I’m sure that most of the folks reading this article have been in situations where they find themselves in the middle of relationships. Perhaps you have been a manager or an assistant manager. You know the friction that may occur between bosses, co-workers, and customers. You may have been involved with members of your family in a dispute. You may have experienced the tension between the teacher, the student, and the parents in a teacher-parent meeting. Obviously, there are too many examples to list here.

As I thought about the disquiet that broiled up between a care facility, family members, and a relative in assisted care, I wondered if God was ever in the middle, and if He was, how He managed it. The quick answer is that He has been in the middle. The first and most obvious example is Jesus. He was in the middle between us and God’s wrath.

Except He wasn’t in the middle at all.

As is well known among Christians, the Father, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit comprise the Trinity. God is one being with three personalities. How do these three have a good relationship with each other?

Perfectly. There is perfect unity, agreement, and fellowship between them. How do I know that? Because God is perfect. If He were not perfect, He would not be God.

Jesus, God in the flesh, made it clear He was one with the Father. If you and someone are perfectly one, no middle exists.

“I and the Father are one” (John 10:30).1

And Christians are one with Almighty God, as well.

“I in them and you in me, that they may become perfectly one, so that the world may know that you sent me and loved them even as you loved me” (John 17:23).

However, a large problem remains.

As long as Christians live on earth, we will carry about with us “the body of this death,” as Paul put it (Romans 7:24). We are a new person, through salvation in Jesus, with an old person existing along with us. So, we will always live in the uncomfortable middle. The Lord is on one side where peace and safety are, the new us is in the middle, and our sinful nature is on the other side, where it is tempted to do all manner of rebellious, lawless deeds, urged on by the powers of darkness.

However, there are two primary ways we can walk away from that uncomfortable middle and toward the Lord.

The first is to love and obey Him.

Jesus said, “If you love me, you will keep my commandments” (John 14:15).

If we don’t love and obey Him, we are moving away from Him toward our sinful side, which always brings death. If we love and obey Him, we come closer to unity with God. Thus, we step out of that uncomfortable middle.

The second way is to trust and have faith in Him.

“And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him” (Hebrews 11:6).

If we don’t trust Him, we will look for something else to trust. We will depend upon our own wisdom and intelligence. We may believe that money alone is the answer to our problems. We may think that our government or certain politicians will solve our issues.

If we look elsewhere, soon we are dealing with a kind of idolatry, with which people have been involved since the beginning of time. God hates this sin and has punished His people for it. This does not move us from the uncomfortable middle toward peace and safety at all. It moves us directly into our old nature and accompanying darkness and sin, where there is no peace.

However, if we turn to Him, we should know that God will be at work within us.

“Now may the God of peace who brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, the great shepherd of the sheep, by the blood of the eternal covenant, equip you with everything good that you may do his will, working in us that which is pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen” (Hebrews 13:20–21).

Amen. He will accomplish His will in us.

Thank You, Father. I praise You, Lord God Almighty, the One who loves us and sets us free.

1All Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible: English Standard Version (2016). Crossway Bibles.

 Gif courtesy Bing images.

There he stands. His clothes are dirty, like he had been fumbling around on his hands and knees in the mud for his lost phone. He feels a bit uncomfortable and is unsure why, but he thinks, “Oh well, that’s just the way life is.”

He stands in the middle of a dark wilderness, the moon shining only dimly.

He is happy, it seems, as happy as anyone else he knows and certainly happier than others. But there is a lingering annoyance. Although he has visited interesting places, fathered children, had fun, and laughed loudly, all seems empty when day is done, and he lays down on his bed.

In this dark wilderness, he has no idea in the world where true north is. Or east. He has no compass. His only direction finder is himself and what he understands. This is disastrous. For example, if you were adrift in the Pacific Ocean and did not use the sun, moon, or stars to plot your course using only your own mind, you would die. Thus, every direction the man heads toward seems unsatisfactory. He is convinced the answer lies out there somewhere, and he will figure it out someday. He has heard lots of ideas, most of which don’t make sense to him or resound in his heart and mind. He has settled for what many do. Lots of encouragements to keep on keepin’ on, seize the day, and treat others the way you would want to be treated, regardless of race or gender. As far as what follows death, he just believes that everybody goes to some vague, undefined “better place.” Maybe heaven. Maybe some unknown place.

Or maybe his body will just turn to dust.

He drinks to escape the realities he faces. That doesn’t seem to help, either. Sometimes, it makes things worse.

