Let Me Tell You a Story – Sacrificial Love


When we come to the topic of love, the deepest love I can imagine is the self sacrificial love of the Messiah. It is beyond comprehension, even beyond mental belief, if we are honest with ourselves.

He has shown a way that is to be followed by those who have seen His goodness, His self sacrificial giving of Himself, or denying His own glory in order to provide for others, even His enemies, those that call for His crucifixion and death.

It is a story, real as it is, that sometimes seems unreal. I am not denying the gospel – No no no. – yet to consider the message, and the man behind the message, the Lord Jesus as a breathing walking person who suffered, hungered, felt shame and fear, sometimes escapes me.

He travelled amongst those who hated Him, (and a few that loved Him, but didn’t “get” Him), and sought to serve them, either through mercy or hardness, through tough words that didn’t reach soft hearts, but refused to respond to His call.

He never gave up on His mission, even though everyone else did. Everyone abandoned Him, even His Father as He hung on the tree, bleeding and dying for sins He never committed.

How can that be understood?

I tell you, that the depth of it cannot be understood, other than in a faint way, a glimmer of that love that shines on us through our relations with others.

Without others, the story of the Savior, through true as truth, can become almost academic. Facts and figures of the story can sometimes dull the sense of the story, the “feel” of the gospel.

Love is an action word and because of that, we understand love through the actions of the Lord, through His creation, and especially through His people.

But as I have walked this pilgrim way for the past four decades, I have found that some of the cruelest people confess Christ, and it confuses me. Sure they may be false converts, and that is something I consider, yet I fear that some have lost focus on the goal of the Christian life. I know I do.

For you see, I am a studier, I love research. I have studied numerous topics in the Bible, and when I have just enough information to be dangerous, I go on the attack. Arguing a point to no end, shaming others that do not hold my very specific point of view, elevating myself (in my own view) over my brother and sister, even spreading gossip and lies in order to protect myself from the truth.

Christ died for our sins.

We need to remember that He died for His brothers and sisters, and not just ourselves. This is a challenge for myself since I have this tendency to consider myself better than others, better that those that I love deepest. And yet, when I do give up something I love in order to help someone else, when I leave behind a dream or aspiration, a possession or activity that I seemingly can’t live without, a tremendous freedom is experienced, and lightening of my soul.

This only do I need to say. Love the brethren, and remember, even just for today…

1 John 3:16

By this we know love, that he laid down his life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for the brothers.

1 John 4:7

Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God.

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Let Me Tell You a Story – Two Kings and Two Women


Well it happened again. It jumped out at me. At least I though it did.

I was listening to the Word on my way to work, with distractions buzzing around my head, and the passage landed on 2 Kings 6.

You know, the chapter where King Solomon uses his wisdom to determine the rightful mother. Ya – that chapter where he threatens to kill the one child and offer half to each of the arguing women in order to solve their dispute. What genius.

But Carl – You are way wrong about the King and the child in 2 Kings 6.. Let’s read the passage I was slightly listening to.

2 Kings 6:25-31

And there was a great famine in Samaria, as they besieged it, until a donkey’s head was sold for eighty shekels of silver, and the fourth part of a kab of dove’s dung for five shekels of silver.
Now as the king of Israel was passing by on the wall, a woman cried out to him, saying, “Help, my lord, O king!”
And he said, “If the LORD will not help you, how shall I help you? From the threshing floor, or from the winepress?”
And the king asked her, “What is your trouble?” She answered, “This woman said to me, ‘Give your son, that we may eat him today, and we will eat my son tomorrow.’
So we boiled my son and ate him. And on the next day I said to her, ‘Give your son, that we may eat him.’ But she has hidden her son.”
When the king heard the words of the woman, he tore his clothes–now he was passing by on the wall–and the people looked, and behold, he had sackcloth beneath on his body–
and he said, “May God do so to me and more also, if the head of Elisha the son of Shaphat remains on his shoulders today.”

Okay, but as is obvious to all concerned, this is a passage about a king and a child, but for the life of me I don’t see any other similarities.

Consider the passage about Solomon and the sword, and once you read it, I thought it would be interesting to compare the differences and see if there may be a lesson for us.

1 Kings 3:16 – 27

Then two prostitutes came to the king and stood before him.
The one woman said, “Oh, my lord, this woman and I live in the same house, and I gave birth to a child while she was in the house.
Then on the third day after I gave birth, this woman also gave birth. And we were alone. There was no one else with us in the house; only we two were in the house.
And this woman’s son died in the night, because she lay on him.
And she arose at midnight and took my son from beside me, while your servant slept, and laid him at her breast, and laid her dead son at my breast.
When I rose in the morning to nurse my child, behold, he was dead. But when I looked at him closely in the morning, behold, he was not the child that I had borne.”
But the other woman said, “No, the living child is mine, and the dead child is yours.” The first said, “No, the dead child is yours, and the living child is mine.” Thus they spoke before the king.
Then the king said, “The one says, ‘This is my son that is alive, and your son is dead’; and the other says, ‘No; but your son is dead, and my son is the living one.'”
And the king said, “Bring me a sword.” So a sword was brought before the king.
And the king said, “Divide the living child in two, and give half to the one and half to the other.”
Then the woman whose son was alive said to the king, because her heart yearned for her son, “Oh, my lord, give her the living child, and by no means put him to death.” But the other said, “He shall be neither mine nor yours; divide him.”
Then the king answered and said, “Give the living child to the first woman, and by no means put him to death; she is his mother.”

