READ THIS FIRST

I am told that the truths that I share sometimes come across a bit too curt. Not that the truths shouldn’t be firmly held, but when I share them verbally my tone and expression and responses to the listener allow me to share the truth and the balance of grace at the same time (please listen to some of my audios for examples).

Whatever today’s topic, the full balance always involves the the following sweet coatings on the sometimes distasteful pill of truth of:

For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.

1. You are not alone, Dr. Verle Bell joins you as the chief of sinners and in no position to judge your worth, dignity, security, future, or God’s ability to help you.

2. There is Hope!

3. If you are a saved child of God, you have worth, strength, and hope just because. You can’t lose it or increase it, you have them just because Jesus died for you and loves you.

4. There are no have to‘s for us but there are a lot of sure-would-be-nice‘s. These blogs are to help you grab ahold of all the sure-would-be-nice’s God has for you in the present.

5. If you never change, grow, fight the good fight, etc, You are still a winner, for we are more than conquerors- we forever remain in his love!

Stop to think, how many people have passed through this world without confessing with God that they are a sinner in need of salvation, asking for that salvation based on the finished work of Jesus Christ on the cross. Since we have, as a result we are now immortals. The rest is just icing on the cake.

Now read on to get your share of the icing!

If you ask Him nicely, He might even let you lick out of the icing bowl, just as my Mom did when I helped her in the kitchen as a boy.

DELIGHT IN THE EVERYDAY.

It has been over a month since my ability to upload podcasts went away. I have been using my time to try to solve that problem. I confess this IT stuff triggers insecurity in me as you can’t talk to anyone and it is all a mystery. It was working then just stopped. Well I need to get back to doing blogs even if I can’t podcast anymore.

I knew  two mothers.  One quoted her daughter as saying, “My mother MAKES me do the dishes.”

The second mother quoted her daughter as saying, “My mother LETS me do the dishes.”

One of the main functions of Dopamine is to cause us to sense the importance of repetitive actions. ie: the dishes, laundry, driving to work, picking up groceries, going to church, mowing the lawn etc. I think that most of us “put up with” the chores. The very word chore sparks a picture of drudgery. Yet, most of life is mundane and redundant, so, if we are able to delight in the mundane, we will find ourselves delighting in–most of life.

So often people think that they can resent school, work, chores, and all responsible behavior and then cram enough excitement into the weekend that it “pays for” the misery. Realizing that we were dead in our trespasses and sins, and are now alive in Christ, we should constantly delight in the little things. I once had my brakes sieze-up and my car went shooting across oncoming traffic straight into the mountain wall. I remember a quick prayer, “looks like I’m about to meet you face to face Lord, but I thought we had a lot more work to do first” as I smashed into the wall. The car was totaled and my chest bent the wheel since the shoulder belt didn’t hold so it was hard to breathe for a month. Still, all of life seemed so sweet since then for  I am always aware that each moment is borrowed time given to me from the Lord.

A good habit is to sing and pray without ceasing, unless it wakes other people in the middle of the night. We need to do the dishes with all our might. That’s right, dishes and laundry are definitely part of “whatsoever” thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might because even the slightest thing is far more than what we can contribute to the kingdom once we are gone. Ecclesiastes 9:10

HEART AFTER GOD’S OWN HEART #4

1 Samuel 2:35 And I will raise me up a faithful priest, that shall do according to that which is in mine HEART and in my MIND

1 Samuel 13:14 the Lord hath sought him a man after his own HEART.

2 Samuel 7:21 For thy word’s sake, and according to thine own HEART, hast thou done all these great things.

God ‘s heart loves to act. He made the world and populated it, He did He does and He will do. In these verses we see that He raises up people to do what is in his heart and mind/ He sought a man after his own heart / He acts for his own word’s sake, according to His own heart.

