26. August 2020

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Hope in the Hidden Places


I went for a walk in a mature pine forest near Wisconsin Dells. It was a beautiful summer morning. The sky was blue, the sun up, and the stillness armongst the tall pines was dripping with calm.

I found a nice tree and I sat down on the thick, soft bed of pine needles that had gathered by the base. I took in a deep breath of the pine scented air. I looked up. There, high up in one of the trees about 100 feet away, was a large red-headed woodpecker pecking his best trying to get a bug breakfast from under the bark.


I don’t think I’ve ever experienced such quiet and peace. No other sound filled the air except for this beautiful bird and the muffled, hollow sound of pecking.


I’ve told a few people this. I feel closest to God when I’m in a pine forest. The distractions of life are, for a moment, gone. I can just focus on God. His presence is real and so comforting. The pine forest is a hiding place for me and for the Lord. I long for it as I write. Let’s pray for each other today that we would find Him in the hidden places.


You are a hiding place for me; you preserve me from trouble; you surround me with shouts of deliverance.” (Psalm 32:7 ESV

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2. June 2020

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Be Christ’s Disciple: Be Accountable

“Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.”  (1Peter 5:8 ESV)

From almost 40 years of ministry, I’ve learned an important principle regarding following Jesus and being His disciple. “Godly wisdom is learning to trust yourself less and less each day and learning to entrust yourself to your mate, if married, and to 1 or 2 good people of the same gender.”

The above Devil’s Triangle is a simplified strategy the Wicked One uses. Think of the inside of the triangle as one of those ‘Catch a Mouse Sticky Traps’ you put on the floor. Getting you hooked, stuck, or tempted to be drawn in via one angle or side is good. Yes! But he is crafty and often will employ several angles or sides to get you ensnared in deep bondage. He wants you in the middle of the trap. He wants you ruined and dead.

I have voluntarily been in a Foxhole Buddyrelationship since 1988 not because I’m super great and holy. It is because I am profoundly weak and I don’t trust myself. I want to be wise in my weakness, not foolish in my weakness. I’m in my 3rd Buddy relationship now. Seth, married, and a father of 4, and I have either met in a restaurant or called weekly for 6 years. We’ve got each other’s back. The 4 pillar verses we uphold in confidence are: 

James 5:16

Hebrews 3:13

Galatians 6:2

Ecclesiastes 4:9-12

If you are not in a grace-based, encouraging, accountable, and confidential same-gender relationship where you look out for each other’s Christian walk, thought life, marriage, priorities, fatigue levels, etc., then you are like the tied up goat in the first Jurassic Park movie: Lunch!

Let’s pray that each of us would get and keep a Foxhole Buddy for the honor of God and the protection of our witness for the Lord Jesus.           

“Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.”  (Galatians 6:2 ESV)

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2. June 2020

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Be Christ’s Disciple: Develop World Vision

“But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”  (Acts 1:8 ESV)

Whether it is the Fast Food ‘drive thru’ employee passing you your burgers or the entire world (7.6+ Billion souls), Jesus’ passion is for the lost. If you do not yet have an aching burden to see lost souls reached, saved, and discipled by the Spirit of Jesus, then please get alone with God and beg Him for lost souls.

Ask Him to well up within you an overflowing passion for the hearts of men, women, and children. Seek and ask Him to burn into you a relentless burden to see none perish in the endless fires of Hell. (2Peter 3:9)

Luke 19:10 says, “For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.”  (ESV) Now Jesus came here for many reasons (Read Psalm 146), but one is paramount. If the multitudes are warmed, sheltered, medicated, and fed and redemption through Christ’s shed blood on the Cross is not shared and achieved, how will this increase Heaven?

Great ministries help with these noble causes. Their work is vital. Yet, as important as these are, the work of salvation and spiritual growth must be centered in their operational DNA.

If someone cuts me, I want passion for lost souls to flow out. Just like it did and still does for Jesus.

Let’s pray this for each other today.

“19 Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”  (Matthew 28:19-20 ESV)

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2. June 2020

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Be Christ’s Disciple: Give generously

“9 Honor the Lord with your wealth and with the firstfruits of all your produce;
10 then your barns will be filled with plenty, and your vats will be bursting with wine.”               
(Proverbs 3:9-10 ESV Bold added)

At the U. S. Military Academy at West Point, our math instructors drilled into us the importance of the “=” sign. The idea is this: If 3 + 5 is added, then you get 8. ( 3+5 = 8 ) In other words, the left side will / should equal the right side. If you are grateful for what God has done for you and you revere Him and hold Him in the highest trust and esteem, then He will receive your obedience. For you to give Him otherwise would dishonor Him and slap Him in the face!

If you are thankful to the Lord Jesus for dying on the Cross and paying the eternal debt for your sins and giving you unconditional forgiveness and eternal life, you will want to obey Him by honoring Him, and thus upholding His Word.

