The worst kind of lazy

The worst kind of lazy

We hope with all our hearts that each one of you will display the same zeal to make your hope come true and that you will go on doing so until the end, so that you may not become lazily lethargic but may copy those who through faith and patience inherit the promises. – Hebrews 6:11,12

Hebrews 6:9-12

 9 Dear friends, even though we are talking this way, we really don’t believe it applies to you. We are confident that you are meant for better things, things that come with salvation.

 10 For God is not unjust. He will not forget how hard you have worked for him and how you have shown your love to him by caring for other believers, as you still do.

 11 Our great desire is that you will keep on loving others as long as life lasts, in order to make certain that what you hope for will come true.

 12 Then you will not become spiritually dull and indifferent. Instead, you will follow the example of those who are going to inherit God’s promises because of their faith and endurance.

The doldrums is a term used by sailors to describe areas of the sea where sailing ships are unable to move because there is no wind. It changes seasonally but lies near the geographic Equator where the northeast and southeast trade winds converge. It is called the Intertropical Convergence Zone (ITCZ).

The doldrums is a common expression denoting listlessness or despondency, sadness with no energy or enthusiasm.

“I have heard that hard work never killed anyone, but I say why take the chance?” (Ronald Reagan). Another writer quipped, “Who says nothing is impossible? I’ve been doing nothing for years.” Lazy is such has such negative connotations that some have relabeled it as selective participation.

Two aspects that are hallmarks of “laziness” are associated with depression: the lack of motivation and an inability to feel happiness when doing things you once loved.

Everyone feels unmotivated from time to time for a number of reasons, such as bad news, loss, failure, etc. The lack of motivation caused by depression is deeper and more persistent. It says, “Why should I bother? Nothing matters and nothing ever changes.”

Anhedonia (a clinical term for the inability to experience happiness), is common in people suffering depression. An analogy: suppose you are a painter and suddenly, all the color has been taken out of your paints. You can still paint, but without color, your canvas will be all black, white, and grey. It will look bland and dull, uninteresting and you will not feel the same about the finished effort. The finished painting lacks meaning. There is no joy in it.

Depression can make you extremely critical of others and self-critical. It can rob you of your sense of worth and it can make you hate yourself. It becomes a self-fulfilling prophesy.

Laziness and spiritual depression are among the worst kind of self-defeating, negative emotions. Many people just shut down.

Hebrews 6:12 so that you may not be sluggish

The Greek term translated dull, sluggish, or slothful is nothros. It can easily be rendered lazy and has the sense of being slow to become involved, reticent, slothful. “The term lazy may be expressed as ‘not wanting to do anything’ or ‘not wanting to work’” (UBS).

“We must not be lazy (‘slothful,’ the same word as ‘dull’ in Hebrews 5:11) but apply ourselves to the spiritual resources God has given us. We have the promises from God. We should exercise faith and patience and claim these promises for ourselves” (Wiersbe)!

We not only become lazy at doing, but also at hearing.

Hebrews 5:11 We have much to say, and it is hard to explain, since you have become dull of hearing.


“I’m lazy. But it’s the lazy people who invented the wheel and the bicycle because they didn’t like walking or carrying things” (Lech Walesa).

Father thank you that no matter how low I go or how discouraged I become, You are always there for me. When I am deep in the doldrums, it is hard to look up. But I am looking up as much as I can.


There are times in our experience when we get stuck in the doldrums emotionally and spiritually. Times are arid and devoid of joy. At such times, there are two alternatives. We can give up our confidence and our service. Or we can determine to go on. Take baby steps in the right direction. Consider David after the confrontation by Nathan regarding his sin. Here’s a great one-liner, a place to begin.

Psalms 51:12 Let me again experience the joy of your deliverance! Sustain me by giving me the desire to obey!

Psalms 51:5-17

 5 I was guilty of sin from birth, a sinner the moment my mother conceived me.

 6 Look, you desire integrity in the inner man; you want me to possess wisdom.

 7 Sprinkle me with water and I will be pure; wash me and I will be whiter than snow.

 8 Grant me the ultimate joy of being forgiven! May the bones you crushed rejoice!

 9 Hide your face from my sins! Wipe away all my guilt!

 10 Create for me a pure heart, O God! Renew a resolute spirit within me!

 11 Do not reject me! Do not take your Holy Spirit away from me!

 12 Let me again experience the joy of your deliverance! Sustain me by giving me the desire to obey!

Even the downtimes are part of the Father’s plan for our lives. Some things are only learned in the doldrums. Rather than ask why this is happening, determined to learn everything you can when dispirited and downhearted. Such times will not last indefinitely. They are like a lawnmower and eventually they run out of gas.

Always remember: You’re braver than you believe, and stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think (A. A. Milne).

Comments, Suggestions, Requests are sought and welcome.


Superheroes and sin

Superheroes and sin

Let your light shine before others in such a way that they may see your good works and glorify your Father who is in heaven. – Matthew 5:16

Judges 3:7-11

7 The Israelites did evil in the LORD’s sight. They forgot about the LORD their God, and they served the images of Baal and the Asherah poles.

 8 Then the LORD burned with anger against Israel, and he turned them over to King Cushan-rishathaim of Aram-naharaim. And the Israelites served Cushan-rishathaim for eight years.

 9 But when the people of Israel cried out to the LORD for help, the LORD raised up a rescuer to save them. His name was Othniel, the son of Caleb’s younger brother, Kenaz.

 10 The Spirit of the LORD came upon him, and he became Israel’s judge. He went to war against King Cushan-rishathaim of Aram, and the LORD gave Othniel victory over him.

 11 So there was peace in the land for forty years. Then Othniel son of Kenaz died.

The ancient world had countless historical and mythological superheroes: Ulysses, Leonidas, Judas Maccabeus, Hercules, Jason, etc. Superheroes brought order and justice to a chaotic world. Contemporary superheroes have their origin in the pages of comic books in the late 1930s. Their stories shape our shared mythology. They tap into the wishful hope that no matter how tough things become, the world can be made right again.

The Father put a wall of sorts between Israel and its neighbors because they were different. Instead of worshiping idols, the Jewish people worshiped the one true God who made the heavens and the earth. The Mosaic law is not a man-made invention, but rather it is a gift from the hands of the Father. Israel alone had the ark of the covenant where God dwelt in His glory.

