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Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Year-End Rambling

Here we are at the end of another year. It has been a fairly busy one. I served as an interim pastor throughout the year in Penrose, Colorado, but I didn’t write any books, just a couple of VBS courses, seven articles, and a month-long devotional guide. Oh yes, I mentored about 70 students on line as they pursued the Jerry Jenkins Christian Writers Guild Apprentice course, and also mentored four or five in the Journeyman course. I expect 2009 to be even less busy than 2008.

Too many friends died in 2008, but they passed into the presence of Christ. Threats of terrorism, the possibility of a deeper recession, and global conflicts cannot touch them. Perfect peace and joy surround them now and forever. Their demise communicates a sense of life’s brevity and uncertainty. I need to permeate 2009’s moments and days with meaningful words and deeds.

A cancer diagnosis in July may require medical treatment in 2009, but I believe my doctors know what they are doing. I am even more confident that the Great Physician does not make any mistakes.

Our granddaughter Kayla spent a couple of days with us this week. She is 12 and going on 30. Like most pre-teens, she is a texting pro and an avid shopper. I dropped her and her grandmother off at the mall a couple of times, and then returned home to work and rest.

Kayla’s older sister Jessica is researching colleges, including Palm Beach Atlantic University. If you know anything about this university, please tell me what you think of it. Gloria and I were living in Illinois when Jessica was born. It is hard to believe she is 16 already.

Enough rambling! May you have a blessed New Year! This may be the year of our Lord’s return to whisk the Church to Heaven.

Friday, December 26, 2008

The Day after Christmas

Although the church in Penrose did not have a Christmas Eve service, I conducted one. The pastor of Calvary Bible Church in Colorado Springs called me December 23 from Room 508 of Penrose Main Hospital and asked me to conduct Calvary’s Christmas Eve service. He had been admitted to the hospital because he was experiencing severe abdominal pain.

The Christmas Eve service featured excellent vocal and instrumental music, carol singing, a brief message from me, and candle lighting. Refreshments after the service offered the congregation the opportunity to fellowship and wish one another a merry Christmas.

The pastor was discharged from the hospital late Christmas afternoon and is taking initial recovery steps. I am glad I was able to pinch hit for him.

Gloria and I spent Christmas Day at Sherrie and Jim’s home in Highlands Ranch, Colorado. The celebration included our daughters Sherrie and Heather, son Brian, sons-in-law Jim and Brad, granddaughters Jessica and Kayla, and for a while, Sherrie’s next-door neighbor Ingrid. The family dogs attended too. Count them! Guido, Susie, Maggie, Ben, Molly, Rosie, Sadie, Duncan, and Rocky. That’s nine; and Sherrie and Jim also have several birds. The whole event resembled Christmas aboard Noah’s ark; and we may have had as much food on board.

I didn’t step on the scales today. I plan to wait until Sunday to weigh in. Today, I will have lunch with Norm, a former treasurer for a church I served as interim pastor a few years ago. We will chow down at a buffet!!!

So it is the day after Christmas, and all through our house not a creature is hungry,
Not even our dogs.
Our presents are unwrapped and plainly in sight.
We plan to put them away if it takes us ‘til night.

On this day after Christmas we reflect on family mirth,
But cherish most highly our Savior’s humble birth,
Sinless life, love, and redeeming grace—
Good news to share with the whole human race!

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas!

“Then the angel said unto them [the shepherds], ‘Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people. For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior who is Christ the Lord’” (Luke 2:10, 11).

Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008


What a surprise: my Houghton College roommate from 1958 found me on Facebook and reconnected. Ernie and I had lost track of each other about 40 years ago, so we have lots of updating to do. Fortunately, we may meet again if he and his wife come to Colorado from Rhode Island next year.

As college students, Ernie and I worked for about 80 cents an hour hauling rocks from a creek and carrying them up a ladder for our boss to place on our dorm’s exterior. After graduating from Houghton, Ernie studied at Moody Bible Institute. I had graduated from Moody before attending Houghton. Later, Ernie became a high school science teacher, and I became a pastor/editor.

Friendship is worth reestablishing at any age, but doing so becomes especially meaningful when friends are in life’s golden years. So many of my friends have already passed into eternity. Of course, Christian friendship extends into eternity. Someday, in Heaven, Christian friends will enjoy a lasting bond of fellowship. Perhaps we will share our stories and discuss God’s goodness—and we will have plenty of time to do so. Best of all, we will never have to say good-by.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Chasing Rabbits

A pedestrian path winds its way through a small park in our neighborhood and continues between two rows of nicely landscaped back yards. At least once a day I walk our dogs along this path.

Rabbits frequent the area the path cuts through. They often hop around shrubs, across lawns, and down the pedestrian path. Even when I don’t see a rabbit, I know one is nearby. The dogs alert me to its presence by yanking their leashes vigorously and picking up their pace like horses heading to the stable for a good meal.

Our dogs don’t realize they can’t catch a rabbit. Rabbits run faster than little dogs, and they can hide in thick brush. I don’t think our dogs will ever understand that chasing rabbits is a waste of time and energy.

Some Christians chase rabbits. Instead of studying the Bible to learn about God and His will for their lives, they prefer to follow rabbit trails. They want to know what each toenail on Nebuchadnezzar’s image represents. They want to know what 666 stands for and what action they should take if they receive a license plate or credit card that includes 666.

The apostle Paul advised Titus, a young pastor at Crete, to avoid foolish controversies. He dubbed them “unprofitable and useless” (Titus 3:9).

Doesn’t it make sense to devote our time and energy to Bible truths that keep our Christian life focused, productive, and enjoyable? Let’s keep a tight leash on all who try to lure us into the habit of chasing rabbits!

© Jim Dyet

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Lost in the Fairway

Losing a golf ball in a thick rough or wooded area hurts, but losing it in the fairway is a real killer.

How can a ball just disappear? Do invisible alien creatures in invisible futuristic golf carts zoom onto fairways, snatch up golf balls and carry them off to some outer-space research lab? Of course not! Sometimes a ball is lost in the fairway because a golfer’s ego won’t let him look for it farther back than he knows he hit it. Sometimes it is lost because it came to rest in a grass-covered depression. Sometimes a golfer walks or rides past a lost ball. Looking afar, he fails to see what lies under his nose.

The Bible teaches that human beings are lost until the Savior finds them (Luke 19:10; 2 Cor. 4:3). We Christians understand this truth. We were lost until Jesus found us. We understand, too, that Jesus commissioned us to share the good news of salvation with the whole world. However, we may fail to understand that many people are lost “in the fairway”; that is, in the center of our Christianized culture. Living in communities where evangelical churches flourish, where Christian television broadcasts enter their homes, and where Christians live nearby, why are so many people still lost? Perhaps, like golfers passing by a lost ball in a fairway, we expect to find the lost only in some faraway place like Africa or Asia.

© Jim Dyet

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Christmas Cactus

My wife showed me a colorful newspaper advertisement for Christmas plants. Featured with poinsettias in the ad was a Christmas cactus. The leaves were deep green, and the blooms were bright red. Called “Christmas cactus” because they bloom at Christmas, these beautiful plants add a nice touch to our home’s Christmas decorum.

But back to the ad: It identified the Christmas cactus as a “zygo cactus.” Apparently secularists have invaded horticulture and stolen Christmas from the cactus family. But they can’t steal Christmas from our family. We will continue to call our cactus, “Christmas cactus,” and enjoy its beautiful flowers.

What’s next? Will geographers rename Christmas Island “Holiday Island” or “Zygo Island”?

Monday, December 15, 2008


Brrrr! A cold front invaded Colorado yesterday and is expected to stay through Thursday. Colorado Springs recorded a new low temperature of -8 this morning. The weather prognosticators are blaming this cold weather on Canada. “An Arctic front has dropped down from Canada,” they say. Strange, I grew up in Canada and never heard anyone blame the U.S. for a sudden influx of warm, humid air.

Very little snow accompanied the dramatic change in our weather, but the drive to church yesterday was perilous. The highway from Colorado Springs to Penrose, where I am interim pastor, bobs and weaves through the foothills. Yesterday morning it was icy and snow packed, visibility was almost zero at times, and the temperature varied between 9 and 11. Accidents attested to the hazardous driving conditions.

The drive was worthwhile. Church attendance was better than I expected. The potluck after church was superb, and I had the privilege of baptizing three adults, three teenagers, and six children. You can better appreciate the faith of those twelve if you know I baptize by immersion. Getting wet all over on a bitterly cold day takes genuine faith, eh?

Our church is gearing up for Christmas. Next Sunday we will observe Communion, enjoy a choir concert, and a candlelight service. Oh yes, there will be a sermon, but it will be brief—kind of a Christmas present to the congregation.


Saturday, December 13, 2008

Happy Holidays!

“Happy holidays!” Holiday shopping. Holiday decorations. Holiday greetings.

What ever happened to “Christmas”? Apparently some grinches sneaked into city halls, advertising agencies, media headquarters, and stores and stole “Merry Christmas. In its place, they substituted “Happy holidays.” Now political correctness pervades the season, having relegated the reason for the season primarily to pulpits.

I don’t think the grinches will return the Christmas they stole, but I would like at least one of them to tell me which holiday they think people are celebrating at this time of year. We have already observed Memorial Day, the Fourth of July, Labor Day, and Thanksgiving, and whoever heard of stringing lights and exchanging gifts on New Year’s Day. So Christmas must be the holiday the grinches refuse to mention.

Strange how times change! Christians used to object to “Xmas,” insisting the X crossed Christ out of Christmas. They missed the point: X is the first letter of the Greek word for Christ. Also, Christians used to identify Santa Claus as a usurper and an antichrist. Now we would be pleased to see Xmas displayed in public, and the grinches who stole Christmas view Santa as a Christian symbol. I wish we could get back to simpler times, when neighbor greeted neighbor with “Merry Christmas,” carolers greeted shoppers with strains of “Silent Night” and “O Little Town of Bethlehem,” and public schools didn't schedule Winter Break but Christmas vacation.

