Category Archives: Misc. commentary

Love Has everything to do with it

February is known for Ground Hog day and Valentines Day. I am not sure which day gets the most fanfare, but I did see that Walmart is already displaying Valentine’s Day. I didn’t notice anything being displayed for the Ground Hog. So, with that brief introduction the topic for this month will be on Valentines Day or more specifically LOVE.The scriptures are filled with the Love theme. I would like to focus on the passage in John 13:34-35. It says “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this will all men know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.” [NSAB]Almost everyone knows John 3:16. It has been used prolifically by Christians as an evangelical point in conversations with the unchurched or as the bible says “lost.” Believers and pastors especially use the phrase “We love because He [God] has loved us. Actually, 1 John 4:7-11 amplifies the principle of loving God and loving each other. It says “Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. The one who does not love does not know God, for God is love. By this the love of God was manifested in us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world so that we might live through Him. In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.”Now I have been in churches long enough to know that everyone does not get along, and often there is conflict among the members, especially during business meetings. The litmus test for believers is the LOVE TEST. Do we love each other as Christ has loved us? I know many unchurched people say the reason that they won’t go to church is because of the way believers live, both inside and outside the church. Obviously, the people we are trying to reach see/hear how we act towards one another and stay away. Since Jesus died and rose again for us, we should express our faith relationship in Him by loving as we have been loved. Now this brings up a good question – just how did Jesus love us? There are several words in Greek that define love in diverse ways. I know you have all heard this, but it bears repeating. · Eros, or sexual passion. … · Philia, or deep friendship. … · Ludus, or playful love. … · Agape, or love for everyone. … · Pragma, or longstanding love. …  Our Love, the Love of God is Agape love, nothing new here. There is a dominant theme that is being preached in our pulpits, that theme is love and acceptance of everybody. I understand the motivation behind the theme, but what is missing is Agape love. Within our current culture there is a push to accept all people regardless of their behavior, morals, and ethics. This is not what the bible presents. While we live in a pluralistic and relativism culture, we are not to embrace people at all costs. Now I have talked about both the love inside the church and outside the church. During the month of February, we will hear all about the EROS love. This kind of love is a flesh driven sensual love. While our society will celebrate ALL expressions of love, we must be different. Our mission is to love the way Jesus did, unconditionally. This means that we love all people because all people need salvation. Our unconditionality does not condone unbiblical behaviors. Back to our verses in John 13:34-35. Love the way Jesus loved us. Love each other as Jesus loved us. Then the world will see what LOVE really is, instead of what it has been degraded to mean. I fully embrace the other kinds of love mentioned above, however as Paul says in 1 Corinthians 13:13 But now Faith, Hope Love, abide these three; but the greatest of these is Love. There is too much anger and hate on display today everywhere we go. Let us change what people see and let us LOVE so that people will see Agape love in action and be drawn to Jesus!BlessingsDr. Jim

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BE the Church not GO to Church

By now most of you have heard that the Southern Baptist Convention is being investigated by the United States Department of Justice. This investigation is a result of the Sexual Abuse Task Force report that was presented at the SBC annual meeting in Anaheim this year. The Messenger made resolutions to establish procedures to correct abuses, compensate victims and establish accountability for churches and clergy.

We live in a very difficult changing culture. We are all affected by the worldview, values [or lack thereof] morality and criminal behavior that is seemingly allowed to go uncontested or restrained. We always hear that “we are to be in the world but not in the world.” John 16:33 says “These things I have spoken to you so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation but take courage; I have overcome the world.”

There are countless passages in scripture that talk of difficult days for the church and the believer. At such a time when the church body should be strengthen itself, the opposite appears to be true. We live in a fallen world; I am a fallen man. There is no one without sin.

There have been times in history when the Church fought against issues, beliefs and evil. At times the Church was the evil being done. I am concerned that instead of bring glory to the Father and our Savior Jesus Christ; we are bringing reproach to the Gospel and the Name of Jesus.

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed all of us in some way. We must come to the realization that “we” cannot go back to a pre-Covid-19 time. Everything has changed. The Church has been exposed for its failing to pursue the Great Commission [Matthew 28:18-20]. The Lost are still lost. Churches and people have become institutionalize. I have tried to convey to our churches and pastors, we must not look at how to go back, but how we can go forward!

