Saturday, October 29, 2016


Wading into the election fray seemed like a good idea a few weeks ago. When I sat down to write, however, I wondered if I'd lost my mind. I dreaded trying to tackle the impossible task of making sense of the circus that Election 2016 has become. 

There's good news, though. We don't have to make sense of it. We have to find God in the midst of it. 

This morning, I did what I always do. Prayed about what I should write. Today, the only thing in my heart was, "It's time to write about the election." I'm doing it, but with a sense of trepidation. 

If you're going to read this, please read it all the way to the end.

We can probably all agree that neither of the major candidates are perfect people. None of them are ideal candidates. We can probably all agree that there's been considerable rhetoric from both sides. Some of what has been said is probably true. Some has been skewed to make truth appear less favorable. Some is likely blatantly untrue.

Can I sort it out and find the truth in the midst of the jumble? No.

There are many issues about which I care, but what I care about doesn't matter nearly as much as those things about which God cares. 

Let's stop for a few minutes and look at the things that matter to God. (This list is not intended to be exhaustive, but representative.) 

1) God cares about loving Him and loving others.

"And He said to him, 'You shall love the Lord your God will all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.' This is the great and foremost commandment. The second is like it. 'You shall love your neighbor as yourself.'" Matthew 22:37-39

2) God cares about justice, kindness (or mercy), and humility.

"What does the Lord require of you but to do justice, to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?" Micah 6:8

3) God cares about life.

(I'm lumping the issues of pre-born life, care of the elderly, and end of life issues, including physician-assisted suicide, in this broad category.)

"Thou didst form my inward parts... I am fearfully and wonderfully made." Psalm 139:13-14 

4) God cares about the poor, the hungry, the thirsty, the stranger, the prisoner.

(I'm lumping the issues of poverty, homelessness, and refugees in this broad category.)

"Then the King will say to those on His right...'For I was hungry, and you gave Me something to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave Me drink; I was a stranger, and you invited Me in; naked, and you clothed Me; I was sick, and you visited Me; I was in prison and you came to Me.'" Matthew 25:35-36

5) God cares about a servant heart.

"But the greatest among you shall be your servant. And whoever exalts himself shall be humbled; and whoever humbles himself shall be exalted." Matthew 23:11-12

6) God cares about our dependence upon Him in matters of finance.

(This includes both personal and national debt.)

"Your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness; and all these things shall be added to you." Matthew 6:32-33 nasb

7) God cares about Israel and our response to Israel.

"Now the Lord said to Abram,... I will bless those who bless you, and the one who curses you I will curse." Genesis 12:1, 3 nasb 

If we are to follow Him, we must care about the things He cares about. With that in mind, I tried to look at the things the candidates care about and compare them to what God cares about. 

It was nearly impossible. 

What's written doesn't necessarily match what's been said. What's been said doesn't necessarily match the life the candidates have lived.

I've reviewed both the Clinton and Trump websites, as well as that of the Libertarian party and its candidate. 

The Libertarian Party's statement of principles says: "We hold that all individuals have the right to exercise sole dominion over their own lives, and have the right to live in whatever manner they choose, so long as they do not forcibly interfere with the equal right of others to live in whatever manner they choose." 

I read those words and they sent chills through me. I envisioned heroin dealers selling on the street corners without fear of arrest because they "exercise sole dominion over their lives" and "do not forcibly interfere with the equal rights of others." 

I can see so many ways that the libertarian philosophy can go wrong that there's no way I can support this party or their candidate.

I'm not endorsing either of the major candidates, either. 

With that said, here are the things I'm using to make my decision. 


Of the major candidates and their running mates, who professes born-again, sold-out Christianity and has the background that seems to confirm it?


Of the major candidates and their running mates, who responded to a major disaster during the campaign (Louisiana flooding) by going to the scene, giving aid, and personally handing out supplies? (Admittedly this may have been a performance, but even a show of mercy is better than no show at all.)


There's been so much rhetoric about this area that I don't have clear evidence of either party's candidate being truly reliable, but which candidate's finances appear to be less questionable? (That's a terrible way to decide, but it's all I have.)


There is nothing in Scripture that says to build a wall around ourselves and keep strangers out. Who has a heart for the refugee? 


