Our New Home!

Our New Home!
The sun sets on our first month in Oklahoma!

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Insidious


Over the last ten or eleven years I have had to do all kinds of things that, to put it bluntly, have been way out of my normal zone of comfort!  Starting in 2007 with the initial tests, scans and various doctor’s visits that we pursued as we sought to discover what was going on with my wife, I have found myself going places I would normally have avoided.  I have had informational and sometimes heated conversations with doctors, nurses, receptionists and even with family members where my tenacity actually surprised me.  I’ve also performed tasks that I never would have imagined in a million years since we were married back in 1975.

I remember the words of a good friend of Piper’s and mine back in our college days who loved to say: “When the going gets tough, the tough get going!”  Have you ever heard that one?  Well, Joe’s words have never wrung clearer to me than in this journey that Piper and I find ourselves battling in our lives.  Sometimes I feel like a broken record when I continually tell the many medical specialists that we have seen over these years that “As a husband, sometimes you just gotta do what you gotta do!”  But to my amazement, I have, too often than I like to hear, heard the reply that “not everyone responds like you have…”

That reality always brings home the best bit of advice that I received through a friend who had talked about our situation to an older gentleman at the local senior center who had recently lost his wife due to Alzheimer’s.  He simple stated to “tell your friend, that the most important thing he (ie; me!) needs to do is to lose all his pride.”  Well… my pride kind of bristled at that word of wisdom… but I quickly came to find out how true his words were!

I believe that the Lord was trying to tell me a similar thought over the last few days as I studied 2 Timothy 1:7 from the Apostolic Bible Polyglot, which is a numerically coded Greek-English Interlinear Bible, with English-Greek Index, and Lexical Concordance.  The translation of this verse is almost identical to the MKJV except for the word “FEAR.”  It states “For God did not give to us a spirit of DREAD, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.”

Dictionary.com gives one definition of DREAD that really rang a bell in my mind.  It defines it as an action that causes one “to be reluctant to do, to meet, or to experience.”  I believe it rang a bell in me because it was one of the first things that I had to face and then disarm as Piper and I began this faith experience back in 2007.

I’ve never been real fond of driving in busy metropolitan areas, especially when I haven’t been there before… and I usually tend to avoid them when I can!  But once the results of Piper’s first three brain scans were available, I found myself literally driving all over Tulsa to the many doctors, psychiatrist and OSU Medical Center offices that seemed to be located throughout the metroplex. 

Once we returned home to California we decided to continue to see the Brain Specialist that one local Neurologist had sent us to in San Francisco.  So, we drove to and through San Francisco every couple of months for three or four years.  After a while I actually started to enjoy driving around the City and would love to spend a few days walking around the streets there at a future date!

The thought of being reluctant to do something you’re not used to or are not comfortable doing is something that I think all of us face at some time in our lives.  It is also one of the hardest realities that Piper and I have had to face in the way some people have responded to Piper’s dramatic health changes.  To me it has been more difficult than to withstand the anger, misjudgment and criticism that was leveled toward us at one time.  These reactions are usually sudden, vocal and more easily understood and dealt with.

The reluctance and resistance to being around Piper’s needs, in our situation, seems more insidious.  With this response we’ve seen lots of smiles, lots of nice words, but little action to back the words… just like Dictionary.com describes insidious as “operating or proceeding in an inconspicuous or seemingly harmless way but actually with grave effect.”

I was just speaking with one of the nurses from Piper’s Hospice team about how I am always surprised when I hear stories of other spouses or family members who feel that they cannot or will not step out of their zones of comfort in order to care for the needs of their loved one.  My thoughts may seem a little harsh, but I just cannot fathom NOT being there for my wife. 

I wasn’t sure whether to cry, get angry or laugh when some people close to us suggested to our kids and to a friend that they didn’t know if I would even stick with Piper at the beginning of this journey!  It was quite easy to see that these folks were very out of touch with Piper and I, our relationship to each other and our kids.

I had a moment of epiphany yesterday during my morning Bible study when I sensed the Lord saying to me concerning one meaning for 2 Timothy 1:7 that “He hasn’t given us a spirit of DREAD, but instead the ability through our active trust in Him and His Word, to step out of our comfort zone in order to freely minister to an unlovely person or a hard-to-face and deal with situation AND be able to hold our tongue and not demean, criticize or offer our opinion on the situation without knowing all the details or without first asking for permission to share our thoughts with them.”

So, you see, FEAR doesn’t just rear its ugly, destructive head in outward expressions of anger or panic, but can be insidious in its approach in such a manner that it quietly undermines the love, peace and joy of the Lord that the people involved in the situation desperately seek… and need!

So, stay aware of what is happening all around you… whether it is obvious or not.  For me, PEACE is always my guide.  If I don’t sense or feel PEACE, then I know that something sinister is afoot!  (See Philippians 4:7)

Have a great rest of the week, and as you do, keep asking yourself… “Am I expecting to keep a sensitive eye and an ear out for God’ PEACE today?”

Monday, February 26, 2018

Your Advantage!


I had a lot of time to think last week as we spent a good portion of Thursday and Friday in the car on the road!  On Thursday I had a six-month checkup with my doctor in Morrisville.  So, we meandered down highway 55 until we got to the growing town of Apex and from there traversed to Cary and then into Morrisville.  Once in Morrisville we stopped to visit our oldest daughter Jamie where she and Piper planned to spend some quality mother-daughter time while I went off to the doctor and then a haircut.  On Friday the youngest member of our household had a Vet appointment and we made another drive into Morrisville and Fiver’s Veterinary Clinic.