Please understand me, I know there are many places where the Gospel is proclaimed and lives that are a glorious testimony of the love of Jesus. However, for the majority of Christendom, it is in decline. Attendance in down 25-35% across all denominations. More and more the unredeemed have an animosity towards religion and the Church. I read recently where a library in the Midwest removed the Bible because it was considered offensive.

It is one thing for the world to act like it does, quite another for the Church of Jesus, the Bride of Christ to “look the way she does!” I was appalled at the 288-page report that exposed the sexual abuse that has been allowed to go unchecked. Even more broken when I read the names of the SBC Executive Committee and past presidents of our denomination named in that report. SBC has 47,000 churches, and a second report shared a 700-name database of clergy who had been charged and investigated for sexual abuse, and nothing done, but being allowed to move to another church. These things must not be so!!!

I have witnessed more works of the Flesh [Galatians 5:19-21] than I have Fruit of the Spirit [Galatians 5:22-23] in the Church. We could easily give the excuse that it is just the Latter Days, the culture is responsible, it’s the politics and the Media’s fault. No, a thousand times No. We are without excuse! It is our watch. Judgment begins at the House of God.”

The Gospel cannot be soft sold; salvation cannot be an afterthought in a sermon. The Gospel must be preached and lived out by those who profess it. The Apostle Paul wrote many of his Epistles to correct and admonish the behavior in 1st century churches. You have heard that “The World is going to Hell in a hand-basket.” But it cannot be going there in a basket the Church is carrying!

The night is far spent, it is time for the Righteous of God to stand up and take a stand. For if we neglect so great a task before us – then who will win the Lost? It is time to put away our petty differences and conflicts. Eternity is too long, and the need is too great for the Church to sit idly by and do nothing.

I realize this is a hard message, but if not us, then who? If not now, then when? It is imperative that we BE the Church, not just go to church.

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Freezing, Frazzled and Frustrated

Welcome to the continuing saga of 2020! I know there were a lot of hopes that 2021 would finally bring an end to the crazy 2020 year, but like I mentioned before, turning a page does not change anything; it takes HEART change to make a difference.

I want to thank all who have called, sent cards, and inquired about my multitude of surgeries! Even while I type this article, I am waiting for the Dr. to call about when the vocal cord reversal surgery will happen. I know that I am not the only one with medical issues. So, prayers for all are a comforting assurance that our Lord will be the Jehovah-Rapha!

I recently read a book [not much talking] called “America’s Expiration Date” by Cal Thomas. The book is very interesting and brings a message of truth from scripture and history. In our present time of civil, church and community turmoil, Thomas calls us to return to the biblical mandate of “Loving God and Loving Others.” I recommend this book highly, it captivated me because of the review of history and the various rise and fall of nations/empires beginning with Persia and then applying all the lessons to our present USA time.

There is a bit of a sobering point to all that Cal Thomas says, the fact that no nation/empire has ever rebounded back to supremacy after a moral and ethical decline. Yes, I think we must look at our current moral decadence and realize that our country is severely withdrawn from not just the biblical call to holiness, but also to a civilized moral and ethical code.

So, what was the answer to all of the failure, demoralization, and depravity? Thomas quoted a single verse, a verse that has been used over and over through the years – 2 Chronicles 7:14. We all know this verse, can probably quote it perfectly. REVIVAL is a MUST! Thomas is not calling for meetings or revival services to be scheduled – He is calling for what the Old Testament prophets advocated to Israel; Repent, Return, Reconciliation, Restoration and Revival. The message then and now seems to fall on deaf ears. We know that even Israel was taken into captivity because of their continual rebellion and idolatry. I just read a blip today where the writer was asking the question – Does anyone hear the voice of John Wesley today? The question was not asking for Wesley’s oratory abilities, but for the prophetic message from God to fall on our knees and submit to the authority of God and His Word.

I think we are all guilty of apathy in our lives at times. This cannot be one of those times! The clarion call to all of us in leadership of the churches and people of Faith in Christ to be about restoring the “glory of God” back into our worship and living!

Is there still hope? Absolutely! I am reminded of a wayward back-slidden preacher named Jonah who was tasked with preaching a prophetic word to Nineveh, the capital of the Assyrian empire. He reluctantly [after much persuasion] preached through the city for three days. God displayed His mercy and long-suffering by granting a 100-year reprieve of destruction because the people heard Jonah’s message, acted on that message, and were spared the wrath of God. Will we as Americans, Christians, and heir and joint heirs with Christ do anything less for our lost world?

