Truth Incorporated

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERATruth is kind of a big deal to me. Maybe because knowing the truth has always been the best way for me to have peace of mind! It can be considered knowledge,and of course knowledge is power! Power needed to overcome the fear and anxieties which accompany it’s antithesis of lies and confusion. Over the year’s I’ve become frustrated with how unnecessary and manufactured that confusion often seems to be. Businesses use deceptively simple premises that sound good on the surface to entice people into becoming customers. Then when they’ve got you in the door they employ some form of a “bait and switch”. To my way of thinking, this sort of marketing strategy is little more than legalized falsehood…It seems as though you can lie in the large print if you tell the truth in the small!

That’s Corporate truth!

Over my lifetime I’ve been taken in many times by such tactics, which are, like any successful scam based on the greed of it’s intended victims. You have to present a “something for nothing” scenario in order to peak the selfishness of the intended “mark”. Because I’ve been burnt before, I’ve become quite sensitive and even resentful towards any institution or corporation that attempts to use this method to engage me. I’m leery of any offer which seems overly generous or “too good to be true” and rightly so I’d say!

Christianity can also be misrepresented to people. They’re told that after trusting in Jesus Christ as their Saviour they’re born again and that their burdens in life can be laid down there at the foot of the cross. Most people understand that to mean that life as they know it is going to get easier but if you’ve been “around” at all you know that’s not really true. I’m not saying that it never happens or even that it can’t happen, what I am saying is that it’s a process. One that requires a lot of hard work over time. One that you’ll need lots of help with! People who are mature in their faith know this is true. If you think that Satan is just going to stand by and watch while someone grows in Christ you’re dead wrong! Nope, he’ll attack anyone who’s moving in the opposite direction that he is! Truth is, if you’re not encountering his handiwork maybe you should consider which way you’re headed!

According to data I’ve looked at, Christianity is in decline in the United States. Why? I think it’s because we’ve totally underestimated our enemy! We don’t believe we’re in a spiritual battle and that lives are at stake. No, either we’ve somehow been convinced that half measures and playing Church is God’s purpose for us as His ambassadors or perhaps we just don’t care.

There’s a lot more to being a Christian then just walking down an aisle and saying a prayer! That’s just the start! But if you want to live a victorious Christian life there’s a lot more to it. I’m talking about discipleship,which can’t sail without relationship! Relationships that run much deeper than shaking someones hand on Sunday morning and that aren’t put off by the walls that people have built around their hearts.

2888670193_949c834e3aThis symbol appears through the Ancient Ephesus. This symbol, a code unknown to the Romans was used by the Christians to indicate they were followers of Christ

Somewhere along the way the church’s priorities have changed from operating in the five fold ministries they’ve been called to in Ephesians four to instead function more like a business whose goal is warm bodies in pews paying tithes. God’s Spirit won’t occupy and empower that…but without His Holy Spirit they’re selling a product that doesn’t really work! Maybe that explains the large number of dissatisfied Christian consumers who’ve left the church seeking something they perceive as being based more on integrity.

These types of marketing strategies don’t work on people who,because of their sense of integrity,see them for what they are. Who aren’t only interested in their personal gain or benefit but also in that of the other parties involved. They seek true value, to pay a fair price for any goods or services because they understand the interconnection that exists between all members of an economy and have an uncommon respect for what’s known as “parity”.

The last time I was in church the pastor made fun of people like me who write blogs critical of the church. He said it was like saying “Lord I love you, but Your bride? Not so much” I understood his point but maybe not all church’s deserve that title…

Gandhi didn’t think so!

“I like your Christ, I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ.” – Mahatma Gandhi

I’m not just here trying to be critical or condemning, I freely admit that I’m struggling just as much as anyone to try and understand what we as the church should be doing.

When I ask myself that question it seems to become less about “what” and more a matter of how can we do it?

By what power?

Again, we know the answer…by the Holy Spirit!

Okay,how do we “get that”?

What does the Bible say?

Acts 1:8 But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.

I read this quote the other day and it stopped me in my tracks…

 “I am Pentecostal by necessity, not by choice.” Dick Brougdan

I do know this much…LOVE is the answer!

The answer to any problem as I see it is to simply figure out a way to get closer to God, Who is love!

