>When Walking through "Stuff"

>Most know I’m not at all a fan of the unbiblical concept of Your Best Life Now in its various disguises. (By the way, have you considered the only people who can say they are having their best life now are the people enroute to hell???).

Jesus said following Him would involved persecution, hatred, struggle. Perhaps best to take Him at His Word?

Here’s some tremendous and comforting counsel from C. H. Spurgeon:

“The lesson of wisdom is, be not dismayed by soul-trouble.
“Count it no strange thing, but a part of ordinary ministerial experience. 
“Should the power of depression be more than ordinary, think not that all is over with your usefulness. Cast not away your confidence, for it hath great recompense of reward. Even if the enemy’s foot be on your neck, expect to rise and overthrow him. Cast the burden of the present, along with the sin of the past and the fear of the future, upon the Lord, who forsaketh not his saints.
“Live by the day—ay, by the hour. Put no trust in frames and feelings. Care more for a grain of faith than a ton of excitement. Trust in God alone, and lean not on the reeds of human help. Be not surprised when friends fail you: it is a failing world. Never count upon immutability in man: inconstancy you may reckon upon without fear of disappointment. The disciples of Jesus forsook him; be not amazed if your adherents wander away to other teachers: as they were not your all when with you, all is not gone from you with their departure. 
“Serve God with all your might while the candle is burning, and then when it goes out for a season, you will have the less to regret. Be content to be nothing, for that is what you are. When your own emptiness is painfully forced upon your consciousness, chide yourself that you ever dreamed of being full, except in the Lord. 
“Set small store by present rewards; be grateful for earnests by the way, but look for the recompensing joy hereafter. Continue, with double earnestness to serve your Lord when no visible result is before you. 
“Any simpleton can follow the narrow path in the light: faith’s rare wisdom enables us to march on in the dark with infallible accuracy, since she places her hand in that of her Great Guide. 
“Between this and heaven there may be rougher weather yet, but it is all provided for by our covenant Head. In nothing let us be turned aside from the path which the divine call has urged us to pursue. Come fair or come foul, the pulpit is our watch-tower, and the ministry our warfare; be it ours, when we cannot see the face of our God, to trust under THE SHADOW OF HIS WINGS.”

>What is the Purpose of the Bible?


“The Bible’s purpose is not so much to show you how to live a good life. The Bible’s purpose is to show you how God’s grace breaks into your life against your will and saves you from the sin and brokenness otherwise you would never be able to overcome… religion is ‘if you obey, then you will be accepted’. But the Gospel is, ‘if you are absolutely accepted, and sure you’re accepted, only then will you ever begin to obey’. Those are two utterly different things. Every page of the Bible shows the difference.”

>Don’t Forget ALL of Salt’s Attributes


“Salt seasons, purifies, preserves. But somebody ought to remind us that salt also irritates. Real living Christianity rubs this world the wrong way.”
Vance Havner


>My Second Greatest Gift

>On this date in 1982 a pastor said, “wilt thou?” and I wilted.

Hard to fathom it has been 28 years since Jane and I became one. Next to salvation alone, she is my greatest gift…a wondrous wife, a marvelous mom, a faithful friend, a willing worker, a persistent pray-er, a kapable-kicker-in-the-butt when I need it, and so much more.

What a ride it has been…living in Phillipsburg, Ks; Rhinelander, Wi; Bath, NY; Shakopee, Mn; back to Bath, NY; and now Missouri.

Four wonderful kids…two the old-fashioned way, two adopted at birth.

Struggles, victories, trials, testings, unspeakable joy, inexpressible anguish…all the stuff that is part of real life (as opposed to ‘your best life now’)

Putting up with me, my schedule, my stuff of life…Jane should get a medal…yet I know she will be rewarded greatly at the Judgment Seat of Christ. I know it’s normal to say a wife is a Proverbs 31 woman…but…she is.

Every husband who has a brain knows that his wife is the greatest wife of all time.

I’m glad our anniversary is around (and every 7 years, on) Thanksgiving…

Because I am so very, very thankful that the Lord brought Jane into my life, as well as my heart.

>All This for Twenty-Five Bucks?

>Yeah the Zona Rosa shopping center opened at midnight Friday…and three Hagers joined the Williams’ and other God’s Mountain people to score $25.00 gift cards for the first 1000 in line…Jacob and I warmly enjoyed fellowship at home…he hacked and coughed for a seventh day, great spirits, but took him to clinic today, treatment and mucho medications…

              Here’s Janelle and Jane bundled up:

                                 Josiah (2nd from right) and others enjoying the wait:

>Thankful for His Death?


