Shining Lights in a World of Spiritual Darkness

(A TRIBUTE TO QUEEN ELIZABETH II)

     Throughout history, including in Bible times, there has often been a drought of godly leadership, but amidst that drought, there are refreshing stories of those who go against the increasingly pagan culture to live out their faith and shine brightly in a dark world of depravity.  We have had those like Noah and Enoch who “walked with God” (Gen. 5:24; 6:9) in a day in which “the wickedness of man was great on the earth, and every intent of the thoughts of man’s heart was only evil continually” (Gen. 6:3).  We have great men like Abraham whom God called out of a pagan culture to establish a nation through which God’s revelation to mankind, as well as the Savior of the world, the Lord Jesus Christ, would come. We have the amazing story of Joseph, the son of Jacob (and great grandson of Abraham), who continued to trust God no matter what his circumstances, acknowledging that even the evil treatment by his brothers was “meant for good” (Gen. 50:20).   And, of course we have Daniel who lived out his faith in spite of the risks involved and ended up having a great influence on a whole empire. 

     The list goes on with people of courageous faith like the judges whom God raised up during times of great spiritual darkness when “everyone did that which was right in his own eyes” (Judges 21:25). Also included in the list are a number of women like Ruth and Rahab and Esther and, of course, Mary, the mother of Jesus.  The author of the book of Hebrews included a chapter where he lists many of these great men and women of faith who were the “salt of the earth” and the “light of the world” (Mt. 5:13,14).  

     Outside of biblical history, there have been countless others who have taken a stand for the faith and made a huge impact for Christ, folks like Martin Luther, William Tyndale, John Wycliffe, John and Charles Wesley, Charles Spurgeon, Adoniram Judson, David Livingstone, Dwight L. Moody, George Whitfield, Billy Graham, et al.  

     I guess I would add another name to that list of spiritual giants who have “dared to be a Daniel” (or an Esther or a Rahab or a Joseph), and that is Queen Elizabeth II who recently celebrated 70 years of serving as the longest-reigning monarch in British history, and the second-longest reigning sovereign monarch in world history among those whose exact dates are known (only surpassed by France’s King Louis IV who reigned for 72 years, having taken the throne at age four!).   Elizabeth was the first child born (April 21, 1926)  to the Duke and Duchess of York (later to become King George VI and Queen Elizabeth I). She married Philip Mountbatton, a former prince of Greece and Denmark in November of 1947. They had four children and had celebrated 73 years of marriage when Philip died in 2021.  

When Elizabeth’s father, who ascended to the throne in 1936, died in February 1952, Elizabeth–then 25–became Queen, ruling over seven independent commonwealth countries: The United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Pakistan and Ceylon, as well as Head of Commonwealth.  It is, however, not her royalty or fame or longevity that is most impressive to me, but rather her continued faithfulness as a believer in Jesus Christ, and her dependence on Him.  On the day that Queen Elizabeth II was crowned, she said, “Pray for me…that God may give me wisdom and strength to carry out the solemn promise I shall be making, and that I may faithfully serve Him and you, all the days of my life.”

     In her annual Christmas message broadcast to the Commonwealth in 2000, she said: “To many of us, our beliefs are of foundational importance. For me, the teachings of Christ and my own personal accountability before God provide a framework by which I try to lead my life. I, like many of you, have drawn great comfort in difficult times from Christ’s words and example.”  

     I can’t help but wonder if her long reign is the result of God blessing her steadfast faith and humble heart of dependence on Him. I’m also reminded that the Gospel is for the great and the small. “For the Son of Man came to seek and to save that which was lost” (Lk. 19:10).  That included kings and queens and all those in positions of prestige and leadership, but it also included the lowly and the outcasts in society. “For God so loved the world…” (Jn. 3:16).  We–no matter our status in life–were all included in His amazing sacrifice for sin.   “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Ro. 3:23). “For the love of Christ controls us, having concluded this, that one died for all…and He died for all, that they who live should no longer live for themselves, but for Him who died and rose again on their behalf” (II Cor. 5:14,15). Therefore, “whoever will call upon the name of the Lord will be saved” (Ro. 10:13).  Whether we are royalty or lower class or anywhere in between, whether male or female, Jew or Gentile, bond or free,  Jesus died for us. And through faith in Christ, we become part of “God’s Forever Family” (Gal. 3:28).  

     The Gospel is for the great and the small. The story of every Christian is a beautiful part of the great story God is creating in history…a story that’s all about Jesus!   Each of us, like the great men and women of faith in history, and like Queen Elizabeth II, are called to be salt and light to a decaying and dark generation. Queen Elizabeth, despite all the challenges and disappointments and criticisms she has faced,  has been letting her light shine for many decades, faithfully depending upon her Lord and Savior.  Thanks, Queen Elizabeth, for your example. May your tribe increase!

      How about you and me?  How bright is our light shining? How “salty” are we?  Our world desperately needs those who remain faithful no matter what others are doing.  