Ok, we have two similarities, in that the story speaks of a King (Ahab and Solomon) and of children Let’s consider the differences.

The Nation

The nation of Israel was so different in these stories.

Under Ahab, the nation was in starvation mode, with the Syrians on the doorstep, and annihilation eminent. The nation was suffering under the curse of ungodly kings, with Ahab, a very evil little king, ruling over the nation, being led about by that woman Jezebel.

Under Solomon, the nation was in the golden age of prosperity and power. The nation was, more than at any time in it’s history, enjoying the benefits of a godly King, and now his son, reigning on the throne, was reaping the benefits of this history. It was a time of tremendous luxury and national strength, where all the nations bowed to the nation of Israel.

The Mommas

The children’s mothers were of different stock.

In the Ahab account, the women appear to be “average mothers”, under the extreme duress of starvation. Nothing appears to be mentioned about their moral character (under normal circumstances). I know – they ate a child! That is horrendous. And to offer your own child up to satisfy your hunger – that is an incredible statement about the human condition. But without any moral identifier, as in the next pair of women, could we not assume these women were average mommas?

In the time of Solomon, the women in the story were hookers, ladies of the night that used and abused men, selling their bodies for the bread of supper. Though they were prostitutes, at least one of these women still had a beating heart for thier youngin.

The Solution

Both kings were addressed by one woman to provide help.

With Ahab, the women wanted justice in order to continue finding sustenance. (I tend to think the hidden child would be sacrificed eventually). Ahab’s solution – Curse Elisha, promise his death and seek to blameshift the problem to someone other than the self.

With Solomon, both women wanted to care for a child. At least one of them truly did. One momma would give anything for her child. Even give the child up, to ensure its survival.

Solomon’s solution. Look for love. The love of a mother that can not be held back.

You know, I listened to this passage a few days ago, and last night, my daughter was asking about purchasing life insurance, since she has an itty bitty baby. We chatted for a bit, talking of term life and whole life and premiums and such. (BTW, I am not a life insurance salesman, just a dad telling what he know!) Eventually she asked about life insurance for the baby. I informed her rather casually that children’s life insurance is intended to cover burial expenses if the child passed.

A second passed , and she blurted out that she experienced actual pain in her heart when I said that, just to think of her ittly bitty one passing. A mother’s love. It is truly astounding. I have seen my wife break down sobbing over her children, broken hearted over decisions they have made, or that have been made for them.

The love of a mother is a pale reflection of the love of God towards His people. God’s love is a heartbreaking, give anything you can type of love. And yet there are limits that restrict love from being shared, enjoyed and benefitted from. A heart that refuses to receive love, in the end only hates itself.

So Carl what is the lesson from this short post?

Devotion to God

Solomon and Ahab were different, not due to circumstances, but because of who they were devoted to.

True, Solomon was slipping away from the true and living God, but Ahab was as far away as he could get. Their devotion to the living God was exhibited in their reaction to the problem.

Solomon relied on God for his wisdom, having prayed to God in humility for wisdom to lead his people. God provided wisdom, and this story of the child and the sword is one of many stories exhibiting Solomon’s gift from God. Solomon resorted to the love of a mother to solve his problem. Unconventional – yes. Effective – very much so!

Ahab was just a weak little evil king. Led about by an evil woman. No conviction of soul, no humility or willingness to admit to sin, (at least not yet!). No – Ahab was a bad one! And all he did was blame a good one, and ultimatley the Good One!

1 Kings 21:25

There was none who sold himself to do what was evil in the sight of the LORD like Ahab, whom Jezebel his wife incited.

What type of person are you?

Do you see the love of God, even just a flicker, in the people around you? Do you look to be a blessing to those around you, and seek God’s wisdom for the benefit of others? Solomon did, and his status grew, and God blessed his life (as much as He could, and for as long as possible).

Or do you blame others for your problems and see others as enemies and impediments to your happiness? Ahab did, and it didn’t end well for him.

Where is your devotion now. It will be evident tomorrow. Something to consider the next time you face a difficult situation. (Hopefully not involving two women and an argument! That is just too much for me!!!!)

Thanks again for coming to visit. I hope you found something of interest in this post and would appreciate a comment, to begin a discussion.

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Let Me Tell You a Story – A Rebuking


A while back I penned a post on the parable found in Luke 17, regarding the responsibility to forgive a brother when he sins against you. Oh, and one other responsibility, that is to rebuke the brother as required.

That brought to mind my first “rebuking” Not the first delivered to me – No there has been to many to remember. But the first one I provided to a brother.

So much pride and judgement on my part. And such a gentle attitude toward me from the “sinning” brother.

Let set the stage.

My wifey and I had just received our fist child from the Lord and he was well nigh perfect. Sleeping perfectly, eating perfectly, smiling at daddy perfectly. (Come to think of it, each of my chillun were perfect – go figger!)

With me being so young in the faith, and seemingly being so successful at raising my 10 month old son (ahem), I obviously had much to teach others.

Meet Ron – (not his real name don’t ya know). He was an elder in the church, and had three young children, not quite as perfect as mine, but if they stood still, they were somewhat cute. Let’s not get into competition now Carl!

