Archive for November, 2022

Fire and Water

Some years ago, near a rarely used trail in the Amargosa Desert in California, there stood an abandoned hut. Nearby was a well, the only source of water for miles around. Attached to the pump was a tin baking-powder can with a message inside. It was written in pencil on brown wrapping paper. It read:

“This pump is alright as of June 1932. I put a new sucker washer into it and it ought to last five years, but the washer dries out and the pump has got to be primed. Under the white rock I buried a bottle of water, out of the sun with cork end up. There’s enough water in it to prime this pump, but not if you drink some first. Pour in about 1/4 and let her soak to wet the leather. Then pour in the rest medium fast and pump like… you’ll get water. The well never has run dry. Have faith.

When you get the water up, fill the bottle, fill the bottle and put it back like you found it for the next feller.

P.S. Don’t go drinking the water first! Prime the pump with it and you’ll git all you can hold. And the next time you pray, remember that God is like the pump. He has to be primed. I’ve given my last time away a dozen times to prime the pump of my prayers, and I’ve never failed yet to git me an answer. You got to git your heart fixed to give before you can be given to.”

Perhaps this story is lacking a bit theologically, but it illustrates the point of providing for others as others have provided for you.

The issue is clear: immediate personal gratification vs delayed desires and postponed self-gratification — security versus compassion. The Golden Rule comes into play: “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. Love is the motivating influence.

Teilhard de Chardin, French philosopher, wrote, “Someday after we have mastered the winds and the waves, the times, and gravity, we will harness for God the energies of love, and then for the second time in the history of the world man will have discovered fire.”

Have you built any fires lately? Love motivates us to share the love of the Lord with others in our dry and thirsty land. Strange, isn’t it, that water and fire should illustrate such love.

These words from the song, “Set the World on Fire” is a good theme for each of us.

“Light the world on fire. Don’t stop until it surrounds you,
Light the world on fire. Don’t stop until we all hear you,
And we got a world that’s on the edge. Trying to find a way to change it.
Yeah we got a world that’s on the edge, And you could be the one to change it all.”
Strange, isn’t it, that water and fire should illustrate such love.
Be the living dramatization of such love shared in Jesus’ name.

On Being a Teacher

You are marketing your brand of Christianity. You are the best example of Christianity some will ever see. How near what it is supposed to be are you?

Historically the best teachers have taught best by example. Though they were not Christians, they form an example of teaching by example. Socrates was a peripatetic teacher. That is, he taught while walking. One young man who walked with him was Plato. Plato taught Aristotle. Aristotle influenced a young aspirant named Alexander whose exploits resulted in him being called “the Great.”

Great exhorters have leapt across generations to influence lives.

Augustine held high the torch of faith amid the ruins of Rome, a collapsing civilization. The flicker of that torch was seen years later by Martin Luther who led the Reformation of the church in Europe. 

Luther faced the hostility of church and state with his faith as a background to announce, “Here I stand.”

Robert Louis Stevenson wrote in his Travels with a Donkey, “The best thing we find in our travels through the wilderness of this life is an honest friend. We travel indeed to find them.

Today you might very well encounter someone looking for a friend. By becoming that friend you can bear witness of the faith by how you live and then by what you say. To be a witness, be a friend.

Pollution and littering are not limited to the world of paper, metal, and plastic. Look around in the landscape of your mind and you will likely find a junkyard of people. These are people you have discarded. They are your throwaways. Some of these may have been dropped as easily as a gum wrapper. Count the number you have dumped in the last year while looking for a perfect one. If you want an exciting adventure go back and try recycling some. We salvage bottles, aluminum cans, and newspapers. Why not recycle friends? Many fail to do this and live a lonely life. Friendship is self rewarding.

Emerson noted our misplaced priorities and commented: We take care of our health, we lay up money, we make our roof tight, and our clothing sufficient; but who provides wisely that he shall be not wanting in the best property of all — friends?”

You are a teacher, good or bad, dependent upon how you live, the love you show, and the friends you influence by your life and you sharing. Jesus is the prototype of befriending a person. He dined with Matthew, he went fishing with the apostles, He brightened the home of Mary, Martha, and Lazarus with friendship.

In effect you teach every person you befriend, if only for a moment, Enjoy life by befriending people in Jesus’ name by what you say — and first show.


Slavery is a despisal thing. Much is said about the horror of it. Yet, not enough is said about the scope of it. Not regarding yesterday, but today. There is no greater slavery than is exercised in America today. It is the slavery to a great master, yourself.

When you yield to something, you will soon realize the tremendous control it has over you. Even though you say, “Oh, I can give up that habit whenever I like,” you  know you can’t. The habit completely dominates you because you willingly yield to it. You may claim you can break a bad habit anytime you want, but experience shows it is a dominating habit. Remember the good definition of a habit is, “I have to have it now.”

Scripture defines slavery this way, “…you are that one’s slaves whom you obey….” (Romans 6:16)

You, and you only, are responsible for the things that control you. If you are under the control of some slavish habit it is because you willfully submitted yourself to it. It is a damnable tyrant. Conversely, if you obey and follow Jesus it is because somewhere along the way you determined to.

Some bad habits are obvious, such as drug addiction, and using profane language. Some more covert ones are equally bad, if not more controlling, such as, greed, lust, covetousness, or avarice. Consider lust, whether it is the lust of the flesh or the lust of the mind, it can be controlling. Whether obvious or obscure all bad habits can be controlling, enslaving that is.