Christmas will arrive twelve days from now; therefore, very little time remains to prepare for the holiday that has become almost unmentionable. I have almost finished my CHRISTMAS shopping. Our CHRISTMAS decorations are in place. I have mailed our CHRISTMAS cards, and now I want to wish you a very MERRY CHRISTMAS.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Fat Albert Is All Aglow

Christmas lights adorn the two evergreens in front of our house. Phil, our next-door neighbor, climbed a ladder yesterday afternoon and strung lights artfully on the Fat Albert. This blue spruce wannabe has grown tall since it was planted in 2002, and it has developed the shape of a perfect Christmas tree. Nine years from now I may consider donating it to the White House. Phil, a retired U.S. Air Force colonel, doesn’t mind climbing a ladder. The experience probably seems tame compared with his years of piloting F-15s. Stringing lights on the other evergreen doesn’t demand any bravery; it’s a dwarf juniper. So now our front yard looks a lot like Christmas; and it was beautiful no-jacket-necessary day for stringing lights and enjoying neighborly conversation.

Three weeks from now Christmas lights will come down and everyone will occupy their thoughts with plans and hopes for 2009. However, the brightest lights will still shine throughout the world. Ephesians 5:8 identifies Christians as “children of light” and instructs us to “live as children of light.” As the world grows darker, let’s increase the wattage of our light.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

A New Look

I read a pamphlet in the vet’s office that claims grooming makes dogs feel better. The theory may be that less hair or at least less matted hair makes Fido or Fifi feel more comfortable. Frankly, when I leave a barbershop, I don’t feel any better. I don’t have much hair to begin with, and I kind of resent a barber’s clipping away the little I do have. Paying him to do so only adds insult to injury.

Unlike me, our dog Molly has lots of hair. If we didn’t have her groomed regularly, her hair would flow long like the Nile or become matted like a bramble bush. So every five weeks or so Molly goes to the groomer. She grabs my shoulder and hangs on for dear life before I leave her. However, when I pick her up from the groomer, I can tell she is pleased with her new look. She parades around the house with a happy bounce.

I’m sure money spent for grooming Molly is a much better expenditure than money spent on me at the barbershop.

Some preachers claim a person looks different after becoming a Christian. “His face glows now,” I have heard them say.

I’m skeptical. I have never seen a man’s face glow unless he was standing under a high-wattage light. Nor have I seen a woman’s face glow unless she had applied too much moisturizing cream.

But Christians’ lives ought to look different from those of unbelievers. The Scriptures command us to put off old sinful habits and put on qualities that accent our new life in Christ. Ephesians 4:24-32 instructs us to put off falsehood, resentment, stealing, indolence, unwholesome talk, bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, and every form of malice.

Our new look should include righteousness, holiness, truth, reasonableness, honesty, industry, constructive speech, sensitivity to the Spirit, kindness, compassion, and forgiveness. Perhaps we should look into the mirror of God’s Word today and see how well we are projecting a new look.

—From Meditations for Dog Lovers, © 2005 by Jim Dyet, AMG Publishers

Monday, December 8, 2008

A Heavenly Lunch

I met Kevin for lunch today at Ruby’s Diner, a ‘40s kind of place. Kevin is decades younger than I am, but our friendship transcends the so-called generation gap. We used to work together at Cook Communications Ministries, where we combined our talents to produce Scripture Press curriculum materials. I was the managing editor, and Kevin was a gifted designer. Employed now at Focus on the Family, Kevin told me he appreciates his job and the opportunity to minister to teens through a variety of on-line magazines. Recently Focus eliminated about 200 jobs, but Kevin kept his.

While we chatted, a number of women in their late 80s and early 90s maneuvered their walkers through the big entrance doors and shuffled to several nearby booths. The diner's decor must have transported their thoughts back to their teenage years, when burgers and milkshakes were much cheaper and the world was much safer.

I wonder what the world will be like when I am in my late 80s, if I reach that age. And what will it be like when Kevin is in his late 80s? Of course, Jesus may come for us at any time. If He does, neither Kevin nor I will become an octogenarian. Who knows, he and I and a host of Christian loved ones and friends may enjoy lunch in Heaven as soon as tomorrow. And, if a place like Ruby’s Diner exists there, no one will have to maneuver a walker through the entrance.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Sunday Golf

The unthinkable happened in Scotland in 1592. A royal proclamation restricted golf to six days a week, making Sunday golf as nonexistent in Scotland as a wasted penny. Apparently the king wanted Scots and their pennies to attend church regularly.

Much to the relief of Scottish golfers, the ban was amended in 1618 to allow Sunday golf if players attended church first.

I doubt that a ban on Sunday golf today would increase church attendance. Despite Christian golfers love of fairways, greens, long drives, and short putts, we love God more than golf. Our commitment to our great God exceeds our commitment to the great old game of golf. Come Sunday, we’ll be present for worship.

By attending church regularly, we honor God, encourage fellow Christians, maintain our credibility with our neighbors, and strengthen our relationship with God. Another plus for regular church attendance—no tee time is necessary!

Read Hebrews 10:24 and 25 today.

—From Out of the Rough by Jim Dyet (Thomas Nelson Publishers)

© 1996

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Cellophane Wrappers

As a teen working at a golf course’s pro shop, I was impressed with the colorful appearance of the golf balls in a glass showcase. Penfolds, Titleists, Spaldings, U.S. Royals, and Dunlops came colorfully wrapped in cellophane, and each one sold for less than a dollar. Today, the price might be $25, $30, or more. Even an empty box that once held a dozen cellophane-wrapped golf balls may fetch nearly $100 today.

The bright wrapping certainly enhanced a golf ball’s appearance, but it added nothing to its performance. Each ball’s true value was determined by what it was after the wrapping came off.

God’s Word instructs us not to judge a person’s worth by outward appearance. When Israel demanded her first king, the people selected Saul strictly on the basis of his good looks. He was tall and handsome. If they had selected their first king on the basis of how he looked to God, they would have selected David, a man after God’s own heart (1 Sam. 8:19-20; 13:13-14; 16:6-13).

James 2:1-5 rebukes those who judge others by their outward appearance and insists God places the highest value on faith and faithfulness—spiritual qualities.

If people could gain God’s approval by outward appearance, the Pharisees would have earned a triple-A rating in His sight. But God’s gaze penetrated the Pharisees’ robes and phylacteries and revealed their corrupt hearts. He accepted only those who believed on His Son—even beggars in tattered garments and lepers with ugly sores.

God still puts His measuring tape around the heart and not around a designer dress or tailored suit.

Read 1 Samuel 16:1-13.

—From Out of the Rough by Jim Dyet (Thomas Nelson Publishers)
© 1996

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Telltalle Umbrella

The bank teller was busy yesterday with commercial deposits, so an assistant manager invited me into his office with an offer to help. I asked, “Are you from back East?”

“I am,” he replied. “I just moved out here from New Jersey. What made you think I’m from back East?”

“That umbrella in the corner. We hardly see an umbrella in Colorado.”

What identifies you and me as Christians? Jesus said that by our love for one another the world would know we are His disciples (John 8:35).

Sunday, November 30, 2008

A Snowy Sunday

I don’t know how well church will be attended today. It snowed throughout the night and is still snowing. Since it takes me an hour to get to church in the best weather conditions. I will leave 30 minutes earlier than usual. I believe my sermon can fit any size congregation, from just a few to many.

Jesus ministered at times to just one or two persons, but at other times He ministered to multitudes. In every situation, He faithfully shared God’s Word. That’s what I plan to do this morning—if the roads are passable.

The apostle Paul told the Corinthian believers, “Now it is required that those who have been given a trust must prove faithful” (1 Cor. 4:2)

Monday, November 24, 2008

Discarded Mail

Saturday, while walking the dogs, I found several pieces of opened mail on the ground and in the street. I picked them up and discovered they were addressed to a person two zip codes away. I found a telephone listing for this person and called her. She drove to our house and claimed her mail. She had no idea how her mail reached our neighborhood and was opened.

The Bible is God’s correspondence addressed to the human race. Instead of reading it, many people ignore it. Some open it but soon discard it. Others work hard to keep people from reading it. It seems to me Christians have an obligation to reunite the Bible and those to whom God has sent it.

Perhaps we can seize the opportunity this Christmas season to draw people’s attention to the “good news of great joy” (Luke 2:11). By including a personal testimony in a Christmas letter or adding a Scripture verse may spark an interest in God’s message of salvation. His good news certainly stands in stark contrast to the doom and gloom news we hear so often in these sad economic times.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Job Loss

Americans are losing their jobs as the economy worsens. Some of my friends are among the unemployed. I hope each of them finds a job soon. It must be extremely difficult to be unemployed as Thanksgiving and Christmas approach.

Perhaps you know someone who is unemployed—a friend, a relative, or a neighbor. You may be praying specifically for that person, but you can do more than pray. Why not keep your eyes and ears open for a job opportunity? Pass the tip along to the job seeker. Volunteer to serve as a reference, and encourage the unemployed person in tangible ways. Your friendship may be precisely what he needs—and what the Lord will use—to carry him through a tough transition.

“A friend loves at all times. And a brother is born for adversity” (Proverbs 17:17).

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

A Very Slow Paint Job

“Suppose one of you wants to build a tower. Will he not first sit down and estimate the cost to see if he has enough money to complete it?” (Luke 14:28)

On our way to a church I used to pastor Gloria and I passed a house that was almost painted. The painting project lasted almost two years. The goal was to transform the exterior from yellow to blue. Three sides became blue rather quickly, but for a year and a half the painting of the last side moved at a snail’s pace. A ten-by-ten patch of yellow surrounded by blue caught our attention for months. Then the yellow patch started to grow smaller as the painting inched toward completion. Finally, the house became blue on all sides, and the owner could step back and admire the metamorphosis.

If you are like most homeowners, you want improvements to start on time and move quickly to completion. Who wants to live indefinitely with an-almost-painted house or a partly remodeled bathroom or kitchen? We want things done on time and professionally so we can be satisfied that our money and efforts were well spent.

Every Christian has a responsibility to invest his or her spiritual gifts, energy, and time into the building of the Church. Our work is never done as long we live on this side of heaven. We cannot excuse ourselves by claiming we are too old or too tired. We may move slower than we did when we were younger, but we can still move, can’t we? And we can make steady progress in whatever task the Lord assigns us.

In his letter to the Colossians the apostle Paul offered a challenge for Archippus: “See to it that you complete the work you have received in the Lord” (4:17). This challenge is appropriate for us too. Someday Jesus will inspect the work He assigned us. Let’s not leave anything almost finished.

