Sunday, April 30, 2017



Ecclesiastes 1:16-18      I applied myself to the understanding of wisdom, and also of madness and folly, but I learned that this, too, is a chasing after the wind. For with much wisdom comes much sorrow; the more knowledge, the more grief.

I was like the Rich Young Ruler who came to Christ carrying all his wealth and proclaiming his own fulfillment of the Law. I did everything the world's view of church required. When our first child was born I began attending church. I listened to the sermons, agreed with the message and walked away each week feeling "good"! The messages seemed to tell me there was more to just agreeing and paying "lip service" to God's teaching through Christ. But I continued struggling with worldly priorities of wealth, status and meaning of life as the world and church were telling me. I was finding it harder to listen to the both voices in my head.

I came to a point where the ways of the world were not satisfying
my inner needs and desires. I turned on a Christian TV station and asked Christ to lead me. I told him I would try his way, but that I needed his help.

Struggles continue in my life as God molds me like clay, brings me into conformity to his Will not my own. It's not easy to relinquish control over your own life; to allow God to rule as Lord and Savior. I always try to hold back something for myself. Gently, God, through the gospel of Christ brings me along in knowledge and truth. Each day is a new beginning, a fresh start daily.

Grace Presbyterian Church,  June 12, 1993

Saturday, April 29, 2017



Ecclesiastes 6:1-2     I have seen another evil under the sun, and it weighs heavily on men: God gives a man wealth, possessions and honor, so that he lacks nothing his heart desires, but God does not enable him to enjoy them, and a stranger enjoys them instead. This is meaningless, a grievous evil.

The ways of the world began to influence and affect my life. College days were spent in learning the wisdoms of the world. The days of employment were marked by the struggle for material success and acknowledgement by others of my successes. A high salary, impressive titles and position, many employees to rule over, people to impress these were the marks of my success as I understood success. The world had me by the heart and mind. Their philosophy I learned in self-help books. My mentors were men of the world. Greed, lustful, self-centered, egotistical were their principles of life they shared with me. They were my role models. Church life and Christian beliefs were no longer a part of my life. They were no existent in my world.

            All the efforts for material and worldly success proved to provide no happiness. I was neither content nor satisfied with the attainment of the world's success symbols. I realized in 1987 that my life was moving further from my family and my heart felt beliefs. Everything I tried to do as the world taught me was not proving to be fulfilling.

Grace Presbyterian Church,  June 12, 1993

Friday, April 28, 2017



Song of Songs 8:6-7    Love is as strong as death, its jealousy unyielding as the grave. It burns like blazing fire, like a mighty flame. Many waters cannot quench love; rivers cannot wash it away.

            God desires that we love Him with all our heart, our soul and our mind. After this He directs us to love our neighbor as our self.  Love is what a Christian is called to do in all walks of life. Your pastor has been called to this love as well. He involves himself in your lives. He shepherds you in the direction of Jesus Christ. This is no small task. His love exposes him to those who know no love. It makes him vulnerable to the sufferings of others.             The Apostle Paul speaks of his vulnerability in serving the church at Corinth: "I have labored and toiled and have often gone without sleep...I face daily the pressure of my concern for all the churches [the people]. Who is weak, and I do not feel weak? Who is led into sin, and I do not inwardly burn? “(2 Corinthians 11:27-29)

            “To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything, and your heart will certainly be wrung and possibly be broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact, you must give your heart to no one, not even to an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements; lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket – safe, dark, motionless, airless – it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable. The
alternative to tragedy, or at least to the risk of tragedy, is damnation. The only place outside heaven where you will be perfectly safe from all dangers and perturbations of love is hell.” (The Four Loves by C.S. Lewis)

            Do not fall into the trap of being discriminating with your love. The tragedy of life is when love is not shared with God and others. It's all too easy to become selfish with love when you consider others who are different than you in one or many ways.

Reformed Theological Seminary, 1994.