The Father made it very clear to the Jews that they were Not to study “comparative religions” and get interested in the pagan practices of the Canaanites (Deuteronomy 7:1–11). That kind of curiosity is often the first step in a downward spiral toward conformity with the worst pagan practices.

The nation of Israel was meant to be a light amid the darkness of paganism. It was the Father’s intent to use them to lead others to faith in Him. What a difference it would have made in subsequent national history, if the Jews had won the Canaanites to the Lord instead of the Canaanites winning the Jews to Baal (Wiersbe)!

But alas, Israel wanted to be just like everybody else and fell into disobedience and idolatry. Instead of Jewish people remaining pure and true to their worship of the Father and allowing the Father and His influence to change their neighbors, the gods of their neighbors changed them.

The book of Judges covers a period of time in ancient Israel’s history between Joshua and the conquest and the beginning of the monarchy and Saul. The book of Judges puts on display a repeated cycle of sin, judgment, repentance, and deliverance. Repeatedly, the Israelites did evil in the sight of the Lord. The Father in turn became angry and gave them over to foreign invaders. The people recognized the evil of their ways, repented, and the Father raised up for them a superhero, a rescuer, a judge.

A period of normality and peace was restored until the next time.


The world is a dark and alluring place. Each child of the King battles their own unique cycle of sin. Regrettably, it is part of our fallen condition living in a fallen world. It is far too easy to succumb. If only the phrase, “until the next time,” could be expunged from our human experience.

Father encourage my heart and strengthen me to remain true and faithful to You and Your Word.


1 John 2:15-17

 15 Do not love this world nor the things it offers you, for when you love the world, you do not have the love of the Father in you.

 16 For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life, is not from the Father, but is from the world.

 17 The world is passing away, and also its lusts; but the one who does the will of God lives forever.

We are faced with seemingly overwhelming odds and difficult choices every day. Choose wisely. The Lord Jesus Christ has prayed and is praying for us now.

John 17:14-17

 14 “I have given them Your word; and the world has hated them, because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world.”

 15 “I do not ask You to take them out of the world, but to keep them from the evil one.”

 16 “They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world.”

 17 “Sanctify them in the truth; Your word is truth.”

“The world competes for the Father’s love (1 John 2:15–17), but the Word of God enables us to enjoy the Father’s love. One of the first steps toward a worldly life is the neglect of the Word of God” (Wiersbe).

In the front of his Bible, D.L. Moody, “This book will keep you from sin or sin will keep you from this book.”

Comments, Suggestions, Requests are sought and welcome.


Little Big Man

Little Big Man

When I look at the night sky and see the work of your fingers – the moon and the stars you set in place – what are mere mortals that you should think about them, human beings that you should care for them? – Psalms 8:3-4   

Psalms 89:1-12 

 1 I will sing of the LORD’s lovingkindness forever! Young and old will hear of your faithfulness.

 2 Your unfailing love will last forever. Your faithfulness is as enduring as the heavens.

 5 All heaven will praise your great wonders, LORD; myriads of angels will praise you for your faithfulness.

 6 For who in all of heaven can compare with the LORD? Who among the heavenly beings is like the LORD

 7 The highest angelic powers stand in awe of God. He is far more awesome than all who surround his throne.

 8 O LORD God of Heaven’s Armies! Where is there anyone as mighty as you, O LORD? You are entirely faithful.

 11 The heavens are yours, and the earth is yours; everything in the world is yours – you created it all.

 12 You created north and south.

Question: how big is the universe? No one knows! Theoretically it could be infinitely large, or only a small part of a multiverse.

As we understand it today, the universe is all of space and time. We can’t measure what we can’t observe. But the observable universe is estimated to be 93 billion light-years in diameter. 

The earliest models of the universe were geocentric, placing Earth at the center. Nicolaus Copernicus developed a heliocentric model with the Sun at the center of the Solar System. Further observational improvements led to the realization that the Sun is one of hundreds of billions of stars in the Milky Way, which is one of at least hundreds of billions of galaxies in the Universe.

Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote that if the stars came out only once in a century, people would stay up all night gazing at them.

King David was awed by the night sky 3000 years ago. It was immense and beautiful. Yet as he contemplated it, he realized that it was but finger work for the Father. In other words it took no effort, but rather delicate design. Sculptors and painters use their fingers to do delicate and sensitive work. On the other hand, the stonemasons and builders of the colossal pyramids employed arduous, grueling, strenuous effort to create their massive achievements.

But the work required to create the vast universe and all that is, was nothing for the Father.

Our attention should be drawn to the Creator, not the creation. That which is immense and perhaps immeasurable is small and insignificant in comparison to the One who made it. In 3000 years, our understanding of and appreciation for the vastness of our created universe has expanded remarkably. The planet Earth and people now seem even more inconsequential than ever.

So what of mere mortal human beings, the tiny, seemingly insignificant specs which we are? Mankind is tiny, puny. Why would the Father bother with us at all? Why does He invest His interest in and care for us?

This is one of the more important questions for people to consider and contemplate. To ask the question, begs the answer.


Psalms 19:1 The heavens declare the glory of God; the sky displays his handiwork.

Father, taking time in our busy and harried world to view Your creation and contemplate it leaves me totally awed. Thank You for loving and caring for me.


The Lord God Almighty has revealed Himself to us as a compassionate and loving Father. The living God’s concern for people is driven by His fatherly compassion.

In 1962, Karl Barth, one of the most well-known of modern Christian theologians, was asked to summarize the essence of all that he had published. The answer was quick and startling: “Jesus loves me this I know, for the Bible tells me so.”

The vastness of the creation shows that I am little. Yet in the Father’s eyes I am big. Indeed, in His sight I am a Little Big Man! The Father did not need us, yet He created us from the dust of the earth. He designed a magnificent and wonderful world for us to live in. He cares and wants to take great delight in us

Psalms 8:3-4 

 3 When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place,

 4 what is man that you are mindful of him, and the son of man that you care for him?

