WHAT’S THAT? 1 Corinthians 3: 5-9

After retiring from our last church, my wife and I drive across country for the 7th time (no, not escaping mad as hornet parishioners, may I add!), when an idea pops into my mind–‘do a blog’.  A what?  A blog– writing some kind of message.

Not preachy.  Never tooting my own horn, since I used to play clarinet in elementary school!  Be myself.  Always glorify the Lord Jesus.  All published weekly.  Yet I wonder–who will read it?

Some of you have been doing just that from the very beginning–March 24, 2014!  I’m grateful to all Reflections-blog readers.  And here’s where God does His multiplying.  Taking my little effort and growing it.  For word has gotten out.

In 2020, people from 51 countries have been following.  From Africa to Europe, Asia to North and South America, the Caribbean, Australia and New Zealand, the Indian subcontinent and more.  Can you imagine?  I’m flabbergasted.  A global outreach.  Really?  Seems so.

But I dare not forget who gives me the idea, and who helps me day by day, week by week, month by month, year by year.  I know who, and so do you!  1 Corinthians 3:7,9–‘So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God who gives the growth…For we are God’s fellow workers.’

I’m not taking any bows.  No, I’m bowing down to the One who makes it all possible.  Thank you, Jesus!

Maybe there’s something you need to give Him credit for?  Or getting off your duff, putting into use all that He’s gifted you with to help others?

Possibly you’ve been taking too much credit?  How awesome you are while blaming everybody else for putting the kibosh on your golden dreams?  Get off your high horse.

Give credit where credit’s due.  At the feet of Jesus.  Nestled in.  Cuddled close by Him.


Thank you, Jesus, for the honor of serving you.  Amen.

WHAT? STOP GIVING? Exodus 35-36

Can you imagine?  So much money pours in that your pastor calls off church offerings for the foreseeable future.  What?  Stop giving?

I enjoy our church’s giving box that’s discretely located in the back of the sanctuary.  No plates passed.  Don’t feel like a cheapskate not tossing something in.  A button?  Some lint?  Anything’s better than zilch and a goose egg, especially when scowled at by some skeptical, greedy deacon!

Since we give by check or on-line, no one knows.  Privacy-giving, yet pulling our weight.  Doing our part.  Being cheerful givers.  Why?  To grow God’s Kingdom.

Money issues mentioned in church often touch tender nerves.  I’m on the lookout for ulterior motives.  When someone hugs me (when that was safe, pre-virus days!), I put a hand over my back pocket, covering my wallet.  Better check out the rundown condition of the building before first going in the front door.  Who wants to be part of someone else’s debt problem or some go-getter pastor’s agenda needing all my money?  Just kidding.  Sort of.

I remember attending a church until the pastor’s wife says that she’s so excited…about our tithe.  Not us.  Our checkbook.  Maybe she’s joshing?  Maybe not.  It’s what she says.

Moses in Exodus 36 organizes materials and workers for the Tabernacle, where Israel can worship the Lord.  Quite a project, involving lots of people, giving lots of moolah and material.

Reading Exodus 35, we find that the Lord yearns for cheerful givers.  Eager, passionate, openhanded and generous.  Exodus 35:21–‘And they came, everyone whose heart stirred him, and everyone whose spirit moved him, and brought the Lord’s contribution to be used…for all its service’  See?

God’s work.  People’s generosity.  What a team!  Giving so much that the workmen tell Moses that enough is enough.  Stop giving!  Exodus 36:7– ‘So the people were restrained from bringing, for the material they had was sufficient to do all the work, and more.’

Offering plates, locked away in a distant closet, gathering dust.  Annual money pledges or finagling tithe sermons put on hold.  Could this happen today?

Are we giving enough?  Are you?  Am I?


Thank you, Jesus, for being so generous.  Amen.

TITLE DEED Hebrews 11

When we finally decide to move, what a job to find what we want.  Will we know it when we see it?  We start to wonder when home after home, community after community, bats out more foul balls than home runs.  Burned out and fed up, especially when lied to by pushy hotshot sales people.  Or others who could care less.

Until my wife discovers a brand-new neighborhood.  As we drive through, all the boxes are ticked.  Everything comes together as we thank the Lord.  We’ve found where our new home will be!

Our realtor is shocked when next we produce a sizeable check for our down payment, which shows our good faith, matched by the builder’s 5-month hard work commitment.  As spade first hits the ground, all we can do is check construction progress.  And, when complete, it’s not ours until we gain possession of the title.  When the house is paid for, then and only then, is the title deed ours.  Home purchased!