Thursday, April 27, 2017



Genesis 37:28  So when the Midianite merchants came by, his brothers pulled Joseph up out of the cistern and sold him for twenty shekels of silver to the Ishmaelites, who took him to Egypt.

             God humbles his people before he elevates them. He kills them in order to bring them back to life. He devastates them before honoring them. He knocks them down in order to pick them up. God’s methods show the highest artistry and wisdom. We cannot understand how events like these are a part of God’s plan until we were his plan completed. When these events are happening, they can’t be understood, except through faith alone.

            In the same way, faith in the Son of God will comfort me when I leave this earth. Even so, my body will be buried in the ground and eaten by worms; it will rot and decay (Job 17:14). I don’t see God’s plan for me when I look at death. Yet God has promised that I will come back to life. Christ said, “Because I live, you also will live” (John 14:19). But how will I live? I will live in eternal life, in a body that is brighter and more beautiful than the sun. I can’t see or feel any of this yet. But I believe it, and I can tolerate the short delay. Eternal life is already prepared. As Paul says, “Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day” (2 Timothy 4:8).

            But God does everything in secret. We have to be patient while God hides his intentions from us. Jacob and Joseph couldn’t see the future prize. But with the sale of Joseph to the Ishmaelites, the future was being prepared. Gold sees everything as if it has all taken place already. Everything he wants to happen will certainly happen!


Faith Alone: A Daily Devotional, By Martin Luther. March 24.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017



Proverbs 11: 24-25      One man gives freely, yet gains even more; another withholds unduly, but comes to poverty. A generous man will prosper; he who refreshes others will himself be refreshed.

In the land of Jesus, Israel, there are two lakes, The Sea of Galilee and the Dead Sea. They are connected by the Jordan River which flows south from the Sea of Galilee to the Dead Sea. The Sea of Galilee receives  water from the Plain of Gennesaret and from Lake Huleh as well as the hills of Bashan and Naphtali. The Sea of Galilee is small but teaming with life. It is the lake in which the disciples fished for a living and on which Jesus walked. The Sea of Galilee has such a plentiful supply that water spills out into the Jordan River which flows many miles south into the Dead Sea.

In contrast, the Dead Sea only receives water. Its elevation is hundreds of feet below that of the Sea of Galilee and located in an arid,  desert-like environment. It receives water from the wilderness areas of Moab, Kedemoth, and Judah. The Kidron and Jordan Rivers both empty into the Dead Sea. As you can see, it receives much water but nothing lives in it. No plants or fish life can be found there.

One sea receives and gives; bringing vibrancy and life to its waters. The other sea only receives; creating in itself lifelessness and death. The application is clear; if you live a life of receiving only, you will find yourself with a dead heart and a shriveled life. If you only receive and do not give, then you will be like the Dead Sea.

The Bible teaches that if you are constantly sharing yourself and your life with others, giving richly, then you will receive much of life in return. The fullness of the Christian life is found in giving of ourselves that God might be glorified in us as we liberally share his goodness and grace.

Jericho Road Ministries Chapel,  2008.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017



Hosea 14:1-2      Your sins have been your downfall. Take words with you and return to the Lord. Say to him: “Forgive all our sins and receive us graciously, that we may offer the fruit of our lips.”

Some of our staff become deeply troubled and discouraged when clients “fail” our New Life Program. They forget that each of us fail at times, too. We fall into sin and disappoint our sponsor, Jesus Christ. We too sin against God. This subject comes up often here at the Mission.

These failures are disturbing and will bother us. They will discourage us and cause us to ask ourselves where we may have failed in helping the client. We should carefully monitor our programs and actions. But the question remains: “Why do people (clients) fall back into the sin from which God has saved them?” Are they to be listed as hopeless?

To put this into perspective, consider a few things. First is that each of us sin each day and fail our Father. Bad attitudes, an angry voice and a lustful glance can be a daily event that needs our repentance and prayer for forgiveness. Consider the number of prominent Christians who have fallen into immoral acts, theft from their churches or have battered their spouses. When these leaders fall to the bottom, they have fallen as far as some of our clients. Remember King David in the Old Testament who lusted enough to have Bathsheba’s husband killed in battle because of his orders. Jerry McAuley, the “Father of Rescue Missions” fell back into his alcoholism over and over before one day finding the power of God’s grace to never touch a drop of alcohol again in his life.