Gotta get the basics right…and if we are “growing deep in the things of God” and forget the basics, we are deceived and deceiving:

“Redeeming love and retributive justice joined hands, so to speak, at Calvary, for there God showed Himself to be ‘just, and the justifer of him who hath faith in Jesus’.
Do you understand this? If you do, you are now seeing to the very heart of the Christian gospel. No version of that message goes deeper than that which declares man’s root problem before God to be his sin, which evokes wrath, and God’s basic provision for man to be propitiation, which out of wrath brings peace.”
– J.I. Packerhttp://rcm.amazon.com/e/cm?t=jacksjots-20&o=1&p=8&l=bpl&asins=1433502003&fc1=000000&IS2=1&lt1=_blank&m=amazon&lc1=0000FF&bc1=000000&bg1=FFFFFF&f=ifr

>Thursday Tozer Tidbit of Truth


“It is one of the devil’s oldest tricks to discourage Christian believers by causing them to look back at what they once were. It is indeed the enemy of our souls who makes us forget that we are never at the end of God’s love. No one will make progress with God until the eyes are lifted to the faithfulness of God and we stop looking at ourselves! Our instructions in the New Testament all add up to the necessity of looking forward in faith-and not spending our time looking back or just looking within.”http://rcm.amazon.com/e/cm?t=jacksjots-20&o=1&p=8&l=bpl&asins=1596444193&fc1=000000&IS2=1&lt1=_blank&m=amazon&lc1=0000FF&bc1=000000&bg1=FFFFFF&f=ifr
– A.W. Tozer, The Divine Conquest

>Are You "Someone"? Am I?


I recall several verses as I read Snoopy’s sigh…

And I ask myself…am I watching for people in my sphere of influence who need a word of encouragement, twenty bucks, a prayer, whatever?

Too many have “no one.”


Deu 28.29: “…day after day you will be oppressed and robbed, with no one to rescue you.”

2 Sam 22.42:  “They cried for help, but there was no one to save them…”

2 Ki 14.26: “The Lord had seen how bitterly everyone in Israel, whether slave or free, was suffering; there was no one to help them.”

Ps 22.11: “Do not be far from me, for trouble is near, and there is no one to help.”

Ps 142.4: “Look to my right and see; no one is concerned for me. I have no refuge; no one cares for my life.”

Here’s a challenge: Is there anyone in your sphere of influence who appears to have no one? Will you be one?

On the other hand, at this time of Thanksgiving, does God bring to your mind someone who came alongside you when you felt there was no one? Maybe it’s time to remind them how much you appreciated their help?

>Thanking When It is Tough to Do

>A great prayer from SCOTTY SMITH

    Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
     Lord Jesus, how I praise you that we don’t have to fake, stuff, or spin anything. The gospel puts an end to many things, including posing and pretending. That’s why the call to perpetual joy, prayer and thankfulness doesn’t mock our sensibilities and stoke our incredulity.

     In fact these very words—this trio of commands were written by a man who had every right in the world to question your goodness… doubt your promises…  and struggle with your providences (2 Corinthians 11:16-33). So who’s better positioned—who can be more trusted than Paul to deliver such a difficult calling?

     Jesus, our prayer today is for our friends and family members for whom life is a crucible of body and heart aches. The call to giving thanks is more difficult than usual. I pray for the chronic sufferers I know and love—those for whom life feels like a never-ending saga—a bottomless pit of  physical, emotional or mental pain. Their weariness is palpable. I understand the mounting frustrations and their intensified cry, “How long, O Lord?”

     Jesus, may your joy be their strength, for they have very little. May your prayer life be their encouragement, for theirs is nearly non-existent. May your thankfulness before the Father be mediated to their hearts… when it would be easier for them to curse than to praise… to disbelieve than hope…  to run away rather than run to you.

     Jesus, I also pray for those for whom the greatest pain is relational. Marriages and families which are in meltdown and breakdown… those for whom Thanksgiving will be spent at a table set for one… friendships broken by sin, strained by disagreement, weakened by neglect.

     Jesus, come in power and kindness, with your redeeming and transforming love. How might we be a part of your answer this very prayer? Extend your tear wiping hand through us to our family and friends this Thanksgiving week. So very Amen, we pray, in your merciful and mighty name.