Forever His,

     Pastor Dave

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Beware of Sinkholes

     Sinkholes are cavities in the ground that form when water erodes underlying rock layers, creating an underground chasm. Types of rock that can be naturally dissolved by groundwater circulating through them are salt beds, gypsum, limestone, dolomite and other carbonate rock. Sinkholes are dramatic because the surface land usually stays intact for a period of time until the underground chasm gets too big and can no longer support the land above. Then a sudden collapse of the land surface can occur.  The sinkhole may appear to have occurred suddenly, but the process leading up to it probably took a lengthy period of time.  Areas where sinkholes develop often are the Yucatan Peninsula of Mexico and in America in regions of Florida, Georgia, Wisconsin, Missouri and regions bordering the Chesapeake Bay.  Some sinkholes can reach up to 300 feet deep!

     The sudden fall of a Christian leader or of a Christian institution such as a Christian school or university, or any Christian in general, can be compared to sinkholes.  Jesus compared those who heard His words and acted upon them with a wise man who built his house upon the rock. When the rains and floods and wind came, the house “did not fall because it had been founded upon the rock” (Mt. 7:24,25).   Jesus compared those who hear His words but do not act upon them to “a foolish man who built his house upon the sand. And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and burst against that house; and it fell, and great was its fall” (vv. 26,27).  If an individual Christian or Christian school, organization or ministry fails to continue to base their life and ministry on the Word of God, erosion starts taking place under the surface. For a period of time, the exterior (the land surface) seems unchanged, but then, at some point, the void beneath becomes too large, and the surface “suddenly” collapses. 

     For example, we have a number of well-known universities such as the Ivy-League schools, which in previous generations were famous for training men and women in God’s truth and equipping them to serve Him faithfully all over the world. Although the number of students has grown impressively over recent decades, the schools’ distinctively Christian educational quality has diminished just as noticeably. Despite successful appearances, many of our historically Christian schools have lost their original stability and strength by caving in to worldly education influences. These schools are like sinkholes in that the collapse begins with subtle erosion of the underlying foundation. Erosion happens when the school accepts unbiblical theories and cultural changes instead of repelling such errors as foundation-compromising intrusions. 

     “Like disintegrating soft limestone, unseen, the underlying foundation of these schools’ teaching eroded away gradually, without anybody noticing. The schools’ trust in the Word of God was slowly dissolved, being washed away by contra-biblical compromises here and there, often failing to affirm and adhere to the authority and relevance of the Bible’s clear teaching about creation, marriage, family and the value of all life from conception through old age” (Acts and Facts, p.  20,April 2021). 

     The Bible must be the bedrock foundation for all instruction and for our personal lives as Christians. When that Scriptural foundation disappears, unseen by those who only view surface activities, what will happen?  If accumulating subsurface erosion isn’t remedied, in time, the ground above will soon cave in, leaving a hazardous sinkhole.  Think about what happens when a Christian leader suffers spiritual collapse. Many lives–completely taken by surprise–are adversely affected.  Remember when David was confronted by Nathan for his sin of adultery with Bathsheba and the murder of her husband, Uriah?  Nathan said, “…by this deed you have given occasion to the enemies of the LORD to blaspheme…” (II Sam. 12:14).  David had tried to keep up a good appearance while there was erosion taking place within, but ultimately it all came crashing down, like a sinkhole.  

     Make sure you continue to live your life on the firm foundation of God’s Word. Read it and heed it. Act upon His words.  Don’t let little compromises start eroding your foundation to the point where one day it all caves in around you. You won’t be the only one affected. You will take many down with you. “Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable (keeping a solid foundation of God’s Word), always abounding in the work of the Lord…” (I Cor. 15:58).  

Forever His,

        Pastor Dave

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Christlikeness

     The recent overturning of the Roe v. Wade decision of 1973 has caused a firestorm of protests by abortion advocates who are doing all they can to continue providing women the option to end the life of their pre-born babies, calling it a “Constitutional right”!  What these folks are failing to acknowledge (or are just blatantly ignoring) is all the evidence that the pre-born is really a person and not just some “fetal tissue.”  

     One of the greatest deterrents to mothers aborting their babies is the use of ultrasound. Once a pregnant mother sees the pictures of her “child” in the womb, with all his or her distinct features (including its gender!), she is much less likely to go through with an abortion. 

     In King David’s prayer of repentance, he stated: “Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity. And in sin my mother conceived me” (Psa. 51:5). It is not that the acts of giving birth or conceiving are sinful, but that from the moment of conception, a person possesses a sinful nature. From the moment that the egg and sperm unite in the womb, a child’s life begins and then develops for the approximately nine months of human gestation, at which time God, in His amazing design, enables the mother to give birth to her child.  

     Isaiah, using the analogy of the conception and development of a child in a mother’s womb, wrote in reference to the nation of Israel: “Thus says the LORD who made you and formed you from the womb…” (Isa. 44:2). And Jeremiah writes, concerning God calling him: “Now the word of the LORD came to me saying, ‘Before I formed you in the womb I knew you. And before you were born, I consecrated you; I have appointed you a prophet to the nations’ ” (Jer. 1:4,5). 