Still, Ron and his wifey had a bit different attitude in raising their children, a bit of a permissive attitude that allowed the children to express themselves freely. Allowed to leave the table during supper, allowed to scream over most anything, allowed to “run a bit ragged” round the house.

Looking back, I may have been sitting on a self erected pedestal when I viewed these little ones.

I remember the day well, when I drove to Ron’s house, after asking if we could meet. He most likely thought I had a personal question of guidance that I wanted to review with him. Little did he know that I was bringing the hammer down, showing him the error of his ways, and allowing him to experience the depth of my wisdom.

Prior to going to the door, I prayed. Of course – I considered myself spiritual.

In talking to him, I felt at a loss to convince him of my argument. He was so gracious to me, and received me in kindness. We chatted and he asked me to stay for a drink, maintaining an attitude of acceptance with me.

Ron is a good man, and for some reason I didn’t see the bigger picture. I guess I only saw what I wanted to see about my own abilities as a parent. Don’t worry – soon enough that pride would come crashing down!

In my rebuking responsibilities, I try to remind myself to be careful to consider my own weakness in the very area I will be addressing in my brothers sin. I need to approach him with a spirit of gentleness, as one beggar going to another beggar.

This rebuking thing is a most delicate thing to balance. I definitely need the wisdom of Jesus. The wisdom and humility of the Lord.

Thanks Ron, for being the believer I needed to see that day!

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Let Me Tell You a Story – All Things


Have you ever went through a week where it seems you are right on the cusp of dropping one of the balls you are juggling, right on the edge of loosing some control, walking the precipice of a bad experience, of experiencing a serious fear?

A bit of a long winded question, but I wanted to give you a feel for the week I went through. I will not bore you with the specifics, but looking back, the week was a great week, with none of the perceived and expected failures falling on me.

I am sure I am not alone, and this is a further reminder that I need to press in on the Savior for the calmness He promises in the midst of my day. This is a lesson I am realizing more each day.

But this story has to do with “the hangover” from a week like I described. You see, I had been carrying this nervousness and not dealing with it correctly, until the week was over and then I simply relaxed. But I didn’t deal with the frustration I had inflicted on myself. And because of this frustration, I was ticked Saturday morning!

I mean, my attitude was completely incorrect, unwarranted and super confusing for my favorite wife to understand. She didn’t deserve the friction and when my son came over to chat, he must have walked away thinking that something is wrong with ol’ dad.

Fast forward a couple hours later, when I am over to my son’s new home, painting the inside prior to his family moving in. We were making good progress and the radio was on, with Creedence Clearwater playing in the background. The song “Lookin Out My Back Door” came on, and the phrase “take a rest on the porch” struck me.

This is a song about the imaginations of a young child, watching a carnival come through town.

Immediately, when the porch phrase came on, I realigned my attitude. It was very unexpected, and seemed to be the very trigger that the Lord used in my weakness, frustration and anger. My perspective changed, and I am thankful to the Lord for His kindness

Let me ask you if you have been ministered to by the Lord by words or thoughts not directly from the Scriptures. This may seem like heresy to some, but I am seeing the pervasiveness of the Spirit working through All Things for His intent and goal in our lives

Let me know what you think. Has the Lord spoke to you through secular messages? Has He used a common message and provided you a heavenly meaning, one that aligns with the Word of God and His nature?

I am convinced He is big enough to take All Things, even an old song about a child and a carnival, and use them for His purpose.

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Let Me Tell You a Story – Cry Baby


My wife and I did some baby sitting this Sunday and it reminded us of the many times we just didn’t know what to do with a child.

As a reminder to my reader, my wife and I have raised five kids, and have had our challenges, some of which we may have succeeded at, some we failed at. But with all of the child rearing, we can look back and see the grace of God in giving us many blessings as a family.

But back to the intent of the story.

We had a little baby with us for close to 7 hours, and when the little one is not asleep, she cries. Cries cries cries. Until she is picked up, but then, after a brief respite, she goes back to crying crying crying. Wow. So much crying.

Prior to experiencing the joys and trials of parenting, I had the attitude of “Make the kid obey” for every parent out there.

Parent the child.

Make em obey!

But with a child comes a will, and with that will comes a difference of desire. After the birth of our children, I slowly (too slowly) understood the concepts of training the will of a youngster, of directing the youth to better things. Telling a child to obey does not work (for long). Sure, they may conform, but that is not the goal is it?

This little one we cared for, she just cried cried and cried some more. She wanted something and in my heart of hearts, I wanted to just figger a way to make her stop. The incessant crying only to get what she wants. Terms like spoiled, coddled and pampered raced through my head, but I fought against such judgmental thoughts, since I know my broken nature is the source of that reactionary thought.

Still, is there no way for this little one to just quit crying?

Eventually I became numb to the crying, sat still and let my thoughts wander. (Oh nooooooo….)

How often have I known a young (in the faith) believer that cries incessantly over some issue. One who claims the name of Christ and yet is divisive, full of gossip, a backbiter and continually complaining.

With both scenarios, discipline is required. Of course with the little one, this is kind of a moot point, since she has such little capacity to understand any type of discipline. (BTW, when I mention discipline, please do not default to understanding corporeal punishment.)

With the young believer, strong biblical verses need to be applied, speaking of the danger their behavior is leading them towards. Grace needs to be understood properly, and wisdom is needed when discussing an immature believers actions and attitudes. Growing up necessitates direction and discipline.