On the way home from Jamie’s on Thursday we drove through the Research Triangle (North Carolina’s growing Silicon Valley) and found ourselves in the middle of stop and go traffic while the various companies disgorged their workers for the day.  Therefore, there wasn’t much to do but think!  And what kept coming to mind was the thought of FEAR and how it seems to be running rampant on the TV, Internet and radio.

It seems like our society today thrives on FEAR.  With the recent shooting at the school in Florida I have been amazed at all the reactions of FEAR that continually dominate the news. I wouldn’t necessarily consider myself a pro-gun activist, but it looks pretty obvious to me that most people seem to be missing what really happened in Florida and how it could and should have been avoided with all the missed opportunities presented to local and federal authorities previous to the event.

Upon first hearing of the shooting, I mentioned to my wife that we were probably going to hear the normal onslaught of people calling for more gun restrictions and regulations… even before the cause of the horrifying event was fully investigated.  And you know… I was right!

John Gill in his commentary on 2 Timothy 1:7 states that FEAR is “A pusillanimous spirit so as to be afraid of men or devils, of what they will say or do, and so as to be discouraged in, sink under or be deterred from the work of the Lord… such a spirit is not the work of the Lord, and such a FEAR brings a snare.”  I admit that I had to look up that long funny looking word “pusillanimous” as I had never heard it before.  The Oxford Dictionary defines it as “showing a lack of courage or determination.”

That explanations gave me a greater insight into what FEAR does to an individual who yields to its deceptive tentacles!  It quickly robs the person’s confidence, courage and determination which unwittingly allows them to fall into the snares of confusion, unbridled emotions and a reasoning that is continually distanced from God’s way and God’s Word.

For example, while in the midst of the stop and go traffic on Thursday there came a moment when the cars ahead of us suddenly began to accelerate forward.  So, with a unspoken thought of “finally!” I hit the gas and turned to smile at Piper sitting next to me for an instant when I caught a reflection of bright red lights from my peripheral vision.  It all happened so fast as I turned forward, jammed on the breaks and reached out to hold back my wife whose head seemed to be on a collision course with the dash!

Once the whirlwind of activity died down, I found myself instantly concerned with what could have happened to Piper, began to belittle myself for not paying enough attention to my driving and drifted off into the endless negative scenarios of the “What ifs!”  What if I hit the car in front of me… What if the car behind me ran into us… What if Piper hit the dash, would she have survived a smack like that… What if… What if…  The ugly odor of FEAR was trying it’s best to make its presence known in our car!  But thank God that the still small voice inside of me raised up and screamed in my head, “STOP!”

Once I heard that familiar voice I immediately shifted from anxiety to vocal praise and thanksgiving that NONE of those “What ifs!” happened and that we were safe and sound!  So, with traffic still at a standstill following our abrupt stop, I took a deep breath, put a smile on my face and leaned over and readjusted the chest strap on Piper’s seatbelt that I had been putting under her arm so that it would not choke her when she was weak and leaned over.

With that all complete I decided that we were just going to give God the glory and thank Him that He kept us safe and away from potential injury as well as from the disparaging scourge of the “What ifs!”  Have you ever been there?  FEAR yields to our emotions and not to our faith!  During my Bible study time over the last two days I noticed that the last three letters of the word FEAR is “EAR.”  And realized that a response or reaction of FEAR in the situations of our daily lives unwittingly causes one to turn their EARS to the wrong voice and therefore to the wrong action or path.

Like I have mentioned in past blogs, the outcome to our life actions all depend on how and what we choose to listen to… with the EAR of the world and its wisdom, or with the EAR of faith in God, His Word and His Wisdom.

FEAR is not a trivial matter.  It is one of the most powerful and deceptive tools of the enemy of our souls… and it is out there everywhere we go.  The GOOD NEWS is that as Christians, we do not have to fall captive to its clutches!  “For God has not given us the spirit of FEAR, but of POWER, and of LOVE, and of a SOUND MIND!”  (2 Timothy 1:7 MKJV)

You and I have what it takes to defeat FEAREVERYTIME!  So, let’s do it!  Continually fill yourself up with His Word and use your faith in what you KNOW the Lord says about the situations in your life to your advantage!  Whew… I like that!  How about you?

Have a great and FEAR-LESS week, and as you do, KEEP asking yourself… “What Words of God am I expecting to use to my advantage in the events of my life today?”


Wednesday, February 21, 2018

What to Do with FEAR...


The greatest thing that I have had to deal with… on a daily basis… over the last ten…  or to be more accurate, I would really have to say thirteen years… with the attack upon my beautiful wife’s health is FEAR!  I add the extra three years as I can clearly recall being concerned about the little changes in Piper’s physical features that were becoming evident to me while on our 30th Anniversary vacation week back in 2005. 

These things may not have been noticeable to most others, but as someone who had spent a majority of his time since High School looking at this particular woman, the little changes, the loss of weight, the tension lines around her eyes and the subtle but definite change in that unmistakable gleam that has always radiated from her eyes were quite visible.  As time went on the changes became more outstanding followed by some chilling negative reactions that required immediate medical attention.

Throughout each and everyone of these changes, the immediate reaction that I encountered was FEAR.  Over the years in Piper’s and my Christian walk we learned a lot about this overwhelming and most employed tool of the devil called FEAR… But when push-came-to-shove in this… the most difficult situation that I have ever been faced with… it looked like I still had a lot to learn!

One of the very first scriptures that I ever had some detailed teaching on and memorized was from 2 Timothy 1:7.  It was on the occasion of the first Jr High Snow camp up in the Sierra Nevada mountains that we took our youth group to back in 1976 when the four Youth Pastors spoke on the four major emphasis points of this verse… FEAR, power, love and a sound mind.  And in the ensuing years I have regularly gone back to that verse only to discover new layers of understanding.