Be encouraged that all of us struggle along with our clients. Do not take light their sin or your own. But do not be overly discouraged by your own or the client’s fall back into sin. Remember we have Jesus, our ‘high priest’ who can sympathize with our weaknesses. He, too, was tempted in all things as we are, yet never sinned. To Him we can draw near with confidence knowing His grace provides us mercy in our struggle to overcome and our desire to be forgiven, again.

Jericho Road Ministries Chapel,  2011.

Monday, April 24, 2017



John 12:24-26     I tell you the truth, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds. The man who loves his life will lose it, while the man who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life. Whoever serves me must follow me; and where I am, my servant also will be. My Father will honor the one who serves me.

The “death” we are called to die as the condition of fruitfulness may well be less dramatic than martyrdom. Nevertheless, it is a real death, especially for cross cultural missionaries. It may be for them a death to comfort and ease, and a separation from home and relatives; or a death to personal ambition as they renounce the temptation to climb the professional ladder, being content to remain in a humble servant ministry instead; or a death to cultural imperialism, refusing to exalt their inherited culture (despite it being part of their identity) and identifying instead with the culture of their adoption. In these and other ways we may be called to “die” as the means to a life of fruitfulness.

The Radical Disciple, By John Stott, pg. 123.

Sunday, April 23, 2017



Psalm 68:34-35    Proclaim the power of God, whose majesty is over Israel, whose power is in the skies. You are awesome, O God, in your sanctuary; the God of Israel gives power and strength to his people. Praise be to God!  

I arise today
To witness a mighty strength:
The power that created Heaven,
The power that created the light of the sun,
The power that created the brightness of the moon,
The power that created the splendor of fire,
The power that created flashing lightning,
The power that caused the swiftness of winds,
The power that laid the depths of seas,
The power that founded earth’s stability,
The power that formed all rocks.

I arise today
Through a mighty strength:
            Christ to protect me today
            Against every poison,
            Against burning,
            Against drowning,
            Against deathly wounds,
That I may receive abundant reward.

Saint Patrick

The Macmillan Book of Earliest Christian Prayers, By R. Forrester Church & Terrence J. Mulry, pg. 116.

Saturday, April 22, 2017



John 10:14-15       I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me – just as the Father knows me and I know the Father – and I lay down my life for the sheep.

If you could be any kind of animal, what would you choose? Would you choose a bird, dog, horse or elephant? Most people, when asked, would not choose to be a wolf, snake or goat. Interesting that throughout Scripture followers of Christ are described as sheep. People opposed to Him were labeled goats, vipers or wolves. As sheep, Jesus also claims his title as our Shepherd. How then are we like sheep? And how is Jesus like a shepherd?

Sheep, by nature, are dumb animals. They cannot do tricks like dogs or horses. Unlike cats, sheep will eat anything in sight. They are also very nervous animals. The will scatter for fear from a fluttering leaf, gust of wind or sudden noise. Each will run in their own direction. Besides lacking intelligence and bravery they are also stubborn. It takes prodding by someone to get them to move, each one requiring a poke. Anyone can get them to move, leaving them vulnerable to a bad shepherd or dog. In summary we can say that sheep are easily misled, easily duped and easily in trouble. Sounds like us.

Jesus, our Shepherd, will do everything in his power for us. He even will give his life for us. He will not mislead us. Manipulation is not his game, either. When we find ourselves in trouble, Jesus is only a word away. These are things that make Jesus a Good Shepherd. When we listen and follow Him, our fears, insecurities and troubles disappear. Now that’s Good News.

Jericho Road Ministries Chapel,  2011.