The government is not the answer. New polices are not the solution. We are the solution; we are to be salt and light. Have we lost our flavor and our brilliance? As the Church goes, so goes the nation. Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord!

Dr. Jim

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Reality of Covid-19

Philippians 4:6; “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.” [NASB] A similar admonishment is found in Matthew 6:25-34, referencing worry or anxiety. In the present day that we find ourselves this can be and has been a difficult task. We are immersed in a time within our country and world where everything seems to be out of control. When I hear of all the social protest and crime in many of our cities across the country, I cannot help but think of the toll this is having emotionally, mentally, and spiritually on people. I do not want to get into who is right and who is wrong, that is not the focus of this article. Rather I would like to exchange some ideas of how human and fragile we are as God’s creation.

I have been asking others and myself about how the Church will come out of this time of turmoil and upheaval. It is one thing for Churches and their Pastors to navigate the Covid-19; quite another to add on the social unrest, elections, schools opening or not opening, and politics on top of the virus.

When I talk with pastors and leaders, I have found that I want to genuinely know how they are doing. I am not asking how their ministry or church is functioning, but how are they as a PERSON coping with everything. Some are surprised with question and then others are ready to open up about the difficulties they are going through. I think that sometimes we get so wrapped up in the minutia that we forget that it is real people and places going through the raging storm.

I read an article by Ed Stetzer about How to Convert Retreat into Advance [Blog Ed Stetzer in Mission Group Blog 7/20/2020] In the blog he referenced FDR’s quote of “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.” The context of the quote found our nation coming out of the Great Depression and the bombing of Pearl Harbor, drawing Americans into World War II. At a point of great tribulation and unknown future, the President was trying to rally people to view the days with optimism not pessimism. I have found that if I allow myself to, I can really get depressed and anxious about the world around me. Usually this is fueled by listening to reporters tell me how bad everything is going.

In Stetzer’s blog, he identifies some principles we need to do in order to “Advance rather than Retreat.” First, renew our vision to what God has called us to. We are to be on mission with the Gospel. People need hope and Jesus is this Hope. Secondly, Reset your why. In other words, remember WHY we are doing what we are doing. God has commissioned us to be HIS ambassadors with the Gospel. We are to be the Light and Salt in a world that desperately needs direction and truth. Thirdly, Stetzer talks about “returning to the mission.” When I read this, I thought about how the Church during all this has been a Hybrid Church – both trying to meet physically and virtually at the same time. Oh, by the way school systems are trying to navigate that issue now. We have the greatest opportunity to make a difference in our current situation with the Gospel then we have had in the last 25 years. Here are some TRUTHS:

Truth, the Covid-19 is no longer a novelty, but a burden with no specific end in sight. Another Truth, we are all tired of it and want life to return to normal. Truth, we no longer have a Normal. Even if the Covid-19 ended today, we are probably looking at another 12-18 months of adjusting to a New Life existence.

Truth, I do not have the answer to all of this. I do not know where this is all going to end up. I need the very HOPE that I am sharing with those without Jesus need.

Truth, this has had an effect on me physically, emotionally, spiritually, and mentally. There are times I want to run and hide, but I know I cannot. So, my only choice is to trust in the Lord with all my being. That may sound overly simplistic, but it is the best answer I have right now. So, let us all extend mercy and grace to one another, for life just is not easy right now. I am praying for you and the Churches of Galveston Baptist Association, that we will Advance the Gospel, not Retreat into isolation!




Dr. Jim




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Esther -Queen for the Season

Esther 1-3

Growing up there was a reality show called “Queen for the Day.” Basically, it took normal women, many being homemakers and put them through an elimination process, to get the final contestant and she would be crowned Queen for the Day.  In our passage this week, we have the young maiden-virgin Esther who would be crowned “Queen for the Season.” As we will read later, Mordecai, her cousin will make the famous statement – “Who knows but for such a time as this, you are queen.” [paraphrase of Esther 4:14]

I find that many times looking back at my own life, wondering why now, why here? Of all the places and times I could have been born and lived – I find it both challenging and mysterious that people were born at the exact right time – Galatians 4:4 tells us that Jesus was born in the fullness of time. When the timing was right, God sent forth Jesus born of a virgin. This tells me that there had to be a particular environment for Jesus to be born. Investigating this we find that the world was under “Pax Roman” – peace of Rome and the roman road system built; also the language was Greek, and the unrest within Judaism.  People were looking for a Messiah figure, several imposters have been documented in istory.

