Monthly Archives: April 2020

How then Should I Live

During these times I am following some principles.

1. Everything I do and say needs to be a good advertisement for God. I am an ambassador for Jesus, and all that many will know about Him is what they see in me. A question I ask myself daily is, ”If I were a skeptical unbeliever, would I be drawn to faith in Christ by someone who was acting and talking the way I am?” part of my responsibility here is to be aware of the opinions and values of those around me, which changes all through the day as I move from situation to situation. Practicing deference is a major discipline of those who really want to influence other people positively. Deference as I define it is, ”Limiting my personal rights and freedom so as to not offend those whom I am wanting to convince to follow and love Jesus the way I do.

1 Corinthians 9:19-23 For though I am free from all men, I have made myself a slave to all, so that I may win more. To the Jews I became as a Jew, so that I might win Jews; to those who are under the Law, as under the Law though not being myself under the Law, so that I might win those who are under the Law; to those who are without law, as without law, though not being without the law of God but under the law of Christ, so that I might win those who are without law. To the weak I became weak, that I might win the weak; I have become all things to all men, so that I may by all means save some. I do all things for the sake of the gospel, so that I may become a fellow partaker of it.

2. I will forgive anybody of anything quickly no matter how rude or obnoxious they might be in expressing their views, opinions, or criticisms toward me or others around me that are family or friends. I will not answer rudeness with rudeness, a critical statement with defensiveness or an insult with an insult, but I will answer with grace, humor if possible, I will give a blessing from God, and I will offer to pray for them if appropriate.

1 Peter 3:8-9 To sum up, all of you be harmonious, sympathetic, brotherly, kindhearted, and humble in spirit; not returning evil for evil or insult for insult, but giving a blessing instead; for you were called for the very purpose that you might inherit a blessing.

3. I will accept, be patient with, and love those who are different than I am in their views, values, beliefs, and opinions. I will not argue or debate with them about where they are. I will ask questions and honor them by listening attentively as they give expression to their views. I will answer questions they may ask with with no haughtiness or superiority because of my freedom. During the days of the New Testament there was a huge division in the church over whether it was alright to eat meat offered to idols and Paul gives this advice;

Romans 14:1-4 Now accept the one who is weak in faith, but not for the purpose of passing judgment on his opinions. One person has faith that he may eat all things, but he who is weak eats vegetables only. The one who eats is not to regard with contempt the one who does not eat, and the one who does not eat is not to judge the one who eats, for God has accepted him. Who are you to judge the servant of another? To his own master he stands or falls; and he will stand, for the Lord is able to make him stand.

4. I will obey God rather than men if ever there is a conflict between God’s rules and man’s. As I wrote yesterday, all governments will eventually move towards resisting Christianity, then oppressing, and then persecuting. It was interesting to hear President Trump recently say critically, that our governments, Federal and State are giving Muslims more leniency in their gathering than to Jews or Christians. If I ever become convinced that the restrictions against our church gathering together to worship is out of balance with what else is happening I will choose to break the quarantine with a clear conscience and make a very big fuss if myself or anybody who chooses to join me is penalized for it. I am really hoping that it doesn’t come to that, I really don’t enjoy making a fuss, and I would do so reluctantly, but I would if I came to the conclusion that it was the right thing to do before God.

Acts 5:28-29 the rulers said, “We gave you strict orders not to continue teaching in the name of Jesus, and yet, you have filled Jerusalem with your teaching and intend to bring this man’s blood upon us.” But Peter and the apostles answered, “We must obey God rather than men.”


The theological definition of the Trinity is, ” God is one, there is no other gods but one. He exists in three distinct personalities the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, who are all equally eternal, without beginning and without ending, equally omnipresent, God is in every place, they are equally omnipotent, they are infinitely powerful, they are equally omniscient, they know everything, there is nothing they do not know. They are totally unified in purpose and they are infinitely in love with each other.

We are created in the image and likeness of God so we will have an incredibly strong desire for relationship. We have a very strong desire for community. Solitaire confinement is about the most cruel punishment there is for us as people, because we are created like God.

Coronavirus; What Drives These Rules and Control?

This Blog is an expression of my opinion on the government control in these days, my attempt to understand the times.

