Sunday, December 21, 2008


You know it does not take long to find out Paul is right (Romans 3) "all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God." You get married and soon enough your spouse finds out you are not perfect. Friends have feuds and disagreements too. Even places like church where you expect to find the very best people have problems. If you read scripture thoughtfully you will notice that all of the NT letters were written to Christians in churches who needed instruction, admonition, edification, correction and discipline because THEY HAD NOT GOTTEN IT RIGHT.
So what shall we do with all this imperfection running loose? Jesus says to treat others as you would be treated - love your neighbor as yourself. A little reflection tells me I do not reject myself because of my failure. Honestly I give myself leeway because I know my heart, my motives, my intentions. So, I give myself a break. God calls it grace and he has poured it out abundantly on all of us. Maybe, just maybe all those imperfect people need a little grace from me....I wonder how that would work? Foree

Thursday, December 18, 2008


Christmas has always been a real special time for me. It meant my sisters and brothers, whom are mostly older than me by several years, would come home for the holidays. It meant the bay window in our house in Raton would have a decorated tree in it which we cut down ourselves(the decorating it was always a special event). We hung our stokings on little red chairs because we had no fire place. It meant a very difficult nights sleep for a young boy who had visions of Christmas morning and what it might bring. It meant thinking about how the siblings would feel as they opened the gift you bought especially for them. It meant another turkey dinner with Mom's dressing, home made yeast rolls, wonderful fruit salad and Grandma Foree's creamed corn (nothing like it in the world). Christmas afternoon was a time for shooting. Dad would gather up the guns and off we would go to the old sawmill and shoot cans and paper targets. We played "42" and Monopoly and through it all we ate really well made at home pie: apple, pumpkin, cherry all with whipped cream. Often we would get out the song books and sing away the evening. In Raton we usually had a white Christmas and that made it all the better.
Christmas was a gathering of family and friends to celebrate togetherness. It was/is a wonderful time. I hope it is a great one for all of you. Foree

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

On the left is the Whitetail taken on the same hunt as the Mule deer. We (my hunting buddy and I) were riding a 4 wheeler in some rolling, thickly covered, hills and drove upon this deer while he was laying in a bush. His head was the only thing we could see. He jumped and ran and my buddy and I were frantically trying to get off the wheeler and take a shot. I happen to get one off and three shots later he was down- 4:30 in the afternoon. Note, if you can see it, the drop tine over the right eye - this is a special gift for a hunter. The rifle is Ruger M77, 7MM caliber with the Nikon scope. The Mule deer in the other picture here has a 24in spread. This was one of the best hunts I have been able to take. Enjoy - Foree

Mule Deer?

Here is a picture of my "Mule" deer. It is a little hard to tell from the picture but this Muley has a Whitetail rack. He is a long eared, gray bodied, white caboosed normal Muley except for his rack. Right before he was down he was walking parallel to me 175 yards away and I thought then he must be a Whitetail. But after a closer inspection he was both. Taken with the Ruger M77 in 270 cal - Leopold VXII scope. I was hunting on a ranch NW of Amarillo with a good friend who was friendly enough to invite me. I hope you enjoy looking as much as I did. I saw this buck jump the fence on the horizon (5oo yards away) at 7AM. It took him two hours to get within range because he laid down twice and was content to rest for an hour each time. He was coming from a pivot where he had been eating alfalfa. Foree

Wednesday, December 3, 2008


From the very beginning (Acts 2:46ff) "church" was a gathering of believers who had left whatever to be joined to Christ and depended on their relationships with other Christians for spiritual sustenance.They studied, prayed, took communion and shared (had fellowship). Theidea that there was some rule about attendance was most likely foreign to them. Being together was a matter of need, of necessity. To have to have a verse which constrained their attendance probably would have been insulting. I would suggest that church attendance done out of other promptings than necessity some
how have lost true significance. Mandatory attendance demanded by
and elder, done under compulsion, would have been as foreign to them as a
father demanding children to attend the Christmas tree gathering. Odd
at least, it would seem, who wouldn't want to go? Maybe, if attending
the assembly has become a burden we should look deep inside and ask
why? Perhaps there is no "felt need" and that may say a lot.Foree

Tuesday, December 2, 2008


The penetrating effect of Jesus on our world is amazing. You know
almost every country has some form of Christmas celebration. They do
different things; Uruguay, SA has a Judas doll they kick around and
Kings Day when they give the web and you will find
numerous examples of Christmas celebration...Jesus came into our world
(Galatians 4:4) at just the right time. The Father planned it...Jesus'life
was simple, he was not rich, he died a victim's death and was
dishonored by the powers of the world. You would think a person like
that would go down in infamy...yet here we are all these years later
seeing his effect upon the world...Of course He wanted more from people
than X-Mas but think about it...His coming sparked a worldwide holiday that has lived for centuries...that should tell us something....Foree

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

I'M Off

Friday I leave for a three day "Muley" hunt Northwest of Amarillo. This is a special hunt onprivate land by invitation. So Off I go...have fun! Foree

Thursday, November 13, 2008

MATTHEW 23:37-39

The passage in the title is an interesting read. It says God wanted to
gather the Jews to himself like a "hen gathers her chicks." So why did
He not do it? It it was His will to gather why did the "chicks" stay
scattered? Thepassage says because they "were not willing." The key word
here is "willing." In God's design he gave them a "will." Apparently
the WILL was not going to be ignored by God. God designs WILL into His
world and then has to honor it.
This means it matters what you and I will to do. If we will to walk away from God, God has to honor it because that is how He set it up. God says to us "your will be done!"

Notice in the passage Jesus is lamenting that fact that Israel chose to
stay away. He wept over Jerusalem - it was a sad moment. Desolation is
no easy thing.
So we should be very careful how we live...God HAS to honor when we WILL Him away.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Wonderful Things

Sunday I presented a lesson on Jesus - favorite subject of course - and one of the points was a pass through Luke 7 - the "Sinful Woman." She was so taken by her own sin that she crashed a party at a Pharisee's house - found Jesus - knelt behind him, wet his feet with her tears and dried them with her hair. She did not care where she was, how she looked, what others thought - she needed Jesus, found him and responded with a very tender heart full of need...
Monday AM a man called, in tears, hardly able to speak touched by the lesson of Jesus from Luke 7. His heart, soft like hers, turned to the Lord seeking redemption, forgiveness, sancitfication, healing. A borken heart looking for someone to help it mend. The journey of healing begins with NEED.
Like the "sinful" woman (aren't we all?)this brother turned to Jesus. Oh how God could see that kind of heart in all of is like the heart of a child...Jesus said something about that a couple of for thought...Foree

