My Christmas Suggestion

Thanksgiving Day has passed. On to Christmas, with festive displays, seasonal smells, and presents given and received. On the surface I see nothing wrong with this. I like this season.

But I have a problem with those who refuse to celebrate the real meaning of Christmas. Indeed, some intentionally keep Christ out of Christmas, while (literally) banking on profiting from their products and or services finding homes for Christmas. Our homes. All at a price, of course. 

Here’s my Christmas suggestion:

All individuals, companies, and organizations promoting Christmas-related services and/or products must do the following, in order to have a “Christmas Permit”, to be permitted to profit from such services/products during the Christmas season which, for many, starts in August. Some even sooner:

  1. Have a signed statement prominently displayed on their website, windows, and/or vehicles stating their affirmation of Christmas being the celebration of Jesus’ birth.

2. Require all employees and vendors to say “Merry Christmas,” rather than “Happy Holidays.” 


Sound radical or ridiculous? Maybe, but requiring so would force those profiting from Christmas at least do so honestly. Those who choose not to wouldn’t be allowed to sell anything having to do with Christmas. 

Realistic? No, but that’s my Christmas suggestion. What’s yours?

What’s something you’d like to see to return more to the real meaning of Christmas?

What Really Matters in a House

Leave it to Beaver was a popular television series, that aired from 1957 to 1963. Those who watched the original programs or reruns may recognize the outside of the Cleaver residence. Nice house for the day.

The truth about the house is that the outside was just that: a movie set front for the Cleaver residence. There were no actual rooms inside. No places for children to explore. It was a made-for-TV front. Nothing more than a house’s front, that had no place to enter and enjoy.

People’s lives are like houses. The body is the outside, hiding the real person on the inside. The outside roof may be well designed and insulated, but I wouldn’t want to live on it, would you? There may be beautiful windows, allowing light to shine in on the interior, but outside windows fail to convey how charming the inside rooms really are.

Getting to know the inside of a person is like coming to appreciate the interior of a beautiful home: the inside-not the outside-should be the focus. Instead of living and dining rooms, kitchens, and bedrooms, the “rooms” in people contain dreams, aspirations, gifts and talents, as well as hopes for the future. All worth knowing and appreciating.

As with houses, our focus on people should be them, not the outside of the “house” they live in. Sometimes changes to our outside cause focus to be on that, rather than what’s on the inside. No matter much “paint” or changes are made to ones outside it’s just that-the outside. 

Over time a house’s front may undergo many changes. The same is true concerning a person yet, like a house, the person’s real value is found in getting aquatinted with and appreciating his/her “rooms”-those things of great value which make that person special in the eyes of the beholder. 

The inside of a house-and person-is what really matters to those looking for real value. The fake fronts, the facades? Let’s leave them to Beaver.

Lessons Learned From Puzzles


My wife is good at puzzles. Most 500-1000 piece puzzles are “conquered” in several hours, spread out over a few days. Usually during holiday breaks.

Over the years Pamela has learned a few “tricks” of successful puzzle solving. No matter how many pieces-no matter how challenging a puzzle appears to be-my wife always starts with the frame. Always; no exceptions. Once the frame is in place she knows that all other pieces have to fit, somewhere within the frame.

Some of the puzzles my wife solves have trees or other objects with similar colors and shapes to them. From a distance the pieces can appear as punishment for buying the puzzle. These take more time to overcome, for similar-looking pieces to eventually fit together.

At times life may seems like a puzzle. Pictures on the puzzle box cover are like the lives people dream about: they’re a whole lot easier to look at than to be completed in ones own life. The bigger the dream the more “pieces” there are to have in place.

Life can seem like a giant, complex puzzle. But like any puzzle, it’s easier to fit the pieces together when the frame’s in place. It’s then a matter of knowing where to put other pieces in the frame. Still challenging, but now much more workable.

Each successful life has a frame, a border that defines both its possibilities and limits. A life’s best frame is God’s Word: what God says about who you are and what you have, in Christ, and what you can do through Christ. Good “pieces.”

