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There are those who think believing in Jesus is a sign of weakness. There are those who follow Jesus at a distance so they don’t offend. I’m going on record. I believe. I believe in Jesus because:

HE IS my constant companion when I feel alone

HE IS my friend when all desert me

HE IS the one who understands when I’m misunderstood

HE IS my comfort when I’m sad

HE IS my encouragement when I’m discouraged

HE IS my hope when all seems hopeless

HE IS my source of love in a world of hate

HE IS my cheerleader when I doubt my abilities

HE IS my confidant when I hurt in ways no one knows

HE IS my healer when my soul is sick

HE IS my strength when I’m overwhelmed

HE IS my guide when I’ve lost my way

HE IS the calm in my storm

HE IS the forgiveness I seek

HE IS the grace I need

HE IS my stability when I waver

And that’s just the start…

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20 years ago I officiated at one of the most difficult funerals I’ve ever had to do. I was pastor of a small church in a small town in NW Wisconsin. We were a close knit church family and I was more of a friend than a pastor to most. That’s one reason this funeral was hard. It was hard enough to mourn the loss of a five year old boy, but when that boy was the son of a close friend, it was almost unbearable.

How do you answer the ‘why’ question? How do you answer the ‘Where was God’ question? It’s often said, especially when a young person dies, that ‘they died too soon’ but in reality, God has every day of our lives planned There are no early deaths, no surprises in heaven.

Life is short. Live it with excellence. Never forget the lessons learned from your past, but let Jesus remove the guilt and shame. Whatever your past, it should be a stepping stone to the future, not an anchor holding you back.

Don’t wish for tomorrow because you don’t know what tomorrow will bring. Rather, trust your Father to bring the things of tomorrow to you in due time. The wisdom God gave you from yesterday’s lessons empowers you to face the challenges of tomorrow.


Back in the 1990’s there was a clever marketing campaign which, I believe, was a true attempt to remind people of our original calling: To live by example the good news of the Gospel as personified in the life of Jesus Christ.

Many a T-shirt, can cooler, visor, and bracelet were sold with the initials, WWJD. Today, the question is as valid as it was then. What would Jesus do? I doubt he would lash out at Caesar for his handling of the Roman Empire. Judging from his treatment of the woman guilty of adultery, I”m guessing he would not condemn those who live a life contrary to God’s original plan for family.

Jesus Christ found the perfect balance between reaching out to the ‘deplorables’ while at the same time standing for the standards of his Heavenly Father. How unfortunate that 2000 years ago people of ill repute sought Jesus out and today they tend to scoff, run or hide from the mere mention of his name.

Now more than ever, we who are ‘little Christs’ (the original implication of the title ‘Christian’) ought to strive with every word, with every action, with every attitude, to exemplify the life of the one who called us from darkness.

Be a light. Shine like Jesus did.



But everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.’ Acts 2:21

Jesus SavesI remember hearing a story of an old preacher who stopped to pick up a hitchhiker along the road. Usually he didn’t do this but ‘something in his heart’ told him to stop. As he drove down the road with this dirty, long-haired, tattooed young man they passed a highway billboard with the message “Jesus Saves’ with no other explanation.

The young man remarked “WOW, Jesus must be thrifty”.

The story reminds me of at least two things in the walk of a believer.

One is that we guard carefully the terminology we use. The fact of the matter is, few people in our society see the need to be ‘saved’. We have done a good job of convincing people that ‘we are okay’. Rather than throwing all sorts of evangelism terms around and speaking our language as though everyone else will understand, it may be more profitable to spend time listening to and learning the language of the unbeliever. What struggles are they going through? What fears to they have? What makes them angry? How can a relationship with Jesus ‘save them’ from the frustrations they are enduring?

The second thing that this story reminds me is that sometimes the most unlikely people may show an interest in who Jesus is. Okay, maybe I’m reading too much into the imaginary story, but the last time you saw a homeless person, or a person who obviously looked as though they we not doing well, did you look at them with sympathy, disdain or as a chosen creation of our creator God.

Jesus hung out with the people we avoid. He struck up conversations with the people we look on with disgust. He sought out the people we shy away from. Were Jesus to return, I think we would pass on most of our churches and feel far more comfortable in a soup kitchen. He’d be less impressed with the country club atmosphere than he would the ‘aroma’s’ of the streets and alleys.

How can we, as a body of Christ reach out to those who know nothing about Jesus or see him as a thrifty guy? I live in a rural area of America. We have many in our small villages that live at a poverty level lower than some ghettos. Yet they are hidden from view. How can we find them? How can we reach out so that they can find the fulfilling relationship we cherish?

PRAYER: Father God, I am so thankful for the many blessings you have bestowed on us. I confess to you that too often I’m so concerned about my own comfort that I fail to see the pain of others. Empower me to see the needy. Enlighten me on how I can reach them for you. Amen.



This is what the Lord says—your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel: “I am the Lord your God, who teaches you what is good for you and leads you along the paths you should follow. Isaiah 48:17

paths we choose“I told you so.”

Don’t you hate hearing those words? Perhaps they are the words of a friend or a parent or an employer. You thought you had a better idea. You were warned that your idea wouldn’t work. You went ahead anyway and did what you thought best.

If you had been right you’d be a hero right now. But you weren’t. In fact, your decision has made a huge mess for yourself as well as those around you. Now you have to suffer the consequences. Not only that, your decision is like a pebble dropped into a still pool. The ripple effect with affect your life and the life of others for a long time, maybe eternity. Proverbs 14:12 says, “There is a path before each person that seems right, but it ends in death.”

Whether your decision was personal (such as family, kids, lifestyle), or career oriented, there’s some good news for you. We human beings tend to make decisions that lean towards our own understanding and comfort level. Our finite minds aren’t always able to grasp the full impact of our decisions.

The good news is that there is redemption available to us. Redemption is defined as “the action of saving or being saved from sin, error, or evil.” The implication is that if you need redeeming it’s because of an action you are responsible for, or an action that is outside your control. In other words, whether the consequences are your fault or the fault of another you have hope.

Each of us have no doubt been told something by a parent or teacher and knowingly taken a different path because it looked better and easier to us. Even worse are those times when we knowingly go against what God has told us to do. We do so either intentionally, or in ignorance because we didn’t check with God before we acted.

We are redeemed. That’s the message God give us in Isaiah 48:17. The prophet reminds us that “This is what the Lord says—your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel: “I am the Lord your God, who teaches you what is good for you and leads you along the paths you should follow.

Another way of stating this verse might be to say this. “I know what’s best for you. I’ll teach you all you need to know. But WHEN you stray from me and take the wrong path, I’ll redeem you. When you focus on your own comfort rather than my glory, I’ll redeem you. When your actions cause turmoil for yourself and those around you, I’ll redeem you.

What a blessed promise we have of redemption through Jesus Christ. He alone frees us from everything that seeks to imprison us.

PRAYER: Father God. There are so many times I see my own comfort. So many times I take the path I think best even though I know it’s the wrong path to take. Thank you for Jesus. Thank you that he alone is my redemption from myself and the evil others plan for me. Amen.

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