On Monday, I was driving out of my neighborhood to go to a meeting when I saw a small dog running past me going the opposite direction. Dogs in my neighborhood do not generally run around – they are walked – and I could tell this was definitely an inside dog.  I stopped and tried to get the dog, but the little one just kept on running.  I knew that I wouldn’t like myself very much if I went ahead to the meeting and came back to find the dog laying dead on the road.  So I turned around and with the help of a couple neighborhood kids and another man caught the little guy – actually a girl – named Sweetie!

Sweetie’s dog tag had an address from the other side of town and a phone number.  “How in the world did you get way over here?”  I called the number, but I just go an answering machine.  So I grabbed a dog crate from my house and headed to my meeting with Sweetie in tow.  No return call before, during, or after my meeting.  When I got home it was dark, and I’m thinking that I will just have to figure this out tomorrow.  Before taking Sweetie in for the night I grabbed a leash in hopes that the dog would use the bathroom outside and not in my house.  As I’m walking back toward the house with the dog behind me, I suddenly realize that there is no longer any tension!  I turn around, and I all I have is the leash with the entire dog collar including the identification tag!  “Oh no!”  I look around the other side of the truck and yard – no dog – I look up the road and there is Sweetie – booking it.  So I take off after her IN FLIP-FLOPS…I had already played basketball and mowed a lawn so I don’t have much in the tank and this little dog is fast.  So the rest of this is like something out of a movie – I’m yelling at a car to stop that is about to run her over.  I lose track of the dog at one point and don’t see which way it went, the dog ends up running across 5 lanes of traffic, several motorist point me in the right direction, and people are looking at me like I’m crazy because I’m at a full sprint in flip-flops.  A 1/2 mile later from when we started running, I finally catch up to Sweetie in the Wendy’s drive-thru.  She is now safe once again.  After some detective work the next day, I was able to track down the person who was in charge of watching Sweetie while the owner was on a cruise.  The son-in-law who is a local police officer called to thank me and told me that Sweetie was a “rescue dog” and that she is an escape artist…with a history of running away.  In his opinion, this cute, little, dog is very fortunate to still be alive.

I’ve been reflecting some this week about Sweetie, and how I have observed that many people are the same as Sweetie – running away from the Person or people who are trying to help.  Ever since I was old enough and spiritually mature enough to understand it I have seen people run away from Jesus.  They think they are wise and are doing what is best for them – but they run from Jesus and into the Enemy’s trap.  It is only by the grace of God that more are not utterly crushed.  I’ve also noticed over the last 15 years the tendency of people to run from the truth tellers and spiritual helpers in their lives.  In western culture it is in large part due to the drastic individuality we are taught to embrace. “Whatever makes you feel good is right for you,” and “You don’t have to listen to anyone but yourself,” are the mantras of our culture.  The extreme emphasis on the individual is a great hindrance toward healthy churches in the west today.  So, if you are being like Sweetie, STOP, and let Jesus grab you with His gentle and scarred hands and let Him embrace you deep into His love.

Please take a few minutes to read and meditate on the following verses:

Judges 17:6, “In those days there was no king in Israel; everyone did what was right in his own eyes.”

Isaiah 53:6, “All we like sheep have gone astray; We have turned, every one, to his own way; And the LORD has laid on Him the iniquity of us all.” (Praise Jesus for His sacrifice for us!)

I Timothy 1:1-2, “Now the Spirit expressly says that in latter times some will depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons, speaking lies in hypocrisy, having their own conscience seared with a hot iron…”

Hebrews 13:17, “Obey those who rule over you, and be submissive, for they watch out for your souls, as those who must give account. Let them do so with joy and not with grief, for that would be unprofitable for you.”

Hebrews 12:1-2, “Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.”

Thank you for taking the time to read and reflect, and may God use this for His glory and honor.

In the last couple of months I have had a few people ask me how they should begin a serious reading of the Bible.  They have had access to the Bible and have tried to read it before but then got bogged down and did not get very far.  Here is the advice I normally give and perhaps it will be helpful for you in sharing with someone else.

If the person is not a believer in Jesus or is shaky about their faith, then the Gospel of John is the place to begin.

If the person is a believer in Jesus then the following method will help them to have a better understanding of God’s Word:

1.  Gospel of Mark – a synopsis of the life of Jesus Christ (shortest of the Gospels)

2. Philippians – the Christian life (4 chapters)

3. Acts – the history of the early church

4. Romans – important teaching and application

5.  Gospel of John – our message to the world

6.  The rest of the New Testament (NT) including Matthew and Luke

7.  The Old Testament (OT)

The first 2 books are great in content and also shorter in length.  It is important for the readers to have a sense of accomplishement so they are encouraged to continue on.  After they have gone through the Scriptures this way once then they can start a reading plan that has a portion of the OT and NT each day.  Proverbs can also be particularly helpful for someone wanting to live a life honoring God.  Isn’t there a phrase: “A proverb a day helps keep sin away”?