     Not long after conception, ultrasound pictures help us watch the embryonic development. At about three weeks, a heartbeat can be detected. At six weeks, brain waves can be measured and at eight weeks, the stomach, liver and kidneys are functioning and fingerprints have been formed. The baby can urinate, make a fist and feel pain.Every cell in the unborn child contains human genes contributed by the mom and dad.  He is developing features that will resemble his or her parents.  

     The Apostle Paul, in writing to the believers in the Churches of Galatia in north central Asia minor that were founded on his second missionary journey, was concerned about their spiritual growth or development. It seems that folks referred to as “legalistic Judaizers” had persuaded the new converts to Christianity to go back under the bondage of the Law. He wrote a letter to help them get back on track, saying, “You foolish Galatians, who has bewitched you, before whose eyes Jesus Christ was publicly portrayed as crucified? This is the only thing I want to find out from you: did you receive the Spirit by the works of the Law, or by hearing with faith? Are you so foolish? Having begun by the Spirit, are you now being perfected by the flesh?…It was for freedom that Christ set us free; therefore keep standing firm and do not be subject again to a yoke of slavery” (Gal. 3:2,3; 5:1).

     Paul was not only the evangelist who had labored to bring to the Galatians the Gospel which is “the power of God unto salvation to all who believed” (Ro. 1:16); but he also had a pastor’s heart, concerned about their spiritual growth as “new-born believers.” In fact, in Paul’s list in II Cor. 11 of all he suffered in spreading the Gospel, he mentions at the end  “the daily pressure upon me of concern for all the churches” (II Cor. 11:28). As parents, we never outgrow our children. Someone said, “When they’re little, they’re a handful; but when they’re grown, they’re a heartful!   When they are little, they step on your toes; but when they’re grown, they step on your heart!”  That’s what Paul was experiencing as he tried to help the Galatian believers with their confused spiritual lives. In Gal. 4:19, he expressed his longing for them: “My children, with whom I am again in labor until Christ is formed in you.” His goal for them? Christlikeness.  Paul expressed that same goal in his letter to the Christians in Rome: “And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son…” (Ro. 8:28,29).  

     The verb Paul used in Gal. 4:19 (“Until Christ be formed in you”) is the same verb used to describe the development of the embryo in the womb.  As we spend time in the Word of God and in prayer and in fellowship with our Lord, and live in obedience to Him, depending upon Him, we are doing what Jesus commands in Jn. 15:4 (“Abide in Me”).  Fruit starts to appear which He (the Vine) produces in and through us (“love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self control”…Gal. 5:22,23).  We start looking more like Him. Christ is being “formed in us” (Gal. 4:19).  That was Paul’s goal for those he had introduced to Christ. That is God’s goal for each one of us.  How much of Christ do others see in you and me?  “He must increase, but I must decrease” (Jn. 3:30).

Forever His,

     Pastor Dave 

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Birth Pangs

     Although it has been more than half a century, I still remember when we were expecting our first child and my wife Kathy was well past her “due date.” We were eagerly awaiting those “labor pains” to begin to let us know the time was near for delivery. Well, they finally began, but close to a month late, and we were blessed with a beautiful, very healthy 9 1/2 pound baby girl Heidi, already with a good start on life!

     One day when Jesus had been with His disciples at the temple in Jerusalem, He told them that a day was coming when that temple would be destroyed and “not one stone shall be left upon another” (Mt. 24:2).  Curious as to when this might happen, Jesus’ disciples “came to Him privately (while He was sitting on the Mount of Olives) saying, ‘Tell us, when will these things be, and what will be the sign of Your coming and of the end of the age?'” (v. 3).   Jesus went on to speak of how there would be many false Christs who would come and deceive people and that there would be wars and rumors of wars and nations rising up against nations and famines and earthquakes. And then He added, “But all these things are merely the beginning of birth pangs” (vv. 5-8).  Jesus continued listing conditions which will precede His return, including strong persecution of believers, a falling away from true faith, deceptive false teachers, lawlessness, love growing cold (vv. 9-12).  

     The Apostle Paul, in his first letter to Timothy, also spoke of how in “later times some will fall away from the faith, paying attention to deceitful spirits and doctrines of demons, by means of hypocrisy of liars seared in their own conscience…” (I Tim. 4:1,2).  In his second letter to Timothy, Paul again speaks of conditions (“birth pangs”) that will intensify as Christ’s return draws near: “…in the last days difficult times will come. For men will be lovers of self, lovers of money, boastful, arrogant, revilers, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy, unloving, irreconcilable, malicious gossips, without self-control, brutal, haters of good, treacherous, reckless, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God; holding to a form of godliness, although they have denied its power… always learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth” (II Tim. 4:1-5).  Wow, if that doesn’t sound like today’s news headlines!