He finds no satisfaction in any religion he investigates, albeit studies none of them deeply. He just shrugs it off. He would find the truths of life somehow, someway.

Then, as he is wandering around in the unsatisfying, directionless wilderness, he believes in Jesus.

He is delighted beyond his ability to express it. He feels—new. He is amazingly happy that God exists and is real, not just some religious idea.

At the very moment of belief, he now wears a glowing, white robe of righteousness. He is a holy one. A saint. He is a saint not because the Catholic church says he is. He is a saint because the Bible says he is. No halo. No holy poses. Just the truth of having all the junk and sin of his former life washed away. His Father looks at him and sees only a righteous man.

He realizes that he was a horrible sinner, although he never thought of himself that way. He was just a regular guy, a pretty good guy—actually a little better than most of his friends. However, now he knows how atrocious his sin is and when he thinks about it, he is ashamed. But he knows, despite the reality of his monumentally sinful life, all of that, all of it, is gone. He knows he is not a saint but is amazed that God says he is.

He has become a being who has eternal life, not eternal death. He will live forever with a loving God in an amazing, heavenly place—a kingdom, actually.

He has become one of the sons of God Himself, the Creator of everything in the universe. That thought astounds him. By virtue of his sonship, he is an inheritor of the Almighty God’s eternal kingdom. It is not a democracy with a leader elected by the people. It is a kingdom with an eternal King, and “of His government there will be no end.” No change of administration. This King will never die to be replaced by another.

He is now a king and a priest in that kingdom, although he knows nothing about being a priest nor a king. In his inherited position, one day, he will be part of judging the world and angels. This thought baffles him. He knows he not worthy to do such things. But following that thought, he realizes no Christian is worthy of anything the Lord gives them, including—well, anything and everything.

He soon tells others of his amazing transformation. Most just shake their heads and tell him, “That’s nice for you. I’m glad you found something that works for you.”

Some believe, although their salvation comes years later. He never witnesses it. He can’t believe everyone doesn’t immediately receive his glad news, but then he remembers the dark wilderness in which he lived for years.

He feels called to be an intercessor, to pray for those who linger in the blackness as he did.

May we pray that the Lord of grace and mercy will forgive and save our friends, those living with no direction in the darkness of a wilderness.

Gif courtesy Bing images.

Laurie and I are very much enjoying watching The Lord of the Rings and the Hobbit series for a second time. Besides the adventurous, imaginative beauty of the films, what I enjoy most is the theological leanings presented. I’m sure people have authored books about the theology of Tolkien’s great work and this article will be very brief in comparison.

Three aspects of God’s kingdom and character in the films are thrilling to me.

First is the presentation of His sovereignty. Gandalf seems to represent a sovereign God. The most obvious example concerning this sovereignty is how, in the first Hobbit movie, he brought the dwarves into Bilbo’s quiet home despite Bilbo’s strong objection of wanting to do so. Despite this refusal, Gandalf proceeded to put a symbol on Bilbo’s door, and thus, on the dwarves came, pushing themselves into Bilbo’s house, taking over, and eating all his food. As an aside, this is a challenging commentary on our attachment to our comfort when the Lord is calling us to a task. I will admit that this scene made me uncomfortable. It is good, though. We need to be challenged. Another example of God’s sovereignty is Gandalf’s use of extraordinary power. He doesn’t use it often, and this speaks to us of God’s ability to rescue us, but at other times does not, despite our cries for assistance. God is sovereign and does what He pleases in His great wisdom and love. However, Gandalf’s sovereignty is imperfect. For example, when Gandalf utters the strong line, “You shall not pass,” the fiery demon Balrog falls into the abyss but whips Gandalf’s foot, taking him down, as well. This would not happen to the Lord God Almighty.

“I form light and create darkness; I make well-being and create calamity; I am the LORD, who does all these things” (Isaiah 45:7).1

The second theological aspect is Tolkien’s choice to use small Hobbits to be central in this world-saving adventure. All the way through the Old and New Testaments the Lord in His great wisdom chooses the unknown, weak, and lowly, those whom the world considers insignificant to accomplish His will. He ignores the great and influential so He will be glorified, not man. This is upside down in comparison to the way world attempts to accomplish things.

Third is the strong emphasis on the tremendous, unrelenting power of evil to spiritually inflict death upon us. Several kinds of murderous beasties appear that our heroes must battle. These creatures represent Satan’s fallen angels or demons, all of them hideous. I think we are all familiar with the activity of demons in Jesus’ ministry and what demons had done to a wretched man who lived among the tombs (Mark 5:1-13).