And then we won’t be able to not love others in a genuine way just as He loves us!

Now that sounds like the truth to me…

Not “Truth Incorporated”

Bless This Mess!

Have you ever seen a tongue in cheek petition like the one on the left displayed in the home of someone you know? Have you ever felt as if those words might be a pretty fair description of your own circumstances?

I know I have!

Sometimes the pace of the work in progress known to me as my spiritual life seems painfully slow or to even be moving in the wrong direction!Named among my numerous transgressions are things such as mean spiritedness or being judgmental and becoming quickly irritated or impatient with people or things I interact with daily. As much as I don’t like those aspects of my personality, what’s far more disturbing to me is my own tolerance,nay comfort with them!

It’s a bit of a mess…

One the most difficult,and yet most important things about being a follower of Christ I’ve struggled with is how a Holy God could love a very un-holy sinner like me…There are exceptions, but for the most part Love as I’ve been able to understand it is about deserving or qualifying for it in some way.In this world we pick winners and losers,we analyze and judge people constantly choosing to love in others the “good” aspects we recognize in ourselves. At it’s core it’s selfish and based on lies fed to us via our own personal self-exhalation express the ego. We rationalize their validity based on societal dogma, which is nicely packaged and fed to us under headings such as self esteem and positive affirmation. The truth is the only real basis for “self” esteem any of us can actually claim is that we’re loved by our omnipotent Heavenly Father!

That’s it!

That’s our “claim to fame”

And it’s much more than enough!


Because it’s a claim that’s based on something real, real because it’s unthreatenable! It doesn’t change or cease to be for any reason. All of the things we esteem in this world will fade away or can be lost in an instant, but NOT Gods love!

Recently I read a status on FB which said that God works through imperfect people and circumstances to accomplish His purposes. My reply was,

“Is there any other kind?”

Our Father loves each of us Just the way we are…

Warts and all

But He loves us too much to just leave us that way!

His death on the cross was a victory over sin and death that was done on our behalf, that we may have eternal life. I also believe that the power of His shed blood gives Christian’s the opportunity to claim that victory over their own here and now life circumstances

Truly, we’re all a bit of a mess!

How wonderful is it then,that…

 Jesus is the Great Mess-iah!!

It’s Only Money!

For anything of real value in this world there’s always a counterfeit. Something that has the appearance of the genuine article but is actually nothing but a cheap imitation. It may look, smell or even provide us with comparable performance in the short term but that’s usually where the similarities end.

Money is kind of like that, many people often mistake it for love or happiness…

Can you imagine anyone purposely choosing a fake Rolex watch over a real one or a Cubic Zirconia over a real diamond?  You might be unaware of it but most if not all of us do something very similar to that on a daily basis!  It’s evident in some very significant aspects of our lives, from the way we treat each other on a personal level to the corporate structures we patronize. When we purchase food’s that have been commercially processed by large corporations we become part of an industry that has little or no respect for life, certainly not for the lives of the animals they inhumanely raise and slaughter or for the lives of the workers they hire for sub-standard wages to work in dangerous pesticide saturated environments and who not surprisingly also have no respect for us either! Is life sacred to you? From my perspective that’s a simple yes or no question, and if the answer is yes then the truth of that belief should extend to all life regardless of whether it’s born or unborn or walks on two feet or twenty!

Instead of approaching peoples health from a holistic perspective that takes into account the root sources of our maladies which are physical, spiritual and nutritional, we’re a nation of people who’d rather choose a pill that only masks the problem by eliminating  symptoms to some degree. We’re willing participants in a system that disrespects us by seeing our health as a business with profit as the real objective. We’d rather pay the sometimes exorbitant monetary cost and expose ourselves to the possible side effects than do the real thing which no doubt would include us making some of the different food choices and lifestyle changes as well.

Nope, hunt-uh, no thanks!

As I thought about all of this I really struggled to understand why people,myself included, seem to be more comfortable with fake than they are with real…and this is what occurred to me. Maybe it’s because before we’d be comfortable with real,which is respectful, caring and is based in ethics we’d have to insist on those same qualities in ourselves…We’d need to have a healthy self respect that wouldn’t allow us to be a part of such a thing, or consider doing the unthinkable…caring about others more than ourselves! Give us just one reason to choose something less and we’ll swoop down on it like no tomorrow which is smack dab on the doorstep of where this sort of unsustainable thinking has landed us.