Notice that the psalmist writes “what is man,” “not who is man?” Rather than using the customary Hebrew word for who, the writer uses the Hebrew word ma, which translates as what. “The resulting connotation is derisive: What are measly human beings . . .? If the psalm ended here, the implication would be that in light of God’s infinite glory, it is only with a scornful wonder that this world can see finite human beings” (Rolf and Tanner).

But the psalm does not end there. What appears to be a disdainful denigrating question, draws our attention to the magnificence of the answer. People rather than being insignificant, are created by the King just a little lower than heavenly beings.

Modern science sees humanity as being just a little higher than other animals. But the Father’s perspective is antithetically different. We are instead just a little lower than heavenly beings. On top of that people are given glory and honor.

Each of us is personally cared for and loved by the King. Each of us is indeed a “Little Big Man.”

The Hebrew word translated care is paqad. Paqad means to care for, be concerned for, take interest in, take note of, or visit graciously.

The more we learn about the vastness of the universe, the more impressive this question becomes. Although we are but a speck drifting in the immensity of the cosmos, God places His love and unwavering attention on us (Stanley).

He died on a piece of wood, yet He made the hill upon which it stood! (Hal Lindsey)


Running wild

Running wild

When people do not accept divine guidance, they run wild. – Proverbs 29:18

Exodus 32:19-35

 9 When they came near the camp, Moses saw the calf and the dancing, and he burned with anger. He threw the stone tablets to the ground, smashing them at the foot of the mountain.

 20 He took the calf they had made and burned it. Then he ground it into powder, threw it into the water, and forced the people to drink it.

 21 Finally, he turned to Aaron and demanded, “What did these people do to you to make you bring such terrible sin upon them?”

 24 So I told them, ‘Whoever has gold jewelry, take it off.’ When they brought it to me, I simply threw it into the fire – and out came this calf!”

 25 Moses saw that Aaron had let the people get completely out of control, much to the amusement of their enemies.

 30 The next day Moses said to the people, “You have committed a terrible sin, but I will go back up to the LORD on the mountain. Perhaps I will be able to obtain forgiveness for your sin.”

 35 Then the LORD sent a great plague upon the people because they had worshiped the calf Aaron had made.

How do people come to know and understand?

Over the millennia, there have been three recognized methods employed by people to learn and know things: experience, thinking, and revelation.

Empiricism holds that knowledge comes from sensory experience. It emphasizes personal experience, observation, and perception.

Rationalism suggests that knowledge is based primarily on logic, intuition, thought, reflection, and contemplation.

Many great discoveries and been made through experience and thoughtful consideration. But both experience (empiricism) and thinking (rationalism) are constrained by human limitations. Is it possible that there is information which exists apart from human experience and reflection?

Yes, the Father and the information which He alone possesses, is totally outside the realm of our personal reality and knowledge. When we meet the Father and enter into a personal relationship with Him, a whole new source of learning opens up to us. Divine revelation found in the Scriptures, becomes a new basis of knowing and understanding.

The Father exists apart and separate from limited reality of people. Human capabilities are finite, the Father has no such limitation. Much of what man has “discovered” was actually revealed in the Scriptures thousands of years ago. For example, the universe as we know it is not eternal, but it had a beginning. Modern science refers to this as the Big Bang.

The Scriptures provide revelation that informs us of things we cannot know in any other way. They provide answers to questions which are unobtainable through rationalism and empiricism. Is there really a God? What is God like? Why is there evil in the world? What is the Father’s provision for it? What is the nature and source of human sin? Why did the Lord Jesus Christ die? Why was He resurrected? What does the future hold and how does history end?

Regrettably, many who live in the modern scientific era believe that divine revelation is no longer a source of knowledge. The logic is quite simple. Often, modern man rejects the existence of God. It follows that if there is no God, there can be no divine revelation.

The Scriptures plainly provide ample warning and caution regarding the consequences of abandoning revelation.

Proverbs 29:18 Where there is no prophetic vision the people cast off restraint,


The number of times that I have done what was right in my own eyes and abandoned the truth of the Father’s revelation is embarrassingly large.

Father encourage me to take Your revealed truth seriously and make it the foundation of my belief and actions.


In Proverbs 29:18, the Hebrew word translated vision is chazon. It may be translated revelation, prophetic vision, or divine guidance. It refers to the ability to discern events or the ability to foresee or anticipate the future.

The Hebrew word translated cast off restraint is para. Para means to neglect, let go, let loose, or throw off authority. It is used in the passive form in the Hebrew and means to lack restraint.

Judges 21:25 In those days there was no king in Israel; everyone did what was right in his own eyes.

Ecclesiastes 8:11 When a crime is not punished quickly, people feel it is safe to do wrong.

When we depart from the Father and His truth, we often fall into anarchy and simply run wild. What happens when a society rejects God’s revelation, and everyone does as he sees fit? You get a culture that looks a lot like 21st century America (Stanley).

Without the firm foundation of absolute truth, things are constantly shifting, unsettled, uncertain, and adrift. The social compact of civilization simply breaks down We do what is right in our own eyes without regard to any higher authority or truth.

Is it possible for modern culture and society to have harmony, balance, and restraint without absolute truth?

Choices have consequences, and bad choices have bad consequences. There are often unintended and unanticipated outcomes of bad choices. Such consequences are often far worse than the choices themselves. Conduct that appears to be safe and appropriate can wind up being a disaster.

Proverbs 16:25 There is a way which seems right to a man, but as its end is the way of death.

“In the Hebrew text the metaphor is more vividly expressed: “There is a way that seems right before a man, but at its end are ways of death.” A man stands at the beginning of a road and it looks fine to him; but when he comes to the end, he discovers death lies before him no matter which way he turns” (UBS).

“God forgives sin and wickedness when we repent and come to Him in faith, but He does not always prevent us from experiencing the consequences of our wicked behavior” (Stanley).

Life choices are often beset with danger and deception. They often appear to promise or even deliver happiness, power, and the good life (Ross). But whatever we gain, does not provide lasting results. They certainly do not accompany us into eternity.

What ultimately matters is not what we know or acquire during our lives on earth. Rather than what, lasting satisfaction is derived from Who we know.


