Monthly Archives: October 2022

Good Food

I have been in Phoenix at a prayer conference since yesterday and will fly home tomorrow evening. I spoke twice this morning and listened to another four speakers. I was tremendously blessed by each of the messages that I heard. I didn’t hear anything new but hearing it again from such good speakers was very motivating and encouraging. I was reminded of the early days of pastoring Jefferson Baptist Church when I used to go to conferences and seminars three or four times a year, not only because of what I learned but because of the fire they would put in me for ministry. It was nice to know that I can still be stirred up and motivated; there isn’t much worse than an older man who thinks he knows it all and doesn’t need motivating by others.

It was a great reminder of what I say often, we are the church and we weren’t created by God capable of living the Christian life successfully on our own without input and help from others. Those who are humble and recognize how important others in the “Body of Christ” are to their own growth, put themselves in situations where they can be taught, encouraged, and held accountable by others. Help me Lord not to forget this principle.

Spiritual Gifts

Every Christian has a spiritual gift. It is a specific ability well-suited to edifying other people in their church. In the Apostle Paul’s writings, he calls the church the body of Christ. All together a church is like the body of Jesus when He was on the earth walking around. Each person in a local church is like a small part of Jesus the man, and everybody together functions like Jesus. The problem is that so many parts are missing in action, not functioning, not involved. We are commanded in the Word to use and develop our gift.

1 Peter 4:10 As each one has received a special gift, employ it in serving one another as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.

Romans 12:6 Since we have gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, each of us is to exercise them accordingly:

A church that has a high percentage of it’s people serving in the area of their giftedness will be healthy and growing. In the area of our gifting we are supernatural and have infinite potential and we should be excited about developing and growing our gift.

1 Timothy 4:14 Do not neglect the spiritual gift within you,

2 Timothy 1:6 For this reason I remind you to kindle afresh the gift of God which is in you

There are a number of lists of gifts in the New Testament and none of them are the same, suggesting that the exact total and names of each is not that important. What is important is that you discover what it is that you do well.Some might teach adults well and somebody else does a great job teaching children.

Serving in the area of our spiritual gift is a great source of joy and satisfaction in life, not much compares with it. The only way to discover your giftedness is through trial and error. If you see an opportunity to serve jump in and give it a try. You will either do well and enjoy it or you will stink at it. If it isn’t you, quite and try something else. It won’t take long as you every morning pray asking for God’s guidance.

Making Apple Cider with the Grandkids

Today we had a blast with the grandkids picking apples, grinding them to a pulp, squeezing the juice out of them, filtering, and pouring it into plastic one-gallon jugs. We had grandkids from Idaho, Hawaii, Albany, and Stayton. When you get to be 74 years old and ask the question, what have I done with my life that matters, everything fades into the background when I spend a day like today with my family, drinking apple cider.

The Nations of the World are Going Crazy

As I read the news I can’t help but think, Governments worldwide seem to be competing for the title “The Craziest.” How certain people end up being the President, Premier, Ruler, Head Honcho of countries is a mystery to me. It seems that with pandemics, wokism, inflation, climate change, and the sexual revolution that the craziness is accelerating daily. I am very thankful that we are done raising our kids, but I spend a lot of time praying for God to protect my grandkids, to build a hedge of protection around them. In the midst of it all I trust the Lord with all my heart, and know that He is in charge and that He will carry out His plan, and that I am a major part of His plan.

Psalms 46:6 The nations made an uproar, the kingdoms tottered

Psalms 2:1 Why are the nations in an uproar
And the peoples devising a vain thing?

Psalms 33:10 The Lord nullifies the counsel of the nations;
He frustrates the plans of the peoples.

Psalms 59:8 But You, O Lord, laugh at them; You scoff at all the nations.

Psalms 9:5 You have rebuked the nations, You have destroyed the wicked; You have blotted out their name forever and ever.

Psalms 79:6 Pour out Your wrath upon the nations which do not know You, And upon the kingdoms which do not call upon Your name.