© 2008, Jim Dyet

Friday, November 14, 2008

Tozer Was Right

I heard Dr. A.W. Tozer preach when I attended Moody Bible Institute in the mid 1950s. He exalted God and positioned man where he needs to be: prostrate before God in humble adoration. If he were alive today, I wonder what he would say about contemporary Christian thought and worship. Here is a quote from Dr. Tozer:

"Christianity today is man-centered, not God-centered. God is made to wait patiently, even respectfully, on the whims of men. The image of God currently popular is that of a distracted Father, struggling in heartbroken desperation to get people to accept a Saviour of whom they feel no need and in whom they have very little interest. To persuade these self-sufficient souls to respond to His generous offers God will do almost anything, even using salesmanship methods and talking down to them in the chummiest way imaginable. This view of things is, of course, a kind of religious romanticism which, while it often uses flattering and sometimes embarrassing terms in praise of God, manages nevertheless to make man the star of the show.”

I think we need more preachers like A. W. Tozer.

Monday, November 10, 2008

American Idols

Our economy is not rock solid, but God’s promises are. He has promised to meet our daily needs and all our needs. Banks may fail, but the Bank of Heaven will never fail. Our trust is in God and in His Word, but where does the unbeliever place his trust? In Wall Street? In the Government? In himself?

Three times Psalm 115 identifies God as His people’s help and shield and therefore worthy of our trust (vv. 9, 10, 11). This psalm also depicts idols as the “work of men’s hands” (v. 4) and incapable of speaking, seeing, hearing, smelling, handling, and walking. In other words, idols are untrustworthy.

Perhaps our bad economy serves notice that money and things are untrustworthy idols. They don’t see those who trust in them. Nor do they answer the cries of those who trust in them. They cannot handle personal crises or walk alongside their worshipers in the valley of despair.

Granted, even Christians have put their trust in money and material possessions. It is time to direct our trust away from those idols and anchor it in the living and true God, as the Thessalonian believers did twenty centuries ago. They turned to God from idols, were serving the living and true God, and were waiting for His Son from heaven (1 Thess. 1:9, 10).

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Growing Old Isn’t So Bad After All

“ . . . Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus” (Phil. 3:13, 14).

Recently, I read a statement that flipped many, many mental calendars back to my growing-up years. Here it is: “When you are dissatisfied and would like to go back to youth, think of Algebra.”

Frankly, I don’t get dissatisfied very often, just occasionally. Dissatisfaction strikes when I have to wait thirty minutes in a cubicle at the doctor’s office with nothing to read except a hazardous waste warning on a trashcan. It strikes on a golf course, too, when I miss a two-foot putt. How can I miss such a short putt ninety-five percent of the time? But if I had to sit in Algebra class again or live through some other experiences from my youth, sitting in a cubicle or missing short putts wouldn’t seem so bad.

I remember what it was like to grow up in the 1940s and early 1950s. Nobody drove me to school; I walked. School buses didn’t exist. Neither did snow days. And when I was at school, I had to respect my teachers—maybe even fear them. Teachers weren’t fun, and they didn’t feel obligated to make learning fun. Nor were they particularly concerned about my self-esteem What mattered to them was that I learned what I was supposed to learn and behaved as I was supposed to behave. If a student in those days failed to learn, he was held back without regard for how we felt about it. If he failed to behave, he was paddled—at school and at home.

Television was practically unheard of in the ‘40s, and video games hadn’t even made it to the world of Buck Rodgers. There wasn’t even a McDonalds or a mall to hang out at. So I either played in the neighborhood or watched Mom cook.

When I was old enough to work part time, I received about twenty cents an hour. A heavy snowfall sent my older brother and me into the frigid air with shovels in hand. We knocked on neighbors’ doors and volunteered to clear their sidewalks for a quarter.

Oh, living those days wasn’t totally bad. My friends and I learned to respect our elders and to value life. We developed character, and learned the value of a nickel. Nobody pushed drugs at us or tried to get us to go along on a drive-by shooting. And if we went to Sunday school, we all memorized Scripture from the same Bible version.

Yes, I would rather live today than return to my youth. The opportunities to serve the Lord and to pass on a godly heritage to the grandkids sure beat sitting in school and trying to figure out what x stands for in 3x+5 equals 32.

© 2008, Jim Dyet

Friday, November 7, 2008

Kissing Camels

I played golf yesterday at Kissing Camels, one of Colorado’s premier courses. A golf buddy had bid on golf for four at an auction, and won. He graciously included me in the foursome.

Kissing Camels sits on a mesa directly across from Garden of the Gods, a popular tourist attraction. A massive rock formation in Garden of the Gods resembles two kissing camels. Nearly every fairway offers a clear view of Garden of the Gods, Pike’s Peak, and Cheyenne Mountain. But, as we played, we were also treated to a close-up look at deer herds and a coyote. A regal buck stared menacingly at us when we looked for an errant golf ball (not mine) in a stand of ponderosa pine.

Viewing the spectacular scenery and wildlife yesterday reinforced my conviction that the Creator is all wise, all powerful, and benevolent. What a wonderful environment He provided for us! But nature rests under a curse, and therefore doesn’t rival the beauty and majesty of the original creation. However, when Jesus returns to Earth, He will restore the planet to Edenlike conditions. I can hardly wait to play a premier golf course then.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Life Begins at Any Age

“I am still as strong today as the day Moses sent me out; I’m just as vigorous to go out to battle now as I was then” (Joshua 14:11).

Next time you order a chicken breast—original or extra crispy—a side of mashed potatoes, and a side of baked beans at KFC, consider this fact: Harlan Sanders started the Kentucky Fried Chicken chain of restaurants when he was 66. Sure, a younger person could have concocted the “secret blend of eleven herbs and spices,” but only the white-haired, white-suited 66-year-old colonel took the chicken by the neck and launched a successful nationwide chain of fingerlickin’ good food. Starting in Corbin, Kentucky, he signed up five restaurants. Four years later, he ruled the roost over 200 franchises. Ten years later, he sold his interest in the company for $2 million.

Take a lesson from the Colonel, life can begin at any age. We shouldn’t let ambition and productivity die before we do.

When I was 16, I took a week’s leave of absence from high school and worked my father’s bread route so he could drive to Ottawa, Canada, in response to a medical emergency. My grandmother had suffered a stroke, and the doctors predicted she would die within several days. However, Grandma was a bit contrary by nature, and I think she took great pleasure in contradicting her doctors. Not only did she not die within a few days, she lived another 15 years, and used those additional years to pursue a new hobby—landscape painting.

Grandma’s paintings were actually very good, and our family seized the opportunity to refer to her as Grandma Moses.

You and I may not launch a chain of restaurants or become creators of fine art, but we can turn our creativity towards pursuits that keep us young and stretches our horizons. Continuing education opportunities abound in most
communities and include almost everything from computers to ceramics and German to gourmet cooking. Golf courses and tennis clubs host beginner classes. And job training is available for those who want to enter a new career.

So whatever you choose to do, as Nike says, “Just do it!”

The Lord is no respecter of age. When He looks for someone to serve Him, He doesn’t look at a birth certificate, He looks at the heart. Noah was 480 years old when the Lord commanded him to build an ark. Moses was 80 when the Lord appointed him to lead the Hebrews out of Egypt. Caleb was 85 when he drove giants from the mountain the Lord had promised to him. Rocking chairs would have been inappropriate retirement gifts for these men. You see, their lives were just beginning!

“Lord, may each new day radiate with magnificent opportunities and fresh challenges. Grant me the necessary faith, wisdom, and energy to make the most of them.”

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

The Ultimate Vote

Millions of Americans will elect the 44th President of the United States today. The outcome will profoundly affect our nation's future. I hope wisdom will prevail.

What each voter thinks of the two presidential candidates is extremely important, but of far greater importance is what each person thinks of Jesus Christ. That opinion decides one's eternal destiny.

Jesus asked His disciples who people said he was. The reply indicated varied opinions. Some said Jesus was John the Baptist risen from the dead. Others said He was Elijah. Others said He was Jeremiah. And others said He was some other prophet. Probing the hearts and minds of His disciples, Jesus aked, "Who do you say I am?"

Not surprisingly, Peter spoke first. His response was perfect. "You are the Christ, the Son of the living God."

If you believe Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the living God, you don't have to be concerned about your eternal destiny. Heaven is Your eternal home. Also, you can be encouraged to know Jesus Christ will accomplish His will on Earth regardless of who occupies the White House.

If you haven't voted yet, do so as soon as possible. If you haven't "cast your vote" for Jesus Christ, the Son of the living God, by believing on Him, why not do so right now?

"He who believes in the Son has everlasting life" (John 3:36a).

Friday, October 31, 2008

Hammer, Nails, and Reformation

“Hier stehe ich!”

“Here I stand,” Martin Luther told those who accused him of heresy. He had studied Paul’s letter to the Romans and had embraced the doctrine of justification by faith. “Man only needs Jesus Christ” became his deep conviction.

Four hundred ninety-one years ago today, Martin Luther nailed his 95 theses to the door of the castle church in Wittenberg, Germany. Those theses announced what he believed to be the abuses of the established church. His defiant act led to his arrest and trial.

One man’s act of courageous faith sparked the Protestant Reformation and to a revival of the teaching a strand of faithful believers had cherished from Pentecost to the early sixteenth century. Halloween, October 31, therefore, is a good time to recommit ourselves to the task of spreading the truth that God freely justifies all who believe on His Son (Romans 3:21-26).

Is the modern-day Church guilty of abuses? You decide, but one glaring abuse I see is the pushing aside of the gospel message so entertainment can take center stage. As I see it, we need to return to the rallying cries of the Reformation: sola scriptura and sola fide (by Scripture alone, by faith alone). I don’t plan to pick up a hammer and some nails and post a written complaint on a church door, but I do plan to pick up my Bible and hammer away at the all-important, timeless truth that God justifies sinners who believe on His Son as their Savior.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

A Matter of Trust

An employer was interviewing three applicants for a position with his company. They were a mathematician, a statistician, and a politician. He asked each of them the question, “What is two plus two?”

The mathematician responded promptly. “Two plus two is four.”

The statistician thought for a moment and then replied, ”The sum of two plus two lies somewhere between three and five, with a 100 percent probability that the answer will be four.”

Looking inquisitively at the employer, the politician asked, “What do you want it to be?”

In less than a week we will elect one of two presidential candidates to the highest office in the land. Our future demands that we elect the candidate we believe to be truthful and a man of convictions. We do not need a President who won the election simply because he told voters what they wanted to hear.

Have you noticed how much preaching today delivers only what people want to hear? If you listen long enough, you might think God exists to serve us and to make us healthy, happy, and rich. But in His Word, God tells it like it is. He loves us and blesses us daily, but assures us we will encounter trials and persecution as we serve Him.