This frame holds the rest of your life together. No pieces go outside the frame. It’s a frame that’s just right for every piece of your life.  Start with your frame.

The time it takes for the pieces of your life to fit together depends on when you want to start. This ministry is helping people in framing their lives for eternity. Feel free to check out our website for more simple pieces of knowledge (information), suitable for framing.

Another Hero of Success

My previous post mentioned Daniel Nash as a hero of success, one who prayed much for the success of Charles Finney’s meetings. Today I want to share another hero of success, one who labored much behind the scenes for the success of one of this country’s best-known evangelists.

The name Oral Roberts is, to many, synonymous with tent crusades, television specials, and a university that bears his name. But who ever heard of Collins Steele? Who was he, and what was his connection to Oral Roberts?

For a time, Oral Roberts held crusades under various tents, one of which could seat 20,000. These “canvas cathedrals” were massive, requiring many men to spend long hours setting up and preparing the remote facilities for services. The man in charge of these operations was Collins Steele. Collins made sure that the tent was property set up, kept safe during services, and taken down after meetings were over. The loaded tent sections were then transported to the next meeting site.

Prior to a dinner being attended with my wife, I asked Collins Steele what it was like working to set the tent up. There was a long pause, making me wonder if I had been wrong to ask the question. With a far away look in his eyes Collins finally said in a quiet voice, “It was a lot of work.” No further explanation was needed.

With all the attention on the finished product-thousands of people being ministered to-Collins Steele stayed in the background with others, supplying his part in ensuring the success of hundreds of evangelistic meetings for the glory of God.

Like Daniel Nash, Collins Steele labored behind the scenes, out of view of the spotlight and crowds. Unseen to people, but never to God. Another hero of success.

Maybe you feel like you’re working in obscurity, unseen by others. But you’re not. Everything you do is noticed by the One who views success as being faithful, right where you’re at. I value people laboring behind the scenes. People like Collins Steele.

So does God.

Real Heroes of Success

For all the success those in front of the camera enjoy, that success  is made possible by the efforts of those laboring behind the scenes. Lighting, sound, makeup, and costuming are but a few of the numerous areas critical to a product’s success on the screen. Rarely-if ever-seen, those in these and other areas are real heroes of a work’s finished product.

It’s the same with God. Too often results are looked at without comprehending the process. The most important parts of any process are people. People like Daniel Nash and Collins Steele. 

Father Daniel Nash was a Presbyterian minister who was the main person of prayer behind the highly successful meetings of Charles G. Finney in the early 1800s. Arriving weeks before Finney’s services were to being, Father Nash, occasionally accompanied by another person of prayer, would spend his time in prayer on the behalf of those in need of salvation, and for a move of God in the services. 

For all of Finney’s preaching ability, the behind-the-scenes prayers of Father Nash and a few others was what made the real-and lasting-difference. Church historians agree that 80% of those won to Christ under Finney’s ministry stayed faithful to God. But that success would not have been possible had Finney not had the prayer backing of Father Nash. 

One measure of Father Nash’s prayers was that after his death in 1831, Finney never had the same evangelistic success he enjoyed from the fruit of Father Nash’s prayers. Another reason we pray for our church services. Their success is so dependent on the prayers of people like you and me.

During Finney’s 1830 meetings in Rochester, New York, nearly the whole town got saved. Even today The Charles Finney School is in Rochester, named in the honor of one whom God used mightily to win a city to Christ. 

Only eternity, however, will tell the part of Father Daniel Nash, the one who never attended Finney’s meetings, choosing rather to pray behind the scenes for the seen to succeed. For me, a real hero of success.

Our next post will cover Collins Steele, another behind-the-scenes hero. Join me.

The Value of Church History

History is a fascinating subject. Whether talking about a person or event from thousands of years ago or within the last 20 years, history is always about only the past. Never now or the future. Some reading this remember persons and/or events from as far back as 50 years ago. Perhaps less. 

 

The same is true concerning church history. By church I mean the Church-God’s Church-the Body of Christ, believers in the lordship of Jesus Christ. We also have a history. People and events from the past who and which have helped influence where we are as the Church today.