Psalms 46:10 God will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.

Psalms 47:8 God reigns over the nations, God sits on His holy throne.


Our son Seth, his wife Amie, and their four kids drove from Idaho to see us, and it has been so fun having them here the last couple of days. Our youngest daughter Sally, who lives in Oahu, and her three kids just drove in from the airport, and popped into our bedroom to say Hi. We had a big hug fest sitting on our bed with Roscoe our dog enjoying all the attention he was getting. They have a camper van and will be living in our drive way for the next couple of days. Tomorrow some more of the kids will be here, and we will have a big party. One of the activities we have planned for tomorrow is to pick all the apples and pears off of the trees and make apple cider. It is a great activity for a bunch of kids and when they all taste their first glass of fresh squeezed apple juice they declare it the best they have ever tasted, and It is times like this that I declare m

It wouldn’t matter to me what we did, it is enough that they all are here and I get to hug them, talk to them, and watch the younger ones play. It seems strange that after all the years of raising them they are gone but now I get them periodically and it is good.

It Feels So Good to be Clean

Psalms 32:1-5 How blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven,
Whose sin is covered!
When I kept silent about my sin, my body wasted away
Through my groaning all day long.
For day and night Your hand was heavy upon me;
My vitality was drained away as with the fever heat of summer.
I acknowledged my sin to You,
And my iniquity I did not hide;
I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the Lord”;
And You forgave the guilt of my sin.

Psalms 51:2-3 Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity
And cleanse me from my sin.
For I know my transgressions,
And my sin is ever before me.

Psalms 51:7
Purify me with hyssop, and I shall be clean;
Wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.

Our flesh and our pride resists self examination of our life and looking for character flaws and sin habits that we need to confess to the Lord. We tend to think that if we just ignore our sins that we have committed that the memory of them will just fade away. Nothing could be further from the truth. They are like ticks in us, they just keep sucking our blood, getting bigger and uglier.

Unconfessed sin drains energy out of us, it takes away our joy, and they keep us on the bench instead of in the game.

As you develop your rhythms and routines in life schedule a time to review the day and to confess all known sin to God. It is like brushing your teeth or taking a shower, it doesn’t take long and I feel so good afterwards.

How Many Different Sins are There?

I think the answer to that question would be how many different commands are there given to us in the New Testament. As we pursue holiness at the beginning of our journey we are working on bigger, badder, more obvious sins, and as we grow the sins we work on are more subtle, less obvious, and you may not even have called them a sin in the beginning of your journey. For me a lot of my sins are committed in my head, my thinking. There is bitter thinking, covetous thinking, immoral thinking, judgmental thinking, prideful thinking, self-pity thinking, and ungrateful thinking. Because no knows what I am thinking there is often a carelessness in our thinking and a lack of self-control. Matthew 9:4 And Jesus knowing their thoughts said, “Why are you thinking evil in your hearts

2 Corinthians 7:1 let us cleanse ourselves from all defilement of flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness

If that is our goal, then we need to keep working on ourselves, becoming more and more critical in our evaluation about our righteousness or lack of and fine-tuning our conscience to see the little and minor flaws in ourselves.

Some might think that all that self-examination would cause us to be depressed and discouraged with who we are, but that isn’t true for me, and I don’t think it is for anybody else, either.

My Sin is Not Fatal

The beauty of Christianity is that every day is a new beginning. God forgives and off we go to give living righteously another shot. We blow it again and the cycle is repeated. It seems like we just keep on sinning, and we do, but every day we sin a little bit less, we grow a little bit more holy, it seems like our growth is slow, it is, but we grow.

There comes a point that our growth picks up speed if we persevere in our pursuit of holiness, the graph begins to turn upward and continues to do so as we exert great effort and diligence to become more and more like Jesus. We can sense the increase in our souls, and as we do our motivation picks up because our pursuit no longer seems like we are chasing our tail.

