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Monday, December 28, 2009

Perfect Government

Tired of big government? Someday the government will be upon Messiah’s shoulders, and all will be well. When He establishes His kingdom on earth, peace, prosperity, justice, righteousness, and good health will prevail. He will receive the worldwide homage He deserves. Zechariah 13:9 proclaims, ”And the LORD shall be King over all the earth.”  Further, Zechariah 14:16 promises “that everyone who is left of all the nations which came against Jerusalem shall go up from year to year to worship the King . . . . “

As Christians, we have a bright future in spite of the current challenges of a fallen world. Let’s look up and look ahead in 2010.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

The Church and the Kingdom

Are the kingdom and the Church identical? Are we Christians building the kingdom, working in the kingdom, and advancing the kingdom? Am I the only one who believes the kingdom and the Church are not the same, that the kingdom is future, not present? Jesus is building His church now, but He will establish His kingdom when He returns to earth in a dazzling display of glory.

At the turn of the 20th century, liberal clergymen were predicting a perfect era of human history brought about by good deeds performed by sincere religious men and women.  They were “building the kingdom” and teaching postmillennialism.  However, two world wars put a big dent in postmillennialism; clearly, the human race was not advancing toward Utopia.

The kingdom will not arrive on the heels of human effort. It will arrive when Jesus abruptly ends the vilest period in human history, the Tribulation, in which wickedness runs amok. He will judge the lawless, topple corrupt, satanic government tyrants, and then usher in His kingdom of peace and righteousness.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

A Grieving Octogenarian

I received a letter from a grieving octogenarian, a retired international banker who played golf regularly until failing health forced him to hang up his clubs. I had met him when I spoke at a golf outing, and we struck up a friendship. When we met, his wife was suffering from Alzheimer’s, and he was deeply concerned about her. However, he was an agnostic, so he did not believe in prayer or have any confidence in the Bible. Comfort and hope, therefore, were beyond his reach. I shared the gospel with him, but he politely ignored it.

In his letter, the agnostic old gentleman informed me that his wife of 59 years had passed away. He offered these sad words: “I know I will never see her again or talk to her or just be together as we were for 59 years.”

How differently Christians grieve when a Christian loved one dies. They harvest the promises of Scripture about eternal life in heaven, and by faith they grasp the hand of the risen Savior. Christmas escorts us to the birth of Jesus and reinforces in our thinking the fact He came to save us from our sins and to give us assurance of heaven through personal faith in Him. “Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift” (2 Cor. 9:15).

Friday, December 18, 2009

Good News of Great Joy

Christmas cards and letters are arriving daily from friends in the USA and Canada. Many of them mention infirmities that accompany the aging process, but no affliction seems to snuff out the joy of Christmas. It remains intact in spite of physical challenges, the out-of-control national debt, Iran’s long-range missile capability, wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the swine flu threat, and a plethora of other troubling conditions. The Christian’s joy surmounts every crisis and lightens every burden.

An angel of the Lord announced the Savior’s birth as a joyful event. “I bring you good news of great joy,” he proclaimed (Luke 2:10). Secular culture seems to be intent on removing Christmas, but it can never take away the joy Christians share because Jesus was born to be our Savior.

Some who regularly sent Christmas cards to Gloria and me in past years will not be doing so this year. They are in Heaven, where they behold our Savior and rejoice in His presence. Their joy is complete now!

In proclaiming joy to the shepherds, the angel of the Lord said the good news of great joy will be “for all the people” (Luke 2:10). You and I can share this good news of great joy, and surely all who lack the true meaning of Christmas and the assurance of eternal joy need to hear the real reason Jesus came to earth. Let’s "go, tell it on the mountain, over the hills, and everywhere!"



Saturday, December 12, 2009

Still on Target

Let me share a quote from a great English preacher, who proclaimed God’s Word more than a century ago. His words are still relevant.



“There is a widely-spread desire to make things pleasant in religion – to saw off the corners and edges of the cross, and to avoid, as far as possible, self-denial. On every side we hear professing Christians declaring loudly that we must not be “narrow and exclusive” and that there is no harm in many things which the holiest of saints of old thought bad for their souls.

“That we may go anywhere, and do anything, and spend our time in anything, and read anything, and keep any company, and plunge into anything, and all the while may be very good Christians – this is the maxim of thousands. In a day like this I think it good to raise a warning voice, and invite attention to the teaching of God’s Word. It is written in that Word, ‘Come out and be separate.’

~ J.C. Ryle  Practical Religion, “The World”, 284, 285.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Would You Stand in Line?

Except for five years in Chicago, from 1990-1995, Gloria and I have lived in Colorado since 1971. Today must be the coldest day we have experienced here. We received about an inch of snow, but the temperature plummeted to 3 degrees, and the wind is ferocious.

I take daily walks, but I have indoors for much of today. We did venture out this morning to see the l-o-n-g line for Sarah Palin’s autograph party at Border’s. She will be signing her book this evening, but people had to line up this morning to receive bracelets authorizing them to line up this evening for the signing.  Alaska has come to town!

Occasionally I sell a book I authored, but no one has had to stand in line to purchase it. I guess I will just have to live with slow sales. I will never become a celebrity in politics, sports, entertainment, or the mega-church world.

 Maybe if I should write a diet book . . .


Saturday, December 5, 2009

What Shall We Give Him?

Manger scenes often display two sets of visitors: shepherds and wise men, but their visits may have been separated by nearly two years. The shepherds visited the baby Jesus in a stable immediately after His birth. The wise men visited the infant Jesus in a house.

The shepherds presented only themselves to Jesus. The wise men presented gifts. As lost sinners, we have nothing to present to Jesus when we first meet Him. We simply present ourselves and receive the gift of eternal life that God bestows on all who believe on His Son. As Christians, we can—and should—offer Him gifts: worship, purity, and sacrificial service. Such gifts are appropriate not only at Christmas but also all year round.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

An Uncertain Future

I’m sure every American is concerned about our nation’s future. The economy is grim, the war on terror claims young soldiers’ lives, an unpredictable nuclear-capable Iran challenges our security, national healthcare seems imminent, and mass killings flare up in unexpected places. What will 2010 bring?

In spite of the uncertainty of our modern era, one thing is certain: Jesus is the same yesterday, today, and forever (Hebrews 13:8). Nothing takes Him by surprise. Nothing diminishes Hs love and faithfulness. Nothing thwarts His purposes. Yes, these are rocky times, but we do not fear because the Rock of Ages keeps us secure and gives us hope.  As Adoniram Judson said, “The future is as bright as the promises of God.” 

Monday, November 23, 2009

Cold Heart, Cold Church

I don’t think a big church with a small heart is acceptable to God. I think He prefers a small church with a big heart, although there is nothing wrong with numeric growth. The infant church in Jerusalem grew mightily in response to Spirit-empowered preaching, but heartfelt fellowship characterized that church.

When church visitors receive a friendly greeting and a firm handshake, they are more likely to return and call that church “home” than if they are made to feel unwelcome. A pastor’s friendliness can’t compensate fully for a congregation’s coolness, but it can certainly set a good example for the congregation. As a former pastor, I have visited more than a few churches where the pastor snubbed me (no, I am not imagining this). Apparently, he felt threatened and didn’t want a former pastor in “his” church.

I admit I evaluate a sermon’s worth by its biblical, theological content, and I flinch emotionally when a pastor uses bad grammar; but when a pastor snubs me, he pushes me over the edge. I tell myself enough is enough and decide not to return to that church.  

I wonder how many other former pastors have encountered similar unfriendliness? I wonder, too, how many people from all walks of life have visited a church with a small heart.



Sunday, November 22, 2009

The "Value" of a Glove

How much would you be willing to pay for a pair of gloves? Five dollars? Ten dollars? Twenty-five dollars? How much would you pay for one glove? Nothing? Nichts? Nada? Rien? A single glove isn’t worth anything in any language, is it? But the other day, a man paid $350,000 for Michael Jackson’s premier “Moonwalk” glove. Amazing!

I suppose some people would be willing to pay even more than $350,000 for any item Jesus left behind. But you won’t find even a piece of His robe at an auction. But He did leave something behind that is readily attainable at a modest cost—the New Testament Scriptures. 

Before dying and rising from the dead, Jesus told His disciples that the Holy Spirit, whom He would send to them, would “teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I have said to you” (John 14:26). The Spirit guided and empowered the apostles to write inspired Scripture (2 Timothy 3:16; 2 Peter 1:21). 

Your copy of the Scriptures—and mine—may not have cost us much, but it is far more valuable than Michael Jackson’s glove. It is a priceless treasure. A big question is, what value do we place of the Bible? Enough to read it, study it, and obey it?



Friday, November 20, 2009

Retirement Isn't in the Bible. So What?

“Retirement isn’t in the Bible. So I don’t plan to retire.” The 40-year-old teacher told his adult Sunday school class. Stay tuned. Twenty-five years from now he may change his mind.

The teacher was right about one thing, though; retirement isn’t in the Bible. But neither does the Bible mention health insurance, automobiles, vacations, or hot fudge sundaes. Yet, most of us carry health insurance, buy automobiles, take vacations, and enjoy an occasional hot fudge sundae. You haven’t heard anyone say, “No hot fudge sundae for me, thank you; the Bible doesn’t mention hot fudge sundaes. However, if you happen to have some locusts and wild honey . . . .“

The issue of retiring comes down to a personal decision based on circumstances. More of us seniors are postponing retirement. We recognize that improved medical care—clear diagnoses, safe surgical procedures, and new drugs—is extending human life. If we retire at 65 but live to be 85 or 90, our previously anticipated retirement income needs would not carry us through those extra years. Also, if we enjoy good health, we reason that we might get bored after a few years of fishing or lounging beside a pool. So we opt to stay in the work force a while longer.