We’ve chosen what we think makes economic sense, and on both a corporate and personal level we’ve gone with what will make us the biggest profit or save us the most money with not much thought being given to the long term consequences.

1 Timothy 6:10 For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.

I’m certainly not against people making a living and based on Paul’s writing in the above verse I don’t think he was either. It’s placing money or the power it conveys above people, to love it, which is merely a representation of value more than we do others is to sow seeds of sadness into our own lives. What we’ve failed to understand is that it is truly “Only Money” and that someday, maybe even today, we’ll live a life that reflects our accountability for the choices we’ve made.

Easy Does It!

For many very good reasons those are definitely the wisest words spoken around me in the last couple of weeks.  Recently, after a very long hiatus I’ve returned to the world of physical work. I’m slowly becoming adjusted to my new routine, getting lots of healthy exercise, working with people I enjoy, and spending all day outside usually in the woods! It’s every bit as much fun as it sounds, but the combination of having turned fifty last month and my being so very out of shape (round is a shape isn’t it?) has made it a real challenge. Let me tell you, after you’ve pushed yourself pretty hard it’s an incredible feeling just to lay back on the grass and stare up at the crystal clear blue sky. Feeling your blood coursing through your veins and the blessed peace that even momentary relief brings. Marking time by the thunderous rhythm of your own heart beats against the easy swaying of the tree tops.

Overheated~ pulsating… ecstatic!

At this point in my life, it’s out of necessity I must be smarter about how I go about things. I’m no longer able to simply go to the well of my physical strength as before. This emerging strategy consists mostly of practicing patience, persistence, and planning, but more importantly it’s about using the power that’s available to me most effectively. That involves developing the skill and judgment nessesary to use a machine to it’s full potential without pushing it to the point that it’s going to break or in a way it wasn’t designed to be used. Understanding that it, the machine, will take a great deal of hard use but very little if any ab-use.  So while it’s true that my strength isn’t what it once was and my energy is now much more precious, none of those realities change the fact that the job is about moving heavy objects from one place to another, and so the relationship I have with my “power” equipment is extremely vital to me!

The power of a machine like this makes the impossible possible. It pulls whole trees out of the thickest brush you can imagine using a wench and a cable and “skids” them to a landing.

This is called a “picker truck” it’s the helping hand that lifts the extremely heavy loads onto the log truck like they were toothpicks!

And of course the real workhorse of our operation, the log truck! We do a humanly impossible task by using the awesome power that’s available to us through these tools.

Life can also be a “mission impossible”

How common it seems to be nowadays for people to feel overwhelmed by all of the heavy burdens they’re dragging around or trying to carry on their shoulders. All of us can relate personally or have known those who were crushed by the weight of their problems, by the pile of logs that are on top of them! Many people mistakenly believe that they’re stuck in their situations, pinned down by the tangled mess their living in and are frustrated by it’s complex nature. Sadly, their lives have become a hopeless, joyless, depressing drudgery with seemingly no meaning to all of the hardship and struggles that they endure daily.

And that’s no way to live!

This description also fits many Christian people who would eagerly to tell you about Jesus and his great love for us all!  Who have trusted Christ for their eternal salvation and yet somehow they’re challenged to trust Him with their present circumstances! I wonder if they believe that He’s a far away God who is perhaps indifferent to their troubles or that what goes on here in this life is theirs to deal with alone. I don’t think that’s right, this sounds much easier to me!

1 Peter 5:7

Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you.

Matthew 11:30

For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.

Years ago my high school biology teacher told us that he had previously taught chemistry for many years all the while believing that he understood it until one day as he was drawing a formula on the board in a sudden realization he actually “got it” himself. He thought he understood it but his understanding was only on a superficial level. I’m sure he had  passed many tests over it to graduate and no doubt felt comfortable teaching it to others. In his head it seemed to be a settled issue, but in his heart it was a different matter. He didn’t really understand it, not on that level, there was a vital connection missing, an “app” as they call it today that turned it from being just a bunch of abstract theories into a simple life changing reality!

As Christians I think we all need to have a similar “light bulb” moment! One way to do that is to walk by faith in our own lives until we come to a much clearer understanding of what is the true reality of the spiritual world and the false illusion of the physical one.

