Thursday, July 28, 2005

Old Faithful

Our house has an alarm system. I've heard it work before when I forgot to turn it off after returning home at the end of the day. It's a loud, car horn-honking kind of sound. But other than that, I really haven't heard it. Except...About six months (or more) ago, it started making this annoying beep. Just a short, shrill, high pitched beep. Once every thirty-five seconds or so. It was the Old Faithful of burglar alarms. Early on, I decided this house alarm had a bad battery and you could hear the sound coming from this one spot. Although we couldn't really pinpoint it to that very spot. It was up in the upper corner of the kitchen, a small rectangular shaped, plastic motion detector that had a red light that would come on when anyone walked by.
I've climbed up on the counter, risking my knees trying to get the battery out of this burglar alarm. But to no avail. My wife would stand in the middle of the kitchen and say, "Jim, that's not coming from up there. It's coming from behind the refrigerator. I'm sorry, what do women know about burglar alarms, especially ones with motion detectors. After all, this is a man's world and we are the ones that understand the technical equipment around the house. All the while Old Faithful continued to beep. In fact, late at the quiet hours...when you woke up to the silence of the dark....beep. Every thirty-five seconds.
Now frankly, we had kind of gotten use to the incessant beep. It wasn't constant, just consistent. But people could hear it on the phone when they would call us. "What's that sound I hear?" "Oh, that's just Old Faithful." But the kicker came the other night. My son was playing on his Play Station, a storm had just come through plummeting our temperatures from 100+ to the 60s. So my wife opened our doors to let some cool, fresh air in. Now the beep got annoying. It beeped incessantly for at least 10 seconds. Well, being the man that I am, I sprung into action. Obviously my wife didn't know that leaving the doors wide open left us vunerable to attack and the burglar alarm was letting us know. I closed the doors and secured them tightly and we went back to Old Faithful. However, this time was a little different. Every thirty-five seconds it would beep that familiar short beep. Five times it would return to "normal." Then it would let out one long ten second beep. Followed by a three or four second beep. Then back to Old Faithful. Through the night it followed the pattern. At 4:00 am it was still five short, one long, one medium. I was at the end of my technological wit. (Short trip)
The next morning, I received a call from my wife. "I think I have stopped the beeping sound." All right! Finally she has seen the light and decided to confessing that she messed up the burglar alarm. She was cleaning off a cabinet by the refrigerator and behind a box that held a serving dish was a smoke alarm. When she took out the battery, Old Faithful was done.
How many of us try to place blame on everything and everyone else. "The reason the terrorists have attacked us is because of the policies of the West." How about the reason the terrorists attacked was because they were evil people. "He made me do!" We do pretty much what we want to do. We have forgotten personal responsibility. Our court system is based on that (so-called) principle. Many times our church life is based on the same. We wouldn't have so much of a problem with ___________ (fill in the blank) if old brother so and so would just do it my way. Let's quit that. Let's look at our own hearts. Let's quit the blame game. And let's find the real source of the problem. Once we do that, we can be led to the real Solution. Have a great day. JW

P.S. By the way, this is my last blog for a little more than a week. It's time for Green Valley Bible Camp. See you in a little more than a week.