Whatever is inside the cup, is what will spill out

Whatever is inside the cup, is what will spill out

“It is not what goes into the mouth that defiles a person, but what comes out of the mouth; this defiles a person.” – Matthew 15:11

Matthew 15:18-20

 18 But the words you speak come from the heart – that’s what defiles you.

 19 For from the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, all sexual immorality, theft, lying, and slander.

 20 These are what defile you. Eating with unwashed hands will never defile you.”

You are holding a cup of coffee when someone comes along and bumps into you or shakes your arm, making you spill your coffee everywhere.

Why did you spill the coffee?

“Well because someone bumped into me, of course!”

Wrong answer!

You spilled the coffee because there was coffee in your cup.

Had there been tea in the cup, you would have spilled tea.

Whatever is inside the cup, is what will spill out.

Therefore, when life comes along and shakes you (which WILL happen), whatever is inside you will come out. It’s easy to fake it, until you get rattled.

So we have to ask ourselves… “What’s in my cup?”

When life gets tough, what spills over? Joy, gratefulness, peace, and humility? Or anger, bitterness, harsh words, and reactions?

You choose! (, August 27, 2018)

People tend to focus on externals: appearance, cleanliness, attractiveness, weight, external flaws, or the lack thereof, or pigment of the skin. In the days of the Lord Jesus Christ, religious leaders were highly absorbed and preoccupied with externals, while totally ignoring what really mattered, the internals, the matters of the heart.

Matthew 23:23-28

 23 “What sorrow awaits you teachers of religious law and you Pharisees. Hypocrites! For you are careful to tithe even the tiniest income from your herb gardens, but you ignore the more important aspects of the law – justice, mercy, and faith. You should tithe, yes, but do not neglect the more important things.”

 24 “Blind guides! You strain your water, so you won’t accidentally swallow a gnat, but you swallow a camel!”

 25 “What sorrow awaits you teachers of religious law and you Pharisees. Hypocrites! For you are so careful to clean the outside of the cup and the dish, but inside you are filthy – full of greed and self-indulgence!”

 26 “You blind Pharisee! First wash the inside of the cup and the dish, and then the outside will become clean, too.”

 27 “What sorrow awaits you teachers of religious law and you Pharisees. Hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs – beautiful on the outside but filled on the inside with dead people’s bones and all sorts of impurity.”

 28 “Outwardly you look like righteous people, but inwardly your hearts are filled with hypocrisy and lawlessness.”


The words that come out of our mouths indicate what is in our hearts.

Father encourage and enable me to reverse the terrible trend of evil that is lurking in my heart and fill my cup with gratitude, forgiveness, joy, words of affirmation, kindness, gentleness, and love.


When James speaks of the tongue, he is not referring to the physical organ itself, but rather to what it produces: words and speech. The Scriptures warn us time and time again by example and explicit instruction of the need to control our words.

James 3:2-13

 2 Indeed, we all make many mistakes. For if we could control our tongues, we would be perfect and could also control ourselves in every other way.
 3 We can make a large horse go wherever we want by means of a small bit in its mouth.
 4 And a small rudder makes a huge ship turn wherever the pilot chooses to go, even though the winds are strong.
 5 In the same way, the tongue is a small thing that makes grand speeches. But a tiny spark can set a great forest on fire.
 6 And the tongue is a flame of fire. It is a whole world of wickedness, corrupting your entire body. It can set your whole life on fire, for it is set on fire by hell itself.

 10 And so blessing and cursing come pouring out of the same mouth. Surely, my brothers and sisters, this is not right!
 11 Does a spring of water bubble out with both fresh water and bitter water?
 12 Does a fig tree produce olives, or a grapevine produce figs? No, and you can’t draw fresh water from a salty spring.
 13 If you are wise and understand God’s ways, prove it by living an honorable life, doing good works with the humility that comes from wisdom.

Heretofore, James analogies were indirect similes: one thing is like another thing. “Here his use of analogy becomes direct, through metaphor; one thing is another thing. The tongue is ‘a fire’” (Richardson).

“The little spark is the cause of the entire destructive event of a forest fire. The tongue is the point of entry for the world’s greatest evils. Its boasts inspire multitudes to evil . . . the wickedness of the world is an immense blaze set by the little fire of the tongue” (Richardson).

James 3:6 And the tongue is a flame of fire. It is a whole world of wickedness, corrupting your entire body. It can set your whole life on fire, for it is set on fire by hell itself.

James personifies hell and recognizes it as an active force that stimulates and inflames abusive, destructive words. James is saying that hell itself burns within us. Hell is seen as an active agent that impels vicious, abusive, demeaning, mocking, hateful, violent, often curse filled, uncontrolled words, and tongue lashings.

What ultimately is responsible for the words we blurt out in uncontrolled moments?

Colossians 4:6 Let your conversation be gracious and attractive so that you will have the right response for everyone.

Sadly, it is the content of our hearts. Whatever is in our hearts bursts forth. We alone can prevent the destructive fires our words produce. It is incumbent upon each child of the King to take responsibility and work to change the content their hearts. But it is an uphill battle! But by the grace of God, it is a battle we can win.

Isaiah 6:5-7 

 5 Then I said, “It’s all over! I am doomed, for I am a sinful man. I have filthy lips, and I live among a people with filthy lips. Yet I have seen the King, the LORD of Heaven’s Armies.”

 6 Then one of the seraphim flew to me with a burning coal he had taken from the altar with a pair of tongs.

 7 He touched my lips with it and said, “See, this coal has touched your lips. Now your guilt is removed, and your sins are forgiven.”


Another chance

Another chance

I, yes, I alone, will blot out your sins for my own sake and will never think of them again. – Isaiah 43:25  

Micah 7:18-20

 18 Where is another God like you, who pardons the guilt of the remnant, overlooking the sins of his special people? You will not stay angry with your people forever, because you delight in showing unfailing love.

 19 Once again you will have compassion on us. You will trample our sins under your feet and throw them into the depths of the ocean!

 20 You will show us your faithfulness and unfailing love as you promised to our ancestors Abraham and Jacob long ago.

Second Chance Bikes refurbishes, repairs, and donates used bicycles to needy kids, needy adults, including the homeless, the disabled, and military veterans.  Ernie Clark is a retired New Jersey police officer, who founded Second Chance Bikes in 2006. Hundreds of impounded and donated bikes are sent to Ernie Clark and his team of volunteers to restore and donate each year. Second Chance Bikes has provided over 4500 bikes to others since it began its nonprofit work.  