Who supports life in all its stages? Who opposes partial-birth abortion? (As a physician, I can see no reason late-stage partial birth abortion could be necessary, and I cannot support a candidate who does.)


Who most clearly stands with Israel?

In the end, the two issues I'm using to choose a candidate are their pro-life stance and their support for Israel, because I believe those two issues are the ones that are most representative of what God cares about. 

You may feel differently. That's fine with me.


I don't expect things to go well, no matter who wins. 

This election cycle has made me cringe over and over again. None of the candidates are ideal. None of the candidates can "make America great again," no matter what they claim. 

Only God can make a great nation, and He will do it only in response to the true repentance of His people.

"...if My people who are called by My name humble themselves and pray, and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, will forgive their sin, and heal their land." 2 Chronicles 7:14 nasb

Healing only comes after humility and repentance. They are not optional, and we aren't there yet. 

I expect things will change in this country after November 8th, and in ways we don't like and won't enjoy.

If we are to balance the budget and pay off our debt, there will be a marked change in our way of life. That's not necessarily bad, but it will be very different and very hard. We'll get used to it. We'll learn to adapt. Or we won't. 

There might be chaos for a while. Rioting in the streets. Murder and mayhem. That's happening in other parts of the world right now. We'll get through it. Or we won't. 

The Revelation given to John on Patmos describes a terrible time to come, and we are closer to these events now than we've ever been. Are we "there"? I don't know. Only God the Father knows the timing. 

I hope the pre-tribulation people, who think we will be "raptured out" of all the hard times, are right, but I doubt they are. I believe we, as believers, will see at least a significant part of the hard times to come. 

I've written a lot of difficult things that may sound hopeless today, but let me end this blog with some certain truth. 

God is still in charge

No matter who wins the election, God will still be in charge.

King Jesus will return one day, and when He does, a better day will be just around the corner. A new Jerusalem. A new heaven and a new earth.

We have to get through the hard times to get to it, but what's coming will be worth it. 

If you don't have a personal relationship with Jesus, now would be a good time to meet Him. I'll be happy to introduce you. (Message me if you're interested.)

Sorting out this mess of an election is hard. I've struggled to find what God wants in the midst of it. I'm not throwing stones at anyone who views it differently. 

When November 9th rolls around, we will still be "we the people" and we still be "one nation under God", whether the majority want to be or not. No matter what our views, no matter who occupies the White House, there's one thing for certain.

God's people need to love Him with our whole hearts and love our neighbor as we love ourselves. If we want America to be great again, that's where we should start.

"He who testifies to these things says, 'Yes, I am coming quickly.' Amen. Come, Lord Jesus. The grace of the Lord Jesus be with all. Amen." Revelation 22:20-21 nasb.
photo above courtesy of
In case you missed it, here's the link to yesterday's post: A Different Kind of Prayer Work


Friday, October 28, 2016

A Different Kind of Prayer Work

A room full of supplies, the night before the festival
I recently coordinated the children's activities at the local community festival. It may seem like an unconventional place for prayer warrior work, but I pray in advance for opportunities with those who rarely, or never, enter a church. 

In between the jumping house and the chicken croquet station, I had one of those few-second opportunities to reach out a bit for the cause of Christ. A young boy and his mom arrived and, as I often do, I squatted down beside him, introduced myself, and asked his name. 


"That's a great name," I said. "Did you know your name comes from the Bible? Jonathan was the good friend of King David." 

His eyes widened. "Wow."

"Yep. Jonathan was willing to risk his life for his friend. He saved the king's life. Boys who are named Jonathan should grow up to be brave, and wise, and loyal. They should recognize the King and serve Him. Like Jesus. He's a king, too."

As we talked, a grin spread across his face. "My name is friend of the king." He looked up at his mother. "Hey, Mama. I'm friend of the king."

It was a brief encounter with a child that had never heard of King David or his friend, Jonathan. I wasn't sure he'd heard of Jesus, either. With those few seconds, I tried to plant a seed deep in his heart that, with the right care somewhere down the road, may yield a harvest.

A little later I heard him talking with his grandmother, who had joined them. "Hey, Mimi, I'm Friend of the King. Did you know that?"