Friday, October 31, 2008


Ephesians chapters 1 & 3 talk about the "administration of God's grace." God was working with his eye on Christ's coming long before anyone knew exactly what he was doing. When the prophets talked about the "coming" age they knew it would come and be something grand but they had no idea about Jesus until he got here. Later, God via the Spirit would tell everyone what HE had been doing all this time...God was working - doing his matter what else was going on...
So we muddle along doing our thing, sometimes well sometimes badly but ALWAYS with a bit of wonder about what the Father is doing - we see bad economic times - we deal with some very difficult event which we have to endure - kids with whom we cannot connect - leaders we do not understand - elections we dread - health that goes south - and on and on it goes....
Well, life is like that - full of wonder - wonder when it is great and wondering how it can get better when it is bad...all the time God is doing his thing....when it is all said and done God is at work - it will all work out for those in Christ...just lean back and enjoy - keep at it - and know HE IS AT WORK...Foree

Wednesday, October 29, 2008


The hardest thing with God is the only thing he asks of us. What he asks is that we do not have a hard heart. If God controlled hearts then everyone would believe. God would simply soften everyone up and his wish would be fulfilled, "that all men be saved." But this is our task...
Feelings are hurt and someone is easier to hold a grudge we think..heart remains hard. Mispoken words...unkind thoughts shared...sins committed...lies told....immorality engaged....on and on it goes...they pile up after while dragging is down like a sack full of rocks....Pride, masculinity or femininity, peer pressure whatever keeps us from looking inside and acknowledging sin... that is without doubt the most difficult thing to do...and that is ALL God demands of us, to take a long look inside and see what we really think of him...
In Acts 2:37 the people were "cut to the heart" the rest follows naturally...keeping the heart soft...the hardest thing to do...Foree

Thursday, October 23, 2008

God Watching...

Things I ponder...Have you ever thought what it is like for another person to look at you? Sometimes I watch Dana (not an unplesant thing by the way) and wonder what it is like seeing the world from inside her...The other day I drove by a man holding a sign "work for food" and wondered what he saw as I drove by....what about the billions of people around the world...people who voted for McCain or Obama....what about tatooed people...and women of the night with the men who frequent them....Donald Trump is somewhere doing something and women right now in fear for their lives in Afganistan...some young girl just had an abortion...another gave birth to a first child or third or fifth...some happy person just becoming a grand parent...someone happy someone sad someone just, poor, healthy, sick, dead, alive, hungry full...God sees it all and the ONLY THING THAT IS SIGNIFICANT TO GOD IS WHERE WE ARE WITH HIM within...boil it all down and now we know...

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

God is Sooooo Good

So we take a look at our lives full of things, nice things, many things....for me I wonder what it will be like to event not even considered in most modern cultures. God has blessed us soooooo....
We need healing and we pray and health returns and God is soooooooo good....
Are wealth, health and abundance really blessings from God? If so, what about God absent? In modern, affluent states it is easy to thank God for the "blessings." And if health returns what about those times people die..... Then there are the prayers at sporting events...a pointed finger UP when a TD is made...what about the guys who lose????
Should we rest our view of God on how much we have and if he says "yes" to our specific requests? God is God and full of blessings no matter what physical or financial state we happen to be in at the moment. "Blessedness" is about the heart and soul (Matt. 5:1-12). WE might do well not to let ourselves swell with thanksgiving over abundance and health as "blessings from such a good God" since those two states may not mean a thing relative to our walk with God. God's blessings have to do with Christ, the Holy Spirit and the soul of mankind.....

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

8 Blue Eyes

Four or five years ago it happened in a Suburban I was driving. I pulled into a MacDonalds on a whim. I thought the guys with me would like it. I hadn't pre-announced
the decision, I just did it. As I pulled in I looked in my rear view
mirror and what I saw were 8 blues eyes staring right back at me full
of hope, promise, excitement, surprise...4 grandsons all expecting more
driving, more sitting, more waiting and all of a sudden - MACDONALDS -
FRENCH FRIES....they knew that with grandpa the emphasis (this moment)
would not be bad ingredients - too much sugar - bone killing
carbonation - fear of hyper activity - grease and quick death - BLUE
EYES said it all - "WE ARE EXPECTING THE BEST!" They got it...
Walk by faith - set eyes on Christ - expect the best - God is in charge!


A black smith works on a horse shoe and has it red hot. He lays it on a metal shelf to cool. A man comes in looking at all of the black smith's creations. He checks them out, picks them up, looks them over and moves from one to another until he gets to the new horse shoe. He picks it up drops it real quickly and shoves his hand in his pocket. The black smith says "Hot isn't it?" The man replies "No, it just does not take me long to look at a horse shoe."
Two things: 1) We do not often take much time for introspection and personal inspection. Communion does not take us long to finish. We might look inside like we are holding a hot horse shoe. Words to songs are sung but not digested. Sermons are heard with the ears but not with the heart. Bible reading is to be done, but not taken personally. 2) If we do see something in ourselves or our actions we might not consider it too long. Looking inside is one thing taking a long look at that which we discover is another.
The man just could not admit he had burned himself. "Unless you repent you will perish."

Friday, October 17, 2008

Wouldn't It Be Nice

Wouldn't it be nice if everyone thought like me? Every opinion would be just like mine. There would be no doctrinal discussions because I would only have to give explanations. People would simply think the same way and that would be that.
As it is there are as many opinions or points of view as there are people. Pick any subject........deer hunting.....medicine.....wealth.....politics.... and with more than one person in the room perspectives are going to differ. Each individual wonders how in the world "they could think like that."
Then there is the fact that not many people think they are wrong. So everyone has a viewpoint but how many of them think their idea is erroneous? Usually, outside of being devil's advocate, we argue, discuss and debate because we think we are correct.
How in the world do you get people like that together? There is usually some agreement but there is always disagreement.
Jesus enters a world divided between Jew/Gentile/Samaritan and brings them together. The key - HIM - Paul writes "He HIMSELF is our piece" (Eph. 2:14). Not our thoughts about HIM or our interpretation of what HE taught or our ability to live up to HIS standards. IT is HE, HIMSELF. Foree

Sunday, October 12, 2008


It only takes a moment to extended period of difficulty may precede death but it just takes a second for life to end. It is kind of a disturbing thought. Three people whom I knew well and loved took that final step in the last five days. All of a sudden they were gone from this world. Two husbands and one wife said goodbye to partners who had been with them for a combined total of ONE HUNDRED FORTY TWO YEARS...a lot of things passed by in those years, marriage, children, grandchildren, great grand children, jobs, cities they lived in, friends, vacations, Christmas, birthdays days of joy and days of sadness, all leaving memories and marks on the soul. Then in a moment, in a few seconds, they are gone never to be heard or seen again in this life.
So finally what can be said? Only one person helps when the inevitable takes place and his name is Jesus. If we lose him here we will not have him when we are done here. It makes Paul's words even more probing..."Be very careful then how you live, not as unwise but as wise making the most of every opportunity because the days are evil..." Maybe we should take a moment and think about our moment to come...Foree

