With the extreme cold weather we have had here in the south, varmints seek to find places of warmth. One morning, I walk into the kitchen and find shredded white plastic bits all over the floor. The night before, I had put a new trash bag in the receptacle, and the full trash bag I just set on the floor in front of the receptacle. Seeing the bits of plastic, I moved the filled trash bag only to find several holes in the bag with one big hole spilling out coffee grounds. “Oh me, we’ve got a rat in the house!” I proceed to set a large snap trap with peanut butter. The next morning I am lying in bed and as my eyes open to see the red digital clock reading 5:39, I hear the sound of a snap coming from the kitchen. I knew the sound. I bounce out of bed and with just my underwear on I rush to the kitchen. Sure enough, I find a rat. He had eaten the peanut butter and was lying beside the trap, still alive! Somehow, it hit him to only stun him. “Okay, so what am I going to do now? I’ve got a live rat that I’ve got to do something with quickly, and I don’t want to grab him with my bare hand; he might bite me.” I noticed in the trash receptacle a large envelope. I got the envelope and with it being used as a glove, I grabbed the rat. He started squeaking. “Okay, what am I going to do now? I’ve got this live rat in my hand and I can’t run outside in my underwear…” I notice an empty tin can in the trash. “Okay. I know what I can do.” I grabbed the can, held the rat against the wooden trap on the floor, placed the edge of the can on the neck of the rat, and applied enough pressure to hear multiple crunches. Then I knew that rat could do no harm. Now my job is to determine the entry points and address that so the rats cannot get in the house again. Sometimes we can have rats in our house spiritually – a bad perspective on life and bad attitudes.

Sometimes we can have rats in the house physically – sickness and disease. Jesus did the work so we can set the trap and deal with the “varmints” in our lives. We believe on him and call on him to undertake. We listen to what his direction is for us. We do what we must do to bring an end to the residency of the rat. It is not pleasant, but to keep from damage being sustained, we must deal with the rats. The good news is that Jesus did the work for us to be liberated in our spirit, soul, and body. This is what the gospel is all about – exterminating sin, sickness, and satanic oppression. The gospel is God’s rat trap.


The Sky is the Limit

From early in life I always wanted to play the piano. My Mom and Dad gave me a guitar when I was a boy, and I learned to play it, but somewhere along the way I started wanting to learn the piano. I think it was when the ends of my fingers would hurt so much from pressing the strings, I thought, “Boy, it would be a lot easier to just peck on a flat piano key!” When I went to college I figured this would be just the right time. They have pianos in little practice rooms, and I could take an elective and learn to play the piano! Nope! I lasted one day in class and dropped it. It was like they were talking in a different language. Too far advanced for me at that point! So years rocked by. Long story short, I got myself a nice electronic keyboard for Christmas and started out 2020 with my own electronic keyboard. It came with its own operating manual, so now, the sky is the limit! It has over 554 “voices”, or different sounds. Most of the time I use only one voice: the Grand Piano. Another voice I enjoy is the Tremolo Electric Piano for certain songs, but there is organ voices, saxophone, guitar, percussion voices, and on and on it goes with all kinds of sounds. If a person has a mind to learn it, one can do just about anything with that keyboard in the way of making and managing sounds and music. You can make a car horn honking sound, a jet plane sound, laughing, a machine gun, on and on, not to mention all the different musical instruments. It is all there for application and for the benefit of all, but the key is what I said: “If a person has a mind to learn it”. The benefit of beautiful music played and enjoyed is in direct proportion to one giving oneself to learn and apply by practice.

It is the same in the things of God. Everything we need for every situation is there for us in the Lord. It is by faith in God, by the knowledge of the Word, and by the flow of the Spirit. That is Father, Son, and Spirit. I mean, everything we need is in him. There are 8,810 promises of his provision and ability, everything we need abundantly above all we are able to ask or think, but most people give themselves to know one thing, the voice of forgiveness. And that is great – to have possession of the “keyboard” and have forgiveness. But let me tell you, the Word must be revealed to us by the Spirit, and as we give ourselves to know the flow of the Spirit by practice, by actually yielding to him personally, then, and only then, will we experience the music of God’s glory manifested through Jesus Christ. The sky is the limit if we give ourselves to know Christ. 