Back to Esther; in the first two chapters we find King Ahasuerus reigning over 127 provinces and living in Susa. This is also during the Babylonian Exile period.  During a “look at Me” gathering the King having drank a bit too much, commanded the Queen at that time to present herself – I have no idea why Queen Vashti refused, other than not wanting to be a spectacle. If we look at this story, we find that both King and Queen were feeling their oats so to speak.  Well, the King didn’t take the rejection lightly and held a court counsel to determine what to do. Basically, Queen Vashti lost her title. The problem then if the episode was let stand without any action, would that the women would look upon their husbands with contempt. This issue in itself is worthy of future study beyond this blog. Basically, to prevent the empire to have marital upheaveal – Queen Vashti was expelled.

Well, you can’t have an empire without a Queen, so the plan was to have a “Beauty pageant.  At this point, I’m sure many of the readers are saying “How sexist and demeaning!” I’m just telling the story, okay. So all throughout the empire, beautiful virgins were sought and put under the care of Eunuch Hegai “and cosmetics were given them.” Yes even back then women adorned themselves with cosmetics. This is when Mordecai suggests that Esther [aka Hadassah] participate. Esther must have been something to behold, for every one who sees her is taken back with her beauty.  For a year, the ladies were doted on  with all beautification spices and cosmetics. Each lady had one night to influence the King enough to be slected. This almost sounds like the “Bachelor” reality show. ANyway, Esther is called to the King for the evening – I won’t speculate on what happened at this point.  Anyway Ether finds great pleasure and favor from the King. The favor would result in Esther being crowned Queen – “yet Esther had not yet revealed who here kindred people were.” An incident involving a spoiled plot against the king is thwarted by Mordecai and written in the annals of the Empire history.

The plot thickens when Haman, an Agagite; [ancestor of Esau, and an Amalekite, Agag and Amalek  have always been against the Jews “Jacob’s offspring” – we find that this fight has been on-going for centuries; Herod the Great was an Idumean and a relative of Esau – so the war rages on] is advanced to a great position of authority and given the King’s signet ring. All were to pay homage and bow down before Haman – except Mordecai refused. Haman filled with rage tries to get King Ahasuerus to enforce an edict that anyone who did not bow, would be killed. Haman indicted all the Jews – saying they were against the king and needed to be destoryed. So the edict was released to all 127 provinces and the people are terrified.  Chapter 3:15, while drinking with Haman in Susa, the rest of the city was in confusion. This is usually our state of mind when we don’t understand why thinking happen as they do.  Too often we react rather than respond to life situations and usually then it is an emotional one. Just like Covid-19, this story of Esther must be seen in its entirety before we can get some semblance of understanding. Next week the rest of the story and why each episode is important to the end of the story – which plays out during our own life time.



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Elijah Syndrome and Covid-19

Passage from 1 Kings 18-19

The Famous Mount Carmel battle between the Baal Prophets and God’s Prophet is well known. The display of God’s power when the man of God prays is unlimited. James 5:17 – Elijah was a man like us; he prayed for it not to rain for three years and it didn’t. I want to focus on the “Man Like us” part of the verse. We know that Elijah was a great prophet, but he was a man. While there were great episodes in his life where the power of God was on display against the enemies of the WORD and His prophet.  1 Kings 18 tells us about the great victory Elijah was a part of in determining who’s god was God. Equal test, sacrifice a bull on the altar and cry out to your god and the god who consumes the sacrifice is God.  Of course the Baal prophets cried out and shouted, cut themselves all day and nothing happened. We know that Elijah ridiculed them and even made fun of their god, saying maybe he is a sleep or relieving himself. After the Baal prophets succumbed to the futility of their efforts; Elijah had his turn. He rebuilt the altar, had water poured on the sacrifice not once but twice. He called out to Yahweh and fire came down and consumed the sacrifice and licked up even the water! Wow, Yahweh is God, then Elijah slew all the Baal prophets.