With a young child, as the child understands the discipline, it needs to be administered consistently and under the constant attitude of love. Before a child is one year old, the concept of “NO” should be firmly understood by the child.

Remember how I mentioned my mind wanders a few paragraphs back. You have just entered the “Simpson” Zone, where strange and weird thoughts connect with one another to try to communicate a general life truth. A general life truth of relating to others in their situation.

This bit of a story all started with a little one crying crying crying. And my reactionary thoughts. Golly, if I had just a bit more patience, I would have understood that this little one is only 6 months old, and she is cutting her first teeth.

Can you blame her for crying? Not at all. No discipline required, of course (as if it would have been of benefit!!!) Just an adult that needed to understand the facts.

By the way, when you come into contact with a young believer, understand his or her situation prior to throwing those danger verses out there.

Wisdom my friends. It runs on knowledge and understanding.

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Let Me Tell You a Story – Scars


Chatting with my daughter a few weeks back and she told me of her friend that is a new parent.  The young couple  are dedicated to providing a safe and loving environment for their baby to grow up in.

Maybe too safe? 

You see, my daughter spoke of this little baby having a walking helmet.  Yes, a walking helmet.  Their little one is starting to venture to the vertical method of travelling, but the parents, in all good intentions (I think) are seeking to protect their little one from bumps and scrapes.

Is this wise? Does past experience teach us the wisdom of being overly protective?

When my grandbabies come over, I wrestle with them, throw them over my head, tickle em till they are crying and swing them around to make them fearless, instead of fearful. When they (and I) are dizzy and stumble, even fall down, I distract them from any pain they may experience. (Of course if there is blood squirting, or a bone sticking out, I will call the mama – I’m not that heartless!!!)

If they inadvertently experience a bit of pain, I see it as a necessary experience in life, and that protecting them from all pain is actually detrimental to their successful voyage through life.

It’s funny when I think of my grandbabies, when they come over, that grampa is the neighborhood toy to play with, and they know the treatment they will get, the rough and tumble playtime, the chasing and wrestling, the tossing about, and yet they seek it, look for the “scary”, dangerous(?) and goofy fun

Folks, I am persuaded that scars build character, and that without some scarring in this life, it becomes obvious there is no battle being fought, no cause to seek for, no purpose in the existence granted to us.

This “safety first” consciousness that is so pervasive in our society speaks of a pampered, indulgent society, of comfort and ease at all cost, and the loss of a will to fight for anything.

You might think I am taking a minor item like walking helmets and blowing it up out of all proportion, and you may be right. Each parent has to determine their philosophy of child rearing and mine isn’t perfect, but my adult children are fighters, and they don’t give up after a disappointment. Each of them have had major setbacks in their lives and yet they are fighting to make the best of it, instead of sitting in a pity puddle, crying about how unfair life is.

Scars are evidence of a fight, of a battle fought, of a character being formed, even at very early ages.

As we grow into adults, (and even grampas!), the scarring may take many different forms, but each scar gives evidence of character. Character that is formed from adversity, (not prosperity) from suffering (not comforts) and from struggles (not a life of ease!)

The greatest scarring I can think of are the marks the Lord Jesus carries, even as He is praying for us in our battles. Jesus showed His disciples his hands and side, proving it was He that spoke and not some ephemeral spirit, but a flesh and bone resurrected man.

He fought for us, and for the glory and love of God. His scars give evidence of this.

What scars are you carrying?

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Let Me Tell You a Story – A Proper Response


Wisdom.  Oh how I lack it.

Recently, I was in conversation with a brother and found that I had offended him.  I was astonished at the claims he made, and found I was completely taken aback by the pain that he expressed.

I sat and listened to the pain he was experiencing, of the anger and frustration he was going through.  He is a dear friend and I love him, but I heard him say that I had failed him, that I was not the believer I should have been.  

Immediately, I wanted to rear my defenses and fight back, and yet this is not the Christian life. 

Romans 15:1-3

We who are strong have an obligation to bear with the failings of the weak, and not to please ourselves.
Let each of us please his neighbor for his good, to build him up.
For Christ did not please himself, but as it is written, “The reproaches of those who reproached you fell on me.”

Did I commit some (or all) of the offences my brother was speaking of.  Yes, I may have, although I can frankly state that his perception of my actions are not in line with my intentions.  I will not defend myself any further, for that is fruitless. (This type of event seems to recur in my life, and I am such a slow learner – check out my “Story Time” portion of Commandments for Christians – No Murder)

The issue I would like to consider is the proper response to a brother coming to you, speaking of an offense of yours.  What is the Christian way to address this?

Romans speaks of not pleasing ourselves, but of pleasing our neighbor.

It is an interesting word, that is, to please

It is as it is translated – that is to please or to strive to please, to accommodate one’s self to the opinions desires and interests of others.

Of course in the midst of this definition, we need to remember the larger biblical context of obedience to the Master for us in receiving the offence, but also of responding to direct the brother or sister onto greater devotion to the Lord.  We cannot simply allow them to reside in bitterness or anger, but we need to direct them to the Lord Himself.

If they are speaking out of a heart of pain, and have forgotten the mercies of the Lord, our focus is to listen, and direct them to the One who is good.  Repentance of sin and a spirit of forgiveness needs to be expressed.