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

The World According to Starbucks

I know you think I go to Starbucks all the time. But I don't. Just Monday through Thursday mornings on my way to work. And on the weekend if my wife wants to go. In a weird sort of way, it is kind of a microcosm of the post modern world. Nobody goes in for coffee (especially me. I hate coffee!) But it's a special blend coffee with a double shot of who knows what. Some put ice in it, others have whipped cream on top, still others have to be blended. No two drinks are exactly alike. You see businessmen, hippies, hairdressers, frazzled housewives, people who just worked out, etc.
What kind of stoked my interest today was the bartista as they call her. She asked what drink someone wanted and they told her some kind of coffee. Sumatra, I think. She then asked if they wanted extra room in the top for cream. "No, thanks," was his reply. "Awesome!" she said. Now I'm sorry. No room in the top for cream could be practical, daring, frugal, manly, but awesome? This young lady is one of the managers and she's always cheerful, always smiling, always helpful. . .even early in the morning. She probably drives the other people in the place crazy. But I kind of like her.
I appreciated her child-like exuberance. There's this clover stuff that used to grow in my yard. It had little white flowers, but I think it was a weed and I was ever so glad to mow them down when I saw them. When I was a child, I would pick the same flowers for my mother. She always responded as if they were a dozen red, long-stemmed roses. She would often get a small glass and place them in a prominent place.
Now in my youth excitement, picking flowers for my mom, her excitement and reaction--what would happen if we would get excited, really excited about the "little" things God does for us. How do you think He responds in kind? So sad, we struggle to see the little things, we only want the huge miracles. Maybe if we noticed the "little" things God does, we would see even more.
Lord, open my eyes today. Help me to see you in everything--in the song of the birds, the cool of the morning, the wink of the eye of a neighbor, the love of my brother. Forgive me when I ignore you when you hold out your arms and I turn and run. Help me to see your "little" things. Have a great day. JW

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Enjoy the Rain

I'm not much for rain. Rain is kind of a nuisance to me. It gets you wet. It keeps you from doing things you want to do. It makes grass grow. And if you've read any of my previous blogs concerning my grass mowing experience, you know I'm no fan.
But I'm also a realist. There's an old Arab proverb that says, "All sunshine doth a desert make." I know that without the rain, things turn brown. They eventually die. And I certainly don't want to live in the Sahara.
So what do you do? You learn to enjoy the rain. How many applications can we put here? Read James 1:2-4. "Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith developes perserverance. Perserverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything." There are a couple of phrases in there that just kind of get me, like scratching fingernails on a chalkboard. Consider it pure joy??? (Enjoy the rain.) If you let perserverance finish its work we'll not lack anything??? (Enjoy the rain.) I don't like perserverance. Perserverance hurts!! (Enjoy the rain.)
I hope you caught the subliminal message. It's the rain that causes us to appreciate the sunshine. It's the rain that causes us to grow. It's the rain that allows us to really enjoy life! For years I didn't get what James was trying to say. I think I get it now. I'm not there yet. But I think I get it. Now if you'll excuse me, I'm going to enjoy the rain we are having as I write these words. Have a great day. JW

Monday, July 25, 2005

Are You Ready?

One of our little boys from church had surgery this morning. I visited with his mother who is a nurse and understands the goings on of surgery. But this is different. This is her baby. I totally understand. She still remains clinical and factual. She told me this morning before he went into the operating room he asked, "Mom, can I die from this?" She asked him if he meant this kind of surgery on his leg or just surgery in general. He meant surgery in general. You know the answer to that as well as I do. She told him, "Yes, but people have this kind of surgery all the time and it would be very rare." It seemed to satisfy him.
I think he has a valid question. Am I going to die at work? Probably not, but stranger things have happened. There have been car accidents, heart attacks and strokes, and ask the people in Washington, D.C. and New York city if someone can die at work. The point is, are we ready? I know most of us are never completely ready especially if we're talking of dying at a fairly young age. But what is our relationship with God like right this very moment? Take a moment and think about that. Really? How is it? That seems to be the important question.
There's a perennial question about the second coming of Christ. Some say it is the bodily return of Jesus that signifies the end of the world. Others say it was the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 A.D. I've never gotten too caught up in the arguments for those because I think we miss the point. In those passages, the question is, "What kind of people should we be?" We must be ready.
Can we die from living life? Yes we can. But then, I don't worry about that too much. At least I try not to. Neither should you. Instead, we should concentrate on your relationship to the Sovereign Lord, El Shaddai, the All-Sufficient God. Have a great day. JW

