Tag Archives: Jesus

Focusing On Jesus, and the Art of Throwing Kicks and Punches

Physical Therapy

About a week and a half ago I hurt my foot – my Achilles tendon, to be precise. I was mowing grass with a push mower on this deity-forsaken hill (the front part of the same yard where I fell three years ago and tore my right rotator cuff) when I strained the tendon where it inserts into the right part of my right heel. The pain woke me up from my sleep.

And this is what the front yard looked like until someone else came and mowed it for me. Did you know the grass in Tennessee could grow to 30 feet?

Because I could barely walk, even with crutches, I had to go to the orthopedic doc to find out how bad I was hurt. Long story short, I ended up going to physical therapy to strengthen my ankle and receive treatment for the tendon. As of today, praise God, everything is going well and I’m back on my feet with little or no pain.

But I’m NEVER mowing that yard again! I’ll make my daughters do it!

Physical Observation

Well, as I was sitting with an ice pack on my foot, there was a woman across the room throwing a weighted ball onto a slanted trampoline. The object of this exercise was to strengthen her ankle and increase her balance.

Earlier, not long after I got to physical therapy, I, too, was doing something to strengthen my ankle and help with my balance. So, as I was waiting for the timer to go off so they could remove the ice pack, I had time to ponder something.

Martial Arts

I began a conversation with one of the physical therapists standing close by and asked a few questions similar to the following:

“Are you familiar with martial arts? Have you ever noticed how martial artists have great balance? Have you ever considered teaching people how to balance the way I learned?”

The physical therapist was not too familiar with what I was talking about, so I explained.

Amateur artist’s rendering of actual martial artist named Anthony.

“When I learned how to fight, I learned to keep my eyes focused on my opponent. I never looked down, or around, only at the person I was fighting, usually in his eyes. As long as I kept my eyes on the one I was fighting, straight ahead, I could kick, punch, do whatever, all the while keeping my balance.”

“That’s interesting,” the therapist replied.

And here’s the thing. In my therapy I had to stand on a soft cushion, putting all my weight on the heel of my right foot. As long as I focused on an object in front of me, I could stand there with no support on that one foot and never fall. As soon as I looked around or looked down at my foot, I would lose my balance.

And when I eat at Chinese restaurants I catch all the stray flies with my chopsticks.

Focusing On Jesus

If you are already a believer, and if you’re familiar with Peter and his stroll across the water, then you’ve probably already figured out most of what I’m about to say: When we keep our eyes on Jesus, we are less likely to fall.

However, I never thought about Peter when my foot was being iced; I just thought about Jesus. You see, I don’t get to ride in too many boats, and I’m not likely to get out of one once I’m in it. On the other hand, this old flesh gets distracted and falls every chance it gets, even when the ground is solid and flat.

Instead of glancing around at what’s going on in the world; instead of looking down and wincing at what causes me pain; instead of looking at the clock and wondering when it’s all going to end; maybe I should keep my eyes focused on my Heavenly Sensei (Jesus), bring this body under control, keep it in balance, and train it for the fight.

After all, I’d like to land a few more good ones on the Devil, wouldn’t you?

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Filed under Christian Maturity, fitness, General Observations

Jesus Paid It All and His Blood Is the Only Payment Accepted

A guest post by Wally Fry

jesus saves

I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.

That, of course, is John 14:6.  Those were the words of Jesus Himself and sum up His thoughts about how a person comes to a relationship with God.  It seems like a fairly straight forward statement, really. Jesus did not say He was one of the ways, or one truth, or that there was any life other than Him.  He stated unequivocally that the only access to God the Father was through Him, God the Son.  Nonetheless, we live in a time where truth is considered relative, any belief is okay as long as it is sincere; to say there is only one way is considered hateful and exclusionary.

Most people with any spiritual inclination whatsoever would tend to put some credence to words spoken by Jesus. Of course, an atheist would not, but this article is not really for them. This is really to address those who hold the idea that many paths lead to God. We can’t really say that Jesus was just a good man, good teacher, and one of many ways to Heaven. If He was outright lying in that Scripture and knew He was not the only way to God, then we should never follow a man such as that. If He genuinely believed what He said, but was just monumentally wrong, then we should never follow a man such as that. In either of those two cases, Jesus was certainly not a good man, or good teacher or any path to Heaven whatsoever. The only real alternatives are to totally disbelieve or completely believe the words He said in that verse. That is simply C.S Lewis’ famous Liar, Lunatic or Lord argument and it remains a valid one.

