The Best Place to Be

There are many places we might like to be. Some would be exciting. Some would be restful. Some would be beautiful. Some would be pleasant to the eyes as well as enchanting to the ears. There are places where we would like to camp out. The thought comes that we would just like to stay there and not leave for any reason. I believe that the best place to be is in the will of God. It may not be the easiest place to be but it will be the most fulfilling place. It will be the safest place. There may be danger all around us but if God has brought us there, it will be the best place. This does not mean that we always understand the reason for God’s will. But, we can trust Him. He is good and He always does good. If we are in His will, we can relax. There is nothing to fear. Worry is useless. We are in His hands, hands that will never let us go, hands that no power in Heaven or earth can defeat. There is no greater security than in His will. A home security system may fail but He will not. In Romans 12 we read that “His will is good, perfect, and acceptable.” This is surely the best place to...

The Message of the Flowers

This is the time of year when you can see many flowers in bloom. There are all kinds of flowers. Some grow in the desert. Others do well in the tropics. There are thousands of varieties even within one type of many flowers. Sometimes you find flowers in unexpected places such as high in the mountains or in the sand near the ocean. One of my favorite flowers is the rose. A private citizen in Tomakomai, Japan had an amazing rose garden. He was a postal employee and not a horticulturist. But, you would not know it from looking at his garden. No doubt he spent countless hours caring for the roses. There were all kinds of roses and colors in his garden. The flowers have a message for us. They point to a wise, artistic Creator. It is hard to duplicate the beauty and fragrance of a flower. But, like the stars in the sky, they proclaim the existence and beauty of our Creator. If the Lord made all the beautiful things we see in nature, how beautiful He must be. Just as a painting is a message from an artist, so the flowers are a message from the Supreme Artist. Let us hear the message of the flowers! Jesus is called the Rose of Sharon and the Lily of the Valleys. Wherever He goes, there is beauty and there is the fragrance of love. Flowers are used in times of sorrow such as funerals. They are also used in times of celebration such as weddings. The Lily of the Valleys and The Rose of Sharon never fail...

New Book is Now Available

My new book, The Focus of Faith, is now available on amazon.com as an e-book and also as a printed book. With the exception of the first two chapters, each chapter can be read independently. These are messages that I have delivered in many countries. You will find chapters such as these: “The Question that is the Answer,” “Love that is Big Enough,” “The Hope that Excites,” “Paradoxes of the Gospel,” and many more. There are messages for mature Christians as well as for people who may want to know more about the Bible. The Focus of Faith is not some vague wish. It is objective, based on the Bible. The messages in this book point to the source of the Christian’s faith. You will find messages to encourage but also point the way to Christ. If you are interested in the Bible or would like to know more about it, these messages should appeal to you. My aim is to deliver messages in such a manner than even children can understand them. I think the fodder should be down low so the sheep can get to it! This is my third book. This one is self published. I am finding that this has many advantages. That way the author has more liberty in using the book and promoting it. If this book is an inspiration and encouragement to any Christian, it will be wonderful. Should anyone come to Christ through reading this book, that will be worth publishing the book. To God be all the...

Easter Every Day

Every year we celebrate the resurrection of Jesus. That is appropriate, but in reality every day is a time to celebrate the resurrection of Jesus. We need to remember each day that He is alive. Jesus is our contemporary. He is not confined to a grave. He is not the mythological figure of someone’s imagination. He is not a prisoner of the past. He is as much alive today as when he walked the dusty roads of Judea and Galilee. If we only point to the cross, we have an incomplete Gospel. A Savior buried someplace cannot save us. I do not like to see the figure of Jesus upon the cross. The reason is that Jesus completed the work of salvation on the cross. He said, “It is finished.” He was offered once for all and will never have to die again. By that one sacrifice we are saved. No other will ever be needed. Because Jesus lives, He can save us completely. He lives to make intercession for us. The Bible says that he is seated at the right hand of God. The Holy Spirit makes Christ real in our lives. He leads us to the living Christ. And through Christ we can go before a holy God. Therefore, we celebrate at Christmas which points to the coming of Jesus in human flesh. We celebrate the perfect life he lived. We celebrate his substitutionary death for our sins. And we celebrate Jesus’ victory over death. Because He lives, we live. We live abundantly in the eternal life He has given us. We live in anticipation of the same...

The Community of Faith

Often maligned, criticized, shunned and considered out of date, she moves on through the ages. Often the target of jokes and the enemy of political despots, she continues to carry the light into the dark places of the earth. You will find her in historic buildings, in lowly hovels, in caves, under trees, in storefronts, in houses. She is a community of faith, called a church. Jesus said that the forces of evil would not prevail against her. What is the secret of this amazing community? It is Jesus Christ, the foundation and the head of the church. When people fight against churches, they are fighting against Christ. He loves the church. He established it and “the gates of Hell shall not prevail against it.” Talk about variety and you will find it in churches. You will see it in the sizes of churches. There are churches with only 10 or 15 members. But, there are also mega-churches with 10,000 members meeting in multiple places. There are churches with wood benches and mud floors. But, there are also churches with magnificent maple padded pews and carpets. There are churches with drums for rhythms and no hymnals. But. there are other churches with great choirs accompanied by orchestras. There are churches with a “bush” pastor who has no training. But, there are churches which have many pastors, highly educated. The strange thing is that wherever you go, whatever the style of worship or the meeting place, there is an amazing unity among brothers and sisters in Christ. There is a sense of family. The language may be different, the culture...