     Other prophetic Scriptures speak of a false messiah who will come on the scene, the “beast out of the sea” spoken of in Revelation 11:7 and 13:1-8.  He is called “the Antichrist” by John in I Jn. 2:18 and “the man of lawlessness…the son of destruction” in II Thes. 2:3, where Paul indicates that he won’t be revealed until “he who now restrains will be taken out of the way” (probably a reference to the Holy Spirit indwelling the Church, which would imply that the rapture must take place before the Antichrist is revealed).  This lawless one will be empowered by Satan and will perform signs and wonders (II Tim. 2:9 cf Rev. 13:1,2).   He will apparently suffer a fatal wound which is healed, causing many throughout the world to follow and to worship him and the one empowering him, Satan (Rev. 13:2-4).  A world religious leader, “the beast out of the earth” (probably a reference to Israel, and thus of Jewish descent),  also empowered by Satan to do signs and miracles, will use his authority to cause people to worship the Antichrist, requiring that in order to buy or sell, people must take the “mark of the beast (the Antichrist)” either on their right hand or on their forehead (Rev. 13:11-17). This second “beast” will also make, animate and give ability to speak to an image of Antichrist(vv. 14,15).  There will be a one-world government and religion–worship of the beast.  Those who don’t comply by taking the “mark of the beast” and worshiping him will be killed.  

     As you think about what changes the Covid-19 pandemic has brought to the world, with all the increased government control and pressure to be “vaccinated” in order to travel, attend events, etc, and the distortion of the truth in the process, not to mention the fear among people that has been promoted by leaders world wide, and the increased push for globalism and “open borders,” etc., what a “setting of the stage” for this world leader to arrive on the scene. Oh, he will also work out a much-needed peace plan for Israel’s protection from all the nations that are vowing to remove her from the map. His peace pact will be for seven years, but in the middle of that time he will break his promise (cf Dan. 9:26,27) and lead the nations of the world against that little nation of Israel (the size of the state of New Jersey!).  

     And speaking of the animated image of the Antichrist, have you seen in the news about “The Giant.” Entrepreneur Paddy Dunning of Ireland has designed and is building giants. They stand more than ten stories high and are programmable and capable of speaking, singing and moving their heads and arms. They also shape-shift, assuming the forms of people. For example, in an instant, a Giant can look like Abraham Lincoln, Michael Jordan, or even you–or even the Antichrist! Dunning’s “The Giant Company” hopes to install 21 of these statues in 21 cities around the world. (For a mere $18-24 million you could have your own!). Check out the website: thegiantcompany.ie

     When a woman starts experiencing “birth pangs,”  it means the baby is soon on the way. Jesus and the apostles (as well as the prophets of the Old Testament) gave us a number of things to tell us when Jesus’ coming is drawing near.  We are definitely seeing those things come to pass–with increased intensity. Are you ready for the Lord to come?  Have you trusted Him for eternal life?  If not, I plead with you to do so soon–you may not have much time.  If you know Christ as Savior, “abide in Him, so that when He appears, we may have confidence and not shrink away from Him in shame at His coming” (I Jn. 2:28). 

Forever His and looking forward to His Coming,

Pastor Dave

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The Cry for Freedom

     The Fourth of July is a day on which all Americans should celebrate our nation’s cry for freedom.  Since the Second Continental Congress ratified the Declaration of Independence 246 years ago, The United States of America has been a beacon of liberty throughout the world.  More people have risked their lives to become Americans than to become citizens of any other country in the world–because people yearn for freedom and the blessings it brings. 

     The Pilgrims came to America to have a place where they could freely worship God. Our Founding Fathers’ generation fought for the right to be free citizens rather than restricted subjects of an earthly king. Ever since, America has welcomed those “yearning to be free” (as inscribed on the Statue of Liberty).  Our Founding Fathers didn’t think that America was Israel or the kingdom of God, but they certainly recognized the principle that Jesus shared with the Jews: “And you shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free…If therefore the Son shall make you free, you shall be free indeed” (Jn. 8:32,36).  True freedom comes from knowing and living out the truth, which refers to Divine Revelation in contrast to the philosophies and traditions of man and principles of the world system under Satan (cf Col. 2:8). 

     As Herbert Hoover, the thirty-first president of the United States pointed out, “Our Founding Fathers built for the United States a government new and different from all the governments of the Old World.” It was based on a written Constitution, division and balance of powers, and governing laws. What was the source of their brilliant, revolutionary ideas?  The Judeo-Christian Scriptures. Moses gave Israel a written constitution: a tripartite government of prophets, priests, and kings ruled a decentralized nation of twelve tribal states. All were equal before the throne of God” (p. 94 in Is This the End by Dr. David Jeremiah). 