We hopefully agree at this point that payment is due. See this article for discussion on that subject:

Jesus Paid it All- Part 1- Your Really DON’T Want To Pay Your Own Way

I hope we also agree that we have no ability to do anything whatsoever to pay the price for our sin, other than the Biblically prescribed one of death. A review of that subject can be found here:

Jesus Paid it All – Part 2 – Your Payment’s No Good Here

Belief in God, sincerely held, is also not enough. After all, James taught us that even the demons believe. (James 2:19). Not only do they believe, but they tremble in fear! Sincerity does not accomplish a thing. Jesus said in our verse above, that He is the Truth.  Sincerely held belief in an untruth does not make it true, no matter how sincere the belief.  Some examples follow.  One can sincerely disbelieve in the Law of Gravity, but if that person steps off a building, he or she will soon discover they were wrong.  The laws of physics trump sincerely held belief. One can sincerely believe auto theft is okay, but a Judge will quickly show that person the error of their ways. The laws of the land trump sincerely held belief.  We could follow examples until the end of time.  The bottom line is, law trumps sincerely help belief every time.

God is the Supreme lawgiver. His law is just and perfect. We fail to meet His standard, making us law breakers. The penalty for transgressions of God’s law is death. Death is both physical and spiritual. Spiritual death is separation from God eternally in a place of torment called Hell.

The reason Jesus is the only way to God is because only Jesus could pay the needed price. He was able to pay it because He was fully human. Humans broke the law and a human had to pay. He was able to pay it because He was sinless and perfect; Jesus never transgressed The Law. Only because He had nto penalty of His own to pay could He pay mine. He was able to pay it because He is God. Only God could pay the infinite penalty required on behalf of every person who had lived, was living in His day, is living now and will live into the future.

Just a quick counter to those who claim that Christianity’s statement that Jesus is the only way is exclusionary follows next. Jesus payment on the Cross for sin is not exclusionary; it is available to anybody. No one is denied access to it. Read the following for an explanation:

Jesus Paid It All – Part 3 – The Payment Was Enough For Everyone

The payment Jesus made for us is not exclusionary, but it is extremely exclusive. Matthew 7:13,14 teaches us that the path to destruction is wide but the path to salvation is narrow. No one is excluded, but many will decline the offer.

How does one accept? Understand how you have failed before a Holy God. Agree with Him that your sin is wrong and and an offense to Him and deserving of punishment. Believe that Jesus paid the price you could never pay and accept Him as your Savior and Lord.  Repentance toward God and belief in Jesus Christ, it’s that simple.

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Filed under Christianity, God, Guest Posts, Jesus, salvation

I’ve Never Seen THAT Before!

What I Saw

I have been driving since I was 15, so that’s been nearly 35 years. On top of that, I have been a professional driver for the last 16 years, and during that time I’ve logged a lot of miles on back roads, highways, and interstates.

Needless to say, I have driven enough miles on enough roads to have seen a whole lot of things. But what I saw today was something that I had never seen before – ever. It was a big, green, plant-based elephant on the back of a flatbed trailer.

I didn’t have time to take a picture of it. There were two other people in the school bus we were transferring from one site to another. They saw it, too, but no picture was taken by them, either.

“Well, that’s the first time in my life I’ve ever seen something like that,” I said to the other two people on the bus. They felt the same way; they had never seen anything like that, either.

Then a thought came into my head…what if I were to tell people, “Hey! Guess what I saw, today! I saw a big, green elephant going down the highway!”? I could only imagine what they would say, “Really? Were you drinking and driving?

Then the one thought led to another.

What They Saw

As I was thinking about trying to explain how I literally saw a big, green, elephant of a bush rolling down the road, I was reminded of how hard it must have been for the disciples to explain seeing a dead man living again (i.e., Jesus).

Some people obviously didn’t want to believe them, and some even threatened them with imprisonment should they keep talking about the crucified Jesus supposedly living again. I mean, nobody had ever seen anything like that before, and there were no photographs to prove what they saw, either.

Yet, Peter and John saw what they saw, and touched Who they touched, and talked with Whom they talked, etc., etc., etc. So, they wouldn’t keep quiet.

So they called the apostles back in and commanded them never again to speak or teach in the name of Jesus. But Peter and John replied, “Do you think God wants us to obey you rather than him? We cannot stop telling about everything we have seen and heard.” – Acts 4:18-20 NLT

Then came another thought: Some people may not believe what I have experienced, nor the testimony of others who have seen and experienced the same thing, but which is more important…a giant shrub, or a Glorious Savior?

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Filed under animals, Christianity, Faith, General Observations, salvation

Jesus Paid It All and the Payment Was Enough for Everyone

A guest post by Wally Fry

jesus saves

Allow me to preface this with the statement that I understand not all agree with this position on this topic. The truth is, several thoughts on this seem to be quite well supported Biblically, and we simply have to conclude that no one can lay claim to their position being proven absolutely by God’s Word. It does, however, represent what I believe to be true based on my reading and hopefully correct illumination by the Holy Spirit.

