I’ve wondered, if when my time comes, when I’m welcomed by Jesus through heaven’s gates, that there will be some who see me and immediately want to quit heaven’s welcoming committee and start carrying placards protesting my presence!  ‘Fischer’s a Fink.  Keep Heaven Heavenly.  Toss the Sinner Out.’  I think not!

Reading Hebrews 11 comforts me with its last verse–‘And all these, though commended through their faith, did not receive what was promised, since God had provided something better for us, that apart from us they not be made perfect’ (Heb. 11:39-40).  Could it be that those Hebrews 11 heroes of the faith, that none will be complete until you and I cross the finish line?  Heaven is not the same without us?  Paradise waits patiently for, well, you know who?  And no placard-plastered protesters in sight.

Such good news.  Heaven yearns, even pines for us until our homecoming.  Complete only when the seating at the Lord’s banquet table is full.  None empty.  None whatsoever.

I cuddle up next to the idea of the waiting Father, whose patience seems limitless.  Never giving up on His own.  With hands wide open.  Expectant and hopeful.  On the other hand, I’m dying to see Jesus return and wipe out His enemies once and for all.  To rid the world of nasty buggers.  Evil dictators and sin-loving godless folk.  All of them, vamoose!

Thank God I’m not God with my appalling attitude.  Imagine all who would be left out if I were in charge.  Including me?  Maybe you?  Fear not.  Our patient Lord Jesus puts up with the likes of even me.

So we live in an in-between time, a pause that allows God’s people to repent and become one of His family.  This becomes our opportunity to promote His Kingdom.  To share Jesus with others.  To dig deeper into our treasure trove of shekels sharing with others.  To be purposeful.  Committed to what we believe in.  Where our faith’s rubber meets the road.

Since I first heard about Jesus’ love while listening to the radio, guess what type of ministry I’m eager to support?  Right.  Go to the head of the class!  Then I do what’s natural as a believer–give so that someone else can hear about the Lord, as they listen to Christian radio programs, as I did many years ago.

Any ideas about how you can help others to hear about your Lord?  It’s still early in the year, with time to get busy.  For Him.  For a change.

Father, help me to share Jesus with others. More than ever.  Amen.


Can I find anything new in Psalm 23?  After all, it’s so familiar.  Over my twenty-three-year pastoral career, I performed hundreds of funerals, probably with none omitting the familiar and comforting words of the 23rd Psalm.

Today it’s my time to read this well-known psalm in my daily Bible reading schedule.  Skip over it?  Or scan it, using my Evelyn Wood Speed Reading Dynamics techniques?  Better not.  But will I find anything new here?  I would love to be grabbed by the collar, making me sit up and listen to God’s Word with something that I hadn’t noticed before.

Wait a minute.  I do feel a tug.  Where?  It’s in the last verse–‘Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever.’  Nothing new there.  Same old, same old.  Until I dig into my Old Testament Hebrew language.  The word ‘goodness’ is the simple word ‘good’ as in fine and dandy.  But the next word ‘mercy’, is a word that is packed with Hebrew meanings.

It’s the word ‘chesed’, often translated as ‘loving kindness’, which is fine as it is, but there’s much more going on here.  Though difficult to translate, let’s give it the old college try.  ‘Chesed’  boils down to synonyms such as loyalty, generosity, trustworthiness, and commitment.  Getting a bit of its drift?  Like deserving nothing, yet receiving everything.  In other words, the Lord is crazy about you and me.  We give Him many reasons not to be, but He does anyway.  That’s ‘chesed’.

But I see even more in this familiar psalm.  It’s in that last verse, about dwelling in God’s house–‘…and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever’ (Ps. 23:.6).  When you’re God’s child, as in when you accept Jesus into your life, then He does all in His power to make sure that nothing and no one ever gets in the way of your being with Him forever.  He makes sure we’re not hell-bent or -bound.  Quite the opposite.  That’s His promise but one we should never take for granted.

You know you’re His own, don’t you?  If not, ask Him.  Open your heart to Jesus.  Trust Him.  Believe what He says for He means what He says.  Keep a forward focus on Jesus who forgives our sins, rarely looking back.  Then dwell obediently in His house as His worthy and respectful resident never to be evicted.

Dwell.  Planted.  Safe and secure from all alarms.

Lo and behold, I found a couple of goodies to chew on this week.  Makes me a happy camper!  How about you?

