Monthly Archives: November 2022

Seven for Heaven

Seven for Heaven is the name that we give to the list of “lost people” that we are praying for to get saved. The list can be one or one hundred; what they have in common is that we know them, and they are spiritually lost and headed for hell when they die. They can be neighbors, work associates, family, or friends. I have an even dozen on my list, and it only takes a few minutes to pray for them, so there is no good excuse for not praying for them every day.

Romans 10:1 Brethren, my heart’s desire and my prayer to God for them is for their salvation.

1 Timothy 2:1&4 “First of all, then, I urge that entreaties and prayers, petitions and thanksgivings, be made on behalf of all men. . . .This is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.

Lost people are spiritually blind; they can’t understand the truth of the gospel, it makes no sense to them.

2 Corinthians 4:4 in whose case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelieving so that they might not see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.

We can pray for our seven for heaven list and ask God to restore their spiritual eyesight, and He will do that.

Ephesians 1:18 I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened, so that you will know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints,

He will also give us opportunity and the wisdom to share with them the gospel. The words of the gospel are powerful to give sight to those who are spiritually blind.

Romans 1:16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.

Acts 26:17-18 rescuing you from the Jewish people and from the Gentiles, to whom I am sending you, to open their eyes so that they may turn from darkness to light and from the dominion of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and an inheritance among those who have been sanctified by faith in Me.’

Acts 16:14 A woman named Lydia, from the city of Thyatira, a seller of purple fabrics, a worshiper of God, was listening; and the Lord opened her heart to respond to the things spoken by Paul.

It looks like I could give five minutes every day to pray for a dozen lost people asking God to open their spiritual eyes so that they could understand the gospel, asking Him to set them free from the control of satan over their will, asking Him to provide an open door, a divine appointment with them to talk spiritual things with them, asking Him to give me the wisdom to know what to say and when to say it, and asking Him to convict them of their sin and draw them to Himself.

It doesn’t take much time, and that simple discipline would make a huge difference in the lives of a lot of people throughout our life if we would do it, but very few do.

Rejoice in Trials

Today I found out it is going to cost me $2,000 to get my outboard motor for my dory fixed, it is going to cost $500 for a brake job on Patty’s car, I have a hernia that needs surgery, the arthritis that I have in my neck has been killing me lately with this rainy – cold weather we have been having, I have developed a very painful sciatic nerve problem in my left leg, and my Parkinson’s disease seems to be getting worse. The admonition in the book of James is to consider it all joy when you have various trials, the Apostle Paul said to consider it all joy and to rejoice always in the midst of hard times.

The key for me is to start by thinking about the good things in life, now and in the past, and to praise the Lord for His blessings to me. Between my family and my ministry I have experienced so many blessings, it is impossible to remember all of them, but as I start thanking the Lord for a particular ministry or event I remember some more, and then some more. It seems as I am faithful and obedient to thank the Lord and not take any good gift from Him for granted my memory improves or He brings things to my mind that I had forgotten about.

Then it seems it is so much easier to be positive and thankful for present trials and I say “thank you to the Lord for every detail of my life, the good and the bad. I can say thank you for the trials because I know that they are producing character growth in me. I remind myself that the more trials I experience and manage the better I will do at the “Judgment Seat of Christ.” This life is going to be over soon, but the next life is for all eternity.

Supernatural Power of the Word

I was asked why I memorized so much of the Bible. I responded by saying that I believe the Bible is the inspired word of God, that the very words are supernatural, they are living, they give life, they give wisdom and knowledge, they give guidance and direction, they are the very mind and thoughts of Jesus Christ the second person of the Trinity, the son of God. If I sincerely believe all that to be absolutely true how could I do any less. If I did any less it would be doubtful whether I really believed all that about the word of God to be true.

1 Peter 1:25 But the word of the Lord endures forever.”

Isaiah 40:8 The grass withers, the flower fades, But the word of our God stands forever.

Isaiah 55:11 So will My word be which goes forth from My mouth;
It will not return to Me empty, without accomplishing what I desire,
and without succeeding in the matter for which I sent it.

Matthew 24:35 Heaven and earth will pass away, but My word will not pass away.

Hebrews 4:12 For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword.

Jeremiah 23:29 Is not My word like fire?” declares the Lord, “and like a hammer which shatters a rock?

Meditation for Success in Life

Psalms 1:2-3
But his delight is in the law of the Lord,
And in His law he meditates day and night.
He will be like a tree firmly planted by streams of water,
Which yields its fruit in its season
And its leaf does not wither;
And in whatever he does, he prospers.

