Monthly Archives: February 2022


I do so many things wrong, make so many bad choices, say things that weren’t edifying, spend money on things that I don’t need, get lazy when I should be working hard for the Lord.

Regret by itself is a paralyzing emotion and thought pattern. It makes you feel like a failure, a loser, useless and good for nothing. But regret as a stimulus for other things is highly profitable. One of the most important things for us to do in this life is to grow in character, to become like Jesus. Regret should prompt us to think about and examine our life and to learn. Mistakes are a great source of wisdom if we learn from them. Life long learners and wisdom seekers make the most of every wrong choice they have ever made so they don’t make them again, and they learn from their mistakes.

One of the problems many have is that they never admit that they made a mistake, made a bad choice, sinned, it is the other person. One of the surest ways to stay a fool in life is to blame everyone else for your bad circumstances and relational conflicts.

God is delighted with the person who sincerely, accurately, and humbly examines their own life, owns their mistakes, confesses them to God, apologizes to people, and learns what not to do.

Brave Dog

I owned a Jack Russell for 15 years; his name was Russel. He died about nine years ago. He was a perfect dog, though he was very aggressive. He would fight anything and usually win the fight. He killed several coons that were twice as big as he was. He was an excellent watchdog and could hear cars drive in the driveway and deer that would eat apples in our orchard. He wasn’t afraid of anything.

We have another dog now. He is a jack-a-poo, half Jack Russell and half poodle, and his name is Roscoe, but most of the time I call him Russell. He is a wonderful kids dog, the grandkids all love him. He acts like a good watchdog in that he barks a lot at noises, but he is afraid of his own shadow. There was a sack of chicken food sitting in our back yard waiting for me to carry it to the chicken pen. Roscoe wouldn’t leave the back porch while that sack was out there, I am not sure what he thought it was, but he wasn’t going out there to check it out.

My first Jack Russell was totally fearless, I am sure he would have fought a bear if he had a chance. My present Jack Russell is pretty much afraid of anything that moves and some things that don’t move if they look suspicious. Dogs are mostly who they are by inherited temperament, they don’t choose or change much. They are who they are, and that is all that they are.

People as a whole are born fearful, and a long list of psychological words have arisen that describe the various things that we are afraid of. In the Bible, God commands us not to fear, worry, be anxious, or fret over 50 times. In our present world it is easy to observe that people who are fearful are easy to control, that is why the devils main tactic is to create fear in our life.

1 Chronicles 28:20 Then David said to his son Solomon, “Be strong and courageous, and act; do not fear nor be dismayed, for the Lord God, my God, is with you. He will not fail you nor forsake you.

Jesus by His death on the cross has freed us from the ultimate fear, the foundational fear, the fear of death.

Hebrews 2:14-15 that through death He might render powerless him who had the power of death, that is, the devil, and might free those who through fear of death were subject to slavery all their lives.


It appears from reading Old Testament prophets like Isaiah and Ezekial that Russia is a major player during the end times. Russia is now in the news a lot and in the last couple of days has become the most talked about and written about nation in the world. A key to running the race of life with endurance is keeping your eyes on the finish line, and now it seems that the end for the church could be any day now. All day today I have been imagining hearing a trumpet and hearing a loud voice say “COME UP HERE!” feeling my body change, feeling the energy surge through me, and imagining the sensation of leaving the ground and zooming off to heaven. That will be glory, indeed.

What makes the end of the race getting closer motivational to me is the thought of standing before Jesus, looking into His eyes and hearing Him recount my life, and declaring me an overcomer or not.

Weariness is the Enemy of Endurance

When we get weary we lose heart. When we lose heart are passion is gone, our emotional energy is gone, our desire is gone, our vision is gone, and we quit.

Hebrews 12:1-3 let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus. . .so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.

Galatians 6:9 Let us not lose heart in doing good, for in due time we will reap if we do not grow weary.

2 Thessalonians 3:13 But as for you, brethren, do not grow weary of doing good.

The weariness being talked about here is not caused by physical work and physical tiredness, it is caused by discouragement, despair, fear, trials, pain, failure, and emotional exhaustion. In the Hebrews passage the believers were suffering from great persecution for their faith.