Post-retirement-age workers pose a problem, though, to their companies because they cost more in wages and health benefits. Many firms, therefore, encourage employees to retire by offering them an attractive severance package. But, if aging workers love their jobs or feel no one can replace them, they may want to stay until they are carried out in a pine box.

The Bible doesn’t indicate whether it is right or wrong to retire, but it makes it clear that we ought to serve the Lord as long as we live. What happened to the apostle John affirms this fact. The Roman emperor had banished—retired—John to the obscure island of Patmos. Surely, at the age of 90 and living far from the mainland, John would pose no threat to the empire. How could he spread Christianity from Patmos? He might as well kick back, wait for Gabriel to blow his horn, and take his last breath.

But John wasn’t the retiring type. He kept on worshiping and serving the Lord, and one day he received a visit from Him. There, at Patmos, Jesus commissioned John to write Revelation, the last book of the Bible. Revelation has given believers through the centuries a glimpse of Jesus as our glorified Lord, King of kings, and Lord of lords. John’s brightest day and perhaps greatest ministry arrived nearly three decades after his 65th birthday.

Your best day, and mine too, may lie ahead.


Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Culture Squeeze

According to Romans 1 and 2, Christians should dedicate body and mind to God. But the world combats this dedication by trying to squeeze us into its mold. Godless culture opposes right thinking, right behavior, and right speaking.

 We don’t hear much about worldliness, do we? It seems many churches pattern themselves after the culture instead of distinguishing themselves from the culture. Too often, our light is about as bright as the lowest place in a deep cave. Instead of displaying Christian values, interests, and goals, we let the culture form our values, interests, and goals. We think like the culture, act like the culture, and talk like the culture.

 At the risk of sounding old-fashioned, may I urge you to consider what kinds of shows you watch? What you program into your mind will surface in what you do and say. Are your deeds and words wholesome?

Saying “O my G—“ is never right regardless of how often movies and TV shows blast the expression at viewers. Minced oaths, too, do not belong in a Christian’s vocabulary. They aren’t exactly swear words, but they are coined substitutes that sound like swear words. If we have developed the habit of using minced oaths, it is time to kick the habit. The practice of reading and meditating on God’s Word cleanses the heart and mind and programs us to honor God in what we think, do, and say. The psalmist prayed, “Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in Your sight, O LORD. My strength and my Redeemer (Psalm 19:14).


Sunday, November 15, 2009


2012.  That’s the year the Earth will end. At least, that’s what Nostradamus, the Mayan calendar, and a growing number of alarmists are predicting. December 21, 2012 is the actual target date. Allegedly, at that time Planet X will soar into Earth’s rotation, causing earthquakes, tsunamis, and volcanic eruptions. The sun will rise in the west, and north will become south. The Earth may get sucked into a black hole. A movie titled “2012” will surely attract millions of viewers; but don’t gobble down your popcorn like there’ no tomorrow, and don’t swallow everything you see and hear about 2012.

For one thing, the Rapture may occur before 2012. It could happen today. It could happen tomorrow. Or it could happen after 2012. No one knows when Jesus will come in the clouds to whish away Christians to be with Him forever.

Terrible calamities will befall Earth after the Rapture. For seven years chaos and unprecedented political strife and corruption will grip our planet. But at the end of that seven-year period, Jesus will return to earth, punish evildoers, establish His kingdom, and restore Earth to conditions similar to those of the Garden of Eden. He will rule as King of kings and Lord of lords for 1,000 years. And then He will consign all unbelievers to the lake of fire and renovate the heavens and the earth.

So don’t panic. God is still in control. His plan for planet Earth is perfect, and so is His plan for you and me.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Two Birthdays

Thanks to all for the birthday greetings! I don’t remember the day I was born, but my birth certificate announces the date, November 11, 1935, and the place, Larkhall, Scotland. Dad had left a pot of tea beside my mother’s bed before he left for work at a local coalmine. I greeted him when he came home. I’m guessing a midwife assisted with my birth, but I can’t be certain about this. My parents, older brother, and I lived in oor wee Scottish hoose until I was nearly four, and then we sailed away to Canada.

 I do remember my spiritual birthday, January 18, 1952. After seeing a World Vision film about North Korea’s invasion of South Korea, I knelt by my bedside and trusted in Jesus as my Savior. I was born again.We don’t often hear or read about being born again, but the new birth is as essential now as it was in 1952. It was also essential in Bible times. Jesus said, “Unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God” (John 3:3). 

This spiritual phenomenon, the new birth, does not result from the performance of good works; it is totally the work of the Holy Spirit. Being born again is a regeneration, not a reformation (Titus 3:5).The family I was born into in Scotland was a caring family. My parents didn’t have much money or many possessions, but they loved my brothers and me. Since January 18, 1952, when I experienced a spiritual birth, I have been the object of my heavenly Father’s love. He has faithfully cared for all my needs, and His love and care will never end.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Répondez s'il vous plait!

My sanctification tends to sag a little when people fail to return my calls or respond to my written inquiries. For example, more than a week ago I contacted my life insurance agent at the company’s Denver office. He told me he would drop a form in the mail the next day. Because I live only one hour south of Denver, I expected to receive the form within a day of the mailing. I am still waiting for it.

I have tried to several times to contact my agent about this form, but all I get is a voice recording directing me to the agent, another agent, or the operator. Following the directions simply leads to more music. Perhaps the insurance company’s Denver office has shut down, the entire staff is homebound with swine flu, or everyone is soaring in a famous blimp over a football stadium.

Editors, too, may fail to respond to queries. Writers often ask how long they should wait for an answer before submitting a manuscript elsewhere. Sometimes a year passes, and a writer is still waiting to hear from an editor. It is a frustrating experience.

If someone is too busy to respond to a client or writer, he or she is just too busy.

Fortunately God delights to hear and answer our prayers. He is never disinterested or preoccupied.  “Call to Me, and I will answer you,” He promises (Jeremiah 33:3).

By the way, God also offers outstanding life insurance. It is free and eternal (Romans 6:23b)

Sunday, November 1, 2009

An Extra Hour

An extra hour!

We moved our clocks back one hour last night to convert to Standard time. We kept hearing that we would have an extra hour for sleep, but it didn’t work out that way. Our dogs were oblivious to the time change. They woke us up at the usual time.

If you were granted an extra hour of life on earth, how would you spend it? Would you sleep? Contact loved ones? Go shopping?  Purchase or bake a pie that your diet had restricted and eat a slice of that pie every ten minutes? Pray? Read the Bible? Witness?

Of course we do not know when our life will end. We may not have another year, month, day, hour, or even a minute. Ultimately, what counts is not how much time we put into life’s journey but what we put into the time that remains. Let’s use each moment wisely.


Friday, October 30, 2009


Halloween seems to be not only an exciting night for kids but also a huge adult celebration. Kids go trick or treating, but many adults dress up, decorate their offices and homes, and party like there is no tomorrow. A house close to ours even has a casket on the front lawn. The nurses’ station at the cardiology clinic I visited yesterday resembled a haunted house. I expected to be charged a fee as well as the usual copay. I have noticed that many TV shows project a Halloween theme and newspaper advertising uses pumpkins, goblins, witches, and things that go bump in the night to increase sales.


Strange, isn’t it, that no one seems to feel offended by the copious displays of Halloween decorations? I don’t expect Christmas displays to receive such cordial treatment. Obviously, the culture welcomes symbols of death demons, and darkness but rejects symbols of light and life. John 3:19 states: “And this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.”







Monday, October 26, 2009

"Old" Faithful

“May those who come behind us find us faithful.”


Yesterday I preached to a congregation of faithful, older believers. They worship and serve faithfully at North Federal Baptist Church in Denver, Colorado. Two Saturdays ago, one of the members fell and broke his collarbone, but he attended church the next morning. He couldn’t shake my hand two Sundays ago or yesterday because his right arm is in a sling, but he smiled and told me hasn’t missed a morning service in three years and nine months. Not bad for a 96 year old!

 The pastor of North Federal Baptist Church has used me as a pulpit supply since 1998. This month, I ministered at his church for three Sundays as he and his wife vacationed in New England. The church members have aged since 1998, but then, so have I. Nevertheless, their faithfulness to the Lord hasn’t diminished, and they don’t complain about their infirmities.

 Senior believers like those at North Federal Baptist Church are setting an example younger believers can follow.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Music or Mania?

I can’t read music, but I enjoy listening to it. Accomplished musicians and singers can make the mind peaceful and the heart joyful. Such music offered to the Lord in worship must surely honor Him, bless the congregation, and help to prepare hearts to receive a biblical message. My taste for music likely differs greatly from that of a teenager, whether the “teenager” is 15 or 35. I haven’t been able to accept rock music as an appropriate worship style.  Frankly, I think someone needs to tell the rockers they don’t have to yell like hockey fans and beat their guitars and drums to death for God to hear them. I may be hard of hearing, but God hears even the faintest prayer and whispered praise.