In 1968 when I was a Freshman in College the Hong Kong Flu broke out and was a worldwide pandemic, and 1 to 4 million people died in the world and about 200,000 to 300,000 in the United States. Both those numbers are close to 10 X more than the present pandemic numbers. The Hong Kong flu was basically treated like any other flu, that is allowed to run it’s course, and then it was over. During those years the big fuss was the Vietnam war and the flu was a minor issue. Though many died and got sick, there was no quarantine, no travel restrictions, no masks, and I never missed church. Some would say that if it hadn’t been for the restrictions that the Government issued that this Pandemic would have been much worse, we will never know the answer to that, but based on recent findings, I doubt that to be true. The problem is that those who communicate the news are so agenda driven, prone to overhyping everything, and outright lying it is very hard to know exactly what is true.

But in the midst of swirling hype, exaggeration, and lies I know 8 things that are true;

1. What I do know to be true is that governments always move in the direction of control over the lives of people, and then over control. Studying world history and the various world empires, the Egyptian Empire, the Babylonian Empire under Nebuchadnezzar, the Persian Empire, the Greek Empire under Alexander the Great, the Roman Empire under the various Ceasars, Germany under Hitler, Stalin and then the Soviet Union, and dozens of other repressive governments that exist today demonstrate that governments all move in the direction of controlling the lives of the people that it is over. The book of Daniel in the Bible has much to say about Governments right down to the present time.

Daniel 3:4-7 To you the command is given, O peoples, nations and men of every language, that at the moment you hear the sound of the horn, flute, lyre, trigon, psaltery, bagpipe and all kinds of music, you are to fall down and worship the golden image that Nebuchadnezzar the king has set up. But whoever does not fall down and worship shall immediately be cast into the midst of a furnace of blazing fire.”

The history of the world as we know it will end with a man becoming the ruler of the world who is called ”the beast”, and his ascension to power is described in Daniel and Revelation.

Revelation 13:16-17, He causes all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and slave, to receive a mark on their right hand or on their foreheads, and that no one may buy or sell except one who has the mark or the name of the beast, or the number of his name.

2. Another thing I know to be true is that Governments almost always attempt to control people by creating fear. The media created an amazing level of fear in a very short amount of time which fed on itself which created a mass hysteria which caused people to almost immediately fall in line with all of the rules with little fussing even though our Constitutional Rights were violated to the max.

3. Another thing that I know to be true is that Governments will always eventually move to control people by controlling the economy and the availability of life-sustaining resources. Socialism is not a good idea or a bad idea, it is an underlying force.

4. Another thing I know to be true is that Government always wants to expand geographically, control more land, more area. Historically this has happened by wars, but the current method is through politics, the political push is towards Globilsm rather than Nationalism. The ”Beast”, the Anti-christ will be a world wide ruler.

5. Another thing I know to be true is that in the midst of this movement of governments to control the lives of people that disunity and hatred will grow stronger and stronger between people, even in families and in churches. In the words of Jesus in Matthew 24:10, ”At that time many will fall away and will betray one another and hate one another.”

6. Another thing that I know to be true is that all Governments sooner or later begin to resist and attempt to control the spread of Christianity, than oppose it, than persecute it.

Psalms 2:2-4 The kings of the earth take their stand
And the rulers take counsel together
Against the Lord and against His Anointed, saying,
“Let us tear their fetters apart
And cast away their cords from us!”
He who sits in the heavens laughs,
The Lord scoffs at them.

7. Another thing I know to be true is that the reason for all of this is stated in Ephesians 6:12; ”For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places.”

8. One last thing I know to be true is that Jesus is going to return one of these days and establish His Kingdom on the earth and then righteousness will reign.

Daniel 7:14 And to Him was given dominion, Glory and a kingdom, That all the peoples, nations and men of every language Might serve Him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion Which will not pass away;
And His kingdom is one Which will not be destroyed.

Daniel 7:27 Then the sovereignty, the dominion and the greatness of all the kingdoms under the whole heaven will be given to the people of the saints of the Highest One; His kingdom will be an everlasting kingdom, and all the dominions will serve and obey Him.’

So, using the title of the book published in 1976 written by Francis A. Scheaffer, one of my favorite authors, ”How Then Should We Live?” What should I do, how should I talk, what should I write?