The connection with Elijah and the Covid-19 is this; Elijah had a melt down after a great victory over the Baal prophets to the point that he ran for his life because of the threat from Jezeebel. For the last 8 weeks or so pastors and ministers have been working overtime to ensure that their congregations got a sermon and service; with the “going back” to church starting even this week, I think there may be a severe let down that the crisis is over. I have been really impressed with the “CHURCH” and how it has stepped up during the “stay at home orders and social distancing.” I have learned that mankind usually will rise to the occasion to meet a threat or crisis. The Church hasn’t been the only people to rally around defeating this virus; first responders and medical personnel are to be lauded for their great compassion and sacrifice to help other people. I have seen the effects like this when natural disasters occur here in Texas and other parts the world. BUT, after the majority of the crisis is over or at least been over come and a semblance of “normality” has been restored, the mind, body and soul have a “crash.

I mean that there has been so much energy expended to keep the “machine” going that there may be a physical, mental, emotional and spiritual let down coming back. Elijah rose to the task of defeating the Baal Prophets, but after the adrenaline rush wore off, he succumbed to a depression so great he ran to a cave to hide.

My whole point in this blog is to possibly warn us about what could happen POST COVID-19. We know that the Hand of the Lord was on Elijah; but He was a man like unto us – human! Hearing the threat that jezebel was going to kill him, he ran. How often do we forget the way God responds to our prayers in the past when facing another dillemma? Lest we miss this depth of this depression look at 1 Kings 19:3 – “He was afraid, and he rose and ran for his life.” This Elijah who took on 450 Baal prophets ran because of a threat from an evil woman. 1 kings 19:4- so Elijah goes a days journey and sits under a juniper tree and asks that he might die; saying “it is enough; now LORD take my life.”

After that God comes twice and provided food for Elijah, that will enable him to go into the wilderness for 40 days; specifically Mount Horeb – the very place where God speaks and gives Moses the Law. In the cave, hiding – God speaks to him “Elijah what are you doing here?” Of course Elijah like many of us we will spew forth our allegiance to God and how we have served Him and we are all alone in doing so! I’m all alone, even i only am left and they seek my life!  Then Elijah is told to go stand at the opening of the cave – first a great wind, then an earthquake and then fire; but God was not in any of them. Then Elijah hears a low whisper, so he wraps himself in his cloak and goes and stands at the opening of the cave again. Again God asks “Elijah what are you doing HERE?” Elijah presents his testimony of allegiance to God. God tells Elijah – Get up and get back to work! [paraphrase].

God was not in the big and magnamous; he was in the still small voice. Too often as believers we look for the huge and gigantic miracles to prove that God is; but He is just as present in our quietness and silence. With the Post Covid-19; my fear is that too many of us will have a let down emotionally, physically and spiritually where we experience a sort of Elijah Syndrome – of collapse after the crises is brought under control. Our God is the God of the big, the threatening, the small and even things we think are insignificant. God is God over all, and through all. We don’t need to go hide in a cave and think we are the only ones serving God righteously. He has servants we do not know about. We are not alone!!

Let us not fear because there is no longer a major threat to our lives and “we have overcome” but let us rejoice in the Power of prayer and faith in our God who reigns surpremmely!  Joshua 1:9 – Be strong and of good courage!