There are about 20 references to meditation in the Bible. Meditation is simply thinking about something a lot, going over and over it, what you think about a lot is what you do, it is what you become. Most just let their mind think about whatever it wants, and because of the world that we live in, our own flesh and the devil and his demons our mind left alone will always focus on and meditate on the negative.

Those who want to grow in character, bear much fruit, and grow close to Jesus will make memorizing scripture and medtating on what they memorize a high priority in their life. A good starter goal is to memorize one new verse each week and meditate on what you have memorized. Use some kind of system to make the most of your time. A good system that I used for year’s is to put verses on 3×5 cards and put the cards in a shoe box. Put the box next to your favorite chair or next to your bed, or hot tub. Pull out some cards in the back of the box and go over them until you have them memorized and then put the cards in the front of the box. Any of them that you struggled with put in the middle of the box. I use an App on my cell phone called “Bible Memory” and it works great. I can put verses in the system using any translation I want, memorize and review them often very effectively. The last five years that I have used this App I have memorized a hundred new verses each year.

So many people tell me that they can’t memorize, but you can, that is just an excuse, people don’t work at it because it is hard and most of us are into easy. The more you work at it the stronger your mind becomes, the easier it will be to memorize even more.


Giving Thanks to God

Life, in general, makes us whiny, our flesh is naturally selfish and fusses at inconveniences and trials, and the devil’s demons are working 24/7 on our minds planting thoughts of discontentment. So to be a person who always rejoices, grumbles about nothing, constantly takes negative thoughts captive, and sets their mind on positive things takes a great deal of determination and self-control.

The key for me is to acknowledge that it is God’s will, His command to rejoice always.

Psalms 7:17 I will give thanks to the Lord according to His righteousness and will sing praise to the name of the Lord Most High.

Psalms 86:12 I will give thanks to You, O Lord my God, with all my heart, and will glorify Your name forever.

Psalms 9:1-2 I will give thanks to the Lord with all my heart;
I will tell of all Your wonders.
I will be glad and exult in You;
I will sing praise to Your name, O Most High.

When we are positive instead of negative in our thinking and speaking we experience many blessings in life from God and others;

We have much better relationships with people, people enjoy being with us, we have more energy and strength, we have better health, we have a good marriage, we tend to raise much happier kids, God uses us more to do His work, people are attracted to our faith, we tend to make more money, and we catch more fish!

It is worth working on

Motivated, Enthused, Encouraged, on Fire

The level of fire and passion in me at any given time is a key to my accomplishing a lot with my life and enjoying the activity that I am involved in. When I am hot, life is good, and things get crossed off of my “to-do” list fast. But the level of fire and passion in me at any given time is a massive variable in my life, and often is a mystery as to why some days are rocker launchers and other days are a ho-hum; I wonder what we are eating for dinner tonight day. One thing I do know with certainty is that when my fire is out I can’t simply “will it” back like turning up the thermostat on the wall. But I do know where the service station for passion and drive is located in my life.

Actually, there are a number of “fire starters” in my life including fishing, but one of the most effective is the encouragement I get from other people. That shouldn’t be a surprise to me because it is a major principle in the Bible repeated many times. It is God who gives the inner strength, will and motivation, but He always gives it to us through other people. God gives us what we need in order to run with endurance the race that He sets before us, but He requires humility on our part to seek it from others.

1 Thessalonians 5:11
Therefore encourage one another and build up one another, just as you also are doing.

Hebrews 3:13
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.

Here are a few principles regarding the discipline of receiving God’s fire from others;

1. The more encouragement we choose to give to others the more we will receive, this is a fundamental law of God that applies to many different areas of our life, Luke 6:38 says, “Give, and it will be given to you. They will pour into your lap good measure—pressed down, shaken together, and running over. For by your standard of measure it will be measured to you in return.” Many don’t get much encouragement from others because they rarely choose to give it.

2. Certain people in my life are very effective at filling my gas tank full. I need to know who those people are and always be on the lookout for more like them.

3. Regular times of hanging out with these kleptomaniacs tends to keep my passion level at a constant level usually above 3/4’s full. That is so much more effective than waiting until I am in a major “blue funk” to seek it. Accountability groups, Bible studies, and prayer meetings of men with other men and ladies with other ladies is a great way to accomplish this fellowship time, but often purely social events work great for me.

