If you have stumbled here by accident let me first insist that there really are no accidents in life. If however, you came on your own free will then please by all means open your hearts and your minds to the "New Wine" that God has prepared for you!

Saturday, October 3, 2015

More like Jesus!

 As I’m driving home last Sunday, after teaching at Oakzanita Springs Campground, I turned on my radio to hear Keith Green singing these haunting heartfelt words “As each day passes by, I feel my love run dry, I get so weary worn and tossed round in the storm. Well I’m blind to other’s needs and I’m tired of planting seeds, I seem to have a wealth of so many thoughts about myself. I want to, I need to, be more like Jesus. I want to, I need to, be more like Him.” The words hit me hard, piercing into my heart like one of the spikes into Jesus’ hand. 

 “I want to be more like Jesus!” I said as I continued to listen to the late songwriter as he encouraged us to deny ourselves, pick up our crosses, and serve others the way Jesus did.
 So, as these words softened my heart and the rain poured down in a solid sheet of water, I prayed inside my head “Heavenly Father, I know I have not lived up to Your holy expectations. My vessel has never really been completely emptied for only Your use. Lord, I ask that You would forgive me of my sin and cleanse my heart from within. Father God, You are so precious, much more precious than diamonds, gold or any other created thing. You alone are worthy to be praised and receive my worship. Please help me to surrender to Your will becoming more like Jesus; in His name I pray.” I realized right then that I wanted to be more like Jesus!

In Psalm 127: 1,2  it says, “Unless the Lord builds the house, its builders labor in vain. Unless the Lord watches over the city, the watchmen stand guard in vain. In vain you rise early and stay up late, toiling for food to eat, for He grants sleep to those He loves.”  
The wisdom of the wise is foolishness to God. We plan, we write books and scheme how to draw men to God but we do this in vain. God is still on the throne and His Son Jesus Christ will one day rule on the throne of His father David over an everlasting kingdom. Today, God is building that kingdom, as well as His church, one living stone at a time with perfect craftsmanship. 

If you say you are a Christian, then how do you fit into God’s kingdom? You are either helping to build, tearing it down or sitting on the fence content with watching others. The first step in any building project is to read the plans. Becoming acquainted with the job site, materials and proposed building will go a long way to see the project to completion. Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God so a good start is to read your bible. 

Trusting in the designer is paramount. He is the one who has pre-fit everything together, calculated loads and made allowances for all additional work. “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. All who follow His precepts have good understanding.” Following good directions will always lead you to your desired destination. “The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of His hands.”

“For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith, and this is not from yourselves, it is a gift of God, not by works, so that no one can boast.” Ephesians 2:8. God is the designer and He is building according to His plan and timetable. We just need to surrender our will to Him, making sure to follow Him, as sheep following the shepherd’s voice, and He will make our path straight, our destination sure.

“For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” Ephesians 2:10. Divine appointments are opportunities that cross our path during the day or night. They were created ahead of time by God that we should participate in them. However, we have many distractions, projects and responsibilities that distract us, drawing us away from being used by God.
We might not be able to financially help everyone that crosses our path. However, we can plant seeds of encouragement, offer prayers for help and healing, feed or give someone water.

Jesus said “Come, you who are blessed by My Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.”  Be more like Jesus! 

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Blood moon

The world has seen a great light. It all started Sunday, September 27th 2015 when I was watching a Blood Moon total lunar eclipse that won’t happen again in my life time. The usual full moon that should have crested over the mountains was three quarters blocked out by the shadow from the earth. It seemed to rise very quickly at first as it flew past and above the silhouette of distant mountains that were turning purple in the twilight of the sun. As the moon rose higher and higher above the horizon, it also was being eclipsed by the earth’s shadow turning into the Blood Moon that some have been anxiously waiting for. 

Soon the moon was completely covered by the earth’s shadow, casting an eerie glowing orange mask that seemed to pulsate with each solar flare. The lunar face we all know as “the man in the moon” went missing for an hour and a half as he decided to jump ship for a long deserved vacation from the billions of eyes that were fixed on him. As the sun continued to set below the horizon, an eerie orange mask turned to shades of red transforming it into the “Blood Moon” that astronomers had promised us.

Later, as I stared at the moon, there was only a small, thin crescent of a shadow left on the upper right-hand side. With each passing minute our normal full moon slowly reappeared to illuminate the night and cast a moon shadow on the ground behind me. My moon shadow seemed to follow me wherever I went like it was attached to me just like my invisible spirit. I posed with closed fists at my hips looking more like Peter Pan for the moment then a middle aged Michelin shaped man. 

In the book of Genesis 1:14, God inspires Moses to write the reason He hung all those lights up in the night sky “Then God said ‘Let there be lights in the firmament of the heavens to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs and seasons, and for days and years; and let them be for lights in the firmament of the heavens to give light on the earth.’ And it was so.”

