…simple stories of everyday faith…

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The Facebook of Life

Posted on December 31, 2014

The long, stressful day was behind her. With her favorite steaming cup in hand, she made her way to her soft,”unwinding” chair. She had taken care of everyone else today, so it seemed. Now, this was her time.


Laptop in lap, she was ready to stroll through the neighborhoods, over to the college campus, travel to distant cities, hike across the countryside and into the lives of friends and family. Excitement chased away the fatigue as she anticipated reading about and seeing what was happening with those God had placed in her circle of influence.  Oh, what fun to post comments and to share a bit of her day as well. Bible, notebook and pen by her side and with her spiritual radar on high frequency, she would look for ways to pray for her friends and maybe find a special verse to share…. She paused,”Lord, You know I can’t get out much. Even if it is only in a small way, please use me tonight to encourage a friend”.

But wait! What’s this? A new friend request! Hurriedly she read the request and looked intently at the accompanying photo. Speaking to herself, she said,”I know that guy.” Although, the photo didn’t match her memory of him. “We were friends in school…. I think?” Zooming in to try and see his eyes, fingers poised to accept him or send him away, she sat frozen for a moment. Then out loud, as if to affirm the action of her finger, she exclaimed, “DECLINE!”… “Sorry Buddy, same name, Not same guy.”… “Now.” Leaning back with a sigh of relief, she thought to herself,”On with my mission!”…

Has that ever happened to you? If you Facebook much, most likely it has. Did you know the Bible speaks of the first Facebook? Yep! I’m sure you have read about it in the book of Revelation. The Lambs Facebook of Life. OK, OK, so it’s actually “The Lambs Book of Life.” But think about it. Just as you alone have control over who is allowed on your Facebook page as a friend, God alone knows who his friends are and who’s names are written in the lambs Book of life.

Do you suppose God leads us to remarkable discoveries, such as cyber space, computers, world wide communication and surveillance and on and on to remind us of Him? Or maybe to show us how limited we are and how unlimited He is? Or how vital it is for us to trust Him in all things and with all things?

There is a movement across our nation to discount the truth in certain parts of the Bible, such as, the passages about the Lambs Book of Life. In Revelation 20:15, no matter what translation  you read, it is clear, “If someones’s name was not found in the book, they were cast into the lake of fire.” Just as with verse 27 in chapter 21. “Only those whose  names are written in the book will enter in.” How awesome it was as an angel took the apostle, John, into Heaven where he witnessed sacred events that were happening there. Then God inspired him to write it all down so that you and I can look through the window of the Word and see into Heaven. Now, it is up to each of us to accept or decline it.

In the simple, honest questions of a child, we are often driven to examine our own beliefs and look deeper into God’s Word to find answers. When our girls were little,they liked to ask the “deep” questions at bedtime. Like, “Dad, who writes our names in the Lambs Book of Life? Is it a bookkeeping angel? Are the names written in Jesus blood? How big is the book? How many pages are in it?  Will my name be in cursive? Will it be my name I have now or will it be my new name in Heaven?” I’m sure I stumbled around trying to sound like I understood more than I actually did. Andrea, in particular, once asked an intriguing question. “Dad, if two people have the same name, and one is a Christian and one isn’t, how does God know who is in the book? Have you ever noticed how fast you have to think when your kids ask these kinds of questions? Well, isn’t it reassuring to know that we are not only marked by our names, but also by the Holy Spirit when we come to faith in Christ. Paul puts it this way in II Cor., ch. 5. In speaking of our Heavenly dwelling, he says, “God has given us the Holy Spirit as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come.”

Out of curiosity I did a census search the other day to see how many of “me” are in the U.S. alone. I came up with 1,901. That settles it! I’m going to make copy of my fingerprints, get a DNA sample and an image of my retina, put them all in a baggie and keep them on me at all times. Sound a little ridiculous? But is it any more ridiculous than believing that we can write our own name in the Book Of Life? When we trust in God’s Grace through His Son, Jesus, we are also trusting that He will see that our name is written in the Lambs Book of Life as well.