1 Corinthians 2:6

However, we speak wisdom among those who are mature, yet not the wisdom of this age, nor of the rulers of this age, who are coming to nothing.

If only we could comprehend much more of  God’s love for us, think of the difference it would make in our lives, that we could make in this world! we could live our lives in victory and love would flow out of us like living waters!

Philippians 4:13

I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.

John 7:38

He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water.

Christs supreme act of love and redemption that was done for all men on the cross defeated sin’s power over us and ultimately death on our behalf. It made the impossible possible, and through the power of His blood Jesus still empowers believers to rise above all of the weapons that are formed against them in life.

Isaiah 54:17

No weapon that is formed against thee shall prosper; and every tongue that shall rise against thee in judgment thou shalt condemn. This is the heritage of the servants of the LORD, and their righteousness is of me, saith the LORD.

Easy does it!

We have a tremendous tool that we don’t use nearly enough! It has the power to pull us out of the miry clay we’re stuck in and out of the worst thorns and thickets we could ever hope to find ourselves. It can lift all of those heavy burdens we’re carrying around ourselves, put them on a truck, and deliver you from the need to ever fear them again! What is it?


Romans 12:12

Rejoicing in hope; patient in tribulation; continuing instant in prayer;

1 John 5:14

And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us:

It’s as easy as just loving God,

Loving our brothers and sisters by sharing Christ’s love which was given to us freely

And finally, it’s as easy as loving yourself and KNOWING that God loves YOU!

There’s nothing confusing or complicated about it. All we have to do is LOVE.

That’s always been Gods intention towards us, I don’t understand why we all don’t get it !

Or why if we say we do, we don’t act with the authority it conveys to us over all areas of our lives

Someday, a simple little man is going to read Gods word and just believe it…

And the rest of us are going to be really embarrassed when he looks at us and says,

It’s easy when you just let God do it!

Matthew 6:13

For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever. Amen

Land Of Many Springs

 One of the great joy’s of blogging I’ve found is in sharing the unique and special things about where I call home with the rest of the world.

The area where I live is known mostly for being a hunting, fishing, floating, camping/hiking destination. During the spring it’s turkey season, summertime around here is all about the river. When the chilly winds of winter begin to blow the town is overrun with people dressed in camouflage who are looking to bag that big buck!  In the winter months the local people rest up!

I’m not much of a hunter, but what I do enjoy is seeing the abundant wildlife practically everywhere you go around here. The deer are somewhat tame and will sometimes just stand there  next to the road allowing you to get a good look at them as you drive up . The other day I saw two hen turkeys scurry across the road in front of me with their collective brood of about 10-15  in tow.  The spring hatch-lings, they were beautiful in their tan colored juvenile feathers!

Perhaps the predominant characteristic of the area I live in is the abundance of naturally occurring springs. The water they provide is literally the “life blood” that freely flows throughout this part of the state. Their cool blue effusion’s and the underground waterways that they represent are a precious resource that’s value cannot be overstated.

Now that I’ve said my little speech we can get on to the good stuff…

This is Greer Spring

Pictured here is the much celebrated and often photographed upper outlet which join’s together with the water from the lower outlet and flows into the Eleven Point River more than doubling it’s size! It’s the second largest spring in the Ozarks, second only to Big Spring which is located in nearby Carter County, Mo.

Originally the spring was harnessed by Samuel Greer to power a grist mill in 1859.

To the right is the lower and much more substantial source of the spring and the one time location of the aforementioned mill. It’s an incredibly beautiful area that’s easily accessible. Various hiking trails that skirt the surrounding hillsides provide some excellent photo opportunities!

One of the most interesting and beautiful springs is Turner’s Mill Spring! Located in what was once a small logging village called “Surprise” Mo. it’s a must see if you’re in the area!

This picture to the right is what remains of the wheel which using the spring supplied the power needs of the small community.


Our next stop on the tour is Boze Mill Spring.

Many things about Boze Spring really stood out to me. The setting is unique in one respect because of the approach to the spring from the trail. If you look closely at the area between the trail and the deeper turquoise blue of the main spring you can see the shallow sandy area that’s  ideal for wading in! But be warned, the water here is in my opinion colder than any spring I’ve ever been in! It practically numbed my legs within minutes of wading into it!