Big Bird and the Cat

One day with Barb and one of her daughters, we were at the dining room window looking out into the back yard. Somebody said there’s a cat in the yard. I looked and found the cat that was blending in with the leaves that had fallen on the lawn. He was just sitting there in one frozen position. Then my eyes were drawn to an object which blended into the background about 7 feet in front of the cat. As I looked more intently I saw that it was “Big Bird”. That’s the name we have coined for the Great Blue Heron that hangs out in our creek. He was just standing there, like he was having a staring contest with the cat. I said, “Look at that. There’s Big Bird! That cat is trying to get Big Bird! I’ve got to video this!” As I reached for my phone the cat began to creep closer and Big Bird slowly launched up into his flight with his big wings lifting him safely in the air. We mused that the cat did not have a chance to take that big bird down, but he sure would not get anything if he didn’t try. Barb says it like this: “I had rather aim high and miss, than aim low and it hit it”. If that cat did get a hold of that bird, he probably would bring him down. That would be a loss for us. We enjoy seeing the bird hang around. If that cat was just content with mice and grasshoppers, he would not have been out there trying to get the big bird.

In the realm of spiritual things, if we desire to experience the big things found written in the Word of God, things that may seem out of reach to us, things that we might have tried to obtain but failed, then we must lay that past aside and “just go for it”.  Full provision is for every believer. If we are willing to give ourselves to obtain it, God will reveal himself and help us. We don’t need to be content to just hear about what God has provided. Why drive a broken down jalopy when there has been a brand new car paid for and the keys are offered? We need to learn how to receive the keys and operate them. Jesus suffered for us by taking a beating.  He went to the cross and gave himself for us as the perfect sacrifice before God. He did all this in order to take our sins away, heal our sicknesses, fill us with the Spirit with supernatural power and ability, and guide us daily in the Father’s plan for our life. He paid for all of it for us. If we don’t go for it by faith, then we don’t experience it. If that bird flew away, go again for him until you get him! Stubbornly persist to obtain God’s promises. He will perform his word.


There It Is!

The family was together for food, fun, and fellowship, and with this gathering we were having pizza. I was out on an errand. When I returned Barb asked me if I knew where the pizza cutter was. I was informed that she and Phil, a son-in-law, had looked in every drawer, the dishwasher, and in every possible place it could be, but was nowhere to be found. It was not in its usual place, so “somebody” must have put it somewhere else. “So, you’ve looked in every drawer?” I asked. “Yes” was the reply. So as I tried to remember where I might have put it, and thinking of where I would start to look I muttered, “Hmmm, pizza cutter, pizza cutter,” I pulled out the drawer that holds miscellaneous things, and there it was right there before me. “So, you looked in this drawer?” I asked. Yes, they had looked in that drawer, but failed to see it. How often we experience this! We look right at things but we don’t see them. That is why it is often helpful to get a fresh pair of eyes on a matter. We “read into” matters what we don’t know or have not experienced and we fail to “see” the true picture.

This happens with the things of God and spiritual truths. We often see things through a pre-set or pre-programmed outlook, and we can’t see what is right there before us, and, it has been there all the time. This results in missing the benefit or benefits that can be experienced and enjoyed had we embraced and experienced that truth. Even with these articles that I write, I do my best to make sure every tee is crossed and every i is dotted, but when I have Barb to proof it, she often finds things that need correction. It is always good to get another set of eyes on things. Some plain, basic truths in the Word of God are there to be embraced and experienced for maximum benefit in life and to do the will of God. The finished work of Jesus offered as a gift, the new birth, the baptism of the Holy Spirit with supernatural gifts, healing, and miracles. These are all lying in the Word in plain sight.  Plus, there is a commission to take the gospel from the neighbor next door to the nations of the world with the power of God to demonstrate his mercy and goodness to all.  It’s all right there in the Bible in black and white. It takes a good amount of religious brainwashing and unbelief to open the book and read it, and not see it. A good prayer to pray is “Lord, open my eyes to let me see your Word and your Way, and help me embrace it for your blessing upon my life and the lives of those around me.” Just read it, don’t read into it. Just do it, don’t doubt it. There it is!