Friday, April 21, 2017



John 3:16   For God so loved the world that He gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

What are you to do when someone says: “So… I read at our college bible study group thing last night in Revelation that the book of life was written BEFORE man… which means who goes to heaven and who goes to hell is already decided…. So what is the point of even trying? Because right now, Christianity is looking very stupid and pointless, and hypocritical too. Why would a God promise salvation if he has already who he wants? Why would I want to worship a god like that.  Because I don’t. Why give up your life to something that doesn’t love everyone?”

Can you agree with this person? When Christians shoot abortion doctors or speak evil to gays and lesbians they seem very hypocritical. When pastors steal funds from the church or run away from their family with the choir director, they look very stupid. When Christians behave like everyone else around them, it seems pointless to strive for their label. Can you agree with this person?

What are you to do when someone says all that? You are to sit down, listen and begin to converse with empathy. Because now you have something in common: Who would want to worship a god like that?

 Not me !

Jericho Road Ministries Chapel,  2011.

Thursday, April 20, 2017



Acts 17:18-21   A group of philosophers took Paul to a meeting of the Areopagus where Athenians and foreigners who lived there spent their time doing nothing but talking about and listening to the latest ideas. They said to Paul, “May we know what this new teaching is that you are presenting? You are bringing some strange ideas to our ears, and we want to know what they mean.”

            I love to read. Most any subject can catch my eye. A good mystery novel, history and even a scientific journal about birds can catch my interest. When the reading turns to Christian subjects, I read broadly across the spectrum of authors. I find some authors difficult to read when what they are saying does not line up with Scripture or with what I have been taught. My usual tendency is to drop such books and move to something more in line with my thinking. I have been challenged to take a different approach lately.

            Denis Haack writes in Critique Magazine: “I do want to read so that my thinking is not merely reinforced but challenged. I want to be challenged by the best that can be arrayed against what I assume to be true. It is not always easy and never very comfortable, but then truth is like that: gritty, real, messy, sharp. If what I believe to be true is convincing only because I live in the shadows away from the best arguments against it, I can hardly claim it to be the light. It may be, but it will always seem dim and untrustworthy, and my claims will always seem to be bravado instead of reality. Having been made “children of light” (Ephesians 5:8) by God’s grace means we have nothing to fear from the darkness.”

            If we are to counter the misleading philosophies and untruths in the world concerning religion and absolute truth, we need to know what we are facing. As your faith grows stronger allow yourself the time to learn to understand the beliefs of those lost in the darkness of our contemporary world.

Jericho Road Ministries Chapel,  2011.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017



Matthew 9:12 Jesus said, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. But go and learn what this means: I desire mercy, not sacrifice. For I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.”

If you never had to pray, how would you know that I am a Deliverer?
If you never had a trial, how could you call yourself an overcomer? 
If you never felt sadness, how would you know that I am a Comforter? 
If you never made a mistake, how would you know that I am a forgiver? 
If you knew all, how would you know that I will answer your questions?
If you never were in trouble, how would you know that I will come to your rescue? 
If you never were broken, then how would you know that I can make you whole? 
If you never had a problem, how would you know that I can solve them? 
If you never had any suffering, then how would you know what I went through? 
If you never went through the fire, then how would you become pure? 
If I gave you all things, how would you appreciate them? 
If I never corrected you, how would you know that I love you? 
If you had all power, then how would you learn to depend on me?
If your life was perfect, then what would you need me for? 


Tuesday, April 18, 2017



Matthew 4:7 Jesus answered him, “It is also written: ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test.’”

            If we don’t use the resources available to us but instead want other resources we don’t have, then we’re testing God. This is what Satan wanted Christ to do. Satan told Jesus to throw himself from the temple when there were steps he could have used to climb down. Someone who doesn’t wear proper clothing in cold weather but expects God to miraculously keep him from freezing is also testing God. This is like the Jewish leaders who ignored the signs they had been given and waited for a different one from heaven. In the same way, people who sleep when they should be working are testing God. Because God promised to take care of them, they assume that God will find a way. But in Proverbs, God told them to work: “Lazy hands make a man poor, but diligent hands bring wealth” (Proverbs 10:4).

