Friday, August 30, 2013


WE’RE ALL GONNA DIE [or- Rock n Roll fantasy]

This week I wanted to do a second post on the same subject as last week.

But instead let’s cover how this ‘trip’ is going.

But first- I want to ask you guys to read the gospel of John this week- or this next month [not long, can read it in a day if you wanted].

But as you read- underline- highlight all the times where Jesus [or John] mention things like ‘he who believes has eternal life’.

This theme is in keeping with my last post- and it’s important that we all get that basic truth down.

Many good people say ‘John- sure- we believe in God’ and miss the main point that the Law [last post- law= trying to achieve salvation thru works] also had a belief in God.

James said ‘do not the devils believe in God’.

We need to grasp the idea that God himself GIVES us faith- as a Divine gift- and when he puts this faith in us [called imputation] we ‘become the righteousness of God in him’.

Faith means we stop trying to change ourselves thru implementing all types of programs/self-help principles.


These ideas [self-help] mean well- and to a degree can be helpful.

But Faith- when speaking about the subject of this post [being justified freely by God’s grace] means more than just a generic faith in God.

No- it means we stop striving to achieve change- change comes as a free gift of God.

Okay- see- I’m already on a rabbit trail here.

Read Romans chapter 7 and 8.

The Apostle Paul shares his own experience as someone who tried very hard to keep Gods law- and the more he tried- the more he failed.

In chapter 8 he explains the way this ‘new life’ works- based on Gods Spirit in us- as opposed to the old law.

Okay- let’s do a brief update on my time living again in New Jersey.

Yesterday I took one of my walks up to the park where I live.

For my Texas friends- this area is a hub for NYC- you catch all the buses to New York- as well as this North Jersey region- from this spot.

So- for the past 2 months I have been seeing a few street guys hanging out and stuff.

I have given a few dollars away- you know the standard thing.

But lots of times the street guys really don’t talk to you- I think they might think I’m a Narc [undercover cop].

Over the years it never helped that I carry my retirement badge in my wallet [Fire Dept.]

Why carry it?

To be honest- if you get pulled over for speeding [no seat belt].

When I take out my license- they see the badge- and let you go [sad- I know].

But- every so often if a street guy sees it- that’s it- I have to explain all this.

 I ran into Billy [older guy who always hangs out by the Quick Check].

And I offered to buy him lunch- White Castles.

He turned it down- but thanked me.

We talked a while- he told me how he grew up right in the area- was a master mechanic for many years [even made custom motorcycles].

His parents died [he used to work out of their garage years ago].

He eventually lost his spot- and became homeless.

We walked over to White Castle- I ran into Nick [for you North Bergen guys- he’s the guy with 2 missing legs- always on the scooter thing].

And Nick was buying coffee for another street guy [Rick].

He split the cup with him- I gave him a buck for another cup- but Billy only wanted a drink.

I pressed him ‘you sure’.

Okay- one chicken sandwich.

I bought him 2- he was starving!

Funny- he could have had as many as he wanted [I like buying White Castles] but at first he turned it down.

Yet- he was hungry.

Many times the guys are not simply looking for a handout.

Nick [no legs] got a dollar from somewhere- and tried to pay me back!

So- the guys were having a good time- they hang out in White Castles during breakfast/lunch.

Rick was telling me how the senior crew comes in- and they get a kick out of hearing all the older guys get into it.

Rick grew up in Brooklyn [my mom’s home area].

Moved to Ohio over the years- married- had kids.

And he came back to the area after being away for many years.

He’s 55- been back about 2 years- was giving me the scoop of what it’s like to be back.

He even ran down the block and got me the little homemade rent signs the people leave in the Laundry mat.

I was telling him how high the rents are- and he said the best way to get a place is to rent a room from the people that put these homemade signs up in the laundry.

So- that was cool that he went and brought the whole paper back.

Yeah- they put the info on a sheet of paper- and make the little pull off tabs at the bottom with the phone number.

No- Rick says he always takes the whole thing- so no one else gets the room first.

All in all- I had a sort of break thru with the guys- they even were spilling the beans on each other [stuff like- ‘don’t give that guy a buck John- he’ll just drink with it’. Or ‘no- this guy’s really form Hackensack- he just takes the bus and hangs out here’].

I had to leave earlier than I would have- had my friend in Hackensack that I was going to meet up with.

Got caught in a downpour- the car gave me some trouble- but made it later in the day.