I’ve been a Missouri resident my whole life and an avid outdoors person as well.  As a typical young boy I was fascinated with reptiles, frogs specifically. Having said that, I found it remarkable that as I approached the spring I was welcomed by a strange sound. Strange in that I only vaguely recognized it. The “noise” was coming from frogs.  Their call was different from any frog I had ever heard, and for them to be active in the middle of the day is also unusual. As I sat there on the bank they entertained me with their “calling” to each other.  Here in their secluded paradise I wondered how many thousands of generations had lived and croaked here in this place and provided the ambiance for thousands of people who had sat just where I was on it’s bank.

This last spring is in many ways also the least.

It’s water volume is small and I’m not really even sure of what it’s “official” name is. I’ve heard it called “Panther Creek” spring, I tried to research it and still couldn’t find any definitive information about it. It’s located less than a quarter mile downstream from the Whitten access on the Eleven Point river. It’s just a hole in the ground that sits less than a hundred feet back off from the main channel but what I found interesting about it is that it makes it’s own noise…

That’s right, it’s a “Talking Spring

My daughter and I had walked up the creek that flows from it one day a few years back. I remember hearing a noise that at first I assumed was coming from the insects that were everywhere. Something about it seemed out of kilter though, it never stopped! When I paused to concentrate on it more fully I noticed that it seemed to emanate from the spring it’s self!

That struck me as being an impossibility at first, “Can sound travel in water?” I’d never seen or heard of such a thing and upon a closer examination I saw what appeared to be small rocks that were caught in it’s flow. The waters effect upon them was to toss them upward in the current of the spring and then suck them back down so as to imitate a volcano spewing lava. During this process,they constantly made random contact which was the source of the “clicking” sound I was hearing.

I’ve really only scratched the surface of listing all of the springs in this part of Missouri. I barely mentioned Big Spring which is the largest, and I didn’t even mention the appropriately named “Mammoth Spring” which is south of here just across the Arkansas state line.

My intent here wasn’t really to provide an exhaustive list, instead my goal is to celebrate who it is that gives life to not just this little backwater part of the world but to everyone everywhere!

In this world there may be “Many Springs”  but there is only one true source of life!

John 7:38

He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water.


Have you ever felt insignificant, Like a weed? Perhaps even a bit resentful at the thought of you’re life being played out as a supporting role in someone else’s

“big life”?

Perhaps your a frog who dreamed of being a prince…

Or maybe a plain old brick that wanted to become a great building!

The ugly duckling?

Many of us are inclined to see our ambitions as the problem. Reasoning that to act on the desire to rise above our apparent station in life is to choose to be openly discontented in our present circumstances.  And the only “call” on our lives that we’re aware of has to do with maintaining our status quo.  Change is an uncertain thing and depending on the results of it,  it can sometimes be looked upon by others as a vain manifestation of our selfcenteredness…and that’s BAD!

Isn’t it?

Blooming where we’re planted is the key, if I’m just a brick then I must be the best brick possible!

If I’m a weed, I’ll proudly and earnestly go about fulfilling Gods purpose for me!

That’s the ticket, forget about being a flower and just get happy!

After all, wherever you go, there YOU are!

If you weren’t happy as an ugly duckling then becoming a swan won’t solve your problem!

will it?

I believe it to be a very true statement that there is nothing so common in this world as men with God given talent and intellect. That they literally walk the streets, sleeping under bridges and in alleys.

“Well that’s crazy” you say, “how could that be, those people are bum’s?”

I believe it’s true because I’ve met them. It seems as though these men were at some point convinced that they were weeds, which is of course a lie. Everything in their lives beyond that point was merely living down to the expectations that were placed upon them. That’s not to shift the responsibility off of them, how could they not eventually come to know the truth? What could be more painful for them than to live with a yearning in their soul’s for the good and perfect will of the Father in their lives instead of their own profoundly misguided choices. Not to fret, our crafty enemy is ever ready to provide them with his  “answer”.  And so with the lie of  “I’m a weed” firmly implanted in their mind, and something to numb the pain, we can begin to understand the helplessness and hopelessness that’s expressed through the circumstances of their lives.