Believing and Yielding

An avid deer hunter will scout out where the deer are, observe their habits and movements through the woods, and maybe even feed them to invite them to a certain area. When the deer season rolls around, the hunter gets his gear, goes to the location the deer are frequenting, loads his gun, and waits. Based on the evidence he has observed, this is the time and place the deer are moving, so he is loaded and ready to reap the harvest. The deer shows up just like he has observed in times past, he raises his gun, aims, and pulls the trigger. He is right on target, the deer goes down. There is meat for the table.

There is a lesson here about believing to be filled with the Spirit of God and yielding. First, the hunter wanted it bad enough to hang out where there was some manifestation.  You would not find a deer in mid-town New York in a fenced in apartment complex. You don’t find the Spirit of God where religious people and systems have him fenced out. Then, in his season, he makes personal preparations and goes to that place to obtain what he is looking for. Once in that place, and when what he desires shows up, he believes that if he will raise his gun and fire, he will get the deer. It would be crazy to get to that point and sit there and say to himself, “the Lord is going to give me a deer” and never raise his gun and fire. When you are hungry for the things of God, and you desire all God has for you, and you have seen that he can be real in your life with supernatural power, and you ask and believe, there is still something else for you to do. In faith, with your eyes on the target, you raise your gun and fire! Don’t just sit there! Act on your faith! Jesus said in Luke 11:9-13 if you will ask the Father for the Spirit to fill your life, he won’t disappoint and give you something other than the Holy Spirit of God, which comes complete with a supernatural prayer and worship language. That way, when you don’t know how to pray, you will have a supernatural weapon in your arsenal to help you. Once you have observed the truth of it in the Word, desired it, asked for it, and you are “sitting on the stand waiting”, know the Spirit of God is with you, in your place. Raise your gun and fire! Open your mouth, give it breath, trusting God to fill you with his power and gifts. Just like on the deer stand, if you believe you can get that deer by pulling the trigger, then do it. Keep pulling the trigger until it goes down. The things of God operate by faith and action. God’s part has been accomplished through Jesus Christ. Now, continue to do your part.


Keep This in Mind

“Keep this in mind…” is a phrase we often use when passing along important information to others. Sometimes it is helpful to have a physical thing, something tangible, to help us remember important stuff. We have a little oval ornamental fishpond with a fountain measuring 29” x 49” that I built in our front yard. We have had goldfish in it for years. Right now we are down to only two being in there. But from time to time, due to evaporation, I have to add water. I also run water to overflow it from time to time to flush it to make it fresh and clear. There have been times I have run the water hose to it to flush it and gone about my business and forgotten I had it running full blast. Several hours later when it was remembered, need I say, the pond was extremely clear and the lawn was very well watered, which was reflected on the next month’s elevated water bill. So, I wrote myself a note on a piece of paper, “Water Running”. I keep that note by the back door. Anytime I turn that water hose on to add water or flush the pond, I get that note and I carry it around with me in hand. I don’t put it in my pocket and I don’t lay it down. If I have to lay that note aside to do anything, that thing just does not get done right then. The note stays in hand. This physical, tangible thing keeps me reminded the water is running and it must be tended to. Otherwise, I will end up wasting a lot of good water and it will cost me.

The Lord gave us a one-time physical thing to do when we commit our lives to him – be baptized in water. He gave us an on-going thing to do to keep us reminded of what he has done for us, to keep us flushed spiritually clean and to keep us healthy and whole – take communion. It is a physical, tangible thing we are to do to remember his broken body given for our sicknesses, and his shed blood given for our sins. We are reminded that he came to take our sicknesses and our sins away. With respect and reverence to what he did for us, we are to honor him by appropriating his work and sacrifice by faith so we can receive the benefit unto the praise and glory of his name. He said “as often as you…” do this thing, not specifying how often to take communion (1 Corinthians 11: 23-33). So, I take it every morning. I carry it in memory daily. I break a cracker and take a sip of juice reminding me that he took a beating to make me healthy and he sacrificed himself to make me holy. By faith in Jesus Christ, I can continue to carry out his work living in the healing presence of God.