My friend in Hackensack reminded me about an old friend of ours- ‘back in the day’.

I heard many years ago that he became a Heroin addict- and over the years when I would come back to make visits- I tried to see him.

One year I shared some bible verses with him- about addiction.

He appreciated it a lot- never was the type that said ‘no- I don’t want to hear that’.

I knew he died some years ago- but my friend in Hackensack told me how he ran into him one day on the bus.

He looked like Death warmed over.

He tapped Frank on the shoulder and said ‘we’re all gonna die- we’re all gonna die’.

Frank told me that Tom died a week later.

He had aids- was very sick from years of using- and that statement- as eerie as it sounds- shows you the progression of sin- addiction.

Tom came to the realization [or acceptance] that he was ‘on the way out’ [he died a week later].

And he was able to cope with it [in a way] by accepting the fact that WE ARE ALL GONNA DIE.

James [the brother of Jesus- who wrote the letter of James in the bible] says our lives are like a vapor- like grass- it comes up in the morning- and by the night it is gone.

‘Grass withers- flower fades- but the word of God endures forever’.

Many years ago [25?] I came back to North Bergen.

I made the effort to look my old friend Tom up.

You know- I heard he was using- and as a new believer did my duty to witness to my friend.

He graciously heard me- never said ‘F-off’ type thing.

And this time back- I got a message from him- thru a mutual friend.

In Hebrews 11 the bible says ‘he being dead- yet speaks’.

Yeah- I think so.

NOTE- After writing the top of this post- spent another whole day with Nick [rock singer- no legs, I’ll post the pics later].

‘We’ sang some classic rock songs at Hudson County Park.

I do like to sing the classic songs- and can sing some of them.

Nick wanted me to sing [not bragging- but he said he could use the Texas sound in my voice- he liked it for the sets he was doing].

I also met John- John is a retried Union City cop [no joke- others told me about him- and after talking to him- yeah- he was the real deal].

Now- to be honest- I DO NOT get along with cops.



Over the past 25 years- I have helped the homeless guys as part of my ministry- and I have heard/seen many stories where the cops have screwed my buddies over.

So- at times- I have almost gotten in serious trouble because I have had this experience.


Yes- one time I was moving some stuff from a homeless camp- the guys in Texas live on the streets- or in little camps in the brush.

And some guy with a ‘cop’ shirt walks up to my truck- and was giving us [me] a hard time.

I read his cop shirt- he was what we call a ‘rent a cop’- yeah- a civilian with a cop shirt [some volunteer group- our volunteer fire fighters did the same thing- acted like paid guys].

So- I almost got in a fight with the guy- he walked away real fast and went back to his house.

 This has been a problem for years.

So- it was strange in a way for me to be hanging out with a retired cop- who was very drunk- and to the best of my knowledge- is living in the park!

Yeah- John [the cop] is a street guy in the area.

But- I must have spent 7 hours in the park with the guys- singing with Nick most of the time.  [By the way- his name is Nick Rizzo- he plays at clubs and is a sort of local singer- he’s good. Last night he invited me to hear him sing at some gig he was doing in Clifton- but I had another engagement- Patrick had already invited me to his Celebration of being clean for 3 years from drugs- and I wanted to attend Pats meeting- If you want Nick to sing at some function- I told him I would post his name to my site and if anyone sends me a note I’ll pass it along.]

Why am I commenting on my new buddies?

Last year I also tried to document ‘the way’ I do ministry.

I wrote/posted a few pictures of some homeless guys in an area in Texas that I simply went to for the first time.

I saw some guys sleeping on bus benches- bought them a McDonald’s breakfast- and a few weeks later an old friend contacted me- and we started a Halfway House a few blocks from where I first met the street guys.

Okay- I journal this stuff so others can see- and if they want- ‘copy’ this style of ministry.

It does work.

Now- to be honest- North Bergen has been a bit tougher than my Texas excursions.

I have seen Nick and these guys for a couple of month’s now- and yeah- some of them slip up and talk about illegal drug deals/use and all.

Then they realize I’m right there- and they have to try and hint to the other guy ‘watch what you say- this guy might be a Narc’.

So- I think they realize I’m the real deal- I told them the whole scoop from day one.

I grew up here- went to Texas- came back and am trying to do ministry here- …

Yeah- that story does not sound believable- at first.

But now I think they realize I’m not an undercover cop.

