Thursday, 12/23/21 – Going Away and Coming Back

Going Away and Coming Back

Heads up!

After tomorrow’s post (Christmas Eve day) is going away for “a little while.” I’ll be taking a two-week break. While I’m away I’ll be making changes… changes to this blog, or perhaps coming back with a whole new blog, new format, new style, new posts – for you! Don’t worry, if I decide on a whole new blogsite I’ll link to it from here. If you link to it via Facebook you’ll still find new links there.

I’m envisioning this as having a much less structured format. Where has followed the theme of the Lincoln Baptist Church Sunday message on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesdays, then discussed some aspect of Discipleship on Thursdays and responded to your questions on Fridays, the new blogsite will not. Topics will be random, from everyday life and as the Holy Spirit may lead.

Today’s Discipleship theme looks at the last in the cycle of recurring Discipleship themes, “The Soon Return of Christ.” Fitting really, because this too is all about a Going Away and Coming Back. This too is about a going away for “a little while” and about making changes for those who wait.

Jesus said…

“…I am going there to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.” (John 14:2b-3).
“Jesus went on to say, ‘In a little while you will see me no more, and then after a little while you will see me.’” (John 16:16).
“So do not throw away your confidence; it will be richly rewarded… persevere… For, ‘In just a little while, He who is coming will come and will not delay.’” (Heb. 10:37 – see also Isa. 26:20; Hab. 2:3).

We see signs of His Soon coming all around us now: pandemic, panic, pandemonium in nature and in hearts. What shall we do? To those who believe He has told us…

“Keep watch, because you do not know on what day your Lord will come. …be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect Him.” (Matt. 24:42, 44).
“When these things begin to take place, stand up and lift up your heads, because your redemption is drawing near.” (Luke 21:28).

So… Press on… and…

Heads up!

Are you interested in being discipled one-on-one in the fundamentals of life in Christ? Or, would you like to begin this journey by turning from your current path and committing your path to Christ? — Use the Contact page and we’ll get you started.

Tuesday, 12/21/21 – Pressing on… Incarnate 101

Incarnate 101

The word dates back to somewhere around mid to late 14th century. It derives from the Latin incarnātus, past participle of incarnāre “to make into flesh.” It carries with it the idea of being invested with human nature and form, to be made manifest or comprehensible.

Carn“… the flesh… that life in-breathed tissue in which dwells the human soul… that nature, once glorious, now fallen, that shell through which the soul manifests and becomes comprehensible to other like souls.

in·car·nate – adjective (inˈkärnət, inˈkärˌnāt)

Related words: carnal, carnivore, reincarnation

Into that temporal, fleshly thing it’s Creator stepped. Not full grown and regal and by some cataclysmic moment, but offstage, as an infant, humble, and by natural gestation. A full 30 years He contented Himself within this form, limited as never before. Then, at the Father’s fullness of moment, He commenced His three-year mission… a mission to which He had been appointed “before the foundation of the world” (Eph. 1:4).

And now He desires to incarnate your flesh also, with you, making you a holy temple and Himself manifest and comprehensible through new expressions of your soul. This is His intended mission for you… since before the foundation of the world!

“But now He has reconciled you by Christ’s physical body through death to present you holy in his sight… This is the gospel… — the mystery that has been kept hidden for ages and generations, but is now disclosed to the Lord’s people. To them God has chosen to make known among the Gentiles the glorious riches of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.” (Excepts from Col. 1:22-27)

This is God’s Love for you. This is God’s plan for you. This is the reason you were created, the significance and meaning of your life. This is the hope for all humanity, and both the meaning and purpose of Christmas!

More tomorrow…

To hear this past Sunday’s message, go to the Facebook page of Lincoln Baptist Church, or link to the livestream from the church website.

Friday, 12/17/21 – How can I flee the fear of failure?

How can I flee the fear of failure?

Some fear failure to the point of not trying. Safe zones are sought, we crawl inside them and determine the best we can do is hunker down and settle for less. Christ, however, has better plans.

We ought not fear failure. Rather, we should view our unsuccesses as moments of learning, not loathing. This is the view taken by Edison who famously said regarding his countless unsuccessful attempts at inventing the lightbulb, “I haven’t failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.” Edison saw that in his initial failures at inventing the light bulb he had learned a vast amount of approaches to avoid in the future. Though he had one loss (a working lightbulb), he had uncovered innumerable gains, not only for himself but for all inventors.

Failure is frustrating when we measure it by the one outcome we are endeavoring to achieve. We may cry out to God asking for intervention, or help, or power to succeed. But God may have other outcomes in mind. Paul cried out for freedom from his thorn but God meant it to help him to humility. Joseph hoped for freedom from the pit, but God had in mind the salvation of a nation. Samson sought deliverance from the Philistines, but God made his captivity the rebuilding of his strength to their destruction.