 If I want to do aerobics, I can join an aerobics class at a gym. If I want to hear rock music, I can go to a rock concert. I just don’t want aerobics and rock to mix at church as so-called worship.

You can file these thoughts under “Personal Opinion,” but before doing so, please read John 4:24 and Colossians 3:16 again.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

A Blazing Sunrise

Gloria took a picture of the sunrise yesterday. It was blazing orange, and our Bronco flag and Fat Albert (similar to a blue spruce) formed a perfect foreground.

Psalm 72:17 reminds us that God’s name will endure forever. “His name shall continue as long as the sun.” Governments may restrict the public display of God’s name and whatever is associated with it, but His name will far outlast every government. The second part of Psalm 72:17 fast-forwards to the millennial reign of the Son of God, and assures us that “all men shall be blessed in him, and all nations shall call him blessed.” That glorious future reign begins when “the Sun of Righteousness shall arise with healing in His wings” (Malachi 4:2).

Next time you catch a glimpse of a spectacular sunrise, with or without a camera, reflect on the name of the One who created the sun, and encourage yourself with the knowledge that someday the Sun of Righteousness will return to rule Planet Earth.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Where Have All the Bibles Gone?

Help me understand something. As I travel from church to church to supply-preach, I notice that very few attendees carry a Bible. Why is this? It used to be a mark of a Bible-believing church that its attendees brought Bibles to church and followed along in the Bible as the pastor preached. Because I preach expository sermons, I think churchgoers would get far more benefit from each message if they referred to the sermon text verse by verse as I preach.

So why don’t people carry Bibles to church? Has expository preaching gone the way of the dinosaurs, thereby eliminating the need to use a Bible in church? Has entertainment replaced Biblical edification? Has the believer’s confidence in the Bible diminished? Has illiteracy engulfed churchgoers? You tell me.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Clean Ducts and an Opportunity

We had our heat ducts cleaned Tuesday. The two men who did the work vacuumed out dust, gravel, stones, pieces of wood, and chunks of dry wall. Some of that debris could have KO’d our furnace’s motor if it had fallen into it. After paying for the work, I gave each man a copy of my book, All Good People Go to Heaven and Other Religious Lore. They seemed to appreciate the gift, but one of them read the back cover copy and asked, “Is this book controversial?” I told him everything I do is controversial, and the book contradicts the popular notion that a person can go to heaven if he joins a church or performs good deeds or gives to charity. “There is only one way to heaven,” I explained, “and Jesus is the way. If we put our faith in Him, we will go to heaven.”

I think both men will read the book, and perhaps they will be in heaven someday.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Sweet Dreams!

In his first letter the apostle Peter instructed us to cast all our anxiety on the Lord because He cares for us (1 Peter 5:7). It isn’t easy to follow Peter’s instruction, is it? When our funds are low but our bills stack high, it is natural to worry. It is also natural to worry when job layoffs are pending or we face serious surgery or a loved one is gravely ill. But Peter’s inspired instruction was backed by personal experience. He knew firsthand that the Lord could handle even the most harrowing situation.

According to Acts 12, Herod’s soldiers arrested Peter and threw him into a dungeon, and then kept him under close surveillance around the clock. Herod’s plan was to decapitate Peter, but Peter did not worry. During the night, when an angel appeared in his cell to free him, Peter was sleeping so soundly, the angel had to poke him in the ribs to wake him up. Soon Peter was out of prison and reunited with his Christian friends.

How could Peter sleep so soundly in such adverse circumstances? Here’s my guess. After rising from the dead Jesus told Peter he would die when he was old (John 21:18, 19). Peter wasn’t old when he was in prison, so he knew Herod couldn’t execute him. Taking Jesus at His word, Peter fell into a sound, peaceful sleep.

Wouldn’t our worries disappear like soap bubbles in the wind if we took the Lord’s promises to heart? Because He has promised to care for us, we can bid worries a firm adieu.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

A Matter of Priorities

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!

By Jim Dyet © Anchor, Haven Ministries

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Language Lapse

Learning and speaking a non-English language is far from easy. I studied German for four years and French for five, but I have forgotten much of what I learned, especially the oral part. It is a little easier for me to read German and French than it is to speak in those languages. The other day, I had an opportunity in the morning to practice German, and in the afternoon I had an opportunity to practice French. A woman who grew up in Germany drew blood from me for an A1C test. She said my German was good, but she was being overly kind. In the afternoon I met new neighbors who recently moved to Colorado Springs from Quebec. The husband, a member of the Royal Canadian Air Force works at NORAD. We had a brief exchange in French.

Hats off to missionaries who immerse themselves in a foreign culture and learn the official language so nationals can hear the gospel in their native tongue!

I wonder if we will all learn a new language in Heaven. Kenneth Wuest, my Greek teacher at Moody Bible Institute, voiced the opinion that koine Greek will be the language of Heaven. As a Scottish-born lad, I ha’ ma doots. But whatever the language, we will all join in exclaiming, “Worthy is the Lamb who was slain to receive power and riches and wisdom and strength and honor and glory and blessing” (Rev. 5:12).

Feel free to say “Amen” in the language of your choice.

Monday, September 28, 2009

The Rescue of Tiny Skippy

About three weeks ago our daughter Sherrie and son-in-law Jim adopted a dog from the Humane Society. It is a tiny two-year-old male Bichon with a hint of poodle. When they rescued Skippy, his white hair was wild and had burrs stuck in it. However, after a trip to a groomer, Skippy emerged with quite a makeover. He looks like a million dollars, and I am sure Sherrie and Jim think he is worth at least that much. If he isn’t the perfect dog, he is close to it. He is quiet, playful, and loving. He enjoys snuggling close to Sherrie’s face.

What has happened to Skippy reminds me of what has happened to every believer. Jesus rescued each of us from our lost and perilous estate. He cleaned us up, and now we are the objects of His eternal love. Let’s draw a little closer to Him today.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Bend and Stretch

A newspaper ad read,” NORDIC TRACK $300 Hardly used, call Chubby.” Feel free to laugh; doing so will exercise your facial muscles and a few more muscles if you laugh hard enough.

Exercise is good for us. It improves cardio-vascular health and lifts our spirits. Unfortunately, the only exercise some people get is that of jumping to conclusions and running up bills. Couch potatoes exercise their thumbs by operating the TV remote, but how many calories does that operation consume?

Just a reminder—the Christian’s body is the temple of the Holy Spirit (1 Cor. 6:19) and should be used to glorify God (v. 20). The apostle Paul compared the Christian life to the life of a first-century athlete. The athlete disciplined himself and dedicated himself to his athletic career. He trained and strained to win “a corruptible crown”—a laurel wreath that would last only a short time (1 Cor. 9:25), but the Christian’s eyes are on a greater prize, an “incorruptible” crown (v. 27b). That enduring prize is worth all the self-discipline we can muster.

It is hard to be at our best spiritually if we are at our worst physically. So let’s begin an exercise regimen or increase the one we have adopted. If you need to begin, a good start might be to push yourself away from the dinner table. If you need extra motivation, meditate on Romans 12:1, “I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God—this is your spiritual act of worship.”

Saturday, September 19, 2009


Proverbs 17:17 says a friend loves at all times. Obviously then, Job’s friends were not true friends. When he struggled with horrific trials, his “friends” added insult to injury by telling him the trials had resulted from some sin he had committed. Ultimately, God vindicated Job and told Job’s friends His wrath was kindled against them, He ordered them to offer sacrifices. He also told them Job would pray for them.

Who needs friends like Job’s friends? But “friends” can disappoint us in other ways. They can become “invisible” when we undergo a trial. They can be silent when they should speak up on our behalf. They can befriend us when they wish to use us—when they think we can benefit them—but break communication when we are no longer able to help them get what they want.

I am grateful for friends who stay in touch for no other reason than to let me know they are thinking of me and praying for me. Some of my most cherished friends are members of churches I pastored almost 50 years ago. They have grown old, but their friendship hasn’t died. Other friends served as fellow editors in publishing houses. A few of my friends are golf buddies.

My greatest Friend—and yours— is the Lord Jesus. He is not a fair-weather friend, but a true friend. He will never abandon me or you. Our friendship grows sweeter as the years go by, and the best is yet to be.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

A Time to Bark

Sadie, our Coton, barks excessively when something is added or changed in the house. Seasonal decorations catch her attention immediately. So does rearranged furniture. Sunday, after church, I removed my tie and draped it over a room divider. Sadie reacted by staring at the tie and barking loudly. The barking stopped as soon as I removed the tie.

Strange, isn't it, that churches that once preached the gospel and taught the full counsel of God slipped into theological liberalism. I'm sure Christians in those churches saw the incremental changes and disliked them, but no one "barked." Silence isn't always golden. Sometimes it is just plain yellow! If a pastor, a Sunday school teacher, a professor, or a publisher introduces a false doctrine, we should "bark" until it is removed.

Some changes are beneficial, but Bible truth is perfect and therefore requires no changes. Let's contend for the faith that was once for all entrusted to the saints (Jude 3).

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

A Colorado Springs Christian Moment

A young male cashier at Country Buffet handed me a lunch receipt and asked Gloria and me, “Do you know what’s the best thing about eating here today?”

“That you’re here?” I guessed.

“No. The best thing is God loves you.”

“We know that,” Gloria replied, “and we love Him too.”