Sunday, July 24, 2005

Meredith Moments

My daughter, bless her heart, is now 22 years old and an old married woman as of May 28th. We have laughed at her all of her life because of some of the things she has said. For instance, she used to get angry with us when she was a little girl, stomp her foot, and say, "You're funny, Daddy!" She thought it was an insult of some kind and we would just laugh. Which made her all the more angrier. Or when she was in eighth grade, she was visiting the United Nations in New York City. The tour guide was explaining the scope of the international community and made the comment that they were not in the United States as they stood in the United Nations building. So my daughter raised her hand and asked, "So are we in Canada?" Or (and I may have told you this) when my wife and I were talking one time about the pretty flowers this company had planted in front of their building. Martha said, "Look at the pansies." To which my daughter blurted, "Where are the chimpanzies?"
I would be remiss if I didn't give you one that I had the other day. My wife and I were going to pick up my son at camp and so we decided to go over the night before. We like to stay in bed and breakfast establishments so we made a reservation for a little place in Grand Island, NE. On the way over I inquired, "Now do we get breakfast with this?" (That's probably why they call them Bed and Breakfast.)
The apostles had the same problem. Jesus kept telling them that His kingdom was not of this world. Even thought Peter and John tried to get the seats of honor on Jesus' right and left side. Even though they tried to make Him king by force. Even though Peter tried to cut off the servant of Malchus' ear thinking this was the time, Jesus continued to tell them that His kingdom was not of this world. He raised from the grave and they were all so happy. They gathered around Him and asked, "Lord, are you at this time going to restore the kingdom to Israel?" Jesus must have just kind of sighed and realized they had a moment just like Meredith did, just like I did. They spoke before their brains were in gear. Jesus answered, "It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by his own authority." What I read in those words is, "You didn't get it did you? Go to Jerusalem and you will."
Too often we don't get it either. We forget, this is His turf. We're the visitors, the strangers, the aliens. And we speak far too often. Someone said that James told us to be slow to speak, swift to listen and slow to anger. That God gave us two ears and only one mouth. Therefore we should listen twice as much as we speak. Good advice. Now if I could only listen. Have a great day. JW

Thursday, July 21, 2005

What Jeremiah Thinks

I am gaining a new respect for the prophets. In teaching Jeremiah last night, one in my class said, "You know, the things they are dealing with are the same things we are dealing with. Nothing has changed that much." BINGO!!! That's what Solomon said, "There is nothing new under the sun."
Which brings me through the back door on worship once again. Two elements of worship, gratefulness (I might add overwhelming gratefulness) and (to overuse the phrase) overwhelming sense of who God is. Jeremiah dealt with them both. He said, "They say to wood, 'You are my father,' and to stone, 'You gave me birth.' They have turned their backs on me and not their faces; yet when they are in trouble, they say, 'Come and save us!'" (Jeremiah 2:27) They were worshiping idols. Things made of wood and stone. Then he said earlier, "Consider then and realize how evil and bitter it is for you when you forsake the Lord your God and have no awe of me,' declares the Lord, the Lord Almighty." (Jeremiah 2:19) There it is again. They turned their backs and not their faces to God (ungrateful) and they had no awe (overwhelming sense of who God is). Notice how 2:19 ends after mentioning not having awe of God. It doesn't say, "says the Lord." It doesn't say, says the Lord Almighty." It says, "says the Lord, the Lord Almighty."
And by the way, while I'm thinking about it, this is worship. This isn't what we do on Sunday morning. It's the way we live our lives. The Sunday (or Saturday in their case) stuff doesn't matter one whit when they rest of the time is not there. It's our life. It's our life. It's our life. Maybe one day we'll understand that. Have a great day!! JW

