Love seems to be a big deal right now. Seems like a good thing, but maybe not. The Apostle Paul in his second letter to Timothy who he was training to be a Pastor said this in Chapter 3, “you must understand this, that in the last days distressing times will come. For people will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money….lovers of pleasure, and having an outward form of loving God, but it isn’t real.” Saw some little kids at an event recently and one of them began to fuss loudly. The Mom put a pacifier, one of those things that we called binkies, in the kids mouth and he was instantly good. Those things aren’t the real thing, and they produce zero milk, but they seem to fool the kid. Paul says of these people in verse 8 that they have a counterfeit faith. They think they have the real thing, but it is not real. They have been fooled by the devil, that is what he does. The big deal today is “God loves ____, you fill in the blank. But the big deal ought to be,”do I love God with all my heart, with all my mind, with all my might? In John 14:15 Jesus says, “If you love Me, you will keep My commandments, you will be holy as I am holy, you will pursue righteousness” I love the Lord with all my heart and every morning I declare to Him that I hunger and thirst for righteousness and ask Him to help me to please Him in very detail of my life. In the evening I confess my sins to Him and claim the promise of His Word that He will forgive me.
Experiencing His forgiveness motivates me to strive even more for purity of life, not to take advantage of grace and love. This is my life view and belief, I highly recommend it.
It is so nice to live life with total confidence that what I am using as my guide, my standard for right and wrong, my blueprint for success, my description of tomorrow and eternity, my definition of truth is the inspired inerrant Word of God. Some people give lip service to the Bible, I declare that the Bible is living and active and supernatural and the very thoughts of God. I can know God intimately and walk with Him by reading His Word. I can know His perfect will for my life as I look for it sincerely reading and studying the Bible. As the world declares their opinion of what is right and wrong, what is good and bad, what is holy and profane, I look to the Holy, inspired inerrant Word of God for what He says. Because my view of the Bible is so high I read it every day, I make decisions every day using the wisdom that comes from God’s Word, I spend 30 minutes every day memorizing it, I have devoted my life to preaching and teaching it. My relationship with God is based on the truth that He gives me in His Word.
I am raising Tilapia fish in my aquaponic set up in my greenhouse. I bought a 100 fish that were about 1/2 inch long January 1st and now they are about 10 inches long and weigh over a pound each. I took 5 female fish a male and put them in a 55 gallon glass aquarium as a brood colony hoping that I would have a bunch of new baby fish. But the fish have not been cooperating, no baby fish. They lay the eggs and then when the male fertilizes them the female momma fish picks the eggs back up and keeps them in her mouth until they hatch. As you watch the fish the moma fish that has eggs in her mouth becomes evident because her cheeks begin to pooch out and she doesn’t eat. I went out to feed my fish tonight after church and hallelujah, and one of my fish is pregnant. They usually have about 200 babies. I have a 10 gallon glass aquarium set up and tomorrow I will net the Momma fish and put her in the 10 gallon tank by herself and when the babies hatch she will spit them out, and then I will net her and put her back into the big tank before she eats her babies, where she will stay until she gets big cheeks again. The babies will be just 1/16 of an inch when born and when they grow to be about 1 inch I will put them in a big 300 gallon tank until they get big enough to eat. It won’t be long now before I will have lots of fish. Cool.
Went to the Vacation Bible School program tonight at Jefferson Baotist Church. There have been 350 kids coming each day since Monday along with about 180 volunteers who supervised, led games, did crafts, led singing, and taught Bible lessons. The program was super impressive, and it was so fun to see all those kids on the stage singing, doing hand motions and dancing around. The impressive part was the obvious good leadership and planning that had to have happened for what I watched to have happened. I thought of a passage in the gospels that is a quote from Jesus in Matthew 19:13-14, Little children were being brought to Him so that He might lay his hands on them and pray for them. The disciples tried to stop them from coming, but Jesus responded by saying, “Let the children come to Me for these are the ones that the Kingdom of heaven belongs to”. If we as a church want to please the Lord we can’t hardly go wrong planning and having programs that bless children and teaching them truth so they grow up to be strong champions. I believe the joy I was feeling tonight watching was from the Lord because He was pleased.
The temperature today and forecast for this next week reminds me of a Bible verse in the book of Revelation 16:8, “the fourth angel poured out his bowl on the sun, and it scorched people, they were scorched with fierce heat, but they cursed God, who had authority over these plaques, and they did not repent and give Him glory.” This passage always puzzled me that people who know there is an almighty God who is in control of the weather would curse Him instead of submit to Him and serve Him and experience relief. All I can figure out is that being in submission to an almighty God who knows everything, is all powerful, loves us, created us, and is in control of everything is just more than they can handle.