And this is the rub, where wisdom is needed!  In the midst of an often emotional discussion, truth needs to be discerned, and I struggle in this very act.  I want to defend myself and spend my energy either defending myself or attacking the claims being made.  I need to listen for the Spirit’s direction, for passages of Scripture that come to mind during the discussion, determine the appropriateness of the passage, and gently direct the conversation to the Lord.

Gently direct the conversation to the Lord.

Wisdom. Patience. Love. Humility.

All I know is that I am poverty stricken in these qualities, the very characteristics of the Messiah.  He is the One to look to. 

Help me in my dealings with those you love.

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Let Me Tell You a Story – Sharing


Y’all know I am a foreigner, a transplanted Canadian that grew up in the 60’s and 70’s.  Much of my cultural baggage is from summers listening to music, predominantly Canadian based music, since the national government mandated a certain percentage of radio air time to be Canadian content.  (Sweet City Woman still echoes in my ears!)

Well, during this time, a Canadian band by the name of the Guess Who (ask me sometime how they got their name) published a song called Share the Land. It became one of their greatest hits and the music reminds me of the early 70’s, when the only thing that mattered was to beat, the rhythm, and the title of the song – Who cared about the message?  I was too “occupied” to be concerned with a message.  Take a listen to this ol song and tell me you don’t like the sound!

Let 40 years slide by, and find me on my patio, working on some project, when this song comes on out of nowhere.  I crank it up, and start to get into it, when all of a sudden I pay attention to the lyrics.

Let me share them with you. 

Have you been around?
Have you done your share of comin’ down
On different things that people do?
Have you been aware?
You got brothers and sisters who care
About what’s gonna happen to you
In a year from now

Maybe I’ll be there to shake your hand (Shake your hand)
Maybe I’ll be there to share the land (Share the land)
That they’ll be givin’ away
When we all live together, we’re talkin’ ’bout together, now

Maybe I’ll be there to shake your hand (Shake your hand)
Maybe I’ll be there to share the land (Share the land)
That they’ll be givin’ away

When we all live together, we’re talkin’ ’bout together, now

Did you pay your dues?
Did you read the news
This morning when the paper landed in your yard?
Do you know their names?
Can you play their games
Without losin’…

My friends, this song has a message and this message is couched with great images – Sharing the Land, giving the land away, living together, shaking hands, being together…

Now, y’all know I am a believer in the Lord Jesus, and am looking forward to the day when King Jesus will have rescued us from the presence of sin, and provided us our home where sharing will be a natural characteristic of every redeemed soul.  Where worship will replace worry, and praise will replace pride.  Where honor of my brother is paramount in my mind and to serve (properly) will be realized perfectly.

“Sharing the land” during the future kingdom will be a natural, common, glorious expression of love and kindness, erupting from a heart of praise to the One who rescued us from ourselves.

Now I can’t speak for Burton Cummings of the Guess Who, or any of the other members of the band, but I don’t think they were thinking of the future kingdom brought to reality through the Lord Jesus.  

I fear the message would be realized via forced sharing, a sharing that would be required.  A sharing that is fueled by fear, domination and regulations, enforced with the end of a gun.  

This style of sharing is not a stranger on this earth.  Some, with good intentions I suppose, consider the forced sharing of goods to be a gateway to utopia.

Without the Lord Jesus Christ in the middle of the utopia, there is no utopia. When you hear a leader speak of sharing the goods of others (by legislation), or redistributing wealth (by force), or providing free services to the poorest (by regulations), please understand this is a deception.  

We are a sinful people on this earth, and without the Lord Jesus Christ, we have no ability to willingly share with others.  With family, sure.  With friends, at times.  But with strangers, and enemies – the human spirit cannot reach that far.

(But can it?)

He left us the Body of Christ to taste the glories of this life of sacrifice with one another.  Governments have since time immemorial sought to replace the genius of the love of God being spread abroad to others, through a mandated forced sharing.

Mans method of universal sharing cannot work, since it is born out of selfishness, fear and hatred.

God’s method works, yet many in the Body of Christ seem to be starving for the Christian life.

If you are rejoicing in your Christian life and enjoying Body Life with other believers, share your experience.  If you are struggling to find that experience of sharing, (in other words, fellowship), please comment.

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Let Me Tell You a Story – Be Thankful


A year ago, we entered the covid 19 pandemic era, with mass hysteria, mixed communications, multiple fears and major stress.  So many nights, we went to bed sensing a terror, a sense of foreboding, and yet all in my family have kept our employment, survived the pandemic, and experienced the mercy of God in our lives.

I want to tell you of a friend, who I want to be like when I grow up.  He is a humble man, and I will not seek to embarrass him by using his name, other than calling him JB.

JB is a brother I met while attending a sunday school class, him being the teacher of it.  It was a great class, since I came into it with a number of beliefs the class as a whole did not adhere to.  JB was very encouraging to allow my thoughts to challenge others, and to challenge my thoughts also.  A very healthy environment, without personal attacks or snide remarks, (at least from the class….)

Well, the church we attended, at the start of the covid crisis, shut it’s doors, and JB, along with his dear wife, were restricted to thier home.  You see, JB is 80 yrs old this year, and it became obvious early on in the pandemic, that the elderly were susceptible to the virus.  So, JB stayed in as much as he could.  Of course he went to work, until his wife needed dedicated care. 