Needless to say, this scripture has been one of the foundational sections of the Word that has helped Piper and I to survive the everchanging events surrounding the attack of Alzheimer’s in her.  From the very beginning I have been alerted to the presence and power of FEAR whenever something has happened to Piper.  I have to say though… for some reason… maybe it’s just something rebellious in me or the years of pumping the Word into me, that when I am personally attacked with an emotion of FEAR or sense it in someone I may be with, something always tends to rise up in me and I instantly find myself wanting to rebel against that evil emotion… and to be honest… sometimes I also want to rebel against the person allowing FEAR to be expressed through them.

What I have learned about is the awful responses that come to and through someone when they yield to FEAR.  This tool of the evil one makes people say and do all kinds of crazy, unthinkable and insensitive things that many times result in false accusations that come from the incorrect scenarios that FEAR constructs in their minds.  And believe me… it is very difficult to walk in love when people around you “loose self-control” (Proverbs 29:18 ERV).  It becomes painfully obvious that they’ve lost sight of the peace, love, wisdom and joy in the midst of trying times that can only come through a presently active faith in God and His Word.

What I’ve come to learn is that I have to IMMEDIATELY slam the door shut to any and every approach of fear in my life… on a daily basis!  My experience has been that any allowance given to FEAR when emergency situations arise within my wife, will result in the IMMEDIATE reactions of anger, hopelessness, confusion and distraction from attending to the physical and spiritual medical responses that Piper might need at that particular moment and situation.  As far as I am concerned… FEAR has NO PLACE in our home!

With all this going on in my own life and my need to daily deal with FEAR, I have become very sensitive to the onslaught of FEAR around me wherever I go and in whatever I see including the different events reported on the news of things happening around the world!  Those same reactions to FEAR of anger, hopelessness, confusion and distraction from the truth are demonstrated in many people almost every time we have a major event around the globe.  If it wasn’t so sad, I could almost laugh when folks get so taken in with FEAR that they begin to say and do things that if you really took a moment to think about it… don’t make lot of sense!

In my daily activities alone at home with my wife, I find it imperative to my physical health, emotional stability and most importantly to my faith in order to stand firm against any and all attacks of FEAR.  I’ve yielded to it a few times, but thank God, have quickly realized that the anger, sense of hopelessness, confusion and the resulting tangible lack of common sense and wisdom quickly blurred the directions that I could sense God wanting to lead me with for that particular situation… many of which I had never experienced before.  (I did put a nice sized dent in the wall at our last apartment… which did nothing for the situation except give me a sore hand and a wall to repair!)

I freely admit, that even with all the volumes of reading that I have done and the multitude of conversations that I have had with medical professionals concerning the attack of Alzheimer’s on Piper, that I was NEVER prepared for all that has and continues to happen with her.  The changes in her are heart-breaking, life-challenging and at times on the verge of being down-right scary!  (I was telling our daughter the other day that I finally understand what it feels like to experience heart-break as your heart physically feels at times like it is actually being torn apart inside of you!)

With all of that going on… I CANNOT take the chance of yielding ANYTHING to FEAR!  I need to keep a level head, stay in peace and continue to be sensitive to the leading of the Holy Spirit.  It’s imperative that I slam that door of FEAR closed before I allow any of it to get on or in me!

And you know… even though you may not be going through exactly what I am, I’m sure that you have other important battles that call on you to also IMMEDITELY slam shut the door of FEAR in your life!  Is that true?

Don’t allow FEAR to have any kind of a foothold in your life.  Instead keep a firm grasp on your faith by continually filling yourself with His victorious Word of promise to you!  I would suggest that you memorize 2 Corinthians 2:14 and to shout it to any and all attacks of FEAR by boldly declaring: Now - When?  NOW, in your current situation and need! - thanks be unto God, which always causeth us to triumph in Christ, and maketh manifest the savour of his knowledge by us in every place.” (KJV)

And also be comforted in the knowledge of His promise to you that He “hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.” (KJV)  Then resist the attack of FEAR and walk forth in the Godly characteristics that he has given you of His Power to overcome ANY situation, His Love that guides and gives you peace, and an uncanny Soundness of Mind that enables you to make the right decisions at the right time!

Have a great rest of the week, and as you do, keep asking yourself… “Am I expecting to NOT allow any FEAR to have ANY part of my life today?”

Monday, February 19, 2018

I WIN!


I oftentimes tell the humorous story of the first time Piper and I attended a small country Pentecostal church in Paradise, California near Chico State University where my fiancĂ© and I were attending college back in 1973.  Piper had already entered into the Charismatic experience the previous summer and I was open to it but had yet to receive it.*

Soon after we arrived on campus we began to inquire about churches and immediately zoned in on three potential opportunities.  One was the “in church” (I don’t recall the name, but I think it was an Evangelical Free Church) that seemed to be the one that most Christian’s at school attended in downtown Chico.  The other popular alternative for young Catholics was the on-campus Newman Center.  But due to Piper’s growing excitement and new-found fire with the Baptism of the Holy Spirit, we also sought to check out a church that flowed with a Pentecostal/Charismatic flavor!

 To make a long story short, we checked out the ‘in-church” and just didn’t feel at home there.  Then we heard about a church in a nearby town that was “on-fire” and took a trip one Sunday morning to visit the Paradise Assembly of God Church in the Sierra foothills a few miles east of Chico.  Well, the church looked like it could have been set in a late 1800’s western.  It was a simple, long and narrow white church with a steeple in the front.  The people were very outgoing and friendly and all was going great until the service started.