Oh, Lord!  For your promises, we thank you and love you.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen.


For our 25th wedding anniversary, Sue and I enjoyed a river cruise in France.  Before traversing the Rhone River, they put us up in the Ritz Carlton Hotel in Cannes, on the French Riviera, on the shores of the Mediterranean Sea.  So nice to be pampered!

Two weeks later we culminate our silver celebration in Paris, having seen and enjoyed so much of France.  One particular stop is at the medieval town of Bayeux.  It’s there that we encounter something we hadn’t heard of before that hasn’t left our minds since.

It’s the Bayeux Tapestry.  The what?  It’s a thousand-year-old woven piece; actually, an embroidered cloth, depicting the events and people surrounding the Battle of Hastings in 1066 AD.  Remember that date from your history studies?  Whether you do or not, it’s when France and Normandy conquer Britain installing the French Duke of Normandy as ruler of both England and France.  That monarch’s name?  William the Conqueror.  Whom I’ve discovered, through genealogical research, to be my 25th great-grandfather, along with 88+ million others as my wife loves to remind me!  Such a close-blood relative.

This tapestry is over 250 feet long. Takes quite a while to walk around it marveling at the detailed work of this masterpiece.  The hands that embroidered it were those of superb and brilliant craftsmen and women.  Their tapestry is breathtaking and astounding.  Only wished we could have gawked at it for much longer than allowed.

But such delicate work pales in comparison to the handiwork of our Creator God.  His work.  The fineness.  Its details.  The symmetry and precision.  And how God’s creation all holds together through His mastery and genius, which boggles my pea brain and little grey cells.  Makes anything of man’s design seem like child’s play.

Psalm 8:3–‘When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, what is man that you are mindful of him, and the son of man that you care for him?’  It’s that phrase ‘the work of your fingers’ which gives me pause.  Every bit of creation has been minutely crafted by the Lord.  Down to the tiniest sub-particle and below.  Up to the highest mountain, to what’s above the earth in the skies.  To infinity and beyond!

This week spend some time marveling at God’s creation.  Any part of it.  A sliver here, a slice there.  Delicately and finely tuned. Then gawk, with a panoramic view, at nature’s expanse.   For all this is  ‘the work of your fingers’.

Thank you, Lord, for your marvelous creation.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen.

WHICH IS IT? Luke 1 and Ecclesiastes 12

Angels reassure Mary, Joseph, and the shepherds to ‘fear not’.  Earlier one of God’s angelic messengers tells Zechariah, John the Baptist’s father, much the same–‘…Do not be afraid…’ (Luke 1: 13).  Stop worrying.  No nail biting or pulling out your hair.  Yet elsewhere in the Bible, we’re told to fear the Lord.  Ecclesiastes 12: 13– ‘Fear God and keep his commandments…’  Deuteronomy 6:13–‘It is the Lord your God you shall fear.’  So, which is it?  Fear not or fear?  A confusing kettle of fish?

On the one hand, fear of the Lord has to do with our relationship with Him.  That He’s God and we’re not.  He’s all-powerful, all-knowing, all-everything.  We’re not even close.  Okay, you’re smart, many of you.  After all, God created you in His image.  But being created as such is not the same as being God.  Not by a long shot.

To fear the Lord is to bow down before Him.  To respect and obey Him.  To love and honor Him, showing reverence.  To know our place at His feet, which honors Him and humbles us.  Should take the starch out of our self-absorption.  Knocks us down a peg or two.  Seats us at God’s table with Jesus at the head, the place of honor.  Don’t try to nudge Him aside.  Be satisfied to have a chair at His banquet.  I’m fortunate to get in through the back door finding any spot to park myself.  No grumbling from the likes of me.

On the other hand, when you know Him, and have that closeness which you can feel in your spiritual bones, believing His promises, with peace settling in, as His protection fends off anxious fears and worries, at least some of them for some of the time for some of us here on fractured planet earth.  For the closer we get to Jesus, the more those pesky jitters fly away.  Good riddance!

So, choose to believe Him.  To claim Jesus as your Lord and Savior.  To take His name as your own.  Christian.  A little Christ, enjoying a large piece of humble pie.  With nothing to fear really.  Accept the paradox–when I fear, love, and respect the Lord, I have nothing to fear in this life.  Makes sense?  Think so?  Hope so.  I’m still working on it.

Lord Jesus, I love and worship you, wanting to be your faithful follower.  Amen.