Doctor Tom…

Manching is a German town in the Bavarian region.  In 1999, while excavating at a site near the town, archaeologists made an unusual discovery.  U-shaped Celtic coins, dating back to the third century BC, were uncovered.  The museum in Manching placed 450 of the gold coins on display. 

On November 22, 2022 the museum was robbed of the Celtic coins, valued at several million Euros1.  Thieves cut off phone and internet connections in the town, disabling the museum’s alarm system.  It took only nine minutes to remove the coins from their display case.  Museum officials stated the Celtic coins were a testament to the ancient history of Manching, and, therefore, are irreplaceable.  Worse, they feared the coins might be melted and sold simply for their gold value.

Stealing is taking something that does not rightfully belong to you.  The 8th Commandment condemns stealing (Exodus 20:15).  Most of the time what is stolen is considered to have value by worldly standards: money, gold, diamonds, TVs, cars, paintings, etc.  Sometimes, though, people steal food because they are poor and hungry; an allowance, called gleaning, is permitted by God to gather what was left in fields after harvest (Deuteronomy 24:21; Ruth 2:2-3). 

Sadly, many things in modern society no longer have the value they once had.  Abortions and shootings are testament to how little human life is valued.  We throw away clothes and toys simply because they were last year’s fad.  Even money has lost some of its charm.  I once picked up a couple of pennies a woman dropped when receiving change; when I tried to return them to her, she told me to just leave them on the floor, they were of no real value to her.

We also experience attempts to devalue what we treasure in our spiritual life.  In the Bible, believers are urged to live by, “one Lord, one faith, one baptism” (Ephesians 4:5).  The world does not want to steal our Bibles; they would never use them.  They simply want to deprive us of a closer relationship with the Lord by convincing us God’s word is not reliable.  To question the validity of the Bible opens doors to more than one Lord and one faith.  It is not uncommon to see people who have faith in many lords, one for each aspect of life.  The reference to one baptism is in the context of receiving the Holy Spirit when we confess Jesus Christ as Lord (2 Thessalonians 2:13).  Such a baptism, of course, is no treasure if you worship multiple gods.

Thieves of this world know it is easier to steal our faith if they can break the connection we have with God through prayer.  We are perhaps most susceptible to having prayer disabled when we cry out to the Lord in times of distress.  False teachers frame their tactics in the shroud of deception; if God does not answer a prayer quickly and in a certain way, then He either does not exist or does not care.  Nothing could be further from the truth.  When we wait on the Lord, He will answer our prayer (Psalm 38:15).  In His time and in His way, but always for our benefit (cf. Jeremiah 29:11-12).

How much value should we place on scripture and the privilege of praying?  Are they like fine pearls where we would sell everything to possess them (Matthew 13:45-46), or like lost coins where we would search high and low until we found them (Luke 15:8-10)?  The Bible and prayer are not relics to be worshipped, but rather are instruments to bring us into a better relationship with the Lord.  When our heart is heavenly directed, our treasures will be secure from thieves (Matthew 6:19-21).

Sea Doc, Pastor Tom…

The Dead Sea (aka Salt Sea) is about ten times saltier than ocean water.  Since ancient times water from the Jordan River, and other smaller tributaries, flowed into the Dead Sea; but with no natural outflow, water evaporated, leaving behind minerals that increased the salt content.

At 1400 feet below sea level, the Dead Sea has been an important location since ancient times.  Egyptians gathered minerals there to be used in mummification.  King Herod the Great built a resort for people to float in the water and to cover themselves with mineral-rich mud, for recreational and medicinal purposes. 

Scripture suggests the central region of the Dead Sea was the location of Sodom and Gomorrah (Genesis 14:1-3), once part of the cities of the plain claimed by Lot (Genesis 13:10-12).  Another city of the plain, Zoar, where Lot and his family fled when God destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah (Genesis 19:20-24).  Historically, the Dead Sea Scrolls were discovered in 1947 in caves near the Qumran Valley on the northwest shore of the Dead Sea.

Today, for all its notoriety and importance, the Dead Sea is dying1.  The oxymoron between dead and dying is due to human interventions.  Israel, Jordan, and Syria syphon freshwater input into the Dead Sea, causing the water level to drop about 4 feet a year.  In the southern region, where most resorts are located, a chemical company extracts minerals by evaporation.  The net result, over the last 50 years, is a reduction in surface area by one-third.  Human remedies for the dying Dead Sea are at a standstill.