“I’m glad Country Buffet lets you say that,” I said to the young man.

He replied, “I don’t know if they would let me say it. I just say what’s in my heart.”

It was another of those Colorado Springs Christian moments, and it was refreshing. Wouldn’t it be equally refreshing to share God’s love beyond Colorado Springs or wherever you live? The whole world needs to know that God loves everyone—and demonstrated His personal love for everyone by giving His Son for us (John 3:16).

Monday, September 14, 2009

A Good Weekend

It was a good weekend. Our daughter Sherrie and son-in-law Jim purchased a tiny male Bichon rescue dog from the Humane Society. I am happy to report it has settled in as a member of the family alongside three other rescue dogs that are Chinese Cresteds. Of course, like the others, he will accept lavish attention without a whimper.

Sunday morning I preached at Calvary Bible Church, Colorado Springs, to an exceptionally large crowd. The fact that the Broncos-Bengals game was televised at 11:00 a.m. did nothing to keep people from church. My topic, “The Grand Finale of History,” based on Revelation 19:1—20:3 focused on our Lord’s future return in glory to seize control of our planet from the hands of evildoers and to establish His righteous rule over all the Earth. The change He will introduce at that time inspires genuine hope in our hearts now.

By the way, the Broncos beat the Bengals in a surprise ending. With 11 seconds remaining in the game, a tipped pass landed in Brandon Stokley’s arms. He ran into the end zone, completing an 87-yard touchdown.

Yes, it was a good weekend, a very good weekend.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

A Celebration of Life

Another funeral, another reminder of life’s fragility! Gloria and I attended a funeral this morning. The deceased loved one was the mother of a man we know from one of my former interim pastoral ministries. Because the mother was a believer, death transitioned her from Earth to Heaven. Because her son, his wife, and daughters are believers, they regarded the memorial service as a celebration of their loved one’s life.

Knowing Jesus as Savior is life’s most important treasure. As Jesus commented, “What good is it for a man to gain the whole world, yet forfeit his soul?” (Mark 8:36). Wealth alone offers the soul no benefit. It cannot fill one’s heart with joy and peace. Nor can it pay anyone’s way into Heaven. On the other hand, joy and peace are benefits of knowing Jesus, and all who know Him are guaranteed entrance into Heaven.

Some people take a blasé approach to death. “When your number’s up, it’s up,” they say. However our eternal destiny is bright and glorious if we know the One who puts the numbers up.

Reasons to Rejoice

Often, when I feel discouraged and start planning a pity party, I reflect on reasons to rejoice.

• Christ has saved me. I am forgiven and I am a child of God.
• My heavenly Father loves me and has promised to take good care of me.
• I possess a title deed to a beautiful chunk of real estate in Heaven.
• Everything that happens to me has been approved by my Father in Heaven for my good and His glory.
• Suffering is temporary; life with Christ is eternal.
• God has blessed me with a wonderful family and good friends.
• The Bible brims with promises to pick and chew on.
• Christ is with me always.
• Things are only things.

From How to Handle Life’s Hurts by Jim Dyet © 2005, Regular Baptist Press

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Go, Broncos! Go, Chick-fil-A!

Chick-fil-A offered a free sandwich yesterday (Labor Day) to anyone who showed up wearing a sports team logo. Gloria wore a Colorado Sky Sox shirt, and I wore a Colorado Rockies shirt. The service and sandwiches were good.

Colorado Springs is home to many residents who have moved here from various U.S. cities, so we were not surprised to see shirts representing da Bears, the Cubs, the New York Yankees, the Dodgers, the KC Chiefs, the Green Bay Packers, the Vikings, the 49ers, LSU Tigers, Miami U. Hurricanes, FSU Seminoles, San Diego Chargers, the Raiders, the Lions, and many other teams. Everyone ate a freebie sandwich happily and peacefully. No one shouted, “My team is better than your team.” It was just one big, happy family of sports fans!

Someday believers from around the world will sit down together at the Marriage Supper of the Lamb. The fellowship will be happy and peaceful. No one will shout, “My church or denomination was better than yours,” but don’t be surprised if we all exclaim, “Worthy is the Lamb who was slain to receive power and wealth and wisdom and strength and honor and glory and praise!” (Revelation 5:12)

You may remember the hymn, “When the Roll Is Called Up Yonder.” A missionary version of one stanza reads:
“When the roll is called up yonder,
We’ll be filled with joy and wonder
When we see that blood-bought number.
Some from every tribe and nation will be there.”

Let’s let others know today that we are on Jesus’ team!

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Mac, Printer, Prayer

Three hours of frustration cut into my afternoon. The other day our Mac store upgraded Gloria’s Leopard computer to a snow leopard. Today, her upgraded computer wouldn’t talk to her printer. I called the Mac store. The technician said he couldn’t fix the problem, and we should call Applecare. We did. After quite awhile, the Applecare technician said Applecare could not fix the problem. We would have to call Epson. When I called Epson, I received about ten digits to call, but when I called, I heard nothing.

Back to the Mac store. This time the technician gave me a special number to reach Epson. It worked. The call was routed through California to the Philippines, where a knowledgeable female technician walked us through the process of introducing the printer to the computer. At the end of the third hour, the printer was working.

Whew! I’m glad prayer works efficiently. When we pray, we don’t have to contact Michael the Archangel and then get bounced to Gabriel and then get connected to a cherub in charge of celestial communications. Praying is so simple. We simply voice our concerns and requests to God Himself in the name of Jesus. God instructs: “Call to Me, and I will answer you” (Jeremiah 33:3).

Another good thing about prayer: no serial number required!

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Niagara Falls

My son-in-law Brad accompanied me to Niagara Falls last week. It was his first visit there. I grew up in St. Catharines, Ontario, about 10 miles from the Falls. I had almost forgotten how beautiful and lush the Niagara region is, especially on the Canadian side. Parks and lawns are manicured and graced by an abundance of multi-colored flowers. Numerous fruit stands along the Niagara Parkway testify to the health and vigor of the orchards and vineyards that flank the road.

The region has changed in some respects. Niagara Falls is much more commercial than it was in my youth, and it costs $13 now to park within walking distance of the Falls, whereas parking used to be free. When I was a kid, the cost to cross the Rainbow Bridge from Canada to the U.SA. was 25 cents for car and driver and 10 cents for each passenger. Today it is a flat toll of $3.25. However, one fee remains the same after all these years. It still costs only 5 cents to ride the carousel at Port Dalhousie, Ontario.

The purpose of the trip to Niagara was to visit my brothers. My older brother, who lives on the American side of the Falls, is battling cancer, but is maintaining a good attitude and reliance on the Lord for daily strength. My younger brother lives on the Canadian side of the Falls and is in good health. My son-in-law and I played golf with him at Thundering Waters, Niagara Falls, Ontario, and at Niagara on the Lake, Ontario.

Life moves along quickly and change is inevitable, but the Giver of life does not change (Malachi 3:6; Hebrews 13:8). His grace flows even more abundantly than the waters that cascade over the Horseshoe Falls, and that grace flows to you and me every day. If you visit the Falls, you will see a rainbow. The Bible identifies history’s first rainbow as a sign of God’s promise, and Revelation 4:3 describes a rainbow around God’s throne. Life often challenges our faith, but God’s grace and promises support us at all times.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Only One Way

I heard yesterday that a senior pastor and his assistant expect to be fired soon. It seems prominent members of their congregation are upset with their evangelical theology. Specifically, they object to the pastors’ teaching that Jesus is the only way to heaven.

Undoubtedly, the belief that Jesus is the only way to heaven has fallen into disfavor among an increasing number of professing Christians. Tolerance and acceptance of others’ views are widely held virtues in our mixing-bowl culture, but the road to Heaven is not open to an expansion program. Although we can be tolerant of those who hold views that differ from ours, we must not accept a theology that is eclectic and inclusive.
The apostles preached with conviction that Jesus is the only way to Heaven (Acts 4:12), and they did not amend their message to accommodate views held by their contemporaries.

If professing Christians try to pry Heaven’s gate open to everyone regardless of his or her beliefs, they will have to ignore or reject Jesus’ clear statement, “No one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6).

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Our Best Friend

“A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity” (Proverbs17:17).

Judas Iscariot betrayed Jesus with a kiss, and did so for thirty pieces of silver. Nevertheless, a theory being advanced today portrays Judas as Jesus’ friend. It alleges he simply carried out Jesus’ wishes. With a friend like Judas, who needs an enemy?
We seldom, if ever, meet anyone named Judas, but we may encounter a “Judas” nonetheless.

In her prime Rita was a vivacious celebrity in the entertainment industry. Her success brought her plenty of money and friends. An extremely generous person, Rita hosted elaborate parties, donated sizable sums to charity, and treated her friends to breakfast buffets and lunches at a five-star hotel.

Now in her eighties Rita, who never married, is experiencing rapidly declining health. She is too weak to leave home. Her mind is no longer sharp. Her memory is almost gone, and her speech is often incoherent. Because she has no living relatives, she depends entirely upon others to care for her. However, most of her friends dropped out of her life when she became too ill to lavish money on them.

Today, Rita has very little money. A former friend—a “Judas”—whom she trusted with her credit cards and bank accounts, bilked her out of $285,000. This “friend” almost stole Rita’s home out from under her, but a true-blue friend uncovered the fraud and hired a lawyer to protect Rita’s interests.

