Just Faith

Faith is a gift from God. Faith can move mountains, even the mountain of addiction. Ending a life of self abuse caused by addiction will happen when you trust God to lead the way over, around and even through the mountain. God's "Twelve Step Program" begins with one easy step-believe in Him.

Friday, April 3, 2015

A Walk with Him

The story began with two words-“Follow me.” And they would. For more than three years they walked with him wherever he went. They were there to celebrate with him when someone said “I believe.” They were with him when those that wouldn't believe tried to kill him.

Day after day they listened to his teachings. They didn't always understand, but they always listened. They didn't know their lives were being changed with each step of their journey. They stood with the crowds when Jesus performed miracles never before seen. They stood close by his side when they were afraid to go on.

For more than three years they walked with him. Did the time go by too fast for them? Suddenly their time together was no longer measured in years or months…or even days. Known only to Him there were only hours left before his journey would end.

After three years, late one night they gathered together. The broke bread and supped with him. He knelt before them and gently washed the dirt away that had stained their feet as they walked with him.

Hours passed, night became early morning. He asked them for the last time to follow him. In a garden he wept to his Father…while they slept…no words of prayer leaving their exhausted minds.

In the dark shadows of the night the one who would betray him lead a band of soldiers to the garden.

A kiss of treachery

Swords drawn

He was taken

The ones who had walked with him—ran off into the night

They beat him about his face

They laid stripes upon his back

They beat him again and placed a crown of thorns upon his brow

One who had followed him, who had loved him with unmeasurable passion sat in the courtyard close enough to see the blood run down the face of his Lord…then denied him, once, twice, three times

Their eyes met…one filled with love…the other filled with shame…he ran into the night—away from the one he had walked with

The crowds screamed—“Crucify him”

On a hill called Calvary the pierced him, hung, arms spread wide, nailed to a tree

It began with two words—“Follow Me.”

On that Friday it ended with three words—“It is finished.”

Today is Good Friday. “Good” because of God.

Do you hear Him?

“Follow Me.”

Today is Good Friday…a good day to begin a walk with Him.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Religious Freedom???Part 2

In my circle of life I have friends and family that have an alternate lifestyle. They have a different sexual orientation than I do. But I love them. I will walk with them, talk with them and dine with them, without hesitation…because I love them.

I respect their decisions and honor their choices, but I cannot participate in, endorse or profit from their lifestyle. I cannot do so because of my own beliefs. For me to do so would be the epitome of hypocrisy. I could no more do this than knowingly participate, endorse or profit in someone’s blatant lie.  A lie deigned to cause harm, bring profit or even just a little white lie; it is still a lie, an untruth.

Scripture is crystal clear on what God deems as sin. Two of God’s first commandments could be applied to the telling of a lie, especially one that is concocted to gain profit-
8th Commandment-You shall not steal.
9th Commandment-You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.

Because of my beliefs I honor these commandments of God. 

So what does scripture say about homosexuality?

In the 7th chapter of Mark’s Gospel Jesus lumped sexual immorality with murder, greed, deceit and even arrogance. He called them “evil” and warned that these evils will defile us.

Does His statement answer the question of whether homosexuality is sexually immoral?

The Apostle Paul more directly addresses the subject in the first chapter of Romans-

Romans 1:24-27;"Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonor their own bodies between themselves: Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshiped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen. For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature: And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompense of their error which was deserved.”

This clearly states that homosexuality is against nature, a sin. Not separated, elevated above or isolated from any other sin…it is just simply a sin.

I believe that Scripture is the Word of God…the Truth. If I am to claim my faith then I must also claim the truth.

Now the day may come when one of my friends or family that has this alternate life style may commit to marriage. Because of my beliefs I would not participate in the ceremony. I would wish them the best…but from afar. Attending the ceremony would constitute endorsement of or acceptance of something that I do not believe is right.

I am aware that my decision could come at a great cost. Relationships will be damaged or even severed. Wounds will be slow to heal, some may never heal or leave scar that cannot be hidden. The cost will be tremendous.

Yet when I consider the cost that Jesus Christ paid so that I may live, the cost I will likely pay for standing strong on my own commitment pales.

