GOOD ADVICE Matthew 24: 36-51

Yesterday would have been my father’s birthday.  Ellsworth (he preferred Bud!) Fischer was a house painter and interior decorator.  He was good at what he did.  Made fair money even in difficult times.  Not ‘easy street’, but we were never forced to live on the street either.  Thanks Dad, for providing so well for your family!

Growing up, I don’t remember him giving much advice.  He wasn’t the type.  But when it came to school, he always said to do your best.  I did.  I loved school.  Doing my best is easy when you love what you’re doing.

Most weeks he and I would drive to his local bank where he’d make deposits into my folk’s savings and checking accounts.  He would advise me to take any amount I could out of whatever paycheck I earned, and put it in the bank.  $5 or $10 a week becomes seed money for later needs.  Good counsel Dad, which I also heeded.  I’m so glad I did.

Do your best.  Save for later on.  Be honest.  And never work for family or friends!

In Matthew 24 Jesus tells His followers that the timing for His second coming is known only to God the Father.  Oh, how disappointing.  A little hint or two, Jesus?  Forget it!  Stop the guessing game.  Admit we don’t have a clue.  Any advice, Jesus?  What should we do in the meantime?

It’s simple.  Do your best.  Whatever you can… for Jesus.  A busy bee for the Kingdom.  Get off your duff–‘Who then is the faithful and wise servant, whom his master has set over his household, to give them food at the proper time?  Blessed is that servant whom his master will find so doing when he comes’ (Matt. 24:45-46).  See?

What else.  If it’s to call a friend, make contact.  Give to a missionary couple?  Donate.  Offer a helping hand to a neighbor?  Well, you get the point.  Following through is like banking in God’s Kingdom.

Save for later on, investing in what Jesus has in store for you and me.  Make whatever size deposit you can into your account with the First and Only Bank of God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.  All fully insured.  All forever.

Thank you, Lord, for what we can and will do for you.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen.

BARKIS IS WILLING! Matthew 23: 37-39

I love Dicken’s novels.  In ‘David Copperfield’ young Davy is raised by an attendant named Peggotty.  She’s a gentle, humble woman who loves Davy as her own.  He feels the same toward her.  Later a rough and tumble man, a good’s hauler, shows interest in Peggotty.  His name is Barkis.  He asks Davy to pass along the word that he’d like to marry her.  Davy is to say ‘Barkis is willing!’  Peggotty gets the message loud and clear and is willing!

Willingness.  That’s what’s missing in ancient Jerusalem as Jesus prays–‘O Jerusalem, O Jerusalem…How often would I have gathered your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you were not willing!’ (Matt. 23:37).  Barkis is willing but not God’s people.  When Jesus wants to gather His own close to Him, to love and care for them, they put up both hands, barking a loud ‘NO!” Unwilling.

How about you and me?  When Jesus makes promises do we go around unwilling and unbelieving?  Not sure if He’s ready to help?  His willingness heard in one ear and out the next?  That’s me, sad to say, more often than not.

But Jesus knows we’re far from perfect.  What He wants is an inclination, a simple nod, a genuine desire to be His own.  A willingness.  He’ll clean us up in time.  Then completely in the sweet by-and-by.

In the meantime, cuddle up a little closer.  Talk with Jesus.  Hear from Him in your Bible.  Put Him center frame in the Zoom picture of your daily life.  As best you can, try to block out Satan’s nasty lies, put-downs and suspicious doubts.

So, are you willing?  All in?  Mostly?  Well, that’s a good start.  Let’s keep at it.

Thank you, Lord Jesus, for being my best forever friend.  Amen.

HAPPY? Psalm 84

What makes you happy?  Think about it for a moment.  In church circles we talk more about what fulfills us or gives us joy.  We’re skeptical of happiness as being too dependent on fleeting, momentary things.  Not for Psalm 84 where happiness unashamedly rules the roost.

Reading verses 5 and 12 we note (at least in my translation) the word ‘blessed’.  In the original Hebrew one word for ‘blessed’ is often used.  But here we have a different one, which means flat out happiness.  Raucous cackling which explodes in cloud nine, rolling in the aisles, gut-busting laughter!

Really?  Why?  At the end of the day when we’re in heaven, at the foot of Jesus who’s at the right hand of the Father, surrounded by angels, the Holy Spirit and countless saints from all ages, who wouldn’t burst out in laughter?  Not some quiet little unassuming tee-hee, but a bursting out roaring guffaw.  We’re here!  We’ve made it!  Just take a gander!

Psalm 84: 1-2–‘How lovely is your dwelling place, O Lord Almighty!  My soul yearns, even faints, for the courts of the Lord; my heart and my flesh cry out for the living God.’  See?  We crave and hunger to be right next to our Lord.  Shoulder to shoulder intimacy.  Privileged beyond our fondest dreams.

Here’s something to remember–that ‘dwelling place’ of the Lord in Psalm 84 is most likely Solomon’s Temple, which resides this side of heaven.  Right here on planet earth is where we can be so close to God that happiness warms up the cockles of our hearts and souls.  Happy?  Why not?  Party-poopers fizzle out.  Naysayers say no more.

I’m happy in Jesus, hanging out with Psalm 84, refusing to drag my feet in the mud.  Happy as a lark.  Floating on air.  Doing backflips and handstands!  At age 73?  Well, ‘staying on the sunny side, always on the sunny side’!

Just what the doctor ordered.  Dr. Jesus, that is!  Happy?

Thank you, Jesus, for best days ahead forever.  Amen. 


Deep within the Law of Moses you’ll discover wise words for wisenheimers like me who imagine that we can get away with sin.  Sneak through by the skin of our teeth.  Feather our nests by whatever means.  Supposedly when comedian W.C. Fields is in hospital for the last time, he’s caught reading a Bible.  A friend asks him about this rather unexpected behavior.  Field’s comment?  ‘I’m looking for a loophole!’  Keep looking, W. C.–sorry, none will be found.

Numbers 33: 55–‘But if you do not drive out the inhabitants of the land from before you, then those of them whom you let remain shall be as barbs in your eyes and thorns in your sides, and they shall trouble you in the land where you dwell.’   Sin does a number on us.  Dings, mucks up, and pokes full of holes everything in its path.  The whole kit and caboodle.

Like barbs in your eyes, giving excruciating pain to something super sensitive and tender.  Or a thorn in your side, which easily gets infected, spreading toxic bugs.

Personally, my conscience becomes numb the longer I allow sin to fester unchecked.  I grow cold to my Bible.  Ignoring it.  Becoming bitter and critical of God’s people.  A downward, slippery slope.  Why?  I know why.  So do you.  It’s that three letter word.  Nothing to be toyed with as sin’s barbs and thorns do their dismal, dirty work.

Be honest.  Anything keeping you from closeness with Jesus?  Fess up.  Mean what you say.  Ask for His help if you really want it.  Then be forgiven and move on.  Jesus gladly cleans us up.  Clean as clean can be.

Refuse to look back, which I find easier said than done.  Exercise faith’s forward-moving muscles.  Get stronger in Jesus.  Determined and single-minded.  No ifs and or buts about trusting Him.  All-in!

This takes effort.  Doesn’t come easy.  Barbs and thorns still hang around nearby.

Nevertheless, I’ll try if you will!


Thank you, Jesus, for cleaning up our lives.  For your sake.  Amen.