Rita misses the former social times, but she values the few friends that truly care about her. Most important, Rita is a believer. In her halting way, she talks about how good her best friend Jesus is. She knows He is a trustworthy and constant companion,

As we age, we need to depend upon others for things we routinely handled in our younger years. However, we should not be deceived by a phony smile into committing our financial affairs to a swindler. No one wants to distrust everyone, but we must choose our friends wisely. True friends care about us, not our possessions. And we will never have a better friend than Jesus!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Pie in the Sky By and By?

“That’s just pie in the sky by and by,” some say about the life Jesus offers, But all who know Jesus as Savior know the life He gives is full, free, and fulfilling today. It gets even better as the seasons of life roll on, and it will be best “when the saints go marching in.” The “pie” isn’t in the sky; it is available here and now. It is delicious and fresh. Psalm 34:8 invites everyone to “taste and see that the LORD is good.”

Friday, August 7, 2009

Not Prayerless Before Being Stentless

My ENT surgeon removed the stent from my nose yesterday, and I am breathing much better today. The excision lasted more than an hour, and the pain was intense. No pain, no gain was certainly a valid maxim. This Sunday, when I preach at Falcon Baptist Church, I will breathe better than I have in more than two years. I won’t be longwinded though.

Before visiting the surgeon on the third floor of Colorado Springs’ Premier Health Plaza and accompanied by my wife Gloria, I stopped at the Surgery Center on the second floor to visit a former member of a church I served as an interim pastor. He was about to have rotor cuff surgery. After I prayed with him, a nurse wheeled him into the operating room. Gloria and the patient’s wife went to the waiting room, and I walked to the Exit.

Just as I was about to leave the Surgery Center, a young woman approached me. She explained that she had heard me pray in the curtained cubicle next to her mother’s cubicle. “Would you be willing to visit my mother and pray for her?” she asked. I gladly accompanied her to her mother’s cubicle and prayed for her.

Opportunities to show the Lord’s love and calm anxious hearts abound everywhere, don’t they?

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

From Ordinary to Extraordinary

When Jesus assembled His team of disciples in the first century, He selected ordinary men from a variety of occupations. They lacked notoriety, seminary diplomas, political clout, social status, and discipling experience. They were a rag-tag crew, a bunch of hybrid peas from different pods, a collection of loose cannons, and a disorderly dozen. At times they showed an appalling lust for personal prestige, a tendency to shoot from the lip, and unwillingness to accept Jesus’ teachings. Nevertheless, under Jesus’ patient mentoring, all but one of these men became an obedient and productive follower of Jesus. They learned slowly, but when they finally grasped the lessons Jesus taught, they turned the world upside down.

• They had learned to love Jesus.
• They had learned to obey Jesus.
• They had learn to submit their wills to Jesus.
• They had learned to overcome temptation.
• They had learned to surmount trials.
• They had learned to triumph over persecution.
• They had learned to serve others.
• They had learned to exercise their spiritual gifts faithfully.
• They had learned to value the eternal more highly than the temporal.
• They had learned to focus on the goal of winning others to Jesus.

How far along in these lessons are we?

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Cellophane Wrappers

As a teen working in a golf course’s pro shop, I was impressed with the colorful appearance of the golf balls in our 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 Samuel 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.

When God measures a person’s worth, He puts His measuring tape around the heart and not around a designer dress or tailored suit.

Read 1 Samuel 16:1-13.

© 2009, James T. Dyet

Friday, July 31, 2009

"Don't Beer Me, Bro!"

Well, are race relations bright and beautiful now that President Obama, Professor Gates, and Sergeant Crowley met for beer at the White House? I wonder if the president suggested the prof and the officer could have defused the unfortunate incident earlier—in Cambridge—if they had shared a couple of beers on the professor’s front porch.

Some police officers carry teddy bears or other stuffed animals in their cars to give to children traumatized by a traffic accident or a crime. The cuddly animals seem to calm the children. If we push President Obama’s strategy very far, we can see where police officers might calm emotionally charged situations by carrying bubblies in their cars alongside cuddlies. Law enforcement officers might never have to struggle with lawbreakers and our jails would not be overcrowded if both could just get along over a few beers.

This is tongue-in-cheek writing, of course. I am really disturbed by the example the president set for our nation’s children. By holding the beer summit he was sending the wrong messages to children. The message is that drinking alcohol is not only normal but also a great way to solve problems. As a Christian who doesn’t drink alcoholic beverages, I object to the president’s action.

If the beer-sharing strategy takes hold among our law-enforcement agencies, I can picture a recovering alcoholic about to be arrested pleading, “Don’t beer me, bro!”

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Be Hopeful!

Times were tough in Judah, very tough, when the prophet Jeremiah lived. The nation’s moral and spiritual condition offended God, and her enemy was poised to strike and destroy her. Appalled by what he saw around him and alarmed by the disaster that lay ahead, Jeremiah told it like it was. Understandably, his heart ached, but he preached through his tears and acquired the nickname, “the weeping prophet.”

Political and religious leaders despised Jeremiah’s messages. They would have preferred feel-good, lighthearted messages. They certainly didn’t want to hear the nation had offended God and would soon suffer the heavy consequences of her sinning. Is history repeating itself? How popular are the few truth-sayers who contradict today’s smooth-sayers?

Let’s face it, our nation needs a moral and spiritual revival, and those of us who are willing to admit this fact may need an infusion of hope—not the Washington brand of hope but the biblical kind. We need the kind of hope that Jeremiah maintained in the bleakest period of Judah’s history. He announced to his countrymen: “Blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD, and whose hope is in the LORD. For he shall be like a tree planted by the waters, which spreads out its roots by the river, and will not fear when the heat comes, but his leaf will be green, and will not be anxious in the year of drought, nor will cease from yielding fruit” (Jeremiah 17:7, 8).

Down with despair! Up with hope!

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Confusing the Signs

According to an apocryphal story, a state patrol officer pulled over an elderly motorist on I-25. “You were driving too slowly,” the officer explained. “The speed limit is 75, but you were doing only 25.”

“But, Officer, right there the sign says ’25,’ and that’s what I was doing.”

The officer responded. “That sign identifies the highway, not the speed limit. The posted speed limit is 75.”

Looking at the motorist’s three elderly passengers, the officer observed, “Your passengers look terrified and frozen. How do you account for that?”

“Well, Officer, I guess it’s because we just turned onto this highway from Highway 115.”

Confusing the signs is never a good thing on a highway, and it is never a good thing in Bible interpretation. The signs Jesus gave in Matthew 24 as precursors to His coming at the end of the age (v. 3) can easily be misinterpreted as signs that must precede the Rapture. But Jesus was speaking to His disciples (Jews) about end-time events affecting Israel prior to His return to earth to establish the messianic kingdom.

I am convinced the Rapture could occur at any time, sans signs! If you want a detailed explanation, you can purchase my 49-page booklet, Rethinking Popular Beliefs About the End Times, for $5 (postage included). If you are interested, e-mail me at and request my address.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Picky or Perceptive?

You might think I’m picky. Maybe I am. But when it comes to picking a church, I look first and foremost for one that has solid Bible preaching with life application. I also look for one with caring people. Frankly, it bothers me if people greet one another only when the pastor or worship leader says, “Now let’s take a couple of minutes to greet one another” Big deal—saying hello to visitors only when commanded to do so is meaningless. How about greeting visitors with a smile and a friendly greeting before the service and after the service?

It may be picky to evaluate (I didn’t say “judge) a church’s caring for others by additional criteria:

(1) Does the pastor or any member of the church call or write to visitors to let them know their visit was appreciated?

(2) Does the pastor or any member of the congregation follow up with visitors with an offer to provide information about the church’s beliefs and programs?

(3) Does the pastor or any member of the congregation show concern when a person is sick, injured, hospitalized, or experiencing some other trial?

(4) Does the pastor or any member of the congregation express concern when a churchgoer is absent for several Sundays?

Perhaps my standards are somewhat high. In the 50 years I served as a pastor, I followed the four practices I listed. Am I wrong to expect others to follow them? Am I picky and old-fashioned, or am I expressing what is on your mind too?

Friday, July 24, 2009

Much Better Than High Tech

Do you remember when a blackberry was a black berry? You ate it; you didn’t “play” with it. And you didn’t have to use your thumbs. Now we have i-Pods, i-Tunes, i-Photos, i-Chats, IDVDs, and a host of other high-tech gadgets that make our heads swim. If you know your way around computers and other techie toys, you are either an adult with a uniquely wired brain or a teenager or preteen. Most of us wonder how the world got so high tech and what quantum leaps lie ahead.

Even the purchase of a new telephone can lead some of us to the edge of a nervous breakdown. How do you set the date, day, and time? How do you adjust the ringer’s volume? Voice mail, call forwarding, call waiting, and setting up a frequently-called numbers directory can produce night sweats and nightmares. You can plop the receiver down almost anywhere in the house. It doesn’t have to remain on the base station. But some of us tend to forget where we place an object, so who wants to turn a house upside down and inside out in search of a phone?

Think back to “the good old days.”

A manual typewriter hardly ever broke down. Occasionally, typists had to clean the keys and roller and install a new ribbon, but they never had to rely on Geeks on Call to rescue them at $100 per hour.