Monday, October 6, 2008


There is something startling about death. In 11th grade I was walking on the sidewalk to start my day at Manzano High in Albuquerque. I was walking and talking with friends, books in arm, having a great time.....I walked right into a no parking pole...I fell down, books went flying, glasses fell off...everyone laughed...
We walk along in life, having the time of our life, or maybe just muddling a surprise in the night without warning (sometimes) death of another comes our way. The thought is not morbid or cynical it is just reality. Then, death, for some moments or maybe even days, reminds us of our own temporary spot in this world. We think about mortality, the suddenness of it all and maybe even make some resolutions....then the moment is past.
When I walked into the pole I got up, straightened up and on I went. Same with death. It comes to someone we know or love and we are reminded...then a few days later we are back walking along not giving it another thought...our mistake. God sent Jesus so we would/could be ready. We just have to sure we know what reality really is...Only Jesus can keep us ready. Foree

Sunday, October 5, 2008

OCtober 2 &3

At the A&M church office October 3rd was a normal day. All of the staff arrived and as is our practice from time to time we closed the office and went to have donuts and coffee for an hour. The time together was fun. The day turned out to be an enjoyable one. At the end of it we found ourselves in the Minster Assistant office laughing, telling stories and trying to eat 6 saltines in a minute (impossible - give it a try). The whole day had light moments mixed in with the usual church activities. Juanita Pixley, our receptionist, a lively and feisty lady of 64 years joined in the fun as we all did our work. The day ended as it had begun.
Friday morning, October 3rd Juanita was late to work - that NEVER happens. We joked some about her being old and maybe 9:30 her husband called and said she was in the hospital. An hour later Juanita had left us to be with her Lord.
And that is how life ends. In a moment, after a normal day when all was well the last moments came. So we said goodbye to our coworker and friend, sister in Christ. Just how important is faith in Jesus? If we could ask Juanita...she would know. Foree

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Inevitable Disagreement

That brothers and sisters will inevitably disagree is firmly attached to the humanity of mankind. As Paul sets out in Romans we are all sinners (3:23). We sin morally, that is we fail to always do everything correctly in light of God's perfection. We sin doctrinally, that is, try as we do the truth of God's revelation often escapes us. No one can say "I have never changed my mind" (except perhaps the hard hearted). Beyond that is the difficulty of obeying the "greatest command" and as Jesus said "praying for those who persecute us."
Discussions regarding "doctrinal" issues existed in the NT (Acts 15) and persist today. If it were not for "doctrinal" failings Paul would have had no reason to write any of his Epistles. Paul, Peter, John and James wrote in order to remedy difficulties brethren had with moral and doctrinal issues. We are no better than they.
The grace of God is here for all of honest heart no matter how far afield they may fly either morally or doctrinally. If the heart is good before God the grace of God is near. Foree

Tuesday, September 30, 2008


Somewhere along the line "division" became a good and right practice when "doctrine" was involved. Brothers inevitably came to different conclusions regarding scripture. The brothers and sisters were honestly trying to do God's will and be obedient to Him and His word. They also honestly disagreed. So there they were, opposing one another on a biblical subject. When the impasse was noted, seeing no other recourse, they divided. Each had followers or supporters and they took them and off they went. Two groups now, not speaking, arguing, ignoring one another both thinking the other lost for their point of view. It happened over and over and over again and is happening today.

Somewhere along the line "love" lost its meaning. It was no longer the greatest command. The "greatest command" must have been about the issue which precipitated the division since unity was ignored. Relationships broken, friendships ended, communion unshared, communication stopped and churches split because points of view became more important than Christ and his love for us and our love for one another.

Views of the Trinity, running baptismal water, communion cups, prayer order during communion, marriage and divorce, the Holy Spirit operating only through the word, having bible class, building a gym, orphan homes, Herald of Truth out of Abilene, churches giving money to Christian colleges, kitchens, buildings themselves, literature used in bible classes, raising hands, bowing down, praise teams, Christians serving in the military, pacifism, premillinialism, instrumental music, hermeneutics, missionary support, church cooperation, evolution, and on and on the list goes....Brethren dividing, ignoring, and speaking about one another in journals and to other people because they disagreed. Each one of them truly thinking they were RIGHT. In it all the love of Christ, patience, perseverance, etc...(1 Cor. 13) is abandoned. All in the name of "doctrine." The "greatest command" becomes the second greatest command because MY doctrine is first. What a shame. Foree

Friday, September 26, 2008


This blog addresses an issue which has plagued our brotherhood for decades - division. Division can only take place when someone has the intent to divide and others align with him/her with the intent to divide. Division is not an idea but an action. When someone is divisive they intend to create something new from something that already exists or make two out of one.

So a person presents a new idea about something biblical. Perhaps their new thought or approach is different than former thinking or approaches. Their idea may or may not be biblically correct but they may hold it passionately. Is the new idea or interpretation or methodology divisive? It is, only if the person who presents it as a foundation or as a reason to divide or if one who hears it decides there must be a division or separation! The new thing could be polarizing, that is, people line up on different sides of the isle but it does not and cannot become divisive unless someone seeks division. Paul warns us about a person who is divisive and does not continue in God's teaching (Romans 16).

The divisive person is the person who divides or tries to divide. Another perspective or opinion is just that. Ideas, perspectives, interpretations do not divide, divisive people divide. Divisive people are not to be tolerated. We have to tolerate different matters of faith (ideas or beliefs - Romans 14) but not people who use their idea or faith to divide.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008


Somewhere along the line the church began to draw primary billing. Debates about names, organization, function of leadership, building use etc...dominated theological circles. Somewhere along the way it became more about church as institution. Even the word "church" prompts a vision of a group of people sitting in a building under a certain name organized in a certain way and doing certain things in a certain manner.

When you read the bible the central thought and focus is not the church but JESUS. Jesus only mentioned "church" once (Matthew 16:18- now be careful about including Matt. 18). The rest of his time on earth was dedicated to a call to repentance, a call to discipleship and a demonstration of his love for everyone. Read John, Jesus offered himself! The Father's focus from eternity was not the church but Jesus, the Anointed ONE, the Lord and Savior.