Few were able to withstand the sinful temptation of the ring of power, which represents the power of Satan, the god of this world. Our hearts are evil, as well.

“For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false witness, slander” (Matthew 15:19).

We see the effect of wholly giving oneself over to sin in the character of Gollum. He lives a terribly dark and miserable life and, in the end, dies falling into the fire of hell: the deadly price that is paid for a life of sin.

“For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 6:23).

That death not only occurs during one’s life but throughout eternity.

There is much to be gained through watching these films. May the Lord continue to deepen our knowledge of Him.

1All Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible: English Standard Version (2016). Crossway Bibles.

Gif courtesy Bing images

I heard it again on Christmas day. Laurie and I were watching Anne of Green Gables with Laurie’s dad’s widow. We hadn’t seen the film for at least twenty-five years, and we enjoyed it thoroughly. All of us were wiping tears from our eyes throughout the movie. I have become an old softie, it seems.

At one point in the film, Miss Stacey, Anne’s teacher, turned to Anne and said “Sometimes people don’t want to hear the truth, Ann. You see it frightens them, so they put up walls to protect themselves from it…No matter what anyone accuses you of, in the end the truth will set you free.”

I thought it was interesting that this portion of a verse from the Gospels should be used here. I have heard it here and there recently in media. You may have noticed that these vague allusions to scriptural truth pop up often. Whenever we hear such one-line biblical verses, we should attempt to discover the context they are in. We miss great treasures of truth when we believe in semi-truthful or even totally untruthful uses by speakers who twist Scripture so they can plug a biblical verse into their message that fits the topic they’re addressing.

I don’t see it much these days but remember the t-shirts and signs that encouraged us to “Believe” and “Have Faith”? We are not told what to believe or have faith in, but somehow just believing and having faith in something or other is good. Faith in the cause? Believing in the goodness of humanity and that all will work out well?

Talk about falling into a well of disappointment. The truth of the matter is that faith and believing must have an object. One cannot believe in vagaries.

Anyway, I didn’t remember the context of the quote from the Gospels about truth setting us free, so I looked it up. It may not surprise you that the context of the quote changes the meaning altogether.

“So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed him, ‘If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.’ They answered him, ‘We are offspring of Abraham and have never been enslaved to anyone. How is it that you say, ‘You will become free’?” (John 8:31–33). 1

So, the truth setting us free has conditions attached to it. We must abide in His word, which means we will truly be His disciples.

Abiding in His word. How absolutely magnificent.

But His word, His truth, will set us free from what? It will free us from the dark, death-causing results of sin.

Laurie and I thought about our lives with Jesus as we studied it. We have found that abiding in His word has had multiple outcomes, not the least of which is the wonder of understanding His truth more deeply. It has brought us to understand the meaning of scriptural leadership, for example, and how different it is from what we have seen in churches. It has caused us to understand the greatness of His sovereignty, providence, and power. It has put into our hearts disinterest in some of our previous behaviors. It has also caused us to raise objections to proclamations based upon out-of-context Scriptures, always in love, but at times, forcefully.

“From the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven has suffered violence, and the violent take it by force” (Matthew 11:12).)

This violence is something like strongly pushing through a bunch of smothering blankets. It is the pressing against the fabric of culture and religion that claims to know the truth but misuses it.

If we were to read on in John 8, we will see that Jesus then questions the “Jews who had believed him” and those questions reveal that their belief in Him was razor thin. In fact, if we read to the end of the discourse, we will discover that those involved wanted to kill Him.

Rejection is sometimes the fate of many who simply tell the truth about the Lord and His truth. Often, people just cannot hear it. They are too steeped in tradition.

May the Lord continue to enlighten us in the true truth of His living word.

1All Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible: English Standard Version (2016). Crossway Bibles.

Gif courtesy Bing images.

Readers, may the Lord bless you and your family as you celebrate the birth of Jesus this year. I hope you have been able to push through the cultural, commercial tsunami to find a place of sincere thanksgiving and worship. Thank you for sticking with Laurie and me through the years. A blessed and merry Christmas to you all!

Former officer Kimberly Potter shot and killed Daunte Wright. There is no doubt or question about that. Everyone in the courtroom knows it. Ms. Potter knows it. This is true not just because the officers who were with her at the scene testified to it, it is true because all the police officers who were involved had body-worn cameras that show clear evidence of it. All of it, second my second.