 

Throughout Church history many events have taken place. God has used a great number of people like you, to accomplish His plans and purposes. At times those, with such last names as Wycliffe, Tyndale, Augustine, Luther, Wesley, Whitfield, Finney, Woodworth-Etter, Sunday, and Graham have been greatly used by God to bring about God’s love and power.

 

For some reason it grieves me that so many believers-especially charismatic Christians-know little or nothing about their heritage. Recently I was at a large meeting, attended by christians from many states and countries. When asked if she had ever heard of Zion, a product table volunteer replied that she had not. Yet her employer, a well-known speaker, regularly teaches on divine healing. 

 

Some may say, “What difference does it make, knowing Church history?” Others go to the other extreme, knowing historical details while missing the real message of the moves of God. Another opportunity for balance. 

 

Some may remember my three posts from last year, highlighting people and places in church history who/which have profoundly influenced multiplied millions in the areas of divine healing and speaking in tongues, during the last 120 years. Not just in America but worldwide. Two cities, Zion and Topeka; one place, Azusa Street. You’ll find all three of them mentioned under older posts, beginning March 24, 2017. 

 

Knowing church history will hopefully raise awareness of how the present came to be, as well as increase appreciation for those who were wonderfully used of the Holy Spirit to give us a taste of heaven on earth.

May both your present and future be blessed by knowing your past.

Questions for Atheists

Although it’s too late for an atheist to convince me that God doesn’t exist, my heart goes out to those who actually believe that this wondrous universe we live in (somehow) came from a singular explosion of primordial somethings.

Rather than arguing, I have some simple questions for atheists, questions which you may wish to ask doubters within your own sphere of influence. All of these questions have no legitimate answer, outside of “I don’t know-but God does.” Enjoy:

1. Apart from how the mega trillions of stars came into being, where did the space in between the stars come from?

2. Red, yellow and blue are the primary colors. Which came first?

3. Matter exists as a solid, liquid, or gas. Which of these three forms came first?

4. Electrical charges of atoms are either positive, negative, or neutral. Which of these charges came first?

No doubt, you may have additional questions of your own to ask those you know to be atheists. Or at least questioners of God. The above four questions, when sincerely asked, could cause someone to think outside of his/her experience and at least contemplate the exist of a Higher Being, someone we call God.

The seed you plant will be watered by someone else, but God will give the increase. Or maybe you’ll be the waterer of someone else’s seed. Either way, leave the results to God, and enjoy the above questions for atheists-or any thinker, for that matter.

Exhibit A

When introducing evidence to establish facts, lawyers will label each piece with an identifying mark, such as exhibit A, B, C, etc. The same is true in life. When establishing a Biblical truth, one may refer to the personal testimony of another individual as evidence of that particular truth, such as healing.

Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, I present evidence that God heals today as He did 2,000 years ago. I present to you exhibit A, a person who has experienced God’s healing power. This person actually suffered in two ways as a child growing up into adulthood: poison ivy and bedwetting. 

Those who have had poison ivy (as well as poison oak and poison sumac) tell of itching, loss of sleep, and tremendous discomfort. I heard of one person who stated that having poison ivy was worse than breaking a bone. Either way, ouch.

As I stated, this person also suffered from bedwetting beyond the age of 3-5 years old. In this person’s case it continued well into the teen years. Imagine the embarrassment of going somewhere for the night, fearing the ridicule resulting from an “accident.” 

The story now gets better. Two weeks after this person gave his life to Christ he found out that God had also healed him. Talk about relief! He’s been “dry” ever since.

Poison ivy was still a problem until this person, now in his twenties, came to realize for himself that the stripes Jesus bore for us were for our healing, including his (I Peter 2:24).  Acting on this truth led to him receiving healing in his own body. 

I’m exhibit A, the boy allergic to poison ivy, suffering from bedwetting. In both cases, I’ve been free for many years now. I’m not bragging on me, I’m bragging on Jesus, my Lord and Healer.

May what's been shared inspire your faith, encourage your heart, and serve as evidence of God's healing power in the world today. Who'll be exhibit B?