When Jesus paid it all, He paid it for all of us. Jesus’ sacrifice was sufficient to cover the sin of every human past, present and future.  Before readers get alarmed, please understand I am not saying that everyone from the past was saved, nor am I saying that all will be saved now or in the future.  In fact, the majority of people from the past, people now and those who live in the future will not be saved and enter Heaven. The sad truth is the majority of humankind will spend eternity separated from God in a place of torment called Hell.  So, please do not misunderstand; I am not espousing some form of Universalism, where everybody ends up in Heaven.

What am I saying then? I am simply saying that the quality of Jesus’ sacrifice and payment on the Cross  was enough for all humanity to escape the penalty of their sins. Jesus’ payment was not just for an elect group of people whom God the Father has preselected in eternity past to be eternally with Him in Heaven. Not everyone will agree with that statement, of course, but this is what the Bible teaches.

God’s gift of salvation through the death of His Son Jesus Christ is available to all, but not all will accept it.  Even though it is a free gift, there are terms under which we must accept. What are the terms? Repentance toward God for our sin and belief in His Son Jesus Christ. We must agree with God that our sin is wrong; we have to understand what we deserved as punishment for those sins. That covers repentance toward God. Then we must believe that God, in the form of the man Jesus Christ, came to Earth to pay on our behalf. Not only that He died, but He rose after three days dead thereby conquering sin and death. If we do that and call on the name of the Lord, we will be saved as we clearly learn in Romans 10:13.

How can we know that this salvation is available to all, and that our failure to have it is not because God denied it to us but because we refused it?

To understand this, we have to start at the very beginning. Because of the rebellion of Adam and Eve, we are all sinners by nature and choice. It is never a question of if we sin, but only a question of when. The Calvinists have it right on this point, really; we are so totally depraved that we are not even capable on our own of wanting to be saved from our sin. The sinful state we are born into is made clear in Romans 5:12 and 5:13, which teach us that sin and death entered into the world by one man, Adam.

We do not want to be saved, as we love our sin more. Left to our own devices, we would never seek God. Romans 3:10 and 13 tell us that not only is no one righteous, but none of us seek God. Romans 8:7 is yet more dire, teaching us that not only are we the enemies of God, but we are not even capable of accepting the things of God. In John 6:44, Jesus taught that no one would come to Him unless the Father drew them.

So even though we are not desiring or capable of seeking God, God has made provisions for us in order that we may overcome our inability.  In Matthew Chapter 19 after the rich young ruler left disappointed, Jesus pointed out to His disciples how difficult it was for a man to be saved.  When asked who could be saved, Jesus replied that with men it is not possible, but with “God all things are possible.” (Matthew 19:25,26) So, we see that we would only respond to God if He draws us. The good news is that we hear Jesus say  in John 12:32 “And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me.” God also draws all men unto Himself through the light of Jesus Christ; John 1:9 teaches us this light lights all men.

Atonement is not limited. It is available to all men. Scholars get around this clear teaching of Scripture by spinning what the Bible says when it says “all.” Of course any word can have more than one meaning including that one. But nothing in the context of any of the verses below suggest that “all” is limited in any way.

Hebrews 2:9, Jesus did “taste death for every man”
Hebrews 10:10 teaches Jesus body was offered “for all.”
John 12:47, Jesus came to save the World
Romans 5:8, Jesus died for sinners
Romans 5:18, Jesus free gift is offered to “all men”
Romans 8:32, Jesus was delivered up for “us all”
Isaiah 53:6, he bore the iniquities of “all”
2 Corinthians 5:14-15, Jesus died for “all”
2 Peter 2:1, Jesus even died for false teachers and liars doomed for Hell.

So, there you have it. It’s available to everyone. No one is denied it. Repentance toward God and belief in The Lord Jesus Christ and it’s yours.

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Filed under Bible Study, Christianity, Faith, salvation

I’m Not a Superhero

Email Ads

I don’t know how it happens, but somehow my email gets flooded with “half-off” offers and all such craziness. Even though I delete cookies, unsubscribe to stuff, and threaten friends, people still send me links to things I can’t afford.

Now, honestly, not all of the ads are worthless. As a matter of fact, if I had the money, I’d take advantage of some of the Groupon offers. Come to think of it, I should have taken advantage of some of those coupons before my last anniversary! Dang it! Why didn’t I think of that?

Once, on Facebook, someone sent me a link to a company selling t-shirts. The one that caught their attention was one that read, “I’m a School Bus Driver. What’s your superpower?” I thought that was cool! Alas, I didn’t have $20 to spend on a t-shirt, even though I wanted it.

However, it was not long after the offer for the first t-shirt that I got another offer. This time I wasn’t so happy.