It wasn't a traditionally evangelistic seed, but it was an opportunity, never the less.

As we go, in church and out, let's pray for opportunities to scatter seeds of truth far and wide, then pray for our Lord to grow the harvest. 

What seeds have you planted this week?

"...and you shall be my witnesses both in Jerusalem, and Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest parts of the earth." Acts 1:8 nasb 
In case you missed it, here's the link to yesterday's post: Demolishing Strongholds and Choosing to Be Free

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Demolishing Strongholds and Choosing to Be Free

I'm sick of the devil and all his schemes.

The issue of spiritual warfare has been on my mind a lot lately. I've finally come to a conclusion that I should have reached a long time ago. 

I don't have to put up with his tactics.

According to Scripture, our enemy, the devil, prowls about like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. (1 Peter 5:8) There have been a fair number of days recently when I've thought the one he wanted to devour was me, and I don't appreciate it.

Last night, I read a couple of verses in 2 Corinthians that have left me wondering why I've tolerated his schemes so long. 

"For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh, for the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh, but divinely powerful for the destruction of fortresses." (2 Corinthians 10:3-4 nasb)

Read that verse again and let it soak in. 

This business of good versus evil is war, but we aren't powerless. We're equipped to fight. The weapon we have is "divinely powerful". That means it's the most powerful weapon imaginable, because it has the power of God in it. 

This weapon does not just have a little power. It's powerful enough to utterly destroy the fortresses the enemy has claimed.

Does he have a stronghold in my life? We have a weapon that can shatter and destroy that stronghold.

Does he have a stronghold in the lives of our loved ones? We have a weapon that can shatter and destroy that stronghold.

Does he have a stronghold in our nation? We have a weapon that can shatter and destroy that stronghold, too.

What, you may be asking, is this divine nuclear weapon?

Ephesians 6 tells us God has given us only one offensive weapon in the fight against the forces of darkness. It's the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. 

The word of God can demolish all the lies the enemy whispers, all the tricks our enemy tries, all the strongholds the enemy claims.

Waving the Bible will not get the job done. We need to study the Bible in order to understand it and to know how to use it. Then, we need to do exactly what it says.

When Scripture says to take every thought captive, we must take our thoughts captive. 

When Scripture says to forgive, we have to forgive.

When it says to love the unlovely, we have to love.

The enemy will tell us it's too hard. Too terrible. But it's not. Forgiveness benefits us. Love benefits us. Even taking our thoughts captive benefits us. And when we do it, it will be worth it. As hard as it may be to believe (and to do), when we obey, we'll like the result.

If you're suffering under the schemes of the enemy, stop cowering. 

Stand up and fight. 

Use the Sword of the Spirit that God has already placed in your hand. Learn Scripture. Speak it aloud. Claim it. Obey it. 

We have an enemy, but we can be free. If we will. 

"For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart." Hebrews 4:12
In case you missed it, here's the link to yesterday's post: Craving Miracle Bread
Here's the link for Tuesday's post: The Water Walker in the Night 
#warfare #SwordoftheSpirit

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Craving Miracle Bread

An interesting thing happened after Jesus fed the multitude with the loaves and fishes. The crowds started tracking Him down like a pack of hound dogs. They were determined to be where He was. 

When they found Him, they were full of sweetness and light. "Oh, Rabbi. When did you get here?" As if they hadn't rowed across the Sea of Galilee at breakneck speed to find Him.

Jesus wasn't fooled. He knew they weren't there to hear good words of truth. They were there to eat bread and fish. He didn't pull any punches.

"You seek Me, not because you saw signs, but because you ate of the loaves and were filled. Don't work for food that perishes, but for the food which endures to eternal life." John 6:26-27

Jesus knew two very important things about the crowds. Their motivation for service and their secret desires.

They weren't impressed when a broken body was restored or a broken life was transformed. They didn't care about the people to whom Jesus ministered or the signs and wonders that set people free. 

They wanted Him to do a miracle that benefitted them, to satisfy their own cravings with Miracle-Bread.

I wonder, sometimes, why we come to Jesus... Do we want the freedom for which He has set us free? Do we want to worship Him because of His goodness and holiness? Do we care about a lost and perishing world? Or do we simply want blessings for ourselves and our loved ones?