Every bike deserves a second chance. Not only do the bicycles get a second chance, but many of the recipients do as well.

If you have made mistakes, even serious ones, there is always another chance for you. What we call failure is not the falling down but the staying down (Mary Pickford).

When the Father gives second chances, they can transform people’s lives. In the eighth century BC, times were very dark. The nation of Israel was mired in personal, social, governmental, and religious sins of all types. Under the circumstances, we might expect that the Father, who is holy, righteous, and just, would be harsh and punish. Rather, the Father chose love and forgiveness. He offered the people another chance.

The Father called the prophet Micah to serve Him. Micah was sent to the people to offer grace, loving kindness, and mercy. Micah cried out and lamented, “The godly people have all disappeared; not one honest person is left on the earth” (Micah 7:2).

Frankly, Micah was astonished by the Father’s loyal love. Micah was humbled and awestruck by such remarkable compassion and gentleness. Rhetorically he queried, “Where is another God like you, who pardons the guilt of the remnant, overlooking the sins of his special people?” (Micah 7:18).

Why is this important? The Father who was willing to offer forgiveness 3700 years ago to rebellious, defiant, and sinful people is the same today as He was then. He makes the identical offer to us. The Father will never abandon us even as He did not abandon them. The Old Testament prophets continually were sent to the Father’s wayward and rebellious people. The prophets identified the people’s sinful behavior and called them to repentance.

Micah 7:19 Once again you will have compassion on us. You will trample our sins under your feet and throw them into the depths of the ocean!

The bottom line is quite simple, the Father is loving, forgiving, and full of grace and acceptance. In spite of all we do, He alwaysoffers another chance when we repent and seek Him.

2 Timothy 2:13 If we are faithless, He remains faithful, for He cannot deny Himself.

Sadly, sin and consequent repentance are not one-off events but seem to recur throughout our lifetimes. The more we sin, the more discouraged we become. But the Father never changes. He is always gracious, faithful, and reaches out to us.


Never confuse a single defeat with a final defeat (F. Scott Fitzgerald).

Father when I reflect and consider the rebellion and all of the sins I have flippantly done before you, I realize that only a gracious, kind, and forgiving God could offer another chance. And so You do! Thank You.


Though no one can go back and make a brand new start, anyone can start from now and make a brand new ending (Carl Bard).

Take chances, make mistakes. That’s how you grow. Pain nourishes your courage. You have to fail in order to practice being brave (Mary Tyler Moore).

Micah 7:18 There is no other God like you! You forgive sin and pardon the rebellion of those who remain among your people. You do not remain angry forever but delight in showing loyal love.

What is the heart of the Father truly like? He delights in showing loyal love, grace, mercy, kindness, and gentleness. He genuinely loves people. Because of His great love, He sent His son to die for the sins of the world. His mercy is not deserved or earned. Judgment and death are the natural consequences of our actions. The Father has no obligation to forgive our sins or pardon our iniquity. Who besides our Father in heaven is like that? He doesn’t just forgive; He loves to forgive.

In Micah 7:18 The prophet asks the rhetorical question “Who is a God like you?”

To such a question, the intended reply is “No one.” The Father’s matchless nature is affirmed. When it comes to forgiving, loving, and sharing grace, the Father is incomparable. Any effort to compare the Father’s grace to puny human grace, utterly fails. When it comes to grave sins, no one is like Him pardoning and forgiving. It is totally contrary to human nature.

Exodus 34:6-7

 6 The LORD passed in front of Moses, calling out, “LORD! The LORD! The God of compassion and mercy! I am slow to anger and filled with unfailing love and faithfulness.

 7 I lavish unfailing love to a thousand generations. I forgive iniquity, rebellion, and sin.

The answer is spelled out again and again in the book of Micah. The Father alone has hesed, loyal love, lovingkindness, unflappable grace. The Old Testament book of Micah opens with the anger of God and closes with the grace of God. Micah begins with God treading on the earth and melting mountains and ends with God treading our sins underfoot and melting human evil. Micah starts with wonder about what God is like and concludes affirming that nobody is like him (Shank).

Our heavenly Father is the only God who works on the behalf of His people. All other gods demand that people work for them. Regrettably, people project on to him their own traumatic life experiences and expectations. Many envision Him as a hard, mean, and cruel ogre who seeks to uncover and punish every violation and imperfection.

Nothing could be further from the truth! The Father is loving, caring, and welcoming! All wayward children of the King are sought after and beckoned to return, come, and experience the warm embrace of His outstretched arms (Matthew 11:28-30).

The Father is not merely willing, but eager to forgive any and all kinds of sin. 


Looking back

Looking back

“Anyone who puts a hand to the plow and then looks back is not fit for the Kingdom of God.” – Luke 9:62

Philippians 3:7-14

 7 I once thought these things were valuable, but now I consider them worthless because of what Christ has done.

 8 Yes, everything else is worthless when compared with the infinite value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have discarded everything else, counting it all as garbage, so that I could gain Christ

 9 and become one with him.

 10 I want to know Christ and experience the mighty power that raised him from the dead. I want to suffer with him, sharing in his death,

 12 I don’t mean to say that I have already achieved these things or that I have already reached perfection. But I press on to possess that perfection for which Christ Jesus first possessed me.

 13 No, dear brothers and sisters, I have not achieved it, but I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead,

 14 I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us.

Plowing is the process of turning over and loosening the top layer of soil. Plowing fields turns organic matter, such as manure, into the soil adding nutrients. This makes it easier for seedling crops to take root and has the added benefit of removing crop residue and weeds.

It is difficult to plow. One cannot plow when it is too wet, as it dries into rock hard clumps. One cannot plow when it is too dry, it is like plowing blacktop. When the moisture is just right, plowing goes well.

Plowing requires that you plan a route that is efficient and know where you will need to stop and turn the plow. It is most important when you begin to plow, you pick a stationary object on the far side of the field, and fix your eyes on it, and plow towards it. This keeps your rows straight. You do not look backward. If you turn your head back, you will veer off course. The results can be wasted effort or even catastrophic loss.