            God’s work is accomplished when we use the resources given to us. He wants us to use our resources but not put our trust in them. While it’s true that hardworking hands bring wealth, it’s also true that only the Lord’s blessing brings it. As Solomon said, “the blessing of the LORD brings wealth” (Proverbs 10:22). When people use weapons to defend themselves, God is still delivering them. Without God’s help, people who attempt to deliver themselves will fail. As David said, “I do not trust in my bow, my sword does not bring me victory; but you give us victory over our enemies” (Psalm 44:6-7). God will use weapons to deliver people if weapons are available, but he can still deliver people even if they aren’t available. Therefore, we should make use of what we have but not rely on those things. We must trust in God alone, whether we have the resources we need or not.

 Faith Alone: A Daily Devotional, By Martin Luther. February 6.

Monday, April 17, 2017



1Timothy 6:20     Guard what has been entrusted to your care. Turn away from godless chatter and the opposing ideas of what is falsely called knowledge, which some have professed and in so doing have wandered from the faith. Grace be with you.

The TV is my shepherd, I shall not want.
It makes me to lie down on the sofa.
It leads me away from the Scriptures.
It destroys my soul.
It leads me in the paths of sex and violence
For the sponsor’s sake.

Yea, though I walk in the shadow of my own
Christian responsibilities
There will be no interruption;
For the TV is with me.
Its cable and remote-control , they comfort me.

It prepares a commercial before me
In the presence of my worldliness.
It anoints my head with humanism.
My coveting runneth over.

Surely laziness and ignorance shall
Follow me all the days of my life;
And I shall dwell in the house watching TV forever.

By Marcus Carris

Sunday, April 16, 2017



Mark 10:28-31   Peter said to Jesus, “We have left everything to follow you!” “I tell you the truth,” Jesus replied, “no one who has left home or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or fields for me and the gospel will fail to receive a hundred times as much in this present age…and in the age to come, eternal life. But many who are first will be last, and the last first.”

Remember earlier that Jesus himself commanded Peter to leave his fishing nets behind and follow. Jesus is not condemning Peter because of his laments over lost time with family and friends. Rather, Jesus is helping Peter, and us, see the act of self-denial not as a badge of honor. We are not to boast of our qualified standing as ministers or missionaries for Christ. Nothing in our leaving the secular world for ministry life earns us special favor with God; after all we are only being obedient in doing what he has commanded.

Understand that our leaving the life we have always known is a journey in receiving from Jesus a life so staggeringly full of grace and glory that any sacrifice made to obtain it pales by comparison. If we leave our family behind, we gain a new family of disciples. If we give up our possessions, we gain the right of sonship in the new kingdom. Give up your house and you gain a mansion in heaven. Lose your life and you gain a new one.

Following Jesus is not about giving up all that you have in this world. It is about gaining the abundance of eternal life both now and forever more. This is the double movement of discipleship, leaving behind and receiving abundantly, the two sides of the one coin.

Jericho Road Ministries Chapel,   2010.

Saturday, April 15, 2017



1 Corinthians 2:12-13     We have not received the spirit of the world but the Spirit who is from God, that we may understand what God has freely given us. This is what we speak, not in words taught us by human wisdom but in words taught by the Spirit.

Spiritual discernment is the ability to know what the Holy Spirit is communicating to you. It is the attentiveness you give to God’s  loving invitation to come close to Him and receive his help in life. This is discernment of His presence, power and peace. Out of this awareness you discover God’s divine intention for you in following His will in your life. This discernment of His purpose and priorities for you becomes a shared expression of His love for the world around you.

Where your heart is, there you will find your discernment. If you are like me, your heart needs daily re-alignment with the Holy Spirit. No one is exempt from this. The condition of our hearts directly impacts the process of discerning God’s will for our day. Take a few moments today to think about all which God has made possible in and through your life. Then live this day with thanksgiving, sharing your life with others.

Jericho Road Ministries Chapel,  2009.

