Monthly Archives: April 2021

Number One! Yeh!

Today was the National Football Draft; the teams with the worst regular-season records draft first and the teams with the best records draft last in an attempt to keep the teams competitive with each other. The Jacksonville Jaguars were awarded the first pick and drafted Trevor Lawrence, a quarterback from Clemson. Each year it is a huge honor to be the first player chosen from the ranks of hundreds of very good college players.

The Church, the Body of Christ, the eternal Bride of Christ is made up of a finite number of people. The Church officially began on the “Day of Pentecost” and officially ends on the day of the Rapure. So there was the person who was the very first person added to the Church and there will be the person who is the last one to become a part of the Bride of Christ. Between the first and the last over the years I was added to the roles of those called Christians, and many of you as well. As I said there will be a definite number of people in this special group of people who will sit at the right hand of Jesus, ruling with Him as His eternal companion. Let’s say for fun that the number is going to be 34,765,322. Some of you may think that for 2000 plus years of church history there will surely be more than that, maybe, we will see.

After the “Judgment Seat of Christ” we will all be in order of greatness, as it were, top to bottom. There will be one person who will be first and there will be someone who is last. This position will determine our relationship with Jesus, our responsibility in the Kingdom, and other things. When the disciples were arguing over who was going to be first in the Kingdom Jesus didn’t tell them they would all be equal, He told them how to be first if they wanted to be. He said, make yourself last here in this life, choose to be a servant to others in this life and you will be greatest in the next life.

I imagine that Trevor Lawrence is feeling very special tonight being the first player picked in the NFL draft. I wonder what it is going to feel like to be the one who gets chosen to sit a Jesus right hand. I wonder what it is going to feel like to be the very last person in the Body. We won’t have a sin nature in our new glorified bodies so pride won’t be an issue, but I am sure there will be a strong sense of being glorified.

1 Corinthians 15:41-42
There is one glory of the sun, and another glory of the moon, and another glory of the stars; for star differs from star in glory.
So also is the resurrection of the dead.

I think about the “Judgment Seat of Christ” constantly, and I am highly motivated to work hard, to sacrifice much, to prioritize my time, to seek a closer relationship with Him continually, to pray more, to give more, to serve more.

1 Corinthians 9:24-26 Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but only one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may win. Everyone who competes in the games exercises self-control in all things. They then do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable. Therefore I run in such a way, as not without aim; I box in such a way, as not beating the air;


Cars are made of sheet medal, at least most of the outside is. My grandson and I are restoring a 1969 mustang, and we are cutting out rusty sections of the sheet medal body and welding in new medal. One of the things we have to be careful about is not getting any one spot too hot as we weld because we will cause distortion. It is the same medal, it just has a bit of a wave in it, and will take some major bondo work to get it to look good when painting the car. Sometimes I have just a little distortion, but distortion is bad, even just a little, if the goal is a good-looking car when she is all done.

In today’s media and politics there are a variety of ways they use to communicate their agenda rather than the truth. They often just outright lie, but usually they will try to be a bit more subtle than that. The technique now most often used is distortion. You give what is true a bit of a twist so that a different message comes out. The twist can be made by leaving out part of the story, or over hyping part of it, or including one or two small lies. Almost all of what we hear on most of the news stations have significant distortions in it. The deliberate practice of distorting information in order to give a false impression or narrative has gotten so bad that it is a total waste of time to listen to most of the news anymore.

On our car, I can feel a distortion by running my hand over it better than I can by just looking at it. When we are all done with the car and have the primer on it, I will spray it with some black paint and then sand it with my block sander which is about 2 inches wide and 2 feet long. After I have finished sanding, black paint is left in the low spots that will need some Bondo work. After that is all done, I do the black spray paint routine one more time, and the result is a nice, smooth, wrinkle-free car.

A technique to end up with a nice car can be learned, and a technique to sort out distorted junk, and end up with reasonably accurate information also can be learned.

I set a goal several years ago to learn to identify distortion-free reporting and writing. Part of the goal was to spend no more than 20 minutes each day reading, listening and watching. I began by listening to, watching, and reading a variety of different reporters and authors with a critical ear towards accuracy, and it wasn’t really that hard to start eliminating a number of names from my list. I now have my list of favorite writers, and reporters that I get my current events and news from, and feel confident that I am getting balanced distortion-free information.

Some will want to know my personal list of favorites but I suggest that you make a goal similar to mine and then we can compare lists via email.

Doom and Gloom

The world, at least our country, has become very negative, depressed, gloomy, sad, pessimistic, and cynical this past year. From my perspective, it is pretty much media-driven.

One of the fundamental principles of being a follower of Jesus Christ is, “when the world is at its worst, we ought to be at our best.” our radical difference is our power.