Being a disciple also requires focus and concentration. It is hard work similar to plowing. When a farmer who does not concentrate and keep his eyes looking forward, things do not work out well. Discipleship requires discipline and sacrifice. When we allow the events of everyday life to distract us, we render ourselves unfit for discipleship in the kingdom of God. Discipleship requires faithful, focused, following.

Philippians 3:13 Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself to have attained this. Instead I am single-minded: Forgetting the things that are behind and reaching out for the things that are ahead,


In this world, success is measured by human achievement. The more we achieve, seemingly the more successful we are. But in the Father’s kingdom it is not so.

Father encourage me to set my eyes on the things that really matter and consistently and faithfully pursue them.


Discipleship is hard. It is very similar to becoming a world-class athlete or musician. It is about dedication and priorities. Discipleship is a master-apprentice relationship. The Lord Jesus Christ is the master, we are His apprentices. To learn from Him and follow Him requires putting His teaching, directives, and demands before all else. This includes the normal claims of everyday life and family. The requirements of the Lord Jesus Christ for discipleship are among of His “hard teachings.”

Many children of the King express interest in being disciples but there are often hidden issues that soon surface. So it was for the three wannabes in Luke 9.

Luke 9:57-62

 57 As they were walking along, someone said to Jesus, “I will follow you wherever you go.”

 58 But Jesus replied, “Foxes have dens to live in, and birds have nests, but the Son of Man has no place even to lay his head.”

 59 He said to another person, “Come, follow me.” The man agreed, but he said, “Lord, first let me return home and bury my father.”

 60 But Jesus told him, “Let the spiritually dead bury their own dead! Your duty is to go and preach about the Kingdom of God.”

 61 Another said, “Yes, Lord, I will follow you, but first let me say good-bye to my family.”

 62 But Jesus told him, “Anyone who puts a hand to the plow and then looks back is not fit for the Kingdom of God.”

The first man was very willing until he heard the cost: he had to give up his normal home life. The sacrifice was more than he could make. The second man was called but he was worried about his father’s funeral. Love for family is of great importance, but our love for the Lord Jesus Christ is to have precedence. The third man could not follow Christ because he was looking back instead of looking forward. There is a place for loving farewells, but they should not get in the way of His call to action. One cannot move forward effectively while looking back. The results may be disastrous.

Although we may conclude that discipleship is only for the few, the brave, a prestigious elite, nothing could be further from the truth!

The reasoned final words of wise people are often considered among their most important. The cogent final words of the Lord Jesus Christ before he ascended to heaven involved discipleship. They were compelling and all inclusive.

Matthew 28:18-20

 18 Jesus came and told his disciples, “I have been given all authority in heaven and on earth.”

 19 “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit.”

 20 “Teaching these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”

The Lord Jesus Christ begins by telling His followers that He has all of the authority necessary to accomplish the task that He assigns to them. Wherever they go, He is present with them. Most are very average people, even below average. Yet they are called and commissioned to do extraordinary things through His power.

1 Corinthians 1:26-28

 26 Remember, dear brothers and sisters, that few of you were wise in the world’s eyes or powerful or wealthy when God called you.

 27 Instead, God chose things the world considers foolish in order to shame those who think they are wise. And he chose things that are powerless to shame those who are powerful.

 28 God chose things despised by the world, things counted as nothing at all, and used them to bring to nothing what the world considers important.

The passage has only one imperative verb, one command: make disciples. The Greek verb translated as make disciples is matheteuo. Matheteuo means to make a disciple of someone, to cause someone to become a follower, hence, to persuade people to commit to the Lord Jesus Christ. The Greek words translated go, baptizing, and teaching areaspects of the process.

The Lord Jesus Christ invited each child of the King to follow Him, and He would make us “fishers of men” (Matthew 4:19). That is, His disciples would be enabled to become disciple makers. Each of us has ultimately been created for this purpose. We are to spread the message of the gospel from wherever we began to the ends of the earth. There are no exceptions.

We can confidently bring the truth of Jesus to the world because we have Jesus’ divine authority to back it up (Stanley).




I have become all things to all men, so that I may by all means save some. – 1 Corinthians 9:22

1 Corinthians 9:19-23

 19 Even though I am a free man with no master, I have become a slave to all people to bring many to Christ.

 20 When I was with the Jews, I lived like a Jew to bring the Jews to Christ. When I was with those who follow the Jewish law, I too lived under that law. Even though I am not subject to the law, I did this so I could bring to Christ those who are under the law.

 21 When I am with the Gentiles who do not follow the Jewish law, I too live apart from that law so I can bring them to Christ. But I do not ignore the law of God; I obey the law of Christ.

 22 When I am with those who are weak, I share their weakness, for I want to bring the weak to Christ. Yes, I try to find common ground with everyone, doing everything I can to save some.

 23 I do everything to spread the Good News and share in its blessings.

Biohacker is a fairly new word in the English language. A biohacker seeks to find ways of extending their personal capacity and to stretch their capabilities. They experiment with ways to optimize their body and intellectual abilities. Sometimes it involves major internal and external transformations. Biohacking comes under the general category of regenerative science or regenerative medicine. Regenerative science aims to biohack the body’s natural cellular function and up-regulate it. Biohackers come from all walks of life.

Perhaps one of the first biohackers was the apostle Paul. His human limitations were continually exceeded through the power of the Holy Spirit within. He was able to become whatever he needed to be to reach people with the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ. Paul was in many ways a soul or spirit chameleon. He was a soulhacker.

Paul was “all in” in his service to the Lord Jesus Christ. Once he made that primary and ultimate decision, the rest was easy. He was willing to serve anyone and everyone, anywhere the Father took him. Although he had complete freedom, he chose to become a slave to others in order to win all that he could to Christ (1 Corinthians 9:19).

He was willing to become all things to all people. He was able to live without partiality, prejudice, or bias. He had that rare ability to simply get along with people. He adapted his method and content as needed for different groups. He simply found common ground and was able to meet people wherever they happened to be. Yet he never compromised his integrity, his convictions, nor his doctrine. He never watered down the gospel nor the truth of the word of God.

Some people puzzle over his methodology, to the Jews he became as a Jew; to those who are under the law, he became as under the law; to those who are without law, as without law; to the weak I became weak. What exactly did he mean?

