What’s your track record for keeping promises? King David left us a Post-it that reads, “The Lord keeps every promise forever.” When you cast your lot with Jesus, He’ll always be with you, no matter what curves life throws at you.
A new year is a clean slate. Swipe off the past, and focus on who God says you’re becoming.
One of the most pensive additions to our Christmas library was written by two good ole boys who sing primarily Southern Gospel. Mark Lowry put his stand-up comedy chops aside to write these tender words. The melody is from Buddy Greene, Nashville’s harmonica virtuoso. Mark sings his poignant lyrics as we send this beautiful carol from our hearth to yours.
Innovation is on fire in Israel. Dream it, then stream it. Soon flying cars will be sky taxis, ala Marvel Comics, to speed health care to the boonies. If only we had an app to delete anxiety and see life from God’s perspective? We do!! It’s …. (drum rol-l-l-l-l-l) …THE HOLY BUT.
Where do words come from? Who spoke the first ones? Can anybody make up a word? Who decides its definition? Do the Webster boys own the franchise? It reminds me of theads you hear before Valentine’s Day, you know, the ones promising to name a star after you!
As a lad in Memphis in the forties and fifties, I went to school on a city bus. A 7 cent token was my ticket to ride. Come duck-drowning downpours, sleety streets or hellish humidity, my lone option was a segregated, smoke-belcher.
It’s one of those four-letter words. 2,600 years ago Daniel wrote: “God controls the course of world events. He removes kings and sets up kings.”
Never had we felt more out of control. Midwest winters are the worst. Huge, softball-sized snowflakes blindfolded us as we crept along the Indiana Toll Road. All we could see up ahead was the taillights of a monster semi whose bravado propelled him faster than we dared to venture without our Iditarod lead dog.
“That does it!! No more pigging out on pizza for me,” I hear you shout. No more binge-watching and buttered sweet corn. The stranger staring back at you from that full-length mirror is not who you wanted to see. Face it, your high school yearbook editor is one of a select few who remember, as Streisand and Redford put it in ‘73, “the way we were.” If you really want to recover your senior year’s physique, these should be your salad-only days.
A company in France claims that “If we ask the right questions, we can change the world.” Questions like “What can be done if …” invite breakthroughs.
A brilliant Roman citizen, a Hebrew by birth, introduced what the Bible calls the “mystery” or “secret.” It replaced Jewish religious rituals, animal sacrifices, etc. providing total pardon of our sins, paid for by Jesus Christ’s sacrificial death, a position that is yours by faith, not by works.
In 1760 a seemingly harmless word was coined. It smacks of being lazy, a spectator – not a player, a smugness which, says astronaut Alan Shepard, can come from success. The word is complacent.
We’re drowning in “breaking news” ….mass shootings, killer earthquakes, gang violence, death threats toward leaders, viral diseases, wars, lying leaders, tyrannical control, leaky borders admitting criminals, no due process, jailed but not charged, energy-dependent, stalled supply chains and more.
“Ask your doctor about the little blue pill,” breathlessly whispers the TV announcer who’s promising to cure you … while simultaneously warning, at 3x speed, that it could kill you. Judging by the other products being advertised on this channel, the viewer (1) fears the future, (2) is restless and (3) obsesses about his/her looks.
Bobb Biehl and Bob Tiede, as His Deal Specialists, believe we learn and lead best by asking profound questions. These Bible verses may be the four most profound.
Larry Wright was a Top 40 deejay in Phoenix. Mixing humor with homiletics, “Lucky Lawrence” explained Jesus Christ’s teachings to hundreds each week, meeting in bars.
You’ve decided to build your dream home. You take your bucket list of ideas to an architect. But instead of detailed blueprints for your approval, he flippantly says, “Trust me, it’ll be great.”
Strangely, we give no thought to something as vital and continuous as breathing unless we have a respiratory disorder.
A skilled wordsmith can craft a “dog whistle” to secretly send signals of affection or rejection, even war or peace.
An infectious disease and a crazed, rootin-tootin’ empire builder have given us a new religion …. FEAR. Streaming media filibuster us with continuous “news” designed to fan the flames of our phobias.
At this stage in your life what seems impossible for you? Is it a money pinch? A health snafu? Maybe a wrinkled relationship that can’t be ironed out?
What do you want your loved ones to know before they breathe their last? The consequences are enormous.
What are you waiting for? What did kids do before smartphones or video games to fight boredom?
