Monthly Archives: December 2021

New Beginning, I Will Do Better, for Sure!

My overriding goal is to get better. Some things I won’t get better at, though, I will probably do worse. I will run slower and less; I will bike slower, I will get dressed slower, it will take me longer to do most projects in my shop, it will take a lot longer to get our winter wood in, almost everything physical I will do slower, I will probably even fish slower!

But my big goal of getting better has to do with my character, maturity, and Christ-likeness. I hunger and thirst to be more righteous; I agonize over my character flaws, the things I say that I know are wrong the second they come out of my mouth. The irritability that I often feel, I would like to be forever done with. The critical and judgmental thoughts I have towards people around me, I would like those gone too. The laziness that I sense slowly creeping into my life because of the increasing difficulty of doing things physically, I would like to conquer that one, stomp it to death.

It is difficult to write goals for those things, but I can write a Bible reading goal, a scripture memory goal, a prayer goal, a journaling goal, a worship God goal, and others like that. Spiritual discipline goals that will result in God working in my life, changing me from the inside out, giving me power, giving me wisdom, giving me joy, making my soul healthy, helping me sense His joy and pleasure in me as His son.

Spiritual disciplines are designed by God to make us like Himself in character. They are supernatural in their effect on my heart, my attitude, my motives, and my thoughts. The problem is that my flesh, my sin nature does not want to do any of the disciplines. That is why I set goals. Goals are the most powerful tool to overcoming my flesh. Paul said, “I don’t run without aim and I don’t box as beating the air, but I beat my flesh and make it my slave.” But, my flesh hates goals also, in fact my flesh fears goals, as does the devil and his demons. Please help me Lord, we can do this.

2021 was a Bad Year

I have been writing one year goals since I was 16 years old, and last year was my worst year for actually accomplishing the goals that I wrote. One of the principles that I teach about successful goal setting is the need to be flexible and make adjustments to your goals if needed. Because of all that was happening in our world this last year I became ultra flexible, and I was making adjustments to almost all of my goals every week. It is hard to hit the bullseye when it moves all of the time.

Some people quit setting goals if they have a bad year accomplishing them because they don’t like feeling like a failure. I get irritated at myself and write a couple extra BHAGS, figure out what I did wrong, make adjustments, oops fell asleep here a couple of hours ago and now I am to rummy to think straight.


Someone gave me a package of black licorice from Trader Joe’s for Christmas. I have eaten a lot of different licorice over the years and consider myself somewhat of a licorice connoisseur. Still, this licorice ought to be considered illegal because it is so good someone would kill for it. It is big around, it is soft but still chewy, and the licorice taste is so strong, it is fantastic.

I wonder if there will be licorice in heaven? It seems if heaven is going to be heaven there will undoubtedly be licorice, and for sure Trader Joe’s.

Life is full of small pleasures that happen all day long, but we often steamroll right past them for any number of reasons, but one being we become indifferent to the “small” things in life because any one of them is not that big of a deal, but if they were all stacked up they would be a huge deal.

Becoming a positive person, a happy person, happens when we become a grateful person for all the little good things that happen to everybody all of the time, even in the worst of times.

It is so easy to become a negative person, one who sees mostly just the bad things that happen in life. You then will become a sad person, a bitter person, one who is no fun to be around.

My solution for all negative, sad people is go buy a bag of black licorice at Trader Joe’s, eat it all in one sitting, but eat it slowly, savoring every piece. Then thank Jesus for the pleasure and then determine that you will notice every good thing, no matter how small, and thank Jesus for it all. If you feel yourselves going back into the pit of being negative, buy another bag of licorice, but don’t be a slow learner or otherwise you will get really fat.


This is the most snow I can remember having here in a long time. In the past, whenever the weatherman would make a big hype about coming snow, my response would be, “yeah, right,” because it never happened, so imagine my surprise when I walked out on our back porch on Sunday at 6:00 am to see all the snow! It has been fun watching the grandkids play in the snow. I threw one snowball at my grandson, Courage and I still can’t brush my teeth with that arm. There are certain things old guys shouldn’t do, and throwing snowballs is certainly on that list, maybe even at the top.

We went up to Fairbanks, Alaska last year to have Christmas with our daughter Shelly and her family, and there was lots of snow. Where I grew up in Trout Lake, Washington there was frequently a lot of snow. I remember when I was a Junior in High School walking around on the top of the snow in our driveway/parking area, jamming a six-foot pole into the snow trying to find my car before the snow removal guys showed up to clear up enough space for the milk truck to get into so they could pick up our milk, I didn’t want them to run into my car with that snowplow.