Many people overthink this. It is really quite simple. Paul identified with people. He adopted their appearance and customs when he was with them. As much as possible, he fitted in.

Timothy had a Jewish mother and a Greek father. But Timothy did not follow the Jewish faith and never became circumcised. By Jewish law the child of a Gentile father and Jewish mother was considered Jewish. As such, being uncircumcised was offensive, if not insulting. In order to work among the Jews and assist Paul, he had to be acceptable to them, he needed to be circumcised (Acts 16:3).

A simple illustration which is much closer to home is dressing appropriately for the occasion and circumstance. If you are invited to a formal occasion, dress up. If you are going to a casual situation, dress down. It is a matter of simply fitting in. Of course, there needs to be a bit of shrewd wisdom here and knowing your own limits. For some tongue piercing and colorful tattoos might be appropriate, for others not so much. The most remarkable thing about you should be your demeanor, your confidence, your discernment and the Father’s wisdom and presence.


Choosing to be someone else’s spiritual slave for the sake of their eternal destiny is never easy, but when the Father asks this of you, it is the right thing to do.

Father I want to be all things to all people. Encourage me and strengthen me to be just that.


He was not bound by man-made culture, customs, or tradition. Therefore, Paul was able to set aside his own rights and expectations, and freely serve others. He simply adapted his approach to different groups . . . When he preached to Jews, he started with the Old Testament patriarchs; but when he preached to Gentiles, he began with the God of Creation. Paul did not have a “stock sermon” for all occasions (Wiersbe).

If Paul had a singular, overarching motto, it probably would have been, “For me to live is Christ” (Philippians 1:21). But Paul’s motto for practically working this out may well have been, “I do all the things I have mentioned because I want the gospel to go forward …” or “I do all these things to help the Good News about Jesus to spread” (USB).

A good ambassador for the Lord Jesus Christ builds bridges not walls. “It is worth noting that our Lord followed the same approach. To the highborn Jew, Nicodemus, He talked about spiritual birth (John 3); but to the Samaritan woman, He spoke about living water (John 4). Jesus was flexible and adaptable, and Paul followed His example. Neither Jesus nor Paul had an inflexible ‘evangelistic formula’ that was used in every situation (Wiersbe).


Affirmation needed

Affirmation needed

I did not immediately consult with flesh and blood, nor did I go up to Jerusalem to those who were apostles before me; but I went away to Arabia. – Galatians 1:16-17

Acts 9:26-28

 26 When he arrived in Jerusalem, he attempted to associate with the disciples, and they were all afraid of him, because they did not believe that he was a disciple.

 27 But Barnabas took Saul, brought him to the apostles, and related to them how he had seen the Lord on the road, that the Lord had spoken to him, and how in Damascus he had spoken out boldly in the name of Jesus.

 28 So he was staying with them, associating openly with them in Jerusalem, speaking out boldly in the name of the Lord.

Benjamin West as a young boy, attempted to draw a picture of his sister. His efforts were less than stellar. But when his mother saw his work, she kissed him on the head, and remarked, “Why, it’s Sally!” Benjamin West became a great American painter. He retold the story of his mom’s encouragement and stated unequivocally that it was her kiss that inspired him to become an artist.

Encouragement is a powerful thing!

It goes without saying that Paul, before his encounter with the Lord Jesus Christ, was violent and aggressive. He was a fire breather. Paul was a fanatic for the law. He persecuted those he thought had erroneous, and worse heretical beliefs. Jews for Jesus who had accepted the Lord Jesus Christ as their Messiah, were his target. They feared for their welfare and very lives.

When Paul was miraculously confronted and converted by the Lord Jesus Christ on the road to Damascus, he was a changed man on the inside. But the believers still feared his sting and wanted nothing to do with him.

But marvelous affirmation came to him directly from the Father.

Paul did not learn the truth of the gospel from the apostles. Following his baptism by Ananias (Acts 9:18) Paul did not seek out Christian leaders from whom to learn. He did not seek advice from people. Literally, “conferred not with flesh and blood.” The Greek word translated flesh is sarx. The Greek word translated blood is haima. “Flesh and blood” is an idiom which simply means a living human being.

Matthew 16:17 And Jesus said to him, “Blessed are you, Simon, because flesh and blood did not reveal this to you, but My Father who is in heaven.

The verb translated conferred is prosanatithemi, means “to hold conference with” or “to communicate with someone.” The Jerusalem Bible translates it “I did not stop to discuss this with any human being.” Who then did Paul talk to? Who did he learn from?

The Father had something much better in mind. The Father had arranged an all-expenses-paid education including room and board for a period of three years away from church leaders. Paul went to a private, exclusive seminary in the Arabian desert.

Galatians 1:11-12

 11 Dear brothers and sisters, I want you to understand that the gospel message I preach is not based on mere human reasoning.

 12 I received my message from no human source, and no one taught me. Instead, I received it by direct revelation from Jesus Christ.

Paul’s education was unique. His doctrine and understanding of the gospel did not come from the apostles or other leaders in the church. It came by direct revelation f him him rom the Father.

This special seminary had a fantastic student-teacher ratio. There was only one student, Paul. And there was only one instructor, the Lord Jesus Christ.

The Nabatean kingdom was called Arabia. It included part of what is modern Saudi Arabia, Jordan, and southern Syria. Paul’s time in Arabia, before his return to Damascus, takes place in a time gap between Acts 9:25 and 9:26.

When his education was complete, Paul was a changed man. The revelation that he had received laid the foundation for his New Testament epistles. Information that had not been previously disclosed was now made known.

Although three years had passed, nothing had changed for the Jewish church leadership in Jerusalem. Enter Barnabas.

Acts 9:27 Then Barnabas brought him to the apostles and told them how Saul had seen the Lord on the way to Damascus and how the Lord had spoken to Saul. He also told them that Saul had preached boldly in the name of Jesus in Damascus.

Barnabas was sent by the Father to affirm Paul. Barnabas became Paul’s early partner and encourager. The church accepted Paul as a fellow believer because of Barnabas’s intervention on his behalf.


Encouragement is a gift that just keeps on giving. It has been given to us, we are to pay it forward.