As much of a believer in education as I am, I’m an even bigger fan of people with a vision that can inspire others to put aside their personal agenda’s and start bailing the knee deep water out of the boat we’re all in! This nation has jumped the track, they say that in order to get a train back on the tracks after it derails you have to reverse it until you get back to it’s point of departure. How far back do you think that is? I’m not as impressed by how many diploma’s you may have on your wall, or with the capital letters that follow after your name as much as I am in knowing

“Do you know how to fix this and can you make this thing work?”

It’s always more cost efficient to take care of what we have than it is to repair or replace it. The investment that’s made through providing education and protection from harm to societies most vulnerable members is one that’s made in everyone’s best interest. The real payoff isn’t immediate, it’s a long term investment that societies make in their own future. It’s an investment that we’ve failed to make because our short-sighted leadership stood by while our real collective wealth as a society was plundered. It’s would’ve been cheap to fix at one point, especially if you give any credence to the sixteen to one exchange rate expressed in the phrase,

“an ounce of prevention is worth a whole pound of the cure”

Those who’s destiny it was to be the much needed missing elements of today’s society were thwarted through various means. The holocaust of abortion, our unchecked nationwide epidemic of drug/alcohol abuse, and the crown jewel of our undoing, the compromise of the American family! It’s a fairly common thing for men to take an old rusty car and restore it, not just because they hope to turn a profit from it but because they love doing it. How much more important is doing “rehab” work with people? And rewarding, look at the return on that investment in terms of the number of added hands being put towards the successful outcome of our common cause.

They say that a weed is a plant man hasn’t found a purpose or a use for yet, and that’s probably the best reason I don’t recommend looking to man for your validation! God made man in His own image, so that means your not a weed, and God does have a vitally important purpose for your life! So if you’re not a weed, who were you supposed to be? What part of the solution were you intended to provide? When will you decide to do whatever you can from this point on to make that happen? Where do you belong? Why…why not?

You’re not a weed, your significance is in the difference you can make in the lives of others who are perishing because of their need of what you have. That knawing feeling in your gut is from you holding back what God sent with you into this world. Have you had enough of Satan’s lies, or are you going to let him continue to steal from you? Is the life you’re living the life that God meant for you? How do you see the focus of your life and who’s glorified by it? If it’s not God, then friend you have a sin problem! And that’s a very bad thing,

I’ll tell you why…

Inside your heart,a still small voice, is calling out to you.

But it’s very easy to ignore, and do the things you do.

Just don’t ever wonder why Your life is filled with pain,

or why things never do work out as long as you remain

The one who’s will is served by the living of your life.

This is not the purpose, it’s the product of your strife.

He said that if we’d be His people, He would be our Lord.

And that the battle has been won,

we don’t need to lift the sword.

A life that’s lived to honor God really blesses you.

So just let go of all your sin

and thank the Lord it’s true!

From my book of poetry, “Something To Read Besides The Walls”


Galatians 5:13

You, my brothers, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the sinful nature; rather, serve one another in love.

If you’re anything like me you love that word, but it’s meaning can be rather confusing. The first rule of economics tells us that there is no free lunch, that it’s either already been paid for or the bill is yet to come. Knowing this, we’re more likely to be skeptical of things that are free, and even less trusting of the phrase “At no cost to you” I guess it just doesn’t have the same ring to it.

I said ring, perhaps I meant hook…

The difference between the two is subtle, “free” denotes  something we aren’t beholding to anyone for, that we might indulge ourselves in without impropriety, without feeling encumbered by any sort of obligation. That being thankful for is merely good manners on our part, not a requirement.

Whereas, “at no cost to you” suggests something else that most people aren’t as comfortable with. Just knowing that there was a cost to someone at some point registers with most people as something that’s “owed”. Even if it’s merely some due consideration such as being thankful, it’s seen as being a liability or as undesirable.

As I was thinking about what these words mean I wondered if there was a worthwhile comparison involving these two definitions and some of the ways in which the gospel is presented to people.  Peoples misconceptions concerning Gods free gift of salvation can be a stumbling block,  as an ambassador of Christ I feel it’s useful to understand them. I’ve always believed that if the gospel was presented to people from the perspective of grace they’d have no reason not to accept Christ!  Unfortunately, most of what I’ve heard seems to come across kind of like this,

“You’re a hopeless sinner on your way to hell! Accept Christ’s free gift of salvation, and then spend the rest of your life trying to be good enough to keep it”.