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Completely Anonymous

Let me start today's blog with a disclaimer. The crime I refer to in this blog is a horrendous one. There is no way to justify the actions of the person in it. It is my hope that the authorities apprehend the perpetrator expeditiously.
I was listening to the radio the other day and the community has contributed to the Crime Stoppers fund to catch a criminal. The city councilman whom I heard interviewed was very complimentary of the community as they bonded together in this difficult time. And I agree, it is very heartening to see people work to make their communities safer. What caught my ear was the advertising of the Crime Stoppers reward. If you called in with a tip and the criminal was arrested, you would receive $7500. The announcer went on to say that all tips were completely anonymous. Now my question, how will the people receive the reward if they are completely anonymous? A number of scenarios circled in my brain and I saw some humor in this. If the police don't know who gives them the tip, the money is safe!!
But I wanted to give them the benefit of the doubt and I concluded that somehow they would give their name in the process. No! I listened further and the interview with the police continued. Not only would the people remain anonymous, they would not have to reveal their identities and would not have to testify in court. (It gets even better.) And when they called in, instead of revealing their names, they would receive a number that would completely protect their identity. So once again, the money is safe!! Perhaps it will go to the Police Ball or to the Krispy Kreme Doughnut Fund.
I hope the police catch the criminal. But good luck to the people who help apprehend him. I doubt if they'll ever see the money. Have a good day. JW

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Whatever It Takes

The older I get the more contrasts I see in life. Yesterday couldn't have been more clear. Please don't misunderstand since I've talked about death a lot lately. I don't have a morbid sense of life or death. It just seems that I have been going to more funerals lately. (By the way, when my parents were still alive, I remember calling them and they would tell me of a funeral they had attended. "Did you know them?" I would ask. "No, not really, but we knew his brother's sister's cousin's aunt. Honest, the funerals I have gone to lately have either been people I've know well or those I have done the service.)
C.F. was a faithful Christian man. His son is a preacher. His grandson attends church where I preach. His grandaughter was a classmate of my daughter's in college. He was a rancher, a farmer, a good man. I talked to his son, Bruce, before the funeral. Bruce had a smile on his face even though he was hurting. We visited a few minutes about how C.F. was in a much better place and how we didn't know how people with no faith could make it through such times. I assured Bruce of the welcoming committee that greeted C.F. as he entered his reward. Bruce appreciated our visit, I could tell.
Soon after the funeral, I visited my brother. My brother is not a Christian. Almost immediately, the conversation moved to our mother's death. "I'm having a hard time handling this," he said to me. I admitted that I have had similar feelings, but Mom's resting place is assured. I'm so happy for her because she is where she wants to be, in a place with no tears, no sorrows.
When I got home, the contrast was so stark. Here is a man who just lost his father and he had a smile on his face. He'll miss him terribly, but he'll see him again one day. Another man had lost his mother and couldn't handle it. Could it be that he's thinking he may never see her again?
To all of my friends out there, we get so caught up in life that we forget the most important thing. And the most important thing in life is to keep the most important thing in life the most important thing. Whatever it takes to be together with the Savior, that needs to be our business. That needs to be our life. Don't get caught up in the foolish pursuits that Satan wants us to chase. . .these silly little diversions that seem so big now. Whatever it takes, I want you to be there, with me, with the rest of us. Whatever it takes. Have a great day. JW

Monday, July 18, 2005

I Don't Want to be Miserable

So many lessons I learn or think about occur while I'm in my car. Yesterday on the way to church services, I pulled out into traffic (there wasn't any, just one car waaayyy down the road). The other car moved over into the other lane and eventually passed us on the left. Then immediately got into our lane. I had to brake to keep from being so close.
My thought was, "she's going a certain speed and I guess she wants me to do the same." Isn't that like the human race? I'm miserable, so I want you to be miserable like me. Go at my rate. Feel like I feel. Preferably, miserably.
The Scripture says we are to rejoice with those who rejoice and mourn with those who mourn. I think we have the mourning stuff down. But there's something about someone else being happpy that just rubs us the wrong way. Why should they be happy when I'm not?
Maybe we should work on that this week. . .being truly, genuinely happy for someone who's happy. Are you happy? Why don't you let your face know about it? Have a good day. JW