Okay- what does this accomplish?

It takes time- but when people become friends- and they know I don’t use anymore- and do ministry stuff- then you’re like ‘the friend’ in the group that yeah- every so often throws in a bible verse- or someone asks ‘hey- I always had this question about God’.

[For instance- after Nick found out about the ministry stuff- he told me about a Vineyard church he went to- and even played me a few original songs he wrote- with a Christian theme- God- etc.]

And that’s how it works.

Over time- some of the guys have real experiences with God- others don’t.

Some get clean- others don’t.

But that is indeed a form of ministry.

One last note.

I really am not at the point yet where I will start bringing up bible verses and stuff- that usually simply happens over time- as friends talk with friends.

But Nick was singing and rocking out- he’s really an outgoing guy- if you don’t know Nick and you live in the area- I would suggest for you to introduce yourself to him.

But he was talking about the singers who go onto fame and all- and how that’s not his thing.

He just likes playing the clubs- that when the guys get famous they are always worried about their image and what people think.

I did quote a verse.

I told the guys that Jesus actually said this in John’s gospel.

I quoted ‘How can you say you are doing Gods will when you are always trying to impress men- putting on a fake image/show’.

Yeah- Nick liked that one.


 This is how this stuff works.

Note- Do me a favor, those who read/like the posts- re-post them on other sites as well as the site you read them on. Thanks- John. Don’t forget to scroll down on the timeline [FaceBook] - I have posted lots.

Friday, August 23, 2013



Yesterday I spent the day in ‘historic’ Hackensack.

I put historic in quotes- because as a kid growing up- all you remember are the bad days.

I used to think ‘Hackensack’ and yeah- bad days.

But- to my surprise- when you walk around- sober [or not high] yeah- the town is really a special place.

I visited an old friend- Frank.

I used to be good friends with his brother Fred many years ago- and I became a Facebook friend with Frank last year.

So- I made the promise that when I came up- I would take him to a spot to eat- and talk about the old days [Chicago- Old days- Oldies- good times I remember].

So- as I reach the 2 month mark back in Jersey- I wanted to make sure I kept the ‘vow’.

The other promise I made- was to see another old buddy in Newark.

I did that last week [I found the spot- a halfway house- but it already closed down].

So- I really enjoyed the day in Hackensack.

We went to a church service for homeless/street guys.

It was held in the historic church- that is known for George Washington attending.

We walked thru an old grave yard in the back of the church- it had the names of famous generals from the Revolutionary war era.

The church was started in 1662 [I think- I picked up the pamphlet- but left it at the buffet!].

So- the church was a true historic spot.

I walked all the spots where the street guys would walk- and the area- though nice- is not ‘nice’ for street guys.


Yeah- the cops keep an eye on you- and let you know.

The actual denomination of the church [Church on the Green] is Reformed.

I have studied- and taught lots about this church in the past.

They were indeed the original Protestants that came out of the 16th century.

They are a good denomination- and for Protestants- one of the most ‘intellectual’.

They focus much on the sovereignty of God [God in charge].

And Grace [they are strong on the doctrine of Predestination- that God chooses us- not us him].

Now- that’s actually what I wanted to post about this week.

I wanted to share the New Testament concept of Grace versus Works.

In a nutshell- Christianity approaches the subject of Change [how to overcome things- whether drugs- drinking-etc.]

From the standpoint of grace.

Don’t all recovery groups do this?

Not really.

In the world of ‘recovery’ you do have many good treatment concepts- often based on biblical principles.

Most of these try and implement the idea that if you follow a program [some have different programs to follow] that you can maintain sobriety.

Do these work?

Some of the times they do- but that’s where Grace comes in.

In Christianity- the ultimate authority for change comes from God.

Okay- don’t most programs believe in God?


But here’s the catch.

I have seen/experienced- that without the concept of Grace- when someone fails- relapses- there is a legalistic approach that many find very difficult to implement.

Grace teaches that freedom from sin [addictions] comes as a free gift of God- based on the death and resurrection of Christ.

In a nutshell- that means if a person is clean for a number of years- if they fall- stumble- and ask God for forgiveness- he forgives- and restores- as in if they never had the fall.


This is not just a minor point.

In Christian theology- this is the basis of the grace of God [and sovereignty- which means he does this because HE chooses to].