I hope we elect a President we can trust; but come what may, we can count on the fact that God doesn’t promise one thing and then do something different.

Monday, October 27, 2008

The Lord Leads His Children

Last week the church I have been serving as interim pastor extended a pastoral call to a young man and he accepted. However, I doubt that my “tenure” will end soon. He has to sell his house in the Atlanta area before moving to Colorado, and you know it is hard to sell a house in today’s housing market. Of course, the Lord can find a buyer quickly and speed the process to closing if He chooses to do so.

A long cross-country move can be challenging, so pray that the appointed pastor and his wife will transition smoothly from Georgia to Colorado. Pray, too, that I will have an effective ministry while the church anticipates their arrival.

Gloria enjoyed her birthday celebration yesterday. Our family members arrived in the afternoon with gifts and well wishes in hand.

A birthday is always a good time to reflect on the Lord’s goodness and to commit the future to Him. We are all getting older, and hopefully we are getting wiser. True wisdom consists of trusting the Lord with all our heart and following Him wherever He leads.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Turning Despair into Hope

A painter stepped back from the canvas and viewed what he had painted. The scene portrayed a dark-gray farmhouse set on a drab landscape. A broken shutter dangled precariously from an upstairs window, and a thin line of smoke wisped upward from a crooked chimney. In the foreground stood a lone leafless tree. Its barren branches, like long, misshapen bony fingers, pierced a cloudy sky. Near the top of the painting, a full moon veiled by a cloud added an eerie character to the already gloomy painting.

Contemplating what he had painted, the artist decided to title his work “Despair,” But a sudden burst of inspiration changed his mind—and his painting. He dabbed a paintbrush into his brightest yellow and dabbed the window with the broken shutter. Instantly, light emanated from the farmhouse, stating in effect that life was inside.

Once more, the painter stood back, viewed his work, and then affixed the title “Hope.” Just one touch of light had turned the whole scene from “Despair” to “Hope.”

Life can get mighty tough, especially when the cost of living soars and personal income falls. At the same time, health may deteriorate and relationships may sour. Aches, pains, and anxieties may become more plentiful than dandelions after a spring rain. Despair may plunge us into a dark and gloomy existence unless we yield to the divine Artist’s hand and trust Him to apply light to the window of our soul.

That light may come in the flash of a Bible exhortation and promise. For example, “Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you” (1 Peter 5:7) may be just what we need on one of those downcast, gray days. Or a call from a Christian friend to say, “I’m praying for you, “ may brighten our day. So take heart; the Master moves His brush across the canvas of our lives in strokes of genius. His hand is always steady, and His work is always perfect.

Hang tough. There’s hope!

© 2008, Jim Dyet

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

What's Your Password?

The ancient Gnostics opposed Christianity in the Church’s infancy. They rejected the belief that salvation was purchased by the shedding of the blood of the God-man, Jesus Christ. How could God wrap Himself in human flesh, they questioned, when all forms of matter are evil? Further, they rejected the teaching that human beings may know God by simply trusting in Jesus as their Savior. Salvation by grace through faith seemed absurd to the Gnostics. It didn’t square with their belief that the way to God involves elaborate knowledge and secret passwords.

The Gnostics derived their name from the Greek work for “knowledge,” and considered themselves intellectual know-it-alls. They were the forerunners of so many self-proclaimed modern intellectuals who reject salvation by grace and devise elaborate philosophies about God and truth.

The apostle Paul identified Christ as the One “in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge” (Colossians 2:3), and he warned his readers about the Gnostic error. “Beware lest anyone cheats you through philosophy and vain deceit,” he wrote in verse 8. In spite of modern-day post-modern thinking and widely accepted humanistic thinking, Christ is still the source of true wisdom and knowledge, and He alone saves sinners by grace through faith.

If a contemporary Gnostic demands a secret password for finding God, why not tell him it is JOHN14:6?

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Only a Shadow

“Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me” (Psalm 23:4).

Annette had died, leaving a husband and two young daughters. Her husband was a pastor; her daughters, Kristen and Kari, were 5 and 7 respectively.

The sorrowful pastor had tried repeatedly to ease his daughters’ pain by explaining that their mother had gone to heaven. He wanted them to know that death is not a terrifying experience for a believer. But his words failed to comfort little Kristen and Keri.

Then, stopped at a traffic light on their way to the funeral home, the pastor called his daughters’ attention to the shadow of a truck that had pulled alongside their car.

“Girls,” Dad, asked, “would you rather get run over by a truck or by its shadow?”

“Daddy,” Kristen replied, “a shadow doesn’t hurt.”

“You’re right, Kristen. The Bible says that dying is like walking through a valley called ‘the shadow of death.’ When Mommy died, she walked through a shadow, and Jesus was waiting beyond the shadow to meet her.”

When Jesus voluntarily died for our sins, He took the full brunt of God’s wrath, being made sin for us (2 Corinthians 5:21). The physical suffering was intense, but the spiritual suffering was even more intense—inflicting on Jesus far more agony and anguish than the human mind can comprehend. Isaiah 53:11 mentions “the suffering of his soul.” Because He was bearing our sins on the cross, He became the object of divine judgment. The punishment we deserved fell on Him even to the point that God turned away from Him.

However, because Jesus experienced God’s full wrath, believers experience His full love. Because He was forsaken by the Father, believers are accepted by the Father. Because Jesus died, believers live. Because He was “run over” by death, only the shadow of death can touch us. Because He rose from the grave and ascended to heaven, He waits beyond death’s shadow to welcome us home.

© Jim Dyet

Friday, October 17, 2008

Let It Snow!

Several Colorado ski resorts opened Wednesday, much to the delight of ski buffs. Some natural snow combined with manmade snow drew thousands of skiers to the slopes. I did not join them.

Although I grew up in Canada and had plenty of opportunities to enjoy winter sports, I strapped on hockey skates but shunned skis. Apparently, I preferred ice rather than snow. Now that I live in Colorado, where I can choose to play golf in Colorado Springs while many others choose to drive to the high country for a day of skiing, I stay away from the snow and the ski buffs. Of course, I have to shovel snow occasionally, but that's enough contact with snow to suit me!

Isaiah 55:10 and 11 lauds the benefit of snow and compares the benefit of God's Word to it. Snow provides much-needed moisture to the earth so it will be productive, and God sends forth His Word like snow to accomplish His will. Spiritual productivity is impossible without His Word.

Is there a dearth of knowledge of God's will in our land? A steady "snowstorm" of Scripture can transform ineffective believers into productive believers. The challenge is clear. We need a Bible revival.

Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Tough Faith for Tough Times

Times are tough: the economy is shaky, and so is global security. Nevertheless, we have it easy compared with what former generations endured. My parents, older brother, and I left Scotland and settled in Canada in 1939. World War II broke out that same year and plunged the UK into unparalleled insecurity, deprivation, and sacrifice. Later, the bombing of Pearl Harbor drew the U.S. into the war, and Americans endured shortages of food, household supplies, and gasoline. But none of those hardships compared with the untold suffering and loss of life our military men and women experienced.

Allied nations accepted personal sacrifice as a necessary part of winning the war and securing the freedom of all who valued liberty and the opportunity to pursue life's highest goals. I was a kid during the war years, and my heroes were not rock stars. They were leaders like Winston Churchill, FDR, King George VI, and military commanders. Words like, "We will never surrender," elevated the free world above the immediate hardships and focused our attention on victory. I am glad I lived to see that indomitable spirit carry brave men and women to victory.

My dad seldom spoke about the personal struggles he faced growing up in Scotland. His father, my grandfather, was killed in a coal mine explosion at age 44. Dad was just 13 then, and a fledgling coal miner at that young age. Sometimes, when I complained about my lot in life as a teenager, Dad would say, "If we hadn't left Scotland, you'd be lying on your back in a coal shaft, and you'd be picking away at coal." I got the message.

These are not days for the timid. But believers have no reason to be timid, because "God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind" (2 Tim. 1:7). Sure, we may tremble on the Rock occasionally, but the Rock never trembles under us. When the world seems to be on the verge of shipwreck, like Paul, we can stand strong and declare, "Take heart . . I believe God" (Acts 27:25).

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

My Remote and Revelation 13

I would like to thank the inventor of the TV remote control. I have been using mine frequently as political hype increases. Instead of having to walk across the room to switch channels when a political ad emerges, I simply push a change channel button I am Jim Dyet, and I approve the remote control!

Somehow, I don’t think every political candidate tells the truth—at least not all of it all the time. Too many politicians seem to quote their opponents out of context, disguise their voting record, twist statistics, and make idle promises.

Something else bothers me. Unfortunately, I can’t use my remote control to push it aside or mute it. I am troubled by the nasty remarks and misuse of Scripture some e-mailers have been employing to attack a political candidate. Christians should hold strong convictions, but we should express them kindly, respectfully, lovingly, and honestly. Ephesians 4:14 and 15 counsels us to speak the truth in love while rejecting craftiness and deceit.

Specifically, I object to an e-mail message that implies Revelation 13 relates to Barack Obama. The e-mail links the 42 months mentioned in verse 5 to the length of a presidential term and says the chapter identifies the antichrist as a Moslem. Frankly, I don’t plan to vote for Barack Obama, but I must say I find nothing in Revelation 13 that identifies the antichrist as a Muslim. In addition, 42 months are synonymous with the second half of the Tribulation. They equal 3 ½ years, not four years.

If we Christians misinterpret Scripture to suit our political convictions, we are no better than the politicians we accuse of dishonesty. And how can we hope to lead anyone to the truth, if we handle the truth carelessly and demonstrate a caustic attitude?

Friday, October 10, 2008

I'm Back!

I’m back. Well, not entirely. I am still struggling with an affliction that has kept me confined to quarters for more than a week, except for two doctor visits and a 4-½ hour Emergency visit. I will spare you the details of my condition. Suffice is to say I am beginning to recover.

During the Emergency experience in Room 14, I saw a stark difference in the way two medical personnel related to me. The doctor in charge showed no empathy. Perhaps his frequent encounters with suffering patients had drained his compassion. On the other hand, a male nurse demonstrated empathy. His compassion brought him back to Room 14 several times to check on my condition and to offer me a glass of water and comforting words. The doctor never returned after checking me in.