Saturday, July 16, 2005


You know we complain about the Israelites so much. We think that if we had been there, things would have really been different. I believe the Hebrew word for that is "hogwash." That's why I'm not too hepped up about miracles in our day. I'm not sure they would make that much of a difference. Look at the Israelites. They had them everyday and they still messed up.
But one thing I do like about them is their festivals, their traditions. Now I'm not ready to grow my beard and start singing "Tradition!" from Fiddler on the Roof, but I think they had the right idea on some things. As a nation they celebrated the harvest. You may say, so do we on the last Thursday in November. That has become more of a football fest than thanksgiving. They repented together on The Day of Atonement. And they celebrated together at the Feast of the Tabernacles. Once a week, they looked in anticipation to the Sabbath. I know they really messed up, but the true Jew knew exactly what all of these things were for. It would have been great to have been raised in this. Remember when they crossed the Jordan, they were to take stones for each tribe and they built an altar. It was for a reminder. When their kids asked about those stones, they were to tell them how God delivered them and gave the land they inherited. They had a number of feasts, but they were all to remember what God had done.
We would do good to remember what God has done. That's why it's so important that we gather on the Lord's Day and commune togehter. There's nothing magical. It's not something that gives us eternal life or something that we do to get our ticket punched. It is to remember and to celebrate what God did through His son. I'm looking forward to tomorrow. Have a great day. What's left of it. JW

Friday, July 15, 2005


My wife and I were talking last night about just how poor movies are anymore. Maybe this is the "I wish things were better in the good old days speech." But I don't think so. They weren't that great when I was younger either. I'm getting to the point that I spend $8 to sleep in the movie theater. That really makes me mad. I could do that at home.
My wife doesn't rent DVD's or videotapes for me because it's an instant cure for insomnia for me. Don't get me wrong. There still are some good movies out there. I'm just gettting tired of showing the women's body just to show the body. I'm getting tired of the bad language. When good family movies are made, money is made. Why hasn't Hollywood learned that lesson yet? Maybe I'm in the wrong business. Have a great day. JW

Thursday, July 14, 2005


I made my regular Starbucks run this morning. At this point, I feel the need to let you know that I am not a coffee drinker. Never have been in spite of the efforts of my father to try to get me to like the nasty stuff. I do drink chai. My first experience with chai was in Vladivostok, Russia where the chai is a kind of fruit tea. Since I've been back to the States, chai has blossomed as my drink of choice. Although it's nothing like the Russian drink, I like chai.
Well, that was random and useless. But anyway, I made my regular Starbucks run this morning. My old van has 151,000 miles. The air conditioning doesn't work. It's just old and ugly and it runs and it's paid for. There were two gentlemen in the place when I walked in. They were sitting in the easy chairs drinking their (I assume) coffee. They were the only two customers in the place. When I left, I noticed the cars they were driving. One had a beautiful red Mercedes SUV. It was nice and clean and had all the bells and whistles on it. But sitting next to it was a red, convertible Mustang GT.
As I drove to work, I mused that despite the fact that these gentlemen had such nice, expensive vehicles to ride in, my car worked just as well. The results were the same for all of us. We were able to purchase our drink of choice and walk out and go wherever we wanted to go.
I guess my point this morning is we get so caught up in the material. And the scary thing is, although I felt sorry for myself, my vehicle is better than what most people of the world don't have. My trip to Trinidad in the 90s helped me to realize that it's not about the physical. The money, the things don't help us get to heaven. What gets us there is Jesus...and only Jesus.
Those of us who strive every day to get more and more should strive to be more and more like Jesus. He said, "Foxes have holes and birds have nests, but the Son of Man doesn't have a place to put his head." Was He trying to say we should give away everything and live as paupers? No. He was saying quit putting your trust in the things that deteriorate and rust and break.
One day, the guys I saw are going to have to get new cars. But my old van will still be running (hopefully, please, please, please) and I'll still be able to get my chai. I think I'll drink mine now. Have a good day. JW