The bible says when people who struggle with sin [all of us- to different degrees] come to God- that God MUST forgive- because he ‘made this promise to his Son’.

God covenanted [made a deal] with Christ- that if He would die for the world- that God would be JUST to keep his part of the promise- and forgive man because Jesus kept his part of the deal.

Do you now see?

In Christianity- like most recovery programs- God does give us disciplines to keep [that means- there are indeed acts we need to do- restitution- making things right- etc.]

But- if somewhere along the way- we mess up- we don’t see our ‘hope’ as ‘now I need to work extra hard to get back to where I was’.

No- that’s the Old Covenant idea of Law [the legalistic way].

But in Grace- God is actually the one enacting our ‘recovery’ [new birth] and his forgiveness- and the ability to pick up again- all are a work of Grace.

I could quote lots of bible verses on this- but this is indeed the main basis of God’s grace as revealed to us thru the New Testament [this term itself- New Testament- is talking about this NEW concept of CHANGE coming as a free gift of God- not as a result of us working a program- or the Old Covenant of Law].

Ok- this short post can’t get into all the deep theological issues [there are many].

But I wanted to lay the groundwork this week- to share the primary idea that Grace means our recovery- our NEW LIFE is simply the fruit of what Christ did for us when he himself kept the Law [Gods first recovery program].

That the bible teaches that men- in and of themselves- were never able to actually achieve change [recovery] by keeping ANY PROGRAM.

That idea is based on law.

No- God does use various recovery programs- but if a person’s recovery is not based on the actual reality of the Grace of God- the New Covenant that I just explained.

Then in the end- we all ‘relapse’.

NOTE- I want to emphasize the difference between Law and Grace.

To re-cap;

The giving of the 10 commandments [called The Law] was a good thing- yet- in the New Testament [especially the letters of Paul] we read that man had no ability in and of himself [in his own power] to keep them.

So- few a couple of thousand years [until the time of Christ] man’s attempt at trying to keep the law [which you can apply to any well-meaning program- or modern ‘law’ system] was simply a sort of probationary period- a test- that man kept failing- time after time.

Then why even give us the law?

That’s the main debate in the New Testament- the Law was given to reveal to man that he was a sinner- an addict- a person with problems.

Then- after trying to keep the law- [the program] he kept on failing.

He comes to the end of his rope- and sees the reality of the New Program [the New Covenant] and by a free act of Grace- he is now forgiven- and also freed from his sin.

In this New Way [New Testament] if he falls [relapses] he asks for forgiveness- and God doesn’t just forgive him- and say ‘okay- now you start from day 1 all over again’ [which in itself is a Law mentality].

But God says ‘ok- because my Son kept the law- the program- perfectly- I not only let you ‘start over’ but it’s like you never relapsed at all’.


What I simply explained in this post is the difference between trying to achieve change by your own power- and receiving a New Life [New Birth] as a free gift from God.

Now- there are many verses I can give you ‘for by grace are you saved- thru faith- and that not of yourselves- it is the gift of God’.

But I want you to see the age old dilemma- that no effort by man- no matter how good the program is- can change man.

In Christianity- God does give us principles to live by- tools of self-discipline.

Yes- that’s actually one of the Fruits of the Spirit- self-control.

But the New Covenant- grace- based on the fact that JESUS KEPT THE LAW perfectly- is a program where God does not put the burden of change on us.

No- this program works because Jesus fulfilled his end of the Covenant- died for us and rose again.

And we have eternal life [not just a life that never ends- but a new quality of life] that comes as a free gift from God.

Read the gospel of John chapter 3- focus on the verses that talk about this free gift- given to all that believe.

Meditate on verses like ‘I am crucified with Christ- never the less I live- yet not I- but Christ lives in me. And the life that I now live I live by the faith of the Son of God- who loved me and gave himself for me’.