     Man was created to be free and nothing was to hinder his relationship with his Creator–not governments nor its leaders nor the will of man.  But, sin entered through man exercising his free will to disobey God and mankind and nations have struggled ever since to experience true freedom.  We began believing Satan’s lies instead of truth from God.  When we suppress the truth and don’t honor and obey God and His Word, we find our heart becomes darkened and we start living in bondage to our old sinful nature (Ro. 1:18-32).  We become slaves to sin  But, praise God, when we acknowledge and commit ourselves to the truth about God as the Creator, and about His provision for our sin through the death, burial and resurrection of God the Son (The Lord Jesus Christ) to pay for our sin, we are set free. We are “no longer slaves to sin” (Ro. 6:6).  And, when the Son makes us free, we are “free indeed” (Jn. 8:36).  

     The reason our great nation has been so blessed and has experienced so many freedoms is because of our acknowledgement of the true Jehovah God of Israel and of the work of His Son, Jesus Christ at Calvary to pay the penalty for our sins.  The majority of the early settlers and Founding Fathers loved and served God and established a governing system based on God’s Word that would help to guarantee individual freedoms, especially the freedom to worship God without interference from government. We have also been supporters of God’s Chosen People, the Nation of Israel and have been blessed because of the covenant God made with Abraham to make of him a mighty nation and to bless those who blessed that nation and curse those who cursed that nation (Gen. 12:3).  For those reasons, our country has been unique (apart from that of Israel) among the nations of the world. We have been the “beacon of liberty” to the world. We have sent out missionaries with the “Good News” of forgiveness through Jesus Christ, we are quick to respond to the needs of other nations for help in time of natural disasters. We have helped other nations to fight for their own freedom from tyranny.  President Ronald Reagan, in his State of the Union Address in 1988, described America as the “Shining City on a Hill.” 

     But, our nation has begun struggling greatly to continue to be that lighthouse for the world because we have “suppressed the truth” and started following the philosophies of man and have tried to remove God and His Word from the public square. We still are blessed with many great privileges here but we also see how they are in jeopardy if we don’t repent and return to putting God in His rightful place.  President Reagan said, “If we ever forget that we’re one nation under God, then we will be nation gone under. If we lose our freedom here, there is no place to escape to. This is the last stand on earth.”  Politicians love to finish their speeches with, “And God bless America.”  But, as Ann Graham Lotz said, “How can we expect God to give us His blessing and His protection if we demand He leave us alone?”  Erwin Lutzer, pastor of Moody Church wrote in What Happens When a Nation Forgets God: “The future of America will ultimately rest, not on politicians, but on the fervency of God’s people in sharing their faith as credible witnesses to the Christ who saved them. Unless the culture changes, America will not change, and that change is best brought about one life, one family and one community at a time” (Amen!)

     So, pray for our nation and its leaders, but also pray for your neighbors and co-workers, and share with them the life-changing message about Jesus Christ. To borrow a phrase from past President Donald Trump, that’s how to “Make America Great Again.”  People are crying for freedom and that freedom comes only in the One who is “The way, the TRUTH, and the Life,” Jesus Christ (Jn. 14:6) and through His Word which is truth (Jn. 17:17). 

Forever His,

     Pastor Dave

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Something Beautiful

     Every time I sing or hear the William Gaither chorus, “Something Beautiful,” I am reminded of Ann Kiemel, an iconic figure in the Jesus Movement who in the 1970s and early ’80s, moved millions with her simple faith and ways of sharing Jesus with others. Her books I’m Out to Change My World, I’m Running to Win, and I Gave God Time sold more than 20 million copies. She inspired crowds at conventions, retreats, and churches, but she ministered to many–often total strangers–one-on-one.  I recall listening to and being greatly encouraged by tapes of some of her devotional talks.

    Not very large in stature, little Ann Kiemel could walk up to someone who seemed to need encouragement and say, “I’ve got this little song I’d like to sing for you,” and proceed to sing: “Something beautiful, something good–All my confusion He understood; All I had to offer Him was brokenness and strife, But He made something beautiful of my life.”

     Ann married Will Anderson and since they were unable to have children, they adopted four sons. She dropped out of her speaking tour to rear her family. Will died in 2000 and Ann lost her battle with cancer and went to be with her beloved Savior on March 4, 2014. 

    And, speaking of “broken pieces,”  In 1952, in an effort to prevent clumsy or careless people from breaking items in a shop, a Miami Beach store owner posted a sign that read: “You break it, you buy it!”  This catchy phrase served as a warning to shoppers and soon the sign could be seen across the country.  

     But there is something far more tragic than carelessly broken items in a craft shop or boutique, and that is the brokenness experienced by countless millions of people who have suffered broken relationships, destroyed dreams, failed health, financial ruin, the death of a loved one, etc.  Their lives are battered, marred and broken. 

     But, there is “Good News!”  In the Book of Jeremiah, we read in chapter 18 of how God told Jeremiah to “go down to the potter’s house…” (v. 1).  There Jeremiah saw the potter making something on the wheel, but the vessel was “spoiled in the hands of the potter; so he remade it into another vessel, as it pleased the potter to make” (vv. 3,4).   God reminded Jeremiah that the nation of Israel was in God’s hands, just as the clay was in the hands of the potter. The emphasis was on the sovereignty of God over nations, Israel in particular. 