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

The Moment

It happened so quickly I almost didn't catch it. In fact, I was thirty minutes down the road when I realized the magnitude of the event. That's the way a lot of important moments are. We live in a day and age of movies. You have to have the big premier, the grand opening, the biggest ever sale. Most of the really important things happen so quickly, so quietly that if if you're not paying attention, you miss it.
I had taken my 15 year old son back to camp. I say back because he went out (2 1/2 to 3 hour drive) to camp on Sunday morning. My wife took him out there knowing that before long we would know the schedule of his baseball tournament as she was driving out. But he insisted on going to camp because a.) He wanted to get in the cabin he wanted, b.) he wanted to get the bed he wanted, and c.) he wanted to get to camp. Several things he doesn't miss in his life. A good night's sleep, talking to his friends on AOL instant messaging, and going to camp. Monday afternoon I picked him up (with a friend) and we came back for his Monday and Tuesday night games. He didn't want to be there because he was missing one of the things you don't miss.
So at 5:30 this morning we began to trek back out to camp. As we drove up, he triumphantly said, "We're back." Off he ran to check on the boys in the cabin. He came back around about two minutes later asking if the car was open so he could get his stuff out. Once again he disappeared. I was ready to leave and wondered where he was. Out he popped once again. And then it happened. He hugged me and then he kissed me. Fifteen year old boys don't kiss their dads very often. Granted it was early in the morning and there were no campers around, but I'll take it. He told me he loved me and to tell "Mommy, I love her, too." And then he was gone.
It was a great moment. And I almost missed it. But I didn't. And I still feel the wet kiss on my left cheek as I write this. Have a great day. I am. JW

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Sing a New Song

As I read my good friend David Underwood's blog and his comments on other blogs, I am reminded how important our singing is. Think about this. We can remember words and music from all of those dumb songs from the 60's. "Yummy, Yummy, Yummy, I've got love in my tummy." How about, "Young girl, get out of my mind. My love for you is way out of line. Better run, girl, you're much too young, girl." I remember singing that song at the top of my lungs when I was in junior high. My parents must have been clutching their chests in the other room.
But I also remember the wonderful songs we sang in worship services. That's what sticks in our minds. We need to be listening to spiritual songs more and filling our minds with positive and spiritual messages instead of the words and music that we hear now (and when I was young!). I admit I still like to listen to Chicago and The Doobie Brothers and Three Dog Night. I do cherish more the songs by Christian writers now. Just this morning, the song went through my head, "He leadeth me, O blessed thought." Now that's a great thought to begin the day. "Where ere I go, where ere I be, still 'tis God's hand that leadeth me." Please lead me today, my Lord. Old words, but just as true today as they were when they were written. Have a great day. JW

Monday, July 11, 2005

The Church

My Dad was a great man. Was he perfect? Of course not. He died twelve years ago last Friday. That doesn't seem possible, but time really rushes by. There were times he really got on my nerves, as any father does. He loved me and taught me to love Jesus. And I loved him. There were some intangibles that he lived by thatI would do well to follow.
For instance, he didn't like anyone criticizing the church. There seem to be a lot out there doing so, trying to get us to get things right and to do the right things. There were some prominent ministers that he took to task because they made a living selling books that did knock the church. I remember his statement. Jesus died for the church. Why should we be bashing it?
I see the church as a bunch of yahoos who mess up and frustrate me and who are narrow minded. He saw the church as imperfect people who were saved by the perfect Christ.
Good lesson. I need to listen more, even as he sleeps. Have a great day. JW

