Saturday, July 31, 2010


“My health may fail,
and my spirit may grow weak,
but God remains the strength
of my heart; he is mine forever.”
Psalm 73:26 NLT

The other day I was reading Acts 7, and was struck with how often Stephen used the words but God in this chapter. In checking I learned that the phrase but God appears at least 50 different times in the Old and New Testaments. The words but God indicate that he is in control, he has the final word. He has made a difference in the past - is making a difference now– and will continue to make a difference in our world and in our personal lives forever.

Pondering this thought brought to mind a number of times when God intervened in my life bringing about wonderful results. My mother who had given birth to 10 children was in her 50’s when she was pregnant with me and felt so embarrassed that she tried to abort me – “but God“ protected my life and safely brought me into this world.

In my teens I was heading down the broad road of sin - “but God“ - had different plans for me. At the age of 21 his Holy Spirit convicted me of my sin and granted me grace to repent and trust Jesus Christ as my savior.

While attending Electrical Trades School I got a “Dear John” letter from my girl friend. My attempts to patch up the relationship failed. “But God” had someone else in mind for me. At the suggestion of my pastor, I enrolled at Sioux Falls College where I met and married Donna, the Sweetheart of my life, and the mother of our three precious children!

My intention at college was to prepare for a teaching career. “But God“ – opened an opportunity to teach an adult Sunday School Class which led into preaching every week – which led to changing my major from education to religion and graduating from The North American Baptist Seminary to enter the full time Gospel Ministry!

After 30 years of service in NAB churches, I received the fullness of the Holy Spirit by faith, and understandably, the denomination saw that as my having departed from the traditional Baptist Faith and so they severed relationships with me. “But God,“ has been more real and precious to me than ever and opened other avenues of service! I am in my 80’s now - “My health may fail, and my spirit may grow weak, but God remains the strength of my heart; he is mine forever.”

I am sure you have had “but God“ experiences which would be an encouragement to the readers of this blog.
Please feel free to post some as “comments.”

Saturday, July 24, 2010


“For I am convinced that neither death nor life,
neither angels nor demons,
neither the present nor the future, nor any powers,
neither height nor depth,
nor anything else in all creation,
will be able to separate us from the love of God
that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Romans 8:38-39 NIV

The song, “The Love of God” written in 1917 by Frederick M. Lehman and arranged by Claudia Lehman May was made famous by George Beverly Shea as he sang it around the world with the Billy Graham Evangelistic Crusades – on The Hour of Decision and his recordings. The secret behind the impact of this powerful song is the fact that its’ message is based on the word of God – John 3:16 and Romans 8:38-39.

God’s love is eternal – has always been – will always be! God not only loves, God is love. Human love, by- in-large, is conditional; we love people we are attracted to and enjoy being with. God’s love is unconditional; he loves us not only when we please him, but also when we offend him by our unbelief and disobedience. His love can never be earned or deserved – it is his free gift to all which can only be received by faith. God loved the world so much that he gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.

The closest that human love can come to God’s unconditional love is the love parents have for their children. Donna and I have three, and it is impossible for us to imagine a situation where we would sacrifice the life of any one of them to save the life of someone else; no matter how needy or deserving that person may be. But God’s perfect, unconditional love sacrificed his one and only Son for a world full of totally undeserving sinners – which includes you and me! Even though we had become his enemies by turning our backs on him from birth, and had chosen to live our lives according to our own desires, yet his pure and measureless love made provision for our forgiveness.

“Could we with ink the ocean fill,
And were the skies of parchment made;
Were every stalk on earth a quill,
And every man a scribe by trade;
To write the love of God above
Would drain the ocean dry;
Nor could the scroll contain the whole,
Though stretched from sky to sky.

O love of God, how rich and pure!
How measureless and strong!
It shall forevermore endure
The saints' and angels' song.”

Turn up sound and click on the link to hear
George Beverly Shea sing: THE LOVE OF GOD

Saturday, July 17, 2010


“Jesus spoke to them at once.
‘Don’t be afraid,’ he said.
‘Take courage! I am here!”
Mark 6:50 NLT

As a youngster growing up on the South Dakota prairie, I remember frightening storms that came rolling in from the west. Dark clouds built up until they became an ominous black wall with lightning flashing and thunder changing from a rumble to loud crashes. Then about a half mile across open fields, black dust clouds would start rolling toward us and we knew this could be dangerous. We had seen enough flattened crops - destroyed farm buildings - overturned and mangled machinery - to get fearful thoughts as those dust clouds came flying toward us.

Our farm house was small and not that sturdy. I remember a particular storm that had us worried. The wind was so strong and the rain so heavy it was feared that the dining/kitchen window which faced west would blow in, so large pillows were held against the window to reinforce the glass. What made this storm memorable was that an itinerant German AG preacher, his wife and their teen age son had come to visit us that day. As the storm raged and we were filled with anxiety they were singing praises to the Lord until the storm died down. When the storm was over, the window was still intact – no buildings were damaged - only the tops of some hay stacks had blown off. Could the praises of God’s servants have made a difference?