Yes! You are a hopeless sinner and Yes! salvation is a free gift, but once you accept it you’re NOT on the “Holiness” hook,

holiness isn’t the way to Jesus, instead it’s Jesus who is our way to holiness!

Yes, God wants us to be Holy, but it doesn’t count for anything if we’re just doing it to save ourselves! I think He wants us to be holy out of our love for Him, not to be coerced or guilted into it or be told that our salvation depends on it. That doesn’t sound like grace, which is the UN-merited favor of God, that sounds more like a doctrine of works or the “at no cost to you” type of free.

2 Timothy 1:9

Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began,

The point I’m going for is that man has great difficulty accepting that salvation is a free gift, or in understanding what love really is. Perhaps because all he’s  known or experienced is the “strings attached” type,  it could be that the obligated version of “free” may be all he understands.  I feel like that’s pretty common in this world, but this is the greatest example of real love!  Even though man may be much more familiar with the worlds lesser examples of love or more comfortable with seeing himself as being “worthy” of salvation, that’s not the real gospel message. Many Christian’s also prefer variations of that perspective because they feel it somehow puts them above other people in Gods eye’s which is of course “dead wrong”, many non-Christian people want nothing to do with “it” or them for much the same reason!

My favorite saying related to this topic is,

We’re not saved BY works, But instead FOR works!

Love is always a choice! Serving the Lord is my greatest joy! Living a God honoring life is something I attempt to do out of my own freewill because of my love for God and other people, in response to a love that was first shown to me! It’s not out of any sense of obligation, my salvation is a done deal! Therefore there’s nothing to “earn” or no ongoing dues that I must pay, I believe that I was blood bought, not blood “pawned”! The only thing I owe is to tell others what Christ has done for me and that is absolutely no problem!  Some of what is preached by “Christians” is intended to stir up guilt and condemnation in people which tends to have the  effect of turning them into unhappy, self righteous, “religious” people!

I’m so not into that…and I can understand why the world isn’t either!

Why? Because it’s a game you’ll never win, forever comparing yourself to others caught in some sort of tail chasing spiral that either falsely puffs you up or brings you down…fun huh?

I’ve heard this preached many times,

“We could double the attendance here in a month, all we’ve got to do is tell people they can do whatever they want and still go to heaven”

Why not say that? It’s a bit of a challenge as I see it!

Go ahead and put that on the sign in front of your church and when the people show up we’ll tell them about the love of Jesus and how He chose to die for all of our sin’s. We’ll show them a little piece of that love in the Christian fellowship we’ll extend to them. We’ll be patient and supportive while the Holy Spirit works in their heart and their walls of resistance are broken down by the great love of Jesus!  And when that time comes and their ready to accept what Christ did on the cross as being for them and recognize it as being the only way to wipe away their sins we’ll pray with them that Jesus would come into their heart and be Lord of their lives! Then, If they’ve truly had a born again experience I think you’d be safe to tell them,

” Go ahead and do whatever you want! Do whatever your new best friend the Holy Spirit will abide!”

Why? Because they’ve been set FREE!

From my perspective either you believe that greater is He that is in me, or that greater is he who’s in the world…That there’s power in the blood of Christ to save us and keep us, and to forgive us, no matter what we’ve done or what we will do, or you don’t! I believe that coming to know Christ is a life changing experience, and even though there are times that we’re all going to fall short of the mark I’d put my faith the power of the Holy Spirit over that of the world anytime!

1 Corinthians 7:22

For he that is called in the Lord, being a servant, is the Lord’s freeman: likewise also he that is called, being free, is Christ’s servant.

I know that some of what I’ve written here could be easily misinterpreted. So just for the record let me state that in no way am I advocating using grace as a license for immorality or sin, neither am I saying that I don’t thoughtfully consider or that I take for granted the great price that Christ paid on the cross for my salvation.  Doctrines of works and of grace can both be taken to flawed extremes.  Personally, I feel as though I want to do my best in this life, to always choose love. But I know that I fail at it and that if it weren’t for the Gods grace I wouldn’t have any hope at all! I believe that because God is all knowing and loves us so much He made it very simple and totally free for us to be saved!

Thank You Father God!