Don’t you sometimes wish that God would fill you in on what He was thinking in his heart? It would make it easier to obey. I think that it pleases Him that you want to do his will and that you offer your mouth and body members to let Him carry out his will. Still He does want you to seek his heart.

Besides prayer and searching his word to find answers, and checking with your pastor and fellow servants of God; it is helpful to ask that popular question, “what would Jesus do?” or perhaps, “what would Jesus heart be desiring in this situation?” You see someone hungry and think that Jesus would feed them, true, but what would his heart want. Perhaps to go beyond and comfort them and help them know how much Jesus loves them. You see someone acting in irritating ways and remember that Jesus gave his life for them so what would be his heart towards them? You mess up and have indulged in anger, greed, self-pity, lust etc. and feel self contempt and would actually be comforted if Jesus whacked you or yelled at you, but what is his heart towards you. Wouldn’t he feel sorrow and love and long to heal and empower you to save yourself from the grip of sin and self-contempt.

Above all, his heart leads to doing. As a good earthly parent I always delighted in the imperfect efforts of my children and patiently worked with them to deal with their rebellious fits. If I being evil know how to be good to my children; how much more my father in heaven! He delights in my trying even if imperfect and when I get off track he loves to help me get back on track and try again. I know so many people who won’t try to pray in public because they might not do it perfectly. But surely the father’s heart would be for us to talk with him. We don’t reach out to witness because of fear of others responses. But does Jesus care about their responses to me or does he delight in my efforts and seek to use them to bless the other.

I used to have a lady in my church who had crippled hands but still tried to plan volley ball at the school we met in for church. She would stand near the net and whack the ball over and that was all she could do. I used to be a good volleyball player and so I would make sure we kept the point so that I could turn to her and say,”great you got us a point” I think that it is Jesus’ heart to take our feeble efforts and ‘save the point’ and turn to us and say “great work!”

 

A HEART AFTER GOD’S OWN HEART#3 authorities

Genesis 20:64Judges 5:9 My (God’s) HEART is toward the governors of Israel, that offered themselves willingly among the people.

In I Corinthians 16 15 we read “I beseech you brethren that ye submit yourselves to those that have addicted themselves to the ministry of the saints and to everyone that helpeth  and laboureth with us.”

Hebrews 13:7 Remember them which have the rule over you, whose faith follow, considering the end of their conversation. verse 17 Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves: for they watch for your souls, as they that must give account, that they may do it with joy, and not with grief. verse 24 Salute them that have the rule over you.

To have God’s own heart we must be thinking about those that He has placed in authority over us both in the church and in government, and, I think, even at our work. 1 Peter 2:18 Be subject to your masters with all fear; not only to the good and gentle, but also to the forward.

I have heard that godly pastors and their families have been assigned satanists to pray satan to tempt and destroy them. We must uphold their hands in prayer and in listening and applying the truth that they share and letting them know. God himself has his heart towards them and is looking for yielded people to support and encourage them.

It has become fashionable in America to distrust and vilify those in leadership. Don’t forget that the government that God was commanding support of, the Romans, were not gentle or good but rather forward. In fact there is a basic principle that God asks us to do our part in his way regardless of the other person behaving in the way we would like. I remember the when Hudson Taylor was upset at the leadership of the mission not supporting his God-given call to take the gospel to the center of China, that God told him, “If I can take you to China through this leadership, then I can guide you through this leadership”. He calmed down and then God led him eventually to start his own mission. He needed to wait in order to understand what a properly led mission would look like and also for God to prepare the field. Do we trust the Lord to be able to lead and protect through messed up leaders? Of course if a pastor falls into open sin or preaches heresy then we need to still pray for them but seek more godly authority.

The next time we are tempted to badmouth pastor, have an attitude towards being stopped by the police or undermine our bosses: first thank God for his intentions in giving us this authority, pray for their blessing and let God work through them effectively by our good attitude. When our ways are his ways we will have a heart towards our leaders and God will make them to be at peace with us.

