Practical Proverbial, from 1 Peter, 15 April 2020, Tenth Anniversary

Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, for you are receiving the end result of your faith, the salvation of your souls.  1 Peter 1:8-9 (NIV).

Today is a milestone; it isn’t a big milestone for the world, but it’s a big one in my life.  Today is the 10th anniversary of this blog.   It started as a response to the worst time in my life, when I had wrecked my family.   A friend told me I should read one verse from the Proverbs every day, then pray on it and write about what it meant.   Ten years and sixteen books later, here we are.  WordPress says that, counting today, there are 1754 posts under “Practical Proverbial.”  You’re reading words shared with several thousand people regularly on five continents.

The words proclaim that Jesus is still the only salvation for our souls and we still want to learn more about Him.   That’s the only purpose of these writings; if they ever become something other than that, I encourage you to stop reading immediately.   Then please contact me and call me out.  Until then, if this helps reinforce your belief in Him, then AGTJ and let’s keep at it.

Let’s keep at it because the benefit we get from believing in Jesus is life everlasting.   It’s peace today and forever.  It’s tranquility in the face of trials; calm instead of chaos.   There is real liberation in knowing Christ has forgiven everything that could ever drag you down or leave you feeling guilty.   That He, who made everything and is over everything, has already done away with the pain over the things you don’t want to admit are true.   You and I would hold things against each other.   Jesus doesn’t.   He did away with the guilt-motivation to do that.

That’s why I write these and hope they find you in a place where they help you draw closer to Jesus, maybe understand the Scripture a little better.  It isn’t about me:   it’s about talking about what Jesus said through the Word in the context of things happening here and now, things to which we can relate.  We still feel guilt over our sins just the same as the people of Peter’s day.  We still live with epidemics, wars, terror, and fear.   I didn’t understand much about the Scriptures until I was a grown man.   I was late to the game.   I do these to maybe help someone else get there sooner.

And I still have much to learn; perhaps we all do.  As long as God gives the words and you read, we’ll keep it up.  So thanks for being here!

For further reading: Romans 6:22, 1 Peter 1:10

Lord Jesus, thank You for all these friends and words.   And thank You for ways to share them across our world.

Practical Proverbial, from Mark, 14 May 2015

Then Jesus left the vicinity of Tyre and went through Sidon, down to the Sea of Galilee and into the region of the Decapolis. Mark 7, verse 31.

We need to go with our faith.   What would Jesus do?   Stop stalling by asking that trendy question and pay attention to what He did.   He went.

Now, I’m a big proponent of overseas mission work.   I’ve been on overseas mission trips to Asia and Africa. I’ve done mission work in Minnesota, California, Montana, Colorado, Oklahoma, and here in Texas.   This blog is my mission work every day and it’s my privilege to share it with you, to send it to where you live in the hope that it helps you, and that you’ll send it on to parts unknown.   Between us, over 4000 people a day see these words.

Big freaking deal. It’s what I can do but it doesn’t mean much. I’m capable of more and I haven’t done more. If this is the best I can do then I have let down my Lord.

Yes, I mean that.   There are still so many places in the world where people haven’t heard about Jesus, and there are even more where people don’t want to hear about Him. They’re right under our noses.   My last foreign mission trip was to Uganda four years ago.   My life was in turmoil then, heading out of the most tumultuous year of my life.   My head and heart were upside down; I had turned my life inside out and was destroying people I loved. Ten days in Uganda changed me, exposed me to the heights of faith in the depths of poverty.   I met some of the finest men and women there, and they are my brothers and sisters to this day.   To say the trip moved me was an understatement because I felt I was doing what Jesus wanted me to do:   go on the road and love like He would.

Yet almost immediately after my last foreign trip, a friend of mine upbraided me, saying I shouldn’t have gone overseas. That there are real people really suffering in real ways here in the United States. At first, what she said ticked me off.   The more I thought about it, however, the more I saw her point. Anybody up for doing some outreach this week along 8 Mile, or maybe on Charles Street in Baltimore?   Been to West Philadelphia to hand out tracts, or have you worked in a soup kitchen in Oak Cliff lately?   Me neither.   Indian reservations, prisons that hold 2 million Americans, depressed towns all throughout Appalachia and the deep south, those war-zone urban areas challenged by Crips and Bloods, and the oh so complacent suburbs where consumption is the American Idol of choice:   my friends, right here in the US of A is a foreign-like mission field in itself.   After all, have you read the survey (published by Pew this week) saying how, since 2009 the percentage of people in the USA professing themselves to be “Christian” has shrunk by 8%?   Seventy percent of us still call ourselves “Christian” but 30% not so much.   Do the math and that’s almost 100 million under the red, white and blue who don’t want Jesus.   That’s a ripe field for us to go be Jesus.

Is it any wonder, then, that Jesus led by example?   He didn’t sit on His brains to ruminate, cogitate and contemplate.   Jesus went.   Go we and do the same.

Lord, empower me to go where You lead me.

Read Mark 7, verses 31-37.