At this time, he took his retirement, to care for his wife of almost 60 yrs.  DB (his wife) was suffering from her third attack of cancer, and this one was very aggressive.  During this, DB also broke her hip, and was required to have medical care in the hospital.  Through it all, JB rarely showed any indication of suffering, or “Woe is me” .  

Eventually DB came home and JB spent the next few months transitioning from part time care giver to full time care giver, and sought to comfort his wife with all he knew.  Eventually, he had to give up his vehicle to help pay for other bills, but after a week, he mentioned that, although a bigger adjustment than he estimated, it was something that was beneficial for all, and he was thankful.

As covid raged, DB got weaker from the constant attack of the cancer.  JB persevered through the trial, showing a commitment to his wife that I only hope I can match.  A few months ago, JB called to let us know that DB slipped into the arms of the Savior that night, and that they would be planning for a very small service.

Next thing I know, my friend is in the hospital due to a fall, where the doctors suspected a brain aneurism.  During his stay, it was discovered that he had contracted covid.  Personally, I held out only hope for him, due to his advanced age, the stress he had suffered for the past year, and the loss of his partner of nearly 60 years.

He called me a few weeks ago, telling me he was out of the hospital, and recovering, but not as quickly as he would like.  His family are circling around him and he is surviving.    

Just a few days ago, he informed me that his foot is sufferings from a serious infection, where some of it may need to be removed.  After that, he ended the discussion with a number of things he is thankful for.

That is what I want to settle on in this post.  He has went through a prolonged period of testing, some of which I haven’t described, and is thankful. He has lost much that many would consider central to their life. Yet he is thankful. He admits he is challenged in his daily chores.  He isn’t sugar coating his experience.  Yet he is thankful.

Psalm 106:1

Oh give thanks to the Lord, for he is good,

Be thankful. It’s good for the soul, and is only the right thing to be! Consider who our God is, and it won’t be difficult to give thinks!

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Let Me Tell You a Story – The Blizzard of ’21


It was a quiet Saturday, but little did we know what lay ahead for us for the next few days. 

Yes, I am referring to the blizzard of ’21, where we received up to 2″ of snow, temperatures that plummeted to 16 degrees Fahrenheit, and a complete shutdown of the power grid, along with the resultant darkness, loss of heat and breaking water pipes.

As a Canadian who has lived through minus 40 degree weather,  experienced 2 or more feet of snow (in one “dump”), and experienced 6 months of winter, year in and year out, it became apparent once again the blessing of living in Houston.

But Carl – you were without power for over 52 hours, a water pipe in your attic burst, with water gushing out, tearing up both the second and first floor ceilings, and you woke with the house temperature barely above 40 degrees.  Two days of 8 blankets on the bed, reading during the day, and finding ways to charge your phone for communication .  Two days where we had no distractions, where my wife and I were confined to our bed to stay warm.  Two days of considering our situation.  Two days of being still.

You see, we are a blessed people, and I will readily admit we had what amounts to a minor inconvenience.  We heard reports of horrendous experiences of folks during this blizzard.  Some folk died during this trial, and we are so sorry to hear of this tragedy.

When trials come into your life, many distractions can accompany the struggle.  At one point in our two day trouble, I began to consider this as an opportunity.  What could I do, other than to be with my wife, to be quiet, and (eventually) to be thankful for the mercies we experience every day.

I do hope those who may be reading this have not suffered from the cold snap we experienced, or from other trials recently.  If so, and you would allow us to pray for you, please do not hesitate to share via the comment box below.

Thanks muchly and have a blessed day walking with the Savior.

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Let Me Tell You a Story – Division


Let me settle your fears right away. The division I speak of is not the mathy kind, but of division amongst Christians. But I am getting ahead of myself.

A few days ago,  I entered into a discussion with a superior at my office, and we eventually chatted about church, and spoke of the Lord Jesus.  I was mildly surprised by this since I wasn’t sure of where he stood in relation to the Lord.  To be honest, I am still not sure, but that is something I don’t have to worry about since I am not his judge.  I do hope I can speak of Him more often with my superior.

The story I want to share has a sadness about it, that I’m afraid many, if not all that read have had some experience with. 

During our chat, he mentioned that the church he attends was allowing musical instruments during one of the main services, and that this was causing much concern among some of the parishioners.  I expressed my shock that this would become a sticking point within the congregation, and he continued sharing of another church from his youth.  

The body of believers at the time decided to consider allowing instruments into the worship service, and the fallout was a complete church split.  Hundreds of believers torn away from brothers and sisters. How sad to hear of a passion to “be biblical”, and yet not exercise love for their brother and sister.  

John 13:34-35

A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.

Somewhat shortsighted, possibly even a bit blind may I suggest?

2 Peter 1:5 – 19

For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, and virtue with knowledge, and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with steadfastness, and steadfastness with godliness, and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love.
For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they keep you from being ineffective or unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. For whoever lacks these qualities is so nearsighted that he is blind, having forgotten that he was cleansed from his former sins.

It is easy to point fingers at believers decades ago that suffered through a church split due to a divisive spirit, but what of us? Do we seek to find differences between our brothers and sisters, or do we seek to find the one similarity, the one unifying truth that we all need to focus on.

He is the One we are to seek after. Can you love a brother or sister that has a different perspective than yourself? Can you find fellowship with a believer of another teaching?