In Hebrews 12:1-3 there are six suggestions given to prevent weariness. One of them mentioned in several other passages in the context of trials is to “rejoice always,”, especially amid problems and hard times, and not allow ourselves to fall into self-pity. Self-pity will suck all of our inner strength right out of us, and leave us weary.

It is tough rejoicing in hard times, but if we want to run the race before us with endurance, we have to develop the discipline of rejoicing when we don’t feel like it. To rejoice is not acting like we are enjoying our experience or having a good time when we are miserable in our pain; it is saying to God, “I don’t understand, but I trust You, thank You for loving me, causing all things to work together for my good in my life, giving me the strength to endure, and molding me into the image of Jesus. I love You.”

The Finishers Reward

Hebrews 9:27
And inasmuch as it is appointed for men to die once and after this comes judgment,

2 Corinthians 5:10
For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may be recompensed for his deeds in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad.

Every believer will stand before Jesus Christ at the end of their life and give an account of how they lived their life here on earth. The result of that judgment will be rewards from the Lord or loss of rewards. Most Christians rarely think about that event and imagine what it will be like to be greatly rewarded or to receive zero rewards.

There is a special award given to those who run the race of life with endurance and finish well.

James 1:12 Blessed is a man who perseveres under trial; for once he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him.

Revelation 2:10 Do not fear what you are about to suffer. Behold, the devil is about to cast some of you into prison, so that you will be tested, and you will have tribulation for ten days. Be faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life.

2 Timothy 4:6-8 For I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure has come. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the course, I have kept the faith; in the future there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day; and not only to me, but also to all who have loved His appearing.

I don’t know what difference being awarded the “crown of life“ and the “crown of righteousness” will make in my experience for eternity with Jesus, but I am thinking that it will be very significant, a true reward, one that is worth aiming for and running the race of life with endurance for.


I ran twelve marathons between my 50th and 60th birthday. I also ran 25 half marathons during those same year’s. In all of those races I never quit one, but in everyone of them I wanted to quit in the worst way. I was pretty sure that if I kept on running I would die! I can proudly say that I finished every race that I ever started. In Hebrews 12:1 it says “let us run with endurance the race that is set before us.”

That race is the race of life, and the finish line is when we stand before Jesus at the end of our life and give an accounting of our life to Him. Each of us has our own unique race given to us from God, and His admonition to each of us is to finish well, finish strong, finish at a sprint. When the apostle Paul was near martyrdom he wrote in 2 Timothy 4:6-8 “For I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure has come. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the course, I have kept the faith.”

In our culture today many who begin their journey with Christ strong plateau and then fall away. My observation is that more quit than finish. Even though the number of people walking away from their faith is growing it has always been a problem demonstrated by all the warnings given in the Bible about running with endurance.

I have identified a dozen reasons why people don’t finish the race with endurance, but I will give just one of those reasons in this blog, they run the race by themselves.

Hebrews 3:12-13 Take care, brethren, that there not be in any one of you an evil, unbelieving heart that falls away from the living God. But encourage one another day after day, as long as it is still called “Today,” so that none of you will be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin.

“Encourage one another day after day.” Those who run the race of life together with other believers giving and receiving encouragement finish well, those who think they don’t need others never finish well, but crash and burn somewhere before they cross the finish line.


People in our church who are reading the Bible almost every day of the year and are getting through the entire Bible in a year often ask me about the book of Leviticus when they are reading in it. I respond and say four things; first, all the detailed descriptions of bulls, goats, sheep, and turtle doves getting offered up as bloody burnt offerings shows the extent that God will go to, to take care of our sin. Second, reading Leviticus makes me so thankful that I was born on this side of the cross so now all I had to do to be forgiven was to believe the gospel and commit to following Jesus as Lord. Third, there were many of the Israelites who even with such detailed instructions on how to have their sins taken care of failed to follow the instructions and were excluded from God’s family, so even though salvation is much simpler today than in the book of Leviticus, many miss the whole message of the gospel and settle for a mental assent to a historical fact as the gospel, and someday they will find themselves excluded from God’s eternal family and it will be too late to do anything about it. Fourth, God loves ceremonies, or spiritual ordinances, that explain or picture spiritual truth, the book of Leviticus is full of them. In the New Testament, there are only two of them, baptism and communion, physical ceremonies that explain or picture spiritual truth. Recognizing as we read the book of Leviticus how important ordinances are to God we ought to take Baptism very seriously. Because we are eternally saved by grace through faith in the gospel apart from any works of righteousness many see baptism as an option that they can ignore. Read Romans 6:3-7 through slowly three or four times and then write down two or three observations. Better yet, read through the end of chapter six and write down four or five observations. Always be a seeker of God’s truth and don’t allow past paradigms to blind us to new truth in God’s plan.