Note- Do me a favor, those who read/like the posts- re-post them on other sites as well as the site you read them on. Thanks- John. Don’t forget to scroll down on the timeline [FaceBook] - I have posted lots.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

 [I developed this short list for the purpose of having a format for Christian based bible studies/home groups. Feel free to copy- use- or even start your own group based on these principles- I wave the copy right to all this stuff. To be honest- I have never used a format in our meetings over the years, but for those who want to duplicate/start their own meetings- I find using a format helps. As of today- I have been back in my hometown of North Bergen for almost 2 months- if anyone wants to host a bible study/home group- just message me on Facebook. I do not TAKE OFFERINGS of any kind- ever. So- if someone wants to host a group- that simply means we ask you donate the coffee [make a pot] and a place to meet [living rooms work fine] and we meet for about an hour. We pray for each other- share- people that have questions about the bible simply ask, very informal. My meetings are Ecumenical- if your Catholic, Protestant or any other faith- fine- I don’t proselytize [try to get people to change their faith].  My phone number is 361- 461- 0588. Note- I will simply post the meeting on my site- and if you have friends who want to come- that’s the way it works. Thanks- John. If you want to host a meeting- either leave a comment at the bottom of this post [for Blog] or message me on my Facebook page- thanks]
PRAYERS [read together at the start of the meeting]
I confess to almighty God and to you my brothers and sisters- that I have sinned thru my own fault.
In my thoughts and in my words- in what I have done and in what I have failed to do.
And I ask Jesus Christ- and all my brothers and sisters- to pray for me to the Lord our God.

Our father who art in heaven- Hallowed be thy name.
Thy kingdom come- thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread- and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us.
Lead us not into temptation- but deliver us from evil.
For thine is the kingdom and the glory and the power- now and forever- Amen.

CONFESSIONS [repeat 3 times each]

I hate vain thoughts- but thy law do I love.

Commit thy works unto the Lord and thy thoughts will be established.

 [Readings from Peter, James and John- either read together- or have one person read one ‘pillar’ each. The bible refers to these 3 men as spiritual pillars of the church]
Gird up the loins of your mind and be sober and hope to the end for the grace that is being brought unto you at the appearing of Jesus Christ.
Abstain from fleshly lusts that war against the soul.
Those that have suffered in the flesh have ceased from sin- that they should no longer live the rest of their lives in the flesh to the lusts of men- but to the will of God.

Blessed is the man that endures temptation- for when he is tried- he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord has promised to those that love him.
Every man is tempted when he is drawn away of his own lust- and enticed. And when lust has conceived it brings forth sin- and sin- when it is finished, brings forth death.
Resist the devil and he will flee from you- draw near unto God and he will draw near unto you. Cleanse your hands- ye sinners- and purify your hearts you double minded.
Be afflicted and mourn and weep- let you laughter be turned to mourning, and your joy to heaviness- before that great and notable Day of the Lord.

Behold- a new commandment I give unto you- which thing is true in Him and in you- because the darkness has now passed- and the true light now shines.
Whosoever is born of God does not commit sin- but his word remains in him, and he cannot sin- because he is born of God.
This is how we know he hears us- because we keep his commandments and do those things that are pleasing in his sight.

Friday, August 16, 2013



This week let’s cover 2 chapters- if I have room that is.

Luke 12 and Hebrews11.

Hebrews 11 is the famous Faith chapter- it records all the heroes of the faith- so to speak.

Just a few points.

If you read the examples of faith in this chapter- you see a ‘strange’ thing.

Many of the ‘acts of faith’ seem to actually be failures!


Yeah- go read it.

Some died- by faith- they were tortured- and because they had FAITH- they did not accept deliverance- but died- and the bible says they will ‘get a better resurrection’.

Now- let’s get real.

Is this type of example popular in today’s Christian culture?

How many dear moms- who lost their kids to some disease- and were told [some outright- I know of examples] that if they had faith- their kid would not have died.

Not only is this wrong- and contrary to the greatest commandment Jesus gave us [to Love God and each other- how can you call telling a mom this- love?]

But in this chapter we are told some died- in FAITH.

I also like the example of Joseph- it says when he was about to die- he gave commandment ‘concerning his bones’.

That is- he knew some day they would get out of Egypt [because God promised this] yet- he would die- in Egypt [see- he would not live to see the promise fulfilled] and tell his family that in the future- when God did keep the promise- for them to take his bones!

Yeah- he had faith- but that did not mean he would- himself- see all the final results of what God was going to do in the future.

Actually- this is one of the main themes in the chapter ‘These all died IN FAITH- NOT HAVING RECEIVED THE PROMISES- but having seen them afar off’.

That’s so against our present mindset.

No- in today’s world- we equate faith with GETTING THE PROMISE- NOW.

But in some of these cases [I say some- because to be honest- we also read that some did see their kids raised back to life- some did win great battles- etc.] faith was simply knowing that down the road- after they died-  God would still keep the promise he made.

These promises- like many in the bible- were generational.