What is it that impresses us? What is the motivation behind our service? 

If we care about a perishing world, if we love the King of Kings, if we cherish the freedom He has so dearly bought, we will respond with acts of concern, love, and obedience. We will serve as He served. Love as He loved. Give as He gave. We may not be as effective, nor as whole-hearted, but love will prompt us to serve.

In case you're wondering, if our love for Christ doesn't prompt us to serve, there's something wrong. 

Today, let's ask ourselves a few hard questions and dig for the answers. 

How can the world tell we love Jesus? By words alone or by our actions? 

Why do we follow Him? For the blessings (for ourselves or our children) He can give or because of our love for Him?

If our answers aren't what they should be, let's pause now to realign our priorities with Christ's. Let's ask Him to bind our hearts and minds to His. Let's crave the Bread-Multiplier, and not the bread.
In case you missed it, here's the link to yesterday's post: The Water-Walker in the Night 
#motivation #Jesus

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

The Water-Walker in the Night

It happened like this. Crowds were following Jesus in hopes of seeing another miracle. Miracles are, of course, very cool, and the story is good for retelling for years to come. 

Some people came because they wanted to find the Messiah. Most people came because they just wanted another good story.

On this particular day, Jesus had done a bit of heavenly mathematics. Subtract loaves from boy. Add thanks to God. Divide the loaves and fishes. Multiply the food so it's more than enough.

Twelve baskets were left over. People were thrilled. This was the kind of King for which they'd longed. They determined to make Him King by force.

They didn't know it yet, but you can't force Jesus to do anything.

He withdrew to the mountain to talk to His Father and get away from the people who were determined to mess up God's plan.

The disciples were used to Jesus and His mountain treks, so they climbed in a boat to go to Capernaum. It was dark and windy, and it had been a long day. They rowed for three or four miles before they saw something strange. 

A man. Walking on the water.

They didn't know what to think. They'd never seen a man walk on water before, and it frightened them, especially as the water-walker drew close to the boat.

I imagine they turned away from their fear, but Jesus knew them, and their fears.

"It is I," He said. "Don't be afraid."

They looked up and recognized Jesus. I imagine them saying, "Oh, Jesus. You frightened us half out of our minds. Come on in this boat." 

They moved past their fear and were willing to receive Him.

I've read that story several times recently. Every time, I wonder if I would have been willing to receive a water-walking Savior. Really. Even if it looked like Jesus, I might have said, "Just keep on walking, Jesus. We'll meet you in Capernaum. If it really is you." 

Not His disciples. They knew Him. They wanted Him with them.

They were willing to step past  their fear, the one thing that kept them from letting Him in their boat, and invite Him aboard.

I wish we always responded like the disciples did that night. Quick to move past fear (and all the other things that separate us from Jesus) and invite Him into our boat, our lives, our situations. 

Generally speaking, we always have at least one thing that gets in our way. Whether it's fear, or control, or pride, or stuff, something gets in our way of abandoning ourselves to Jesus.

Imagine for a minute what life would be like if we relinquished control and let Jesus fully invade our lives. There wouldn't be a dull moment. When He walked the earth, Jesus was full of adventure, and He still is. He made the water His floor. He transformed time and distance. 

Jesus made exciting things happen. He still does.

Today, let's choose to be willing. Willing to let our Water-Walking Savior into our boat. Willing to let Him take control. Willing to let Him direct the destination of our lives. 

"But He said to them, 'It is I; do not be afraid.' They were willing to receive Him into the boat an immediately the boat was at the land to which they were going." John 6:20-21 nasb
In case you missed it, here's the link to yesterday's post: The Miracle-Making Master

#Jesus #Christian 

Monday, October 24, 2016

The Miracle-Making Master

I can't help but laugh out loud. I wrote yesterday that it was my last post about miracles for a while. This morning, I read John 6 and saw a topic I wanted to write about. As I opened my computer, I realized it included another miracle. 

This sounds crazy as I write it, but I actually turned back to my Bible to find another topic. Then, I realized something profound. 

As long as I'm writing about Jesus, I'll be writing about miracles... because His very presence on earth, as deity wrapped in flesh, WAS a miracle. His actions were filled with miracles. 

