh, there is the other side of it too. Some people never stop talking about their problems or issues. It is said of them that they enjoy bad health or having problems.

Of course we do not want to be complainers or encourage others to be. But how can we help someone if we do not know about their needs and how can someone help us if we never tell anyone we are hurting? I am reminded of a situation where a family was on the verge of destruction but no one knew it. They had never shared that there was a problem. My statement, I’m fine except for the bad parts has opened the door for some of these things to be shared.

Finding a pathway into people’s lives is never easy. This is just one of many ways the Lord has given me to deeper than just, “I’m fine.” What are some of the ways you use? I hope we are all searching for ways to connect with those around us. We want to share the love of God to those around us.


North American Leaf Free Trade Agreement

You have heard of NAFTA, the North American Free Trade Agreement. It allowed import and export between Canada, the United States, and Mexico, without tariffs. The problem with trade is when a country imports more than it exports.

I am part of the NALFTA. You may wonder what this is. It is the North American Leaf Free Trade Agreement. I don’t remember signing up but apparently I’m a member. It must be a local agreement between neighbors, providing for the free exchange of leaves from our trees. Today I spent hours dealing with leaves, my neighbors doing the same in their yards.

As I was gathering leaves into bags, I tried to examine them for the tree of origin. They are not labeled, made by the neighbor’s tree, but I can tell that some of them are not mine. We don’t grow that kind of tree or bush in our yard. So upon close examination, I wonder if there is a trade imbalance. Are more leaves being imported into my yard than I am export to the neighbors?

So far, no one has said anything about the leaves I have exported nor have I said anything about the leaves being imported to my yard. A wind could fill my yard again with the neighbor’s leaves, or maybe it could blow the rest of mine to the neighbors. Upon closer examination, I see most of the leaves in my yard are from my trees. I did watch some leaves from our trees cross property lines in accordance to the North American LEAF Free Trade Agreement, NALFTA.

I think I am exporting more than I am importing. It works well when you do. I like being a member of the NALFTA. I do feel sorry for the neighbors who have to rake my leaves from their yard but then again, they are members too.

So as the neighbors rake my leaves, I think of it as the windfall of the NALFTA and am thankful we’re all a part of the agreement. But I still don’t remember signing up.
– Monte LeavellFall Leaves

I’m Married!

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“I am not sure I am married.” What a statement! People know whether they are married or not. A person may not act as though they are in a marriage relationship but once they make that commitment to someone, they have entered into a relationship, they are identified as married. People break their marriage commitments with such things as divorce, stepping out, or separating. But all along the way, they know whether or not they are married. I am very fortunate to have a wonderful wife who is committed to our relationship. Jeneen and I will be celebrating 45 years of marriage this summer.

When a person enters into a relationship with Jesus Christ, is it a permanent relationship? Can we fall in and out of it? Can we lose our relationship by some act or series of acts? If we can lose it, our relationship with Christ is never more stable than we are. This is why the Bible teaches that the security of our salvation is rooted in the finished work of Jesus Christ. He provides a complete salvation, based upon Himself and His work. He keeps us in the relationship the same way, His working and keeping of His promises to us.

Stability in our relationship with God comes from Him. He is the solid rock, a foundation which can never be destroyed, and He’s the constant who will never leave or forsake us according to His promise. Our relationship is based upon Him, bringing security, stability, and confidence that He will always be in the relationship. This gives us the ability to grow, sometimes making mistakes, stepping into sin, doing the wrong things, doing right things the wrong way or not maintaining our walk with Him. We can always come back to Him, experiencing forgiveness, cleansing, making the relationship right, clean, active in participation, and experiencing the sweetness of fellowship with Him.

Yes, it is important for us to know we are saved. We would never be committed to a relationship if we are unsure of it. If we could lose our salvation, we all would. Those who teach you can lose it do not understand the finished work of Christ, the term – justification, and the problems associated with such teachings. If a person teaches that you could lose your salvation, then they can also teach you what you must do to keep it. Losing your salvation is a doctrine of men and is often used to control people.

If you want to study further, I wrote about this subject in my study book, Steadfast and Stable. It is available through BJU Press, Amazon, and Christian Book Distributers.