I began to wonder how a person would deal with the memory of an event like this after he or she had become a Christian. At this point, we Christians are likely to throw in and say, “You’d be forgiven, of course! All of our sins are washed away in the blood of Jesus.”

True, true. This is the gospel.

“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9).1 

I also wondered about other people, mostly men, who have raped children, and sexually abused little ones, including, impossible to imagine and shouldn’t be, babies. What should they do?

 Of course, believe the same gospel truth.

Our sins are totally removed, no matter how heinous they are.

“I, I am he who blots out your transgressions for my own sake, and I will not remember your sins” (Isaiah 43:25).

The Lord, in His great love and mercy, forgives and forgets everything. All sins washed away. We are now, difficult  to comprehend, as righteous as He is. He has done His part completely.

But what about us? Can we forget? I know it’s popular to say, “You gotta forgive yourself.” But I’m not sure what that even means, to be honest. How does one forgive oneself?

I saw Kim Potter in the witness chair when both the defense and prosecution brought up the shooting of Daunte Wright. In both cases, the former officer wept. She may have asked God to forgive her for that accidental shooting, but it’s clear the guilt remains. And I think it will remain and linger, although the strength of that guilt will gradually diminish over time.

Even David, the poet king, was troubled about the terrible sins he had committed—adultery with Bathsheba and the arranged murder of her husband.

“Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin! For I know my transgressions, and my sin is ever before me” (Psalm 51:2–3).

In my pre-Christian life, I committed sins of which I am ashamed. Thankfully, none of them were the sins addressed above. From time to time, one of these sins pops into my mind with shame attached to it. I know that Christians will say, “Reject it.” Well, of course. I believe I am forgiven. But there’s still that brief feeling of shame. They may also say, “Rebuke the devil. He’s the one that planted that thought there.” Well, I’m glad you know the source of that thought, but I don’t. Okay, perhaps it was the devil. Now what? Regardless, I find relief simply by asking the Lord to forgive me, knowing that He already has, which sounds silly, I guess. But I just want Him to know I realize how bad my sin was. How I respond to that thought actually increases my thankfulness for His forgiveness and my salvation. So, perhaps He’s the one who brought it to mind.

So, what would I do if I had committed one of the awful sins I wrote about earlier? I think the shame attached to that would be so much greater by several orders of magnitude than what I did that it would bring me to my knees.  So, I wouldn’t say, “Reject it,” or “Rebuke the devil,” but, “Hit your knees.”

And that’s okay. It’s okay to be brought to our knees.

To the ones who feel dominated by the guilt and shame of previous sins, I would encourage such a one to deal with it with the Lord in sincere prayer. The lingering shame may last a lifetime. Go ahead and pour your heart out. Just you and Him. God will meet you there.

1All Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.

Gif courtesy Bing images.

In Billy Graham’s book on aging, Nearing Home, he wrote that the biggest surprise for him about growing older was the loss of strength. For me, I would have to say there haven’t been many surprises at all.

Just uncomfortable realities.

Somewhere along this path of life, we begin to face the truth that things just simply are not going to get better for us. When one is young, almost everything is fixable. You get sick, you recover. You break something, you heal up. (I should add that this is not always the case for young folks.) And in my life, various health issues have been put right. Minor heart attack. Stents were inserted. Epilepsy struck in India. God healed me. Astigmatism. Lasik surgery. Dangerously compressed spinal cord. Cervical surgery patched that up. Hernia. Meshed. Crumbling tooth. Implant. Bursitis. Still painfully hanging around.

I don’t know if that’s a lot of medical events or not for an average lifetime, but I know that another ailment of one kind or other is inevitably around the corner. There is no upward slope. It is all heading downward, as it does for everyone. Our organs, bones, and brain begin to wear out and fail, and one’s immune system weakens. There is no fixing these realities, regardless of how much one exercises, is careful about how much or what one eats, or takes supplements to help along the way. Certainly, many diseases and sicknesses have been cured and even wiped out by modern medicine, but there is no stopping body deterioration and the weakening of immunity. No miracle drug. Nothing.