There is no power within the human soul itself that is capable of breaking the bondage of the nature created by yielding. Bad habits are more difficult to free oneself from in the energy of the flesh than it was for a physical slave to escape from an owner who was a taskmaster.

In the form of slavery once practiced in America there was only one way to freedom, redemption. It was possible for someone to pay the price of redemption and purchase their freedom. 

No release or escape from one’s habitual master will ever come from any human power, but it can come through the power of redemption. You must yield yourself in utter humiliation to the only One who can break the dominating power in your life, the Redeemer, the Lord Jesus Christ. 

In a previous era the church sang the truth: 

“He breaks the power of canceled sin, He sets the prisoner free;
His blood can make the foulest clean; His blood availed for me.”

Hopefully your heart can sing that song of liberation. If not, it can as of now if you yield to Him and resolve to obediently submit to His Lordship. Be free, do it.

Good habits are also hard to break. Break free of old bad habits and start today to make some new good ones to replace bad ones.

Work It Out

“And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.” Romans 8: 28

It should be noted this provision is only applicable “…to those called according to His purpose.”

All this “we know”—know it for a certainty, from the word of God, from our own experience, and from the experience of other believers.

The late F.B. Meyer said, “If any promise of God should fail, the heavens would cloth themselves in sackcloth, the sun, the moon and the stars would reel from their courses; the universe would rock, and a hollow wind would moan through a ruined creation the awful fact that God can lie.”  Don’t worry, that is not going to happen for “…it is impossible for God to lie….” Hebrews 6: 18 

It is not unreasonable that this provision is only for believers. If you went to a physician you did not like or trust you likely would not take his prescription or submit to his treatment. If you don’t love God, and trust His wisdom you will rebel against him.

In summary the verse does not teach that all things are good, they simply are not. What is means in essence is that in all things, all things, God is very busy to bring the good out of them. Trust Him to see that it is true.

Daily you consume two deadly poisons sodium and chloride. Taken separately they are deadly. Together Sodium Chloride, NaCl, is salt.

Imagine these untaste items in a mixing bowl: raw eggs, flour, shortening, a tablespoon of salt, and a cup of sugar. With the exception of sugar any one or a combination of any would not taste good. Combined they are the ingredients of a tasty cake.

God often has more distaste items in His mixing bowl in order to produce something good in our lives. 

It is easier to see this in the big events in life than in the small. Little ones add up as is illustrated in this scenario. Start with a penny a day and double it every day for thirty days. In just 30 days the total would be 536,870,912 pennies totaling $5,368,709.12.

In the text “work together” is in the present tense, meaning they keep on working together. They never stop. They never stutter or stop working together. With this in mind consider life a motion picture, not a snapshot. Each frame relates to all others. Together they make a beautiful film.

Job, whose suffering is legendary, is an example. Was his sickness good? A resounding, no. His response counters this no. “He knows the way that I take.” “When He has tested me, I shall come forth as gold.”

Consider things going on in your life. What is the architect of eternity designing for your life? Whatever it is, it is something good. “We know” because “…it is impossible for God to lie….”

Pray for the Ukrainian People

Vladimir Putin is a man of his word, but one few people seem to believe it. When elected this last time he said he wanted to reunite the former Soviet Union. February 24, 2022, at 6:20 AM  Putin continued his crusade. He is keeping his word. Our government knew a year in advance he planned to invade Ukraine.

On a different front China is drooling over Taiwan. We still have time to do there what we could have done in Ukraine. That is to arm Taiwan so thoroughly that China would say we can take it, but the cost is too great.

If Putin is a man of his word Moldova, Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania are on his drawing board. Even Hungary and potentially Poland are next.

Meanwhile back home President Biden continues his efforts to further appease the “Green” proponents especially the “Squad.” Never mind the escalating prices in America are full speed ahead. To achieve their objective, reducing drilling for oil and continuing the Canadian pipeline is essential. We can buy oil from Russia. Our oil is so very much cleaner than theirs. Theirs will pollute our country more than our own oil.

The debacle in Afghanistan was a go ahead for Putin. Seeing weakness in our leadership emboldened him.

Our government has offered to aid President Volodymyr Zelenskyy in fleeing the country. He refused. He has appeared on television telling his countrymen that would probably be the last time they would see him alive, but that he was staying and not going anywhere. Patrick Henry said what in 1775? In case some modern students don’t know it was, “Give me liberty, or give me death.” 

What does our president do? He offers sanctions saying, “…we all know sanctions won’t work immediately, we can have a conversation in a month or so and see if they are working. That must frighten Putin. 

This is not a horror free war. Most Russians soldiers are employing the same tactics used by Genghis Khan. It is to destroy, burn, ravage, pillage, rape, and murder without mercy so that other cities might surrender to avoid such.

Aside from gaining oil rich Ukraine with its fertile fields of golden grain crops is a religious component. The Russian Orthodox Church is a puppet of the state. While serving the dear people of the Roswell Street Baptist Church as pastor we had 85 upper echelon of leaders of the Russian educational community worship with us. Privately they told me of their efforts to reform the educational system and introduce morality therein, being opposed by the Russian Orthodox Church. They did not have freedom of religion in Russia. Ukraine did. There was a concern that freedom in the Ukraine might catch on in Russia. Russia feared the independence of the free Ukrainian Orthodox Church.

One thing Putin fears is a free people.