Friday, July 08, 2005

Worship Revisited

As I have been comtemplating worship lately, there have been several things that come to mind as to what worship is. I know the definitions, i.e. kissing toward, etc. But there are several things and several concepts that must be a part of worship. Let me know if you think of any others. The first is an overwhelming sense of who God is. Very little surprises us anymore. We've seen everything (or at least we think we have). It's hard for us to understand the hugeness (is that a word?) of anything, let alone God. We don't go outside and look at the night stars anymore. We're inside surrounded by trees or the lights of the city. We have gone to the moon, to Mars, and lands sakes, we just crashed a spacecraft into a comet. Ain't man grand?? But God is so unbelievably awesome. He is beyond all of that and until we understand the awesome power of God, we can't understand worship. There's a story in the Old Testament where God turns a desert into an oasis. The writer says in essence, "this is nothing for God." Maybe we need to sit where Job was when God quizzed him in Job 38, 39, and 40. Perhaps a good reading of that will help.
Second, worship is an overwhelming sense of thankfulness. What did Noah do when he got off the ark? He built an altar. Why? He was thankful. Read the Psalms and see how many of them have to do with thankgiving. Once we see how totally dependent we are on God, once we know our place, once we know His place, we will be overcome with gratitude. That kind of worship flows.
Third, the relationship with God must be there in order to worship. We can't saunter in whenever we want. Or even more, we can't call to Him just when we need something. We degrade God when we do that. We render Him irrelevant in our lives. God is the God of the now, the today, the good times, the bad times. He wants a relationship. They had it in the Garden and they blew it. We laugh and scoff at Adam and Eve and we wonder why they couldn't see that. But we do the same thing. We go off to our own devices and ask God in whenever we need Him. Worship isn't worship without a relationship with Him.
Fourth, we must have a relationship with our brothers and sisters to worship. What is it John said, "How can we say we love God whom we have not seen and hate our brother who we can see."? I think the whole point of the "where two or three are gathered" has to do with relationship. We make it all about worship. And I think Jesus says the relationship with the brothers and sisters has to be there before the worship can be there.
Well, these are just some ramblings. Tell me what you think. Have a great day. JW

Thursday, July 07, 2005


Once again the world wakes up to tragedy. Please pray for the world. Pray for those who murder and maim in the name of Allah. Pray for those who were killed or hurt. Pray for their families. Pray that Jesus will heal all wounds. Jesus is the answer in all of this. It's so simple, yet so complicated.
Peace, perfect peace. In this dark world of sin. The blood of Jesus whispers peace within.
Peace, perfect peace. By thronging duties pressed: To do the will of Jesus--this is rest.
Peace, perfect peace. With sorrows surging round: On Jesus' bosom naught but calm is found.
Peace, perfect peace. With loved ones far away: In Jesus' keeping we are safe, and they.
Peace, perfect peace. Our future all unknown. Jesus we know and He is on the throne.
It is enough. Earth's struggles soon shall cease, and Jesus call us to heav'n's perfect peace.


Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Changed for a Second (and Third and Fourth...)Chance

What makes people change? I think I know the answer to that question, but it hit me as I was studying my Bible. And it got me to thinking. How many people do you know that were on fire for Jesus, but then burned out? Try as you might, the people who do fizzle out are not always those whose faith is (was) weak. I know some mighty warriors who have been beaten to death and, at least, outwardly don't seem to care any more.
Peter is a classic example. "I will never forsake you!" he said to Jesus. I believe he meant it because he went for the jugular and only got the ear of Malchus' servant. Before he truly understood what Jesus was talking about, he denied Jesus and he decided to go back to fishing.
Solomon is another. He built a temple that was a tremendous sight. He claimed, "O Lord God of Israel, there is no God like you in heaven above or on earth below..." Yet, not long after that in Scriptures we find the words that are used so often to describe many subsequent kings of Israel. "So Solomon did evil in the eyes of the Lord; he did not follow the Lord completely, as David his father had done.
There is a silver lining in all of this. God never turns His back on us. The door is always open. He's always willing to take us back. Don't believe me? Peter came back and was more effective than he ever dreamed possible. Did you see the statment in the last paragraph? Speaking of David, the writer says Solomon didn't follow the Lord completely as David did. Are you kidding me? David? I thought he commited adultery with Bathsheba? I thought he had Uzziah murdered? David was called a "man after God's own heart." Hosea bought back Gomer. Even after she had commited adultery and returned back to prostitution. He took her back. The story of the Prodigal Son should be called the Parable of the Loving Father. Example after example after example. God takes us back.
That's not to say we should take the "it's easier to get forgiveness than permission" mode. But it does mean that God will take us and love us even if we fail miserably. Why? I don't know. He loves us and that's enough.
In all of this, I guess I'm asking all of us to change. To change for the better. To seek God's face and to run to Him. And in spite of our failures, in spite of our faults, He is gracious and good. He is our God. Like the song from the Broadway musical "Wicked" that I quoted several weeks ago, "Because I knew you I have been changed for good." Wow! If that doesn't describe our relationship with God, I don't know what does. Have a great day. JW