That is- they would be fulfilled thru following generations.

The greatest example was Abraham.

We are told that God promised him a huge heritage of people- he would be the ‘Father of many nations’.

Yet- when he finally had a son- after many years of waiting [Isaac].

God said ‘Abraham- go and OFFER YOUR SON ON THE ALTAR’.


Yes- this was the test.

So Abraham took the boy- and up to the mountain he went.

He ties the boy down [historians tell us the ‘boy’ was an older teen at this time- and that means the kid laid down willingly- a type/symbol of Christ on the Cross].

Abraham was ready to kill his son- and God stopped him.

Now- in Hebrews chapter 11- it says that Abraham simply believed that God would have raised him from the dead in order to keep the promise that thru this son he would have many descendants.

See- Abraham was told that it would be thru this boy- and him alone- that God would fulfill the promise.

Yet- how in the heck could he kill him- and yet see the promise come to pass?

In his mind- he thought ‘I guess God will raise him from the dead’.

The point being- all these examples are not what we usually think about when we think ‘FAITH’.

A big part of faith is giving our lives for a greater cause- for others- and even after we die- God will fulfill his ultimate promise thru these people.

Now- how many of you have believed God for some promise- some thing- and it seems like the only link left- the only chance for hope- is lying on some altar- ready to die- by your hand!


Often times we are the ones- in some way- that sabotage the promise.

In Abraham’s case- he was the ‘hit man’ so to speak.

God is still able- even at this point- to say ‘STOP- ENOUGH- ITS ONLY A TEST- YOU PASSED’.


Yeah- tests only count [in Gods school that is] if you think the sacrifice IS REAL.

Many times over the years I have had friends say ‘yeah- this is my Isaac’.

That’s a common phrase to say ‘yeah- I’m walking away- I’m giving all this up for God- just like Abraham gave up his son’.

To be honest- many times my friends who said this were really walking away from stuff that they didn’t want in the first place.

So- for this test to be real- the so called ‘Isaac’ test- you have to think- and believe- in your heart of hearts- that what your walking away from is real- and valuable.

Now- God does not always do the ‘Isaac’ thing the way we want.

Yeah- if we get to the point where all is gone- thinking in the back of our heads ‘okay God- now tell me this is only a joke/test’.

Be careful- he might just say ‘no son- go ahead- Isaac is no more’.

NOTE- I didn’t have time to get to it- but Luke 12 deals with trusting in God- and yes- once again- not seeking security in material stuff [money].

How does this fit in with Faith?

One of the examples in Hebrews 12 is how Moses- by faith- forsook the wealth of Egypt- not fearing the wrath of the king- and chose to suffer affliction with the People of God- than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season.

In context- it is saying that suffering with God’s people is greater treasure than stuff.

Ok- in Luke 12 Jesus deals with the same thing.

He tells the parable of a rich man- has lots of stuff- his stocks are booming.

He says ‘I know- I’ll build greater store houses- I’ll put all my stuff in there- and find security’.

Jesus calls him a fool and says ‘you will die tonight- and then who will get all your stuff’.

Jesus then says ‘be rich in God’s way- giving to the poor- etc.’

He then gives a verse that for some reason I memorized many years ago.

‘Beware of covetousness [greed] - for a man’s life does not consist in the abundance of the things he owns’.

So yes- faith entails a willingness- and at times- an actual ‘doing’ of the command to ‘sell what you have- give to the poor- and you will have treasures in heaven where moths don’t get to it- where it won’t rust- and where thieves can’t break in and steal it’.

Yeah- Moses forsook the material advantages he would have had if he stayed as Pharaohs adopted son- but he wanted to identify with his people [for you non bible readers- just recall the movie the 10 commandments- Moses rejected his false Egyptian identity- and accepted his real identity as a Jew].

And part of this step of faith was losing all the wealth and benefits that came with his former life.

Ok- this week the point is we- at times- will be called to go on new journeys.

Sometimes they are a result of our own failures- the bad choices we have made.

But at this stage in life- all we can do is forget the past- and make the best of what’s next.

I recently had some people I know- who were doing well- they messed up some.

When they told me- I simply tried to encourage them- to say ‘ok- what’s done is done- don’t dwell on it- but accept the reality that those years were NOT WASTED YEARS’ [he felt like all the good years were for nothing- because he now had to ‘start all over’].