The failing of one’s body is similar to the failing of the body politic of a nation. All countries will eventually deteriorate and fail. However, unlike our growing-old bodies, there is a cure. In Peter’s message at Pentecost, he quoted the prophet Joel, saying, “‘And it shall come to pass that everyone who calls upon the name of the Lord shall be saved’” (Acts 2:21). 1 That statement is true, is a fact, as strong and durable as the eternal God Himself. However, if we do not believe and call upon Him, we will be judged for our sins. The Lord God Almighty holds nations accountable for breaking His laws and not repenting. He spoke to Israel, saying, “But you shall keep my statutes and my rules and do none of these abominations, either the native or the stranger who sojourns among you (for the people of the land, who were before you, did all of these abominations, so that the land became unclean), lest the land vomit you out when you make it unclean, as it vomited out the nation that was before you” (Leviticus 18:26–28).

I don’t know about you, but it’s clear to me that being vomited out of one’s land is a negative outcome.

To not be given over to sin, darkness, and failure, our governments and citizens must acknowledge the necessity of salvation and the possession of a Christian worldview. The nature of the political status of that country doesn’t matter. Capitalist. Socialist. Conservative. Liberal. They will all fail without Christianity, no matter how much they boast otherwise. No nation currently is pursuing that noble and salvific goal. Thus, all will be given over to sin and darkness. I present as evidence the formerly Christian Europe and the United States

To avoid the death and judgment of our nations, we must acknowledge that God is our Savior, sovereign Lord, and Creator. We must turn to Him and ask Him to forgive us for our abominations, not only as individuals but as citizens of our nation.

Please pray for your nation. We are all in danger.

1All Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.

Gif courtesy Bing images.

One morning while I was a junior in college—a Saturday or Sunday, because it would have been after a night of partying—I came downstairs to the kitchen in our house to make a hot cup of coffee and eat breakfast. A man named Roy, who didn’t live there, was sitting cross-legged on the kitchen table. He was a very intelligent man, quiet, a grad student, and a nerd. I don’t think he had ever done hallucinogens—probably acid—before that night.

When I walked in, I said, “Hi, Roy,” as if it wasn’t odd at all to find a man sitting in a lotus position on a kitchen table in the morning.

He responded, “Buddha.”

All right, I thought, he had a “good trip.”

Then he said, “I want a cigarette.”

I said, “I thought the goal of Buddhism was to deny oneself all earthly desire.”

He responded, “Buddha lusts for a cigarette.”

I gave him one.

It was a good trip, from the perspective of those who were, in our darkened minds, trying to reach enlightenment via hallucinogens. However, those drug-induced attempts to do that often ended up disappearing the next morning with the reality of the need for a cigarette and a hot cup of coffee, Buddha or no Buddha.

Those enlightenment experiences didn’t supply any answers at all to the questions, “What is the meaning of all this? What is this life all about, anyway?” Instead, many ended up with an interest in Hinduism or Buddhism, as Roy’s did. You may be aware that it turned out that way for the Beatles—that is until they traveled to India and discovered their personal guru was a lecher. No, the answer, as was made known to me a couple of years later, was not to be found in the realization that “we’re all one with the universe.” It was beautifully found in Jesus the only God who loves us and died to save us.

So, what is following Jesus all about? Does He lead us to where the sun is always bright with lollipops, flowers, and rainbows?

Not during our lifetimes, no.

Not sure about the lollipops.

In fact, after the joy of having been “born from above” or “born again,” we begin to find over time that following Jesus is simple, but it ain’t easy.

In order to be His disciples, Jesus requires that we must love Him more than we love our own lives; that we are willing to die for Him, even if that means dying a torturous death like He did. We also must love Him more than our families and our own lives.

“If anyone comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple. Whoever does not bear his own cross and come after me cannot be my disciple” (Luke 14:26). 1

We must be willing to give up everything. Wealth. Power. Position. All of it.

“So therefore, any one of you who does not renounce all that he has cannot be my disciple” (Luke 14:33).

The interesting thing is, although this is difficult, it brings true joy, true peace, and true life—everlasting joy, peace, and life, in fact. All for free. We must believe we need Him and repent of our sins so He will forgive us.  

Looking for enlightenment in this dark and crazy world? It exists only in one place—in one man, the one true God, Creator, and Savior.

1All Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.

Gif courtesy Bing images.

The Omicron variant has appeared out of Africa. Scientists don’t know much about it. Nevertheless, the World Health Organization reported it is a “variant of concern.” And this from Wikipedia: “The variant has an unusually large number of mutations, several of which are novel, and several of which affect the spike protein used for most vaccine targeting at the time of its discovery. This level of variation has led to concerns regarding transmissibility, immune system evasion, and vaccine resistance. As a result, the variant was rapidly designated as being ‘of concern’, and travel restrictions were introduced by several countries to limit or slow its international spread.” 1

Over thirty mutations, I’ve read.

