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No Matter What

will never ever
condemn those
who trust in Jesus.
Why would He?
He has forgiven and forgotten
all our sins.
His Son fully paid for them
once and forever.
If He ever remembered them,
 Jesus’ sacrifice  
would be meaningless.
Even those dearest to you 
who intend to love you 
  will sooner or later
fail you.
But not Jesus!
No matter what.

Romans 8:31-39
Posted July 31, 2020
Our country is hemorrhaging from a racial gash perhaps too deep to heal.  Whose ideal America should prevail?  Our founders wrestled with this and risked death on the high seas to inhale freedom.  This, they felt, could only exist in a law-abiding system of checks and balances.  They settled on three God-given rights that would satisfy the desires of each individual as well as promote the common good:  “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.” 
Dutch Sheets writes, “When I pray for revival in America, I know the breaches in America’s history well – injustices, acts and our many sins.  We have failed, sometimes egregiously.  Yes, our nation has a flawed past and perhaps an even more flawed present.”  Only the God who in love formed us can reach back into the past and heal angry wounds we’re responsible for or merely inherited.  Forgiveness and cleansing are His ideas.
Two millennia ago on a hill far away a dark-skinned, 30-something man who had never sinned, hung naked on a cross to pay reparations for us, accepting the death sentence we rightfully received for sins committed by every human of every race.  He did this to give each of us total forgiveness and an endless future with Him.  His name is Jesus.  Here’s His pledge: 
Then if my people who are called by my name will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sins and restore their land.”
It would be a tragedy to not seize this opportunity.
George Toles
Posted July 15, 2020

Race For Peace

Our nation is engaged in a heated debate about how we should respectfully treat each other. 
News and opinion outlets are airing the views of all sides. Which position has the ring of truth? Who has the authority and power to create a lasting peace? What can heal the din of angry voices, clouds of tear gas, sloganeering, destruction and physical violence?
The One who created us in a variety of skin suits, loving each of us with all of our differences, speaks through His friend Paul:  “No longer do we judge anyone by human standards. God, through Christ who died for us, has changed us from His enemies to His friends. He’s given us the assignment to deliver to each other that life-giving message.”
If we choose “NO God,” then we’ll have “NO peace.”  But if we choose to “KNOW God,” then we’ll “KNOW peace.”
“Now that we have been put right with God through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.”  Romans 5:1
Will you let your “no” be “know” and your yes be yes?
Posted June 30, 2020


Remember the childish taunts hurled at you by that hateful bully at school?  Perhaps those hurtful catcalls came with hostile epithets:  “Hey, Fatso!  Porky! Carrott-top!  Yo, mama’s boy!”  When his abuse became unbearable, tears could flow, prompting “Whassa matter, cry-baby?”
As we mature, we learn that when things are not going our way, there’s a more productive, grownup alternative to whimpering, “Why me?”  This wisdom is found in what occurred in Jerusalem two millennia ago.  Thousands of pilgrims from throughout the Middle East had assembled to celebrate the Feast of Pentecost.
Suddenly there was a loud noise, like the groans of a low-flying 747.  What resembled tongues of fire appeared, and people of every ethnic group heard total strangers speaking in their own language.  The message, clearly heard by everyone, was that Jesus Christ, who had been crucified a few weeks earlier, was indeed their promised Messiah.
The throngs responded by asking Jesus’ friends the two questions we must answer today: What does this mean?  … and … What should I do?
This is no time to be a why-baby.  “What” is the wiser question to ask.  And Peter had the right answer:  “Whoever calls out to the Lord will be saved.”  Acts 2:21
What does this mean to you?  What will you do?
Posted June 15, 2020
Have you discovered the joy of being fascinated with words?  In periods of limited contact with the outside world we have the unsought gift of time for otherwise unthinkable pursuits.

Take two of the tiniest words in our lexicon:  may and can.  So often incorrectly employed.  
Let’s begin with definitions.  “May” expresses possibility.  (“You may be right.”)  It also communicates permission.  (“May I have seconds?”)  “Can” describes ability.  (“She can type fast.”)  Curiously, it too connotes permission.  (“You may be excused.”)  When dealing with permission, either may or can is kosher.  “May” is also the name of a month, and “can” is an object that you can – or may – kick down the street.
Which is correct?  (1) “If I may, can I ask you a question?” or (2) “If I can, may I ask you a question?”)  Depending on the situation, both are proper.
In closing ….
May the Lord bless you and take care of you; may the Lord be kind and gracious to you; may the Lord look on you with favor and give you peace.”  (Numbers 6:24-26)
“I can do everything God asks me to with the help of Christ who gives me the strength and power.”  (Philippians 4:13)
Posted May 31, 2020

No Kidd-ing

Grandparents had a kaleidoscope toy that you looked through like Capt. Kidd’s pirate telescope.  At one end were chips of varying shapes and colors which, as you rolled it, changed places like a high-stepping band’s halftime formations. 
The corona virus of 2020 goose-stepped across our world.  Each of us, like our toy kaleidoscope, views the crisis through a different lens.  But dread, danger and death pollute everyone, causing many to wonder, “Where is God when we need Him most?”
David, the Goliath slayer, wrote, “The Lord is my best Friend and my Shepherd. … He restores and revives my life. Lord, even when Your path takes me through the valley of deepest darkness … I’ll never be lonely for You are near. … So why would I fear the future?  … when my life is through, I’ll return to Your glorious presence to be forever with You!”
QUESTION … “All kidding aside, what must I do to be saved?” 
Posted May 14, 2020

Who's Driving The Bus?