So, here in the very first chapter of the bible, God explains that He would use the celestial objects, the sun, stars, moon and planets, as a billboard signaling the beginning of the end. We know that Jesus talked about heavenly signs pointing to a future period of history referred to as “the end of times” or “tribulation”. “And there will be signs in the sun, in the moon, and in the stars; and on the earth distress of nations, with perplexity, the sea and waters roaring; men’s hearts failing them from fear and the expectation of those things which are coming on the earth, for the powers of the heavens will be shaken. Then they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. Now when these things begin to happen, look up and lift up your heads, because your redemption draws near.” Luke 21:25-28

So I don’t care what flavor of Christian you are, what denominational label you attach to yourself or even if you are an atheist because the return of the King is imminent. One day Jesus Christ will return to the earth for His bride in the same way that He left by reappearing from the clouds. It’s not just a myth or some kind of fairytale but a promise spoken from God. These prophetic events were written and recorded ahead of time for us to study and build up our faith. It does not take much for me to see God in the details; the way in which stars are born and grow older as they revolve around as clusters inside of a galaxy. But you don’t have to look to the stars to see the fingerprints of God. On a human scale, design can be observed in the way our organs heal when they are injured. The healing process is the fingerprint of a divinely loving God.

Two thousand years ago a very bright star guided the wise men to where Jesus had been born and was currently living. Seven hundred years before Jesus was born, God inspired the prophet Isaiah to write “The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light;” Isaiah 9:2-7

“For unto us a Child is born, Unto us a Son is given; And the government will be on His shoulder. And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of his increase of His government and peace there will be no end.” Jesus Christ is the Light of the World.

Monday, September 7, 2015


Labor Day is gone and so is summer. Air conditioners have been turned off as windows are opened to let in the crisp, fresh autumn air. In North America the fall season officially begins. Boxes of holiday decorations will be brought down from storage in anticipation of the festivities that are right around the corner. Thoughts of pumpkin pie, rhubarb tarts and young children trick or treating are beginning to materialize in our minds as school buses once again begin hauling our kids back to school. Hard working mothers rejoice, thanking God for answered prayers of peace and quiet as a long deserved vacation begins.

Fall happens to be my favorite season of the year. I love to sit in my front yard at twilight when cool evening breezes begin to make their appearance. These old friends gently blow my hair back, bring fallen leaves back to life, while pushing them across the canvass that is stretched out directly in front of my swinging lounge chair.  I’m always thrilled to watch as orange light begins to dance upon the rock faces of the mountains. Soon, even the clouds join in the choreography as their soft textures are illuminated in hues of orange, pink, red finally settling down into shades of purple. A myriad of song birds begin to praise the Creator as the star of the show, our sun, disappears behind the night’s curtain unwilling to return for a final encore.

It’s important to take the time to relax and just sit and soak it all in. Our lives can be so busy, full of many trips up and down the hill that many times we arrive back at home dragging ourselves through the door, spent like a worn out shoe. If we are not careful to enjoy every minute connected to God, family and friends, we will suddenly find life has become only a meaningless schedule full of unimportant events. Then one day we wake up and realize we are ten years older, weak and exhausted. As the dust settles and another sunset disappears we discover our lives evaporating like a vapor. Abiding in Jesus Christ, staying connected to God and remaining as a supple branch connected to the vine is the only way to draw up all the spiritual nutrients we need to flourish and produce lasting fruit in our lives and the life of others.

Take a moment to sit down, unwind, grab a warm cup of coffee or tea and listen to Jesus tell a story about staying connected to the “True Vine”.

 “I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit He prunes, that it may bear more fruit. You are already clean because of the word which I have spoken to you. Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me. I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing. If anyone does not abide in Me, he is cast out as a branch and is withered; and they gather them and throw them into the fire and they are burned. If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you. By this My Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit; so you will be My disciples.” John 15:1-8.

While many use this text to engage in endless, useless debates about the issue of eternal security, I prefer to just simply stay connected to the vine abiding in Christ. If we willingly choose to yield our lives to the Vinedresser, then He is more than able and willing to prune the dead wood off of our branches. As we surrender to the leadership of God’s Spirit, then He is able to guide us into all righteousness. God is the source of all life. Jesus Christ is the True Vine and source of all the spiritual fruit that we bear for the Kingdom of God.
There is a great battle that rages inside every person who is a believer in Jesus Christ. We must recognize the works of the flesh; adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness, idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambition, dissensions, heresies, envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries, and allow God to remove them from our lives. Taking every thought captive we allow God to produce the fruit of the Spirit in our lives which is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control.