If you wanted to make a phone call in the old days, you simply dialed the number. Either the person you called answered or didn’t. If no one answered, you called again later. You could call a doctor’s office and talk to a live person. That made scheduling an appointment or getting test results a lot easier than what you endure today. “Please listen to all options before making a selection. If this is a life-threatening emergency, please hang up and call 911. If you are calling from a physician’s office or a pharmacy, dial one now. To refill a prescription, contact your pharmacy, and your pharmacist will call us. For a new prescription, dial two now. To leave a message for a nurse or to inquire about test results, press three now. To schedule an appointment, press four now. For billing, press five.”

It seems high tech has gummed up most communication lines. A customer can’t even contact his telephone company without having to negotiate his way through a series of menu options that lead to a long hold followed by a response by someone who is struggling with the English language.

Fortunately, we don’t have to go high tech to reach God. Prayer gets us straight through to heaven from anywhere at any time. We never hear, “If this is a life-threatening emergency, hang up and call Michael the Archangel or Gabriel.”

God promised, “Call to me and I will answer you” (Jeremiah 33:3). Now that may not be a high tech system, but it is user friendly, voice activated, and reliable. Prayer never crashes, never experiences a power outage, and never puts us on hold.

© Jim Dyet

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Show and Tell

Wanting to teach her students about religious diversity, a third-grade teacher asked them to bring something to class that represented their particular religion. The following day a Jewish boy displayed a Star of David. A Catholic girl presented her rosary. A Muslim boy showed his a prayer rug. A protestant girl displayed a casserole dish.

What can believers, regardless of denominational affiliation, display that represents genuine Christianity? How about the qualities listed in Galatians 5:22 and 23 as “the fruit of the Spirit”? They are love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.

Have a “fruitful” day!

Monday, July 20, 2009

Small-Town Christianity

Goodland, Kansas, is a well-groomed small community of about 4,000 residents. I drove there yesterday morning, preached at Goodland Bible Church, and returned home after the morning service. I logged 353 miles roundtrip. The congregation was friendly and receptive, and two families invited me to their homes for dinner. I declined their invitations, though. Because I am still not feeling up to par, I wanted to get home as soon as possible.

I wonder how many small towns in America are home to at least one Bible-believing church. Nearly every town? Perhaps every town? Certainly little churches in little towns all across America play important roles in people’s lives. They introduce people to Christ and help them grow spiritually. They comfort those who hurt and provide hope for those who despair. Their influence helps to keep America strong.

We hear so much about mega churches, but praise for small congregations in small towns is rare. Today’s blog is dedicated to those often-overlooked little flocks.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Heaven Is a Beautiful Place

I have visited 47 states and lived in one of the most beautiful of them for more than 30 years. But the best is yet to come. Heaven, the future home of believers, is not just beautiful; it is perfect. Here are some things we can expect to find in Heaven:

• face-to-face fellowship with Jesus;
• reunion with Christian friends and loved ones;
• absolute holiness;
• unending joy;
• perfect peace;
• pure worship;
• perfect knowledge;
• meaningful service;
• boundless energy and health;
• homes custom-designed by the Carpenter of Nazareth.

Now, here are some things that will be absent from Heaven:

• evil;
• disease, bodily injury, aging, anxiety, fear;
• prescriptions;
• eyeglasses, canes, crutches, wheelchairs, walkers;
• crime;
• scandals;
• suffering;
• good-byes;
• regrets;
• negativity;
• diabetes, arthritis, sinus trouble, heart problems, flu, cancer, etc;
• taxes;
• unemployment;
• poverty;
• prejudice;
• accidents;
• threats;
• terrorists;
• wars;
• home repairs;
• insurance premiums;
• medical bills;
• arson;
• natural disasters;
• bad weather;
• bad hair day;
• disappointment.

I hope each of us can give others a little foretaste of Heaven by the way we live on earth.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

My Passports

My United States passport arrived yesterday. It is my second passport, although it is my first U.S. passport. I entered the United States in September 1954 with a Canadian passport when I enrolled at Moody Bible Institute in Chicago. Now a United States passport is required to enter Canada, something I expect to do in two or three weeks.

I have two brothers. One lives near Niagara Falls, New York. The other lives near Niagara Falls, Ontario. They live on opposite sides of the Niagara River, but in two different countries. My passport will allow me cross the river and visit my Canadian brother and the area where I grew up.

Life can be complicated. Although I am the middle son, I am the only Scottish-born son. So the United States passport identifies my place of birth as the United Kingdom. My parents left Scotland and settled in Hamilton, Ontario, just before the Great Depression. My older brother was born In Hamilton, and then my parents moved back to Scotland, where I was born. When I was three, they moved to Canada again, this time with my older brother and me in tow. We settled in Ottawa, where my younger brother was born, and then two years later we moved to St. Catharines, Ontario, where my brothers and I grew up. Bill, my older brother moved to the Niagara Falls, New York area when he was 18. I have lived in the United States since 1960 and became a U.S. citizen in 1967.

Now that you have a brief history of the Dyet family, let me draw your attention again to the passport. It was issued July 8, 2009 and carries an expiration date of July 9, 2019. In order to use it, I must attach my signature.

January 18, 1952, by faith I signed my name to a passport that permits me to enter Heaven someday. Its authorization is John 3:16, and it will not expire. Unlike the United States passport, my passport to Heaven required no application fee. Jesus paid for it by dying for my sins on the cross. If you do not have a passport to Heaven, I hope you will believe in Jesus Christ as your Savior. He is the only Way to Heaven (John 14:6).

I am looking forward to crossing the Niagara River and reaching the place I used to call home, but eventually I will cross another river and reach my eternal Home.

“He will keep me till the river
Rolls its water at my feet;
Then He’ll bear me safely over,
Where the loved ones I shall meet.”

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Just Wondering

I suppose it is a mark of old age to reminisce and wonder. I have been reminiscing about Christianity in the old days and wondering when . . .

Feelings replaced objective truth.
Rock replaced “Rock of Ages.”
Movie clips replaced sermon illustrations.
Theater seats replaced pews.
Holding hands for prayer replaced folding hands for prayer.
“Judge not” replaced church discipline.
“Hip” replaced “holy.”
Obscure church names replaced denominational names.
Celebration replaced consecration.
Pop psychology replaced theology.
CEO pastors replaced shepherd-pastors.
“What do you feel about this?” replaced “What has God said about this?”
People of faith replaced born-again Christians.
Kingdom replaced church.
Kingdom work replaced working for the Lord.
Speech seasoned with cuss words replaced speech seasoned with salt.
Meaningless choruses replaced meaningful hymns.
A few people carrying Bibles to church replaced everyone carrying a Bible to church.
Consumerism replaced proclaiming God’s Word as it is to people as they are.

Just wondering. Of course some of the items on the list are neither moral nor immoral; they are amoral. However, I find some of amoral items abnormal. Along with wondering when these things happened I am wondering why they happened and where we go from here.

Saturday, July 11, 2009


It has been almost two weeks since I had nose surgery, but the pain continues. I will spare you the details. Perhaps when the doctor removes the stent August 6 the pain will end.

The nose is such a small body part, but when it hurts, the whole body suffers. For example, the nose doesn’t play an integral role in the golf swing, but I am not ready to swing a club yet. I feel too weak to do that. As far as I know, the apostle Paul didn’t have a painful nose, but he understood that the suffering of even a small member of the body causes all the members of the body to suffer (1 Cor.12:26a). Therefore, no hurting Christian should be considered unimportant. Every congregation can show greater concern and care for those who suffer.

A phone call or a visit to a hurting believer may be the perfect prescription for that person’s recovery.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Minnesota Visitors

Jay and April visited us for a couple of days. They retired recently and decided to leave Minnesota for a two-month tour of the West. Gloria and I had never met Jay, but we knew April, although we hadn’t seen her since she was a young girl. Her parents were active members of a church I served as pastor 25 miles east of Rochester, New York. Her older brothers were teens and she was ten in 1964, when Gloria and I moved from New York State to serve a church in Altoona, Pennsylvania.

We enjoyed showing Jay and April some of our Colorado Springs scenery and conversing with them about spiritual matters. We had lots to talk about, and names from the past rolled out of our minds’ archives.

Jay and April’s daughter Danielle and son-in-law Joseph are missionaries to Spain.

In my pastoral ministry, I was involved in the construction of two church buildings, but the constructions that mattered most were those involving families. I don’t believe a pastor has a greater joy than that of seeing the faith taught and caught by succeeding generations. We may build church structures for the future, but we build families for eternity.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

So Much for Patient Privacy

During my post-op appointment with the surgeon yesterday, an older couple entered the waiting room and received customary medical forms to complete. They sat near me, and the woman began reading the list of diseases the old fellow was supposed to check off. In the ensuing ten minutes the old fellow responded audibly to each item. and then his wife placed the checkmark at the appropriate place.

So much for patient privacy! I learned the man’s medical history, including how long ago he had been a smoker and how long he had smoked. Perhaps his glaucoma had required his wife’s assistance in reading each medical form to him.

Frankly, I hope I never reach a stage of life in which I have to share my medical history audibly in a doctor’s waiting room or wherever strangers are within earshot. I am too reserved for that.

On the plus side, it is good that a wife can help her husband or vice versa. In the absence of a spouse, a good friend’s support in times of medical challenges can bring practical help and encouragement.