The status of the Dead Sea can be compared to our own spiritual journey.  When God breathed His Spirit into Adam, man was given the breath of life (Genesis 2:7).  Unfortunately, since the time of Adam mankind has resisted the infusion of God’s Spirit (Acts 7:51), leaving us spiritually dead (James 2:26). 

It is bad enough to be dead, but many aspects of the world around us want us to keep dying.  Temptations abound for us to believe money is the source of happiness, rather than to trust in the Lord (Matthew 6:24).  We fret and worry about what to wear, to eat, to drink (Matthew 6:28-34).  Such worldly endeavors keep us dead and dying because we either do not know, or do not believe, God can provide not merely a life, but life to the full (John 10:10). 

A real danger is assuming the Lord is always going to keep His Spirit flowing into us, whether individually, as a family, or as a church.  Like Samson we fail to realize God can justly withdraw His Spirit (Judges 16:20).  When it evaporates, like the Dead Sea dying, we are doomed.  As Job put it, “the dead are in anguish” (Job 26:5). 

The remedy for being dead and dying is found in God’s Son, Jesus, who provides channels for living water to come into us (John 10:10-14).  The Lord said that whoever drinks His living water will never be thirsty again.  True, but I don’t think Jesus meant one drink is good for a lifetime.  If we don’t thirst for this righteousness on a daily basis (Matthew 5:6), we may stop drinking, only to find ourselves dehydrated; good works drying up. 

This parable of the Dead Sea paints the broad picture of salvation.  At one time we were a dead sea, in which no real life existed because of sin.  Graciously, God enables us to have faith in Jesus (Ephesians 2:8) by which sins are forgiven and eternal life granted.  Proof of genuine faith requires good works.  Though each day we face temptations that dry up our spirit, our thirst for the Lord’s living water, abundantly available, keeps us from dying.  From dead and dying to spiritually revived.


Keep the SON in your eyes


God’s point of View…

“If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him.” James 1:5

Do you know what wisdom is? Wisdom is seeing life from God’s point of view. When you pray and you have the Spirit of God and the Word of God in you, you will begin to have wisdom. Knowledge comes by looking around, but wisdom comes by looking up. God will lead you and give you wisdom. When a person is walking in the Spirit, he can say, “I have the mind of Christ.” He’s not afraid to trust what the Spirit says. That is not natural; it is supernatural. 

Wisdom is not a feeling like getting teary-eyed and warm around the heart. It is having a mind that is fixed on God, full of the Word of God, and led by the Spirit of God. The Bible says God will guide you with wisdom. 

Dr. Adrian Rogers.

Know Doubt from Tom…

This is from our former Disaster Relief volunteer and instructor…Thanks Tom…

It was the first Monday Night Football game of 2023. The Cincinnati Bengals, on top of the AFC North Division, were the home team against the Buffalo Bills, leaders in the AFC East. The Bengals scored a touchdown on their first possession; the Bills then kicked a field goal. At 5:58 in the first quarter, Cincinnati wide receiver, Tee Higgins, caught a pass and was promptly tackled by Buffalo’s safety, Damar Hamlin. Hamlin stood up after the tackle, but then collapsed a few seconds later.

Within 10 seconds after his collapse, Bill’s athletic trainers were treating Hamlin.  Five minutes later an ambulance appeared on the field.  For several minutes the trainers and paramedics were performing CPR.  Resuscitation was successful, and 16 minutes after his collapse, Hamlin was loaded into the ambulance and taken to a nearby medical center.

The crowd in the stadium was stunned into silence.  Distraught coaches and players from both teams gathered on the field.  Many of them were praying.  One ESPN commentator, former NFL defensive tackle Booger McFarland, spoke from his heart.  He said in his 9 years of playing in the NFL, you expect broken bones, concussions, and other serious injuries, but no one is prepared for a life-threatening injury on the field.  The thoughts of both teams were no longer on the game, but on their team mate, and the best anyone could do would be to pray for Hamlin’s recovery.

Kathie and I prayed in front of our TV.  We watched the ambulance depart.  The game, of course, was postponed indefinitely.  It was eerie to watch the fans leave, seemingly quiet and reserved.  The next day, news reports filled some of the gaps1.  Damar Hamlin had apparently suffered a serious cardiac arrhythmia following blunt trauma to his chest.  CPR restored his normal heart beat, but he was still in critical condition in the ICU.  