One of the reasons our growth rate accelerates is because as we grow in holiness our conscience becomes more sensitive, we experience more conviction for our sin, and the number of sins we are convicted about increases.

This increase in the sensitivity of our conscience will result in godly sorrow for our sins.

2 Corinthians 7:9-10 . . .you were made sorrowful to the point of repentance; for you were made sorrowful according to the will of God, , , ,For the sorrow that is according to the will of God produces repentance. . .

Godly sorrow results in repentance which is a growing effort to grow, change, conqueror sin, and become holy.

Sin-the Anchor

Hebrews 12:1 Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us,

“Lay aside the sin which so easily entangles us.” Sin habits are a significant factor in our failing to run the race that God has given us with endurance. The verse says, “lay aside the sin,” that sounds so easy, but in reality it is a major struggle, even for the strongest of Christ followers. In yesterday’s blog about endurance the #5 suggestion was pursue righteousness and holiness diligently. The pursuit of righteousness and holiness is more than just trying hard, it is a pursuit that succeeds with wisdom and understanding of ourselves as sinful people and how we function, wisdom and understanding of the principles that God has given to us to succeed in this pursuit and the application of those principles, and the humility needed so that we diligently pursue righteousness and holiness with help from others. Here are a few of the principles that I have learned and use in my own pursuit of holiness.

1. Recognize and admit that God wants us to be righteous. Because our salvation is free and Jesus paid for our sins, there is a huge tendency in the church as a whole to de-emphasize God’s desire for us to be holy. If we fail to focus on the fact that God wants us to be holy we will lose our motivation to pursue it diligently. Most believers major motivation to live right is to avoid the consequences that come into our life from messing up. That certainly is a motivation but usually only works for the big, bad sins, and is not nearly as strong as the desire to please the Lord.

1 Peter 1:15-16 but like the Holy One who called you, be holy yourselves also in all your behavior; because it is written, “You shall be holy, for I am holy.”

1 John 3:3 And everyone who has this hope fixed on Him purifies himself, just as He is pure.

Colossians 1:21-22 And although you were formerly alienated and hostile in mind, engaged in evil deeds, yet He has now reconciled you in His fleshly body through death, in order to present you before Him holy and blameless and beyond reproach—

2. God wants me to be holy, so I want to be holy. If my personal desire to be without spot, wrinkle or blemish is lukewarm, I won’t grow much.

Matthew 5:6 “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.

More tomorrow


Endurance is a character trait that the Bible puts great emphasis and importance on.

James 1:3-4 knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.

Endurance in James results in a perfect or complete character.

James 5:11 We count those blessed who endured. You have heard of the endurance of Job and have seen the outcome of the Lord’s dealings, that the Lord is full of compassion and is merciful.

God blesses those who have the character trait of endurance.

Hebrews 12:1-2 Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.

Life is a marathon. We are running a race the the Lord has given to us, and we must not let up or quit. The hardest part of a marathon is the last two miles, your body is yelling at you to quit, believing that you are trying to kill yourself. There are five keys to finishing your race and crossing the finish line at a sprint.

1. Your strength to endure life and to finish well comes from the Lord, but He has conditions attached to His grace. He doesn’t give us His strength just because we are believers and need it. The basic disciplines of the Christian life are the source of our strength, especially reading the Bible faithfully, like every day. Spending time with God in prayer. Gathering faithfully with other believers to mutually encourage, motivate, and hold each other accountable. And giving our money systematically, sacrificially and cheerfully.

2. Act happy, be happy, rejoice always, I will say it again, rejoice always. Thank God for all of His blessings in your life. Nothing sucks away our strength, our toughness, and our resolve as much as self-pity and not praising and worshipping God.

3. In addition to rejoicing always is don’t complain, grouch, or whine about anything. Complaining is a bad habit picked up from the world.

4. Spend time bearing fruit for the Lord. Look for opportunities to make a difference with your life.

5. Pursue righteousness and holiness diligently and confess all known sin every day. Sin habits that we get comfortable with and justify or excuse are like a big anchor hanging from our neck.