I heard a testimony of a woman and her husband who had been invited to a wedding of a bride and groom who were both from very affluent families. The news media had widely publicized the event and those who were invited wouldn’t have missed it for the world! The woman was honored to have been asked to sing at the wedding, but even more than that, she and her husband were looking forward to the reception which was to be one of the most lavish ever held in their city. They walked up the Victorian staircase that would lead them to the elegant ballroom. One of the two attendants at the ballroom entrance was holding a guest book. The man and woman gave their names. The attendant searched the entire list of names and then said,”I’m sorry, your names are not in the guest book. We can’t let you in” “What!” The woman said in disbelief. “We have to be in there. I sang at the wedding!” The attendant, once again, went through  the long list of names and stated with an assuring tone, “your names are not in the book. You will have to leave.” The woman and her husband were escorted down the back stairs to the parking garage. After a few minutes, her husband spoke. “What happened?” The wife answered,”I didn’t send the response card back because I was singing at the wedding.” … “I thought that was enough!”

There will come a day for each of us, as we read in Hebrews, 9:27; “Everyone is destined to die once, then face judgement.” I wonder how many, on that day, will respond by referring to the good deeds they have done, “I thought that was enough!” Why does it seem so hard for us, as people, to believe in the simple truth of the Gospel, even after hearing it over and over? We must trust in what God has done, not in what we can do. We are all sinners, everyone. We are not fit for Heaven because the best we can do is still laced with sin. Only by being forgiven and made clean by the perfect and sinless Son of God, Jesus Christ, in our lives, can we one day say, as we find ourselves before the very presence of God, “I am not worthy to be here, but thank you Jesus for being my Lord and my Savior!”  Can you imagine what it will be like on that day? Maybe we will hear a voice say, ” My child, look up!” And as we raise our faces, we may see an angel moving toward us, holding a book. Then we see it! In bold print, our name written in the Lambs book of Life!!!

So, the next time you go on Facebook, be thankful for your many friends. Oh! By the way, if you are not sure that God has accepted you onto His Facebook page as a friend, there is sure way to send your friend request and to know that He will accept you. It is the most remarkable technology ever discovered that can reach beyond what any computer can accomplish in the world of cyberspace. It is called, prayer.

… With the hours till dawn lessening, she closed her laptop. With her arms down to her side, head back and eyes shut, she melted into the soft cushions. ” Oh God, thank You so much for my friends. I am rich because of them. I am content, as difficult as things are,  simply because You are in my life and you have given me these friends to love. Thanks for the encouragement they give me. Thank You for what I have been able to do tonight…  And … most of all, thank You Lord Jesus, for accepting me as Your friend. … Amen.”

P. S. Remember: always RSVP to important invitations.

Especially the one from God!


*** A Christmas Poem For You ***

Posted on December 31, 2014

Greetings! Another Christmas season has arrived with all of it’s attractions.

May your days be guided by Christ’s love for you, not by all of the distractions.

When you hear singing of “Silent Night” or “Angels We Have Heard On High”,

Look up in wonder, as if you were a child, searching for a sign in the sky!

And on those crisp and clear nights when it seems you can touch a star,

Think. God created a new one, an invitation for wise men to come from afar.

Of course, this season of joy can be tainted with worry and stress, now and then.

Let it remind you of Mary and Joseph, on their difficult journey to Bethlehem.

When you hear of wars and violence and read of the evil in a world so defiled,

Imagine how God’s angels fought with the dark ones to protect the Christ child.

If depression and loneliness visit you often and then leave you alone and forlorn,

He, who knew this well, has freedom and victory for you. For this He was born.

Do you look with fascination upon decorations and lights, wanting them to stay?

Oh, there is One who can turn night into day and chase all the darkness away!


If the miracle of snow encircles you, see how each flake falls gently in it’s place.

Then remember; dark sins can be white as the snow, forgiven by God’s grace!

Surely, there was someone you loved, who was close to you, but now is gone?

If you speak their name and the tears fall, know that in your heart, they live on.

May you find joy in giving to those you love, maybe even a child in a distant land!

For sure, there is a lot on this earth that isn’t right and much we don’t understand.

You may think,”What change can I bring to a lost and dying world? I am only one!”

Now, consider this question, would you be who you are today if not for someone?

Examine your heart and mind. Now find treasures God has discretely placed there.

Explore them and you will find they have no end. Go spread His love everywhere!

Oh, the wonderful gifts! From socks to tools and fun toys in boxes big and small.

I pray your Christmas includes telling a friend or stranger of the greatest gift of all!

He came wrapped simple and plain and was laid on the hay in an old cattle stall.

He became like us, lived and died for us, rose again and now has voiced the call;

“Come! Believe and trust in Me!” Follow Him into the Kingdom that will never fall!