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The last month has been an absolute rollercoaster of emotions and news announcements about the Covid-19 pandemic! I am sure that all of you are stressed out and tired of hearing about the every-changing, daily updates as I am. We have had to deal with the morphing of the virus and movement across the world. The daily updates and statistics have now moved to a new demanding answer -WHEN can we come out of Stay At Home orders and resume our life as normal? This includes getting our economy back moving, shop openly, eat out, go back to work and last of all the number one question I hear is WHEN can we go back to Church?
I have passed on as much information from various sources to our pastors and leadership. This question is being researched and scrutinized by everyone. I have heard some churches are looking at going back as soon as April 26th. Others have taken a more cautious approach and looking at Mid-June. So, what is the criteria that will determine when we are allowed to “congregate” again? I made a public statement yesterday and supported the Union Baptist Association and the Austin area of not moving too swiftly on this matter. Basically, I support a first part of June return date.
I know everyone is antsy to get back to NORMAL. But coming out of this GLOBAL PANDEMIC we have to ask what is normal, and what do we think we are returning to? I have been persuaded to ask many questions about that last question – what are we going back to? I posted a blog  last week at “” on GOING BACK IS NOT AN OPTION.” Israel always wanted to go back to Egypt when there were obstacles and struggle along the journey to the Promise Land. I want to share an “Exit Strategy” from Covid-19 as we come out of the stay at homme order and return to the NEW NORMAL. Before I talk of the strategy, there is a burning question every person and church must ask; HOW HAS LIFE CHANGED because of the pandemic and WHAT IS THIS NEW NORMAL? I ask these questions because in reality we have to ask DID NORMAL WORK? To return to a system or status that did not work, seems ludicrous.
As we come back to our Churches, then we must make sure to get this right – for if we miss this eternal moment in the life of Mankind, I fear there may not be another opportunity for repentance and revival of the Church and salvation for the Lost. That being said here are five principles every church and pastor must consider: [these principles attributed to my friend Dr. Tom Cheyney of Renovate ministries]
1. Be Clear in your Directions; make sure you communicate clear, leaving no doubt as to what you want the people to do or not do.
2. Be Confident in your Desires; this means being sold out to the ideas and actions you are going to implement or change.
3. Be Committed in your Decisions; no waffling – stand strong in the direction you are going. People will need to see confidence and your personal commitment to the plan.
4. Be Corrected by your Defeats; this means be flexible and allow for somethings that will not work but be ready to adjust when necessary. I would add, do not be in a hurry.
5. Be Conscious of God’s Dependability; God is faithful, He is immutable -does not change. God the same yesterday, today and tomorrow.
I would add that is more important HOW we come Back than it is WHEN we come back. Our return to the buildings we call the Church cannot be about our assembling together again. It must be about the praise and worship of Jesus Christ and our Heavenly Father.
Many churches will probably return back to the same “routine normal” they left. Seeing this period of the virus only as an interruption and nothing more – that would be a grave mistake. The Churches have filled the airwaves and internet with their services and sermons. These have engaged and impacted the lost world. SO much has been done to help mankind to weather this storm. My prayer is that the LOST will not look around in a few weeks and ask “WHERE DID THE CHURCH GO? Only to have someone tell them “OH, THEY WENT BACK TO THEIR BUILDINGS!”
Jim Grant
Executive Director

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Going Back Not an Option

Exodus 14:11-15; 15:22-25; 16:1-12 ; 17:1-3

Grumblings, fear, obstacles and impatience. As we come out of this pandemic, many are starting to devise “way forward” plans. When we read about Israel coming out of Egypt, we find that at every turn the people GRUMBLED at Moses – not the LORD GOD, but Moses. Leadership must always be on display during and after a crisis. As Pastors, State and country leaders all across the globe look to move past the quarantine orders and try to move their respective areas back to a “Normalcy,” there will be must scrutiny about plans and progress.

I have written a couple Facebook entries that expressed the concern that people, institutions, churches and governments will try to “Go Back” to what life was like before. To me that is like trying to put the genie back into the bottle after it has been let out. Israel always wanted to GO BACK to Egypt when something became inconvenient or uncomfortable. Even when they were on the cusp of going into the Promise Land the first time, many let their fears and anxieties rule the day. Something that Israel never did learn the during the 40 years of “Wilderness Wanderings” was that GOING BACKWARDS was not an OPTION. No matter the problem they faced going forward [armies in pursuit, no water, no food, or giants in the Land] going back to what Egypt offered was never considered by GOD.  It was HIS plan that Israel should always live in the Promise Land. He made this known to Abram, Isaac and Jacob multiple times.

Now, as Christianity has stepped up during this pandemic to make sure that services and care for their congregations took place; the NEXT STEP is a vital one. Will Churches and Believers move forward? During this critical time, there has been great outpouring of people providing humanitarian relief and support – AMEN. But we must remember that the CHURCH must be the Light in the World not Government bail outs and stimulus packages. I laud the great benevolence and care provided by the masses – But I know they are looking to get past this time and return to their normally comfortable life.

This begs the question: what have we learned from all of this?

  1. In difficult times mankind will pull together to help those in need
  2. Governments will try to eradicate the problem
  3. Money will be the first choice to eliminate the discomfort from the crisis
  4. The Church can be counted on to COME out of isolation to be a Light to the World
  5. People will always grumble against Leadership
  6. There will always be those who rebel against the PLAN
  7. People are more in a hurry to get past an issue than to learn the LIFE LESSONS of going through it
  8. People are always in a hurry to get control back of their lives
  9. God is God in the good times and the difficult times
  10. Life adjustments must be made individually, not levied by Public opinion
  11.  Mankind can live without all the excesses; basic needs always outweigh the wants in a crisis

These are just some thoughts I have about this phase of the pandemic we are experiencing. The bold question to be answered by all of us; believers and non-believers alike: WHAT DID THIS PANDEMIC DO TO ME? WHAT DID I LEARN ABOUT MYSELF? God has provided this time for a reason. If we only look at the minute details of the pandemic, which I am sure many books will be written about- then we have missed this ETERNAL MOMENT!