A HEART AFTER GOD’S OWN HEART #2

Genesis 8:21 And the Lord smelled a sweet savour; and the Lord SAID in his HEART, I will not again curse the ground any more for man’s sake;

The Lord had just wiped out everyone and everything on the face of the earth except for Noah and his family and the animals on the Ark. We often see the “God of the Old Testament as vindictive but we are looking at things from our viewpoint. He can often see that either there is no hope for mankind at all or that millions will perish if the current group is left to practice their sinful ways undisturbed.

 He is not willing that ANY should perish but that ALL should come to repentance. And now, as Noah offers up a sacrifice of gratitude, God responds “in his heart” with thoughts of a hope and a future thoughts of good and not of evil.

Like our Lord we are not to rejoice when the evildoers around us pull on their own heads natural consequences. Instead we are to cultivate thoughts of future blessings for them and chances for joyous relationships once they benefit from the consequences. Paul wrote the church at Corinth to turn over to satan a young man having sex with his father’s wife to wreak havoc in his flesh, why? In order that he might repent. Then in 2 Corinthians he had to yell at the church for not taking the young man back and restoring him. Consequences without love and acceptance of the person will only produce despair. When someone wishes that another be damned or go to hell they do not want mercy, (helping others benefit from the consequences of their sin). They want only retribution. They must be forgetting who the second worst sinner in history is. (The worst is yours truly, obviously) Perhaps if they would say. “God why don’t you destroy everyone as bad as or worse than that person.” Then, if they saw the truth, they would be condemning themselves. Each person should see themselves as the chief of sinners justly condemned but pardoned and cleansed and restored. Why would we not want that for the sinners who hurt us or our family.

I remember a story of a man in Rhodesia who was leading the fight to restore government to the people but chose to kill innocent agricultural missionaries and their families. As the missionary men were awaiting their death and watching their families killed, they begged God to have mercy on the killers. He was so convicted that he found salvation and has been a tireless evangelist ever since.

Proverbs 24:16-18 For a just man falleth seven times, and riseth up again: but the wicked shall fall into mischief. Rejoice not when thine enemy falleth, and let not thine heart be glad when he stumbleth: Lest the Lord see it, and it displease him.

My prayer should be:Father forgive them for they know not the full import of what they do. But, open their eyes and bring enough consequences to them to open their eyes. Then help me not to rejoice in their pain but to uphold them in prayer; to stand ready to minister to them with no added “I told you so” but rather as the chief of sinners ministering to the second chief.

 

 

A HEART AFTER GOD’S OWN HEART #1

(PS: If you don’t like the concept of sin, this blog is not going to add to your comfort. Remember I am a doctor of medicine and rejoice in clarifying just what is wrong so something can be done about it. Even so as a doctor of the heart I love to clarify what is wrong with me so God can debride the wound and bring healing and prevent further damage.

GOD’S HEART:
Genesis 6:6 And it REPENTED the Lord that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him at his HEART. Ephesians 4:30 and grieve not the Holy Spirit of God.

Like any good leader, God never asks us to do what he has not already modeled for us. He simply ask us to be like him, to be as perfect as he is perfect. (I just love how pastors water that down by explaining that the word “perfect” means mature. OK so be as mature as God is mature–still impossible, right?) This entails getting out of his way moment by moment and letting him-not you- live his life through our yielded body members, in this case letting his hear take over our heart, our inner thoughts and chatter. When my inner chatter is his inner chatter then it is truly not I who live but Christ who liveth in me.

We should greive over the sins of man and not water them down with words such as: (In the late Billy Graham’s prayer for our nation) we call the lottery hope for the poor and help for worthy causes instead of what it is: exploitation of the poor. We call endless nonresponsible welfare which confirms the poor in perpetual poverty: help and kindness. We call murder of innocents: choice. We abuse power and call it politics. We covet our neighbor’s wife and house and job and call it: ambition. We fill the electronic world with profanity and pornography and murder and just plain consumption of valuable life time and call it: freedom of espression. We ridicule the time honored and Bible based traditions of previous generations and call it: progress and enlightenment.