We thoroughly enjoyed the praise and worship with their electric guitars, organ, piano and drums… you may recall that drums and electric instruments were NOT accepted in our home church at the time… except when Piper and I and our band sang a song from the musical I had written… and some people were so offended that they walked out… 

At the conclusion of the music service, the Pastor’s wife got up to welcome everyone and then with a smile said, “Let’s pray.”  It was at that point that everything seemed to go a little bonkers… at least for me!  At the Pastor’s encouragement, everyone got up and started praying in English and in tongues out loud together.

I’m sure that Piper would tell you that my eyes must have gotten as big as saucers as I turned to her only to see my lovely fiancĂ© burst into laughter at my reaction and then begin to pray in her beautiful new prayer language unto God.  Whew!  To be honest I will have to say that the experience was not scary and seemed to be in perfect order… but it did overwhelm me!  Little did I know that some six years later we would start attending another small Charismatic fellowship and have that same lively, on-fire type of service to become the expected norm in our Christian experience!

We actually returned to that small church a number of times but ended up attending the Newman Center services on Sunday’s and the Inter-Varsity Christian Fellowship meetings during the week for the rest of our stay at Chico State.  It just seemed to be the right spot for us at that time!

And so on to today… or rather yesterday!  While we live-streamed the service from Rhema Bible Church, which we now consider to be our home church following our long affiliation through our church in Santa Rosa and our ensuing attendance at Bible School and involvement with the church while in Oklahoma, the Holy Spirit just seemed to take on an increasingly strong presence the further along the Pastor got into his sermon which revolved around 2 Corinthians 2:14 which boldly declares “Now thanks be unto God, which always causeth us to triumph in Christ, and maketh manifest the savour of his knowledge by us in every place.” (KJV)

As Pastor Hagin brought the sermon to a conclusion, he suddenly stopped and turned to his music leader and said, “play something!”  The music team was caught a little off guard, stumbled a bit as they and the sound team worked to get them going and then blasted off into a song of victory that is well known at the church.  As that song seemed to come to a conclusion the music leader Rich stopped the music and said “Wait… I’ve got another one!”

And with that he began to repeat in song, the proclamation: ♪ “No matter what the weapon is, I want you to know, I WIN!” ♫  It was amazing as we could feel the anointing flow right through the air-waves into our home… just like I remember the many times it happened when we attended various services at the church in Oklahoma!  The church seemed to come even more alive than they already were and many folks just couldn’t contain themselves anymore and took off on a run around the room… and you know?  I was one of them!

When Rich began to sing the second song I KNEW that if we were there that Piper would not be able to simply stand in the pew and would have been one of the first to take off… and so I grabbed the handles of her wheelchair, spun her around and began to shout the song and in cadence to the music, ran Piper all around our dining and living rooms!  

You should have seen the look on the dog’s face… it was priceless!  And you know… I didn’t care what the neighbors may have thought if they drove or walked by (as I had the windows wide open along with the front door!)  We were flowing in the Holy Ghost anointing that seemed to be extended to our house at that very time!

It was kind of like when we had church in our first home back in 1986 and the neighbor would look in the living room window and enjoy our music service!  Some things are hard to change!

But what’s my point to all of this?  I guess it is about enjoying the presence and joy of the Holy Spirit.  I know that some TV personalities may think that we’ve lost a screw or two… but what they think doesn’t really matter… especially once you’ve experienced the presence of God… All that matters is following HIM and His will for each and everyone of our lives! 

Sometimes that isn’t easy… but at other times like yesterday morning… it is phenomenal!  A few moments in His presence, wrapped in His love, embracing His joy and resting in His peace is simply indescribable!  Think about it…

Have a wonderful new week, and as you do, keep asking yourself… “Am I expecting to enter into God’s presence today?” 



--- And if not… why not?  Remember: ♪ “No matter what the weapon (formed against us) is, I want you to know, I WIN!” ♫ - according to God’s proclamation in 2 Corinthians 2:14!



*I entered into the Charismatic/Pentecostal experience of the Baptism of the Holy Spirit with the evidence of speaking in tongues the following summer upon our return to Santa Rosa.  If you should have any questions or thoughts about the Baptism of the Holy Spirit, check out my favorite resource on the subject written in a very practical and Biblically supported discussion in the book “Nine O’Clock in the Morning.”  This book was written in 1970 and chronicles the personal experience and story of Father Dennis Bennett, a well-respected and established Episcopal priest and Rector of a thriving 2500 member church in Southern California and his journey discovering the Baptism of the Holy Spirit.

Friday, February 16, 2018

What is IT to You?


What I am about to say is probably going to make some of you burst into laughter, while some others will think that it might be time for me to start taking some of my wife’s dementia medicine…   But as I was studying in my Bible from the book of 2nd Peter, I began to realize that Peter really reminds me of… Donald Trump!

Peter has always been my favorite of the original twelve apostles.  When I read about his escapades I see a character that is bigger than life.  I picture him as a big man with a big heart.  One who tends to be a little clumsy, who more times than not speaks first and thinks later and is very loyal to his beliefs, his country and his friends.  That to me, is a like picture of our 45th President, here in the United States.

I’ve known men like President Trump my whole life, in both my secular jobs and in the church.  They are successful individuals, have an outgoing personality, are born leaders, tell it like they see it and underneath it all have a heart of gold.  Most of the individuals that I have known in my secular jobs have  had a good sense of morality and are usually open to the things of God.  In one on one conversations we had many times talked about Christian beliefs and ideals.  Most of these conversations being initiated by these men and women in leadership.

