Follow Me

I read an interesting tidbit of imformation today concerning the The Australian coat of arms.
It pictures two animals, an emu, which is a large bird similar to an ostrich, and the kangaroo.
What was interesting is that these animals were chosen not because they are only native to that country.
But because they both share one certain characteristic.
That is, both the emu and the kangaroo can move only forward, not back.
The emu’s three-toed foot causes it to fall if it tries to go backwards.
And the kangaroo is preventing from going backwards because of its large tail.

This got me to thinking about following Jesus.
And if we are truly dedicated to following Him we should try to be more like the emu and the kangaroo.
Always moving forward, never backwards.
In Luke chapter 9, we see a situation play out where Jesus is encouraging some to follow Him.
And beginning in verse 59, Jesus says to one man very simply, “Follow me.”
“But the man replied, “Lord, first let me go and bury my father.”
Jesus said to him, “Let the dead bury their own dead, but you go and proclaim the kingdom of God.”

Now, at first glance it would seem that Jesus is calling on the man to just let his father lay without burial.
But let us consider a couple of things here.
First, the man’s father may not even be dead yet.
And in a sense, this man may be telling Jesus that he needs to go home and take care of thing until his father dies.
If that is the case, it is quite possible that when the man gets home, one thing will lead to another.
And after taking his focus off of Jesus for a while, he will most likely forget all about following Jesus.

But let us also consider the possibility that his father is dead and in need of burial.
Still, the man’s focus will be not on Jesus, but on the task.
Not to mention that he may be next in line with the responsibility of taking care of the family home.
In which case, other matters will take the place of responsibility to Jesus.
Either way, I am sure Jesus was well aware of whether this man would return to follow Him or not.

Jesus’ response to this man may seem strange to us.
After all, how can the dead bury anyone.
But it is not so strange when we consider that those who do not follow Christ are still dead in their sins.
As Paul tells the Christians in Colossians 2:13:
“When you were dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your sinful nature, God made you alive with Christ.

Then we read another exchange with a different man in verses 61-62:
“Still another said, “I will follow you, Lord; but first let me go back and say good-by to my family.”
“Jesus replied, “No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for service in the kingdom of God.”
Is Jesus telling this man to just forget about his family?
In a sense, we can answer this question yes and no.
But without knowing the situation at this man’s home (which I am sure Jesus did know) we can’t be for sure.
But think about this, family can be a powerful deterent from following Jesus.
Supose this man went home and his wife said, “You have to fix the roof on the barn before you leave.”
Then, as before, one thing leads to another.
And the next thing you know, following Jesus fades into the background of everything else that demands our attention.

I have seen a similar situation in Lisa’s and my own family.
Not that anyone tried to drag us away from Christ.
But by putting things of the world ahead of Him.
And expecting us to do the same.
Sometimes I dont think we realize the powerful influence that family members have on us outside of God.

Jesus’ solution to this man is to not look back.
I used to do some soybean plowing on the farm.
And I have to say, as long as I looked front and center, I didn’t do near as much damage to the crop as I did when I looked back.
But to look forward meant that you have to trust that everything is lining up perfectly behind you.
Without that trust, you will be looking back a lot.

Let us all strive to look and trust in Jesus, and not look back.
As Paul says in Philippians 3:13-14, “But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead,
I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.”

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Don’t Quit

Lisa and I have embarked on a journey to lose weight.
And it is tough.
We are counting our calories and how much walking we are doing.
And, I dont know about Lisa, but in my mind is the thought “I can quit this nonsense any time.”

Quitting is easy because it involves no effort, no commitment.
The world convinces us that we must do anything and everything to make ourselves comfortable and content.
And to do so means we need to eliminate those things which cause us discomfort.
And I believe, if we are not careful we will let that mentality carry over into our spiritual thinking.
However, I have a few suggestions if you ever have the temptation to quit the Lord.

Trust in God
Faith is not simply believing in the existence of God, it involves putting our complete confidence and trust in Him.
He has promised, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.”(Heb 13:5)
Even in our darkest hour, when it seems that all is lost, He is standing by our side, ready to help.
Place your confidence in God that He will lead you through the difficult times and build you up so that you can endure them.
If you never forsake Him, He promised that He will never leave you. Trust Him.