Even if we may not call evil–good, we may just resign ourselves to ignoring it. Out of wedlock children are devastating the inner city church and society but it is so common that the preachers see it as just a way of life and do not attack it for fear of offending all those involved. The Lord advised us to use our eyes to see what He sees. As I sit in my office and see the results of family disintegration, no time for being still, comparison with what we see on Facebook, striving to live up to what others have and do etc. I have no trouble hating sin and hungering for righteousness but sometimes I feel numbed out. How to hate sin and not be overwhelmed and numb out? Well in part, limit myself to what I can do and to what God wants me to do. To pray fervently, help when I can and share words from God’s wisdom and feelings from his feelings.

We need to hate evil with great passion and love on the people who do the evil with  equal passion. We Christians need to pray for those who despitefully use us and bless those who curse us and do good to those who do bad to us. My daughter, Cheri hates what capitulation to evolution has done to the Church and our country but she is upset with how other Christians attack the enemy rather that pray for them. Psalms 101:3 I will hate the work of them that turn aside. Psalms 109:104 I hate every false way because it prevents understanding truth.

If we don’t hate evil, but still call it evil, we will first become numb, then curious, and then wind up doing the evil–just not as “evily” as the world,. “I thank God that I’m not that bad.” Romans 7:15 But what I hate, that I do. Finally we will wind up calling good bad and bad good. We should especially hate and be grieved by our own sin. “Happy is he who condemneth not himself in the thing which he alloweth Romans 14:22

Numbers 25:1-12 Phinehas hates fornication and does something to stop it.                  Psalms 97:10 Ye that love the Lord–hate evil.                                                                       Proverbs 8:13 The fear of the Lord is to hate evil                                                                    Amos 5:13 Hate the evil, love the good and establish judgement

OH GOD help us hate sin as you hate sin. Let us call a spade a spade and see sin for all that it is but also see you for all you are and let you attack the evil through us.

 

LITTLE IS MUCH WHEN GOD

Praise the Lord I have my computer back.  Our connection to the internet was so old that it quit. We were given a new modem but had to upgrade our computer tower to match so I was off-line for a week. Now young people wonder why we oldies have technophobia!

One of the interesting things I’ve noted over the years is how large projects often fail over simple choices by the “least” members of the group. Yes it is healthy to see oneself as the “least” but then go out yielding the little I have to see what God can do through a yielded “least” one like me and you. Instead we often give lip service to the concept our “leastness” in order to excuse not trying. “My part doesn’t count anyways, God will accomplish his will even if I don’t do my part” Being “least” is not a disqualifier for service but an absolute prerequisite. Not many mighty not many strong are chosen. For we have this treasure in vessels of clay that others might glory in the treasure and not in the vessel. Those who SEEM to be the least are MUCH MORE necessary than those who seem to be much.

Examples: Sitting in the back pews at church. “You don’t understand, I’m shy or depressed or have a bad bladder or children to watch or like watching the others or am saving the front for others. What would you think of this kind of behavior at a ball game or concert? You’d think the participants were not into what was happening and did not see it as important. It’s not just the attitudes which cause us to sit in the back but also the resistant independent attitudes of not responding when pastors ask us to move up and together. Recently my pastor asked people at a Wednesday meeting to move up and together and, as usual, no one moved! Contrary to my shy nature I stood up and said that it was my firm belief that this simple small choice is what is destroying the impact of the church in America. I was told to shut up and not be so radical. (Not by the pastor but by a deacon) I still think that I was right.

People are asked to go calling and one in ten shows up. We do better than the liberals at paying tithe but where they are at 2 % we might be at 10 percent. God gets a tithe of his tithe! We only smile at those we know and shake hands limply. We used to get up for Easter sunrise services and now we won’t even get up for Sunday school if it is at 9. We are too shy to pray out loud in Sunday school and won’t share what God has been doing in our lives.