Paul recognized this need to change focus. He wrote: “For our momentary, light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison, while we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen; for the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal.” (2 Cor. 4:17-18)

James tells us, “Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.” (James 1:2-3).

Keep pursuing those objects of frequent failings, but do not despair if you fail. God has other things in mind — and wastes nothing. As Solomon advises: “Sow your seed in the morning, and at evening let your hands not be idle, for you do not know which will succeed, whether this or that, or whether both will do equally well.” (Eccl. 11:6).

And so I say…

Press on…

Got a question? Use the Contact page and send It to me. We’ll search the Word for God’s answer.

Thursday, 12/16/21 – What’s up with the Will of God?

What’s up with the Will of God?

“How could there be an all powerful, loving God when…”
“If God exists, then why is there so much…”
“I refuse to believe in a God Who allows…”

I’m sure you’ve heard or possibly even uttered sentiments like these. In a world filled with injustice, hatred, selfishness, and on and on… how can we understand the silence of an Almighty, Supremely Loving, Holy Entity? If such a One exists then surely this Being is able to enact its loving will upon its creation. What’s up with the Will of God?

I sometimes wonder if it doesn’t grieve the heart of our Lord and Maker that we are still asking this question and either passively or blatantly blaming Him?

You see, clearly there is something wrong somewhere. There is no denying that. But we must start the analysis of this “wrongness” from the correct basis: God IS Loving and Good and All-Powerful and much more besides. But there is indeed this disconnect. There IS evil in this world… sorrow… suffering… and gross injustices. We notice it, we feel it, and we dislike it much.

But might it be, in this world of wrongness, that we too are wrongly asking the wrong One, all the wrong questions? What if God, Lovingly, Powerfully, and out of His Holiness is asking us, “What’s up with the will of mankind?” What if God, like the parent of a wayward youth, looks down upon us after having made us well, sacrificed for us, and demonstrated His great power and deep love for us, is now weeping in heaven over the paths we have chosen, the evils and destructions our ways have wrought upon us, and our hatred and blame toward Him… after all He has done to enable our return?

Scripture tells us He has done and is doing all these things…

“As He approached Jerusalem and saw the city, He wept over it and said, ‘If you, even you, had only known…'” and “…how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were not willing.” (Luke 19:41-42a; Matt. 23:37)
“Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” (John 15:13).
“For God so loved the world that he gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through Him.” (John 3:16).
“Now we [those trusting in Christ] are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when Christ appears, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is.” (1 John 3:2).

Perhaps the better and more urgent question is this: “What’s up with the stubborn will of mankind?”

Press on…

Are you interested in being discipled one-on-one in the fundamentals of life in Christ? Or, would you like to begin this journey by turning from your current path and committing your path to Christ? — Use the Contact page and we’ll get you started.

Wednesday, 12/15/21 – Pressing on… Sorrow and Joy

Sorrow and Joy

I’m just wondering… Were you puzzled about my statement at the end of Monday’s post this week? After stating that abiding joy is found only in loving obedience in Christ and that this joy is among the “gifts” of His Spirit living in and through us, I said “It [Joy] is found in only in Christ, and remains — even in times of sorrow.”

Sorrow, yet Joy? How is that possible? And what does that look like? Are you crying… laughing? Aren’t these things opposites by definition?

So far this week our Advent themes have pondered Hope, Peace, and now Joy. Paul referenced all three of these in his letter to the believers in Rome. He wrote, “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.” (Rom. 15:13).

In another letter he reminded the sorrowful Thessalonians, that as believers they “do not grieve like the rest of mankind, who have no hope.” (1 Thess 4:13). Why? Because they had hope. In their flesh they may have felt grief, but grief, like happiness, is also temporary. “Weeping may tarry for the night,” wrote the psalmist, “but joy comes with the morning.” (Ps. 30:5).

I know, I know… many sadnesses last much longer than an overnight. But as I sometimes say to believing chronic pain sufferers like myself, “It can only last a lifetime!” And it’s true. Jesus promised us abiding joy, but He also promised us what we should expect of this life… during our sojourn time on this earth. He said, “In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33). Or as some translations have it, “Be of good cheer!”

The joy Jesus gives “no man can take away.” This joy is your possession forever in Christ. Though you may feel sorrow, you have joy! What you feel is fleeting, but what you have is eternal. Think on this truth when life is hard; “…the joy of the Lord is your strength,” said Nehemiah (Neh. 4:8). Let it bring strength to you!

“So with you: Now is your time of grief, but I will see you again and you will rejoice, and no one will take away your joy.” (John 16:22).

Press on…

To hear this past Sunday’s message, go to the Facebook page of Lincoln Baptist Church, or link to the livestream from the church website.