Remember, the commandment was to love one another, not necessarily agree with one another. His disciples came from extremely different occupations, from fishermen to tax collectors to zealots. These are surely strange “bedfellows” and yet they were specifically chosen by the Father to exhibit a microcosm of the church.

Try to understand your brother and sister in the Lord, and look beyond the noise to love the person for whom Christ died. The alternate isn’t good news!

Galatians 5:15

But if you bite and devour one another, watch out that you are not consumed by one another.

Thanks for dropping by Considering the Bible. Hope you found encouragement and a bit of a challenge. Please leave a comment if you have a few moments to share.

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Let Me Tell You a Story – Pleasing God


Jim attended a church we visited years back, and his infectious hospitality drew us in. We stayed in the church for years and developed a great friendship with Jim and his family.

Eventually, our family moved to the US, and he continued in Canada. We lost contact for years, and recently another brother from Canada let me know that Jim had passed away.

The memory of Jim, along with his happy demeanor and engaging smile, brought back a number of times we spent together.

Jim loved to golf. I had recently purchased a computer game called “Links 360”, and being in Canada, the golfing season was severely restricted (unless you used orange golf balls!) We invited Jim and his family over for supper one Sunday night, and I showed him the game. He was captivated. We spent hours playing the game, and Jim eventually bought the computer the game was on. I tell you he loved to play computer golf!

Another time we got together was to study the Bible. A number of times, we would be reading and the Lord seemed to impress on our minds and hearts certain truths that one of us needed to hear. One specific time, we were reading through the book of 1 Thessalonians, beginning in the 4th chapter.

1 Thessalonians 4:1

Furthermore then we beseech you, brethren, and exhort you by the Lord Jesus, that as ye have received of us how ye ought to walk and to please God, so ye would abound more and more.

I can’t remember which one of us hung on the phrase “to please God”, but as we considered the phrase, we experienced a renewed hope that we weren’t simply trying to appease an angry God, but that God was willing (and able) to be pleased.

To please God.

Who would have thought that the gospel would provide a possibility of such magnitude to the saint. Of course, we understood the Son was fully pleasing to the Father at all times until the crucifixion, where the Father turned away from His Son.

This is an unfathomable truth for me.

As a matter of fact, the truth of the Father turning away from the Son is far and away a greater truth than the resultant hope of the saint being pleasing unto God. Yes – that is true – the hope of the saint being pleasing to the Father is based on the Only Begotten being abandoned, left to die alone and under the weight of our sin.

He is worthy of all honor and glory, for Who is like unto Thee O Lord?

I am looking forward to visiting with you Jim. It has been decades since we had that study, and I remember the table we were at, the room we were in, and the fellowship we experienced together.

Thanks for being a friend.

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Let Me Tell You a Story – Barnabas and his Field


I have been a believer for nearly 40 years and it amazes me how little I know of the Word.

Many times the Lord reminds me of my pride and arrogance, and the most recent experience was a few nights ago when my favorite wife and I were reading Acts chapter 4 together. During our reading, as we came to the end of the chapter, Luke writes that Joseph – otherwise known as Barnabas, “sells a field.”

For some reason, I was under the impression he sold everything he owned.  He simply sold a field.  Now I am not denigrating his act of love for the Lord and His followers, I am simply expressing my assumptions that were wrong.

No comment on the percentage of Barnabas’s assets that were sold off, or that Barnabas had a ceremony upon giving the cash to the family.  None of that!  Which makes me look forward to tonight when my wife and I consider the story in Acts 5 – You know – when Ananias, together with his wife Sapphira try to duplicate the gift but die trying.

The differences will be instructive!

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Let Me Tell You a Story – A Racing Prius


I was out one fine Saturday with my youngest daughter, getting some chores done and enjoying being with my little girl.  As we were driving about, we came to a red light and pulled up beside a fella on a ten speed bike.

I looked over to Sarah and told her that my little Prius would easily beat this bike at the green, and we laughed a bit.  I told her that all I need for the little car is two bright blue racing stripes down the middle of the car – that way no one would challenge me at the gate!

We laughed and went on our way, little realizing what the future held for my famous little car.  By the way, have I told you that I own a Prius?  What a great little car.  I have always been a Toyota fella, but a few years back, I started researching the benefits of a Prius and found I wanted to try one.  Bought myself a 2012, and been very happy.  I use it for commuting primarily, but on the weekend, have found it to be a great little truck for hauling payloads of 500 lb or less.  Anyway, this isn’t intended to be a commercial for Toyota, but a story bout my little girls love for an old fool.

Months passed after our little excursion and race with the ten speed.  (By the way,  I did beat the bike off the line!)  I had forgotten about our little discussion, but my daughter hadn’t.  As I came out of church one Sunday, I saw three folks hanging around my little beast, and automatically thought of trouble.  Putting on my eye crutches, I realized it was my daughters along with one of their friends, applying stripes to my beast.  She hadn’t forgot our day out and my silly comment on the stripes.

prius - small.jpgYou know, as I drive the beast around town, I get some great reactions.  One fella, at a bus stop, walked to the edge of the curb and gave me a thumbs up.  I am known as the fella with the racing Prius at work.

Some folks make fun, and mock it.  Their problem not mine.  When I look at the car, I see my daughter’s love for me.

It all depends on the story!

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Let Me Tell You a Story – Coincidence?