People are converted to Christ. Jesus makes the disciples ONE. Jesus sent the Spirit to give gifts to those who followed him (Jesus). Jesus saves us, empowers us, unites us, forgives us, and promises to come back to get us. He is the one to whom we look for everything. Jesus is the all in all and one to whom people in need are drawn. He is the one that died and lives for everyone. He is the ONE, the only ONE.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Proving God

There are traditional arguments for the existence of God. One Argument From Design says that every design demands a designer. An illustration is that you cannot take all the pieces of a watch and throw them in the air and think that a perfectly working watch will fall to the ground. It is true. However, God himself came from nowhere. He is perfectly designed yet He had no designer.
God tells us that if we are to come to him we must 1st believe that he exists and 2nd believe that he rewards those who seek him (Hebrews 11:6). The key word here is "belief." Believing is the foundation of our relationship with him. There is no final empirical or scientific proof that he exists, even though it is unbelievable that this world and all of its beauty and intricate systems could happen by accident. But in the end, God is invisible and has never been seen directly so belief is the only avenue to him.
Being convinced of God comes after one considers this world and wonders if it could happen by accident. The answer is no. This intricately designed and working universe demands a creator - Read Romans 1:20. After looking and experiencing this world one either believes in God and seeks him or not. It is our calling to believe, not to figure Him out! Foree

Sunday, September 21, 2008


Sunday, one of the best days. I hope your time with the brothers and sisters is a good one. I hope the message you hear is from God's word and speaks to your heart. I hope the songs remind you of God's glory and Jesus' sacrifice and the love God has for you. I hope the time of assembly is a time of rest for your soul and that your Spirit is regenerated. I hope the Supper once again reminds you that God loves you and has saved you through Jesus. I hope your church family embraces you and does their part in making your walk with God a victory. Have a good day today...God made this day for just that. Foree

Friday, September 19, 2008

LOVE - Foundational

God's prompting for sending Jesus came from his love for his created beings (John 3:16). It was his love for us, a mother's love, that made God want to gather us up like a hen gathers her chicks (Matthew 23:37). This undercurrent of a desire for the well being and good of others is the basic stuff of spirituality.
When God talks about love (1 Corinthians 13) it is about concern for others. Love is PATIENT with others, kind to OTHERS, not boasting ABOUT SELF, not proud OF ONESELF, not easily angered WITH OTHERS always hopeful, trusting, protecting and persevering WITH OTHERS. This love runs deep within the spiritual person...(the Corinthians had none of it)...
This Godly instinct is why LOVE is the GREATEST COMMAND, and why God desires MERCY and not sacrifice. It is why faith that moves mountains, and people who can speak with the tongues of angels and those who give themselves on the altar of sacrifice have done NOTHING if the foundational motivation (LOVE) does not exist,
So, there it is....what pleases God...a loving heart, the FIRST of the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5). The Spirit is here to manage the image of God is us, love that flows in us because it flows in God. Foree

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

The "Image of God"

The bible says we are made " God's image." Hurricane IKE brought out that image in many ways as the A&M church responded to evacuees and opened our facility for their needs. Our first effort was during RITA a few years back....
A young man with arms laden with tattoos walks up with a grin on his face and says "God bless you," not long after a very young girl presents some workers with a picture on a poster board surrounding THANK YOU in the boldest letters. Anthony calls back from his home town after returning to make sure we know he arrived safe and sound. Evacuees running for their lives take the time to sweep, mop, wash windows, clear tables and ask if there is "anything they can do." A man in a wheel chair reads his bible at breakfast and prays before he ever takes a bite. God's image shining brightly.
Church members arrive day after day at 6AM, 11:30AM and 5:30PM with enough food to feed 300 people and then some. Men and women stay up all night keeping careful watch for the safety and convenience of those sleeping in classrooms turned into bedrooms. A cot, a blanket and a pillow welcome relief for worried and tired travelers.
The "image of God," that spiritual side, built into humanity glow brightly as people assist each other and give a cup of water in Jesus' name. Race, background, social standing all lost in a sea of spirituality granted by God's grace when His image was laid on us. A beautiful thing the image of God. Born of Deity and marked with that Spirit it displays itself in the worst of circumstances. God among us, in us, demonstrating that which prompted God to send Jesus before the world began. Evacuees and helpers alike, working from within because the need arises and the "image" takes over. Thank you God for giving us part of Yourself. Foree

Monday, September 8, 2008

Saul's Lesson - Religious Observance NOT Obedience

King Saul was Israel's first, chosen by God after Israel's leaders ask for a king. Having a king was alright with God, he had given instructions about such a man to Moses (Deut. 17:14). The problem was that Saul did not have the mentality (spirituality) that God required.
1 Samuel 15 records the "straw that broke the camel's back' between God and Saul. God told Saul to completely destroy the Amalakites (the end of a story begun several hundred years ago by God after the Amalakites "waylaid" Israel in their wilderness sojourn Cf. Exodus 17). Saul fought the Amalakites but spared Agag the king and the "best" of the livestock (1 Sam.15:9). Samuel ask Saul if he did as God commanded (destroy EVERYTHING) and Saul said "yes." Samuel ask "then what is the bleating of lambs(1 Sam.15:14) I hear?" Saul said - well we saved the best of the livestock in order to offer sacrifices (15:21) to God. God's response...1 Samuel 15:22 "Does the Lord delight in burnt much as obeying (his voice-flg)."
Saul thought religious observance was obedience! God wants an obedient heart, not observances. Observances are only effective if they are offered with faithful hearts. The point is that DOING good things is not necessarily a sign of faithfulness. God seeks hearts turned to HIM, not good acts. Good acts serve no purpose without a heart turned to God. More to come...Foree

Friday, September 5, 2008


Today I had to pass by the house to meet a family member. As I drove up there was a nice steel Smoker sitting in my driveway. I have been looking at them for awhile - you know the kind that are constructed from heavy gauge steel with wheels and use real wood rather than propane? Anyway there it was. A note was attached, written on plain notebook paper, "Delivered by a 'thorn'." Anonymous gift. A pleasant surprise. Enjoyment for me and for them. Prompted by a lesson from God we (giver and receiver) learned from His book. Happy moment, fun!
"Thorns" come and go and somewhere wrapped inside of them are God's blessings. Hidden amidst the trial, a surprise gift. The recipient left to ask, "Why would God bless me so?"
A message about thorns - a message from God's book - a gift given - unannounced.
Isn't God wonderful. Every once in awhile he leaves a gift...I might plan a meal some day and invite some guests and the giver might be among them, watching me enjoy the gift. God just keeps on giving...nice!

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Things We Can Depend On

When "thorns" poke their way into our lives it usually means trouble, discomfort, suffering, hardship of varying intensities. As we pass through these times of trial, often intensified by the devil coming along and throwing in some temptation there are truths on which we can depend:
We can depend upon God being at work in us no matter what (Philippians 2:13-14.
We can depend upon His Holy Spirit being in us and doing His work (Philippians 1:19).
We can depend upon our brethren sharing in our struggles (Philippians 4:10,14).
We can depend upon God to make good things out of the difficult (Philippians 1:13-14).
We can depend upon God's forgiveness for our sins (Philippians 3:12-14).
We can depend upon the fact that if we die due to our trial we will be better off (Philippians 1:23-24).
God is dependable and faithful. He has not left us comfortless. He will always be with us no matter what we might encounter in this "thorny" world. God will help with our needs (Philippians 4:19) Foree

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Lesson Learned

Several years ago in a study of Philippians I was given a very practical application from a friend. When trouble comes our way or when we face a dilemma Paul gives us something very practical to do. Take a sheet of paper and write at the top the name of the problem, the person with whom you have conflict or the situation you may face...After the naming of the issue or person read Philippians 4:8. On the left side of the page write down the words TRUE, NOBLE, RIGHT, PURE, LOVELY, ADMIRABLE, EXCELLENT, PRAISEWORTHY...leaving some blank space under each word.
After the NAMING and the LISTING go back and write something TRUE about the issue or person or this with each of the words Paul uses...When you are done you have completed a positive and biblically based exercise regarding the "thorn" you face...
Then, pray (Philippians 4:6)...
There is Spirit filled wisdom in Paul's words. When he writes them he is in prison and his friends at Philippi share in his struggle(1:30). Paul's' Spirit filled words are practical and helpful...they might even relieve some anxiety about whatever we may face...Foree