Friday, April 14, 2017



John 8:3-11   The teachers of the law and the Pharisees brought in a woman caught in adultery who stood in front of the group. They said to Jesus, “This woman was caught in the act of adultery. In the Law, Moses commanded us to stone such women. Now what do you say?” Jesus said to them, “If any one of you is without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone at her.”…those who heard began to go away one at a time, the older ones first, until only Jesus was left, with the woman still standing there.

Near the end of his life, Carl Sandbur, historian, poet and entertainer, was asked by a reporter, “What in your opinion is the ugliest word in the English language?” Mr. Sandburg drew his brow thoughtfully over his face and repeated the phrase, “The ugliest word in the English language.”

The reporter and television audience waited. Mr. Sandburg gathered his face into a circle of concentration and said slowly, “The ugliest word?” Everyone waited.

Finally, Mr. Sandburg turned back to the reporter. “The ugliest word,” he said, “the ugliest word is (pause) exclusive.”

Preaching.  by Fred Craddock, pg. 135.

Thursday, April 13, 2017



Ecclesiastes 3:1,4,5,7   There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven… a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance… a time to embrace and a time to refrain… a time to be silent and a time to speak…

I sometimes struggle to know what to say in class. No great thoughts or inspirations come to me. When this happens I get in a panic. Not knowing what to say is frightening at times. But then I thought that you probably experience that same lack of words.

Relationships with others often leave us at a loss for words. That is okay. When someone is grieving we can be silent with a hug of love. If someone has erred and needs correction, silence can be the communication of displeasure. Silence itself is frightening, like when you’re in a crowd of people. You don’t know what to say and no one says anything to you.

Silence is an acceptable form of communication. It is a choice to listen rather than speak. It is a decision to allow your presence to say more than your lips ever could. Silence helps you listen to others and not be distracted by your own thoughts. Silence practiced is a sign of your maturity and God’s grace in you.

Jericho Road Ministries Chapel,  2011.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017



John 15:15   I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you.

I often hear people say, “I’m spiritual, but not religious”. It is a popular and cloudy expression. Although the meaning is unclear, what is clear is that the speaker has in mind a clear distinction between being “spiritual” and being “religious”. To this person it is good to be spiritual and not so good to be religious. One is to be embraced and the other to be avoided. The distinction is quite prevalent today in our society.

What we do not hear from people are the words, “I’m religious, but not spiritual”. It is possible that a religious person does not see anything wrong with being spiritual. They may even see themselves as spiritual because they are religious.

The word ‘religious’ is from a Latin root word meaning “to bind”. Religious practices are what bind their beliefs to God and to others. The religious unite their spiritual quest with practices that together bind the heart, soul and body to God and others in love. To be “spiritual” without being “religious” does not tie you to anything. It leaves you flapping in the wind like an un-tethered flag on a pole. God intends that we be complete human beings grounded in Christ and sensitive to His work in us through the Holy Spirit. In love we are obedient (religious) and faithful (spiritual).

Jericho Road Ministries Chapel,  2011.

Tuesday, April 11, 2017



John 15:15   I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you.

Jesus exhibited a team approach to leadership. He knew the game plan and assigned each follower the roles to execute the plan. The disciples were never in the dark about what Jesus believed nor where he was headed. Yes, they misunderstood Jesus. But Jesus did tell them these things, none the less. We read Scripture today and we can see what Jesus was saying about his destiny. The disciples, too, saw and understood after the events of the Cross and the Resurrection.

“Leadership is not about position; it is not about person. Leadership is always a relationship between a leader and a follower – a relationship in which both persons lead and both follow. Both participants in a relationship of leadership exercise leadership, both seek to influence the other. Everyone leads at one time or another as each person seeks to influence the vision, values, beliefs, or behaviors of those around him or her.”

Rescue.  July/August 2011. By Walter Wright, pg. 15.

Monday, April 10, 2017



Matthew 5:14-16   You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.