Father you have been my encouragement from the beginning. Thank you as well for all the people you put in my life along the way. Help me encourage others as You have encouraged me.


Encouragement is far more than saying something nice to someone. Encouragement can be transformational. The Father uses it to shape us, direct us, and give us confidence.

But there is more.

The primary word in the New Testament translated encourage is from the Greek parakaleo. The word is derived from parato the side of and kaleo – to call. It literally means to call someone to oneself, call to one’s side. It can be translated aid, help, comfort, encourage, affirm, or console.

The noun paraklete refers to a helper, an assistant, a comforter, an advocate, one who pleads another’s cause before a judge, a counsel for defense. This is a frequent title for the Holy Spirit, the Comforter.

We have a personal helper and comforter that in remains with us for all time, the Holy Spirit.

John 14:16-17

 16 I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may be with you forever.

 17 that is the Spirit of truth,

The Holy Spirit is our teacher. He always teaches the Truth and helps us to remember.

John 14:26 The Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I said to you.

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It is never too soon to be kind

It is never too soon to be kind

Do not let kindness and truth leave you; tie them around your neck as a reminder. Write them deep within your heart. – Proverbs 3:3

Proverbs 20:27-29

 27 The LORD’s light penetrates the human spirit, exposing every hidden motive.

 28 Unfailing love and faithfulness protect the king; his throne is made secure through love.

 29 The glory of the young is their strength; the gray hair of experience is the splendor of the old.

Proverbs 20:28 Loyalty and truth preserve the king, and he upholds his throne by righteousness.

Psalms 85:10 Lovingkindness and truth have met together; Righteousness and peace have kissed each other.

Wise sages throughout the ages from various cultures have spoken of the value of kindness.

“Those who make compassion an essential part of their lives, find the joy of life. Kindness deepens the spirit and produces rewards that cannot be completely explained in words. It is an experience more powerful than words. To become acquainted with kindness one must be prepared to learn new things and feel new feelings. Kindness is more than a philosophy of the mind. It is a philosophy of the spirit” (Robert J. Furey).

“I have learned silence from the talkative, toleration from the intolerant, and kindness from the unkind; yet, strange, I am ungrateful to those teachers” (Khalil Gibran).

“That best portion of a man’s life, his little, nameless, unremembered acts of kindness and love” (William Wordsworth).

“Kindness in words creates confidence. Kindness in thinking creates profoundness. Kindness in giving creates love” (Lao Tzu).

“You cannot do a kindness too soon, for you never know how soon it will be too late” (Ralph Waldo Emerson).

“Our culture is obsessed with external beauty, but as hard as we may try to improve our outward appearance, we all eventually experience the effects of aging. Far more important is inner character, which lasts into eternity. And one of the most attractive inward qualities is kindness” (Stanley).

“People characterized by kindness are considerate, loving, tenderhearted, helpful, and gentle. Those on the other end of the spectrum are quick-tempered, bitter, crude, and demanding. Basically, the difference has to do with whether one’s focus is on self or others” (Stanley).


“If your religion doesn’t help you, it is no religion for you; you had better be without it” (Rutherford).

Father I am embarrassed to realize so late in my life the importance of being kind. I never made the connection between Your lovingkindness and loyal love and my own lack thereof. Teach me and empower me to be kind.


The wise counsel of the Father is far different than many human fathers. Human fathers have a tendency to say, “Do this because I say so.” Our heavenly Father says, “do this because it will help you.” The Father is trying to guide us, counsel us, and urges to do what is right and in our own best eternal interest. Following Him will bring us into wholeness and peace (Proverbs 3:2).

Proverbs 3:3 exhorts us to diligently work on our inner character. We are to maintain love and faithfulness. It focuses on “inner integrity that manifests itself in all interactions with God and people” (Garrett). We must allow the Holy Spirit to write the Word of God on our hearts (Proverbs 7:3) (Wiersbe).

Kindness and truth describe the very essence of the Father Himself. When He appeared to Moses, Moses was allowed to see His back. As He passed by, He spoke, “The LORD! The God of compassion and mercy! I am slow to anger and filled with kindness and truth” (Exodus 34:6).

The Hebrew word translated as kindness is hesed. Hesed could well be translated loyal love, lovingkindness, mercy, or simply kindness. Hesed has “three basic meanings which always interact: ‘strength,’ ‘steadfastness,’ and ‘love’” (Vine, Unger). It has to do with loyal love consistently acted out in relationships.

The Hebrew word translated as truth is emet. The basic root idea is firmness, surety, or certainty (TWOT). Emet connotes faithfulness and dependability. Truthful words are trustworthy. A truthful person can be counted on to do what they have committed to do. They can be trusted to do what is right.

“Authentic kindness does not depend on how others treat us, nor is it a manipulation to get what we want. Kindness is a selfless quality that always considers what’s best for others whether they deserve it or not” (Stanley).

Kindness is more than simple acts of kindness now and then. It is a continual attitude of the heart which manifests itself in kindness acts of kindness.

How do we become kind?

The answer is simple, but the execution is difficult. We are to turn away from depending upon ourselves and walking in our flesh. We are to cultivate a way of life where we walk in the Spirit.

Walking in the Spirit involves moment-by-moment awareness of and sensitivity to the direction and guidance of the Holy Spirit. When we depend upon the Spirit, our lives are characterized by sensitivity to His leading and direction.

We are able to rise above our sinful passions and self-centeredness, the deeds of the flesh (Galatians 5:19-21). As we walk in the Spirit, the fruit of our relationship with Him is affirmed and revealed.

Galatians 5:16 So I say, let the Holy Spirit guide your lives. Then you won’t be doing what your sinful nature craves.

Galatians 5:22-23

  22 But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,

 23 gentleness, and self-control.

Kindness and goodness are closely connected words. For kindness, the word is chrestotes. It, too, is commonly translated as goodness. The Rheims version of 2 Corinthians 6:6 translates it as sweetness. It is a lovely word. . . Old wine is called chrestos, mellow. Christ’s yoke is called chrestos(Matthew 11:30), that is, it does not cause discomfort or irritation. The whole idea of the word is a goodness which is kind” (Barclay).

As a child of the King, we can make it our personal goal to be kind, good, and sweet.