One more story for those out there reading my thoughts.

It was a long time ago, well nigh 40 years now, when I met my future wife, and began to experience things that completely changed my life.

As you may know from previous blog posts, I had been haunted by the Great White Throne judgement since I was about 7, constantly looking for distractions in my life. When that pretty little girl entered my vision, I thought – Awesome distraction!

But a soon as we started chatting, she spoke of Jesus and how He had saved her from death in an auto accident. But she had something that was different and I wanted to know more.

Can I take you on a date? She said yes! (Obviously)

And so our love began. And so I traveled to her home 40 minutes north of my work, every night to be with her.

I was converted, saved from a life of waste and sin a mere week after I met her. On February 19th, 1981, I bent the knee to Christ. All my fears and worries evaporated. Coming out of a drug culture, we had an expression for a permanent smile.

A coat hanger.

Well I definitely had a coat hanger that night.

I was so excited about knowing the Savior, I couldn’t sit still. I immediately went to visit my girl, (I got right at her brothers house, but that is a different story!) but she just went to bed, so I took off to my apartment in Orillia.

French fries

As I entered my neighborhood, I suddenly felt famished, and decided to get me some grub. Off to the local restaurant, where I found an empty booth and ordered some fries.

Before the fries arrived, temptation sat down beside me.

She said she knew me, but it must have been from a previous night in a bar, when I had had just one drink too many. I couldn’t remember her name, or even her face. But she sure wanted to know me. Wink nod.

Golly – a brand new believer, without a whit of Bible knowledge, but surely this was wrong. No matter, since I was so high on Jesus, I started sharing what I knew of Jesus. She looked shocked and left to find some other victim. But this type of activity was not the last I would notice as a young believer.

As I hinted around earlier, my favorite and I got hitched eight months after meeting. Just prior to the wedding, we met a fella that showed an interest in the Lord and he eventually made a confession of faith the day before the wedding (if I recall correctly).

He went away so happy and I told him that we should get together again the next day – before I got hitched! But he didn’t show up. I eventually was able to chat with him and he told me a story that was very eerily reminiscent of my own.

The night he got right with God, he ran into an old friend who offered herself to him. He said he was shocked, since previously she had shown no interest in him other than as a friend.

I suppose it is clear as to why I didn’t see him the next day. Falling into a sinful act upon the very day of salvation must be heartbreaking, and I wanted to encourage him of the long haul. But alas, I don’t think I saw him after that.

My favorite and I got hitched, we moved south and started our lives together.

But I think of him occasionally and hope for the best.

Those experiences taught me that we have an intelligent enemy, and that his methods are “coincidental”.

Roaring Lion

Our defense?

  • Be sober-minded
  • Be watchful

1 Peter 5:8

Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.

Drop me a comment if you have experienced a similar attack, and of how the Lord rescued you from the one who is our enemy.

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Let Me Tell You a Story – Plowing


let-me-tell-you-a-story.jpgIts been a decade or two since I used to go trapping.  Trapping with an elder in a church in the north half of Quebec, Canada.

Let me tell you a wee story, bout a time I was trying to relate to a believer in a church.  He was a trapper in a small northern town in Quebec, where the snow fell deep and the temperature dropped deeper.  He was a big man, and his wife would buy loaves of bread to make him lunches everyday.  She would put all the sandwiches back into the sandwich bag for his lunch the next day!

Much of that info was unnecessary, but he was an interesting fella, and I felt I needed to connect with him.

Did I tell you he was a hobby trapper?  This hobby of his offered me an opportunity to connect with him.  So, I swallowed my fear of blood and eyeballs, and asked if I could help him the next time he goes out.

The day came and we headed north to a trap line, crossing a frozen lake covered with freshly fallen snow.  It was a glorious day, and it was obvious that I was a newby on the trip.  I would be chatting and asking questions, pointing over there and checking that thing out – O wow, hey did you see that over there?

beaver pelt
Beaver Pelts

But not Reynald.

He was focused on the beaver house that was ’bout a half mile out yet.  Oh, he was polite, and super friendly, but he was focused.  Did I tell you I was a bit of a scatterbrain?  If not, I’m telling you now.  And to think of it at the time, it wasn’t obvious.


Until we got to the beaver house, and I looked back.  Big ol’ Reynalds path through the fresh fallen snow was like a surveyors line.  Straight, linear, without curvature or bend.

Ol dummy over here, my path looked like an ol drunk had stumbled through the snow.

What was the difference between ol Reynald and myself?

A goal, a point of focus, a destination.  Yup – that was all it was.

ploughing with a muleI have never been a farm boy, needing to plow straight furrows.  So, this story is a Canadian’s way of relating to plowing a straight furrow in a field.  To plow a straight furrow, a goal or destination needs to be focused on.  Short sighted goals to the left or right will produce a crooked furrow.

Looking back during the plowing of a field is of course foolish.

Luke 9:62

Jesus said to him, “No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God.”

What is your focus?  Are you easily distracted?  How is your plowing going?

By the way, I ended up skinning some of the trapped animals, and found that my dread of blood and eyeballs could be controlled if I was trying to love a fellow believer.  But don’t ask me to touch your eyeball today – That is just too gross!!!

Oh, and by the way, if you are of the opinion that trapping is immoral, or constitutes a cruelty to animals, let it be known that I no longer trap.

But I still eat the occasional hamburger!

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