            ‘For we must consider that we shall be as a city upon a hill,’ Puritan John Winthrop famously preached to fellow immigrants to America aboard ship in 1630. At least two American presidents have quoted him, John Kennedy and Ronald Reagan. His words have resonated for many Americans ever since, reminding them of their spiritual obligations, not just to each other, but to the whole world.

In China today, church members are intimidated, banned from worship, placed under house arrest or arrested for their faith and practice. China tolerates Christian church services, but only within the narrow boundaries of theology and church life dictated by the State Administration for Religious Affairs.

The number of Christians in China number between 20 and 130 million. Recent crackdowns on house-church Christians stems from the Communist Party’s initiative “Operation Deterrence” to force them into compliance with State Religious guidelines.

If America’s churches are truly to be “as a city upon a hill,” they should follow the Rev. Graham’s example and help to shed light on the ongoing repression of their brethren in China.


Jesus in Beijing: How Christianity Is Transforming China and Changing the Global Balance of Power”, By David Aikman, The Wall Street Journal, July 11, 2011, pg. A15.

Sunday, April 9, 2017



 Genesis 32:7-8   In great fear and distress Jacob divided the people who were with him into two groups, and the flocks and herds and camels as well. He thought, "If Esau comes and attacks one group, the group that is left may escape."

            The young woman recounted that as she left a parking lot the other day, she pulled into the lane toward the exit and didn’t see another car coming. The driver had to swerve to miss her. The woman threw up her hands in apology and mouthed “I’m sorry” but the driver pulled in front of her, blocked her, got out, ran toward her gesturing and yelling obscenities and began pounding her hood with his fist She was ready to dial 911 when his passenger coaxed him back inside.

In his book, The Enigma of Anger, Garret Keizer writes: “You will notice how often your day-to-day anger arises when you’re in a rush. Hurrying lowers the threshold of your frustration, even as anger urges you to hurry more. On some visceral level, it makes sense that the engines we employ to give us more speed so often sound angry.” (pg.105)

Toad Hall, By Margie Haack. Summer-Fall 2011.

Saturday, April 8, 2017



Isaiah 53:2-3     He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him, nothing in his appearance that we should desire him. He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows, and familiar with suffering. Like one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not.

            The glory of Jesus’ obedience becomes more wonderful when we realize who he was who perfectly obeyed God. Jesus was none other than the Son of God made man.

He, who was in heaven above all and Lord of all, lived in the world having no earthly glory or reputation, obliged to obey the whole law of God perfectly. He, to whom prayer is made, prayed himself night and day. He, whom all the angels of heaven and all creatures worship, fulfilled all the duties which the worship of God requires. He who is Lord and master of the house became the lowliest servant in the house, performing all menial duties, He that made all men, in whose hand they are all as clay is in the hand of the potter, observed among them the strictest rules of justice, in giving to everyone his due, and out of love giving good things to the undeserving.

This is what makes the obedience of Christ so mysterious and glorious.

The Glory of Christ, By John Owen, pg 59.

Friday, April 7, 2017

A Sailor’s Prayer

A Sailor’s Prayer

 Luke 8:22-25   One  day Jesus said to his disciples, “Let’s go over to the other side of the lake.” So they got into a boat and set out. As they sailed, he fell asleep. A squall came down on the lake, so that the boat was being swamped, and they were in great danger. The disciples went and woke him, saying, “Master, Master, we’re going to drown!”
     He got up and rebuked the wind and the raging waters; the storm subsided, and all was calm. “Where is your faith?” he asked his disciples. In fear and amazement they asked one another, “Who is this? He commands even the winds and the water, and they obey him.”

The Lord is my Pilot: I shall not drift.
He lights my way across dark waters.
He steers me through the deep channels.
He keeps my log.
He guides me by the star of holiness for His name’s sake.
As I sail through the storms and tempests of life,
I will dread no danger, for you are near me.
Your love and care shelter me.
You prepare a haven before me in the homeland of eternity.
You quiet the waves with oil;
My ship rides calmly.
Surely Sunlight and Starlight will shine wherever I sail,
And at the end of my voyaging,
I shall rest in the port of my God forever.