That baby Jesus, has become the crucified, resurrected, victorious Lord of All!

Well, there you have it. Maybe you smiled or were bored or even cried?

My feelings, I must confess, are not mild and certainly cannot be denied.

I vow never to forget just how you’ve touched my life, one way or another.

So, it is in Christ, right now, I ask and claim for you, my sister, my brother.

The touch of God’s hand be upon you in this hour, wherever you need it most.

And that in the new year, it will be in the power of Christ that you will boast!

* Bob

A Bale of Hay and a Little Faith

Posted on December 30, 2014

It was one of those dreamy days of Autumn. You know, the kind that make you want drop whatever you are doing, go outdoors and just take it all in. Late in the afternoon my granddaughter, Faith, who would soon turn five, and I, along with our Yellow Lab, Logan, were playing in the field that adjoins our yard. The fall scene and the scent of freshly cut alfalfa filled our senses. For a moment of rest, I lifted Faith up on to a bale of hay and then climbed up beside her. As we sat there looking around, faith remarked, “Grandpa, this hay smells good!” AH! The light bulb came on. “A teachable moment!” I thought to myself. “I’ll teach Faith to be thankful for small things.” So, enthusiastically, I said,”Faith! Let’s thank God for this bale of hay we are sitting on!” As she purposely and carefully folded her hands, Faith responded with excitement in her voice,” OK! Grandpa you pray.”  I prayed, thanking God for the hay bale. Then I began talking, when Faith raised her hand to stop me. I looked down to find that she was still praying. First silently, then out loud. She was thanking God for everything her senses were picking up. A bird singing, a tractor, the dog panting, an airplane and on and on. She prayed with freedom and spontaneity, not caring what she sounded like. I had thanked God for what was on my mind. Faith was thanking Him for everything that her senses revealed to her. She had no idea that she had become the teacher and I, the student. As we walked away, I asked myself, “How many times have I walked by without taking notice, heard without hearing, touched without feeling, seen without seeing and smelled without smelling all that God has placed around me to give me joy and to remind me of Him?

Now, think about your little corner. is there anything you may have overlooked that the Father has placed in your path to remind you of who He is and of how much He loves you? Look back five years, or even one year. Who has the Lord placed in your pathway to make a positive impact upon your life, to remind you of who He is or show you how much He loves you?

When you have time, take the 3/10 test to find out how thankful you are or how thankful you could be. Take three sticky notes. On the first one,  record 10 times yesterday that you thanked God for something or someone other than at meal time. On the second one, list 10 things you taste, hear, see, smell or touch each day that remind you of the awesomeness of God. Then, on the third sticky note, write 10 names of people that God has placed in your life, to demonstrate His love for you. Place these notes where you will see them each day. If you can’t fill out the notes on the first try, then take 3 days to practice. Then come back to them to see how you do.

I am shocked at what a “Jeckyl and Hyde” I can be. One moment I can be a really thankful guy, then something happens and I become an ungrateful slob! The scripture instructs us, in Colossians 4:2, to devote ourselves to prayer and to be watchful and thankful. Colossians 2:7 impresses upon us to be a people overflowing with thankfulness.

Do you think Paul and Silas felt like being thankful and singing and praising God after being stripped and beaten and put into stocks? I doubt it. But they did it anyway and look at the miracles God performed. If we are honest about it, most of us need to clothe ourselves in gratefulness when we get out of bed in the mornings. I know too well that I do. The other day as our family celebrated Christmas, we formed a circle of thanks. There we were, seventeen of us, children, adults and one baby. Joined not only by our hands but by the love we have for each other as well. One by one, each shared something they were thankful for. As I listened to each voice and then we offered it all up to God in prayer, I was deeply moved. How can we explain what happens to us, inside, when we hear someone verbally stating what they are thankful for? Even in the midst of  struggles and the difficulties of life, do you suppose that when we purposely give God credit and thanks and praise for what He has done for us, that maybe, His greatest work is done within our own hearts?

  As the sun began to drop low and the shadows were becoming long and dark, faith and I slowly made our way back toward the house, stopping every few steps to examine another treasure of creation that God had placed in our path. I can remember thinking, ” I need to switch roles with a child more often.”Possibly, we could all learn valuable lessons about God by feeling through a child’s hands, hearing through a child’s ears and seeing though a child’s eyes.SDC12411

  So, if you come across a bale of hay, grab a child and pray and see what happens!… Ahh’… Can you smell the freshly cut alfalfa?