Unity vs Conformity part 3

3. If a situation exists that I believe is wrong, unjust, or just plain stupid, I ask myself, “what can I do to really change the situation”? I, like most people am prone to fuss, vent, and complain about things just because it feels good and relieves frustration and anger, but my fussing isn’t really changing anything. I allow myself to have discussions with people about the coronavirus situation, but I try to be careful not to argue or to grumble to much. I can tell when my “temperature” starts to go up so at that point I quit, and talk about fishing or something else that is pleasant. My main method of changing things is to pray about it diligently. I truly believe that I can change a lot of things by fervent prayer. The second thing I do a lot of is writing letters and emails to elected officials who have power and make an appeal to them concerning what I believe is right, just, and wise. Daniel in the Bible was regularly dealing with arrogant, oppressive rulers, and he influenced them all primarily by making gracious appeals. It appears that God blesses that method.

4. I have often entertained the idea of moving to Vietnam if I ever retired fully from ministry. One reason is that I don’t have any retirement program and only a small amount of money saved for retirement, but we could live quite nicely on a fraction of the cost of living in the United States. In reality we would never do it because of grandkids. But, pretending that we did, how bad, oppressive, controlling is the Communist government in Vietnam compared with our Government here in the States? I have made 4 different trips to Vietnam on mission trips and have seen first hand the conditions there. So pretending that Patty and I are living there, how will I deal with the Government officials and the police, what will I do to change things? Mostly, just pray, and do a lot,of thanking and praising the Lord for the good life we had here. I personally believe that the government has way overstepped it’s legitimate authority given to them in our Constitution, but I am still in a better situation than people in almost every other country in the world. I will still do what I can to change abortion laws and other government decisions that I believe should be changed, but I will do so with an attitude of gratefulness not belligerence.

Unity vs Conformity part 2

Of late I get so irritated at the virus stuff that I feel like running through Fred Meyer sneezing and coughing on people. Do you have to worry about me doing something like that? No, I can feel like doing something crazy like that, and even fantasize for a bit about doing it with a smile on my face but I wouldn’t do that. Why? Because it isn’t wise, and I don’t have to act the way I feel.

So, as I wrote yesterday unity is the goal, God commands us to pursue it diligently, He blesses those who pursue it, and He disciplines severely those who create disunity in His church, even to the point of killing them.

At present we have two camps, one feels strongly that we need to stay home, wear a mask when we go out, wash our hands 6 times a day, and disinfect everything repeatedly that gets touched by others. They feel so strongly that they call those who don’t follow these restrictions and guidelines murderers.

The other side believes that the whole pandemic thing is way overhyped, that it isn’t much worse than the flu, that government has gone way overboard in trying to control it, that they are violating our Constitutional rights, and are destroying the economy of the United States, and their words for the other side are usually even more rude and crude. Here are some guidelines that I am attempting to follow during these days;

1. I ask myself this question, ”Is this a heaven or hell issue”? That is, is the thing I am feeling strongly about and wanting to fix or make go away, going to cause someone to spend eternity in hell if I don’t straighten it out or not. Every issue, opinion, viewpoint, and philosophy has a value. Whether Fords or Chevys are better would be at the bottom of the value column, and everything else is in between. ”Is abortion acceptable or is it evil”? would be right up there near the top for me. So in this column of issues there needs to be a line consciously drawn, everything above it is worth making a fuss about, everything under the line is not, though I may feel strongly about it. Making a fuss has a price to be paid, and often the cost is in relationships. Wise people count the cost carefully.

2. Can I express my view in such a way that it doesn’t insult or attack the character of those who hold a different or opposing view? We tend to attack people, in order to add clout to our opinion. Learning how to express my opinions graciously is super important. 1 Peter 3 says we express our opinions with ”gentleness and reverence”.

Tomorrow I will look at a couple more principles.

Unity vs Uniformity or You are a jerk head if you don’t practice social distancing.

Jesus prayed for His future followers, which would be us, in John17, and asked God the Father to make us one even as Jesus and the Father were one. Jesus declares that our genuine unity would be enough to convince the world of the truth and reality of God, and that Jesus was sent by the Father.

We are commanded by God to pursue unity and peace with each other, that we are to work at it diligently. So exactly what does that mean, what is it that we are supposed to do. I believe the Ford Motor company makes cars and trucks far superior to those of all other companies. I have a good friend who believes that Fords are junk. Does one of us need to switch our car and truck company loyalty in order to be unified, and if one of us doesn’t can we still be friends?