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Prayer and God's Will

I have been giving some thought to the last post on this blog. I am wondering if God might answer our prayer to the detriment of another? Suppose a loved one is hurting or ill...our usual desire is for them to quit hurting or be healed. What if we pray for that and God honors our prayer but what is really best for the hurting one is to hurt or for the sick person to pass on to the Lord?
This is a tough question. We often view death as something to be avoided but perhaps the best thing in some situations is for the person to die and be with God (read Philippians1:20-27). Good for a person to die? Sounds odd. But how does God view death? Is it the end of our journey or the real purpose for our existence?
So, we might consider the "will of God" in our prayers. Maybe this is why we should pray "they will be done." It is not an out for God but the deliverance of our will to His will. We can ask for whatever we desire but set in His will. God answers according to his desires, not ours. Foree

Friday, August 29, 2008


When we ask God for something and we get it, it may be that our getting what we want is not a sign of God's approval. God could answer our prayer affirmatively yet not be pleased with our request. His "yes" to us may end up being a learning experience, even a hardship, so that we will see what is really best. So, if we ask and receive our request that may or may not reflect God's approval.
In Deut. 17 God gave instruction about Israel asking for a king. In 1 Samuel 8 Israel asks for a king. The request is considered an evil thing by Samuel (1 Sam. 12:17). However, God still chooses a king for them. Their request is granted even though it was an "evil thing." So Saul becomes king, an impressive man, very tall. He is humble at first but then in the heat of battle and because he is afraid he is presumptuous and offers a sacrifice to God (offerings were to be BLESSED by priests). God had already taught Saul that lesson (9:13). So, Saul turns out to be a dud even though God chose him. BUT God chose him to give Israel what they wanted. But their desire was not God's will. Israel got Saul so God could teach them again about being obedient. Read Samuel's sermon to Israel 1 Samuel 12:20-25.
LESSON: Answered prayer, getting what we want, may not necessarily be proof of God's approval. God may be answering "yes" for some other reason than it being his will to do so....Trusting God is an interesting walk....Foree

Tuesday, August 26, 2008


I only met him once but around the A&M church of Christ where the Stallings used to attend Johnny was well know. People talked about his SPIRIT and the blessings he brought to other's lives......The following lines were written by someone you read them think about the value of life and how life cannot be judged based upon "normalcy" and "thornlessness." To some Johnny should have been aborted, left to sit in a room somewhere without purpose or meaning.
Another important note is that God is not bound by things that bind humanity. There is value in every person no matter how "thorny" their life may be. Thorns are not fun but they do prompt growth and trust in God. So, read below and consider how important faith in God is no matter what thorn may come our way...When thorns come our way maybe we should consider what trusting God may accomplish ANYWAY...Foree

Johnny Stallings!!
All I ever really needed to know, I learned from Johnny Stallings.
You can go to the finest schools and get any advanced degree they offer.
Or you can read all of the business and self-improvement books you want.
But for a Ph.D in true wisdom, take a look at the life of Johnny Stallings.

You may have never heard of Johnny. He had Down Syndrome.
When he was born, 46 years ago in Alabama, the doctors said he
wouldn't live even a year or two because of a severe heart defect. Other
well-meaning doctors advised his parents to put him in an institution.

"In a year," they said, "you'll forget you ever had him."But fortunately for all of us, Gene and Ruth Ann Stallingsdidn't take their advice. They chose to treat Johnny as a vital part of
their family. And we are all the better for it.

As his father advanced his football coaching career - first at Alabama,
then to Texas A&M, the Dallas Cowboys, Arizona Cardinals and finally to
a national championship in 1992 at Alabama - Johnny was an integral part
of the team. To Johnny, the most important person was the trainer.Trainers take care of the players," he once said. "You can't win without trainers."

To the day he died, Johnny Stallings wore a massive, diamond-encrusted
National Championship ring on his frail fingers, which were tinged a
grayish blue from the lack of oxygen caused by his heart condition.

Johnny was front and center in that National Championship team photo. In
fact, he was a part of every team his father coached, including the
storied Dallas Cowboys. The players drew inspiration from him. When
Johnny turned 40 years old, for example, his birthday party was attended
by a Who's Who of former NFL stars.

Johnny had some accomplishments of his own. He was featured with his
father on a popular national United Way TV commercial, has a playground
named for him at the RISE center in Tuscaloosa, had the athletic
training facility at Alabama named for him, and won a "Change the World"
award from Abilene Christian University.

But perhaps the most important thing that Johnny Stallings accomplished
is this: he taught us that it doesn't matter what awards you win, or
what worldly accomplishments you achieve, it is how you live your life
that matters most


You might find CARDBOARD SERMON on U TUBE and take a look. It is a sermon without words (something for which everyone has hoped ). This sermon grows out of the lives and experiences people have had in their walk with the Lord. It is testimony about what God has done in their lives and the whole sermon prompts praise to God for his wonderful work in them through Christ. The people involved walk up with a piece of cardboard with a message on it. The first message describes an incident, a sin, a problem, a struggle the person is having or has had. Then the sign is flipped over and the solution from God or praise to God for relief is displayed. Some of the signs deal with sin, others with health issues, others with spiritual growth, all of them wonderful. Give it a look see and note how God helps with the "THORNS" in our lives. HE is worthy of praise!
Richland Hills Church in Fort Worth did a similar service. If youcannot find the one on U TUBE then go to the Richland Hills web cite and see theirs. Foree

Monday, August 25, 2008

God's Hand

While reading the Old Testament it is interesting to read and look for God's hand in the lives of those who followed him. When God called Abram out of UR it began a journey in his life which culminated at Moriah. God had given Abraham the promise of a nation from his loins. The problem was Abram was old and his wife was barren. Then, after Isaac's arrival, God sent Abraham to Moriah to sacrifice his son of promise. On the way up the hill with Isaac in tow Abraham reasoned that God would raise Isaac from the dead after he was sacrificed (Hebrews 11:17-19). That reasoning illustrates the depth of confidence (faith) that Abraham had in God.
That level of faith did not come over night. God made Abraham and Sarah wait many years before Isaac was born. God managed Abraham through his journeys and had patience with him in is failings (remember he lied about Sarah being his wife and at one time even asked if Ishmael could live under His blessing). God's hand was aways there even when Abraham was wondering or faltering or laughing at God's plan.
Often God's hand is not readily obvious. God is there all along in our journeys and in that process our faith grows. The growth comes with God being with us even when we are not completely with Him. When a test comes and faith becomes evident then we can look back and see how God has grown that faith in us through the other trials of our lives.
God is always there patiently helping and providing and even testing. At various moments as we walk with Him we might wonder what he is doing. That is his business, ours is to trust. Then some event comes along and faith surprises us. We know for sure He is there and finally assured we are there with him. Foree