As we slip into a new season, how would you like to get intentional, just for fun? Let’s turnover some rocks and see what pops up.
Let’s have a seat on this park bench while those geese and gulls practice touch’n’go’s on the lake. Life appears to be so uncomplicated for these graceful creatures, doesn’t it?
It hurts my heart that so many of our friends have not yet said “Yes” to Jesus.” It’s like the manager whose starting pitcher can’t seem to find the plate. He keeps walking in more runs, but the skipper refuses to call the bullpen and stop the bleeding.
Jesus and His lads were crossing the Sea of Galilee in a malicious storm. It could easily have been their last. This reminds us that (1) storms end eventually, and (2) we’re safe when we’re in the boat with Jesus.
Several times a day I hear, “How are you feeling? I mean Really feeling?” People actually want to know; I get it.
The Bitterroot Mountains stretch 103 miles across Montana and Idaho. Their name recalls the curious phrase, “a root of bitterness.”
When we swelter, we head for shelter. Wherever there’s water. Be it the windswept Pacific coast, Puget Sound’s chill, crystalline Northwest lakes, the muscular Columbia or just a sip to wet our lips.
Have you ever come across a contronym? It’s a word that has opposing definitions, for example: Trim, Fast, Mean, Refrain.
Our national observance of Memorial Day stirs us from our patriotic dormancy, bringing to mind genuine American heroes who traded their very lives for the priceless gift of freedom which we dare not take lightly.
May Day, celebrated on the 1st of May, has been a harbinger of springtime for thousands of years. It marks the return of Creation’s cavalcade of colors.
Our friend, Brig. Gen. Richard F. Abel, now in his 80’s, retired after serving his country for thirty years, proudly wearing the uniform with integrity.
When you were a kid, remember those Easter egg coloring kits? The decals transferred images and words onto hard-boiled eggs which our parents hid for us under the couch cushions. Somehow I failed to make the connection between colored eggs and the open tomb. But now upon reflection …
You’re rocking back ’n’ forth, pacing-in-place, waiting for a green light. The sea of humanity surrounding you, all decked out in their business best, appears to have it all together. But in your heart of hearts you’re as directionless as kelp in a tidal pool.
What unique experience is coming your way that at this stage of your life is impossible to describe?
At the age of nearly 100 Dr. Michael DeBakey wrapped up a stellar, 75-year career as a surgeon, scientist, inventor and educator.
Ominous, isn’t it? It may be the harbinger of a holocaust or the promise of paradise. The premonition that a world-shaking event is lurking offstage is giving many the vibe that whatever is coming, it is imminent. Deep in our souls we yearn for peace and unity. Instead we see hate and destruction.
He made everything that has been made. Isn’t that an expansive thought to ponder? Every atom, every molecule, everything that exists. And he did it all in just six days. Well, that’s God’s story anyway. But even if those half-a-dozen days were longer, much longer than our 24 hour days, that’s still moving pretty fast, wouldn’t you agree?
Give me these next ninety seconds, and I’ll give you something you can’t buy, even if you're worth more than Gates and Bezos combined. But first, a question.
Have we become desensitized to the daily death count? This war we’re waging against that covert Covid foe is so dehumanizing. As it drags on, is there a danger of our becoming immune to the heartbreak behind each of those numbers?
In the bleak, desperate days of World War II America was deeply divided. Armistice signings unleashed the hopes and dreams of our “Greatest Generation” who laced up for a post-war building boom like none other ever. Now we’re “deeply divided” again, having failed to learn the cost for the freedom our brave ancestors purchased with their blood.
Holidays are made for families. Hearts are tugged together, mending hurts with mercy where needed. Elders seem older and slower. Little ones grow quickly, replenishing hope for tomorrow. Mom’s specialty dishes draw ooh’s and ahh’s of anticipation rewarded. For a fleeting moment time stands still. Objects in the mirror of your mind seem closer than they are.
“I see trees of green, red roses too, and I think to myself, ‘What a wonderful world!’” 3,000 years ago the most powerful ruler on the planet wrote a hit song describing the path to that world. You can almost hear King David hum it as he wrote: “How happy and fulfilled are those whose rebellion has been forgiven, those whose sins are covered by blood. How blessed and relieved are those who have confessed their corruption to God! For He wipes their slate clean and removes hypocrisy from their hearts.” (Psalm 32:1-2) When you think to yourself, is your world wonderful?