The fact is- all of our life is a journey- Jesus said why worry [he uses the term TAKE THOUGHT] for the little things that happen in life [geez- we worry about rent- bills- etc.]

If worry can’t change the big things [it can’t] then don’t even waste time on the small stuff!

The apostle Paul wrote to the Christians in the city of Philippi- he said;

‘Be careful [worried] for nothing- but in all things- by prayer and supplication- WITH THANKSGIVING- let your requests be made known unto God- and the PEACE OF GOD- which passes all understanding- shall keep your hearts and minds thru Christ Jesus.’

Yes- walking- living by Faith means we don’t seek security the way the world seeks it.

The unbelieves seek it by seeing how well their 401 k is doing [by the way- as I write today- they just took another hit the last few days].

No- we want to be responsible- and it’s ok to have investments- but Gods kingdom is not based on that.

In Luke 12 we are told that one brother comes to Jesus and says ‘tell my brother to share the inheritance with me’.

Jesus says ‘man- who made me a judge- a wealth distributor- over these things’.

Its’ interesting- but the reply of Jesus can be seen in much of today’s Christian culture.

Many see Jesus as some type of financier- as someone who can ‘distribute’ wealth to us.

Jesus rebuked this mindset- this is what launched him into the story that I just told.

Go read the chapter- see for yourself.

Ok- that’s it for the week.

Meditate on these principles- if your depending too much on stuff- then maybe it’s time to get rid of some of it.

Yeah- give some away- it does a soul some good.

Note- Do me a favor, those who read/like the posts- re-post them on other sites as well as the site you read them on. Thanks- John. Don’t forget to scroll down on the timeline [FaceBook] - I have posted lots.

Saturday, August 10, 2013



The chapter for the week is Ecclesiastes 3.

This chapter was made famous by Simon and Garfunkel- their hit song ‘to every thing- turn turn turn- there is a season..’

This ‘book’ in the Christian bible- Old Testament- was more than likely written by King Solomon- who I mentioned in a recent post.

The son of King David and Bathsheba- who David took to be his wife- and had the husband killed.

Yet- after the death of their first baby [as a judgment from God because of what David did]- their 2nd child was the wisest man ever- next to Jesus himself.

One of the main themes of this book is VANITY- that is the Preacher is talking about the futility of life apart from God.

Solomon was the richest king ever [in the bible that is] he attained great heights of knowledge- accomplished all a person could ever want in life- and had ‘many women’- yet- at the end of the day was Empty.

So- he writes about the Vanity of these pursuits- that if there is nothing more to life than simply making money- or ‘keeping up with the Jones’- then its simply wasted time in the end.

You find quotes in this book [one of the 5 or 6 books in the bible that is in the category of Wisdom literature] that seem to be coming from an Atheistic perspective.

Last year I was watching some Net Flix documentary- that was anti Christian- and they even quoted a passage from this book- to say ‘see- even the bible says there is no after life’! [the quote said ‘what difference does it make- when we die we are just like the animals- we return to the ground and back to dust!].

The way we [Christians] would explain this- being in our bible- is Solomon is writing from the perspective of someone who tried to find fulfillment apart from God.

And this vain pursuit is what we are reading thru out the book.

Sort of like God giving us the perspective from the other side.

I should note that in the last chapter Solomon does say that after this whole experience of trying to find purpose apart from God- his conclusion is mans purpose is to Fear God and keep his commandments.

Okay- chapter 3.

I like the reality of what the Preacher says ‘there is a time to get- a time to lose- a time to be born- a time to die’.

He shows us the cycles of life.

In today’s ‘world’ of Christian preaching- TV Evangelism- and the proliferation of self help books- we have a tendency to focus on one side of the aisle.

For instance- how many popular books [or shows] do you see about losing what you have?

A Time to gain- but a time to Lose also.

A time to keep- but a time to cast away.

To plant [plant your seed for the harvest?] and a time to pluck up that which is planted.

Yeah- I like the Whole perspective that the Preacher [Solomon is referred to as The Preacher] gives us.

We also see the theme of ‘There is nothing new under the Sun’.

‘That which is- that which is to come- has already been’.

Yeah- we hear that bit of wisdom from our elders all thru out life.

I think it was Hemingway who took this phrase [under the sun] and turned it into a popular book/movie?

Hemingway was the famous author- who seemed to be on his own quest for the meaning of life.

Like many of the philosophers/thinkers of the last century.