Ride Out With Joy

In preparation for one of Barbara’s great grand’s birthday party here at the house, I cleaned up the lawn mower and the little 33” x 48” yard wagon that it pulls. I had a six inch thick piece of foam rubber that I cut to fit inside the little buggy. I had some various colored foam noodles that I had in the shop attic. I took the noodles (4’ long round pieces of foam with a hole through the middle of it), and by splitting the noodles, I was able to expand them and mount them on the top of the four sidewalls of the cart. This offers a festive color and protection on the top metal edge of the cart. I had a discarded flannel blanket in the shop that I was going to use for dog bedding. It has the well known kid cartoon characters on it of SpongeBob. I put this on the foam floor of the cart and firmly tucked it in around the edges. So now I have a colorful “kid cart” that I will use to give rides around the yard at the party. Kids, and everybody, like to go for a good ride. We have 1.6 acres, and with a trail through a small patch of woods on one side of the yard and a creek on the other side, and a windmill and fountain in the front yard, I will be able to ride them around points of interest. It has been suggested that we even give them tickets for the ride that they can give to the “wagon master” for the ride. With a beautiful day predicted, we are looking forward to the event.

Believers in Christ, who are looking for his return, have a ride ahead of them that will be the thrill of thrills. Much preparation has gone into the event for each believer. Death has been conquered and the life of God imparted. Jesus has gone ahead to prepare mansions in the house of the Father for his followers to dwell in forever. His promise is to come again and receive us to himself so we can dwell in the place he has prepared for us. Whether we go ahead of that great day by falling asleep in his arms, or we go up to meet him in the air, it is wonderful to have the confidence knowing that he will receive us unto himself. We can know it is not by our goodness or righteousness that we have done, but by the preparations that he has made for us. He took the beating and died on the cross to save us from our sicknesses and sins. He conquered death and rose from the grave to impart his eternal life to those who believe. He went back into heaven and sits by the Father’s right hand interceding for us that we make it through to the end with him. By his preparations, we can ride out with joy.


Light of Heaven

With a bout with “afib” (atrial fibrillation, irregular heartbeat), I ended up in the hospital. I sought the Lord for a word to stand on for healing. Psalms 27:14 was brought to my mind. It says, “Wait on the Lord: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the Lord.” With that declared out loud being the spiritual application for remedy, and with the meds they were administering to me, at 3:20 a.m. the next morning the nurse came in and told me it had regulated to normal. That word “strengthen” in the Hebrew language means “to make alert”. So that night, and today, I read that “to make alert, on point, regulated, normal.” I am taking the meds in the name of the Lord, plus, my on-going application is to briskly walk a mile each day in the morning and a mile in the night. That gets that heart muscle pumping and physically helps strengthen it. God does his part, doctors do their part, and I am doing my part. In our large back yard there is an open area where I walk in an oval circle. It is 74 steps around, with approximately three feet per step, which makes it 222 feet. That times 24 times around, and you have 5,328. That’s the mile plus 48 feet. It is wearing a path. By the light of the early morning sky, once my eyes are adjusted, I can faintly see the path. By following the path I don’t run into the fig bush or the muscadines or the rose bushes by the archway. But, when the neighbor on the other side of the fence leaves the back porch light on, the other light in my eyes interferes with being able to see the path, particularly in the early morning when it is darkest. When I have just the light of heaven reflecting down, I stay on the path with no problem. There are many other lights in the world. They can make it hard to stay on the true path. Jesus Christ is the Light of the world. He came and suffered for our sicknesses and sins. He demonstrated that and taught that. He came to heal us and make us holy in his righteousness so we could stand before a holy God. His blood sacrifice on our behalf is what God sees as our qualification to enter heaven. Our “goodness” and good deeds in order to make it is another light. Keeping certain religious rules and rituals is another light. The blood sacrifice of the Light of the world, Jesus Christ, the spotless Lamb of God, is the one thing he accepts. Believing on Jesus Christ, turning from sin, being “washed in the blood”, is the light to keep us on the path to be strong in the Lord. Then we are to be water baptized, baptized in the Holy Spirit, and walk with him in the victory of faith each day.