God loves a cheerful, honoring, private, and generous giver. Here is the math: Was He generous toward you? (John 3:16) If so, be the same back to Him. If you receive less money and provision this month, choose to give Him more. Go ahead! Test Him in this! (Malachi 3:10)

Let’s pray for each other that we each honor God by being generous givers.

“6 The point is this: whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.”  (2Corinthians 9:6-7 ESV)

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28. May 2020

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Be Christ’s Disciple: Serve Others

“For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”  (Mark 10:45 ESV)

“You will know you are a servant when people start treating you like one.” Perhaps this is why servanthood, though sounding popular, is not all that sought after. Have you ever been treated like a servant?

There are times, if we are honest, when serving in the church or on the mission field, or helping a friend or family member, we’d kind of like to get some thanks and notice. There is nothing wrong with giving or receiving appreciation, but this should never be allowed to bake in the oven of our minds for more than it takes to expel this contemptable temptation.

Have you ever had someone, say, in church, or during a retreat, humbly wash your feet? Have you ever washed someone else’s feet? I have. It is humbling and a tad embarrassing on both sides of the equation. When I’m tired, fending off a headache or aching muscles, or just plain weary of the daily grind, the last thing I want is to serve another selflessly.

During some of those times, I rather be served or just left alone. Have you ever entered your kitchen only to find dirty dishes in the sink waiting to be washed? Enough said.

Christianity, and God’s overarching message of redemption, are messaged to the world by Jesus followers with servant’s hearts, approachable hearts, and humble hearts. People catch a glimpse of Jesus when the Christian refuses to run from service. Others are blessed when the Christian chooses to serve quietly, looking for no fanfare or limelight. Jesus came to serve. He always does. Let’s pray He would help us to do likewise today.

“For what we proclaim is not ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, with ourselves as your servants for Jesus' sake.”  (2Corinthians 4:5)

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28. May 2020

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Be Christ’s Disciple: Be Steadfast

“Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain.”  (1Corinthians 15:58 ESV)

No one is perfectly steadfast except Jesus. However, may this be our goal as we press into Him and abide in His presence moment by moment.

I confess I have considered ‘tossing in the towel’ at least 3 times. Being a full time missionary for going on 40 years has been both a privilege and a battle. The wicked one, the devil, has fought us tooth and nail over the years. He hates:

                        1. Anything that tries to glorify and honor God.

                        2. Anyone who teaches all of God’s Word, the Bible, is all of God’s Word.

                        3. Biblical marriage and what it models to the world.

                        4. All who are trying to follow the Lord Jesus with their whole heart.

His spiritual bullets are quite real. I’ve been lied to, slandered, betrayed, accused of heinous sins, called the worst of names, and the list goes on. Most of the attacks against me have come from Christians in the church and on the mission field. PTSD, Depression, and Battle Fatigue are real. Make no mistake about that!

I’m just saying, that staying on the front lines of spiritual battle takes its toll. There is a price to pay. Perhaps many of you know of such dark times in the grit and misery of Spiritual warfare.

Many Christians through the centuries have endured these and much worse. Barbara and I are reading a book on Martyrs of the faith. In reality, I have nothing to complain about. Their stories of remaining steadfast until the end are truly inspiring!

Thank God He has not allowed me to quit. Jesus is our Good Shepherd. As He leads, He protects and provides. Let’s pray for each other that He would continue to enable us to be steadfast for Him.

“Consider him who endured from sinners such hostility against himself, so that you may not grow weary or fainthearted.”  (Hebrews 12:3 ESV)

The Cost of Discipleship by Dietrich Bonhoeffer

40 Day Journey with Dietrich Bonhoeffer

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26. May 2020

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Be Christ’s Disciple: Separate from the World


“15 Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 16 For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride of life—is not from the Father but is from the world.” (1John 2:15-16 ESV)

“in the world but not of the world.’ The words are from Jesus. But I have not the slightest idea how to accomplish that or even if it’s possible. The world will always poke you in the chest with its index finger.” (Francisco X. Stork – Marcelo in the Real World)

This is impossible! Yes, it is, but, with the help and strength of the Spirit of Jesus living in you, He makes it possible. However, it takes a lifetime to complete.

Are you willing to endure regular doses of hate, rejection, and possibly even suffering and harm? This is the cost of following Jesus at all cost.

“If you were of the world, the world would love you as its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you.” (John 15:19 ESV)

Prepare yourself. Ask God to give you a tender, but very tough heart. You will need it. It will be worth it!¹ Let’s ask Him to transform each of us into His image for His glory and the increase of Heaven.

“Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.” (Romans 12:2 ESV)

¹Meditate on Ephesians 6:10-18.

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