None of us can escape physical distress, but in our times of affliction we can be grateful for good medical care and, more importantly, for the fact that God cares for us (1 Peter 5:7). As for compassion, God’s compassion is boundless (Psalm 86:15). Such compassion prompts me—and you too—to say, “In the day of my trouble I will call upon You. For You will answer me” (v. 7).

I anticipate a full recovery and the opportunity to resume my pastoral ministry in November.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

What's in Your Wallet?

Most wallets hold the owner’s identification, a few dollars, a couple of credit cards, and several miscellaneous items. In view of the current economic crisis, it might be wise to remove the credit cards and spend the dollar bills wisely. Plastic money can lead to big trouble and unwise spending can purchase deep frustration. Proverbs 22:7 warns: “The borrower is servant to the lender.” And Jesus counseled: “Take heed and beware of covetousness, for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of the things he possesses” (Luke 12:15).

The United States is the richest nation on earth, but how quickly our banks and other financial institutions can fail! Only spiritual resources remain stable and secure. It’s okay to look at Wall Street’s performance, but let’s keep our eyes fixed on our heavenly Father. He owns the cattle on a thousand hills (Psalm 50:10), and all the silver and gold are His (Haggai 2:8). And He has promised to meet all our needs (Philippians 4:19).

Aren’t you glad the Bank of Heaven never fails?

Sunday, September 28, 2008

The Debt We Will Never Be Able to Repay

Congress has been consumed with what it perceives to be the need to bail out big financial institutions. The bailout cost hovers around $700 billion. Can you fathom that amount? I can’t.

I heard on the news this morning that the lawmakers have reached a tentative agreement and should be able to ink the final agreement in a day or so. Simon says take one giant step toward socialism!

Taxpayers will have to pay for the bailout, but will we live long enough to reach the “Paid in Full” celebration? I doubt it.

Although a $700 billion bailout staggers our thinking and assaults our pocketbooks, the Bible refers to an even bigger bailout; and no one can question its legitimacy. “Redemption” is the Biblical term for this enormous bailout. Sin had bankrupted and enslaved us, but by shedding His blood on the cross Jesus redeemed us (1 Peter 1:18, 19). He bailed us out. He purchased us in the slave market of sin and set us free. He did for us what we were totally incapable of doing for ourselves. Now we are secure and heirs to eternal riches.

This immense spiritual bailout costs us nothing. We cannot contribute to what Jesus did for us on the cross. Just before He died, He cried out, “It is finished” (John 19:30), an appropriate translation of which is “Paid in Full!” However, we do owe Jesus never-ending gratitude. Like the assembled throng in Heaven, our song of praise should be: “You are worthy . . . for you were slain and have redeemed us to God by Your blood” (Revelation 5:9).

We don’t sing many hymns these days, but I think we should get back to the theology of some grand old hymns. Here’s one I recommend:

“Jesus paid it all. All to Him I owe.
Sin had left a crimson stain.
He washed it white as snow.”

Here’s another:

“Redeemed how I love to proclaim it.
Redeemed by the blood of the Lamb.
Redeemed by His infinite mercy,
His child and forever I am.”

Friday, September 26, 2008

Jesus Cares about Our Sorrow

Death and taxes are inevitable, and neither one ranks high on our things-to-eagerly-anticipate list. When a friend or loved one dies, we grieve. Even the assurance of seeing departed Christian friends and loved ones in heaven doesn’t fully relieve our sorrow. We shed tears because life will not be the same without them, and we lean on the Lord for comfort.

When Lazarus was extremely ill, his sisters Mary and Martha sent word to Jesus, but Jesus stayed where He was two more days until He heard Lazarus had died. We may assume that Lazarus would not have died if Jesus had visited him when he was ill. After all, Jesus is the giver of life, and no one ever died in His presence. Even the two thieves who were crucified with Jesus died before He did.

When He heard Lazarus had died, Jesus visited Lazarus’s grieving sisters. He met Martha first and identified Himself as the resurrection and the life. Martha quickly informed Mary that Jesus had arrived.

Soon, Martha, Mary, and other mourners led Jesus to Lazarus’s tomb, where He brought Lazarus back to life.

Punctuating this story are two brief insights into Jesus’ feelings about death and sorrow. John 11:35 reports, “Jesus wept. John 11:38 mentions He was “deeply moved.” He understands and He cares; and someday He will raise our friends and loved ones.

Jim Dyet © 2007, The Anchor, Haven Ministries

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

What's in Your Heart

Last week I had an electrocardiogram, and yesterday my cardiologist shared the results with me. My heart is structurally sound and functioning well. That’s good news.

After suffering a stroke in 2001, I have had regular six-month appointments with a cardiologist, a congenial “transplant” from New York City. He encourages me to exercise and eat properly, which I try to do. The walking regimen is easy. Our three dogs demand it. The proper eating part is more difficult, but if we don’t bring the wrong stuff into the house, I do fine. As you know, pie, cake, and donuts are not heart healthy. However, I wonder if such items were healthful before Adam and Eve sinned.

The Bible places a high priority on our having a spiritually healthy heart. When judging our worth, the Lord “looks at the heart” (1 Sam. 16:7). He wants us to love Him with all our heart (Deut. 11:13), store His Word in our hearts (v. 18), incline our hearts to Him (Josh. 24:23), let His peace rule in our hearts (Col. 3:15), and set apart Christ as Lord in our hearts (1 Pet. 3:15).

While Wall Street sinks and global tensions rise, let’s examine our hearts to see whether they are fixed on what is truly significant and eternal. Jesus said, “Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also” (Matt. 6:21).

Monday, September 22, 2008

Fall Arrived Today

Fall arrived today, but it doesn’t seem like fall at our house. It is still warm and sunny; the grass is still green; and most of our trees are still green. However, our flaming burning bush testifies that summer has ended; and pumpkins and gourds sit in full array in stores as messengers of fall.

Every passing season reminds me that life is advancing, but it also reminds me of God’s constant faithfulness. He sets the seasons in order (Gen. 8:22), and He has also ordained the seasons of a human’s life. Whether we live now in life’s springtime, summer, fall, or winter, we can rely on His great faithfulness (Lam. 3:23). His compassions never fail; they are new every morning.

God’s daily faithfulness encourages us to face each new day confidently. He will give us our daily bread, supply strength for every trial, and enable us to do what He wants us to do. He keeps us alive to honor Him. As Kenneth Wuest, my Greek teacher at Moody, used to say. “The servant of the Lord is immortal until his life’s work is done.”

Perhaps the first day of fall is the ideal time to refocus on God and His faithfulness. Wall Street may disappoint us, and Washington politics may disturb us, but God will never fail us. When Jeremiah reflected upon God’s self-renewing compassions and unfailing faithfulness, he exclaimed: “The Lord is my portion; therefore I will wait for him” (Lam. 3:24.)

Friday, September 19, 2008

Making Ends Meet

A word to seniors . . .

“Food gained by fraud tastes sweet to a man, but he ends up with a mouth full of gravel” (Proverbs 20:17).

Most seniors live on a fixed income that requires constant fixing. The cost of filling up the car’s gas tank is definitely high octane even when the gas is low octane. Remember when gas cost about twenty cents a gallon and an attendant pumped it, checked the oil, and also washed the windshield? The cost of heating the house seems to be going through the roof faster than smoke from the chimney. Food eats up your social security allowance faster than you eat your food. And when it comes to medical and prescription costs—well, let’s not even go there.

Our challenge, as seniors, is to stretch our income so that it will reach the ends that seem to keep moving farther apart. But how do we do that?

One way is to refuse to buy what we don’t need. If we really don’t need more clothes, even if they are marked down fifty percent at the department store, we ought to say no and save some closet space—and budget space too. If our car runs okay and doesn’t pollute the air, talk back to all the new car commercials. Remember that a new car becomes a used car the minute you drive it off the dealer’s lot.

Another way to get financial handles on those ends that keep moving farther apart is to conserve and consolidate. Instead of driving a mile to pick up a loaf of bread, walk! We would all be better off if we walked more and drove less. And think of the gas we would save by walking! Also, visit the grocery store less often and you will save gas. Make it a habit to shop for groceries after eating a meal. We tend to buy more when we are hungry.

If you have the health and stamina to work part time, why not give it a try? A number of companies are discovering how smart it is to hire older workers. It seems we seniors have a good work ethic and demonstrate company loyalty. If you can’t work away from home, maybe you can work from home. Make an inventory of your skills? Can you prepare taxes, write articles, baby-sit, teach music, or turn a hobby into a cottage industry? You may be pleasantly surprised to learn that people will pay for your services.

Finally, trust the Lord to provide all that you need. He has promised to do so and He never breaks a promise. Assume the positive attitude of the believer who commented, “I may be living from hand to mouth, but it is the Lord’s hand and my mouth.”

© Jim Dyet

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Another Fine Mess

“This is another fine mess you’ve gotten us into, Stanley?”

Do you remember those words from the Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy era? It seems Stan was always bumbling his way into trouble and dragging poor Oliver with him. Stan and Oliver are out of the spotlight now, but when I read the newspaper or watch the news on TV, I feel like saying to the human race, “This is another fine mess you’ve gotten us into.” Country after country is fraught with military conflict, unrest, poverty, drug traffic, disease, and corruption. We could laugh at Laurel and Hardy’s predicaments, but the chaos we see in our modern world is no laughing matter.

Who is to blame for the current global mess?

Adam and Eve? Not entirely. Their rebellion against God resulted in a cursed earth, a troubled home life, pain, suffering, and death, but according to Romans 5:12, we have all sinned. The human race continues to rebel against God and inflict hatred and misery on one another. The legacy of evil and its consequences will continue until God says, “That’s enough!”

And He will—in a clear, authoritative tone. He will wrest control of our planet, punish evildoers, and inaugurate eternal, peace and well-being for all His children. Someday, an angel will announce, “The kingdoms of this world have become the kingdoms of our Lord and of His Christ, and He shall reign forever and ever” (Rev. 11:15).

When that glorious day arrives, believers from every era of history may spin Oliver Hardy’s words and tell the Lord, “This is a fine mess you’ve gotten us out of!”

Thursday, September 11, 2008

A Day to Remember

I was born on 11/11. A date you may identify as Veterans Day, but for many years it was called Remembrance Day. Today is another 11th day of a month—9/11. It is also a day to remember.

Only young children can’t remember the horrific explosions of two planes crashing into New York City’s Twin Towers and the crash of Flight 93 in a Pennsylvania field, and the flaming impact of a fourth plane striking the Pentagon? Approximately 3,000 lives crossed into eternity that day at the hands of crazed assassins.