Suffering When We Do Not Sin

The title suggests the topic for this blog. Where is God when people suffer, especially children?
This is a tough one. After Adam and Eve made the choice they did Genesis 3 tells us that there were consequences for the world. Women having pain in child birth and eyes for her husband...and the ground would produce thorns. Until then paradise was thorn less. The new reality, since paradise was lost, is that this world is no longer a paradise. Thorns, hardships, struggles, pain, difficulty all exist and come to us indiscriminately. If you read 2 Corinthians 11:22-33 there is a long list of some of Paul's difficulties. Some of his hardships were the result of other people (lashes), some were the result of nature (wind storm/ship wreck), one was within himself (inwardly burning) and some were some false brothers. Troubles may come due to paradise being lost, like a storm which causes a shipwreck. People cause suffering -their decisions which effect others. The truth is this thorny world may bring any kind of suffering for anyone, adult or child, and it is just part of living in a "groaning" (see Romans 8) world.
As you continue with 2 Cor. 12:7-10 you learn that what God wants from us is faith. Trusting him is not about how well we or our children are or how well we escape difficulty. We trust God not matter what and it is our weakness that turns us to him. It is always hard to see suffering. We need to let suffering remind us of our need for God. Easier said then done, I know and you may need to read this back to me some day when I suffer and do not know why or watch a loved one suffer.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Faith - Suffering and God

A person writes that he/she wonder what big sin Adam and Eve committed...and where was the "forgiving God" when they sinned? Adam and Eve's sin - led by Eve and Adam just was "there," had to do with faith, not the nature of the sin itself. Eating from a tree - maybe an apple?, does not seem all that big a deal. And why did God just not forgive them? the issue between God and the two created ones was faith. When God told them to stay away from the tree of knowledge he was trying to guide them into eternal life (eating from the tree of life would be their only other choice). According to scripture God just told them to leave it alone or they would die. The consequences of not trusting God would be dire.
When God gave them direction they had to trust him, that he was telling them the truth. The test for Adam and Eve was whether or not they would believe God or do what they wanted. They chose the later (Genesis 3). Instead of trusting God they listened to the tempter and to their own desires and appetites. God did not kill them immediately, but death did enter the human scene.
The issue of their lives and ours is believing and trusting God. If we do not do that all is lost.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008


Our Sonshine and Cornerstone schools have a playground which was recently gone over with a fine tooth comb by State Inspectors and it, the playground was found lacking. The requirements were a new professionally built border twelve inches high filled to the brim with a special mulch created especially for playgrounds. This mulch is about three grinds away from sawdust - very fine.
This required procedure was going to cost a bundle until yours truly along with a friend volunteered to do the manual labor - tractors, shovels, rakes etc...We finished today after beginning a week ago Monday. It seemed easy enough to do - then it rained and rained - then we realized 80 yards of mulch was not enough - ended up using 160 yards - in the middle of rain storms - asking for volunteers then cancelling due to rain - asking for volunteers and then canceling due to rain...
The little emergency took over for several days....I found myself mulching and fitting in the rest of the things I had to do between reminds me of how emergency issues can over take us and the really more foundational things can be fitted in...the experience made me grateful for more normal days without little emergencies...So mulching is over and I learned something...done for the day....Foree

Friday, August 8, 2008


So the question - Does God introduce hardship-difficulty-suffering etc...? Consider a perspective. Adam and Eve have just been put in the garden. They are standing there without history, no parents, no memory, no past, just there. One minute they were not and then they were. Two adults in a world previously unknown to them. God gives them each other (marriage), a job (work the garden), enjoyment (food and things "pleasing to the eye) and trial (hardship). Their trial (testing, not temptation) was the freedom "you are free to eat from any tree in the garden" except for the tree of knowledge. So, their suffering was their decision (God does not make it for them) to believe (have faith) in what God said (if you eat of it you will die) or ignore God and do their own thing (See Gen. 3). God built the dilemma into their world. He did not tempt them to eat (Satan did that) but he did present them with the choice. The choice was a dilemma and we only have part of Eve's decision making process in Genesis 3(I assume it is only part). The mental and spiritual struggle to obey was by God's design. He created them, informed them, warned them and let them go. They had the hardship, suffering, difficulty of deciding.
POINT: Hardship, suffering (excluding temptation) was part of God's created order. If we suffer it is natural..expected...normal...Foree

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Can I Do Enough

Confession time. I spent I do not know how many years dreading the idea of the coming Lord. Saying "Maranatha" - "come Lord Jesus" seemed crazy to me. The song There's A Great Day Coming always gave me more pause because of the verse "There's A Sad Day Coming." Seeing Jesus was never a comforting thought to me. My sister and I used to think that you could do anything in the day because Jesus did not arrive until night, like a thief. Only night time needed repentance. Sad...
God planned from before creation for Jesus to arrive in this world to take away our sins (Matt. 1:21). Jesus himself counted it an honor to sacrifice his relationship with the Father in order to come here and die for our sins (Philippians 2:3ff). Jesus obediently obeyed the Father and suffered so that we could live (Hebrews 5:8-10). Jesus offered himself up ONCE FOR ALL (check the phrase in the book of Hebrews) and made atonement for the whole world (1 John 2:2). Jesus DID IT ALL, there is no more to do. Can I do enough, never. Will I be good enough, never. Will I know enough, never. Will I love enough, not hardly. Jesus did it all for me...all he asked is my faith...I cannot wait to see Him. Come Lord Jesus!

Monday, August 4, 2008


It has been brought to my attention that my age is not 1958 (see profile)- I do not know how that got on there and I have tried but I cannot figure out how to change it - my age is 58.

I would like to hear from anyone who would like to write me a note at Even though I do not consider myself the answer man I would be open to questions or comments, of a religious nature, from any of you who might stumble on to this site. It would be a good format to have some discussions, and they do not even have to be about "thorns."