Tuesday, 12/14/21 – Pressing on… Shining lights…

Shining lights…

Last week my wife changed the light bulb over our front porch. She put in one of those rotating multi-colored Christmassy type lights. A filter around the bulb rotates casting a myriad of circling colours along the front steps, across the exterior wall and through the front door window onto the floor of the entryway inside.

The unceasing movement of rainbow circles traversing the entry is driving our cat crazy. She scrapes at them, pounces on them, crouches low ahead of them, but no matter what tactic she employs she just can’t seem to grab hold of even one of them! She meows at us in her frustration but all we can do is chuckle for we know the absolute futility of her goal.

As I settle down to write today’s post about Joy our cat’s behaviour becomes an illustration to me of mankind’s quest for happiness. Temporal things bring short-term happiness but like the lights they’re always on the move and like the lights they are ultimately things one simply cannot hold on to. I think of the frustrated souls who do not know the joy that God can bring. Do they perhaps look up to Him grim faced in their frustration… and “meow” out complaints? “It’s not fair!” “Why don’t You let me win the lottery… become famous…  have multiple lovers?” Does God chuckle back knowing within Himself the truth — the absolute futility of these goals?

God loves us too much to enable us to settle for fading earthly lights. He intends for us something far better. What was it the prophet said…

Those who are wise will shine like the brightness of the heavens, and those who lead many to righteousness, like the stars for ever and ever.” (Dan. 12:3).

And Jesus has promised His people this:

“…I will see you again and you will rejoice, and no one will take away your joy.” (John 16:22)

More tomorrow…

To hear this past Sunday’s message, go to the Facebook page of Lincoln Baptist Church, or link to the livestream from the church website.

Monday, 12/13/21 – The J.O.Y. Group!

The J.O.Y. Group!

We used to have a group in our church called “The J.O.Y. Group.” The group was comprised mostly of seniors, and they were indeed mostly joyful. But the reason this group was so named had more to do with its acronym: Jesus + Others + You = J.O.Y.! You see, these folk had figured out the proper priorities for a joy-filled life.

The greatest commandment, Jesus said, was this: “’Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind,'” Then added, “And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’” (Matt. 22:37-39).

In another place Jesus said,

As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. If you keep my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commands and remain in his love. I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete.” (John 15:9-11).

Yes sir, the old guys had it right: Jesus + Others + You = J.O.Y.!

I know if no greater joy myself than in bringing joy to another. Joy is way better than happiness! Dictionaries define happiness with phrases like these: “a feeling of great happiness,” “the emotion evoked by well-being, success, or good fortune or by the prospect of possessing what one desires,” “a state of felicity,” “to experience great pleasure or delight.”

A feeling, emotion, state, experience – all things that come… then go. Then, when they’re gone, we’re back at whatever feeling, emotion, state, or experience we were at before happiness “happened.” The root “hap” carries with it the sense of a thing occurring by chance or good luck… by “happenstance.” Happiness is just something that occurs. There is little you can do to hold on to it.

But Joy… the sort Jesus gives to us… that Joy is eternal. As many translations put the above verse, “that my joy might remain in you.” And in verse 16 Jesus adds, “I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit—fruit that will last” (John 15:16). And “Joy” is one of those “fruits.” (See Gal. 5:22). It is found in only in Christ, and remains — even in times of sorrow.

This Christmas, consider J.O.Y.

And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.” (Luke 2:10-11).

Are you a member of “The J.O.Y. Group?”

More tomorrow…

To hear this past Sunday’s message, go to the Facebook page of Lincoln Baptist Church, or link to the livestream from the church website.

Friday, 12/10/21 – Knocking or Nagging?

Knocking or Nagging?

Before long most spiritually nourished Christians become familiar with Matthew 7:7-8 “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.”

The phrase is repeated in Luke 11:9-10 along with the illustration of the persistence of the man seeking loaves at midnight to feed a hungry houseguest. He tells a similar story in Luke 18 regarding a widow woman seeking justice against an adversary. His purpose in the parable is stated at the outset, “to show them that they should always pray and not give up.” (Luke 18:1).

Ask… seek… knock…” All three verbs are gerunds denoting ongoing activity. Yet there are other passages which point to times when one must simply stop.

In one of Paul’s epistles to the Corinthian church he writes of an an undefined “thorn” which beset him, “a messenger of Satan, to harass me,” he says, only later learning its purpose. He recounts “Three times I besought the Lord about this, that it should leave me; but He said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’” (2 Cor. 12:8-9).

Three times Paul prayed, only three, and then he stopped! What made the difference? Surely he agreed with our Lord’s teaching on persistence. “Pray without ceasing,” he urged the Thessalonians. (1 Thess. 5:17). Yet, here, three times, and he stops.

