Articles for February 2018

Let’s eat! John 21:12


The sense of smell is one of the most powerful of our five senses. A person can be deeply engrossed in thought, focused on a particular task, when all it takes is strong aroma to completely capture the attention and redirect focus. You’re walking through a shopping mall focused on those last few Christmas gifts you need to pick up for your wife and kids. And then it hits you; like a sucker punch you weren’t expecting! The sweet, warm, delicious aroma of cinnamon rolls! Oh you’ve smelled it before…you’ve tasted it before! And they are so, so, good!! I suppose someone could say, ‘You’ve already experienced a cinnamon roll. You know what they taste like. You should be satisfied.’


But that’s not how it works. 1 Peter 2:2-3 Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation, 3now that you have tasted that the Lord is good. It’s kind of like the old Lays Potato Chip commercial where the catch line was, “Lays. Betcha can’t eat just one!”  When we partake of something that truly satisfies our yearning, it leaves you longing for even more. Each bite is satisfying…. but you want more!


When we accept Jesus Christ as our Savior and Redeemer, we say that He “lives within our hearts”, and He does in the form of the Holy Spirit. But Jesus desires a nearness with us that can only best be described as consumed or eaten.


In John 21:12 Jesus said to them, “Come and have breakfast.”  The King James says, “Come and dine.  In any case, He says, ‘Come and fellowship with me. I want you to come and dine with me, dine on me!’ Earlier in John 6, Jesus had been teaching that He was the “Bread of life”. Everything they needed for eternal life was in Him, not in some loaf of pumpernickel.

John 6:35 “I am the bread of life. He who comes to me will never go hungry, and he who believes in me will never be thirsty.”


In the true context, “Come and dine”; Jesus is inviting His disciples to a breakfast of freshly caught fish, cooked over a campfire on the beach. But in a deeper sense, His words imply a holy nearness, a loving togetherness; the same table, same menu, sitting side by side, reclining together. So we see that Jesus’ simple invitation teaches us union with Jesus, as we feast upon Him (“dwelleth in me, and I in him”), as well as fellowship with the saints, because the nearer you get to Jesus, the nearer you’ll find yourself to like-minded brothers and sisters in Christ.


The apostles were 12 different men with 12 different personalities, many of them with different occupations, from different walks of life. They most likely had varying opinions and views about many things, and like Christian believers today, they probably disagreed about many things. But one thing they, and we, have in common is we all have the same spiritual craving for Jesus. He is what makes us all one. Jesus is what makes our table common. His broken body and shed blood saved us all…and we just can’t seem to get enough of it!


“To look at Christ is to live, but for strength to serve Him you must “come and dine”.

                                                                                    Charles H. Spurgeon

“It is written: ‘Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.’”   Matthew 4:4


In Christ,


Humility – Proverbs 21:31


In just a few days we will be experiencing the excitement and pageantry of yet another Winter Olympics games! It’s a grand opportunity for so many countries on a world stage with all the pageantry and national pride. Athletic contingents are representing their countries, many of which a large portion of the viewing audience don’t even realize that they exist (as nations).  But there they are, all decked out in their indigenous colors; the cameras don’t miss a thing. Their facial expressions of nervousness, anxiety, anticipation, the joy of victory and the agony of defeat. It’s all there – nothing missed. In fact, in the 2012 Summer Olympics, one couldn’t help noticing (correction; the camera made certain that we didn’t help noticing) a tattoo on the back of one athlete’s hand. It simply said, “Proverbs 21:31”; that’s all. Naturally, the media wouldn’t go to the trouble of telling the audience what the verse said. They might have to explain it, and what a “sticky wicket” that could turn into, huh?  Well, to my reading audience, let me be so bold as to venture where the media would not.  Proverbs 21:31 says this, “The horse is made ready for the day of battle, but victory rests with the Lord.”  Now what do you suppose they mean by that?  Equally as important, what do you suppose the athlete means by displaying such a verse in such a tremendously public forum?

In the midst of all this national pride and, as it narrows down to the individual athlete’s personal pride, there beams a ray of humility. My thoughts go back to my years in the residential real estate business. As a real estate sales associate, I would spend hours interviewing potential purchasers to try and narrow down their likes and dislikes, their needs and their wants, how much they could afford and how much they wanted to spend.  All those factors certainly were important to successfully matching up a purchaser with the property they not only approved of, but were also capable of purchasing.  All too often a customer would be shown house after house, appointments would be made, hours of research and scheduling and touring… only to have them reject everything they inspect. That’s no fun!  It wasn’t till I sat down one day with my father, the broker and owner of our company, that I learned some important advice.  Dad said, “You have to be sure you’re asking the right questions, and that you’re asking the right person.  There are “contributors”, and there are “decision makers”. You have to determine who the decision makers are.  “Daddy” can tell you what his wants are all day long, but in most cases, “Momma’s” the decision maker. If Momma’s not happy, Daddy’s not going to be happy.”  All my preparation goes for naught if I’m not in tune with the one who can “make or break” the sale.  I might look like the super salesman, but I don’t sell the house. The “decision maker” makes the sale possible.

You can scrub that horse, comb his mane glossy smooth, put on his armor, “prepare him for the day of battle”, but the victory, (the sale), rests with (the decision maker;) with the Lord.  This is an athlete that realizes that all the hard work and preparation, the grueling hours of preparation that comes down to this moment, the Olympics, is not what will ultimately deliver the victory. It is the one who blessed them with the physical body, the skills, with which to be developed who will provide the victory.  And this athlete recognizes and acknowledges their dependence upon God in their endeavors. We can really get wrapped up in our successes. In fact, success can be to our disadvantage.

In Deuteronomy 8, Moses instructs the Israelites as they prepare to go in and take the Promised Land; the land that God had promised through Abraham. He tells them not to forget who it is that provided this land; when they prosper, who it is that makes it all possible. Remain humble and give thanks to your provider, otherwise, 17You may say to yourself, “My power and the strength of my hands have produced this wealth for me.” 18But remember the Lord your God, for it is He who gives you the ability to produce wealth.

As a minister, after an uplifting and relevant sermon, it can be tempting to accept compliments and praise as a ‘reward for all my study and hard work’, to soak it all up as if I had earned it somehow. But I have on my desk a 3”x 5” note-card with the words of the apostle Paul from 1 Corinthians 2:4-5 which says, 4My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit’s power, 5so that your faith might not rest on men’s wisdom but on God’s power.  I have that passage on a note-card holder where I can see it all the time I’m working. The study, the hard work are all necessary, but it’s the Lord that gives the victory. He’s the one that gives the message relevance to those who hear. “It is He who gives the ability”.  And God doesn’t mind providing for His children, in fact, He desires for us to depend upon Him and His leading.  Just be humble, and remember “from where your help comes from”. Psalm 121:1


In Christ,