In the church world these individuals are successful in business and in most other areas of their lives, but have tended to be young in the level of their Christian faith.  Many times, though, due to their success in the business world and confident dispositions, they have been put in leadership positions to which they are not really ready for when it comes to teaching or leading others in the Christian faith.

Let me also say though, that I have seen many of these folks who humble themselves before God and church leadership, grow in their faith tremendously as they have sought to “Study earnestly to present (themselves) approved to God, a workman that does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the Word of Truth.” (2 Timothy 2:15 MKJV)

This is how I see our president.  He tends to be brash, speak first and think later and is very out-spoken, but has repeatedly demonstrated that he has a heart of gold, holds on to Christian moral beliefs (although he has had failures in this regard in his life), is very patriotic, protective of the rights and privileges afforded to our citizens through the Constitution of the United States, and is humble and respectful to and surrounds himself with the prayer and council of men and women of God.

And that is how I’ve always seen Peter!  The scriptures portray him as being brash and out-spoken but yet humble and hungry for the things of God.  His weakness at speaking before he really thought out what he was going to say got him in trouble many a times, but with each of these infractions he was quick to seek forgiveness and grow through the experience. 

Toward the end of his life in the book of Second Peter, his spiritual growth in the knowledge of the Word and ways of God becomes very evident as there seems to be little evidence of the cockiness and self-made, self-assurance that oozed from him in the Gospels.  At the conclusion of his days here on the earth, his main concern was focused on giving the Christian’s he wrote to a firm and stirring remembrance of the Godly characteristics that Jesus talked about and lived while on this earth.  Peter taught, “Therefore I will not neglect to put you always in remembrance of these things, though you know them and are established in the present truth.  But I think it right, as long as I am in this tabernacle, to stir you up by a reminder, knowing that the putting off of my tabernacle is soon, as indeed our Lord Jesus Christ made clear to me.  And I will also be diligent to cause you to always have memory of these things after my departure.” (2 Peter 1:12-15 MKJV) 

Peter knew that the success of the believers would come ONLY from their ever-increasing knowledge and unflinching firmness and stand in and on the Word of God.  For he was a living example of the physical reality that no matter what arose in the path of the lives of the people… that the Word of God was the truth and answer!

Piper and I read a book in the mid-1970’s that changed us and set the foundation of the course of our lives from that point on… and still holds true to this day!  That book entitled “The Believer’s Authority” by Kenneth E. Hagin established the understanding in us of who God says that we, as Believers, according to the truth of His Word.  It set us on an unwavering course to find out all that we could from God in His Word.  As I have stated many times in this blog, we determined early in our marriage that if God said it, then we believed it to be so and would act accordingly… and as far as we were concerned… that settled it!

So yea… Piper and I hold the Word of God to a very high esteem in our lives, as well as in the lives of our family.  I guess that is why I continue to point the readers of this blog continually back to the Word!  We’ve been reading a sermon given by Smith Wigglesworth, a man who lived and ministered with a unique anointing from God accompanied by signs and wonders (See:  Mark 16:16-20) during the turn of the twentieth century and is known as a Father of Faith in Pentecostal circles.

He makes a statement toward the end of his teaching that was given in a Bible School located in San Francisco, California in 1922, that has simply ignited a fresh fire in Piper and I concerning the power and applicability of God’s Word in today’s 2018 society.  He declared (and you’d better get your shouting clothes on…)

“The Bible is the Word of God; supernatural in origin, eternal in duration, inexpressible in valor, infinite in scope, regenerative in power, infallible in authority, universal in interest, personal in application, inspired in totality.  Read it through, write it down, pray it in, work it out, and then pass it on.”

He then concluded by stating that: “The cry of our souls can be satisfied only with God.  The great plan of God is to satisfy you, and then give you the vision of something higher.”

And that is something that Piper and I have always strived for since those early days in the ‘70’s!  How about you?



Exactly what is the Word of God to you?



Have a great weekend, and as you do keep asking yourself… “What am I expecting from the Word of God today?”


Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Do You HEAR It?


Happy Valentine’s Day everyone!  I hope that this day finds you filled with a heart full of love and grace.  I do have to admit that Valentine’s Day was never a big deal for Piper and I.  I’m sure that it was more special before we were married than after…  I can hear all of your minds screaming about now… “WHAT… I thought you love your wife?”  Well, I do, extremely so!  I guess you could say that I tended to treat everyday like it was Valentine’s Day since we both said “I do” back on that sunny Saturday afternoon on July 12, 1975.

And yes, I always bought my darling wife a special gift of flowers or candy (although I think she enjoyed the flowers more than the chocolates…) and tried my best to make that day extra special for her.  But you know, I bought her flowers throughout the year.  Our last house that we were in for about nine years before moving to Oklahoma was near a Walgreens that I had to pass on the way home from my job at HP or from the church and although it might not have been extravagant, they normally had fresh long stem roses on sale so that I could stop in and get one for her!

Throughout the 47 years of our relationship I can honestly say that Piper was never far from my thoughts.  When you’re in a relationship as close as we have been it is only logical that I would (and still do) think about her A LOT!  It is similar to Piper’s and my relationship with the Lord.  Over the years we have gotten closer and closer to Him and keep His Word near to our hearts and minds.

Most times when strange situations spring themselves upon us, the first thing we normally do is to consider what God’s Word says about it.  It has become such a normal reaction to us that we’ll sometimes look at each other in amazement when someone in our company responds in fear with words and action that do not line up with God’s plan as defined in His Word… The Bible.  As I have gotten older, I notice that I also tend to feel more and more sadness and compassion for others when they respond to life in an opposite manner than what God’s Word proposes.