     Similarly, God can shape us even when we’re marred or broken. He, the masterful Potter, can, and is willing, to create new and precious pottery from our shattered pieces. In His hands, the broken pieces of our lives can be reshaped into beautiful vessels that can be used by Him (Jer. 18:4).   If your life is broken and you can’t put the pieces together, just come to the loving, all-knowing, all-powerful Divine Potter and let Him put your life together. 

     “Something beautiful, something good–All my confusion He understood; All I had to offer Him was brokenness and strife, But He made something beautiful (out) of my life.”    He will do that for you. All you need to do is ask.

Forever His Vessel of Clay,

     Pastor Dave 

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The Lord Will Provide

     Early on in our ministry with Rocky Mountain Bible Mission, I was traveling many miles a week to a number of Bible studies and youth groups throughout our northwest corner of Montana.  When the roads were bad I drove our old Jeep Wagoneer. On one occasion we had some extra repair costs to keep it going. Since we were living on a very tight budget as missionaries, we prayed that God would supply the needed money to pay for the repairs.  It came in a rather unexpected way, but God provided the exact amount we needed–just in time!  We got a notice from the IRS saying we had made a mistake on our tax returns.  Would you believe we had overpaid and had a refund check for the very amount we owed on our Jeep repairs!  On another occasion we had a group of young people from Westminster Chapel in  Bellevue, Washington here to help us with Vacation Bible schools in the month of June. While they were here the transmission went out in our old Wagoneer.  When the group from Westminster got back home they had their church take up an offering for us and we received a check from the church for $5,000 telling us to put it towards a new Jeep!  Well, with their gift and a trade-in, we were able to purchase a brand-new Wagoneer for $8,600 (This was a little more than 40 years ago. Today that price would be five times that amount!)

     We serve a God who loves to provide our needs. It seems we often have our backs against the wall wondering how things will work out and then God comes through–often just at the last moment.  

     I’m reminded of the story of the severe test that God gave Abraham when He asked him to offer up his beloved promised son, Isaac, who was now about 13 years of age.  Knowing that God’s covenantal promises (Gen. 12:1-3) were dependent upon Isaac having offspring, Abraham, willing to obey, believed God would raise Isaac back from the dead (Heb. 11:19).  Abraham told the two young men he took with him on the journey to Moriah to sacrifice Isaac, “Stay here with the donkey, and I and the lad will go yonder; and we will worship and return to you” (Gen. 22:5).  Isaac, seeing the wood and the fire, asked, “Where is the lamb for the burnt offering?” (v. 7). Abraham replied , “God will provide for Himself the lamb for the burnt offering” (v 8).  Abraham proceeded to bind his son and  place him  on the altar but as he raised the knife, “The angel of the LORD called to him…and said ‘Do not stretch out your hand against the lad, and do nothing to him; for now I know that you fear God, since you have not withheld your son, your only son from Me.’ Then Abraham raised his eyes and looked, and behold, behind him a ram caught in the thicket…” (vv. 11-13).  

     Just at the right moment, God provided the ram to be substituted for Isaac.  Abraham’s statement to Isaac can be literally translated:  “God will provide Himself the lamb…” (v. 8), a prophetic reference to how God the Father would, at just the right time (Gal. 4:4),  provide His Son as a substitutionary sacrifice: “The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world” (Jn. 1:29). 

     Appropriately, after the incident, “Abraham called the name of that place The LORD Will Provide (Yahweh yireh)…” (v. 14).  Well, God, being unchanging (Mal. 3:6; Heb. 13:8) is still the “God who provides.”  God knows our needs and often, long before we even ask for help, He sets events into motion to meet that need–often just at the last moment. We should be aware of and thankful for God’s anticipation of our needs. “And it will come to pass that before they call, I will answer…” (Isa. 65:24).  

     God could just see to it that we always have what we need before we even know we need it, but He wants us to learn to depend upon Him, so quite often we get “between a rock and a hard place” and cry out to Him for help. I believe God loves to provide in a way that makes it obvious He did it and wants to show us how much He loves us and is aware of our needs and is “able to do exceeding abundantly above all we ask or think…” (Eph. 3:20).

What an encouragement to serve “Jehovah Jireh,” The LORD who provides!