When the world is “gloom and doom,” we ought to be “joy and peace.” The power of a Christ-follower is that our joy and peace are not based on circumstances; they are based on our hope of eternal life with Jesus. We have the power to live above the world if we choose to. It is sad to see the number of professed believers who are not choosing to live above the world but instead like it. When there is no difference, there is no influence.

I can choose to be joyful. I can choose to be thankful. I can choose not to grumble. I can choose to say thank you. Help me Lord to always choose what pleases You.

Psalms 96:1-3 Sing to the Lord a new song;
Sing to the Lord, all the earth.
Sing to the Lord, bless His name;
Proclaim good tidings of His salvation from day to day.
Tell of His glory among the nations,
His wonderful deeds among all the peoples.

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

Romans 12:2 And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind,

Burn Day

I called the Jefferson Fire Department and the recorded message said today was a burn day. I figured there wouldn’t be very many more burn days before we would be shut down for the summer, and my burn pile was getting bigger every day. So I drove to town and got 5 gallons of diesel, stretched out my garden hose, and started the pile on fire. I mixed my 5 gallons of diesel with 5 gallons of gas, so I had 10 gallons of fire starter. I started it upwind so it wouldn’t get going too hot. It was a big pile with all the limbs from my apple tree pruning, but with my fire starter poured everywhere on the pile it bured up in about an hour. Now I just need to pitch fork the small unburned pieces into a pile and finish it off.

As I worked on my pile I couldn’t help thinking about

John 15:6
If anyone does not abide in Me, he is thrown away as a branch and dries up; and they gather them, and cast them into the fire and they are burned.

Working on my burn pile, seeing the roaring fire, feeling the heat, seeing the branches burned up made that verse very, very real to me. I need to do more to reach people with the gospel.


I stayed home from church today, my preaching responsibility over at Buena Vista Community Church I had someone else do as well as my two leadership classes that I teach. Occasionally I have a Parkinson’s flare-up for no apparent reason. My muscles get very rigid, like concrete setting up and when I move it hurts and the pain makes me nauseous, and I usually get a severe headache. I take some extra medication, sit in my hot tub for thirty minutes, and then ride my stationary bike for thirty minutes and then back to the hot tub and back to the bike until I am better. Last night it took so long to get the thing under control that I was totally exhausted this morning from no sleep and all that bike riding. Now that I am feeling better having slept in I think I should have gone to church; I could have toughed it out. I must be getting wimpier in my old age.

I leave on a 1,200-mile bicycle ride in June, and I am a long way from being in good shape for the trip so these kinds of forced extra riding are probably a good thing.

You’re Not My Boss

One of the minor conflicts that Patty and I from time to time is when she gets to bossing me around too much. It usually happens when she has a bunch of our grandkids over for a day and then she doesn’t switch out of that grandma role when she talks to me. I usually am patient with it for a while, and then I will say “stop talking to me like a little kid” or “you’re not my boss, ” or “who am I, Your husband or your grandson? I always feel bad afterward because I usually hurt her feelings with my impatient remark.

One of the reasons these COVID restrictions and mask mandate irritate me so much is because I don’t like being bossed around. I think it is an issue we all have in a variety of settings.

I do want Jesus to be the Lord of my life, my boss and my King. The more I obey Him, the closer I follow Him the more successful my life will be. But even with Jesus I find myself doing my own thing instead of doing His will for my life. Kind of stupid to do that, considering that He is God and knows everything, and I am a man and know nothing. I am working on it every day, continually declaring Him my Lord and master. I am getting better at following and obeying him, and my journeys out into the Kingdom of Dee Duke are becoming fewer and shorter. One of the things that has helped me in this goal of being a servant and disciple of Jesus has been memorizing these two passages and reviewing them in my head every day.

1 Corinthians 6:19-20 Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own? For you have been bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body.

Romans 14:7-9
For not one of us lives for himself, and not one dies for himself; for if we live, we live for the Lord, or if we die, we die for the Lord; therefore whether we live or die, we are the Lord’s. For to this end Christ died and lived again, that He might be Lord both of the dead and of the living.

I Am So Tired, part 2

A characteristic that all eight of our kids had was that they got tired after doing most anything for a short time. They were good with practicing the piano for ten minutes, but from that point on to the required thirty minutes, there was a constant, “I’m tired.” Homework was the same way, as was their chores. They weren’t tired, they were just bored, but they couldn’t tell the difference. Being bored is a form of weariness, but it isn’t physical; it is mental. I am the same way, I get bored doing the same thing after a period of time, except for fishing. This afternoon I have been painting my boat. I have to sand the whole thing, then I will do some calking of cracks, and then paint with a light sending between the two coats. It is a big boat and will take about eight hours to complete, and this morning I was sure I could complete all but the second coat of paint today. The problem was that after two hours of the tedious work I got bored. I can push through the feeling of boredom if the job is super important, and I need to get it done, but once boredom sets in, the work isn’t fun any more, and I work slower. I need to get my boat painted in the next week so I can take it fishing, but I have some time. So I did what I usually do when I get bored; I changed jobs; variety is a great energy producer. I looked at my to-do list and picked writing this blog to do next because I could sit down and I could drink a cup of coffee as well. When I get done with this blog I will go back to the boat project with renewed gusto.