We must be very humble when we pray, cognizant that we are approaching the Almighty for His answer. We are knocking for there is something we do not know, and want Him to tell or to show us. We must not confuse flesh with Spirit. We must come to Him as Christ also came to the Father — also only thrice — ever willing to say to Him, “Not my will, but Your’s be done.” (Matt. 26:39, Mark 14:36, Luke 22:42, John 6:38).

When His answer is clear, we are done.

Press on…

Got a question? Use the Contact page and send It to me. We’ll search the Word for God’s answer.

Thursday, 12/9/21 – What is Evangelism?

What is Evangelism?


Today’s Discipleship topic is Evangelism. Dictionaries vary in their definition of Evangelism, such as “the zealous advocacy of a cause,” “the winning or revival of personal commitments to Christ,” “a militant or crusading zeal,” “spreading the gospel,” or “telling the gospel message.”

I suppose these definitions depend largely on whether or not the one making them is a believer. Things most usually look different from their inside than they do from without. But perhaps the more important question is “What did Jesus mean by evangelism?” Or, even without the word altogether, “What does He tell us to do?”

We know He had in His heart the desire that through Himself His disciples, indeed all believers “…be brought to complete unity” in order that “…the world will know that You [the Father] sent Me [the Son] and have loved them [the believers] even as You [the Father] have loved Me [the Son].” (John 17:23). We know His parting command to all believers was “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation” (Mark 16:15). We know that the need is great, “The harvest is plentiful,” and “the workers are few,” and we know His command to “Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.” (Matt. 9:37-38).

We know also that He blessed His Church with persons especially gifted in this: “Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers” (Eph. 4:11) and that these ought not shirk their duties. “Do the work of an evangelist,” Paul adjured Timothy (2 Tim. 4:5). Yet we know we are allChrist’s ambassadors” (2 Cor. 5:20), salt and light to a dark and tasteless world. And we know too that we must “Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have” (1 Pet. 3:15).

Our job is to testify (tell), to witness (what we know and have experienced ourselves), along with the many other testimonies which enter the courtroom of each individuals heart, to add our bit to sway them to faith, away from the sentence of death which otherwise bears down upon them. We need not be lawyers for their defense. The Holy Spirit will do that.

What is the definition of evangelism? Perhaps the best I know is the one I learned in Bible College many years ago: “Evangelism is simply sharing Christ in the power of the Holy Spirit and leaving the results with God.” It is “One beggar telling another beggar where to find bread.”

Press on…

Are you interested in being discipled one-on-one in the fundamentals of life in Christ? Or, would you like to begin this journey by turning from your current path and committing your path to Christ? — Use the Contact page and we’ll get you started.

Wednesday, 12/8/21 – Pressing on… Otherworldly People; Otherworldly Peace

Otherworldly People; Otherworldly Peace

There’s an old 1957 Sci-fi horror flick called “Not of This Earth” in which an eyeless, death-ray emitting human-like being from the planet Danvanna is transported to Earth to collect human blood for transfusion to save his race. It’s a pretty corny, black and white attempt with a plotline familiar to numerous subsequent films. But it’s parallels to the gospel are interesting.

In the movie, the aliens are evil… they are a race not of this world. But the glorious gospel of God is the truth that the One from above has come not to destroy us, but to rescue us. We are the evil ones, but He wants to take us to His world, and He offers to make it our world. In the movie, the aliens come seeking the sacrifice of human blood, but the gospel tells us Christ has come to sacrifice for us His own blood.


John tells us what happens when we surrender ourselves to His most loving plan. He writes, “All who did receive Him, to those who believed in His Name, He gave the right to become children of God— children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God.” (John 1:12-13). Through Him… through the sacrifice of His blood, we become transformed… we become new creations, citizens of His world… for ever.

In His great prayer for His people, His Church, He spoke to the Father of us saying, “They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world.” (John 17:16). So completely new does He make us that we, as Hebrews tells us, “…are made holy… of the same family. So Jesus is not ashamed to call [us] brothers and sisters.” (Heb. 2:11).*

To us He gives the privilege of an otherworldly citizenship, and otherworldly heart, otherworldly gifts of the Holy Spirit, and an otherworldly Peace in the midst of the turmoil of this lost and dying planet. He said this:


Peace I leave with you; My peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” (John 14:27). “In Me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33).

Because of this amazing otherworldly Peace we can be at rest, presenting all our needs and concerns to Him, we can know a peace that we cannot comprehend.

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” (Phil. 4:6-7).

Press on…

*The Greek word “adelphoi” refers here to all believers.

To hear this past Sunday’s message, go to the Facebook page of Lincoln Baptist Church, or link to the livestream from the church website.