The rest of us will always remember 9/11, and hopefully honor those who lost their lives that infamous day. May we never back down to terrorism, but always stand up proudly for democracy and liberty, and pray daily for the United States of America.

In less than two months we Americans will vote in a national election. We will not all vote alike, but we can stand united in our allegiance to our country!

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Nurse Molly

Sunday afternoon I developed a high temperature and severe chills. Not intentionally, of course! I think a virus caused it. I am feeling better today, but I haven’t gained my full strength. I may have to eat more spinach.

While I was feeling puny, shooting pains kept striking the right side of my right foot. This episode occurs sometimes when my back hurts. It was especially brutal before I had my first back surgery. Maybe the virus settled in my back. At any rate, when the pain jabbed my foot these past two days, I winced and moaned. Each time I did so, Molly, the oldest of our three dogs, jumped into my lap and planted a kiss on my face. She has always been sensitive to my discomfort. After I suffered a stroke in 2001, Gloria and I purchased Molly from a breeder 30 miles east of Colorado Springs. We refer to her as our little dog on the prairie. Molly helped me regain my strength and balance by insisting on daily walks.

Some Christians have the gift of “showing mercy” (Romans 12:8), but that fact doesn’t excuse the rest of us from exercising compassion, kindness, and brotherly love. Paul exhorted the believers at Colosse to clothe themselves with compassion and kindness (Colossians 3:12).

What are you wearing today?

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Buckle Up!

By Jim Dyet

Buckle Up!

“Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place” (Ephesians 6:14).

You may have seen highway signs reminding you to fasten your seat belt. “Buckle up! It’s the law!” one may say. Another may give you a clear choice: “Click it or ticket!”

Buckled seat belts save lives. How often have you been aware that a driver or passenger survived a horrific wreck because he or she was wearing a seat belt? On the other hand, how often you have learned about traffic deaths that might have been averted if driver and or passengers had been wearing seat belts? It takes only a moment to buckle up before starting your car’s engine, but it may be the most valuable moment of an auto trip.

The apostle Paul advised the Christians at Ephesus to buckle up. He didn’t have car safety in mind, of course; he was concerned about the Ephesians’ spiritual safety. He explained their enemy, the devil, wanted to destroy their relationship with Christ and make their Christian witness ineffective.

The devil’s attacks are vicious today too, and they are often subtle. Like the Ephesian Christians, we must know our enemy and avail ourselves of the resources God has made available. Truth is one of those valuable resources. Adhering to the truth, God’s Word, helps protect us from the devil’s lies, whether they assault our minds through false religion, antichristian philosophy, or unbiblical psychology. Buckling up with “the belt of truth” can keep us from becoming casualties along life’s highway.

© 2008, Anchor, Haven Ministries

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Governor Sarah Palin Speaks Tonight

I would like to watch Governor Sarah Palin deliver her speech this evening, but I will be leading the midweek service at Penrose when she steps to the podium. Undoubtedly her speech will be historic! Never underestimate the tenacity, wisdom, and skills of a wife and mother. Frankly, I have heard some pastors’ wives whose ability to speak clearly and persuasively outclassed that of their husbands.

Amid all the political TV ads and heated exchanges, two significant facts resonate in my mind: (1) God is in control, and (2) someday Jesus will rule the Earth. The first fact helps me deal with current political, social, and economic conditions patiently. The second helps me anticipate a better world, one in which righteousness, peace, and prosperity will prevail.

Obviously, Jesus' name won’t be on the November ballot, but I plan to vote for the ticket that most closely conforms to the values Jesus communicated in Scripture.

God bless the USA!

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Labor Day

Happy Labor Day weekend!

Work is good, but we all need a break now and again, and Labor Day gives most of us a break. The holiday honors America’s workers. We don’t have a holiday honoring America’s shirkers—and there are more than a few.

When I pursued a master’s degree at Indiana State University, I heard a psychology professor advocate full unemployment. He suggested full unemployment would enable everyone to sit home and watch TV. Obviously, he could have benefited from a little psychological testing.

God did not impose work on the human race as punishment. He assigned work to Adam before Adam and Eve sinned. He put Adam “in the garden of Eden to tend and keep it” (Genesis 2:15). It was after the Fall that work became labor (3:17-19).

In spite of the mental and physical rigors of daily work, it is beneficial to stay actively involved in some form of work. Idleness leads to boredom, frustration, and depression, whereas meaningful work produces a sense of accomplishment, self-worth, and purpose. Further, work produces the income we need to pay the bills, contribute to the advancement of God’s Word, and enjoy occasionally recreation—like golf!

Jerry Jenkins wrote an article about me for Moody Magazine in 2000. He titled it, “Not the Retiring Type.” Eight years later, I am still working, and I don't plan to shop for a rocking chair any time soon. As a matter of fact, for a modest fee I would be happy to evaluate and/or edit your manuscript or that of one of your friends or relatives. I can apply four decades of writing and editing experience to the project.

The Labor Day weekend is off to a good start. My sons-in-law, Brad and Jim, and I have good seats for today’s Air Force football game at the United States Air Force Academy. Before kickoff, cadets will parade onto the field, fighter jets will fly low overhead, parachutists will land on the field, and patriotic fans will sing the national anthem. The excitement should run high for this season opener and "parents weekend."

I hope you enjoy the weekend, and remember to display the flag.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Our Lives Are in God's Hands

Lillian Gertrud Asplund, the last American survivor of the Titanic, died May 6, 2006, at the age of 99 in Shrewsbury, Massachusetts.

Although two or more survivors are still living, they were less than a year old when the Titanic plunged below the Atlantic April 15, 1912. Lillian Asplund, five at the time, could recall the event. Her father and three brothers perished, but her mother and another brother survived with her.

Life is precious but uncertain. Who can explain why so many perished while others survived when an iceberg carved its way into a ship that was supposed to be invulnerable? Who can explain why one human life ends in crib death while another exceeds a century? We may not be able to answer such questions, but we can trust the One who holds all the answers to life’s mysteries and long for a heaven void of tears, sorrow, and pain.

When I read or hear about the Titanic, a couple of personal memories and a humbling question come to mind. My parents, brother Bill, and I crossed the Atlantic in May, 1939, leaving our native Scotland behind for a new life in Canada. Although I was not quite four at the time, I remember seeing icebergs and participating in life-jacket drills. World War ll had begun, and our ship was an easy target. My parents often mentioned later that on its next crossing it was torpedoed by a German U-Boat. So I ask even now, why was my life spared? After all, my parents could have booked passage for the next crossing.

Surely, our lives are in His hands and He has a purpose for them. We cannot determine how long we will live, but to a great extent we can determine how well we will live. If we serve the Lord, we will enjoy the truly good life, full of significance, peace, joy, and awareness of His presence.

“Lord, ‘teach [me] to number [my] days aright, that [I] may gain a heart of wisdom.” (Psalm 90:12).

© Jim Dyet,2008

Monday, August 25, 2008

Protests and the DNC

The Democratic National Convention has put Denver in the spotlight. Unless I miss my guess, TV viewers will see some of the beauty Denverites enjoy almost every day: bright sunshine, deep blue sky, an alabaster skyline, and rugged mountains. Clearly visible most days from Denver are Mt. Evans to the west and Pike’s Peak to the south, both topping 14,000 feet. But most likely, TV viewers will also see a few ugly political demonstrations.

Thousands of law enforcement officers are on hand in Denver to maintain order and to respond quickly if protests threaten the public’s safety and/or property. Also, firefighters, medical personnel, and hospitals are on high alert. A number of city streets have already closed to the public, and even a stretch of I-25 that runs past Invesco Field, where Barack Obama plans to deliver his acceptance speech, will close at rush hour Thursday afternoon. What a traffic mess commuters will face on their way home from work!

Denver realizes terrorists may strike during the convention. So preparedness is a key factor in protecting our state’s capital. I’m prepared to stay home, in Colorado Springs, one hour south of Denver.

The Bible predicts a violent, ugly demonstration in beautiful Jerusalem at the end of human history. Satan will marshal his followers in a last ditch effort to defeat God and His followers, but no one can win a battle against God. He will engulf Satan and his followers in an inferno and then cast them into the Lake of Fire (see Revelation 20:7–10).

This week’s political protests in Denver may prove inconsequential, but rebellion against God now and at the close of human history incurs extremely serious consequences. Fortunately, God invites all who oppose Him today to stop resisting His will. He offers forgiveness, reconciliation, and peace to those who come to Him through faith in Jesus Christ (Isaiah 55:6, 7; Romans 5:1, 6–11).

Life’s most important decision is not about John McCain or Barack Obama; it is about Jesus Christ. And you don’t have to wait until November 4 to cast your vote.

Friday, August 22, 2008

"I Don't Discuss Religion."

“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16)

I unhooked the wide farm gate and drove down a long dirt driveway to a house where Sally, a terminally-ill 80-year-old woman was expecting me. At the request of her daughter, I had visited her several times in the hospital. Now she was resting at home and facing her life’s inevitable end.

Sally’s daughter and two big, friendly dogs escorted me into the house.

When I entered Sally’s room, she smiled at me from a heavily pillowed recliner. She had consented to my visit, telling her daughter that when I visited her in the hospital I was friendly and nice, prayed, and didn’t stay long.

We shook hands.

“How are you getting along, Sally?” I asked.

“Fine. Just awfully tired.”

“I have been praying that the Lord will give you strength and patience for each day.”

“Uh, huh.”

“But something is more important than physical health, Sally. Jesus died to give us spiritual health—everlasting life. We are all going to leave this world sometime, but if we ask Jesus to be our Savior, we will go to heaven, where there is no more sickness or dying.”


“Sally, would you like to have everlasting life? Would you like to believe on Jesus as your Savior?”

Turning her face away from me, Sally intoned, “I don’t discuss religion.”

“That’s good,” I replied, “neither do I. All the religion in the world can’t forgive sins or get anyone into heaven. Jesus didn’t come to earth to bring religion. He came to bring eternal life, and He died and rose again to make it happen.”

“I don’t want to talk about it.”

“Okay, Sally, but I hope you will think about it. You can believe on Jesus as your Savior whether I am here or not.”

Like Sally, many men and women hold the I-don’t-discuss-religion attitude. It’s the-head-in-the-sand approach to life’s greatest issue. This attitude makes as much sense as driving blindfolded down a freeway to avoid having to acknowledge traffic exists and you have to deal with it. Why would anyone want to ignore Jesus, the One who loved us and laid down his life for us?