This happened yesterday when I read a report in the news were a well-known celebrity was publicly criticizing our Vice President for his strong Christian beliefs, and in particular his stating that Jesus talks to him.  Later in the evening we briefly watched a news report on the TV were the members of a daytime talk show were also criticizing and making fun of the Vice President for his comments.  They even inferred that such beliefs were dangerous and border on mental illness.

What saddened me was when one of the personalities stated that they she was devout in her beliefs, while another declared that she was a Christian and loved Jesus but that Jesus talking to us was just crazy and unbalanced.  When Piper and I sat down at the breakfast table this morning my thoughts went back to the news program as we listened to Chris Tomlin singing a modern version of “Amazing Grace.”  My eyes filled with tears as those two words “Amazing Grace” swelled throughout my thoughts and I considered how shallow the TV personalities lives must be if they need to make fun of someone I consider to be a man of God in our country’s political theater.

And if they are Christians, and I have no information to doubt that they may actually be Believers, how young they are in their Christian walk and/or untaught in the truths of God’s Word.  I hurt for them because they seem to be living a life devoid of the love, grace, peace, wisdom and knowledge of our Lord and Savior… and with little to no knowledge of whom the Bible says that they are in Christ Jesus.

In my understanding of Christianity, the truth of Jesus being able to communicate with us is one of the basic foundations of our faith.  The Apostle Paul talked to one of his proteges Titus, about what happens when an individual accepts Jesus Christ as their personal Savior and Lord explaining that Jesus “saved us, but not because of anything we had done to gain his approval. Instead, because of his mercy he saved us through the washing in which the Holy Spirit gives us new birth and renewal.” (Titus 3:5 God’s Word ©)

In the process of the new birth one’s dead spirit becomes alive as the Holy Spirit comes to live within them.  Once there, Jesus through the Holy Spirit, is able to communicate with the new Believer.  How?  Through the Word of God and that small still voice inside of you.  Being able to hear that voice takes time and consistency in the Word and in prayer though.  I would be led to believe that if the TV personalities really are born-again, that Jesus through His Holy Spirit has spoken to them but they have failed to recognize His voice.

That deeply saddens me.  Over the years Piper and I have ministered to many adults, young singles, youth and children who are born-again, but have very little knowledge of the Word of God.  I’ve actually witnessed my wife in tears when she heard about some of the things that these folks went through and could have avoided had they known, believed and stood in faith upon what Jesus said about their situation.  II Timothy 3:16 informs us that “Every Scripture passage is inspired by God. All of them are useful for teaching, pointing out errors, correcting people, and training them for a life that has God's approval.” (God’s Word ©)

The keys for a more meaningful, joyful and victorious life are all found within the pages of God’s Word. 

When I flipped off the TV last night, I paused for a moment in thought and then stated to my wife just how relative the Bible is in today’s society as I considered Proverbs 29:18 where it is prophesied that: “If people can't see what God is doing, they stumble all over themselves…” (The Message) or as another translation says “the people cast off restraint…” (ESV)

After seeing what is going on around us in today’s modern society, I can only thank God that my wife and I made the decision a long time ago that we would be students of the Word who: “study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” (2 Timothy 2:15 KJV) And thereby live our lives under the covering of our loving and grace-filled God and His Word. 

How about you?

Have a super-duper rest of the week and as you do, keep asking yourself… “Whose guidance am I expecting to hear today?”

Monday, February 12, 2018

In The News...


I was watching something on TV the other night where an individual who was being interviewed stated in their story of the loss of a loved one, that they finally got to the point where they had to just give in to the circumstances and let go of their relative.  I must admit that I was half listening to the program but something inside of me instantly went off and I literally jumped off the couch and boldly declared to my wife and the TV with a loud voice, I can’t do that, for every time I have asked the Lord for further instructions in the care of my wife, He continues to show me His Word concerning His will for her healing!”  

Scriptures such as Matt 8:17 which declares ““He took our illnesses and bore our diseases.” (ESV) or I Peter 2:24 where Peter wrote about Jesus’ fulfillment of an Old Testament prophecy boldly saying: “He Himself bore our sins in His own body on the tree, that dying to sins, we might live to righteousness; by whose stripes you were healed” (MKJV) continually play like a loop through my thoughts.  These verses flow concurrent with one of my all-time favorite statements of Jesus’ to His wondering disciples in Matthew 19:26 where he unquestionably replied to their doubt-filled question concerning how someone can get into heaven saying: “With men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” (MKJV)

You see, my Bible tells me in no uncertain terms that “with God all things are possible” and I BELIEVE it!  When the angel spoke to a teenage Mary at the beginning of the Gospels in Luke chapter one, He concluded God’s point and the coming power of His presence in our lives quite clear by telling her in the midst of the seemingly impossible situation he was calling her to fulfill that “no word from God shall be void of power.” (Luke 1:37 ASV) Read that again… “No word from God shall be void of power!”  How many of His words will have power?  All of them shall have His power behind them!  DO YOU BELIEVE THAT when you open up the cover of your Bible?

I read an article on the Yahoo Homepage this morning that was very critical of a recently produced video from Kenneth Copeland ministries where Gloria Copeland teaches about taking an inoculation of the Word in order to stand against the strong strain of flu that’s affecting many individuals.  The article was quick to criticize their ministry and the message of faith that they teach.  It then went on to tear apart many aspects of the Bible including Jesus’ teachings and the evangelical (and in this case the Pentecostal) Christians who have the audacity to believe that the Word might actually be true!

I would note that the Copelands are in no way against doctors or medical science and have doctors in their family as-well as others employed in their world-wide ministry, not to mention the countless medical professionals that support the ministry along with the millions of partners across the globe! 