I think this pandemic is a wake up call to the Church to get busy with God’s mission of saving the Lost through the Gospel and charity. In that this is a global problem I also believe it is a warning to mankind to become human again. Mankind had gotten to a point of such myopic living the reins had to be pulled back. A third thing I think should be that we learn what is essential and what is luxury.  I had hoped we would stay in this until Christians become unified and collaborative – my fear is we haven’t learned anything.

So Going Forward, not Backward what is it that the LORD GOD wants you to learn and do?

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Resurrection Sunday- From Rumors and Rabbits to Reality and Relationships

April 12, 2020

While we have celebrated the Empty Tomb and the Resurrection; we find that the disciples didn’t have the reality of the day. We do have scriptural accounts of what happened after the women returned and told the disciples that Jesus’ body was gone. They [peter and John] ran to the tomb and yes they found the tomb empty except for the grave linens. Two places give us insight to the Resurrection day – Luke 24 and John 20.  While we know Jesus appeared to Mary Magdalene, the disciples discounted her, thinking she was speaking {nonsense}. They hadn’t seen Jesus’ resurrected body yet. They like Thomas needed first hand evidence for themselves. Before we get to the John20 passage; we are given a conversation with two on the road to Emmaus. The two were returning home; the fireworks are over – No Jesus, No overthrow of the Romans, and no hope, the “Messiah” was dead and now missing. The two had heard the reports and conveyed them to Jesus. NOTE: I am amazed that Jesus doesn’t allow himself to be “seen” until He is ready to be seen. The two walking along discussing the last few days trying to make sense out of it all. Suddenly Jesus joins in and ask them what are you talking about. What are these things, What Things? Are you a visitor and don’t know what has happened the last few days? Isn’t it interesting that even though they do not believe the reports of what happened, they are readily willing to pass on the story. The HOPE that Jesus was the Messiah, who would redeem Israel, and now it is even the third day. Relating the visits to the Empty Tomb and yes it was empty – But they didn’t see Jesus – It does make sense that if Jesus was resurrected that He would be seen.  “O Foolish men . . . . ” Then Jesus teaches them what they should have already known from the scriptures. Their hearts and minds were on fire – and their eyes were opened – then Poof Jesus is gone. Now think about this next scene – already home, they turn around and head back to Jerusalem to tell the others. Think about this, the disciples have been in the Upper Room all day; nothing to report other than the women and their “vision”. The two return and start relaying their story to the disciples and yep you got – Jesus shows up. Could it be that Jesus was giving the disciples time to reflect and be ready believe then see? The two from Emmaus  – “He is Risen, the Lord really is risen!” Validation of the testimonies of us who have experienced the REVELATION OF JESUS BEING ALIVE AND OUR RELATIONSHIP TO HIM AS SAVIOR; IS affirmed by His presence in our Lives – Jesus’ resurrection changed the world, changed men and changed eternity forever.

I once heard that seeing isn’t believing – Believing is seeing; we call that FAITH!

I’m not really sure where the Rabbit comes into all of this – but the RUMORS were no more; the stories were TRUE – REALITY was finally settling in to the disciples hearts and minds; when Jesus appears.

John 20 – two different times Jesus appears; I mean walks right into the room, not using the door! And we wonder why they didn’t believe? I’m sure right about then, I would be jumping out of a window or something – this can’t be, Jesus is right here and He is talking to us! I have done nearly 300 funerals in the last 20 plus years. I have never had anyone sit up in the casket!

No more rumors, rabbits don’t have a place in this story. But RESURRECTION AND RELATIONSHIPS DO!

Jesus’ death was necessary for the blood sacrifice for sin; His resurrection was necessary for HIS LIFE IN US.  Salvation relationship is SOMEBODY [Jesus] IN SOMEBODY [Me]

As we close out this day  we have to remember it took all day before the disciples understood that Jesus was Alive. We know how the story ended before we got up this morning, they however had to wait until Jesus REVEALED  Himself to them.  It is my prayer for all of us – don’t lay your head down tonight until Jesus has revealed Himself as risen LORD, not just Jesus on the CROSS!