The Treasures of the Snow

For many years I lived on the island of Hokkaido in Japan. Winters were long and very cold. There was usually snow on the ground for at least 3 to 4 months. Some snows would come down in fluffy flakes. Others would be more like small pellets. The most snow that I experienced at one time was about 3 feet. The Bible speaks about the snow. It says that “though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be white as snow.” There is a purity, whiteness, and beauty about a fresh blanket of snow. The snow can transform an ugly place overnight. God’s grace is faster. In a moment he will take away our sins and give us the pure righteousness of Christ. In a moment he will give us a new life. The snow of his grace will cover all the ugliness. Snow should remind us of our Creator. Each snow flake has a beautiful design. Those who have studied snowflakes have concluded that each one is different. Consider how many billions there are in a single snowfall. Each one is a work of art. One alone would not be noticed but together they have great benefits for man. There are a great source of water as well as a source for much fun. Who does not enjoy a snowball fight? What would the Winter Olympics be without the snow? Together Christians can do more than just standing alone. We need each other. Just as the snowflakes differ so each set of fingerprints differ. Even the fingerprints of twins are different. They are still used to identify people....

Expectations for the New Year

There will surely be some surprises, interruptions, and new things. We can have well laid plans but they could be altered because of unanticipated events. This makes life interesting. God often comes in this way. It can be sickness, a promotion, a failure or success. It might be something that we never dreamed would happen to us. During 2018 much will continue as in the previous year. Many of our duties and responsibilities will be the same. There will be continuity. Many of our goals will be the same as in previous years. We will expect to grow and serve the Lord. We will expect His faithfulness as in past years. This does not mean that we will have a boring life. The sameness is good. God works through ordinary things and through ordinary people. Many of our friends will be the same. We can build upon the past year. In Japan where I lived for many years, it was customary to have a major house cleaning before the end of the year. Spiritually this is a good practice. It is good to start by cleaning the closets of our lives. Some spiritual detergents will help. It is well that we look up at the beginning of the year. There are many national and international problems that seem beyond man’s ability to solve. If we look around us too much, we could become discouraged. As Christians we look up. We know that God is on His throne. We know that He is working out His purpose. We know that God will have the last word. Let’s focus our eyes...

No Christmas?

How can you have Christmas without Christ? That is what many people do. They may enjoy the music, put up decorations, and give gifts to each other. But Christ will be left out. You would never guess that it was the birthday of a King, the birthday of the Savior of the world. Some will spend the Christmas season going from one party to another. But they will be just like parties any other time of the year. There will be wild stories and drinking. There will be no thought of the miracle when a baby was born in that manger so long ago. There will be no thought of the amazing love that God should come to this tiny planet and live in a human body. I lived in Japan for many years. There you may hear Christmas carols in department stores. You may even see a Santa Claus delivering Christmas cakes on Christmas Eve. And many Japanese people will give gifts to their children. But, if you ask, “what is the meaning of Christmas?” Many people would be unable to answer. There are many other countries where there will be no Christmas for most people. Governments try to lock him out of their country. The good news is that Christ is alive today. And with Him every day is Christmas, Easter, and Thanksgiving. He is everything to us. As the slogan goes, “Jesus is the reason for the season.” Christmas is a time to celebrate. We celebrate the gift of salvation in the person of Jesus Christ. Have a very Merry...

It’s a Command!

Thanksgiving is a command. It is not optional for the Christian. It is the natural response to God’s grace. In this country we are blessed abundantly. Even the poorest people would be considered wealthy in many parts of the world. It is easy to accept the abundance of blessings with the feeling that we deserve them. Rather than thanksgiving a spirit of dissatisfaction may arise within us. We compare ourselves with others who seem to be more blessed. We want more. Rather than being thankful for what we have, we grumble for what we do not have. Ingratitude hurts when parents experience it from their children. Imagine what ingratitude looks like when it is expressed toward the Giver of all good things, our Lord. Ingratitude is no trivial slight. It is a serious matter. It is what you would expect from people who do not know the Lord. But, for the Christian we should always be grateful whatever our circumstances. This was the lesson that Paul knew so well. Whether in want or plenty he was thankful. A thankful heart is a contented heart. The Bible says, “Be thankful.” Again, it says “In everything give thanks, for this is the will of God for you in Christ Jesus.” Whether little things or big things we should be thankful. All we have and can do comes from the grace of our Lord. Every day is an occasion for thanksgiving. This is a simple thing but living thankfully and expressing thanks impresses people. People are drawn to thankful people. Let’s be thankful. It is the proper response to the goodness of...

The Ruler of All Nature

Recently there have been tragic floods and earthquakes.  These upheavals in nature are nothing new.  “From the very beginning of history until the present time, men have struggled with the forces of nature.  But no government or scientific genius has been able to tame it. However, there is one exception. Jesus is the Ruler of all nature.  Time and time again, people were super-amazed as they saw Jesus control natural forces.  He simply spoke, and all nature obeyed Him.  And there were times when He did not speak, and nature obeyed Him.  People had never seen anything like Jesus’ power over nature.” “What would be your response upon seeing someone walk on water?  Shocked, surprised, and breathless would hardly express your feelings.  When Jesus walked on the water, the disciples “were greatly amazed in themselves beyond measure, and marveled” (Mark 6:51)  Why would this be so amazing?  Things like this are not supposed to happen.  It is not part of our experience.  We would say that it is impossible  People do not walk on water.  That is, not until Jesus came.”  The above quoted material is taken from my book titled, Astonished Beyond Measure. The e-book will be available at the special price of 0.99 Oct. 29, 2017 until Nov. 4, 2017 on amazon.com, iTunes, and Barnes &...