All in all, the article was very critical of the Christian lifestyle and belief system that many in today’s society cannot phantom as something credible in the face of modern science and the secular society at large.  But you know… it has gotten to the place where articles like this are regularly found in the daily main-stream media.  Does it bother me? Yes!  Do I get upset? Not anymore.  In fact, I now tend to feel sorry for those who write the articles and the unsubstantiated and false information they share from what looks to me to be an un-informed and fearful mind.

Over the last few years I have seen first hand what fear can do to the way a person looks at and then responds to a troublesome situation… and it is not always kind, pretty, responsible or truthful.  For us Christians it comes down to WHO and WHAT we believe.  Do we believe God and His Word to be the WHOLE truth… or not?  Do we just believe in the parts of the Bible that seem to fit within the parameters of the way we see the world and our lives… or do we believe it to be the TRUTH no matter what parameters surround our vision of the world at any given time?

I find myself shaking my head in wonder at times each day when I see political leaders making speeches where they quote the scriptures or talk about how devout they are in the practice of their Christianity, but yet they fully support and fight for a platform that is very adverse to many of the truths clearly defined in the Bible.  From my understanding, the way I’ve been taught and the way my wife and I have always lived our Christian lives, if you don’t believe ALL of it, then how can you believe ANY of it?

Sure, one’s total belief in His Word will many times put you at odds with modern society, but what is more important… looking good and being accepted during your relatively short stay on this earth or living according to God’s standards throughout eternity?

Hummmm….

Have a great new week with many new adventures in power and faith in God’ Word… and as you do, keep asking yourself… “Who and What am I expecting to believe today?”

Friday, February 9, 2018

The Thief...


Well, let’s go three for three and end this week with another morning story!  My daily routine starts about 7:30 when I roll out of bed, immediately start speaking out the Word of God, check on my sleeping wife, pull up the covers, turn on the heater and then get myself ready for the day. From there Fiver and I plod down the hallway into the living room where the dog stops, waits for me to pet him and then jumps up on the couch to catch a few more zzz’s while I open up the sliding window drapes and step into the kitchen.

In the kitchen I get the coffee going and prepare Piper’s liquid medications.  Once that task is complete I move the three cups to the dining room table, turn on the computer, click the Pandora tab and go back to the living room to open up the front blinds. Then with a nod to the dog, the two of us head back down the hall to get Piper up.

About fifteen minutes later, after I have confessed our regular healing scriptures verbally over Piper and get her up and ready for the day, I lift her into her chair and we all go into the dining room where the computer and external speakers are filling the front rooms with soft Christian music playing styles from 1970-80’s Second Chapter of Acts to modern day Southern Gospel and current contemporary bands.

As I began assisting my wife with her first apple cider and medicine mixture today, I heard Steven Curtis Chapman’s song “The Great Adventure” come on the radio.  I really enjoy the way the song captures the listeners attention from the very start complete with the opening guitar licks and the word’s, “Saddle up your horses!”♪

That beginning and the chorus a few moments later got my mind to wandering from Piper riding horses, to the mountains and then to our many past camping adventures:

♪ “Saddle up your horses, we've got a trail to blaze

Through the wild blue yonder of God's amazing grace

Let's follow our leader into the glorious unknown

This is a life like no other, whoa whoa this is the great adventure” ♫ *



For some reason I began to recall all the tents we’ve used for all those outdoor adventures, from my folks old green canvas tent, their newer yellow and blue canvas tent I got for them when I worked in the sporting goods department at Sears in the early 1970’s, and then Piper’s and my first new six man blue nylon tent and our of course the huge two compartment blue and white nylon tent we purchased in the 1990’s… and still have today!

As we progressed to Piper’s send concoction of medicine and strawberry yogurt, I thought of a recent picture I had come across over the holidays of a camping trip we took with the rest of my family to Richardson Grove State Park on the southernmost border of Humboldt County in the redwoods of northern California.  What came to mind in particular this morning was when we got up the second day and noticed that our ice chest and lantern had been stolen out of the campsite during the evening!

When we reported it to the Ranger on duty he stated that there had been a rash of burglaries around the campgrounds that night.  It actually wasn’t too traumatic for us since most the food supplies for the weekend were stored with my parents in their trailer.  Our ice chest only had milk, a few baby bottles and other food stuffs for our baby JoAnna!  So, we just made a trip to the nearby town off Garberville, bought a polyurethane ice chest and restocked all of the items taken.  I purchased a new lantern the next summer from a sporting goods store back home!  (and since that trip I always made sure all those items were locked away in our vehicle before we turned in for the night!)

As I stepped back into our family memories today though, I began to think of how the ice chest that would have normally been stuffed with a block of ice and enough food to feed our family for five days and our bright Coleman lantern kind of symbolize a foundation for our camping needs.  The food being our very sustenance and the lantern as our light guiding us in the darkness of the evening.

That thought made me think about the verses in James that I was reading yesterday during my morning study time.  James 1:5-8 talk about when we need to ask God for wisdom that we do so without any doubt for, “A person who has doubts shouldn't expect to receive anything from the Lord.  A person who has doubts is thinking about two different things at the same time and can't make up his mind about anything.” (James 1:7-8 God’s Word ©)

As I meditated on those verses I suddenly realized how detrimental doubt really is to a Believer, for doubt is a thief of our faith.  And without missing a beat I understood that in reality, those who immediately criticized the steps we took in faith as we began to fight in earnest the attack on Piper’s health were actually (most likely unknowingly) attempting to put doubt in our minds as to the physical path we had begun to follow and thereby steal our faith!