Let us now consider the laws of man that are currently causing great debates.

If you are a business owner I would like to point out something to you. Your business is made up of assets and paperwork, profits and losses. Your business may have a Mission Statement, but your business or corporation does not have a moral compass. It is not a living thing. It cannot form beliefs or ethics.

If you make a conscious choice to apply your own beliefs to your business, which you certainly could, then you must accept the consequences of decisions you, not the business, has made.
Last week the company I work for sent out a letter to over 35,000 customers announcing a price increase in the services we offer. The letter that went out explained the reason for this increase. An attempt at transparency was detailed in this letter. The price increase was warranted, it had been more than three years since the last increase. The cost of doing business today has increased substantially. The company has absorbed many of the increased costs during the past few years. We felt the timing was appropriate and that resistance from our customers would be minimal.

Boy, were we wrong.

It wasn't the small increase (less than $4 a month in most cases) that caused such uproar. It was the attempt to justify and be transparent that rocked the boat. The letter placed direct blame on Obama-care.

Austin, Texas (our largest market) is boiling over with liberals who staunchly support anything that comes from the current administration; including the Affordable Care Act.

I am the Director of Quality Assurance for this company. My last three days have been filled responding in a true mea culpa fashion to these very vocal customers. But the damage has been done; we cannot unsend the letter. The losses could surpass the small increase in revenues that would have been generated by the price increase.

In the words of Scooby Doo-“ruh roh!”

I do want to acknowledge that a political view exposed is not the same as a religious view exposed. It will not carry the pain and heartbreak that religious views can bring. Yet it is still very powerful…and should not be part of any business or corporation. But if a business decides to use its political views as part of daily business routine, it must be prepared to pay the consequences of this decision.

If you are a business owner who stands by his or her faith are you prepared to pay the consequences of whatever decision you make? If you choose not to provide products or services to someone who has a belief that is counter to yours are you prepared for the possible uproar and loss of future revenue that your stance could likely cause? If you answered “yes”, I applaud you.

If you are a business owner that makes the decision to separate your own beliefs from the business you run and provide services to everyone, regardless of their own beliefs or lifestyles, are you also prepared to face the consequences of this stance?

What consequences, you ask.

They are harder to describe-but you will know them… you will feel them, every time you make a bank deposit. Or every time you look in the mirror and see a Child of God.

I was reminded today the Jesus Christ dined with thieves and prostitutes. I was also reminded that He died for all…unconditionally. But I also know that Jesus told these thieves and prostitutes to “go and sin no more”, and He loved them.

I believe there is a more important lesson from the Teacher-He never wavered from the Truth.