Tuesday, July 05, 2005


I know this is July 5th, but I still have some July 4th thoughts on my mind. In the great city I live in there is a huge concert and fireworks show in Memorial Park. People come from all over and place their mats, blankets, tarps, whatever to place their claim on the park's grounds. This year they had groups such as Three Dog Night and The Doobie Brothers come and sing. Even though they had these bands from my era, I didn't want to fight the crowd and deal with the traffic. What my family did do is go to a higher elevation and watch the fireworks from a distance. We couldn't hear the music, we couldn't hear the BOOMS of the fireworks, but we could see them. Interestingly, there was a family who drove up to watch the fireworks. They drove up all in a dither, dashed out of their big Suburban, placed their lawn chairs on the grass and sat...for just a few minutes. There was a small fireworks show off to the right. They watched them, packed up their car, and sped off. About five minutes later, the real fireworks show began. I wondered if they ever knew that they missed the real show.
You know it's not the same to watch fireworks from such a distance. It's kind of "pretty," but just not the same. And we certainly didn't hurry off after seeing a much smaller fireworks show like the people in the Suburban. There was just something...missing.
So on we decided to go to Rosenblatt Stadium (Home of the College World Series) and watch the REAL fireworks show. We sat through a boring ball game (I actually liked it, but my wife spent the whole time talking to a friend). Then we were allowed on the left field grass to see the fireworks display right above us. It was so close, many of us had cinder, ash, whatever, from the fireworks on us. What a show! You could feel the report of the big cannon-like blasts. The fireworks were really wonderful. You could hear the oohs and the ahhs of the crowd. What a great time!
Can anyone see a biblical application here? Some are impatient with Jesus. They want the big stuff. They come and see a little display of his power and then they pack it in and go home. Others watch the glory from a distance. But they don't want to expend the effort to get close. Then others go through the trials, the difficulties, and sometimes the boredom. They are rewarded in the end by a spectacular display of power. Which one are you? Where are you in all of this? Think about that before you answer and have a great day. JW

P.S. By the way, as we were waiting for it to get dark the other night, there was the most spectacular sunset. I wondered if anyone saw it. We were waiting to see the glorious power of man-made bombs and explosives when God very majestically painted an explosive scene in His glory right before our eyes. That's just like Him.

Friday, July 01, 2005

The Supreme Court

I heard Steve Farrar speak one time. He's the author of a number of books including Point Man and Riding for the Brand. He's a wonderful speaker on family and men's issues. He said a lot of good things that I don't remember. But one thing I do remember. He was talking of a number of legal issues and he mentioned the Supreme Court of the United States. He was very careful to add, "of the United States." He said the reason why he said that was because someday the Supreme Court of the United States would have to answer to the Supreme Court.
In light of the fact that we will have to have a new justice, that justice will serve on the Supreme Court of the United States. Praise God we don't have to answer to them. Of course, we do as citizens of this country. But this world is not our home. We are not citizens here. And some day we will stand before the Righteous Judge. I prefer to place my destiny and future in Him. Have a great day. JW