The snow will get mushy and dirty in a couple of days, but right now it is very beautiful, white, clean, hanging on the trees, and looking like a white Christmas, Christmas card. It reminds me of one of the few verses in the Bible that mentions snow.

Psalms 51:7-9 Wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.
Make me to hear joy and gladness,
Let the bones which You have broken rejoice.
Hide Your face from my sins

Because of my faith in Jesus Christ I am washed by God, I am spiritually clean, God forgives my sins, and I am going to live forever and ever with God. Awesome promise.


Writing about seven ways to know the will of God makes it sound like figuring out the will of God is simple, but I am perplexed. I have several decisions to make and I can’t figure out what to do, I am perplexed. I have gone over the seven principles several time and I am still perplexed. So what Am I going to do? I am going to continue praying asking God to show me His plan and will for my life, I am going to get some more counsel from some very wise people and I will be patient and wait until I know what to do. But if a decision has to be made I will make it doing the best I can with the information that I have. If the time comes and a decision needs to be made I will make it confidently without any fear of making the wrong choice, though I know that I might make a dumb decision. Fear messes with our ability to have sound judgment, and it increases the likelihood of making a wrong decision.

Seven Ways to Know God’s Will #7

There are groups or classes of people when it comes to the subject of living life according to God’s will. There are those who don’t care what God’s will is, they are going to do what they want, not what God wants. Most Christians are in that camp, though not because of an independent spirit or rebellion, but because of apathy, lukewarmness, indifference, being naive, complacency, and just being far from God because of worldliness. These people only think about God’s will when their lives start falling apart and they seem helpless to do anything about it. Then they want to know what God’s will is, and they want God to fix their life for them. This passage in Proverbs describes the boat these people are in, and what it will be like when it starts to sink.

Proverbs 1:24-33
“Because I called and you refused,
I stretched out my hand and no one paid attention;
And you neglected all my counsel
And did not want my reproof;
I will also laugh at your calamity;
I will mock when your dread comes,
When your dread comes like a storm
And your calamity comes like a whirlwind,
When distress and anguish come upon you.
“Then they will call on me, but I will not answer;
They will seek me diligently but they will not find me,
Because they hated knowledge
And did not choose the fear of the Lord.
“They would not accept my counsel,
They spurned all my reproof.
“So they shall eat of the fruit of their own way
And be satiated with their own devices.
“For the waywardness of the naive will kill them,
And the complacency of fools will destroy them.
“But he who listens to me shall live securely
And will be at ease from the dread of evil.”

I know what my wife wants because I am close to her. I know what makes her happy and pleases her because I know her. I know what will upset her, irritate her, and hurt her because of the intimacy of our relationship.

The way to know what God’s will is, is to know God, be close to Him. So many simply want to know what God’s will is because they assume that means a trouble-free life of comfort. They should probably read the book of Job.

The Bible repeats over and over the command and the blessings of seeking the Lord. Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. How do you seek God? Attend church services faithfully. Listen attentively to the sermons, learn and repent. Read the Bible every day. Spend time in prayer privately and corporately. Be involved in some kind of ministry in your church. Give faithfully and sacrificial of your money. Examine your life humbly and confess all known sin to God. Be baptized and participate thoughtfully in Communion, and worship God with all of your heart corporately and privately, praise the Lord always and don’t grumble about anything. That list, though long, is not hard. If we truly love God and want to know Him intimately it will be easy.

Seven Ways to Know God’s Will #6

How do you decide what cereal you will eat for breakfast? How about the shirt you pick to wear for the day or church? If you are in my Leadership Class and I give you the assignment to preach a ten-minute sermon on the topic of what has changed most in your life in the last six months, how will you decide? When Patty and I go out for dinner to a restaurant she will read through the menu for at least ten minutes before she can decide what to order. Probably about 90% of the decisions each of us make in a day, we just make and the thought of what God’s will is doesn’t enter our thoughts. It is probably because the consequence of making a wrong choice is not significant so we don’t agonize over it very long trying to decide if it is the will of God. That isn’t necessarily wrong because we were probably using principle # 6 to decide in each of those instances what we ought to do.

The six way to make choices as we go through life is to just decide using wisdom. This method assumes that we are wise people because we have been wisdom seekers throughout our life.

Proverbs 2:2-5 & 9
Make your ear attentive to wisdom,
Incline your heart to understanding;
For if you cry for discernment,
Lift your voice for understanding;
If you seek her as silver
And search for her as for hidden treasures;
Then you will. . . discern righteousness and justice
And equity and every good course.

“Every good course” that is we make good decisions.