It is the “little” foxes that spoil the vines, a “little” folding of the hands a little laying in bed that brings poverty, a “little” fly makes the ointment stink.

In addition to thinking that the loss of my “little” part will make no difference, we fear that if we step out we are little and will stand alone and be destroyed  and make no difference. The whole world saw and admired the one man who stopped a row of Chinese tanks in Tiananmen square those many years ago. For God sought for one man to stand in the gap and the city was lost because he found none. Ezekiel 22:30

The good news if how God uses little old you and me if we will stand up. My daughter Cheri has 7 children and very limited time and finances and yet is one of the best known women in the creation movement doing the little she can from her home computer. Instead of saying

What can do? Instead: What can I do?

Who am I that God should use me? Instead: Here am I send me!

What do I have to do God’s work with? Instead: What is in my hand? Let me cast it down take it up and let it be God’s. As with Moses and the rod of God.

Who have I to support my endeavors? Instead: Thank you for those You have put in my life now help me to reach out to and with them.

OLD? DON’T BE A HEZEKIAH Attitudes for elders and not so elders

As I am getting older on the outside,although younger on the inside. Being more aware of the brevity of life; I have a strong urge to do things that invest in others and the future. I am always impressed with J Vernon McGee who has been dead for years and still his radio discussions of Through The Bible, are still being heard and blessing listeners. That is one reason that I have been putting more effort into the internet ministries. Lois is going to try to find ways to get my blog known on a wider scale and God has led a couple of my friends to start a Facebook group for hurting people, hope to launch in May. We hope to use some of the material God has given me to help others. I am very grateful for the opportunities.

When Hezekiah was getting old, God came to him and said, “Set thine house in order; for thou shalt die, and not live.”   It would have been so much better if he had said, “The Lord giveth and the Lord taketh away blessed be the name of the Lord” Instead he whined and wept and God gave him fifteen more years. However, he did not set his house in order and his son Manasseh was evil. It would have been better if fifteen years earlier he had looked for a godly replacement or led his son to worship God. During those fifteen years he showed off the riches God had given him to “distant” visitors from Babylon who took the report home and eventually came back with an army. Instead of preparing the people for coming judgement that God had promised, he said, “As long as the war doesn’t come while I am alive it is good!”

First we need to live in the now with passion and peace, yet being constantly OK with moving on whenever God calls. “For I am in a straight between two things having a desire to depart and be with the Lord but for now staying and ministering to others is EVEN BETTER!

Because Hezekiah was not ready to go then he was not ready to stay.

There was a foolish young protester with a sign that said “there is nothing worth dying for!” This was on national TV a few years ago and the whole country gasped and asked “what are we coming to? If there is nothing worth dying for then there is nothing worth living for.”

Unlike Hezekiah we need to invest whatever time we have left in leaving a legacy and in calling our country to repent lest we reap a consequence far worse than the invasion of Babylon. Do we pray, not only for our country now, but also for the country of our children and grandchildren, that God will bring and maintain revival for the long term.

Life focus should be like driving a car. Learn from the past and don’t let it control our decisions in the present or color our hope for tomorrow or absorb all our focus or eat up our energy trying to suppress it. Ask how going down the current piece of road will lead to godly outcomes in the future.

Then being grateful for God’s mercy on the past and hoping to the end for the promised blessings; we seize the moment doing everything with all our might as unto the Lord and not as men-pleasers. Grateful for every extra second He gives us on earth to fight the good fight and equip the next generation to continue the war. I see so many old people who seem to have the attitude that “I’ve done my part so now I will back off and coast and leave it to others. The young need us for example of being good to the last drop and for our witness of what God has done. Even if they don’t always know that they need us. So don’t get miffed but get involved!