The restitution for my sin with His blood is a miracle. 

His resurrection is a miracle. 

His forgiveness is a miracle. 

As His followers, we are miracles. Miracles of grace.

The Christian faith is a miracle-filled relationship with our Miracle-Making Master, King Jesus.

That truth alone should fill us with hope.

Tomorrow, I'll write about the no-miracle story that's jammed full of miracles. For today, let's savor the fact that we have a God who can get it done. Whatever is needed, He is able. 

He's the Miracle Maker.

Do you need healing? He can handle it.

Do you need reconciliation of a relationship? He can restore it.

Do you need peace in the midst of a tumult? He can provide it.

Do you need freedom from the bondage of sin? He can fill you with it.

Whatever you need, in whatever situation you find yourself, He can give it.

Today, let's take all these needs of ours that we've tried, and failed, to fulfill, and give them to Jesus. Let's lay them at His feet, take our hands off them, and surrender to His will. His way. 

He is able, so take courage today. Jesus can help us. Jesus alone.

 "Now to Him who is able to do  far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us, to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations forever and ever. Amen." 
Ephesians 3:19-20
photo above is of the traditional site of the empty tomb of Jesus.

In case you missed yesterday's post, here's the link: Missing Miracles and Choosing to See

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Missing Miracles and Choosing to See

After Friday's post about The Day Time Stood Still, I had an interesting response. People in the room at the time the miracle happened replied, "I never knew." People who stood in their chair and sang "Victory in Jesus" told me, "The Holy Spirit was so strong in that room, but I completely missed the time part." Even someone outside the room had the same experience. She enjoyed the singing, felt the Spirit, and missed the miracle of time.

In my book, The Clay Papers, I wrote about an elderly woman, a potter, with advanced Alzheimers, who had not touched the clay in quite some time. One afternoon, she sat down at the potter's wheel and threw several perfect pots. She was coherent and rational for a brief stretch of time. 

There were tears in the eyes of three adults who recognized the miracle of the moment. Ryan, then just a child, played at her feet and never noticed something unusual had happened.

He was only a young boy and he didn't know her baseline. He couldn't know how different she was in the moment.

The people in the room during the time-miracle didn't have watches or cell phones with them. They didn't know about the schedule, or our concerns.  They couldn't have known about the moment.

Their comments have caused me to wonder how often I miss miracles. How often we all do. 

God is at work around us all the time. We can accept that, in a general sense. When we don't "see" His work, or see it but don't recognize it, we tend to assume He's doing nothing. We'd be wrong about that.

Our failure to see God at work in no way limits His ability to move in a miraculous and supernatural manner.

Ponder that for a moment.

We're missing the good stuff.

I don't think I'd want to know about everything God's doing in the entire universe. It would be too much to comprehend. A bigger glimpse of what He's doing around me would be nice, though.  

Today, many of us will attend church services. We'll sing, and read our Bible, and listen to a sermon. We'll wait until time is up and leave to go home. We may, or may not, sense the Spirit of God. We may, or may not, leave equipped and changed for the week ahead. 

It depends, at least in part, on our willingness to be equipped, to be changed.

We could do church differently. 

We could do life differently. 

And we should.

Instead of being content to check off items on our spiritual to-do list, let's ask God to invite us into His adventure. Let's actively seek Him and the places He's at work. 

We'll have to change. Go places Jesus would go. Spend time with the kind of people Jesus did. Reach out as He reached out.

So let's do it. Let's step outside of our comfort zone and ask God to let us in to the fun. Make our prayer, "Let us join in where you are at work today, Lord."

I can tell you what will probably happen, because I've prayed that prayer before. He'll let us be a causal observer, but that won't last long. He'll invite us into the fields to help with the harvest, and hat's where the real fun begins.

Today, let's take a step into a deeper relationship with Christ and experience the great fun of seeing God at work.

"For it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure." Philippians 2:13 nasb

"You will seek Me and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart." Jeremiah 29:13 nasb
In case you missed it, here's the link to yesterday's post: Can We See Miracles Every Day? Yes, We Can

p.s. - This is the last post in our miracles mini-series. If you want to share some of the miracles you've seen, let me know. I'll happily do a blog about them.
#miracles #Christian