Forever His,

     Pastor Dave

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Theory Versus Truth


One of the most timely and important warnings in Scripture is recorded in Col. 2:8: “See to it that no one takes you captive through philosophy and empty deception, according to the traditions of men, according to the elementary principles of the world, rather than according to Christ.”  As we witness the rejection of God and His Word in our culture, we are seeing more and more of the deceptions of Satan, the “Father of lies” (Jn. 8:44).  Man’s “theories” have taken the place of God’s truth. The theory of evolution (or evilution) has replaced, “In the beginning, God created (made from nothing) the heavens and the earth” (Gen. 1:1). Transgenderism has replaced “male and female He created them” (Gen. 1:27). The LGBTQ agenda has been infiltrating every aspect of our culture, perverting God’s design and purpose for sex within the confines of the marriage of a man and a woman (Gen. 2:24Ro. 1:24-32).  Men have been “suppressing the truth” and not honoring God and have thus “become futile in their speculations and their foolish hearts have become darkened. Professing to be wise, they have become fools” (Ro. 1:18-24).     A fairly new, very dangerous theory that our enemy has introduced is called the “Critical Race Theory” (CRT). It has infiltrated our schools and sparked debate within the church communities as well. “It’s important that Christians know its true nature and just how harmful it can be” (Dr. Calvin J. Cochran in Faith and Justice, May 2022, by Alliance Defending Freedom).  “CRT is a worldly ideology that looks at everyone and everything through the lens of race. It teaches that people are either ‘oppressor’ or ‘oppressed,’ ‘good’ or ‘bad,’ based entirely on their race. It rejects the biblical teaching that all people, regardless of their race, are created in God’s image, are fallen and in need of a Savior, and have equal access to salvation and grace through the work of Jesus” (Dr. Cochran).  
     CRT claims America was founded on racism which remains deeply embedded in our institutions and that it cannot be eliminated unless our constitutional form of government is overthrown and replaced. This distorted ideology teaches that American ideals (based on the truths of Scripture) such as equal treatment under the law, honesty, hard work, bravery, innovation, individual responsibility and good character merely serve to enable and sustain oppression.      When CRT-influenced curriculum and ideology is introduced in schools, it violates students’ civil rights by treating them differently based on race. It promotes race-based division and resentment by laying the collective guilt of racism at the feet of white students and their families and telling students of color that they are condemned to be oppressed and victimized throughout their lives. It compels students to affirm and support ideas contrary to their deeply held moral, philosophical, and religious beliefs. As part of the program, students are told “if they do not fight against white dominant culture, they are themselves racists” (Freedom Insider, March 2022, from ADF).  CRT is hostile to free speech because it labels anyone who challenges its tenets as “oppressors.” It tells black students that they don’t have the potential to achieve success, and white students that they don’t have the capacity to be just or moral because they are guilty of racial superiority from birth.      In other words, CRT elevates the influence and power of man (“oppressors”) over the influence, power, and sovereignty of God. Any theory or ideology that places greater hope in what men can do over what God can do is heresy, the “doctrines of demons.”  In Paul’s first letter to Timothy, he wrote: “But the Spirit explicitly says that in later times some will fall away from the faith, paying attention to deceitful spirits and doctrines of demons”  (I Tim. 4:1).   CRT sentences the oppressed to eternal victimization. It leaves no room for the grace of God and the transforming power of the Gospel (Ro. 1:16). But, America’s (and the world’s) history is replete with the stories of redemption and transformation. As God’s Word promises: ” 

And you shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free…If therefore the Son shall make you free, you shall be free indeed” (Jn. 8:32,36).  Through faith in Jesus Christ for salvation, we become “new creatures in Christ” (II Cor. 5:17). 

     And speaking of the “truth,” the only use of the term “race” in the Bible refers to the athletic event of a running competition. The Bible never mentions different “races” of people.  The Bible only refers to “nations” and Acts 17:26 says, “And He made from one (blood), every nation of mankind …”  The only distinction (among nations) made in Scripture is between the nation of Israel (offspring of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob) and all other nations. The offspring of Abraham through the promised son Isaac, and his son Jacob, became the nation of Israel–the Jewish people. All others are Gentiles.  There is no mention of “races.”  And, in God’s covenant with Abraham when He promised “I will make you a great nation” (Gen. 12:2), God also promised “in you all the families (nations) of the earth shall be blessed” (v. 3).  Through the nation of Israel came the Word of God (the Bible) to all mankind, and came the Messiah-Savior, Jesus Christ, who as “the Lamb of God” died for the sins of the world (all nations) (Jn. 1:29; cf II Cor. 5:14,15).  

     Jesus’ death and resurrection also tore down the barrier between Jew and Gentile and through God’s consequent sending of the Holy Spirit to indwell believers, established a new body called “the church” where “There is neither Jew nor Gentile, there is neither slave nor free man, there is neither male nor female; for you all are one in Christ Jesus” (Gal. 3:26 cf Eph. 2:11-22).   God has provided the way to have a new, abundant life through Jesus Christ (Jn. 10:10) and to become  members of the family of God. And, regardless of skin color or ethnic background, we are brothers and sisters in Christ. CRT, just like evolution, transgenderism and the LGBTA agenda, is just one more of Satan’s attempts to pervert and destroy what God has made and done.  Don’t fall for his tactics! Stick to the truth of God’s Word, and don’t succumb to the philosophies and deceptions of the world system under Satan (Jn. 12:31)

Forever His,

     Pastor Dave

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PS to June 6 WOW

    In the “Wisdom of the Week” this past Monday, I failed to mention a couple things.  Three Lakes Community Bible Church also started an AWANA program which took lots of folks to run efficiently–and it did. So thanks to all who had a part in that, including the soccer team from North Clackamas Christian School in Oregon City (where our son and daughter-in-law teach) coming several years to put on an AWANA soccer camp and doing service work for the community as well. 

