How exciting to have a machine that bakes bread.  Like magic.  All it takes is adding a few ingredients, push a few buttons and out pops homemade bread in a couple of  hours.  The machine’s ringer signals that it’s time to chomp down on some delicious staff of life.  Make sure butter and jam’s ready to go.

I open the lid.  Can’t believe what I’m seeing.  Instead of a nice toasty loaf, I’m looking at a pile of gloppy goo that defies description.  Disgusting.  Disappointing.  Dreadful.  What’s happened?  Bad yeast?  Salt lost its saltiness?  No.

Plain and simply stupid–I didn’t pay attention to the order of ingredients going into the machine.  Didn’t think it mattered.  Why should it?  Legalists.  Party poopers.  Couldn’t be little old me, could it?  Then my wife tells me that I didn’t lock the bread gadget into place causing the blade, or whatever it’s called, to roll around aimlessly!  You can tell how high-tech I am.

Hosea, the Old Testament prophet knows how to grab your attention.  He’s told to take back his wife, who has the unenviable name of Gomer (no last name of Pyle, however!), who’s wandered off in sexual escapades.  There’s even more to it than that.  In chapter 7, Hosea brings God’s urgent message to ancient Israel, which should have turned a few heads, ushering in repentance, falling down at God’s feet, begging Him to set them straight.  But no.  They pay no attention.  Could care less.  Thumb their noses His way.

Hosea 7:8–‘Ephraim mixes himself with the peoples; Ephraim is a cake not turned.’   This largest family group of Northern Israel mixes itself together with those who worship all kinds of gods.  False gods, like a mishmosh goulash, with God’s people giving Him only a passing nod.  Sadly, this spiritual hanky-panky catches on among His own like some current-day nasty pandemic virus. Only thing they can’t resist is adding more and more bogus gods to their worship.  Screwball hobby, collecting phony deities which aren’t kosher.  Mixed in and mixed up.  Soon to be nixed by God Almighty, the One and Only.

Like a cake not turned or a half-baked loaf of bread, burned on one side, soggy mess on the other.  Compromisers.  Mixing and matching the wrong ingredients.  Not following the Lord’s instructions.  Sound familiar?  Like our culture?  Maybe your life to a degree?  Rings in my ears.

Isn’t it time to stand up for Jesus?  For Him alone?  To mean what you say, and say what you mean?  Unashamed?  True we’re all failures and hypocrites.  Wishy-washy sweet-talkers.  This time I’m staring in the mirror.  Do I like this about me?  A people pleaser?  Not really.  Hopeless?  No.  We know who turns failure into forgiveness.  Don’t we?

So get up.  Stand up for Jesus.  No better time than right now.  Maybe no one expects it of you or me.  But shouldn’t I do what He wants?  For a change?  Not such a half-baked idea!

Lord Jesus, we want to be unashamedly yours.  Thank you.  Amen.


How could we not love cruising the Danube and Rhine rivers in Eastern and Central Europe?  It’s like going back in time to a simpler way of life.  All on a floating first-class hotel with a five-star restaurant amply meeting all our needs!  We upgrade to a balcony, which is barely usable as we traverse literally dozens of dark-inducing navigation-locks all along those fabled waterways.

One night we couldn’t believe our eyes.  Looking out onto our balcony we see cloud-like white flapping wings of myriad thousands of moths.  Foolishly, I open our sliding-glass door to shoo them away only to welcome in those flying buggers.  Now they take over our stateroom.  So I grab a magazine and start swatting, flailing and whacking away with determined ferocity.  And what a bloody mess I make!  Took the staff quite awhile cleaning and disinfecting our walls and furniture.  I did a good job.  Maybe a little too good?  Should never have given those winged beasties an opening.

A lesson here?  Don’t give a fighting chance to sin.  Try not to open that window or door even a smidgen.  Hosea 5 spills the beans on God’s people who overflow with wickedness.  They’re warned, in no uncertain terms, that consequences will usher in unanticipated troubles.  If the Lord’s people don’t turn around and run to God for His help and healing, He’ll be to them like those little varmints were to us in our stateroom.  Hosea 5: 12–‘But I am like a moth to Ephraim, and like dry rot to the house of Judah.’  Moths and dry rot–what God’s judgement looks like to the unrepentant.  Make a sharp U-turn.  Do a one-eighty.  For sin leads to a double-whammy chain reaction.

Before we sell our 70-year old home, inspectors check high-and-low for structural issues.  At the top of their list is dry rot.  After all, we live in a rainy climate, making rot a real problem, especially for an older property.  Decaying wood leads to moogoo bucks in repair bills.  No wonder they check so thoroughly.  The results?  We pass but not without a whole bunch of stress and worry.

That lesson again?  Let go of sin.  Don’t allow those pesky, unglodly ‘moths’ in.  Treat spiritual foundation and siding with care and protection.  Keep the ‘doors’ and ‘windows’ closed tight as hard-nosed sin sniffs out nonstop for even the tiniest break.

Know your Bible.  Spend quality and quantity time daily in its pages.  Get closer to Jesus.  Never shy away from Him.  Even cuddle up a little closer.  He’s waiting!

Thank you, Jesus, for loving me so much.  Amen.


I’m now going to disclose my on-target, nailed-down prognostications of the end times.  The meat and potatoes, ins-and-outs of the millennium and the tribulation.  Their ABCs with i’s dotted and t’s crossed.  My predictions?  Actually zero, zippo within a bucket of goose eggs!  Except for this– I know that Jesus is coming back again.  So get ready and be on the alert.  When?  No idea.  The bulls-eye specifics?  Not from me.  After all, I find it difficult to make predictions, especially about the future!!