The "thorns" issue comes to my mind partly because of the number of things I face with myself and others along the way. I am sure that your experience is the same as mine and you know as well as I that life does not always give us the best circumstances. If there are other things about which you would like to write - feel free. Foree

Saturday, July 26, 2008


Let me encourage you to read Leviticus chapters 1-6 and follow along with this blog. Notice the offerings made by Israel were a sweet "aroma" to God. Not the odor of the meat but the faith which prompted its presentation. "Sacrifice" is just that, a sacrifice. Lambs, goats and cattle marked the wealth of the people of the OT. When they sinned they had to sacrifice something. To kill such a valuable holding was indeed a sacrifice. The sacrifice could not be nay old goat. It had to be one of "proper value" since it was being offered to pay the "penalty" for sin. So when sin takes place it comes with a price tag - that price has to be paid. Not just anything will do.
So, what is valuable enough to pay for the sins of the whole world (See 1 John 2:1-2). Only God himself. The death of one divine was the price of payment for our sin. this follows exactly what our father set forth as the remedy for sin.
What more can I do not be saved? Nothing. The price is paid in full. All God requires of us is faith in what HE has done. No matter how bad - Jesus is worth it. Forgiveness if offered at the price of Christ if we will receive it in faith. Jesus is the sweet aroma - not us. God paid the penalty - not us. Once for all the sacrifice was made - by God, not us. There is nothing for us to do but trust. Foree

Tuesday, July 22, 2008


As we travel along dealing with the eventualities of life whatever they may be we are left finally with one enduring blessing from Reading the book of Hebrews, Christ, the anointed one, replaces every man made effort to reach God. Angels, tabernacles, Holy Of Holies, lamp stands, lavers for washing, washings themselves, animal sacrifices, the sprinkling of blood on everything pertaining the the tabernacle or temple were all replaced with Christ. Jesus himself became the sacrifice for our sins, a pleasing aroma to God. John says Jesus atoned for the sins of the whole world.
Now what more can we do to reach out to God? Is there any prayer or effort more capable of pleasing the Father than all that Christ has done? If we suffer from "not doing enough" what can we do at all? Is there any wonder that Paul said we are saved "by grace through faith?" It is trusting Christ that makes all the difference. Having faith that he has done enough before the Father and now sits with the Father to plead our case (1 John 2:1-2).
Too often we worry about our place in eternity when Jesus has given us the right to walk right into the Holy of Holies and be in the presence of God (Hebrews 10). So, with all of our weaknesses and thorns and trials and worries there is one worry those of faith do not have...that is if we have done enough. Christ has already done it.

Monday, July 21, 2008


So recently given a number of very significant thorns, mostly in the lives of others this time, I am reminded of how ready I am to see the Lord. It would be of great relief to hear the trumpet about now. It is not depression or a death focus it is just the relief which will come when the end is upon us and the reality of the thorny world is no longer a reality.
I suppose the end times, eschatology as the scholars call it, has never been a very pleasant thought to me. I remember singing There's a Great Day Coming and always being more focused on the Sad Day Coming than the Great Day Coming. To me, growing up, judgment was a a thing to be avoided as long as possible. Stay alive for as many years as you can because judgment is at best a chancy thing. I might make it but then again I might not so, since eternity is so long it is better to stay here and put off the inevitable as long as possible.
Not so today...a new perspective for me (relatively speaking I have had it awhile now) is that judgment day is not about me but about me IN CHRIST. The focus of Jesus' new order is that He is the focus, HE is the Savior, Friend, Sacrifice, Obedience etc...HE IS THE WAY (John 14) I cannot come to the Father except through HIM. HE himself is the peace for which people look, he is the forgiveness people need and he is the hope every person lives on, or should live on. The eschatology of Christ is that HE takes care of the final days. He has prepared a place and HE will come again to get me, all of us...we simply trust Him to do what he said HE would fine...COME LORD end to the thorns will be right nice...

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Why It Is So Hard....

There is a word used in the book of James, a Greek word, that is translated in English as "trial" and "tempt." How the word is translated has to do with context because both "trial" and "tempt" are proper translations.
Hardship, trial, suffering, difficulty and problems are part and parcel of our lives. Perplexity (see 2 Corinthians 4:7-12) is just as important a facet of our existence as is relief. But it is perplexity and being "hard pressed" (trial) which make us what we are to be. After Jesus had been here for awhile and lived the human trek the Hebrews writer said "he learned obedience through the things that he suffered (5:8), "even though he was a son." Peter, who struggled along mightily, wrote in his first letter that it is the "fire" that tests and proves our faith in God (1 Peter 1:4-9) and the brother of Jesus would say that it is "trial" that matures us as we have faith in God (James 1:1-18). So hardship, suffering and trial make us...they are necessary as we move along in life. They are the thorns which put our trust in God to the test...
Back to this word translated "trial" and "temptation." In the midst of our trial, our testing, however long it may last and however intense it might be, there is another spirit being doing its best to pull us away from faith/trust. As in Genesis 3 he speaks another word than God's word and seeks to get us to focus on what we like or an experience we might cherish. He tells us lies about what is right and uses rationalization (ours) to create a new perspective. He redefines truth and often makes us the author of it instead of God. HE is a liar and Jesus even said lying was his "native language." So in the midst of our suffering, trial, hardship or perplexity the tempter is there turning TRAIL into TEMPTATION.
The line between trial and temptation is a thin line which cannot be seen. It is the invisible line of faith in the God who remains outside our tangible world. Faith is evidence of that which we do not see (Hebrews 11). When the thorns arrive God demands we trust him and that is the trial. The "father of lies" tells us God us not trustworthy and that we should lean on ourselves, our wisdom, our insight, our mental and physical strength. That is when "trial" which is for our own good and growth is turned into temptation. The difference between trial andtemptation remains a thin invisible line. Drawing close to God demands trial and when the trial comes the other one tries to turn it into temptation...that is why it is so hard...for trial to work we trust the God whom we have not seen...

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Thorns - Here They Come Again

The last two and one half weeks have been a mixture of glory to God for his creation and for rest and praise to God for being there when once again life is interrupted with a thorn or two. Part of my family and I gathered at our cabin in southern Colorado for some relaxation. Last winter the snow fall was over the top. That resulted in a lot of run off and very green fields and mountain sides and rivers and streams full to the brim and running at very high speeds. The rivers were so fast that dry flies cast into them were just swept along. The calm spots were few and far between and in those spots the fish did not respond very well at all. So, fishing was difficult and in some places impossible. But was it ever green and beautiful. The cabin time was warm, familial and relaxing. Eating, games, resting, reading, visiting etc...were the plans of the day with fishing interspersed throughout. We did manage to catch come 44 Brookies at the beaver ponds and have a nice meal on Friday before we left for home.
In the middle of the two week vacation and family gathering a very wonderful lady at our home died. She had been in a battle with cancer, had to leave her teaching job which she loved and became clinically depressed. Her depression and loss of perspective took her away from her husband of 25 years and her two teenage daughters and many very close friends. "Thorns,"... they arrive at any time with no respect for time, energy, patience etc...they just come. I flew home for the funeral and was blessed to be of service to the family.
So when thorns arrive coming for whatever reason we can only respond in faith. It means we trust God no matter how terrible the circumstance to guide us along as we try and do our best in response. It is here that God's grace is most visible. He works through various individuals in various ways depending on the gifts He has given. Some are there for words to say, others for prayers they pray and many to hold and reassure and just be present. It is time to trust, explanations fall short of offering real relief. Theological discussions touch the mind but in these moments it is the heart felt needs that have to be addressed. What we have learned, what we know and believe about God (theology) is lived out personally in the interaction of souls in times of high grief and stress.
The most amazing thing is God at work, doing His thing like He did when He caused the snow of the winter in cold Colorado to green the spring fields and wet the dry summer. Amazing as that is to see and enjoy it is even more amazing to see our Savior at work in people in time of thorny tragedy. That is the real blessing. For His grace I am thankful.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