© 2008, Jim Dyet

Monday, August 18, 2008

What's Your Language of Choice?

Years ago I studied French for five years and German for four years, and thoroughly enjoyed the experience. However, I have rarely had an opportunity to use either language, so my French and German vocabularies dwindled significantly. I think I should wade into a new language while my brain waves are still somewhat active. Spanish seems to be the right choice.

Have you noticed that every Christian is fluent in either the language of praise or the language of lament? One looks beyond his or her trials and says, “Praise the Lord.” Another fails to look beyond his or her trials, and exclaims, “Woe is me!”

I know Christians who see only thorns in their circumstances, but thankfully I know others who see the roses. Frankly, the thorn-seers aren’t any fun to be around. Their personalities jab like thorns. The rose-seers, on the other hand, display a pleasant personality. Their beautiful spirit attracts me, and shows me they have been lingering in the presence of Jesus, the Rose of Sharon.

David, the psalmist, employed the language of praise. He had experienced numerous trials, including those he endured in caves and ravines as a fugitive from King Saul. Through it all David focused on God’s sovereignty instead of Saul’s spite. Because he trusted in God, he expected to emerge from trials as a victor and not a victim. He wrote in Psalm 33:20, 21: “We wait in hope for the LORD; he is help and our shield. In him our hearts rejoice, for we trust in his holy name.”

If you know someone who ought to learn the language of praise, why not share Psalm 33:20, 21 with him or her? You might just help that person stop saying, “Woe is me!” and start saying, “Wonderful is He!”

© 2008, Jim Dyet

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Who Is the Antichrist?

I need to get something off my chest. It’s this issue of the Antichrist that has been troubling me. So much talk and so little Biblical documentation! A vast majority of authors, preachers, bloggers, and teachers would have us believe the Antichrist is the head of the Revived Roman Empire, a European dictator, who fits the role of the beast out of the sea (Revelation 13:1-10). Some pundits have even suggested Barack Obama may be the Antichrist.

Frankly, I believe this speculation is ill founded. First, the Bible does not assign the title “Antichrist” to anyone mentioned in the book of Revelation. Designating the beast out of the sea (the Mediterranean region), “the Antichrist,” is sheer speculation, like perpetuated by what has been taught in colleges and seminaries. The reasoning is, “Professor ———— called the beast out of the sea the Antichrist, so that beast is the Antichrist.” Too bad students didn't raise their hands in class and ask, “Why do you call him the Antichrist, when the Bible doesn’t give him the name?”

Sure, I know “Antichrist” means “Against Christ,” and I know the beast out of the sea opposes Christ. But “Antichrist” can also mean “In the stead of Christ.” Doesn’t the beast out the land (Rev. 13:11-17) present himself to Israel as her messiah in the stead of Jesus, the true Messiah? When Israel rejected Jesus, didn’t He predict Israel would accept another who would come in his own name? (John 5:43)

The second beast, who comes from the earth (the land of Israel) places himself in the stead of Christ. He imitates the true Messiah, but he is the ultimate false prophet. Jesus ministered in the power of the Holy Spirit; the false prophet performs his work in the power of Satan. Jesus performed miracles to attest to His messiahship; the false prophet performs “great and miraculous signs” in order to convince the Jews that he is their messiah. Jesus directed His contemporaries to believe on and worship the Father; the false prophet directs his contemporaries to believe on and worship the beast out of the sea.

One more point. Every mention of “antichrist” or “antichrists” in Scripture (1 John 2:18, 22; 4:3; 2 John 7) presents the term in the context of religious apostasy and/or deception. The false prophet of Rev. 13:11-17 is the ultimate religious apostate, who deceives the nation of Israel (v. 14). Second Thessalonians 2:9, 10 predicts “the coming of the lawless one” will be “in accordance with the work of Satan displayed in all kinds of counterfeit miracles, signs and wonders, and in every sort of evil that deceives those who are perishing”

Maybe the next time you hear a speaker refer to the Antichrist as a powerful Gentile world dictator, take a deep breath and then tell yourself it isn’t necessarily so.

There, I took a load of my chest.

If you want to read more about this issue, you may visit my website and order my booklet, Rethinking Popular Beliefs about the End Times.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Listen Up!

A husband read an article to his wife about how many words women use a day... 30,000 to a man's 15,000. The wife replied, "The reason has to be because we have to repeat everything to men.” The husband then turned to his wife and asked, "What?"

Listening is an important communication skill not only in marriage but also in our daily relationship with the Lord. Jesus compared those who listen to His words to a wise man who built his house on a rock. When a raging storm struck the house, it stood firm. Similarly, the life built on Jesus’ words survives life’s storms.

When the Lord called young Samuel into His service, Samuel wisely responded, “Speak, for Your servant is listening” (1 Sam. 3:10b). Unfortunately, we are prone to say, “Listen, for Your servant is speaking.”

Better listening leads to a better, stronger life.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

A Text Message

I was in Denver Monday and Tuesday for the Jerry Jenkins Christian Writers Guild board and mentors' meetings. I have been a board member and mentor since Jerry purchased the Guild from Norm Rohrer seven years ago. The meetings convened at the Grand Hyatt, where it is rumored Barack Obama will stay during the upcoming Democratic Convention.

Before I leave soon for the midweek service at the church in Penrose, I want to express my dismay that text messaging, which has become so popular with teens, includes the frequent use of the abbreviation OMG. In case you didn’t know, OMG stands for “Oh my God!” How ironic that God’s name is profaned so casually in a country that claims to be “one nation under God.”

Now, here’s a text message from God. The text is Exodus 20:7. The message is: “You shall not take the name of the LORD your God in vain, fore the LORD will not hold him guiltless who takes His name in vain.”

Monday, August 11, 2008

Rest Stops

“ . . . he said to them [the disciples], ‘Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest” (Mark 6:31).

It doesn’t do us any good to get on a highway and drive many hours without taking a break. Sure, we may arrive at our destination earlier, but we are likely to arrive grumpy, jumpy, and lumpy. A painful back, a stiff neck, tired eyes, sore arms, and aching hands are some of the products of sitting for hours behind the wheel. Stopping and stretching every couple of hours can make a big difference in how we feel after a long day on the road.

Most states provide clean, comfortable rest areas for travelers. Usually, a drinking fountain and a pop machine stand in a conspicuous spot. Some rest areas include dog walks. If you travel in the Chicago area, you may be pleasantly surprised to find fast food restaurants at rest areas. Because the restaurants span the interstate highway, you can sit at a table, enjoy your food, and watch cars and trucks pass below you.

In addition to rest areas, convenient restaurants, motels, service stations, and shopping areas cluster near highway exists. You can’t miss the posted signs that announce those services.

Mark, chapter 6, informs us Jesus’ disciples had returned to Him after an extremely busy itinerant ministry. They hadn’t even had a chance to eat. Knowing the importance of physical rest, Jesus invited them to accompany Him to a quiet place and get some rest.

The long journey through life offers opportunities to check out of constant busyness and check in for some much-needed rest. Quiet moments with Jesus prepare us for the next leg of the journey.

—By Jim Dyet. © 2008, Anchor

Friday, August 8, 2008

Sundays Away from Home

Somewhere I read Westerners do not take as many vacations as Europeans. Although I don’t dispute this observation, it seems to me Westerners make the most of whatever vacation time they have. Our airports, train stations, and bus terminals overflow with vacation travelers, especially during summer months. Also, weekends find thousands of travelers driving our highways in bumper-to-bumper pursuit of that special get-away-from-it-all place. It may be a lake, the mountains, a river, sand dunes, the desert, an amusement park, the ocean, or a golf resort.

However, not all travel is for relaxation or recreation or rest. Many men and women travel weekends for business purposes. Where would our economy be without them? But in all of our vacation and business travels, do we take time to attend public worship? We should. Not only does attending public worship away from home refresh and inspire us, it also encourages those who welcome us into their churches.

There’s nothing quite like the experience of meeting new Christian friends and joining with them in praise and Bible study. Certainly, the joy of Christian fellowship lasts much longer than a vacation or business trip, and each worship experience honors the exhortation, “Let us not give up meeting together” (Hebrews 10:25).

—By Jim Dyet, Copyright © 2008, Anchor

Thursday, August 7, 2008

A Slingshot and a Care Message

“For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet was without sin” (Hebrews 4:15).

I have yet to catch a foul ball at a baseball game, but one leisurely afternoon I did catch something that resembled a baseball. It happened between the fifth and sixth innings at Colorado Springs’ Sky Sox Park, the world’s highest professional baseball park. Sky Sox staffers had carried tightly rolled T-shirts and giant slingshots onto the field and assumed a launching position between home plate and the pitcher’s mound. Zap, Zing! A missile flew swiftly toward me. I reached up and grabbed it. (No, the Sky Sox didn’t offer me an outfielder’s contract.)

I unfurled the wadded T-shirt and read its message: “Memorial Hospital. We hear. We heal. We care.” What a good motto for a hospital, I thought.

Jesus’ earthly ministry was one of hearing, healing, and caring. He heard the desperate cries of sin-oppressed, poor, physically challenged, and outcast men and women. He provided both physical and spiritual healing for those who believed. He cared about everyone. He lifted burdens, met needs, forgave sins, turned sadness to joy, and instilled hope in those who despaired.
Jesus still cares. He hears our simple calls for help, meets our needs, and makes life worth living.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Fire on the Mountain

It seemed inevitable. A raging grass fire would surely break out near a residential area. After all, Denver had experienced 23 consecutive 90-plus days with humidity hovering around 10 degrees. Forty days this summer brought temperature readings above 90 degrees. The intense heat had turned the foothills brown and dry. Rain is only a faint memory in this drought stricken year, the driest since 1928.

Yesterday, the inevitable happened. Dark clouds rolled over the foothills. Flashes of lightning lit up the western sky. At least one strike ignited parched grass near Green Mountain’s 6th Avenue Estates. Soon a jagged wave of marauding, angry flames rolled toward million-dollar homes. One home, called the hotel home by locals, was almost encircled by fire, but firefighters managed to protect it. As the fire advanced, residents packed valuables into their cars and wondered whether their homes would succumb to the inferno. Ultimately, however, the fire surrendered to the firefighters’ efforts. It left behind hundreds of smoldering, charred acres.

Today’s weather forecast offers the hope of cooler temperatures and rain.