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Silent Saturday

April 11, 2020 – The Jewish Sabbath, a day of rest according to the Mosaic Law

I was thinking of the various day names surrounding Easter:

Ash Wesnesday

Maundy Thursday

Good Friday

Easter/Resurrection Sunday

But there is a day that rarely anyone talks about – Silent SaturdayWe have plenty of commentary on the other days, but what happened on Saturday? Only in Matthew 27:62-66 do we have anything said about Saturday. The greatest fear the religious leaders had was that Jesus’ body would be stolen and give credence to what He said about raising up “This Temple”.  So a seal was put on the stone to let them know if the grave had been tampered with, that and a guard was placed to keep watch.

Seals and Soldiers – Okay, so the Tomb is secure, the guard in place and the rest of the Disciples are huddled up in the Upper Room waiting for the Sabbath to be over. The Sabbath is suppose to be a time of rest and worshipping God. Instead I think inside the Upper Room the disciples were asking all the questions they could think of – but we find that the answers didn’t come until Jesus arose from the grave. [Then the disciples remember what He said, after  the resurrection – Luke 24:9.] I can’t imagine all that went through theirs minds and hearts during that long day. I’m sure they were in shock at what happened; guilt ridden for how they ran from the scene; pondering the suicide of Judas; anger and remorse of how the crowds and religious leaders used mob tactics to have Jesus killed on the cross.

But there are some other things that went on during that day. The scene of the religious leaders securing the grave as I mentioned. But what about where Jesus was? We know that Psalms 16:10; I will not leave your soul in Sheol [place of the dead]. This begs the question  – what happens when someone dies? Where do they go? We have the story of Lazarus and the Rich Man in Luke 16:19-31, a place called Hades. The Rich man in one part and Lazarus in another part in “Abraham’s bosom.  There is a great divide between the two, one cannot go from place to place. Wherever a person finds themselves, that is their lot until the Judgment. [Revelation 20:11-15]. To help us answer the question of where Jesus went, we also have to ask where the Old Testament saints went when the died. Obviously, they didn’t go to Heaven, access was not available yet. So they waited – Waited in a place called Hades. John 14:6 tells us that no-one can come to the Father except through Jesus. We know that Jesus is the first fruits of the resurrection; Ephesians 4:8 tells us that Jesus when He ascended having first descended, led captive those who were captive. It is my understanding that Jesus liberated those who had been waiting for their eternal Salvation. SO as Jesus ascended to the Father, He led the Old Testament Saints into the presence of the Father. Their HOPE was in the Coming Messiah; ours today is also in the COMING, but His 2nd Coming! The great gulf had been spanned through the precious Blood of the Lamb of God. Also today we know that – “to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord [1 Corinthians 5:8]. Today when a person dies, he/she can go into the presence of Yahweh because the “wall of separation has been tore down.” [Eph. 2:14-15]

So, imagine while the rest of mankind was waiting and hiding; those who by faith had trusted in God, their waiting was over! Imagine if you can what it must have been like for them to see Jesus the Messiah enter into their presence – I can hear Him say “Let’s Go Home.” As saints are in Heaven even now waiting for US – 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18!

I think God likes Gardens – Of course there is the tragic rebellion incident in the Garden of Eden; also the place where the first sacrifice for sin was slain; and that was done by God. We also find that the Garden of Gethsemane; God provided another sacrifice – the Last Sacrifice for sin. There have been preachers and commentaries that think A “Jesus had to present His blood in Heaven, to the Father as a Passover/Sin sacrifice.” I’m not so inclined to follow that thought. All I know is that the shed blood of Jesus Christ was the price that was necessary as the Lamb of God to satisfy the “death penalty of sin, and cleanse/forgive all who trust in Jesus as the Son of God and sacrifice for sin. The Blood of Jesus was the ONLY way mankind could come to the Heavenly Father; reconciled back to HIM – the offense of SIN which began in Eden had finally been revoked by Faith in Jesus.

Silent Saturday – not very much, for while mankind was SILENT; God was in Christ, but He was anything but silent. We must wait, as the Old Testament saints waited. But our Wait is with anticipation that a trumpet will sound and Jesus will say for a second time – “Let’s Go Home!”


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