However, many doubt the veracity that is coming out about this virus. The point of this post is not to discuss whether Omicron is dangerous or not. I simply want to discuss that it has appeared and what that means to us.

As I listened to an interview with a British scientist about the  Omicron variant on the car radio, I thought, “Oh, my. It is possible there is no end to this. It’s going to keep mutating and mutating.” I believe that this plague didn’t just happen. God is not only aware of it, He is either causing it or allowing it. I think this plague is part of His judgment on the earth. Five million people worldwide have died from COVID-19, although some doubt that number. Shouldn’t we plead for His mercy? No one in secular leadership in this country—none that I’m aware of anyway—has said, “We must pray and ask God to help us and have mercy on us.”

Right. Why beseech the Creator of the universe—and the One who created nucleic acid genomes and virions, two ingredients in a virus—to help us?

Sorry for the sarcasm.

But it does make you wonder why are we not encouraged by our governments to kneel in humility and ask the Lord for mercy and healing, doesn’t it?

However, we really don’t need to wonder long, do we? This nation and many others have rejected our Creator and Savior. We will not repent. We will figure out how to defeat this plague with our incredible intelligence and science. Wear a mask. Get the vaccine. Wash your hands. Stay home. We’re in this together. Do you see anything about repentance in that short list? That lack of repentance doesn’t go well when we are suffering through a pandemic that the Lord has poured out upon the world.

The Book of Revelation informs us that even though the Lord brought calamity of various kinds to the earth, people unfortunately and stubbornly did not repent.

“The rest of mankind, who were not killed by these plagues, did not repent of the works of their hands nor give up worshiping demons and idols of gold and silver and bronze and stone and wood, which cannot see or hear or walk, nor did they repent of their murders or their sorceries or their sexual immorality or their thefts” (Revelation 9:20–21). 2

In this nation we—not some vague “they”—have been murdering helpless infants for fifty years. We made sexual immorality legal. That is not “they.” That is us. The Lord eradicated nations that did the same things we are doing at this time. Look up the Canaanites. Check out Sodom. What makes us different from them?

Regular readers of this blog may remember that several years ago I had an overwhelming experience from God that His judgment is coming. It was so strong that I sobbed like I had lost a loved one.

Maybe I had.

Regardless of the lack of repentance among nations, Christians can repent for the sinful deeds committed in their countries. We can ask for mercy. I submit to you that we cannot do otherwise.


2Scripture quotation is from The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.

Have you noticed how the culture of the United States has tried to erase the meaning of the word Thanksgiving from our dictionary? Laurie and I were watching Gonzaga play basketball on ESPN, and they referred to the week of basketball tournaments as “Feast Week.” Feasting on food and feasting on basketball. Pretty much the same thing, I guess. For decades, Thanksgiving has been called Turkey Day. This all makes sense. Who wants to think about the irritating question, “To whom are we giving thanks?”

Retailers for Black Friday, perhaps.

The answer to this annoying question about meaning is not difficult to discern. Abraham Lincoln wrote this in his Thanksgiving Proclamation on October 3, 1863:

“The year that is drawing toward its close has been filled with the blessings of fruitful fields and healthful skies. To these bounties, which are so constantly enjoyed that we are prone to forget the source from which they come, others have been added, which are of so extraordinary a nature that they cannot fail to penetrate and even soften the heart which is habitually insensible to the ever-watchful providence of Almighty God.”


“It has seemed to me fit and proper that they should be solemnly, reverently, and gratefully acknowledged as with one heart and one voice by the whole American people. I do, therefore, invite my fellow-citizens in every part of the United States, and also those who are at sea and those who are sojourning in foreign lands, to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next as a Day of Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the heavens.”1

Giving thanks to God is what this day is all about. Giving thanks is everywhere in Scripture but most often in the Book of Psalms; and this is the command used most often:

“Oh give thanks to the LORD, for he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever!” (Psalm 107:1).2

Yes, He is good. Yes. His steadfast love endures forever. He has provided the food that you will be eating. He has provided all the food you have ever eaten. He has provided for us since we were in the womb. And yes, provided your job and all things good—and sometimes painful—in your life. Regardless of what you have endured, His steadfast love endures forever.

Reader and friend, may the Lord bless you as you give thanks to the Lord God Almighty for all He has provided.

Our love to you all.


2Scripture quotation from The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.

Gif courtesy Bing images.

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