4. The stronger the relationship that I have with others who light my fire the more effective the “giving encouragement” process is between us. But healthy relationships take time, work, and understanding in how to have a healthy relationship, which is the bottleneck in this whole process with most people, if we don’t value it we won’t work at it.

5. Most Christians don’t put a very high value on time spent with others for the purpose of encouragement so they don’t make it happen in their life. In their mind the effort and time required isn’t worth the payoff. They will struggle in their walk and relationship with Christ., bearing little fruit for God, and doing poorly at the “Judgment Seat of Christ.”

How Easy it is to Go Backwards

Revelation 2:4 But I have this against you, that you have left your first love.

Revelation 3:16 So because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of My mouth.

Hebrews 6:6 and then have fallen away, it is impossible to renew them again to repentance,

Hebrews 3:12 Take care, brethren, that there not be in any one of you an evil, unbelieving heart that falls away from the living God.

There are a lot of warnings in the Bible about falling away from God. I see it happen often, and it is one of the most discouraging things for me as a pastor to witness in people. I have seen people backslide, repent and grow, backside again, repent and grow, and backside again.

The foundational reason is the same as Adam and Eve’s fall in the very beginning, the devil and his demons are very real, very crafty, they hate us, they hate Jesus, and they work on us non-stop.

2 Corinthians 11:3 But I am afraid that, as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, your minds will be led astray from the simplicity and purity of devotion to Christ.

1 Peter 5:8 Be of sober spirit, be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.

The second basic reason is the world, the money, and the stuff that is in the world that is all around us all of the time. We quickly become entangled in it, and we easily fall in love with it.

If we become haphazard in our spiritual disciplines like daily Bible reading, prayer, gathering with other believers and worshiping God we will fall away, guaranteed, and it is the business of life caused by all the stuff in the world that is the main competition to the spiritual disciplines.

1 John 2:15 Do not love the world nor the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.

Luke 16:13 No servant can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money.

Loving the world and the money and stuff in it is very, very easy to do. We slide into it hardly even noticing, and when we are loving the world even just a little bit we have fallen from our first love.

We need to have a holy fear of drifting away from God recognizing that once the slide begins it is very difficult to stop.

Hebrews 4:1 Therefore, let us fear if, while a promise remains of entering His rest, any one of you may seem to have come short of it.

The most important safeguard against turning your back on God is a strong and healthy accountability relationship with others. But sad to say, most Christians don’t think they need it, and they are too busy in the world to make time for it.

Hot Tubbing

One of my favorite things to do is to sit in my hot tub. The muscle stiffness and rigidity that comes from my Parkinson’s feels so much better after a hot soak in swirling water for fifteen minutes. It is a little hot tub with room for only one person at a time. I bought it off Craig’s list about ten years ago for $500 and it has been going good ever since. Sometimes when I run out of the powdered chemicals that I put in the water I will steal a bottle of chlorine out of Patty’s laundry room and use that. But this morning I must have grabbed a wrong bottle because it made a whole slew of suds.

When I first get into the hot tub I almost always go immediately asleep, which I did this morning. After I had been asleep for just a little bit I had this strange sensation that I was getting eaten so I opened my eyes and everything was white, I couldn’t see anything but white. I thought maybe I had died and I was in heaven, and I wondered when I would see Jesus, an angel or someone I knew. But then my eyes started burning and when I reached my hands up to rub them the real world broke into view, and I realized I was still here but in a mountain of suds, what a disappointment that was.

Drawing Near to God

Psalms 73:28 But as for me, the nearness of God is my good;

James 4:8 Draw near to God and He will draw near to you.

Psalms 27:8 When You said, “Seek My face,” my heart said to You,
“Your face, O Lord, I shall seek.”

Deuteronomy 4:29 But from there you will seek the Lord your God, and you will find Him if you search for Him with all your heart and all your soul.

How close am I to God? How do I get closer? How do I draw near to God? How do I seek God? What does it feel like to be close to God rather than far away?

The closer we are to God the more joy we will feel. The closer to God we are the more boldness and courage we will have. The closer we are to God the stronger our self-worth will be.

Psalms 16:11 In Your presence is fullness of joy;

There are numerous ways we can draw near to God. The Bible gives answers and illustrations on hów to successfully be a friend of God and not simply an acquaintance.

One key way to seek God is by being a positive person, one who thanks the lord for everything. The more thankful we are the more God will reveal himself to us. God is just like I am in that He doesn’t enjoy spending time with a complainer, grumbler, or whiner.