The things that go on in the dark prove that people believe in You. They are afraid to do those same things in blaze of daylight. Afraid You will see them. Ashamed. But at night, well, they think Your vision or concern is somehow limited. May I only do those things at night that I would do in the light of day.”
–Stephen Bly (Throw the Devil Off the Train)
“What harmony can there be between Christ and Belial [the devil]? Or what has a believer in common with an unbeliever?”
–2 Corinthians 6:15 (AMPC)
I don’t care to say much about Halloween. Stay away from it; it is the devil’s playground and holiday. Remember, the enemy of your soul is subtle and deceptive, and takes seemingly innocent things and turns them into a nightmare. Why do you think there is so much horror associated with Halloween?
Many Christians, or so-called Christians, entertain Halloween. They may try to disguise it, but they still are still fooled by the evil one. Paul writes that we are to “abhor evil…” (Romans 12:9) and to the Thessalonians he writes, to “abstain from every form of evil” (1 Thessalonians 5:22). Are we mocking God then when we fool around with Halloween?
We live in a complacent and compromising age. People want to water on the truth of God’s Word. That is where the warning in Revelation comes form when the Lord says that He despises the lukewarm (the complacent and compromising).
Here is a good word from one of my favorite Christian writers. It is hard to go wrong when reading Tozer. God is a God of light and goodness, then why turn to darkness, even for one night? The devil is there to steal, kill, and destroy; he wants to bring havoc among those who serve Christ.
“There have always been professing Christians who argue and insist: ‘I am all right-I worship in the name of Jesus.’ They seem to believe that worship of God is based on a formula. They seem to think there is a kind of magic in saying the name of Jesus! Study the Bible carefully with the help of the Holy Spirit and you will find that the name and the nature of Jesus are one. It is not enough to know how to spell Jesus’ name! If we have come to be like Him in nature, if we have come to the place of being able to ask in accordance with His will, He will give us the good things we desire and need. We worship God as the result of a new birth from above in which God has been pleased to give us more than a name. He has given us a nature transformed, and Peter expresses that truth in this way: Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises, that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust. (2 Peter 1:4)”
–A. W. Tozer
Never cease to fight! You must fight to live—an’ so make that fight equally for your mind an’ your soul! Remember—the secret is never to forget your hold on the past—your memories—an’ through thinkin’ of them to save your mind an’ apply it to all that faces you out there.”
–Zane Grey (Wanderer of the Wasteland)
“Great is my boldness of speech toward you, great is my boasting on your behalf. I am filled with comfort. I am exceedingly joyful in all our tribulation.”
–2 Corinthians 7:4 (NKJV)
People who knew me when I was younger knew that I played a little baseball. No, I played a lot of baseball. It wasn’t until I was eleven years old that the passion in me grew. From that time until I was in my twenties most of my focus went to playing ball. After practice, where I often stayed late for the coach to hit more ground balls to me, I would go to my house where we had a rock foundation. I would throw almost any kind of ball I could find against those rocks (I preferred a handball, but a tennis ball would suffice). Over the years I encountered many players better than me, but only a few were as intense as I was. My playing style would be similar to that of Pete Rose.
That intensity toward the sport continued on into college where I played four years. Too bad that I didn’t have the same intensity toward my school work in high school and college. After graduation I continued to play ball, but since I was in the Air Force it turned to fast pitch softball, and alternative to baseball. Back in my day there was softball and there was hardball. I preferred hardball (baseball) but I would accept the substitute.
Things began to change, and I can point to the spot. I was working on one of the fields at the Air Force Academy where I was stationed. There was a voice, it sounded audible to me, and I looked around. There was no one, but the “voice” asked a question of me: “Who are you working for? The Air Force, your sergeant, or Me?” My life turned around as I read the Scriptures from Colossians.
“And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him… And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men.”
–Colossians 3:17,23 (NKJV)
From that point my intensity turned. It turned to all aspects of my life. No longer did I strive only for baseball, in fact, it was several years that I was able to pick up a ball again and play.
Over the years students and administrators have mentioned how intense I was in my classroom. My focus was on the lesson and the students. When I went to grad school, I was intense and I graduated with a 4.00; quite a jump from a 2.60 in undergrad. One time during a lull in practice I had a player ask, “What is the fun in being so intense?” I stared at them, and said, “That is the fun!” I was intense, whether as a player, a coach, a teacher in the classroom, or a teacher in Sunday school.
What I finally saw beginning to happen was that I could only give the idea of being intense over to a few. Times/students have changed. My final few years of coaching what I began to see was a glorified intramural team. They wanted to play, to win, but without the effort of practice; the same was true in the classroom. I wanted to win for them to succeed more than they did.
Life–it should be intense. It is not a time of continual pleasure and entertainment. There is practice, study, failure, pulling yourself back up and continuing on. The intensity should be the same in our lives as a Christian. We do not tip-toe through the tulips of life, but we walk through a garden of thorns and need to be wary.
Maybe you can feel it, but I am very intense as I write this. I try to watch the World Series, but I get too intense. My poor old heart begins to pump, I watch, but can do nothing about it. Poor old me.
Have a passion for life, not for fun. Live for the Lord Jesus Christ! Be intense for Him! Read through the Book of Acts, and the writings of Paul and you will clearly see those who were intense for the Lord.
I was sitting at the table with Charlie Gold, Molly, Marta, and Lucas. We were waiting for Doc Jones to join us. Lucas was not in good shape and he had his head laying on his crossed arms as Marta ran her hand over his back and shoulders trying to sooth and reassure him.