Solomon wisely observed the mutual benefit of a close partnership. He observed: “Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their labor. For if they fall, one will lift up his companion. But woe to him who is alone when he falls, for he has no one to help him up” (Ecclesiastes 4:9, 10). Contrary to the opinion of some, these words do not refer to suspenders but to the beneficial relationship of spouses.

How can you help your spouse or best friend today?

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Priorities Matter

Somewhere I read that a woman 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, 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.

—An excerpt from The Anchor, Haven Ministries, written by Jim Dyet

Friday, July 3, 2009

Declaration of Dependence

I have been unblogged this week. Due to surgery Monday, I haven’t spent much time at the computer. I had extensive surgery to clear scar tissue from my right nasal passage. I have been bleeding since then and must change a dressing under my nose every couple of hours. Needless to say, I will be happy when the bleeding stops.

We all face medical challenges from time to time and realize doctors can do only so much. Ultimately, healing is a divine prerogative. We must depend on the Lord to do what He deems best. As we celebrate our nation’s independence, perhaps each of us should construct a Declaration of Dependence, a prayer in which we declare our dependence on the Lord for every need.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Michael and Farrah

Two celebrities left life on earth this past week, just two hours apart. Farrah Fawcett died of cancer, and Michael Jackson died of cardiac arrest. Farrah Fawcett’s death was predictable; Michael Jackson’s death was unexpected. Both deaths underscore the frailty and uncertainty of life. Proverbs 27:1 and James 4:1 both insist we do not know what a day may bring, and James 4:14 compares life to a vapor that vanishes almost as soon as it appears.

Ultimately, it doesn’t matter whether a celebrity can moonwalk and achieve the title, “King of Pop.” What truly matters is whether that celebrity will walk in Heaven and receive the approval of the King of kings. Nor does it ultimately matter if a celebrity is beautiful. What truly matters is whether that celebrity will enter heaven, where unrivaled beauty exists.

The media have devoted many hours to the coverage of Michael Jackson’s life and death, but death is the great leveler. In the normal course of time, every human being will die. But then what? Heaven is the eternal destiny of all who know Christ as Savior, but hell is the eternal destiny of all who reject Him (read John 3:36).

A visitor to England noticed the following epitaph on a tombstone in a country church cemetery:

“Pause, my friend, as you pass by.
As you are now, so once was I.
As I am now, so you will be.
Prepare, my friend, to follow me.”

The visitor scribbled the following note and attached it to the epitaph:

“To follow you is not my intent
Until I know which way you went!”

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Knowing Jesus

Our children have good memories of times we entertained missionaries in our home. They learned that missionaries are real people who care about others, undergo personal struggles, have distinct personalities, and possess a good sense of humor. A missionary to Brazil gave an ocelot skin and other artifacts to our children. Another missionary gave our son a pair of cowboy boots. He said he wouldn’t need them in Bangladesh. Another got expelled from a bowling alley in the middle of a game we were enjoying. It seems he had stepped on some candy and tracked it onto the bowling lane.

Crowds got to know Jesus’ teachings, but individuals who drew close to Him got to know Him. When Jesus visited the home of Mary and Martha, Mary sat at His feet and listened to what He had to say. However, Martha was too busy to sit at His feet, and objected that Mary was not helping her. Jesus explained that Mary’s choice was better than Martha’s.

If you want to know Jesus well, spend quality time with Him.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Lights in Public Schools

Yesterday morning Gloria and I attended a continuation ceremony for our 12-year-old granddaughter Kayla and her classmates. Sixth grade is behind them. Middle school is the next step along their educational journey.

The principal of Kayla’s school is a Christian and a graduate of BIOLA University. He addressed the students and parents forcefully about the measure of true success. Character, he said, is the true measure of success. His remarks closely resembled those of a sermon. Lightheartedly, he even called for an Amen at the end of his address. I told him after the ceremony he came very close to quoting Galatians 5:22 and 23. He agreed.

Public schools are hardly bastions of Christian thought and conduct, but the Lord has faithful believers in public schools. They deserve our respect and our prayers.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Father's Day

Father’s Day is a good day to rehearse some of the characteristics of our heavenly Father. He is loving, gracious, benevolent, all knowing, all wise, all powerful, available, approachable, purposeful, merciful, generous, righteous, and holy.

Fathers who aspire to be like the heavenly Father are not all knowing, all wise, all powerful, but they can increase their knowledge and wisdom and use the authority God has invested in the role of father to benefit their children and society. And surely families and society would benefit greatly if more fathers were loving, gracious, benevolent, available, approachable, purposeful, merciful, generous, righteous, and holy.

Happy Father’s Day!

Thursday, June 18, 2009

How Firm a Foundation?

Loyalty to a church or denomination is fading as an increasing number of churchgoers flit from church to church without regard for doctrinal distinctives. And the unwillingness of some churches to reveal its denominational affiliation contributes to the phenomenon. Consequently, many churchgoers don’t know what they believe. All they need to know is what a church offers. Does it offer fun programs for all ages? Lively music? A hip, handsome, charming senior pastor?

Several years ago, a leaflet from a church showed up at our door. The name of the church was generic. The leaflet advertised fun programs, lively music, thrilling drama, and no long, boring sermons. I told my wife I would call the pastor and ask if he preached any short, boring sermons. She didn’t think that was a good idea.

But I did call and ask the pastor about his beliefs. He said he didn’t take a position on the matters I posed. It was another case of a pastor who wanted to be all things to all people in order to achieve maximum numeric growth.

Someone was asked, “What do you believe?”

He replied, ”I believe what my church believes.”

“And what does your church believe?”

“It believes what I believe.”

“And what do you and your church believe?”

“We both believe the same thing.”

Instead of being shaky about what we believe, we need to be shaken by what we believe. What beliefs keep you steady in an unsteady world?

Monday, June 15, 2009

Contrasting Sauls

Have you noticed the contrasts between Saul of the Old Testament and Saul (Paul) of the New Testament?
• Saul of the Old Testament was Israel’s first king. Saul of the New Testament was the Gentiles’ first apostle.
• Saul of the Old Testament started out little in his own eyes but became big in his own eyes. Saul of Tarsus, the Saul of the New Testament, started out big in his own eyes but became little in his own eyes. God became all-important to Saul of Tarsus after the risen Son of God confronted him on the road to Damascus.
• Saul of the Old Testament died in defeat (1 Sam. 31:2–4), Saul of the New Testament died as a victor (2 Tim. 4:6, 7).
• Saul of the Old Testament rejected God’s will and lost his crown (1 Sam. 15:26–28; 2 Sam. 1:10). Saul of the New Testament (the apostle Paul) embraced and fulfilled God’s will and anticipated a crown (Acts 26:26:19; 2 Tim. 4:8).

We make choices every day. Some are wise; a few are unwise. Let’s choose today to obey God’s will, fight the good fight, finish the race, keep the faith, and anticipate “the crown of righteousness.”

Friday, June 12, 2009


When my dermatologist greets me every six months, he uses one hand to shake my hand and uses his other hand to shake a can of liquid nitrogen. Yesterday, he zapped me about 20 times with liquid nitrogen. Today, my head looks raw, but it should heal in two weeks or so. According to the dermatologist, I have had significant exposure to the sun.

Exposure to the sun in Colorado Springs is normal, and skin cancer is fairly common. I wear a hat outdoors, but the sun seems to penetrate it. So I have an appointment in December to visit the top-gun dermatologist again.

Exposure to the sun may be hazardous to the skin, but there are no harmful effects of exposure to the Son. If we stay close to Him, our lives will show only beneficial results. Galatians 5:22 and 23 identify them as “the fruit of the Spirit: and list them. They are love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.

Keep walking in the Sonshine!

Monday, June 8, 2009

Lingo, New and Old

Door-to-door solicitors descend on our neighborhood like ants at a picnic. The other day a young man rang our doorbell and introduced himself as a college student from Scotland. He was selling children’s books.

“I was born in Scotland,” I told him, “but I was just a wee wain when oor family moved tae Canada.”

To say the young man was surprised is an understatement. He was flabbergasted. “ I see you know the lingo,” he offered after regaining his composure.



My parents spoke with a Scottish brogue until they died, but I never heard either of them say “lingo” or “cool.” I guess the language and accent of Scots today are quite different from what they were when my parents and I lived in Scotland an awfie lang time ago. As a matter of fact, the solicitor’s accent seemed to resemble that of an Englishman.

Christianese has changed through the years too. Years ago we used to refer to being “born again,” “saved,” “ bought by the blood,” and we urged the “unsaved” to “repent” and accept Christ as your Savior.” Now, the popular vocabulary includes such terms as “a relationship with God,” “give Jesus a chance,” and “people of faith.”

Here’s my take on these modern terms. I think they are weak and meaningless. Everyone has a relationship with God, either a right relationship or a wrong relationship. Jesus doesn’t need a chance; He doesn’t come as a 30-day trial offer. And “people of faith” is nondescript. Having faith amounts to nothing unless Jesus is the object of that faith. Faith in a church or a religion or one’s good works or baptism or religious pedigree is groundless.

I hope we get back to Biblical terminology soon, but I hae ma doots!

Sunday, June 7, 2009

51st Anniversary

Gloria and I are celebrating our 51st Wedding Anniversary today. We tied the knot June 7, 1958 in Alexandria, Virginia, five days after I graduated from Houghton College, Houghton, New York. We met when we were students at Moody Bible Institute in Chicago.