What on earth can we learn from sand? Carpeting the water-logged two-thirds of the earth, it’s the result of timeless pounding of wind and waves. Sprawling expanses of burning, desert sand once served as the floor of our planet. It’s everywhere underfoot, even in the Bible. God promised Abraham that his descendants would be as numerous as sand. God’s thoughts of us outnumber the grains of sand. He advises, “Build on a rock because if storms batter a home built on sand, it collapses and is swept away.” Like an hourglass, your sands of time creep through life’s bottlenecks until the last few grains pick up speed and slide into their final resting place. What have you learned from these few lines about sand? “Everyone who hears my teaching and applies it to his life can be compared to a wise man who built his house on an unshakable foundation. When the rains fell and the flood[ came, with fierce winds beating upon his house, it stood firm because of its strong foundation.” (Matthew 7:24-25)
What are your expectations for the next thirty days? Do you believe good things will happen for and to good people? Are you convinced that bad people will get their just desserts? Do you suspect that in another dimension, not understood by us mere mortals, that this is some sort of virtual drama whose final act has already been played out? Are we simply cardboard cutouts filling the seats at a virtual game of life? Or are we surrounded by a great cloud of real witnesses somewhere far beyond our current state?
These IQ-less critters will never be valedictorians. Their natural bent for following and flocking makes them easy prey, remaining alert for unwelcome, night visitors. Sheep willingly move en masse when just one of them takes off, even to march over a cliff, being utterly helpless and hopeless. Evolutionists could make a more compelling case to link us with sheep than apes. The Bible refers to us as “sheep without a shepherd.” As the Good Shepherd for those who put their trust in Him, Jesus Christ guides us out of harm’s way to leafy grazing and quiet waters. Our benevolent Gatekeeper is also the Lamb of God, our Stand-in on that cruel cross. Canadian songbird, Anne Murray, warbled, “I sold my soul, You bought it back for me and held me up and gave me dignity. Somehow You needed me.” “For you know that your lives were ransomed once and for all from the empty and futile way of life handed down from generation to generation. It was not a ransom payment of silver and gold, which eventually perishes, but the precious blood of Christ—who like a spotless, unblemished lamb was sacrificed for us.” 1 Peter 1:18-19 Posted September 29, 2020
To describe how you’re feeling, you might say, “On a scale of 1 to 10, I’m a 4.” But wouldn’t it be clearer if you said, “If life is a garden, mine is filled with dead flowers and parched soil.” That’s a “word picture.” From missiles in the Middle East to mayhem in the Midwest too many are dying in this era. We shrink from the subject of death, but the Bible minces no words: “Every human being is appointed to die once, and then face God’s judgment.” How would you describe death, using a word picture? Think of it as ….. a revolving door. It’s not the end of your existence. It’s the vehicle that transports who you are from the constraints of time into the next room of eternity. Francis Schaeffer asked, “How should we then live?” But “How should we then die?” “You were at one time spiritually dead because of your sins and because you were Gentiles without the Law. But God has now brought you to life with Christ. God forgave us all our sins; He canceled the unfavorable record of our debts with its binding rules and did away with it completely by nailing it to the cross.” (Colossians 2:13-14) Posted September 14, 2020
You begged Santa for a puppy, but got Pick-up-sticks. It hurt, but eventually you got over it. Well, mostly. Then your heart was set on taking Wanda to “Holiday on Ice,” but that stud bully, Jefferson Pierpont Cheapshot, asked her first, and you got the cold shoulder. Grief is the residue of something or someone that’s been wrested from you, leaving an ache for which there’s no vaccine. You’ve experimented with under-the-counter pain relievers. But they only exacerbate when you were hoping for eliminate. What’s taken from us leaves a vacuum which we fill with sorrow, anger or revenge. I’ve heard it said that “When Jesus is all you have, you’ll find that He’s all you need.” But just maybe Charlie Brown is on to something when he mumbles, “Good grief.” Maybe grief is a gift from God to remind us that losing – whether it’s a dog or a date – is not the end of the world -- unless it’s what the Carpenter from Nazareth meant when He cautioned, “What do you benefit if you gain the whole world but lose your soul?” That question bears repeating: “What do you benefit if you gain the whole world but lose your soul?” “Now is your time of grief, but I will see you again and you will rejoice, and no one will take away your joy.” (Jesus to His close friends just before He was crucified for your sins and mine. John 16:22) Posted August 14, 2020
God 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 unconditionally 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 george@HisDeal.org Posted July 15, 2020
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