Reports from the fire scene on Green Mountain brought back painful memories. Our family lived in the Green Mountain area for less than six months, and moved from our home to the back of a church August 5, 1973—25 years ago today. In case you are wondering, we did not live in a million-dollar home, nor did fire drive us out of our home. We lived a few miles southeast of the area that is now 6th Avenue Estates, and a flood forced us to leave our home. An underground stream had changed its direction and rushed into our home. For the record, insurance does not cover damage caused by underground water.

Yesterday, residents whose homes were at risk learned what I learned 25 years ago. Property and material possessions are vulnerable to sudden loss. I hope they also learned that only spiritual blessings endure. Perhaps we all attach too high a value to what we live in, wear, stash in the bank, and drive. We should rank such things much lower in value than what we have in Christ. As the apostle pointed out in 2 Corinthians 4:18, “The things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal.”

May we keep everything in proper perspective!

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Putting Money in the Right Place

“But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal” (Matthew 6:20).

Somewhere I read a joke about a woman who sued for a divorce on religious grounds. She told her attorney she worshiped money and her husband didn’t have any.

We can enjoy the humor in this story, but it also has a serious side. Some people do worship money and even accompany such worship with sacrifices. They may sacrifice their own health as they work long hours in the pursuit of what they consider the almighty dollar. They may sacrifice their marriage by devoting far more attention to their financial goals than to their spouse. They may sacrifice their children by leaving little or no time for parenting. They may even sacrifice their souls by having greed as their creed and valuing gold above God.

Jesus issued crisp but significant counsel about setting life’s priorities. He taught us to set our hearts on eternal values. Serving God pays eternal dividends, He explained, whereas serving money leads only to irreversible loss (Matthew 6:19–24).

To be sure, the Bible does not condemn wealth. To the contrary, it lauds a number of wealthy men and women for their service to God. Those individuals had their priorities straight. They valued God above money. Like them, we should be good stewards of our money instead of slaves to it. Let’s build our securities in heaven!

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Does Anybody Care?

Does it seem to you that the world is growing rather impersonal and uncaring? To beef up the bottom line many corporations routinely terminate long-term employees, cut benefits, and pile more work on already overworked employees. Sometimes medical treatment is unavailable for those who cannot afford health insurance. Homelessness and poverty blight our cities. Far too many senior citizens feel rejected by the younger generation and even by their own children. Is it any wonder we hear the plaintive cry, “Doesn’t anybody care anymore?

Jesus cares. When He graced our planet with His presence two thousand years ago, He was moved with compassion when He saw multitudes wandering hopelessly and helplessly through life. They resembled sheep without a shepherd. So He invited people of all ages to come to Him. He promised He would not drive away anyone who would come to Him (John 6:37).

Jesus is the Good Shepherd who tends the wounds of His hurting sheep, provides green pastures for them, and leads them beside quiet waters (John 10:11; Psalm 23:2). He doesn’t abandon them when they grow old or need individual attention. He promised, “Surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age” (Matthew 28:20b).

Indeed, the world may seem impersonal and uncaring, but Jesus relates to each of His followers in a personal, caring way.

—By Jim Dyet, Copyright © 2007, The Anchor

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

U.S. Senior Golf Open

A golf buddy and I will be attending the Sr. U.S. Open today at the Broadmoor Country Club in Colorado Springs. Thousands of spectators will get a chance to see well-known golf pros complete the final practice round before tournament play begins tomorrow. Frankly, I enjoy playing golf far more than watching, but the experience of attending a major golf event will be fun.

Golf has many parallels to Christian living. Play by the rules. Try to pursue a straight-down-the-middle path. Stay focused. Avoid hazards. Finish well.

Whatever you do today, honor the Lord!

Monday, July 28, 2008

Why Worry?

A few years ago a popular song advised, “Don’t worry. Be happy.” I don’t know how many worriers took the advice, but I am sure many wished the song had explained how to stop worrying and start being happy. So many unproductive moments would fade away if worriers cast their worries aside. And think of the money worriers could save if they suddenly became happy. They wouldn’t have to shell out any more cash for medicine designed to help them cope with whatever it is they worry about.

Do we worry that God doesn’t know what might happen to us? Worse still, do we worry that He doesn’t care what might happen to us? Jesus answered both of these questions in His Sermon on the Mountain.

Our heavenly Father knows our needs, Jesus explained in Matthew 6:31, 32, and our heavenly Father cares. He has promised to meet our needs (v. 33). So there is no reason to worry!

I grew up in humble circumstances, but I never asked Dad to tell me his plan to take care of my brothers and me. He had always provided, and his noble character guaranteed his intention to keep on providing.

If we are tempted to worry, we should recall God’s faithfulness to us in the past, acknowledge His eternal truthfulness and goodness, and tell worry to take a hike.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Old-Fashioned Isn't Necessarily Bad

When I lived in the Chicago area from 1990 to 1995, I started collecting wood-shafted golf clubs that predate 1935. I actually played with wood-shafted clubs when I was a kid, so nostalgia surrounds this collectibles hobby. Antique golf clubs with Scottish cleek marks are my favorites.

Clubs in my golf bag are a different story. You won’t find any antique clubs there. Club-building technology has come a long way since 1935. For example, the driver in my bag, a Taylor Made R-7, comes equipped with adjustable screws in the head. If I turn the screws, I can help control the directional flight of the golf ball. I haven’t done that yet, because my drives tend to be straight. Always have been!

Like most things, church culture has changed dramatically in recent years. Whether the changes have been good will have to be judged ultimately by the Lord, the Head of the Church. Nevertheless, we can ask how well we represent Christianity in our modern world. Do we have an impact on the world or a compact with it? Has our changing methodology advanced biblical theology or eclipsed it? Do our daily lives conform to the will of God or to self-will?

I wouldn’t want to go back to the days of hickory golf clubs, but I must confess I long for some old-fashioned Christianity to invade modern-day Churchianity.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Desert Roses

When our family lived back East and later in the Midwest, we enjoyed green lawns courtesy of abundant rain. Occasionally, we had to water the grass and plants by hand but only occasionally. Colorado in the good old summertime is a far different story. If we didn’t run our sprinkler system twice a day, we wouldn’t have a lawn. We would have a desert plot. Our semi-arid climate produces brown landscapes. Somehow weeds do just fine, though. Maybe I should plant weeds next spring.

Much of Israel’s landscape resembles parts of Colorado. It is green where water flows, but brown elsewhere. The Negev has all the qualities of a dry, barren desert, but when Jesus establishes His kingdom, with Jerusalem as the capital, the desert will receive a remarkable facelift. It will blossom kike a rose (Isaiah 35:1). Forests will spring up (v. 2). And grasslands, ponds, and marshes will add to the beauty (v. 7).

It’s just like Jesus to turn barrenness into beauty. He does that in the life of everyone who trusts in Him. Read 2 Corinthians 5:17 and marvel at the beautification process He has begun in your life.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Eat Right!

One day, when I was a pastor in a New York State town about 90 miles from Niagara Falls, I received a call from a nearby hospital requesting my help. No, I wasn’t needed to assist in surgery. A French-speaking Canadian family had been diagnosed with a form of food poisoning. Someone at the hospital had mentioned I spoke French and might act as an interpreter.

So off I went to meet the ill family.

“Ask if they have health insurance,” an attendant instructed.

“Find out what they ate that might have made them sick,” voiced another attendant.

I learned the patients had health insurance. They were en route to Niagara Falls, and earlier in the day they had eaten ham sandwiches at a diner. Apparently, the ham had gone bad.

Health care experts advise travelers to stay hydrated and avoid stomach troubles by eating high-fiber, low-fat, low-calorie meals while on the road. My personal advice is to avoid ham unless it has been properly prepared and refrigerated.

In Psalm 119:103, King David described God’s words as tasting even sweeter than honey. Jesus compared God’s words to bread. A daily regimen of feasting on Scripture will keep the toxins of wrong thinking and wrongdoing at bay. It will also sweeten life’s journey and create a productive life.

—Written by Jim Dyet. Copyright © 2008, Anchor.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

The Lord Is Good

I received an unsettling biopsy report yesterday. Tomorrow, my doctor and I will discuss treatment options.

Soon after becoming a Christian in 1952, I came across Nahum 1:7, a verse that has bolstered my faith many times. Here it is in KJV, the almost universally used version of the Bible back then. “The LORD is good, a strong hold in the day of trouble; and he knoweth them that trust in him.” Looking at this verse from a sermonic perspective, I would point out:

The Lord’s Grace Is Plenteous: “The Lord is good.”
The Lord’s Presence Is Protective: “a strong hold in the day of trouble”
The Lord’s Love Is Personal: “he knoweth them that trust in him”

Nothing today or tomorrow may bring lies beyond the Lord’s knowledge. Nothing thwarts His purpose for us. Nothing overturns His love for us.

A boy in Sunday school misquoted Psalm 23:1. He said, “The Lord is my shepherd, I’ve got all I want.” We may criticize his memorization, but we cannot fault his theology.

Monday, July 21, 2008

The Spanish-Scottish Connection

Recently, a woman from Arizona was visiting her sister and brother-in-law’s church in Spain. When Horizons, a publication of Regular Baptist Press, was distributed to the attendees, she was surprised to read the lead article’s by-line, “Jim Dyet.” You see, her maiden name is Dyet, a very uncommon name even in my native Scotland. Wanting to learn more about me, she contacted the Horizons editor in Schaumburg, Illinois, who in turn contacted me.

I called the Arizona woman last night, and we had a lengthy conversation. Her grandfather, William Dyet, was born in Glasgow, Scotland, just a few miles from where my father William Dyet and I were born. Apparently, she had researched the Dyet name and found quite a few William Dyets with origins in and around Glasgow. Her grandfather had been a coal miner. So had mine. He was killed in a coal mine explosion.

As the conversation progressed, I learned that Jean, the Arizona woman, had judged dog shows in the Valley of the Sun. Her knowledge of canines was apparent when she told me interesting facts about our rare-breed Coton de Tulear, Sadie, and our daughter Sherrie’s Chinese Cresteds.

Perhaps Jean and I are cousins. It is hard to connect the dots on a Scottish family tree because so many similar names pop up. Many parents gave their sons royal names: William, James, and John. Robert and Bruce are also popular Scottish names. My older brother is William Wallace Dyet. My younger brother is Bruce Robert Dyet.

It was good to share a wee bit of family history with another Dyet, and it especially good to know people even half a world away read what I write. I dinna like tae waste words!