Penn from Penn and Teller asks a profound question of those who have faith in God.  “How much do you have to hate someone to believe that everlasting life is possible and not tell them that?”  Penn is a self-proclaimed atheist, and yet he gets this serious truth far more than many followers of Jesus do.  We can see the task Jesus gave us to do (“Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations…”) should be an obvious top priority.  Please also recognize how profoundly touched Penn was by a Christian who”loved his neighbor” by engaging him as the Scriptures teach us.  The video is 5 minutes long – it is worth your time – watch it!  You can also say a prayer for Penn that he will read the Bible he was given and come to faith in our Lord Jesus Christ.

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more about “Penn Says: A Gift of a Bible“, posted with vodpod

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more about “Seeds of Blood, Christianity in China…“, posted with vodpod
Here is the video I referred to in the previous post.  Very powerful!


If you only have about 8 minutes, I would recommend that you let the video load (buffer) and then fast forward to where the time counter says (-01:24:45).  You will then be able to hear the amazing testimonies of husband Allen Yuan and his wife Liang Huizhen.  Whenever you are not sure of God’s ability or willingness to provide for the faithful you can remember this true story.  May God help our faith to increase to this measure!

Are you willing to go to prison for Jesus?  Are you willing to be separated from your family for years for Jesus?  Are you willing to die for Jesus?

If you are a follower of Jesus, you really need to watch “The Cross – Jesus in China”.  It was made in 2003, and it gives the history of the church in China.  Let me tell you that unless you are really hard of heart you will be moved.  The testimonies of these beautiful and dedicated people will cause you to reconsider what it means to be a follower of Jesus.  I believe you will also be convinced that no cost is too great to pay to follow Jesus in obedience!  It is rare that I recommend movies or books on this site (perhaps I should more often).  I put this on the HIGHLY recommended list.  I literally wept with joy and thankfulness during parts of it the first time I saw it.

http://www.chinasoul.org/e/e-va.htm from this link you can watch it online (it does take a while to load…worth the wait) or you can buy the DVD.  It is a 2 disc 4 hour set for $15, and yet timeless and priceless.  If you are myopic and self-centered and want to stay that way, well then this video is not for you!  Watch at your own risk.

Are you willing to live for Jesus?  Luke 9:23-26, “Then He (Jesus) said to them all, ‘If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me. For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will save it. For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and is himself destroyed or lost? 26 For whoever is ashamed of Me and My words, of him the Son of Man will be ashamed when He comes in His own glory, and in His Father’s, and of the holy angels.'”

I was driving on Wednesday when I heard two back to back radio ads.  The first reminded me that I only had a short time to buy flowers for Easter.  The second wanted to let me know that I needed to buy some new clothes so I could look my best on Easter morning.  As if Jesus cares whether I bought flowers or new clothes.  Many of His followers in the world can afford neither.  Do we really think that Jesus is more pleased with the man who has new clothes than He is with the the man who has ragged clothes? Of course not!  Jesus is primarily concerned with the heart, while the hearts of men and women are often concerned about what those around them will think.

The only things in the New Testament I read about clothes are that we should be modest (I Timothy 2) and that we should not play favorites based on attire (James 2).  On a related note, if we really wanted to be symobolic in our attire for Sunday then perhaps we should wear work clothes to remind us of the cost of following Jesus.  His road was a hard road of suffering.  Are we greater than He?  In fact Jesus instructs us to take up our cross daily and follow Him (Luke 9).

Jesus, please help us to keep everything in perspective of Your life, Your death, Your resurrection!  You are the glorious Lamb of God that was slain!  Help us to complain less and act in love more!

I just posted this on our church forum – but since a good number of you don’t ever see that – we also wanted to share this news with you:

“We wanted our church family to be the first to know. The mail came to day and with it our approval letter to begin the matching process. Here is a quote that brings both excitement and fear:  ‘You have now been approved to adopt up to five male or female children, between ages of 0 and 15 of any heritage.’ Feel free to drop your input – you can go to www.myturnnow.com or www.adoptuskids.org and look at sibling groups – let us know who you are rooting for. They will be your family too!”

If you click on adoption under categories you can see my other posts on this very important subject.