My goal is to have my sermon for the weekend all studied and written by Noon on Wednesday. That gives Jean time to put it on Power Point and then I have 3 days to think about it and come up with some good illustrations. Got it done today about 3 pm. Close enough. I will be talking this weekend on the hundreds of prophecies in the Old Testament that have been fulfilled literally. Lots of people scoff at the Bible but there is no book ever written that has more proof of its validity externally from archeology and history and internally from fulfilled prophecy. I enjoy very much studying about all the prophecies that have been fulfilled and all of those that are yet to be fulfilled. I have no doubts that the Bible is the inspired Word of God and not because I grew up that way but because of the study that I have done as a skeptic. Now that I do believe that the Bible is God’s Word, I would be a fool not to use it as my guide for life.
Spent an hour today with a young pastor who has been getting together with me periodically to seek wisdom. He is very refreshing to meet with. He is genuinely humble, asks very good questions that he has obviously thought about, listens attentively, and records the conversation so he can go back and listen to it again. His response to my answers is very honoring, and stimulates me to think and give good counsel and advice. He thanks me profusely when the hour is up for taking my valuable time to spend with him, but my thought is that I think I have enjoyed this conversation more than he has. I have had other young guys come and ask for counsel and mentoring, but it seems like many of them do more talking than listening, and it is obvious that they think they know a lot about being a successful pastor already. Every time I have a session with him my thought as he leaves is “he is a rare kind of young man”. I wonder why there aren’t more like him who are hungry for wisdom, humble enough to know they don’t yet have it, yet wise enough to know how to ask really good questions. My greatest joy at my age and stage of ministry is to pass on some of what I have learned over the years by experience to younger guys who will use it to successfully do God’s work and positively influence many people to live for God.
I am building a “trike recumbent” bicycle. It is what they call a tadpole design with two wheels in the front and one in the back. I wanted to buy one, but they cost as much as a motorcycle. I found some nice plans on line and will be able to build a nice one for a fraction the cost of buying one. I am excited about getting it done eventually and riding it. Bicycling is such good exercise for me, but I am having a harder and harder time with my balance. I won’t fall over on my new recumbent trike when I get it done. I am using parts from bicycles to build it and part of the plan to keep the cost down is finding free and cheap bikes to cut up for parts. I called a steel/junk place today and asked them if they had any junker bikes for cheap, and the guy on the phone said hundreds for $30 or less. Super! I drove 30 minutes to the place with my bike rack on the back of my car ready to get some good parts for my project. When I got there the guy said they scraped all the bikes yesterday, and when I told him that I had called and somebody told me there were hundreds, his response was, to bad, whoever that was didn’t know what they were talking about. He then asked me what I wanted with the junker bikes anyway, and I told him of my plan. He then preceded to lecture me for 10 minutes straight about how dangerous those blankety blank recumbent bikes were. He was incredibly rude and obnoxious and not responding was difficult. When I got into the car and headed home I was very irritated, well probably very angry would be more accurate. I fussed and fumed in my head the entire way home. When I pulled into our yard and parked I prayed, “Lord, please help me to forget this, and be filled with Your peace and joy”. I then put the seat back down on the car and took a 20 minute nap. When I woke up I looked on Craig’s list and called on a bike in Albany. 20 minutes later I handed a guy a $20 bill for a bicycle that had the perfect parts with all that I needed.
It is always nice to get texts and phone calls from my kids telling me what a wonderful Dad I am. Being appreciated by those most important to me is a great feeling. When we were raising our kids we did the best we knew how for their sake, so they would be good, with character,and succesful as they grew up. We never were motivated as we raised them by the thought of praise and appreciation from them in years to come, but it sure is nice now. The very strong desire that has been in me from the time our first child was born to have our kids be champions must be God given. When I think back over the years of all the time given, the sacrifices made, the hours in prayer, the money invested it was driven by more than a parents love for their children, it was driven and still is by a strong passion to see them be super succesful in life and fully devoted followers of Jesus. When I think of the white hot passion in me I know that I didn’t put it there, it was just there. As I think about this drive I think that it is God’s way of helping me understand His strong desire to see me become like Him in character, and the willingness to pay such an infinite price for my salvation making it possible for me to live with Him forever.
The family fishing trip to the Brownlee was super. Great camping and awesome fishing with 800 crappie being caught. But the Mosquitos were terrible!! Someone asked me tonight if the devil could create demons. I said I didn’t know, but that I was pretty sure he was the one who created Mosquitos! I am still scratching welts left from bites. These Mosquitos were so aggressive that they bit me through my cloths! It would be hard to say they were a trial, but major nuisance would not be a stretch. We always said that camping was a condensed version of life, and real life is full of aggravating irritations. At least with Mosquitos there is DEET that works pretty good to keep the bugs off, but in everyday life there isn’t anything to repel the constant array of irritations and annoying frustrations. The theme of Vacation Bible School that starts Monday at JBC is “Conquering Obstacles”. That is what life is about, conquering obstacles. So when a mosquito bites me I will kill him and rejoice and not fuss.