Super Pastor

Dear reader, dear friend, dear occasional stalker, etc., I am not a superhero!

photoFor those of you who may be having this read to you, to the right is a picture of the advertisement as it appeared on my cell phone. It shows a black t-shirt that has printed on the front: “I’m a PASTOR, what’s your SUPERPOWER?”

Unlike when I saw the one about being school bus driver, when I saw this t-shirt design, I didn’t laugh, smile, or even grin; it ticked me off.

Folks, I don’t even joke about this. Pastors are already placed on unwanted pedestals, live in glass houses, and are thought of as superhuman. We, along with our families, are expected to have special powers of some kind, almost like Baptist wizards, impervious to the spells of the dark lord.

But, we are not special, only our calling is. Pastors are not gifted with superpowers, and to suggest that only adds to the expectation that we can do everything perfectly, never getting tired, never mouthing off to our kids, and always having the right answer for everything.

Super Savior

The only thing I can say is that God called me to a humbling “profession.” I did not choose to do what I do; He put the desire in my heart. And unlike other careers, like bus driver, fire fighter, school teacher, etc., no amount of education, training, or experience can make us successful at what we pastors do; only the living presence of Jesus can do that.

I have no super power other than the power of Christ within me. As a matter of fact, the weaker I am – the more the “kryptonite” affects me – the more He is able to work through me (Phil. 4:13).

And my speech and my preaching was not with enticing words of man’s wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power: That your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God. – 1 Corinthians 2:4-5 KJV

I am only human. I have no superpower. All I have is a Super Savior.

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Filed under ministry, Preaching

Amaze me again

yo-yo-312175_1280I was watching a kid at my school doing some pretty amazing things with—are you ready for this??—a yo-yo!!  It was eye-popping cool!  Not just because of his skill, but because it was so retro as to be, not just “low-tech”, but “no-tech”.  (Never mind that the toy cost $150; that’s just wrong.)

I’m waiting breathlessly for the return of the hulu-hoop…but no personal videos will be posted for readers’ enjoyment.

If there is one thing that our technological advances have done to us, it’s the removal of a sense of awe from our children.  Not our younger ones, the little guys not yet totally exposed to the marvels of their i-phones, i-goggles, and whatever other virtual realities are bombarding their brains.  But certainly by the time I get them in middle school, it takes quite a Continue reading

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Filed under Guest Posts, ministry, Parenting, Witnessing, worship

The Eye Doctor Visit

A while back I had to go to a new eye doctor.  Because of so many years of wondering whether or not I have glaucoma, my optician decided to send me to the place in town with the most high-tech equipment and eye doctors who specialize in glaucoma.  He sent me to Southeast Eye Specialists.  Wow!  Talk about a set up!  They had some cool gadgets, I must say.

While waiting in the exam room for the smartly dressed, highly intelligent Dr. McDaniel to greet me, I did what any bored, adult male would do…I started playing with the equipment.

In the process of flipping levers and turning dials on very expensive stuff, I began to have a thought (which must imply that I was not thinking when I was playing with things that I couldn’t afford).  With all the different prescriptions for glasses, and all the different lenses one could look through, how could anyone say for sure that what we see when we look at things is exactly the way it really is?  Just look at all of those dials!

Some people would say this is the reason for believing that everything is relative.  You know, they get all philosophical-like and say, “There’s no such thing as right and wrong,” or, “Perception is reality.”  The only problem is that what we think we see may not be what is actually there, but what is actually there IS there, whether we see it for what it is, or not.  Just like the chart on the wall with the jumbled letters that start big on top, then get smaller as they go down, we can call the letter “e” an “a” or a “c,” but it is still an “e“.

We may think what we see is correct, but that doesn’t change reality.

The only way we can know for sure if we are seeing things correctly is to go to a doctor of optometry and let him evaluate our sight. He is qualified to turn the knobs and do the tests.  He knows what the letters on the wall really are.  He can be objective.  Only a fool would go into his exam room and argue with him over the “rightness” or “wrongness” of his letter chart.  Maybe it was those type of people that God had in mind when he wrote the following verse:

  • Acts 28:27 For the heart of this people is stubborn, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes have they closed; lest they should see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them.

Some people insist that they can be the judge of what is right and wrong.  Some people are so convinced of their own understanding of things that they will attempt to belittle other’s opinions and claim that what they see has to be incorrect, especially if it is any different. How sad!

You see, all of us are born with faulty eyes that want to see things in the most favorable way, like with “rose colored” lenses.  The only problem is that only God knows exactly what is on the wall.  And what is cool is that each one of us is different, so we may need one kind of lens, while someone else may need another.

God, our heavenly doctor, wants us to see the Truth for what He is; not through faulty eyes, but ones He has healed.

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Filed under General Observations, Theology