Over the years I have figured out the optimum time for almost everything that I do so I plan my day and my to-do list accordingly. I get weary after 15 minutes of praying for the people who attend JBC so I change jobs and come back to my praying later. By adding variety to my day I enjoy myself more and I get more done.

Do Not Fret

During these days of unrest, fear mongering by the media, political upheaval, huge amounts of injustice, and corruption it is easy to get all worked up when you hear or read about it daily. It the midst of all this craziness I want to live my life with joy, peace, and strength making a difference where I can and attracting people to Jesus Christ. The key to living in the midst of all the chaos is trusting in God and seeking Him constantly. The method of doing that which works well for me is to memorize key portions of the Bible and meditate on it. God’s word is supernatural, it is powerful. Check out this cool passage of scripture, it makes me smile every time I recite it in my mind and put some of my least favorite politicians in it.

Psalms 37:7-15 Rest in the Lord and wait patiently for Him;
Do not fret because of him who prospers in his way,
Because of the man who carries out wicked schemes.
Cease from anger and forsake wrath;
Do not fret; it leads only to evildoing.
For evildoers will be cut off,
But those who wait for the Lord, they will inherit the land.
Yet a little while and the wicked man will be no more;
And you will look carefully for his place and he will not be there.
But the humble will inherit the land
And will delight themselves in abundant prosperity.
The wicked plots against the righteous
And gnashes at him with his teeth.
The Lord laughs at him,
For He sees his day is coming.
The wicked have drawn the sword and bent their bow
To cast down the afflicted and the needy,
To slay those who are upright in conduct.
Their sword will enter their own heart,
And their bows will be broken.

I Am So, So Tired

Have you ever said that or heard others say that? Sure you have; almost everybody says it either to themselves in their self-talk or out loud for anybody and everybody to hear. Our energy level is a significant factor in how much we accomplish with our life that matters. I am 72 years old and I don’t have the physical energy that I had even a few years ago, so I am making up for it in emotional energy, mental energy, spiritual energy, and a high level of motivation.

There are many medical and physical reasons for tiredness, but there is a rapidly growing number of people who complain about being tired, but it isn’t physical fatigue but mental, emotional, and spiritual depression caused by overexposure to all of the negative, stupid, sinful, rotten, absurd, and demonic stuff going on in our country. Here are my personal rules for staying highly motivated every day.

1. I limit my news reading to 15 minutes maximum. The media has become so negative and manipulating that spending too much time watching or reading will suck the life out of you.

2. I never say out loud that I am tired, and if I think it I quote Isaiah 40:31 in my head immediately.

3. Grumbling and complaining are a significant killer of motivation and emotional energy, so I work hard at never doing it.

4. I work hard to thank the Lord all day long for everything, every experience, every person, and everything I touch that is mine.

5. I spend an hour every day in Bible reading and prayer, and I ask God for strength over and over all day long. He loves to give strength to those who ask for it so I am going to ask a lot.

6. I read my goals every day. Goals that are noble and big inspire and motivate.

7. I write a to-do list every day, check it often, compete with myself to get everything on it crossed off.

What Can I Do?

Many people talk about prayer, but not many have much faith that it does anything, that God does anything, when we pray. It is mostly just something we say.

I believe with all my heart that when I pray God listens and acts because I pray, and the more I pray the more He does. I believe that without a shadow of a doubt.

I often pray back to God the prayers that are recorded in the Bible. I believe He had them written in the pages of the Bible so that I could be encouraged to pray the same words. Prayers that still fit the situation today as they did thousands of year’s ago.

So many things are happening today in our country, not just in our country but by the leaders of our country, that are wrong, unjust, and sinful.

Such as the Chauvin trial, that wasn’t justice, that was a jury giving a guilty verdict because they were threatened by our own government. He may be guilty, but it would be nice if a fair and just trial decided that, not crooked leaders who have a personal agenda.

So, what can I do about it, other than fuss? I can pray! God listens when I pray! God acts when I pray! Things happen when I pray! I am not saying that because I think I am special, God is special. I am just a regular old guy who believes in prayer.

Psalms 2:1-4 Why are the nations in an uproar and the peoples devising a vain thing? 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.

Psalms 5:1-7 Give ear to my words, O Lord, consider my groaning. Heed the sound of my cry for help, my King and my God, for to You I pray. In the morning, O Lord, You will hear my voice; In the morning I will order my prayer to You and eagerly watch. For You are not a God who takes pleasure in wickedness; No evil dwells with You. The boastful shall not stand before Your eyes; You hate all who do iniquity. You destroy those who speak falsehood; The Lord abhors the man of bloodshed and deceit.