One Or The Other

  Most would agree that our culture of capitalism and free market produces many opportunities to indulge our lust for pleasure and adventure.  Though lacking the quality and utility that us old timers had come to expect, modern advertisers promote their “must have” products in such a way that even the most conservative consumers are asking, “How much will it cost me?”  On a collective whim, our nation keeps multiplied curriers busy rushing our plastic treasures to our doorsteps.  Now we have more stuff and less money.

  In spite of our culture, the most valuable commodity of all time is still made available for FREE, though at great cost to the Producer.  God has given the life’s blood of His own Son, Jesus, to purchase forgiveness for all who will receive it by faith.  God wants to know you right now!

  Many hesitate because, in this day of consumerism, we have learned that nothing is free.  A typical response is, “Yeah right!” “What’s the catch?”  But there is no catch, the price has already been paid, and forgiveness is free to those who desire to be delivered from the consequences of sin rather than enjoy its temporal pleasures.  The choice is yours, but you must understand that one cannot desire to live in sin and be saved from it at the same time.  It’s one or the other.  Those who accept God’s forgiveness, we call “saved.”

  You should also know that salvation does not cause sin to go away, but once saved, a believer can enjoy an “Abundant Life” by exercising his God given power to do right.  Some will ask, “I knew there was a catch; how much will this power to do right cost me?”  And again the answer is, “nothing.”  God’s priceless provisions are all free to the believer, but remember, you cannot desire to live in your sin and expect to fellowship with a sinless God at the same time.”  It’s one or the other.

  Sin is a force to be reckoned with.  But forgiveness and the power to live an “abundant life” are offered freely through the Risen Christ.  If we can help you to better understand your choices, please don’t hesitate to call.


  Did you ever build a puzzle?  If you are like most puzzlers, you probably started with the edge pieces to establish the perimeters first.  After the frame, you probably began to look for recognizable pieces of a particular area of the puzzle, distinguishable by color or content rather than their shapes.  Slowly and painstakingly the masterpiece finally came together to reveal that thing of beauty, message of hope or incentive to smile.

 Here’s an interesting question; if your life were a puzzle, what would the pieces look like?  Would the edge pieces form a basic recognizable shape, or would they be an oddity that would puzzle the puzzle builder?  Would the colors form patterns and schemes to animate their objects, or would they be a menagerie of dissonance?  Would the objects found in the puzzle of your life seem organized and in place, or in disarray?  Would the finished product make a meaningful statement, or occasion only the blank gaze of onlookers for whom your life gives new meaning to the word “puzzle?”

  On those occasions when my life begins to look like what some have called “modern art,” I am reminded that I am not my own, but have been “bought with a price.”  I belong to my Heavenly Father who gives order and meaning to the puzzle of life.  God made me a man, and has given instruction as to how men should conduct themselves.  Before God, I made my vows to become a husband; He has prescribed the duties of a husband.  God has blessed me with children, and with my sons came His instruction to fathers.  God called me to be a Pastor, but did not leave me without His instructions for the Shepherd.  When He calls the shots, life becomes meaningful!

  Our lives do not have to be distorted and meaningless puzzles.  Let’s resolve to know God, to allow Him to set the perimeters, to be all and only what He has called us to be, and to live our lives according to His instruction.  Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path. (Psalms 119:105)”

Later Lord

  Years ago, I was rebuked for answering my father, “OK, in a minute.”  We call it procrastination, and we even use it with the Lord.  He says “Go”, and we say, “Later Lord.”  …but our excuses don’t impress God:

  The boy, Samuel, had been “lent to the Lord” for life.  “…Samuel ministered before the LORD, being a child, girded with a linen ephod. (1Sam. 2:18).”  You are not too young to serve the Lord NOW.

  Martha of Bethany asked, “Lord, dost thou not care that my sister hath left me to serve alone? …And Jesus answered and said unto her, …Mary hath chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her. (Luke 10:38-42).” You are not too busy to serve the Lord NOW.

  Moses, deliverer of Israel, first contended… “I am not eloquent, …I am slow of speech.  And the LORD said …go, and I will be with thy mouth. (Ex. 4:10-12).”You are not too deficient to serve the Lord NOW.

  Jesus was once asked, “…what good thing shall I do, that I may have eternal life?  …Jesus said unto him, …go and sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, …he went away sorrowful: for he had great possessions. (Matt. 19:16-22).”  It will not cost you too much to serve the Lord NOW.

  A man once said,  “…Lord, I will follow thee; but let me first go bid them farewell, which are at home at my house. And Jesus said unto him, No man, having put his hand to the plough, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God. (Luke 9:59-62).”  There is no greater responsibility than to serve the Lord NOW.

  Joshua once preached, “choose you this day whom ye will serve …but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD. (Josh. 24:15).  and then he “died, being an hundred and ten years old. (Josh. 24:29).”  You are not too old to serve the Lord NOW.

  God calls and equips His servants.  We must obey Him NOW!


  On my last birthday I turned 60.  Not exactly old, to those who are older, and not exactly young to those who are younger, but here I am at the peak of my prime.  From here I can see down the slope toward the latter chapters of life, and I can see the past very clearly as well.  From this vantage point, I am amazed at how much has changed around me in my brief journey.

  When I was a child, I remember working in the garden, mowing the lawn, mending fences, going to school, etc.  “Spare time” was a precious commodity in those days.  The ancients that I knew growing up, spoke of life in their youth as harder still.  They spent time doing things that were necessary to sustain life.  They harvested, canned and cured their food for the winter.  They milked the cows and made their own cheese and butter.  There was also sewing, cooking, chopping wood, etc.  A whole day of recreation or relaxation was almost unheard of.

  Today we have the advantage of technology that makes life much easier.  We have microwaves, electric appliances, pre-cooked meals, automobiles and multi-lane roads that take us anywhere within a vast radius of our homes in a matter of minutes.  Our homes are heated and cooled automatically.  We get our water from the faucets located in multiple places within our dwellings, and the list goes on.  With all of the time saving technological advances, we don’t have to spend so much time working to live.

  In spite of the busyness of yesteryear, I also remember that we ate meals together, and were somehow able to visit family and friends occasionally.  We were faithful to the house of the Lord and somehow found time for the Word of God and prayer.  It’s puzzling to me how with all of the time that our modern contrivances have afforded us, these vital elements seem to have suffered decline.  And yet God says we should be, “Redeeming the time, because the days are evil. (Ephesians 5:16).”  Perhaps we should take time to listen.