I like the way The Voice translation puts verse eight declaring: “The splinter of divided loyalty shatters your compass and leaves you dizzy and confused.” I have to say that I did feel confused but not with our faith in which we felt pretty dedicated and confident with, but confused as to the other individuals reactions.  I guess I could honestly say that “I didn’t see that one coming!”

Romans 10:17 tells us “So faith comes from hearing the message, and the message that is heard is what Christ spoke.” (God’s Word ©)  And just like the thief who took our chest of sustenance and our light to see in the dark during that camping trip, the doubt cast in our direction concerning our steps of faith were trying to take away the foundation of our stand.  According to Romans 10:17, they were attempting to get us to listen to different message than that which Christ spoke to us through His Word.

Ah Ha… another reason for getting our daily dose of fresh anointing of God’s Word into our hearts each morning!  We may not have understood back in 2009 that the thief (See: John 10:10) was trying to steal the beginning steps of our faith for Piper’s healing, but we were secure enough in God’s love and the promises He gave us in His Word, that we did not allow ourselves to ever question what we KNEW He was instructing us to do.

So, what will it be for you?  Will you keep your heart and life topped up with daily doses of God’s Word so as to ward off the thief who masterfully tries to steal your faith… or will you be caught off-guard?  Yea… I know, easy answer… now we just got to do it!

Have a great weekend, and as you do keep asking yourself… “What message am I expecting to listen to in order to guard my faith today?”


*http://www.metrolyrics.com/the-great-adventure-lyrics-steven-curtis-chapman.html

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

The Morning View!


It looks like I’ve got another breakfast story to share with you!  Once again, as I was helping my wife with her breakfast today, I suddenly found myself singing to her by changing the focus of the Keith Green song that was playing on our Pandora feed.  Instead of a worship song unto the Lord, I scooted up close to Piper and sang “You are the One (for me!)” as a love song to my sweetie… I mean… its not like she could argue with me!  I had a captive audience… and yea… I know that its corny… but then again, how many of you husbands out there sing love songs to your wife in the morning?

I don’t think that the Lord saw it as a sacrilege either, as He gets all the glory for my wife anyway!  But as I sang the song again, I looked up and outside our sliding window to the tall trees that line our yard and couldn’t help but be overwhelmed with the goodness of God.  I suddenly had to stop singing to Piper and simply praise the Lord.  And even though it was a bit overcast at that moment, I felt His presence in the quiet, still, fresh morning that seemed to surround our home.

A little while later I stood on the patio while Fiver did his morning thing and continued to enjoy the clean cool morning air that enveloped me.  I don’t know what it is about the morning, but its like I can hardly wait to go outside first thing each day no matter if its 20 degrees or less in the winter, 90 with 90% humidity in the summer or a sweet northern California-ish 65 or 70 degrees in the fall and spring.  I just think that God made mornings special!

The wisdom books in the Old Testament (Job – Song of Solomon) talk about mornings some 32 times.  Psalm 5:3 states that “In the morning, O Eternal One, listen for my voice, in the day’s first light, I will offer my prayer to you and watch expectantly for Your answer.” (The Voice)  To me, this verse and others like it, encourages Believers to spend time with the Lord at the beginning of each day.  The Literal Translation of the Holy Bible says “…O Jehovah, I will set myself for You in the morning, and I will look up.” 

I like that idea of us setting ourselves before Him first thing, while we are fresh and unencumbered, before we find ourselves being taken away by the activities of our daily lives.  This is something I have done for many years now, in fact I can’t conceive of starting a day without first spending time with Papa God in prayer, praise and the Word.

I understand that each of us have different lives and have to arrange our time with Him to best fit our schedules.  In my last position as a merchandising supervisor with Home Depot I had to be to work at 5:00 AM each day.  And for six months I had to drive south of San Francisco on most of those days to cover the southern stores in our district.  This meant that I had to be on the road by around 3:30.  So in order to get some Word in each day, I went to bed around 8:00 in the evening and got up near 2:00 the next morning.

Now, with Piper’s current medication schedule and the lack of regular sleep I get, it is very difficult to get up too much before I get her up, so I’ve made a few adjustments and pray and praise before her breakfast and then study the Word after she eats and doses off, before I prepare my own meal.  This way I still get to enjoy the morning quiet while I have my daily adventures in the Word of God!

I write all this as an encouragement to each of you.  Do you need any changes in your life?  Well then, start them off by changing your schedule with a new priority of daily moments of communication with our heavenly Father.  Our two sons are following a daily Bible reading schedule through their YouVersion Bible apps.  They joined a small online group and even though they live some 1800 miles apart, one in California and the other in Oklahoma, they can share notes, thoughts and ideas about what they have studied that day.  Pretty cool, wouldn’t you say! 

Like I’ve said before, there are many ways and methods to study the Word.  Check them out and find one that works for you… Then go on a daily adventure with the Father, Son and Holy Ghost that will strengthen, encourage, teach and inspire you with a firm foundation for each and every day!

You know… I was thinking while I was preparing my breakfast today, that one of the unexpected roles I’ve found myself in during this journey we’ve been on with Piper’s health, has been to be a carrier of joy and faith.  I never realized that in order to protect our faith and encourage others, that I many times have had to be the encourager and the one to lift other people beyond their fears and looks of hopelessness when Piper and I have been with extended family, at the store or even at the various doctor’s appointments. 

But I couldn’t do it without my daily re-charge in God’s Word!  For the picture I see everyday in His Word is always greater and longer lasting than any other picture I may see throughout the rest of my day! 

Go ahead… give it a try and I bet that you’ll never be the same again!

Have a super rest of the week, and as you do, keep asking yourself… “Whose picture am I expecting to SEE each day?”