We know the presence of the Lord in the midst of the storm can make all the difference! The disciples found that out one stormy night on the lake of Galilee. Jesus had told them to get in the boat and go to the other side while he went up into the hills to pray. When they were in the middle of the lake, a violent storm swept down upon them. They were in serious trouble as they struggled with the wind and the waves, trying to control the boat with their ores. Jesus saw what was happening and about three o’clock in the morning he came to them walking on the water. They were terrified! Jesus knew what was going on in their minds, so he called out to them: “Don’t be afraid, Take courage! I am here! Then he climbed into the boat, and the wind stopped.”

Life in this world can have its frightening storms. Some we see building up. Others hit us with hardly a cloud in the sky. Whatever the nature of our storm, Jesus sees what’s happening – he knows our struggle. Can you hear him over the noise of the storm? He is saying:
“Don’t be afraid, Take courage! I am here!"

Saturday, July 10, 2010


“Everyone who asks, receives.
Everyone who seeks, finds.
And to everyone who knocks,
the door will be opened.”
Luke 11:10 NLT
I recently read about Winston Churchill’s last public speech – a commencement address. He was so frail he had to be helped to the podium. After standing there for a long time, he finally spoke – “Never give up! Never give up! Never give up!” Turning from the podium he was helped back to his chair. There was a dead silence - then the entire audience exploded into thunderous applause.

No matter how noble our cause, we will never succeed if we lose heart and give up. In this age of “instant this and instant that” we want results at the flip of a switch - the click of a mouse - a voice command or the touch on a screen. We sometimes wish we had that kind of control in our prayer life, but we don’t, and that’s good! We don’t always know what’s best. We need the help of the Holy Spirit to know what we should pray for. John tells us: “We are confident that the Lord hears us whenever we ask for anything that pleases him. And since we know he hears us when we make our requests, we also know that he will give us what we ask for.”

We all have people or situations we have been praying for, and we believe we are asking for what “pleases him,” but nothing seems to be happening. There have been times we have gotten discouraged and felt like quitting.

“One day Jesus told his disciples a story to show that they should always pray and never give up.” He told the story of the widow who repeatedly asked a wicked judge to grant her justice, but he kept ignoring her. Finally he said, “this woman is driving me crazy. I’m going to see that she gets justice, because she is wearing me out with her constant requests!.... Then the Lord said, Learn a lesson from this unjust judge. Even he rendered a just decision in the end. So don’t you think God will surely give justice to his chosen people who cry out to him day and night?”

Teaching about prayer at another time, Jesus told the story of the man who had unexpected company late at night. At midnight he knocks on the door of a friend asking for bread. The friend says, “we’re all in bed and everything is locked up, I can’t help you now.” But the man shamelessly keeps on knocking till he finally gets the bread. Jesus concludes the story by saying, “So I tell you, keep on asking, and you will receive what you ask for. Keep on seeking, and you will find. Keep on knocking, and the door will be opened to you.”


Saturday, July 3, 2010


“For the Lord is the Spirit,
and wherever
the Spirit of the Lord is,
there is freedom.”
2 Corintians 3:17 NLT

Tomorrow is the 234th anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence by the representatives of the original thirteen United States of America. Part of that Declaration declares, “We hold these truths to be self–evident, That all men are created equal, That they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, That among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

Our founding fathers did not say that government gives us the right to Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness, but rather that these rights are gifts from God, and they committed themselves to protect those rights for the people. But, in our time some of these right are in danger!

I don’t mean to belittle our national government- For all authority comes from God, and those in positions of authority have been placed there by God. However, I wish to call attention to a higher level of unalienable God given rights.

Spiritual life- To all who believed on his Son he gives the right to become children of God, reborn—not physically, but spiritually by the Holy Spirit who gives birth to spiritual life. Jesus promises all who are victorious will be clothed in white. I will never erase their names from the Book of Life, but I will announce before my Father and his angels that they are mine.

In the kingdom of God, spiritual freedom is guaranteed. Jesus assures us you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free. So if the Son sets you free, you are truly free - you live under the freedom of God’s grace. Paul says, For when we died with Christ we were set free from the power of sin. Even creation looks forward to the day when it will join God’s children in glorious freedom from death and decay.

The pursuit of Happiness is not the right to acquiring material things or the ability to control what happens to us so everything works out the way we want it to. For the Kingdom of God is not a matter of what we eat or drink, but of living a life of goodness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. You love him even though you have never seen him. Though you do not see him now, you trust him; and you rejoice with a glorious, inexpressible joy. So now we can rejoice in our wonderful new relationship with God because our Lord Jesus Christ has made us friends of God.