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

The Religious Freedom Restoration Act is in the news causing much confusion for people of faith and those that have taken a different route. I am not surprised by the confusion stirred up in the wake of Indiana’s decision to proclaim a “Religious Freedom” law.
 I’m confused.
Freedom of religion was guaranteed by our founding fathers when they penned the First Amendment to our Constitution. More recently US Code 2000bb-1 “Free exercise of religion protected” states-
” Government shall not substantially burden a person’s exercise of religion even if the burden results from a rule of general applicability, except as provided in subsection (b) of this section.”
Now you can go on to read subsection (b) if you desire to accomplish two goals, a) more confusion and b) a headache.
Our religious freedom is the most precious freedom that we have as citizens of the United States of America. It should never be taken lightly. It should be fought for without abandonment.  It should be cherished amounts our greatest possessions. It should be recognized as a gift from a loving God; the same God that allowed mankind to make choices, even when those choices exclude the Gift Giver.
I love this nation and the principles that serve as its foundation. I love that I can worship the God that I want to without fear of persecution. I love that I can tell others about my God without fear of incarceration or even death.
I love that in the wake of Indiana’s passing of an unneeded law people are again thinking about this incredible freedom.
Which brings me to what I really wanted to write about—
If you are a person of faith…do you understand what declaring your faith really means?
By way of a hypothetical I will venture further into this question in the light of the uproar over this unneeded law.
You are the owner of an Event Planning Service. You are a person of faith, a person that believes in God. You celebrate your faith by worshiping God, not only at Easter and Christmas, but every day of your life. You have committed your life and your work to honor God.
Now you know who you are.
One Monday morning two people enter into your humble shop. Upon greeting them you discover that they are there to solicit your services for an upcoming wedding. Your experienced eye tells you that these will be good customers. The garments they wear aren't off the rack. They are groomed impeccably. You glance out the large window of your shop and see only one car parked in front; an automobile that costs more than your own annual income.
Yes, these will be great customers.
After exchanging names and handshakes you hand them a clipboard that holds a questionnaire designed to gather general information. You tell them that while they are filling out the paperwork you will retrieve albums that will aid them in their decision making.
When you return the gentleman on the right hands you back the clipboard, smiling, ready to get on with business.
 You glance at the names written down-
The word “Bride” has been crossed out. Neatly penned above the crossed out word your customer has written “Groom-2”
In the space provided he has written his name.
In the space below provided for the “Groom” is written the other man’s name.
One space has been left blank-“Budget $________”
An unsettling feeling overcomes you as your realize that standing before you is a gay couple!
An express train of thoughts speeds through your mind—
“They are gay. This is wrong. I cannot help them do something that I know is wrong. I don’t know what to say to them. They need to go somewhere else. Some place that doesn't recognize that what they are doing is a sin. What do I say to them? Dear God, please give me the words and courage to send them away.”
“I am sorry,” you begin, “I don’t think I can help you with your…plans.”
The man on the left glances at the man on the right, “You neglected to fill in the budget again! Help this man. He needs to know how much we are going to spend before he can help us.”
The man on the right looks at you, “Is that it? You need to know our budget before you can help. Well that is refreshing. We have been to three other event planners that refused to help because we are not…traditional.”
“It’s not that…” you begin.
“Our budget is set between $90,000 and $100,000. If we go over a little I will be okay. But I trust that with the early revealing of our budget, you will be able to accommodate us.”
The express train ramps up again-
“A hundred thousand dollars! That is more than I made last year. That is life changing money. What do I do? I don’t believe in what they are doing. With that kind of money we could finally start a college fund for Joey. God, please give me guidance! What we could do with that kind of money! What will my wife think when I tell her I said no? God, please bless my decision…”
You look at the two men. The silence, your silence, fills the room.
You tell them, “I think…”
What do you tell them? Is there a price on your faith? Where is the line, if there is one, drawn?
A life changing decision?
We, as people of faith, must look at the whole truth. If our truth has “holes” in it, are we prepared to mend those holes with or own freedom? Or do we say “What’s just one hole? What does one compromise mean to God?
I wonder…did God ever compromise?

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

God Did That

I have a secret that most of you probably don’t know about—I enjoy talking to evolutionist. Not just talking, I receive great pleasure from exploring their thought process. It’s fun. I have learned not to try and debate them about the flaws in their theories…they are simply incapable of speaking and listening during a conversation. If I point out a flaw they simply repeat what they said, sometimes rearranging their words as if some mystical power lies in the order of speech, ignoring whatever input I had in the conversation.
For years I attempted this technique before realizing the flaws in my own approach. And then one sunny winter day when the world was moving slowly allowing for clear thought, a new, and as it turns out flawless response evolved out of thin air.
Three words—God did that.
I have discovered that even the most devoted Neo-Darwinist cannot respond with a well thought out retort to my statement—God did that.
If the Evolutionist is spouting off about evolutionary fluctuations among birds, finches seem to be their favorite; I do not challenge their theory. I simply reply God did that.
When the student of evolution is bold enough to approach the subject of Gradualism, quoting one of their hero’s, Ernst Mayr, “All evolution is due to the accumulation of small genetic changes”,  I simply reply-God did that.
If this same narrow-minded evolutionist proudly describes the Baldwin Effect, a ridiculous principle stating that behavior will somehow gradually reshape genetic profiles, I reply—God could do that too!
Sometimes this miniature Darwin wanna-be will even spout off about Mechanisms of Selection. Belief in this nonsense must be a prerequisite of entering the Evolutionist Society Club. This Mechanisms of Selection also allows the Darwin wanna-be to shore up their next argument about choice and homosexuality. Sexual Selection is defined as an adaptation where sexual partners are chosen based on specific and uncontrollable cues. You know my response—“God did that…He created man and woman and choice (freewill). The student almost inevitably will scratch their head after my reply, trying to determine if I just agreed with them or not.
Big Bang—“God did that.”
Bottom dwelling single cell scum to intelligent life form— “God did that”
Dinosaurs—“God did that.”
Ice age—“God did that.”
Global warming…well—“Gore did that one”
It doesn’t matter what the Evolutionist says or believes because…”God did that!”
Next time you run across one these Mal-informed thinkers, have some fun. Limit your words, your retorts, your debates, to these three simple words. And then tell them you are practicing an economy of words…they will love you even more.