Raising his head, with tears in his eyes he asked, “Uncle Charlie, are they going to put me in jail?”
“No, son,” came his quick reply. “A man has a right to defend his family from the likes of those men.”
“Why, Lucas, they would have to arrest me for defendin’ Molly…” he cut me off.
“But you are a marshal,” he muttered.
I was getting ready to answer when through the door walked Doc Jones. While he ambled over to the table, Charlie grabbed a chair from the adjacent table so he could join us. Molly was up quickly to fetch a cup off the shelf and fill it with coffee for him.
As he was adjusting himself in the chair, Lucas blurted out, “Is he going to die?”
Doc slid his hand down over his chin as if pondering an answer then took the cup in his hand. He sipped at the hot coffee, then wiped his mouth. He looked at me first, then turned his attention to Lucas.
“I won’t lie to you son, but the truth of the matter is, I don’t know. The bullet went in his lower left side and how much damage it did I have no way of knowing unless I cut him open, and that would put him in worse shape with all of the blood he lost,” Doc answered then sipped his coffee again before continuing.
“The bullet is still in him; I couldn’t take the chance of probing for it and doing more damage. He needs complete bedrest for quite a spell; let it begin to heal so that bullet won’t move around. I’ve known of people to live with a bullet inside, but, yes, there is a good chance he could die.”
Lucas didn’t reply, just hung his head. There was silence at the table when Doc spoke up. “Molly, by chance, do you have any pie back in the kitchen?”
“I reckon I can scare you up a piece,” replied Molly. Marta started to get up to get it when Molly put her hand on her arm. “You stay with Lucas, I’ll go get it.”
As she was walking away Doc continued with his conversation. “Miles, I had to cut the arm off James Lamb. His last words before he went under the chloroform was that he was going to make you pay.”
Doc was shaking his head. “Why should Senor Miles have to pay?” interjected Marta. “He was only doin’ his duty as a lawman and husband!”
“Well, Marta, I really don’t have a good answer for that,” expressed Doc. “Evil begets evil, I reckon is about all I can say.”
By that time Molly was returning with three pieces of pie. “Hear you go Doc,” she said placing one dish in front of him. “Charlie, Lucas,” then she turned.
I scratched my ear, then pulled at the end of my moustache as she stood there. She looked at my forlorn face, smiled and walked to where Elena was standing with three more plates full of pie.
Molly took them from her and walked back to the table. “Marta, this is mine,” she said placing is down on the table where she was sitting, “And dear husband, do you think I would forget you?” she asked placing a piece in front of me.
What could I say? With the pie in front of us, the solemnity of the previous moments had left and we were enjoying a special type of camaraderie.
I was half-way through mine when I noticed that my cup was empty. Standing I went to the coffeepot on the stove and was filling my cup when through the door came the city council with Martin Olson in the lead. He pointed at Lucas, but was staring at Charlie.
“I want to know…”
I suppose I’ll always do what I can in my own way to make this a better place to live. If it means putting myself on the spot from time to time, then I’ll probably do it.”
–Lou Bradshaw (Blue)
“Instead of your shame you shall have double honor, And instead of confusion they shall rejoice in their portion. Therefore in their land they shall possess double; Everlasting joy shall be theirs.”
–Isaiah 61:7 (NKJV)
It’s time we get back into the Psalms. Vacation is over and I want to thank you for your prayers as we traveled. Let me tell you that I have missed the Psalms. We think of David as the giant-killer or a king, but he spent much of his life in the outdoors. He was a shepherd and a soldier. At times he was forced to run for his life. He had to rely upon his own skill, but in the direst of times he went to the Lord. Today, we look at the first part of Psalm 31 (HCSB).
1 – Lord, I seek refuge in You; let me never be disgraced. Save me by Your righteousness.
2 – Listen closely to me; rescue me quickly. Be a rock of refuge for me, a mountain fortress to save me.
3 – For You are my rock and my fortress; You lead and guide me because of Your name.
4 – You will free me from the net that is secretly set for me, for You are my refuge.
5 – Into Your hand I entrust my spirit; You redeem me, Lord, God of truth.
Have you ever done something downright stupid? Something that made you hang your head; something where you wanted to find a deep cave and hide? In those times when we have brought shame down upon ourselves it is sure nice to feel the love of God as He reaches down and puts His arms around us.
Since we have traveled a few thousand miles I look back at the trip and wonder how the Lord may have been involved. How many times did He rescue me? I have asked that question countless times in my life and I believe there will be a day where He shows me the times He has intervened in my life. That includes the times that I have gotten myself into a mess. Those times when I’ve cried, “Get me out of this mess,” and the Lord does it. If you find yourself in that situation turn to Him and begin to honor His name. He will not let His child, one who bears His name, go down to the pit.
Run to Him, that in itself shows faith and trust. Our life should be one of trust, trust, and more trust. We need to trust Him, not only in times of adversity, but in every aspect of our life. Guess what? He knows what He is doing! Our life should be one of continual trust from the time we first recognize Him until the time of the final trust when we enter eternity.
Life can be unpleasant. Life may not seem fair. Life, because of our poor decisions or the decisions of others, may seem to be a mess. Don’t despair–God is working. Things by themselves may not be pleasant, but mixed together the final outcome and process may be good. Trust!
“My God! I love you, not to gain the bliss of your eternal reign,
Nor to escape the fiery lot reserved for those who love you not.
But you, my Jesus, on the tree did in your arms encompass me.
Most loving Jesus, God and King, you are my Source of everything.”
Take time to read these verses then turn to Luke 23:46 and Acts 7:59.