In high school we logged many miles in our old school bus.  After we’d been on the road for what seemed forever, some yokel would break the silence, screaming, “Are we there yet?”
These days in our quarantined quandary people are asking, “Will we ever see the good, ole days again?  Can we return to yesterday when all our troubles seemed so far away?  Is this our new normal?  What’s next?”  It’s easy to grow impatient, marooned in our Fauci cages.  Or we can proactively probe for a pony buried in this pile of manure.  Well, by George, I found one!
A dear friend has lived as the prodigal for most of his colorful, affluent and glamorous life.  Imagine the roller coaster ride his caring, praying family and friends have been on as he soared with the rich-and-famous, but settled into a destructive lifestyle.
Would he ever return?  Would his fate ever be learned?  Well, I’m here to tell you that at last he’s raced home back into the arms of his Savior, Jesus Christ, whom he first placed his trust in as a teenager.  As in the ancient story, our prodigal’s Father in heaven is throwing one, honkin’ Welcome Home feast!
My wandering friend took the long and winding road, sampling the plastic fruits of fame and fortune, only to find that Father knows best.
Who’s driving your bus?  Have you let Jesus take the wheel?
“…I was shown mercy so that in me, the worst of sinners, Christ Jesus might display his immense patience as an example for those who would believe in Him and receive eternal life.”  1 Timothy 1:16
“I am certain that God who began the good work within you will continue His work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns.”  Philippians 1:6
“What do you benefit if you gain the whole world but lose your own soul? Is anything worth more than your soul?”  Matthew 16:26
“Who then will condemn us? No one—for Christ Jesus died for us and was raised to life for us, and He is sitting in the place of honor at God’s right hand, pleading for us.”  Romans 8:34
Posted April 30, 2020

Keep Your Distance

“Let’s stay in touch” is often said at the outset of a new friendship or the rekindling of an old one.  Pandemics come with strict, no-touch guidelines for those who are socially active.  We can be only so close to another person, with only so many present in one place.
Introverts equate being quarantined to a paid vacation. For them the forced separation of being housebound is like winning the Publishers Clearinghouse whereas the extrovert would happily trade his Costco card to be in a flash mob.
How are you coping with this pan-demonium?  What about giving this a try?
Don’t worry about anything;
Pray about everything;
Thank God for everything,
Then God's peace will keep your hearts and minds safe in Christ Jesus.
I have learned to be content in any circumstance.

Peace and contentment.  What more could you desire?  Shall we let the learning begin?
Posted April 15, 2020

Behind the Mask

How the mighty have fallen!  Even global Goliaths have been brought to their knees by a microscopic organism, the baffling coronavirus.   So does size really matter?  We’ve been told on good Authority that faith, no bigger than a tiny mustard seed, can move the Himalayas. 
How did this paralyzing, panic-fueled pandemic start?  Will this plague run its course before we incur irreparable damage?  Wall Street’s bull has been gored by Main Street’s bear as currency runs for cover.  Can laid off workers pay their bills?  Will there be enough food and necessities? 
The headline-hungry media fan the flames of fear.  Is the situation out of control? Why is God allowing this dismantling of life’s routine freedoms?  What do Mardi Gras, Halloween, the Lone Ranger, Zorro and billions of us have in common?  A flimsy, surgical mask. 
If God is wearing one, what’s He doing behind it?  Smiling?  Smirking?  Weeping?  If He removed His mask to dispel your fears and give you hope, what would He say to you?
I have told you all this so that you may have peace in Me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart because I have overcome the world.”  John 16:33
Posted March 30, 2020

2 B or not 2 B

What are your most “felt” needs? The so-called experts say they are:
2 B loved
2 B long
2 B significant
Let’s take a quick inventory.
  • Do you feel loved?  Even if you have no living family or friends, know that God loves you lavishly.  Each breath is a gift of His love, the Love that traded His Son’s life for yours.
  • Do you have a sense of being connected?  If you’re a Jesus-follower, you’re a member of His Body of believers worldwide.  You may feel like you’re only a toenail in His Body, but you’re of great value.  Need proof?  Tear off your toenail.
  • Do you believe your life matters?  Jesus says He knows when a mere sparrow falls, so imagine how precious you are to Him.  You’re worth the life of His Son!
2 B loved, 2 B long, 2 B significant.  Everyone has those three needs.
How can you encourage the next person you’ll be with?

"My children, our love should not be just words and talk; it must be true love which shows itself in action.”  1 John 3:18
Posted March 14, 2020
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