Unknown Author

Thursday, April 6, 2017



 Psalm 65:1-2   Praise befits you, O God, in Zion; to you our vows will be fulfilled. O you who hear prayer, to you all men will come.

            Martin Luther had a barber named Peter who asked Luther “How do you pray?” Martin Luther answered with a not so unusual forty page letter. It was published in 1535 under the title A Simple Way to Pray, for a Good Friend. Listen to this opening paragraph:

                        Dear Master Peter,
I give you the best I have. I tell you how I pray myself. May our Lord God grant you and everyone to do it better.
A good clever barber must have his thoughts, mind and eyes concentrated upon the razor and the beard and not forget where he is in his stroke and shave. If he keeps talking or looking around or thinking of something else, he is likely to cut a man’s mouth or nose – or even his throat. So anything that is to be done well ought to occupy the whole man with all his faculties and members. As the saying goes: he who thinks of many things, thinks of nothing and accomplishes no good. How much more must prayer possess the heart exclusively and completely if it is to be a good prayer!

            This is Luther talking to his barber! This is counseling. Luther puts his counselee up and himself down. Humbly he stands under him and therefore “under-stands” him. He places himself in Peter’s world, and this enables him to pick up Master Peter where he is.

 Martin Luther’s Quiet Time, By Walter Trobisch, pgs.3-4.

Wednesday, April 5, 2017



 Psalm 36:28      My tongue will speak of your righteousness and of your praises all day long.

            Someone has said that no Christian should sing the Charles Wesley hymn titled: O for a Thousand Tongues to Sing, until he has learned to properly use the one that God has given him. All of our senses were given to us to be used for the glory of God.

James presents another thought when he cautions in saying: “With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in God’s likeness.” (James 3:9) Our tongues are capable of producing snide and bitter remarks, sharp criticism, gossip, harsh words and untruths. God is not looking for one person to whom He can give a thousand tongues, but rather for a thousand people, each with a dedicated tongue and a willing heart to offer praise to Christ.

We will never stand before God to be judged for not having had a thousand tongues, but we will have to give account for the way we used the one we have.

Devotional Thoughts From The Hymn Book, By Ruth I. Johnson, pg. 32-33.

Tuesday, April 4, 2017



 Titus 3:4-5   But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior.

Jesus, my feet are dirty. Come and slave for me; pour your water into your basin and come and wash my feet. I am overbold, I know, in asking this, but I dread what you threatened when you said: “If I do not wash your feet, it means you have no companionship with me.” Wash my feet, then, because I do want to have companionship with you. And yet, why am I saying: “Wash my feet”? It was all very well for Peter to say that, for in his case all that needed washing was his feet: he was clean through and through. My position is quite different: you may wash me now, but I shall still need that other washing you were thinking of , Lord, when you said: “There is a baptism I must needs be baptized with.”     Origen

The Macmillan Book of Earliest Christian Prayers, By R. Forrester Church & Terrence J. Mulry, pg. 37.

Monday, April 3, 2017



 Galatians 6:9-10     Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers.

               The Lord commands us to do good to all men without exception, though the majority are very undeserving when judged according to their own merits. But Scripture here helps us out with an excellent argument when it teaches us that we must not think of man’s real value, but only of his creation in the image of God to which we owe all possible honor and love. The image of God, moreover, is most carefully to be regarded in those who are of the household of faith, because it has been renewed and restored in them by the Spirit of Christ.

            If anyone, therefore, appears before you who are in need of your kind services, you have no reason to refuse him your help. Suppose he is a stranger; yet the Lord has pressed his own stamp on him. Suppose he is despicable and worthless; yet the Lord has adorned him with His own image. If he has deserved no kindness, but just the opposite, because he has angered you with his insults, even this is no reason why you should not show him all sorts of favors.

            You may say that he has deserved a very different treatment, but what does the Lord command but to forgive all men their offenses, and to charge them all against Him.

Golden Booklet of the True Christian Life, By John Calvin, pgs. 32-35.

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