     Then also, one of our members at Three Lakes joined me in starting “The Christian Athletic Association” and got the “ball rolling” for church-league softball and volleyball.  We had many great times playing and competing together for lots of years.  Thanks to all who participated in that. 

     I’m sure I left out other things of note, but those two came to mind just after we clicked “send” for the “Wisdom of the Week.”  

     Pastor Dave 

“Not that we are adequate in ourselves to consider anything as coming from ourselves, but our adequacy is from God”  (II Cor 3:5)

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Our Support Team

     In the spring of 1974, we left Portland, Oregon where I had been working for Hyster as a systems engineer. Through our attendance at a good Bible-teaching church and lay involvement with Campus Crusade for Christ and the fellowship of special Christian friends, God worked in our hearts to redirect our paths into full-time vocational Christian ministry.  We joined Rocky Mountain Bible Mission and returned to Libby, Montana (our hometown) to work under Kathy’s dad, Pastor Clarence Kutz, who upon his retirement from pastoring Faith Bible Church, had joined RMBM. 

     I got involved teaching a couple youth groups and several adult Bible studies. One of our outreaches, where Pastor Kutz taught the adults, Kathy and her mom the children, and I the teens (in the shop!), grew to the point where they decided to start a church which they called “Three Lakes Community Bible Church.”  The home of John and Lottie Ring where we met was located just off the Bull Lake Road (highway #56) near Milnor, Savage, and School House lakes, about 4 miles from Troy, Montana.  Another couple, Marvin and Bernice Kates (Lottie’s folks) donated some nearby property and excavation began on TLCBC.  But, Pastor Kutz was diagnosed with an aggressive leukemia and within a couple months went to be with the Lord just as we were pouring the foundation for the church basement. 

     So, though I had not been to Bible school or seminary, as a “recycled engineer,” I became–by default–the pastor of TLCBC in the fall of 1975.  Needless to say, I was overwhelmed by the responsibility. Pastor Kutz was an amazing Bible teacher and left very big shoes to fill!  But, praise God, “Faithful is He who called you, who will also do it”” (I Thes. 5:24 KJV).  God knew just the people to send alongside to encourage and help and we grew together and had something very special and unique.  We worked side by side in building the physical structure of the basement, superstructure and education wing and then an activity building,  and God continued to add to our little “flock” of believers. In 1979, we started a Christian school at our facility and also, with property donated further down the Bull Lake Road, built Elohim Bible Camp and Retreat Center, which later was turned over to RMBM and continues to thrive and ministers to hundreds of youth and adults. 

     On our recent trip to Oregon to visit our children and grandchildren, take in a district and state track meet and graduation ceremony (for our grandson, Luke) I had one night when I had trouble sleeping. As I lay there, God brought to mind the many folks who became fellow laborers in Christ at TLCBC.  Besides working together on the physical structures, we had picnics, snow outings, hikes to mountain lakes, fishing and hunting adventures, kayaking and swimming, a bus trip to a Billy Graham meeting in Spokane, WA., a very eventful trip to “Promise Keepers” at the Kingdome in Seattle.  But, most important, we worshiped and grew spiritually as a local assembly of  believers. God brought folks with varying spiritual gifts and natural talents who got involved in planning vacation Bible schools, Christmas programs, cleaning and landscaping, music (even with an occasional little choir and specials), and puppet shows to name a few. 

     Our church family was also very mission minded and began supporting numerous missionaries, some of whom we continue to pray for and support personally.   I believe that an emphasis on missions is necessary for the health of a church.  

     We were so blessed by the folks that God provided to build the church at Three Lakes and to support and encourage our family.  I began with fear and trepidation but depended on the Lord and He supplied as His Word promised. The Apostle Paul often listed the people by name who labored with Him in ministry. I would like to do the same, but the list is long and I would probably leave someone out, so I’ll just say a big “Munga Tusen Tuk” (Norwegian for “Many thousand thank you’s”) to each of you. Some of you will be receiving this “Wisdom of the Week” and we just want you to know how much we love you and are so grateful for the impact you had on our lives.  But many of these folks have been called home to glory and I’m sure have been (or will be) greatly rewarded for their faithful service.  

     I still teach a couple weekly Bible studies and preach once a month at a church that is currently without a pastor, but I really miss the special relationship we had with our little assembly of “Lively Stones” (I Pet. 2:5) at Three Lakes and just want to say, “Thank You, Lord, for allowing us to spend close to four decades with a very special group of people.”

     If God is calling you to a particular task or ministry, remember, “Faithful is He who calls you, who will also do it” (I Thes. 5:24). 

Forever His,

     Pastor Dave

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