Jesus Suffered to Set Us Free

As I stood outside the glass doors waiting for my client at the Vein & Vascular Institute, an elderly gentleman came out and stood with me waiting for his wife. I asked him, “What are you here for?” He said, “I can’t breathe. I just got off a stress test and I have a splitting headache.” I reached my hand over and touched the back of his head and said, “I rebuke this headache in Jesus’ name and command the pain to subside and go away, and the cause of it to be corrected.” The man looked a little surprised, then mused saying, “Well that’s something. I just got saved two weeks ago.” I said, “Praise God. He is working in your life. He is showing you that just the same way he takes your sins away, now he also takes your pain and sickness away.” At that point his wife came out and we bid each other adieu. They walked down the short hall and around the corner. I continued to stand there. I don’t care about sitting all day, so I stand or walk, taking breaks to sit down.  In a moment the gentleman came back around the corner. He said, “I want to thank you for what you did. It really took the edge off this headache.” I said, “And it will continue to subside.” Then with a little more conversation, they went on their way.

You know, I just got out of the heart hospital myself and I am taking the meds and going through the procedures, but that does not change the Word, the Spirit, and the power of God. If we will put God out there into people’s lives, he will do what he wants to do and set people free. The key is openness and being yielded. As we go, he will guide. The way he works is different for every situation, but he always works with love, compassion, and with boldness to help people out of their bondage and suffering. Obviously, the man was in a state of being open to the things and operation of God, having been saved two weeks earlier. In that state he just received what God had for him. Jesus said we are to receive the kingdom like a child. So there is balance. The Word also says the violent take the kingdom by force. Sometimes there has to be some standing and fighting. But in all times, we must be open and yielded if we are going to receive and experience the things of God. This applies to every facet of what God has for us. Most of the time we must close off the things and ways of man, religious traditions and teachings that are not in harmony with the Word and Way of God. Man’s ways will leave us deficient, whereas God’s ways are all-sufficient. The suffering and death of Jesus is given to us to set us free in spirit, soul, and body.


Rescue the Perishing

With the onslaught of the enemy and bewildered by the utter chaos, Desmond Doss prayed, “Lord, what do you want me to do?” In a moment he heard the cries of fallen comrades. He knew what to do. He went into action rescuing the perishing, going into the battlefield, putting his own life in danger, to help the fallen soldiers. Until exhaustion, he went about finding those who needed medical attention. Then he started praying, and kept praying, “Lord, just one more. Help me get one more.” This continued until he himself was wounded and was carried out. He was credited with saving 75 wounded men out of the battle of Hacksaw Ridge. “He refused to carry a gun. His only weapons were his Bible and his faith in God. President Harry S. Truman warmly shook the hand of Corporal Desmond Thomas Doss, and then held it the entire time his citation was read aloud to those gathered outside the White House on October 12, 1945. “I’m proud of you,” Truman said. “You really deserve this. I consider this a greater honor than being president.”’ (quote from online source as Desmond Doss received the Metal of Honor). Even while the wounded Desmond was being carried off the battlefield, he saw one who had greater need than himself and jumped off his stretcher and directed his bearers to tend to the one in greater need. Inspired by the movie “Hacksaw Ridge”, I went online to learn more about Mr. Doss’ bravery and courage on that day at Hacksaw Ridge. In learning what Mr. Doss did, we have a vivid picture of what a dedicated warrior for Jesus can do in the kingdom of God.

Armed with the Word of God, and with a praying faith in God, and with the commitment to help others no matter what (and not harm them), many perishing people can be rescued. That’s what Jesus came to do. That is what he called his followers to do. We are to stand firm in battle to take the land set before us, and we are to help the fallen. We don’t shoot the fallen. We help them. It takes proud self-righteousness to shoot the fallen. It takes selfishness to ignore the fallen. It is in the face of this nature of man that Jesus taught that to be his disciple we must take up our cross (death to self) daily. In this place with the Lord, we can really get the job done that needs to be done. And, the rewards and honor are great. It is much more than a metal of honor. It is the commendation and eternal rewards offered to us by the Lord himself: “Come…blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: for I was an hungered and ye gave me meat…thirsty…ye gave me drink…a stranger…naked…sick…in prison” and when you ministered to the least of these my brethren, you did it to me. (Matthew 25:34-40).