We have to finish what we start… Jesus did.
He came to this earth with a mission, to fulfill an incredible plan to save men from their sins.
Although He suffered greatly, He did not allow one thing to step in His way.
Not Satan, not the apostles, not the scribes and Pharisees.
The apostle Paul knew about hardships.
He recieved 39 lashes 5 times, beaten with rods 3 times, stoned once, and even shipwrecked 3 times. (2 Corinthians 11:24-27)
Do you think he ever considered calling it quits?
Yet through it all, he continued to trust in God and that allowed him to finish what he started.

Remember the big picture
Heaven is for those who have endured and have conquered, not for those who have given up.
Since Paul had fought the fight and kept the faith, he was confident in his eternal destiny.
“Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day—and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing.” (2 Timothy 4:8)

Remember where you’re going
It’s easy to get distracted by the things this life has to offer.
They cause us worry and tempt us to throw in the towel and quit.
They make service to God seem less important and often impossible.
At the judgment, those who have endured and those who have given up will be separated.
And the ones who have kept the faith will receive their crown of life.
Won’t the temporary things of this life seem so insignificant then?

Fight the good fight, finish the course, keep the faith, and whatever you do, don’t quit.

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Good Morning Sunshine

The sun provides us with free energy. Yep, I may try to build some solar panels. (Just dont tell my wife yet)
However, I think I have it all figured out.
1) Supplies are relatively cheap on Ebay. (36 3×6 .5 watt tabbed cells run about $20)
2) Construction is time consuming but rather simple. (a lot of soldering)
3) A frame can be made out of anything. (wood, metal, pvc)
4) Inverter and batterys are the most exspensive part. ($100-$200)
5) Free electricity!!!
Of course I would have to build a lot of them to get off the grid. And I dont think that is gonna happen in the next twenty or so years. But maybe if I build one or two, I can put one on the roof of the camper and let it continuously trickle charge the battery.
I have a slight problem with my camper battery going down. I think it is due to a cooling fan in the circuit box, and a low gas pressure alarm that will go off even if the gas is not turned on. Haven’t figured out how to disable either yet. Nor have I decided if it would be prudent to do so.
Great, now I feel like going camping instead!

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Dog Days

I was approached today by a woman who was in distress. Apparently, someone informed her that a member of our congregation is going to turn her in for abusing her dog. The dog was going to be taken away, and she will be fined one thousand dollars. This woman was nearly in tears as she told me how she had brought the dog from Califonia, and loved it and would never cause any harm to this beloved pet. How could anyone who claimed to be a good Christian turn her in? Wow, I was at first at a loss for words. I asked her what would she like me to do? She never answered that, just kept going on and on about how much she loved that dog. I cant control the actions of others (as much as I would like to sometimes).
I then felt the need to address her strange love for an animal that is always kept chained up in the back yard. A dog that maybe gets to see her for a few minutes a day if that much. Yeah I noticed, not that I was actually trying to notice, but I do spend a lot of time outside near where the dog stays. Mostly because that is the best place for my cell phone signal.
This woman obviously has other problems going on in her life (she works seven days a week, lives with her mother, is borderline depressed). But I felt the need to let her know about how I gave water to the dog several times last summer when it was 100 degrees out and there was no water to be found. In fact the dog had tried to dig for water and found none. It was pitiful. I couldnt imagine being out in that heat for a few hours without water, but this dog had been without water for God knows how long before I took notice. Didnt she ever wonder where that new water bucket came from? No, she didnt. Probably because she was too focused on her love for that dog. Oh, she claimed that she did give the dog water every day. And I did not dispute that, even though I know better.
The sad part in all this is that she assosiates the church with bad people. I pray for her, and that God will soften her heart.
She needs Christ in her life.

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Hello world!

This is my first attempt at blogging. Here you will find some stories that are funny, some thought provoking and maybe a sad one on occasion. I am a minister of God’s lovely Word and will naturally be writing about His influence in my life. So let us begin with a short story my dad would tell at deer camp:

Once my dad told me about a fishing trip to East Lake. Him and a freind were trolling along when they saw something similar to a beaver or muskrat swimming across the lake. Not sure what it was, they followed it across to the bank where it crawled out of the water and went in a hole in the ground.
They were still pretty curious and began to jab sticks into the hole in an effort to force the animal out. It came out of the hole and quickly crawled up a nearby tree where it rested on  a limb in plain view.
Of course my dad had never seen anything like that and they both began to throw rocks up at the odd creature in an attempt to knock it out of the tree for a closer inspection.
After a little while, and with no luck in knocking it out of the tree, it flew off.

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