The most import thing to do do as wisdom seekers is to read the Bible faithfully, daily is best. If we are faithful Bible readers and seekers after wisdom we will navigate through life successfully in the will of God.

Seven Ways to Know God’s Will #5

1. Ask Him to show you His will. He wants us to know what His will is for our life more than we do.

2. Declare Jesus Lord of your life and commit to do His will. I do this every morning first thing.

3. Pay attention to the circumstantial road signs. God opens up doors and provides clues all day long, and if we are paying attention, we will see them

4 Get wise counsel. This is the most neglected of the seven but is very effective because of the humility factor that God loves.

5. Pay attention to thoughts, ideas, desires, and dreams that you have. Listen to your thoughts. God talks to us and we hear him in our mind. The problem is that the devil talks to us as well, and our sinful flesh, and the gone crazy world also talk to us loudly and 24/7. Mature believers have worked hard and have learned to differentiate between the different voices in their head and know when God is speaking to them. One of the things I do is write down on paper something I think God is saying to me. I then put it away for one month and then pull it out and read it. If I am still thinking that it is from God I act on it, but if it seems weird, strange, selfish, or boring, I wad the paper up and throw it away.

Seven Ways to Know God’s Will for our Lives #4

The most neglected tool for knowing God’s will for our lives is counsel from others. I am sure that the reason so few people seek God’s will through others is because of pride. And that is precisely why God chooses to give us direction through others, because we are humbling ourselves, and God loves humility.

God can put His will for us in the mind of a person we seek counsel from, and He will do just that as we humble ourselves and follow His instructions.

When my Dad was alive he was my main source for counsel. He knew very little of the Bible, I never saw him read it, he attended church occasionally, and had a poor relationship with the lord. So, why did I seek counsel from my Dad? Because he was my Dad, he was wise, and the Bible says to. I believe the Bible is the inspired, inerrant Word of God, the thoughts, wisdom, and the mind of Christ, so when the Bible says something is true I believe it is true and when the Bible says to do something I do it.

Proverbs 1:8 Hear, my son, your father’s instruction
And do not forsake your mother’s teaching;

Proverbs 2:1 My son, if you will receive my words
And treasure my commandments within you,

Proverbs 4:1 Hear, O sons, the instruction of a father,
And give attention that you may gain understanding,

When I was struggling trying to figure out whether I should stay on the dairy farm or leave and pastor Jefferson Baptist Church, I asked my Dad, and he said, “go pastor for one year and see what happens, sometimes you just don’t know until you try something,” so I did and I have been here 45 years. When I had been pastoring for 10 years things were going very bad for me in the church. Many people were leaving, and there was lots of unrest and disunity. I wanted to quit in the worst way, so I called my Dad and asked his advice, and he said, “never quiet when you are losing, it is what weak men do, and all of your life you will wonder if it was the right thing to do. Wait until you get things turned around and going good, then quit.”

There are older, wise people all around us who would be honored if we asked for their advice about life and the decisions we need to make. The key to success in life is to do things God’s way, not our way.

Proverbs 1:5 A wise man will hear and increase in learning,
And a man of understanding will acquire wise counsel,

Proverbs 11:14 Where there is no guidance the people fall,
But in abundance of counselors there is victory.

Proverbs 12:15 The way of a fool is right in his own eyes,
But a wise man is he who listens to counsel.

Proverbs 15:22 Without consultation, plans are frustrated,
But with many counselors they succeed.

Seven Ways to Know God’s Perfect Will for your Life

  1. Ask God to show you His will for your life. I pray and ask God to guide me every morning. There are dozens more verses other than the ones I listed that are a prayer to God for Him to lead our lives.

Psalm 5:8 O Lord, lead me in Your righteousness because of my foes; Make Your way straight before me.

Psalm 25:5 Lead me in Your truth and teach me, For You are the God of my salvation; For You I wait all the day.

Psalm 27:11 Teach me Your way, O Lord, And lead me in a level path Because of my foes.

2. Declare Jesus to be the Lord of your life, and make the commitment that you will obey Him no matter how hard or difficult His will may be. I make this commitment every morning along with asking for His strength to accomplish His will for my life.

Romans 12:1–2 Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.

3. Pay close attention to the circumstances and details of the events of your life. God opens doors and gives opportunities on a regular basis. He guides us in our life by changing circumstances in our everyday life. The problem for many is that the open doors are open for a short time and many people are so indecisive because of fear of failing that they miss many divine appointments. I am personally very careful in interpreting problems in life as closed doors. Problems and difficulties in accomplishing great things for God are normal, but many bail on pursuing God’s goals for their life because of hard times.