Romans 6:3-7
Or do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus have been baptized into His death? Therefore we have been buried with Him through baptism into death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life. For if we have become united with Him in the likeness of His death, certainly we shall also be in the likeness of His resurrection, knowing this, that our old self was crucified with Him, in order that our body of sin might be done away with, so that we would no longer be slaves to sin; for he who has died is freed from sin.


Matthew 7:13-14 Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and there are many who enter through it. For the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life, and there are few who find it.

As I wrote in yesterday’s blog we all are the sum total of our choices in life. Jesus said, “there are many who enter the broad way, the easy way, the comfortable way, the convient way, the way of no pressure,” the end of that way is destruction, failure, mediocrity, and no fruit for Jesus.

The sad thing about today’s culture is that many people who make poor choices in life and then experience the guaranteed results and consequences from those choices then blame others for their plight in life.

Wisdom is a big deal in the book of Proverbs, and it is clear that the pathway to greater wisdom is to learn from our poor choices, but the person who blames others for their life situations never learns and continues to make poor choices and continues to blame others for their rotten life.

A basic spiritual discipline is to examine our own life and confess all known sin to God. To confess a sin means to own it, I did it, I blame no one, it was me all the way. When we confess our bad choices in life God forgives us, the power of that sin to control our life is weakened, we experience the joy of a clear conscience, and we grow in wisdom.


In my years of pastoring I have seen all kinds of people with all kinds of different backgrounds, experiences, potential, education levels, giftedness, intelligence, looks, and family. Of those many different kinds of people there is only one characteristic that separates them all into one of two groups, which are either successful or a failure. You might think there would be multiple factors that would determine the outcome of a person’s life, but I have seen just one.

That one determining characteristic of successful people is the willingness, the determination to make right choices most of the time. The right choice in most situations is not a mystery, it isn’t hard to know what it is, but the alternate choice is usually easier, more enjoyable, requiring less work, less sacrifice. Jesus tells a parable and calls the choices, the broad way and the narrow way.

Successful people decide to study hard. They decide to work hard. They decide to be the first person to get to work. They decide they are going to take on the hard jobs. Take on the challenges. They decide they are going to lead when no one else will. They choose who they are going to hang around and they choose who they will emulate. They choose to read the Bible everyday. They choose to follow Jesus.

Jesus said, “choose to enter through the narrow gate, the hard way, but most don’t, most enter through the broad and easy way, and they accomplish little and don’t amount to much.

Life-Long Learner

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

I want to get wiser every day of my life. I want to increase in learning. I want to be a man of understanding. I want to understand the times. I want to understand people, their needs, and my part in their life. I want to know and understand the Bible. I want to understand myself, my motives, my blind spots, my character flaws, my strengths, my gifts, and my relationship with God.

I want to do the right thing always. I want to say the right words at the right time. I want to give wise counsel to those who ask. I want to teach in a way that is easy to understand and that motivates those who hear me to change and to grow. And I want to get better and better at my teaching skill, always better.

I want my writing in my blog to communicate the truth of God’s Word, and to make it simple and clear so it is easy to understand and apply to everyday life. I would like the truth to be so compelling that people become addicted to reading it and the principles that I write about would pop into people’s thinking throughout their day.

For all that to happen I need to read a lot, readers are learners. I need to listen to a lot of good teachers and speakers to learn what they teach, but also to learn from them how to teach and preach well. I need to write a lot and read about the skill of writing. Always learning and constantly growing, and continually improving.