I am still a work in progress, but Gloria is patient. She has accompanied from pastorate to pastorate and publishing house to publishing house, from Ontario, to New York State, to Pennsylvania, to Indiana, to Colorado, to Illinois, and back to Colorado. Since I “retired,” she has accompanied me to churches throughout Colorado where I have ministered as an interim pastor or pulpit supply. She deserves a lot of credit for not only traveling with me but also for sitting through my sermons.

We are both grateful to the Lord for saving us and giving us a purposeful, happy life.

The testimony, “He led them forth by the right way” (Psalm 107:7), applies to Israel, but it aptly describes how the Lord has led Gloria and me for 51 years.

Saturday, June 6, 2009


D-Day! Sixty-five years ago, the Allied Forces stormed the beaches of Normandy and were met by torrents of German machine gun fire. Bullets shredded the air and mowed down thousands of Allied soldiers. Many lost their lives. Others sustained crippling injuries. A few survived and fought on. Bravery won the day, and turned the tide of World War II. Nazi Germany fell and freedom prevailed. June 6 is a day we should always commemorate.

I was eight and living in Canada on D-Day. My parents, my older brother, and I had left Scotland, my birthplace, by ship when I was three. Although I was very young during the Second World War, I still remember the radio speeches delivered by King George VI and Winston Churchill. They called upon their listeners to maintain firm resolve and a willingness to sacrifice.

Today, we honor those who carried resolve and sacrifice to the battlefield and procured our freedom. Many did so by paying the ultimate sacrifice. We salute them! They were “the greatest generation.”

Now, rogue nations and terrorists intend to destroy our nation’s freedom, and big government is chipping away at our personal freedom. However, resolve and a willingness to sacrifice can keep us free.

Freedom is more than a political ideology; it is a spiritual reality. Jesus made the ultimate sacrifice—He died for us—to procure our freedom from sin, Satan, and eternal death. He said, “Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed” (John 8:36).

Nuff said. I am going to display the flag at the front of our house.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

The Days of Our Lives

Several years ago, police pulled over a young woman who was driving around her neighborhood in reverse. When they pointed out the dangers of driving in reverse and asked why she had been driving that way, she explained she had recently purchased a high-mileage car and was simply trying to roll back some of the miles.

The longer we live, the more “mileage” we accumulate, but we cannot reverse the mileage. Hair dyes, hair transplants, tummy tucks, plastic surgery, and makeup may make individuals look younger, but they cannot take even one day off their age. Furthermore, we cannot accurately predict how long our life will last. But we can make every remaining day count for God. We can invest our moments in eternity’s stock. In the final analysis, what matters most in life is not how many days we put in but what we put into our days.

Moses, who lived to be 120, prayed, “So teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom” (Psalm 90:12).

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Jonah's Pity Party

Jonah held a pity party and invited only himself, but the Lord crashed the party.

Jonah had lost face. His prediction that Nineveh would be overthrown in 40 days had not come to pass. Furthermore, he was extremely upset that God had spared the city. He was so distraught he wanted to die. He even asked the Lord to end his life. When the Lord confronted Jonah about his negative attitude, Jonah went out of the city, built a shelter, and watched to see what would become of the city (Jonah 4:1–5). Obviously, he was hoping the Lord would cheer him up by destroying Nineveh.

But the Lord did not destroy Nineveh. Instead, He prepared a plant and made it grow rapidly to provide shade for Jonah, much to Jonah’s appreciation. After all, it was blazing hot. But the next day God prepared a worm that attacked the plant, causing it to wither. Suddenly, without shade, Jonah whined and wished again for death (v. 9).

That’s when the Lord brought a halt to the pity party. He rebuked Jonah for caring more about his personal comfort than the destiny of an entire city (vv. 9–11).

Like Jonah, a believer may be more interested his personal comfort than in the spiritual wellbeing of others. If he loses a few creature comforts, he may host a personal pity party. What might the Lord do to shake a self-centered believer out of self-pity and shift his focus from himself?

Are you and I hosting pity parties? If so, we can expect the Lord to crash them—for our good and His glory.

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Jonah's Prejudice

It gets hot in the Middle East. Jonah was hot, very hot, after God spared Nineveh. His anger was white hot, and he sweltered under the sun’s intense rays. He fumed because God had spared the city. He complained, “Ah, LORD, was not this what I said when I was still in my country? Therefore I fled previously to Tarshish, for I know that You are a gracious and merciful God, slow to anger and abundant in lovingkindness, One who relents from doing harm” (Jonah 3:2). He was so angry with God, he asked Him to end his life (v. 3). He reasoned he would be better off dead.

What was going on with Jonah? Why was he so angry and despondent? Apparently his theology was okay. Read his prayer again, and notice he correctly grasped God’s character. God was gracious, merciful, slow to anger, and abundant in lovingkindness. What irked Jonah was racial prejudice, that monster that has been ripping the human soul for centuries. He would have been quite happy to see God zap the Gentile Ninevites. He had run from the task of preaching to Nineveh because he didn’t want any part of their rescue.

I have known some people with a good theology but a bad attitude. Have you? They want God to save the lost, but they want to save only a certain kind of lost people. Oh, they don’t specify skin color, economic status, or social status, but their attitudes and actions reveal their prejudice. Their church may be located in a racially diverse neighborhood, but they would rather see their church attendance dwindle and die than do anything that would encourage people from the neighborhood to attend. I have even known some Christians who can quote John 3:16 from memory and donate money to missionary work, but they also use racial slurs.

Jonah was wrong to resent the grace and mercy God had shown to the Ninevites, and every believer today should renounce racial prejudice. Why not read Luke 10:25-37 and James 2:1-10 today?

Friday, May 29, 2009

God's Amazing Love

A couple of weeks ago, on a clear day, I stood at the top of Pikes Peak. It is amazing how far in all directions you can see from 14,110 feet. The view encompassed other mountain ranges, valleys, and Colorado’s eastern plains stretching out to Kansas. But God’s love reaches even farther than the view from Pikes Peak. It extends to every continent.

When the King of Nineveh and his subjects repented, God demonstrated His vast and amazing love by forgiving them and sparing their city (Jonah 3:6-10). His love outdistanced their wickedness.

Wickedness rages throughout the world today, but God loves even the vilest sinner; and Jesus died for that person as well as for every human being. Forgiveness is only a breath away for anyone who responds to God’s love and believes in Jesus as his Savior. John 3:16 proclaims the all-inclusive nature of God’s love and His unconditional promise of eternal life to all who believe. “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.”

Someone God’s love this way:

“His is love; ‘tis love unbounded—
Without measure, without end.
Human thought is here confounded,
It’s too vast to comprehend.”

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Preach It, Jonah!

When Jonah entered Nineveh, he did not take a survey to determine the community’s felt needs or interests so he could tailor his preaching to fit his audience. Nor did he offer an entertainment package or promise success to those who would simply give the Lord “a chance.” Instead, he preached the message the Lord had given him (Jonah 3:1, 4).

The Ninevites responded to Jonah’s stern message about judgment by repenting. Even the king repented. He stripped off his royal robe, covered himself with sackcloth (course, dark cloth made of goats' hair), and sat in ashes. He wasn’t giving God a “chance.” He was beseeching God to give him a “chance.” And them he decreed that everyone in Nineveh should follow his example. He hoped God would spare the city (v. 9).

He was right. God responded to the citywide repentance with mercy (v. 10). More than two centuries earlier, King David had prayed, “The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit. A broken and a contrite heart—These, O God, You will not despise” (Psalm 51:17). He, too, was right!

In Colonial America, Jonathan Edwards preached a stern sermon, “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God,” that caused members of his congregation to grip the backs of the pews tightly because they feared they would slip into hell if they let go. Are we overdue for a similar message today? Of course, if congregants heard one, they might have to grip the backs of theater seats, but genuine repentance might buy our nation more time.

Monday, May 25, 2009

40 Days until Judgment

It wasn’t an easy assignment. The Lord had commissioned Jonah to preach against Nineveh’s wickedness. It is never easy to preach against sin, but to do so in foreign capital with a reputation for extreme cruelty would test any preacher’s nerves and loyalty to the Lord.

Nineveh was a vast city of three days journey, and its fortifications were extremely strong. Its walls were 100 feet high and wide enough for three chariots to run side by side at the top. As he gazed at those huge walls, Jonah must have felt as small as an ant.

Keep in mind that Jonah was the lone foreigner in a densely populated city. He was God’s sole representative among thousands of immoral, profane, fierce pagans. So did he tone down his message? Not at all! He told the Ninevites their city would be overthrown in 40 days (Jonah 3:4).

No one knows how long America can survive. Surely, our nation is generous and noble in many respects, but its moral decline is obvious. It has become almost totally secular and disrespectful of God and the Bible. Furthermore, many pulpits are silent about sin and its destructive consequences. People are told what they want to hear, not what they need to hear. Churchgoers are assured they have intrinsic value and God wants to make them successful, wealthy, and healthy. Instead of being told they need to be saved, they are told they are entitled to be successful and happy. God is portrayed as a doting celestial Santa Claus who exists to make every day Christmas. He delivers toys and fun to boys and girls of all ages. No one is naughty; everyone is nice.

If our nation is to survive for many more years, we need to expose sin and warn against its dire consequences. But we can also offer God’s grace and forgiveness to those who turn from their sin and believe on God’s Son. “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 6:23).