There is a big difference between unity and uniformity or conformity. Uniformity says that we need to believe the same things, hold common values and priorities in life, and even like the same things. Unity, on the other hand allows us to have totally different beliefs, values, opinions, and likes, and still be good friends and enjoy each others company and fellowship. We can have great unity with others that are totality different if we have the character traits of patience, self-control, deference, and kindness.

Right now in our country and in our church there is a growing difference of opinion on the solution for the coronavirus pandemic. There are those who feel strongly that we need to keep doing all the things that are mandated and strongly suggested by the government to prevent the further spread of the virus. And in the other corner, we have those who feel strongly that the whole thing has been overhyped by the media, that the government has way overstepped their constitutional authority and violated our constitutional rights in the process, and is destroying the economy and the lives of very many people who will lose their businesses and livelihoods.

So, how do we maintain good unity in the midst of the current situation and strongly felt opinions and positions. Do we all need to agree and if so how do we decide which way we are going, and what do we do with those who decide they aren’t changing their views. Do I need to preach a sermon on why one of the views is God’s view, and if anyone refuses to conform then they need to go to a different church? That would not produce unity, just outward conformity.

Tomorrow I will give the keys to maintaining good unity in the midst of great diversity of opinion and belief. This is very important information because unity is the major reason God blesses and uses a church.

Work Hard be Lazy

I have found over my 71 years of living that balance is very important to my soul health. There are many different areas of my life that accomplishing balance is very important. One of them is the balance between ”work hard, accomplish the goals, be focussed, don’t give up, busy is good, keep your priorities straight, push until it moves” and ”relax, rest, take it easy, whatever, fishing, oh well, I will do it tomorrow, time for a nap, and I love my hot tub”. The problem is the teeter-totter tendency. Imagine a teeter-totter, like what used to be in playgrounds before someone decided they were unsafe, with each of the two opposite lists I just gave on each side. The goal is that the teeter-totter would be level from side to side, balanced, but instead it goes up and down, first one side being the big deal and then the other side, back and forth. Out of balance living creates a tension in us, an unrest that destroys peace, joy, self-worth, contentment, relational intelligence, and energy.

The key to maintaining balance in life, like walking on a tight rope over Niagra Falls, or between two very tall buildings is to recognize the signs of out of balance living. For me, it is primarily an inner agitation that I can’t really put my finger on as to the cause. Wisdom is required to choose and regulate activity in my life and to be very diligent in my self-talk.

The most important ingredient to maintaining this balance is a trust in God and His sovereignty that relaxes me. This trust doesn’t take away my fire and my sense of responsibility, but it does take away the fear of failing, it takes away the obsession with goals and activities that makes me feel guilty at the end of the day instead of fulfilled. I have memorized these verses and meditate on them often to help me maintain this perfect balance between being relaxed and being obsessed.

Psalms 127:1-2 Unless the Lord builds the house,
They labor in vain who build it; Unless the Lord guards the city, The watchman keeps awake in vain.
It is vain for you to rise up early, To retire late,
To eat the bread of painful labors; For He gives to His beloved even in his sleep.

Keep Your Mouth Closed

Proverbs 10:19 When there are many words, transgression is unavoidable, But he who restrains his lips is wise.

When I was 23 years old I worked a construction job for a few years as a ”Powder Monkey” blowing up rocks for asphalt plants, landfills, and road construction. I worked with a guy named Doc who was 60 years old, the best powder guy in the country, very grumpy, and very mean. It seemed like it was impossible to do anything good enough not to get yelled at, though I tried very hard. I asked my Dad what I should do, and his answer was rather short and to the point, ”Keep your mouth shut and do the best that you can”. We had a big drill that would bore 2 ” holes through solid rock up to 100 feet deep which we would fill with dynamite in order to reduce it to rocks the size of a grapefruit that would go through a rock crusher to make gravel. Between jobs all of our bits would be taken to a machine shop to get sharpened, and Doc would always do it. We went on a job that was a 5-hour drive from the head office, and when we got there we discovered that Doc had forgotten to pick up the sharpened bits. While we were standing there, Doc cussing up a storm, and me trying to hide behind the truck so as not to get yelled at, the ”Big Boss”, the owner of the business, his name was Lester, drove up and asked why we weren’t drilling yet. Doc replied and said, ”Dee forgot to pick up the bits for the machine shop”! I just stood there, saying nothing, not believing what I just heard. Lester handed me the keys to his pickup, told me to go get the bits, to drive as fast as I could without getting a ticket, and don’t stop to eat or sleep. When I got to the machine shop, 4 hours later, it was closed so I curled up and went to sleep on the front seat. After sleeping a couple of hours the shop opened, I got the bits, drove back to the job, and didn’t complain to anybody.