More on Thorns

The bible is full of people..just people, not heroes or special people, just people. There was/is only one special person, the anointed one, Jesus. Other than that you have people from Moses to John the Apostle who were just human beings created in God's image. Every one of them and us have one thing in common..we are all sinners...and our sins come because we live in a world where Satan is active and he tries to pull us away from God our Father. Our sins are the thorns of our lives. Some of them we cause some are caused by others ( look what Adam and Eve did to us).
People in scripture are not commended for their ability to remain thorn less...they are commended because they had faith in God. They trusted him to do what they could not imagine being done. They had faith that he would un-complicate the lives they had complicated. They lived just like we live, by faith and from day to day. It was no easy task for Moses to return to Egypt and it was real difficult for Abraham to drag Isaac up Moriah with sacrifice on his mind. Rahab risked it all to believe that God was behind the spies. Peter, James and John took quite a leap when they hooked up with the other 8 and decided to follow Jesus. Trust, faith in God, is the deliverer from the thorns of life which come our way because of our sin. Trusting Christ is the issue of our existence.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

THORNS - Sinful Ones

There are all kinds of thorns. the most miserable ones are the ones introduced by the serpent, the "father of lies." Jesus says that when the devil lies he "speaks his native language." He did a job on Adam and Eve in the Garden. If you read Genesis 3 he was very crafty. He told Eve that the reason God did not want her to eat from the Tree of Knowledge was that then she would be like Him. It was a half truth, a lie. She would be like God in knowing good and evil - which God had tried to keep out of their lives - but Satan meant she would be Divine, like God. Satan also told Solomon (read Ecclesiastes) since he was King and rich and powerful that he could find the meaning of life with those things and his wisdom. It did not work. Satan told the Pharisees that if they killed Jesus he would no longer threaten their power - it did not work. Satan tells our world that drugs and sex and alcohol and money will enrich them and it doesn't. He tells married couples that if they separate they can solve their problems and that does not work either. He encourages Christians not to pray or go to church or read their bibles and fast and those that listen find out that end up not missing those things at all - so they quit - and then they find out what they missed. The devil tells our society that actors with money and fame can tell us how to live on shows like David Letterman - but they are the ones on drugs who cannot stay married. The devil is a porcupine sticking our world with hurtful lies. Thorns that he gives us never come out and fester and kill our souls. Avoiding him is the only policy.

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Thorns- Us and Others

"Thorns," those sometimes pesky sometimes debilitating events in life which crate opportunity to really trust our Father in heaven. Sometimes thorns are placed in our path by the Father. They would neither be sinful nor tempting since James tells us He will do neither. However, thorns are sometimes created by the sinful acts of ourselves or others. Jesus felt the thorn of betrayal by both Judas and Peter. Read 2 Corinthians 11:25-29 and take note of the things others did which caused suffering for Paul. Sin can result in hardship and trial for us. Our sin can also create thorns in our life.
It is faith, trusting in God which enables us to overcome our sin and the sin of others which affects us. Believing enough to obey means we avoid the pitfalls of sin the the thorns which accompany them.

Friday, February 29, 2008

Thorns and Sources

"Thorns" are presented as a normal part of living. The first thorn appeared in Paradise when Adam and Eve had to decide to have faith in God and eat from the Tree of Life or listen to their hearts and eat from the Tree of Knowledge. After their "fall" God said that thorns would grow and would be a new addition to their world (Genesis 3:18). Literal thorns would grow in the grow and metaphorically thorns are be a part of our world.
These thorns originate in varying ways. God placed a thorn in Adam and Eve's life. It is the thorn of decision - to have faith in God or not. It was hard for Adam and Eve (read the opening verses of Genesis 3) and it is hard for us. Jesus taught the 12 and they had to try to understand. Jesus described them as hard hearted, dull and even little of faith (Matthew 14-15). The decision of faith is a "thorny" issue. Faith is an invisible entity (Hebrews 11:1). It requires believing in an invisible God and believing in a Savior we have not seen. For we humans, embracing an invisible reality is "thorny." It requires much of us to believe. Beyond belief itself God introduces "thorny" issues like telling Abram he would have a son when he was old and Sarai was barren (Romans 4). Read all of the trials Paul faced in 2 Corinthians 12 (especially his "thorn in the flesh). God's thorns are never sinful or a temptation to sin but they are indeed throny for us who choose to believe. Call them trials, hardships or sufferings but here I call them thorns. God issues them and if we are to see Him one day with them we must deal. Then there is the thorn of a "groaning" world and the thorns created by the Liar and people who live for him. Comments coming on those next. foree

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Normalcy of "Thorns"

It is very interesting that "thorns" (problems, suffering, hardship, testing) are normal in the biblical presentation. Adam and Eve stood in the Garden awe stuck, I am sure, at having not been and then were. Their first view of the Paradise must have been awe inspiring. It was a perfect world without sin or the consequences of sin. It was not, however, free of hardship and testing. Their "thorn" was the decision to have faith in God and eat from the "tree of life" or ignore God and eat from the "tree of knowledge of good and evil." The first test or trial which caused suffering of spirit happened there, in Paradise. The story is told in Genesis 3 - Eve led the way wondering and thinking about the tree - it was pleasant to the eye and good for food and for gaining wisdom. Adam hung back, never said a word and he and Eve together failed the first test of scripture. It would be a repeatable scene. Over and over again thorns appear. Big ones, little ones, intense ones, short lived ones, but they appear. Each time the decision made about them is the most important point. It is not about the thorns themselves but what we humans do with them. Thorns are normal, they have been with us since the beginning. After the "fall" they would increase in significance and frequency. In the garden there was just one, in life there are many. They are just part of life. How we get through them is a matter of faith.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008


I just read Jenny Wimms latest report on Brad, a brother loved by many who is facing very serious health threats. "Thorns" are every where in this world of God's. They come in various intensities and sometimes last long, sometimes short lengths of time. Whatever kind of thorn we get, or face, it is serious and personal. Thorns are often difficult to extract and sometimes terminal. They are however part of this world which is no longer a paradise but a place marked by sin. That does not mean sin causes thorns (even though that can happen)it means thorns arrive because we live in a "groaning" world" as Paul said in Romans. Often thorns leave us without explanation and perhaps anger and discouragement. At these times what is left except faith and prayer. Years ago a friend of mine got stuck with cancer. His prayer in the process was to face it with faith. He said that was all he knew to say. Faith, that which sustains when thorns run deep, hurt badly and leave us weakened, not knowing what to do. Faith is not a small thing it is the only thing often when thorns persist and will not pull out.So we pray and ask God for help and strength and faith itself to face the unfaceable. That may not seem like much but it is all there is and it will be a lot when the final chapter is written on us all.