The in-between time requires patience and trust, that what the builder promises will be produced.  Like Hebrews 11 faith–‘Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen’ (v.1).   Over and over again, the phrase ‘by faith’ is repeated.  ‘By faith…assurance…conviction.’  We need the same, especially when we hit life’s speed bumps.  ‘By faith…’

Leaning on Jesus.  Never letting go of His hands.  Sitting, snuggled close by Him, me on one side, you on the other.  Waiting patiently (or trying to!).  Trusting in God’s Word that He will fulfill His promises in His time, in His way.  Hoping for what we currently don’t have or see.  ‘By faith…’

In this life, you and I remain under construction.  He’s not done yet.  The title deed will pass to us as we leave this world for a far, far better place.  And then?  We’re home!  Even the porch light is left on!


Thank you, Father, for a mansion over the hilltop with you and Jesus, the Holy Spirit, angels and saints galore!  Amen.



Nothing’s scarier in an asthmatic attack than the battle for breath.  Tightness settles in as a distressing squatter.  Your chest feels like a ton of bricks have been dropped on it, ushering in claustrophobic panic.  Breathing labors as a day’s work.  Almost impossible to think about anything else.

My asthma punches in during physical exertion in cold temperatures.  In the winter, when sometimes we’ve gone to a resort in the Washington Cascade mountains, my asthma spray is nearby, especially as the grandsons love Silly Papa to literally throw them down snow covered hills on their ‘Red Racer’ and ‘Yellow Lightning’ sleds.  Outside it’s less than 20 degrees.  Nevertheless, Papa has to do his part… without excuse!

In Exodus 6, the Lord reassures Moses that He will liberate His own out of slavery in Egypt.  God hears their cries.  Help is on the way.  Reading verses 2-8 we hear God promising that ‘I will’ do this and ‘I will’ do that.  Pledges He makes and keeps.  What’s interesting is that in the original Hebrew language, these seven ‘I will’ assurances are all in the past tense.  As if God’s promises have already happened.

But there’s a problem.  Exodus 6: 9–‘Moses spoke thus to the people of Israel, but they did not listen to Moses, because of their broken spirit and harsh slavery.’  In Hebrew ‘broken spirit’ means ‘shortness of breath’.  God’s people asthmatically struggle to believe Him.  Doubts slither and slink toward them like a boa constrictor drawing its victim ever tighter, crushing out breath, cutting them off…from trusting Him.

I’m wondering if there’s someone you know who seems a bit ‘asthmatic’ in their walk with the Lord, finding it hard to trust Him, constricting their faith, gazing backward too often.  If so, maybe you can be like that medicinal mist that opens up breathing.  Praying for them.  Sitting with them.  Listening and encouraging, giving them space to breathe.

Or maybe it’s you who needs God the Holy Spirit’s help.  ‘Spirit’ in Hebrew is the word ‘breath’.  God sprays free breathing where most needed, allowing us to trust the Lord once again.

I know it’s not easy.  But start to breathe in.  Now deeper.  And then more…and more.  Ah!



Lord Jesus, let me help someone else.  Amen.


DELIGHT! Psalm 37

Do yourself a favor–read Psalm 37 this week.  Slowly and deliberately, like molasses in January.  You won’t be sorry.  Verses 3 and 4 put icing on the cake–‘Trust in the Lord, and do good; dwell in the land and befriend faithfulness.  Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart.’

Verse 4 puzzles me.  About myself.  That business of God giving me blessings.  My heart’s desires.  Sometimes I wonder if I’m only on God’s team for the goodies.  What I can wangle out of Him.  Twist His arm.  Somehow trick the Almighty.  Like that old beastly book entitled, ‘Prayer–How to Get Things From God’.  Yuck!

On better days, I want to delight in the Lord.  Love Him for being who He is.  Like I do with our grandchildren.  We have the best.  Love them whole bunches.  Yours too, if you have them.  If not, you delight in your spouse.  Friends and family.  Work.  Hobbies.  Sports teams.  Whatever and whoever.  You know–Delight!

A big question comes to mind.  How can I delight in God?  How?  Any ideas?  Probably similar to other delights.  With our grandkids, it’s being with them.   Hanging out, enjoying whatever they want to do.

One example is playing board games.  Fun, competitive tribe we have!  It’s a delight to see the joy on their faces, especially when Silly Papa pretends to shed big crocodile tears over being the biggest loser!  Delight!

Another is proudly displaying their pictures wherever there’s room.  And cherishing anything, and I mean anything, that they make for me, putting them all around my office.  I can barely squeeze in myself!  Delight!

This week think about delighting in the Lord.  As in what gives Him pleasure.  Ideas?  Can’t be too difficult.  If I can think of a bunch, so can you.  Delight!

By the way, never forget what a delight you are to Him!  Zephaniah 3:17–‘The Lord your God is with you, he is mighty to save.  He will take great delight in you…’  And Isaiah 62: 4–‘…but you shall be called My Delight…’  See?

Happy, Healthy, Delightful New Year!


Thank you, Jesus, for you.  Amen.