Years ago, I read medical articles about blunt-force trauma that can be fatal in auto accidents, where the chest strikes a steering wheel and cardiac tissues are ruptured.  But cases were also reported among young athletes who had no obvious physical damage to the heart.  A few studies demonstrated a hard hit to the heart can induce an electrical abnormality which, in lay terms, stops the heart.  This is what may have happened to Hamlin. 

Damar Hamlin is a healthy, well-conditioned, 24-year-old.  He has been able to play sports for most of his young life.  Then, in an instant, everything changes.  What should have been a routine tackle left him unresponsive.  The frightening reality of what happened on the football field can likewise occur in our everyday lives.  

Risky activities, like combat or DUI, can prematurely end our lives.  But most of the time we get out of bed in the morning and think we will have a routine day.  We don’t expect to die while driving to work or when we are in a classroom.  Yet all of us, at some level, admit we will eventually die regardless of age, social status, education, or wealth (Psalm 49:10; Ecclesiastes 2:16; 3:2).  With few exceptions, we don’t know the day or the hour (Ecclesiastes 8:8; 9:11-12).  Living wills and estate plans exist to manage earthly matters after we die.  Preparations also must be made for how and where we will spend eternity after life on earth is over.

Those who believe they will simply go out of existence when they die are in for a big surprise.  The Bible tells us everyone, great and small, will be judged before the throne of God (Revelation 20:12).  If your name is entered into the Book of Life, you will live for eternity in paradise (aka heaven).  All others will experience eternal torment in a lake of fire (aka hell).  Professing faith in Jesus Christ, and what He has done for us (Romans 5:6-8), guarantees our name is written in the Book of Life.

Creedence Clearwater Revival’s song Bad Moon Rising may not be scriptural, but it states the solution to the frightening reality of death:  I hear hurricanes a-blowin’, I know the end is coming soon … Hope you got your things together, Hope you are quite prepared to die.  

Are you quite prepared right now?

Tracts or Tracks…

“Even as I please all men in all things, not seeking mine own profit, but the profit of many, that they may be saved.” 1 Corinthians 10:33.

Whatever you do, eat, drink or whatever, do it all to the glory of God. Living like this makes us a testimony to the world. Those who are lost, might be saved…

I like to put tracts out everywhere I go. Most of the time, I just plant the tracts, like a secret agent, and then slink away. But, if the tracks of my life don’t match the tracts that I leave, I am not making the right tracks in this world. I am not being a witness for the Lord. We must give out the Gospel, sometimes but not always, by using words. As a believer, you are the only Bible most people will ever read…

“And he brought them out and said, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” So they said, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved, you and your household.” Then they spoke the word of the Lord to him and to all who were in his house. And he took them the same hour of the night and washed their stripes. And immediately he and all his family were baptized. Now when he had brought them into his house, he set food before them; and he rejoiced, having believed in God with all his household.”
‭‭Acts‬ ‭16‬:‭30‬-‭34‬ ‭NKJV‬‬

Free Will…

“Mine answer to them that do examine me in this, Have we not power to eat and to drink?” 1 Corinthians 9: 3-4.

The word ‘answer’ in the Greek means defense. Paul says, My defense to them… Like being in a court of law. We have the right to eat and drink, liberty. Liberty that is curtailed by others.

“Therefore, if food makes my brother stumble, I will never again eat meat, lest I make my brother stumble.”
‭‭I Corinthians‬ ‭8‬:‭13‬ ‭NKJV‬‬.

Free will- is it not? If you can do something but choose not to do it, that is free will! Liberty, maybe the highest liberty is to exercise this in your life.

“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.” 2 Corinthians 5:17.

Forty seven years…

“Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.”
‭‭Genesis‬ ‭2‬:‭24‬ ‭NKJV‬‬

If you have been married for 47 years today, (like us), you will have been together 17,155 days, 411,720 hours or 24,703,200 minutes, 1,482 million seconds.

Like us, you would have shared on average, over 128,600 hours sleeping, or about 14 years, 8 months.

We never worked together so we have been apart for over 99,376 hours which is about 11 years, 4 months.

By now, we have shared about 37,400 meals together!!!

Yesterday I was trying to think what I was doing the day before our wedding, those 47 years ago? I can remember almost all of our wedding day, but the day before, not so much…

Norm and I have talked it over for quite some time and have come to the conclusion that forty seven years ago, we made the right decision…