Some veered into the abyss that Solomon wrote about in this book.

If you go down this path- this journey- and simply come to the conclusion that All is Vanity- then the Final Question is ‘life itself has no meaning- why even stay?’

Hemingway [as well as a few other talented writers- Hunter Thompson] simply followed the logical path that this hopeless world view leads to- they both took their own lives.

One of the most famous philosophers of the last century- John Paul Sartre- said that the only question left to ask is- ‘the moral choice of taking our own lives’ [either Sartre or Camu said this- I some times confuse the 2- they both took the same hopless perspective that Solomon took in this book].

No- Solomon went on to say that the final answer was to ‘Fear God and obey his rules’.

Yes- in today’s world- that sounds stupid- in the pursuit of self- in the most popular World View of our day- Hedonism [a philosophy that says mans purpose is to maximize pleasure] this sounds Victorian- Old Fashioned- Non liberating.

Like the Preacher said- there is nothing new under the sun- many have tried this path- the path of simply living for self- to make lots of money- to always ‘get’ but to never ‘cast away’.

No- in life there are cycles to things.

You might be at the stage of ‘getting- planting- gaining’.

But don’t be fooled- that’s a stage- that’s a cycle.

You will need [some time] to experience the other cycle- and when that time comes- you must also walk that road.

In the Gospels we read the story of a young rich man who asked Jesus ‘what must I do to gain Eternal Life’.

Jesus told him to keep Gods laws- the man said he has done this since he was a kid.


One more thing.

Go- sell all that you have- give it to the Poor- and then come and follow me.

The bible says this man went away sad- because he had much wealth.

Do you see?

This was his Time to Lose- his Time to ‘cast away’.

He missed his Time.

NOTE- In the bible we read- often- about the principle of ‘becoming less’.

That is- we follow Christ’s example of preferring others more than our selves.

Much of what The Preacher talks about in the above chapter is learning to live this command.

The apostle Paul rebuked the Christians at Corinth because they were more concerned about their own welfare- than the welfare of their brother.

He said ‘why are you suing each other- taking each other to the courts- if someone harmed you- then see that as an opportunity to be like Christ- to take the wrong- and forgive’.

I’ll give you a silly example- but because it came to mind- well- I’ll use it.

The other day I went for one of my long walks- and forgot to take the headphones for the music player on my phone.

So- even though I had just bought a pair- I went into some store and got a second pair- for about 15 bucks.

OK- they were nice- nicer than the original pair.

I used them for a few days- and one of my friends [Pat- don’t worry- if you read this- I don’t want the things back- but thought this story would work!] had left his pair somewhere else [lost?] and I gave him my extra pair.

Then realized- while walking the other day ‘yeah- Pat’s right- that other set was a good set- better than this one I’m using now’.

So- it was no big deal- I made a mental note ‘no problem- I’ll just tell my friend to give me the better pair back- and I’ll give him the “lesser” pair’.

But as I walked- listening to the now very noticeable ‘worse’ pair [you know how that works- after you think about it- you start feeling like you got the short end of the stick- and start thinking about how you ripped your self off!] God dealt with me about this principle- about preferring others more than your self.

This above verse came to mind ‘prefer the benefit of other- more than your own benefit’.

And I decided to simply keep my ‘worse’ pair- and let Pat have the better ones.

Now- to be honest- I have given away much more than this- so this was not too hard at all.

But- the point is- we have a tendency to want- to get- to keep.

It’s in our nature.

And when Solomon tells us that there are times- purposes- in life- even times to lose- to give stuff away.

We need to grasp hold of that- we need to see ‘hey- maybe I’m at the time of becoming less- for the benefit of others becoming more’.

The apostle Paul said to the Christians at the city of Philippi ‘be like Christ- who being in the form of God- did not think it to be used for his own advantage- but made himself of no reputation and became a man and humbled himself to a shameful death- even death on a Cross’.

So- when the time comes to ‘become less’- to serve- and prefer others more than your self- when you see that taking place [often times this is thrust upon you by un-foreseen circumstances].

Then be Christ like- take the wrong- if you will- enjoy the fact that you gave away the ‘better’ pair- knowing that in God’s kingdom- this is valuable.

Note- Do me a favor, those who read/like the posts- re-post them on other sites as well as the site you read them on. Thanks- John. Don’t forget to scroll down on the timeline [FaceBook] - I have posted lots.