Saturday, February 28, 2015

I am very excited that “Going Numb” will be re-released this week in both e-book format and a new paperback edition. Both will be available through Amazon. This week I have edited, re-read, corrected and remembered. “Going Numb” was written in hopes that it would help someone that faces the darkness of drug addiction. If you know someone that is battling addiction or loves an addict so much that the pain is real, I hope you will consider sharing the story “Going Numb” with them.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Just a moment to brag

My daughter, Sara Rose came home yesterday with a new tattoo on her left arm. "I am enough" the blue ink declares. That's not what I am bragging about.
Sara is nineteen, living in a world so different than the one I experienced at the same age. If I could choose to be any age I wanted today it would not include any of the arduous teenage years. These future navigators face many more challenges than we did in the 1960s and 70s. As a society we have practically forced them to grow up too fast. We don't let them be kids anymore. Perhaps they don't want to be and I guess that could be said of any past generation, but that doesn't excuse this drive to make them act like and be an adult...sometimes way to soon.

Sara has become an adult already. But that's not what I am bragging about. Nor am I lamenting. She did so by overcoming many obstacles and challenges she has faced during the last few years. It began the day her mother left this family. Almost immediately Sara took on the added responsibilities that were vacated by the abrupt departure of her mother.

But that's not what I am bragging about.

Sara navigated her way through Canyon High School, graduating last year with a good GPA. She did so facing numerous challenges and obstacles, some of those self-inflicted when she acted as a true teenager...staying out too late or hanging with the wrong crowd (on occasion). Yet she overcame each one, never allowing them to stand in the way of life and graduation.

But that's not what I am bragging about.

Around 18 months ago Sara became a mommy. Logan James entered the world, a needy little boy. Logan is a blessing to me, he invigorates this old man when I seem to need it the most. But Logan was born while Sara was still in high school and born with allergies to...well it seemed almost everything. Sara spent many nights holding Logan and administering breathing treatments, or calming his crying that if not calmed would lead to the need for a breathing treatment. She sacrificed the much needed sleep of a senior in high school, because she loves her son so much.

But that's not what I am bragging about.

Sara's tattoo reads "I am enough". She has recognized something in her short time here on earth that I still struggle with after more than 57 years. "I am enough" is not her way of bragging about her own ability as a single mom, or as a young woman in the real world. It's not bragging about facing challenges head on, often alone and into uncharted territories. It's not bragging that she will often choose to tackle the world by herself as if proving a point to the nay-Sayers In fact, "I am enough" is not tainted with gloat at all.

I AM, is God. Jehovah Jireh,  the God who provides. And what is it that he has provided Sara with? Many things, but it is not about the things. It is about what God is doing (providing) in her walk with Him. It is about what God does for those who believe and trust in Him, not about things that He provides. It is about God changing who we are from within. He does so with perfection, patience and love. Sara knows God. Sara knows that because I AM is enough, she can say "I am enough".

Sara, I am proud of you. You have learned something that I hope one day to understand. Until then I am only enough because of you.

I love you,

Wednesday, February 4, 2015


This Sunday I will be teaching from the 11th chapter of the Gospel According to John. Within the walls of this chapter is perhaps the greatest miracle to never be witnessed again. The story is filled with emotions that come when death enters into our lives. We even experience the emotions of our Lord Jesus Christ through the power of just two words, “Jesus wept.”
Normally I would reserve this space to share with you the Sunday’s Bible study after I had taught the study.  But things change.