A couple of days later, the ”big boss” Lester and I were working together for a little bit, and he said, ”I know that it was Doc who forgot to pick up the bits, the owner of the machine shop told me that it was always Doc who did that job. I was quite impressed with you and your character in not defending yourself and taking the blame the way that you did. I am going to give you a big raise because I want to keep you working for us.” Woe, that worked out alright.

The Story of Pushing On the Ship

When I was twelve years old our family lived in Alameda, California not very far from the Navy Base that was located there. My Dad was just months away from retiring from the Navy, having served since before World War II for over twenty years. He and I would occasionally walk to the Base and fish off of the docks. We would take our fishing rods, a small tackle box, buckets to sit on and to put the fish in that we caught, and a few pieces of bread which we used for bait. We would tie a lead weight on at the end of our line with about six hooks tied on above the weight, each one being about a foot apart. We would take a piece of bread and roll it around until it was a nice little doe ball the size of a pea and put one on each hook. We would then jig that collection of tasty doe balls up and down in the water about ten feet below the surface. It would usually only be a few minutes before we had a perch on our line, and sometimes two or three at one time.

Most of the time when we went fishing the wind was blowing briskly, as it normally does at the coast. But one time, late in the evening, it was an absolutely dead calm, and the water in the bay was flat and smooth as glass. Dad set his bucket and fishing stuff down and walked over to one of the many Navy ships that were tied up to the docks. He leaned out and put his hands on the side of this enormous ship and began to push with all of his might. I remember thinking to myself, ”Yikes, Dad has lost it, he should have retired months ago”! He pushed for a long time, and I began to seriously worry, and then the ship began to move away from the dock! My thinking immediately changed too, ”Wow, my Dad must be Superman”! He sat down on the edge of the dock, and asked me to sit down next to him and gave me this little speech that has incredibly impacted my life ever since; ”I don’t know exactly how it works, but somehow as I pushed my energy was being stored up in the molecules in the steel in the hull of this ship. After there was enough of my energy put into the mass of this ship it moved. It wouldn’t have worked had there been any wind, but tonight was the perfect time to show you this principle. Two things that I want you never to forget, first of all, if I had gotten discouraged and quit, it wouldn’t have moved and everything I had done up to that point would have been lost, if you want to move or accomplish something very big you have to keep pushing and never give up. The second thing is, if you had helped me we would have moved it in half the time.”

The Ultimate Question

If you die from the Coronavirus, and you are standing before God and He asks you, ”Why should I let you into My heaven”, what would your answer be!

You might say to me, ”I don’t believe in God”. That isn’t going to change the fact that you will stand before Him, and I wonder if you will say the same thing then.

I had a person say to me once, ”The Christian God you worship is one of many, and he is my least favorite”. Someday that person will not be standing before the one, true God belligerent and shaking his fist, he will be on his knees recognizing how wrong he was.

We will all die one of these days, and then if the Bible is true it will be too late to do anything or to believe anything different then what we have brought with us at that point.

Most of the people that I have talked to who say such things have arrived at that point in their thinking, not on the basis of serious research, study, and thinking but from reacting to people, and experiences in life that were hurtful. It seems that an eternal destiny of either heaven or hell would merit more truth-seeking than most do.

I know a Dad who offered his son a large sum of money if he would read the book, ”The Case for Christ”, and the son angrily refused. I thought, ”Why would someone refuse to expose themselves to something that could very possibly be true”, but many people in this world do just that.

In the Bible God says, ”If you seek Me, you will find Me”. That is a promise that God makes to any person who would start on a journey seriously seeking the truth.

Wouldn’t it be nice to know for sure that when we die we will get a wonderful new body, that there will be no more sorrow or pain, and that our life from that point on will be full of joy forever? I know that for sure because I know the answer to that ultimate question that God will ask me on that day when I see Him face to face.