When a Bible school student, I develop an aversion to all the end times guesswork.  Wrangling, verbal wrestling and arguing, which I figure may be mere student-things in Bible school.  Wrong.

Over the years I’ve run across quite a few who know, or so they imagine, all that’s going to happen when Jesus returns.  And I mean ‘all’.   Goings on before He comes back, in the middle and at the end.  Theories, hobby horses, charts and graphs.  I flee from them straight to Scripture, which makes more sense than guesses and guesstimates from all those final-event pundits put together.

The book of Daniel is fodder for these speculators.  So take a gander at the last chapter.  Daniel covers the main points.  The archangel Michael helps him understand ‘…the time of the end’ (Dan. 12: 4).  What’s happening?  Terrible traumas will plague the world.  Shock and misery like never before.  But God’s people experience deliverance.  Those whose names are in His book, the wise and those who share their faith, receive everlasting life (vs. 1-3).  The ungodly share none of the Lord’s eternal bounty.  Sadly, none.

Then Daniel’s told to seal away, lock up his prophecy for a later time.  When?  Later–‘…until the time of the end’ (v. 9).  Again, when?  Only God knows.  What’s revealed is that troubles will be for a time, some more time, and then a tad bit longer (v. 7).  The point?  Difficulties don’t last forever for God’s people.

Daniel wants more info.  He has a yen for added end time details (v.8).  This is what he’s told by an angelic messenger–‘…Go your way, Daniel, for the words are shut up and sealed until the time of the end.  Many shall purify themselves…’ (Dan. 12: 9-10).

Bottom line–go about your life, living well for Jesus, knowing that whatever happens, whenever it does, we’re to be ready and wide awake, while remaining in the best hands ever.  The very best.  That much I guarantee!

Thank you, Lord Jesus, for standing with me through all times.  Amen.  


When I’m a college freshman, my pastor asks me to help counsel for a summer week at church camp.  Only problem is that I’ve never camped out before in my life.  Have little idea what it’s all about.  So I gingerly go out into the wilderness toting a mussed up suitcase containing my clothes and Bible.  Can you imagine?  A suitcase dragged into the forest primeval!  Well, I didn’t volunteer and their vetting process proves rather bogus!

About the only thing I remember, apart from being a pathetic and pitiful counselor, is an old campfire song.  ‘All night, all day, angels watching over me, my Lord.  All night, all day, angels watching over me.’

Twice in Daniel 4 (vs. 13, 17) ‘watchers’ are mentioned.  Wakeful ones, heavenly and holy ones, who keep constant vigil.  When life advertises how puny we are, how insignificant and unloved, it’s then we need to know something.  What?  That God has angels watching over us.  And He cares.

Watchers–all night, all day.  Angels watching over us.  The word ‘angel’ is the same as ‘messenger’.  The messenger’s source is our Lord.  He’s keeping an eye out for you and me.  Keeping tabs on everything.  Checking out troubles before they happen.  Helping us when facing fear and failure.  Like Daniel’s three friends (Dan. 3: 8ff), I’d rather be with Jesus in the fire, than outside without Him.  You too?

Daniel interprets the king’s scary dreams, reassuring the royal mind (Dan. 4).  Remember that in Christ we’re royalty–‘But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession…Once you were not a people, but now you are God’s people’ (1 Peter 2: 9-10).

May seem like we’ve been abandoned in life.  No one giving a flying fig.  All alone on our own.  Not so.  The Lord has watchers all over.  We’re never out of their reach or sight.  Just like the old campfire song sings– ‘All night, all day, angels watching over me…’

Even a novice camper toting a bedraggled suitcase!

Thank you, Jesus, for never letting us out of your sight.  Amen.


My sister was the first to sign up for these weekly devotionals over 7 years ago.  Thanks, Barbara!  From the beginning, I’ve had a certain number goal in mind.  Something to aim at.  Takes 6 years to hit that target.  I now have a vibrant ‘congregation’ to encourage week by week!  All of the Lord’s doing.  Coupled with help from my tech-savvy wife Sue.

Let me admit my number goal is most modest.  Pastors would not be impressed.  Too little.  Too insignificant.  Too bad, so sad…for them!

This is between the Lord and me.  I’m to forget the naysayers.  Put your fingers to the loom, your hands to the wheel.  Off you go.  For Jesus, the Master Weaver.

May require lots of hard work, producing a rather teensy-weensy outcome… in some minds.  But with Jesus, first and foremost, the results are His anyway.  Aren’t they?  Rag on Him?  Better not!

Look back at Daniel chapter 2.  A bad dream nauseates bloviating King Nebuchadnezzar.  A colossal statue, made of gold, silver, bronze, iron and clay, topples over crashing and smashing to the ground.  Destruction complete.

What demolishes this hotdogger, grandstander statue?  Some ancient earthquake?  Could be.  Shoddy construction?  Possibly.  Enemy sabotage?  Perhaps.  But what exactly?  Daniel 2: 34–‘As you looked, a stone was cut out by no human hand, and it struck the image on its feet of iron and clay, and broke them in pieces.’

A little rock, not from Arkansas but from God, gets hurled at that big-shot, phoney baloney bunkum.  The miniscule shatters the mighty.  Down it comes with brute force as the earth shakes and shudders.

When God calls you to do something, nothing could be better.  If we grab hold of it.  If.  May seem small change, but little is much when God is in it, as the old song says.  So, get busy with what He places in your hands.  To do for Him.  For others.  Something come to mind?

What a privilege, Lord, to serve you.  In Jesus’ name and for His sake.  Amen.