I went into this study with hesitation. I did not know if I could teach a class on dying without thinking about... dying. I try hard not to let my thoughts wander down such a dark path with all of its twists and turns, knowing as the end of the path nears there may be a mile-marker with my name carved into the wood.

But with determination I avoided a macabre approach to the subject and instead studied Death as believed or thought of by other cultures in other times. Some of it was quite fascinating and I will be sharing that in class this Sunday…but not here.

Instead I wanted to share a short story with you about what happened to me yesterday.

I was in San Antonio to meet with a customer that I had not seen in a couple of years. I arrived in San Antonio earlier than I expected so I took advantage of the surplus time to have my oil changed and drove to my favorite pit stop. 

It was day two of my chemo-treatment, so hanging around my neck was Deloris. Deloris is my chemo-pump (model CAAD Legacy plus…I am still unsure of what the “plus” is), she hangs with me three days a week, every other week, pumping the lifesaving toxins into my bloodstream.  I walked into the small waiting area that is so common in every oil change mill that lines the highways. Three old vinyl-backed chairs (all with their vinyl split in the exact same spot) is all the comfort that is offered to the consumer; two of the chairs were available.

In the third chair sat a woman that I would guess to be a few years younger than me. She was pleasant looking and bundled up in a coat and scarf. She had the appearance of someone who likes to spend time making meals for a large family, always making sure that everyone comer muchas!

The owner of this establishment stood behind the small counter and asked me what type of cancer I was battling. He had already inquired about Deloris on the way into the shop. I have known John for a long time and didn’t mind sharing with him.
I answered “Colon-cancer.”
I saw how quickly the woman in the third chair sat up and knew that she had something to say.
“I too had colon cancer.” She told me.
“That was 25 years ago!”
She had my attention.

It takes less than fifteen minutes to have the oil changed in my truck; this stranger had all the minutes remaining to tell me her story.

Twenty-five years ago the doctors told her that she may die in surgery because of her health. Things were much different then, she told me. But she didn’t die. Then the doctors told her that she needed chemotherapy but that too had risks, including death. She told me again how different things were then; I believe she was trying to reassure me as she glanced at Deloris hanging around my neck. 

She told me she elected not to have the chemo treatments. Instead she chose prayer. After a short time she suffered further complications and was told that she would need a blood transfusion. She told the doctors no. She continued to pray.
She smiled, “That was twenty-five years ago, and I am still here, because of God.”

And then she told me that she is a Jehovah’s Witness.

I looked at her and I thanked her for sharing her story with me. Her car was ready, she waved at me and left.

This woman believes in a different God than I do. But there is no doubt in my mind that it was God that brought us together in that small waiting area of a lube shop. Just as there is no doubt in my mind and my heart that the God she doesn’t know, knows her. He loves her in the same way that he loves me…without conditions. 

This is not a story about theologies or beliefs and so I will not go there tonight. Other than to say that if our paths ever cross again I would thank her again and then tell her my story about Jesus.

In the 11th chapter of John’s Gospel there are three main characters and Jesus Christ. The story is about Martha, Mary and Lazarus. But at the end of this great story as Jesus prepares to call forth from the grave his friend, we see a crowd of mourners gathering. We don’t know much about them at all. I believe that the miracle that our Lord was about to perform was for their sake. You see Martha and Mary already loved Jesus. Their words tell us that they already believed that Jesus could have saved their brother. Martha believed that He could resurrect Lazarus; her understanding of the Resurrection was not yet clear.

I believe that there was someone among that crowd that didn’t belong, they were different. I believe that someone that didn’t believe in the same Lord as Mary and Martha, yet that someone had felt the pain of losing one that they love. I believe this person stood there waiting to see. I believe they stood there wanting. I believe that this person’s life was changed when Jesus cried out, ‘Lazarus come out.”
I believe that Jesus knew this person needed to see the true God glorified. Because God loved them first and will love them forever.

I believe that God loves the little Jehovah Witness that for a short moment in time gave me hope. I pray that she will one day come to know Him too.